Whittow ? Making Of Orthodox Byzantium Essay, Research Paper
Strategic Geography of
Near East ?
The Balkans ?
difficulty of routes etc, not a natural political unit ?
wealthy ? too many mountains, but some plains prone to drought.? Suited to small autonomous states.? Larger units short lived or imposed from
Thrace and Lower
Danube major agric – extensively used under Ottomans to fed C. 0 agric. Base
Bulgaria and Romania – these plains have potential for agricultural wealth and basis
of political power. The Steppes ?
Small nomadic units on
the hugely dry / cool Eurasian steppes ? middle Ages great political powers. ?
Most powerful force
pre-gunpowder age ? when grouped together ? like Huns and Monguls very
effective and broker West and problematic to East ? why Steppes important. ?
Easily fragmented back
o nomadic roots, withhold first attack second no probem ?
Remounts basis power ?
Hungarian plain not big enough for grazing, so needed to change life if to stay
there Anatolia and Iran ?
Nomads blocked to the
south as well ? formidable barriers to communication etc.? Favourable to east ? west rather than
Iran more suited to
nomadic existence than Anatolia, but neither had big enough plains to sustain
large nomadic power. ?
Anatolia and Iran seen
as heartlands of respective empire, but agriculturally little more than
self-sufficient ? food had to come from elsewhere The Agricultural Plains ?
Asia Minor ? facing
Aegean Sea ? v wealthy as seen by Roman remains ? Iraq fulfils this role like
Asia Minor equiv. Iraq ? Mesopotamia ? Tigris and Euphrates ?
Some of Fertile
Crescent irrigated, but a lot over 200 mm a yesr The Desert ?
Population desert poor
and small before discovery of oil ?
Bedouin tribes in some
way self-sufficient but always bounded to more wealthy neighbours in the
Fertile Crescent ? land not important, but people who lived their were. ?
Enjoyed raiding and
difficult relationship with settled people ? state of permanent peace would
have been foreign economically and culturally to the Bedouin. ?
However raiding not
disastrous for settling community ? did have more horses, although camel
effective tool throughout Near East ?
Pre oil Arabia state
less society ? even tribal leaders limited power, impact fragmentary society
could have on powers of fertile crescent is very limited. ?
Power to become states
? tribal confederations and so forth, round oases etc, but tribal in
fighting.? Nature of desert that need to
split up ? n surplus to reward power etc, unless surplus found.? No surprise Arab states usually based around
places near the fertile plain.? Only
asset to world of desert to achieve unity and wealth is military ability.