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The Christians V05 - The Sword of Islam

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The Sword of Islam / AD 565 to AD 740 / The Muslim Onslaught all but Destroys Christendom / Volume Five of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years History Series

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The Sword of Islam

Volume 5: A.D. 565 to 740
The Muslim Onslaught all but Destroys Christendom

Barely had Christian civilization in the West begun to struggle out of the ruins of the Roman empire when a lethal new threat confronted it. Islam, a religion created by the prophet Muhammad, burst from Arabia, taking by conquest half of Christendom, from Iran to the Atlantic coast of Africa and northward into Spain. Across the prophet’s vast domain Christians were forbidden on pain of death to preach the Gospel, ride horses, build tall churches or ring church bells. Facing relentless discrimination, many conquered Christians, and eventually most, converted to Islam, and were prevented on pain of death from switching back. Christendom was now confined to Europe, defended by the armies of Byzantium in the East and the ferocity of the Franks in the West. Here, however, the faith continued to grow, preaching the love and mercy of God and slowly creating order from chaos.

Chapter One

Success and Triumph, then a terrible reversal

  • Lonely warriors for Christ
  • Camels: Ill-tempered and indispensable
  • Democrats of the desert

Chapter Two

Ishmael's well becomes Mecca, the birthplace of Islam

  • The Qur'an: 'Like the ringing of a bell'
  • Surrounded by enemies, Ethiopia's faith endures

Chapter Three

Victory after victory fires the Muslim cause

  • The Prophet's women

Chapter Four

With Ariabia subdued, Islam is set to unleash world conquest

  • The Hajj: In the footsteps of Muhammad

Chapter Five

Byzantium and Persia: Two ancient enemies battle to exhaustion

  • Maruice: Saint, soldier and student of war
  • A short-lived Jewish restoration in Jerusalem
  • The high price of doctrinal clarity

Chapter Six

The Middle East falls before Islam's slashing swords

  • 'Chastity had become too hard'
  • The 'Sword of God' loses his edge
  • Submission and survival: Islam's treatment of minorities

Chapter Seven

Violence and schism shatter Islam's unity

  • Price of a drink: Eighty lashes
  • John of Damascus: An insider challenges Islam

Chapter Eight

Gregory: The man who laid the foundations of the Christian West

  • Gregorian chant: A fourteen hundred-year-old hit
  • Bright lights in a dark world: Six saints personify faith and piety
  • Augustine of Canterbury's mission to the 'angels'

Chapter Nine

The fearsome Franks halt the Muslim military advance

  • Hermenegild: A rebellious prince and martyr
  • Muslim sea power: This unfaithful and cruel sea'

Chapter Ten

Islam's final goal, the glittering prize of Constantinople

  • For the defiant, Islam spells misery
  • Alexandria: The jewel of Egypt