Seizing the Fertile Crescent

In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire By Robert G Hoyland (Oxford University Press)

“In the 7th century AD, though, something exceptional happened. Three decades on from the raid of 610, Arab war bands succeeded in conquering the whole of Syria. A century on and they had come to rule an empire that stretched from the Atlantic to central Asia. So astonishing was this feat of conquest that everyone who contemplated it, conquerors and vanquished alike, took for granted that it could only have expressed the will of heaven. As one Arab wrote, ‘We went to meet them with small abilities and weak forces, and God made us triumph, and gave us possession of their territories.’ By the 10th century, when this self-satisfied assertion was penned, the defeat of the Romans, the Persians and a multitude of other peoples by the Arabs was seen as demonstrating the truth of a whole new religion: Islam.”

  • pop

    We really are in rose coloured glasses.

  • Actually, the Arab/Moslem advances were due to the weakness of the empires they conquered in whole or part at that time, which weakness was due in part to internal corruption and in part to their mutual exhaustion in the wars between them. The Arabs/Moslems were barbarians, like the Huns before them or the Mongols and Turks after them, with no strength of their own other than their sheer brutality and evil.

    • Frau Katze

      I’m afraid so. It makes for depressing reading.

    • Still, momentum carries a force of its own, and in those early years of conquest they must have seemed like holy terrors indeed.

      • For sure. The populations (Persian, Byzantine, etc.) must have felt totally at the mercy of these aggressors, with no or little protection from their governments.

  • Exile1981

    A few of the earlier conquests made treaties with Mo, but given his history of always breaking treaties and only honoring them as long as it was in his best interests; why didn’t some of those early tribes realize he would not honor the treaties?