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The 751 AD Battle Of Talas Deciding The Fate Of Medieval Central Asia

In the eighth century, as Charlemagne cast his European empire, and the Vikings emerged from the bowels of Scandinavia as essentially the most fearsome raiders of their time, fierce battles raged concurrently in a panorama, replete with rugged deserts, titanic mountains and limitless plains, in a faraway land to the East. The battleground was in Central Asia, an infinite area tucked in between the Middle East and the Far East the place the Arabs, Turks, Tibetans, and Chinese fought relentlessly to impose their political authority on one another, and on the various and historical realms they aspired to make their topics. Amidst the uneasy alliances, violent betrayals, and brutal conflicts, two main gamers, the Chinese and the Arabs, would meet in pitched battle for the primary and final time in 751, in what could be a conflict of cultures and arms that may decide the destiny of medieval Central Asia. 

Arabs besieging town of Samarkand, captured in 722 AD. Palace of Devastich (706-722), Penjikent mural ( Public Domain )

The Tibetan-Türgish Alliance

In the yr 729, the military of the Tibetan kingdom was known as upon by its ally, the Türgish, a Turkic confederation, to intervene within the province of Sogdia positioned in Western Central Asia, on the request of the native Khurasanians. Open battle had erupted right here after an Arab invasion by the Umayyad governor, Asras al-Sulami, and the introduction of a collection of repressive insurance policies. The mixed regiments of the Türgish, the Khurasanians and the Tibetans proved an excessive amount of for the Arabs, who misplaced all their beneficial properties in Sogdia excluding the traditional metropolis of Samarkand and the fortresses of al-Dabusiyya and Kamarga, which remained of their possession.

Possible Sogdian King Devashtish, executed within the autumn of 722. National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikista ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

The Türgish, and their enigmatic chief Su-lu (or Suluk) commenced their reclamation of Sogdian land by besieging the smaller stronghold of Kamarga, however they have been met with stiff Arab resistance. With the Arabs holding up very nicely, Su-lu made the bizarre step of bringing in Khusraw, a descendant of the final Sassanid emperor of the Persian empire, Yazdigird III and captive of the Türgish, in an effort to steer the Arabs to put down their arms. However, regardless of his demand for the restoration of the Sassanid throne, the Arabs remained unconvinced, compelling Su-lu to launch a frontal assault. With Su-lu main the cost inside the attain of Arab archers, the Türgish commander was extraordinarily fortunate to not have picked up a mortal wound.


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Jake Leigh-Howarth holds a masters diploma in Modern History from the University of Leeds, the place he specialised within the travelogues of Western guests to Soviet Central Asia. His favourite historic durations embody the Tamerlane Empire, the Mongolian Empire, and the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece.

Top Image : Mural of Turkic cavalry, Beshbalik (tenth Century)( CC0)

By: Jake Leigh-Howarth


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