|640||Battle of Heliopolis||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||Decisive victory of the Arabs who conquered most of Egypt after that||6 July 640|
|War & Enemy:||
Muslim Conquest of Egypt
|The Battlefield|| Location:
Near Heliopolis, Egypt -an ancient city located near present day Cairo
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Heraclius)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Theodore||Amr ibn al-As|
|Background story:||Following the success over the Byzantines in Syria, Muslim General Amr ibn al-As suggested to Caliph Umar to invade Egypt. Umar agreed. The attack on Egypt took the Byzantines by surprise who believed that the Arabs would need at least a generation to digest their conquests before they attempt to invade new territories.
The invasion began towards the end of 639, as Amr crossed the Sinai Peninsula with 3,500-4,000 men. They advanced up the eastern branch of the Nile from Pelusium into Byzantine Egypt, on to a point on the Nile called Umm Dunein . The siege of this location caused Amr and his horsemen considerable difficulty as they lacked siege engines and overwhelming numbers. After finally taking Umm Dunein, Amr crossed the Nile to Faiyum . Oon 6 June 640, a second army dispatched by Umar arrived at Heliopolis under the powerful warlord Abdullah ibn Zubairand which began to lay siege to it. Amr united his forces with them and began to prepare for movement towards Alexandria – but then the Byzantine army marched outside Heliopolis to confront them in open battle.
Amr fought a brilliant battle at Heliopolis while Byzantine generals who had failed utterly in Syria, they failed equally spectacularly in Egypt.
When the Byzantine army approached, Amr divided his army into three separate units, one of which moved abruptly east to near-by hills, where they hid. The second detachment was sent to the south, which would be the direction the Byzantines would flee if the battle went badly. Once the Byzantine forces initiated contact with Amr's forces and commenced an attack, the hidden third unit attacked the Byzantine rear, which was completely unexpected by the Romans.
Theodore had not kept scouts out, or, if he had, he ignored their warning of the approaching Arab horsemen. This attack from the rear created utter chaos among the Byzantine ranks. As Theodore's troops attempted to flee to the south, they were attacked by the third detachment, which had been placed there for this reason exactly. This completed the final break-down and defeat of the Byzantine army, which fled in all directions. Theodore survived, but with only a tiny fragment of his army, while the remainder was killed or captured.
The capture of Heliopolis, after this, was easy. At an unguarded point of the wall, Zubair and some of his picked soldiers scaled the wall of the city,) and after overpowering the guards, opened the gates for the main Muslim army to enter the city.
|Aftermath:||In the battle's aftermath, not only Heliopolis but most of southern and central Egypt fell to Amr's force. The battle effectively terminated the Byzantine rule in Egypt.|