The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II
Edward Gibbon

Part 12 out of 16


[Footnote 141: The resignation of Gregory is truly edifying,
(Orat. iv. p. 123, 124.) Yet, when an officer of Julian attempted
to seize the church of Nazianzus, he would have lost his life, if
he had not yielded to the zeal of the bishop and people, (Orat.
xix. p. 308.) See the reflections of Chrysostom, as they are
alleged by Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. p. 575.)]

Chapter XXIV: The Retreat And Death Of Julian.

Part I.

Residence Of Julian At Antioch. - His Successful Expedition
Against The Persians. - Passage Of The Tigris - The Retreat And
Death Of Julian. - Election Of Jovian. - He Saves The Roman Army
By A Disgraceful Treaty.
The philosophical fable which Julian composed under the name
of the Caesars, ^1 is one of the most agreeable and instructive
productions of ancient wit. ^2 During the freedom and equality of
the days of the Saturnalia, Romulus prepared a feast for the
deities of Olympus, who had adopted him as a worthy associate,
and for the Roman princes, who had reigned over his martial
people, and the vanquished nations of the earth. The immortals
were placed in just order on their thrones of state, and the
table of the Caesars was spread below the Moon in the upper
region of the air. The tyrants, who would have disgraced the
society of gods and men, were thrown headlong, by the inexorable
Nemesis, into the Tartarean abyss. The rest of the Caesars
successively advanced to their seats; and as they passed, the
vices, the defects, the blemishes of their respective characters,
were maliciously noticed by old Silenus, a laughing moralist, who
disguised the wisdom of a philosopher under the mask of a
Bacchanal. ^3 As soon as the feast was ended, the voice of
Mercury proclaimed the will of Jupiter, that a celestial crown
should be the reward of superior merit. Julius Caesar, Augustus,
Trajan, and Marcus Antoninus, were selected as the most
illustrious candidates; the effeminate Constantine ^4 was not
excluded from this honorable competition, and the great Alexander
was invited to dispute the prize of glory with the Roman heroes.
Each of the candidates was allowed to display the merit of his
own exploits; but, in the judgment of the gods, the modest
silence of Marcus pleaded more powerfully than the elaborate
orations of his haughty rivals. When the judges of this awful
contest proceeded to examine the heart, and to scrutinize the
springs of action, the superiority of the Imperial Stoic appeared
still more decisive and conspicuous. ^5 Alexander and Caesar,
Augustus, Trajan, and Constantine, acknowledged, with a blush,
that fame, or power, or pleasure had been the important object of
their labors: but the gods themselves beheld, with reverence and
love, a virtuous mortal, who had practised on the throne the
lessons of philosophy; and who, in a state of human imperfection,
had aspired to imitate the moral attributes of the Deity. The
value of this agreeable composition (the Caesars of Julian) is
enhanced by the rank of the author. A prince, who delineates,
with freedom, the vices and virtues of his predecessors,
subscribes, in every line, the censure or approbation of his own

[Footnote 1: See this fable or satire, p. 306-336 of the Leipsig
edition of Julian's works. The French version of the learned
Ezekiel Spanheim (Paris, 1683) is coarse, languid, and correct;
and his notes, proofs, illustrations, &c., are piled on each
other till they form a mass of 557 close-printed quarto pages.
The Abbe' de la Bleterie (Vie de Jovien, tom. i. p. 241-393) has
more happily expressed the spirit, as well as the sense, of the
original, which he illustrates with some concise and curious

[Footnote 2: Spanheim (in his preface) has most learnedly
discussed the etymology, origin, resemblance, and disagreement of
the Greek satyrs, a dramatic piece, which was acted after the
tragedy; and the Latin satires, (from Satura,) a miscellaneous
composition, either in prose or verse. But the Caesars of Julian
are of such an original cast, that the critic is perplexed to
which class he should ascribe them.

Note: See also Casaubon de Satira, with Rambach's
observations. - M.]
[Footnote 3: This mixed character of Silenus is finely painted in
the sixth eclogue of Virgil.]

[Footnote 4: Every impartial reader must perceive and condemn the
partiality of Julian against his uncle Constantine, and the
Christian religion. On this occasion, the interpreters are
compelled, by a most sacred interest, to renounce their
allegiance, and to desert the cause of their author.]
[Footnote 5: Julian was secretly inclined to prefer a Greek to a
Roman. But when he seriously compared a hero with a philosopher,
he was sensible that mankind had much greater obligations to
Socrates than to Alexander, (Orat. ad Themistium, p. 264.)]

In the cool moments of reflection, Julian preferred the
useful and benevolent virtues of Antoninus; but his ambitious
spirit was inflamed by the glory of Alexander; and he solicited,
with equal ardor, the esteem of the wise, and the applause of the
multitude. In the season of life when the powers of the mind and
body enjoy the most active vigor, the emperor who was instructed
by the experience, and animated by the success, of the German
war, resolved to signalize his reign by some more splendid and
memorable achievement. The ambassadors of the East, from the
continent of India, and the Isle of Ceylon, ^6 had respectfully
saluted the Roman purple. ^7 The nations of the West esteemed and
dreaded the personal virtues of Julian, both in peace and war.
He despised the trophies of a Gothic victory, and was satisfied
that the rapacious Barbarians of the Danube would be restrained
from any future violation of the faith of treaties by the terror
of his name, and the additional fortifications with which he
strengthened the Thracian and Illyrian frontiers. The successor
of Cyrus and Artaxerxes was the only rival whom he deemed worthy
of his arms; and he resolved, by the final conquest of Persia, to
chastise the naughty nation which had so long resisted and
insulted the majesty of Rome. ^9 As soon as the Persian monarch
was informed that the throne of Constantius was filed by a prince
of a very different character, he condescended to make some
artful, or perhaps sincere, overtures towards a negotiation of
peace. But the pride of Sapor was astonished by the firmness of
Julian; who sternly declared, that he would never consent to hold
a peaceful conference among the flames and ruins of the cities of
Mesopotamia; and who added, with a smile of contempt, that it was
needless to treat by ambassadors, as he himself had determined to
visit speedily the court of Persia. The impatience of the
emperor urged the diligence of the military preparations. The
generals were named; and Julian, marching from Constantinople
through the provinces of Asia Minor, arrived at Antioch about
eight months after the death of his predecessor. His ardent
desire to march into the heart of Persia, was checked by the
indispensable duty of regulating the state of the empire; by his
zeal to revive the worship of the gods; and by the advice of his
wisest friends; who represented the necessity of allowing the
salutary interval of winter quarters, to restore the exhausted
strength of the legions of Gaul, and the discipline and spirit of
the Eastern troops. Julian was persuaded to fix, till the ensuing
spring, his residence at Antioch, among a people maliciously
disposed to deride the haste, and to censure the delays, of their
sovereign. ^10

[Footnote 6: Inde nationibus Indicis certatim cum aonis optimates
mittentibus . . . . ab usque Divis et Serendivis. Ammian. xx. 7.

This island, to which the names of Taprobana, Serendib, and
Ceylon, have been successively applied, manifests how imperfectly
the seas and lands to the east of Cape Comorin were known to the
Romans. 1. Under the reign of Claudius, a freedman, who farmed
the customs of the Red Sea, was accidentally driven by the winds
upon this strange and undiscovered coast: he conversed six months
with the natives; and the king of Ceylon, who heard, for the
first time, of the power and justice of Rome, was persuaded to
send an embassy to the emperor. (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 24.) 2.
The geographers (and even Ptolemy) have magnified, above fifteen
times, the real size of this new world, which they extended as
far as the equator, and the neighborhood of China.

Note: The name of Diva gens or Divorum regio, according to
the probable conjecture of M. Letronne, (Trois Mem. Acad. p.
127,) was applied by the ancients to the whole eastern coast of
the Indian Peninsula, from Ceylon to the Canges. The name may be
traced in Devipatnam, Devidan, Devicotta, Divinelly, the point of

M. Letronne, p.121, considers the freedman with his embassy
from Ceylon to have been an impostor. - M.]

[Footnote 7: These embassies had been sent to Constantius.
Ammianus, who unwarily deviates into gross flattery, must have
forgotten the length of the way, and the short duration of the
reign of Julian.]

[Footnote 8: Gothos saepe fallaces et perfidos; hostes quaerere
se meliores aiebat: illis enim sufficere mercators Galatas per
quos ubique sine conditionis discrimine venumdantur. (Ammian.
xxii. 7.) Within less than fifteen years, these Gothic slaves
threatened and subdued their masters.]
[Footnote 9: Alexander reminds his rival Caesar, who depreciated
the fame and merit of an Asiatic victory, that Crassus and Antony
had felt the Persian arrows; and that the Romans, in a war of
three hundred years, had not yet subdued the single province of
Mesopotamia or Assyria, (Caesares, p. 324.)]
[Footnote 10: The design of the Persian war is declared by
Ammianus, (xxii. 7, 12,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 79, 80, p.
305, 306,) Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 158,) and Socrates, (l. iii. c.

If Julian had flattered himself, that his personal
connection with the capital of the East would be productive of
mutual satisfaction to the prince and people, he made a very
false estimate of his own character, and of the manners of
Antioch. ^11 The warmth of the climate disposed the natives to
the most intemperate enjoyment of tranquillity and opulence; and
the lively licentiousness of the Greeks was blended with the
hereditary softness of the Syrians. Fashion was the only law,
pleasure the only pursuit, and the splendor of dress and
furniture was the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch.
The arts of luxury were honored; the serious and manly virtues
were the subject of ridicule; and the contempt for female modesty
and reverent age announced the universal corruption of the
capital of the East. The love of spectacles was the taste, or
rather passion, of the Syrians; the most skilful artists were
procured from the adjacent cities; ^12 a considerable share of
the revenue was devoted to the public amusements; and the
magnificence of the games of the theatre and circus was
considered as the happiness and as the glory of Antioch. The
rustic manners of a prince who disdained such glory, and was
insensible of such happiness, soon disgusted the delicacy of his
subjects; and the effeminate Orientals could neither imitate, nor
admire, the severe simplicity which Julian always maintained, and
sometimes affected. The days of festivity, consecrated, by
ancient custom, to the honor of the gods, were the only occasions
in which Julian relaxed his philosophic severity; and those
festivals were the only days in which the Syrians of Antioch
could reject the allurements of pleasure. The majority of the
people supported the glory of the Christian name, which had been
first invented by their ancestors: ^13 they contended themselves
with disobeying the moral precepts, but they were scrupulously
attached to the speculative doctrines of their religion. The
church of Antioch was distracted by heresy and schism; but the
Arians and the Athanasians, the followers of Meletius and those
of Paulinus, ^14 were actuated by the same pious hatred of their
common adversary.
[Footnote 11: The Satire of Julian, and the Homilies of St.
Chrysostom, exhibit the same picture of Antioch. The miniature
which the Abbe de la Bleterie has copied from thence, (Vie de
Julian, p. 332,) is elegant and correct.]

[Footnote 12: Laodicea furnished charioteers; Tyre and Berytus,
comedians; Caesarea, pantomimes; Heliopolis, singers; Gaza,
gladiators, Ascalon, wrestlers; and Castabala, rope-dancers. See
the Expositio totius Mundi, p. 6, in the third tome of Hudson's
Minor Geographers.]

[Footnote 13: The people of Antioch ingenuously professed their
attachment to the Chi, (Christ,) and the Kappa, (Constantius.)
Julian in Misopogon, p. 357.]
[Footnote 14: The schism of Antioch, which lasted eighty-five
years, (A. D. 330-415,) was inflamed, while Julian resided in
that city, by the indiscreet ordination of Paulinus. See
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. iii. p. 803 of the quarto edition,
(Paris, 1701, &c,) which henceforward I shall quote.]
The strongest prejudice was entertained against the
character of an apostate, the enemy and successor of a prince who
had engaged the affections of a very numerous sect; and the
removal of St. Babylas excited an implacable opposition to the
person of Julian. His subjects complained, with superstitious
indignation, that famine had pursued the emperor's steps from
Constantinople to Antioch; and the discontent of a hungry people
was exasperated by the injudicious attempt to relieve their
distress. The inclemency of the season had affected the harvests
of Syria; and the price of bread, ^15 in the markets of Antioch,
had naturally risen in proportion to the scarcity of corn. But
the fair and reasonable proportion was soon violated by the
rapacious arts of monopoly. In this unequal contest, in which
the produce of the land is claimed by one party as his exclusive
property, is used by another as a lucrative object of trade, and
is required by a third for the daily and necessary support of
life, all the profits of the intermediate agents are accumulated
on the head of the defenceless customers. The hardships of their
situation were exaggerated and increased by their own impatience
and anxiety; and the apprehension of a scarcity gradually
produced the appearances of a famine. When the luxurious
citizens of Antioch complained of the high price of poultry and
fish, Julian publicly declared, that a frugal city ought to be
satisfied with a regular supply of wine, oil, and bread; but he
acknowledged, that it was the duty of a sovereign to provide for
the subsistence of his people. With this salutary view, the
emperor ventured on a very dangerous and doubtful step, of
fixing, by legal authority, the value of corn. He enacted, that,
in a time of scarcity, it should be sold at a price which had
seldom been known in the most plentiful years; and that his own
example might strengthen his laws, he sent into the market four
hundred and twenty- two thousand modii, or measures, which were
drawn by his order from the granaries of Hierapolis, of Chalcis,
and even of Egypt. The consequences might have been foreseen,
and were soon felt. The Imperial wheat was purchased by the rich
merchants; the proprietors of land, or of corn, withheld from the
city the accustomed supply; and the small quantities that
appeared in the market were secretly sold at an advanced and
illegal price. Julian still continued to applaud his own policy,
treated the complaints of the people as a vain and ungrateful
murmur, and convinced Antioch that he had inherited the
obstinacy, though not the cruelty, of his brother Gallus. ^16 The
remonstrances of the municipal senate served only to exasperate
his inflexible mind. He was persuaded, perhaps with truth, that
the senators of Antioch who possessed lands, or were concerned in
trade, had themselves contributed to the calamities of their
country; and he imputed the disrespectful boldness which they
assumed, to the sense, not of public duty, but of private
interest. The whole body, consisting of two hundred of the most
noble and wealthy citizens, were sent, under a guard, from the
palace to the prison; and though they were permitted, before the
close of evening, to return to their respective houses, ^17 the
emperor himself could not obtain the forgiveness which he had so
easily granted. The same grievances were still the subject of
the same complaints, which were industriously circulated by the
wit and levity of the Syrian Greeks. During the licentious days
of the Saturnalia, the streets of the city resounded with
insolent songs, which derided the laws, the religion, the
personal conduct, and even the beard, of the emperor; the spirit
of Antioch was manifested by the connivance of the magistrates,
and the applause of the multitude. ^18 The disciple of Socrates
was too deeply affected by these popular insults; but the
monarch, endowed with a quick sensibility, and possessed of
absolute power, refused his passions the gratification of
revenge. A tyrant might have proscribed, without distinction,
the lives and fortunes of the citizens of Antioch; and the
unwarlike Syrians must have patiently submitted to the lust, the
rapaciousness and the cruelty, of the faithful legions of Gaul.
A milder sentence might have deprived the capital of the East of
its honors and privileges; and the courtiers, perhaps the
subjects, of Julian, would have applauded an act of justice,
which asserted the dignity of the supreme magistrate of the
republic. ^19 But instead of abusing, or exerting, the authority
of the state, to revenge his personal injuries, Julian contented
himself with an inoffensive mode of retaliation, which it would
be in the power of few princes to employ. He had been insulted
by satires and libels; in his turn, he composed, under the title
of the Enemy of the Beard, an ironical confession of his own
faults, and a severe satire on the licentious and effeminate
manners of Antioch. This Imperial reply was publicly exposed
before the gates of the palace; and the Misopogon ^20 still
remains a singular monument of the resentment, the wit, the
humanity, and the indiscretion of Julian. Though he affected to
laugh, he could not forgive. ^21 His contempt was expressed, and
his revenge might be gratified, by the nomination of a governor
^22 worthy only of such subjects; and the emperor, forever
renouncing the ungrateful city, proclaimed his resolution to pass
the ensuing winter at Tarsus in Cilicia. ^23

[Footnote 15: Julian states three different proportions, of five,
ten, or fifteen medii of wheat for one piece of gold, according
to the degrees of plenty and scarcity, (in Misopogon, p. 369.)
From this fact, and from some collateral examples, I conclude,
that under the successors of Constantine, the moderate price of
wheat was about thirty-two shillings the English quarter, which
is equal to the average price of the sixty-four first years of
the present century. See Arbuthnot's Tables of Coins, Weights,
and Measures, p. 88, 89. Plin. Hist. Natur. xviii. 12. Mem. de
l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 718-721. Smith's
Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, vol.
i. p 246. This last I am proud to quote as the work of a sage
and a friend.]

[Footnote 16: Nunquam a proposito declinabat, Galli similis
fratris, licet incruentus. Ammian. xxii. 14. The ignorance of
the most enlightened princes may claim some excuse; but we cannot
be satisfied with Julian's own defence, (in Misopogon, p. 363,
369,) or the elaborate apology of Libanius, (Orat. Parental c.
xcvii. p. 321.)]

[Footnote 17: Their short and easy confinement is gently touched
by Libanius, (Orat. Parental. c. xcviii. p. 322, 323.)]

[Footnote 18: Libanius, (ad Antiochenos de Imperatoris ira, c.
17, 18, 19, in Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. vii. p. 221-223,)
like a skilful advocate, severely censures the folly of the
people, who suffered for the crime of a few obscure and drunken

[Footnote 19: Libanius (ad Antiochen. c. vii. p. 213) reminds
Antioch of the recent chastisement of Caesarea; and even Julian
(in Misopogon, p. 355) insinuates how severely Tarentum had
expiated the insult to the Roman ambassadors.]

[Footnote 20: On the subject of the Misopogon, see Ammianus,
(xxii. 14,) Libanius, (Orat. Parentalis, c. xcix. p. 323,)
Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. iv. p. 133) and the Chronicle of
Antioch, by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 15, 16.) I have essential
obligations to the translation and notes of the Abbe de la
Bleterie, (Vie de Jovien, tom. ii. p. 1-138.)]

[Footnote 21: Ammianus very justly remarks, Coactus dissimulare
pro tempore ira sufflabatur interna. The elaborate irony of
Julian at length bursts forth into serious and direct invective.]

[Footnote 22: Ipse autem Antiochiam egressurus, Heliopoliten
quendam Alexandrum Syriacae jurisdictioni praefecit, turbulentum
et saevum; dicebatque non illum meruisse, sed Antiochensibus
avaris et contumeliosis hujusmodi judicem convenire. Ammian.
xxiii. 2. Libanius, (Epist. 722, p. 346, 347,) who confesses to
Julian himself, that he had shared the general discontent,
pretends that Alexander was a useful, though harsh, reformer of
the manners and religion of Antioch.]

[Footnote 23: Julian, in Misopogon, p. 364. Ammian. xxiii. 2,
and Valesius, ad loc. Libanius, in a professed oration, invites
him to return to his loyal and penitent city of Antioch.]

Yet Antioch possessed one citizen, whose genius and virtues
might atone, in the opinion of Julian, for the vice and folly of
his country. The sophist Libanius was born in the capital of the
East; he publicly professed the arts of rhetoric and declamation
at Nice, Nicomedia, Constantinople, Athens, and, during the
remainder of his life, at Antioch. His school was assiduously
frequented by the Grecian youth; his disciples, who sometimes
exceeded the number of eighty, celebrated their incomparable
master; and the jealousy of his rivals, who persecuted him from
one city to another, confirmed the favorable opinion which
Libanius ostentatiously displayed of his superior merit. The
preceptors of Julian had extorted a rash but solemn assurance,
that he would never attend the lectures of their adversary: the
curiosity of the royal youth was checked and inflamed: he
secretly procured the writings of this dangerous sophist, and
gradually surpassed, in the perfect imitation of his style, the
most laborious of his domestic pupils. ^24 When Julian ascended
the throne, he declared his impatience to embrace and reward the
Syrian sophist, who had preserved, in a degenerate age, the
Grecian purity of taste, of manners, and of religion. The
emperor's prepossession was increased and justified by the
discreet pride of his favorite. Instead of pressing, with the
foremost of the crowd, into the palace of Constantinople,
Libanius calmly expected his arrival at Antioch; withdrew from
court on the first symptoms of coldness and indifference;
required a formal invitation for each visit; and taught his
sovereign an important lesson, that he might command the
obedience of a subject, but that he must deserve the attachment
of a friend. The sophists of every age, despising, or affecting
to despise, the accidental distinctions of birth and fortune, ^25
reserve their esteem for the superior qualities of the mind, with
which they themselves are so plentifully endowed. Julian might
disdain the acclamations of a venal court, who adored the
Imperial purple; but he was deeply flattered by the praise, the
admonition, the freedom, and the envy of an independent
philosopher, who refused his favors, loved his person, celebrated
his fame, and protected his memory. The voluminous writings of
Libanius still exist; for the most part, they are the vain and
idle compositions of an orator, who cultivated the science of
words; the productions of a recluse student, whose mind,
regardless of his contemporaries, was incessantly fixed on the
Trojan war and the Athenian commonwealth. Yet the sophist of
Antioch sometimes descended from this imaginary elevation; he
entertained a various and elaborate correspondence; ^26 he
praised the virtues of his own times; he boldly arraigned the
abuse of public and private life; and he eloquently pleaded the
cause of Antioch against the just resentment of Julian and
Theodosius. It is the common calamity of old age, ^27 to lose
whatever might have rendered it desirable; but Libanius
experienced the peculiar misfortune of surviving the religion and
the sciences, to which he had consecrated his genius. The friend
of Julian was an indignant spectator of the triumph of
Christianity; and his bigotry, which darkened the prospect of the
visible world, did not inspire Libanius with any lively hopes of
celestial glory and happiness. ^28
[Footnote 24: Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. vii. p. 230, 231.]
[Footnote 25: Eunapius reports, that Libanius refused the
honorary rank of Praetorian praefect, as less illustrious than
the title of Sophist, (in Vit. Sophist. p. 135.) The critics have
observed a similar sentiment in one of the epistles (xviii. edit.
Wolf) of Libanius himself.]

[Footnote 26: Near two thousand of his letters - a mode of
composition in which Libanius was thought to excel - are still
extant, and already published. The critics may praise their
subtle and elegant brevity; yet Dr. Bentley (Dissertation upon
Phalaris, p. 48) might justly, though quaintly observe, that "you
feel, by the emptiness and deadness of them, that you converse
with some dreaming pedant, with his elbow on his desk."]

[Footnote 27: His birth is assigned to the year 314. He mentions
the seventy-sixth year of his age, (A. D. 390,) and seems to
allude to some events of a still later date.]

[Footnote 28: Libanius has composed the vain, prolix, but curious
narrative of his own life, (tom. ii. p. 1-84, edit. Morell,) of
which Eunapius (p. 130-135) has left a concise and unfavorable
account. Among the moderns, Tillemont, (Hist. des Empereurs,
tom. iv. p. 571-576,) Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. tom. vii. p.
376-414,) and Lardner, (Heathen Testimonies, tom. iv. p.
127-163,) have illustrated the character and writings of this
famous sophist.]

Chapter XXIV: The Retreat And Death Of Julian.

Part II.

The martial impatience of Julian urged him to take the field
in the beginning of the spring; and he dismissed, with contempt
and reproach, the senate of Antioch, who accompanied the emperor
beyond the limits of their own territory, to which he was
resolved never to return. After a laborious march of two days,
^29 he halted on the third at Beraea, or Aleppo, where he had the
mortification of finding a senate almost entirely Christian; who
received with cold and formal demonstrations of respect the
eloquent sermon of the apostle of paganism. The son of one of
the most illustrious citizens of Beraea, who had embraced, either
from interest or conscience, the religion of the emperor, was
disinherited by his angry parent. The father and the son were
invited to the Imperial table. Julian, placing himself between
them, attempted, without success, to inculcate the lesson and
example of toleration; supported, with affected calmness, the
indiscreet zeal of the aged Christian, who seemed to forget the
sentiments of nature, and the duty of a subject; and at length,
turning towards the afflicted youth, "Since you have lost a
father," said he, "for my sake, it is incumbent on me to supply
his place." ^30 The emperor was received in a manner much more
agreeable to his wishes at Batnae, ^* a small town pleasantly
seated in a grove of cypresses, about twenty miles from the city
of Hierapolis. The solemn rites of sacrifice were decently
prepared by the inhabitants of Batnae, who seemed attached to the
worship of their tutelar deities, Apollo and Jupiter; but the
serious piety of Julian was offended by the tumult of their
applause; and he too clearly discerned, that the smoke which
arose from their altars was the incense of flattery, rather than
of devotion. The ancient and magnificent temple which had
sanctified, for so many ages, the city of Hierapolis, ^31 no
longer subsisted; and the consecrated wealth, which afforded a
liberal maintenance to more than three hundred priests, might
hasten its downfall. Yet Julian enjoyed the satisfaction of
embracing a philosopher and a friend, whose religious firmness
had withstood the pressing and repeated solicitations of
Constantius and Gallus, as often as those princes lodged at his
house, in their passage through Hierapolis. In the hurry of
military preparation, and the careless confidence of a familiar
correspondence, the zeal of Julian appears to have been lively
and uniform. He had now undertaken an important and difficult
war; and the anxiety of the event rendered him still more
attentive to observe and register the most trifling presages,
from which, according to the rules of divination, any knowledge
of futurity could be derived. ^32 He informed Libanius of his
progress as far as Hierapolis, by an elegant epistle, ^33 which
displays the facility of his genius, and his tender friendship
for the sophist of Antioch.

[Footnote 29: From Antioch to Litarbe, on the territory of
Chalcis, the road, over hills and through morasses, was extremely
bad; and the loose stones were cemented only with sand, (Julian.
epist. xxvii.) It is singular enough that the Romans should have
neglected the great communication between Antioch and the
Euphrates. See Wesseling Itinerar. p. 190 Bergier, Hist des
Grands Chemins, tom. ii. p. 100]

[Footnote 30: Julian alludes to this incident, (epist. xxvii.,)
which is more distinctly related by Theodoret, (l. iii. c. 22.)
The intolerant spirit of the father is applauded by Tillemont,
(Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 534.) and even by La Bleterie,
(Vie de Julien, p. 413.)]

[Footnote *: This name, of Syriac origin, is found in the Arabic,
and means a place in a valley where waters meet. Julian says,
the name of the city is Barbaric, the situation Greek. The
geographer Abulfeda (tab. Syriac. p. 129, edit. Koehler) speaks
of it in a manner to justify the praises of Julian. - St. Martin.
Notes to Le Beau, iii. 56. - M.]

[Footnote 31: See the curious treatise de Dea Syria, inserted
among the works of Lucian, (tom. iii. p. 451-490, edit. Reitz.)
The singular appellation of Ninus vetus (Ammian. xiv. 8) might
induce a suspicion, that Heirapolis had been the royal seat of
the Assyrians.]

[Footnote 32: Julian (epist. xxviii.) kept a regular account of
all the fortunate omens; but he suppresses the inauspicious
signs, which Ammianus (xxiii. 2) has carefully recorded.]

[Footnote 33: Julian. epist. xxvii. p. 399-402.]

Hierapolis, ^* situate almost on the banks of the Euphrates,
^34 had been appointed for the general rendezvous of the Roman
troops, who immediately passed the great river on a bridge of
boats, which was previously constructed. ^35 If the inclinations
of Julian had been similar to those of his predecessor, he might
have wasted the active and important season of the year in the
circus of Samosata or in the churches of Edessa. But as the
warlike emperor, instead of Constantius, had chosen Alexander for
his model, he advanced without delay to Carrhae, ^36 a very
ancient city of Mesopotamia, at the distance of fourscore miles
from Hierapolis. The temple of the Moon attracted the devotion of
Julian; but the halt of a few days was principally employed in
completing the immense preparations of the Persian war. The
secret of the expedition had hitherto remained in his own breast;
but as Carrhae is the point of separation of the two great roads,
he could no longer conceal whether it was his design to attack
the dominions of Sapor on the side of the Tigris, or on that of
the Euphrates. The emperor detached an army of thirty thousand
men, under the command of his kinsman Procopius, and of
Sebastian, who had been duke of Egypt. They were ordered to
direct their march towards Nisibis, and to secure the frontier
from the desultory incursions of the enemy, before they attempted
the passage of the Tigris. Their subsequent operations were left
to the discretion of the generals; but Julian expected, that
after wasting with fire and sword the fertile districts of Media
and Adiabene, they might arrive under the walls of Ctesiphon at
the same time that he himself, advancing with equal steps along
the banks of the Euphrates, should besiege the capital of the
Persian monarchy. The success of this well-concerted plan
depended, in a great measure, on the powerful and ready
assistance of the king of Armenia, who, without exposing the
safety of his own dominions, might detach an army of four
thousand horse, and twenty thousand foot, to the assistance of
the Romans. ^37 But the feeble Arsaces Tiranus, ^38 king of
Armenia, had degenerated still more shamefully than his father
Chosroes, from the manly virtues of the great Tiridates; and as
the pusillanimous monarch was averse to any enterprise of danger
and glory, he could disguise his timid indolence by the more
decent excuses of religion and gratitude. He expressed a pious
attachment to the memory of Constantius, from whose hands he had
received in marriage Olympias, the daughter of the praefect
Ablavius; and the alliance of a female, who had been educated as
the destined wife of the emperor Constans, exalted the dignity of
a Barbarian king. ^39 Tiranus professed the Christian religion;
he reigned over a nation of Christians; and he was restrained, by
every principle of conscience and interest, from contributing to
the victory, which would consummate the ruin of the church. The
alienated mind of Tiranus was exasperated by the indiscretion of
Julian, who treated the king of Armenia as his slave, and as the
enemy of the gods. The haughty and threatening style of the
Imperial mandates ^40 awakened the secret indignation of a
prince, who, in the humiliating state of dependence, was still
conscious of his royal descent from the Arsacides, the lords of
the East, and the rivals of the Roman power. ^!

[Footnote *: Or Bambyce, now Bambouch; Manbedj Arab., or Maboug,
Syr. It was twenty-four Roman miles from the Euphrates. - M.]

[Footnote 34: I take the earliest opportunity of acknowledging my
obligations to M. d'Anville, for his recent geography of the
Euphrates and Tigris, (Paris, 1780, in 4to.,) which particularly
illustrates the expedition of Julian.]
[Footnote 35: There are three passages within a few miles of each
other; 1. Zeugma, celebrated by the ancients; 2. Bir, frequented
by the moderns; and, 3. The bridge of Menbigz, or Hierapolis, at
the distance of four parasangs from the city.]

[Footnote *: Djisr Manbedj is the same with the ancient Zeugma.
St. Martin, iii. 58 - M.]

[Footnote 36: Haran, or Carrhae, was the ancient residence of the
Sabaeans, and of Abraham. See the Index Geographicus of
Schultens, (ad calcem Vit. Saladin.,) a work from which I have
obtained much Oriental knowledge concerning the ancient and
modern geography of Syria and the adjacent countries.]

[Footnote *: On an inedited medal in the collection of the late
M. Tochon. of the Academy of Inscriptions, it is read Xappan.
St. Martin. iii 60 - M.]
[Footnote 37: See Xenophon. Cyropaed. l. iii. p. 189, edit.
Hutchinson. Artavasdes might have supplied Marc Antony with
16,000 horse, armed and disciplined after the Parthian manner,
(Plutarch, in M. Antonio. tom. v. p. 117.)]

[Footnote 38: Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armeniac. l. iii. c. 11, p.
242) fixes his accession (A. D. 354) to the 17th year of
[Footnote *: Arsaces Tiranus, or Diran, had ceased to reign
twenty- five years before, in 337. The intermediate changes in
Armenia, and the character of this Arsaces, the son of Diran, are
traced by M. St. Martin, at considerable length, in his
supplement to Le Beau, ii. 208-242. As long as his Grecian queen
Olympias maintained her influence, Arsaces was faithful to the
Roman and Christian alliance. On the accession of Julian, the
same influence made his fidelity to waver; but Olympias having
been poisoned in the sacramental bread by the agency of
Pharandcem, the former wife of Arsaces, another change took place
in Armenian politics unfavorable to the Christian interest. The
patriarch Narses retired from the impious court to a safe
seclusion. Yet Pharandsem was equally hostile to the Persian
influence, and Arsaces began to support with vigor the cause of
Julian. He made an inroad into the Persian dominions with a body
of Rans and Alans as auxiliaries; wasted Aderbidgan and Sapor,
who had been defeated near Tauriz, was engaged in making head
against his troops in Persarmenia, at the time of the death of
Julian. Such is M. St. Martin's view, (ii. 276, et sqq.,) which
rests on the Armenian historians, Faustos of Byzantium, and
Mezrob the biographer of the Partriarch Narses. In the history
of Armenia by Father Chamitch, and translated by Avdall, Tiran is
still king of Armenia, at the time of Julian's death. F.
Chamitch follows Moses of Chorene, The authority of Gibbon. - M.]

[Footnote 39: Ammian. xx. 11. Athanasius (tom. i. p. 856) says,
in general terms, that Constantius gave to his brother's widow,
an expression more suitable to a Roman than a Christian.]

[Footnote 40: Ammianus (xxiii. 2) uses a word much too soft for
the occasion, monuerat. Muratori (Fabricius, Bibliothec. Graec.
tom. vii. p. 86) has published an epistle from Julian to the
satrap Arsaces; fierce, vulgar, and (though it might deceive
Sozomen, l. vi. c. 5) most probably spurious. La Bleterie (Hist.
de Jovien, tom. ii. p. 339) translates and rejects it.
Note: St. Martin considers it genuine: the Armenian writers
mention such a letter, iii. 37. - M.]

[Footnote *: Arsaces did not abandon the Roman alliance, but gave
it only feeble support. St. Martin, iii. 41 - M.]

The military dispositions of Julian were skilfully contrived
to deceive the spies and to divert the attention of Sapor. The
legions appeared to direct their march towards Nisibis and the
Tigris. On a sudden they wheeled to the right; traversed the
level and naked plain of Carrhae; and reached, on the third day,
the banks of the Euphrates, where the strong town of Nicephorium,
or Callinicum, had been founded by the Macedonian kings. From
thence the emperor pursued his march, above ninety miles, along
the winding stream of the Euphrates, till, at length, about one
month after his departure from Antioch, he discovered the towers
of Circesium, ^* the extreme limit of the Roman dominions. The
army of Julian, the most numerous that any of the Caesars had
ever led against Persia, consisted of sixty-five thousand
effective and well-disciplined soldiers. The veteran bands of
cavalry and infantry, of Romans and Barbarians, had been selected
from the different provinces; and a just preeminence of loyalty
and valor was claimed by the hardy Gauls, who guarded the throne
and person of their beloved prince. A formidable body of
Scythian auxiliaries had been transported from another climate,
and almost from another world, to invade a distant country, of
whose name and situation they were ignorant. The love of rapine
and war allured to the Imperial standard several tribes of
Saracens, or roving Arabs, whose service Julian had commanded,
while he sternly refuse the payment of the accustomed subsidies.
The broad channel of the Euphrates ^41 was crowded by a fleet of
eleven hundred ships, destined to attend the motions, and to
satisfy the wants, of the Roman army. The military strength of
the fleet was composed of fifty armed galleys; and these were
accompanied by an equal number of flat-bottomed boats, which
might occasionally be connected into the form of temporary
bridges. The rest of the ships, partly constructed of timber,
and partly covered with raw hides, were laden with an almost
inexhaustible supply of arms and engines, of utensils and
provisions. The vigilant humanity of Julian had embarked a very
large magazine of vinegar and biscuit for the use of the
soldiers, but he prohibited the indulgence of wine; and
rigorously stopped a long string of superfluous camels that
attempted to follow the rear of the army. The River Chaboras
falls into the Euphrates at Circesium; ^42 and as soon as the
trumpet gave the signal of march, the Romans passed the little
stream which separated two mighty and hostile empires. The
custom of ancient discipline required a military oration; and
Julian embraced every opportunity of displaying his eloquence.
He animated the impatient and attentive legions by the example of
the inflexible courage and glorious triumphs of their ancestors.
He excited their resentment by a lively picture of the insolence
of the Persians; and he exhorted them to imitate his firm
resolution, either to extirpate that perfidious nation, or to
devote his life in the cause of the republic. The eloquence of
Julian was enforced by a donative of one hundred and thirty
pieces of silver to every soldier; and the bridge of the Chaboras
was instantly cut away, to convince the troops that they must
place their hopes of safety in the success of their arms. Yet
the prudence of the emperor induced him to secure a remote
frontier, perpetually exposed to the inroads of the hostile
Arabs. A detachment of four thousand men was left at Circesium,
which completed, to the number of ten thousand, the regular
garrison of that important fortress. ^43

[Footnote *: Kirkesia the Carchemish of the Scriptures. - M.]
[Footnote 41: Latissimum flumen Euphraten artabat. Ammian.
xxiii. 3 Somewhat higher, at the fords of Thapsacus, the river is
four stadia or 800 yards, almost half an English mile, broad.
(Xenophon, Anabasis, l. i. p. 41, edit. Hutchinson, with Foster's
Observations, p. 29, &c., in the 2d volume of Spelman's
translation.) If the breadth of the Euphrates at Bir and Zeugma
is no more than 130 yards, (Voyages de Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 335,)
the enormous difference must chiefly arise from the depth of the
[Footnote 42: Munimentum tutissimum et fabre politum, Abora (the
Orientals aspirate Chaboras or Chabour) et Euphrates ambiunt
flumina, velut spatium insulare fingentes. Ammian. xxiii. 5.]

[Footnote 43: The enterprise and armament of Julian are described
by himself, (Epist. xxvii.,) Ammianus Marcellinus, (xxiii. 3, 4,
5,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 108, 109, p. 332, 333,) Zosimus,
(l. iii. p. 160, 161, 162) Sozomen, (l. vi. c. l,) and John
Malala, (tom. ii. p. 17.)]
From the moment that the Romans entered the enemy's country,
^44 the country of an active and artful enemy, the order of march
was disposed in three columns. ^45 The strength of the infantry,
and consequently of the whole army was placed in the centre,
under the peculiar command of their master-general Victor. On
the right, the brave Nevitta led a column of several legions
along the banks of the Euphrates, and almost always in sight of
the fleet. The left flank of the army was protected by the
column of cavalry. Hormisdas and Arinthaeus were appointed
generals of the horse; and the singular adventures of Hormisdas
^46 are not undeserving of our notice. He was a Persian prince,
of the royal race of the Sassanides, who, in the troubles of the
minority of Sapor, had escaped from prison to the hospitable
court of the great Constantine. Hormisdas at first excited the
compassion, and at length acquired the esteem, of his new
masters; his valor and fidelity raised him to the military honors
of the Roman service; and though a Christian, he might indulge
the secret satisfaction of convincing his ungrateful country,
than at oppressed subject may prove the most dangerous enemy.
Such was the disposition of the three principal columns. The
front and flanks of the army were covered by Lucilianus with a
flying detachment of fifteen hundred light-armed soldiers, whose
active vigilance observed the most distant signs, and conveyed
the earliest notice, of any hostile approach. Dagalaiphus, and
Secundinus duke of Osrhoene, conducted the troops of the
rear-guard; the baggage securely proceeded in the intervals of
the columns; and the ranks, from a motive either of use or
ostentation, were formed in such open order, that the whole line
of march extended almost ten miles. The ordinary post of Julian
was at the head of the centre column; but as he preferred the
duties of a general to the state of a monarch, he rapidly moved,
with a small escort of light cavalry, to the front, the rear, the
flanks, wherever his presence could animate or protect the march
of the Roman army. The country which they traversed from the
Chaboras, to the cultivated lands of Assyria, may be considered
as a part of the desert of Arabia, a dry and barren waste, which
could never be improved by the most powerful arts of human
industry. Julian marched over the same ground which had been trod
above seven hundred years before by the footsteps of the younger
Cyrus, and which is described by one of the companions of his
expedition, the sage and heroic Xenophon. ^47 "The country was a
plain throughout, as even as the sea, and full of wormwood; and
if any other kind of shrubs or reeds grew there, they had all an
aromatic smell, but no trees could be seen. Bustards and
ostriches, antelopes and wild asses, ^48 appeared to be the only
inhabitants of the desert; and the fatigues of the march were
alleviated by the amusements of the chase." The loose sand of the
desert was frequently raised by the wind into clouds of dust; and
a great number of the soldiers of Julian, with their tents, were
suddenly thrown to the ground by the violence of an unexpected

[Footnote 44: Before he enters Persia, Ammianus copiously
describes (xxiii. p. 396-419, edit. Gronov. in 4to.) the eighteen
great provinces, (as far as the Seric, or Chinese frontiers,)
which were subject to the Sassanides.]
[Footnote 45: Ammianus (xxiv. 1) and Zosimus (l. iii. p. 162,
163) rately expressed the order of march.]

[Footnote 46: The adventures of Hormisdas are related with some
mixture of fable, (Zosimus, l. ii. p. 100-102; Tillemont, Hist.
des Empereurs tom. iv. p. 198.) It is almost impossible that he
should be the brother (frater germanus) of an eldest and
posthumous child: nor do I recollect that Ammianus ever gives him
that title.

Note: St. Martin conceives that he was an elder brother by
another mother who had several children, ii. 24 - M.]

[Footnote 47: See the first book of the Anabasis, p. 45, 46.
This pleasing work is original and authentic. Yet Xenophon's
memory, perhaps many years after the expedition, has sometimes
betrayed him; and the distances which he marks are often larger
than either a soldier or a geographer will allow.]
[Footnote 48: Mr. Spelman, the English translator of the
Anabasis, (vol. i. p. 51,) confounds the antelope with the
roebuck, and the wild ass with the zebra.]

The sandy plains of Mesopotamia were abandoned to the
antelopes and wild asses of the desert; but a variety of populous
towns and villages were pleasantly situated on the banks of the
Euphrates, and in the islands which are occasionally formed by
that river. The city of Annah, or Anatho, ^49 the actual
residence of an Arabian emir, is composed of two long streets,
which enclose, within a natural fortification, a small island in
the midst, and two fruitful spots on either side, of the
Euphrates. The warlike inhabitants of Anatho showed a
disposition to stop the march of a Roman emperor; till they were
diverted from such fatal presumption by the mild exhortations of
Prince Hormisdas, and the approaching terrors of the fleet and
army. They implored, and experienced, the clemency of Julian,
who transplanted the people to an advantageous settlement, near
Chalcis in Syria, and admitted Pusaeus, the governor, to an
honorable rank in his service and friendship. But the
impregnable fortress of Thilutha could scorn the menace of a
siege; and the emperor was obliged to content himself with an
insulting promise, that, when he had subdued the interior
provinces of Persia, Thilutha would no longer refuse to grace the
triumph of the emperor. The inhabitants of the open towns,
unable to resist, and unwilling to yield, fled with
precipitation; and their houses, filled with spoil and
provisions, were occupied by the soldiers of Julian, who
massacred, without remorse and without punishment, some
defenceless women. During the march, the Surenas, ^* or Persian
general, and Malek Rodosaces, the renowned emir of the tribe of
Gassan, ^50 incessantly hovered round the army; every straggler
was intercepted; every detachment was attacked; and the valiant
Hormisdas escaped with some difficulty from their hands. But the
Barbarians were finally repulsed; the country became every day
less favorable to the operations of cavalry; and when the Romans
arrived at Macepracta, they perceived the ruins of the wall,
which had been constructed by the ancient kings of Assyria, to
secure their dominions from the incursions of the Medes. These
preliminaries of the expedition of Julian appear to have employed
about fifteen days; and we may compute near three hundred miles
from the fortress of Circesium to the wall of Macepracta. ^1

[Footnote 49: See Voyages de Tavernier, part i. l. iii. p. 316,
and more especially Viaggi di Pietro della Valle, tom. i. lett.
xvii. p. 671, &c. He was ignorant of the old name and condition
of Annah. Our blind travellers seldom possess any previous
knowledge of the countries which they visit. Shaw and Tournefort
deserve an honorable exception.]

[Footnote *: This is not a title, but the name of a great Persian
family. St. Martin, iii. 79. - M.]

[Footnote 50: Famosi nominis latro, says Ammianus; a high
encomium for an Arab. The tribe of Gassan had settled on the
edge of Syria, and reigned some time in Damascus, under a dynasty
of thirty-one kings, or emirs, from the time of Pompey to that of
the Khalif Omar. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 360.
Pococke, Specimen Hist. Arabicae, p. 75-78. The name of
Rodosaces does not appear in the list.

Note: Rodosaces-malek is king. St. Martin considers that
Gibbon has fallen into an error in bringing the tribe of Gassan
to the Euphrates. In Ammianus it is Assan. M. St. Martin would
read Massanitarum, the same with the Mauzanitae of Malala. - M.]

[Footnote 51: See Ammianus, (xxiv. 1, 2,) Libanius, (Orat.
Parental. c. 110, 111, p. 334,) Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 164-168.)

Note: This Syriac or Chaldaic has relation to its position;
it easily bears the signification of the division of the waters.
M. St. M. considers it the Missice of Pliny, v. 26. St. Martin,
iii. 83. - M.]

The fertile province of Assyria, ^52 which stretched beyond
the Tigris, as far as the mountains of Media, ^53 extended about
four hundred miles from the ancient wall of Macepracta, to the
territory of Basra, where the united streams of the Euphrates and
Tigris discharge themselves into the Persian Gulf. ^54 The whole
country might have claimed the peculiar name of Mesopotamia; as
the two rivers, which are never more distant than fifty,
approach, between Bagdad and Babylon, within twenty-five miles,
of each other. A multitude of artificial canals, dug without much
labor in a soft and yielding soil connected the rivers, and
intersected the plain of Assyria. The uses of these artificial
canals were various and important. They served to discharge the
superfluous waters from one river into the other, at the season
of their respective inundations. Subdividing themselves into
smaller and smaller branches, they refreshed the dry lands, and
supplied the deficiency of rain. They facilitated the
intercourse of peace and commerce; and, as the dams could be
speedily broke down, they armed the despair of the Assyrians with
the means of opposing a sudden deluge to the progress of an
invading army. To the soil and climate of Assyria, nature had
denied some of her choicest gifts, the vine, the olive, and the
fig-tree; ^* but the food which supports the life of man, and
particularly wheat and barley, were produced with inexhaustible
fertility; and the husbandman, who committed his seed to the
earth, was frequently rewarded with an increase of two, or even
of three, hundred. The face of the country was interspersed with
groves of innumerable palm-trees; ^55 and the diligent natives
celebrated, either in verse or prose, the three hundred and sixty
uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the juice, and
the fruit, were skilfully applied. Several manufactures,
especially those of leather and linen, employed the industry of a
numerous people, and afforded valuable materials for foreign
trade; which appears, however, to have been conducted by the
hands of strangers. Babylon had been converted into a royal
park; but near the ruins of the ancient capital, new cities had
successively arisen, and the populousness of the country was
displayed in the multitude of towns and villages, which were
built of bricks dried in the sun, and strongly cemented with
bitumen; the natural and peculiar production of the Babylonian
soil. While the successors of Cyrus reigned over Asia, the
province of Syria alone maintained, during a third part of the
year, the luxurious plenty of the table and household of the
Great King. Four considerable villages were assigned for the
subsistence of his Indian dogs; eight hundred stallions, and
sixteen thousand mares, were constantly kept, at the expense of
the country, for the royal stables; and as the daily tribute,
which was paid to the satrap, amounted to one English bushe of
silver, we may compute the annual revenue of Assyria at more than
twelve hundred thousand pounds sterling. ^56

[Footnote 52: The description of Assyria, is furnished by
Herodotus, (l. i. c. 192, &c.,) who sometimes writes for
children, and sometimes for philosophers; by Strabo, (l. xvi. p.
1070-1082,) and by Ammianus, (l.xxiii. c. 6.) The most useful of
the modern travellers are Tavernier, (part i. l. ii. p. 226-258,)
Otter, (tom. ii. p. 35-69, and 189-224,) and Niebuhr, (tom. ii.
p. 172-288.) Yet I much regret that the Irak Arabi of Abulfeda
has not been translated.]
[Footnote 53: Ammianus remarks, that the primitive Assyria, which
comprehended Ninus, (Nineveh,) and Arbela, had assumed the more
recent and peculiar appellation of Adiabene; and he seems to fix
Teredon, Vologesia, and Apollonia, as the extreme cities of the
actual province of Assyria.]
[Footnote 54: The two rivers unite at Apamea, or Corna, (one
hundred miles from the Persian Gulf,) into the broad stream of
the Pasitigris, or Shutul- Arab. The Euphrates formerly reached
the sea by a separate channel, which was obstructed and diverted
by the citizens of Orchoe, about twenty miles to the south-east
of modern Basra. (D'Anville, in the Memoires de l'Acad. des
Inscriptions, p. 171-191.)]

[Footnote *: We are informed by Mr. Gibbon, that nature has
denied to the soil an climate of Assyria some of her choicest
gifts, the vine, the olive, and the fig-tree. This might have
been the case ir the age of Ammianus Marcellinus, but it is not
so at the present day; and it is a curious fact that the grape,
the olive, and the fig, are the most common fruits in the
province, and may be seen in every garden. Macdonald Kinneir,
Geogr. Mem. on Persia 239 - M.]
[Footnote 55: The learned Kaempfer, as a botanist, an antiquary,
and a traveller, has exhausted (Amoenitat. Exoticae, Fasicul. iv.
p. 660-764) the whole subject of palm-trees.]

[Footnote 56: Assyria yielded to the Persian satrap an Artaba of
silver each day. The well-known proportion of weights and
measures (see Bishop Hooper's elaborate Inquiry,) the specific
gravity of water and silver, and the value of that metal, will
afford, after a short process, the annual revenue which I have
stated. Yet the Great King received no more than 1000 Euboic, or
Tyrian, talents (252,000l.) from Assyria. The comparison of two
passages in Herodotus, (l. i. c. 192, l. iii. c. 89-96) reveals
an important difference between the gross, and the net, revenue
of Persia; the sums paid by the province, and the gold or silver
deposited in the royal treasure. The monarch might annually save
three millions six hundred thousand pounds, of the seventeen or
eighteen millions raised upon the people.]

Chapter XXIV: The Retreat And Death Of Julian.

Part III.

The fields of Assyria were devoted by Julian to the
calamities of war; and the philosopher retaliated on a guiltless
people the acts of rapine and cruelty which had been committed by
their haughty master in the Roman provinces. The trembling
Assyrians summoned the rivers to their assistance; and completed,
with their own hands, the ruin of their country. The roads were
rendered impracticable; a flood of waters was poured into the
camp; and, during several days, the troops of Julian were obliged
to contend with the most discouraging hardships. But every
obstacle was surmounted by the perseverance of the legionaries,
who were inured to toil as well as to danger, and who felt
themselves animated by the spirit of their leader. The damage
was gradually repaired; the waters were restored to their proper
channels; whole groves of palm-trees were cut down, and placed
along the broken parts of the road; and the army passed over the
broad and deeper canals, on bridges of floating rafts, which were
supported by the help of bladders. Two cities of Assyria
presumed to resist the arms of a Roman emperor: and they both
paid the severe penalty of their rashness. At the distance of
fifty miles from the royal residence of Ctesiphon, Perisabor, ^*
or Anbar, held the second rank in the province; a city, large,
populous, and well fortified, surrounded with a double wall,
almost encompassed by a branch of the Euphrates, and defended by
the valor of a numerous garrison. The exhortations of Hormisdas
were repulsed with contempt; and the ears of the Persian prince
were wounded by a just reproach, that, unmindful of his royal
birth, he conducted an army of strangers against his king and
country. The Assyrians maintained their loyalty by a skilful, as
well as vigorous, defence; till the lucky stroke of a
battering-ram, having opened a large breach, by shattering one of
the angles of the wall, they hastily retired into the
fortifications of the interior citadel. The soldiers of Julian
rushed impetuously into the town, and after the full
gratification of every military appetite, Perisabor was reduced
to ashes; and the engines which assaulted the citadel were
planted on the ruins of the smoking houses. The contest was
continued by an incessant and mutual discharge of missile
weapons; and the superiority which the Romans might derive from
the mechanical powers of their balistae and catapultae was
counterbalanced by the advantage of the ground on the side of the
besieged. But as soon as an Helepolis had been constructed, which
could engage on equal terms with the loftiest ramparts, the
tremendous aspect of a moving turret, that would leave no hope of
resistance or mercy, terrified the defenders of the citadel into
an humble submission; and the place was surrendered only two days
after Julian first appeared under the walls of Perisabor. Two
thousand five hundred persons, of both sexes, the feeble remnant
of a flourishing people, were permitted to retire; the plentiful
magazines of corn, of arms, and of splendid furniture, were
partly distributed among the troops, and partly reserved for the
public service; the useless stores were destroyed by fire or
thrown into the stream of the Euphrates; and the fate of Amida
was revenged by the total ruin of Perisabor.

[Footnote *: Libanius says that it was a great city of Assyria,
called after the name of the reigning king. The orator of
Antioch is not mistaken. The Persians and Syrians called it
Fyrouz Schapour or Fyrouz Schahbour; in Persian, the victory of
Schahpour. It owed that name to Sapor the First. It was before
called Anbar St. Martin, iii. 85. - M.]

The city or rather fortress, of Maogamalcha, which was
defended by sixteen large towers, a deep ditch, and two strong
and solid walls of brick and bitumen, appears to have been
constructed at the distance of eleven miles, as the safeguard of
the capital of Persia. The emperor, apprehensive of leaving such
an important fortress in his rear, immediately formed the siege
of Maogamalcha; and the Roman army was distributed, for that
purpose, into three divisions. Victor, at the head of the
cavalry, and of a detachment of heavy-armed foot, was ordered to
clear the country, as far as the banks of the Tigris, and the
suburbs of Ctesiphon. The conduct of the attack was assumed by
Julian himself, who seemed to place his whole dependence in the
military engines which he erected against the walls; while he
secretly contrived a more efficacious method of introducing his
troops into the heart of the city Under the direction of Nevitta
and Dagalaiphus, the trenches were opened at a considerable
distance, and gradually prolonged as far as the edge of the
ditch. The ditch was speedily filled with earth; and, by the
incessant labor of the troops, a mine was carried under the
foundations of the walls, and sustained, at sufficient intervals,
by props of timber. Three chosen cohorts, advancing in a single
file, silently explored the dark and dangerous passage; till
their intrepid leader whispered back the intelligence, that he
was ready to issue from his confinement into the streets of the
hostile city. Julian checked their ardor, that he might insure
their success; and immediately diverted the attention of the
garrison, by the tumult and clamor of a general assault. The
Persians, who, from their walls, contemptuously beheld the
progress of an impotent attack, celebrated with songs of triumph
the glory of Sapor; and ventured to assure the emperor, that he
might ascend the starry mansion of Ormusd, before he could hope
to take the impregnable city of Maogamalcha. The city was
already taken. History has recorded the name of a private
soldier the first who ascended from the mine into a deserted
tower. The passage was widened by his companions, who pressed
forwards with impatient valor. Fifteen hundred enemies were
already in the midst of the city. The astonished garrison
abandoned the walls, and their only hope of safety; the gates
were instantly burst open; and the revenge of the soldier, unless
it were suspended by lust or avarice, was satiated by an
undistinguishing massacre. The governor, who had yielded on a
promise of mercy, was burnt alive, a few days afterwards, on a
charge of having uttered some disrespectful words against the
honor of Prince Hormisdas. ^* The fortifications were razed to
the ground; and not a vestige was left, that the city of
Maogamalcha had ever existed. The neighborhood of the capital of
Persia was adorned with three stately palaces, laboriously
enriched with every production that could gratify the luxury and
pride of an Eastern monarch. The pleasant situation of the
gardens along the banks of the Tigris, was improved, according to
the Persian taste, by the symmetry of flowers, fountains, and
shady walks: and spacious parks were enclosed for the reception
of the bears, lions, and wild boars, which were maintained at a
considerable expense for the pleasure of the royal chase. The
park walls were broken down, the savage game was abandoned to the
darts of the soldiers, and the palaces of Sapor were reduced to
ashes, by the command of the Roman emperor. Julian, on this
occasion, showed himself ignorant, or careless, of the laws of
civility, which the prudence and refinement of polished ages have
established between hostile princes. Yet these wanton ravages
need not excite in our breasts any vehement emotions of pity or
resentment. A simple, naked statue, finished by the hand of a
Grecian artist, is of more genuine value than all these rude and
costly monuments of Barbaric labor; and, if we are more deeply
affected by the ruin of a palace than by the conflagration of a
cottage, our humanity must have formed a very erroneous estimate
of the miseries of human life. ^57

[Footnote *: And as guilty of a double treachery, having first
engaged to surrender the city, and afterwards valiantly defended
it. Gibbon, perhaps, should have noticed this charge, though he
may have rejected it as improbable Compare Zosimus. iii. 23. -

[Footnote 57: The operations of the Assyrian war are
circumstantially related by Ammianus, (xxiv. 2, 3, 4, 5,)
Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 112- 123, p. 335-347,) Zosimus, (l.
iii. p. 168-180,) and Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat iv. p. 113, 144.)
The military criticisms of the saint are devoutly copied by
Tillemont, his faithful slave.]

Julian was an object of hatred and terror to the Persian and
the painters of that nation represented the invader of their
country under the emblem of a furious lion, who vomited from his
mouth a consuming fire. ^58 To his friends and soldiers the
philosophic hero appeared in a more amiable light; and his
virtues were never more conspicuously displayed, than in the last
and most active period of his life. He practised, without
effort, and almost without merit, the habitual qualities of
temperance and sobriety. According to the dictates of that
artificial wisdom, which assumes an absolute dominion over the
mind and body, he sternly refused himself the indulgence of the
most natural appetites. ^59 In the warm climate of Assyria, which
solicited a luxurious people to the gratification of every
sensual desire, ^60 a youthful conqueror preserved his chastity
pure and inviolate; nor was Julian ever tempted, even by a motive
of curiosity, to visit his female captives of exquisite beauty,
^61 who, instead of resisting his power, would have disputed with
each other the honor of his embraces. With the same firmness
that he resisted the allurements of love, he sustained the
hardships of war. When the Romans marched through the flat and
flooded country, their sovereign, on foot, at the head of his
legions, shared their fatigues and animated their diligence. In
every useful labor, the hand of Julian was prompt and strenuous;
and the Imperial purple was wet and dirty as the coarse garment
of the meanest soldier. The two sieges allowed him some
remarkable opportunities of signalizing his personal valor,
which, in the improved state of the military art, can seldom be
exerted by a prudent general. The emperor stood before the
citadel before the citadel of Perisabor, insensible of his
extreme danger, and encouraged his troops to burst open the gates
of iron, till he was almost overwhelmed under a cloud of missile
weapons and huge stones, that were directed against his person.
As he examined the exterior fortifications of Maogamalcha, two
Persians, devoting themselves for their country, suddenly rushed
upon him with drawn cimeters: the emperor dexterously received
their blows on his uplifted shield; and, with a steady and
well-aimed thrust, laid one of his adversaries dead at his feet.
The esteem of a prince who possesses the virtues which he
approves, is the noblest recompense of a deserving subject; and
the authority which Julian derived from his personal merit,
enabled him to revive and enforce the rigor of ancient
discipline. He punished with death or ignominy the misbehavior
of three troops of horse, who, in a skirmish with the Surenas,
had lost their honor and one of their standards: and he
distinguished with obsidional ^62 crowns the valor of the
foremost soldiers, who had ascended into the city of Maogamalcha.

After the siege of Perisabor, the firmness of the emperor was
exercised by the insolent avarice of the army, who loudly
complained, that their services were rewarded by a trifling
donative of one hundred pieces of silver. His just indignation
was expressed in the grave and manly language of a Roman.
"Riches are the object of your desires; those riches are in the
hands of the Persians; and the spoils of this fruitful country
are proposed as the prize of your valor and discipline. Believe
me," added Julian, "the Roman republic, which formerly possessed
such immense treasures, is now reduced to want and wretchedness
once our princes have been persuaded, by weak and interested
ministers, to purchase with gold the tranquillity of the
Barbarians. The revenue is exhausted; the cities are ruined; the
provinces are dispeopled. For myself, the only inheritance that
I have received from my royal ancestors is a soul incapable of
fear; and as long as I am convinced that every real advantage is
seated in the mind, I shall not blush to acknowledge an honorable
poverty, which, in the days of ancient virtue, was considered as
the glory of Fabricius. That glory, and that virtue, may be your
own, if you will listen to the voice of Heaven and of your
leader. But if you will rashly persist, if you are determined to
renew the shameful and mischievous examples of old seditions,
proceed. As it becomes an emperor who has filled the first rank
among men, I am prepared to die, standing; and to despise a
precarious life, which, every hour, may depend on an accidental
fever. If I have been found unworthy of the command, there are
now among you, (I speak it with pride and pleasure,) there are
many chiefs whose merit and experience are equal to the conduct
of the most important war. Such has been the temper of my reign,
that I can retire, without regret, and without apprehension, to
the obscurity of a private station" ^63 The modest resolution of
Julian was answered by the unanimous applause and cheerful
obedience of the Romans, who declared their confidence of
victory, while they fought under the banners of their heroic
prince. Their courage was kindled by his frequent and familiar
asseverations, (for such wishes were the oaths of Julian,) "So
may I reduce the Persians under the yoke!" "Thus may I restore
the strength and splendor of the republic!" The love of fame was
the ardent passion of his soul: but it was not before he trampled
on the ruins of Maogamalcha, that he allowed himself to say, "We
have now provided some materials for the sophist of Antioch." ^64

[Footnote 58: Libanius de ulciscenda Juliani nece, c. 13, p.
[Footnote 59: The famous examples of Cyrus, Alexander, and
Scipio, were acts of justice. Julian's chastity was voluntary,
and, in his opinion, meritorious.]

[Footnote 60: Sallust (ap. Vet. Scholiast. Juvenal. Satir. i.
104) observes, that nihil corruptius moribus. The matrons and
virgins of Babylon freely mingled with the men in licentious
banquets; and as they felt the intoxication of wine and love,
they gradually, and almost completely, threw aside the
encumbrance of dress; ad ultimum ima corporum velamenta
projiciunt. Q. Curtius, v. 1.]

[Footnote 61: Ex virginibus autem quae speciosae sunt captae, et
in Perside, ubi faeminarum pulchritudo excellit, nec contrectare
aliquam votuit nec videre. Ammian. xxiv. 4. The native race of
Persians is small and ugly; but it has been improved by the
perpetual mixture of Circassian blood, (Herodot. l. iii. c. 97.
Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 420.)]
[Footnote 62: Obsidionalibus coronis donati. Ammian. xxiv. 4.
Either Julian or his historian were unskillful antiquaries. He
should have given mural crowns. The obsidional were the reward
of a general who had delivered a besieged city, (Aulus Gellius,
Noct. Attic. v. 6.)]

[Footnote 63: I give this speech as original and genuine.
Ammianus might hear, could transcribe, and was incapable of
inventing, it. I have used some slight freedoms, and conclude
with the most forcibic sentence.]
[Footnote 64: Ammian. xxiv. 3. Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 122,
p. 346.]
The successful valor of Julian had triumphed over all the
obstacles that opposed his march to the gates of Ctesiphon. But
the reduction, or even the siege, of the capital of Persia, was
still at a distance: nor can the military conduct of the emperor
be clearly apprehended, without a knowledge of the country which
was the theatre of his bold and skilful operations. ^65 Twenty
miles to the south of Bagdad, and on the eastern bank of the
Tigris, the curiosity of travellers has observed some ruins of
the palaces of Ctesiphon, which, in the time of Julian, was a
great and populous city. The name and glory of the adjacent
Seleucia were forever extinguished; and the only remaining
quarter of that Greek colony had resumed, with the Assyrian
language and manners, the primitive appellation of Coche. Coche
was situate on the western side of the Tigris; but it was
naturally considered as a suburb of Ctesiphon, with which we may
suppose it to have been connected by a permanent bridge of boats.

The united parts contribute to form the common epithet of Al
Modain, the cities, which the Orientals have bestowed on the
winter residence of the Sassinadees; and the whole circumference
of the Persian capital was strongly fortified by the waters of
the river, by lofty walls, and by impracticable morasses. Near
the ruins of Seleucia, the camp of Julian was fixed, and secured,
by a ditch and rampart, against the sallies of the numerous and
enterprising garrison of Coche. In this fruitful and pleasant
country, the Romans were plentifully supplied with water and
forage: and several forts, which might have embarrassed the
motions of the army, submitted, after some resistance, to the
efforts of their valor. The fleet passed from the Euphrates into
an artificial derivation of that river, which pours a copious and
navigable stream into the Tigris, at a small distance below the
great city. If they had followed this royal canal, which bore
the name of Nahar-Malcha, ^66 the intermediate situation of Coche
would have separated the fleet and army of Julian; and the rash
attempt of steering against the current of the Tigris, and
forcing their way through the midst of a hostile capital, must
have been attended with the total destruction of the Roman navy.
The prudence of the emperor foresaw the danger, and provided the
remedy. As he had minutely studied the operations of Trajan in
the same country, he soon recollected that his warlike
predecessor had dug a new and navigable canal, which, leaving
Coche on the right hand, conveyed the waters of the Nahar- Malcha
into the river Tigris, at some distance above the cities. From
the information of the peasants, Julian ascertained the vestiges
of this ancient work, which were almost obliterated by design or
accident. By the indefatigable labor of the soldiers, a broad
and deep channel was speedily prepared for the reception of the
Euphrates. A strong dike was constructed to interrupt the
ordinary current of the Nahar-Malcha: a flood of waters rushed
impetuously into their new bed; and the Roman fleet, steering
their triumphant course into the Tigris, derided the vain and
ineffectual barriers which the Persians of Ctesiphon had erected
to oppose their passage.
[Footnote 65: M. d'Anville, (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions,
tom. xxxviii p. 246-259) has ascertained the true position and
distance of Babylon, Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Bagdad, &c. The Roman
traveller, Pietro della Valle, (tom. i. lett. xvii. p. 650-780,)
seems to be the most intelligent spectator of that famous
province. He is a gentleman and a scholar, but intolerably vain
and prolix.]

[Footnote 66: The Royal Canal (Nahar-Malcha) might be
successively restored, altered, divided, &c., (Cellarius,
Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 453;) and these changes may serve to
explain the seeming contradictions of antiquity. In the time of
Julian, it must have fallen into the Euphrates below Ctesiphon.]

As it became necessary to transport the Roman army over the
Tigris, another labor presented itself, of less toil, but of more
danger, than the preceding expedition. The stream was broad and
rapid; the ascent steep and difficult; and the intrenchments
which had been formed on the ridge of the opposite bank, were
lined with a numerous army of heavy cuirrasiers, dexterous
archers, and huge elephants; who (according to the extravagant
hyperbole of Libanius) could trample with the same ease a field
of corn, or a legion of Romans. ^67 In the presence of such an
enemy, the construction of a bridge was impracticable; and the
intrepid prince, who instantly seized the only possible
expedient, concealed his design, till the moment of execution,
from the knowledge of the Barbarians, of his own troops, and even
of his generals themselves. Under the specious pretence of
examining the state of the magazines, fourscore vessels ^* were
gradually unladen; and a select detachment, apparently destined
for some secret expedition, was ordered to stand to their arms on
the first signal. Julian disguised the silent anxiety of his own
mind with smiles of confidence and joy; and amused the hostile
nations with the spectacle of military games, which he
insultingly celebrated under the walls of Coche. The day was
consecrated to pleasure; but, as soon as the hour of supper was
passed, the emperor summoned the generals to his tent, and
acquainted them that he had fixed that night for the passage of
the Tigris. They stood in silent and respectful astonishment;
but, when the venerable Sallust assumed the privilege of his age
and experience, the rest of the chiefs supported with freedom the
weight of his prudent remonstrances. ^68 Julian contented himself
with observing, that conquest and safety depended on the attempt;
that instead of diminishing, the number of their enemies would be
increased, by successive reenforcements; and that a longer delay
would neither contract the breadth of the stream, nor level the
height of the bank. The signal was instantly given, and obeyed;
the most impatient of the legionaries leaped into five vessels
that lay nearest to the bank; and as they plied their oars with
intrepid diligence, they were lost, after a few moments, in the
darkness of the night. A flame arose on the opposite side; and
Julian, who too clearly understood that his foremost vessels, in
attempting to land, had been fired by the enemy, dexterously
converted their extreme danger into a presage of victory. "Our
fellow-soldiers," he eagerly exclaimed, "are already masters of
the bank; see - they make the appointed signal; let us hasten to
emulate and assist their courage." The united and rapid motion of
a great fleet broke the violence of the current, and they reached
the eastern shore of the Tigris with sufficient speed to
extinguish the flames, and rescue their adventurous companions.
The difficulties of a steep and lofty ascent were increased by
the weight of armor, and the darkness of the night. A shower of
stones, darts, and fire, was incessantly discharged on the heads
of the assailants; who, after an arduous struggle, climbed the
bank and stood victorious upon the rampart. As soon as they
possessed a more equal field, Julian, who, with his light
infantry, had led the attack, ^69 darted through the ranks a
skilful and experienced eye: his bravest soldiers, according to
the precepts of Homer, ^70 were distributed in the front and
rear: and all the trumpets of the Imperial army sounded to
battle. The Romans, after sending up a military shout, advanced
in measured steps to the animating notes of martial music;
launched their formidable javelins; and rushed forwards with
drawn swords, to deprive the Barbarians, by a closer onset, of
the advantage of their missile weapons. The whole engagement
lasted above twelve hours; till the gradual retreat of the
Persians was changed into a disorderly flight, of which the
shameful example was given by the principal leader, and the
Surenas himself. They were pursued to the gates of Ctesiphon;
and the conquerors might have entered the dismayed city, ^71 if
their general, Victor, who was dangerously wounded with an arrow,
had not conjured them to desist from a rash attempt, which must
be fatal, if it were not successful. On their side, the Romans
acknowledged the loss of only seventy-five men; while they
affirmed, that the Barbarians had left on the field of battle two
thousand five hundred, or even six thousand, of their bravest
soldiers. The spoil was such as might be expected from the riches
and luxury of an Oriental camp; large quantities of silver and
gold, splendid arms and trappings, and beds and tables of massy
silver. ^* The victorious emperor distributed, as the rewards of
valor, some honorable gifts, civic, and mural, and naval crowns;
which he, and perhaps he alone, esteemed more precious than the
wealth of Asia. A solemn sacrifice was offered to the god of
war, but the appearances of the victims threatened the most
inauspicious events; and Julian soon discovered, by less
ambiguous signs, that he had now reached the term of his
prosperity. ^72

[Footnote 67: Rien n'est beau que le vrai; a maxim which should
be inscribed on the desk of every rhetorician.]

[Footnote *: This is a mistake; each vessel (according to Zosimus
two, according to Ammianus five) had eighty men. Amm. xxiv. 6,
with Wagner's note. Gibbon must have read octogenas for
octogenis. The five vessels selected for this service were
remarkably large and strong provision transports. The strength
of the fleet remained with Julian to carry over the army - M.]
[Footnote 68: Libanius alludes to the most powerful of the
generals. I have ventured to name Sallust. Ammianus says, of
all the leaders, quod acri metu territ acrimetu territi duces
concordi precatu precaut fieri prohibere tentarent.

Note: It is evident that Gibbon has mistaken the sense of
Libanius; his words can only apply to a commander of a
detachment, not to so eminent a person as the Praefect of the
East. St. Martin, iii. 313. - M.]
[Footnote 69: Hinc Imperator . . . . (says Ammianus) ipse cum
levis armaturae auxiliis per prima postremaque discurrens, &c.
Yet Zosimus, his friend, does not allow him to pass the river
till two days after the battle.]
[Footnote 70: Secundum Homericam dispositionem. A similar
disposition is ascribed to the wise Nestor, in the fourth book of
the Iliad; and Homer was never absent from the mind of Julian.]

[Footnote 71: Persas terrore subito miscuerunt, versisque
agminibus totius gentis, apertas Ctesiphontis portas victor miles
intrasset, ni major praedarum occasio fuisset, quam cura
victoriae, (Sextus Rufus de Provinciis c. 28.) Their avarice
might dispose them to hear the advice of Victor.]
[Footnote *: The suburbs of Ctesiphon, according to a new
fragment of Eunapius, were so full of provisions, that the
soldiers were in danger of suffering from excess. Mai, p. 260.
Eunapius in Niebuhr. Nov. Byz. Coll. 68. Julian exhibited warlike
dances and games in his camp to recreate the soldiers Ibid. - M.]

[Footnote 72: The labor of the canal, the passage of the Tigris,
and the victory, are described by Ammianus, (xxiv. 5, 6,)
Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 124-128, p. 347-353,) Greg.
Nazianzen, (Orat. iv. p. 115,) Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 181-183,) and
Sextus Rufus, (de Provinciis, c. 28.)]

On the second day after the battle, the domestic guards, the
Jovians and Herculians, and the remaining troops, which composed
near two thirds of the whole army, were securely wafted over the
Tigris. ^73 While the Persians beheld from the walls of Ctesiphon
the desolation of the adjacent country, Julian cast many an
anxious look towards the North, in full expectation, that as he
himself had victoriously penetrated to the capital of Sapor, the
march and junction of his lieutenants, Sebastian and Procopius,
would be executed with the same courage and diligence. His
expectations were disappointed by the treachery of the Armenian
king, who permitted, and most probably directed, the desertion of
his auxiliary troops from the camp of the Romans; ^74 and by the
dissensions of the two generals, who were incapable of forming or
executing any plan for the public service. When the emperor had
relinquished the hope of this important reenforcement, he
condescended to hold a council of war, and approved, after a full
debate, the sentiment of those generals, who dissuaded the siege
of Ctesiphon, as a fruitless and pernicious undertaking. It is
not easy for us to conceive, by what arts of fortification a city
thrice besieged and taken by the predecessors of Julian could be
rendered impregnable against an army of sixty thousand Romans,
commanded by a brave and experienced general, and abundantly
supplied with ships, provisions, battering engines, and military
stores. But we may rest assured, from the love of glory, and
contempt of danger, which formed the character of Julian, that he
was not discouraged by any trivial or imaginary obstacles. ^75 At
the very time when he declined the siege of Ctesiphon, he
rejected, with obstinacy and disdain, the most flattering offers
of a negotiation of peace. Sapor, who had been so long
accustomed to the tardy ostentation of Constantius, was surprised
by the intrepid diligence of his successor. As far as the
confines of India and Scythia, the satraps of the distant
provinces were ordered to assemble their troops, and to march,
without delay, to the assistance of their monarch. But their
preparations were dilatory, their motions slow; and before Sapor
could lead an army into the field, he received the melancholy
intelligence of the devastation of Assyria, the ruin of his
palaces, and the slaughter of his bravest troops, who defended
the passage of the Tigris. The pride of royalty was humbled in
the dust; he took his repasts on the ground; and the disorder of
his hair expressed the grief and anxiety of his mind. Perhaps he
would not have refused to purchase, with one half of his kingdom,
the safety of the remainder; and he would have gladly subscribed
himself, in a treaty of peace, the faithful and dependent ally of
the Roman conqueror. Under the pretence of private business, a
minister of rank and confidence was secretly despatched to
embrace the knees of Hormisdas, and to request, in the language
of a suppliant, that he might be introduced into the presence of
the emperor. The Sassanian prince, whether he listened to the
voice of pride or humanity, whether he consulted the sentiments
of his birth, or the duties of his situation, was equally
inclined to promote a salutary measure, which would terminate the
calamities of Persia, and secure the triumph of Rome. He was
astonished by the inflexible firmness of a hero, who remembered,
most unfortunately for himself and for his country, that
Alexander had uniformly rejected the propositions of Darius. But
as Julian was sensible, that the hope of a safe and honorable
peace might cool the ardor of his troops, he earnestly requested
that Hormisdas would privately dismiss the minister of Sapor, and
conceal this dangerous temptation from the knowledge of the camp.

[Footnote 73: The fleet and army were formed in three divisions,
of which the first only had passed during the night.]

[Footnote 74: Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. l. iii. c. 15, p.
246) supplies us with a national tradition, and a spurious
letter. I have borrowed only the leading circumstance, which is
consistent with truth, probability, and Libanius, (Orat. Parent.
c. 131, p. 355.)]

[Footnote 75: Civitas inexpugnabilis, facinus audax et
importunum. Ammianus, xxiv. 7. His fellow-soldier, Eutropius,
turns aside from the difficulty, Assyriamque populatus, castra
apud Ctesiphontem stativa aliquandiu habuit: remeansbue victor,
&c. x. 16. Zosimus is artful or ignorant, and Socrates

[Footnote 76: Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 130, p. 354, c. 139, p.
361. Socrates, l. iii. c. 21. The ecclesiastical historian
imputes the refusal of peace to the advice of Maximus. Such
advice was unworthy of a philosopher; but the philosopher was
likewise a magician, who flattered the hopes and passions of his

Chapter XXIV: The Retreat And Death Of Julian.

Part IV.

The honor, as well as interest, of Julian, forbade him to
consume his time under the impregnable walls of Ctesiphon and as
often as he defied the Barbarians, who defended the city, to meet
him on the open plain, they prudently replied, that if he desired
to exercise his valor, he might seek the army of the Great King.
He felt the insult, and he accepted the advice. Instead of
confining his servile march to the banks of the Euphrates and
Tigris, he resolved to imitate the adventurous spirit of
Alexander, and boldly to advance into the inland provinces, till
he forced his rival to contend with him, perhaps in the plains of
Arbela, for the empire of Asia. The magnanimity of Julian was
applauded and betrayed, by the arts of a noble Persian, who, in
the cause of his country, had generously submitted to act a part
full of danger, of falsehood, and of shame. ^77 With a train of
faithful followers, he deserted to the Imperial camp; exposed, in
a specious tale, the injuries which he had sustained; exaggerated
the cruelty of Sapor, the discontent of the people, and the
weakness of the monarchy; and confidently offered himself as the
hostage and guide of the Roman march. The most rational grounds
of suspicion were urged, without effect, by the wisdom and
experience of Hormisdas; and the credulous Julian, receiving the
traitor into his bosom, was persuaded to issue a hasty order,
which, in the opinion of mankind, appeared to arraign his
prudence, and to endanger his safety. He destroyed, in a single
hour, the whole navy, which had been transported above five
hundred miles, at so great an expense of toil, of treasure, and
of blood. Twelve, or, at the most, twenty-two small vessels were
saved, to accompany, on carriages, the march of the army, and to
form occasional bridges for the passage of the rivers. A supply
of twenty days' provisions was reserved for the use of the
soldiers; and the rest of the magazines, with a fleet of eleven
hundred vessels, which rode at anchor in the Tigris, were
abandoned to the flames, by the absolute command of the emperor.
The Christian bishops, Gregory and Augustin, insult the madness
of the Apostate, who executed, with his own hands, the sentence
of divine justice. Their authority, of less weight, perhaps, in
a military question, is confirmed by the cool judgment of an
experienced soldier, who was himself spectator of the
conflagration, and who could not disapprove the reluctant murmurs
of the troops. ^78 Yet there are not wanting some specious, and
perhaps solid, reasons, which might justify the resolution of
Julian. The navigation of the Euphrates never ascended above
Babylon, nor that of the Tigris above Opis. ^79 The distance of
the last-mentioned city from the Roman camp was not very
considerable: and Julian must soon have renounced the vain and
impracticable attempt of forcing upwards a great fleet against
the stream of a rapid river, ^80 which in several places was
embarrassed by natural or artificial cataracts. ^81 The power of
sails and oars was insufficient; it became necessary to tow the
ships against the current of the river; the strength of twenty
thousand soldiers was exhausted in this tedious and servile
labor, and if the Romans continued to march along the banks of
the Tigris, they could only expect to return home without
achieving any enterprise worthy of the genius or fortune of their
leader. If, on the contrary, it was advisable to advance into
the inland country, the destruction of the fleet and magazines
was the only measure which could save that valuable prize from
the hands of the numerous and active troops which might suddenly
be poured from the gates of Ctesiphon. Had the arms of Julian
been victorious, we should now admire the conduct, as well as the
courage, of a hero, who, by depriving his soldiers of the hopes
of a retreat, left them only the alternative of death or
conquest. ^82

[Footnote 77: The arts of this new Zopyrus (Greg. Nazianzen,
Orat. iv. p. 115, 116) may derive some credit from the testimony
of two abbreviators, (Sextus Rufus and Victor,) and the casual
hints of Libanius (Orat. Parent. c. 134, p. 357) and Ammianus,
(xxiv. 7.) The course of genuine history is interrupted by a most
unseasonable chasm in the text of Ammianus.]

[Footnote 78: See Ammianus, (xxiv. 7,) Libanius, (Orat.
Parentalis, c. 132, 133, p. 356, 357,) Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 183,)
Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xiii. p. 26) Gregory, (Orat. iv. p. 116,)
and Augustin, (de Civitate Dei, l. iv. c. 29, l. v. c. 21.) Of
these Libanius alone attempts a faint apology for his hero; who,
according to Ammianus, pronounced his own condemnation by a tardy
and ineffectual attempt to extinguish the flames.]

[Footnote 79: Consult Herodotus, (l. i. c. 194,) Strabo, (l. xvi.
p. 1074,) and Tavernier, (part i. l. ii. p. 152.)]

[Footnote 80: A celeritate Tigris incipit vocari, ita appellant
Medi sagittam. Plin. Hist. Natur. vi. 31.]

[Footnote 81: One of these dikes, which produces an artificial
cascade or cataract, is described by Tavernier (part i. l. ii. p.
226) and Thevenot, (part ii. l. i. p. 193.) The Persians, or
Assyrians, labored to interrupt the navigation of the river,
(Strabo, l. xv. p. 1075. D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p.
98, 99.)]

[Footnote 82: Recollect the successful and applauded rashness of
Agathocles and Cortez, who burnt their ships on the coast of
Africa and Mexico.]
The cumbersome train of artillery and wagons, which retards
the operations of a modern army, were in a great measure unknown
in the camps of the Romans. ^83 Yet, in every age, the
subsistence of sixty thousand men must have been one of the most
important cares of a prudent general; and that subsistence could
only be drawn from his own or from the enemy's country. Had it
been possible for Julian to maintain a bridge of communication on
the Tigris, and to preserve the conquered places of Assyria, a
desolated province could not afford any large or regular
supplies, in a season of the year when the lands were covered by
the inundation of the Euphrates, ^84 and the unwholesome air was
darkened with swarms of innumerable insects. ^85 The appearance
of the hostile country was far more inviting. The extensive
region that lies between the River Tigris and the mountains of
Media, was filled with villages and towns; and the fertile soil,
for the most part, was in a very improved state of cultivation.
Julian might expect, that a conqueror, who possessed the two
forcible instruments of persuasion, steel and gold, would easily
procure a plentiful subsistence from the fears or avarice of the
natives. But, on the approach of the Romans, the rich and
smiling prospect was instantly blasted. Wherever they moved, the
inhabitants deserted the open villages, and took shelter in the
fortified towns; the cattle was driven away; the grass and ripe
corn were consumed with fire; and, as soon as the flames had
subsided which interrupted the march of Julian, he beheld the
melancholy face of a smoking and naked desert. This desperate
but effectual method of defence can only be executed by the
enthusiasm of a people who prefer their independence to their
property; or by the rigor of an arbitrary government, which
consults the public safety without submitting to their
inclinations the liberty of choice. On the present occasion the
zeal and obedience of the Persians seconded the commands of
Sapor; and the emperor was soon reduced to the scanty stock of
provisions, which continually wasted in his hands. Before they
were entirely consumed, he might still have reached the wealthy
and unwarlike cities of Ecbatana or Susa, by the effort of a
rapid and well-directed march; ^86 but he was deprived of this
last resource by his ignorance of the roads, and by the perfidy
of his guides. The Romans wandered several days in the country
to the eastward of Bagdad; the Persian deserter, who had artfully
led them into the spare, escaped from their resentment; and his
followers, as soon as they were put to the torture, confessed the
secret of the conspiracy. The visionary conquests of Hyrcania
and India, which had so long amused, now tormented, the mind of
Julian. Conscious that his own imprudence was the cause of the
public distress, he anxiously balanced the hopes of safety or
success, without obtaining a satisfactory answer, either from
gods or men. At length, as the only practicable measure, he
embraced the resolution of directing his steps towards the banks
of the Tigris, with the design of saving the army by a hasty
march to the confines of Corduene; a fertile and friendly
province, which acknowledged the sovereignty of Rome. The
desponding troops obeyed the signal of the retreat, only seventy
days after they had passed the Chaboras, with the sanguine
expectation of subverting the throne of Persia. ^87

[Footnote 83: See the judicious reflections of the author of the
Essai sur la Tactique, tom. ii. p. 287-353, and the learned
remarks of M. Guichardt Nouveaux Memoires Militaires, tom. i. p.
351-382, on the baggage and subsistence of the Roman armies.]

[Footnote 84: The Tigris rises to the south, the Euphrates to the
north, of the Armenian mountains. The former overflows in March,
the latter in July. These circumstances are well explained in the
Geographical Dissertation of Foster, inserted in Spelman's
Expedition of Cyras, vol. ii. p. 26.]
[Footnote 85: Ammianus (xxiv. 8) describes, as he had felt, the
inconveniency of the flood, the heat, and the insects. The lands
of Assyria, oppressed by the Turks, and ravaged by the Curds or
Arabs, yield an increase of ten, fifteen, and twenty fold, for
the seed which is cast into the ground by the wretched and
unskillful husbandmen. Voyage de Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 279, 285.]

[Footnote 86: Isidore of Charax (Mansion. Parthic. p. 5, 6, in
Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. ii.) reckons 129 schaeni from
Seleucia, and Thevenot, (part i. l. i. ii. p. 209-245,) 128 hours
of march from Bagdad to Ecbatana, or Hamadan. These measures
cannot exceed an ordinary parasang, or three Roman miles.]

[Footnote 87: The march of Julian from Ctesiphon is
circumstantially, but not clearly, described by Ammianus, (xxiv.
7, 8,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 134, p. 357,) and Zosimus, (l.
iii. p. 183.) The two last seem ignorant that their conqueror was
retreating; and Libanius absurdly confines him to the banks of
the Tigris.]

As long as the Romans seemed to advance into the country,
their march was observed and insulted from a distance, by several
bodies of Persian cavalry; who, showing themselves sometimes in
loose, and sometimes in close order, faintly skirmished with the
advanced guards. These detachments were, however, supported by a
much greater force; and the heads of the columns were no sooner
pointed towards the Tigris than a cloud of dust arose on the
plain. The Romans, who now aspired only to the permission of a
safe and speedy retreat, endeavored to persuade themselves, that
this formidable appearance was occasioned by a troop of wild
asses, or perhaps by the approach of some friendly Arabs. They
halted, pitched their tents, fortified their camp, passed the
whole night in continual alarms; and discovered at the dawn of
day, that they were surrounded by an army of Persians. This
army, which might be considered only as the van of the
Barbarians, was soon followed by the main body of cuirassiers,
archers, and elephants, commanded by Meranes, a general of rank
and reputation. He was accompanied by two of the king's sons,
and many of the principal satraps; and fame and expectation
exaggerated the strength of the remaining powers, which slowly
advanced under the conduct of Sapor himself. As the Romans
continued their march, their long array, which was forced to bend
or divide, according to the varieties of the ground, afforded
frequent and favorable opportunities to their vigilant enemies.
The Persians repeatedly charged with fury; they were repeatedly
repulsed with firmness; and the action at Maronga, which almost
deserved the name of a battle, was marked by a considerable loss
of satraps and elephants, perhaps of equal value in the eyes of
their monarch. These splendid advantages were not obtained
without an adequate slaughter on the side of the Romans: several
officers of distinction were either killed or wounded; and the
emperor himself, who, on all occasions of danger, inspired and
guided the valor of his troops, was obliged to expose his person,
and exert his abilities. The weight of offensive and defensive
arms, which still constituted the strength and safety of the
Romans, disabled them from making any long or effectual pursuit;
and as the horsemen of the East were trained to dart their
javelins, and shoot their arrows, at full speed, and in every
possible direction, ^88 the cavalry of Persia was never more
formidable than in the moment of a rapid and disorderly flight.
But the most certain and irreparable loss of the Romans was that
of time. The hardy veterans, accustomed to the cold climate of
Gaul and Germany, fainted under the sultry heat of an Assyrian
summer; their vigor was exhausted by the incessant repetition of
march and combat; and the progress of the army was suspended by
the precautions of a slow and dangerous retreat, in the presence
of an active enemy. Every day, every hour, as the supply
diminished, the value and price of subsistence increased in the
Roman camp. ^89 Julian, who always contented himself with such
food as a hungry soldier would have disdained, distributed, for
the use of the troops, the provisions of the Imperial household,
and whatever could be spared, from the sumpter-horses, of the
tribunes and generals. But this feeble relief served only to
aggravate the sense of the public distress; and the Romans began
to entertain the most gloomy apprehensions that, before they
could reach the frontiers of the empire, they should all perish,
either by famine, or by the sword of the Barbarians. ^90

[Footnote 88: Chardin, the most judicious of modern travellers,
describes (tom. ii. p. 57, 58, &c., edit. in 4to.) the education
and dexterity of the Persian horsemen. Brissonius (de Regno
Persico, p. 650 651, &c.,) has collected the testimonies of

[Footnote 89: In Mark Antony's retreat, an attic choenix sold for
fifty drachmae, or, in other words, a pound of flour for twelve
or fourteen shillings barley bread was sold for its weight in
silver. It is impossible to peruse the interesting narrative of
Plutarch, (tom. v. p. 102-116,) without perceiving that Mark
Antony and Julian were pursued by the same enemies, and involved
in the same distress.]

[Footnote 90: Ammian. xxiv. 8, xxv. 1. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 184,
185, 186. Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 134, 135, p. 357, 358, 359.
The sophist of Antioch appears ignorant that the troops were

While Julian struggled with the almost insuperable
difficulties of his situation, the silent hours of the night were
still devoted to study and contemplation. Whenever he closed his
eyes in short and interrupted slumbers, his mind was agitated
with painful anxiety; nor can it be thought surprising, that the
Genius of the empire should once more appear before him, covering
with a funeral veil his head, and his horn of abundance, and
slowly retiring from the Imperial tent. The monarch started from
his couch, and stepping forth to refresh his wearied spirits with
the coolness of the midnight air, he beheld a fiery meteor, which
shot athwart the sky, and suddenly vanished. Julian was convinced
that he had seen the menacing countenance of the god of war; ^91
the council which he summoned, of Tuscan Haruspices, ^92
unanimously pronounced that he should abstain from action; but on
this occasion, necessity and reason were more prevalent than
superstition; and the trumpets sounded at the break of day. The
army marched through a hilly country; and the hills had been
secretly occupied by the Persians. Julian led the van with the
skill and attention of a consummate general; he was alarmed by
the intelligence that his rear was suddenly attacked. The heat
of the weather had tempted him to lay aside his cuirass; but he
snatched a shield from one of his attendants, and hastened, with
a sufficient reenforcement, to the relief of the rear-guard. A
similar danger recalled the intrepid prince to the defence of the
front; and, as he galloped through the columns, the centre of the
left was attacked, and almost overpowered by the furious charge
of the Persian cavalry and elephants. This huge body was soon
defeated, by the well-timed evolution of the light infantry, who
aimed their weapons, with dexterity and effect, against the backs
of the horsemen, and the legs of the elephants. The Barbarians
fled; and Julian, who was foremost in every danger, animated the
pursuit with his voice and gestures. His trembling guards,
scattered and oppressed by the disorderly throng of friends and
enemies, reminded their fearless sovereign that he was without
armor; and conjured him to decline the fall of the impending
ruin. As they exclaimed, ^93 a cloud of darts and arrows was
discharged from the flying squadrons; and a javelin, after razing
the skin of his arm, transpierced the ribs, and fixed in the
inferior part of the liver. Julian attempted to draw the deadly
weapon from his side; but his fingers were cut by the sharpness
of the steel, and he fell senseless from his horse. His guards
flew to his relief; and the wounded emperor was gently raised
from the ground, and conveyed out of the tumult of the battle
into an adjacent tent. The report of the melancholy event passed
from rank to rank; but the grief of the Romans inspired them with
invincible valor, and the desire of revenge. The bloody and
obstinate conflict was maintained by the two armies, till they
were separated by the total darkness of the night. The Persians
derived some honor from the advantage which they obtained against
the left wing, where Anatolius, master of the offices, was slain,
and the praefect Sallust very narrowly escaped. But the event of
the day was adverse to the Barbarians. They abandoned the field;
their two generals, Meranes and Nohordates, ^94 fifty nobles or
satraps, and a multitude of their bravest soldiers; and the
success of the Romans, if Julian had survived, might have been
improved into a decisive and useful victory.

[Footnote 91: Ammian. xxv. 2. Julian had sworn in a passion,
nunquam se Marti sacra facturum, (xxiv. 6.) Such whimsical
quarrels were not uncommon between the gods and their insolent
votaries; and even the prudent Augustus, after his fleet had been
twice shipwrecked, excluded Neptune from the honors of public
processions. See Hume's Philosophical Reflections. Essays, vol.
ii. p. 418.]
[Footnote 92: They still retained the monopoly of the vain but
lucrative science, which had been invented in Hetruria; and
professed to derive their knowledge of signs and omens from the
ancient books of Tarquitius, a Tuscan sage.]

[Footnote 93: Clambant hinc inde candidati (see the note of
Valesius) quos terror, ut fugientium molem tanquam ruinam male
compositi culminis declinaret. Ammian. xxv 3.]

[Footnote 94: Sapor himself declared to the Romans, that it was
his practice to comfort the families of his deceased satraps, by
sending them, as a present, the heads of the guards and officers
who had not fallen by their master's side. Libanius, de nece
Julian. ulcis. c. xiii. p. 163.]
The first words that Julian uttered, after his recovery from
the fainting fit into which he had been thrown by loss of blood,
were expressive of his martial spirit. He called for his horse
and arms, and was impatient to rush into the battle. His
remaining strength was exhausted by the painful effort; and the
surgeons, who examined his wound, discovered the symptoms of
approaching death. He employed the awful moments with the firm
temper of a hero and a sage; the philosophers who had accompanied
him in this fatal expedition, compared the tent of Julian with
the prison of Socrates; and the spectators, whom duty, or
friendship, or curiosity, had assembled round his couch, listened
with respectful grief to the funeral oration of their dying
emperor. ^95 "Friends and fellow- soldiers, the seasonable period
of my departure is now arrived, and I discharge, with the
cheerfulness of a ready debtor, the demands of nature. I have
learned from philosophy, how much the soul is more excellent than
the body; and that the separation of the nobler substance should
be the subject of joy, rather than of affliction. I have learned
from religion, that an early death has often been the reward of
piety; ^96 and I accept, as a favor of the gods, the mortal
stroke that secures me from the danger of disgracing a character,
which has hitherto been supported by virtue and fortitude. I die
without remorse, as I have lived without guilt. I am pleased to
reflect on the innocence of my private life; and I can affirm
with confidence, that the supreme authority, that emanation of
the Divine Power, has been preserved in my hands pure and
immaculate. Detesting the corrupt and destructive maxims of
despotism, I have considered the happiness of the people as the
end of government. Submitting my actions to the laws of
prudence, of justice, and of moderation, I have trusted the event
to the care of Providence. Peace was the object of my counsels,
as long as peace was consistent with the public welfare; but when
the imperious voice of my country summoned me to arms, I exposed
my person to the dangers of war, with the clear foreknowledge
(which I had acquired from the art of divination) that I was
destined to fall by the sword. I now offer my tribute of
gratitude to the Eternal Being, who has not suffered me to perish
by the cruelty of a tyrant, by the secret dagger of conspiracy,
or by the slow tortures of lingering disease. He has given me,
in the midst of an honorable career, a splendid and glorious
departure from this world; and I hold it equally absurd, equally
base, to solicit, or to decline, the stroke of fate. This much I
have attempted to say; but my strength fails me, and I feel the
approach of death. I shall cautiously refrain from any word that
may tend to influence your suffrages in the election of an
emperor. My choice might be imprudent or injudicious; and if it
should not be ratified by the consent of the army, it might be
fatal to the person whom I should recommend. I shall only, as a
good citizen, express my hopes, that the Romans may be blessed
with the government of a virtuous sovereign." After this
discourse, which Julian pronounced in a firm and gentle tone of
voice, he distributed, by a military testament, ^97 the remains
of his private fortune; and making some inquiry why Anatolius was
not present, he understood, from the answer of Sallust, that
Anatolius was killed; and bewailed, with amiable inconsistency,
the loss of his friend. At the same time he reproved the
immoderate grief of the spectators; and conjured them not to
disgrace, by unmanly tears, the fate of a prince, who in a few
moments would be united with heaven, and with the stars. ^98 The
spectators were silent; and Julian entered into a metaphysical
argument with the philosophers Priscus and Maximus, on the nature
of the soul. The efforts which he made, of mind as well as body,
most probably hastened his death. His wound began to bleed with
fresh violence; his respiration was embarrassed by the swelling
of the veins; he called for a draught of cold water, and, as soon
as he had drank it, expired without pain, about the hour of
midnight. Such was the end of that extraordinary man, in the
thirty-second year of his age, after a reign of one year and
about eight months, from the death of Constantius. In his last
moments he displayed, perhaps with some ostentation, the love of
virtue and of fame, which had been the ruling passions of his
life. ^99

[Footnote 95: The character and situation of Julian might
countenance the suspicion that he had previously composed the
elaborate oration, which Ammianus heard, and has transcribed.
The version of the Abbe de la Bleterie is faithful and elegant.
I have followed him in expressing the Platonic idea of
emanations, which is darkly insinuated in the original.]
[Footnote 96: Herodotus (l. i. c. 31,) has displayed that
doctrine in an agreeable tale. Yet the Jupiter, (in the 16th
book of the Iliad,) who laments with tears of blood the death of
Sarpedon his son, had a very imperfect notion of happiness or
glory beyond the grave.]

[Footnote 97: The soldiers who made their verbal or nuncupatory
testaments, upon actual service, (in procinctu,) were exempted
from the formalities of the Roman law. See Heineccius,
(Antiquit. Jur. Roman. tom. i. p. 504,) and Montesquieu, (Esprit
des Loix, l. xxvii.)]

[Footnote 98: This union of the human soul with the divine
aethereal substance of the universe, is the ancient doctrine of
Pythagoras and Plato: but it seems to exclude any personal or
conscious immortality. See Warburton's learned and rational
observations. Divine Legation, vol ii. p. 199-216.]
[Footnote 99: The whole relation of the death of Julian is given
by Ammianus, (xxv. 3,) an intelligent spectator. Libanius, who
turns with horror from the scene, has supplied some
circumstances, (Orat. Parental. c 136-140, p. 359-362.) The
calumnies of Gregory, and the legends of more recent saints, may
now be silently despised.

Note: A very remarkable fragment of Eunapius describes, not
without spirit, the struggle between the terror of the army on
account of their perilous situation, and their grief for the
death of Julian. "Even the vulgar felt that they would soon
provide a general, but such a general as Julian they would never
find, even though a god in the form of man - Julian, who, with a


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