The Muslim victory over the Byzantine army in the battle of Pella, in the winter of 635 CE, brought in its wake the fall of the city to the Arabs, although not its destruction. The city surrendered to the conqueror and signed terms of capitulation that provided for peaceful co-existence, without any real shocks, even though both in status and appearance Scythopolis had by now declined from its former greatness. At some unknown time after the conquest the administrative system was reorganized; it still maintained its Byzantine components but changed the administrative centers. The capital of Jund Urdan, which was approximately comparable in area to that of the province Palestina Secunda, was moved to Tiberias, where the jund’s administration was established with its ruling bodies and Beisan, as Scythopolis was now called, forfeited its assets. But at the same time the city was still situated on a main crossroads and therefore enjoyed a bustling commercial and economic existence.


There was a certain strangeness that prevailed in the city’s urban landscape where some of the distinct symbols of the Roman-Byzantine culture were still used. The city’s colonnaded streets, piazzas, city gates, theater, agora, propylaia, nymphaea and other monuments next to them were now background scenery, devoid of content for a city that was gradually changing its lifestyle and function from that of a polis to madina. The population of the city also changed slowly and it now included an increasingly large number of Muslim residents that had recently arrived. Besides Greek, Arabic was also now used. The Byzantine coins, sometimes re-struck, continued to be used and it seems that the day to day life in the civic center of the city, like that also in the churches and monasteries on the outskirts of the city, continued normally at this time.