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For this week, we are going to do something a bit different. Instead of one question, I am going to give you an opportunity to select one of two questions, based on the content of the two chapters we are studying this week. You only have to respond to one, not both, of the posted questions.
a. Mohammed began preaching about his revelations from God (Allah) in 613 and soon had a following in Medina. By the time of his death in 632, most of the people of Arabia had converted to Islam. By 700, zealous Arab armies had conquered North Africa and crossed over into Spain. Arab armies had also conquered the Sassinid Empire in present-day Iran. By 1200, Islam had moved southward into Central Africa south of the Sahara Deert. Identify and discuss the reasons for the success and spred of Islam over such a great area in such a relatively short period of time.
b. During my Air Force career I spent two 3-year tours in Europe, one in Spain and later on in Germany. In my travels around much of Europe, I visited a number of Gothic cathedrals, including perhaps the most famous, Notre Dame (“Our Lady”) in Paris, France. These cathedrals still stand in today’s Europe as outstanding architectural and engineering marvels of Western Civilization. Construction began in the early 1100s and 1200s and took two-three hundred years and hundreds of thousands of manhours to construct. Lords and wealthy families gave large sums of hard currency to purchase the building materials, and mostly willing workmen provided the majority of the manhours expended with little or no pay as they were working for the “glory of God.” Why then were medieval cathedrals so important to the average European of the Middle Ages?