Vahan (Byzantine commander)

Vahan (Armenian: Վահան) was a Byzantine military leader. He was probably killed shortly after the Battle of Yarmouk in 636.

Vahan, an Armenian who had been the garrison commander of Emesa[1] and served as magister militum per Orientem during the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, was the overall field commander at Yarmouk. While Vahan and part of his forces avoided destruction in the battle itself, they were pursued and killed by the Arab mobile guard during their subsequent retreat to Damascus, although other accounts state that a disgraced Vahan may have retired to a monastery in Sinai.[2]

Arab sources emphasise the "noble and righteous conduct" of Vahan compared to other Roman commanders.[3] Claims that Vahan or his soldiers had rebelled against Emperor Heraclius prior to Yarmouk are likely to be smears intended to pin the blame for the defeat on the Armenian.[4]


  1. ^ (in Armenian) Bartikyan, Hrach. «Վահան» (Vahan). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1985, p. 243.
  2. ^ Crawford, Peter (2013). The War of the Three Gods: Romans, Persians and the Rise of Islam. Pen & Sword. p. 132.
  3. ^ El-Cheikh, Nadia Maria (2004). Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies. ISBN 978-0-932885-30-2.
  4. ^ Kaegi, Walter Emil (1995). Byzantium and the early Islamic conquests. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-48455-8. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)