Contemporary interest in the period of the Crusades has intensified in the last decade or so, partly because of the inflammatory invocations of holy war and jihad made immediately after the traumatic events of 9/11.
The main aim of this book is to answer the following question: how does one account for the speed with which the Arab empire was built? The period covered extends from the rise of Islam down to the middle of the eighth century.
Readers of English who want to know more about the experience of the Greek Orthodox Church under Ottoman rule have generally reached for Steven Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity, first published by Cambridge University Press in 1968.(1) As an introductory guide to the topic, the book has stood up very well over the years but inevitably some aspects of i
Why would a hardened band of foreign jihādi warriors agree to work for a self-proclaimed leader of the Christian world – especially one militantly opposed to Islam, who kept his own Muslim citizens under close surveillance? And why would such a ruler choose to keep that particular type of professional killer in his personal employ?
Empires throughout world history have more often than not seen themselves as part of some cosmic grand narrative, set on earth to enact the will of the god or gods, spiritual or secular, they claim to serve. The Carolingian Empire was no exception.