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Politics and Power in Late Fatimid Egypt
The Reign of Caliph al-Mustansir
The caliph al-Muntasir was the eighth Shi'i Isma'ili Fatimid Caliph, making him both the Isma'ili imam and secular ruler of a vast empire when he came to power in 1036 at the age of seven. However, his political career was one of disaster and decline, leaving the great empire, secular power and wealth he inherited in ruins when he died nearly sixty years later in 1094, on the brink of the Crusades. In Politics and Power in Late Fatimid Egypt, Kirsten Thomson offers an examination of this leader as well as highlighting the context within which he lived: the relations between different empires and between different ethnic and religious groups, sectarianism and the massive contrast between al-Mustansir's secular and religious leadership. Examining a crucial and turbulent chapter that tipped the once glorious Fatimids into decline, this book is vital for all those interested in medieval Islamic history.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This book sheds fascinating light on a very little-known period of Fatimid history, the long reign of the eighth Fatimid caliph, al-Mustansir, which spanned an incredible fifty-eight years (1036-1094). Written in a lively style, Kirsten Thomson' s book is a most welcome and valuable contribution to eleventh-century Muslim history. She illuminates an era that foreshadowed the development of serious divisions in the Fatimid caliphate, which in turn coincided with the coming of the Crusaders to the Middle East. So the horizons of this study are indeed wide.' - Carole Hillenbrand, Professor of Islamic History at the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews