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A.D. 601 to 700

Module by: Jack E. Maxfield. E-mail the author

A.D. 601 TO 700

Backward to A.D. 501 to 600

The chief features characterizing this century are the persistence of the "Dark Ages" in Europe, the amazing eruption of the Arab armies and the Moslem religion out of the desert of Arabia and the early dominance of Turkish people in Central Asia, with marked effects even in China.

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

We have previously mentioned that in these "Dark Ages" education survived only as a luxury of the clergy. The Roman Church itself could give little or no direction at this time because of chaos in Italy and the lowering of Byzantine prestige. The Emperor Heraclius attempted to regain Syria and Armenia from Persia by conciliating their monophysitism by producing a compromise called "monotheletism" which suggested that the union of God and man in Christ, although not submerging the identity of either, was sufficiently complete to manifest itself outwardly in one divine-human energy. This proposal only irritated the rest of the empire and when the Arabs overran the region it was abandoned. As a last blow, Islam appeared on the world scene in this century to further menace the Christian Church. (Ref. 137)

THE ISLAMIC CHURCH

Most of the present day taboos of the Islamic religion were present at its inception. The Koran prohibitions include:

  1. Pork, as an impurity - chiefly a carry-over from nomad life. One cannot drive pigs on great migrations
  2. Animal blood - a pollution legacy from Old Testament Judaism
  3. Wine, considered an abomination. It is said that some of the prophet's early levies had been found too drunk to fight (Ref. 211)

As is well known, the original stories from the Koran are much like the Old Testament, with the same early characters, including Abraham and his tribe. Both Judaism and Islam came from the same sources in the desert. Islam was essentially a military empire in the beginning and only became a culture after it absorbed a measure of Persian thought. (Ref. 213)

INTERNATIONAL JEWRY

In this and the next few centuries, Jews became more and more isolated as a commercial sect. Especially in northern Europe they were excluded from owning land and the feudal system resulted in the constant threat of confiscation of property and even expulsion from the country. Expulsion started in Spain just after the beginning of the century with an edict from Emperor Heraclius. The Carolingians in Austrasia, France, however, gave them special charters, protection and commercial privileges. (Ref. 8) In their native Levant, many Jews converted to Islam and actually contributed much to the final Moslem concepts. (Ref. 213)

Forward to A.D. 701 to 800

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