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)

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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 Sack of Damietta (853)

The city of Damietta, located in Egypt’s Nile Delta, became quite important during the later Crusades, as the Crusaders began to see that capturing Jerusalem was irrelevant so long as Muslims ruled Egypt. Its location made it the ideal beachhead for both the unsuccessful Fifth Crusade and the ridiculously unsuccessful Seventh Crusade, both of which sought … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sack of Damietta (853)