Posted: July 30th, 2023

: religion and empire 2 responses


Between 500 and 800 CE, the Byzantine and Islamic empires were the most powerful forces in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Each had a single ruler (the Byzantine emperor and the Islamic caliph) and each sought to spread a monotheistic faith (Christianity and Islam). Choose either the Byzantine or Islamic empires and identify two factors that made it successful. Then, find two similarities between Christianity and Islam. Do you think religion played a role in the success of the empires?

There are many factors that made the Byzantine Empire successful. One of the factor is that the empire had advanced weaponary. The weapons were used to defend their empire by protecting their territories and the people. Another factor is that the people were united in God, Faith played a major role in that factor of following rule and regulations.Christianity and Islam were similar in many ways. For instance, they both had a monolithic religion. This means that they believed in the existence of only one God and there was judgement and reward in the afterlife. Additionally, both Christianity and Islam have holy books, the Bible for the Christians and Quran for the Muslims (Sal, 2020). The holy books provide guidance on how God expects us to live. I believe that a united front played a significant role in the success of the empires. For instance, it united the people by their faith in God and  kept them at peace amongs each other, the bible and the Quran were used as a guide for them to live in peach and always stay vigilent.  


There are countless factors that contribute to the success of the Islamic empire in spreading monotheism. Many advancements in science, architeture, literature, and mathematics are due to the influence of Islam. The Arabs where tradesmen. The Prophet Muhammad met his wife as a result of a business agreement. As tradesmen, Arabians traveled through out the land, from North Africa the middle east, even as far as central asia. Another contribution that led to the success of the Islamic empire was the Arabic language being a universal form of communication. The Deen or, “Way of life” became just that. Not totally by force but moreso as a result of cultural influence.

Two similarities between Islam and Christianity are the belief in only one God, and they both believe in an Afterlife. That once this life is over, one is promised with Heaven or Hell, according to one’s deeds. Also, The Bible and The Holy Qu’ran speak of the same people. Abraham, Moses, Soloman, Mary and Jesus.

Yes religion played a role in the success of the empire because of the huge cultural influence. Islamic culture was a part of everything from trade to education. One of the oldest universities is the Sankore University in Timbuktu. This university was estabished under the rule of Mansa Musa, who was an African King famous for his pilgrimage from west Africa to Mecca. He gave away so much gold that it changed the economy. It is said that he is still the richest man to have ever lived. And yes, Mansa Musa was muslim. 

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