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pies Mesopotamia, at the imminent risk of utter ruin, followed by very few troops, and these imperfectly armed, and by a few rustic labourers and herdsmen, whom he had pressed into his service from among the provincials. After gaining the advantage in some skirmishes near Nisibis with the Persians, who were themselves not yet completely prepared, he sits down before that city, though the enemy did not think it necessary to close the gates, and insolently jeered the Roman troops. Besides many other prodigies presaging the approaching calamities, I also saw, at the beginning of the war, a newly born calf with two heads.
CHAP. IX.-INVASION OF THE PERSIANS. CHOSROES, when his preparations for war were completed, having accompanied Adaarmanes for some distance, sent him across the Euphrates from his own bank of the river into the Roman territory, by Circesium, a city most important to the Romans, situated at the limit of the empire, and rendered strong not only by its walls, which are carried to an immense height, but by the rivers Euphrates and Aboras, which, as it were, insulate the place. Chosroes himself, having crossed the Tigris with his own division of the army, advanced upon Nisibis.
Of these operations the Romans were for a long time ignorant, so far that Justin, relying on a rumour to the effect that Chosroes was either dead, or approaching his last breath, was indignant at the tardiness of the siege of Nisibis, and sent persons for the purpose of stimulating the efforts of Marcian, and bringing to him the keys of the gates as quickly as possible. Information, however, that the siege was making no progress, but that the commander was bringing great discredit upon himself by attempting impossibilities in the case of so important a city with so contemptible a force, is conveyed in the first instance to Gregory, bishop of Theopolis : for the bishop of Nisibis, being strongly attached to Gregory, as having received munificent presents from him, and especially being indignant at the insolence which the Persians were continually displaying towards the Christians, and desirous that his
1 Ouvteleis.] For the exact meaning of this word, see above, book iii. chap. 42.
city should be subject to the Roman power, supplied information to Gregory of all things that were going on in the enemy's territory, at each several juncture. This the latter immediately forwarded to Justin, informing him as quickly as possible of the advance of Chosroes : but he, being immersed in his habitual pleasures, paid no regard to the letters of Gregory; nor was he indeed inclined to believe them, indulging rather the thoughts suggested by his wishes; for the ordinary mark of dissolute persons is a meanness of spirit combined with confidence with regard to results; as well as incredulity, if anything occurs which runs counter to their desires. Accordingly he writes to Gregory, altogether repudiating the information as being utterly false, and, even supposing it were true, saying that the Persians would not come up before the siege was concluded, and that, if they did, they would be beaten off with loss. He further sends Acacius, a wicked and insolent man, to Marcian with orders to supersede him in the command, even supposing he had already set one foot within the town. This command he strictly executed, carrying out the emperor's orders without any regard to the public good : for, on his arrival at the camp, he' deprives Marcian of his command while on the enemy's territory, and without informing the army of the transaction. The various officers, on learning at the break of the next day that their commander was superseded, no longer appeared at the head of their troops, but stole away in various directions, and thus raised that ridiculous siege.
Adaarmanes, on the other hand, in command of a considerable force of Persians and Scenite barbarians, having marched by Circesium, inflicted every possible injury with fire and sword upon
the Roman territory, setting no limits to his intentions or actions. He also captures many fortresses and towns, without encountering any resistance ; in the first place, because there was no one in command, and secondly, because, since the Roman troops were shut up in Daras by Chosroes, his foragings and incursions were made in perfect security. He also directed an advance upon Theopolis, without proceeding thither in person. These troops were compelled to draw off most unexpectedly , for scarcely any one, or indeed very few persons, remained in the city; and the bishop had fled, taking with him the sacred treasures, because both the greater part of the walls had fallen to ruins, and the
populace had made insurrection with the hope of gaining ascendency by change : a thing of frequent occurrence, and especially at junctures like this. The insurgents themselves also abandoned the city, without any attempt to meet the emergency or take active measures against the enemy.
CHAP. X.-CAPTURE OF APAMEA AND DARAS. FAILING thus in this attempt, Adaarmanes, having burnt the city formerly called Heraclea, but subsequently Gagalica, made himself master of Apamea; which, having been founded by Seleucus Nicator,' was once flourishing and populous, but had fallen to a great extent into ruin through lapse of time. On the capitulation of the city from the inability of the inhabitants to offer any resistance, since the wall had fallen down through age, he fired and pillaged the whole place, in violation of the terms, and drew off, carrying away captive the inhabitants of the town and the adjoining country, and among them the bishop and the governor. He also exercised every kind of atrocity during his march, without meeting with any
resistance or indeed attempt at opposition, except a very small force sent out by Justin under the command of Magnus, who had formerly been a banker at Constantinople, and subsequently appointed steward of one of the imperial residences. These troops however fled with precipitation, and narrowly escaped being made prisoners.
After these operations, Adaarmanes joins Chosroes, who had not yet captured the city he was besieging. By the junction, he threw an important weight into the scale, in raising the spirits of his countrymen, while he disheartened their opponents. He found the city cut off by lines, and a huge mound carried forward within a short distance of the walls, with engines mounted, and especially catapults, shooting from vantage ground. By these means Chosroes took the city by storm. John, the son of Timostratus, was governor, who paid little regard to the defence of the place, or perhaps betrayed it; for both accounts are reported. Chosroes had besieger the city for five months or more, without any effort being made for its relief. Having brought forth all the inhabitants | The first king of Syria, so called because of his famous victories.
in immense numbers, some of whom he miserably slaughtered, but retained the greater part as captives, he garrisoned the city, on account of its important situation, and then retired into his own territories.
CHAP. XI.-INSANITY OF JUSTIN. On being informed of these events, Justin, in whose mind no sober and considerate thoughts found place after so much inflation and pride, and who did not bear what had befallen him with resignation suited to a human being, falls into a state of frenzy, and becomes unconscious of all subsequent transactions.
Tiberius assumes the direction of affairs, a Thracian by birth, but holding the first place in the court of Justin. He had previously been sent out against the Avars by the emperor, who had raised a very large army for the purpose ; and he would inevitably have been made prisoner, since his troops would not even face the barbarians, had not Divine Providence unexpectedly delivered him, and preserved him for succession to the Roman sovereignty; which, through the inconsiderate measures of Justin, was in danger of falling to ruin, together with the entire commonwealth, and of passing from such a height of power into the hands of barbarians.
CHAP. XII.-EMBASSY OF TRAJAN TO CHOSROES. ACCORDINGLY, Tiberius adopts a measure opportune and well suited to the state of affairs, which altogether repaired the calamity. He despatches to Chosroes, Trajan, a senator and an accomplished man, universally esteemed for his years and intelligence; not, however, as representative of the sovereign power, nor yet as ambassador for the commonwealth, but merely to treat on behalf of the empress Sophia ; who herself also wrote to Chosroes, bewailing the calamities which had befallen her husband, and the loss of its head which the commonwealth sustained, and urging the unseemliness of trampling upon a widowed female, a prostrate monarch, and a desolate empire: at the same time reminding him that, when afflicted with sickness, he had himself not only been treated with similar forbearance, but that the very best physicians had been sent to him by the Roman government, and had cured him of his disease. Chosroes is, accordingly, moved by the appeal, and when upon the very point of attacking the empire, makes a truce for three years, embracing the eastern parts ; with a condition that Armenia should be excepted, so as to allow of hostilities being maintained there, provided the East were not molested.
During these proceedings in the East, Sirmium is taken by the barbarians, which had some time before fallen into the hands of the Gepidæ, and been afterwards restored by them to Justin.
CHAP. XIII.-PROCLAMATION OF TIBERIUS.
ABOUT this time Justin, by the advice of Sophia, bestows on Tiberius the rank of Cæsar, giving utterance, in the act of declaration, to such expressions as surpass all that has been recorded in ancient or recent history; our compassionate God having vouchsafed to him an opportunity for an avowal of his own errors, and a suggestion of what was for the benefit of the state. For when there were assembled in the open court, where ancient usage? enjoins that such proceedings should take place, both the archbishop, John, whom we have already mentioned, and his clergy, as well as the state dignitaries, and the household troops, the emperor, on investing Tiberius with the imperial tunic and robe, gave utterance with a loud voice to the following words: “Let not the grandeur of thy investiture deceive thee, nor the pomp of the present spectacle; beguiled by which, I have unwittingly rendered myself obnoxious to the most severe penalties. Do thou make reparation for my errors, by administering the commonwealth with all gentleness.” Then pointing to the magistrates, he recommended him by no means to put confidence in them, adding: “ These are the very persons who have brought me into the condition which thou now witnessest:" together with other
· This is doubtless the correct reading, for in the truce made between the Romans and Persians, it had been expressly provided that there should be a cessation of arms throughout the East only; but in Armenia and Iberia it should be lawful to wage war.
? Evagrius is probably mistaken here; for the old custom was that the Augusti should be proclaimed seven miles from the city, in the presence of the army, in the campus, or field without the city.