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A.D. 28 3. He gives audience to thePerfian ambassadors.

71 Hist. August. p. 353. Eutropius,ix. 18. Pagi Annal.

7z Agathias, l. iv. p. '35. We find one of his sayings in the, Bibliotheque Orientale of M. d'Herbelot. " The definition 'of hue 1' manity includes all other virtues."



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75 To the Persian victory of Carus, I refer the dialogue of the Pbi/bþatris, which has so long been an object of dispute among the learned. But to explain and justisymy opinion, would require a dilsei'mtion. *

' 65

" we have been able to investigate the truth, his F' death was the natural effect of his disorder 76."

The vacancy of the throne was not productive of any disturbance. The ambition of the aspiring generals was checked by their mutual fears, and young Numerian, with his absent brother Carinus, were unanimotu acknowledged as Roman emperors. The public expected that the successor of Carus would pursue his father's footsteps, and without allowing the Persians to recover from their consternation, would advance sword in hand to the palaces of Susa and Ecbatana 77. But the legions, however strong in numbers and discipline, were dismayed by the most abject superstition. Notwithstanding all the arts that were practised to disguise . the manner of the late emperor's death, it was found impossible to remove the opinion of the multitude, and the power of opinion is irresistiblsse. Places or persons struck with lightning were considered by the ancients with pious horror, as singularly devoted 'to the wrath of Heaven 73. An' oracle was remembered, which marked the river Tigris as the fatal boundary of the Roman arms. The troops, terrisied with the fate of Carus and with their own danger, called aloud on young Numerian to obey the will of the gods, and to lead them away from

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this inauspicious scene' of war. The feeble emperor was unable to subdue their obstinate prejudice, and the Perfians wondered at the unexpected retreat of a Victorious enemy 79. i

The intelligence of the mysterious fate of the late emperor, was soon carried from the frontiers of Persia to Rome z and the senate, as well as the provinces, congratulated the accefiion of the sons of Carus. These fortunate youths were strangers, however, to that conscious superiority, 'either of birth or of merit, which can alone render the posseffion of a throne easy, and as it were natural. Born and educated in a private station, the election of their father raised them at once to the 'rank of princes ;_ and his death, which happened about sixteen mouths afterwards, left them the 'unexpected legacy of a vast empire. To sustain with temper this rapid elevation, an uncommon share of virtue and prudence was requisite; and Carinus, the elder of the brothers, was more than commonly deficient in, those qualities. In the Gallic war, he discovered some degree of personal courage so z but from the moment of his arrival at Rome, he abandoned himself to the luxury of the capital, and to the abuse of his fortune. He was soft, yet cruel; devoted to pleasure, but destitute of taste; and though exquisitely suscep'tible of vanity, indifferent to the public esteem. In the course of a few mouths,

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30 Nemefian. Cynegeticon, r. 69. He was a contemporary, but a poet. '


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