Complete World Civ Discussion and 2 Repsones – Excelsior Writers |
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Option 2:

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, cities in Western Europe shrank dramatically and in some cases vanished altogether. In the Byzantine Empire, cities also shrank, although not to the extent that they had in Western Europe. In the Muslim world, however, cities did not shrink, and indeed, cities in the Middle East and North Africa prospered in what historians often refer to as a golden age of Islam.

Why might cities have shrunk drastically in Western Europe, shrank somewhat in the Byzantine Empire, but prospered and grew in the Muslim caliphates? Your answer needs to be at least two paragraphs long



If I had to choose which hardship to endure in the ninth century, I would be a Jew in the Byzantine Empire. Comparing being Jewish to being a Christian in that time period, I believe Jews had a slightly more tolerable misfortune. The way the Muslims treated the Christians in the Abbasid Caliphate Empire was almost inhumane. Their intentions with the Pact of Umar was to strip every Christian and any other non-Islam of their freedoms, ability to practice their faith, and their entire culture and essence from the empire. They also were denied their rights to protection from the city and not given equal opportunity to support themselves or their families. The Christians were treated like dead animals when you just want to throw them in a hole and get rid of the smell, and going through this while being detached from all emblems representing their religion is a deep unimaginable pain.

The Jews, on the other hand, suffered through many of the same inequalities but not to the extent of dehumanization the Christians went through. They were treated as second class citizens and stripped of the same rights given to Christians. The laws of this time stated were not allowed to hold government offices, marry any Christians of bear witness in court against Christians. They were socially, politically, and financially inferior to Christians. With that being said, they were still given slightly more religious freedoms because the synagogues that were already in place before the laws were enacted could not be torn down. And although they cannot convert anyone to the Jewish religion they were still able to practice it without much fear. In my opinion this is a vital point that differentiates the disparities of the Jews to the Christians because faith is something that can keep you alive when you have nothing else to live for. It is also gives people hope and for a better future and a higher power they can express their pain too.

Armstrong, Chris. “The Pact of Umar.” Christian History | Learn the History of Christianity & the Church. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.


When picking between being a Jew in the Byzantine Empire or a Christian in Abbasid Caliphate, I would rather choose to be a Jew.

The Jews faced restrictions such as not being able to marry a Christian woman, not being able to hold advantageous office positions in the Roman state, cannot own a slave, and not allowed to bear witness in court against an orthodox Christian (Marcus). The Christians, however, dealt with Al-Hakim targeting them: stopping Christians from celebrating Epiphany and Easter, prohibiting the use of wine, and destroying many churches (Parkinson). Being Jewish had its limitations. However, I do not believe that these limitations were as difficult to live with in comparison to being a Christian in this time period. The problems that Jews faced seemed more like a political attack with restrictions, while the Christians had the ways of religious practice in jeopardy.

Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791, (New York: JPS, 1938), 3-7.

Parkinson, Brian. World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500. University Press of North Georgia. 2016

Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791, (New York: JPS, 1938), 3-7.

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