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HIST231: Empire and States in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Unit 5: The Middle East and Southwest Asia in the Middle Ages   Outside forces began to destabilize the expansive Abbasid Empire by the beginning of the second millennium CE.  In 1063, Pope Alexander II gave his papal blessing to Christian efforts to drive Abbasid conquerors out of Spain.  Then, in response to pleas for aid from the head of the Christian Byzantine Empire, Pope Gregory VII began promoting a holy war against Muslims who had taken control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 1095.  Over the next two centuries, the Crusades brought Christians and Muslims into direct military conflict over control of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.  In the East, the Abbasids faced a growing threat from Mongol invaders.  In 1258, the Mongols sacked Baghdad and killed the Abbasid caliph.  As a result, central rule in the Abbasid Empire collapsed and political power shifted to new regional bases in Egypt and Turkey.  In this unit, you will examine how European and Mongol invaders destabilized the Abbasid Empire during the Middle Ages.  You will also look at how the Christian Byzantine Empire (the remnant of the once-vast Roman Empire) attempted to maintain its independence and exert political control over Asia Minor despite threats from Muslim and Western European foes. 

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 13 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 4 hours    ☐    Introduction: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2: 4 hours ☐    Readings: 2 hours for each reading

☐    Subunit 5.3: 5 hours ☐    Readings: 3 hours and 2 hours, respectively

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify external threats to the Muslim world during the Middle Ages, and analyze how Muslim leaders responded to these threats.   - Understand the impact of the Crusades in the Middle East - Analyze the Mongol invasion of the South West Asia. - Assess consequences of the Turkish migration to the Middle East.

5.1 The Crusades   - Reading: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Steven Dutch’s “The Crusades” Link: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Steven Dutch’s “The Crusades” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text carefully for a brief introduction to the Crusades.  Reading this text and taking notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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5.1.1 The Crusader States in Decline   - Reading: All Empires: Riders’ “Weakness of the Crusader States” Link: All Empires: Riders’ “Weakness of the Crusader States” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  The Crusader States eventually went into a gradual decline.  This reading examines the underlying factors for this decline.  After reading, take about 30 minutes to write a summary of the reasons for decline of the crusader states.  This reading and summary should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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5.1.2 Fall of Jerusalem   - Reading: Edukalife: “First Crusade - East at the End of the 11th Century” Link: Edukalife: “First Crusade - East at the End of the 11th Century” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article which discusses the fall of Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was one of the most significant Crusader States in the Middle East.
 
Reading this article should take you approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. It is attributed to Edukalife. 

5.2 Mongol Invasion of the 1200s   - Reading: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Steven Dutch’s “The Mongols” Link: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Steven Dutch’s “The Mongols” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article.  The Mongols were another destructive force that entered the region.   This reading will introduce to you their rise and expansion.  This reading will also cover the topics outlined in Subunit s 5.2.1 through 5.2.3.  Reading this piece and taking notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Ibn al-Athir’s “On the Tartars, ca. 1220-1221 CE” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Ibn al-Athir’s “On the Tartars, ca. 1220-1221 CE”  (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire text.  In this 13th century text, author Ibn al-Athir describes the Tartar, or Mongol, invasion of Southwest Asia and the Abbasid Empire.  He notes the ruthlessness of the Mongols and describes how they slay all who resist them.  He also describes their seeming lack of religious values compared to Muslims and notes that they have no need to stop and re-supply during their invasions, because they have herds of cows, sheep, and horses that follow them as they invade.  Reading this piece and taking comprehensive notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
     
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5.2.1 Rise of the Mongols   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.  Focus on the text below the heading “Rise of Mongol Power” and “Why the Mongols Succeeded.”

5.2.2 Mongols in Europe   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.  Focus on the text below the heading “The Mongols in Europe.”

5.2.3 Mongols in the Middle East   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 5.2.  Focus on the text below the heading “Mongols in the Middle East.”

5.3 Rise of the Turks   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet History Sourcebook: J.J. Sounders’ A History of Medieval Islam: “Chapter IX: The Turkish Irruption” Link: Fordham University’s Internet History Sourcebook: J.J. Sounders’ A History of Medieval Islam: “Chapter IX: The Turkish Irruption” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read Chapter IX of Sounders’ A History of Medieval Islam.  With the pouring of the Turks into the region, the political landscape changed once again.  This reading will explain the process in which the Seljuk Turks entered Asia Minor by defeating the Byzantine Empire.  As the next unit will explain, after the split of the Great Seljuk Empire, the Ottoman Empire will form the last mighty Islamic Empire.  This reading and taking notes should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
 
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  • Reading: All Empires: Ihsan’s “The Seljuk Empire” Link: All Empires: Ihsan’s “The Seljuk Empire” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire webpage, and carefully study the list of rulers and important events.  The Seljuks are the first Turkic Empire that pushed the Byzantine territory farther west.  This reading will give you information about their rise.  This reading and taking notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
     
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