October 9th, 2014
Episode 403 of 515 episodes
The Battle of Talas was a significant encounter between Arab and Chinese forces in central Asia in 751 AD. It brought together two mighty empires, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Tang Dynasty, and although not well known today, the battle had profound consequences for the future of both civilisations. The Arabs won the confrontation, but the battle marks the point where the Islamic Empire halted its march eastwards, and the Chinese stopped their expansion to the west. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Hilde de Weerdt, Professor of Chinese History at Leiden University; Michael Höckelmann, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at King's College London and Hugh Kennedy, Professor of Arabic at SOAS, University of London.