Byzantine vs, Abbasid Essay

Byzantine vs Abbasid
During the postclassical era many great empires arose. Two of the most powerful and influential groups of the time were the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate. Both the Abbasids and the Byzantines were places where important cultural hubs existed and where trade flourished throughout the whole empire. Even though culture was present in each area, the cultures were not the same and there were separate religious beliefs and practices; for example the Byzantine Empire was mainly Orthodox Christian while the Abbasid Caliphate was Sunni Muslim.

Use of religion throughout the empire, methods of rule, and eventual ways of declining all caused the Byzantines and Abbasids to have a distinctive and lasting impression on the upcoming empires in those areas to come.

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Ever since the first river valley civilizations there has been some type or form of religion; this is no exception with the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate. These two empires became heavily influenced and dependent on religion.

In the Abbasid region, Islam was the most dominate religion, having most of the population being Sunni. While in the case of the Byzantines, it was Christianity that was most popular among the leaders and the common people. The leaders of each religion usually had equal power throughout the government. For example, in the Abbasid Caliphate the caliph, or successor, was the ruler of the religion and usually had a strong role, usually as leader, of the empire. The Byzantines on the other hand commonly had emperors and leaders convert all of their people into Christianity under their behalf.

Interaction with other less poplar and slower growing religions was for the most part was the same between the Byzantines and the Abbasids. Both dynasties were tolerant of smaller religions, even though they still tried to get them to convert. The Muslims in the Abbasid placed a tax on all non- Arab Muslims, or Malawi. While the population in the Byzantines was mostly Christian, the church did not persecute non- Christians. Because of the strong ties of religion into the government and in the people, it helped strengthen the reign and bring each empire together as a whole and influenced other people to join their religions.

Government and military strength is usually what “makes or breaks” an empire. Throughout the Byzantines and the Abbasids, both had strong rulers, as well as bad ones. The ruler of the Abbasids was known as the Caliph, which is a government leader as well as a religious leader. Similarly with a theocratic type of ruling were the Byzantines. The Byzantine emperor had to be ordained and was head of the church and state. Military expansion was greater in the Abbasid government than in the Byzantine. The Abbasids spread out through North Africa, Persia, and of course, Arabia. The Byzantines, who were based in Constantinople, were pretty much where the Roman Empire previously was. Throughout time, there were more than a few times when the Byzantines had conflicts with each other. The Abbasids frequently invaded the Byzantines and also the other way around. Even though the Abbasids came very close, they never took over Constantinople. Because of strong militaries and smart rulers, the government of each the Byzantines and the Abbasids gave themselves a better chance of surviving.

Eventually both the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate fell. The Abbasid Empire decline happened much earlier than the end of the Byzantines. Beginning to decline all the way back from the 10th century, the Abbasids eventually fell somewhere around 1258. Lasting about another 200 years, the Byzantines decline came in 1483. Both of these places had war after war, which eventually caught up with them. The Abbasids currently fought with the Crusaders, Byzantines and other outsiders. The Byzantines frequently fought with the Abbasids and other Muslim groups such as the Turks. Both of these declines came from outside forces coming in and taking over. The Abbasids were taken over when then Mongols came in and captured Baghdad, which is where the point of the fall is usually marked. The Byzantines were taken over when Muslims Turk over threw Byzantine rulers in Constantinople and renamed the city what it is still called today, Istanbul. Mostly due to fighting, it made it easy for outside groups like the Mongols and the Turks to overthrow power in the Byzantine Empire and Abbasid Caliphate and lead to the fall.

The post classical era gave us two great empires, the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate. Although differing in religion, government, and how the areas declined, many similarities are present. Both areas had theocracies, where the government was intertwined with religion. However the Abbasid government was more military based than the Byzantine.

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