Land and Trade in Early Islam: The Economy of the Islamic Middle East 750-1050 CE

ISBN : 9780198863083

Hugh Kennedy; Fanny Bessard
576 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2021
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Land and Trade in Early Islam discusses the latest developments in the field of early Islamic economic and social history, and explores the notion of polycentrism and the dialectic between global and local between 700 and 1050 CE. The volume explores the political mechanisms and the role of Islamic states in regulating and developing demand in the economy. The chapters question the binary of core/periphery, and demonstrate how the growing scholarship on the liminal regions of the Caliphate has transformed our understanding of the early Islamic world by offering a more nuanced picture of its regional urban and socio-economic dynamics. Changes in the peripheries of the early medieval Caliphate have traditionally been conceived as resulting from initiatives by the core. An increased focus on the comparatively under-explored regions in central Asia, north Africa, south-east Asia and the Caucasus has thrown this into question. Land and Trade in Early Islam draws on this growing body of scholarship to question the notion of peripherality, explore lines of economic influence and interdependence, and to better understand the regional economic, social and political dynamics of this period.


Part I: Economic Exceptionalism in Early Islam: Myth or Realityn
1 Peter Sarris: The Late Antique and Byzantine Context to early Islamic Mercantile Activity
2 Michael Decker: An Islamic Agricultural Revolution
Part II: Politics of Investment
3 Hugh Kennedy: Introduction
A. Caliphal Initiatives
4 Harry Munt: Caliphs, the Economy, and Political Separatism in the Hijaz
5 Peter Webb: Power and Money on the Hajj
6 Louise Rayne: Early Islamic Water Management in Northern Mesopotamia
7 Noemie Lucas: Landholding, Investment, and Irrigation in Lower Iraq
8 Mehrnoush Soroush: Dynamics of Agricultural Investment in al-Ahwaz in the Early Islamic Period
9 David Bramoulle: A Tale of Two Services: Fatimid Public Services to Control the Maritime Trade
B. Economic Initiatives from Religious Communities
10 Ed Hayes: The Imams as Economic Actors
11 Dan Reynolds: Silent Partners: Christians in the Economy of Early Islamic Palestine
Part III: Local and Regional Trading Identities from the Maghreb to the Indian Ocean
12 Fanny Bessard: Introduction
13 Cyrille Aillet: The Ibadi Trading Communities of the Maghreb
14 Kristoffer Damgaard: Muslim Expansionism and the Formation of an Arabian Mercantile Complex in the Red Sea
15 Stephanes Pradines: Trade in the Comoros Islands
16 Jean-Charles Ducène: The Middle East as Seen by the Arab Geographers (Ninth to Tenth centuries): A Multipolar Urban Network
17 Karel Novacek: North-Eastern Mesopotamia as an Economic Area from an Archaeological Perspective
18 Marek Jankowiak: Infrastructure and Organisation of the Early Islamic Slave Trade with Northern Europe
19 Alison Vacca: Trade in Abbasid Armenia
20 Jean-Charles Ducène: The Islamic Trade Network in the Indian Ocean (Ninth to Eleventh Centuries): Locations and Practices

About the author: 

Hugh Kennedy is a historian of the Islamic Middle East between c. 600 and 1050. From 1972 to 2017, he was lecturer and then Professor in the Department of Mediaeval History in the University of St Andrews. Since 2007 he has been Professor of Arabic at SOAS University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles including most recently The Caliphate: A Pelican Introduction (Penguin, 2016).; Fanny Bessard is a historian of early and classical Islam with expertise in Arabic historiography, as well as a practicing archaeologist with a decade of field experience in the Middle East and Central Asia. Before joining the University of Oxford, she held a Newton fellowship at SOAS (2013-15), a Leverhulme ECF at the University of St Andrews (2015-16), and a Lecturership in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol (2016-19). Her main research interest lies in the social and economic transformations of the Middle East, 700-1000.

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