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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies
Professor of Classical Arabic Studies
Email address: 
+44 (0) 1223 335144
Fellow of: 
Queens' College
Director of Studies at: 
Queens' College

Andrew Marsham studied History at Oxford, where he became interested in the early history of Islam. He went on to postgraduate study at Oxford in Arabic and Islamic History, and Arabic study in Egypt and Syria, before teaching and researching in Sheffield, Cambridge, Manchester, and Edinburgh. His main research interests concern the formation of the first Islamic political structures and their wider late antique and medieval contexts. His first monograph, Rituals of Islamic Monarchy (Edinburgh, 2009), is the only full-length study of the pledges of allegiance given to the rulers of the early Islamic empire. He has also written on the execution of rebels, on history writing in Arabic, and on the comparative history of medieval political culture. He co-edited Power, Patronage, and Memory in Early Islam (Oxford, 2018) with Professor Alain George and edited The Umayyad World (Routledge, 2021). His most recent book, The Umayyad Empire (Edinburgh, 2024), is a new study of the formation in Late Antiquity of the first Islamic empire, under the leadership of the Umayyad branch of the Prophet Muhammad's tribe.

Teaching responsibilities: 

Professor Marsham teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses relating to the history and culture of the Middle East

Supervision information: 

Professor Marsham is happy to supervise graduate students in work relating to pre-modern Islamic History.

Research interests: 
  • Empire and state formation in Late Antiquity and early Islam
  • Comparative and transregional histories of North Africa and West Eurasia
  • Medieval chronicles and universal histories in Arabic
  • Ritual in late antique and early Islamic political culture
  • Documents and scribes in early Islamic political culture

Current PhD students

Aliya Abdukadir Ali: Networks of power in Iran and Iraq under the Umayyads
Mohammed Ahmed: Early Muslim-Jewish Relations through Late Texts: An Analysis of Al-Tabari's Tafsir on the Medinan Period
Paulius Bergaudas: Remembering Caliphate of ‘Uthmān and ‘Alī. Theory and Method of Classical Sunni Historiography
Maria Gajewska: Networks of Trust in the First Global Economy
Juan Moreno Gonzalez: Interwoven languages: the paralell blossoming of Arabic and Hebrew grammatical traditions in al-Andalus


The Umayyad Empire Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2024)
The Umayyad World Routledge (2021)
Power, Patronage, and Memory in Early Islam Oxford: Oxford University Press (2018)
Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2009)

Articles, Book Chapters etc

Umayyad History Christopher Kleinhenz (ed.) & Deborah Tor (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies: Medieval Studies (2024)
H. F. Amedroz; R. B. Serjeant Charles Melville (ed.) A Short History of the Gibb Memorial Trust and Its Trustees: A Century of Oriental Scholarship pp. 46-49; 158–169 (2023)
Kinship, Dynasty, and the Umayyads Maaike van Berkel (ed.) & Letizia Osti (ed.) The Historian of Islam at Work: Essays in Honour of Hugh N. Kennedy pp. 12-45 (2022)
Bede, Ibn Isḥāq, and the idols: narratives of conversion at late antique edges Phil Booth and Mary Whitby (ed.) Mélanges James Howard-Johnston. Travaux et Mémoires 26. pp. 315-339 (2022)
The Islamic World: Conquest, Migration and Accommodating Diversity; The Islamic World: Community, Leadership and Contested Patterns of Continuity; The Islamic World: Nomads, Urban Elites and Courts in Comparison (with Eric Hanne & Jo Van Steenbergen) Catherine Holmes (ed.) & Jonathan Shepard (ed.) & Jo Van Steenbergen (ed.) & Björn Weiler (ed.) Political Culture in the Latin West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, c.700–c.1500: A Framework for Comparing Three Spheres pp. 212–48, 330–64 & 456–486 (2021)
The Caliphate Peter Fibiger Bang (ed.) & Walter Scheidel (ed.) The Oxford History of World Empire. Volume II: The History of Empires (2021)
Introduction: The Umayyad World Andrew Marsham (ed.) The Umayyad World (2021)
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity (Area Editor, Area Advisor and Contributor) Oliver Nicholson (ed.) (2018)
Some Observations on Commerce and Covenant in the Qur'an Near Eastern and Arabian Essays: Studies in Honour of John F. Healey, Journal of Semitic Studies, Supplement 41 pp. 303-313 (2018)
Introduction: Umayyad Elites and the Foundation of the Islamic Empire (with Alain George) Dr Andrew Marsham (ed.) & Professor Alain George (ed.) Power, Patronage and Memory in Early Islam: Perspectives from Umayyad History pp. xiii-xx (2018)
God’s Caliph' Revisited: Umayyad Political Thought in its Late Antique Context Dr Andrew Marsham (ed.) & Professor Alain George (ed.) Power, Patronage and Memory in Early Islam: Perspectives from Umayyad History pp. 3-37 (2018)
The First Islamic Chronicle: the Chronicle of Khalīfa b. Khayyāṭ (d. AD 854) (with Tobias Andersson) Michele Campopiano (ed.) & Henry Bainton (ed.) Universal Chronicles in the High Middle Ages (2017)
Constructing the Umayyads: From Mecca to Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ Al-Masāq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean ("Special Issue: Constructing the Umayyads: from Mecca to Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ", edited by Ann Christys) 28.1 pp. 1–5 (2016)
The Crescent and the Sword The Story of the Holy Land: Three Thousand Years of Faith, War and Conquest ("BBC History Magazine") pp. 50–55 (2015)
Attitudes to the Use of Fire in Executions in Late Antiquity and Early Islam: the burning of heretics and rebels in late Umayyad Iraq Robert Gleave (ed.) & István Kristó-Nagy (ed.) Violence in Islamic Thought: From the Qurʾān to the Mongols pp. 106-127 (2015)
The Past in the Early and Medieval Islamic Middle East (c. 750–c. 1250) Kurt Raaflaub (ed.) Historiography in the Ancient World pp. 314-339 (2014)
The Architecture of Allegiance in Early Islamic Late Antiquity: the accession of Mu‘awiya in Jerusalem, c. 661 CE Alexander Beihammer et al. (ed.) Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean: Comparative Perspectives pp. 87–112 (2014)
Universal Histories in Christendom and the Islamic World, c.700–c.1400 Sarah Foot (ed.) & Chase F. Robinson (ed.) The Oxford History of Historical Writing. Volume Two: 600–1400 (2012)
The Pact (Amana) between Mu‘awiya ibn Abi Sufyan and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (656 or 658 CE): ‘Documents’ and the Islamic Historical Tradition Journal of Semitic Studies 57:1 pp. 69–96 (2012)
Public Execution in the Umayyad Period: Early Islamic Punitive Practice and Its Late Antique Context Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 11:4 pp. 101-136 (2011)
Historiography Andrew Rippin (ed.) & John O. Voll (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies: Islamic Studies (2009)
The Early Caliphate and the Inheritance of Late Antiquity, c. 610–750 Philip Rousseau (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Late Antiquity pp. 479-492 (2009)
The Safe-Conduct for the Abbasid ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Ali (d. 764) Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 70:2 pp. 247-281 (2007)
'Those who make war on God and His Messenger': some implications of recent scholarship on rebellion, banditry and state formation in early Islam Al-‘Usur al-Wusta 17:2 pp. 29-31 (2005)