Constructing God’s Community: Umayyad Religious Monumentation in Bilad al-Sham, 640-743 CE
In the early 7th Century CE, the Umayyad dynasty formed the first Islamic empire, marking a crucial moment in the emergence of Islam. As in many empires of Late Antiquity, religious monumentation played a central role in the assertion, legitimization, and cultivation of Umayyad power. In the span of a century, the Umayyad caliphs built some dozen imperial mosques in the primary region of their control, Bilad al-Sham. By examining and contextualizing the historical, architectural, and geographical components of these monuments, this thesis analyzes the changes in the Umayyad self-conception over the course of their period of hegemony. Incorporating new source material and new methodological considerations, it emphasizes the subtleties of both continuity and rupture across the monumentation of the Umayyad period, and argues for a more nuanced understanding of the Umayyads themselves.