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along by the violence of the stream, fell an easy prey to the avarice, or cruelty, of the wild Arabs: and the loss which the army sustained in the passage of the Tigris was not inferior to the carnage of a day of battle. As soon as the Romans had landed on the western bank, they were delivered from the hostile pursuit of the Barbarians; but, in a laborious march of two hundred miles over the plains of Mesopotamia, they endured the last extremities of thirst and hunger. They were obliged to traverse a sandy desert, which, in the extent of seventy miles, did not afford a single blade of sweet grass, nor a single spring of fresh water; and the rest of the inhospitable waste was untrod by the footsteps either of friends or enemies. Whenever a small measure of flour could be discovered in the camp, twenty pounds weight were greedily purchased with ten pieces of gold :121 the beasts of burden were slaughtered and devoured; and the desert was strewed with the arms and baggage of the Roman soldiers, whose tattered garments and meagre countenances displayed their past sufferings and actual misery. A small convoy of provisions advanced to meet the army as far as the castle of Ur; and the supply was the more grateful, since it declared the fidelity of Sebastian and Procopius. At Thilsaphata,m the emperor most graciously received the generals of Mesopotamia, and the remains of a once flourishing army at length reposed themselves under the walls of Nisi bis. The messengers of Jovian had already proclaimed, in the language of flattery, his election, his treaty, and his return; and the new prince had taken the most effectual measures to secure the allegiance of the armies and provinces of Europe; by placing the military command in the hands of those officers who, from motives of interest or inclination, would firmly support the cause of their benefactor.m
ls> We may recollect some lines of Lucan (PharsaL iv. 95), who describes a similar distress of Caesar's army in Spain:
Saeva fames aderat
Miles eget: toto censu non prodigus emit Exiguam Cererem. Proh lucri pallida tabes! Non deest prolato jejunus venditor auro. See Guichardt (Nouveaux Memoires Militaires, torn. i. p. 379-382). His Analysis of the two Campaigns in Spain and Africa is the noblest monument that has ever been raised to the fame of Caesar.
12a M. d'Anville (see his Maps, and l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 92, 93) traces theii march, and assigns the true position of Hatra [Al-Iladr], Ur, and Thilsaphata, which Ammianus has mentioned. He does not complain of the Samiel, the deadly hot wind, which Thevenot (Voyages, part it li. p. 192) so much dreaded.
123 The retreat of Jovian is described by Ammianus (xxv. 9), Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. 143, p. 365), and Zosimus (L iii. p. 194 [c. 33]).
The friends of Julian had confidently announced the success of Ubitmmi his expedition. They entertained a fond persuasion that theag»imtthe temples of the gods would be enriched with the spoils of thep«"/° East; that Persia would be reduced to the humble state of a tributary province, governed by the laws and magistrates of Rome; that the Barbarians would adopt the dress, and manners, and language, of their conquerors; and that the youth of Ecbatana and Susa would study the art of rhetoric under Grecian masters.124 The progress of the arms of Julian interrupted his communication with the empire; and, from the moment that lie passed the Tigris, his affectionate subjects were ignorant of the fate and fortunes of their prince. Their contemplation of fancied triumphs was disturbed by the melancholy rumour of his death; and they persisted to doubt, after they could no longer deny, the truth of that fatal event.120 The messengers of Jovian promulgated the specious tale of a prudent and necessary peace: the voice of fame, louder and more sincere, revealed the disgrace of the emperor and the conditions of the ignominious treaty. The minds of the people were filled with astonishment and grief, with indignation and terror, when they were informed that the unworthy successor of Julian relinquished the five provinces which had been acquired by the victory of Galerius; and that he shamefully surrendered to the Barbarians the important city of Nisibis, the firmest bulwark of the provinces of the East.120 The deep and dangerous question, how far the public faith should be observed, when it becomes incompatible with the public safety, was freely agitated in popular conversation; and some hopes were entertained that the emperor would redeem his pusillanimous behaviour by a splendid act of patriotic perfidy. The inflexible spirit of the Roman senate had always disclaimed the unequal conditions which were extorted from the distress of her captive armies; and, if it were necessary to satisfy the national honour by delivering the guilty general into the hands of the Barbarians, the greatest part of the subjects of Jovian
IM Libanius, Orat. Parent, c. 145, p. 366. Such were the natural hopes and wishes of a rhetorician.
la The people of Carrhae, a city devoted to Paganism, buried the inauspicious messenger under a pile of stones. Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 196 [c. 34]. Libanius, when he received the fatal intelligence, cast his eye on his sword; but he recollected that Plato had condemned suicide, and that he must live to compose the panegyric of Julian (Libanius de Vita sua, torn. ii. p. 45, 46).
"•Ammianus and Eutropius may be admitted as fair and credible witnesses of the public language and opinions. The people of Antioch reviled an ignominious peace, which exposed them to the Persians on a naked and defenceless frontier. (Excerpt. Valesiana, p. 845, ex Johanne Antiocheno.)
would have cheerfully acquiesced in the precedent of ancient times.187 Joviux men- But the emperor, whatever might be the limits of nis conbJTwd'r.. stitutional authority, was the absolute master of the laws and ^rii^toTMarms of the state; and the same motives which had forced him A^SjrUn"' to subscribe, now pressed him to execute, the treaty of peace. He was impatient to secure an empire at the expense of a few provinces; and the respectable names of religion and honour concealed the personal fears and the ambition of Jovian. Notwithstanding the dutiful solicitations of the inhabitants, decency, as well as prudence, forbade the emperor to lodge in the palace of Nisibis; but, the next morning after his arrival, Bineses, the ambassador of Persia, entered the place, displayed from the citadel the standard of the Great King, and proclaimed, in his name, the cruel alternative of exile or servitude. The principal citizens of Nisibis, who, till that fatal moment, had confided in the protection of their sovereign, threw themselves at his feet. They conjured him not to abandon, or, at least, not to deliver, a faithful colony to the rage of a barbarian tyrant, exasperated by the three successive defeats which he had experienced under the walls of Nisibis. They still possessed arms and courage to repel the invaders of their country; they requested only the permission of using them in their own defence; and, as soon as they had asserted their independence, they should implore the favour of being again admitted into the rank of his subjects. Their arguments, their eloquence, their tears, were ineffectual. Jovian alleged, with some confusion, the sanctity of oaths; and, as the reluctance with which he accepted the present of a crown of gold convinced the citizens of their hopeless condition, the advocate Sylvanus was provoked to exclaim. "O Emperor! may you thus be crowned by all the cities of your dominions! * Jovian, who, in a few weeks, had assumed the habits of a prince,128 was displeased with freedom, and offended with truth: and, as he reasonably supposed that the discontent of the people might incline them to submit to the
137 The Abba de la Bleterie (Hist, de Jovien, torn. i. p. 212-227), though a severe casuist, has pronounced that Jovian was not bound to execute his promise; since he could not dismember the empire, nor alienate, without their consent, the allegiance of his people. I have never found much delight or instruction in such political metaphysics.
138 At Nisibis he performed a royal act. A brave officer, his name-sake, who had been thought worthy of the purple, was dragged from supper, thrown into a well, and stoned to death, without any form of trial or evidence of guilt. Ammian. xxv. 8.
Persian government, he published an edict, under pain of death, that they should leave the city within the term of three days. Ammianus has delineated in lively colours the scene of universal despair, which he seems to have viewed with an eye of compassion.129 The martial youth deserted, with indignant grief, the walls which they had so gloriously defended: the disconsolate mourner dropt a last tear over the tomb of a son or husband, which must soon be profaned by the rude hand of a Barbarian master; and the aged citizen kissed the threshold, and clung to the doors, of the house where he had passed the cheerful and careless hours of infancy. The highways were crowded 'with a trembling multitude: the distinctions of rank, and sex, and age, were lost in the general calamity. Every one strove to bear away some fragment from the wreck of his fortunes; and, as they could not command the immediate service of an adequate number of horses or waggons, they were obliged to leave behind them the greatest part of their valuable effects. The savage insensibility of Jovian appears to have aggravated the hardships of these unhappy fugitives. They were seated, however, in a new-built quarter of Amida; and that rising city, with the reinforcement of a very considerable colony, soon recovered its former splendour, and became the capital of Mesopotamia.130 Similar orders were dispatched by the emperor for the evacuation of Singara and the castle of the Moors; and for the restitution of the five provinces beyond the Tigris. Sapor enjoyed the glory and the fruits of his victory; and this ignominious peace has justly been considered as a memorable aerain th decline and fall of the Roman empire. The predecessors of Jovian had sometimes relinquished the dominion of distant and unprofitable provinces; but, since the foundation of the city, the genius of Rome, the god Terminus, who guarded the boundaries of the republic, had never retired before the sword of a victorious enemy.181
After Jovian had performed those engagements which theiutactiouo voice of his people might have tempted him to violate, he ***** hastened away from the scene of his disgrace, and proceeded with his whole court to enjoy the luxury of Antioch.132 With
158 See xiv. 9, and Zosirous, 1. iii. p. 194, 195 [c. 33I
1,0 Chron. Paschal, p. 300 [vol. i. p. 554, ed. Bonn J. The ecclesiastical Notitiae may be consulted.
'nZosimus, 1. iii. p. 192, 193 [c. 32]. Sextus Rufus de Provinces, c. 29.
Augustin. de Civitat. Dei, L iv. c. 29. This general position must be applied and interpreted with some caution.
'•' Ammianus, xxv. 9. Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 196 [c. 34]. He might be edax, et
out consulting the dictates of religious zeal, he was prompted, by humanity and gratitude, to bestow the last honours on the remains of his deceased sovereign;m and Procopius, who sincerely bewailed the loss of his kinsman, was removed from the command of the army, under the decent pretence of conducting the funeral. The corpse of Julian was transported from Nisibis to Tarsus, in a slow march of fifteen days; and, as it passed through the cities of the East, was saluted by the hostile factions, with mournful lamentations and clamorous insults. The Pagans already placed their beloved hero in the rank of those gods whose worship he had restored; while the invectives of the Christians pursued the soul of the apostate to hell, and his body to the grave.134 One party lamented the approaching ruin of their altars; the other celebrated the marvellous deliverance of the church. The Christians applauded, in lofty and ambiguous strains, the stroke of divine vengeance, which had been so long suspended over the guilty head of Julian. They acknowledged18** that the death of the tyrant, at the instant he expired beyond the Tigris, was revealed to the saints of Egypt, Syria and Cappadocia ;135 and, instead of suffering him to fall by the Persian darts, their indiscretion ascribed the heroic deed to the obscure hand of some mortal or immortal champion of the faith.136 Such imprudent declarations were eagerly adopted by the malice, or credulity, of their adversaries;1S7 who darkly insinuated, or confidently
vino Venerique indulgens. But I agree with La Bleterie (tom. i. p. 148-154) in rejecting the foolish report of a Bacchanalian riot (ap. Suidam) celebrated at Antioch, by the emperor, his wife, and a troop of concubines.
133 The Abb£ de la Ble'terie (tom. i. p. 156, 209) handsomely exposes the brutal bigotry of Baronius, who would have thrown Julian to the dogs, ne cespititia quidem sepultura dignus.
1M Compare the sophist and the saint (Libanius, Monod. tom. ii. p. 251 and Orat. Parent, c. 145, p. 367, c. 156, p. 377, with Gregory Nazianzen, Oat. iv. p. 125132 [v., c. 36-38]). The Christian orator faintly mutters some exhortations to modesty and forgiveness: but he is well satisfied that the real sufferings of Julian will far exceed the fabulous torments of Ixion or Tantalus.
!**» [A necessary correction of acknowledge, which .appears in the quarto ed.]
i»Tillemont(Hist.desEmpereurs,tom. iv. p. 549) has collected thesevisions. Some saint or angel was observed to be absent in the night on a secret expedition, &c
i*Sozomen (1. vi. 2) applauds the Greek doctrine of tyrannicide; but the whole passage, which a Jesuit might have translated, is prudently suppressed by the president Cousin.
137 Immediately after the death of Julian, an uncertain rumour was scattered, telo cecidisse Romano. It was carried, by some deserters, to the Persian camp; and the Romans were reproached as the assassins of the emperor by Sapor and his subjects (Arnmian. xxv. 6. Libanius de ulciscendft Juliani nece, c. xiii. p. 162, 163). It was urged, as a decisive proof, that no Persian had appeared to claim the promised reward (Liban. Orat. Parent, c 141, p. 363). But the flying horseman, who darted the fatal javelin, might be ignorant of its effect ; or he might be slain in the same action. Ammianus neither feels nor inspires a suspicion.