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Khazar-Arab Wars
Part of the Muslim conquests
Date 650-758
Location Caucasus and Transoxiana
Result Status quo ante bellum
Territorial
changes
Caucasus temporarily occupied by Umayyads; Azerbaijan temporarily occupied by Khazars
Belligerents
Khazar Khaganate Umayyad Caliphate (and later Abbasid Caliphate)

The Khazar Arab Wars were a series of campaigns, usually grouped into the First (mid 7th century) and Second (c.715-737) Khazar–Arab Wars, fought between the armies of the Khazar Khaganate and the Umayyad Caliphate (as well as its Abbasid successors) and their respective vassals.

During the 7th and 8th centuries the Khazar fought a series of wars against the Umayyad Caliphate, which was attempting simultaneously to expand its influence into Transoxiana and the Caucasus. The first war was fought in the early 650 and ended with the defeat of an Arab force led by Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah outside the Khazar town of Balanjar, after a battle in which both sides used siege engines on the others' troops.

Hostilities broke out again with the Caliphate in the 710s, with raids back and forth across the Caucasus but few decisive battles. The Khazars, led by a prince named Barjik, invaded northwestern Iran and defeated the Umayyad forces at Ardabil in 730, killing the Arab governor Al-Djarrah al-Hakami and briefly occupying the town. They were defeated the next year at Mosul, where Barjik directed Khazar forces from a throne mounted with al-Djarrah's severed head, and Barjik was killed. Arab armies led first by the Arab prince Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik and then by Marwan ibn Muhammad (later Caliph Marwan II) poured across the Caucasus and eventually (in 737) defeated a Khazar army led by Hazer Tarkhan, briefly occupying Atil itself. The instability of the Umayyad regime made a permanent occupation impossible; the Arab armies withdrew and Khazar independence was re-asserted.

The last major battle between Khazar and Caliphate forces took place in 758, when a Khazar army under Ras Tarkhan invaded and temporarily occupied parts of Azerbaijan and Arran. Relations between Khazaria and the Caliphate appear to have improved over time, such that by the tenth century King Joseph of the Khazars reported to Hasdai ibn Shaprut that the Khazars defended the region of the Caspian littoral from attacks by the Rus.

See also

References

  • Kevin Alan Brook. The Jews of Khazaria. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2006.
  • Douglas M. Dunlop. The History of the Jewish Khazars, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954.
  • Peter B. Golden. Khazar Studies: An Historio-Philological Inquiry into the Origins of the Khazars. Budapest: Akademia Kiado, 1980.
  • Norman Golb and Omeljan Pritsak, Khazarian Hebrew Documents of the Tenth Century. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1982.
  • István Zimonyi The Origins of the Volgha Bulghars. Studia Uralo-Altaica 32. Szeged 1990.
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