Do the Arabs develop and spread like the Vikings without Islam?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Modern Imperialism, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Without Islam do the Arabs share a similar fate as the Norse raiders from Scandinavia? They expand, raid, and takeover stuff but they assimilate into the local cultures and people overtime like the Vikings or khanates did.
     
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  2. Kerney defender of low probability atls everywhere

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    I think it depends if they complete a conquest, like the Vikings came close to but failed to do. Had they succeeded the cultural weight would be toward them, like it was locally in places like Northumbria and Dublin for the Vikings temporarily but not overall for Britian and Ireland.

    If the Arabs take Palastine and the Tigris/Euphrates and hold them, the culture gravitates toward Arab norms over time. If year after year the Byzantines and Sassinids are taking these conquests back slowly, the way Alfred and his successors were, it is they who get assimilated over time.
     
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  3. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    The Arabs though, may create an Arsacid-like empire. Without Islam, the agnatic clan aspect of the Arabs will be stronger.
     
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  4. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Nope, the arabs were very disunited and very clan like, heck the romans(both of them) called them 'the desert dogs' for their salvage nature.
     
  5. Metaverse Banned

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    Arabs were very disunited and warlike with each others' tribes. Also, they followed various religions. Some Arab Paganism, some Judaism and some Christianity. A scenario of successful Arab conquest is near to impossible without Islam. They would have probably dissolved into the Byzantine Empire on the Western end and remain Nomadic in the mid Arabian peninsula.
     
  6. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Now, this makes me wonder if the ATL "Viking Islam" happened, with Vikings having unifying religion, while Arabs being turned into massed raiders who attacked many areas in Near East, but ultimately absorbed by the Persians/Egyptians/Romans.
     
  7. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it, the Norse was really on the marginal edge of civilization, while the Arabs was much more part of the civilized world.
     
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  8. Metaverse Banned

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    Not really. Arabs who were urbanized lived nearby to the Roman provinces and were heavily influenced by the Romans. For example, Palmyra and Petra. Beyond the South of Jordan, if you visit in a time travel mission, I doubt you would find traces of much Civilization. Contact, a little. But full fledged civilization, definitely not.
     
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  9. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    They had towns and cities, the first town in Scandinavia came in the 8th century.
     
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  10. Atterdag Well-Known Member

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    The biggest towns in Scandinavia at that time was around 1000, while Meccas population seems to have been atleast 10000 (maybe more). The level of urbanization is not really in the same range.
     
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  11. phoenix101 Member

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    In modern day Yemen there was the Sabaean kingdom and later on the kingdom of Himyar. They had large constructions such as the Marib dam, which dates back to the 8th century BCE. They were involved in the spice trade between India and the mediterranean and were an important source of frankincense and myrrh. There even was an Roman attempt at conquest during the reign of Augustus, led by Aelius Gallus the prefect of Egypt during which Marib was besieged. Disease and an overextended supply line forced Gallus to retreat back to Egypt. Certainly the ancient Yemenite kingdoms would count as a full fledged civilization?
     
  12. Metaverse Banned

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    I'm aware of this. Yemen was urbanized and so was the part bordering the Roman provinces. But the lands in the middle had little to no civilization. I doubt Mecca was that large in the Pre-Islamic era, before it goes the sacred status. It was a divine place for the Arabs doesn't mean it was an Urban center then.

    And that expedition during Augustus, they are said to have captured Mecca and Yathrib without much difficulty to find out it wasn't much worth holding and abandoned them, returning to Rome. It was a Nabatean who misled the Roman expedition from Yemen to a "land full of deserts" where they lost men and resources, due to the Natural reasons.
     
  13. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    Which was my point
     
  14. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Civilization in Arabia more centered around the coast. The region is more important just for trade, travel, and border defense. They have much more development and people then Scandinavia during the same time. The inland is more where the unlivable Desert is. The more coastal and mountainous lands aren’t too bad. Raiding and trading makes a lot sense for the Arabs given their location. On land they can raid into Byzantium and Persia. By sea they can raid Egypt, India, Persia, and Africa. The Arabs are kind of like the vikings in many ways. Both left their native regions when population boom happened and they had a lack of productive land. Arabs just had more people and better resources(they aren’t in a backwater as much as the viking. They are actually in a much better strategic position for trade. A lot of goods between the east and west pasts by Arabia rather regularly). Also could the Arabs pull more of a khanate too? They takeover similar lands as otl but fade and assimilate over time? In Arabia itself I see Arabs still being the top cultural group but would Greek and Persian influence is likely much more clear and intense. Islam helped make the Arab language more uniformed and international. Without it, it would be still more useful to learn Greek or Persian when traveling and trading over Arab.
     
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  15. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    They'd assimilate a sizable chunk of the lands immediate the desert in modern southern Iraq, Jordan, and Israel, which was an ongoing process in Late Antiquity. They could easily emerge as a formidable opponent to Rome and Persia, but would easily fragment due to lack of unity and internal disputes. Egypt will likely be conquered, probably a sizable amount of the Levant too. They almost certainly won't get further than Cyrenaica though, although they can certainly raid Africa/Numidia.

    IMO the Turks are the best model. Like the Turks you'd easily see scattered populations of Arabs around the MENA but likely only a majority in the Arabian peninsula. I think they'd leave a huge linguistic influence on Coptic and Aramaic though, as much as Greek had at that point.
     
  16. thekingsguard Founder of Korsgaardianism

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    There is a reason why as soon as the Islamic conquests began, Arabia ceased to be the heart of Arab civilization until the discovery of oil made the Saudis what they are today. Almost as soon as they were taken, Baghdad, Damascus, Egypt and Persia become the new "homelands" of the Arab people.

    Even Scandinavia was less on the fringe than pre-Islamic Arabia.

    Take away Islam as a unifying cultural force, and within a few generations, the Arabs will assimilate into the local cultures, just like the Norse did.
     
  17. Metaverse Banned

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    Do you really think they can assimilate the regions of Judea, Egypt and Syria-Palestina that easily? I could see what happened in the Western Europe(Romance languages) happening here too. That is the invaders would melt into the Aramaic, Greek, Coptic speakers and adopt their languages with some modifications.

    And without being united, I think they will be defeated like anything by the Byzantines.
     
  18. snerfuplz Liveral Fascist

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    I have heard it suggested that plenty of the Eastern Roman provinces contained if not majority Arabs significant minorities of Arabs by the time of the Arab conquests
     
  19. Metaverse Banned

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    Yes. Even since way back, too. They spoke mostly Aramaic, Greek and Latin and were culturally Roman. Emperor Philip is one example.
     
  20. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    I think the big question is, regardless of their own religion, do they allow religious toleration? That was a major factor in their conquest of Palestine/Syria and Egypt - they offered the local Christians (and Jews) more toleration than the Romans had.
     
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