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Look Inside Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa

Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521196772

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Offers the first large-scale reinterpretation in English of the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the light of the Arabic, Greek and Latin sources, the latest modern scholarship, and visits to the sites with Maghribi scholars
    • Surveys the cultural and historiographical dimensions of the end of Roman and Byzantine North Africa, with a separate chapter on 'historiographical hurdles' that block current understanding of Maghrib history
    • Re-examines localities and terrain based on a reading of neglected Arabic sources and archives, travels, and on-site consultation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "...Kaegi’s account is closely argued, thoughtful, nuanced, careful, and judicious." -Michael G. Morony, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "...this is a clearly written, generously illustrated, and well-produced volume. It is to be warmly recommended." -A. H. Merrills, Journal of the American Oriental Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521196772
    • length: 366 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 10 maps 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Challenges of the subject and the sources
    2. Historiographical hurdles
    3. Fragmented geographical and logistical realities
    4. Christian contexts in seventh-century North Africa
    5. The military heritage of Heraclius on the eve of Muslim military operations
    6. The shock of Sbeitla
    7. Options for offensives and resistance
    8. The riddle of Constans II
    9. Muslim interests, calculations, and leadership
    10. The shift to tribal resistance
    11. The fall of Carthage and its aftermath
    12. The failures of two cities of Constantine.

  • Author

    Walter E. Kaegi, University of Chicago
    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, 1992) and Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium (Cambridge, 2003).

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