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1115 MOHAMMEDAN ASCENDENCY.-CONQUESTS OF FIRST CALIPHS. 1115

secured by the Moslems before they could

hope to take the city. The guards of the

bridge, however, had a private spite to be

gratified, and as soon as the Arab army drew

near surrendered themselves and their charge

to Obeidah. Thus was the approach to Antioch laid open, and the two armies were

brought face to face before the walls of the

city.

In the mean time Youkenna, who held

command within the ramparts, completed his

treason by liberating the Arab prisoners.

When the intelligence of his proceedings was

carried to Heraclius, the latter fell into despair, slipped away from the Christian camp

with a few followers, took his course to the

sea-shore, and embarked for Constantinople.

The generals of the Emperor, however, remained and fought. In the severe battle

which ensued before the walls of the city, the

Moslems were again triumphant. Antioch

surrendered, and was obliged to purchase her

exemption from pillage by the payment of

three thousand ducats of gold.

The conquest of Syria was now virtually

complete. Khaled, at the head of a division

of the army, traversed the country as far as

the Euphrates. Everywhere the towns and

villages were compelled either to profess the

faith of Islam or pay an annual tribute.

Another leader, named Mesroud, undertook

the conquest of the Syrian mountains. Little

success, however, attended the expedition until Khaled went to the assistance of Mesroud,

whereupon the opposing army of Greeks

withdrew from the country.

In the mean time Amru, to whom had

been assigned the subjugation of Egypt, proceeded against Caesarea. Here was posted

Constantine, son of the Emperor, in command

of a large army of Graeco-Syrians. Great

were the embarrassments of Amru in the conduct of his expedition; for many Christian

Arabs, who could not well be discriminated

from the true followers of the Prophet, hovered as spies about the Moslem camp and

carried to Constantine intelligence of whatever was done or purposed., None the less,

the Christian general entertained a wholesome

dread of the Moslems, and on their approach sought a peaceable settlement. He remonstrated with Amru, and yet protested that

the Greeks and Arabs were brethren.

Amru maintained, however, that according

to the Noachic distribution of the world Syria

belonged to the descendants of Shem; that

they had been wrongfully dispossessed and

thrust into the deserts of Arabia, and that

they were now come to repossess their inheritance by the sword. After much parley, the

usual alternative was presented by the Mohammedan. The people of Caesarea must

either accept Mohammed as their Prophet and

acknowledge the unity of God or else become

tributary to the Caliph Omar. The armies

then prepared for battle. It was the peculiarity of all these conflicts that challenges to

personal combat were given and accepted by

the leaders. Before the wall of Caesarea a

powerful Christian warrior rode forth and defied the Moslem host to send a man to match

him in fight. An Arab youth from Yemen

offered himself for martyrdom and was quickly

slain. A second and third followed his example. Then the veteran Serjabil went forth

and was prostrated by the Christian hero.

But when the latter was about to take the

life of his fallen foe, his own hand was

cut off by a saber stroke of a certain Greek.

Presently after this adventure-the weather

being cold and boisterous-Constantine immured himself in Caesarea. That place was

then besieged by the Moslems, and Constantine, instead of being reinforced, received the

intelligence of the capture of Tripoli and

Tyre. He also learned that a fleet of munitions and supplies which had been sent to his

relief had fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Discouraged by these tidings, he gathered together his treasures and family, slipped away

from Caesarea, and embarked for Constantinople. As soon as the authorities of the city

learned that the prince had fled, they made

overtures to Amru and secured their safety

by the payment of a ransom of two hundred

thousand pieces of silver. A few other places

of minor importance were taken by the Mohammedan, and by the following year, A. D.

639, opposition ceased.

It will be remembered that on the accession