chapter  3
Yarmūk – another view
Pages 27

The Yarmuk battle, as reconstructed by modern historians from Arab narratives, took place at the Golan Heights and lasted for about one month in the summer of 636. Armenians and local Christian Arabs, all under the command of the Armenian general Vahan. The Arab forces are under the command of Abu Ubayda b. al-Jarra, a leading figure among the Emigrants and the ten early Muslims. At one point, the Muslims feigned a retreat from their positions and lured Byzantine troops into rough terrain and a devastating ambush. They separated the Byzantine cavalry from the infantry and decimated the Christians. A recurrent topos is an all-out Christian mobilization, whereby even monks abandon their cells and join the military ranks, while clergymen recite the Bible, sing hymns and carry crosses to lift spirits up. The participation of clergymen in the Christian camp is noted more than once, while, for the Muslims, jihad and martyrdom are the recurrent notions.