Robert G. Hoyland
Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History
Professor Hoyland read Oriental Studies at Oxford University, where he subsequently wrote a doctoral thesis on non-Muslim accounts of the rise of Islam (Seeing Islam as Others saw it, 1997). The emergence of Islamic civilization has remained a key focus of his research and is the subject of his latest book (In God’s Path: the Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire, 2014). The desire to better understand this phenomenon has led him down many different avenues of study: pre-Islamic Arabia (Arabia and the Arabs, 2001), epigraphy (“The Content and Context of Early Arabic Inscriptions”, 1997), papyrology (“The earliest attestation of the Dhimma of God and His Messenger and the rediscovery of P. Nessana 77”, 2014) and the late antique Greco-Syriac world ([with Simon Swain et al.] Polemon’s Physiognomy, 2007, and Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle, 2011). One avenue, archaeology, has become a passion for him in its own right and he has been involved in excavations in Syria, Yemen, Israel/Palestine and Turkey/Kurdistan. He has now embarked upon the excavation of the city of Partavi/Barda‘a in modern Azerbaijan, which was the capital of the Christian kingdom of Caucasian Albania and the site of the first Muslim garrison in eastern Caucasus.