By an excellent connoisseurs of the Arabic textual sources for the medieval and early modern history of the Middle Volga region, this paper proposes a short comparative study of narratives by ninth- and tenth-century CE Arabic-language historians (Tabari can hardly be labelled an ‘Arab historian’) on the struggle between the Umayyad Caliphate and the Khazar Empire for the control of Derbent.  In a positivist spirit characteristic of the Soviet school of Oriental studies, the author notably stresses the ‘legendary’ character of a significant part of the information conveyed, notably by Tabari on the conversion of the Khazars to Islam.  Few interest is unfortunately showed in the overall conditions of the writing of the different texts that have been rapidly analysed here.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.2.B-196