Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century

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Oxford University Press, Jun 10, 2010 - History - 573 pages
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James Howard-Johnston provides a sweeping and highly readable account of probably the most dramatic single episode in world history - the emergence of a new religion (Islam), the destruction of two established great powers (Roman and Iranian), and the creation of a new world empire by the Arabs, all in the space of not much more than a generation (610-52 AD). Warfare looms large, especially where operations can be followed in some detail, as in Iraq 636-40, in Egypt 641-2 and in the long-drawn out battle for the Mediterranean (649-98). As the first history of the formative phase of Islam to be grounded in the important non-Islamic as well as Islamic sources Witnesses to a World Crisis is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Islam as a religion and political force, the modern Middle East, and the jihadist impulse, which is as evident today as it was in the seventh century.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 George of Pisidia
16
2 Two Universal Chronicles
36
The History of Khosrov
70
The History to the Year 682 and the Khuzistan Chronicle
103
5 Supplementary Roman Sources of the Seventh Century I
138
6 Supplementary Roman Sources of the Seventh Century II
163
The West Syrian Tradition
192
11 Early Islamic Historical Writing
354
12 The Life of the Prophet
395
13 Historians of the Middle East in the Seventh Century
419
The Great Powers Arabia and the Prophet
436
Arab Conquests
461
A New World Order
488
Conclusion
517
Bibliography
531

Nicephorus
237
Theophanes
268
10 Later Historians at Work in Egypt Iraq and Iran
313

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About the author (2010)


James Howard-Johnston is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and was University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies from 1971 to 2009. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East and East Mediterranean, and escaped for a while from the confines of academic life by serving on Oxford City Council (1971-6) and Oxfordshire County Council (1973-7, 1981-7). He is married to the novelist Angela Huth and has a step-daughter and daughter.

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