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The Muslims of Medieval Italy

Alex Metcalfe

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Explores Arab-Muslim rule and society in Sicily and south Italy from 800 to 1300

This significant work focuses on the formation and disintegration of Arab-Muslim rule and society in Sicily and south Italy between 800 and 1300 which led to the creation of an enduring Muslim-Christian frontier during the age of the Crusades. It examines the long and short-term impact of Islamic authority and culture on these regions and how they later fell into the hands of European rulers, explaining how the Norman conquest of Sicily came to import radically different dynamics to the central Mediterranean. The change of ruling elites left a majority Muslim population under Christian rule, but the Sicilian kings also adopted and adapted political ideologies from south Mediterranean regimes while absorbing cultural influences from the diverse peoples over whom they ruled.

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1. The Muslim Expansion into Sicily & the South Italian Peninsula
2. Sicily under the Fatimids
3. The Height of Islamic Sicily
4. The Later Kalbid Dynasty and the Sicilian taifa Period
5. The Norman Conquest of Muslim Sicily
6. Muslims under Early Norman Rule: Churches, Charters & Lordships
7. The Muslims in The Kingdom of Sicily
8. The Normans in Africa
9. The Muslim Massacres of the 1160s
10. Keeping the Faith: The Palace Eunuchs
11. Monreale and The Muslims
12. The Art of Leisure
13. Science, Power and Patronage
14. The Muslim Revolts and Colony of Lucera.

About the Author

Alex Metcalfe is a Lecturer in History at Lancaster University. He is the author of Muslims and Christians in Norman Sicily (Routledge-Curzon, 2003).


Metcalfe ... deserves the gratitude of everyone who teaches medieval Mediterranean history and has wondered why Sicily has been so underrepresented, in comparison to Spain and Syria, when it comes to readable surveys in English. The author's ability to access sources in all of the relevant languages permits an unusually balanced treatment that gives as much attention to Arabic as it does to Greek and Latin documentation... A useful survey of a complicated subject that deserves the attention of our students.
- Kenneth Baxter Wolf, Pomona College, American Historical Review

Explores Arab-Muslim rule and society in Sicily and south Italy from 800 to 1300

- Hiroshi Takayama, University of Tokyo, The English Historical Review
'Sicily’s rich and unique history during this period of intense contact—first under Muslim rule and then under Norman rule—is here superbly narrated and analysed. The author aims to provide both a survey and a monograph, a very difficult task, which he handles very well. On the one hand, it can be used as a reference book for any aspect of Muslim presence in Sicily and southern Italy in the medieval period; while at the same time it also offers fresh analysis, and is always challenging.'
- Yossef Rapoport, Queen Mary University of London, Journal of Islamic Studies

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