Decline of Feudalism : (Y58) AA

Decline of Feudalism : (Y58) AA

The Peasants Revolt was a very important event in English history. For the first time peasants had joined together in order to achieve political change. The king and his advisers could no longer afford to ignore their feelings. In 1382 a new tax was voted in by parliament. This time it was decided that only the richer members of society should pay the tax. After the Peasants' Revolt no king ever tried again to impose a poll tax on the people of England.

In the 1380s there was still a shortage of labour in England and wages continued to go up. The king and his parliament passed several laws in an attempt to control wage levels. These attempts were unsuccessful and in 1390 parliament decided to abandon this policy. The people who had been granted charters by the king at Mile End were angry when the lords of the manor continued to insist on labour service and other feudal duties. A large number of serfs ran away in search of the higher wages being paid in towns. The lords of the manor made vigorous attempts to arrest and punish these serfs but the majority managed to avoid capture.

In some villages serfs joined together and refused to do their labour service. In other villages, resentful serfs worked very slowly or did not do the work properly. Some lords of the manor began to realise that labour service was not very efficient. Many of them allowed their serfs to buy their freedom. The amount paid by serfs varied from village to village but the manor court records suggest that the average amount was about 30 shillings per person. Instead of providing labour service, these peasant farmers paid rent for their land. By 1500 there were very few serfs left in England.

Copy the following into your books. Select the right words to fill in the gaps.

In 1382 _______ decided to impose a new _______ on the English people. This time only the richer people had to ______ the tax.

After the Peasants' Revolt there was still a shortage of ______ in England. Large landowners were unhappy when the level of ______ continued to increase. King _______ and his parliament passed several _______ that tried to stop peasants asking for _______ wages. These laws were unsuccessful and in 1390 parliament decided to abandon the idea of trying to ______ wages.

Some lords of the ______ insisted that their _______ continued to carry out their ______ services. Those serfs who had been granted ______ by the king at Mile End were very angry about this. In some villages serfs joined together and ______ to do labour _______ . In other villages serfs worked very _______ . There were some peasants who were unwilling to be treated as serfs and they _____ away to ______ where they could earn better wages.

After the Peasants' Revolt it was much more difficult to control the behaviour of serfs. Many lords decided to let their serfs buy their _______ . By 1500 there were very _______ serfs left in England.


World-systems theory

World-systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective) [1] is a multidisciplinary approach to world history and social change which emphasizes the world-system (and not nation states) as the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis. [1] "World-system" refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, and the periphery countries. [2] Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials. [3] This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries. [3] Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics, in part as a result of revolutions in transport technology, and individual states can gain or lose their core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time. [3] This structure is unified by the division of labour. It is a world-economy rooted in a capitalist economy. [4] For a time, certain countries become the world hegemon during the last few centuries, as the world-system has extended geographically and intensified economically, this status has passed from the Netherlands, to the United Kingdom and (most recently) to the United States. [3]

World-systems theory has been examined by many political theorists and sociologists to explain the reasons for the rise and fall of states, income inequality, social unrest, and imperialism.


Abbasid Revolution (750–751) Edit

The Abbasid caliphs were Arabs descended from Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, one of the youngest uncles of Muhammad and of the same Banu Hashim clan. The Abbasids claimed to be the true successors of Muhammad in replacing the Umayyad descendants of Banu Umayya by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad.

The Abbasids also distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking their moral character and administration in general. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported largely by Arabs, mainly the aggrieved settlers of Merv with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali". [8] The Abbasids also appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Muhammad ibn 'Ali, a great-grandson of Abbas, began to campaign in Persia for the return of power to the family of Muhammad, the Hashemites, during the reign of Umar II.

During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim al-Imam [ca] , the fourth in descent from Abbas. Supported by the province of Khorasan (Eastern Persia), even though the governor opposed them, and the Shia Arabs, [2] [9] he achieved considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died, possibly assassinated, in prison.

On 9 June 747 (15 Ramadan AH 129), Abu Muslim, rising from Khorasan, successfully initiated an open revolt against Umayyad rule, which was carried out under the sign of the Black Standard. Close to 10,000 soldiers were under Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities officially began in Merv. [10] General Qahtaba followed the fleeing governor Nasr ibn Sayyar west defeating the Umayyads at the Battle of Gorgan, the Battle of Nahāvand and finally in the Battle of Karbala, all in the year 748. [9]

The quarrel was taken up by Ibrahim's brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in the battle near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed caliph. [11] After this loss, Marwan fled to Egypt, where he was subsequently assassinated. The remainder of his family, barring one male, were also eliminated. [9]

Immediately after their victory, As-Saffah sent his forces to Central Asia, where his forces fought against Tang expansion during the Battle of Talas. The noble Iranian family Barmakids, who were instrumental in building Baghdad, introduced the world's first recorded paper mill in the city, thus beginning a new era of intellectual rebirth in the Abbasid domain. As-Saffah focused on putting down numerous rebellions in Syria and Mesopotamia. The Byzantines conducted raids during these early distractions. [9]

Power (752–775) Edit

The first change made by the Abbasids under Al-Mansur was to move the empire's capital from Damascus to a newly founded city. Established on the Tigris River in 762, Baghdad was closer to the Persian mawali support base of the Abbasids, and this move addressed their demand for less Arab dominance in the empire. A new position, that of the vizier, was also established to delegate central authority, and even greater authority was delegated to local emirs. [12] Caliph al-Mansur centralised the judicial administration, and later, Harun al-Rashid established the institution of Chief Qadi to oversee it. [13]

This resulted in a more ceremonial role for many Abbasid caliphs relative to their time under the Umayyads the viziers began to exert greater influence, and the role of the old Arab aristocracy was slowly replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. [12] During Al-Mansur's time, control of Al-Andalus was lost, and the Shia revolted and were defeated a year later at the Battle of Bakhamra. [9]

The Abbasids had depended heavily on the support of Persians [2] in their overthrow of the Umayyads. Abu al-'Abbas' successor Al-Mansur welcomed non-Arab Muslims to his court. While this helped integrate Arab and Persian cultures, it alienated many of their Arab supporters, particularly the Khorasanian Arabs who had supported them in their battles against the Umayyads. This fissure in support led to immediate problems. The Umayyads, while out of power, were not destroyed the only surviving member of the Umayyad royal family ultimately made his way to Spain where he established himself as an independent Emir (Abd ar-Rahman I, 756). In 929, Abd ar-Rahman III assumed the title of Caliph, establishing Al Andalus from Córdoba as a rival to Baghdad as the legitimate capital of the Islamic Empire.

The Umayyad empire was mostly Arab however, the Abbasids progressively became made up of more and more converted Muslims in which the Arabs were only one of many ethnicities. [14]

There is a late tradition of several Abbasid expeditions to East Africa. According to the Book of the Zanj, in the year 755, during the early stages of the Abbasid Caliphate, the people of current day Somalia around Mogadishu showed great loyalty to the newly created administration. It is reported that Yahya ibn Umar al Anzi the messenger of the second caliph of the Abbasids Abu Ja'far al-Mansur that the Sultan of Mogadishu and his people swore allegiance to the Caliphate and paid taxes regularly. However, in the year 804 (189 AH), the people of Mogadishu and the Swahili coast to Kilwa rebelled against the Abbasid rule and the administration of Harun al-Rashid. Additionally, they refused to pay tax. Harun al-Rashid sent a successful punitive mission to the region to reassert Abbasid control and sovereignty. Despite this, the Sultanate of Mogadishu remained in constant rebellion. In 829 Al Ma'mun the 7th Caliph of the Abbasids sent an army of 50,000 men to crush the secessionist enclaves and add them back to the Caliphate. [15] [16]

In 756, the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur sent over 4,000 Arab mercenaries to assist the Chinese Tang dynasty in the An Shi Rebellion against An Lushan. The Abbasids, or "Black Flags" as they were commonly called, were known in Tang dynasty chronicles as the hēiyī Dàshí, "The Black-robed Tazi" ( 黑衣大食 ) ("Tazi" being a borrowing from Persian Tāzī, the word for "Arab"). [nb 1] [nb 2] [nb 3] [nb 4] [nb 5] Al-Rashid sent embassies to the Chinese Tang dynasty and established good relations with them. [22] [nb 6] [nb 7] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] After the war, these embassies remained in China [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] with Caliph Harun al-Rashid establishing an alliance with China. [22] Several embassies from the Abbasid Caliphs to the Chinese court have been recorded in the T'ang Annals, the most important of these being those of Abul Abbas al-Saffah, the first Abbasid caliph his successor Abu Jafar and Harun al-Rashid.

Abbasid Golden Age (775–861) Edit

The Abbasid leadership had to work hard in the last half of the 8th century (750–800) under several competent caliphs and their viziers to usher in the administrative changes needed to keep order of the political challenges created by the far-flung nature of the empire, and the limited communication across it. [35] It was also during this early period of the dynasty, in particular during the governance of al-Mansur, Harun al-Rashid, and al-Ma'mun, that its reputation and power were created. [2]

Al-Mahdi restarted the fighting with the Byzantines, and his sons continued the conflict until Empress Irene pushed for peace. [9] After several years of peace, Nikephoros I broke the treaty, then fended off multiple incursions during the first decade of the 9th century. These attacks pushed into the Taurus Mountains, culminating with a victory at the Battle of Krasos and the massive invasion of 806, led by Rashid himself. [36]

Rashid's navy also proved successful, taking Cyprus. Rashid decided to focus on the rebellion of Rafi ibn al-Layth in Khorasan and died while there. [36] Military operations by the caliphate were minimal while the Byzantine Empire was fighting Abbasid rule in Syria and Anatolia, with focus shifting primarily to internal matters Abbasid governors exerted greater autonomy and, using this increasing power, began to make their positions hereditary. [12]

At the same time, the Abbasids faced challenges closer to home. Harun al-Rashid turned on and killed most of the Barmakids, a Persian family that had grown significantly in administrative power. [37] During the same period, several factions began either to leave the empire for other lands or to take control of distant parts of the empire. Still, the reigns of al-Rashid and his sons were considered to be the apex of the Abbasids. [38]

After Rashid's death, the empire was split by a civil war between the caliph al-Amin and his brother al-Ma'mun, who had the support of Khorasan. This war ended with a two-year siege of Baghdad and the eventual death of al-Amin in 813. [36] Al-Ma'mun ruled for 20 years of relative calm interspersed with a rebellion in Azerbaijan by the Khurramites, which was supported by the Byzantines. Al-Ma'mun was also responsible for the creation of an autonomous Khorasan, and the continued repulsing of Byzantine forays. [36]

Al-Mu'tasim gained power in 833 and his rule marked the end of the strong caliphs. He strengthened his personal army with Turkish mercenaries and promptly restarted the war with the Byzantines. Though his attempt to seize Constantinople failed when his fleet was destroyed by a storm, [39] his military excursions were generally successful, culminating with a resounding victory in the Sack of Amorium. The Byzantines responded by sacking Damietta in Egypt, and Al-Mutawakkil responded by sending his troops into Anatolia again, sacking and marauding until they were eventually annihilated in 863. [40]

Fracture to autonomous dynasties (861–945) Edit

Even by 820, the Samanids had begun the process of exercising independent authority in Transoxiana and Greater Khorasan, and the succeeding Tahirid and Saffarid dynasties of Iran. The Saffarids, from Khorasan, nearly seized Baghdad in 876, and the Tulunids took control of most of Syria. The trend of weakening of the central power and strengthening of the minor caliphates on the periphery continued. [38]

An exception was the 10-year period of Al-Mu'tadid's rule (892–902). He brought parts of Egypt, Syria, and Khorasan back into Abbasid control. Especially after the "Anarchy at Samarra" (861–870), the Abbasid central government was weakened and centrifugal tendencies became more prominent in the Caliphate's provinces. By the early 10th century, the Abbasids almost lost control of Iraq to various amirs, and the caliph al-Radi was forced to acknowledge their power by creating the position of "Prince of Princes" (amir al-umara). [38]

Al-Mustakfi had a short reign from 944 to 946, and it was during this period that the Persian faction known as the Buyids from Daylam swept into power and assumed control over the bureaucracy in Baghdad. According to the history of Miskawayh, they began distributing iqtas (fiefs in the form of tax farms) to their supporters. This period of localized secular control was to last nearly 100 years. [2] The loss of Abbasid power to the Buyids would shift as the Seljuks would take over from the Persians. [38]

At the end of the eighth century, the Abbasids found they could no longer keep together a polity, which had grown larger than that of Rome, from Baghdad. In 793 the Zaydi-Shia dynasty of Idrisids set up a state from Fez in Morocco, while a family of governors under the Abbasids became increasingly independent until they founded the Aghlabid Emirate from the 830s. Al-Mu'tasim started the downward slide by utilizing non-Muslim mercenaries in his personal army. Also during this period, officers started assassinating superiors with whom they disagreed, in particular the caliphs. [2]

By the 870s, Egypt became autonomous under Ahmad ibn Tulun. In the East, governors decreased their ties to the center as well. The Saffarids of Herat and the Samanids of Bukhara began breaking away around this time, cultivating a much more Persianate culture and statecraft. Only the central lands of Mesopotamia were under direct Abbasid control, with Palestine and the Hijaz often managed by the Tulunids. Byzantium, for its part, had begun to push Arab Muslims farther east in Anatolia.

By the 920s, North Africa was lost to the Fatimid dynasty, a Shia sect tracing its roots to Muhammad's daughter Fatima. The Fatimid dynasty took control of Idrisid and Aghlabid domains, [38] advanced to Egypt in 969, and established their capital near Fustat in Cairo, which they built as a bastion of Shia learning and politics. By 1000 they had become the chief political and ideological challenge to Sunni Islam and the Abbasids, who by this time had fragmented into several governorships that, while recognizing caliphal authority from Baghdad, remained mostly autonomous. The Caliph himself was under 'protection' of the Buyid Emirs who possessed all of Iraq and western Iran, and were quietly Shia in their sympathies.

Outside Iraq, all the autonomous provinces slowly took on the characteristic of de facto states with hereditary rulers, armies, and revenues and operated under only nominal caliph suzerainty, which may not necessarily be reflected by any contribution to the treasury, such as the Soomro Emirs that had gained control of Sindh and ruled the entire province from their capital of Mansura. [35] Mahmud of Ghazni took the title of sultan, as opposed to the "amir" that had been in more common usage, signifying the Ghaznavid Empire's independence from caliphal authority, despite Mahmud's ostentatious displays of Sunni orthodoxy and ritual submission to the caliph. In the 11th century, the loss of respect for the caliphs continued, as some Islamic rulers no longer mentioned the caliph's name in the Friday khutba, or struck it off their coinage. [35]

The Isma'ili Fatimid dynasty of Cairo contested the Abbasids for the titular authority of the Islamic ummah. They commanded some support in the Shia sections of Baghdad (such as Karkh), although Baghdad was the city most closely connected to the caliphate, even in the Buyid and Seljuq eras. The challenge of the Fatimids only ended with their downfall in the 12th century.

Buyid and Seljuq control (945–1118) Edit

Despite the power of the Buyid amirs, the Abbasids retained a highly ritualized court in Baghdad, as described by the Buyid bureaucrat Hilal al-Sabi', and they retained a certain influence over Baghdad as well as religious life. As Buyid power waned with the rule of Baha' al-Daula, the caliphate was able to regain some measure of strength. The caliph al-Qadir, for example, led the ideological struggle against the Shia with writings such as the Baghdad Manifesto. The caliphs kept order in Baghdad itself, attempting to prevent the outbreak of fitnas in the capital, often contending with the ayyarun.

With the Buyid dynasty on the wane, a vacuum was created that was eventually filled by the dynasty of Oghuz Turks known as the Seljuqs. By 1055, the Seljuqs had wrested control from the Buyids and Abbasids, and took any remaining temporal power. [2] When the amir and former slave Basasiri took up the Shia Fatimid banner in Baghdad in 1056–57, the caliph al-Qa'im was unable to defeat him without outside help. Toghril Beg, the Seljuq sultan, restored Baghdad to Sunni rule and took Iraq for his dynasty.

Once again, the Abbasids were forced to deal with a military power that they could not match, though the Abbasid caliph remained the titular head of the Islamic community. The succeeding sultans Alp Arslan and Malikshah, as well as their vizier Nizam al-Mulk, took up residence in Persia, but held power over the Abbasids in Baghdad. When the dynasty began to weaken in the 12th century, the Abbasids gained greater independence once again.

Revival of military strength (1118–1258) Edit

While the Caliph al-Mustarshid was the first caliph to build an army capable of meeting a Seljuk army in battle, he was nonetheless defeated in 1135 and assassinated. The Caliph al-Muqtafi was the first Abbasid Caliph to regain the full military independence of the Caliphate, with the help of his vizier Ibn Hubayra. After nearly 250 years of subjection to foreign dynasties, he successfully defended Baghdad against the Seljuqs in the siege of Baghdad (1157), thus securing Iraq for the Abbasids. The reign of al-Nasir (d. 1225) brought the caliphate back into power throughout Iraq, based in large part on the Sufi futuwwa organizations that the caliph headed. [38] Al-Mustansir built the Mustansiriya School, in an attempt to eclipse the Seljuq-era Nizamiyya built by Nizam al Mulk.

Mongol invasion (1206–1258) Edit

In 1206, Genghis Khan established a powerful dynasty among the Mongols of central Asia. During the 13th century, this Mongol Empire conquered most of the Eurasian land mass, including both China in the east and much of the old Islamic caliphate (as well as Kievan Rus') in the west. Hulagu Khan's destruction of Baghdad in 1258 is traditionally seen as the approximate end of the Golden Age. [41] Mongols feared that a supernatural disaster would strike if the blood of Al-Musta'sim, a direct descendant of Muhammad's uncle Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, [42] and the last reigning Abbasid caliph in Baghdad, was spilled. The Shia of Persia stated that no such calamity had happened after the death of Husayn ibn Ali in the Battle of Kerbala nevertheless, as a precaution and in accordance with a Mongol taboo which forbade spilling royal blood, Hulagu had Al-Musta'sim wrapped in a carpet and trampled to death by horses on 20 February 1258. The Caliph's immediate family was also executed, with the lone exceptions of his youngest son who was sent to Mongolia, and a daughter who became a slave in the harem of Hulagu. [43]

Abbasid Caliphate of Cairo (1261–1517) Edit

In the 9th century, the Abbasids created an army loyal only to their caliphate, composed of non-Arab origin people, known as Mamluks. [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] This force, created in the reign of al-Ma'mun (813–833) and his brother and successor al-Mu'tasim (833–842), prevented the further disintegration of the empire. The Mamluk army, though often viewed negatively, both helped and hurt the caliphate. Early on, it provided the government with a stable force to address domestic and foreign problems. However, creation of this foreign army and al-Mu'tasim's transfer of the capital from Baghdad to Samarra created a division between the caliphate and the peoples they claimed to rule. In addition, the power of the Mamluks steadily grew until al-Radi (934–941) was constrained to hand over most of the royal functions to Muhammad ibn Ra'iq. [11]

The Mamluks eventually came to power in Egypt. In 1261, following the devastation of Baghdad by the Mongols, the Mamluk rulers of Egypt re-established the Abbasid caliphate in Cairo. The first Abbasid caliph of Cairo was Al-Mustansir. The Abbasid caliphs in Egypt continued to maintain the presence of authority, but it was confined to religious matters. [ citation needed ] The Abbasid caliphate of Cairo lasted until the time of Al-Mutawakkil III, who was taken away as a prisoner by Selim I to Constantinople where he had a ceremonial role. He died in 1543, following his return to Cairo. [ citation needed ]

Islamic Golden Age Edit

The Abbasid historical period lasting to the Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1258 CE is considered the Islamic Golden Age. [49] The Islamic Golden Age was inaugurated by the middle of the 8th century by the ascension of the Abbasid Caliphate and the transfer of the capital from Damascus to Baghdad. [50] The Abbassids were influenced by the Qur'anic injunctions and hadith, such as "the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr", stressing the value of knowledge. During this period the Muslim world became an intellectual center for science, philosophy, medicine and education as [50] the Abbasids championed the cause of knowledge and established the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, where both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars sought to translate and gather all the world's knowledge into Arabic. [50] Many classic works of antiquity that would otherwise have been lost were translated into Arabic and Persian and later in turn translated into Turkish, Hebrew and Latin. [50] During this period the Muslim world was a cauldron of cultures which collected, synthesized and significantly advanced the knowledge gained from the Roman, Chinese, Indian, Persian, Egyptian, North African, Ancient Greek and Medieval Greek civilizations. [50] According to Huff, "[i]n virtually every field of endeavor—in astronomy, alchemy, mathematics, medicine, optics and so forth—the Caliphate's scientists were in the forefront of scientific advance." [51]

Science Edit

The reigns of Harun al-Rashid (786–809) and his successors fostered an age of great intellectual achievement. In large part, this was the result of the schismatic forces that had undermined the Umayyad regime, which relied on the assertion of the superiority of Arab culture as part of its claim to legitimacy, and the Abbasids' welcoming of support from non-Arab Muslims. It is well established that the Abbasid caliphs modeled their administration on that of the Sassanids. [52] Harun al-Rashid's son, Al-Ma'mun (whose mother was Persian), is even quoted as saying:

The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without them for an hour. [53]

A number of medieval thinkers and scientists living under Islamic rule played a role in transmitting Islamic science to the Christian West. In addition, the period saw the recovery of much of the Alexandrian mathematical, geometric and astronomical knowledge, such as that of Euclid and Claudius Ptolemy. These recovered mathematical methods were later enhanced and developed by other Islamic scholars, notably by Persian scientists Al-Biruni and Abu Nasr Mansur.

Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Ummayads and the Abbasids by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. [55] [56] Nestorians played a prominent role in the formation of Arab culture, [57] with the Academy of Gondishapur being prominent in the late Sassanid, Umayyad and early Abbasid periods. [58] Notably, eight generations of the Nestorian Bukhtishu family served as private doctors to caliphs and sultans between the eighth and eleventh centuries. [59] [60]

Algebra was significantly developed by Persian scientist Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī during this time in his landmark text, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala, from which the term algebra is derived. He is thus considered to be the father of algebra by some, [61] although the Greek mathematician Diophantus has also been given this title. The terms algorism and algorithm are derived from the name of al-Khwarizmi, who was also responsible for introducing the Arabic numerals and Hindu-Arabic numeral system beyond the Indian subcontinent.

Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) developed an early scientific method in his Book of Optics (1021). The most important development of the scientific method was the use of experiments to distinguish between competing scientific theories set within a generally empirical orientation, which began among Muslim scientists. Ibn al-Haytham's empirical proof of the intromission theory of light (that is, that light rays entered the eyes rather than being emitted by them) was particularly important. Alhazen was significant in the history of scientific method, particularly in his approach to experimentation, [63] and has been referred to as the "world's first true scientist". [64]

Medicine in medieval Islam was an area of science that advanced particularly during the Abbasids' reign. During the 9th century, Baghdad contained over 800 doctors, and great discoveries in the understanding of anatomy and diseases were made. The clinical distinction between measles and smallpox was described during this time. Famous Persian scientist Ibn Sina (known to the West as Avicenna) produced treatises and works that summarized the vast amount of knowledge that scientists had accumulated, and was very influential through his encyclopedias, The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing. The work of him and many others directly influenced the research of European scientists during the Renaissance.

Astronomy in medieval Islam was advanced by Al-Battani, who improved the precision of the measurement of the precession of the Earth's axis. The corrections made to the geocentric model by al-Battani, [ citation needed ] Averroes, [ citation needed ] Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi and Ibn al-Shatir were later incorporated into the Copernican heliocentric model. [65] The astrolabe, though originally developed by the Greeks, was developed further by Islamic astronomers and engineers, and subsequently brought to medieval Europe.

Muslim alchemists influenced medieval European alchemists, particularly the writings attributed to Jābir ibn Hayyān (Geber).

Literature Edit

The best known fiction from the Islamic world is The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of fantastical folk tales, legends and parables compiled primarily during the Abbassid era. The collection is recorded as having originated from an Arabic translation of a Sassanian era Persian prototype, with likely origins in Indian literary traditions. Stories from Arabic, Persian, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian folklore and literature were later incorporated. The epic is believed to have taken shape in the 10th century and reached its final form by the 14th century the number and type of tales have varied from one manuscript to another. [66] All Arabian fantasy tales were often called "Arabian Nights" when translated into English, regardless of whether they appeared in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. [66] This epic has been influential in the West since it was translated in the 18th century, first by Antoine Galland. [67] Many imitations were written, especially in France. [68] Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba.

A famous example of Islamic poetry on romance was Layla and Majnun, an originally Arabic story which was further developed by Iranian, Azerbaijani and other poets in the Persian, Azerbaijani, and Turkish languages. [69] It is a tragic story of undying love much like the later Romeo and Juliet. [ citation needed ]

Arabic poetry reached its greatest height in the Abbasid era, especially before the loss of central authority and the rise of the Persianate dynasties. Writers like Abu Tammam and Abu Nuwas were closely connected to the caliphal court in Baghdad during the early 9th century, while others such as al-Mutanabbi received their patronage from regional courts.

Under Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad was renowned for its bookstores, which proliferated after the making of paper was introduced. Chinese papermakers had been among those taken prisoner by the Arabs at the Battle of Talas in 751. As prisoners of war, they were dispatched to Samarkand, where they helped set up the first Arab paper mill. In time, paper substituted parchment as the medium for writing, and the production of books greatly increased. These events had an academic and societal impact that could be broadly compared to the introduction of the printing press in the West. Paper aided in communication and record-keeping, it also brought a new sophistication and complexity to businesses, banking, and the civil service. In 794, Jafa al-Barmak built the first paper mill in Baghdad, and from there the technology circulated. Harun required that paper be employed in government dealings, since something recorded on paper could not easily be changed or removed, and eventually, an entire street in Baghdad's business district was dedicated to selling paper and books. [70]

Philosophy Edit

One of the common definitions for "Islamic philosophy" is "the style of philosophy produced within the framework of Islamic culture." [71] Islamic philosophy, in this definition is neither necessarily concerned with religious issues, nor is exclusively produced by Muslims. [71] Their works on Aristotle were a key step in the transmission of learning from ancient Greeks to the Islamic world and the West. They often corrected the philosopher, encouraging a lively debate in the spirit of ijtihad. They also wrote influential original philosophical works, and their thinking was incorporated into Christian philosophy during the Middle Ages, notably by Thomas Aquinas. [72]

Three speculative thinkers, al-Kindi, al-Farabi, and Avicenna, combined Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism with other ideas introduced through Islam, and Avicennism was later established as a result. Other influential Abbasid philosophers include al-Jahiz, and Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen).

Architecture Edit

As power shifted from the Umayyads to the Abbasids, the architectural styles changed also. The Christian styles evolved into a style based more on the Sasanian Empire, utilizing mud bricks and baked bricks with carved stucco. [73] Another major development was the creation or vast enlargement of cities as they were turned into the capital of the empire, beginning with the creation of Baghdad in 762, which was planned as a walled city with four gates, and a mosque and palace in the center. Al-Mansur, who was responsible for the creation of Baghdad, also planned the city of Raqqa, along the Euphrates. Finally, in 836, al-Mu'tasim moved the capital to a new site that he created along the Tigris, called Samarra. This city saw 60 years of work, with race-courses and game preserves to add to the atmosphere. [73] Due to the dry remote nature of the environment, some of the palaces built in this era were isolated havens. Al-Ukhaidir Fortress is a fine example of this type of building, which has stables, living quarters, and a mosque, all surrounding inner courtyards. [73] Other mosques of this era, such as the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, in Cairo, and the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia, while ultimately built during the Umayyad dynasty, were substantially renovated in the 9th century. These renovations, so extensive as to ostensibly be rebuilds, were in the furthest reaches of the Muslim world, in an area that the Aghlabids controlled however, the styles utilized were mainly Abbasid. [74] Mesopotamia only has one surviving mausoleum from this era, in Samarra. This octagonal dome is the final resting place of al-Muntasir. [75] Other architectural innovations and styles were few, such as the four-centered arch, and a dome erected on squinches. Unfortunately, much was lost due to the ephemeral nature of the stucco and luster tiles. [75]

Foundation of Baghdad Edit

The Caliph al-Mansur founded the epicenter of the empire, Baghdad, in 762 CE, as a means of disassociating his dynasty from that of the preceding Umayyads (centered at Damascus) and the rebellious cities of Kufa and Basrah. Mesopotamia was an ideal locale for a capital city due to its high agricultural output, access to the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers (allowing for trade and communication across the region), central locale between the corners of the vast empire (stretching from Egypt to Afghanistan) and access to the Silk Road and Indian Ocean trade routes, all key reasons as to why the region has hosted important capital cities such as Ur, Babylon, Nineveh and Ctesiphon and was later desired by the British Empire as an outpost by which to maintain access to India. [76] The city was organized in a circular fashion next to the Tigris River, with massive brick walls being constructed in successive rings around the core by a workforce of 100,000 with four huge gates (named Kufa, Basrah, Khorasan and Syria). The central enclosure of the city contained Mansur's palace of 360,000 square feet (33,000 m 2 ) in area and the great mosque of Baghdad, encompassing 90,000 square feet (8,400 m 2 ). Travel across the Tigris and the network of waterways allowing the drainage of the Euphrates into the Tigris was facilitated by bridges and canals servicing the population. [77]

Glass and crystal Edit

The Near East has, since Roman times, been recognized as a center of quality glassware and crystal. 9th-century finds from Samarra show styles similar to Sassanian forms. The types of objects made were bottles, flasks, vases, and cups intended for domestic use, with decorations including molded flutes, honeycomb patterns, and inscriptions. [78] Other styles seen that may not have come from the Sassanians were stamped items. These were typically round stamps, such as medallions or disks with animals, birds, or Kufic inscriptions. Colored lead glass, typically blue or green, has been found in Nishapur, along with prismatic perfume bottles. Finally, cut glass may have been the high point of Abbasid glass-working, decorated with floral and animal designs. [79]

Painting Edit

Early Abbasid painting has not survived in great quantities, and is sometimes harder to differentiate however, Samarra provides good examples, as it was built by the Abbasids and abandoned 56 years later. The walls of the principal rooms of the palace that have been excavated show wall paintings and lively carved stucco dadoes. The style is obviously adopted with little variation from Sassanian art, bearing not only similar styles, with harems, animals, and dancing people, all enclosed in scrollwork, but the garments are also Persian. [80] Nishapur had its own school of painting. Excavations at Nishapur show both monochromatic and polychromatic artwork from the 8th and 9th centuries. One famous piece of art consists of hunting nobles with falcons and on horseback, in full regalia the clothing identifies them as Tahirid, which was, again, a sub-dynasty of the Abbasids. Other styles are of vegetation, and fruit in nice colors on a four-foot high dedo. [80]

Pottery Edit

Whereas painting and architecture were not areas of strength for the Abbasid dynasty, pottery was a different story. Islamic culture as a whole, and the Abbasids in particular, were at the forefront of new ideas and techniques. Some examples of their work were pieces engraved with decorations and then colored with yellow-brown, green, and purple glazes. Designs were diverse with geometric patterns, Kufic lettering, and arabesque scrollwork, along with rosettes, animals, birds, and humans. [81] Abbasid pottery from the 8th and 9th centuries has been found throughout the region, as far as Cairo. These were generally made with a yellow clay and fired multiple times with separate glazes to produce metallic luster in shades of gold, brown, or red. By the 9th century, the potters had mastered their techniques and their decorative designs could be divided into two styles. The Persian style would show animals, birds, and humans, along with Kufic lettering in gold. Pieces excavated from Samarra exceed in vibrancy and beauty any from later periods. These predominantly being made for the Caliphs use. Tiles were also made using this same technique to create both monochromatic and polychromatic lusterware tiles. [82]

Textiles Edit

Egypt being a center of the textile industry was part of Abbasid cultural advancement. Copts were employed in the textile industry and produced linens and silks. Tinnis was famous for its factories and had over 5,000 looms. Examples of textiles were kasab, a fine linen for turbans, and badana for upper-class garments. The kiswah for the kaaba in Mecca was made in a town named Tuna near Tinnis. Fine silk was also made in Dabik and Damietta. [83] Of particular interest are stamped and inscribed fabrics, which used not only inks but also liquid gold. Some of the finer pieces were colored in such a manner as to require six separate stamps to achieve the proper design and color. This technology spread to Europe eventually. [84]

Technology Edit

In technology, the Abbasids adopted papermaking from China. [85] The use of paper spread from China into the caliphate in the 8th century CE, arriving in al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) and then the rest of Europe in the 10th century. It was easier to manufacture than parchment, less likely to crack than papyrus, and could absorb ink, making it ideal for making records and copies of the Qur'an. "Islamic paper makers devised assembly-line methods of hand-copying manuscripts to turn out editions far larger than any available in Europe for centuries." [86] It was from the Abbasids that the rest of the world learned to make paper from linen. [87] The knowledge of gunpowder was also transmitted from China via the caliphate, where the formulas for pure potassium nitrate and an explosive gunpowder effect were first developed. [88]

Advances were made in irrigation and farming, using new technology such as the windmill. Crops such as almonds and citrus fruit were brought to Europe through al-Andalus, and sugar cultivation was gradually adopted by the Europeans. Apart from the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, navigable rivers were uncommon, so transport by sea was very important. Navigational sciences were highly developed, making use of a rudimentary sextant (known as a kamal). When combined with detailed maps of the period, sailors were able to sail across oceans rather than skirt along the coast. Abbasid sailors were also responsible for reintroducing large three masted merchant vessels to the Mediterranean. The name caravel may derive from an earlier Arab ship known as the qārib. [89] Arab merchants dominated trade in the Indian Ocean until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century. Hormuz was an important center for this trade. There was also a dense network of trade routes in the Mediterranean, along which Muslim countries traded with each other and with European powers such as Venice or Genoa. The Silk Road crossing Central Asia passed through the Abbasid caliphate between China and Europe.

Engineers in the Abbasid caliphate made a number of innovative industrial uses of hydropower, and early industrial uses of tidal power, wind power, and petroleum (notably by distillation into kerosene). The industrial uses of watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled and vertical-wheeled water mills were both in widespread use since at least the 9th century. By the time of the Crusades, every province throughout the Islamic world had mills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. These mills performed a variety of agricultural and industrial tasks. [85] Abbasid engineers also developed machines (such as pumps) incorporating crankshafts, employed gears in mills and water-raising machines, and used dams to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. [91] Such advances made it possible for many industrial tasks that were previously driven by manual labour in ancient times to be mechanized and driven by machinery instead in the medieval Islamic world. It has been argued that the industrial use of waterpower had spread from Islamic to Christian Spain, where fulling mills, paper mills, and forge mills were recorded for the first time in Catalonia. [92]

A number of industries were generated during the Arab Agricultural Revolution, including early industries for textiles, sugar, rope-making, matting, silk, and paper. Latin translations of the 12th century passed on knowledge of chemistry and instrument making in particular. [93] The agricultural and handicraft industries also experienced high levels of growth during this period. [94]

Status of women Edit

In contrast to the earlier era, women in Abbasid society were absent from all arenas of the community's central affairs. [95] While their Muslim forbears led men into battle, started rebellions, and played an active role in community life, as demonstrated in the Hadith literature, Abbasid women were ideally kept in seclusion. [ citation needed ] Conquests had brought enormous wealth and large numbers of slaves to the Muslim elite. The majority of the slaves were women and children, [96] many of whom had been dependents or harem-members of the defeated Sassanian upper classes. [97] In the wake of the conquests an elite man could potentially own a thousand slaves, and ordinary soldiers could have ten people serving them. [96]

Nabia Abbott, preeminent historian of elite women of the Abbasid Caliphate, describes the lives of harem women as follows.

The choicest women were imprisoned behind heavy curtains and locked doors, the strings and keys of which were entrusted into the hands of that pitiable creature – the eunuch. As the size of the harem grew, men indulged to satiety. Satiety within the individual harem meant boredom for the one man and neglect for the many women. Under these conditions . satisfaction by perverse and unnatural means crept into society, particularly in its upper classes. [97]

The marketing of human beings, particularly women, as objects for sexual use meant that elite men owned the vast majority of women they interacted with, and related to them as would masters to slaves. [98] Being a slave meant relative lack of autonomy, and belonging to a harem caused a wife and her children to have little insurance of stability and continued support due to the volatile politics of harem life.

Elite men expressed in literature the horror they felt for the humiliation and degradation of their daughters and female relatives. For example, the verses addressed to Hasan ibn al-Firat on the death of his daughter read:

To Abu Hassan I offer condolences.
At times of disaster and catastrophe
God multiplies rewards for the patient.
To be patient in misery
Is equivalent to giving thanks for a gift.
Among the blessings of God undoubtedly
Is the preservation of sons
And the death of daughters. [99]

Even so, slave courtesans (qiyans and jawaris) and princesses produced prestigious and important poetry. Enough survives to give us access to women's historical experiences, and reveals some vivacious and powerful figures, such as the Sufi mystic Raabi'a al-Adwiyya (714–801 CE), the princess and poet 'Ulayya bint al-Mahdi (777–825 CE), and the singing-girls Shāriyah (c. 815 –870 CE), Fadl Ashsha'ira (d. 871 CE) and Arib al-Ma'muniyya (797–890 CE). [100]

Each wife in the Abbasid harem had an additional home or flat, with her own enslaved personals staff of eunuchs and maidservants. When a concubine gave birth to a son, she was elevated in rank to umm walad and also received apartments and (slave) servants as a gift. [101]

Treatment of Jews and Christians Edit

The status and treatment of Jews, Christians, and non-Muslims in the Abbasid Caliphate was a complex and continually changing issue. Non-Muslims were called dhimmis. [102] Dhimmis did not have all of the privileges that Muslims had and commonly had to pay jizya, a tax for not being a Muslim. One of the common aspects of the treatment of the dhimmis is that their treatment depended on who the Caliph was at the time. Some Abbasid rulers, like Al-Mutawakkil (822–861 CE) imposed strict restrictions on what dhimmis could wear in public, often yellow garments that distinguished them from Muslims. [103] Other restrictions al-Mutawakkil imposed included limiting the role of the dhimmis in government, seizing dhimmi housing and making it harder for dhimmis to become educated. [103] Most other Abbasid caliphs were not as strict as al-Mutawakkil, though. During the reign of Al-Mansur (714–775 CE), it was common for Jews and Christians to influence the overall culture in the Caliphate, specifically in Baghdad. Jews and Christians did this by participating in scholarly work and Christians even influenced Islamic funeral service traditions. [102]

It was common that laws that were imposed against dhimmis during one caliph's rule were either discarded or not practiced during future caliphs' reigns. Al-Mansur and al-Mutawakkil both instituted laws that forbade non-Muslims from participating in public office. [104] Al-Mansur did not follow his own law very closely, bringing dhimmis back to the Caliphate's treasury due to the needed expertise of dhimmis in the area of finance. [105] Al-Mutawakkil followed the law banning dhimmis from public office more seriously, although, soon after his reign, many of the laws concerning dhimmis participating in government were completely unobserved or at least less strictly observed. [103] Even Al-Muqtadir ( r . 908–932 CE ), who held a similar stance as al-Mutawakkil on barring non-Muslims from public office, himself had multiple Christian secretaries, indicating that non-Muslims still had access to many of the most important figures within the Caliphate. [105] Past having a casual association or just being a secretary to high-ranking Islamic officials, some of them achieved the second highest office after the caliph: the vizier. [105]

Jews and Christians may have had a lower overall status compared to Muslims in the Abbasid Caliphate, but dhimmis were often allowed to hold respectable and even prestigious occupations in some cases, such as doctors and public officeholders. Jews and Christians were also allowed to be rich even if they were taxed for being a dhimmi. [102] Dhimmis were capable of moving up and down the social ladder, though this largely depended on the particular caliph. An indication as to the social standing of Jews and Christians at the time was their ability to live next to Muslim people. While al-Mansur was ruling the Caliphate, for instance, it was not uncommon for dhimmis to live in the same neighborhoods as Muslims. [102] One of the biggest reasons why dhimmis were allowed to hold prestigious jobs and positions in government is that they were generally important to the well-being of the state and were proficient to excellent with the work at hand. [106] Some Muslims in the Caliphate took offense to the idea that there were dhimmis in public offices who were in a way ruling over them although it was an Islamic state, while other Muslims were at time jealous of some dhimmis for having a level of wealth or prestige greater than other Muslims, even if Muslims were still the majority of the ruling class. [105] In general, Muslims, Jews, and Christians had close relations that could be considered positive at times, especially for Jews, in contrast to how Jews were being treated in Europe. [102]

Many of the laws and restrictions that were imposed on dhimmis often resembled other laws that previous states had used to discriminate against a minority religion, specifically Jewish people. Romans in the fourth century banned Jewish people from holding public offices, banned Roman citizens from converting to Judaism, and often demoted Jews who were serving in the Roman military. [107] In direct contrast, there was an event in which two viziers, Ibn al-Furat and Ali ibn Isa ibn al-Jarrah, argued about Ibn al-Furat's decision to make a Christian the head of the military. A previous vizier, Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Bazuri, had done so. These laws predated al-Mansur's laws against dhimmis and often had similar restrictions, although Roman emperors were often much more strict on enforcing these laws than many Abbasid caliphs. [108]

Most of Baghdad's Jews were incorporated into the Arab community and regarded Arabic their native language. [ citation needed ] Some Jews studied Hebrew in their schools and Jewish religious education flourished. The united Muslim empire allowed Jews to reconstruct links between their dispersed communities throughout the Middle East. The city's Talmudic institute helped spread the rabbinical tradition to Europe, and the Jewish community in Baghdad went on to establish ten rabbinical schools and twenty-three synagogues. Baghdad not only contained the tombs of Muslim saints and martyrs, but also the tomb of the Hebrew prophet Joshua, whose corpse had been brought to Iraq during the first migration of the Jews out of the Levant. [109]

Arabization Edit

While the Abbasids originally gained power by exploiting the social inequalities against non-Arabs in the Umayyad Empire, during Abbasid rule the empire rapidly Arabized, particularly in the Fertile Crescent region (namely Mesopotamia and the Levant) as had begun under Umayyad rule. As knowledge was shared in the Arabic language throughout the empire, many people from different nationalities and religions began to speak Arabic in their everyday lives. Resources from other languages began to be translated into Arabic, and a unique Islamic identity began to form that fused previous cultures with Arab culture, creating a level of civilization and knowledge that was considered a marvel in Europe at the time. [110]

Holidays Edit

There were large feasts on certain days, as the Muslims of the empire celebrated Christian holidays as well as their own. There were two main Islamic feasts: one marked by the end of Ramadan the other, "the Feast of Sacrifice". The former was especially joyful because children would purchase decorations and sweetmeats people prepared the best food and bought new clothes. At midmorning, the caliph, wearing Muhammad's thobe, would guide officials, accompanied by armed soldiers to the Great Mosque, where he led prayers. After the prayer, all those in attendance would exchange the best wishes and hug their kin and companions. The festivities lasted for three days. During those limited number of nights, the palaces were lit up and boats on the Tigris hung lights. It was said that Baghdad “glittered ‘like a bride." During “the Feast of Sacrifice.”, sheep were butchered in public arenas and the caliph participated in a large-scale sacrifice in the palace courtyard. Afterward, the meat would be divided and given to the poor. [111]

In addition to these two holidays, Shias celebrated the birthdays of Fatimah and Ali ibn Abi Talib. Matrimonies and births in the royal family were observed by all in the empire. The announcement that one of the caliph's sons could recite the Koran smoothly was greeted by communal jubilation. When Harun developed this holy talent, the people lit torches and decorated the streets with wreaths of flowers, and his father, Al-Mahdi, freed 500 slaves. [112]

Of all the holidays imported from other cultures and religions, the one most celebrated in Baghdad (a city with many Persians) was Nowruz, which celebrated the arrival of spring. In a ceremonial ablution introduced by Persian troops, residents sprinkled themselves with water and ate almond cakes. The palaces of the imperial family were lit up for six days and nights. The Abbasids also celebrated the Persian holiday of Mihraj, which marked the onset of winter (signified with pounding drums), and Sadar, when homes burned incense and the masses would congregate along the Tigris to witness princes and viziers pass by. [112]

In Baghdad there were many Abbasid military leaders who were or said they were of Arab descent. However, it is clear that most of the ranks were of Iranian origin, the vast majority being from Khorasan and Transoxiana, not from western Iran or Azerbaijan. [113] Most of the Khorasani soldiers who brought the Abbasids to power were Arabs. [114]

The standing army of the Muslims in Khorosan was overwhelmingly Arab. The unit organization of the Abbasids was designed with the goal of ethnic and racial equality among supporters. When Abu Muslim recruited officers along the Silk Road, he registered them based not on their tribal or ethno-national affiliations but on their current places of residence. [115] Under the Abbasids, Iranian peoples became better represented in the army and bureaucracy as compared to before. [116] The Abbasid army was centred on the Khurasan Abna al-dawla infantry and the Khurasaniyya heavy cavalry, led by their own semi-autonomous commanders (qa'id) who recruited and deployed their own men with Abbasid resource grants. [117] al-Mu‘tasim began the practice of recruiting Turkic slave soldiers from the Samanids into a private army, which allowed him to take over the reins of the Caliphate. He abolished the old jund system created by Umar and diverted the salaries of the original Arab military descendants to the Turkic slave soldiers. The Turkic soldiers transformed the style of warfare, as they were known as capable horse archers, trained from childhood to ride. This military was now drafted from the ethnic groups of the faraway borderlands, and were completely separate from the rest of society. Some could not speak Arabic properly. This led to the decline of the Caliphate starting with the Anarchy at Samarra. [118]

Although the Abbasids never retained a substantial regular army, the caliph could recruit a considerable number of soldiers in a short time when needed from levies. There were also cohorts of regular troops who received steady pay and a special forces unit. At any moment, 125,000 Muslim soldiers could be assembled along the Byzantine frontier, Baghdad, Medina, Damascus, Rayy, and other geostrategic locations in order to quell any unrest. [119]

The cavalry was entirely covered in iron, with helmets. Similar to medieval knights, their only exposed spots were the end of their noses and small openings in front of their eyes. Their foot soldiers were issued spears, swords, and pikes, and (in line with Persian fashion) trained to stand so solidly that, one contemporary wrote "you would have thought them held fast by clamps of bronze." [119]

The Abbasid army amassed an array of siege equipment, such as catapults, mangonels, battering rams, ladders, grappling irons, and hooks. All such weaponry was operated by military engineers. However, the primary siege weapon was the manjaniq, a type of siege weapon that was comparable to the trebuchet employed in Western medieval times. From the seventh century onward, it had largely replaced torsion artillery. By Harun al-Rashid's time, the Abbasid army employed fire grenades. The Abbasids also utilized field hospitals and ambulances drawn by camels. [120]

As a result of such a vast empire, the caliphate was decentralized and divided into 24 provinces. [121]

In keeping with Persian tradition, Harun's vizier enjoyed close to unchecked powers. Under Harun, a special "bureau of confiscation" was created. This governmental wing made it possible for the vizier to seize the property and riches of any corrupt governor or civil servant. In addition, it allowed governors to confiscate the estates of lower-ranking officials. Finally, the caliph could impose the same penalty on a vizier who fell from grace. As one later caliph put it: "The vizier is our representative throughout the land and amongst our subjects. Therefore, he who obeys him obeys us and he who obeys us obeys God, and God shall cause him who obeys Him to enter paradise." [121]

Every regional metropolis had a post office and hundreds of roads were paved in order to link the imperial capital with other cities and towns. The empire employed a system of relays to deliver mail. The central post office in Baghdad even had a map with directions that noted the distances between each town. The roads were provided with roadside inns, hospices, and wells and could reach eastward through Persia and Central Asia, to as far as China. [122] The post office not only enhanced civil services but also served as intelligence for the caliph. Mailmen were employed as spies who kept an eye on local affairs. [123]

Early in the days of the caliphate, the Barmakids took the responsibility of shaping the civil service. The family had roots in a Buddhist monastery in northern Afghanistan. In the early 8th century, the family converted to Islam and began to take on a sizable part of the civil administration for the Abbasids. [123]

Capital poured into the caliphate's treasury from a variety of taxes, including a real estate tax a levy on cattle, gold and silver, and commercial wares a special tax on non-Muslims and customs dues. [121]

Under Harun, maritime trade through the Persian Gulf thrived, with Arab vessels trading as far south as Madagascar and as far east as China, Korea, and Japan. The growing economy of Baghdad and other cities inevitably led to the demand for luxury items and formed a class of entrepreneurs who organized long-range caravans for the trade and then the distribution of their goods. A whole section in the East Baghdad suq was dedicated to Chinese goods. Arabs traded with the Baltic region and made it as far north as the British Isles. Tens of thousands of Arab coins have been discovered in parts of Russia and Sweden, which bear witness to the comprehensive trade networks set up by the Abbasids. King Offa of Mercia (in England) minted gold coins similar to those of the Abbasids in the eighth century. [124]

Muslim merchants employed ports in Bandar Siraf, Basra, and Aden and some Red Sea ports to travel and trade with India and South East Asia. Land routes were also utilized through Central Asia. Arab businessmen were present in China as early as the eighth century. Arab merchants sailed the Caspian Sea to reach and trade with Bukhara and Samarkand. [124]

Many caravans and goods never made it to their intended destinations. Some Chinese exports perished in fires, while other ships sank. It was said that anybody who made it to China and back unharmed was blessed by God. Common sea routes were also plagued by pirates who built and manned vessels that were faster than most merchant ships. It is said that many of the adventures at sea in the Sinbad tales were based on historical fiction of mariners of the day. [125]

The Arabs also established overland trade with Africa, largely for gold and slaves. When trade with Europe ceased due to hostilities, Jews served as a link between the two hostile worlds. [125]

Abbasids found themselves at odds with the Shia Muslims, most of whom had supported their war against the Umayyads, since the Abbasids and the Shias claimed legitimacy by their familial connection to Muhammad once in power, the Abbasids disavowed any support for Shia beliefs in favor of Sunni Islam. Shortly thereafter, Berber Kharijites set up an independent state in North Africa in 801. Within 50 years the Idrisids in the Maghreb and Aghlabids of Ifriqiya and a little later the Tulunids and Ikshidids of Misr were effectively independent in Africa. The Abbasid authority began to deteriorate during the reign of al-Radi when their Turkic Army generals, who already had de facto independence, stopped paying the Caliphate. Even provinces close to Baghdad began to seek local dynastic rule. Also, the Abbasids found themselves to often be at conflict with the Umayyads in Spain. The Abbasid financial position weakened as well, with tax revenues from the Sawād decreasing in the 9th and 10th centuries. [126]

The Abbasid Caliphate differed from others in that it did not have the same borders and extent as Islam. Particularly, in the west of the Caliphate, there were multiple smaller caliphates that existed in relative peace with them. [2] This list represents the succession of Islamic dynasties that emerged from the fractured Abbasid empire by their general geographic location. Dynasties often overlap, where a vassal emir revolted from and later conquered his lord. Gaps appear during periods of contest where the dominating power was unclear. Except for the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt, recognizing a Shia succession through Ali, and the Andalusian Caliphates of the Umayyads and Almohads, every Muslim dynasty at least acknowledged the nominal suzerainty of the Abbasids as Caliph and Commander of the Faithful.

  • Morocco: Idrisids (788–974) → Almoravids (1040–1147) → Almohads (1120–1269) → Marinids (1472–1554) → Wattasids (1472–1554) (modern Tunisia, eastern Algeria and western Libya): Aghlabids (800–909 CE) → Fatimids of Egypt (909–973 CE) → Zirids (973–1148) → Almohads (1148–1229) → Hafsids (1229–1574)
  • Egypt and Palestine: Tulunids (868–905 CE) → Ikhshidids (935–969) → Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171) → Ayyubid dynasty (1171–1250) → Mamluks (1250–1517) (modern East Syria and Western Iraq): Hamdanids (890–1004 CE) → Marwanids (990–1085) and Uqaylids (990–1096) → Seljuks (1034–1194) → Mongol Empire and the Ilkhanate (1231–1335)
  • Southwest Iran: Buyids (934–1055) → Seljuks (1034–1194) → Mongol Empire → Injuids (1335–1357) → Muzaffarids (1314–1393) (modern Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan): Tahirids (821–873) → Saffarids (873–903) → Samanids (903–995) → Ghaznavids (995–1038) → Seljuks (1038–1194) → Ghurids (1011–1215) → Khwarazmians (1077–1231) → Mongol Empire and the Ilkhanate (1231–1335) (modern Central Asia): Samanids (819–999) → Karakhanids (840–1212) → Khwarazmians (1077–1231) → Mongol Empire and the Chagatai Khanate (1225–1687)

Centuries after the Abbasids fall, several dynasties have claimed descent from them, as "claiming kinship relation with the Prophet Muhammad, that is, claiming an affiliation to the 'People of the House' or the status of a sayyid or sharif, has arguably been the most widespread way in Muslim societies of supporting one's moral or material objectives with genealogical credentials." [127] Such claims of continuity with Muhammad or his Hashemite kin such as the Abbasids foster a sense of "political viability" for a candidate dynasty, with the intention of "serving an internal audience" (or in other words, gaining legitimacy in the view of the masses). [127] The final ruler of the Bahawalpur Indian princely state was particularly so, the Kalhora Rulers of Sindh. [128] In Bahawalpur, Pakistan, and the subcontinent, he was an Arab of the Abbasids and a conqueror, a man drawing his wealth from the country but not part of it. Among the most notable of these dynasties claiming Abbasid descent are the Wadai Empire which ruled parts of modern-day Sudan, Sindh in Pakistan, Bahawalpur in Pakistan, and the Khanate of Bastak. [129] [130] [131]

A common trope among Abbasid claimant dynasties is that they are descended from Abbasid princes of Baghdad, "dispersed" by the Mongol invasion in 1258 CE. [132] These surviving princes would leave Baghdad for a safe haven not controlled by the Mongols, assimilate to their new societies, and their descendants would grow to establish their own dynasties with their Abbasid 'credentials' centuries later. [133] [134] This is highlighted by the origin myth of the Bastak khanate which relates that in 656 AH/1258 CE, the year of the fall of Baghdad, and following the sack of the city, a few surviving members of the Abbasid dynastic family led by the eldest amongst them, Ismail II son of Hamza son of Ahmed son of Mohamed migrated to Southern Iran, in the village of Khonj and later to Bastak where their khanate was established in the 17th century CE. [nb 8] [136]

Meanwhile, the Wadai Empire related a similar origin story, claiming descent from a man by the name of Salih ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas, whose father Abdullah was an Abbasid prince who fled Baghdad for Hijaz upon the Mongol invasion. He had a son named Salih who would grow to become an "able jurist" and a "very devout man". The Muslim ulama on pilgrimage in Mecca met him and, impressed by his knowledge, invited him to return with him to Sennar. Seeing the population's deviation from Islam, he "pushed further" until he found the Abu Sinun mountain in Wadai where he converted the local people to Islam and taught them its rules, after which they made him sultan, thus laying the foundations of the Wadai Empire. [137]

Barons: Executors of the Feudal System

Barons leased land from the King that was known as a manor. They were known as the Lord of the Manor and were in complete control of this land. They established their own system of justice, minted their own money, and set their own taxes. In return for the land they had been given by the King, the Barons had to serve on the royal council, pay rent and provide the King with Knights for military service when he demanded it. They also had to provide lodging and food for the King and his court when they traveled around his realm. The Barons kept as much of their land as they wished for their own use, then divided the rest among their Knights. Barons were very rich.

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1 ‘English Law’, Studies 3(40), 274 Maitland, vii.

2 ‘Crime’, Studies 3(41), 290, 300, 303.

3 Sir Henry Maine suggested three ‘instrumentalities’ ‘by which Law is brought into harmony with society’: legal fictions, equity, and legislation (Ancient Law (Everyman edn, 1917), 15).

4 For meat prices, see Heinze , H. W. , ‘ The Pricing of Meat: A Study in the Use of Royal Proclamations in the Reign of Henry VIII ’, Historical Journal 12 ( 1969 ), 595 Google Scholar . For sewers, see Richardson , H. C. , ‘ The Early History of the Commissions of Sewers ’, English Historical Review [hereafter EHR] 34 ( 1919 ), 385 –93Google Scholar Holmes , Clive , ‘Statutory Interpretation in the Early Seventeenth Century: The Courts, the Council, and the Commissioners of Sewers’, in Law and Social Change in British History, ed. Guy , J. A. and Beale , H. G. ( 1984 ), 107 –17Google Scholar [hereafter, Holmes, ‘Statutory Interpretation’]. For statutory agencies, see Tudor Revolution, 189–223. For proclamations, ‘Proclamations’, Studies 1(19) Heinze , R. W. , The Proclamations of the Tudor Kīngs ( Cambridge , 1976 ), chap. 6Google Scholar .

As with many aspects of conservation history, many of the details of sparrow introductions are poorly documented. The first introduction to North America was to New York City in 1851 or 1852, although the 8 pairs released seemed to fare poorly. However, this set off a wave of introductions throughout the United States.

For a time, some sources refer to a “sparrow fad,” with private individuals breeding birds, and others catching them and releasing them into new areas. Nest boxes were installed in cities to increase sparrow populations. Ornithologists and others raised concerns over the merits of house sparrows, but their arguments proved futile against sparrow enthusiasts releasing cages full of birds.

The reason for many of these reasons was for pest control. For instance, their 1868 introduction to Philadelphia was apparently an effort to control inchworms. As with so many such pest control efforts, the cure proved worse than the disease. They thrive on a variety of foods, including spilled grain and even garbage.

The house sparrow is also an aggressive little bird. It nests in cavities, and pushed out native species like Eastern bluebirds. Backyard birders who erect birdhouses have undoubtedly noticed house sparrows bullying wrens and other native species.

Public sentiment turned quickly against the house sparrow. By the 1880s, just three decades after the first introduction, several U.S. cities paid bounties for the birds. But by then the bird was firmly established – and spreading.

A house sparrow at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, California. Photo © Becky Matsubara / Flickr

Recent research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that house sparrows underwent genetic changes, including modified skull development and a gene that helps create the enzyme amylase that helps break down starch. The researchers hypothesized that these changes helped sparrows adapt to human settlements dominated by agricultural fields and livestock. The sparrows, according to the research, diverged from other Old World sparrows around 11,000 years ago, just as agriculture was taking hold in the Middle East.

The house sparrow appears to be a clear winner in the Anthropocene: an adaptable bird capable of thriving equally well on cities and in farms.

But over the past few decades, ornithologists have noted a new trend: house sparrows are in widespread decline. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, house sparrow numbers in North America have declined by 84 percent since 1966. In Philadelphia, the city where the sparrows were introduced to control inchworms, the birds have largely disappeared.

Many birders view this as a good-news story. After all, house sparrows compete with native species and are generally viewed as a pest. However, the bird is experiencing similar declines in many parts of its native habitat, including the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

In England, house sparrow populations have declined by half. The species is listed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as a species of high conservation concern. While the United Kingdom population has recently stabilized, the bird remains of concern to conservationists. European countries now recognize a World Sparrow Day to raise awareness of the plight of this once-abundant species.

A house sparrow scrounging crumbs in an urban area. Photo © Brian Henderson / Flickr

Decline of Feudalism : (Y58) AA - History

The 9th through the 15th centuries were times of great struggle in Europe. The European powers struggled with one another for territorial and commercial dominance. Western and Eastern Christendom struggled with one another and with Islam for religious and cultural dominance.

The struggle for religious dominance resulted in North African Berbers, Mid-Eastern Arabs and other Muslim peoples from Morocco occupying the Iberian Peninsula for 700 years from 712 A.D. to 1492 A.D. During this time, while the Iberian powers sought to free themselves of Moorish occupation, England and France embarked on the Crusades to retake the Holy Land from Muslims, whom Christians called the “infidels.”

The periods of the 9th to 15th centuries were also times of external warfare among European powers over trade, the decline of chiefdoms, and of internal consolidation, all leading to the emergence of new European states. This era, which anthropologist Eric Wolf describes as the “crisis of feudalism,” was marked by the loss of agricultural productivity, famine, disease, and epidemics. Peasants rebelled against increased demands by nobility for tribute to pay for the wars. To resolve the emerging crisis, European nations increased the scale and intensity of Old World wars for commercial dominance. These circumstances combined to deplete the wealth of European nobility and the Church (Wolf 1982:108�).

Economy and Religion

As the 15th century came to a close, Europeans embarked upon exploration of the New World and Africa in search of expanded territory, new goods, precious metals, and new markets. All of these enterprises required manpower to explore, clear land, build colonies, mine precious metals, and provide the settlers with subsistence. In the New World, Europeans first tried to meet these needs by enslaving American Indians and relying on European indentured laborers. When both of these sources proved inadequate to meet the needs for labor, Europe turned to Africa (Wolf 1982:108�).

The Protestant Reformation and the Inquisition both indirectly influenced the development of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. At different times and in different nations, religious persecution by Catholics of Protestant sects, Protestant persecution of Catholics, and the Spanish Inquisition of Jews and other non-Christians led people to migrate to the New World to escape religious persecution. Many Christians believed that the conversion of the indigenous population to Christianity was imperative. Furthermore, by the early 16th century the Portuguese introduced Christianity to many West Central African peoples. Some of these people and their descendants enslaved and free lived on the Iberian Peninsula. For Europeans concerned with spreading Christianity, converted Africans were a more acceptable alternative labor supply than American Indians (Williams 1971).

In the New World, war, disease and famine among American Indians and the European settlers further depleted the colonies short labor supply. The development of economies based on production of sugar, tobacco and eventually rice were contingent upon workers with particular attributes of material cultural knowledge, agricultural skills and the physical capability to acclimate to the New World environment. Africans first enslaved by the Spanish and Portuguese demonstrated that they were people who fulfilled these requirements (Wolfe 1982:108�).

In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadores sailed to the Americas lured by the prospects of finding gold. They brought a few Africans as slaves with them. Early Spanish settlers soon were reporting that in mining operations the work of one African was equal to that of four to eight Indians. They promoted the idea that Africans as slaves would be essential to production of goods needed for European colonization.

Several factors combined to give impetus to the Spanish demand for an African work force. Amerindians died in large numbers from European diseases for which they had no immunity. At the same time, the Spanish clergy interceded to the Spanish Crown to protect exploitation of Indians in mining operations. The introduction of sugarcane as a cash crop was another factor motivating the Spanish to enslave Africans. In order to turn a profit Spanish planters needed a large, controllable work force, they turned to Africa for laborers (Reynolds 2002:14).

John Hawkins’ Coat of Arms A bound slave for the trade he pioneered. Granted 1568.

Once Portugal and Spain established the profitability of the African slave trade, other European nations entered the field. The English made an initial foray into the African slave trade in 1530 when William Hawkins, a merchant of Plymouth, visited the Guinea Coast and left with a few slaves. Three decades later Hawkins’ son, John, set sail in 1564 for the Guinea Coast. Supported by Queen Elizabeth I, he commanded four armed ships and a force of one hundred and seventy men. Hawkins lost many of these men in fights with “Negroes” on the Guinea coast in his attempts to secure Africans to enslave. Later through piracy he took 300 Africans from a Spanish vessel, making it profitable for him to head for the West Indies where he could sell them for money and trade them for provisions. Queen Elizabeth I rewarded him for opening the slave trade for the English by knighting him and giving him a crest that showed a Negro’s head and bust with arms bound secure (Hale [1884] 1967 Vol. 3:60).

For more than a century after Columbus’s voyages, only Spain and Portugal established New World settlements. England did not establish its first enduring settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, until 1607. France founded a settlement in Quebec in 1608. Henry Hudson brought Africans with him in his Dutch sponsored exploration of the river that came to bear his name. Africans also accompanied the Dutch in 1621 when they established a trading post in the area of present day Albany.

Transatlantic Slave Routes.

Altogether, about 400,000 people migrated from England to the New World in the 16th and 18th centuries, including many farmers, small merchants, and artisans. Outside of New England, most European immigrants came to the colonies as indentured servants who agreed to serve a term of service in exchange for transportation across the Atlantic. English settlement itself took a variety of forms. In the Chesapeake region, the economy was structured around larger farms and plantations, relying on indentured servants, and later slave labor, to raise tobacco (Mintz 2003a). The Low Country region, also structured around large plantations, relied upon slave labor from its inception. After experimenting with livestock production and naval stores, planters in coastal South Carolina and later Georgia, developed an economy based on rice production. With the introduction of rice as a staple crop, South Carolina and Georgia colonists became even more reliant upon slave labor.

Northern colonies developed more diversified economies. The Dutch first traded in furs then later developed new economic activity in the production of food, timber, tobacco, and eventually, trade in people—slaves. Mid-Atlantic colonies developed grain commodities-based economies with centers in Philadelphia and New York that traded with other mainland and Caribbean colonies as well as England. Wealthy people in these colonies owned slaves and indentured servants, sometimes in considerable numbers. In New England the economy was based on fishing, small manufacturing, shipbuilding, rum distilleries and intra-coastal Caribbean and transatlantic commercial trade, not the least of which was transatlantic slave trade. New Englanders enslaved a few however their economic growth was heavily dependent upon the transatlantic slave trade (McCuster and Menard 1985).

Race as a Factor

European participation in African enslavement can only be partially explained by the needs for labor, profit, and religious motives. At the end of the medieval period, slavery was not widespread in Europe. It was mostly isolated in the southern fringes of the Mediterranean. Iberian Christians mostly enslaved Muslims, Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs. When the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Africans began in 1441, most Africans were placed in a new and different category of enslaveable peoples in terms that flowed from an understanding in the European world view of Africans as inferior human beings (Gomes 1936 in Sweet 2003:5). The policies and ideas that flowed from understandings of the African as inferior served to crystallize racial hierarchies across Europe (Sweet 2003:6). The first transnational, institutional endorsement of African slavery occurred in 1452 when the Pope granted King Alphonso V of Portugal the right to reduce all the non-Christians in West Africa to perpetual slavery (Saunders 1982:37󈞒 in Sweet 2003:6). According to Sweet, by the second half of the 15th century, the term “Negro” had become essentially synonymous with “slave” across the Iberian Peninsula and had literally come to represent a race of people, most often associated with black Africans and considered to be inferior (Sweet 2003:7). Race-based ideas of European superiority and religious beliefs in the need to Christianize “heathen” peoples contributed to a culture in which enslavement of Africans could be rationalized and justified. However, these explanations do not answer the question of why some Africans were complicity in the enslavement of other Africans in the transatlantic slave trade?

Internal African Conflicts and Complexities

Slave Coffle Sierra Leone 1793.

Western and African historians agree that war captives, condemned criminals, debtors, aliens, famine victims, and political dissidents were subject to enslavement within West African societies. They also agree that during the period of the transatlantic slave trade, internal wars, crop failure, drought, famine, political instability, small-scale raiding, taxation, and judicial or religious punishment produced a large number of enslaved people within African states, nations and principalities. There is general agreement among scholars that the capture and sale of Africans for enslavement was primarily carried out by the Africans themselves, especially the coastal kings and the elders, and that few Europeans ever actually marched inland and captured slaves themselves (Boahen, 1966 Birmingham 1981 Wolf 1985 Mintz 2003). In spite of this agreement, contemporary historiography of the transatlantic slave trade attribute greater complicity of Africans than did earlier histories and primary source documents such as the ship log of Sir John Hawkins. Although the historical complexities that contributed to African participation in the transatlantic slave trade can hardly be teased apart 400 years later, it is fair to say that internal African wars were the most important source of enslavement. It is also fair to say that had there been no European demand for African slave labor in the New World, there would not have been any market for an African labor supply.

Slave trade within Africa predated European contact. In the mid-1400s, the Portuguese learned how to navigate the Atlantic and worked their way down the West Coast of Africa buying people for enslavement in Europe. The slave trade to Europe began to decrease in the late 1400s with the Portuguese development of sugar plantations in the Atlantic islands of Madeira and São Tome, two islands, located off the West African coast. Much of the earliest European trade with West Africa was in gold, not people and took place in trading forts called castles located along the West African coast of present day Ghana. Later the trade in the forts shifted from gold to people.

As the New World demand for labor increased over the 17th century, the value of European goods traded for African people surpassed the value of goods exchanged for gold. The transatlantic slave trade was in full swing.

Who were enslaved and Why?

As a concomitant of the rise and fall of various African rulers and ruling parties, their political opponents, people of high social status, and their families were sold to promote internal political stability. Poor people were sold to reconcile debts owed by themselves or their families. Chiefs sold people as punishment for crimes. Gangs of Africans and a few marauding Europeans captured free Africans who were also sold into slavery. Domestic slaves were resold and prisoners of war were sold. However, Boahen, an African scholar, asserts, “The greatest sources to supply slaves were raids conducted for the sole purpose of catching men for sale and above all, inter-tribal and inter-state wars which produced thousands of war captives, most of whom found their way to the New World (Boahen 1966:110).”

All of these African people were bartered for European trade goods. A slave purchased for 100 gallons of rum worth only £10 could be sold for £20 to £50 in 17th century America. England regarded the slave trade with such importance that as part of the 1713 peace of Utrecht, England insisted she be awarded thirty years exclusive rights to transport Africans to Spanish colonies in America. This was before the slave trade was fully developed in the 18th century (Brawley 1981:8𔃇).

Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast 1727.

The slave trade was greatly encouraged by the low cost of slaves. Even though the price of slaves rose three- or four-fold during the 18th century, many Europeans were convinced that it was “cheaper to buy than to breed.” Between the 16th and mid-18th centuries, it was cheaper to import a slave from Africa than to raise a child to the age of 14. During the late 17th century, merchants in the Senegambia region of West Africa paid as little as one pound sterling for young males, which they sold to European traders for the equivalent of three-and-a-half pounds sterling, or 11 muskets, 31 gallons of brandy, or 93 pounds of wrought iron. Initially, many slaves were acquired from regions within fifty or a hundred miles of the West African coast. During the 18th century, however, rising prices led slavers to search for captives in interior regions, 500 to 1,000 miles inland (Mintz, Stephen 2003b).

Just as there were wars between Europeans over the right to slave catchment areas and points of disembarkation, there were increasing numbers of wars between African principalities as the slave trade progressed. Whatever the ostensible causes for these wars, they resulted in prisoners of war that supplied slave factories at Goree and Bance Islands, Elmina, Cape Coast Castle, and James Forts and at Fernando Po along the West and West Central African coast.

The fighting between African societies followed a pattern. Wars weakened the centralized African governments and undermined the authority of associations, societies, and the elders who exercised social control in societies with decentralized political forms. The winners and losers in wars both experienced the loss of people from niches in lineages, secret societies, associations, guilds and other networks that maintained social order. Conflict brought about loss of population and seriously compromised indigenous production of material goods, cash crops and subsistence crops. Seventeenth century Capuchin monks reported that the Angolan Ndongo slave catchment area was rapidly becoming a wasteland as a result of slave trading induced wars and raids that decimated the population (Birmingham 1981:37). According to them, by the end of the 17th century the area was a wasteland depopulated by slave exports, deaths during wars or slave transit to slaving depots, and as a result of mass out migrations of people fleeing in advance of the slave catching warriors (1981:38).

Winners and losers in the African wars came to rely upon European trade goods more and more. Eventually the European monetized system replaced cowrie shells as a medium of exchange. European trade goods supplanted former African reliance on indigenous material goods, natural resources and products as the economic basis of their society. At the same time Europeans increasingly required people in exchange for trade goods. Once this stage was reached an African society had little choice but to trade human lives for European goods and guns guns that had become necessary to wage wars for further captives in order to trade for goods upon which an African society was now dependent (Birmingham 1981: 38).

While munitions contributed to the military prowess required by an African state to control the slave trade, the effects of the trade on the other aspects of African civilization and culture were far more devastating. African societies lost kinship networks, agricultural laborers and production. The loss of people meant the loss of indigenous artisans and craftsmen, along with the knowledge of textile production, weaving and dying, metallurgy and metalwork, carving, basket making, potting skills, architectural, and agricultural techniques upon which their societies depended. Africa’s loss was the New World’s gain. These were the same material cultural expertise and skills that Africans brought to the New World along with their physical labor and ability to acclimate to environmental conditions that made them indispensable in the development of the Western Hemisphere.

Before the Fall of the Roman Republic, Income Inequality and Xenophobia Threatened Its Foundations

Long before Julius Caesar declared himself dictator for life in 44 B.C., essentially spelling the beginning of the end to the Roman Republic, trouble was brewing in the halls of power.

The warning signs were there. Politicians such as Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus (together known as the Gracchi brothers) were thwarted from instituting a series of populist reforms in the 100s B.C., then murdered by their fellow senators. Old and unwritten codes of conduct, known as the mos maiorum, gave way as senators struggled for power. A general known as Sulla marched his army on Rome in 87 B.C., starting a civil war to prevent his political opponent from remaining in power. Yet none of these events have become as indelibly seared into Western memory as Caesar’s rise to power or sudden downfall, his murder in 44 B.C.

“For whatever reason, nobody ever stops and says, if it was this bad by the 40s BC, what was it that started to go wrong for the Republic?” says Mike Duncan, writer and podcast host of The History of Rome and Revolutions. “Most people have been jumping into the story of the Late Republic in the third act, without any real comprehension of what started to go wrong for the Romans in the 130s and 120s BC.”

This was the question Duncan wanted to examine in his new book, The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic. To learn more about the events that preceded the fall of the Republic, and what lessons the modern world can learn from it, spoke with Duncan.

The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic

Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, Duncan dives into the lives of Roman politicians like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers, who set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.

What inspired you to look into this story?

When I was doing the History of Rome [podcast], so many people asked me, ‘Is the United States Rome? Are we following a similar trajectory?’ If you start to do some comparisons between the rise and development of the U.S. and rise and development of Rome, you do wind up in this same place. The United States emerging from the Cold War has some analogous parts to where Rome was after they defeated Carthage [in 146 B.C.]. This period was a wide-open field to fill a gap in our knowledge.

One topic you describe at length is economic inequality between citizens of Rome. How did that come about?

After Rome conquers Carthage, and after they decide to annex Greece, and after they conquer Spain and acquire all the silver mines, you have wealth on an unprecedented scale coming into Rome. The flood of wealth was making the richest of the rich Romans wealthier than would’ve been imaginable even a couple generations earlier. You’re talking literally 300,000 gold pieces coming back with the Legions. All of this is being concentrated in the hands of the senatorial elite, they’re the consuls and the generals, so they think it’s natural that it all accumulates in their hands.

At the same time, these wars of conquest were making the poor quite a bit poorer. Roman citizens were being hauled off to Spain or Greece, leaving for tours that would go on for three to five years a stretch. While they were gone, their farms in Italy would fall into disrepair. The rich started buying up big plots of land. In the 130s and 140s you have this process of dispossession, where the poorer Romans are being bought out and are no longer small citizen owners. They’re going to be tenant owners or sharecroppers and it has a really corrosive effect on the traditional ways of economic life and political life. As a result, you see this skyrocketing economic inequality. 

Do you see parallels between land ownership in Rome and in the modern United States?

In the Roman experience, this is the beginning of a 100-year-long process of Italy going from being a patchwork of smaller farms with some large estates to nothing but sprawling, commercially-oriented estates. And yes, the United States is continuing to go through a very similar process. At the founding of our republic, everybody’s a farmer, and now everything is owned by what, Monsanto?

Moving beyond just strictly agricultural companies, large American corporations are now employing more and more people. There seems to be this move away from people owning and operating their own establishments, and they’re instead being consumed by large entities. You’re talking about the Amazons of the world swallowing up so much of the market share, it just doesn’t pay to be a clerk in a bookstore or own a bookstore, you end up being a guy working in a warehouse, and it’s not as good of a job. 

Could the Roman senators have done anything to prevent land being consolidated in the hands of the few?

It doesn’t really feel like they could’ve arrested the process. Fifteen years after some land bill, you’d ask, “Who has the land? The poor?” No, they all just got bought up again. There never was a good political solution to it. The problem of these small citizen farmers was not solved until 100 years later when they simply ceased to exist. 

If the Senate couldn’t solve that one problem, could they have prevented the end of the Republic?

There were things that could have been done to arrest the political collapse. People felt like the state was no longer working for them, that the Assemblies and Senate weren’t passing laws for the benefit of anyone but a small group of elites. This resentment was threatening the legitimacy of the Republic in the eyes of many citizens.

Even if they couldn’t necessarily stop the acquisition of these huge properties or estates, there were other reforms they could’ve made to transition people from one version of economic reality to another: providing free grain for the cities, providing jobs building roads, trying to find places for these people to do economically meaningful work that’s going to allow them to make enough to support their families.

So why didn’t they take action and make those reforms?

The Gracchi wanted to reform the Republican system, but they also wanted to use those issues—economic inequality, grain for the plebs—to acquire political power for themselves. [Rival senators] believed this was going be terrible. If the Gracchi had been able to pass all of these popular pieces of legislation, they would have had more influence, and that was something their political rivals could not abide by. It created a desire to defeat the Gracchi above all. Old rules of conduct didn’t matter, unspoken norms weren’t as important as simply stopping the Gracchi from getting a win.

When Tiberius Gracchus introduced the Lex Agraria [to redistribute land back to poorer citizens], the Senate hired a tribune to veto it. This had never happened before. A tribune was supposed to be a defender of the people, and this was a popular bill. If it came to a vote, it was going to pass. It was not illegal what he was doing, but it was completely unprecedented, and this led Tiberius Gracchus to respond with his own measures, saying, “I’m going to put my seal on the state treasury so no business can be transacted.” [Tiberius was later murdered by the senators.] The issues themselves almost ceased to be as important as making sure your political rival didn’t get a victory.

This is really what crippled the Senate. It’s 100 years of focusing on internal power dynamics instead of enlightened reform that caused the whole Republic to collapse. 

When did this in-fighting start to threaten the republic?

It starts to fail after the imperial triumphs [over rival nations]. With Rome being the most powerful nation in the Mediterranean world, and senatorial families controlling unimaginable wealth, there wasn’t any kind of foreign check on their behavior. There was no threat making the Senate collectively say, “We need to stay together and can’t let our internal fights get out of hand because that will leave us weak in the face of our enemies.” They didn’t have that existential fear anymore.

The other big thing is, with a new style of popular politics, you start having way more confrontations. Roman politics until about 146 B.C. was built upon consensus. By the period of my book, it becomes a politics of conflict. People start ignoring the old unspoken ways of doing business and the whole thing rolled down hill till it was warlords crashing into each other. 

Another big issue was citizenship. How did the Romans decide who could be Romans?

When Rome conquered Italy in the 300s B.C., they would not annex that city into the Roman state and make the citizens Roman citizens or even subjects. A peace treaty would be signed, and that city would become an ally of Rome. Italy was a confederation, a protectorate under Roman auspices. You couldn’t even call them second-class citizens because they were not citizens at all, they were merely allies. For a couple hundred years this was a pretty good deal, they didn’t have to pay much in taxes and were allowed to govern themselves. After Rome hits this imperial triumph phase, they started looking at Roman citizenship as something they fervently desired. The Italians are facing the same stresses of economic inequality but they don’t even have a vote, they can’t run for office, they have no political voice at all, so they start to agitate for citizenship.

For almost 50 years the Romans steadfastly refuse to let this happen. The Senate and the lower-class plebs, it was one of the few things that united them. They might be pissed at each other, but they would join together against Italians.

Finally, in the late 90s B.C., there was one last push [for Italians to be citizens] and the guy who put it forward wound up getting murdered. The Italians erupted in insurrection. Most insurrections are people trying to break away from some power—the Confederacy tries to break away from the United States, the American colonies try to break away from the British—and the weird thing about the Social War is the Italians are trying to fight their way into the Roman system.

The ultimate consequences of allowing the Italians to become full roman citizens was nothing. There were no consequences. Rome just became Italy and everybody thrived, and they only did it after this hugely destructive civil war that almost destroyed the republic right then and there. 

Are there any lessons the United States can take from Rome?

Rome winds up existing for 1000 years as a civilization. When the republic falls you’re at about the halfway point. One of the reasons the Romans were so successful and why their empire did continue to grow was because of how well they managed to integrate new groups. The Romans were always successful when they integrated a new group, and always facing destruction and ruin when they tried to resist bringing new people in. The Social War [against the Italians] is a great early example. If you have a group of people that are going to be part of your civilization and act as soldiers in your army, you need to invite them into full participation in the system. If you try to resist, all that you’re going to do is make them mad at you.

The other biggie is if people’s way of life is being disrupted, and things are becoming worse for them at the same time that this tiny clique of elites are making out like bandits, that creates a lot of resentful energy. If you ignore genuine reformers, you leave the field open for cynical demagogues. They’re going to use that resentful energy not to answer people’s problems, but for their own personal advantage. They make themselves powerful by exploiting people’s fears, their grief, their anger. They say, “I know who to blame for all your problems, it’s my personal enemies!”

What do you hope readers come away from the book with?

I jokingly said when I started writing, that I wanted people to come out of it with a general feeling of unease about what’s going on in the United States and in the West generally. To emerge from reading the book, go back to flipping on the news, and think, “This is not good.” Whatever your political persuasion, I think we can all agree that politics in the United States is becoming fairly toxic and if we’re not careful we can wind up going the way of the Roman Republic. In history, we often go from shouting at each other to shooting each other—or in the olden days stabbing each other with swords.

I hope they read it as an example of a time in history when people didn’t pay attention to a lot of warning signs. If you ignore it, you risk the whole thing collapsing into civil war and a military dictatorship. I would like to avoid this. If people say, “Maybe this is starting to look like the beginning of the end,” then maybe we can do some things to avoid the fate of the Roman Republic. 

Decline of Feudalism : (Y58) AA - History

1. History optional Online Test Series (इतिहास वैकल्पिक ऑनलाइन टेस्ट सीरीज)

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  • Dates of tests will be flexible. You can submit your tests any time and date till BPSC Main Examination. ( परीक्षणों की तारीखें लचीली होंगी। आप बीपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा तक किसी भी समय और तारीखों पर अपनी परीक्षा दे सकते हैं।)
  • Questions in the test series will be asked as per new pattern. (टेस्ट सीरीज़ में प्रश्न में नए पैटर्न के अनुसार पूछे जाएंगे।)
  • Detailed syllabus for each test has been uploaded on this page. (इस पृष्ठ पर प्रत्येक परीक्षा के लिए विस्तृत पाठ्यक्रम अपलोड किया गया है ।)
  • Mode of communication will be online. ( संचार का तरीका ऑनलाइन होगा।)
  • On due date ( नियत तिथि पर ):
    • Question Paper, Answer Sheet and Detailed Solution will be sent to the enrolled students through email. (प्रश्न पत्र, उत्तर पुस्तिका और विस्तृत समाधान नामांकित छात्रों को ईमेल के माध्यम से भेजा जाएगा।)
    • You will have to send your answer sheet for evaluation in PDF format (you can use camscanner app). [ आपको पीडीएफ प्रारूप में मूल्यांकन के लिए अपनी उत्तर पुस्तिका भेजनी होगी (आप कैमस्कैनर ऐप का उपयोग कर सकते हैं)।]
    • Evaluated answer sheet will be reverted back within 5 days. (मूल्यांकन की गई उत्तर पुस्तिका को 5 दिनों के भीतर वापस कर दिया जाएगा।)

    2. Previous Years Solved Questions of BPSC (Topic wise) [ पिछले वर्षों के प्रश्न बीपीएससी (विषयवार)]

    • Access to the solution of previous years’ history optional questions (topic wise) of BPSC will be provided. (बीपीएससी के पिछले वर्षों के इतिहास वैकल्पिक प्रश्नों के विषयवार उत्तर प्रदान की जाएगी।)

    SCHEDULE FOR TESTS [Dates are flexible]

    टेस्ट के लिए अनुसूची [तिथियाँ लचीली हैं]

    Full Test I: Ancient India: 300 Marks (180 Minutes Duration)

    पूर्ण टेस्ट I: प्राचीन भारत: 300 अंक (180 मिनट की अवधि)

    Full Test II: Medieval India: 300 Marks (180 Minutes Duration)

    पूर्ण टेस्ट II: मध्यकालीन भारत: 300 अंक (180 मिनट अवधि)

    Full Test III: Modern India: 300 Marks (180 Minutes Duration)

    पूर्ण टेस्ट III: आधुनिक भारत: 300 अंक (180 मिनट अवधि)

    Full Test IV: World History: 300 Marks (180 Minutes Duration)

    पूर्ण टेस्ट IV: विश्व इतिहास: 300 अंक (180 मिनट अवधि)

    Full Test V: Complete History (Mock Test): 300 Marks (180 Minutes Duration)

    पूर्ण टेस्ट V: पूरा इतिहास (मॉक टेस्ट): 300 अंक (180 मिनट अवधि)

    COURSE FEE [पाठ्यक्रम शुल्क]

    Combined fee for General Studies And History Optional Test Series: ₹ 80 00/- (Including Taxes)

    सामान्य अध्ययन और इतिहास वैकल्पिक टेस्ट सीरीज के लिए संयुक्त शुल्क: ₹ 80 00/- (कर सहित)

    Fee for History Optional Test Series: ₹ 45 00/- (Including Taxes)

    इतिहास वैकल्पिक टेस्ट सीरीज़ के लिए शुल्क: ₹ 45 00/- (कर सहित)

    STEPS FOR ENROLLMENT [नामांकन के लिए कदम]

    Follow the following steps for enrollment (नामांकन के लिए निम्नलिखित चरणों का पालन करें) :

    1. Make payment by using Payment Details (given in this page). [भुगतान विवरण (इस पृष्ठ में दिए गए) का उपयोग करके भुगतान करें।]
    2. Fill the online application form (given in this page) after making payment. [भुगतान करने के बाद ऑनलाइन आवेदन फॉर्म (इस पृष्ठ में दिया गया) भरें।]
    3. Email one ID Proof on [email protected] ([email protected] पर एक आईडी प्रूफ ईमेल करें)
    4. After following the above steps, you will get all the required information within 24 hours on your Email ID. (उपरोक्त चरणों का पालन करने के बाद, आपको अपनी ईमेल आईडी पर 24 घंटे के भीतर सभी आवश्यक जानकारी मिल जाएगी।)

    APPLICATION FORM [आवेदन पत्र]

    PAYMENT DETAILS [भुगतान विवरण]

    Google Pay/ Phone pe number: 8210076034

    Pay by Debit Card/ Credit Card/ UPI/ Wallets ( डेबिट कार्ड / क्रेडिट कार्ड / UPI / वॉलेट द्वारा भुगतान करें):

    Paytm to: 9031846848

    Contact details for any query (किसी भी प्रश्न के लिए संपर्क विवरण):

    Mobile No. (मोबाइल नंबर) 9718593510, 8210076034, 9717510106

    Email ID (ईमेल आईडी) : [email protected]

    Syllabus for Full Test I: Ancient India (पूर्ण टेस्ट I के लिए पाठ्यक्रम: प्राचीन भारत)

    उद्गम, विस्तार, प्रमुख विशेषताएँ, महानगर, व्यापार और संबंध हरास के कारण, उतरा जीविता और सांतत्व।

    वैदिक साहित्य, वैदिक युग का भौगोलिक क्षेत्र, सिन्धु सभ्यता और जैविक संस्कृत के बीच असमानताएँ और समानताएँ। राजनीतिक, सामाजिक और आर्थिक प्रतिरूप, महान धार्मिक विचार और रीति-रिवाज।

    धार्मिक आंदोलन (जैन, बौद्ध और अन्य धर्म) सामाजिक और आर्थिक स्थिति। मगध साम्राज्य का गणतंत्र और वृद्धि।

    साधन, साम्राज्य प्रशासन का उद्भव, वृद्धि और पतन, सामाजिक और आर्थिक स्थिति, अशोक की नीति और सुधार काल।

    5. मौर्य काल के बाद (200 ई॰पू॰- 300 ई॰)

    उत्तरी और दक्षिणी भारत में प्रमुख राजवंश, आर्थिक और सामाजिक, संस्कृत, प्राकृत और तमिल धर्म (महायान का उदय और ईश्वरवादी उपासना)। कला (गांधार, मथुरा तथा अन्य स्कूल) केन्द्रीय एशिया से संबंध।

    गुप्त साम्राज्य का उदय और पतन, बकाटकास, प्रशासन समाज अर्थव्यस्था, साहित्य कला और धर्म दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया से संबंध।

    7. गुप्त काल के पश्चात् (500 ई॰-700 ई॰)

    पुश्यभूतिस, मोखादिस, उनके पश्चात् गुप्त राजा। हर्षवर्धन और उसका काल, बदामी के चालुक्य। पल्लव, समाज, प्रशासन और कला। अरब विजय।

    8. विज्ञान और प्रौद्योगिकी, शिक्षा और ज्ञान का सामान्य पुनरीक्षण।

    1. The Indus Civilisation: Origins extent, characteriatic features, major cities, trade and contacts, causes of decline, survival and continuity.

    2. The Vedic age: Vedic literature. Geographical area known to vedic texts. Differences and similarities between Indus Civilisation and Vedic culture. Politcal, social and economic patterns.Major religious ideas and rituals.

    3. The Pre-Maurya Period: Religious movements (Jainism. Budhism and other sects). Social and economic conditions. Republics and growth of Magadha imperialism.

    4. The Maurya Empire: Sources, rise, extent and fall of the empire administration .Social and economic conditions. Ashoka’s policy and reform, art.

    5. The Post-Maurya Period (200 B.C-300 A.D): Prinicipal dynasties in Northern and Southern India. Economy and Society, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Tamil, Religion (Rise of Mahayana and theistic cults). Art (Gandhara, Mathura and other schools). Contacts with Central Asia.

    6. The Gupta Age: Rise and fall of the Gupta Empire, the Vakatakas. Administration, Society, economy, literature, art and religion. Contacts with South Asia.

    7. Post-Gupta Period (B.C 500-750 A.D): Pushybhutis. The Muakharis. The later Guptas. Harshavardhana and his times. Chalukyas of Badami. The Pallavas society. administration and art. The Arab conquest.

    8. General review of science and technology, education and learning.

    Syllabus for Full Test II: Medieval India (पूर्ण टेस्ट II के लिए पाठ्यक्रम: मध्यकालीन भारत)

    भारत 750 ई॰ से 1200 ई॰ तक

    1. राजनीतिक और सामाजिक दशा, राजपूत, उनकी नीतियाँ और सामाजिक संरचना (भू-संरचना और इसका समाज पर प्रभाव)।

    3. कला, धर्म और दर्शन, शंकराचार्य।

    4. तटवत्र्ती क्रियाकलाप, अरबी से संबंध, आपसी सांस्कृतिक प्रभाव।

    5. राष्ट्रकुल, इतिहास में उनकी भूमिका, कला और संस्कृति में योगदान (चोल साम्राज्य, स्थानीय स्वायत सरकार, भारतीय ग्राम पद्धति के लक्षण, दक्षिण में समाज अर्थव्यवस्था, कला और विद्या)।

    6. मुहम्मद गजनवी के आक्रमण से पूर्व भारतीय समाज अलवरूनी के दृष्टान्त।

    भारत 1200-1765

    7. उत्तर भारत में दिल्ली सुल्तानों की नींव, कारण और परिस्थितियाँ, भारतीय समाज पर उसका प्रभाव।

    8. खिलजी साम्राज्य, सार्थकता और आशय, प्रशासनिक और आर्थिक विनियमन और राज्य एवम् जनता पर उनका प्रभाव।

    9. मुहम्मद बिन तुगलक के अधीन राज्य नीतियों और प्रशासनिक सिद्धांतों की नवीन स्थिति, फिरोजशाह की धार्मिक नीति और लोक-निर्माण।

    10. दिल्ली सल्तनत का विघटन- कारण और भारतीय राजतंत्र और समाज पर इसका प्रभाव।

    11. राज्य का स्वरूप और विशेषता- राजनीतिक विचार और संस्थाएँ, कृषक संरचना और संबंध, शहरी केन्द्रों की वृद्धि, व्यापार और लघु वाणिज्य, शिल्पकारों और कृषकों, नवीन शिल्प, उद्योग और प्राधोगिकी भारतीय औषधियों की स्थिति।

    12. भारतीय संस्कृति पर इस्लाम का प्रभाव- मुस्लिम रहस्यवादी आंदोलन, भक्ति संतों की प्रकृति और सार्थकता, महाराष्ट्र धर्म। वैष्व पुनरूद्धारकों के आंदोलनों की भूमिका, चैतन्य आंदोलन की सामाजिक और धार्मिक सार्थकता, मुस्लिम सामाजिक जीवन पर हिन्दु समाज का प्रभाव।

    13. विजय नगर साम्राज्य, इसकी उत्पत्ति और वृद्धि कला, साहित्य और संस्कृति में योगदान, सामाजिक और आर्थिक स्थितियाँ, प्रशासन की पद्धति, विजय नगर साम्राज्य का विघटन।

    14. इतिहास के स्रोत, प्रमुख इतिहासकारों, शिलालेखों और मंत्रियों का विवरण।

    15. उत्तर भारत में मुगल साम्राज्य की स्थापना- बाबर की चढ़ाई के समय हिन्दुस्तान में राजनैतिक और सामाजिक स्थिति, बाबर और हुमायंु, भारतीय समुद्र में पुर्तगाली नियंत्रण की स्थापना, इसके राजनीतिक एवं आर्थिक परिणाम।

    16. सूर, राजनीतिक, राजस्व और असैनिक प्रशासन।

    17. अकबर के अधीन मुगल साम्राज्य का विस्तारः- राजनैतिक एकता, अकबर के अधीन राजतंत्र का नवीन स्वरूप, अकबर का धार्मिक राजनीतिक विचार, गैर मुस्लिमों के साथ संबंध।

    18. मध्य कालीन युग में क्षेत्रीय भाषाओं और साहित्य की वृद्धि, कला और वस्तुकला का विकास।

    19. राजनीतिक विचार और संस्थाएँ, मुगल साम्राज्य की प्रकृति, भू-राजस्व प्रशासन, मनसबदारी और जागीरदारी पद्धतियां, भूमि संरचना और जमींदारों की भूमिका, खेतीहर संबंध, सैनिक संगठन।

    20. औरंगजेब की धार्मिक नीति- दक्षिण में मुगल साम्राज्य का विस्तार, औरंगजेब के विरूद्ध विद्रोह, स्वरूप और परिणाम।

    21. शहरी केन्द्रों का विस्तार- औद्योगिक अर्थव्यवस्था- शहरी और ग्रामीण विदेशी व्यापार और वाणिज्य, मुगल और यूरोपीय व्यापारिक कम्पनियाँ।

    22. हिन्दू-मुस्लिम संबंध, एकीकरण की प्रवृत्ति-संयुक्त संस्कृति (16वीं से 18वीं शताब्दी)।

    23. शिवाजी का उदय- मुगलों के साथ उनका संघर्ष, शिवाजी का प्रशासन, पेशवा (1707-1761) के अधीन मराठी शक्ति का विस्तार, प्रथम तीन पेशवाओं के अधीन मराठा राजनीतिक संरचना, चैथ और सरदेशमुखी, पानीपत की तीसरी लड़ाई, कारण और प्रभाव, मराठा राज्य व संघ का आविर्भाव, इसकी संरचना और भूमिका।

    24. मुगल साम्राज्य का विघटन, नवीन क्षेत्रीय राज्य का आविर्भाव।

    I. Political and social conditions: the Rajputs their polity and social Structure, Land structure, and its impacts on society.

    III. Art, Religion and Philosophy, Sankaracharya.

    IV. Maritime activities, contacts with the Arabs, mutual, Cultural impacts.

    V. Rashtrakutas, their role in History- Contribution to art and culture. The chola Empire Local Self-Government, features of the Indian village system society, economy, art and learing in the South.

    VI. Indian Society on the eve of Mahmud of Ghazni’s campaigns, Al-Biruni’s observations.

    VII. foundation of the Delhi Sultanate in Northern India, causes and circumstances, its impact on the Indian society.

    VIII. Khilji Imperialism, significance and implications, administrative and economic regulations and their impact on State and the people.

    IX. New orientation of State policies and administration principles under Muhamed Bin Tughluq. Religious policy and public works of Firoz Shah.

    X. Disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate causes and its effects on the Indian policy and society.

    XI. Nature and character of State political ideas and institutions. Agrarian structure and relations, growth of urban centres, trade and commerce, conditions of artisans and peasants, new crafts, industry and technology, Indian medicines.

    XII. Influence of Islam on Indian culture. Muslim mystic movements, nature and significance of Bhakti saints, Maharashtra Dharma, role of the Vaisnave revivalist movement social and religious significance of the chaitanya movement, impact of Hindu society on Muslim social life.

    XIII. The Vijayangar Empire: its origin and growth contribution to art, literatiure and culture social and economic conditions, system of administration, break-up of the Vijayanagar Empire.

    XIV. Sources of History: important chronicles. Inscriptions and Travellers Accounts.

    XV. Establishment of Mughal Empire in Northern India: political and social conditions in Hindustan on the eve of Babur’s invasion, Babur and Humayun Establishment of the Portuguese control in the Indian ocean, its political and economic consequences.

    XVI. Sur Administration, political, revenue and military administration.

    XVII. Expansion of the Mughal Empire under Akbar: political unification: new concepts of monarchy under Akbar: Akbar’s religio-political outlook: relations with the non-Muslims.

    XVIII. Growth of regional languages and literature during the medieval period development of art and architecture.

    XIX. Political ideas and institutions nature of the Mughal State, land revenue administration the Mansabdari and the Jagirdari systems, the landed structure and the role of the Zamindars, agrarian relations, the military organisation.

    XX. Aurangzeb’s religious policy expansion of the Mughal Empire in Deccan revolts against Aurangzeb- Character and consequences.

    XXI. Growth of urban centres industrial economy urban and rural foreign trade and commerce. The Mughals and the European trading companies.

    XXII. Hindu-Muslim relations trends of integration composite culture (16th to 18th centuries).

    XXIII. Rise of Shivaji, his conflict with the Mughals administration of Shivaji, expansion of the Maratha power under the Peshwas (1707-1761), Maratha political structure under the First Three Peshwas Chauth and Sardeshmukhi, Third Battle of Panipat, causes and effects emergence of the Maratha confederacy, its structure and role.

    XXIV. Disintegration of the Mughal Empire, emergence of the new Regional States.

    Syllabus for Full Test III: Modern India (पूर्ण टेस्ट III के लिए पाठ्यक्रम: आधुनिक भारत)

    1. ऐतिहासिक शक्तियाँ और कारक, जिनकी वजह से अंग्रेजों का भारत पर अधिपत्य हुआ, विशेषतया बंगाल, महाराष्ट्र और सिंध के सन्दर्भ में भारतीय ताकतों द्वारा प्रतिरोध और उनकी असफलताओं के कारण।

    2. राजवाड़ों पर अंग्रेजों का प्रमुख का विकार।

    3. उपनिवेशवाद की अवस्थाएँ और प्रशासनिक ढांचे और नीतियों में परिवर्तन (राजस्व, न्याय समाज और शिक्षा सम्बन्धी परिवर्तन और ब्रिटिश औपनिवेशिक हितों में उनका संबंध)।

    4. ब्रिटिश आर्थिक नीति और उनका प्रभाव, कृषि का वाणिज्यीकरण, ग्रामीण ऋणग्रस्तता, कृषि श्रमिकों की वृद्धि, दस्तकारी उद्योगों का विनाश, सम्पत्ति का पलायन, आधुनिक उद्योगों की वृद्धि तथा पूंजीवादी वर्ग का उदय, ईसाई मिशनों की गतिविधियाँ।

    5. भारतीय समाज के पुनर्जीवन के प्रभाव, सामाजिक धार्मिक आंदोलन, सुधारकों के सामाजिक, धार्मिक, राजनीतिक और आर्थिक विचार और उनकी भविष्य दृष्टि, उन्नीसवीं शताब्दी के पुनर्जागरण का स्वरूप और
    उसकी सीमाएँ, जातिगत आंदोलन विशेषकर दक्षिण और महाराष्ट्र के सन्दर्भ में, आदिवासी विद्रोह विशेषकर मध्य तथा पूर्वी भारत में।

    6. नागरिक विद्रोह- 1857 का विद्रोह, नागरिक विद्रोह और कृषक विद्रोह विशेषकर नील बगावत के संबंध में, दक्षिण के दंगे और भोपला बगावत।

    7. भारतीय राष्ट्रीय आंदोलन का उदय और विकास- भारतीय राष्ट्रवाद के सामाजिक आधार, प्रारम्भिक राष्ट्रवादियों और उग्र राष्ट्रवादियों की नीतियाँ और कार्यक्रम, उग्र क्रांतिकारी दल, आतंकवादी साम्प्रदायिकता का उदय और विकास। भारत की राजनीति में गांधीजी का उदय और उनके जन-आंदोलन के तरीके, असहयोग सविनय अवज्ञा और भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन, ट्रेड यूनियन और किसान आंदोलन। रजवाड़ों की जनता के आंदोलन, कांग्रेस समाजवादी और साम्यवादी। राष्ट्रीय आंदोलन के प्रति ब्रिटेन की सरकारी प्रतिक्रिया, 1909-1935 के संवैधानिक पतिवर्तनों के बारे में कांग्रेस का रूख, आजाद हिन्द फौज 1946 का नौसेना विद्रोह, भारत का विभाजन और स्वतंत्रता की प्राप्ति।

    1. Historical Forces and Factors which led to the British conquest of India with special reference to Bengal, Maharashtra and Sind resistance of Indian powers and causes of heir failure.

    2. Evolution of British Paramountcy over princely States.

    3. Stages of colonialism and changes in Administrative structure and policies. Revenue, Judicial and Social and Educational and their linkages with British colonial interests.

    4. British economic policies and their impact- Commercialisation of agriculture Rural indebtedness, growth of agricultural labour. Destruction of handicraft industries. Drain of wealth, growth of modern industry and rise of a capitalist class. Activities of the Christian Missions.

    5. Efforts at regeneration of Indian society. Socio-religious movements, social religious, political and economic ideas of the reformers and their vision of future, nature and limitation of 19th centure “Renaissance”. Caste movements in general with special reference to South India and Maharashtra, tribal, revolts, specially in Central and Eastern India.

    6. Civil rebellions, Revolt of 1857, Civil Rebellions, and peasant revolts with special reference to Indigo revolt. Deccan riots and Mapplia uprising.

    7. Rise and growth of Indian National Movement. – Social basis of Indian nationalism policies. Programme of the early nationalists and militant nationalists militant revolutionary group terrorists. Rises and growth of communalism emergence of Gandhiji in Indian politics and his techneques of mass mobilisation. Non-cooperation, civil disobedience and Quit India Movements, trade union and peasant movements. State (s) people movements, rise and growth of left-wing within the Congress- The Congress, Socialists and Communists British official response to National Movement. Attitude of the Congress to constitutional chages, 1909-1935 Indian National Army Naval Mutiny of 1946, the partition of India and achievement of freedom.

    Syllabus for Full Test IV: World History (पूर्ण टेस्ट IV के लिए पाठ्यक्रम: विश्व इतिहास)

    • सामन्तवाद का पतन, पूंजीवाद का प्रारम्भ (यूरोप में पुनर्जीवन और धर्म सुधार) नवीन निरंकुश राजतंत्र- राष्ट्र राज्योदय।
    • पश्चिमी यूरोप में वाणिज्यिक क्रांति वाणिज्यवाद।
    • इंगलैंड में संसदीय संघों का विकास। तीस वर्षीय युद्ध। यूरोप के इतिहास में इसका महत्व।
    • विश्व के वैज्ञानिक दृष्टिकोण का उदय। प्रवोधन का युग, अमेरिका की क्रांति एवम् इसका महत्व।
    • फ्रांस की क्रांति तथा नैपोलियन का युग (1789-1815), विश्व इतिहास में इसका महत्व। पश्चिमी यूरोप में सुधारवाद तथा प्रजातंत्र का विकास (1815-1914), औद्योगिक क्रांति का वैज्ञानिक तथा तकनीकी पृष्ठभूमि, यूरोप के औद्योगिक क्रांति की अवस्थाएँ, यूरोप में सामाजिक तथा श्रम आंदोलन।
    • विशाल राष्ट्र राज्यों का सुदृढ़ीकरण, इटली का एकीकरण, जर्मन साम्राज्य का आबादीकरण। अमेरिका का सिविल युद्ध। 19वीं और 20वीं शताब्दी में एशिया तथा अफ्रीका में उपनिवेशवाद तथा साम्राज्यवाद।
    • चीन तथा पश्चिमी शक्तियाँ। जापान और इसके उदय का बड़ी शक्ति के रूप में आधुनिकीकरण।
    • यूरोपीय शक्तियाँ तथा ओट्टामन एम्पायर (1815-1914).
    • प्रथम विश्वयुद्ध- युद्ध का आर्थिक तथा सामाजिक प्रभाव- पेरिस संधि 1919.
    • रूस में आर्थिक तथा सामाजिक पुनः निर्माण, इन्डोनेशिया, चीन तथा हिन्द चीन में राष्ट्रवादी आंदोलन।
    • चीन में साम्यवाद का उदय और स्थापना। अरब संसार में जागृति, मिश्र में स्वाधीनता तथा सुधार हेतु संघर्ष, कमाल अंतातुर्क के अधीन आधुनिक तुर्की का आचिर्धान। अरब राष्ट्रवाद का उदय।
    • 1929-32 का विश्व वलन। फ्रेंकलिन डी रूजवेल्ट का नया व्यवहार। यूरोप में सर्वसत्तावाद, इटली में मोहवाद, जर्मन में नाजीवाद। जापान में सैन्यवाद, द्वितीय विश्वयुद्ध के उद्गम तथा परिणाम।

    A. Geographical Discoveries. – Decline of feudalism beginnings of capitalism. Renaissance and reformation in Europe. The new absolute monarchies – Emergence of the Nation State Commercial revolution in Western Europe – Mercantilism. Growth of Parliamentary institutions in England. The Thirty Year’s War. Its significance in European History. Ascedancy of France.

    B. The emergence of a scientific view of the World. The age of Enlightenment. The American Revolution – Its significance. The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era (1789 – 1815). Its Significance in World History. The growth of liberalism and democracy in Western Europe (1815 – 1914) Scientific and technological background to the Industrial revolution – stages of the Industrial Revolution in Europe.

    C. Consolidatinon of large nation States- The unification of Italy – the founding of Socialist and labour Movement in Europe. The German Empire. The American Civil War. Colonialism and Imperialism in Asia and Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. China and the Western Powers. Modernisation of Japan and its emergence as a great power. The European powers and the Ottaman Empire (1815 – 1914) The First World War – The economic and social impact of the war – the peace of Paris, 1919.

    D. The Russian Revolution, 1917 Economics and Social Reconstruction in soviet Union. Rise of National Movements in Indonesia, China and Indo-China. Rise and establishment of Communism in China. Awakeing in the Arab World- Struggle for freedom and reform in Egypt Emegence of Modern Turkey Kamal Ataturk– The rise of Arab nationalism. World Depression of 1929 -32. The new deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Rise of Militarism in Japan. Orgins and impact of Second World War.

    Syllabus for Full Test V (पूर्ण टेस्ट V के लिए पाठ्यक्रम)

    Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic

    The U.S. Constitution owes a huge debt to ancient Rome. The Founding Fathers were well-versed in Greek and Roman History. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison read the historian Polybius, who laid out one of the clearest descriptions of the Roman Republic’s constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. It’s not surprising that in the United States’ nascent years, comparisons to ancient Rome were common. And to this day, Rome, whose 482-year-long Republic, bookended by several hundred years of monarchy and 1,500 years of imperial rule, is still the longest the world has seen.

    Aspects of our modern politics reminded University of California San Diego historian Edward Watts of the last century of the Roman Republic, roughly 130 B.C. to 27 B.C. That’s why he took a fresh look at the period in his new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Watts chronicles the ways the republic, with a population once devoted to national service and personal honor, was torn to shreds by growing wealth inequality, partisan gridlock, political violence and pandering politicians, and argues that the people of Rome chose to let their democracy die by not protecting their political institutions, eventually turning to the perceived stability of an emperor instead of facing the continued violence of an unstable and degraded republic. Political messaging during the 2018 midterm elections hinged on many of these exact topics.

    Though he does not directly compare and contrast Rome with the United States, Watts says that what took place in Rome is a lesson for all modern republics. “Above all else, the Roman Republic teaches the citizens of its modern descendants the incredible dangers that come along with condoning political obstruction and courting political violence,” he writes. “Roman history could not more clearly show that, when citizens look away as their leaders engage in these corrosive behaviors, their republic is in mortal danger.”

    Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny

    In Mortal Republic, prize-winning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy.

    Historians are cautious when trying to apply lessons from one unique culture to another, and the differences between the modern United States and Rome are immense. Rome was an Iron-Age city-state with a government-sponsored religion that at times made decisions by looking at the entrails of sheep. Romans had a rigid class system, relied on slave labor and had a tolerance for everyday violence that is genuinely horrifying. Then again, other aspects of the Roman Republic feel rather familiar.

    The Roman people’s strong sense of patriotism was unique in the Mediterranean world. Like the United States after World War II, Rome, after winning the Second Punic War in 201 B.C. (the one with Hannibal and the elephants), became the world’s hegemon, which lead to a massive increase in their military spending, a baby boom, and gave rise to a class of super-wealthy elites that were able to use their money to influence politics and push their own agendas. Those similarities make comparisons worthwhile, even if the togas, gladiator battles and appetite for dormice seem completely foreign.

    Cullen Murphy, whose 2005 book Are We Rome? makes a more head-on comparison between the fall of the Roman Empire and the U.S., argues that the changes in politics and society in Rome stemmed from one source: its growing complexity. Rome, during the Republic and Empire, had increasing and evolving responsibilities around the Mediterranean which its government constantly struggled to manage. Those challenges forced changes throughout the economy and society, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In general terms, he sees many of the same struggles in recent U.S. history.

    “I think the U.S. is experiencing this same situation—we’ve never quite recovered from our victory in World War II, which left us with the world on our shoulders and the implications of that responsibility have skewed things in every part of our society and economy, and put our old political (and other) structures under enormous strain,” he says. “New sources of power and new forms of administration and management fill the gap—and create unease and sometimes also injustice, and at the same time create vast new sectors of wealth.”

    Those types of social and economic changes also rattled the Roman Republic, leading to the moment in 130 B.C. when politics turned violent. The introduction of a secret ballot meant Roman politicians and political factions couldn’t keep tabs on (or bribe) individual voters. Instead, politicians had to build political brands that appealed to the masses, leading to something akin to modern American campaigning with big promises and populist language aimed at the poor and middle class.

    Reforms to the military also meant that service was no longer reserved for the elite, who for centuries used their privilege to demonstrate their loyalty to Rome. For poorer soldiers, however, service became a path to riches. They began to count on the loot, bonuses and gifts of land they received from their often-wealthy commanders meaning that over time the loyalty of the Roman legions shifted from the empire to their generals. These changes set the stage for a new type of politics, one where whipping up the resentments of the lower classes and threatening political enemies with semi-private armies became the norm.

    These trends first came to a head in 134 B.C. when Tiberius Gracchus, an elected tribune of the people, proposed a land reform bill that would benefit poorer and middle-class Romans. The way Gracchus went about his reform, however, was an affront to the norms and traditions of the Republic. He brought his law before the Plebeian Assembly without the thumbs-up of the Senate. When his fellow tribune Marcus Octavius threatened to veto the bill, which was his right, Gracchus manipulated the rules to have him stripped of his office. There were other incidents as well, but the most concerning aspect of Gracchus was his fiery, populist language, which whipped his supporters to the edge of political violence. As his power grew, Gracchus began moving through the streets surrounded by a mob of frenzied supporters, a kind of personal militia not seen in Rome before.

    Rumors spread that Gracchus was angling to become a king or dictator, and some in the Senate felt they needed to act. When Gracchus stood for a second term as tribune, which was not illegal but broke another norm, a group of Senators and their supporters beat Gracchus and 300 of his followers to death.

    It was just the beginning. Over the next century, Tiberius’s brother Gaius Gracchus would come into conflict with the Senate after a similar populist confrontation. The commander Sulla would march legions loyal to him on Rome itself and battle his political rival Marius, the first time Roman troops fought one another. He would then execute and punish his political enemies. In the following generation Pompey and Caesar would settle their political scores using Roman legions, Octavian and Marc Antony would field an army against the Senate before finally battling one another bringing almost 500 years of the Republic to a bloody (and confusing) conclusion.

    Watts argues that while the Senate ordered his murder, it was Tiberius Gracchus who let the genie out of the bottle. “What he has to bear responsibility for is he starts using this really aggressive and threatening language and threatening postures. He never resorts to violence, but there’s always this implicit threat. ‘If not for me, things would get out of control.’ And that is different, that was never done before. What he introduces is this political tool of intimidation and threats of violence. Later thinkers say once it’s there, even if others choose not to use it, it’s there forever.”

    While life in Rome, with gladiator battles, crucifixions and endless war was violent, for centuries Romans took pride in their republican system and political violence was taboo. “The Republic was free of political violence for the better part of 300 years. People who are politically engaged are not killing each other and they’re not threatening to kill each other. When they disagree with each other they use political means that were created by the republic for dealing with political conflict,” says Watts. “If you lose one of those conflicts, you don’t die and you don’t lose your property and you aren’t sent away. You just lose face and move on. In that sense, this is a remarkably successful system for encouraging compromise and encouraging consensus building and creating mechanisms whereby political conflicts will be decided peacefully.”

    So what does the story of the Roman Republic mean for the United States? The comparison is not perfect. The U.S. has had its share of political violence over the centuries and has more or less recovered. Politicians used to regularly duel one another (See the Hamilton soundtrack, song 15), and in the run-up to the Civil War, the ultimate act of political violence, there was the raid on Harper’s Ferry, Bleeding Kansas, and the near murder of Charles Sumner in the Senate chamber. Joanne B. Freeman, author of Field of Blood, a history of violence in Congress before the Civil War, tells Anna Diamond at Smithsonian she found at least 70 incidents of fighting among legislators, including a mass brawl in the House, though they often tried to paper over the conflicts. “It’s all hidden between the lines in the Congressional record it might say “the conversation became unpleasantly personal.” That meant duel challenges, shoving, pulling guns and knives.”

    The better comparison, surprisingly, applies to post-WWII America. Despite periods where the U.S. political system and established political norms have been tested and stretched—the McCarthy hearings, Vietnam, Watergate, the Iraq War—partisan violence or attempts to subvert the system have been rare. But recent events, like changes to filibuster rules and other procedures in Congress as well as increasingly heated political rhetoric give Watts pause. “It is profoundly dangerous when a politician takes a step to undercut or ignore a political norm, it’s extremely dangerous whenever anyone introduces violent rhetoric or actual violence into a republican system that’s designed to promote compromise and consensus building.”

    The solution to keeping a republic healthy, if Rome can truly be a guide, is for the citizens to reject any attempts to alter these norms he says. “I think the lesson I take away most profoundly from spending so much time with these materials is basically, yes, we do need to assign blame to politicians and individuals who take a shortsighted view of the health of a republic in order to try to pursue their own personal objectives or specific short-term political advantages.”

    The example of the Roman Republic shows the result of not policing those norms and keeping violence in check is the potential loss of democracy. “No republic is eternal,” Watts writes. “It lives only as long as its citizens want it. And, in both the 21stcentury A.D. and the first century B.C., when a republic fails to work as intended, its citizens are capable of choosing the stability of autocratic rule over the chaos of a broken republic.”

    About Jason Daley

    Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.

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