Great Battles in Miniature

The Battle of Nineveh was fought in 627 AD between the forces of the Byzantine Empire, under the Emperor Haraclius, and those of the Sassanid Persian Empire, under the Persian King Chosroes II's lieutenant, Rhahzhad.  The battle spelled the end to the last war between the two empires, a war which began with the Persians' advance into the Holy Land, the capture of the True Cross and an unsuccessful assault on Constantinople.  Heraclius dealt with these threats in turn and proceeded to invade the Persian imperial heartland through Asia Minor and Armenia.  Chosroes, despatched a covering force to shadow Heraclius' force.  The battle took place on the upper reaches of the Tigris River.  The Persian force was in pursuit but quickly became the pursued as Heraclius' army feigned retreat only to turn about and deliver a decisive defeat.  Losses were not overwhelming, but the inability of the Persian force to effectively dissuade the Byzantine route of march left the imperial heartland open and brought the war to an end.

The Battle of Nineveh, seen in the distance from the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capital.

The Byzantine left flank moving out against the Persian nobles. 

The Byzantine reserve and command.

Byzantine center.

Persian heavy cavalry attacking the center.

Persian right center.

Byzantine heavy cavalry making a surprise counter attack against the onrushing light cavalry of the Persian left flank.

An onslaught of steel.  As the Byzantine right surges forward.

Battlefield panorama.  From behind the Persian left.

The right center of the Persian line.

Battlefield panorama with ruins of Nineveh in the background.

The Persian right, with Nineveh ruins behind the Byzantines.

The Persian center.

The corps of Persian nobles.

Battlefield panorama from behind Byzantine left flank.

The battle as seen from the ancient ruins

Byzantine medium cavalry attacking