Christians and Muslims in Syria and Upper Mesopotamia in the Early Arab Islamic Period: Cultural Change and Continuity


  • Ahmad Shbuol


This is a preliminary report of research in progress on social and cultural change in early Islamic Syria. Syria is defined here as the historical region covered by modern Syria, south-west Turkey (Antioch province), Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine-Israel. Upper Mesopotamia denotes the area between the upper middle Euphrates and Tigris. The early Arab Islamic period is here understood to extend from the early seventh to the late eleventh century A.D. The present essay takes a broad perspective beyond the limited question of religious conversion. It is more concerned with processes of cultural change, continuity and acculturation. This study is mainly based on literary evidence and special attention is given to works of Syrian provenance.