Battle of Antioch (613)

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Battle of Antioch
Part of the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628
Date 613
Location Outside Antioch, Byzantine Empire (modern Syria)
Result Decisive Sassanid victory
Syria and Eastern Anatolia annexed to the Persian Empire.
Byzantine Empire Sassanid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Heraclius Shahrbaraz,
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Heavy Minimal

The Battle of Antioch took place in 613 outside Antioch, Syria between a Byzantine army led by Heraclius and a Persian Sassanid army as part of the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. The victorious Persians were able to maintain a hold on the recently taken Byzantine territory.


Beginning in 610, under Generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin, the Persian army conquered Byzantine-controlled territories in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and Kurdistan) and the Caucasus. The Byzantine Empire could not offer much resistance to the invading Persians, with Heraclius himself needing time to implement a number of internal initiatives to ensure he could raise the necessary funds and troops for a renewed war against Khosrau II, the Sassanid king. In the next year, continuing their success, the Persian force overran Syria and eastern Anatolia, capturing Christian cities, such as Antioch and Damascus. Ostensibly, the Persian army could not travel much further into Byzantine territory without confronting a centrally-assembled Eastern-Roman army.

In response to the sudden loss of territory on the Eastern frontier, Heraclius organized a capable-sized army and marched to Antioch. However, his counter-attack was decisively defeated in 613 outside Antioch. In the set battle, the Roman positions completely collapsed and a general rout of the Byzantine army led to an easy victory for Sharbaraz and Shahin.


The victory at Antioch ensured the Persians would maintain the recently overran Byzantine territory.

In the coming decade, Sassanid forces penetrated deeper into Byzantine territory. Jerusalem and all of Palestine fell to Shahrbaraz in 614, while Shahin made further inroads into central and western Anatolia,[1] and the Persian expansion reached its pinnacle with the successful siege of Alexandria in the spring of 619, which led to the annexation of Egypt.[2]

The Quran referred to this battle in the 30th chapter which was revealed shortly after the battle, Surat al-Rum. In it, Allah mentions that "The Romans [Byzantines] have been defeated. In a land close by; but they will soon be victorious-Within a few years. Allah's is the command before and after; and on that day the believers shall rejoice."[Quran 30:2-4].[3] The Polytheists of Mecca made fun of the Muslims because of this Prophecy as the chances of this happening were grim. Abu Bakr made a bet with Ubayy bin Khalaf for ten camels that the prophecy would come true within three years, the bet was later revised from ten to a hundred camels and duration from three to nine years i.e. if the Romans defeated Persians in under nine years Ubayy bin Kahlad would pay Abu Bakr a hundred camels and vice versa otherwise. Eventually the Byzantines did defeat the Persians 9 years later at the Battle of Issus in 622 fulfilling the Prophecy made in Quran and hence Abu bakr won but by the time betting had been forbidden in Islam so he had to give out his gains as charity. This incident is referred by Muslims as another Miracle of Quran.


  1. ^ Foss, Clive (1975), "The Persians in Asia Minor and the End of Antiquity", The English Historical Review, 90 (357): 721–747, doi:10.1093/ehr/XC.CCCLVII.721 
  2. ^ Mehta, Virasp (December 23, 2005), Causes of the Downfall of the Sassanian Empire, Palo Alto: 
  3. ^ Tafheem-ul-Quran Volume 3, Introduction to Sura Room (Rome)ie Chapter#30 and the explanation of the first four verses