Battle of Nehawand

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battle of Nehawend
date 642
place Use
output decisive victory for the Muslim Arabs
Parties to the conflict


Sassanid Empire


An-No'man †

Yazdegerd III.

Troop strength
over 40,000 approx. 60,000



The Battle of Nehawand (also Nehāvand , Nihavend , Nihavand etc.) in 642 sealed the end of the Sassanid Empire with the victory of the Arab conquerors over the Persians .


After the victory in the Battle of Kadesia in 636 (or 637), the Muslim Arabs occupied Mesopotamia . The Persian great king Yazdegerd III. had to give up his residence Ctesiphon - the Arabs renamed it Madain - and retreat to the Iranian highlands. As a result, the Arabs repeatedly carried out campaigns to Chusistan , which was conquered in heavy fighting in 639, and into the Persian heartland.

In 642 Yazdegerd marched with a large army from Hamadan ( Ekbatana ) southwards to meet the Arabs, who approached in two pillars from Kufa and Basra and were under the command of An-No'man. At the same time, another Arab force advanced against Isfahan in order to tie up the Persian troops there so that they could not join the main army.

Persia was exhausted from the previous long battles with the Eastern Romans and the civil wars. The Persian troops were mostly poorly trained foot troops, as most of the elite troops had already fallen in the numerous battles of previous years. The core force of armored riders was tactically inferior to the more agile Arabs.

At Nehawend there were initially two days of minor skirmishes, after which the Persians withdrew to their fortified camp. Apparently the Arabs then used a feint to lure the Persians out, presumably they faked their departure. The Persians pursued and lost their closed battle formation so that they were overwhelmed by a surprising counterattack. An-No'man was killed in this fight. The Persians fought desperately and the Arab losses were very high. The victorious Arabs pursued the fleeing Persians into the mountains. For the Arabs, the victory at Nehawend was the “victory of all victories”.

The Armenian story of the pseudo- Sebeos , a contemporary witness, reports in summary:

It happened in the first year of Constans , the ruler of the Greeks [ie, Eastern Romans ], and in the tenth year of Yazkert , the king of the Persians, that a Persian army of 60,000 armed men assembled to face Ishmael [ie the Arabs]. The Ishmaelites waged over 40,000 sword-drawn men against them, and they fought one another in the province of Media. The fighting lasted three days, meanwhile many soldiers fell on both sides. Suddenly the Persians heard that another army had come to support the Ishmaelites. The Persian troops fled in the night. The surviving Ishmaelites attacked again the next morning, but found no one in the enemy camp. So they sent divisions all over the country killing people and animals. They took 22 fortresses and slaughtered everything that lived in them.

Over the next few years the Arabs conquered one Persian province after another. The resistance of the Persian nobles was either broken militarily or eliminated through diplomacy. Yazdegerd III. even after the devastating defeat of Nehawend was hardly able to offer organized resistance, since the Persian nobility increasingly refused allegiance to the victorious great king. This remained for some time in the far east of his empire before he was murdered in Merw in 651 , with which the Sassanid empire finally fell into the hands of the Arabs.


  • Abd al-Husain Zarrinkub: The Arab Conquest of Iran and Its Aftermath. In: Arthur John Arberry (Ed.): The Cambridge History of Iran . Volume 4: RN Frye (Ed.): The period from the Arab invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge u. a. 1975, ISBN 0-521-20093-8 , pp. 1-56.
  • James Howard-Johnston : Witnesses to a World Crisis. Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century . Oxford 2010.


  1. Ps.-Sebeos 44,141. See Robert W. Thomson (translation), James Howard-Johnston (commentary): The Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos . 2 vols. Translated Texts for Historians . Liverpool University Press, Liverpool 1999, pp. 104f. (English translation) and pp. 251-253 (commentary).