Battle of Dathin

The Battle of Dathin (Arabic: داثن)[3][4] was a battle during the Arab–Byzantine Wars between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire in February 634, but became very famous in the literature of the period.[5]

Battle of Dathin
Part of the Arab–Byzantine Wars
Date4 February 634[1]
Dathin, near Gaza, Palaestina Prima
Result Rashidun victory
Rashidun Caliphate Simple Labarum2.svg Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
'Amr ibn al-'As Dux Sergius 
8,000 Outnumbered
Casualties and losses
Unknown 300
4,000 civilian deaths[2]

The battle took place following a series of Arab raids around Gaza. The Byzantine commander (dux and candidatus) Sergius assembled a small detachment of soldiers (due to a shortage of troops), and led that mounted army from his base at Caesarea some 125 kilometers south to the vicinity of Gaza. From there he proceeded against an Arab force that was numerically superior[6] and commanded by 'Amr ibn al-'As.[7][8] The opposing forces met at the village of Dathin on February 4, not far from Gaza.[1][9] The Byzantines were defeated and the candidatus Sergius himself was killed, together with 300 of his soldiers.[10][11] The battle also claimed the lives of 4,000 civilians.

According to the near-contemporary Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati, the Muslim victory was celebrated by the local Jews,[5] who had been a persecuted minority within the Roman Empire.


  1. ^ a b Kaegi 1992, p. 93.
  2. ^ A. Palmer (with contributions from S. Brock and R. G. Hoyland), The Seventh Century In The West-Syrian Chronicles Including Two Seventh-Century Syriac Apocalyptic Texts, 1993, op. cit., pp. 18–19; Also see R. G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey And Evaluation Of Christian, Jewish And Zoroastrian Writings On Early Islam, 1997, op. cit., p. 119 and p. 120:
    "On Friday, 4 February, at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Mụhmet (Muhammad) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician Yarden, whom the Arabs killed. Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region."
  3. ^ Le Strange 1890, p. 574.
  4. ^ Variant forms of the name include al-Dāthinah, al-Dabiyyah and al-Dābiyah; al-Tabari, p. 108 & n. 587
  5. ^ a b Kaegi 1992, p. 110.
  6. ^ Kaegi, p. 93, speculated that the Arab army may have numbered "more than one thousand, perhaps double or triple that."
  7. ^ Al-Tabari, p. 108
  8. ^ Crawford 2014, p. 110.
  9. ^ "Extract," pp. 18-19
  10. ^ Kaegi 1992, pp. 90–93.
  11. ^ Al-Tabari, p. 108, and al-Baladhuri, pp. 167-68, do not name the Byzantine commander, referring to him only by the general rank of patrician (baṭrīq). Theophanes, p. 37, names Sergius, but does not specify the location of the battle and dates it to 632-633 AD.


  • Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Jabir. The Origins of the Islamic State, Part I. Trans. Philip Khuri Hitti. New York: Columbia University, 1916.
  • "Extract From a Chronicle Composed About AD 640." The Seventh Century in the West-Syrian Chronicles. Trans. Andrew Palmer. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-85323-238-5
  • Kaegi, Walter E. (1992). Byzantium and the early Islamic conquests. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-41172-6.
  • Le Strange, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslem: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land, From A.D. 650 to 1500. London: A. P. Watt.
  • Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir. The History of al-Tabari, Volume XI: The Challenge to the Empires. Trans. Khalid Yahya Blankinship. Ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993. ISBN 0-7914-0851-5
  • Theophanes the Confessor. The Chronicle of Theophanes. Ed. and trans. Harry Turtledove. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. ISBN 0-8122-1128-6
  • Crawford, Peter (2014). The War of the Three Gods: Romans, Persians, and the Rise of Islam. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1629145129.