Umayyad Caliphate

756 Jan 2


Damascus, Syria

Key Findings:

  • Muawiya was one of the first to realize the full importance of having a navy
  • The Umayyad caliphate was marked both by territorial expansion and by the administrative and cultural problems that such expansion created.
  • During the period of the Umayyads, Arabic became the administrative language and the process of Arabization was initiated in the Levant, Mesopotamia, North Africa, and Iberia. State documents and currency were issued in Arabic.
  • According to one common view, the Umayyads transformed the caliphate from a religious institution (during the Rashidun caliphate) to a dynastic one.
  • Modern Arab nationalism regards the period of the Umayyads as part of the Arab Golden Age which it sought to emulate and restore.
  • Throughout the Levant, Egypt and North Africa, the Umayyads constructed grand congregational mosques and desert palaces, as well as various garrison cities (amsar) to fortify their frontiers such as Fustat, Kairouan, Kufa, Basra and Mansura. Many of these buildings feature Byzantine stylistic and architectural features, such as Roman mosaics and Corinthian columns.
  • The only Umayyad ruler who is unanimously praised by Sunni sources for his devout piety and justice is Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz.
  • The books written later in the Abbasid period in Iran are more anti-Umayyad.
  • The sakia or animal-powered irrigation wheel was likely introduced to Islamic Spain in early Umayyad times (in the 8th century)
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Last Updated: Sun Jan 14 2024