Chapter 7: Late Antiquity and the Emergence of the Medieval World

  1. Arab Background
    • I.                   Arabs
    • a.      Semitic- speaking
    • b.      Dominated by Bedouin nomads
    •                                                               i.      Supported selves by sheepherding or raids, but after domestication of camel, they began participating in caravan trade and became major carriers of goods between Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea
  2. Arab Religion 
    • a.      Polytheistic with Allah as supreme
    •                                                               i.      No priesthood
    • 1.      All members of tribe practiced faith
    •                                                             ii.      Allah symbolized by sacred stone, and each tribe had own stone
    • 1.      All tribes worshiped massive black meteorite—the Black Stone placed in Ka’ba in Mecca
  3. Arab Geography
    • a.      Peninsula important in political disorder of Mesopotamia and Egypt
    •                                                               i.      Trade routes changed
    • 1.      New one through Mecca to Yemen became popular for caravan trade
    • a.      Tensions arouse between Bedouins and wealthy merchants, causing rise of Muhammad
  4. I.                   Muhammad (570-632)
    • a.      Caravan manager who experienced visions inspired by Allah
    • b.      Revealed Qur’an, which contained guidelines to live
    • c.       Formed basis of Islam, “submission to the will of Allah”
    •                                                               i.      Allah= all-powerful being who created the universe and everything in it
    • 1.      Humans must subject selves to Allah if they want everlasting life
    • 2.      Muslims
  5. I.                   Muhammad (570-632)
    • a.      After receiving revelations, he set out to convince the people of Mecca that they were true
    •                                                               i.      First thought he was insane and feared disruption of order by his attacks on corrupt society
    • 1.      Discouraged: 622, he left and moved to rival city of Yathrib
    • a.      Year of journey became year 1 in official Islamic calendar
  6. I.                   Muhammad (570-632)
    • a.      Began winning support from people in town as well as tribes in countryside
    •                                                               i.      Enabled formation of first Muslim community
    • 1.      No separation between religions and political authority
    • a.      Submission to Allah= submission to his Prophet
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Muhammad= religious and political leader, which enabled creation of reliable military force
    • 1.      Returned to Mecca in 630, conquered and converted city
    • a.      Ideas spread quickly
  7. Teaching of Islam
    At heart
    • a.      Qur’an
    •                                                               i.      Message: there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet
    •                                                             ii.      Contains Muhammad’s revelations of a heavenly book written down by secretaries
    • 1.      114 chapters
    • 2.      Recorded beliefs of the Muslims and served as their code of ethics and law
  8. Teaching of Islam:
    • a.      Islam
    •                                                               i.      Direct and simple faith, emphasizing need to obey will of Allah
    • 1.      Meant following basic ethical code consisting of the Five Pillars of Islam:
    •                                                             ii.      way of life
    •                                                           iii.      after death of Muhammad, Muslim scholars drew up law code called Shari’a, to provide believers with set of prescriptions to regulate daily lives
    • 1.      drawn from Qur’an
    • 2.      believer’s behavior subject to strict guidelines
    •                                                           iv.      Forbidden to gamble, eat pork, drink alcoholic, and be dishonest
    •                                                             v.      Strict sexual practices
    •                                                           vi.      Marriage arranged by parents
    • 1.      Contact between unmarried men and women discouraged
    • 2.      Men could have more than wife but no more than four
  9. Teaching of Islam:
    Five Pillars of Islam
    • a.      belief  in Allah and Muhammad as his Prophet
    • b.      standard prayer 5x a day and public prayer on Friday at midday to worship Allah
    • c.       observance of the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from dawn to sunset
    • d.      making a pilgrimage to Mecca in lifetime
    • giving alms to poor and unfortunate
  10. Spread of Islam
    Death and Dilemma
    • a.      Death à dilemma
    •                                                               i.      Muslims saw no separation between religious/ political authority
    • 1.      No successor to Muhammad
    • a.      Friends elected Abu Bakr (his father-in-law) as caliph of Islamic community
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Took up Arab tribal custom of razzia or raid in the struggle against enemies
    • 1.      Called jihad, misinterpreted as holy war, but actually means striving in way of Lord to achieve personal betterment
  11. Spread of Islam
    • a.      Those who didn’t convert were only subject to Muslim rule and taxes
    • b.      After unity under Abu, expended energy on neighbors
    •                                                               i.      Byzantines and Persians were defeated and provinces taken away; areas added to empire
    • 1.      Arabs had large and highly motivated army, whose valor was enhanced by belief that Muslim warriors were guaranteed a place in paradise if they died in battle
  12. Spread of Islam
    Early caliphs and succession
    • a.      Early caliphs organized conquered territories into taxpaying provinces
    •                                                               i.      Succession problems:
    • 1.      Ali (assassinated)à Muawiya (661)
    • a.      Only used force when necessary
    • b.      Made caliphate hereditary, establishing Umayyad dynasty
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Moved capital from Medina to Damascus
    • 1.      Created split in Islam between Shi’ites, those who accepted only descendents of Ali (Muhammad’s son-in-law) as rulers, and Sunnites, who followed Umayyads
  13. Spread of Islam
    • a.      Internal dissension did not stop expansion
    •                                                               i.      Caused collapse of Visigothic kingdom and controlled much of Spain
    • 1.      In 732, Muslim army defeated at Battle of Tours, which halted expansion
    •                                                             ii.      Launched attack on Constantinople in hopes of destroying Byzantine empire
    • 1.      Byzantines destroyed the fleet, saved Empire and Christian Europe
    • a.      Arab advance ended
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Islam heir to much of old Roman empire
    • 1.      Umayyad dynasty ruled enormous empire
    • a.      Due to contact with Byzantine and Persians, Greek culture influenced them
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Chapter 7: Late Antiquity and the Emergence of the Medieval World