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60
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

straits. Aryat, constrained by want of provisions, was not long before he attempted to effect a landing. According to the Arabian accounts the Abyssinians disembarked near the port of Aden. Their commander wished them to consider their safety as entirely depending on their bravery, and, having ordered the ships to be set on fire, he addressed them in a few words: "O men of Abyssinia, before you are your enemies, behind you the sea: your choice is death or victory."[1] The contest was short but obstinate, the Hamyarites were entirely defeated, and Aryat hastened towards the metropolis, the city of Taphar or Dhaphar, which being unprepared for a siege immediately surrendered to him.[2]

When the king of Hamyar heard of the fall of his capital, astonished at the unexpected success of his enemies, and now threatened by them on every side, his resolution entirely failed him; so that, when the Abyssinians landed from the other ships, they soon defeated the Arabians, who wanted spirit and concert to make an effective resistance, and Dzu

  1. Nuweir, p. 82.
  2. Metaphrast. Jo. As. Ep. p. 42, 43. Procopius; Malala; &c. Arabic authorities: Nuweir, p. 82; Hamza, p. 42; Tabeir, p. 106, 108; Mesoud, p. 140. On the history of Arethas and the events which followed, the reader may consult Walch, Historia Rerum in Homeritide, and the review of it in the Orientalische und Exegetische Bibliothek of Michaelis, band 7, p. 142. The Greek writers say that the nadjash accompanied the expedition. I have followed the Arabians: but it is a matter not worth disputing.