Medieval Europe 08: The Umayyad Invasions (711-732)

January 1, 2014

In the previous lectures, we the rise of the so-called “barbarian kingdoms” across Europe and how they began to forge new political boundaries across Europe. We also saw how the Papacy grew as an institution in the early middle ages. In this lecture, I want to begin examining outside influences to this new dichotomy that existed across Western Europe after the so-called “fall of the Western Roman Empire.” We have already seen one such outside influence, that is the Gothic War with the Byzantine Empire’s failed invasion of Italy during the sixth century. In this lecture, we look at a new external influence, that of Islam brought to southwestern Europe via the Umayyad Invasions in the Iberian Peninsula, modern-day Spain and Portugal via the Straits of Gibraltar, in the early eighth century. This invasion is perhaps one of the most significant events in the history of Western Europe, despite the fact that it receives so little attention in most courses on Western Europe. It radically altered Europe politically, economically, socially, and religiously.


Heavy Interlude by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (