Dara

Dara was a Byzantine fort in Syria. Anastasius I of the Byzantine Empire fortified it in 506 as a stronghold against Persian invasions on the frontier in Mesopotamia. He renamed the town Anastasiopolis, but the new name was rarely used.

The construction of Dara, including the damming of a river to provide a large and secure water supply, combined with the advanced design of the fortifications, added to its situation so close to the frontier, caused the wars that errupted during the reign of Justinian I.

In 530, Belisarius defeated the Persians near Dara, despite being outnumbered. In 540 and 544 it was attacked by Khosrau I, who was unable to take it either time. Khosrau captured it in 573, which was said to have caused Justin II to go insane. Justin's wife Sophia and his friend Tiberius II Constantine took control of the empire, and Justin died in 578. Meanwhile the Persians were able to march further into the empire, attacking Armenia, but Khosrau died in 579.

Maurice I defeated the Persians at Dara in 586 and recaptured the fortress, but the Persians under Khosrau II defeated the Byzantines in 604. This time Persians destroyed the city, but the Byzantines later rebuilt it. In 639 the Arabs captured it, and it remained in their hands until 942 when it was sacked by the Byzantines. It was sacked again by John Tzimisces in 958, but the Byzantines never recaptured it.


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