“It belongs in a museum”… or does it?

“It belongs in a museum”… or does it?

By Cecilia Palombo and Birte Kristiansen Imagine you are a graduate student who just heard about some fascinating document kept in a private collection. Thanks to the right introduction, and after gently pulling some strings, you are welcome to study…

The continuum approach: Multiple legal solutions to run a diverse empire

The continuum approach: Multiple legal solutions to run a diverse empire

This essay first appeared as part of the Islamic Law Blog’s Roundtable on Islamic Legal History & Historiography By Petra Sijpesteijn Two developments in the field of Islamic history are making it possible for us to look at Islamic law…

inscription- caliph

My favourite medieval things, part III 

We continue our material objects blog with a third and final episode. So far, we have encountered a gravestone, a bone document, a cloak and a plaque with an inscription. All those objects showed multiple cultural influences creating layers of historical meaning. The objects discussed below similarly emphasise that divisions between cultures, or religious and social groups, are never clearcut. Ideas…

My Favourite Medieval Things, part II

My Favourite Medieval Things, part II

Here we continue our series on curious medieval objects that attracted our attention and that we enjoy using for teaching. This time inscriptions are central. Again if we look at these texts within their material context they offer ever richer…

My Favourite Medieval Things, part I

My Favourite Medieval Things, part I

A while ago one of our team members, Ed Hayes, asked us an interesting question concerning material culture from the medieval Middle East. In order to prepare a lecture for undergraduate students, he wanted us to come up with our…

Religious extremism is not limited to Islam or to the present. 

Religious extremism is not limited to Islam or to the present. 

By Said Reza Huseini This blog from our Emco member Reza Huseini, also appeared on the Leiden Islam Blog  The latest wave of Islam-inspired violence in Europe, makes Islamic extremism seem like a seasonal flu without a cure. Certainly, extremism is a…

Bactrian Document no. 0125, letter of the steward to the commander of the fortress regarding the judgment made by the ruler related to the petition presented by Mihr-Guzg. Courtesy of The Khalili Collections, London.

The Idea and Practice of Justice represented in Bactrian Documents

By Said Reza Huseini This text first appeared in AIS Newsletter | Volume 41, Number 2 | October 2020 What do we know about the idea and practice of justice in Bactria in late antiquity? The short answer is: not…

Fighting for wealth, power and prestige: Elites in the Early Muslim Caliphate

Fighting for wealth, power and prestige: Elites in the Early Muslim Caliphate

By Alon Dar Patricians, upper stratum, ruling class, notables, and elite. These are only some of the terms that we come across when reading about the upper classes in the Medieval Caliphate. But does it make sense to use this…

Cooperating on Contesting Empires

Cooperating on Contesting Empires

On September 17 and 18, 2020 we as EMCO Team organized our first online conference: Contesting Empires: Sogdiana, Bactria and Gandhara between the Sasanian empire, the Tang dynasty and the Muslim Caliphate (ca. 600-1000 CE). In preparing for the event we…

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