Today in Islamic history: the Battle of the Zab (750)

One of the nice things about having done this blog as long as I’ve been doing it is that the “this day in history” posts are starting to overlap. I hope you enjoy this one from January 25, 2015, on the Battle of the Zab.

and that's the way it was

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of the Zab, which took place in 750 and was the climactic battle in the Abbasid Revolution that ousted the Umayyads from the caliphate. Obviously you can find out more about the revolution elsewhere on this blog, but the battle itself deserves a little mention.

The Umayyad army was primarily made up of Syrian Arabs, who had amply demonstrated their toughness and battlefield capabilities by this point in campaigns against the Byzantines and in putting down several previous rebellions. They were under the direct command of Caliph Marwan II himself, and Marwan, although he may not personally have been all sunshine and rainbows, had impressive credentials as a military leader. He’d been governor of the northernmost provinces of the empire, which meant direct responsibility for conducting raids against neighboring Christian kingdoms like the Byzantine Empire and Georgia, and he’d taken the caliphate…

View original post 360 more words

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Republic of Mahabad is born (1946)

You may not have heard of the Republic of Mahabad. You may not even know anybody else who's heard of the Republic of Mahabad. Maybe you're looking askance at this blog right now, wondering if I'm telling the truth. Wondering if I've ever told the truth. Well let me assure you that the Republic of … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Republic of Mahabad is born (1946)

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

The various Shiʿa movements that have sprung up over the centuries trace their origins, obviously, to Ali b. Abi Talib, the cousin and son in-law of Muhammad. But apart from that common ancestry there have (again, obviously) been a number of disagreements within the Shiʿa community over which line of descent from Ali was legitimate. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

As World War I was wrapping up, and the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, the question of what to do with all that soon-to-be-former Ottoman land loomed large. Most Ottoman territory outside of Anatolia was predominantly Arab, and the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt had done much to advance British war aims in the Middle East, so the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

Today in Islamic history: the Battle of the Zab (750)

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of the Zab, which took place in 750 and was the climactic battle in the Abbasid Revolution that ousted the Umayyads from the caliphate. Obviously you can find out more about the revolution elsewhere on this blog, but the battle itself deserves a little mention. The Umayyad army … Continue reading Today in Islamic history: the Battle of the Zab (750)