I posted previously on Gai Eaton’s “Islam and the Destiny of Man” here and here. I’m still working through the book, and remain as impressed now as I was upon first picking it up.

On the contrasts between the Abbasids and the Umayyads (who preceded them as leaders of the Islamic empire, as then was):

“The Abbasids were a different breed of men in the exact sense of the term. For the Arabs, nobility derived as much from the mother as from the father… but, for the new regime, woman was no more than an incubatory for noble seed, and of all of the Abbasid caliphs [rulers], only three were of free-born mothers. All the rest were the sons of slave-girls… It is no wonder that Arab traditions meant nothing to them”

I can’t help but wonder how this has shaped gender roles in the Orient in the years that have passed since then.