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Medieval West vs.

Islam From 1000 to 1500 BCE, civilizations existed in Western Europe, also known as Medieval Europe, and the Middle East, particularly the Abbasid Dynasty. Although Medieval Europe was Christian and the Middle East consisted of Islam, both societies religion would be dominated by a powerful religious head, but Christianity would be more centralized. The Abbasids had more intellectual achievements than Medieval Europe but women were also less restrained than Abbasid women. There were similarities and differences between the statuses of women, intellectual achievements, and religious institutions. On the status of women from 1000 to 1500 BCE, women were inferior to men, although they were better off in Medieval Europe. Women were given a chance to be educated by the Catholic Church by becoming a nun instead of being marrying off, whereas marriages were often decided by parents in the Abbasid Dynasty and women did not have much say or alternative option than marriage. As a nun, the Catholic Church would provide for all their needs. Furthermore, women were able to have higher status in Medieval Europe than during the Abbasid Dynasty. Similarly, women were not allowed to lead religious service, but European women were not segregated from them. They were also not forced to stay in the house like the harem, separation, or the veiling in public of women in Islam, but were able to partake in commerce. Unlike the women in Western Europe, women in Islam were not assured of property rights. As they devoted their lives to their families, it was unacceptable for women to have any other job beyond their homes, but poorer women were able to work in the fields. Women in Medieval Europe had more political voice because they could give advice to their ruling husbands or rule as a regent for their sons that were too young to rule. Overall, Islamic women were more restrained to society, whereas women in Medieval Europe were able to have fewer restraints, but they were both still inferior to men. Intellectually, Medieval Europe had fewer achievements than that of the Abbasids. In Medieval Europe, philosophy was the biggest area in intellectual achievements. For example, a French man named Peter Abelard wrote a treatise, Yes and No in the 12th century. This describes the logical contradictions

in established interpretations of doctrine, which mainly applied logic to the problems of theology. In addition, an important intellectual achievement was the establishment of universities that would sprout in places like Italy, France, and England. These came out of the need of an educated religious body. The philosophy scholasticism came from the universities which were based on the use of logic to resolve theological problems. Also, Medieval Europe developed unique architectural styles called Romanesque and Gothic. Romanesque architecture consisted of round arches, massive vaulting, heavy piers, and small windows. Gothic architecture mainly involved the use of flying buttresses and pointed arches in cathedrals and palaces. In literature, Medieval Europe had writings such as The Knight of Roland, the epic Beowulf, and the Romance of the Rose. The Abbasids had achievements that spread in multiple places. For instance, they had achievements in mathematics where the Europeans did not delve into. The Abbasids came up with the basics for trigonometry; the sine, tangent, and cosine. They also did astronomical research and created astronomical tables and maps of the stars. In chemistry, they discovered the creation of the objective experiment and classifying all objects into three categories and they also had the worlds best hospital at the time in Cairo. In literature, a man from the Abbasid Dynasty named Omar Khayyam wrote the Rubaiyat, which was a very well-known piece of literature in the West. Furthermore, another writer by the name Firdausi wrote the epic poem Shah-Nama. The Shah-Nama was a history of Persia from creation to the Islamic conquests. Another piece of literature was the compilation of the tales of The Thousand and One Nights which was a story about one of the most famous Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid. European achievements were overall more tied to religion. In both religious institutions of Medieval Europe and Islam, Christianity and Islam had a supreme leader. In the Abbasid Dynasty, the religious ruler was the Caliph who was the successor to the founder of Islam, Muhammad. Christianitys religious leader was the Pope who could influence kings to do their bidding in the name of God. On the matter of centralization, the Abbasid Dynasty from 1000 to 1500 was actually less centralized because the Arab clans such as the Sunnis and ShiA could not agree on the rightful heir to Muhammad. At this time, Christianity was more centralized because of their church hierarchy. The Pope was the leading figure and under him were bishops that headed regional churches

but owed their allegiances to the Pope. Christianity was more connected to politics because Popes were not the only ones to appoint bishops in that kings often claimed the right to appoint them. In addition, the Pope acted as a political power because he was able to influence many people from different kingdoms to unite together under one banner to fight in a Holy Crusade to take back the Holy Land for the sake of spiritual faith. Also, Christianity was less orthodox as compared to Islam. Christianity allowed, as mentioned, for women to partake in the same service as men. However, in Islam, women were segregated from being in the same service as men. The political and spiritual power of the Popes was more influential than that of the Caliphs from 1000 to 1500. Also, Christianity treated women, although still inferior; better than women treated in the Abbasid Dynasty with less segregation and more freedom in general. However, the Abbasids did have more intellectual achievements than Medieval Europe that ranged from more subjects as compared to the religious philosophy in Europe. Islam and Medieval Europe were both different civilizations with different ideas and religion, but a closer examination would show that aside from their differences, there were some similarities in women in Europe and Islam were inferior to men, although were treated better in Europe, and Christianity and Islam had a religious leader. However, many major differences are still prevalent in that the Pope had much more spiritual and political power but the Abbasid Dynasty had more intellectual achievements than Medieval Europe.