Chapter 3: Neighbors: Byzantium and Islam, c. 500-1000


Constantinople (and the Eastern Emperors)

Dumbarton Oaks' Byzantine Collection Online

Hadith and the Prophet Muhammad

Hagia Sophia

The Holy Qur’an


TEST YOURSELF: Have you read Chapter 3 adequately? Test yourself here.


MAPS:  Want to download a map from this chapter 3?  Click here


TIMELINES:  Want to download a timeline from chapter 3?  Click here


CITATIONS:  Want to find the source of a quote used in chapter 3?  Click here



David Levering Lewis, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 (2008).  A new and readable synthesis.  For a scholarly collection of essays on trade, technology, literature, and culture, see Dionisius A. Agius and Richard Hitchcock, eds., The Arab Influence in Medieval Europe (1994).

Michael Angold, Byzantium: The Bridge from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (2001). A new summary by a distinguished scholar.  See also John Haldon, Byzantium: A History (2000), and Judith Herrin, Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire (2010).

Guglielmo Cavallo, ed., The Byzantines (1997). Up-to-date essays on various aspects of Byzantine history. See also Elizabeth Jeffreys, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies (2009).

Norman Daniel, The Arabs and Medieval Europe (2nd edition, 1979). A very useful survey. For a short, readable survey, try Richard Fletcher, The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation (2003).

Richard Fletcher, Moorish Spain (1992). A highly readable account running to the early seventeenth century. See also Bernard F. Reilly, The Medieval Spains (1993); Roger Collins, The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–797 (2nd edition, 1994); and Hugh Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political HIstory of al-Andalus (1996).

Lynda Garland, Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium, A.D. 527–1204 (1999). Offers thorough studies of individual empresses. See also the texts in Alice-Mary Talbot, ed., Holy Women of Byzantium: The Saints’ Lives in English Translation (1996).

Albert H. Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (rev. ed., 2002). Includes an outstanding account of medieval Islam. See also Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates (2nd edition, 2003).
Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History (1991). A useful collection of diverse interpretations, fully half related to medieval subjects.

John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (2nd ed., 1979). A clear and concise survey of a complex subject.

Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society (1997). See also Speros Vryonis, Byzantium and Europe (1967) for a short, well-illustrated interpretive survey.



Olivia Remie Constable, ed., Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (1997). An eclectic and useful collection, with substantial sections on Muslim conquest and settlement.

Bernard Lewis, ed., Islam, from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople, 2 vols. (1974). See also William H. McNeill and Marilyn Robinson. Waldman, eds., The Islamic World (1973).

Michael Anthony Sells, Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations (1999). Provides explanations, translations, and recitations (on a CD) of 35 passages from the Quran.


These listings are works-in-progress.  They are highly selective and aimed at the practical needs of students and teachers.  If you have suggestions, please send them to Judith Bennett.