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
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