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    Arabiaball was a region with many different cultures, some urban and others nomadic Bedouin. Both SPQRball and File:Sassanian-icon.png Persiaball empires fought for influence in Arabiaball by supporting clients, and in turn Arabian tribes sought the patronage of the two rival empires to bolster their own ambitions. The Lakhmid kingdom which covered parts of what is now southern Iraq and northern Saudi Arabiaball was a Sassanian client state, and in 602 they were deposed by the Persians to take over the defense of the southern frontier. This left the Persians exposed and over-extended, helping to set the stage for the collapse of Persiaball later that century. Southern Arabiaball, especially what is now Yemen, had for thousands of years been a wealthy region that had been a center of the spice trade. Yemen had been at the center of an international trading network linking Eurasia to Africa and Yemen had been visited by merchants from East Africa, Europe, the Middle East, India and even from as far away as China. In turn, the Yemeni were great sailors, travelling up the Red Sea to Egypt and across the Indian Ocean to India and down the east African coast. Inland, the valleys of Yemen had been cultivated by a system of irrigation that had been set back when the Marib Dam was destroyed by an earthquake in about 450 AD. Frankincense and myrrh had been greatly valued in the Mediterranean region, being used in religious ceremonies. However, the conversion of the Mediterranean world to Christianity had significantly reduced the demand for these commodities, causing a major economic slump in southern Arabiaball which helped to create the impression that Arabiaball was a backward region.

    Little is known of the pre-Islamic religions of Arabiaball, but it is known that the Arabs worshipped a number of gods such as al-Lat, Manat, al-Uzza and Hubal, with the most important being Allah (God). There were also Jewish and Christian communities in Arabiaball and aspects of Arab religion reflected their influence. Pilgrimage was a major part of Arabian paganism, and one of the most important pilgrimage sites was Mecca, which housed the Kaaba, considered an especially holy place to visit. Muhammad, a merchant of Mecca, started to have visions in which he claimed that the Archangel Gabriel had told him that he was the last of the prophets continuing the work of Jesus Christ and the prophets of Tanakh. After coming into conflict with the elite of Mecca, Muhammad fled to the city of Yathrib, which was renamed Medina. At Yathrib, Muhammad founded an Islamic state, and by 630, conquered Mecca.

    Arab conquests of the Sassanid Empire and Syria 620–630

    The prolonged and escalating Byzantine–Sassanid wars of the 6th and 7th centuries and the recurring outbreaks of bubonic plague (Plague of Justinian) left both empires exhausted and weakened in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Arabs. The last of these wars ended with victory for the Byzantines: Emperor Heraclius regained all lost territories, and restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629. The war against Zoroastrian Persiaball, whose people worshiped the fire god Ahura Mazda, had been portrayed by Heraclius as a holy war in defense of the Christian faith and the Wood of the Holy Cross, as splinters of wood said to be from the True Cross were known, had been used to inspire Christian fighting zeal. The idea of a holy war against the "fire worshipers", as the Christians called the Zoroastrians, had aroused much enthusiasm, leading to an all-out effort to defeat the Persians.

    Nevertheless, neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they were overrun by the advances of the Arabs (newly united by Islam), which, according to James Howard-Johnston, "can only be likened to a human tsunami". According to George Liska, the "unnecessarily prolonged Byzantine–Persian conflict opened the way for Islam".

    In late 620s Muhammad had already managed to conquer and unify much of Arabiaball under Muslim rule, and it was under his leadership that the first Muslim-Byzantine skirmishes took place in response to Byzantine incursions. Just a few months after Heraclius and the Persian general Shahrbaraz agreed on terms for the withdrawal of Persian troops from occupied Byzantine eastern provinces in 629, Arab and Byzantine troops confronted each other at the Battle of Mu'tah as a result of Byzantine vassals murdering a Muslim emissary. Muhammad died in 632 and was succeeded by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph with undisputed control of the entire Arab peninsula after the successful Ridda Wars, which resulted in the consolidation of a powerful Muslim state throughout the peninsula.

    Byzantine sources, such as the Short History written by Nikephoros, claim that the Arab invasion came about as a result of restrictions imposed on Arab traders curtailing their ability to trade within Byzantine territory, and to send the profits of their trade out of Byzantine territory. As a result, the Arabs murdered a Byzantine official named Sergius whom they held responsible for convincing the Emperor Heraclius to impose the trade restrictions. Nikephoros relates that:

    The Saracens, having flayed a camel, enclosed him in the hide and sewed it up. As the skin hardened, the man who was left inside also withered and so perished in a painful manner. The charge against him was that he had persuaded Heraclius not to allow the Saracens to trade from the Roman country and send out of the Roman state the thirty pounds of gold which they normally received by way of commercial gain; and for this reason they began to lay waste the Roman land.

    Military campaigns

    Conquest of the Levant: 634–641

    Conquest of Egypt: 639–642

    Conquest of Mesopotamia and Persiaball: 633–651

    Conquest of Sindh: 711–714

    Conquest of the Maghreb: 647–742

    Conquest of Hispania and Septimania: 711–721

    Conquest of Transoxiana: 673–751

    Conquest of Afghanistan


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