Professor Carole Hillenbrand

Contact Details

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
University of Edinburgh
19 George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LD



When and where did you initially develop an interest in the history of the crusades and/or the Latin East?

Who or what sparked your enthusiasm for the subject?

I became interested in the crusades through travelling in the Middle East, and especially Turkey and Syria.  I also was fascinated by Runciman’s book.  I then read Arabic texts about the crusades with Donald Richards at Oxford.


Please provide details of your Higher Education, including dates, institution(s) and the name(s) of your research supervisors.

Girton College, Cambridge, 1962-1965 (Major Scholar in Modern Languages)
I studied French and German in Part I of the Tripos, and Old French, Romance Linguistics and Medieval Latin in Part II.

Somerville College, Oxford, 1968-1972
I studied Arabic and Turkish.  The year 1969-70 was spent in Iran where I learned Persian.

University of Edinburgh, 1972-1974, 1978-1979
I undertook research in medieval Islamic history, producing an edition and translation of a medieval Arabic city chronicle, plus commentary and four discursive chapters (619pp).
My supervisor was John Walsh, a scholar of the Ottomans.

Degrees awarded
BA Hons (Cantab), 1965 (Modern and Medieval Languages Tripos); (MA, 1966)
BA Hons (Oxon), 1972 (Oriental Studies; Arabic and Turkish)
PhD (Edinburgh), 1979

Career History

Please provide details of your academic career history, including confirmation of your current institutional affiliation and contact details.

University of Edinburgh

  • Lecturer  in Arabic (1979-1990)
  • Reader in Arabic (1990-2000)
  • Professor of Islamic History (2000 – Present)

Visiting Professorships

  • Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA, 1994
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, 2002
  • Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, 2005

Influences and Methodologies

What ideas and/or methodologies have informed your approach to your research?

I have been influenced by Sivan and Richards in their emphasis on close textual analysis. In my first book on the crusades, I deliberately focused on the Muslim side of the conflict.

In my future work, this will not be the approach. I will draw on the whole range of source material.  I am especially interested in expanding my research on jihad sermons and poetry.

Research Outlook

What do you consider to be the most important avenues for future research in the field of crusader studies?

From my viewpoint, I see the responsibility of scholars of medieval Islamic history as being to translate and analyse as many Arabic texts as possible, to make them accessible to those crusader scholars who cannot read Arabic.

I also think it is important to focus more on the results of archaeological, art-historical, numismatic and epigraphic research.

Research Output

Please provide details of your research output, including publications and other media as appropriate.


  1. The waning of the Umayyad caliphate, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989, 273 pp.
  2. A Muslim principality in Crusader times: the early Artuqid state, The Netherlands Historical and Archaeological Institute for the Near East in Istanbul, Leiden, 1990, 266 pp.
  3. The Crusades: Islamic perspectives, Edinburgh University Press, 1999, 647 pp. The Russian translation rights for this book have now been agreed. The book is also being translated into Arabic and Malay.

    Books edited
  4. Qajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change, 1800-1925, Edinburgh University Press, 1984, 414pp.  Co-edited with C Edmund Bosworth.
  5. The Sultan’s Turret: Studies in Persian and Turkish Culture in honour of Professor Edmund Bosworth, Brill, Leiden, 1999, 544 pp.

    Articles published as sole author
  6. “The career of Najm al-Din Il-Ghazi”, Der Islam 58/2 (1981), 250-291.
  7. “Some mediaeval Islamic approaches to source material”, Oriens 27-8 (1981), 197-225.
  8. “The establishment of Artuqid power in Diyar Bakr in the twelfth century”, Studia Islamica LIV (1981), 129-153.
  9. “Medieval Islamic geography: the case of Merv”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Science in Islamic Polity (sic) II, Islamabad, 1983, 338-341.
  10. “The history of the Jazira: a short introduction”, in The Art of Syria and the Jazira, 1100-1250, ed J Raby, Oxford University Press, 1985, 9-19.
  11. “The Islamic world and the Crusades”, Scottish Journal of Religious Studies VIII (1987), 150-157.
  12. “Malazgird”, Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd edition), Leiden, 1987, cols 243a-244b.
  13. “Marwanids”, ibid, cols 626a-627b.
  14. “Mayyafarikin”, ibid, cols 930a-932b.
    Note:  These three articles (items 12-14), which total some 8,000 words, constitute the outline of a history of eastern Turkey in the 10th and 11th centuries.
  15. “Islamic orthodoxy or Realpolitik?: al-Ghazali’s views on government”, Iran XXVI (1988), 81-94 (13,000 words).
  16. “A Muslim success in the Second Crusade”, in Mélanges Dominique Sourdel, ed L Kalus, Geutner, Paris, 1989, 165-171.
  17. “Mu’in al-Din Sulayman Parwana”, Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd edition), Leiden, 1992, cols 479a-480b.
  18. “Al-Mustandjid”, ibid, cols 726a-727a.
  19. “Al-Mustansir”, ibid, cols 727a-729a.
  20. “Al-Mustarshid”, ibid, cols 733a-735b.
  21. “Al-Mustazhir”, ibid, cols 755a-756a.
    Note: These four articles (items 18-21), which total well over 8,000 words, together represent an attempt to establish for the first time the history of the revived caliphate in the 12th century.
  22. “Mu’in al-Din Parwana: the servant of two masters?”, Miscellanea Arabica et Islamica, ed F de Jong, Peeters, Louvain, 1993, 267-275.
  23. “Aspects of jihad propaganda: the evidence of 12th century inscriptions”, Proceedings of the Conference on the History of the Crusades, University of Bir Zeit, Bir Zeit, 1993, 53-63.
  24. “Al-Ghazali on beauty”, Festschrift Professor Annemarie Schimmel, ed JC Bürgel, Peter Lang Verlag, Bern, 1994, 249-265.
  25. “Ibn al-‘Adim’s biography of the Seljuq sultan, Alp Arslan”, Actas XVI Congreso Union Européene des Arabisants et Islamisants, Salamanca, 1995, 237-242.
  26. “1092: a murderous year”, Proceedings of the 14th Congress of the Union Européene des Arabisants et Islamisants, Budapest, 1995, 281-296.
  27. “The power struggle between the Saljuqs and the Isma’ilis of Alamut, 497-518/1094-1124: the Saljuq perspective”, in Studies in Isma’ili history, ed F Daftary, Cambridge University Press, 1995, 205-220.
  28. 28.   The Diary of H.M. the Shah of Persia, tr. J.M. Redhouse, Mazda Press, Costa Mesa, 1995, new introduction, v-xvi.
  29. “The First Crusade: the Muslim perspective”, in The origins and impact of the First Crusade, ed J Phillips, Manchester University Press, 1997, 130-141.
  30. “Al-Ghazzali”, Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ed JS Meisami and P Starkey, Routledge, London and New York, 1998, vol 1, cols 252a-253a.
  31. “Saljuqs”, ibid, vol 2 cols 682a-683b.
  32. “Seljuq women”, in The balance of truth, ed C Balim-Harding and C Imber, Istanbul, 2000, 145-6.
  33. “Some reflections on Seljuq historiography”, in Eastern approaches to Byzantium, ed A Eastmond, Aldershot, 2000, 73-88.
  34. “’Abominable acts’: the career of Zengi” in The Second Crusade, ed J Phillips and M Hoch, Manchester, 2001, 111-32.
  35. “Al-Ghazali”, in Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms , ed M Jolly, Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001, 374-5.
  36. “Women in the Seljuq period” in Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800, ed G Nashat and L Beck, Illinois, 2003, 103-20.
  37. “Some reflections on the imprisonment of Reynald of Chatillon” in Texts, Documents and Artefacts: Islamic Studies in Honour of DS Richards, ed CF Robinson, Leiden, 2003, 79-102.
  38. “Ayyubids” in Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world, New York, 2003, 657-60.
  39. “Some thoughts on the use of the Qur’an in monumental inscriptions in Syria and Palestine in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries” in Islamic reflections, Arabic musings: Studies in honour of Professor Alan Jones, ed R Hoyland and PF Kennedy, Gibb Memorial Trust, Warminster, 2004, 277 –87. 
  40. “The legacy of the Crusades” in Crusades: The Illustrated History, ed T Madden, London,  2004, 202-11.  
  41. “A little-known Mirror for Princes of al-Ghazali” in Words, Texts and Concepts cruising the Mediterranean sea, ed R Arnzen and J Thielmann, Leuven, 2004, 593-601
  42. “Ankunft im Vorderen Orient: Die politische und religiöse Situation”, in Die Kreuzfahrer, ed A Wieczorek, M Fansa and H Meller, Mannheim, 2005, 3-15
  43. “Ravandi, the Seljuq court at Konya and the Persianisation of Anatolian cities” in Mesogeios (Mediterranean Studies), 25-6 (2005) , 157-69
  44. “Muhammad and the rise of Islam”, The New Cambridge Medieval History, I, ed P Fouracre, Cambridge, 2005, 317-46
  45. “The evolution of the Saladin legend in the West” in Mélanges Louis Pouzet, Beirut, 2006, 1-13
  46. Encyclopedia of the Crusades, art: Ayyubids
  47. Encyclopedia of the Crusades, art:  Artuqids

    Review article
  48. Review article of SG Agadzanov, Seljuqiden und Turkmenien im 11-12 Jahrhundert, translated into German by R Schletzer, Hamburg, 1986, and idem. Der Staat der Seldschukiden und Mittelasien im 11-12 Jahrhundert, translated into German by R Schletzer, Berlin, 1994, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol 6, part 2, July 1996, 253-257.

Work in press

• “The Arabic sources" in The prosopography of the Byzantine empire, 1024-1204, ed M Whitby, The British Academy, London, 2007, 283-340

•   Book entitled:  Turkish myth and Muslim symbol:  the Battle of Manzikert, Edinburgh University Press. Publication date – October 2007.