- Arab allies foederati [q.v.]) of Byzantium (q.v.) who defended the frontier of Syria (q.v.) in the sixth century. Their greatest prince was al-Harith, called Arethas by the Byzantines. Justinian I (q.v.) awarded him the title of phylarch in the wars with Persia (q.v.), and with their Arab allies, the rival Lakhmids (q.v.). The Ghassanids professed Monophysitism (q.v.), which Justinian I tolerated, and which his empress Theodora (q.v.) supported, but Justinian I's successors did not. Nevertheless, the Ghassanids continued to be of service to Byzantium. In 580 al-Mundhir (Alamundarus [q.v.]; not to be confused with the Lakhmid ruler Alamundarus [q.v.]), son of Arethas, destroyed Hira (q.v.), capital of the Lakhmids, and the Ghassanids fought valiantly at the battle of Yarmuk (q.v.) in 636, after which they were resettled in Asia Minor (q.v.).
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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