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Mirage of the Saracen$
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Walter D. Ward

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520283770

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520283770.001.0001

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(p.17) 1 Saracens
Mirage of the Saracen

Walter D. Ward

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the nomadic inhabitants of the Roman Near East in general, and then on the Sinai in more detail. It begins by examining the lifestyle of the nomads. Next, the chapter examines the relationship between the Roman authorities and several allied groups, such as the Monophysite Ghassānids, who dominated the nomads of the Roman Near East in the sixth century. This chapter also describes the religious practices of the nomads, as seen through the eyes of Christian authors, both from the Sinai and in the Near East in general. The origins and connotations of the various names applied to the nomads - barbarians, Saracens, Ishmaelites, and Scenitae Arabs - are examined in detail.

Keywords:   nomads, Saracens, Ishmaelites, Arabs, Ghassānids

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