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ray's central point, that the clan as an economic association, a unit of settle-
ment, of military organization and of political division had no real existence,
is carried, thus opening the way for a radical reassessment of social organiza-
tion in the Germanic kingdoms of early medieval Europe.
This is a scrupulously-argued and well-documented book. Unfortunately it
is also prolix and repetitious, probably betraying its origins in a thesis. But it is
an important contribution to its field and its conclusions must be given full
weight in future studies of early European society.
University of Exeter Malcolm Todd
Iraq After the Muslim Conquest, by Michael G. Morony. Princeton,
Princeton University Press, 1984. xi, 689 pp. $42.50.
This book addresses one of the central questions of Islamic history: the effects
of the seventh century Arab-Muslim invasions on conquered territories. While
there has been considerable scholarly attention paid recently to the conquests
themselves and the armies that achieved them, not much, apart from renewed
debate on the Pirenne thesis, has been devoted to the changes - political,
economic, social, and cultural - effected in the lands actually captured so
quickly and dramatically by the Arab tribal armies. The reasons for this are
ready to hand: the areas conquered are vast, from Spain to Central Asia, and
the sources, difficult. The first problem Professor Morony has met with the
obvious solution of limiting his research to Iraq; the seriousness with which
he attacks the second emerges from the 117 pages he wrote on "Resources."
There he passes in critical review the hundreds of works in a dozen languages
on Sasanian Iran (including studies of inscriptions, seals, coins, and monu-
ments) and Islamic Iraq (where the emphasis switches to literary sources), not
just of Muslims, however, but of other religious communities as well. This
appendix alone constitutes an independent monograph of considerable value
for historians of ancient and medieval Mesopotamia and Iran and provides
the starting point for future research.
But Morony's primary interest is not historiographical. Instead he uses his
reading in a veritable maze of sources to study the issue of continuity and
change under the impact of rapid conquest of territory and slow, never com-
plete, religious conversion of its inhabitants. This issue is discussed in terms
of administration, ethnic groups, and religious communities. Of these three
parts the evidence is most concrete, and convincing, for the first. The survival
of early Umayyad coins bearing the portrait of Sasanian emperors on the
obverse, with a Magian fire temple on the reverse, affords tangible evidence
of the continuation of Persian usages well after the conquest of Iraq. Although
these coins were gradually Islamized by the substitution of suitable Arabic
Islamic inscriptions and the suppression of figural representations, it was not
until 702 that the minting of Arab-Sasanian coins stopped in Iraq. This evi-
dence lends credence to the claims made by Arab historians of the Muslims'
adoption of other Sasanian governmental practices and of Sasanian political
Morony believes that these claims are exaggerated and that Arabic litera-
ture anachronistically describes "the Sasanians in contemporary ninth and
tenth century terms" (p. 27), but he himself is forced to rely heavily on
historians and litterateurs of this period for his description of "the nature of
the Sasanian system and the theories that supported it on the eve of the
Islamic conquest" (p. 27).
Part II, entitled "People," focuses on specific ethnic groups known to have
inhabited Iraq long before and after its conquest, and attempts to gauge their
role both in preserving pre-Islamic practices and in adapting themselves to
such innovations as were introduced by the conquerors. Thus Morony regards
the survival of an Arameaen population as instrumental in continuing and
transmitting farming and irrigation practices. Though the Persian population
was displaced by the conquerors, many were resettled as prisoners and clients
in new garrison cities. Moreover, many members of the Persian landed aris-
tocracy preserved their status and their holdings by converting to Islam. Both
groups, reinforced by new immigrants, helped to preserve Persian traditions
of varied types under Muslim rule. The Arabs, including pre-Islamic natives
and post-conquest immigrants, are treated in terms of their assimilation of
Iraqi Sasanian culture and their contributions to it, mainly in the form of tribal
organization. Smaller ethnic groups - Kurds, Syrians, Greeks, Turks,
Indians, and Africans - helped constitute the ethnic diversity of Islamic Iraq,
a characteristic of the region still prevalent today.
The longest part of the book concerns the effect of the conquests on the
religious communities of Iraq; Magians, Jews, Christians, pagans, gnostics,
and the conquerors themselves and their converts - Muslims. Since every
first-generation Muslim had previously been a member of one or the other
religious groups, it is not surprising that he tended to retain and perpetuate
his earlier beliefs and practices. The same process was reinforced on a wider
scale by the survival and institutionalization of religious communities within
the new umma.
In the final chapter, "The Nature of Continuity," Morony summarizes his
findings and sets forth their implications and applications. Here as elsewhere
in the book the author is cautious and suggests promising topics for further
research: comparisons with other areas where Islamization occurred, for
example, and the study of other politico-religious societies in the light of the
Iraqi model. Caution is certainly a commendable feature of a book so long
and ambitious. Its principal merit is the coherent presentation of many data in
a meaningful framework. Widely scattered materials are now conveniently
available to students both of late Sasanian and early Islamic history. This is a
substantial scholarly achievement.
McGill University Donald P. Little
Papal Government and England during the Pontificate of Honorius III
(1216-1227), by Jane E. Sayers. Cambridge, Cambridge Univeristy
Press, 1984. v, 292 pp. $49.50.
To write well, it has been said, a biographer must like his subject. Not only
does Dr. Sayers like Honorius, one feels, but surely the liking would be
reciprocated. Honorius, she concludes, was "logical, practical and sensible."
Such terms apply to her own approach to this work.
The book consists of two unequal parts. The first is entitled "The Diplo-
matic of the Letters," and the second "The Letters in their Legal and Histori-
cal Context." Appendices contain the results of her investigations into the
Chancery Scribes, and the texts of original letters with an English interest.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Walter Ullman, but the shades of
T.F. Tout and Sir Maurice Powicke hang heavy over Parts One and Two
respectively. But this is sober Cambridge writing, lacking the daring and
humour of Tout or the rather mystical musing of Powicke. In fact, one would
suspect a doctorate, if it had not been there already.
Part one, on the diplomatic, deals with the Chancery, the Letters and the