Τετάρτη, 10 Αυγούστου 2016

The Arab siege of Byzantine Carthage 698 AD and the end of Christianity in Atlas Mountain countries of North Africa

Carthage was the centre or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. The city developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of an empire dominating the Mediterranean Sea during the first millennium BC. The ancient city was destroyed by the Roman Republic in the Third Punic War in 146 BC then re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa. The Roman city was again occupied by the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, in 698AD. The site remained uninhabited, the regional power shifting to the medina of Tunis in the medieval period, until the early 20th century, when it began to develop into a coastal suburb of Tunis, incorporated as Carthage municipality in 1919. The archaeological site was first surveyed in 1830, by Danish consul Christian Tuxen Falbe. Excavations were performed in the second half of the 19th century by Charles Ernest Beulé and by Alfred Louis Delattre. The Carthage National Museum was founded in 1875 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie. Excavations performed by French archaeologists in the 1920s attracted an extraordinary amount of attention because of the evidence for child sacrifice they produced, in Greco-Roman and Biblical tradition associated with the Canaanite god Moloch (Baal Hammon). The open-air Carthage Paleo-Christian Museum has exhibits excavated under the auspices of UNESCO from 1975 to 1984. Carthage also became a center of early Christianity. In the first of a string of rather poorly reported councils at Carthage a few years later, no fewer than 70 bishops attended. Tertullian later broke with the mainstream that was increasingly represented in the West by the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, but a more serious rift among Christians was the Donatist controversy, which Augustine of Hippo spent much time and parchment arguing against. At the 397 Council at Carthage, the biblical canon for the western Church was confirmed. The political fallout from the deep disaffection of African Christians is supposedly a crucial factor in the ease with which Carthage and the other centers were captured in the fifth century by Genseric, king of the Vandals, who defeated the Roman general Bonifacius and made the city the capital of the Vandal Kingdom. Genseric was considered a heretic, too, an Arian, and though Arians commonly despised Catholic Christians, a mere promise of toleration might have caused the city's population to accept him. After a failed attempt to recapture the city in the fifth century, the Eastern Roman Empire finally subdued the Vandals in the Vandalic War in 533–534. Thereafter, the city became the seat of the praetorian prefecture of Africa, which was made into an exarchate during the emperor Maurice's reign, as was Ravenna on the Italian Peninsula. These two exarchates were the western bulwarks of the Byzantine Empire, all that remained of its power in the West. In the early seventh century, the exarch of Carthage overthrew the Byzantine emperor Phocas. The Roman Exarchate of Africa was not able to withstand the 7th-century Muslim conquest of the Maghreb. The Umayyad Caliphate under Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in 686 sent a force led by Zuhayr ibn Qais, who won a battle over the Romans and Berbers led by King Kusaila of the Kingdom of Altava on the plain of Kairouan, but he could not follow that up. In 695, Hasan ibn al-Nu'man captured Carthage and advanced into the Atlas Mountains. An imperial fleet arrived and retook Carthage, but in 698, Hasan ibn al-Nu'man returned and defeated Emperor Tiberios III at the 698 Battle of Carthage. Roman imperial forces withdrew from all of Africa except Ceuta. Roman Carthage was destroyed—its walls torn down, its water supply cut off, and its harbors made unusable. The destruction of the Exarchate of Africa marked a permanent end to the Byzantine Empire's influence in the region. The Battle of Carthage was fought in 698 between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the fifth Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims, Emperor Leontius sent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the droungarios Tiberius Apsimarus. They entered the harbor and successfully recaptured it in a stunning surprise attack, which resulted in the city's Arab forces fleeing to Kairouan. Emir Hasan ibn al-Nu'man was in the middle of a campaign in the Greater Maghreb region, but withdrew from campaigning in the field to confront the renewed Roman challenge to the emerging caliphate and he drew plans at Kairouan to retake Carthage the following spring. It is estimated that he headed a force of 40,000 men. The Romans sent out a call for help to their allies, the native Berbers, and to enemies the Visigoths and the Franks. Despite the king of the Visigoths, Wittiza, sending a force of 500 warriors in order to help defend Carthage, the Romans were in disarray due to in-fighting and were sapped of much of their strength. Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, enraged at having to retake a city that had not resisted the Roman take over, offered no terms except to surrender or die. The Emperor Leontius had also given his forces instructions of victory or death. The Romans left Carthage and attacked the Emir's army directly, but were defeated, and the Roman commander decided to wait out the siege behind the walls of Carthage to let the Arabs exhaust themselves, since he could continue to be resupplied from the sea. The defenders were faced with Hasan's overwhelming force deployed in ferocious attacks as his men made repeated attempts to scale the walls with ladders. They combined this land assault with an attack from the sea that caused the Roman commanders to withdraw from the city and subsequently resulted in the second and final great destruction of Carthage. The Romans retreated to the islands of Corsica, Sicily and Crete to further resist Muslim expansion.  John the Patrician was later murdered after a conspiracy at the hands of his co-commander, Tiberius Apsimarus. Tiberius Apsimarus then, instead of taking the step of returning to Africa to fight the Muslims, sailed instead to Constantinople. After a successful rebellion he rose to the throne as Tiberius III, and was later deposed by former emperor Justinian II, now known as the Rhinotmetus. The conquest of North Africa by the forces of Islam was now nearly complete. Hasan's forces met with trouble from the Zenata tribe of Berbers under al-Kahina. and they inflicted a serious defeat on him and drove him back to Barqa. However, in 702 Caliph strongly reinforced him. Now with a large army and the support of the settled population of North Africa, Hasan pushed forward. He decisively defeated al-Kahina in the Battle of Tabarka, 85 miles (136 km) west of Carthage. He then developed the village of Tunis, ten miles from the destroyed Carthage.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carthage_(698)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthage

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