Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia



Damietta, also known as Dumyat or Damiata, is a city in the Nile Delta of Egypt. 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 | 1st century BC to the 9th century AD

Ancient Period
Damietta has ancient roots, with evidence suggesting human habitation in the region during the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt, in the third to first century BC.

Greco-Roman Period
With the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the region came under Hellenistic influence. The city of Damietta may have been established or developed during this period as part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom.

Roman and Byzantine Period
The Roman Empire took control of Egypt in 30 BC after the defeat of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Damietta continued to be a center for trade and commerce during the Roman and Byzantine periods. The city’s strategic location made it an important port and a gateway to the eastern Mediterranean.

Islamic Conquests and Early Islamic Period
The Muslim conquest of Egypt occured in the seventh century, and Damietta, like other parts of the region, came under Islamic rule. Damietta’s significance increased during the early Islamic period due to its location at the mouth of the Nile Delta, facilitating trade and connections with the wider Islamic world.

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 seventh 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.

Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400