Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Right off the bat I should note that today’s post is somewhat ahistorical. February 11 is generally considered the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and I’m not sure I agree with that. The date is not insignificant—it was on February 11, 1979, when the royal Iranian army surrendered, marking the end of organized resistance to the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

You’ve probably noted those question marks in the title to this post, and they aren’t there to remind me to go back and check my facts later. The question marks are there because there’s no compelling reason to believe that this event happened on the date that corresponds with January 11, 630, on our calendar. … Continue reading Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

Today in European history: the first Alpujarras Rebellion begins (1499)

When the Emirate of Granada, the last Islamic political entity on the Iberian peninsula, surrendered to the combined forces of Aragon and Castile in 1492, it did so under the terms of the Treaty of Granada, drawn up the previous year. Chief among that agreement’s terms were a series of guarantees for the emirate’s Muslim … Continue reading Today in European history: the first Alpujarras Rebellion begins (1499)

Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

The Turco-Mongolian warlord Timur is usually portrayed as a fairly one-dimensional figure, a brutal conqueror who had no broader ambitions beyond building piles of his enemies’ skulls and amassing a vast empire. He’s usually just lumped into a collection of Asiatic despots in a line starting with Genghis Khan, or Attila the Hun if you … Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Battle of Delhi (1398)

Culture and Politics in Tokugawa Japan, Part 2: The Floating World

by Carson Rogers Ukiyo is Japanese for “the floating world.” It is a term that has multiple meanings and is used throughout most of Japan’s history. But it is most closely identified with the Tokugawa period, used to describe both its overall culture and its art. Before the Tokugawa period ukiyo was used by monks … Continue reading Culture and Politics in Tokugawa Japan, Part 2: The Floating World

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)

Religious fervor was truly in the air in 1979. Presumably we don't need to go into much detail about that year’s revolution in Iran, which brought us Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamic Republic. But across the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia had its own run in with Islamist extremism in 1979, and while it didn't … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)

Inaccurate Conception: Orthodoxy, Autocephaly, and the Nation-State

It's time for another guest post! Today we've got a piece by freelance writer and Harvard Divinity School student Hannah Gais on the recent schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople over the latter's decision to give Ukrainian church leaders permission to form an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Hannah argues … Continue reading Inaccurate Conception: Orthodoxy, Autocephaly, and the Nation-State

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)

As the Abbasid caliphate lost much of its real power in the 10th century it gave way to a series of “caretaker” sovereigns in the imperial core (first Turkish slave soldiers, then later the Buyid and Seljuk dynasties) and local emirates elsewhere. These emirates were technically dynastic governorships. Most paid nominal homage to the caliph … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)