« ForrigeFortsett »
was obeyed without delay; and the first orders issued by Jovian, a few hours after his predecessor had expired, were to prosecute a march which could alone extricate the Romans from their actual distress.107 The esteem of an enemy is most sincerely expressed by his of: fears; and the degree of fear may be accurately measured by #3:. the joy with which he celebrates his deliverance. The welcome irosly news of the death of Julian, which a deserter revealed to the camp of Sapor, inspired the desponding monarch with a sudden confidence of victory. He immediately detached the royal cavalry, perhaps the ten thousand Immortals,” to second and support the pursuit; and discharged the whole weight of his united forces on the rear-guard of the Romans. The rear-guard was thrown into disorder; the renowned legions, which derived their titles from Diocletian and his warlike colleague, were broke and trampled down by the elephants; and three tribunes lost their lives in attempting to stop the flight of their soldiers. The battle was at length restored by the persevering valour of the Romans; the Persians were repulsed with a great slaughter of men and elephants; and the army, after marching and fighting a long summer's day, arrived, in the evening, at Samara on the banks of the Tigris, about one hun-Isaaarol dred miles above Ctesiphon.” On the ensuing day, the Barbarians, instead of harassing the march, attacked the camp, of Jovian which had been seated in a deep and sequestered valley. From the hills, the archers of Persia insulted and annoyed the wearied legionaries; and a body of cavalry, which had penetrated with desperate courage through the Praetorian gate, was cut in pieces, after a doubtful conflict, near the Imperial tent. In the succeeding night, the camp of Carche was protected by the lofty dykes of the river; and the Roman army, though incessantly exposed to the vexatious pursuit of the Saracens,
107 Ammianus (xxv. 10) has drawn from the life an impartial portrait of Jovian: to which the younger Victor has added some remarkable strokes. The Abbé de la Bléterie (Histoire de Jovien, tom. i. p. 1-238) has composed an elaborate history of his short reign; a work remarkably distinguished by elegance of style, critical disquisition, and religious prejudice. * Regius equitatus. It appears from Procopius that the Immortals, so famous under Cyrus and his successors, were revived, Pwe may use that improper word, the Sassanides. Brisson de Regno Persico, p. 268, &. 109 The obscure villages of the inland country are irrecoverably lost; nor can we name the field of battle where Julian fell: but M. d’Anville has demonstrated the precise situation of Sumere, Carche, and Dura, along the banks of the Tigris (Géographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 248. L'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 95, 97). Ih the ninth century, Sumere, or Samara, became, with a slight change of name, the royal residence of the Khalifs of the house of Abbas. [Among the palaces at ră was that of Al-Härüni, built by Caliph Al-Wāthik.]
(Dār) pitched their tents near the city of Dura,” four days after the death of Julian. The Tigris was still on their left; their hopes and provisions were almost consumed; and the impatient soldiers, who had fondly persuaded themselves that the frontiers of the empire were not far distant, requested their new sovereign that they might be permitted to hazard the passage of the river. With the assistance of his wisest officers, Jovian endeavoured to check their rashness; by representing that, if they possessed sufficient skill and vigour to stem the torrent of a deep and rapid stream, they would only deliver themselves naked and defenceless to the Barbarians, who had occupied the opposite banks. Yielding at length to their clamorous importunities, he consented, with reluctance, that five hundred Gauls and Germans, accustomed from their infancy to the waters of the Rhine and Danube, should attempt the bold adventure, which might serve either as an encouragement, or as a warning, for the rest of the army. In the silence of the night, they swam the Tigris, surprised an unguarded post of the enemy, and displayed at the dawn of day the signal of their resolution and fortune. The success of this trial disposed the emperor to listen to the promises of his architects, who proposed to construct a floating bridge of the inflated skins of sheep, oxen, and goats, covered with a floor of earth and fascines.” Two important days were spent in the ineffectual labour; and the Romans, who already endured the miseries of famine, cast a look of despair on the Tigris, and upon the Barbarians; whose numbers and obstinacy increased with the distress of the Imperial army. 12
Negotiation. In this hopeless situation, the fainting spirits of the Romans
:*were revived by the sound of peace. The transient presumption of Sapor had vanished : he observed, with serious concern, that, in the repetition of doubtful combats, he had lost his most faithful and intrepid nobles, his bravest troops, and the greatest part of his train of elephants: and the experienced
110 Dura was a fortified place in the wars of Antiochus against the rebels of Media and Persia (Polybius, l. v. c. 48, 52, p. 548, 552, edit. Casaubon, in 8vo).
ill. A similar “. was proposed to the leaders of the ten thousand, and wisely rejected. enophon, Anabasis, l. iii. p. 255, 256, 257. It appears from our modern travellers that rafts floating on bladders performed the trade and navigation of the Tigris. [On the course of the Tigris here cp. App. 24.]
112 The first military acts of the reign of Jovian are related by Ammianus (xxv. 6), Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 146, p. 364), and Zosimus (l. iii. p. 189, 190, 191, [c. 30]). Though we may distrust the fairness of Libanius, the ocular testimony of Eutropius (uno a Persis atque altero proëlio victus, x. 17) must incline us to suspect that Ammianus has been too jealous of the honour §the Roman arms.
monarch feared to provoke the resistance of despair, the vicissitudes of fortune, and the unexhausted powers of the Roman empire; which might soon advance to relieve, or to revenge, the successor of Julian. The Surenas himself, accompanied by another satrap, appeared in the camp of Jovian; * and declared that the clemency of his sovereign was not averse to signify the conditions on which he would consent to spare and to dismiss the Caesar with the relics of his captive army. The hopes of safety subdued the firmness of the Romans; the emperor was compelled, by the advice of his council and the cries of the soldiers, to embrace the offer of peace; and the praefect Sallust was immediately sent, with the general Arinthaeus, to understand the pleasure of the Great King. The crafty Persian delayed, under various pretences, the conclusion of the agreement; started difficulties, required explanations, suggested expedients, receded from his concessions, increased his demands, and wasted four days in the arts of negotiation, till he had consumed the stock of provisions which yet remained in the camp of the Romans. Had Jovian been capable of executing a bold and prudent measure, he would have continued his march with unremitting diligence; the progress of the treaty would have suspended the attacks of the Barbarians; and, before the expiration of the fourth day, he might have safely reached the fruitful province of Corduene, at the distance only of one hundred miles.” The irresolute emperor, instead of breaking through the toils of the enemy, expected his fate with patient resignation; and accepted the humiliating conditions of peace, which it was no longer in his power to refuse. The five provinces beyond the Tigris, which had been ceded by the grandfather of Sapor, were restored to the Persian monarchy. He acquired, by a single article, the impregnable city of Nisibis; which had sustained, in three successive sieges, the effort of his arms. Singara, and the castle of the Moors, one of the strongest places of Mesopotamia, were likewise dismembered from the empire. It was considered as an indulgence, that the inhabitants of those fortresses were permitted to retire with their effects; but the conqueror rigorously insisted that the Romans should for ever abandon the king and kingdom of Armenia. A peace, or rather a long truce, of thirty years was stipulated between the hostile nations; the faith of the treaty was ratified by solemn oaths, and religious ceremonies; and hostages of distinguished rank were reciprocally delivered to secure the performance of the conditions.11%
113 Sextus Rufus (de Provinciis, c. 29) embraces a poor subterfuge of national vanity. Tanta reverentia nominis Romani fuit, ut a Persis primus de pace sermo haberetur.
114 It is presumptuous to controvert the opinion of Ammianus, a soldier and a spectator. Yet it is difficult to understand how the mountains of Corduene could extend over the plain of Assyria, as low as the conflux of the Tigris and the great Zab; or how an army of sixty thousand men could march one hundred miles in four days.
Th; weaknes. The sophist of Antioch, who saw with indignation the sceptre
of his hero in the feeble hand of a Christian successor, professes to admire the moderation of Sapor, in contenting himself with so small a portion of the Roman empire. If he had stretched as far as the Euphrates the claims of his ambition, he might have been secure, says Libanius, of not meeting with a refusal. If he had fixed, as the boundary of Persia, the Orontes, the Cydnus, the Sangarius, or even the Thracian Bosphorus, flatterers would not have been wanting in the court of Jovian to convince the timid monarch that his remaining provinces would still afford the most ample gratifications of power and luxury.” Without adopting in its full force this malicious insinuation, we must acknowledge that the conclusion of so ignominious a treaty was facilitated by the private ambition of Jovian. The obscure domestic, exalted to the throne by fortune rather than by merit, was impatient to escape from the hands of the Persians; that he might prevent the designs of Procopius, who commanded the army of Mesopotamia, and establish his doubtful reign over the legions and provinces, which were still ignorant of the hasty and tumultuous choice of the camp beyond the Tigris." In the neighbourhood of the same river, at no very considerable distance from the fatal station of Dura,” the ten thousand Greeks, without generals, or guides, or provisions, were abandoned, above twelve hundred miles from their native country, to the resentment of a victorious monarch. The difference of their conduct and success depended much more on their character than on their situation. Instead of tamely resigning themselves to the secret deliberations and private views of a single person, the united councils of the Greeks were inspired by the generous enthusiasm of a popular assembly; where the mind of each citizen is filled with the love of glory, the pride of freedom, and the contempt of death. Conscious of their superiority over the Barbarians in arms and discipline, they disdained to yield, they refused to capitulate; every obstacle was surmounted by their patience, courage, and military skill; and the memorable retreat of the ten thousand exposed and insulted the weakness of the Persian monarchy.” As the price of his disgraceful concessions, the emperor might as continue. perhaps have stipulated that the camp of the hungry Romans of "“ should be plentifully supplied; * and that they should be permitted to pass the Tigris on the bridge which was constructed by the hands of the Persians. But, if Jovian presumed to solicit those equitable terms, they were sternly refused by the haughty tyrant of the East; whose clemency had pardoned the invaders of his country. The Saracens sometimes intercepted the stragglers of the march ; but the generals and troops of Sapor respected the cessation of arms; and Jovian was suffered to explore the most convenient place for the passage of the river. The small vessels, which had been saved from the conflagration of the fleet, performed the most essential service. They first conveyed the emperor and his favourites; and afterwards transported, in many successive voyages, a great part of the army. But, as every man was anxious for his personal safety, and apprehensive of being left on the hostile shore, the soldiers, who were too impatient to wait the slow returns of the boats, boldly ventured themselves on light hurdles, or inflated skins; and, drawing after them their horses, attempted, with various success, to swim across the river. Many of these daring adventurers were swallowed by the waves; many others, who were carried ii. The Cyropadia is vague and languid: the Anabasis circumstantial and animated. Such is the eternal difference between fiction and truth. 120According to Rufinus, an immediate supply of provisions was stipulated by the treaty; and Theodoret affirms that the obligation was faithfully discharged by
lis The treaty of Dura is recorded with grief or indignation by Ammianus (xxv. 7), Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 142, p. 364), Zosimus (I. iii. p. 190, 191, sc. 31]), Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iv. p. 117, 118 [v., c. 15], who imputes the distress to Julian, the deliverance to Jovian), and Eutropius (x. 17). The last-mentioned writer, who was present in a military station, styles this peace necessariam quidem sed ignobilem.
11° Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 143, p. 364, 365.
117 Conditionibus . . . dispendiosis Romanae reipublicae impositis . . . quibus cupidior regni quam gloriae Jovianus imperio rudis adquievit. Sextus Rufus de Provinciis, c. 29. La Bléterie has expressed, in a long direct oration, these specious considerations of public and private interest. Hist. de Jovien, tom. i. p. 39, &c.
118.The generals were murdered on the banks of the Zabatus (Anabasis, l. ii. p. 156, l. iii. p. 226), or great Zab, a river of Assyria, 4oo feet broad, which falls into the Tigris [at Al-Haditha.] fourteen hours below Mosul. The error of the Greeks bestowed on the great and lesser Zab the names of the Wolf (Lycus), and the Goat (Capros). They created these animals to attend the Tiger of the East. [Another tributary of the Tigris, the Arzan Sū, is called Nahr-adā-Dhib or Wolf-river.]