THE HISTORY OF AL-TABARI
VOLUME XXVI (26)
The Waning of the Umayyad Caliphate
Translated by Carole Hillenbrand
Paperback 300 Pages
The years 738-745/121-127, which this volume covers, saw the outbreak in
Syria of savage internecine struggles between prominent members of the Umayyad
family, which had ruled the Islamic world since 661/41. After the death of the
caliph Hisham in 743-/125, the process of decay at the center of the Umayyad
power--the ruling family itself--was swift and devastating. Three Umayyad
caliphs (al-Walid II, Yazid III, and Ibrahim) followed Hisham within little more
than a year, and the subsequent intervention of their distant cousin Marwan b.
Muhammad (the future Marwan II) could not arrest the forces of opposition that
were shortly to culminate in the 'Abbasid Revolution of 750/132.
In this volume al-Tabari deals extensively with the end of Hisham's reign, providing
a rich store of anecdotes on this most able of Umayyad caliphs. He also covers
in depth the notorious lifestyle of al-Walid II, the libertine prince and poet,
whose career has attracted much scholarly attention in recent years. Moreover,
al-Tabari chronicles at great length the events of the rebellion and death of the
Shi'ite pretender, Zayd b. 'Ali, at al-Kufah, as well as recording in detail the
activities farther to the east, where Nasb. Sayyar was serving as the last
Umayyad governor of Transoxiana and Khurasan, the very area from which the
'Abbasid Revolution was to spring. The text also contains several official
letters which shed much light on Umayyad propaganda and on early Islamic
The hindsight conferred by subsequent centuries highlights the full significance
of these half-dozen years or so. Al-Tabari documents the incubation of the 'Abbasid
Revolution, an event of great importance in world history, and traces the
failure of the principal Shi'ite revolt of the eighth century, a debacle which
was also to have serious repercussions, for it generated the foundation of Zaydi
principalities in Iran and the Yemen. Yet even these major themes are secondary
to the epic tale that al-Tabari unfolds of the tragic downfall of the
first dynasty in Islam.
A volume in the SUNY series in
Near Eastern Studies
A CHROBOLOGY OF
by: H.U. RAHMAN
Paper Back 283 Pages
Ref: 116t Price: £7.00
This book list and describes the principle
events from the birth of the prophet Muhammad (SAW) in 570 CE to the year 1000
CE(Common or Christian Era) Contemporary events from the history of the
Byzantine and Persia empires are also included. Descriptions are purely factual
and presented without interpretation or historical analysis, although background
information explaining the significance of events is provided where necessary.
Precise locations are given for places that may no longer exist or are known by
a different name.
This revised edition of the chronology is a unique reference source for schools
and university teachers and students. And for the general reader interested in
Islamic history and culture.