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Islamic World: 12th - 14th Centuries

Note: As a courtesy to your classmates, please return reference books to the reshelving carts in the reference area when you are finished consulting them.

Click here for a handout of the reference books.

Historical Atlases
S1 R9

Historical Atlas of Islam

Includes a variety of maps on the 12th - 14th centuries covering spread of Islam, Trade Routes, Crusader Kingdoms, Sufi Orders, Ayyubids and Mamluks.

S1 H6

Historical Atlas of Islam: Atlas historique de l’Islam

Includes detailed maps of the early Muslim earth (agricultural and grazing areas) and sky, extension of the Muslim world, the holy cities of Makka and al-Madina, the Arabian Peninsula and its major cities, Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, Iran & Transoxania, Anatolia, Al-Andalus and Al-Maghrib. This atlas is located in the atlas cases.

S1 R6

Historical Atlas of the Muslim Peoples

Maps depicting the spread of Islam, the Caliphates, Sultanates, and Empires of the Middle Ages, the Crusaders in Syria and Palestine, and trade routes with their main products indicated.

S1 F7

Historical Atlas of the Middle East

Over 100 maps with commentary ranging in time from the ancient Middle East to the early 1990s. Arranged chronologically and grouped by periods including maps covering the 12th - 14th centuries, in the following sections: Muslim World; Crusaders and Muslims; Further Spread of Islam.

Good atlas to identify cities along a travel route.



Atlas of the Medieval World

Includes maps of Islamic Spain & Northern Christian Kingdoms, Abbasid, Islam & Islamic Culture, Fatimid & Mamluk, Seljuqs & Ayyubids, and Iran & Central Asia, Black Death, Almoravids & the Almohads. Also has thematic maps on topics such as Buildings & Power, Networks of Communication, and Agriculture & Trade.


Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World

Includes maps of the Byzantine Empire, Moorish spain, Islamic Middle East, Crusades, Military Orders, Revival of Islamic Power, Constantinople, and Black Death.


Historical Atlas of the Crusades

Chronological account of the crusades in narrative, pictures, and maps. Pictures include artwork, city plans, buildings, and activities of daily living. Includes chapters on Outremer:The Holy Kingdom, Jihad: The Islamic Response, Richard and Saladin: The Third Crusade, The Sword and the Scimitar: Crusading Warfare, The Fourth Crusade, and The Last Crusaders. Supplemental materials include a Crusades Chronology and Glossary and Genealogy Tables.

Pictures are the highlight of this atlas.

J4 B4

Historical Atlas of Jerusalem

Chapters relevant to the Middle Ages include:Jerusalem in the Embrace of the Muslim Crescent (638 - 1099); Jerusalem, Capital of the Crusader Kingdom (1099 - 1260); Jerusalem Restored to Islam - Mamluks (1260 - 1515); and Jerusalem Under Ottoman Rule (1515 - ).

In addition to city maps, plans, and diagrams at various stages in history, there are line drawings of architectural features, photographs of artifacts, and descriptions of city events providing the political, social, and religious context of each time period covered.

J4 G5

Jerusalem History Atlas

Regional maps covering Jerusalem and the Conquests of Islam, Crusader March to Jerusalem, Jerusalem: Holy City, City of Pilgrimage since 1000 BC, Jerusalem and the Jewish Search for a Secure Haven 1000-1600 AD and Return of the Jews to Jerusalem 1200 - 1841.
City maps of Jerusalem include Crusader Jerusalem and Mamluk Jerusalem.

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Background Reading

Trade, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages

Includes topics on Architecture, Historical Events, Itineraries, Maps and Plans, Marvels and Wonders, Mountains, Mythical Beings and Places, Natural History, Pilgrimage, Places, Realms, Empires, Kingdoms, and City-States, Historical Routes, Ships, Seas, Technolgy, Trade, and different types of travelers, including women.

This volume should serve as an excellent source for filling in the details of your travel. Based on primary sources including travel accounts written during the Middle Ages.


Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life

Volume 2: The Medieval World

Provides a historical overview and sections on domestic, economic, intellectual, material, political, recreational, and religious life. Includes some primary sources.


Dictionary of the Middle Ages 13 vols.

Articles on every aspect of life (e.g. social, cultural, economic, political) in the Middle Ages. Use the index volume to find the articles listed under Islam. Also includes articles on places (e.g., Damascus, Cairo) and Islamic dynasties (e.g., Abbasid, Mamluk).


Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia

Includes articles on themes including agriculture, arts & architecture, commerce & economy, daily life, dynasties, empires, & rulers, historical concepts, law, medicine, science, & mathematics, people & places, religion, travel & pilgrimage, warfare, and women & families.

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Encyclopaedia of Islam 2nd ed. 12 vols.

Comprehensive encyclopedia with authoritative articles on the Islamic world including religion, politics and culture that focus on the pre-modern period. Each article is accompanied by a bibliography, many of which indicate the consultation of non-English primary sources.


Cultural Atlas of Islam

Maps, timelines, and illustrations of all aspects of Islamic culture. Chapter on Spatial Arts provides pictures, plans, and schematics of urban areas, complexes and mosques. Articles also cover Ornamentation in Islamic Arts and the Art of Sound.


Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World

Articles on culture, history of periods and dynasties, geography of regions, countries, cities and locales, religious places and sites, and travel and travelers.


Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia

Includes articles on Muslim-Jewish relations, cities, countries and regions, daily life, and historical events.


New Catholic Encyclopedia  2nd Edition. 15 vols.

Articles cover the history of Christianity including information about people, institutions, and cultural aspects, as well as its relationship with Islam.

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New Cambridge Medieval History 7 vols.

See especially v. 5, which covers the years 1198-1300. Part V:Mediterranean Frontiers includes a section on Islam and the Mediterranean highlighting the Rise of the Mamluks, the Maghrib, and the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada.


Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages 2 vols.

Brief articles covering topics relevant to the Middle Ages including people, places, and events.

M49 A4

Middle Ages Almanac

Small volume that presents information in chapters on geographic regions and centuries. Provides very brief descriptions of the Islamic World, the Turks, the Jewish World, the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries.


Illustrated Encyclopedia of Medieval Civilization

Brief articles on people, places, and things associated with the Middle Ages. Heavily illustrated.


Encyclopedia of the Crusades

Short articles on people, places, and events surrounding the Crusades. Some entries include additional reading, identifying primary sources.


Empires at War 3 vols.

In volume 3, this chronologically-arranged encyclopedia contains articles on the Muslim Armies in the Crusades and the Byzantines and Ottomans [1054 - 1453 c.e.], which describe the military tactics used by each.

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Additional Readings
The following books can be found in the general stacks on the 5th floor of Cook Library.
K53 N485
Seek Knowledge: Thought and Travel in the House of Islam. Ian Rich Netton
Golden Roads: Migration, Pilgrimage and Travel in Medieval and Modern Islam. Ian Rich Netton
Pilgrims & Travelers to the Holy Land. Brian Le Beau & Menachem Mor (eds.)
Traveling through Text: Message and Method in Late Medieval Pilgrimage Accounts. Elka Weber
Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge. Roxanne L. Euben

Women in the Medieval Islamic World. Gavin R. G. Hambly

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Search Strategies for Finding Books

For a review on how to request a book from another University System of Maryland library [USMAI Catalog], watch the short instructional video at: http://pages.towson.edu/sara/usmai_order.htm



Search the Towson Catalog for useful materials in Cook Library, but for a much wider selection of information, search the Combined USMAI Catalog. For either search, begin at the
Cook Library Home page

Try the following search strategies:
For books on Islamic Civilization :

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Change word/s anywhere to subject beginning with...
  • Type civilization islamic
  • A lot of the books on the Islamic civilization are shelved under or around the call number DS36.85, but depending on their focus, are located in various areas of the book collection

For books on the Crusades :

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Change word/s anywhere to subject beginning with...
  • Type crusades
  • Most of the books on the Crusades are shelved under or around the call number: D157

For books on the history of cities:

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Change word/s anywhere to subject beginning with...
  • Type the name of the city the country in which it is located history (e.g., cordoba spain history, damascus syria history)

For books on what went on in a country during the Middle Ages:

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Change word/s anywhere to subject beginning with..
  • Type the name of the country history and then look for the appropriate time period (e.g., iraq history , africa north history )
    • Chronological time period will vary according to the events in each country (e.g., iraq history 634-1534, africa north history 647-1517), but remember you are looking for the time period that covers the 12th - 14th centuries

For books on dynasties:

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Leave the search as word/s anywhere and type the name of the dynasty
  • The best way to search the catalog is with an * for plural and/or for spelling variations, such as:
    • mamluk* or mameluk*
    • fatimid* or fatimites

For books or media on Islamic or Byzantine art and architecture:

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Change word/s anywhere to subject word/s
  • Type art islamic or architecture islamic
  • Type art byzantine or architecture byzantine

NOTE: For images on Islamic or Byzantine art and architecture, try the Research Database ARTstor . Check ARTstor Quick Guide for hints on using this database of images.

For books on medieval muslim travellers:

  • Click on TU Catalog or Combined USMAI Catalog
  • Leave search as word/s anywhere
  • Type (pilgrim* or travel*) and medieval and (muslim or islam*)
  • OR try subject word/s - pilgrim* and mecca
  • When searching the TU Catalog, to get a list of those books that are discussing medieval travel, in general, leave off muslim or islam* (e.g. Search subject word/s - (pilgrim* or travel*) and medieval
    • Some of these books may contain relevant information, as well

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Using Research Databases to Find Articles

Click the links below or access through the Cook Library Home page under Research Databases.
To access the databases from off campus, once on the Cook Library Home page:

  • When you click on the database name, you will be prompted to enter your 14-digit Library ID on the front of your Towson University OneCard and your last name.
  • Don't know/have access to your barcode? Click Here.

Academic Search [EBSCO]. 1990-

Multidisciplinary online database that indexes English-language articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers. Many of the articles indexed here are available electronically or in print through Cook Library.
Note: You can search Academic Search, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Social Sciences Abstracts, Art Abstracts together, as we get them all from EBSCO.
To do this:

  • Once in Academic Search, click on the link, Choose Databases. On the resulting page scroll through the alphabetical list of databases and select the appropriate databases. Click on OK.
  • Click on the Advanced Search link.
  • Next to the word FIND: type your topic
    • Separate the words that you type with ANDs (e.g., damascus and history; islamic and art and medieval)
  • Press ENTER or click on Search
    • If you get an unmanageable list of results or results that are not closely related to your topic, try changing SELECT A FIELD(S) to SUBJECT TERMS, and redo the search
  • To limit to academic articles (These are the BEST ones!), check the box on the Advanced Search screen next to Scholarly (peer-reviewed) Journals
  • Press ENTER or click on Search

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Humanities Abstracts [EBSCO]. 1983-

Online database that indexes English-language articles from magazines and journals in the Humanities, including early history.


Historical Abstracts. 1954-

Note: Although the information indexed in this database focuses on the time period post-1450, there are articles that cover a timespan that includes pre-1450, so try it!

Indexes articles from scholarly journals in social, polical, and economic history. Content focus is on countries other than United States and Canada, covering the time period from 1450 to present. Some of the articles indexed are available electronically or in print through Cook Library.

Search Historical Abstracts by itself so that you can limit your search to the appropriate time period, 1100 - 1399. Otherwise, you will get material that does not cover the 12th - 14th centuries.

Suggestions for searching:

  • Click on Advanced Search
  • Try the combination of words that you think will give you a list of relevant articles, but do NOT use the word history, as this is not a necessary word in a database that searches ONLY for history
  • Next to Historical Period from: type years you want to cover (e.g. 1100 c.e.[AD] to 1400 c.e. [AD]) In Historical Abstracts, this works better than using the words medieval or middle ages.)
  • If you're searching for a dynasty that was around ONLY during the years for which you're searching, there is no need to specify an historical period
  • Next to Language select English (This eliminates foreign language articles.)
  • Historical Abstracts uses different Subject Terms than other EBSCO databases, so make sure to type all variations so that you don't miss anything (e.g. mamlukes or mamluks)

Social Sciences Abstracts [EBSCO]. 1983-

Online database that indexes English-language articles from magazines and journals in the Social Sciences. Many of the articles indexed here are available electronically or in print through Cook Library.


Art Abstracts . 1983-

Online database that indexes English-language articles from magazines and journals in art and architecture.


ATLA Religion Index .

  • Provides abstracts and indexing for articles, essays, and book reviews in over 1550 journals and multi-author works dealing with religious and theological scholarship.
  • Dates covered vary according to publication, but some journals are covered back to the early 20th century.
  • International in scope and language coverage. Covers all types of religions.


Search and access the full text of 450 major scholarly journals in all disciplines from their first issue up to four years ago. Coverage complements the more current coverage of databases published by other concerns such as EBSCO.

Suggestions for searching:

  • Go to SEARCH in JSTOR. Click on Advanced Search.
  • Try the combination of words that you think will give you a list of relevant articles
    • JSTOR uses the words of authors, so make sure to search for variant spellings and by using an * e.g.mamluk* or mameluke* (for mamluks or mamelukes)
    • Use logical statements with parentheses around synonyms, for example, (fatimid or fatimite) and travel
  • Under Limit by Type, check off Article, to eliminate book reviews and editorials

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The URL for this document is http://pages.towson.edu/sara/medieval_islam.html

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