A.r>.359.] cosmos or rHn GARRISON. 195

armed with their axes and swords, went forth from the open postern gate, taking advantage of a dark and moonless night. And imploring the Deity to be propitious, and repressing even their breath when they got near the enemy, they advanced with quick step and in close order, slew some of the watch at the outposts, and the outer sentinels of the camp {who were asleep, fearing no such event), and entertained secret hopes of penetrating even to the king’s tent if fortune assisted them.

8. But some noise, though slight, was made by them in their march, and the groans of the slain aroused many from sleep ; and while each separately raised the cry “ to arms,” our soldiers halted and stood firm, not venturing to move any further forward. For it would not have been prudent, now that those whom they sought to surprise were awakened, to hasten into open danger, while the bands of Persians were now heard to be flocking to battle from all quarters.

9. Nevertheless the Gallic troops, with undiminished strength and boldness, continued to bow down their foes with their swords, though some of their own men were also slain, pierced by the arrows which were flying from all quarters ; and they still stood firm, when they saw the whole danger collected into one point, and the bands of the enemy coming on with speed; yet no one turned his back: and they withdrew, retiring slowly as if in time to music, and gradually fell behind the pales of the camp, being unable to sustain the weight of the battalions pressing close upon them, and being deafened by the clang of the Persian trumpets.

10. And while many trumpets in turn poured out their clang from the city, the gates were opened to receive our men, if they should be able to reach them : and the engines for missiles creaked, though no javelins were shot from them, in order that the captains of the advanced guard of the Persians, ignorant of the slaughter of their comrades, might be terrified by the noise into falling back, and so allowing our gallant troops to be admitted in safety.

11. And owing to this manoeuvre, the Gauls about daybreak entei'ed the gate although with diminished numbers; many of them severely and others slightly wounded. They last four hundred men this night, when 'if they had


not been hindered by more formidable obstacles, they would have slain in his very tent not Rhesus nor Thracians sleeping before the walls of Troy, but the king of Persia, surrounded by one hundred thousand armed men.

12. To their leaders, as champions of valiant actions, the emperor, after the fall of the city, ordered statues in armour to be erected at Edessa in a frequented spot. And those statues are preserved up to the present time unhurt.

13. When the next day showed the slaughter which had been made, nobles and satraps were found lying amongst the corpses, and all kinds of dissonant cries and tears indicated the changed posture of the Persian host: everywhere was heard wailing; and great indignation was expressed by the princes, who thought that the Romans had forced their way through the sentries in front of the walls. A truce was made for three days by the common consent of both armies, find we gladly accepted a little respite in which to take



§ 1. Now the nations of the barbarians, being amazed at the novelty of this attempt, and rendered by it more savage than ever, discarding all delay, determined to proceed with their works, since open assaults availed them but little. And with extreme warlike eagerness they all now hastened to die gloriously, or else to propitiate the souls of the dead by the ruin of the city.

2. And now, the necessary preparations having been completed by the universal alacrity, at the rising of the day-star all kinds of structures and iron towers were brought up to the walls; on the lofty summits of which balistae were fitted, which beat down the garrison who were placed on lower ground.

3. And when day broke the iron coverings of the bodies of the foe darkened the whole heaven, and the dense lines advanced without any skirmishers in front, and not in an irregular manner as before, but to the regular and soft music of trumpets; protected by the roofs of the engines, and holding before them wicker shields.

4. And when they came within reach of our missiles, the

1 Ammian alludes to the expedition of Ulysses and Diomed. related by Homer, Il

‘.9 359.] DANGER or THE usamsos. 197

Persian infantry, holding their shields in front of them, and even then having difliculty in avoiding the arrows which were shot from the engines on the walls, for scarcely any kind of weapon found an empty space, they broke their line a little; and even the euirassiers were checked and began to retreat, which raised the spirits of our men.

5. Still the balistae of the enemy, placed on their iron towers, and pouring down missiles with great power from their high ground on those in a lower position, spread a great deal of slaughter in our ranks; At last, when evening came on, both sides retired to rest, and the greater part of the night was spent by us in considering what device could be adopted to resist the formidable engines of the enemy.

6. At length, after we had considered many plans, we determined on one which the rapidity with which it could be executed made the safest—to oppose four scorpions to the four balistae; which were carefully moved (a very diflicult operation) from the place in which they were; but before this work was finished, day arrived, bringing us a mournful sight, inasmuch as it showed us the formidable battalions of the Persians, with their trains of elephants, the noise and size of which animals are such that nothing more terrible can be presented to the mind of man.

7. And while we were pressed on all sides with the vast masses of arms, and works, and beasts, still our scorpions were kept at work with their iron slings, hurling huge round stones from the battlements, by which the towers of the enemy were crushed and the balistae and those who worked them were dashed to the ground, so that many were desperately injured, and many crushed by the weight of the falling structures. And the elephants were driven back with violence, and surrounded by the flames which we poured forth against them, the moment that they were wounded retired, and could not be restrained by their riders. The works were all burnt, but still there was no cessation from the conflict.

8. For the king of the Persians himself, who is never expected to mingle in the fight, being indignant at these disasters, adopting a new and unprecedented mode of action, sprang forth like a common soldier among his own dense columns; and as the very number of his guards made him the more conspicuous to us who looked from afar on the scene, he was assailed by numerous missiles, and was forced to retire after he had lost many of his escort, while his troops fell back by echellons; and at the end of the day, though frightened neither by the sad sight of the slaughter nor of the wounds, he at length allowed a short period to be given to rest.


§1. Night had put an end to the combat; and when a slight rest had been procured from sleep, the moment that the dawn, looked for as the harbinger of better fortune, appeared, Sapor, full of rage and indignation, and perfectly reckless, called forth his people to attack u. And as his works were all burnt, as we have related, and the attack had to be conducted by means of their lofty mounds raised close to our walls, we also from mounds within the walls, as fast as we could raise them, struggled in spite of all our difficulties, with all our might, and with equal courage, against our assailants.

2. And long did the bloody conflict last, nor was any one of the garrison driven by fear of death from his resolution to defend the city. The conflict was prolonged, till at last, while the fortune of the two sides was still undecided, the structure raised by our men, having been long assailed and shaken, at last fell, as if by an earthquake.

3. And the whole space which was between the wall and the external mound being made level as if by a causeway or a bridge, opened a passage to the enemy, which was no longer embarrassed by any obstacles; and numbers of our men, being crushed or enfeebled by their wounds, gave up the struggle. Still men flocked from all quarters to repel so imminent a danger, but from their eager haste they got in one another’s way, while the boldness of the enemy increased with their success.

4. By the command of the king all his troops now hastened into action, and a hand-to-hand engagement ensued. Blood ran down from the vast slaughter on both sides: the ditches were filled with corpses, and thus a wider path was opened for the besiegers. And the city, being now filled with the eager crowd which forced its way in, all hope of defence or of escape was cut 011', and armed and unarmed

A.n.359.] . ESCAPE OF AMMIANUS. 199

without any distinction of age or sex were slaughtered like sheep.

5. It was full evening, when, though fortune had proved adverse, the bulk of our troops was still fighting in good order; and I, having concealed myself with two conipanions in an obscure corner of the city, now under cover of darkness, made my escape by a postern gate where there was no guard; and aided by my own knowledge of the country and by the speed of my companions, I at last reached the tenth milestone from the city.

6. Here, having lightly refreshed ourselves, I tried to proceed, but found myself, as a noble unaccustomed to such toil, overcome by fatigue of the march. I happened to fall in, however, with what, though a most unsightly obiilect, was to me, completely tired out, a most seasonable re 'ef.

7. A groom riding a runaway horse, barebacked and without a bridle, in order to prevent his falling had knotted the halter by which he was guiding him tightly to his left hand, and presently, being thrown, and unable to break the knot, he was torn to pieces as he was dragged over the rough ground and through the bushes, till at last the weight of his dead body stopped the tired. beast; I caught him, and mounting him, availed myself of his services at a most seasonable moment, and after much suffering arrived with my companions at some sulphurous springs of naturally hot water.

8. On account of the heat we had suffered greatly from thirst, and had been crawling about for some time in search of water; and now when we came to this well it was so deep that we could not descend into it, nor had we any ropes ; but, taught by extreme necessity, we tore up the linen clothes which we wore into long rags, which we made into one great rope, and fastened to the end of it a cap which one of us wore beneath his helmet; and letting that down by the rope, and drawing up water in it like a sponge, we easily quenched our thirst.

9. From hence we proceeded rapidly to the Euphrates, intending to cross to the other side in the boat which long custom had stationed in that quarter, to convey men and cattle across.

10. When 10! we see at a distance a Roman force with

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