Arabic/Islamic Culture Bibliography,

copyright 1998 by Historical Novelists Center


Islam has considerably more adherents than Christianity, all around the world, so one cannot exactly speak of Islamic culture. This bibliography concentrates on the periods and eras of the Islamic empires of the Mideast, which spread as far west as Spain and eastwards as the Mogul Empire of India, not to mention into Central Asia.

We hope people using this bibliography will come to a greater realization that Islam is not Islamacism, and that many practices associated with 21st century Moslem countries were unknown to and even condemned by the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH.

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Falk, T.

Treasures of Islam ****
Artline, 400 pg
A wide range of Islamic art and design, from the 7th to 19th centuries. T2/3

Glubb, J. B.

The Great Arab Conquests ***
Barnes & Noble
Covers the initial eruption out of Arabia, to 680 CE. T2

von Grunebaum, G. E.

Classical Islam: A History, 600-1258 ***
Barnes & Noble
A good basic history for the development of Islamic empire and its interrelationship with Christian Europe. T1

Halder, Syed Zafar

Islamic Arms and Armour of Muslim India ****
Bahadur Publishers, Lahore, c1991; 309 pgs., bibliographical references, index.
Excellent reference. T2

Hyland, Ann

The Medieval Warhorse from Byzantium to the Crusades ****
Sutton Publishing Ltd., London, 1994; index and bibliography
Actually through the Crusades, and she covers the Islamic horses and horse care very well -- as one might expect from someone who runs Arabic horses in endurance races. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
Nice big chapter on Arabic naming practices, sizeable pick-lists, the 99 Names of God, and notes on various groups that use Arabic nomenclature. Splits out Islamic usage in India and Swahili, too. T1

Little, Tom

South Arabia: Arena of Conflict YY
Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, NY, 1968; 196 pg, index, "Short Bibliography," 3 maps
Primarily about the emergence from British rule, the opening chapter recaps ancient and medieval history, with the tribal names, so you know which ones to hunt in other sources. T1

Nicolle, David, Ph.D.

Saracen Faris, 1050-1250 AD[sic] *****!
Osprey Warrior Series, Reed International Books Ltd., London; illustrated by Christa McHook; no index; bibliography of English-language sources
Excellent, info-packed 64 pages with superb illustrations and a good map or two. Unbeatable for the detail on weaponry, tack, and costume. Worth every penny. T2

Osprey Military Books

The worst book out by Osprey still gets three stars. The best are five stars and a bang. These are each a dense, military monograph on weapons, tactics, strategy, and history, with some little cultural background. Rarely at libraries, you will usually find these where military miniatures are sold. T2

Pickthall, Marmaduke

The Meaning of the Glorious Koran *****!
Barnes & Noble, 464 pg
Christians always translate the Bible into the local language. Muslims will always tell you that the Koran can only be really understood in Arabic, which language converts learn into order to study the Koran. This book may be the best way to approach this center point of Islamic life without learning Arabic. T1

Qazi, Mohammed A.

What's in a Muslim Name ***
Kazi Publication, Chicago; 1990
Small book with big lists of personal names for those converting to Islam, or who need to name the new baby, but there is no reference to traditional rather than modern usage, or to eke-names. Also, is very hung up on sexist differentiation of definitions of names: a woman cannot be your "backer" she must be a "backeress," though many names are unisex. T1

Rice, David Talbot

Islamic Art ****
Wonderful introduction to the styles of pottery, metalwork, fabrics, architecture and decorations like brickwork, stucco, mosaic, and tile. Hunting palaces as well as mosques, tombs and city gates. T1

Rodgers, William Ledyard

Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Centuries; A Study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design ***
1940, 1967; now from Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1990; 358 pg, index; at the end of each chapter, Authorities Chiefly Consulted
Chap. II is "The Naval Wars with the Saracens" by the Byzantines; other chapters carry forward to the Italian wars with the Turks, like Lepanto. Orientation is European Christian, but this will tell you what sort of ships were being used. One of the only books we have found covering the Islamic navies at all. T3

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Lists those who fought for and against Mohammed, P.B.U.H., and defended the faith in later years, including the Mogul empires. T2


Lady Melisande refuses to dig to the very back of her deep closets to get complete discographic materials on her Middle Eastern LP collection, but provides the following from her tapes of them. Many of these records did not list the performers, and those are listed first.

Evening by the Nile with Jodette ***
From a dance-teacher's supply catalog, this features Egyptian music.

How to Make Your Husband a Sultan, with Özel Turkbas ****
I recommend this LP primarily because it highlights how very different Turkish music is from Arabic music, even to the time signatures. The belly dancers dress differently, too, preferring the "ruffled curtain" skirt and hand covers.

Middle Eastern Modern Music Instrumental ****
Cheapo cover on this LP, but good music inside.

Music & Melodies of the Arab World, Egypt (U.A.R.) *****!
An all-time favorite, which may have been on Nonesuch, but don't bet anything important on that. Very authentic, all non-western instruments.

The Music of Morocco *****!
This is definitely from Nonesuch, and is recorded live in Morocco. There are street musicians in town, then a Berber folk music festival recorded up in the mountains. Exceedingly atmospheric and authentic.

Cheikh el Afrite

Succes de Cheikh el Afrite ****
LP from France of a Moroccan pop group that shows how the ancient sound persists in everyday life.

Kouyoumjian, Yousef

Baghdad Cabaret ***
This LP includes a long dancer's cut, but many shorter songs in the Iranian style.

Mohammed el-Bakkar

Port Said *****!
All Egyptian songs, not a dancer's record, robust and appealing delivery by a performer who was once almost the only Middle Eastern musician available in regular stores. LP

Music of the African Arab *****!
These songs have their own distinctive rhythmic base, from west and south of Egypt, and do not sound quite Middle Eastern to the sensitive ear.

Saba, Maroun

Live from the Fez ***
LP from a cabaret featuring belly dancers in LA, but notable for its variety of songs. I was told this was primarily Lebanese.

Vali, Gus

Let's Belly Dance **
All instrumental LP, with clarinet lead giving it that urban, modern edge.

Belly Dance Naval Academy ***
Two LP's of the same, boxed with the book, The Compleat Belly Dancer which is modern and American, but better than nothing.

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Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.


El Legado Andalus/The Legacy of Al-Andalus X

Just to warn you off. Also known as "Arab World in Spain," this is a site to promote historical tourism in Andalusia. No info for us. Of course, if you are planning on travelling there to see the Alhambra, by all means check in with these people so you don't miss the lesser-known sites and all the museum exhibits. The opening is a single huge detailed time-swallowing graphic.


H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient, Medieval, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.


Internet Medieval Sourcebook *****!

Halsall is collecting texts in translation, and also providing links to other sites like Berkeley, so as not to duplicate effort. This huge initial page links internally and externally to a list of period works, from the late Byzantine-early Christian age to the early Renaissance. Wonderful source, attractive without glitz, many matrices of approach (e.g., by a topic like women's roles or by a period). Trying very hard to include areas besides the sphere of the Latin church, notably Byzantium and Islamic activities.

To Bibliography of Middle-Tech Skills

To Bibliography of Late Antiquity

To Central Eurasian Bibliography

To Bibliography of Dark Ages Europe

To Bibliography of Medieval Europe

To Bibliography of Sub-Saharan Africa

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