Comparing The Post Classical Empires Of Arabia And The Byzantine.

1083 words - 5 pages

Two of the most powerful powers in the post-classical period were the Arabian and Byzantine empires. Each had different political, religious, and economic differences that defined their respective cultures, and managing to create vast empires that greatly rivaled each other.

The political structure of the Arabian and Byzantine empires greatly differed from each other. The Arabian empire was ruled over by a Caliphate. The Caliphate was the successor to the great prophet Muhammad. Politically, the Caliphate sometimes caused trouble for the stability of the empire. With multiple groups such as the Umayyad and the Abbasid believing the were in charge of the Caliphate led to conflicts and violence. An example of conflict would be towards the end of the Abbasid empire when the death of Harun al-Rashid brought several full scale revolutions. Another example would be at the beginning of Abbasid empire when they went as far as too kill off all of the remaining Umayyad leaders to sustain full control with little to no interference. Politically, the Arab/Muslim empire stretched from India and the Middle East into the Africa, the Mediterranean, and Iberia. They also had a large influence in Southeast Asia. When they conquered these areas, there was no forced conversion. On the other hand, they did enforce a higher tax for non-Muslims which prompted people to convert. Only later were there violently forced conversions. A testimony to this would be when the Muslims invaded India and did not touch the Buddhist or Hindus already there. They even respected the Hindu leadership and allowed them to continue. The Muslim empire was successful in other parts of the world due to tolerance, and continued to operate in the face of power struggles.

Politically, the Byzantine empire was similar to that of the Chinese. Byzantine originated from the remains of the declining Roman empire. The emperor was believed to have been ordained by God. He acted as the head of the Church and of the state. Unlike other civilizations in the Classical period and the time following, there were predominate women leaders including Empress Theodora (981-1056). Along with the emperor, there was a bureaucracy which is believed to be one of the most elaborate of any civilization. Like Han China, they were chosen from all social levels though they were mainly controlled by the aristocrats. Bureaucrats were trained in Greek classics, philosophy, and science in a secular system of schools that coincided with religious education for the priesthood. They held offices and were highly talented. Governors were appoint and were in charge of keeping the military in line. They adopted the old Roman style of military recruitment and commended them with land which would be inherited by his family and could not be sold. The Byzantine empire greatly resembled that of China and was able to last c. 1300 years through a strong Bureaucracy.

Religiously, the Byzantine and Arabian empires where somewhat...

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