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stream on rafts hastily put together, the legions which at that time were wintering about Side, came down upon them with great speed and impetuosity; and having pitched their standards close to the bank with a view to an immediate battle, they packed their shields together before them in a most skilful manner, and without any difficulty slew some of the banditti, who either trusted to their swimming, or who tried to cross the river unperceived in barks made of the trunks of trees hollowed out.
11. And the Isaurians having tried many devices to obtain success in a regular battle, and having failed in everything, being repulsed in great consternation, and with great vigour on the part of the legions, and being uncertain which way to go, came near the town of Laranda. And there, after they had refreshed themselves with food and rest, and recovered from their fears, they attacked several wealthy towns; but being presently scared by the support given to the citizens by some squadrons of horse which happened to be at hand, and which they would not venture to resist in the extensive plains, they retreated, and retracing their steps summoned all the flower of their youth which had been left at homo to join them.
12. And as they were oppressed with severe famine, they made for a place called Falea, standing on the sea-shore, and fortified with a strong wall; where even to this day supplies are usually kept in store, to be distributed to the armies which defend the frontier of Isauria.
13. Therefore they encamped around this fortress for threo days and three nights, and as the steepness of the ground on which it stood prevented any attempt to storm it without the most deadly peril, and as it was impossible to effect anything by mines, and no other manoeuvres such as aro employed in sieges availed anything, they retired much dejected, being compelled by the necessities of their situation to undertake some enterprise, even if it should bo greater than their strength was equal to.
14. Then giving way to greater fury than ever, being inflamed both by despair and hunger, and their strength increased by their unrestrainable ardour, they directed their efforts to destroy the city of Seleucia, the metropolis of the province, which was defended by Count Castueius, whose legions were inured to every kind of military service.
ij>. 3J3.1 THE SIEGE OF SELEUCIA. D
15. The commanders of the garrison being forewarned of their approach by their own trusty scouts, having, according to custom, given out the watchword to the troops, led forth all their forces in a rapid sally, and having with great activity passed the bridge over the river Calicadnus, the mighty waters of which wash the turrets of the walls, they drew out their men as if prepared for battle. But as yet no man left the ranks, and the army was not allowed to engage; for the band of the Isaurians was dreaded, inasmuch as they were desperate with rage, and superior in number, and likely to rush upon the arms of the legions without any regard to their lives. Therefore as soon as the army was beheld at a distance, and the music of the trumpeters was heard, the banditti halted and stood still for a while, brandishing their ihreatening swords, and after a time they marched on slowly. And when the steady Roman soldiery began to deploy, preparing to encounter them, beating their shields wiih their spears (a custom which rouses the fury of the combatants, and strikes terror into their enemies), they filled the front ranks of the Isaurians with consternation. But as the troops were pressing forward eagerly to tho combat their generals recalled them, thinking it inopportune to enter upon a contest of doubtful issue, when their walls were not far distant, under protection of which tho safety of the whole army could be placed on a solid foundation.
16. Therefore the soldiers were brought back inside the walls in accordance with this resolution, and all the approaches and gates were strongly barred; and the men were placed on the battlements and bulwarks, having vast stones and weapons of all kinds piled close at hand, so that if any one forced his way inside he might bo overwhelmed with a multitude of missiles and stones.
17. But those who were shut up in tho walls were at the same time greatly afflicted, because the Isaurians having taken somo vessels which were conveying grain down the river, were well provided with abundance of food, while they themselves, having almost consumed the usual stores of food, were in a state of alarm dreading the fatal agonies of approaching famine. When the news of this distress got abroad, and when repeated messages to this effect had moved Gallus Caesar, because the master of the horse was kept away longer than usual at that season, Nebridius the count of the East was ordered to collect a military force from all quarters, and hastened forward with exceeding zeal to deliver the city, so wealthy and important, from Buch a peril. And when this was known the banditti retired, without having performed any memorable exploit, and dispersing, according to their wont, they sought the trackless recesses of the lofty mountains.
§ 1. While affairs were in this state in Isauria, and while the king of Persia was involved in wars upon his frontier, repulsing from his borders a set of ferocious tribes which, being full of fickleness, were continually either attacking him in a hostile manner, or, as often happens, aiding him when he turned his arms against us, a certain noble, by name Nohodares, having been appointed to invade Mesopotamia, whenever occasion might serve, was anxiously exploring our territories with a view to some sudden incursion, if he could anywhere find an opportunity.
2. And because since every part of Mesopotamia is accustmed to be disturbed continually, the lands were protected by frequent barriers, and military stations in the rural districts, Nohodares, having directed his march to the left, had occupied the most remote parte of the Osdroeno, having devised a novel plan of operations which had never hitherto been tried. And if he had succeeded he woulo have laid waste the whole country like a thunderbolt.
3. Now the plan which ho had conceived was of this kind. There is a town in Anthemusia called Batne, built by tho ancient Macedonians, a short distance from the river Euphrates, thickly peopled by wealthy merchants. To this city, about the beginning of the month of September, a great multitude of all ranks throng to a fair, in order to buy the wares which the Indians and Chinese send thither, and many other articles which are usually brought to this fair by land and sea.
4. The leader before named, preparing to invade this district on the days set apart for this solemnity, marching through the deserts and along the grassy banks of the
AJ>. 3iS.| THE SARACENS. 11
river Abora, was betrayed by infonnation given by some of his own men, who being alarmed at the discovery of certain crimes which they had committed, deserted to the Roman garrisons, and accordingly he retired again without having accomplished anything; and after that remained quiet without undertaking any further enterprise.
§ 1. At this time also the Saracens, a race whom it is never desirable to have either for friends or enemies, ranging up and down the country, if ever they found anything, plundered it in a moment, like rapacious hawks who, if from on high they behold any prey, carry it off with rapid swoop, or, if they fail in their attempt, do not tarry.
2. And although, in recounting the career of the Prince Marcus, and once or twice subsequently, I remember having discussed the manners of this people, nevertheless l will now briefly enumerate a few more particulars concerning them.
3. Among these tribes, whose primary origin is derived from the cataracts of the Nile and the borders of the Blem.iiyae, all the men are warriors of equal rank; half naked, clad in coloured cloaks down to the waist, overrunning different countries, with the aid of swift and active horses and speedy camels, alike in times of peace and war. Nor does any member of their tribes ever take plough in hand or cultivate a tree, or seek food by the tillage of the land; hut they are perpetually wandering over various and extensive districts, having no home, no fixed abode or laws; nor can they endure to remain long in the same climate, no one district or country pleasing them for a continuance.
4. Their life is one continued wandering; their wives are hired, on special oovenant, for a fixed time; and that there may be some appearance of marriage in the business, the intended wife, under the name of a dowry, offers M spear and a tent to her husband, with a right to quit hiin after a fixed day, if she should choose to do so. And it is inconceivable with what eagerness the individuals of both texes give themselves up to matrimonial pleasures.
5. But as long as they live they wander about with suck extensive and perpetual migrations, that the woman is married in one place, brings forth her children in another, and rears them at a distance from either place, no opportunity of remaining quiet being ever granted to her.
6. They all live on venison, and are further supported, on a great abundance of milk, and on many kinds of herbs, and on whatever birds they can catch by fowling. And we have seen a great many of them wholly ignorant of the use of either corn or wine.
7. So much fur this most mischievous nation. Now let us return to the subject we originally proposed to our selves.
§ 1. While these events were taking place in the East, Constantius was passing the winter at Aries; and after an exhibition of games in the theatre and in the circus, which were displayed with most sumptuous magnificence, on the tenth of October, the day which completed the thirtieth year of his reign, he began to give the reins more freely to his insolence, believing every information which was laid before him as proved, however doubtful or false it might bo; and among other acts of cruelty, he put Gerontius, a count of the party of Magnentius, to the torture, and then condemned him to banishment.
2. And as the body of a sick man is apt to be agitated by even trifling grievances, so his narrow and sensitive mind, thinking every sound that stirred something either done or planned to the injury of his safety, made his victory ' mournful by the slaughter of innocent men.
3. For if any one of his military officers, or of those who had ever received marks of honour, or if any one of high rank was accused, on the barest rumour, of having favoured the faction of his enemy, he was loaded with chains and dragged about like a beast. And whether any enemy of the accused man pressed him or not, as if the
1 His victory over Magnentius, whom ho defeated at Mursa, on the Doave, in the your 351. Magnentius fled to Aquileia. but was pursued, and again defeated the next year, at a plaee called Mons Seleuci, in the neighbourhood of Gap, and threw himself on his own sword to avoid falling into the hands of Constantius.