SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Professor Hugh N Kennedy

PhD (Cantab)
  • Teaching
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Hugh N Kennedy
Near and Middle East Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Professor of Arabic

Centre for Iranian Studies


London Middle East Institute (LMEI)


Economic integration and social change in the Islamic world system, 800-1000CE

Project Lead

Professor Hugh N Kennedy
Email address:
+44(0)20 7898 4251
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Mondays 4-5pm, Tuesdays 1-2pm


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Aleksander Engeskaug, Religion and Economy: Zoroastrian Priests and Fire Temples in the Economy of Sasanian Iran
  • Hasan Al-Khoee, The Evolution of Arabic Public Oratory in the Early Muslim Period [1st-3rd/7th-9th centuries]
  • Syed Talha Ahsan, History of Hanbalite political thought
  • Ummugulsum Kurukol, Riḥla: Interpreting the Islamic city through Muslim Travellers by revisiting the meaning of travel from the medieval period to early modern times.

Inaugural Lecture

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History, memory and legend in the Great Arab Conquests


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
Regional Expertise
  • Near and Middle East
Country Expertise
  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Gaza Strip
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • West Bank
  • Yemen


Authored Books

Kennedy, Hugh (2016) The Caliphate: A Pelican Introduction. London: Penguin.

Kennedy, Hugh (2007) The Great Arab Conquests. How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Kennedy, Hugh (2005) The Court of the Caliphs: When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World. London: Phoenix.

Kennedy, Hugh (2001) The Armies of the Caliphs. Military and Society in the Early Islamic State.. Abingdon: Routledge.


Kennedy, Hugh (2011) 'The Feeding of the five Hundred Thousand: Cities and Agriculture in Early Islamic Mesopotamia'. IRAQ, (73), pp 177-199.

Kennedy, Hugh (2002) 'Military Pay and the Economy of the Early Islamic State'. Historical Research, (75) 188, pp 155-169.

Edited Books or Journals

Kennedy, Hugh, (ed.), (2013) Warfare and poetry in the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris.

Kennedy, Hugh, (ed.), (2005) Muslim military architecture in greater Syria: from the coming of Islam to the Ottoman Period. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Book Chapters

Kennedy, Hugh (2021) 'The Emergence of New Polities in the Breakup of the Abbasid Caliphate'. In: Pohl, Walter, (ed.), Empires and Communities in the Post-Roman and Islamic World, C. 400-1000 CE. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kennedy, Hugh (2020) 'The Rise and Fall of the early ʿAbbasid Political and Military Elite'. In: Hagemann, Hannah-Lena and Heidemann, Stefan, (eds.), Transregional and Regional Elites - Connecting the Early Islamic Empire. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp 100-113.

Kennedy, Hugh (2018) 'From Polis to Madina: some reflections thirty years on'. In: Panzram, Sabine and Callegarin, Laurent, (eds.), Entre Civitas y Madina : el mundo de las ciudades en la Península ibérica y en el Norte de África (siglos IV-IX). Madrid: Casa de Velazquez, pp 13-22.

Kennedy, Hugh (2018) 'Frontiers of Islam: an essay on the Varieties of Frontier Interactions'. In: Wolf, Kordula and Herbers, Klaus, (eds.), Southern Italy as a Contact Area and Border Region during the Early Middle Ages : Religious-cultural heterogeneity and competing powers in local, transregional, and universal dimensions. Koeln: Boehlau, pp 51-64.

Kennedy, Hugh (2018) 'Muʾnis al-Muẓaffar: An exceptional eunuch'. In: Höfert, Almut and Mesley, Matthew M. and Tolino, Serena, (eds.), Celibate and Childless Men in Power Ruling Eunuchs and Bishops in the Pre-Modern World. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 79-91.

Kennedy, Hugh (2017) 'The Origins of the Aghlabids'. In: Anderson, Glaire D. and Fenwick, Corisande and Rosser-Owen, Mariam, (eds.), The aghlabids and their Neighbors. Leiden: Brill, pp 33-48.

Kennedy, Hugh (2017) 'Baghdad as a Center of Learning and Book Production'. In: Blair, Sheila and Bloom, Jonathan, (eds.), By the Pen and What They Write: Writing in Islamic Art and Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp 91-103.

Kennedy, Hugh (2016) 'Landed Property and Government Finance in the Early Abbasid Caliphate'. In: Hudson, John and Crumplin, Sally, (eds.), "The Making of Europe" Essays in Honour of Robert Bartlett. Leiden: Brill, pp 264-276.

Kennedy, Hugh (2012) 'Journey to Mecca: A History'. In: Porter, Venetia, (ed.), Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam. London: British Museum Press, pp 68-132.

Kennedy, Hugh (2011) 'Great estates and elite lifestyles in the Fertile Crescent from Byzantium and Sasanian Iran to Islam'. In: Fuess, Albrecht and Hartung, Jan-Peter, (eds.), Court Cultures of the Muslim World. London: Routledge, pp 54-79.

Kennedy, Hugh (2011) 'Shayzar: overview of its history'. In: Tonghini, C., (ed.), Shayzar I: The Fortification of the Citadel. Leiden: Brill, pp 2-25.

Kennedy, Hugh (2011) 'The Ribat in the Early Islamic World'. In: Day, H. and Fentress, E., (eds.), Western Monasticism Ante Litteram. Tournhout: Brepols, pp 161-175.

Kennedy, Hugh (2010) 'The Coming of Islam to Bukhara'. In: Suleiman, Yasir, (ed.), Living Islamic History: Studies in Honour of Professor Carole Hillenbrand. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp 77-91.

Kennedy, Hugh (2010) 'Syrian Elites from Byzantium to Islam: Survival or Extinction?'. In: Haldon, John, (ed.), Money, Power and Politics in early Islamic Syria. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp 181-198.

Kennedy, Hugh (2010) 'How to found an Islamic city'. In: Goodson, C. and Lester, A. E. and Symes, C., (eds.), Cities, Texts and Social Networks 400-1500. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp 45-63.

Kennedy, Hugh (2009) 'Survival of Iranianness'. In: Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh and Stewart, Sarah, (eds.), The Rise of Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, pp 13-29.

Kennedy, Hugh (2008) 'Inherited Cities'. In: Jayyusi, Salma K., (ed.), The City in the Islamic World. Leiden: Brill, pp 93-114.

Kennedy, Hugh (2007) 'Justinianic Plague in Syria and the Archaeological Evidence'. In: Little, Lester K., (ed.), Plague and the End of Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 87-95.


Kennedy, Hugh (2010) 'The late ʿAbbāsid pattern, 945–1050'.

Kennedy, Hugh (2010) 'The City and the Nomad'.

Kennedy, Hugh (2008) 'The Mediterranean Frontier: Christianity face to face with Islam, 600–1050'.


This list was last generated on Monday, 4th July 2022, 23:02 Europe/London.