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Muslim Motives for Conquering the Byzantine Empire 634–720: The Evidence from Eastern Christian Sources

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This article examines the motives of the earliest Muslim attacks on the Byzantine Empire in the seventh and eighth centuries by examining the earliest Christian (Byzantine) and Muslim sources that describe these attacks. The article assesses the strengths of these accounts and culls from them the possible religious motivations behind the first Muslim attacks on the Byzantine Empire. One question particularly addressed is the goal of the Muslim attacks: to bring down the Byzantine Empire entirely, or merely to wrest from it Palestine and the surrounding territories that were of significance to the Muslim invaders. In either case, Whealey argues that the motives were religious in nature.

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