Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Click here for the text in ancient Greek.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
B. P. II.26‑27

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Persian Wars


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
B. V. I.1‑2

(Vol. I) Procopius
Persian Wars

Book II (end)

 p515  28 1 At about this time two generals of the Romans died, Justus, the nephew of the emperor, and Peranius, the Iberian, of whom the former succumbed to disease, while Peranius fell from his horse in hunting and suffered a fatal rupture. 2 The emperor therefore appointed others in their places, dispatching Marcellus, his own nephew who was just arriving at the age of manhood, and Constantianus, who a little  p517 earlier had been sent as an envoy with Sergius to Chosroes. 3 Then the Emperor Justinian sent Constantianus and Sergius a second time to Chosroes to arrange the truce. 4 And they overtook him in Assyria, at the place where there are two towns, Seleucia and Ctesiphon, built by the Macedonians who after Alexander, the son of Philip, ruled over the Persians and the other nations there. 5 These two towns are separated by the Tigris River only, for they have nothing else between them. 6 There the envoys met Chosroes, and they demanded that he should give back to the Romans the country of Lazica, and establish peace with them on a thoroughly secure basis. 7 But Chosroes said that it was not easy for them to come to terms with each other, unless they should first declare an armistice, and then should continue to go back and forth to each other without so much fear and settle their differences and make a peace which should be on a secure basis for the future. 8 And it was necessary, he said, that in return for this continued armistice the Roman Emperor should give him money and should also send a certain physician, Tribunus by name, in order to spend so specified time with him. 9 For it happened that this physician at a former time had rid him of a severe disease, and as a result of this he was especially beloved and greatly missed by him. 10 When the Emperor Justinian heard this, he immediately sent both Tribunus and the money, amounting to twenty centenaria. 11 In this way the treaty was made between the Romans and the Persians for five years, in the nineteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Justinian.

12 And a little later Arethas and Alamoundaras, the  p519 rulers of the Saracens, waged a war against each other by themselves, unaided either by the Romans or the Persians. 13 And Alamoundaras captured one of the sons of Arethas in a sudden raid while he was pasturing horses, and straightway sacrificed him to Aphrodite; and from this it was known that Arethas was not betraying the Romans to the Persians. 14 Later they both came together in battle with their whole armies, and the forces of Arethas were overwhelmingly victorious, and turning their enemy to flight, they killed many of them. And Arethas came within a little of capturing alive two of the sons of Alamoundaras; however, he did not actually succeed. Such, then, was the course of events among the Saracens.

15 But it became clear that Chosroes, the Persian king, had made the truce with the Romans with treacherous intent, in order that he might find them remiss on account of the peace and inflict upon them some grave injury. 16 For in the third year of the truce he devised the following schemes. There were in Persia two brothers, Phabrizus and Isdigousnas, both holding most important offices there and at the same time reckoned to be the basest of all the Persians, and having a great reputation for their cleverness and evil ways. 17 Accordingly, since Chosroes had formed the purpose of capturing the city of Daras by a sudden stroke, and to move all the Colchians out of Lazica and establish in their place Persian settlers, he selected these two men to assist him in both undertakings. 18 For it seemed to him that it would be a lucky stroke and a really important achievement to win for himself the land of  p521 Colchis and to have it in secure possession, reasoning that this would be advantageous to the Persian empire in many ways. 19 In the first place they would have Iberia in security forever afterwards, since the Iberians would not have anyone with whom, if they revolted, they might find safety; 20 for since the most notable men of these barbarians together with their king, Gourgenes, had looked towards revolt, as I have stated in the preceding pages,​1 the Persians from that time on did not permit them to set up a king over themselves, nor were the Iberians single-minded subjects of the Persians, but there was much suspicion and distrust between them. 21 And it was evident that the Iberians were most thoroughly dissatisfied and that they would attempt a revolution shortly if they could only seize upon some favourable opportunity. 22 Furthermore, the Persian empire would be forever free from plunder by the Huns who lived next to Lazica, and he would send them against the Roman domains more easily and readily, whenever he should so desire. For he considered that, as regards the barbarians dwelling in the Caucasus, Lazica was nothing else than a bulwark against them. 23 But most of all he hoped that the subjugation of Lazica would afford this advantage to the Persians, that starting from there they might overrun with no trouble both by land and by sea the countries along the Euxine Sea, as it is called, and thus win over the Cappadocians and the Galatians and Bithynians who adjoin them, and capture Byzantium by a sudden assault with no one opposing them. 24 For these reasons, then, Chosroes was anxious to gain possession of Lazica, but in the Lazi  p523 he had not the least confidence. 25 For since the time when the Romans had withdrawn from Lazica, the common people of the country naturally found the Persian rule burdensome. 26 For the Persians are beyond all other men singular in their ways, and they are excessively rigid as regards the routine of daily life. And their laws are difficult of access for all men, and their requirements quite unbearable. But in comparison with the Lazi the difference of their thinking and living shows itself in an altogether exceptional degree, since the Lazi are Christians of the most thorough-going kind, while all the Persian views regarding religion are the exact opposite of them. 27 And apart from this, salt is produced nowhere in Lazica, nor indeed does grain grow there nor the vine nor any other good thing. 28 But from the Romans along the coast everything is brought in to them by ship, and even so they do not pay gold to the traders, but hides and slaves and whatever else happens to be found there in great abundance; 29 and when they were excluded from this trade, they were, as was to be expected, in a state of constant vexation. When, therefore, Chosroes perceived this, he was eager to anticipate with certainty any move on their part to revolt against him. 30 And upon considering the matter, it seemed to him to be the most advantageous course to put Goubazes, the king of the Lazi, out of the way as quickly as possible, and to move the Lazi in a body out of the country, and then to colonize the land with Persians and certain other nations.

31 When Chosroes had matured these plans, he sent Isdigousnas to Byzantium, ostensibly to act as an envoy, and he picked out five hundred of the most  p525 valorous of the Persians and sent them with him, directing them to get inside the city of Daras, and to take their lodgings in many different houses, and at night to set these all on fire, and, while all the Romans were occupied with this fire, as was natural, to open the gates immediately, and receive the rest of the Persian army into the city. 32 For word had been sent previously to the commander of the city of Nisibis to conceal a large force of soldiers near by and hold them in readiness. For in this way Chosroes thought that they would destroy all the Romans with no trouble, and seizing the city of Daras, would hold it securely. 33 But someone who knew well what was being arranged, a Roman who had come to the Persians as a deserter a little earlier, told everything to George, who was staying there at the time; now this was the same man whom I mentioned in the preceding pages​2 as having persuaded the Persians who were besieged in the fortress of Sisauranon to surrender themselves to the Romans. 34 George therefore met this ambassador at the boundary line between Roman and Persian soil and said that this thing he was doing was not after the fashion of an embassy, and that never had so numerous a body of Persians stopped for the night in a city of the Romans. 35 For he ought, he said, to have left behind all the rest in the town of Ammodios, and must himself enter the city of Daras with some few men. 36 Now Isdigousnas was indignant and appeared to take it ill, because he had been insulted wrongfully, in spite of the fact that he was dispatched on an embassy to the Roman Emperor. 37 But George, paying no heed to him in his fury, saved the city  p527 for the Romans. For he received Isdigousnas into the city with only twenty men.

38 So having failed in this attempt, the barbarian came to Byzantium as if on an embassy, bringing with him his wife and two daughters (for this was his pretext for the crowd which had been gathered about him); but when he came before the emperor, he was unable to say anything great or small about any serious matter, although he wasted no less than ten months in Roman territory. 39 However, he gave the emperor the gifts from Chosroes, as was customary, and a letter, in which Chosroes requested the Emperor Justinian to send word whether he was enjoying the best possible health. 40 Nevertheless the Emperor Justinian received this Isdigousnas with more friendliness and treated him with greater honour than any of the other ambassadors of whom we know. 41 So true was this that, whenever he entertained him, he caused Braducius, who followed him as interpreter, to recline with him on the couch, a thing which had never before happened in all time. 42 For no one ever saw an interpreter become a table-companion of even one of the more humble officials, not to speak of a king. 43 But he both received and dismissed this man in a style more splendid than that which befits an ambassador, although he had undertaken the embassy for no serious business, as I have said. 44 For if anyone should count up the money expended and the gifts which Isdigousnas carried with him when he went away, he will find them amounting to more than ten centenaria of gold. So the plot against the city of Daras ended in this way for Chosroes.

 p529  29 1 His first move against Lazica was as follows. He sent into the country a great amount of lumber suitable for the construction of ships, explaining to no one what his purpose was in so doing, but ostensibly he was sending it in order to set up engines of war on the fortifications of Petra. 2 Next he chose out three hundred able warriors of the Persians, and sent them there under command of Phabrizus, whom I have lately mentioned, ordering him to make away with Goubazes as secretly as possible; as for the rest, he himself would take care. 3 Now when this lumber had been conveyed to Lazica, it happened that it was struck suddenly by lightning and reduced to ashes. And Phabrizus, upon arriving in Lazica with the three hundred, began to contrive so that he might carry out the orders received by him from Chosroes regarding Goubazes. 4 Now it happened that one of the men of note among the Colchians, Pharsanses by name, had quarrelled with Goubazes and in consequence had become exceedingly hostile to him, and now he did not dare at all to go into the presence of the king. 5 When this was learned by Phabrizus, he seemed Pharsanses and in a conference with him discussed the whole project, and enquired of the man in what way he ought to go about the execution of the deed. 6 And it seemed best to them after deliberating together that Phabrizus should go into the city of Petra, and should summon Goubazes there, in order to announce to him what the king had decided concerning the interests of the Lazi. 7 But Pharsanses secretly  p531 revealed to Goubazes what was being prepared. He, accordingly, did not come to Phabrizus at all, but began openly to plan a revolt. 8 Then Phabrizus commanded the other Persians to attend as carefully as they could to the guarding of Petra, and to make everything as secure as possible against a siege, and he himself with the three hundred returned homeward without having accomplished his purpose. 9 And Goubazes reported to the Emperor Justinian the condition in which they were, and begged him to grant forgiveness for what the Lazi had done in the past, and to come to their defence with all his strength, whence they desired to be rid of the Median rule. For if left by themselves the Colchians would not be able to repel the power of the Persians.

10 When the Emperor Justinian heard this, he was overjoyed, and sent seven thousand men under the leadership of Dagisthaeus and a thousand Tzani to the assistance of the Lazi. 11 And when this force reached the land of Colchis, they encamped together with Goubazes and Lazi about the fortifications of Petra and commenced a siege. 12 But since the Persians who were there made a most stalwart defence from the wall, it came about that much time was spent in the siege; for the Persians had put away an ample store of victuals in the town. 13 And Chosroes, being greatly disturbed by these things, dispatched a great army of horse and foot against the besiegers, putting Mermeroes in command of them. And when Goubazes learned of this, he considered the matter together with Dagisthaeus and acted in the manner which I shall presently set forth.

14 The river Boas rises close to the territory of the  p533 Tzani among the Armenians who dwell around Pharangium. And at first its course inclines to the right for a great distance, and its stream is small and can be forded by anyone with no trouble as far as the place where the territory of the Iberians lies on the right, and the end of the Caucasus lies directly opposite. 15 In that place many nations have their homes, and among them the Alani and Abasgi, who are Christians and friends of the Romans from of old; also the Zechi, and after them the Huns who bear the name Sabeiri. 16 But when this river reaches the point which marks the termination of the Caucasus and of Iberia as well, there other waters also are added to it and it becomes much larger and from there flows on bearing the name of Phasis instead of Boas;​3 and it becomes a navigable stream as far as the so‑called Euxine Sea into which it empties; and on either side of it lies Lazica. 17 Now on the right of the stream particularly the whole country for a great distance is populated by the people of Lazica as far as the boundary of Iberia. 18 For all the villages of the Lazi are here beyond the river, and towns have been built there from of old, among which are Archaeopolis, a very strong place, and Sebastopolis, and the fortress of Pitius, and Scanda and Sarapanis over against the boundary of Iberia. Moreover there are two cities of the greatest importance in that region, Rhodopolis and Mocheresis. 19 But on the left of the river, while the country belongs to Lazica as far as one day's journey for an unencumbered traveller, the land is without human habitation. Adjoining the land is the home of the Romans who  p535 are called Pontic. 20 Now it was in the territory of Lazica, in the part which was altogether uninhabited, that the Emperor Justinian founded the city of Petra in my own time. 21 This was the place where John, surnamed Tzibus, established the monopoly, as I have told in the previous narrative,​4 and gave cause to the Lazi to revolt. 22 And as one leaves the city of Petra going southward, the Roman territory commences immediately and there are populous towns there, and one which bears the name of Rhizaeum, also Athens and certain others as far as Trapezus. 23 Now when the Lazi brought in Chosroes, they crossed the River Boas and came to Petra keeping the Phasis on the right, because, as they said, they would thus provide against being compelled to spend much time and trouble in ferrying the men across the River Phasis, but in reality they did not wish to display their own homes to the Persians. 24 And yet Lazica is everywhere difficult to traverse both to the right and to the left of the River Phasis. 25 For there are on both sides of the river exceedingly high and jagged mountains, and as a result the passes are narrow and very long. (The Romans call the roads through such passes "clisurae" when they put their own word into a Greek form.)​5 26 But since at that time Lazica happened to be unguarded, the Persians had reached Petra very easily with the Lazi who were their guides.

27 But on this occasion Goubazes, upon learning of the advance of the Persians, directed Dagisthaeus to send some men to guard with all their strength the pass which is below the River Phasis, and he  p537 bade him not on any account to abandon the siege until they should be able to capture Petra and the Persians in it. 28 He himself meanwhile with the whole Colchian army came to the frontier of Lazica, in order to devote all his strength to guarding the pass there. 29 Now it happened that long before he had persuaded the Alani and Sabeiri to form an alliance with him, and they had agreed for three centenaria not merely to assist the Lazi in guarding the land from plunder, but also to render Iberia so destitute of men that not even the Persians would be able to come in from there in the future. And Goubazes had promised that the emperor would give them this money. 30 So he reported the agreement to the Emperor Justinian and besought him to send this money for the barbarians and afford the Lazi some consolation in their great distress. 31 He also stated that treasury owed him his salary for ten years, for though he was assigned a post among the privy counsellors in the palace, he had received no payment from it since the time when Chosroes came into the land of Colchis. 32 And the Emperor Justinian intended to fulfil this request, but some business came up to occupy his attention and he did not send the money at the proper time. So Goubazes was thus engaged.

33 But Dagisthaeus, being a rather young man and by no means competent to carry on a war against Persia, did not handle the situation properly. 34 For while he ought to have sent certainly the greater part of the army to the pass, and perhaps should have assisted in person in this enterprise, he sent only one hundred men, just as if he were managing a matter of secondary importance. He himself,  p539 moreover, though besieging Petra with the whole army, accomplished nothing, although the enemy were few. For while they had been at the beginning not less than fifteen hundred, 35 they had been shot at by Romans and Lazi in their fighting at the wall for a long time, and had made a display of valour such as no others known to us have made, so that many were falling constantly and they were reduced to an exceedingly small number. 36 So while the Persians, plunged in despair and at a loss what to do, were remaining quiet, the Romans made a trench along the wall for a short space, and the circuit-wall at this point fell immediately. 37 But it happened that inside this space there was a building which did not stand back at all from the circuit-wall, and this reached to the whole length of the fallen portion; 38 thus, taking the place of the wall for the besieged, it rendered them secure none the less. 39 But this was not sufficient greatly to disturb the Romans. For knowing well that by doing the same thing elsewhere they would capture the city with the greatest ease, they became still more hopeful than before. 40 For this reason Dagisthaeus sent word to the emperor of what had come to pass, and proposed that prizes of victory should be in readiness for him, indicating what rewards the emperor should bestow upon himself and his brother; for he would capture Petra after no great time. 41 So the Romans and the Tzani made a most vigorous assault upon the wall, but the Persians unexpectedly withstood them, although only a very few were left. 42 And since the Romans were accomplishing nothing by assaulting the wall, they again turned to digging. And they went so far in this work that the foundations of the  p541 circuit-wall were no longer on solid ground, but stood for the most part over empty space, and, in the nature of things, would fall almost immediately. 43 And if Dagisthaeus had been willing immediately to apply fire to the foundations, I think that the city would have been captured by them straightway; but, as it was, he was awaiting encouragement from the emperor, and so, always hesitating and wasting time, he remained inactive. Such, then, was the course of events in the Roman camp.

30 1 But Mermeroes, after passing the Iberian frontier with the whole Median army, was moving forward with the River Phasis on his right. For he was quite unwilling to go through the country of Lazica, lest any obstacle should confront him there. 2 For he was eager to save the city of Petra and the Persians in it, even though a portion of the circuit-wall had fallen down suddenly. 3 For it had been hanging in the air, as I have said; and volunteers from the Roman army to the number of fifty got inside the city, and raised the shout proclaiming the Emperor Justinian triumphant. 4 These men were led by a young man of Armenian birth, John by name, the son of Thomas whom they used to call by the surname Gouzes. 5 This Thomas had built many of the strongholds about Lazica at the direction of the emperor, and he commanded the soldiers there, seeming to the emperor an intelligent person. 6 Now John, when the Persians joined battle with his men,  p543 was wounded and straightway withdrew to the camp with his followers, since no one else of the Roman army came to support him. 7 Meanwhile the Persian Mirranes who commanded the garrison in Petra, fearing for the city, directed all the Persians to keep guard with the greatest diligence, and he himself went to Dagisthaeus, and addressed him with fawning speeches and deceptive words, agreeing readily to surrender the city not long afterwards. In this way he succeeded in deceiving him so that the Roman army did not immediately enter the city.

8 Now when the army of Mermeroes came to the pass, the Roman garrison, numbering one hundred men, confronted them there and offered a stalwart resistance, and they held in check their opponents who were attempting the entrance. 9 But the Persians by no means withdrew, but those who fell were constantly replaced by others, and they kept advancing, trying with all their strength to force their way in. 10 Among the Persians more than a thousand perished, but at last the Romans were worn out with killing, and, being forced back by the throng, they withdrew, and running up to the heights of the mountain there were saved. 11 Dagisthaeus, upon learning this, straightway abandoned the siege without giving any commands to the army, and proceeded to the River Phasis; and all the Romans followed him, leaving their possessions behind in the camp. 12 And when the Persians observed what was being done, they opened  p545 their gates and came forth, and approached the tents of the enemy in order to capture the camp. 13 But the Tzani, who had not followed after Dagisthaeus, as it happened, rushed out to defend the camp, and they routed the enemy without difficulty and killed many. 14 So the Persians fled inside their fortifications, and the Tzani, after plundering the Roman camp proceeded straight for Rhizaeum. And from there they came to Athens and betook themselves to their homes through the territory of the Trapezuntines.

15 And Mermeroes and the Median army came there on the ninth day after the withdrawal of Dagisthaeus and in the city they found left of the Persian garrison three hundred and fifty men wounded and unfit for fighting, and only one hundred and fifty men unhurt; for all the rest had perished. 16 Now the survivors had in no case thrown the bodies of the fallen outside the fortifications but though stifled by the evil stench, they held out in a manner beyond belief, in order that they might not afford the enemy any encouragement for the prosecution of the siege, by letting them know that most of their number had perished. 17 And Mermeroes remarked by way of a taunt that the Roman state was worthy of tears and lamentation, because they have come to such a state of weakness that they had been unable by any device to capture one hundred and fifty Persians without a wall. 18 And he was eager to build up the portions of the circuit wall which had fallen down; but since at the moment he had neither lime nor any of the other necessary materials for the building ready at hand, he devised the following plan.  p547 19 Filling with sand the linen bags in which the Persians had carried their provisions into the land of Colchis, he laid them in the place of the stones, and the bags thus arranged took the place of the wall. 20 And choosing out three thousand of his able fighting men, he left them there, depositing with them victuals for no great length of time, and commanding them to attend to the building of the fortifications; then he himself with all the rest of the army turned back and marched away.

21 But since, if he went from there by the same road, no means of provisioning his army was available, since he had left everything in Petra which had been brought in by the army from Iberia, he planned to go by another route through the mountains, where he learned that the country was inhabited, in order that by foraging there he might be able to live off the land. 22 In the course of this journey one of the notables among the Lazi, Phoubelis by name, laid an ambush for the Persians while camping for the night, bringing with him Dagisthaeus with two thousand of the Romans; and these men, making a sudden attack, killed some of the Persians who were grazing their horses and after securing the horses as plunder they shortly withdrew. Thus, then, Mermeroes with the Median army departed from there.

23 But Goubazes, upon learning what had befallen the Romans both at Petra and at the pass, did not even so become frightened, nor did he give up the guarding of the pass where he was, considering that their hope centred in that place. 24 For he understood that, even if the Persians had been able by forcing back the Romans on the left of the River Phasis to cross over the pass and get into Petra, they could  p549 thereby inflict no injury upon the land of the Lazi since they were utterly unable to cross the Phasis, in particular because no ships were at their disposal. 25 For in depth this river is not inferior to the deepest rivers, and it spreads out to a great width. 26 Moreover it has such a strong current that when it empties into the sea, it goes on as a separate stream for a very great distance, without mingling at all with the sea‑water. Indeed, those who navigate in those parts are able to draw up drinking water in the midst of the sea. 27 Moreover, the Lazi have erected fortresses all along the right bank of the river in order that, even when the enemy are ferried across in boats, they may not be able to disembark on the land.

28 The Emperor Justinian at this time sent to the nation of the Sabeiri the money which had been agreed upon, and he rewarded Goubazes and the Lazi with additional sums of money. 29 And it happened that long before this time he had sent another considerable army also to Lazica, which had not yet arrived there. The commander of this army was Rhecithancus, from Thrace, a man of discretion and a capable warrior. Such then was the course of these events.

30 Now when Mermeroes got into the mountains, as I have said, he was anxious to fill Petra with provisions from there. For he did not by any means think that the victuals which they had brought in with them would suffice for the garrison there, amounting to three thousand men. 31 But since the supplies they found along the way barely sufficed for the provisioning of that army, which numbered no less than thirty thousand, and since on this account  p551 they were able to send nothing at all of consequence to Petra, upon consideration he found it better for them that the greater part of the army should depart from the land of Colchis, and that some few should remain there, who were to convey to the garrison in Petra the most of the provisions which they might find, while using the rest to maintain themselves comfortably. 32 He therefore selected five thousand men and left them there, appointing as commanders over them Phabrizus and three others. 33 For it seemed to him unnecessary to leave more men there, since there was no enemy at all. And he himself with the rest of the army came into Persarmenia and remained quietly in the country around Doubios.

34 Now the five thousand, upon coming nearer to the frontier of Lazica, encamped in a body beside the Phasis River, and from there they went about in small bands and plundered the neighbouring country. 35 Now when Goubazes perceived this, he sent word to Dagisthaeus to hasten there to his assistance; for it would be possible for them to do the enemy some great harm. 36 And he did as directed, moving forward with the whole Roman army with the River Phasis on the left, until he came to the place where the Lazi were encamped on the opposite bank of the river. 37 Now it happened that the Phasis could be forded at this point, a fact which neither the Romans nor the Persians suspected in the least because of their lack of familiarity with these regions; but the Lazi knew it well, and they made the crossing suddenly and joined the Roman army. And the Persians chose out a thousand men of repute among them and sent them forth, that no one might advance  p553 against the camp to harm it. 38 And two of this force, who had gone out ahead of their fellows to reconnoitre, fell unexpectedly into the hands of the enemy and informed them of the whole situation. 39 The Romans, therefore, and the Lazi fell suddenly upon the thousand men, and not one of them succeeded in escaping, but the most of them were slain, while some also were captured; and through these the men of Goubazes and Dagisthaeus succeeded in learning the numbers of the Median army and the length of the journey to them and the condition in which they then were. 40 They therefore broke camp and marched against them with their whole army, calculating so that they would fall upon them well on in the night; their own force amounted to fourteen thousand men. 41 Now the Persians, having no thought of an enemy in their minds, were enjoying a long sleep; for they supposed that the river was impassable, and that the thousand men, with no one to oppose them, were making a long march somewhere. 42 But the Romans and Lazi at early dawn unexpectedly fell upon them, and they found some still buried in slumber and others just roused from sleep and lying defenceless upon their beds. 43 Not one of them, therefore, thought of resistance, and the majority were caught and killed, while some also were captured by the enemy, among whom happened to be one of the commanders; only a few escaped in the darkness and were saved. 44 And the Romans and Lazi captured the camp and all the standards, and they also secured many weapons and a great deal of money as plunder, besides great numbers of horses and mules. 45 And pursuing them for a very great distance they came well into Iberia. There they happened upon  p555 certain others of the Persians also and slew a great number. 46 Thus the Persians departed from Lazica; and the Romans and Lazi found there all the supplies, including great quantities of flour, which the barbarians had brought in from Iberia, in order to transport them to Petra, and they burned them all. 47 And they left a large number of Lazi in the pass, so that it might no longer be possible for the Persians to carry in supplies to Petra, and they returned with all the plunder and the captives. 48 And the fourth year of the truce between the Romans and Persians came to an end, being the twenty-third year of the reign of the Emperor Justinian.

49 And John the Cappadocian one year before this came to Byzantium at the summons of the emperor. For at that time the Empress Theodora had reached the term of her life. 50 However, he was quite unable to recover any of his former dignities, but he continued to hold the priestly honour against his will; and yet the vision had often come to the man that he would arrive at royalty. 51 For the divine power is accustomed to tempt those whose minds are not solidly grounded by nature, by holding before their vision, on great and lofty hopes, that which is counted splendid among men. 52 At any rate the marvel-mongers were always predicting to this John many such imaginary things, and especially that he was bound to be clothed in the garment of Augustus. 53 Now there was a certain priest in Byzantium, Augustus by name, who guarded the treasures of temple of Sophia. 54 So when John had been shorn  p557 and declared worthy of the priestly dignity by force, inasmuch as he had no garment becoming a priest, he had been compelled by those who were in charge of this business to put on the cloak and the tunic of this Augustus who was near by, and in this, I suppose, his prophecy reached its fulfilment.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cf. Book I.xii.5 ff.

2 Book II.xix.23.

3 Procopius seems to have confused two separate and distinct rivers.

4 Cf. Book II.xv.11.

5 Latin clausura, "a narrow shut‑in road."

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 14 Sep 20