The first of four volumes examining the spread of cultures from the East into Europe
Arab history is often viewed as beginning with Islam. But the Arabs have a long history stretching back millennia - and it is one intimately bound up with European history and identity.
The Arabs' forbears, the Phoenicians, were exploring the coasts of England and West Africa and colonising much of Spain, Sicily and North Africa in the early first millennium BC. The Arabs were to continue this tradition of world penetration long before the European ‘Age of Expansion.' Islam, therefore, was as much a culmination as a beginning. The arrival of the Arabs in Spain in 711 and the subsequent continuation of Islam's first Caliphate in Cordoba after a second one had been established in Baghdad - not to mention Emirates in the Balearics, Sicily and southern Italy, and further penetration throughout much of Italy, France and Switzerland - can only be understood as part of a process that had already been underway for several thousands of years.
Phoenicians and Arabs form a part of European history that is both European and Asiatic, a part that defines and makes Europe what it is - cultures that can no more be excluded from Europe than the Viking, Roman or Greek. Europe has been engaged in a complex relationship with the Arabs and their immediate forbears throughout its history. This richly illustrated book is an account of that relationship.