Christophe Picard’s new book Sea of the Caliphs is the translation of his La mer de califes: Une histoire de la Méditerranée musulmane, VIIe-XII siècles (2015). In this book Picard wants to demonstrate the crucial importance of the Mediterranean for Muslim maritime activities and power. While the dominating role of Muslim traders in the Indian Ocean has been acknowledged, the Mediterranen is still linked in our understanding with the rise of the Italian mercantile cities such as Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. Picard tries to counterbalance this picture with quite some success. He organizes the book in two parts, with more or less the same geographical and chronological scope. For those interested in the Arab perception of the Mediterranean, the first part (The Arab Mediterranean between Representation and Appropriation, 117–182) provides new evidence about how the famous geographers rediscovered/reinvented the...

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