Battle of Nineveh (627)


Battle of Nineveh (627)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Nineveh
partof=the Roman-Persian Wars


caption=
date=December 12, 627
place=Near Nineveh
result=Decisive Byzantine victory
combatant1=Byzantine Empire
combatant2=Sassanid Empire
commander1=Heraclius
commander2=RhahzadhKIA
strength1=70,000 menW. Treadgold, "A History of the Byzantine State and Society", 298]
strength2=Unknown
casualties1=about 20,000 men
casualties2=50,000 men
The Battle of Nineveh was the climactic battle of the last of the Roman-Persian Wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire, in 627. The Byzantine victory broke the power of the Sassanid dynasty and for a period of time restored the empire to its ancient boundaries in the Middle East. This resurgence of power and prestige was not to last, however, as within a matter of decades an Islamic Caliphate emerged from the Arabian desert and once again brought the empire to the brink of destruction.

During a six-year campaign, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius had driven the Persians from Asia Minor back into their own territories, but the Persian emperor Khosrau II still refused to make peace. In 627 the Gokturks invaded Transcaucasia, and Heraclius joined his forces with theirs in the unsuccessful Siege of Tbilisi. After the Gokturks and Khazars retreated to their steppes, Heraclius unexpectedly crossed the Aras River and struck southward across Persia.

On December 12, 627, the Byzantine army under the command of emperor Heraclius himself, and the Sassanid army commanded by Rhahzadh, met at Nineveh. The number of soldiers engaged in the battle is unknown, though it is thought that the two armies were approximately equal in size. It was a fiercely contested battle, that lasted from dawn to dusk. Heraclius, fighting at the front with his men, came face to face with the Persian general and defeated him in single combat, severing his head in the process. With the death of its general and casualties mounting, the Persian army was driven from the field with heavy losses and Persia lay open to the victorious Heraclius. The next year, Persia accepted Heraclius's peace terms.

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