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  • Cited by 14
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2017
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Book description

Eighth- and ninth-century Armenia and Caucasian Albania were largely Christian provinces of the then Islamic Caliphate. Although they formed a part of the Iranian cultural sphere, they are often omitted from studies of both Islamic and Iranian history. In this book, Alison Vacca uses Arabic and Armenian texts to explore these Christian provinces as part of the Caliphate, identifying elements of continuity from Sasanian to caliphal rule, and, more importantly, expounding on significant moments of change in the administration of the Marwanid and early Abbasid periods. Vacca examines historical narrative and the construction of a Sasanian cultural memory during the late ninth and tenth centuries to place the provinces into a broader context of Iranian rule. This book will be of benefit to historians of Islam, Iran and the Caucasus, but will also appeal to those studying themes of Iranian identity and Muslim-Christian relations in the Near East.


Winner, 2018 History and the Humanities Book Award, Central Eurasian Studies Society


'In the super-complex literature on the history of Armenia and the Caucasus, Vacca’s work is both the best general introduction and a significant contribution to on-going debates.'

Hugh Kennedy Source: Journal of Islamic Studies

'Alison Vacca makes a fascinating case for Sasanian, and possibly Arsacid/Parthian, legacies in matters of administrative geography, frontier culture, religious policy, mechanisms of control, treaties, and taxation in the historiography of the tenth-century Iranian intermezzo in the sub-Caucasus region, and makes the important points that legacy is not necessarily actual continuity, that the Sasanian legacy consisted of how they were remembered, and that the use of Sasanian-period texts by tenth century authors as models to describe caliphal rule encouraged a perception of continuity.'

Michael Morony - Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles

'Alison Vacca has produced an exciting, ambitious, and groundbreaking investigation that unfurls across a massive cross-cultural canvas. Deploying a bold interdisciplinary approach grounded in an impressive array of sources, this is the most important monograph on early Islamic Caucasia since Ter-Ghewondyan’s Arab Emirates in Bagratid Armenia. It will immediately establish itself as a ‘go to’ book not only for Armenologists and Caucasiologists but also specialists of Sasanian Iran, the early Islamic world, and Byzantium.'

Stephen Rapp, Jr - Professor of Eurasian History, Sam Houston State University

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