Synopses & Reviews
The Near East and Islamic society have never been so close to the forefront of international attention. In this time of conflict the Western population is increasingly eager to increase their knowledge of the region's past. This updated edition of Hugh Kennedy's popular introduction to the history of the Near East is a timely aid to this quest for knowledge about the roots of Islam.
The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates
is an accessible guide to the history of the Near East from c.600-1050AD, the period in which Islamic society was formed. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Kennedy goes on to explore the great Arab conquests of the seventh century and the golden age of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates when the world of Islam was politically and culturally far more developed than the West. A period of political fragmentation shattered this early unity, never to be recovered.
This new edition takes into account new research on early Islam and contains a fully updated bibliography. Based on extensive reading of the original Arabic sources, Kennedy breaks away from the Orientalist tradition of seeing early Islamic history as a series of ephemeral rulers and pointless battles by drawing attention to underlying long term social and economic processes.
This new edition deals with issues of continuing and increasing relevance in the twenty-first century, when it is, perhaps, more important than ever to understand the early development of the Islamic world. General readers and scholars of early Islamic history will find Kennedy's book a clear, informative and readable introduction to the subject.
Hugh Kennedy is Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of St Andrews. Previous publications include Crusader Castles; Muslim Spain and Portugal; and Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the early Islamic State.
Dr Kennedy gives a full and clear account of the Near East in the formative period of Islamic society. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, he goes on to examine the great Arab conquests and the golden age of Islam from the eighth to the tenth centuries. The book closes with the period of political fragmentation in the tenth and eleventh centuries when the early unity was lost, never to be recovered.
At the present time, when the Near East and its problems are at the centre of world interest and concern, a knowledge of the region's past is particularly important to set those problems in their perspective. This new seven-volume series will cover the history of the region from the coming of Islam to the present day.
Based on original Arabic sources, the new edition of this well-established text has been comprehensively revised. The book covers the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, through the great days of the Ummayad and Abbasid Caliphates (8th-10th centuries), to the period of political fragmentation which followed it when Islam lost its core unity, never to be recovered.
About the Author
Hugh Kennedy is Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of St Andrews.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1:The matrix of the Muslim world: the near East in the early seventh century
Chapter 2: The Birth of the Islamic State
Chapter 3: Conquest and division in the time of the Rashidun Caliphs
Chapter 4: The Umayyad Caliphate
Chapter 5: The early 'Abbasid Caliphate'
Chapter 6: The Middle 'Abbasid caliphate
Chapter 7: The structure of politics in the Muslim commonwealth
Chapter 8: The Buyid confederation
Chapter 9: The Kurds
Chapter 10: The Hamdanids
Chapter 11: Bedouin political movements and dynasties
Chapter 12: Early Islamic Egypt and the Fatimid empire