Byzantium and Egypt during the First Arab Civil War


Shaun O' Sullivian


Internal troubles afflicted the Islamic State for the first time in the late 650s and early 660s. Known in Islamic tradition as the firstfitnah, the troubles were described by early Western historians of Islam as what may be termed the 'standard account' of the first Arab civil war. Their account is founded upon the Islamic historical- biographical written tradition, whose corpus ofrecords on the firstfitnah is preserved in the early comprehensive collections of al-Tabari (d.923) and al-Mas'üdi (d.956). But these writers depended on earlier written compilations of oral accounts of the civil war (akhbär), whose authors are listed in al-Nadim's Fihrist, compiled about 987. They include Abü Mikhnaf (d.774), Sayf ibn 'Umar (d. 796), ibn al-Muthannä (d.823-6), al-Wäqidi (d. 823), al-Minqäri (d.827), al-Madä'ini (d.839), ibn Abi Shayba (d.849), and ibn Shabba (d.877). The compilations ofall these authors were grouped around the selected themes of 'Uthmän's murder, the battle of the Camel, and the battle of Siffin with the subsequent arbitration process. Four of the compilations survive.


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How to Cite
O’ Sullivian, S. (2019). Byzantium and Egypt during the First Arab Civil War. Chronos, 25, 7–31.
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