Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

You’ll note the presence of question marks in the title to this post, and that’s not to remind me to go back and check later. The question marks are there because there’s no particular reason to believe that this event happened on the date that corresponds with January 11, 630, on our Gregorian calendar. Don’t… Continue reading Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

However, the Hasanids had their moments of rebellion. For example, there was a Hasanid-led revolt in September 762, which was ultimately squashed by the Abbasids at the Battle of Bakhamra on January 21, 763. This is sometimes considered to have been a “Zaydi revolt,” since the Zaydis claim its leader as one of their imams,… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

Middle East update: October 7-8 2017

THE BOOK OF CURIOSITIES A reader passed an article along–I thought it might be of interest to some of you, and it’s nice to not talk about something other than people killing each other for a minute, isn’t it? Anyway, it’s a look at the world map included in an 11th century Arab geography called The Book… Continue reading Middle East update: October 7-8 2017

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Siffin (657)

Today is (give or take) the anniversary of the start of the Battle of Siffin, during the First Fitna (civil war) in Islamic history. Regular readers may have heard of it before. The Caliph, Ali, took an army of 80,000 men (allegedly; historical sources are notoriously unreliable when it comes to army sizes) against the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Siffin (657)

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 Romans and Persians, 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 held very few,… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

The end of the Abbasid caliphate managed to be both somewhat anti-climactic and historically pivotal at the same time. In any practical sense, the caliphs had stopped being politically relevant in … Source: Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Hama (903)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a fairly small, radical–apocalyptic, even–and highly militarized Islamic sect carves out a chunk of territory, including a sizable piece of Syria, in which to establish its own very wealthy political entity that could be described as revisionist,…