The Fall of the Abbasid Empire Essay
The Fall of the Abbasid Empire
While the start of the Abbasid Empire, around 750 CE was explosive and revitalizing in nature, it couldn’t mask the unfortunate truth that a series of wealth-bloated and soft-handed caliphs were to rule the new empire. By the third caliph, al-Mahdi, the empire was already in decline; the royal harem was outrageously large, mosques were built bigger and bigger, crushing the peasant class under the weight of extreme taxation. All the while, the caliphs in their garnished palaces partied and lived in extravagant fashion with little care for their countries impending demise. As the Empire spiraled further downward, the cause became more and more evident; weak rule; the empire was crippled by this and couldn’t react to outside invasions due to the power struggle in the courts between conflicting factions, thus the Buyids of Persia invaded the capital and brought down the Empire.
During the very early years of the Abbasid Empire, the country was revitalized by the feat it had just accomplished in bringing down the previously formidable Umayyad Empire. It was united and strong; as a victorious young country should be. But by the reign of the third caliph, it was becoming apparent that the ruling class was spiraling downward morally, just as had happened in Ancient Rome. The royal harems were growing incredulously large, and the royalty who visited them often valued their female slaves over their own wives. Towards the end of the Abbasid era, there began an artistic revolution however, this was interesting because it was at this time that the political state was weakest. Many works of construction were underway to put peasants to work, however the cost of these works were being paid for by the peasants themselves in the form of crushing taxation from the government.
The heavy taxes often could not be paid by the poor peasants, and this resulted in pillaging of peasant villages by members of the upper classes, which in return resulted in the abandonment of some peasant villages. All the while, the caliphs were played as pawns in a power struggle between opposing factions of advisors in the royal court. These factions often held the true power of the Empire while the soft and drunken caliphs partied about. This weak form of rule became extremely evident when the Buyids splintered from the Abbasid Empire and invaded Baghdad, the capital, quickly establishing their own advisors; “Sultans” which meant “victorious” in Arabic. The caliphs were truly puppet rulers now, under the control of the Buyid’s Sultans; a direct cause of weak rule. The Empire fell due to lack of strong rule. Caliphs became puppets to their courts and so their Empire became a puppet to the Buyids. Thus quickly fell the Abbasid Empire.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 October 2016
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