Islamic History, part 30: the early Islamic military (7th-9th centuries CE)

Islamic History Series I feel pretty certain that nowadays we would point to the advent of Islam as the most important development of the movement that Muhammad began in Mecca and Medina in the first part of the 7th century. However, to contemporary observers in the period immediately following his death, it must have seemed … Continue reading Islamic History, part 30: the early Islamic military (7th-9th centuries CE)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

The two great Arab military victories of 636, the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantines and the Battle of al-Qadisiyah against the Sasanian Persians, were decisive in both in purely military and in geopolitical terms. Taken individually, they changed the course of both of the defeated empires--the Byzantines would never again hold significant territory south … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

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 shattered Byzantine resistance there. But Antioch was one of the great cities of the eastern Roman Empire, and its conquest was significant, if anticlimactic. The city itself put up almost no resistance … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Antioch surrenders to the Arabs (637)

Islamic History, Part 9: The Caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab (634-644)

Islamic History Series The reign of Umar b. al-Khattab, or Umar I as he is sometimes known, was one of the most important periods in early Islamic history. While Abu Bakr's caliphate was really an exercise in succession and consolidation, establishing that the community founded by Muhammad would live on past his death and expending … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 9: The Caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab (634-644)