Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani

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Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani (Arabic: السمح بن مالك الخولاني‎) was the Arab governor general of Al-Andalus from between 718 and 721.[1]

He led a Muslim incursion into current southern France in the early part of the 8th century . After some initial success leading a large Arab army into Visigothic Septimania and besieging a number of towns and cities including Narbonne,[2] Béziers, Agde, Lodève, Maguelonne (Montpellier) and Nîmes, he returned to Muslim Iberia to gather more Muslim fighters prior to attacking the strongly defended Aquitanian capital city of Toulouse.

He returned to Septimania and on to southeastern Aquitaine with a massive army, siege engines, infantry, horsemen and mercenaries. The siege of Toulouse, with its near-impregnable walls, lasted until early summer. The defenders, short of provisions, were close to breaking when, around June 9, 721, Eudes the Great, the duke of Aquitaine, returned at the head of a large Aquitanian and Frankish force, attacking al-Samh's rear and launching a highly successful encircling movement. A major, decisive battle ensued. Caught between the Toulouse defenders and Eudes's men, al-Samh tried to break out, but was trapped with the bulk of his troops in a place that came to be called by Muslim chroniclers Balat al Shuhada ('the path of the martyrs') where he made a determined last stand as his army was decimated by the Christian forces.

Al-Samh himself was critically wounded and died shortly afterwards.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, David L. (2008). God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 56. ISBN 0-393-06472-7. 
  2. ^ Hitti, Philip Khuri (2002). History of Syria Including Lebanon and Palestine, Vol. 1. Gorgias Press LLC. p. 468. ISBN 1-931956-60-X. 
Preceded by
Al-Hurr ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Thaqafi
Governor of Al-Andalus
719–721
Succeeded by
Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi