Hugh Kennedy

Hugh Kennedy gained a PhD at the University of Cambridge. From 1972 to 2007 he was lecturer/professor in the Department of Medieval History at the University of St Andrews. Since 2007, he has been Professor of Arabic at SOAS University of London and from 2022, he has been teaching in the History Department in UCL.

His main interests are the history of the Islamic Middle east from 622 to c.12000 and the Crusades. As well as using Arabic texts he is especially interested in the use of archaeological and other sorts of material evidence in the writing of history.


He is the author ten single author books including:

  • The Early Abbasid Caliphate: a political history (1981)
  • The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphs (1086, 4th ed. 2023)
  • Crusader Castles (1994)
  • Muslim Spain and Portugal  (1996)
  • The Armies of the Caliphs (2001)
  • The Court of the Caliphs (2004)
  • The Grat Arab Conquests (2007)
  • Caliphate: the history of an idea (2016)

He is presently working on an economic history of the early Islamic Middle east.
He is the author of five edited volumes and numerous academic articles.
His books have been translated into ten languages including Arabi, Persian and Turkish.

Media appearance

He has contributed to a number of episodes of the BBC history programme "In Our Time"


  • The Great Caliphs - a thematic course on early Islamic History
  • "The Crusades: a clash of cultures?" (MA)