The Empire of the Mahdi

The Rise of the Fatimids


In the 9th century, a secret sect of the Ismā‘īlīs -- known in the Middle Ages under the name of Fatimids -- arose to play a prominent role in the history of the Near East. Their supreme head today is the Agha Khan. In this mesmerising book, Heinz Halm describes the early history of the Fatimids, from the founding and spread of the secret society to the rise of the caliphal dynasty to power in North Africa and the founding of Cairo, their capital.

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Heinz Halm, Ph.D. (1967) in Islamic Studies, University of Bonn, is Emiritus Professor of Islamic History at the University of Tübingen. He specialises in Shi‘ite Iran; his book Shiism appeared in an English translation in 1991.

Michael Bonner, Ph.D. (1987) in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, was Associate Professor of Medieval Islamic History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His translation of A. Noth, Quellenkritische Studien zu Themen, Formen und Tendenzen frühislamischer Geschichtsüberlieferung was published in 1994 as The Early Arabic Historical Tradition.
'Grammarians, linguists, Semiticists, Ethiopianists, students, and curious speakers of Amharic will be well and long served by this exemplary work. For advanced students of the language, it will become an indispensable tool.'
Grover Hudson, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1998.
Good news: Heinz Halm's excellent outline of the early history of the Fāṭimids is now available in English...The impression that this volume, despite its high scholarly claim, almost appears like a 'best-seller', may be acknowledged with pleasure by everybody expecting from a book in the non-fictional area, in addition to new insights and an increase of knowledge, also a fair deal of literary entertainment.
Sebastian Günther, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 1998.
All those interested in the history of Islam and the Near East in general.
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