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II.10‑13

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Vandal Wars

of
Procopius

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1916

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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II.21‑28

(Vol. II) Procopius
Vandal Wars

Book II (continued)

 p327  14 1 And in Italy during these same times the following events took place. Belisarius was sent against Theodatus and the Gothic nation by the Emperor Justinian, and sailing to Sicily he secured this island with no trouble. 2 And the manner in which this was done will be told in the following pages, when the history leads me to the narration of the events in Italy. 3 For it has not seemed to me out of order first to record all the events which happened in Libya and after that to turn to the portion of the history touching Italy and the Goths.

4 During this winter Belisarius remained in Syracuse  p329 and Solomon in Carthage. 5 And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed. 6 And from the time when this thing happened men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death. And it was the time when Justinian was in the tenth year of his reign.

7 At the opening of spring, when the Christians were celebrating the feast which they call Easter, there arose a mutiny among the soldiers in Libya. I shall now tell how it arose and to what end it came.

8 After the Vandals had been defeated in the battle, as I have told previously,​1 the Roman soldiers took their daughters and wives and made them their own by lawful marriage. 9 And each one of these kept urging her husband to lay claim to the possession of the lands which she had owned previously, saying that it was not right or fitting if, while living with the Vandals, they had enjoyed these lands, but after entering into marriage with the conquers of the Vandals they were then to be deprived of their possessions. 10 And having these things in mind, the soldiers did not think that they were bound to yield the lands of the Vandals to Solomon, who wished to register them as belonging to the commonwealth and to the emperor's house and said that while it was not unreasonable that the slaves and all other things of value should go as booty to the soldiers, the land itself belonged to the emperor  p331 and the empire of the Romans, which had nourished them and caused them to be called soldiers and to be such, not in order to win for themselves such land as they should wrest from the barbarians who were trespassing on the Roman empire, but that this land might come to the commonwealth, from which both they and all others secured their maintenance. 11 This was one cause of the mutiny. And there was a second, concurrent, cause also, which was no less, perhaps even more, effective in throwing all Libya into confusion. It was as follows. 12 In the Roman army there were, as it happened, not less than one thousand soldiers of the Arian faith; and the most of these were barbarians, some of these being of the Erulian​2 nation. 13 Now these men were urged on to the mutiny by the priests of the Vandals with the greatest zeal. For it was not possible for them to worship God in their accustomed way, but they were excluded both from all sacraments and from all sacred rites. 14 For the Emperor Justinian did not allow any Christian who did not espouse the orthodox faith to receive baptism or any other sacrament. 15 But most of all they were Agiad by the feast of Easter, during which they found themselves unable to baptize​3 their own children with the sacred water, or do anything else pertaining to the feast. 16 And as if these things were not sufficient for Heaven, in its eagerness to ruin the fortunes of the Romans, it so fell out that still another thing provided an occasion for those who were planning the mutiny. 17 For the Vandals whom Belisarius took to Byzantium were  p333 placed by the emperor in five cavalry squadrons, in order that they might be settled permanently in the cities of the East; he also called them the "Vandals of Justinian," and ordered them to betake themselves in ships to the East. 18 Now the majority of these Vandal soldiers reached the East, and, filling up the squadrons to which they had been assigned, they have been fighting against the Persians up to the present time; but the remainder, about four hundred in number, after reaching Lesbos, waiting until the sails were bellied with the wind, forced the sailors to submission and sailed on till they reached the Peloponnesus. 19 And setting sail from there, they came to land in Libya at a desert place, where they abandoned the ships, and, after equipping themselves, went up to Mt. Aurasium and Mauretania. 20 Elated by their accession, the soldiers who were planning the mutiny formed a still closer conspiracy among themselves. 21 And there was much talk about this in the camp and oaths were already being taken. And when the rest were about to celebrate the Easter festival, the Arians, being vexed by their exclusion from the sacred rites, purposed to attack them vigorously.

22 And it seemed best to their leading men to kill Solomon in the sanctuary on the first day of the feast, which they call the great day. 23 And they were fortunate enough not to be found out, since no one disclosed this plan. For though there were many shot shared in the horrible plot, no word of it was divulged to any hostile person as the orders were passed around, and thus they succeeded completely in escaping detection, for even the spearmen and guards of Solomon for the most part and the  p335 majority of his domestics had become associated with this mutiny because of their desire for the lands. 24 And when the appointed day had now come, Solomon was sitting in the sanctuary, utterly ignorant of his own misfortune. 25 And those who had decided to kill the man went in, and, urging one another with nods, they put their hands to their swords, but they did nothing nevertheless, either because they were filled with awe of the rites then being performed in the sanctuary, or because the fame of the general caused them to be ashamed, or perhaps also some divine power prevented them.

26 And when the rites on that day had been completely performed and all were betaking themselves homeward, the conspirators began to blame one another with having turned soft-hearted at no fitting time, and they postponed the plot for a second attempt on the following day. 27 And on the next day they acted in the same manner and departed from the sanctuary without doing anything, and entering the market place, they reviled each other openly, and every single man of them called tanks the next one soft-hearted and a demoralizer of the band, not hesitating to censure strongly the respect felt for Solomon. 28 For this reason, indeed, they thought that they could no longer without danger remain in Carthage, inasmuch as they had disclosed their plot to the whole city. 29 The most of them, accordingly, went out of the city quickly and began to plunder the lands and to treat as enemies all the Libyans whom they met; but the rest remained in the city, giving no indication of what their own intentions were but pretending ignorance of the plot which had been formed.

 p337  30 But Solomon, upon hearing what was being done by the soldiers in the country, became greatly disturbed, and ceased not exhorting those in the city and urging them to loyalty toward the emperor. 31 And they at first seemed to receive his words with favour, but on the fifth day, when they heard that those who had gone out were secure in their power, they gathered in the hippodrome and insulted Solomon and the other commanders without restraint. 32 And Theodorus, the Cappadocian, being sent there by Solomon, attempted to dissuade them and win them by kind words, but they listened to nothing of what was said. 33 Now this Theodorus had a certain hostility against Solomon and was suspected of plotting against him. 34 For this reason the mutineers straightway elected him general over them by acclamation, and with him they went with all speed to the palace carrying weapons and raising a great tumult. 35 There they killed another Theodorus, who was commander of the guards, a man of the greatest excellence in every respect and an especially capable warrior. 36 And when they had tasted this blood, they began immediately to kill everyone they met, whether Libyan or Roman, if he were known to Solomon or had money in his hands; and then they turned to plundering, going up into the houses which had no soldiers to defend them and seizing all the most valuable things, until the coming of night, and drunkenness following their toil, made them cease.

37 And Solomon succeeded in escaping unnoticed  p339 into the great sanctuary which is in the palace, and Martinus joined him there in the late afternoon. 38 And when all the mutineers were sleeping, they went out from the sanctuary and entered the house of Theodorus, the Cappadocian, who compelled them to dine although they had no desire to do so, and conveyed them to the harbour and put them on the skiff of a certain ship, which happened to have been made ready there by Martinus. 39 And Procopius also, who wrote this history, was with them, and about five men of the house of Solomon. 40 And after accomplishing three hundred stades they reached Misuas, the ship-yard of Carthage, and, since they had reached safety, Solomon straightway commanded Martinus to go into Numidia to Valerian and the others who shared his command, and endeavor to bring it about that each one of them, if it were in any way possible, should appeal to some of the soldiers known to him, either with money or by other means, and bring them back to loyalty toward the emperor. 41 And he sent a letter to Theodorus, charging him to take care of Carthage and to handle the other matters as should seem possible to him, and he himself with Procopius went to Belisarius at Syracuse. 42 And after reporting everything to him which had taken place in Libya, he begged him to come with all speed to Carthage and defend the emperor, who was suffering unholy treatment at the hands of his own soldiers. Solomon, then, was thus engaged.

15 1 But the mutineers, after plundering everything in Carthage, gathered in the plain of Boulla, and  p341 chose Stotzas,​4 one of the guards of Martinus, and a passionate and energetic man, as tyrant over them, with the purpose of driving the emperor's commanders out of all Libya and thus gaining control over it. 2 And he armed the whole force, amounting to about eight thousand men, and led them on to Carthage, thinking to win over the city instantly with no trouble. 3 He sent also to the Vandals who had run away from Byzantium with the ships and those who had not gone there with Belisarius in the beginning, either because they had escaped notice, or because those who were taking off the Vandals at that time took no account of them. 4 Now they were not fewer than a thousand, and after no great time they joined Stotzas and the army with enthusiasm. And a great throng of slaves also came to him. 5 And when they drew near Carthage, Stotzas sent orders that the people should surrender the city to him as quickly as possible, on condition of their remaining free from harm. 6 But those in Carthage and Theodorus, in reply to this, refused flatly to obey, and announced that they were guarding Carthage for the emperor. 7 And they sent to Stotzas Joseph, the secretary of the emperor's guards, a man of no humble birth and one of the household of Belisarius, who had recently banks to Carthage on some mission to them, and they demanded that Stotzas should go no further in his violence. 8 But Stotzas, upon hearing this, straightway killed Joseph and commenced a siege. And those in the city, becoming terrified at the danger, were purposing to surrender themselves and Carthage to Stotzas under an agreement. Such was the course of events in the army in Libya.

 p343  9 But Belisarius selected one hundred men from his own spearmen and guards, and taking Solomon with him, sailed into Carthage with one ship at about dusk, at the time when the besiegers were expecting that the city would be surrendered to them on the following day. And since they were expecting this, they bivouacked that night. 10 But when day had come and they learned that Belisarius was present, they broke up camp as quickly as possible and disgracefully and in complete disorder beat a hasty retreat. 11 And Belisarius gathered about two thousand of the army and, after urging them with words to be loyal to the emperor and encouraging them with large gifts of money, he began the pursuit of the fugitives. 12 And he overtook them at the city of Membresa, three hundred and fifty stades distant from Carthage. 13 There both armies made camp and prepared themselves for battle, the forces of Belisarius making their entrenchment at the River Bagradas, and the others in a high and difficult position. 14 For neither of them saw fit to enter the city, since it was without walls. 15 And on the day following they joined battle, the mutineers trusting in their numbers, not troops of Belisarius despising their enemy as both without sense and without generals. 16 And Belisarius, wishing that these thoughts should be firmly lodged in the minds of his soldiers, called them all together and spoke as follows: —

"The situation, fellow-soldiers, both for the  p345 emperor and for the Romans, falls far short of our hopes and of our prayers. 17 For we have now come to a combat in which even the winning of the victory will not be without tears for us, since we are fighting against kinsmen and men who have been reared with us. 18 But we have this comfort in our misfortune, that we are not ourselves beginning the battle, but have been brought into the conflict in our own defence. 19 For he who has framed the plot against his dearest friends and by his own act has dissolved the ties of friendship, dies not, if he perishes, by the hands of his friends, but having become an enemy is but making atonement to those who have suffered wrong. 20 And that our opponents are public enemies and barbarians and whatever worse name one might call them, is shewn not alone by Libya, which has become plunder under their hands, nor by the inhabitants of this land, who have been wrongfully slain, but also by the multitude of Roman soldiers whom these enemies have dared to kill, though they had have had but one fault to charge them with — loyalty to their government. 21 And it is to avenge these their victims that we have now become enemies to those who were once most dear. 22 For nature has made no men in the world either friends or opponents to one another, but it is the actions of men in every case which, either by the similarity of the motives which actuate them unite them in alliance, or by the difference set them in hostility to each other, making them friends or enemies as the case may be. 23 That, therefore, we are fighting against men who are outlaws and enemies of the state, you must now be convinced; and now I shall  p347 make it plain that they deserve to be despised by us. 24 For a throng of men united by no law, but brought together by motives of injustice, is utterly unable by nature to play the part of brave men, since valour is unable to dwell with lawlessness, but always shuns those who are unholy. 25 Nor, indeed, will they preserve discipline or give heed to the commands given by Stotzas. 26 For when a tyranny is newly organized and has not yet won that authority which self-confidence gives, it is, of necessity, looked upon by its subjects with contempt. 27 Nor is it honoured through any sentiment of loyalty, for a tyranny is, in the nature of the case, hated; nor does it lead its subjects by fear, for timidity deprives it of the power to speak out openly. 28 And when the enemy is handicapped in point of valour and of discipline, their defeat is ready at hand. With great contempt, therefore, as I said, we should go against this enemy of ours. 29 For it is not by the numbers of the combatants, but by their orderly array and their bravery, that prowess in war is wont to be measured."

30 So spoke Belisarius. And Stotzas exhorted his troops as follows: "Men who with me have escaped our servitude to the Romans, let no one of you count it unworthy to die in behalf of the freedom which you have won by your courage and your other qualities. 31 For it is not so terrible a thing to grow old and die in the midst of ills, as to return again to it after having gained freedom from oppressive conditions. 32 For the interval which has given one a taste of deliverance makes the misfortune, naturally enough, harder to bear. 33 And this being so, it is  p349 necessary for you to call to mind that after conquering the Vandals and the Moors you yourselves have enjoyed the labours of war, while others have become masters of all the spoils. 34 And consider that, as soldiers, you will be compelled all your lives to be acquainted with the dangers of war, either in behalf of the emperors cause, if, indeed, you are again his slaves, or in behalf of your own selves, if you preserve this present liberty. 35 And whichever of the two is preferable, this it is in your power to choose, either by becoming faint-hearted at this time, or by preferring to play the part of brave men. 36 Furthermore, this thought also should come to your minds, — that if, having taken up arms against the Romans, you come under their power, you will have experience of no moderate or indulgent masters, but you will suffer the extreme of punishment, and, what is more, your death will not have been unmerited. To whomsoever of you, therefore, death comes in this battle, it is plain that it will be a glorious death; 37 and life, if you conquer the enemy, will be independent and in all other respects happy; but if you are defeated, — I need mention no other bitterness than this, that all your hope will depend upon the mercy of those men yonder. 38 And the conflict will not be evenly matched in regard to strength. 39 For not only are the enemy greatly surpassed by us in numbers, but they will come against us without the least enthusiasm, for I think that they are praying for a share of this our freedom." Such was the speech of Stotzas.

40 As the armies entered the combat, a wind both violent and exceedingly troublesome began to blow in the faces of the mutineers of Stotzas. 41 For this  p351 reason they thought it disadvantageous for them to fight the battle where they were, fearing lest the wind by its overpowering force should carry the missiles of the enemy against them, while the impetus of tor missiles would be very seriously checked. 42 They therefore left their position and moved toward the flank, reasoning that if the enemy also should change front, as they probably would, in order that they might not be assailed from the rear, the wind would then be in their faces. 43 But Belisarius, upon seeing that they had left their position and in complete disorder were moving to his flank, gave orders immediately to open the attack. 44 And the troops of Stotzas were thrown into confusion by the unexpected move, and in great disorder, as each one could, they fled precipitately, and only when they reached Numidia did they collect themselves again. 45 Few of them, however, perished in this action, and most of them were Vandals. 46 For Belisarius did not pursue them at all, for the reason that it seemed to him sufficient, since his army was very small, if the enemy, having been defeated for the present, should get out of the way. 47 And he gave the soldiers the enemy's stockade to plunder, and they took it with not a man inside. But much money was found there and many women, the very women because of whom this war took place.​5 After accomplishing this, Belisarius marched back to Carthage. 48 And someone coming from Sicily reported to him that a mutiny had broken out in the army and was about to throw everything into confusion, unless he himself should return to them with all speed and take measures to prevent it. 49 He therefore  p353 arranged matters in Libya as well as he could and, entrusting Carthage to Ildiger and Theodorus, went to Sicily.

50 And the Roman commanders in Numidia, hearing that the troops of Stotzas had come and were gathering there, prepared for battle. Now the commanders were as follows: of foederati,​6 Marcellus and Cyril, of the cavalry forces, Barbatus, and of infantry Terentius and Sarapis. 51 All, however, took their commands from Marcellus, as holding the authority in Numidia. 52 He, therefore, upon hearing that Stotzas with some few men was in a place called Gazophyla,​7 about two days' journey distant from Constantina,​8 wished to anticipate the gathering of all the mutineers, and led his army swiftly against them. 53 And when the two armies were near together and the battle was about to commence, Stotzas came alone into the midst of his opponents and safe:

54 "Fellow-soldiers, you are not acting justly in taking the field against kinsmen and those who have been reared with you, and in raising arms against men who in vexation at your misfortunes and the wrongs you have suffered have decided to make war upon the emperor not Romans. 55 Or do you not remember that you have been deprived of the pay which has been owing you for a long time back, and that you have been robbed of the enemy's spoil, which the law of war has set as prizes for the dangers of battle? 56 And that the others have claimed the right to live sumptuously all their lives upon the good things of victory, while you have  p355 followed as if their servants? 57 If, now, you are angry with me, it is within your power to vent your wrath upon this body, and to escape the pollution of killing the others; but if you have no charge to bring against me, it is time for you to take up your weapons in your own behalf. 58 So spoke Stotzas; and the soldiers listened to his words and greeted him with great favour. 59 And when the commanders saw what was happening, they withdrew in silence and took refuge in a sanctuary which was in Gazophyla. And Stotzas combined both armies into one and then went to the commanders. And finding them in the sanctuary, he gave pledges and then killed them all.

16 1 When the emperor learned this, he sent his nephew Germanus, a man of patrician rank, with some few men to Libya. 2 And Symmachus also and Domnicus, men of the senate, followed him, the former to be prefect and charged with the maintenance of the army, while Domnicus was to command the infantry forces. For John,​9 who had held the office of prefect, had already died of disease. 3 And when they had sailed into Carthage, Germanus counted the soldiers whom they had, and upon looking over the books of the scribes where the names of all the soldiers were registered, he found that the third part of the army was in Carthage and the other  p357 cities, while all the rest were arrayed with the tyrant against the Romans. 4 He did not, therefore, begin any fighting, but bestowed the greatest care upon his army. And considering that those left in Carthage were the kinsmen or tentmates of the enemy, he kept addressing many winning words to all, and in particular said that he had himself been sent by the emperor to Libya in order to defend the soldiers who had been wronged and to punish those who had unprovoked done them any injury. 5 And when this was found out by the mutineers, they began to come over to him a few at a time. And Germanus both received them into the city in a friendly manner and, giving pledges, held them in honour, and he gave them their pay for the time during which they had been in arms against the Romans. 6 And when the report of these acts was circulated and came to all, they began now to detach themselves in large numbers from the tyrant and to march to Carthage. 7 Then at last Germanus, hoping that in the battle he would be evenly matched in strength with his opponents, began to make preparations for the conflict.

8 But in the meantime Stotzas, already perceiving the trouble, and fearing lest by the defection of still others of his soldiers the army should be reduced still more, was pressing for a decisive encounter immediately and trying to take hold of the war with more vigour. 9 And since he had some hope regarding the soldiers in Carthage, that they would come over to him, and thought that they would readily desert if he came near them, he held out the hope to all his men;  p359 and after encouraging them exceedingly in this way, he advanced swiftly with his whole army against Carthage. 10 And when he had come within thirty-five stades of the city, he made camp not far from the sea, and Germanus, after arming his whole army and arraying them for battle, marched forth. 11 And when they were all outside the city, since he had heard what Stotzas was hoping for, he called together the whole army and spoke as follows:

12 "That there is nothing, fellow-soldiers, with which you can justly reproach the emperor, and no fault which you can find with what he has done to you, this, I think, no one of you all could deny; 13 for it was he who took you as you came from the fields with your wallets and one small frock apiece and brought you together in Byzantium, and has caused you to be so powerful that the Roman state now depends upon you. 14 And that he has not only been treated with wanton insult, but has also suffered the most dreadful of all things at your hands, you yourselves, doubtless, know full well. 15 And desiring that you would preserve the memory of these things for ever, he has dismissed the accusations brought against you for your crimes, asking that this debt allot be due to him from you — shame for what you have done. 16 It is reasonable, therefore, that you, being thus regarded by him, should learn anew the lesson of good faith and correct your former folly. 17 For when repentance comes at the fitting time upon those who have done wrong, it is accustomed to make those who have been injured indulgent; and service which comes in season is wont to bring another name to those who have been called ungrateful.

 p361  18 "And it will be needful for you to know well this also, that if at the present time you shew yourselves completely loyal to the emperor, no remembrance will remain of what has gone before. 19 For in the nature of things every course of action is characterized by men in accordance with its final outcome; and while a wrong which has once been committed can never be undone in all time, still, when it has been corrected by better deeds on the part of those who committed it, it receives the fitting reward of silence and generally comes to be forgotten. 20 Moreover, if you act with any disregard of duty toward these accursed rascals at the present time, even though afterwards you fight through many wars in behalf of the Romans and often win the victory over the enemy, you will never again be regarded as having requited the emperor as you can requite him to‑day. 21 For those who win applause in the very matter of their former wrong-doing always gain for themselves a fairer apology. As regards the emperor, then, let each one of you reason in some such way. 22 But as for me, I have not voluntarily done you any injustice, and I have displayed by good-will to you by all possible means, and now, facing this danger, I have decided to ask this much of you all: let no man advance with us against the enemy contrary to his judgement. 23 But if anyone of you is already desirous of arising himself with them, without delay let him go with his weapons to the enemy's camp, granting us this one favour, that it be not stealthily, but openly, that he has decided to do us wrong. 24 Indeed, it is for this reason that I am making my speech, not in Carthage, but after coming on the battle-field, in order that I  p363 might not be an obstacle to anyone who desires to desert to our opponents, since it is possible for all without danger to shew their disposition toward the state." 25 Thus spoke Germanus. And a great uproar ensued in the Roman army, for each one demanded the right to be the first to di to the general his loyalty to the emperor and to swear the most dread oaths in confirmation.

17 1 Now for some time the two armies remained in position opposite each other. But when the mutineers saw that nothing of what Stotzas had foretold was coming to pass, they began to be afraid as having been unexpectedly cheated of their hope, and they broke their ranks and withdrew, and marched off to Numidia, where were their women and the money from their booty. 2 And Germanus too came there with the whole army not long afterwards, having made all preparations in the best way possible and also bringing along many wagons self the army. 3 And overtaking his opponents in a place which the Romans call Scalae Veteres, he made his preparations for battle in the following manner. 4 Placing the wagons in line facing the front, he arrayed all the infantry along them under the leadership of Domnicus, so that by reason of having their rear in securely timid fight with the greater courage. 5 And the best of the horsemen and those who had come with him from Byzantium he himself had on the left of the infantry, while all the others he placed on the right wing, not marshalled in one body but  p365 in three divisions. 6 And Ildiger led one of them, Theodorus the Cappadocian another, while the remaining one, which was larger, was commanded by John, the brother of Pappus, with three others. Thus did the Romans array themselves.

7 And the mutineers took their stand opposite them, not in order, however, but scattered, more in the manner of barbarians. 8 And at no great distance many thousands of Moors followed them, who were commanded by a number of leaders, and especially by Iaudas and Ortaïas. 9 But not all of them, as it happened, were faithful to Stotzas and his men, for many had sent previously to Germanus and agreed that, when they came into the fight, they would array themselves with the emperor's army against the enemy. 10 However, Germanus could not trust them altogether, for the Moorish nation is by nature faithless to all men. 11 It was for this reason that they did not array themselves with the mutineers, but remained behind, waiting for what would come to pass, in order that with those who should be victorious they might join in the pursuit of the vanquished. 12 Such was the purpose, then, of the Moors, in following behind and not mingling with the mutineers.

13 And when Stotzas came close to the enemy and saw the standard of Germanus, he exhorted his men and began to charge against him. 14 But the mutinous Eruli who were arrayed about him did not follow and even tried with all their might to prevent him, saying that they did not know the character of the forces of Germanus, but that they did know that those arrayed on the enemy's  p367 right would by no means withstand them. 15 If, therefore, they should advance against these, they would not only give way themselves and turn to flight, but would also, in all probability, throw the rest of the Roman army into confusion; but if they should attack Germanus and be driven back and put to rout, their whole cause would be ruined on the spot. 16 And Stotzas was persuaded by these words, and permitted the others to fight with the men of Germanus, while he himself with the best men went against John and those arrayed with him. 17 And they failed to withstand the attack and hastened to flee in complete disorder. And the mutineers took all their standards immediately, and pursued them as they fled at top speed, while some too charged upon the infantry, who had already begun to abandon their ranks. 18 But at this juncture Germanus himself, drawing his sword and urging the whole of that part of the army to do the same with great difficulty routed the mutineers opposed to him and advanced on the turn against Stotzas. 19 And then, since he was joined in this effort by the men of Ildiger and Theodorus, the two armies mingled with each other in such a way that, while the mutineers were pursuing some of their enemy, they were being overtaken and killed by others. 20 And as the confusion became greater and greater, the troops of Germanus, who were in the rear, pressed on still more, and the mutineers, falling into great fear, thought no longer of resistance. 21 But neither side could be distinguished either by their own comrades or by their opponents. For all used one language and the same equipment of arms, and they differed neither in figure nor in dress nor in any other thing  p369 whatever. 22 For this reason the soldiers of the emperor by the advice of Germanus, whenever they captured anyone, asked who he was; and then, if he said that he was a soldier of Germanus, they bade him give the watchword of Germanus, and if he was not at all able to give this, they killed him instantly. 23 In this struggle one of the enemy got by unnoticed and killed the horse of Germanus, and Germanus himself fell to the ground and came into danger, and would have been lost had not his guards quickly saved him by forming an enclosure around him and mounting him on another horse.

24 As for Stotzas, he succeeded in this tumult in escaping with a few men. But Germanus, urging on his men, went straight for the enemy's camp. 25 There he was encountered by those of the mutineers who had been stationed to guard the stockade. 26 A stubborn fight took place around its entrance, and the mutineers came within a little of forcing back their opponents, but Germanus sent some of his followers and bade them make trial of the camp at another point. 27 These men, since no one was defending the camp at this place, got inside the stockade with little trouble. 28 And the mutineers, upon seeing them, rushed off in flight, and Germanus with all the rest of the army dashed into the enemy's camp. 29 There the soldiers, finding it easy to plunder the goods of the camp, neither took any account of the enemy nor paid any further heed to the exhortations of their general, since booty was at hand. 30 For this reason Germanus, fearing lest the enemy should get together  p371 and come upon them, himself with so few men took his stand at the entrance of the stockade, uttering many laments and urging his unheeding men to return to good order. 31 And many of the Moors when the rest had taken place in this way, were now pursuing the mutineers, and, arraying themselves with the emperor's troops, were plundering the camp of the vanquished. 32 But Stotzas, at first having confidence in the Moorish army, rode to them in order to renew the battle. 33 But perceiving what was being done, he fled with a hundred men, and succeeded with difficulty in making his escape. 34 And once more many gathered about him and attempted to engage with the enemy, but being repulsed no less decisively than before, if not even more so, they all came over to Germanus. 35 And Stotzas alone with some few Vandals withdrew to Mauretania, and taking to wife the daughter of one of the rulers, remained there. And this was the conclusion of that mutiny.

18 1 Now there was among the body-guards of Theodorus, the Cappadocian, a certain Maximinus, an exceedingly base man. 2 This Maximinus had first got a very large number of the soldiers to join with him in a conspiracy against the government, and was now purposing to attempt a tyranny. 3 And being eager to associate with himself still more men, he explained the project to others and especially to Asclepiades, a native of Palestine, who was a man of good birth and  p373 the first of the personal friends of Theodorus. 4 Now Asclepiades, after conversing with Theodorus, straightway reported the whole matter to Germanus. 5 And he, not wishing as yet, while affairs were still unsettled, to begin any other disturbance, decided to get the best of the man by cajoling and flattering him rather than by punishment, and to bind him by oaths to loyalty toward the government. 6 Accordingly, since it was an old custom among all the Romans that no one should become a body-guard of one of the commanders, unless he had previously taken the most dread oaths and given pledges of his loyalty both toward his own commander and toward the Roman emperor, he summoned Maximinus, and praising him for his daring, directed him to be one of his body-guards from that time forth. 7 And he, being overjoyed at the extraordinary honour, and conjecturing that his project would in this way get on more easily, took the oath, and though from that time forth he was counted among the body-guards of Germanus, he did not hesitate to disregard his oaths immediately and to strengthen much more than ever his plans to achieve the tyranny.

8 Now the whole city was celebrating some general festival, and many of the conspirators of Maximinus at about this time of lunch came according to their agreement to the palace, where Germanus was entertaining his friends at a feast, and Maximinus took his stand beside the couches with the other body-guards. 9 And as the drinking proceeded, someone entered and announced to Germanus that many soldiers were standing in great disorder before the door of the court, putting forward the charge that the government owed them their pay for a long period. 10 And  p375 he commanded the most trusty of the guards secretly to keep close watch over Maximinus, allowing him in no way to perceive what was being done. 11 Then the conspirators with threats and tumult proceeded on the run to the hippodrome, and those who shared their plan with them gathered gradually from the houses and were assembling there. 12 And if it had so chanced that all of them had come together, no one, I think, would have been able easily to destroy their power; 13 but, as it was, Germanus anticipated this, and, before the greater part had yet arrived, he straightway sent against them all who were well-disposed to himself and to the emperor. 14 And they attacked the conspirators before they expected them. And then, since Maximinus, for whom they were waiting to begin the battle for them, was not with them, and they did not see the crowd gathered to help them, as they had thought it would be, but instead even beheld their fellow-soldiers unexpectedly fighting against them, they consequently lost heart and were easily overcome in the struggle and rushed off in flight and in complete disorder. 15 And their opponents slew many of them, and they also captured many alive and brought them to Germanus. 16 These, however, who had not already come to the hippodrome gave no indication of their sentiment toward Maximinus. 17 And Germanus did not see fit to go on and seek them out, but he enquired whether Maximinus, since he had sworn the oath, had taken part in the plot. 18 And since it was proved that, though numbered among his own body-guards he had carried on his designs still more than before, Germanus impaled him close by the fortifications of Carthage, and in  p377 this way succeeded completely in putting down the sedition. As for Maximinus, then, such was the end of his plot.

19 1 And the emperor summoned Germanus together with Symmachus and Domnicus and again entrusted all Libya to Solomon, in the thirteenth year of his reign; and he provided him with an army and officers, among whom were Rufinus and Leontius, the sons of Zaunas the son of Pharesmanas, and John J., the son of Sisiniolus. 2 For Martinus and Valerianus had already before this gone under summons to Byzantium. 3 And Solomon sailed to Carthage, and having rid himself of the sedition of Stotzas, he ruled with moderation and guarded Libya securely, setting the army in order, and sending to Byzantium and to Belisarius whatever suspicious elements he found in it, and enrolling new soldiers to equal their number, and removing those of the Vandals who were left and especially all their women from the whole of Libya. And he surrounded each city with a wall, and guarding the laws with great strictness, he restored the government completely. 4 And Libya became under his rule powerful as to its revenues and prosperous in other respects.

5 And when everything had been arranged by him in the best way possible, he again made an expedition against Iaudas and the Moors on Aurasium. 6 And first he sent forward Gontharis, one of his own  p379 body-guards and an able warrior, with an army. 7 Now Gontharis came to the Abigas River and made camp near Bagaïs, a deserted city. 8 And there he engaged with the enemy, but was defeated in battle, and retiring to his stockade was already being hard pressed by the siege of the Moors.9 But afterwards Solomon himself arrived with his whole army, and when he was sixty stades away from the camp which Gontharis was commanding, he made a stockade and remained there; and hearing all that had befallen the force of Gontharis, he sent them a part of his army and bade them keep up the fight against the enemy with courage. 10 But the Moors, having gained the upper hand in the engagement, as I have said, did as follows. 11 The Abigas River flows from Aurasium, and descending into a plain, waters the land just as the men there desire. 12 For the natives conduct this stream to whatever place they think it will best serve them at the moment, for in this plain there are many channels, into which the Abigas is divided, and entering all of them, it passes underground, and reappears again above the ground and gathers its stream together. 13 This takes place over the greatest part of the plain and makes it possible for the inhabitants of the region, by stopping up the waterways with earth, or by again opening them, to make use of the waters of this river as they wish. 14 So at that time the Moors shut off all the channels there and thus allowed the whole stream to flow about the camp of the Romans. 15 As a result of this, a deep, muddy marsh formed there through which it was impossible to go; this terrified them exceedingly and reduced them to a state of helplessness. When  p381 this was heard by Solomon, he came quickly. 16 But the barbarians, becoming afraid, withdrew to the foot of Aurasium. And in a place which they call Babosis they made camp and remained there. So Solomon moved with his whole army and came to that place. 17 And upon engaging with the enemy, he defeated them decisively and turned them to flight. 18 Now after this the Moors did not think it advisable for them force fight a pitched battle with the Romans; for they did not hope to over them in this kind of contest; but they did have hope, based on the difficult character of the country around Aurasium, that the Romans would in a short time give up by reason of the sufferings they would have to endure and would withdraw from there, just as they formerly had done. 19 The most of them, therefore, went off to Mauretania and the barbarians to the south of Aurasium, but Iaudas with twenty thousand of the Moors remained there. And it happened that he had built a fortress on Aurasium, Zerboule by name. Into this he entered with all the Moors and remained quiet. 20 But Solomon was by no means willing that time should be wasted in the siege, and learning that the plains about the city of Tamougade were full of grain just becoming ripe, he led his army into them, and settling himself there, began to plunder the land. Then, after firing everything, he returned again to the fortress of Zerboule.

21 But during this time, while the Romans were plundering the land, Iaudas, leaving behind some of the Moors, about as many as he thought would be sufficient for the defence of the fortress, himself ascended to the summit of Aurasium with the rest of the army, not wishing to stand siege in the fort and  p383 have provisions fail his forces. 22 And finding a high place with cliffs on all sides of it and concealed by perpendicular rocks, Toumar by name, he remained quietly there. 23 And the Romans besieged the fortress of Zerboule for three days. And using their bows, since the wall was not high, they hit many of the barbarians upon the parapets. 24 And by some chance it happened that all the leaders of the Moors were hit by these missiles and died. 25 And when the three days' time had passed and night came on, the Romans, having learned nothing of the death of the leaders among the Moors, were planning to break up the siege. 26 For it seemed better to Solomon to go against Iaudas and the multitude of the Moors, thinking that, if he should be able to capture that force by siege, the barbarians in Zerboule would with less trouble and difficulty yield to the Romans. 27 But the barbarians, thinking that they could no longer hold out against the siege, since all their leaders had now been destroyed, decided to flee with all speed and abandon the fortress. 28 Accordingly they fled immediately in silence and without allowing the enemy in any way to perceive it, and the Romans also at daybreak began to prepare for departure. 29 And since no one appeared on the wall, although the besieging army was withdrawing, they began to wonder and fell into the greatest perplexity among themselves. 30 And in this state of uncertainty they went around the fortress and found the gate open from which the Moors had departed in flight. 31 And entering the fortress they treated everything as plunder, but they  p385 had no thought of pursuing the enemy, for they had set out with light equipment and were familiar with the country round about. 32 And when they had plundered everything, they set guards over the fortress, and all moved forward on foot.

20 1 And coming to the pl Toumar, where the enemy had shut themselves in and were remaining quiet, they encamped near by in a bad position, where there would be no supply of water, except a little, nor any other necessary thing. 2 And after much time had been spent and the barbarians did not come out against them at all, they themselves, no less than the enemy, if not even more, were hard pressed by the siege and began to be impatient. 3 And more than anything else, they were distressed by the lack of water; this Solomon himself guarded, giving each day no more than a single cupful to each man. 4 And since he saw that they were openly discontented and no longer able to bear their present hardships, he planned to make trial of the place, although it was difficult of access, and called all together and exhorted them as follows: 5 "Since God has granted to the Romans to besiege the Moors on Aurasium, a thing which hitherto has been beyond hope and now, to such as do not see what is actually background, is altogether incredible, it is necessary that we too should lend our aid to the help that has come from above, and not prove false to this favour, but undergoing the danger with enthusiasm, should  p387 reach after the good fortune which is to come from success. 6 For in every case the turning of the scales of human affairs depends upon the moment of opportunity; but if a man, by wilful cowardice, is traitor to his fortune, he cannot journey blame it, having by his own action brought the guilt upon himself. 7 Now as for the Moors, you see their weakness surely and the place in which they have shut themselves up and are keeping guard, deprived of all the necessities of life. 8 And as for you, one of two things is necessary, either without feeling any vexation at the siege to await the surrender of the enemy, or, if you shrink from this, to accept the victory which goes with the danger. 9 And fighting against these barbarians will be the more free from danger for us, inasmuch as they are already fighting with hunger and I think typical never even come to an engagement with us. Having these things in mind at the present time, it behoves you to execute all your orders with eagerness."

10 After Solomon had made this exhortation, he looked about to see from what point it would be best for his men to make an attempt on the place, and for a long time he seemed to be in perplexity. For the difficult nature of the ground seemed to him weight too much force contend with. 11 But while Solomon was considering this, chance provided a way for the enterprise as follows. 12 There was a certain Gezon in the army, a foot-soldier, "optio"​10 of the detachment to which Solomon belonged; for thus the Romans call the paymaster. 13 This Gezon, either in play or in anger, or perhaps even moved by some divine impulse, began to make the ascent alone, apparently going against the enemy, and not far from him  p389 went some of his fellow-soldiers, marvelling great at what he was doing. 14 And three of the Moors, who had been stationed to guard the approach, suspecting that the man was coming against them, went on the run to confront him. 15 But since they were in a narrow way, they did not proceed in orderly array, but each one went separately. 16 And Gezon struck the first one who came upon him and killed him, and in this way he despatched each of the others. 17 And when those in the rear perceived this, they advanced with much shouting and tumult against the enemy. 18 And when the whole Roman army both heard and saw what was being done, without waiting either for the general to lead the way for them or for the trumpets to give the signal for battle, as was customary, nor indeed even keeping their order, but making a great uproar and urging one another on, they ran against the enemy's camp. 19 There Rufinus and Leontius, the sons of Zaunas the son of Pharesmanes, made a splendid display of valorous deed against the enemy. 20 And by this the Moors were terror-stricken, and when they learned that their guards also had been destroyed, they straightway turned to flight where each one could, and the most of them were overtaken in the difficult ground and killed. 21 And Iaudas himself, though struck by a javelin in the thigh, still made his escape and withdrew to Mauretania. 22 But the Romans, after plundering the enemy's camp, decided not to abandon Aurasium again, but to guard fortresses which Solomon was to build there, so that this mountain might not be again accessible to the Moors.

 p391  23 Now there is on Aurasium a perpendicular rock which rises in the midst of precipices; the natives call it the Rock of Geminianus; there the men of ancient times had built a tower, macerating it very small as a place of refuge, strong and unassailable, since the nature of the position assisted them. 24 Here, as it happened, Iaudas had a few days previously deposited his money and his women, setting one old Moor in charge as guardian of the money. 25 For he could never have suspected that the enemy would either reach this place, or that they could in all time capture the tower by force. 26 But the Romans at that time, searching through the rough country of Aurasium, came there, and one of them, with a laugh, attempted to climb up to the tower; but the women began to taunt him, ricing him as attempting the impossible; 27 and the old man, peering out from the tower, did the same thing. But when the Roman soldier, climbing with both hands and feet, had come near them, he drew his sword quietly and lined forward as quickly as he could, and struck the old man a fair blow on the neck, and succeeded in cutting it through. 28 And the head fell down to the ground, and the soldiers, now emboldened and holding to one another, ascended to the tower, and took out from there both the women and the money, of which there was an exceedingly great quantity. 29 And by means of it Solomon surrounded many of the cities in Libya with walls.

30 And after the Moors had retired from Numidia,  p393 defeated in the manner described, the land of Zabe, which is beyond Mt. Aurasium and is called "First Mauretania," whose metropolis is Sitiphis,​11 was added to the Roman empire by Solomon as a tributary province; 31 for of the other Mauretania Caesarea is the first city, where was settled Mastigas​12 with his Moors, having the whole country there subject and tributary to him, except, indeed, the city of Caesarea. 32 For this city Belisarius had previously recovered for the Romans, as has been set forth in the previous narrative;​13 and the Romans always journey to this city in ships, but they are not able to go by land, since Moors dwell in that country. 33 And as a result of this all the Libyans who were subjects of the Romans, coming to enjoy secure peace and finding the rule of Solomon wise and very moderate, and having no longer any thought of hostility in their minds, seemed the most fortunate of all men.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Book III.xviii.7 ff.

2 IV.iv.30 and note.

3 Baptism was administered only during the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. Justinian had forbidden the baptism of Arians.

4 Cf. III.xi.30.

5 Cf. chap. xiv.8.

6 "Auxiliaries"; see Book III.xi.3.

7 More correctly Gadiaufala, now Ksar-Sbehi.

8 Cirta, later named Constantina, now Constantine (Ksantina)

9 John the Cappadocian, cf. I.xxiv.11 ff.

10 See Book III.xvii.1 and note.

11 Now Setif.

12 Called Mastinas in IV.xiii.19.

13 Book IV.v.5.


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