This is a study of the caliphate as a political institution in Islamic Spain, from its inception in 316/929 until the disappearance of the Umayyads in Cordoba in 422/1031 and beyond. David J. Wasserstein explores the caliphal claims of the Hammudid dynasty in the south of the peninsula, and examines the caliphal practices of two Slav rulers of the eleventh century. He shows that the caliphal institution was not abolished at any stage, and that it served rulers throughout the eleventh century as, among other things, an important source of legitimacy.
Professor Wasserstein's important new interpretation is thoroughly grounded not only in the documentary sources, but also in the little-studied and revealing numismatic evidence. This is a significant contribution both to the Islamic history of the Iberian Peninsula and to our understanding of the nature of the caliphate within Islam in general.
`I recommend this study for those of us who have been confused by this enigmatic period; neither Dozy, nor Lévi-Provençal, nor Sánchez Albornoz has been able to clear it up satisfactorily. At last we have some help in this process'
T. B. Irving, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
`the author sets out to demonstrate posterity's misapprehension of the matter by confronting his readers with a mass of numismatic and genealogical evidence, to stunning effect'
Times Literary Supplement
'A product of extensive reading and critical scrutiny, the book offers arguments which, even when challengeable, are lucid and well sustained, and, ... it does tie up many hitherto loose strands of taifa history. Wasserstein has ... produced an indispensable resource for all serious students of Muslim Spain.'
J.D. Latham, Victoria University of Manchester, The International History Review, XVI, 3:August 1994
`his work will be essential reading for future writers on the Taifa kingdoms or the coins of al-Andalus.'
Early Medieval Europe
`an important, and as it proves, highly welcome event for readers of this journal...admirable judicious study.'
The Chesterton Review
`David Wasserstein has been able to put to good use his knowledge of Iberian Islamic numismatics ... the use of numismatic evidence both to corroborate and refute statements from the primary written sources is a very welcome and much-needed innovation for historians of al-Andalus. David Wasserstein must be thanked for focusing this rather neglected area of Islamic historiography.'
Journal of Semitic Studies
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
`it is a consistent and detailed piece of scholarship which deserves wide credit'
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 59, No. 1 '96
`This is an important book, and if Wasserstein's arguments are generally accepted (they certainly convince me), then we will come to look quite differently on the eleventh century ... an essential tool for the numismatist ... Of this historical study they are a necessary, but nevertheless odd, component.'
L.P. Harvey, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, LXXIII, No. 2 (April)