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the Nile to those of the Tiber. The obelisk of Constantius was landed about three miles from the city, and elevated, by the efforts
of art and labour, in the great Circus of Rome (46). The Quadian The departure of Constantius from Rome was hastened by the Sarmatian alarming intelligence of the distress and danger of the Illyrian proa. D. 357. vinces. The distractions of civil war, and the irreparable loss which
the Roman legions had sustained in the battle of Mursa, exposed those countries, almost without defence, to the light cavalry of the Barbarians; and particularly to the inroads of the Quadi, a fierce and powerful nation, who seem to have exchanged the institutions of Germany for the arms and military arts of their Sarmatian allies (47). The garrisons of the frontier were insufficient to check their progress; and the indolent monarch was at length compelled to assemble, from the extremities of his dominions, the flower of the Palatine troops, to take the field in person, and to employ a whole campaign, with the preceding autumn and the ensuing spring, in the serious prosecution of the war. The emperor passed the Danube on a bridge of boats, cut in pieces all that encountered his march, penetrated into the heart of the country of the Quadi, and severely retaliated the calamities which they had inflicted on the Roman province. The dismayed Barbarians were soon reduced to sue for peace : they offered the restitution of his captive subjects, as an atonement for the past, and the noblest hostages as a pledge of their future conduct. The generous courtesy which was shewn to the first among their chieftains who implored the clemency of Constantius, encouraged the more timid, or the more obstinate, to imitate their example; and the Imperial camp was crowded with the princes and ambassadors of the most distant tribes, who occupied the plains of the Lesser Poland, and who might have deemed themselves secure behind the lofty ridge of the Carpathian mountains. While Constantius gave laws to the Barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished, with specious compassion, the Sarmatian exiles, who had been expelled from their native country by the rebellion of their slaves, and who formed a very considerable accession to the power of the Quadi. The emperor, embracing a generous but artful system of policy, released the Sarmatians from the bands of this
(46) See Donat. Roma Antiqua, 1. iii. 6. 14. 1. iv. c. 12. and the learned, though confused, Dissersertation of Bargaus on Obelisks, inserted in the fourth volume of Grævius's Roman Antiquities, p. 1897–1936. This Dissertation is dedicated to Pope Sixtus V. who erected the obelisk of Constantius in the square before the patriarchal church of St. John Lateran.*
(47) The events of this Quadian and Sarmatian war are related by Ammianus, xvi. 10. xvii. 12, 13. xix. 11.
* It is doubtful whether the obelisk transport. the Circus Maximus, long before, by Angustus, ed by Constantius to Rome now exists. Even or to the one brought by Constantius. The obefrom the text of Ammianus it is uncertain whether lisk in the square before the church of St. John the interpretation of Hormapion refers to the Lateran is ascribed, not to Rameses the Great, older obelisk (obelisco incisus est veteri quem but to Thoutmos II. Champollion, 1. Lettre à videmus in Circo) raised, as he himself states, in M. de Blacar, p. 32. M.
questing, with fervent professions of fidelity, that the emperor would grant them an undisturbed settlement within the limits of the Roman provinces. Instead of consulting his own experience of their incurable perfidy, Constantius listened to his flatterers, who were ready to represent the honour and advantage of accepting a colony of soldiers, at a time when it was much easier to obtain the pecuniary contributions than the military service of the subjects of the empire. The Limigantes were permitted to pass the Danube; and the emperor gave audience to the multitude in a large plain near the modern city of Buda. They surrounded the tribunal, and seemed to hear with respect an oration full of mildness and dignity; when one of the Barbarians, casting his shoe into the air, exclaimed with a loud voice, Marha! Marha!* a word of defiance, which was received as the signal of the tumult. They rushed with fury to seize the person of the emperor; his royal throne and golden couch were pillaged by these rude hands; but the faithful defence of his guards, who died at his feet, allowed him a moment to mount a fleet horse, and to escape from the confusion. The disgrace which had been incurred by a treacherous surprise was soon retrieved by the numbers and discipline of the Romans; and the combat was only terminated by the extinction of the name and nation of the Limigantes. The free Sarmatians were reinstated in the possession of their ancient seats; and although Constantius distrusted the levity of their character, he entertained some hopes that a sense of gratitude might influence their future conduct. He had remarked the lofty stature and obsequious demeanour of Zizais, one of the noblest of their chiefs. He conferred on him the title of King; and Zizais proved that he was not unworthy to reign, by a sincere and lasting attachment to the interest of his 'benefactor, who, after this splendid success, received the name of Sarmaticus
from the acclamations of his victorious army (48). Soben The Persian While the Roman emperor and the Persian monarch, at the dis
1, tance of three thousand miles, defended their extreme limits against
the Barbarians of the Danube and of the Oxus, their intermediate frontier experienced the vicissitudes of a languid war, and a precarious truce. Two of the eastern ministers of Constantius, the Prætorian præfect Musonian, whose abilities were disgraced by the want of truth and integrity, and Cassian duke of Mesopotamia, a hardy and veteran soldier, opened a secret negotiation with the satrap Tamsapor (49). These overtures of peace, translated into
negotiation, A. D. 358.
(48) Genti Sarmatarum magno decori confidens apud eos regem dedit. Aurelius Victor. In a - pompous oration pronounced by Constantius himself, he expatiates on his own exploits with much vanity, and some truth.
(49) Ammian. xvi. 9. .
* Reinesius reads Warrha, Warrba, Guerre. + In Persian, Ten-schah-pour. St. Martin, ii. War Wagner, note on Amm. Marc. xix. 11. - M. 177.-M.
the servile and flattering language of Asia, were transmitted to the camp of the Great King; who resolved to signify, by an ambassador, the terms which he was inclined to grant to the suppliant Romans. Narsės, whom he invested with that character, was honourably received in his passage through Antioch and Constantinople: he reached Sirmium after a long journey, and, at his first audience, respectfully unfolded the silken veil which covered the haughty epistle of his sovereign. Sapor, King of Kings, and Brother of the Sun and Moon (such were the lofty titles affected by Oriental vanity), expressed his satisfaction that his brother, Constantius Cæsar, had been taught wisdom by adversity. As the lawful successor of Darius Hystaspes, Sapor asserted, that the river Strymon, in Macedonia, was the true and ancient boundary of his empire; declaring, however, that as an evidence of his moderation, he would content himself with the provinces of Armenia and Mesopotamia, which had been fraudulently extorted from his ancestors. He alleged, that, without the restitution of these disputed countries, it was impossible to establish any treaty on a solid and permanent basis; and he arrogantly threatened, that if his ambassador returned in vain, he was prepared to take the field in the spring, and to support the justice of his cause by the strength of his invincible arms. Narses, who was endowed with the most polite and amiable manners, endeavoured, as far as was consistent with his duty, to soften the harshness of the message (50). Both the style and substan ce were maturely weighed in the Imperial council, and he was dismissed with the following answer : “ Constantius had a right to “disclaim the officiousness of his ministers, who had acted without “any specific orders from the throne: he was not, however, “averse to an equal and honourable treaty; but it was highly in“ decent, as well as absurd, to propose to the sole and victorious “ emperor of the Roman world, the same conditions of peace which " he had indignantly rejected at the time when his power was “ contracted within the narrow limits of the East : the chance of “ arms was uncertain; and Sapor should recollect, that if the Ro“ mans had sometimes been vanquished in battle, they had almost “ always been successful in the event of the war.” A few days after the departure of Narses, three ambassadors were sent to the court of Sapor, who was already returned from the Scythian expedition to his ordinary residence of Ctesiphon. A count, a notary, and a sophist, had been selected for this important commission; and Constantius, who was secretly anxious for the conclusion of the peace, entertained some hopes that the dignity of the first of these
(50) Ammianus (xvii. v.) transcribes the haughty letter. Themistius (Orat. iv. p. 57. edit. Petav.) takes notice of the silken covering. Idatius and Zoparas mention the journey of the ambassador; and Peter the Patrician (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 28.) has informed us of his conciliating behaviour.
ministers, the dexterity of the second, and the rhetoric of the third (51), would persuade the Persian monarch to abate of the rigour of his demands. But the progress of their negotiation was opposed and defeated by the hostile arts of Antoninus (52), a Roman subject of Syria, who had fled from oppression, and was admitted into the councils of Sapor, and even to the royal table, where, according to the custom of the Persians, the most important business was frequently discussed (53). The dexterous fugitive promoted his interest by the same conduct which gratified his revenge. He incessantly urged the ambition of his new master, to embrace the favourable opportunity when the bravest of the Palatine troops were employed with the emperor in a distant war on the Danube. He pressed Sapor to invade the exhausted and defenceless provinces of the East, with the numerous armies of Persia, now fortified by the alliance and accession of the fiercest Barbarians. The ambassadors of Rome retired without success, and a second embassy, of a still more honourable rank, was detained in strict confinement,
and threatened either with death or exile. Invasion of The military historian (54), who was himself despatched to obMesopotamia serve the army of the Persians, as they were preparing to construct
by Sapor, A. D. 359. a bridge of boats over the Tigris, beheld from an eminence the
plain of Assyria, as far as the edge of the horizon, covered with men, with horses, and with arms. Sapor appeared in the front, conspicuous by the splendour of his purple. On his left hand, the place of honour among the Orientals, Grumbates, king of the Chionites, displayed the stern countenance of an aged and renowned warrior. The monarch had reserved a similar place on his right hand for the king of the Albanians, who led his independent tribes from the shores of the Caspian.* The satraps and generals were distributed according to their several ranks, and the whole army, besides the numerous train of Oriental luxury, consisted of more than one hundred thousand effective men, inured to fatigue, and
(51) Ammianus, xvii. 5. and Valesius ad loc. The sophist, or philosopher (in that age these words were almost synonymous), was Eustathius the Cappadocian, the disciple of Jamblichus, and the friend of St. Basil. Eunapius (in Vit. Ædesii, p. 44–47.) fondly attributes to this philosophic ambassador the glory of enchanting the Barbarian king by the persuasive charms of reason and eloquence. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 828. 1132.
(52) Ammian. xviii 5, 6. 8. The decent and respectful behaviour of Antoninus towards the Roman general, sets him in a very interesting light; and Ammianus himself speaks of the traitor with some compassion and esteem.
(53) This circumstance, as it is noticed by Ammianus, 'serves to prove the veracity of Herodotus (1. i. c. 133.), and the permanency of the Persian manners. In every age the Persians have been addicted to intemperance, and the wines of Shiraz have triumphed over the law of Mahomet. Brisson de Regno Pers. I. ii. p. 462—472. and Chardin, Voyages en Perse, tom. iii. p. 90. (54) Ammian. l. xviii. 6, 7, 8.10.
* These perhaps were the barbarous tribes who Armenians Gheg, or Leg. The latter represent inhabit the northern part of the present Schir- them as constant allies of the Persians in their wan, the Albania of the ancients. This country, wars against Armenia and the empire. A little now inhabited by the Lezghis, the terror of the after his period, a certain Schergir was their king, neighbouring districts, was then occupied by the and it is of him doubtless that Ammianus Marcelsame people, called by the ancients Legæ, by the linus speaks. St. Martin, ii. 285.-M.