Battle of Talas

The Battle of Talas or Battle of Artlakh (Chinese: 怛羅斯戰役; pinyin: dáluósī zhànyì; Arabic: معركة نهر طلاس, romanized: Maʿrakat nahr Ṭalās, Nastaliq: معركة نهر طلاس) was a military engagement between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate along with its ally, the Tibetan Empire, against the Chinese Tang dynasty. In July 751 AD, Tang and Abbasid forces met in the valley of the Talas River to vie for control over the Syr Darya region of central Asia. After several days of stalemate, the Karluk Turks, originally allied to the Tang, defected to the Abbasid Arabs (Chinese sources) and tipped the balance of power, resulting in a Tang rout.

Battle of Talas
Part of the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana

Battle of Talas
DateBetween May–September 751
Location
Result Abbasid victory
Belligerents
Abbasid Caliphate
Tibetan Empire
Tang dynasty
Karluk mercenaries (defected to the Abbasid side during the battle)
Commanders and leaders
Abu Muslim
Ziyad ibn Salih[1]
Gao Xianzhi
Li Siye
Duan Xiushi[1]
Strength
Unknown 30,000–50,000[2]
Casualties and losses
unknown 20,000–50,000
Map of the Transoxiana area, with the Talas River (upper right)

The defeat marked the end of the Tang westward expansion and resulted in Muslim Arab control of Transoxiana for the next 400 years. Control of the region was economically beneficial for the Abbasids because it was on the Silk Road. Chinese prisoners captured in the aftermath of the battle are said to have brought paper-making technology to the Arab World and the Middle East, from where it eventually spread to Europe.