« ForrigeFortsett »
quality of the soil; and, since the days of Cyrus, they might produce, under the various appellations of Chaldeans, and Zanians, an uninterrupted prescription of war and rapine. Under the reign of Justinian, they acknowledged the God and the emperor of the Romans, and seven fortresses were built in the most accessible passes, to exclude the ambition of the Persian monarch.* The principal source of the Euphrates descends from the Chalybian mountains, and seems to flow towards the west and the Euxine; bending to the south-west, the river passes under the walls of Satala and Melitene (wbich were restored by Justinian as the bulwarks of the Lesser Armenia), and gradually approaches the Mediterranean sea; till at length repelled by Mount Taurus,t the Euphrates inclines his long and flexible course to the south-east and the gulf of Persia. Among the Roman cities beyond the Euphrates, we distinguish two recent foundations, which were named from Theodosius, and the relics of the martyrs, and two capitals, Amida and Edessa, which are celebrated in the history of every age. Their strength was proportioned, by Justinian, to the danger of their situation. A ditch and palisade might be sufficient to resist the artless force of the cavalry of Scythia; but more elaborate works were required to sustain a regular siege against the arms and treasures of the great king. His skilful engineers understood the methods of conducting deep mines, and of raising platforme to the level of the rampart: he shook the strong
(Cyropæd. 1. 3,) the same barbarians against whom he had fought in his retreat (Anabasis, 1. 4). [Ideler (Mathematische und Technische Chronologie, i. p. 195–200) is of opinion that the Chaldæans were not a distinct people, but the priests of the Babylonian Belus. Xenophon, who knew the name from Herodotus, seems to have applied it wrongly to the Chalybians, and to have made two nations out of one. His misnomers of countries and rivers are pardonable in an age when the geography of Asia was a mystery to the Greeks, nor do they detract from his merits as a writer. The country occupied by the Chalybians appears to be the same as that which Col. Rawlinson assigns to the Illibi, mentioned in the inscriptions at Kouyunjik, among the nations conquered by Sennacherib. Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 141, 142.- ED.]
* Procopius, Persic. 1. 1, c. 15. De Edific. 1. 3, c. 6.
Ni Taurus obstet in nostra maria ven. turus (Pomponius Mela, 3, 8). Pliny, a poet as well as a naturalist, (v. 20) personifies the river and mountain, and describes their combat. See the course of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the excellent treatise of est battlements with his military engines, and sometimes advanced to the assault with a line of moveable turrets on the backs of elephants. In the great cities of the East, the disadvantage of space, perhaps of position, was compensated by the zeal of the people, who seconded the garrison in the defence of their country and religion; and the fabulous promise of the Son of God, that Edessa should never be taken, filled the citizens with valiant confidence, and chilled the besiegers with doubt and dismay.* The subordinate towns of Armenia and Mesopotamia were diligently strengthened, and the posts which appeared to have any command of ground or water, were occupied by numerous forts, substantially built of stone, or more hastily erected with the obvious materials of earth and brick. The eye of Justinian investigated every spot; and his cruel precautions might attract the war into some lonely vale, whose peaceful natives, connected by trade and marriage, were ignorant of national discord and the quarrels of princes. Westward of the Euphrates, a sandy desert extends above six hundred miles to the Red sea. Nature had interposed a vacant solitude between the ambition of two rival empires: the Arabians, till Mahomet arose, were formidable only as robbers: and, in the proud security of peace, the fortifications of Syria were neglected on the most vulnerable side.
But the national enmity, at least the effects of that enmity, had been suspended by a truce, which continued above fourscore years. An ambassador from the emperor Zeno accompanied the rash and unfortunate Perozes, in his expedition against the Nepthalites or White Huns, whose conquest had been stretched from the Caspian to the heart of India, whose throne was enriched with emeralds, and D'Anville.
* Procopius (Persic. 1. 2, c. 12) tells the story, with the tone, half sceptical, half superstitious, of Herodotus. The promise was not in the primitive lie of Eusebius, but dates at least from the year 400; and a third lie, the Veronica, was soon raised, on the two former. (Evagrius, 1. 4, c. 27.) As Edessa has been taken, Tillemont must disclaim the promise. (Mém. Ecclés. tom. i, p. 362. 383. 617.)
+ They were purchased from the merchants of Adulis who traded to India (Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. 1. 11, p. 339); yet, in the estimate of precious stones, the Scythian emerald was the first, the Bactrian the second, the Æthiopian only the third. (Hill's Theophrastus, p. 61, &c., 92.) The production, mines, &c. of emeralds, are involved in darkness; and it is doubtful whether we possess any of the twelve sorts known to the ancients. (Goguet, Origine des Lr is,
whose cavalry was supported by a line of two thousand elephants.* The Persians were twice circumvented, in a situation which made valour useless and flight impossible; and the double victory of the Huns was achieved by military stratagem. They dismissed their royal captive after he had submitted to adore the majesty of a barbarian; and the humiliation was poorly evaded by the casuistical subtlety of the Magi, who instructed Perozes to direct his attention to the rising sun. The indignant successor of Cyrus forgot bis danger and his gratitude; he renewed the attack with headstrong fury, and lost both his army and his life.† The death of Perozes abandoned Persia to her foreign and domestic enemies; and twelve years of confusion elapsed before his son Cabades or Kobad could embrace any designs of ambition or revenge. The unkind parsimony of Anastasius was the motive or pretence of a Roman war;f the Huns and Arabs marched under the Persian standard, and the fortifications of Armenia and Mesopotamia were, at that time, in a ruinous or imperfect condition. The emperor returned his thanks to the governor and people of Martyropolis, for the prompt surrender of a city which could not be successfully defended, and the conflagration of Theodosiopolis might justify the conduct of their prudent neighbours. Amida sustained a long and destructive siege; at the end of three months the loss of fifty thousand of the soldiers of Cabades was not balanced by any prospect of
&c., part 2, 1. 2, c. 2, art. 3.) In this war the Huns got, or at least Perozes lost, the finest pearl in the world, of which Procopius relates a ridiculous fable.
* The Indo-Scythæ continued to reign from the time of Augustus (Dionys. Perieget. 1088, with the Com. mentary of Eustathius, in Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. iv,) to that of the elder Justin. (Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. 1. 11, p. 338, 339.) On their origin and conquests, see D'Anville (sur l'Inde, p. 18. 45, &c., 69. 85. 89). In the second century they were masters of Larice or Guzerat.
+ See the fate of Phirouz or Perozes, and its consequences, in Procopius (Persic. 1. 1, c. 3–6), who may be compared with the fragments of Qriental history. (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 351, and Texeira, History of Persia, translated or abridged by Stevens, l. 1, c. 32, p. 132–138). The chronology is ably ascertained by Assemnan. (Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii, p. 396_427.)
I The Persian war, under the reigns of Anastasius and Justin, may be collected from Frocopius (Persic. l. 1. c. 7–9), Theophanes (in Chronograph, p. 124–127), Evagrius (1. 3, c. 37), Marcellinus (in Chron. p. 47), and Josue Stylites (apud Asseman, tom. i, p. 272-281).
success, and it was in vain that the Magi deduced a flattering prediction from the indecency of the women on the ramparts, who had revealed their most secret charms to the eyes of the assailants. At length, in a silent night, they ascended the most accessible tower, which was guarded only by some monks, oppressed after the duties of a festival with sleep and wine. Scaling ladders were applied at the dawn of day; the presence of Cabades, his stern command, and his drawn sword, compelled the Persians to vanquish; and before it was sheathed, fourscore thousand of the inhabitants had expiated the blood of their companions. After the siege of Amida, the war continued three years, and the unhappy frontier tasted the full measure of its calamities. The gold of Anastasius was offered too late, the number of his troops was defeated by the number of their generals; the country was stripped of its inhabitants, and both the living and the dead were abandoned to the wild beasts of the desert. The resistance of Edessa, and the deficiency of spoil, inclined the mind of Cabades to peace; he sold his conquests for an exorbitant price: and the same line, though marked with slaughter and devastation, still separated the two empires. To avert the repetition of the same evils, Anastasius resolved to found a new colony, so strong that it should defy the power of the Persian, so far advanced towards Assyria that its stationary troops might defend the province by the menace or operation of offensive war. For this purpose, the town of Dara,* fourteen miles from Nisibis, and four days journey from the Tigris, was peopled and adorned; the hasty works of Anastasius were improved by the perseverance of Justinian; and without insisting on places less important, the fortifications of Dara may represent the military architecture of the age. The city was surrounded with two walls, and the interval between them of fifty paces, afforded a retreat to the cattle of the besieged. The inner wall was a monument of strength and beauty: it measured sixty feet from the ground, and the height of the towers was one hundred feet; the loop-holes, from whence an enemy might be annoyed with missile weapons, were
* The description of Dara is amply and correctly given by Proco. pius (Persic. 1. 1, c. 10; 1. 2, c. 13. De Edific. 1. 2, c. 1-3; 1. 3, c. 5). See the situation in D'Anville (L'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 53–55), though he seems to double the interval between Dara and Nisibis,
small but numerous: the soldiers were planted along the rampart, under the shelter of double galleries, and a third platform, spacious and secure, was raised on the summit of the towers. The exterior wall appears to have been less lofty, but more solid; and each tower was protected by a quadrangular bulwark. A hard rocky soil resisted the tools of the miners, and on the south-east, where the ground was more tractable, their approach was retarded by a new work, which advanced in the shape of a half-moon. The double and treble ditches were filled with a stream of water; and in the management of the river, the most skilful labour was employed to supply the inhabitants, to distress the besiegers, and to prevent the mischiefs of a natural or artificial inundation. Dara continued more than sixty years to fulfil the wishes of its founders, and to provoke the jealousy of the Persians, who incessantly complained that this impregnable fortress had been constructed in manifest violation of the treaty of peace between the two empires.
Between the Euxine and the Caspian, the countries of Colchos, Iberia, and Albania, are intersected in every direction by the branches of mount Caucasus; and the two principal gates or passes, from north to south, have been frequently confounded in the geography both of the ancients and moderns. The name of Caspian or Albanian gates, is properly applied to Derbend, * which occupies a short declivity between the mountains and the sea : the city, if we give credit to local tradition, had been founded by the Greeks: and this dangerous entrance was fortified by the kings of Persia with a mole, double walls, and doors of iron. The Iberian gates + are formed by a narrow passage of six miles in mount Caucasus, which opens from the northern side of Iberia or Georgia, into the plain that reaches to the Tanais and the Volga. A fortress, designed by Alexander, perhaps, or one of his successors, to command
* For the city and pass of Derbend, see D’Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient. p. 157. 291. 807), Petit de la Croix (Hist. de Gengiscan, 1. 4, c. 9), Histoire Généalogique des Tatars (tom. i, p. 120), Olearius (Voyage en Verse, p. 1039--1041), and Corneille le Brune (Voyages, tom. i, p. 146, 147): his view may be compared with the plan of Olearius, who judges the wall to be of shells and gravel hardened by time.
* Procopius, though with some confusion, always denominates them Caspian (Persic. 1. 1, c. 10). The pass is now styled Tatartopa, the Tartar Gates. (D'Anville, Géographie Ancienne, tom. ii, p. 119, 120.)