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Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000)

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 EMBEDDING CONQUEST project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the EMBEDDING CONQUEST project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "EMBEDDING CONQUEST" about.

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Project "EMBEDDING CONQUEST" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAPENBURG 70
city: LEIDEN
postcode: 2311 EZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 1˙999˙960 €
 EC max contribution 1˙999˙960 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-01-01   to  2021-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN NL (LEIDEN) coordinator 1˙999˙960.00


 Project objective

What made the early Islamic empire so successful and have we missed the story by neglecting crucial evidence? The 7th-century Arab conquests changed the socio-political configurations in the Mediterranean and Eurasia forever. Yet we do not really know how the Arabs managed to gain dominance of this vast, ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse area which had its own, long imperial traditions, and to make this a sustainable enterprise. What built the empire, and what held it together? Scholarship to date has overwhelmingly relied on ‘literary’ sources in Arabic (e.g. chronicles, legal treatises, theological tracts), composed centuries after the conquests and shaped by court politics at their time of writing. This has created a false impression of the embedding of Muslim rule as a top-down process, directed from the centre, built on military coercion and control through administrative systems. Now, however, ‘documentary’ sources in multiple languages on papyrus, leather and paper from all over the empire (e.g. letters, contracts, fiscal accounts, petitions, decrees, work permits) are becoming increasingly available, with the PI in an internationally leading role. These sources, whose impact has been limited by linguistic and disciplinary boundaries, offer a direct, contemporary view of how the empire worked on the ground, and how political and social structures were experienced, modified and appropriated by its subjects.This project will uniquely incorporate all available documents reflecting Muslim rule from the first 400 years of Islam, to reconstruct the system of social relations that enabled the crucial transition from a conquest society to a political organism that survived the breakdown of central caliphal control, and remains the region’s benchmark model today. It will critically advance our understanding of a world historical event, make a radically new contribution to empire studies, and connect and synergise area studies and disciplinary inquiry.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Petra M. Sijpesteijn
Expressing New Rule: Seals from Early Islamic Egypt and Syria, 600–800 CE
published pages: 99-148, ISSN: 2377-3561, DOI:
The Medieval Globe 1/4 2019-10-04
2019 Petra M. Sijpesteijn
J. R. Osborn, Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2017). Pp. 280. $40.00 cloth. ISBN: 9780674971127
published pages: 338-340, ISSN: 0020-7438, DOI: 10.1017/s0020743819000199
International Journal of Middle East Studies 51/2 2019-10-04
2017 Petra M. Sijpesteijn
W. Diem: Fürsprachebriefe in der arabisch-islamischen Welt des 8.-14. Jahrhunderts: Eine sozial- und entalitätsgeschichtliche Untersuchung, Arabische Literatur und Rhetorik — Elfhundert bis Achtzehnhundert (ALEA)
published pages: 200-205, ISSN: 0006-1913, DOI:
Bibliotheca Orientalis 1-2 2019-10-03
2019 Petra M. Sijpesteijn
Jennifer A. Cromwell: Recording Village Life
published pages: , ISSN: 1618-6168, DOI:
Sehepunkte: Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften 19/2 2019-10-03
2018 Petra M. Sijpesteijn
Beards, Braids and Moustachios: Exploring the Social Meaning of Hair in the Mediaeval Muslim World
published pages: 4-8, ISSN: 0950-3110, DOI: 10.1080/09503110.2018.1435390
Al-Masāq 30/1 2019-04-03
2017 Edmund Hayes
Alms and the Man: Fiscal Sectarianism in the Legal Statements of the Shi\'i Imams
published pages: 280-298, ISSN: 0806-198X, DOI:
Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 17 (2017) 2019-04-02
2018 Petra Sijpesteijn
Shaving Hair and Beards in Early Islamic Egypt: An Arab Innovation?
published pages: 9-25, ISSN: 0950-3110, DOI: 10.1080/09503110.2018.1425809
Al-Masāq 30/1 2019-04-03

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