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General History

The Great Caliphs Golden Age of the Abbasids
The Great Caliphs Golden Age of the Abbasids
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Details:  The Great Caliphs : The  Golden Age of the Abbasid Empire, New,
*[A5+] Paperback - 254 pages,
by Amira K. Bennison,
Published by I.B.Tauris.




Description :


The flowering of the 'Abbasid caliphate between 750 and 1258 CE is often considered the classical age of Islamic civilisation. In the preceding 120 years the Arabs had conquered much of the known world of antiquity and established a vast empire stretching from Spain to China. But was this empire really so very different, as has sometimes been claimed, from what it superseded?



The Great Caliphs creatively explores the immense achievements of the 'Abbasid age through the lens of Mediterranean history. When the Umayyad caliphs were replaced by the 'Abbasids in 750, and the Arab capital moved to Baghdad, Iraq quickly became the centre not only of an imperium but also of a culture built on the foundations of the great civilisations of antiquity: Greece, Rome, Byzantium and Persia.



                  ''Debunking popular misconceptions about the Arab conquests,
                   the author shows that, far from seeing themselves as purging
                   the 'occidental' culture of the ancient world with a 'pure' and
                   'oriental' Islamic doctrine, the 'Abbasids perceived themselves
                   to be as much within the tradition of Mediterranean and Near
                   Eastern empire as any of their predecessors.''



Like other outsiders who inherited the Roman Empire, the Arabs had as much interest in preserving as in destroying, even while they were challenged by the paganism of the past. Indebted to that past while building creatively on its foundations, the 'Abbasids and their rulers inculcated and nurtured precisely the 'civilised' values which western civilisation so often claims to represent.




Amira K. Bennison is Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. A regular panelist on Radio 4's 'In Our Time', she has contributed essays and articles to many books and journals, and is the author of 'Jihad and its Interpretations in Pre-Colonial Morocco' (2002).




Review :


'Amira Bennison's engaging history of the 'Abbasid caliphate moves beyond more conventional or drier accounts of political intrigue among ruling elites and sectarian squabbles. The author adopts a broader and deeper approach, focusing above all on "the people": that mosaic of urban and rural folk who individually and collectively make up a civilization. Women, children, beggars, tricksters, merchants and pilgrims as well as the great cities that brought them all together are given fascinating coverage. Nor does the author neglect the community of scholars cultivated by the 'Abbasids who in the fields of literature, philosophy, theology, mathematics and astronomy left their indelible mark upon Islamic civilization. The Great Caliphs is an important work which offers a new and stimulating perspective on an exciting era.' ---David Waines, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, Lancaster University.






Table of Contents :


---List of Illustrations,
---Acknowledgements,
---Note of Transliteration and Arabic Conventions,

---Introduction,

---Chapter [1]. A Stormy Sea: The Politics of the 'Abbasid Caliphate,

---Chapter [2]. From Baghdad to Crodoba : The Cities of Classical Islam,

---Chapter [3]. Princes and Beggars : Life and Society in the Abbasid Age,

---Chapter [4]. The Lifeblood of Empire: Trade and Traders in the Abbasid Age,

---Chapter [5]. Baghdad's 'Golden Age' : Islam's Scientific Renaaissance,

---Chapter [6]. The Abbasid Legacy.


---Notes,
---Bibliography,
---Index.












*Dimensions : 23.4 x 15.6cm.
Illustrations: 26 integrated b/w, 4 maps.








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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 10 June, 2016.