The Battle of Syllaeum (677) and the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717-718) were two important wars that averted the spread of Islam in Eastern Europe (Reference, n. pag. ). The Arab fleet and the Byzantine navy were constantly in battle with each other since 672 (Reference, n. pag. ). In 677, the Arabs attacked areas along the coast of Anatolia and the Sea of Marmara, as well as Constantinople and Anatolia itself. The Byzantine army found themselves fighting two different battles, as the Slavs were staging an assault of Thessalonica by land (Reference, n.pag. ).
Byzantine forces under Emperor Constantine IV met the Arabs near Syllaeum (Reference, n. pag. ). They defeated the latter through Greek fire, a burning-liquid weapon¦that could continue burning even on water (Reference, n. pag. ). As the Arabs were retreating, a storm sank almost all of their remaining ships. The Byzantine army then proceeded to conduct a land assault on the Arabs, finally defeating them in Syria. The Battle of Syllaeum was believed to have brought peace over Eastern Europe for almost 30 years (Reference, n.pag. ).
But Constantine IVs death in 685 was followed with power struggles for the Byzantine throne, making the Byzantine Empire more prone to defeat in the hands of the Arabs (Gregory, n. pag. ). Caliph Sulieman took advantage of this situation by sending 120,000 Muslim troops (headed by his brother Moslemah) in 717 in an attempt to occupy Constantinople for a second time (TheLatinLibrary, n. pag. ). An additional 100,000 Muslims with 1,800 galleys from Syria and Egypt served as reinforcements (TheLatinLibrary, n. pag. ).
But Byzantine forces led by Emperor Leo III quickly defeated them through the Greek fire (TheLatinLibrary, n. pag. ). The vanquished Muslims later died of freezing and starvation outside Constantinople. Muslim troops from Adrianopolis that were supposed to assist them were destroyed by the Bulgarian army (a Byzantine ally) (TheLatinLibrary, n. pag. ). Several historians argued that had the Arabs won the Battle of Tours, the Battle of Syllaeum and the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople, the present concept of European civilization would be altered dramatically.
The Arabs would be able to spread Islam throughout European countries such as France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. At most, Christianity would end up being a minority religion (Whittington, n. pag. ). America would have been discovered by a Muslim explorer and Islam would be the religion both taught and practiced by the settlers across the United States.
Works Cited Culp, Reid. The Battle of Tours. 2008. CCDS. 28 April 2008
The Battle of Tours: 732. 1999. WebChron. 28 April 2008
Day of Decision: The Battle of Tours. 8 December 2005. Associated Content. 28 April 2008