The Red Sea from Byzantium to the Caliphate: AD 500-1000

The Red Sea from Byzantium to the Caliphate: AD 500-1000

by Timothy Power


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This book examines the historic process traditionally referred to as the fall of Rome and rise of Islam from the perspective of the Red Sea, a strategic waterway linking the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and a distinct region incorporating Africa with Arabia. The transition from Byzantium to the Caliphate is contextualized in the contestation of regional hegemony between Aksumite Ethiopia, Sasanian Iran, and the Islamic Hijaz. The economic stimulus associated with Arab colonization is then considered, including the foundation of ports and roads linking new metropolises and facilitating commercial expansion, particularly gold mining and the slave trade. Finally, the economic inheritance of the Fatimids and the formation of the commercial networks glimpsed in the Cairo Geniza is contextualized in the diffusion of the Abbasid ‘bourgeois revolution’ and resumption of the ‘India trade’ under the Tulunids and Ziyadids. Timothy Power’s careful analysis reveals the complex cultural and economic factors that provided a fertile ground for the origins of the Islamic civilization to take root in the Red Sea region, offering a new perspective on a vital period of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789774165443
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, The
Publication date: 12/30/2012
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,232,808
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Timothy Power is the lecturer in Islamic archaeology at the University College London, Qatar. He was previously a consultant to the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. He has worked on numerous archaeological excavations in Egypt, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.

Table of Contents

Red Sea Studies
The Chronological Parameters of Investigation
The Geographical Parameters of Investigation
The Late Roman Erythra Thalassa (ca. 325-525)
The Formation of Late Antiquity in the Red Sea
Northern Ports and Hinterlands
Emporia and Merchants
Southern Ports and Hinterlands
Development of Commerce and Communications
Contested Hegemony (ca. 525-685)
Persian Hegemony (ca. 570-630)
Arab Hegemony (ca. 630-85)
The 'Long' Eighth Century (ca. 685-830)
Hijazi Ports and Hinterlands
Yemeni Ports and Hinterlands
Sudanese Ports and Hinterlands
The Early Islamic Bahr al-Qulzum (ca. 830-970)
Sudanese Ports and Hinterlands
Southern Ports and Hinterlands
Conclusion: The 'Long' Late Antiquity from the
Perspective of the Red Sea
Muslim Conquests and the Caliphate in the Red Sea
Legacies: Creating the World of the Cairo Geniza
Gazetteer of Sites
Bibliography of Latin, Greek, Coptic, and Syriac Sources
Bibliography of Arabic and Persian Sources
Bibliography of Secondary Literature

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