Much of the science and philosophy taught in universities in the Middle Ages was derived from Arabic translations, rendered into Latin in Spain in the 12th century. For the realm of Islam as well as for parts of Europe, the Muslim Arabs became the brokers of a cultural revolution, transmitting and integrating works of science, as well as technical advances from the far east, including the introduction of paper from China, and the introduction of the zero into mathematics from India, along with the "Arabic" numerals and system of reckoning that are used today throughout the world.
A serious effort was direct at Sicily by Ziyadatallah the Muslim ruler of Tunisia in , when aiding the dissident Byzantine admiral Euphemious. He sent a force of about a hundred ships, and with the fortuitous arrival of Spanish Muslims, was able to gain a foothold, occupying Palermo in Muslim rule in Sicily and parts of southern Italy lasted until when they were finally expelled by the Normans under Roger I. According to some accounts, this was an impressive and critical battle. According to other accounts the Muslim army was a small forward force.
In any case, the Muslims persisted in Spain and solidified their hold there, Arabizing the culture of Spain and enriching European culture. Spain soon became an independent Muslim country and parts of Spain remained in Muslim hands until it was conquered by Christians and the Muslims expelled or converted at the end of the 15th century. To this day, the expulsion from Spain is remembered with bitterness by Muslims, and Spain, known as Al-Andalus in Arabic, is considered territory lost from Dar al Islam the realm of peace to Dar al Harb the realm of war.
The Alhambra- Granada Spain. The fall of the Abbasids and decline of the Arabs - The Arab empire began to disintegrate soon after the Golden age, and a period of independent Caliphates and successive chaotic invasions followed. The Shi'ite Fatimids established an independent Caliphate in North Africa in , and conquered Egypt in , founding the city of Cairo.
The Buwayhids occupied the throne of Persia in and conquered Baghdad in The Seljuk Turks in turn conquered Baghdad in , and their rule spread to Syria and Palestine, where they displaced the Fatimids. The Fatimids, based in Egypt, briefly retook Jerusalem in In these centuries the Assassin sect arose, based mainly in Iran Iraq and derived from the Ismai'ilis. They were hired killers who services were offered to various Muslim rulers.
It is frequently said that they used Hashish as a means of increasing their ferocity, but this may be a spurious tale. The Muslim world reacted slowly but surely to the unexpected and unwelcome intrusion of the "Franks. He reconquered Jerusalem in , having defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin. The Crusaders lingered on in Syria and Palestine. The last fortress of the Crusaders, Acre, fell in Click for a map of Palestine under the crusaders.
The Mongols - Despite the conquest of Baghdad by the Buwayhids and Seljuk Turks, the Abbasids still ruled nominally as Caliphs until , when the Mongols under Hulagu also Holagu, Huleku sacked Baghdad, ending the the temporal power of the Caliphate. The Mongols swept across the Middle East, reaching the Mediterranean and wreaking havoc in the already weakened remains of the Arab empire. The advance of Hulagu was finally stopped at the battle of Ayn Jalut near Nazereth in Palestine in The Mongols eventually converted to Islam and were integrated in the Muslim domains.
However, the invasion of Hulagu was followed in the fourteenth and fifteen centuries by the invasion of Tamurlaine, who conquered Samarkand in central Asia and reached Syria about The Mamluke Turks - The Mamlukes were a slave caste of warriors. About they took power in Egypt from the remains of the Ayubbid dynasty founded by Salah Eddin.
It was they who defeated the Mongols at Ayn Jalut. Their rule was quickly extended over Palestine and Syria. The Safavid Dynasty - In the confusion left by the retreating Mongols of Tamerlane, the Safavid dynasty took power in Persia in , and established a strong independent state, though it eventually had to cede Baghdad and all of Iraq to the Ottoman Turks.
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Persians fought against western incursions, against the Uzbeks and against Sunni Muslims. In particular, the first Safavid Shah, Ismail I, pursued a policy of persecuting Muslims and interfering with Ottoman interests. This attracted the ire of the Turkish Sultans, who inflicted a decisive defeat on the Persians in , causing the loss of northern Iraq and eastern Asia minor. The Safavid's ruled until Click here for a history of m odern Iran. Their success was due to good organization and early exploitation of the power of fire arms, which was not realized by other Muslim antagonists.
The Mamlukes had been Turkish slaves of the Arabs; the Ottomans in turn created a soldier caste of Janissaries Yeni Ceri, meaning New Troops , who were Christians conscripted or captured at any early age and raised as fanatic Muslims. They originally served as the personal guard of the Sultan. After the s Sultan Selim I recruited them by taxation in human form called devshirmeh. Osman's successor Ohkran conquered most of western Asia Minor. By the Turks had a base at Gallipoli, a peninsula. The Byzantine Empire was reduced to the city of Constantinople. The Turks spread their rule progressively over practically the entire Middle East.
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In they defeated the Mamlukes, using canons and guns against the Mamkuke troops who were armed mostly with swords. The Hashemite Sharif of Mecca accepted Ottoman rule. In they extended their rule through most of North Africa, and later conquered and reconquered Iraq. As early as , they had landed at Otranto in Italy, but their presence there proved to be short lived. By they were threatening Vienna, though their siege failed and they did not extend their empire beyond Hungary. Sultan Mehmet II. The conquest of Constantinople made trade between Europe and the east more difficult.
The Europeans soon sought a sea route that would bring them to the spices of India without the intervention of Arab traders. Thereafter, the overland trade routes of the Arabs and Turks declined in importance.
Melih Cevdet Anday
The Ottoman empire continued to flourish in the 16th and 17th centuries despite inherent weaknesses in the organization of the Sultanate. The decisive turning point in the Turkish struggle with Europe came with the second siege of Vienna in The Ottoman Empire declined in power and importance, but the fact of decline was not really grasped for another years. Napoleon's rapid conquest of Egypt in clearly signaled to the Muslims that they had been left behind in the race for cultural development, and efforts were made to introduce Western arms, printing presses, music and dress.
However, the Muslim world failed to industrialize and modernize, and the Turkish Empire continued to retreat before the advances of the Russians and to disintegrate due to internal causes. Throughout the nineteenth century, they were partly saved by the British and French who were interested in maintaining Turkey as a means of stopping Russian expansion, and in protecting their growing interests in Turkey, which was considerably indebted to them.
All the powers, including Russia, pursued a policy of keeping the Sultan in power and maintaining the integrity of the Turkish Empire. At the same time, the Western powers encouraged or took advantage of the dissolution of certain parts of the Empire. Greece was taken taken from Turkey in following an internal revolt, and Serbia became autonomous in following the Russo-Turkish War.
Lebanon became autonomous in Egypt remained independent after the withdrawal of Napoleon, though it was forced to give up conquests in Syria and Palestine. Turkey lost further territories, especially in the Balkans, after the Crimean war in and after the Balkan crisis of Britain decided that it was time to dismantle the Ottoman Empire.
A British officer, T. The British, Australians and French carried out a long and bloody battle in the Gallipoli peninsula, and finally were forced to withdraw, suffering about , casualties. However, General Allenby conquered Palestine and Syria, and the Turks retreated before the British and the rebellious Arabs, as well as the Russians pressing from the north. Turkey was forced to sign an ignominious peace at Sevres in , but Kemal Ataturk, who seized the government from Young Turks, refused to honor it and negotiated better terms at Lausanne in after defeating the invading Greeks.
Ataturk abolished the Caliphate formally in the same year and began the modernization of Turkey. The Hashemites had been promised an Arabian kingdom by the British in return for their support of the British and the revolt against the Ottoman Turks.
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Arabic identity, nationalism and Islam - The spread of Islam necessarily spread Arabic culture, language and customs. The Qur'an is written in Arabic and may not be translated for religious practice, so that knowledge of Arabic is important for all Muslims. As the empire spread, the Arabic language became the medium of local pre-existing cultures.
In particular, early Arab culture and poetry owes a great debt to Persian. The term "Arab" became associated with speakers of Arabic rather than being confined only to the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, though today it is sometimes used with reference to the Bedouin of Arabia and and at other times used to refer to all Arab-speaking peoples. The Arab empire was in many ways dependent on foreigners, who were integrated into it to varying degrees.
The Arabs employed a Turkish slave-caste, the Mamelukes, as soldiers. Christians and Jews served as merchants and administrators, especially in Egypt, and later under the Ottoman Turks. All of these different people were integrated, with varying degrees of completeness and varying enthusiasm, under the rubric of "Arabs.
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The historical development of Islam, the Arab state and its successor states, was different from that of the West. Some claim that because of this development, there is no real national feeling in the Arab world, but this is not necessarily the case. An Arab is part of the Arabic Umma roughly translated as "community" - it is sometimes translated as 'nation' and a Muslim Arab is also a member of the Islamic Umma. An Arab may also have a particular "national" identity, as a member of a "Sha'ab" such as the Palestinian Sha'ab.
In modern times, the rise of nationalism has also caused a reassertion of particularism, and of the separate identities of different ethnic and religious groups such as the Egyptians, the Bedouin and Peninsular Arabs, the Maronite Christians and the Amazigh people of North Africa. Islam and Arab culture developed a model of toleration and coexistence long before these were practiced in the West. The model was different however, from the cultural pluralism or melting pot models of modern Western society.
Consequently, the rivers often overflow their banks and may even change their course when they are not protected by high dikes. In recent times they have been regulated above Baghdad by the use of escape channels with overflow reservoirs.
The extreme south is a region of extensive marshes and reed swamps, hawr s, which, probably since early times, have served as an area of refuge for oppressed and displaced peoples. Consequently, agriculture without risk of crop failure, which seems to have begun in the higher rainfall zones and in the hilly borders of Mesopotamia in the 10th millennium bce , began in Mesopotamia itself, the real heart of the civilization, only after artificial irrigation had been invented, bringing water to large stretches of territory through a widely branching network of canals.
Since the ground is extremely fertile and, with irrigation and the necessary drainage, will produce in abundance, southern Mesopotamia became a land of plenty that could support a considerable population. The cultural superiority of north Mesopotamia, which may have lasted until about bce , was finally overtaken by the south when the people there had responded to the challenge of their situation.
The present climatic conditions are fairly similar to those of 8, years ago. The availability of raw materials is a historical factor of great importance, as is the dependence on those materials that had to be imported. In Mesopotamia, agricultural products and those from stock breeding, fisheries, date palm cultivation, and reed industries—in short, grain, vegetables, meat, leather, wool, horn, fish , dates, and reed and plant-fibre products—were available in plenty and could easily be produced in excess of home requirements to be exported.
On the other hand, wood, stone, and metal were rare or even entirely absent. The date palm—virtually the national tree of Iraq—yields a wood suitable only for rough beams and not for finer work. Metal can only be obtained in the mountains, and the same is true of precious and semiprecious stones. Melih Cevdet Anday 13 March — 28 November , was a Turkish writer whose unique poetry stands outside the traditional literary movements. He also wrote in many other genres which, over six and a half decades, included eleven collections of poems, eight plays, eight novels, fifteen collections of essays, several of which won major literary awards.
He also translated several books from diverse languages into Turkish. Melih Cevdet Anday was born in Istanbul in and lived there until his parents moved to Ankara in He graduated from Gazi High School and for a while began studying sociology in Belgium on a State Railways scholarship but had to return home in after the German invasion.