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The Crucible of Islam by G. W. Bowersock Book Summary:
Little is known about Arabia in the sixth century CE. Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from the Iberian peninsula to India. Today, Muslims account for nearly a quarter of the global population. G.W. Bowersock seeks to illuminate this most obscure and yet most dynamic period in the history of Islam--from the mid-sixth to mid-seventh century--exploring why arid Arabia proved to be such fertile ground for Muhammad's prophetic message, and why that message spread so quickly to the wider world. In Muhammad's time Arabia stood at the crossroads of great empires, a place where Christianity, Judaism, and local polytheistic traditions vied for adherents. Mecca, Muhammad's birthplace, belonged to the part of Arabia recently conquered by the Ethiopian Christian king Abraha. But Ethiopia lost western Arabia to Persia following Abraha's death, while the death of the Byzantine emperor in 602 further destabilized the region. Within this chaotic environment, where lands and populations were traded frequently among competing powers and belief systems, Muhammad began winning converts to his revelations. In a troubled age, his followers coalesced into a powerful force, conquering Palestine, Syria, and Egypt and laying the groundwork of the Umayyad Caliphate. The crucible of Islam remains an elusive vessel. Although we may never grasp it firmly, Bowersock offers the most detailed description of its contours and the most compelling explanation of how one of the world's great religions took shape.--
Impossible Citizens by Neha Vora Book Summary:
Since the 1970s, Indian workers have flooded into Dubai, enabling its construction boom. Barred from becoming citizens, they comprise the emirate's largest noncitizen population. Neha Vora examines their existence in a state of permanent temporariness.
Mosaics as History by Glen Warren Bowersock,Professor Emeritus of Ancient History G W Bowersock Book Summary:
Over the past century, exploration and serendipity have uncovered mosaic after mosaic in the Near East--maps, historical images and religious scenes that constitute a treasure of new testimony from antiquity. In their complex language, G. W. Bowersock finds historical evidence, illustrations of literary and mythological tradition, religious icons, and monuments to civic pride. Attending to one of the most evocative languages of the ages, his work reveals a fusion of cultures and religions that speaks to us across time.
Imperial Connections by Thomas R. Metcalf Book Summary:
"Imperial Connections challenges the Eurocentrism implicit in many accounts of modern European empires. Focusing on the British empire when it was at its zenith, Metcalf analyzes the pivotal role the Raj played in the running of the empire in regions as far flung from one another as, say, Egypt, Uganda, Natal, and the Malay peninsula. This innovative book is a real tour de force from a respected and versatile historian of India."—Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference "As he has done regularly throughout his career, Thomas Metcalf has once again refreshed the study of British imperial history with a bold new perspective. Imperial Connections puts South Asians—soldiers, policemen and labourers—right at the heart of his study."—C.A. Bayly, Cambridge University, author of The Birth of the Modern World "This is a distinctly original study which re-centers colonial power in provocative ways. Metcalf asks a simple question—why were Indians so persistently to be found elsewhere in the British empire, and in such significant numbers? Then elegantly offers answers that force us to re-think the operations of imperial power in critical ways. Wide-ranging, elegantly written, and meticulously researched, Metcalf's is an important and a persuasive study."—Philippa Levine, author of Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire, and forthcoming, The British Empire, Sunrise to Sunset
The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia Book Summary:
"David Abulafia's new book guides readers along the world's greatest bodies of water to reveal their primary role in human history. The main protagonists are the three major oceans-the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian-which together comprise the majority of the earth's water and cover over half of its surface. Over time, as passage through them gradually extended and expanded, linking first islands and then continents, maritime networks developed, evolving from local exploration to lines of regional communication and commerce and eventually to major arteries. These waterways carried goods, plants, livestock, and of course people-free and enslaved-across vast expanses, transforming and ultimately linking irrevocably the economies and cultures of Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas"--
Roman Arabia by Glen Warren Bowersock Book Summary:
The Roman province of Arabia occupied a crucial corner of the Mediterranean world, encompassing most of what is now Jordan, southern Syria, northwest Saudi Arabia, and the Negev. Mr. Bowersock's book is the first authoritative history of the region from the fourth century B.C. to the age of Constantine. The book opens with the arrival of the Nahataean Arabs in their magnificent capital at Petra and describes the growth of their hellenized culture based on trade in perfume and spices. It traces the transformation of the region from an Arab kingdom under Roman influence into an imperial province, one that played an increasingly important role in the Roman strategy for control of the Near East. While the primary emphasis is on the relations of the Arabs of the region with the Romans, their interactions with neighboring states, Jewish, Egyptian, and Syrian, are also stressed. The narrative concludes with the breakup of the Roman province at the start of the Byzantine age.
Accusations of Unbelief in Islam by Camilla Adang,Hassan Ansari,Maribel Fierro,Sabine Schmidtke Book Summary:
The present volume offers nineteen studies of takfīr: accusations of unbelief, covering different periods and parts of the Muslim world. Takfīr was and is an effective instrument to delegitimize one's opponents, who may face social exclusion or even persecution.
Arabia and the Arabs by Robert G. Hoyland Book Summary:
Long before Muhammed preached the religion of Islam, the inhabitants of his native Arabia had played an important role in world history as both merchants and warriors Arabia and the Arabs provides the only up-to-date, one-volume survey of the region and its peoples, from prehistory to the coming of Islam Using a wide range of sources - inscriptions, poetry, histories, and archaeological evidence - Robert Hoyland explores the main cultural areas of Arabia, from ancient Sheba in the south, to the deserts and oases of the north. He then examines the major themes of *the economy *society *religion *art, architecture and artefacts *language and literature *Arabhood and Arabisation The volume is illustrated with more than 50 photographs, drawings and maps.
Bede and the Future by Peter Darby,Faith Wallis Book Summary:
Bede (c. 673-735) was Anglo-Saxon England’s most prominent scholar, and his body of work is among the most important intellectual achievements of the entire Middle Ages. Bede and the Future brings together an international group of Bede scholars to examine a number of questions about Bede’s attitude towards, and ideas about, the time to come. This encompasses the short-term future (Bede’s own lifetime and the time soon after his death) and the end of time. Whilst recognising that these temporal perspectives may not be completely distinct, the volume shows how Bede’s understanding of their relationship undoubtedly changed over the course of his life. Each chapter examines a distinct aspect of the subject, whilst at the same time complementing the other essays, resulting in a comprehensive and coherent volume. In so doing the volume asks (and answers) new questions about Bede and his ideas about the future, and will undoubtedly stimulate further research in this field.
Arabs and Empires Before Islam by Greg Fisher Book Summary:
Arabs and Empires before Islam collates nearly 250 translated extracts from an extensive array of ancient sources which, from a variety of different perspectives, illuminate the history of the Arabs before the emergence of Islam. Drawn from a broad period between the eighth century BC and theMiddle Ages, the sources include texts written in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Persian, and Arabic, inscriptions in a variety of languages and alphabets, and discussions of archaeological sites from across the Near East. More than 20 international experts from the fields of archaeology, classics andancient history, linguistics and philology, epigraphy, and art history, provide detailed commentary and analysis on this diverse selection of material.Richly-illustrated with 16 colour plates, 15 maps, and over 70 in-text images, the volume provides a comprehensive, wide-ranging, and up-to-date examination of what ancient sources had to say about the politics, culture, and religion of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic period. It offers a fullconsideration of the traces which the Arabs have left in the epigraphic, literary, and archaeological records, and sheds light on their relationship with their often more-powerful neighbours: the states and empires of the ancient Near East. Arabs and Empires before Islam gathers together a host ofmaterial never before collected into a single volume - some of which appears in English translation for the very first time - and provides a single point of reference for a vibrant and dynamic area of research.
Margins of the Market by Johan Mathew Book Summary:
What is the relationship between trafficking and free trade? Is trafficking the perfection or the perversion of free trade? Trafficking occurs thousands of times each day at borders throughout the world, yet we have come to perceive it as something quite extraordinary. How did this happen, and what role does trafficking play in capitalism? To answer these questions, Johan Mathew traces the hidden networks that operated across the Arabian Sea in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Following the entangled history of trafficking and capitalism, he explores how the Arabian Sea reveals the gaps that haunt political borders and undermine economic models. Ultimately, he shows how capitalism was forged at the margins of the free market, where governments intervened, and traffickers turned a profit.
After Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge Book Summary:
The Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE is one of world history's unjustly neglected events. It decisively ended the threat of a Persian conquest of Greece. It involved tens of thousands of combatants, including the largest number of Greeks ever brought together in a common cause. For the Spartans, the driving force behind the Greek victory, the battle was sweet vengeance for their defeat at Thermopylae the year before. Why has this pivotal battle been so overlooked? In After Thermopylae, Paul Cartledge masterfully reopens one of the great puzzles of ancient Greece to discover, as much as possible, what happened on the field of battle and, just as important, what happened to its memory. Part of the answer to these questions, Cartledge argues, can be found in a little-known oath reputedly sworn by the leaders of Athens, Sparta, and several other Greek city-states prior to the battle-the Oath of Plataea. Through an analysis of this oath, Cartledge provides a wealth of insight into ancient Greek culture. He shows, for example, that when the Athenians and Spartans were not fighting the Persians they were fighting themselves, including a propaganda war for control of the memory of Greece's defeat of the Persians. This helps explain why today we readily remember the Athenian-led victories at Marathon and Salamis but not Sparta's victory at Plataea. Indeed, the Oath illuminates Greek anxieties over historical memory and over the Athens-Sparta rivalry, which would erupt fifty years after Plataea in the Peloponnesian War. In addition, because the Oath was ultimately a religious document, Cartledge also uses it to highlight the profound role of religion and myth in ancient Greek life. With compelling and eye-opening detective work, After Thermopylae provides a long-overdue history of the Battle of Plataea and a rich portrait of the Greek ethos during one of the most critical periods in ancient history.
In God's Path by Robert G. Hoyland Book Summary:
In just over a hundred years--from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750--the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far afield as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period of time is a question that has perplexed historians for centuries. Most recent popular accounts have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later for the purpose of demonstrating that God had chosen the Arabs as his vehicle for spreading Islam throughout the world. In this ground-breaking new history, distinguished Middle East expert Robert G. Hoyland assimilates not only the rich biographical and geographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests. The story of the conquests traditionally begins with the revelation of Islam to Muhammad. In God's Path, however, begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by the two superpowers of Byzantium and Sasanian Persia, "the two eyes of the world." In between these empires, in western (Saudi) Arabia, emerged a distinct Arab identity, which helped weld its members into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia--the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks--also played important roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire. Well-paced and accessible, In God's Path presents a pioneering new narrative of one the great transformational periods in all of history.
UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. III, Abridged Edition by Unesco. International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa Book Summary:
"The book first places Africa in the context of world history at the opening of the seventh century, before examining the general impact of Islamic penetration, the continuing expansion of the Bantu-speaking peoples, and the growth of civilizations in the Sudanic zones of West Africa"--Back cover.
A History of Ethiopia by Harold G. Marcus Book Summary:
In this eminently readable, concise history of Ethiopia, Harold Marcus surveys the evolution of the oldest African nation from prehistory to the present. For the updated edition, Marcus has written a new preface, two new chapters, and an epilogue, detailing the development and implications of Ethiopia as a Federal state and the war with Eritrea.
An Azanian Trio by James McL. Ritchie,Sigvard von Sicard Book Summary:
An Azanian Trio offers an account of early Arab involvement in and knowledge of East African history and culture. All three manuscripts originated in East Africa and hence reflect the influence of Swahili and other local languages. They cover two millennia of South Arabian and East African History from the early Himyaritic period to the beginning of the 20th century.
From Gibbon to Auden by G.W. Bowersock Book Summary:
For several decades G. W. Bowersock has been one of our leading historians of the classical world. This volume collects seventeen of his essays, each illustrating how the classical past has captured the imagination of some of the greatest figures in modern historiography and literature. The essays here range across three centuries, the eighteenth to the twentieth, and are divided chronologically. The great Enlightenment historian Edward Gibbon is in large part the unifying force of this collection as he appears prominently in the first four essays, beginning with Bowersock's engaging introduction to the methods and genius behind The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon's profound influence is revealed in subsequent essays on Jacob Burckhardt, the nineteenth-century scholar famous for his history of the Italian Renaissance but whose work on late antiquity is only now being fully appreciated; the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, whose annotations on Gibbon's Decline and Fall tell us much about his own historical poems; and finally W. H. Auden, whose poem and little known essay "The Fall of Rome" were, in quirky ways, tributes to Gibbon. The collection reprints Auden's poem and essay in full. The result is a rich survey of the early modern and modern uses of the classical past by one of its most important contemporary commentators.
The First Muslim by Lesley Hazleton Book Summary:
A retelling of the life of the iconic prophet of Islam draws on records from disciplines to profile his complexity, vitality, and legacy, tracing his rise from humble origins to a powerful figure who challenged an established order with a new vision of social justice.
Rome Resurgent by Peter Heather Book Summary:
The era of the Emperor Justinian (527-68) intersects the fall of the western half of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the collapse of the east in the face of rampant Arab invasions in the seventh. Determined to reverse the losses Rome suffered in the fifth century, Justinian's stubborn aggression in the face of all adversity, not least the plague, led the eastern Empire to overreach itself, making it vulnerable to the Islamic takeover of its richest territories in the seventh century, which turned the great East Roman Empire of late antiquity, into its pale Byzantine shadow of the Middle Ages. Rome Resurgent promises to introduce to a wide readership this fascinating but unjustly overlooked chapter in ancient warfare.
Stories of Globalization: the Red Sea and the Gulf from Late Prehistory to Early Modernity by Andrea Manzo,Chiara Zazzaro,Diana Joyce De Falco Book Summary:
This edited book collects papers on latest research conducted in the Red Sea area within the wider context of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean connection from prehistory to the contemporary era
The Worlds of the Indian Ocean: From the Seventh Century to the Fifteenth Century CE by Philippe Beaujard Book Summary:
"Europe's place in history is reassessed in this first comprehensive history of the ancient world, centering on the Indian Ocean and its role in pre-modern globalization. Philippe Beaujard presents an ambitious and comprehensive global history of the Indian Ocean world, from the earliest state formations to 1500 C.E."--
Church and State in Ethiopia: 1270 - 1527 by Taddesse Tamrat Book Summary:
The book by Dr. Taddesse Tamrat is an important contribution. ... In fact, the author shows his full and precise knowledge of past literature on Ethiopia, and his critical analysis of historical events is well founded on the results of recent work; but also-and this is an important novelty-he had access to hagiographical and historical documents, kept in Ethiopian monasteries, which had not previously been known to scholars. ... - Professor Enrico Cerulli, in BSOAS, Vol. 37, 1972. Once in a long while, books are written that set the standard in their discipline. Taddesse Tamrat's Church and State has been just such a book, a classic in Ethiopian historiography, unsurpassed in its painstaking reconstruction of the medieval history of Ethiopia. Few historians have used the rich historical data of the gadl literature as exhaustively and as meticulously as Taddesse has done, teasing out crucial information as only an Ethiopian versed in church traditions could do. Equally significant for the value of the book has been the blending of these Ethiopian traditional sources with the rich contemporary Arabic sources and the commentaries and analyses of such authorities as Carlo Conti Rossini. In short, what Taddesse has done through this masterly reconstruction is to blaze the trail that other Ethiopian historians have followed, a process that culminated in the growth and ripening of professional Ethiopian historiography. - Professor Bahru Zewde is the author of A History of Modern Ethiopia Professor Taddesse Tamrat's magisterial historical work Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270-1527, documents the rise and expansion of a new dynasty in highland Christian Ethiopia and the simultaneous growth of Ethiopian monasticism as an intellectual and cultural force. Based upon a broad range of primary sources previously either unknown or not utilized, this book remains the essential text for the history of the highland Christian state of Ethiopia during the period of its development as the dominant state in the Horn of Africa. This seminal work established the historical foundation for subsequent studies in the history of highland Ethiopia, including specialized cultural and historical analyses of theology, music and religious art. - Professor Marilyn E. Heldman is the author of African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia
The Sacred City of the Ethiopians - Being a Record of Travel and Research in Abyssinia in 1893 by J. Theodore Bent Book Summary:
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Fiction as History by G. W. Bowersock Book Summary:
Using pagan fiction produced in Greek and Latin during the early Christian era, G. W. Bowersock investigates the complex relationship between "historical" and "fictional" truths. This relationship preoccupied writers of the second century, a time when apparent fictions about both past and present were proliferating at an astonishing rate and history was being invented all over again. With force and eloquence, Bowersock illuminates social attitudes of this period and persuasively argues that its fiction was influenced by the emerging Christian Gospel narratives. Enthralling in its breadth and enhanced by two erudite appendices, this is a book that will be warmly welcomed by historians and interpreters of literature. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1994.
Jews and Arabs in Pre- and Early Islamic Arabia by Michael Lecker Book Summary:
Most of the articles in this volume belong to what can be described as the preparatory work which is prerequisite to the study of pre- and early Islamic history. Lecker's interests include tribal Arabia (including tribes in the Yemen and Hadramawt), the history of the Arabian Jews, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, and early Islamic literature in general. While the studies are based on a wide range of sources, they often focus on illuminating small accounts which are analyzed and placed in their historical context. The comprehensive index renders the articles easily accessible.
God, Space, and City in the Roman Imagination by Richard Jenkyns Book Summary:
God, Space, and City in the Roman Imagination is a unique exploration of the relationship between the ancient Romans' visual and literary cultures and their imagination. Drawing on a vast range of ancient sources from all levels of Roman society, it analyses how the Romans used, conceptualized, viewed, and moved around their city.
Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church by Susanna Elm Book Summary:
This groundbreaking study brings into dialogue for the first time the writings of Julian, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor, and his most outspoken critic, Bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, a central figure of Christianity. Susanna Elm compares these two men not to draw out the obvious contrast between the Church and the Emperor’s neo-Paganism, but rather to find their common intellectual and social grounding. Her insightful analysis, supplemented by her magisterial command of sources, demonstrates the ways in which both men were part of the same dialectical whole. Elm recasts both Julian and Gregory as men entirely of their times, showing how the Roman Empire in fact provided Christianity with the ideological and social matrix without which its longevity and dynamism would have been inconceivable.
Rebels and Separatists in Ethiopia by Paul B. Henze,Rand Corporation Book Summary:
This report examines the historical background, origins, present state, and prospects of a number of separatist and antiregime rebellions in Ethiopia, and discusses the implications for Ethiopia's Marxist government and for U.S. policy. The author sees no advantage for the United States in supporting any of the regional rebellions or separatist movements that are working against Ethiopia's Marxist regime as long as they aim at the breakup of the country. He advocates pursuit of policies that will lead to a change of course by Ethiopia's leaders and/or a change of leadership. The author suggests that the main elements of U.S. policy should be the following: (1) to press for basic change in overall economic policy, especially with respect to agriculture; (2) to make clear that the United States will support an Ethiopian government that adopts a new course--which the United States can do by resuming development aid on a significant scale, encouraging American private investment, and considering the reestablishment of military aid; and (3) to straightforwardly uphold certain political principles--including recognizing and supporting the maintenance of Ethiopia's territorial integrity, encouraging measures that will give disaffected regions of the country a say in their local affairs, and standing ready to facilitate the mediation of quarrels with neighboring countries, including Somalia and Sudan.
The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity by Averil Cameron,Fellow of the British Academy Warden Keble College Averil Cameron Book Summary:
This book provides both a detailed introduction to the vivid and exciting period of `late antiquity' and a direct challenge to conventional views of the end of the Empire.
The Egyptian Hermes by Garth Fowden Book Summary:
Sage, scientist, and sorcerer, Hermes Trismegistus was the culture-hero of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. A human (according to some) who had lived about the time of Moses, but now indisputably a god, he was credited with the authorship of numerous books on magic and the supernatural, alchemy, astrology, theology, and philosophy. Until the early seventeenth century, few doubted the attribution. Even when unmasked, Hermes remained a byword for the arcane. Historians of ancient philosophy have puzzled much over the origins of his mystical teachings; but this is the first investigation of the Hermetic milieu by a social historian. Starting from the complex fusions and tensions that molded Graeco-Egyptian culture, and in particular Hermetism, during the centuries after Alexander, Garth Fowden goes on to argue that the technical and philosophical Hermetica, apparently so different, might be seen as aspects of a single "way of Hermes." This assumption that philosophy and religion, even cult, bring one eventually to the same goal was typically late antique, and guaranteed the Hermetica a far-flung readership, even among Christians. The focus and conclusion of this study is an assault on the problem of the social milieu of Hermetism.
Bismarck by Jonathan Steinberg Book Summary:
This riveting, New York Times bestselling biography illuminates the life of Otto von Bismarck, the statesman who unified Germany but who also embodied everything brutal and ruthless about Prussian culture. Jonathan Steinberg draws heavily on contemporary writings, allowing Bismarck's friends and foes to tell the story. What rises from these pages is a complex giant of a man: a hypochondriac with the constitution of an ox, a brutal tyrant who could easily shed tears, a convert to an extreme form of evangelical Protestantism who secularized schools and introduced civil divorce. Bismarck may have been in sheer ability the most intelligent man to direct a great state in modern times. His brilliance and insight dazzled his contemporaries. But all agreed there was also something demonic, diabolical, overwhelming, beyond human attributes, in Bismarck's personality. He was a kind of malign genius who, behind the various postures, concealed an ice-cold contempt for his fellow human beings and a drive to control and rule them. As one contemporary noted: "the Bismarck regime was a constant orgy of scorn and abuse of mankind, collectively and individually." In this comprehensive and expansive biography--a brilliant study in power--Jonathan Steinberg brings Bismarck to life, revealing the stark contrast between the "Iron Chancellor's" unmatched political skills and his profoundly flawed human character.