The Battle of Yarmuk (636 CE): Rethinking ‘Conquest’ in the Late Antique Near East From Byzantium to Islam

Mehmetcan  Akpinar's picture
June 16, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, World History / Studies



Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, SFB 923, Abteilung Orient- und Islamwissenschaft, Förderverein Geschichte an der Universität Tübingen e.V.

The battle which took place in the narrows of the Yarmuk, the largest tributary of the Jordan River, in  A.D. 636/A.H. 15 came to be regarded in both the Greek and the Arabic traditions as the turning point in the early confrontation between the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs, opening the way to the rapid conquest of the Middle East by the latter and the creation of an Islamic Empire. Historical records of this stage of the conflict were also kept by Syrian and Armenian Christians and are of great value. In 2003, W. E. Kaegi wrote: “One of the principal tasks for modern historians is the weighing and comparing of non-Muslim and Muslim sources […] in the search to evaluate the authenticity of separated bits of memory from the merely spurious.” While this may not always be possible, the organizers of this conference are aiming to bring together, among others, Byzantinists and Arabists and engage in a shared debate on the history and reception of the events attached to a specific memory space.

Organized by F. Montinaro

in collaboration with M. Akpınar, with the assistance of L. Ilisch and T. Raum


Conference venue:

Evangelisches Stift, Großer Hörsaal

Klosterberg 2, 72070 Tübingen



Please click HERE


Friday, June 16, 2017

9.00                  Introduction

9.10                  Welcoming address of the Ephorus V. Drecoll


Framing conquest

Chair: J. van Ess

9.20                  T. Raum (Tübingen), Byzantium on the eve of the conquests

10.00                  J. Howard-Johnston (Oxford), The Arab conquests of the Roman Levant: The sources

10.40                   Coffee break

11.00                  S. Kovarik  (Oxford), Conquests and papyri in 7th-century Egypt

11.40                  A. Marsham (Edinburgh), Were there strategic considerations in the 7th-century Arab conquests?

12.20                  Lunch break


The battle of Yarmūk in the Arabic historical tradition

Chair: K. Franz

14.00                  M. Akpinar (Tübingen), Searching for the earliest layers in the Arabic sources

14.40                  M. Schönléber (Budapest), The narration of the events preceding the battle

15.20                  Coffee break

15.40                  J. Scheiner (Göttingen), Narrating the battle movement

16.20                  Y. Dehghani Farsani (Göttingen), Religious and military designations of Muslims and Byzantines

17.00                  Coffee break


Processing conquest

Chair: M. Meier

17.20                  F. Montinaro (Tübingen), On some sources for the reign of Constans II

18.00                  W. Brandes (Frankfurt), Überlegungen zum Constans-Vaticinium


19.00 Keynote

Walter E. Kaegi (Chicago)

Retrospective reflections on military operations at Yarmūk and vicinity


Saturday, June 17, 2017


Processing conquest (continued)

Chair: E.M. Conner

9.00                   L.M. Frenkel (São Paulo), The influence of Late Antique religious polemical discourse on Early Byzantine perceptions of the first Muslim victories

9.40                  C. Zuckerman (Paris), The sixty martyrs of Gaza

10.20                  Coffee break


Material approaches

Chair: M. Ritter

10.40                  M. Phillips & S. Tyler-Smith (Biggleswade/Cambridge), From ‘Ancient’ to ‘Medieval’: Coinage as evidence for the nature of historical change. The case of 7th-century Syria

11.20                  L. Ilisch (Tübingen), A new old 7th-century coin hoard from the Aleppo region

12.00                  Lunch break

13.40                   R. Schick (Mainz), The Byzantine-Umayyad transition in southern Jordan

14.20                   K. Meinecke (Wien), Syria capta. Herrschaftsanspruch in der Bildersprache der Umayyaden

15.00                  Coffee break


Distant voices

Chair: P. Tedesco

15.20                  K. Choda (Tübingen), Argumentum ex silentio? Religiöse Überzeugungsstrategie in der Continuatio Byzantia-Arabica

16.00                   M. Conterno (Ghent), History with and without Yarmūk: the double account of the 7th century in Agapius of Mabbug

16.40                   P. Pilette (Louvain-la-Neuve), The 7th century in the History of the churches and monasteries of Egypt

17.20                  Coffee break                 


18.00 Evening lecture

M. Penn (Stanford)

"Syriac Christian memories of the Islamic conquests"


19.00 Closing lecture and discussion

Fred M. Donner (Chicago)

"The conquests of the Arabian Believers’ movement as historiographical concept and historical reality"