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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 sera, the memorable though fruitless siege of Rhodes" by Demetriun had furnished that maritime republic with the materials ano the subject of a trophy. A gigantic statue of Apollo, or the Mm. 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 o* the brass metal; an enormous weight, though we should include the hundred colossal figures,96 and the three thow-atid statues, which adorned the prosperity of the city of the »un.
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.98 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
Give to another the victory, (Theoph. p. 286. Zonaras, torn. ii. 1. xiv. p. 88.)
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, (1. 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.
95 Centum colossi alium nobilitaturi locum, says Pliny, with his usual spirit. Hist. Natur. xxxiv. 18.
96 We learn this anecdote from a spirited old woman, who reviled to their faces, the caliph and his friend. She was encouraged by th« silence of Amrou and the liberality of Moawiyah. (Abulfr-da, Ann»i lioelem. p. 111.)
reigning faction to pursue the religious exiles who had taken refuge in the court of the ^Ethiopian king." 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 bis children is celebrated by the Arabians as a model of eloquence and wisdom : he deplored the errors of his youth • but if the peniiont was still infected by the vanity of a poet, he might exag£^rate the venom and mischief of his impious composition^.**
97 Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. ii. p. 46, <fcc, who quotes the Abyssinian history, or romance of Abdel Balcides. Yet the fact of he embassy and ambassador may be allowed.
98 This saying is preserved by Pocock, (Not. ad Carmen Tograi, p 181,) and justly applauded by Mr. Harris, (Philosophical Arrange rn^nts, p. B50.)
'* For die life and character of Amrou, see Ocklev (Hist, of the ftvacens, vol I p. 28, 63, 94, 328, 142, 344, and to the end of tht
From his camp in Palestine, Amrou had .surprised or anticipated the caliph's leave for the invasion of Egypt.1" 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,
volume; vol. ii. p. 51, 55. 57, 74, 110—112, 162) and Otter, (Mem. de ('Academic des Inscriptions, torn. 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.
100 Al Wakidi had likewise composed a separate history of the conquest of Egypt, which Mr. Ockley could never procure; and his own uiquirks fvol. i. 344—362) have added very little to the original text of Eutyckius, (Annal. torn. ii. p. 296—323, vers. Pocock,) thp Mulchite patriarch of Alexandria, who lived three hundred years ift<» tht revolution
unlocked the entrance of the country as far as the ruins of Heliopolis and the neighborhood of the modern Cairo.
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 govern ment was removed to the sea-coast; the ancient capital war 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.103 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. Vet the siege was protracted to seven months; and the rash invaders were encompassed and threatened by the inundation of the Nile.10'
101 Strabo, an accurate and attentive spectator, observes of Heliopolis, vwX nlv oZv iitrl -naviprtjiot ft ndXts, (Geograph. 1. xvii. p. 1158 ;) but of Memphis he declares, jnSAij 6 iaTl jiey*\ii re Ko! evavipot, ievrcpa Jut' 'AXcidvSpctav, (p. 1161:) he notices, however, the mixture of inhabitants and the ruin of the palaces. In the proper Egypt, Ammianus enu merates Memphis among the four cities, maximis urbibus quibus pro vincia nitet. (xxii. 16;) and the name of Memphis appears with distinction in the Roman Itinerary and episcopal lists.
103 These rare and curious facts, the breadth (2946 feet) and the tiridge of the Nile, are only to be found in the Danish traveller and the Nubian geographer, (p. 98.)
,us From the month of April, the Nile begins imperceptibly to rise; the swell becomes strong and visible in the moon after the summer •olstice, (Plin. Hist. Nat. v. 10,) and is usually proclaimed at Cairo on St. Peter's day, (June 29.) A register of thirty successive years' narks the greatest height of the waters between July 25 »•>'• *--—- #
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 waa 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.106 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.10*
Yet the Arabs, after a glorious and profitable enterprise, must have retreated to the desert, had they not found a powerful alliance in the heart of the country. The rapid conquest of Alexander was assisted by the superstition and revolt of the natives: they abhorred their Persian oppressors, the disciples of the Magi, who had burnt the temples of
18, (Maillet, Description de l'Egypte, lettre xi. p. 67, (fee. Pocock's Description of the East, vol. i. p. 200. Shaw's Travels, p. 383.)
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.
105 D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 233.
100 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, (Sieard, Nouveaux Memoires des Missions du Levant, torn. 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, torn. i. p. 77—106,) and above all, of D'Anville. (Description de l'Egypte, p. Ill, 112, 130—149,) who have removed Memphis towards the village of Mohannah, some miles farther to the •ootli. In their heat, the disputants have forgot that the ample space ef a metropolis covers and annihilates the far greater part of tie coo tr tversy