Jalula Revealed: Where Ancient Powers Collided in the 7th Century

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3 min readNov 23, 2023

Jalula fell to Muslim forces in 637 AD as a consequence of the Persian army’s defeat. After many years of searching, archaeologists have discovered the ruins of this fortress in Iraq.

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The discovery was announced by the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH). So far, only fragments of the city have been uncovered. Further excavations are yet to come.

The ancient city of Jalula should not be confused with the modern Jalula, founded in 1958. This city is located on the opposite bank near the village of Bahiza. The ancient city was an important trading center and had significant strategic importance.

During surface surveys, Iraqi archaeologist Ahmed Abdul Jabbar Khamas stumbled upon remnants of the structures.

Battle of Jalula

History heard about this city in the 7th century when two ancient powers clashed here. Persian forces belonging to the Sasanian dynasty occupied the fortress of Jalula.

They were attacked by Muslims, the forces of the so-called Rightly Guided Caliphs (632–661), who began territorial conquests. They ruled shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, around 632 AD. The Rightly Guided Caliphs were religious, political, and military leaders. ‘Caliph’ (from the Arabic ‘khalifa’) was the title of the successors to the Prophet. The caliphate was a system of Islamic theocracy.

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Fall of the Sasanian Empire

The Caliph regarded Jalula as an obstacle to advancing towards the cities of Tikrit and Mosul. Therefore, he ordered General Hashim ibn Utbah to lead 12,000 soldiers to capture the city. The battles were very bloody. Ultimately, the city fell after a seven-month siege. It was a significant success, considering that the Sasanian forces outnumbered them by around 8,000 soldiers.

This was one in a series of defeats for the Sasanians. As a consequence of the caliphs’ invasions, their empire collapsed after several hundred years of existence. The last Sasanian ruler, Yazdegerd III (reigned…