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Jund Dimashq

Syria (Bilad al-Sham) and its provinces under the Abbasid Caliphate in the 9th century

Jund Dimashq (Arabic: جند دمشق‎) was the largest of the sub-provinces (ajnad, sing. jund), into which Syria was divided under the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. It was named after its capital and largest city, Damascus ("Dimashq"), which in the Umayyad period was also the capital of the Caliphate.

Geography and administrative division

Unlike any other province of the Caliphate, Syria was divided by the early Umayyads into several (originally four, later five) sub-provinces or ajnad (singular jund, "army division"), which in their original inception were the areas from which a particular army division drew its pay, provisions and recruits.[1][2] The province of Damascus, jund Dimashq, was the largest of the ajnad, comprising most of central Syria. Its borders encompassed roughly the former Byzantine provinces of Phoenice Prima, Phoenice Libanensis, and Arabia.[3][4]

Later Arab geographers divide the jund of Damascus into the following districts: the Ghuta plain around Damascus, known as the "Garden Land" for its fertility; the Hawran and Bathaniyya, with Adra'a as capital; Jawlan; Jaydur (mentioned only by Yaqut al-Hamawi); Hula; Balqa; al-Sharah, with capital at Adhruh, sometimes recorded as belonging to Jund Filastin; and al-Jibal.[5] Other principal towns and cities were Beirut, Sidon, Tyre (the tax proceeds of which went to Jund al-Urdunn), Tripoli and Jubail along the coast. The coastal cities and their immediate surroundings formed their own small districts.[6]

In its tribal make-up, the jund of Damascus was chiefly Yamani, but with a sizeable minority of Qaysi tribes.[3] The annual tax proceeds of the province totalled 450,000 gold dinars according to Ya'qubi, 400,000 according to al-Baladhuri, and 420,000 according to al-Jahshiyari; Qudama ibn Ja'far gives the low number of 110,000 dinars, but this probably reflects the effects of the civil war of the Fourth Fitna.[7] In terms of troops, under the Caliph al-Walid I (r. 705–715), 45,000 men were in the rolls for the jund of Damascus, although presumably not all of them were effectives.[8]


  1. ^ Cobb 2001, pp. 11–12.
  2. ^ Blankinship 1994, pp. 47–48.
  3. ^ a b Cobb 2001, p. 13.
  4. ^ Blankinship 1994, p. 48.
  5. ^ Le Strange 1890, pp. 32–35.
  6. ^ Le Strange 1890, pp. 32–35, 39.
  7. ^ Blankinship 1994, p. 49.
  8. ^ Blankinship 1994, pp. 49–50.


  • Cobb, Paul M. (2001). White banners: contention in ‘Abbāsid Syria, 750–880. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.  

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