The Almoravid and Almohad Empires

The Almoravid and Almohad Empires

4.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive account of the rise and fall of the Almoravids and the Almohads, the two most important Berber dynasties of the medieval Islamic west, an area that encompassed southern Spain and Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The Sanhaja Almoravids emerged from the Sahara in the 1050s to conquer vast territories and halt the Christian advance in Iberia. They were replaced a century later by their rivals, the Almohads, supported by the Masmuda Berbers of the High Atlas. Although both have often been seen as uncouth, religiously intolerant tribesmen who undermined the high culture of al-Andalus, this book argues that the eleventh to thirteenth centuries were crucial to the Islamisation of the Maghrib, its integration into the Islamic cultural sphere, and its emergence as a key player in the western Mediterranean, and that much of this was due to these oft-neglected Berber empires.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 22.86mm | 607g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0748646809
  • 9780748646807
  • 788,678

Review quote

"Every scholar of the Islamic West should read this. Most importantly, the book is free of the various biases that have up to now conspired to marginalise the history of these two important medieval dynasties: these are dynasties which deserve to be studied in their own right, and not as mere appendages to Islamic or European history. Bennison does them justice in a book that will certainly remain for some time the standard English-language treatment of the subject." -- Brian A. Catlos (University of Colorado at Boulder), The English Historical Review

"Bennison bases her book on three particular premises: that the Almoravids and Almohads should be considered major contributors to Islamic civilization more broadly; that they were in many ways quite distinct groups and should not be lumped together simply as two examples of Berber empires; and that the relationship between Andalusia and Maghrebi parts of their empires was much more complex than has often been presented. She succeeds on all fronts over the course of the book, and gives a sense of the scale of the Almoravids' and Almohads' achievements together with the complexities of their distinct endeavors." -- Harry Munt, Times Literary Supplement
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About Amira K. Bennison

Amira K. Bennison is a Reader in the History and Culture of the Maghrib at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Magdalene College. She is author of The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the 'Abbasid Empire (2009) and co-editor (with Alison L. Gascoigne) of Cities in the Premodern Islamic World (2007).
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