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The Arabs in Asia Minor (641–750), from Arabic Sources

  • E. W. Brooks


Considering the attention now paid to the geography ot Asia Minor, it has struck me that a collection of the notices relating to the Arabic invasions of that district, which are scattered here and there in the Arabic annalists and must be sought through thousands of pages of Arabic print, would serve a very useful purpose. These extracts not only throw light on geography and the Arabic nomenclature of the localities, but, when compared with the accounts of the same events in Greek and Syriac writers, are of great value for the study of chronology.

The writers from whom extracts are given under years are the following:—



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page 182 note 1 The extant portion of this work begins with the accession of Al Walid I. (705).

page 182 note 2 A few are also quoted from the Chronicle of the Arab Kings, a work of the 10th century.

page 183 note 1 In the Arabic version in the British Museum MS. Or. 4402.

page 183 note 2 Published, with translation, by the Abbé Chabot (Paris, 1895).

page 183 note 3 This seems to show that Antioch in Pisidia is here meant, though the previous mention of the name rather points to the Syrian city.

page 183 note 4 i.e., Syria: the name seems to be used by the Arabs to denote Euphratesia and Cilicia. But perhaps we should read Sauriya (Isauria): cf. p. 194, note 3.

page 184 note 1 This expedition is elsewhere recorded only by the Armenian Sebeos, who makes Mu‘awiya march to Chalkedon in the 13th of Constantine (653–4).

page 184 note 2 ‘Son of Khalid’ has dropped out of Al Tab.'s text, and I insert it from Ibn Al Athir.

page 184 note 3 The Syriac fragments published by Dr.Nöldeke, (Z.D.M.G. 29, p. 76 ff.) agree in the date, giving A.S. 975 (Oct. 1, 663—Sept. 30, 664).

page 185 note 1 Text ‘Ubaid Allah’: we may correct from Ibn Al Athir and Ibn Wadh‥

page 185 note 2 MSS. ‘Fizari’: we may correct from Ibn Al Athir and Ibn Wadh‥

page 185 note 3 I do not know any other authority for this epithet; if it is meant to distinguish this Antioch from that mentioned above, Antioch in Isauria is perhaps intended.

page 185 note 4 The words ‘Khalid, the son of,’ are not in the MSS., but are supplied by conjecture in Thorbecke's text. Otherwise we should have a glaring contradiction to the statement of Al Tab. sub ann. 46.

page 186 note 1 I omit personal anecdotes which have no bearing on the expedition.

page 186 note 2 The Syriac chronicle published by Nöldeke (see p. 184, note 3) places the expedition of Yazid in A.S. 971 (660); but, as that was a time of peace, the date is clearly wrong.

page 187 note 1 Michael the Syrian records what seems to be the same expedition under the 2nd of Constantine = AS. 982 (Oct. 1, 670—Sept. 30, 671).

page 187 note 2 i.e. Al Wakidi.

page 187 note 3 This seems to be a mere duplicate of the occupation of Rhodes recorded under the previous year.

page 188 note 1 It is hard to reconcile this with the statement under A.H. 52 that Al Wakidi placed Sufyan's death in that year.

page 188 note 2 MS. Al Charb. Al Charith is an obvious correction of Houtsma; cf. Al Tab‥ The name ‘Charb’ does not take the article.

page 188 note 3 According to Houtsma's text, ‘It is said that Y., the son of S., (made a raid) by sea“; but by the change of a point (‘kutila’ for ‘kila’) we get the same as in Al Tab‥

page 188 note 4 I omit the copula before the verb with MS. C. The printed text must be rendered ‘it was ‘Amr… and he was the man who wintered.’

page 189 note 1 There can be little doubt that this is the same as ‘Amr, the son of Yazid, the Guhani. Under 58, where the Arabs have Ibn Yazid, El. Nis. has Ibn Murra.

page 189 note 2 Al Tab. has probably confused Al Wakidi's date for the occupation with that for the evacuation; cf. ann. 53, 54.

page 189 note 3 This must be thrown back to 679, since peace was made before Mu‘awiya's death (Apr. 6, 680).

page 189 note 4 i.e. Friday. Theoph. ‘every day’: so Michael.

page 189 note 5 i.e. ‘the valleys,’ the name of a place between Germanikeia and Antioch. The MS. has Al A ‘man, but Houtsma's correction is no doubt right, and Al A‘mak is the name given by Al Baladhuri (see p. 207); cf. also ann. 112. The Syriac writers call the place ‘the valley of Antioch.’

page 190 note 1 According to Yakut Marg Al Shacham was near Amorion. Similarly El. Nis. (ann. 23) makes Mu‘awiya take Ankyra and advance to Marg Al Shacham.

page 190 note 2 Armenia IV. according to Theoph‥

page 190 note 3 This is Houtsma's correction. The MS. has ‘Al Bachr (= the sea) the son of Ch. the son of Al W. made a raid.’ After this several lines are missing down to AH. 83.

page 190 note 4 Better known as Al Madaini, a writer of the early part of the 9th century.

page 190 note 5 We should probably read ‘Abd Allah, since no such name as ‘Ubaid Allah appears among the sons of ‘Abd Al Malikh.

page 191 note 1 This word seems to show that Ibn Wadh. recorded an expedition by ‘Abd Allah in the previous year.

page 191 note 2 Theoph. and the Chronicle of 846 mention the building only. El. Nis. and Mich. record the capture and the building under separate years.

page 191 note 3 Al Tab. omits to mention the result of the meeting, which according to Theoph. was a great defeat of the Arabs. A comparison with Theoph. makes it probable that the subject of the last clause is not Maslama but Yazid (Ἄζιδος ὁ τοῦ Χουνєί).

page 191 note 4 This means Hyrcanian; but we should no doubt read ‘Gurgunami,’ the Arabic name for the Mardaites, which is the title applied to Maimun by Al Baladhuri (see p. 203).

page 191 note 5 This seems to be an anticipatory statement, since Al Tab. afterwards records the capture under 88, to which year it is also assigned by Ibn Kutaiba, the earliest extant Arabic historian (d. 884).

page 191 note 6 Arabs not of pure birth.

page 192 note 1 This is the MS. reading. Houtsma would read Adruliya; cf. Al Tab. ann. 89.

page 192 note 2 MS. B adds ‘the first of it’ (May 9), while Ibn Al Athir has Gumnada I. (Apr. 9—May 8). Mich. places the capture in Mar. 708, after a siege of nine months.

page 192 note 3 Ibn Al Athir ‘the Moslems.’

page 192 note 4 The last clause is clearly a duplicate of the notice under the preceding year.

page 193 note 1 vvll. Kuliya and Kamuliyah. Kamouliana in Cappadocia I. may be meant. Ibn Al Athir has ‘Kamuniya.’ The mention of Herakleia (Pontou?) points to Nikomedeia, but it is strange that its capture should not be recorded by the Greek writers.

page 193 note 2 Arzan should be Arzanene or its chief town, but this is clearly out of place here.

page 193 note 3 The MSS. have Samastiyya: I emend from Ibn Al Athir, who adds ‘and Al Marzbanain and Tus’ (cf. ann. 95). It is possible, however, that Mistheia is meant (cf. Theoph. A.M. 6204; Nikeph. p. 48; Chron. of 846 A. S. 1021).

page 193 note 4 vl. Gangra. Mich. records the capture of ‘Gargarun’ in A.S. 1022. On the other hand, Yakut mentions Khangara, ‘a district in the territory of the Romans.’ Cf. also ann. 109.

page 194 note 1 This is the reading of the MSS. Guidi would read Bargama, which differs only by points. Bargama, however, is the Arabic name for Pergamos, which seems quite out of place here. The capture of Pergamos is recorded by Michael and the Chronicle of 846 under A.S. 1027 (716). Theophanes also records it under 716 (A.M. 6208), but, as he makes it contemporaneous with Leo's accession, he must mean to place it in 717.

page 194 note 2 i.e. the tower of the pigeon.

page 194 note 3 Since Suriya (Syria, see p. 183, note 4) and Sauriya (Isauria) differ only by a point, it is often impossible to say which is meant; cf. ann. 90.

page 194 note 4 Ibn Al Athir, ‘he took Hirakla and other places.’ He has already recorded the capture of Al Marzbanain and Tus (Tulas?) under AH 93 (p. 193, note 3). The last name might stand for Doara, which would go well with Sebasteia, but not with Herakleia, unless Herakleia-Kybistra is meant. Another reading is Tunas. Al Marzbanain = the two marzbans.

page 194 note 5 i.e. the canal. The name covers the Hellespont, Propontis, and Bosporus.

page 194 note 6 Prof.Ramsay, (Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, p. 351) identifies the city of the Slavs with Loulon, near the Cilician gates: but the city here mentioned would seem to have been near Constantinople.

page 194 note 7 MS. Dhanik.

page 195 note 1 Though in the text these events are ascribed in the summary to 96, we should very probably read 97, since Ibn W. has already recounted the events of 96 under the Caliphate of Al Walid. This author records the campaigns not under each year in the narrative, but all together at the end of each Caliphate.

page 195 note 2 Ibn Al Ath. ‘the land of the Wadhdhachiyya.’

page 195 note 3 Text ‘‘Amr.’ I correct from Ibn Al Athir.

page 196 note 1 There is a much longer account of the expedition against Constantinople in the Khitab Al ‘Uyun; but it would take too much space to translate it here.

page 196 note 2 The Chronicle of 846 makes David take the fortress of ‘Antigun’ in A.S. 1028 (Oct. 1, 716 —Sept. 30, 717). For Al Mara cf. ann. 33.

page 196 note 3 We should perhaps read 98, since Ibn W. mentions an expedition of 99 under the reign of ‘Umar.

page 197 note 1 According to Theoph. the attack of ‘Abd Allah on Taranton in A.M. 6193 (701) was unsuccessful. The occupation of Taranton is placed by Michael in A.S. 1022 (711), and by the Chronicle of 846 in A.S. 1021 (710). According to both these authorities the captor was Maslama.

page 197 note 2 Ibn Al Athir ‘and killed 700 prisoners.’ The difference between ‘kila’ (it is said) and ‘katala’ (killed) is only one of pointing.

page 197 note 3 See next note.

page 197 note 4 vvll. Ghasla and Wasala. Ibn Al Athir ‘Dasala.’ Perhaps Ouasada is the place meant; but it seems probable that it is the same as that mentioned under the previous year under the name of Dalisa (the vowels are doubtful).

page 198 note 1 There is nothing to show whether the author would place this expedition before or after the death of Yazid (Jan. 724).

page 198 note 2 Al Tab. makes this a raid upon Cyprus, which does not come within the limits of the article.

page 199 note 1 Ibn Al Ath. adds: ‘and that is a celebrated city.’ He also records under this year the raid recorded under 107 by Al Tab‥

page 199 note 2 As there are no points in the MS., the name might also be read ‘Gangra.’ Mich. records the capture of Gangra under A.S. 1042 (731 ). Cf. also ann. 93.

page 199 note 3 vl. Taina; possibly to be identified with (Theoph. A.M. 6219).

page 199 note 4 The name has fallen out. Perhaps it is Nikaia, the siege of which is recorded by Mich. under A.S. 1042 (731).

page 200 note 1 The text of Al Tab. has Al Muttalib. I insert ‘‘Abd’ from Ibn Al Athir.

page 200 note 2 i. e. the valley: see ann. 75 and note.

page 201 note 1 From this point down to 121 the text of Ibn Wadh. is defective.

page 202 note 1 El. Nis. ‘the son of Leo’; and this is obviously right, since Leo died in June 741.

page 202 note 2 Between Melitene and Samosata and Al Chadath (see p. 208) according to Yakut. Perhaps it should be identified with Deba (mod. Tshebat). Abu'l Fida (Tab. Syr. pp. 28, 30) places Zibatra two days' journey south of Melitene and in lat. 36° 50′, long. 61° 20′.

page 202 note 3 ‘The ass of Al Gazira’ was a nickname of Marwan II.

page 202 note 4 Ibn Wadh. is therefore wrong in ascribing this raid to the reign of Hisham, who in fact died in Feb. 743.

page 203 note 1 i.e. Mardaites.

page 203 note 2 This account is at variance with that of Al Tab., at least according to the most obvious meaning of that writer's words, for he certainly seems to represent Maimun as being on the Roman side. The acceunt of Theophanes accords with Al Bala-dhuri.

page 203 note 3 i.e. defences.

page 204 note 1 Yakut mentions Zandan near Mopsouestia and quotes Khalifa, the son of Khayyat, as recording a raid upon it by ‘Abd Allah the son of Sa‘d the son of Abu Sarch in the year 31.

page 204 note 2 Perhaps we should read Adhruliyya or Ardaluniya (see p. 192). Dorylaion seems impossible, though that is the name usually represented by Darauliyya.

page 205 note 1 See Tomaschek, , Zur Historischen Topogr. v. Kleinasien, p. 71 (Wiener Akad. Sitzungsber. Bd. 126).

page 205 note 2 Near Mopsouestia according to Yakut.

page 205 note 3 From Al Bal. p. 159 it appears that this place was close to Mt. Amanos.

page 206 note 1 Theoph. records its capture under AM 6203 (711). Another capture in 723/4 is recorded by Ibn Al Athir (above, p. 198).

page 207 note 1 See p. 189, note 5.

page 207 note 2 Aug. 28-Sept. 26, 694. The Syriac writers place the battle in AS 1006 = AH 76, in which Gum. I.= Aug. 17-Sept. 15, 695.

page 207 note 3 i.e. slave or freedman.

page 207 note 4 Perhaps the bridge over the Singas. This, however, according to Kiepert's map is 25 Roman miles from Samosata. There is a smaller river about 11 miles from Samosata, which may perhaps be meant. The lake Al Yaghra near the Syrian Gates (Tomaschek p. 74) is of course out of the question. Abu'l Fida (Tab. Syr. p. 153) makes the river Al Yaghra a tributary of a river which flows into the Lake of Antioch, but no such river passes anywhere near Samosata.

page 208 note 1 Between Melitene and Samosata and Germanikeia according to Yakut.

page 208 note 2 i.e. ‘the unstable security.’

page 208 note 3 So the MSS.: de Goeje would substitute ‘Zibatra,’ which differs only by a point and is the form given by Ibn Al Athir (see p. 202).


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