The Battle of the Trench
also known as Battle of the Confederates
, was a fortnight-long siege of Yathrib
) by Arab
tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan numbered 3000. The battle began on March 31, 627. The outnumbered defenders of Medina, mainly Muslims
led by Islamic prophet Muhammad
, opted to dig and fight from a trench rather than face the tribes in the open. The trench together with Medina's natural fortifications rendered the confederate cavalry
(consisting of horses and camels
) useless, locking the two sides in a stalemate. Hoping to make several attacks at once, the confederates persuaded the Banu Qurayza
to attack the city from the south. However, Muhammad's diplomacy
derailed the negotiations, and broke up the confederacy against him. The well-organized defenders, the sinking of confederate morale, and poor weather conditions caused the siege to end in a fiasco
. The siege was a "battle of wits", in which Muslims diplomatically overcame their opponents with very few casualties. Efforts to defeat the Muslims failed, and Islam
became influential in the region. As a consequence, the Muslims besieged the Qurayza, and upon the latter's unconditional surrender
. The defeat also caused the Meccans to lose their trade and much of their prestige.
A young woman from Ramallah, c. 1898-1914. Until the 1940s, women of Palestine wore elaborate handcrafted garments. The creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in their lives. A knowledgeable observer could determine a woman's village of origin and social status from her clothing. The circular band near this woman's forehead is a ring of coins made from a portion of her dowry money, and indicates that she is unmarried.