On This Day
680 – The Battle of Karbala marks the Martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali.
The Battle of Karbala (Arabic: مَعْرَكَة كَرْبَلَاء) was fought on 10 October 680 (10 Muharram in the year 61 AH of the Islamic calendar) between the army of the second Umayyad Caliph Yazid I and a small army led by Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, at Karbala, Sawad (modern-day southern Iraq).
Prior to his death, the Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I had nominated his son Yazid as his successor. Yazid’s nomination was contested by the sons of a few prominent companions of Muhammad, including Husayn, son of the fourth caliph Ali, and Abd Allah ibn Zubayr, son of Zubayr ibn al-Awwam. Upon Muawiyah’s death in 680 CE, Yazid demanded allegiance from Husayn and other dissidents. Husayn did not give allegiance and traveled to Mecca. The people of Kufa, an Iraqi garrison town and the center of Ali’s caliphate, were averse to the Syria-based Umayyad caliphs and had a long-standing attachment to the house of Ali. They proposed Husayn overthrow the Umayyads. On Husayn’s way to Kufa with a retinue of about 70 men, his caravan was intercepted by a 1,000-strong army of the caliph at some distance from Kufa. He was forced to head north and encamp in the plain of Karbala on 2 October, where a larger Umayyad army of 4,000[a] arrived soon afterwards. Negotiations failed after the Umayyad governor Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad refused Husayn safe passage without submitting to his authority, a condition declined by Husayn. Battle ensued on 10 October during which Husayn was killed along with most of his relatives and companions, while his surviving family members were taken prisoner. The battle was followed by the Second Fitna, during which the Iraqis organized two separate campaigns to avenge the death of Husayn; the first one by the Tawwabin and the other one by Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and his supporters.
The Battle of Karbala galvanized the development of the pro-Alid[b] party (Shi’at Ali) into a unique religious sect with its own rituals and collective memory. It has a central place in Shi’a history, tradition, and theology, and has frequently been recounted in Shi’a literature. For the Shi’a, Husayn’s suffering and death became a symbol of sacrifice in the struggle for right against wrong, and for justice and truth against injustice and falsehood. It also provides the members of the Shi’a faith with a catalog of heroic norms. The battle is commemorated during an annual ten-day period during the Islamic month of Muharram by Shi’a, culminating on tenth day of the month, known as the Day of Ashura. On this day, Shi’a Muslims mourn, hold public processions, organize religious gathering, beat their chests and in some cases self-flagellate. Sunni Muslims likewise regard the incident as a historical tragedy; Husayn and his companions are widely regarded as martyrs by both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.
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1138 – A massive earthquake strikes Aleppo; it is one of the most destructive earthquakes ever.
The 1138 Aleppo earthquake was among the deadliest earthquakes in history. Its name was taken from the city of Aleppo, in northern Syria, where the most casualties were sustained, although the earthquake caused damage and chaos to many other places surrounding Syria, such as Turkey, a city European crusaders had built, and Damascus. The quake occurred on 11 October 1138 and was preceded by a smaller quake on the 10th. It is frequently listed as the third deadliest earthquake in history, following on from the Shensi and Tangshan earthquakes in China. However, the figure of 230,000 deaths reported by Ibn Taghribirdi in the fifteenth century is most likely based on a historical conflation of this earthquake with earthquakes in November 1137 on the Jazira plain and the large seismic event of 30 September 1139 in the Transcaucasian city of Ganja.
Born On This Day
AD 19 – Tiberius Gemellus, Roman son of Drusus Julius Caesar and Livilla (d. 38)
Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus (Latin: Tiberius Caesar Drusi filius Tiberii Augusti nepos divi Augusti pronepos, 10 October AD 19–37/38) was the son of Drusus and Livilla, the grandson of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousin of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning “the twin”. His twin brother, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Germanicus II Gemellus, died as a young child in 23. His father and older cousins died, and are suspected by contemporary sources as having been systematically eliminated by the powerful praetorian prefect Sejanus. Their removal allowed Gemellus and Caligula to be named joint-heirs by Tiberius in 35, a decision that ultimately resulted in Caligula assuming power and having Gemellus killed (or forced to kill himself) in late 37 or early 38.
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1492 – Charles Orlando, Dauphin of France, French noble (d. 1495)
Charles Orlando, Dauphin of France (French: Charles Orland, Dauphin de France) (11 October 1492 – 16 December 1495) was the eldest son and heir of Charles VIII of France and Anne of Brittany.
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