- Dynasty of caliphs founded by Muawiya (qq.v.) in 661, ending the civil war with Ali (son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad [q.v.]) that had erupted after the assassination of Uthman (q.v.) in 656. Its capital was Damascus (q.v.). Until the battle of Akroinon (q.v.) in 740 the Umayyads maintained the offensive against Byzantium (q.v.) at sea, and in Asia Minor (q.v.), besieging Constantinople (q.v.) twice (674-678, and in 717-718 under Maslamah [q.v.]). The caliphate was overthrown in 750 by the Abbasids (q.v.), but one member of the Umayyads escaped to Spain (q.v.) to found the Umayyad caliphate at Cordoba (q.v.), which lasted until 1031.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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