Today in Middle Eastern 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. Source: Today in… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Zab (750)

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

Originally posted on 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…

Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Marj Rahit (684)

The early caliphate was not an especially stable place. In the two centuries after Muhammad’s death in 632, the empire went through four Fitnas, or civil wars. It’s fair to say that the second of these, which lasted from 680 to 692, was really almost a do over of the first, with the same factions… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Marj Rahit (684)

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)

Islamic History, Part 20: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part II

Islamic History Series before you read this, first read part I As I said earlier, the Umayyads were able to operate on a religious level in their claim on authority primarily because they were the symbolic embodiment of the communal unity that Muhammad had established decades earlier. What it meant to be a “Muslim” still… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 20: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part II

Islamic History, Part 19: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part I

Islamic History Series (this got really out of control long, so I split it into two pieces; part II is here) The Arabic word dawlah means “state” in modern parlance, and prior to the rise of the modern nation-state it was often used to describe dynasties. Its root (dawala) is a verb that means “to… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 19: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part I

Islamic History, Part 18: the conquest of Iberia (711-759)

Islamic History Series In contrast the decline of the Umayyad Dynasty in Syria, a period that I’m sure was as confusing for you to read about as it was for me to write about (imagine living through it), the conquest of Spain is considerably more straightforward, and takes place at a time when the rest… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 18: the conquest of Iberia (711-759)