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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Buildings


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Book II

 p97  [link to original Greek text] 1 1 All the new churches which the Emperor Justinian built both in Constantinople and in its suburbs, and all those which, having been ruined by the passage of time, he restored, as well as all the other buildings which he erected here, have been described in the preceding Book. 2 From this point we must proceed to the defences with which he surrounded the farthest limits of the territory of the Romans. Here indeed my narrative will be constrained to halt painfully and to labour with an impossible subject. 3 For it is not the pyramids which we are about to describe, those celebrated monuments of the rulers of Egypt, on which labour was expended for a useless show,​a but rather all the fortifications whereby this Emperor preserved the Empire, walling it about  p99 and frustrating the attacks of the barbarians on the Romans. And it seems to me not amiss to start from the Persian frontier.

[link to original Greek text] 4 When the Persians retired from the territory of the Romans, selling to them the city of Amida, as I have related in the Books on the Wars,​1 the Emperor Anastasius selected a hitherto insignificant village close to the Persian boundary, Daras by name, and urgently set about enclosing it with a wall and making it into a city which should serve as a bulwark against the enemy. 5 But since it was forbidden in the treaty which the Emperor Theodosius once concluded with the Persian nation, that either party should construct any new fortress on his own land where it bordered on the boundaries of the other nation, the Persians, citing the terms of the peace, tried with all their might to obstruct the work, though they were hard pressed by being involved in a war with the Huns. 6 So the Romans, observing that they were for this reason unprepared, pressed on the work of building all more keenly, being anxious to get ahead of the enemy before they should finish their struggle with the Huns and come against them. 7 Consequently, being fearful by reason of suspicion of the enemy, and continually expecting their attacks, they did not carry out the building with care, since the haste inspired by their extreme eagerness detracted from the stability of their work. 8 For stability is never likely to keep company with speed, nor is accuracy wont to follow swiftness. 9 They therefore carried out the construction of the circuit-wall in great  p101 haste, not having made it fit to withstand the enemy, but raising it only to such a height as was barely necessary; indeed they did not even lay the stones themselves carefully, or fit them together as they should, or bind them properly at the joints with mortar. 10 So within a short time, since the towers could not in any way withstand the snows and the heat of the sun because of their faulty construction, it came about that the most of them fell into ruin. So were the earlier walls built at the city of Daras.2

[link to original Greek text] 11 The Emperor Justinian perceived that the Persians, as far as lay in their power, would not permit this outpost of the Romans, which was a menace to them, to stand there, but they would of course assault it with all their might, and would use every device to conduct siege operations on even terms with the city; and that a great number of elephants would come with them, and these would bear wooden towers on their shoulders, under which they would stand, supporting them like foundations; and worse still, that they would be led about wherever the enemy needed them and would bear a fortress which would follow along wherever, according to the judgement of their masters, it should happen to be needed; 21 and that the enemy would mount these towers and shoot down upon the heads of the Romans inside the city, and attack them from a higher level; that, furthermore they would raise up artificial mounds against them, and would bring up all manner of siege-engines. 13 And if any misfortune should befall the city of Daras, which was thrown out like an earthwork before the whole Roman Empire and was obviously placed as a threat to the enemy's land, the disaster for us would  p103 not stop there, but a great part of the State would be seriously shaken. For these reasons he wished to surround the place with defences in keeping with its practical usefulness.

[link to original Greek text] 14 First of all he rendered the wall (which, as I have said, was very low and therefore very easy for an enemy to assault) both inaccessible and wholly impregnable for an attacking force.​3 15 For he contracted the original apertures of the battlements by inserting stones and reduced them to very narrow slits, leaving only traces of them in the form of tiny windows, and allowing them to open just enough for a hand to pass through, so that outlets were left through which arrows could be shot against assailants. 16 Then above these he added to the wall a height of about thirty feet,​4 not building the addition upon the whole thickness of the wall, lest the foundations should be overloaded by the excessive weight which bore upon them, so that the whole work would suffer some irreparable damage, but he enclosed the space at that level with courses of stones on the outside and constructed a colonnaded stoa (stoa) running all around the wall, and he placed the battlements above this portico, so that the wall really had a double roof throughout; and at the towers there were actually three levels for the men who defended the wall and repelled attacks upon it. 17 For at about the middle of each tower he added a rounded structure (sphairikon schêma) upon which he placed additional battlements, thus making the wall three-storeyed.


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Fortifications at Sergiopolis (Rusafa).

Plan of part of the circuit-wall.

Above, section of a tower.

Below, elevation and section of part of the circuit-wall.

Elevation and plan of a part of the circuit-wall, with stairs and a projecting tower.

 p107  18 Then he observed that it had come about that many of the towers, as I have said, had fallen into ruin in a short time, yet it was entirely out of the question to pull them down, since the enemy were constantly in the neighbourhood watching their opportunity and continually scouting to see whether they might not find some part of the defences dismantled at any time. But he hit upon the following plan. 19 He left these towers in place, and outside each of them he cleverly erected another structure in the form of a rectangle, which was built securely and with every possible care, and thus, by means of a second set of defences, he safely enclosed those parts of the wall which had suffered. 20 But one of the towers, called the "Tower of the Guard," he pulled down at a favourable moment and rebuilt so that it was safe, and everywhere he removed the fear which had arisen from the weakness of the circuit-wall. 21 He also wisely added sufficient height, in due proportion, to the outworks. 22 And outside these he dug a moat, not in the way in which men are wont to make them, but only for a short distance and in a novel manner; and the reason for this I shall explain.

[link to original Greek text] 23 The greater part of the defences, as it happens, are in general unapproachable for an attacking party, since they do not stand on level ground and offer no favourable opportunity for assault to an approaching force; but they stand along a steep slope of a rough and precipitous character, where it is not possible for a mine to be dug or for any attack to be made. 24 But on the side which is turned toward south, the soil is deep and soft and consequently easy to mine, so that it makes the city assailable on this side. 25 So in  p109 that place he dug a crescent-shaped moat, with sufficient breadth and depth and extending to a great distance, and joined either end of this to the outworks and filled it amply with water, rendering it altogether impassable for the enemy; and on its inner side he set up another outwork. On this the Romans take their stand and keep guard in time of siege, freed from anxiety for the circuit-wall and the other outwork which is thrown out before the main wall. 26 And it happened that between the main wall and the outwork, at the gate which faces toward the village of Ammodius,​5 there lay a great mound of earth, under cover of which the enemy were able to be in large measure unobserved while making mines against the city under the circuit-wall. 27 This mound he removed from the spot and he cleared up the place thoroughly, and thus frustrated any secret attack on the wall by the enemy.

[link to original Greek text] 2 1 Thus did he construct these fortifications. He likewise made reservoirs for water both in the space between the circuit-wall and the outworks and also close by the church which is dedicated to the Apostle Bartholomew, situated toward the west. 2 And a river also flows from a suburb of the city which is two miles distant from it and is called Cordes.​6 3 On either side of it rise two cliffs which are exceedingly rugged. This river flows down between the heights on either side of it all the way to the city, carried along the bases of the mountains, and for  p111 just this reason it cannot be turned aside or tampered with by the enemy; 4 for there is no flat ground where they might be able to turn it from its course. And it is drawn into the city in the following way. 5 They have constructed a large channel extending out from the circuit-wall, and covered the mouth of the conduit with a great number of the thickest possible iron bars, some upright and some horizontal; and thus they have arranged that the water can enter the city without endangering the fortifications. 6 In this way the water flows into the city and fills its reservoirs and then is conducted wherever the inhabitants wish, and finally flows out at another part of the city, the opening for its discharge being made like that by which it enters the city. 7 And winding about the plain near by, it used to make the city easy to besiege; for it was not a difficult matter, thanks to the bountiful supply of water, for the enemy to encamp there. 8 So in order that this should not happen the Emperor Justinian took the situation under careful consideration, seeking diligently to find some remedy for the condition. 9 And God provided the solution for the impossible problem which confronted him, settling the matter out of hand and saving the city without the least delay. This took place as follows.

[link to original Greek text] 10 One of the men serving in the army in this place, either in consequence of a dream or led to do it of his own accord, gathered a great throng of the workmen who were engaged in the building operations and bade them dig a long trench within the circuit-wall, shewing them a certain spot where he said that they would find sweet water welling up from the recesses of the earth. 11 He made the pit in the form  p113 of a circle fifteen feet across and drove it down to a great depth. 12 This pit proved to be the salvation of the city, not indeed by any foresight of these workmen, but an event here, which would have been a disaster, turned out entirely to the advantage of the Romans, all on account of the pit. 13 For during this time extraordinarily heavy rains fell, and the river, which I just mentioned, rose in high flood before the circuit-wall and no longer flowed in its usual bed, and it became so swollen that neither the opening by which it entered the city nor the conduit could contain it as formerly. 14 So it backed up and gathered its stream against the wall, rising to a great height and depth; in some places it was stagnant, but elsewhere it was rough and turbulent. 15 Consequently it broke through the outer defences and levelled them at once, and it also carried away a great portion of the main wall, and forcing open the gates and flowing in a mighty stream it spread over practically the whole city, and it circulated through the market-place and the streets and even through the houses, sweeping onward a great mass of furniture and wooden utensils and other such objects; then plunging into this pit it disappeared under­ground. 16 Not many days later it emerged near the confines of Theodosiopolis, reappearing in a place about forty miles from the city of Daras, and it was recognised by the objects which it had carried off from the houses of that city; for the whole of the rubbish came to light there. 17 And since then, in times of peace and in prosperity, this river has flowed into the centre of the city and filled the storage-reservoirs with water  p115 to overflowing and then has been borne out of the city by the exits made for this purpose by those who built the city, as I have just explained. 18 And it waters the land in that region and is always eagerly welcomed by all those who dwell round about. But whenever a hostile army comes up to besiege the city, they close the exits through the iron bars by means of sluice-gates (katarraktais), as they are called, straightway forcing the river, by this artificial constraint, to alter its course and change its exit, and they conduct it to the pit and the chasm which leads away from it. 19 And as a result of the enemy are hard pressed by lack of water and are compelled immediately to abandon the siege. Indeed Mirrhanes,​7 the Persian general during the reign of Cabades, came there to lay a siege, but was compelled by all these difficulties to retire after no long time without having accomplished anything. 20 And Chosroes himself, a long time later, came there for the same purpose with a great army and undertook to attack the city. 21 But finding himself in straits for want of water, and viewing the imposing height of the circuit-wall, which he suspected was quite impregnable, he changed his purpose and departed, marching straight for the Persian territory, outwitted by the foresight of the Roman Emperor.8

 p117  3 1 These projects, then, were carried out as I have said by the Emperor Justinian at the city of Daras. I shall now relate how he brought it about that this city should never again suffer such damage from the river, a matter in which God manifestly assisted his effort. 2 There was a certain Chryses of Alexandria, a skillful master-builder, who served the Emperor in his building operations and built most of the structures erected in the city of Daras and in the rest of the country. 3 This Chryses was away at the time when the disaster caused by the river befell the city of Daras, and after he heard the news he went to his bed in distress over the misfortune. And he saw a vision as follows. 4 It seemed in his dream that a certain creature of enormous size and in other respects too mighty to resemble a man,​9 prescribed and gave directions for a certain device which would be able to prevent the river from again running wild to the ruin of the city. 5 He immediately surmised that the suggestion came from God, and wrote an account of the device and of the vision and sent it to the Emperor, shewing by a sketch the instructions received from the dream. 6 It chanced that not long before this a messenger had come to the Emperor from the city of Daras, who reported to him all the damage which had been caused by the river. 7 Thereupon the Emperor was greatly perturbed and deeply grieved by what had happened, and he straightway summoned the eminent  p119 master-builders Anthemius and Isidorus, whom I have mentioned previously.​10 8 And he communicated the details of what had happened and enquired of the men what contrivance could possibly be made, so that no such calamity might again befall the city. Each of them gave some suggestion which seemed to himself well adapted to the situation. But the Emperor, obviously moved by a divine inspiration which came to him, though he had not yet seen the letter of Chryses, devised and sketched out of his own head, strange to say, the very plan of the dream. 9 However, while their opinion was still unsettled, and it was not clear to them what should be done, they adjourned the conference. 10 And three days later there came a man who shewed to the Emperor the letter of Chryses and the drawing of the device of the dream. 11 The Emperor again summoned the master-builders, and bade them to call to mind their previous thoughts on this problem. 12 And they repeated all the details in order, both what they had devised themselves and what the Emperor had daringly proposed should be done. 13 Then the Emperor shewed them the man who had been sent by Chryses, and his letter, and told them of the vision of what was to be done which had been seen in the dream, and the sketch which had been made, and caused them to marvel greatly, as they considered how God becomes a partner with this Emperor in all matters which will benefit the State. 14 So the Emperor's plan won the day, while the wisdom and skill of the master-builders yielded place to it. 15 And Chryses again went to the city of Daras, with instructions from the Emperor to carry out with all zeal the scheme  p121 which had been described, just as the intimation of the dream had dictated. And he carried out the instructions in the following manner.

[link to original Greek text] 16 At a place about forty feet removed from the outer fortifications (proteichisma) of the city, between the two cliffs between which the river runs, he constructed a barrier (antiteichisma) of proper thickness and height. 17 The ends of this he so mortised into each of the two cliffs, that the water of the river could not possibly get by that point, even if it should come down very violently. 18 This structure is called by those skilled in such matters a dam (phraktes) or flood-gate (aris), or whatever else they please. 19 This barrier (antiteichisma) was not built in a straight line, but was bent into the shape of a crescent, so that the curve, by lying against the current of the river, might be able to offer still more resistance to the force of the stream. 20 And he made sluice-gates (thyrides) in the dam, in both its lower and its upper parts, so that when the river suddenly rose in flood, should this happen, it would be forced to collect there and not go on with its full stream, but discharging through the openings only a small volume of the excess accumulation, would always have to abate its force little by little, and the city-wall would never suffer damage. 21 For the outflow collects in the space which, as I have said, extends for forty feet between the dam and the outer fortifications, and is under no pressure whatever, but it goes in an orderly fashion into the customary entrances and from there empties into the conduit (ochetagogia). 22 And the city gate itself, which the river  p123 had earlier burst open by its sudden pressure, he removed from that place, and he walled up with very large stones the place which it had formerly occupied, because lying on level ground, as it did, it was easily reached by the river when it was in flood. 23 And he set this gate near by at a place higher up where the circuit-wall was on a steep slope, to which the river could not possibly come. Thus were these works carried out by this Emperor.

[link to original Greek text] 24 And there was a great difficulty regarding water for the people living in this city. For they had neither any spring welling up there, nor water conveyed about the streets of the city by a conduit (ochetos); neither was it stored there in any cisterns; but whileºthose very near whose streets the river flowed drew their drinking-water without any trouble because of its proximity, those whose homes​11 chanced to be very far from the river's course, were obliged to choose one of these two alternatives — either to take a vast deal of trouble in order to obtain drinking-water at all, or to perish of thirst. 25 But the Emperor Justinian built a great conduit by which he led the water about to every part of the city, and thus relieved the straits of the inhabitants. 26 Furthermore, he constructed two shrines, both the Great Church, as it is called, and the Church of the Apostle Bartholomew. He also built numerous barracks for the soldiers, in order that they might cause no annoyance whatever to the inhabitants.

[link to original Greek text] 27 Likewise both the wall and the outworks of the city of Amida, which had been built long before, and, because of their age, seemed likely to fall  p125 in ruins, he not long afterwards replaced by new structures and thus restored the safety of the city. 28 All else that he did in the fortresses which chance to be within the territory of these cities I shall now proceed to relate.

[link to original Greek text] 4 1 As one goes from Daras into the Persian country there lies on the left a territory which cannot be traversed at all by waggons or even by horses, extending to a distance of about two days' journey for an unencumbered traveller​12 and ending in a steep and precipitous bluff which is called Rhabdios.​13 2 And on both sides of this road leading to Rhabdios the Persian territory stretches out to a very great distance. 3 At first I was amazed at this, and I made enquiry of the natives how it came about that a road and district which belonged to the Romans had land of the enemy on either side of it; and some of them explained that the place had belonged to the Persians at one time, but that at the petition of the Persian King one of the Roman Emperors had handed over a certain vine-producing village near Martyropolis​14 and had received this place in exchange for it. 4 Rhabdios stands on precipitous and wholly wild rocks, which rise there to an astonishing height. 5 And beneath it is a place which they call the Field of the Romans, I suppose because they marvelled, at first, that though this lies in the midst of Persian territory, it belongs to the Romans. 6 This Field of the Romans lies on flat ground, and is very productive  p127 of the crops which grow on cornº-lands. 7 One might conjecture this also from the circumstance that Persian territory surrounds the place on every side.

[link to original Greek text] 8 There is a fortress in Persia of very great note, Sisauranon​15 by name, which the Emperor Justinian once captured and levelled to the ground, taking captive a great throng of Persian horsemen along with their leader Bleschames.​16 9 This is separated from the city of Daras by a journey of two days for an unencumbered traveller, and is about three miles distant from Rhabdios. 10 At first this region was unguarded and was of no consequence whatever to the Romans. For it had never been garrisoned nor had it been fortified, and it had not received any other care from them. 11 Indeed it was to the Persians that those who farmed the "Field" which I just mentioned paid fifty staters annually, just as though they were paying ordinary taxes,​17 on condition that they might possess their own lands free from fear and be able to profit by the crops which grew upon them. 12 But the Emperor Justinian arranged to alter all this for their benefit. He encircled Rhabdios with a wall built along the crest of the rocks which rise there, thus making the place inaccessible for the enemy, that is, with the assistance of nature. 13 Then, since those who dwelt there had a scanty supply of water — for no spring was to be found on the summit of the rocks — he constructed two cisterns and dug channels into the rock there in many directions, so that he made many reservoirs for water, in  p129 order that when the rain-water collected in these the inhabitants might be able to use them in security, and then they might not be captured easily when hard pressed for lack of water.

[link to original Greek text] 14 And all the other forts which lie in the mountains, forming a line from there and from the city of Daras all the way to Amida, namely Ciphas and Sauras and Margdis and Lournês and Idriphthon and Atachas and Siphriŭs and Rhipalthas and Banasymeôn, and also Sinas and Rhasios and Dabanas, and all the others which have been there from ancient times, and which had previously been fenced about in most ridiculous fashion, he rebuilt and made safe, transforming them to their present aspect as to both beauty and strength, and making them impregnable, so that actually they are thrown out as a mighty bulwark to shield the land of the Romans. 15 In that place there is a lofty mountain towering to the sky, exceedingly steep and altogether inaccessible. 16 And in the plain below the soil lies deep and soft, an excellent surface for plowing and extremely good for pasture, for it is covered with a great abundance of forage. 17 There are numerous villages along the foot-hills of the mountain, inhabited by people who are indeed happy in their possession of the necessities of life, but would be easy to capture, if anyone should attack them. 18 This situation the Emperor Justinian corrected for them by building a fort on the very tip of the mountain, so that they might store their most valuable property there and also, fleeing thither, save themselves whenever the enemy should come against them; and this fort is named Basileôn.​18 19 Furthermore, he carefully rebuilt the  p131 forts about the city of Amida which had been enclosed by mud walls and were entirely at the mercy of the enemy, and he so transformed them all that they were perfectly secure. 20 Among these are Apadnas and the little town of Virthon; for it is not easy to mention all separately by name. 21 But, to speak briefly, he has made impregnable at the present time all the places which previously lay exposed to assailants. And as a result of this, Mesopotamia is manifestly inaccessible to the Persian nation.

[link to original Greek text] 22 But I must not pass by in silence the device which he hit upon in the fort Baras which I have just mentioned.​19 It so happened that inside the fort there was no water at all, for this Baras was built on the steep slope of a very high mountain. 23 Outside the fort, however, at a very great distance, there was a spring at the foot of the mountain, beyond the slope; but it had seemed inadvisable to enclose this within the fortifications of the stronghold, so that no part of the defences might lie on level ground and so be easy to capture. Therefore he devised the following plan. 24 He bade them dig within the fortifications until they came approximately to the level of the plain. And when this work was completed according to the Emperor's instructions, water was found there, contrary to all expectation, running in from the spring. Thus not only is the fortress placed in a position of safety, but it proves to be properly situated as regards water also.

[link to original Greek text] 5 1 In the same way he restored the circuit-wall of  p133 Theodosiopolis,​20 which stands on the River Aborrhas​21 as a bulwark of the Roman Empire; for time had succeeded most completely in breaking it down, so that it afforded no assurance of safety to the people there, but rather kept them all in a constant state of terror for fear that it would fall upon them in the not distant future. But this Emperor rebuilt the greater part of the wall and thus succeeded effectually in checking the inroads of the Persians at least on the Mesopotamian border.

[link to original Greek text] 2 The work that he carried out in Constantina is also worthy of mention. Formerly the circuit-wall of this city was of such a height that it could be scaled with a ladder, and its whole method of construction made it easy to attack, built as it was by men of former times in a casual sort of way. 3 Indeed the towers were so widely separated that if any attackers advanced to make an assault upon the space between them, the defenders posted on the towers had no means of driving them back. Moreover the wall had suffered from the passage of time, and for the most part had come to be not very far from a state of collapse. 4 Furthermore, the outworks (proteichisma) protecting the city were of such a sort that they looked like a wall built for the purpose of attacking it (epiteichisma). In fact their thickness had not been made more than three feet, and even that was held together with mud, the lower courses for a short space being built of hard stone suitable for making mill-stones (lithos mylites), but the upper portion consisting of so‑called "white stone" (leukolithos), which is untrustworthy and very soft. So the whole place was easy for assailants to capture. 5 But the Emperor Justinian rebuilt with new masonry  p135 those portions of the circuit-wall which had suffered, particularly the parts which faced the west and the north. 6 And in all parts of the defences he inserted a new tower between each pair of towers, and consequently all the towers stood out from the circuit-wall very close to one another. 7 Also he added greatly to the height of the whole wall and of all the tower, and thus made the defences of the city impregnable to the enemy. 8 And he also built covered approaches (anodoi) to the towers, and made them three-storied (triôrophoi) by adding courses of stones curved in the form of vaults (tholoi); thus he made each one of them a pyrgo-castellum,​22 as it was called and as it actually was. 9 For they call forts castella in the Latin tongue. Furthermore, Constantina in former times used to suffer terribly for want of water. 10 Outside the city, about a mile away, there are springs of sweet water and then a very large grove planted with trees which reach to the sky; but within the walls, where the streets happen to be sloping, and not level, the city had been without water from early times, and the inhabitants always suffered from thirst and from the great difficulty of obtaining water. 11 But the Emperor Justinian brought the stream within the wall by means of an aqueduct, and adorned the city with ever-flowing fountains, so that he might justly be called its founder. All this, then, is what was done by the Emperor Justinian for these cities.

[link to original Greek text] 6 1 And there was a Roman fortress beside the Euphrates River on the frontier of Mesopotamia  p137 at the point where the Aborrhas River mingles with the Euphrates, into which it empties. 2 This is called Circesium,​23 and was built by Emperor Diocletian in ancient times. 3 And our present Emperor Justinian, finding it dilapidated through the passage of time and neglected besides and in general unguarded, transformed it into a very strong fortress and brought it about that it became a city conspicuous for its size and beauty. 4 For Diocletian, when he constructed this fortress, did not surround it with a wall on all sides, but carried out the construction of the circuit-wall only as far as the River Euphrates, and he finished off the work at each of the two ends with a terminal tower, but after that he left that side of the site wholly unwalled, believing, I suppose, that the water of the river would serve as a protection for the fort on that side. 5 However, as time went on, the terminal tower which faced toward the south was undermined by the ceaseless wash of the water, and entirely wrecked, and it became evident that, unless someone brought help with the greatest speed, it would collapse immediately. 6 Then appeared the Emperor Justinian, entrusted by God with this commission, to watch over the whole Roman Empire and, so far as was possible, to remake it. 7 Indeed he not only preserved the damaged tower by rebuilding it with hard stone, such as would be suitable for making mill-stones, but he also enclosed the entire unwalled side of the fortress with a wall of the greatest strength, thus doubling its stability by adding the protection given by the circuit-wall to that afforded by the river. 8 In addition to this, he added very strong outworks to the defences  p139 of the city, and especially where the junction of the two rivers forms a triangle he thus made any attack by the enemy impossible. 9 And he stationed here a commander of select troops, one whom they call a Duke or "leader," who was to be stationed there permanently, and he thus constituted the place an adequate bulwark of the government of the State. 10 The bath, too, which serves the common use of all the people living in the city, had become entirely useless because of the incursion of the river, with the result that it was no longer capable of providing its usual service; and so he transformed it to its present state of splendour. 11 For all the receptacles which previously were poised on solid masonry and were destined to serve the purposes of the bath (it is beneath these that fire is kept burning, and they are wont to call them cauldrons)​24 — all these, he found, had already been exposed to the invasion of the water, and consequently the bath had been rendered useless; so he strengthened with courses of stone all that had formerly been poised there, as I have explained, and built another structure above it, where the river cannot reach it, and thus he restored to the troops there the enjoyment which they gained from the bath. In such a way was the work at Circesium carried out by this Emperor.

[link to original Greek text] 12 Beyond Circesium is an ancient fort, Annoucas​25 by name, whose wall, which he found a ruin, the Emperor Justinian rebuilt in such magnificent style  p141 that thereafter it took second place in point of strength to no single one of the most notable cities. 13 In the same way those forts which lie about the city of Theodosiopolis, some of which had previously been without walls, while some were walled with mud and the ridiculous construction that goes with mud-work, like a wall made of loose stones, he made truly formidable, as they now are, and altogether unapproachable for their assailants; 14 these include Magdalathôn with two others which chance to be on either side of it, and two named Thannourios, one large and one small, and Vimisdeôn, and Themeres, as well as Vidamas, Dausarôn, Thiolla, Phichas and Zamarthas, and, one may say, all the rest. 15 And there was a certain spot near the larger Thannourios at which the hostile Saracens, after crossing the Aborrhas River, had complete freedom to resort, and making that their headquarters they would scatter through the thick leafy forest and over the mountain which rises there, and then they would descend with impunity upon the Romans who lived in the places round about. 16 But now the Emperor Justinian has built a very large tower of hard stone at this point, in which he has established a very considerable garrison, and thus has succeeded completely in checking the inroads of the enemy by devising this bulwark against them.

[link to original Greek text] 7 1 Such were the works of the Emperor Justinian in Mesopotamia. And it is necessary for me at this point in my narrative to mention Edessa​26 and Carrhae​27 and Callinicum​28 and all the other towns which  p143 chance to lie in that region, for these too are situated between the two rivers. 2 The city of Edessa is situated on a river of small volume, Scirtus by name, which collects its water from a wide area and flows into the middle of the city. 3 And after leaving the city, it flows on further, after it has furnished the city with an abundant supply, effecting its entrance and its exit through channels in the wall constructed by men of former times. 4 On one occasion this river, swollen by heavy rains, rose to an altogether extraordinary height and came upon the city as if bent on destroying it.​29 5 Consequently it levelled to the ground a large part of the outworks and of the circuit-wall and covered practically the whole city, doing irreparable damage. For in a moment it wiped out completely the finest of the buildings and caused the death of one third of the population. 6 But the Emperor Justinian immediately not only restored all the ruined parts of the city, including the church of the Christians and the structure called Antiphorus,​30 but also made effective provision that such a calamity should not occur again. 7 For he succeeded in making a new channel for the river before the circuit-wall, circumventing it by the following device. 8 The land on the right of the river was formerly both flat and low, while on the left stood a steep hill, which did not permit the stream to turn aside at all or deviate from  p145 its customary course, but drove it against the city by sheer compulsion; for on the right there was nothing to check it when it rushed straight towards the city. 9 So he cut down this whole hill, and while making the land on the left of the river hollow deeper than its own bed, on the right he set up a huge wall of stones, each a load for a waggon, so that as long as the river flowed with its usual temperate stream, the city would never be deprived of its benefit, but whenever by any chance it rose to a great height and overflowed, a moderate portion of it would flow as usual into the city, while the excess of the stream would pass under constraint into the channel devised by Justinian and be led behind the hippodrome which is not far away, thus being vanquished, contrary to all expectation, by human skill and foresight. 10 In addition to this, he also compelled the river to follow a practically straight course after it gets inside the city, and above it he raised a structure resting on either bank so that it could not be diverted from its course, and he thus not only preserved the benefit which the city gained from the river, but also freed the city from the fear of it. 11 Moreover, it happened that the main wall of Edessa and its outworks had suffered from the passage of time no less than they had from the flood and for the most part were fit only to be called ruins. 12 Therefore the Emperor rebuilt both of them and made them new and much stronger than they had been formerly. 13 And a certain section of the circuit-wall of Edessa contains a fort outside of which rose a hill, which stood very close by and commanded the city spread out beneath it. 14 The inhabitants of early times, perceiving that this hill  p147 constituted a threat to the city-wall, had brought it inside the circuit-wall, so that it might not render the city vulnerable. 15 But by this they caused the city to be actually much more vulnerable, for a very small cross-wall,​31 lying on the exposed ground, was an easy thing to capture even for children playing at storming a wall. 16 So after this had been torn down, another wall was built on the crest of the hill, the work of the Emperor Justinian, which did not have to fear any attack to be made from a higher position, and this descended along the slope as far as the level ground at either end and was joined to the circuit-wall.

[link to original Greek text] 17 Furthermore, he also took down the walls and the outworks of Carrhae and of the city of Callinicum, which were falling into ruin because of their great age, and once more made them, as they now are, entire and completely invulnerable. 18 He also surrounded with very strong walls the fortress at Batnae​32 which previously had been unwalled and neglected, and transformed it into the fine condition in which it is now seen.

[link to original Greek text] 8 1 So these structures were erected by the Emperor Justinian in the manner which I have described in Mesopotamia and in Osroenê, as it is called. 2 And I shall describe the fashion in which his work was carried out on the right of the Euphrates River. 3 The other boundaries between the Romans and the Persians are in general of such a sort that the territories of the two peoples are adjacent to each other, and both peoples push out from their own territory and either fight with each other or compose  p149 their differences, as people will whenever nations differing in customs and in government hold any land on a common boundary. 4 However, in the territory anciently called Commagenê, but now known as Euphratesia, they do not live close to each other at all. For a land which is altogether bare and unproductive separates the Roman and the Persian territory for a great distance, and this contains nothing worth fighting for. 5 Both of them, however, have built forts carelessly of unbaked brick in the desert which chances to lie nearest to the land which they inhabit; 6 these forts never suffered attack from their neighbours, for both peoples lived there without enmity, since they possessed nothing which their adversaries might desire. 7 The Emperor Diocletian had built three forts, such as I have described, in this desert, one of which, Mambri​33 by name, had fallen into decay in the long course of time and was restored by the Emperor Justinian.

[link to original Greek text] 8 At a distance of about five miles from this fort on the road to Roman territory, Zenobia, wife of Odonathus, who was ruler of the Saracens in that district, once founded a small city in earlier times and gave her name to it; 9 for the name she gave it was Zenobia, as was fitting.​34 But the long period of time that had elapsed since those events had reduced its circuit-wall to a ruin, since the Romans were quite unwilling to take care of it, and thus it had come to be altogether destitute of inhabitants. 10 So it was possible for the  p151 Persians freely, whenever they wished, to get into the middle of Roman territory before the Romans had word of the hostile inroad. 11 But the Emperor Justinian rebuilt Zenobia completely and he filled it quite full of inhabitants, and he stationed there a commander of select troops and a thoroughly adequate garrison, and made it a bulwark of the Roman Empire and a frontier barrier against the Persians; 12 indeed he did not simply restore its previous form, but he actually made it very much stronger than it was before. 13 It is surrounded by cliffs which stand very close to the city, and for this reason it was possible for the enemy to shoot down from their summits upon the heads of the defenders of the circuit-wall. 14 This he was anxious to prevent, and so he built a certain additional structure on the top of the circuit-wall, at precisely the place where the cliffs are nearest, designed to serve permanently as a shelter for the men fighting there. Such a structure they call "wings" (ptera), because it appears to droop, as it were, from the wall. 15 However, it is impossible to describe all that the Emperor accomplished at Zenobia, since, seeing that it occupies a site far removed from any neighbour and on this account is sure to be always in danger, and that it is unable to secure succour because there are no Romans who live near at hand, the Emperor considered the city worthy, as well he might, of his unceasing attention above all other places. Nevertheless I shall describe a few of the things that were done there.

[link to original Greek text] 16 By the side of Zenobia flows the Euphrates River, passing to the east of it and coming very close to the circuit-wall on that side; but since high mountains  p153 rise beside the river at this point, the stream cannot spread out at all, but by reason of the proximity of these mountains and because it is constrained by its banks, which are hard, it would gather its stream into an extraordinarily narrow space whenever it chanced that rains caused it to rise in flood, and would pour out against the wall and immediately rise, not only about the foundations but even as far as the battlements. 17 And when the wall had once been soaked through by the water, the result was that the river loosened the courses of stones and thereafter the wall stood upon a dangerous conglomeration of stones. 18 But he constructed a huge protective wall (probolos) of hard stone of equal length with the circuit-wall, and caused this to check at that point the turbulence of the river when it rose, and so freed the wall entirely from harm from this source, even should the river rise to a great height in its most violent state. 19 He also found that portion of the city's circuit-wall which faces the north dangerously weakened by the passage of time; so he first took it down, along with the outworks, clear to the ground, and then rebuilt it, yet not as it had been before, for at that point the buildings of the city had been especially crowded, causing trouble to those who lived there. 20 But he went beyond the place where the foundations of the circuit-wall and the outworks had formerly stood, even beyond the moat itself, and there he built the wall, which is a remarkable sight in itself and exceptionally beautiful, thus materially increasing the area of Zenobia. 21 Furthermore, a certain hill stood very close to the city on the  p155 side toward the west, from which it was possible for the barbarians, whenever they attacked the city, to shoot down with impunity upon the heads of the defenders, and even upon the heads of those who stood in the middle of the city. 22 So the Emperor Justinian connected the fortifications with this hill on both sides, and thus brought it inside Zenobia; and he escarped the whole hill throughout, so that no one might climb it to work harm from there, and placed another fortification on its summit and thus made the city altogether inaccessible to those who wished to assault it. 23 For beyond the hill it chances that the ground is very low and for this reason it is impossible for the enemy to approach it at all closely. 24 And immediately above the depression rise the mountains which face toward the west. Yet this Emperor did not provide only for the safety of this city, but he erected churches there and barracks for the military forces; 25 nay more, he added to it public baths and stoas. For all these operations the master-builders Isidorus and John gave their assistance — John a Byzantine and Isidorus a Milesian by birth, nephew of the Isidorus whom I have mentioned before.​35 Both of them were young men, but they displayed a natural ability beyond their years, and they had come to their full maturity with their experience in the Emperor's undertakings.

[image ALT: A ruined fort on a hill in the background, with a long ruined wall leading up to it from the foreground. It is the ancient fort of Zenobia on the Euphrates; the place is now in Syria and is called Halabiye.]

Photo © Jona Lendering 2009; by kind permission.

The citadel of Zenobia, a very small part of the 12‑hectare (30‑acre) fort complex: see the informative page at Livius.Org with over a dozen more photographs.

9 1 After Zenobia is the fortress of Sura,​36 situated on the Euphrates River, which had such contemptible defences that when Chosroes, on one occasion,  p157 attacked, it did not hold him off for so much as a half-hour, but was captured immediately by the Persians. 2 This too, like Callinicum, was rebuilt by the Emperor Justinian, who surrounded the entire fortress with a very stout wall, which he strengthened by outworks and thus brought it about that it should no longer yield to the enemy's assaults.

[link to original Greek text] 3 There is a certain church in Euphratesia, dedicated to Sergius, a famous saint, whom men of former times used to worship and revere, so that they named the place Sergiopolis,​37 and they had surrounded it with a very humble wall, just sufficient to prevent the Saracens of the region from capturing it by storm. 4 For the Saracens are naturally incapable of storming a wall, and the weakest kind of barricade, put together with perhaps nothing but mud, is sufficient to check their assault. 5 At a later time, however, this church, through its acquisition of treasures, came to be powerful and celebrated. 6 And the Emperor Justinian, upon considering this situation, at once gave it careful attention, and he surrounded the church with a most remarkable wall, and he stored up a great quantity of water and thus provided the inhabitants with a bountiful supply. 7 Furthermore, he added to the place houses and stoas and the other buildings which are wont to be the adornments of a city. 8 Besides this he established there a garrison of soldiers who, in case of need, defended the circuit-wall. 9 Chosroes, indeed, the King of the Persians,  p159 made a great effort to capture the city, sending a great army to besiege it; but because of the strength of the defences he accomplished nothing and abandoned the investment.

[link to original Greek text] 10 The Emperor bestowed the same careful attention on all the towns and forts which lie on the farthest borders of Euphratesia, namely Barbalissus​38 and Neocaesarea,​39 and Gaboulôn,​40 as it is called, and the Pentacomia which is on the Euphrates River, and Europus.​41 Also he found the walls of the place called Hemerium​42 to be in part carelessly built and of unsafe construction and in part actually to consist of nothing but mud, while the place suffered from great scarcity of water, so that it was in every way an object of contempt to the enemy; so he razed it to the ground and immediately rebuilt it all carefully with courses of very hard stone, rightly giving the work generous proportions of both breadth and height, and he fashioned many cisterns for water in all parts of the defences, filling all these amply with rain-water; moreover, he established a large garrison there and so brought about the state of security which we now see there, and made the city's dominance sure. 11 And if one should consider these fortresses very carefully, disregarding all the other useful works of the Emperor Justinian, he would say that it was solely for this purpose that he succeeded to the imperial power, since God unceasingly provides for the safety of the Roman people.

 p161  12 In addition to these he also found Hierapolis,​43 which happens to be the first of all the cities of that region, lying exposed to those who wished to attack it, and by his prudent foresight he assured its safety. 13 Previously it had enclosed a large tract of barren land, and consequently was undefended; so he relieved it of this senseless expanse and made the circuit-wall shorter as well as more safe, redu­cing it to a measure calculated to meet the actual need of the situation, and thus bringing it about that the city is among the strongest of the present day. 14 Here too he conferred the following benefit. An unfailing supply of drinking-water springs up from the recesses of the earth in the midst of the city and makes a broad lake there. 15 And whenever an enemy chances to lay siege to the place, this water proves the salvation of the city; but in good times the lake becomes unnecessary to it, because abundant water is brought in from outside. 16 And as time went on, the inhabitants of the place, having enjoyed a long-continued peace and experiencing no need, treated this spring with neglect. For in times of prosperity human nature knows not how to take thought against ills not yet at hand. 17 So they kept filling the lake constantly with pollution, both swimming and washing clothes in it and throwing all manner of rubbish into it. . . .

[link to original Greek text] 18 There were also two other towns in this district of Euphratesia, Zeugma and Neocaesarea, which went by the name of fortified towns, but were enclosed by  p163 fortifications resembling walls of loose stones. 19 And because these were made too low when they were built, they were accessible to the enemy without any effort, since they could leap upon them without fear, while their extreme narrowness made them impossible to defend, since the garrison of the town had no place whatever where they might stand and carry on the defence. 20 But the Emperor Justinian surrounded these places too with real walls of adequate breadth and height, and he made them strong in their other equipment, and so brought it about that they are justly called cities and are too well built for hostile attacks.

[link to original Greek text] 10 1 He also turned his attention to the cities which had been captured by Chosroes. (This was when that barbarian ignored the oaths he had sworn at the time of the "endless peace"​44 and the money given him to secure this peace; when he was filled with malice against the Emperor Justinian because he had become master of Italy and of Libya by conquest, and was moved less by the obligation of his oaths than by his rage at the Emperor's successes. So he watched for the right time, and when the greater part of the Roman army was away in the West, he invaded the Roman territory without any previous notice, before the Romans could hear of the approach of the enemy). So the Emperor Justinian transformed these cities to such a state of safety and beauty that they are all much more prosperous at the present time than they were formerly, and no longer need either be fearful of the inroads of the  p165 villainous barbarians, or apprehensive for any reason of their attacks.

[link to original Greek text] 2 Above all he made Antioch, which is now called Theopolis,​45 both fairer and stronger by far than it had been formerly. 3 In ancient times its circuit-wall was both too long and absolutely full of many turnings, in some places uselessly enclosing the level ground and in others the summits of the mountain, and for this reason it was exposed to attack in a number of places. 4 But the Emperor Justinian, contracting this wall as would best serve the need, carefully remade it so as to guard, not the same districts as before, but only the city itself. 5 As for the lower part of the circuit-wall, where the city was dangerously spread out (since it lay in a soft plain and could not be defended because of a superfluity of wall), he changed its course by drawing it inward as much as possible, it having gained protection by being compressed. 6 And the River Orontes, which had flowed past the city, as it formerly was, in a winding course, he thrust over so that it ran in a new bed, hugging the circuit-wall. 7 He did this by winding the stream round again by means of an artificial channel as near the wall as possible. In this way he both relieved the city of the danger arising from its excessive size and recovered the protection afforded by the Orontes. 8 And by building other bridges there he furnished new means of crossing the river; and after changing its stream for as great a  p167 distance as was necessary, he then restored it to its former course. 9 The upper part,​46 in the mountainous portion, he managed as follows: on the summit of the mountain which they call Orocassias​47 there happened to be a rock outside the wall and very close to it, nearly matching in height the circuit-wall in this place and making it quite vulnerable. 10 It was from this point in fact that the city was taken by Chosroes, as is related in my description of the event.​48 The region within the circuit-wall was for the most part bare and difficult to traverse, 11 for high rocks and impassable ravines divide up that district, so that the paths from that place have no outlet. Thus the wall there is just as if it belonged to some other city and not to Antioch at all. 12 So he bade a long farewell to the rock, which, being close to the wall, was fiendishly devised to make the wall easy to capture, and decided to build the defences of the city as far away from it as possible, having learned from the experience of events the folly of those who had built the city in former times. 13 Moreover he made quite level the region within the wall, which formerly had been precipitous, building ascents there which would in the future be passable, not only for men on foot, but for cavalry, and would even serve as waggon-roads. 14 He also built baths and reservoirs on these hills inside the wall. And he dug a cistern in each tower, remedying by means of rain-water the want of water which had previously existed there.

[link to original Greek text] 15 It is proper to describe also what he did with the  p169 torrent which comes down from these mountains. Two precipitous mountains rise above the city, approaching each other quite closely. 16 Of these they call the one Orocassias and the other is called Staurin.​49 Where they come to an end they are joined by a glen and ravine which lies between them, which produces a torrent, when it rains, called Onopnictes.​50 This, coming down from a height, swept over the circuit-wall and on occasion rose to a great volume, spreading into the streets of the city and doing ruinous damage to those who lived in that district. 17 But even for this the Emperor Justinian found the remedy, in the following way: Before that part of the circuit-wall which happens to lie nearest to the ravine out of which the torrent was borne against the fortifications, he built an immense wall or dam, which reached roughly from the hollow bed of the ravine to each of the two mountains, so that the stream should no longer be able to sweep on when it was at full flood, but should collect for a considerable distance back and form a lake there. 18 And by constructing sluice-gates in this wall he contrived that the torrent, flowing through these, should lose its force gradually, checked by this artificial barrier, and no longer violently assault the circuit-wall with its full stream, and so overflow it and damage the city, but should gently and evenly glide on in the manner I have described and, with this means of outflow, should proceed through the channel wherever the inhabitants of former times would have wished to conduct it if it had been so manageable.

 p171  19 This, then, was what the Emperor Justinian accomplished concerning the circuit-wall of Antioch. He also rebuilt the whole city, which had been completely burned by the enemy. 20 For since everything was everywhere reduced to ashes and levelled to the ground, and since many mounds of ruins were all that was left standing of the burned city, it became impossible for the people of Antioch to recognise the site of each person's house, when first they carried out all the debris, and to clear out the remains of a burned house; and since there were no longer public stoas or colonnaded courts in existence anywhere, nor any market-place remaining, and since the side-streets no longer marked off the thoroughfares of the city, they did not any longer dare to build any house. 21 But the Emperor without any delay transported the debris as far as possible from the city, and thus freed the air and the ground of all encumbrances; then he first of all covered the cleared land of the city everywhere with stones each large enough to load a waggon. 22 Next he laid it out with stoas and market-places, and dividing all the blocks of houses by means of streets, and making water-channels and fountains and sewers,​51 all those of which the city now boasts, he built theatres and baths for it, ornamenting it with all the other public buildings by means of which the prosperity of a city is wont to be shewn.​52 He also, by bringing in a multitude of  p173 artisans and craftsmen, made it more easy and less laborious for the inhabitants to build their own houses. 23 Thus it was brought about that Antioch has become more splendid now than it formerly was. 24 Moreover, he built there a great Church to the Mother of God. The beauty of this, and its magnificence in every respect, it is impossible to describe; he also honoured it with an income of a very large sum. 25 Moreover, he built an immense Church for the Archangel Michael. He made provision likewise for the poor of the place who were suffering from maladies, providing buildings for them and all the means for the care and cure of their ailments, for men and women separately, and he made no less provision for strangers who might on occasion be staying in the city.

[link to original Greek text] 11 1 In the same manner he also repaired the circuit-wall of the city of Chalcis, which had been faultily built in the first place and had been wrecked by the years; he restored this along with the outworks and rendered it much more defensible than before, and gave it the form which we now see.53

[link to original Greek text] 2 There was a certain utterly neglected fortress in Syria, Cyrus by name,​54 which the Jews built in early  p175 times, when they have been carried off as captives from Palestine into Assyria by the army of the Medes and were released much later by King Cyrus;​55 and for this reason they named the place Cyrus, paying this tribute of gratitude to their benefactor. 3 And as time went on this place came to be neglected in general and remained altogether without walls. 4 But the Emperor Justinian, both out of his forethought for the safety of the State, and at the same time shewing especial honour to the Saints Cosmas and Damian, whose bodies lie close by even up to my day, made Cyrus a flourishing city and one of great note through the safety afforded by the strongest possible wall, by the greatest strength of its garrison, by the size of its public buildings, and by the imposing scale of its other appointments. 5 The interior of this city had been destitute of water from ancient times; outside of it there had been a certain extraordinary spring which provided a great abundance of water fit for drinking, yet it was utterly useless to the inhabitants of the city, since they had no means of drawing water from the spring except with great toil and danger. 6 For it was necessary, in order to get to it, for them to make use of circuitous paths, since a steep and altogether impassable area lay between; thus they could easily fall into the hands of the enemy if they should happen to lie in ambush. 7 So he dug a channel outside the city all the way to the spring, not allowing it to be seen, but concealing it as carefully as possible, and thus he provided the inhabitants with a supply of water without toil or risk.

 p177  8 Also he restored the entire circuit-wall of the city of Chalcis, which had fallen down to the ground and anyhow was unsuitable for defence, by means of exceptionally stout masonry, and he strengthened it with outworks.​56 9 Furthermore, he improved the other towns and forts of the Syrians in the same manner and made them altogether objects of envy.

[link to original Greek text] 10 Thus did the Emperor Justinian assure the safety of Syria. And there is a city in Phoenicia by Lebanon,​57 Palmyra by name, built in a neighbourless region by men of former times, but well situated across the track of the hostile Saracens. 11 Indeed it was for this very reason that they had originally built this city, in order, namely, that these barbarians might not unobserved make sudden inroads into the Roman territory. 12 This city, which through lapse of time had come to be almost completely deserted, the Emperor Justinian strengthened with defences which defy description, and he also provided it with abundant water and a garrison of troops, and thus put a stop to the raids of the Saracens.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 I.ix.20.

2 See W. Ensslin, Byz.-neugr. Jbb., V, 1926‑7, pp342‑347.

3 The type of fortifications erected under Justinian here and at other places on the eastern frontier is illustrated by the drawings of the defences of Rusafa reproduced on pp104, 105.

4 In WarsII.xiii.17 Procopius says that when Chosroes attacked Daras in A.D. 540 the circuit-wall of the city was sixty feet high, and each of its towers one hundred feet in height.

5 Modern Amudah, about twelve miles south of Daras.

6 Cf. the description of this river, and of its entrance into the city, in WarsVIII.vii.6‑9.

7 I.e. Perozes. In WarsI.xiii.16 Procopius uses the word Mirrhanes as the title of Perozes; actually it was the name of a distinguished Persian family (cf. Pauly-Wissowa, XV.2029, s.v. Mirrhanes).

8 In the last book of the Wars, published six years or more before the Buildings, Procopius gives a different account of the course of the river (VIII.vii.8, 9): "But as soon as this river gets inside the circuit-wall, it flows about the entire city, filling its cisterns, and then flows out, and very close to the circuit-wall it falls into a chasm, where it is lost to sight. And where it emerges from there has become known to no man up to this time. Now this chasm was not there in ancient times, but, a long time after the Emperor Anastasius built (p116)this city, nature unaided fashioned and placed it there, and for this reason it comes about that those desiring to draw a (p117)siege about the city of Daras are very hard pressed by scarcity of water." Evidently Procopius learned the account given in the present passage only after he had published Book VIII of the Wars.

9 Cf. the description of a vision in the Secret History, vi.6.

10 BuildingsI.1.24, 50, 70.

11 Literally "the domestic concerns."

12 In his WarsIII.i.17, Procopius defines this rough measure of distance, which was in common use: "One day's journey extends two hundred and ten stades, or as far as from Athens to Megara." 210 stades is about 24 English miles.

Thayer's Note: Measuring from the Archaeological Museum in Megara to the Parthenon, skirting the bay between the two cities of course, I come up with about 26 Roman miles. This gives Procopius' equivalence for the stadion in the range of 8‑8¾ stadia to the mile, in line with other ancient authors.

13 Apparently the modern Kalat Hatim Tai.

14 Modern Mejafarkin; cf. below, III.iii.1 ff.

15 Other sources call this place Sarbanê, or use variant forms of the name; the site is apparently represented by the modern Serwan.

16 Cf. WarsII.xix.24.

17 On the collection of taxes under Justinian see Secret History, xxiii.1‑24.º

18 "Emperors' Fort."

19 Not previously mentioned; but Haury suggests that it is identical with the Sauras mentioned above in section 14.

20 Originally called Resaina; modern Ras el Ain.

21 Modern Khabour.

22 A hybrid Greek and Latin expression: "tower-fortress."

23 Marked the eastern limit of the Roman Empire.

24 Literally "pots with legs." Here the "legs" were apparently the pillars upon which the pots were poised.

25 Modern Khanukah.

26 Modern Urfa.

27 Modern Harran, a few miles south of Edessa near the ruins of Rakkah.

28 Originally named Nicephorium.

29 The flood is mentioned also in the Secret History, xviii.38, where Procopius seems to allude to his intention of writing the Buildings: "Thus the Scirtus River, by overflowing Edessa, became the author of countless calamities to the (p143)people of that region, as will be written by me in a following Book."

30 Mentioned also in the Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite, Chap. xxvii ed. Wright. An Antiphorus at Antioch is mentioned by Malalas, p397 Bonn ed., and by Evagrius, Hist. Eccl., III.28. Du Cange, s.v., points out that a structure might be so called either because it stood "opposite a forum" or served "instead of a forum."

31 I.e. the additional wall by which the hill was brought inside the fortifications.

32 Modern Tell Butnan.

33 Possibly the modern Tabus, above Deir ez Zor.

34 Modern Zelebiye.

Thayer's Note: Not exactly. Zelebiye (see Livius.Org's excellent page, with a detailed history of Zenobia and many photographs) is across the river. Zenobia is on the right bank, at Halabiye.

35 Buildings, I.i.24, 50, 70, II.iii.7. It is possible that Isidorus the younger is mentioned in an inscription recording the work done at Chalcis in A.D. 550‑1; see the inscriptions cited in the note on II.xi.1, below.

36 Modern Suriya, near el Hammam, west of Callinicum.

37 Originally called Resapha, now Rusafa; south of Callinicum, on the road from Palmyra. Drawings of parts of its fortifications, which are typical of those built under Justinian on the eastern frontier, are reproduced on pp104, 105.

38 Modern Balis, at Eski Meskenê on the Euphrates, between Beroea and Callinicum.

39 On the Euphrates between Barbalissus and Sura.

40 Modern Jabboul, south-east of Beroea.

41 Modern Jerablus, the site of Carchemish, on the Euphrates.

42 Near the Euphrates, close to Europus.

43 Bambycê, modern Menbidj.

44 Procopius has recounted these matters in the Wars: on the ἀπέραντος εἰρήνη, concluded in the year 532, see I.xxii.17, on Chosroes' violation of it seven years later see II.iii.55 ff.; on the towns of the Romans which Chosroes captured, consult the Index at the end of this volume.

45 The name was officially changed after the earthquake of A.D. 528 (Malalas, p443 Bonn ed.), though the earlier name (p165)continued in common use. On Procopius's description of the rebuilding of the city, see an article by Downey, "Procopius on Antioch: a Study of Method in the De aedificiis," which will be published in ByzantionXIV, part 1.

Thayer's Note: It would eventually be published not in part 1, but in part 2 of that volume of Byzantion; it is available at JSTOR.

46 I.e. of the circuit-wall.

47 So named with reference to Mt. Casius, the principal peak of the range which comes to an end at Antioch.

48 WarsII.viii.8 ff.

49 "The Cross"; this name apparently originated from the vision of the holy cross which appeared over a part of the (p169)city after the earthquake of A.D. 526 (Malalas, p421 Bonn ed.).

50 "Donkey-drowner," with reference to its violence. Other writers call the torrent Parmenius.

51 For the meaning of the word, cf. Secret History, xxii.14.

52 Cf. Pausanias, X.IV.1, translated by W. H. S. Jones in the Loeb Classical Library: "From Chaeroneia it is twenty stades to Panopeus, a city of the Phocians, if one can give the name of city to those who possess no government offices, no gymnasium, no theatre, no market-place, no water descending to a fountain, but live in bare shelters just like mountain cabins, right on a ravine."

53 The restoration of the circuit-wall and the outworks of Chalcis is also described a little below, in section 8. One of the passages must refer to the Chalcis (modern Kinnesrin) which is south-west of Beroea (Aleppo), for two Greek inscriptions found at this Chalcis record extensive building operations executed there, evidently on the circuit-wall, in (p173)A.D. 550‑1; cf. W. K. Prentice, Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Publ. of an Amer. Arch. Exp. to Syria, III, New York, 1908), nos. 305‑306, and Ch. Clermont-Ganneau, Recueil d'archéologie orientale, VII (1906), pp228‑230, and VIII (1924), pp81‑88. Another Chalcis (modern Andjar) lies between Beyrouth and Damascus. The passages may refer to the two places, which Procopius may have confused; or he may have intended to note the distinction, but neglected to do so. It is more likely that both passages refer to Kinnesrin; Procopius may have written the entry twice in his manuscript either intentionally or accidentally, neglecting later to delete one passage.

54 Modern Chorres.

Thayer's Note: see Livius.Org's excellent photogazetteer page.

55 In 537 B.C.

56 See the note on section 1 above.

57 I.e. in the province of Phoenicê Libanensis.

Thayer's Note:

a This remark puts Procopius in the mainstream of Roman authors: see Pliny, XXXVI.75; Frontinus, I.17.

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