Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 4, 2010 - History - 345 pages
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Who 'lost' Christian North Africa? Who won it and how? Walter Kaegi takes a fresh look at these perennial questions, with maps and on-site observations, in this exciting new book. Persisting clouds of suspicion and blame overshadowed many Byzantine attempts to defend North Africa, as Byzantines failed to meet the multiple challenges from different directions which ultimately overwhelmed them. While the Muslims forcefully and permanently turned Byzantine internal dynastic and religious problems and military unrest to their advantage, they brought their own strengths to a dynamic process that would take a long time to complete - the transformation of North Africa. An impartial comparative framework helps to sort through identity politics, 'Orientalism' charges and counter-charges, and institutional controversies; this book also includes a new study of the decisive battle of Sbeitla in 647, helping readers to understand what befell Byzantium, and indeed empires from Rome to the present.
  

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Contents

Chapter 1 Challenges of the subject and the sources
1
Chapter 2 Historiographical hurdles
16
Chapter 3 Fragmented geographical and logistical realities
41
Chapter 4 Christian contexts in seventhcentury North Africa
69
Chapter 5 The military heritage of Heraclius on the eve of Muslim military operations
92
Chapter 6 The shock of Sbeitla
116
Chapter 7 Options for offensives and resistance
145
Chapter 8 The riddle of Constans II
166
Chapter 9 Muslim interests calculations and leadership
200
Chapter 10 The shift to tribal resistance 66995
220
Chapter 11 The fall of Carthage and its aftermath 695711
247
Chapter 12 The failures of two cities of Constantine
266
Select bibliography
301
Index
335
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Walter E. Kaegi is Professor of History at the University of Chicago where he has been teaching Byzantine, late antique, early Islamic and military history since 1965. He is the co-founder of the Byzantine Studies Conference and the president of the US National Committee for Byzantine Studies. Previous books include Army, Society and Religion in Byzantium (1982), Some Thoughts on Byzantine Military Strategy (1983), Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

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