, also Banū Ghassān
"Sons of Ghassān"), also called the Jafnids
were a pre-Islamic Arab
tribe which founded an Arab kingdom. They emigrated from Yemen
in the early 3rd century to the Levant
Some merged with Hellenized
converting to Christianity
in the first few centuries AD, while others may have already been Christians before emigrating north to escape religious persecution.
Migration from Yemen
The date of the migration to the Levant is unclear, but they are believed to have arrived in the region of Syria between 250 and 300 AD and later waves of migration circa 400 AD.
Their earliest appearance in records is dated to 473 AD, when their chief Amorkesos signed a treaty with the Eastern Roman Empire acknowledging their status as foederati
controlling parts of Palestine. He apparently became Chalcedonian
at this time. By the year 510, the Ghassanids were no longer Miaphysite
, but Chalcedonian
They became the leading tribe among the Arab foederati, such as Banu Amela
and Banu Judham
Near East in 565 AD, showing the Ghassanids and their neighbors.
After originally settling in the Levant, the Ghassanids became a client state
to the Eastern Roman Empire. The Romans found a powerful ally in the Ghassanids who acted as a buffer zone against the Lakhmids
. In addition, as kings of their own people, they were also phylarchs, native rulers of client frontier states.
The capital was at Jabiyah
in the Golan Heights
. Geographically, it occupied much of the eastern Levant
, and its authority extended via tribal alliances with other Azdi
tribes all the way to the northern Hijaz
as far south as Yathrib (Medina
The Eastern Roman Empire
was focused more on the East and a long war with the Persians was always their main concern. The Ghassanids maintained their rule as the guardian of trade routes, policed Lakhmid
tribes and was a source of troops for the imperial army. The Ghassanid king al-Harith ibn Jabalah
(reigned 529–569) supported the Byzantines against SassanidPersia
and was given in 529 by the emperor Justinian I, the highest imperial title that was ever bestowed upon a foreign ruler; also the status of patricians.
In addition to that, al-Harith ibn Jabalah was given the rule over all the Arab allies of the Byzantine Empire.
Al-Harith was a Miaphysite
Christian; he helped to revive the Syrian Miaphysite (Jacobite) Church
and supported Miaphysite development despite Orthodox
Byzantium regarding it as heretical
. Later Byzantine mistrust and persecution of such religious unorthodoxy brought down his successors, al-Mundhir
(reigned 569–582) and Nu'man.
The Ghassanids, who had successfully opposed the Persian allied Lakhmids
of al-Hirah (Southern modern-day Iraq
), prospered economically and engaged in much religious and public building; they also patronized the arts and at one time entertained the Arabian
poets Nabighah adh-Dhubyani
and Hassan ibn Thabit
at their courts.
The Ghassanids remained a Byzantine vassal state
until its rulers and the eastern Byzantine Empire
were overthrown by the Muslims
in the 7th century, following the Battle of Yarmuk
in 636 AD. At the time of the Muslim conquest the Ghassanids were no longer united by the same Christian faiths: some of them accepted union with the Byzantine Chalcedonian
church; others remained faithful to Miaphysitism
and a significant number of them maintained their Christian religious identity and decided to side with the Muslim armies to emphasize their loyalty to their Arabic roots and in recognition of the wider context of a rising Arab Empire under the veil of Islam.
It is worth noting that a significant percentage of the Muslim armies in the Battle of Mu'tah
(معركة مؤتة) were Christian Arabs.
Several of those Christian Arab tribes in today's modern Jordan who sided with the Muslim armies were recognized by exempting them from paying jizya (جزية).
Jizya is a form of tax paid by non-Muslims – Muslims paid another form of tax called Zakah (زكاة). Later those who remained Christian joined Melkite
Syriac communities. The remnants of the Ghassanids were dispersed throughout Asia Minor
Jabalah ibn-al-Aiham's ordeal with Islam
There are different opinions why Jabalah and his followers didn't convert to Islam. Some opinions go along the general idea that the Ghassanids were not interested yet in giving up their status as the lords and nobility of Syria
Below is quoted the story of Jabalah's return to the land of the Byzantines as told by 9th-century historian al-Baladhuri
Jabalah ibn-al-Aiham sided with the Ansar (Azdi
Muslims from Medina) saying, "You are our brethren and the sons of our fathers" and professed Islam. After the arrival of 'Umar ibn-al-Khattab in Syria
, year 17 (636AD), Jabalah had a dispute with one of the Muzainah and knocked out his eye. 'Umar ordered that he be punished, upon which Jabalah said, "Is his eye like mine? Never, by Allah, shall I abide in a town where I am under authority." He then apostatized and went to the land of the Greeks (the Byzantines). This Jabalah was the king of Ghassan and the successor of al-Harith ibn-abi-Shimr (or Chemor).
After the fall of the first kingdom of Ghassan, King Jabalah ibn-al-Aiham established a Government-in-exile in Byzantium.
Ghassanid influence on the empire lasted centuries; the climax of this presence was the elevation of one of his descendants, Nikephoros I
(ruled 802-811) to the throne and his establishment of a short-lived dynasty that can be described as the Nikephorian or Phocid Dynasty in the 9th century.
But Nikephoros was not only a mere Ghassanid descendant, he claimed the headship of the Ghassanid Dynasty using the eponym of King Jafna, the founder of the Dynasty, rather than merely express himself descendant of King Jabalah.
Ghassanid King Al-Harith in his tent, speaking with the Abu Zayd to the right. Al-Harith was a popular character of Arab history, folktales, and sagas.
Medieval Arabic authors used the term Jafnids for the Ghassanids, a term modern scholars prefer at least for the ruling stratum of Ghassanid society.
Earlier kings are traditional, actual dates highly uncertain.
- Jafnah I ibn ‘Amr (220–265)
- ‘Amr I ibn Jafnah (265–270)
- Tha‘labah ibn Amr (270–287)
- al-Harith I ibn Tha‘labah (287–307)
- Jabalah I ibn al-Harith I (307–317)
- al-Harith II ibn Jabalah "ibn Maria" (317–327)
- al-Mundhir I Senior ibn al-Harith II (327–330) with...
- al-Aiham ibn al-Harith II (327–330) and...
- al-Mundhir II Junior ibn al-Harith II (327–340) and...
- al-Nu'man I ibn al-Harith II (327–342) and...
- ‘Amr II ibn al-Harith II (330–356) and...
- Jabalah II ibn al-Harith II (327–361)
- Jafnah II ibn al-Mundhir I (361–391) with...
- al-Nu‘man II ibn al-Mundhir I (361–362)
- al-Nu‘man III ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Mundhir I (391–418)
- Jabalah III ibn al-Nu‘man (418–434)
- al-Nu‘man IV ibn al-Aiham (434–455) with...
- al-Harith III ibn al-Aiham (434–456) and...
- al-Nu‘man V ibn al-Harith (434–453)
- al-Mundhir II ibn al-Nu‘man (453–472) with...
- ‘Amr III ibn al-Nu‘man (453–486) and...
- Hijr ibn al-Nu‘man (453–465)
- al-Harith IV ibn Hijr (486–512)
- Jabalah IV ibn al-Harith (512–529)
- al-Amr IV ibn Machi (Mah’shee) (529)
- al-Harith V ibn Jabalah (529–569)
- al-Mundhir III ibn al-Harith (569–581) with...
- Abu Kirab al-Nu‘man ibn al-Harith (570–582)
- al-Nu'man VI ibn al-Mundhir (581–583)
- al-Harith VI ibn al-Harith (583)
- al-Nu‘man VII ibn al-Harith Abu Kirab (583–?)
- al-Aiham ibn Jabalah (?–614)
- al-Mundhir IV ibn Jabalah (614–?)
- Sharahil ibn Jabalah (?–618)
- Amr IV ibn Jabalah (628)
- Jabalah V ibn al-Harith (628–632)
- Jabalah VI ibn al-Aiham (632–638)
The Ghassanids reached their peak under al-Harith V and al-Mundhir III. Both were militarily successful allies of the Byzantines, especially against their enemies the Lakhmids, and secured Byzantium's southern flank and its political and commercial interests in Arabia proper. On the other hand, the Ghassanids remained fervently dedicated to Miaphysitism, which brought about their break with Byzantium and Mundhir's own downfall and exile, which was followed after 586 by the dissolution of the Ghassanid federation.
The Ghassanids' patronage of the Miaphysite Syrian Church was crucial for its survival and revival, and even its spread, through missionary activities, south into Arabia. According to the historian Warwick Ball
, the Ghassanids' promotion of a simpler and more rigidly monotheistic form of Christianity in a specifically Arab context can be said to have anticipated Islam
Ghassanid rule also brought a period of considerable prosperity for the Arabs on the eastern fringes of Syria, as evidenced by a spread of urbanization
and the sponsorship of several churches, monasteries and other buildings. The surviving descriptions of the Ghassanid courts impart an image of luxury and an active cultural life, with patronage of the arts, music and especially Arab-language poetry. In the words of Ball, "the Ghassanid courts were the most important centres for Arabic poetry before the rise of the Caliphal
courts under Islam", and their court culture, including their penchant for desert palaces like Qasr ibn Wardan
, provided the model for the Umayyad
caliphs and their court.
After the fall of the first kingdom in the 7th century, several dynasties, both Christian and Muslim, ruled claiming to be a continuation of the House of Ghassan.
Besides the Phocid or Nikephorian Dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, other rulers claimed to be the heirs of the Royal Ghassanids. The Rasulid Sultans ruled from the 13th until the 15th century in Yemen.
And the Burji Mamluk Sultans in Egypt from the 14th until the 16th century.
The last rulers to bear the titles of Royal Ghassanid successors were the Christian Sheikhs Al-Chemor
in Mount Lebanon ruling the small sovereign sheikhdoms of Akoura (from 1211 until 1641 CE) and Zgharta-Zwaiya (from 1643 until 1747 CE).
Last descendant king
Today in Brazil, there is a prince who says that he is the legitimate heir of the Ghassanid royal family, and he has already obtained recognition by two courts (Brazilian and American) of his right to the Ghassanid throne. Prince Garyus bin Al-Nu'man bin Al-Mundhir sits today at the head of what is called the " Royal Ghassanid House ", which is based in Beverly Hills
(California), and describes himself as the president of an "international, non-profit, non-political, secular, cultural, educational and charitable association ."
Notes and references
- ^ a b c d Saudi Aramco World: The Kind of Ghassan. Barry Hoberman. http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198302/the.king.of.ghassan.htm Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 31 January 2014.
- ^ a b c d Bowersock, G. W.; Brown, Peter; Grabar, Oleg (1998). Late Antiquity: A guide to the Postclassical World. Harvard University Press. Late Antiquity - Bowersock/Brown/Grabar.
- ^ "Deir Gassaneh".
- ^ a b c bury, john (January 1958). History of the Later Roman Empire from the Death of Theodosius I. to the Death of Justinian, Part 2. courier dover publications. ISBN 9780486203997.
- ^ a b Hoberman, Barry. The King of Ghassan. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume II (C-G): [Fasc. 23-40, 40a]. Brill. 28 May 1998. p. 1020. ISBN 978-90-04-07026-4.
- ^ Cuvigny & Robin 1996, pp. 704–706.
- ^ Irfan Shahid, 1989, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century.
- ^ Fisher, Greg (2015). Arabs and Empires Before Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-19-965452-9.
- ^ Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, vol. 1, Irfan Shahîd, 1995, p. 103
- ^ Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2 part 2, Irfan Shahîd, pg. 164
- ^ Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology: An Introductory Handbook, p. 160, at Google Books
- ^ "History". Sovereign Imperial & Royal House of Ghassan. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014.
- ^ Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, vol. 2, part 1, Irfan Shahîd 1995, p. 51
- ^ Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, vol. 2, part 1, Irfan Shahîd 1995, p. 51-104
- ^ Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, vol. 2, part 1, Irfan Shahîd, 1995, p. 51
- ^ The Origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic of the Kitab Futuh al-Buldha of Ahmad ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, trans. by P. K. Hitti and F. C. Murgotten, Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, LXVIII (1916-1924), I, 208-209
- ^ Ghassan Resurrected, Yasmine Zahran 2006, p. 13
- ^ Ghassan post Ghassan, Irfan Shahid, Festschrift "The Islamic World - From classical to modern times", for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press 1989, p. 325
- ^ Ghassan post Ghassan, Irfan Shahid, Festschrift "The Islamic World - From classical to modern times", for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press 1989, p. 334
- ^ Tarik, Tabari (Cairo, 1966), VIII, p. 307
- ^ Ball 2000, pp. 102–103; Shahîd 1991, pp. 1020–1021.
- ^ Ball 2000, p. 105; Shahîd 1991, p. 1021.
- ^ Ball 2000, pp. 103–105; Shahîd 1991, p. 1021.
- ^ Late Antiquity - Bowesock/Brown/Grabar, Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 469
- ^ Ghassan post Ghassan, Irfan Shahid, Festschrift "The Islamic World - From classical to modern times", for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press 1989, p. 332
- ^ Ghassan post Ghassan, Irfan Shahid, Festschrift "The Islamic World - From classical to modern times", for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press 1989, p. 328
- ^ http://nna-leb.gov.lb/ar/show-report/371/
- ^ "مقابلة مع أمير الغساسنة غـاريوس بن النعمان". رصيف 22. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- ^ حر, مفكر (11 November 2014). "عودة الغساسنة في القرن الـ 21". Freethinker مفكر حر. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- ^ "أمير الغساسنة يزور مسقط رأس أجداده أم الجمال". assabeel.net (in Arabic). 18 September 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- ^ "أمير الغساسنة (غاريوس) يزور (أم الجمال الأثرية)". Alrai (in Arabic). 17 September 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- Ball, Warwick (2000). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-02322-6.
- Bukharin, Mikhail D. (2009). "Towards the Earliest History of Kinda" (PDF). Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy. 20 (1): 64–80. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0471.2008.00303.x.
- Cuvigny, Hélène; Robin, Christian (1996). "Des Kinaidokolpites dans un ostracon grec du désert oriental (Égypte)". Topoi. Orient-Occident. 6 (2): 697–720.
- Fisher, Greg (2018). "Jafnids". In Oliver Nicholson (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Vol. 2: J–Z. Oxford University Press. p. 804.
- Fowden, Elizabeth Key (1999). The Barbarian Plain: Saint Sergius Between Rome and Iran. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21685-7.
- Greatrex, Geoffrey; Lieu, Samuel N. C. (2002). The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (Part II, 363–630 AD). London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-14687-9.
- Millar, Fergus: "Rome's 'Arab' Allies in Late Antiquity". In: Henning Börm - Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.), Commutatio et Contentio. Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East. Wellem Verlag, Düsseldorf 2010, pp. 159–186.
- Shahîd, Irfan (1991). "Ghassānids". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
- Shahîd, Irfan (1991). "Ghassān". The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume II: C–G. Leiden and New York: Brill. pp. 462–463. ISBN 90-04-07026-5.
- Shahîd, Irfan (1995). Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 1. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks. ISBN 978-0-88402-214-5.
Last edited on 8 May 2021, at 20:29
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