Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs

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August 2004



This book studies the Arabic-Islamic view of Byzantium, tracing the Byzantine image as it evolved through centuries of warfare, contact, and exchanges. Including previously inaccessible material on the Arabic textual tradition on Byzantium, this investigation shows the significance of Byzantium to the Arab Muslim establishment and their appreciation of various facets of Byzantine culture and civilization. The Arabic-Islamic representation of the Byzantine Empire stretching from the reference to Byzantium in the Qur'an until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 is considered in terms of a few salient themes. The image of Byzantium reveals itself to be complex, non-monolithic, and self-referential. Formulating an alternative appreciation to the politics of confrontation and hostility that so often underlies scholarly discourse on Muslim-Byzantine relations, this book presents the schemes developed by medieval authors to reinterpret aspects of their own history, their own self-definition, and their own view of the world.


[El Cheik] offers a clear and thorough survey of the various sources in a chronological framework. Her work is a valuable contribution to an area that has too often focused on polemics and has failed to see how identity is formed by defining oneself against the other...In addition, her work will be useful to those who want to examine the historical relationship between Islam and Christian cultures, especially outside of the usual areas of inquiry, the Crusades or colonialism. In addition to a survey of Arab-Muslim images of Byzantium, El Cheikh offers an historical evaluation of two faith traditions that have yet to live in peaceful coexistence in many parts of the world. Peaceful coexistence cannot be built when one faith has a consistent desire to conquer and dominate the other. El Cheikh's work can also be seen as an invitation to dialogue, not just among historians and Byzantinists, but among Christians and Muslims who want to evaluate their own common histories honestly and openly.--Ben de Lee"St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly" (01/01/2006)
EAN: 9780932885302
ISBN: 0932885306
Untertitel: 'Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs'. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Harvard University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2004
Seitenanzahl: 254 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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