The essays in this volume deal with the history of the Middle East from c.550 to 1000 AD.
There are three main themes: Syria in Late Antiquity and the changes and continuities with the early Islamic period; relations between Muslims and the Byzantine Empire from the 8th to the 11th centuries; and the development of government and the economy in the early caliphate. Throughout there is an emphasis on social and economic trends and the integration of written and archaeological evidence to elucidate the complex developments in this pivotal part of the world.
In different ways all the papers discuss the formation of the Islamic world and the way in which the legacy of Antiquity, economic, social and cultural, affected the emergence of what we think of as this "Islamic World".
These papers will be of interest to historians of Islam and Byzantium but also western mediaevalists interested in comparing processes of change at opposite ends of the Mediterranean.