Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[ocr errors]

legions appeared to direct their march towards Nisibis and the Tigris. On a sudden they wheeled to the right; traversed the level and naked plain of Carrhae; and reached, on the third day, the banks of the Euphrates, where the strong town inth March] of Nicephorium, or Callinicum, had been founded by the Macedonian kings.” From thence the emperor pursued his march, above ninety miles, along the winding stream of the Euphrates, till, at length, about one month after his departure from [e 2nd and Antioch, he discovered the towers of Circesium, the extreme #####. limit of the Roman dominions. The army of Julian, the most numerous that any of the Caesars had ever led against Persia, consisted of sixty-five thousand effective and well-disciplined soldiers. The veteran bands of cavalry and infantry, of Romans and Barbarians, had been selected from the different provinces; and a just pre-eminence of loyalty and valour was claimed by the hardy Gauls, who guarded the throne and person of their beloved prince. A formidable body of Scythian auxiliaries had been transported from another climate, and almost from another world, to invade a distant country, of whose name and situation they were ignorant. The love of rapine and war allured to the Imperial standard several tribes of Saracens, or roving Arabs, whose service Julian had commanded, while he sternly refused the payment of the accustomed subsidies. The broad channel of the Euphrates 48 was crowded by a fleet of eleven hundred ships, destined to attend the motions, and to satisfy the wants, of the Roman army. The military strength of the fleet was composed of fifty armed galleys; and these were accompanied by an equal number of flat-bottomed boats, which might occasionally be connected into the form of temporary bridges. The rest of the ships, partly constructed of timber and partly covered with raw hides, were laden with an almost inexhaustible supply of arms and engines, of utensils and provisions. The vigilant humanity of Julian had embarked a very large magazine of vinegar and biscuit for the use of the soldiers, but he prohibited the indulgence of wine; and rigorously stopped a long string of

* [For a description of the locality (now Ar-Rakka) see Sachau, Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien, p. 241 sqq.]

* Latissimum flumem Euphraten artabat. Ammian. xxiii. 3. Somewhat higher, at the fords of Thapsacus, the river is four stadia, or 8oo yards, almost half an English mile broad (Xenophon, Anabasis, l. i. p. 41, edit. Hutchinson, with Foster's Observations, p. 29, §. in the second volume of Spelman's translation). If the breadth of the Euphrates at Bir and Zeugma is no more than 130 yards (Voyages de Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 335), the enormous difference must chiefly arise from the depth of the channel.

[ocr errors]

superfluous camels that attempted to follow the rear of the
army. The river Chaboras falls into the Euphrates at Cir-
cesium ; * and, as soon as the trumpet gave the signal of march,
the Romans passed the little stream which separated two
mighty and hostile empires. The custom of ancient discipline
required a military oration; and Julian embraced every oppor-
tunity of displaying his eloquence. He animated the impatient
and attentive legions by the example of the inflexible courage
and glorious triumphs of their ancestors. He excited their
resentment by a lively picture of the insolence of the Persians;
and he exhorted them to imitate his firm resolution, either to
extirpate that perfidious nation or to devote his life in the cause
of the republic. The eloquence of Julian was enforced by a
donative of one hundred and thirty pieces of silver to every
soldier; and the bridge of the Chaboras was instantly cut away,
to convince the troops that they must place their hopes of safety
in the success of their arms. Yet the prudence of the emperor
induced him to secure a remote frontier, perpetually exposed to
the inroads of the hostile Arabs. A detachment of four thousand
men was left at Circesium, which completed, to the number often
thousand, the regular garrison of that important fortress.”
From the moment that the Romans entered the enemy's
country,” the country of an active and artful enemy, the order
of march was disposed in three columns.” The strength of the
infantry, and consequently of the whole army, was placed in the
centre, under the peculiar command of their master-general
Victor. On the right, the brave Nevitta led a column of several
legions along the banks of the Euphrates, and almost always in
sight of the fleet. The left flank of the army was protected
by the column of cavalry. Hormisdas and Arinthaeus were ap-

Julian enters the Persian territories, April 7th

His march over the desert of Mesopotainia

* Monumentum tutissimum et fabre politum, cujus moenia Abora (the Orientals aspire Chaboras or Chabour) et Euphrates ambiunt flumina, velut spatium insulare fingentes. Ammian. xxiii. 5.

*The enterprise and armament of Julian are described by himself (Epist. xxvii), Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii. 3, 4, 5), Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 108, Io9, p. 332, 333), Zosimus (l. iii. p. 160, 161, 162 [c. 12), Sozomen (l. vi. c. 1), and John Malala (tom. 'N. 17 sp. 328, ed. Bonnj). [Tabari's account of the war of Julian has no value (Nöldeke, p. 59 sqq.). It is derived from the Syriac Romance of Julian and Jovian, for which see Noldeke in Ztsch. d. Morg. Ges., 28, 263 sqq., but also, in one point at least, from a second source which was also used by Malalas (p. 332, cp. Tabari, p. 61); see Büttner-Wobst, Philologus, 51, p. 576.)

* Before he enters Persia, Ammianus copiously describes (xxiii. 6, p. 396-419, edit. Gronov. in 4to) the eighteen great satrapies, or provinces (as far as the Seric, or Chinese, frontiers), which were subject to the Sassanides.

*7Ammianus (xxiv. 1) and Zosimus (l. iii. p. 162, 163 [13]) have accurately expressed the order of march.

pointed generals of the horse; and the singular adventures of Hormisdas 48 are not undeserving of our notice. He was a Persian prince, of the royal race of the Sassanides, who, in the troubles of the minority of Sapor, had escaped from prison to the hospitable court of the great Constantine. Hormisdas at first excited the compassion, and at length acquired the esteem, of his new masters; his valour and fidelity raised him to the military honours of the Roman service; and, though a Christian, he might indulge the secret satisfaction of convincing his ungrateful country that an oppressed subject may prove the most dangerous enemy. Such was the disposition of the three principal columns. The front and flanks of the army were covered by Lucillianus with a flying detachment of fifteen hundred light-armed soldiers, whose active vigilance observed the most distant signs, and conveyed the earliest notice, of any hostile approach. Dagalaiphus, and Secundinus duke of Osrhoene, conducted the troops of the rear-guard; the baggage, securely, proceeded in the intervals of the columns; and the ranks, from a motive either of use or ostentation, were formed in such open order that the whole line of march extended almost ten miles. The ordinary post of Julian was at the head of the centre column; but, as he preferred the duties of a general to the state of a monarch, he rapidly moved, with a small escort of light cavalry, to the front, the rear, the flanks, wherever his presence could animate or protect the march of the Roman army. The country which they traversed from the Chaboras to the cultivated lands of Assyria may be considered as a part of the desert of Arabia, a dry and barren waste, which could never be improved by the most powerful arts of human industry. Julian marched over the same ground which had been trod above seven hundred years before by the footsteps of the younger Cyrus, and which is described by one of the companions of his expedition, the sage and heroic Xenophon.” “The country was a plain throughout, as even as the sea, and full of wormwood; and, if any other kind of shrubs or reeds grew

48The adventures of Hormisdas are related with some mixture of fable (Zosimus, l. ii. p. 100-102 [c. 27]; Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 198). It is almost impossible that he should be the brother (frater germanus) of an eldest and posthumous child: nor do I recollect that Ammianus ever gives him that title. [Possibly an elder stepbrother, St. Martin suggests (on Lebeau, ii. 24).]

*See the first book of the Anabasis, p. 45, 46 (c. 5, § 1 sqq.). This pleasing work is original and authentic. Yet Xenophon's memory, perhaps many years after the expedition, has sometimes betrayed him; and the distances which he marks are often larger than either a soldier or a geographer will allow.

« ForrigeFortsett »