The Caliphs

The Caliphs

Latest Episodes

Episode 57: Interregnum
December 04, 2022

Al Ma’mun’s surprise victory over his brother left him in charge of the entire caliphate. But the conclusion of the great fitna did not bring an end to its miseries: the chaos of war had spread throug

Episode 56: The great fitna
October 23, 2022

Haroon al Rashid divided his realm among his children, and the young men were quickly goaded into conflict with one another by their advisors. The unexperienced princes found the underlying tensions s

Episode 55: Al Amin
October 09, 2022

Haroon al Rashid worked towards fool-proofing his succession arrangement more than any other caliph by far: the ceremony he held at Mecca with his heirs swearing to abide by his wishes is more elabora

Episode 54: Legacy issues
September 25, 2022

Due to his father al Mahdis arrangement, Haroon al Rashid endured a traumatic year during which his brother tried to have him removed from the line of succession. Having barely survived the experienc

Episode 53: Downfall of the Baramika
August 28, 2022

Royal advisors, court attendants, and other officials began to hold some real political power in the Abbasid caliphate, a development which progressed with every caliph who came after the micromanagin

Episode 52: Power struggle
August 14, 2022

Now that weve covered Haroon al Rashids foreign wars, we can get started with the messy conflicts which took place within the umma, and within his administration itself. The caliphates distant west

Episode 51: Holy warrior
July 17, 2022

Haroon al Rashid is commonly portrayed as a martial caliph, one who menaced the Byzantine empire and led a tireless crusade against them. He is praised in Arab sources for defeating the Greeks time an

Episode 50: Al Rashid
July 03, 2022

From our vantage point in the 21st century, it is clear that Haroon al Rashid is by far the most famous Arab caliph. His renown is not some modern phenomenon either: he may occasionally pop up as a cu

Episode 49: Al Hadi
June 19, 2022

The sudden passing of Mohammad al Mahdi led his son Musa al Hadi to become the ummas next leader sooner than anyone would have expected. With a wild disposition and little actual experience in admini

Episode 48: Al Mahdi
June 05, 2022

Al Mansurs long reign transformed the caliphate in countless ways, most of them for the better. It provided a kind of stability the umma desperately needed to absorb the tumult of the Abbasid revolut