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Divide, Conquer, Repeat, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 548

Essay

The Christian and Islamic empires integrated religious ideals into the leadership systems and everyday lives of its citizens and came to widespread power at about the same time in history. Internal and external factors together ultimately brought about the decline of these groups, which experienced a renewal and a reconnection with holy lands. The foundational ideals of these religious groups resisted earthly authority, survived, and evolved.

The fall of the Roman Empire emphasized the importance of a belief system which proved to be portable and invulnerable to attack, and the Catholic Church replaced Roman customs with structure, open access to religious practice, and reading and writing in Latin. (“Christian History: 500-1517,” Slide 3) Pope Gregory the Great introduced church reforms which standardized a system of chants and expanded the literacy of the congregants. “Illiterate men can contemplate in the lines of a picture what they cannot learn by means of the written word.” (Slides 5-9) This new church soon placed the needs of the church above the needs of transient governments which were only accountable to God and his earthly representatives. Later leaders Justinian and Charlemagne legalized the new church power. (Slides 14-16) In 1095, after receiving pleas from the Byzantine Empire, Pope Urban II leads the Crusades to retake Christian holy sites. (Slides 34-45) However, the plague of the Black Death spaced Christian followers throughout Europe, and increasing segmentation and danger within the church led the pope to heed Saint Catherine’s visions and remain in Rome. (Slides 48-55, 81-84)

Islam also experienced rapid growth following the fall of the Roman Empire. Long before the Crusades, Islamic leaders of the ummah battled the Byzantine and Persian empires and expanded into newly-conquered territories. (“Medieval Islam”, Slide 2). Internal power battles fractured Islam into the divisions of the Kharijites and Shi’ites. (Slide 3) Although Ali’s caliph claims appeared more credible, Mu’awiya soon defeated Ali, established a new dynasty of caliphs, and initiated a hereditary line for kingship. Their decadence created a backlash much like that of Rome’s enemies. (Slides 3-8) During the Abbasid Caliphate dynasty (750-1258), Islam underwent its own Enlightenment period. After the capitol of Baghdad fell, Islamic followers scattered and advances in sciences and philosophies slowed.  (Slides 9-12) The Islamic Empire divided into three smaller kingdoms, which allowed a diverse population and carefully negotiated the rise of the nearby Judeo-Christian populations. (Slides 12-14)

An empire impacts every person living therein, and the fall of a grand civilization ripples through language, politics, craftsmanship, intellectualism, and religion, creating a Domino effect which does not go unnoticed by old enemies. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all created dynasties of religious power which experienced little accountability to the world of men. However, as the religious population disperses and foreigners enter under the terms of religion different from their own, the unanimity of support for religious leadership meets increasing resistance and, eventually, outright rebellion. Internal conflicts within the religious structure further weakened their claim to political dominion, and a right to government- based upon the righteousness of a religious perspective- opened leaders up to questions regarding the legitimacy of the cannon on aspects of leadership. Both religious cultures enforced their right to canonized worship with the aid of the military.

Works Cited

“Christian History: 500-1517.” PowerPoint: Slides 1-130.

“Medieval Islam: Expansion, Empire, Golden Age, and Decline.” PowerPoint: Slides 1-14.

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