Arab history is often viewed as beginning with Islam. But the Arabs have a long history stretching back millennia - and it is one intimately bound up with European history and identity.
The Arabs' forbears, the Phoenicians, were exploring the coasts of England and West Africa and colonising much of Spain, Sicily and North Africa in the early first millennium BC. The Arabs were to continue this tradition of world penetration long before the European 'Age of Expansion'. Islam, therefore, was as much a culmination as a beginning. The arrival of the Arabs in Spain in 711 and the subsequent continuation of Islam's first Caliphate in Cordoba after a second one had been established in Baghdad - not to mention Emirates in the Balearics, Sicily and southern Italy, and further penetration throughout much of Italy, France and Switzerland - can only be understood as part of a process that had already been underway for several thousands of years.
Phoenicians and Arabs form a part of European history that is both European and Asiatic, a part that defines and makes Europe what it is - cultures that can no more be excluded from Europe than the Viking, Roman or Greek. Europe has been engaged in a complex relationship with the Arabs and their immediate forbears throughout its history. This richly illustrated book is an account of that relationship.
This is the first of four volumes by Warwick Ball examining the spread of cultures from the east into Europe, in a series entitled Asia in Europe and the Making of the West. Also available: Towards One World - Ancient Persia and the West, Sultans of Rome: The Turkish World Expansion and The Gates of Asia - The Eurasian Steppe and the Limits of Europe.
A Near Eastern archaeologist and author who has spent over twenty-five years carrying out excavations, architectural studies and monumental restoration throughout the Middle East and adjacent regions, having lived, worked and travelled in most countries between the Mediterranean and China. He is currently director of Eastern Approaches, a special-interest cultural tours company specialising in the East. Author of many books and articles on the history and archaeology of the region, his book, Rome in the East: the Transformation of an Empire, was winner of the James Henry Breasted History Prize and was Choice Outstanding Academic Book in 2000. He is also the author of the much acclaimed Syria: A Historical and Architectural Guide.
Born in Australia, Warwick Ball now lives in Scotland.
137 x 216 mm, 272 pp. with 48pp colour, paperback
ISBN 978 1 907318 00 9