Synopses & Reviews
This is a study of how and why the Byzantine empire lost many of its most valuable provinces to Islamic conquerors in the seventh century, provinces that included Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Armenia. It investigates conditions on the eve of those conquests, mistakes in Byzantine policy toward the Muslims, the course of the military campaigns, and the problem of local official and civilian collaboration with the Muslims. It also seeks to explain how after some terrible losses the Byzantine government achieved some intellectual rationalization of its disasters and began the complex process of transforming and adapting its fiscal and military institutions and political controls in order to prevent further disintegration.
"It is good to see military history written competently by someone who knows the sources well and, what is more, has visited the sites of the major conflicts; Kaegi is good on the importance of landscape, strategy and confusion in deciding the outcome....[A] robust approach...." Hugh Kennedy, Times Literary Supplement"It is refreshing to read about the conquests from a Byzantinist's perspective and by one who is also familiar with the Arabic sources....Kaegi has presented a thorough and balanced view of the early Islmaic conquests of Byzantine territories. His assertion, based on a judicious reading of the sources, that these conquests were not inevitable is a welcome addition to the scholarship on this period." Ara Dostourian, Journal of the Society for Armenian State"...will remain for many years to come the fundamental work on the subject and will be the foundation on which any future historian of the conquests will have to build." Journal of the American Oriental Society
This book presents an enquiry into a fundamental historical problem in early Byzantine history: why the Byzantine Empire failed to contain emergent Islam in the new religion's initial years, and in particular how and why the Byzantines first lost Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Armenia before partial recovery.
This book examines how the Byzantine Empire came to lose so much of its territory to Islamic conquerors in the seventh century.
The Byzantine empire lost many of its most valuable provinces to Islamic conquerors in the seventh century, including Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Armenia. This study investigates the eve of the conquests, as well as how the Byzantine government eventually came to rationalize its disasters.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. The problem of Byzantium and the early Islamic conquests; 2. The Byzantine Empire in an era of accelerating change; 3. Difficulties in devising defences for Syria; 4. The first Muslim penetrations of Byzantine territory; 5. Early tests in southern Palestine; 6. Problems of cohesion: the battle of Jabiya-Yarmuk reconsidered; 7. The brief struggle to save northern Syria and Byzantine Mesopotamia; 8. Byzantium, Armenia, Armenians, and early Islamic conquests; 9. Controversy and confidence in the seventh-century crisis; 10. Elements of failure and endurance; Bibliography; Index.