Henri pirenne mohammed and charlemagne thesis
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Zona Tropical Publications. Histories and Cultures of Tourism. Histories of American Education. The fact is that the balance of power in the Roman Empire shifted decisively to the East, with the founding of Constantinople in By the end of the fourth century, Rome was no longer even the capital of the Western Empire, her place having been taken by Ravenna.
The city was then sacked twice in the fifth century; in by Alaric and his Visigoths, and in by Genseric and his Vandals. With the abolition of the Western Empire in the prestige of the city suffered further, and after the invasion of Italy by the Lombards in , Rome was reduced to little more than an average-sized provincial town. Many, if not indeed all, of the country villas around Rome which imported luxuries such as Red Slip Ware in the second and third centuries, were owned by members of the Roman aristocracy. With the precipitate decline of that aristocracy, along with Rome's fortunes and population , in the fourth to sixth centuries, we would expect nothing else than a dramatic drop in the wealth of the settlements around the city.
And that is precisely what we do find. It is important to remember that Rome, unlike other great cities of antiquity such as Alexandria and Constantinople, did not occupy a position that would naturally have guaranteed her wealth and prosperity. She stood at no trading crossroads. Rome owed her vast wealth and population to her military prowess and to her political importance. With the decline of these, her population would naturally have dwindled. And that is precisely what the archaeology reveals.
As it happens, the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean, which Hodges and Whitehouse themselves cite, conclusively proves that there was no decline, either of prosperity or of population, in the years leading up to An an example we might look at the city of Ephesus. Here I quote Hodges and Whitehouse: "In the fifth century many parts of the classical city were being rebuilt, and all the signs point to an immense mercantile wealth as late as The best examples of this late flowering have been found in the excavations alongside the Embolos, the monumental street in the centre of Ephesus, where crowded dwellings have been uncovered.
Nearly all of them were lavishly decorated in the fifth or early sixth century, and their courtyards were floored with marble or mosaics. In architectural and artistic terms the chroniclers led us to believe St. John was close to Sancta Sophia and San Vitale in magnificence. Its floor was covered with elaborately cut marble, and among the many paintings was one depicting Christ crowning Justinian and Theodora.
No less remarkable are the many mausolea and chapels of the period centred around the grotto of the Seven Sleepers. These Early Christian funerary remains testify to the wealth of its citizens in death, complementing their lavishly decorated homes by the Embolos.
There has been much debate about the cataclysmic end of these quarters: was there an earthquake, or were the houses sacked by the Persian army in , or was there a major fire which began by accident? A new city was constructed, enclosing less than a square kilometre, while a citadel was established on the hill of Ayasuluk overlooking Ephesus.
The city wall defended a little of the harbour, which was evidently silting up by this time. The Arabs continued the work. In the years after that date, to quote Clive Foss again: "Almost all the cities [of Asia Minor] suffered a substantial decline; Smyrna alone may have formed an exception.
In some instances, the reduction was drastic. Sardis, Pergamum, Miletus, Priene and Magnesia became small fortresses; Colossae disappeared, to be replaced by a fort high above the ancient site. The cities reached their lowest point in the seventh and eighth centuries The signs of violent destruction are everywhere from around onwards. But who killed it? As might be expected, Hodges and Whitehouse strive to exonerate the Arabs and pin the blame on the Persians - as well as on an inherent decadence on the part of classical civilization itself.
They stress that, in Ephesus, "Urban life clearly was waning quite dramatically when the first Arab attack took place in Indeed, war between these two had been almost part of normal life for seven centuries. How is it then that this war led to the end of classical civilization? What was different about this conflict? Wars, no matter how destructive, are normally followed by treaties of peace; and when these are signed economic activity and prosperity recovers. It had happened before many times between Romans and Persians.
It did not happen this time. The answer is glaringly obvious: The Byzantines did not have sufficient time to repair the damage done by the Persians before the Arabs arrived to waste the region permanently. As John O'Neill shows in his Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, one of the fundamentals of the Islamic faith was the acceptability, even the duty, of Muslims to wage war against the infidel.
Islam divided the world into two starkly opposing camps: that of Islam, the Dar al-Islam, and that of the unbelievers, which was known as the Dar al-Harb. But Dar al-Harb literally means "House of War". Jihad or Holy War, as we have seen, was a fundamental duty of all Muslim rulers. Truces were allowed, but never a lasting peace. See eg.