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The Near West

Medieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age

Allen James Fromherz

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Tells stories of interaction, conflict and exchange in North Africa and Latin Europe

Viewing the history of North Africa and Europe through the eyes of Christian kings and Muslim merchants, emirs and popes, Sufis, friars and rabbis, this book argues that they together experienced the twelfth-century renaissance and the commercial revolution. In the midst of this common commercial growth, North Africa and Europe also shared in a burst of spirituality and mysticism, instigating a Second Axial Age in the history of religion.

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Personal Note and Acknowledgements
Preface: North Africa and the Mediterranean Paradox
Chapter 1. Bèjaïa: Introducing North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean
Chapter 2. Rome: North Africa and the Papacy
Chapter 3. Tunis: Axis of the Middle Sea
Chapter 4. Marrakech: The Founding of a City
Chapter 5. The Almohads: Empire of the Western Mediterranean
Chapter 6. Ibn Khaldun and the Fourteenth Century
Chapter 7. Conclusions: Proposing a Second Axial Age

About the Author

Allen James Fromherz is Director of the Middle East Studies Center and Professor of History at Georgia State University. He is also President of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the author of Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (2012) and Qatar, A Modern History (2012).


'A fast-paced and innovative look at the medieval western Mediterranean which will leave the reader intrigued, fascinated, and eager to know more about the unexpectedly cosmopolitan character of the ‘middle sea’, the oft-forgotten role of the Berbers in that cosmopolitanism, and the surprising contributions of southern, Muslim knowledge to the efflorescence of northern Christian shores.'

- Amira K. Bennison, University of Cambridge

'Fromherz has provided a fresh and well-crafted synthesis that heuristically questions standard narratives of European medieval history…the book restores the Maghreb to its proper place in the wider history of the twelfth-century Mediterranean world.'

- John Tolan

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