Battle of Nihawānd

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Nihawānd
partof=the Muslim conquests


caption=
date=642
place=Nehavand, near Hamadan, Iran
result=Decisive Arab victory [Dictionary of Islamic Architecture By Anderew Petersen pg.120] ,
Total collapse of the Sassanid Empire [A Short History of Syriac Literature By William Wright. pg 44]
combatant1=Rashidun Caliphate
combatant2=Sassanid Persian Empire
commander1=An-Numan ibn Muqarrin
commander2=Bahman (a.k.a. Mardan Shah)†
Pirouzan †
strength1=30,000
strength2=100,000 [An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present By David Eggenberger, pg 305] -150,000 [Age of Faith, Durrant]
casualties1= Few Thousands
casualties2= 40,000

The Battle of Nihawānd was fought in 642 between Arab and Sassanid armies. [citation|title=The Afghans|author= Willem Vogelsang|year= 2002|publisher=Blackwell Publishing|url= http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0631198415&id=0d0lhi63oVYC&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&ots=0ceA6-3TIi&dq=Battle%2Bof%2BNihawand&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=rlTNEdJQnaHffaNvEBDDEhggE3c|id=ISBN 0631198415] The battle is known to Muslims, as the "Victory of Victories." [Rome's Enemies 3: Parthians and Sassanids By Peter Wilcox, pg 4] William Durant in this book "The Age of Faith" reported that the Persian King Yazdgerd III had about 150,000 men, versus a Muslim army about one fifth that in number. The Persians were outmaneuvered, trapped in a narrow mountain valley, and lost approximately 100,000 men in the ensuing rout. Yezdigerd hurriedly fled to the Merv area, but was unable to raise another substantial army. It was a decisive victory for the Rashidun Caliphate and the Persians consequently lost the surrounding cities including Sephahan (renamed Isfahan). The Khan of the Turks later lent him some soldiers, but the soldiers mutinied in the year 652. Tabari reported that the Persian Sassanid army consisted mostly of raw recruits and men who had not fought in any previous battlesFact|date=February 2007.

The former Sassanid provinces, in alliance with Parthian and White Hun nobles, resisted for a few more years in the region south of the Caspian Sea, even as the Rashidun Caliphate was replaced by the Umayyads, thus perpetuating the Sassanid court styles, Zoroastrian religion, and Persian speech.

Various versions are told about Nihavand and how the battle was ensued in the early stages. Some note that the Muslim Arabs managed to deceive the Persians through a ruse, that Caliph Omar had died. The Persian cavalry, full of confidence mounted an ill-prepared pursuit of the bedouins who swiftly retreated to a safe area and eventually surrounded and trapped the Persian force before assailing it from all sides, and decisively defeating it.

As the historian Tabari mentions, the Persians were never again able to unite their men in such numbers and many were already talking of dissolving the Empire and going their separate ways when the battle was commencing. Many of Yazdegerd's military and civilian officials had abandoned him. [Iranian History and Politics: The Dialectic of State and Society By Homa Katouzian, pg. 25]

Though the Persian forces managed to partially hold off the Arabs at Sistan, Tabaristan, Daylam and other isolated outlying areas,Fact|date=May 2007 Nihavand marked the total dissolution of the Sassanian Imperial army with the fall of the last of the grand marshals of the army and the rise of warlordism among the Persians. The Emperor Yazdegerd III attempted to raise troops by appealing to other neighbouring areas such as the princes of Tukharistan and Sogdia and eventually sent his son Pirooz to the Tang court, but without any success.

Yezdegerd hurriedly fled towards the east where he was ill-treated by several Marzban (provincial governors) in the north as well as in Merv, where the governor Mahoye openly showed his hostility to the Emperor. According to non-Muslim sources, Yazdegerd completely failed to rally support in Eastern Persia where the Sassanians were unpopular with the locals. [The History of Iran By Elton L. Daniel, pg 67] Muslim sources like Tabari reported that the province of Khorasan revolted against Sassanian rule, just as it had years earlier when it had sided with Khosro Parviz' uncle Bistam. When Yazdegerd was coronated in Istakhr, Persia had in fact three Kings ruling in different regions and this province had not given its support to Yazdegerd at first.

Before Yazdegerd had a chance to receive help from the Hepthalites and Turkish tribes, he was assassinated by a local miller in Merv [History of Islamic Philosophy - With View of Greek Philosophy and Early History of Islam By I. M. N. Al-Jubouri, pg. 142] [The History of Iran By Elton L. Daniel, pg 67] at 652. Thereafter, Yazdegerd's, son Pirooz, attempted to rebel against the Umayyads until 707, though the plan did not develop as Pirooz ultimately died in China.

References


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