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What factors were behind the Arab expansion?

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    Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 08:33
What factors were behind the Arab expansion of 7-8 centuries?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 09:35
I'm no expert on this but it does seem that the Arabs were exporting Islam by military expansion. So martial spirit and religious zeal are definitely on the list.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 17:47
Very good. This is certainly one of the factors. But some factors could be long-lived and attributing to overall stability, preventing collapse in the short-term, whereas other lack any possibility to influence people's lives in the long run. Take for instance advances of the Red army against Nazis in Europe in 20th century. Soviet military swept across Austria, but neither politically nor economically USSR was capable to stake its presence in Austria for long. So it all ended up with Austrians building a monument dedicated to Soviet soldier in Vienna for not ruining the city under bomb shells. So I presume it could be a very similar story with Arab conquest. What made Islam desirable to embrace and welcome?
I have a couple factors on my mind too, but would prefer to see other people speak out their opinion first. 


Edited by Novosedoff - 12 Mar 2021 at 20:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 06:32
The oddity of the Arab conquest is the lack of damage that it did. We're used to modern Islamic violence and might easily see the same religious hatreds at work in the early medieval period, but their fundamentalism was a different flavour than the Islam we experience today. They were building an Arabesque world patterned I suspect after the model of the Greeks and Romans in that it was inclusive rather than domineering. They had a mission to export their religion and wanted people to become adherents as much by choice as circumstance. Remember that Islam is a religion based on what is said to be the last world of God, the final draft of his rulebook for Humanity as it were, as opposed to the modern view that you either conform or suffer the consequences - which is clearly more to do with human domination and authority than anything divine.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 08:41
What a pity we seem not to have here people from Islamic countries in order to discuss history. Only a twisted Russian with a couple more history nerds.

I have to admit that the reason I've created this thread is because I wanted to confirm one specific fact that I came across while reading a recent book by two less twisted Russians. 

They seem to claim that one of the factors behind the successful Arab expansion was the security of the trade routes that Arabs managed to promote and keep in order. 

I knew nothing about it before I read this book. All I seemed to know is that the Arabs defeated both Byzantine and the Persian empires within half a year, and that by that time both empires had been weakened by their long fight with each other and with the plague that had been bothering them for nearly 2 centuries till well 747 AD (in Byzantine it used to be called the Justinian plague by the name of the 6th century's emperor when it first started).    
  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 20:29
Remember that back then the Graeco-Roman world had become far less dynamic or even able to assert itself. The Arabs were fired up with a religious mission. It's hard to see how they could fail. But as you say, the conquest was stable and long lasting. Certainly the bonds of the new religion helped, but then, the Arabs came from a part of the world that relied on trade for both survival and prosperity. Their homelands had benefitted from trade with Rome, Persia, India, and the African states. So they would have been in no doubt of how that would assist them and considered it a normal practice anyway. Trade and communication, essential for empire building.

Edited by caldrail - 13 Mar 2021 at 20:31
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 23:34
Well, I am still through the 1st half of that book, so I am hopeful to find an explanation for their theory in some later chapters. But my initial reaction to what I had read from the introduction part of that book was a bit of surprise. Because the Roman empire had actually long been known to have trade relations with China and India (despite hostile Persia lying on the way and separating Anatolia from the East Asia - Persia actually benefited from that trade too). So in other words Arabs whatever incursions they were about to make to the north in 7th century would be crossing the existing trade routes rather then establishing them from a scratch. Adding more security to what had been already functioning seems to make very little sense. Arabs simply replaced the security guard with their own people. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2021 at 05:08
There was no direct trade between Rome and China, too far, though a few instances of contact are recorded. Goods went east and west (and not just the Silk Road either) via intermediaries.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2021 at 06:31
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

There was no direct trade between Rome and China, too far, though a few instances of contact are recorded. Goods went east and west (and not just the Silk Road either) via intermediaries.

Agreed. Although it may have been the case at the time of Alexander the Great and Seleucids way before Romans took over, by which time Sassanid Persia had broken free again.

What Arabs did was expanding their new political and religious  rationale as well as pushing off any independent intermediaries by taking their place in trade and regulation. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2021 at 02:28
The map has changed however. The Alexandrian Empire was connected by a significant river system extending from the Himalaya's to the Black Sea of which only remnants still exist. Seaborne trade via India was also as important though not so romanticised as the Silk Road (which was only open for around two hundred years due to insecure territories). The Greeks continued after the Romans ceased plying the trade winds, and Berenike on the Red Sea coast of Egypt was once a major trade port with lucrative profits.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2021 at 06:33
As well as their religious fervor, the Arabic language, alphabet, and numerals may have helped their expansion. Arabic seemed to have replaced Hebrew, Aramaea, and Latin throughout the Middle East.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2021 at 20:46
Wouldn't that have more to do with the presence and control after the fact?
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2021 at 05:27
Yes, but I imagine that the adoption of Arabic language and writing by the occupied peoples  probably helped the Arabs to maintain their presence and control. Over the years, it seems that most of the Aramean people in the northern Middle East eventually took on an Arabic identity (language, writing, religion, etc.) Something similar may have happened in North Africa (the Maghreb), where many of the native Berbers took on an Arabic identity.


Edited by Windemere - 18 Mar 2021 at 05:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2021 at 10:54
I think it is hard to understand the early time of Islam because it started in Petra, Nabataea, not Mecca, but later moved to there.  This is the conclusion (started, moved) of Dan Gordon, from looking at ancient Qiblas.  I am not sure you can get a sound perspective on early Islam, because there is this falsification of the record, making it look like the Arabs just suddenly came out of nowhere (the Arabian desert).

We are assuming that we can understand the forces at work (because they would be obvious), whereas I am wondering about whether we can even list the forces at work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2021 at 21:26
Perhaps you meant Dan Gibson, not Gordon. That was a pretty interesting documentary of his I watched on youtube too. But his theory is still debatable. Some people try to debunk it now 


Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I think it is hard to understand the early time of Islam because it started in Petra, Nabataea, not Mecca, but later moved to there.  This is the conclusion (started, moved) of Dan Gordon, from looking at ancient Qiblas.  I am not sure you can get a sound perspective on early Islam, because there is this falsification of the record, making it look like the Arabs just suddenly came out of nowhere (the Arabian desert).

We are assuming that we can understand the forces at work (because they would be obvious), whereas I am wondering about whether we can even list the forces at work.


Edited by Novosedoff - 30 Mar 2021 at 21:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2021 at 23:51
An interesting map on Arabic expansion:
I (light green) - the territory of the Khalifat by the death of Muhhamad
II - the territory taken by Abu Bakr
III - the territory taken by Umar
IV (darkest green) - the territory taken by Osman


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I see my personal historic mission in bringing madness to juvenile masses.
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