« ForrigeFortsett »
Returning from the conquest of the East, Aurelian had already crossed the Streights which divide Europe from Asia, when he was provoked by the intelligence that the Palmyrenians had massacred the governor and garrison which he had left among them, and again erected the standard of revolt. Without a moment's deliberation, he once more turned his face towards Syria. Antioch was alarmed by his rapid approach, and the helpless city of Palmyra felt the iresistible weight of his resentment. We have a letter of Aurelian himself, in which he
acknowledges'fi that old men, women, children,
. and peasants, had been involved in that dread
ful execution, which' should have been confined to armed rebellion; and although his principal concern seems directed to the re-establishment of a temple of the Sun, he discovers some pity
Palmyra, had arisen On the banks of the Nile. C HAP. Firmus, the friend and ally, as he proudly styled I Xs' , himself, of Odenathus and Zenobia, was no more than a wealthy merchant of Egypt. In the course of his trade to India, he had formed very intimate connexions with the Saracens and the Blemmyes, whose situation on either coast of the Red Sea gave them an easy introduction into the Upper Egypt. The Egyptians he inflamed with the hope of freedom, and, at the head of their furious multitude, broke into the city of Alexandria, where he assu'med the Imperial purple, coined money, published edicts, and raised an army, which, as he vainly boasted, he was capable of maintaining from the sole profits of his paper trade. Such troops were a feeble defence against the approach of Aurelian; and it seems almost unnecessary to relate, that Firmus was routed, taken, tortured, and put to death. Aurelian might now congratulate the senate, the people, and himself, that in little more than three years, he had restored universal peace and order to the Roman world 75. Since the soundation of Rome, no general had A-_D.z74.' more nobly deserved a triumph than Aurelian; BRIEF nor was a triumph ever celebrated "with superior "an" i
The pomp was opened by twenty elephants, four royal tigers, and above two hundred of the most curious animals from every climate of the North, the
East, and the South. They were followed by
sixteen hundred gladiators, devoted to the cruel amusement of the amphitheatre. The wealth of Asia, the arms and ensigns of so many conquered nations, and the magnificent plate and wardrobe of the Syrian queen, were disposed in exact symmetry or artful disorder. The ambassadors of the most remote parts 'of the earth, of jEthiopia, Arabia, Persia, Bactriana, India, and China, all remarkable by their rich or singular dresses, displayed the fame and power of the Roman emperor, who exposed likewise to the public view the presents that he had received, and particularly a great number of crowns of gold, the offerings of grateful Cities. The victories of Aurelian were attested by the long train of captives who reluctantly attended his triumph, Goths, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alemanni, Franks, Gauls, Syrians, and Egyptians. Each people was distinguished by its peculiar inscription, and the title of Amazons was bestowed on ten martial heroines of the Gothic nation who had been taken in arms7'ct. But every eye, disregarding
77 See the triumph of Aurelian, described by Vopiscus. He relates the particulars with his usual minuteness; and, on this occasion, they happen to be interesting. Hist; August. no.
78 Among barbarous nations, women have often combated by the side of their husbands. But it is almqsh impossible, that asociety of Amazons should ever have existed either in the old or new
79 The use of braccbz, breeches, or trowsera, was still considered in Italy as a Gallic and Barbarian fashion. The Romans, however, had made great advances towards it. To encircle the legs and thigh: 1 with fastit, or bands, was understood, in the time of Pompey and Horace, to be a proof of il] health and effeminacy. In the age of Trajan, the custom was confined to the rich and luxurious. It gra. dually was adopted bythe meanest of the people. See a very curious note of Casaubon, ad Sueton. in August. &82..
30 Most probably the former; the latter, seen on the medals of Aurelian, only denote (according to the learned Cardinal Noris) an oriental victory.
ignominy the person of a Roman and a magistrate". _
But however, in the 'treatment of his unfortunate rivals, Aurelian might indulge his pride, he behaved towards them with a generous cle
cient conquerors. Princes who, without success', had defended their throne or freedom, were fre
umphal pomp ascended the Capitol. These usurpers, whom their defeat had convicted of the crime of treason, were permitted to spend their lives in affiuence and honourable reposeu The emperor Presented Zenobia with an elegant villa at4Tibur, or Tivoli, about twenty miles from the capital; the Syrian queen insensibly sunk into a Roman matron, her daughters married into noble families, and her race was not yet extinct in the fifth century ". Tetricus and his son were re-instated in their rank and fortunes. They erected on the Cz'elian hill a magnificent palace, and as soon as it was finished, invited Aurelian On his entrance, he was agreeably
singular history. They were delineated offering to the emperor a civic crown and the sceptre of Gaul, and again receiving at his 'hands the orna