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The battle took place following a series of Arab raids around Gaza. The Byzantine commander (dux and candidatus) Sergius assembled a small detachment of soldiers (due to a shortage of troops), and led that mounted army from his base at Caesarea some 125 kilometers south to the vicinity of Gaza. From there he proceeded against an Arab force that was numerically superior and commanded by 'Amr ibn al-'As. The opposing forces met at the village of Dathin on February 4, not far from Gaza. The Byzantines were defeated and the candidatus Sergius himself was killed, together with 300 of his soldiers. The battle also claimed the lives of 4,000 civilians.
^A. Palmer (with contributions from S. Brock and R. G. Hoyland), The Seventh Century In The West-Syrian Chronicles Including Two Seventh-Century Syriac Apocalyptic Texts, 1993, op. cit., pp. 18-19; Also see R. G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey And Evaluation Of Christian, Jewish And Zoroastrian Writings On Early Islam, 1997, op. cit., p. 119 and p. 120: "On Friday, 4 February, at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of M?hmet (Muhammad) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician Yarden, whom the Arabs killed. Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region."
^Al-Tabari, p. 108, and al-Baladhuri, pp. 167-68, do not name the Byzantine commander, referring to him only by the general rank of patrician (ba?r?q). Theophanes, p. 37, names Sergius, but does not specify the location of the battle and dates it to 632-633 AD.
Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Jabir. The Origins of the Islamic State, Part I. Trans. Philip Khuri Hitti. New York: Columbia University, 1916.
"Extract From a Chronicle Composed About AD 640." The Seventh Century in the West-Syrian Chronicles. Trans. Andrew Palmer. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993. ISBN0-85323-238-5
Le Strange, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslem: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land, From A.D. 650 to 1500. London: A. P. Watt.
Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir. The History of al-Tabari, Volume XI: The Challenge to the Empires. Trans. Khalid Yahya Blankinship. Ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993. ISBN0-7914-0851-5