The Battle of Yarmuk

The Battle of Yarmuk

By Norman A. Bailey

The Intelligencer: Journal of US Intelligence Studies, Vol.14:1 (2004)

Introduction: During the twenty-five years between 602 and 627 AD the Roman and Persian empires fought their last and bitterest conflict which dated back to the fifth century BC, when the Persians first invaded Greece. Since that time, in a struggle punctuated by periods of truce and indeed, substantial peaceful interaction, the Persian and the Graeco-Roman worlds were in a state of permanent conflict. It was an ideological as well as typical geo-political/military conflict, since the Persians were followers of the monotheistic religion founded by the sixth century BC prophet Zoroaster while the Greeks and Romans worshipped a polytheistic pantheon of gods and goddesses, until the triumph of Christianity.

The last of this multisecular series of Perso-Roman wars was by far the most widespread and destructive of the entire process. First the Persians were triumphant, occupying all of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt, sacking Jerusalem, conquering the empire’s second and third cities, Alexandria and Antioch, and finally besieging Constantinople itself, along with their barbarian allies, the Avars. But then, under a dynamic new emperor, Heraclius, the empir reacted, drove the Persians out and pursued them into their own territory, taking and sacking their capital and principal cities, and pursuing the Persian king until he was murdered by his own entourage.

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