The Sassanid Empire poised itself for an invasion of Byzantine Egypt following its victories in the eastern Byzantine territories of Syria and Palestine. After entering Egypt in 617, the Sassanids reached its capital Alexandria in 619. Sources describing the battle for the city are scarce and give varying accounts of its details. According to the 10th-century Egyptian historian Severus, the Sassanids pillaged churches and slaughtered Christians near Alexandria, entering the city through gates that its inhabitants opened in fear. Alternatively, the 7th-century Khuzistan Chronicle states that after being unable to breach the walls, the Sassanids were led inside by a man named Peter who had supposedly read a passage in a scripture which foretold that Alexandria would fall via its western gate overlooking the sea. The Persians then used the cover of fishing boats in an early morning raid to surprise the defenders of the gate and gain entry to the city.
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