Battle of Dathin

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Battle of Dathin
Part of the Arab–Byzantine Wars
Date 634
Location Dathin
Result Rashidun victory
Rashidun Caliphate Roman (Byzantine) Empire
Commanders and leaders
Abu Umamah al-Bahili Dux Sergius 
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown 300

The Battle of Dathin (Arabic: داثن‎‎)[1] was a minor battle during the Arab–Byzantine Wars between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire in February 634, but became very famous in the literature of the period.[2]

The battle took place following a series of Arab raids around Gaza. The Byzantine commander (dux and candidatus) Sergius assembled a small detachment of soldiers (due to a shortage of troops), and led that mounted army from his base at Caesarea some 125 kilometers south to the vicinity of Gaza. From there he proceeded against an Arab force that was likely numerically superior[3] and commanded by Abu Umamah al-Bahili.[4] The opposing forces met at the village of Dathin on February 4, 634 AD, not far from Gaza.[5] The Byzantine were defeated and the candidatus Sergius himself was killed, together with 300 of his soldiers.[6]

According to the near-contemporary Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati, the Muslim victory was celebrated by the local Jews,[2] who had been a persecuted minority within the Roman Empire.


  1. ^ Le Strange, p. 574. Variant forms of the name include al-Dāthinah, al-Dabiyyah and al-Dābiyah; al-Tabari, p. 108 & n. 587
  2. ^ a b Kaegi, p. 94
  3. ^ Kaegi, p. 93, speculated that the Arab army may have numbered "more than one thousand, perhaps double or triple that."
  4. ^ Al-Tabari, p. 108
  5. ^ Kaegi, p. 93; "Extract," pp. 18-19
  6. ^ Kaegi, pp. 90-93. Al-Tabari, p. 108, and al-Baladhuri, pp. 167-68, do not name the Byzantine commander, referring to him only by the general rank of patrician (baṭrīq). Theophanes, p. 37, names Sergius, but does not specify the location of the battle and dates it to 632-633 AD.


  • Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Jabir. The Origins of the Islamic State, Part I. Trans. Philip Khuri Hitti. New York: Columbia University, 1916.
  • "Extract From a Chronicle Composed About AD 640." The Seventh Century in the West-Syrian Chronicles. Trans. Andrew Palmer. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-85323-238-5
  • Kaegi, Walter E. Byzantium and the early Islamic conquests. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-521-41172-6
  • Le Strange, Guy. Palestine Under the Moslem: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land, From A.D. 650 to 1500. London: A. P. Watt, 1890.
  • Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir. The History of al-Tabari, Volume XI: The Challenge to the Empires. Trans. Khalid Yahya Blankinship. Ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993. ISBN 0-7914-0851-5
  • Theophanes the Confessor. The Chronicle of Theophanes. Ed. and trans. Harry Turtledove. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. ISBN 0-8122-1128-6