By P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis

First released in 1970, The Cambridge heritage of Islam is a such a lot complete and bold collaborative survey of Islamic background and civilization. On ebook it used to be welcomed as a piece priceless either for reference and analyzing, for the overall reader, scholar and expert alike. It has now been reprinted, with corrections, and for ease of dealing with the unique hardcover volumes have every one been divided into separate paperbacks.

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Since obviously these ingredients can be recognized only in retrospect, that is to say, through the analysis of the unit in which they are submerged or active, a ideological outlook is apt to guide the eye of the diagnostician, who also may find it difficult to pry himself loose from the organicism inherent in the image whose persuasiveness only too readily obscures its purely nominalist function as a principle of order. The concept of sources becomes meaningless in a context in which cultures or civilizations are perceived as essentially changeless, belonging to the world of ideas and withdrawn from historical process which affects or moulds only their surface manifestations.

There used to be a very large number of district-names in Persia, but most of them disappeared from popular speech at the time of the medieval bedouinization. The diminution of these gaps between centres of intensive occupation is a prerequisite of the progressive development of organized and centralized states. Demographic pressure, which has increased so sharply in contemporary times, since the end of the last century, has been a major influence in this direction by necessitating the utilization of new land.

At Istanbul, the little wooden houses of the Turks, scattered at random, quickly took the place of the solid brick constructions of the Byzantines, and effaced the network of main roads of the city. The persistence of the pre-Islamic house-plan with a central court, derived from the Greek peristyle house, was furthered in a remarkable way by this simultaneous proscription of tall houses, and use of fragile materials unsuitable for multistoreyed buildings. This almost complete absence of any real integration of the diverse elements of city life seems to have had important consequences.

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