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Unformatted text preview: The Islamic polity of the 700s, which had encapsulated the majority of the known world of Antiquity in lightning speed, had its roots in pagan Arab tribesmen mired in clannish warfare, and mostly illiterate. The obvious question is how they were able to conquer the Sassanians, route the Byzantines, and establish a state from Spain to India. Before moving to internal issues, let us consider the environment. The two states against which early Islam abutted were Byzantium and Sassanian Persia. As regards the latter, in the 630s, it was in the midst of coups a the political center occasioned by the momentous loss to Byzantium under Heraclius . As well, none of its border defenses had been resurrected since the conflict, and its army size was much reduced. Client tribes in northern Arabia, the Lakhmids, were only nominally loyal, and had used the war years to drift away from Persian control. Thus, the Arabs were facing a northeastern the war years to drift away from Persian control....
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- Fall '08