Aspects of the history of medieval Europe and the Islamic world

Wars and warfare

During 600 and 1450 AD the military technology was retained from the earlier times but iron and steel had replaced Bronze. Large scale weapon production began in China, Byzantine, Islamic and Persian empires. Poisonous gas and smoke bombs came to be used. The cross bow which was used in Western Europe in the 10th century was first developed by China but it disappeared soon after. Its effects were so lethal that the church was against the use of it on Christians but they could use in on Muslims. Building huge walls became a protection for important cities in the empires.  A fire thrower which was invented in India, refined in China was used by the Byzantine Empire and was called Greek fire.  Gunpowder was invented in China and it was used in warfare soon. Slowly guns and cannons made out of cast iron started to evolve and they became bigger and more sophisticated as over the years.

Armies of the empires had infantry as its main battalion. They were supported by cavalry. In places like India one could find the elephants corps.  Soldiers came from family of soldiers, some were long-term recruits and many were recruited at the time of war. They were distinguished from the common people by the way they lived and the arms they bore. Most major empires did not depend solely on land. They had a strong maritime presence too. The inland rivers were used too for attacking. It was mostly used for trade but sometime it helped during wartime too.

READ  Arab–Israeli Conflict

There were many wars between 600 and 1450 AD which changed borders and brought about many other changes as well.

  • The Ridda Wars were a series of battles launched by Caliph Abu Bakr against rebel Arabian tribe between 632 and 633. The tribes were considered rebels as they did not accept Abu Bakr as the Caliph and their surrender was only to Prophet Mohammed who had died. However Abu Bakr managed to defeat these tribes and integrated into the caliphate. This war was also known as Wars of Apostasy.
  • Civil wars between 656 and 685 were a series and have been named first, second and third Fitna. Fitna means trial in Arabic and t was atrial as the first war that brought a divide in the Muslim community into Shiites and Sunnis.

There were many more wars during this period. Normans tried to conquer England on the 11th century. England and France were at war during the years between 1154 and 1204. The famous Hundred Years War was also during this period between 1337 and 1396.

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