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Each deals with the dramatic sequence of events that preceded and followed the unforeseen emergence of Islam in a corner of the world to which the ancients had paid little or no attention. Bowersock has long shown how much we can learn about the ancient world by viewing it from its peripheries.

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Like Sir Ronald Syme, but going further afield than he did, Bowersock has insisted on seeing Rome from its provinces: in the provincial elites of the Greek world; in Roman Arabia; in the strange mutations of Hellenism in non-Greek regions; in the delicious joie de vivre of the mosaics of the late antique Middle East.

And every time that Bowersock looks back into the centers of the classical world from his carefully chosen viewing points along its edge, the Greco-Roman world as a whole center and periphery alike is made to seem more diverse, more adaptable, more filled with surprises. The Throne of Adulis shows Bowersock at full bent. In it, he reveals an unimaginably distant world, where the Indian Ocean touched societies caught between equatorial Africa and the deep desert of Arabia. Byzantines knew of these strange lands as sources of their incense, gold, and ivory.

Occasionally, even a giraffe from the wide savannahs of East Africa and the Sudan would appear in Constantinople, to be placed in the menagerie of the imperial palace. There the gangly and voracious beast would be fed with leafy branches from the hand of the emperor himself, to symbolize the wide reach of a ruler capable of taming exotic beasts from the far ends of the earth—whether these were giraffes or barbarians.

The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 2

Arab historian Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri spent the last 20 years of his life in the city, and another great scholar, al-Awza, was born there. During this period, the grew the arrivalof city with poor peasantsfrom the countryside. It became divided into four quarters. Wealthy Muslims and government officials lived in the northwest quarter. Poor Muslimsday laborers and rural migrantslived in the southwest quarter. The city's original inhabitants, Christians and Jews, occupied the other two quarters.

During these years, Damascus gained a reputation as a of violent, city ungovernable people. The militias had their own in fantry and cavalry units and remained a major political force in the city well into the s. Thecity revolted several times against Abbasid rule. The Abbasid governors dismantled the Roman walls to allow free movement throughout thecity. Later the walls were rebuilt in mud brick and then solid stone. Damascus Under Later Rulers.


Under the Seljuks, Damascus became a local power center, virtually independent of both Cairo and Baghdad. Under Nur al-Din, the city became the capital of a united Muslim Syria and command headquarters for military campaigns against the crusader states. His popularity allowed him to control the Damascus militias and lessen their influence, and again the city became an important center of Islamic learning. Many new religious schools were built, and distinguished Muslim scholars came from Iran and Mesopotamia.

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Saladin became ruler of Egypt and succeeded Nur al-Din as the main Muslim leader against the crusades. The city became a key staging area for Mamluk military campaigns against the Mongols, against later Christian crusades, and against rival Muslim groups. It continued to thrive as a religious center, and a new marketplace was built that was famed for its silk and brocade and its enameled glass, inlaid metalwork, and leather. See also Crusades; Islam, Conquests of. Dances took place at court, at festivals, and at other public gatherings.

They were also part of weddings and other church celebrations, though not always approved of by the church. Dances are shown in paintings and mentioned in literature, but few pieces of music or descriptions of dance steps survive from before The evidence shows that some dances had instrumental backing and others were accompanied by songs.

More often than not, dances were done by pairs or groups of dancers rather than by single performers. Two paintings from the s show a singer playing a tambourine for a group of dancers.

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No pictures, however, show people playing from written music, and there are also very few music manuscripts, so it is assumed that the music was usually learned by heart or improvised. Rounds were sung to dances that were done in a circle. There was a dance called the estampie, which had irregular rhythms and needed great concentration from the dancers. Some dances were quite energetic, involving leaping steps. Popular Dancing Many popular dances had their origin in rites performed in Europe before Christianlty became the es-.

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The church therfore, Issued frequent warnings against dance. It is clear, however,that dances took place during church celebrations,and that these did not differ greatly from the dances at feativals and in nobles courts. In in Parts the church forbade its clergy from dancing at any time of the year other than Christmas and feast of St, Catherine and Sty,Nicolas. Any one who disobeyed faced exputsion from the church.

At first, the different classes in society appear to have all performed the same kinds of dances. But after , a new, more stately dance called the basse danse became very popular with the upper classes. More information is available about this dance than about earlier ones.

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The basse danse started in the courts of Burgundy and Lombardy and spread rapidly through Europe. Its name refers to the that the fact feet were kept low, instead of performing the jumping and leaping steps of other dances. In one northern Europe version, couples moved forward, hand in hand. After beginning the dance a formal bow, they with performed a complicated series of steps: two slow steps forward, foot, left then right; three steps forward, ending with the feet together; turns of the body left, right, left, right, with the feet together; and then a move called a reprise that involved putting one foot behind the other, rising on the toes, and putting the feet together again.

The details and sequence of these steps varied for each different basse danse. In Italy, it was called the bassadanza, and it combinedthe dignified steps of the north with more active ones, including leaps. Another related Italian dance, called the hallo, combined quick and slow steps and was sometimes designed to show a theme such as ungraciousness or jealousy.

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  • Dancers had to practice in order to learn the different variations, and some nobles spent several hours a day in dance class. From the s, hundreds of music manuscripts of these dances survive close to each of the basse danse and bassadanza and 70 hallo. To prevent the Danes from looting and destroying, other AngloSaxon rulers chose to buy off the Danes with tribute, or money payments, called danegeld.

    Prankish kings made similar payments on the European mainland. Even after the Danish threat passed, the term continued to be used in England for taxes levied to defend against attacks from the sea.

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    In , however, after the Danes had invaded once again and defeated the English forces, King Ethelred began to pay tribute to the Danes on a regular basis. To help pay for the tribute, he had to collect danegeld from his subjects. The Vikings took back large amounts of danegeld from England. There are massive numbers of silver coins from King Ethelred's reign found in Scandinavia, and memorial inscriptions also mention the payments.

    Long after the end of the Danish threat, danegeld was a land tax that English kings imposed on their subjects, originally to pay for ships and crews to defend the English coast. This annual danegeld tax continued well into the s. After political opponents exiled him from the city in , Dante spent the last 20 years of his life in exile. During his exile, he wrote an epic poemCommedia, or Comedy later called the Divine Comedy a triumph of world literature that has placed Dante in the company of Homer and Shakespeare as among the greatest writers who ever lived.

    The Divine Comedy was full of Dante's political beliefs. He took revenge on his enemies in Florence by placing them in Hell. He placed his allies and heroes in Heaven. The Divine Comedy. Dante's work is filled with a dazzling display of medieval ideas, symbols, and people.