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15. Islamic Conquests and Civil War

The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Islamic conquests. Although they were in some sense religiously motivated, Arab did not attempt to forcibly convert or eradicate Jews, Christians, or other non-Muslims. The conquests began as raids, but quickly escalated when the invaders discovered that Byzantium and Persia were too weak to withstand their assault. In a relatively short period of time, the Arabs were able to conquer an area stretching from Spain to India. Against this background of successful conquests, Islam began to experience deep internal divisions. These began as criticisms of the election of Mohammed's successors, but broadened to criticize the Caliphate and the ruling family. Out of this strife came the division between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Professor Freedman concludes the lecture with observations on the increasingly non-Arab Muslim populations. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Apparent Paradoxes of Islamic Conquest 04:01 - Chapter 2. Mohammed's Successors and the Beginnings of Conquest 10:08 - Chapter 3. Factors Favoring Arab Conquest 18:43 - Chapter 4. Arab Conquests 25:05 - Chapter 5. Internal Divisions Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2011.
Length: 49:44


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