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CHA P. act of superstition offended the prejudices of the
Syrians, they were pleased by the courteous and even eager attention with which he assisted at the games of the circus; and as Chosroes had heard
; that the blue faction was espoused by the emperor, his peremptory command secured the victory of the green charioteer. From the discipline of his camp the people derived more solid consolation ; and they interceded in vain for the life of a soldier who had too faithfully copied the rapine of the just Nushirvan. At length, fatigued, though unsatiated, with the spoil of Syria, he slowly moved to the Euphrates, formed a temporary bridge in the neighbourhood of Barbalissus, and defined the space of three days for the entire passage of his numerous host. After his return, he founded, at the distance of one day's journey from the palace of Ctesiphon, a new city, which perpetuated the joint names of Chosroes and of Antioch. The Syrian captives recognised the form and situation of their native abodes : baths and a stately circus were constructed for their use; and a colony of musicians and charioteers revived in Assyria the pleasures of a Greek capital. By the munificence of the royal founder, a liberal allowance was assigned to these fortunate exiles ; and they enjoyed the singular privilege of bestowing freedom on the slaves whom they acknowledged as their kinsmen. Palestine, and the holy wealth of Jerusalem, were the next objects that attracted the ambition, or rather the avarice, of Chosroes. Constantinople, and the palace of the Cæsars, no longer appeared impregnable or
A. D. 541.
remote ; and his aspiring fancy already covered CH A P. Asia Minor with the troops, and the Black Sea with XLII. the navies of Persia. These hopes might have been realised, if the Defence of
the East by conqueror of Italy had not been seasonably recalled Belisarius, to the defence of the East *. While Chosroes pursued his ambitious designs on the coast of the Euxine, Belisarius, at the head of an army without pay or discipline, encamped beyond the Euphrates within six miles of Nisibis. He meditated, by a skilful operation, to draw the Persians from their impregnable citadel, and improving his advantage in the field, either to intercept their retreat, or perhaps to enter the gates with the flying Barbarians. He advanced one day's journey on the territories of Persia, reduced the fortress of Sisaurane, and sent the governor, with eight hundred chosen horsemen, to serve the emperor in his Ita
He detached Arethas and his Arabs, supported by twelve hundred Romans, to pass the Tigris, and to ravage the harvests of Assyria, a fruitful province, long exempt from the calamities
But the plans of Belisarius were disconcerted by the untractable spirit of Arethas, who neither returned to the camp, nor sent any intelligence of his motions.
The Roman general was fixed in anxious expectation to the same spot; the time of action elapsed, the ardent sun of Mesopotamia inflamed with fevers the blood of his Euro
• In the public history of Procopius (Persic. 1. i. c. 16. 18. 19, 20, 21. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.); and, with some slight exceptions, we may reasonably shut our ears against the malevolent whisper of the Anecdotes (c. 2, 3. with the Notes, as usual, of Alemannus.).
CHA P. pean soldiers; and the stationary troops and officers
of Syria affected to tremble for the safety of their defenceless cities. Yet this diversion had already succeeded in forcing Chosroes to return with loss and precipitation ; and if the skill of Belisarius had been seconded by discipline and valour, his success might have satisfied the sanguine wishes of the public, who required at his hands the conquest of
Ctesiphon and the deliverance of the captives of A. B. 542. Antioch.
At the end of the campaign, he was recalled to Constantinople by an angrateful court, but the dangers of the ensuing spring restored his confidence and command; and the hero, almost alone, was dispatched, with the speed of posthorses, to repel, by his name and presence, the invasion of Syria. He found the Roman generals, among whom was a nephew of Justinian; imprisoned by their fears in the fortifications of Hierapolis. But instead of listening to their timid coun. sels, Belisarius commanded them to follow him to Europus, where he had resolved to collect his forces, and to execute whatever God should inspire him to achieve against the enemy.
His firm attitude on the banks of the Euphrates restrained Chosroes from advancing towards Palestine ; and he received with art and dignity, the ambassadors, or rather spies, of the Persian monarch. The plain between Hierapolis and the river was covered with the squadrons of cavalry, six thousand hunters, tall ánd robust, who pursued their game without the apprehension of an enemy. On the opposite bank the ambassadors descried a thousand Armenian
horse, who appeared to guard the passage of the CH A P. Euphrates. The tent of Belisarius was of the coarsest linen, the simple equipage of a warrior who disdained the luxury of the East. Around his tent, the nations who marched under his standard, were arranged with skilful confusion. The Thracians and Illyrians were posted in the front, the Heruli and Goths in the centre; the prospect was closed by the Moors and Vandals, and their loose array seemed to multiply their numbers, Their dress was light and active; one soldier carried a whip, another a sword, a third a bow, a fourth perhaps a battle-axe, and the whole picture ex. hibited the intrepidity of the troops and the vigilance of the general. Chosroes was deluded by the address, and awed by the genius, of the lieutenant of Justinian. Conscious of the merit, and ignorant of the force, of his antagonist, he dreaded a decisive battle in a distant country, from whence not a Persian might return to relate the melancholy tale. The great king hastened to repass the Euphrates; and Belisarius pressed his retreat, by affecting to oppose a measure so salutary to the empire, and which could scarcely have been prevented by an army of an hundred thousand men. Envy might suggest to ignorance and pride, that the public enemy had been suffered to escape : but the African and Gothic triumphs are less glorious than this safe and bloodless victory, in which nei. ther fortune, nor the valour of the soldiers, can subtract any part of the general's renown. second removal of Belisarius from the Persian to &c.
A D. 343,
CHAP. the Italian war, revealed the extent of his personal XLII. merit, which had corrected or supplied the want of
discipline and courage. Fifteen generals, without concert or skill, led through the mountains of Armenia an army of thirty thousand Romans, inattentive to their signals, their ranks, and their ensigns. Four thousand Persians, entrenched in the camp of Dubis, vanquished, almost without a combat, this disorderly multitude ; their useless arms were scattered along the road, and their horses sunk under the fatigue of their rapid flight. But the Arabs of the Roman party prevailed over their brethren, the Armenians returned to their alle. giance; the cities of Dara and Edessa resisted a sudden assault and a regular siege, and the calamities of war were suspended by those of pestilence. A tacit or formal agreement between the two sovereignis protected the tranquillity of the eastern frontier; and the arms of Chosroes were confined to the Colchian or Lazic war, which has been too minutely described by the historians of the
times *. Description The extreme length of the Euxine sea f, from of Colchos, Constantinople to the mouth of the Phasis, may
The Lazic war, the contest of Rome and Persia on the Phasis, is tediously spun through many a page of Procopius (Persic. 1. ii. c. 15. 17. 28, 29, 30. Gothic. 1. iv. c. 7-16.), and Agathias (1. ii, iii, and iv. p. 55–132. 141.).
+ The Periplus, or circumnavigation of the Euxine sea. was described in Latin by Sallust, and in Greek by Arian: 1. The former work, which no longer exists, has been restored by the singular diligence of M. de Brosses, first president of the pare liament of Dijon (Hist. de la Republique Romaine, tom. ii. 1. iii. p. 199–298.) who ventures to assume the character of