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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/71

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sea, and raised to the surface by masses of timber. After having taken these precautions, Dzu Nowass encamped with his army on the coast where he expected that the Abyssinians, when they found the passage of the straits impossible, would attempt to disembark.

When the Abyssinian fleet approached the straits, ten ships were sent before to reconnoitre the passage, which, being ignorant of the stratagem of the king of Hamyar, and assisted by a favourable wind, entered unexpectedly the narrowest part, and almost by a miracle passed in safety. The rest were obliged, as Dzu Nowass had expected, to return. The ten ships which had passed the straits approached the shore, and would have landed at a place about two hundred stadia or twenty-five miles from that in which the army of Hamyar was posted, but they were prevented by the missiles of the few Arabians who had been sent to defend the southern coast. In another attempt, seven of the remaining ships, in one of which was the Abyssinian commander, succeeded in passing the straits and joining them. The rest of the fleet, which was the more numerous portion, afterwards followed them, and proceeding farther along the coast, cast anchor at a different place, a considerable distance from the former. Dzu Nowass, who naturally expected that the chief commander was with the larger division, proceeded with his army to hinder their landing, leaving a small force to oppose those ships which had first passed the