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 that second, much larger, sense. Taken individually, they changed the course of both of the defeated empires: the Byzantines would never again hold significant territory south of Anatolia,… 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 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 Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Yarmouk (636) ends

If you were inclined to rank the most important battles in world history, the Battle of Yarmouk probably should be pretty high on your list. It eliminated, over the course of one 6-day battle, almost the entirety of the Byzantine Empire’s military presence south of the Taurus Mountains, leaving Syria and the rest of the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Yarmouk (636) ends

Today in European history: the Battle of Guadalete (711)

Savvy readers will know that we’ve already covered the Battle of Guadalete in other contexts, and although nobody actually knows for sure when this decisive battle of the Muslim conquest of Iberia really took place, today is arguably the most likely candidate. Historian David Lewis, who has written on Islamic Spain among many other topics,… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Guadalete (711)

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

Setting aside the upstart Arabs’ initial military successes against the seemingly mighty Byzantine and Persian empires, their conquest of Egypt may have been the most surprising development of their 7th century expansion, for a couple of reasons. First, while Egypt may hold more Arabs than any other country in the world today, in the seventh century it… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

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

Hey all: I may need to be off the blog today–we’ll see how the day goes–but as today is the anniversary of the 634 Arab siege of Damascus, I can still offer you something to read: Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains pretty much for… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

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)