Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The emirate of Crete: Foundation and Byzantine reconquest

The first period had been abruptly stopped by the Arab invasion and occupation of the island. According to recent research by historians the emirate of Crete is presented as a civilised muslim state and not as a pitate nest as it was considered by historians of older times.

The emirate of Crete(Ikritis in the Arab sources) was founded approximately in 823 AD and it marked the begining of a new Arab thalassocracy. It's first Emir and founder was Abu Hafs( Αποχαψ Apohaps in Byzantine sources) who along with other muslims was driven out of Andalusia after an unsuccesful uprising. However before occupying Crete Abu Hafs seized Alexandria for a short time.

It is strange that Islamic studies are not so much interested in the history of the Emirate of Crete especially if we consider how much it harmed the Byzantine empire and how much it affected the Eastern Mediterranean region. For historians the Byzantine campaign for reclaiming Crete under the leadership of Nicephoros Phocas labels the begining of the so called second period of Byzantine Crete.

More at General and Hellenic History