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The Collapse of the Eastern Mediterranean
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  • Cited by 10
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Junge, Andrea Lomax, Johanna Shahack-Gross, Ruth Finkelstein, Israel and Fuchs, Markus 2018. Chronology of an ancient water reservoir and the history of human activity in the Negev Highlands, Israel. Geoarchaeology,

    Tor, D.G. 2018. The Eclipse of Khurāsān in the twelfth century. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 81, Issue. 2, p. 251.

    Schneider, Adam W. 2017. The Medieval Climate Anomaly as a factor in the history of Sijilmasa, southeastern Morocco. The Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 22, Issue. 1, p. 132.

    Fuks, D. Ackermann, O. Ayalon, A. Bar-Matthews, M. Bar-Oz, G. Levi, Y. Maeir, A. M. Weiss, E. Zilberman, T. and Safrai, Z. 2017. Dust clouds, climate change and coins: consiliences of palaeoclimate and economy in the Late Antique southern Levant. Levant, Vol. 49, Issue. 2, p. 205.

    Reese, Gerhard Rosenmann, Amir and McGarty, Craig 2015. Globalisation and global concern: Developing a social psychology of human responses to global challenges. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 45, Issue. 7, p. 799.

    Cortese, Delia 2015. The Nile: Its Role in the Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Fatimid Dynasty During its Rule of Egypt (969-1171). History Compass, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 20.

    Frenkel, Yehoshua 2014. An Introduction to the Environmental History of the Mamlūk Sultanate. History Compass, Vol. 12, Issue. 11, p. 866.

    Cheyette, Fredric 2014. A Companion to Mediterranean History. p. 9.

    Avni, Gideon Porat, Naomi and Avni, Yoav 2013. Byzantine–Early Islamic agricultural systems in the Negev Highlands: Stages of development as interpreted through OSL dating. Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 38, Issue. 4, p. 332.

    LANGGUT, DAFNA FINKELSTEIN, ISRAEL and LITT, THOMAS 2013. Climate and the Late Bronze Collapse: New Evidence from the Southern Levant. Tel Aviv, Vol. 40, Issue. 2, p. 149.


Book description

As a 'Medieval Warm Period' prevailed in Western Europe during the tenth and eleventh centuries, the eastern Mediterranean region, from the Nile to the Oxus, was suffering from a series of climatic disasters which led to the decline of some of the most important civilizations and cultural centres of the time. This provocative study argues that many well-documented but apparently disparate events - such as recurrent drought and famine in Egypt, mass migrations in the steppes of central Asia, and the decline in population in urban centres such as Baghdad and Constantinople - are connected and should be understood within the broad context of climate change. Drawing on a wealth of textual and archaeological evidence, Ronnie Ellenblum explores the impact of climatic and ecological change across the eastern Mediterranean in this period, to offer a new perspective on why this was a turning point in the history of the Islamic world.


‘We have long been familiar with the famines that struck Egypt in the mid-1000s, but Ellenblum is the first to show how these are part of a broad regional pattern. This comprehensive and clearly argued book advances our understanding of the complex political, social, and economic processes of the late tenth and eleventh century in SW Asia and, more broadly, our capacity to link these processes to those underway in other parts of Eurasia.’

Stephen Humphreys - University of California, Santa Barbara

‘To climatologists who study the past by looking into geological and chemical evidence imprinted in silent natural archives, Ellenblum’s work adds the missing element of contemporaneous human observation, experience, and response. His thorough synthesis of numerous documents that reported the occurrence of extreme climate events, weaved together across space and time with records of related conflict and civic system response, adds an invaluable resource for understanding how climate varied in the past and how it has affected humanity.’

Yochanan Kushnir - Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

‘Ellenblum has mined sources from many languages, ancient and modern, especially those of chroniclers writing in Arabic, to construct a powerful story: from northeastern Africa through Central Asia severe droughts and extreme cold conditions in the tenth and eleventh centuries resulted in famines, migrations, anarchy, wars, the fall of states, and all manner of social, economic, and political dislocations. No study on ‘collapse’ and its consequences is as persuasive as this one.’

Norman Yoffee - Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan

'Fluent, persuasive, iconoclastic and provocative …'

Source: History Today

'This book contains a gold mine of written descriptions for the time period that should be useful for scholars.'

Source: Journal of Historical Geography

'The study of environmental history in the early Middle Ages is still very much in its infancy; thus Ronnie Ellenblum’s contribution, not least because it argues so lucidly for a real climatic impact in various areas of human activity, is to be welcomed wholeheartedly.'

Mark Humphries Source: Early Medieval Europe

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