IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1307: Decline and Fall in the Medieval Middle East

Wednesday 4 July 2018, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Deborah Tor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Moderator/Chair:Hugh Kennedy, Department of the Languages & Cultures of the Near & Middle East, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
Paper 1307-aAuthoritative Memories of Decline and Fall: Pre-Islamic Inscriptions 'Translated' into Arabic
(Language: English)
Harry Munt, Department of History, University of York
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies
Paper 1307-bThe Eclipse of Khurāsān in the 12th Century: Decline or Fall?
(Language: English)
Deborah Tor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies
Abstract

Islamicist David Morgan has noted: ‘Historians tend to be mesmerised by what I term Gibbon’s Law (empires may not fall without having previously experienced a period of decline), whereas in fact empires often seem to decline without falling, and to fall without declining.’ This session plans to examine three different case studies from the medieval Islamic world of downfall and ruin- namely, the end of the Sasanian Empire, as perceived by their Muslim conquerors; the epigraphic record across the early Islamic world regarding the downfall of dynasties and kingdoms; and the destruction of both Khurāsān and the Great Seljuq Empire in the 12th century – in order to examine the varying dynamics of political downfall in the Islamic world from the 7th through the 12th centuries.