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A.D. 286. RESTORATION OF TIRIDATES IN ARMENIA. 79
honourable contests of the Olympian games.s2 Those qualities were more nobly exerted in the defence of his benefactor Licinius.53 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. *•»• TM»During twenty-six years the country had experienced the tion to the real and imaginary hardships of a foreign yoke. The Armenia. 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 state of the apprehension of a revolt had inspired the most rigorous tountTyprecautions: 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 broke in pieces by the zeal of the conqueror; and the perpetual fire of Ormuzd was kindled and preserved upon an altar erected on the summit of Mount Bagavan.55 It was Revolt of natural that a people exasperated by so many injuries and Sis.
M See the education and strength of Tiridates in the Armenian history of Moses of Chorene, 1. ii. c. 76. He could seize two wild bulls by the horns and break them off with his hands.
43 If we give credit to the younger Victor [Epit. 41], 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. 1. x. 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.
w See the sixty-second and sixty-third books of Dion Cassius [1. lxiii. c. 5].
M Moses of Chorene, Hist. Armen. 1. ii. c. 74. The statues had been erected by Valarsaces, who reigned in Armenia about 130 years before Christ, and was the first king of the family of Arsaces (see Moses, Hist. Armen. 1. ii. 2, 31. The deification of the Areacidee is mentioned by JuBtin (xli. 5) and by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii. 6).
SO STORY OF MAMGO. Chap. XIII.
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 government56 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 story of fortunes are too remarkable to pass unnoticed. His name Mamgo. wa8 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,58 which at that time extended as far as the neighbourhood of Sogdiana.59 Having incurred the dis
w The Armenian nobility was numerous and powerful. Moses mentions many families which were distinguished under the reign of Valarsaces (1. ii. 7), and which still subsisted in his own time, about the middle of the fifth century. See |he preface of his editors.
n She was named Chosroiduchta, and had not the os paiulum like other women. (Hist. Armen. 1. ii. c. 79.) 1 do not understand the expression.
"In the Armenian History (1. ii. 78), as well as in the Geography (p. 367), China is called Zenia, or Zenastan. It is characterised 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.b
* Vou-ti, the first emperor of the seventh dynasty, who then reigned in China, had political transactions with Fergana, a province of Sogdiana, and is Baid to have received a Roman embassy (Histoire des Huns, torn. i. p. 38). In those ages the Chinese kept a garrison at Kashgar, and one of their generals, about the 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 Academic des Inscriptions, torn. xxii. p. 355.°
* Mamgo (according to M. St. Martin, death." Compare Mem. sur l'Armdnie, ii.
note to Le Beau, ii. 213) belonged to the 25.—M.
imperial race of Hon, who had filled the b See St. Martin, Mem. sur 1'Armenie,
throne of China for four hundred years, i. 304.—M.
Dethroned by the usurping race of Wei, c The Chinese Annals mention, under
Mamgo found a hospitable reception in the ninth year of Yan-hi, which corre
Persia in the reign of Ardeschir. The em- sponds with the year 166 J. C.anembassy
peror of China having demanded the sur- which arrived from Ta-thsin, and was sent
render of the fugitive and his partisans, by a prince called An-thun, who can be no
Sapor, then king, threatened with war both otherthan Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who
by Rome and China, counselled Mamgo to then ruled over the Romans. St. Martin,
retire into Armenia. "I have expelled Mem. sur 1'Armenie, ii. 30. See also
him from my dominions (he answered the Klaproth, Tableaux Historiques de l'Asie,
Chinese ambassador); I have banished him p. 69. The embassy came by Jy-nan,
to the extremity of the earth where the Tonquin.—M. nun sets: I have dismissed him to certain
A.D. 286. RECOVERY OF ARMENIA BY THE PERSIANS. 81
pleasure 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 respect; and, by admitting him into his confidence, acquired a brave and faithful servant, who contributed very effectually to his restoration/'0
For a while 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 recover 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 banks of the Caspian Sea.61 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. The contest then became too unequal: nor was the valour of the hero able to withstand the power of the monarch. Tiridates, a second time
60 See Hist. Armen. 1. ii. c. 81.
61 Ipsos Persas ipsumque Regem ascitis Sacis, et Runis, et Gelis, petit frater Ormies. Panegyric. Vet. iii. [ii.] 17. The Sacas were a nation of wandering Scythians, who encamped towards the sources of the Oxus and the Jaxartes. The Geli were tho inhabitants of Ghilan, along the Caspian Sea, and who so long, under the name of Dilemites, infested the Persian monarchy. See d'llerbclot, Bibliotheque Orientale.
VOL. II. O
82 DEFEAT OF GALERIUS IN MESOPOTAMIA. Chap. XIIf.
expelled from the throne of Armenia, once more took refuge in the court of the emperors.'' Narses soon re-established his authority over the revolted province; and, loudly complaining of the protection afforded by the Romans to rebels and fugitives, aspired to the conquest of the East62
Neither prudence nor honour could permit the emperors to forsake warbetwoen the cause of the Armenian king, and it was resolved to the rcraiiuw exert flje force 0f the empire in the Persian war. Diocletian, AiTaJ? with the calm dignity which he constantly assumed, fixed [a.d.297.] his own station in the city of Antioch, from whence he prepared and directed the military operations.63 The conduct of the legions was intrusted to the intrepid valour of Galerius, who, for that Defeat of important purpose, was removed from the banks of the Gaicrius. Danube to those of the Euphrates. The armies soon encountered each other in the plains of Mesopotamia, and two battles were fought with various and doubtful success: but the third engagement was of a more decisive nature; and the Roman army received a total overthrow, which is attributed to the rashness of Galerius, who, with an inconsiderable body of troops, attacked the innumerable host of the Persians.64 But the consideration of the country that was the scene of action may suggest, another reason for his defeat. The same ground on which Galerius was vanquished had been rendered memorable by the death of Crassus and the slaughter of ten legions. It was a plain of more than sixty miles, which extended from the hills of Carrhae to the Euphrates; a smooth and barren surface of sandy desert, without a hillock, without a tree, and without a spring of fresh water.6' The steady infantry of the Romans, fainting with heat and thirst, could neither hope for victory if they preserved their ranks, nor break their ranks without exposing themselves to the most imminent danger. In this situation they were gradually encompassed by the superior numbers, harassed by the rapid evolutions, and destroyed by the arrows of the barbarian
• Moses of Chorene takes no notice of this second revolution, which I have been obliged to collect from a passage of Ammianus Marcellinua (1. xxiii. c. 5). Lactantius speaks of the ambition of Narses: "Concitatus domesticis exemplis avi sui Saporis ad occupandum orientem niagnis copiis inhiabat." De Mort. Persecut. c. 9.
63 Wo may readily believe that Lactantius ascribes to cowardice the conduct of Diocletian. Julian, in his oration, says that he remained with all the forces of the empire; a very hyperbolical expression.
*" Our five abbreviators, Eutropius, Festus, tho two Victors, and Orosius, all relate the last and great battlo; but Orosius is the only one who speaks of the two former.
M Tho nature of the country is finely described by Plutarch, in tho Life of Crassus; and by Xenophon, in the first book of the Anabasis.
■ M. St. Martin represents this dif- like the evasion of the national historians
ferently: "Le roi de Perse * * * profite to disguise the fact discreditable to their
d'un voyage que Tiridate avoit fait a Rome horo. See Mem. sur l'Armdnie, i. 304.
pour attaquer ce royaume." This reads —M.
A.D. 298. HIS SECOND CAMPAIGN AND VICTORY. 83
cavalry. The king of Armenia had signalised his valour in the battle, and acquired personal glory by the public misfortune. He was pursued as far as the Euphrates; his horse was wounded, and it appeared impossible for him to escape the victorious enemy. In this extremity Tiridates embraced the only refuge which he saw before him: he dismounted and plunged into the stream. His armour was heavy, the river very deep, and at those parts at least half a mile in breadth ;06 yet such was his strength and dexterity, that he reached in safety the opposite bank." With regard to the Roman general, we are ignorant of the circumstances of his escape; but when he returned to Antioch, Diocletian received him, Hu recepnot with the tenderness of a friend and colleague, but with wocielian. the indignation of an offended sovereign. The haughtiest of men, clothed in his purple, but humbled by the sense of his fault and misfortune, was obliged to follow the emperor's chariot above a mile on foot, and to exhibit, before the whole court, the spectacle of his disgrace.6" As soon as Diocletian had indulged his private resentment, and asserted the majesty of supreme power, he yielded to the second submissive entreaties of the Caesar, and permitted him to ofQuertra, retrieve his own honour, as well as that of the Roman [ajb.2m.] arms. In the room of the unwarlike troops of Asia, which had most probably served in the first expedition, a second army was drawn from the veterans and new levies of the Illyrian frontier, and a considerable body of Gothic auxiliaries were taken into the Imperial pay.68 At the head of a chosen army of twenty-five thousand men Galerius again passed the Euphrates; but, instead of exposing his legions in the open plains of Mesopotamia, he advanced through the mountains of Armenia, where he found the inhabitants devoted to his cause, and the country as favourable to the operations of infantry as it was inconvenient for the motions of cavalry.70 Adver
r> i i T» • T i-i i T. His victory,
sity had confirmed the Roman discipline, while the barbarians, elated by success, were become so negligent and remiss, that in the moment when they least expected it they were surprised by the active conduct of Galerius, who, attended only by two horsemen, had with his own eyes secretly examined the state and position of their camp. A surprise, especially in the night-time, was for the
"See Foster's Dissertation in the second volume of the translation of the Anabasis by Spelman; which I will venture to recommend as one of the best versions extant.
67 Hist. Armen. 1. ii. c. 76. I have transferred this exploit of Tiridates from an imaginary defeat to tho real one of Galerius.
68 Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xiv. [c. 11.] The mile, in the hands of Eutropius (ix. 24 [lf>]), of Festus (c. 25), and of Orosius (vii. 25), easily increased to several miles.
8* Aurelius Victor. Jornandea de Rebus Geticis, c. 21.
70 Aurelius Victor [de Cajsar. c.39] says, "Per Armeniam in hostcs contendit, quas fenue sola, seu facilior vincendi via est." He followed the conduct of Trajan and the idea of Julius Cajsar.