Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

The two great Arab military victories of 636, the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantines and the Battle of al-Qadisiyah against the Sasanian Persians, were decisive in both in military and in geopolitical terms. Taken individually, they changed the course of both of the defeated empires—the Byzantines would never again hold significant territory south of Anatolia, and the Sasanians would never again hold, well, pretty much anything. Taken together, they changed the course of world history, supplanting both empires—the regional superpowers of their day—with an upstart new empire—well, caliphate, technically—based around an emerging religious movement known as “Islam.”

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