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Middle East

Ottoman troops advance towards the army of Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia at the Battle of Mohacs, 1526 © Bridgeman Images

The military elite of the Muslim world was comprised of men who had been captured and forced into service. But to what extent were they subject to slavery?

The Singapore flagged Norman Atlantic after an Iranian attack, on approach to the Strait  of Hormuz, 6 December 1987 © Norbert Schiller/AFP/Getty Images

The Strait of Hormuz has become a fraught passage in the Tanker Wars between Iran and Iraq.

A starboard bow view of ships of tanker convoy No. 12 underway in the Persian Gulf, 21 October 1987

If tensions between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf lead to war, it will not be the first time.

A caravan of Arabic traders, by Yahya ibn Mahmud Al-Wasiti, from Al-Hariri’s Maqama, c.1240.

Arabic was not just spread by the sword, but by merchants, patron-hunting poets and dowry-seeking princes.

View of Ancient Babylon, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, 1721.

The two rivers where civilisation began.

The slave-warriors of medieval Islam overthrew their masters, defeated the Mongols and the Crusaders and established a dynasty that lasted 300 years.

From Arabia Deserta to Black Gold. 

President Bill Clinton watches Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shake hands in the garden of the White House, 13 September 1993.

The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin robbed Israel of a rare politician able to make peace with the Palestinians. 

General Sir John Maxwell, commander of Egyptian troops, motoring through one of the camps, 1915.

Steering clear of Orientalist fantasy and patriotic British myth, this innovative analysis brings clarity to the complexities of the Middle East in the early 20th century.

The Byzantine Empire and the 'Romania' of the Peloponnese, c.1250

Shakespeare’s approach to history and geography is often regarded as something of a joke. But his skill was in reconstructing the medieval Mediterranean for audiences whose horizons were being expanded.