Politically and culturally, the region was ripe for the rise and fall of many dynasties.
To further understand the implications of this age, this paper will seek to examine the religious, political, and social groups of the period and their influence in the shaping of the Middle Eastern civilizations from the years 1100 AD to 1400 AD.
By the 1100's, the caliphate which was responsible for the sudden expansion and early stability of the Islamic empire had lost its authority over its territories - and while the last caliph al'Musta'sim was killed by the Mongols in 1258, the caliph had already by then lost all of its power. Most of the Islamic states' ruler had already adoped various religious and political titles. In the wake of the loss of this institution, the territories they governed lost stability and the fragmentation of the Muslim lands was a large factor in its susceptibility to foreign attack.
The Mongols were a conglomeration of nomadic tribes from the Ataic steppes brought together by Temujin, the Ghengis Khan (Universal Ruler). By 1258 they had already conquered Russia, Central Europe, and had sacked Baghdad. By the time the Mongol empire crumbled, it had spanned all the way from China to the Middle East and Europe.
Unfortunately, while the Mongols were a virtually unstoppable military force, they were also inept at building their empire. They had no succession plans and relied on the uymaq - the military elite at the behest of its chief, for governance. This made for an unstable government, as the state depended on the personal power of the chief - which was further complicated by the troubles they encountered ruling via centralized monarchy.
The incursion of the Mongols, however, was disastrous for the Middle Eastern civilization as the Muslim Empire, already weakened by divisions, went into steady decline and never recovered its past glory. The Mongols either killed or deported many scholars and skilled workers, razed libraries and other accomplishments. Much of the legacies of the Golden Age were wiped out, never to be recovered.
Some scholars, however, contend that the effects of the Mongol incursion were not that grave. While they did raze whole areas, Egypt was never conquered and became the center of Islamic culture. And while Iran submitted to Mongol rule, they experience a period of political stability wherein trade and literature developed.
Ghazan Khan's adoption of Islam as the Il-Khan's state religion in the 1300's had a calming effect on the territories he governed.
During this period the Mongolians contributed to the development of the lands they ravaged by rebuilding their cities.
The Timurid dynasty - founded by Timur in 1370 CE over the squabbling provinces of the Ilkhan rulership - lasted until the 1500's. The territories under this pro-Sufi government enjoyed a period of relative stability. Literature, culture and knowledge developed greatly in the intellectual and cultural centers of Herat and Transoxania.
Beginning in the 1100's, many Turks - mercenaries and military forces - migrated into the Middle Eastern lands. The caliphs depended on these heavily on these