Today in Middle East history: a couple of greatest hits

There’s nothing like recycling material when you’re taking a break, am I right?

Today is the (likely) anniversary of the appointment of Umar b. al-Khattab as the second Caliph in 634. Umar succeeded the departed Abu Bakr, who died on August 22. Umar’s caliphate saw caliphal armies defeat both of the great empires of the day in the Near East, the Byzantines and the Sasanian Persians, drastically reducing the size of the former and completely destroying the latter.

Also, today is the anniversary of the Battle of Chaldiran (in the northwesternmost part of modern Iran) in 1514. This was the first major military clash between the Ottomans and the Safavids, who had just taken power in Iran in 1501. It was an overwhelming Ottoman victory, but it was not a victory that the Ottomans could follow up. Instead of dealing a serious blow to the survival of the Safavids, it really simply put an end to any Safavid plans to encroach into eastern Anatolia.

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