The Hebrew University Logo
Syllabus The Arab Conquest of Iran and Central Asia - 38218

close window close
PDF version
Last update 19-08-2018
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 1st degree (Bachelor)

Responsible Department: Islamic & Middle East Stud.

Semester: 1st Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Michael Shenkar

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours:

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Shenkar Michael

Course/Module description:
The course offers a survey of the Arab conquest of Iran and Central Asia in the 7-8 centuries CE. We shall get acquainted with the cultures that existed in Iran and Central Asia before Islam, and shall discuss the transformation of the Iranian world following the Arab conquest.

Course/Module aims:

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
To be acquainted with the story of the Arab conquest of the Iranian world and with cultures that existed in it. Ability to deal with primary sources for the period.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: The Lecturer's exposition of the subject followed by a discussion.

Course/Module Content:
1. Introduction. The conquests begin.

2. On the way to collapse? The Sasanian Empire in the 7th century.

3. From Qādisiyyah to Merv: The Fall of the Sasanian Empire.

4. In the land of the Kabul-Shah: The struggle for Afghanistan.

5. The last Sasanians in China.

6. The world beyond the river: Sogdiana and the Turks.

7. The first raids.

8. Qutayba ibn Muslim and the conquest of Transoxiana (705-715).

9. Mt. Mugh archive and the last days of Panjikent.

10. The end of the Sogdian civilisation.

11. The great changes: Iran and Central Asia in the early Islamic period.

Required Reading:
Kennedy, H. (2008), The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In, Philadelphia.

Hoyland, R. (2015), In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire, Oxford.

Yarshater, E. (ed.), The History of al-Ṭabarī, 40 vols, SUNY Press.

Livshits, V.A. (2015), Sogdian Epigraphy of Central Asia and Semireche, London.

Encyclopædia Iranica Online Edition available at:

Additional Reading Material:
See syllabus on Moodle.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 70 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 20 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.