Arabia Before Islam at Medieval Musings

Medieval Musings is the kind of blog that I would like to write, if it didn’t already exist. The Middle Ages continues to fascinate, both for its seeming atavistic structure (men who work, men who fight, men who pray!) and the constant, chaotic change. Western Civilization went from seeming collapse to being poised to take over the world in those thousand years. Multitudes of things to be learned remain, even for the amateur medievalist.

There’s a similarly evocative post there about pre-Islamic Arabia, which points out some interesting, if not entirely surprising things:

It is evident from these finds that ancient Arabia was not only politically and linguistically, but also religiously diverse. Artefacts such as the al-Hamra cube (perhaps a pedestal or an altar) display religious motifs shared with Egypt and Mesopotamia, such as the bull-god Apis, while a large number of incense burners and altars evoke the sacrificial spirituality which characterises the old Testament. This plurality continued well into the Christian era, with the Byzantines exerting their influence from the north and a number of Jewish communities noted throughout the peninsula.

Like many places on the fringes of more powerful civilizations, Arabia was a mishmash. Which parts of that mishmash influenced and survived Mohammed is a damned interesting question to nerds like me.



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