The Caliphs

The Caliphs

Latest Episodes

Episode 44: The ghost of Abu Muslim
March 27, 2022

One of al Mansur’s first acts as caliph was to lure Abu Muslim to his court and assassinate the powerful and popular governor. This led to immediate turmoil in the East, leaving him to contend with sp

Episode 43: Al Mansur
March 13, 2022

Much of what people associate with the idea of a medieval Arab caliphate is rooted in the reign of our upcoming caliph. The foundation he laid for his dynasty is so solid that it makes the Umayyad era

Episode 42: The triumphant
February 27, 2022

Succession once again warrants its own episode. Al Saffah relied on three commanders to oversee different parts of his caliphate, and while the setup kept the new dynasty safe and stable, the ambition

Episode 41: Al Saffah
February 13, 2022

The Abbasid revolution showed what it took to overthrow a dynasty; establishing a new one brought a whole other set of challenges. The clan’s first caliph, al Saffah, took an aggressive posture to sca

Episode 40: The Abbasid revolution
January 30, 2022

The Abbasid path to power required stealth, deceit, and most of all patience. The Hashemite family managed to unseat the Umayyads through cultivating a secret movement that benefitted from all the soc

Episode 39: Nasr ibn Sayyar
January 16, 2022

While the Umayyads fought among themselves in distant Syria, dangerous developments were underway in Khurasan. The umma’s divisions in the Eastern province were deep enough to give the coming revoluti

Episode 38: The third fitna
January 02, 2022

Yazid III’s successful coup against Walid II blew up the tribal feud. Syrian unity had long undergirded Umayyad power in Syria and from there, the entire caliphate; it had now been torn asunder in blo

Episode 37: Walid bin Yazid
December 19, 2021

It took Hisham two decades to undo the damage his half-brothers had wrought upon the umma with their careless administration. It took his successor Walid ibn il Yazid less than two years to wreck thin

Episode 36: Hisham and the Arabs
December 05, 2021

The capable Hisham protected his caliphate from the many enemies who lined its borders. These were not the only ones he had to contend with however, the umma itself was somewhat fragmented, and opposi

Episode 35: Turgesh troubles
November 21, 2021

Khurasan and the East remained as volatile as ever, and Hisham had to contend with the new threat of the Turgesh throughout his long reign. We’re fortunate that our sources contain so much information