Page 1108

1108 UNIVERSAL HISTORY- THE MODERN WORLD.

garrison again into the city, and set up his own

banner before the gates. With the early

morning the besieged army again rallied forth, confident of victory. Romanus, riding before

his army, entered into a sham, personal combat with Khaled, telling his terrible foe to strike softly and he would surrender the city into his hands. Khaled readily assented

to the proposition, but when Romanus returned into Bosra he was deposed by the

indignant garrison. Another rally was made

and a personal combat ensued between the

commander and the young Abdalrahman, son

of the Caliph, who appeared as the champion of Khaled. The governor was wounded and

put to flight. Thereupon the whole Moslem

force charged upon the opposing army and

drove the besieged headlong into the city.

With nightfall the gates were dosed and Bosra

was invested.

Taking advantage of the darkness Romanus, who had been confined in his own house

near the wall of the city, broke an opening

through the rampart and made his way to the

tent of Khaled. Abdalrahman was sent with

a hundred men into the city to open the gates.

At a preconcerted signal the Moslems rushed forward, poured through the gates, and

the people of Bosra were suddenly aroused with

the shrill battle cry of Islam. The city was taken and the carnage ended by the order of

Khaled. The inhabitants were obliged to renounce Christianity and to accept Mohammed

as their Prophet.

After the downfall of Bosra, Khaled fixed

his eyes on .Damascus, the flower of the Syrian

desert. With a force of thirty-seven thousand

men he pressed forward to the rich plain and

groves of palm in which the city is situated.

So beautiful was the sight which greeted the

eyes of the Moslem host that it seemed to

them a vision of that Paradise which the

Prophet had promised to the faithful. The

city was strongly fortified, and defended by a

numerous garrison. Nor did it appear to

Heraclius, who was then holding his

court at Antioch,

that the expedition

of Khaled was more

to be feared than a

predatory foray of

nomads. He there fore merely ordered

a force of five thousand men to march from Antioch for the succor of Damascus. Arriving at the city, Calous, the general of the detachment, attempted to assume the command, and violent dissensions ensued. Meanwhile Khaled drew near at the head of his army, and a sense

of danger served to unite the factions within

the walls. The garrison was drawn out

through the gates, and the two armies were

brought face to face in the plain. Both the

Christian commanders were killed, and their

army driven within the ramparts.

Damascus was now besieged. Heraclius,

learning the real character of the foe with

whom he had to grapple, sent forward from

Antioch an army of a hundred thousand men.

But the undaunted Khaled rallied forth into

the desert, met the approaching hosts in detachments, and inflicted upon them a complete

overthrow and rout. The siege was again