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)

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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 al-Qadisiyah (636)

There are battles throughout history that are decisive for purely military reasons, and then there are battles that are decisive for reasons that go far beyond that. Take two famous examples from the Second Punic War. Hannibal’s victory at the Battle of Cannae (216 BCE) was pretty damn decisive from a military perspective. It’s hard … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

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)

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)

There are battles throughout history that are decisive for purely military reasons, and then there are battles that are decisive for reasons that go far beyond that. Take two famous examples from the Second Punic War. Hannibal's victory at the Battle of Cannae (216 BCE) was pretty damn decisive from a military perspective. It's hard … 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)