Byzantine Empire And Arabization

1484 Words 6 Pages
The Byzantine world was forever altered by the rapid conquest of territories which the Arab armies began in the seventh century. These conquests were due in large part to the martial ability of the Arabic army. Later, tying administrative power to Arab culture, religious unity, and even Islam’s similarities to Christianity aided in the retention and Arabization of the captured territory. In all but one of these cases, the Arabic states followed models created by the Roman, and later, the Byzantine Empire.
To begin, the military capability of the Arabs aided them immensely in acquiring power over such a vast territory. Military supremacy was especially important in the early stages of Arabic conquest. The Byzantine army did not have the capacity
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This process started within two generations of conquest when speaking Arabic and converting to Islam began to be necessities for retaining power with the administration of the Arabs (Wickham, 285-286). As elites took part in this Arabization process, those under their power would have to assume these aspects of Arabic culture as well (Wickham, 286). The same process of linking bureaucratic power to the culture favored by the state was seen in the Roman Empire. As, the Roman state became Christianized members of the imperial administrators converted in order to ensure they still had the favor of their superiors (Maxwell, 850). Tying success to participation in Arabic culture ensured that it would eventually permeate all aspects of society. It should be noted that the process of Arabization did not occur rapidly. For instance, Coptic, rather than Arabic, was used by the majority of Egyptians until the ninth century and Christianity was still the popular religion as well (Wickham, 286). This is due in part to the fact that these cultural practices were deeply rooted aspects of identity for the Byzantine populations in these areas. This was demonstrated by the fact that a significant portion of Christians refused to convert even at the expense of gaining administrative power (Wickham, 288). While the resistance of devote Christians did not stop conversion it certainly reduced its speed. Also, slowing the process of conversion were the Arabs themselves and the belief of their cultural superiority (Brown, 192). While this belief helped to keep the relatively small Arabic population from being absorbed by the large groups of people whom they had conquered (Wickham, 286), it also made it more difficult for those wished to participate in Arab culture to

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