BILBEIS, or Belbes, a town of lower Egypt, on the eastern arm of the Nile, 36 m. N.N.E. of Cairo by rail. Pop. (1907) 13,485. The Coptic name, Phelbes, seems to have been derived from Egyptian, but nothing is known of the place before medieval times. Considered the bulwark of the kingdom on that side, Bilbeis was by the Moslems defended with strong fortifications. In 1163-1164 it was besieged for three months by the crusaders under Amalric, and in 1168 was captured and pillaged by another army of crusaders. Napoleon in 1798 ordered the restoration of the fortifications, but they have again fallen into decay. Bilbeis was the first halting-place of the English cavalry in their march on Cairo after the fight at Tel-el-Kebir on the 13th of September 1882.
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