Today in European history: the Siege of Thessaloniki ends (1430)

The city of Thessaloniki (formerly Thessalonica) always struck me as one of the ultimate urban runners up in history. It became the most important city in Macedonia…right before the Romans showed up. It became an important Roman city…because it was a way point on the main route from Rome to Byzantium. When the Roman Empire… Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Thessaloniki ends (1430)

Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

The island of Crete has changed hands so many times over the past few centuries that it can be hard to keep track of all of its various owners and operators. Before it became Greek again (which includes a period of Axis occupation during World War II), Crete was (briefly) independent, and before that Ottoman, before… Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)

As the Abbasid caliphate lost much of its practical power in the 10th century it gave way to a series of “caretaker” sovereigns in the imperial core (first Turkish slave soldiers, then later the Buyid and Seljuk dynasties) and local emirates elsewhere. These emirates were technically dynastic governorships. Most paid nominal homage to the caliph… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Antioch surrenders to the Arabs (637)

This will be short, since there’s very little to say about the Arab conquest of Syria after the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 decisively broke the Byzantine army in that region. But Antioch was one of the great cities of the eastern Roman Empire, and its conquest by the Arabs was significant, if anticlimactic. The… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Antioch surrenders to the Arabs (637)

Today in Roman history: Heraclius is crowned emperor (610)

Roman history is an interest that I don’t usually indulge here (with rare exceptions), mostly because “interest” is all it is and I figure you should get something more for your reading time than “Some Guy Writes About Whatever.” But the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius (d. 641) is actually an important figure in Islamic history… Continue reading Today in Roman history: Heraclius is crowned emperor (610)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of Anatolia pretty much for good, caliphal forces had already taken the jewel of Roman Syria, Damascus, nearly two years earlier. Talking about how they did so may help illustrate part of the reason why the Arab armies had such a relatively easy time conquering… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Manzikert (1071)

We’re in kind of a high season for major historical battles in the Middle East, like Yarmouk, Chaldiran, and Marj Dabiq (there’s another one coming next week). You could argue that Manzikert is the biggest of the bunch, because although it took another 400 years to finally come to fruition, Manzikert set in motion the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Manzikert (1071)