*** war and social upheaval: decisive medieval battles

The Decisive Medieval Battles of History

Figure 1.--

The Medieval era streches for essentially a millenium. During that era there were countless battles. The Medieval era can be defined chronolgically in different ways. It is difficult to define the beginnin and end of the medieval battles. We tend to view them with disappearance of the Eastern Roman Empire (5th century AD) and the increasing use of gun powder weapons (16th century). The most famous battles of the Medieval era are those fought in Western Europe, essentially because people are most interested in the history of their own people or country. Many of these battles though well known, such as Hastings, were largely dynastic struggles of varying significance. Other battles largely familiar only to hisorians seem far more important in terms of the consequences to the modern world. The battle of Yarmuk (636) in the Middle East is not well known to the average reader, yet it had profound consequences. The Arabs at Yarmuk decisively ended the Christian Byzantine hold on the Middle East and within decades Muslim armies had entered Europe, conquered Spaoin and threatened France, a threat defeated at the battle of Poitiers (732). We will list here the Medieval battles that seem to us of greatest importance.

Badr (624)

The Battle of Badr (غزوة بدر‎) was fought in the Hejaz, the western region of what is now Saudi Arabia (624). This was the critical action in the birth of Islam. (Muslims would say that Islam was born at creation.) Mouhammad had many early opponents among the Quraish, the dominant merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its sacred Ka'aba. According to tradition, the Quraish descended from Ishmael. They drove Mohammed from Mecca and he found refuge and suppor in Medina. The Muslims from Medina and Meccans fought a number of small skirmishes (late-623 and early-624). These are called ghazawāt (prophet-led battles). Badr was the only full-scale engagement. Mohammed's forces attacked a strong defensive possition held by the Meccans with an army perhaps three times larger than the Muslim force. The stringly-disclipined Muslims smashed through the Meccan lines. Maby of the important Quraishi leaders were killed, including Mohammed's principal opponent, Abu Jahl. For Mohammed's Muslims the battle was the first real indication that they could defeat their enemies in Mecca. And Mecca was vital to Islam's future. Mecca was one, if not the richest and most powerful cities in all of Arabia, as it controlled vital trade routes as well as held the Ka'aba. Mohammed's victory was seen by other Arab tribes that a new power was rising in Arabia. It also strengthened Mohammad's position as undisputed leader of the fractious Medina community. Badr was a decisive victory by Mohammed's forces. Muslims attribute it to divine intervention. It probably was due to Mohammad's brilliant training and genberalship. It is a rare battle actually described in the Koran. There are accounts of the battle from contemporary oe near-contemprary sources, traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and early biographies of Mohammad. The battle transformed Mohammed from a prophet into a major political figure and force. It also established Islam into a an important force that could not be supressed.

Yarmuk and Qādisiyyah(636)

Yarmuk and Qādisiyyah were two important battles fought in the Middle East (636). They are among the most decisive battles of history and set the religious, cultural, and linguistic future of the Middle East. Two Rasgidun Islamic armies smashed the forces of two vast and well established empires that dominated the region. The Prophet Muhammed received the final revelation from the Angel Jibril in the Arabian Peninsula. That revelation would inspire the Islamic faith. Fired by Islam, the Arabs burst out of the Arabian Desert to challenge the then expansive Christian Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Pursian Empire. Yarmuk was the first of many major battles between Muslims and Christians. The Arabs at the Battle of Yarmuk (636) in modern Syria met a large, well equipped Byzantine Army. The Imperial force (40,000-80,000 men strong depending on the source) was caught in a sandstorm and annihilated by some 20,000 Arabs of the Rashidun Caliphate. This battle resulted in the permanent and irrevocable loss of the Levant (modern Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon). A subsequent campaign against the weakened Byzantine forces would gain Egyprt Cyrenaica, and ultimatrely the rest of North Africa, areas beyond Byzantine control. Most of the richest and most populous lands of the Byzantine Eempire were lost as a direct result of this one catastrophic defeat, This was the beginning of a major religious shift in which Islam gradually replaced Christianity in its Middle Eastern birth place. Yarmuk also marked a long series of Muslim attacks on the Byzantines and other Christian kingdoms in the west and Persians in the east. This is notable because modern Islamists now call Americans and Europeans as 'Crusaders' and describe the Crusades as a Christian assault on peace-loving Islam. This view of history conventiently ignores nearly four centuries of unrelenting Muslim attacks on Chgristian kingdoms in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah set in motion the Arab conquest of Sassanid Persian empire and ultimate Islaization of Persia. The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (معركة القادسيّة‎ / نبرد قادسيه‎} was the decisive engagement between the Arab Muslim army and the Sassanid Persian army during the initial period of Islamic expansion (636) It resulted in the Islamic conquest of Persia and was critical in the the related conquest of Iraq. The battle involved the susposed alliance of Persian Emperor Yazdegerd III with Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. Heraclius married his granddaughter Manyanh to Yazdegerd as a symbol of their alliance.

The Battle of the Camel (656)

The Battle of the Camel, variously called the the Battle of Jamal or the Battle of Bassorah took place at Basra, the Iraqi port city (November 7, 656). Details of the battle are a matter of sectarian dispute. Some claim that the Kharjites began spreadinh false rumors among the companions of Muhammed, including his wife A'isha who survived the Prophet. A'isha lerned about the killing of Uthman (644-56) -- the third Caliph. The news reacher her when she was on a pilgrimage to Mecca. She was incensed at the unavenged deat Uthman and the naming of Ali as the fourth caliph. She became the center of the rising gainst Ali. She found support in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra. It was the first intra-Muslim conflict. This battle became known as the First Fitna, meaning Muslim civil war. It had enormous consequences which stil reverberte in the Middle Eastr today.

Río Barbate (711)

A Moorish or Saracen army crossed the Straits of Gibraltar from North Aftrica (711). The Moorish army consisted of Moslems of varying origins. The Moorish army was predominately Arabs, but included Berbers, Syrians, and others). The Moors at the Battle of Río Barbate defeated the forces of Roderick, the last Visogothic king (July 19, 711). The Moors moved through the Toulouse Kingdom destroying ant armed resistance and over the space of a few years totally dominated the Peninsula. They then crossed the Pyrenees amd moved into southern France. There they were defeated by tyhe Frankish leader Charles Martel at the Battle of Poitiers (732).

Poitiers/Tours (732)

Poitiers had been an important Roman town and a residence of the Visogothic kings until defeated by the Franks under Clovis, driving them south beyond the Pyrenees. The Battle of Poitiers/Tours pitted the Franks against the Moslem Moorish forces moving north after theit conquest of Spain and southern France. The Franks were the most powerful force in Western Christendom at the time. Had they been defeated it is difficult to see what other Christian force could have resisted the Moors. Charles assembeled a large force, in part financed from funds secured from the monastaries. The actual size of the force is a matter of considerable histrical debate. He drilled his forced knowing that the Moors were headed north with asizeable, highly mobileforce. He chose a strong defensive position that his largely infantry force could defend. The Moors up to this poit had encountered small poorly trained and armed forces. They were shocked when they encountered Charles' army. The Moorish Army was commanded by Abd-er Rahman, governor of Spain. Few reliable accounts of the battle exist. As a result, the Moorish army is variously estimated to numberanywhere from 60,000 to 400,000 soldiers. After taking cities in southern Fance, Abd-er Rahman headed north up the Loire Valley. Here Charles set up his position just outside the city of Tours in central France south of Paris. The two sides held their position for nearly a week facing each other. Abd-er Rahman was forced to initiate the battle as it was October and cold weather was approaching. The Frankish army was mostly infantry and Charles used a phalanx style of combat. Abd-er Rahman ordered a frontal attack, relying on the slashing tactics and massive superiority in calvary that had brought quick, easy victories in Spain. The Frankish infantry was armed with swords, shields, axes, javelins, and daggers. They were better trained and thus more disciplined than the Visagoth armies encountered in Spain. Charles choice of the battlefield proved decisive because it limited the ability of the Moors to commit their calvalry. Tours was one of the few medieval battles in which infantry managed to resst sustained mounted attacks. Accounts of the battle report it lasted anywhere from 4-7 days. A Frankish attack on the Moorish camp behind their lines appears to have been the turning poit of the battle, leading to the collapse of the Moorish lines. The Franks captured and killed Abd-er Rahman. The Moslem Army then withdrew from Tours overnight and and retired accross the Pyrenees. Charles believed there would be another Moorish offensive, but for what ever reason, it did not come. Unlike Muslim forcs in the East, the Moors in the west never again seriously threatened France. Nor did the Franks cross the Pyrenees to attack the Moors. The battle thus proved to be the high watermark of the Moslem invasion of Western Europe, although Saracen raiders would menace the West for centuries.

Talas River (751)

The Battle of the Talas River was not a massive engagement, but it had huge geo-politucal consequences. As in many cases, a relatively small military confrontation had huge historical consequences. Chinese T'ang forces fought the Battle of Talas with the Abbasid Caliphate (751). The Caliphate was at the peak of its power. The victory of Muslim forces fundamentally changed the religious orientation and history of Central Asia. The T’ang forces were led by army commanded by Gao Xianzhi (Kao Hsien-chih). He was the T'ang military governor of Anxi (An-hsi) in the Chinese Western Regions. He faced an Arab army mustered by the Caliphte at the Talas River near Samarkand, a fabeled trading center on the Silk Road. The T'ang had seized control of a newly unified China. Their economic and militry reforms had rebuilt China into a great power. and the T'ang at the time of the battle, however, had begun to decline. T'ang armies has won major successes and established protectorates throughout Central Asia. Tis essentislly secured Chinese control over Central Asia west to to the borders of the Caliphate. The T'ang were able to exert their influence over the Steppe people to control the riches of the Silk Road. This included the Uighurs of the northern steppes as well as the Khitans in the northeast and the Xixia (Hsi Hsia) in the southwest. International trade flourished over the Silk Rod and the T'ang beenefitted by control over much of the route. The aging Emperor Xuanzong (Hsuan-tsung) was taken with a voluptous young concubine, the Lady Yang (Yang Guifei). He ws as a result neglecting his imperial duties. with the aging Empeor diverted, corrupt family members and favorites conducted governmental affairs. The T'ang military system that had enable the Empire to establish its sway over Central Asia was allowed to decline. Gradually the western frontier posts ewre garrisons by nomadic Steppe mercenaries who were cheaper to hire and maintain than ethnic Chinese soldiers. Non-Chinese generals also became increasingly important. At the same time, the Islamic Caliphate had become a major force in the Mideast, expaning both westward and eastward. A military confrontation between the two empires was inevitable.

Hastings (1066)

Hastings was one of the most important battles in British history and becuase of the future rol of Britain, world history as well. After centuries of political division and wars between the Romanized Celts, Anglo Saxon invaders, Vikings, and others, Harold had managed to created a unified English (Land of the Angles) state. Harold braced for an cross-channel invasion by William Duke of Normandy. At this time a half brother, Tostig. invaded with a Viking Army led by Harold III of Norway. Harold rushed his army north and devestated the Vikings at Stamford Bridge. Then learning that William was finally crossing the Channel, Harold rushed south again. The two armies met as Hastings. southeast of London (October 14, 1066). It was a fierce all day battle. Harold's army was tired, but larger and had the better field position. William's army was smaller, but better armed and desciplined. Harold was killed in the fighting. William became known as William the Conqueror. With the death of Harold and the defeat of his army, William was able to establish his authority throughout Saxon England. Thiswas not just a dynastic development, but Hastings with William in power reoriented England away from Scandanavia and toward Europe with enormous historical and cultural consequences. It resulted in a fusion of people and cultures that would not only fundamntally change England, but prmanently orient the country toward Europe.

Manzikert (1071)

The Battle of Manzikert was one of the key battles of the medieval era, although it occurred in the Middle East. It was fought on August 26, 1071 in what was then the Armenian Province of the Byzantine Empire, but now Malazgirt, Turkey. The battle was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq Turks. The Seljuq forces were led by Alp Arslan. The Byzantine Army was weakened by the desertion of its calvary and thus fighting blind. It was a disaterous defeat for the Byzantines. The Seljuqs captured Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes. It is significant because the Battle of Manzikert so weakened the Byzantine military that it was no longer capable of effectively defending Anatolia which at the time was the remaining Byzantine heartland. The battle opened the way for the Turkish settlement of Anatolia. Without Anatolia, the Byzantines could no longer effectively resist the Turks, although the massives defensive Julian walls of Constaninople and the Byzantine Navy would protect the city and various enclaves for four more centuries. The Turks would eventually conquer the Balkans and threaten Vienna. Constaninople finally fell (1453).

Hattin (1187)

Hattin was the most important battle of the Crusades. Located in what is now Israel was one great victories of Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. The Crusader army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Latin allies were anzalited. Soon after after, Jerusalem was recaptured. The defeat led to the nearly total defeatb of the Crusader States in the Middle East. and the ensuing Third Crusade (1189-92) would fail to retake Jerusakem. The Battle of Hattin effectively ended any possibility of Christian control of Jerusalem and the Middle East by the Crusaders. It did not end the Crusades or the Christian desire to recapture Jerusalem, but it permanently ended Christian control of the city, except briefly in the final months of World War I.

Tarain (1192)

The Indian Rajputs clashed with an advancing Turkish Islamic Army. The Muslim victory marked the bginning of a a sigfiicant Islamic presence on the Indian Subcontinent.

Fourth Crusade (1204)

The Crusaders pledged to defending Chrisendom sacked Byzantium.

Las Navas de Tolosa (1212)

The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa known by the Arabs as the Battle of Al-Uqab (معركة العقاب) was fought on July 16, 1212. It iscommonly see as the turning point of the Reconquista. Over time the Christian forces had begun to fight back and achieve major victories over the Moors. Al Andalus had splintered into small, weak emirates, increasingly unable to resist the growing strength of the expanding Christian kingdoms. The Muslims thus asked for assistnce from the more austere Iamamic Almohad Caliphate with its Berber/Arab army. They came to the asistance of their corelioninist although looked down on their more moderate version of Islam. The Almohad forcs gained important victories and regained cities in what is now central Spain that had been lost to the Christians. The Almohads eventully added southern Spain to their empire and deposed several imprtant Spanish Muslim leaders, including thise that had asked for support. King Alfonso VIII of Castile commanded the largest Christian force, but was bolstered by the forces of his rivals who saw the Almohad Caliphate as the greater danger. Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon, and Afonso II of Portugal bolstered Alpphonso's Christian army. At the time, the Iberian Peninsula was split almost eqully between a Muslim south and Christian north. The Almohad Caliph al-Nasir (Miramamolín) personally led the Almohad army wth only limited local levies from the Spanish emirates. Alfonso advanced against the Almohad frce, crossing a mountin range through the Despeñaperros Pass. Martin Alhaja, a local shepherd, guided them. The Christian armies surprised the Moors. Alhaja was granted the hereditary title Cabeza de Vaca for his role in the Christian vctory. The Caliph is said to have had his tent defended by a bodyguard of slave-warriors who were chained together. Navarrese forces led by King Sancho VII broke through the bodyguard. The Caliph managed, however, to escaped, but the Almohad Army was routed from the field, suffering some 100,000 casualties. Kking Alphonso seized imortant prizes of war. He dispatched Miramamolín's tent and standard to Pope Innocent III.

Bouvines (1214)

The Battle of Bouvines is one of the most decisive European battles. The French king Philip II Augustus defeated an impressive international coalition led by the Holy Roman emperor Otto IV and King John of England supported by the French vassals-Ferdinand (Ferrand) of Portugal, count of Flanders, and Renaud (Raynald) of Dammartin, count of Boulogne. Despite its importance, the battle is not as well knon in English-language histories. Unlike other major battles of the period like Agincourt or a Crecy only history professors and history buffs are aware of it. Perhaps because the English played such a minor role and did not win. This was not of course not the plan. The campaign was planned by John to gain a great victory over the French king and egain the the lost Angevin lands (Normandy and Anjou). He had raised taxes to an inprecedent level to finance an army. John's plan was to land ith the English Army in western France, stir up revolts in the southn (Aquitaine and Anjou) against the French monarchy. This was desined to draw the French away from Paris and southward towards the English who were to keep the French occupied. The larger coalition army, under Emperor Otto IV, would then march on Paris from the north. John landed, but his German allies in the north did mot move a rapidly as planned. John after two indecisive engagements with the French, retired to the security of Aquitaine (July 3). Otto stopped his advance at Valenciennes. Philip II sensing an opportunity, marched northward and secided to strike the Imperial army. He maneuvred fo good good ground for his cavalry. The battle took place on a plain east of Bouvines and the river Marque (July 27). The French were able to fight the Grrmans without support from the English who remained in the south. The fight might be called a battle royal of armored knights. There were casualties on both sudes. It was finally decided, in the center where Otto was almnost killed, but fled the battle. Bouvines is just as important as England's later great victories against the Frenchover the French, actually more imprtant. Ferrand and Renaud were captured and imprisoned. King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta by his discontented barons. Philip was able to take control of most of the territories in France that had belonged to England, Otto's maternal uncle and ally. Otto as a result, was deposed and replaced by Frederick II Hohenstaufen.It sealed the fate of the Holy Roman Empire, ensuring that iut bwould never develop into a Grrman natioin state during the medieval era. In contrast it marked the emergence of the French monarchy and sent it on the trajectory of divine-right rule. Although the English were not a major factor, it cemented the separtion of Normandy and Aquatania from the Englih crown. It also led to the Magna Carta and the end of absolute monarchy in England.

Kalka River (1223)

Ain Jalut (1260)

After seizing the Chinese Empire, the mounted Mongols began to strike west, conquering all of Central Asia and smashing the Caliphate which had been a majpr influence in th rgion for centuries. The Mongols threatened Europe as well. The Egyptian Mamluks inflicted a rare defaet on the Mongols at Ain Jalat (1260). It was aelatively minor ebgagement. It would stop the Mongol movement westtoward Egypt. The Mongol armies would, hoeever, proceed to conquer Russia and threate Europe.

Courtrai (1302)

At Courtrai, Fremch knights wew shockingly defeated by Flemish shopkeepers with only improvised weapons.

Crécy (1346)

Crécy was not a decisive battle in deciding the outcome of a war. After all the war continued foir nearly 100 years and the French ultimately prevailed. Crécy was decisivem however, in a social context and it military arms. Edward III claimed the crown of France and took the largest army to ever sail from Britain to northern Frsnce. This was the most important battles in the early phase of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). Estimates of the size of both amies vary. The English foirce was about 11,000, over half of whom were bowmen. Even so it was a franction of the size of the French army commanded by King Philip VI. The French force may have totaled 60,000 men. King Henry and the French were sure of victory. The French amassed a huge army of heaavily armored French knights and Genoese cross-bow men, These were not armed commoners, but highly paid mercenaries. Crécy was the first important battle fought by an English force on the Continent. Edward had conducted a chevauchée (scoarched earth raid) and was headback to the coast and his his ships. Philip with huge army was determined cut the English off and destroy them. The English army was highly disciplined. Philip had little real control over the nobels in his army. In the resulting battle, the French nobility was decimated. Among the dead were some of the most important men in Europe. The ability of commoners to defeat the magnificently armored and mounted nobels marked the beginning of the end of the Fedual system. In military terms it also marked the beginning of the decline of the dominance of the calvalry.

Kulikovo (1380)

Prince Dimitri of Moscovy was advised and influenced by Saint Sergey Radonezhsky who despite his early years as a hermit was an ardent Russian nationalist gating the Tartats (Mongols). Sergey urged Prince Dimitri to contront the Tartars. This was the last era of Mongol domination over Russia. The Mongol remnant state was the Golden Horde which was experiencing civil war and dynastic rivalries. Muscovy still collected and paid tribute. Prince Dmitry refused to pay when the Tartars demanded an increased tribute. Moscow was by this time the dominant principality in northeastern Russia. Dimitry commanded the Moscovite forces which defeated the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380). This in effect established the independemnce of Muscovy. This was the first significant Russian victory over the Tartars. The battle site was near the Don River. As a result, Prince Dmitry was given the honorific Donskoy after this battle. Few battles had a greater impact on future European hoistory. The battle created the first independent Russian state since the Mogol conquest and the future Tsarist empire and modern Russia was built around Muscovy.

Kosovo Polje (1389)

King Lazar Grebelyanovich was killed at the Battle of Kosovo Polje 1389 when the Serbs suffered a disatrous defeat at the hands of Turkish Sultan Murat I. This ended the Serbian royal line and devestated the Serbian nobility. This ended the existance of Serbia as an indepebdent state. Serbia and the Ottoman Empire fought the Battle of Kosovo Polje on St Vitus' Day (June 28). The basic outline of the battle is know as well as the outcome. It essentially settle the fate of the Balkans for 500 years. Actually there are few reliable sources surviving and the battle continues to inflame political passions in the 21st century. This is because most Serbs know the battle through emotionally charged epic poetry. Historians other than Serbian nationalists question the view of the battle surviving in poetic sources.

Tannenberg (1410)

Lithuanian and Polish armies met with the forces of the Germanic Teutonic Knights who had conquered the Baltics. It proved to be the decisive engagement in the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War (1409-1411) and one of the most important battles of medieval Europe. The Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights was decisively defeated. Their monastic order never recovered from the disasterous battle. The mandate of the Teutonic Knights was to pacify and Christianize the pagan Baltic tribes. The Teutonic Knights far exceeded their mandate when they invaded the already Christian territories of Poland and Lithuania (1398). The Christianizing of Lithuania had ended their reason for their very existence. The desire for power and wealth exceededc their religious zeal and led to therir diwnfall. This actually wa the First Battle of Tannenbrg. The Sercond battle during World War II would be a huge German victory and had it been accomoanied by victory in the est would have led to a reshaping of European frontiers.

Agincourt (1415)

Henry V was one of the great English warrior kings. He began his military campaigns when he was only 14 years old by engaging the Welsh comanded by Owen ap Glendower. He comanded his father's (Henry IV) forces in the battle of Shrewsbury when he was only 16 years old. After succeeding his father, he supressed the Lollard uprising and an attempt to assasinate him by a group of nobles loyal to Richard II. Henry is best known for his adventures in France. He attempted to marry the Frnch Princess Catherine (1415) and insisted on the former Plantagenet provinces of Normandy and Anjou as a dowry. When French king Charles VI rejected the doway. Henry declared war. It was essentially a continuation of the Hundred Years' War. Henry V seized the opportunity. The war for Henry offered two prospects. Henry could gain land that had been lost to the French. It also helped to deflect his cousins' royal ambitions. Henry achieved one of the great English victories over the French at Agincourt (October 1415). Agincourt was the most disastrous French military defeat until Napoleon's defeat in Russia. Henry destroyed the cream of French nobility at Agincourt. Henry's small English army was made up of many commoners and deep in France. He found his way to the coast blocked by a vastly superior French army. His positioned was assaulted by wave after wave od heavily armored French knights. is small army not only defeated, but annilted the French. While small in number, they were armed with the llongbow. The cream of the French airistocracy was killed at Agincourt, many after the battle. Henry forced Charles VI to acknowledge him as the legitimate heir to the French throne. Henry's son who suceeded him, however, was only 1-year old when his father died. Henry was the subject of one of Shakespeare's historical plays--Henry V.

Orleans (1429)

English victories in the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) threatened to bring all of France under English cobntrol. Orleans was the last great French bastion. The English layed seige (1428-29). It was at this time that Jean led a relief force. After losing several forts, the English abandoned the seige. Modern France and French contributions to civilization were powerfull shaped by Joan of Arc's victory at Orleans.

Fall of Constaniople (1453)

It is difficult to designate the last Medieval battle. A good candidate would be the final Ottoman conquest of Byzantium. A good case, however, can be made for this as the first modern battle because of the importance of artillery in breeching the famed walls of Constantinople. In addition, the Ottoman pressure on the Byzantines culminating in the fall of Constaninople drove many classical scholaes to the West--especially Italy. This played an important role in the Renaissance which played a major role in the formation of modern Europe. While the Byzantines were eventually defeated by the Turks. They effectively shielded Christian Europe from the Turks and Islam for centuries until the Christian nations were capable of effective resistance on their own. Interestingly by the gtime that Constaniople fell, the Renaissance was remaking Christian Europe and igniting the creation of humanism and science that would lead to modernity. In conterast, the Islamic Middle East which had created a Golden Age of learning and culture was collapsing into the narrow confines of theology, becomng an economoic and cultural backwater.


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Created: 7:41 PM 7/12/2004
Last updated: 2:00 AM 9/2/2023