- Battle of Carthage (698)
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Carthage
Carthagere-captured by Muslims
Hasan ibn al-Nu'manal-Ghassani
commander2=John the Patrician,
strength2=Unknown but larger
The Battle of Carthage was fought in
698CE between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims, Emperor Leontiussent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the " droungarios" Tiberius Apsimarus. They entered the harbor and successfully recaptured it, as well as the city, in a stunning surprise attack. The Arab forces fled to Kairouan. As Gibbon writes, "the Christians landed; the citizens hailed the ensign of the cross, and the winter was idly wasted in the dream of victory or deliverance."Fact|date=March 2008
Hasan ibn al-Nu'manwas in the midst of pacifying the lands of Tamazgh (as it is called by the indigenous peoples)idg. when? or Maghreb(Arabic for "the west"), but withdrew from campaigning in the field to confront the renewed Roman challenge to the emerging caliphate. At Kairouan, he began plans to retake Carthagethe following spring.Fact|date=April 2008 It is estimated that he headed a force of 40,000 men.Fact|date=April 2008 The Romans sent out a call for help to their traditional allies, the native Amazigh, and even to their enemies the Visigothsand the Franks. Despite having retaken the cityre-taken?, the Romans were in disarray due to the bitter in-fighting that characterized medieval Romaniaand sapped much of its strength.Fact|date=April 2008Or|date=April 2008 The previous exarch Gennadius had been a traitor to the Christian cause, defecting to the Muslims and becoming their vassal. The king of the Visigoths, Witiza, sent a reputed force of 500 warriors in order to help defend Carthage, perhaps to help check the rising Muslim threat which was lopping off large chunks of the Roman Empire, so close to Visigothic Hispania.Or|date=April 2008perhaps? 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.Fact|date=April 2008 The emperor Leontius, infamous for his harsh reaction to failure, had also given his forces instructions of victory or death. The Romans did sally forth and brought battle to the Arabsdirectly, but were defeated. They later preferred to continue to incite revolt through the Amazighprinces. The Roman commander, John, decided to wait out the siege behind the walls of Carthageand let the Arabsexhaust 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 continuously tried to scale the walls with ladders. The Arabs combined their land assault with an attack from the sea that caused John and Apsimarus to fear being trapped within the city. Yet, the determination of the defenders resulted in the second and final great destruction of Carthage. The Romans retreated to the islands of Corsica, Sicilyand Creteto further resist Muslim expansion and await the emperor's wrath.
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
Africato 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
Islamwas now nearly complete. Hasan ibn al-Nu'manwas triumphant. Hasan met with trouble from the Zenata tribe of Berbersunder al-Kahina. They inflicted a serious defeat on him and drove him back to Barqa. However, in 702CE Caliph Abd al-Malikstrongly reinforced him. Now with a large army and the support of the settled population of North Africa, Hasan pushed forward. He decisively defeated al-Kahinain the Battle of Tabarka, 85 miles (136 km) west of Carthage. He then developed the village of Tunis, ten miles from the destroyed Carthage. Around 705CE, Musa ibn Nusayrreplaced Hasan. He pacified much of North Africa.
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