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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Vandal Wars


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. II) Procopius
Vandal Wars

Book II (continued)

 p285  10 1 And Solomon took over the army in Libya; but in view of the fact that the Moors had risen against him, as has been told previously, and that everything was in suspend, he was at a loss how to treat the stillness. 2 For it was reported that the barbarians had destroyed the soldiers in Byzacium and Numidia and that they were pillaging and plundering everything there. 3 But what disturbed most of all both him and all Carthage was the fate which befell Aïgan, the Massagete, and Rufinus, the Thracian, in Byzacium. 4 For both were men of great repute both in the household of Belisarius and in the Roman army, one of them, Aïgan, being among the spearmen of Belisarius, while the other, as the most courageous of all, was accustomed to carry the standard of the general in battle; such an officer the Romans call "bandifer."1 5 Now at the time referred to these two men were commanding detachments of cavalry in Byzacium, and when they saw the Moors plundering everything before them and making all the Libyans captives, they watched in a narrow pass with their followers for those who were escorting the booty, and killed them and took away all the captives. 6 And when a report of this came to the commanders of the barbarians, Coutzinas and Esdilasas and Iourphouthes and Medisinissas, who were not far away from this pass, they moved against them with their whole army in the late afternoon. 7 And the Romans, being a very few men and shut off  p287 in a narrow place in the midst of many thousands, were not able to ward off their assailants. For wherever they might turn, they were always shot at from the rear. 8 Then, indeed, Rufinus and Aïgan with some few men ran to the top of a rock which was near by and from there defended themselves against the barbarians. 9 Now as long as they were using their bows, the enemy did not dare co directly to a hand-to‑hand struggle with them, but they kept hurling their javelins among them; but when all the arrows of the Romans were now exhausted, the Moors closed with them, and they defended themselves with their swords as well as the circumstances permitted. 10 But since they were overpowered by the multitude of the barbarians, Aïgan fell there with his whole body hacked to pieces, and Rufinus was seized by the enemy and led away. 11 But straightway one of the commanders, Medisinissas, fearing lest he should escape and again make trouble for them, cut off his head and taking it to his home shewed it to his wives, for it was a remarkable sight on account of the extraordinary size of the head and the abundance of hair. 12 And now, since the narration of the history has brought me to this point, it is necessary to tell from the beginning whence the nations of the Moors came to Libya and how they settled there.

13 When the Hebrews had withdrawn from Egypt and had come near the boundaries of Palestine, Moses, a wise man, who was their leader on the journey, died, and the leadership was passed on to Joshua, the son of Nun, who led this people into Palestine, and, by displaying a valour in war greater than that natural to a man, gained possession of the land. 14 And after overthrowing all the nations he  p289 easily won the cities, and he seemed to be altogether invincible. 15 Now at that time the whole country along the sea from Sidon as far as the boundaries of Egypt was called Phoenicia. 16 And one king in ancient times held sway over it, as is agreed by all who have written the earliest accounts of the Phoenicians. 17 In that country there dwelt very populous tribes, the Gergesites and the Jebusites and some others with other names by which they are called in the history of the Hebrews.2 18 Now when these nations saw that the invading general was an irresistible prodigy, they emigrated from their ancestral homes and made their way to Egypt, which adjoined their country. 19 And finding there no place sufficient for them to dwell inn, since there has been a great population in Aegypt from ancient times, they proceeded to Libya. 20 And they established numerous cities and took possession of the whole of Libya as far as the Pillars of Heracles, and there they lived even up to my time, using the Phoenician tongue. 21 They also built a fortress in Numidia, where now is the city called Tigisis. 22 In that place are two columns made of white stone near by the great spring, having Phoenician letters cut in them which say in the Phoenician tongue: "We are they who fled from before the face of Joshua, the robber, the son of Nun." 23 There were also other nations settled in Libya before the Moors, who on account of having been established there from of old were said to be children of the soil. 24 And because of this they said that Antaeus, their king, who wrestled with  p291 Heracles in Clipea,3 was a son of the earth. 25 And in later times those who removed from Phoenicia with Dido came to the inhabitants of Libya as to kinsmen. And they willingly allowed them to found and hold Carthage. 26 But as time went on Carthage became a powerful and populous city. 27 And a battle took place between them and their neighbours, who, as has been said, had come from Palestine before them and are called Moors at the present time, and the Carthaginians defeated them and compelled them to live a very great distance away from Carthage. 28 Later on the Romans gained the supremacy over all of them in war, and settled the Moors at the extremity of the inhabited land of Libya, and made the Carthaginians and the other Libyans subject and tributary to themselves. 29 And after this the Moors won many victories over the Vandals and gained possession of the land now called Mauretania, extending from Gadira as far as the boundaries of Caesarea,4 as well as the most of Libya which remained. Such, then, is the story of the settlement of the Moors in Libya.

11 1 Now when Solomon heard what had befallen Rufinus and Aïgan, he made ready for war and wrote as follows to the commanders of the Moors: 2 "Other men than you have even before this had the ill  p293 fortune to lose their senses and to be destroyed, men who had no means of judging beforehand how their folly would turn out. 3 But as for you, who have the example near at hand in your neighbours, the Vandals, what in the world has happened to you that you have decided to raise your hands against the great emperor and throw away your own security, 4 and that too when you have given the most dread oaths in writing and have handed over your children as pledges to the agreement? 5 Is it that you have determined to make a kind of display of the fact that you have no consideration either for God or for good faith or for kinship itself or for safety or for any other thing at all? 6 And yet, if such is your practice in matters which concern the divine, in what ally do you put your trust in marching against the emperor of the Romans? 7 And if you are taking the field to the destruction of your children, what in the world is it in behalf of which you have decided to endanger yourselves? 8 But if any repentance has by now entered your hearts for what has already taken place, write to us, that we may satisfactorily arrange with you touching what has already been done; but if your madness has not yet abated, expect a Roman war, which will come upon you together with the oaths which you have violated and the wrong which you are doing to your own children."

9 Such was the letter which Solomon wrote. And the Moors replied as follows: "Belisarius deluded us with great promises and by this means persuade us to become subjects of the Emperor Justinian; but the Romans, while giving us no share in any good thing, expected to have us, though pinched with  p295 hunger, as their friends and allies. 10 Therefore it is more fitting that you should be called faithless than that the Moors should be. 11 For the men who break treaties are not those who, when manifestly wronged, bring accusation against their neighbours and turn away from them, but those who expect to keep others in faithful alliance with them and then do them violence. 12 And men make God their enemy, not when they march against others in order to recover their own possessions, but when they get themselves into danger of war by encroaching upon the possessions of others. 13 And as for children, that will be your concern, who are not permitted to marry more than one wife; but with us, who have, it may be, fifty wives living with each of us, offspring of children can never fail."

14 When Solomon had read this letter, he decided to lead his whole army against the Moors. So after arranging matters in Carthage, he proceeded with all his troops to Byzacium. 15 And when he reached the place which is called Mammes,5 where the four Moorish commanders, whom I have mentioned a little before,6 were encamped, he made a stockade for himself. 16 Now there are lofty mountains there, and a level space near the foothills of the mountains, where the barbarians had made preparations for the battle and arranged their fighting order as follows. 17 They formed a circle of their camels, just as, in the previous narrative,7 I have said Cabaon did, making the front about twelve feet deep. 18 And they placed the women with the children within the circle; (for among the Moors it is customary to take also a few  p297 women, with their children, to battle, and these make the stockades and huts for them and tend the horses skilfully, and have charge of the camels and the food; 19 they also sharpen the iron weapons and take upon themselves many of the tasks in connection with the preparation for battle); and the men themselves took their stand on foot in between the legs of the camels, having shields and swords and small spears which they are accustomed to hurl like javelins. And some of them with their horses remained quietly among the mountains. 20 But Solomon disregarded one half of the circle of the Moors, which was towards the mountain, placing no one there. 21 For he feared lest the enemy on the mountain should come down and those in the circle should turn about and thus make the men drawn up there exposed to attack on both sides in the battle. 22 But against the remainder of the circle he drew up his whole army, and since he saw the most of them frightened and without courage, on account of what had befallen Aïgan and Rufinus, and wishing to admonish them to be of good cheer, he spoke as follows: 23 "Men who have campaigned with Belisarius, let no fear of these men enter your minds, and, if Moors gathered to the number of fifty thousand have already defeated five hundred Romans, let not this stand for you as an example. 24 But call to mind your own valour, and consider that while the Vandals defeated the Moors, you have become masters of the Vandals in war without any effort, and that it is not right that those who have conquered the greater  p299 should be terrified before those who are inferior. 25 And indeed of all men the Moorish nation seems to be the most poorly equipped for war's struggle. 26 For the most of them have no armour at all, and those who have shields to hold before themselves have only small ones which are not well made and are not able to turn aside what strikes against them. 27 And after they have thrown those two small spears, if they do not accomplish anything, they turn of their own accord to flight. 28 So that it is possible for you, after guarding against the first attack of the barbarians, to win the victory with no trouble at all. 29 But as to your equipment of arms, you see, of course, how great is the difference between it and that of your opponents. 30 And apart from this, both valour of heart and strength of body and experience in war and confidence because you have already conquered all your enemies, — all these advantages you have; but the Moors, being deprived of all these things, put their trust only in their own great throng. 31 And it is easier for a few who are most excellently prepared to conquer a multitude of men not good at warfare than it is for the multitude to defeat them. 32 For while the good soldier has his confidence in himself, the cowardly man generally finds that the very number of those arrayed with him produces a want of room that is full of peril. 33 Furthermore, you are warranted in despising these camels, which cannot fight for the enemy, and when struck by our missiles will, in all probability, become the cause of considerable confusion and disorder among them. 34 And the eagerness for battle which the enemy have acquitted on account of their former success will be your ally in the fight. 35 For daring, when it is kept  p301 commensurate with one's power, will perhaps be of some benefit even to those who make use of it, but when it exceeds one's power it leads into danger. 36 Bearing these things in mind and despising the enemy, observe silence and order; for by taking thought for these things we shall win the victory over the disorder of the barbarians more easily and with less labour." Thus spoke Solomon.

37 And the commanders of the Moors also, seeing the barbarians terrified at the orderly array of the Romans, and wishing to recall center host to confidence again, exhorted them in this wise: 38 "That the tense have human bodies, the kind that yield when struck with iron, we have been taught, O fellow-soldiers, by those of them whom we have recently met, the best of them all, so of whom we have overwhelmed with our spears and killed, and the others we have seized and made our prisoners of war. 39 And not only is this so, but it is now possible to see also that we boast great superiority over them in numbers. 40 And, furthermore, the struggle for us involves the very greatest things, either to be masters of all Libya or to be slaves to these braggarts. 41 It is therefore necessary for us to be in the highest degree brave men at the present time. For it is not expedient that those whose all is at stake should be other than exceedingly courageous. 42 And it behoves us to despise the equipment of arms which the enemy have. For if they come on foot against us, they will not be able to move rapidly, but will be worsted by the agility of the Moors, and their cavalry will be terrified both by the sight of the camels, and by the noise they make, which, rising above the general tumult of battle, will,  p303 in all likelihood, throw them into disorder. 43 And if anyone by taking into consideration the victory of the Romans over the Vandals thinks them not to be withstood, he is mistaken in his judgment. 44 For the scales of war are, in the nature of the case, turned by the valour of the commander or by fortune; and Belisarius, who was responsible for their gaining the mastery over the Vandals, has now, thanks to Heaven, been removed out of our way. 45 And, besides, we too have many times conquered the Vandals and stripped them of their power, and have thus made the victory over them a more feasible and an easier risk for the Romans. 46 And now we have reason to hope to conquer this enemy also if you shew yourselves brave men in the struggle."

47 After the officers of the Moors had delivered this exhortation, they began the engagement. And at first there arose great disorder in the Roman army. 48 For their horses were offended by the noise made by the camels and by the sight of them, and reared up and threw off their riders and the most of them fled in complete disorder. 49 And in the meantime the Moors were making sallies and hurling all the small spears which they had in their hands, thus causing the Roman army to be filled with tumult, and they were hitting them with their missiles while they were unable to defend themselves or to remain in position. 50 But after this, Solomon, observing what was happening, leaped down from his horse himself first and caused all the others to do the same. 51 And when they had dismounted, he commanded the others to stand still, and, holding their shields before them and receiving the missiles sent by the enemy, to remain in their position; but he himself, leading forward not  p305 less than five hundred men, made an attack upon the other portion of the circle.8 52 These men he commanded to draw their swords and kill the camels which stood at that point. 53 Then the Moors who were stationed there beat a hasty retreat, and the men under Solomon killed about two hundred camels, and straightway, when the camels fell, the circle became accessible to the Romans. 54 And they advanced on the run into the middle of the circle where the women of the Moors were sitting; meanwhile the barbarians in cistern withdrew to the mountain which was close by, and as they fled in complete disorder the Romans followed behind and killed them. 55 And it is said that ten thousand of the Moors perished in the encounter, while all the women together with the children were made slaves. 56 And the soldiers secured as booty all the camels which they had not killed. Thus the Romans with all their plunder went to Carthage to celebrate the festival of triumph.

12 1 But the barbarians, being moved with anger, once more took the field in a body against the Romans, leaving behind not one of their number, and they began to overrun the country in Byzacium, sparing none of any age of those who fell in their way. 2 And when Solomon had just marched into Carthage it was reported that the barbarians with a great host had come into Byzacium and were plundering everything there. He therefore departed quickly with his  p307 whole army and marched against them. 3 And when he reached Bourgaon, where the enemy were encamped, he remained some days in camp over against them, in order that, as soon as the Moors should get on level ground, he might begin the battle. 4 But since they remained on the mountain, he marshalled his army and arrayed it for battle; the Moors, however, had no intention of ever again engaging in battle with the Romans in level country (for already an irresistible fear had come over them), but on the mountain they hoped to overcome them more easily. 5 Now Mt. Bourgaon is for the most part precipitous and on the side toward the east extremely difficult to ascend, but on the west it is easily accessible and rises in an even slope. 6 And there are two lofty peaks which rise up, forming between them a sort of vale, very narrow, but of incredible depth. 7 Now the barbarians left the peak of the mountain unoccupied, thinking that on this side no hostile movement would be made against them; and they left equally unprotected the space about the foot of the mountain where Bourgaon was easy of access. 8 But at the middle of the ascent they made their camp and remained there, in order that, if the enemy should ascend and begin battle with them, they might at the outset, being on higher ground, shoot down upon their heads. 9 They also had on the mountain many horses, prepared either for flight or for the pursuit, if they should win the battle.

10 Now when Solomon saw that the Moors were unwilling to fight another battle on the level ground, and also that the Roman army was opposed to making  p309 a siege in a desert place, he was eager to come to an encounter with the enemy on Bourgaon. 11 But inasmuch as he saw that the soldiers were stricken with terror because of the multitude of their opponents, which was many times greater than it had been in the previous battle, he called together the army and spoke as follows: 12 "The fear which the enemy feel toward you needs no other arraignment, but voluntarily pleads guilty, bringing forward, as it does, the testimony of its own witness. 13 For you see, surely, our opponents gathered in so many tens and tens of thousands, but not daring to come down to the plain and engage with us, unable to feel confidence even in their own selves, but taking refuge in the difficulty of this place. 14 It is therefore not even necessary to address any exhortation to you, at the present time at least. For those to whom both the circumstances and the weakness of the enemy give courage, need not, I think, the additional assistance of words. 15 But of this one thing it will be needful to remind you, that if we fight out this engagement also with brave hearts, it will remain for us, having defeated the Vandals and reduced the Moors to the same fortune, to enjoy all the good things of Libya, having no thought whatever of an enemy in our minds. 16 But as to preventing the enemy from shooting down upon our heads, and providing that no harm come to us from the nature of the place, I myself shall make provision."

17 After making this exhortation Solomon commanded Theodorus, who led the "excubitores"9 (for thus the  p311 Romans call their guards), to take with him a thousand infantrymen toward the end of the afternoon and with some of the standards to go up secretly on the east side of Bourgaon, where the mountain is most difficult of ascent and, one might say, impracticable, commanding him that, when they arrived near the crest of the mountain, they should remain quietly there and pass the rest of the night, and that at sunrise they should appear above the enemy and displaying the standards commence to shoot. 18 And Theodorus did as directed. And when it was well on in the night, they climbed up the precipitous slope and reached a point near the peak without being noticed either by the Moors or even by any of the Romans; 19 for they were being sent out, it was said, as an advance guard, to prevent anyone from coming to the camp from the outside to do mischief. And at early dawn Solomon with the whole army went up against the enemy to the outskirts of Bourgaon. 20 And when morning had come and the enemy were seen at hand, the soldiers were completely at a loss, seeing the summit of the mountain no longer unoccupied, as formerly, but covered with men who were displaying Roman standards; for already some daylight was beginning to shew. 21 But when those on the peak began their attack, the Romans perceived that the army was their own and the barbarians that they had been placed between their enemy's forces, and being shot at from both sides and having no opportunity to ward off the enemy, they thought no more of resistance but turned, all of them, to a  p313 hasty flight. 22 And since they could neither run up to the top of Bourgaon, which was held by the enemy, nor go to the plain anywhere over the lower slopes of the mountain, since their opponents were pressing upon them from that side, they went with a great rush to the vale and the unoccupied peak, some even with their horses, others on foot. 23 But since they were a numerous throng fleeing in great fear and confusion, they kept killing each other, and as they rushed down into the vale, which was exceedingly deep, those who were first were being killed constantly, but their plight could not be perceived by those who were coming up behind. 24 And when the vale became full of dead horses and men, and the bodies made a passage from Bourgaon to the other mountain, then the remainder were saved by making the crossing over the bodies. 25 And there perished in this struggle, among the Moors fifty thousand, as was declared by those of them who survived, but among the Romans no one at all, nor indeed did anyone receive even a wound, either at the hand of the enemy or by any accident happening to him, but they all enjoyed this victory unscathed. 26 All of the leaders of the barbarians also made their escape, except Esdilasas, who received pledges and surrendered himself to the Romans. 27 So great, however, was the multitude of women and children whom the Romans seized as booty, that they would sell a Moorish boy for the price of a sheep to any who wished to buy. 28 And then the remainder of the Moors recalled the saying of their women, to the effect that their nation would be destroyed by a beardless man.10

 p315  29 So the Roman army, together with its booty and with Esdilasas, marched into Carthage; and those of the barbarians who had not perished decided that it was impossible to settle in Byzacium, lest they, being few, should be treated with violence by the Libyans who were their neighbours, and with their leaders they went into Numidia and made themselves suppliants of Iaudas, who ruled the Moors in Aurasium.11 30 And the only Moors who remained in Byzacium were those led by Antalas, who during this time had kept faith with the Romans and together with his subjects had remained unharmed.

13 1 But during the time when these things were happening in Byzacium, Iaudas, who ruled the Moors in Aurasium, bringing more than thirty thousand fighting men, was plundering the country of Numidia and enslaving many of the Libyans. 2 Now it so happened that Althias12 in Centuriae was keeping guard over the forts there; and he, being eager to take from the enemy some of their captives, went outside the fort with the Huns who were under his command, to the number of about seventy. 3 And reasoning that he was not able to cope with such a great multitude of Moors with only seventy men, he wished to occupy some narrow pass, so that, while the enemy were marching through it, he might be able to snatch up some of the captives. 4 And since there are no such roads there, because flat plains  p317 extend in every direction, he devised the following plan.

5 There is a city not far distant, named Tigisis, then an unwalled place, but having a great spring at a place which was very closely shut in. 6 Althias therefore decided to take possession of this spring, reasoning that the enemy, compelled by thirst, would surely come there; for there is no other water at all close by. 7 Now it seemed to all upon considering the disparity of the armies that his plan was insane. 8 But the Moors came up feeling very much wearied and greatly oppressed by the heat in the summer weather, and naturally almost overcome by an intense thirst, and they made for the spring with a great rush, having no thought of meeting any obstacle. 9 But when they found the water held by the enemy, they all halted, at a loss what to do, the greatest part of their strength having been already expended because of their desire for water. 10 Iaudas therefore had a parley with Althias and agreed to give him the third part of the booty, on concerned that the Moors should all drink. 11 But Althias was by no means willing to accept the proposal, but demanded that he fight with him in single combat for the booty. 12 And this challenge being accepted by Iaudas, it was agreed that if it so fell out that Althias was overcome, the Moors should drink. 13 And the whole Moorish army was rejoiced, being in good hope, since Althias was lean not tall of body, while Iaudas was the finest and most warlike of all the Moors. 14 Now both of them were, as it happened, mounted. And Iaudas hurled his spear first, but as  p319 it was coming toward him Althias succeeded with amazing skill in catching it with his right hand, thus filling Iaudas and the enemy with consternation. 15 And with his left hand he drew his bow instantly, for he was ambidextrous, and hit and killed the horse of Iaudas. 16 And as he fell, the Moors brought another horse for their commander, upon which Iaudas leaped and straightway fled; and the Moorish army followed him in complete disorder. 17 And Althias, by thus taking from them the captives and the whole of the booty, won a great name in consequence of this deed throughout all Libya. Such, then, was the course of these events.

18 And Solomon, after delaying a short time in Carthage, led his army toward Mt. Aurasium and Iaudas, alleging against him that, while the Roman army was occupied in Byzacium, he had plundered many of the places in Numidia. And this was true. 19 Solomon was also urged on against Iaudas by the other commanders of the Moors, Massonas and Ortaïas, because of their personal enmity; Massonas, because his father Mephanias, who was the father-in‑law of Iaudas, had been treacherously slain by him, and Ortaïas, because Iaudas, together with Mastinas, who ruled over the barbarians in Mauretania, had purposed to drive him and all the Moors whom he ruled from the land where they had dwelt from of old. 20 So the Roman army, under the leadership of Solomon, and those of the Moors who came into alliance with them, made their camp on the river Abigas, which flows along by Aurasium and waters the land there. 21 But to Iaudas it seemed inexpedient to array himself against the enemy in the  p321 plain, but he made his preparations on Aurasium in such a way as seemed to him would offer most difficulty to his assailants. 22 This mountain is about thirteen days' journey distant from Carthage, and the largest of all known to us. 23 For its circuit is a three days' journey for an unencumbered traveller. And for one wishing to go upon it the mountain is difficult of access and extremely wild, but as one ascends and reaches the level ground plains are seen and many springs which form rivers and a great number of altogether wonderful parks. 24 And the grain which grows here, and every kind of fruit, is double the size of that produced in all the rest of Libya. 25 And there are fortresses also on this mountain, which are neglected, by reason of the fact that they do not seem necessary to the inhabitants. 26 For since the time when the Moors wrested Aurasium from the Vandals,13 not a single enemy had until now ever come there or so much as caused the barbarians to be afraid that they would come, but even the populous city of Tamougadis, situated against the mountain on the east at the beginning of the plain, was emptied of its population by the Moors and razed to the ground, in order that the enemy should not only not be able to encamp there, to be sundown even have the city as an excuse for coming near the mountain. 27 And the Moors of that place held also the land to the west of Aurasium, a tract both extensive and fertile. 28 And beyond these dwelt other nations of the Moors, who were ruled by Ortaïas, who had come, as was stated above, as an ally to Solomon and the Romans. 29 And I have heard this man say that beyond the country which he ruled there was no  p323 habitation of men, but desert land extending to a great distance, and that beyond that there are men, not black-skinned like the Moors, but very white in body and fair-haired. So much, they, for these things.

30 And Solomon, after bribing the Moors allies with great sums of money and earnestly exhorting them, began the ascent of Mt. Aurasium with the whole army arrayed as for battle, thinking that on that day he would do battle with the enemy and just as he was have the matter out with them according as fortune would study. 31 Accordingly the soldiers did not even take with them any food, except a little, for themselves and their horses. 32 And after proceeding over very rough ground for about fifty stades, they made a bivouac. 33 And covering a similar distance each day they came on the seventh day to a place where there was an ancient fortress and an ever-flowing stream. The place is called "Shield Mountain" by the Romans in their own tongue.14 34 Now it was reported to them that the enemy were encamped there, and when they reached this place and encountered no enemy, they made camp and, preparing themselves battle, remained there; and three days' time was spent by them in that place. 35 And since the enemy kept altogether out of their way, and their provisions had failed, the thought came to Solomon and to the whole army that there had been some plot against them on the part of the Moors who were their allies; 36 for these Moors were not unacquainted with the conditions of travel on Aurasium, and understood,  p325 probably, what had been decided upon by the enemy; they were stealthily going out to meet them each day, it was said, and had also frequently been Shawnee to their country by the Romans to reconnoitre, and had decided to make nothing but false reports, in order, no doubt, that the Romans, with no prior knowledge of conditions, might make the ascent of Mt. Aurasium without supplies for a longer time or without preparing themselves otherwise in the way which would be best. 37 And, all things considered, the Romans were suspicious that an ambush had been set for them by men who were their allies and began to be afraid, reasoning that the Moors are said to be by nature untrustworthy at all times and especially whenever they march as allies with the Romans or any others against Moors. 38 So, remembering these things, and at the same time being pinched by hunger, they withdrew from there with all speed without accomplishing anything, and, upon reaching the plain, constructed a stockade.

39 After this Solomon established a part of the army in Numidia to serve as a guard and with the remainder went to Carthage, since it was already winter. 40 There he arranged and set everything in order, so that at the beginning of spring he might again march against Aurasium with a larger equipment and, if possible, without Moors as allies. 41 At the same time he prepared generals and another army and a fleet of ships for an expedition against the Moors who dwell in the island of Sardinia; 42 for this island is a large one and flourishing besides, being about two thirds as large as Sicily (for the perimeter of the island makes a journey of twenty days for an unencumbered traveller); and lying, as  p327 it does, between Rome and Carthage, it was oppressed by the Moors who dwelt there. 43 For the Vandals in ancient times, being enrolled against these barbarians, sent so few of them with their wives to Sardinia and confined them there. 44 But as time went on they seized the mountains which are near Caranalis, at first making plundering expeditions secretly upon those who dwelt round about, but when they became no less than three thousand, they even made their raids openly, and with no desire for concealment plundered all the country there, being called Barbaricini15 by the natives. 45 It was against these barbarians, therefore, that Solomon was preparing the fleet during that winter. Such, then, was the course of events in Libya.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cf. Book IV.ii.1.

2 The Canaanites of the Old Testament.

3 i.e.Clypea, now Kalibia, on the Carthaginian coast.

4 i.e., from Tangier, opposite Cadiz, to Algiers. On Caesarea see IV.v.5 and note.

5 "On the borders of Mauretania" according to Procopius, De aedificiis, VI.6.18.

6 Chap. x.6.

7 Book III.viii.25, 26.

8 The side toward the mountains; cf. § 20.

9 In the late Empire the excubitores, 300 in number, constituted the select guard of the palace. Their commander, comes excubitorum, held high rank at court; cf. VIII.xxi.1, where we are told that Belisarius held this position, and Arcana, 6.10, where Justin, afterwards emperor, is mentioned.

10 Cf. chap. viii.14. Procopius has explained in III.xi.6 that Solomon was a eunuch.

11 See III.viii.5.

12comes foederatorum, mentioned in III.xi.6.

13 Book III.viii.5.

14 i.e. Clypea. Not the place mentioned in IV.x.24.

15 The region in the interior of Sardinia called Barbargia or Barbagia still preserves this name. But Procopius' explanation of the origin of the barbarian settlers there has not been generally accepted.

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