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The History of Central Asia, Volume 3

Between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries, Central Asia was a major political, economic and cultural hub on the Eurasian continent. In the first half of the thirteenth century it was also the pre-eminent centre of power in the largest land-based empire the world has ever seen. This third volume of Christoph Baumer's extensively praised and lavishly illustrated new history of the region is above all a story of invasion, when tumultuous and often brutal conquest profoundly shaped the later history of the globe. The author explores the rise of Islam and the remarkable victories of the Arab armies which - inspired by their vital, austere and egalitarian desert faith - established important new dynasties like the Seljuks, Karakhanids and Ghaznavids. A golden age of artistic, literary and scientific innovation came to a sudden end when, between 1219 and 1260, Genghiz Khan and his successors overran the Chorasmian-Abbasid lands. Dr Baumer shows that the Mongol conquests, while shattering to their enemies, nevertheless resulted in much greater mercantile and cultural contact between Central Asia and Western Europe.
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About the Author

Christoph Baumer - a leading explorer and historian of Central Asia, Tibet and China - has written several well-received books in the fields of history, religion, archaeology and travel. These include The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, Traces in the Desert: Journeys of Discovery across Central Asia and China's Holy Mountain: An Illustrated Journey into the Heart of Buddhism, all published by I.B.Tauris. His magisterial four-volume study of Central Asia began in 2012 with volume 1, The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors, and continued in 2014 with volume 2, The Age of the Silk Roads. The final volume will publish in 2018.


`This lavishly illustrated book provides a most welcome overview of an often overlooked region during a still more neglected period of history. Addressing the rise of the independent Iranian states that had begun to throw off the Arab stranglehold which descended upon the whole region in the seventh century, Christoph Baumer charts the re-emergence of the Persians and establishment of those Iranian dynastic regimes that succeeded in distancing themselves from the Abbasid caliphs and expanded to the east. He shows how dynasties like the Samanids were able to re-invigorate Persian culture while at the same time allowing the rise and integration of the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs and Khitans: Turkish hordes from Turan. He then turns expertly to the Mongols as they swept across Transoxiana and the Iranian plateau from the Eurasian steppe lands. This is a hugely ambitious project but Baumer has succeeded in presenting a magnificent vision of medieval Turkestan, combining concise and comprehensive narrative with gorgeous, often startling but always captivating and vivid images. This a remarkable book which maintains the exemplary standards which have earned the author his fully deserved reputation.' - George Lane, Senior Teaching Fellow in the History of the Middle East and Central Asia, SOAS, University of London, author of Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth-Century Iran (2003), Genghis Khan and Mongol Rule (2004), Daily Life in the Mongol Empire (2009) and A Short History of the Mongol Empire (I.B.Tauris, forthcoming)

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