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129
IN ARABIA.

supporting by his zeal the Monophysites of Nubia and Ethiopia, the persecution of the Jacobite bishops in the less remote districts was raging with redoubled vigour. Eight hundred bishops and archbishops, who had refused to conform to the synod of Chalcedon, filled the imperial prisons,[1] and Maras of Amida, Isidore of Causarum, and other Syrian prelates, were only recalled from Petra, their place of exile, at the earnest intercessions of Theodora.[2]

The unsubmitting and irritable character and predatory habits of the Saracen Arabs, always made them suspected and distrusted by the Romans, and, to use the words of the historian, neither to be desired as friends or enemies.[3] It is one of their own proverbs, that "There is no authority where there is no obedience," the truth of which was experienced equally by the court of Byzantium and the house of the Khosroës. Although Noman ibn Mondar, the king of Hirah, governed the Arabs only as the lieutenant and tributary of Noushirwan, and although the distance between Hirah and Modaïne, the capital of Persia, was but a few farsangs, yet he was continually in open rebellion against his master; when

  1. MS. Arab. de Laud. Jacobit. ap. Asseman. tom. ii. pp. 63, 4.
  2. Joan. As. Episc. ap. Assem. tom. ii. p. 51.
  3. Saraceni tamen nec amici nobis unquam nec hostes optandi, ultro citroque discursantes, quidquid inveniri poterat momento temporis parvi vastabant, milvorum rapacium similes; qui si prædam dispexerint celsius, volatu rapiunt celeri, aut nisi impetraverint, non immorantur. Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xiv. c. 4.