The period 661-750 AD was a crucial one for the history of Islam and of the Middle East. The territories conquered by the Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa and Spain were ruled from Syria by a succession of caliphs belonging to the Umayyad family, the first caliphal dynasty to emerge in the history of Islam. Under their rule the region began a process of transformation, which eventually led to the emergence of Islam, both as a religion and as a culture, in its classical form.
The First Dynasty of Islam provides a succinct and accessible introduction to the Umayyad period. An introductory chapter discusses the importance of the era as a whole, with further chapters examining
* the Umayyad family and its rise to the Caliphate
* the Sufyanids
* the second civil war
* 'Abd al-Malik and al-Hajjaj
* the development of factionalism and the problems of Islamization
* the third civil war and the caliphate of Marwan II
* the overthrow of the Umayyad caliphate
The first edition established itself as a balanced and approachable text for undergraduates and others interested in the early history of Islam. This second edition, with an expanded and up-to-date bibliography, will prove even more useful to its intended readership.