Map of the Lakhmid kingdom.
scant Paganism[clarification needed]
|•||Annexed by Sassanid Empire||602|
The Lakhmids (Arabic: اللخميون), Banu Lakhm (Arabic: بنو لخم), or Muntherids (Arabic: المناذرة), were an Arab Christian kingdom who lived in Southern Iraq, and made al-Hirah their capital in 266. Poets described it as a Paradise on earth; an Arab poet described the city's pleasant climate and beauty thus: "One day in al-Hirah is better than a year of treatment". The al-Hirah ruins are located 3 kilometers south of Kufa, on the west bank of the Euphrates. Their descendants today are the Mandharis, present in the Sultanate of Oman, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, the Na'amanis, another Arab tribe in Oman, and several other tribes and families. All of the aforementioned tribes belong to either Ibadi or Sunni Islam. Some other descendants include the powerful Druze Arslan princely family.
The Lakhmid Kingdom was founded by the Lakhum tribe that emigrated from Yemen in the 2nd century and ruled by the Banu Lakhm, hence the name given it. The founder of the dynasty was 'Amr, whose son Imru' al-Qais (not to be confused with the poet Imru' al-Qais who lived in the 6th century) is claimed to have converted to Christianity according to Western authors.
Imru' al-Qais dreamt of a unified and independent Arab kingdom and, following that dream, he seized many cities in Arabia. He then formed a large army and developed the Kingdom as a naval power, which consisted of a fleet of ships operating along the Bahraini coast. From this position he attacked the coastal cities of Iran (Persia) - which at that time was in civil war, due to a dispute as to the succession - even raiding the birthplace of the Sassanid kings, the province of Pars (Fars).
In 325, the Persians, led by Shapur II, began a campaign against the Arab kingdoms. When Imru' al-Qais realised that a mighty Persian army composed of 60,000 warriors was approaching his kingdom, he asked for the assistance of the Roman Empire. Constantius II promised to assist him but was unable to provide that help when it was needed. The Persians advanced toward al-Hirah and a series of vicious battles took place over al-Hirah and the surrounding cities.
Shapur II crushed the Lakhmid army and captured al-Hirah. He ordered the extermination of its population in retaliation of their raids on Pars. In this, the young Shapur acted much more violently than was normal at the time in order to demonstrate to both the Arab Kingdoms and the Persian nobility his power and authority. Shapur's title in Arabic is thul 'Aktāf meaning owner of the shoulders, as he pierced the shoulders of his captives and chained them to each other by a rope. He installed Aus ibn Qallam and gave the city autonomy, thus making the kingdom a buffer zone between the Persian Empire's mainland and the territory of other Arabs in the Peninsula.
Imru' al-Qais escaped to Bahrain, taking his dream of a unified Arab nation with him, and then to Syria seeking the promised assistance from Constantius II which never materialized, so he stayed there until he died. With him ended the dream of a united Arab kingdom until after the advent of Islam. When he died he was entombed at al-Nimarah in the Syrian desert.
Imru' al-Qais' funerary inscription is written in an extremely difficult type of script. Recently there has been a revival of interest in the inscription, and controversy has arisen over its precise implications. It is now certain that Imru' al-Qais claimed the title "King of all the Arabs" and also claimed in the inscription to have campaigned successfully over the entire north and centre of the peninsula, as far as the border of Najran.
Two years after his death, in the year 330, a revolt took place where Aus ibn Qallam was killed and succeeded by the son of Imru' al-Qais, 'Amr. Thereafter, the Lakhmids' main rivals were the Ghassanids, who were vassals of the Sassanids' arch-enemy, the Byzantine Empire. The Lakhmid kingdom could have been a major centre of the Nestorian sect of Christianity which was nurtured by the Sassanids, as it opposed the Orthodox religion of Byzantium.
The Lakhmids remained influential throughout the 6th century. Nevertheless, in 602, the last Lakhmid king, Nu'man III, was put to death by the Sassanid king Khosrau II because of a false suspicion of treason, and the Lakhmid kingdom was annexed. Islam overran the Sassanid Empire in the 7th century. At that point, the city was abandoned and its materials were used to re-construct Kufa, its exhausted twin city.
It is now widely believed that the annexation of the Lakhmid kingdom was one of the main factors behind the Fall of Sassanid dynasty to the Muslim Arabs and the Islamic conquest of Persia, as the Lakhmids agreed to act as spies for the Muslims after being defeated in the Battle of Hira by Khalid ibn al-Walid.
According to the Arab historian Abu ʿUbaidah (d. 824), Khosrau II was angry with King Numan III for refusing to give him his daughter in marriage, and therefore imprisoned him. Subsequently, Khusraw sent troops to recover the Numan family armor, but Hany bin Masud (Numan's friend) refused, and the Arab forces of Persian empire were annihilated at the battle of Dhi Qar, near Al-Hirah, the Lakhmid dynasty's capital. Hirah, sometimes spelled "Hira", stood just south of the Iraqi city of Kufa.
Lakhmid Kingdom facts
- al-Hirah became the cradle of the Arabic alphabet.
- Poets born in the Kingdom included: al-Nabighah al-Thubyani, Laqete ibn Ya'amur al-Ayadi, 'Alqama ibn 'Abada and Uday ibn Zaid al-Abbadi. Other great poets visited, like Tarafah ibn al-'Abd and Amr ibn Kulthum (who killed 'Amr III).
- The Sassanid army, along with al-Mundhir III ibn al-Nu'man himself and his army, defeated the famed Byzantine general Belisarius at the Battle of Callinicum (531).
- The Lakhmids sometimes had good relations with the Persians. Bahram V lived in Al-Hirah and was educated at the court of al-Mundhir I, whose support helped him gain the throne after the assassination of his father.
|1||'Amr I ibn Adi||268–295|
|2||Imru' al-Qays I ibn 'Amr||295–328|
|3||'Amr II ibn Imru' al-Qays||328–363|
|4||Aws ibn Qallam (non-dynastic)||363–368|
|5||Imru' al-Qays II ibn 'Amr||368–390|
|6||al-Nu'man I ibn Imru' al-Qays||390–418|
|7||al-Mundhir I ibn al-Nu'man||418–462|
|8||al-Aswad ibn al-Mundhir||462–490|
|9||al-Mundhir II ibn al-Mundhir||490–497|
|10||al-Nu'man II ibn al-Aswad||497–503|
|11||Abu Ya'fur ibn Alqama (non-dynastic, uncertain)||503–505|
|12||al-Mundhir III ibn al-Nu'man||503/5–554|
|13||'Amr III ibn al-Mundhir||554–569|
|14||Qabus ibn al-Mundhir||569–573|
|15||Suhrab (Persian governor)||573–574|
|16||al-Mundhir IV ibn al-Mundhir||574–580|
|17||al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir||580–602|
|18||Iyas ibn Qabisah al-Ta'i (non-dynastic)
with Nakhiragan (Persian governor)
|19||Azadbeh (Persian governor)
followed by the Muslim conquest of Persia
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The Lakhmid dynasty had a Prince once called Arslan bin Malek bin Barakat. After the abolishment of the Lakhmid Kingdom of the Hira, the family name of Arslan was given to the descendants of the dynasty. The Arslan family was sent to the coast of the Lebanon by the Muslim Khalifa in 634 and they were responsible of guarding the coast and protecting it. They ruled Beirut for 476 years (from 634 until 1110).
Prince Arslan bin al-Mundhir founded the Principality of Sin-el-Fil in 759 in Beirut . It was the base of the afterwards Principality of Mount Lebanon who was the base of the foundation of Greater Lebanon.
- Recent leaders of the Arslan family of Lebanon are
- Emir Toufic Arslan
- Emir Majid Arslan (Second World War until 1983)
- Emir Faysal Arslan (1983-1989)
- In conjunction with Emirah Khawlah Majid Arslan
- Emir Talal Arslan (1989–present)
Al Mandhari / Al Na'amani families
The "Mandhari and Na'amani tribes" are the main descendants of the Lakhmids in the Persian Gulf. They are, for the most part, the same family with superficial, simple differences. The main difference is that the Na'amani family traces its lineage back to al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir while the Mandhari family traces it back to his grandfather: king al-Mundhir ibn Imr'u alQais, but a significant number of members of the Al Mandhari tribe are descendants of king al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir. Both families are mainly situated in the Iraq, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate Of Oman. Both families are well known for their members engaging in merchantry and judicial responsibilities.
Al Abbadi dynasty
This family in particular descends from the Lakhmids that ruled the historical area of modern day Andalusia: Al-Andalus, known as the Abbadids. Members of this family are restricted to the descendants of the grandfather of powerful Abbabid king, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, who is said to be a descendant of the Lakhmid king AlNu'man III ibn AlMundhir, which makes the members of this dynasty members of the Na'amani and Mandhari families by phylogeny. This Dynasty is extinguished in male line with Prince Rashid and Prince Al-Radi that were killed. The most prominent member of the Abbadids was king Al'Mutamid ibn Abbad, who was the ruler of taifa of Seville, which was the biggest and most illustrious of all Muslim tai'fas of Andalusia. His shrine is in Morocco, particularly in Marrakesh.
- Iraq After the Muslim Conquest By Michael G. Morony, pg. 233
- History book of Ibn Khaldoun
- History book of Ibn al-Athir
- History book of Ibn Hisham
- Rothstein, Gustav (1899), Die Dynastie der Lahmiden in al-Hira. Ein Versuch zur arabisch-persischen Geschichte zur Zeit der Sasaniden (in German), Berlin: Reuther & Reichard
- Britannica Encyclopedia
- Bahrain government website "Arabic website"
- Article about al-Hira history "Arabic website"
- Al Sejel el Arslaneh (the book of the history of the Arslan dynasty)