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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: January 2021

5 - Early Islamic Imperial Space


This chapter investigates the emergence of imperial space in the early Islamic world, 7th–12th centuries, and Muslim notions of empire in this period. It examines how an imperial space was conquered under the Prophet Muhammad, Rashidun Caliphs and Umayyad dynasty, reaching its height in c.740, followed by its fragmentation under the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258). The role of jihad in this expansion is examined, along with the institutions that bound the empire together and the reasons for its disintegration. The expansion of the frontiers of the Islamic world only began again under Turkish dynasties, the Seljuqs, Qarakhanids and Ghaznavids in the 11th century, when parts of Anatolia, Central Asia and India were conquered. Finally, this chapter considers how imperial space was visualised and represented in this period, examining the evidence of maps in manuscripts of works by Arabic geographers of the 10th–11th centuries.

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