19 April

The Battle of Callinicum took place on this day in 531 AD, between the armies of the Byzantine Empire under Belisarius and the Sassanid Persians under Āzārethes.

After a defeat at the Battle of Dara, the Sassanids moved to invade Syria in an attempt to turn the tide of the war. Belisarius’ rapid response foiled the plan, and his troops pushed the Persians to the edge of Roman Syria through skilful manoeuvring before forcing a battle. During the battle Azarethes reinforced his left wing and the Byzantine right wing was beaten back, this led to the Byzantine cavalry routing and caused the centre to break. Infantry led by Petrus managed to delay the Persian advance until the defenders could complete their retreat across the river. Very heavy casualties on both sides gave the Persians what proved to be a pyrrhic victory.