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Egypt Was Conquered by the Arabs, Coptic Language Changed By Force

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10/23/2013 02:19 AM
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Egypt Was Conquered by the Arabs, Coptic Language Changed By Force
Al-Baladhuri: The Conquest of Alexandria

'Amr kept his way until he arrived in Alexandria whose inhabitants he found ready to resist him, but the Copts in it preferred peace. Al-Mukaukis communicated with 'Amr and asked him for peace and a truce for a time; but 'Amr refused. Al-Mukaukis then ordered that the women stand on the wall with their faces turned towards the city, and that the men stand armed, with their faces towards the Moslems, thus hoping to scare them. 'Amr sent word, saying, "We see what you have done. It was not by mere numbers that we conquered those we have conquered. We have met your king Heraclius, and there befell him what has befallen him." Hearing this, al-Mukaukis said to his followers, "These people are telling the truth. They have chased our king from his kingdom as far as Constantinople. It is much more preferable, therefore, that we submit." His followers, however, spoke harshly to him and insisted on fighting. The Moslems fought fiercely against them and invested them for three months. At last, 'Amr reduced the city by the sword and plundered all that was in it, sparing its inhabitants of whom none was killed or taken captive. He reduced them to the position of dhimmis like the people of Alyunah. He communicated the news of the victory to 'Umar through Mu'awiyah ibn-Hudaij al-Kindi (later as-Sakuni) and sent with him the fifth.

The Greeks wrote to Constantine, son of Heraclius, who was their king at that time, telling him how few the Moslems in Alexandria were, and how humiliating the Greeks' condition was, and how they had to pay poll-tax. Constantine sent one of his men, called Manuwil, with three hundred ships full of fighters. Manuwil entered Alexandria and killed all the guard that was in it, with the exception of a few who by the use of subtle means took to flight and escaped. This took place in the year 25. Hearing the news, 'Amr set out at the head of 15,000 men and found the Greek fighters doing mischief in the Egyptian villages next to Alexandria. The Moslems met them and for one hour were subjected to a shower of arrows, during which they were covered by their shields. They then advanced boldly and the battle raged with great ferocity until the polytheists were routed; and nothing could divert or stop them before they reached Alexandria. Here they fortified themselves and set mangonels. 'Amr made a heavy assault, set the ballistae, and destroyed the walls of the city. He pressed the fight so hard until he entered the city by assault, killed the fathers and carried away the children as captives. Some of its Greek inhabitants left to join the Greeks somewhere else; and Allah's enemy, Manuwil, was killed. 'Amr and the Moslems destroyed the wall of Alexandria in pursuance of a vow that 'Amr had made to that effect, in case he reduced the city....'Amr ibn-al-Asi conquered Alexandria, and some Moslems took up their abode in it as a cavalry guard.

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