Today in European history: the Siege of Chandax ends (961)

The island of Crete has changed hands so many times that it can be hard to keep track of all of its various owners and operators. Before it became Greek again (which includes a period of Axis occupation during World War II), Crete was (briefly) independent, and before that Ottoman, before that Venetian, Byzantine, Roman…and it just keeps going like this until you get all the way back to when it was Greek the first time.

Crete was also ruled by Arabs for around 130 years in the 9th and 10th centuries, though sometimes that period gets overlooked. There’s not very much written historical evidence from the period—mostly Byzantine sources, very little in any Muslim source—and likewise very little archeological evidence. That’s one reason it doesn’t get as much attention. Another, I suspect, is the fact that Crete’s Arab period is sandwiched between the two halves of its Byzantine period. The Siege of Chandax (modern Heraklion), which ended on this date in 961, marks the end of Arab rule over the island and its return to Byzantine control.

This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the rest please check out my new home, Foreign Exchanges!


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