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Europe and the Islamic World: A History

by John Tolan, Henry Laurens and Gilles Veinstein Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 488 pages
AU$119.00 NZ$123.48
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Europe and the Islamic World sheds much-needed light on the shared roots of Islamic and Western cultures and on the richness of their inextricably intertwined histories, refuting once and for all the misguided notion of a ''clash of civilizations'' between the Muslim world and Europe. In this landmark book, three eminent historians bring to life the complex and tumultuous relations between Genoans and Tunisians, Alexandrians and the people of Constantinople, Catalans and Maghrebis--the myriad groups and individuals whose stories reflect the common cultural, intellectual, and religious heritage of Europe and Islam.

Since the seventh century, when the armies of Constantinople and Medina fought for control of Syria and Palestine, there has been ongoing contact between the Muslim world and the West. This sweeping history vividly recounts the wars and the crusades, the alliances and diplomacy, commerce and the slave trade, technology transfers, and the intellectual and artistic exchanges. Here readers are given an unparalleled introduction to key periods and events, including the Muslim conquests, the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the commercial revolution of the medieval Mediterranean, the intellectual and cultural achievements of Muslim Spain, the crusades and Spanish reconquest, the rise of the Ottomans and their conquest of a third of Europe, European colonization and decolonization, and the challenges and promise of this entwined legacy today.

As provocative as it is groundbreaking, this book describes this shared history in all its richness and diversity, revealing how ongoing encounters between Europe and Islam have profoundly shaped both.

Foreword by John L. Esposito vii

General Introduction 1

Part I: Saracens and Ifranj: Rivalries,Emulation, and Convergences

By John Tolan

  • 1. The Geographers' World: From Arabia Felix to the Balad al-Ifranj
    (Land of the Franks) 11

  • 2. Conquest and Its Justifications: Jihad, Crusade, Reconquista 27

  • 3. The Social Inferiority of Religious Minorities: Dhimmis and Mudejars 49

  • 4. In Search of Egyptian Gold: Traders in the Mediterranean 70

  • 5. On the Shoulders of Giants: Transmission and Exchange of Knowledge 87

Part II: The Great Turk and Europe

By Gilles Veinstein

  • Introduction to Part II: Continuity and Change in Geopolitics 111

  • 6. The Ottoman Conquest in Europe 120

  • 7. Ottoman Europe: An Ancient Fracture 149

  • 8. Antagonistic Figures 163

  • 9. The Islamic-Christian Border in Europe 186

  • 10. Breaches in the Conflict 206

Part III: Europe and the Muslim World in the Contemporary Period

By Henry Laurens

  • Introduction to Part III 257

  • 11. The Eighteenth Century as Turning Point 259

  • 12. Civilization or Conquest? 277

  • 13. The Age of Reform 295

  • 14. The Age of Empire 322

  • 15. The First Blows to European Domination 338

  • 16. The Great War and the Beginning of Emancipation 360

  • 17. Contemporary Issues 387

Notes 405

Selected Bibliography 439

Index 445

"Many Americans and Europeans take it for granted that the West and Islam are at war and always have been. Tolan, Veinstein, and Laurens argue that we are part of the same civilization, for all the violence and conflict over the centuries. Europe and the Islamic World is a book of great learning and great passion."'Mark Gregory Pegg, author of The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246
John Tolan is professor of history at the Université de Nantes. His books include Saracens and Saint Francis and the Sultan.

Henry Laurens is professor of history at the Collège de France. He is the author of L'empire et ses ennemis: La question impériale dans l'histoire.

Gilles Veinstein is professor of history at the Collège de France. His books include Merchants in the Ottoman Empire.