Illustration from the book Maqāmāt-i Harīrī written by Abū Muhammad al-Qāsim ibn Alī ibn Muhammad ibn Uthmān al-Harīrī (1054-1122).

The Diverse Processes of the Conquests of Sasanian Iran: The Example of the Region of Qom

When we use the term “Early Muslim Conquests,” we usually think of a one-way process: the Arabs taking a place with violence and causing disruption and without any cooperation from the local population. No doubt that was sometimes the case….

Coming out of the Cave: Monks in Society in seventh and eighth Century Egypt

Coming out of the Cave: Monks in Society in seventh and eighth Century Egypt

Starvation, solitude and saintliness. These are not the first words that come to mind when looking at the lives of Egyptian monks in the seventh and eighth century. At least, not when you look at their letters and documents on…

Burn after Reading: Epistolary Heresy in Tenth Century Baghdad

Burn after Reading: Epistolary Heresy in Tenth Century Baghdad

A police raid, a cache of letters, an inquisition, an execution. Sometimes you have to be careful what you write. In 322 AH/ 934 CE, the house of a man known as al-Shalmaghānī was raided by the caliph’s men. They…

The Governor's Orders: Part One

The Governor’s Orders: Part One

Have you ever wondered what the Arab conquests of Egypt meant for the average Egyptian villager? The following story takes place a few years after 700, in the countryside of Middle Egypt. It’s based on a Coptic document that belonged…

Bactrian Documents: New Source for the Early Islamic History of Tukharistan

Bactrian Documents: New Source for the Early Islamic History of Tukharistan

Traditionally, the history of the early Muslim conquests of Tukharistan is based on Arabic historical narratives compiled during the early Abbasid period. However, they are written in Arabic by Muslim figures for Arabic speaking audiences within a particular framework to…

When is an Arab not an Arab?

When is an Arab not an Arab?

Conversations with EmCo guest Robert Hoyland, and Leiden specialists Peter Webb, Marijn van Putten and Ahmad al-Jallad inspired EmCo researcher, Ed Hayes to write a post for the Leiden Islam blog, When is an Arab Not an Arab?  

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