Cross and the Crescent Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1464 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
As the author presents in the first chapter, Ishmael's Children, "the Arabs were semi-nomadic tribes people," often seen with disdain and characterized as "a destructive people." A very interesting aspect that the book reveals is that the Christian writers explained how the Arabs are by appealing to the Bible. In genesis 16 we discover the life of Ishmael and he is described as "a wild man, his hand against every man's, and every man's hand against his; and he shall live at odds with all his kinsmen." It is interesting to see how little the attitude of Christians towards Muslims has changed. The Arabs were seen as barbarians because of their nomad way of life. Their goal was to conquer as many land as possible, using its richness and then move on. This aspect was still preserved in the later centuries, when Arabs managed to create empires, remaining well-known for their violent way.

Islam is presented in this book as a culture and a civilization that evolved from a nomad style of living to an imperialistic one, but at all times their characteristics of conquerors remained. The Arabs as a general term used by Christians for all Muslims were seen as being violent and constantly trying to enlarge their territories.

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Another aspect that is revealed by The Cross and the Crescent related to the relations between the Arab world and the Christian one. In the second chapter, identified sugestively An Elephant for Charlemagne, the author presents the building of the Islamic empire and the role that the existing christian and persian state structures played in the Umayyad Caliphate, and how the Abbasid Caliphate sought and achieved an entirely Muslim identity, symbolized in the capital moving from Damascus to the purpose-built Baghdad.

Term Paper on Cross and the Crescent the Assignment

The title of the chapter comes from the gift that the Abbasid Caliph Harun ar-Rashid gave to Charlemagne on the occasion of his crowning as Emperor in Rome in December 800. Along with the elephant, the caliph also gave Charlemagne a mechanical clock, that was seen as a marvellous mechanical contraption, a symbol of how evolved the Arabs were. This object must have represented for Charlemagne an ocassion of learning and progress, as it was far more advanced technologically speacking than the Christian technology. But the gift with the elephant proves that there were some connections between Muslims, Christians and Nordic pagans. The elephant was given as a gift in order to present to the whole world the richness of Islam, as this must have been the conclusion that the Christians have drawn. They must have seen Islam as a rich, developed part of the world, that had acces to technological progress and richness.

Another insight on the Muslim world was provided by the interaction between Christians and Muslims in what regards commercial activities, as presented in the fourth chapter, Commerce, Coexistence and Scholarship. In this type of interaction the relationship between these two cultures can best be presented.

Although Islam was founded in the early seventh century, the religion grew fast and expanded over a vast territory that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indus River valley in modern Pakistan. This region occupied by Muslims became the home of a new civilisation, Islam. This new civilisation embodies legacies of Rome, Greece, Iran, and India.

Although these two cultures evolved in such different ways, they influenced each other in many aspects, due to the interactions they had throughout history. The relationship between Christian and Muslims today is the result of previous relationships that existed between the two. The first impression of Christians of the Muslims was that of conquerers and their religion was seen as an aberrant. So Islam was seen as having a pseudo-prophet, an impostor, that influenced his followers towards violence.

In comparison to this general belief that Christians had about Islam, Muslims believed that they had been chosen to receive God's last and most complete revelation. They occupied around the year 900 a larger territory than the Christendom, and therefore they felt superior to Christians. Besides, the Christians were seen as a "jumble of confused sects" and as a number of underdeveloped monarchies.

This image might not be particularly wrong at that time, as the Islamic world had no rival in its wealth, technology, culture or faith. This superior attitude might be the explanation of today's attitude towards Christendom.

Bibliography

Richard Fletcher, The Cross and the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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