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Ch. 15, §§7‑10
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has not been proofread.
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Ch. 17

Vol. II
Chapter XVI

The Persian Wars

§ 1. The Roman Army

Our records of the Persian war conducted by the generals of Anastasius, which was described in a former chapter, give us little information as to the character and composition of the Imperial army. But we may take it as probable that the military establishment was already of much the same kind as we find it a quarter of a century later in the reign of Justinian. In the course of the fifth century the organisation of the army underwent considerable changes which our meagre sources of information do not enable us to trace. During that period, since the early years of Theodosius II, we have no catalogue of the military establishment, no military treatises,​1 no military narratives. When we come to the reign of Justinian, for which we have abundant evidence,​2 we find that the old system of the fourth century has been changed in some important respects.

The great commands of the Masters of Soldiers, and the distinction between the comitatenses and the limitanei, have not  p76  been altered; but the legions, the cohorts, and the alae, the familiar units of the old Roman armies, have disappeared both in name and in fact, and to the comitatenses and limitanei has been added a new organisation, the foederati, a term which has acquired a different meaning from that which it bore in the fourth century.

The independent military unit is now the numerus, a company generally from 200 to 400 soldiers, but sometimes varying below or above these figures. In old days it was necessary to divide the legion for the purpose of garrisoning towns; on the new system each town could have a complete, or more than one complete unit. These companies were under the command of tribunes.3

Apart from the guard-troops stationed in the capital, the armed forces of the Empire fall into five principal categories. (1) The technical name comitatenses is little used. These troops, who are recruited almost exclusively among subjects of the Empire chiefly in the highlands of Thrace, Illyricum and Isauria, are now generally distinguished as stratiotai, regular Roman soldiers, from the other sections of the army.​4

(2) The limitanei perform the same duty of protecting exposed frontiers, and on the same conditions as before.

(3) The foederati, who must have been organised in the fifth century, are the new and striking feature which is revealed to us by the history of the campaigns of Belisarius. They are the most useful part of the field army, and they consist entirely of  p77  cavalry. They were originally recruited exclusively from barbarians, who volunteered for Imperial service, and were organised as Roman troops under Roman officers;​5 but in the sixth century Roman subjects were not debarred from enlisting in their companies.​6 The degradation of the term Federates to designate these forces was not very happy, and it has naturally misled modern historians into confusing them with (4) the troops to whom the name was properly applied in the fourth century, and who are now distinguished as Allies:​7 the bands of barbarians, Huns for instance, or Heruls, who, bound by a treaty with the Empire, furnished, in return for land or annual subsidies, armed forces which were led by their native chiefs.

To these we must add (5) another class of fighting men, who were not in the employment of the government, the private retainers of the military commanders. The rise of the custom of keeping bands of armed followers has already been noticed.​8 It was adopted not only by generals and Praetorian Prefects, but by officers of subordinate rank and wealthy private persons.​9 The size of the retinues depended upon the wealth of the employer. Belisarius, who was a rich man, kept at one time as many as 7000.10

There were two distinct classes of retainers, the hypaspistai, shield-bearers, who were the rank and file, and the doryphoroi, spear-bearers, who were superior in rank, fewer in number, and corresponded to officers. Belisarius himself and Sittas had been  p78  doryphoroi in the retinue of Justinian before he ascended the throne. The doryphoroi on accepting service were obliged to take a solemn oath not only of fidelity to their employer, but also of loyalty to the Emperor,​11 a circumstance which implies an official recognition by the government. They were often employed on confidential missions, they stood in the presence of their master at meals, and attended him closely in battle. Both the doryphoroi and the hypaspistai seem to have been entirely mounted troops. The majority of them were foreigners (Huns and Goths), or mountaineers of Thrace and Asia Minor.

As a rule, in the campaigns of the sixth century, we find the armies composed mainly of comitatenses and foederati, but always reinforced by private retainers and barbarian allies. A single army in the field generally numbered from 15,000 to 25,000 men, a figure which probably it seldom exceeded; 40,000 was exceptionally large. The total strength of the Imperial army under Justinian was reckoned at 150,000.12

The tactics and equipment of the Imperial armies had been considerably altered by the necessity of adapting them to the military habits of their oriental foes. At this time, in establishment and equipments, the Persians differed so little from the Romans that a Roman corps might have appeared in a Persian, or a Persian in a Roman army, with little sense of discrepancy. The long eastern warfare of the third and fourth centuries had been a school in which the Romans transformed in many ways their own military traditions and methods. They adopted from their adversaries elaborate defensive armour, cuirasses, coats of mail, casques and greaves of metal. At the end of the fourth century there were cuirassiers forming corps d'élite, and in the sixth these heavily armed "iron cavalry"​13 (catafractarii) have become a still larger and more important section of the army. Another result of the eastern wars was the universal practice of archery, which the old Roman legions despised. The heavy cavalry were armed with bow and arrows as well as with lance and sword.

 p79  § 2. The First War (A.D. 527‑532)

In his old age king Kavad was troubled and anxious about the succession to his throne, which he desired to secure to Chosroes his favourite son. But Chosroes was not the eldest, and his father feared that when he died the Persian nobles would prefer one of the elder brothers and put Chosroes to death. Accordingly he conceived the idea of pla­cing his favourite under the protection of the Roman Emperor, as Arcadius had recommended Theodosius to the protection of Yezdegerd. But his proposal took a strange form. He asked Justin to adopt Chosroes. Both Justin and Justinian were at first attracted by the proposal, but the influence of the quaestor Proclus induced them to refuse. Proclus, who viewed the matter as a lawyer, represented the request as insidious; for the adopted son might assert a claim to the father's inheritance; the Persian king might claim the Roman Empire.

The refusal of his request was deeply resented by Kavad, and there were causes of friction in the Caucasian regions which led to a new breach between the two great powers.​14 Both governments were actively pushing their interests in that part of the world.

The Pontic provinces, as well as Roman Armenia, constantly suffered from the depredations of the Tzani, a heathen people who maintained their independence in an inland district on the borders of Colchis and Armenia, and lived by brigandage. The Imperial government was in the habit of giving them a yearly allowance to purchase immunity, but they paid little regard to the contract. One of the achievements of Justin's peaceful reign was partially to civilise these wild mountaineers. Sittas, the brother-in‑law of Theodora, was sent against them. He subdued them, enrolled them in the Roman armies, and they were induced to embrace Christianity.15

The reduction of the Tzani proved to be a preliminary to a more active policy in Caucasian countries. South of the  p80  great range, between the Euxine and the Caspian, lay three kingdoms: in the west, Colchis, the land of the Lazi, whose name is still preserved in Lazistan; in the centre, Iberia or Georgia; and in the east, almost beyond Roman vision, Albania,

indomitique Dahae et pontem indignatus Araxes.

The importance of Lazica, in Roman eyes, was twofold. It was a barrier against a Persian advance through Iberia to the coasts of the Black Sea.​16 In the reign of Justin, Tzath, the king of the Lazi, who had hitherto been friendly to Persia, visited Constantinople and became a client of the Emperor.​17 Perhaps this change of policy was caused by the development of Persian designs in Iberia. This country had long been a client state of Persia, but it was devoted to the Christian faith. Kavad either resolved to assimilate it to Persian civilisation or sought a pretext for invading it, and he issued a command to the Iberians to abandon the custom of burying their dead. Gurgenes, the Iberian king, turned to the Roman Emperor for protection.​18 A force was sent to Lazica, while a Persian army invaded Iberia, and Gurgenes, with his family, fled within the Lazic borders and proceeded to Constantinople. Roman garrisons were placed in the Lazic forts on the Iberian frontier,​19 and Sittas with Belisarius, who now first appears upon the scene, made a success­ful incursion into Persarmenia. In a second expedition the Romans were defeated by two able commanders, Narses and Aratius, who afterwards deserted and entered Roman service.20

Thus the war began before the death of Justin. Perhaps it might have been averted if his successor had not determined to  p81  build a new fortress near Daras. Belisarius, who had been appointed commandant of Daras, was directed to build the work, and as the building operations were progressing, a Persian army, 30,000 strong, under the prince Xerxes, invaded Mesopotamia (A.D. 528).​21 The Romans, under several leaders who had joined forces, were defeated in a disastrous battle; two of the commanders were slain and three captured. Belisarius luckily escaped. The foundations of the new fortress were left in the hands of the enemy. But the victors had lost heavily and soon retreated beyond the frontier. Justinian sent more troops and new captains to the fortresses of Amida, Constantia, Edessa, Sura, and Beroea; and formed a new army (of Illyrians and Thracians, Scythians and Isaurians) which he entrusted to Pompeius, probably the nephew of Anastasius.​22 But no further operations are recorded in this year, which closed with a severe winter.

The hostilities of A.D. 529 began in March with a combined raid of Persian and Saracen forces, under the guidance of Mundhir, king of Hira, who penetrated into Syria, almost to the walls of Antioch, and retreated so swiftly that the Romans could not intercept him. Reprisals were made by a body of Phrygians who plundered Persian and Saracen territory (April). Pompeius seems to have accomplished nothing, and Belisarius was appointed Master of Soldiers in the East.​23 The rest of the year was occupied with ineffectual negotiations.24

 p82  Belisarius was now to win his military laurels at the early age of twenty-five. There was still talk of peace, but Kavad seems not to have really desired it, and the ambassador, Rufinus, waited idle at Hierapolis. Hermogenes, the Master of Offices, was sent out to help the young general with his experience, and they concentrated at Daras an army of 25,000 mixed and undisciplined troops. Perozes, who had been appointed mihran or commander-in‑chief of the Persian army, arrived at Nisibis in June​25 (A.D. 53), at the head of 40,000 troops, confident of victory. They advanced within two miles of Daras, and the mihran sent to Belisarius a characteristically oriental message, that, as he intended to bathe in the city on the morrow, a bath should be prepared for his pleasure.

The Romans made preparations for battle, just outside the walls of the town. The Persians arrived punctually as their general signified, and stood for a whole day in line of battle without venturing to attack the Romans, who were drawn up in carefully arranged positions. In the evening they retired to their camp,​26 but returned next morning, resolved not to let another day pass without a decisive action, and found their enemy occupying the same positions as on the previous day. They were themselves now reinforced by a body of 10,000, which arrived from Nisibis. The Roman dispositions were as follows:

About a stone's throw from the gate of Daras that looks towards Nisibis a deep trench was dug, interrupted by frequent ways for crossing. This trench, however, was not in a continuous right line; it consisted of five sections. At each end of a short central trench, which was parallel to the opposite wall of the city, a trench ran outwards almost at right angles; and where each of these perpendicular trenches or "horns" terminated, two long ones were dug in opposite directions at right angles, and consequently almost parallel to the first trench. Between the trenches and the town Belisarius and Hermogenes were posted with the infantry. On the left, behind the main ditch and near the left "horn," was a regiment of cavalry under Buzes, and 300 Heruls under Pharas were stationed on a rising ground, which the Heruls occupied in the morning, at the  p83  suggestion of Pharas and with the approval of Belisarius. Outside the angle made by the outermost ditch and the horn were placed 600 Hunnic cavalry, under the Huns Sunicas and Aigan. The disposition on the right wing was exactly symmetrical. Cavalry under John (the son of Nicetas), Cyril, and Marcellus occupied the position corresponding to that occupied by Buzes on the left, while other squadrons of Hunnic horse, led by Simas and Ascan, were posted in the angle.

Half of the Persian forces stood in a long line opposite to the Roman dispositions, the other half was kept in reserve at some distance in the rear. The mihran commanded the centre, Baresmanas the left wing, and Pityaxes the right. The corps of Immortals, the flower of the army, was reserved for a supreme occasion. The details of the battle have been described by a competent eye-witness.27

As soon as noon was past the barbarians began the action. They had reserved the engagement for this hour of the day because they are themselves in the habit of eating only in the evening, while the Romans eat at noontide, so that they counted on their offering a less vigorous resistance if they were attacked fasting. At first each side discharged volleys of arrows and the air was obscured with them; the barbarians shot more darts, but many fell on both sides. Fresh relays of the barbarians were always coming up to the front, unperceived by their adversaries; yet the  p84  Romans had by no means the worst of it. For a wind blew in the faces of the Persians and hindered to a considerable degree their missiles from operating with effect. When both sides had expended all their arrows, they used their spears, hand to hand. The left wing of the Romans was pressed most hardly. For the Cadisenes, who fought at this point with Pityaxes, had advanced suddenly in large numbers, and having routed their opponents, pressed them hard as they fled, and slew many. When Sunicas and Aigan with their Huns saw this they rushed on the Cadisenes at full gallop. But Pharas and his Heruls, who were posted on the hill, were before them (the Huns) in falling on the rear of the enemy and performing marvellous exploits. But when the Cadisenes saw the cavalry of Sunicas also coming against them from the side, they turned and fled. The rout was conspicuous when the Romans joined together and great slaughter was inflicted on the enemy.

The mihran [meanwhile] secretly sent the Immortals with other regiments to the left wing. When Belisarius and Hermogenes saw them, they commanded Sunicas, Aigan, and their Huns, to go to the angle on the right where Simas and Ascan were stationed, and placed behind them many of the retainers of Belisarius. Then the left wing of the Persians, led by Baresmanas, along with the Immortals, attacked the Roman right wing at full speed. And the Romans, unable to withstand the onset, fled. Then those who were stationed in the angle (the Huns, etc.) attacked the pursuers with great ardour. And coming athwart the side of the Persians they cleft their line in two unequal portions, the larger number on the right and a few on the left. Among the latter was the standard-bearer of Baresmanas, whom Sunicas killed with his lance. The foremost of the Persian pursuers, apprehending their danger, turned from their pursuit of the fugitives to oppose the attackers. But this movement placed them between enemies on both sides, for the fugitive party perceived what was occurring and rallied. Then the other Persians and the corps of the Immortals, seeing the standard lowered and on the ground, rushed with Baresmanas against the Romans in that quarter. The Romans met them, and Sunicas slew Baresmanas, hurling him to earth from his horse. Then the barbarians fell into great panic, and forgot their valour and fled in utter disorder. And the Romans closed them in and slew about five thousand. And thus both armies were entirely set in motion; that of the Persians for retreat and that of the Romans for pursuit. All the infantry of the defeated army threw away their shields, and were caught and slain pell-mell. Yet the Romans pursued only for a short distance, for Belisarius and Hermogenes would not permit them to go further, lest the Persians, compelled by necessity, should turn and rout them if they followed rashly; and they deemed it sufficient the keep the victory untarnished, this being the first defeat experienced by the Persians for a long time past.​28

It will be observed that this battle — the first of which we have any full description since the fourth century — was fought and  p85  won entirely by cavalry. It has been pointed out that the dispositions of Belisarius show his "deliberate purpose to keep his infantry out of the stress of the fight."​29 This was done by throwing forward the wings, and leaving only a comparatively short space between them, so that they drew upon themselves the chief attack of the enemy. We are not told how the Persians disposed their horse and foot. The foot may have been in the centre. But the fighting was evidently done by the cavalry, for the infantry was not efficient. Belisarius, addressing his soldiers before the battle, described the Persian infantry as "a crowd of miserable peasants who only come into battle to dig through walls and strip the slain and generally to act as servants to the soldiers (that is, the cavalry)." We may conjecture that while in mere numbers the Romans were fighting one to two, the great excess of the Persian forces was chiefly in the infantry, and that otherwise they were not so unevenly matched.

About the same time the Roman arms were also success­ful in Persarmenia, where a victory was gained over an army of Persarmenians and Sabir auxiliaries, which, if it had not been overshadowed by the victory of Daras, would have probably been made more of by the Greek historians.30

After the conspicuous defeat which his army had experienced, Kavad was not disinclined to resume negotiations, and embassies passed between the Persian and Roman courts;​31 but at the last moment the persuasions and promises of fifty thousand Samaritans induced him to break off negotiations on a trifling pretext. The Samaritans had revolted in A.D. 529, and the fifty thousand, who had escaped the massacre which attended the suppression of the rebellion, actuated by the desire of revenge, engaged to betray Jerusalem and Palestine to the foe of the Empire. The plot, however, was discovered and forestalled.

In the following spring (A.D. 531), at the instigation of  p86  Mundhir, in whose advice Kavad had great confidence, fifteen thousand Persian cavalry under Azareth crossed the Euphrates at Circesium with the intention of invading Syria. They marched along the banks of the river to Callinicum, thence by Sura to Barbalissus, whence taking the western road they pitched their camp at Gabbula, twelve miles from Chalcis, and harried the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Belisarius arrived at Chalcis, where he was joined by Saracen auxiliaries under Harith. His army was 22,000 strong, but he did not venture to attack the enemy, who numbered 30,000, and his inactivity aroused considerable discontent among both officers and soldiers.​32 The Hun captain Sunicas set at naught the general's orders, and attacking a party of Persians not only defeated them, but learned from the prisoners whom he took the Persian plan of campaign, and the intention of the foe to strike a blow at Antioch itself. Yet the success of Sunicas did not in the eyes of Belisarius atone for his disobedience, and Hermogenes, who arrived at this moment on the scene of action from Constantinople, arranged with difficulty the quarrel between the general and the captain. At length Belisarius ordered an advance against the enemy, who had meanwhile by their siege engines taken the fortress of Gabbula (near Chalcis) and other places in the neighbourhood. Laden with booty, the Persians retreated and reached the point of the right Euphrates bank opposite to the city of Callinicum, where they were overtaken by the Romans. A battle was unavoidable, and on the 19th of April the armies engaged. What really happened on this unfortunate day was a matter of doubt even for contemporaries; some cast the blame on Belisarius, others accused the subordinate commanders of cowardice.33

At Callinicum the course of the Euphrates is from west to east. The battle was fought on the bank of the river, and as the Persians were stationed to the east of the Romans, their right wing and the Roman left were on the river. Belisarius and his cavalry occupied the centre; on the left were the infantry and the Hunnic cavalry under Sunicas and Simas; on the right were Phrygians and Isaurians and the Saracen auxiliaries under  p87  their king Harith.​34 The Persians began the action by a feigned retreat, which had the effect of drawing from their position the Huns on the left wing; they then attacked the Roman infantry, left unprotected, and tried to ride them down and press them into the river. But they were not as success­ful as they hoped, and on this side the battle was drawn. On the Roman right wing the fall of Apscal, the captain of the Phrygian troops, was followed by the flight of his soldiers; a panic ensued, and the Saracens acted like the Phrygians; then the Isaurians made for the river and swam over to an island. How Belisarius acted, and what the Hun captains were doing in the meantime, we cannot determine. It was said that Belisarius dismounted, rallied his men, and made a long brave stand against the charges of the Persian cavalry. On the other hand, this valiant behaviour was attributed to Sunicas and Simas, and the general himself was accused of fleeing with the cowards and crossing to Callinicum. There is no clear evidence to prove that the defeat was the fault of Belisarius; though perhaps an over-confident spirit in his army prevailed on him to risk a battle against his better judgment.

The Persians retreated, and the remnant of the Roman army was conveyed across the river to Callinicum. Hermogenes​35 sent the news of the defeat to Justinian without delay, and the Emperor despatched Constantiolus to investigate the circumstances of the battle and discover on whom the blame, if any, rested. The conclusions at which Constantiolus arrived resulted in the recall of Belisarius and the appointment of Mundus to the command of the eastern armies.​36 It is significant of the difference  p88  between the spirit of the Persian and of the Roman governments that while Belisarius was recalled, with honour, after his defeat, the victorious Azareth was disgraced. He had been sent against Antioch and he had not approached it, and his victory had been bought with great losses.

The arms of Mundus were attended with success. Two attempts of the Persians to take Martyropolis were thwarted, and they experienced a considerable defeat. But the death of the old king Kavad and the accession of his son Chosroes (September 13, 531) led to the conclusion of a treaty which was known as "the Endless Peace." The negotiations were conducted on the Roman side by Hermogenes and Rufinus, who was a grata persona with Chosroes, and were protracted during the winter, because the Persians were unwilling to restore the forts they had taken in Lazica. They finally yielded and the treaty was ratified in spring A.D. 532.​37 On their part the Romans restored two important fortresses in Persarmenia.​38 The other conditions were that the Emperor would pay 11,000 lbs. of gold for the defence of the Caucasian passes, that the headquarters of the duke of Mesopotamia were no longer to be at Daras but at Constantia, and that the Iberian refugees at Constantinople might, as they chose, either remain there or returned to their own country.39

This treaty made no change in the frontiers between Roman and Persian Armenia. In the early years of Chosroes Persian Armenia was peaceful and contented under a native vassal prince and the Christians enjoyed full toleration. But at the same time the Armenian Church was drifting apart from Constantinople and Rome. The decisions of Chalcedon had been indeed accepted, but the Armenian theologians viewed them with some suspicion from the first; the ecclesiastical policy of Zeno and Anastasius confirmed them in their doubts; and the Henotikon of Zeno had been approved in a council held in A.D. 491. On the restoration of the doctrine of Chalcedon by Justin  p89  the Armenians displayed their Monophysitic leanings, and a definite and permanent schism between the Armenian and Greek Churches was the result. This separation was the work of the patriarch Narses, who secured the condemnation of the dogma of the Two Natures,​40 and at the Synod of Duin held just after his death, in A.D. 551, the independence of the Armenian Church was confirmed and a reform of the calendar was inaugurated. The Armenian era began on July 11, A.D. 552. The schism had its political consequences. Chosroes could profit by the fact that Greek influence declined in Persarmenia and Greek political agents were less favourably received.

§ 3. The Second War (A.D. 540‑545)

The reign of Chosroes Nushirvan​41 extended over nearly half of the sixth century, and may be called the golden or at least the gilded period of the monarchy of the Sassanids. His father Kavad had prepared the way for his brilliant son, as Philip of Macedon had prepared the way for Alexander. It was a period of energetic reforms, in some of which, as in the working out of a new land system, Chosroes was only continuing what his father had begun. This system was found to work so well that after their conquest of Persia the Saracen caliphs adopted it unaltered. In the general organisation some changes were made. The Persian empire was divided into four great circumscriptions each of which was governed by a marzban who had the title of "king." The military government of these districts was now transferred to four spahbedhs, the civil government to four pādhospans, and the marzbans, though allowed to retain the honourable title, were reduced to second-class rank and were subordinate to the spahbedhs.​42 The most anxious pains of Chosroes were spent on the army, and it is said that when he reviewed it he used to inspect each individual soldier. He reduced its cost and increased its efficiency. But he also encouraged literature and patronised the study of Persian history. Of his personal culture the envy or impartiality of a Greek historian speaks with  p90  contempt as narrow and superficial;​43 on the other hand, he has received the praises of an ecclesiastical writer. "He was a prudent rather than a wise man, and all his lifetime he assiduously devoted himself to the perusal of philosophical work. And, as was said, he took pains to collect the religious books of all creeds, and read and studied them, that he might learn which were true and wise and which were foolish. . . . He praised the books of the Christians above all others, and said, 'These are true and wise above those of any other religion.' "​44 As a success­ful and, judged by the standards of his age and country, enlightened ruler, Chosroes stands out in the succession of Sassanid sovrans much as Justinian stands out in the succession of the later Roman emperors.

The Emperor Justinian had, with the energy and thoroughness which distinguished the first half of his long reign, made use of the years of peace to strengthen the defences of the eastern provinces. Sieges were the characteristic feature of the wars on the oriental frontier, and walls were wellnigh as important as men. The fortifications of many of the most important cities and strongholds had fallen into decay, many had weak points, some were ill furnished with water. All the important towns in Mesopotamia and Osrhoene, and not a few of those in northern Syria were restored, repaired, or partly rebuilt in the reign of Justinian under the supervision of expert engineers. An account of these works has been preserved,​45 and most of them were probably executed between A.D. 532 and 539. The fortresses on the Pontic or Armenian border were similarly strengthened.​46 Here, too, an important administrative change was made. Roman Armenia beyond the Euphrates, which had hitherto been governed by native satraps,​47 under the general control of a military officer,​48 was organised as a regular province  p91  under a governor of consular rank, and was officially designated as the Fourth Armenia. The satraps were abolished. Martyropolis was the chief town and residence of the governor.49

When Chosroes concluded the "Endless Peace" with Justinian, he had little idea that the new Emperor was about to embark on great enterprises of conquest. Within seven years from that time (A.D. 532‑539) Justinian had overthrown the Vandal kingdom of Africa, and had reduced the Moors; the subjection of the Ostrogothic lords of Italy was in prospect, Bosporusº and the Crimean Goths were included in the circle of Roman sway, while the Homerites of southern Arabia acknowledged the supremacy of New Rome. Both his friends and his enemies said, with hate or admiration, "The whole earth cannot contain him; he is already scrutinising the aether and the remote places beyond the ocean, if he may win some new world."​50 The eastern potentate might well apprehend danger to his own kingdom in the expansion of the Roman Empire by the reconquest of its lost provinces. We may consider it natural enough that Chosroes should have seized or invented a pretext to renew hostilities, when it seemed but too possible that if Justinian were allowed to continue his career of conquest undisturbed the Romans might come with larger armies and increased might to extend their dominions in the East at the expense of the Sassanid empire.

Hostilities between the Saracens of Hira and their enemies of Ghassan supplied Chosroes with the pretext he desired. The Roman provinces had constantly suffered from the inroads of the Ghassanid tribes who obeyed no common ruler, and one of the early achievements of Justinian's reign was the creation of a Ghassanid state under the government of supreme phylarch, nominated by the Emperor. This client state formed a counterpoise to the Lakhmids of Hira, who were clients of Persia. Harith was appointed phylarch, and received the title of king and the dignity of patrician.​51 The cause of contention at this  p92  juncture between the two Saracen powers was a tract of waste land called Strata, to the south of Palmyra, a region barren of trees and fruit, scorched dry by the sun, and used as a pasture for sheep. Harith the Ghassanid could appeal to the fact that the name Strata was Latin, and could adduce the testimony of the most venerable elders that the sheep-walk belonged to his tribe. Mundhir, the rival sheikh, contented himself with the more practical argument that for years back the shepherds had paid him tribute. Two arbitrators were sent by the Emperor, Strategius, Count of the Sacred Largesses, and Summus, the duke of Palestine. This arbitration supplied Chosroes with a pretext for breaking the peace. He alleged that Summus made treasonable offers to Mundhir, attempting to shake his allegiance to Persia; and he professed to have in his possession a letter of Justinian to the Ephthalites, urging them to invade his dominions.52

About the same time suggestions from without urged the thoughts of Chosroes in the direction which they had already taken. An embassy arrived from Witigis, king of the Ostrogoths, now hard pressed by Belisarius, and pleaded with Chosroes to act against the common enemy (A.D. 539).​53 Another embassy arrived from the Armenians making similar representations, deploring and execrating the Endless Peace, and denouncing the tyranny and exactions of Justinian, against whom they had revolted. The history of Armenia, now a Roman province,​54 had been unfortunate during the years that followed the peace. The first governor, Amazaspes, was accused by one Acacius of treachery, and, with the Emperor's consent, was slain by the accuser, who was himself appointed to succeed his victim. Acacius was relentless in exacting a tribute of unprecedented magnitude (£18,000); and some Armenians, intolerant of his cruelty, slew him and fled. The Emperor immediately despatched  p93  Sittas, the Master of Soldiers per Armeniam, to recall the people to a sense of obedience, and, when Sittas showed himself inclined to use the softer methods of persuasion, insisted that he should act with sterner vigour. The rebellion became general. Sittas was accidentally killed soon afterwards, but the rebels found themselves unequal to coping with the Roman forces, which were then placed under the command of Buzes, and they decided to appeal to the Persian monarch. The servitude of their neighbours the Tzani and the imposition of a Roman duke over the Lazi of Colchis confirmed them in their fear and detestation of Roman policy.

Accordingly Chosroes, in the autumn of A.D. 539, decided to begin hostilities in the following spring, and did not deign to answer a pacific letter from the Roman Emperor, conveyed by Anastasius, whom he retained an unwilling guest at the Persian court.​55 The war which thus began lasted five years, and in each year the king himself took the field. He invaded Syria, Colchis, and Commagene in successive campaigns; in A.D. 543 he began but did not carry out an expedition against the northern provinces; in next year he invaded Mesopotamia; and in A.D. 545 a peace was concluded.

I. Invasion of Syria (A.D. 540)​56

Avoiding Mesopotamia, Chosroes advanced northwards with a large army along the left bank of the Euphrates. He passed the triangular city of Circesium, but did not care to assault it, because its walls, built by Diocletian, were too strong; while he disdained to delay at the town of Zenobia (Halebiya), named after the queen of Palmyra, because it was too insignificant. But when he approached Sura his horse neighed and stamped the ground; and the magi, who attended the king, seized the incident as an omen that the city would be taken. On the first day of the siege the governor was slain, and on the second the bishop of the place visited the Persian camp in the name of  p94  the dispirited inhabitants, and implored Chosroes with tears to spare the town. He tried to appease the implacable foe with an offering of birds, wine, and bread, and engaged that the men of Sura would pay a sufficient ransom. Chosroes dissembled the wrath he felt against the Surenes because they had not submitted immediately; he received the gifts and said that he would consult the Persian nobles regarding the ransom; and he dismissed the bishop, who was well pleased with the interview, under the honourable escort of Persian notables, to whom the monarch had given secret instructions.

"Having given his directions to the escort, Chosroes ordered  p95  his army to stand in readiness, and to run at full speed to the city when he gave the signal. When they reached the walls the Persians saluted the bishop and stood outside; but the men of Sura, seeing him in high spirits and observing how he was escorted by the Persians, put aside all thoughts of suspicion, and, opening the gate wide, received their priest with clapping of hands and acclamation. And when all had passed within, the porters pushed the gate to shut it, but the Persians placed a stone, which they had provided, between the threshold and the gate. The porters pushed harder, but for all their violent exertions they could not succeed in forcing the gate into the threshold-groove. And they did not venture to throw it open again, as they apprehended that it was held by the enemy. Some say that it was a log of wood, not a stone, that was inserted by the Persians. The men of Sura had hardly discovered the guile, ere Chosroes had come with all his army and the Persians had forced open the gate. In a few moments the city was in the power of the enemy."​57 The houses were plundered; many of the inhabitants were slain, the rest were carried into slavery, and the city was burnt down to the ground. Then the Persian king dismissed Anastasius, bidding him inform the Emperor in what place he had left Chosroes the son of Kavad.

Perhaps it was merely avarice, perhaps it was the prayers of a captive named Euphemia, whose beauty attracted the desired of the conqueror, that induced Chosroes to treat with unexpected leniency the princes of Sura. He sent a message to Candidus, the bishop of Sergiopolis, suggesting that he should ransom the 12,000 captives for 200 lbs. of gold (15s. a head). As Candidus had not, and could not immediately obtain, the sum, he was allowed to stipulate in writing that he would pay it within a year's time, under penalty of paying double and resigning his bishopric. Few of the redeemed prisoners survived long the agitations and tortures they had undergone.

Meanwhile the Roman general Buzes was at Hierapolis. Nominally the command in the East was divided between Buzes and Belisarius: the provinces beyond the Euphrates being assigned to the former, Syria and Asia Minor to the latter. But as Belisarius hadn't yet returned from Italy, the entire army was under the orders of Buzes.

 p96  Informed of the presence of Chosroes in the Roman provinces, Justinian despatched his cousin Germanus to Antioch, with a small body of three hundred soldiers.​58 The fortifications of the "Queen of the East" did not satisfy the careful inspection of Germanus, for although the lower parts of the city were adequately protected by the Orontes, which washed the bases of the houses, and the higher regions seemed secure on impregnable heights, there rose outside the walls adjacent to the citadel​59 a broad rock, almost as lofty as the wall, which would inevitably present to the besiegers a fatal point of vantage. Competent engineers said that there would not be sufficient time before the arrival of Chosroes to remedy this defect by removing the rock or enclosing it within the walls. Accordingly Germanus, despairing of resistance, sent Megas, the bishop of Beroea, to divert the Persian advance from Antioch by the influence of money or entreaties. The army had already crossed the Euphrates, and Megas arrived as it was approaching Hierapolis, from which Buzes had withdrawn a large part of the garrison. He was informed by the great king that it was his unalterable intention to subdue Syria and Cilicia. The bishop was constrained or induced to accompany the army to Hierapolis, which was strong enough to defy a siege, and was content to purchase immunity by a payment of 2000 lbs. of silver. Chosroes then consented to retire without assaulting Antioch on the receipt of 1000 lbs. of gold (£45,000), and Megas returned speedily to Beroea.​60 From this city the avarice of the Sassanid demanded double the amount he had exacted at Hierapolis; the Beroeans gave him half the sum, affirming it was all they had; but the extortioner refused to be satisfied, and proceeded to demolish the city.

From Beroea he advanced to Antioch, and demanded the 1000 lbs. with which Megas had undertaken to redeem it; and it is said that he would have been contented to receive a smaller sum. Germanus and the Patriarch had already departed to Cilicia, and the Antiochenes would probably have paid the money had not the arrival of six thousand soldiers from Phoenicia Libanensis, led by Theoctistus and Molatzes, infused into their  p97  hearts a rash and unfortunate confidence. Julian, an Imperial secretary, who had arrived at Antioch as an ambassador, bade the inhabitants resist the extortion; and Paul, the interpreter of Chosroes, who approached the walls and counselled them to pay the money, was almost slain. Not content with defying the enemy by a refusal, the men of Antioch stood on their walls and loaded Chosroes with torrents of scurrilous abuse, which might have inflamed a milder monarch.

The siege which ensued was short. It seems not to have occurred to the besieged that they should themselves occupy the dangerous rock outside the citadel, and it was seized by the enemy. The defence at first was brave. Between the towers, which crowned the wall at intervals, platforms of wooden beams were suspended by ropes attached to the towers, that a greater number of defenders might man the walls at once. But during the fighting the ropes gave way and the suspended soldiers were precipitated, some without, some within the walls; the men in the towers were seized with panic and left their posts. The confusion was increased by a report that Buzes was coming to the rescue; and a multitude of women and children were crushed or trampled to death. But the gate leading to the remote suburb of Daphne was purposely left unblocked by the Persians; Chosroes seems to have desired that the Roman soldiers and their officers should be allowed to leave the city unmolested; and some of the inhabitants escaped with the departing army. But the young men of the Hippodrome factions made a valiant and hopeless stand against superior numbers; and the city was not entered without a considerable loss of life, which Chosroes pretended to deplore. It is said that two illustrious ladies cast themselves into the Orontes, to escape the cruelties of oriental licentiousness.

It was nearly three hundred years since Antioch had experienced the presence of a human foe, though it suffered frequently and grievously from the malignity of nature. The Sassanid Sapor had taken the city in the ill-starred reign of Valerian, but it was kindly dealt with then in comparison with its treatment by Chosroes. The cathedral was stripped of its wealth in gold and silver and its splendid marbles. Orders were given that the whole town should be burnt, except the  p98  cathedral, and the sentence of the relentless conqueror was executed as far as was practicable.

While the work of demolition was being carried out, Chosroes was treating with the ambassadors​61 of Justinian, and expressed himself ready to make peace, on condition that he received 5000 lbs. of gold, paid immediately, and an annual sum of 500 lb. nominally for the defence of the Caspian Gates. While the ambassadors returned with this answer to Byzantium, Chosroes advanced to Seleucia, the port of Antioch, and looked upon the waters of the Mediterranean; it is related that he took a solitary bath in the sea and sacrificed to the sun. In returning he visited Daphne, which was not included in the fate of Antioch, and thence proceeded to Apamea, whose gates he was invited to enter with a guard of 200 soldiers. All the gold and silver in the town was collected to satisfy his greed, even to the jewelled case in which a piece of the true cross was reverently preserved. He spared the precious relic itself, which for him was devoid of value. The city of Chalcis purchased its safety by a sum of 200 lbs. of gold; and having exhausted the provinces to the west of the Euphrates, Chosroes decided to continue his campaign of extortion in Mesopotamia, and cross the river at Obbane, near Barbalissus, by a bridge of boats. Edessa, the great stronghold of western Mesopotamia, was too strong itself to fear a siege, but paid 200 lbs. of gold for the immunity of the surrounding territory from devastation.​62 At Edessa, ambassadors arrived from Justinian, bearing his consent to the terms proposed by Chosroes; but in spite of this the Persian did not shrink from making an attempt to take Daras on his homeward march.

The fortress of Daras, which Anastasius had erected to replace the long-lost Nisibis as an outpost in eastern Mesopotamia, was built on three hills, on the highest of which stood the citadel. One of the other heights projected from higher hills behind and could not be surrounded by the walls, which  p99  were built across it. There were two walls between which stretched a space of fifty feet, used by the inhabitants for the pasture of domestic animals. The climate of Mesopotamia, the severe snows of winter followed by the burning heats of summer, tried the strength of masonry, and Justinian found it necessary to repair the fortress. He did far more than repair it. He raised the inner wall by a new story, so that it reached the unusual height of sixty feet, and he secured the supply of water by diverting the river, which flowed outside the walls, into the town by means of a channel worked between the rocks. He also built barracks for the soldiers, so that the inhabitants were spared the burden of quartering them.63

Chosroes attacked the city on the western side, and burned the western gates of the outer wall, but no Persian was bold enough to enter the interspace. He then began operations on the eastern, the only side of the rock-bound city where digging was possible, and ran a mine under the outer wall. The vigilance of the besieged was baffled until the subterranean passage had reached the foundations of the outer wall; but then, according to the story, a human or superhuman form in the guise of a Persian soldier advanced near the wall under the pretext of collecting discharged missiles, and while to the besiegers he seemed to be mocking the men on the battlements, he was really informing the besieged of the danger that was creeping upon them unawares. The Romans then, by the counsel of Theodore, a clever engineer, dug a deep transverse trench between the two walls so as to intersect the line of the enemy's excavation; the Persian burrowers suddenly ran or fell into the Roman pit; those in front were slain, and the rest fled back unpursued through the dark passage. Disgusted at this failure, Chosroes raised the siege on receiving from the men of Daras 1000 lbs. of silver. Justinian, indignant at his enemy's breach of faith, broke off the negotiations for peace.

When he returned to Ctesiphon the victorious monarch built a new city near his capital, on the model of Antioch, with whose spoils it was beautified, and settled therein the captive inhabitants of the original city, the remainder of whose days  p100  was perhaps more happily spent than if the generosity of the Edessenes had achieved its intention. The name of the new town, according to Persian writers,​64 was Rumia (Rome); according to Procopius it was called by the joint names of Chosroes and Antioch (Chosro-Antiocheia).65

II. The Persian Invasion of Colchis, and the campaign of Belisarius in Mesopotamia (A.D. 541)

From this time forth the kingdom of Lazica or Colchis began to play a more important part in the wars between the Romans and Persians. This country seems to have been then far poorer than it is to‑day; the Lazi depended for corn,º salt, and other necessary articles of consumption on Roman merchants, and gave in exchange skins and slaves; while "at present Mingrelia, though wretchedly cultivated, produces maize, millet, and barley in abundance; the trees are everywhere festooned with vines, which grow naturally, and yield a very tolerable wine; while salt is one of the main products of the neighbouring Georgia."​66 The Lazi were dependent on the Roman Empire, but the dependence consisted not in paying tribute but in committing the choice of their kings to the wisdom of the Roman Emperor. The nobles were in the habit of choosing wives among the Romans; Gubazes, the king who invited Chosroes to enter his country, was the son of a Roman lady, and had served as a silentiary in the Byzantine palace.​67 The Lazic kingdom was a useful barrier against the trans-Caucasian Scythian races, and the inhabitants defended the mountain passes without causing any outlay of men or money to the Empire.

But when the Persians seized Iberia it was considered necessary to secure the country which barred them from the sea by the  p101  protection of Roman soldiers, and the unpopular general Peter, originally a Persian captive, was not one to make the natives rejoice at the presence of their defenders. Peter's successor was John Tzibus, a man of obscure station, whose unscrupulous skill in raising money made him a useful tool to the Emperor. He was an able man, for it was by his advice that Justinian built the town of Petra, to the south of the Phasis.​68 Here he established a monopoly and oppressed the natives. It was no longer possible for the Lazi to deal directly with the traders and buy their corn and salt at a reasonable price; John Tzibus, perched in the fortress of Petra, acted as a middleman, to whom both buyers and sellers were obliged to resort, and pay the highest or receive the lowest prices. In justification of this monopoly it may be remarked that it was the only practicable way of imposing a tax on the Lazi; and the imposition of a tax might have been deemed a necessary and just compensation for the defence of the country, notwithstanding the facts that it was garrisoned solely in Roman interests, and that the garrison itself was unwelcome to the natives.

Exasperated by these grievances, Gubazes, the king of Lazica, sent an embassy to Chosroes, inviting him to recover a venerable kingdom, and pointing out that if he expelled the Romans from Lazica he would have access to the Euxine, whose waters could convey his forces against Byzantium, while he would have an opportunity of establishing a connexion with those other enemies of Rome, the barbarians north of the Caucasus.​69 Chosroes consented to the proposals of the ambassadors; and keeping his real intention secret, pretended that pressing affairs required his presence in Iberia.

Under the guidance of the envoys, Chosroes and his army passed into the thick woods and difficult hill-passes of Colchis, cutting down as they went lofty and leafy trees, which hung in dense array on the steep acclivities, and using the trunks to smooth or render passable rugged or dangerous places. When  p102  they had penetrated to the middle of the country, they were met by Gubazes, who paid oriental homage to the great king. The chief object was to capture Petra, the stronghold of Roman power, and dislodge the tradesman, as Chosroes contemptuously termed the monopolist, John Tzibus. A detachment of the army under Aniabedes was sent on in advance to attack the fortress; and when this officer arrived before the walls he found the gates shut, yet the place seemed totally deserted, and not a trace of an inhabitant was visible. A messenger was sent to inform Chosroes of this surprise; the rest of the army hastened to the spot; a battering-ram was applied to the gate, while the monarch watched the proceedings from the top of an adjacent hill. Suddenly the gate flew open, and a multitude of Roman soldiers rushing forth overwhelmed those Persians who were applying the engine, and, having killed many others who were drawn up hard by, speedily retreated and closed the gate. The unfortunate Aniabedes (according to others, the officer who was charged with the operation of the battering-ram) was impaled for the crime of being vanquished by a huckster.

A regular siege now began. It was inevitable that Petra should be captured, says our historian Procopius, in the vein of Herodotus,​70 and therefore John, the governor, was slain by an accidental missile, and the garrison, deprived of their commander, became careless and lax. On one side Petra was protected by the sea, landwards inaccessible cliffs defied the skill or bravery of an assailant, save only where one narrow entrance divided the line of steep cliffs and admitted of access from the plain. This gap between the rocks was filled by a long wall, the ends of which were commanded by towers constructed in an unusual manner, for instead of being hollow all the way up, they were made of solid stone to a considerable height, so that they could not be shaken by the most power­ful engine. But oriental inventiveness undermined these wonders of solidity. A mine was bored under the base of one of the towers, the lower stones were removed and replaced by wood, the demolishing force of fire loosened the upper layers of stones, and the tower fell. This success was decisive, as the besieged recognised; they readily capitulated, and the victors did not lay hands on any property in the fortress save the possessions of the defunct governor.  p103  Having placed a Persian garrison in Petra, Chosroes remained no longer in Lazica, for the news had reached him that Belisarius was about to invade Assyria, and he hurried back to defend his dominions.

Belisarius, accompanied by all the Goths whom he had led in triumph from Italy, except the Gothic king himself, had proceeded in the spring to take command of the eastern army in Mesopotamia.​71 Having found out by spies that no invasion was meditated by Chosroes, whose presence was demanded in Iberia — the design on Lazica was kept effectually concealed — the Roman general determined to lead the whole army, along with the auxiliary Saracens of Harith into Persian territory. It is remarkable that in this campaign although Belisarius was chief in command he never seems to have ventured or cared to execute his strategic plans without consulting the advice of the other officers. It is difficult to say whether this was due to distrust of his own judgment and the reflexion that many of the subordinate generals had more recent experience of Persian warfare than himself,​72 or to a fear that some of the leaders in an army composed of soldiers of many races might prove refractory and impatient of too peremptory orders. At Daras a council of war decided on an immediate advance.

The army marched towards Nisibis, which was too strong to be attacked, and moved forward to the fortress of Sisaurana, where an assault was at first repulsed with loss.​73 Belisarius decided to invest the place, but as the Saracens were useless for siege warfare, he sent Harith and his troops, accompanied by 1200 of his own retainers, to invade and harry Assyria, intending to cross the Tigris himself when he had taken the fort. The garrison was not supplied with provisions, and soon consented to surrender; all the Christians were dismissed free, the fire-worshippers were sent to Byzantium​74 to await the Emperor's pleasure, and the fort was levelled to the ground.

Meanwhile the plundering expedition of Harith was success­ful,  p104  but he played his allies false. Desiring to retain all the spoils for himself, he invented a story to rid himself of the Romans who accompanied him,​75 and he sent no information to Belisarius. This was not the only cause of anxiety that vexed the general's mind. The Roman, especially the Thracian, soldiers were not inured to the intense heat of the dry Mesopotamian climate in midsummer, and disease broke out in the army, demoralised by physical exhaustion. All the soldiers were anxious to return to more clement districts. There was nothing to be done but yield to the prevailing wish, which was shared by all the generals. It cannot be claimed that the campaign of Belisarius accomplished much to set off against the acquisition of Petra by the Persians.

It was indeed whispered by the general's enemies that he had culpably missed a great opportunity. They insinuated that if, after the capture of Sisaurana, he had advanced beyond the Tigris he might have carried the war up to the walls of Ctesiphon. But he sacrificed the interests of the Empire to private motives, and retreated in order to meet his wife who had just arrived in the East and punish her for her infidelity.​76 The scandals may be true, but it is impossible to say how far they affected the military conduct of Belisarius.

III. The Persian Invasion of Commagene (A.D. 542)​77

The first act of Chosroes when he crossed the Euphrates in spring was to send 6000 soldiers to besiege the town of Sergiopolis because the bishop Candidus, who had undertaken to pay the ransom of the Surene captives two years before, was unable to collect the amount, and found Justinian deaf to his appeals for aid. But the town lay in a desert, and the besiegers were soon obliged to abandon their design in consequence of the drought. It was not the Persian's intention to waste his time in despoiling the province of Euphratensis; he purposed to invade Palestine and plunder the treasures of Jerusalem. But this exploit was reserved for his grandson of the same name, and the invader returned to his kingdom having accomplished  p105  almost nothing. This speedy retreat was probably due to the outbreak of the Plague in Persia, though the Roman historian attributes it to the address of Belisarius.

Belisarius travelled by post-horses (veredi) from Constantinople to the Euphratensian province, and taking up his quarters at Europus​78 on the Euphrates, he collected there the bulk of the troops who were dispersed throughout the province in its various cities. Chosroes was curious about the personality of Belisarius, of whom he had heard so much, — the conqueror of the Vandals, the conqueror of the Goths, who had led two fallen monarchs in triumph to the feet of Justinian. Accordingly he sent Abandanes​79 as an envoy to the Roman general on the pretext of learning why Justinian had not sent ambassadors to negotiate a peace.

Belisarius did not mistake the true nature of this mission, and determined to make an impression. Having sent a body of one thousand cavalry to the left bank of the river, to harass the enemy if they attempted to cross, he selected six thousand tall and comely men from his army and proceeded with them to a place at some distance from his camp, as if on a hunting expedition. He had constructed for himself a pavilion​80 of thick canvas, which he set up, as in a desert spot, and when he knew that the ambassador was approaching, he arranged his soldiers with careful negligence. On either side of him stood Thracians and Illyrians, a little farther off the Goths, then Heruls, Vandals, and Moors; all were arrayed in close-fitting linen tunics and drawers, without a cloak or epomis to disguise the symmetry of their forms, and, like hunters, each carried a whip as well as some weapon, a sword, an axe, or a bow. They did not stand still, as men on duty, but moved carelessly about, glancing idly and indifferently at the Persian envoy, who soon arrived and marvelled.

To the envoy's complaint that the Emperor had not sent an embassy to his master, Belisarius answered, with an air of amusement, "It is not the habit of men to transact their affairs as Chosroes has transacted his. Others, when aggrieved, send an embassy first, and if they fail in obtaining satisfaction, resort  p106  to war; but he attacks and then talks of peace." The presence and bearing of the Roman general, and the appearance of his followers, hunting indifferently at a short distance from the Persian camp without any precautions, made a profound impression on Abandanes, and he persuaded his master to abandon the proposed expedition. Chosroes may have reflected that the triumph of a king over a general would be no humiliation for the general, while the triumph of a mere general over a king would be very humiliating for the king; such at least is the colouring that general's historian puts on the king's retreat. According to the same authority, Chosroes hesitated to risk the passage of the Euphrates while the enemy was so near, but Belisarius, with his smaller numbers, did not attempt to oppose him.​81 A truce was made, and a rich citizen of Edessa was delivered, an unwilling hostage, to Chosroes. In their retreat, the Persians turned aside to take and demolish Callinicum, the Coblenz of the Euphrates, which fell an easy prey to their assault, as the walls were in process of renovation at the time. This retirement of Chosroes, according to Procopius, procured for Belisarius greater glory than he had won by his victories in the West. But Belisarius was now recalled to conduct the war in Italy.

The account of Procopius, which coming from a less able historian would be rejected on account of internal improbability, cannot be accepted with confidence. It displays such a marked tendency to glorify Belisarius, that it can hardly be received as a candid story of the actual transactions. Besides, there is a certain inconsistency. If Chosroes retired for fear of Belisarius, as Procopius would have us believe, why was it he who received the hostage, and how did he venture to take Callinicum? As there actually existed a sufficient cause, unconnected with the Romans, to induce his return to Persia, namely the outbreak of the Plague, we may suspect that this was its true motive.82  p107 

IV. The Roman Invasion of Persarmenia (A.D. 543)​83

In spite of the Plague Chosroes set forth in the following spring to invade Roman Armenia. He advanced into the district of Azerbiyan (Atropatene), and halted at the great shrine of Persian fire-worship, where the Magi kept alive an eternal flame, which Procopius wished to identify with the fire of Roman Vesta. Here the Persian monarch waited for some time, having received a message that two Imperial ambassadors​84 were on their way to him. But the ambassadors did not arrive, because one of them fell ill by the road; and Chosroes did not pursue his northward journey, because the Plague broke out in his army. His general Nabedes sent the bishop of Dubios to Valerian, the general in Armenia, with complaints that the expected embassy had not appeared. The bishop was accompanied by his brother, who secretly communicated to Valerian the valuable information that Chosroes was just then encompassed by perplexities, the spread of the Plague, and the revolt of one of his sons. It was a favourable opportunity for the Romans, and Justinian directed all the generals stationed in the East to join forces to invade Persarmenia.

Martin was now Master of Soldiers in the East. He does not appear to have possessed much actual authority over the other commanders. They at first encamped in the same district, but did not unite their forces, which in all amounted to about thirty thousand men. Martin himself, with Ildiger and Theoctistus, encamped at Kitharizon, a fort about four days' march from Theodosiopolis; the troops of Peter and Adolius took up their quarters in the vicinity; while Valerian stationed himself close to Theodosiopolis and was joined there by Narses with a body of Heruls and Armenians. The Emperor's cousin Justus and some other commanders remained during the campaign far to the south in the neighbourhood of Martyropolis, where they made incursions of no great importance.

At first the various generals made separate inroads, but they ultimately united their regiments in the spacious plain of Dubios, eight days from Theodosiopolis. This plain, well suited for equestrian exercise, and richly populated, was a famous rendez-vous  p108  for traders of all nations, Indian, Iberian, Persian, and Roman.​85 About thirteen miles from Dubios there was a steep mountain, on the side of which was perched a village called Anglôn, protected by a strong fortress. Here the Persian general Nabedes, with four thousand soldiers, had taken up an almost impregnable position, blocking the precipitous streets of the village with stones and wagons. The ranks of the Roman army, as it marched to Anglôn, fell into disorder; the want of union among the generals, who acknowledged no supreme leader, led to confusion in the line of march; mixed bodies of soldiers and sutlers turned aside to plunder; and the security which they displayed might have warranted a spectator in prophesying a speedy reverse. As they drew near to the fortress, an attempt was made to marshal the somewhat demoralised troops in the form of two wings and a centre. The centre was commanded by Martin, the right wing by Peter, the left by Valerian; and all advanced in irregular and wavering line, on account of the roughness of the ground.​86 The best course for the Persians was obviously to act on the defensive. Narses and his Heruls, who were probably on the left wing with Valerian, were the first to attack the foes and to press them back into the fort. Drawn on by the retreating enemy through the narrow village streets, they were suddenly taken in the flank and in the rear by an ambush of Persians who had concealed themselves in the houses. The valiant Narses was wounded in the temple; his brother succeeded in carrying him from the fray, but the wound proved mortal. This repulse of the foremost spread the alarm to the regiments that were coming up behind; Nabedes comprehended that the moment had arrived to take the offensive and let loose his soldiers on the panic-stricken ranks of the assailants; and all the Heruls, who fought according to their wont without helmets or breastplates,​87 fell before the charge of the Persians. The Romans did not tarry; they cast their arms away and fled in wild confusion, and the mounted soldiers galloped so fast that few horses survived the flight; but the Persians, apprehensive of an ambush, did not pursue.

Never, says Procopius, did the Romans experience such a  p109  great disaster. This exaggeration inclines us to be sceptical. We can hardly avoid detecting in his narrative a desire to place the generals in as bad a light as possible, just as in his description of the hostilities of the preceding year we saw reason to suspect him unduly magnifying the behaviour of his hero Belisarius. In fact his aim seems to be to draw a strong and striking contrast between a brilliant campaign and a miserable failure. We have seen reason to doubt the exceptional brilliancy of the achievement of Belisarius; and we may wonder whether the defeat at Anglôn was really overwhelming.

V. The Persian Invasion of Mesopotamia; Siege of Edessa (A.D. 544)​88

His failure at Edessa in the first year of the war had rankled in the mind of the Sassanid monarch. The confidence of the inhabitants that they enjoyed a special divine protection in virtue of the letter of Jesus to Abgar was a challenge to the superstition of the Fire-worshippers, and the Magi could not bear the thought that they had been defeated by the God of the Christians. Chosroes comforted himself by threatening to enslave the Edessenes, and make the site of their city a pasture for sheep. But the place was strong. Its walls had been ruined again and again by earthquakes, against which the divine promise did not secure it, and again and again rebuilt. It had suffered this calamity recently (A.D. 525) and had been restored by Justin, who honoured it by his own name. But Justinopolis had as little power over the tongues of men as Anastasiopolis or Theupolis. Edessa, the city of Abgar, remained Edessa, as Daras remained Daras and Antioch Antioch. Justinian had reconstructed the fortifications and made it stronger than ever, and installed hydraulic arrangements to prevent the inundations of the river Scyrtus which flowed through the town.89

Realising the strength of the place, Chosroes would have been glad to avoid the risk of a second failure, and he proposed to  p110  the inhabitants that they should pay him an immense sum or allow him to take all the riches in the city. His proposal was refused, though if he had made a reasonable demand it would have been agreed to; and the Persian army encamped at somewhat less than a mile from the walls. Three experienced generals, Martin, Peter, and Peranius, were stationed in Edessa at this time.

On the eighth day from the beginning of the siege, Chosroes caused a large number of hewn trees to be strewn on the ground in the shape of an immense square, at about a stone's throw from the city; earth was heaped over the trees, so as to form a flat mound, and stones, not cut smooth and regular as for building, but rough hewn, were piled on the top, additional strength being secured by a layer of wooden beams placed between the stones and the earth. It required many days to raise this mound to a height sufficient to overtop the walls. At first the workmen were harassed by a sally of Huns, one of whom, named Argek, slew twenty-seven with his own hand. This could not be repeated, as henceforward a guard of Persians stood by to protect the builders. As the work went on, the mound seems to have been extended in breadth as well as in height, and to have approached closer to the walls, so that the workmen came within range of the archers who manned the battlements, but they protected themselves by thick and long strips of canvas, woven of goat hair, which were hung on poles, and proved an adequate shield. Foiled in their attempts to obstruct the progress of the threatening pile, which they saw rising daily higher and higher, the besieged sent an embassy to Chosroes. The spokesman of the ambassadors was the physician Stephen, a native of Edessa, who had enjoyed the friendship and favour of Kavad, whom he had healed of a disease, and had superintended the education of Chosroes himself. But even he, influential though he was, could not obtain more than the choice of three alternatives — the surrender of Peter and Peranius, who, originally Persian subjects, had presumed to make war against their master's son; the payment of 50,000 lbs. of gold (two million and a quarter pounds sterling); or the reception of Persian deputies, who should ransack the city for treasures and bring all to the Persian camp. All these proposals were too extravagant to be entertained for an instant;  p111  the ambassadors returned in dejection, and the erection of the mound advanced. A new embassy was sent, but was not even admitted to an audience; and when the plan of raising the city wall was tried, the besiegers found no difficulty in elevating their structure also.

At length the Romans resorted to the plan of undermining the mound, but when their excavation had reached the middle of the pile the noise of the subterranean digging was heard by the Persian builders, who immediately dug or hewed a hole in their own structure in order to discover the miners. These, knowing that they were detected, filled up the remotest part of the excavated passage and adopted a new device. Beneath the end of the mound nearest to the city they formed a small subterranean chamber with stones, boards, and earth. Into this room they threw piles of wood of the most inflammable kind, which had been smeared over with sulphur, bitumen, and oil of cedar. As soon as the mound was completed,​90 they kindled the logs, and kept the fire replenished with fresh fuel. A considerable time was required for the fire to penetrate the entire extent of the mound, and smoke began to issue prematurely from that part where the foundations were first inflamed. The besieged adopted an obvious device to mislead the besiegers. They cast burning arrows and hurled vessels filled with burning embers on various parts of the mound; the Persian soldiers ran to and fro to extinguish them, believing that the smoke, which really came from beneath, was caused by the flaming missiles; and some thus employed were pierced by arrows from the walls. Next morning Chosroes himself visited the mound and was the first to discover the true cause of the smoke, which now issued in denser volume. The whole army was summoned to the scene amid jeers of the Romans, who surveyed from the walls the consternation of their foes. The torrents of water with which the stones were flooded increased the vapour instead of quenching it and caused the sulphurous flames to operate more violently. In the evening the volume of smoke was so great that it could be seen as far away to the south as at the city of Carrhae;​91 and the fire,  p112  which had been gradually working upwards as well as spreading beneath, at length gained the air and overtopped the surface. Then the Persians desisted from their futile endeavours.

Six days later an attack was made on the walls at early dawn, and but for a farmer who chanced to be awake and gave the alarm, the garrison might have been surprised. The assailants were repulsed; and another assault on the great gate at mid-day likewise failed.​92 One final effort was made by the baffled enemy. The ruins of the half-demolished mound were covered with a floor of bricks, and from this elevation a grand attack was made. At first the Persians seemed to be superior, but the enthusiasm which prevailed in the city was ultimately crowned with victory. The peasants, even the women and the children, ascended the walls and took a part in the combat; cauldrons of oil were kept continually boiling, that the burning liquid might be poured on the heads of the assailants; and the Persians, unable to endure the fury of their enemies, fell back and confessed to Chosroes that they were vanquished. The enraged despot drove them back to the encounter; they made yet one supreme effort, and were yet once more discomfited. Edessa was saved, and the siege unwillingly abandoned by the disappointed king, who, however, had the satisfaction of receiving 500 lbs. of gold from the weary though victorious Edessenes.

In the following year, A.D. 545, a truce​93 was concluded for five years, Justinian consenting to pay 2000 lbs. of gold. But Chosroes refused to assent to the Emperor's demand that this truce should apply to operations in Lazica, where he believed that he held a strong position. Hence during the duration of the truce, there was an "imperfect" war between the two powers in Colchis. Justinian readily acceded to a request of the king to permit a certain Greek physician, named Tribunus,​94 to remain at the Persian court for a year. Tribunus of Palestine, the best medical authority of the age, was, we are told, a man of distinguished virtue and piety, and highly valued by Chosroes,  p113  whose constitution was delicate and constantly required the services of a physician. At the end of the year the king permitted him to ask a boon, and instead of proposing remuneration for himself he begged for the freedom of some Roman prisoners. Chosroes not only liberated those whom he named, but others also to the number of three thousand.

§ 4. The Lazic War (A.D. 549‑557)​95

The Lazi soon found that the despotism of the Persian fire-worshipper was less tolerable than the oppression of the Christian monopolists, and repented that they had taught the armies of the great king to penetrate the defiles of Colchis. It was not long before the Magi attempted to convert the new province to a faith which was odious to the christianised natives, and it became known that Chosroes entertained the intention of removing the inhabitants and colonising the land with Persians. Gubazes, who learned that Chosroes was plotting against his life, hastened to seek the pardon and the protection of Justinian. In A.D. 549, 7000 Romans were sent to Lazica, under the command of Dagisthaeus, to recover the fortress of Petra. Their forces were strengthened by the addition of a thousand Tzanic auxiliaries.

The acquisition of Colchis pleased Chosroes so highly, and the province appeared to him of such eminent importance, that he took every precaution to secure it.​96 A highway was constructed from the Iberian confines through the country's hilly and woody passes, so that not only cavalry but elephants could traverse it. The fortress of Petra was supplied with sufficient stores of provisions, consisting of salted meat and corn, to last for five years; no wine was provided, but vinegar and a sort of grain from which a spirituous liquor could be distilled. The armour and weapons which were stored in the magazines would, as was afterwards found, have accoutred five times the number of the besiegers; and a cunning device was adopted to supply  p114  the city with water, while the enemy should delude themselves with the idea that they had cut off the supply.

When Dagisthaeus laid siege to the town the garrison consisted of 1500 Persians. He committed the mistake of not occupying the clisurae or passes from Iberia into Colchis, so as to prevent the arrival of Persian reinforcements. The siege was protracted for a long time, and the small garrison suffered heavy losses. At last Mermeroes, allowed to enter Colchis unopposed with large forces of cavalry and infantry, arrived at the pass which commands the plain of Petra. Here his progress was withstood by a hundred Romans, but after a long and bloody battle the weary guards gave way, and the Persians reached the summit. When Dagisthaeus learned this he raised the siege.

Mermeroes left 3000 men in Petra and provisioned it for a short time. Leaving 5000 men under Phabrigus in Colchis, and instructing them to keep Petra supplied with food, he withdrew to Persarmenia. Disaster soon befell these troops; they were surprised in their camp by Dagisthaeus and Gubazes in the early morning, and but few escaped. All the provisions brought from Iberia for the use of Petra were destroyed, and the eastern passes of Colchis were garrisoned.97

In the spring of A.D. 550 Chorianes entered Colchis with a Persian army, and encamped by the river Hippis, where a battle was fought in which Dagisthaeus was victorious, and Chorianes lost his life. Dagisthaeus, however, was accused of misconducting the siege of Petra, through disloyalty or culpable negligence. Justinian ordered his arrest, and appointed Bessas, who had recently returned from Italy, in his stead. Men wondered at this appointment, and thought that the Emperor was foolish to entrust the command to a general who was far advanced in years, and whose career in the West had been inglorious; but the choice, as we shall see, was justified by the result.

The first labour that devolved on Bessas was to suppress a revolt of the Abasgians. The territory of this nation extended along the lunated eastern coast of the Euxine, and was separated from Colchis by the country of the Apsilians, who inhabited  p115  the district between the western spurs of Caucasus and the sea. The Apsilians had long been Christians, and submitted to the lordship of their Lazic neighbours, who had at one time held sway over the Abasgians. Abasgia was governed by two princes, of whom one ruled in the west and the other in the east. These potentates increased their revenue by the sale of beautiful boys, whom they tore in early childhood from the arms of their reluctant parents and made eunuchs; for in the Roman Empire these comely and useful slaves were in constant demand, and secured a high price from the opulent nobles. It was the glory of Justinian to bring about the abolition of this unnatural practice; the people supported the remonstrances which the Emperor's envoy, himself an Abasgian eunuch, made to their kings; the royal tyranny was abolished, and a people which had worshipped trees embraced Christianity, to enjoy, as they thought, a long period of freedom under the protection of the Roman Augustus. But the mildest protectorate tends insensibly to become domination. Roman soldiers entered the country, and taxes were imposed on the new friends of the Emperor. The Abasgi preferred the despotism of men of their own blood to servitude to a foreign master, and they elected two new kings, Opsites in the east and Sceparnas in the west. But it would have been rash to brave the jealous anger of Justinian without the support of some stronger power, and when Nabedes, after the great defeat of the Persians on the Hippis, visited Lazica, he received sixty noble hostages from the Abasgians, who craved the protection of Chosroes. They had not taken warning from the repentance of the Lazi, that it was a hazardous measure to invoke the Persian. The king, Sceparnas, was soon afterwards summoned to the Sassanid court, and his colleague Opsites prepared to resist the Roman forces which Bessas despatched against him under the command of Wilgang (a Herul) and John the Armenian.

In the southern borders of Abasgia, close to the Apsilian frontier, an extreme mountain of the Caucasian chain descends in the form of a staircase to the waters of the Euxine. Here, on one of the lower spurs, the Abasgi had built a strong and roomy fastness in which they hoped to defy the pursuit of an invader. A rough and difficult glen separated it from the sea, while the ingress was so narrow that two persons could not enter  p116 abreast, and so low that it was necessary to crawl. The Romans, who had sailed from the Phasis, or perhaps from Trapezus, landed on the Apsilian borders, and proceeded by land to this glen, where they found the whole Abasgian nation arrayed to defend a pass which it would have been easy to hold against far larger numbers. Wilgang remained with half the army at the foot of the glen, while John and the other half embarked in boats which had accompanied the coast march of the soldiers. They landed at no great distance, and by a circuitous route were able to approach the unsuspecting foe in the rear. The Abasgians fled in consternation towards their fortress; fugitives and pursuers, mingled together, strove to penetrate the narrow aperture, and those inside could not prevent enemies from entering with friends. But the Romans when they were within the walls found a new labour awaiting them. The Abasgi fortified themselves in their houses, and vexed their adversaries by showering missiles from above. At length the Romans employed the aid of fire, and the dwellings were soon reduced to ashes. Some of the people were burnt, others, including the wives of the kings, were taken alive, while Opsites escaped to the neighbouring Sabirs.

The truce of five years had now elapsed (April, A.D. 550), and while new negotiations began between the courts of Constantinople and Ctesiphon, Bessas addressed himself to the enterprise in which Dagisthaeus had failed, the capture of Petra. The garrison was brave and resolute, and the siege was long. But the persistency of Bessas achieved success and the stronghold fell in the early spring of A.D. 551. The gallant soldier, John the Armenian, was slain in the final assault. When Mermeroes, who was approaching to relieve Petra, heard the news, he retraced his steps, in order to attack Archaeopolis and other fortresses on the right bank of the Phasis.​98 His siege of Archaeopolis99  p117  was a failure. He suffered a considerable defeat and was forced to retire. He succeeded in taking some minor fortresses in the course of the following campaigns (A.D. 552‑554).​100 His death, which occurred in the autumn of A.D. 554, was a serious loss to Chosroes, for, though old and lame, and unable even to ride, he was not only brave and experienced, but as unwearying and energetic as a youth. Nachoragan was sent to succeed him.

Although the operations of the Persians in these years had been attended with no conspicuous success, they had gained one considerable advantage without loss to themselves. The small inland district of Suania, in the hills to the north of Lazica, had hitherto been a dependency on that kingdom. Its princes were nominated by the Lazic kings. The Suanians now (A.D. 552) repudiated this connexion and went over to the Persians, who sent troops to occupy the territory.101

In the meantime the question of the renewal of the five years' truce had been engaging the attention of the Roman and Persian courts, and the negotiations had continued for eighteen months. At length it was renewed (A.D. 551, autumn) for another period of five years, the Romans agreeing to pay 2600 lbs. of gold,​102 and, as before, it was not to affect the hostilities in Colchis. A contemporary states that there was much popular indignation that Chosroes should have extorted from the Empire 4600 lbs. of gold in eleven and a half years, and the people of Constantinople murmured at the excessive consideration which the Emperor  p118  displayed towards the Persian ambassador Isdigunas​103 and his retinue, who were permitted to move about in the city, without a Roman escort, as if it belonged to them.

Meanwhile king Gubazes, who had been engaged in frequent quarrels with the Roman commanders, sent a complaint to Justinian accusing them of negligence in conducting the war. Bessas, Martin, and Rusticus were specially named. The Emperor deposed Bessas from his post, but assigned the chief command to Martin and did not recall Rusticus. This Rusticus was the Emperor's pursebearer who had been sent to bestow rewards on soldiers for special merit. He and Martin determined to remove Gubazes. To secure themselves from blame, they despatched John, brother of Rusticus, to Justinian with the false message that Gubazes was secretly favouring the Persians. Justinian was surprised, and determined to summon the king to Constantinople. "What," asked John, "is to be done, if he refuses?" "Compel him," said the Emperor; "he is our subject." "But if he resist?" urged the conspirator. "Then treat him as a tyrant." "And will he who should slay him have naught to fear?" "Naught, if he act disobediently and be slain as an enemy." Justinian signed a letter to this effect, and armed with it John returned to Colchis. The conspirators hastened to execute their treacherous design. Gubazes was invited to assist in an attack on the fortress of Onoguris, and with a few attendants he met the Roman army on the banks of the Chobus. An altercation arose between the king and Rusticus, and on the pretext that the gainsayer of a Roman general must necessarily be a friend of the enemy, John drew his dagger and plunged it in the royal breast. The wound was not mortal but it unhorsed the king, and when he attempted to rise from the ground, a blow from the squire of Rusticus killed him outright.104

The Lazi silently buried their king according to their customs, and turned away in mute reproach from their Roman protectors. They no longer took part in the military operations, but hid  p119  themselves away as men who had lost their hereditary glory. The other commanders, Buzes and Justin the son of Germanus, concealed the indignation which they felt, supposing that the outrage had the Emperor's authority. Some months later, when winter had begun, the Lazi met in secret council in some remote Caucasian ravine, and debated whether they should throw themselves on the protection of Chosroes. But their attachment to the Christian religion as well as their memory of Persian oppression forbade them to take this step, and they decided to appeal for justice and satisfaction to the Emperor, and at the same time to supplicate him to nominate Tzath, the younger brother of Gubazes, as their new king. Justinian promptly complied with both demands. Athanasius, a senator of high repute, was sent to investigate the circumstances of the assassination, and on his arrival he incarcerated Rusticus and John, pending a trial. In the spring (A.D. 555) Tzath arrived in royal state, and when the Lazi beheld the Roman army saluting him as he rode in royal apparel, a tunic embroidered with gold reaching to his feet, a white mantle with a gold stripe, red shoes, a turban adorned with gold and gems, and a crown, they forgot their sorrow and escorted him in a gay and brilliant procession. It was not till the ensuing autumn​105 that the authors of the death of the late king were brought to justice, and the natives witnessed the solemn procedure of a Roman trial. Rusticus and John were executed. Martin's complicity was not so clear, and the Emperor, to whom his case was referred, deposed him from his command in favour of his own cousin Justin, the son of Germanus.​106 Martin perhaps would not have been acquitted if he had not been popular with the army and a highly competent general.

Immediately after the assassination of Gubazes, the Romans who had assembled in full force before the fortress of Onoguris sustained a severe and inglorious defeat at the hands of 3000 Persians (A.D. 554). In the following spring, Phasis (Poti), at the mouth of the like-named river, was attacked by Nachoragan, and an irregular battle before this town resulted in a victory for Martin which wiped out the disgrace of Onoguris.​107 In the  p120  same year, the Misimians, a people who lived to the north-east of the Apsilians and like these and the Suanians were dependent on Lazica, slew a Roman envoy who was travelling through their country and had treated them with insolence. Knowing that this outrage would be avenged they went over to Persia. This incident determined the nature of the unimportant operations of A.D. 556. A Persian army prevented the Romans from invading the land of the Misimians. But a punitive expedition was sent in the ensuing winter and was attended with an inhuman massacre of the Misimians, who finally yielded and were pardoned. This expedition was the last episode of the Lazic War.

The truce of five years expired in the autumn of A.D. 556. Both powers were weary of the war, and the course of the campaigns had not been encouraging to Chosroes. It is probable, too, that he was preparing for a final effort to destroy, in conjunction with the Turks, the kingdom of the Ephthalites. Early in the year he had sent his ambassador Isdigunas to Constantinople​108 to negotiate a renewal of the truce which would soon expire. It was intended that the arrangement should be a preliminary to a treaty of permanent peace, and this time it was not to be imperfect, it was to extend to Lazica as well as to Armenia and the East. The truce was concluded (A.D. 557) on the terms of the status quo in Lazica, each power retaining the forts which were in its possession; there was no limit of time and there were no money payments.109

The historical importance of the Lazic War lay in the fact that if the Romans had not succeeded in holding the country and thwarting the design of Chosroes, the great Asiatic power would have had access to the Euxine and the Empire would have had a rival on the waters of that sea. The serious menace involved in this possibility was fully realised by the Imperial government and explains the comparative magnitude of the forces which were sent to the defence of the Lazic kingdom.

§ 5. Conclusion of Peace (A.D. 562)

It is not clear why five years were allowed to lapse before this truce of A.D. 557 was converted into a more permanent  p121  agreement. Perhaps Chosroes could not bring himself to abandon his positions in Lazica, and he knew that the complete evacuation of that country would be insisted on as an indispensable condition by the Emperor. At length, in A.D. 562, Peter the Master of Offices, as the delegate of Justinian, and Isdigunas, as the delegate of Chosroes, met on the frontiers to arrange conditions of peace.​110 The Persian monarch desired that the term of its duration should be long, and that, in return for the surrender of Lazica, the Romans should pay at once a sum of money equivalent to the total amount of large annual payments for thirty or forty years; the Romans, on the other hand, wished to fix a shorter term. The result of the negotiations was a compromise. A treaty was made for fifty years, the Roman government undertaking to pay the Persians at the rate of 30,000 gold pieces (£18,750) annually. The total amount due during the first seven years was to be paid at once, and at the beginning of the eighth year the Persian claim for the three ensuing years was to be satisfied. The inscription of the Persian document, which ratified the compact, was as follows:

"The divine, good, pacific, ancient Chosroes, king of kings, fortunate, pious, beneficent, to whom gods have given great fortune and great empire, the giant of giants, who is formed in the image of the gods, to Justinian Caesar our brother."

The most important provision of the treaty was that Persia agreed to resign Lazica to the Romans. The other articles were as follows:

(1) The Persians were bound to prevent Huns, Alans, and other barbarians from traversing the central passes of the Caucasus with a view to depredation in Roman territory; while the Romans were bound not to send an army to those regions or to any other parts of the Persian territory. (2) The Saracen allies of both States were included in this peace. (3) Roman and Persian merchants, whatever their wares, were to carry on their traffic at certain prescribed places,​111 where custom-houses were stationed, and at no others. (4) Ambassadors between the two  p122  States were to have the privilege of making use of the public posts, and their baggage was not to be liable to custom duties. (5) Provision was made that Saracen or other traders should not smuggle goods into either Empire by out‑of-the‑way roads; Daras and Nisibis were named as the two great emporia where these barbarians were to sell their wares.​112 (6) Henceforward the migration of individuals from the territory of one State into that of the other was not to be permitted; but any who had deserted during the war were allowed to return if they wished. (7) Disputes between Romans and Persians were to be settled — if the accused failed to satisfy the claim of the plaintiff — by a committee of men who were to meet on the frontiers in the presence of both a Roman and a Persian governor. (8) To prevent dissension, both States bound themselves to refrain from fortifying towns in proximity to the frontier. (9) Neither State was to harry or attack any of the subject tribes or nations of its neighbour. (10) The Romans engaged not to place a large garrison in Daras, and also that the magister militum of the East​113 should not be stationed there; if any injury in the neighbourhood of that city were inflicted on Persian soil, the governor of Daras was to pay the costs. (11) In the case of any treacherous dealing, as distinct from open violence, which threatened to disturb the peace, the judges on the frontier were to investigate the matter, and if their decision was insufficient, it was to be referred to the Master of Soldiers in the East; the final appeal was to be made to the sovran of the injured person. (12) Curses were imprecated on the party that should violate the peace.

A separate agreement provided for the toleration of the Christians and their rites of burial in the Persian kingdom. They were to enjoy immunity from persecution by the Magi and, on the other hand, they were to refrain from proselytising.

When the sovrans had learned and signified their approbation of the terms on which their representatives had agreed, the two ambassadors drafted the treaty each in his own language. The  p123  Greek draft was then translated into Persian, and the Persian into Greek, and the two versions were carefully collated. A copy was then made of each. The original versions were sealed by the ambassadors and their interpreters, and Peter took possession of the Persian, and Isdigunas of the Greek, while of the unsealed copies Peter took the Greek and Isdigunas the Persian. It is rarely that we get a glimpse like this into the formal diplomatic procedure of ancient times.

One question remained undecided. The Romans demanded that with the resignation of their pretensions to Lazica the Persians should also evacuate the small adjacent region of Suania. No agreement was reached by the plenipotentiaries, but the question was not allowed to interfere with the conclusion of the treaty, and was reserved for further negotiation. For this purpose Peter went in the following year (A.D. 563) to the court of Chosroes, but Chosroes refused to agree to his argument that Suania was a part of Lazica. In the course of the conversations, the king made the remarkable proposal that the matter should be left to the Suanians themselves to decide. Peter would not entertain this, as Chosroes probably anticipated, and the negotiations fell through.

The Author's Notes:

1 With the exception of that of Vegetius, which does not help much. See above, Vol. I, p250.º

2 Besides Procopius, the chief source, we have four tactical documents which supplement and illustrate his information. (1) Fragments of a tactical work by Urbicius, who wrote in the reign of Anastasius. (2) Anonymous Βυζαντιος Περὶ στρατηγικῆς, and (3) a ἑρμήνεια or glossary of military terms, from the reign of Justinian. (4) Pseudo-Mauricius, Stratêgikon, from the end of the sixth century. For editions of these works see Bibliography. In regard to the date of the Stratêgikon (falsely ascribed to the emperor Maurice), it is quite clear that it was composed after the reign of Justinian, and before the institution of the system of Themes, which is probably to be ascribed to Heraclius. Thus we get as outside limits A.D. 585-c. 615. It isº quite perverse to date it (with Vári and others) to the eighth century. For modern studies of the sixth-century armies see Bibliography II.2, C under Benjamin, Maspéro, Aussaresses, Grosse, Müller.

3 The Greek name of the numerus is ἀριθμός or τάγμα (Sozomen, H. E. I.8 τὰ Ῥωμαίων τάγματα ἃ νῦν ἀριθμοὺς καλοῦσι); κατάλογος is used in the same sense, e.g. Procopius, B. P. I.15. For the evidence as to its strength cp. Maspéro, op. cit. 116 sq., who remarks that it was a tactical principle to vary the strength of the numeri in order to deceive the enemy (cp. Pseudo-Maurice, Strat. I.4 ad fin. χρὴ μηδὲ πάντα τὰ τάγματα ἐπιτηδεύειν πάντως ἴσα ποιεῖν κτλ.). But the theoretical strength of the infantry numerus which Urbicius and the tacticians of Justinian's reign call σύνταγμα was 256 (Ἑρμήνεια 12, cp. Pseudo-Maurice, XII.8; Urbicius says 250). These authorities nearly agree as to the tactical divisions of an army. The chief division, according to the Ἑρμήνεια, are: phalanx = 4096, meros = 2048, chiliarchia = 1024,º pentakosarchia =512, syntagma (tagma) = 256, taxis = 128, tetrarchia = 64, lochos = 16 (sometimes 8 or 12; Urbicius says 25). Pseudo-Maurice contemplates rather higher figures: the tagma should vary from 300 to 400 as a maximum; the chiliarchy, from 2000 to 3000; the meros, which consists of μοῖραι, should not exceed 6000 or 7000 (Strat. 1.4).

4 It is notable that Procopius sometimes speaks of the Isaurian regiments if they were distinct from the other Roman troops (κατάλογοι), as in B. G. I.5.2; but they were included among the stratiôtai.

5 The position of the Foederati was misconceived by Mommsen and by Benjamin (who held that they were recruited by Roman officers as a private speculation) and has been elucidated by J. Maspéro (Organ. mil. and Φοιδεράτοι). His arguments seem to me convincing. The growth of the Federate troops was gradual, and appears to have begun in the reign of Honorius (Olympiodorus, fr. 7). Areobindus is a Count of the Federates under Theodosius II (John Mal. XIV.364); in the time of Anastasius, Patriciolus (Theophanes, A.M. 6005) and probably Vitalian held the same post. There was a special bureau of χαρτουλάπιοι φοιδερὰτων to deal with the payment of these troops (C. J. XII.37.19, probably a law of Anastasius), who seem to have been considered more honourable and doubtless received higher pay than the comitatenses. For the technical use of Stratiôtai see Justinian, Nov. 116 στρατιῶται καὶ φοιδερᾶτοι, Nov. 117.11; Procopius, B. P. I.17.46 Ῥωμαῖοι στρατιῶται, B. V. I.11.2; B. G. IV.26.10.

6 Procopius, B. V. I.11.

7 Σύμμαχοι.

8 See above, Chap. II § 2.

9 Benjamin (op. cit. 24 sqq.) has collected instances from Procopius and Agathias. Egyptian papyri supply evidence for the employment of these Bucellarians in Egypt by large landowners. See the instances cited by Maspéro, Organ. milit. 66 sqq.

10 Procopius, B. G. III.1.20. Valerian, Mag. mil. of Armenia, had more than 1000 retainers (ib. XXVII.3). Narses had less than 400 (Agathias, I.19).

11 B. V. II.18.6. The superior position of the doryphoroi is illustrated by the fact that individual hypaspistai are very seldom named by Procopius, whereas he mentions by name 47 doryphoroi. Benjamin, op. cit. 32‑33.

12 Agathias, V.13 ad fin. The figure is probably very close to the truth.

13 Ferreus equitatus, Amm. Marc. XIX.1.2.

14 Legally the two powers seem to have been in a state of war, for the armistice of seven years (A.D. 505) had not been renewed. This may be inferred from the statement of John Malalas (XVIII p478) that the peace of 532 terminated in a war which had lasted for 31 years, i.e. since 502.

15 Justinian, Nov. 28. Proc. B. P. 1.15. They returned to their old marauding habits and had to be reduced again in A.D. 558. Agathias, V.1.2.

16 For Roman interference in the domestic affairs of Colchis in the reign of Marcian see Priscus, fr. 8 De leg. Rom., fr. 12 De leg. gent. (cp. also frs. 16 and 22).

17 John Mal. XVIII p412. He was baptized a Christian and married a Roman lady, Valeriana, daughter of Nomos a patrician. Justin crowned him, and the chronicler describes his royal robes at some length.

18 Justin sent Probus, the nephew of Anastasius, with a large sum of money, to Bosporus, to induce the Huns of the Crimea to help the Iberians; but he was unsuccessful (Proc. B. P. 1.12).

19 But they soon departed, and the natives were unable to defend the forts against the Persians. Proc. B. P. I.13, p58. Sittas was a mag. mil. in praes., and he was now appointed to the newly created post of Mag. mil. per Armeniam. He seems to have held the two posts concurrently. During peace his headquarters were at Constantinople. See Proc. B. P. I.15, p74, II.3, p154; John Mal. XVIII p429.

20 Procopius, ib. 1.12. This is probably the incursion (noticed by John Mal. p427) under Gilderic and others.

21 John Mal. p441. For the events of 528 we have to combine Procopius (B. P. I.13) and Malalas. The two narratives are carefully compared by Sotiriadis in Zur Kr. v. Joh. v. Ant. p114 sq. It is to be noted that Belisarius held only a subordinate position and was in no way responsible for the defeat. The operations of 529 are entirely omitted by Procopius. For the fortress at Minduos, which the Romans tried to build, see Proc. ib. and Zacharias Myt. IX.2.º

22 John Mal. p442. Pompeius was a patrician, and it is not very likely that there were two patricians of this name.

23 In succession to Hypatius (before June) acc. to John Mal. p445. Hypatius (ib. 423) had been created mag. mil. Or. between April and August 527. It is difficult to reconcile this with the statements of Procopius, who places both the appointment and the deposition of Hypatius before April 527º (B. P. I.11 p53 and p55, compared with I.13 p59). It is possible that the notice of the deposition is an anticipation; the whole section beginning μετὰ δέ, p54, to end of chap. II may be a chronological digression. But Zacharias, IX.1, states that Timus (otherwise unknown, perhaps an error for Timostratus) was mag. mil. when Justin died, and that Belisarius succeeded him (IX.2). If this is right, Malalas is wrong.

24 It is remarkable that in the summer of 529 Justinian should have sent the customary friendly embassy to announce his accession. Hermogenes was the envoy (John Mal. pp447‑448). He returned with a letter from Kavad, of which the text is given (ib. p449).

25 Theophanes supplies the date.

26 During the afternoon the armies were diverted by two single combats, in which a Byzantine professor of gymnastics, who had accompanied the army unofficially, slew two Persian champions.

27 Procopius, B. P. I.14. A diagram will make the arrangement of the forces clear. IMAGE ZZZ

28 It is curious that Zacharias, IX.3, in his notice of the battle, does not mention Belisarius. He names Sunicas, Buzes, and Simuth (Simas?).

29 Oman (Art of War, p29), who has well elucidated the battle. In one point I disagree with his plan. The central trench (C) was evidently, from the description of Procopius, much shorter than the wing trenches (A, A´), and the lines of infantry must have extended considerably beyond it on either side. But this only brings out and confirms his interpretation of the tactical plan of Belisarius, to force the enemy to attack the wings.

30 About this time Narses the Persarmenian, with his two brothers, deserted to Rome (Proc. B. P. I.15).

31 See Proc. B. P. I.16; John Mal. p454. Sotiriadis (op. cit. p119) points out the difficulties in the text and gives a probable solution. For the Samaritan rising, ib. 445.

32 Procopius, B. P. p92.

33 Compare the conflicting accounts of Procopius (B. P. I.18), the secretary of Belisarius, and Malalas. We have no means of determining the source of the latter, but in many cases he furnishes details omitted by the former. The account of Zacharias, IX.4 throws no light, but he mentions that the wind was blowing in the face of the Romans.

34 I cannot agree with the plan of the battle implied by Sotiriadis (p123), which would place the Persians west of the Romans. I adopt the reverse position, and thus bring the statements of Malalas into accordance with those of Procopius. In the mere fact of the position of troops there is no reason why the two accounts should differ. According to Sotiriadis, "the northern part" (τὸ ἀρκῷον μέρος) of the Roman army was the right wing; according to my explanation, it was the left.

35 It may be suspected that Hermogenes presented the behaviour of Belisarius in a suspicious light. He was a Hun, and sympathised doubtless with Sunicas and Simas.

36 We cannot, I think, infer from the recall of Belisarius that the verdict of Constantiolus was adverse to him; on the contrary, if it had been adverse to him, the informant who furnished Malalas with his narrative, and who was evidently unfriendly to Belisarius, would have certainly stated the fact in distinct terms. Probably the reason of his recall was the circumstance that a bad feeling prevailed between him and the subordinate commanders; and Justinian saw that this feeling was a sure obstacle to success. The investigation of Constantiolus would naturally have shown up these jealousies and quarrels in the clearest light.

37 In the sixth year of Justinian, therefore after April 1. B. P. p117.

38 Pharangion and Bôlon.

39 Procopius, B. P. I.22. John Mal. XVIII p477 states that the two monarchs agreed, as brothers, to supply each other with money or men in case of need. This may seem improbable, but such an agreement seems to have been made in a private treaty, see Joshua Styl. c. VIII. I conjecture that this refers to the treaty of 442: the stipulated help consisted of 300 able-bodied men or 300 staters.

40 Perhaps at a synod, c. 527. See Tournebize, Hist. de L'Arménie, I.90‑91. Le Quien, Or. Christ. I. pp1381‑1384.

41 KhosruHu-srava (fair glory) is etymologically identical with εὔ-κλεια. The proper form of Nushirvan is Anosha-revan = of immortal soul.

42 For these changes see Stein, Ein Kapitel vom pers. Staate, who (p66) would attribute the institution of the 4 pādhospans to Kavad.

43 Agathias (II.28), who asks how one brought up in the luxury of an oriental barbarian could be a philosopher or a scholar. For the reception of Greek philosophers at the Persian court see p370.

44 John Eph. VI.20. John apologises for thus eulogising a Magian and an enemy. What he says about the king's Christian proclivities is more edifying than probable. But Chosroes was not fanatical. He allowed one of his wives and her son to profess Christianity. In the eyes of Procopius, Chosroes was the typical oriental tyrant, cruel and perfidious.

45 Procopius, Aed. book II.

46 Ib. book III.

47 Zeno abolished hereditary succession to the satrapies (except in the case of Belabitene), and vested the nomination in the Emperor (Procop. ib. III.1).

48 The Comes Armeniae, who had been abolished in 528, when the mag. mil. per Arm. was created. See above, p80.

49 A.D. 536. Justinian, Nov. 31, § 3. At the same time considerable changes were made in the East Pontic provinces of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Armenia, which will be noticed in another place (below, p344).

50 Procopius, B. P. II.3 (p160).

51 See Procopius, B. P. I.17; Theophanes, A.M. 6056. Harith reigned c. A.D. 528‑570. Mundhir, the veteran chief of Hiras, was similarly allowed by the Persians to bear the title of king (Procop. ib.). He reigned for about 50 years (A.D. 508‑554); see Tabari, p170 (Noeldeke's note). He was exceptionally (p92) barbarous. He sacrificed the son of his enemy Harith (Procop. B. P. II.28) and on another occasion 400 nuns (cp. Noeldeke, l.c.) to the goddess Uzza. For these kingdoms see Huart, Hist. des Arabes, chap. IV.

52 Procopius says that he does not know whether these allegations were true or false (B. P. II.1). The second Book of his De bello Persico is our main source for the war which ensued. It comes down to the end of A.D. 549.

53 See below, chap. XVIII § 9. The reader may ask how the details of this embassy were known. Procopius tells us in another place (B. P. II.14) that the interpreter, returning from Persia, was captured near Constantia by John, duke of Mesopotamia, and gave an account of the embassy. The pseudo-bishop and his attendant remained in Persia.

54 See above, p90.

55 Theodora also wrote a letter to Zabergan, whom she knew personally as he had come to Constantinople as an envoy, requesting him to urge Chosroes to preserve peace. But this letter may have been sent later, in 540 or even 541. Chosroes made use of it to quell discontent among his troops, arguing that a state must be weak in which women intervened in public affairs. Procopius, H. A. II.32‑36.º

56 Procopius, B. P. II.5‑14.

57 Procopius, B. P. II.5.

58 Cp. John Mal. bk. XVIII p480. Contin. Marcell., s. a.

59 The citadel was called Orocasias.

60 Probably via Batnae.

61 Julian mentioned above, and John, son of Rufinus (doubtless the same Rufinus who had been employed by Anastasius as ambassador to Kavad).

62 The people of Edessa were generous enough to subscribe to ransom the Antiochene captives; farmers who had no money gave a sheep or an ass, prostitutes stripped off their ornaments. But, according to Procopius (B. P. II.13), Buzes, who happened to be there, seized the money that was collected and allowed the captives to be carried off to Persia.

63 See Procopius, De aed. II.1; B. P. II.13. The towers were 100 feet high. The details of the description of Procopius have been verified by the discoveries of Sachan on the site (Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien, 395 sqq.). Cp. Chapot, op. cit. 313 sqq.

64 See Tabari, pp341‑342; Rawlinson, Seventh Oriental Monarchy, p395. The new Antioch had one remarkable privilege; slaves who fled thither, if acknowledged by its citizens as kinsmen, were exempted from the pursuit of their Persian masters.

65 Procopius, B. P. II.15‑19. Antioch itself was rebuilt by Justinian. The circuit of the wall was contracted, and the hill cliffs of Orocasias were not included within the line. The course of the Orontes was diverted so that it should flow by the new walls. Procop. De aed. II.10.

66 Rawlinson, op. cit. p406, where the facts are quoted from Haxthausen's Transcaucasia. Procopius himself mentions (B. G. IV.14) that the district of Muchiresis in Colchis was very fertile, produ­cing wine and various kinds of corn.

67 See Procop. B. P. II.29; B. G. IV.9. Previous Lazic kings had married Roman ladies of senatorial family.

68 The site of Petra is uncertain. It has been identified with Ujenar (by Dubois de Montpéreux, Voyage autour du Caucase, III.86), 15 miles SE of the mouth of the Phasis and 12 miles from the coast. But the description of Procopius, B. G. II.17, suggests that it was quite close to the sea.

69 Another element in the Colchian policy of Chosroes was the circumstance that if Lazica were Persian, the Iberians would have no power in the rear to support them if they revolted. Compare Procopius, B. P. II.28.

70 Καὶ φὰρ ἔδει Πέτραν Χόσρωι ἀλῶναι.

71 The Italian generals accompanied Belisarius. One of them, Valerian, succeeded Martin as general in Armenia; Martin had been transferred to Mesopotamia.

72 This is dwelt on in one of the speeches which Procopius places in the mouth of Belisarius (B. P. II.16).

73 Between Nisibis and the Tigris (the same as Sisar in Amm. Marc. XVIII.6.9).º

74 These Persians, with their leader Bleschanes, were afterwards sent to Italy against the Goths. It was Roman policy to employ Persian captives against the Goths, Gothic captives against the Persians.

75 Trajan and John the Glutton were in command of these 1200 ὑπασπισταί. When they separated from Harith they proceeded to Theodosiopolis, in order to avoid a hostile army which did not exist.

76 Procopius, H. A. 17.25. For the story see above, p60.

77 Procopius, B. P. II.20, 21.

78 Yerabus. Cp. Chapot, op. cit. p280.

79 One of the βασιλικοὶ γραμματεῖς (notarii).

80 Παπυλεών, which Procopius introduces with one of his usual apologetic formulae for words that are not Greek.

81 A Persian army always carried with it materials for constructing pontoons (Proc. B. P. II.21), and they crossed by such a bridge on this occasion.

82 So Rawlinson (op. cit. p461), who perhaps is more generous to Procopius than he deserves. The Plague broke out in Persia in the summer of 542.

83 Proc. ib. 24, 25.

84 Constantianus, an Illyrian, and Sergius of Edessa, both rhetors and men of parts.

85 Dubios corresponds to Duin.

86 Procopius assigns as an additional cause the want of discipline or previous marshalling of the troops; but I feel some suspicions of the whole account of this campaign.

87 The Herul's only armour was a shield and a cloak of thick stuff.

88 Procopius, B. P. II.26‑28.

89 Evagrius, H. E. IV.8; Procopius, De aed. II.7; H. A. 18. The chief feature of the fortifications of Justinian were the new walls which he built to the crest of a hill overtopping the citadel. For the plan of the castle see Texier and Pullan, Byzantine Architecture, p183.

90 Just before its completion, Martin made proposals for peace, but the Persians were unwilling to treat.

91 The distance of Carrhae from Edessa was about thirty miles.

92 At this juncture the Persians desired to treat, and informed the garrison that a Roman ambassador from Constantinople had arrived in their camp. They allowed the ambassador to enter Edessa, but Martin was suspicious of their intentions, and feigning to be ill said that he would send envoys in three days.

93 Procopius, B. P. II.28. The 2000 lbs. were calculated at the rate of 400 a year.

94 Cp. Zacharias Myt. XII.7, where he is called Tribonian.

95 I have only summarised the military operations in Lazica, recorded by Procopius and Agathias. Full accounts will be found in the first edition of this work, and in Lebea, IX. Bks. 47 and 49.

96 He tried to build a fleet in the Euxine, but the material was destroyed by lightning.

97 At this point the two books of Procopius known as De bello Persico come to an end, but the thread of the narrative is resumed in the De bello Gothico, Bk. IV, which was written after the other books had been given to the world. Procopius apologises for the necessity which compels him to abandon his method of geographical divisions. (B. G. IV.1).

98 At this time the total number of Roman soldiers in Lazica amounted to 12,000. Of these 3000 were stationed at Archaeopolis, the remaining 9000, with an auxiliary force of 800 Tzani, were entrenched in a camp near the mouth of the Phasis. A year later the forces amounted to 50,000 (Agathias, III.8). A comparison of these numbers with those of the expeditions to Africa and Italy (see the following chapters) shows the importance of the occupation of Lazica in the eyes of the Imperial government.

99 Dubois de Montpéreux (op. cit. III.51) finds Archaeopolis at Nakolevi, on the Chobos. Mermeroes made another attack on it in 552.

100 There has been some difficulty about the chronology of the last years of the Lazic war. The narrative of Procopius ends B. G. IV.17. He marks the winter 551‑552 in c16, the spring of 552 in c17, and the failure of Mermeroes in that year. The story is continued by Agathias, II.18, who refers briefly to the futile attacks of Mermeroes on Archaeopolis, mentioned by Procopius, and then describes the continuation of hostilities, without mentioning that a winter had intervened. In II.22 he notices the death of Mermeroes, and II.27 places that event in the 28th year of Justinian and 25th of Chosroes (but the 24th of Chosroes corresponds to 28 Justin.) = A.D. 554‑555. this means that the events related in II.19‑22 occurred in 553‑554, and that the author has omitted to distinguish the years. After this point he invariably marks the years (III.15, spring 555; 28 and IV.12, winter 555‑556; IV.13, spring and summer 556; 15, winter 556‑557). This chronology (so Clinton, fr., sub annis) is borne out by the notice of the earthquake in V.3, which is dated by John Mal. XVIII p488.

101 We learn this from the negotiations of A.D. 562; Menander, De leg. Rom. fr. 3, pp178, 186‑187. In the reign of Leo, some Suanian forts had been seized by the Persians, and the Suanians had sought help from the Emperor, c. A.D. 468. Priscus, De leg. gent. fr. 22.

102 At 400 lbs. annually, the rate agreed on in 445. The extra 5600 were for the year and a half spent in negotiation. See Proc. B. G. IV.15.

103 Izedh-Gushnasp (Ἰεσδεγουσνάφ in Menander). The solemnities observed in the reception and treatment of this embassy were recorded in Peter the Patrician, and are preserved in Constantine Porph. Cer. I.89 and 90. The ambassador is here called Ἰέσδεκος (p405). He returned to Persia in spring A.D. 552 and the treaty received the seal of Chosroes (Proc. B. G. I.17).

104 Agathias, III.2‑4. These events belong to the autumn and winter 554‑555.

105 Cp. Agathias, IV.12 ad init.

106 Justin was created στρατηγὸς αὐτοκράτωρ, Agathias, IV.21.

107 In consequence of this failure, Nachoragan was flayed alive by the order of Chosroes.

108 Malalas, XVIII p488, notes the presence of the Persian ambassador in May.

109 Agathias, IV.30.

110 Our source for these transactions is Menander Protector, fr. 3, De leg. Rom. The provisions have been commented on at length by Güterbock, Byzanz und Persien, 57 sqq.

111 Doubtless Nisibis, Dubios, and Callinicum. Cp. Güterbock, op. cit. 78.

112 The word for smuggling is κλεπτοτελωνεῖν.

113 In both these cases the same expression is used, τὸν τῆς ἕω στρατηγόν, and must refer to the same officer. The Latin translation in Müller's edition is misleading, if not positively erroneous; in the first place the words are rendered dux orientis, in the second place praefectum orientis, which would naturally mean the Praetorian Prefect of the East. The reference of legal disputes to the Master of Soldiers is noteworthy.

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