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Inherited Cities

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Chapter Summary

Many, if not most of the cities which existed in the early Muslim world had existed in one form or another before the coming of Islam. The inherited cities of the early Islamic period are an especially interesting field of study because they give us an opportunity to examine how the coming of a new élite language and religion and the emergence of new political and military systems affected the structures of everyday life. This chapter examines three main areas of the early Muslim world, greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham), Iran and the Muslim East, and the Muslim West, looking first at the distribution of inherited cities. The Muslim conquerors of the seventh and eighth century came to rule over rapidly changing societies. This picture of change is as true of the cities of these areas as it is true of any other aspect of life.

Keywords: inherited cities; Iran; Islam; Muslim West; Muslim world; Syria



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