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A group of converted Islamic Muslims called the Turks united most of the Islamic lands. This group moved into the Middle East to take over these lands. They challenged the weaker Byzantine Empire. One group of Turks known as the Seljuk Turks battled against the Byzantine emperor in what was known as the Battle of Manzikert. During this battle, the Byzantine emperor was killed, and his army was destroyed. These Seljuk Turks continued to advance south until they eventually took over the holy land and Jerusalem. They then banned traveling to Jerusalem and other religious areas by Christian pilgrims. The occupation of the Holy Land by the Turks was alarming. This led to the formation of an army that would head to Jerusalem to free the Holy Land in a Holy war called a crusade.
The Byzantine Emperor Alexius met with his rival Pope Urban II to request help in forming an army to remove the Turks. The Pope called a meeting to take care of several religious issues among which was the removal of the Turks from The Holy Land. To encourage participation in this army, the pope promised that all who died during this pursuit would go directly to heaven. This promise by the Pope encouraged several popular preachers who had many poor followers to join. They believed that they were in the last days and that the Messiah would rise up and free the Holy land by removing the Muslims. Many unarmed and untrained ordinary people left their home to join the march toward Jerusalem. Depending on their faith to defend and protect them, many died or were taken as slaved by the Turks. Finally, a trained army was formed and by 1097 CE, they traveled by land and sea to defeat the Turks.
The Umayyad Dynasty was led by Mu’awiya for approximately 20 years. He was given almost complete control of Syria by the Caliphs. His reign included the establishment of the most skilled Arab troops. This first Islamic dynasty was founded by him. He was an excellent businessman and administrator. He realized the excessive cost of wars, so he chose bribery over fighting. The capital of the dynasty was moved to Damascus where Mu’awiya depended on the Arab army that were only loyal to him. He also started the first muslim navy and was able to successfully transfer power to his son.
The division of the Arab and non- Arab Muslim’s eventually led to the fall of the Umayyad dynasty and its replacement The Abbasid Dynasty. Contributing factors also included corruption, wars, and bad rulers. Discrimination against non- Arab Muslims led to a movement that began with Muhammad’s uncle, Abbas. Oppression and injustice were issues that people hoped the descendant of Muhammad would end creating justice for all Muslims. The Abbasids were able to successfully end the Umayyad rule using organization and propaganda. Abu Muslim joined the opposition and revolt with his army of non-Arab Muslims who defeated the Umayyad army.
Umayyad Religious Policy during the Umayyad Dynasty, stability came from the United Arab military. Non-Arab Muslims could join the military but were not allowed to serve in command positions. Arab Muslims inhabited the elite positions in the Umayyad society. The non- Arab Muslims made up the biggest part of the population. This group had to deal with discrimination from the Arab Muslims which eventually led to rebellion. The lowest class below the non-Arab Muslims were people of the book or from other accepted religions.
The religious policy of the Abbasid Dynasty was based on tolerance and social justice. All offices of the newly created state and military were filled by a large group of non- Muslims. Non-Muslims were also allowed to own their own property and practice their own religions if they paid the Jizya. Modeled after the Persians, the Abbasids adopted the office of the prime minister. The cauphs most trusted servant was given the power to appoint and dismiss governors. The office of the prime minister allowed the ruler to step back and let the government deal with daily affairs. Cities and villages were also allowed to govern themselves if they paid their taxes.
The Silk Road was a very important trade route, but also carried a lot of infectious diseases. One of the diseases it carried was the Bubonic Plague. This disease originated in the saliva of fleas and moved from one organism to the next through the bite of a flea. Even though it is uncertain where this disease started, they think it may have come about in South China and spread very fast to Northern China. It spread throughout the Silk Roads like wild fire. It spread very quickly throughout central Asia, the Mediterranean, Italy, Greece, and many more areas. It impacted everyone and their daily lives. It made it harder to live and many people died due to this disease. The population decreased very dramatically by a very high percentage in Europe. It played a huge role in shaping Europe as we know today.
Acrobatiq. (2017). Survey of world history. Retrieved from https://wgunx.acrobatiq.com/courseware/contents/wh_apr14
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