This page has information and links to information related to history. See Biographical Research for history of individual people. For specific time periods, places/areas, and/or topics see left-hand side for topics.

Medieval Middle East History Introduction

This page is of interest to students in HIST 492 (Capstone Seminar), HIST 115 (Islamic World to 1800), HIST 433 (Muhammad and the Origins of Islam), and HIST 434 (The Crusades in the Near East). However, anyone doing research or interested in the medieval or modern Middle East and North Africa should find it useful. The Middle East and North Africa are generally defined by historians as the territory that spans from Morocco in the west to Pakistan in the East. See also Medieval History for Europe and Great Britain.

Reference                             Web Sites                                     Books                                        Indexes (identify journal articles)


These materials are quite useful for finding background information and can be a great starting point for learning names, dates, terms, etc. Look at the end of each entry for bibliographies.

  • Encyclopaedia of Islam. 12 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1960- . Includes supplemental indexes. DS 35.53 .E523 Reference
    Use index of proper names, glossary and index of terms, and index of subjects to use this encyclopedia. Terms are not necessarily findable under the English language term, so use of the indexes is highly recommended.
  • Freeman-Grenville, G.S.P., and Stuart Christopher Munro-Hay. Historical Atlas of Islam. New York: Continuum, 2002. G 1786 .S1 F7 2002 Reference
  • Humphreys, Stephen. Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry. Rev. ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991. Z 3014 .H55 H85 1991 Movable Shelves
  • Joseph, Suad. Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. 6 vols. Leiden : Brill, 2003. BP173.4 .E538 2003 Reference
    Vol. 1 has entries of interest.
  • Lindsay, James E. Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. DS 36.85 .L56 2005 Morgan
  • Martin, Richard C., ed. Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan Reference: Thomson/Gale, 2004. BP 40 .E525 2004 Reference and EIMQonline
  • Mattar, Philip, ed. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa. 4 vols. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference, 2004. DS 43 .E53 2004 Reference and EMMENAonline
  • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, ed. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'ān. 4 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2001- . BP 133 .E53 2001 Reference
  • Nicolle, David. Historical Atlas of the Islamic World. New York: Checkmark Books, 2003. G 1786.S1 N5 2003 Maps
  • Turner, Jane, ed. Dictionary of Art. 34 vols. New York: New Grove, 1996. N 31 .D5 1996 Reference.
    Useful for art and architecture.


The following sites have materials of interest to those doing research in Medieval Middle East history.

Art and Architecture       Coins         Maps, Photographs             Texts, Primary Sources            Web Links                Women

Art and Architecture

Aga Khan Visual Archive (AKVA). Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries. 

Over 100,000 items including "digital images of architecture, urbanism, and the built environment of Muslim societies, donated by graduate students traveling on AKPIA Travel Grants, scholars, and architectural firms."

Art and Architecture of the Islamic World: Introduction. Sharon C. Smith. MIT Libraries. 

Guide with resources, reference books, manuscripts, films, archives, and images collections.

Art of the Middle Ages: Islamic. Dr. Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe. Department of Art History, Sweet Briar College, Virginia. 

Links to images of items found in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and other locations.


Glass Weights, Vessel Stamps & Ring Weights in the Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo [Mathaf Bayt al-Kritiliyya]. Dr. Sebastian Heath with assistance from Ms. Aviva Gray. American Numismatic Society - Digital Publications Project.   http://www.numismatics.org/.  Included on this Web site is "every Islamic stamped glass in the Gayer-Anderson Museum," but no attempt was made to analyze said items.

ZENO.RU - Oriental Coins Database

Thousands of photos and comments (e.g. about the width thereof) about coins.

Maps, Photographs

Maps and Images. Internet Medieval Sourcebook.  Includes section on Islam.

Middle East Photograph Archive. University of Chicago Library. 

"Most of the photographs in the Middle East Department's archive date to the second half of the nineteenth century." A number of images are available online. Click on the small image to display a larger one.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. Historical Maps of the Middle East. University of Texas at Austin. 

Extensive collection of maps. Links to Historical Middle East Maps on other sites. See also Middle East Maps.

Texts, Primary Sources

Ancient and Medieval Middle East. Columbia University Libraries. 

Links to materials on the Web. Many primary source materials.

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook. Paul Halsall. Fordham University. 

This page is "a subset of texts derived from the three major online Sourcebooks listed below, along with added texts and web site indicators."

Islamic Medieval Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine. National Library of Medicine. 

Manuscripts related to medicine. Extensive. Includes images of some primary materials. Concordances have links to materials. See also listing by Authors, Translators, and Commentators of Treatises. Note within the useful Glossary of Terms.

Libro: The Library of Iberian Resources Online. American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain. 

Full text books online on Medieval Spain. "The Library of Iberian Resources Online (LIBRO) is a joint project of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain and the University of Central Arkansas. Its task is to make available to users the best scholarship about the peoples and nations of the Iberian peninsula. Consequently, the book list is principally drawn from recent, but out-of-print university press monographs. In addition, the collection includes a number of basic texts and sources in translation. These are presented in full-text format and reproduce all the matter included in the original print version. The collection focuses upon peninsular history from the fifth to the seventeenth centuries." Author catalog and title catalog list authors and titles alphabetically. The Search (all or any) looks for word(s) within texts.

Manuscripts. Islamic Heritage Project. Harvard University Library. 

Items from 10th to 20th centuries. Browse by title, author/creator, country of origin, or by language. Browse by topic: Biography, Calligraphy, Dictionaries, Divination/Occultism, Geography, Grammar, Hadith, Ismaili Literature, Koran, Law, Literature, Logic, Philosophy, Poetry, Rhetoric, Science, (Astrology, Astronomy, Mathematics, Medicine), Sufism, and Theology.

Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy. African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress 

"This presentation exhibits 355 Arabic calligraphy sheets, ranging from the 9th to the 19th centuries. A majority of the calligraphy sheets were written on paper, however, a group of Qur’anic fragments from the 9th and 10th centuries were inscribed on parchment." Bibliography of sources. Special presentations of: Calligraphers of the Persian Tradition, Ottoman Calligraphers and Their Works, Qur'anic Fragments, and Noteworthy Items. Search by keyword; browse by: calligrapher, titles, or subjects.  


The Islamic World. © Paul Halsall, November1998. Last Updated April 16, 2007. Internet Women's History Sourcebook. Fordham University. 

General, great women, women's oppression, the structure of women's lives, women's agency, apologetics, feminism, and gender construction. Subset of Islamic History Sourcebook.

Women in the Ancient Near East: A Select Bibliography of Recent Sources in The Oriental Institute Research Archives. Compiled by Terry G. Wilfong. 

"The present bibliography is limited to monographic acquisitions of The Research Archives over the past five years; it also includes individual articles in publications acquired since 1990 and a few items awaiting formal accession."



Books are a key resource for information about the Medieval period. The subject headings listed in this section can be used to find books related to Middle East Medieval history topics in any library catalog which uses Library of Congress Subject Headings, including CSU's library catalog (it is not an exhaustive list). Do a subject search using the terms below to identify books in the library catalog and Prospector (the Colorado Union Catalog). Books may be requested from Prospector by CSU affiliates.

Art, Islamic -- Iran
Art, Islamic -- India
Art Islamic Spain (one title + 2 [exhibitions])
Civilization, Islamic
Crusades Third 1189 1192
Crusades Third 1189 1192 Sources
East and West
Iraq -- History
Islamic Empire -- Historiography
Islamic Empire -- History
Islamic Empire -- Social conditions
Islamic Empire -- Social life and customs
Islamic Empire History 1258 1517
Islamic Empire History 622 661
Islamic Empire History 661 750

Islamic Empire History 750 1258
Islamic Empire -- History, Military
Istanbul (Turkey) -- History -- Siege, 1453.
Jihad -- History
Mediterranean Region -- Antiquities.
Middle East -- History
Mongols -- History
Muslim Women
Muhammad, Prophet, d. 632 (see subdivisions)
Science -- Islamic Empire -- History
Tombs -- Mediterranean Region.
Temples -- Mediterranean Region
War -- Religious aspects -- Islam. .
Women in Islam


Most Medieval history research is done in books (and now the Web for primary sources). There are journal articles, but they are more easily identified in the bibliographies of books or via book-length bibliographies. That said, there are useful journal articles which must not be neglected! Use the bibliographies of these articles as resources for additional sources.

These indexes may also be accessed by CSU affiliates via the "A-Z Database List".

Historical Abstracts. 1954- . 

Covers the Western world including the Middle East.

JSTOR. Full text articles at least 3-5 years old (varies by journal). 

A useful index for Medievalists. Full text or linked to full text for more recent articles (most of them). Select "History" journals after typing in search term(s). Also select other groups of journals (or specific titles), depending upon the topic being researched: Art & Art History, Language & Literature, Philosophy, etc. Journals of interest to Medieval Islamic topics include (links take you to title):

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 1991-2008
Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) 1974-1990
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 1940-2010
Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London 1917-1940
International Journal of Middle East Studies 1970-2010
Journal of Near Eastern Studies 1942-2015
American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 1895-1941
Hebraica 1884-1895
Journal of the American Oriental Society 1843-2016
Muqarnas 1983-2010
Oriens 1948-2010
Studia Islamica 1953-2012
Die Welt des Islams 1913-2010
Note: dates as of June 2016.

Humanities Index. AI 3 .I495 Reference 1974-98. 

Core journals dealing with history, literature, and other humanities. Good coverage of humanities topics such as: Medieval period, 1066-1485.

Index Islamacus. 1976/1980 DS 41 .I542 Reference & 1993- . DS 41 .I54223 Reference.  Core index for topics related to Islam--religion, history, people, etc. See below for 1985-1993. Not published 1981-5.

Index Islamicus. Supplement. 1956/1960-1971-1975, 1976/1980 DS 41 .I542 Reference

The Quarterly Index Islamicus . DS 41 .I5422 (1985-1993) Reference.  Core index for topics related to Islam--religion, history, people, etc. See above for years under different title.

Project Muse.  Full text articles (view in PDF), with a nice cross section of Medieval history topics.

As in all research, be sure to evaluate what you find, be it an article, book, or Web page.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


24/7 Library Help

24/7 Library Help

Connect with library staff via chat, email, phone or text.

URL: https://libguides.colostate.edu/History | Print Page