Battle of Carthage (698)
The Battle of Carthage was fought in 698 between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the fifth Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims in 695, Emperor Leontios sent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the droungarios Tiberius Apsimarus, they entered the harbor and recaptured it in a stunning surprise attack in 697, which resulted in the city's Arab forces fleeing to Kairouan. Emir Hasan ibn al-Nu'man was in the middle of a campaign in the Greater Maghreb region, but withdrew from campaigning in the field to confront the renewed Roman challenge to the emerging caliphate and he drew plans at Kairouan to retake Carthage the following spring, it is estimated. The Romans sent out a call for help to their allies, the native Berbers, to enemies the Visigoths and the Franks. Despite the king of the Visigoths, sending a force of 500 warriors in order to help defend Carthage, the Romans were in disarray due to in-fighting and were sapped of much of their strength.
Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, enraged at having to retake a city that had not resisted the Roman take over, offered no terms except to surrender or die. The Emperor Leontios had given his forces instructions of victory or death; the Romans left Carthage and attacked the Emir's army directly, but were defeated, the Roman commander decided to wait out the siege behind the walls of Carthage to let the Arabs exhaust themselves, since he could continue to be resupplied from the sea. The defenders were faced with Hasan's overwhelming force deployed in ferocious attacks as his men made repeated attempts to scale the walls with ladders, they combined this land assault with an attack from the sea that caused the Roman commanders to withdraw from the city and subsequently resulted in the second and final great destruction of Carthage. The Romans retreated to the islands of Corsica and Crete to further resist Muslim expansion. John the Patrician was murdered after a conspiracy at the hands of his co-commander, Tiberius Apsimarus.
Tiberius Apsimarus instead of taking the step of returning to Africa to fight the Muslims, sailed instead to Constantinople. After a successful rebellion he rose to the throne as Tiberius III, was deposed by former emperor Justinian II, now known as the Rhinotmetus; the conquest of North Africa by the forces of Islam was now nearly complete. Hasan's forces met with trouble from the Zenata tribe of Berbers under al-Kahina. and they inflicted a serious defeat on him and drove him back to Barqa. However, in 702 Caliph Abd al-Malik reinforced him. Now with a large army and the support of the settled population of North Africa, Hasan pushed forward, he decisively defeated al-Kahina in the Battle of Tabarka, 85 miles west of Carthage. He developed the village of Tunis, ten miles from the destroyed Carthage
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
Battle of Bosra
The Battle of Bosra was fought in 634 between the Rashidun Caliphate army and the Byzantine Empire for the possession of Bosra, in Syria. The city capital of the Ghassanid kingdom, a Byzantine vassal, was the first important one to be captured by the Islamic forces; the siege lasted between June and July 634. Caliph Abu Bakr sent his four corps under Amr ibn al-A'as, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Shurahbil ibn Hasana and Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan and appointed for them different districts of Syria to capture, they were unable to get significant success in their goals and were in great pressure because of concentration of the Byzantine army at Ajnadayn. Abu Bakr therefore decided to send Khalid ibn Walid,The conqueror of Iraq, to Syria to command the Rashidun army there. Khalid ibn Walid reached Syria and capturing town to town he reached the city of Bosra in June 634 A. C. According to his instructions Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah who had occupied the District of Hauran which lay north-east of the river Yarmuk, was to remain at his position until Khalid arrived at Bosra.
Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah had three corps of the Muslim army under his command - his own, Yazid's and Shurahbil's, but he had fought no battles and captured no towns. One place which worried him a great deal was Bosra, a large town, the capital of the Ghassanid Kingdom, it was garrisoned by a strong force of Byzantine and Christian Arabs under the command of Roman officers. While Khalid was clearing the region of Eastern Syria, Abu Ubaidah came to know that he would come under Khalid's command upon the latter's arrival, he decided to take Bosra quickly. He therefore sent Shurahbil with 4,000 men to capture Bosra. Shurahbil marched to Bosra, the garrison of which withdrew into the fortified town as soon as the Muslims appeared in sight; this garrison consisted of 4,000 soldiers, but expecting that more Muslim forces would soon arrive and that Shurahbil's detachment was only an advance guard, it remained within the walls of the fort. Shurahbil camped on the western side of the town, positioned groups of his men all round the fort.
For two days nothing happened. The following day, as Khalid ibn al-Walid set out on the last day of his march to Bosra, the garrison of the town came out to give battle to the Muslims outside the city. Both forces formed up for battle; the Byzantines vainly chose the sword, in the middle of the morning the battle began. For the first two hours or so the fighting continued at a steady pace with neither side making any headway; the Romans were able to move forces around both Muslim flanks, the fighting increased in intensity. The temper of the Muslims became suicidal as the real danger of their position became evident and they fought ferociously to avoid encirclement, which appeared to be the Roman design. By early afternoon the Roman wings had moved further forward, the encirclement of Shurahbil's force became a virtual certainty; the combatants became aware of a powerful force of cavalry galloping in mass towards the battlefield from the northwest. Khalid was about a mile from Bosra, he ordered the men to horse, as soon as the cavalry was ready, led it a gallop towards the battlefield.
But Khalid and the Romans never met. As soon as the Romans discovered the arrival of the Muslim cavalry, they broke contact from Shurahbil and withdrew hastily into the fort; the Muslims under Shurahbil came to regard this occurrence as a miracle: the Khalid had been sent to save them from destruction! The next morning, the Byzantine garrison again came out of the fort to give battle; the shock of Khalid's arrival the previous day had now worn off, seeing that the combined strength of the Muslims was about the same as their own, the Romans decided to try their luck again. They hoped to fight and defeat the Muslims before they could get a rest after their march; the two armies formed up for battle on the plain outside the town. Khalid kept the center of the Rashidun army under his own command, appointing Rafay bin Umayr as the commander of the right wing and Dharar bin Al Azwar as the commander of the left wing. In front of the center, he placed a thin screen under Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr. At the start of the battle, Abdur-Rahman dueled with the Roman army commander and defeated him.
As the Roman general fled to the safety of the Roman ranks, Khalid launched a general attack along the entire front. For some time the Romans resisted bravely, while the commanders of the Muslim wings played havoc with the opposing wings Dharar, who now established a personal tradition which would make him famous in Syria - adored by the Muslims, dreaded by the Romans; because of the heat of the day, he took off his coat of mail. He took off his shirt and became naked above the waist; this made him feel lighter and happier. In this half naked condition Dharar launched his assaults against the Romans and slaughtered all who faced him in single combat. Within a week, stories of the Naked Champion would spread over Syria, only the bravest of Romans would feel inclined to face him in combat. After some fighting, the Byzantine army withdrew into the fort. At this time Khalid was fighting on foot in front of his centre; as he turned to give orders for the commencement of the siege, he saw a horseman approaching through the ranks of the Muslims.
It was Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and with him was a yellow standard and is believed to have
Michael Bourtzes was a leading Byzantine general of the latter 10th century. He became notable for his capture of Antioch from the Arabs in 969, but fell into disgrace by the Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas. Resentful at the slight, Bourtzes joined forces with the conspirators who assassinated Phokas a few weeks later. Bourtzes re-appears in a prominent role in the civil war between Emperor Basil II and the rebel Bardas Skleros, switching his allegiance from the emperor to the rebel and back again, he was re-appointed as doux of Antioch by Basil, a post he held until 995, when he was relieved because of his failures in the war against the Fatimids. Michael Bourtzes was the first prominent member of the Bourtzes family, originating in the upper Euphrates region, which went on to become one of the major clans of the Byzantine military aristocracy during the 11th century; the name has been proposed as deriving either from the Arabic burdj, "tower", or from the placename Bourtzo or Soterioupolis near Trebizond.
The ethnic origin of the family is disputed among scholars: Vitalien Laurent and Jean-Claude Cheynet suggested an Arab origin, while Peter Charanis and Nicholas Adontz advocated an Armenian origin. The date of Michael Bourtzes's birth is unknown, but must be placed sometime between 930 and 935, he is first mentioned in late 968, when he was appointed by Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas as patrikios and strategos of the small theme of Mauron Oros, on the southern outliers of the Amanus Mountains. With his base on the newly built fortress of Pagras and his thousand men were tasked with controlling the northern approaches to the Arab-held city of Antioch. Acting against Nikephoros's orders not to assault the city in his absence, in the late autumn of 969, Bourtzes persuaded a traitor inside the city to surrender one of the wall's main towers, which he promptly occupied on 28 October, he defended this post against repeated attacks of the city's defenders for three days, until the reinforcements led by the stratopedarches Peter arrived and secured the city for the Byzantines.
Despite his major role in this success, Bourtzes's reward was distinctly lacking: angry at him for disobeying his orders, or, according to another account, for laying fire and destroying much of the city, Emperor Nikephoros dismissed him from his post and appointed a kinsman of his, Eustathios Maleinos, as the first governor of Antioch. Angered by this treatment, Bourtzes joined a conspiracy involving a number of other prominent generals who were discontent at Nikephoros, chief amongst them John Tzimiskes. On the night of 10/11 December 969, a group of these conspirators, including Tzimiskes and Bourtzes, managed to gain access to the imperial Boukoleon Palace by sea, proceeded to murder the emperor and install Tzimiskes as his successor. Despite his prominent role in the assassination of Nikephoros II, the historical sources mention Bourtzes for the duration of Tzimiskes's reign. Only Yahya of Antioch records that in summer 971, with 12,000 men, he oversaw the repairs carried out to the walls of Antioch following an earthquake and executed one of the murderers of Patriarch Christopher, but it is not certain whether he had been placed in command there as governor.
Rather, at the time of Tzimiskes's death in January 976, he is stated by John Skylitzes to have commanded the elite tagma of the Stratelatai in the army of Bardas Skleros. At the point of Tzimiskes's death, imperial power reverted to the legitimate emperors, the young brothers Basil II and Constantine VIII. In view of their youth and inexperience, government continued to be exercised by the powerful parakoimomenos, Basil Lekapenos; the parakoimomenos moved to forestall any moves by one of the powerful Anatolian magnates to seize the throne and reign as a supposed "guardian" of the two young emperors, like Phokas and Tzimiskes had done. A general reshuffle of the most important army posts in the East followed, interpreted by historians like Skylitzes as a move to weaken the position of over-powerful strategoi. At this point, Bourtzes was appointed commander of the troops in northern Syria, with his seat at Antioch. According to Skylitzes, this move was designed by the parakoimomenos to wean him away from his close relationship with Skleros, who as one of the Empire's senior generals and de facto second-in-command under his relative Tzimiskes, was a prime candidate for usurping the throne.
After his appointment, Bourtzes set out in a deep raid into Fatimid-controlled Syria, reaching Tripolis and returning with much booty. In spring, Bardas Skleros, now appointed doux of Mesopotamia, rose in revolt and proclaimed himself emperor at his base in Melitene. Bourtzes was commanded by Constantinople to lead his force north, join the army of Eustathios Maleinos, now governor of Cilicia, block the rebel from crossing the Antitaurus Mountains. Leaving his son in control of Antioch, Bourtzes marched north. In the ensuing battle at the fortress of Lapara in the province of Lykandos, the combined loyalist force was routed, with Bourtzes being the first to retreat according to the chroniclers; as Skylitzes pointedly comments, Bourtzes' conduct during the battle was attributed either to cowardice or to malice. According to the contemporary Yahya of Antioch, Bourtzes at first fled to a fortress in the Anatolic Theme, but was followed by Skleros and persuaded to come over to his side. Bourtzes's defe
Muslim conquest of Egypt
Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Egypt had been conquered just a decade before by the Persian Sassanid Empire under Khosrau II; the Rashidun Caliphate took advantage of the exhaustion of the Byzantine army and captured Egypt ten years after its reconquest by Heraclius. Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt had begun, Byzantium had lost the Levant and its Ghassanid allies in Arabia to the Caliphate; the loss of the prosperous province of Egypt and the defeat of the Byzantine armies weakened the empire, allowing for further territorial losses in the centuries to come. In December 639, ` Amr ibn al - `. Most of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of'Ak, although Al-Kindi mentions that one-third of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of Ghafik; the Arab soldiers were joined by some Roman and Persian converts to Islam. However,'Umar, the Muslim caliph, reconsidered his orders to Amr, thinking it foolhardy to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with a mere 4,000 soldiers. Accordingly, he wrote.
The messenger,'Uqbah ibn'Amr, caught up with Amr at Rafah, a little short of the Egyptian frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter,'Amr ordered the army to quicken its pace. Turning to'Uqbah,'Amr said that he would receive the caliph's letter from him when the army had halted after the day's journey.'Uqbah, being unaware of the contents of the letter and marched along with the army. The army halted for the night at Shajratein, a little valley near the city of El Arish, which'Amr knew to be beyond the Egyptian border.'Amr received and read'Umar's letter and went on to consult his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on Egyptian soil, they had permission to proceed. When'Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments and started concentrating fresh forces at Madinah that could be dispatched to Egypt as reinforcements. On Eid al-Adha, the Muslim army marched from Shajratein to El Arish, a small town lacking a garrison.
The town put up no resistance, the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. The Muslim soldiers celebrated the Eid festival there. In the part of December 639 or in early January 640, the Muslim army reached Pelusium, an Eastern Roman garrison city, considered Egypt's eastern gate at the time; the Muslim siege of the town dragged on for two months. In February 640, an assault group led by a prominent field commander Huzaifah ibn Wala assaulted and captured the fort and city. Armanousa, the daughter of Cyrus who fiercely resisted the Muslims in Pelusium and fell hostage in their hands, was sent to her father in the Babylon Fortress; the losses incurred by the Arab Muslim army were ameliorated by the number of Sinai Bedouins who, taking the initiative, had joined them in conquering Egypt. These Bedouins belonged to the tribes of Lakhm; the ease with which Pelusium fell to the Muslim Arabs, the lack of Byzantine reinforcements to aid the city during the month-long siege, is attributed to the treachery of the Egyptian governor, the Monothelite/Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria.
After the fall of Pelusium, the Muslims marched to Belbeis, 65 kilometres from Memphis via desert roads and besieged it. Belbeis was the first place in Egypt where the Byzantines showed some measure of resistance towards the Arab conquerors. Two Christian monks accompanied by Cyrus of Alexandria and the famous Roman general Aretion came out to negotiate with'Amr ibn al-'As. Aretion was the Byzantine governor of Jerusalem, had fled to Egypt when the city fell to the Muslims.'Amr gave them three options: to either convert to Islam, to pay Jizya, or to fight the Muslims. They requested three days to reflect --. At the end of the five days, the two monks and the general decided to reject Islam and Jizya and fight the Muslims, they thus disobeyed Cyrus of Alexandria, who wanted to surrender and pay Jizya. Cyrus subsequently left for the Babylon Fortress, while the two monks and Aretion decided to fight the Arabs; the fight resulted in the victory of the latter and the death of Aretion.'Amr ibn al-'As subsequently attempted to convince the native Egyptians to aid the Arabs and surrender the city, based on the kinship between Egyptians and Arabs via Hagar.
When the Egyptians refused, the siege of Belbeis was continued. Towards the end of March 640, the city surrendered to the Muslims. With the fall of Belbeis, the Arabs were only one day away from the head of the Delta. Amr had visualized; this expectation turned out to be wrong. At the outposts of Pelusium and Belbeis, the Muslims had met stiff resistance; the siege of Pelusium had lasted for that of Belbeis for one month. Both battles were preludes to the siege of Babylon, a larger and more important city. Here, resistance on a larger scale was expected. After the fall of Belbeis, the Muslims advanced near modern Cairo; the Muslims arrived at Babylon some time in May 640 AD. Babylon was a fortified city, the Romans had prepared it for a siege. Outside the city, a ditch had been dug, a large force was positioned in the area between the ditch and the city walls; the Muslims besieged the fort of Babylon some time in May 640. The fort was a massive structure 18 metres high with walls more than 2 metres thick and studded with numerous tower
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire, of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire, until falling to the Ottoman Empire. It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, dedicated on 11 May 330; the city was located in what is now the core of modern Istanbul. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe; the city was famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts.
It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. Constantinople was famed for its complex defences; the first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. In the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front; this formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the'seven hills' of Rome; because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents and two seas.
Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years. In 1204, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire. According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the first known name of a settlement on the site of Constantinople was Lygos, a settlement of Thracian origin founded between the 13th and 11th centuries BC; the site, according to the founding myth of the city, was abandoned by the time Greek settlers from the city-state of Megara founded Byzantium in around 657 BC, across from the town of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.
The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not clear, though some suggest it is of Thraco-Illyrian origin. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas; the Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was more just a play on the word Byzantion. The city was renamed Augusta Antonina in the early 3rd century AD by the Emperor Septimius Severus, who razed the city to the ground in 196 for supporting a rival contender in the civil war and had it rebuilt in honour of his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, popularly known as Caracalla; the name appears to have been forgotten and abandoned, the city reverted to Byzantium/Byzantion after either the assassination of Caracalla in 217 or, at the latest, the fall of the Severan dynasty in 235. Byzantium took on the name of Kōnstantinoupolis after its refoundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 330 and designated his new capital as Nova Roma'New Rome'.
During this time, the city was called'Second Rome','Eastern Rome', Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the sole remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, its wealth and influence grew, the city came to have a multitude of nicknames; as the largest and wealthiest city in Europe during the 4th–13th centuries and a centre of culture and education of the Mediterranean basin, Constantinople came to be known by prestigious titles such as Basileuousa and Megalopol
Battle of Lalakaon
The Battle of Lalakaon, or Poson or Porson, was fought in 863 between the Byzantine Empire and an invading Arab army in Paphlagonia. The Byzantine army was led by Petronas, the uncle of Emperor Michael III, although Arab sources mention the presence of Emperor Michael; the Arabs were led by the emir of Umar al-Aqta. Umar al-Aqta reached the Black Sea; the Byzantines mobilized their forces, encircling the Arab army near the River Lalakaon. The subsequent battle, ending in a Byzantine victory and the emir's death on the field, was followed by a successful Byzantine counteroffensive across the border; the Byzantine victories were decisive. The Byzantine success had another corollary: deliverance from constant Arab pressure on the eastern frontier allowed the Byzantine government to concentrate on affairs in Europe in neighboring Bulgaria; the Bulgarians were pressured into accepting Byzantine Christianity, beginning their absorption into the Byzantine cultural sphere. After the rapid Muslim conquests of the 7th century, the Byzantine Empire was confined to Asia Minor, the southern coasts of the Balkans, parts of Italy.
As Byzantium remained the caliphate's major infidel enemy, Arab raids into Asia Minor continued throughout the 8th and 9th centuries. These expeditions, launched from bases in the Arab frontier zone annually acquired a quasi-ritualistic character as part of the Muslim jihad; the Byzantines were on the defensive during the 7th–9th centuries, suffered some catastrophic defeats, such as the razing of Amorium in 838. With the waning of the Abbasid Caliphate's power after 842 and the rise of semi-independent emirates along the eastern Byzantine frontier, the Byzantines could assert themselves. During the 850s the most significant threats to the Byzantine Empire were the emirate of Melitene, under Umar al-Aqta. Melitene, in particular, was a major threat to Byzantium. An indication of the threat posed by these lordships came in 860, when they combined to make an annus horribilis for the Byzantines. Umar and Karbeas raided deep into Asia Minor; this was followed shortly afterwards with another raid by the forces of Tarsus under Ali.
A naval attack from Syria sacked Attaleia, capital of the naval Cibyrrhaeot Theme. Umar struck again during the summer of 863, joining forces with Abbasid general Ja'far ibn Dinar al-Khayyat for a successful raid into Cappadocia; the Arabs crossed the Cilician Gates into Byzantine territory, plundering as they went, until they neared Tyana. The Tarsian army returned home. Umar's forces were the greater part of his emirate's strength. According to the Byzantinist John Haldon, the former number was closer to reality, it is that a Paulician contingent under Karbeas was present, although this is not explicitly attested. Emperor Michael III assembled his army to counter the Arab raid, met them in battle at an area known in Arab sources as Marj al-Usquf: a highland near Malakopeia, north of Nazianzus; the battle was bloody, with heavy casualties on both sides. The Arabs escaped the Byzantines and continued their raid north into the Armeniac Theme, reaching the Black Sea and sacking the port city of Amisos.
Byzantine historians report that Umar, enraged that the sea blocked his advance, ordered it to be lashed. When Michael learned of the fall of Amisos, he ordered a huge force to be assembled—al-Tabari claims 50,000 men—under his uncle Petronas and Nasar, the stratēgos of the Bucellarian Theme. According to al-Tabari, the emperor commanded these forces in person, but this is not supported by Byzantine sources. Given the bias against Michael by historians writing during the subsequent Macedonian dynasty, the omission may be deliberate. Byzantine armies, assembled from throughout the empire, converged on the Arabs from three directions: a northern army, made up of forces from the Black Sea themes of the Armeniacs, Bucellarians and Paphlagonia. Despite the difficulty of coordinating these separated forces, the Byzantine armies met on September 2 and surrounded Umar's smaller army at a location known as Poson or Porson (Πόρσ