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Territory - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Territory. Mesopotamia North Africa Spain Crete, Sicily, and Sardinia Northwest India Dominated eastern Mediterranean Sea Capital at Damascus. Islamic Expansion. Subjects. Only Muslim Arabs first-class citizens and shared in booty

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  • Mesopotamia

  • North Africa

  • Spain

  • Crete, Sicily, and Sardinia

  • Northwest India

  • Dominated eastern Mediterranean Sea

  • Capital at Damascus


  • Only Muslim Arabs first-class citizens and shared in booty

  • Local populations converted to Islam (Mawali). What was motivation?

  • Non-Arab Muslims- discrimination

  • Number of conversions during Umayyad low

  • Dhimmis- “People of the Book.”

Family and gender
Family and Gender

  • Islam under Muhammad stressed family and equality of women

  • Women had some freedom under Umayyads- pursued wide range of occupations

  • Rising Arab urbanization = decline of women’s rights

  • Persian custom of seclusion / harem

Decline and fall
Decline and Fall

  • Umayyad became soft and corrupt due to increasing wealth and power

  • Warrior lifestyle declined

  • Decadent living sparked revolts

  • Indian frontier - warrior settlers revolted under banner of Abbasid party - aided by Shi’ites and Mawali

  • 750 CE victory over Umayyads

Decline and fall1
Decline and Fall

  • Umayyads wiped out

  • Grandson of Umayyad caliph escaped to Spain- founded Caliphate of Cordoba

The abbasids
The Abbasids

  • Abbasids turned on Shi’ite allies

  • Built centralized state- absolute power

  • Capital at Baghdad

  • Bureaucracy under Wazir

  • Royal executioner - intimidation

  • Revenues in form of tribute and taxes

  • Abbasids grew less powerful at distance

The abbasids1
The Abbasids

  • Caliphs placed themselves above Islamic law

  • Rulers called themselves “Shadow of god on Earth” Divine rule?

  • Caliphs became remote from people

  • Practice of dividing booty discarded

  • New emphasis on conversions

The abbasids2
The Abbasids

  • Mawali gained equality with Arab Muslims

  • Persians became powerful force in Abbasid court

Commerce and urbanization
Commerce and Urbanization

  • Wealth and status of merchant and landlord class grew

  • Muslims and Tang China became engines behind revival of world trade

  • Technology - Arab Dhows & lateen (triangular) sails

  • Business partnerships between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Commerce and urbanization1
Commerce and Urbanization

  • Increase in handicraft production (furniture, carpets, glass, etc)

  • Guild associations formed

  • Wealthy landed elite formed called Ayan

  • Many farmers were tenants, sharecroppers, or migrant laborers

  • Towns flourished despite political instability

A shop in a bazaar


  • Unskilled labor done by slaves - some brutality

  • Slaves could gain freedom and/or serve in positions of power

  • Most drudge labor slaves were Zanj slaves (non-Muslim Africans)

  • Beautiful / educated slaves prized

  • Slave women had more freedom than Muslim women

Zanj Slaves


  • Caliph had up to 4,000 slave concubines

  • Most slaves from Balkans, Central Asia, and Sudanic Africa

  • Word “slave” derived from “Slav”

A caliph and his concubine


  • Women increasingly subjugated to men (harem / veil)

  • Women from lower classes worked to help support family

  • Rich women had no outlets

  • Marriage age at puberty (legal age= 9)

Purdah: wearing of the veil and seclusion

Islamic culture
Islamic Culture

  • Muslims influenced by conquered peoples

  • Islamic technological advances

  • Despite decline of Abbasids, professional classes expanded (towns)

  • Persian culture dominated Abbasid court

  • Persian court and cultural language

  • Poetry - Rubiyat- Omar Khayyam

The Rubiyat

Religious trends
Religious Trends

  • Religious scholars (ulama) became increasingly reactionary

  • Sufi movement- wandering mystics- factor in spread of Islam

Whirling Dervish – Sufi whirls himself into trance-like state

Abbasid decline
Abbasid Decline

  • Shi’ite revolts plagued Abbasids

  • Decadent living strained revenues

  • Problem of succession

  • Court intrigue- wives, concubines, ministers, eunuchs, etc

  • Increasing influence of Persian ministers over caliphs

Abbasid decline1
Abbasid Decline

  • Harun al-Rashid – most famous caliph

  • Rashid’s death resulted in civil wars over succession

  • Successors created bodyguard of slave mercenaries - Turks (70,000)

  • Turks became power behind throne- murdered and replaced caliphs.

Abbasid decline2
Abbasid Decline

  • Turkish mercenaries became violent force in Muslim society- source of constant riots

  • Expense of putting down Turks, paying other mercenary forces, construction projects caused financial crisis

  • Villages placed under rule of mercenaries in lieu of payment

A Turkish warrior

Abbasid decline3
Abbasid Decline

  • Pillaging led to destruction / abandonment of villages

  • Irrigation structure collapsed

  • Peasants fled, died, or turned to banditry

  • Loss of territory as regions split from Abbasid rule

  • Buyids of Persia (breakaway region) captured Baghdad- caliphs became puppets (945 CE)

Seljuk turks
Seljuk Turks

  • Buyid control broken in 1055 by Seljuk Turks

  • Turkish military rulers ran empire in name of caliphs

  • Turks crushed Byzantine army and opened Anatolian Peninsula to settlement

  • Crusades

End of the caliphate
End of the Caliphate

  • Mongol assaults on Muslim Persia by Chinggis Khan

  • Hulegu Khan (grandson) completed conquest of Baghdad in 1258

  • Last Abbasid caliph executed

  • Mongols turned back by Mameluk Turks (rulers of Egypt)

  • Islamic center of gravity shifted to Cairo


Islamic Civilization