Map: Syria in c. AD 979

Syria 750AD – 979AD


Syria, which had prospered as the centre of power of the Umayyad caliphs up to the 750’s, became merely another province of the caliphate when the new ruling dynasty of caliphs, the ‘Abbasids, founded their capital of Baghdad, in Iraq. Syria and Palestine were the locations for a number of revolts against the new dynasty, and were regarded with suspicion by them. The region experienced a decline in prosperity.

As the ‘Abbasid empire began to break up, Syria and Palestine came under the rule of the Tulunids, a rebel regime based in Egypt (877). Later, in the 940’s, eastern Syria passed to the Hamdanids, an Arab tribe originally based in northern Iraq. The Hamdanid capital, Aleppo, has become an important intellectual centre where Greek philosophy is being synthesised with Islamic belief. At a more popular level, Syria, being on the borders of the Islamic world, is the location for a number of heterodox religious sects, one of which, the Alawites, will remain an important force right up to the present day.  A Shi-ite Muslim sect, the Alawites flourish under the Hamdanids.

Western and southern Syria, along with Palestine, is coming under the Fatimid regime, based in Egypt.

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