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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/87

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IN ARABIA.

and native bishops, and the country took the form, or title, of a Roman eparchy.[1]

To the Byzantine court, however, the Arabs were rather allies than slaves. Their governors were generally natives, and were named phylarchs, or leaders of tribes, while the provinces of Syria and Mesopotamia were governed by magistrates named duces.[2] Towards the east the territory of the Arabian phylarchs joined the dominions of the kings of Hirah, who were now subject to the Persian king. Thus the northern Arabs, who began to be known under the name of Saracens, were nearly equally divided between the two hostile powers of Rome and Persia, and a declaration of war on either side was almost immediately followed by an invasion by the flying squadrons of one or other of the Arabian kings. Early in the fifth century the dissensions between the rival chiefs had been publicly manifested, and the mondar Naaman, was easily induced by a bribe from the king of Persia to invade the Roman territory.[3] The idolatrous inhabitants of Beth-Hur were visited with all the miseries of a successful

  1. Επαρχια Αραβιας. ὑπο κονσουλαριον. Hieroclis Synecdemus, p. 50, apud Bandurin. Imperium Orientale.
  2. Φυλαρχοι–Δουκας, Procop. de Bel. Pers. c. 17. p. 51. Appian calls Agbarus king of Edessa, an Arabian phylarch — Ακβαρον φυλαρχον Αραβων. Φυλαρχης,, says Suidas, ὁ δυναστης ξυμβαλλει τῳ Τραϊανῳ. περι Ακβαρου, ὁς ην Οσροηνης χωρας δυναστης οὑσπερ φυλαρχας σνομαζουσιν εκεινοι. ὁτι και τα χωρια αυτων φυλαι ονομαζουσιν εκεινοι.
  3. Assemann, Biblioth. Orient, tom. i. p. 227.