In this paper I examine usages of classical Arabic words with the z-r-q root to understand how they are differently mobilised in the Qur’ān, Qur’ānic commentaries, hadith, early medical treatises and words of adab.
They were scouts, raiders, skirmishers, heavy cavalry, and shock cavalry all in one; and could operate as infantry as well if the need arose.
This article explores the role of women as contenders for power at al-Muqtadir’s court.
German archaeologists exploring the remains of a town in Turkey have revealed how the city flourished about 1800 years ago, and then had a revival in the early Middle Ages.
As Yaqub ibn Layth gained power and followers, his ambitions grew, ultimately leading to a confrontation with the Abbasid Caliphate.
We know some things about Sassanian cuisine in directly or by inference. For instance they Persians have taken up on idea of sugar, which had been obtained from sugar cane sap in India and developed a theory about the kind of a super refined white sugar coat. And that they had taken the first steps down the road to the despair for our dentists by exploring syrup.
What was the nature and scope of Burgundian contact with the Islamic world? How did Burgundians conceptualise the Islamic East? What were their frames of reference and how were they shaped by contemporaneous events, including further Ottoman penetration into eastern Europe and the fall of Constantinople?
A team of Frankfurt-based archaeologists has returned from the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah with new findings. The discovery of a loom from the 5th to 6th century AD in particular caused a stir.
Across the medieval world we can find various writings aimed at giving advice and wisdom. Here is some poetic wisdom from the ninth-century Middle East.
Why does Baghdad become some an enormous centre of book production – of literature and the physical production of books?
When we talk about spies in the Middle Ages, it’s easy to envision soldiers sneaking into enemy camps or royal messengers with a hidden agenda.
The rivalry between two famous female singers was the topic of the day in al-Mutawakkil’s (r. 847–61) Samarra, according to the Kitab al-aghani.
This talk looks at the extent of geographic and cartographic knowledge of the world that existed in medieval China.
His throat had been cut and he was lying in a pool of his own blood. He had also suffered multiple stab wounds to his head and side.
From boiling vegetables to smelly pots, here are 10 medieval cooking tips from the 10th century.
Saint Elijah’s Monastery – the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, has been completely destroyed by forces from the Islamic State (IS), according to a report from the Associated Press.
In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.
Though the ghoul has origins as old as the Mesopotamian civilization, Arabs were largely responsible for popularizing it. Because Islam incorporated this being in its doctrine, the ghoul remained a source of fear and mystery in the Arab culture.
That schoolteachers were incorrigibly fatuous was certainly a common perception, widespread in adab literature of the ʿAbbāsid period and in later sources too. Indeed, the question of their stupidity, or rather, the stereotype of ‘the stupid schoolteacher’ was a topos which several classical and post-classical writers were fond of using, along with others such as ‘the dull person’, ‘the smart sponger’ and ‘the ridiculous bedouin’.
Was it really bad to be left-handed in the Middle Ages? Or was it better than being right-handed? The 9th century writer of all things unusual, al-Jahiz, weighs in.
Through a study of metaphor in medieval Arabic literature, Stanford comparative literature professor Alexander Key finds that the Arab world had a head start on the West when it comes to understanding how language works.
his study examines in detail the biographical entry of an Ilkhanid (the Mongol state centred in Iran) princess, El Qutlugh Khatun daughter of Abagha Ilkhan (r. 1265–82), in the biographical dictionaries of the Mamluk author Khalil b. Aybeg al-Safadi (d. 1363)
This paper aims to review Al-Akhawayni’s 10th century knowledge on melancholia which can represent the early concept of this disorder in the Near East.
This is my summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.