The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Among
the Papyri Collection at the Austrian National Library (Die
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), a
previously unknown archive has recently discovered a series of letters which
could shed light on the history of the Arab conquest of the Middle-East in the 7th
Arab conquest of a large part of the Middle-East including the Iranian world and
North Africa took place within a very short period of time which changed the
course of history.
question has remained as to how the Arab armies had been able to defeat two
mighty Eastern Roman-Byzantine and the Sasanian Persian Empires in such a short
period of time and so successfully. The lack of information is mainly due to
poor source historical materials. In addition no historical documents on the
“daily business” of the Arab army were previously at hand. However, the new
information reveals the processes and background leading to the conquest.
special feature of the letters is that how the Arabs were able to invade such a
massive territory as Egypt with such a small army of 4,000 soldiers. According
to the letters Amr, the commander of Arab forces was ordered to avoid killing
the civilians in Egypt, contrary to the invasion of Iran two years earlier which
was taken place in a most brutal fashion.
the discovered Papyri there are also a number of documents written in Sasanian-Pahlavi,
date to the period that Egypt was under the Sasanian rule (619-629). These
documents are about the imperial Sasanian forces stationed in Egypt and their
life-style during their stay, which are yet to be studied.
The archive is currently under the digitisation process and will be accessible to the public in early 2011.
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