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

As the Abbasid caliphate lost much of its real 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 European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Some days there are a bunch of little historical anniversaries to commemorate, but none that of themselves seem to warrant their own post. June 10 is one of those days. We’ve got four different anniversaries to note, so let’s take them in chronological order. Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges! Go to … Continue reading Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

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)

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

The island of Crete has changed hands so many times 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 that Venetian, Byzantine, Roman...and it … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

The Arab conquest of Egypt was probably the first big surprise of the early Islamic period, after the Arabs’ initial military successes against the Byzantines and Persians, for a couple of reasons. First, while Egypt may be home to more Arabs than any other country in the world today, in the seventh century very few Arabs lived there, … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

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

Historically, Thessaloniki is one of the most important cities in Europe, though it's probably never been quite as prominent as its importance should have warranted because it's generally would up being overshadowed somehow. Founded in the fourth century BC by Macedonian King Cassander, it rose in stature to become the most important city in Macedon...shortly … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Thessaloniki ends (1430)

Today in European history: the Siege of Constantinople begins (maybe, 717) and ends (718)

Before it fell for good to the Ottomans in 1453, the city of Constantinople withstood something like a dozen sieges by foreign armies over its long history. The one successful siege, by the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, was of course eventually rolled back when the Latin Empire went defunct in 1261. But other than that, all … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Constantinople begins (maybe, 717) and ends (718)