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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5 by Edward Gibbon

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were violated by impious war; Arabia was ruled by the rod of a
subject, perhaps of a stranger; and the Bedoweens of the desert,
awakening from their dream of dominion, resumed their old and
solitary independence. ^187

[Footnote 187: The writers of the Modern Universal History (vols.
i. and ii.) have compiled, in 850 folio pages, the life of
Mahomet and the annals of the caliphs. They enjoyed the
advantage of reading, and sometimes correcting, the Arabic text;
yet, notwithstanding their high-sounding boasts, I cannot find,
after the conclusion of my work, that they have afforded me much
(if any) additional information. The dull mass is not quickened
by a spark of philosophy or taste; and the compilers indulge the
criticism of acrimonious bigotry against Boulainvilliers, Sale,
Gagnier, and all who have treated Mahomet with favor, or even

Chapter LI: Conquests By The Arabs.

Part I.

The Conquest Of Persia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, And Spain, By
The Arabs Or Saracens. - Empire Of The Caliphs, Or Successors Of
Mahomet. - State Of The Christians, &c., Under Their Government.

The revolution of Arabia had not changed the character of
the Arabs: the death of Mahomet was the signal of independence;
and the hasty structure of his power and religion tottered to its
foundations. A small and faithful band of his primitive
disciples had listened to his eloquence, and shared his distress;
had fled with the apostle from the persecution of Mecca, or had
received the fugitive in the walls of Medina. The increasing
myriads, who acknowledged Mahomet as their king and prophet, had
been compelled by his arms, or allured by his prosperity. The
polytheists were confounded by the simple idea of a solitary and
invisible God; the pride of the Christians and Jews disdained the
yoke of a mortal and contemporary legislator. The habits of
faith and obedience were not sufficiently confirmed; and many of
the new converts regretted the venerable antiquity of the law of
Moses, or the rites and mysteries of the Catholic church; or the
idols, the sacrifices, the joyous festivals, of their Pagan
ancestors. The jarring interests and hereditary feuds of the
Arabian tribes had not yet coalesced in a system of union and
subordination; and the Barbarians were impatient of the mildest
and most salutary laws that curbed their passions, or violated
their customs. They submitted with reluctance to the religious
precepts of the Koran, the abstinence from wine, the fast of the
Ramadan, and the daily repetition of five prayers; and the alms
and tithes, which were collected for the treasury of Medina,
could be distinguished only by a name from the payment of a
perpetual and ignominious tribute. The example of Mahomet had
excited a spirit of fanaticism or imposture, and several of his
rivals presumed to imitate the conduct, and defy the authority,
of the living prophet. At the head of the fugitives and
auxiliaries, the first caliph was reduced to the cities of Mecca,
Medina, and Tayef; and perhaps the Koreish would have restored
the idols of the Caaba, if their levity had not been checked by a
seasonable reproof. "Ye men of Mecca, will ye be the last to
embrace, and the first to abandon, the religion of Islam?" After
exhorting the Moslems to confide in the aid of God and his
apostle, Abubeker resolved, by a vigorous attack, to prevent the
junction of the rebels. The women and children were safely
lodged in the cavities of the mountains: the warriors, marching
under eleven banners, diffused the terror of their arms; and the
appearance of a military force revived and confirmed the loyalty
of the faithful. The inconstant tribes accepted, with humble
repentance, the duties of prayer, and fasting, and alms; and,
after some examples of success and severity, the most daring
apostates fell prostrate before the sword of the Lord and of
Caled. In the fertile province of Yemanah, ^1 between the Red
Sea and the Gulf of Persia, in a city not inferior to Medina
itself, a powerful chief (his name was Moseilama) had assumed the
character of a prophet, and the tribe of Hanifa listened to his
voice. A female prophetess ^* was attracted by his reputation;
the decencies of words and actions were spurned by these
favorites of Heaven; ^2 and they employed several days in mystic
and amorous converse. An obscure sentence of his Koran, or book,
is yet extant; ^3 and in the pride of his mission, Moseilama
condescended to offer a partition of the earth. The proposal was
answered by Mahomet with contempt; but the rapid progress of the
impostor awakened the fears of his successor: forty thousand
Moslems were assembled under the standard of Caled; and the
existence of their faith was resigned to the event of a decisive
battle. ^* In the first action they were repulsed by the loss of
twelve hundred men; but the skill and perseverance of their
general prevailed; their defeat was avenged by the slaughter of
ten thousand infidels; and Moseilama himself was pierced by an
Aethiopian slave with the same javelin which had mortally wounded
the uncle of Mahomet. The various rebels of Arabia without a
chief or a cause, were speedily suppressed by the power and
discipline of the rising monarchy; and the whole nation again
professed, and more steadfastly held, the religion of the Koran.
The ambition of the caliphs provided an immediate exercise for
the restless spirit of the Saracens: their valor was united in
the prosecution of a holy war; and their enthusiasm was equally
confirmed by opposition and victory.

[Footnote 1: See the description of the city and country of Al
Yamanah, in Abulfeda, Descript. Arabiae, p. 60, 61. In the
xiiith century, there were some ruins, and a few palms; but in
the present century, the same ground is occupied by the visions
and arms of a modern prophet, whose tenets are imperfectly known,
(Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 296 - 302.)]

[Footnote *: This extraordinary woman was a Christian; she was at
the head of a numerous and flourishing sect; Moseilama professed
to recognize her inspiration. In a personal interview he
proposed their marriage and the union of their sects. The
handsome person, the impassioned eloquence, and the arts of
Moseilama, triumphed over the virtue of the prophetesa who was
rejected with scorn by her lover, and by her notorious unchastity
ost her influence with her own followers. Gibbon, with that
propensity too common, especially in his later volumes, has
selected only the grosser part of this singular adventure. - M.]

[Footnote 2: The first salutation may be transcribed, but cannot
be translated. It was thus that Moseilama said or sung: -

Surge tandem itaque strenue permolenda; nam stratus tibi thorus est.
Aut in propatulo tentorio si velis, aut in abditiore cubiculo si malis;
Aut supinam te humi exporrectam fustigabo, si velis,
Aut si malis manibus pedibusque nixam.
Aut si velis ejus (Priapi) gemino triente aut si malis totus veniam.
Imo, totus venito, O Apostole Dei, clamabat foemina.
Id ipsum, dicebat
Moseilama, mihi quoque suggessit Deus.

The prophetess Segjah, after the fall of her lover, returned to
idolatry; but under the reign of Moawiyah, she became a
Mussulman, and died at Bassora, (Abulfeda, Annal. vers. Reiske,
p. 63.)]

[Footnote 3: See this text, which demonstrates a God from the
work of generation, in Abulpharagius (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p.
13, and Dynast. p. 103) and Abulfeda, (Annal. p. 63.)]

[Footnote *: Compare a long account of this battle in Price, p.
42. - M.]

From the rapid conquests of the Saracens a presumption will
naturally arise, that the caliphs ^! commanded in person the
armies of the faithful, and sought the crown of martyrdom in the
foremost ranks of the battle. The courage of Abubeker, ^4 Omar,
^5 and Othman, ^6 had indeed been tried in the persecution and
wars of the prophet; and the personal assurance of paradise must
have taught them to despise the pleasures and dangers of the
present world. But they ascended the throne in a venerable or
mature age; and esteemed the domestic cares of religion and
justice the most important duties of a sovereign. Except the
presence of Omar at the siege of Jerusalem, their longest
expeditions were the frequent pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca;
and they calmly received the tidings of victory as they prayed or
preached before the sepulchre of the prophet. The austere and
frugal measure of their lives was the effect of virtue or habit,
and the pride of their simplicity insulted the vain magnificence
of the kings of the earth. When Abubeker assumed the office of
caliph, he enjoined his daughter Ayesha to take a strict account
of his private patrimony, that it might be evident whether he
were enriched or impoverished by the service of the state. He
thought himself entitled to a stipend of three pieces of gold,
with the sufficient maintenance of a single camel and a black
slave; but on the Friday of each week he distributed the residue
of his own and the public money, first to the most worthy, and
then to the most indigent, of the Moslems. The remains of his
wealth, a coarse garment, and five pieces of gold, were delivered
to his successor, who lamented with a modest sigh his own
inability to equal such an admirable model. Yet the abstinence
and humility of Omar were not inferior to the virtues of
Abubeker: his food consisted of barley bread or dates; his drink
was water; he preached in a gown that was torn or tattered in
twelve places; and the Persian satrap, who paid his homage to the
conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the
mosch of Medina. Oeeconomy is the source of liberality, and the
increase of the revenue enabled Omar to establish a just and
perpetual reward for the past and present services of the
faithful. Careless of his own emolument, he assigned to Abbas,
the uncle of the prophet, the first and most ample allowance of
twenty-five thousand drachms or pieces of silver. Five thousand
were allotted to each of the aged warriors, the relics of the
field of Beder; and the last and meanest of the companions of
Mahomet was distinguished by the annual reward of three thousand
pieces. One thousand was the stipend of the veterans who had
fought in the first battles against the Greeks and Persians; and
the decreasing pay, as low as fifty pieces of silver, was adapted
to the respective merit and seniority of the soldiers of Omar.
Under his reign, and that of his predecessor, the conquerors of
the East were the trusty servants of God and the people; the mass
of the public treasure was consecrated to the expenses of peace
and war; a prudent mixture of justice and bounty maintained the
discipline of the Saracens, and they united, by a rare felicity,
the despatch and execution of despotism with the equal and frugal
maxims of a republican government. The heroic courage of Ali, ^7
the consummate prudence of Moawiyah, ^8 excited the emulation of
their subjects; and the talents which had been exercised in the
school of civil discord were more usefully applied to propagate
the faith and dominion of the prophet. In the sloth and vanity
of the palace of Damascus, the succeeding princes of the house of
Ommiyah were alike destitute of the qualifications of statesmen
and of saints. ^9 Yet the spoils of unknown nations were
continually laid at the foot of their throne, and the uniform
ascent of the Arabian greatness must be ascribed to the spirit of
the nation rather than the abilities of their chiefs. A large
deduction must be allowed for the weakness of their enemies. The
birth of Mahomet was fortunately placed in the most degenerate
and disorderly period of the Persians, the Romans, and the
Barbarians of Europe: the empires of Trajan, or even of
Constantine or Charlemagne, would have repelled the assault of
the naked Saracens, and the torrent of fanaticism might have been
obscurely lost in the sands of Arabia.

[Footnote !: In Arabic, "successors." V. Hammer Geschichte der
Assas. p. 14 - M.]

[Footnote 4: His reign in Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 251. Elmacin,
p. 18. Abulpharagius, p. 108. Abulfeda, p. 60. D'Herbelot, p.

[Footnote 5: His reign in Eutychius, p. 264. Elmacin, p. 24.
Abulpharagius, p. 110. Abulfeda, p. 66. D'Herbelot, p. 686.]

[Footnote 6: His reign in Eutychius, p. 323. Elmacin, p. 36.
Abulpharagius, p. 115. Abulfeda, p. 75. D'Herbelot, p. 695.]

[Footnote 7: His reign in Eutychius, p. 343. Elmacin, p. 51.
Abulpharagius, p. 117. Abulfeda, p. 83. D'Herbelot, p. 89.]

[Footnote 8: His reign in Eutychius, p. 344. Elmacin, p. 54.
Abulpharagius, p. 123. Abulfeda, p. 101. D'Herbelot, p. 586.]

[Footnote 9: Their reigns in Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 360 - 395.
Elmacin, p. 59 - 108. Abulpharagius, Dynast. ix. p. 124 - 139.
Abulfeda, p. 111 - 141. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p.
691, and the particular articles of the Ommiades.]

In the victorious days of the Roman republic, it had been
the aim of the senate to confine their councils and legions to a
single war, and completely to suppress a first enemy before they
provoked the hostilities of a second. These timid maxims of
policy were disdained by the magnanimity or enthusiasm of the
Arabian caliphs. With the same vigor and success they invaded
the successors of Augustus and those of Artaxerxes; and the rival
monarchies at the same instant became the prey of an enemy whom
they had been so long accustomed to despise. In the ten years of
the administration of Omar, the Saracens reduced to his obedience
thirty-six thousand cities or castles, destroyed four thousand
churches or temples of the unbelievers, and edified fourteen
hundred moschs for the exercise of the religion of Mahomet. One
hundred years after his flight from Mecca, the arms and the reign
of his successors extended from India to the Atlantic Ocean, over
the various and distant provinces, which may be comprised under
the names of, I. Persia; II. Syria; III. Egypt; IV. Africa;
and, V. Spain. Under this general division, I shall proceed to
unfold these memorable transactions; despatching with brevity the
remote and less interesting conquests of the East, and reserving
a fuller narrative for those domestic countries which had been
included within the pale of the Roman empire. Yet I must excuse
my own defects by a just complaint of the blindness and
insufficiency of my guides. The Greeks, so loquacious in
controversy, have not been anxious to celebrate the triumphs of
their enemies. ^10 After a century of ignorance, the first annals
of the Mussulmans were collected in a great measure from the
voice of tradition. ^11 Among the numerous productions of Arabic
and Persian literature, ^12 our interpreters have selected the
imperfect sketches of a more recent age. ^13 The art and genius
of history have ever been unknown to the Asiatics; ^14 they are
ignorant of the laws of criticism; and our monkish chronicle of
the same period may be compared to their most popular works,
which are never vivified by the spirit of philosophy and freedom.

The Oriental library of a Frenchman ^15 would instruct the most
learned mufti of the East; and perhaps the Arabs might not find
in a single historian so clear and comprehensive a narrative of
their own exploits as that which will be deduced in the ensuing

[Footnote 10: For the viith and viiith century, we have scarcely
any original evidence of the Byzantine historians, except the
chronicles of Theophanes (Theophanis Confessoris Chronographia,
Gr. et Lat. cum notis Jacobi Goar. Paris, 1665, in folio) and the
Abridgment of Nicephorus, (Nicephori Patriarchae C. P. Breviarium
Historicum, Gr. et Lat. Paris, 1648, in folio,) who both lived in
the beginning of the ixth century, (see Hanckius de Scriptor.
Byzant. p. 200 - 246.) Their contemporary, Photius, does not seem
to be more opulent. After praising the style of Nicephorus, he
adds, and only complains of his extreme brevity, (Phot. Bibliot.
Cod. lxvi. p. 100.) Some additions may be gleaned from the more
recent histories of Cedrenus and Zonaras of the xiith century.]

[Footnote 11: Tabari, or Al Tabari, a native of Taborestan, a
famous Imam of Bagdad, and the Livy of the Arabians, finished his
general history in the year of the Hegira 302, (A.D. 914.) At the
request of his friends, he reduced a work of 30,000 sheets to a
more reasonable size. But his Arabic original is known only by
the Persian and Turkish versions. The Saracenic history of Ebn
Amid, or Elmacin, is said to be an abridgment of the great
Tabari, (Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. preface, p.
xxxix. and list of authors, D'Herbelot, p. 866, 870, 1014.)]

[Footnote 12: Besides the list of authors framed by Prideaux,
(Life of Mahomet, p. 179 - 189,) Ockley, (at the end of his
second volume,) and Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Gengiscan, p.
525 - 550,) we find in the Bibliotheque Orientale Tarikh, a
catalogue of two or three hundred histories or chronicles of the
East, of which not more than three or four are older than Tabari.

A lively sketch of Oriental literature is given by Reiske, (in
his Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalifae librum memorialem ad calcem
Abulfedae Tabulae Syriae, Lipsiae, 1776;) but his project and the
French version of Petit de la Croix (Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. i.
preface, p. xlv.) have fallen to the ground.]

[Footnote 13: The particular historians and geographers will be
occasionally introduced. The four following titles represent the
Annals which have guided me in this general narrative. 1.
Annales Eutychii, Patriarchoe Alexandrini, ab Edwardo Pocockio,
Oxon. 1656, 2 vols. in 4to. A pompous edition of an indifferent
author, translated by Pocock to gratify the Presbyterian
prejudices of his friend Selden. 2. Historia Saracenica Georgii
Elmacini, opera et studio Thomae Erpenii, in 4to., Lugd.
Batavorum, 1625. He is said to have hastily translated a corrupt
Ms., and his version is often deficient in style and sense. 3.
Historia compendiosa Dynastiarum a Gregorio Abulpharagio,
interprete Edwardo Pocockio, in 4to., Oxon. 1663. More useful for
the literary than the civil history of the East. 4. Abulfedoe
Annales Moslemici ad Ann. Hegiroe ccccvi. a Jo. Jac. Reiske, in
4to., Lipsioe, 1754. The best of our chronicles, both for the
original and version, yet how far below the name of Abulfeda! We
know that he wrote at Hamah in the xivth century. The three
former were Christians of the xth, xiith, and xiiith centuries;
the two first, natives of Egypt; a Melchite patriarch, and a
Jacobite scribe.]

[Footnote 14: M. D. Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. pref. p.
xix. xx.) has characterized, with truth and knowledge, the two
sorts of Arabian historians - the dry annalist, and the tumid and
flowery orator.]

[Footnote 15: Bibliotheque Orientale, par M. D'Herbelot, in
folio, Paris, 1697. For the character of the respectable author,
consult his friend Thevenot, (Voyages du Levant, part i. chap.
1.) His work is an agreeable miscellany, which must gratify every
taste; but I never can digest the alphabetical order; and I find
him more satisfactory in the Persian than the Arabic history.
The recent supplement from the papers of Mm. Visdelou, and
Galland, (in folio, La Haye, 1779,) is of a different cast, a
medley of tales, proverbs, and Chinese antiquities.]

I. In the first year of the first caliph, his lieutenant
Caled, the Sword of God, and the scourge of the infidels,
advanced to the banks of the Euphrates, and reduced the cities of
Anbar and Hira. Westward of the ruins of Babylon, a tribe of
sedentary Arabs had fixed themselves on the verge of the desert;
and Hira was the seat of a race of kings who had embraced the
Christian religion, and reigned above six hundred years under the
shadow of the throne of Persia. ^16 The last of the Mondars ^*
was defeated and slain by Caled; his son was sent a captive to
Medina; his nobles bowed before the successor of the prophet; the
people was tempted by the example and success of their
countrymen; and the caliph accepted as the first-fruits of
foreign conquest an annual tribute of seventy thousand pieces of
gold. The conquerors, and even their historians, were astonished
by the dawn of their future greatness: "In the same year," says
Elmacin, "Caled fought many signal battles: an immense multitude
of the infidels was slaughtered; and spoils infinite and
innumerable were acquired by the victorious Moslems." ^17 But the
invincible Caled was soon transferred to the Syrian war: the
invasion of the Persian frontier was conducted by less active or
less prudent commanders: the Saracens were repulsed with loss in
the passage of the Euphrates; and, though they chastised the
insolent pursuit of the Magians, their remaining forces still
hovered in the desert of Babylon. ^!

[Footnote 16: Pocock will explain the chronology, (Specimen Hist.
Arabum, p. 66 - 74,) and D'Anville the geography, (l'Euphrate, et
le Tigre, p. 125,) of the dynasty of the Almondars. The English
scholar understood more Arabic than the mufti of Aleppo, (Ockley,
vol. ii. p. 34: ) the French geographer is equally at home in
every age and every climate of the world.]

[Footnote *: Eichhorn and Silvestre de Sacy have written on the
obscure history of the Mondars. - M.]

[Footnote 17: Fecit et Chaled plurima in hoc anno praelia, in
quibus vicerunt Muslimi, et infidelium immensa multitudine occisa
spolia infinita et innumera sunt nacti, (Hist. Saracenica, p.
20.) The Christian annalist slides into the national and
compendious term of infidels, and I often adopt (I hope without
scandal) this characteristic mode of expression.]

[Footnote !: Compare throughout Malcolm, vol. ii. p. 136. - M.]

The indignation and fears of the Persians suspended for a
moment their intestine divisions. By the unanimous sentence of
the priests and nobles, their queen Arzema was deposed; the sixth
of the transient usurpers, who had arisen and vanished in three
or four years since the death of Chosroes, and the retreat of
Heraclius. Her tiara was placed on the head of Yezdegerd, the
grandson of Chosroes; and the same aera, which coincides with an
astronomical period, ^18 has recorded the fall of the Sassanian
dynasty and the religion of Zoroaster. ^19 The youth and
inexperience of the prince (he was only fifteen years of age)
declined a perilous encounter: the royal standard was delivered
into the hands of his general Rustam; and a remnant of thirty
thousand regular troops was swelled in truth, or in opinion, to
one hundred and twenty thousand subjects, or allies, of the great
king. The Moslems, whose numbers were reenforced from twelve to
thirty thousand, had pitched their camp in the plains of Cadesia:
^20 and their line, though it consisted of fewer men, could
produce more soldiers, than the unwieldy host of the infidels. I
shall here observe, what I must often repeat, that the charge of
the Arabs was not, like that of the Greeks and Romans, the effort
of a firm and compact infantry: their military force was chiefly
formed of cavalry and archers; and the engagement, which was
often interrupted and often renewed by single combats and flying
skirmishes, might be protracted without any decisive event to the
continuance of several days. The periods of the battle of
Cadesia were distinguished by their peculiar appellations. The
first, from the well- timed appearance of six thousand of the
Syrian brethren, was denominated the day of succor. The day of
concussion might express the disorder of one, or perhaps of both,
of the contending armies. The third, a nocturnal tumult,
received the whimsical name of the night of barking, from the
discordant clamors, which were compared to the inarticulate
sounds of the fiercest animals. The morning of the succeeding
day ^* determined the fate of Persia; and a seasonable whirlwind
drove a cloud of dust against the faces of the unbelievers. The
clangor of arms was reechoed to the tent of Rustam, who, far
unlike the ancient hero of his name, was gently reclining in a
cool and tranquil shade, amidst the baggage of his camp, and the
train of mules that were laden with gold and silver. On the
sound of danger he started from his couch; but his flight was
overtaken by a valiant Arab, who caught him by the foot, struck
off his head, hoisted it on a lance, and instantly returning to
the field of battle, carried slaughter and dismay among the
thickest ranks of the Persians. The Saracens confess a loss of
seven thousand five hundred men; ^! and the battle of Cadesia is
justly described by the epithets of obstinate and atrocious. ^21
The standard of the monarchy was overthrown and captured in the
field - a leathern apron of a blacksmith, who in ancient times
had arisen the deliverer of Persia; but this badge of heroic
poverty was disguised, and almost concealed, by a profusion of
precious gems. ^22 After this victory, the wealthy province of
Irak, or Assyria, submitted to the caliph, and his conquests were
firmly established by the speedy foundation of Bassora, ^23 a
place which ever commands the trade and navigation of the
Persians. As the distance of fourscore miles from the Gulf, the
Euphrates and Tigris unite in a broad and direct current, which
is aptly styled the river of the Arabs. In the midway, between
the junction and the mouth of these famous streams, the new
settlement was planted on the western bank: the first colony was
composed of eight hundred Moslems; but the influence of the
situation soon reared a flourishing and populous capital. The
air, though excessively hot, is pure and healthy: the meadows are
filled with palm- trees and cattle; and one of the adjacent
valleys has been celebrated among the four paradises or gardens
of Asia. Under the first caliphs the jurisdiction of this
Arabian colony extended over the southern provinces of Persia:
the city has been sanctified by the tombs of the companions and
martyrs; and the vessels of Europe still frequent the port of
Bassora, as a convenient station and passage of the Indian trade.

[Footnote 18: A cycle of 120 years, the end of which an
intercalary month of 30 days supplied the use of our Bissextile,
and restored the integrity of the solar year. In a great
revolution of 1440 years this intercalation was successively
removed from the first to the twelfth month; but Hyde and Freret
are involved in a profound controversy, whether the twelve, or
only eight of these changes were accomplished before the aera of
Yezdegerd, which is unanimously fixed to the 16th of June, A.D.
632. How laboriously does the curious spirit of Europe explore
the darkest and most distant antiquities! (Hyde de Religione
Persarum, c. 14 - 18, p. 181 - 211. Freret in the Mem. de
l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xvi. p. 233 - 267.)]

[Footnote 19: Nine days after the death of Mahomet (7th June,
A.D. 632) we find the aera of Yezdegerd, (16th June, A.D. 632,)
and his accession cannot be postponed beyond the end of the first
year. His predecessors could not therefore resist the arms of
the caliph Omar; and these unquestionable dates overthrow the
thoughtless chronology of Abulpharagius. See Ockley's Hist. of
the Saracens, vol. i. p. 130.

Note: The Rezont Uzzuffa (Price, p. 105) has a strange
account of an embassy to Yezdegerd. The Oriental historians take
great delight in these embassies, which give them an opportunity
of displaying their Asiatic eloquence - M.]

[Footnote 20: Cadesia, says the Nubian geographer, (p. 121,) is
in margine solitudinis, 61 leagues from Bagdad, and two stations
from Cufa. Otter (Voyage, tom. i. p. 163) reckons 15 leagues,
and observes, that the place is supplied with dates and water.]

[Footnote *: The day of cormorants, or according to another
reading the day of reinforcements. It was the night which was
called the night of snarling. Price, p. 114. - M.]

[Footnote !: According to Malcolm's authorities, only three
thousand; but he adds "This is the report of Mahomedan
historians, who have a great disposition of the wonderful, in
relating the first actions of the faithful" Vol. i. p. 39. - M.]

[Footnote 21: Atrox, contumax, plus semel renovatum, are the
well-chosen expressions of the translator of Abulfeda, (Reiske,
p. 69.)]

[Footnote 22: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 297, 348.]

[Footnote 23: The reader may satisfy himself on the subject of
Bassora by consulting the following writers: Geograph, Nubiens.
p. 121. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 192. D'Anville,
l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 130, 133, 145. Raynal, Hist.
Philosophique des deux Indes, tom. ii. p. 92 - 100. Voyages di
Pietro della Valle, tom. iv. p. 370 - 391. De Tavernier, tom. i.
p. 240 - 247. De Thevenot, tom. ii. p. 545 - 584. D Otter, tom.
ii. p. 45 - 78. De Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 172 - 199.]

Chapter LI: Conquests By The Arabs.

Part II.

After the defeat of Cadesia, a country intersected by rivers
and canals might have opposed an insuperable barrier to the
victorious cavalry; and the walls of Ctesiphon or Madayn, which
had resisted the battering-rams of the Romans, would not have
yielded to the darts of the Saracens. But the flying Persians
were overcome by the belief, that the last day of their religion
and empire was at hand; the strongest posts were abandoned by
treachery or cowardice; and the king, with a part of his family
and treasures, escaped to Holwan at the foot of the Median hills.

In the third month after the battle, Said, the lieutenant of
Omar, passed the Tigris without opposition; the capital was taken
by assault; and the disorderly resistance of the people gave a
keener edge to the sabres of the Moslems, who shouted with
religious transport, "This is the white palace of Chosroes; this
is the promise of the apostle of God!" The naked robbers of the
desert were suddenly enriched beyond the measure of their hope or
knowledge. Each chamber revealed a new treasure secreted with
art, or ostentatiously displayed; the gold and silver, the
various wardrobes and precious furniture, surpassed (says
Abulfeda) the estimate of fancy or numbers; and another historian
defines the untold and almost infinite mass, by the fabulous
computation of three thousands of thousands of thousands of
pieces of gold. ^24 Some minute though curious facts represent
the contrast of riches and ignorance. From the remote islands of
the Indian Ocean a large provision of camphire ^25 had been
imported, which is employed with a mixture of wax to illuminate
the palaces of the East. Strangers to the name and properties of
that odoriferous gum, the Saracens, mistaking it for salt,
mingled the camphire in their bread, and were astonished at the
bitterness of the taste. One of the apartments of the palace was
decorated with a carpet of silk, sixty cubits in length, and as
many in breadth: a paradise or garden was depictured on the
ground: the flowers, fruits, and shrubs, were imitated by the
figures of the gold embroidery, and the colors of the precious
stones; and the ample square was encircled by a variegated and
verdant border. ^! The Arabian general persuaded his soldiers to
relinquish their claim, in the reasonable hope that the eyes of
the caliph would be delighted with the splendid workmanship of
nature and industry. Regardless of the merit of art, and the pomp
of royalty, the rigid Omar divided the prize among his brethren
of Medina: the picture was destroyed; but such was the intrinsic
value of the materials, that the share of Ali alone was sold for
twenty thousand drams. A mule that carried away the tiara and
cuirass, the belt and bracelets of Chosroes, was overtaken by the
pursuers; the gorgeous trophy was presented to the commander of
the faithful; and the gravest of the companions condescended to
smile when they beheld the white beard, the hairy arms, and
uncouth figure of the veteran, who was invested with the spoils
of the Great King. ^26 The sack of Ctesiphon was followed by its
desertion and gradual decay. The Saracens disliked the air and
situation of the place, and Omar was advised by his general to
remove the seat of government to the western side of the
Euphrates. In every age, the foundation and ruin of the Assyrian
cities has been easy and rapid: the country is destitute of stone
and timber; and the most solid structures ^27 are composed of
bricks baked in the sun, and joined by a cement of the native
bitumen. The name of Cufa ^28 describes a habitation of reeds
and earth; but the importance of the new capital was supported by
the numbers, wealth, and spirit, of a colony of veterans; and
their licentiousness was indulged by the wisest caliphs, who were
apprehensive of provoking the revolt of a hundred thousand
swords: "Ye men of Cufa," said Ali, who solicited their aid, "you
have been always conspicuous by your valor. You conquered the
Persian king, and scattered his forces, till you had taken
possession of his inheritance." This mighty conquest was achieved
by the battles of Jalula and Nehavend. After the loss of the
former, Yezdegerd fled from Holwan, and concealed his shame and
despair in the mountains of Farsistan, from whence Cyrus had
descended with his equal and valiant companions. The courage of
the nation survived that of the monarch: among the hills to the
south of Ecbatana or Hamadan, one hundred and fifty thousand
Persians made a third and final stand for their religion and
country; and the decisive battle of Nehavend was styled by the
Arabs the victory of victories. If it be true that the flying
general of the Persians was stopped and overtaken in a crowd of
mules and camels laden with honey, the incident, however slight
and singular, will denote the luxurious impediments of an
Oriental army. ^29

[Footnote 24: Mente vix potest numerove comprehendi quanta spolia
nostris cesserint. Abulfeda, p. 69. Yet I still suspect, that
the extravagant numbers of Elmacin may be the error, not of the
text, but of the version. The best translators from the Greek,
for instance, I find to be very poor arithmeticians.

Note: Ockley (Hist. of Saracens, vol. i. p. 230) translates
in the same manner three thousand million of ducats. See
Forster's Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 462; who makes this
innocent doubt of Gibbon, in which, is to the amount of the
plunder, I venture to concur, a grave charge of inaccuracy and
disrespect to the memory of Erpenius.

The Persian authorities of Price (p. 122) make the booty
worth three hundred and thirty millions sterling! - M]

[Footnote 25: The camphire-tree grows in China and Japan; but
many hundred weight of those meaner sorts are exchanged for a
single pound of the more precious gum of Borneo and Sumatra,
(Raynal, Hist. Philosoph. tom. i. p. 362 - 365. Dictionnaire
d'Hist. Naturelle par Bomare Miller's Gardener's Dictionary.)
These may be the islands of the first climate from whence the
Arabians imported their camphire (Geograph. Nub. p. 34, 35.
D'Herbelot, p. 232.)]

[Footnote !: Compare Price, p. 122. - M.]

[Footnote 26: See Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 376, 377.
I may credit the fact, without believing the prophecy.]

[Footnote 27: The most considerable ruins of Assyria are the
tower of Belus, at Babylon, and the hall of Chosroes, at
Ctesiphon: they have been visited by that vain and curious
traveller Pietro della Valle, (tom. i. p. 713 - 718, 731 - 735.)

Note: The best modern account is that of Claudius Rich Esq.
Two Memoirs of Babylon. London, 1818. - M.]

[Footnote 28: Consult the article of Coufah in the Bibliotheque
of D'Herbelot ( p. 277, 278,) and the second volume of Ockley's
History, particularly p. 40 and 153.]

[Footnote 29: See the article of Nehavend, in D'Herbelot, p. 667,
668; and Voyages en Turquie et en Perse, par Otter, tom. i. 191.

Note: Malcolm vol. i. p. 141. - M.]

The geography of Persia is darkly delineated by the Greeks
and Latins; but the most illustrious of her cities appear to be
more ancient than the invasion of the Arabs. By the reduction of
Hamadan and Ispahan, of Caswin, Tauris, and Rei, they gradually
approached the shores of the Caspian Sea: and the orators of
Mecca might applaud the success and spirit of the faithful, who
had already lost sight of the northern bear, and had almost
transcended the bounds of the habitable world. ^30 Again, turning
towards the West and the Roman empire, they repassed the Tigris
over the bridge of Mosul, and, in the captive provinces of
Armenia and Mesopotamia, embraced their victorious brethren of
the Syrian army. From the palace of Madayn their Eastern
progress was not less rapid or extensive. They advanced along
the Tigris and the Gulf; penetrated through the passes of the
mountains into the valley of Estachar or Persepolis, and profaned
the last sanctuary of the Magian empire. The grandson of
Chosroes was nearly surprised among the falling columns and
mutilated figures; a sad emblem of the past and present fortune
of Persia: ^31 he fled with accelerated haste over the desert of
Kirman, implored the aid of the warlike Segestans, and sought an
humble refuge on the verge of the Turkish and Chinese power. But
a victorious army is insensible of fatigue: the Arabs divided
their forces in the pursuit of a timorous enemy; and the caliph
Othman promised the government of Chorasan to the first general
who should enter that large and populous country, the kingdom of
the ancient Bactrians. The condition was accepted; the prize was
deserved; the standard of Mahomet was planted on the walls of
Herat, Merou, and Balch; and the successful leader neither halted
nor reposed till his foaming cavalry had tasted the waters of the
Oxus. In the public anarchy, the independent governors of the
cities and castles obtained their separate capitulations: the
terms were granted or imposed by the esteem, the prudence, or the
compassion, of the victors; and a simple profession of faith
established the distinction between a brother and a slave. After
a noble defence, Harmozan, the prince or satrap of Ahwaz and
Susa, was compelled to surrender his person and his state to the
discretion of the caliph; and their interview exhibits a portrait
of the Arabian manners. In the presence, and by the command, of
Omar, the gay Barbarian was despoiled of his silken robes
embroidered with gold, and of his tiara bedecked with rubies and
emeralds: "Are you now sensible," said the conqueror to his naked
captive - "are you now sensible of the judgment of God, and of
the different rewards of infidelity and obedience?" "Alas!"
replied Harmozan, "I feel them too deeply. In the days of our
common ignorance, we fought with the weapons of the flesh, and my
nation was superior. God was then neuter: since he has espoused
your quarrel, you have subverted our kingdom and religion."
Oppressed by this painful dialogue, the Persian complained of
intolerable thirst, but discovered some apprehension lest he
should be killed whilst he was drinking a cup of water. "Be of
good courage," said the caliph; "your life is safe till you have
drunk this water: " the crafty satrap accepted the assurance, and
instantly dashed the vase against the ground. Omar would have
avenged the deceit, but his companions represented the sanctity
of an oath; and the speedy conversion of Harmozan entitled him
not only to a free pardon, but even to a stipend of two thousand
pieces of gold. The administration of Persia was regulated by an
actual survey of the people, the cattle, and the fruits of the
earth; ^32 and this monument, which attests the vigilance of the
caliphs, might have instructed the philosophers of every age. ^33

[Footnote 30: It is in such a style of ignorance and wonder that
the Athenian orator describes the Arctic conquests of Alexander,
who never advanced beyond the shores of the Caspian. Aeschines
contra Ctesiphontem, tom. iii. p. 554, edit. Graec. Orator.
Reiske. This memorable cause was pleaded at Athens, Olymp. cxii.
3, (before Christ 330,) in the autumn, (Taylor, praefat. p. 370,
&c.,) about a year after the battle of Arbela; and Alexander, in
the pursuit of Darius, was marching towards Hyrcania and

[Footnote 31: We are indebted for this curious particular to the
Dynasties of Abulpharagius, p. 116; but it is needless to prove
the identity of Estachar and Persepolis, (D'Herbelot, p. 327;)
and still more needless to copy the drawings and descriptions of
Sir John Chardin, or Corneillo le Bruyn.]

[Footnote 32: After the conquest of Persia, Theophanes adds,
(Chronograph p. 283.]

[Footnote 33: Amidst our meagre relations, I must regret that
D'Herbelot has not found and used a Persian translation of
Tabari, enriched, as he says, with many extracts from the native
historians of the Ghebers or Magi, (Bibliotheque Orientale, p.

The flight of Yezdegerd had carried him beyond the Oxus, and
as far as the Jaxartes, two rivers ^34 of ancient and modern
renown, which descend from the mountains of India towards the
Caspian Sea. He was hospitably entertained by Takhan, prince of
Fargana, ^35 a fertile province on the Jaxartes: the king of
Samarcand, with the Turkish tribes of Sogdiana and Scythia, were
moved by the lamentations and promises of the fallen monarch; and
he solicited, by a suppliant embassy, the more solid and powerful
friendship of the emperor of China. ^36 The virtuous Taitsong,
^37 the first of the dynasty of the Tang may be justly compared
with the Antonines of Rome: his people enjoyed the blessings of
prosperity and peace; and his dominion was acknowledged by
forty-four hordes of the Barbarians of Tartary. His last
garrisons of Cashgar and Khoten maintained a frequent intercourse
with their neighbors of the Jaxartes and Oxus; a recent colony of
Persians had introduced into China the astronomy of the Magi; and
Taitsong might be alarmed by the rapid progress and dangerous
vicinity of the Arabs. The influence, and perhaps the supplies,
of China revived the hopes of Yezdegerd and the zeal of the
worshippers of fire; and he returned with an army of Turks to
conquer the inheritance of his fathers. The fortunate Moslems,
without unsheathing their swords, were the spectators of his ruin
and death. The grandson of Chosroes was betrayed by his servant,
insulted by the seditious inhabitants of Merou, and oppressed,
defeated, and pursued by his Barbarian allies. He reached the
banks of a river, and offered his rings and bracelets for an
instant passage in a miller's boat. Ignorant or insensible of
royal distress, the rustic replied, that four drams of silver
were the daily profit of his mill, and that he would not suspend
his work unless the loss were repaid. In this moment of
hesitation and delay, the last of the Sassanian kings was
overtaken and slaughtered by the Turkish cavalry, in the
nineteenth year of his unhappy reign. ^38 ^* His son Firuz, an
humble client of the Chinese emperor, accepted the station of
captain of his guards; and the Magian worship was long preserved
by a colony of loyal exiles in the province of Bucharia. ^! His
grandson inherited the regal name; but after a faint and
fruitless enterprise, he returned to China, and ended his days in
the palace of Sigan. The male line of the Sassanides was
extinct; but the female captives, the daughters of Persia, were
given to the conquerors in servitude, or marriage; and the race
of the caliphs and imams was ennobled by the blood of their royal
mothers. ^39

[Footnote 34: The most authentic accounts of the two rivers, the
Sihon (Jaxartes) and the Gihon, (Oxus,) may be found in Sherif al
Edrisi (Geograph. Nubiens. p. 138,) Abulfeda, (Descript.
Chorasan. in Hudson, tom. iii. p. 23,) Abulghazi Khan, who
reigned on their banks, (Hist. Genealogique des Tatars, p. 32,
57, 766,) and the Turkish Geographer, a MS. in the king of
France's library, (Examen Critique des Historiens d'Alexandre, p.
194 - 360.)]

[Footnote 35: The territory of Fergana is described by Abulfeda,
p. 76, 77.]

[Footnote 36: Eo redegit angustiarum eundem regem exsulem, ut
Turcici regis, et Sogdiani, et Sinensis, auxilia missis literis
imploraret, (Abulfed. Annal. p. 74) The connection of the Persian
and Chinese history is illustrated by Freret (Mem. de l'Academie,
tom. xvi. p. 245 - 255) and De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. i.
p. 54 - 59,) and for the geography of the borders, tom. ii. p. 1
- 43.]

[Footnote 37: Hist. Sinica, p. 41 - 46, in the iiid part of the
Relations Curieuses of Thevenot.]

[Footnote 38: I have endeavored to harmonize the various
narratives of Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 37,) Abulpharagius,
(Dynast. p. 116,) Abulfeda, (Annal. p. 74, 79,) and D'Herbelot,
(p. 485.) The end of Yezdegerd, was not only unfortunate but

[Footnote *: The account of Yezdegerd's death in the Habeib
'usseyr and Rouzut uzzuffa (Price, p. 162) is much more probable.

On the demand of the few dhirems, he offered to the miller his
sword, and royal girdle, of inesturable value. This awoke the
cupidity of the miller, who murdered him, and threw the body into
the stream. - M.]

[Footnote !: Firouz died leaving a son called Ni-ni-cha by the
Chinese, probably Narses. Yezdegerd had two sons, Firouz and
Bahram St. Martin, vol. xi. p. 318. - M.]

[Footnote 39: The two daughters of Yezdegerd married Hassan, the
son of Ali, and Mohammed, the son of Abubeker; and the first of
these was the father of a numerous progeny. The daughter of
Phirouz became the wife of the caliph Walid, and their son Yezid
derived his genuine or fabulous descent from the Chosroes of
Persia, the Caesars of Rome, and the Chagans of the Turks or
Avars, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orientale, p. 96, 487.)]

After the fall of the Persian kingdom, the River Oxus
divided the territories of the Saracens and of the Turks. This
narrow boundary was soon overleaped by the spirit of the Arabs;
the governors of Chorasan extended their successive inroads; and
one of their triumphs was adorned with the buskin of a Turkish
queen, which she dropped in her precipitate flight beyond the
hills of Bochara. ^40 But the final conquest of Transoxiana, ^41
as well as of Spain, was reserved for the glorious reign of the
inactive Walid; and the name of Catibah, the camel driver,
declares the origin and merit of his successful lieutenant.
While one of his colleagues displayed the first Mahometan banner
on the banks of the Indus, the spacious regions between the Oxus,
the Jaxartes, and the Caspian Sea, were reduced by the arms of
Catibah to the obedience of the prophet and of the caliph. ^42 A
tribute of two millions of pieces of gold was imposed on the
infidels; their idols were burnt or broken; the Mussulman chief
pronounced a sermon in the new mosch of Carizme; after several
battles, the Turkish hordes were driven back to the desert; and
the emperors of China solicited the friendship of the victorious
Arabs. To their industry, the prosperity of the province, the
Sogdiana of the ancients, may in a great measure be ascribed; but
the advantages of the soil and climate had been understood and
cultivated since the reign of the Macedonian kings. Before the
invasion of the Saracens, Carizme, Bochara, and Samarcand were
rich and populous under the yoke of the shepherds of the north.
^* These cities were surrounded with a double wall; and the
exterior fortification, of a larger circumference, enclosed the
fields and gardens of the adjacent district. The mutual wants of
India and Europe were supplied by the diligence of the Sogdian
merchants; and the inestimable art of transforming linen into
paper has been diffused from the manufacture of Samarcand over
the western world. ^43

[Footnote 40: It was valued at 2000 pieces of gold, and was the
prize of Obeidollah, the son of Ziyad, a name afterwards infamous
by the murder of Hosein, (Ockley's History of the Saracens, vol.
ii. p. 142, 143,) His brother Salem was accompanied by his wife,
the first Arabian woman (A.D. 680) who passed the Oxus: she
borrowed, or rather stole, the crown and jewels of the princess
of the Sogdians, (p. 231, 232.)]

[Footnote 41: A part of Abulfeda's geography is translated by
Greaves, inserted in Hudson's collection of the minor
geographers, (tom. iii.,) and entitled Descriptio Chorasmiae et
Mawaralnahroe, id est, regionum extra fluvium, Oxum, p. 80. The
name of Transoxiana, softer in sound, equivalent in sense, is
aptly used by Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Gengiscan, &c.,) and
some modern Orientalists, but they are mistaken in ascribing it
to the writers of antiquity.]

[Footnote 42: The conquests of Catibah are faintly marked by
Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 84,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient.
Catbah, Samarcand Valid.,) and De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom.
i. p. 58, 59.)]

[Footnote *: The manuscripts Arabian and Persian writers in the
royal library contain very circumstantial details on the contest
between the Persians and Arabians. M. St. Martin declined this
addition to the work of Le Beau, as extending to too great a
length. St. Martin vol. xi. p. 320. - M.]

[Footnote 43: A curious description of Samarcand is inserted in
the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, tom. i. p. 208, &c. The
librarian Casiri (tom. ii. 9) relates, from credible testimony,
that paper was first imported from China to Samarcand, A. H. 30,
and invented, or rather introduced, at Mecca, A. H. 88. The
Escurial library contains paper Mss. as old as the ivth or vth
century of the Hegira.]

II. No sooner had Abubeker restored the unity of faith and
government, than he despatched a circular letter to the Arabian
tribes. "In the name of the most merciful God, to the rest of the
true believers. Health and happiness, and the mercy and blessing
of God, be upon you. I praise the most high God, and I pray for
his prophet Mahomet. This is to acquaint you, that I intend to
send the true believers into Syria ^44 to take it out of the
hands of the infidels. And I would have you know, that the
fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God." His
messengers returned with the tidings of pious and martial ardor
which they had kindled in every province; and the camp of Medina
was successively filled with the intrepid bands of the Saracens,
who panted for action, complained of the heat of the season and
the scarcity of provisions, and accused with impatient murmurs
the delays of the caliph. As soon as their numbers were
complete, Abubeker ascended the hill, reviewed the men, the
horses, and the arms, and poured forth a fervent prayer for the
success of their undertaking. In person, and on foot, he
accompanied the first day's march; and when the blushing leaders
attempted to dismount, the caliph removed their scruples by a
declaration, that those who rode, and those who walked, in the
service of religion, were equally meritorious. His instructions
^45 to the chiefs of the Syrian army were inspired by the warlike
fanaticism which advances to seize, and affects to despise, the
objects of earthly ambition. "Remember," said the successor of
the prophet, "that you are always in the presence of God, on the
verge of death, in the assurance of judgment, and the hope of
paradise. Avoid injustice and oppression; consult with your
brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your
troops. When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit
yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your
victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy
no palm-trees, nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no
fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill
to eat. When you make any covenant or article, stand to it, and
be as good as your word. As you go on, you will find some
religious persons who live retired in monasteries, and propose to
themselves to serve God that way: let them alone, and neither
kill them nor destroy their monasteries: ^46 And you will find
another sort of people, that belong to the synagogue of Satan,
who have shaven crowns; ^47 be sure you cleave their skulls, and
give them no quarter till they either turn Mahometans or pay
"tribute." All profane or frivolous conversation, all dangerous
recollection of ancient quarrels, was severely prohibited among
the Arabs: in the tumult of a camp, the exercises of religion
were assiduously practised; and the intervals of action were
employed in prayer, meditation, and the study of the Koran. The
abuse, or even the use, of wine was chastised by fourscore
strokes on the soles of the feet, and in the fervor of their
primitive zeal, many secret sinners revealed their fault, and
solicited their punishment. After some hesitation, the command
of the Syrian army was delegated to Abu Obeidah, one of the
fugitives of Mecca, and companions of Mahomet; whose zeal and
devotion was assuaged, without being abated, by the singular
mildness and benevolence of his temper. But in all the
emergencies of war, the soldiers demanded the superior genius of
Caled; and whoever might be the choice of the prince, the Sword
of God was both in fact and fame the foremost leader of the
Saracens. He obeyed without reluctance; ^* he was consulted
without jealousy; and such was the spirit of the man, or rather
of the times, that Caled professed his readiness to serve under
the banner of the faith, though it were in the hands of a child
or an enemy. Glory, and riches, and dominion, were indeed
promised to the victorious Mussulman; but he was carefully
instructed, that if the goods of this life were his only
incitement, they likewise would be his only reward.

[Footnote 44: A separate history of the conquest of Syria has
been composed by Al Wakidi, cadi of Bagdad, who was born A.D.
748, and died A.D. 822; he likewise wrote the conquest of Egypt,
of Diarbekir, &c. Above the meagre and recent chronicles of the
Arabians, Al Wakidi has the double merit of antiquity and
copiousness. His tales and traditions afford an artless picture
of the men and the times. Yet his narrative is too often
defective, trifling, and improbable. Till something better shall
be found, his learned and spiritual interpreter (Ockley, in his
History of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 21 - 342) will not deserve
the petulant animadversion of Reiske, (Prodidagmata ad Magji
Chalifae Tabulas, p. 236.) I am sorry to think that the labors of
Ockley were consummated in a jail, (see his two prefaces to the
1st A.D. 1708, to the 2d, 1718, with the list of authors at the

Note: M. Hamaker has clearly shown that neither of these
works can be inscribed to Al Wakidi: they are not older than the
end of the xith century or later than the middle of the xivth.
Praefat. in Inc. Auct. LIb. de Expugnatione Memphidis, c. ix. x.
- M.]

[Footnote 45: The instructions, &c., of the Syrian war are
described by Al Wakidi and Ockley, tom. i. p. 22 - 27, &c. In
the sequel it is necessary to contract, and needless to quote,
their circumstantial narrative. My obligations to others shall
be noticed.]

[Footnote 46: Notwithstanding this precept, M. Pauw (Recherches
sur les Egyptiens, tom. ii. p. 192, edit. Lausanne) represents
the Bedoweens as the implacable enemies of the Christian monks.
For my own part, I am more inclined to suspect the avarice of the
Arabian robbers, and the prejudices of the German philosopher.

Note: Several modern travellers (Mr. Fazakerley, in
Walpole's Travels in the East, vol. xi. 371) give very amusing
accounts of the terms on which the monks of Mount Sinai live with
the neighboring Bedoweens. Such, probably, was their relative
state in older times, wherever the Arab retained his Bedoween
habits. - M.]

[Footnote 47: Even in the seventh century, the monks were
generally laymen: 'hey wore their hair long and dishevelled, and
shaved their heads when they were ordained priests. The circular
tonsure was sacred and mysterious; it was the crown of thorns;
but it was likewise a royal diadem, and every priest was a king,
&c., (Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 721 - 758,
especially p. 737, 738.)]

[Footnote *: Compare Price, p. 90. - M.]

Chapter LI: Conquests By The Arabs.

Part IV.

Another expedition of the conquerors of Damascus will
equally display their avidity and their contempt for the riches
of the present world. They were informed that the produce and
manufactures of the country were annually collected in the fair
of Abyla, ^64 about thirty miles from the city; that the cell of
a devout hermit was visited at the same time by a multitude of
pilgrims; and that the festival of trade and superstition would
be ennobled by the nuptials of the daughter of the governor of
Tripoli. Abdallah, the son of Jaafar, a glorious and holy
martyr, undertook, with a banner of five hundred horse, the pious
and profitable commission of despoiling the infidels. As he
approached the fair of Abyla, he was astonished by the report of
this mighty concourse of Jews and Christians, Greeks, and
Armenians, of natives of Syria and of strangers of Egypt, to the
number of ten thousand, besides a guard of five thousand horse
that attended the person of the bride. The Saracens paused: "For
my own part," said Abdallah, "I dare not go back: our foes are
many, our danger is great, but our reward is splendid and secure,
either in this life or in the life to come. Let every man,
according to his inclination, advance or retire." Not a Mussulman
deserted his standard. "Lead the way," said Abdallah to his
Christian guide, "and you shall see what the companions of the
prophet can perform." They charged in five squadrons; but after
the first advantage of the surprise, they were encompassed and
almost overwhelmed by the multitude of their enemies; and their
valiant band is fancifully compared to a white spot in the skin
of a black camel. ^65 About the hour of sunset, when their
weapons dropped from their hands, when they panted on the verge
of eternity, they discovered an approaching cloud of dust; they
heard the welcome sound of the tecbir, ^66 and they soon
perceived the standard of Caled, who flew to their relief with
the utmost speed of his cavalry. The Christians were broken by
his attack, and slaughtered in their flight, as far as the river
of Tripoli. They left behind them the various riches of the
fair; the merchandises that were exposed for sale, the money that
was brought for purchase, the gay decorations of the nuptials,
and the governor's daughter, with forty of her female attendants.

The fruits, provisions, and furniture, the money, plate, and
jewels, were diligently laden on the backs of horses, asses, and
mules; and the holy robbers returned in triumph to Damascus. The
hermit, after a short and angry controversy with Caled, declined
the crown of martyrdom, and was left alive in the solitary scene
of blood and devastation.

[Footnote 64: Dair Abil Kodos. After retrenching the last word,
the epithet, holy, I discover the Abila of Lysanias between
Damascus and Heliopolis: the name (Abil signifies a vineyard)
concurs with the situation to justify my conjecture, (Reland,
Palestin. tom. i. p 317, tom. ii. p. 526, 527.)]

[Footnote 65: I am bolder than Mr. Ockley, (vol. i. p. 164,) who
dares not insert this figurative expression in the text, though
he observes in a marginal note, that the Arabians often borrow
their similes from that useful and familiar animal. The reindeer
may be equally famous in the songs of the Laplanders.]

[Footnote 66: We hear the tecbir; so the Arabs call

Their shout of onset, when with loud appeal
They challenge heaven, as if demanding conquest.

This word, so formidable in their holy wars, is a verb active,
(says Ockley in his index,) of the second conjugation, from
Kabbara, which signifies saying Alla Acbar, God is most mighty!]

Chapter LI: Conquests By The Arabs.

Part V.

Syria, ^67 one of the countries that have been improved by
the most early cultivation, is not unworthy of the preference.
^68 The heat of the climate is tempered by the vicinity of the
sea and mountains, by the plenty of wood and water; and the
produce of a fertile soil affords the subsistence, and encourages
the propagation, of men and animals. From the age of David to
that of Heraclius, the country was overspread with ancient and
flourishing cities: the inhabitants were numerous and wealthy;
and, after the slow ravage of despotism and superstition, after
the recent calamities of the Persian war, Syria could still
attract and reward the rapacious tribes of the desert. A plain,
of ten days' journey, from Damascus to Aleppo and Antioch, is
watered, on the western side, by the winding course of the
Orontes. The hills of Libanus and Anti-Libanus are planted from
north to south, between the Orontes and the Mediterranean; and
the epithet of hollow (Coelesyria) was applied to a long and
fruitful valley, which is confined in the same direction, by the
two ridges of snowy mountains. ^69 Among the cities, which are
enumerated by Greek and Oriental names in the geography and
conquest of Syria, we may distinguish Emesa or Hems, Heliopolis
or Baalbec, the former as the metropolis of the plain, the latter
as the capital of the valley. Under the last of the Caesars,
they were strong and populous; the turrets glittered from afar:
an ample space was covered with public and private buildings; and
the citizens were illustrious by their spirit, or at least by
their pride; by their riches, or at least by their luxury. In
the days of Paganism, both Emesa and Heliopolis were addicted to
the worship of Baal, or the sun; but the decline of their
superstition and splendor has been marked by a singular variety
of fortune. Not a vestige remains of the temple of Emesa, which
was equalled in poetic style to the summits of Mount Libanus, ^70
while the ruins of Baalbec, invisible to the writers of
antiquity, excite the curiosity and wonder of the European
traveller. ^71 The measure of the temple is two hundred feet in
length, and one hundred in breadth: the front is adorned with a
double portico of eight columns; fourteen may be counted on
either side; and each column, forty-five feet in height, is
composed of three massy blocks of stone or marble. The
proportions and ornaments of the Corinthian order express the
architecture of the Greeks: but as Baalbec has never been the
seat of a monarch, we are at a loss to conceive how the expense
of these magnificent structures could be supplied by private or
municipal liberality. ^72 From the conquest of Damascus the
Saracens proceeded to Heliopolis and Emesa: but I shall decline
the repetition of the sallies and combats which have been already
shown on a larger scale. In the prosecution of the war, their
policy was not less effectual than their sword. By short and
separate truces they dissolved the union of the enemy; accustomed
the Syrians to compare their friendship with their enmity;
familiarized the idea of their language, religion, and manners;
and exhausted, by clandestine purchase, the magazines and
arsenals of the cities which they returned to besiege. They
aggravated the ransom of the more wealthy, or the more obstinate;
and Chalcis alone was taxed at five thousand ounces of gold, five
thousand ounces of silver, two thousand robes of silk, and as
many figs and olives as would load five thousand asses. But the
terms of truce or capitulation were faithfully observed; and the
lieutenant of the caliph, who had promised not to enter the walls
of the captive Baalbec, remained tranquil and immovable in his
tent till the jarring factions solicited the interposition of a
foreign master. The conquest of the plain and valley of Syria
was achieved in less than two years. Yet the commander of the
faithful reproved the slowness of their progress; and the
Saracens, bewailing their fault with tears of rage and
repentance, called aloud on their chiefs to lead them forth to
fight the battles of the Lord. In a recent action, under the
walls of Emesa, an Arabian youth, the cousin of Caled, was heard
aloud to exclaim, "Methinks I see the black-eyed girls looking
upon me; one of whom, should she appear in this world, all
mankind would die for love of her. And I see in the hand of one
of them a handkerchief of green silk, and a cap of precious
stones, and she beckons me, and calls out, Come hither quickly,
for I love thee." With these words, charging the Christians, he
made havoc wherever he went, till, observed at length by the
governor of Hems, he was struck through with a javelin.

[Footnote 67: In the Geography of Abulfeda, the description of
Syria, his native country, is the most interesting and authentic
portion. It was published in Arabic and Latin, Lipsiae, 1766, in
quarto, with the learned notes of Kochler and Reiske, and some
extracts of geography and natural history from Ibn Ol Wardii.
Among the modern travels, Pocock's Description of the East (of
Syria and Mesopotamia, vol. ii. p. 88 - 209) is a work of
superior learning and dignity; but the author too often confounds
what he had seen and what he had read.]

[Footnote 68: The praises of Dionysius are just and lively.
Syria, (in Periegesi, v. 902, in tom. iv. Geograph. Minor.
Hudson.) In another place he styles the country differently, (v.

This poetical geographer lived in the age of Augustus, and
his description of the world is illustrated by the Greek
commentary of Eustathius, who paid the same compliment to Homer
and Dionysius, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. l. iv. c. 2, tom. iii. p.
21, &c.)]

[Footnote 69: The topography of the Libanus and Anti-Libanus is
excellently described by the learning and sense of Reland,
(Palestin. tom. i. p. 311 - 326)]

[Footnote 70: - Emesae fastigia celsa renident.
Nam diffusa solo latus explicat; ac subit auras
Turribus in coelum nitentibus: incola claris
Cor studiis acuit ...
Denique flammicomo devoti pectora soli
Vitam agitant. Libanus frondosa cacumina turget.
Et tamen his certant celsi fastigia templi.

These verses of the Latin version of Rufus Avienus are wanting in
the Greek original of Dionysius; and since they are likewise
unnoticed by Eustathius, I must, with Fabricius, (Bibliot. Latin.
tom. iii. p. 153, edit. Ernesti,) and against Salmasius, (ad
Vopiscum, p. 366, 367, in Hist. August.,) ascribed them to the
fancy, rather than the Mss., of Avienus.]

[Footnote 71: I am much better satisfied with Maundrell's slight
octavo, (Journey, p. 134 - 139), than with the pompous folio of
Dr. Pocock, (Description of the East, vol. ii. p. 106 - 113;) but
every preceding account is eclipsed by the magnificent
description and drawings of Mm. Dawkins and Wood, who have
transported into England the ruins of Pamyra and Baalbec.]

[Footnote 72: The Orientals explain the prodigy by a
never-failing expedient. The edifices of Baalbec were constructed
by the fairies or the genii, Hist. de Timour Bec, tom. iii. l. v.
c. 23, p. 311, 312. Voyage d'Otter, tom. i. p. 83.) With less
absurdity, but with equal ignorance, Abulfeda and Ibn Chaukel
ascribe them to the Sabaeans or Aadites Non sunt in omni Syria
aedificia magnificentiora his, (Tabula Syria p. 108.)]

It was incumbent on the Saracens to exert the full powers of
their valor and enthusiasm against the forces of the emperor, who
was taught, by repeated losses, that the rovers of the desert had
undertaken, and would speedily achieve, a regular and permanent
conquest. From the provinces of Europe and Asia, fourscore
thousand soldiers were transported by sea and land to Antioch and
Caesarea: the light troops of the army consisted of sixty
thousand Christian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. Under the
banner of Jabalah, the last of their princes, they marched in the
van; and it was a maxim of the Greeks, that for the purpose of
cutting diamond, a diamond was the most effectual. Heraclius
withheld his person from the dangers of the field; but his
presumption, or perhaps his despondency, suggested a peremptory
order, that the fate of the province and the war should be
decided by a single battle. The Syrians were attached to the
standard of Rome and of the cross: but the noble, the citizen,
the peasant, were exasperated by the injustice and cruelty of a
licentious host, who oppressed them as subjects, and despised
them as strangers and aliens. ^73 A report of these mighty
preparations was conveyed to the Saracens in their camp of Emesa,
and the chiefs, though resolved to fight, assembled a council:
the faith of Abu Obeidah would have expected on the same spot the
glory of martyrdom; the wisdom of Caled advised an honorable
retreat to the skirts of Palestine and Arabia, where they might
await the succors of their friends, and the attack of the
unbelievers. A speedy messenger soon returned from the throne of
Medina, with the blessings of Omar and Ali, the prayers of the
widows of the prophet, and a reenforcement of eight thousand
Moslems. In their way they overturned a detachment of Greeks,
and when they joined at Yermuk the camp of their brethren, they
found the pleasing intelligence, that Caled had already defeated
and scattered the Christian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. In the
neighborhood of Bosra, the springs of Mount Hermon descend in a
torrent to the plain of Decapolis, or ten cities; and the
Hieromax, a name which has been corrupted to Yermuk, is lost,
after a short course, in the Lake of Tiberias. ^74 The banks of
this obscure stream were illustrated by a long and bloody
encounter. ^* On this momentous occasion, the public voice, and
the modesty of Abu Obeidah, restored the command to the most
deserving of the Moslems. Caled assumed his station in the
front, his colleague was posted in the rear, that the disorder of
the fugitive might be checked by his venerable aspect, and the
sight of the yellow banner which Mahomet had displayed before the
walls of Chaibar. The last line was occupied by the sister of
Derar, with the Arabian women who had enlisted in this holy war,
who were accustomed to wield the bow and the lance, and who in a
moment of captivity had defended, against the uncircumcised
ravishers, their chastity and religion. ^75 The exhortation of
the generals was brief and forcible: "Paradise is before you, the
devil and hell-fire in your rear." Yet such was the weight of the
Roman cavalry, that the right wing of the Arabs was broken and
separated from the main body. Thrice did they retreat in
disorder, and thrice were they driven back to the charge by the
reproaches and blows of the women. In the intervals of action,
Abu Obeidah visited the tents of his brethren, prolonged their
repose by repeating at once the prayers of two different hours,
bound up their wounds with his own hands, and administered the
comfortable reflection, that the infidels partook of their
sufferings without partaking of their reward. Four thousand and
thirty of the Moslems were buried in the field of battle; and the
skill of the Armenian archers enabled seven hundred to boast that
they had lost an eye in that meritorious service. The veterans
of the Syrian war acknowledged that it was the hardest and most
doubtful of the days which they had seen. But it was likewise
the most decisive: many thousands of the Greeks and Syrians fell
by the swords of the Arabs; many were slaughtered, after the
defeat, in the woods and mountains; many, by mistaking the ford,
were drowned in the waters of the Yermuk; and however the loss
may be magnified, ^76 the Christian writers confess and bewail
the bloody punishment of their sins. ^77 Manuel, the Roman
general, was either killed at Damascus, or took refuge in the
monastery of Mount Sinai. An exile in the Byzantine court,
Jabalah lamented the manners of Arabia, and his unlucky
preference of the Christian cause. ^78 He had once inclined to
the profession of Islam; but in the pilgrimage of Mecca, Jabalah
was provoked to strike one of his brethren, and fled with
amazement from the stern and equal justice of the caliph These
victorious Saracens enjoyed at Damascus a month of pleasure and
repose: the spoil was divided by the discretion of Abu Obeidah:
an equal share was allotted to a soldier and to his horse, and a
double portion was reserved for the noble coursers of the Arabian

[Footnote 73: I have read somewhere in Tacitus, or Grotius,
Subjectos habent tanquam suos, viles tanquam alienos. Some Greek
officers ravished the wife, and murdered the child, of their
Syrian landlord; and Manuel smiled at his undutiful complaint.]

[Footnote 74: See Reland, Palestin. tom. i. p. 272, 283, tom. ii.
p. 773, 775. This learned professor was equal to the task of
describing the Holy Land, since he was alike conversant with
Greek and Latin, with Hebrew and Arabian literature. The Yermuk,
or Hieromax, is noticed by Cellarius (Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii.
p. 392) and D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 185.)
The Arabs, and even Abulfeda himself, do not seem to recognize
the scene of their victory.]

[Footnote *: Compare Price, p. 79. The army of the Romans is
swoller to 400,000 men of which 70,000 perished. - M.]

[Footnote 75: These women were of the tribe of the Hamyarites,
who derived their origin from the ancient Amalekites. Their
females were accustomed to ride on horseback, and to fight like
the Amazons of old, (Ockley, vol. i. p. 67.)]

[Footnote 76: We killed of them, says Abu Obeidah to the caliph,
one hundred and fifty thousand, and made prisoners forty
thousand, (Ockley vol. i. p. 241.) As I cannot doubt his
veracity, nor believe his computation, I must suspect that the
Arabic historians indulge themselves in the practice of comparing
speeches and letters for their heroes.]

[Footnote 77: After deploring the sins of the Christians,
Theophanes, adds, (Chronograph. p. 276,) does he mean Aiznadin?
His account is brief and obscure, but he accuses the numbers of
the enemy, the adverse wind, and the cloud of dust.
(Chronograph. p. 280.)]

[Footnote 78: See Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 70, 71,) who
transcribes the poetical complaint of Jabalah himself, and some
panegyrical strains of an Arabian poet, to whom the chief of
Gassan sent from Constantinople a gift of five hundred pieces of
gold by the hands of the ambassador of Omar.]

After the battle of Yermuk, the Roman army no longer
appeared in the field; and the Saracens might securely choose,
among the fortified towns of Syria, the first object of their
attack. They consulted the caliph whether they should march to
Caesarea or Jerusalem; and the advice of Ali determined the
immediate siege of the latter. To a profane eye, Jerusalem was
the first or second capital of Palestine; but after Mecca and
Medina, it was revered and visited by the devout Moslems, as the
temple of the Holy Land which had been sanctified by the
revelation of Moses, of Jesus, and of Mahomet himself. The son
of Abu Sophian was sent with five thousand Arabs to try the first
experiment of surprise or treaty; but on the eleventh day, the
town was invested by the whole force of Abu Obeidah. He
addressed the customary summons to the chief commanders and
people of Aelia. ^79

[Footnote 79: In the name of the city, the profane prevailed over
the sacred Jerusalem was known to the devout Christians, (Euseb.
de Martyr Palest. c xi.;) but the legal and popular appellation
of Aelia (the colony of Aelius Hadrianus) has passed from the
Romans to the Arabs. (Reland, Palestin. tom. i. p. 207, tom. ii.
p. 835. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, Cods, p. 269, Ilia,
p. 420.) The epithet of Al Cods, the Holy, is used as the proper
name of Jerusalem.]

"Health and happiness to every one that follows the right
way! We require of you to testify that there is but one God, and
that Mahomet is his apostle. If you refuse this, consent to pay
tribute, and be under us forthwith. Otherwise I shall bring men
against you who love death better than you do the drinking of
wine or eating hog's flesh. Nor will I ever stir from you, if it
please God, till I have destroyed those that fight for you, and
made slaves of your children." But the city was defended on every
side by deep valleys and steep ascents; since the invasion of
Syria, the walls and towers had been anxiously restored; the
bravest of the fugitives of Yermuk had stopped in the nearest
place of refuge; and in the defence of the sepulchre of Christ,
the natives and strangers might feel some sparks of the
enthusiasm, which so fiercely glowed in the bosoms of the
Saracens. The siege of Jerusalem lasted four months; not a day
was lost without some action of sally or assault; the military
engines incessantly played from the ramparts; and the inclemency
of the winter was still more painful and destructive to the
Arabs. The Christians yielded at length to the perseverance of
the besiegers. The patriarch Sophronius appeared on the walls,
and by the voice of an interpreter demanded a conference. ^*
After a vain attempt to dissuade the lieutenant of the caliph
from his impious enterprise, he proposed, in the name of the
people, a fair capitulation, with this extraordinary clause, that
the articles of security should be ratified by the authority and
presence of Omar himself. The question was debated in the council
of Medina; the sanctity of the place, and the advice of Ali,
persuaded the caliph to gratify the wishes of his soldiers and
enemies; and the simplicity of his journey is more illustrious
than the royal pageants of vanity and oppression. The conqueror
of Persia and Syria was mounted on a red camel, which carried,
besides his person, a bag of corn, a bag of dates, a wooden dish,
and a leathern bottle of water. Wherever he halted, the company,
without distinction, was invited to partake of his homely fare,
and the repast was consecrated by the prayer and exhortation of
the commander of the faithful. ^80 But in this expedition or
pilgrimage, his power was exercised in the administration of
justice: he reformed the licentious polygamy of the Arabs,
relieved the tributaries from extortion and cruelty, and
chastised the luxury of the Saracens, by despoiling them of their
rich silks, and dragging them on their faces in the dirt. When
he came within sight of Jerusalem, the caliph cried with a loud
voice, "God is victorious. O Lord, give us an easy conquest!"
and, pitching his tent of coarse hair, calmly seated himself on
the ground. After signing the capitulation, he entered the city
without fear or precaution; and courteously discoursed with the
patriarch concerning its religious antiquities. ^81 Sophronius
bowed before his new master, and secretly muttered, in the words
of Daniel, "The abomination of desolation is in the holy place."
^82 At the hour of prayer they stood together in the church of
the resurrection; but the caliph refused to perform his
devotions, and contented himself with praying on the steps of the
church of Constantine. To the patriarch he disclosed his prudent
and honorable motive. "Had I yielded," said Omar, "to your
request, the Moslems of a future age would have infringed the
treaty under color of imitating my example." By his command the
ground of the temple of Solomon was prepared for the foundation
of a mosch; ^83 and, during a residence of ten days, he regulated
the present and future state of his Syrian conquests. Medina
might be jealous, lest the caliph should be detained by the
sanctity of Jerusalem or the beauty of Damascus; her
apprehensions were dispelled by his prompt and voluntary return
to the tomb of the apostle. ^84

[Footnote *: See the explanation of this in Price, with the
prophecy which was hereby fulfilled, p 85. - M]

[Footnote 80: The singular journey and equipage of Omar are
described (besides Ockley, vol. i. p. 250) by Murtadi,
(Merveilles de l'Egypte, p. 200 - 202.)]

[Footnote 81: The Arabs boast of an old prophecy preserved at
Jerusalem, and describing the name, the religion, and the person
of Omar, the future conqueror. By such arts the Jews are said to
have soothed the pride of their foreign masters, Cyrus and
Alexander, (Joseph. Ant. Jud. l. xi c. 1, 8, p. 447, 579 - 582.)]

[Footnote 82: Theophan. Chronograph. p. 281. This prediction,
which had already served for Antiochus and the Romans, was again
refitted for the present occasion, by the economy of Sophronius,
one of the deepest theologians of the Monothelite controversy.]

[Footnote 83: According to the accurate survey of D'Anville,
(Dissertation sun l'ancienne Jerusalem, p. 42 - 54,) the mosch of
Omar, enlarged and embellished by succeeding caliphs, covered the
ground of the ancient temple, (says Phocas,) a length of 215, a
breadth of 172, toises. The Nubian geographer declares, that this
magnificent structure was second only in size and beauty to the
great mosch of Cordova, (p. 113,) whose present state Mr.
Swinburne has so elegantly represented, (Travels into Spain, p.
296 - 302.)]

[Footnote 84: Of the many Arabic tarikhs or chronicles of
Jerusalem, (D'Herbelot, p. 867,) Ockley found one among the
Pocock Mss. of Oxford, (vol. i. p. 257,) which he has used to
supply the defective narrative of Al Wakidi.]

To achieve what yet remained of the Syrian war the caliph
had formed two separate armies; a chosen detachment, under Amrou
and Yezid, was left in the camp of Palestine; while the larger
division, under the standard of Abu Obeidah and Caled, marched
away to the north against Antioch and Aleppo. The latter of
these, the Beraea of the Greeks, was not yet illustrious as the
capital of a province or a kingdom; and the inhabitants, by
anticipating their submission and pleading their poverty,
obtained a moderate composition for their lives and religion.
But the castle of Aleppo, ^85 distinct from the city, stood erect
on a lofty artificial mound the sides were sharpened to a
precipice, and faced with free-stone; and the breadth of the
ditch might be filled with water from the neighboring springs.
After the loss of three thousand men, the garrison was still
equal to the defence; and Youkinna, their valiant and hereditary
chief, had murdered his brother, a holy monk, for daring to
pronounce the name of peace. In a siege of four or five months,
the hardest of the Syrian war, great numbers of the Saracens were
killed and wounded: their removal to the distance of a mile could
not seduce the vigilance of Youkinna; nor could the Christians be
terrified by the execution of three hundred captives, whom they
beheaded before the castle wall. The silence, and at length the
complaints, of Abu Obeidah informed the caliph that their hope
and patience were consumed at the foot of this impregnable
fortress. "I am variously affected," replied Omar, "by the
difference of your success; but I charge you by no means to raise
the siege of the castle. Your retreat would diminish the
reputation of our arms, and encourage the infidels to fall upon
you on all sides. Remain before Aleppo till God shall determine
the event, and forage with your horse round the adjacent
country." The exhortation of the commander of the faithful was
fortified by a supply of volunteers from all the tribes of
Arabia, who arrived in the camp on horses or camels. Among these
was Dames, of a servile birth, but of gigantic size and intrepid
resolution. The forty-seventh day of his service he proposed,
with only thirty men, to make an attempt on the castle. The
experience and testimony of Caled recommended his offer; and Abu
Obeidah admonished his brethren not to despise the baser origin
of Dames, since he himself, could he relinquish the public care,
would cheerfully serve under the banner of the slave. His design
was covered by the appearance of a retreat; and the camp of the
Saracens was pitched about a league from Aleppo. The thirty
adventurers lay in ambush at the foot of the hill; and Dames at
length succeeded in his inquiries, though he was provoked by the
ignorance of his Greek captives. "God curse these dogs," said the
illiterate Arab; "what a strange barbarous language they speak!"
At the darkest hour of the night, he scaled the most accessible
height, which he had diligently surveyed, a place where the
stones were less entire, or the slope less perpendicular, or the
guard less vigilant. Seven of the stoutest Saracens mounted on
each other's shoulders, and the weight of the column was
sustained on the broad and sinewy back of the gigantic slave.
The foremost in this painful ascent could grasp and climb the
lowest part of the battlements; they silently stabbed and cast
down the sentinels; and the thirty brethren, repeating a pious
ejaculation, "O apostle of God, help and deliver us!" were
successively drawn up by the long folds of their turbans. With
bold and cautious footsteps, Dames explored the palace of the
governor, who celebrated, in riotous merriment, the festival of
his deliverance. From thence, returning to his companions, he
assaulted on the inside the entrance of the castle. They
overpowered the guard, unbolted the gate, let down the
drawbridge, and defended the narrow pass, till the arrival of
Caled, with the dawn of day, relieved their danger and assured
their conquest. Youkinna, a formidable foe, became an active and
useful proselyte; and the general of the Saracens expressed his
regard for the most humble merit, by detaining the army at Aleppo
till Dames was cured of his honorable wounds. The capital of
Syria was still covered by the castle of Aazaz and the iron
bridge of the Orontes. After the loss of those important posts,
and the defeat of the last of the Roman armies, the luxury of
Antioch ^86 trembled and obeyed. Her safety was ransomed with
three hundred thousand pieces of gold; but the throne of the
successors of Alexander, the seat of the Roman government of the
East, which had been decorated by Caesar with the titles of free,
and holy, and inviolate was degraded under the yoke of the
caliphs to the secondary rank of a provincial town. ^87

[Footnote 85: The Persian historian of Timur (tom. iii. l. v. c.
21, p. 300) describes the castle of Aleppo as founded on a rock
one hundred cubits in height; a proof, says the French
translator, that he had never visited the place. It is now in
the midst of the city, of no strength with a single gate; the
circuit is about 500 or 600 paces, and the ditch half full of
stagnant water, (Voyages de Tavernier, tom. i. p. 149 Pocock,
vol. ii. part i. p. 150.) The fortresses of the East are
contemptible to a European eye.]

[Footnote 86: The date of the conquest of Antioch by the Arabs is
of some importance. By comparing the years of the world in the
chronography of Theophanes with the years of the Hegira in the
history of Elmacin, we shall determine, that it was taken between
January 23d and September 1st of the year of Christ 638, (Pagi,
Critica, in Baron. Annal. tom. ii. p. 812, 813.) Al Wakidi
(Ockley, vol. i. p. 314) assigns that event to Tuesday, August
21st, an inconsistent date; since Easter fell that year on April
5th, the 21st of August must have been a Friday, (see the Tables
of the Art de Verifier les Dates.)]

[Footnote 87: His bounteous edict, which tempted the grateful
city to assume the victory of Pharsalia for a perpetual aera, is
given. John Malala, in Chron. p. 91, edit. Venet. We may
distinguish his authentic information of domestic facts from his
gross ignorance of general history.]

In the life of Heraclius, the glories of the Persian war are
clouded on either hand by the disgrace and weakness of his more
early and his later days. When the successors of Mahomet
unsheathed the sword of war and religion, he was astonished at
the boundless prospect of toil and danger; his nature was
indolent, nor could the infirm and frigid age of the emperor be
kindled to a second effort. The sense of shame, and the
importunities of the Syrians, prevented the hasty departure from
the scene of action; but the hero was no more; and the loss of
Damascus and Jerusalem, the bloody fields of Aiznadin and Yermuk,
may be imputed in some degree to the absence or misconduct of the
sovereign. Instead of defending the sepulchre of Christ, he
involved the church and state in a metaphysical controversy for
the unity of his will; and while Heraclius crowned the offspring
of his second nuptials, he was tamely stripped of the most
valuable part of their inheritance. In the cathedral of Antioch,
in the presence of the bishops, at the foot of the crucifix, he
bewailed the sins of the prince and people; but his confession
instructed the world, that it was vain, and perhaps impious, to
resist the judgment of God. The Saracens were invincible in fact,
since they were invincible in opinion; and the desertion of
Youkinna, his false repentance and repeated perfidy, might
justify the suspicion of the emperor, that he was encompassed by
traitors and apostates, who conspired to betray his person and
their country to the enemies of Christ. In the hour of adversity,
his superstition was agitated by the omens and dreams of a
falling crown; and after bidding an eternal farewell to Syria, he
secretly embarked with a few attendants, and absolved the faith
of his subjects. ^88 Constantine, his eldest son, had been
stationed with forty thousand men at Caesarea, the civil
metropolis of the three provinces of Palestine. But his private
interest recalled him to the Byzantine court; and, after the
flight of his father, he felt himself an unequal champion to the
united force of the caliph. His vanguard was boldly attacked by
three hundred Arabs and a thousand black slaves, who, in the
depth of winter, had climbed the snowy mountains of Libanus, and
who were speedily followed by the victorious squadrons of Caled
himself. From the north and south the troops of Antioch and
Jerusalem advanced along the sea-shore till their banners were
joined under the walls of the Phoenician cities: Tripoli and Tyre
were betrayed; and a fleet of fifty transports, which entered
without distrust the captive harbors, brought a seasonable supply
of arms and provisions to the camp of the Saracens. Their labors
were terminated by the unexpected surrender of Caesarea: the
Roman prince had embarked in the night; ^89 and the defenceless
citizens solicited their pardon with an offering of two hundred
thousand pieces of gold. The remainder of the province, Ramlah,
Ptolemais or Acre, Sichem or Neapolis, Gaza, Ascalon, Berytus,
Sidon, Gabala, Laodicea, Apamea, Hierapolis, no longer presumed
to dispute the will of the conqueror; and Syria bowed under the
sceptre of the caliphs seven hundred years after Pompey had
despoiled the last of the Macedonian kings. ^90

[Footnote 88: See Ockley, (vol. i. p. 308, 312,) who laughs at
the credulity of his author. When Heraclius bade farewell to
Syria, Vale Syria et ultimum vale, he prophesied that the Romans
should never reenter the province till the birth of an
inauspicious child, the future scourge of the empire. Abulfeda,
p. 68. I am perfectly ignorant of the mystic sense, or nonsense,
of this prediction.]

[Footnote 89: In the loose and obscure chronology of the times, I
am guided by an authentic record, (in the book of ceremonies of
Constantine Porphyrogenitus,) which certifies that, June 4, A.D.
638, the emperor crowned his younger son Heraclius, in the
presence of his eldest, Constantine, and in the palace of
Constantinople; that January 1, A.D. 639, the royal procession
visited the great church, and on the 4th of the same month, the

[Footnote 90: Sixty-five years before Christ, Syria Pontusque
monumenta sunt Cn. Pompeii virtutis, (Vell. Patercul. ii. 38,)
rather of his fortune and power: he adjudged Syria to be a Roman
province, and the last of the Seleucides were incapable of
drawing a sword in the defence of their patrimony (see the
original texts collected by Usher, Annal. p. 420)]

Chapter LI: Conquests By The Arabs.

Part VI.

The sieges and battles of six campaigns had consumed many
thousands of the Moslems. They died with the reputation and the
cheerfulness of martyrs; and the simplicity of their faith may be
expressed in the words of an Arabian youth, when he embraced, for
the last time, his sister and mother: "It is not," said he, "the
delicacies of Syria, or the fading delights of this world, that
have prompted me to devote my life in the cause of religion. But
I seek the favor of God and his apostle; and I have heard, from
one of the companions of the prophet, that the spirits of the
martyrs will be lodged in the crops of green birds, who shall
taste the fruits, and drink of the rivers, of paradise. Farewell,
we shall meet again among the groves and fountains which God has
provided for his elect." The faithful captives might exercise a
passive and more arduous resolution; and a cousin of Mahomet is
celebrated for refusing, after an abstinence of three days, the
wine and pork, the only nourishment that was allowed by the
malice of the infidels. The frailty of some weaker brethren
exasperated the implacable spirit of fanaticism; and the father
of Amer deplored, in pathetic strains, the apostasy and damnation
of a son, who had renounced the promises of God, and the
intercession of the prophet, to occupy, with the priests and
deacons, the lowest mansions of hell. The more fortunate Arabs,
who survived the war and persevered in the faith, were restrained
by their abstemious leader from the abuse of prosperity. After a
refreshment of three days, Abu Obeidah withdrew his troops from
the pernicious contagion of the luxury of Antioch, and assured
the caliph that their religion and virtue could only be preserved
by the hard discipline of poverty and labor. But the virtue of
Omar, however rigorous to himself, was kind and liberal to his
brethren. After a just tribute of praise and thanksgiving, he
dropped a tear of compassion; and sitting down on the ground,
wrote an answer, in which he mildly censured the severity of his
lieutenant: "God," said the successor of the prophet, "has not
forbidden the use of the good things of this worl to faithful
men, and such as have performed good works. Therefore you ought
to have given them leave to rest themselves, and partake freely
of those good things which the country affordeth. If any of the
Saracens have no family in Arabia, they may marry in Syria; and
whosoever of them wants any female slaves, he may purchase as
many as he hath occasion for." The conquerors prepared to use, or
to abuse, this gracious permission; but the year of their triumph
was marked by a mortality of men and cattle; and twenty-five
thousand Saracens were snatched away from the possession of
Syria. The death of Abu Obeidah might be lamented by the
Christians; but his brethren recollected that he was one of the
ten elect whom the prophet had named as the heirs of paradise.
^91 Caled survived his brethren about three years: and the tomb
of the Sword of God is shown in the neighborhood of Emesa. His
valor, which founded in Arabia and Syria the empire of the
caliphs, was fortified by the opinion of a special providence;
and as long as he wore a cap, which had been blessed by Mahomet,
he deemed himself invulnerable amidst the darts of the infidels.

[Footnote 91: Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p. 73. Mahomet could
artfully vary the praises of his disciples. Of Omar he was
accustomed to say, that if a prophet could arise after himself,
it would be Omar; and that in a general calamity, Omar would be
accepted by the divine justice, (Ockley, vol. i. p. 221.)]

[Footnote *: Khaled, according to the Rouzont Uzzuffa, (Price, p.
90,) after having been deprived of his ample share of the plunder
of Syria by the jealousy of Omar, died, possessed only of his
horse, his arms, and a single slave. Yet Omar was obliged to
acknowledge to his lamenting parent. that never mother had
produced a son like Khaled. - M.]

The place of the first conquerors was supplied by a new
generation of their children and countrymen: Syria became the
seat and support of the house of Ommiyah; and the revenue, the
soldiers, the ships of that powerful kingdom were consecrated to
enlarge on every side the empire of the caliphs. But the
Saracens despise a superfluity of fame; and their historians
scarcely condescend to mention the subordinate conquests which
are lost in the splendor and rapidity of their victorious career.

To the north of Syria, they passed Mount Taurus, and reduced to
their obedience the province of Cilicia, with its capital Tarsus,
the ancient monument of the Assyrian kings. Beyond a second
ridge of the same mountains, they spread the flame of war, rather
than the light of religion, as far as the shores of the Euxine,
and the neighborhood of Constantinople. To the east they
advanced to the banks and sources of the Euphrates and Tigris:
^92 the long disputed barrier of Rome and Persia was forever
confounded the walls of Edessa and Amida, of Dara and Nisibis,
which had resisted the arms and engines of Sapor or Nushirvan,
were levelled in the dust; and the holy city of Abgarus might
vainly produce the epistle or the image of Christ to an
unbelieving conqueror. To the west the Syrian kingdom is bounded
by the sea: and the ruin of Aradus, a small island or peninsula
on the coast, was postponed during ten years. But the hills of
Libanus abounded in timber; the trade of Phoenicia was populous
in mariners; and a fleet of seventeen hundred barks was equipped
and manned by the natives of the desert. The Imperial navy of the
Romans fled before them from the Pamphylian rocks to the
Hellespont; but the spirit of the emperor, a grandson of
Heraclius, had been subdued before the combat by a dream and a
pun. ^93 The Saracens rode masters of the sea; and the islands of
Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades, were successively exposed to
their rapacious visits. Three hundred years before the Christian
aera, the memorable though fruitless siege of Rhodes ^94 by
Demetrius had furnished that maritime republic with the materials
and the subject of a trophy. A gigantic statue of Apollo, or the
sun, seventy cubits in height, was erected at the entrance of the
harbor, a monument of the freedom and the arts of Greece. After
standing fifty-six years, the colossus of Rhodes was overthrown
by an earthquake; but the massy trunk, and huge fragments, lay
scattered eight centuries on the ground, and are often described
as one of the wonders of the ancient world. They were collected
by the diligence of the Saracens, and sold to a Jewish merchant
of Edessa, who is said to have laden nine hundred camels with the
weight of the brass metal; an enormous weight, though we should
include the hundred colossal figures, ^95 and the three thousand
statues, which adorned the prosperity of the city of the sun.

[Footnote 92: Al Wakidi had likewise written a history of the
conquest of Diarbekir, or Mesopotamia, (Ockley, at the end of the
iid vol.,) which our interpreters do not appear to have seen.
The Chronicle of Dionysius of Telmar, the Jacobite patriarch,
records the taking of Edessa A.D. 637, and of Dara A.D. 641,
(Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 103;) and the attentive
may glean some doubtful information from the Chronography of
Theophanes, (p. 285 - 287.) Most of the towns of Mesopotamia
yielded by surrender, (Abulpharag. p. 112.)

Note: It has been published in Arabic by M. Ewald St.
Martin, vol. xi p 248; but its authenticity is doubted. - M.]

[Footnote 93: He dreamt that he was at Thessalonica, a harmless
and unmeaning vision; but his soothsayer, or his cowardice,
understood the sure omen of a defeat concealed in that
inauspicious word, Give to another the victory, (Theoph. p. 286.
Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 88.)]

[Footnote 94: Every passage and every fact that relates to the
isle, the city, and the colossus of Rhodes, are compiled in the
laborious treatise of Meursius, who has bestowed the same
diligence on the two larger islands of the Crete and Cyprus.
See, in the iiid vol. of his works, the Rhodus of Meursius, (l.
i. c. 15, p. 715 - 719.) The Byzantine writers, Theophanes and
Constantine, have ignorantly prolonged the term to 1360 years,
and ridiculously divide the weight among 30,000 camels.]

[Footnote 95: Centum colossi alium nobilitaturi locum, says
Pliny, with his usual spirit. Hist. Natur. xxxiv. 18.]

II. The conquest of Egypt may be explained by the character
of the victorious Saracen, one of the first of his nation, in an
age when the meanest of the brethren was exalted above his nature
by the spirit of enthusiasm. The birth of Amrou was at once base
and illustrious; his mother, a notorious prostitute, was unable
to decide among five of the Koreish; but the proof of resemblance
adjudged the child to Aasi, the oldest of her lovers. ^96 The
youth of Amrou was impelled by the passions and prejudices of his
kindred: his poetic genius was exercised in satirical verses
against the person and doctrine of Mahomet; his dexterity was
employed by the reigning faction to pursue the religious exiles
who had taken refuge in the court of the Aethiopian king. ^97 Yet
he returned from this embassy a secret proselyte; his reason or
his interest determined him to renounce the worship of idols; he
escaped from Mecca with his friend Caled; and the prophet of
Medina enjoyed at the same moment the satisfaction of embracing
the two firmest champions of his cause. The impatience of Amrou
to lead the armies of the faithful was checked by the reproof of
Omar, who advised him not to seek power and dominion, since he
who is a subject to-day, may be a prince to-morrow. Yet his
merit was not overlooked by the two first successors of Mahomet;
they were indebted to his arms for the conquest of Palestine; and
in all the battles and sieges of Syria, he united with the temper
of a chief the valor of an adventurous soldier. In a visit to
Medina, the caliph expressed a wish to survey the sword which had
cut down so many Christian warriors; the son of Aasi unsheathed a
short and ordinary cimeter; and as he perceived the surprise of
Omar, "Alas," said the modest Saracen, "the sword itself, without
the arm of its master, is neither sharper nor more weighty than
the sword of Pharezdak the poet." ^98 After the conquest of
Egypt, he was recalled by the jealousy of the caliph Othman; but
in the subsequent troubles, the ambition of a soldier, a
statesman, and an orator, emerged from a private station. His
powerful support, both in council and in the field, established
the throne of the Ommiades; the administration and revenue of
Egypt were restored by the gratitude of Moawiyah to a faithful
friend who had raised himself above the rank of a subject; and
Amrou ended his days in the palace and city which he had founded
on the banks of the Nile. His dying speech to his children is
celebrated by the Arabians as a model of eloquence and wisdom: he
deplored the errors of his youth but if the penitent was still
infected by the vanity of a poet, he might exaggerate the venom
and mischief of his impious compositions. ^99

[Footnote 96: We learn this anecdote from a spirited old woman,
who reviled to their faces, the caliph and his friend. She was
encouraged by the silence of Amrou and the liberality of
Moawiyah, (Abulfeda, Annal Moslem. p. 111.)]

[Footnote 97: Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 46, &c., who
quotes the Abyssinian history, or romance of Abdel Balcides. Yet
the fact of the embassy and ambassador may be allowed.]

[Footnote 98: This saying is preserved by Pocock, (Not. ad Carmen
Tograi, p 184,) and justly applauded by Mr. Harris,
(Philosophical Arrangements, p. 850.)]

[Footnote 99: For the life and character of Amrou, see Ockley
(Hist. of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 28, 63, 94, 328, 342, 344, and
to the end of the volume; vol. ii. p. 51, 55, 57, 74, 110 - 112,
162) and Otter, (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxi.
p. 131, 132.) The readers of Tacitus may aptly compare Vespasian
and Mucianus with Moawiyah and Amrou. Yet the resemblance is
still more in the situation, than in the characters, of the men.]

From his camp in Palestine, Amrou had surprised or
anticipated the caliph's leave for the invasion of Egypt. ^100
The magnanimous Omar trusted in his God and his sword, which had
shaken the thrones of Chosroes and Caesar: but when he compared
the slender force of the Moslems with the greatness of the
enterprise, he condemned his own rashness, and listened to his
timid companions. The pride and the greatness of Pharaoh were
familiar to the readers of the Koran; and a tenfold repetition of
prodigies had been scarcely sufficient to effect, not the
victory, but the flight, of six hundred thousand of the children
of Israel: the cities of Egypt were many and populous; their
architecture was strong and solid; the Nile, with its numerous
branches, was alone an insuperable barrier; and the granary of
the Imperial city would be obstinately defended by the Roman
powers. In this perplexity, the commander of the faithful
resigned himself to the decision of chance, or, in his opinion,
of Providence. At the head of only four thousand Arabs, the
intrepid Amrou had marched away from his station of Gaza when he
was overtaken by the messenger of Omar. "If you are still in
Syria," said the ambiguous mandate, "retreat without delay; but
if, at the receipt of this epistle, you have already reached the
frontiers of Egypt, advance with confidence, and depend on the
succor of God and of your brethren." The experience, perhaps the
secret intelligence, of Amrou had taught him to suspect the
mutability of courts; and he continued his march till his tents
were unquestionably pitched on Egyptian ground. He there
assembled his officers, broke the seal, perused the epistle,
gravely inquired the name and situation of the place, and
declared his ready obedience to the commands of the caliph.
After a siege of thirty days, he took possession of Farmah or
Pelusium; and that key of Egypt, as it has been justly named,
unlocked the entrance of the country as far as the ruins of
Heliopolis and the neighborhood of the modern Cairo.

[Footnote 100: Al Wakidi had likewise composed a separate history
of the conquest of Egypt, which Mr. Ockley could never procure;
and his own inquiries (vol. i. 344 - 362) have added very little
to the original text of Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 296 - 323,
vers. Pocock,) the Melchite patriarch of Alexandria, who lived
three hundred years after the revolution.]

On the Western side of the Nile, at a small distance to the
east of the Pyramids, at a small distance to the south of the
Delta, Memphis, one hundred and fifty furlongs in circumference,
displayed the magnificence of ancient kings. Under the reign of
the Ptolemies and Caesars, the seat of government was removed to
the sea-coast; the ancient capital was eclipsed by the arts and
opulence of Alexandria; the palaces, and at length the temples,
were reduced to a desolate and ruinous condition: yet, in the age
of Augustus, and even in that of Constantine, Memphis was still
numbered among the greatest and most populous of the provincial
cities. ^101 The banks of the Nile, in this place of the breadth
of three thousand feet, were united by two bridges of sixty and
of thirty boats, connected in the middle stream by the small
island of Rouda, which was covered with gardens and habitations.
^102 The eastern extremity of the bridge was terminated by the
town of Babylon and the camp of a Roman legion, which protected
the passage of the river and the second capital of Egypt. This
important fortress, which might fairly be described as a part of
Memphis or Misrah, was invested by the arms of the lieutenant of
Omar: a reenforcement of four thousand Saracens soon arrived in
his camp; and the military engines, which battered the walls, may
be imputed to the art and labor of his Syrian allies. Yet the
siege was protracted to seven months; and the rash invaders were
encompassed and threatened by the inundation of the Nile. ^103
Their last assault was bold and successful: they passed the
ditch, which had been fortified with iron spikes, applied their
scaling ladders, entered the fortress with the shout of "God is
victorious!" and drove the remnant of the Greeks to their boats
and the Isle of Rouda. The spot was afterwards recommended to
the conqueror by the easy communication with the gulf and the
peninsula of Arabia; the remains of Memphis were deserted; the
tents of the Arabs were converted into permanent habitations; and
the first mosch was blessed by the presence of fourscore
companions of Mahomet. ^104 A new city arose in their camp, on
the eastward bank of the Nile; and the contiguous quarters of
Babylon and Fostat are confounded in their present decay by the
appellation of old Misrah, or Cairo, of which they form an
extensive suburb. But the name of Cairo, the town of victory,
more strictly belongs to the modern capital, which was founded in
the tenth century by the Fatimite caliphs. ^105 It has gradually
receded from the river; but the continuity of buildings may be
traced by an attentive eye from the monuments of Sesostris to
those of Saladin. ^106

[Footnote 101: Strabo, an accurate and attentive spectator,
observes of Heliopolis, (Geograph. l. xvii. p. 1158;) but of
Memphis he notices, however, the mixture of inhabitants, and the
ruin of the palaces. In the proper Egypt, Ammianus enumerates
Memphis among the four cities, maximis urbibus quibus provincia
nitet, (xxii. 16;) and the name of Memphis appears with
distinction in the Roman Itinerary and episcopal lists.]

[Footnote 102: These rare and curious facts, the breadth (2946
feet) and the bridge of the Nile, are only to be found in the
Danish traveller and the Nubian geographer, (p. 98.)]

[Footnote 103: From the month of April, the Nile begins
imperceptibly to rise; the swell becomes strong and visible in
the moon after the summer solstice, (Plin. Hist. Nat. v. 10,) and
is usually proclaimed at Cairo on St. Peter's day, (June 29.) A
register of thirty successive years marks the greatest height of
the waters between July 25 and August 18, (Maillet, Description
de l'Egypte, lettre xi. p. 67, &c. Pocock's Description of the
East, vol. i. p. 200. Shaw's Travels, p. 383.)]

[Footnote 104: Murtadi, Merveilles de l'Egypte, 243, 259. He
expatiates on the subject with the zeal and minuteness of a
citizen and a bigot, and his local traditions have a strong air
of truth and accuracy.]

[Footnote 105: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 233.]

[Footnote 106: The position of New and of Old Cairo is well
known, and has been often described. Two writers, who were
intimately acquainted with ancient and modern Egypt, have fixed,
after a learned inquiry, the city of Memphis at Gizeh, directly
opposite the Old Cairo, (Sicard, Nouveaux Memoires des Missions
du Levant, tom. vi. p. 5, 6. Shaw's Observations and Travels, p.
296 - 304.) Yet we may not disregard the authority or the
arguments of Pocock, (vol. i. p. 25 - 41,) Niebuhr, (Voyage, tom.
i. p. 77 - 106,) and above all, of D'Anville, (Description de
l'Egypte, p. 111, 112, 130 - 149,) who have removed Memphis
towards the village of Mohannah, some miles farther to the south.

In their heat, the disputants have forgot that the ample space of
a metropolis covers and annihilates the far greater part of the

Book of the day: