Umayyad Caliphate

Muawiya captured naval base at Rhodes
654 Jan 1

Muawiya captured naval base at Rhodes

Rhodes, Greece

Dominance of the eastern Mediterranean enabled Mu'awiya's naval forces to raid Crete and Rhodes in 653. From the raid on Rhodes, Mu'awiya remitted significant war spoils to Uthman. In 654 or 655, a joint naval expedition launched from Alexandria, Egypt and the harbors of Syria routed a Byzantine fleet commanded by the Byzantine Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668) off the Lycian coast at the Battle of the Masts. Constans II was forced to sail to Sicily, opening the way for an ultimately unsuccessful Arab naval attack on Constantinople. The Arabs were commanded by either the governor of Egypt, Abd Allah ibn Abi Sarh, or Mu'awiya's lieutenant Abu'l-A'war. Nonetheless, the Muslim victory was a significant event in the naval history of the Mediterranean Sea. From long being considered a ‘Roman lake’, the Mediterranean became a contending point between the naval might of the rising Caliphate and the Eastern Roman Empire. The victory also paved the path for uncontested Muslim expansion along the coastline of North Africa.