Edinburgh Research Explorer

'God’s Caliph' Revisited: Umayyad Political Thought in its Late Antique Context

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPower, Patronage and Memory in Early Islam
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Umayyad history
EditorsAlain George, Andrew Marsham
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190498931
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2018


This chapter reviews the evidence for the use of the title “God’s caliph” in the early Islamic period. It makes the case that the Islamic ruler’s titles closely resembled those of their Roman rivals and, like their Roman counterparts, should be understood as addressing diverse audiences, with the “protocollary” title “commander of the faithful” being used most commonly and in all contexts, and with “God’s caliph” being used less frequently and often in courtly or panegyric contexts. Intertextualities between the Qurʾān, the caliphal title, and wider Late Antique discourse around the idea of Man as being made in God’s image are placed in the context of conflict between Rome and the Umayyads.

    Research areas

  • Caliphate, political theory, Byzantium, Rome, titulature

ID: 29530703