In this volume, which covers the caliphates of Sulayman, 'Umar II, and Yazid II, al-Tabari provides vivid and detailed accounts of the events spanning the period from 97-105/715-724. We listen to the stirring speeches of Qutaybah b. Muslim, in which he urges his followers to renounce their allegiance to Sulayman; are present at the disastrous third and final attempt to take Constantinople; watch from behind the scenes as Raja'b. Haywah skillfully engineers the accession of 'Umar II; and follow the remarkable career of Yazid b. al-Muhallab, first as governor and conqueror, then as prisoner, and finally as rebel.
Throughout this volume we observe the struggle of the Umayyad regime to maintain control over a rapidly expanding but increasingly dissatisfied subject population. Governors are appointed and dismissed with dizzying rapidity, administrative boundaries are drawn and redrawn, Arab tribesmen express dissatisfaction with the diminishing rewards of military conquest, non-Arab converts chafe at the differential treatment they receive, and religious opponents revolt in the name of "the Book and the Sunnah." Important in their own right, the events of this period provide an essential key to a proper understanding of the 'Abbasid revolution that lay just over the horizon.