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Thread: Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The history of a controversy2450 days old

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    Have you read it since? If so, what are his conclusions and the general idea, or gist of his arguments, so to say?
    I did but I've lost the book. However, the arguments were a lot about how trans-Mediterranean trade, which supported the Roman empire, was disrupted by the Muslim conquests; papyrus and crops from Egypt were lost, as was the access to and control over the silk road trade, eventually.

    IMO, the contacts with Germans and Arabs need to be understood very differently. The Germanic conquests were integrative and obviously started way before Islam even existed. Germans were assimilated and recruited as soldiers, alliances and deals were made with Germanic tribes and so on, until more blatant takeovers occurred when Rome had started to collapse mostly due to internal reasons. The fact that both Germanics and Romans were Indo-Europeans shouldn't be neglected; they considered each other's gods to be equivalent, and accordingly some form of cultural kinship was recognized, although the general Roman attitude was obviously that Germanics were unwashed barbarians. Perhaps a little like how modern Swedes perceive East European nations such as Belarus or Moldova.

    The Islamic conquests of Roman territory were more of a clash of civilizations, and the Arabic takeover of their Afro-Asiatic neighbors is the proper equivalent of the Germanic takeover of Western Rome.

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  4. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simi View Post
    I did but I've lost the book. However, the arguments were a lot about how trans-Mediterranean trade, which supported the Roman empire, was disrupted by the Muslim conquests; papyrus and crops from Egypt were lost, as was the access to and control over the silk road trade, eventually.
    Interesting. Yeah, that's obviously not a good deal for the Romans/Greeks. Assyria too, used to be the breadbasket of the Achaemenid Empire, so when Alexander conquered Mesopotamia from the Persians, obviously that too, was a major blow to the Persians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simi View Post
    IMO, the contacts with Germans and Arabs need to be understood very differently. The Germanic conquests were integrative and obviously started way before Islam even existed. Germans were assimilated and recruited as soldiers, alliances and deals were made with Germanic tribes and so on, until more blatant takeovers occurred when Rome had started to collapse mostly due to internal reasons. The fact that both Germanics and Romans were Indo-Europeans shouldn't be neglected; they considered each other's gods to be equivalent, and accordingly some form of cultural kinship was recognized, although the general Roman attitude was obviously that Germanics were unwashed barbarians. Perhaps a little like how modern Swedes perceive East European nations such as Belarus or Moldova.
    Yeah these are good points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simi View Post
    The Islamic conquests of Roman territory were more of a clash of civilizations, and the Arabic takeover of their Afro-Asiatic neighbors is the proper equivalent of the Germanic takeover of Western Rome.
    I don't know if I can agree with that. Germanic tribes, while they did sack Rome and so on, were ultimately in the long run, not a disaster to the Roman Empire or classical civilization. Arabs with their Islam, cursed the Middle East forever. I keep reading that initially, Arabs and their Islamic system were preferable over the Greeks, for Assyrians, and this is because the Greeks after many centuries, had become a bit oppressive in Mesopotamia against Assyrians and other non-Greek Christians, so to say (lots of holier than thou attitudes combined with Christological dogma and rites fanaticism and so on). This is also true of Persians; back then, Greeks and Persians had been waging war against each other for like a thousand years, since the Spartan 300 battle and Alexander the Great and so on, and of course, Assyrians were always in the middle between their fights. So, when Greeks and Assyrians converted to Christianity, Persians became suspicious of Assyrians and persecuted all Orthodox/Catholic Assyrians, but were okay with 'Nestorian' Assyrians, because Nestorius was a dissident and disagreed with mainstream Christianity, which was ultimately connected to Rome and Constantinople. And like I said, Greeks at the time were being snobby against Assyrians and so on.

    Anyway, when the Arabs came with their sharia laws, it was like, hey, as long as you pay us the jizya, you can mind your own Christian business and we don't care. Something like that. This was a huge relief from the 1,000 years of Graeco-Persian drama. Little did Assyrians at the time know, however, that Islam would curse the Middle East into iGnorance and damnation.

    So, while Romans and Germanic tribes had their beefs, I don't think it was ever as bad as the wars Arabs/Muslims fought against classical civilization, and eventually, despite world wars and everything, Europeans today are far more in harmony with one another, than Middle Easterners are. I mean everyone in the Middle East hates each other, and much of it is due to Islam.

    I must say though, what the Romans did to the Celtic Gauls was not cool. Rome did massive damage to continental Celtic culture and language. And probably also to other obscure Indo-European speakers, like Illyrians, Thracians and so on.
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    Poland is a misunderstanding. It is a country which lies on the frontier between western and slavic world, and which combines elements of both.
    In fact, they are not even the Europeans in strict sense, meaning European as in bearing the responsibility and understanding of European interests. Poland has always been an subordinate country, on one side sucking German dick, on the other side -- Russian one, some kind of "novice" europeans, who are full of inferiority complexes, hysteria and obsessity neuroses. This is also true for all Baltic countries

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anodyne View Post
    If the reason for Western Europe descending into an intellectual backwards society in the 7th and 8th century was a result of the Arab/Muslim expansion then that could explain Charlemagne's piss poor library in comparison to that of Cordoba's and Toledo's a century later. Your post doesn't go against the Frenchman's thesis but rather supports it.

    That being said, people in Western Europe forget about the Byzantines and despite losing territory and finally their empire itself to Muslims, Constantinople was a beacon of cultural and intellectual awesomeness during the centuries that Western Europe was in decline until the fall of the city. It was the religious conflict between the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy that cut Western Europe off. That would be my argument for the cultural decline of Western Europe. The Greeks/Byzantines who fled to after the collapse of the Byzantine empire would later be a blessing to Western Europe.
    Byzantine empire, always forgotten in the talk about the Middle Ages, despite how influential it was. The crusades were also an attempt at protecting the empire (but it went horribly wrong). In any case, both European and Arab culture was influenced by the Byzantine civilization. I believe it was also an important factor in east west trade and cultural exchange, as it was a meeting place of all nearby cultures, a true trade central.

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