Muslim and Christian Medieval Theocracies

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With the ongoing conflict in Iraq many wonder if the idea of a democracy has been abandoned in exchange for a theocracy. "In Iraq the U.S. is helping to bring up a government that is moving toward becoming an Islamic theocracy."1 This is not the first time that a governmental leader also functioned as a religious leader.


Generally speaking, a theocracy exists when the ruler of a government is also the religious leader of that same government. In many theocracies of the past the ruler has been one who was designated by the religious leader of that time and place. The major religions during medieval times were Christianity and Islam. In many cases the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire bordered the boundaries of the Muslim world. Oftentimes these borders changed as both the Holy Roman Empire and the Muslim world conquered or lost territory. This can be seen in the maps of both worlds (Appendix A). The timeline of this comparison begins at 1500 AD and moves forward in time.
The state of the Holy Roman Empire at 1500 AD was one that had the leadership struggling to maintain control of the Empire through select leaders and communication methods. As with any government, communication is vitally important to the success or failure of the ruling party. Most of the Empire was located in what is now Eastern Europe. Western Europe was constantly under assault from barbarians thus making it hard to maintain control and rule over land and peoples. In the late 1400's publishing of books became a profession. The power of the written word was used by the Holy Roman Empire to maintain control over land and peoples. ...
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