The Great Arab Conquests and millions of other books are available for site Kindle. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In Paperback – December 9, In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic. From a leading expert in Arabic history, an engaging history of the great Islamic expansion that carved out an empire from Spain to Asia. Crusader Castles Hugh Kennedy PDF. Kick Kennedy Barbara Leaming PDF The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter. In the Shadow of the Sword Tom Holland PDF The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empir.
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The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In – By Hugh Kennedy. SIMON BARTON. University of Exeter. In this book, David Nicolle examines the extensive Islamic conquests between AD and These years saw the religion and culture of. study of the authorities in greater detail than has hitherto been made. Much is at the period of the Arab conquests were so co~nplex that it is necessary to trace .
It is for this reason that this new history of the Arab conquests is obliged to fall back on its Muslim sources in order to make sense of the process it aspires to depict and analyse. In the course of carrying out this operation, it may add to our knowledge by using non-Muslim accounts, but does this exercise amount to the emergence of a new paradigm? Is the reader offered a different version not yet fully explored by previous texts? The answer is perhaps yes and no.
We can answer in the affirmative by highlighting the positive statements that are proffered as motives animating the whole enterprise. Firstly, there is the theoretical approach intended to govern the deployment of facts and data.
It must be said that this is kept to a minimum or almost at a latent level, but it is possible to glimpse of its general features or contours, and the historical method in its classical sense documentary or material evidence plus an endeavour to interpret its significance is adhered to in a measured and laudable fashion.
Moreover, the historian is able to observe new facts or deduce fresh conclusions by standing outside the immediate flow of events with an enhanced awareness of marginal and minority groups whose voices have been submerged or silenced by those of the victors or ruling elites.
By adopting a sceptical attitude towards Arabic accounts written two centuries after the events they describe, his non-Arabic sources gain a foothold in the scholarly arena and are fully mined for obscure episodes, particularly in outlying regions such as Caucasia, Armenia and Transoxania.
This postmodern sensibility is both illuminating and a welcome departure from more traditional accounts. Nevertheless, the postmodern turn is more in the nature of a mood rather than a full-blown theory.
A paradigm shift is not yet to be expected. Secondly, the main text gives the impression that Arabic sources are generally unreliable and many suffer from fatal defects. It is also significant that Hoyland incorporates the main episodes of his historical subject as originally sketched out by these late annalists.
This acceptance is in sharp contrast to earlier revisionist versions that threw serious doubts on the whole origins and subsequent growth of Islam as detailed in Arabic sources. Such an approach reconciles traditional accounts with modern research techniques, but leaves the original account essentially intact, at least in its general outline. Thirdly, perhaps the most innovative contribution of this work is its sober frame of mind that seeks to take the sting out of religious fever as the underlying cause of the conquests.
These are seen as worldly affairs related to social, political and economic causes and are to be understood in this context whereby religion was one element, albeit a significant one, in a constellation or configuration of other elements or driving forces, and by no means the most conspicuous one. The Arab identity of the conquests is thus stressed in order to flesh out a wider network in which are enmeshed all the structures and discourses of late antiquity.
In this world both religion and political power hugged each other in an intimate and tight embrace. This was true of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity and ultimately Islam.
Finally, the book includes a number of maps, illustrations and tables, in addition to an appendix on sources with critical remarks, a timeline and a list of dramatis personae.
It also boasts an extensive bibliography and an index. It is professionally edited and produced.
However, a puzzling postscript is added p. Unless the postscript, consisting of five lines, is intended as postmodern code, it seems to be redundant or at least out of place, since the entire subject of the book, as its title indicates, hinges on the significance of jihad in the path of God as represented by the Arab conquests.
Back to 1 It is fair to add that such musings on consequences are sometimes embedded in the main text. Such is the case with the discussion centred on the conquest of Egypt, p. Moreover, it seems to have achieved this with rather little overt violence. The solution to this riddle is multifactorial, and the search for it confounded by the paucity of records.
Kennedy works with Arab and other contemporary or more often near-contemporary sources which paint more a picture of how the Muslims later viewed the conquerors than a primary source of historical information. Primary sources are fairly thin on the ground, and one of the most telling metrics of the impact of Islam is the absence of one in its wake: African Red Slip.
This characteristic pottery, traded across the Mediterranean, suddenly disappears from the historical record coincident with the conquest of North Africa. This confirms Henri Pirenne's thesis that the rise of Islam ushered in a period of economic stagnation in Europe, triggering a Dark Age. See Mohammed and Charlemagne A few things can be said with some certainty, one of which is that the suddenness of Islam's explosive expansion is not a historical illusion.
It really did happen in mere decades.
In fact, the only place it seems to have stagnated and actually provoked a mutiny among a Muslim army - and there's a bitter irony here for latter-day Knights of the Cross - is in what are now Iran and Afghanistan. The Byzantian and Sassanid Empires, we can safely say, were an open door.
Having fought themselves to exhaustion with mutual invasions a few short years previously, Islam rose at exactly the time for them to collapse in the face of its advance. The religiously tolerant Sassanids had no internal theological dissent for the Muslims to exploit, but they often left local governance in place with a mere gesture to Islamic rule in the first generation or two, and the tax load may even have decreased. There was no reason to resist, as the early Muslims were not even particularly censorious of the monotheistic Zoroastrianism.
In Byzantium, the Empire sought to resist but there was most definitely internal dissent. Coptic Christians and other Docetic and other heretical groups actually dominated the population in much of North Africa, and were subject to vicious persecution which rapidly ended under Islam.
In fact, the Levant and Egypt had only just been recovered from the Sassanids.
The African province had been comprehensively demolished by Vandals and only one significant military engagement even occurred, by all accounts. Jews may still have formed a quarter of Alexandria's population and faced a similar calculation. The Empire was not wanted, and it was a couple of generations before any downside in terms of discrimination came to outweigh this. Even then, a symbolic conversion to Islam secured one rather equal treatment.