Discuss The Key Defining Characteristics Of The Post Classical Period Of World History. Where, How, And When Did Islam Spread Beyond The Arabian Peninsula?

Post Classical Period Of World History


The classical period was in place for seventy years between 1750 and 1820. It was defined with the existence of great empires and considerable music modification.  The coming to an end of these great empires led to the ushering in of the Post Classical period. The areas that had been previously controlled by the great empires were experiencing economic declines. The economic declines in the empires caused desperation and confusion which resulted to turning to religion for guidance and security. With Christianity associated with the Roman empire declining with it, Islam found a room to rise as the Arabs regained control of the territories previously under the administration of Rome. Apart from religion, establishment of various trade routes, increased use of currencies and subsequent increase in trade commodities characterized the post classical period. Religion and commerce played a significant role in this period gaining followings that could rival the political institutions and values that had been defining various aspects of people’s lives during the classical period.


The post classical era of world history is defined majorly by various features that were experienced during the period. They include but not limited to the spread of Islam, emergence of a trade network that connected all the continents, spread of “world religions” and spread of civilization structures to other parts of the globe.

World religions did grow and spread during the post classical period. Christianity and Buddhism spread as Islam came in as a new religion. Religion became popular with the people as they needed a mechanism of guidance and solace after the troubles of the plagues and decline of commerce experienced as the classical period declined. The other fact that religion did promise better conditions after death made people subscribe and devote more as compared to how they did with politics in classical era. Buddhism transformed from being based on ethics to greater emphasis on religion. This is credited to a sect of monks, bodhisattvas who enlightened on meditation and afterlife. Buddhism in appealed to the Chinese and late spread to Korea and Japan in the Asian continent. The Chinese existing system of Confucian did not facilitate the embracement of Buddhism in China as it was accepted in Korea and Japan. The passionate belief in the teachings of Buddha depicted him as a god amongst the staunch believers and monks leading to a form of Buddhism known as Mahayana Christianity is another religion that spread during the post classical period. With a system of hierarchy entailing bishops and priests, it spread west of Palestine and one great aspect that is that it was intolerant of other religions thus needed a faster spreading. The missionaries played a big role in ensuring this urgency was well served as they travelled to various territories of the world in some cases alongside the traders. The Roman empire formed its richest ground especially after emperor Constantine conversion and declaring Christianity as the officially recognized religion in the roman empire. It was centralized on devotion to Christ over the state and politics and also put significant consideration on the equality of all members of the society.

The Arabian Peninsula is associated with the rise of Islam. The post classical period is characterized with the growth and spread of Islam just like other world religions. Islam played a great role in various aspects of the society during this period including the vital political dimension. Muhammad proclaimed himself the last prophet of Allah and was instrumental in growth and spread of Islam as a religion. Pilgrimage in Mecca, praying five times in a day, fasting, charity and monotheism were the basis of Islam. Through crusades that exhibited use of force, Islamic civilization conquered the non-Muslims and economically gained from them by way of taxation, labor of trade commodities for their caravans. Muslims conquered Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia between 633 and 637. Umayyad dynasty came to an end in750 and Abbasid rulers took over, expanding trade and influence of Islam as a religion. The greater territories were coupled with diversity in terms of geography, linguistics and religion. The use of technology was experienced by the Islamic civilization.  Islam did spread in Central and South Asia in three phases. The first was fostered by Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries on India. The second attack was instituted by the Turks upon Asian in the 10th century. The first two waves of attacks spread Islam by way of conversion. The third wave used conquest to spread Islam in Asia and was conducted by the Turks in the 12th century establishing the Delhi sultanate. The spread of Islam in the south East of Asia was majorly by conversion using the merchants who primarily travelled to trade.

Civilization during the Islamic reign was contributed to majorly by crusades and world trade networks.  Civilization during this period exhibited borrowing or adopting to various cultures. This further led to emergence of new cultures such as Swahili in the East African coast that was as a result of the interaction and intermarriage between the Arabs and the Africans at the East African coast. New forms of building were recognized especially in public institutions such as churches and temples that based on gothic architecture for example in Reims, France. Civilization in the post classical period is significantly accredited with globalization of culture. In Europe this period witnessed social classification in three groups; the rich who were owners of factors of production, the middle class and the lower class who were mainly slaves and workers. Leaders and kings instituted measures that ensured they had enough revenue to sustain their reigns either through taxation or diplomatic arrangements.

The largest and oldest of the civilizations significantly controlled the trade as merchants and lenders. Both land and sea routes were involved in the trade. The land route originated from Persia extending to the west to Antioch and further to the east reaching the Mongolian territory. The sea routes extended west to Egypt through the Red Sea and East via the Indian ocean to Guangzhou in China.  The Indian ocean having many routes formed the core of the world trade during this period owing to the monsoon winds which allowed sailors from Arabia and Asia between November and February bringing various trade items to the East African market and beyond products such as textile. The traders would be facilitated to leave the coast of East Africa between April and September when the winds blew eastwards in the direction of Asia and Arabia. The Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean provided the routes for merchants belonging to weaker civilizations such as Christianity and mainly served Europe.


In summary, the post classical period entailed people wanting solutions for the challenges that they had experienced as a result of the decline of the classical period especially in regards to matters of economics. Religion became an important aspect of security and solace. People preferred to be passionate about religion and acceptance of god as the basis to being ethical and successful. Religion thus gained much influence just as politics and it became a formidable force leading to integration of religion, politics and economy. Islam did emerge and grow during this period and the basis of its operation ensured that it gained followers across the world as a new religion that was integrated with commerce and politics. It better addressed the challenges of the post classic society. the existence of new dynasties facilitated trade with increased merchants willing to venture into other markets assured of their security and that of their goods. World trade developed owing to land routes by caravans and sea routes that became accessible owing to the naval technological improvement.

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