Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lost Maps of the Caliphs

Drawing the World in 11th Century Cairo

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodleian Library (30 Jun. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022654088X

About a millennium ago, in Cairo, an unknown author completed a large and richly illustrated book. In the course of thirty-five chapters, this book guided the reader on a journey from the outermost cosmos and planets to Earth and its lands, islands, features, and inhabitants. This treatise, known as The Book of Curiosities, was unknown to modern scholars until a remarkable manuscript copy surfaced in 2000.

Lost Maps of the Caliphs provides the first general overview of The Book of Curiosities and the unique insight it offers into medieval Islamic thought. Opening with an account of the remarkable discovery of the manuscript and its purchase by the Bodleian Library, the authors use The Book of Curiosities to re-evaluate the development of astrology, geography, and cartography in the first four centuries of Islam. Their account assesses the transmission of Late Antique geography to the Islamic world, unearths the logic behind abstract maritime diagrams, and considers the palaces and walls that dominate medieval Islamic plans of towns and ports. Early astronomical maps and drawings demonstrate the medieval understanding of the structure of the cosmos and illustrate the pervasive assumption that almost any visible celestial event had an effect upon life on Earth. Lost Maps of the Caliphs also reconsiders the history of global communication networks at the turn of the previous millennium. It shows the Fatimid Empire, and its capital Cairo, as a global maritime power, with tentacles spanning from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus Valley and the East African coast.

As Lost Maps of the Caliphs makes clear, not only is The Book of Curiosities one of the greatest achievements of medieval mapmaking, it is also a remarkable contribution to the story of Islamic civilization that opens an unexpected window to the medieval Islamic view of the world.

Yossef Rapoport is a reader in Islamic history at Queen Mary University of London. 
Emilie Savage-Smith is a fellow of the British Academy and recently retired as professor of the history of Islamic science at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. She continues as Fellow Archivist of St Cross College. They are coeditors of An Eleventh-Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe: The Book of Curiosities, Edited with an Annotated Translation.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Mapping the Middle East

Hardcover – 1 Apr 2018

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Conference on "Materialising empire in Ancient Rome and Han China", Peking University

2018.4.8-4.12 “帝国重现:古罗马与汉代中国文明”研讨会



  4月8日          来宾报到
  4月9-10日     研讨会
  4月11日         参观
  4月12日         离会

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Babur: Timurid Prince and Mughal Emperor, 1483–1530

Paperback – 30 Apr 2018

by Stephen F. Dale

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (30 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107107261

This book is a concise biography of Babur, who founded the Timurid-Mughal Empire of South Asia. Based primarily on his autobiography and existential verse, it chronicles the life and career of a Central Asian, Turco-Mongol Muslim who, driven from his homeland by Uzbeks in 1504, ruled Kabul for two decades before invading “Hindustan” in 1526. It offers a revealing portrait of Babur's Perso-Islamic culture, Timurid imperial ambition and turbulent emotional life. It is, above all, a humanistic portrait of an individual, who even as he triumphed in South Asia, suffered the regretful anguish of an exile who felt himself to be a stranger in a strange land.

Monday, 9 April 2018

From the Huns to the Turks. Mounted Warriors in Europe and Central Asia

International Conference

25- 26 April 2108

RGZM | Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
im Kurfürstlichen Schloss
Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2
55116 Mainz


Jessica Schmidt M.A.
T: +49 (0) 6131 / 9124-162

The European self-perception is mainly based on the «old world», the Greek and Roman cultures of the Mediterranean, which interacted with the ones in the North. In fact, however, Europe has always been in close contact with the Eurasian steppe region, and thus received critical stimuli, technologies and goods of all kinds. Time and again, powerful confederations of equestrian warriors also came to the West, settling here and establishing contacts with European polities. While the «empires» of the Bulgarians, Hungarians and Turks slowly became medieval and early modern states, the Sarmatians, Huns, Avars or Mongols disappeared from the map. 
The conference will focus on the horse-powered polities that came from the East to the environs of Europe between the 4th and 15th century, including the Eurasian peoples who directly or indirectly initiated migrations and military expeditions to Europe. The conference aims to identify typical constellations and processes, but also significant differences among the various tribal federations. Some presentations are dedicated to a specific people, others are devoted to overarching topics. The conference is organised by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz in cooperation with the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Wednesday, 25th April

9.30–9.40 h

Welcome and Introduction Falko Daim
Chair: Walter Pohl

9.40–10.20 h

Jan Bemmann (Bonn) 
Climate Change, Natural Disasters and their Impact on Nomadic Polities


10.20–11.00 h

Khodadat Rezakhani (Princeton) 
On the Fringes of the Eurasian Steppe: Horses and Warriors in the World of the ‘Iranische Hunnen’

11.00–11.30 h

11.30–12.10 h

Timo Stickler (Jena) 
The Impact of the Huns on the Politics of the Late Roman Empire and vice versa


12.10–12.50 h

Richard Foltz (Montreal) 
The Caucasian Alans between Byzantine Christianity and traditional Paganism

13.00-14.30 h

Chair: Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger


14.30–15.10 h

Walter Pohl (Wien) 
The Avars in a Central Eurasian Perspective

15.10–15.50 h

Tivadar Vida (Budapest) 
The Settling of the Carpathian Basin by Mounted Warriors in the Avar Period and the Structure of their Power

16.00–16.30 h

16.30–17.10 h

Gergely Csiky (Budapest) 
The Transformation of Horse Riding in the Steppes during the 1st Millennium AD – Considerations on the Spread of Stirrups in Eurasia

17.10–17.50 h

Falko Daim (Mainz - Wien) 
When Cultures meet: Moving Things, changing Motifs


17.50–18.30 h

Panos Sophoulis (Sofia) 
The Bulgar Paradox: A Horse powered (?) Elite in the Balkans

19.00 h
Reception for Speakers and Guests

Thursday, 26th April 

Chair: Falko Daim

9.30–10.10 h

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Wien) 
Capitals and imperial Landscapes of Steppe Empires in medieval Eurasia


10.10–10.50 h

Nick Evans (Cambridge) 
The Womb of Iron and Silver: Slavery in the Khazar Economy

11.00–11.30 h


11.30–12.10 h

Stefan Albrecht (Mainz) 
The Hungarian Invasions as an common European Trauma

12.10–12.50 h

Adam Bollók (Budapest) 
From "Steppe State" to Christian Kingdom, from Árpád's People to national Ancestors

13.00–14.30 h

Turks in Central Asia and in Anatolia

Chair: Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

14.30–15.10 h

Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger (Berlin – Bochum) 
The „Turkish Triangle“. From the static Element of the Seljuks to the Ornament in Byzantine Art

15.10–15.50 h

Sören Stark (New York) 
Inner Asian Nomadic Elites of the 5th-6th Centuries CE. An old archaeological Puzzle in the Light of recent Discoveries

15.50–16.30 h

Rustam Shukurov (Moskau) 
Becoming a Roman: Barbarians as a Source of Manpower in Byzantium in the 11th–14th Centuries

16.30–17.00 h

17.00–17.40 h

Matteo Compareti (Beijing) 
Huns and Turks in "Sino-Sogdian" Funerary Monuments and Sogdian Paintings


17.40–18.20 h

Marie Favereau (Oxford) 
The Mediterranean and the Steppe: The Integration of the Italian Traders into the Golden Horde

Closing Remarks: Walter Pohl 

18. 30 h

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia

Volume II: Inner Eurasia from the Mongol Empire to Today, 1260 - 2000

by David Christian

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (2 Mar. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631210393

Beginning with the breakup of the Mongol Empire in the mid–thirteenth century, Volume II of this comprehensive work covers the remarkable history of Inner Eurasia, from 1260 up to modern times, completing the story begun in Volume I. Volume II describes how agriculture spread through Inner Eurasia, providing the foundations for new agricultural states, including the Russian Empire. It focuses on the idea of mobilization the distinctive ways in which elite groups mobilized resources from their populations, and how those methods were shaped by the region's distinctive ecology, which differed greatly from that of Outer Eurasia, the southern half of Eurasia and the part of Eurasia most studied by historians. This work also examines how fossil fuels created a bonanza of energy that helped shape the history of the Communist world during much of the twentieth century.
Filled with figures, maps, and tables to help give readers a fuller understanding of what has transpired over 750 years in this distinctive world region, A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume II: Inner Eurasia from the Mongol Empire to Today, 1260–2000 is a magisterial but accessible account of this area s past, that will offer readers new insights into the history of an often misunderstood part of the world.
  • Situates the histories of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia within the larger narrative of world history
  • Concentrates on the idea of Inner Eurasia as a coherent ecological and geographical zone
  • Focuses on the powerful ways in which the region's geography shaped its history
  • Places great emphasis on how mobilization played a major part in the development of the regions
  • Offers a distinctive interpretation of modernity that highlights the importance of fossil fuels
  • Offers new ways of understanding the Soviet era
A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume II is an ideal book for general audiences and for use in undergraduate and graduate courses in world history. 

Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire

2nd Edition, Kindle Edition

The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410

by Peter Jackson

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd edition (16 Mar. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1138848484

The Mongols and the West provides a comprehensive survey of relations between the Catholic West and the Mongol Empire from the first appearance of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan’s armies on Europe’s horizons in 1221 to the battle of Tannenberg in 1410. This book has been designed to provide a synthesis of previous scholarship on relations between the Mongols and the Catholic world as well as to offer new approaches and conclusions on the subject. It considers the tension between Western hopes of the Mongols as allies against growing Muslim powers and the Mongols’ position as conquerors with their own agenda, and evaluates the impact of Mongol-Western contacts on the West’s expanding knowledge of the world. 
This second edition takes into account the wealth of scholarly literature that has emerged in the years since the previous edition and contains significantly extended chapters on trade and mission. It charts the course of military confrontation and diplomatic relations between the Mongols and the West, and re-examines the commercial opportunities offered to Western merchants by Mongol rule and the failure of Catholic missionaries to convert the Mongols to Christianity. 
Fully revised and containing a range of maps, genealogical tables and both European and non-European sources throughout, The Mongols and the West is ideal for students of medieval European history and the crusades.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Islamic Chinoiserie: The Art of Mongol Iran

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press; Reprint edition (30 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1474437206

The Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century marked a new phase in the development of Islamic art. Trans-Eurasian exchanges of goods, people and ideas were encouraged on a large scale under the auspices of the Pax Mongolica. With the fascination of portable objects brought from China and Central Asia, a distinctive, hitherto unknown style - Islamic chinoiserie - was born in the art of Iran. Highly illustrated, Islamic Chinoiserie offers a fascinating glimpse into the artistic interaction between Iran and China under the Mongols. By using rich visual materials from various media of decorative and pictorial arts - textiles, ceramics, metalwork and manuscript painting - the book illustrates the process of adoption and adaptation of Chinese themes in the art of Mongol-ruled Iran in a visually compelling way. The observation of this unique artistic phenomenon serves to promote the understanding of the artistic diversity of Islamic art in the Middle Ages.

Key Features 
  • Covers various media of decorative and pictorial arts from Iran, Central Asia and China Deals with a diverse range of issues related to the East-West artistic relationship in the Middle Ages 
  • Features in-depth studies of style, technique and iconography in Iranian art under the Mongols 
  • Includes 125 illustrations, 24 in colour

Violence in Islamic Thought from the Mongols to European Imperialism

(Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought) Hardcover – 30 Apr 2018

by Robert G leave Istvan Kristo-Nagy 

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (30 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1474413005

Examines the development of Muslim theological, legal, literary and cultural discussions about violence and its legitimation

The violent conquest of the eastern part of the lands under Muslim rule by the Mongols marked a new period in the history of Islamic civilisation and in attitudes towards violence. This volume examines the various intellectual and cultural reactions of Muslim thinkers to these events, both within and without the territories subjected to Mongol control. Each chapter examines how violent acts were assessed by Muslim intellectuals, analysing both changes and continuity within Islamic thought over time.
Each chapter is structured around a case study in which violent acts are justified or condemned, revealing the variety of attitudes to violence in the medieval period. They are framed by a detailed introduction, focusing on theoretical perspectives on violence and religion and their application, or otherwise, to medieval Islam.

Key Features

  • Examines the portrayal of violence in a variety of Muslim intellectual contexts (historical, philosophical, theological, legal, literary, artistic)
  • Employs a broad understanding of violence – from warfare between Muslims (and between Muslims and others) to individual acts of violence
  • Enables a better-informed debate about the nature of violence in Islamic thought, and how the positions developed in early Islam were both used and abandoned by later writers
  • Positions these classical conceptions of violence and its justification in Islamic thought in the broader methodological debate over violence and its relationship with religious thought

In the Wake of the Mongols

The Making of a New Social Order in North China, 1200–1600

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (1 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674987152

The Mongol conquest of north China between 1211 and 1234 inflicted terrible wartime destruction, wiping out more than one-third of the population and dismantling the existing social order. In the Wake of the Mongols recounts the riveting story of how northern Chinese men and women adapted to these trying circumstances and interacted with their alien Mongol conquerors to create a drastically new social order. To construct this story, the book uses a previously unknown source of inscriptions recorded on stone tablets.
Jinping Wang explores a north China where Mongol patrons, Daoist priests, Buddhist monks, and sometimes single women--rather than Confucian gentry--exercised power and shaped events, a portrait that upends the conventional view of imperial Chinese society. Setting the stage by portraying the late Jin and closing by tracing the Mongol period's legacy during the Ming dynasty, she delineates the changing social dynamics over four centuries in the northern province of Shanxi, still a poorly understood region.

Sui-Tang China and Its Turko-Mongol Neighbors

(Oxford Studies in Early Empires) Paperback – 1 Jun 2018

Friday, 23 March 2018

"The Silk Road of the Middle East" , lecture 21 February 2018 by Peter Frankopan

Masterclass Middle East
Geopolitics in Europe's Neighbourhood THE SILK ROAD OF THE MIDDLE EAST By Professor Peter Frankopan (Oxford University) Introduction by Professor Caroline Pauwels, Rector VUB Residence Palace - International Press Centre | 21. february 2018

Alexander the Great in the Persian Tradition by Haila Manteghi

Hardcover – 30 Jan 2018