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646 Battle of Nikiou  (Battle of Alexandria) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: A Byzantine defeat in the last attempt to recapture Egypt 646
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Muslim Conquest of Egypt
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Nikiou Location:
A the small fortified town of Nikiou, about two-thirds of the way from Alexandria to Cairo
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Constans II Pogonatos) The Enemies
Commander: Manuel Amr ibn al-As
Forces: less than 10,000 c. 15,000
Background story: Following their victory at the Battle of Heliopolis in July 640, and the subsequent capitulation of Alexandria in 641, the Arabs had taken over what was the Roman province of Egypt. The newly-installed Byzantine Emperor Constans II was determined to retake the land, and ordered a large fleet to carry troops to Alexandria. These troops, under Manuel,-a relatively lower ranking imperial official- landed and took the city from its small Arab garrison, with the assistance of the remaining Greek residents, towards the end of 645. Amr ibn al-As, the conqueror of Egypt, at the time may have been in Mecca, and was quickly recalled to take command of the Arab forces in Egypt.
The Battle:
The Byzantines, following their standard tactical doctrine, advanced out of the city and sought an open battle away from the protection of the city’s fortifications. Accounts of the battle portray the Muslim forces as relying heavily on their archers before eventually assaulting the Byzantine positions, and despite a hard fight, with one of their champions being slain in single combat, the Arabs prevailed, and the Byzantine forces retreated in disarray back to Alexandria. Following a short siege, Amr once again captured Alexandria and expelled the Greeks, ending almost 1,000 years of Greco-Roman occupation.
Aftermath: The defeat marked the last attempt by the Byzantine Empire to recapture Egypt for some 500 years (an expedition with limited success was sent again in the 12th century). The fact is that after this battle, Egypt was gone for ever for Byzantium.