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
The Arab–Byzantine wars were a series of wars between the Arab Muslims and the Byzantine Empire between the 7th and 11th centuries AD, started during the initial Muslim conquests under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs in the 7th century and continued by their successors until the mid-11th century. The emergence of Muslim Arabs from Arabia in the 630s resulted in the rapid loss of Byzantium's southern provinces to the Arab Caliphate. Over the next fifty years, under the Umayyad caliphs, the Arabs would launch repeated raids into still-Byzantine Asia Minor, twice threaten the Byzantine capital, with conquest, outright conquer the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa; the situation did not stabilize until after the failure of the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 718, when the Taurus Mountains on the eastern rim of Asia Minor became established as the mutual fortified and depopulated frontier. Under the Abbasid Empire, relations became more normal, with embassies exchanged and periods of truce, but conflict remained the norm, with annual raids and counter-raids, sponsored either by the Abbasid government or by local rulers, well into the 10th century.
During the first centuries, the Byzantines were on the defensive, avoided open field battles, preferring to retreat to their fortified strongholds. Only after 740 did they begin to launch counterstrikes of their own, but still the Abbasid Empire was able to retaliate with massive and destructive invasions of Asia Minor. With the decline and fragmentation of the Abbasid state after 861 and the concurrent strengthening of the Byzantine Empire under the Macedonian dynasty, the tide turned. Over a period of fifty years from ca. 920 to 976, the Byzantines broke through the Muslim defences and restored their control over northern Syria and Greater Armenia. The last century of the Arab–Byzantine wars was dominated by frontier conflicts with the Fatimids in Syria, but the border remained stable until the appearance of a new people, the Seljuk Turks, after 1060; the Arabs took to the sea, from the 650s on, the entire Mediterranean Sea became a battleground, with raids and counter-raids being launched against islands and the coastal settlements.
Arab raids reached a peak in the 9th and early 10th centuries, after the conquests of Crete and Sicily, with their fleets reaching the coasts of France and Dalmatia and the suburbs of Constantinople. The prolonged and escalating Byzantine–Sassanid wars of the 6th and 7th centuries and the recurring outbreaks of bubonic plague left both empires exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Arabs; the last of these wars ended with victory for the Byzantines: Emperor Heraclius regained all lost territories, restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629. Neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they found themselves in conflict with the Arabs, according to Howard-Johnston, "can only be likened to a human tsunami". According to George Liska, the "unnecessarily prolonged Byzantine–Persian conflict opened the way for Islam". In late 620s Muhammad had managed to conquer and unify much of Arabia under Muslim rule, it was under his leadership that the first Muslim-Byzantine skirmishes took place.
Just a few months after Emperor Heraclius and the Persian general Shahrbaraz agreed on terms for the withdrawal of Persian troops from occupied Byzantine eastern provinces in 629, Arab and Byzantine troops confronted each other at the Mu'tah in response to the death of Muhammad's ambassador by a Byzantine vassal kingdom. Muhammad died in 632 and was succeeded by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph with undisputed control of the entire Arabian Peninsula after the successful Ridda Wars, which resulted in the consolidation of a powerful Muslim state throughout the peninsula. According to Muslim biographies, having received intelligence that Byzantine forces were concentrating in northern Arabia with alleged intentions of invading Arabia, led a Muslim army north to Tabouk in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia, with the intention of pre-emptively engaging the Byzantine army. Though it was not a battle in the typical sense the event represented the first Arab attack on the Byzantines, it did not, lead to a military confrontation.
However, there is no contemporary Byzantine account of the Tabuk expedition, many of the details come from much Muslim sources. It has been argued that there is in one Byzantine source referencing the Battle of Mu´tah traditionally dated 629, but this is not certain; the first engagements may have started as conflicts with the Arab client states of the Byzantine and Sassanid empires: the Ghassanids and the Lakhmids of Al-Hirah. In any case, Muslim Arabs after 634 pursued a full-blown invasion of both empires, resulting in the conquest of the Levant and Persia for Islam; the most successful generals were Khalid ibn al-Walid and'Amr ibn al-'As. In the Levant, the invading Rashidun army were engaged by a Byzantine army composed of imperial troops as well as local levies. According to Islamic historians and Jews throughout Syria welcomed the Arabs as liberators, as they were discontented with the rule of the Byzantines.. The Roman Emperor Heraclius had fallen ill and was unable to lead his armies to resist the Arab conquests of Syria and Roman Paelestina in 634.
In a battle fought near Ajnadayn in the summer of 634, the Rashidun Caliphate army achieved a decisive victory. After their victory at the Fahl, Muslim forces conquered Damascus in 634 under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid; the Byzanti
History of Islam in southern Italy
The history of Islam in Sicily and Southern Italy began with the first Muslim settlement in Sicily, at Mazara, captured in 827. The subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta started in the 10th century. Islamic rule over all Sicily began in 902, the Emirate of Sicily lasted from 965 until 1061. Though Sicily was the primary Muslim stronghold in Italy, some temporary footholds, the most substantial of, the port city of Bari, were established on the mainland peninsula in mainland Southern Italy, though Muslim raids reached as far north as Rome and Piedmont; the Muslim raids were part of a larger struggle for power in Italy and Europe, with Christian Byzantine, Frankish and local Italian forces competing for control. Muslims were sometimes sought as allies by various Christian factions against other factions; the first permanent Arab settlement on Sicily occurred in 827, but it was not until Taormina fell in 902 that the entire island fell under their sway, though Rometta held out until 965. In that year the Kalbids established the independence of their emirate from the Fatimid Caliphate.
In 1061 the first Norman liberators took Messina, by 1071 Palermo and its citadel were captured. In 1091 Noto fell to the Normans, the conquest was complete. Malta fell that year, though the Arab administration was kept in place, marking the final chapter of this period; the conquests of the Normans established Roman Catholicism in the region, where Eastern Christianity had been prominent during the time of Byzantine rule and remained significant during Islamic period. Widespread conversion ensued. In 1245, Muslim Sicilians were deported to the settlement of Lucera, by order of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. In 1300, Giovanni Pipino di Barletta, count of Altamura, seized Lucera and exiled or sold into slavery its population, bringing an end to the medieval Muslim presence in Italy; the first attacks by Islamic ships on Sicily part of the Byzantine Empire, occurred in 652 under the Rashidun Caliphate of Uthman. These were Arab warriors directed by the Governor of Syria, Muawiyah I, led by Mu'awiya ibn Hudayj of the Kindah tribe, they remained on the island for several years.
Olympius, the Byzantine exarch of Ravenna, failed. Soon after, the Arabs returned to Syria after collecting a sufficiently large amount of booty. A second Arab expedition to Sicily occurred in 669; this time, a ravaging force consisting of 200 ships from Alexandria attacked the island. They sacked Syracuse and returned to Egypt after a month of pillaging. After the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, attacks from Muslim fleets repeated in 703, 728, 729, 730, 731, 733, 734; the last two Arab assaults were met with substantial Byzantine resistance. The first true conquest expedition was launched in 740. In that year, Habib ibn Abi Obeida al-Fihri, who had participated in the 728 attack captured Syracuse. Though ready to conquer the whole island, the expedition was forced to return to Tunisia by a Berber revolt. A second attack in 752 aimed only to sack Syracuse again. In 805, the imperial patrician of Sicily, signed a ten-year truce with Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab, Emir of Ifriqiya, but this did not prevent Muslim fleets from other areas of Africa and Spain from attacking Sardinia and Corsica from 806–821.
In 812, Ibrahim's son, Abdallah I, sent an invasion force to conquer Sicily. His ships were first harassed by the intervention of Gaeta and Amalfi and were destroyed in great number by a tempest. However, they managed to conquer the island of Lampedusa and to ravage Ponza and Ischia in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A further agreement between the new patrician Gregorius and the emir established the freedom of commerce between southern Italy and Ifriqiya. After a further attack in 819 by Mohammed ibn-Adballad, cousin of Amir Ziyadat Allah I of Ifriqiya, no subsequent Muslim attacks on Sicily are mentioned by sources until 827; the Muslim conquest of Sicily and parts of southern Italy lasted 75 years. According to some sources, the conquest was spurred by Euphemius, a Byzantine commander who feared punishment by Emperor Michael II for a sexual indiscretion. After a short-lived conquest of Syracuse, he was proclaimed emperor but was compelled by loyal forces to flee to the court of Ziyadat Allah in Africa.
The latter agreed to conquer Sicily, with the promise to leave it to Euphemius in exchange for a yearly tribute. He entrusted its conquest to the 70-year-old qadi, Asad ibn al-Furat; the Muslim force numbered 10,000 infantry, 700 cavalry, 100 ships, reinforced by the fleet of Euphemius and, after the landing at Mazara del Vallo, by knights. The first battle against Byzantine troops occurred on July 15, 827, near Mazara, resulting in an Aghlabid victory. Asad subsequently laid siege to Syracuse. After a year of siege and an attempted mutiny, his troops were able to defeat a large army sent from Palermo backed by a Venetian fleet led by doge Giustiniano Participazio. However, the Muslims retreated to the castle of Mineo when a plague killed many of their troops and Asad himself, they returned to the offensive but failed to conquer Castrogiovanni, retreating back to Mazara. In 830, they received a strong reinforcement of 30,000 Spanish troops; the Spanish Muslims defeated the Byzantine commander Theodotus in July and August of that year, but a plague once again forced them to return to Mazara and to Africa.
The African Berber units sent to besiege Palermo captured it in September 831 after a year-long siege. Palermo, renamed al-Madinah, became the Musl
Muslim conquest of the Maghreb
The Muslim conquest of the Maghreb continued the century of rapid Arab Early Muslim conquests following the death of Muhammad in 632 AD and into the Byzantine-controlled territories of Northern Africa. In a series of three stages, the conquest of the Maghreb commenced in 647 and concluded in 709 with the "Byzantine" Roman Empire losing its last remaining strongholds to the then-Umayyad Caliphate. By 642 AD, under Caliph Umar, Arab Muslim forces had laid control of Mesopotamia, Syria and had invaded Armenia, all territories split between the warring Byzantine and Persian Empires, were concluding their conquest of the Persian Empire with their defeat of the Persian army at the Battle of Nahāvand, it was at this point that Arab military expeditions into North African regions west of Egypt were first launched, continuing for years and furthering the spread of Islam. In 644 at Madinah, Caliph Umar was succeeded by Uthman ibn Affan, during whose twelve-year rule Armenia and all of Iran, would be added to the growing Islamic empire.
The Byzantine navy would be defeated in the eastern Mediterranean. The earliest Arab accounts that have come down to us are those of ibn'Abd al-Hakam, al-Baladhuri and Khalifah ibn Khayyat, all of which were written in the 9th century, some 200 years after the first invasions; these are not detailed. In the case of the most informative, the History of the Conquest of Egypt and North Africa and Spain by ibn'Abd al-Hakam, Robert Brunschvig has shown that it was written with a view to illustrating points of Maliki law rather than documenting a history, that some of the events it describes are historical. Beginning in the 12th century, scholars at Kairouan began to construct a new version of the history of the conquest, finalised by Ibrahim ibn ar-Raqiq; this version was copied in its entirety, sometimes interpolated, by authors, reaching its zenith in the 14th century with scholars such as ibn Idhari, ibn Khaldun and al-Nuwayri. It differs from the earlier version not only in the greater detail, but in giving conflicting accounts of events.
This, however, is the one given below. There is ongoing controversy regarding the relative merits of the two versions. For more information, refer to the works cited below by Brunschvig, Modéran and Benabbès and Siraj; the first invasion of North Africa, ordered by Abdallah ibn Sa'd, commenced in 647. 20,000 Arabs marched from Medina in the Arabian Peninsula, another 20,000 joined them in Memphis and Abdallah ibn Sa'd led them into the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The army took Tripolitania. Count Gregory, the local Byzantine governor, had declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire in North Africa, he gathered his allies, confronted the invading Islamic Arab forces and suffered defeat at the Battle of Sufetula, a city 240 kilometres south of Carthage. With the death of Gregory his successor Gennadius, secured the Arab withdrawal in exchange for tribute; the campaign lasted fifteen months and Abdallah's force returned to Egypt in 648. All further Muslim conquests were soon interrupted, the Kharijite dissidents murdered Caliph Uthman after holding him under house arrest in 656.
He was replaced by Ali, who in turn was assassinated in 661. The Umayyad Caliphate of secular and hereditary Arab caliphs established itself at Damascus and Caliph Muawiyah I began consolidating the empire from the Aral Sea to the western border of Egypt, he put a governor in place in Egypt at al-Fustat, creating a subordinate seat of power that would continue for the next two centuries. He continued the invasion of non-Muslim neighboring states, attacking Sicily and Anatolia in 663. In 664 Kabul, fell to the invading Muslim armies; the years 665 to 689 saw a new Arab invasion of North Africa. It began, according to Will Durant, to protect Egypt "from flank attack by Byzantine Cyrene". So "an army of more than 40,000 Muslims advanced through the desert to Barca, took it, marched to the neighborhood of Carthage", defeating a defending Byzantine army of 20,000 in the process. Next came a force of 10,000 Arabs led by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi and enlarged by thousands of others. Departing from Damascus, the army took the vanguard.
In 670 the city of Kairouan was established as a base for further operations. This would become the capital of the Islamic province of Ifriqiya, which would cover the coastal regions of today's western Libya and eastern Algeria. After this, as Edward Gibbon writes, the fearless general "plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fes and Morocco, at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert". In his conquest of the Maghreb he besieged the coastal city of Bugia as well as Tingi or Tangier, overwhelming what had once been the traditional Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana, but here he was stopped and repulsed. Luis Garcia de Valdeavellano writes: In their invations against the Byzantines and the Berbers, the Arab chieftains had extended their African dominions, as early as the year 682 Uqba had reached the shores of the Atlantic, but he was unable to occupy Tangier, for he was forced to turn back toward the Atlas Mountains by a man who became known
Siege of Alexandria (641)
The major Mediterranean port of Alexandria, the capital of the Byzantine province of Egypt, was permanently seized from the Byzantine Empire by forces of the Rashidun Caliphate in the middle of the 7th Century AD. This marked the end of Eastern Roman maritime power over the Eastern Mediterranean and thus brought about a decisive geopolitical shift spreading the Rashidun's control further. With the death of Muhammad in 632 AD, the Muslim world began a period of rapid expansion. Under the rule of the first caliphs, the Rashidun, Muslim armies began assaulting the borders of both Sassanid Persia and the Byzantine Empire. Neither of the two former powers was prepared for the aggressive expansion of the Arabs, as both underestimated Islam and its growing support. After smashing both the Byzantines at Yarmuk and the Persians at Qadisiyah, Muslim expansion set its sights south towards the rich provinces of Byzantine Africa. Following Muslim conquest, the local populace and political infrastructure was left intact, albeit under Muslim control.
Some groups were persecuted, namely anyone deemed to be "pagan" or an "idolater". The Muslim people were Christians of captured regions. Many rose to positions of relative affluence in the new cities like Baghdad; this led to a smooth running empire. The only major difference in treatment between Muslims and non-Muslims was the taxation system. Non believers were obligated to pay a higher tax to the local government, called the jizya, while Muslims had to pay a Zakāt; the rulers of Alexandria before the arrival of Islam were the Byzantines. A trafficked port city, Alexandria was crucial to maintaining imperial control over the region, based on its large Greco-Egyptian population and economic importance; the population of Alexandria was influenced by both the cultural and religious views of their Eastern Roman Empire rulers. Thus, the main agents of cultural diffusion at the time of the arrival of Islam were the Coptic Christians led by Cyrus of Alexandria; the Byzantines relied on Egypt as the main center of food production for wheat and other foodstuffs.
Alexandria functioned as one of Byzantium’s primary army and naval bases, as there was a significant imperial garrison stationed in the city. Though with the loss of Jerusalem in 638, much of Byzantine attention was drawn towards strengthening their hold on the frontier, chiefly in Anatolia and Egypt. Though they would be able to hold Asia Minor and retain it as an imperial base province, as time went on, Egypt became difficult to defend. In 634, the Muslim leader Umar ascended to the role of caliph and inherited a heterogeneous and expanding Islamic empire. Throughout the early 640s, he set his sights on the economically desirable province of Egypt and its capital city of Alexandria; the Muslim invasion of Egypt was led by the commander Amr ibn Al-Aas, who commanded a force larger than any army that the Byzantines could field at the time, as a result of their crushing defeat at Yarmuk four years earlier. The original attempts by the Arab forces were not directed towards Alexandria, but rather at removing the Byzantine fortress of Babylon on the Nile Delta.
The destruction of the Byzantine military power at the ensuing battle of Heliopolis known as Ain Shams, in the summer of 640 and the victory over the Byzantine defenders at Babylon broke Byzantine power in Egypt. Following the destruction of the Byzantine forces at Heliopolis, the city of Alexandria was left defenseless and it is that only a fraction of provincial forces remained garrisoned in the city itself. Though the Byzantines were unable to field an effective force, Alexandria's substantial fortifications wall-mounted artillery, proved to be valuable assets and were adequate in keeping the Muslim attackers from mounting large attacks. However, in September 641, after a six-month siege, Byzantine officials led by Theodore at last capitulated to Amr, turning the city over to Muslim hands. A treaty to evacuate the Byzantine garrison from the city and Babylon fortress was signed on November 8, 641; the "Treaty of Alexandria", recorded by John of Nikiu, included: Payment of a fixed tribute by all who came under the treaty.
An armistice of about eleven months, to expire the first day of the Coptic month Paophi, i.e. September 28, 642. During the armistice the Arab forces to maintain their positions, but to keep apart and undertake no military operations against Alexandria; the garrison of Alexandria and all troops there to embark and depart by sea, carrying all their possessions and treasure with them: but any Roman soldiers quitting Egypt by land to be subject to a monthly tribute on their journey. No Roman army to attempt the recovery of Egypt; the Muslims to desist from all seizure of churches, not to interfere in any way with the Christians. The Jews to be suffered to remain at Alexandria. Hostages to be given by the Romans, viz. 150 military and 50 civilian, for the due execution of the treaty. The impact of such a major event as the loss of Alexandria to Muslim forces was felt throughout the Mediterranean world; the decrease in the annual grain shipments from Egypt struck a decisive blow to the Byzantine economy.
In such a weakened
Battle of Nikiou
The Battle of Nikiou was a battle between Arab Muslim troops under General Amr ibn al-A'as and the Byzantine Empire in Egypt in May of 646. Following their victory at the Battle of Heliopolis in July 640, the subsequent capitulation of Alexandria in November 641, Arab troops had taken over what was the Roman province of Egypt; the newly installed Byzantine Emperor Constans II was determined to re-take the land, ordered a large fleet to carry troops to Alexandria. These troops, under Manuel, took the city by surprise from its small Arab garrison towards the end of 645 in an amphibious attack. In 645 the Byzantine thus temporarily won Alexandria back. Amr at the time may have been in Mecca, was recalled to take command of the Arab forces in Egypt; the battle took place at the small fortified town of Nikiou, about two-thirds of the way from Alexandria to Fustat, with the Arab forces numbering around 15,000, against a smaller Byzantine force. The Arabs prevailed, the Byzantine forces retreated in disarray, back to Alexandria.
Although the Byzantines closed the gates against the pursuing Arabs, the city of Alexandria fell to the Arabs, who stormed the city sometime in the summer of that year. The defeat of Manuel's forces marked the last attempt by the Byzantine Empire to recapture Egypt for some 500 years, with only Emperor Manuel I Komnenos sending a failed expedition there in the 12th century. Amr ibn al-A'as wrote back to the Caliph: As ordered by the Caliph, he left Alexandria and established a new capital, Fustat. Butler, Alfred J; the Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty years of Roman Dominion Oxford, 1978. Charles, Robert H.. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text. Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell
Battle of Yarmouk
The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what today are the borders of Syria–Jordan and Syria–Israel, east of the Sea of Galilee; the result of the battle was a complete Muslim victory. The Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history, it marked the first great wave of early Muslim conquests after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, heralding the rapid advance of Islam into the Christian Levant. In order to check the Arab advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius had sent a massive expedition to the Levant in May 636; as the Byzantine army approached, the Arabs tactically withdrew from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains close to the Arabian Peninsula, after being reinforced, they defeated the numerically superior Byzantine army.
The battle is considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walid's greatest military victories. It cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history. In 610, during the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Heraclius became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire, after overthrowing Phocas. Meanwhile, the Sasanian Empire conquered Mesopotamia and in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia, occupying Caesarea Mazaca. Heraclius, in 612, managed to expel the Persians from Anatolia, but was decisively defeated in 613 when he launched a major offensive in Syria against the Persians. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Egypt. Meanwhile, Heraclius rebuilt his army. Nine years in 622, Heraclius launched his offensive. After his overwhelming victories over the Persians and their allies in the Caucasus and Armenia, Heraclius, in 627, launched a winter offensive against the Persians in Mesopotamia, winning a decisive victory at the Battle of Nineveh thus threatening the Persian capital city of Ctesiphon.
Discredited by these series of disasters, Khosrow II was overthrown and killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories of the Byzantine Empire. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with a majestic ceremony in 629. Meanwhile, there had been rapid political development in the Arabian Peninsula, where Muhammad had been preaching Islam and by 630, he had united most of Arabia under a single political authority; when Muhammad died in June 632, Abu Bakr was elected his political successor. Troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakr's succession, when several Arab tribes revolted against Abu Bakr, who declared war against the rebels. In what became known as the Ridda wars of 632–633, Abu Bakr managed to unite Arabia under the central authority of the Caliph at Medina. Once the rebels had been subdued, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest, beginning with Iraq. Sending his most brilliant general, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Iraq was conquered in a series of successful campaigns against the Sassanid Persians.
Abu Bakr's confidence grew, once Khalid established his stronghold in Iraq, Abu Bakr issued a call to arms for the invasion of Syria in February 634. The Muslim invasion of Syria was a series of planned and well coordinated military operations that employed strategy instead of pure strength to deal with Byzantine defensive measures; the Muslim armies, however soon proved to be too small to handle the Byzantine response, their commanders called for reinforcements. Khalid was sent by Abu Bakr from Iraq to lead the invasion. In July 634, the Byzantines were decisively defeated at Ajnadayn. Damascus fell in September 634, followed by the Battle of Fahl where the last significant garrison of Palestine was defeated and routed. Caliph Abu Bakr died in 634, his successor, was determined to continue the Caliphate Empire's expansion deeper into Syria. Though previous campaigns led by Khalid were successful, he was replaced by Abu Ubaidah. Having secured southern Palestine, Muslim forces now advanced up the trade route, where Tiberias and Baalbek fell without much struggle, conquered Emesa early in 636.
From thereon, the Muslims continued their conquest across the Levant. Having seized Emesa, the Muslims were just a march away from Aleppo, a Byzantine stronghold, Antioch, where Heraclius resided. Alarmed by the series of setbacks, Heraclius prepared for a counterattack to reacquire the lost regions. In 635 Yazdegerd III, the Emperor of Persia, sought an alliance with the Byzantine Emperor. Heraclius married off his daughter Manyanh to Yazdegerd III. While Heraclius prepared for a major offensive in the Levant, Yazdegerd was to mount a simultaneous counterattack in Iraq, in what was meant to be a well-coordinated effort; when Heraclius launched his offensive in May 636, Yazdegerd could not coordinate with the maneuver—probably owing to the exhausted condition of his government—and what would have been a decisive plan missed the mark. Byzantine preparations began in late 635 and by May 636 Heraclius had a large force concentrated at Antioch in Northern Syria; the assembled Byzantine army contingents consisted of, Franks, Georgians and Christian Arabs.
This force was organized into five armies, the joint leader of, Theodore Trithyrius. Vahan, an Armenian and the former garrison commander of Emesa, was made the overall field commander, had under his command a purely Armenian army. Buccinator, a Slavic prince, commanded the Slavs and Jabalah ibn al