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56
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

ciliate their friendship, and endeavour to detach them from their alliance with, or rather dependence on, Persia. When he reached the camp of the Arab chief, a messenger had just arrived from the king of Hamyar, informing the mondar of the success and particulars of his expedition against Nadjran, and exhorting him to take similar measures against the Christians who lived under him. The bishop of Persia immediately wrote a circumstantial account of the sufferings of the Christians of Nadjran to his Roman brethren, in which he urged them speedily to take up the cause of the believers in Arabia.[1] Amongst the few Christians who had escaped the persecution of Dzu Nowass, was Dous Ibn Dzi Thaleban, who fled to the court of Constantinople, and implored the emperor to advocate the cause of his persecuted countrymen.[2] The emperor gave him a favourable hearing, excused himself on account of the state of public affairs and the distance of Arabia, from personally assisting him, but gave him letters to the nadjash of Ethiopia.[3]

The Abyssinian king, who was now himself a Christian, had thus a double incentive to engage vigorously in his war with Hamyar. Dzu Nowass, in pursuing his plans of vengeance, had seized the opportunity when the season of the year was unfavourable to the navigation between Abyssinia and

  1. Johan. As. Ep. p. 22, 39.
  2. Nuweir, p. 82. Tabeir, p. 166. Hamza, p. 38.
  3. Hamza, ib. Nuweir, p. 89.