Sasanian reconquest of Yemen

The Sasanian reconquest of Yemen took place in 575 or 578[1] after Aksumite men killed Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan after a reign of some four years and took control of Yemen. The rising took place when the protecting Persian garrison withdrew from Yemen. The Sassanids, this time with a force of 4,000 men, managed to reconquer Yemen and install Sayf’s son, Maʿdī Kareb as ruler.[2]

Sasanian reconquest of Yemen
Part of the Abyssinian–Persian wars
Date575 or 578
Result Decisive Sasanian victory
Ethiopian rule ceased in the Arabian peninsula
Yemeni rule as vassals of the Sassanians established
Sasanian Empire Kingdom of Aksum
Commanders and leaders
4,000 Unknown

A pre-Islamic Arabian poet, Umayya bin Abi al-Salt, has praised the victory of the Persians in one of his poems. His poem is recorded in Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani's Kitab al-Aghani.[3]

A Persian military force now remained in Yemen for over fifty years, with a Persian governor at Maʿdī Kareb’s side. The names of the successive Persian governors are as follows, according to Tabari (there is some variation in the sources over the names):[2]

  • Wahriz
  • Marzbān (son of Wahriz)
  • Bīnagār (son of Marzbān)
  • Kharra Khusraw (son of Bīnagār)
  • Bādhān or Bādhām, who was unconnected with Wahriz's line and replaced Kharra Khusraw due to the assimilation of the latter into the local culture.[2]

The Persian garrison of soldiers and officials settled down in Sana'a and its vicinity and intermarried with the local Arab population, and it was the sons of these Persian fathers and Arab mothers, with their descendants, who became known as the abnāʾ.[2]


  1. ^ "ABNĀʾ – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  2. ^ a b c d "ABNĀʾ – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  3. ^ Zakeri, Mohsen (1995). Sasanid Soldiers in Early Muslim Society: The Origins of 'Ayyārān and Futuwwa. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 98. ISBN 9783447036528.