A conversation with Valentina Grasso on Arabia before Islam. This used to be known primarily from preserved Arabic poetry, but the picture is now filling in from inscriptions and contemporary texts. There were competing kingdoms, tribal coalitions, and foreign empires with a stake in trade routes. There were pagans, Jews, and Christians, as well as generic or “cautious” monotheists. The cultural background of the Quran has never been known in such richness and complexity.
Likely created in the seventh century, this text is a cross between history and scripture written by the Mandaeans, a people living in present-day Iraq and Iran. It offers a look at the perspective of one community in the Middle East during the Early Middle Ages.
The extant paintings prominently feature the life of Moses in a synthesis of stylistic sources, reflecting a unique cosmopolitan union of history and religion.
Kalīlah and Dimnah: Fables of Virtue and Vice By Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ Translated by Michael Fishbein and James E. Montgomery New York University Press…
Al-Mukhtar’s two-year rebellion was an episode of a greater historical event known as the Second Civil War or Second Fitna (680-692).
This thirteenth-century Armenian history focuses on the Mongol invasion of the Middle East, covering the years 1214 to 1273.
This collection of 22 articles is a major guide and reference work to the medieval history of the city of Baghdad.
In the second part of this look at the Qaramita, it is revealed how they challenged both the Abbasids and Fatimids before ultimately disappearing in the eleventh century.
Fierce desert tribesmen, united by a sectarian missionary, emerged in Eastern Arabia in the 9th century. Under the leadership of this warlord missionary, they established a powerful predatory polity in Bahrayn that would terrorize the neighboring regions for 150 years.
Perhaps no other group from the Middle Ages has sparked modern-day imaginations like the Assassins. Viewed as mystical and deadly, they were said to be led in Syria by a charismatic figure known as the Old Man of the Mountain. What can we really know about them?
This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle speaks with Nicholas Morton about the one hundred year rise of the Mongol Empire in the Near East, why they were so effective, and why they pursued global domination.
From the Mongol invasion of the Khwarazmian Empire to their attacks into Syria – 1218-1260.
Despite al-Ma’mun’s victory in the war against his brother, al-Amin, the fighting did not end in Iraq. The six years after the siege of Baghdad were punctuated by factional fighting, violence, bloodshed, and social and political turmoil and unrest.
Managing access to clean water and large quantities of grain and other foodstuffs was essential for the development of an exceedingly large city such as Baghdad under the Abbasids.Managing access to clean water and large quantities of grain and other foodstuffs was essential for the development of an exceedingly large city such as Baghdad under the Abbasids.
The war between the sons of Harun al-Rashid caused irreparable damage to the economic, political, and military structure of the Abbasid caliphate. The struggle for the throne led to the caliphate’s eventual disintegration and the reduction of the Abbasid caliphs’ power and authority.
New research suggests that the population of Mecca was only a few hundred people when the Prophet Muhammad first began preaching the Islamic religion during the first decades of the seventh century.
Yaqut al-Hamawi is a celebrated medieval scholar, geographer, and traveler who lived in the Abbasid caliphate during the late 12th and early 13th centuries. He is famous for the books he composed and his travels throughout the Muslim world.
Babak’s revolt in Azerbaijan was the longest and last major Khurramiyya rebellion in the wake of the Abbasid Revolution.
Abu Muslim’s betrayal and murder by the Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur, in 755 was the spark that ignited a series of revolts against caliphal rule by the various groups of Khurramiyya in the chaotic decades that followed the Abbasid Revolution. The largest and longest Khurramiyya revolts took place during the years 755-833.
How to convince a Prince? In this episode of the Medieval Grad Podcast, Faraz Alidina talks to Lucie Laumonier about his work on Persian literature. Faraz researches more specifically the works of a poet named Attar, who lived in Iran in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century. Attar mastered the art of rhetoric and persuasion through the telling of fables, in the manner of the stories of the One Thousand and One Nights.
A tale from the 10th century of crime and passion.
He lived an extraordinary life; he was a servant/slave, a partisan, a revolutionary, a soldier, and rose to be the most powerful man in the caliphate.
In the 850s, ‘Arib of Samarra had a problem, and her name was Shariya. Shariya likewise had a problem, and her name was ‘Arib.
A team of geneticists and archaeologists has sequenced the DNA from a 1,600-year-old sheep mummy from Iran. This remarkable specimen has revealed sheep husbandry practices of the medieval Near East, as well as underlining how natural mummification can affect DNA degradation.