Territory
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Mesopotamia
North Africa
Spain
Crete, Sicily, and Sardinia
Northwest India
Dominated eastern Mediterranean Sea
Capital at Damascus
Islamic Expansion
Subjects
• Only Muslim Arabs firstclass citizens and shared in
booty
• Local populations converted
to Islam (Mawali). What was
motivation?
• Non-Arab Muslimsdiscrimination
• Number of conversions
during Umayyad low
• Dhimmis- “People of the
Book.”
Family and Gender
• Islam under Muhammad stressed family and equality
of women
• Women had some freedom under Umayyadspursued wide range of occupations
• Rising Arab urbanization = decline of women’s rights
• Persian custom of seclusion / harem
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 Fall
• Umayyads wiped out
• Grandson of Umayyad caliph escaped
to Spain- founded Caliphate of Cordoba
The Abbasids
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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 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 Abbasids
• Mawali gained equality with Arab
Muslims
• Persians became powerful force in
Abbasid court
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.
The
Astrolabe
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
Slavery
• 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
Slavery
• 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
• 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
• 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 scholars
(ulama) became
increasingly
reactionary
• Sufi movementwandering mysticsfactor in spread of
Islam
Whirling Dervish – Sufi whirls himself
into trance-like state
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 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 thronemurdered and replaced caliphs.
Abbasid Decline
A Turkish warrior
• 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
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
• 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
• 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
Islam
Islamic Civilization