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Caliphate & Caliphs

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Book Topics: Caliphate, Military, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Aga Khan, The Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Africa, Asia

Books About Early Caliphs

The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate by Wilferd Madelung. Examines the conflict that developed after the death of Muhammad for control of the Muslim community. The author takes up the Shi'i cause, arguing in defense of the succession of 'Ali.

Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire by Andrew Marsham. Describes the ceremonial of accession to the caliphate in early Islam, including a clear discussion of "royal" ritual in early Islam in a late antique and early medieval context.

Between Civil Wars: The Caliphate of Muawiyah by Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir Al-Tabari, translated by Michael G. Morony. Al-Tabari was a ninth century Muslim historian.

The History of Al-Tabari: The Caliphate of Yazid B. Mu-Awiyah, A.D. 680-683 by Al-Tabari, translated by I.K.A. Howard.

Armies of the Caliphs

The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State by Hugh Kennedy. From 600 to 945, the Muslims developed a semi-professional army that began to influence and eventually dominated the political system.

Armies of the Caliphates 862-1098 by David Nicolle. Military history from the Osprey Elite series.

The Umayyad Dynasty

The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyard Caliphate, AD 661-750 by Gerald Hawting. The standard introductory survey of this complex period in Arab and Islamic history.

The History of Al-Tabari: The Waning of the Umayyad Caliphate by Al-Tabari, translated by Carole Hillenbrand.

Walid and His Friends: An Umayyad Tragedy by Robert Hamilton. An account of the life of Walid II, medieval Islamic Caliph and heir apparent who contributed to the fall of the Umayyad dynasty.

The Second Umayyad Caliphate: The Articulation of Caliphal Legitimacy in Al-Andalus by Janina M. Safran. In 929 C.E., the eighth Umayyad ruler of al-Andalus (Islamic Iberia) assumed caliphal titles and prerogatives against the ambitions of the Abbasids and the Fatimids.

The Fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba: Berbers and Andalusis in Conflict by Peter C. Scales. A discussion of the complex events which surround the breakup of the Muslim Caliphate of Cordoba in early 11th century Spain.

The Abbasid Dynasty

When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy. From the founding of the city of Baghdad in A.D. 762 to the end of the ninth century, the rule of the Abbasid dynasty was the zenith of Islamic conquest and influence. This book introduces readers to the men and women of the palaces at Baghdad and Samarra -- the caliphs, viziers, eunuchs, and women of the harem who lived in the days of the Arabian Nights.

Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the Court of Baghdad edited by Shawkat Toorawa, translated by the editors of the Library of Arabic Literature. A 13th century AD (7th century by the Hijri calendar) compilation of anecdotes about 39 consorts, most of them concubines of early Abbasid caliphs and wives of later caliphs and sultans.

The History of Al-Tabari: The Reunification of the Abbasid Caliphate, the Caliphate of Al-Ma Mun A.D. 812-833 by Al-Tabari, translated by C.E. Bosworth.

The History of Al-Tabari: The Crisis of the Early Caliphate by Al-Tabari, translated by Stephen Humphreys.

The History of Al-Tabari: Storm and Stress Along the Northern Frontiers of the Abbasid Caliphate by Al-Tabari, C.E. Bosworth.

The Crisis of the Abbasid Caliphate by Al-Tabari, translated by George Saliba.

The Return of the Caliphate to Baghdad by Al-Tabari, translated by Franz Rosenthal.

The History of Al-Tabari: Abbasid Authority Confirmed by Al-Tabari, translated by Jane Dammen McAuliffe.

Harun Al-Rashid and the Age of a Thousand and One Nights by Andre Clot, translated by John Howe. Harun al-Rashid, the caliph portrayed in The Thousand and One Nights, was the son of a Yemenite slave who cleared his path to power. Through Arab chronicles, the author gives an account of Harun's development as a ruler.

The Meadows of Gold: The Abbasids by Mas'udi, Paul Lunde, translated by Caroline Stone.

Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography: Harun al-Rashid and the Narrative of the Abbasid Caliphate by Tayeb El-Hibri. How medieval narrators shed light on controversial issues while ostensibly presenting a history loyal to the 'Abbasid dynasty.

Prelude to the Generals by Osman Sayyid Ahmad Ismail Al-Bili. A study of some aspects of the reign of the eighth Abbasid caliph, Al-Mutasim Bi-Allah (833-842 AD).

The Fatimid Dynasty

The Rise of the Fatimids by Michael Brett. Traces the rise of the Fatamid dynasty to power and the role of the dynasty in the history of Islam down to the Crusades.

The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids by M. Bonner, Heinz Halm. Describes the early history of the Fatimids, from the founding of the secret society to the rise of the caliphal dynasty to power in North Africa and the founding of Cairo.

The Caliph of Cairo: Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, 996-1021 by Paul E. Walker. In the year 411/1021, the powerful ruler of the Fatimid empire, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, rode out of Cairo and was never seen again. Was he murdered, or did he abandon his royal life?

Aga Khan

Throne of Gold: The Lives of the Aga Khans by Anne Edwards. For 150 years, the Aga Khans have been the spiritual leaders of the Ismailis, a sect of the Shia Muslims. This book looks at the colorful dynasty that is still a force in world affairs. Published in 1995.

Related Topics

Royalty & Religion
The Crusades
The Ottoman Empire
Royalty in Iraq
Royalty in Persia (Iran)
Royalty in the Middle East
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Asian Royalty
World Royal History

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