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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Hybrid webinar
Event date: 
Friday, 11 March, 2022 - 17:30
Event organiser: 

MES Public Talks Seminar given by Prof. Hugh Kennedy, SOAS, University of London


In some ways the Futūḥ is one of the best-known Arabic sources for the first three centuries of Islamic rule, not least because it was the first of the major chronicles to be published in an English translation. Until recently, however, it was usually mined for details rather than being read as a whole. Recently Ryan Lynch’s Arab Conquests and Early Islamic Historiography has made a major contribution to the understanding of the text. In producing a new translation and commentary, besides producing a modern English version, I am attempting to answer a number questions: why was the text written, what are the main interests of the author, how did he present his sources, how did he use poetry, what was his attitude to the Umayyads. I believe that investigating these questions reveals the work to be much more interesting than a simple narrative of Muslim military triumphs. I will argue, contra Lynch, that this is a nadīm’s work of adab rather than a kātib’s administrative manual.

Hugh Kennedy is Professor of Arabic at SOAS.

To join this talk in person, please e-mail Dr Assef Ashraf (

If you would like to join online, please register here:

Dr Assef Ashraf: