under the wall of the city; the son of the caliph, CHAP. with a hundred volunteers, were committed to the faith of this new ally, and their successful intrepidity gave an easy entrance to their companions. After Caled had imposed the terms of servitude and tribute, the apostate or convert avowed in the assembly of the people his meritorious treason: “I renounce your society,” said Romanus, “ both in this world, and the world to come. And I deny him that was crucified, and whosoever worships him. And I choose God for my Lord, Islam for my faith, Mecca for my temple, the Moslems for my brethren, and Mahomet for my prophet; who was sent to lead us into the right way, and to exalt the true religion in spite of those who join partners with God.”

The conquest of Bosra, four days' journey from Siege of Damascus," encouraged the Arabs to besiege the an- A.D. 633. cient capital of Syria. At some distance from the walls, they encamped among the groves and fountains of that delicious territory, and the usual option of the Mahometan faith, of tribute or of war, was proposed to the resolute citizens, who had been lately strengthened by a reinforcement of five thousand


2 Damascus is amply described by the Sherif al Edrisi (Geograph. Nub. p. 116, 117); and his translator, Sionita (Appendix, c. 4); Abulfeda (Tabula Syriæ, p. 100); Schultens (Index Geograph. ad Vit. Saladin.); D'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient. p. 291); Thevenot (Voyage du Levant, part i. p. 688--698); Maundrell (Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 122–130); and Pocock (Description of the East, vol. ii. p. 117–127).

a Nobilissima civitas, says Justin. According to the oriental traditions, it was older than Abraham or Semiramis. Joseph. Antiq. Jud. l. i. c. 6, 7. p. 24. 29. edit. Havercamp. Justin. xxxvi. 2.

Εδει γαρ οιμαι την Διος πολιν αληθως, και της Εωας απασης οφθαλμον, την Γεραν και μεγιστης Δαμασκον λεγω, τους στεναλλους συμπασιν διον ιερων καλλει, και νέων μεγεθει, και ωρων ευκαιρια, και πηγων αγλαια, και ποταμων πληθει, και γης supoguae vixwoav, &c. Julian. epist. xxiv. p. 392. These splendid epithets are occasioned by the figs of Damascus, of which the author sends a hundred to his friend Serapion, and this rhetorical theme is inserted by Petavius, Spanheim, &c. (p. 390—396) among the genuine epistles of Julian. How could they overlook that the writer is an inhabitant of Damascus (he thrice affirms, that this peculiar fig grows only rag' spusv), a city which Julian never entered or approached ?


CHAP. Greeks. In the decline as in the infancy of the mili

tary art, a hostile defiance was frequently offered
and accepted by the generals themselves: o many a
lance was shivered in the plain of Damascus, and the
personal prowess of Caled was signalised in the first
sally of the besieged. After an obstinate combat, he
had overthrown and made prisoner one of the Chris-
tian leaders, a stout and worthy antagonist. He in-
stantly mounted a fresh horse, the gift of the governor
of Palmyra, and pushed forwards to the front of the
battle. Repose yourself for a moment,” said his
friend Derar, “ and permit me to supply your place:
you are fatigued with fighting with this dog.” “O
Derar!” replied the indefatigable Saracen, “ we shall
rest in the world to come. He that labours to-day
shall rest to-morrow. With the same unabated
ardour, Caled answered, encountered, and vanquished
a second champion; and the heads of his two captives,
who refused to abandon their religion, were indig-
nantly hurled into the midst of the city. The event
of some general and partial actions reduced the Da-
mascenes to a closer defence: but a messenger whom
they dropt from the walls returned with the promise
of speedy and powerful succour, and their tumultuous
joy conveyed the intelligence to the camp of the
Arabs. After some debate it was resolved by the
generals to raise, or rather to suspend, the siege of
Damascus, till they had given battle to the forces of

In the retreat, Caled would have chosen the more perilous station of the rear-guard; he modestly yielded to the wishes of Abu Obeidah. But in the hour of danger he flew to the rescue of his companion, who was rudely pressed by a sally of six thousand horse and ten thousand foot, and few among

e Voltaire, who casts a keen and lively glance over the surface of history, has been struck with the resemblance of the first Moslems and the heroes of the Iliad; the siege of Troy and that of Damascus (Hist. Generale, tom. i. p. 348).


the Christians could relate at Damascus the circum- CHAP. stances of their defeat. The importance of the contest required the junction of the Saracens, who were dispersed on the frontiers of Syria and Palestine; and I shall transcribe one of the circular mandates which was addressed to Amrou, the future conqueror of Egypt.“ In the name of the most merciful God: from Caled to Amrou, health and happiness. Know that thy brethren the Moslems design to march to Aiznadin, where there is an army of seventy thousand Greeks, who purpose to come against us, that they may extinguish the light of God with their mouths; but God preserveth his light in spite of the infidels.d As soon therefore as this letter of mine shall be delivered to thy hands, come with those that are with thee to Aiznadin, where thou shalt find us if it please the most high God.” The summons was cheerfully obeyed, and the forty-five thousand Moslems who met on the same day, on the same spot, ascribed to the blessing of Providence the effects of their activity and zeal.

About four years after the triumphs of the Persian Battle of war, the repose of Heraclius and the empire was again A. D. 633, disturbed by a new enemy, the power of whose reli- July 13. gion was more strongly felt than it was clearly un, derstood by the Christians of the East. In his

palace of Constantinople or Antioch, he was awakened by the invasion of Syria, the loss of Bosra, and the danger of Damascus. An army of seventy thousand veterans, or new levies, was assembled at Hems or Emesa, under the command of his general Werdan;


# These words are a text of the Koran, c. ix. 32. lxi. 8. Like our fanatics of the last century, the Moslems, on every familiar or important occasion, spoke the language of their scriptures ; a style more natural in their mouths, than the Hebrew idiom transplanted into the climate and dialect of Britain.

e The name of Werdan is unknown to Theophanes, and, though it might belong to an Armenian chief, has very little of a Greek aspect or sound. If the Byzantine historians have mangled the oriental names, the Arabs, in this instance, likewise have taken ample revenge on their enemies. In transposing the


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CHAP. and these troops, consisting chiefly of cavalry, might

be indifferently styled either Syrians, or Greeks, or
Romans: Syrians, from the place of their birth or
warfare; Greeks, from the religion and language of
their sovereign; and Romans, from the proud ap-
pellation which was still profaned by the successors
of Constantine. On the plain of Aiznadin, as Wer-
dan rode on a white mule decorated with gold chains,
and surrounded with ensigns and standards, he was
surprised by the near approach of a fierce and naked
warrior, who had undertaken to view the state of the
enemy. The adventurous valour of Derar was in-
spired, and has perhaps been adorned, by the en-
thusiasm of his age and country. The hatred of the
Christians, the love of spoil, and the contempt of
danger, were the ruling passions of the audacious
Saracen; and the prospect of instant death could
never shake his religious confidence, or ruffle the
calmness of his resolution, or even suspend the frank
and martial pleasantry of his humour. In the most
hopeless enterprises, he was bold, and prudent, and
fortunate: after innumerable hazards, after being
thrice a prisoner in the hands of the infidels, he still
survived to relate the achievements, and to enjoy the
rewards, of the Syrian conquest. On this occasion,
his single lance maintained a flying fight against
thirty Romans, who were detached by Werdan; and
after killing or unhorsing seventeen of their number,
Derar returned in safety to his applauding brethren.
When his rashness was mildly censured by the ge-
neral, he excused himself with the simplicity of a
soldier. Nay,” said Derar, “ I did not begin
first: but they came out to take me, and I was afraid
that God should see me turn my back: and indeed I
fought in good earnest, and without doubt God as-

Greek character from right to left, might they not produce, from the familiar
appellation of Andrew, something like the anagram Werdan ?


sisted me against them; and had I not been appre- CHAP. hensive of disobeying your orders, I should not have come away as I did; and I perceive already that they will fall into our hands. In the presence of both armies, a venerable Greek advanced from the ranks with a liberal offer of peace; and the departure of the Saracens would have been purchased by a gift to each soldier, of a turban, a robe, and a piece of gold; ten robes, and a hundred pieces to their leader; one hundred robes, and a thousand pieces to the caliph. A smile of indignation expressed the refusal of Caled. “ Ye Christian dogs, you know your option; the koran, the tribute, or the sword. We are a people whose delight is in war, rather than in peace; and we despise your pitiful alms, since we shall be speedily masters of your wealth, your families, and your persons.” Notwithstanding this apparent disdain, he was deeply conscious of the public danger: those who had been in Persia, and had seen the armies of Chosroes, confessed that they never beheld a more formidable array. From the superiority of the enemy, the artful Saracen derived a fresh incentive of courage :

“ You see before you,” said he, “the united force of the Romans, you cannot hope to escape, but you may conquer Syria in a single day. The event depends on your discipline and patience. Reserve yourselves till the evening. It was in the evening that the prophet was accustomed to vanquish.” During two successive engagements, his temperate firmness sustained the darts of the enemy, and the murmurs of his troops. At length, when the spirits and quivers of the adverse line were almost exhausted, Caled gave the signal of onset and victory. The remains of the imperial army fled to Antioch, or Cæsarea, or Damascus; and the death of four hundred and seventy Moslems was compensated by the opinion that they had sent to hell above

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