|641||Conquest of Alexandria||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||Capture of Alexandria -and Egypt- by the Arabs||Mar-Sep 641|
|War & Enemy:||
Muslim Conquest of Egypt
|The Battlefield|| Location:
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Constans II Pogonatos)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Patriarch Cyrus||Amr ibn al-As|
|Background story:||Following the surrender of Babylon on the Nile in April 641, Muslim General Amr ibn al-As marched north against Byzantine Alexandria. The Muslims laid siege to Alexandria in March 641. Alexandria was left virtually defenseless and it is likely that only a fraction of provincial forces remained garrisoned in the city itself.|
Though the Byzantines were unable to field an effective force, Alexandria's substantial walls proved to be valuable assets and were adequate in stopping the Muslim attackers.
Emperor Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, collected a large army at Constantinople. He intended to lead this army personally to Alexandria. But he died and the help never came to Alexandria. This demoralized the Byzantines completely. The siege dragged on for six months, and finally, the city was captured by the Muslims in September 641. Thousands of Byzantine soldiers were killed or taken captive while others managed to flee to Constantinople on ships that were ready in the port. Some wealthy traders also left.
On behalf of the Christians, Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria sued for peace, and his request was granted.
|Aftermath:||The impact of such a major event as the loss of Alexandria -and Egypt- to Muslim forces was felt throughout the Mediterranean world. The decrease in the annual grain shipments from Egypt struck a decisive blow to the Byzantine economy.|