Sack of Amorium
The Sack of Amorium by the Abbasid Caliphate in mid-August 838 was one of the major events in the long history of the Arab–Byzantine Wars. The Abbasid campaign was led by the Caliph al-Mu'tasim, in retaliation to a unopposed expedition launched by the Byzantine emperor Theophilos into the Caliphate's borderlands the previous year. Mu'tasim targeted Amorium, a Byzantine city in western Asia Minor, because it was the birthplace of the ruling Byzantine dynasty and, at the time, one of Byzantium's largest and most important cities; the caliph gathered an exceptionally large army, which he divided in two parts, which invaded from the northeast and the south. The northeastern army defeated the Byzantine forces under Theophilos at Anzen, allowing the Abbasids to penetrate deep into Byzantine-held Asia Minor and converge upon Ancyra, which they found abandoned. After sacking the city, they turned south to Amorium. Faced with intrigues at Constantinople and the rebellion of the large Khurramite contingent of his army, Theophilos was unable to aid the city.
Amorium was fortified and garrisoned, but a traitor revealed a weak spot in the wall, where the Abbasids concentrated their attack, effecting a breach. Unable to break through the besieging army, the commander of the breached section attempted to negotiate with the Caliph without notifying his superiors, he concluded a local truce and left his post, which allowed the Arabs to take advantage, enter the city and capture it. Amorium was systematically destroyed. Many of its inhabitants were slaughtered, the remainder driven off as slaves. Most of the survivors were released after a truce in 841, but prominent officials were taken to the caliph's capital of Samarra and executed years after refusing to convert to Islam, becoming known as the 42 Martyrs of Amorium; the conquest of Amorium was not only a major military disaster and a heavy personal blow for Theophilos, but a traumatic event for the Byzantines, its impact resonating in literature. The sack did not alter the balance of power, shifting in Byzantium's favour, but it discredited the theological doctrine of Iconoclasm, ardently supported by Theophilos.
As Iconoclasm relied on military success for its legitimization, the fall of Amorium contributed decisively to its abandonment shortly after Theophilos's death in 842. By 829, when the young emperor Theophilos ascended the Byzantine throne, the Byzantines and Arabs had been fighting on and off for two centuries. At this time, Arab attacks resumed both in the east, where after twenty years of peace due to the Abbasid civil war Caliph al-Ma'mun launched several large-scale raids, in the west, where the gradual Muslim conquest of Sicily was under way since 827. Theophilos was an ambitious man and a convinced adherent of Byzantine Iconoclasm, which prohibited the depiction of divine figures and the veneration of icons, he sought to bolster his regime and support his religious policies by military success against the Abbasid Caliphate, the Empire's major antagonist. Seeking divine favour, responding to iconophile plots against him, Theophilos reinstated active suppression of the iconophiles and other perceived "heretics" in June 833, including mass arrests and exiles and confiscations of property.
In Byzantine eyes, God seemed indeed to reward this decision: al-Ma'mun died during the first stages of a new, large-scale invasion against Byzantium, intended to be the first step in conquering Constantinople itself, his brother and successor al-Mu'tasim withdrew to focus on internal matters, having trouble establishing his authority, needing to confront the ongoing rebellion of the Khurramite religious sect under Babak Khorramdin. This allowed Theophilos to achieve a series of modest victories over the next few years, as well as to bolster his forces with some 14,000 Khurramite refugees under their leader Nasr, baptized a Christian and took the name Theophobos; the emperor's successes were not spectacular, but coming after two decades of defeats and civil war under iconophile emperors, Theophilos felt justified in claiming them as vindication for his religious policy. The emperor began to publicly associate himself with the memory of the militarily successful and fanatically iconoclast emperor Constantine V, issued a new type of the copper follis coin, minted in huge numbers, which portrayed him as the archetypical victorious Roman emperor.
In 837, Theophilos decided—at the urging of the hard-pressed Babak—to take advantage of the Caliphate's preoccupation with the suppression of the Khurramite revolt and lead a major campaign against the frontier emirates. He assembled a large army, some 70,000 fighting men and 100,000 in total according to al-Tabari, invaded Arab territory around the upper Euphrates unopposed; the Byzantines took the towns of Sozopetra and Arsamosata and plundered the countryside, extracted ransom from several cities in exchange for not attacking them, defeated a number of smaller Arab forces. While Theophilos returned home to celebrate a triumph and be acclaimed in the Hippodrome of Constantinople as the "incomparable champion", the refugees from Sozopetra began arriving at Mu'tasim's capital, Samarra; the caliphal court was outraged by the brutality and brazenness of the raids: not only had the Byzantines acted in open collusion with the Khurramite rebels, but during the sack of Sozopetra—which some sources claim as Mu'tasim's own birthplace—all male prisoners were executed and the rest sold into slavery, some captive women were raped by Theophilos
Siege of Jerusalem (636–637)
The Siege of Jerusalem was part of a military conflict which took place in the year 637 between the Byzantine Empire and the Rashidun Caliphate. It began when the Rashidun army, under the command of Abu Ubaidah, besieged Jerusalem in November 636. After six months, the Patriarch Sophronius agreed to surrender, on condition that he submit only to the Caliph. In April 637, Caliph Umar traveled to Jerusalem in person to receive the submission of the city; the Patriarch thus surrendered to him. The Muslim conquest of the city solidified Arab control over Palestine, which would not again be threatened until the First Crusade in the late 11th century. Jerusalem was an important city of the Byzantine province of Palestina Prima. Just 23 years prior to the Muslim conquest, in 614, it fell to an invading Sassanid army under Shahrbaraz during the last of the Byzantine-Sassanid Wars; the Persians looted the city, are said to have massacred its 90,000 Christian inhabitants. As part of the looting, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed and the True Cross captured and taken to Ctesiphon as a battle-captured holy relic.
The Cross was returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heraclius after his final victory against the Persians in 628. It was believed that the Jews, who were persecuted in their Roman-controlled homeland, had aided the Persians. After the death of Muhammad in 632, Muslim leadership passed to Caliph Abu Bakr following a series of campaigns known as the Ridda Wars. Once Bakr's sovereignty over Arabia had been secured, he initiated a war of conquest in the east by invading Iraq a province of the Sassanid Persian Empire. In 634, Abu Bakr was succeeded by Umar, who continued his own war of conquest. In May 636, Emperor Heraclius launched a major expedition to regain the lost territory, but his army was defeated decisively at the Battle of Yarmouk in August 636. Thereafter, Abu Ubaidah, the Muslim commander-in-chief of the Rashidun army in Syria, held a council of war in early October 636 to discuss future plans. Opinions of objectives varied between the coastal city of Jerusalem. Abu Ubaidah could see the importance of both these cities, which had resisted all Muslim attempts at capture.
Unable to decide on the matter, he wrote to Caliph Umar for instructions. In his reply, the caliph ordered them to capture the latter. Accordingly, Abu Ubaidah marched towards Jerusalem from Jabiyah, with Khalid ibn Walid and his mobile guard leading the advance; the Muslims arrived at Jerusalem around early November, the Byzantine garrison withdrew into the fortified city. Jerusalem had been well-fortified. After the Byzantine defeat at Yarmouk, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, repaired its defenses; the Muslims had so far not attempted any siege of the city. However, since 634, Saracen forces had the potential to threaten all routes to the city. Although it was not encircled, it had been in a state of siege since the Muslims captured the neighboring forts of Pella and Bosra. After the Battle of Yarmouk, the city was severed from the rest of Syria, was being prepared for a siege that seemed inevitable; when the Muslim army reached Jericho, Sophronius collected all the holy relics including the True Cross, secretly sent them to the coast, to be taken to Constantinople.
The Muslim troops besieged the city some time in November 636. Instead of relentless assaults on the city, they decided to press on with the siege until the Byzantines ran short of supplies and a bloodless surrender could be negotiated. Although details of the siege were not recorded, it appeared to be bloodless; the Byzantine garrison could not expect any help from the humbled regime of Heraclius. After a siege of four months, Sophronius offered to surrender the city and pay a jizya, on condition that the caliph came to Jerusalem to sign the pact and accept the surrender, it is said that when Sophronius's terms became known to the Muslims, Shurahbil ibn Hassana, one of the Muslim commanders, suggested that instead of waiting for the caliph to come all the way from Madinah, Khalid ibn Walid should be sent forward as the caliph, as he was similar in appearance to Umar. The subterfuge did not work. Khalid was too famous in Syria, or there may have been Christian Arabs in the city who had visited Madinah and had seen both Umar and Khalid, remembering the differences.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem refused to negotiate. When Khalid reported the failure of this mission, Abu Ubaidah wrote to caliph Umar about the situation, invited him to come to Jerusalem to accept the surrender of the city. In early April 637, Umar arrived in Palestine and went first to Jabiya, where he was received by Abu Ubaidah and Yazid, who had traveled with an escort to receive him. Amr was left as commander of the besieging Muslim army. Upon Umar's arrival in Jerusalem, a pact known as The Umariyya Covenant was composed, it surrendered the city and gave guarantees of civil and religious liberty to Christians in exchange for jizya. It was signed by caliph Umar on behalf of the Muslims, witnessed by Khalid, Abdur Rahman bin Awf, Muawiyah. In late April 637, Jerusalem was surrendered to the caliph. For the first time, after 500 years of oppressive Roman rule, Jews were once again allowed to live and worship inside Jerusalem, it has been recorded in the annals of Muslim chronicles, that at the time of the Zuhr prayers, Sophronius invited Umar to pray in the rebuilt Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Umar declined, fearing that accepting the invitation might endanger the church's status as a place of Christian worship, that Muslims might break the treaty and turn the church into a mosque. After staying for ten days in Je
Battle of Mu'tah
The Battle of Mu'tah was fought in September 629 C. E. near the village of Mu'tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak in Karak Governorate, between the forces of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the forces of the Byzantine Empire. In Islamic histories, the battle is described as the Muslims' attempt to take retribution against a Ghassanid chief for taking the life of an emissary. According to Byzantine sources, the Muslims planned to launch their attack on a feast day; the local Byzantine Vicarius collected the garrisons of the fortresses. Seeing the great number of the enemy forces, the Muslims withdrew to the south where the fighting started at the village of Mu'ta and they were routed. After three of their leaders were killed, the command was given to Khalid ibn al-Walid and he succeeded in saving the rest of the forces; the Byzantines were reoccupying territory following the peace accord between Emperor Heraclius and the Sasanid general Shahrbaraz in July 629. The Byzantine sakellarios Theodore, was placed in command of the army, while in the area of Balqa, Arab tribes were employed.
Meanwhile, Muhammad had sent his emissary to the ruler of Bosra. While on his way to Bosra, he was executed in the village of Mu'tah by the orders of a Ghassanid official. Muhammad dispatched 3,000 of his troops to Jumada al-Awwal in 629, for a quick expedition to attack and punish the tribes; the army was led by Zayd ibn Harithah. When the Muslim troops arrived at the area to the east of Jordan and learned of the size of the Byzantine army, they wanted to wait and send for reinforcements from Medina.'Abdullah ibn Rawahah reminded them about their desire for martyrdom and questioned the move to wait when what they desire was awaiting them, so they continued marching towards the waiting army. The Muslims engaged the Byzantines at their camp by the village of Musharif and withdrew towards Mu'tah, it was here. Some Muslim sources report that the battle was fought in a valley between two heights, which negated the Byzantines their numerical superiority. During the battle, all three Muslim leaders fell one after the other as they took command of the force: first, Zayd Ja'far, then'Abdullah.
After the death of the latter, some of the Muslim soldiers began to rout. Thabit ibn Al-Arqam, seeing the desperate state of the Muslim forces, took up the banner and rallied his comrades thus saving the army from complete destruction. After the battle, Al-Arqam took the banner, before asking Khalid bin Walid to take the lead. Khalid bin Walid reported that the fighting was so intense that he used nine swords which broke in the battle. Khalid, prepared to withdraw, he avoided pitched battle. It is said; the casualties of slain of the Muslim side were recorded as the four of them from Muhajireen while eight the rest from Ansar. Their names were: Zaid bin Haritha Ja'far ibn Abi Talib Abdullah bin Rawahah Masoud bin Al-Aswad Wahab bin Saad Abbad bin Qais Amr ibn Saad Harith bin Nu'man Saraqah bin Amr Abu Kulaib bin Amr Jabir ibn'Amr Amer bin SaadDaniel C. Peterson, Professor of Islamic Studies at Brigham Young University, finds the ratio of casualties among the leaders suspiciously high compared to the losses suffered by ordinary soldiers.
David Powers, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell mentions this curiosity concerning the minuscule casualties recorded by Muslim historians. It is reported that when the Muslim force arrived at Medina, they were berated for withdrawing and accused of fleeing. Salamah ibn Hisham, brother of Amr ibn Hishām was reported to have prayed at home rather than going to the mosque to avoid having to explain himself. Muhammad ordered saying that they would return to fight the Byzantines again, it would not be until the third century A. H. that Muslim historians would state that Muhammad bestowed upon Khalid the title of'Saifullah' meaning'Sword of Allah'. Today, Muslims are considered martyrs; some have claimed. A mausoleum was built at Mu'tah over their grave. According to al-Waqidi and Ibn Ishaq, the Muslims were informed that 100,000 or 200,000 enemy troops were encamped at Balqa'. Modern historians refute this stating the figure to be exaggerated. According to Walter Emil Kaegi, professor of Byzantine history at the University of Chicago, the size of the entire Byzantine army during the 7th century might have totaled 100,000 even half this number.
While the Byzantine forces at Mu'tah are unlikely to have numbered more than 10,000. Muslim accounts of the battle differ over the result. In early Muslim sources, the battle is recorded as a humiliating defeat. While Muslim historians would rework the early source material, revising the narrative of the battle as a Muslim victory on grounds that most of the Muslim soldiers returned safely. Military career of Muhammad List of expeditions of Muhammad History of Islam Muhammad as a general Jihad Muhammad and Christianity El Hareir, Idris; the Different Aspects of Islam Culture: Volume 3, The Spread of Islam throughout the World. UNESCO publishing. Buhl, F.. "Muʾta". In H. A. R. Gibb. Encyclopaedia o
Anatolia known as Asia Minor, Asian Turkey, the Anatolian peninsula or the Anatolian plateau, is the westernmost protrusion of Asia, which makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Armenian Highlands to the east and the Aegean Sea to the west; the Sea of Marmara forms a connection between the Black and Aegean Seas through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and separates Anatolia from Thrace on the European mainland. The eastern border of Anatolia is traditionally held to be a line between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Black Sea, bounded by the Armenian Highland to the east and Mesopotamia to the southeast. Thus, traditionally Anatolia is the territory that comprises the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey. Nowadays, Anatolia is often considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey, which comprises the entire country. By some definitions, the area called the Armenian highlands lies beyond the boundary of the Anatolian plateau.
The official name of this inland region is the Eastern Anatolia Region. The ancient inhabitants of Anatolia spoke the now-extinct Anatolian languages, which were replaced by the Greek language starting from classical antiquity and during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. Major Anatolian languages included Hittite and Lydian among other more poorly attested relatives; the Turkification of Anatolia began under the Seljuk Empire in the late 11th century and continued under the Ottoman Empire between the late 13th and early 20th centuries. However, various non-Turkic languages continue to be spoken by minorities in Anatolia today, including Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic, Arabic, Laz and Greek. Other ancient peoples in the region included Galatians, Assyrians, Cimmerians, as well as Ionian and Aeolian Greeks. Traditionally, Anatolia is considered to extend in the east to an indefinite line running from the Gulf of Alexandretta to the Black Sea, coterminous with the Anatolian Plateau; this traditional geographical definition is used, for example, in the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Under this definition, Anatolia is bounded to the east by the Armenian Highlands, the Euphrates before that river bends to the southeast to enter Mesopotamia.
To the southeast, it is bounded by the ranges that separate it from the Orontes valley in Syria and the Mesopotamian plain. Following the Armenian genocide, Ottoman Armenia was renamed "Eastern Anatolia" by the newly established Turkish government. Vazken Davidian terms the expanded use of "Anatolia" to apply to territory referred to as Armenia an "ahistorical imposition", notes that a growing body of literature is uncomfortable with referring to the Ottoman East as "Eastern Anatolia". Most archeological sources consider the boundary of Anatolia to be Turkey's eastern border; the highest mountains in "Eastern Anatolia" are Mount Ararat. The Euphrates, Araxes and Murat rivers connect the Armenian plateau to the South Caucasus and the Upper Euphrates Valley. Along with the Çoruh, these rivers are the longest in "Eastern Anatolia"; the oldest known reference to Anatolia – as “Land of the Hatti” – appears on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from the period of the Akkadian Empire. The first recorded name the Greeks used for the Anatolian peninsula, Ἀσία echoed the name of the Assuwa league in western Anatolia.
As the name "Asia" broadened its scope to apply to other areas east of the Mediterranean, Greeks in Late Antiquity came to use the name Μικρὰ Ἀσία or Asia Minor, meaning "Lesser Asia" to refer to present-day Anatolia. The English-language name Anatolia itself derives from the Greek ἀνατολή meaning “the East” or more “sunrise”; the precise reference of this term has varied over time originally referring to the Aeolian and Dorian colonies on the west coast of Asia Minor. In the Byzantine Empire, the Anatolic Theme was a theme covering the western and central parts of Turkey's present-day Central Anatolia Region; the term "Anatolia" is Medieval Latin. The modern Turkish form of Anatolia, derives from the Greek name Aνατολή; the Russian male name Anatoly and the French Anatole share the same linguistic origin. The term "Anatolia" referred to a northwestern Byzantine province. By the 12th century Europeans had started referring to Anatolia as Turchia, it has also been called "Asia Minor". In earlier times, it was called" Rûm" by the Seljuqs.
During the era of the Ottoman Empire mapmakers outside the Empire referred to the mountainous plateau in eastern Anatolia as Armenia. Other contemporary sources called the same area Kurdistan. Geographers have variously used the terms east Anatolian plateau and Armenian plateau to refer to the region, although the territory encompassed by each term overlaps with the other. According to archaeologist Lori Khatchadourian this difference in terminology "primarily result from the shifting political fortunes and cultural trajectories of the region since the nineteenth century."Turkey's First Geography Congress in 1941 created two regions to the east of the Gulf of Iskenderun-Black Sea line named the Eastern Anatolia Region and the Southeastern Anatolia Region, the former corresponding to the weste
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Siege of Constantinople (717–718)
The Second Arab siege of Constantinople in 717–718 was a combined land and sea offensive by the Muslim Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate against the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. The campaign marked the culmination of twenty years of attacks and progressive Arab occupation of the Byzantine borderlands, while Byzantine strength was sapped by prolonged internal turmoil. In 716, after years of preparations, the Arabs, led by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, invaded Byzantine Asia Minor; the Arabs hoped to exploit Byzantine civil strife and made common cause with the general Leo III the Isaurian, who had risen up against Emperor Theodosius III. Leo, tricked them and secured the Byzantine throne for himself. After wintering in the western coastlands of Asia Minor, the Arab army crossed into Thrace in early summer 717 and built siege lines to blockade the city, protected by the massive Theodosian Walls; the Arab fleet, which accompanied the land army and was meant to complete the city's blockade by sea, was neutralized soon after its arrival by the Byzantine navy through the use of Greek fire.
This allowed Constantinople to be resupplied by sea, while the Arab army was crippled by famine and disease during the unusually hard winter that followed. In spring 718, two Arab fleets sent as reinforcements were destroyed by the Byzantines after their Christian crews defected, an additional army sent overland through Asia Minor was ambushed and defeated. Coupled with attacks by the Bulgars on their rear, the Arabs were forced to lift the siege on 15 August 718. On its return journey, the Arab fleet was completely destroyed by natural disasters and Byzantine attacks; the siege's failure had wide-ranging repercussions. The rescue of Constantinople ensured the continued survival of Byzantium, while the Caliphate's strategic outlook was altered: although regular attacks on Byzantine territories continued, the goal of outright conquest was abandoned. Historians consider the siege to be one of history's most important battles, as its failure postponed the Muslim advance into Southeastern Europe for centuries.
Following the first Arab siege of Constantinople, the Arabs and Byzantines experienced a period of peace. After 680, the Umayyad Caliphate was in the throes of the Second Muslim Civil War and the consequent Byzantine ascendancy in the East enabled the emperors to extract huge amounts of tribute from the Umayyad government in Damascus. In 692, as the Umayyads emerged as victors from the Muslim Civil War, Emperor Justinian II re-opened hostilities; the result was a series of Arab victories that led to the loss of Byzantine control over Armenia and the Caucasian principalities, a gradual encroachment upon Byzantine borderlands. Year by year, the Caliphate's generals members of the Umayyad family, launched raids into Byzantine territory and captured fortresses and towns. After 712, the Byzantine defensive system began to show signs of collapse: Arab raids penetrated further and further into Asia Minor, border fortresses were attacked and sacked, references to Byzantine reaction in the sources become more and more scarce.
In this, the Arabs were aided by the prolonged period of internal instability that followed the first deposition of Justinian II in 695, in which the Byzantine throne changed hands seven times in violent coups. In the words of the Byzantinist Warren Treadgold, "the Arab attacks would in any case have intensified after the end of their own civil war... With far more men and wealth than Byzantium, the Arabs had begun to concentrate all their strength against it. Now they threatened to extinguish the empire by capturing its capital." The information available on the siege comes from sources composed in dates, which are mutually contradictory. The main Byzantine source is the extensive and detailed account of the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor and secondarily the brief account in the Breviarium of Patriarch Nikephoros I of Constantinople, which shows small differences chronological, from Theophanes's version. For the events of the siege, both authors appear to have used a primary account composed during the reign of Leo III the Isaurian which therefore contains a favourable depiction of the latter, while Theophanes relies on an unknown biography of Leo for the events of 716.
The 8th-century chronicler Theophilus of Edessa records the years leading up to the siege and the siege itself in some detail, paying particular attention to the diplomacy between Maslama and Leo III. The Arab sources the 11th-century Kitab al-'Uyun and the more concise narrative in the History of the Prophets and Kings by al-Tabari, rely on primary accounts by early 9th-century Arab writers, but are more confused and contain several legendary elements; the Syriac language accounts are based on Agapius of Hierapolis, who drew from the same primary source as Theophanes, but are far briefer. The Arab successes opened the way for a second assault on Constantinople, an undertaking initiated under Caliph al-Walid I. Following his death, his brother and successor Sulayman took up the project with increased vigour, according to Arab accounts because of a prophecy that a Caliph bearing the name of a prophet would capture Constantinople. According to Syriac sources, the new Caliph swore "to not stop fighting against Constantinople before having exhausted the country of the Arabs or to have taken the city".
The Umayyad forces began assembling at the plain of Dabiq north of Aleppo, under the direct supervision of the Caliph. As Sulayman was too sick to campaign h
Battle of Anzen
The Battle of Anzen or Dazimon was fought on 22 July 838 at Anzen or Dazimon between the Byzantine Empire and the forces of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Abbasids had launched a huge expedition with two separate armies in retaliation for the Byzantine emperor Theophilos's successes the previous year, aimed to sack Amorion, one of Byzantium's largest cities. Theophilos with his army confronted the smaller Muslim army, under the Iranian vassal prince Afshin, at Dazimon; the numerically superior Byzantine army was successful, but when Theophilos resolved to lead an attack in person, his absence from his usual post caused panic among the Byzantine troops, who feared that he had been killed. Coupled with a fierce counterattack by Afshin's Turkish horse-archers, the Byzantine army broke and fled. Theophilos and his guard were besieged before making good their escape; the defeat opened the way for the brutal sack of Amorion a few weeks one of the most serious blows Byzantium suffered in the centuries-long Arab–Byzantine Wars.
As the young Theophilos ascended the Byzantine throne in 829, the Arab–Byzantine wars had continued on and off for two centuries. An ambitious man and a convinced iconoclast, Theophilos sought to bolster his regime and gain support for his religious policies by military success against the Abbasid Caliphate, Byzantium's major antagonist. Theophilos launched a series of campaigns against the Caliphate throughout the 830s; these were only moderately successful, but sufficient for the imperial propaganda to portray Theophilos in the traditional Roman manner as a "victorious emperor". In 837 Theophilos led a major campaign to the region of the upper Euphrates, sacking the cities of Arsamosata and Sozopetra – which some sources claim as Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tasim's own birthplace – and forcing the city of Melitene to pay tribute and deliver hostages in return for being spared. In response, al-Mu'tasim decided to launch a major punitive expedition against Byzantium, aiming to capture the two major Byzantine cities of central Anatolia and Amorion.
The latter was the largest city in Anatolia at the time, as well as the birthplace of the reigning Amorian dynasty and of particular symbolic importance. A vast army was gathered at Tarsus, divided into two main forces; the northern force, under the Iranian vassal prince of Usrushana Afshin, would invade the Armeniac theme from the region of Melitene, joining up with the forces of the city's emir, Omar al-Aqta. The southern, main force, under the Caliph himself, would pass the Cilician Gates into Cappadocia and head to Ancyra. After the city was taken, the Arab armies would march to Amorion. Afshin's force included, according to John Skylitzes, the entire army of the vassal Armenian princes, numbered an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 men, among whom were some 10,000 Turkish horse-archers. On the Byzantine side, Theophilos became soon aware of the Caliph's intentions and set out from Constantinople in early June, his army included the men from the Anatolian and also the European themes, the elite tagmata regiments, as well as a contingent of Persian and Kurdish Khurramites.
Under their leader Nasr, these people had fled religious persecution in the Caliphate, deserted to the Empire in the previous years, formed the so-called "Persian tourma". Setting up camp at Dorylaion, the Emperor divided his forces: a strong corps was sent to reinforce the garrison of Amorion, while he himself set out with the remainder to interpose himself between the Cilician Gates and Ancyra. In mid-June, Afshin crossed the Anti-Taurus Mountains and encamped at the fort of Dazimon, between Amaseia and Tokat, a strategically important location which served as a concentration point for the Byzantines too. A few days on 19 June, the vanguard of the main Abbasid army invaded Byzantine territory, followed two days after by the Caliph with the main body. Theophilos was informed of these movements in mid-July. Afshin's force was smaller, but threatened to cut off his supply lines; the Emperor left a small covering force against the Caliph's army and marched east to confront Afshin. On 21 July, the imperial army came into view of the Arab force, encamped on a hill in the plain of Dazimonitis south of the fort of Dazimon, named Anzen.
Although Theophilos's principal commanders and the Domestic of the Schools Manuel, both advised for a surprise night attack, the Emperor sided with the opinion of the other officers and resolved to wait and launch his attack on the next day. The Byzantine army attacked at dawn, made good progress: they drove back one wing of the opposite army, inflicting 3,000 casualties on the Arabs. Near noon, Theophilos resolved to reinforce the other wing and detached 2,000 Byzantines and the Kurdish contingent to do so, abandoning his post and passing behind his own army's lines. At this point, Afshin launched his Turkish horse-archers in a ferocious counter-attack which stymied the Byzantine advance and allowed the Arab forces to regroup; the Byzantine troops noticed the emperor's absence, thinking he had been killed, began to waver. This soon turned into a disorderly retreat; some units, were able to retreat in good order and