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and produced some letters from the emperor, expressly enjoining that all that could be done was to be done without exposing the troops to any danger; but his own secret motive he kept in his own bosom, namely, that he had been constantly recommended while at court to refuse his predecessor, who was very eager for glory, every opportunity of acquiring renown, however much it might be for the interest of the republic.
3. Extreme pains were taken. even to the ruin of the provinces, to prevent the gallant Ursicinus from being spoken of as the author of or partner in any memorable exploit. Therefore, bewildered with these misfortunes, Ursicinus, seeing that, though constantly sending spies to us (although from the strict watch that was set it was not easy for any one to enter the city), and proposing many advantageous plans, he did no good, seemed like a lion, terrible for his size and fierceness. but with his claws cut and his teeth drawn, so that he could not dare to save from danger his cubs entangled in the nets of the hunters.
§1. BUT in the city, where the number of the corpses which lay scattered over the streets was too great for any one to perform the funeral rites over them, a pestilence was soon added to the other calamities of the citizens ; the carcases becoming full of worms and corruption, from the evaporation caused by the heat, and the various diseases of the people ; and here I will briefly explain whence diseases of this kind arise.
2. Both philosophers and skilful physicians agree that excess of cold, or of heat, or of moisture, or of drought, all cause pestilences; on which account those who dwell in marshy or wet districts are subject to coughs and complaints in the eyes, and other similar maladies: on the other hand, those who dwell in hot climates are liable to fevers and inflammations. But since fire is the most powerful of all elements, so drought is the quickest at killing.
3. On this account it is that when the Greeks were toiling at the ten years’ war,‘ to prevent a foreigner from
1 The Trojan war. See the account of the pestilence, Home! I1. i. 50. .
an. ass] PESTILEXCE IN AMHJA. 191
profiting by his violation of a royal marriage, a pestilence broke out among them, and numbers died by the darts of Apollo, who is the same as the Sun.
4. Again, as 'l'hucydides relates, that pestilence which at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war harassed the Athenians with a most cruel kind of sickness, came by slow steps from the burning plains of Ethiopia to Attica.
5. Others maintain that the air and the water, becoming tainted by the smell of corpses, and similar things, takes away the healthiness of a place. or at all events that the sudden change of temperature brings forth slighter sicknesses.
6. Some again aflirm that the air becomes heavier by emanations from the earth, and kills some individuals by checking the perspiration of the body, for which reason we learn from Homer, that, besides men, the other living creatures also died ; and we know by many instances, that in such plagues this does occur.
7. l\' ow the first species of pestilence is called pandemic; this causes those who live in dry places to be attacked by frequent heats. The second is called epidemic, which gets gradually more violent. dims the sight of the eyes, and awakens dangerous humours. The third is called loemodes,‘ which is also temporary, but still often kills with great rapidity.
8. We were attacked by this deadly pestilence from the excessive heat, which our numbers aggravated, though but few died: and at last, on the night after the tenth day from the first attack, the heavy and dense air was softened by a little rain, and the health of the garrison was restored and preserved.
§1. IN the mean time the restless Persians were surrounding the city with a fence of wicker-work, and mounds were commenced; lofty towers also were constructed with iron fronts, in the top of each of which a balista was placed, in order to drive down the garri
1 i.e., Aolya'rafls, from Mutts, stilence. Pandemic means “attacking the whole people." Epl emic, “spreading from individual to individual."
son from the battlements; but during the whole time the shower of missiles from the archers and slingers never ceased for a moment.
2. We had with us two of the legions which had served under Magnentius, and which, as we have said, had lately been brought from Gaul, composed of brave and active men well adapted for conflicts in the plain ; but not only useless for such a kind of war as that by which we were now pressed. but actually in the way. For as they had no skill either in working the engines, or in constructing works, but were continually making foolish sallies, and fighting bravely, they always returned with diminished numbers; doing just as much good, as the saying is, as a bucket of water brought by a single hand to a general conflagration.
3. At last, when the gates were completely blocked, and they were utterly unable to get out, in spite of the entreaties of their tribunes, they became furious as wild beasts. But on subsequent occasions their services became conspicuous, as we shall show.
4. In a remote part of the walls on the southern side, which looks down on the Tigris, there was a high tower, below which yawned an abrupt precipice, which it was impossible to look over without giddiness. From this by a hollow subterranean passage along the foot of the mountain some steps were cut with great skill, which led up to the level of the city, by which water was secretly obtained from the river, as we have seen to be the case in all the fortresses in that district which are situated on any river.
5. This passage was dark, and because of the precipitous character of the rock was neglected by the besiegers. till, under the guidance of a deserter who went 'over to them, seventy Persian archers of the royal battalion, men of eminent skill and courage, being protected by the remoteness of the spot which prevented their being heard. climbed up by the steps one by one at midnight, and reached the third story of the tower. There they concealed themselves till daybreak, when they held out. a scarlet cloak as a signal for commencing an assault, when they saw that the city was entirely surrounded by the multitude of their comrades; and then they emptied their quivers and thiew them down
l-MKM vreoua or rHn ENEMY. 193
at their feet, and with loud cries shot their arrows among the citizens with prodigious skill. 6. And presently the whole of the mighty host of the
'enemy assaulted the city with more ferocity than ever.
And while we stood hesitating and perplexed to know which danger to oppose first, whether to make head against the foe above us, or against the multitude who were scaling the battlements with ladders, our force was divided; and five of the lighter balistae were brought round and placed so as to attack our tower. They shot out heavy wooden javelins with great rapidity, sometimes transfixing two of our men at one blow, so that many of them fell to the ground severely wounded, and some jumped down in haste from fear of the creaking engines, and being terribly lacerated by the fall, died..
7. But by measures promptly taken, the walls were again secured on that side, and the engines replaced in their former situation.
8. And since the crime of desertion had increased the labours of our soldiers, they, full of indignation, moved along the battlements as if on level ground, hurling missiles of all kinds, and exerting themselves so strenuously that the Virtue, who were attacking on the south side, were repulsed covered by wounds, and retired in consternation to their tents, having to lament the fall of many of their number.
§ 1. Tnus fortune showed us a ray of safety, granting us one day in which we suffered but little, while the enemy sustained a heavy loss; the remainder of the day was given to rest in order to recruit our strength ; and at the dawn of the next morning we saw from the citadel an innumerable multitude, which, after the capture of the fort called Ziata, was being led to the enemy’s camp. For a promiscuous multitude had taken refuge in Ziata on account of its size and strength ; it being a place ten furlongs in ciroumference.
2. In those days many other fortresses also were stormed and burnt, and many thousands of men and women carried oif from them into slavery; among whom were many men
and women, enfeebled by age, who, fainting from different causes, broke down under the length of the journey, gave up all desire of life, and were hamstrung and left behind.
3. The Gallic soldiers beholding these wretched crowds, demanded by a natural but unseasonable impulse to be led against the forces of the enemy, threatening their tribunes and principal centurions with death if they refused them leave.
4. And as wild beasts kept in cages, being rendered more savage by the smell of blood, dash themselves against their movable bars in the hope of escaping, so these men smote the gates, which we have already spoken of as being blookaded, with their swords; being very anxious not to be involved in the destruction of the city till they had done some gallant exploit; or, if they ultimately escaped from their dangers, not to be spoken of as having done nothing worth speaking of, or worthy of their Gallic courage. Although when they had sallied out before, as they had often done, and had inflicted some loss on the raisers of the mounds, they had always experienced equal loss themselves.
5. We, at a loss what to do, and not knowing what resistance to oppose to these furious men, at length, having with some difficulty won their consent thereto, decided, since the evil could be endured no longer, to allow them to attack the Persian advanced guard, which was not much beyond bow—shot ; and then, if they could force their line,
' they might push their advance further. For it was plain
that if they succeeded in this, they would cause a great slaughter of the enemy.
6. And while the preparations for this sally were being made, the walls were still gallantly defended with unmitigated labour and watching, and planting engines for shooting stones and darts in every direction. But two high mounds had been raised by the Persian infantry, and the blockade of the city was still pressed forward by gradual operations; against which our men, exerting themselves still more vigorously, raised also immense structures, topping the highest works of the enemy ; and sufliciently strong to support the immense weight of their defenders.
. 7. In the mean time the Gallic troops, impatient of delay.