Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/193

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181
IN ARABIA.

importance of this alliance; and, as he might already contemplate the future conquest of Egypt, the Copts were allowed to continue in their faith; they purchased the protection of the Arabians by a trifling tribute,[1] and the prophet was heard to express his benevolent regard for the Copts of Egypt.[2]

The Monophysites of Arabia and Syria were no less ready to change their masters than the Copts. Many of them sought refuge from their Catholic persecutors in the camp of the Moslem, and their bishops and priests went to negotiate an alliance and a tribute.[3] Seid, the Christian prince of Nadjran, with the patriarch Jesujabus, procured by their valuable gifts a favourable audience of Muhammed himself; they demanded a written document of alliance between the Christians and the Arabs who had embraced the predatory faith of Islam, and the diploma of the prophet stipulated that his subjects should defend them from their enemies; that they should never be compelled to go to fight, or to change their religion; that their priests should be free of tribute, and that that of the laity should be confined within moderate bounds;[4] that the Christians should

  1. Gagnier and Abulfeda, ibid. Makrizi, Hist. Copt. p. 89.
  2. Dixit quoque: Benefacite Coptitis Ægypti: sunt enim vobis genere et affinitate juncti. Elmacin. Hist. Sarac. p. 11. Christiano Coptitæ qui nocet, mihi nocet. Abudacnus, Hist. Copt. præfat.
  3. Asseman. tom. i. p. 494.
  4. A laicis vero pauperibus nummos quatuor, a divitibus nummos duodecim dumtaxat.