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Jacob And Early Islamic Edessa

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Chapter Summary

Both as the seat of an independent monarchy (first cent. BC?AD 213) and as a city of the Roman/Byzantine Empire (AD 214?639) Edessa was the capital of the province of Osrhoene (north-west Mesopotamia). Jacob of Edessa was born towards the end of the Muslim conquest of the Middle East, and it is interesting to speculate on what changes he would have witnessed. The frontier between the Muslim and Byzantine empires was further to the north and west, and the heartlands of the Muslims, for the first few decades of their rule at least, were further to the south, at Qinnasrin to the south-west and Mosul to the southeast. Jacob also tells us of how some Muslims, pricked by their consciences, had presented to him sacred vessels that they had taken from ?the land of the Greeks? and which he subsequently restored to their owners.

Keywords: Jacob of Edessa; Muslim conquest; north-west Mesopotamia; Roman/Byzantine empire



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