Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Arab Empire

Syria: Fundamental and pragmatic discussions during and after the Assad regime…Part 1

The first part focuses on the fundamental social and geopolitical conditions of Syria and the Syrian people. The next article will approach pragmatically how the problems in Syria could be resolved, during and after the Assad regime…

1. Syria is Not determined by mountain chains and desert borders.  Syria is its rivers: The Euphrates, Tigre, Al Assay, Litany, and the Jordan rivers.  It is on the shores of these rivers and the Mediterranean Sea that the earliest known urban City-States (by the hundred) conglomerated and traded with one another and the outside world.

2. Syria is Arabic. Hundreds of tribes from the Arabic Peninsula settled Syria, many centuries before Islam was disseminated by prophet Muhammad.  These tribes were mostly Christians, the kind of sects labelled “heretics” by the Orthodox Church of Byzantium.  Many of these tribes were persecuted and they fled to high mountain chains, or retreated temporarily to the desert borders, and fled to the Persian empire (beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates) in order to sustain their customs and traditions.

3. Those “Arabic/Syrian” tribes converted to Islam, an almost identical religion as theirs, and were the backbone of the “Arabic/Moslem” armies that vanquished Byzantium and swiftly expanded eastward to crush the Iranian Empire…

4. The two Arabic Empires of the Omayyad dynasty in Damascus and the western Arab empire located in Andalusia (Spain) confirmed the Arabic nature of Syria and spread the knowledge of sciences, medicine, cosmology and philosophy for over one thousand years, as the dominant civilization in the Mediterranean Sea basin and in Central Asia…

5. Arabic is not just the latest add-on to the Syrian civilization and identity: Arabic is what gave Syria its lasting and defining identity and sovereignty, and the Arabic language was “modernized”, made legible, and acquired its universal appeal thanks to the Syrian people. The current Arabic language is fundamentally Syrian, and its ancestor language is the Aramaic and later called Syriac…

6. Syria, including Lebanon and Palestine, is the hotbed of interactions among the three “monolithic” religions (Judaism, Christian and Islam). Without the presence of these 3 religions in Syria, Syria will be lost as a special entity in the Middle-East, an entity of the convergence of their very similar customs and traditions for thousands of years…

7. Most of the ancient myths, mentioned in Bibles and archaeological documents, originated from Syria, in this rich land of the earliest urban civilization…

8. Syria is the land where most of the persecuted religious sects, fleeing the oppression of the dominant religions of the periods, settled on the mountain chains and eked out a harsh living, raising goats and occasionally looting nearby urban centers… These minorities were ever ready to side with revolts against the pseudo central powers in Damascus, Baghdad, and occasionally Aleppo…Time to deal with minorities as essential in the fabric of the Syrian community

9. Almost all “Warrior Empires” originating in Central Asia, northern Iran, and northern Turkey…loosely occupied Syria, appointing military governors in the conquered provinces, just to collect the tax…The majority of the urban dwellers accommodated with the invaders, traded economically and culturally, and eventually transferred their culture to the warrior empires.  It the Syrian people, craftsmen, architects, artisans, and skilled workers who built the temples, palaces, schools, the infrastructure…in the lands of the invaders.  The archaeological findings in the warrior empires are the jobs of the Syrian people…

Part 5. Persia during the Arab Caliphate Empire (651 to 1500 AC)

The Moslem Arabs, bolstered by a new religious belief, defeated the Byzantium Emperor Heracles in Yarmouk (Syria) and they extended their land to Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt.  Five years later, they defeated the Sassanid army in Qadisya in 636 and totally captured the Persia Empire in 651. 

The vast majority of the Persian elites adopted Islam to safeguard their social positions.

In the first century of the Omayyad Dynasty, with the Capital based in Damascus, the elites, learned people, and intellectuals of the administration were hired from the Near Eastern population (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine).   The Abbasid Dynasty settled in Kufa as capital and then built Baghdad in 762. Slowly but surely, the Persians elites dominated when the Caliphate turned over to the Abbasid Dynasty in 750.  Iraq was dominated by the Persians in population and in skills. The viziers were Persians such as the Baramikas tribe, originating from Khorassan, as well as the key posts in the administration because the Persians were famous for their political acumen. 

The manuscripts and scientific books were written by Persians in the Arabic language, simply because of the richness of scientific vocabulary that the Arabs accumulated by translating Greek manuscripts. For example, we know of Ibn Mukafaa, Ibn Khurdadbeh, Ibn Rusteh, Istakhri, Khawarazmi, Farghani, and Sibawe (the famous grammarian of the Arab language).  Obviously, it was the Persians who needed to learn the Arab grammar and not the bedwins (nomads).

Even though the Persians spoke and wrote in Arabic and were Moslems, they were lumped as Shuubiya or “gentiles”. As the Caliphate authority in Baghdad lost hold on the administration of his Empire then the Arab Empire was divided into fiefdoms of princes under the nominal umbrella of the Caliphate.

In Aleppo (Syria) the Hamadan Dynasty was having skirmishes with Byzantium. In the east, the Samanid dynasty (820 to 1000) reigns in actual Uzbekistan in Central Asia to be replaced by the Ghaznevide Dynasty (998-1186) that occupied most of eastern Iran, Afghanistan and the Punjab in India.

In Egypt,the Fatimid dynasty, with origin in Tunisia, established the first Shiia Moslem sect Empire. In the Caspian region the Bouyide dynasty or Seljuk occupies the plateau of Turkey and then Baghdad in 945.  This new powerful dynasty the Seljuk expanded eastward toward Persia and Central Asia. The Seljuk dynasty fought the Crusaders for two centuries and they started defeating the Crusaders by 1150.  As the multiple Crusaders’ waves to occupy Egypt, which was the main objective to secure commercial routes, failed then there was no purpose left for the European barons to invest more money in further campaigns.

Although most of the dynasties that reigned in Persia were Turks by origins they adopted the Persian language as the official language for the administration and culture. Persian intellectuals started writing in Farisi that adopted the Arabic alphabet.  For example, Ferdowsi, Al Biruni, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Nasr al Din Tusi, and later Al Kayyam, Atar, Rumi, Saadi, and Hafez have written in Farisi. The main worry of the previous dynasties was to contain the successive waves of invaders coming from the Mongolia and Central Asia steppes.  Finally, Genghis Khan’s hordes swept over the entire Middle East region, destroyed Baghdad in 1258, and brought in the plague cholera. 

A century and a half later, Tamerlane (Timor-i-lenk  or Timor the lame,1330-1405), the “devout” Moslem from current Turkmenistan repeated the same genocides of Genghis Khan and built hundreds of minarets out of heads of decapitated citizens and transferred the artisans and skilled workers from Damascus and the important cities in Persia to his Capital Samarqand

The prosperous city of Isfahan, of over 400,000 inhabitants, suffered 70,000 decapitated civilians; the city of Delhi in India suffered the same kinds of massacre  Tamerlane would not even sleep within the city limit of Samarqand but in tents outside the city.  Tamerlane devastated Moscow and the major cities on the Volga River in his pursuit of the leader of the Golden Horde Toqtamish (a descendant of Genghis Khan). 

This long and devastating incursion against the Tatars facilitated the victory of Ivan the Terrible half a century later and the establishment of a Russian kingdom.  Tamerlane died while on his way to invade China.(To be continued)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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