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Bedouin nomads were kin-based clans led by a clan / tribal chief. Umayyad Palace / Mosque in Damascus incorporated the arches and domes of Roman architecture. Fancy, but no where near as luxurious as Abbasid palaces. Pre-Islamic Polytheistic Shrine.

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Umayyad Palace / Mosque in Damascus incorporated the arches and domes of Roman architecture. Fancy, but no where near as luxurious as Abbasid palaces.


Pre islamic polytheistic shrine
Pre-Islamic Polytheistic Shrine and domes of Roman architecture. Fancy, but no where near as luxurious as Abbasid palaces.

Believed to be the site Abraham’s sacrifice, this shrine in Mecca became the “neutral” pilgrimage site for all the pre-Islamic gods. Muhammad smashed the idols to these gods and today this shrine is the destination of the hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca.


At Samarra, the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil built a great mosque in 847 AD. The minaret of the was built out of baked bricks. A minaret is where the muezzin makes the call to prayer.



The bureaucracy during the Abbasid Caliphate was directed by the wazir (Arabic for vizier). These administrators often used their power for personal gain and kept the caliphs isolated from the “people”.


In 732 C.E. Charles (the Hammer) Martel stopped the Muslim expansion into Europe at the Battle of Poitiers in central France. The Muslims returned to Spain (al-Andulus) until their eventual defeat at Granada in 1492.


Greek theatre in Damascus expansion into Europe at the Battle of Poitiers in central France. The Muslims returned to Spain (al-Andulus) until their eventual defeat at Granada in 1492.



Technological Innovations during the Abbasid Caliphate reflected new thinking as well as their “additions” to the ideas of other civilizations.



The “slave army” of Mameluks from Egypt protected and threatened the Baghdad caliphs. They even stopped the Mongols !


The Bedouin towns of Mecca and Yatrib (Medina) were the marketplace extensions of their tribes. Most towns were controlled by one or more tribes.


The move of the capital from Damascus to Baghdad further weakened the ties of Islam to its religious base in Mecca.


The pre-Islamic Bedouins had no written language and their poetry & songs were passed onto new generations as part of a rich oral tradition.


Silk weaving from China introduced to Spain by the Umayyads. poetry & songs were passed onto new generations as part of a rich oral tradition.


The symbol of the Muslim world is the crescent moon. This reflects the importance of the moon god during pre-Islamic times.


The Sufi mystics took their brand of Islam to Asia during the Abbasid Caliphate and made the worship of Allah more “personal”


During the time of the Abbasids often the slave girls were more educated and more “interesting” than the Muslim wives. This slave has enticed the caliph with her stories of love and adventure … 1001 different stories.


Pre-Islamic religion included traces of animism as well as the “worship” of the gods of “cool” places.


Completed during the Umayyad Dynasty the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is located on the site of Solomon’s 2nd temple.


The innovations of the Chinese were introduced to Europe by the Umayyads that controlled much of the Iberian Peninsula.


The Abbasid Caliphs used an extensive bureaucracy to keep the taxes rolling into the treasury. Their lifestyle reflected how the money was spent.


Established trade with Asia increased under the Umayyads, but now the Muslim merchants brought Islam. India was first “invaded” in 711.


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