Τρίτη, 15 Μαΐου 2018

Ghassanids and Lakhmids : The Christians Arabs in the Byzantine borders before Islam

The Ghassanids (al-Ghasāsinah, also Banū Ghassān "Sons of Ghassān") was an Arab kingdom, founded by descendants of the Azd tribe from Yemen who immigrated in the early 3rd century to the Levant region, where some merged with Hellenized Christian communities, converting to Christianity in the first few centuries AD while others may have already been Christians before emigrating north to escape religious persecution.
The Azd or Al Azd are an Arabian tribe. They were a branch of the Kahlan tribe, which was one of the two branches of Qahtan, the other being Himyar. In ancient times, they inhabited Ma'rib, the capital city of the Sabaean Kingdom in modern-day Yemen. Their lands were irrigated by the Ma'rib Dam, which is thought by some to have been one of the engineering wonders of the ancient world because of its size. When the dam collapsed for the third time in the 1st century CE, a large number of the Azd tribe left Yemen and migrated in many directions. Jafna bin Amr and his family headed for Syria, where he settled and initiated the kingdom of the Ghassanids. They were so named after a spring of water where they stopped on their way to Syria. The Ghassanids remained mainly Christian. Today they make up the majority of Arab Christians in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Syria. After settling in the Levant, the Ghassanids became a client state to the Eastern Roman Empire and fought alongside them against the Persian Sassanids and their Arab vassals, the Lakhmids. The lands of the Ghassanids also acted as a buffer zoneprotecting lands that had been annexed by the Romans against raids by Bedouin tribes. Few Ghassanids became Muslim following the Islamic Conquest; most Ghassanids remained Christian and joined Melkite and Syriac communities within what is now Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
Oral tradition holds that the Ghassanids came from the city of Ma'rib in South Arabia and its surrounding cities and towns, Yemen.Tradition holds that their exodus from the area was primarily due to the destruction of the Marib Dam, the story of which is detailed in the eponymous 34th chapter of the Quran. The Arabic proverb “They were scattered like the people of Saba” refers to that exodus. Migration did also occur in different waves, another prominent wave being the prosecution of Christian Arabs by Dhu Nawas and the mass graves where many who did not escape were buried alive the same is recited in the Quran and referred to "Asḥāb al-Ukhdūd", The date of the migration to the Levant is unclear, but they are believed to have arrived in the region of Syria between 250-300 AD and later waves of migration circa 400 AD. Their earliest appearance in records is dated to 473 AD, when their chief Amorkesos signed a treaty with the Eastern Roman Empire acknowledging their status as foederati controlling parts of Palestine. He apparently became Chalcedonian at this time. By the year 510, the Ghassanids were no longer Monophysite, but Chalcedonian. They became the leading tribe among the Arab foederati, such as Banu Amela and Banu Judham.
After originally settling in the Levant, the Ghassanids became a client state to the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). The Romans (Byzantines) found a powerful ally in the Ghassanids who acted as a buffer zone against the Lakhmids. In addition, as kings of their own people, they were also phylarchs, native rulers of client frontier states. The capital was at Jabiyah in the Golan Heights. Geographically, it occupied much of the eastern Levant, and its authority extended via tribal alliances with other Azdi tribes all the way to the northern Hijaz as far south as Yathrib (Medina).
The Ghassanids fought alongside the Byzantine Empire against the Persian Sassanids and Arab Lakhmids. The lands of the Ghassanids also continually acted as a buffer zone, protecting Byzantine lands against raids by Bedouin tribes. Among their Arab allies were the Banu Judham and Banu Amela. The Eastern Roman Empire was focused more on the East and a long war with the Persians was always their main concern. The Ghassanids maintained their rule as the guardian of trade routes, policed Lakhmid tribes and was a source of troops for the imperial army. The Ghassanid king al-Harith ibn Jabalah(reigned 529–569) supported the Byzantines against Sassanid Persia and was given in 529 by the emperor Justinian I, the highest imperial title that was ever bestowed upon a foreign ruler; also the status of patricians. In addition to that, al-Harith ibn Jabalah was given the rule over all the Arab allies of the Byzantine Empire. l-Harith was a Miaphysite Christian; he helped to revive the Syrian Miaphysite Church and supported Miaphysite development despite Orthodox Byzantium regarding it as heretical. Later Byzantine mistrust and persecution of such religious unorthodoxy brought down his successors, al-Mundhir (reigned 569-582) and Nu'man. The Ghassanids, who had successfully opposed the Persian allied Lakhmids of al-Hirah (Southern Iraq), prospered economically and engaged in much religious and public building; they also patronized the arts and at one time entertained the Arabian poets Nabighah adh-Dhubyani and Hassan ibn Thabit at their courts.
The Ghassanids remained a Byzantine vassal state until its rulers and the eastern Byzantine Empire were overthrown by the Muslims in the 7th century, following the Battle of Yarmuk in 636 AD. The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what today are the borders of Syria–Jordan and Syria–Israel, east of the Sea of Galilee. The result of the battle was a complete Muslim victory which ended Byzantine rule in Syria. The Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history, and it marked the first great wave of early Muslim conquests after the death of Prophet Muhammad, heralding the rapid advance of Islam into the then Christian Levant. In order to check the Arab advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius had sent a massive expedition to the Levant in May 636. As the Byzantine armyapproached, the Arabs tactically withdrew from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains close to the Arabian Peninsula, where, after being reinforced, they defeated the superior Byzantine army.
At the time of the Muslim conquest the Ghassanids were no longer united by the same Christian faiths: some of them accepted union with the Byzantine Chalcedonian church; others remained faithful to Monophysitism and a significant number of them maintained their Christian religious identity and decided to side with the Muslim armies to emphasize their loyalty to their Arabic roots and in recognition of the wider context of a rising Arab Empire under the veil of Islam. It is worth noting that a significant percentage of the Muslim armies in the Battle of Mu'tah were Christian Arabs. The Battle of Mu'tah was fought in September 629 C.E. near the village of Mu'tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak in Karak Governorate, between the forces of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad and the forces of the Byzantine Empire. In Muslim histories, the battle is usually described as the Muslims' attempt to take retribution against a Ghassanid chief for taking the life of an emissary. According to Byzantine sources, the Muslims planned to launch their attack on a feast day. The local Byzantine Vicarius learned of their plans and collected the garrisons of the fortresses. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Muslims were routed after three of their leaders were killed. It is reported that when the Muslim force arrived at Medina, they were berated for apparently withdrawing and accused of fleeing. Today, Muslims who fell at the battle are considered martyrs (shahid). Some have claimed that this battle, far from being a defeat, was a strategic success; the Muslims had challenged the Byzantines and had made their presence felt amongst the Arab Bedouin tribes in the region. In early Muslim sources, the battle is recorded as a humiliating defeat.
The Battle of Bosra was fought in 634 between the Rashidun Caliphate army and the Byzantine Empire for the possession of Bosra, in Syria. The city, then capital of the Ghassanid kingdom, a Byzantine vassal, was the first important one to be captured by the Islamic forces. The siege lasted between June and July 634. The conquest of Bosra in the second week of July 634 was the first important victory gained by the Muslims in Syria. The Muslims lost 130 men in the battle, while the Byzantines suffered several thousand casualties. The conquest of Bosra opened for the Muslim conquest of Syria.
Several of those Christian Arab tribes in Jordan who sided with the Muslim armies were recognized by exempting them from paying jizya. Jizya is a form of tax paid by non-Muslims, Muslims paid another form of tax called Zakah. Later those who remained Christian joined Melkite Syriac communities. The remnants of the Ghassanids were dispersed throughout Asia Minor. There are different opinions why Jabalah and his followers didn't convert to Islam. Some opinions go along the general idea that the Ghassanids were not interested yet in giving up their status as the lords and nobility of Syria. After the fall of the first kingdom of Ghassan, King Jabalah ibn-al-Aiham established a Government-in-exile in Byzantium. The Ghassanids reached their peak under al-Harith V and al-Mundhir III. Both were militarily successful allies of the Byzantines, especially against their enemies the Lakhmids, and secured Byzantium's southern flank and its political and commercial interests in Arabia proper. On the other hand, the Ghassanids remained fervently dedicated to Monophysitism, which brought about their break with Byzantium and Mundhir's own downfall and exile, which was followed after 586 by the dissolution of the Ghassanid federation. The Ghassanids' patronage of the Monophysite Syrian Church was crucial for its survival and revival, and even its spread, through missionary activities, south into Arabia. According to the historian Warwick Ball, the Ghassanids' promotion of a simpler and more rigidly monotheistic form of Christianity in a specifically Arab context can be said to have anticipated Islam. Ghassanid rule also brought a period of considerable prosperity for the Arabs on the eastern fringes of Syria, as evidenced by a spread of urbanization and the sponsorship of several churches, monasteries and other buildings. The surviving descriptions of the Ghassanid courts impart an image of luxury and an active cultural life, with patronage of the arts, music and especially Arab-language poetry. In the words of Ball, "the Ghassanid courts were the most important centres for Arabic poetry before the rise of the Caliphal courts under Islam", and their court culture, including their penchant for desert palaces like Qasr ibn Wardan, provided the model for the Umayyad caliphs and their court. After the fall of the first kingdom in the 7th century, several dynasties, both Christian and Muslim, ruled claiming to be a continuation of the House of Ghassan. The Rasulid Sultans ruled from the 13th until the 15th century in Yemen. And the Burji Mamluk Sultans in Egypt from the 14th until the 16th century. Even both dynasties being Muslim, they claimed to be heirs and successors of Ghassan. The last rulers to bear the titles of Royal Ghassanid successors were the Christian Sheikhs Chemor in Mount Lebanon ruling the small sovereign sheikhdom of Zgharta-Zwaiya until 1747 A.D.-
The Lakhmids or Banu Lakhm were an Arab kingdom of southern Iraq with al-Hirah as their capital, from about 300 to 602 AD. They were generally but intermittently the allies and clients of the Sassanian Empire, and participant in the Roman–Persian Wars. The Lakhmid Kingdom was founded by the Lakhum tribe that emigrated from Yemen in the second century and ruled by the Banu Lakhm, hence the name given it. Imru' al-Qais dreamt of a unified and independent Arab kingdom and, following that dream, he seized many cities in the Arabian Peninsula. In 325, the Persians, led by Shapur II, began a campaign against the Arab kingdoms. Shapur II's army defeated the Lakhmid army and captured Hira. In this, the young Shapur acted much more violently and slaughtered all the Arab men of the city and took the Arab woman and children as slaves. He then installed Aws ibn Qallam and retreated his army. In the year 330, a revolt took place where Aws ibn Qallam was killed and succeeded by the son of Imru' al-Qais, 'Amr. Thereafter, the Lakhmids' main rivals were the Ghassanids, who were vassals of the Sasanians' arch-enemy, the Byzantine Empire. The Lakhmid kingdom could have been a major centre of the Church of the East, which was nurtured by the Sasanians, as it opposed the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Byzantines. The Lakhmids remained influential throughout the sixth century. Nevertheless, in 602, the last Lakhmid king, al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir, was put to death by the Sasanian emperor Khosrow II because of a false suspicion of treason, and the Lakhmid kingdom was annexed. It is now widely believed that the annexation of the Lakhmid kingdom was one of the main factors behind the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the Muslim conquest of Persia as the Sasanians being defeated in the Battle of Hira by Khalid ibn al-Walid. At that point, the city was abandoned and its materials were used to reconstruct Kufa, its exhausted twin city.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghassanids
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakhmids
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bosra
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Yarmuk
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mu%27tah
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Judham
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azd

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