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Discuss and compare the three civilizations that confronted each other across the Mediterrenean about 700 AD?
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: This maritime chapter in history is very obscure. All the trading was moved on land. Because of the fall of the Roman Empire the importance of the Mediterranean in the VIII-th century was reduced to zero (economically speaking). The powers that played a major role in the administration of the Med. in the period of time specified were the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs (and probably local tribes, what was left of them). As you can see the major scene of conflicts was the Eastern part of the Med.
The Arabs began a rapid expansion after the death of Mohamed, their prophet (632). After the unification of the Arab peninsula, from 632-640, the Arabs managed to conquer Palestine, Syria, Armenia, the Persian Empire. Before 642 they managed to conquer Egypt, then Carthage and the entire Northern part of Africa. In 711, Al-Tarik conquers Spain. In less than a 100 years after the death of their prophet, the Arabs reached France were they were defeated by Charles Martel.
The Byzantine Empire, after losing all the above provinces, was forced to shift its backbone to Asia Minor. Reorganized and very heavily defended in the Aegean See, it was capable of resisting 2 sieges. Led by see, the Arabs were defeated at the gates of Constantinople. The last siege was in 717. The Byzantines used the "Greek fire" as a primary weapon, kind of like a Molotov cocktail. The Byzantines reorganized their themes (administrative provinces) around the eastern part of the Med. and became much more stronger. This was the beginning of the Greek period of time in the Byzantine history.
The Med. will regain its economical importance in the XII-th century when the trades with the East will begin.