Chase F. Robinson
This chapter examines the history of the establishment of the first Islamic Empire. It explains that the Arab Muslims took control of a culturally and religiously heterogeneous and geographically diverse area of Eurasia, from Iberia and North Africa in the west to Transoxiana and Sind in the east. The chapter highlights the role of religion in the formation of the Islamic state given that most Muslims believed that the conquests which preceded it were part of God's providential direction of human affairs. It discusses the achievements of the Islamic Empire and its successful experiment with pre-modern Mediterranean and Near Eastern imperialism.
Jorunn J. Buckley
Still extant, the Mandaeans are the longest-surviving Gnostic people from the era of late antiquity. Belonging to the rubric of Gnostic Baptists, the Mandaeans may have had a historical connection to John the Baptist before they emigrated to Iraq and Iran in the first century. In terms of sheer bulk, their enormous literary canon—which exists in a variety of forms, and in their own language, Mandaic—has no rival among Gnostic groups. This literature, including the Ginza (The Book of Adam), their holy book, is described, with an emphasis on the most prominent documents and with reference to the principal western scholars and translators of Mandaean texts.
After being enslaved for centuries, the Phrygians recovered at the end of the first century ce. They were, of course, Hellenized, and they produced a great quantity of epigrams. But they used a Greek that was strongly influenced by the region, and their ancestral language once more appeared in writing. They displayed the Phrygo-Anatolian character of their culture through imprecations that protected their tombstones and through ‘confessions’, a reflection of a unique and active paganism. Christianity reached them very early on and produced the most famous Christian inscription, but the fragmentation of the country and its people favoured the emergence of sects, the best known of which, Montanism, seems to have had its own ‘literature’.