The early Abbasid Caliphate was an important period for Islam. The dynasty, based in Baghdad, ruled over a vast Empire, stretching from the Indus Valley and Southern Russia to the East to Tunisia in the West; and presided over an age of brilliant cultural achievements. This study, first published in 1981, examines the Abbasid Caliphs from their coming to power in 750 AD, to the death of the Caliph al-Ma'mun in 833 AD, when the period of Turkish domination began. It looks at the political history of the period, and also considers the social and economic factors, showing how they developed and influenced political life. The work is designed as a unique introduction to the period, and will prove invaluable to all students involved with Islamic, Byzantine and Mediterranean history and culture.