|806||Battle of Heraclea (Heraclea Cybistra)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||The Arabs captured the city||September 806|
|War & Enemy:||
|The Battlefield|| Location:
Near modern Eregli in Konya Province, in central Asia Minor
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Nikephoros I)||The Enemies|
|Background story:||Following the deposition of Empress Irene of Athens in October 802 and the accession of Nikephoros I, a more violent phase in the long history of the Byzantine-Arab Wars began. In 804, the Byzantines were defeated in Krasos and sued for peace agreeing to pay an annual tribute. The treaty was violated by Nikephoros next year when, using the opportunity of Harun al-Rashid’s absence to Khurasan, he rebuilt the destroyed walls of several frontier towns and launched the first Byzantine raid in two decades into Cilicia. The Byzantines took Tarsus and besieged -unsuccessfully- Melitene while another Byzantine army raided the Upper Mesopotamia.|
Harun al-Rashid returned to the west and prepared the largest operation ever launched by the Abbasids against the Byzantine Empire. The huge Abbasid army, reportedly numbering more than 135,000 men, raided across Cappadocia unopposed, capturing several towns. Harun's lieutenant Abdallah ibn Malik al-Khuza'i took Sideropalos, from where Harun's cousin Dawud ibn 'Isa ibn Musa with half the Abbasid army (reportedly 70,000 men) was sent to devastate Cappadocia.
Andrasos was captured and Kyzistra was placed under siege, while raiders reached as far as Ancyra, which they did not capture.
Harun himself with the other half of his forces went west and captured Heraclea after a month-long siege (August/September). The city of Heraclea Cybista was at a strategic location, near the point where the road to the Cilician Gates enters the Taurus mountains. The city was plundered and razed, and its inhabitants enslaved and deported to the Caliphate.
|Aftermath:||Nikephoros, outnumbered and threatened by the Bulgars in his rear, could not resist the Abbasid onslaught. He avoided engagement in major battle and finally sued for peace which violated the next year.|