An abbreviation used to denote dates that occurred "Before the Common Era" as a more neutral alternative to the "B.C." ("Before Christ") of the Christian calendar.

Ba'ath Party

Ruling Arab political party in Syria and Iraq; its main ideological objectives are secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unionism.

Battle of Manzikert

A decisive battle in 1071 in which the Seljuk Turks, under Sultan Alp Arslan, routed the forces of Byzantine emperor Romanus IV, resulting in the fall of Asia Minor to the Seljuks.


A governor of a province in the Ottoman Empire; an Egyptian or Turkish title for a dignitary.


From the Greek word meaning "book." Composed of two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Bible contains the sacred scriptures of both the Jewish and the Christian religions. The Old Testament is the basis for Judaism, while both the Old and New Testaments are sacred to Christianity.


A system characterized by hierarchies of authority and strict adherence to rules of operation. The term is most often used in reference to government.


A loose-fitting, full-length robe traditionally worn by women in conservative Muslim societies. The garment is worn with a veil and mask so as to cover the entire body except for the eyes.