Upcoming publication: Age of Caliphates (2022)

Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates new fourth edition, Routledge July 2022

kennedy routledge prophets 4th ed




Invisible East co-Investigator Hugh Kennedy's The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates is an accessible history of the Near East from c.600-1050AD, the period in which Islamic society was formed. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Hugh Kennedy goes on to explore the great Arab conquests of the seventh century and the golden age of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates when the world of Islam was politically and culturally far more developed than the West. The crisis of the tenth century put an end to the political unity of the Muslim world and saw the emergence of the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt and independent dynasties in the Eastern Islamic world. The book concludes with the advent of Seljuk Turkish rule in the mid-eleventh century. This new edition is fully updated to take into account recent research and there are two entirely new chapters covering the economic background during the period, and the north-east of Iran in the post Abbasid period. Based on extensive reading of the original Arabic sources, Kennedy breaks away from the Orientalist tradition of seeing early Islamic history as a series of ephemeral rulers and pointless battles by drawing attention to underlying long term social and economic processes.

The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates deals with issues of continuing and increasing relevance in the twenty-first century, when it is, perhaps, more important than ever to understand the early development of the Islamic world. Students and scholars of early Islamic history will find this book a clear, informative and readable introduction to the subject.


Table of Contents


Chapter 1 The matrix of the Muslim world: the Near East in the early seventh century

Chapter 2 The birth of the Islamic state

Chapter 3 Conquest and division in the time of the Rāshidūn caliphs

Chapter 4 The Umayyad caliphate

Chapter 5 The early ‘Abbasid caliphate

Chapter 6 The middle ‘Abbasid caliphate

Chapter 7 The Early Islamic Economy

Chapter 8 The structure of politics in the Muslim commonwealth

Chapter 9 The Buyid confederation

Chapter 10 The Kurds

Chapter 11 The Hamdanids

Chapter 12 Bedouin political movements and dynasties

Chapter 13 The Eastern Iranian World in the Tenth and Early Eleventh Centuries

Chapter 14 Early Islamic Egypt and the Fatimid empire


Postscript: the coming of the Seljuks