Seljuks, Mongols and Ottomans

  • Geoff Simons


The Abbasids had been the most glorious dynasty in the history of the caliphate; but now, as they came increasingly under foreign sway, their power was dissipated as the empire began to fragment. The Isma’ilians (Ismailis or ‘Seveners’) had spread throughout the empire their message that the son (Mohammad) of Ismail (the seventh descendant of Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law) would return as the Mahdi. Secret cells were formed to spread the word to all the oppressed classes of the Abbasid empire. In consequence, the Isma’ilians were accused of supporting a communist philosophy that included the common ownership of women.1 The movement was increasingly successful: in 901 the rulers of Yemen were won over, and in 908 the Isma’ilians installed their own caliph in Tunisia, so beginning the Fatimid dynasty (after Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter and wife of Ali). In 969 the Fatimids came to power in Egypt and founded Cairo, where they established the al-Azhar University — to become one of the great centres of Islamic learning. Baghdad, now in decline, was briefly occupied by a Fatimid general in 1056.2


Middle East Hate Crime Muslim World Islamic Learning Oppressed Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Peter Mansfield, The Arabs, Penguin, Harmondsworth, England, 1983, p. 59.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1956, pp. 466–70.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    John Bagot Glubb, A Short History of the Arab Peoples, Quartet, London, 1980.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Amin Maalouf, The Crusades through Arab Eyes, translated by Jon Rothschild, Al Saqi Books, London, 1984, p. 5.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    J. J. Saunders, A History of Medieval Islam, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1980, p. 164.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Joachim Kahl, The Misery of Christianity, translated by N. D. Smith, Penguin, Harmondsworth, England, 1971, p. 47.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    Memoirs of an Arab-Syrian Gentleman or an Arab Knight in the Crusades; Memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh, translated by Philip K. Hitti, Columbia University Press, 1929; reproduced in William H. McNeil and Marilyn Robinson Waldman (eds), The Islamic World, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1983, p. 185.Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    Ibn al-Athir, From Great History, Account of the Outbreak of the Tartars into the Lands of Islam, Under the Year A H 617 (AD 1220–1221), from A Literary History of Persia, Edward G. Browne, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Vol. 2, 1902.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    Stanford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Volume 1, Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire 1280–1808, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1976, p. 95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 24.
    N. M. Penzer, The Harem, Harrap, London, 1936, pp. 135–6 (‘… eunuchs were employed in Assyria … the “religious” eunuch was gradually moved westward — from Mesopotamia to Syria, from Syria to Asia Minor, and from Asia Minor to Europe’).Google Scholar
  11. 25.
    Don Peretz, The Middle East Today, Praeger, New York, 1988, p. 60.Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    M. A. Cook, in V. J. Parry, H. Inalcik, A. N. Kurot and J. S. Bromley, A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1976, p. 9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoff Simons 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoff Simons

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations