New History/Book the Third
Constantius, after having acted towards Gallus Caesar in the manner I have related, left Pannonia to proceed into Italy. But perceiving all the Roman territories to be infested by the incursions of the Barbarians, and that the Franks, the Alemanni, and the Saxons had not only possessed themselves of forty cities near the Rhine, but had likewise ruined and destroyed them, by carrying off an immense number of the inhabitants, and a proportionate quantity of spoils; and that the Sarmatians and the Quadi ravaged without opposition Pannonia and the upper Moesia; besides which that the Persians were perpetually harassing the eastern provinces, though they had previously been tranquil in the fear of an attack from Gallus Caesar; considering these circumstances, and being in doubt what to attempt, he scarcely thought himself capable of managing affairs at this critical period. He was unwilling, however, to associate any one with himself in the government, because he so much desired to rule alone, and could esteem no man his friend. Under these circumstances he was at a loss how to act. It happened, however, that when the empire was in the greatest danger, Eusebia, the wife of Constantius, who was a woman of extraordinary learning, and of greater wisdom than her sex is usually endowed with, advised him to confer the government of the nations beyond the Alps on Julianus Caesar, who was brother to Gallus, and grandson to Constantius. As she knew that the emperor was suspicious of all his kindred, she thus circumvented him. She observed to him, that Julian was a young man unacquainted with the intrigues of state, having devoted himself totally to his studies; and that he was wholly inexperienced in worldly business. That on this account he would be more fit for his purpose than any other person. That either he would be fortunate, and his success would be attributed to the emperor’s conduct, or that he would fail and perish; and that thus Constantius would have none of the imperial family to succeed to him.
Constantius, having approved her advice, sent for Julian from Athens, where he lived among the philosophers, and excelled all his masters in every kind of learning. Accordingly, Julian returning from Greece into Italy, Constantius declared him Caesar, gave him in marriage his sister Helena, and sent him beyond the Alps. But being naturally distrustful, he could not believe that Julian would be faithful to him, and therefore sent along with him Marcellus and Sallustius, to whom, and not to Caesar, he committed the entire administration of the government.
Constantius, having thus disposed of Julian, marched himself into Pannonia and Moesia, and having there suppressed the Quadi and the Sarmatians, proceeded to the east, and was provoked to war by the inroads of the Persians. Julian by this time had arrived beyond the Alps into the Gallic nations which he was to rule. Perceiving that the Barbarians continued committing the same violence, Eusebia, for the same reasons as before, persuaded Constantius to place the entire management of those countries into the hands of Julian. Of Julian’s actions from that period through the short course of his future life, may be read in the historians and poets; though none that have ever written of him have fully reached to the justice of his character. Whoever desires it may see his own orations and epistles, and in them survey what he performed for the public service. Indeed I would give a fuller account of him, but that I ought not to interrupt the order of my history. However I shall notice his most signal actions in their proper place; and particularly such circumstances as others have omitted. Constantius having therefore given to Caesar full authority over the nations under his government, marched into the east, to make war on the Persians. Julian finding military affairs of Gallia Celtica in a very ruinous state, and that the Barbarians passed the Rhine without any resistance, even almost as far as the sea-port towns, he took a survey of the remaining parts of the enemy. And understanding that the people of those parts were terrified at the very name of the Barbarians, while those whom Constantius had sent along with him, who were not more than three hundred and sixty, knew nothing more, as he used to say, than how to say their prayers, he enlisted as many more as he could and took in a great number of volunteers. He also provided arms, and finding a quantity of old weapons in some town he fitted them up, and distributed them among the soldiers. The scouts bringing him intelligence, that an immense number of Barbarians had crossed the river near the city of Argentoratum (Strasburgh) which stands on the Rhine, he no sooner heard of it, than he led forth his army with the greatest speed, and engaging the enemy gained such a victory as exceeds all description. It is said that sixty thousand men were killed on the spot, besides as many more that were driven into the river and drowned. In a word, if this victory be compared to that of Alexander over Darius, it will be found in no respects inferior to it.
We ought not however to pass over in silence an action of Caesar after the victory. He possessed a regiment of six hundred horse, which were well disciplined, and in whose valour and experience he so confided, that he ventured great part of his hopes upon their performances. Indeed when the battle commenced, the whole army attacked the enemy with all the resolution they could show; but some time afterwards, though the Roman army had considerably the advantage, these were the only troops that fled, and left their station so dishonourably, that when Caesar rode up to them with a small party, and called them back to a share of the victory, he could not by any means prevail upon them to turn. On which account he was justly indignant with them, for having as much as related to them betrayed their countrymen to the Barbarians. Yet he did not inflict on them the usual and legal punishment. But he dressed them in women’s clothes, and led them through the camp towards another province, thinking that such a punishment would be worse than death to soldiers that were men. Indeed this happened very fortunately both for him and them; for in the second war against the Germans they recollected the ignominy which had previously been imposed upon them, and were almost the only troops who conducted themselves bravely in that engagement.
After these events he raised a great army to make war on the whole German nation; he was opposed however by the Barbarians in vast numbers. Caesar therefore would not wait while they came up to him, but crossed the Rhine; preferring that their country should be the seat of war, and not that of the Romans: as by that means the cities would escape being again pillaged by the Barbarians. A most furious battle therefore took place; a great number of Barbarians being slain on the field of battle, while the rest fled, and were pursued by Caesar into the Hercynian forest, and many of them killed. Vadomarius the son of their general was made prisoner. The army returned home, singing songs of triumph, and praises to Caesar for the exploits he had performed. Julian sent Vadomarius to Constantius, ascribing the victories he had gained to the good fortune of the emperor.
Meantime the Barbarians, who were in a very dangerous situation, fearing for their wives and children, lest Caesar should advance to places where they resided, and totally destroy their whole race, sent ambassadors to sue for an accommodation, by which they would bind themselves never to make war on the Romans again.
Caesar told them, that he would listen to no proposals for peace, until they restored the captives whom they had formerly taken in the various towns they had conquered. As they consented to this, and promised to deliver all that remained alive; Caesar used the following method of ascertaining that no single captive was detained by the Barbarians. He sent for all that had fled out of each city and village, and required them to give him the names of the persons who had been carried off by the enemy from each of such city or village. Each of them having named the persons whom they knew, either from relationship, friendship, neighbourhood, or some other ground, he ordered the imperial notaries to take a list of them; which they did so privately, that the ambassadors knew nothing of it. Upon this, he crossed the Rhine, and commanded them to bring back the captives, which they in a short time obeyed. As they declared that those were all they had taken, Caesar, who was seated upon a high throne, behind which the notaries were placed, ordered the Barbarians to produce their captives, according to their agreement. When the captives came singly before him and told their names, the notaries, who stood close behind Caesar, examined their papers to find if they were all correct. Afterwards comparing those which they had taken down with what had appeared before Caesar, and perceiving that the inhabitants of the different places had named many more than were present, they communicated it to Caesar. On which he threatened the ambassadors with a war against their countrymen, for not delivering all the captives, and by the information of the notaries named some individuals of particular places that were yet missing. The Barbarians, on hearing this, presently imagined that Caesar had the most abstruse secrets of nature revealed to him by some divine intelligence, and therefore promised to give up all that they found alive, and bound their promise with the customary oath of their country.
Having done this, and restored as many captives as it was probable had been taken out of the forty cities which they had sacked, Caesar was at a loss what course to adopt, perceiving the cities to be completely ruined, and that the land had remained long without cultivation, which occasioned great scarcity of provisions among those who were delivered up by the Barbarians. For the neighbouring cities could not supply them, having themselves felt the violence of the Barbarians, and consequently having no great abundance for their own use. Having therefore deliberated on what course to pursue he formed this plan. As the Rhine discharges itself at the extremity of Germany into the Atlantic ocean, and the island of Britain is about nine hundred stadia from its mouths, he cut timber from the woods on the banks of the river, and built eight hundred small vessels, which he sent into Britain for a supply of corn, and brought it up the Rhine. This was so often repeated, the voyage being short, that he abundantly supplied those who were restored to their cities with sufficiency for their sustenance, so likewise for the sowing season, and what they needed until harvest. These actions he performed when he had scarcely attained the twenty-fifth year of his age.
Constantius, perceiving that Julian was beloved by the army, for his frugality in peace and courage in war, and for the self-command he possessed in regard to riches, and the other virtues in which he excelled all persons of the age in which he lived, became envious of his great merit, and concluded that Sallustius, one of the counsellors that had been allotted to him, was the author of the policy that had acquired Julian so much honour both in military and in civil affairs. He, therefore, sent for Sallustius, as if he intended to confer the government of the eastern provinces upon him. Julian readily dismissed him, resolving to obey the emperor in all respects. Though Sallustius was removed, Julian still advanced in whatever was committed to his care; the soldiers improved their discipline as well as augmented in number, and the towns enjoyed the blessings of peace.
The Barbarians in that quarter now began almost all to despair, and expected little short of the complete destruction of all that remained alive. The Saxons, who exceeded all the barbarians in those regions, in courage, strength and hardiness, sent out the Quadi, a part of their own body, against the Roman dominions. Being obstructed by the Franks who resided near them, and who were afraid of giving Caesar a just occasion of making another attack on them, they shortly built themselves a number of boats, in which they sailed along the Rhine beyond the territory of the Franks, and entered the Roman empire. On their arrival at Batavia, which is an island, so formed by the branches of the Rhine, much larger than any other river island, they drove out the Salii, a people descended from the Franks, who had been expelled from their own country by the Saxons. This island, though formerly subject to the Romans alone, was now in the possession of the Salii. Caesar, upon learning this, endeavoured to counteract the designs of the Quadi; and first commanded his army to attack them briskly; but not to kill any of the Salii, or prevent them from entering the Roman territories, because they came not as enemies, but were forced there by the Quadi.
As soon as the Salii heard of the kindness of Caesar, some of them went with their king into the Roman territory, and others fled to the extremity of their country, but all humbly committed their lives and fortunes to Caesar’s gracious protection. Caesar by this time perceiving that the Barbarians dared not again engage him, but were intent on secret excursions, and rapine, by which they did great damage to the country, scarcely knew how to act, until at length he invented a stratagem to confound the Barbarians. There was a man of extraordinary stature, and of courage proportioned to his size. Being by nation a Barbarian, and accustomed to plunder with the others, he had thought proper to leave his own country and go into Gallia Celtica, which was subject to the Romans. While he was residing at Treves, which is the largest city in all the nations beyond the Alps, and saw the barbarians from beyond the Rhine, ravaging the cities on this side of the river, and committing depredations every where without opposition, (which was before Julian was made Caesar), he resolved in himself to defend those towns. As he dared not attempt this without being supported by the law, he at first went alone into the thickest part of the woods, and waited there till the Barbarians made their incursions. In the night, when they lay intoxicated and asleep, he fell on them and slew them in great numbers, bringing their heads and shewing them to the people of the town. This he practised continually to such an extent, that he abated the keenness of the Barbarians, who though unable to guess at the cause, yet were sensible of the losses they sustained, the army diminishing daily. Some other robbers having joined this man, and their number having increased to a considerable body, Charietto, (which was the name of the man who first used his kind of ambuscade against the Barbarians) came to Caesar, and told him the whole circumstances, which few persons knew before that time. Caesar was at this time unable to restrain their nocturnal and clandestine incursions of the Barbarians, as they robbed in small parties, straggling from each other, and when day appeared, not one of them was visible, all hiding themselves in the woods, and subsisting on what they gained by robbery. Considering therefore the difficulty of subduing such an enemy, he determined to oppose these robbers, not with an army of soldiers, but with men of similar description.
For this reason, he sent Charietto and his band, adding to them many of the Salii, against the plundering Quadi, who though they lived on what they stole, yet were probably less expert in the art of robbing, than these men who had studied it. In the day he guarded the open fields, and killed all that escaped his robbers. He did this for a long time, until the Quadi were reduced to such extremities, and to so small a number, that they and their general surrendered themselves to Caesar, who had taken a great number of prisoners in the former excursions and engagements, and among the rest the son of their king, who was taken by Charietto. From this cause, when they so lamentably petitioned for peace, and Caesar demanded some of their chiefs as hostages, and required the king’s son to be one of them; the general, or king, broke out into a most pathetic complaint, and declared with tears in his eyes that his son was one that had been lost. Caesar perceiving this compassionated his sorrow, and shewed him his son who had been nobly entertained; but told him that he would retain the youth as a hostage as well as the other of the chiefs whom he had in possession. He condescended, however, to make peace with them on condition that they would never again take arms against the Romans.
Caesar, after he had thus settled affairs, added the Salii, the Quadi, and many of the inhabitants of Batavia to his legions, of whose discipline we still make use. Meanwhile the emperor Constantius was in the east, disposing of the Persian affairs, and intent only on the wars in those countries. All the nations beyond the Alps were in a state of tranquillity, from the prudent management of Caesar; nor were either Italy or Illyricum in any danger, the Barbarians who dwelt beyond the Ister being fearful that Caesar would come through Gaul, and pass the Ister to attack them; they therefore contained themselves within the bounds of moderation. Constantius being thus occupied, the Persians, under their king Saphor, at that time ravaged Mesopotamia; and having pillaged all the places about Nisibis, they besieged the city itself with their whole forces. Lucilianus, the commander, was so well provided for a siege, that partly by the happy occasions of which he availed himself, and partly by his own contrivances, the city escaped the dangers that threatened it. The manner in which this was effected, I have thought it superfluous to explain, since Julian himself has given a relation of all the transactions of those times in a particular treatise, in which the render may easily discern the eloquence and ability of its author. At this juncture, the affairs of the east appearing tranquil, and the splendid actions of Julian occupying the discourse of the public, the mind of Constantius became the seat of the most bitter envy. Being mortified at the prosperity that attended all that had been done in Celtica and Spain, he invented pretexts, by which he might gradually, and without any dishonour, diminish the authority of Julian, and then deprive him of his dignity. For this purpose he sent a messenger to Caesar, requiring him to send two of the Celtic legions, as if he wanted their assistance. Julian, in obedience to his order, immediately sent them away, partly through ignorance of his design, and partly because he wished to avoid giving him the least cause of anger. After this he took every possible care of the affairs of Gaul, while the army daily increased, and the Barbarians, even in the most remote part of their country, were in such dread of him, that they did not even dream of making war. Constantius afterwards required more legions to be sent to him from Caesar, and having obtained the demand, sent for four other companies: according to which order Julian gave notice to the soldiers to prepare for marching. But while Julian was at Parisium, a small town in Germany, the soldiers, being ready to march, continued at supper till midnight in a place near the palace, which they so called there. They were as yet ignorant of any design against Caesar, when some tribunes, who began to suspect the contrivance against him, privately distributed a number of anonymous billets among the soldiers, in which they represented to them, that Caesar, by his judicious conduct had so managed affairs, that almost all of them had erected trophies over the Barbarians; that he had always fought like a private soldier, and was now in extreme danger from the emperor, who would shortly deprive him of his whole army, unless they prevented it. Some of the soldiers having read these billets, and published the intrigue to the whole army, all were highly enraged. They suddenly rose from their seats in great commotion, and with the cups yet in their hands went to the palace. Breaking open the doors without ceremony, they brought out Caesar, and lifting him on a shield declared him emperor and Augustus. They then, without attending to his reluctance, placed a diadem on his head.
Julian was uneasy at what they had done, yet did not think it safe to reverse it, because Constantius would not observe any oath or covenant, or any obligation by which men are bound to their word: however, he determined to try him. He therefore sent ambassadors to inform Constantius that he had been declared emperor, without his own concurrence, and, if he pleased, was ready to lay aside his diadem, and be contented with the sole dignity of being Caesar. Constantius was so enraged and arrogant, that he told the ambassadors, that if Julian loved his life, he must lay aside not only his Imperial dignity, but that of a Caesar, and in a private capacity submit himself to the emperor’s pleasure. He should, in that case, receive no injury, nor suffer what his audacity merited. Julian, when he was informed of this by the ambassadors, openly shewed his opinion of the deity, and declared that he would rather trust his life and fortune with the gods than with Constantius. From this time the enmity of Constantius to Julian was openly displayed; for Constantius prepared for a civil war; while Julian at the same time was grieved that such occurrences should happen; because if he fought against him from whom he had received the honour of Caesar, he would by many be esteemed an ungrateful person.
While he was making these reflections, and revolving in his own mind how he might avoid a civil war, the gods told him what should occur in a dream. Being at Vienna, the Sun appeared to shew him the constellations, and to speak these verses;
When Jupiter th’ extremity commands
Of moist Aquarius, and Saturn stands
In Virgo twenty five, th’ Imperial state
Of high Constantius shall be closed by fate.
Relying, therefore, on this vision, he conducted public business with his usual diligence. It being yet winter, he took all possible precautions in what related to the Barbarians, that if he should be forced to undertake any new enterprise, Celtica might be secure. At the same time, while Constantius continued in the east, Julian preferred to frustrate his design. The summer being advanced, he had no sooner settled affairs among the Barbarians beyond the Rhine, having in part forced them to moderation by the sword, and partly persuaded them by experience of the past to prefer peace to war, than he put his army in a posture to take a long journey; and having appointed officers both civil and military to govern the towns and the borders, he marched his army towards the Alps. Upon his arrival in Rhaetia, where the river Ister rises, which runs through Noricum, Pannonia, Dacia, Moesia, and Scythia, until it empties itself in the Euxine sea, he constructed a number of boats, and with three thousand of his troops sailed down the Ister, commanding twenty thousand of them to march by land to Sirmium. As they rowed with the stream, and had the advantage of the annual winds called Etesian he arrived on the eleventh day at Sirmium. When it was reported there that the emperor was arrived, the people thought that Constantius was the person meant, but on finding it was Julian, they were amazed, as if they had taken him for an apparition.
The army from Celtica having joined him, he wrote to the Roman senate, and to the forces in Italy, desiring them to keep their cities safe, he being the emperor. As Taurus and Florentius, the consuls for that year, left Rome as soon as they heard that Julian had crossed the Alps into Pannonia, he ordered them to be stiled the fugitive consuls in all public instruments. He behaved with great kindness to all the towns he passed through, and though in great haste, gave them all good expectations of him. He likewise wrote to the Athenians, the Lacedaemonians, and the Corinthians, to inform them of the reason of his approach. When he was at Sirmium, there came to him ambassadors from all Greece, to whom he gave such answers as were worthy of him, and granted all their reasonable demands. He then marched forward with his Celtic forces, and others which he had raised at Sirmium, and the legions that were stationed in Pannonia and Moesia.
Arriving at Naisus, he consulted the soothsayers what measures to pursue. As the entrails signified that he must stay there for some time, he obeyed, observing likewise the time that was mentioned in his dream. When this, according to the motion of the planets, was arrived, a party of horsemen arrived from Constantinople at Naisus, with intelligence that Constantius was dead, and that the armies desired Julian to be emperor.
Upon this he accepted what the gods had bestowed upon him, and proceeded on his journey. On his arrival at Byzantium he was received with joyful acclamations by all ranks of the people, who called him their beloved fellow-citizen, he being born and brought up in that city, and shewed him every kind of respect, as a person who was likely to be the author of much good to mankind. He here provided for the advantage both of the city and the army: he conferred on the city the privilege of electing a senate like that of Rome; he also constructed there a harbour to secure ships from the south wind, and a portico leading to the port. He built a library to the Imperial portico, in which he placed all the books he possessed; and having done this, he prepared for the Persian war. After having remained ten months in Byzantium, he appointed Hormisdas and Victor to the command of his armies, and proceeded to Antioch. It is unnecessary to relate with what pleasure and enthusiasm the soldiers performed this journey: for it is not probable that they would be guilty of any improprieties under such an emperor as Julian. Upon his arrival at Antioch he was joyfully received by the people. But being naturally great lovers of spectacles and public amusements, and more accustomed to pleasure than to serious affairs, they were not pleased with the emperor’s general prudence and modesty. He indeed avoided entering the public theatres, and would seldom see plays, and when he did, would not sit at them the whole day: on which account they spoke disrespectfully of him, and offended him. He revenged himself on them, not by any real punishment, but by composing a very spirited oration; which contained so much satire and keenness, that it will serve as a perpetual lampoon on the Antiochians. Being penitent for their offence, the emperor, after doing for the city all the favours which equity would allow him, granted to it a senate, the members of which succeeded by the hereditary descent from father to son, admitting likewise those that were born of the daughters of senators into the same body; a privilege which few cities possess. After these, and many other just and noble actions, he prepared to make war on Persia. When the winter was past, having collected his forces, and sent them before him in the usual manner of marching, he departed from Antioch, though without encouragement from the oracle. The reason of this failure it is in my power to explain, yet I pass over it in silence. He arrived on the fifth day at Hierapolis, where he had ordered all the ships to assemble, which used to navigate the Euphrates from Samosata and other places. Having given the command of them to Hierus, one of his officers, he sent him forward, but stayed himself in Hierapolis three days. He then proceeded to Batnae a small town in Osdroene, where the Edesenes met him in crouds, presenting him with a crown, and welcoming him to their city with joyful acclamations. He accepted of their kindness, and entering the city, he made whatever regulations he thought useful, and went on to Carrae. As there were two roads from thence, one across the Tigris and through the city of Nisibis into the provinces of Adiabene, the other over the Euphrates and by Circesium, which is a fortress surrounded by that river on the borders of Syria, the emperor was doubtful which way to chuse. In the mean time intelligence was brought that the Persians had made an incursion into the Roman territory. This produced some alarm in the camp. The emperor, however, understood that they were not a regular army but marauders, who took and carried off whatever fell in their way. He therefore resolved to leave a sufficient guard in the places near the Tigris, to prevent the Persians from taking advantage of the army accompanying him by the other route into their dominions, and thus pillaging Nisibis and all that quarter without opposition. He therefore thought it prudent to leave in that country eighteen thousand men under the command of Sebastianus and Procopius, while he himself crossed the Euphrates with the main body of his forces in two divisions. He thus rendered them fully prepared to oppose the enemy wherever they should meet with them, and prevent the devastations which they committed wherever they came.
Having made these arrangements at Carrae, a town that separates the Roman from the Assyrian dominions, he had an inclination to view the army from some eminence, the infantry and cavalry of which in the whole amounted to sixty-five thousand men. Departing therefore from Carrae, he presently passed the castles between that place and Callinicum, and arriving at Circesium, of which I spoke above, crossed the river Aboras and sailed over the Euphrates. He was followed by his troops carrying provisions along with them, who likewise embarked according to the orders they received. The navy was by this time come up; it consisted of a great number of vessels; six hundred were made of wood, and five hundred of skins, besides which were fifty ships of war, and others that followed them for the construction of bridges, if requisite, that the army should pass the rivers on foot. A great number of other vessels likewise followed, some of them carrying provisions for the army, others timber for the construction of engines, and some battering engines for a siege which were ready made. Lucilianus and Constantius were admirals of the navy. The army being thus disposed, the emperor seated himself on a throne, and made an address to the army; after which he gave each of them a hundred and thirty pieces of silver. He then proceeded towards Persia, giving the command of the infantry to Victor, and that of the cavalry to Hormisdas and Arintheus jointly. I have before related of this Hormisdas, that he was the son of a Persian monarch, but was persecuted by his brother, and had escaped to the emperor Constantine, from whom he had received the highest honours and preferments in reward for his approved friendship and fidelity.
The emperor, on entering Persia, placed the cavalry on the right, and proceeded along the bank of the river, the rear guard marching at the distance of seventy stadia. Between these and the main body were placed the beasts of burden, which carried the heavy armour and provisions, the attendants, that they might be secure, being inclosed on every side by the army. Having thus arranged the order of his march, he thought proper to send before him fifteen hundred men, in order to reconnoitre and observe whether any enemy approached either openly or in ambuscade. Of these he made Lucilianus captain. Then advancing sixty stadia he arrived at a place called Lautha, and from thence to Dura, where were perceived the ruins of a city, which was then deserted, and the sepulchre of the emperor Gordianus. In this place the soldiers found abundance of deer, which they shot and feasted on with great satisfaction. From thence he proceeded in seven days to a place called Phathusae, opposite to which was an island in the river, wherein was a castle containing a great number of men. He therefore ordered Lucilianus with a thousand of his advanced guard to attack it. While it continued dark, the assailants proceeded without discovery, but as soon as it was day, being perceived by one that came from out the castle to fetch water, the garrison was dreadfully alarmed. They all immediately mounted the ramparts, until the emperor came into the island with his engines and part of the army, and promised the besieged, that if they would surrender themselves and the castle, they would escape certain death. They accordingly surrendered, and were sent, by the emperor into the Roman dominions conducted by a guard of soldiers. Their captain, Puseus was not only made a tribune in the army, but on account of his fidelity was taken by the emperor into a familiarity which always subsisted.
Some distance from this he found another island in the same river, in which was another strong fortress, which he attacked, but found it unassailable on every side, and therefore demanded the garrison to surrender, and avoid the risk of being sacked. To which they replied that they would regulate their conduct by that of others. He therefore proceeded on to other fortresses which he passed by, being satisfied with such promises. For he did not think it profitable to waste too much time in small affairs, but considered it the best course to hasten and prepare for the main business of the war. After a few days march he arrived at Dacira, a town on the right hand, sailing down the Euphrates. The soldiers, finding this place forsaken by its inhabitants, took away a large quantity of corn that was laid there, and many other things. Having put to death all the women that remained in it, they so completely razed the buildings, that no one on seeing the place could imagine a town ever to have stood there. To conclude my account of this place and its vicinity, I must mention, that on the opposite shore was a foundation of bitumen. He from thence advanced to Sitha, Megia, and the city of Zaragardia, in which was a lofty throne made of stone, which the inhabitants used to call the throne of Trajan. The soldiers, having with ease plundered and burnt this city, spent that and the following day in recreation.
The emperor in the mean time was surprized, that his army had advanced so far without meeting with any Persians either in ambuscade or in the open field; and therefore sent Hormisdas with a party to reconnoitre, because he was best acquainted with the country. In this expedition Hormisdas and his soldiers were all near perishing, had they not been unexpectedly preserved by a fortunate accident. A person called Surenas, which is a title of distinction among the Persians, had planted an ambuscade in a particular place, expecting Hormisdas and his troop to pass that way, and intending to surprize them as they passed. This hope would have been successful, had not the Euphrates burst its banks, and running between the enemy and Hormisdas, obstructed the march of his men. Being compelled by this cause to defer the journey, the following day they discovered the ambuscade of Surenas and his troops, with whom they engaged. Having killed many, and put to flight others, they admitted the remainder of them into their own army. They proceeded from thence to a branch of the Euphrates, which reaches as far as Assyria, and joins the Tigris. Here the army found stiff clay and marshy ground, in which the horses could not move without difficulty. As they could not swim across the river in their armour, nor ford through it being deep and full of mud, they did not know how to extricate themselves. Their difficulties were increased by the appearance of the enemy on the opposite bank, who were prepared to obstruct their passage with darts and stones, which they threw with slings. When no other person could imagine an expedient to free them from those imminent dangers, the emperor himself, who had great sagacity in all things, and was well versed in military affairs, determined on ordering Lucilianus and his reconnoitring party to make an attack on the enemy’s rear, and thereby create a diversion, until the army had crossed the river. For this purpose he sent Victor, with a competent number of men. He began his journey in the night, that the enemy might not discover him, and when he had proceeded so far that the enemy could not perceive him even in the day, he crossed the channel to seek Lucilianus and his party. Continuing to advance without meeting an enemy, he called out loudly to his countrymen, and sounded the trumpets for them to bear him. He succeeded in meeting Lucilianus, who judging the intent of his coming, joined his force to that of Victor, and attacked the enemy by surprize in the rear. Being so unexpectedly assaulted they were either slain, or made their escape in whatever manner they could. The emperor, perceiving the success of this manoeuvre, passed the river without opposition, and continued his march, until he arrived at a city called Bersabora, the size and situation of which he examined. It was enclosed by two circular walls. In the midst of it was a citadel with another wall, shaped like the segment of a circle, to which there was a communication from the inner wall of the city, very difficult of ascent. On the south-west side of the city was a winding road; and on the north side a broad channel from the river, by which the inhabitants were supplied with water. On the east side it was encompassed by a deep ditch and a mound supported by strong pieces of timber; along this ditch stood large towers, which were built half way from the ground of bricks cemented with a kind of bituminous loam; the upper half of the same kind of brick with plaster.
The emperor resolving to take this city, he encouraged his soldiers to the attempt. They obeyed his orders with great alacrity. On this the citizens solicited the emperor to receive them into his favour and protection; requesting at one time that he would send Hormisdas to treat with them of peace, and presently reviling the same person as a fugitive renegade and a traitor to his country. The emperor, with good reason, being incensed at this, commanded his troops to attend to their duty, and to carry on the siege with full vigour. None of them failed in the execution of their duty, until the besieged, finding themselves unable to defend their walls, fled into the citadel. The emperor, on seeing this, sent his troops into the city, which was now deserted of inhabitants. They destroyed the walls, burnt the houses, and planted engines at the most convenient places, with which they threw darts and stones on those in the fort. The besieged kept the assailants at a distance with darts and stones, which they threw back against them, so that great slaughter was occasioned on both sides. The emperor, either by his own ingenuity, on consideration of the situation of the place, or by means of his extensive experience, constructed an engine of the following description: He fastened together great pieces of timber with iron, in form of a square tower. This he placed against the wall of the citadel, till it gradually became of equal height. In this tower he placed archers and engineers, accustomed to fling darts and stones. The Persians being thus harassed on all sides, both by the besiegers and by those in the tower, were compelled, after a short resistance, to promise that, if the emperor would offer them any reasonable terms, they would surrender the citadel. It was therefore agreed that, upon surrendering the citadel to the emperor, all the Persians in the place should pass without molestation through the midst of the Roman army, and should each receive a sum of money and a garment. About five thousand men were suffered to depart, besides those who had escaped in boats over the river. The soldiers, upon searching the citadel, discovered a vast quantity of corn, arms and military engines of all kinds, and household furniture and provisions in abundance. Of all these they disposed as they chose, except that the greater part of the corn was put on board ships for the maintenance of the soldiers, the remainder being divided between them in addition to their usual allowance. The weapons that were calculated for the use of Romans were distributed to the soldiers. Those that were adapted only to the Persian manner of fighting were either burnt or thrown into the river.
By this action the renown of the Romans was considerably augmented; so great a city, being next to Ctesiphon the most important in Assyria, and so strongly fortified, being taken by assault in two days. For this reason the emperor highly commended the soldiers, and treated them with great kindness, distributing to each man a hundred pieces of silver. Meanwhile Surenas, advancing with a large army from a town in Assyria, surprised the reconnoitring party in advance of the army, killed one of the three tribunes and sonic of his men, and put the remainder to flight, carrying off a military ensign which was in the form of a dragon, such as the Romans usually carry in war. The emperor on learning this was much displeased, and in his anger attacked the forces of Surenas, compelled all to fly that could escape, retook the ensign which the enemy had carried off, and coming immediately to the city where Surenas had surprised the part, stormed, took, and burnt it. As the commander of the party, preferring his own safety to the valour and honour of a Roman, had left his standard in the enemy’s hands, he deprived him of his girdle, regarding him as a mean and worthless person, together with all who had accompanied him in his flight.
On his advance beyond the river, he arrived at a place near a city called Tissenia. This was surrounded by a ditch, which, though very deep, the Persians filled with a large quantity of water, which they procured from the neighbouring river, called the King’s River. This city he passed without halting, because it shewed no appearance of hostility, and went through a place, where was a morass formed by art, the Persians having imagined that by cutting a sluice to admit the water of the river, they could form an insuperable obstacle to the passage of the army by that route. The emperor leading the way, the army followed him though up to their knees in water, being restrained by shame from hesitating to follow the example of the emperor. After sun-set, the army halted in the neighbourhood; while the emperor commanding some of the soldiers and artificers to follow him, cut down trees, with which he constructed a bridge over the sluice, and throwing earth into the fens filled up the deep places, and widened the narrow passages. He afterwards led his army through with great ease, until he arrived at a town called Bithra, in which was a palace, and room enough for the accommodation of both the emperor and his army.
Departing from thence, with the same pains as before, he went before his men, thus rendering the way more tolerable to them. By this means he led them along, until he came to a grove of palm-trees, amongst which vines were growing. These climbed to the tops of the palms, thus exhibiting to their view the fruit of the palm mixed with clusters of grapes. Having passed the night in this place, the next morning he continued his route. Approaching too near to a castle, he was in danger of receiving a mortal wound from a Persian, who issuing from the castle with his sword in his hand, aimed a stroke at the emperor’s head. Observing this, he placed his shield on his head and warded off the blow. The soldiers immediately fell on the Persian, and killed him with all his companions, expect a few who escaped through the enemy’s ranks into the castle. The emperor being enraged at this audacious attempt, walked round the castle to examine whether it were in any part assailable. While he was thus employed, Surenas attacked the soldiers, who remained in the palm-grove, before they knew of his approach, hoping by that means not only to get possession of all their beasts of burden and carriages, but to divert the emperor from the siege of the castle. He was disappointed in both parts of his project. For the emperor thought the capture of the castle an important object, because there was near it a populous city called Besuchis; besides many other castles, the inhabitants of which had fled into that which the emperor was besieging, their own not being strong enough to protect them; except some who fled to Ctesiphon, or hid themselves in the thickest part of the grove.
For this reason the emperor besieged it, while in the mean time that part of the army, which was sent out to reconnoitre and scour the country, defeated all who opposed them, and rendered the emperor secure during the continuance of the siege. Some of the fugitives having taken refuge among the fens in the grove, did not escape the reconnoitring parties, who killed some and made the rest prisoners. They who were besieged in the castle kept off the enemy with darts of all kinds, and because they had no stones within, they made balls of pitch which they set on fire and flung at the besiegers; nor was it difficult to hit those they aimed at, as they threw from above, at a great multitude collected together. The Roman soldiers, however, omitted no kind of warlike policy, but retained their usual courage. They threw and shot at the enemy great stones and darts, out of engines as well as bows; and those were contrived to strike several persons at one throw. The castle being situated on a hill, and fortified with two walls, sixteen large towers, and surrounded by a deep ditch, which in one part was introduced to the castle to furnish its inhabitants with water, the emperor ordered his soldiers to collect earth enough to fill up the ditch, and raise it on a mount to the height of one of the towers. He likewise resolved to make a mine under the wall, beyond the inner precinct, for the purpose of surprising the enemy. The enemy obstructed there who were raising the mount by continually casting darts upon them; the emperor, therefore, himself invented means of defence against the darts and fire-balls. He left the care of the mine and raising the mount to Nevita and Dagalaiphus. Then giving to Victor the command of a detachment of horse and foot, he ordered him to reconnoitre the whole country between that place and Ctesiphon; and if any enemy should appear with the design of attempting to divert the emperor from the siege, to frustrate any such attempt; and likewise by bridges and other improvements to render the road from thence to Ctesiphon more easy for the march of the army.
Having thus assigned to his officers their respective charges, he planted his battering-rams against one of the gates, which he broke to pieces. Perceiving that those to whom the care of the mine was committed were slothful, and negligent of their charge, he removed them, as a disgrace for their remissness, and substituted others in their place. He afterwards brought the rams against another gate, which was too weak to bear the shock; when there came a messenger with information, that they who were ordered to construct a mine from the ditch into the town had completed their task, and were just ready to issue through it. The men employed in the mine were of three regiments, the Mattiarii, the Laccinarii, and the Victores. The emperor, however, suspended the attack a short time, while he commanded an engine to be brought against another gate, where he planted all his army, to induce the enemy to believe that on the following day he intended with that engine to storm the castle; his real design being to divert the attention of the Persians from the mine. All that were in the castle were therefore wholly occupied in destroying that engine, while the part in the mine, having dug quite through to the surface, issued from it at midnight in the middle of a house, in which was a woman grinding corn. She was immediately killed by the man who first sprang out, because she attempted to cry out. The name of the soldier who did this was Superantius, an excellent soldier in the regiment of Victores, the next to him was Magnus, then Jovianus, a tribune in the regiment of the Notarii. These were followed by many others. The passage being widened, they all presently entered into the midst of the place, from whence they ran to the wall, and surprised the Persians, who in the manner of the country were singing in praise of the valour of their king, and speaking contemptuously of the vain attempt of the Roman emperor; and boasting that he might sooner take the palace of Jupiter than their castle. The Romans now attacked them, and killed all they met with by throwing them over the wall, they pursued the rest, and put them to death in various manners: sparing neither women nor children, except a few whom they preserved for slaves. Anabdates, the governor of the castle, being taken while endeavouring to escape, together with his guards, eighty in number, was brought to the emperor with his hands bound. The castle being thus taken, and all the people put to death, except a few who were unexpectedly saved, the soldiers began to plunder; and having taken all they could find, levelled the wall to the ground, with the engines they had placed against it. Nor even then were they satisfied, but pulled down and burnt, all the building; in such a manner, that no one could imagine that there had ever been any in first place.
Marching from thence, he parsed other castles of little importance, and came to an inclosed place called the King’s Chace. This was a large space of ground surrounded by a wall, and planted with all kind of trees, in which were wild beasts of every description, which were supplied with provender; they being kept solely for the king’s hunting whenever he was disposed for that diversion. Julian ordered the wall to be broken down in several places; which gave the soldiers an opportunity of shooting the deer as they ran by them. He likewise found near this place a palace magnificently built in the Roman manner. He would not suffer the tribunes to deface any part of it, through respect to its founders.
The army from hence passed by several castles, and arrived at a city of Armenia called Sabatha, which is thirty stadia from that which was formerly called Zochasa, but now Seleucia. While the emperor remained with the greatest part of his army in a neighbouring place, the advanced-guard had stormed the town. Next day, the emperor walking about its walls, saw several bodies suspended on gibbets before the gales, which the natives said were the relations of one who had been accused of betraying a town to the Persians, which had been taken by the emperor Carus. This reminded the emperor to summon Anabdates, the governor of the castle, to trial; he having grossly deceived the Roman army by promising to assist them in the war against Persia. He was then accused of a fresh offence, having spoken maliciously of Hormisdas, called him a traitor before a number of persons, and said that he was the author of that expedition against the Persians. He was therefore put to death.
Soon after his execution, the army marched to Arintheus, and searching all the marshes found in them many people whom they made prisoners. Here it was that the Persians first collected their forces, and attacked the advanced party of the Roman army. They were however routed, and preserved their lives by flying to a neighbouring city. The Persians on the other side of the river attacked the slaves who had the care of the beasts of burden, and those who guarded them; they killed part of them and made the rest prisoners. This being the first loss which the Romans had sustained occasioned some consternation in the army. They advanced to a very broad sluice or channel, said by the country people to have been cut by Trajan, when he made an expedition into Persia. In this channel runs the river Narmalaches, and discharges itself into the Tigris. The emperor caused it to be cleansed, in order to enable his vessels to pass through it into the Tigris, and constructed bridges over it for the passage of his army. While this was in agitation, a great force of Persians, both horse and foot, was collected on the opposite bank, to prevent their passage should it be attempted. The emperor, discerning these preparations of the enemy, was anxious to cross over to them, and hastily commanded his troops to go on board the vessels. Perceiving, however, the opposite bank to be unusually lofty, and a kind of fence at the top of it, which formerly served as an inclosure to the king’s garden, but at this time was a rampart, they exclaimed that they were afraid of the fire-balls and darts that were thrown down. The emperor, however, being very resolute, two barges crossed over full of foot soldiers; which the Persians immediately set on fire by throwing down on them a great number of flaming darts. This so incensed the terror of the army, that the emperor was obliged to conceal his error by a feint, saying, “They are landed and have rendered themselves masters of the bank; I know it by the fire in their ships, which I ordered them to make as a signal of victory.” He had no sooner said this, than without further preparations they embarked in the ships and crossed over, until they arrived where they could ford the river, and then leaping into the water, they engaged the Persians so fiercely, that they not only gained possession of the bank, but recovered the two ships which came over first, and were now half-burnt, and saved all the men who were left in them. The armies then attacked each other with such fury, that the battle continued from midnight to noon of the next day. The Persians at length gave way, and fled with all the speed they could use, their commanders being the first who began to fly. Those were Pigraxes, a person of the highest birth and rank next to the king, Anareus, and Surenas. The Romans and Goths pursued them, and killed a great number, from whom they took a vast quantity of gold and silver, besides ornaments of all kinds for men and horses, with silver beds and tables, and whatever was left by the officers on the ramparts. It is computed, that in this battle there fell of the Persians two thousand five hundred, and of the Romans not more than seventy-five. The joy of the army for this victory was lessened by Victor having received a wound from an engine.
Upon the following day the emperor sent his army over the Tigris without difficulty, and the third day after the action he himself with his guards followed them. Arriving at a place by the Persians termed Abuzatha, he halted there five days. Meanwhile he consulted about his journey forward, and found that it was better to march further into the country than to lead his army by the side of the river; there being now no necessity to proceed by water. Having considered this, he imparted it to his army, whom he commanded to burn the ships, which accordingly were all consumed, except eighteen Roman and four Persian vessels, which were carried along in waggons, to be used upon occasion. Their route now lying a little above the river, when they arrived at a place called Noorda they halted, and there killed and took a great number of Persians. Advancing thence to the river Durus, they constructed a bridge over it for their passage. The Persians had burnt up all the forage of the country, so that the cattle of the Romans were ready to perish with hunger. They were collected into several parties awaiting the Romans, whom they imagined to be but a small number, and presently afterward engaged with a party of Persians, an enterprising man, named Macanaeus, entered among them and killed four of them. For that bold action they all fell upon him and struck him down. His brother, Maurus, upon seeing this, attempted to rescue at least his dead body from the Persians, and killed the man who had given him the first wound; nor did he desist, though frequently shot at, until he had brought off his brother and delivered him to the army still alive.
Afterwards, arriving at the city of Barroptha, they found the forage as before burnt up by the Barbarians. Perceiving a party of Persians and Saracens, who dared not even look at the Roman army, but immediately fled, the Romans were unable to judge their design, until the Persians, by collecting together into a considerable body, shewed that they had a design upon the beasts of burden. Upon which the emperor, who immediately armed himself, proceeded with greater expedition against them than the rest of the army. The Persians, being unable to sustain the force of his charge, fled to places with which they were well acquainted. The emperor then continued his march to Symbra, which lies between two towns named Nisbara and Nischanaba, which are separated from each other by the Tigris. The inhabitants have frequent and easy intercourse by a bridge over that river. The Persians burned the bridge to prevent the Romans from availing themselves of it to injure both places. Here the advanced party, who preceded the rest to collect forage, attacked and immediately defeated a body of Persians, while the army finding abundance of provisions in the town, took what they had occasion for and destroyed the remainder.
From thence they proceeded to a place between the cities of Danabe and Synca, where the Persians attacked the rear of the army and killed a great number. Their own loss, however, greatly exceeding that of the Romans, and having the disadvantage from many causes, they fled. In this engagement, Daces, a great Satrap, was killed. He had formerly been sent on an embassy to the emperor Constantius with proposals of peace. The enemy, upon seeing that the Romans approached a town called Acceta, burnt all the produce of the country; but the Romans hastened, and extinguishing the fire, took what they could save for their own use.
In their march from this place they came to a town called Maronsa, where the Persians again attacked the rear-guard, and killed amongst others Bretannio, the captain of a troop, and a brave soldier. They also took several ships, which fell into their power by being considerably behind the army. The Romans from thence passed hastily along by some villages, and arrived at a place called Tummara. Here they repeated the burning of their ships; for the cattle were so exhausted with the fatigue of travelling in an enemy’s country, that they were not able to carry all the necessities; and the Persians collected all the provender they could, and stored it in their strongest fortress that it might not fall into the hands of the Romans. When they were thus situated they perceived the Persian army, with which they engaged, and having considerably the advantage, they killed a great number of Persians. Upon the following day, about noon, the Persians drew up in a large body, and once more attacked the rear of the Roman army. The Romans, being at that time out of their ranks, were surprised and alarmed at the suddenness of the attack, yet made a stout and spirited defence. When by this means all were engaged, the emperor, who sometimes rode to the commanders and tribunes, and was at other times among the private soldiers, received a wound in the heat of the engagement, and was borne on a shield to his tent. He survived only till midnight. He then expired, after having nearly subverted the Persian empire.
While the death of the emperor remained secret, the Roman army had so decidedly the advantage, that fifty Satraps and an immense number of private persons were slain. When the death of the emperor was discovered, and the soldiers returned to the tent where his body lay, a few of the Romans, indeed, continued to fight, and overcame their enemies: while some troops sallying from a Persian garrison engaged with those under the command of Hormisdas. After a smart action Antonius fell, who was captain of the court-guards. At the same time, Sallustius, prefect of the court, fell from his horse, and was in danger of being killed by the enemy, when one of his servants dismounted and enabled him to escape. With him the two legions that were with the emperor, called Scutarii, likewise gave way. Only sixty men, regarding their own and their country’s honour, had the courage to expose themselves to death, until they took the castle, from which the Persians had sallied who had thus defeated the Romans. Although these were besieged by the enemy for three days, yet they were preserved by a party that attacked the besiegers. A meeting of the officers and soldiers was afterwards convened, in order to appoint a successor to the empire: since it would be impossible for them without a ruler to avoid the dangers to which they were exposed in the midst of an enemy’s country. The general voice was in favour of Jovianus, the son of Varronianus, tribune of the domestic forces.
When Jovian had assumed the purple and the diadem, he directed his course homewards with all possible speed. Arriving at the castle of Suma, he was attacked by the Persian cavalry, accompanied by a great number of elephants, which committed great devastation in the right wing of the army, in which were placed the Joviani and Herculiani. These were the appellations of two legions, so named from Dioclesian and Maximian, the former of whom assumed the surname of Jove, and the latter that of Hercules. Although at first they were unable to sustain the shock of the elephants, yet when the Persians with their horses and elephants in one body approached them, and happened to arrive at a rising ground, on which were the carriages of the Romans and those who had the care of them, they availed themselves of the advantage to throw darts from above upon the Persians, with which they wounded the elephants. Upon feeling the smart of their wounds, the elephants, in their usual manner, immediately fled, breaking the line of the cavalry. The soldiers were thus enabled to kill the elephants in their flight, and numbers of the enemy. There fell also on the Roman side, three tribunes, Julianus, Maximianus, and Macrobius.
They then marched forward four days, continually harassed by the enemy, who followed them when they were proceeding, but fled when the Romans offered any resistance. At length, having gained some distance of the enemy, they resolved to cross the Tigris. For this purpose they fastened skins together, and floated over. When the greater part had gained the opposite bank, the commanders crossed over in safety with the remainder. The Persians, however, still accompanied them, and followed them with a large army so assiduously, that the Romans were in perpetual danger, both from the unfavourable circumstances in which they were placed, and from the want of provisions. Although the Roman army was in this condition, the Persians were willing to treat for peace, and for that purpose sent Surenas with other officers to the Roman camp. Jovian, upon hearing this, sent to them Sallustius, prefect of the court, together with Aristaeus, who, after some discussion, agreed on a truce for thirty years. The conditions were, that the Romans should give up to the Persians the country of the Rabdiceni, and that of the Candueni, Rhemeni, and Zaleni, besides fifteen castles in those provinces, with the inhabitants, lands, cattle, and all their property; that Nisibis should be surrendered without its inhabitants, who were to be transplanted into whatever colony the Romans pleased. The Persians also deprived the Romans of great part of Armenia, leaving them but a very small part of it. The truce having been concluded on these conditions, and ratified on both sides, the Romans had an opportunity of returning home unmolested, neither party offering or sustaining any injury, either by open force, or secret machination.
Having arrived at this part of my history, I shall recur to former ages, and enquire whether the Romans ever before gave up any of their dominions to other nations, or ever suffered any other to possess what they had once conquered. Lucullus having defeated Tigranes and Mithridates, and added to the Roman empire the whole country as far as the centre of Armenia, and Nisibis with the adjacent fortresses; Pompey the Great, to crown all his great exploits, by a peace which he effected, established and confirmed the possession of them to the Romans. Upon a former war in Persia, the senate appointed Crassus their general and plenipotentiary, whose ill conduct brought a lasting disgrace on the Roman name, he being made prisoner and dying among the Parthians. The command was then vested in Antony. Being enamoured of Cleopatra he became indolent and regardless of military affairs, and perished, charged with actions unworthy of a Roman. Notwithstanding the Romans suffered all these disasters they did not lose even one of those provinces. When the republic was changed into a monarchy, and Augustus constituted the Tigris and Euphrates the boundary of the Roman empire, even that circumstance did not deprive them of this country. On the contrary, a considerable time afterwards, when the emperor Gordianus fought against the Persians, and lost his life in the midst of the enemy’s country, the Persians, even after that disaster, were not able to acquire any part of the Roman dominion. Nor did they succeed more even when Philip was emperor, although he entered into a most dishonourable peace with them. A short time afterwards, when the Persian fire had set all the east in flames, and the great city of Antioch was taken by the Persian army which advanced as far as Cilicia, the emperor Valerianus made an expedition against them, and though he was taken by them, yet still they did not dare to claim the sovereignty of those countries. The death of the emperor Julian alone was a sufficient cause to deprive us of them all, and that in so irrevocable a manner, that the Roman emperors have never since been able to recover any part of them, but have gradually lost still more; some having made themselves perfectly independent, other having surrendered themselves to the Barbarians, and others becoming deserted: all which I shall in the course of this history relate as it occurred.
To return from my digression. When peace was made with the Persians in the manner I have related, the emperor Jovian and his army were returning home securely, but met with many difficulties, through the badness of the roads, and the want of water, besides the loss of many men in the enemy’s country through which he passed. He therefore sent Mauricius, a tribune, to fetch from Nisibis provisions for his army. He also sent others to Italy, with intelligence of the death of Julian, and of himself being created emperor. Having arrived after many difficulties near Nisibis, he would not enter the city, because it was surrendered to the enemy, but remained all night before the gate, and the next morning received the crowns and compliments that were presented to him. The inhabitants intreated him not to forsake them, and compel them to degenerate into barbarism, after having lived so many ages under the Roman laws. They likewise suggested to him that it was dishonourable to him, that while Constantius, who had been engaged in three Persians wars, and was defeated in all, had notwithstanding always protected Nisibis, and even when it was besieged and in extreme danger, had exerted all his power to preserve it, yet that he, when no such necessity existed, should yield that city to the enemy, and exhibit to the Romans an occurrence which they had never before witnessed, being compelled to suffer such a city, and such a province, to fall into the hands of an enemy. The emperor on hearing this excused himself from complying with their desires by stating to them the articles of the treaty. Then Sabinus, who was the chief of their council, repeated what the people had before said in their petition, adding, that to carry on a war against Persia they were not in need of money or of any foreign aid, but were able with their own bodies and their own purses to defend themselves; assuring him at the same time, that whenever they should prove victorious and recover their liberty, they would again become subject to the Romans, and obey their commands as before. To which the emperor replied, that he could not infringe his covenant. The citizens then urged him a thousand times not to deprive the empire of such a bulwark. But their entreaties were in vain, and the emperor departed in anger; while the Persians demanded possession of the provinces, the castles, and the city, according to the conditions of the treaty. Upon this the inhabitants of some provinces and castles, who had no opportunity of escaping, suffered the Persians to treat them as they pleased; but the Nisibines, having gained some time to prepare for their removal, the greater part of them retired to Amida, and a few fixed their abode in other towns. All places were filled with lamentation and discontent, finding themselves exposed to the incursions of the Persians, now that Nisibis was in their power. The Carreni, among others, were so grieved at hearing the death of Julian, that they stoned to death the person who brought the news, and threw a heap of stones on his body. So great a change in affairs was the death of one man then capable of producing.
Jovian marched through all the towns in great speed, because they were so filled with grief, that the inhabitants could not look patiently on him; such being the custom of those countries. Taking with him the imperial guard, he proceeded to Antioch; whilst the main army attended on Julian’s body, which was carried into Cilicia, and interred in a royal sepulchre in the suburbs of Tarsus. Upon his tomb are inscribed these verses:
“Here rests in peace, retir’d from the Tigris wave,
“Julian, the wise, the virtuous, and the brave.”
Jovian now turning his attention to the affairs of government, made various arrangements, and sent Lucilianus his father-in-law, Procopius, and Valentinian, who was afterwards emperor, to the armies in Pannonia, to inform them of the death of Julian, and of his being chosen emperor. The Bavarians who were at Sirmium, and were left there for its protection, as soon as they received the news, put to death Lucilianus who brought such unwelcome intelligence, without regard to his relationship to the emperor. Such was the respect they had to Jovian’s relations, that Valentinian himself only escaped from the death they intended to inflict on him. Jovianus proceeding from Antioch towards Constantinople, suddenly fell sick at Dadostana in Bithynia, and died after a reign of eight months, in which short time he had not been able to render the public any essential service. After his decease a consultation was proposed for the appointment of a successor. Several discussions were held among the soldiers and their officers, and various persons were nominated. At length Sallustius, the prefect of the court, was unanimously elected. He excused himself on the pretext of his advanced age, which disabled him from being of service in the present critical circumstances. They then desired that his son might be emperor in lieu of himself. But his son he told them was too young, and from that as well as other causes unable to sustain the weight of an imperial diadem. They thus failed in their wish to appoint so distinguished a person, who was the most worthy of the age. They therefore elected Valentinian, a native of Cibalis in Pannonia. He was an excellent soldier, but extremely illiterate. They sent for him, he being them at some distance: and the state was not long without a ruler. Upon his arrival at the army, at Nicaea in Bithynia, he assumed the imperial authority, and proceeded forward.