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stricter notions of religious worship, it was annually ratified by a solemn sacrifice in the Isle of Elephantine, in which the Romans, as well as the barbarians, adored the same visible or invisible powers of the universe.” At the same time that Diocletian chastised the past crimes of the Egyptians, he provided for their future safety and happiness by many wise regulations, which were confirmed and enforced under the succeeding reigns.t. One very remarkable edict which he published, instead of being condemned as the effect of jealous tyranny, deserves to be applauded as an act of prudence and humanity. He caused a diligent inquiry to be made for all the ancient books which treated of the admirable art of making gold and silver, and without pity committed them to the flames; apprehensive, as we are assured, lest the opulence of the gyptians should inspire them with confidence to rebel against the empire. But if Diocletian had been convinced of the reality of that valuable art, far from extinguishing the memory, he would have converted the operation of it to the benefit of the public revenue. It is much more likely that his good sense discovered to him the folly of such magnificent pretensions, and that he was desirous of preserving the reason and fortunes of his subjects from the mischievous H. It may be remarked that these ancient books, so iberally ascribed to Pythagoras, to Solomon, or to Hermes, were the pious frauds of more recent adepts. The Greeks were inattentive either to the use or to the abuse of chemistry. In that immense register, where Pliny has deposited the discoveries, the arts, and the errors of mankind, there is not the least mention of the transmutation of metals; and the persecution of Diocletian is the first authentic event in the history of alchymy. The conquest of Egypt by the Arabs diffused that vain science over the globe. Congenial to the avarice of the human heart, it was studied in China, as in Europe, with equal eagerness and with equal success. The darkness of the middle age ensured a favourable reception to every tale of wonder, and the revival of learning gave new vigour to hope, and suggested more spe
* See Procopius de Bell. Persic. lib. 1. c. 19. + He fixed the public allowance of corn for the people of Alexandria, at two milllons of medimni: about four hundred thousand quarters. Chron. Paschal 2, 276 Procop. Hist. Arcan. c. 26. : John Antioch. in Excerp. Walesian, p. 834. Suidas in Diocletian. * See a short history and confutation of Alchymy, in the works of that philosophical compiler, La Mothe le Vayer, tom. 1, p. 327–353. + See the education and strength of Tiridates in the Armenian history of Moses of Chorene, lib. 2, c. 76. He could seize two wild bulls by the horns, and break them off with his hands. t If we give credit to the younger Victor, who supposes that in the year 323, Licinius was only sixty years of age, he could scarcely be the same person as the patron of Tiridates; but we know from much better authority (Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. 10, c. 8), that Licinius was at that time in the last period of old age : sixteen years before, he is represented with grey hairs, and as the contemporary of Galerius. See Lactant. c. 32. Licinius was probably born about the year 250. * See the sixty-second and sixty-third books of Dion Cassius. + Moses of Chorene, Hist. Armen. lib. 2. c. 74. The statues had been erected by Valarsaces, who reigned in Armenia about one hundred and thirty years before Christ, and was the first king of the family of Arsaces. (See Moses, Hist. Armen. lib. 2, 2, 3.) The deification of the Arsacides is mentioned by Justin (41, 5) and by Ammianus Marcellinus (23, 6). : The Armenian tobility was numerous and powerful. Moses mentions many families which were distinguished under the reign of Valarsaces (lib. 2, 7), and which still subsisted in his own time, about the middle of the fifth century. See the preface of his editors. * She was named Chosroiduchta, and had not the os patulum like other women. (Hist. Armen. lib. 2, c. 79.) I do not understand the expression. [The meaning of “os patulum" is nothing more than a large, widely-opening mouth. The monster that attacked Hippolytus, as described by Ovid (Metam. 15, 513), “patulo maris evomit ore.” Such a mouth was probably a prevailing feature among Armenian females.—GUIzot.] [To take the expression as used figuratively, like Horace's “rimosa auris,” best accords with the context. See Whiston's version. A grave bishop, whilst praising the modesty and placid temper of a maiden, would be more likely to make her taciturnity another virtue, than to commend a negative grace of feature.—ED.] + In the Armenian History (lib. 2,78) as well as in the Geography (p. 367), China is called Zenia, or Zenastan. It is characterized by the production of silk, by the opulence of the natives, and by their love of peace, above all the other nations of the earth. f Wou-ti, the first emperor of the seventh dynasty, who then reigned in China, had political transactions with Fergana, a province of Sogdiana, and is said to have received a Roman embassy. (Histoire des Huns, tom. i. p. 38.) In those ages the Chinese kept a garrison at Kashgar ; and one of their generals, about thc time of Trajan, marched as far as the Caspian Sea. With regard to the intercourse between China and the western countries, a curious memoir of M. de Guignes may be consulted, in the Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xxxii, p. 355. * See Hist. Armen. lib. 2, c. 81. t Ipsos Persas ipsumque Regem ascitis Saccis, et Russis, et Gellis, petit frater Ormies. Panegyric. Wet. 3, 1. The Saccae were a nation of wandering Scythians, who encamped towards the sources of the Oxus and the Jaxartes. The Gelli were the inhabitants of Ghilan along the Caspian Sea, and who so long, under the name of Dilemites, infested the Persian monarchy. See d'Herbelot. Bibliothèque Orientale,
438 THE PERSIAN WAB. [CH. XIII.
cious acts of deception. Philosophy, with the aid of expe. rience, has at length banished the study of alchymy; and the present age, ‘... desirous of riches, is content to seek them by the humbler means of commerce and industry.* The reduction of Egypt was immediately followed by the Persian war. It was reserved for the reign of Diocletian to vanquish that powerful nation, and to extort a confession from the successors of Artaxerxes, of the superior majesty of the Roman empire. We have observed, under the reign of Walerian, that Armenia was subdued by the perfidy and the arms of the Persians, and that, after the assassination of Chosroes, his son Tiridates, the infant heir of the monarchy, was saved by the fidelity of his friends, and educated under the protection of the emperors. Tiridates derived from his exile such advantages as he could never have obtained on the throne of Armenia; the early knowledge of adversity, of mankind, and of the Roman discipline. He signalized his youth by deeds of valour, and displayed a matchless dexterity, as well as strength, in every martial exercise, and even in the less honourable contests of the Olympian ames.f Those qualities were more nobly exerted in the §. of his benefactor Licinius. That officer, in the sedition which occasioned the death of Probus, was exposed to the most imminent danger, and the enraged soldiers were forcing their way into his tent, when they were checked by the single arm of the Armenian prince. The gratitude of Tiridates contributed soon afterwards to his restoration. Licinius was in every station the friend and companion of Galerius; and the merit of Galerius, long before he was raised to the dignity of Caesar, had been known and esteemed by Diocletian. In the third year of that emperor's reign, Tiridates was invested with the kingdom of Armenia. The justice of the measure was not less evident than its expediency. It was time to rescue from the usurpation of the Persian monarch, an important territory, which, since the reign of Nero, had been always granted, under the protection of the empire, to a younger branch of the house of Arsaces.” When Tiridates appeared on the frontiers of Armenia, he was received with an unfeigned transport of joy and loyalty. During twenty-six years, the country had experienced the real and imaginary hardships of a foreign yoke. The Persian monarchs adorned their new conquest with magnificent buildings; but those monuments had been erected at the expense of the people, and were abhorred as badges of slavery. The apprehension of a revolt had inspired the most rigorous precautions: oppression had been aggravated by insult, and the consciousness of the public hatred had been productive of every measure that could render it still more implacable. We have already remarked the intolerant spirit of the Magian religion. The statues of the deified kings of Armenia, and the sacred images of the sun and moon, were broken in pieces by the zeal of the conqueror; and the perpetual fire of Ormuzd was kindled and reserved upon an altar erected on the summit of mount agavan.f It was natural that a people exasperated by so many injuries, should arm with zeal in the cause of their independence, their religion, and their hereditary sovereign. The torrent bore down every obstacle, and the Persian garrisons retreated before its fury. The nobles of Armenia flew to the standard of Tiridates, all alleging their past merit, offering their future service, and soliciting from the new king those honours and rewards from which they had been excluded with disdain under the foreign government.:
440 TIRIDAtes. _CH, XIII,
The command of the army was bestowed on Artavasdes, whose father had saved the infancy of Tiridates, and whose family had been massacred for that generous action. The brother of Artavasdes obtained the government of a province. One of the first military dignities was conferred on the satrap Otas, a man of singular temperance and fortitude, who presented to the king, his sister* and a considerable treasure, both of which, in a sequestered fortress, Otas had preserved from violation. Among the Armenian nobles appeared an ally, whose fortunes are too remarkable to pass unnoticed. His name was Mamgo, his origin was Scythian, and the horde which acknowledged his authority had encamped, a very few years before, on the skirts of the Chinese empire,t which at that time extended as far as the neighbourhood of Sogdiana.: Having incurred the displeasure of his master, Mamgo, with his followers, retired to the banks of the Oxus, and implored the protection of Sapor. The emperor of China claimed the fugitive, and alleged the rights of sovereignty. The Persian monarch pleaded the laws of hospitality, and with some difficulty avoided a war, by the promise that he would banish Mamgo to the uttermost parts of the west; a punishment, as he described it, not less dreadful than death itself. Armenia was chosen for the place of exile, and a large district was assigned to the Scythian horde, on which they might feed their flocks and herds, and remove their encampment from one place to another, according to the different seasons of the year. They were employed to repel the invasion of Tiridates; but their leader, after weighing the obligations and injuries which he had received from the Persian monarch, resolved to abandon his party. The Armenian prince, who was well acquainted with the merit as well as power of Mamgo, treated him with distinguished o and, by admitting him into his confidence, acquired a brave and faithful servant, who contributed very effectually to his restoration.* For awhile, fortune appeared to favour the enterprising valour of Tiridates. He not only expelled the enemies of his family and country from the whole extent of Armenia, but in the prosecution of his revenge he carried his arms, or at least his incursions, into the heart of Assyria. The historian who has preserved the name of Tiridates from oblivion, celebrates, with a degree of national enthusiasm, his personal prowess: and, in the true spirit of eastern romance, describes the giants and the elephants that fell beneath his invincible arm. It is from other information that we discover the distracted state of the Persian monarchy, to which the king of Armenia was indebted for some part of his advantages. The throne was disputed by the ambition of contending brothers; and Hormuz, after exerting without success the strength of his own party, had recourse to the dangerous assistance of the barbarians who inhabited the shores of the Caspian sea.f The civil war was, however, soon terminated, either by a victory or by a reconciliation; and Narses, who was universally acknowledged as king of Persia, directed his whole force against the foreign enemy.