Early Medieval Western Society Byzantine Society and Islamic Society Term Paper

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Medieval Western Society, Byzantine Society and Islamic Society

It is the habit of history to study several cultures as if they have developed independently of one another, and entirely different. The results of national and regional pride are evident in the manner in which history is retold, as each civilization builds the future of its own region and develops its own regional differences and standards, each is often studied as if it has developed in a vacuum. Within the primary sources of the foundational societies that encompass the history of today's world there are many differences to be found; yet there is also a clear indication that Early Medieval Western Society, Byzantine Society and Islamic Society all developed within the context of the Ancient Roman Civilization, with all the resulting effects. Additionally, they all developed feudal and manorial institutions in response to internal and external pressures of encroachment. In short all these societies, were seeking a greater power than the individual, through faith societal order and protective means

Within the primary sources of the region, Procopius from Secret History, Sebeos, Armenian History, Muhammed from The Quran, The History from Al-Tabari, Bede from A History of The English Church and People, From the Lombard Laws: Rothair's Edict, Einhard from The life of Charlemagne, Monastic clamors, curses and excommunications and from The Wanderer:Anglo-Saxon poetry can be gleaned extensive evidence about the structure and character of the many peoples as it is reflected by the influence of the early Roman Culture. Each culture developed fortified cities and attempted to develop strong armies to both defend and recapture lost land. Additionally, each culture followed in some ways the character of the early Roman's as they began to challenge regional religions and embrace one universal faith, be it Christian or Islamic and as was mentioned before the development of feudal and manorial society closely mirrored such development in the early Roman culture.

The standards of the development of a feudal or manorial system is demonstrated almost throughout the primary sources of the region. Examples of redistribution of lands, in the name of the greatest power, the Emperor are present in Procopius' Secret History, though he did not agree with these tactics the redistribution of wealth and property is evident from Justinian's actions as Emperor.

He gathered to himself the private estates of Roman citizens from all over the Empire some by accusing their possessions of crimes of which they were innocent, others by juggling their owners' words into the semblance of a gift to him of their property. And many, caught in the act of murder and other crimes, turned their possessions over to him and thus escaped the penalty for their sins. (Procopius 322)

The appreciation of the height and need for feudal associations can be clearly seen within the Edict of Rothair.

Any soldier who refuses to aid his Duke when that one is pursuing justice, shall pay twenty solidi as compensation to the king and to the duke." (Rothair's Edict 342)

Also true of the "The Wander" as it demonstrates the ideals of the feudal standard as one man quests for a lord to follow and protect. "He who is alone often lives to find favor, mildness of the Lord, even though he has long had to stir with his arms the frost-cold sea, troubled in heart over the water-way had to tread the tracks of exile. Fully-fixed in his fate." (352) The man who is unconnected to a higher power, in this case a secular ruler is lost to himself and the world, in exile. External and internal threats helped create feudal systems, fortified cities and a clear reflection of the legacy of early Rome. "Earlier on there had been another dangerous conspiracy against Charlemagne in Germany" (Einhard 345) In the following short quote can be seen clear evidence of the fortified city, supported and opened by a toll. "They made peace with Umar on the condition that they would pay the poll tax and opened up Jerusalem for him." (Al-Tabari 333)

Speaking ofd Justinian Procopius explains his view of the squandering of resources paid to enemies, without who threateded the Roman Empire:

He gave much of it to the Huns who, from time to time, entered the state; and in consequence the Roman provinces were subject to constant incursions, for these barbarians, having once tasted Roman wealth, never forgot the road that led to it. (Procopius 321)

Regardless of Procopius'…[continue]

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