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This book compares the ways in which new powers arose in the shadows of the Roman Empire and its Byzantine and Carolingian successors, of Iran, the Caliphate and China in the first millennium CE. These new powers were often established by external military elites who had served the empire. They remained in an uneasy balance with the remaining empire, could eventually replace it, or be drawn into the imperial sphere again. Some relied on dynastic legitimacy, others on ethnic identification, while most of them sought imperial legitimation. Across Eurasia, their dynamic was similar in many respects; why were the outcomes so different?
Contributors are Alexander Beihammer, Maaike van Berkel, Francesco Borri, Andrew Chittick, Michael R. Drompp, Stefan Esders, Ildar Garipzanov, Jürgen Paul, Walter Pohl, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Helmut Reimitz, Jonathan Shepard, Q. Edward Wang, Veronika Wieser, and Ian N. Wood.
This book, the first of three, offers an anthology of Western descriptions of Islamic religious buildings of Spain, Turkey, India and Persia, mostly from the seventeenth to early twentieth centuries, taken from books and ambassadorial reports. As travel became easier and cheaper, thanks to viable roads, steamships, hotels and railways, tourist numbers increased, museums accumulated eastern treasures, illustrated journals proliferated, and photography provided accurate data. The second volume covers some of the religious architecture of Syria, Egypt and North Africa, while the third deals with Islamic palaces around the Mediterranean. All three deal with the impact of Western trade, taste and imports on the East, and examine the encroachment of westernised modernism, judged responsible for the degradation of Islamic styles.