IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 125: Umayyad Borders: Frontiers in the First Islamic Empire

Monday 6 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Andrew Marsham, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
Moderator/Chair:Harry Munt, Department of History, University of York
Paper 125-aDid the Umayyads Have a 'Grand Strategy'?
(Language: English)
Andrew Marsham, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Military History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 125-bDestroying the 'Brazen Wall': The Development of the Umayyad-Byzantine Eastern Frontier, 660-718
(Language: English)
Stephanie Forrest, Faculty of History University of Cambridge
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Military History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 125-cLeft Behind: Pre-Islamic Mercenary Bands on the Iraqi-Syrian Border, 628-695
(Language: English)
Khodadad Rezakhani, Department of History, Princeton University
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Military History
Abstract

This session brings together a reassessment of the nature of strategic thinking and practice within the Umayyad elite (Marsham) with two specific case studies focusing on Anatolia and Syria (Forrest and Rezakhani, respectively). Marsham argues that the polycentric (after Nef and Tillier) Umayyad empire required keeping the strategic objectives of provincial actors broadly in line with and responsive to, the centre. Forrest reviews the evidence for warfare and diplomacy on the main land frontier between Byzantium and Islam between 661 and 718 CE. Rezakhani proposes that unrest in Syria in the 7th century can be attributed in part to remnants of the Sasanian army of occupation remaining active there.