Arab Imperialism

Document Sample
Arab Imperialism Powered By Docstoc
					       Arab Imperialism


              Carl Ernst
Reli 180, Intro to Islamic civilization
A note on revisionist historians
 Egger, page 32: Patricia Crone, John
 Wansborough, etc.
 Questions speculating about traditional
 Muslim sources, the geographical location
 of Islam, and the codification of the Qur’an.
 Debate cannot be dismissed, but
 documentary evidence is lacking for these
 theories

                                         2
Arab Imperialism -- overview
 Conquest of Persian and much of Byzantine
 Empire
 Two empires exhausted
   Battle over relic of ―True Cross‖
 Conquered territories as a cash cow for
 exploitation rather than expansion of
 Islamic society
   Amazingly swift conquests
   Administration of Muslims and non-Muslims
                                           3
4
Arab conquests: Arabia and
Fertile Crescent
 Factions emerge to contest leadership
   Muslim emigrants to Medina (Muhajirun)
   Muslims in Medina (Ansar)
   Last-minute Muslim converts in Mecca
 Wars of Apostasy (ridda) afte Muhammad’s
 death, two major transitions
   Subduing rebellious tribes, then all Arab
   communities
   Conquering Arabian Peninsula, then invading
   Byzantine and Persian empires             5
Factors aiding the conquest
 Expansion of Arabs’ geopolitical motives
 beyond securing borders
 Inspiration of religion combined with the
 promise of loot
 Nomadic reliance on raiding settlements,
 channeled outwards as Arabia is unified
         Problem of handling new military
 recruits, need for further conquests

                                       6
Byzantine weakness in Syria
 Large Arab population
 Defensive tactics
 Byzantine troops were two thirds Arab
 Monophysite Christians and Jews disliked
 Byzantine oppression
          Damascus captured 636, becomes
 military and political center of caliphate


                                        7
Conquest of Iraq and Egypt
 Arab armies defeat Sasanian forces in North
 and South Iraq by 638
 `Amr ibn al-`As conquers Egypt, 636-641,
 welcomed by Coptic Christians
 Garrison cities (Kufah, Basrah; Fustat
 [Cairo]) established for Arab armies,
 keeping them separate from the locals


                                       8
Iran
 Conquest proceeds despite death of 2nd
 Caliph, `Umar (644)
 Fars (Persian heartland) subjugated by 650,
 Khorasan (NE) by 654
 Distractions of civil war after assassination
 of `3rd Caliph, `Uthman (656): 4th Caliph,
 `Ali, fights Mu`awiya ( Damascus) up to his
 murder in 661

                                         9
Other regions (rapid conquests
learned about much after the fact)
 North Africa: integration of Berber nomads
 into conquering army
 Spain (711, at the request of Visigoths),
 Muslims welcomed by Jewish population
 50,000 Arabs sent to colonize Central Asia
 (Merv, 671)
 Non-Muslim Syrians and Iranians join army
 Indus valley conquered in 711
                                      10
Umayyad administration: the
caliphate
 Election of Abu Bakr as 1st Caliph ( 632-
 634), tribal form of succession and
 allegiance oath
 Earliest title: khalifat Allah, ―deputy of
 God‖ (up to Abbasids)—theological
 Later changed to khalifat rasul Allah,
 ―successor of the messenger of God‖
 Finally ―Commander of the Faithful‖,
 military and prayer leader
                                         11
Umayyad administration:
administration of non-Muslims
 Correction to Egger (47): while chronicles
 suggest violent campaigns, ceramic
 archaeological evidence indicates slower
 peaceful penetration of Arabs (Prof. Jodi
 Magness)
 Arabs adopt Sasanian policy of recognizing
 other religious groups and leaders, rather
 than Byzantine orthodoxy model
 Tax (jizya) on non-Muslims
                                      12
Umayyad administration:
administration of Muslims
 Controlling armies by settlement in garrison
 towns
 Shift from loot to regular pay for soldiers,
 land revenue
 Non-Arab converts adopted as clients of
 Arab tribes
 Inequality and tension with non-Arab
 Muslims
 Tax incentive to conversion
                                       13
Umayyad administration:
administration of Muslims (2)
 Gender and regulation of women’s roles
   Social rules of women in Arabia
   Debated verses from Qur’an on polygamy,
   inheritance, dowry, divorce, modesty
   Debated origins of veiling and seclusion –
   Sasanian and Byzantine upper-class women
 Continuation of previous empires’ tax
 collectors, languages, coins
 Imposition of Arabic as state language,
 construction of Dome of the Rock ( 691)14
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
(691): imperial and religious




                                15
Dome of the
Rock


Interior
view




              16
Dome of the Rock
 Qur’an inscriptions the earliest dated
 version of the text; mostly about Qur’anic
 doctrine of Jesus as human prophet




                                        17
Dome of the
Rock

Royal motifs
of crown
and jewels,
suggesting
imperial
tribute

               18
An Umayyad Palace: Khirbat al-
Mafjar (742-3, near Jericho)




                           19
Painting behind the throne:
the world-emperor




                              20
 To side of
throne

 Salutations
 from the
 kings of the
 world, in
 Greek and
 Arabic

                21
Paintings in the bath




                        22
Greek zodiac on ceiling dome




                               23
Dissolution of Arab Empire
 Limits of conquest machine
 Garrison cities fail to segregate Arabs from
 locals – ethnic and cultural mixing (Arabs
 learn Persian, non-Muslims Arabized)
 Problem of maintaining Arab armies, limits
 of plunder as source of revenue
 Rebellions among Iranians, also Berbers
 (740)
 Instability, overthrow Umayyads in 750
                                        24
Conclusion
 Umayyad Empire based on constant
 conquests, ―the exploitation of non-Arabs
 for the benefit of Arabs‖
 Islamic and Arabic identity now spread
 beyond the Arabs through religion and
 language, tied to empire
 Important cultural and administrative
 continuity with previous empires

                                       25

				
DOCUMENT INFO