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Discussion Week 5

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1. Discuss "Without Muhammad there would have been no Charlemagne."
[The Arab invasions isolated Western Europe from the eastern Mediterranean and the Byzantine Empire. In consequence there developed a close tie between the Papacy and the Frankish kingdoms, and this ultimately brought about the rise of feudalism.]

2. Discuss "Islam enjoyed a Golden Age of political stability, economic prosperity, and cultural achievement under the early Abbasid Caliphs."
[What factors, do you think, led to the success of early medieval Islam? Islam must have seemed a world away from the feudal structures of rural, hierarchical life in Western Europe, where religious ideals, economic forces and tradition bound peasants, slaves and women to limited roles. It certainly did to European observers of Islam, who, despite their racial and religious prejudices, were astonished by the splendors of Islamic art, science, music and architecture.]

Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.