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Muslim Empires
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Muslim Empires
Land, Language, Religion

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36 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Muslim Empires - Land, Language, Religion
Consider the geographical region we call the Greater Middle East, and explore the range of nations and cultures that define it. Preview some of the remarkable historical turning points you'll…
Episode 2 Muhammad and the Dawn of Islam - 622
Historically, the rise of Islam was a turning point among turning points. Trace key phases in the life of Muhammad, from the founding of the faith through his years of…
Episode 3 Arab Invasion of North Africa - 639
The seventh-century Arab invasion of North Africa brought profound and permanent change to the entire region. Follow the Arab armies of the newly created Islamic empire in their conquest of…
Episode 4 Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus - 661
The establishment of the Umayyad caliphate's capital in Damascus was the most important political turning point in early Muslim history. Trace the Umayyads' achievements, and investigate their reasons for locating…
Episode 5 Battle of Karbala - 680
The Battle of Karbala represents the defining moment in the split between the two main branches of Islam. Learn about how the faith came to violent internal conflict so early…
Episode 6 Arab Invasion of Andalusia - 711
Study the events surrounding the incursion of Berber-Arab armies into the Iberian peninsula in 711, leading to Muslim domination of the region that would last 800 years. Witness the fateful…
Episode 7 Battle of Talas - 751
The Battle of Talas in Central Asia was the only occasion when Arab and Chinese armies would oppose one another. Explore the factors leading to the encounter, the lengthy battle…
Episode 8 The Founding of Baghdad - 762
As the political center of the Muslim world, Baghdad would have a role and importance unlike any other urban center on earth. Chart the building of Baghdad as an imperial…
Episode 9 Islamic Golden Age Begins - 813
Under the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun, Baghdad thrived as both a center of trade and manufacturing and a world city of scholarship. Consider al-Ma'mun's lavish patronage of learning, his promotion of…
Episode 10 Qairouan University - 859
The world's first university was founded by a visionary Muslim woman in the city of Fes, Morocco. Learn how this groundbreaking institution made advanced education available to all. Assess its…
Episode 11 The Fatimids of Cairo - 969
Follow the rise of the Fatimids--history's only Shia caliphate--in political and religious opposition to the Baghdad-based Abbasids. Witness the founding of Cairo as the new Fatimid capital, and examine the…
Episode 12 Umayyad Exile in Cordoba - 784 - 1031
Discover the golden age of Cordoba as a global center of education and culture. Learn how the displaced Umayyad caliphate established a kingdom in exile in Cordoba, whose rulers oversaw…
Episode 13 Al-Ghazali and Orthodoxy - 1090
The theologian and philosopher Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali has been called the most influential Muslim after Muhammad. Witness al-Ghazali's rise to become a renowned Islamic legal scholar, and reflect on…
Episode 14 Crusaders Capture Jerusalem - 1099
Study the complex motives and competing interests that launched the Christian crusade to take Jerusalem from its Muslim occupiers. Follow the events of the Pope's dramatic call to arms and…
Episode 15 Muslims in the Court of Roger II - 1130
Encounter the remarkable Kingdom of Sicily under the enlightened and tolerant rule of the Norman king Roger II. Grasp how Norman invaders established a kingdom in southern Italy, and learn…
Episode 16 Saladin: Chivalry and Conquest - 1187
The Muslim general Saladin stands as a unique figure in Middle Eastern history. Plunge into the pivotal Battle of Hattin, where Saladin's forces decimated the Crusader armies, shifting the balance…
Episode 17 The Egyptian Mamluks - 1250
The Mamluks were an unprecedented phenomenon--a community of slaves who became rulers. Investigate the origins of the Mamluks, and uncover how this elite warrior class took power in Egypt. Learn…
Episode 18 Mongols Sack Baghdad - 1258
This lecture narrates the calamity that befell the world's largest, most prosperous, and most celebrated city. First trace the rise of the Mongols, a fierce and most destructive ancient empire.…
Episode 19 Ottoman Empire Rises - 1299
The dazzling empire of the Ottomans was the longest-lasting empire in Middle Eastern history. Learn about the dream of Osman, the Ottomans' founder, which impelled him to establish what became…
Episode 20 Mansa Musa, Richest Man - 1324
History's richest human being was reputedly the African emperor Mansa Musa. Trace the events of Musa's legendary hajj to Mecca, where his lavish spending destabilized the economy of Egypt. Learn…
Episode 21 Ibn Khaldun’s Masterpiece - 1377
Discover the life and times of the brilliant Ibn Khaldun, who produced the Muquaddimah, one of the most original works of scholarship ever written. Follow his astonishing career as a…
Episode 22 Ottomans Seize Constantinople - 1453
Grasp why the storied city of Constantinople had great strategic importance to the burgeoning Ottoman Empire. Witness the fiercely contested siege of the city, revealing the Ottoman offensive by both…
Episode 23 Fall of Granada - 1492
The fall of Granada marked the end of 800 years of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula. Study the fitful Granada war that unfolded over ten years, leading to a…
Episode 24 Safavid Dynasty of Persia - 1501
Examine the birth of the 250-year Safavid Empire, established by the religious leader, warrior, and poet Ismail. Observe how Ismail forcibly converted his entire kingdom to the Shiite Islamic faith,…
Episode 25 Selim the Grim - 1512
Investigate the achievements of this most fearsome and pivotal of Ottoman rulers. Learn how Selim vanquished the threatening Safavid Empire after violently wresting power from his father. Track his dramatic…
Episode 26 Suleiman the Magnificent - 1520
Take the measure of the sultan Suleiman's extraordinary vision, through which he expanded and consolidated the Ottoman Empire, engendered a bureaucratic system and a unified legislative code, and commissioned monumental…
Episode 27 Second Siege of Vienna - 1683
The 1683 Ottoman siege of Vienna is often cited as a critical turning point in European history. Investigate the events leading to the siege and battle, witness the dramatic defense…
Episode 28 The Saud-Wahhab Pact - 1744
Here, learn how a little-known 18th-century alliance in the Middle East came to have profound reverberations in our contemporary world. Study the pact between a desert ruler and a religious…
Episode 29 Napoleon Invades Egypt - 1798
Examine the motives of France and of Napoleon for the massive invasion of Egypt in 1798, and witness the two primary military engagements that ensued. Take account of the impacts…
Episode 30 Murder at the Citadel - 1811
The Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali is widely referred to as the Father of Modern Egypt. Learn about his bloody ascension to power, ending 600 years of intermittent Mamluk rule. Trace…
Episode 31 French Invasion of Algeria - 1830
Explore the economic and political factors that sparked the brutal French invasion of Ottoman Algeria. Follow the events of the ensuing occupation, and examine the war of resistance led by…
Episode 32 East India Company in Yemen - 1839
Investigate the phenomenon of the British East India Company, a militarized trading organization of astonishing power and reach. Learn about the Company's seizure of the strategic Yemeni port of Aden,…
Episode 33 Egypt, Europe, and the Suez Canal - 1869
The Suez Canal, which halved the sailing distance from Europe to India, changed the course of Middle Eastern and world history. Examine the events behind the building of the canal,…
Episode 34 Discovering Middle East Oil - 1908
No other single factor has impacted the economy, politics, and social life of the Middle East as profoundly as oil. Trace the 20th-century discovery of petroleum across the region by…
Episode 35 World War I in the Desert - 1914
Examine the role of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and uncover why it entered the war on the side of Germany and Austro-Hungary. Consider the scope of the…
Episode 36 The Last Caliphate Falls - 1924
Investigate the epochal turning point of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Islamic caliphate--Islam's supreme religious authority--after 1300 years. Witness the remapping of the Middle…

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