The book combines an introduction to the Shi‘i dynasty with a broad overview of its history from the time when Abu ‘Abdallah al-Shi‘i began his mission in North Africa, leading to the foundation of the Fatimid state in 909 CE, until the fall of the last caliph in 1171. Its major emphasis, however, is a systematic presentation of the different types of sources relevant to the study of the period’s history including an extensive bibliography of both mediaeval sources and modern studies that cover the whole range of what has been written to date about the Fatimids.
The work further examines the range of documentary evidence such as coins, correspondence, art and other archaeological finds that provide information for the period’s reconstruction and analysis. Contemporary scholarship researching the period is also analysed and coupled with an extensive bibliography, both mediaeval and modern, of the whole range of what has been written to date on the Fatimids.
A valuable addition to the history and historiography of the Fatimids and the Muslim world to which they belonged, Exploring an Islamic Empire is essential reading for students and scholars of Islamic history.