Before the Mongols: Frontiers and Imperial Decline

  1. An Age of Invaders (1000-1200 CE)

    1. Turkic migrants invade Byzantium, the Arab-Islamic world, and China

    2. Western Christians invade Byzantium and Arab-Islamic world

    3. Almoravids invade Islamic Spain and Ghana

  2. The Arab-Islamic World

    1. By 1000 CE, the Islamic world was politically fragmented

      1. Abbasid Dynasty in decline, with two other claimants to the title of Caliph

      2. This lack of political unity may have contributed to their vulnerability to invasion

    2. Turkic invasions remake the Islamic worlds

      1. Early in the 11th century, Turkic invaders begin conquest of Anatolia and Middle East

      2. Baghdad, seat of the Abbasid Sunni caliphate, falls to Seljuk Turks, 1055

      3. Seljuks convert to Sunni Islam

      4. Begins process of Turkic domination of Islamic world for next few centuries

    3. The Crusades (1095-1291 CE)

      1. Christian invaders into Arab-Islamic lands have less long term impact

      2. Inspired by Pope Urban II (r. 1088-1099)

      3. Initially able to conquer Levant, establish a small group of Crusader Kingdoms in the 1090s

      4. A series of increasingly disastrous crusades invade both Islamic regions and Byzantium over the next two centuries

      5. Last of the Crusader Kingdoms extinguished by 1291

      6. Left a legacy of Christian-Islamic hostility

    4. The Almoravids

      1. Nomadic Saharan Muslims

      2. Invade Islamic ruled southern Spain

        1. sweep into Spain in the 1080s in response to Christian expansion from the north

        2. seize control from fractious Islamic kingdoms

        3. push back against and halt for a time the expansion of northern Christian kingdoms

      3. Conquest of Ghana

        1. push south in 1062 in a rare example of trans-Saharan empire

        2. seize the Ghana capital of Kumbi Saleh in 1076

        3. lose control of Ghana and its trade routes after 1087

        4. despite short-lived success, does much to extend the influence of Islam into the western Sahel

  3. Byzantine Decline

    1. Byzantine Empire sees a brief period of expansion under Basil II (r. 976-1025)

    2. However, rules over only Anatolia, Balkan region of southeast Europe and parts of southern Italy

    3. The empire finds itself squeezed between the expanding Latin West and the Muslim Turkic peoples

    4. Byzantium and the Crusades

      1. Constantinople (Orthodox Church) and Rome (Catholic Church) had been drifting apart for centuries

      2. Official split comes in 1054

      3. Crusades cement much of that distrust

      4. Crusaders initially help Byzantium in fight against Islamic invaders

      5. But growing animosity and failures of later Crusades leads to sack of Constantinople in 1024

      6. Leads to Venetian seizure of much of Byzantium's European territories

    5. Seljuk Turks

      1. As they invade Arabic lands, Seljuks also push into Anatolia in 1060s

      2. Major victory in 1077 leads to half of Anatolia under their control

      3. leaves Byzantium without access to much of its former agricultural lands

      4. decline of Byzantium assures Islamic Turkic power in Anatolia and the Levant

  4. Chinese Imperial Decline

    1. Turkic invasions lead to collapse of Tang Dynasty in 907 CE

    2. Period of chaos leads to founding of Song Dynasty in 960 CE

    3. Song beset with northern invaders

      1. series of invader states formed in northern China

      2. these invaders adopt many of the cultural and government traits of the Chinese

      3. but Song forced to retreat to Yangtze River region and give up the Yellow River homeland by Jurchen state

    4. Loss of territory leads to development

      1. Song colonize new regions in the south

      2. new circumstances out of necessity spur expansive development of trade and industry

      3. wealth leads to a flowering of arts and scholarship

      4. but Song never develop an effective strategy for confronting northern invaders a=or retaking northern China