One of most prosperous and influential dynasties of the Muslim world, the Fatimids (909–1171) were distinguished by their Imam-caliphs, who asserted spiritual as well as political authority in direct descent from the family of the Prophet. Their conquest of Egypt in 969 marked the inception of a burgeoning Mediterranean empire. From there, they refined their systems of administration, judiciary, and governance, instilling principles of inclusion which contributed to stability during their caliphate. Fatimid Cairo flourished as a vibrant cultural and intellectual centre through patronage of the arts, architecture, and scholarship.

This book continues the story of the Fatimids from their newly founded capital of Cairo. Introducing the figures who moulded the empire, Shainool Jiwa charts the Fatimid expansion, the reasons behind its ultimate fall by the hand of Saladin, and the legacy that continues with the living Ismaili communities today. This lively and engaging work, including maps and colour images, draws on a broad range of primary sources to lead readers through two centuries that witnessed the triumphs and trials of the only sustained Shi‘i caliphate to rule across the medieval Islamic world.

Forthcoming 12 January 2023