This article investigates how the early Islamic state developed out of pre-Islamic administrative structures. Taking the example of the Byzantine provincial structure in Egypt, the governor (duke) of the Thebaid clearly appears in papyri written in Greek, Coptic and Arabic as an agent of the Medinan and early Umayyad administration. The progressive redistribution of his responsibilities to new offices developed within the Islamic state shows how the Byzantine system contributed to the formation of Islamic administration, casting light on a pre-Islamic heritage which is often neglected in the narrative.
In the fall of 1649, the newly created English commonwealth required that all men over the age of eighteen take an Engagement to demonstrate loyalty to the regime that had executed King Charles I. Historians have long argued that the Engagement was a political disaster for the commonwealth, as it provided its opponents with an opportunity to reveal the illegal and hypocritical nature of the new government. However, this article argues that the Engagement was actually a political success. Not only did people throughout England take the Engagement, but the royalists themselves acknowledged its achievement during the winter and spring of 1650.