Page 1112

1112 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD..

was unable to avail himself of the advantages

of victory. For in the moment of triumph,

intelligence was received that Constantine, son

of the Emperor, was approaching with an immense army of heavy armed Greeks, flanked

by a host of auxiliaries, against whom the

Moslems could not hope to stand. It became

a serious question in Obeidah's camp what

course should be pursued to maintain the now

unequal contest. In a council of war it was

decided .to march to Yermouk, on the borders

of Palestine, and there await the approach of

Constantine.

The rumor of the approaching Imperial

army was well founded. For the Emperor

Heraclius, at first despising the reports of the

Mohammedan aggressions on the southwest,

was now thoroughly alarmed at the portentous

intelligence which foretold the Moslem conquest of all Syria. An army of eighty thousand

men was accordingly organized and placed

under the command of Manuel, who was ordered to recover the Syrian province from the

Arabs. Manuel was joined en route by another army numbering sixty thousand, led by

a renegade Islamite, named Jabalah. Such

was the powerful host, the rumor of whose

coming had obliged the hasty retirement of

the victorious Moslems after their capture of

Emessa.

The Arab generals, now posted at Yermouk,

sent a message to the Caliph describing their

peril and asking for reinforcements. Eight

thousand men were hastily collected, placed

under the command of Seid, and sent forward

to Obeidah. Before the arrival of this force,

however, the impetuous Khaled had sallied

forth with a body of picked troops, fallen

upon the traitorous Jabalah, who led the hostile advance, and inflicted on him a severe defeat. As Manuel approached with the main

army, he opened negotiations with Obeidah.

Khaled was sent to a conference, but nothing

was effected except the release of some Arab

prisoners.

In the impending battle, Obeidah, distrusting his own abilities, gave the chief command

to Khaled. That veteran, before beginning

the conflict, made to his men a characteristic

address. "Paradise," said he, "is before you; the devil and hell behind. Fight bravely, and

you will secure the one; fly, and you will fall

into the other." The hostile armies met neat

Yermouk. The battle began at morning and

raged furiously throughout the day. Three

times the Moslems were driven back by the

steady charges of the Graeco-Syrian phalanx,

and three times the cries and entreaties of

the Arab women in the rear prevailed with

the warriors to renew the fight.

With the morning light the battle was renewed, and again continued to the darkness.

The third and fourth days of the conflict were

decisive. The Christian hosts were at last

thrown into confusion by the fiery assaults of

the Moslems. Manuel was slain and his army

completely routed. The conflict was decisive

as it related to the possession of Syria.

After a month's rest at Damascus, the Arab

army proceeded to besiege Jersualem. The

inhabitants of that city prepared for defense

by gathering provisions and planting engines

on the walls. The usual demands made by

the Moslem leaders that the people should

either embrace the faith of Islam or become

tributary to the vicar of the Prophet were

rejected, and the investment began. For ten

days the assaults were renewed from time to

time, and a second summons to surrender was

followed by a conference between the Christian

patriarch Sempronius and Obeidah. It was

agreed that the Caliph Omar should himself

come from Medina and receive the city. That

potentate accordingly traversed the Arabian

desert, and the Holy City was given into his

hands. It was stipulated that the Christians

should build no new churches in the countries

which they surrendered; that the doors of all

places of worship should be kept open to travelers and Mohammedans; that the bells should

ring no more, and that the cross should not be

publicly exhibited. Having subscribed the

articles of capitulation, Omar assured the people of his protection and took possession of

the city of David.

Omar scrupulously observed the terms of

the surrender. The Moslems were forbidden

to pray in the Christian churches. The devotions of the Islamites were at first limited to

the steps and porches of the sacred edifices.