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el t
November 10th, 2007, 07:50 PM
I don't recall all of the details, but in the 7th century, the Persians under Chosroes II invade Byzantine territory and take Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and most of Asia Minor. The Byzantine emperor Heraclius manages to defeat them. This is on the eve of the rise of Islam. The fact that both empires were weakened as a result of these wars was a factor in the rapid spread of Islam. What if the Byzantines are defeated or are only able to retake part of Asia Minor. Could the Persians have retained their conquests and even held back the rising Caliphate?

Leo Caesius
November 10th, 2007, 08:57 PM
Khosrow wasn't exactly out to win hearts and minds - he devastated the entire region he conquered. I doubt that he could have held onto it for very long, and the local Christians would probably defect to the side of the Muslims or the Byzantines whenever they come knocking.

Ran Exilis
November 10th, 2007, 09:48 PM
OTOH, without Heraclius bypassing the Sassanid armies on the front and devastating the Sassanids' core territories, Khusrau II remains in charge (thus avoiding the very chaotic period of weak rulers and lots of usurpers that followed after Chosroes' assasination IOTL), and the war with the Byzantines would have ended in a clear victory for the Sassanid Empire.

Consequently, the Sassanids would be in a much better shape than in OTL, even though Khusrau II propably overextended his empire.

The Sassanid soldiers would be at the peak of their morale and under stable leadership when the Muslims invade, as opposed to being demoralized and lacking a strong leader like in OTL.

IMHO, in that state, they could very well have stopped the Muslim invasions.

Leo Caesius
November 10th, 2007, 10:08 PM
I think, in the best-case scenario, they could have limited the Muslims to the peninsula. Much more likely, IMHO, would be the loss of Syria and Egypt, but with a good chance of holding Mesopotamia and the Iranian plateau.

Grimm Reaper
November 10th, 2007, 10:14 PM
The devastation wrought by this extended war greatly weakened both empires and undoubtedly contributed to the relative ease of the Muslim advance.

The Federation
November 11th, 2007, 04:31 AM
If the Sassanids achieved an easy victory and were able to properly govern their new provinces, it's not likely that Islam would've won them.

There were about 6,000 Arab soldiers who conquered all the Byzantine provinces, not because of their military might, but because the local people were fed up with Byzantine taxes and persecution between the different Christian sects and sided with the people they saw as liberators.

The Persians were much better administrators and the Arabs would never have gained the popular support they needed.

And, if Byzantium lost its power base in Asia Minor, it would never have been able to hold off the waves of Slavic invaders from the north, and they would advance all the way into Greece and the Aegean World which would simply become an extension of the Balkans. The Greeks would flee to Magna Graecia and could possibly create a hybrid Graeco-Italian culture on the peninsula.

Yep

Rockingham
November 11th, 2007, 06:43 AM
Not only that, But mightn't the Persians conquer Arabia before Islams rise? They already controlled Oman, Yemen, and Arabias persian gulf coast. With Palestine and Egypt in their hands, the logical next step is to sieze Red sea Arabia at least. In doing that, they probaly butterfly away Islam, and control coastal Arabia. The interior would probaly become De jure Persian, but autonomous.

Another thought:How much do the Persians conquer in this scenario from the Byzantines? Depenant on how much, they may enforce Zoroastriainism or at least another sect of Christianity on them (they did this OTL in their own realms). I doubt this would occur f they got Constantinople though.

The Federation
November 11th, 2007, 08:58 PM
Not only that, But mightn't the Persians conquer Arabia before Islams rise? They already controlled Oman, Yemen, and Arabias persian gulf coast. With Palestine and Egypt in their hands, the logical next step is to sieze Red sea Arabia at least. In doing that, they probaly butterfly away Islam, and control coastal Arabia. The interior would probaly become De jure Persian, but autonomous.

If Persia held Red Sea Arabia (the Hejaz), Mohammad would never have been able to conquer Mecca from the polytheists, and Islam would indeed by butterflied.

Another thought:How much do the Persians conquer in this scenario from the Byzantines? Depenant on how much, they may enforce Zoroastriainism or at least another sect of Christianity on them (they did this OTL in their own realms). I doubt this would occur f they got Constantinople though.All of the Near East to begin with. They held Anatolia up to Phrygia before they were defeated, but they would probably cede some of this in a peace treaty.

I don't believe they really forced Zoroastrianism on the provinces. I recall them being pretty tolerant people. That's one of the reasons the Near Eastern provinces saw them as liberators.

Anybody have thoughts on the rest of my scenario, with the Slavs and Graeco-Italians and all?

Leo Caesius
November 11th, 2007, 09:23 PM
I don't believe they really forced Zoroastrianism on the provinces. I recall them being pretty tolerant people. That's one of the reasons the Near Eastern provinces saw them as liberators.The Jews may have seen them as liberators. The Christians (who were in the majority in these provinces) had another, less complimentary, opinion of the Sasanians.

As far as religious tolerance in the Sasanian empire, for most of the duration of this empire non-Zoroastrians were tolerated only insofar as they were politically useful or in large enough numbers as to render absolute persecution difficult.