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Empires of FaithThe Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, 500-700$
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Peter Sarris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261260.001.0001

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Heraclius, Persia, and Holy War

Heraclius, Persia, and Holy War

(p.226) 7 Heraclius, Persia, and Holy War
Empires of Faith

Peter Sarris

Oxford University Press

This chapter returns to the East and details the growing social, economic and military destabilisation of the Near East in the late sixth and seventh centuries. Warfare between Byzantium and Persia spiralled out of control until the Emperor Heraclius finally defeated his rival Khusro II, declaring a ‘Holy War’ against Persia to redeem the True Cross which the Persians had seized with the capture of Jerusalem. These years of warfare left the two empires vulnerable to the Arab armies of Islam that swept out of the desert in the 630s, destroying the Empire of Persia and driving the Romans into Asia Minor. The emergence and development of Islam as a religion and the Arabs as a people are examined, and these phenomena placed in a broader late antique context.

Keywords:   Justin II, Heraclius, Khusro II, holy war, Arabs, Muhammad, Islam, social conflict, apocalypticism

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