Damietta is a city located in Egypt, situated at the mouth of the Nile River on the Mediterranean Sea. It holds a long and significant history and has been an important port city and strategic location since ancient times.

According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it was allied to Lucius the Roman, Arthur’s enemy.

Damietta | 400-600 AD

At the beginning of the fifth century, Damietta was part of the Eastern Roman Empire. As an important city situated at the mouth of the Nile River, it served as a vital trade center connecting the Mediterranean with the riches of Egypt.

During the sixth century, the Byzantine Empire faced invasions from the Sassanian Persian Empire. In 618 AD, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius launched a successful campaign against the Persians, and Damietta was recaptured byt the Byzantine forces. This marked the end of Persian rule in Egypt and the restoration of Byzantine (Constantinople) control.

In the early sevent century, the rise of Islam brought significant changes to the region. After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 632 AD, the Rashidun Caliphate, led by Caliph Abu Bakr, initiated a series of military campaigns known as the Muslim Conquests. Under the leadership of Amr ibn al-As, Muslim forces advanced into Egypt, capturing Alexandria in 641 AD.

In 642 AD, Muslim forces under Amr ibn al-As besieged and captured Damietta, marking the city’s incorporation into the Rashidun Caliphate. This event was part of the wider Islamic conquest of Egypt, which had significant implications for the region’s history and culture. Damietta thrived under Muslim rule and became an essential port city in the Islamic world. It served as a key center for trade, particularly between Egypt and other Mediterranean regions.

Damietta’s strategic location attracted the attention of the Crusaders during their campaigns in the Levant. In 1219 AD, during the Fifth Crusade, the city was captured by the Crusaders for a brief period but later recaptured by the Ayyubid Sultanate. In the late 13th century, the Mamluks, a group of military slaves who had risen to power in Egypt, took control of Damietta. They continued to develop and fortify the city, turning it into a major stronghold and center of administration.

Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400