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Mosul - Near Battle of Gaugamela

Mosul - Near Battle of Gaugamela Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Geography Social Studies Visual Arts World History

The Battle of Gaugamela, fought between Alexander the Great and Darius III, likely took place somewhere northeast of the Tigris River between the northern Iraqi town of Arbela (known as Erbil today) and Mosul (Al Mawsil) in today’s Iraq.

Mosul has a very interesting history. Continuously inhabited for around 8,000 years, it is located about 250 miles (396 kilometers) northwest of Bagdad.

The Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University (which is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program) describes Mosul’s unique history:

Built on the site of an earlier Assyrian fortress, Mosul succeeded Nineveh which was founded by the Assyrians as an outpost or citadel located on the right bank of the Tigris, across from the ancient city of Nineveh (now the town of Ninewa).

In circa 850 BC, King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria chose the city of Nimrud to build his capital city where present day Mosul is located. In approximately 700 BC, King Sennacherib made Nineveh the new capital of Assyria.

The mound of Kuyunjik in Mosul is the site of the palaces of King Sennacherib and his grandson Ashurbanipal. Probably built on the site of an earlier Assyrian fortress, Mosul later succeeded Nineveh as the Tigris bridgehead of the road that linked Syria and Anatolia with Persia.

Mosul became a commercial center of the Persian Empire in the 6th c. BC. It became part of the Seleucid Empire after Alexander's conquests in 332 BC before being re-taken by the Parthians in 224 BC.

The city changed hands once again with the rise of Sassanid Persia in 225 AD before falling to Muslim rule in 637 AD during the period of the Muslim Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, Utba bin Farqad Al-Salami was the leader of the Muslims Army that conquered the city. It was promoted to the status of capital of Mesopotamia under the Umayyads in the 8th century, during which it reached a peak of prosperity.

During the Abbassid era, Mosul was an important trading center because of its strategic location, astride the trade routes to India, Persia and the Mediterranean. In 1127 it became the centre of power of the Zengid dynasty.

Saladin besieged the city unsuccessfully in 1182, but in the 13th century it was conquered and destroyed by the Mongols; although it was later rebuilt under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and remained important, it did not regain its earlier grandeur. It remained under Ottoman control until 1918.

The city is a historic center for Christian Assyrians, containing the tombs of several Old Testament prophets such as Jonah, who is commemorated in a rare joint Muslim/Christian shrine (originally a Nestorian church, now a mosque).

The city of Mosul, still a key location in today's northern Iraq, is at issue in modern times as well as ancient times.  It was captured in 2014 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his insurgents who are alternatively known as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), IS (Islamic State) and Daesh (an acronym for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham).

In 2016, another fierce battle is being waged in (and around) Mosul as Iraqis—and their coalition forces—try to free the city, and its environs, from IS control. 

The image, at the top of this page, depicts scenes from Mosul.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 16, 2017


Media Credits

Images online via Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University (funded by U.S. Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program).

 

 

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