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Thread: What If Byzantium Survived?

  1. #81
    Unsolicitor General Ming's Avatar
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    Nestorian Communities in Persia, while I don't htink there is any evidence they aided the Arab conquest did express gratitude for it occuring. The same could have occured for groups in the ex-Roman provices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Impi View Post

    Visigothic Spain is where the Jews really played a role in dooming the kingdom.
    What do you mean?
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  2. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Ming View Post
    Nestorian Communities in Persia, while I don't htink there is any evidence they aided the Arab conquest did express gratitude for it occuring. The same could have occured for groups in the ex-Roman provices.
    That's actually quite debatable in regards to Nestorians in Persia. While some communities did assist the Arabs, the Nestorians were a well-treated sect within the Persian empire since they were persecuted in the Roman Empire and the fact that over half of the population of Iraq was Nestorian. Should there have been an uprising of Nestorians, they would have been able to surprise and capture the Royal family in Ctesiphon and essentially have a massive advantage in the fight afterwards. But yes, some did assist, and some Monophysites did assist as well. However, the majority were either apathetic or openly hostile to the invading Arabs


    Quote Originally Posted by Ming View Post
    What do you mean?
    In most of Southern Spain a large amount of the population at the time of the Arab invasion was Jewish. Jews had been horribly maligned within the Visigothic Kingdom since the conversion to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo and despite their large population were hated by the Visigoths. Seeing their chance with the Arab invasion, Jews opened the gates of many major cities, such as, off the top of my head, Cordoba. They were instrumental in bringing down the Visigoths and setting up the financial framework of Al-Andalus. The following two centuries created a fusion of Jewish and Arabic elements, with Jews playing a close second role to the Arab administrators, sometimes even becoming administrators themselves.

  3. #83
    Unsolicitor General Ming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Impi View Post
    That's actually quite debatable in regards to Nestorians in Persia. While some communities did assist the Arabs, the Nestorians were a well-treated sect within the Persian empire since they were persecuted in the Roman Empire and the fact that over half of the population of Iraq was Nestorian. Should there have been an uprising of Nestorians, they would have been able to surprise and capture the Royal family in Ctesiphon and essentially have a massive advantage in the fight afterwards. But yes, some did assist, and some Monophysites did assist as well. However, the majority were either apathetic or openly hostile to the invading Arabs
    If I remember correctly, the Nestorians had been well treated up until the eve of the Arab invasion. One of Chosros II's sons became a christian and attempted to usurp the throne at one point when he mistakenly believed his father had been killed in battle with the romans. Before his father returned he publicly called on the christians to support his claim. After this the Nestorian position became more precarious. The arabs showed up pretty soon after that and christians were relieved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronicle of Seert
    "The Arabs treated them with generosity and by the grace of God (may He be exalted) prosperity reigned and the hearts of Christians rejoiced at the ascendancy of the Arabs. May God affirm and make it triumphant!"

    As for Spain, I do not know much about that period at all, but I always wondered how it was possible for the Arabs to overrun it so quickly. Were the Jews treated worse there than other parts of the Christian Mediterranean?

    Edit:
    And to clarify what I am asking, the Arabs also overran Egypt and North Africa pretty quickly, but as far as I know the Jews were a non-factor in those places.
    Last edited by Ming; 30-05-2012 at 20:35.
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  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ming View Post
    As for Spain, I do not know much about that period at all, but I always wondered how it was possible for the Arabs to overrun it so quickly. Were the Jews treated worse there than other parts of the Christian Mediterranean?
    Were the jews treated badly enough to help the Arab invaders?

  5. #85
    the jews were treated badly everywere.I think in Poland they were a bit more accepted.

    Heck even Robin Hood,hated jews

  6. #86
    The main reason why the Turks poured into Asia Minor so easily was due to the Byzantine aristocracy's decision to turn the area into a massive sheep herding pasture. This meant that the Byzantines often hired Turks and Turks could easily settle and make their presence permanent following a capture of the territory. So, if the Byzantine aristocracy had not done this, the seminomadic pastoral turks wouldn't have conquered the region as easily as they did.

    And the Byzantine state still carried lots of baggage from the Roman empire (in fact it was the same regime more or less). This includes the fact that everyone knows that real power in the Roman state was in the hands of anyone who could bribe or sway enough soldiers to support his bid for power. Also, the byzantine empire still ruled over multiple nations and even the Greeks weren't united. These peoples had little loyalty toward Constantinople and could rebel or be bought by pretenders to fight for them. The byzantine empire wasn't a "nation state" it was a state without a nation ruling over a myriad of cultures.

    This made the Ottoman Empire much stronger. It was, more or less, a "nation state" with a strong relatively united Turkish nation at its heart. The Ottomans also learned a lot from the Byzantines and their failures (and successes). e.g. they went to great lengths to establish a stable government with a loyal soldier class who could not be easily bought by pretenders.

    If the byzantine empire had survived, say ruling over Greece + modern turkey, I don't think it would have made much difference over how Europe developed. The Balkans might not have suffered the consequences of the Ottoman-Austrian/Hungarian wars, obviously and Albania would not be Muslim. But its perfectly possible, likely in fact, that Vienna and Constantinople would still have fought over the Balkans and many nations between them would have suffered. Byzantines did in fact have a record of ethnic cleansing, religious repression, thumb mutilation of their their victims, and all sort of predatory subjugation in general. In the end, north Europe would have industrialized, America would have been found, and history probably wouldn't have radically shifted. Constantinople would have felt the impoverishment of the Mediterranean just as the Ottomans did, perhaps even worse.
    Last edited by victimizer; 09-06-2012 at 03:26.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by victimizer View Post
    This made the Ottoman Empire much stronger. It was, more or less, a "nation state" with a strong relatively united Turkish nation at its heart.
    That's not even somewhat true. The heart of the Ottoman Empire was always the Balkans. It was in Anatolia that they faced myriad revolts from groups resisting centralization.
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  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Chamboozer View Post
    That's not even somewhat true. The heart of the Ottoman Empire was always the Balkans. It was in Anatolia that they faced myriad revolts from groups resisting centralization.
    Italy revolted too, but it was definitely the heart of the Roman Empire (until mid imperial period). I don't see how the Balkans could have been the "heart" of the Empire, as it was dominated by foreign cultures. Turkish tribal culture might explain the resistance to centralization, but the Ottomans effectively countered this by bringing in loyal soldiers from the Balkans into the service of the Sultan. And I doubt that the Balkans were the economic heart of the Empire either: especially as the Empire integrated fertile crescent into its domains. The trade that made Constantinople rich was in a sharp decline.
    Last edited by victimizer; 09-06-2012 at 04:03.

  9. #89
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    The Balkans were the heart because of the Jizye tax on non-Muslims. This was the core of the state's revenue. Istanbul was fed by food imported from Danube farmlands. The Janissary Corps were for much of their existence made up entirely of Balkan recruits through the Devshirme. Anatolia, on the other hand, was tribal (as you said) and in the east, nomadic. This made it hard to control and the tax revenue generated from it was marginal. The exception was on the Marmara and Aegean coasts which could indeed be called part of the core of the Empire. The Ottoman elite simply didn't associate themselves with rural Anatolians, the word 'Turk' meant something along the lines of 'unsophisticated hillbilly'.
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