The Middle Ages. The Islamic Empire

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Information about The Middle Ages. The Islamic Empire

Published on September 19, 2013

Author: chusteacher



Created by María Jesús Campos, teacher of Social Studies, Geography and History in a bilingual section in Madrid (Spain).


THE FALL OF THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE The fall of the Western Roman Empire after the conquest of Rome by the Ostrogoths in the year 476 A.D. meant the break-up of Mediterranean unity and the arose of new powers and civilizations as the Germanic Kingdoms, the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic


THE ORIGINS OF ISLAM  For centuries, nomadic Arabs had lived on the Arabian peninsula. They lived in tribes that were often in conflict with each other.  They considered the city of Mecca as their holy city although they had different religions (christianism, judaism, animism…)

 At the end of the 6th century, a man name Muhammad announced that he was the messenger of Allah (the name he gave to God).  He was a merchant living in Mecca that had studied the two monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianism.  Using some of their principles and some new he stated that he had been ellected by Allah to preach a new religion, Islam.

 At first, the Arabs did not believe him so he had to escape from Mecca to the city of Medina. This is called the Hegira.  In Medina he spread his religion and with his followers he returned to Mecca and expanded the new religion throughout Arabia.

ISLAM  Islam means submission to God. Its followers are the muslims.  Its holy book is the Koran which contains the revelations of Allah and the 5 principles of faith.

 The 5 principles of faith are:  To testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His prophet.  To pray 5 times a day.  To go on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.  To fast during the month of Ramadan.

Muhammad’s goverment. (1st half 7th century) The Orthodox Caliphate (7th century) The Umayyad Caliphate (2nd half 7th century) The Abbasid Caliphate (2nd half 8th century) The Ottoman Turks (13th century) THE EXPANSION OF THE ISLAMIC EMPIRE: POLITICAL PERIODS

MUHAMMAD’S GOVERNMENT (1ST HALF 7TH CENTURY)  Muhammad became the religious and political leader of the muslims.  Following the idea of holy war, the muslims began to conquer territories.

ORTHODOX CALIPHATE  After Muhammad’s death, the highest authority of muslims was the caliph. The first four caliphs were direct descendants or friends of Muhammad.  During this period the entire Arabian peninsula was conquered.

UMAYYAD CALIPHATE  On the second half of the 7th century, the Ummayyad family took power.  They made the title of caliph hereditary.  The capital was established in Damascus.  They expanded the Empire from Persia to the Iberian Peninsula.

ABBASID CALIPHATE  On the second half of the 8th century, the Abbasid family took power.  The capital was established in Baghdad.  Some territories, like the ones in the Iberian Peninsula, became independent.

OTTOMAN TURKS  After the 13th century, an Islamic group, the Turks became powerful inside the Empire. They wanted to rebuild the splendour of the Islamic Empire.  The Turks took power and conquered the Byzantine Empire during the 15th century.  Its empire was going to survive until the 20th century. It dissapeared after the I World War.

ISLAMIC ECONOMY AND CULTURE  The islamic civilization was based on urban life. Cities such as Damascus, Baghdad or Cordoba were very important.  This was possible thanks to a developed trade, a rich agriculture and an impressive craftsmanship.  Muslims travelled by land and sea buying spices in Asia and gold, ivory and slaves in Africa and selling them in Europe.  Those travels allowed them to know and spread inventions such as gunpowder, the compass, the zero number and medical knowledge.

ISLAMIC ART  The most important building was the mosque. Its main wall always looked in the direction of the city of Mecca.  They did not use expensive materials but they were very creative in decorations.

 During some political periods, they did not represent people in art (iconoclastic rules).  Nevertheless, they had beautiful geometric or vegetable designs as well as a beautiful calligraphy which they used to decorate walls and objects.

Developed by María Jesús Campos Chusteacher wikiteacher

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