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Map of the cities of Mesopotamia at the time of The Lakhmids.

The Lakhmids (Arabic: اللخميون‎), Banu Lakhm (Arabic: بنو لخم‎), Muntherids (Arabic: المناذرة‎), were a group of Arab Christians who lived in Southern Iraq, and made al-Hirah their capital in 266. Poets described it as a Paradise on earth, an Arab Poet described the city's pleasant climate and beauty "One day in al-Hirah is better than a year of treatment". The al-Hirah ruins are located 3 kilometers south of Kufa, on the west bank of the Euphrates.

Contents

History

A manuscript from the 15th century describing the constructing of Al-Khornaq castle In Al-Hira, the Lakhmids' capital city.
Near East in 565, showing the Lakhmids and their neighbors.

The Lakhmid Kingdom was founded by the Lakhum tribe that immigrated out of Yemen in the second century and ruled by the Banu Lakhm, hence the name given it. The founder of the dynasty was 'Amr, whose son Imru' al-Qais (not to be confused with the famous poet Imru' al-Qais who lived in the 6th century) converted to Christianity. Gradually the whole city converted to that faith.

Imru' al-Qais dreamt of a unified and independent Arab kingdom and, following that dream, he seized many cities in Arabia. He then formed a large army and developed the Kingdom as a naval power, which consisted of a fleet of ships operating along the Bahraini coast. From this position he attacked the coastal cities of Iran (Persia) - which at that time was in civil war, due to a dispute as to the succession - even raiding the birthplace of the Sassanid kings, the province of Pars (Fars).

In 325, the Persians, led by Shapur II, began a campaign against the Arab kingdoms. When Imru' al-Qais realised that a mighty Persian army composed of 60,000 warriors was approaching his kingdom, he asked for the assistance of the Roman Empire. Constantius II promised to assist him but was unable to provide that help when it was needed. The Persians advanced toward al-Hirah and a series of vicious battles took place over al-Hirah and the surrounding cities.

Shapur II crushed the Lakhmid army and captured al-Hirah. He ordered the extermination of its population in retaliation of their raids on Pars. In this, the young Shapur acted much more violently than was normal at the time in order to demonstrate to both the Arab Kingdoms and the Persian nobility his power and authority. Shapur's title in Arabic is Zol 'Aktāf meaning owner of the shoulders, as he pierced the shoulders of his captives and chained them to each other by a rope. He installed Aus ibn Qallam and gave the city autonomy, thus making the kingdom a buffer zone between the Persian Empire's mainland and the territory of other Arabs in the Peninsula.

Imru' al-Qais escaped to Bahrain, taking his dream of a unified Arab nation with him, and then to Syria seeking the promised assistance from Constantius II which never materialised, so he stayed there until he died. With him ended the dream of a united Arab kingdom until after the advent of Islam. When he died he was entombed at al-Nimarah in the Syrian desert.

Imru' al-Qais' funerary inscription is written in an extremely difficult type of script. Recently there has been a revival of interest in the inscription, and controversy has arisen over its precise implications. It is now certain that Imru' al-Qais claimed the title "King of all the Arabs" and also claimed in the inscription to have campaigned successfully over the entire north and centre of the peninsula, as far as the border of Najran.

Two years after his death, in the year 330, a revolt took place where Aus ibn Qallam was killed and succeeded by the son of Imru' al-Qais, 'Amr. Thereafter, the Lakhmids' main rivals were the Ghassanids, who were vassals of the Sassanids' arch-enemy, the Byzantine Empire. The Lakhmid kingdom was a major centre of the Nestorian sect of Christianity which was nurtured by the Sassanids, as it opposed the Orthodox religion of Byzantium.

The Lakhmids remained influential throughout the 6th century. Nevertheless, in 602, the last Lakhmid king, Nu'man III, was put to death by the Sassanid king Khosrau II because of a false suspicion of treason, and the Lakhmid kingdom was annexed. Islam overran the Sassanid Empire in the 7th century. At that point, the city was abandoned and its materials were used to re-construct Kufa, its exhausted twin city.

It is now widely believed that the annexation of the Lakhmid kingdom was one of the main factors behind the Fall of Sassanid dynasty to the Muslim Arabs and the Islamic conquest of Persia, as the Lakhmids agreed to act as spies for the Muslims after being defeated in the Battle of Hira by Khalid ibn al-Walid.[1]

Arab-Persian War

'The Battle of Dhi Qar' (Arabic,يوم ذي قار) was a Pre-Islamic battle fought between Arabs in southern Iraq and a Persian army, circa 609.

According to the Arab historian Abu Obayda (d. 824), Khosrau II was angry with King Numan III for refusing to give him his daughter in marriage, and therefore imprisoned him. Subsequently, Khusraw sent troops to recover the Numan family armor, but Hany bin Masud (Numan's friend) refused, and the Persian forces were defeated at the battle of Dhi Qar, near Al-Hirah, the Lakhmid dynasty's capital. Hirah, sometimes spelled "Hira," was just south of the Iraqi city of Kufa.

Lakhmid Kingdom facts

Lakhmids Kings

# Ruler Reign
1 'Amr ibn Adi 268-295
2 Imru' al-Qays ibn 'Amr 295-328
3 'Amr ibn Imru' al-Qays 328-363
4 Aws ibn Qallam 363-368
5 Imru' al-Qays ibn 'Amr 368-390
6 Nu'man ibn Imru' al-Qays 390-418
7 al-Mundhir ibn Nu'man 418-462
8 al-Aswad ibn al-Mundhir 462-490
9 al-Mundhir ibn al-Mundhir 490-497
10 Nu'man ibn al-Aswad 497-503
11 Abu Yaffar ibn Alqama 503-507
12 Imru' al-Qays ibn Nu'man 507-514
13 al-Mundhir ibn Imru' al-Qays 514-554
14 'Amr ibn al-Mundhir 554-569
15 Qaboos ibn al-Mundhir 569-577
16 Feshart 577-578
17 al-Mundhir ibn al-Mundhir 578-582
18 Nu'man ibn al-Mundhir 582-609
19 Eyas ibn Kabisa 609-618
20 Azadbeh "Persian Governor" <- Islamic conquest 618-633

See also

References

  1. ^ Iraq After the Muslim Conquest By Michael G. Morony, pg. 233

External links

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