Questions tagged [middle-east]

The Middle East typically refers to the region stretching from the northern part of eastern Africa all the way to Pakistan. The region is centered around the Arabian peninsula with the Persian Gulf being the critical component of the region.

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61
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6answers
19k views

What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
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4answers
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How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

Considering Israel fought several Arab countries, which had troops largely outnumbering the Israeli, how did they manage to win the war decisively, with much fewer casualties than the Arab countries? ...
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Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Stefan Molyneux claims in The Truth About The Crusades that: Islam dominated slave trade between the 7th and the 15th century, while the Christians entered the market of human flesh much later - ...
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What was the function of the walls of Jericho?

The walls of old Jericho have been dated to around 8000bc. This is thousands of years before the nascent civilisations of Babylon and Egypt built similar fortifications and thousands of years before ...
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4answers
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Did Arab policymakers have plans for the Jewish population, in case of victory in 1948 War?

Presumably the Arab goal in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was to defeat Israel. Total victory would probably mean the total control of the whole Mandatory Palestine, which at this point already contained ...
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3answers
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Have there been any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question "was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?" I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily ...
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9answers
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Why did Jews not immigrate to the Muslim world?

Throughout most of history, Jews lived significantly better in the Muslim countries than in Christian ones. Moreover, after the expulsion from Spain, many Spanish Jews moved to the Muslim world (from ...
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2answers
11k views

What was the significance of changing the name of “Persia” to “Iran”?

As best as I understand it, the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 was when Persia became Iran. What was the motivation for changing the name?
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How prevalent was pork in Arabia before Arabs conversion to Islam?

Before Islam and its prohibition of pork, was it a commonly eaten food? Or was it already prohibited by other religions/cultures? Or was it a kind of uncommon food, which was then prohibited? We also ...
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Is there any evidence of STD's in ancient times?

Are there any ancient texts that show or imply that their authors knew that certain diseases were spread through sexual activity? It seems like sexual contagion was recognized in the 16th century ...
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7answers
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What was Palestine before, if not a country?

What was Palestine before, if not a country? Could you give me some history on this? Also, the recent recognition of Palestine as a country in the UN could have far reaching implications. Are there ...
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Why did the Arabs start the 1973 War during Ramadan, and did it affect their performance?

The Arab-Israeli War in 1973, besides the Jewish Holiday, also took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which practicing Muslims observe mandatory daytime fasting. Did this affect ...
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1answer
421 views

Language used on a dagger hilt, supposedly of Persian provenance, ca. 1700-1750

Could anyone guess what language is used in the sign made on this dagger hilt, supposedly of Persian provenance, and dated approx. 1700-1750? A fellow translator asked if I knew, and naturally I ...
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763 views

Why are most of the world's oldest buildings in Europe and not in the Fertile Crescent?

Looking at the list of the world's ten oldest surviving human constructed buildings, many are in Europe while the oldest building in what (with a generous interpretation of the concept) could be ...
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2answers
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Did Muslims swear by “the beard of the Prophet”?

In Western historical fictions, Muslims (from the Middle East) are often depicted to swear by "the beard of the Prophet". "By the beard of the prophet, we will not offend you; but unless you ...
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555 views

Was there an ancient cult of worshiping one's own reflection?

Are there any sources about an ancient cultic worship of one's own reflection (in water)? Have historians found any evidence of such a phenomenon? The idea is found in some early Jewish commentaries: ...
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How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn al-...
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4answers
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What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
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What do I need to know about Syria's history to understand the 2011-2012 uprising?

Syria is in the news a lot lately due to the current uprising, but it's not a country that many people know much about. It can trace its history back to the origins of civilization, and as a result ...
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1answer
995 views

How did Saudi Arabia become and remain strongly Wahhabi?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia staunchly follow Wahhabism, a very conservative and strict brand of Islamism that probably is the major factor of Saudi's strict policy and harsh implementation of Sharia. ...
14
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651 views

Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...
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2answers
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What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
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2answers
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Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia did? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
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Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era

The expansion of the Islamic rule during early Islamic era was quite impressive. Before 629, Muhammad's rule was limited to one city Medina. 15 years later, at the end of Umar's rule, the Caliphate ...
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5answers
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Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

As of 1517 A.D., the Ottmans have acquired the whole Levant, Egypt and they've largely become Muslim. Why they did not move their capital to a historically Islamic city like Damascus, Baghdad, or ...
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Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources first before invading Soviet Union?

Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources instead of Soviet Union? Or at least invade Middle East first to secure the resources needed for sustained military operation? I understand Hitler ...
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4answers
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Why did Baldwin of Boulogne proclaim Edessa a County, not a Kingdom?

[Edessa was] ruled by Thoros, who was officially a vassal of the Turks but in reality acted independently. He did not expect that situation to continue for very much longer without help, so he offered ...
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4answers
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Why did Christianity disappear in North-Western Africa?

During Roman times North-Western Africa had a thriving Christian community, giving birth to Saint Augustine and a long lasting heresy. This is similar to many Christian communities of the time, from ...
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1answer
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Why didn't China vote in UNSC Resolution 344?

According to this Wikipedia article, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 344 in 1973 with 10 votes from non-permanent members and 4 abstentions from the permanent members France, ...
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1answer
562 views

Is David Graeber correct to assert that patriarchy did not exist in Sumeria?

In Debt: The First 5000 Years, David Graeber incisively claims that As we’ll see, there is reason to believe that it is in such moral crises that we can find the origin not only of our current ...
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Why didn't Russia help Saddam Hussein as it is helping Syria now?

Wasn't Saddam an ally of Russia? If Russia wasn't his ally, who was his ally? Syria is looking like a strong ally of Russia as it was the case of Serbia. Russians played direct roles to save these ...
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6answers
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Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

The main language in the Middle East is Arabic, however English and French considered as a secondary language. Especially in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon (there are other countries..) people still use ...
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Why does the map of Jordan look as it does?

Most countries land borders are somewhat rounded, and it's easy to guess why - it's eazy to defend a rounded shape, and it's hard to defend "bulges" because it can be easily surrounded and occupied. ...
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Who are the modern descendants of the Khazar people?

The Khazars where a people who built an empire centred North of the Caucasus Range, between the 7th and 11th centuries. They are not at all mainstream (at least in Europe), even though, defeating the ...
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3answers
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How stable was the Middle East under Ottoman rule?

Since the outbreak of WWI, the Middle East has been a strategic area; many powers have vied for control. How stable was the region under Ottoman rule? Stable is, for the purposes of this question, ...
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2answers
313 views

Did Nabataean traders use linen, or cotton, for their sails?

While studying the Arab and African sea trade along the Red Sea and points south, I read an article on Nabataea.net that reads It is thought that originally sails were woven from coconut of palm ...
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3answers
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What factors contributed to Jews moving out of the Middle East?

History shows that the Jews started moving out of the Middle East in the 1000s? Until then there were no major Jewish centers outside the Middle East (Babylon, Egypt, etc.) except for Rome. By the ...
11
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1answer
557 views

When and why was Seleucia ultimately abandoned?

The ancient Seleucia was founded along the Tigris river around the year 305 BC, and abandoned in 165 AD, due to the river mutating its course (Wikipedia). However in 780 AD the Catholicos (=Patriarch)...
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2answers
407 views

What is the source of the error regarding the origin of the number zero?

What is the source of the historical error that the zero was from the Middle East and not where it is really from, namely India?
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3answers
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What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?

Iran was a friend to the USA until Carter traveled to Iran and immediately afterwards Iran faced revolution. Khomeini went to Iran from France. On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic ...
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What do “zones of influence” mean, according to the Treaty of Sevres after WWI?

After its defeat in World War I, European powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire, annexing some of its territories, and setting up other territories as their "zones of influence". What do the zones of ...
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6answers
491 views

Has there been other settlements in occupied territories in recent history?

The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank (and other territories) is quite controversial, including its legality and its impact on the peace process. I'm wondering if there was any similar ...
10
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1answer
902 views

Jerusalem 1187: How did ethnicity impact Saladin's army?

This is intended to be the first (and longest) of a series questions about the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187. It was originally one massive question, but the community rightly recommended that I break it ...
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4answers
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Was the religious and cultural diversity a core structural cause of the Ottoman Empire's decline?

To what extent did the bureaucratic structure of the state that were required to sustain the Ottoman’s wealth and power undermine (damage or weaken) the foundations of the Ottoman state in the late ...
10
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1answer
537 views

Which Muslim factions during the Crusade used the crescent in their flags or banners?

According to NSNoob comments on Did Hungarian Army ever use Crescent banners? Crescent was used by Muslims since the Crusades. Wikipedia seems to agree. For example: the article on Star and ...
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1answer
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Israel/Palestine: Who really attacked first in 1948?

That is when Israel declared independence? Were the Jews hungry for land and started kicking Arabs out, or did the Arabs attack first, or is it sort of a mixed bag?
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5answers
870 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
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1answer
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Why didn't Saudi Unification Include the Coastal States like Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Kuwait

Why are the following states independent and not a part of Saudi Arabia? Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Kuwait While their annexation might be difficult in our current time period, it should have been ...
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2answers
379 views

Pre-Islamic cultural inheritance in contemporary Iran

In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to Islamic culture, religion and literature? In a previous question, I asked about ...
9
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1answer
250 views

What did the ancient Eastern world think of the ancient Greeks?

The opinions of the Greeks the Eastern world which notably included the Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Indians and Egyptians are known to all. They elaborated at length through their literature ...