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the early middle ages sees the emergence of three power blocks that would dominate western civilization for centuries: the orthodox christian Byzantine Empire (remnants of the old Roman Empire), the roman catholic-led feudal kingdoms  of western and central europe, and the world of isla. using specific evidencce from refrenced primary sources in Rogers, what themes characterize the expansion and rsie of each of these three blocks? in what ways, if any those themes still relevant today ? all you need to write is about 2 paragraphs

 

the book that we used in class was western civilization by perry rogers im going to give you two examples of what two other classmates have posted. please dont copy because i will make sure its not the same along with my teacher but use to get idea and maybe you can reword it without it sounding the same.

 

example 1)

When talking about the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire, and the World of Islam, the universal theme when discussing the rise and expansion is the worship of one God.  “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty…” wrote Eusebius.  This is specifically from his writing depicting the happening of the Nicene Creed; the result of a council drawn together to settle whether or not Jesus was eternal and of God. (Eusebius, pg. 209)  It was this belief that one God was to be worshiped, that dominated the Byzantine Empire and eventually led to the Crusades. However, the interpretations weren't universal, as some disputes between the Pope and other patriarchs led to a split in the church.  This is still visible today, when viewing the Catholic Church against any form of Orthodox Christianity.

Islam is similar, in that it involves the belief in one God.  The difference is in the Qur’an; religious text given to the prophet Muhammad.  The text depicts the word from Allah (God), and delegates how one should conduct his/herself, and treat nonbelievers (much like the Bible).  “Fight against nonbelievers until idolatry no longer exists…” reads the Qur’an.  This sentence alone previews the expansion of Islam. (The Heritage of Islam, pg. 213)  There are still religious wars taking place in the Middle East between tribes today as a result of this.

When it comes to Feudalism, it’s not as connected to the uprise of Islam and the Byzantine Empire.  The Feudal Kingdoms came about really at first from the fall of Rome, and became prominent during the Viking invasions.  The idea was when a king fell, who took over?  It was a system of nobles (commander) running vassals (army).  The nobles granted parcels of land to the vassals, and they in-turn drew an income.  In war-time, vassals were called upon to defend themselves/one-another if multiple vassals were pledged to each other and other nobles. It also kept chaos to a minimum inside its society, and helped aim its hostility towards the “infidels” of the Crusades: Muslims. (King Louis IX, pg. 229)  This theme was really developed out of necessity to protect ones self, and has since lost it’s place in todays society.

 

example 2) -

The city of Byzantium gained power after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The city was rebuilt by the emperor Constantine the Great in 324 and later renamed Constantinople. “Between 324 and its demise in 1453, the Byzantium Empire provided an important link between the Eastern and Western cultures of the former Roman Empire” (Rogers, 2011, p. 204). The religion of the Byzantium Empire is rather interesting as differences between the pope in Rome and the eastern patriarchs caused the Christian church to split in 1054. Such differences included “the nature of the Trinity and the worship of religious icons, not to mention whether papal authority held primacy for Byzantine Christianity” (Rogers, 2011, p. 208). The split started Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholic Christianity.

The emperors of Byzantium were often involved with religious affairs. “In fact, the term Caesaro-papism describes this melding of political power and religious authority in the person of the emperor” (Roger, 2011, p. 208). An Egyptian priest by the name of Arius argued that since Jesus was the Son of God he could not be the Son of God and God at the same time. This type of argument threatened the unity of the Christian church. Another issue was the act of worshiping images of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints. “This was called iconoclasm, and it is a primary example of Caesaro-papism” (Rogers, 2011, p. 210). This isn’t really an issue today. In the United States we as a society have the freedom of religion so we can practice whatever religion we want.

The Islamic faith was primarily centered on the prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an. Muhammad often felt that he was contacted by God to essentially warn his people about their wrong doings. The messenger angel Gabriel gave Muhammad the final revelation from God. “The message was clear: The Prophet Muhammad was to warn Arabs of God’s displeasure with idolatrous worship and injustices to the weak and sick, the poor, widows, orphans, and women” (Rogers, 2011, p. 211). At first the people were unsure of Muhammad’s revelations, but when he was accepted in the city of Mecca his reputation increased.

“Devotion to Islam is based on five basic principles or “pillars”: (1) the acceptance of one God, Allah, and Muhammad as his prophet; (2) recitation of prayers five times a day towards Mecca after ritual purification before worship; (3) daytime fasting and abstinence from sexual relations from sunrise to sunset for one month a year; (4) payment of a tithe to support poor and unfortunate Muslims; and (5) a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, if one is able” (Rogers, 2011, p. 212). These codes help define the Islamic faith. The Islamic society wasn’t only focused on religious matters, but also on academic learning. Although “many of these ideas in astronomy, medicine, advanced mathematics, law, literature, poetry, philosophy, and history fell on deaf ears in the West because of the fear of doctrinal contamination” (Rogers, 2011, p. 216). This can be relatable in today’s society because many religions or faiths may not acknowledge the ideas of other faiths. In general most religions tend to stay within their own faiths and generally won’t accept the ideas of another religion.   

Feudalism was caused by Viking attacks, internal disputes, and poor leadership. These factors working together contributed to the fall of Charlemagne’s empire. “As central authority (in the person of the king) collapsed, there evolved rather naturally a system of decentralized rule in which the most important nobles of the realm (lords) protected their own regional holdings by contracting with lesser nobles (vassals) who fought for them” (Rogers, 2011, p. 229). The lords were the leaders and the vassals were the soldiers essentially. In exchange for the protection the lords and vassals provided, the free peasant often gave up his land and worked on a nobles land for a certain amount of time. “The peasant thus became a serf and was responsible for the production and upkeep of the lord’s manor” (Rogers, 2011, p. 229). This relationship between the noble and a serf is known as manorialism.  

The system of Feudalism was a form of governance the dealt with any kind of trouble. Whenever an enemy attacked, the lord would call his vassals to action and the enemy would be fought. “Feudalism and manorialism regularized life and afforded security in an otherwise insecure age” (Rogers, 2011, p. 230). This reminds me of the United States military. We have an active army that is ready to defend the county if it is attacked. There are differences though, when people join the military they don’t have to give up their land to work for a lord on their land. People often have to move around, but they don’t lose the land that they own they just have to move to a different piece of land.

Reference: Rogers, P.M. (2011). Aspects of western civilization: Problems and sources in history (7th ed.). Boston; Prentice Hall. 

 

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