Documents and the History of the Early Islamic World


Historians have long lamented the lack of contemporary documentary sources for the Islamic middle ages and the inhibiting effect this has had on our understanding of this critically important period. Although the field is richly served by surviving evidence, much of it is hard to locate, difficult to access, and philologically intractable. Presenting a mixture of historical studies and new editions of Greek, Arabic and Coptic material from the seventh to the fifteenth century C.E. from Egypt and Palestine, Documents and the History of the Early Islamic World explores the untapped wealth of documentary sources available in collections around the world and shows how this exciting material can be used for historical analysis.

Contributors include: Hugh Kennedy, Anne Regourd, Jairus Banaji, Alain Delattre, Shaun O’Sullivan, Anna Selander, Frédéric Bauden, Mostafa El-Abbadi, Rachel Stroumsa, Sebastian Richter, Tascha Vorderstrasse, Matt Malczycki, R.G. Khoury, Nicole Hansen, and Alia Hanafi.

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Open Access


Open Access
Biographical Note
Alexander T. Schubert received his Ph.D. in ancient history from Cornell University in 2000. He is currently the executive director of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Petra M. Sijpesteijn holds the Chair of Arabic Language and Culture at Leiden University and is Chargée de recherche at the Institut de Recherche et Histoire des Textes at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. She obtained her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 2004, and was a junior research fellow at Christ Church, Oxford (2003-2007). She is the author of The Formation of a Muslim State in late Umayyad Egypt (Oxford 2013).
Review Quotes
“This is a concise book worth both for its amount and variety of information, addressing a surprisingly wide range of scientific questions regarding the possibility of using material and textual evidence in the search of information on either the intellectual, or cultural, economic, and political history of Egypt and Palestine; furthermore, it offers a kick off for an in depth research to students of maritime history, to researchers of the social history of the Middle East, of the fiscal policy of the era in the region as well as to students of the history Quran researching for the nihil obstat and imprimatur of the suras, to archeologists assessing cultural artifacts, to sociolinguists working on multilingualism in the Mediterreanean and papyrologists trying to link to all these fields of reseach.”
Stavros Nikolaidis
Table of contents
Notes on Contributors
Notes on Editions and Dates
Hugh Kennedy, Introduction

Anne Regourd, A Late Ayyubid Report of Death Found at Quṣayr al-Qadīm (Egypt)
Jairus Banaji, On the Identity of Shahrālānyōzān in the Greek and Middle Persian Papyri from Egypt
Alain Delattre, Le monastère de Baouît et l’administration arabe
Shaun O’Sullivan, Fiscal Evidence from the Nessana Papyri

Anna Selander, Travel in Coptic Documentary Texts
Frédéric Bauden, Le transport de marchandises et de personnes sur le Nil en 823 A.H./1420 È.C.

Mostafa El-Abbadi, P.Cair.Arab. III 167: A Discussion of the Akhmīm Declaration
Rachel Stroumsa, Greek and Arabic in Nessana
Sebastian Richter, The Master Spoke: “Take One of ‘the Sun’ and One Unit of Almulgam.” Hitherto Unnoticed Coptic Papyrological Evidence for Early Arabic Alchemy
Tascha Vorderstrasse, Terms for Vessels in Arabic and Coptic Documentary Texts and their Archaeological and Ethnographic Correlates
Mat Malczycki, A Quranic Text on Papyrus: P.Utah.Atiya.Ar. 342

R.G. Khoury, Les papyrus arabes de Heidelberg disparus. Essai de reconstruction et d’analyse
Alia Hanafi, Two New Arabic Editions: A Land Survey from Ihnās and Ḥadīths Concerning Funerary Practice
Nicole Hansen, Sunshine Wine on the Nile

All interested in medieval Islamic history, especially of Egypt and Palestine, and anyone interested in the use of documents for history-writing.
Index Card
Collection Information