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Osprey Men-at-Arms 255 : Armies of the Muslim Conquest

The dramatic eruption of the Arab peoples from Arabia after their adoption of the Muslim faith in the 7th century remains one of the most extraordinary events in world history. By the end of that century they ruled a state that stretched from the Atlantic to India, from southern Arabia to Central Asia, covering an area far greater than that of the Roman Empire. Arabia before the time of the Prophet Muhammed was, of course, neither isolated no particularly backward; yet it was a divided, war-torn 'zone of influence' buffeted between the ancient empires of Rome and Persia. Warfare, at least among the nomadic bedouin, was a normal aspect of life; while the urban merchant class also had to be tough and warlike to carry on business in a tumultuous world where wealth and the possession of a few horses could give an overwhelming military advantage. The Jewish Arab clans of the northern Hijaz were, for example, famous for their wealth and power, so much so that the Qur'an, Islam's Holy Book, credited King David with the invention of armour itself: 'It was We [Allah] who taught him the making of coats of mail for your benefit, to guard you from each other's violence: Will you then be grateful?' [Qur'an: 21.80]. David Nicolle tells the story of the armies of the Muslim conquest complemented by numerous illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Angus McBride.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Prophet's First Warriors
  • The Age of Expansion
  • The Umayyad Caliphate
  • The Abbasid Revolution
  • The Plates

 

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