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 Siege of Damascus ends (634)

Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of Anatolia pretty much for good, caliphal forces had already taken the jewel of Roman Syria, Damascus, nearly two years earlier. Talking about how they did so may help illustrate part of the reason why the Arab armies had such a relatively easy time conquering… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

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 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 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)

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

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains pretty much for good, Caliphal forces had already taken the jewel of Roman Syria, Damascus, nearly two years earlier. How they did so may illustrate part of the reason…