Sei sulla pagina 1di 101


Yl, 8
ClP-Kurztitelaufnabne der Deatscbex Bibliotbek
1975 by I(altcr dc Gruyter Ec Co., vormals G. t.
Gsdren's&c. Verlagshandlung ' J.
Guttentag, Vetlags'
Georg Rcimer Karl J. Trbncr
Veit Ec Comp., Bcrlin 30, Genthincr Stra8e 13'
Printcd in GermanY
Alle Redrte, insbesonderc das der bersetzung in fremde Spradren, vorbchalten. Ohnc ausdr&lidre Gc'
nehmigung des verlages ist cs audr nidrt gestattct, diescs Budr oder Tcilc deraus auf photomedranisdlem
lfcge (Photokopic, Mikrokopie' XcroLopie) zu venielfltigen'
Satz und Dru&: Valtcr Piepcr, Vrzburg
Einbmd: Lderitz & Baucr, Berlin
The histories / transl. with an inttod. and
short explanatory notes by JosephD.Flendo.
(C.orpus fontium historiae Byzantinae; Vol.
2 A: Ser. Berolinensis)
Einheitssadrt.: Historiae (engl.).
ISBN 3-11-003357-7
The present trnslation olves a very special debt to Professor Rudolf
Iftydell. In the first place, it could hardly have come into being in its present
form but for the prior existence of his critical'edition of the Greek texr on
yhicl my o'/n labours have been based. But more particularly I should lilce
to exptess my gratitude for the patience and kindness he has shown in rea-
*y /ork through and suggesting many valuable improvements and cor-
ttctions, from whid: both it and I have benefited greatly. I should like also
h take this opportunity of thanking Professor
P. Fogarty of University
College, Cork for having kindly consented to read the proofs and for help
1lrd encouragement freely and generously given at all times. For such faults
aB remain f must, of course, take full responsibiliry.
Cork, May, 1975
Most of the information we possess concerning the life of Agathias
derives from his own writings. The following is a bare outline of the main
facts which emerge from a consideration of the explicit and implicit auto-
biographical data contained in these writings.
Agathias was a native of Myrina in Asia Minor. His date of birth cannot
be determined exactly but may be placed somewhere around the year 532
A. D. His father, Memnonius, was a "rhetor"
a title whidr may imply, as
has been suggested,2 that he was a provincial lawyer in Myrina. His mother,
Pericleia, died in Constantinople when he was only three years of age. It
was probably in Constantinople too that Agathias'boyhood days were spenr.
He received an expensive education, studying rhetoric in Alexandria and law
in Constantinople. Once qualified he practised as a lawyer in the capital
where, from all accounts, he had to work hard in order to make a living. The
date of his death is as uncertain as that of his birth. trr musr have occutred
some time after the death of Chosroes in 579 (the last datable evenr menrio-
ned in the Histories) and before the accession of the Emperor Maurice in
582 in view of the apparent ignorance of this latrer evenr berayed by
Agathias when he refers to the future Emperor simply as "Maurice the son
of Paul"
On this red<oning, then, it will be seen tht he was 33 years old
died n 565 and that he lived through the reign of
and a part of that of Tiberius I Constantine.
Agathias' literary activity is marked in its first and youthful phase by the
production of " a number of short pieces in hexameters entitled
adorned with certain amoroLrs motifs and replete with similary endranting
The Daphniaca have.not come down to us. They were probably
cornpleted before their author had reac}ed the age of thirty.
To an inter-
me.liate period belongs his work of compiling a collection of epigrams by
ontemporary poets, generally known as the Cycle,6 to which Agathias him-
self contributed apptoximately one hundred poems. This anthology ws
published early on in the reign of
II, probably in 567.7
I For a detailed and comprehensive reatment the readet must consult Averil Carneron
Agathias (Gxford 1970), pages 1-11.
By N{rs. Cameron: op. cit. p.4.
Histories IV,29,8.
4 Ptef.ace,l.
cf. lrs. Cameron: Op. cit. p. 9.
6 Much of it has been preserved and is to be found in the Greek Anthology.
z d. Ivlrs. Cameron: ibid.
For the work of fiin mrrtttrlty, tfte Illrtorier, Agatlrlnr wnr cquippccl
neither by noturrrt inclinntion nor by personnl exlrericncc,
llis life lrrrd, it
seems, been an uneventful one nrrd the oppressive picttrre of routine dullncss
and unremitting toil conjured up by his portfaygl of the busy working lifc
of a lawyer in the capital
is but slightly relieved by the recollection of a few
m.-orrtl. occasions
the experience of mild eafth-tremors during his
student days in Alexandria,
a landing at Cos shortly after its destruction
by a tidal wave and the awful scene of devastation that confronted him
there,11 a visit to Tralles.
Certainly his friend and fellorv poet Paul the
Silentiary was a man of wealth and influence who moved in court circles, but
it seems that the range of Agathias' acquaintance was confined to a narrow
coterie of poets and literati and there is nothing to suggest that he came into
direct coniact with any of the importnt political and military figures of his
day, Moreover the lad< of ofiicial patronage of whi& he complains so bitterly
prvides a further indication that he always remained something of an out-
iider.,, Agathias must have begun the writing of his Histories some time
after the accession of
II. He was still rriting in the reigrr of Tiberius
and it clear from IV, 22
and V
,25 ,
5 . that he did not live to finish them.
The five books that he has left us cover a period of seven years (4. D. 552-9)'
Despite their author's obvious failings as a historian
and the stiffness
and afiectation that not infrequently mar his style,
the Histories ate a
detailed and important source and are not altogether devoid of literary merit.
Indeed the impassioned rhetoric of hiS.speedres and the by no means negli-
gible though smewhrt uneven quality of his narrative suggest that, had he
lived in
Jiff.."nt age, Agathias might have aclieved his tme fulfilment as a
historical novelist. In the way he handles a theme, for instance, of pfesents
a series of events he sometimes shows a sense of dramatic fitness and an
ezrgerness to impose a pleasing pattern on the mind of the reader whidr
wuld belong better to a work of romantic fiction than to a piece of sober
histodcal writing. The story of Chaeremon of Tralles is a case in point.16
s He himself claims at he turned to the writing of history partly in response to his
friends' encouragement
(Preface, lL-|2) and confesses that he found the plo6pect
a.-tirrg but tk comfott in the thought that history and poetry had mudr in
e Histories III, I,4.
10 Histories II, 15, 5-8.
Histories II , L6,4-6.
Histories I1,L7,6.
lr cf.
LS-ZO. An unmistakeable note of personal bittemess is strud< in Histories
v 20,7.
1+ For recent and very full discussion of the subject cf. Mrs. Cameron: op. cit. pp.
Cf. Ibid. pp. 57--{8.
Histories II, 17, 1-8.
Inscrintional eviclence would sppeer to indicote thnt charemon \r,as a mn
;il;;i.;;irr. *"rr,tr on.t ro.irt disti'ction.t7 In Agathias' version he be'
cert0in rustic named chreremon, a tiller of the soil", an alteration
vhich ccrtninly produces morc atffactive story'
The present iranslation has the advantage over all previogs ones of being
the iri io be based on the Greek text o[ Professor Keydell's edition'
;;; fu* the further merit of being the first complete English translation of
the Histories ever to
Though earlier translations into other langua-
g"r h"u. been carefuliy consulted, this.version was, in the first_instance,
them and with reference solely to the Greek
ffanslating an ancient author ccuracy is in the main adrieved by
.o*.io,r, and ojective means
attention to detail and diligent and dis-
."*-* ,pptication of the apparatus of sdrolarship' But the final form in
r..derig is cast is determined by a more intangible
or*.r" which is largely instinciive and idiosyncratic' I now propose to give
;ti"f ,..";t
h""w I have'tried to tad<le the more obvious obstacles to
;;;i;ti,"" that Agathias presents. For mv own styls I
no apology'
irfiil i; ;.
ti^t i.,
of vocabulary and
I have..sought to
steef a middle course between the extremes of ardraism and colloquialism
,iJ-,fr* I have not hesitated to allow myself whatever freedom in trans-
lation seemed necessafy in order to meet ihe fundamental requirements of
clarity and intelligibilitY.
7ith regard to proper names,2l wherev-er there was an acceptable form
;iid, ws nt simply an unmodified transliteration of the Helleni-
,.Juio" of the word given by Agathias, such an alternative form has been
fr*fy ,a.p,ed
particulay if ii represented a closer approximation to the
some Non-cotonial coloni of Augustus (in-Transactions and
lhe Ametican Philological Association66,l9)5 Pp'20-22)'
18 Of course one cnnot be absolutely slue tht Broughton's identifications. are cofrect,
nor is there ny wy of knowing how garbled Agathias'original /as, but-the treatmeEt
r-;; to'pro.ria. a good"illusttion of his
.approadr. As regards-the gengral
,ir*rr.rr of hi,
it is interesting to note tht, accotding to DI. R_'C. McCail'
q""t" or . . 551 and the Birth-date of Agathias. G-reek, Roman and
uol. no. ) 1967 pages 246-7), aesthetic considerations have led
Agthias to take certain liberties with his chronology'
rs Alathiae Mvrinaei Historiarum Libri Quinque.
Recensuit Rudolfus Keydell' Pub-
titrea bv \0alter De Gmyter & Co. Berlin 1967'
20 From this point onwrrd, all mention of earlier ffanslations must be understood as
pii".ipally to ihe Latin vetsion of Vulcanius and the 17th century Ftendr
ti*rf"tlori of . C-ousin. Ignorance of Russian has prevented. me from making any
l,f.V.Levcenko's tr'nslation
(Moscow-Leningra 19) and none of my re-
marks must be construed as having any reference to it'
21 Othet than Greek, that is.
original name or made possible some useful distinctionl thus
not "Uligangus", "Ahuramazda" fot the god and
foi thi man
rather than "Hormisdates" used indiscriminately for both, et cetera.22
A more complicated issue is raised by Agathias' frequent recourse to
cumbersome and unnatural paraphrases in order to avoid using the normal
everyday word and thus sullying the arclaizing purity of hisltyre by the
adoption of a barbarous neologism.
(/herever iudr a circumlocution can
le-replaced by a single English word without loss of meaning or emphasis,
I have done so. Thus I have had no qualms about translatiirg "dome', in
v,9,30 rather than employing the absurd paraphrase "the ciicle or hemi-
sphere, or what have you, which projects in the middle". on the other hand,
even though it is partly love of archaism which leads Agathias to call the
inhabitants of Lazica by their ancient name of "colchians", the word does
seem to have emotive overtones and so has generally been retained.
Despite the invaluable help afiorded b],
Keydell,s Index.
Graecitatis the would-be translator of Agathias does still oicasionally run
into the odd unsolved linguistic difiiculty and will turn in vain ro earlier
translations for enlightenment. rn suc.h cases I have done my best, but I do
not claim to have always found the right answer. The type of difiiculty I
have in mind is well illustrated by the following quotationi
"torou novru .x, rdtv flgoxonlor 6yrov groro v r.oyvo[r1;,
fetuep re rv Bqvlov zol Koplq6v, tfir, n6i,rv xoi r{v
t' "Aqgror, r Bovrqorlou re z,oi le(eql1ou zoi tfl v tp 16.r
&noorrosur( no}"o {lorepor, ypvot 'rouorlvLsv6
ou?,<rl8eToov noi nd,rv
di_'Pcopolrrrv nrzgarelo pQo
(: Preface, 24,2_5) vhich
Vulcanius translates as follows:
"Haec omnia e Procopii scriptis optime cognoveris et Gelimer vandalum,
carthaginemque urbem atque universam Afrorum regionem
gatum, rursumque Romani imperii partem factam, post multos annos quam,
Bonifacii Gesericique aetate, inde avulsa fuerat".
Now the words "inde avulsa fuerat" are nowhere to be found in the
original and have been produced with the same improbable sleight-of-hand
with rvhich one might expecr a coniuror to produce a rabbit from a hat.
Everything falls into place, horvever, the moment one realizes that n and
tloregov go together ancl that 6orepor, * &16 means the same thing as the
Modern Greek toreos &n6 i. e.
aftef .
Finallv, it is hard rvhen translating a work as long as the Histories, ne,er misled through momentrarv inattention into omitting, distorting or
simplv misunderstancling even s,hat is perfectlv obvious an.l straishifor-
I hnve enclenvourecl
involuntnry ulips on the port
ony new ones of my own.
Introductlon XIII
at all timcs, therefore, to correct all sudr
of my predecessors and to avoid introducing
on the other hand r have retained the well-know name
in preference
to the mote cortect but less familiar form ."Mihr-Mihroe".
cf. Mrs. Cameron; op. cit. C. VIII "Classicisrn and Affectation" pages 77-BB.
e,g. in connection with the phrase "rp axo?,on trvo" (IV,23,3) we find the
words "scopulo' in the Latin and 'rocher" in the Frendr translation! Numbers seem
especially liable to mistranslation, which is unfottunate in view of the notorius un-
reliability even of some of the actaal figures given by ancient authorities. I have made
a special e{ort, therefore, to get my figures right and hope that I have succeeded in
doing so.
L62 Agatlrlll Thc l.lhtorler
The scattered rernnanr of these l:Iunnic tribes han in foct bccn rcducecl to
servitude in the lands of other peoples whose nnmes thcy have assumedl so
severe has been the penalty which they have paid for their earlier misdceeh.
But the complete annihilation of these two peoples occurred at a later dore,
so that I shall do my best to preserve a sffict drronological order and prcvitle
a detailed account of this evenr in its proper place.
6 7hen the dissension between the cotrigurs and the utigurs ws still
at its height the news of what had happened reached constantinople and thc
wisdom and foresight of the Emperor was clearly and ampiy demonstratccl
to all. The barbarians ui"ere destroying one another whilst he withotrr
resorting to rms was, thanks to his brilliant diplomacy, the ultimate victor
and was bound to protit wharever rhe outcome of the fighting. And sr
since they were continually embroiled in internal troubles they no longcl
had any idea of attacking the domain of the Romans, indeed they sank into
an almost total obscurity.
The following Index is based on Keydell's Index Nominum. Reference
is to the book, paragraph and section numbers of the Greek text
though only approximate at times, is never more t-han a few words out.
Abasgi: I1I,2,7.
Abydus: Y,12,4.
Adriatic: II,l,5.
1. Mythical king of Colchis III,5, 4.
2. Prominent Lazian III,8,7; III, 11;
III,11,7; l\I,1.2.
Aegean: II,16.
Aemilia: (Emilia) ,LL,3; I,1"4; I,75,
7; II,3,2.
Aeneas:'[., I0,2; II,27,7.
Aenus: V,22,
Aeolians: Preface L4; I1,L7,9.
Arica (Libya): Preface 14,25; Y,1),8;
Agatrhias: Preface, 14.
Ahuramazda: II,24,9.
Ahriman: I,7, 5; II,24,9-lO.
Alamanni: I,4; I,6,2;1,6,3; I,6,4; I,
I,7,9; l,Ll,2; IT-,1,7; II,6,7;
II,6,9; II,9,L2.
Alamannicus: I,4,3.
Alans: III, 15, 9; IY,9.
L. Alexander T'he Great: II,25,8; IY,
2, Als<ander the son of Mamaea
Severus Alexander: II,26; LY,24.
3. Alexander of Tralles: V,6,5,
Alexander Polyhistor: II, 25, 5; lI, 25, 9.
Alexandria: Il, 15, 5i II, 16, 4; V, 1r, 8.
Aligem: I,8,6; I, 9,2; I,9,4; I,20; l,
Amalasuntha: Preface 30; I,5, 8.
Amida: Prcface23.
Anahita: II,24,8.
Anastasius: Pref.ace 23; IT, 27 ,7 .
TY,26,34; IV,
II,27; II,27,4;
II,29; Y,6.
TI,L8,3; IY,21;
i. e. as reproduced in the present translation.
Inden o{ prcpet nr
Aruth: I, 20,8.
Arzanene: IV,29,8,
Asia: Pteface L4; Prelace26; I,2,2; Il,
LO,2; lI,L7; II,17,9; II,18,5; II,
25,4; Y,tl,2; Y,12,4.
Assyrians: II, 1"8,5; I1,23,9; TI'24,2;
lI, 24, 8; II,25, 4; II, 25, 5.
Astyages: II,25,6,
Ate: I,7,5.
Athanasius: lll,14, 4; III,t4, 5; IV,
7,2; IY,tl.
Athenians: II, 10,3; II, 10,5.
Athenocles: 1I,24,8.
Athyras: V,t4,5.
Attica: II, 10,2.
Augustus: Tl,t7
Avars: 1,3,4.
Babas: III,18,10.
Babylon, Babylonians: 1I,23,70; II,
24,8; 11,25,5.
Bacchus: V,23,8.
Balmach: III, 17, r.
Barazes: IV,13,34.
Basileios Stoa: TI,29,2; III, 1,4.
Basi-liscus: IY,29,2.
Bederiana: Y,2L,2.
Beirut: II, 15,2; II, 15, 4.
Bel: 1I,24,8.
Beleus: II,25,5.
Belesys: 1I,25,5.
Belisarius: Preface )0; Y,t5,7; Y,16,);
Y,16,7; V, 19; V, 19,2-1;Y,19,6-10;
Y,20,1-4; V,20,8,
Beroea: Prcface27.
Berossus: II,24,8.
Bessas: II, 18,8; II,20,5; III,2,)-7.
Bion: I,25,5.
Bitgors: 1I,11,3.
Bladrernae: V, 14,8,
Boniface: Preface,24,
Bonus: I,19.
Bosporus: V, 14,8.
Bruttium: II, 1,4.
Budrlous: III,15,9.
Burgundians: I,3,3-5.
Burugundi: Y,17,34.
Butilinus: I,6,2; I,7,8; T,Ll,2; I,
L4,5; lI,t,4; Tl,L,7l; 1I,2,2; l,
4; II,5,2; II,8,7; I1,9,11; II,10,8.
Buzes: II, 18,8; III,2,8; III,3,8; III,
4,7i III,6,4*8i III' 7, l0; III, 20,8;
IV, T',2.
Cadusia: 11,27 ,2,
Caesarea: Ptef.ace 22.
Caesena: I,20,9.
Calabria: II,L,5.
Callipolis: Y,12,).
l.Cambyses the father of CYrus: II,
2. Cambyses the son of CYrus: II,
Campania: II, 1,4; II,4; II,4,4.
Campsae: II, b; Il, 14, 6.
Cantabri-Cantabria: II, 17, 3; II, 17,7.
Cappadocia: IV,24,).
Capua: 1I,4,4; II,10,8.
Carduchian Hills: IY'29,7.
Carthage: Pteface 24..
Casulinus: II,4,4-5; II, 10,8.
Catharus: III,7,8.
Caucasus: II,L8,4; II,21, 10, III,8,5;
III, 15,9; IV, 1, 8; IY,6,2; IY,9.
Ceneta; II,3,3.
Centumcellae: I, 11; I, 11,6.
Chadus: III,16.
Chaerernon: II, 17, 2; lI, 17,7-8,
Chaldaeans: TI,8,9; II,25,2.
Chanaranges: II,6,4.
Chettus: V, 16.
Childebert: I,),2; 1,5; II, 14,8-11.
Chlodomer: I, ),2; l,),3; , ),5;1,3,6.
Chlodwig (Clovis): I,3,2.
Chlota.t: 1,3,2; 1,5; II, 14,8-11.
Chobus: III,3,9.
Chorianes: Preface29.
Chosroes: Preiace24,27; II, 18,6; II,26;
II,27,9; II,28: II,29,9; lI,3L,4;
II, )2; 1I, 32, 2; lI, )2' 5; l, L; III'
2; IY,6,2; lY,2),3; IY,29,5; IY,
29,9; lY, )0, 4; I, 30,7.
Chytropolia: lI, 20, 5
II, 2L, 2; ll, 22.
Ciberis: \1,12,2.
Cilicia: LY,24,3.
Classis: 1,20,5.
Conon: LY,29,2,
Constantinople: Pteface, 26; bid.30; l,
4; II,L4,7; II,15; ll,16'4; III,3;
III,14,3; I[,L5,2; III,15,7; III'
2),5; IY,l,2i IY,1,8; IV,5,7-8;
IV, 9, 10; IY,2l,4; IV, 30, 8; V, 3;
Iadrr d ptopr nnr t6,
V,6,6-7t V, 10,2i V, 12, !; V, 14i V,
14,6i \,25,6,
Coet II,16,
Cotalsr II, 19; II, 22,3i IlI,6,)i llI,7i
III,28,6; IV, 15,4.
Cotrigurs: V, 11,2; V, 11,6; Y,72,7;
V, 17; V,24,)i ,25.
Cronosr I1,24,8;
Ctesias of Cnidos: 1I,25,5.
Ctesiphon: I1{,29,L0.
Cumae: L,8,2; I, LL, 5; I,20; I,20,6-9.
Cutilzis: III, L7
1, Cyrus the son of Cambyses: II,
25, 6; II, 26, 4; IY, 29, 6.
2.Cytus the son of Florus and lather
of Paul the Silentiary: Y,9,7.
Dabragezas: III,6,9; III,7,2; III,
2L,6-8; IV, 18; IV, 18,3.
Damascius: II,30, 3.
Danube: Preface 26; I,79; \Y,22,7; Y,
11,5; Y,25,2.
Daphniaca: Prctace7.
L. Darius the son of Hystaspes: I,
2,2; II,L0,2; II,24,6; II,26,4;
2. Darius the father of Attxerxes: II,
)a d,
rt t'
J. Darius the son of Arsames: II,
Datis: II,70,2.
Athenian General: II, 10,5.
2. Athenian Orator and Statesman:
Dercetades: II,25,4.
Dlimnites: III,17,7; II,18; III, 18,
5-11; III, 22,5; III,26,24; III,28,
6-:7; IY, t3,8.
Diodorus Siculus: II, 18,5; 11,25,5.
Dogenes of Phoenicia: II,30,3.
Dionysiaca: IV,23,5,
Dioscorus of Tralles: Y,6,5.
Doconos: II,2L,LO.
Don: V,11,2.
Dorotheus: Y,21,2.
Edessa: Pref.ace,27.
Egypt: II,t5,9; II,15,11; II,25,L0;
Bgypthnl II, lE, li V,10,r,
Eloee, Gulf of: Preface, 14.
Elmlngclr: IlI,2l,6,
Elminzur: IV, 15; IV, 15,2.
Enyo: I,7,5.
Ephtlralites: lY, 27, 4; lY, 28, 3.
Epidamnus: I,77,).
Eris: I,'1,5.
Ethiopians: Prelace2T.
Eulamius of Phrygia: II,30,3.
Eutope: Prcface1,4; Ibid.26; II, 10,2;
Eustratius: II, 1,5,7.
Eutydrianus: Preface 1.1.
Euxine: II,2A,7; III, 19, 9; III,21,,2;
Y,L,2; Y,3,2; V, 11,3; V, 14,8.
Fanum: II,2,4; II,3.
Faventia: I, 15,8; I,17; I,L7,5.
Filimuth: I,7L,3.
Florentia (Elorence): I, 11; I, 11,6.
Florus: Y,9,7,
Franks: I,1,,7; I,2; I,2,3; I,3; I,3,
5; ,5; I,6,4; I,7; I,7,2; I,7,9;
I, lL,2; I, 1,2,2; I,L4, 4-4; I, L5, 6;
I,17,4; I,18,5; I,19,2; 1,20; I,
20,2; I,20,9-ll; I,21,4; I,22,2;
II,l,6; II,3; II,5,3-6i 1T,5,8-9;
II,6,3; I1,6,5--7; II,7; II, 9,4 II,9,
9-12; 1I,10; II,10,8; II,11,4; II,
72,5-7; II,13; II, L4,8; II,14,1l.
Fritigern: Preface3L; I,20.
Fulcaris: I, 1L, 3; I,14, 3; ,74,6; T,L5;
\15,5; I, 15, 10; I,t6,6.
Gaiseric: Ptef.ace, 24.
Ganges: II,25,4.
Gaul: I,2.
Gemer: Ptef.ace,24.
Gepids: I,4,2.
Gerrnans: T,2; I,5,5; I,6,3,
1. Germanus the father of Justin
II, 18,8; III,17,4; III,20,9; III,
24,7; I1I,25,8; IY,L51' IY,21.
2. Germanus the son of Dorotheus:
Y, 2L, 2; Y, 22, 3; Y,23, 3.
Getae: Preface, l.
Gibrus: III,20, 10.
Golden Horn: V, 14,8.
Goths: Preface J0; Ibid. 31; I,l;1, L, 7
I,3; I,),3; T.,5;
\5,2-4; I,6,4-6;
Indqx'd proper nrmcl
I,7,8; I,8; I,8, 4-6; I,9,5;
I, 10,9; I,15,7-9; I,20; I, 20,2-4i l,
10,9; I,75,7-9, I,20; I,2A,24;1.,
20,1.0; II,2,2; Il,9,13; II,12,2; l,
73; II, L3,2-4; II, 14, 6-7; V, 15, 8.
Gteece: 11,L0,2; Y,Ll,l; V,,6-7,
Greek Language: II,2O,5; IV,2; IV,
Greek Literature: II,28.
Greeks: I,7,4; II,10,4; II,23,10; II,
Gubazes: II, 18,6; IIl,2,3; III,2,8-11;
III,3; III,3,8-9; III.4; IIT,4,2:
IlI,4,5-6; III,9,3; III, 10,8; III,
11,8; III,12,6; III,L3,5; III,L4,
2-3; IY,1; IV, 1, 4; IY,2,3-5; TY,5,
7-9; lY,6,3; IY,8,3-4; IV,8,6; IV,
9,5; IY,10,34; IV, 11; IV,21.
Guntarith: Preface,25.
Gylippus: II, 10,5.
Iberia: II,22,\ III,2,6; \1I,6,2; IJI,
12,L3; III,19,5; l[,28, 10; IV,9;
TY,12,2; IY,13,5; IY,L5,4; LY,23,
Iberians: TI,21.,7.
Iliger: TII,L7,5,
rI, 18,5.
TY,2L,5; IY,22.
Kavad: Preface23,24; IV,27,6-7; IY,
28; TY, 28, 3-8; lY
29, 5; IV
30, 5.
Kerman: [V,26,2.
Kclrnanrhehl IV,26,
Ihdrx s,
I,77; ,17,6;
Mrxentlur: IV, 13,2; IV, 14; IV, 14, !.
Mclrntlar: V, 14,5; V,20,r,
Medesr I,21,9-L0; 11,24,8i II,25,
Memnonius: Pteface 14.
Mermeroes: Pref.ace29; II, 19; II, 19,5;
II,20; 11,20,3; I,,2L,4; II,22; II,
22, 6; II, 21, 9 ;
III, 2; IIT, 2, 6i IY, L5.
Mesdritha: II,22,5.
Mestrianus: III, L4, 5.
Metrodorus: V,6,4-5,
Miliades: II, 10,3.
Misimians: III, 15,8; III, 16; IlI,L6,5;
III,Ll,3; IY,12,2; IV, IJ; IV, LJ,
5-6; IY,15,4-7; I,L6,4-5; IY,L7,
4-6; IY,t9,2; IY,20,6.
Mithridates: lI, 25, I0.
Moesia: I, 19; V, L1,6.
Moors: Pref.ace 25; III, 20, 9.
Muchetuisis: II, 19; I1,22,3; III,6, l;
III,6,9; III,7; III 15; IlI,L9,5;
III,28,6; II1,28,9; IY,9,7; IV,
Nad:oragan: IIl,2i III,6,2; III,15;
III, 17, 4; III, 77, 6; III,18, 11; III,
19; III,19,8; III,20l' III,20,3-5;
IIl,22; III,23,4; I1I,24,24; II,
24,7; TII,27,8; III,28; III,28,6i
Ill,28, L0; IV, 12,2; TY,l2,7; IY,
23,2t [Y,30,6.
Natsah: IY,25.
Natses: Prace3l; I, 1; I, 4; I,7,8; l,
9,4; I,10; I,10,3; I,10,9; I,ll,6;
L,12; I,12,3; I,L2,9; I,L,13; I,L3,
4-5; T.,L4; I,75,2; I,L5,1.0; I, 16; I,
l,L7; L,L7,2; I,L7,2; T,L7,
6-7; T,18; I, 18, 34; I,18,8; I, 19;
' I,L9,4i 1,20,1; I,20,5; I,20,8; I,
2li I,2L,24; , 22; 1,,22, 1; I,22,8i
II, 1; II, 4,2-3; II,6; I1,6,34i lI,7i
II,7,3-:7; II,8; II,9; TI,9,2; \I,9,
13; II,LL,3; II,L2,10; II, 11,4; II,
14; II,14,2-7.
Neocnos: TII,23,9; III,24; III,28,8,
Nepos: LY,29,1.
Nesos: II,2l,7-10; Il,22t ll\ llf IIII
17,4; IT1,79; III,lg,7-lt IIl,r0,
3-8; IY,73,2; lY,ll,
Nicias: II, 10,r,
,. ,, I
NiIe: IT,lr,5,
,']I :I
168 nrlex rrf proper nanlei
1. Assyrirn King, perh.
l:iblicrrl Ninr-
rod cf. Gen.10,11; II,l8,5; II,
25,4; II,25,5.
2.Capital of Assyria
Nineveh: II,
Ninyas: II,24,2-3.
Nisibis: IY,25,6.
Nonnus: IY,23,5.
Odenathus: IY,24,4,
Odoacer (Odovacar): 1,5,7.
Ognaris: IlI,27.
Ollaria: II,20,5.
Olympius: Y,6,5.
Onoguri: 1II,5,6.
Onoguris: II,22,3; III,3, 8; III,4; III,
5,6-8; III,6,3; III,7; IY,9,6; IY,
Orestes: IY,29,3,
Palladius: T,9,4.
Palmyra: [Y,24,4.
Panopolis: IV,23,5,
Papak: II,27; II,27,2-5.
Parma: I,L4,4; I,15,9; I,t7,2;I, 17,7;
I, t8,2.
Parthians: TI, 25, 9-L0,
Parysatis: II,24,4.
1.. Paul the Silentiary: Y,
2. Paul the father of Maurice: IV,
Pelasgians: II, L7
II, L7, 5.
Peroz (Firuz) : Pref.ace23; IY,27,34;
Persian(s): Preface 24, I,2,2;
I,7,5; 1I,10,3; I1,18; II, L9; Il,
21,7; I1,22,); II,23; II,24,5; U,
25,8i II,26; II,26,24; II,27,5; II,
28; III, 5, 6; III, 7 ;
III, 7, 5 ;
TII, 8, 2;
III,9,L4; III,12; III,1.2,8; III,
17, 2; III, L7, 7
-9 ;
III, 27, 7 ; III, 22,
2; III, 24, 24; lil, 25, 5-7
III, 27, 3 ;
TII,28. III,28,5; III,28,8-9; IV,
6,2; IY,L2,2; IY,1.3,5-7; IY,15;
IY,L5,24; IY,2L,4; IY,23; IY,30,
2; IY,30,5; IV,30,8; V, 10,5.
Petra: Prcface29; III,2,6.
Phanitheus: I,11.,3.
Phatsantes; IY,73,3.
Phattazes: III, 11, 2; III,14,2.
l. A rlvcr ln Luzierr: II, I8,4; II, l9l
II,2l, 1.0; 11,22,2; III,21,3; IV,
29,2; Y,1,4.
2. A town situated at the mouth of the
river Phasis: III, 19,8; III,22;
Philagrius: lII, 1.5,7.
Philip: II,25,8.
Philomathius: III,20, 9; III,22,3.
Phocaeans: I,2,2.
Phoenicia: II, 1,5,2; II,30, 3.
Picenum: II,2,4.
Pisa: I, 11,6.
Pisaurum: II,2,5.
Plato: Preface 9; II,28,2; II,30,3; IY,
27,7; Y,4,4.
Pontus: III, 19, 3; Y,7,2.
Poseidon: II, 15, 10; V,8,5.
Prima Iustiniana: Y,27,2.
Priscian: II,30,3.
Procopius: Preface 22, 32; II, 19; TY, 15;
IY,26,4; IY,28,3; IV,29,5; IV,
Propontis: Y,L4,5.
Pyrrho: II,29,7.
Pythicus: Preface, 1,4.
Ide* d propr nmer 169
.1, ltrurttrhrx, rotr ol' Sotct'lelrurt lII,
lJ,7 ,
llurtlcun lII,2,4; Ill,2,9; ltl, !t Ill,
),7i LI'1,4; Il[,4,6; ,[tl, 6,6i III,
12,6; III, 14,2--1; IV, 1,6; lV,2i IV,
6, J; IV,7,); IY,1l; IV, 17,3; IV,
Sobirs: lII,17,5-6; III, 18; III, 18,2-7;
III, 18, 8-11; IV, L3,7
Saghanshah: IY,24, 6; IY,24, 8.
$nmnium: Il, 1,4.
Sondes: II,24,8.
Sandilch: Y,L2,6; Y,24,2; Y,25.
Satdanapalus: II,25, 5.
Sasan: II,27,2; 1I,27, 4-5.
Scythia: V, 11,6.
Scythians: Y,ll,2.
Segestani: TY,24,8.
Seleucia: IV,29,L0.
Semitamis: II, 18,5; II,24,2; II,25,
1. Setgius the son of Bacdrus: V,
2. Sergius the Interpreter: IV,10,
Sesostris: II, l^8,5.
Sestos: Y,12,2.
Sextus: II,29,7.
. 1. Shapur I: IY,23,3; IY,23,7; TY,
23, 8; IY, 24, 2; [Y, 24, 4; l, 24, 5.
2. Shapur II: IY,25,2; IV, 25, 5; IV,
3. Shapur III: IY,26.
Sibyl: I,10,2.
Siderun: IV, 16, 4; LV,16,7.
Siderus: II,L7,7.
Sicily: Pteface )0; I,7,8; II,1, 4; II,4;
II, 10,5.
Sidon: I1,15,4.
Simacus: II,24,8.
Simplicius: II,30,).
Sindual: I,20,8; II,7,6; II,8,6; II,9,
Slav: IY,20,4.
Smerdis: TI,26,4.
Soterichus: III,15,2; IlI,15,6; III,
15,8; III, 16,34; III, 16, 6*8; IV,
12,24; IY,15,6-:1; IV, 19,6; IV,
Spoln: V, 11, li,
pnrtnnr; V, 19,
Stephanun: 1,,17,1-6; I, 18,2.
Stephcn (St.): III, r,7.
Stotzas; Pteface25.
Suanians: IV,9.
Suarunas: IY,20,4.
Sura: Pref.ace 27.
Sycae: V,1r.
Syracuse: II, 10,5.
Syria: Preface, 24, 27
\Y,24, 1,
Teas: Pracell;
I,8,4-6; l,
20; IT,12,2.
Telephis: II,19; TI,L9,2; I1,20,5-8;
TI,2L,7; II,22,2.
Thamanon: IV,29,7.
Thebes (in Egypt): V,13,8.
Theodahad: Preface3O; I,5,8.
1. Theodebald the son of Theodebert:
I,4,7; T,5; T,5,2; I,6; I,6,6; IT,
2. Theodebald the Varne: I,21,2.
Theodebert: I,3,6; I,4; I,4,54; I,6,6.
1, Theoderic the Osrogoth: Preface
30; I,5,6-7; I,6,4.
2. Theoderic the son of Chlodwig: I,
Theodorias: V,L,4.
Theodorus: I1,20,7-8; TI,2l,4; III,
20,9; III, 22,4; III,26,3; IY,l3,2;
IV, 14; IV, 18; V, 1,3; Y,2; Y,2,
Theodosius: Prelace 23; IY, 26, 3.
Thermopylae: Y, L9; Y,23, 6.
Thersites: TI,29,6.
Thescos: Y,L2,2.
Thessaly: Prelace26.
Thrace: I,4; I,4,4; V, 11,6; Y,14,5;
Y, 23,6; Y, 24, 5; Y, 25, 2.
Thracian Chersonese: Y,LL,7; Y,L2; Y,
12,2; Y,12,5; Y,2L; Y,21,4-5; Y,
Thyanes: III,16.
Tiberius Constantine: IV, 29, 8,
Tigris: TII,L7,7.
Totila: Preface 3l; I,7; I,4; I,8,4; II,
Tralles: II, 17; II, L7,8-9; Y,6,1,
Trebizond (Trapezus): III, 19,)i V, 1,2,
170 Ittrlcx ol
ltto[]f nntucrl
I,3, 4.
Tuscany: I,1,(r; I,8; I,1l; I,tl,1; l,
Tyrrhenian: I,8,3; II, 1,3-4; II,4,l;
II, Lo,
Tzadtar: IV,16,4.
Tzani: II,20,7; III,20,9; III,22,4;
IY, L3, 2; IV, 18; V,
2; Y, 1,7
; Y, 2,
Tzathes: III,
3; III, 15, 2-5.
Uldach: II,2,5;11,3.
Ultizurs: Y,L1,2; V, 11,4.
Uranius: II,29; II,29,6; II,29,8; Il,
30i II,32.
Usigardus: III, 6, 9; III,7,2.
Utigurs: Y,ll,2; Y,-1.2,6; Y,23,7; Y,
). 4
Vaccarus: I,21,2.
1. Vahram I: IV,24,5.
2.Vahtamll: IY,24, 6; IV, 24, 8.
3. Vahram III: IV,24,6.
4. Vahram IV: IY,26; LY,26,2.
5. Vahram V: IV,27.
Yahiz: III,28,L0.
Valash: IV
,27, 5.
1.The Emperor Valerian: IY,23,7.
2. Roman General Serving underNarses
in ltaly: I,[L,3; II,8, r.
3. Roman General serving under Martin
Lazica: III,20,10; III,21, 5.
Vandals: Preface 24-25; Y,15,8.
Vnrncs: I,21,2.
Vcnetia: I, 1,6; II, 3,); il,4; 1I,4,9;
Verina: IV,29,2,
Vitalian: I,ll,3; I, 1r,8.
Volaterae: I, L1,,6.
(itigis: Pteface 10.
Xenophon: II,2L,7.
Xerxes: II,l0,4; IY,29,6; Y,19.
Yazdgard (Yezdegerd):
l.Yazdgatdl: Prclace 23; IV, 26,
2.Y azdgardll: IY; 27, 2.
Zabergat: Y,LL, 6; Y,12, 4-6; Y, 20,2;
Y,23,5-7; Y,24,2.
Zarnasp: IV,28, 2; IV, 28,7.
Zamolxis: Preface J,
Zandalas: T,19,5; II,8,2.
Zotades; II,24,6.
L. The Emperor Zeno: I,5,7; IY,29,
2; Y,1.5,4.
2. Rhetor and advocate practising in
Constantinople; Y
,7 ,2; Y,7 ,5; Y,
Zeus: II,24,B; Y,8,5.
Zidt: IV,30,8-9.
Ziper: IV, 18.
Zrma: IV,29,8.
Zoroaster: II,24,5-6.
Honour and success are indeed the natural concomitants of miritary
victories and trophies, of the rebuilding and embe[isrr-.",
J.iries and of
au great and marvellous exploits as such. But whereas this type o.f achieve-
ment brings not inconsideiable prestige
and pr"uroi.
;;-ri; who have
it, it does not usually .ortirirr" to bl associar *i*, rhem once
dead and gone, bur
gblivion ioropor", t.rraf ..r"ai"* *a distor_
ting the rgality of evenrs: for when onc thore *irh fi;r;-hroi experience
gone then gone also and extinguished
with them i;;;.;*re
ledge. z Bare recollecrion tqrg u-q in point of, fact,ro r. un ,oprofitabre
and unstable thing, quite ilcapable of ,*riuing ,lr" *i.a.rg" ;i ;*". Nor do
I suppose that men wourd have resolved * tii dr;;;i.,?;;
counrry or
to submit to orher forms oJ hardship knor,ving furl w;rl ,:rr-"" r*rer how
great their adrievemenrs, their r*oin, beinfbut
with their
liforP,*, mus5inevitabiy perish and dissolve ritr, trr", l,rJ n"i r"ro. divine
it seems,
our naturar fuairty by introduci
benefits of Historv an{ tf"r.y
rt was nor, r fancy,
for the sake of a ir.ath of wil orives_ oiparsrey that the competitors at rhe
and Nemean games entered t contest, nor is it tfuough mere
and immedi ate gatn that the valiant contestants of the
qo olen ,oa **il"rt-;;;;.
N" both are
motivated by the desire-for a g1ory which is permanent
ad unanoyed, such
as cannot possibly
be obtained save through th. im,oortutirv .orrr.oua o,
rl:..t, Hisrory, nor after rhe manner
and the
delusions of the Getae
but in a fashion ,.rly ;rhi;r"il;tr.,
the onry
one in whidr the foftunes of mortals
.rrior. f;r;;;*
rt would be far from easy to rerate and .nr..rur" dr the bressings that
'Hisrory showers.on human iff1
ro p_ut- ril ;;;;;;; it is my
opinion that she is by no rneans inferior to
if she is
Getae were a ,hracian *ibe, trst,mentioned
by Herodotus (4.94sq.),
gives a shoft accounr of,their r.r.r i" i.*"il^iiry, irr" girt of w'irrt tt.y
nwer really d]9 but simply..go to joln
d.ivine beini'cdt.isrl";;:fr,
A* frr*
the practice,
Herodotus telli us, of choosing
onr. of their no#J
years to send to salmolxis as.a messengef, uiith'instructior to ,rkhia ro.-*t ur.r"a
thev frappen
to v/anr. Thev di.atdr *ir *.*1"g.. bt ;;;-,i,,J hrr;
ilrr; ait and
impang him on the points ofltheir javelins.
.l Hstlllsr:
I lirturlee
rroL rrr.:tuully rrrole berrclit'iul,
ltrliticuI Scietrcc irrrrcr ltcr orr"lers rttrtl irt-
uLlctiolls, .hcr liats rrrrtl hct' erlvcuts lilcc n stertr rrrrd trtryieldiltg lllistrcs
ruixirrg c<.lrrr1:ulsiorr with pcrsuusiou. llistory, tlxrrrglr slrc ntrtltes evcrything
as attrctivc as possil:lc, hct message morc palttuble by the insertion
o[ a variety of edifyir:g anecclotes and presenting in hct accoullt the instances
whcre men have come to enjoy good repute through the wisdom and
of their actions and where they have been led astray by some miscalculation
or chance, unobtrusively instills virtue into men's hearts. For views pleasingly
presented and voluntarily assumed win wider and deeper acceptance.
6 After a prolonged consideration of the matter, I came to the conclusion
that those who have busied themselves with this brandr of literatute should
be accorded the greatest admiration and eulogized as the benefactorc of
society, without of course even remotely considering the possibility of
ttempting to compose in the genre myself ,
I was indeed predisposed
from boyhood to the heroic metre and delighted in savouring the niceties o{
poetic composition, and so have written a numbet of shot pieces in hexame-
ters entitled "Daphniaca", adorned with certain amorous motifs and replete
with similarly enchanting topics. 8 Furthermore I thought it a praise'
worthy and not unpleasing undertaking to make as complete a collection as
possible o{ those recent and contemporary epigrams which were as yet un-
known and indiscriminately murrnured on the lips of some, and to write
them down appropriately classified and arranged. This undertaking has in
fact been accomplished together with the production of several other com'
positions written with no suictly practical end in view, but otherwise
potentially amusing and entertaining.
Poetry is after all a sacred and
divinely-inspired activity. In it souls adrieve a state of ecstatic inspiration
as the philosopher-son of Ariston
would say, in whidr those that are truly
seized by the Muse and possessed by this fuenzy give birth to ofispring of
surpassing loveliness. ro So I decided to immerse myself in the subiect and
nwer willingly to abandon these pleasant pursuits of my youth but to follorv
the famous Delphic injunction
and cultivate self-knowledge. But seeing
that in my ov/n lifetime it has come to pass that great wars have broken out
unexpectedly in many parts of the wodd, that wholesale migrations of bar-
baian peoples have taken place, that bewildering vicissitudes of fortune
The refetence is, of course, to Plato. Agathias has a weakness for this type of inane
circumlocution; hence the poet Pindar fot example is referred to as the "lyre of
Boeotia". It should be noted however, that Byzantine taste in sucih matters difiered
essentially from our own and that different societies favour dillerent forms of afiec-
tation. The ideas expressed hete are a reminiscence of Plato's Phaedrus 245 a, where
three forms of heaven-sent madness (the prophetic, the cathartic nd the potic) are
enumerated and discussed.
3 i. e.
thyself" one of the famous exhortations carved on the temple of Apollo
at Dclphi.
Itrefucc J
hgve tx'c,rrrt'l rrtrtl utrlorcsccuble ancl incrcdiblc cvcnts whiclr in their out-
curnc lrrrvc rrpsct ull cnlculations, tht nations have been wiped out, cities
etuluvect, pr4rulrrtions upt'ooted and displaced, so that all mankind has been
itrvolvecl. in thc upheaval; seeing therefore that these and similar things had
tnken y:lrcc I was seized with vague misgivings and felt that it might be
*togcther reprehcnsible if I, for my part,
to pass over in silence and
[ui[ to rccord such staggering and momentous occurrences, occurrences whidr
might rrell have a positive value for posterity. rr I decided therefore that
it was not out of place for me to try my hand at history in order that my
lifc might not be spent entirely on the impractical elaboration of poetic fancy
liut might be made to contribute something useful. And moreover many of
my friends spurred on and encouraged my initial endeavour by urging and
exhorting me to action, the most enthusiastic suppoft of all coming from the
younger Eutych,ianus, a leading member of the Imperial Secretariate who
in addition to being an excellent person and possessed o[. a ready wit
nnd an adequate amount of culture is in every way a credit to the family
of Florus. rz This man, since he really had my interests at heart and
was especially anxious to enhance my rEx.rtation and improve my status,
nevef, tired of spurring me on and raising my hopes. He kept teltring me not
to regard the undertaking as difiicult or beyond me nor to be dismayed by
the novelty ofthe experience, like a landsman embarking on his first voyage.
He maintained moreover that in his view history \,s not far removed from
poetry but that both were kindred and related disciplines difiering rudrcally
pethaps only in the matter of metre. Accordingly he urged me to proceed
with confidence and devote all my energies to the project, bearing in mind
that I should be equally at home in both fields. 13 As it happened these
promptings of his found in me a ready and receptive listener and he had
little difiiculty in winning me over. And here f am now actuaTly writing a
history, and I hope and pray that I shall be able to produce a work to match
the earnestness of my endeavour and'to do justice
if possible to the magni-
tude of my theme.
14 First I must follow the established practice of historical writing and
disclose my origin and identity. My name is Agathias, my birthplace Myrina,
my father Memnonius, my profession the practice of the Law of. the Rom,ans
and of the calling of an advocate. By Myrina I do not mean the city in Thrace
or any other city of that name in Europe or Libya as the case may be, f mean
tlre city in Asia which is an ancient colony of the Aeolians, situated at the
mouth of the river Pythicus, whicl flows from Lydia to the farthest strait
of the Gulf of.Elaea.n , j I hope to repay her as fully as I can for rearing
me by writing a complete account of her splendid adrievements througho'ut
the course of her history. For the time being f must beg her to accept with
Previously mistranslated as "the Gulf of Elea",
Agntlrlr! 'l'lre llisturler
o good gtoce this crltucst o[ nry goocl intcntiorrr, lol I utur[ llow procse(l to
d:al with lnilttefs of gcnelal conccflt ancl ol. tlte uiln(,t" itlll)oftrl,itce. r6 I
shall write my history in a totally dilIcrcnt spirit l,rorn tlrut whidr has ani-
mated the writings of my contemporarics. Othcls in our day ancl age have
approacled this task, but for the most part with llagrant disregard for the
truth and no concern {or historical accuracy, being so openly intent on
flattering and fawning upon a large number of influential people that even
if they lrl'ere to speak the truth they would not be believed. 17 Yet the
authorities on these mtters state that the exaggeration of an individual's
merits is the proper business o{ panegyric,, und tho'ugh the writing of history
does not preclude the possibility of praising those who have done good the
historian does not, I imagine, see this to be the chief aim and distinguishing
mark of his profession. Thenever the way in which a situation has been
handled calls for praise or blame the historian must on no account try to
gloss over or improve upon the facts. r8 Yet these authors who claim to
be writing history and ptofess to be historians on the title page of their
works, ate shown up on closer inspection to be charlatans. For they eulogize
Iiving men during their lifetimes, be they emperors or persons otherwise
distinguished, not just by their presentation o{ the facts (that would be a
venial error) but they make it plain to all and sundry that their sole
concern is the besto,ural of excessive and unjustifiable praise: when
deang with the dead, however, they either vituperate them as blad<guards
and wred<ers of society, regardless of their true nature, or, whidr is
the lesser of the two evils, show sudr utter contempt for them that they do
not even bother to mention their names. 19 By so doing they think that
drey are putting their immediate interests on a sound footing and they
imagine that by cultivating whoever happens to be in pov/er they are securing
their own advantage, a mistaken calculation since those who are the object
of their eulogies are not pleased with this sort of tribute and consider that
open adulation is not capable of ensuring their reputation. zo Let these
authors write therefore in the manner to which their inclinations have accus-
tomed them; f, for my part, must make *re truth my supreme object, whal-
ever the consequences.
I shall relate all the memorable adrievements, up to the present time in
the Roman and the greater part of the non-Roman wodd, not only of
persons who ate still living, but especially of those who have already passed
away, and I shall omit nothing of importance. zr So although I did not
strt to $zrite my history until after the death of
and the accession
II, I shall refer bad< to the preceding period and give special
Agathias is probably thinking of the handbooks on rhetoric current in his day which
classified in detail the various brandres and subdivisions of literature and oratory,
aod pres*ibed minutely the form eaih one of them should take.
allcnlirltr to wlrrrtever hnr not yet becn thoroughly clenlt with by anyonc clse.
rr Since rrlrst of thc cvents o[ the rcign of
have been accurately
rccrurlc,r'l by tlrc llretrricittt't Procopius of Caesarea I {eel I can dispense with
thc necessily o[ covcring the same ground, but I must give as full an account
ar lxrssiblc
of subsccl-rcnt cvents. z3 Procopius' introduction is taken up
with thc clcath of Arcadius and the appointment of the Persian king Yez-
deger:cl I as guardian to his son Theodosius, the events of the reigns of
Vahram V ancl Peroz, and how Kavad became king, lost his throne and then
regained it, hor.v Amida was captured by him when Anastasius was emperor
of the Romans, and the troubles that
I succeeded to in connection
with this deed. z4 Then one can get a excellent picture from Procopius
of the Emperot
wars with Persia fought against Kavad and
Chosroes in Syria, Armenia and the borders of. Lazica, and of Gelimer the
Vandal6 and of how the city of Carthage and the whole of Africa was sub-
and became once more a pat of. the Empire many years
after Boniface and Gaiseric and the revolt of that period.' z5 Procopius'
narrtive also gives an account of how, after the destuction of the Yandal
Kingdom and the successes and reverses of the Moors when they took up
orms against the Romans in many parts of Afica, Stotzas and Guntarith,
who were on the Roman side, set themselves up as tyrants and were the
prime cause of untold disasters and dissensions in Africa, and of how that
countr had no respite from her ills until both men were destroyed.
z6 Procopius also tells of how the civil disorder in Constantinople erupted
in open revolt against the emperor and, reaching aTarming proportions,
caused widespread devastation, and of the raids of the Huns, who at that
time crossed the Danube and did appalling damage to the territory of the
Romans, ruvaging lllvda and Thessaly and the bulk of Europe, and a part
of Asia too after crossing the Hellespont. z7 The tale is told also of the
tragic sad<ings of the city of Sura in Syria, of Beroea and of Syrian Antioch
by Chosroes, of the siege of Edessa and of how he was repulsed and retired
from there, and a survey is supplied of the battles between the Abyssinians
and the Himyarites
and of the reason why those two neighbouring peoples
became such bitter enemies. z8 The Great Plague is discussed too, how
at that time it made its first assault on mankind and what a ghastly variety
of forms it took. z9 What is more we must again turn to the same source
if we wish to learn of the exploits of the Roman army against Chorianes and
Mermeroes and the Persian hordes in the cities of Lazica and the stronghotrd
of Petra.
Then the scene shifts to the fest and the death of Theodoric
Usurped the throne of the Vandal Kingdom of A{rica in A. D.530.
A.D. 427.Fot details cf. Procopius. History of the flars III 3, 14 sqq
I A people who inhabited the Yemen.
9 i. e, Petra inLazica, rot to be confused vrith Arabian Petra.
srthlErr Thellbttxbl
the_ ostrogoth and the murder of hiu doughter Amaleruntho by Theodahocl
and all the evenrs whidr occasioned the utbrentc of the Gotic 7or, oncl
then the story is told of how sitigis who sr"rcccccled Theodahad as ruier of
t},e Goths was, after prolonged tghting, captured by Belisarius and talcen to
Constantinople, and of how Sicily, Rome and ltaly casr ofl the yoke of
foreign domination and were restored to their ancieni way of life.
same soufce mofeovef gives an account of the ltalian e<pedition of the
eunuch Narses, who was made commander-in-chief by the Emperor, of his
brilliantly executed campaigns againsr Totila, and of how after the death of
TotiTa Teias the son of Fritigern succeeded to the leadership of the Goths
and how not long afterwards he too was slain.
The-foregoing is a
rqmpary of events down to the twenty-sixth year of
..ign, hidr,
I believe, is as far as Procopius' narrative takes us. Ii rvas my inten-tion from
the start to relate the sequel to those events, and that is what I shall now
proceed to do.
l. Teias, who succeeded Totila as leader of the Goths, rallied his forces
and made an all-out attack on Narses and the Romans, but he sufiered an
overwhelming defeat in a pitched battle whidr cost him his life;
and those
Goths who survived the battle were forced to come to terms with Narses
because they found themselves exposed to constant attacik from the Romans
and crowded together in a confined and waterless str)ot. The terms granted
them meant that they would remain in undisturbed possession of their own
temitory on condition of their continuing thencdorth to be subjects of the
Emperor. This turn of events led everyone to $rppose that the fighting in
Italy hud been brought to a successful conclusion: in realiq' it scarcely
begun. z I am convinced, for my patt, that our generation shall see no
en to sudr ills, since, human ntufe being what it is, they are a permanent
and ever increasing phenomenon and, indeed, one whidr is practically as old as
man himself. Hisiory and literature, for example, are full of accounts of
battler and fishtins. almost to the exclusion of everything else.
I do not,
ho*.i"r, subicrib'to the general view that sudr events re controlled by the
movements of the heavenly bodies and by some blind impersonal fate. If the
influence o{ fate wefe paramount in all things then there would be no place
for free-will, we wotild be obliged to regard all attempts at advice, instruction
and methodical o<position as a complete waste of time and the hopes and
aspirations of the rirto"ot would be extinguished and annihilated.
I o not think it right, either, to hold the Divinity responsible for tghting
and bloodshed. No, I could never put forward of accept the view that a
benevolenr being, whidr is the negation of all evil, could delight in whole-
sale slaughter. j It is the souls of men that lapse voluntarily into greed
and violence and fill every land with wars and dissensions, giving rise
thereby to widespread destruction, to the of whole nations and
to countless other horrors,
6 And so it happened on that occasion that aftet the conclusion of the
peace-treaty the Goths went their sepafate /ays, those. who had previously
iived on the near side of the Po maling their way to Tuscany and Liguria
and to wherever force of habit and inclination led them, while those from
beyond the Po crossed that river and dispersed in the direction of Venice
and the garrisons and towns of that region, where they had previously lived.
The Battle of Mons Lactarius (4.D.552),
Agathlau 'Ilra I lhtrrler
Ihtt onc'e llrey wcrc bnt'lt itr their own ro'rir,r.y, irrrtenrl of
lrrrttirrg t6cir
lrcaty obligrrtiorrs
1'rlirctice irrrrl e.rrjoying,rr l,iri, in rir" *".,,i.l
of thcir prop*ty,
a brca_thing-s1rn."
f.i,i', tir. l,,rz,r*l* ,ri,.i r,rr,iri-,iirs .f war,
they started, after the bricfesi of pauscs,
to srir rrp frcsh troubre anrl so
sparked ofi another war.
Howver, feri,g rrrr"iu.r'ril,
u ,rrt.t.,
for the Romans they turned ro the Frnr.s. ri."v ,lrorgt r irrrrllr by this
course they were to secure the alliance of a neig'hbo"#; p-Jil and the,
resume fig-hting, they would improve their present position
and could also
count on lasting support.
2' The Franks have a common frontier with rtary. They may reasonabry
be identited with the peopre
who in ancienr times were
since they inhabit the banks of the Rhine and the ,"irrrrai"g-r.riitory,
though they occupy most-of Gaur, it is a later acquisition since they did not
live there; and the same is true of .iry i *iI',,,
was originally settled by lonians. z Massilia *ur .rtonirJlg
ugo uy
Phocaeans who had been driven out of Aria f ,il-p;;r,* ; iTi ..ign or
the son of Hystaspes. once a Greek.i,i ir l,r, ,* f-".o,,.lu.urriun
ln character, having abandoned its ancestrar constitution and embraced the
ways of its conquerors. But even now it does not seem to fall short at all of
of its ancient inhabitants, for the Frunr., ar. noi rro-rar, u,
indeed some barbarian peopres
are, bur their system or gou.rn.iiladminis-
tration and laws are modelled more or less o" ih. R"*;p;t;;i",pu*
wLicr thev uphold similar standards_with
regard ,. ."rrir--uiiug.
religious observance.
They are in fact u Chrir,i*;;;';;"
to the
srictest orthodc,xy. They also have magistrates in their .i,i.; ;J-;;iests and
celebrate the feasts in the-sarne_vray
as" we d_o, ;rd;l;;;;.b;fi
strike me as extrenely werl-bred and civflised *a * pir.riJrr;
same as
ourselves excepr for
uncouth styre of dr.r; ;-;;;rii*'iu.,*u*".
r admire them for their other attriutes and especiall; f;;;.-'rpirit
and harmony whidr prevairs amongst tn-. aitrr*gn L
occasions in.the past an_d even during
oiun lifetime ,fr.i.i.irna"m
been divided berween rhree or *or""*1.r, ,fr.y frrr" i"r*
r.T'*t *"a
against one another or seen fit to stain their country', hono,r, bftrr" riuogh;,
of their kith and kin. 6 And yet whenever great powers
are seen to have
r9a$9d srate of parity-, arroganr and uncopromising
attitude, ur"
vitably engendered and the logical outcome is ,iarry,,rr.T"ri ?i"rination
and a host of other passions
that constitut" u f"itil. br""di;;-;;;"nd
unresr and dissension. N-evertheless notring of the kind
no matter how manv difterent kingdoms t.y ,r. split up into.
z l, th.
rare event of some dispute arising between their kings tlr.y arr* thms.lve,
llootr I
u1r oslenribly ltr lrnttle-fornrntion nn<l with thc appalcnt ol'rject of deciding
llre issrre l,y folcc of rrrrrrs nnrl Ilren confrclnt one another. But once the
mnin lxrcly rf the nrnry on cithr:r sirlc lras come face to face they immediately
lny asirlc ull nnirnosity, retrrrn to murtrral understanding and enjoin their
lenclers to settle their cliflcrenccs by arbitration, or failing that by ptracing
their own lives at stake in single combat. For it is not right, they say, or in
keeping with ancestral precedent for the common good to sufier injury and
upheaval on account of some personal feud of theirs. The immediate result is
that they break their ranks and lay down their arms. Peace and quiet are
restored, normal communications resumed and the horrors of urar are
forgotten. 8 So law-abiding therefore and public spirited are the subject
classes and so docile and amenable to reason, when need be, are their masters.
It is for this reason that the basis of their power remains secure and their
stable and that they have not lost any of their territory but have
act:uolly increased it greatly.
and amity are second nture to
a people then their state is guaranteed happiness and stability and rendered
impregnable to enemy attack.
3. So, living this virtuous life, the Franks rule over their own people and
their neighbouts, the succession passing from father to son.
Now, at the time when the Goths sent the embassy to them the Franks
had tlqee kings. I think it would not be inappropriate at this point if I were
to skef,ch briefly the previous history of the dynasty, starting from a stightly
eadier period and then proceeding to the kings who were on the throne at
the time in question.
z Childebert, Chlotar, Theoderic and Chlodomer were brothers. After
the death of their father Chlodwig they divided the kingdom into four
parts according to to\r/ns and peoples, in sudr a\ray,I believe, as to effect an
equitable distribution.
But not long afterwards Chlodomer mounted an
expedition against the Burgundians (they are a Gothic people, and out-
standingly warlike) was struck on the drest in the thick of battle and killed.
7hen he fell the Burgundians realised, as soorl as they caught sight of his
long hair flowing loosely down to his bad<, that they had killed the enemy
For it is the practice of the Frankish kings never to have their
hair cut. It is never cut from drildhood onwards and each individual lock
hangs right down over the shoulders, since the front ones are parted on the
forehead and hang down on either side. ft is not, however, like that of the
Turks and Avars, unkempt, dry and dirty and tied up in an unsightly knot.
On the contrary they treat it with all kinds of soap and comb it very carefully.
Custom has reserved this practice for royalty as a sort of distinctive badge
and prerogative. Subjects have their hair cut all tound, and ate strictly
forbidden to gror it any longer.
So the Burgundians then cut ofi Chiodomer's head and by displaying it
12 Agrthhr The [Ihtorlr
to hls troops immediatcly filll thcm with tctror nncl clcjection. There
followed a,n ignominious collnpse of thcir mornle nncl thcy were reduccd to
cowardice and no longer capable of fighting bnck. Pence was concluded on
the terms dictated by the victors and in the way they felt best setved their
own interests. The remnant of the Frankish rmy
only too glad to return
home. 6 Soon after Chlodomer had met this end his kingdom was patcelled
out among his brothers. since he had no drildren. Not long afterwards
Theuderic was taken ill and he too died, Ieaving to his son Theudebert all
his possessions and his title.
4. On succeeding to his father's throne Theudebert subdued the
Alamanni and certain other neighbouring peoples. He was exceedingly daring
and wild and inordinately fond of taking unnecessary risks. Accordingly,
when the Romans were embroiled in the war with Totila the lcing of the
Coths he hit upon the plan, which he earnestly sought to put into efiect, o[
raising a large and powerful force of fighting men while Narses and his
troops were fully engaged and involved tntaly, and then heading for Thrace,
suMuing the entire region, and bringing the war to the Impetial city of
Byzantium. z He made extensive preparatiorls and so far executed his
plan as to send embassies to the Gepids and Lombards and certain otler
neighbouring peoples with a view to securing their participation in the war.
He found it intolerable that the emperor
should announce him-
self in his imperial edicts by the titles of Francicus, Alamannicus, Gepidicus,
Lombardicus and so forth, as though these peoples had all become his
subjects. He took tt as a personal insult and expected the others to share
his resentment since it was an afiront to them as well.
Personally,I arn
of the opinion that even i{ he had laundred this expe<lition he would h,ave
met an inglorious end after engaging with the Roman forces in Thrace or
possibly in Illyria. Indeed the ele frct of conceiving this design and then
resolving to carry it out and thro,wing all his weight into its execution is
overwhelming proof of his wild and headstrong.natLrre and that he was
capable of equating sheer lunacy with courage. If death had not forest-
alled the attempt he might well have begun his marcI.
But, as- it
happened, he was confronted when out hunting by a huge bull with gigantic
horns, not one of the domesticated kind that draws the plough, but a crea-
ture of the woods and the mountains that deals death with its horns to its
adversaries. I believe they are called "bufialoes". They live in great nurnbers
in that region, steep overgrown valleys, thid<ly wooded mo'r.rntains and a
wintry terrain providing them with an ideal habitat.
6 7hen'Theudebert saw the anlmal come pounding o'trt of some valley
and drarging towards him he stood his ground, meaning to face it head on
with his spear. But when it got near it was swept along by the momentum
of its drarge and crashed headfirst into a tree of not particularly larye
dimenrlonr. The tree war ehaken violently and bowcd right over, and it s{
happenccl thrrt o bullcy brunc'lr, whidr was the largest o[ those that had been
brought down was snapped off with violence and struc] Theudebert on the
heacl. The blow wns fatal and beyond remedy; he fell at once flat on his
bad< nncl ofter being camied with difficulty to his home he died on the same
I{e was succeeded by his son Theudobald, who was vety young and
etill under the care of a tutor, but ancestral custom required his succession
5, At this
juncture then, when Teias was dead and the Goths were in a
position where they would be needing foreign help for the future, the kings
of the Franks \r/ere the young lad Theudobald and Childebert and Chlotar,
the boy's great uncles, s they would be called in Roman law. z But the
Goths did not think it a good idea to approadr, these tsro since they lived
a long way away; instead they sent an open embassy to Theudobald. It was
not from the whole people, however, but only those living beyond the Po.
Not that the others were not delighted at their attempt at subverting the
established order, but being overawed by the uncertainty of the future, and
fearful of the capriciousness o fortune they suspended
judgment, and kept
awary eye on events, since they were detetmined to be on the winning side.
flhen the embassy from the Goths arrived, then, they came before the
king alrd all the high otricials and asked them not to stand by and let them
be opfiressed by the Romans, but to join in the struggle and save a neigh-
bouring and friendly people from imminent destruction.
And they
pointed out that it was in their own best interests too not to allow any
further expansion of Roman posrer, but to make every dort to curtail it.
"If", the embassadors declared, "they succeed in eliminating the entire
Gothic nation, they will soon marcih against you too and fight old wars all
over again.
They are sure to have some specious justification
with which
to cover up their temitorial arnbitions and will in fact apper to be pursuing a
claim against you, citing as. a precedent men like Marius and Camillus
and the majority of the Caesars on the grounds that they had fought in the
past against the inhabitants of upper Germany and had occupied all the,
territory aooss the Rhine. In this way they will not give the impression of
resorting to violence, b'ut of fighting a
war aimed not at the expropriation
of a foteign nation but at the recovery of the possessions of their forefathers.
6 They brought a similar charge against us, saying that in the past Theodoric
who was the founder o our lcingdom had no right to take ltaly. In con-
sequence of whidr they have robbed us of our property, murdered most of
our nation and mercilessly enslaved the womenfolk and drildren of our
wealthiest citizens.
And yet Theodoric did not take ltaly by force, he
anner<ed it with the express permission of their o'wTl emperor,Zeno. He did
not in any vray deprive the Romans of it (they had already forfeited it).
iir .
l1 A3rthlur rHhet.
he dld wer to put down the fortlgn uiurpt Odorccr, eftct whlch hc
omrpied hls entkc kingdom by right of conquett. 8 But evcr clnce the
Romans have been in a better position ro usc force their actions have been
anything but just. First of all they assumed an attitude of righteous indigna-
tion against heodahad ostensibly on account of his treatement of Ama-
lasuntha, whidr thgy made into an occasion and preto<t for war. And they
still show no signs of relenting but these same wise and god-fearing men who
pride tlemselves on their unique capacity for just government persist in a
policy of indiscriminate violence and plirnder.
So, if you wish to avoid
yourselves sufiering the same fate and then repenting of your complacency
when it is too late, you must forestall the enemy at once and not let the
present opportunity pass you by. You must dispatdr an adequate fighting
force against them and a capable generl from among yourselves, to bring
the war against the Romans to a successfrrl conclusion, drive them out of
here with all speed and win back our country. ro If you do this you will
be rendering a signal service to the Gothic people and will be hailed as rheir
saviours and deliverers. You will also be ensuring the safety of your own
possessions by the elimination of a hostile presence from your borders, not
to mention the vast sums of money that you will receive not only in the form
of loot e>ftracted ftom the Romans but also as a voluntary payment from us.,,
6. 7hen the ambassadors had delivered this speecJr, Theudobald (who
an ignoble and unwarlike youth and already seriously ill and, physically,
in very bad shape) was, naturally, not inclined to their point of view and
sas,'no reson why he should make trouble for himself in order to extricate
foreigners from their difficulties. z Leutharis and Butilinus, however,
accepted the alliance on their own initiative even though it held no attraction
for their king. These tv/o men were brorhers, Alamanni by birth, but
enjoyed gre4t influence among the Franks, so mud: so that they actually
ruled over tlieir own people under a dispensation made earlier by Theude.
The Alamanni, if we are to take the word of Asinius
anltaltan who wrote an accufate account of German afrairs, are a mixed and
mongrel people, and their name signifies this.
They were formerly re-
duced to tribute paying status by Theodoric the king of the Goths, at a ttme
when he ws mster of the whole of.Italy too. \hen he died and the great
war between
the Emperor of the Romans, and the Goths broke
out, the Goths, in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the Frki,
relaxed their hold upon the Alamanni and withdresr from many orher places.
Their withdrawal was also motivated by the consideration that they must
concentfate their forces by abandoning all superfluous and strategically un-
important positions in the subject territories, since they felt that they rvould
no longer be fighting to maintain their own ascendancy and prestige but
would be making a desperate last bid for taly itself and for their own
Booh I l,
rurvlvd, And ro, thcy antlclpatod cuch rloks as the futurc might hold by a
calculetod cholcc and madc o virtue of necessity. 6 In this way, rhen,
Theodebert aubdued thc Alamanni after they had been abandoned by the
Goths. After tho death of Theodebert, as I have described, they fell to his
eon, Theodebald, along with the resr of his subjects.
7, They have their own maditional sray of life too, bur in matrers of
govef,nment and public administration they follow the Frankish sysrem,
rcligious observance being the only exception. They worship cef,rain rrees,
the waters of rivers, hills and mounain valleys, in whose honour tj,ey sacri-
tce horses, catde and countless other animals by beheading tem, and
imagine that they are performing a act of piety thereby. z But conract
with the Franks is having a beneficial efiect and is reforming them in this
fespect too; already it is influencing the more rational among them and it will
not be long, I think, before a saner view wins universal acceptance.
the imationality and folly of their belids can hardly fail, I *nk, to itrike
even those who practise them, unless they happen to be complete fools, and
sudr can easily be eradicated. All those who do not attai to the truilr
merit pity rather than censure and {ulty deserve to be forgiven. Ir is nor,
after al7,of their own accord that they fall into error, bur ir, *.i, searclr for
moral goodness they form
wrong judgment,
and thereafter cling tenac-
to whatever conclusions they have arrived at.
Yet I am not s rre
that words are a sufiicient remedy for the savgery and depravity of sacri-
ficial worship, whether it be paid to groves as is indeed rhe case among
barbarians, or to tlre socalled gods of antiquity as was the way with th
dtes oJ the Greeks.
am of the opinion that there is no being whidr
delights in bloodstained altars and the brutal slaughter of animals. If there
is a being capable of accepting suclr practices then it could not be benefi.cent
d benign but would in all probabitity be a malignant, maniacal ffearure
Iike the vain personifi.cations of the poets sudr as Terror, Fear, Enyo, Ate,
and Eris "the irresistible", as they would call her. You can add the one the
Persians call Ahriman to the list, if you like, and atl rhe other bloodthirsty
and malevolent phantoms that-are-supposed to inhabit the underworld.
16 Some readers may consider that I have no business to make such remarks
in a book of this kind, that they are uncalled for and imelevanr to my avonured
intent. But for my part it gives me grear pleasure to bring to light all the
facts that come to my knourledge, to praise what is good about them, and
castigate openly and to expose their bad and unsatisfactory side.
deed, if the writing of history were jusr
a simple and uncritical narration of
events without the redeeming feature of sewing as a guide to life, then it
might, perhaps, be rated scarcely any higher by some (I hope the expression
is not too strong) than a collection of old wives' tales. But every one is
l1 lr' unllrint:'l'lrr I llxloller
clltille(l tr hisowuopiniotlsorr thesq Drlllcrs, rrrl now I lerrlly nlustr I'eturtr
to my
8 \X/lrcn Leutharis and llutilinus rst set or,rt to marclr gainsr the Romans
they were filled with exaltecl expectations and were no longer able to live
a normal life. They thought that Narses wotrld not withstand even rheir first
onset, that all Italy would be tleirs for tlre taking and that they would
occupy Sicily into the bargain. They said rhey were surprised at the Gorhs
being so terrified of a puny little man, a eunudr of the bedchamber, used to
a soft and sedentary exisrence, and bith nothing masculine about him.
So, pufied up with such notions anc{ regarding the confrontation with
rrogant disdain they raised an army of seventy-five thousand v/arriors from
among the Alamanni and the Franks and made preparations for war with
the idea of invading Italy immecliately.
8. The Roman general Narses, although he had not received precise
intelligence of these moves, being extremely far-sighted and always anxious
to forestall the attacl<s of the enemy, resolved to take by storm such towns
in Tuscany as uTere still held by the Goths. z He did nor ler victory go to
his head or indulge in vulgar bragging, whidr is how a difierenr person would
have reacted, nor did he give himself over, once his labours
lished, to a life of luxury and ease; on the contrary he immediately moved
his forces with all possible speed and advanced on Cumae. Cumae is a very
heavily fortified town in lta7y, and it is no easy matter for an enemy ro
capture it.
Situated on a steep hill which is difiicult to climb, ir corrr-
mands a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The hill rises up over the shore, so
that the u/aves surge and dash against its base while its top is encompassed
with a ring o{ massive tovrers and battlements.
The {orrner Gothic kings
Totila and Teas had all their valuables and treasures guariled in this srrong-
hold, since they considered it to be secure.
As soon as Narses got there
he decided it was imperative to capture the place as quicJdy as possible and
gain possession of its treasures, in order to deprive the Goths of a safe base
for future operations and srtract the maximum advantage from his victory.
6 Aligern, the youngest brother of Teas the late king of the Goths, was
inside the fortifications and had gathered about him as large an army as
possible. His intentions were far from peaceful. Presumably he had abeady
received n accurate feport of the death in battle of Teias and of how the
fortunes of the Goths lay in ruins, but even so he did not give up, rlor was
he dismayed by the disaster which had occurred. R.lyrng on his position and
plentiful store of provisions he retained his confidence, arrogance and capa-
city to repel attack.
9. Meanwhile Narses gave the word of command and instantly ted his
troops forward. Toiling painfully up the hill they approadred the fort, and
immediately began to hurl their javelins
at tlose who could be seen manning
lkxrk I
tlrc llrttlctrtt.trts,'l'lre bows twungcrl us vollcy upou, vollcy of arrpws was
tlisclurrgcrl, $tonc$ wcrc high up into the air from slings and all the
rt1'rpnllrrirrtc siege-cngincs wcfe set in motion. z Aligern and his men, who
were rnassccl. along thc stretc}es of wall between the towers, were not slow
to rcply with javelins,
arro\rrs, huge stones, logs, axes and anything that
seemcd to serve their ptrrpose. They had their war-engines too, and used
tlrem in an all-out efiort to beat ofi the attad<ers.
The ltomans had no difiiculty in recognizing the arrows from Aligern's
bow. They whistled through the air with sudr incredible speed thar, if they
lrrrppened to strike against a stone or some other hard object, they smashed
it to pieces with the sheer force of their trajectory.
When Aligern caught
sight of no less a person than Palladius, (he was a man especially esteemed
by Narses, one of the most high-ranking ofiicers on his stafi and a leading
figure in the Roman army) clad in an iron breastplate and attacl<ing the wall
with great courage he shot down an arrow ar him, which ran right through
the man's shield, breastplate and body. Such was the extraordinary strengrh
his powerful rms put into drawing the bow!
This sort of inconclusive skirmishing continued for several days. The
Romans thought it shameful to withdraw without first carrying the place
by force and it was clear that the Goths had no intention of surrendering to
the besiegers.
10. Narses was greatly tisffessed and angered at the thought of the
Romans having to uraste so much time on an insignificant fortress. After
pondering and debating the various possibilities he concluded that he ought
to make an attempt on the fortress in the following manner. z In the
eastem corner of the hill there is a cavern whidr is thoroughly hollowed out
and completely roofed in so as to form a natutal sanctuary of massive and
vault-like proportions. They say that in olden times the famous Italian Sibyl
lived there ad that possessed by Apollo and inspired she would foretell
future events to those who consulted her. The story goes also that Aeneas
the son of Anchises once came there and that the Sibyl totrd him all about
the future.
Now Narses noticed that part of the fort had been built orr
top o{ this cave, a fact he thought he might turn to his own advantage. So
he sent as many men as possible down into the hollow recesses of the cave,
with tools for quarrying and tunnelling. In this way he gradually dripped
and cut out d:at section of the roof of the cave on whicl the wall had been
constructed, removing thereby so much of the ground the building sfood on
as actually to lay bare the start of the foundations.
He then had upright
wooden beams placed as pfops at regular intervals in order to support the
weigtrt of the structure, lest a series of falls should cause it to collapse and
thus have the effect of quickly in-forming the Goths of what was going on.
In which case they would have come to the rescue as soon as the trouble
18 Agrthlr::'fho I'Ihtorlet
started, put lt right immedirtely, and thcn trkcn tho rtrltctt preceutlonr {or
the future.
In order to pre\rent them from hearlng the noise of rtones
being quarried or indeed from having the slightest inkling of what war ofoor,
the Roman army kept up a furious and sustained attaclc against the forti-
fications above, sho,uting at the top of their voices and banging their wea-
pons. The din was abnormally great and the siege disordered and confused.
6 7hen the entire section of the wall above the cave ws left suspended in
mid-air with only the upright props to rest on, they piled up leaves and dry,
tinderlike brushwood, which they pl*ced under it, set them alight and then
got themselves out of the way.
It was not long before the flames blazed up
and the charred and burnt out props caved in and crumbled into ashes. That
part of the wail whidr rested on then suddenly collapsed for want of support
and came crashing down, while the tow'ers and battlements broke lose all at
once from the rest of the structure and toppled forwards. The gate belonging
to that part of the wall had been securely fastened, since the enrny were all
around, and the keys were retained by the sentries. It was flung down still
holding to its sockets and landed intact on the rocJ<y shore where it was
lapped by the waves, with its posts, frame, lintel and pivots still fixed to
the threshold. 8 7hen this happened the Romans thought that they
should now be able to get into the fort without any further difiiculty and
make short work of the enemy. But this time too their hopes proved vain.
For the ground was full of cracks and fissures nd littered with
broken pieces of rod< from the hillside and masonry from the fortificaticns.
As a result tlee approadr to the fort was as steep and as impassable as ever.
Narses made a more spirited assault on the fort, in an attempt to rush the
place. Thereupon, the Goths {ormed a solid body of men and fought back
with all their strength. He was beaten bad< and could take no further action.
11. In view of the impossibility of taking the place by stotm Narses
decided noi to commit all his forcei to this tioubleiome operation, but to
male straight for Florence, Centumcellaer2 and certain other towns in
Tuscany, with the objert of restoring order in the region and anticipating
the approach of tJre enemy. z He had alteady been informed that Leutharis
and Butilinus and the armies of the Franks an the Alamanni had crossed the
Po, and he set oiff, accordingly, with the bulk of his army in that direction.
Since Filimuth, the leader of the Henrls, who were marching with him,
had been taken ill and died a few days earlier and it was imperative that they
should be led by one of their own people, he immediately put their fellow-
countryman Fulcaris, a nq>hew of Phanitheus, in c}arge of them. He then
instructed Fulcaris to set out along with
the nephew of Vitalian, with
Valerian and Artabanes and other generals and commanders together with
the largest and most pourerful paff. of the army; and making a detour of the
BoL t 19
dplnc mngo thit firnt botwsn Tuccany and Emilia, to head for thc river
Po and encrmp ln tnt neighbourhood. They were algo to seize all strong-
holde in thc area ln order to forestall and check the enemy advance.
they succeeded in driving them bacl< altogether then they must consider
themselvee fortunate, but if tfie pressure of superior numbers prevented
them from putsuing such a course, they were to impede their progress and
not to allow them to overftm the place, but to scare rhem ofi and keep them
as fat away as possible, until he had the immediate situation under conmol.
They set oI[ thetefore to cmy o{rt his orders.
He left a considerable force at Cumae too. They
to invest it with
a regular siege, keeping the enemy penned in and blockading them into
eventual surrender. So, they set about ringing the place with a continuous
line of earthworks and kept a close v/atch on the exits in order to intercept
any possible foraging prties. They reckoned that alter close on a year of.
being under siege the enemy must by now be running out of provisions.
6 In a lightning campaign against the cities Narses annexed most of them
without encountering any resistance. The Florentines r7'ent out to meet him
and, on receiving an undertaking that they would suer no ill-treatment,
voluntarily surrendered their persons and their property. The inhabitants
of Centumcellae did likewise, as did those of Volaterrae,13 Luna
and Pisa.
He was in fact so successful that he su/ept everything before him.
L2. Only the people of Lucca tried to adopt a policy of temporizing and
And yet it
they who had previously come to terms
with Narses, grvirrg him hosiages and a sworn undertaking to the effect
that, if thirty days elapsed and an allied force sufliciently strong nor
man the fortitcations but to engage in open combat on rheir behalf, failed
to arrive they would then have no hesitation in handing over the city forth-
with. z The idea behind this was that the Franks would soon be there to
come to their aid, and it was on this assumption that they made the treaty.
But when the appointed day had passed and there was still no sign of the
Franks, even so, they were still determined to reject and repudiate their
reaty obligations.
Understandably angered by this deception Narses
began to make preparations for a siege. Some of his stafi thought that the
hostages should be put to death so that in this way the inhabitants of the
city might be made to sufier for their ueachery.
The general, however,
who would never allow anger to cloud his judgment,
did not descend to sudr
cruelty as to lcill people who had done no wT ong, merely as a reprisal for the
misdeeds of oters, but devised instead the following ruse.
He brought
Autumn, 553, or Chronology cf. Averil Carneron: Agathias p. 143.
The vetacity of the following accourt has been impugned by M. Ites: zur Bewertung
20 Agrrtlriru:
I lirlrrt ier
out thc h,.rstngcs with tlreil httrds tietl lrclrirrtl tlrcir hrchn rrrrrl witlr lrowcrl
heads ancl clisplayccl thcrn in this pitifulcolr(litiolr ro tlreir lle ilrw corrrrtr:ylucn,
threatening that he woulcl lose no time in cxecutir.rg tlrern unlcss thc citizcns
immediately put into efiect their side of the agrcemcnr. No\M thc hostages
had had narro\ wooden boards fsrened to them fronr thc broad of the back
to the nape of the neck and covered over with strips of cloth lest the enemy
might make out what they were even from a distance. 6 So when the
citizens would not obey him he immediately gave orders to have the hostages
lined up and beheaded. The guards drew their s/ords and came down heavily
with them as though about to deop ofi their heads in earnesr. But the blow,
failing on the boards, did them no harm, despite whidr they toppled for-
'/ards, as they had been instructed to do, writhing and twisting and feigning
death of their own free will.
The inhabiranrs of the city who when they
saw this could not make out, owing to the considerabLe distance which
separated them, what was really happening but saw only what appeared to
be happening, broke out into sudden cries of lamentation at the disaster
whidr they felt had overtaken them. For the hostages were nor drawn frorn
the common herd, but'were men of especially distinguished rank and birth.
8 Thinking themselves deprived of sudr men they were seized by an un-
controllable fit of wailing, while frequent cries of lamentation were heard
together with a shrill and plaintive noise, as great numbers of women moved
about on the ramparts, beating their breasts and teafing their cloaks. These
were the mothers or unmarried daughters,
as the cse may be, of the
supposedly dead men, or were closely concerned with them in some other
So now everybody began to abuse Narses openly and to call him
a blad<guard and a villain. He was in point of fact, they said, a brutal mur-
derer, and it was to no purpose that he strove by an elaborate pretence to
cteate afl impression of piety and devotion.
13. Now while they were making this outcry Narses said "Is it not you
youtselves who have proved responsible for their destruction by callously
abandoning them to their fate? You will also be shown to have done your-
des Agathias. Byz. Zelt.26 (1926) p.281" and by E. Stein: Histoire du Bas-Empire II.
p.606 n.2. Cf. Also Averil Cameron, op. cit. p. 51.
The Greek "n[x),1qol" has been variously and, to my mind, irnprob,ably rendered:
e. g. as "sponsae" by Vuicanius, and "Les femmes de ceux . . . etc." by Cousin. The
basic meaning of "n'rxl"r1gou" is "heiress". The specialised sense the word often has
in connection with the Attic Larv of inheritance is scarcely applicable in this context,
but Roman legal usuage in cases of intestate succession whereby married daughters
were excluded from the ctegory of those known as "sui heredes" (cf.l.B. Bury
Ilistory of the Later Rornan Empire vol. II p.404) suggests a possible way of arriving
at the meaning assumed in the present translation. At all events it is hard to see how
Agathias could have used the word simply as a synonym for "f,ances, wives, or
lhxrlt I
relven rt gruvc rlinre t:vicc by your blerrch o[ frrith ru]d wflrrton violation of the
tteltty, r Yct cveu at tlris lalc hor-rr i[ yor-r arc prepared to recognize where
your real intcrests lic, nncl to fulfil the terms of the agreement, you will
Itxe notl,ing: thcse rnen will bc restored to life and we shall do no damage
to your city. IJtrt if yotr refuse, your future troubles will not be confined to
them, but you can start straightaway considering how to avoid all of you
oufiering the same fate yourselves,"
they heard this the peaple
of Lucca thought that he was trying to deceive and hoodwink them about
restoring the dead to life; and in truth his srords were misleading but not in
the way they thought. Nevertheless they eagerly gave their assent and swore
that they would hand over the city to him immediately to do what he liked
with, if they saw that the hostages \vere still alive. Since, of course, it seemed
impossible to them for the dead to come bad< to life they thought they would
have no difficulty in freeing themselves of the accusation of meachery and
justice on their side.
At this point Narses, giving the command,
suddenly made the hostages stand up and they
then displayed safe and
unharmed to their compatriots. 7hen the citizens saw them they were not
unnaturally taken abad< at the unexpectedness of the sight, though even so
they were not all of the opinion that they should fulfil their sworn obli-
gtions, and in fact some of their number refused to.
With the usual
fickleness of a crowd, as soon as their feelings of anguish and distress rere
replaced by a more hopeful frame of mind, they did a complete volte-face,
and the advocates of treadrery ryon the day. But in spite of this despicable
behaviour on their part, Narses the general showed great generosity by
freeing the hostages at once and sending them to their homes without
securing a ransom or forcing any other sort of concession upon the city.
6 While the citizens of Lucca were marvelling at what he did and quite
unable to understand why he did it, "I am not in the habit," he ex-
claimed, "of priding myself on tasteless histrionics and squalid confidence-
tricl<s. For I think that even without recourse to sudr tactics if you do not
join us without further ado, these shall secure yotrr allegiance"; and as he
spoke he pointed to the swords of his soldiers.
Now the men who had been set free mingled with their fellow-
countrymen and whenever they were in company spoke highly of Narses.
They recalled the kind tretment they had received at his hands, and it was
whispered in every quarter that he was gentle and afiable arrd that he
justice with magnanimity. These words in fact were destined, by
winning over the contentious and unstable element in the population, to
prove more efiective than weapons arid to persuade the majority to adopt a
pro-Roman policy.
14. Narses was still busy with the siege of Lucca when he learnt of the

22 gsllrle* 'l'lre I llrlrrt'ler

rcvcrse which thc troopr he hncl Bent to Umllia hatl nrficrI. 'I'lre news wns,
understandably, a sevcre shock to him and greot blow to his morrrle.
z Now what happencd in Emilia was that in the carly days after their
arival they had conducted all operations in a prudent and orderly manner.
Thenever they set out to plunder some enemy village or to\n they mardred
in regular formation and observed a certain amount of caution when attacrking.
7hen retreating they did not al1ow themselves to get dispersed, but pro-
ceeded in an orderly fashion, forming themselves into a hollow rectangle,
with the rearguard properly in position and the booty in tlee middle to
ensure its safety.
This u/as the
they set about tavagjng enemy
territory at first, but within the space of a few days alL their initial advan-
tages u/ere dissipated and completely reversed.
Fulcaris, the leader of the HeruIs, was admittedly a brave and utterly
fearless man, b,ut he was of a wild and impetuous disposition. He did not
regard tactical skill and the proper disposition of his forces as the mark o{ a
true general and leader, but prided himself instead on cutting a dash in the
teld o{ battle by leading the drarge against the enemy in person and by
keeping himseff in the forefront of the fighting.
On this occasion, how-
ever, he showed even greater indiscretion by making an attack on Parln,
which was abeady in the hands of the Franks. He ought first to have sent
out scouts in order to ascertain exactly what the enemy's plans were and, in
this way to conduct an orderly offensive on t}e basis of prior intelligence;
instead of which he led out his army of Heruls together with any men from
the Roman army who were ready to {ollow him, and relying on tedcless
audacity and brute {orce set ofi at full speed, little dreaming that anything
would go \vrong.
But Butilinus, the leader of the Franks was in{ormed
in advance of these moves, and, hiding the pick of his men in an amphitheate
(it was designed for the performance of wildbeast hunts) not far from the
city, he laid a full-scale ambush and then proceeded to watch and bide his
time. 6 7hen Fulcaris and his Henrls, marching in a slovenly and irregular
{ashion, had advanced until they were practically encircled by the enemy,
the signal was given. The Franks then rushed out and pounced on them,
and straightway cut down indiscriminately all those within reach, over-
wheLming them with the suddenness of their attad< and tlre unexpectedness
of the trap they had set.
The majomty, however, as soon as t'hey rcalized
what an appalling disaster had overtaken them readily resorted to an ignoble
and utterly shameful expedient in order to save their own skins: they
simply turned their backs and rushed headlong into fight, oblivious of all
their courage and long training in the hazards of war.
15. So Fulcaris, his army having slipped away, was left alone with his
bodyguard. Even so he did not see fit to run away,but drose rather to meet a
glorious end than to become an ignoble survivor. Accordingly he took as rm
Book I
c rtanrl nr porrlble, wlth hls bod< to o tomt:atone snd alew mnny o[ the
cncmy, c'hrrrgirrg furiously ot them 0t one moment ancl elowly retreoting
boclcwarcls with his facc towards them at another. : IIe might still have
raved himsclf with the greatest of ease, and his attendants urged him to do
ao, But his only reply was: "How could I endure the sting of Narses' tongue
when he reproadres me for my folly? "
Apparently more afraid of abuse
than of the sword he stood his ground and held out for a very long time
fighting furiously till at length hopelessly outnumbered and with several
epear-wounds in his cfiest, his head moreover badly cut by an axe he re-
luctantly gave up the ghost and fell face downwards on his shield.
others who had stayed by his side, be it of their own free will or because
they were hemmed in by the enemy, now lay in a heap on top of him.
Thus Fulcaris was appointed genetal, a distinction whidr did him little
good, since after a brief and dreamlike spell of prosperity he brought his
career and his life to a speedy end.
6 The morale o{ the Franks, however, was raised and strengthened
considerably as a result of this disaster.
The Goths inhabiting Emilia
ond Liguria and the neighbouring regions had previously made what
amounted to a pece-treatty and defensive alliance with the Romans, though,
admittedly, it was a hypocritical sham, utterly repugnant to them and
motivated solely by fear. They wete nosr emboldened openly to violate their
tteaty and immediately went over to the side of the barbarians with whom
they had so much in common. 8 The Roman forces which, as f have al-
ready explained, were under the command of
(the nephew of Vitalian)
and Artabanes retired immedietely together with the survivors of the Herul
contingent to Faventia.
The reason fot the move \ras that the generals
thought it inexpedient to remain encamped in the vicinity of Parma when
the enemy had gathered there in force, and because, after their unexpected
success, t-he enemy seemed ready fot a tnaL of srength. All the cities occupied
by the Goths, in f.act, opened their gates to them, and there was wery indi-
cation that they were about to mal<e a concerted attad< upon the Romans.
ro The generals decided, therefore, to get as close as possible to Ravenna
and so elude the enemy, since they felt they were in no position to fight
flhen the news of these events readred Narses he was distressed and
angered at the insolence of the barbarians and at the sudden death of Fulcaris,
amat" of no mean abilty, brave in the extreme, and with a distinguished
record and many victories to his credit; indeed a man who, in my estimation,
would never have died at the hands of an enemy, had but his wisdom been
proportionate to his valour. rr But despite his very real sorrow and dis-
18 Faenza.
2' 24 Agrthllr: The HLtorlr
trtss ur whnt hncl hnppcnctl, Nnrrer clirl not, rrr rr lerrer mnn woukl hnve
done, allow himself to lrercome dispiritecl unrl tlinheurtenecl. Instend, seeing
his troops demoralized l'ry thc unexpectecl turn of events he decicled to
address some general words of exhortation and encouragement to them, in
order to raise their spirits and dispel their fears.
16. Narses was indeed possessed of a remarkable degtee of shrewdness
and an e>rmaordinary capacity for coping eflectively with any eventuality.
Though he had received little formal educarion and no training in the art
of oratory, he was exceptionally talented and particularly good at putting
his views across. These qualities w.ere all the more remarkable in a eunuch
and in one who had been brought up in the soft and comfortable atmosphere
of the imperial court. z He was moreover of diminutive stature and
abnormal thinness; yet his courage and heroism were absolutely incredib,le.
The fact is that true nobility of soul cannot fail to make its mark, no matter
what obstacles are put in its path.
On that occasion then Narses made
his way into the midst of the army and addressed them as follows:
"People who are accustomed to getting the better of their enemies on
eadt and wery occasion and to unfailing and unalloyed success are com-
pletely shattered by even the slightest and most momentary reverse.
I think that if a man has any sense he ought not to let success go to his head
but should bear in mind how easy ir is for things to drange and always be
ready to face the \r7orst. Anyorre who adopts this philosophy will view
success with the greatest pleasure and will not consider it a disaster if his
calculations are upset.
Now I perceive that your distress is disproportio-
nate to what has happened, and it is plain to see that the reason for this is
that you have becorne so inordinately conceited through the habitual ex-
perience of victory that you imagine you can never go w:rong. ff, therefore,
you v'ere to put a\ay this illusion and consider the case on its own merits,
you would not find it anything as dreadful s you might otherwise suppose.
6 If Fulcaris, and being abatbafian rashness was second nature to him, if
Fulcaris, f say, made a desperate and disorganized attad< against sudr a
heavy concentration of enemy forces with disastrous but predictable pon-
sequences, that is hardly a reason fo us to shrink from our present respon-
sibilities or review our commitments.
rt would indeed be shameful if,
while those Goths who have survived the holocaust of their nation, far from
resigning themselves to their fate, arcbusy forming alliances and stirring up
further trouble for us, we, entertaining the notion that we have been beten
simply because we have not won a resounding victory, shoutrd so lose heart
as to thro'ff away the glory of our pst achievements. 8 7e ought rather
to be pleased about what has happened, since it has resulted in ihe signal
punishment of overweening prosperity and has freed us from the burde of
immoderate envy. Henceforth we may view the prospect of fighting with
Book I
confideuce irr the full nnnurrlnce thnt we are novr' enterittg upon a new phasc
of crtrcltrert, 9
n for thc enemy's vountccl numericnl superiority, we shall
prove very muclr their betters in matters of discipline and organisation, pro-
vlcled we l<eep our heads. Moreover we shall be fighting against foteign
intnrders who will, naturally, be short of provisions, whilst we have an
nmple supply of them. A number of cities and strongholds will guarantee
our safety if need be, whereas they will have no sudr guarantee to fall back
is more the Almighty will be on our side, since we are engaged in
n wholly
just struggle to defend what is ours, whilst they are ravaging the
Iand of others. ro There is every reason, then for extreme confidence on
our part and no possible excuse for faintheartedness. Let us determine,
therefore, not to give moment's respite to the beleaguered citizens of Lucca
nnd let each one of you bring all his energies and enthusiasm to bear effecti-
vely on the conduct of the entire campaign. "
17. Having put heart into his troops by addressing them in this vein,
Narses immediately set about conducting the siege of Lucca with greater
strictness. At the same time he was extemely angry vrith the other generals.
They had abandoned an advantageous position and were now in Faventia.
All his careful calculations were being reversed. z He expected their
forces to be ranged like a continuous fortification and bulwark around the city
of Parma, in order to keep the enemy atbay andleave him free to bring the
situation in Tuscany under control and then set out to
them there. But
nov', as a consequence of theit having left the spot and transferred them-
selves to a distant location, Narses and his men were exposed to direct
enemy attacl<.
Findi this situation intolerable he sent one of his
losest associates, aman called Stephnus, native of the Illyrian town of
to the generals to upbraid them for their cowardice and to
bring home to them that failure to return to their posts /as tantmount to
an open conviction of desertion.
So Stephanus set o{[ at fu[l speed with two hgndred of the bravest and
besi-armed cavalrymen. Their progress w'as a painful combination of forced
mardres and sleless nights owing to the fact that a detadrment of Franks
was roaming about the plains in that region in seardr of forage and p!un-
dering the loutryside.
The Romans, therefore, did most of their
*u"d.irrg by night keeping together in close formation and protecting theif
,.ur, ,o thut if obligeJ to fight it out they, should not be caught ofi their
guard. The anguished cries of the peasantry could be heard and the lowing
f cattle being driven away and the
of trees being felled. To the dismal
accompaniment of sudr sounds they frnally made their v/ay to Faventia and
the army there.
26 lrthlmr ThHlrtorh:
6 Ao roon ei hc wu ln the prerencc of the gen*dr stcphanus mldr
has come over you?
now lo the glory of your forncr ae}ievments,
and what has become of that coneistent record of euccesa in eo many battlesp
d9 you expect Narses to capturc Lucca and reduce all the territory on
this side of the Alps when you are behaving as though you \ere in collusion
with the enemy, letting them through and allowing them complete freedom
of movement?
I, f.ot my parr, have no wish to inveigh aginst you, but
other people may well describe this whole afrar as cowarice and gross
neglect of duty. I{ you do not get back to Parma in double quid< time Nrses
will never forgive you and, should anything go \rong, will hold you per-
sonally responsible for the consequences. Take care moreover that you do
not also bring down the Emperor's wrath upon your heads".
18. \{/hen they heard these words the generals rcalizdthatthey came from
Narses. unable to impugn the justice
of what had been said they pur forward
a number of lame excuses, saying that they had been forced to drange their
quarters owing to the impossibility of procuring an adequate supply of food for
their men in the district around Parma. They further alleged that Antiocrus,
the Prefect o{ Italy, who was in drarge of these matters, hd not turned up, and
that they had not even received their regular pay. z stephanus, therfore,
having made his sry to Ravenna with all speed, r"turn to dre generals
with the Prefect. After solving their problemi as besr he could he pekuaded
them all to retrace their steps immediately and encamp again in ihe neigh-
bourhood or Patma.
His mission accomplishd, he rerumed ro Luca
and told Narses nor to
but to give his undivided attention to the
business in hand, since the enemy would cause him no further mouble.
Indeed they could not possibly make a single move without being chedced
since the Roman forces were once gain bact< in their proper positions and
were keqring a close watdr on them.
Narses, drafing at the thought that the citizens of tucca might still
hold out for a very long time, if the siege urere continued in its prest half-
hearted form, closed in relentlessly on the walls. siege-engines were brought
up and fire-brands were hgrled at rhe towers, while the archers and slinggrs
directed their fire at anybody appearing on the bartlements between
towers. Part of. the wall was breached and the ciry was faced with imminent
Those who had previously been hostages exerted rhemselves
even more strenously on behalf of the Romans, and had it been up to them
the whole city would have submitted. But the Frankish garrison who rirere
directing operations inside the city put pressure on the inhabitants, urgrhg
them to fightand repel the besiegers by force of arms. 6 consequentty ilre
tfrrew open the gates and directed an unexpeced sortie against tlr" Ror,,*r,
to overcome them in this way. But they were destined, in facr, ro
have only amarginal efiect on the enemy whilst doing themselves incalculable
BooL l 27
damage, Vhrt hrppcncd wu thrt mort of the local mllltla, drtady cgmple"
tely rion ovq by thc pro-Roman element operating inside the city, fought
wiih deliberate co't*rardlce. 7
In spite of repeated efiorts, however, they
achieved none of the results that had been hoped for, but instead beat a
shameful and ignominious re6eat after incurring heavy losses and, once
inside the fortitcations, shut themselves up more securely, determined to
male no further sallies. Realizing at this
that there was no other
way of saving themselves, they all concluded that they had no_option but
to dopt a conciliatory attitude and so decided upon a negotiated settlement
of the situation. 8 Accordingly on receiving an assufance frorn Narses
that he would let bygones be bygones they immediately surrendered and
gladly admitted the troops. Some three months had been spent on the siege,
b,* they were once more subjects of the Emperor of the Romans.
1g. Now that Lucca had been forced to capitulate and there was no
longer any opposition Natses thought that there was no point in
o1 tho" *y loog"t, not even if only to have moment' pause from his
exertions. So he left Bonus, the quaestor o{ Moesia on the Danube in drarge,
a ran of excq>tional sagacity with a wide experience of civil as well as
military matters. Narses entrusted him with a saable force whide would
enable him to quell with ease any insurrection on the part of the barbarians
in that region.
After making these arrangements, then, he hurriecl straight to Ravenna
in order to sendthe troops stationed there to their winter quartels. z The
agtufirn had in fact already drawn to a close and these operations had dragged
on into the time of the winter solstice. Consequently he felt that this ws no
time for campaigning. SucJr;a policy would indeed have been likely to serve
the interests of the Franks,Irho thrive in cold conditions and whose pov/ers
of physical energy and endurance reach their peak in winter. Being the in-
haitants of a cold clintate and, as it were, cfeatures of the cold they are
naturally adapped to such conditions. On the other hand their worst enemy
is the hat, since it saps their strength and undermines theit spirits; so r:hat
summer is the last time they would clrose to fight in.
In view of these
considerations, therefore, he tried to delay matters and suspend hostilities
until the next yeaf.
So he then disbanded his army and ordered them to group themselves into
companies and battalions and winter in the neighbouring towns and for-
tr.rJ.r. At the beginning of spring they were all to assemble in Rome, where
they would draw up in full battle-formation. 4
7hi1e they went about
thet business, Narses retired to Ravenna taking vrith him only his personal
sefvants and bodyguafd and those members of his general stafi who wete in
clrarge of t}le paper-work and had the
job of seeing that the rule_s and regu-
lations *"r" bt"tued and pfeventing anyone from gaining indiscriminate
2e Afrhl.r llrrHlrpdor
access to hlm, I1:c Romanr crll luch o,lflclrh
cancelllr", a tcnn which
refers to the guichet bchlnd which they work,
Hc wrr eccompanied also
byZondalas, the head of his domestic retinue and by hls annudrs and the
rest of his householcl setvants. And so he took with him to Ravenna about
four hundred men all told.
20. Meanwhile the Franks were in Italy and the fortunes of the Goths
v/ere no\v in their hands. The only petson however, to understand where
his future interests would lie and to grasp the full implications of their
situation was Aligern, the son of Fritigern and brother of Teas, whom I
mentioned earlier on in connection with the siege of Cumae. z A careful
assessment of the situatiom,infact, led him to realise that the Franks had
indeed come in response to an appe'l for help, but were in reality availing
themselves of an empty formula of alliance in order to mask what, in the
event, would prove to be very difierent intentions. Assuming they did get
the better of the Romans tley would certainly have no intention of letting
the Goths haveltaly, but would in actual fact begin by enslaving the very
people whose cause they vere supposed to be drampioning. Th"y would
subiect them to the rule of Frankish overlords and thus deprive them of
their traditiond. way of life.
After much pondering and weighing up of
the pros and cons and in view of the fact that the strain of the siege was
beginning to tell on him the obvious course seemed to be to hand over the
city and its wealth to Narses, renounce his barbarian connections, and secure
his future by becoming a subiect of the Empire.
thought it oriy fur,
that, if it were not possible for the Goths to possess Italy, its ancient in-
habitants and original masters shoulcl recover it and not be perpetually de-
prived of their homeland. For his o'rn part, then he resolved to pursue.this
poliry, thereby setting all his compatriots a signal example of good sense.
After haying first intimated to the besiegers that he wished to have a
meeting rvith their general, and then having received permission to do so, he
made his way to Classis in the district of Ravenna, where, he had learnt, was
the fort in whiclr Narses was staying. 6 As soon as he found himself face
to face with Narses he harded over the keys of Cumae to him and promlsed
to serve him with a good grace in all things. Narses congratulted him on
joining the Roman side and assured him that his services would be more than
amply rewarded.
He then gave immediate orders to a detacihment of
the troops encamped around Cumae to move into position inside the forti-
fications in order to take over the city and its treasures and to guard every-
thing securely. The rest of the troops \rrefe to withdtaw to other towns and
forts so that they too might have somewhere in whidr to pss the winter.
All his instructions wete carried out.
8 The Hed army was agan leadeess and the majority was split over
the rival claims of two equally distinguished contesta^Ilts. One body of
lhl 29
oplnlon frvouted Aruth rnd fclt that their bcot lnteteatr would be served by
hlr lcadcnhlp. On the other hand the military expericnce and forceful
personality of Slndual had more appeal for others, including Narses who put
hlm in command and eent thenr ofi too to their wintet quaf,ters.
Aligern he sent to Caesena
with instructions to climb up, as soon as
he got there, and stick his head over the wall in such a way as to make him-
celf generally conspicuous and easily recognized. The object of these in-
otructions was that the Franks, who would be passing by that way, might on
seeing that Aligernhad dranged sides give up the idea of mardring on Cumae,
together with any hope they may have had of laying their hands on its
tfeasures. They might even perhaps abandon the entire campaign, in view of
the fact that all points of vantage had already been seized in advance.
ro 7hen Aligern saw the Franks passing by he jeered
at them from the
top of the wall and taunted them with the futility of any further exetrions
and with their failure to keep up with events. Everything of value was aI-
ready in the hands of the Romans including even the royal insignia of the
Goths. Any future claimant to the throne would have none of the pomp and
outward symbols of majesty but would be obliged to don the garb of a
common soldier and a pivate citizen.
r r The Franks retorted with abuse and reviled him as the traitor of his
nation. Yet they began to have vague doubts about the advisability of their
present policy and even wonderec{ whether to continue with the war. The
prevailing view, however, \r7as that they should stand firm and press on with
the pursuit of their original objective.
21. Meanwhile, Narses after a stay in Ravenna in the course of whidr he
rerziewed the troops gationed there and got everything properly organized
set ofl for Ariminum
with the same retinue as before. z Vaccarus the
Varne, a man outstanding for his skill and bravery in war, had recently died.
His son, whose nme sTas Theudebald, straightaway attached himself to the
Emperor of the Romans, taking his followers with him. He was novr in
Atiminum where he was supposed to meet Narses.
So Narses arrived
there intending to make doubly sure of their allegiance by the bestowal of a
special bounty.
Vhile he was busying himself with tlese mtters a mixed cavalry and
irtantry force of about t'ro thousand Franks, whidr had been sent by their
Ieaders to pillage and plunder the countryside began to ravage the fields, drag-
grng otr drarrght animals and setting no limit to their depredations. Narses,
who was seated in an upper room commanding a view of the plain, could not
fail to notice what was going on.
Thinking it shameful and ignoble not to
ofler all possible resistance he rode out of the city on an obedient and well-
trained thoroughbred which was capable of performing every kind of manoeu-
!0 Agathlmr Thc I{lrteirler
vre ancl military evolutirn, IIe nlso orc{cred nll thonc members of hir retinue
who had some experiencc of {lghting to follow him. Thcre werc abont threc
hundred of them. 6 They leapt on to their horses and rode oI[ with him,
heading staight for the enemy.
hen the Franks saw them approadring they did not continue to roam
about scattered and dispersed, and one may sa{ely assurne that they had no
further thoughts of plunder. Instead they all closed their rnks, both in{antry
andcavalry,and drew themselves up into a compact formation which, though
not deep, (that would not have been possible given their numbers) was
nevertheless a solid mass of shields regulary flanked by the converging wings
of the cavalry.
\X/hen the Romans got within shooting-range, however,
judggd it inexpedient to engage in close combat when the enemy were
drawn up in such perfect formation. They began therefore to disc}arge their
arro\vs and to hurl their javelins in an attempt to shoot down the men in
the first ranks and thus thin out the enemy front. 8 But they stood firm
and immovable behind a walT of shields, protected on every side since they
had the good fortune to be next to a thid< forest, the trees serving them as
a sort of defensive bulwark. And now they wen began to fight bad< by
huding their "angones', as their native spears are called.
22. Tal<rng stod< of the situation and realizing that the enemy were
sufiering no casualities Narses resorted to a barbarian stratagem whidr is
practised more commonly by the Huns. He qgdered his attendants to turn
their horses right round and retreat at a furious gallop as though fleeing in
terror, in order to lure the Franks as away as possible from the grove
and on to the open plain. They were to leave the rest to him. z So they
followed his insructions and fled. The Franks were deceived by their flight
and supposing theit fear to be genuine confidently broke up their ranks at
once, Ie{t the forest and set ofi in hot pursuit.
The cavalry sallied forth
tst with the bravest and swiftest of the infantry following. All pressed on
relentlessly, thinking to take Narses alive in no time and thus with ttle
exertion to bring the whole war to its desired conclusion.
Lost to all
sense of discipline and throwing a1l caution to the winds they advanced
chaotically in an access of wild exultation and extravagant hope. Giving the
reins to their horses the Romans sped on looking for all the world like
panic-s*icken fugitives. So convincingly did they play their parts!
the barbarians vere abeady scattered about on the open plain and separated
by a very great distance from the forest the Romans, at a signal from their
general, suddenly wheeled themselves and their horses round and confronted
their pursuers head-on. Taking advantage of the confusion and panic
engendered by the unexpected turn of events the Romans laid about them
in all directions and rn the enemy down. The rles of fugitive and pursuer
rvere abruptly reversed.
Ilook I ,l
T'he Urunkhh cavolry, apprehending the dangcr they were in, galloped
burk towurds the wood at full speed nnd were only too glad to make for the
uafety of theit camp. But their in(antry were ingloriously butchered. So hope-
lessly stunned and ctazed were they by the unexpectedness of the catastrophe
that they did not lift a finger to help themselves. They lay all about in piti-
ful heaps slaughtered like a herd of swine or cattle.
these tleir
bravest men had been slain (there were more than nine hundred of them)
the others retreated and returned to their leaders, convinced that is would
no longer be safe for them to be separated from the main body.
8 Narses returned to Ravenna. A{ter organizing everything there on a
sound and efiicient basis he set out for Rome, where he passed the winter.
1. At the beginning
of spring all the armies converged
on Rome and
there in u..J"duo. wiih their instructions.
z Narses subjected
them to a more rigo.oor-.o*bat
training and strengthened
ir" iJi, .iU. Hade
them marc6 at tle double,
practise regular evolutions
whirling movements
in the manner of a
war- dance and expose ,;;;;;;, ; fr"qot blasts of the bugie so*nding the
brttle, iest uiu uwintet ofinactivity
thev might forget the arts
;i;;t *d 1or" nerve when faced with real fighting'
a Meanwhile' tfr. burb,iians
marche d at a
pace ravaging
i;; in their path' Bvpassing the ciry of
*'d its envi-
pottiUr" it ey aJ,,anced with the Tvrrhenian
;;,, .,*k and the shores o[ th. Io.riuo Sea extending
to their left' hen
,t"v rl^*ria the region caiied Samnium1 thev solit up into two groups'
each one following a difierent itinerary. Butilinus
along the
u"d it'o"g"st
part of the army and
of Cu*puniu,
tro"""d over intJl"cnia
and then attad<ed
continuing i, uau^.. as far as the sttait whicl
separates the
til;; sia5, urrd ,lr.^iip ,r ituti'
job of ravaging,Apulia
f;it io l,.,rrfrur-ho
took the-remaining
forces with him and
as far as Hydrunrum,; -ii
is situated on the Adriatic coast at the point
where the lonian Sea begins'
6 Those among the Invaders who were Franks showed
restrint and
, e;t h.',;' was to be expected
?ht:: ?l
have alreadv
rraa orthodox views in *rtt"r,
of religion, and were of
more or less the ,u*"
pttt"usion as the Romans' 7
But th.e.Alamanni'
whose beliefs *.r.
pilt'ged the clurdres with compLete
abandon and robbecl th"* of their precious ofnaments.
They removed and
fo, ptoiu"t use large'numbers
of fonts' solid gold censers'
chalices, baskets
u.r *hui.uer
o'ther objects are set apart for the
mance od the ,r.r"i
8 Thev \rent even further than that'
tearing down the roo&(
of the altars. The a{
withblood and the 6ddi
unburied colpses:
, !
killed in war, others ti
fullment of his eafid
and ur:godq
at all times be avoide,j
and a noble duq- tofr
nadonal identity and t
destroY these things-
greed and itrational ql
those who have dme
vicious. Sudr men a1
they are to the diviri
punishment and ineri{
rity they may enjoY b(
Butilinus and theit t{
2. By the
gims ftt
quantity of loot sP!l{
towards its prime. Ol
at this stage to retunJ
gers to his brotkr
certainties of war mt
partly because he htili
in their struggle agdl
him and loudly mi
Butilinus felt hinsdfl
So he stayed rvhereL(
Leutharis setdl
that, as soon as heil
to act as a relief-fotr
to achieve his desigd
Returning by
witLout encountsirl
that region hg snc!{
te dispatched, as
men who were to d
discover what lay
the enemy be sigbd
ar*i*, ai.,rict on the Apennine uplands S' E' of Rome'
ii.*r".'r" irr.i*
roughlv to modem calabda'
Nolw T..t, d'Otranto in the heel of ltaly'
8:jTrr, containing
the unconsecrated
bread or
at the end
of the Liturg.
6 Fano.
Book 2
te-aqng down the roofs of the clurdres and shrines and uprooting the bases
of. th;,altgs.
Th: *l.ts
and the empry spaces enclori"g tlr. ,fu'; reeked
with blood and the elds werepollrrted with the foul contigion of ubiquitous
But reLiburion was swift and teirible. sorie were
rn war, orhers died of disease and not one of them lived to enjoy the
fulfilment of his earlier hopes; whicrr aflordr , rt ikg1"r-J of how
.d;f"pU ad unggililless
bring nothing but misery in teir t A *;;;;
ir mrged on Rome and
rlftE z Narses subjected
their fighting spirit
lrci regular evolutions
in the manner of a
rrd Se bugle sounding the
try mighg
fq1gs1 the arts
r dmtr pa ravaging and
rcfuy of Rome and its envi-
ntyith the Tyrrhenian Sea
to their left. (hen
q into two groups,
tiifu advanced along the
E* Inrt
of the army and
[tmia a.d then attac]<ed
: rrrrit whi& separates the
d ravaging Apulia and
him and got
ao4t at the point
* os,ed restraint and
m d rdigion, and were of
But the Alamanni,
with complete
They removed and
:fu, solid gold censers,
E Et qrart for the perfor-
IfE' distributed at the end
at all times be avoided,
oirfl in ti-e of war. ,o It i, boih;-r;;
and a noble duty to fight {or the preservation
of o .,u .,rrrry d o"",,
national identity
and to do one's utmost to repel a1l thor. *h- reek to
destroy these things. Bur people
who with no
cause bur merely out of
anj irrational
spiie go about invading th hnd of orrr.t, *J"
those who have done them no r/rong can only be described as wicked an
vicious. sudr men are as indifierentlo civilized standards of behavio,rr a,
they arc to the divine retribution attendant on their misdeeds.
and inevitable doom await them, and whateve*ppu*, prorp"-
Ity f.y
may enjoy is of short durarion, u, t r"r, the fate o?.,rihari, und
Butilinus and their fellow barbarians.
r\e.time they had perpetrated
these acrs and appropriated
a great
loot spring hgdl akeady gone and th. ."m"r
toyards its prime.
one of the two i.ud""r, Leutrraris t" b.,
at this stage to return home and enjoy himserf. A".o"di"J, t" ,."i-.rr.o-
gers to his brother and urged him to say goodbye ,o r. i*;d" and un-
certainties of war and join
him in returningls quickly
* porribl..-
z Bur,
partly because he had given the Goths a rJr"nn ord.tuLirrg to-rrrirt th"m
i t"t',,q:
Rolnans and partly U."*r" .it piu*oing
l,--and ]o-udly
their intention
marcing im-their kingl
Butilinus felt himself obligedlo stay on and fulfil the r-i
trr. ,gr.ernent.
So he stayed where he was and ,tarted to make p..prru,io,
ser ofi immediately
with his tr*pr. He had made up his mind
that, as soon as he returned safely with th" ty, he wo,r,..ia irie'J"
to act as a relief-force
to his brother. But, in the event, he managed neither
to aciwe his designs nor to render his brother any assistance
by the same route as he had come he got as far as
any resisrance. In the course ofii,
that reglon,he.encamped
near the city of Fanum.6 Thereupon he immedi-
tely dlspatdred, as was his usual procedure,
a force of about three thousand
men who
'''ere to act both as sc'uts and as an advance gu-rd,;"; just
discover wtray ahead of them but arso to beat offi u prr-iut.
u,iu.k ,hrord
the enemy be sighted anywhere.
Agathias: The Histories
Artabanes and Uldach the Hun had
forces, with a Roman and
a Hunish atmy respectively, in the city of Pisaurum
and were on the look
out in case the Franks should pass by that route. As soon as they saw the
adva.nce guard of the enemy actaaL\y walking on the shore of the Ionian
coast they slipped out of the city and laundred a sudden but well ordered
attad<, cutting them down in great numbers. Some o{ the enemy scrambled
up the steep rooks that bordered rhe coasr, only to tumble headlong ro their
deaths and be swept away by the wves. 6 The coastlirre, in fact, at that
point rises abruptly and forms a sorr of hill which is not accessible from all
sides and afiords a {ar-frctn-easy descent to those who reach its summit,
being for the most part a slippery incline pitted with holes and leading to a
bottomless expanse of whirling water,
Most of their number perished in the manner described while the rest
fled in disorder at the sight, urtering loud lamentarions as they went. Then
they burst into their camp spreading panic and confusion and conveying the
impression that the Romans would be upon them at any moment. 8 Leu-
tharis got up to marshal his forces in person and the whole army was alerted.
They took up their arms and ranged themselves into a wide column. Once
they had placed themselves in this position, all other considerations were
banished by the urgency of the situarion. Most of the prisoners suddenly
finding themselves unguarded losr no time in taking advanrage of the fact
that the enemy were {ully occupied. They made their escape as quicJ<ly as
possible to the nearby forts and took with them as much of the booty as
they could.
3. 7hen Artabanes and Uldadr (they felt they were in no position to
give battle) showed no sign of leading out their forces, the Franks dispersed
and returned to camp. On looking around them they realised the extent of
their losses. They decided therefore that their best policy would be to leave
Fanum with all speed and continue their mardr before anything else happened
to them. z So they set out at once and, leaving the Ionian Sea and the
coastal route on their right, mardred rovrards the foot-hills of the Apennines.
Thus, heading straight for Emilia and the Cottian Alps, they crossed the Po
with some difiiculty.
On readring the district of Venice they encamped
in the town of Ceneta,
th^t time was subject to them. In spite of
the security the place
afforded them their mood was angry and sullen, their
disgruntlement evident and exteme. Pructically nothing remained of their
Ioot and it appeared that their labours had been completed in vain.
that was not the end of
troubles. Not long after, they were decimated
by a sudden outbreak of plague.
Some pronounced the air of the region
ito be contaminated and held it responsible for the disease. Others blamed
the abrupt
marches andl
dolence. Bd
saster and
6 In rhel
a madman-
pitdred gld
to the gr@
the mouq
fury the q
arms withfi
licling cl"-.q
ually wasrlr
dying like
was wipedd
the very
a swooo,
come of thei
4. \mik
linus, tbe ol
having nn{
z He hadf,1
in Rome rr{
any furrbcc.]
down andl
last despcli
of other fii
a result of{
up and
far from C1
of eafttuud
a Roman and
rr d were on the look
.6s $on as they sasr the
r e shore of the Ionian
ra.tteo but well ordered
Ede nemy scrambled
t \le headlong to their
in fact, at that
ir rct aassible from all
c uto rea& its summit,
lh h.Ie"
and leading to a
r.L..rihed while the rest
fu as they went. Then
trm and conveying the
8 Lcu-
:rtdearmy was alerted.
b e
column. Once
k s'siderations
I re ptisoners
dvtage of the fact
hfr e*ape as quickly as
rm& of the booty as
1ltEie in no position
cr' te Fraoks dispersed
ralised the extent of
[tcsur1d be to leave
tc lrrrian
Sea and the
tliilkof theApennines.
try clossed the Po
they encamped
In spite of
-Gflf "'d
sullen, their
tEg remained of their
in vain.
cttE eir of the region
Others blamed
the abrupt - in
mode of lie, because after a roudne of forced
and frequent.fsirti"g
rh.v h;; i'u[.n inro habits of ruxury and in-
dolence. But thev raile
utr1v i"
9as1er and in fact mad: ii ir.r"ir;;,
the rutless wickedness
whidr they had flouted the laws of Go .ra
6 Ig the person
of their leader the marks of d.ivine punishmenr
His mind became unhinged *d t .g-,o.uu"
a madman.
He was seized
with , uioLrrt ,goe
ret out a series of row-
cne moment h. wldd ruu piori.u
* ni, ru."
to the ground,
another time he
would tun:ble ou.rra.*uiar'1L*hg
the mouth and with his eyes.ho*iUty.r"t*r.a
turv the u/rerihed mrn a*uaflv b.u* ; ;is own mbs;i;r1;;g
on to his
arms with his reerh and r.ningLd
devouring the flesh rike a wild beast
H::.*:: i_l',fyg*
*o.,ni. "a,o irring oo his own fl.rh r," grud-
ualy wasted awav and died a most pitiful
death-. s The others roo were
dying like flies and the pestilence
cntinued_ ro ,rg. ,ro;i ,.ot.
was wiped our. Mosr of them, though racked rrirh"f.";;,;.;irrJ
U"ia to
the very end. Some *.r. ,r*& a"i" ly ,
,.izur., **iJr.U
a swoon,
while others stil succumbed to deririurn iil;;,
in tact,
a vaiety of forms,
each one fatal. This rhen was irr. arrJir*,
the expedition
of Leutharis and his men.
4' 7hi1e rhese events
were taking prace in the region of venice, Buti-
linus, the other leader,
was humying- bu.r.
campania and R.ome, after
hl'j"g ravaged-nearly
every to*o ur? fort as far as the straits of Messina.
z He had heard that NT*l and the imperial forc., *;;";;;;tog.rh",
in Rome and therefore
to or ailow hi#rf ;;;; diverted
any further. Since a considerable
p"r, of , army had.;;.rd,
tJ., ,r*.k

down and destroved hy disease h"'r"rolu.d

throw in all hi, forc.r'riii
last desperate bi for supremacy,
L'rvw ur
rorce .- uu"
, ? Y&r,
had happened
was that when summer
over and autumn
the vines were laden with fruit they hal *i ri""for
:j;:* l^q1.t^l;f;,
had very .t.u"rry ,q,iriri"i.J"",rir,irg
aovance) to-pruck the grapes
and squeeze out the juice
with their andsl As
a res"lt of filling themselves
with tiris improvised
wine their bellies swelled
up and were afiecred with a flux. some aiiu *.* *a ,;-,l,i*r,
give battre, *r,ut.".rli"';;;;,
the disease became an epidemic.
sT *-;;;hi" g-campaniahe
not from capua on the anks of ,rr. ri*urinus
u,hich flows from the
winds through the prains
r ir,uir.gioo
*d di;;, inro *.
r Having ,ttion"d hi, i^i there he had u'rtng fin.
buili around"them,
,rr. ..u.ness
of which, however,
,6 Aglrhlmr Tho Hhtorlru
pended on the nature of the terraln, eince the rlv* whlell flowed to hla right
seemed to constiture a natural brier against atteck, [Io had brought greot
numbers of wagons with him. Taking ofi their wheels and fitring them to.
gether rim to rim in a conrinuous line he stucl< their felloes into the grouncl
and covered them with earth right up to the hubs, so that only a half circle
of wheel protruded above ground-leve1 in eadr case. 6 After ba.rricading
his entire camp with these and numerous other wooden objects he 1eft a
naffow exit unfenced, to allow them to sally forth against the enemy and
retrrn agaia as they wished.
The bridge over e river constituted a
possible source of trouble if le{t unguarded. so he seized it in advance and
built a wooden tower on it in which he placed as many as he could of his
best armed soldiers apd his 6nest tghting men so that they might do battle
{rom a safe point of vanrage and repel the Romans should they decide to
closs over.
8 Having arranged eadr particular as described he felt that adequate
mesures had been taken and that he had made himself masrer of the
situation. The initiative in the fighting would rest with him alone and the
battle would take place when, and only when, he wished it.
He had not
yet received any intelligence of what had happened to his brother in Venetia
but he was surprised that he had not sent his army as had been agreed. He
surmised, however, that they would not have delayed so long unless some
direicalamity had befallen them. But even without their assisrance he thought
he could beat the enemy, since he was still superior to them in numbers.
ro His remaining forces amounted to thirty thousand fighting men all told.
The strength of the Romans was scarcely eighteen thousand.
5. Butilinus himself was in high spirits and urged ail his men ro consider
that the impending struggle would be decisive. "7e are faced", he said,
"with the alternative either of becoming the masters of ltaly, which was
our object in coming here, or of being annihilated on the ,poi.'It is in our
poriler, my brave soldiers, providing we ght courageously, to adrieve the
fullrnent of our ambitions. can there b. *y doubt about which alternarive
we should droose? ".
z He kept on orhorting the toops in this strain and succeeded in boosting
their morale considerably. Eadr in his ovm way, rhey began ro make ready
their weapons. fn one place axes in large numbers were being sharpened
and in another, tle native spears or "angone" as they are called. Elsewhere
broken shields were being mended and pressed inro service.
A1l their pre-
parations proceeded with ease since as a narion their style of fighting-equip-
ment is simple and of a kind whicl does not require a varlety of mechanical
skills for its maintainance but can, I believe, be pur right, in case of damage,
by the men themselves who wear it. They are ignorant of the use of breast-
plates and greaves and most of them fight with their heads unprotected,
Bookz ,7
thgush there erg n fcw u'ho wcat helmets, BacI( and chegt are bate as far as
thc waiat, the legr bcing encased in linen or leathet trousers.
Rarely if
lver do thcy uoc horoes, being adepts in infanuy fighting, whidr, is the
urtomy mode of waffare of their nation. They wear a sword slung from
he thigh and a shield hanging at the left side. Bows and arrows, slings and
other weapons capable of hitting a distant target form no part of their
Gquipment. Two-headed axes and their "angones" are in fact the arms with
which they do most of their fighting.
Angones are spets which are
ncither especially short nor especially long, but can be used both as javelins
rd, if need be, as thrusting weapons in close combat. They are almost enti-
rcly encased in iron so that very little of the wood shows t}rough and even
the spike at the butt end of the spear is partly concealed. At the top of the
qleatpoint, presumably on either side of the spear-head itself, cuwed barbs
pfoiect and are bent round, not unlike fish-hooks. 6 Now your Frank
throws this ango of his in the midst of the fray.If. it suikes any part of the
body then the point goes in, of course, and it is no easy taslc eithet for the
wounded man or for anybody else to pull out the spear. The barbs prevent
It, stid<ing to the flesh and making the pain more agonizing, so that even if
It should happen that the enemy has not been mortally wounded he still
If it pierces a shield then it remains attadred to it with the butt-end
trailing on te ground. The man whose shield has been hit is unable to pull
out the spear because its barbs ate embedded in his shield. He cannot hacl<
it offi with his sword, either, because the interposing layers of iron prevent
him from getting to the wood. 8 As soon as he perceives this the Frank
puts his foot out suddenly and stepping onto the butt weighs the shield
down, so that the man holding it loosens his grip and his head and drest are
left unprotected. He then makes short work of his defenceless victim either
striking him in the front part of the face with an axe or driving another spear
through his windpipe.
This then is the type of equiprnent the Franks
have and the manner in which they were preparing for battle.
6. On learning of these prE)arations Narses left Rome with his entire
army and encamped so close to te enemy that he could both hear the noise
they were making and see clearly the outlines of their fortification. z Vith
tlre armies in fulI sight of eadr other there was a geat bustle of war-
Iike preparations. Guards u/'ere patrolling in large numbers, sentries were
posted at frequent intervals and the generals kept inspecting t}eir men.
There were all the usual con*adictory emotions whidr beset men on the eve
of, a great battle. The mood altetnated rapidly on either side between the
e)(tremes of hope and The cities of ltaly were in a stte of feverish
encitement and suspense, wondering into whose hands they would fall.
Meanwhile the Franks were ravaging the neighbouring villages and
openly bringing in provisions for themselves. 7hen Narses saw this he
,8 Agrthlrrr Tlre l{l:torler
regardcd ir ac a pereonal
diograce and was furlour rt thc ldea of thc camp.
followers and scullions of thJenemy nondralantly otrolling about right undr
their very noses and acting as though no one w"rl in sighito cJralleige them.
He felt that this state of afiairs should no longer be tolerated and
to do everything in his power to put a stop to it.
Among the Ronran commanders was a certain Armenian called chanar-
anges, a ma o{ the utmost bravery and good sense and one who would
f.ace danger whenever the occasion warranted it. chanaranges, as it
happened, had pitcJred his tent at the end of the camp very near io the
enemy. Narses now instructed him to attad< the wagoners and do them as
pu$ damage as he could, in order to derer them- from conducting any
further foraging expeditions.
He suddenly rode ofr therefore, r^iitl, u
few of his men, intercepted tJre wagons and killed their drivers. one of the
wlgons was loaded with hay. He now brought it up to rhe tower whidr, as
I h_ave already menrioned, the Franks had constructed to guard the briige,
and set fire to the hay. 6 There was a great burst of flam and rhe tower's
wooden structure was easily enveloped. Thebarbanans posted inside, unable
t9 o$.r any.resisrance and on the point of being themselves engurfed by
the flames, decided to abandon their position. They barcly manag-"d to g.t
clear in time and fled to their carrp, leaving the Romans-in coniol of i=he
Ngt zurprisingly the Franks were rhrown into turmoil by these evenrs
and rushed to arms, seething with frenzied impatience and rage. Their blood
ura! up and they could no longer contain themselves. 7ith o*ravagant daring
and inordinate self-confidence they resolved not to brook anothei moment'i
inaction or delay but to give battle that very day, in spite of the exptricit
pronouncement of tle Alamannic soothsayers that they should not fight on
else they must expecr tobe wiped out completely. 8
I think that even if the encounter had taken place on the day after or on
some other day they would have sufiered precisely rhe same fate as befell
them on that occasion. A clrange of date would not have sufiiced to exempr
them from payrng in full the penalty of their impiety.
Still, whetherlt
ls mere coincidence or whether the Alamannic seers might conceivably
have somehow discerned the pattern of future events their prediction
in the opinion of many, neither idle nor unfulfilled. I shall now give without
further delay as accurate an ccount as is in my po\rrer of each consecutive
7. The Franks were in a fighting mood. Their weapons urere akeady in
theit hands, Narses made his men arm too and instructed them to leave camp
and to take up position in proper forrnation somewhere on no man's 1and.
z 7tr9n the army had begun to marc} and the general ha abeady
nrounted his horse word was brought to him that one of the most prominent
o thc Hcrul elefr hd brutally murdered 0 rcrvant fot rome trifling ofience,
Stopplng hla homa lmmediately hc had the murderer brought before him. It
he felt, bc lmploue to matdr into battle without first removing the
stain by some act of atonement.
In answet to his enquiries the
bubarian admitted full tesponsibility for what hacl been done and even went
ro far as to say that masters vrere at liberty to dispose of their own slaves
rt thry wished and that if the others did not behave themselves they too
ould receive similar tretment. Since it seemed that, fat from feeling any
1gnorse, the murderous brute'as ctually boasting of his criminal conduct,
gave orders to his bodyguatd to run the fellow through.
A sword
his belly and he lay dead.
There was the usual barbaian reaction frorn the rank and file of the
Herul army. They quarrelled and sulked and decided to take no part in the
ghting. 5
Narses, however, hang removed all stain of guilt did not
glvo the Heruls any further thought. He set ofi for the battleteld after
gving notice that whoever wished to share in the victory must follow him.
So great was his confidence in the aid of the divinty that he mardred out
to battle with the conviction of foreordained success.
6 Sindual, the leader of the Heruls, thought it would be to their shame
nnd disgrace if he and his men
to prove guilty of desertion when such
a grc t battle was in progress. Moreover people might think that in rcality
they were afuaid of. the enemy, and were using their afiection for the dead
man as a pretext and a cloak for their cowardice.
nable, therefore, to
bcar the thought of refraining from active participation he signalled to
Narses to'rait for them, since they would be
joining him any moment.
Narses, however, said that he could not wait, but that he would see to it
that'they should take their proper places in the field even if they were a bit
late in arriving. And so theHeruls armed themselves thoroughly and mardred
out in an orderly fashion.
8. As soon s Narses reached the battlefield he made the regular tactical
arrangements and dispositions of his troops. The cavalry were placed on the
wings at either side, carrying short spears, ad shields, while a bow and
arrosrs and a sword hung at their sides. A few'of them held pikes. z He
himself took his stand at the tip of the right wing. Zandalas e chief of his
retainers and all the menials and campfollowers who were capable of bearing
there too.
On the other side were Valerian and Artabanes
and their men with instructions to hide themselves for a time in the thicl<
of the wood and then as soon as the enemy charged to emerge from their
place of concealment and atta&. them on both sides.
The infantry occu-
pied all the ground in the centre. The men in the van clad in mail right down
to thefu feet and wearing especially strong helmets formed a solid wall of
shields. The others stood shoulder to shouldet in successive rows, the
40 rrthlmrThe t{hprlu
parallel arrangemcnr ortendlng ar fa.r ar the rorrgued,
All the llght.
arned troops, slingers and bowmen tagged on behtnd bldtng their tlmi to
shoot. A place had been reserved for the Herule in the middle of the phalanx,
and it was still empty since they had not yet arrived,
6 Meanwhile two Heruls who had abeady deserted to the enemy some
time before and were, in consequence, ignorant of Sindual's later decision
were exhorting tle barbarians ro mad( the Romans as quickly as possible.
"You will find them", they said, "in complete disarray, with the Herul
contingent sullenly refusing to take any part in the action and the other
troops thoroughly disheartened by its ddection".
Doubtless because that was what he wished them to be, Butilinus had
little difficulty in accepting these words as rrue. He led out his men imme,
diately. Their enthusiasm knew no bounds. In a flutter of excitement at the
news they had received they all made straight for the Romans. Their advance
howevef, was not a deliberate and ordered progress but a wild and impetuous
rush, as though they thought that the mere sound of their voices would be
enough to crush a1l opposition.
8 The disposition of their forces was in the shape of a wedge. It was like
a ttiangalar figure resembling the letter delta,lo the pointed part in front
being a dense and compact mass of shields, whidr presented the appearance
of a boar's head.
The legs of the figure, formed by rows and iolumns
stretclring baclc obliquely, gradually grew farther and farther apart until
finally it reached avety gteatwidth, so tllat the space in between *ur empty
revealing the bad<s of the men in a continuous unprotected line. This con-
figuration was the result of a progressive fanning out aimed at enabling them
to meet the enemy head on, to fight in safety by covering themselves with
their shields and to use their converging formation to guard their rear.
9. But all went well fot Narses since fortune lent a hand to his excellent
generalshi$, The barbarians charging full tilt and raising a terrific din as they
went strucl< the Roman ranks with a violent impact. They immediately
dislodged the cenme of the van and went careering into the empty space left
by the absence of the Heds.
The spearhead of the enemy,s forces cut
The following is the only gure that can be reconciled with each individual point
made in Agathias' description:
loot 2 4l
clcan thrcugh the r*nlt, though wlthout cauaing many casualtles, and swept
on pnst the, rcarguatd, Some of them advoncod still futher in an attempt to
tak the Roman camp, r At this point Narses quietly instnrcted the wings
to turr isund, performing what in military parlance is termed a right about
turn, and to extend thernselves somewhat. The mountecl bovrmen \r;efe to
fire their affot/s crosswise from either side into the bac-ks of the enemy.
They had no di{ficulty in following these instructions. Being on horsebad<
ih.y or.ttopped the barbatians, who were on foot, and it was extremely
easy for them to hit a target whidr was some distance aray, spread out and
clear of obstacles. Not was it, I imagine, at all difiicult for the horsemen on
the flanks to shoot their arrows over the heads of that pa* of the enemy on
their side whidr was nefest to t-hem and to wound those on the far side
whenever they came into sight.
Indeed the Franks were pierced in the
back from all sides, with the Romans on the right wing pid<ing otr the enemy
on the left and those on the left wing pid<ing ofi the enemy on the right'
Thus the affows were virtually invisible as they flew through the air in
reciprocally opposite directions destroying whoever lay in their path. The
barbarians were quite helpless, being unable to defend themselves and not
even having any clear idea from where they were being shot at.
they were standing f.ace to'face with the Romans with their attention con-
centrated only on their immediate surroundings, engaged as they were in
hand-to-hand fighting with the heavy-armed troops in front of them, they
did not even so mudr as catdt a glimpse of the mounted bowmen stationed
behind them. Furthermore they were being hit in the bad< and not in the
chest and so had no mens of ascertaining the true nature of their plieht.
6 Many of them were strucik dead on the instant before they even had tirne
to ask themselves what was happening. As those on the outside kept fallins
those on the inside sT'ere successivelyexposed to viev and since this occurred
repeatedly their numbers were rapidly thinned out and dwindled into in-
Meanwhile Sindual and his Heruls met, on approac-hing the scene of
brtil., with those of the enemy who had broken through the Roman ranks
and *"r" drarging on ahead. 8 As soon as they w'ere at close quarters they
engaged them. The enemy were taken unawares and thrown into confusion.
Ttioking they had fallen into an ambush they took immediately to flight,
blaming the Herul deserters and accusing them of having deceived them'
SinduJ and his men followed hard on their heels, not slacleiring his pursuit
until he had slain some and driven others into the eddying w'aters of the
g once the Heruls were in their place the empty space_was filled in and
th* Rrrnun ranks were closed up, with the result that the Franks, being
42 lrthlnrThrHhchl
virtually caught in a ner, wme rleughtercd on dl ddcr, hclr mnln com.
pletely broken they were rollcd bad< on themrclver ln e hopcless rcut.
ro The Romans did not dispatch them with arrowo onlybut both hcavy-
armed and light-armed rroops joined
in the onslaught, hurling their javelins,
running them through with their pikes and cutting them to pieces with their
swords, while the cavalry outflanked them cutting them oJ[ and hemming
them in. Those who escaped death by the sword were driven into the rivei
by their pursuers and went to a watery grave. cries of lamentation filled the
air as the barbarians perished miserably. r r Butilinus their drief and his
whole army
'were wiped our and the Heruls who had deserted before the
battle were numbered among the slain. Indeed only five out of the entire
Teutonic host managed to escape and return to their ncestral abodes.
rz fhat clearer proof could there be that they were punished for their
wickedness and ovemaken by
relentless operation of divine
vast throng of Franks and Alamanni and all the others who flocked to their
standards met with complete annihilation, whereas only eighty of the
Romans lost their lives, and they were the men who sustained the first shock
of the enemy attack. 13 In this battle practically everybody in the Roman
ranks showed conspicuous bravery. Among the batbanan auxiliaries Aligern
the Goth (he too took part in the battle) and Sindual the captain of the
Henrls acquitted themselves with as mucJr gallantty as any man. AII were
full of praise and admiration for Narses and felt that it was thanks to his
foresight that they had distinguished themselves.
10. Scarcely,.I irnagine, have past ages produced another example of such
signal and overwhelming victory. And if other men have, in the pasr,
su:ffered a similar fateto the Franks, closer inspection reveals that the too
wete destroyed because of their wicledness. z Take Datis, for instance,
the satrap of Darius, who in olden times arrived at Marathon srith a Persian
army thinkillg that he was bound to subdue not
Attica but the whole
of Greece. llhe attad< was immoral and unj'ustifiable and was motivared solely
by the territorial ambitions o{ the Persian monardr Darius. The continent
of Asia ws, pparently, not big enough for him and he greatly resented the
idea of not being master of Europe too.
That then is the rason why the
Persians suffered a crushing de{eat at the hands of Militiades. The story
goes that the Athenians promised to sacrifice to Arremis, the Goddess of the
Chase, a kid for every man of the enemy slain and that she bestowed her
flvour upon them so bountiftilly and they enjoyed sudr abundant hunting
that even when they resorted to sacrificing goats they could not make up the
number. So heavy were the enemy's'losses in that battle!
Or tak the
celebrated xerxes and his marvels,
how else did he come to sufier dereat
Ac"tt tr no doubt thinking of the bridging of the Hellespont and the digeing of
a canal through the isthmus north of Mount Athos. Both of these incidents became in
Booh 2
rt thc hcndr d ths Grtokr thrn beceucc ln hia abandoned wlclccdness he set
out to enrleve mn utho had done him no wrong and putting might before
right relied rgthcr on forcc of numbers and equipment than on discretion,
dh"re.a the Grceko wefe fighting in a
cause for their own freedom and,
neglecting nothing that it was in their power to do, they took all the appro'
priate decisions and acted upon them?
How, for instance, coutrd one ac-
iount for the trophies of Gylippus the Spartan, the defeat of Nicias and De-
mosthenes and the whole Syracusan disaster save in terms of folly and wid<ed-
ness? For, what reason did the Athenians have for neglecting the war on their
doorstep and sailing at/ay to tavagedistant Sicily. 6 One could easily cite
many other instances of enterprises born of stupidity and wicledness and of
the harmful consequences they have for those who carry them through, b'ut
I think that what has been said should prove sufiicient in the circumstances.
The Romans, then, (to return to my previous narrative) after burying
their dead according to their own rites and customs stripped the enemy and
collected a huge quantity of agns. They also knod<ed down the defensive
works of the enemy and plundered their camp. Laden with booty, crowned
with the laurels of victory, and singing songs of triumph they led their
general bad< in stte to Rome.
8 All the neighbourhood of Capua as far as the outlying districts pre-
sented the spectacle of fields running with blood and the riverside flooded
with an overflow of corpses. I have it on the uthofity of a native of those
parts that an anonymous poem in elegiacs was inscribed on a stone pillar
erected near the bank of the river and that it ran as follows:
"The Casulinus lodged its freight of corpses here,
where its currents cross Tyhrrenian shores
the Frnkish hordes that fell to the Ausonian spear
and followed Butilinus and his cause.
Ah happy stream, oh carnage more than trophies dear,
long-reddened by their blood the water pours".
Thether this poem was really engraved on a stone or whether it was
simply passed on by word of mouth until it reached me, I see no reason for
transcribing it here. It might perhaps serve as a not inelegant testimony
to the course of this battle.
11. In the meantime ner's of the fate of Leuthatis and his men in Venetia
reached the Romans. flhereupon both civilians and soldiers gave themselves
up to still more frequent and sustained bouts of merry-making and
.tior, fondly imagining that they would not have to face any further
opposition and that they would spend the rest of their days in peace. Now
tat the enemy who invaded ltaly had met with sudr wholesale destruction
Greek rhetorical tradition stock examples of human affognce seekin to subvert the
nafural order of things.
44 Asrthlmr?he l{htorlu
they u dld not thlnh thet therc would be any more lnvarlona; that, at any
rate, was what the rank and file, wlth thelr charsctcrlstic lnability to divine
the true flature of afiairs, their propensity for indolence and thiir habit of
everything according to their own pleasure"seeking srandards,
Narses, however, made a detailed and penetrating assessment
o{ the situation and concluded that it would be sheer madness to imagine
that they would have no further srruggless ro undergo, but could sttle
dourn to a changed existence of blissful and increasing self-indulgence. It
only remained, I fancy, for them to se1l, in their stupidity, their shields ancl
helmets for a flagon of wine or a lyre, so superfluous and useless for any
future contingency did they consider their weapons to be.
Their general,
howevef, saw clearly that, in all probability, there would be more wars with
the Franks, and was 'afuatd that the Romans might so undermine their
morale through soft living, that when the moment for action came they
might succumb to cowardice and refuse ro face danger.
And indeed his
Trorst fers might soon have been rcalized had he not deemed it opportune
to call his men together and address them in noble and rousing tones, in
order to bring them back to their senses, restore their courage, curb their
vanity and curtail their conceit. And so when they were all gathered together
he stood in their midst and delivered the following speeclr:
L2. "The experience of sudden and unprecedented prosperity does tend
by its very unfamiliarity to confuse people and to make them lose their
sense of proportion, and this is especially so i{ the element of surprise is
accompanied by an element of undeserved success. z But if someone were
to accuse you of acting out of draracter, what excuse could you ofier? That
you have now tasted ctory, and that the sensation is a novel one? You,
who rid the world of Totila and Teias and the entire Gothic nation! fs it,
then, that,you af,e orperiencing a disproportionate measure of success?
7hat measre o{ prosperi, however great, cotild matdr the fame of Roman
arms? To triumph forever over our enemies is our birthright and ancestral
You are victorious, therefore, and deservedly so, as your
actions and adrievements have amply demonstrated. These things do not
accrue to you from a life of ease and pleasure, but are the result of manifold
endurance and exertion and of long sdrooling in the hazatds of war.
must, tJrerefore, persist in your former determination, not just
yourselves to the enjoyment of your pfesent prosperity but also taking steps
to ensure its continuance into the future. Thoever fails to take these factors
into consideration deprives success of a lasting basis and discovers all too
often that the tide of fortune has turned against him,
The fate of the
Franks, whidr now fills you with justifiable pride, should serve as an object-
lesson. Their affairs were prospering for a time unril in a frt of. arrogance
and presumption they waged war against us, Tlot having sufiicient foresight
Booh2 4,
to relitc tho wlld trnprobability of their aime, The recult, as you know, has
been total annlhllatlon, a fate consummated by our arms but caused by their
6 It would indeed be shameful, fellow Romans, if you were to sufier the
came fate as the barbadans and not to outshine them as mudr by your
superiof intelligence as you do in physical prowess. And let none of you
lrnagine that all your foes have been desroyed and that there will be no
more enernies to fight. Yet, even if this were really the cse, that would be
no reason for allowing youtselves to go to seed and surrendering all decency.
But no efiort of the imagination could make the true situation coincide
with yout illusions. The Franlcs are a gteat and populous nation and extre-
mely well-versed in the afi of war. A tiny fraction of them has been defeated,
too small to inspire them with fear, but large enough to provoke them to
anger. It is unlikely, then, that they will remain inactive and gulp down the
insult in silence. Indeed it is rnudr more likely that they will return shortly
with a larger army to resume the fighting against us. 8 Resolve, therefore,
to banish idleness novr and to renew your martial qualities, bringing them
to n enr'en higher pitch of perfection than before, seeing that you must face
the prospect of stiffer opposition for the future than you have encountered
in the past.
If you persist in this resolve, then, even should they appear
on the scene very shortly, they will find you in a state of complete prepared-
ness the moment they strike. 7heteas, in the event of their giving up the
idea altogether, (since we must red<on with both possibilities) your safety
will be assured and you will be seen to have adopted the best policy".
ro These words of exhortation from Narses filled the army with shame
and remorse at their irresponsible behaviour. And so, curbing every impulse
to riotous and disordetly conduct, they returned to their traditional ways.
13. A detachment of Goths, numbering about seven thousand men,
which had assisted the Franks in various places, concluded that the Romans
would not slaclen in their ofiensive but would soon be attad<ing them too,
and withdrew immediately to the fortress of Campsa.
z The place was
particulady secure and well fortified since it was situated at the top of a
steep hill, with an aruay of boulders stretching out in all directions and rising
sheer about the summit, which rendered it inaccessible to enemy assault.
Once these Goths had gathered together in this place they felt safe and
had not the slightest intention of capitulating to the Romans. Indeed they
were determined to fight bacl( with all their might and main should anyone
attack them.
The man who urged and incited them to adopt this course,
a barbanan called Ragnaris, who though neither a kinsman nor a
compatriot was their leader. He belonged
in {.act, to a Hunnic tribe called
la Perhaps modern Conza, aboat fifty miles east of Naples.
46 Acrthlau The HhCIdu
the Bitgorr, Hc rchlcved his pre-cminent poartlon through hls slcill and
culnjng and capaclty to acquire personal inf{ucnce by all rneans both fair
and foul. Now he was plar:ning to resume hostllities tn the hope of thereby
enhancing his o'ilrn prestige,
Narses, at once, mardred against them with all his forces. But since it
was impossible to get near rhe fort by launching a sudden attad< and there
was no question of fighting it out on sadvantageous terrain, he settled
down to a regular siege, guarding every possible supply point, in order to
make sure that nothing whatsoever should be convyed to the men inside
and to deter them from venturing forth at will.
The barbarians, how-
ever, did not sufier any rcal harm as a result of this policy, being, in fact,
possessed of an abundancq of provisions, since all their stores and most
valuable possessions had previousty been brought to this fort, which they
held to be impregnable.
6 Nevenheless the fact of being besieged by the Romans \'as a source
of annoyance to rhem and they felt that it would be a grear indignity if they
were going to be confined and shut up in an enclosed space for ind"finitl
perlod. so they made frequenr sorries against rhe enemy, hoping that they
might succeed in driving rhem away from the place, but the fighring was un-
distinguished and inconclusive.
L4. After winter had been spenr on these operarions Ragnaris decided
that he should call for a discussion of terms with Narr.r. Having been
granted permission for a parley he appeared escorted by a few m.r, d th.
t\o met somewhere in no marr's land and had a lengthy discussion. z But
the_ spectacle of Ragnaris pufied up with conceit,-boasting extavagantly,
making outrageous demands and generally adopting a high und ighiy
attitude decided Narses to break off the meeting unconditionally and send
him away without further ado.
But, when he had already goi to the top
of the hill and was not far from the wall of the fort, stealthil and without
making a sound he drew his bow and, furious at the failur of his plans,
turned round and shot an arrow straight at Narses. He missed. The arrow
flew wide of its mark and fell to the ground without harming anyone.
But the barbanan was quiclly punished for his ffeachery. Angered at his
insolence Narses'body-guard shot at him. The wretch was wounded mor-
tally, his inevitable deserts for perpetrating sudr a foul piece of treadrery.
7ith difiiculty his escort carried him into rhe fo$ress.
He lingered on
there for two days and rhen died an ignominious death, whidr was th.
fitting conclusion of his insane perfidy.
6 After his dath the Goths, thinking that they were no longer in a
position to withstand the siege, requested Narses to provide them with an
assurance that he woulcl not deprive them of their lives. As soon as they
Book 2
recelved rworn undcrtahing to that eflect they iurmediately surrendered
themoelver end thc fort.
Nareec put none of them to death, since, apart from the fact thathe had
his word not to, it would have been unthinkable to kill in cold blood
r ddeated encmy. To prwent them from stirring up any further trouble,
however, he sent them all to the Emperor in Constantinople.
these events were in progfess the young Theudobald, who ruled
ovcr the Franks whose territory adjoined ltaly, (as I explained earlier on)
died most wretd:edly from the ruurg., of a congtal diJease.
Custom required that Childebert and Chlotar, being his next of kin,
succeed the lad. But immediatery a violent feud, of sudr intensity
that it threatened to have a detrimental efiect on the nation as a whol,
broke out between them.
Childebert was already aged and infirm and his whole body had
withered and wasted away as a result of an acute debility. Furthermore he
was devoid of male issue, having only daughters ro succeed him. ro Chlo-
taf, on the other hand, was still vigorous and had nor aged mudr, the first
wrinkles being
barc7y discernible. Moreover he had four strapping sons
who were brimming over with energy and daring. Consequentl Ctlotut
insisted that his brother shouJd relinquish his claim to Theudobald's estate,
in view of the fact that it would nor be long before Childebert's kingdorn
too devolved upon him and his sons. rr He was nor disappointed in his
hopes. The old man, in fact, voluntarily resigned his share of the inheritance,
through fear, no doubt, of the other man's power and because he wished to
avoid incurring his enemity. Not long after, he died,leaving chlotar the sole
ruler of the Franks. This then was the situarion in ltaly and the srare of
afiaim among the Franks.
15. In summer time, roughly during the same period,
there ws a
violent earthquake in Constantinople and in many parts of the Empire, with
the result that several cities both on the islands and the mainland were
nzedto the ground and their inhabitants wiped out. z The lovely city of
the jewel
of Phoenicia, was completely ruined and its world-
famous arc}itectural treasures were reduced to a heap o{ rubble, practically
nothing b'r.rt the bare pavernents of the buildings being left.
Many of the local inhabitants were crushed to death under the weight
of the wred<age, as srere many cultivated young men of distinguished
pffentage who had come there to study the Law. There was, in f.act, a long
tradition studies in the city, and the law schools conferred an aura
of peculiar privilege and distinction on the place.
551 A. D.
4 Agethlmr Thc Hlrtorler
poinr,.then, the profesoors of law moved to the neighbouring
city of sidon and the schools werc rransferrcd there, untll Beryt uras re.
bu,iIt. The resrored city was very difierent from what it had been in ttrre past,
though it was not changed beyond recognirion, since it still preservea a rew
traces of its former self. But this rebuilding of the city and the subseguent
return of the schools was not to take place for some time yet.
At that time also some slight tremors u7'ere felt in the great rnetropolis
o{ Alexandria on the Nile, an altogether unusual occurrence-for those parts.
6 All the inhabitants and particularly the very old were amazed ,i tH"t
unprecedented phenomenon. Nobody stayed indoors. The popu-
lace congregated in the streets, seized with unwarranied panic at th. r,rdn-
ness and novelty of the event.
I myself was in Alekandria at the time completing the prescribed
which lead to the law course proper, and I moit confess I was
quite overcome with fear considering the faintness of the tremors. 7hat
really worried me, though, was the f.act thatpeople's houses there are not at
all strongly-built and quite incapable of standing up to even a small amount
of vibration, being frail and flimsy srrucrures consiiting of a single thicl<ness
of stone.
8 There was alarm even among the educated section of the community
not, I think, at what had, actually taken p1ace, but because it seeme r"rror-
able to expect that the same thing would happen again.
Some people, in fact, claim that the cause of this phenomenon lies in
certain dry and fiery exhalations whidr are imprisoned in underground cavi-
ties and, having no proper otrtlet, build up an enormous pressure, until,
violently shaking everything that bars their passage, they &entually force
their way out into the open through some weak point in the earth's crust.
Nour those who advance this type of scientic explanation say that Egypt is
by nature incapable of experiencing earth-tremois, being flai and t"-ly*e
and devoid of underground caviries, and that in consequnce it does rroi b"-
come drarged with sudr vapours, which in any case wuld keep seeping out
of the ground even if drey weie present owing to the poros ity and
of the terrain.
ro On that occasion, then, when this theory was well and truly refuted
and shown to rest on no very firm basis, the good people were naturally
dismayed at the thought that the famous epigram might, to their cosr, prove
true in reverse and that they might, in future, be in danger of experiencing
the god Poseidon not just
in tl.e capacity of "earth-supporter,, but also in
the more sinister role of "eafth-shaker".
rr Still, wen though tremors
Probably a training in rhetoriq as Mrs. Cameron poinrs out (op. cit. pp. 140-141).
This epigram has not come down to us, but it requires rro great ingnty to deduce
that it made use of a mythological conceit in whidr these two tradiiiond epithets of
Book 2
have been {elt sver c pert o( Egypt thc o(pcrts will not fail to find fresh
guments Lr rupport of the vapour thcory.
re To my mind, however, though eir conclusions do not lac} a certain
plau.sibility, to the extent, that is, that it is possible for a rnan to make in-
Ierences about things which are beyond his ken, they are, however, very far
rcmoved {rom the real truth. How, indeed, could one hope to gain an accu-
tate picture of things that he can neither see nor influence? 13 It is su,fii-
clcnt for us to know that all things are controlled by the workings of a divine
mind. To observe and investigate the principles and operations of the
physical wodd and the causes of eadr particular phenornenon, such specu-
lstion is admittedly not altogether worthless or unattractive, but it would
bc the most reprehensihle kind of presumption to imagine that it is possible
to arrive at the ultimate reality by sudr a procedure. Bur enough of such
thiogt. Let us retufn to the point where we broke ofi our account.
16. At that time the island of Cos whiih lies at the southern end of the
Aegaean was almost completely destroyed. Indeed except for one small part
of the island practically nothing was left standing, and the disasrer uTas un-
precedented in its scale and complority. z The sea rose up to a fantastic
height and engulfed all the buitdings near the shore, destroying thern to-
gether with their contents and inhabitants. The heaving mass was of sudr
enormous proportiorrs that it flung down everything there that its surging
crests could not ride over.
Almost all the inhabitants perished indis-
criminately, whether they happned to have taken refuge in pces of worship
or to have stayed in their homes or gathered together in some other spot.
I happened to have occasion to disembark there myself just after the
disaster, when I was sailing bad< from Alexandria to Constantinople (the
island is of course on the route). 7hen I set foot on shore I was confronted
with a spectacle that beggared description.
Practically the whole city was reduced to a gigantic heap of rubble,
littered with stones and fragments of broken pillars and beams, and the air
was mur with thid< clouds of dust, so that one could surmise the
eristence of what had once been streets from a few vague hints of their
presence. A mete handful of houses stood intact and they \ri'ere not the ones
thatha, been built with stones and mortar or some sudr seemingly more
solid and durable substance, but only those made in peasant style out of un-
baled bricls or mud. 6 Here and there could be seen a few men whose
haggard and dejected faces wore a look of hopeless apathy.
On top of all their other ills the entire local water-suppLy had been
contaminated with sea-water and rendered undrinkable. All was ruin and
desolation. The only vestige of distinction left the city was the famous name
the sea-god Poseidon were contasted in order to express Egypt's immunity from
,0 srthlerr Thc Illrmrlel
of the Aadepiadae
and ite proud bomt of hrvlng bcen the birthplaco of
To be moved to pity by tragedies suclr ag these rccmg only human, but
to declare oneself utterly bafiled and astonishcd would be to betay one'c
ignorance of past history and of the {act that this world of ours is by its very
nature continually orposed to a variety of calamities and misfottunes. Indecd
many times in the past whole cities have been destroyed by earthquakes,
losing all their original population nd eventually being repeopled, as ne\r/
cities rise on their ruins.
L7. The city of Tralles on the Maeander is a case in point. This ancient
settlement of the Pelasgians situated in what is now ca1led the Province of
Asia was completely devastated by an earthquake during the reign of the
Emperor Augustus.20
z The story goes that, when the city lay in a tragic heap of ruins, a certain
rustic, a tiller of the soii by e name of Chaeremon \r/as so deeply moved
by the calamity that he could bear it no longer and so ser our to accomplish
an incredible and ortraordinary feat.
Deterred neither by the disrance
involved, nor by the magnitude of his petirion, nor by the dangers he was
likely to face, nor indeed by his doubtful drances of success, nor, for thar
matter, by the fact that he would be leaving his family to fend for them-
selves, nor by any of the other considerations that lead men to drange their
minds, he went not just
to Rome but to rhe land of the Cantabri2l on rhe
very shores of the Ocean. For Caesar was there at that time conducting a
campaign against some of the local tribes.
\7hen Chaeremon told him what had happened the EmperorTvas so
toudred that he straightaway designated seven of Rome's noblest and most
distinguished e:r-consuls and sent them with tleir retinues ro the spot. They
got there with all speed and diligently supervised the rebuilding of the city,
spending hrige sums of money on the project and giving the city the form
which it has preserved right up to the present day.
It would be a mis-
nomer to call its present inhabitants Pelasgians, ruther one should think of
thern as Romans, even though they have become Greek-speaking, which is
understandable since their territory borders on fonia.
6 These happenings ate all voudred for by the ofiicial history of the city
and corroborated by an epigram whidr I read when I went there.
fn one
of the fields on the outskirts of the city, apparently the spot that Chaeremon
came from (the name of the field is Siderus) there stands the base of a sratue.
It is of great antiquity and on it it appears that a statue of Chaeremon must
once have stood, though there is nouT no longer any ttace of. it. 8 Never-
An ancient guild of physicians to which Hippocrates himself belonged.
20 27 A.D.
A tibe of eastern Asturia.
Itook 2
thsler the dcdlcrdon ln vetse lnrcrlbed on thc base h ttlll diecernible
runi er fsllowr:
"Oncc, when an eorthquake razed his city to the ground,
. the gdlent Chacremon did smaightaway take thought
to rescue it and uavelled till at length he found
in far.away Cantabria the Emperor and his court.
Now on this altar does his image stand
and citizens by grateful fancy led
greet as a second founder of their land
tfie man who rescued Tralles from the dead."
[e may safely assume then that the foregoing is a reliable accounr
events in Tralles. Many other cities in Asia, in fact, both those settled
Ionians and those settled by Aeolians, sufiered a similar Late at that time.
18. fiell, I think I had better leave rhe subject of narural disasrers
tesume the thread of my narrative. But, if I am to give a truly
account of the period, the scene must move to tlre land of the Lazt and
urars with Persia.
: The Romans and the Persians had been at srar for a very long time a
were continually mvagpng each other's territory. Sometimes they resorted
a policy of sporadic fighting and undeclared hostility making frequenr
and incursions, on other occasions they engaged in open and
Shortly before our period both parties had agreed to a
whiih covered the eastern territories and the frontiers of Armenia, but d
not e.:<tend to coldris.
The inhabiranrs of Lazica were called cold:ia
in ancient times, so that the Lazi and the Coldrians are the same peop
That this is the case can easily be inferred from sucl, landmarks as the rir
Phasis and the caucasus and the r.act that they have inhabited these regio
fot a very long time.
There is a madition that the Colchians came originally as settlers frc
Egypt.The story goes thar long before the voyage to Coldris of
the Argonauts and at all evenrs before the time of the Assyrian Empire a
the days of Ninus and Semiramis, Sesosrris king of Egypt raised ahuge arr
of native Egyptians and launched an invasion against the whole f As
whidr he subdued. He is cedited with having rcacled Coldris too and wj
havils left a pa,l- of his host there, from *tidr, presrably, the Colclia
ate descended. This account has the support of Diodorus Siculus
large number of other ancient authorities.2a
cf. Diodorus Siculus I.55.4.
cf. Herodotus 2,L04.
,2 Agrthlmr The Hl:tcrlo
6 Now thece Lazi, ColcJrlana, Egyptlan mignnta or whrt heve you, heve
becorne a bone of contention in our day ond ege, nd innumerablc battles
have been fought for the sake of their land.
The Persian Emperor Chosroes had already appropriatcd and occupiecl
much of their territory including some of the most strategically importanr
positions. Far from entertaining any idea of relaxing his hold on the place
he was intent on completing its subjugation. On thJother hand the Rman
thoughi it unlearable and quite immoral to abandon
Grrbazes, the then king of theLazi, and the whole of his nation, seeing thar
they were subjects of the empire and linked by a common bond of friend-
ship and religion. Instead he did his urmost to drive our rhe enemy as quiclly
as possible.
gasped clearly the alarming implications of a Persian victory
rgsulting in the annexarion of the whole area. Shouid sudr a thing happen
there would be nothing ro prevenr t}e Persians from sailing up the Euxine
with impunity and probing deep into the heart of the norn Empire.
8 Accordingly he stationed a Targe and powerlul army there under the
command o{ some of his best generals. Bessas, Martin and Buzes were in
charge of the operation, all of them men of firsr-rare abty and wide mili-
tary erperience.
the son of Germanus, who despite his extreme youth
was well-versed in the att of wat, r7s sent there too.
19. The Persian general Mermeroes had twice attad<ed Ardraeopolis and
had been repulsed twice. After a number of other exploits whiclr i omit to
mention here since tJrey have already been adequately recorded by Procopius,
he had, at the point where I must pick up the thread of my narrativ., rea.h"d
and the stronghold of Cotais, determined to press on through
the difiicult terrain around Telephis and penerrate as far as rhe river Phasis.
In this way he would take the Romans by surprise and, relying on the
resultant cofusion, would make,a bid for the forcible occupation of some
of the forts in the area. z There was no question, however, of achieving
this result if he were to advance and attad< openly. Martin was statione
with his army in the fortress of Telephis, and was keeping a s*icr watdr on
all approaches to the region.
Besides the terrain is inaccessible and a7-
most impassable. Deep gorges.and steep overhanging rod<s on either side
render the path below naffo/ in the extreme.
Nor is it possible to
approadr the place by any other roure. The adjacent plains are a mass of
sv/amps and quagmires, and dense thiclets and copses rise up so as to
present a formidable obstacle even for one lightly-clad man, let alone for an
arrred host.
Even so the Romans spared no pains and if they found any spot whicJr
Spring o1 554 or 555.T\e drronology is uncertain.
Eoolr 2
vm flm cor.l5h to srrlh on they lmmcdlately fenccd it round with wooden
tter rnd !tone!, burylng themselvea incessently with these tasks.
.Jter ior perplffiity and a gteat deal of hard thinking about how to
dml wtth thc cituatlon it occurted to Mermeroes that if by sorne means he
uld malce the Romans telax theit vigilance and could gradually divert
thch attention it would be quite feasible for him to get his forces tlrough.
ut ae long as the enemy kept the area undercuru.illrn . it wo'uld not be
for him to tackle simultaneously and overcome both obstacles to his
progres. Once they relaxed their vigilance, however, he thotrght it would
not be such an impossible task to deal with the difiicult terain ad clear a
for his tl.oops. 6 7ith the huge resources of manpower at his
dleposal he hoped to get through without mucJr difiiculty by cutting and
eleating away the woods and by cutting through and removing any rod<s
that impeded his progress.
In order to secure this oective he devised
*re following stratagem:
Pretending that he had suddenly fallen victim to a dangerous and incurable
complaint he went to bed, where he made a great display of his vexation and
dlscomfiture and loudly lamented his fate. 8 Soon the word spread
throughout the whole atmy that the general was seriously ill and was practi-
cally on the verge of death. Ihose who made money out of betraying their
o'urn people to the enemy and passing on seet information were also in the
dark about what was really happening, since his plan was kept a carefally
grrarded secret and \vas not even disclosed to all his closest friends. Deceived,
then, simply by the rumours whidr were in general circulation they informed
the Rornans accordingly. The Romans readily believed the report not so
mud1, I think, on its own merits as because that was what they wanted to
20. Immediately they began to relax their vigilance and no longer
bothered to take strict precautions. After an interval of a few days, news
amived that Mermeroes had died. He had in fact hidden himself in a room
with the result that this belief won the support of even his mosr intimate
associates. z Thereupon the Romans feit that there was even less point
in their passing sleepless nights and exerting themselves continually. So they
suspended operations on the fences and enclosures and began to take life
easy., sleeping all night and billeting themselves in the counrry areas. They
did not even send out scouts ot perform any other essential task. They
thought that, being apparently leaderless, the Persians would never attack
them but would go out of their'ffay to avoid them.
As soon as he learnt this, Mermeroes abandoned his pretence and
showed himself to the Persians just as he was before. He then promptly
mardred out his entire army. Throwing himself into the task with untiring
I lietor ler
zcal hc lcurovt:d all obstrrcles to thcil progrc$lr lry thc lnsutts whiih he hrttl
long bccn planning ancl approadrcd thc ort.
The Romans were so startlcd by the uncxpcctcclncss of his approadr that
they were no longer in a tt state to defencl themselves.
Martin decidccl
therefore, to abandon the fort at this point before Mermeroes shoulcl forcc
his way in and make havoc of the Romans there. Indeed it is hard to imaginc
how tey, a mere hand{ul o men, could have resisted such a vast number of
enemy ttoops without being massacred. And so, outmanoeuvred by the
barbafians, they beat an ignominious retreat and hastened to join the rest of
their forces.
Bessas and
and their men were encamped on a plain
only seven stades distant frorn Telephis. There is nothing there apart {rom
a pottery- market, which has given its name to the spot. The place is in fact
called Ollaria, aLatin word whidr means the same thing as Chytropolia does
in Greek.26 6 Once Martin and the bulk of his men had already made it
to safety, the generals unanimously decided to stand their ground and wait
for the enemy there in order to prevent them from advancing any further.
Among the most distinguished of the commanders \'as a man named
Theodore, aTzanianby birth who had been brought up among Romans and
had, already lost the barbarian ways of his homeland and become quite
civilized. 8 This Theodore, then, stayed on near Telephis with his own
body of men (no fewer tJran five hundred of his fellow contrymen accom-
panied him) having received insuuctions from Martin not to leave until the
enemy vrere near enough for him to see them all and to guge, as far as
possibLe, their numbers, their mettle and their intentions.
21. He proceeded to ca"rry out these instructiorrs with his usual energy
and daring. So, when he saw that the Persians had overrun the fortress and
rcalized that they would not stop at that but were only too eager to do
battle, he immediately departed.
z On his way back he discovered that many of the Romans had not gone
straight to Chytropotria as they had been told to, but had burst into the
houses o{ the Laziand were carrying ofi millet and wheat and other food-
stufs. He tried to drive them a\\ay, eproaching them for their irresponsible
behaviour and for their failure to reolize what trouble they were in.
Those who were able to conuol their rapacity recognized the folly of
their ways and mardeed to safety following his lead.
But Theodore had
no drance to report in due course to tle generals on the approacJr of Mer-
meroes. \X/hat had actoalTy happened was that the Persians suddenly caught
up with some of the soldiers who had carried on plundering regardless,
and killed a few o{ them. The others fled and did not stop running until
they had burst into the camp banging and shouting at the top of their
voices. So great rffs the general consternation provoked by the suddenness
Book 2
11f tlreil irrrrptiorr thnt nll were soizerl witlr utrwrtrt'ntttetl pnnic nncl begrttt to
()ut o[' tltcir
'1.'tre pcrrerrrls (their forces fitcl not yet bccn pr<lperly rnatshallecl) were
lnfcterl rvirh n sin'rilrrr pnnic, fenring tlrnt the barbarian wourld attad< them
in their: pr(:sen1 stte of unprcparcdness. They were ready to scrap their
[',trt they hacl no alternative to fall back on. Indeed the urgency
,rf th" siiuation an,l ihe confused state of their minds precluded even the
possibility of teflection'
6 llrcaking up camp immediately, therefore, they left the plain' They
tool< all their troops with them as they retreated in an ignoble and undisci-
fout, running non-stop until they teadred Nesos.27
Now Nesos
is about five parararrgs a\yay from Telephis. So great a mardring distance had
these brave
covered in a single day's fast running! A parasang is,
nccording to Herodotus
and Xenophon, equal to thirty stades, whereas
nowdays the Iberians and Persians say that it is equivalent to t'renty-one
stades. 8 The Lazi too have the same units of measufement, but call them
by tfie difierent and, to my mind, not inappropriate name-of "pauses"' The
,"urr1 for this is that their porters stop fof a shoff rest whenevet they have
travelled a parusang and put dovrn their burdens, relays of fresh men taking
them up irturn at each successive stage. They then divide yp
the disnce covered according to the numbet of times they do this.
whatevelw'ay \'e may dtoose to red<on a pafasang the fact remains that
Nesos is one hundred and fifty stades distant from Telephis. The fort is in
a. strong and inaccessible position, being surrounded by two mighty rivers.
ro The Phasis and the Doconus flour separately from the Caucasus and are
a very great distance apatt atfrtst, but here the lie of the land exerts its
influence and causes them to converge gradually. The Romans had, by digging
acana7., con6ived to channel the waters of the Phasis into the Doconus, so
that the two rivers unite their streams touzards the eastern end of Nesos
and enclose the spo,t. rr After that they describe a numbef of twists and
turns, confining a not inconsiderable'section of the plain. They continue to
Ilow until they meet of their o'rn accofd towards the west and merge com-
pletely into one nother, so that all the intetvening gfound is virtually an
island. ft was in this place that the Romans had gathered.
22. When he reached Chytropolia Mermeroes decided, after pouring
scofn on thern for their cowatdice and concentfating a considerable amount
of invective on people who were not there to hear him, not to advance any
further or try to attack Nesos. He had no mens of conveving supplies to
sudr a huge atmy in the middle o{ enemy teffitory nor rlr's he in any other
respect equipped for a siege. z So, since he did not litr<e the idea of matdring
The word means "island".
Cf. Herodotus 2. 6,3.
!6 3r!u trrHhtorlu
badr to Tclcphir agd tho dllllcult temeln In thrt roglon, ho ret up (over the
tiver Phasis) a bridge of wooden planke and pontoonr rpeclally deaigned for
the purpose and conveyed hls w}ole army ecrom wlthout encoontJing .ny
_3 then,
after he had reinforced the Perelan garrison at-ono
(whidr he had established in the district of Ardraeopolis as a hostile
base against the Romans) pftirg new heart into the men and making the
qlace_a9 secure as possible, he ret'rned to cotais and Mudreirisis.
flicted by some disease and reduced ro a srare of
ill-heatth he 1eft
the main body of his army in that region to guard their possessions and ser
ofi himself for lberia.
_ _
After a painful journey
in which he was carried to the city of Meschitha,
Mermeroes succumbed to the illness and really and tnrly breathed his last
this time. His had been one of the most distinguished careers in
history. A brilliant organiser and an excellent tatician, he was above all a
ryn 9f -intrgnid
spirit. 7hen he was akeady an old man and had rong been
crippled in both his feet so badly that he was unable even to ride a horse he
the stamina and endurance of a young man in his prime. Nor did
he fail to take part in the actual fighting, but borne on a litter ire would move
ab,out the ranks of battle. Exhorting and encouraging his men and issuing
timely and accurate instructions he struck terror into the hearts of the enemy
and reaped the fruits of many a victory. Never indeed was there a more
sqiking illustration of the fact that brains and not brawn are the prerequisite
of a good general.
6 Mermeroes' servants took up his body, caried it out of the city and,
follouring their ancestral custorn, left it uncovered and unattended-to be
devoured by dogs and by sudr loathsome birds as feed on carrion.
23. Percian funeral customs regularly take this form. Thus the flesh is
picked away leaving the bones bare to rot scattered and dismembered on the
plains. It is'striely forbidden for them to put their dead into any kind of
tomb or cofiin or even to cover them over with earth. z And if the birds
do not swiftly s'oop down on a man's body or the dogs do not straightawair
come to tr it up they think that he must have been uttedy vicious and
depraved and that his soul has become a sink of iniquity reserved as the
exclusive haunt of the foul fiend. In that case his relations moum still more
bitterly for him since they consider him to be completely dead and to have
no share in a better hereafter.
But if a man is devoured on the instant
then they bless him for his good fortune and they regarcl his soul with awe
and wonder, considering it to be most virtuous and godlike and destined to
ascend to the place of bliss,
It any of the rank and file happen to be
afflicted with some grievous ailment when out on,active service sornewrere,
they are taken away while still alive and lucid. 7hen a man is subjected to
this type of e4posure a piece of bread, some ,.atef, and a stick are set down
lool 57
bcdds lrJm, Al long
ho lr rblc to cst nd otlll hei rome rmall resldue of
ftfcngth left hlm wrnds ofi ettachlng animale with thc stid< and scares
ptolpcctlv feasters,
But if without actually dlstroying him.
the illness rsdcec him to a state whete he can no longet move his atms, then
thc animals dcvour the poor \fetch when he is not properly dead and is only
beginning to breatli his last, thus robbing him in advance of any possible
hope of recovery.
f fn.r" hav in fact been many insrnces of people who recovered and
feturned home, ptesenting an appearance of deathly pallor and emaciation
which was enough to frighten t}e life out of any one who should drance to
fall in with thern and looking for all the world like dlaractefs on the tragic
stage affiving from "the
portals of darkness"
f. anyone returns in
theie circumstances everybody shuns him and treats him as a pariah since
he is regarded as polluted and still belonging to the netherworld. Nor is he
permitted to fesume his place in society until the stain of pollutio1 incurred
Ly th" imminence of deth has been purged by the Magi in order that he
may, as it were, embrace life anew.
tt It quite obvious, of course, tlat each of the various nations of man'
Iiind consiers tht any c'ustom whatsoever whidr is both universally ac-
cepted in their society and deeptry rooted in their past cannot fail to be perfect
and sacrosanct, whereas whatever runs countef to it is deemed deplorable,
contemptible and unsrorthy of serious consideration. Nevertheless people
have always managed to find and enlist the support of reasoned fguments
from all quafters when their own conventions re involved. Sudr arguments
may indd be tnre, but they may also very well be specious fabrications.
So it does not smike me as particulafly surprising that the ?ersians too
rm"U ffy to prove, when accounting for their o/n customs, that these are
superior io ,nyon. else's. Whar I do find altogether remarkable-is that the
earliest inhabiiants of their land,that is to say the Assyrians, Chaldaeans and
Medes, had very difierent views on the ro subiect, as witness the tombs
and sepuldrres of men who died long ago which are still to be found on the
outskirts of Nineveh and Babylon and also in the district of Media. The form
of burial is no difierent ffom ouf own, and whether the bodies are enclosed
just the ashes, as is the case tith those who \I/ere cremated according to
the ancient Gteek custom, the fact remains that it is quite unlike anything
that is practised at
24.-'I'hose arly inhabitants then held no sudr views concerning burial,
nof was the sanctity of the mariage-bed violatecl in the way it norr is. Not
only do the present-day Persians think nothing of having intercourse with
their sisters and nieces, but fathers lie with their own daughters and, horrot
dmrt"t to the Hecuba of Euripides line t where the words are spoken by the
ghost of Polydorus.
gathlerl 'l'he I lirrurler
lirrrlt 2 59
tltc " fertlvul of tlre alnying of thc cvil ones " in which tlrcy kill hugc nunrbcr:s
of reptiles rltt(l (,tlref
wilcl ctcrtttrt'cs rrtrcl clctrizcns of thc descrt and present
tltettr to tlre rrrngi rrs n proof of thcil clevotion. Thcy imaginc that in this way
fhey nrr rcrrtlcring nn ngrccablc scrvice to the good divinity and that they are
thwurtirrg urrtl injuring Ahriman. r r Their veneration of water is so great
tlrnt they clo not evcn wash their faces in it or handle it in any other way save
o drink and fot the purpose of irrigation.
25, They name many other gods, whom they worship, and they perform
ractifices and practise ritual purifications and divination. Fire is considered
on object of peculiar sanctity and veneration. Accordingly it is tended in
certain remote and sacred chambers by the magi who never allow it to go
out. Gazing into it they perform their secret rites and scrutinise the course
of future events. z I imagine they took over rhis pracrice from the Chal-
cloeans or some other people, since it is something of an anomaly. Such a
procedure would of course be very much in keeping with the composite
noture of their religion which is a most varied blend of ideas derived from a
multiplicity of difierent peoples. And this srate of afiairs too is what I
ehould have expected.
Indeed I know of no other society whidr has been
subjected to suc}r a bewildering vadety of transformations or whidr through
its submission to n endless succession of foreign dominations has failed so
signally to adrieve any degree of continuity. Srnall wonder then that it still
bears the stmp of many different forms and conventions.
The AssyriRs are the first people mentioned in our tradition as having
conquered the whole of Asia as far as the river Ganges. Ninus appears to
have been the founder of the dynasty and was followed by Semiramis and
the whole line of their descendants stretching as far as Beleus the son of
7hen with BeLeus, the last scion of the house of Semiramis,
the family became extinct a man called Beletaran, who was head gardener in
the palace, gained possession of the throne in extraordinary circumstances
and grafted the royal title on to his orvn family. The story is told by Bion
and by Alexander Polyhistor and takes us down to the reign of Sardanapalus
when, as they tell us, the kingdom entered upon a phase of decline and Ar-
baces the Mede and Belesys the Babylonian wrested it from the Assyrians,
hilling their king and bringing it under the control of the Medes, some one
thousand three hundred and six years or more after Ninus' rise to power.
This figure is based on the drronology of Ctesias the Cnidian and accords
with that given by Diodorus Siculus.
6 A period of Median dornination then ensued in whiclr everyrhing was
ordered according to that people's laws and customs. After not less than
three hundred years of Median rule, however, Cyrus the son of Cambyses
defeated Astyages in battle and brought the country under Persian conrrol.
One could hardly expect him to have done otherwise seeing that he was
of lrorr:ors, olrt tlre.unnrrtrrrrrtnern
of it, ronr rvrrrr rtrcir nrotrrer.s.
lrarticular rrlxrmination is rr reccnt
ln well iflr.rr,i..i..A fry thc fol-
Iowing story. z It i-s saicl thnt trrc fa,,lou, .1,,""n ,f ssyrin scmiramis once
sank to sudr depths of dcba_trchery thri tlo ,.t.,rrlly c,,ccivc1
a 6esire to have
with her son Ninyas ,"a
went so fnr us to make advances
to the young man.
He rejected h.i angriry ancl finaily whe, he sv/ rhat
she was determined
t6-force .""ri .,., r,iri i; ffiii;i:Jr"
the unnatural *ime of matricide ;;rh.r;i;;"
be guflty of incest.
if this
type of behaviour was sociafly acceptabre-N"y;;;H
,",, 'rrrirr., have
resorted to such exffeme
in rder to avoid it.
here is no need, however, to confine o-ur_examples
to the distant past.
shortly before the Macedoniur, .ooq*.ri una ,n. desrucdon
of the
empire Parysatis the mother of Arterxes the son LiD;ri*
;'rfu ro have
succumbed to the same passion
as semiramis and to have become enamoured
of her son. He did not k,r her however, i;;rti;J
and thrust her aside. saying that it *rr'rn i.pi*rl *a ,nrr*rJ act, quire
foreign both to their natioi" hirtory *J-to irs present
way of life.
. .5
But the present-day persians
have armost comptretery
abandoned their
o.$ wavs-; an uphea,al whicrr has b".n muik"d ry tlr..r.Jt.rl.'loptioo
alien and degenerare manners, ever since they have;;;;;;
te spefl of
the doctrines of Zoroaster rhe son of Htiumrra.r.
6 Now, as far as rhis Zoroastet or zarudes
by both names)
is concerned, ir is not possibre
to x with any precision
the dates of his
floruit and the period
of his tef_orming
aJtir. Th. r.rri*, ,i-p'y ,uy
that he lived in tre region ,{ Hyrturp""J*irrroot
they mean the father oI D*iu,
*. , monarch of the same name.
Thatever the time of his froruit h" wur;; i;;;;;iil;;nr*.r
of the
magtan religion and he ir was who cJranged rhe crraracter
and introduced
a motley assorrment of leliefs.
8 rn ancient times the
worshipped Zeus and cronos and a[ the
other divinities of the Herlenic panth.orfi*
difierent names. They called Ziu, "n"I", Heracles
"Analira" and so on nd ,o forif,,'r..o1irig
to the ,.r,ir"ry
.roru, of
Babylon, Athenocles and simacus *lr" t".&a"a tt. ,r.i.rJ il;; of trhe
Assyrians and the Medes.
g But ,"*uary, their views conform for the
most part ro those of the so-cailed
Manichaernr, to th.
nif "i. rrorairrg
that there re n)i/o first principles
one;f *hi.( il
c;-;;Jh; lr,"
all that is fine in reariryand th. oth.r of ;hi.h ir-rh" *.ni"iri;hesis
both its properties
and its funaion.-Th.y-urrig,
barbarous names drawn
from their own language ro these .oriri.r. ..good divinity or creator they
call Ahuramazda,
whereas the name oi rrr" *it and marevorent
one is Ahri
man. ro of all the festivars they cerebrate rhe mosr important is one caned
60 Agrthlmr ?hr lllrtsrlcl
himself a native Perslan ond reacnted the fact thet the ltdedu had fought on
the side of Astyages.
The Persian kings nrled for two hundrod and twenty.eight years but
their empire disintegrated completely when it
ovefrun by the forces of a
foreign king. 8 Alexander, the son of Philip slew their king Darius the son
of Arsames, annexed the whole of Persia and re-organized the state along Ma-
cedonian lines. So outstanding in fact were the aihievements of that invincible
warrior that, even after death had removed him {rom the scene, his successors,
Macedonians though they were, held sway over an alien land for a great
length of time and came to wield very considerable power. Indeed I think
that on the stength of their predecessor's fE)utation they would have re-
mained in power right up to the presenr day if internal dissensions and
frequent wars of conquest directed against one another and against the
Romans had not sapped their stength and destroyed the myth of their
apparent invincibility.
The Macedonian supremacy lasted a mere seven years less than that of
t{re Medes, if we are to ccept the testimony of Polyhistor on this matter
too. Despite their long period of ascendancy, however, the Macedonians
were finally ousted by the Parthians. ro These members of a hitherto
insignificant dependenry then became rulers of the whole empire with the
excqrtion of Egypt. Arsaces, the leader of the revolt, gave his name to the
dynasty of the Arsacids that succeeded him, and it was not long before
Mithridates raised the name of the Parthians to great heights of renovrn.
26. The passage of two hundred and seventy years from Arsaces the first
king to Artabanus
tlre last one marks the inception, during the reign of the
Roman Emperor Alexander the son of Mamaea, of the dynasty to which the
contemporry Chosroes belongs. It was at this time also that the present'day
Persian state took shape.
z A crtain Persianialled Ardashir, a man of humble and obscure origins
but of great daring and resourcefulness and a born revolutionary, laundred
a attad< with a band of conspirators and killed the king Artabanus.
Assuming the diadem of the kings of Persia he put an end to the hegemony
of Parttia and restored the empire of the Persians.
He was a devotee of the magian religion and arr ofiicial celebrant of
its mysteries. Consequently the priestly caste of the magi rose to inordinate
porer and arrogance. This body had indeed made its influence felt on pre-
vious occasions in the course o{ its long history, though it had never before
been elevated to such a position of privilege and immunity, but had hitherto
been ofiicially accorded what in cettain respects amounted to an inferior
i*. A.tub*r* v.
lo12 61
Othcrwl (to take an example from the diatant patt) Dariua and his
rupportm rould not hsv bcen appdled, aB they were, ot the usurpatlon of
mcrder aftu the death of Cambyses the son of Cyrus. Nor would they have
ktlled Smerdec and large numbers of his polttical and religious sympathizers
on the groundo that the magi were not eligible to aspire to the dignity of the
lmperial throne. Far from considering the hillings n ourrage they felt that
thcir memory should be perpetuated, with the result that a feast was insti-
tuted whidr was named "the Magophonia"
after the coup d'tat
and was
accompanied by sacrifices of thanksgiving.
Nouradays, however, the magi are the objects of exffeme awe and
venefation, all public business being conducted at their discretion and in
accofdance with their prognostications, and no litigant or party to a private
dlspute fails to come under their
Indeed nothing receives rhe
etamp of legality in the eyes of the Persians unless it is ratified by one of the
27. The mother of Ardashir is believed ro have been married to a certain
Papak, a cobbler by profession and a person of no social consequence. He
was, however, extremely well-versed in astrology and could divine the future
with ease. z Now it so happened that a soldier called Sasan was travelling
thrcugh the region of Cadusia and was hospitably enrertained by Papak, who
showed him to his humble abode.
Somehow or other. presumably through his own prophetic powers,
Papah discovered that his guest's oiffspring was destined to greatness and to
singular good fortune. Reflecting that he had neither daughter nor sister nor
any close female relative he was troubled and perplexed. Finally he made his
wife go to bed with his guest and rurning a blind eye ro the outage took
future good fortune as the compensation for present humiliation and dis-
These then were the circumstances of Ardashir's birth. He was brought
up by Papah, but no sooner had he gro'/n up and seized the throne than a
violent quarrel openly broke out between Sasan and Papak, eadr one claiming
that the boy should bear his name.
They eventually agreed, however,
that he should be referred to as the son of Papak born of the seed of Sasan.
This at arty tate is the account of the genealogy of Ardashir whidr the
Persians maintain to be true, basing this assertion on the claim that it accords
with the version given in the royal ardrives.
6 I shall presently give a list in drronological order of the names of all the
descendants of Ardashir who came to the throne with details of the duration
of each particular reign. Historians have so far failed to compile s,udl a list;
indeed the whole subject has received scant atrenrion.
And yet they
i. e. "Slaughter-of-the-magi",
62 AlrthloiThrHhtorlcl
produce ligts of thc kings and emperon of Rornc whldr go brdr m frr pcrhepa
as Romulus, or to the still morc distant daya of Aenoru thc rcn of Anchiceo,
and extend to the reigns of Anastasius and
For the kings of Persia,
however, that is to say for those that have reigned sincc the break up of the
Pathian Empire) they have nor yer drawn up a parallel list setting out the
drronology'of their reigns, though sudr a list is still a desideratum.
8 I have t'herefore made it my business to collect ccrrte information on
the subject from official Persian sources and I feel that a detailed e<pos of
my findings is especially called for in a work sucJl as the present. Cons+
quently I shall proceed to give full particulars whenever I think ir necessary,
even though this will entail the enumeration of long and arid sts of names
and barbarian names at that, and even though they will sometimes be the
names of personages who have adrieved nothing vrorth recording.
this point I should like to idd, for the convenince of the reader, th; fol-
lowing clarification: three hundred and nineteen years takes us down to the
twenty-fifth year of the reign of Chosroes during whidr period the fighting
inLazica was in full swing and the death of Mermeroes had occurred. The
had been on the throne for twenty-eight years.
28. After first saying a feur words about Chosroes I shall rerurn directly
to my eadier narrative.
Chosross has been praised and admired quite beyond his deserts nor
by the Persians but even by some Rornans. He is in fact credited with being
a lover of literature and a profound student of philosophy and somebody
is supposed to have translated the works of Greek literature into Persian
for him. z It is rumoured moreover that he has absorbed the whole of
the Stagirite more thoroughly than the Paeanian otator33 absorbed the works
of the son of Olorus,3a that his mind is tlled with the doctrines of Plato the
son of Arison and that not even the Timaeus, bristling as it does with
geometrical theorems and scientific speculations, would elude his grasp, nor
lor that matter the Phaedo or the Gorgias or any other of the polished and
more intricate dialogues, as for instance the Parmenides.
Personally, I could never bring myself to believe that he was so remark-
ably well-educated and intellectually brilliant. How could the purity and
nobility of those time-honoured writings with a"11 their exactitude and felicity
of erpression be preserved in an uncouth and uncivilized tongue?
over one may well ask how a nnn brought up from drildhood in the
glamorous atmosphere of the court, surrounded by pomp and adulation, and
tU ,n^, *nich brought l)rius to power.
The orator Demosthenes who belonged to the deme Paeania in Attica.
3a The historian Thucydides. In plain English, then, the assertion that Agathias is so
indignantly rebutting is "that Chosroes was more at home with the complete works
of Aristotle than Demosthenes was with the writings of Thucydides,
BoL2 6,
then ruccdlhg to rn uttuly barbarous rtylc of life of which battles and
m&nouvrcr rtet I legulaf feature, could hope to achieve any real comps
tcncc or protclcncy in this branch of leaming.
Yct if pcople were to praise him on trhe score that, in spite of being a
Persian and in epite of being weighed down with the cares of empire and the
rceponsibility of governing so many nations, he still showed sorne inreresr
ln acquiring a smattering of literature and liked to be considered something
of a dilettante, in that case I should add my own voice to rhe general drorus
and should not hesitate to regard him as superior to the rest of the barbarians.
6 But those who attribute exceptional wisdom to him and call him the rival
of all philososphers that have ever lived, claiming that, in the manner of t}e
Peripatetic definition of superior culture, he has mastered every brandr of
science, thereby disclose the unreality of their pretensions and make it plain
to all that they are merely echoing the ill-considered opinions of the crowd.
29. There was in fact a certain Syrian called Uranius who used to roam
about Constantinople. He was a medical practitioner by profession and
though he had no accurate appreciation of any of Aristotle's doctrines he
used to brag about his encyclopaedic knowledge, basing his enormous self-
conceit on the f.act that he was argumentative when in company.
z He was often to be found in front of the Basileios Stoa and
his seat at the bookstalls and engage in magniloquent debates witJr tose
who congregated there, people who wo'trld keep trotting out the same old
catchwords about the Deity
how to
its nature and essence, passibi-
lity, distinctness and such like things
Most of them, I dare say,
people who had not received an elementary education and who had not even
led a decent Li[e, so that it was indeed a case of "fools rushing in where
angels fear to tread", since they thought it the easiest thing in the world to
try their hands at theology, a subject altogether sublime and unattainable,
whidr surpasses human understanding and excites awe and wonder by its
sheer incomprehensibility.
So they would often congregate towards evening, in all probability after
some drunken orgy, and blithely embark upon n impromptu discusson of
the most exalted and intangible topics. Sudr discussions invariably degene-
rated into the soit of inconclusive hair-splitting whidr resufus neither in
persuasion nor in enlightenment.
Eadr man would cling tenaciously to
his own views till in the end tempers rose at the thought of each other's
intransigence and they would resort to open abuse, using foul language like
people brawling over a game of dice. Eventually the debate would be ad-
journed, the contestants being parted with difficulty and the whole fruitless
exercise serving merely to make enemies out of friends.
95 For a detailed interpretation and discussion of this difficult passage cf. R. Keydell:
8.2.64 ( 1971) pp. 70-71.
61 Agrthlmr The Hlrtorler
6 Now the star performer in thlg group w! Uraniur. Llke Homer's
he was full of noisy abuse and endleu chattcr. Yet he held no
firm opinions about God and had no idea how to conduct a reasoned argu.
ment on this subject. One moment he would attacl< the first proposition on
whidr a particular line of enquiry was based, another time he would insist
on being given the reason for a question before he would anssuer it. In this
way he would not allow the discussion to develop in an orderly fashion but
confused the issue and prevented anything positive from emerging.
afiected the manner of what is known as sceptical empiricism and modelled
his pronouncements on the style of Pyrrho and Sexus, aiming to escape
mental anxiety by denying the possibility of mental activity. But he had not
even mastered these notions having barely pid<ed up the few isolated scraps
of information necessary to enable him to deceive and mislead the ignorant.
8 But if his cultural standaids left much to be desired his behaviour left
still more. Frequenting tfie houses of the wealthy he would gorge himself on
t}e choicest dainties and consort repeatedly with the wine-jug, drinking him-
self silly and uttering a stream of obscenities. He made sudr a laughing-stock
of himself that at times he \rras even smad<ed on the
and. ir was not un-
known for his face to drip with the lees from other people's glasses thathad
been poured over him. He was in fact the butt of the dinner-table no less so
thanif he had been a buffoon or hired enteftainer.
Though he was the sort of person I have described Uranius once
managed to get Areobindus the ambassador to take him to Persia. Being an
impostor with chameleon like powers of adaption he had little difficulty
in assuming an ut of. decorum. Donning an impressive robe of the type worn
in our part of the wodd b,y professors and doctors of literature and with a
correspondingly grave and sober lootr< on his face he presented himself to
Overwhelmed by the novelty of the sight, Chosroes ws
greatly impresed and assumed that he really was a philosopher (which was
in fact what he nnounced as). rr After giving him a most cordial
reception he summoned the magi to
with him in discussing sude
questions as the origin of the physical world, whether the universe will last
forever and whether one should posit a single first principle tor all things.
30. Uranius had not one relevant idea to contribute to the discussion,
but what he lacled in this respect he made up for in glibness and self-con-
fidence and", as Socrates says in the Gorgias, it was "the victory of ignorance
among the ignorant ".
z n fact the crazy bufioon so captured the king's
imagination that he gave him a huge sum of money, made him dine at his
own table and accorded him the unprecedented honour of passing the loving
A reminiscence of Iliad book II hnes 2L2 foll.
cl.Plato: Gorgias 459b. "then, the man without knowledge will catry more con-
viction in the company of the ignorant",
Book2 6,
eup to tm.
Ho rwore on many occoeiono that he had nwer belore seen
lri.r cqual, in lpltc of the fact that he had prcviously beheld real philosophers
of greot dirtinctlon who had come to his court from these parts.
. Not long before Damascius of Syria, Simplicius of Cilicia, Eulamius of
Phrygia, Priscian of Lydia, Hermes and Diogenes of Phoenicia and Isidore
olGazarall of them, to use poetic turn of phrase, the quintessential flower
of the philosophem of our age,had come to the conclusion, since the ofiicial
rcligion of the Roman empire was nor ro rheir liking, that the Persian srate
was much supetior. So they gye a ready hearing to the stories in general
circulation according to whidr Persia was rhe land of "Plaro's philosopher
in which justice reigned supreme. Apparently the subjects too rilere
qrodels of decency and good behaviour and there was no sudr thing as theft,
brigandage or any other sorr of crime. Even ii some valuable objeciwere left
in no matter how remote a spot nobody who came across it would make ofi
with it, but it would stay put and, wit}out any one's guarding it, would be
virtually kept safe for whoever left it until such a time as he should rerurn.
Elated therefore by these reporrs whiclr they accqrted as rrue, and also
because they were forbidden by law to take part in public life with impunity
owing to the tact that they did not con{orm to rhe established religion,
ey left
immediately and set ofi for a strange land whose ways were com-
pletely foreign to their own, determined to make their homes rhere.
in the rst place they discovered that those in aud:ority were overbearing
and vainglorious and so had nothing but disgust and opprobrium for them.
In the second place they realized that there were large numbers o house-
bteakers and robbers, some of whom were apprehended while others escaped
detection, and that every form of crime was committed. 6 The powerful
in fact ill-treated the weak outrageously and displayed considerable cruelty
and inhumanity in their dealings with one another. But the most ex*aordi-
nary thing of all was that even though a man could and did have any number
of wives people still had the efirontery ro commir adultery.
The philo-
sophers were sgusted by all these things and blamed rhemselves for ever
having made the move.
31. The opportunity of conversing with the king proved a further
disappoinlment. ft was that monardr's proud boast that he was a student of
philosophy but his knowledge of the subject
uterly supercial. There
was no cornmon ground either in matters of religion since he observed the
practices I have akeady described. Finally the vicious promiscuity which
iharacterized Persian society $/as more.than the philosophers could stand,
38 Perhaps Agathias has in mind Pindar: Isthmians VII 18.
cf. Plato's Republic 47.3 d.
edict of 529 forbade pagans from teadring and resulted in the closure of
the Academy in Athens.
6fr Agrrtlrirrn:
I lietnt ics
AII these factors, theu, conrbinecl to scrrrl tlrorr lrrrrryitrg brreh lrornc ns frrst
as they could go. z So despite thc king's rrllection fot them ancl cleslritc
th fact that he invited them to sty they fclt thut mcrcly to sct foot on
Roman territory, even if it meant instant death, was preferable to a lifc o[
distinction in Persia. Accordingly they resolved to see the last of barbatian
hospitality and all returned home.
Nevertheless they derived from their stay abroad a benefit whidr was
neither slight nor negligible, but whidr ril'as to secure them peace of mind
and contentment for the rest of their days.
A clause was inserted in fact
in the treaty, whide at that time was being concluded between the Romans
and the Persians, to the efiect that the philosophers should be allowed to
return to their homes and to live out their lives in peace without being
compelled to alter their traditional religious beliefs or to accept any view
whidr did not coincide with them. Chosroes insisted on the inclusion o{ this
point and made the ratification and continued observance of the truce con-
ditional on its implementation.
The story goes that on their return journey they had an extraordinarily
impressive and memorable experience, 6 Stopping to rest in a field in
Persia they descried the body o[. a man not long dead, flung down uncere-
moniously without any attempt at.bunal. Moved to compassion by the sight
of sudr outfageous barbanty and thinking it sinful to remain the passive
spectatofs of an unnatural crime they made their servants lay out the body
as best they could, cover it with earth and bury it.
That night when they
were all asleep one of their number (I cannot be more specific because f do
not know his name) dreamed that he saw an old man who, though his face
was unfamiliar and his identity could not even be surmised, had an air of
dignity and decorum about him and resembled a philosopher in the style of
his dtess and in the fact that he had a long, flowing beard. Apparently by
way of exhortation and advice, he recited the following verses to him in a
loud voice:
"Bury not the man whom now you see,
tlre man whom buried not you found.
Mother earth'rill not receive
the mother-ravisher till he be
by dogs devoured on the ground".
8 Taking up in sudden terror he related his dream to the others. There
and then they were at a loss what to make of it, but towards morning, when
they got up and set ofi on their way, they were obliged by the lie of the land
to pass by the spot where the improvised burial had been arcanged and once
more found the dead man lying uncovered on the ground. It was as though
the earth had of its own accord cast him up into the open and refused to
protect him from being devoured.
Astonished at the extraordinary sight
lhxrk 2
they corrtinuctl tlreir jounrcy
without thercufter observing trny of their
cu$tornrl[y ritcs towutJs thc rlcud mun. crrelul consitlerotion o[ the dream
hncl in fnct ll tlrem to thc samc conclusion
namely that the PersiSns
fesetved thc lirtc of renraining unburicd an<l being torn to pieces by dogs as
just punishment of those who vent their foul lusts upon their mothers.
)2, tsut in spite of the fact that Chosroes had had personal experience
of these men he had greater regard and afiection for Uranius. The reason
for such an attitude is, in my view, something inherent in human nature.
is more or less on a par with ourselves we tend naturally to have
a high and afiectionate regard for, whereas we shun and eschew that whidr
is beyond us.
z flhen Uranius returned home Chosroes sent him the most delightful
letters in which he showed him all the respect of a disciple for his master.
After that he became insupportable, bragging about his friendship with the
king and, whenever he was in company ot at a paty,he would drive all and
sundry to the point of exasperation by perpetually harping on the subject od
the honours Chosroes had showered upon him and the discussions the two
of them had held.
Indeed the fellow returned home a bigger fool by far
than he had been before, as though he had mavelled sudr an immense distance
with that sole end in view. Yet, even though the man was both a knave and
a fool he managed, by dint o{ singing the praises of the barbaian king, to
convince the general public with his potayal of him as a man of learning.
Those in fact who combined extteme gullibility with a weakness for strange
and marvellous tales were easily hoodwinked by his boastful and bombastic
asseruons, since they never stopped to ask themselves who was doing the
praising, who was being praised and what he was being praised for.
would indeed be fully
justified in admiring Chosroes for his brilliant genetal-
ship and for his indomitable spirit whidr never broke under the strain of
battle, never yielded to teat and never succumbed to sickness and old age.
But when it comes to literature and philosophy he must rank no higher than
one may reasonably place an associate and disciple of the notorious Uranius.
. tii
1. Even if my account of the customs of the Persians and the various
dranges their way of life has undergone, together with what I felt needed to
be said about Chostoes and his genealogy, have taken up rrher a lot of space
without having any very strict connection with the preceding matrer,
yet I trust deat the whole exercise will appear neither superfluous nor
unprofitable but rather that it will be seen to have secured the twin
objects of amusement and edication. z It is indeed my most ardent
desire, if it is in my power to do so, " to mingle the Graces with
the Muses",
as the saying goes.
But mundane preoccupations impel
me in a different direction and I address myself, albeit with reluctance,
to the routine duties imposed by necessity. For the writing of my histories,
vast and imposing task though it is, and, ro quore the lyric poet of Boeotia,2
"above all occupation"
is reduced to an occasional pursuit and I am in
consequence unable to devote myself whole-heartedly to this labour of love.
And though I should be at leisure to improve my sryle by reading
through the works of the great writers of antiquity, to survey with critical
discernment the entire historical scene and to give my full and unfettered
attention to these matters, I am instead kept at my desk in the Basileios
from early mornin g to late evening busying myself with the incessant
perusal of innumerable legal documenrs. And though I resenr being over-
worked f am distessed i{ I arn not, since it is impossible for me to eke out
a livelihood without considerable toil and hardship.
Bur even so I shall
not sladcen iri;my resolve, as long as the creative urge persists, even f:hough
some readers may criticise me for overreadring myself and aspiring, as they
say, to run before I can walk. 6 Even i{ some should find my writings
thoroughly shoddy and superficial and indeed the typical products of an un-
disciplined mind, yet I may still succeed in pleasing myself, just
as people
with no ear fr music enjoy their own singing.
But lest by indulgingin
further digressions r give the impression of lapsing inro rasrelessness i had
my previous accounr of the fighting inLaztca,
A terniniscence of Euripides: Heracles lites 673-4.
Pindar (518-418 B.C.). 3
Pindar: Isthmian I.2.
The Basileios Stoa or Royal Stoa was, as Procopius tells us (Buildings: I, XI,,12) the
place in Constantinople "where the lawyers and prosecutors and all others concerned
with sudr matters prepare their cases". [e are also told (op.cit. I.XI,13) that
Justinian had cisteffr dug under part of the Building. The identification of this cistern
with a surviving one, no/ called Yeri Batan serai, allows us to locate the Royal stoa
at a short distance to tfre west of the ChucJr of St. Sophia.
BooL l
2, Chorrocr wr. o{ couro grcatly dictruccd ar the ner of the death of
atnerocr. To prcvcnt tho roops in Lazica from remalning leaderless, how-
ivgrrhe iomediately Bppointed as general Nadroragan, aman of considerable
dlrtlnction and renown. : In the time it took Nachoragan to make the
IIGCGIay preparations for the journey and actually ger starred on his way
fome higtrly imegular proceedings took place inLazica.
flhen the Romans fled ingloriously and abandoned their positions in
thc mannet I have ulr" dy described, Gub,azes the king of tlie Lazi was
tlled with afury at the thought of the disgrace incurred hi.h * exceeded
only by his apprehension at the prospect of futher blunders. He therefore
lort no time in sending a detailed repoft to
in which he held the
a general, or a commnder or in any military capacity but merely as the
EEperor's pumebearer. He was not in drarge oI the revenue resulting from
thc payment o{ tribute (that was the provice of a di.fierent ofiicial) Lut of
tfre pry.*ts the Emperor made our of his privy purse as reward mney for
those soldiers who distinguished themselu.r ut ih front.
his influence was immense and the tact that he had access to confiential
meant that official instructions seemed to cffy more weight when
they met with his approval.
6 Bessas, however, was already in
blad< books, ibecause
of his
conduct on an earlier occasion. Having captured the {ortress of Peffa be{ore
arrival o{ Mermeroes he should, in fact, have secured all the approaches
countf,y frorn lberia, (a task facilitated by the narure of the terrain),
ond thus made it impossible for the barbarians ro enrer Lazca. But he wil-
fully neglected to do so and instead urenr rhe rounds of the cities subiect
his control lgvying money from them.
So that when the Empror
carne to hear of these further misdemeanours he remembered the earlier
enes and was immediately convinced by the reporr. Accordingly he relieved
him of his command, confiscated his property and relegatd him to the
corrntry of the Abasgi, where he was to remain until tlre Emperor's funher
8 In spite of being extremely
with Martin,
the chief command to him. Consequentiy Martin was first in command among
the generals and
second, followed by Buzes and the rest in descending
Even in the past, relations between Martin and Rusticus on the one hand
and Gubazes on the other had always been strained and there w'as an under-
current of hostility whic was all the more dangerous and deadly for
never being openly voiced. This animosity, which had its origin in envy,
70 A$thlmr The Fllrtorler
wa8 grcatly cxocerbated by the oonltant opffetlon of lrtrtlond aurpicion.
ro Viewing his every action in thc light o( thet! rrcnrmcnr they nureed
their grievances and resentment hardened into angcr. rr Gu,bazes sensing
theit intense hostility was moved to reciprocate and spoke abusively of them
on several occasions, depicting them as cowardly braggarts with no sense of
duty. At ofiicial receptions and meetings he never ceased to vent his anger
on them unreservedly even when ir.r the presence of ambassadors from the
neighbouring peoples.
Finding this situation intolerabi.e, angered r the accusations he had made
to the Emperor and well avrare that if they should rnake any further mistakes
he would not fail to expose them, they resolved to get rid of him in order to
punish him for past injuries and safeguard rhemselves for the furure.
3. After mudr deliberation in common they sent
the brother of
Rusticus to Constantinople to report that Gubazes had been caught col-
laborating with the Persians, since they had come ro rhe conclusion that it
ras not politic to make away with him until they had first sounded our rhe
Emperor's feelings on the matter.
z fn a secret interview with theEmperorJohn accused Gubazes of having
already defected and of trying to bring in the Persians. Unless he were
stopped somehow and stopped qui&ly it would nor be long before he made
the country into a Persian dependency.
The Emperor was shocked by
such a startling revelation but he was nor completely convinced. So still in
two minds about the whole business he said, "arrange to have him sum-
moned to o!.rr presence then".
4 John,
fearful that if. he did arrive there
the plot would be uncovered, said, " so be it, master. But what shall we do
i{ he does not choose to come voluntarily?" "You must compel him",
answered the Emperor, " since he is a subject, and someho"r contrive to
send him".,.
immediately rerorred, "But if he resisrs
compulsion,'rrhat then? " "Then', said the Emperor, "he will most assuredly
sufier the fate of a rebel and perish miserably". 6 "In that case, master",
"whoever kills hi will have,roihirrg ro fear". "No*ring", ans-
wered the Emperor,
that is, i{ he disobeys and ofiers resistance and is then
lilled as an enemy".
Once the Emperor had given this reply and had expressed much the
same view in a letter to the generals
felt that he had adrieved his goal.
So he did not stop to ask any more questions but returned toLazicawith the
letter. Martin and Rusticus read it, found that the plot had been nicely con-
trived and immediately set about putting it into efiect.
8 Summonihg
and Buzes and concealing their design they said that
they must go to Gabazes as quickly as possible in order to discuss with hjm
their plans for a concerted attad< on the Persians at Onoguris. Believing this,
and Buzes set offi with them, accompanied by a small detachment of
lokt 7l
g Mcanwhlh Gubrzer recelved wold that the gcncralc v'ere on
thplr wry to mct hlm and would bc arriving any moment. Llttle Buspecting
rny hortlle lntent he eppearcd near the banks of the river Chobus. Confident
rnd lclaxed the unfortunate man met them there with only a tiny retinue of
unrrmcd attendants. ro Indeed it would have been strange had he acted
btherwise. The men he approaclred \il'ere not enernies, they were both
frlendly and well-know to him. Had they not been sent to defend his land
rnd repel the foreigrr invadet?
4. itting on their horses, then, they conducted aioint discussion on the
question of how to deal with the present situation. " Gubazes ", said Rusticus,
would you say to the suggestion that you ofier us sorne assistnce in
thc task of attacking the Persian garison at Onoguris? It will be a disgrace
lf they remain encamped in the middle of our territory, particularly since
thcy are a mere handful of men and are in no position to ght us".
2 "But, my dear fellows", replied Gubazes, "it is up to yott and to you
elone to bear the brunt of the present fighting, since you are solely to blame
for what has happened.
you had not been gilty ,f gross catelessness
tund neglect of duty, no hostile base would ever have been built to confront
you, neitler would you have turned tai-l and borne the stigma of dishonour'
rble flight, nor would any of the other undesirable consequences have
ensued. 4
So, my fine fellows, you must now make good your omissions
if you profess to be enamoured of gIory and if you delight in the exalted
name of general. For you may rest assured that I will not throur in my lot
vith you until all youf emors have been rectied"'
No sooner had these
words been spoken rhan that same
who had played the patt of tale-
bearer, acting as though the expression of a diflerent opinion were sufficient
proof of Petsians sympathies and of planned subversion, silently drew his
dugg* and stnrck Gubazes in the chest. The blow did not kill him outright.
6 Since he happened to be sitting with his feet crossed over his horse's neck
he fell suddenly, knocl<ed ofi his balance not so mudr by the force of the blow
as by its unexpectedness. 7hile he was still crawling about on the ground and
trying to get up one of Rusticus'bodyguard who was nearby and who was
actirig on instructions strud< him a blow on the head with his sword and
finished him ofi. The best-informed and the most reliable sources state that
Gubazes was murdered in these circumstances and for the motives given.
7 Justin
and Buzes were deeptry distressed and regarded what had been
done as an unmitigated disaster. They lcept quiet howwer, because they
thought that the Emperor
had er,rpressly authorized it. 8 The
I'aztan people were thrown into confusion and despondency and refused to
have anything more to do with the Romans in either a civ:[ or a military
capacity. fnstead they buried the dead man according to their own rites,
after whidr they refrained from all participation in the fighting, in protest at
the ortrageour uearment they hed rccclved rnd thE rcultant blow to thelr
nation's prcstige.
are a great and a proud people and they rule over other very
considerable peoples. They pride themselves on their connection with the
ancient name of the coldrians and have an exaggeratedry, though perhaps
understandably, high_opinion of themselves. t
kiow of no
other subject race with sudr ample resources of manpower at iis command ot
whidr is blessed with such
superlluity of wealth, with such an ideal geo-
graphical posirion, with sudr an abundance of all the necessaries of lifeLd
with sucJr a high standard of civilisation and refinement.
The ancienr
inhabitants of the place were indeed completely una\.are of ihe benefits of
navigation and had nor even heard of ships until the atrtval of the famous
Argo. Nowadays they put out to sea whnever practicable
and caryr on a
thriving commerce.
Nor qe they barbarians in any other ,.rp..i, Io"g
association with the Romans hang Ied them to adopi a civilized and hw]
sryle of life.
rhar, discounting the bulls with brazen feer, the
harvest of the sown Men and all the other fabulous and incredible crearions
of the poetic imagination that have been elaborated around the figure of
one cannot fail to find that conditions no, are ,.ry * b"tt..
than they were in the past.
the sorr of people r hve described,
then, the Lazihad every reason for feeling that they had sufrered an intoler-
able iniury in being arbitrartTy deprived of their king.
6 The Romans, at the instance of Martin, started immediatery to make
hasty preparations
with a view to mounting a full-scale attack aiainst the
Persians at onoguris. ono,guris was the ancient name of the plac and may
have arisen as the result of an encounter at some time in the past between a
branc} of the Huns called the onoguri and the coldrians in which the latter
were victorious, the local inhabitants then commemorating the success by
the pot after it.
Nowadays, hovrever, most popl. do nor use
this name. A place of worship srands o1 th_e spot and ir diicried to Stephen,
the man of God who they say was the firsi in olden times ro volurrtari
forfeit his life in defence of Christian principles
and was in fact stoned t
death by his enemies. Consequently it has become custornary to associate
his name with_the place. Nevertheless r can see no possible objection to my
designating it b,y its ancient name and, in any case, srdr upoti""is more in
keeping with the style of historical writing.
8 Meanwhile the Roman army '',,s preparing to march against onoguris.
Thqse who had plotted the murder were pressing on with tlrese preparations
in the hope that they would easily overwhelm the garrison, ro that even if
the Emperor got wind of their duplicity he would not be pa,:'icarafly angry
The reference is, of course, to the well-known myth of the Argonauts,
rylth them but would raclnd the rccurrtlon ln conrldeodon of their latest
So all the gcncmla and thelr men, who had been encamped on the plain
Of rchaeopons] began to get ready the
wicket foofs " as they ate called and
the ballistae and other such engines of war with the idea of taking the place
by rtorm if necessaty. ro The "wicker toof" is a construction of osiers
Iovcn together to ai to form a roof which is carried down on either side so
m to enclse whoever gets under it. Skins and hides are then placed in layers
OVer it and the device is completely overlaid with them in order to afiord
gfpotef protection and to be proof against missiles. rr fnsicle, men conceal
thcnrselves under it in safety lifting it without being seen and moving it to
whererrer they wish. fhen it is brought up to a to'qler or wall as the case
may be, then the men underneath dig up the adjacent ground and drawing
up the ee::lhlay bare the for.rndations. After that they keep striking it with
hlmmerr and irow-bars until they cause the stfuctufe to collapse. These
then were the sort of preparations the Romans wefe making for the siege.
6. Meanwhile a Persian who was on his way to the fort was captured by
bodyguard. He was taken to the camp and flogged until he gave
t*. ,..orrriof what his side were planning. z He declared that Nadro-
ragan had abeady readred Iberia and had sent him to encoufage the troops
aiOnoguris ,rd u6,rr. them that the general would very soon be there.
3 "Theten
stationed at Mudreirisis and Cotars will be arriving shordy', he
ioid, "r" reinforce their fellow countrymen at Onoguris, since they know
that you mean to attad< them".
As soon as this information had been entracted the Roman generals
heLi a discussion on the situation. Buzes said that they should make a con'
certed attad< on the relief force while it was stil1 on its way. It was reasonable
to expect that it would be outnumbered and defeated, th. logi.fl outcome
of whigl. would be that the garrison, finding itself isolated, would surrender'
In the case of theit actually ofiering any resistance it would require little
eflort to crush them.
This suggestion met wit]r the approval of Tilgang
the leader of the Hetul contingent. Consequently he kept tepeating a sort
of proverb which despite its uncouthness and homesprrn simplicity was
bot[ forceful and appropriate. He said that "you must first scare awy the
bees and then take your time over collecting the honey''
6 Rusticus however, (emboldened apparendy by his complicity with
Martin he had alreadybecome more insolent and overbearing) op9nly scofied
jeered at Buzes, accusing him of habitual ineptitude.
Th2best policy,
he raid, /as not to weaf the troops out unnecessarily but to bring uq ail
their men to the fort, reduce it without difiiculty and forestall the relief-
force. They could always send a few men to engge them and impede their
71 A3rrhturlluHlrrrlu
Buzec' plan waa of coumc r much better ono, It wm rcrlirtlc, rtmtcg!
cally sound, effective aLd eafe. Bur since, it reemr, thc whole ,ry rtr.iia
by association in the guilt of the murdercrs the \orce policy won t"
order that they might the more speedily be punished.
some six hundred horse at the most $/ere sent against the relief-force
from Mucheirisis. They were under the command ofbabragezas and usi-
gardus, two barbarians who were officers in e Roman affr.y, ro The rest
of the men together with the generals went into action and made an assault
on the gates. Then rhey surro'r.rnded the walls with the main bodv of their
forces andlet fly with their weapons from all sides. rr The
their part defended thernselves by every avail,able means, dashing bout on
the battlements, raining down mis.siles and securing themselves gainst the
oncoming ones by suspending canvas mantlets to soften and absorb the
rz The fight was sustained witfr great fu"y by both sides and
looked more like a pitched battle than a siege. Both sides rere worked up
to a feverish state of excitement and were showing their mettle with equal
determina'tioa thougtr for difierent reasons. In oneiase it was a ,truggle-for
survival in the face of a serious menace, in the other it was the huniiliating
prospect, once the attacl< had been launched, of returning without achiwing
the objective of reducin_g the fort and riding ArchaeJpolis of ur, .o.-y
presence in its own neighbourhood.
7. Meanwhile the Persian relief force consisting of about three thousand
horse had left cotais and Muclleirisis and ser our for onoguris. z on their
way they were suddenly attacl<ed by Dabraguas and usigardus and their
m9n, They were not expecting to encounter any opposition and were caught
ofi their guard, with the result that they panid<ed nd fled.
As soon as
the besieging Romans heand the new they drarged more furiously pulled
down the mantlets and swarmed up many purm f the wall, confijent that
w_ould ureep everything befor them, now that tlre eneroy from without
had taken to flight and there \ff'as no longer anyone to cause them concern.
But the Persians soon realized that it rilas not the whole Roman atmy that
had attacked them as they thought at first, but an insignificant reconnairsanc.
force too few in number een to be considered a detadrm.nt of fighting men.
So they faced about and charged them with a deafening shoui.
Romans were unable to cope with the new situation and hastily exchanged
the rle of pursuer f.or that of fugitive. The Persians followed hard on teir
heels, with the result that, as rhe pursuers rushed to catdr up with their
victims and the victims to evade their pursuers, both parties reached the
Rornan lines indiscriminately confused.
Not surprisingly the confusion whidr ensued was appaning. Tithout
grving agoth-er thought
the siege and the by-now-imminent
sacking the fort and without even stopping to find our what was happening
loh- t 7,
or to mcctdn thck orrn rtrcngth rnd thrt of thetr pumuem the entirc army
togpther u'tth thotr lcedur we rclzed wlth penic and fled in temor.
Growlng boldcr, the Persians preracd their pursuit still harder. Mean-
while thosc who wcre inside e fort saw what was happening and rushing
out to
in thc purouit made the plight of the fleeing enemy redound still
further to their credit. 8 The Roman cavalry raced away at a gallop and
easily got out of range of the enemy's weapons. But many of the infantry
were killed in the stampede which occurred when they had to coss the
bridge over the river called the Catharus.6
Unable at that point to cross
over simultaneously in large numbers because of the nrro\vness of the
bridge, they kept shoving and jostling one another. Some fell into the river
whilst others were forced bad< into the hands of the enemy. ro The scene
was one of unrelieved horror and would have ended in total annihilation had
not Buzes realized from their cries of anguish and aiatm
just how serious
the danger was. Turning arouad with his troops, he faced the enemy and
gradually held bad< the pursuit just long enough to allow them to cross the
bridge and get away to safety by the same route s all the others had taken.
rr No one in fact returned to the camp at Archaeopolis. Rushing past it in
terror they left their entire stocl of foodstufls and provisions and valuables
and escaped to the safety of the interior. They thus afiorded tJre enemy a
Iucrative as well as a magnificent victory.
8. \)7hen the Persians found the plains deserted they dismantled the
fortications and looted the camp. After that they returned rejoicing to
their respective camps and occupied once more all the territory they had
previously held.
z Yet who can fail to see that tlre hand of heaven ws at work bringing
about the downfall of the Roman army as a punishment for the foul murder
whicll had been committed? That was t-he reason why they chose the wotst
possible policy and why, ough they numbeted some fifty thousand fighting
men, they /ere put to flight most shamefully by three t}ousand Persians
and sufieted ,severe casualties.
But those directly responsible for that
hinous ctime \r7'ere soon to be punished in frrll, as I shall relate in the ensuing
na,ffative. Meantime winter set in and the whole army dispered to its various
winter-quarters in te tovrns and fortresses.
The afiairs of the Colchians w'ere in a state of turmoil and suspense.
Their leaders had lost all sense of direction. They had no policy or contin-
plan to fall back on.
They therefore convened a secret meeting of
the bulk f their nation do'urn in a mountain gorge of t}e Caucasus, so that
the Romans should not get wind of what they were about, and proposed a
discussion on the subject of whether they should go over to the Persian side
The word means "cleaf".
76 Atrthlmr T{roHltrertu
ot tetaln thelr link wlth the Romans. 6 A voclfcrout debete lmmllatcly
ensuod berrn een thosc who advocated the formcr rnd thoee who advocated
the latter course. Before long it had degencrated lnto a babel of voices in
which it was impossible to tell either who was speaking or what he was
saying. At this point those with the mosr authority called for silence and
insisted that whoever wished to come forward and speak should do so in an
orderly fashion and that whoever was able to should give a coherent ccount
of the poliry to be pursued.
One of the most distinguished people present \r/s rnn called Aeetes.
His anger and indignation at what had happened was greater than anyone
else's, for he had always hated the Romans and been sympathetically inclined
tovrards Persia. On this occasion he took full advantage of the greater con-
viction his arguments seemed to carry and tried to magnify the afiair out of
all proportion, claiming that in view of the situation there was no need for
discussion but that rather it was a case for immediately embracing the cause
of Persia. 8 flhen the others said that it was not advisable to proceed to
drange their whole way of life on the spur of the moment, but that they
should trst embark on a careful and lengthy discussion of the issues invo ved,
he leapt up angrily, rushed into their midst and began to harangr:e them like
an ofator in a popular assembly. He was a remarkably gifted speaker for a
barbanan andhad an instinctive appreciation of the finer points of rhetoric.
He now addressed himself to his audience in the following terms:
9. "If the Romans confined their injuries to words and thoughts, then
we would still be efiectively repaying them in kind. But are \pe to stand for
the present state of afiairs, in whic}r whilst they have aTready committed the
most monstrous act of aggression we ourselves hang around debating the
iss,ue nd let the opportunity for retaliation slip through our fingers? z It
is no longer possible to say that whereas they have not yet been shown to
be openly hgaged in active hostility against us a likely case could be made
out for accusing them of hostile intent, nor indeed, will it be necessary ro
produce rguments in order to establish the eristence of a secret plot.
it is no longer possible only because Gtazes our great and noble king has
been unceremoniously disposed of like the meanest of his subjects. Gone for-
ever is the ancient dignity of the Cold-rians. Henceforth there will be no ques-
tion of our aspiring to rule over others. No, we must rest content if we are
alloured to avoid sinking to a much lower level than that of those who until
recently were our dependents.
And is it not an extraordinary state of
alf.aits if we are going to sit around e>ramining the question of whether we
should regard the men responsible for this situation as ourl'orst enemies or
our friends?
Yet it must be rcal:zed that their insolence will not confine
itself to this action. Even if we drop the cJrarge against them they will not
leave us alone. On the contrary they will ill-treat us with greater impunity
BooLt 77
ll wo do nothlng, 7hen thcy 6nd pcopl doctlc thelr lnrolcnce knowr no
boundr and thcy hrbltually deapire inyno who trcou thsm wtth deference,
6 Thclr Empcrcr lr utterly unscrupuloua and delightg ln conrinually crcating
tnalon and lngtability. Hence the euddenness s/ith whidr the hideous crime
wll perpetrated, since it was committed at his orpress command and with
thelr willing collaboration.
7 'fe
have all but sufiered the rape of our
eountfy at their hands though there was no prior aggression on our part or
tpofltaneous outbrealc of hostility. flhile appearing to remain on the same
friendly tef,ms as bdore they have committed the mosr unspeakable of
cfimes, as though seized with a sudden access of insane cruelty and hatred
rnd all the other dark and brutal passions.
8 How difierent are the ways of the Persians! Those whose friendship
they have had frorn the start they go out o{ their way ro rreat with unfailing
kindness, resening their anger for their enemies, as long as they remain
I could have wished that the colc}ian srare were still possessed
of i ancient might, needing no help from foreign pov/ers and cmpletely
independent in all matters that toudr upon vrar and peace, ro But, sinc
ryhether through the passage of time or the whims of fortune or perhaps
thtough a combination of both we have been reduced to rhe srarus o] u roi-
ject people, I think it pays us to join
the side whose amirude is rhe more
reasonable and whose goodwill ror,vards their allies is not liable to flucruarion.
r r In tris v/ay we will get the better of our real enemies since their past
misconduct will not go unpunished and we shall have taken dre necessary
steps to ensure our future safety. rz For that sly and tngtatiating manner
whidr enables them to injure the unsuspecting by hiding theii true selves
belrind atacade of suavity and drarm will be completely wasred on us owing
to our open and uncompromising hostility towars them. 13 Even if the
should try to make war on us they would be fighting on enemy territory and
would never be able to stand up ro the combined strength of the Lazi and
the Persians or even to sustain the first shod< of our arms. 14 It is not
long iince they engaged a detadrment of Persians with their entire army
and were at once ignominiously put to flight. They ran so fast that even now
they have scarcely recovered their breath and though they were roundly
beaten in every other way they did excel their prrro.r, in one respect
speed of their flight!
10. One might name as the obvious and immediate cause of this rout a
combination of cowardice and bad judgement,
and indeed sudr shameful
defects seem to be part and parcel of their whole make-up. But the addition
of deliberate wickedness to natural depravity tipp.d the scales so heavily
against them that their plight was made doubly disasrrous, andby their foul
misdeed they fodeited the protection of Providence. z For it is not so
mudr by force of atms as by godfearing conduct that victory is assured, and
I find lt lnconcelvable thet hervcn rhould lntervcnc on rhc rlde of abendoned
wiclcedness. Therefore we will have no trudr wlth theac men, if we have
any sense, since they lack sound judgement
and hrve moreover incurred the
wrath of
being whose special province is the safety of all things.
Events have shown more clearly than words can that
Persian side will be an easy and advantageous course to pursue and wi win
the approval of the Deity.
Nor *oold sudr a .oorr. carry with it the
implication, from a hurlan point of view, of treachery or unjust aggression
or part. Indeed we have seen fit on mny occasions in the pasiio abide
by the terms of our alliance in spite of the insulting behavio,ur oi the Romans
because we felt that to shift one's allegiance on u.Jouot of provocation
though serious was nor altogether unbearablewu, * .*trely shabby thing
to do.
But to sufier outrageous and irremediable harm witout a murmuf,
of protest, not to show a flicler of anger in the face of monstrous inhumanity,
thgt,r say, is not the reaction of sensible men but of cowards and weaklings
who contrive to mask their callous indjfference to the fa of their country
with a-specious prerengg of polirical maturity. 6 It is hard to imagine hour
gI qther
people could become the victims of a fouler crime or ho'i, if they
did, they could possibly overlook it. similarly we roo musr nor turn a blind
what has happened bur must recoil in disgust from the thought of
indifierence ro the memory of our king and betraying a delre to
flattet his murderers.
rf it were possible for him to be prelent here he
would be inveighing bitterly againsr our neglecr of duty whicl, has enabled
tfiese guilty wrerdres to conrinue to reside in his land instad of being expelled
from it long ago. 8 But since he will never again be present ,d..r,
you, bethink yourselves of the man and summon up a mental picture of him
standing in the midst of the assembled company, pointing to the wound on
his neck andhis drest and imploringhis fellowcoutry-.n to rake vengeance
even at thih late hour on his .n.i.r. fhidr of yo,, tfr.r. +oUa brook a
moment's doubt or discussion concerning the justice
of Gubazes' claim to
the sympathy of the Coldrians?
re must be on our guard lest
through our fear of being branded as deserters we allow ourselves io becorne
participants in the crime and throw away the drance of avenging the dead
man. 7e will look a great deal more rreacherous if our affection
for him
lasts no longer than his lifetime and if when once ,'e lose the man we 1ose
his memory too.
ro 7hen all is as it should be it is the height of folly to drange one,s
whole way of life, but when the reverse is the case it pays, I think, to adapt
oneself speedily to events. Reason is the criterion upon which resolution
should be based and a dogged attadrment to the status quo is not always
something to be praised but only when it makes good sense. But when it is
a question of giving heed to unworthy considerations and clinging tnaciously
to r frlce podtton on thc men who mrlntrinr hir prcvlou rtand ir morc
blrmavorthy thrn the man who changer rider.
the Pcrsiane learn frorn ua of thie decigion and realize its
lmplicatione thcir hearte will with good rcaoon warm to us and they will
tght on our bchalf, for they e generoue and magnanimous and especially
good at divining their neighbours inrentions. Besides they will be gaining,
without anen having to aslc for it, the alliance of a counrry of vital rir*t"gi"
lmpotance and considerable military strength, which they themselves would
go to great trouble and o<pense to possess. re Make it therefore your one
object to get down to business and disclose your intentions. By so oing we
should gteatly enhance our prestige while at rhe same time pursuing ,lort,
honourable andavantageous course of acdo[".
11. As soon zrs Aeetes had concluded this speech it was greeted with an
cncited clamour from the assembled crowd who wanted to cJrange sides
there and then, even though the Persians had not been apprised f their
intentions and even though they were in no position to efiect tre change.
over without attrcting attention or to defend themselves i-f the Romans
used force to prevent them. Devoid of oryanization and planning, with no
tegard for the future or for the consequences of their ction, th.y *.r"
nonetheless impatient to get started. The revolutionary fervour of a mob
and the fanaticism of. abarbarian people srere not the only factors at work.
Their own sense of, tle rightness of cause and the elctrifying dect of
his words also served to heighten their agitation and inflame their passions.
they were in this troubled and turbulent stte a man called
Phattazes, a person of outstanding influence mong the Col&,ians, who
combined discretion with popularity, resrrained their ardour by requesting
them not to resort to action before they had first given him a hearing-.
Out of respect for him they reluctantly consented to stay where they were
and hear him out. so he came into their midsr and addressed them in the
following words:
"That what you heard has had a profoundly disturbing eflect upon
your minds is not surprising. You have in fact succumbed to a magnificent
piece of ortory. The power of eloquence is indeed hard to combat. N man is
proof against its well-aimed shafts, least of all those who have never before ex-
perienced them. But that does not mean that it cannot be countered by the
prudent exercise of the faculty of reason and by bringing critical discernmenr
to bear on the realities of a situation.
Do not, threfofe, accepr srare-
ments whose credibility turns out on closer inspection to rest noi on arry
considerations of honesty or utility but solely on the suddenness and novelty
of their appeal. Rather must you rcehize that however attractive they may
apwffi better options do in fact e>rist, Fufthermore, rJrat you were easily
over should itself be a clear proo{ of the deception practised on you.
80 scthla;r Tho Hhtorlcr
6 The man who ie advocating a dlshonest rtand har gtester necd of lmprec.
sive_ arguments and fine words; thus by eflectlvely sugaring the pi he
qui&ly enlists the support of the more simpl+minded,
fiat is precisely
what happened to you when Aeetes conrrived to lend an air of atmactiv
novelty to his tendentious orposition. You have no conception how
you have been hoodwinked. Yet, if nothing else, one can hardly
fail to note how he started ofi by dragging in a completely imelevanr questio;.
8 As though you were all saying that what had happened was nor serious,
refusing to condemn the brutal murder and concentraring all your attention
on the question of whether the murderers of Gubazes
really in the
vrrong, he came forward and delivered a lengthy indictment of them, in
which he devoted mudr discuss:i,on to proving what had ilready been establis-
I for my part regard as the vilest and most abandoned wretches
whorn I would gladly see put ro the mosr horrible of deaths not only those
who strud< the blows and performed the actual killing with their own hands
but all those too who had the drance ro prevenr it and did nothing about it.
And I include those who were delighted and even those who were not parti-
cularly distressed at the crime. ro But the fact that entertain sudr
feelings does not make defection to the Persians into a sound poliry. By what
logic could the abandonment of principles on their part be construed as
implying the necessity for a similar course of action on ours? It is hardly
consistent to be angered at their treaclery while ourselves incurring a similar
rr So we must not now dwell on the uaalterable and irrevocable past lest
by deliberating in a spirit of nger /e allow our judgement
to be clouded
and deprive ourselves of the chance of finding a better solution. No, we must
keep our heads without appearing ro lose our hearrs and take thought in
advance to ensure the successful conduct of our afiairs. Only fools spend
their time btooding in perpetual resentment over past ills. 7ise men are
inured to the whims of fortune'and undismayed by cJrance or drange. They
do not react to past deprivation by destroying all hope of success for the
12. Aeetes' pro-Persian sentiments are of long standing and so is his
desire to bring us into an alliance with Persia. This policy he is advocating
by trying to scare us like so many d:ildren into believing that the Romans
will not stop t what they have done but that their efirontery will assume
still more alarming proportions. Their Emperor is also credited with being
an ardr-trouble-maker and is supposed to have ordered the murder person-
ally, the design itseLf having been hatdred and elaborated long before its
execution. 7hile making these allegations he praises the Persians to the
slries thinking that that will make us desert immediately and become rhe
humble petitioners of those who are by nature our deadliest enemies. z His
Booh I E1
.vry rmark 1r rlmed at this objectlve. Rlght ircm hio opcning words he
!o gret point end to
lengthr to sectue the realization o{ his pet
rdrcmcs, And indecd his uncritical haranguc has the efiect of confusing and
tmr*ating the whole process of deberation.
It is the function of
dclibcradon to take precedence always and to lead the way, subjecting all
thrt remains unclear to a rigorous scfutiny. When the course to be pursued
hu been detetmined, then and only then does the desire to act upon the
deeisions arrived at become a necessary and relevant
But Aeetes
lur put the ca.rt before the horse and, before attempting ro clarify the issue,
hrs alrcady embarked upon a decision. Yet what is the use of deliberation if
ths matter has been prejudged?
Bring an unbiassed mind to bear, fellow Coldrians, on rhe mamer under
congidetation and do not allow your views to be coloured by preconceived
notions and ulterior motives. 7e cannot force events to t into a pattern of
out own choosing. That would be absurd. No, it behoves us ro follow them
Itcp by step, subjecting them to the rational analysis of a lucid and indepen-
dent mind. Such a procedure would enable us to form a accurate picture
of what has happened and to discover where our true interests lie. 6 Now
lf you deliberate in this fashion it \vill immediately become pparenr to you
thst the conspiracy against Gubazes' life was nor the doing of the Roman
forces, nor even of all the generals, and still less of their Emperor. It is al-
feady common knowledge mong the Romans that Rusticus and Martin out
of envy for his good fortune embarked on rheir own private piece of wicked-
fless not
wit]rout the co-operation of the other leaders bur even in the
face of their evident displeasure.
I consider it unjust as well as unprof-
itable to do violence to the laws of our community, whidr we set out to
cherish, on account of the wrong-doing of one or perhaps two individuals
and to do away with the whole of our familiar pattern of life whidr means
so much to us, on so slender a pretext.
would also be branding our-
selves as the berayers of those who are guarding our land and imperilling their
own lives so that we can live in comfort, and most heinous of all we would
be showing cootempt for the dignity of the true faith in all its outward and
inward manifestations. 8 For that is precisely what 'e
shall seem to be
doing if we
join forces with the violent ant4gonisis of the Deity. If they debar
us from the practice of our religion and force us to adopt theirs, then what
more horrible f.ate than that could we sufier both in this world and in the
will we gain (let us put it this way) if we win the whole of
Persia and suffer the loss of our souls?
Even i{ they were tolerant we
would certainly not be able to count on thir hsting goodwill. On the con-
ttary it would be an illusory and insecure arrangement, a mere temporary
c{. Mau. 16t26
e2 grthlur The Hlrtorler
orpcdient. ro There can be no real fellowrhlp rnd no hatlng bond bctween
men of dilferent religion nor cyen undcr the rtioh of fiaioi oi,*o,pr*i
ous act of kindness. A common religion is the one indlapensabi" pi..ooaition
for such a relationship. In its absence even the ti" ? r.*rr,ip'rugg"rr, ,n
o,frinrty whiclr is only so in name whfle in reality there is no.roground
whatsoever. rr 7hat then do we srand to gain f.o,, g"i"g ;uer to the
Persians.if even so they will remain our enemi and we r-rrrulnrv succeed
in making ourselves more vulnerable in that it is more difiicult to guard
against tJre enemy from within than the enemy from without? rz But
let us assume for the- sake of argument that th"r. is nothing immoral or
disreputable about such move and that the
are a hun?red per cent
trustwomhy and reliable and will never fail ro honour the terms of the
!n-uty. -Yet
granted that this were really the case undarr,rming thut
none.of the other objections held good we wourd not be in a srong eio,rgh
to act.
13 How could we desert to a foreign power .irrit. t.
Romans are still in cJrarge and have suih a hrrg. .on..itt tioo of rst-rate
trools on ouf soil under the command of generars of no mean ability? How
could we possibly avoid sufiering the *orirrrug" reprisals when those who
were supposed to come ro our aid would be lingering in the region of Iberia
nd advancing at snail's pace whilst our avengers *r. o.*pylng the whole
of our coutry with their roops billeted in our cities?
13. And yet this good fellow informs us, basing his craim on recenr
events, that they will not even be able to sustain the first shocl< of our arms.
Though it should be perfectly obvious that the vicissitudes of war do not
conform to a set patrern and that the failures of the moment are not doomed
to be similarly unsuccessful on each and every occasion. on the conrrary
victory often follows in the wake of defeat and cures the distress it has
caused. p
7e must not therefore become over-confident on the gronds
that habituhl defeat in wery engagemenr has come to be expected of them.
For if the sole cause of their defeat has been their failure to maLe the right
decision then we should let that be a warning to ourselves to be on our
guard against the dangers of precipitate action.
so on no account should we
regard-what has happened as a clear indication th"t *. shall get the better of
them. Indeed it is only reasonable to suppose that those whJ'have blundered
in the past and have learnt from .*p..i.n". what to avoid will m"k. good
their previous omissions by their vigilance for the future.
And if dre eity
is angry with them because of the heinous crime they have committed
against the dead man and that is rhe reason for their pi.r.nt plight, what
need is there for us to appear on the scene ro give a helping hand It th"gt,
were not up to the taslc_ of seeing that justice
is done but required heip
from us? 7e shallcertainlyave readred the acmeof impiety if w. dirhonoor
by our defection the benetcent Providence whicr euen without our doing
Booh, g,
lrylng fightr rlghtcourly on our bEhalf.
So let no ol lntoduce lnto
hh_ryoeeJr the figure of the dead man uttering the most unmanly complaints
urd bcreeehing hia fdlow countrymen to fcelpity for him and pointing to his
ounds. Such behaviour rnay perhaps accord well with the portrayal of rom.
purlllanimous and efieminate wretcl, but it should never be attributed to a
Ltng and to a king of the Lazi at that, and least of all to Gubazes. 6 If he
wefe ptesent here he would, like the pious and rightminded man he was;
rtptoadr us for entertaining sudr proposals and would bid us nor ro be so
dcjccted and faint.hearted and nor ro resolve to run away like a garrry of,
drvcs, He would bid us rather to recover the dignity and self-relianc o{
Colchians and of free men and to stand up courageously to misfortune, not
rXlowing ourselves to be induced to do anything dishonourable or unworthy
of our country's history and remaining true to its present obligations, secure
kr the hnqwledge that Providence will not abandon our narion.
Now, if these are the sort of sentiments that are likely to meet with
the approval of the very man who was brutally murdered, is it not altogether
artraordinary that we, who claim to be motivated by out afiection to,urards
hiqr, should hold the opposing view-point? 8 Indeed I am alrndrhar we
all be severely punished merely for toying with the idea of following such
I couise. If the prospects of the intended defection were far from clear and
the success of the issue could be said to hang in the balance, it would still
higfily dangerous to make so mornenrous a decision depend solely upon
cha4ce, though the advocates of this policy would very piobably have less
to fear{rom their impudence.
But if it is shown tobe a demonstrably bad
policy ftom every conceivable point of view then how can we fail to hate
thrq authors of such a suggestion? Enough rhen has, I think, been said to
malce it quite plain that we should steer clear of sudr a course.
ro In conclusion I propose that we should send a report of what has
happpned to the Emperor of the Romans to enable him to visit with condign
punishment those most responsible for the ourage. I propose also that if he
ptoes willing to do so we should put an end ro our dispute with the Romans
and resume normal co-operation in both the civil and the military spheres.
But if he should reject our petition rhen we shall have to consider
whether it will not suit'us to explore some other avenue. In this w-ay we
vould not appear to be unmindful of the dead nor would we give the im-
presgion of acting on impulse rather than judgement
in the conduct of our
14. flhen this speech toohad been concluded the Coldrians had a ihange
of heart. fhat made thern relent was chiefly the fear that a dtange of alle-
giance would deprive them of the right to practise their religion.
z Once Phafiazes' view had prevailed a deputation composed of the
flovrer of the nation's nobility reported the circumstances of Gubazes'
rJ4 Agutlrlur;'l'lu' I Itst,rr irs
luuldet to the l-nrlrcror
grrve llinl [Lrll clctdls o[ tlrc slru[lry
and frar'rclrrlcnt allair, rcvculing that ncithcr lrrrtl Cubuzcs bccp cr.rnvictecl ol'
h1*"g had dealings wirh ths Persians n,r hucl lrc bccn implicatccl i, any
other kind of sinister machinarions against rhc ltomans. \x/hafhacl hnppcn"j,
they said, was that when he had rebuked them with justifiable
r"u"rty for
committing a whole series of careless blunders, Martin and Rusticus and
their hen&rnen had rerorted by producing this trumped-up charge and
destroying an innocenr man.
They begged him to prror rhis one act
o{ kindness for the sake of the dead manr not to let the irime go unpunished
and to nominate as their king not some foreigner or outsider but Tzthes the
younger brother of Gubazes, who was staying in constantinople at the
time._ In this way their ancestral constitution would once more be upheld
and the unbroken succession and integrity of the royal line maintained.
convinced of the justice
of their requesr, the Emperor hastened to bring
about its fulfiknent. so he sent Athanasius, one of the leading senarors, to
conduct a fuIl judicial
inquiry into the afrauu. and ro rry rhe cse according
to Roman law.
On his arival he immediately sent Rusricus to the cit
of Apsarus where he had him imprisoned and kept under close surveillance.
who had deceived the Emperor and had committed the
outrage with his own hands had absconded in an artempt to save himself
by flight. But it so happened that he was intercepted by Mestrianus, one of
the ofiicers of the imperial body-guard who had been senr rhere to atrend
upon Athanasius and execute whatever judgement
he might pronounce. So
Mestrianus arrested
and marched him ofi to Athanasius for judgement.
6 Athanasius sent him too to Apsarus, with instructions that both prisoners
should remain incarcerated until the preliminary proceedings for the trial
were compl.eted.
15. By the beginning of spring Nadroragan was in Mudreirisis. He
mustered his troops at once and made vigorous preparations for war. The
Romans for their part concentrated their forces ar,rn Nesos and also began
with the result of course that the proceedings of th.
trial rlge_ adjourned, since military considerarionr t..*d to take priority
over all else
z Meanwhile Tzathes had arrived from constantinople accompanied by
the general soterichus. He had received his ancestral title together with thl
rcyal insignia from the hand of the Emperor in accordance witl a time-
honoured uadition. The insignia consisr of a gold cro\Mn set with precious
stones, a robe of cloth of gold extending to the feet, scadet shoes and a
turban similarly embroidered with gold and precious srones. rt is not lawfr.rl,
however, for the kings of theLazi to wear puple cloak, only a whire one
being permitted. Neverheless it is nor an altgeih.r
since it is distinguished by having a brilliant srripe of gold Jabric roven
lLrrh t
cl\tn llre rrtirIlle ol'it. ttotlrer: lcrlturc ol'Ilre loyrrl innigniu is tlrc clrrsp,
rerltlenrlertt rvitlt jcwcllcrl
url(l otlrer hincls ol onlruncnt, with which
thc clurk is lstetrcd,
s sncln us
sct foot on his country's soil
rplenclirlly arrrryccl irr thr: royal apprrrcl thc gcnerals ancl the entire Roman
rmy greetetl him ancl accorclcd lrim all clue honour and respect, forming a
pfilccusion in fi'ont of hirn, their armour and weapons specially polished for
thc occasion ancl most of them riding on horsebad<.
In their joy
at the
rlglrt tlre Lazi managed to forget their distress for the moment and, falling
Itrto linc, accompanied him to the sound of uumpets and with banners raised
eloft, The procession was of a pomp and magnificence beyond what is
ttrurrlly associated with the Lazian monarcJry.
Once established orr the throne Tzathes proceeded to take over the
rcins of government and to rule his people as he thought fit and in accord-
ntrce with the dictates of ancestral custom. 6 Soterichus therefore set ofi
lmmcdiately to accomplish the mission on which he had been senr. He was
in foct carrying a sum of money from the Emperor whidr he was to distribute
to the neighbouring barbarian peoples according to the terms o{ their alliance.
'I'lris payment had long been customary and was made on an annual basis.
FIe took his elder sons Philagrius and Romulus with him so rhar straight
ofter leaving home they should be given some timely training in physical
cndurance, since both of them had akeady come to ma-n's estate and were
quite able-bodied. The third son Eusrratius had been left behind in Constan-
tinople because he was still very young and was in any case not physically
I Eventually Soteric}us readred the land of the Misimians who are
subjects of the king of the Colclians as are also the Apsilians though they
clifier from these in both language and customs. They are indeed situated
farther north than the Apsilians and slightly more towards the East.
\)7hen he got there, at arty rate, it suddenly entered into their heads that he
wanted to betay to the Alans one of their forrresses situated near the border
with Lazica, whid: they call Bud:lous. The idea behind this, they thought,
was that the envoys from the more distanr peoples could all congregate there
and collect their pay so that whoever brought the money would henceforth
be spared the necessity of travelling round the foot-hills of the caucasus and
setting out in person to meet them.
16. The Misimians may have received intelligence to this efiect or they
may simply have acted on suspicion. At all events they sent a t\i.o-man
deputation consisting of Chadus and Thyanes, both of them persons of
distinction. z
they found the general encamped near to the fortress
in question their suspicions u7'ere confirmed and they exclaimed, "that was
avety bad turn you planned to do us! You have no right to let anyone else
steal what belongs to us, still less ought you to be harbouring such designs
tt6 grrt lrlrx:'l'lre I listrrt iFr
yoursclf. llut if this is tenlly ttot yout'intention tlrerr nrrrke urc thrrt you
leave hcrc as quickly as possiblc .u"l(l llovc: lo rrnother s1:ot. You shu.ll not
want for provisions. Wc shall bring you everything you neecl. IJut rest
assured you are not staying here, for we will not havc you loitering on any
This impertinence rlas too mudr for Soterichus who, thinking it
intolerable that the subjects of the Coldei who were rhemselves dependents
of tl:e Romans should adopt an insolent tone towards Romans, ordered his
body-guard to strike them with their batons. Thereupon they thrashed them
mercilessly and sent them bad< half-dead.
After this had happened
Soterichus did not imagine that he would encounter any hostility bur stayed
where he was, as though he had simply dealt with some misdemeanour on the
part of his own servants and consequently had nothing to fear.
came he v/ent to bed without bothering to mount a guatd or take any pre-
cautions. Likewise his sons and the body-guard and all the other servants
and slaves that were with him were less careful about their sleeping-arrange-
ments than they would have been in enemy teritory.
Meanwhile the Misimians refused to tolerate the insulting treatment
they had received. So the made a heavily-armed attack on the place, entering
the general's quarters and killing first those servants who acted as ihamber-
lains. 6 In the ensuing noise and con{usion, whicl was of course consider-
able, Soterichus and those nearest to him became aware of the disaster. They
leapt out of their beds in reffor, but they were srill heavy-headed and daz.ed
with sleep and in noposition to defend themselves.
Some of them got
their feet caught in the blankets and could not walk. Others made a dash
for their swords in an attempt to stand up and fight it out, whidr was piti-
fully inefiectual, since they were in the dark and completeJy helpless. They
kept banging their heads against the walls and had no recollection of where
they had put thefu weapons. Others feeling that they were already rapped
gave up all hope and did nothing but shout and utter loud lamentations.
8 Taking full advantage of their consternation, the barbarians fel1 upon them
and slew Soterid-rus and his sons and all the others with the exception of the
odd survivor who managed to leap to safety thro rgh some emergency door
or to escape detection by some other means.
After doing this the in-
human'retcrhes despoiled the dead men, taking away with them everything
else that the place contained and even appropriating the Emperor's money.
Altogether they acted as though the men they had killed were really their
enemies and not the general and other representatives of a friendly po\ver.
L7. It \7as not until the massacre'u7as over when they had glutted their
lust for blood and thek fuenzy seemed to be subsiding that they began to
reflect upon the consquences of their action and to grasp the full implications
of the step they had taken. They realized then that it would not be long
llxrk I
befr,lc lltc llrtrrrrrrtn urrne thir'sting for vcngertncc ttncl thrrt they worrltl ntlt
lre uhlc to sto;r tltettt, r S<l thcy cttrlltrkecl rll)ol't o c(]tlrse ttf opcn dcfccticln
anrl ntrrrlc t'el)rescntrltiolrs 1o thc.I.)ersirtns nshing thcm 9 ccept their alle-
glntrr:c nnrl allirltl them hcnccfol:th the protcrtion accordccl to their subjects.
lren tlre llomnn gcnctals receivccl. a full account of what had happened
they were angry and distressed, but they were unable to deal with the
Mirinrinns straightaway because they had their hands tied with matters o{ a
more seriotrs and pressing nature.
Nadroragan at the head of a atmy
of rixty tlrousand fighting men was akeady advancing onNesos where Martin
ancl Justin
the son of Germanus and their troops were assembled.
there was a detachment of mercenaries called Sabirs (a Hunnic people) who
wcre serving as heavy infantry in the Roman army' They numbered well
nigh two thousand and were under the command of some of their most
rllstingr"rished leaders, namely Balmadr, Cutilzis and Iliger. These Sabirs
then, had, on the instructions of Martin, encamped near the plain of
Archaeopolis, the idea being that they should do as much damage as possible
to the enemy, who would probably be crossing over by that route, so as to
make their passage both more difiicult and most dangerous.
Nachoragan Tearnt that the Sabirs had been strategically placed
with this end in view he selected about three thousand men from the Dilim-
nite contingent and despatched them against the Sabirs, bidding them ke
the braggart he was to wipe them out so that there would not be any of
them left to ambush his rear while he was mardring into battle.
Dilimnites are among the largest of the nations on the far side of the Tigris
whose territory borders on Persia. They are warlike in the extreme and, un-
lilce most of the Persians, do not fight principally with the bow and the
sling, They carry spers and pikes and wear a sword slung over one shoulder.
To the left arm they tie a ery small dirk and they hold out shields and
bucklers to protect themselves with. One could hardly des6ibe them simply
as light-armed troops nor for that mattef as the type of heavy-armed infantry
that ght exclusively at close quartefs. 8 For they both disdrarge missiles
from adistance when the occasion arises and engage in hand-to-hand fighting,
and they are expert at charging an enemy phalanx and btea"king its close-
knit ranks with the weight of their drarge. They can re-form their own ranks
witlr ease and adapt themselves to any contingency. Even steep hills they
rrrn up without difiiculty thus seizing in advance all points of vantage, and
when ptit to flight they escape with lightning rapidity whereas when they
are the attad<ers they press the pursuit with perfect timing and co-ordination'
fell-versed as they are in practically every type of wart.arc they inflict con-
siderable harm on theit enemies.
They re accustomed for the most part
to fight alongside the Persians, though not as the conscript contingents of a
tt 3rtldui ThHllprTu
subject pcoplc otrce thcy arc ln fact ftrc end lndcpendent end lt lr nor in
their nature to submit to any form of compuhlon.
18. This detadrmenr of Dilimnites, then, ser out at nightfall against the
since they thoughr it preferable to make , ,utprIr" atta< on the
sabirs while they were still asleep and thus annihilate em with a minimum
of trouble. And they would nor, r suppose, have been deceived of their
hopes had it not been for a drance
which proved their undoing.
z But it so happened that while they were on the way under cover of darf-
ness to accomplish their mission a solitary colcleian fell in with them.
seizing him with ala.y.ity they forced him ro sho' them the way to the sabirs.
He was only too eager to do as he was told and set orff at thohead of them.
he read:ed a thickly-wooded glen, however, he quietly crouched down
and slipped away. Having s''ccessfully eluded his prrrluers he ran hard and
managed to readr the camp of the Huns before rh.y did.
7hen he got
there he found them all sound asleep. "fretched men", he-shdeLed at the
top of his voice, "another minute and you \rdll all be dead,,.
As soon as he had thus awakened them he told them that the enemy
would be there any moment.
They started up in alarm, armed themselves,
left the enclosure of their fortied camp and splitting up into rwo bodies
took cover. Moreover they left the entrance
nd their wooden
and canvas huts standing in exactly the same position as before.
to their ignorance of the terrain the Dilimnits went by a very rourrd-ubo"i
route though they did readr the camp of the Huns before daybreak. 7ith
fatal_ confidence they rushed in and roon wer. all inside. 6 creeping up
noislessly lest the enemy should be awakened by what they heard th.y dio""
their spears into the beds and the hurs, seemingly killing tlem in their sleep.
7 But_iust w!9n
they thogsht
that their mission was already accomplish
the Sabirs^.suddenly rushed out of their hiding places and fell on them-from
both sides' The Dilimnites_ uTere completely shattered by the unexpected
turn of events and finding themselves caught in their o*t, irup did noiknow
where to_tum. Flight was no easy rnatter,penned up as they were in a narro.w.
space. Nor could they clearly distinguish ih. .rr.rrry in the
twofold uncertainty of panic and night-fighiing. t tt. r.r,rlt wu, a mas-
sacre in whidr they did not even so much as make an attempt to defend them-
selves. Eight hundred men v/ere killed while the resr br*.ty managed ro ger
clgar, o{y to wander,aboyt distractedly not knowing v/hich \y to go.
often wren they thought they had abeady fled to a safe distanc" th"v wd
keep going round in circles ending up where they had started and stumbtring
into-the enemy.
This sort of thing went on all night. At daybreat whei
the first light began ro dawn the survivors immediately recognized the roure
they had taken and ran straight for the
lines though even so the
Sabirs were hard on their heels.
l6Lt 89
lo Bebat, thc commandcr of thole Romrn fottel thr,t had been atatloned
h Lrzlca for e very long tlmc, happened on tht occaaion to apend the night
h ArrCraeopollc where hls earc werc aoralled ftom every direction by a
dcdenlng noise and shorting. rr Ar long as it was dark and there was
[O way of telling what was going on he kept very quiet and did not ventufe
fOfth. But when the sun cme streaming ovef the mountain ridges he got an
Unmlstakeable vie'ur of what was happening and saw clearly that the Dilim-
iltcg urefe fleeing before the Sabirs.
he rushed out of the city
hlmsclf with sudr troops as formed his immediate entoufage and dispatdred
f,trothe not inconsiderable portion of the enemy with the result that out
euch a latge force there ras not a thousand men in all who reached
L9. Straight after the failure of this attempt Nadroragan left for Nesos
rnd camping close to the Romans invited Martin to a parley. z On
Martin's arrival he said: "You are sudr a shrewd and able general and a
person of. gteat influence among the Romans, and yet far from showing any
lnclination to stop the two monardrs from engaging in a mutually exhausting
Conflict you have allowed them to persist in the protracted ruination of their
rcgpective states.
If therefore you afe agreeable to the idea of anegotia-
tCd setflement, why not move with your afmy to the Pontic city of Trebi'
zond, whilst we Persians shall remain here? In this way we shall discuss
the terms of the armistice at our leisure using trusted messengels to convey
our views.
If you do not voluntarily withdraw youf afmy from here you
may fest assured that you will be driven out by force, for I h91d victory in
thepalm of my hand. And, mark you, I wear her no less securely than I wear
thisl. A" he uttered these words he showed him the ring whidr he was
wearing. 5
In answer to this Martin replied: "I do indeed consider peace
to be the titing object of our pryefs and a most precious possession and
shall hetp yoo i. your efiorts to teinstate her. However, I think it would be
better ifyou wefe to move with all speed to lberia while I went to Mudr-
efuisis. That would enable us to oramine the immediate situation, 6 As
for victory, you may indulge in boastful talk if you wish and presumptuously
imagine t[ai she is up for sale and is there for the taking. But I s_ay that the
scals of victory are weighted according to the discretion of divine Pro'
vidence, ,nd th.y do not incline towatds the boasdul and the agogant but
tourards those to whom the Ardritect of the universe nods his approval".
After Martin had given this pious and courageous reply and,had shown
right"om indignation at the blasphernous insolence of the batbarian they
parted withoui any pfogless having been made towards a peaceful settle-
*.ot. I Nachoragan retumed to his camp and Martin to Nesos. Nadrora-
ganfeltthat there was no point in stying where he was and so decided to go
Aruhtmr lkHtrpllc
to the town of Ph*tr
and lulc thc Rom*nr thcn Lutord, Thc uron for his
decision was that he rcceivedJntuuig.n..
t; ,h;.E;;riii
iirr*r, *or.
was especially vulnerable,
being .ntir"ry consffucted
of *oo, *d that the
suffounding plains
were r"..*Ibl" rndiuitrii f*;riltd;:'
It is, I
suppose comrnor knowledge
that e town of
tJ.i ii, name from
the river that flows u"ry
to it and dir"*bogou,
i" it,
into the
rhe town is in fact situated on the coast flear to the mouth of the
Phasis, and lies ar a distance of not o,o.. th* rt;;;;;'i,.
*.r, of
20. Late at night therefore Nachoragan immediatery lowered into the
river and fastened ,o.g"r!.r the light cr#t which ;;i;i b;;"sh, with him
on \/'agons and, thus, huu.rlu constructed a pontoonhe
hi, troof,
over ro the other side withour being obseed by rhe R;;;;.
ui, pt*
v/as to reacl the south side of the iourn; from *rria q"rr,
the'waters of
the river would not bar his access ,o ,. f"" ;;;i. .;;J;", in the
direction of the north srde.
Towards dawn he ser oft from the bank of
the river and, alter making , .torr i,
uy u, ,ur. u
distance as possible,
p_roceeded direcly on i, *ry.'-
t was not until.late in the morning that th Romans rearized,to their
aTarm' that the
had crossed olver. conse*.rrr,
,rrli'.". .or,
anxious ro reach the town before the enemy und rnn ,uir." ffiremes
and thirtv-oared ships whidr they had moored o.u":-Th.
downstream at a-vey_geat speed.
n,rt N*Jrorug* Lad had a
verygood sra* and was in fac.t arieaayhalf wuy etw.., N"r"J.rre tos,n.
At this point he laid a ba*ier of ti'mber * ;dl;;;"rt_hr-*d;h;
river, massing his_elephants
behind it in rines *r.h ;;;; f*;;-,h.,
could wade. 6 seeing this from a disrance, tn. no-* n..,*+
began io bacft water. They had ahad..job iowing in reverse with the current
against thqm, but they pulled.rrfully
ar the"oars ,"J;;rgJ.
Even so the?ersians.caprured
rwo empty uor,, *lri'rir crevrs
had abandoned. 7hen faced with imminent caffiil*;;;
cjrosen ro commit themserves to the ,.r.y f ,rr. *r.r.-ii'in
{uct u
droice between certain and-ress certain dug.r and they pi.r"rr"a
to ,uke
so thev leapt nimbrv overboard *Jrf* ;ir#irg-""ia"runu
distance underwater reached the safety of their .I..u.r, ,hipr.
a At this point tley left Buzes with his ,r-i rt N.r;;;'rr;arge
everything there and to bring rrerp in.uu" of
ghippe{ along and then across the river, ,ft . *hi.t *;;;;.
bv a difierenr route so as to avoid rundng into,h.
at the rown of Phasis rhey entered its
and the gen.iJ, pJ""i"r.a
N"* P"d tn the U. S. S. R.
The Black Sea.
Boohl 91
rmong thamrelvor ths trrk of mrnnLrg ths fortlficrtlonr, rlnce they dld not
fccl ruong enough to cngage the enemy tn a pitched bnttle.
9 Justin
ron of Germanur and hie fncn u'er atationod in front on the highest point,
whlc.h faced towards the sea, with Mamin and his forces occupying a nearby
porition. The middle part t/as
held by Angiles with a contingent of Moorish
troops atmed with shields and lances, by Theodorus and his Tzanianheavy
hfaotry, and by Philomathius with the Isaurian slingers and dart-throwers.
ro At some distance from these a detadrment of Lombards and Heruls
mounted guard under the command of Gibrus. The remaining stretch of wall
whiih terminated at the Eastern quarter of the tosm was guarded by the
Eastern regiments cornmanded by Valerian. And this completes the account
of the sposition of the Roman forces defending the walls.
2L, They had also built a massive rurnipart. in front of the walls in order
to withstand the rst shoik of an enemy attack and to serve as a butttess.
They were understandably anxious about the walls in view of the fact that
they wete built of wood and particularly because they had crumbled and
caved in with age in many places. z Accordingly a moat had been dug
and filled up to the top with \ater, so that the stakes whicJ: had been driven
in in great profusion were completely hidden. The latter part of this op-
etation had been efiected without difiiculty by diverting the seaward outflow
of the lagoon which flo,urs into the Euxine and is known locally as the "little
Latge merchantships rode at andror next to the sea-shore and the
mouth of the river Phasis very close to the town with their boats securely
suspended abirut the mastheads ani:l raised aloft. at such a height that they
bvertopped and even dwarfed the towers and battlements of the fortifications.
Up in theboats solers and the more daring and wrlike of the sailors were
stationed; They were armed with bows and arrows and slings and had set up
catapults loaded and ready for action.
Otrer ships too had been fitted out
in almost exactly the same fashion and then conveyed up the river to the op:
posite side of the fortifications where Vaierian was in command. Their pre-
sence at this point mant that any attempt on dhe part of the enemy to conduct
a siege at close
would be repulsed, since they would be shot at from a
very great height on either side. 6 To ensure that these ships on the river
should come to no harm two cominandrs
the Ant ahd Elminegeir
th Hun, acting on the instructions of the generals, manned with troops {rom
theii own contingents ten skiffs of a special kind equipped with fote-and-aft
l.'udders, and travelled up the'river as far as possible. They kept a non-stop
watdr, on the various crossing-points, sometimes sailing in the middle of the
r-iver and sometimes veering towards one or the other of its banks.
the course of this operation they experienced one of war's most pleasant
su4lrises. Even furtler up the river than they were, the two thirty-oared
Roman Vessels, whose capture without their crews by the Persians I have
?2 A:rthlmr ?hc l{htolu
already relntcd, now lay ln walt moord to the burk of the rlver and manned
by Persians. I At ntghtfall their crews all fell rllcep, The cument.was
particularly strong and the cables were stretched by the tilting of rhe boats,
with the result that the moorings on one of them suddenly snapped. Cut
adrfit and virtually without oars to propel it or a rrldder to steer it, it was
caught up in the current, swE)t auray and eventually
consigned to Dabra-
gezas and his men, who rejoicing at their good fortune gleefully seized their
prey. The ship whidr they had abandoned empry had returned to them full.
22. Meanwhile Nadroragan left camp and advanced on the town with his
entfue army. He intended to conne himself to light skirmishing and the
discharging of missiles from a distance in an atternpt to test the Romans'
mettle and to see whether they would come out into the open and fight. In
this way he hoped to form a cleat idea of what tactics to adopt in the next
day's battle. z As soon as the Persians got within shooting distance, there-
fore, they immediately began, according to their usual practice, to disdrarge
volley upon volley of arrows. Many Romans \r7'ere wounded, and thouglr
some of them continued to defend the walls, others withdreur altogether
from the fighting.
In complete disregard of Martin's instructions to the
whole army that they were to stay each at his respective post and to tght
from a position of safety, Angilas and Philomathius and abotrt two hundred
of their troops opened the gate in their section of the wall and made a sortie
against the enemy.
Theodorus the commander of the Tzanian'contingent
tried at first to restrain them, upbraiding them for their rashness. But when
they would not listen to him he fell in reluctantly with the majority decision
and set ofl at once with them to avoid being suspected of co,urardice and of
seeking to cover up his ignoble ends by an impressive show of prudence and
good sense. So, though he had no liking for the enterprise, h resolved to see
it through p the bitter end.
And in fact they would almost certainly have
been annihiladed on the spot but for a heaven-sent miscalculation whidr saved
them. The Dilimnites who were ranged in battle-form ation a,t that point,
perceiving the small number of the attad<ers stayed their ground and calmly
awaited their approadr. 6 fhen they were akdy eat athand the Dilim-
nites brought round their wings and encircled them. Hemmed in on all sides,
the Romans had no further idea of harming the enemy. Indeed rhe mere
possibility of escape seerned almost too mudr to hope for.
themselves therefore into a cornpct body they faced about and suddenlv
drarged with their spears Ievelled at those of the enemy that vere positioned
near the town.
7hen the Dilimnites saqr them drarging with the fury of despair they
immediately opened up their ranks and made way for them, since they were
unable to confront men who cared neither for their own lives nor for the
consequences of-their actions. 8 In this way the Romans were allowed to
loohl It
il.h o rrfoty unoppored, Only too gld ro get back lnrldc the fortlfications,
thcy rlemmcd thc gatc behind them. The nt achievemenr from sudl a
hurrdous cxploit ws nll
they had risked their lives to sve their shins!
29. Meanwhile an arny of porters on the Persian side had long been
totltng to fill in the moat. Their work u/as nortr cornplete. All gaps had been
ftopped and all holes had been plugged. In fact they had done sudr a
that even a besieging army could walk over the spot and siege-
cggines could be brought up with little diIficulty. z But a disproportionate
tmount of time had been spent on the operation considering the vast re-
tqrrces of manpower at their clisposal. Thougtr they threw in an enormous
quantity of stones and earth it did not sufiice to btock up the moar, and
wood was scarce except for what they cut from the forests, travelling far to
get it and transporting it with incredible toil.
The Rornans had in fact
already set fire to all the surrounding countryside, burning down even the
wayside inns and any other buildings in the immediate vicinity. Their pur-
pose in doing this had been to ensure that the enemy did not have a reoy
oupply of building material from any of these quarrers.
No other event
worth recording occured on that day, and at nightfall NacJroragan returned
to camp with his troops.
On the following day Martin, wishing to raise the morale of his troops
and to strike dismay into the hearts of the enemy, assembled the entire
Roman army with the apparent object of discussing the immediare situation.
Suddenly tere stepped into their midst a man covered in dust, who to
from his ppearallce must have travelled a grcat distance, though in actual
iact the whole incident had been rehearsed by Martin. His face was un-
familiar and he announced that he had just
arrived {rom Consrantinople with
a letter from the Emperor. 6 Seemingly overjoyed Martin took the letter,
opened it and proceeded to read it not making any secret of what he was
doing or reading silently to himself but in a loud clear voice so that every-
body could hear him.
What that document really contained was possibtry
something qte difierent, but the actual words he read out were as follows:
have sent you a second army no smaller than the one you already have.
Yet even if the enemy should happen to be numerically much stronger than
you, their superior numbers will never do more than match your superior
courage, so that the apparent disparity will cancel itself out. 8 But, to
prevent them from boasting even of a superiority on pper, receive this army
too and note that it has been sent not in response to any real or pressing
need but metely to produce a dazzlng and impressive display. Be of good
deeer therefore and acquit yourselves with energy and enthusiasm, bearing
in mind that we shall play our part to the full ".
Martin then immediately
asked the messengef where the army was. "They are not more than four
Laziart parasangs away', he said, adding that when he left them they were
?1 A&thlr:rlr:Hlrtorlu
scttlng up-camp_near the river Neocnur. ro
Mertin, feigning
an_ger, orclaimed, "Let them tum bac and go home as fast as they cn. I
will not have them here on any occasion. It-would be intolerable i, when
thes_e men here having {or so long shared with me the hardship of so many
battles ate aheady on the verge of destroying the enemy and adrieving todl
victory, tlrose others should come along at the eleventh hour when their
presene is no longer needed and a{ter having shared scarcely any of the
haz,ards receive an equal share in the glory and have their namei linked with
the triumphant finish of the campaign. And the greatesr injustice of all is
that they would reap the same material benets as all these here present.
rr I-et them stay whele they are for just
as long as it takes them to pad< up
and get started on the return-journey. These men here will moie than
sufiice for the task of bdnging the last stge of the war to a successful con-
clusion". rz 7ith these words he turned round and addressed himself to
the troops, saying: "May I assume that these are your sentiments too?,,
flhereupon they voiced their approval with a loud dreer and exclaimed that
the general's view was absolutely right. 13 They for theii part became
more confident and were able to rely on themselves without needing help
from any other quarter. The prospect of plunder fired them with arnbltlon
and a desire to surpass themselves. They were spurred on still further by their
confident anticipation of immediate and unresricted looting as thougL they
had aheady destroyed rhe enemy and their one concern was with how they
were going to divide the spoils.
24. Similary Martin's other aim was also fulfitled. The story of the relief-
force soon leaked out and was in general circulation and it was not long
before the news that a second Roman army had arrived at the banks of the
river Neocnus and that at ay moment it would be
joining forces with the
rst one, cape to the ears of the Persians themselves. z They were all
dumbfounded and extremeh alarmed at the prospect of having to do battle
with fresh enemy rein{orcements when they themselves urere exhausted by
the innumerable hardships of the struggle aheady sustained. Nadroragan,
however, lost no time in sending a not inconsiderable derachment of Persian
cavalry to patrol the route along whidr in his mistaken acceptance of the
Iumour he imagined they would be passing.
\X/hen they got there they
devoted a geat deal of misspent energy and vigilance to the task of securing
the main points of vantage and then concealed themselves there and lay in
wait for an enemy that was never to appear. Their idea rnas
to fall on them
when they were least o(pecting it and when their line of mardr was un-
gualded and to retard their progress until the beleaguered garrison was
forced to surrender .
Tn this way a not inconsiderable Persian force was
detadred from the main body of the army and sent on a fool's errand. Even.
so Nachoragan, anxious to forestall the arrival of the non-e>ristent relief-force,
Boolr !
hd sut trh ermy forthwith and boldly rdvrnccd egainat the Romans, bragging
opcnly rnd rwearlng tht he would tet fir on rhor oome day to the entir
elty togcther wlth itg inhabitants,
Apparently conccir
so clouded
that he had forgotten that he was marching off to war, where
uncfteinry reigns supreme, where the scales of victory and defeat incline
now on way and now the other and where above all the issue hangs on the
predcstined purpose of a Supreme Being. He seemed equally oblivious o{
the fact that in srar nothing happens on a small scale, thal irs repercussions
rfe truly immense, involving as the do on occasion the dismption of count-
lcas peoples and numerous cities and shking the very pillurs of human
lociety to their foundations. 6 But his boastful amogance rose to such a
pitch that he actually gave ins*uctions to the labourers and menials, who
wefe scttered about the forest felling rrees for firewood or possibly for the
repair of siege-engines, to the eflect that as soon as they saw smote rising
they were to understand it to mean that the fortitcations of the Romans ha
already been set on fire and that they must down tools immediately and run
him in spreading the flames. In this ril'ay one general conflagration
would easily engulf everything. Flattering himself then with sudr notions
he laundred the attacl<.
the son of Germanus was suddenly moved by, I
think, divine inspiration to go as quickly as possible (he did not know that
Nachoragan would be attacking at that time) to a place of worship enjoying
peculiar distinction among cfiristians, whidr was not far distant from the
city, and invoke divine aid. 8 Having collected rherefore, the pick of
Mattin's troop and of his own plus a ve-thousand-strong force of cavalry
and having armed them for battle, he rode ofi with them. The standards
followed him and the whole operarion was conducted in a regular and disci-
plined manner.
Now it so happened that neither did the
and his men setting out nor did they see the Persians advancing to
attad<. The latter in fact came by a difierent route and made a sudden assault
on the walls. They shot even more rro\r/s than previously, hoping in this
ray to strike greater teffor into the hearts of the Romans and quickly take
the place by storm.
25. Missiles were falling thic} and fast, volley succeeding volley in suc[:
dense profusion that the surroundtng afu grew dark. The scene was not
unlilre that of a fierce blizzard or a violenr burst of hail. z Meanwhile
others were bdnging up siege-engines, hurling fire-brands or had<ing at the
wall with axes from under the cover of the
roofs" as they are called.
The wall being made of wood was of course particularly vulnerable ro rhis
kind of attack. Others still were trying to undermine the foundations and
bring dourn the whole edifice.
But the Romans manning the towers and
battlements ofiered a spirited and vigorous resistance in their anxiety to
96 Agrhl: The Hlrtouler
prove by their actions that thcy could dispcnre with the rewicee of o relicf.
And so the deception procrised by Martin proved in the event
to be useftrl and efiective in the extreme. Indeed every man exerted himself
to the utmost and they adopted every conceivable defensive measure.
They rained down javelins
on rhe enemy, wounding many of them since
their missiles fell on an unprotecred multitude and could hardly be ddlected
from their course. Huge stones were rolled down on to the pent houses and
went smashing through them while smaller ones
hurled from slings,
shattering the shields and helmets of the Persians and forcibly deterring
them from coming up too close to the wall. 6 Some of the troopr pott.
in the ship's boats in the manner I have akeady described used tli'eii bows
to deadly efiect and inflicted heavy casualties, shooring as they did from a
very gret height. others of them manipulated the catapults with great skill;
and the feathered darts, which were specially designed for the purpose, being
shot with tremendous force, had an enormous range with the result thai
many of the oncoming barbarians were sll lar away when both men and
hotses suddenly found themselves transfi.xed and strud< down.
while the shouting rose to a ternfrc pitdr and the trumpets on either side
sounded a martial strain. The Persians banged on drums and yelled trouder
still in order to cause alarm and terror and t[,e neighing of horses combined
with the heavy thud of shields and the noise of breasrplares being smashed
to produce a harsh and strident din. 8 At this point
the son of
Germanus who was returning from the churdr was made aware of what was
going on by the sustained and confused noise that assailed his ears. He
immediately rallied his cavalry and drawing them up in regular {ormation
gave orders for the standards to be raised aloft and called upon every man
to play his part and bear in mind that it was through the workings of
vidence that.they had ventured outside the rown in order that they might
tetomze the hnemy by taking them unawares and force them to rir" th.
As soon as they had advanced a short distance tey saw the
Persians storming the walls. 7herzupon they raised a sudden shout and
hurled themselves at those of them thar were drawn up alongside the wall
facing tlle sea, for that \as the direction from which they had come. Striking
with lances, pikes and swords the Romans cut down all who were in their
path, and then made a series of furious cJrarges into the enemy's ranks
thrusting them back with their shields until they dislodged them arrd broke
up their fonnation.
26. Thinking tha,t this was the army whose
arnvaT they had
heard about and concluding that it had eluded the ambush ser for it and had
reached its destination, the Persians closed their ranks in panic and confusion
and began to beat a gradaal retrear. z Meanwhile the Dilimnites who
were fighting near the middle of the wall caught a distant glimpse of the
Boolr ! 97
prevrlng turmoll, Lerving ory a few of thclr number behlnd, the reut a1l
ret ofi to rclleve thoee who wete belng hotd pressl,
Roman commondere Angilae and Thcodorus, whom I havc already men-
tioncd, petceiving the scant nurnbers of those that had remained made a
rudden sortie from the town with a faidy latge force. The Romans slew the
trrt batdr of thern and then pressed in relentless pursuit upon the remainder
thnt had taken to flight.
When the rest of the Dilimnites who were on
their way to rescue the Persians from their difiiculties saur this, they im-
mediately turned back, determined to confront the Romans and convinced
that they ought by preference to be making all haste to relieve their own
kinsmen. But they rushed with such frantic nd impetuous speed that they
looked more like a band of fugitives than an army on the attack. They were,
$ they felt, rushing to the ud of their fellow-countrymen but there was
about them an air of panic rather than of truculence.
7hen that part of
the Persian army which was drawn up nearest to them saw the Dilimnites
milling about in this apparent confusion and disorder they assumed that they
must be running away and since they would not have descended to such a
disgraceful course except in the face of overwhelming danger arrd impossible
odds they too took to their heels and fled ignominiously in all directions. The
f,ight which they had for some time been furtively envisaging now became
a stark reality. 6 At this point the Dilimnites came to the same conclusion
about the Persians and rushed to join
them in flight, being themselves both
the cause and the victims of a double misunderstanding.
7hi1e these events were tking place a very large number of Roman
troops sallied forth from behind the walls and turned the enemy retreat
into a rout, following hard on their heels and cutting down whoever hap-
pened to bring up the rear. They also attacked directions and
foueht hard against that part of the enemy which was still holding out and
keeping its ranks together. 8 For, though the left wing of the barbarians
had mani{estly fallen apart, their right wing was still intct and was ghting
a vigorous rear-guard action. In addition to serving as soft of defensive
wall their elephants kept &arging the Roman rnfantry and throwing their
ranks into confusion every time they formed em. The bowmen riding on
the elephants'bad<s played havoc with the attad<ers since from their position
of elevation they could pick them ofi with unerring aim. It was an easy task
also for the cavalry squadtons to keep rushing out and harrying men who
were on foot and impeded by the weight of their armour, with the tesult
that the Romans on that side were aheady being forced to give ground and
beat abasty retreat.
27. Meanwlttle one of their number, a trria called Ognaris who was a
member of Martin's body-guard, finding himsel{ trapped in a confined space
from whidr no escape was possible took one last desperate chance
tB AgrhlilrTheHhtotlet
fiercest of the elephanrs u'a8 drarging at hlm and hc rtruc} lt a vlolent blow
withlis spear just
above the brcw, driving the polnt right in and leaving the
rest hanging. z The beast enraged by the blow an driven wild by the
sight of the spear dangling in {ront of its eye drcw baclc suddenly, leaping
about and turning in circles. At one moment he was thrashing about with hii
trunk smiting large numbers of Persians and tossing them up into the air, at
another he was stetdring it out and trumpeting.
In i split second he
threw ofi the soldiers riding on his bad< and trampled them to death. Then
he proceeded to strike teror and confusion into the whole Persian army,
causing the horses to shy as he approadred them and rending and tearing
with his tusks whatever came inro contcr with him.
m was fifle
wjth cries of panic and lamentation. The horses rerrorized by the ferocity
of the beast no longer answered to the reins but raising their front hooves
into the air tlrew ofi their riders and with much panting and snorting went
careering into the midst of the arrry.
Thereupon rhe men all began to
turn badc on themselves jostling
and elbowing one another as each one tried
to get out of the way before the next rnan did, Large numbers were killed
by their own side as they stumbled against the swords of their comrades and
kinsmen. 6 As the confusion grew /orse the Romans who had remained
behind the walls joined
with those who had sallied forth from rhe fort some
time ago, and together they formed a single phalanx whose front line they
strengtlened as much as possible by holding out a conrinuous wall of shields.
They then hurled themselves against an enemy thar was still in complete
The Persians already \rrorn out by their previous exertions were
unable to withstand the impact of the d:arge and fled precipitately. Their
flight was an imegular one and they made no attempt to keep in formation or
to ward ofl their artackers, but simply scatrered in difierent directions eaclr
man fendi4g {or himself as best he could. 8 Nachoragan too was as be-
wildered asi anyone else by the startling turn of events and reffeated at a
gallop, signalling to all with his whip rhat they must flee as fast as they
could, whidr in fact was what they were aheady doing. And so his boastful
predictions were completely belied by what actually happened.
Romanscontinued to pursue and kill the barbarians unril Marrin, feeling that
enough had been accomplished, sounded the signal for them to redr and
ched<ed their lust for blood. ro The Persians gor back with difiiculty to
the safety of their camp, having lost not less than ten thousand gting men
in this engagement.
28. On their return from the pursuit the Rofnans set fire to the wid<er-
roofs and all the other Persian siege equipment whicl had been left near the
wall. Thereupafi a gteat flame fared up and as soon as the servants and
porters on the Persian side who were cutting wood in the forest saw from
afar the smoke rising up and ascending in spirals high into the air, the un-
Boolr )
lortunrtc wtptehGr tGt ofi for thc to*rn thinklng that whrt Nechoragan had
nrlier bogted to *rom had comc true and that the lort war sblazc. r Con
rquntly they ran sll the way, featlng, I luppose, that thc opportunity for
rctlon would scape them and that everything would be buint to ashes
bdorc they got there, So they vied with onc another in speed little dreaming
thrt the rst to get there wotrld be the trst to die. They were in fact all
crptured and killed one after the other by the Romns, as though they had
cgmc expressly for that purpose. fe[ nigh two thousand men mer rheir
dcrdrs in this manner.
Thus Nachoragan was wholly to blame thro'r.rgh the
foolish instructions he issued for the Lact that sudr an enormous number of
Itbouers, men with no military training who had never be{ore taken part in
rrmed combat, had rushed unsuspectingly to thefu deaths. The whole in-
cldent is indeed a striking illustration of the baneful consequences of the sin
of pride not merely for its practitioners but also for their unfortunate
As a result of these events Roman morale was extremely high
rnd there was a general conviction that any attempt at rene/ing hostilities
oh the part of the barbarians would result in yer anorher victory for the
Romans. Those who were killed in action (and they did not number more
than two hundred) were given an honourable burial and won universal ad-
miration for the valour with which they had acquitted themselves.
enemy dead, however, the Romans despoiled, thereby acquiring a gtrgantic
quantity of weapons and other objects. Some of the dead were wearing on
their persons not just shields and breastplates, and quivers full of arro\r/'s
but solid gold collars and necldaces and ear-rings and all the other foppish
and efieminate ornaments that the more aristocratic Persians beded< them-
selves 'dth
in order to cut a dash and distinguish themselves from rhe
common people.
6 Since he was running out of provisions and winter was already
approaching Nachoragan deliberately created the impression that he was
eagerly preparing to mount a fresh ofiensive. Far ftom putting sudr a plan
into effect, however, he dispat&ed the Dilimnite contingent on the following
day to take up position at close quarters wherehe ensured that they attracted
the attention of the Romans, and while making it look as tJrough he was
aborrt to atta&, quietly set o at once with the rest of his troops for Cotas
and Mudreirisis.
flhen he had abeady gone most of the way the Dilim-
nites broke their ranls and withdrew, whidr tJrey were able to do with the
greatest of ease being light-armed and moreover hardy and fleet of foot.
I The other Persian detadrrnent, whidr had been sent previously to the river
Neocnus owing to Martin's ruse as I described earlier on, arrived there too.
On learning in fact that the Persians had been beaten and that the Romans
were in con*ol of the entir region they set ofi immediately by a secluded
route far from the main thoroughfares and reached Mucheirisis, having played
Agrthlal TheHlltarler
qrt ln the ghting but-.arrng atill morc fully ln the rgnomrny and
humiliation oT flight.
thi whole armyh" r".*ut"f,iiir.#r.g*
left most of.the cavalry therc,putting vahdz a
"r ".rr,
in command of the force, and himsef rerurned with a smafl rtin,ie to lberii
where he intended to spend the winter.
f1 Th9 Rogran victory whidr marked the conclusion of this stage in the
lng btought with it a som of armed rruce and an immediate lull in
and made it possible to proceed with the judicial
enquiry into the
ptcviously committed agunst, Gubazes. z Accordingly Athanasius,
Cmnlng the garb of the highest civic magisuares, took his r on a raised
lbunal amid great pomp and splendoui. Trained shorthand wrirers were
lE rttendance upon him and rhere was the full complemenr of all the other
and more impressive ofiicials who are especially well-versed in the
ttkttiee of legal procedure. Also prcsent rere heralds, and ushers armed with
rhlPs. All these people had been selected from the various ofiicial bureaux
la Constantinople.
Those who were drarged with that particular duty
crsrlod with them iron collars, rad<s and various other instrumnrs of rorture.
qf opinion it was no mere accident or caprice but a
and well-
od aesessment of the situarion thathadled the Emperoi
ro order
tbnt the trial be conducted with such thoroughness ind meticulous observ-
lce of legal form. His object \as ro inrpress the natives by a sornewhat
ttcntatious dirpluy of the'majesty of Roman jusrice
in order not only to
llr8tom them better to Roman rule but also to dispel any resentment or
fcrJing of grievance that the coldrians might still hirbour'in the event of
Itr being proved that Gubazes had been guilty in the first instance of at-
tcurpted de{ection to Persia and that consequently his murder had been
pctfectly justifiable.
If on the other hand the murderers of Gubazes
cre convicted of having produced a trumped-up d:arge and then perperrared
i vicious felony they would in that case be sentenced, paraded around in
by a herald andfrnilJy beheaded and put to r:he avenging sword in the
dght of all men. In this way the punishment meted ort *oold seem ro be
terible and severe. 6 For the Emperor knew full well that if he
to give orders for Rusticus and
to be put to death in secrer and
:' vnth
rough justice,
the colchians would not feel that the afiront to their
had been removed or that they had obtained adequate redress
fr:the crime commitred.
He realized equally that the r.itirrg up of a
ttibrrrd, in whidr either side stated its case-whiie rhe coum otrirl, k"pt
btrslling about-to ensure that each man took his stand and answered questions
the ploper fashion, accompanied as it would be by the full majesiy of the
law and the lofty tones of frensic eloquence, all of whidr would serve ro
render more awe-inspiring te prospect of imminent death
all these things
100 glthlnrr Tlr Hhtorlel
q$t in the-fighting hut oharing rtill more futly In the lgnominy and
humiliation oJ flight. ro shen thi whole army ha assemble Nachoragan
left most of.the cavalry therc, puttin gyohnza
of very high standng
in command of the force, and himself returned with a smal rtine to lberi
where he intended to spend the winter.
r 1. Thc Roman victory which marked the conclusion of this stage in the
brought with ii a so$ of armed truce and an immedia lull in
lgrtllitice and made it possible to proceed with the judicial
enquiry into the
pteviously committed against Gubazes. z Accordingl Athanasius,
donning the garb of the higheJt civic magismares, took his t on a raised
*lbund anrid great pomp and splendour-. Trained shorthand wrirers were
la rttendance upon him and there was the full complement of all the other
grnder and more impressive ofiicials who are .rp"rlly well-versed in the
ttlcetics of legal procedure. Also present were heralds, and ushers armed with
rhtpe. All these people had been selected from the vatious ofiicial bureaux
h constantinople.
Those who were charged with that particular duty
llttd with them iron collars, ra&s and various other insruments o{ torrure.
pf opinion it was no mere accidenr or caprice but a
and well-
tfmsd assessment of the situatiorr thathadled the Emperoi
ro order
that the ttialbe conducted with such thoroughnes"nd meti.,rlous observ-
ce of legal form. His object 7as ro impress the natives by a somewhat
, ttentatious display of the majesty of Roman justice
in order nor only ro
lfirstom them better to Ronran rule but also to dispel any resentment or
fceling of grievance that the colchians might still ha-rbour in the evenr of
tta being proved that Gubazes had been guilty in the rst insrance of at-
tcrnpted defection to Persia and that consequently his murder had been
pctfectly justifiable.
If on the other hand the murderers of Gubazes
were convicted of having produced a ttumped-up drarge and then perpetrared
t vicious felony they would in that case be sentenced, paraded around in
public by a herald and finally beheaded and put to the avenging sword in the
right of all men. In this way the punishmet meted out *oold seem ro be
doubly temible and severe. 6 For the Emperor knew full well that if he
v:ere to give orders for Rusticus and
to be put to death in secret and
, wth rough justice,
the colchians would not feel that the afrront to their
digrrrty had
removed or that they had obtained adequate redress
fot the crime committed.
He reaTaed, equally that the seiting up of a
in whidr either side stated its case-whiie rhe cout oflilials kept
bustling about to ensure that each man took his stand and answered questions
the p_roper fashion, accompanied as it would be by the full majesiy of the
Iaw and the lofty tones of forEnsic eloquence, all of whidr would serve to
render more awe-inspiring the prospect of imminent death
all these things
t01 I0l c{tlrlrtx:
[lirtnt lrr
tlrcn cott[c[ not firil tr plivc the
rr rlill'elent rln(l tlrot'c (rxrllt(:([
quality ancl to makc thc
ilp1)clu' ctlrrrrl to i[ rrot cvcn grclrtcl' thru)
the crime. 8 Such procccdings in lact, rlcsyritc thcir frcclucnt u..r,rr.rr..
there, strike awe and wonder into the hcurts o[' the inhabitants of con-
stantinopl.e, so that it is not hard to surmise what their efiect would be on
barbarians for whom they would constitute a complete novelty. It was, I
think, in view of these considerations then at a court worthy of the
traditions of Imperial Rome and Democratic Athens uras set up ar rhe foot
of the Caucasus.
2. Rusticus and
were led out of prison and, being the accused, took
their stand on the left. The other side was occupied by the accusers. These
consisted of the ablest of the colchians, mel] who were thoroughly con-
versant with the Greek language. z They first requested that tlre letter
from the Emperor, whidr
had previously brought to the Generals and
consequently had a direct bearing on the matter, be read out in public. The
considered the request to be a reasonable one and it',vas red out in a
loud clear voice by one of the ofiicials specially appointed for this task. It
ran more or less as follows:
"The news you have sent me is incredible
and altogether exffaordinary. rt amounts in fact to an assertion that Gubazes
is intent upon abandoning all his counrry's traditions and forsaking a people
whose outlook is so close in all matters to that of his own nation and whse
leadership is a long-established fact (we mean, of course, the Romans) in
order to desert to an alien and bitterly hostile people who lack even the bond
of a cornmon religion, and aJl.this without having suered the slightest injury
at our hands.
But, recognizing as we do the uncertainty and instability
of the human condition whidr is by narure liable to a bewildering variety o
fortuitous influences, we have deemed it politic to temper our disbelief and
not to refrain from taling all reasonable precautions against any conceivable
sinister madrinations, real or imaginary, on the part of Gubazes. fn view,
moreover, of the uncertainty of the issue we have determined not to allow
ourselves any peace of mind, to suspend
and to remain undecided.
And yet it is monstrous never to put one's trust firmly in anyone and always
to be Iull ot [.eat and suspicion even in the case of one's closest associates.
Nevertheless $le too are but human and, therefore, cannot overcome ouf
instinctive feelings of difiidence and distrust.
A sensible compromise
however, which would neither invo ve us in harsh and precipitate action
against Gubazes nor allow us to be persuaded by the seeming improbability
of the drarge into showing insufiicient firmness, has suggested itself ro us: it
is that Gubazes should come ro Constantinople. Send him therefore with all
speed whether of his own free wili or by force. 6 If knowing that this is
our pleasure he nevertheless resists and refuses to come then you will seize
him and drag him off, and you will be fully enrided ro do so in tlese circum-
llxrk 4
tnrct, lf rrrorcovcr lre lries to lrtertk,t',vrty rttt,l liglrtr lrrrd<, if irr lrrct lrc
!e(lrl$ lo rlny l()t'nr ol violcrrl rll,lxrsiliott wlrtlsoever tltctt wc slrrrll lt,tvct
r:l1rr, lrlrlol
oI t'r'irtrirtrrl iutcnI rrrrtl he rvill tlrcrcrtltcr Irc clrtsse.l rrs tt
nerrryr sl tlrut slxx.rtcl ilnyone kill lrirn otrce hc l:chrrvr:tl with suclr cfrontcry
tlrcit'rtct ion wotrl<l in ogr vicw ltc cltritc it-r ortlcr.
denln witlr him will not bc punishccl fot having actecl on his own initiative,
:lnce it will not be a qucsti<rn of punishing him as a mttrclerer but rathet of
him for baving killed a rebel". Sudr then was revealed to be the
lmport of the Emperor's letter.
.). As soon as the
judge ruled that they should proceed to state their
euuc, fihc Coldrians who had been authorized to conduct the prosecution
ertgcrly began their speech.
they said was as {ollonrs: z "The enor-
rrrity 9f the crime committed is in itself sufficient to condemn its perpetrators
to the severest of punishments without our uttefing a single \Irord. But sincc
it is a requirement of your laws that even in the case of notorious and out-
f&gcous ofiences
judgment must not be passed until all the facts have been
clorly stated, we have come here to give abarc recital of events. In tlris
too shall fulfil the requirements of the law, though our languagc
will be simple and unadorned and quite unequal to the magnitude of the
cfimes committed.
flhat semblance of an excuse will they find for the
cold-blooded murder of a man of sucir exalted rank who was bound to yotr
by ties of friendship, alliance, hospitality and by a common religion, a man
in fine who possessed all the attributes of a most intimate associate and
friend? 7hat vestige o an excuse, then, will be left them once they ate
shown to have behaved v/ith e)<treme hostility toruards you by virtually
promoting the interests of the enemy? The murdered man was a king, a king
of no mean nation, a great force for virtue and one who, far more than his
murderers ever did, had always had the interests of the Romans at heart.
The Colchian state is in ruins, indeed it would be more accufate to say,
'The Empire is in ruins', given that 1ye constitute a not inconsiderable frac-
tion of its subjects. The stability and integrity of your regime has been
destroyed and your own po\rlef is sadly weakened as a result. For a state
whidrls not firmly suppofted througho'ut its entire structure no longer has
any tirle to be considered a unified political entity. Indeed to call it a state
b..o*., a contradiction in terms once its unity has been dlastically impaired.
Now the very men who have brought about this situation say that you
must take into account not the appalling consequences of their action but
the spirit in whidr it was done, and they would have you proceed by an
obscrrre and specious form of argu.mentation to coniure up a fanciful picture
of the benefi.ts that have accrued to you therefrom rather than give any
credence to the manifest harm aTready experienced. 6 Even before the
trial in fact they thought by dint of repeating these sophistries to mislead the
Agrthlrrr ho Hhrulcl
masses. If thucfore they arc golng to put forward thlr typc of orgument ln
a couf,r of law then they had better realize that It t, not t i[.epin with the
principles of Roman justice
to turn a brind eyc ro suclr a glarin; ,^"a nrrm
ofience in order to be deceived by sudr obscure ullegrdo; ,n i*.pJa*p
charggs as theirs. It is intolerable_that they rhoddp"nly , ,r,
have killed Gubazes and yer persist in making tte wita ;rr;;ril that the
common good has benefited immensely from tlreir action.
How can such
glaring inconsisrencies be reconciled? By what logic ,haJl w. d"r.rib. the act
as an atrociry while ar the same time praising the pubc-spirited
intent of
its perpetators?
notions of pubric good and illegal violence have
from time immemorial been diametriiafly oppposed. Lil<Jwise c.rty and
justig-e_are poles-apart.
There is no commo" gi"rnd between them and no
possible point of contac.
4. But if we confi'e ourselves to abarcexamination
of the end in view
even on that score they will be convicted of malice aforethouglrq ,in". th"
policy they adopted has the blessing of
These murdei.r, th.r.for"
are not fit to be called Rom-ans, nor should they be judged
with the indul-
gence extended to one's fellow countrymen but-rathr aI though tlr.y *"i.
your urorst enemies, since they are already divided from you by ,h. common
Law of humanity eyen i! not yer by your wn written coe. z For actions,
not rlistance,
arc the o.dr prop"r criterion for determining *hut i, ulien and
hostile. fihoever deliberelyplays
into the hands of th
.ry rurrr-
ylf wrth good reason be deemed an enemy, even if he is crose ,ruod, .u.n
if he is servjng in the same army, even if he is of the same brood.
they claim that they did not kill a friend or a king bur an
a rebel
and an active sympathizet of
persia. yes,
in thJr criminai ioiry'i.y nr".
even gone so far as to drarge the dead man with conspiracy to b.ff y th.
state to the Persians. And-things have now come to r,rd. r'pu* that even
in death tlie unhappy man has io ..rt brur must stand trial r* rugr, treason
in circumstances where he can gain nothing from an acquittal.
is there in force among yourselves or ,*on! brrbarians whidr would sanction
thepractice of first pronouncing and exeting the senten"" ,rJih.r, pro-
ce"ding to draw up the indictment? setting thetselves up as
and accusers all rolled into one, they inflicied upon an innocent an without
even giving him a t'jal the punishment
appropriate to one who had been
genuinely convicted of seeking to assume arbitrary and unconstitutional
Now when they are supposed to be defending themselves they
h-ave comebringing accusarions against rhe victim of their wn injusiice.
believed in the cJ-rarges ih.y ,r. making they ought iiri to l,uu.
embarked openly on criminal proceedings
againsl him and"been the first to
opel tfre case for rhe prosecution
beforJkillig him and nor ro have waited
until they were themselves accused and then bring out a counter-accusation.
Booh I 10,
If orrcryone lr entltlcd to do t$h rort of thlng thcn why dld wc not ta,ke
du lrw lnto our handa also and klll there murderous brutes, since when we
frrc btought to
we could alwayo have countered the charges pr*
fr!d against us by amaigning them posthumously with their previous
kn, and thus attempted to demons6ate tlat two'/rongs make a right?
GIVCn in fact the incontovertible natufe of the evidence for the prior wents
b Whtch we had reacted in anger, we would have been punishing them with
I1crtef iustice
and the case for the defence would have proceedei with all
But there is no place for sudr outrgeous conduct either
Off Our
or on anybody else's, that is if you are to ve according to youf
tpditional standards of legality. For if whoever feels so inclined is permitted
O lrill ofl his private enemies in this summary and ofihand mnner, and the
becomes sudr a regular occuffence that no limit is set to criminal
drrlng, horv long do you imagine the authority of the
judiciary will remain
Unhfaired? n ih. mutual slaughter and the endless c}ain of plots and
Counierplots that will ensue you wjll not be able to punish or bring to heel
thc cdrits in time, and as your nation rushes blindly to destruction all
poasibility of impartial investigation will be precluded by awave of personal
5. Yet the accused contend that thete is nothing very dreadful about the
death of a single individual who happens also to be atraitor, especially in
View of the salutary and sobering efiect it will have on all your allies. z I
qm in complete agreement. If it is a question of destroying real traitors, then
the more ihe mertier. The mere fact of ridding the world of sud-r men is in
itself a sufiicient boon, even if no other benefit derives from the action of
their slayers. But if without there being a shred of evidence to convict him a
pefson of very great distinction is suddenly stnrck down and punished like a
o.rnon taitor caught red-handed in the act, one is perhaps entitled to ask
exactly how that is meant to have a salutary and sobering efiect upon yorrr
alliesi 3
surely they would be much more likely to disavow their alliance
if they srspected that you were pafty to such an outrage. Indeed they could
hro, u*id th" inescapable conclusion that il you show so little concern for
and humanity in yout dealings with your close friends and associates
will scarcely piorr" .or. reliable in your dealings with. strangers who
La:ue been recognized merely in response to some sudden and pressing need.
But you were not privy to their plan nor will the whole Roman people be
involvld in the guilr whidr attadres to them as individuals, nor for that
matref will your long-standing'reputation fot honesty, teliability and
be eclipsed and overshadowed by their nefarious conduct.
On the con-
trary iiis our opinion that this tribunal has been set up to pfeserve the good
name of the ntion and to make it clear ro everybody that you wish to
yourselves entirely from the action of those who have inllicted
3rrhlmr 1hc t&re{a
auel *uel and monsrrous indlgniticr on tho colchhnr, 6
ar thrr
point the minds of mort men are.perprexed
even find--your motives. open to dubi. But once, my Lord, your verd^ic,
whidr will be their death-wa*ant,
i, prorrourr."d;ilir;il
t;;;. crystar
:l::: :h^t
it is your practice nor ro btray your fri.oa, Uri ,, pish
vrno do wfong.
As for the defence wlidr they appe to be putting up, it is in reality
ranramount ro an open admission of guilt. The Emproc,". in fact
insrructs the generals
ro send Gubazest conrtuntinfi.
"rrig-p*suasion in the first insrance and even force shourd he ref,r.e ; ;-;;;".ka ir, ,rr.
event of his resisring compulsion not on any account Lifling him until he
resorted to actual revolt and armed hostirities. g
These ir.o,'ho*.u.r,
without even themselves being generals and-without il;y o,h", way being
authorized ro work their
him, m"a trr"ii ii.rr;ri- in the
twinkling of an eye. They.did nor urge him to go to consiantinipie-They
not find. him*uncooperarive
and have recourse ro a reasonatt" a.g f
compulsion. They did nor even bother to find o,rt o,h.tlr"" rr.-r-rra any in-
tention of not respecting the Emperor's command! g ., iil, i.i" p"ood
th Emperor,sinstructiinr,
*h.r"r, i, rcafuy
theyhave shown flagrant disregard for his wishes by daring to emproy vicio,,s
slander against Gubazes in the- first prace and then

selves to do the exact opposite of wht had been *ir"Iy .";oiiJ uioo th"-.
Y:':f}::rl:2f 41,
they prectuded
a[ possibitity
.toi."y Jippr.rr;rg
the contents of the letter.
6, rtis indeed hard to envisage a punishment
sufiiciently severe to matcl
the enormitv of their
ro tiur. another is arways i;;;;ri;;;
but it is especially so if the injured party happens to b a friend and one who
has often risked his life on belaff of his'ass#ates.
z For who was the man
who preferred your friendship to rrr. *"J*i-irr.
all the
they made him?
was the .u" *t o,", ,t ,rorrght
the friendship of Chosroes and wh9, though the yay fry
fection,to,imm.else prosperity
and distincitio;, *; hr;p;; ;il; il;
Iess exalted poslrion and retain his links with you? 7ho, I ask, was the man
who, when his Iandlad long been hard pressed
uy trr"
trom you was slow in co.minq,
suddenly and took to the mountains,
living.on the_ very peaks of th Caucasu, ," p"iri"g .,p ;h';rhuman
conditions rather than
the friendly overturs ,h.:;;;;;;;;kil;
to him and come down from hir mountain fastness to live in ease and comfort
in his own home? 'ho was this man trr.ri
None otrr"i trr*ubazes,
the man who was afraid to faSe ng danger
y; ;;;;;Jor,.in;rrri".
of it!), Gubazes rhe ffaitor, the- reber, ,i" *no *h" b"i*.iir," pir. t.
the Persians! And he, aking, has m.t his Jeath ,t tr* *a,
aodrl t07
nnd locthrcmG mcn rr
rnd Rultlcur, Yct cven lf he had rcally been
guilty of tho cort of crlme hc har bcen accrrred of, they ltill ougtrt not to have
ispatched htnr with cuch indecent hacte. He should firet havc been
by-the Emperot, who is the common sovereign of the Romans and the
Coldrians with supreme authotity over both peoples, bdore receiving his
due share of punishment.
But since their murderous act was motivated
not by any
cause but by an irrational hostility which erupted under the
stimulus of envy into this piece of diabolical wicl<edness they left no room
in their minds ior sanity or for considerations of expediency. Venting the
spleen of their accumulated hatred at the first opportunity afiorded them
th"y pot their long-premeditated plan into execution, heedless of the critical
staie of ofrarts at the time and regardless of the consequences.
In the
midst of a conflict of such proportions, when the sensible thing would have
ben to conciliate and win over even those peoples with whom no
contacts had as yet been established, they have done their level best to
antagonize even those who until recently were the closest friends of the
Romans. Indeed if it depended solely on them we should have gone over to
the enemy, we should be plotting against our staunc}est friends, ouf countly
would be in the hands of the Persians and violent upheaval and civil strife
would be combining to sound the death-knell of our ancestral traditions.
6 You must, therefore, inflict afrtttngpunishment upon them, if indeed sudr
a punishment can be found,
as though all these things really had taken
place and you srere faced with the collapse of your Empire. For even if we
have in fact remained true to the cause of the Romans, it is not right that
they should benefit from our virtuous conduct and be any less severely
punished than the nature of their criminal endeavour demands".
7. flhile the prosecutors svefe thus ptessing their charges the Coldeian
populace who weie assembled there could not understand the terms in whidr
tlr ac.uration was couched or appreciate the rhetorical skill employed.
Nevertheless bing acquainted with the facts upon rvhidr eadr individual
count rested, they enthusiastically supported the dorts of the prosecution
by echoing their intonation and imitating their gestufes. In a like mannef
their mood kept changing from compassion to resolute and confident
assertion ,""otditg as they thought they detected a dtange of tone in the
voices of the accusers. z Then when the speedr for the prosecution had
drawn to a close and the
judge paused a while to deliberate they were filled
with silent indignation because the accused had not been executed on the
spot. And when the
judge motioned the defendants to state their case the
aisernbled multitude were ready to raise an outcfy and were already mur'
mufing and theit voices were becoming clearer and more audible. At this
point, however, the ccusers prevented things from getting out of hand by
beckoning to them to hold their peace.
Accordingly when silence had
A3rthlr:r Tlre llhtotla
been procured
Rustlcus togerhcr wrth htr brother
ceme fontrard into
their midst and addressed ihem in the followlng tennlr
' ---'.---t
"Fortune has given a sudden and unorpected twist to events, with the
result that when we should be receiving th" gr"rt.rt revrards *" firrd o,rr-
selves on trial for our lives. Yet we .oirt.-p-lut. this ordeal with joy
with the
conviction that it will redound to our credit, since whatever
its outcome it cannot fail to make it still more abundantly cl ear to all that
by our own unaided efforts we have brought about the downfall of. a taitor
and a rebel and upheld the interests of ihe Emperor. And so even in the
e;rent.of our being put to death we would freely accept and welcome as
though it were the object of our desire the anguish whi.r, i, for."drpon ,rr.
And we
depart from this Ii{e comforted and fortified for our
into the- hereafter by the conscious certainty that vre have left the Romans
9till in
fulI possession of their colcJrian dominions and not yet having for-
feited them to arry foreign power.
6 If we were standing tial in a Persian court in the presence of
it would behove us to deny most srrenuously that we ever did do what
in fact we did. 7e would be in fear and tembiing lesr our asserrions be
refuted and, if they rvere, it is quite conceivable that we should be at a loss
h9w to plead our cause before bittedy hostile judges
u,ho were incensed at
the failure of their hopes whidr our acions aJbrought about.
since it is a Roman who is presiding over the court wht possible grounds
could we have for denying whar we have done? 7hat need is tlere fir us to
to you our action ivhen as a result of it we have done you the signal
service of destroying the rebel Gubazes? r say 'rebel' because he doeslot
deserve to be accorded the ugust title of 'king'. His deeds have shown him
to be the negation all that sudr a title stands for, though our accusers are
t1rTq an indignant outcry at what they describe as r.he outrageous murder
of a king'
This name, however, should not be applied tJth" ourward
trappings of royalty
the jewelled
clasp and fancy robe, but to the man
who is the active embodiment of justice,
whose desires do not cause him to
disregard the call of duty and whose aspirations are kept within their proper
bounds. rt that was the sorr of man we killed then vre have .o*,nitt u
heinous crime, the case of the prosecution is a
one and the colchians
every reson to describe us as bnrtal and vicious murderers.
But if
the real Gubazes was the complete antithesis of this, if he was pr.frred to
stop,at nothing in his efiorts to harm us by secretly letting in the-persians
and betraying his country to them, can there really be a-riy question as to
whether we ought not to have nipped the potential menace in the bud by
our timely intervention nther than allow our deference to the crown to
make us play into the hands of the enemy? ro If, however, anybody re-
ceives prior intelligence of some threatening move being conterplar;d in
B14 109
aomc pftlculrr quuter rnd hru it ln hh pourer to frurtrcte thc design
hrrncdlatcly and havlng avcrted the crlcis to proceed to take delibefate and
eonce*ed ection to cope with any poreible emergency, it would in such a
erre bc the height of cruelty on his ptt to fesort to punitive measures in
ldvancc instead of ddending himself by ensuring the possibility of foiling
rny hostile attempt should the occasion arise. rr But when one is faced
with a fait accompli against which all remedies are of no avail, when the
Itate is threatened with imminent destruction and the situation seems to
preclude even the faintest ray of hope then swift and decisive action is the
nly srn" policy and every efiort must be made to avoid sufiering some
irreparable harm.
8. Now our accusers may cry shame, infamy and murder until they burst.
Tl,rey may seize upon such expletives in order to cast the whole afr.att in a
lutid and melodramatic light and try to force you to consider only the deed
itself. B,ut it is for you in your judicial capacity to take into account the cir-
cumstances that led up to it, to weigh up the causes that impelled us to take
action and from the rightness of the undertaking to establish the honesty of
our intentions. z 7e do in fact often see in the various towns and cities
vagfants, thieves and other types of criminal beheaded or with their feet cut
ofr.,andwe do not cry shame on the spectacle, inhuman though it may
to be, nor do we vent our indignation on the authorities concemed with
administering these punishments by calling them savage brutes and cruel
fiends. No, when we consider the crimes the felons in question have corn-
mitted and bear in mind that that is why they are being punished we rejoice
in the harshness of the punishment, since it has not been devised without
good teason, as witness the unabated persistence of criminal activity'
Gabaz,es therefore has been slain by us. And what, might we ask, is
so dreadful about slaying a man who is a traitor and an enemy? Our accusers,
moreove, have defined tlle term enemy. They say that it should be applied
not to t-he man who is separated from us by a great distance but to whoevet,
even if he is a fellow countryfnan, seeks to curry favour with the enemy, 7e
too consider this to be the best, most accurte and most realistic view of the
Given such a measure of agreement on both sides t}en, let us
set out to prove by this mutually acceptable criterion that Gubazes was
indeed afl enerny, for once this has been demonstrated it will become im-
mediately apparent that his killing was fully
Now allbarbarian peoples are by nature so constituted that even when
they are subjects of the Romans they are far removed in spirit from them and,
drafing at the imposition of the rule of law, they incline instinctively to
rurbulent and seditious behaviour. There is nothing they would like better
than to continue living as their own masters, subject to no outside juris-
diction and a laur unto themselves. And if it is not possible for them to do
110 Aarthlmr Thr Htrtorlct
co then they rtrlvc to attech thcmselver to tholc natlonr wlth whorn they
have most in common. 6 But Gubazes, in addltlon to being tarre.l with the
same brush since he was himself a barbarian by birth a.[d consequently
tainted with the innate treachery of his race, s,rrpassed himself in his wicled-
ness towards us. He no-longer deemed it necessary to hide his feelings, but
hastened to put into efiect what had hitherto been the secret aspirations of
a hostile mind.
7hi1e u,e \rrere toiling away and facing every kind of
danger in our efiorts ro frrstrare the enemyk plans he ,uw fitt ,ta ,t hom.
with his fellow counrrymen and absent hims{ from the struggle. rt at th.
same time he kept a watdrful ee on whidr way the fighti"g was going.
8 If the Romans adrieved some resounding success over the .r"-y hi,
immediate reacrion was a display of hostilit and spite in whidr he would
seelc bymockery to destroy the impression cieated by o* adrievements. He
would dismiss the whole undertaking as a trifling incident and its ourcome
as insignificant and attributable not to ourselves bur to the vagaries of
But if by c}ance we mer with some reverse (and it is not
huma{y possible to escape sudr ups and downs) he would t himself up
as a cntical interpreter of events and immediately exempt fortune from ,n'y
b-lame_or any pafi in what had happened. He had already decided in advance
that the sole cause fot any everse we experienced wr a combination of
poor morale, physical incapacity and unintelligent planning. ro He would
as he did when abusing us, seetr< to explain away the s,rccesses acl-rieved
by the
at our expense simply by making some disparaging reference
to the fid<le, irregular and irrational behaviour f fortrrr..^
9. He proclaimed these sentiments openly and made them known not only
to the Persian forces for whose benefit he was actively intriguing but
messengers were at once despatched by him and carried the news to lLeria,
to the Alan.l, the suanians, to the barbarians beyond the caucasus, to more
distant anditill more distant peoples. rndeed if ihey could have tefled to
the ends of the earth for him he would nor have declined to send them. His
was: "The Romans are cowards in war and arc being beaten by the
barbaians." z Now his purpose in eagerly pursuing
this policy was noi just
to bring the Roman people into disrepute, though that would-o{ itself be a
sufiiciently damning proof of his hostile attitude. His efiorts were in facr
directed to a dilfferent and more sinister objective.
His intention sras to
undermine as best he could the widespread belief among foreign peoples
concerning the triumphant nd invincible might of the Emperor nin ?his
ra to incite to some rash act of defiance those peoples who had hitherto
been overaw-ed and a$ectly s'bservient.
How then, in all fairness, are
we to desctibe the perpetrator of these acts? surely s an enemy rather ihan
as a friend and a well-wisheq, an ally and a king or ny other of the fancy
titles the prosecurion has applied to the rebel GuLazes. et both prosecution
Book 4 111
rnd defence hrve concEded that thc only wry one crn tell r fricnd from an
aany to by the mnner ln whtch he reacto to events.
Since, thercfore, it
hu now been demonotrated that Gubazcs was disttessed at our successes and
datsd at our failures, whet eartly rea.Bon can barbarians have for inveighing
the laws of the Romans according to whidr \r/e rre in the habit of
punichjng or even orecuting, should the occasion arise, those who engage
ln riotous and subversive activities. 6 But let us, if you like, set aside all
ptoofe, inferences and deductions and, concentrating out attention exclu-
tlvely on the hard facts of the case, see to what conclusions strdr a consid-
fetlon leads us. The fort of Onoguris had been wrested from the temitory
of Archaeopolis and was in Persian hands. The presence of an enemy army
finnly enmenched within our borders was n unbearable afiront. The
ttfategy which found favour with the generals was to laundr a fu1l-scale
rttach on the enemy and destroy or at least drive out what had long consti-
tuted a thorn in the flesh and a permanent menace.
fle desperately needed the help of a Colchian force, not only in order
that we, with our poor understanding of local geography, might have the
benett of their first-hand knowledge of the terrain but also in order that we
might enlist their active support and cooperation in the struggle agunst
heavily-armed troops drawn up behind fortifications and also in all pro-
bability against a relief-force from Mucheirisis. 8 \X/hat then were the
generals to do in these circumstances? Surely the proper thing for them to
do was to ask the leader of the Colchians for assistance and to draw his
attention to the fairness of their request. And that is precisely what they
He, hovrever, acting in a truly lotdly and tyraonical fashion would
not even hear of putting in an appearance let alone'of actively patticipating
in the assault on the fortress. He did not even bother to mask his refusal
with some semblance of an excuse. Indeed he rejected our request out of
hand with an ar of. arrogant self-importance whidr ill became a subject who
was paid for his services. Moreovet he persisted in angrily heaping insults
on the heads of the generals, as though he imagined such behaviour to be
courageous and in keeping with the status of a king. Clearly he no longer
ment to defer the open and shameless advocacy of his earlier designs.
ro fas there thn any point in waiting for further proof and displaying the
Emperor's letter with the idea that the man who ulas not prepared to travel
even a short distance in his own country would come to Constantinople?
And how would it have been possible, if we had proposed to send him there,
when he had alteady stirred up so mudr hostility against us, to avoid
widespread dissension and bloodshed and open defection and the imminent
prospect of a Persian invasion, since we would have had to contend with the
stubbom and relentless opposition of a public enemy
whilst the people as
i... C"Uu.
112 Agethlarr Tho Hhtorlel
a wholg would,like the barbarians they arc, readlly hrve acccpted thrc oppor.
tunity for indulging in revolutionary violencc? A further incintive worfi of
goue have been provided by the fact that Persian help would have been
forthcoming from very near at hand. rr And so, whenisaster was practi-
c-a1ly staring us in the face, we made away with the ringleader and by doing
this suppressed the conspiracy with such ease and that it now
seems scarcely credible that any threat ever existed.
10. Our accusers would do well, therefore, to stop bringing up the
matter of the letter and abusing us for nor having followed its instructions.
Is there anyone to whom it is not perfecdy obvious that what was written
about his having to go to constantinople was there merely to test his
intentions and to find out whether he was willing to cooperate and do as he
was told?
z Now, having easily fonned a clear ideaof his unruly and
aggrcssive frame of mind from his rejection of a smaller request, how could
we have been expected to bid him comply with a demand of u
nature instead of having recourse to more direct action whid:, after exposing
ourselves to numerous hazatds, we would in the end in any car. har]e ha
to take? Thosg who, when the time is ripe for acion, f.ail to make an ap-
propriate and decisive fesponse to the situation cannot at alatet date recover
the lost opportunity.
But apparendy, to judge from what our accusers
," say, we could still in the last resort have brought an action agunst
Gubazes, engaged that is to say in a f,.e battle of words and chos the
niceties of verbal altercation in preference to the realities of security. But
the presence of the Persians did not allow such a procedure since they were
closing in and ready to rake over the whole of Lazica with the help of this
sclreming traitor.
Moreover now that the hostility, treadery and
rebellious aspirations of Gubazes have been revealed on ali sides what dif-
ference do thp co,ldrians suppose it makes to them whether he was killed by
us or by sombody else?
The desire to render loyal service is not the exclusive privilege of
generals and other similady exalted persorrages. Everyone who feels so in-
clined has both a right and a duty ro show concern for the state of which he
is a subject and to e>rert himself to the utmost to promote the common good.
6 Likewise even if to their mind we are the scum of the earth, yet sre are
loyal and devoted subjects of the Emperor, we do have the interests of the
Romans atheatt, and we are no:t the sort of men to acquiesce in any ttempt
at conspirary. In conclusion, if we must add one further point it is this: you
may rest assured that ours was an honourable, a just
and a timely intervention
and that it was made with the full supporr of Martin".
11. so this speedr roo drew to a close. Athanasius had at the ourcer
accorded an equally attentive reception to the words o{ Rusticus. But when
looL4 11,
contndlng partio hed hed thch lay ho procccded to rubjcct
to r rerchlng and rigorgua exa.mination. Hil tndine was rhat
thprt wra no cvidence of trcaeonsble or eeditioue activlty on e part of
Gubrzer and that his murder wae unjuet and absolutely illegl. The refusal
to trk part in the cxpedition against Onoguris had been the result not o{
pro-Pereian feelings but of anger at the conduct o{ the generals in losing
pomeceion of the stronghold through their indolence, complacency and care-
lcrnces. AftEr he had come to this conclusion he decided refer the maner
of Ma.ttin's alleged complicity to theEmperor. z With regard to those who
opcnly admitted to the ki[ing he gave a writen verdict to the efiect that
thcy were to be executed forthwith and that rhe manner of death was to be
by beheading.
The condemned rnen \r/ere seated on rnules and paraded tluough the
ttieets, thereby providing the Colchians with a sobering and awe-inspiring
rpectacle. These latter were further impressed by the herald proclaiming in
r loud clear voice a general exhortation to respect the laws and refrain from
committing murder.
But when their heads had been cut ofi roo, evelyone
was moved to pity and {orgot his resenrment. This rheu was the finish of the
trial. The Colchians for their par retained and renewed their old affection
for the Romans.
72, Attet these events the Roman legions wintered in the tovrns and
forttesses assigned to d:em.2 z Meanwhile some of the most influential men
among the Misimians came to NacJroragan in Iberia and gave him a full
account of the way they had dared to deal with Soterichus. Bur they kept
secret thefu real motives and presented the Persian general with their own
vetsion of the facts, according to whidr they had long been deliberately
inclined to favour the cause of Persia and had in consequence met with
abuse and opprobrium from the Coidrians rhemselves as well as from the
Romans. Finally Soteridrus had descended upon them. Ostensibly he was
there to distdbute gold to the allies but his real puqrose was the destruction
of the entire nation.
"And so" er<pl.ained the Misimian deputation,
"facd. with the option of annihilation or o{ striking the first blow and,
though perhaps incurring the censure of some for the hastiness of our action,
of living our ourn lives and managing our afiairs to suit our own interests,
we chose the better and more natutal, alternative.
put our own survival
first and were not particularly worried by the prorp".i of becoming rargers
for abuse and recrimination.
7e killed Soteric}us and his associates in
order to punish them for their wicJ<edness and to enhance the circumstances
of our defection by ofiering the Persians a firm pledge of our loyalty and
On this score and patilarly on accounr of our pro-Persian
policy the Romans will not be slow to vent their anger, Very soon they will
fiinter of 556-7 A.D.
114 Allthlatr The Hbtorla
q4, if they can, they will orternlnet ur,, It ir only rtght then
that you should receive us in a spirit of friendshlp rnd extcnd you pioiection
to us. And, considering our land henceforth as
own and ouipeople as
your subjects, ir behoves you equally nor ro disregard the plight ofa people
on the brink of desffucrion, a people that is neither sma[ rLrlnsignificani, a
people capable o{ making a very subsrantial contribution to the welfare of tlre
Persian Empire. 6 You will also find that we have considerable experience
of warfare and that we rnale powerful allies in battle. our land, ia it
situated in a more elevated position than Lazica, will provide you with a
base for operations against rhe enemy,,.
When Nadroiagan heard
this he received them mosr cordially, applauded their decision to chinge sides
and told them they could leave with the confident expectation of obtaining
from Persia all the help they needed. And so the Misimian deputation re-
tumed home with a detailed reporr of what had happened. A urave of opti-
mism spread through the whole people ar the news.
-t?. f,
the beginning of spring the Roman generals held a meeting at
yhidr they decided to marcl against the Misimians. z Buzes and
however, were instructed to stay on at Nesos in order to protect the place
,and generally keep an eye on things. The oipedition consisted of a mixed
of cavaky andiniantoy numbering about four thousand. Among its mosr
distinguished members were Maxentius and Theodorus the leadlr of the
TVaan contingent whom I have frequently had occasion to mention, both
of them active and wadike commanders.
And so they set ofi on their
arrangement was that Martin would soon amive ro take charge of
them. Howwer, to prevent them from being leaderless for even a short time
while mardring through the subject territoiies an Armenian called Barazes
and a coldr,ian called Pharsantes received rhe supreme command. Neither
superig.rin military prowess or in rank to the rest of the soldiers, indeed
tlrey were iirferior to some.
was only a non-commissioned ofiicer
whereas the other was captain of the palace guard of theLazian king, and
so lacked the necessary confidence and force of personality to give rders
freely to a Roman army.
Nour summer was already advanced when this army readred the terri-
tory of the Apsilians. Further progress
prevented by a strong concen-
tration of Persian forces assembled there. The Persians in fact had reaJtzed
that the Romans were preparing to mardr against tre Misimians so, leaving
Iberia and the forts in the neighbourhood f Mucheirisis, they too ser out
country of the Misimians wirh the object of occupyinglt in advance
of the Romans and protecting it as efiectively as possibtre-.- 6 Th. Ro-r.r,
tl,ereforg gtayed on in the fortresses of the Apsilians and tried to play for
time and delay the issue until the end of the summer season, since it seemed
a futile and extremely haeardous procedure to take on both the
Book 1
fu Mldmtrnr t thc t.m tlmc. Accordingly both ormlo romatned inactive
vlth nelthcr rlde venturing forth any dktance and eoch one waiting for the
othcr to make the firgt move.
A mercenary force of Sabir Huns was seruing with the Persians. The
rblra arc a huge and populous nation. They are also entremely warlike and
nprcious. They are always eager to mid smange lands and the lue of pay
lnd the hope of plunder are suflicient incentive for them to ght now for
people, now for another, cJr,anging sides with bewildering rapidity.
I They have often helped the Romans against the Persians and vice versa,
&anging sides and paymasters in a very short space of time. They had in
frct fought on our side in the prwious engagement with the Persians and
on that occasion killed (in the course of the night-battle whidr I have already
dcpcribed in detail) many of the Dilimnites who had corne to atta& them.
At the end of that campaign they were disdrarged by the Romans after
they had received the amount of pay agreed upon. flhereupon they ofiered
their services to the very people whom they had but recently been fighting.
The men who did this may perhaps have been difierent Sabirs, but Sabirs
they were all the same and they had been sent by their own people to fight
in the Persian army.
14. Nour about five hundred of these Sabirs were bivouacking in an
cnclosure avtay from the rest o{ the troops. 7hen Maxentius and Theo-
dorus ascertained this and discovered moreover d:rat they were living in an
irregular and completely undisciplined fashion and not even taking the
precaution of carrying their weapons around with them, they immediately
tode out against them with three hundred horse. z Surrounding the wall
(whi s,as so low that rt aman on horsebadc stood over it from the outside
his face would shour over the top) they let fly at the barbarians with
stones, affo\r/s and anything thatcame to hand.
The Sabirs, thinking their
attad<ets to be more numerous than they really were and taken completely
unawares, had no idea how to defend themselves and no possibility of escape
because they were hemmed in by the walls of the enclosure. They were all
mov/n down except fot forty men who managed unaccountably t'o climb over
the walls without atffacting attention and then slip away and hide them-
selves in the undergrowth of the nearby wood. But the Romans tried to
ffacl< down even these.
As soon as the Persians received news of what
had happened they sent out a cavatry force of about rwo thousand men to
deal with the Romans. The latter, however, satisted with what they had
adrieved, yielded to superior numbers and retreated at a goJTop. Soon they
were safely ba& in camp, jubilant
at their success, which was marred only
by what had
happened to Maxentius who was badly wounded by one
of the barbarians that had slipped into the wood. He was carried on a litter
and almost miraculouslyconveyed to safety. As soon as he had beenwounded
Agathlml The I{htcder
his bodyguard lifted him up and bcat o hoaty &rrBr wlth him beforc the
whole enemy'force was upon them. Thcn whcn the
.;rghi6 *d
were bearing down on them the resr of the Romans fled in a difiJrent irec-
tion and acted as a decoy t9 dlaw the pursuers away. In this way they pro-
vided a breathing-space
whidr enabled Maxentius io be camiej witir
haste inside the fort.
the son of Germanus senr ore of his commanders,
a Hun called Elminzur,
ftqm Nesos ro Rhodopolis with two thousand horse.
Rhodopolis is a city in Lazica but it w* in
hands at the time.
Mermeroes had in fact captured it much eadier on and placed a
gamison in it. However, r shall nor go into the details of how this happened
already been ciearly described by
z At arry rute
when Elrninzur got there he was aided by a singular itoke of good tuct<. rt
so happened rhat the Persian garrison *ur ootiid" of the tow"n and its in-
habitants were scattered about in various places,
consequently Elminzur
mardred into the_city and gained
of it without meeting with any
resistance. He also conducted a roruy into the neighbouring
destroyed any Persian deradmenrs he found there. eafizirg ihur"rh" lo"ul
qeople had supported the Persians through fear of * otd foe rather
tfran through meadrery he allowed them sray in their homes and resume
their normal way o{. ltre after having taken hstages from them to ensure
their allegiance and made all necessary urr*g.-ts for the maintenance
of_security. And so Rhodopolis rerurned to iis former starus, keeping its
hallowed tradirions and remaining subject to the Emperor of ihe Romans.
In the course of this summer no other memorable event occurred. At the
first onset o winter the Persins withdrew to cotars and Iberia with the
idea of wintering there and left the Misimians to fend for themselves. It is
in fact not customary for the Persians to engage io strenuous campaigning
abroad at that time of year.
The Romans, now. free of enemy s"rveiliance]
started once more to headior iheir previous'a.rti"uti*.
the fort called ribeleos which marks the boundary berween the 1and of the
Misimians and that of the Apsilians Martin arrived to take charge of the
whole army. But he was suddenly assailed by a serious illness wirich pre-
vgnted him froq doing so, eager though he ws. so he stayed on there with
the intention of rerurning shortly to the rowns and forl of Lazica. The
tfoops, however, pressed on regardless, placing themselves once more under
the leadership of their previous cornmanders.
6 First of all they decided ro resr the remper of the Misimians ro see
ryheth5r they would mend their ways of theii own accord and recognize
their lawful masters. They might, it was hoped, so far repenr of the crimes
they had committed on that occasion as to give themselves up to the Romans
and return the money they had taken from soterichus.
Accordingly the
trpta*nr relted prominent men from smong the Aplllinnr rnd cent them
ll nvoy to nnounce thee trmr, But thc Misimiane, these abandonsd
ftlter lor whom no derogatory eplthet is too srrong, far from relaxing their
;tvrgry and atoning by their {uture conduct for their past misdeeds, spurned
fnd trampled underfoot the mos basic nrles of ordinary human behaviour.
fdl Llpon the envoys and slew them even though they were Apsilians,
jple, that is to say, with a similar way of life and whose territory bordered
0q theh own and in spite of the fact that they had had no hand in the actions
g{,whidr the Misimians accused Soteridrus and the Romans, but had merely
gftrcd them some friendly and helpful advice and had done so with the ui-
Eot coutesy.
16. And so the Misimians having started ofi by committing an act of.
erlminal folly persisted in their evil ways and had even proceeded to add
larult to inju"y. Indeed, when they discovered that the Persians had de-
and were not going to prorect rhem as they had agreed they still felt
rrrfiiciently sure of thernselves, relying on the inaccessibility of the terrain
vhich they were confident would present an insurmountable obstacle to the
Bomans, to commit even more heinous crimes. z Their territory is in fact
reened by a mountain whidr though not particularly high is extremely steep
rnd rocly on all sides. A glimpse may be caught here and there of a small
pethway scarcely uodden and running through the middle of the hiIl. It is
cramped and narrow that it does not afiord an easy passage even to a
rhgle walarer walking in comparative security, so that, if someone s'ere to
otand on the summit and prevent people from approaching, no enemy no
atter how numerous could get through, not even if he were as lightly-armed
as they say the Isaurians are. Relying therefore on this impregnable posirion,
they had become utterly red<less.
7hen the Romans received the news of the atrocity they were filled
with anger at what had happened. Through the dilatoriness of the barbarians,
vho had not placed a guard on the hill, the Rornans were able to occupy the
summit in advance and cross over without hindrance to the open plains
tyhere cavalry can manoeuvre without difiiculty.
7hen the Misimians
found that they had miscalculated they burnt as superfluous most of their
dtrongholds since they could not possibly man them all and the entire
population assembled in the one which they considered to be best fortified.
This fortress has from ancient times been called Tzadrer but it is also called
because of its massive and impregnable aspect.
A small group of Romans nrmbering"not
forty cavalrymen
(they wete not common soldiers but high-ranking ofiicers) were riding some
distance away from the main body when they were attacked by a mixed
cavoJry and infantry force of about six hundred Misimians whose idea it
i. e. "Place of lron"
118 grthlnu the Hhrorlor
lvas to close in on the Romans and, outnumberkrg thcm aa thcy dicl, makc
short work of them. 6 But the Romans used tr;eh orperience of rfu*.
to consi{erable efiect by quidrly gaining a hillod< from wlrid: they performed
great feats of arms. It was ahard, prolonged and hotly-contesi struggle
with the Misimians trying to complete the encirclement'of the Romans d
the Romans at one moment sudedy swooping down on the enemy and
throwing their ranks into complete disarray *Jth. next galloping br.L
"p the hill to safety.
Meanwhile the barbarians caught shr ;f tf,.
the army
its way over rhe brow of a hill andlhinng that they had
been lured into an ambush, immediately took to flighi. But th Romans, who
ull joined
forces by rhis time, puriued them ielentlessly until ttey nua
killed the bulk of them. out of so many men a mere eighty r.torned ,a{.ly
to the fortress of siderun. 8 If the Romans had attcked the fort ther!
and then while the barbarians were srill stunned by what had happened,
they would, I think, almost certainly have swepr e-verything before them
and the war would have been over on that same ay.
r"t-in the absence
of any general of note and of any outstanding and-authoritative personality
evefyone was practically on tefms of equality. The result was mutual re-
crimination and mutual exhortation, with eadr man having ears only for his
osrn suggestions, and nothing worthwhile was accomplished. ro The fact
th_ opinion was divided, so that one view found favour with one group
whifst some other view appealed to the opposing laction, meant that neither
poliry sras put into practice. Resentftrl that his own poinr of view did not
yT g.n rul acceptance eadr man went about his businss in a negligent and
half-hearted fashion and_ took pleasure rather in any reverses wIjr might
furnish him later with the opportunity of boasting io the nexr man anJof
not mincing his words as he pointed out that the sole cause of the unfortu-
nate event had been their failure to implement his suggestions.
17. Ini'these circumstances, then, they camped urgr"ur", distance from
tfrg enemy than is normal when one is conducting a siege. Furthermore they
did not even launch their attack ar dawn as they should have done bui,
yielding to cowardice and sloth, they began to attacl a secondary importance
to the things that mattered most with the result that they attad<ed the enemy
too late and returned to cmp too eady.
z 7hen Martin rcahz.edwhat was happening he dispatched with all speed
take over the supreme command a man who though a Cappadocian by
birth had long been honoured with the rank of general. His name was
but he was also known as Dacnas.
He had been sent quite recnily
by the Emperor toLaztca an'd his duties were the same as those of Rusticus
had been, namely to keep the Emperor accurateb iniormed of all that was
going on and to distribute e Imperial Largesse ro rhose soldiers who dis-
tinguished thernselves in the field.
On reaching the terrirory of the
loth 1
mlrnl rnd t{{ng d6rgo of tho Romrn army,
lmmcdlotely movcd
.liiJr fooit ar*rird thi fort and trtcd to loy slege to lt. He also cndcav'
;h;;; ana uttad, thooe who were living Jutside the fort' Most of
.& we[ings lyers not in fact lnaido the fortified encloeute but were
on fr," top o{ a nearby roc1, whidr was flanked by
gorges and
idd bouia"rs stretching over a great atea and rendering the whole place
inaccessible to sgangeri unfamiliar with the region.
of the terrain enabled the local people, when necessary, to des-
ctid, slowly and painfully, by means of a narrow path complete
from view and ten to
bacJ< up again. At
fogt of. the rock
i th" plain proper are springs of drinking rater ffom whidr the inhabitants
Ot the irill diawtheif vratef. 6 At that time however, the Romans wete
irtroline the area and so the barbarians cme dourn at night to draw their
irarcr. B-.rt wh.n a certain fsaurian called lllus, who was on sentry dury
tlicre caught sight of a large number of Misimians coming dgwl at-a very late
hour of th" nigtt for watr he concealed himself and waited silently, making
no rrt"*p, tJstop them,
they had filled their pitchers and set ofi he
seretly and went up with them as far es the top, where he
the lie of the land as best he could in the dark and noticed tht not
more than eight men had been posted ro mount gtard and kg.p g watch on
th" ur..or. 7
As soon as he discovered this he descended and gave full
details to the general, who was delighted at the nen s and on the following
nicht carefullv selected a hundred shock-troops and sent them out to recofl'
ntr. th" place and, if possible, laundr r attack. They also had instnrctions
ihrt ot.. ih.y *.t",]t trrrty ofl top they-were to g1v9 a-signal with the
trumpet and ihe rest of the army would then attad< the fort so that the
enemy in both places would be thrown into confusion'
Since h naa ayeady had some experience of the ascent 1llus went
in front and led the way. Immediately after him came Marcellinus' personal
gtxdZiper folloured by Leontius the so1 of Dabrugezasa who was follovred
t,oro y Theodorus the commander of the1zani, and so on one after the
other in one continuous line. z hen they had already got more than half
\ray up those who were in front saw clearly the watdr-fire burning and the
lvine dosrn next to it. Seven of them were fast asleep and were
I'norirrg peucefullv. Only one, who had propped himself up on his elbow
,..-. to have managed to stay awake, and even he was dronrsy and over-
come with sleq>, so that he kept dropping off and starting up again and
there was no telling how mudr longer he would hold out.
Leontius the son of Dabraguas slipped on some mud, lost his footing and
"". rh" p"rsonal guard of.Dabragezas" The Greek is at ftst sight ambiguous, but it
r."*r *"o" likeli that abarbaian commander should have grven his.son a Gteek
name than that someone vith a Greek name should have beea acting as his attendant.
grthlur Irr trtale
fell, breaking
his shield in the proceaa.
Naturally thh prcduccd
R tremendoug
clatter at which the guards
Jf i,'a ,l il*"ilil;,
oh th.i,
couches drew their swords ana tot J u-rout tt orn *.*ig irr"i, necks in
everv dirction. Bur thev courd nor rour." orr-irir,Ji"rJ'rir.e
werc dazzled bv the grare of the fire J tr,"ruro*-*ri"'raerect
of men standing in the darkness.
,h" ;;;., having
assailed them in their-sreep,
was neithei.t"r,
as to
suggest the sound o{ falling urepons.
The Romans on the,btlrer hand had a crear and accurate view of every-
th"y hurt d and-remained immovabre as though
to rhe ground.
They did not u*er so m.r.l, a, u;;;;;;ove
feet, bur stood stoc[,stin
w.; ;h"y were, whethr they happened
to be.standing
on a sharp piece of ro.r. o" r-fu;h;-J ,h"".r*
they had nor acted in tis.way and,.;;ril1;";;r;;Jf
goilg o-n thev woutd no doubt have rorled ;*;
irJu iLra., ,na
crushed all their assailants,
which was *ty ,:."y ,r.rJ*i,,
silent and motionless.
6 i must rrv r,,,ra ,, "ir ai.Jpull,'rro* ir*
as though by-some pr."oo."*"Jsignal
they rll.;;tir"i*har
k p, firmly in position,
*.rLing out independently
rhe ufgency ot the moment did not permit
them to .av aroud. sinc there
seemed to be no indication of_danger the barbarians frri.*.;;r
and were only too glad to go back"to ,1".e.
19: %9*pon the Romans
upon them whire they were stifl sreeping
soundlv and slew rh:*.. u[. incruding the o1e whom J".
describe as "half-awake". After r!*-*r* ar*""J u"lir,
throu.g\ the alleys berween the houses. At the ,u,,. ii*"-h.* *.p",
tqyld"d- the signal for battle. z The Miri.iurr, *.." ,uipuir"a and be_
wildered by the noise, and rlr:sh they dinot grasp its imprications they
got up and rushed oul in all direaionr, ,..Lin[ ;" ;;rf"t-prrrr.
But the Romans met them in the doorways and
th; ;;;;;.ception
ytt[they sw-ords, slaughtering them in great numbers. No sooner in fact had
the first batch crossed ihe thrJrhora unib""" cur down than asecond batch
was there and yet a third one ras
arreqdy on th. wy ro invoruntary serf-
immolation and there was no.respite in the general *r ,o a.rt*.iilrr. so"n
crowds o! rvogen gor up.rn{ .1.-. streamiig out of ,fr. n""r",
sobbing' But the Romans in their fury did n* ,prr" even rhese, so rhat they
too reaped the reward of their menfolk's ,r.""1r."p
woman of some refinement, was walking very conspicuorrrty frouirq a lighted
she was pierced through"the"beflv
bv , r;; ;;j perished
miserablv. At this
Roint.o_ne- of the Romans picked
rh";..h].,,r u"u*
to set fire to the huts, whidr, being built of *;J ;;;;;.#, b;;;; ilto ar..,
in a momenr. The flames ror. ,rp1ir.. a beacon ,na nrrrr.J ,rr".*r'"r *r.*
lot 1 tzt
wu happenlng even to the Aptllinnr rnd tq pcopler-ltlll further eway,
I Tho iuin alauchter wat ltlll morc temlble and thc barbarians were
lvhs llke fltes, Thse who staycd indoora were elther burnt to death or
trtt alive. Those who rushed outslde met with more certain death from
thO cwords of the Romans. Many children
seized sobbing and crying
Orrt for theit mothers. Some they hurled down and mangled brutally against
the rod<s. Others they tossed in the air, as though they were playing sorne
fO11 of game, and caught them on the points of their speafs. 6-Novr it was
Understandable that the Romans should have been enraged with the Misimian
ople both on account of Soteridrus and of the outrage against the envoys.
their fury was disproportionate and they should not have acted
Vlth suc}'ffanton and monstrous brutality towards neuzborn babies who
ind no understanding of their pafents' crirnes; And so this sinful deed of
theirs did not go unPunished.
20. The whole night had been spent in the commission of these and
similar atrocities ,rdih" spot had aiready assumed an aspect of
devastation when about fiv hundred heavily-armed Misimians sallied forth
fro th. forrress at the first light of dawn-and attad<ed the Romans. The
irtt", *".. caught ofi their guard because they thought they had overcome
all r.sistan.e. Ail w.r. drivei headlong into flight by the Misimians and most
of *-r". were either killed or wounded. z After a confused and precipitous
descent the survivors returned to camp a mass of wciunds' They had been
,i** Uy the enemy,s spears and their legs were badly torn throush frequent
i[fi*'rgriog r ,o.Lr.
And so] since thgv,ha{ no indination for
;J .lirnb rp that rocJ<, tt-i"v a".ia.a to attad< the fort at its most vul-
p.l"r* at th" ru. time to fill in the moat. Assembling therefore
i r".t. of sheds and penthouses tlley brought them up and proceeded to
attu.L th. wall from a safe position. They employed siege-engines,-bows and
;r;;t ,rrJ .rr.ry
arruiluble means of making life difiicult for the
&;;d";;-- 41'ebarbarians
were in dire straits but they still put up a stifi
i"ri"r"... Some of them brought up a wicker-roof and advanced against the
n* ri.g"-works with the idea o{ demolishing them. Butbefore they drevr
near and tok.orr.r under it a Slav called Suarunas huded his spear at the
;;;,h* *;r most visible and strucl< him a mortal blow. As the man fell the
*i*"i"""f toppled over revealing and leaving unprotected_the men inside
Th. n*s had no difiiculrv in shooting them all <lourn except fot
n. rir1who managed to get away,had almost made it to the fort and had
ui."dy readred the s'mall ,ie-gate *hen he rras strLrd< dead by an arrow. He
i"ti ,o.r*ti"g on the threshold with a small
part of his bodv protrudins
;;. of th fort but mosr of it inside. 6 rhen the Misimians saw this
I think they interpreted it as abad omen. Apart from that they were be-
ginning to brealc down under the stmin of the fightins and wer anxious to
Alrthlmr llrr Hhortu
eflcct a reconciliatlon
with the Romans, and above all they wcre inlluenced
by the fact that the.relief-force promised
y the
iot afrived.
In consideration, rhen, of ar these factors and .rt.irrrrirrg td.Jn ,to.t of
the-r1 own'capabilities
they were reructandy ur"rgrri ;;j; r. berated
realization that- they were going to be no matclr ior ,lr" [..ri, and that
no lgnger sustain te fighting.
sent .oroyrl-if,r"lor.,
imploring him
wipe ouia peoprg *r, rra-rrrg d""i ,uu;."i ,"
the Romans, that shared rhe same rerigius leliefs * ,rrr, ririi ,"trliut.d
until they had been grievousry
wronged and had trr.o b.u".J with the
claracteristic recklessness of brbarian-s. Their case after all one which
qeritgd some degree of forgiveness and restrainr considering tat they had
aheady sufiered so much.*d
been punished
with t".tr r'"rr.tiry. Every-
thing within a considerable radius of the fort had been ,a r" ,rr. ground,
not less than five thousand of heir y9"rg_ men had p"rirh.d
an **y
of their /omen while the number of d,idr.r, that had r.ri trrriires s,as
eve greater, so that the entire nation had come close to extinction.
{ohn -was
only po glad ro accepr their petition
both to avoid the
necessity of exposing himself and his tioopr to the hazards of a prolonged
stay in a desolate and wintry region and because the Misimian, t i" t**,
been sufiicientlv punished for their misdeeds.
;";ri;;;i; he took
hos-tages with him and ail. the money and everything .rr" ,ri totericrru,
had brought with him inclydTu t.!: Eqqeror's
; rwenry_
eight hundred solid gor pieces. In addition ,;dn, he set
ofi with a large quantitv of booty, tam the Miri;i;, ," .""Lt trr.i,
own afairs once more and to resume oo*l [f" witho,rt f.ri Jo,ot.rrurion.
ro And so he returned to Lanca having brought back ,r*u *fria nna
covered itself with glory andlad done sJwith totuttoru
rhi.ry *"n.
21. Atter rhese evenrs.theEmperor
Justinian relieved Ma#n Jtogerh.r
of his comniamd and put in his piace
the son
;*r";J* courr-
mander-in-chief of rhe forces iiLazica and Armenia. Eu; b.f; this th
Emperor had not liked the idea of Marrin's holding tlr. ,upi.. .om-*d
ilyiew of the prominexr pan he had played in the a"ssassinaiion of Gobrr.r.
z Ho'*1ev.el he had_ kept his views r".i"t ior a time because he felt it was not
u,.q9od thi"c
or tamper with the leadership
th" ,"y *hil.
aftairs were still in a sta;te of turmoil, paticularly
sinc Martin was pop,rlar
with the ffoops on account of his miritary .*p.ri.r". and abre gei."arhip.
rt was this, I think, that had saved t im rrir rir., in."rir;h.";;;
have been executed along with
and Rusticus. rnstead of whicl the
out of respecr for his vicrories and for his ability in t}re CeH, bent
the strict letter of the law and dropped the charge
ri. aia
however, allow him ro rerain his c-omand b"t;d;Jrri.o-rl"
of api'vivqlg individual, judging
thar even though t. uai"" hna io u
Eolt a 12,
crlme of rudr enormlty tho dhgrrce of hlr dlmhral wm rufilclenr punieh-
o, ac Eoon B therc was a lull ln hostllltlcr on thc Persian front
hc depoced htm and summoned to Conetantinople
rvho apart from
belng a close relation of the Emperor's enioyed pariicularly high repute at
the time.
therefore gave him ftill command and sent iim ti Lazica
to deal with whatevet situation might arise there.
Now there was in
retinue a Libyan called
a man who had been obscure and
pcnniless to start with (so much so that in order to live he had had ro work as
cnother man's hired lackey and to fetch and carry for some member of
body-guard) but who had subsequently risen in a short time to grear
heights of wealth and arrogance. 6 7irh the help of mudr sdreming and
a, gteat deal of low cunning he soon succeeded in making himself known to
Being an utterly vile and unscrupulous wretch who in order to make
money would stoop to every conceivable form of wid<edness and dishonesty,
he asked the general for a stared sum of money. In return for this he pro-
mised that he would not only furnish the general with supplies for whatever
length of time he d:ose but would also undertake to feed all his slaves and
menials, his bodyguard and in fact his entire retinue.
He'/ent even
further: he guaranteed not only to keep safe the full amount he received and
to return it intact and untoudred as though it had been lent to him but even
to add a bonus to it. Most people thought that what he said was
a piece
of boastful rigmarole. But
though he should have been indignant at
the Libyan's nonsensical proposal, knowing full well that he could nt malce
good his promise without resorting to violence and extortion and ruining
through his.illegal transactions everyone with whom he came into conract,
accepted his ofier, entrusted him with the money as stipulated and gave him
carte blandre to do as he pleased.
22. Thercupon
went the rounds of the various villages of the
Empire situated along the roure of their line of march. He would gat}er
together the inhabitants of a village where for instance oxen were in shorr
supply and would issue a general proclamation to the efiect that the army
had need of them. And so he woul say, displaying rsrenty ralenrs, "You
must sell me oxen to the value of this sum and drere can be no question of
selling me less. But first take the money and then see ro it that you bring
me all your oxen as quid<ly as possible". z 7hen they begged him to
eiempt them, vowing and declaring that they did nor even have enough to
plough the fields with, the villain would refuse urmost arrogance
and assume an outraged ait attheidea of the general not b,eing allowed even
to buy provisions. And he would fly into a ruge and keep ang:dy insisting
until they got together as mudr money as they could from the sale of their
most valuable possessions and presented it to the blaclguard in order to
purdrase immunity from his exactions.
left the place, then, he
124 Erthhrr Th Hhtorla
would arrive somewhere elae, vrhere nobody had evcn heard of camEla or
rnules, and would start shouting and insisting that he had come ecpressly
for these animals. ft was the same old story all over again. He would begin
by showing them his money, end by taking theirs and finally depart.
so wherever he went he followed the same procedure of requiring whatever
r'as not avulable.In this way he kept amassing money, whidr he extracted
from people who owed him nothing, without ever buying or selling or other-
wise financing anything. and it was no time before he had abeady doubled
the principal with his iakings.
7hen they reaclred Lazica he did the
same thing and moreover, having somehow got hold of some mercJrant ships,
made a forcible collection of the agricultural produce of the region which he
bought ditt dreap in huge quantities and shipped away for sale overseas.
Not surprisingly the army v/s in consequence afilicted with such a severe
shortage of essential foodstufis that even ablade of grass cost money, and
the profits that that swindling hud<ster made were absolutely eno,rmous.
6 By these means he fulfllled his agreement with
providing him with
food and adding to the original sum of money. Although
was well
aware of what was going on, since he
constantly being approached by
the victims of
depredations who would throw themselves at his feet,
begging with tears and lamentations to be granted a respite from their
miseries, he nevertheless ate without fear or cornpunction the proceeds of
injustice pnd oppression, delighted at the opportunity of enjoying sumptuous
farc and not having to pay for it and of lining his pod<ets into the baryain.
But he was destined eventually to pay a heavy penalty.5 Even though he
subsequently performed great feats and won great glory for himself by
beating ofi the attacks of the barbarians on the banks,of the Danube, Divine
not mollified nor did his achievements blot out the memory.of
his crimes. Even though they were hushed up their record remained indeliblv
preserved',r.rntil the proper time. 8 For it is not at the moment of sinning
that /e have out punishment meted out to us but for the most prt after
some time has elapsed and perhaps when we have forgotten all about our
past conduct. And then our immediate reaction is one of distress at the un-
fait and unreasonable way in which things are going against us.
badly done by and perhaps lay the blame on the envy and malice of mankind.
But the Power that otganizes and regulates our e:<istence knows what is each
man's proper due and follows up and searcihes out in the mnner of His own
choosing out mudr eadier transgressions.
B'ut the details of Tustin's sub-
sequent career and of how his immensely successful life was abruptly and
unexpectedly terminated will be accurately reportd when the thread of my
was murdered in Alexandria by order of
IL According to Evagrius
(H. E. 5,2) the Emperor and his wife Sophia amused thernselves by kid<ing around
the wretdred man's head.
Bsolt 1 12,
Effrtlv, ar lt unwindr ln rtrlct chrcnologlcol leguence through thc coume
of eventa, re0d1a8 that point ln tlmc, For the prBnt, hovever, I must
ntufn to the earli pefiod and resume my account of lt.
21, The situation in Lazica was as has been descibed and
'been appointed Commander-in-Chief. The Persians made no *ou to rene'r
hoatillties, nor, for that matter, did the Romans take the ofiensive. Both
rldes in fact rilrere on the alert trying their best to divine eadr other's
lntentions. Neither side took the initiative in attacling, but both remained
lnacdve, keing of one accord and, as it wete, by common consent, at a
fcspectful distance from eadr other.
: On learning what had happened on the banks of the Phasis and that
Nachoragan had fled from the scene of batde, tle Persian Emperor Chosroes
drmmoned him immediately from Iberia and, following a time-honoured
Persian custom, punished him with gteat. savagery.
Simply to execute
the man vras not, he thought, sufiicient punishment for his cowardice.
Accordingly the sldn was torn from his ned<, ripped ofi in one piece right
down to his feet, then completely detached from the flesh and turned inside
out, so that the contours of the various parts of the body were visible in
f,werse. After that it was inflated like a wineskin and suspended from a pole,
a pitiful and disgusting spectacle of whidr the infamous Shapur,6 who had
been king of the Persians long before Chosroes, was, I think, the originator.
There is a well-known story about Marsyas the Phrygian
to whidr there was a flute-playing competition between him and Apollo
in whidr Marsyas was roundly beaten and rightly so since he had the
temerity (if it does not seem too absurd to put it that way) to play the flute
against his own particular god
(/hereupon his vicrorious opponent is sup-
posed to have punished him for this rashness by flaying him and hanging his
shin on a tree. The whole tale is, of course, a wildly improbable fabrication
of the poets, a mere flight of fancy without a shred of truth or likelihood
about it, involving as it does the far-fetched asserrion that Apollo became a
flute-player, took part in a musical contest and became so violently enraged
after his victory that he inflicted such an altogether wicl<ed and insane
punishment on his unsuccessful competitor. And is it really conceivable
that he could have been ready to have the indictment of his cruelty displayed
in mid air?
At all events this theme, whidr is handled by the poets of
old, has been taken over and exploited also by modern poets, one of whom
Nonnus of Panopolis in Egypt, after having made some mention of Apollo
6 i. e. Shapur I (241*272 A.D.)
7 According to the myth Marsyas was a satyr from Phrygia.
i. e. Apollo who in his capacity as god of music is thought of as a soff of patron deity
of all Ilute-players.
126 Agrthlmr Thr Htltodo
(I cannot say in what precise connectlon becaure I do not recall the preceding
verses) in a poem of his called the Dionysiaca, goe! on to sy:
"Ever since he humbled Marsyas and his flute
that in contention strotre and emulous dispute
against a god. Thereat his skin upon rhe tallest of the trees
he hung to belly like a sail and flumer in rhe breeze".
6 That this abomination was at the time still unknown to man should be
sufriciently obvio' to anyone who is capable of viewing the distant past
with the right degree of iritical detadrment and who does nor allow himielf
misled by the tales the poets tell about the gods.
However, though
Shapur sras a most unjust and bloodthirsty man, quickly and easily roused
to anger and cruelty and slo,vrly and reluctantly moved to compassion and
restrint, even so r cannot definitely exclude the possibility that this foul
act might have been perperatd at on earlier date on some other victirn or
victims. But, that when he defeated the Roman Emperor Valerian in battle,
he captured him alive and toolc this cruel revenge upon him is voudeed for
by the testimony of several historians. S And from all accounts the very
first of those who seized the Persian throne after the cotrlapse of the Parthian
empire, namely Ardashir and Shapur were both monsters of wid<edness and
injustice, seeing that one of them murdered his suzerain and usurped the
throne by violent means and that the other set such a dreadftrl precedent of
vindictive cruelty and obscene brutality.
24. Since I have once more had occasion in the course of my narrative to
mention Ardashir it would not be inappropriate t this point to fulfil my
earlier promise and give ar account in chronological order of the monardrs
who succeeded him. The parentage of Ardashir and the manner in whidr he
assumed the diadem o{ the kings of Persia have aheady been desoibed by
me in sorne. detail. I have nothing more to add with regard to him excepr
that he seized the throne of Persi in dre manner I descbed earlier, in te
fourth year of the reign of Severus Alexander,
five hundred and thirty-
eight years after Alexander the Great
and that he reigned for fourteen
years and ten months. z His successorwas the infamous Shapur who lived
tot a total of thirty-one years after his accession, during whide time he did
untold harm to the Romans.
Convinced that once he had slain their
Emperor therewould be nothing to dreil< his victorious progress he advanced
ruvagtrng Mesopotamia and the adjoining region, then Cilicia and Syria, and
frna7ly penetrating as lar as Cappadocia. The carnage v/as so terrible that he
actually filled in the mountain gorges and ravines with the corpses of the
Nonnus: Dionysiaca, I,42 sq.
222-235 A.D.
Used loosely by Agathias for "after the beginning of the Seleucid Era (i. e. 3128. C.),
so that the year in question begins 1. Oct, 226 A. D. and ends on 30 Sept. 227 A.D.
Beokl L27
rldn rnd lovalled the cloplng .ummlr od ttre hilh md rsde over them,
C{ttrhg mountain ridgcc ae thoqh they wcru levcl ploine.
On his
hc was eo elated by hie impious succesa that his insolence
ltEgr*r no bounds, but it was soon drecled by Odenathos of Palmyra,l2 a
llun ruhose previous obscurity and insignificance rere more than offiset by
bh glorioue exploit against Shapur whidr won him a lasting place in the
of history.
Ori the death of Shapur, his son Hormizd succeeded to the throne. His
rdgn was a very short one,
lasting one year and ten days, in the course of
vhich he adrieved nothing v/orth recording, nor did Vahram I who succeeded
ldm and reigned fot tfuee years.
6 But Vahram's son, who had the same
name as his father, reigned for seventeen years.15 Vahram III tasted sover-
eignty for a mere four months.16 He was given the title Saghanshah which he
received not, I think, idly or without good reason but in accordance with
0n ancient ancestral custom.
in fact the Persian kings make war
on some neighbouring people of considerable size and importance and reduce
them to submission, they do not kill the vanquished inhabitants but impose
a tribute on them all md allow them to dwell in and cultivate the conquered
teffitory. Howevet, they consign the former leaders of the nation to most
pitiful fate and assign the title of ruler tq their own sons, presurnably in
otder to preserve the protrd memory of their victory. 8 Now since the
Segestani were subdued by his father Vahram II it was only natural that the
son should be given the title Saghanshah, which is Persian for "king of the
25, Alter the speedy demise of Vahram III Narsah immediately assumed
the crown and ruled for seven years and five months.
He was succeeded by
his son Hormizd II who was heir not only to his father's throne but also to
a reign of identical duration. Sttange though it may seern the fact is that
both of them reigned for exactly the same number of months and years.
z They were succeeded by Shaput II who enjoyed an exceedingly long
reign the length of which coincided exactly with the length of his life.l8
Indeed when he was still in his mother's womb the future ofispting was
called to the throne.
Since it was uncertain whether the queen would give
to a male
or a female drild the nobles proposed a special reward for the magi i{ they
O" f"r
march Shapur was attacked and defeated by him nd lost part of his
13 272---273 A.D.
273-276 A.D.
276-293 L.D.
293 A.D.
293-302 A.D.
309/t0-379 A.D.
t2 gathlar: The Hhtorler
would foretell the future. Accordingly they broughr our a mare in the last
stages of pregnancy and told the magi to predict what they thought rouH
happen ir its case. In this way they would be able to find 6ut in a few days
whether in the event the prediction had come true, whiih would .rrubl.
them to form an estimare of the drances of fulfilment of whatever would be
foretold in the case of the human being. Now I cannot say exactly what was
the precise nature of the prediction in the case of the mare, since I have not
received accu.rte information on that point, but, whatever it was, it proved
When the nobles rcelized that the magi knew their art to per-
fection they urged them to expound their knowledge of future events
with regard to the woman also.
the magi said that a me drild would
be bom they no longer delayed, bur putting the diadem around the mother,s
womb, ey proclaimed as Emperor the foetus conferring upon it the dis-
tinction of a name and a tide when, I suppose, it had just readred that stage
of developement at whidr it was capable of making a few slight jumping
and throbbing movements inside the womb.
Thus they took for granted
what in the natural order of things is uncertain and obscure, thouglr they
not wide of the mark in their expectations, whid: were fulfilled to the
letter and beyond it. Soon alter tnfact shapur Ir was born. Possessed of the
royal title at birth, he grew up on the rhrone and he grew old on it, living
to the ripe old age o[ sevenry. 6 In the rwenty fourth year o[ his reign
the city o{ Nisibis
fell into the hands of the Persians. It had long been
subiect to the Rornans and it was their own Emperor,
who surren-
dered and abandoned it. The previous Emperor,
had penetrated into
the heart of the Persian Empire when he died suddenly and
proclaimed Emperor by the generals and the rroops.
Hampered by the
recentness of his accession and by the prevailing confusion engendered no
doubt by the,state of emergenry that had brought him to po'rer and finding
himself, moover, in the middtre of enemy territory, he was in n
position to efiect a leis'r.rred and ordedy settlement of afiairs. rn his anxiety,
thetefore, to terminate his sojourn in a foreign and a hostile land and to
return with all speed to his own country he became party to an ignoble
trearty, whidr to this very day is a blot on the Roman stare. By it he confined
thereafter the extent o{ his Empire within new fronriers, whittling away
its far-flung corners. 8 However, the events of that period have been re-
corded by a host of earlier historians, and I have no rime to dwell on rhem
but must needs stid< to my previous subject.
26. Shapur II was succeeded by his brother Ardashir who reigned for
four years and then died. The son of Ardashir was also called Shaprrr2o afld
he reigned f.or a tatal of five years. His son Vahram IV reigned for eleven
Ag"thtr drronology is wrong. Nisibis was ceded to Persia by
Jovian in 3G3 A.D.
i. e. Shapur III.
Boh 4
yi'r. He \rss glven the title Kermanah, I I havo aheady explained the
lfron for thia kind of title. Kerman was prhaps the name of a people or a
jlrco rnd no doubt Vahram acqu.ired the title fter they or ir had been re-
duecd by his {ather in much the sarrc way as was the Case with the earlier
Rorran practice, whereby an individual assumed a special name connecred
vlth the name of some oth nation whidr he had conquered as for example
and "Gerrnanicus".
The next reign was marked by the
tEcsEion to the throne of Persia oLYazdgard,I
the son of Shapur,
a marr
whose memory has remained something of a legend among the Romans. It
lr indeed commonly reputed that when the Emperor Arcadius was on the
point of death and was making his last will and restamenr he designated
Yazdgard as guardin and custodian of his son Theodosius and of the entire
Rorpan state.
This story has been handed down from generation ro gene-
tetion and preserved on the Iips of men and is still rqreated at the presenr dme
by,both the upper classes and the common people. But I have not come across
It in any document or in the works of any historian, not even in those whidr
give an account of the death of Arcadius, with the single exception of Proco-
pius.23 And I do not find it at ail. surprising that Procopius, who with his en-
cyclopaedic knowledge had rcad practically every historical work ever writ-
ten, should have found a written version of this story in t}e works of some
carlier historian which has so far eluded me who know next ro norhing, if
indeed I know anything at oJ7.
What I do find extremely surprising is
that Procopius does not confine himself at this point to a straightforward
account of events but applauds and eo<tols Arcadius for what he regards as
the e<traordinary wisdom of his decision. He says in fact that Arcadius
though endowed with little discretion in other respects proved in this one
matter to be particulady shrewd and far-sighted. 6 But whoever expresses
admiration for this decision is, in my opinion, judging it in the light of later
events and not by the logic of the original situation, since it hardly could
have made sense to entrust one's nearest and dearest to a foreigner and a
barbaian, the ruler of a bitterly hostile nation, a tnal who in matters
of honour and justice
was an unlmorr'n quantity and who on top of everything
else was the adherent o{ a false religion.
Tf the infant came to no harm
afld i., thanks to the care and protection of his guardian, his throne was
never in jeopardy though at the time he had not yet even been weaned, then
one ought rather to praise the honesty of Yazdgard than the action of
Arcadius. But these are questions whidr the reader must decide for himself
according to his own criteria. 8 At any ruteYazdgard reigned rwenty-one
years during whicl time he never waged war against the Romans or harmed
399-42t A.D.
It is not altogether clear whether Agathias means Shapur III or Shapur II.
Procopius: History of the \[ars, T,2,6,sq.
Agrthlmr Tho Hlrterler
the*. in any other way,. but hig ottitude war conrrstently pcactful
conciatory either thtough coincidence or our of g*uin. .oJJ;;J;i*?;;
the boy and concern for his duty as a guardian.
zi, onhis death he was u*..." Cy rris son val*am v who made an
incursion into the territory of the Romans but when he met with a friend.ty
and courteous reception from the generals stationed at the frontiers he with-
drew swiftly and returned to his own imperial domain, t uu"rg rrJrlrer waged
a war onlis neighbourq-nor damaged thir hnd in uny otheray- z After
a reign of t\r/enry ye,ars2a he handed over the throne io his son l azdga,d,rr
who reigned for sevenreen years and four monrhs.
that of Peroz26 an exceedingly daring and warlike *urlHi, min wu, fill.d
with grandiose ambitions, but his yudgement
was far from sound and he
a great deal more valour than discretion.
conseluently he
lost his life
in an expedition againsr the Ephthalites nor ;;;,i imagine,
of his oppo".nt, s through hi, .;;;.Llessness.
Though he should have taken alt the necessry precautions
and reconnais-
sance measures to safeguard his advance into .n"my territory againstambush
he fell straight inro a r,,ap, a series of carefulily ;;flriJ-pits and
trendres that stretched over he plain for a very gt distancelHe p"rish.d
there together with his army in the t*.nty-fo"rth y.r.
il, ign, our-
by the Huns
an ignominious v/ay of ending his life. The
Ephthalites are in fact a Hunnic people.
i{is brothei valash who
succeeded him to the throne *-rr rot conspiculos for any iritu.y achieve-
ments not only on account of his mild an-d gentle disposition uid, nutwul
aversion to violence but also because his ieign *uJ u very sho* one,
alnounting in fact ro a mere_four yeaxs.zT 6 He rras ,ucce.dld by Kavaj
tle sol of Peroz, who waged.mrn *r., against the Roms unJ*oo.ury
victories,o-rer the- neighlorling barbarian peopres. His reign was indeed a
and strife.
rn his dealings with his
subjects he was harsh and. cruel, showing no respect for the scial order,
rltroducing revolutionary innovarions in rhe ty poni" *a *rr*ri"g
cusroms. He even reputed ro have a, u ru* thut *irr",
should be hetd in commonnor, I imaline, with a view to any of the utilitarian
ends suggesred by the hidden *.*irg tf so.rut"r' *ord, i, the
in order to facttate concubinage ,ra .* any man
who telt so incned to sleep with any sroman of his wn choosing, even if
she happened to be somebody else,s urife.
427-438/9 A.D.
438/9-457 A.D.
cf. Plato: Republic Bk. V 457 c. sq.
,eC U. rubeeguent downfall. In thi eleventh year of his.reigr the nobles all
tn a body against him and deposed him, casting him into the "Prison
Oblivion-2e 2 Zamasp was tJren invested with the royal power. He
was a son of Petoz and apart from that enjoyed
repytatlon for great
of character and
justice. In this_way they thought
icttled everything to their satisfaction and that henceforth they would be
fblc to live in peace and quiet.
But it v/as not long beore Kavad escaped
eithcr aided and abetted by his wife who chose to die for his sake as Pro'
COpius tells us
ot by some other means. At any
fact remains that
niAa escape from prison to the land of the Ephthglitgs- wh9r9 he threw
hiseff on ih" protection of their king.
Mindful of the vicissitudes of
fortune the king received him with great kindness and never ceased to
comfort him an alkviate his distress o{ mind, showing him every consid-
,0. And, ro, m thlr legelly.oanctloned outrage
rtfc ths nobler could
the dtryrce no longJr and bcgen to voicc thcir engcr opcnly. It wao in
hdwhich wrs ihe principal cauge of the consplracy against hi* *9
efation, addressing him words of encouragement which were calculated to
raise lris spirits, fasting him at his table and frequently making him drink
from his o*n.,rp, dressing him in costly garments and in fact omitting none
of the niceties f hospitrlity. Not long afterwards he gave his daughter's
hand in ma13:iage to his g,rert and having entrusted him with a sufiiciently
large army to ensufe his return sent him back home to crush all opposition
ani regain his former prosperity.
There is a natural tendency for things
to wor]< out very difierently from what people expect, often upsettittg urrd
completely betying theit calculations and what happened on that-occasion
i" poi"t. In a very short space of time the pendulum of Kavad's
fortunes had swung 6 from one extfeme to the other and bacl< again: he
had ordranged the state of a king for the lot of a convict, escaped ftom
prison to bJcome a refugee and a suppliant in a stfange land, and then, after
Liruirrg been a suppliant zrnd a guest, had become the close relation of a king.
Then-on his retum home he regained his tlrone without ef[ort or danger,
findiog i vacant and as it wete waiting to receive him, for all the world as
th*gh he had never been deprived of it.
Zamasp in fact
affiicated, wisely making virtue of necessity and preferring, after having
enjoyed four yers on the rhrone, to fenounce the pride of ofiice and the
Eook { 1r1
pomp of povrer in exchange fot a safe retirement. 8 Kavad, now
than he had formedy been, ruled for another thirty years
E-A;;;rT-ng to Procopius (History of the fiars I, V, 8) the place was so narned because
it was forbidden undet pain of death to make any mention of those imprisoned there'
30 Procopius: History of the (ars IVI 1-9.
31 The Greek is ambiguous and could mean "f,nofe power{ul' and has beeo tendered
thus by previous ffanslators. However it is a fact that after his restotation Kavad
eventually broke with the revolutionxy Mozdakite movemeot.
rs in
lr2 AgEthlmr The Hhtorylel
addition to theprevious eleven eo that hie relgn Embtrccd. tota,l of forty.onc
29. Past generations of historians have written full and detailed accounts
of the events of both parts of Kavad's reign. There is one point, holever,
and I think it is worth making, z whid:, they have not dealt with, namely
the startling coincidence that x that time muclr the same thing happened in
both the Roman and the Persian Empire, that as though by some strange
quirk of fate disaster fell almost simultaneously upon the monardrs of both
states. Shortly before in fact the Emperor of the Romans, Zer,o the fsaurian,
whose original name was Tarasicodissa,
the victim of a plot by lllus,
Basscus and Conon aided and abetted by Verina and was dethroned and
driven out, barely escaping to Isauria in time. But he returned later, put
down the usurper Basiliscus who had reigned for not more than tv/o years,
regained complete control of afiairs and remained on the tfuone unril his
death, which, however, occurred not very long afterwards.33
At the
sme time the
Emperor Nqros
met with similar or rather even
greater misfortunes. As a result of the intrigues of Orestes he was obliged
to flee from Italy and lost the Imperial rhrone whidr he never regained. He
died a private citizen.35
Sudr, then, were the extraordinary vicissitudes
to which by some strange coincidence the major pov/ers were at that time
subjected, Let those critics whose practice it is to analyse and account for
events of a problematic nature seek to orplain these events, and they may
as far as f am concerned suggest whatever explanation they wish. However
I must return to the subject of my eadier excursus.
On the death of Kavad, whidr occurred in the fifth year of the Roman
the famous Chosroes, whose reign brings us into our
own day aurrd age,36 succeeded his father to the throne. His exploits were
many and various. Some of them have been previously recorded by
copius and
that have not sorne have already been dealt with by me,
whereas others will receive a proper treatment in due course. 6 But in
order to maintain a strict drronological sequence I shall confine myself for
the time being to pointing our thar his reign lasted some forty-eight years
in the course of whidr he won many brillianr victories. His reign in fact
marks a pinnacle of success and outst"ding adrievement reacd by no
prwious Persian monardr, not at arry rute if one is to make an over-all
488 498/9 A. D. and 498/9-L L.D.
Agathias' cJrronology seems to have gone wildly astray. Zeno fled, from Constantinople
in the August of 476.He died oo the 9th April, A.D. 49l.Ir seems that Agathias has
confused the revolt of Illus (484--488)
with the earlier conspiracy in which Illus
was also implicated,
28th August 47, A.D.
In 480 A. D.
53L-579 A.D.
BooLl t
ompuilon of individual reigno, Indced lt eould hordly be clafuned. thrt cvcn
Cynir the son of Cgmbyse of l)aflui the aon of Hyotaapea.or for thot mottef
thC famoot Xerxes who opened up thc Beas to cavalry and tfie mountains to
would stand comparison with him.
Yet his.ulhappy
end was in the starker contrasr to
greatnes of h!
BIi *6 sojourning at the time in the village of Thamnon in the Carduchian
llh, (he hd moved there for rhe summer, since 8 the region was favoured
tth; tempefate climate) when Maurice the son of Paul who had been put
ln comman of the forces in the East by the Roman Emperor Tiberius I
COnstantine made asudden irruption into the adjoining district of Atzaaena.
And, as though that were not enough, Maurice then proceeded to ravage
1nd plunder the whole area. Soon he had crossed the river Zitma and was
rtill dvancing, burning and plundering everytling tht lay n his path.
Mauiice was engaged on this wor! of wholesale destruction and
CVastation Chostoes, who being near enough to get a clear view already of
the smoke rising up found the spectacle of enemy fire, whidr he had never
leen before, too *...1, for him, and was so stunned and dismayed that he took
no action whatsoever either ofiensive or defensive. fnstead he gave himself
up to excessive grief at what had happened.and was seized immediately by
dcspond.ncy an despair. ro Acoldingly he was conveyed with great
lped on
r to hii palaces in Seleucia and Ctesiphon. It was more of a
IIIght than a reueat. Not long aftet that he ended his days.
30. However, I seem somehow to have allowed myself to get carried
away and have, I think, become so enthralled with these fascinating events
as t skip the whole intervening period and embark gaily on a recitaLof what
happ.n.d at a much later date. But now that I am ful[y conscious of the
naire and extent of my digression I had better postpone the discussion of
sudr matters for the present. They will be dealt with in the course of my
narrative of the period to which they belong. Meanwhile I shall resume the
thread of my earlier ccount.
z I have kept my ptomise and given a complete drronological record o{
the reigns of the kings of Petsia. It is, I think, a true and an accurate one
since iiis based on Persian sources.
Sergius the interpreter managed in
fact during a stay in Persia to prevail upon the keqrers of the royal ardrives
to gxant him access to the relevant literature' He did so, as it happens, in
rerporr. to frequent requests from me. Fortunately, when he staled that his
sol p,rrpore *ui to even among our nation the memory of w1rat they,
the Periians, kneur and drerished, they immediately obliged, thinking that
it would enhance the ptestige of their kings if the Romans too'w'ere to learn
3z i. e. the bridgine of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) and the r{igg:rng oi a canal through
the Athos peninsula.
lr4 gethtmr ITre Hhterler
what kind of men thcy w*e rogerher wrth thelr numb"fc and the order and
manner in which the succession has been maintaincd.
hat serlr, diJ
then was to take rhe narnes and dates and principal
*J pi, *"*
'good Greek, a task for whidr he was pdi.rry
well-ttted belng much
gnd away the best manslator of his day, so och ,o thut his talents h'd won
him the admiration of chosroes himrE and made him the aclnowledged
master of his subject in both Empires. After having made what musr have
b99p an exqemely accurate translation he was as good as his word and mosr
obligingly blgught me all his material, urging m to fulfil th. purp"r. f",
whiclr it had been enrrusred to him. a"a ttri is exactly whar I'have done.
consequently even if there are some screpancies beiween my account of
thereign of Kavad and Procopius' version of it we must follow tle authority
of the Persian documents and credit their contents with greater verucity.
Now that I have acquitted myself of my task let me i.rrr*. my accounr
of events iaLazica.I had intenupted it at the following pointr
6 Because of his cowardice, because of his defeat ,t ili. h*d, of Martin
and the Roman forces and of
disgraceful retreat to lberia, Nachoragan
\r/as put to an extremely cruel death the manner of whidr r have alrdy
Realizing that he was in no position to fight the Romans in
Lca, sinc_e they had control of the sea and io had no difilculty in procuring
whatever they needed, whilst he was obliged to send , f.* ,*t soppft
over immense trcts of desert conveying them with incredible
difiiculty on the shoulders of porters and the backs of
decided to pur an end to the war on all fronts. Thereieem.a to t no point
in protractin g a f.aulty and defective peace whicJr was confined only to certain
regions and every resot f9r giving it general nd universl uulrdity.
8 consequently he dispat4.4 u very high-ranking
gnitary, a ma
ryme 9f
Zidt, on a diplomati rnirrio' to CLstantinopL.
arrival thefe he mer the Emgeror
and they had a lgthy *.hange
of views. Finally they agreed that both the Rornans and the
retain whatever they had acquired ia Lanca by right of conquest. whether
towns or forts, and that both sides should obreru u g.n."ul'r*istice
refrain from all forms of murual aggression pending ,oL.
an{3r1{odtative agreement betwn the svereigis of both srares.3s And
so zidt having accomplished his mission r.trr*.Jho-". ro 7hen these
terms had been announced to the generals the armies refrained from all
further hostilities for a considerable length of time, *d , ri;;rion which
had already arisen sponraneously was officially endsed.
i57 A.D.
l. And so these great rivalpowers laid down their arms in accordance
rei;;;;;J ;"main ar peace{or a very long time, with neither
y r.i"Jtf ior..,g'1"" the other' z But meanwhile the
f"ir, ,h" *"jotity of thJm, in- spite oI the fact that they had long
|fr-rii"r and sublects of ilr" Roms had gi"en
their settled wavs of
brigrrdrg" and kept raiding the district of ?ontus and its
rruogtg *i" fi.tdr and moleriing wayfarers. Nevertheless a
them still r.mrin.d true ro their former ways and hadto hand in
The Tzant,incidentally,
live to the south of the Euxine near
They even .rorr.d or.r inio Armenia wherwer it was practicable,
;d"rt ; arr b.having sdrh all the hostility of declared enemies'
itA;d;-t" tr,.oa"*r"whom I think I have aheady mentioned several
of their nation
rh" most distinguish{ oj the Roman
\s sent to deal with them. It was
nltqalthlt he should
ave b."r, the man whom the Emperor selecrcd for the
he was
*itf, his own.orr-otry than anyone-else
knew exactly
6|9; *hi"h
point he could invade it most successfully, whidr was the best
f" f"i"rrpins and how best to tracl< down the enemy'
Setting ofi
[;;f"* ir"r;rrwith a not inconsiderable body of men he_ crossed the
on th" opposite side of the river Phasis and penetrated
il;.dt;,"l" int" tt
lr.*i tr what at the time was enemy tertitory'
the vicinity of the town of Theodorias and the place called
ifriir",i- and building'a rainpart round the camp he summoned those peace-
J; frt;;iit"1.."i , in te population whidr were not yet disafiected and
on rhem, praising-them the while for their moderation and
,o thor"ho had ,riolat.d the terms of their alliance and
iuU.U"a without compunction he prepared to mete out summary punishment
;;i;r.i;f arms.
Bot the.n"my lort_rro time in striking the trst blour
fortl Concentrating their forces on the commanding heights
,i;;;;;; hil they rained dourn spears and a*ows on the Rornans, who
,r67.ere throln into great confusion by this unexpected piece of daring'
6 Nevertheless many of them eagerly rushed out to the attack. But they
ud"od in an irregular fashion without waitilq to draw the enemy out
;; ; l","""grorrrrd.irttead
they tried in a frt of disorganized fi:ry to climb
op th. rril," rrofling their shields tilted over their heads and stooping
,fi*lrri, )
however, throwing their spears from a great height
L'4 Agcthlalr ThE llhtorler
what kind of men they were togcthcr with thclr numbera nd the orrlcr atd
mmner in which the succession has bcen maintnlned,
Sergiul dld
then was to take the names and dates and principal evcnts and put theEl
into good Greek, a task for whid: he was peculiarly well.fitted bcing tru&
and away the best translator of his day, so mudr so that his talents hocl wca
him the admiration of Chosroes himself and made him the acJ<nowleclged
master of his subject in both Empires. After having made what muct lrrv
been an e)ftremely accurate translation he was as good as his word and ntorG
obligingly brought me all his material, urging me to fulfil the purpouc for
whidr it had been entrusted to him. And that is exactly what I have cloue,
Consequently even if there are some discrqnncies between my accouut of
the reign o{ Kavad and Procopius' version of it we must follow the authurlty
of the Persian documents and credit their contents with gfeater veracity,
Now that I have acquitted myself of my task let me resume my accoullt
of events inLazica.I had intemupted it at the following point:
6 Because of his cowardice, because of his defeat at the hands of Mrrrtln
and the Roman forces and of his disgraceful retreat to lberia, Nachotrrgan
\r/as put to an extremely cruel death the manner of whidr I have alreorly
Realizng that he was in no position to fight the Romans in
Lazica, since they had control of the sea and so had no difiiculty in procurirrg
whatever they needed, whilst he was obliged to send a few scanty supplier
to his troops over immense tracts of desert conveying them with increcliblo
difiiculty on the shoulders of porters and the bacl<s of pad<-animals, Chosroee
decided to put an end to the'ffar on all fronts. There seemed to be no point
in protractinga f.aalty and defective peace which was confined only to certnin
regions and every reason for giving it general and universal validity,
8 Consequently he dispatdred a very high-ranking Persian dignitary, a mnn
by the name of Zidt, on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople.
On hir
anival there he met the Emperor
and they had a lengthy exdrange
of views. Finally they agreed that both the Romans and the Persians shoultl
retain whatever they had acquired tnLazica by right of conquest, whether
tolvns or forts, and that both sides should observe a general armistice ancl
refrain from all forms of mutual aggression pending some more far-reacJring
and authoritative agreement between the sovereigns of both states.38 Ancl
so Zidd having accomplished his mission returned home. ro ilhen these
terms had been announced to the generals the armies rdrained from all
further hostities for a considerable length of time, and a situation which
had akeady risen spontaneously was ofiicially endorsed.
38 Autumn of 557 A. D.
1. And so these great rival powets laid down their arms in accordance
a ,.*ri" at peace{or avery long time' with,1;itlrg
i.i"a of fotceaginst the other' z But meanwhile the
J;;; klrt t. majority of thm, in spite of the fact that they had long
;"i*it'Litr,. Romans hud gi""' up their:Itled wavs of
;"d ,*";i; rigundrg. and kept raiding the dismict of ?ontus and its
,;iJ ,uurglrg th"e fields aid molesting wayfarers. Nevertheless a
tJ-ri*d true to their former wavs and
hand in
a*..rr"r. The[zam,incidentally,
live to the south of the Euxine near
aond. They even crossed over inio Armenia wherever it was practicable,
noa"ri"* an behaving with all the hostility of declared enemies'
F;;'d'ctyir,ao*'"whomlthinkl11::',,!::*.y^fl :":':i;"1::i
;;#b* of their nation and the most distinguished
tlt R9m1n
,J";;.-*;, senr to deal with them. It was only naara) that he should
r.* ,lr. man whom the Emperor selected for the
since he was
';;q"il.i with his own couny than anyone.else and knew;x1a!
;ilifr point he could invade it most successfully, whidr was the best
i.i.r-p*g and how best to trad<- dow-n the enemy'
Setting ofi
; ilfi;a with a not inconsiderable body of men he crossed the
io" *.r, on the opposite side of the river Phasis and penetrated
di*h into the h.uri f what at the time 'as
enemy territory. En-
tr;-il rhe vicinity of the rown of Theodorias and the place called
dffi" and building'atampattround
the camp he summoned those peace-
,ia fri"narv el.meit, in the population whidr we-re not yet disafiected and
;;J;tfr; on them, praising-them the_ w1ile for their moderation and
,orr"1 ", to thoseho had violated the terms of their alliance and
.il"d *i lrorrt compunction he prepared to mete out summary
i* of ur.r.
f"t the enemy lost no time in striking the first blow
;rrr.kirg the fortl Concentrating their forces on the commanding heights
, i"rm they rained down spears
arrows on the Romanq who
by this unexpected
piece_ of daring.
of them eagerly rushed out to the attack' But they
in an irregular fashlon witho-ut &'y
they tried in a frt of. disorganized fury to climb
th. rrn, nouing their shields tilted over their heads and stooping
,fi*frii, )*i however, throwing their spears from a great height
tr6 :rthlmr Its llhtorlcr
and rolllng_ dow_n ctones, had no dlllleulty in dhlodgrng them, after whlch
they sallied forth against thern slew about forty men 6n put the rert to n
ignominious rout. 8 Elated by their uno<pected success the barbnrinna
moved close to the camp. Fierce fighting ensued with the Tzani dctermlnetl
to get in and take all by storm and the Romans convinced tlrat not jurt
repulse t\ engmy but anything short of exrerminating therl
would be a stain on their honour. rt was a scene of violent and dpernt.
hand-to-hand fighting in whidr both sides threw all their weight inio the
struggle. For a long time the issue hung precariously
in the balance and rhe
multifarious and all-pervasive din of battle raged confusedly.
on seeing that the.enemy were leadedess and were not emptroying
safe tactics or attacking rh enclosure ar various points but were at nat",i
into one part, the Roman commander Theodorus ordered some of his troops
to stand their ground and tace the enemy whilst he secretly dispatched ns
Targe aforce as he could muster to take the enemy in the rear. z dvancing
appeared behind the bad<s of the enemy and suddenly l"t oui
u lg"i and piercing
urar-cry. TheTzaniwere rhrown into confusion
and had only one thought in their minds
to take to iheir heels like
cowards. And so they fled, almost beside themselves with fear, and the
Romans made short wgrlc g! them, killing two rhousand and scatiering the
H,aving thus forcibly suMued the entire nation, Theodorus sent n
reporl of what had happened to the Emperor and asked what further meas-
ures he wished him to take.
'w[rerzupon Justinian
bade him impose upon
them a fixed annual tri!"J" to be paid in prpetrrity. It was his purpose that
in this
*ey _should
become ,.ur. oi their position ,, d.p.ndants and
ral,oe that they belonged to a rributary srate a;d were rhe embers of a
s.ubject race._Accordingly their names were all inscribed in a r.girter, an&
they w-ere subfected to the payment of a tdbute whidr to this veray'they
are still
The Ernperor
Justinian was especially pleased at this success and
regarded it, I think as one of his majoiadrievements;
so much so that in one
of his own supplementary decrees, whidr are known ,,
is enumerating his other victories he makes speciar mention o{ thi, people.
pr.f. The relevant passage may be translated as follows:
as we re
with_the-cares of Empire, our mind intent on sucrr weighty
*-rrring thrt
the Persians
n9 trouble, that the vandars and thT 1fu;;;; ;;rr" L.i, ,tt"-
giance, that_the Carthaginians continue in the possession of their ancient freedom to
whidr they have been restored and that the T),*l, who have rr"* r* the firrt tim.
come under the dominion of
R_ogary,, may be classed among the subl.ect peoples,
(an r:,nprecedented boon whidr God has bstowed upon the Romir,
ii, * ,.ig"l
we are in addition beset by the multitude of individual problems
."tin"uuy Jou-
mitted to us
our subjecrs and for which in eadr and .u..y
*"-give the
appropriate mling".
! So, once aI[ eggrculon 'il ended and thc Tzanl had been firmly put i'n
ilh;;tr"; .r ariiiUoa, Thelorur returnod to tha
ln Lazico.
ffi;1ong Uiio* itiro evcnts Constantino,ple waE once more almost
*iot.iAu trri.l to thtsiuni by a tertible earihquake'
A convulsion of
ri rrutior, its ho*or was further accentuated
the fatetul nd harrowins events that followed in
iit *tf.*. , It *r, in fact that time of yeat when autumn was drawing to
paditionrl Ro*r' Festival of the Names3 was being cele-
iir".ria **ther had already set in, whidr v/s to be expected seeing
;h;; rh" ,*, ;r, udrrn"irrg towards the winter solstice and approaching the
;ig" ; Crp;icorn. rt *rt
t9ut19 in the eighdr zone-gr "clima of
;t-E;i;, as I believe te tpeciatirts in this field call it.n j Then towards
iart *n.i Jl th" citizens were sleeping
in thlir beds disaster
and every srructure wai instantly shaken to its foundations'
*iri.h were violent to start with, kepl growing in intensity as
*.wf, rising to , .rtrrtrophi"-
9liqo' .
Everbod{ yut.awakened
;ilJ; and urrr.r,trtions cdd be heard, ccornpanied_ by the usual pious
;l;J;,ir* that spring spontaneously to the lips in quch
moments of crisis'
Each successirr" tr"-or""s followed ty a du"pf grgylinc- sound like thundql
il the bowels of the earth, whidi dub1ed the general sense of
;;;*J alarm.The surrounding air grew dim with the vaporous ev*.,ala-
i, of , smoky haze rising from ai ,rnkno*n source, and gleamed with a du11
,di"""' 5
i']anic-strid<n' the people poured out of their houses' filling
ifr"-r"*" Jnd alleywayr, ,r thorrgh^destruction
could not overtake them
;;;rr,r1" ort of door, ,r indoois. 6 The fact is that every quarter o
ih;d;i; hua"ily built up that wide open spaces
frel of obstnrc-
.*rr.*ly irr. ,ight. Neverthless ih"it f.rt and anxiety of mind
,*r"a to subside graduall; at the mere possibility of somehow turning
l4th-21td December L.D.557.
fir. nro,,rtir, n f.rtirrd-of prlrn o.igl" ofletred by the Emp_erot to. certain classes of
*. p"p"f"r. It l"rt t*,riv-fo".*a'vs
17th Dec')' each dav corres-
* ;;; oi tf," t*untv*o.rr oi the Greek alphabet and eadr guest beine
n.i.nt geographrs
climata (or belts of latitude), the positions of
i;;;*; ciiies being n""d *ith respct to these zones' Though the Byzartines were
.rrt"or simply to trnsmit
oi l.r, mechanically the data contained in ancient
qlrrh"iir i,ra ,r Pt1.-y, it did become_nece-ssryin the course.of time for them
ti add to or otherwise moify th. ancient lists indicating the position_of the world's
major citi.s. In the process f soch adiustments Byzantium came ertoneously
insrted into the seventh instead of the flfth zone. There is also evidence however
Capella VIII, 876) of a difierently consructed division of the inhabited
wrld into eight elts of latitude. Agathias seems here to be refering to this or some
sucih scheme mployed by the savanti of his day who, he tells us, inserted Byzantium
into the eighth zone'
Asrrhtur iu ltor{el
their cyes towarda heaven rn rn attempt to pro_prtlrte
the Detty, They got
f.,'.* a shower of ereei r"_;"fi;;J'il;;f,#
the cotct,
bu-r even so they did not tahe shelter with the o..ptin
tir" who toor.
refuge in the crurches,. pos*ating
numbers of women and_not just
tle members of thorowei;;.,
bur even
and distinction roamed ,bout * listJir*fy
tfie men; the ordered structure of society with its d". obi.*unce of de-
and respect for privirege
and the proper distinctionr-of
,rnr, *u,
thrown into wild confusion antrampred.*a.4".r.
i," the grip
of the present
and more compeiling far, showed
"orrr".pr]oith"i".urt.r, and, disobeying their instnrciions,Irngr;gat.d
i" trr" p1.,
in authority and men oT no con1equ"l..-** pru..
on * equal footing
gwing to the common danger and ihe generar p-rp*
,] i.ii"r, annihi-
that night many hJrr", were destroyed, particularly
the distric.t-of Rhegium, which is t" port rr c"iroi.irJpi.:
ffi;, amazing
and incredible events occurred too in ihe course of thrt-ffi
il;n. rocality
the roofs of buildings, and this ws true of stone and wooden srrucflrres
allke, came apart, disclosing.
yawning gaps a clear visra o{ ,Ly ,nJ
stars, and then suddenry f:rl backigiin into"piu.. Ei;h;;;";ir",
on ,n
upper floor were carapulted by the frce
th .onuJ.i;;li,
irt thro,rgh
the ar o.ver the tops of the
qaverling u torg *uf-i-.ror. trr.y
eventuallv came crashing down and smashed i,, p;r''lrJu.,
landed on. rn other plaes there were oer stil ,rrou. lrorrirying things
happening, and, thougtr these follow.a ," oir_i"p;*d;;i'*rria
recur time and
a.s this impedr *"aJ"f"*r^r"uinr,
their impact was on rhat occasion .nor. ,ho.Lirrg b;";;h.y
i o.*rr.d
ro Large numbers.of ordin_ary peopre perished
in the disaster. of the
persons of rank and of those who *....b"rr
or ,rr.-r"n^lrJonty
to lose his life was Anatolius, a man who had u".n ruir"J-r. ,rr.ii*rri,,
consul and was in dlarge of the superintendence
and frnanctaladministration
of the rmperiat househord and Ltates. Th. R;;;;-;;ii;il;
rr Anatorius was sreeping at the tir. i, tJ
beddramber. The,aparrmenr 'was
J'r*i ptuqo",
atta&tedto the wall, of the kind that arcravishry *a .rttrtio"rrairprrr.a
by those who are inordinately fond of ,".h:"d;;;-;;
bric--brac. one of these praques,
which wo, frrten.d to the rail nexr ro
the bed, was shaken loose }rom rts fittings ,ra ,oi.i.a;tr^
i rrrot.r".
of the tremors. rr came a"*" *itr, Jiiir *.rgr,, ;; , h;;ii *d" r-urh.d
his skull. He had bur. enough dme ro urter"a deep and ;#J groan of
pain and then sanlc back on rris bed. Death had
l- e. h. w* a "curator domus <livinae
4, Vhen day had dswned people movcd forward to moet one enother
into the faces of their neatest and dearest, hissing and
:mbracing and weeping with dellght and ourprise. : But when the dead
body of Anatolius was camied away for burial some of the people in the
cmwd began to sptead the rumour that his death had been a
just punishment
thce he had been an evil and unscrupulous man and had robbed many people
of their possessions. This, they said, was the end to whidr his notoiious
activities, the placards and the purple'coloured cloths that he had fastened
ln sudr profusion to the houses of the wealthy,6 had brought him. Under
the false pretext of loyal service to the Emperor he appropriated everything
by means of his relentless exactions, violating the dying wishes of parents
and showing utter disregard for the larvs, whidr require that drildren should
inherit their parents' property.
These at any t^te were the sort of whis-
pered rumours being circulated among the common people and they seemed
to ptovide a simple o<planation for what had happened. Personally I should
be extremely hesitant to advance any sort of o<planation for sudr occurrences.
Undoubtedly the earthquake would have been a very real boon if it had
been able to distinguish the wicked from the good, caus,ing the former to
perish miserably and graciously sparing the latter. But even granted that
Anatolius really was a wid<ed man there were countless others in the city
no better or even worse than he was. Yet he was suddenly strud< down
whilst the others have remained unscathed.
It is, therefore, no plain or
easy matter, I think, to ascef,tain why of all men Anatolius was the only
one to lose his life. If we are to accept the Platonic vievr
according to whidr
more wretclred and unhappy fate awaits those who have lived evil lives
and w^[ro, instead of paying the penalty for their crimes in this world either
by dying a violent death or by receiving some other form of punishment,
depart from this life having contrived to escape purification and bearing
like runaway slaves the scars of their wrongdoing,
then it would seem
aket all that the man who suffers for his misdeeds is the more fortunate
among his fellows than the man who gets ofi scot-free.
However, there
is mudr to be said for not interfering with and indeed for encouraging the
notion populady entertained with regard to these matters, since the feot o{
dyng a horrible death may have a deterrent or moderating effect on some
wrongdoers. 6 Nevertheless it is quite obvious that a long life of un-
troubled success is no more proof of virtue than a violent death, however
horrible; is evidence of exceptional wicl<edness. But /e shall best be able to
establish the nature of our conduct in this wotld and the degtee of punish-
ment dr reward due when we pass into the next. At ay rate people are
Indicating that they had been confiscated by order of the Emperor.
d.Piato Gorgias 476a-479e and 524e.
Runawa], slaves were branded.
140 Agathlar: Tlre Hlrtorlar
entitled to their opinions on thie mtter however mueh they may difier:, ltrr
my prt I must resume the thread of my earlier naffotive.
5. The tremors continued for several clays and though they had lost mont
of their initial fury and were of mudr shorter duration they were still sufli-
ciently violent to disrupt any remaining semblance of :rder. z Fantastie
stories and extraordinary predictions to the efiect that the end of the worlel
was at hand began to circulate among the people. Charlatans and sel["
appointed prophets roamed the streets prophesying whatever came iutrt
their heads and terrifying still more the majority of the people who wcre
particularly impressionable because they had already become demoralizetl,
Still more ominous were the prognostications of those who pretended to be
seized by a prophetic ftenzy rid possessed by some supernatural power,
claiming that they had learned the future from the spirits that consortecl
with them and bragging about their demonic possession.
Others, ns
might have been expected, pondering over the motions and aspects of the
stars, hinted darkly at greater calamities and at v/hat mounted almost to a
cosmic disaster. Society in fact never fails to throw up a bewildering variety
of sudr persons in times of misfortune. Luckily both predictions provel
wrong. In my opinion these dabblers in the occult who sought to encroaclr
on the intellectual preserve of the Deity ought to have been prosecuted for
But there was nobody at the time who was not in
state of
abject fear and terror. Consequently prayers and hymns of supplication \v'er
heard in every quarter as the entire people gatherecl together for this purpose.
The ideals to whidr people constantly pay lipservice but rarely put into
practice ril/ere then eage pursued. Everybody suddenly became just in his
dealings towards his neighbour, so mudr so that even the magistrates gave
up all thoughts of personal gain and began to administer
justice in accordance
with the laws ancl those who were influential in some other way lived quietly
and peacefully, refraining from the most shame{ul abuses and leading gener-
ally virtuous lives.
Some even completely c}anged theit mode of life
and embraced a solitary existence in the hills, renouncing property and
privilege and all that is most pleasing to mankind. Many donations were
brought to the drurches and ptominent citizens walked the streets at night
distributing free gifts of blankets and food in abundance to the helpless and
pitiful wrecks who lay maimed and mutilated in great numbers on the
ground, keeping body and soul together by begging for their bread. 6 All
these good deeds, however, rvere performed for a limited period of time, as
long as the terror was still fresh in people's minds. As soon, in fact, as there
were signs that the danger had receded most people revertd to their old ways.
This type of response could not properly be called
or firm and active
piety of the sort rvhich stamps itself on the mind tlirough the operation of
sound convictions steadfastly and zealously held; no, it might with more
Bok, 141
truth b termd en lmeguler xpdlnt and a hlghly pmilour form of trafiic
almcd at eocaping and avertlng a paoalng criala, It ia in fact only urnder the
atimulus of sudden fear and for as long as the emergency lasts that we make
a few reluctant and petfunctory concessions to the ideal of drarity.
6. During this period the debate on the subject of exhalations \vs
reopened. The name of the Stagilite
was frequently bandied about. One
minute it was asserted that he had given an accurate explanation of the
nature of earthquakes and their causes, the ne:<t it was afiirmed that he was
altogether wide of the mark. z Some cited, in support of his theory that
a dense nd smoky vapour imprisoned in subterranean cavities is responsible
for suih upheavals, the device invented previously by Anthemius.
mius of Tralles ras by profession an engineer or ardritect, one o{ those people
who apply geometrical speculation to material objects and make models or
imitations of the natural world.
Anthemius was absolutely outstanding in
his eld and was afrrst-rate mathematician enjoying a similarpre-eminence to
that enjoyed, mutatis mutandis, by his brother Metrodorus in the sphere of
Their mothersras, I think, particularly fortunate to have given
birth to sudr talented drildren. In addition, moreovel, to these two she was
also the mother of. that eminent lawyer and accomplished advocate Olympius
and of Dioscorus and Alexander, both of them extrernely skilled in the art of
medicine. Of the latter pair Dioscorus spent his life in his ativecity, where
he practised his profession with remadcable distinction and success, whereas
Aiexander took up residence in Rome, whither he had been summoned to
occupy a position of great distinction. The fame of Anthemius and Metro-
dorus spread fat andwide until it readred no less a pefson than the Emperor.
6 Accordingly they were summoned to Constantinople where they spnt the
rest of their lives, exhibiting, eadr of them, signal proof of their own parti
cular excellence, the one by educating many of the young sons of the nobility
and imparting the knowledge of that sublime and beautiful discipline in suclr
a way as to fire the imaginations of all with the love of eloquence, the other
by designing the most wonderful artistic creations in the capital and in many
other places, indeed so wonderful that as long as they were standing their
sheer beauty would suffice, without a single word being spoken about them,
to perpetuate the glory of his memory.
But the whole incident whidr
caused me to mention this man shall nour be related without further delay:
There was in Constantinople a man calledZeno, a professional rhetorician,
who besides his other distinctions was a close acquaintance of the Emperor.
He was next-door neighbour of Anthemius, their two houses being.
to one another and built on the same re of groufld. 8 In the course of
time rather strained relations and a cefiain amounr of ill will developed bet-
them, either because of some possibly unprecedented piece of prying
%f. Artrt"tl", Meterologica, 2,365b,35 sqq.
L42 Asrthlur Thr llhtorlcl
or because of the construction of some abnormrlly hlgh rnncxe whldr blodrecl
the light or for some other of the many reasons that inevitably bring nort.
door neighbours into conflict.
7. Now Anthemius outmanoeuvred in argument by his opponent's legal
skill and finng himself no matdr for him when it came to abattle of wotcls
retaliated in the following manner by avaiTrnghimself of his own professional
z Zeno had a fine, spacious and sumptuously decorated upper room, in
which he loved to pass the time of day and enteftain his close friends. Thc
ground-floor rooms underneath it, however, belonged to Anthemius' part of
the house, so that the ceiling of the one rvas the floor of the other.
Anthemius filled some huge cauldrons with water and placed them at inter-
vals in various parts of the building. To these he fastened tapering, trumpet-
shaped pipes encased in leather and sufiiciently wide at their bottom ends
to allow them to fit tightly over tlre rims of the cauldrons. He then fixed
their upper ends securely and neatly to the beams and
joists, so that the
air in them should rise up freely along the pipes until it exerted a direct
pressure on the ceiling, while the leather held it in and prevented it from
Having secretly set up this apparatus he laid a fire under the
base of eacl cauldron and kindled a powerful flame. As the rilrater grew hot
and boiled a gteat head of steam began to rise. Unable to escape, it rose up
the pipes, building up pressure as it went and subjecting the roof to a series
of shocks, until it shook the whole $tructure with
enough force to make
the woodwork creak and wobble tlightly.
Zeno and his friends rvere
terrified and ran panic-stricl(en into the street with cries of horror and alarm.
And when Zeno was in attendance at the palace he began to enquire of dre
notables what they thought about the earthquake and whether it had done
them any damage. 7hen they exclaimed "what an idea! God forbid that suclr
a thing shoultl happen! Perish the thought!", ad began to expostulate in-
dignantly with him for his lad< of taste in concocting sudr gruesome horror-
stories, he was completely nonplussed. Though he was unable to disbelieve
the evidence of his sensei in a matter that had occurred so recently, yet-he
co'uld not bring himsel{ to go on insisting in the face of the combined aut-
lrority and disapproval of so many distinguished personages.
8. Those rvho explained the origin of earthquakes in terms of exhalations
and smoky vapours made mudr of this story. "Anthemius", they would say,
"discerning what it is that cuses earthquakes to occur, adrieved a similar
efiect by reproducing attifrcially the workings of nature". And there was
something in what they said, though not as mudr s they imagined. z For
these theories, however plausible and sophisticated they may appear to be,
do not in my view amount to positive proof. One would not, for instance,
regard the fact that despite their tteading so lighdy-Maltese dogs walking
Eeh, 14,
ebout on r foof ceuie it to rheke a pffnllcl care, or uEe it aB though it were
tr odcquetc illusration of hia hypotheaio.
uclr things should, indeed
be rcgarded as impressive and entcrtaining medranical tridcs, but one must
secl( a di"fierent orplanation (if indced any orplanation is necessary) for
natural calamities, since this
not the only trick that Anthemius played
on Zeno. He also produced the efiect of thunder and lighting in his room,
a slightly concave dis,k with a reflective surface by means of which
he trapped the sun's rays and then turned the disk round and suddenly shot
a powerful beam of light into the room, so powerful in fact that it dazzled,
everyone it came into contact with. At the same time he contrived to produce
a deep, booming sound by the percussion of resonant objects and adrieve
the efiect of loud and terrifying peals of thunder. 7hen it finally dawned on
Zeno where all these events originated, he publicly prostrated himself at the
feet of the Emperot, accusing his neighbour of wid<ed and criminal behaviour.
He got so carried avtay by his anger that he coined a rather elegant turn of
He began declaiming in fact in mod< poetic style before the
senate, saying that it was impossible for him a mere mortal to contend single-
handed at oe and the same time with "Zeus the Lightener" and "Loud-
Thunderer" and Poseidon the Earth-Shaket".
6 At any fate this parti-
cular skill undoubtedy produces some very fine toys, but that does not
necessarily mean that natuTe follows the same pattern. Still eacl man is
entitled to his own opinion in these mattem, and I rcal7y must return to
what I was saying eafer on.
9. During that winter, then, the city was afilicted by these calamities.
For several days everyone had the impression that the ground was shaking
even though the tremors had ceased and it was already quite firm and
motionless. People had not yet recovered from the shock of their recent
experience and their minds were clouded by nagging doubts and persistent
fears. z The Emperor tried to restore the large number of public buildings
affeced by the disaster. Some of them were insecure and unsound, others
had already tumbled dorvn. He was particularh concerned about the Great
Previously burnt by the populace,
he had built it up anew right
from its foundations, creating a drurdr of anazing beauty whid: was further
enhanced by its vastly increased dimensions, its majestic proportions nd
by a lavish profusiorr of ornamental marble. It was built of baked bricl< and
lime on a structure of iron girders, the use of wood being avoided in order
to prevent it from ever being easily set on fire again. The ardritect'ffas the
The words in inverted commas are of course Homeric epithets and the functions
described by them are those commonly assigned in mythology to these particular
The church of St. Sophia, of course.
During the Nika Revolt of 532 A.D.
144 Agathla:r Thc Flhtorler
celebtated Anthemius of Tralles, whom I hove elrcedy had caure to mentlon,
On this occasion however the church had lost the top of its dome
a8 a
result of the earthquake. The Emperor therefore had it repaired, reinforced
and raised to a greater height.
Anthemius, however, was by then a lgng
time dead. Consequently Isidore the Younger
and the other architets,
after studying the original form of the srructure and observing by a com.
parison with what was srill intact the naflre of the part afiected and the
extent,to whidt the construcdon had been faulty, left the ardres, on the
east and west sides exactly as they were, but exiended the curved super-
structure of the interior faces
of the arches on the north and south sides,
so that they described a slightly broader arc. The resuh was that they tted
more closely into the other arches, thus forming a regular squaxe. In this
way the arcitects were ab.e to span the empty space
in all its immensity
and get rid of the small area left by the underlying oblong figure.1z They
then replaced the dome.
But despite the fact that it is straighter, despite
its balanced cufves and regular oudine it has become narrower, its lines
have hardened and it has lost something of its old povr'er to inspire awe and
wonder in the beholder. It is, however, much more firmly and secureiy fixed.
as far as the d:urch is concerned I think I have said all that needs
to be said in a historical work and as mudr as is consistent with the course of
my narcative. To embark upon a detailed eulogy of a1l its wonderfuIfeatures
would be superfluous and irrelwant to the purpose of the present work.
It anyone who lives far from the capital wishes to get as clear and com-
prehensive a picture of the drurch as he would if he were there to view it
in person, then he could hardly do better than to rcad the poem in hexa-
meters of Paul the son of Cyrus and grandson of Florus. Paul was the fore-
most of those ofiicialsknown as "Silentiarii" or ushers, who are entrusted
with maintaining silence around the emperor's person. Though he came
of nohle and'distinguished parents and was heir to an immense family
fortune, he was devoted chiefly to the study of literature and eloquence,
and it was on these cultured pursuits that he prided himsel{ most. He is
fact the author of very many poems of considerable merit, among which
that written on the subject of the Great Churdr rreadres a higher pitdr of
refinement and erudition than the rest, which, indeed, is in keeping with
its more exalted theme. 8 In it will be found the ordered plan of the
building described in {u11 detail, whilst rhe various types of marble are
suweyed and scrutinized with the e"xquisite subtlety of a connoi.sseur. The
7th May ,58 A. D.
i. e. Isidore of Miletus.
i. e. those facing the central nave over whidr the dome was placed.
i. e. that overlooked by the dome,
i.e. that part of the ,,emp space" not spanned by the eadier ardt.
Book ! L4'
perfce blonce of atructural and vlauel requlremento ochieved in the building
of the porches, the sizes and helghta employed in the construcdon of th
whole edifice, the interpley of rectilinear end circular figures, of ardres and
pcndentives, the lavish use of gold and silver in the decoration of the
tebernacle, all these features and any others worth noting, whether great
ot small, are described in the poem and are presenred as clearly and as
vividly to the reader as they would be to the most observant and assiduous
of visitors.
This second restoration of the churdr, however, took place
at a somesrht later date.
10. During that year at the beginning o{ spring
a second outbreak of
plague ssrept the capital, destroying a vast number of people. From the
tfteenth year of the reign of the Emperor
when the plague first
spread to our part of the world it had never realiy stopped, but had simply
moved on from one z place to another, giving in this way something of a
respite to those who had survived its ravages. It now returned to Constanti-
nople almost as though it had been dreated on the first occasion into a
needlessly hasty departure.
People died in great numbers as though
seized by a violent and s,udden attacl< of apoplexy. Those who stood up to
the disease longest barely lasted ve days. The form the epidemic took was
not unlike that o[. the earlier outbreak. A swelling in the glands of the
groin was accompanied by a high non-intermittenr fever whidr raged night
and day with unabated intensity and never left its victim until the momenr
of death.
Some experienced no pain or fever or any of the initial
symptoms but simply dropped dea while about their normal business at
home or in the seet or wherever they happened to be. People of all ages
were struck down indiscriminately, but the heaviest toll was among the
young and vigoro' and especially among the men, women being on the
whole mudr less affected.
According to t-he ancient oracles of the
Egyptians and to the leading astrologers of present-day Persia there occurs
in the course of endless time a succession of lucJ<y and unlucly cycles. These
luminaries would have us believe that we are at present passing through one
of the most disasffous and inauspicious of sudr cycles: hence the universal
prevalence o{ war and internal dissension and of frequent and persistenr
epidemics of plague. 6 Others hold the view thar divine anger is respon-
sible for the destruction, e><acting just retribution from manlcind for its sins
and decimating whole populations.
It is not for me to ser myself up as
a judge
in these matters or to undertake to demonsate tlre truth of one
theory rather than the other. Such a task would perhaps be beyond my
comprehension, or even if it were not, it would be neither necessary nor
562 A.D.
558 A. D.
146 Agathlar: The Hlrtorler
relevant to the present narfative, An account, in frct evcn e rummary of
events, is all that the rules of historical composition requirc of me,
11. The tragedy just described did not mark the end of this stormy
period but was followed by others of an equally horrifying and alarming
nature. 7hat these were f shall presently explain, after first making a brief
and passing rderence to eadier history.
z In ancient times the Huns inhabited the region east of lake Maeotis
to the north of the river Don, as did the rest of the barbarian peoples
established in Asia on the near side of Mt. Imaeus. All these peoples were
referred to by the general name of Scythians or Huns, whereas individual
tribes had their own particular names, rooted in ancestral tradition, such as
Cotrigurs, Utigurs, Ultizurs,, Brirugundi and so on and so forth.
generations later either following the lead of a hind as popular tradition
would have it or as a result o{ some other fortuitous occurrence, they crossed
over into Europe and were somehow conveyed across the point where lake
Maeotis flows into the Euxine,2l which had hitherto been considered im-
possible. However, they crossed it and wandered far and wide over foreign
By their sudden and unexpected raids they did incalculable damage to the
local populations, even to the extent of displacing the original inhabitants
and occupying their lands.
But their sray was destined to be
and at tle end of it they vanished without leaving any ace of themselves.
This fact is illustrated by the case of the Ultizurs and the Burugundi who
were well-known right up to the time of the Emperor Leo22 and were con-
sidered a force to be reckoned with, but whom we in our day and age neither
know nor, I imagine, are likely to, since they have either perished or mi-
grted to the ends of the earth.
However, during the year in question
when the plague readeed the capital all the orher Hunnic tibes were in
existence and indeed rrlere still at the height of their fame though for some
reason best known to themselves they had chosen to move south at this
time and had encamped not far from the banks of the Danube. 6 As usual,
with the approadr of winter, the river froze to a considerable depth and the
ice was aTready hard enough to be crossed on horsebad<. flhereupon Zaber
gan, the leader o{ the Cotrigurs galloped across the trozen w'aters with a
huge force of cavalry and crossed over without difiiculty into the territory
of the Romans.
Finding the area deserted and advancing unopposed, he
passed through Moesia and Scythia and invaded Thrace.
At this point he
split up his army, sending one parr into Greece to raid and plunder the
The Sea of Azov.
zt presumably the Strait of Kerch
i. e. LeoI 457--:74 A.D.
March 559 A.D.
BL, 147
plrcer therc Bnd r tGcond detrdrment into the Thracian
12, From North to South as far aa the cenme of its southern tip, the
Giltem coastlifle of the Cheronecc is $rashed by the Hellespont. Only a
naffow piece of land a mere forty stades across prevents the Hellespont
from making an island of it. z Across this isthmus a continuous fortified
wall stretdres from cost to coast. Behind the wall are ranged rhe rovins of
Aphrodisias, Thescos, and Ciberis, and at a very great distance from them
near the strait itself, where the coastline forms a sharp angle, stands the
town of Sestos, renowned in poetry, doubdess because of its associations
with the story of Hero's lamp and of the death of her lover Leander.
far from Sestos is another small town whidr despite its e)<treme smallness,
its lad< of beauty and generally unprepossessing appearance is called Calli-
The surrounding country is graced with fields and roadsteads, dotted
with a gteat vaiety of trees and blessed with streams of good drinking
water and with a ridr, fertile soil that produces a plentiful store of all the
necessaries of life. The wall, then, encloses within is confines so many towns
and such an extensive arca of. ground as to make an enemy attack no easy
In an
hopeful frame of mndZaberyan began to entertain
the notion rhat, if. he were to knock down the wall and peneffare into the
region behind it, he would soon be in a position to gain control of the sea.
He fondly imagined that once there he would have an ample supply of ships
and that after sailing with ease across the calm and peaceful
of the
nro\ strait he wor.ild cross over into Asia where he would immediately
rayage Abydus and sad< the custom-house there.
And so sprlrred on by
these wild designs he despatdred to the Chersonese what in his vieur was a
sufiiciently large force for this task. He himself made straight for Constanti-
nople with seven thousand horse, ravagtrng fields and attad<ing towns on his
way and creating havoc and confusion wherever he went. 6 Tho'ugh his
real motive was the innate violence and rupasity that clnracterizes the be-
haviour of.barbaians he used his hostility rowards the Utigurs as a sort of
er(cuse for his atta&.. The Utigurs were led by a Hun called Sandildr who
on extremely cordial terms of friendship and alliance with the Romans.
He had won the esteem and afiection of the Emperor and was a frequent
recipient of his largesse.
The Cotrigurs on the other hand far fuom
having any share in sudr favours urefe the obiect of open contempt. Conse.
quently they felt that they ought to make this expedition in order to show
that they too'/ere a force to be reckoned with and feared and that they
would tolerate no disrespect.
i. e. "Fair City"
mod. Gallipoli.
14E gathlmr Tho Hlrtorler
13. Finding themselvee unoppooed, the Cotrlgum plundered and ravoged
the land without mercy. They seized quantities of booty and took a hugc
number of prisoners. z Among the captives many ladies of noble birth
who had drosen a life of clastity were cuelly dragged away and sufiered the
worst of all misfortunes, being forced to serve as the instruments of un-
bridled lust. Some of them had frorn their youth renounced marriage together
with the love of material things and the cares of worldly society and had
hidden themselves in the contemplative solitude of the cloister, prizing the
celibate and unmarried state above all else and withdrawing themselves
entirely from active life.
Even these were forcibly abducted from their
cells and brutally raped.
And many married women who happened to
be pregnant at the dme were dragged a'7'ay too. Then, when their babies
were due, they gave birth to them on the marc}, unable to enjoy the privacy
of a normal confinement or even to pick up and wrap the new-born babes.
In spite of everything they were hauled along and hardly given time even
to feel their pain, while the wretdred infants were abandoned and tom ro
pieces by dogs and birds, as though they had been brought into the world
expressly for this and had tasted life in vain.
Indeed the fortunes of the Roman state had sunk so low that on the
very outskirts of the Imperial City such arrociries were being committed by
a handful of barbarians. But tllat was not the limit of their audacity: pressing
on they passed without difiiculty inside the Long
and approached the
inner fortifications. Age and neglect had in fact caused rhe srrucrure of the
great wall to crumble and collapse in many places. Some parts of it the
batbarians themselves knocked down, seting about their task with the
nondralant air of men demolishing their own properry. 6 There was
nothing to stop them, no sentries, no engines of defence, nobody to man
them. There was not even the sound of a dog barking, as would ar least
have been the case with a pig-sty or a sheqr-cot.
The Roman armies had not in fact remained at the desired level attained
by the earlier Emperors but had dwindled to a fraction of what they had
been and were no longer adequate to the requirements of a vast enipire.
And whereas there should have been a totd, efiective fighting force of six
hundred and forty-five thousand men, the number had dropped during this
period to barely one hundred and fifry thousand. 8 Some of rhese, more-
over, srere stationed in ltaly, others in Africa, others in Spain, others in
Lazica, and others still in Alexandria and Egyptian Thebes. There were also
a few near the eastern frontier with Persia, not that any more were needed
there owing to tle rigorous observance of the peace treaty. Sudr, then, was
the extent of the drastic reductions in the armed forces incurred through
the negligence of the authorities.
L4. At an earlier date the Emperor had reduced Africa and the whole
Dooh, 149
of ltaly, becmlnE il a rotult of thoae cpodr.mcklng c.mpelgnt
6mt of-thc rulers f Byzantium to bc Emperor of ths Romans in fact as well
ar ln name. He had accomplishcd thcse and sifiilar feats when he was still
in the full vigour of his youth, but nour ln his declining years when old age
was upon hi he seemed to have
t/earied of vigotous policies and to prefer
to play oft his enemies against one another and, if necessary, to coax them
awy with gifts rather than rely on his orn pov/ers and expose himself to
the'hazards of a sustained struggle. z And so he allowed the quality of
the legions to deteriorate, as though he thought he would have no further
need of them.
Seizing the oppoftunity afiorded by this mood of apathy those ofiicials
whose authority is second only to that of. the Crown, and who are concerned
with the levying of taxes on the subiects and the appottionment of supplies
to the army,2s began openly cheating the soldiers out of part of their pay
and not paying the rest until it was long overdue. Then after an eventual
of the arrez6s owing to the men these blackguardly and
unscrupulous paymastefs immediately took drarge of the Rolls and called
bad< tlie supplies.
ft was infact the prerogative of their rant to bting
a bewildering variety of cJrarges agnnst the soldiers in order to deprive them
of their food. And so whatever tribute-money was doled out to the legions
martaged somehow to find its way bad< again into the pockets of the same
ofiicials as had dismibuted it.
As a result of the neglect into whidr our
galTant fighting men had fallen they were driven by privation to abandon
ihe militury profession in whidr they had been brought up and to scatter faf
and wide in seardr of a diflerent livelihood. Consequently the soldiers'
earnings were squandered on
of the street, on dlarioteers, on men
whose fanatical and headslong daring confined itself to stirring up civil
strife and to supporting one cotrour against the other,26 but who in real
emergencies w.efe covrafdly and efieminate and on others still more de-
generate than tlese.
ft was fot this feason that the whole of Thrace inclu-
ding even the towns in the vicinity of the Imperial City were desertec{ and
unplotected, so that they were an easy prey for thebatbanans, whose in-
solence readred sudr a pitch that they act:ually encamped near the village of
Melantias not moie than one hundred and forty stades distant from the
cital. Melantias is on the river Athyras which, flows past the village and
continues on its course for a short distance winding gently in a north-easterly
2s i. e. The Logothetes d. Averil Cameron, op. cit. p. 77 and fot the exactions of these
ofiicialscf.Procopiusr Se6etHistoty24,L-LL andHistory of theTarsVII.28-34.
The allusion is, of course, to the olouts associated with the chariots of the two rival
teams in the Hippodrome. It should moreover be borne in mind that suppott of
either of these teams, together with the adherence to one or the otlier of the tvo
rival factions (knorrn as "the Blues and the Greens") that this entailed, was latgely
a political phenomenon.
lr0 Arthlmr Ih HLtodo
dlrcction until lr empdeg itself into thc
hcnce the roodrtead
situated on the shores of the
at theouth of the river takes tts
name from the dver and is called Athyras too.
6 rit! the eneiny encamped ar sudr close quarters the citizens of con-
stantinople were rerror-striclen and were akeidy conjuring up the torr,
a sjes9, the burnings, the scarciry o{ foodstufis" arrd. frnatlj rrr. *ru, t.ins
And so it frequently happened that *., io the cen*al
thoroughfares of the city crows
p."pl would suddenly ir.ui. o,rt into
a run, pushing and jostling
in an unaccountable fit of terror, as though the
barbarians had abeady forced their way in, and a ffemendou, din wu, rar"d
in the shops as doors were violently rl-J. s iJ;ii"riri.
"o-,,,on people but even the authorities had succumbed to the prevailing
mood of
anguish andr.ear. Even the Emperor himself was, r imagie, impssed with
the gravity of the siruation. Accordingly all the churih"es sirj;;Bide the
citp, o1 the European side- aryl_ al_ong the coastal strip which stretches along-
side the Bosphorus from the Bladrern ae andthe Golen Ho* to trr. Euxin,
where both it and the,Bosphorus come to an end, *"t" ,mipp.J of their
omaments by order of the Emperor.
AII the costly giftr and oth"r fittings
were removed by those in drarge of the operation. some o{ these articls
were brought in ca*-loads into the city, whirst otrers were loaded on ro
ships, ferried across the. srrair and conveyed ro rhe opposite sie of the
Bosphorus. The bare and unadorned aspect whidr the .lr,r".lr., in that atea
now assumed made them loolc as tho,ugh they had been recently b,r.rilt and
were still unconsecrated.
15._so alarming was the prospect and such was the magnitude of the
impending danger that a number of captains and commanders and men-,at-
aruns l-rad mounted guard over the fort at sycae and the Golden Gate, with
the idea of,offering vigorous resistance in the event of an enenty attaci<.
z But they did not consrirute an efiecive fighting force of properl
men, being drawn from those regiments known ,r s.holu"ii, who are"specially
selectgd to spend all their rime ar court. Though they are called soldrr- un
have their names entered on the Rolls, most o? them are merely ciuilir, in
splendid uniforms and perform sud-r purely decorative functions as enharicing
of-a rcyaJprogress.
n times part entry ro this corps rrras re-
stricted to those who had seen active serviJe. There was no enrJlment fe.
and those who were accepted received this honour openly and without pay-
ment, in recognition of their former services on the field of battle.
the rsaurian seeems to have been the first to introduce the pnesent practice
by enrolling in these regimenfs, after his restoration, mrny of his feJlow
cuntrymen who, though they were men who had either not distinguished
themselves on the field or had absolutely no military experience whatsoever,
were nevertheless known to him in some other capacity and were his close
frlendl, p Then, once a prcedont hrd bcen rct whaeby not only thorc
whoae distingulched military record entitled them to thls privilege wcre
cnrolled but entry was extended, on a basis not of merit but of preference,
to those who knew nothing of fi1ghting, money, that most powerful of allies,
entered the contest for admission and the whole business was dragged down
to the level of the market place, with the result that ir was no longsrpossible
these regiments without first paying a fixed sum of money. On pay-
ment of this sum people are auto,matically enrolled without having to pass
any sort of test and have their names included in the muster-rolls even if
they do not know the first thing about war{arc. 6 Once the principle of
selection was disregarded the men l-ere, naturally, under no compulsion to
exert themselves since they had paid a high price to smrre the privilege of
idleness. These, then, were the sort of men that, in the absence of trained
soldiers, appeared to be guarding the walls.
After the capital had been
in a prolonged state of uproar and the barbarians h,ad continued to rva1e
everything in the immediate vicinity the aged general, Belisarius, was sent
out against them by order of the Emperor. 8 And now, after a great lapse
of time, as he once more put on his breastplate and helmet and donned the
familiar uniform of his younger days the memory of past exploits came
flooding into the old man's mind and filled him with youthful ardour. In-
deed by this feat of arms, whidr was to be the last in his life, he won as
gteat a measure of glory as he had done by his eadier victories over the
Vandals and the Goths.
The desperate urgency of the situation added
importance and lustre to the enterprise and ensured an especially joyous
cq>tion for its successful outcome. I shall now proceed to give an accurate
account of eacle succepsive event.
16. Displ.aying superb generalship ancl a daring out of all proportion to
his age, Belisarius encamped at a short distance from the city in the village
of Chettus. Already aged and ailing, his courage was nonetheless undimin-
ishsd and no exertion seemed too great forhim. z He was accompanied by
slightly over thre hundred heavily-armed troops, first-rate soldiers who had
fought with him in some of his later campaigns. The rest of his following
consisted of unarmed civilians who had no notion of what fighting involved
and whose ino<perience and ignorance of its harsh realities gave them the
festive air of men who had come to watch a show rather than to frght u
He was also accompanied by crowds of peasants from the neigh-
bouring fields whose farms had been ravaged by the barbarians. Having
nowhere to gg they immediately gathered round Belisarius who took
vantage of the opportunity afforded by their numbers and put them to work
diggng a trendr around the camp. Spies were sent out e\rery now and then
to form as accurte an estimate as possible of the strength of the enemy and
bring bacJ< whatever additional information they could obtain, and in this
152 Agathlnrr The l{htodel
way he kept a close watch on events,
hen nlght ceme hc llt a lnrge
number of beacons whidr he had had plantecl at wide interuals over 0 colossal
arca of ground, in order that the enemy might be misled by the numbet of
fires they saw into believing that he had a huge army. At first this strtgem
succeeded and they were cowed into temporary inactivity, but it was not
long before they heard that the Roman forces were totalTy inadequate ancl
hopelessly outnumbered. 6 The soldiers, however, were full of confidence
and enthusiasm and were convinced of their own superiority, regardless of
the numbers of the enemy. After all they were Romans and had already
fought many battles and faced great dangers.
But Belisarius, sensing
their mood of elation and realizing that excessive pride in their past adrieve-
ments \ras causing them to underesdmate the gravity of the present situation,
was afraid that they might get carried auray on a \il-ave of optimism and end
up by painting an absurdly rosy picture of their prospects. To prevent this
from happening he gathered them all together and, as though the impending
struggle was now about to take place, he appeared in their midst and
addressed them as follows:
17. "soldiers, I have not come here to address you in the customary
terms designed to calm your fears and raise your morale. Indeed I could
hardly, without appearing to have forgotten all rhat past experience has
taught me, urge Roman soldiers who had been brought up in the profession
of arms and had demolished some of the mightiest empires on eiarth, I could
hardly, f rqreat, urge such men not to be afraid of facing a gangof barbaian
vagabonds, especially when these happen to be Huns and Cotrigurs. z But
seeing you fillecl with rash and over-confident daring I thought it not un-
reasonable to remind you of rzour traditional moderation.
must always be on their guard against any form of excess, even if it happens
to be directBd tonrards a praiseworthy end. There is nothing more inimical
to intelligent planning or more conducive to wild and impractical vanity
than the assumption that because one has done well in the past one must of
necessity continue to do so in the future. Those, moreover, whose pre'
sumption leads them to abandon all sense of moderation are apt to find
themselves fighting against the Almighty.
And there is another point
whidr you must bear in mind: your superior courage is counterb'alanced by
their superior numbers, with the result that the advantage on one side is
cancelled out by the advantage on the other.
It would indeed be shame-
ful if, when our strength is more or less evenly matched by that of our
enemy, welilefe to rush wildly into battle without due regard fot timing
and position and without making some allowance for the purely random
and fortuitous role o{ chance. Brute force without the aic{ of sound
ment is powedess to defeat n enem. 6 How, for instance, could I, with
my grey hair and aged frame, long past the time for bearing arms, take part
Bo6k, tfi
in the hczards of warfnre \,er lt not pomlble to plce aome rcliance on the
benelits of dlscretion? Now, lf a cound and steadfast mind sustains the
falterlng footsteps of the aged and rouoco them to eflective acrion, making
good the deficiences of age by the application of foresight, ho,ur can it fail to
confer still greater benefits on you who are still in your prime?
revefses brought about by some fortuitous event ot by a failure of nerve
may perhaps be rectified and turned to one's advantage by presence of mind
and unerring
But when things have been allowed ro ger out of
hand through defective
and inadequate planning, where re we
to turn for inspiration in or.rr efiorts to save the situation if the source of
our ideas has already been polluted?
8 Yet people may perhaps marvel at me {or employing sudr a novel style
of e"xhortation. \X/hen I ought to be building up your confi.dence and raising
your spirits I am in {act undermining your self-assurance and damping youl
ardour by introducing objections and casting doubt on your ihances o{
18. And indeed the prospect o{ going into battle in the company of men
whose courage and daring are such that it would take the powers of an
accomplished orator to persuade them to put even a momentary curb on
their enthusiasm does filI me with pleasure and with hope. z But, even so,
let eadr one of you bear in mind tJlat unreflecting endeavour is not to be
atuibuted to the generous impulses of courage but to foolhardly and wrong-
headed audacity. May your bravery and enthusiasm find permanent and
ever-increasing expression, but may all excessive daring and any tendency
towards arrogance and obstinacy be tempered by the observance of reason
and moderation.
The practice of considering cardully how one ought
to tad<le a problem does not engender cowardice and hesitation but creates
a responsible and serious-minded attitude. A justitable
confidence is the
logical outcome of the clearsighted c}oice of advantageous policies. Sudr a
confidence is based on the knowledge thar one is not advancing blindly into
the unknown, bdt attaining to certainty through the enercise of
But some of you may contend that. it. not possible to pur a sudden stop
to the reasonable impulses an generous aspirations of a noble nature or to
seek to curtail its activities by the imposition of an unnecessary period of re-
flection and delay, andthat this is particularly the case in view of the indig-
nation and resentment generated by the pfesent outfageous conduct of the
barbarians who have dared to extend their wholesale depredations to the
very outskirts of the Imperial City.
This is indeed the situation and we
have before our eyes a constant reminder of the righteousness of your anger
against the enemy and of the extent to which they have abused our former
leniency towards them. 6 Yet it should nor, f rhink, prove roo difiicult a
task for men of sound and balanced judgement
to pge their angry feelings
of any elemcnt of i*ational f_uv or instrnctlve urgc to rprct vlolently regorel.
less.of rhe consequences,
while at the same tie ,.t.rni"s ,irt h";;;-i
qualities associated with suih feelings
courage, resolution and the will to
fight back.
Now, those emotions whose eflect is artogether proper and desirabre
are wholly to be cultivated. But those that are c-pable ,lro of having the re-
verse efiect are not be used unconditionally buionly in so far as
s I rhgt you will al agree witrr,o. ilrui, ;h.; prudence
and unalloyed-blessing,
,ng* r, its forceful * a.*.i"ed side,
whrch is praiseworthy,
but it also has its rash and impetuous side, which is
unprofitable and undesirable.
Taking rherefore, tn. r"r.., in its entirery
and of the latter what is best; nd temlering hurdihood *itL dir..*m.nt,
let us mardr againsr the foe confident i' tkrro*r.dg. ,h* il rr.".rr.ry
course of action has been overlooked. ro only we riust ,rutii. that it is
with barbarians that we have to contend, ..n *t o uil- r."rrto-"a ,o
fighting in the manner of brigands, to rayini u-borl., *J-rr.-g surprise
attad<s, but who have nor been trained io ,-tand gro;iJ], p., *ur-
fare. Though when they
thrJ prepararions
have ben .ra. .o engage
them at close quarters and that the force that opposes and resists them has
encamped_ in regular formation outside the walls and fortifications they will
in all probability
be obliged by the logic of rhe situation to lburrao, tlr.l,
practice and fight it orrt at_close qurters.
rr But ir *" rc.p
"r, heads and maintain our traditional high standards of d;"ipli";1nd etrici-
ency, they will learn, ro rheir cosr, th;r the product
a.riui^ training
received well in advance is in every respect vistly superior to the man who
is obliged_to improse desperately in the fac" of aiL no"rrity;.
19. Belisarius'words had a sobering efiect upon the soldierr, who none-
theless lost none of their bravery but Ihere
more caution than conceit
in their attkude. Their discipnd courage was, in its humble *uf, ,ro, ,rr-
like that eribired by Leoidas and his spartans at Thermopylae wh.n
and his_army were already approaching. z Bur rhe sp,ir'tans peris-
hed to_a man, their fame resting solely on the-fact that they di ;"; die ke
cowards but killed alarge number of
before th.y w.r" orrerwhel-
med. Belisarius and his Romans in addition to displaying ,L .oorrg.
of spartans routed all the enemy, inflicting h.uuy .r*rtti.r'orr-ihu- *d
su-fiering practically no losses thernselves.
7hat happened \r'as as follows. A detachment of about two thousand
barbarians on horsebacl< suddenly separated from the rest of their forces and
set ofi at a gaTlop, mising a terrifi;din as they wenr, convirced that they
youtd svreep everything before them. As r*, ,, th scouts arrived witir
the news that the enemy were practically upon them (and they were almost
close enough to be pointed out) Belisarius immediately led'out his men
Eh, t ,
egolnat them, contriving ao beat he could to conccal the meagrcneoa of his
own numbers.
hc did was to select two hundred cavaltymen armed
with ehields and javelins and place them in ambush on either side of the
woodland glen from which he thought that the barbarians would be making
their attacl<. These troops /ere instructed to let fly with theit
the massed fotmation of the enemy s soon as he should give them the signal
for action. The purpose of this operation \as to roll up their flanks and
crowd them in on themselves, so that in the resultant congestion they would
be unable to make use of their superior numbers.
He also instructed
the peasants and the more able.bodied of the citizens to follow him and to
rhout and make a loud ratding noise. He himself took his stand in te
.cenffe with the remaining troops, ready to sustain the first shodc of the
enemy atta&.. 6 As they drew nearer and most of them were already inside
the area covered by the ambush, Belisarius and his men advanced to meet
ttrem and drarged them head on. The peasants and the rest of the crowd
cheered on the soldiers by shouting and causing a clatter with pieces of wood
yhidr they carried for this purpose.
As soon as the signal was given the
other troops rushed out from their hiding-places and discharged a volley of
missiles obliquely from either side. The shouting and confusion was out of
all proportion to the scale of the ghting and at this point the barbarians,
S nding themselves assailed by missiles on all sides, did exacdy what Beli-
sarius had anticipated. They closed in their ranks and huddled together so
tightly that they could not defend themselves, since there r7's no room for
them to use their bows and arrows or to manoeuvre with tJreir horses. They
seemed to be complete encircled and hemmed in by a vast rmy.
were in fact stunned by the ffemendous din created by the shouts and noises
of the milling crowd behind the Roman lines and the cloud of dust that was
raised prevented them frorn forming any idea of what the real numbers of
t}e combatants were. ro A-fter engaging and destroying many of the
enemy facing him, Belisarius broke eir ranks and drove them into flight.
Then as all the others bore down on them the barbarians turned their bacl<s
and fled in complete disorder, scattering in all directions. They made no
efiort to guard their rear, but eadr man took what he thouglrt was the
swiftest route to safety. rr The Romans followed them in an ordedy and
disciplined pursuit, maling short work o{ all they could lay their hands on.
The barbarians v'ere slaughtered in great numbers as they galloped away
without even turning round to look back. The reins of their horses were
completely relaxed and the incessant cracking of whips precluded any
slackening of the pace. rz Even the skill on which they pride themselves
so greatly deserted them in their hour of temor. For when fleeing the
barbanans notmally defend themselves most efiectively against those who
press the pursuit the hardest and they do this by turning round and shooting
fu*hhlr Thc {trtorler
affows at their pursuers,
The amowo smike thelr targct not only with theh
orrrn momenturn bur also with the added force of thi oncorning pursuit, so
that the impact is correspondingly greater.
20. But on that occasion the Huns were compretely demoralized and
made_no attempr to defend themselves. About foor hundred of them lost
their lives. on the Roman side there $7.ere no fatal casualtie, ,nJonly a f**
z It was with immense relief that zaberyan, their reader, and the others
h$ managed ro escpe reached.^.p. rrj ir was,
Aie{ly to
the exhaustion of their ptrrsuers'
horses- that they owed their lives, otler-
would certainly havebeen annihilated. Een so, their abrupt entry,
and th9 panic-sricften
manner,in whidr they burst into e en.lor.rre of th.
camp threw rhe rest of their forces inro con{usion and filled them with the
pJospect of imminent destuction. Loud and savage cries were
heard as they slashed their dreeks with daggerg and gave ient to their
traditional form of lamenrarion.
Meanwhile the Romans withdrew, after having achieved a rneasure of
success to which, though it was altogether staggering in the circumsrances,
the wisdom and foresight of their.ommand.r h eititled them. Immedia-
tely after this disaster, however, the barbarians broke up cmp nd reeated
in terror from Melantias.
Though Belisarius could in a[ ikelihood have
harassed their line of marclr and killed still more of rhem,'since it would
have been a question of pursuing men whose spirit was abeady broken and
who seemed to be fleeing rather than retreatint, he returned ,i o^". to the
capital, not of his own accord but because he had been instructed to do so
by the Emperor.
As soon in fact as the news of his victory had readred the ears of the
people they had begr.rn to sing his praises whenever they gathered together
and to describe him as the saviotrr of the nation. This popularity /as
extremely irksome to many people in high places who fefl
to envy
and jealousy
passions whose baneful influence never ceases to assail thl
noblest adrievements. And so they put about slanderous rumors to the effect
that the popularity he was *joy-g had turned his head and that he was
aspiring to higher things.27 6 These calumnies brought about his speedy
return and prevented him from consolidating his adrievements. Indeed hL
no recognition for what he had already accomplished. Instead they
did their utmost to erase the memory of his victory and to deny him any
credit_ for it.
rt has already been amply demonstrated by some of thl
most brilliant minds of antiquity that initiative is blunted and all incenrive
to action desuoyed when noble spirits are deprived of their rightful share
1".. t **pt"g the throne.
lo1, lr7
of acclokn and that ln conrequenc thorc quclltlea that hcve been dhparagod,
whcthcr they art associetecl wlth mllltary iucceao, llterary achlwement or
with come other matter of vital conccfh, ceaee, tnuch to the detriment of
rociery, to be properly cultivatcd, I thlnk, moreovef,, that it requires no
great perspicacity to see that the ttuth of this assefiion is continually borne
out by our orrn everyday experience.
8 At fust the Huns, under the impression that they were being pursued,
fled in consterntion from the Long
But when they discovered that
Belisarius had been recalled and that no one else had been sent out against
them, they slowly began to drift back.
21. Meanwhile the other detadlment of barbarians whide was besieging
the Chersonese attad<ed the wall repeatedly, bringing up ladders and siege-
engines, but was beaten ofi each time by the resolute resistance of the
Romans defending it. z The defenders were led by Germanus the son of
Dorotheus, who despite his ex*eme youth was an exceptionally able general
and possessed qualities of daring and resourcefulness far in excess of his
years. He was a native of the Illyrian town of Bederiana as it used to be
called. ft was later renamed Prima lustiniana, being tn [act the birth-place
of the Emperor
who, as only proper, adorned the town with
avanety of splendid public buildings, raised it from obscurity to
'realth and
opulence, and endowed it with his own name. Germanus, moreover, was
related to the Emperor, who consequently took a personal interest
in his
welfare and had him brought at the age of eight to the Imperial City, where
the boy was given every advantage, receiving a first-class school education
and then going on to university where he studied Latin as well as Greek.
As soon as he came to man's estate
sent him to the Chersonese,
making him Commander of the forces there, in order to give him a propf
and use{ul outlet for his youthful enthusiasms and to prevent him from
dissipating his energies and wasting his substance on wild escapades in the
turbulent atmosphere of the Hippodrome with its drariot races and irs
popular factions, 11 of whidr things tend to have a profoundly disturbing
efiect on the minds of the
who are readily ttracred to such follies
unless they are distracted and kept busy at some worthwile occupation.
Atthat time, then, when the Huns were besieging the Chersonese, the
youthful Germanus doggedly repelled their attacl<s and displayed unfailing
ingenuity in the conduct of its defence. His own innate ability gave him an
intuitive grrasp of the situation and of the best
to cope with it and he
lent a ready ea.r to the advice of the older ancl more experienced soldiers on
his stafi. 6
all attempts either to besiege the fort or to take it by
storm proved equally fruidess, the barbarians decided to embark upon a
difierent course whicl was both extremely daring and extrernely risky. It
meat that they would either capture the place quickly or abandon it for
Agethlmr Thq Hl:totler
good and retum homc,
And co they ret ebout gathering enofmou!
of very long reeds of exceptional thidrnegs and toughness, whlch
they fastened and boind togethef with cord and twine, producing in this
wa a considerable numb.r of bordLs. Across the two ends and the middle
they fitted wooden spars and lashed the bundles toggtlrer, sectuing them
very tightly with thi& ropes, so that three or more of them went to make
riigl" b.rt sufiiciently wide to hold four men and sufiiciently deep to
bar thJir weight without sinking. They consgucted not less than one
hundred and.frity craft of this type. 8 To make them more seavrorthy they
brought rogerher the front endi, curving them upwards in the shape of_ a
feukld pro and devised improvised rowlocks and outriggers on either side.
22, ihen, when they had secured everything as best they could they
launc}ed th a[ ,o..ily into the sea near the western shore of the bay
i[ri.*".p, round the town of Aenus. z About six hundred men embarked
in them *ith u great quantity o{ shovels which they ttted into the rowlocks
and propelling tf,.-r.i.r", alter afashion with this rudimentary fotm of oar,
fur [rt to sea, heavily armed and ready {or action' They thought
thutby gradually rowing out further and further they would easily get past
,i ,.*"ol the watl thai stretcfied out to sea as far as the deep 'ratef,
would then be able to step ashore in perfect safety further down_ the coast
*h"r" no walls enclosed ii and it, on protection r7as that afiotded by the
**r.r, of the HellesPont.
rnt that
\flhen Germanus received intelligence of these plans and lea
anirmada of reed boats was on the way he scofied at the enemy for their
folly but at the same time was delighted at it because he kneur that they had
plaed into his hands.
He immediate dispatctred twenty fast skifis with
ior-und-uft ruddem, eqoipping them with a full complement of rowers and
helmsmen und m.n'ar;.
breasrplares, shields, bows and arrows and
hulb"rrr, ,rid hud them moored out of right in the inlet of water behind the
the barbarians
already past the end part of the wall
j"tr o"t from the shore they began to swerve towards the coast and
were borne on in a mood of condeni elation. It was at this point that the
Roman boats put out to sea against them' Sped on by'the tide
bore down orr'th.,o, and struc violently prosr to prow against the 6 rced
boats of the barbarians, whidr srere spun round by the force of the impact,
throwiog their crews ofi their feet as they rod<ed and lurdred from side to
side. Sote were throurn overboard and drowned, others flopped down
*rr.ry, having no idea what ro do nexr. Even those who were still on their
1"", *"t"
joltJd by the morion of the waves whose efiect would have been
r ,h.rt negligible on a boar or a ship but was tremendous on
these reed-bu/1t craft because of their a(tfeme lightness.
One moment
they shot up on the crest of the \Irave, another they plunged down as it
brohe, Thry madc no ettmBr to.ght, rlnco the moit thq could
["e. i";-;;r-,n t."p rteady on thelr feet,.. I
thc barborlani u'er
tr,. iloinr broke thelr llne whercver they could end by
;il;id d*ii weight;s;i;rl
done in a land battle cost manv of
iir" .i*y into thJrea irhout difliculty since they themselves had a firm
;;;# foothold in their own boats. Some they closed in on and slew
with their s'rords. g But since in many cases the Romans rere some way
ofi and'ere not yet at Jose
quarters they reached out with their halberts
*,a-.or through ,fr" .Jr thrt bo,rnd the reeds together until the whole
irinegrated. Severed from one another the reeds floated about,
;;lfdrg;; irr"u1 arotions, while the Huns suddenly {ound themselves
;trkd u, ,h. bor,o*, f"tl o"t of their boats' They perished to a man and
not one of them lived to see dry land again'
th" ilo*, ,Aa tJ ,o ,ira, earer position and tlled the whole army
i"c ut th" *, of the happv vent' A general. assembly of all the
;;;;;; ;i naa ,i *n it was cided that it was imperative for them
;;f;1il6 ii"i*
z A few davs later' therefo':l
t f-d
mude a sudden sortie from the wall against the beslegefs,
whore numbers
rriti u."y great but whose morale
rilas at its lowest ebb
; ,f* nr iot yet
from their recent shattering
i;^tr. 3
Germanus, *ho b"io9-still-very
not relly mature
;;;*h toi.rtruir lrit irri"irr imf,'kt' but as instead more easilv swaved
C, uiothful ardou*J t.u" of glory than by considerations.of
daontlerrly into baitle against the enemy on-that occasion,
;;; dtJ# coofine l,i*r"if t giving ord"rt and encouraging- his men like a
Uore rhe il;; .i tr. nilrting like a common soldier. As a result
h";;' strud< tt'"l'igt' bv an a*ow.'d
f-* tL" fight. But the urgency of thesituation and the
the underiaking
proved stronseithan
p'i'{}'did not
;;;,; exert himseli or ,o i.t on the oihers until he had inflicted con-
siderable. damage on the enemy and destroyed-large
numbers,of them'
an end and ihe Romans returned and toolc
it neither safe nor prudent to engage
in protacted combat against superior forces'
The barbarians, however; were so thoroughly deggraliled as a result of
,lr.iorr., ,,rstained i" ih" dit6trous disintegrtin of their boats and in the
;;.p;J;r;;"k *frid, tn" no**, had made-against- them.that tley left the
of ,fr" Chersonese there and thn and set ofi to
and his forces. It was destined to be a reunion o{ defeated men. 6 The
irig"* .frat had been sent to Greece adrieved nothing worthy of mendon,
160 Agrthlmr Thr Hlrtorler
having neither attacked the Isthmus
nor even paaeed Thermopylae on
account of the presence there of a Roman garison, And so this band too
began to withdraw, mardring in the direction of rhrace, doubtless with the
idea of
up wigh their fellow countrymen and returning home in their
But Zabergan and his forces said that they would not leave
until they also acquired a vst sum of money from the Romans, just
as the
Utigurs had done. They threatened, moreover, to massacre the captives
unless they were speedily ransomed by their relatives. s Accordingiy the
Emperor sent what he considered was a large enough quantity of goid to
ransom the captives and secure the peaceful withdrawal of the cotrigurs,
Among the many captives returned was the general Sergius the son of
Bacchus who by an unlucky chance'had been captured a short time before
and was reduced to the same unhappy plight as. the resr. And so the cotrigurs
put a stop to their depredations and began to make their way
bad< home. They were soon joined
by their comrades who had arrived from
24. To the inhabitants of Constantinople the terms agreed upon seemed
cowardly, dishonorable and base, since they appeared to involve the passive
acceptance of an intolerable state of afiairs. For instead o{ meeting with
instant destruction when their insotrenr mod<ery had brought them within
hailing distance of the capital they had been rewarded with a gift of gold,
as though vre were atoning for some wrong whidr we had done theml
z But the Emperor's decision was aimed at the artainment of a difierent
and more ambitious object whicl was realized shortly afterwards and to such
good efiect that it convinced his former citics of his remarkable foresight
and sagacity. He had in fact resolved to employ every conceivable stratagem
in order to sow dissension among the barbarians and bring them into muioal
confllct. fith this end in view he immediately sent a leter, wtile zaberyan
and his men were marching at a leisurely pace, to sandilch the leader of ihe
other Hunnic trible, who was n ally and in the pay of the Empire.
contents of the letter were roughly as follows:
"If you had full knowledge of the ourrges which the Cotrigurs have
perpetrated agalnst us and were then quite prepared to do nothing about it,
in that cse we should have every rsason to be surprised both at your
treaclrery and at our own lack of judgement
in not having made an accurate
assessment of your c}aracter. But if you re not yet in possession of the
facts, then your conduct is pardonable. But there is no other way for you
to prove your ignorance of past events save by your prompt action hereafter.
prime concern of the Cotrigurs and indeed the reason for their pre-
sence here was not, except as an afterthought, to tavage our domain but to
of Corinth.
EooL t 161
prw by thelr rctlonr thrt ln proforrlng to plrc oui trut in you we had
been deceived into overlooklng the clelm of a mucl ouprior pple, They
congider lt lntoleroblc in fact that ony onc should call them the equalr of tho
Utigurs or even suggest that they are somewhat superior to them, indeed
they are barely content with being accordod an overrhelming superiorlty,
Consequently they have overnrn the whole of Thrace, not desisting until
they had carried ofi all the gold that we are accustomed to pay to you caclr
year in return for your services. Though we could easily have wiped them
out, or at least sent them arry empty-handed, we did neither of these things
in order to test your sentiments. 6 For if you are really possessed of
superior courage and wisdom and are not disposed to tolerate the appro'
priation by others of what belongs to you, you will not now sufier any loss,
since yotr have an e><cellent opportunity to avenge yourselves and receive
your py by tight of victory from the enemy as though we ourselves had
sent it to you through them.
But tt even after having received sudr
insults at their hands you still choose to be so timoro' and so uttedy spine'
less as to take no action whatsoever, then you m,ay rest assured that you will
be struck off our pay-roll and that we shall be ready to bestow our largesse
upon them. In that case you will have to learn humility and make way for
since we shall mot certainly have to transfer to them the
t ruty 3t riliur.. which we made with you and your nation. Indeed even in
difierent circumstances it would be senseless for us to share in the humili-
tations of the vanquished when we arc in a position to win the friendship
of the victors".
25. fhen Sandilch learnt from an interpeter the contents of this letter
it immediately produced the desired efiect. He fell at once lnto a ruge and
uras eager to punish the Cotrigurs there and then for their insolence, a pre-
dictable reaction in a man with the arrogant and mercenary mentality of a
barbarian. e Consequently he set ofi straight away with the army and made
a surprise ttad< on the home territory of the enemy. Those who had re-
mained behind were caught ofi their guard and he took many women and
dril&en into captivity. 7hen the Cotrigurs returning from Thrace had
crossed thDanube he confronted them suddenly, killing many of them and
robbing them ofi the money which they had received from the Emperor and
of all their booty.
Then no sooner had the survivors retumed home than
joined with the rest of their compatiots in preparing for war against
the Utigurs. And so from that time onwards both peoples continued to malce
war against eadr other for a very long period of time and they became in-
creasingly hostile as a result.
On sorne occasions they wotild confine
themselves to predatory incursions, on others they would lesort to open
warfare until they have so weakened themselves and their numbers have
become so seriously depleted that they have lost their natisnal identity'
162 gathlrr Tho $llrtorlor
The scattered remnanr of these l{unnic tribee haa in fact been reduced to
servitude in the lands of other peoples whose nmcg they have assumed; so
severe has been the penalty whidr they have paid for their earlier misdeeds.
But the complete annihilation of these two peoples occurred at a later date,
sothat I shall do my'best ro preserve stric drronological order and provide
a detailed account o{ this evenr in its proper place.
6 fhen the dissension between the cotrigurs and the utigurs u/as srill
at its height the news of what had happened readred constantinople and the
wisdom and foresight of the Emperor was clearly and amply demonstrated
to all. The barbarians $,ere destroying one another whilst he without
resorting to arms was, thanks to his brilliant diplomacy, the ultimate victor
and was bound to profiit wharever the outcome of the fighting. And so
since they were continually embroiled in internal troubles they no longer
had any idea of attacking the domain of the Romans, indeed they sank into
an almost total obscurity.
The following Index is based on Keydell's Index Nominum. Reference
is to the book, paragraph and section numbers of the Greek te:<t
though only approximate at times, is never more than a few words out.
Abasgi: III,2,7.
Abydus: V,12,4.
Adriatic: Il,t,5.
1. Mythical king of Colchis III, 5, 4.
2. Prominent Lazian lII,8,7; III, 11;
III, 11,7; IlI,t2,
Aegean: II,L6.
Aemilia: (Emilia) I,1L,3; l,'1"4; 1,15,
7; I1,3,2.
Aeneas: I, t0,2; II,27,7,
Aenus: Y,22,
Aeoliails: Preface 1,4; II,L7,9.
Afnca (Libya): Preface L4,25; Y,13,8i
Agathias: Preface, 14.
Ahuramazda: II,24,9,
Ahtiman: I,7, 5; II,24,9-lO.
Alamanni: I,4; I,6,2; I,6,); I,6,4; l,
6,6; I,7,9; I,ll,2; II,L,73 II,6,7;
IT,9; 1I,9,12.
Alamannicus: I,4,3.
Alans: III,1r,9; IV,9.
1. Alexnder T'he Great: II,25,8; IY,
2. Alexandet the son of Mamaea
Severus Alexzrnder: lI,26i IY,24.
3. Alexader of Tralles: V,6,5.
Alexandet Polyhistor: II,25, 5; II, 25,9.
Alexandria: Il, 15, 5i II,16, 4; V, 1r, 8.
Aligem: I,8,6; I, 9,2; I,9,4; I,20; l,
20,9; II,9,t3.
Amalasuntha: Prcface 30; I,5, 8.
Amida: Pref.ace23,
Anahita: II,24,8.
Anastasius: Preface 23; II, 27,7.
TY,26,3-4; IV,
II,22,3; III,5,9;
\TI,L7,5; III,
1I,27; II,27,4;
1I,29; Y,6.
II,L8,3; IY,2l;
I,15,8; I,2,5; II,
i. e, as reproduced in the present anslation.
L62 Agatlrlll Thc l.lhtorler
The scattered rernnanr of these l:Iunnic tribes han in foct bccn rcducecl to
servitude in the lands of other peoples whose nnmes thcy have assumedl so
severe has been the penalty which they have paid for their earlier misdceeh.
But the complete annihilation of these two peoples occurred at a later dore,
so that I shall do my best to preserve a sffict drronological order and prcvitle
a detailed account of this evenr in its proper place.
6 7hen the dissension between the cotrigurs and the utigurs ws still
at its height the news of what had happened reached constantinople and thc
wisdom and foresight of the Emperor was clearly and ampiy demonstratccl
to all. The barbarians ui"ere destroying one another whilst he withotrr
resorting to rms was, thanks to his brilliant diplomacy, the ultimate victor
and was bound to protit wharever rhe outcome of the fighting. And sr
since they were continually embroiled in internal troubles they no longcl
had any idea of attacking the domain of the Romans, indeed they sank into
an almost total obscurity.
The following Index is based on Keydell's Index Nominum. Reference
is to the book, paragraph and section numbers of the Greek text
though only approximate at times, is never more t-han a few words out.
Abasgi: I1I,2,7.
Abydus: Y,12,4.
Adriatic: II,l,5.
1. Mythical king of Colchis III,5, 4.
2. Prominent Lazian III,8,7; III, 11;
III,11,7; l\I,1.2.
Aegean: II,16.
Aemilia: (Emilia) ,LL,3; I,1"4; I,75,
7; II,3,2.
Aeneas:'[., I0,2; II,27,7.
Aenus: V,22,
Aeolians: Preface L4; I1,L7,9.
Arica (Libya): Preface 14,25; Y,1),8;
Agatrhias: Preface, 14.
Ahuramazda: II,24,9.
Ahriman: I,7, 5; II,24,9-lO.
Alamanni: I,4; I,6,2;1,6,3; I,6,4; I,
I,7,9; l,Ll,2; IT-,1,7; II,6,7;
II,6,9; II,9,L2.
Alamannicus: I,4,3.
Alans: III, 15, 9; IY,9.
L. Alexander T'he Great: II,25,8; IY,
2, Als<ander the son of Mamaea
Severus Alexander: II,26; LY,24.
3. Alexander of Tralles: V,6,5,
Alexander Polyhistor: II, 25, 5; lI, 25, 9.
Alexandria: Il, 15, 5i II, 16, 4; V, 1r, 8.
Aligem: I,8,6; I, 9,2; I,9,4; I,20; l,
Amalasuntha: Preface 30; I,5, 8.
Amida: Prcface23.
Anahita: II,24,8.
Anastasius: Pref.ace 23; IT, 27 ,7 .
TY,26,34; IV,
II,27; II,27,4;
II,29; Y,6.
TI,L8,3; IY,21;
i. e. as reproduced in the present translation.
170 Ittrlcx ol
ltto[]f nntucrl
I,3, 4.
Tuscany: I,1,(r; I,8; I,1l; I,tl,1; l,
Tyrrhenian: I,8,3; II, 1,3-4; II,4,l;
II, Lo,
Tzadtar: IV,16,4.
Tzani: II,20,7; III,20,9; III,22,4;
IY, L3, 2; IV, 18; V,
2; Y, 1,7
; Y, 2,
Tzathes: III,
3; III, 15, 2-5.
Uldach: II,2,5;11,3.
Ultizurs: Y,L1,2; V, 11,4.
Uranius: II,29; II,29,6; II,29,8; Il,
30i II,32.
Usigardus: III, 6, 9; III,7,2.
Utigurs: Y,ll,2; Y,-1.2,6; Y,23,7; Y,
). 4
Vaccarus: I,21,2.
1. Vahram I: IV,24,5.
2.Vahtamll: IY,24, 6; IV, 24, 8.
3. Vahram III: IV,24,6.
4. Vahram IV: IY,26; LY,26,2.
5. Vahram V: IV,27.
Yahiz: III,28,L0.
Valash: IV
,27, 5.
1.The Emperor Valerian: IY,23,7.
2. Roman General Serving underNarses
in ltaly: I,[L,3; II,8, r.
3. Roman General serving under Martin
Lazica: III,20,10; III,21, 5.
Vandals: Preface 24-25; Y,15,8.
Vnrncs: I,21,2.
Vcnetia: I, 1,6; II, 3,); il,4; 1I,4,9;
Verina: IV,29,2,
Vitalian: I,ll,3; I, 1r,8.
Volaterae: I, L1,,6.
(itigis: Pteface 10.
Xenophon: II,2L,7.
Xerxes: II,l0,4; IY,29,6; Y,19.
Yazdgard (Yezdegerd):
l.Yazdgatdl: Prclace 23; IV, 26,
2.Y azdgardll: IY; 27, 2.
Zabergat: Y,LL, 6; Y,12, 4-6; Y, 20,2;
Y,23,5-7; Y,24,2.
Zarnasp: IV,28, 2; IV, 28,7.
Zamolxis: Preface J,
Zandalas: T,19,5; II,8,2.
Zotades; II,24,6.
L. The Emperor Zeno: I,5,7; IY,29,
2; Y,1.5,4.
2. Rhetor and advocate practising in
Constantinople; Y
,7 ,2; Y,7 ,5; Y,
Zeus: II,24,B; Y,8,5.
Zidt: IV,30,8-9.
Ziper: IV, 18.
Zrma: IV,29,8.
Zoroaster: II,24,5-6.
Inden o{ prcpet nr
Aruth: I, 20,8.
Arzanene: IV,29,8,
Asia: Pteface L4; Prelace26; I,2,2; Il,
LO,2; lI,L7; II,17,9; II,18,5; II,
25,4; Y,tl,2; Y,12,4.
Assyrians: II, 1"8,5; I1,23,9; TI'24,2;
lI, 24, 8; II,25, 4; II, 25, 5.
Astyages: II,25,6,
Ate: I,7,5.
Athanasius: lll,14, 4; III,t4, 5; IV,
7,2; IY,tl.
Athenians: II, 10,3; II, 10,5.
Athenocles: 1I,24,8.
Athyras: V,t4,5.
Attica: II, 10,2.
Augustus: Tl,t7
Avars: 1,3,4.
Babas: III,18,10.
Babylon, Babylonians: 1I,23,70; II,
24,8; 11,25,5.
Bacchus: V,23,8.
Balmach: III, 17, r.
Barazes: IV,13,34.
Basileios Stoa: TI,29,2; III, 1,4.
Basi-liscus: IY,29,2.
Bederiana: Y,2L,2.
Beirut: II, 15,2; II, 15, 4.
Bel: 1I,24,8.
Beleus: II,25,5.
Belesys: 1I,25,5.
Belisarius: Preface )0; Y,t5,7; Y,16,);
Y,16,7; V, 19; V, 19,2-1;Y,19,6-10;
Y,20,1-4; V,20,8,
Beroea: Prcface27.
Berossus: II,24,8.
Bessas: II, 18,8; II,20,5; III,2,)-7.
Bion: I,25,5.
Bitgors: 1I,11,3.
Bladrernae: V, 14,8,
Boniface: Preface,24,
Bonus: I,19.
Bosporus: V, 14,8.
Bruttium: II, 1,4.
Budrlous: III,15,9.
Burgundians: I,3,3-5.
Burugundi: Y,17,34.
Butilinus: I,6,2; I,7,8; T,Ll,2; I,
L4,5; lI,t,4; Tl,L,7l; 1I,2,2; l,
4; II,5,2; II,8,7; I1,9,11; II,10,8.
Buzes: II, 18,8; III,2,8; III,3,8; III,
4,7i III,6,4*8i III' 7, l0; III, 20,8;
IV, T',2.
Cadusia: 11,27 ,2,
Caesarea: Ptef.ace 22.
Caesena: I,20,9.
Calabria: II,L,5.
Callipolis: Y,12,).
l.Cambyses the father of CYrus: II,
2. Cambyses the son of CYrus: II,
Campania: II, 1,4; II,4; II,4,4.
Campsae: II, b; Il, 14, 6.
Cantabri-Cantabria: II, 17, 3; II, 17,7.
Cappadocia: IV,24,).
Capua: 1I,4,4; II,10,8.
Carduchian Hills: IY'29,7.
Carthage: Pteface 24..
Casulinus: II,4,4-5; II, 10,8.
Catharus: III,7,8.
Caucasus: II,L8,4; II,21, 10, III,8,5;
III, 15,9; IV, 1, 8; IY,6,2; IY,9.
Ceneta; II,3,3.
Centumcellae: I, 11; I, 11,6.
Chadus: III,16.
Chaerernon: II, 17, 2; lI, 17,7-8,
Chaldaeans: TI,8,9; II,25,2.
Chanaranges: II,6,4.
Chettus: V, 16.
Childebert: I,),2; 1,5; II, 14,8-11.
Chlodomer: I, ),2; l,),3; , ),5;1,3,6.
Chlodwig (Clovis): I,3,2.
Chlota.t: 1,3,2; 1,5; II, 14,8-11.
Chobus: III,3,9.
Chorianes: Preface29.
Chosroes: Preiace24,27; II, 18,6; II,26;
II,27,9; II,28: II,29,9; lI,3L,4;
II, )2; 1I, 32, 2; lI, )2' 5; l, L; III'
2; IY,6,2; lY,2),3; IY,29,5; IY,
29,9; lY, )0, 4; I, 30,7.
Chytropolia: lI, 20, 5
II, 2L, 2; ll, 22.
Ciberis: \1,12,2.
Cilicia: LY,24,3.
Classis: 1,20,5.
Conon: LY,29,2,
Constantinople: Pteface, 26; bid.30; l,
4; II,L4,7; II,15; ll,16'4; III,3;
III,14,3; I[,L5,2; III,15,7; III'
2),5; IY,l,2i IY,1,8; IV,5,7-8;
IV, 9, 10; IY,2l,4; IV, 30, 8; V, 3;
Iadrr d ptopr nnr t6,
V,6,6-7t V, 10,2i V, 12, !; V, 14i V,
14,6i \,25,6,
Coet II,16,
Cotalsr II, 19; II, 22,3i IlI,6,)i llI,7i
III,28,6; IV, 15,4.
Cotrigurs: V, 11,2; V, 11,6; Y,72,7;
V, 17; V,24,)i ,25.
Cronosr I1,24,8;
Ctesias of Cnidos: 1I,25,5.
Ctesiphon: I1{,29,L0.
Cumae: L,8,2; I, LL, 5; I,20; I,20,6-9.
Cutilzis: III, L7
1, Cyrus the son of Cambyses: II,
25, 6; II, 26, 4; IY, 29, 6.
2.Cytus the son of Florus and lather
of Paul the Silentiary: Y,9,7.
Dabragezas: III,6,9; III,7,2; III,
2L,6-8; IV, 18; IV, 18,3.
Damascius: II,30, 3.
Danube: Preface 26; I,79; \Y,22,7; Y,
11,5; Y,25,2.
Daphniaca: Prctace7.
L. Darius the son of Hystaspes: I,
2,2; II,L0,2; II,24,6; II,26,4;
2. Darius the father of Attxerxes: II,
)a d,
rt t'
J. Darius the son of Arsames: II,
Datis: II,70,2.
Athenian General: II, 10,5.
2. Athenian Orator and Statesman:
Dercetades: II,25,4.
Dlimnites: III,17,7; II,18; III, 18,
5-11; III, 22,5; III,26,24; III,28,
6-:7; IY, t3,8.
Diodorus Siculus: II, 18,5; 11,25,5.
Dogenes of Phoenicia: II,30,3.
Dionysiaca: IV,23,5,
Dioscorus of Tralles: Y,6,5.
Doconos: II,2L,LO.
Don: V,11,2.
Dorotheus: Y,21,2.
Edessa: Pref.ace,27.
Egypt: II,t5,9; II,15,11; II,25,L0;
Bgypthnl II, lE, li V,10,r,
Eloee, Gulf of: Preface, 14.
Elmlngclr: IlI,2l,6,
Elminzur: IV, 15; IV, 15,2.
Enyo: I,7,5.
Ephtlralites: lY, 27, 4; lY, 28, 3.
Epidamnus: I,77,).
Eris: I,'1,5.
Ethiopians: Prelace2T.
Eulamius of Phrygia: II,30,3.
Eutope: Prcface1,4; Ibid.26; II, 10,2;
Eustratius: II, 1,5,7.
Eutydrianus: Preface 1.1.
Euxine: II,2A,7; III, 19, 9; III,21,,2;
Y,L,2; Y,3,2; V, 11,3; V, 14,8.
Fanum: II,2,4; II,3.
Faventia: I, 15,8; I,17; I,L7,5.
Filimuth: I,7L,3.
Florentia (Elorence): I, 11; I, 11,6.
Florus: Y,9,7,
Franks: I,1,,7; I,2; I,2,3; I,3; I,3,
5; ,5; I,6,4; I,7; I,7,2; I,7,9;
I, lL,2; I, 1,2,2; I,L4, 4-4; I, L5, 6;
I,17,4; I,18,5; I,19,2; 1,20; I,
20,2; I,20,9-ll; I,21,4; I,22,2;
II,l,6; II,3; II,5,3-6i 1T,5,8-9;
II,6,3; I1,6,5--7; II,7; II, 9,4 II,9,
9-12; 1I,10; II,10,8; II,11,4; II,
72,5-7; II,13; II, L4,8; II,14,1l.
Fritigern: Preface3L; I,20.
Fulcaris: I, 1L, 3; I,14, 3; ,74,6; T,L5;
\15,5; I, 15, 10; I,t6,6.
Gaiseric: Ptef.ace, 24.
Ganges: II,25,4.
Gaul: I,2.
Gemer: Ptef.ace,24.
Gepids: I,4,2.
Gerrnans: T,2; I,5,5; I,6,3,
1. Germanus the father of Justin
II, 18,8; III,17,4; III,20,9; III,
24,7; I1I,25,8; IY,L51' IY,21.
2. Germanus the son of Dorotheus:
Y, 2L, 2; Y, 22, 3; Y,23, 3.
Getae: Preface, l.
Gibrus: III,20, 10.
Golden Horn: V, 14,8.
Goths: Preface J0; Ibid. 31; I,l;1, L, 7
I,3; I,),3; T.,5;
\5,2-4; I,6,4-6;
Indqx'd proper nrmcl
I,7,8; I,8; I,8, 4-6; I,9,5;
I, 10,9; I,15,7-9; I,20; I, 20,2-4i l,
10,9; I,75,7-9, I,20; I,2A,24;1.,
20,1.0; II,2,2; Il,9,13; II,12,2; l,
73; II, L3,2-4; II, 14, 6-7; V, 15, 8.
Gteece: 11,L0,2; Y,Ll,l; V,,6-7,
Greek Language: II,2O,5; IV,2; IV,
Greek Literature: II,28.
Greeks: I,7,4; II,10,4; II,23,10; II,
Gubazes: II, 18,6; IIl,2,3; III,2,8-11;
III,3; III,3,8-9; III.4; IIT,4,2:
IlI,4,5-6; III,9,3; III, 10,8; III,
11,8; III,12,6; III,L3,5; III,L4,
2-3; IY,1; IV, 1, 4; IY,2,3-5; TY,5,
7-9; lY,6,3; IY,8,3-4; IV,8,6; IV,
9,5; IY,10,34; IV, 11; IV,21.
Guntarith: Preface,25.
Gylippus: II, 10,5.
Iberia: II,22,\ III,2,6; \1I,6,2; IJI,
12,L3; III,19,5; l[,28, 10; IV,9;
TY,12,2; IY,13,5; IY,L5,4; LY,23,
Iberians: TI,21.,7.
Iliger: TII,L7,5,
rI, 18,5.
TY,2L,5; IY,22.
Kavad: Preface23,24; IV,27,6-7; IY,
28; TY, 28, 3-8; lY
29, 5; IV
30, 5.
Kerman: [V,26,2.
Kclrnanrhehl IV,26,
Ihdrx s,
I,77; ,17,6;
Mrxentlur: IV, 13,2; IV, 14; IV, 14, !.
Mclrntlar: V, 14,5; V,20,r,
Medesr I,21,9-L0; 11,24,8i II,25,
Memnonius: Pteface 14.
Mermeroes: Pref.ace29; II, 19; II, 19,5;
II,20; 11,20,3; I,,2L,4; II,22; II,
22, 6; II, 21, 9 ;
III, 2; IIT, 2, 6i IY, L5.
Mesdritha: II,22,5.
Mestrianus: III, L4, 5.
Metrodorus: V,6,4-5,
Miliades: II, 10,3.
Misimians: III, 15,8; III, 16; IlI,L6,5;
III,Ll,3; IY,12,2; IV, IJ; IV, LJ,
5-6; IY,15,4-7; I,L6,4-5; IY,L7,
4-6; IY,t9,2; IY,20,6.
Mithridates: lI, 25, I0.
Moesia: I, 19; V, L1,6.
Moors: Pref.ace 25; III, 20, 9.
Muchetuisis: II, 19; I1,22,3; III,6, l;
III,6,9; III,7; III 15; IlI,L9,5;
III,28,6; II1,28,9; IY,9,7; IV,
Nad:oragan: IIl,2i III,6,2; III,15;
III, 17, 4; III, 77, 6; III,18, 11; III,
19; III,19,8; III,20l' III,20,3-5;
IIl,22; III,23,4; I1I,24,24; II,
24,7; TII,27,8; III,28; III,28,6i
Ill,28, L0; IV, 12,2; TY,l2,7; IY,
23,2t [Y,30,6.
Natsah: IY,25.
Natses: Prace3l; I, 1; I, 4; I,7,8; l,
9,4; I,10; I,10,3; I,10,9; I,ll,6;
L,12; I,12,3; I,L2,9; I,L,13; I,L3,
4-5; T.,L4; I,75,2; I,L5,1.0; I, 16; I,
l,L7; L,L7,2; I,L7,2; T,L7,
6-7; T,18; I, 18, 34; I,18,8; I, 19;
' I,L9,4i 1,20,1; I,20,5; I,20,8; I,
2li I,2L,24; , 22; 1,,22, 1; I,22,8i
II, 1; II, 4,2-3; II,6; I1,6,34i lI,7i
II,7,3-:7; II,8; II,9; TI,9,2; \I,9,
13; II,LL,3; II,L2,10; II, 11,4; II,
14; II,14,2-7.
Neocnos: TII,23,9; III,24; III,28,8,
Nepos: LY,29,1.
Nesos: II,2l,7-10; Il,22t ll\ llf IIII
17,4; IT1,79; III,lg,7-lt IIl,r0,
3-8; IY,73,2; lY,ll,
Nicias: II, 10,r,
,. ,, I
NiIe: IT,lr,5,
,']I :I
168 nrlex rrf proper nanlei
1. Assyrirn King, perh.
l:iblicrrl Ninr-
rod cf. Gen.10,11; II,l8,5; II,
25,4; II,25,5.
2.Capital of Assyria
Nineveh: II,
Ninyas: II,24,2-3.
Nisibis: IY,25,6.
Nonnus: IY,23,5.
Odenathus: IY,24,4,
Odoacer (Odovacar): 1,5,7.
Ognaris: IlI,27.
Ollaria: II,20,5.
Olympius: Y,6,5.
Onoguri: 1II,5,6.
Onoguris: II,22,3; III,3, 8; III,4; III,
5,6-8; III,6,3; III,7; IY,9,6; IY,
Orestes: IY,29,3,
Palladius: T,9,4.
Palmyra: [Y,24,4.
Panopolis: IV,23,5,
Papak: II,27; II,27,2-5.
Parma: I,L4,4; I,15,9; I,t7,2;I, 17,7;
I, t8,2.
Parthians: TI, 25, 9-L0,
Parysatis: II,24,4.
1.. Paul the Silentiary: Y,
2. Paul the father of Maurice: IV,
Pelasgians: II, L7
II, L7, 5.
Peroz (Firuz) : Pref.ace23; IY,27,34;
Persian(s): Preface 24, I,2,2;
I,7,5; 1I,10,3; I1,18; II, L9; Il,
21,7; I1,22,); II,23; II,24,5; U,
25,8i II,26; II,26,24; II,27,5; II,
28; III, 5, 6; III, 7 ;
III, 7, 5 ;
TII, 8, 2;
III,9,L4; III,12; III,1.2,8; III,
17, 2; III, L7, 7
-9 ;
III, 27, 7 ; III, 22,
2; III, 24, 24; lil, 25, 5-7
III, 27, 3 ;
TII,28. III,28,5; III,28,8-9; IV,
6,2; IY,L2,2; IY,1.3,5-7; IY,15;
IY,L5,24; IY,2L,4; IY,23; IY,30,
2; IY,30,5; IV,30,8; V, 10,5.
Petra: Prcface29; III,2,6.
Phanitheus: I,11.,3.
Phatsantes; IY,73,3.
Phattazes: III, 11, 2; III,14,2.
l. A rlvcr ln Luzierr: II, I8,4; II, l9l
II,2l, 1.0; 11,22,2; III,21,3; IV,
29,2; Y,1,4.
2. A town situated at the mouth of the
river Phasis: III, 19,8; III,22;
Philagrius: lII, 1.5,7.
Philip: II,25,8.
Philomathius: III,20, 9; III,22,3.
Phocaeans: I,2,2.
Phoenicia: II, 1,5,2; II,30, 3.
Picenum: II,2,4.
Pisa: I, 11,6.
Pisaurum: II,2,5.
Plato: Preface 9; II,28,2; II,30,3; IY,
27,7; Y,4,4.
Pontus: III, 19, 3; Y,7,2.
Poseidon: II, 15, 10; V,8,5.
Prima Iustiniana: Y,27,2.
Priscian: II,30,3.
Procopius: Preface 22, 32; II, 19; TY, 15;
IY,26,4; IY,28,3; IV,29,5; IV,
Propontis: Y,L4,5.
Pyrrho: II,29,7.
Pythicus: Preface, 1,4.
Ide* d propr nmer 169
.1, ltrurttrhrx, rotr ol' Sotct'lelrurt lII,
lJ,7 ,
llurtlcun lII,2,4; Ill,2,9; ltl, !t Ill,
),7i LI'1,4; Il[,4,6; ,[tl, 6,6i III,
12,6; III, 14,2--1; IV, 1,6; lV,2i IV,
6, J; IV,7,); IY,1l; IV, 17,3; IV,
Sobirs: lII,17,5-6; III, 18; III, 18,2-7;
III, 18, 8-11; IV, L3,7
Saghanshah: IY,24, 6; IY,24, 8.
$nmnium: Il, 1,4.
Sondes: II,24,8.
Sandilch: Y,L2,6; Y,24,2; Y,25.
Satdanapalus: II,25, 5.
Sasan: II,27,2; 1I,27, 4-5.
Scythia: V, 11,6.
Scythians: Y,ll,2.
Segestani: TY,24,8.
Seleucia: IV,29,L0.
Semitamis: II, 18,5; II,24,2; II,25,
1. Setgius the son of Bacdrus: V,
2. Sergius the Interpreter: IV,10,
Sesostris: II, l^8,5.
Sestos: Y,12,2.
Sextus: II,29,7.
. 1. Shapur I: IY,23,3; IY,23,7; TY,
23, 8; IY, 24, 2; [Y, 24, 4; l, 24, 5.
2. Shapur II: IY,25,2; IV, 25, 5; IV,
3. Shapur III: IY,26.
Sibyl: I,10,2.
Siderun: IV, 16, 4; LV,16,7.
Siderus: II,L7,7.
Sicily: Pteface )0; I,7,8; II,1, 4; II,4;
II, 10,5.
Sidon: I1,15,4.
Simacus: II,24,8.
Simplicius: II,30,).
Sindual: I,20,8; II,7,6; II,8,6; II,9,
Slav: IY,20,4.
Smerdis: TI,26,4.
Soterichus: III,15,2; IlI,15,6; III,
15,8; III, 16,34; III, 16, 6*8; IV,
12,24; IY,15,6-:1; IV, 19,6; IV,
Spoln: V, 11, li,
pnrtnnr; V, 19,
Stephanun: 1,,17,1-6; I, 18,2.
Stephcn (St.): III, r,7.
Stotzas; Pteface25.
Suanians: IV,9.
Suarunas: IY,20,4.
Sura: Pref.ace 27.
Sycae: V,1r.
Syracuse: II, 10,5.
Syria: Preface, 24, 27
\Y,24, 1,
Teas: Pracell;
I,8,4-6; l,
20; IT,12,2.
Telephis: II,19; TI,L9,2; I1,20,5-8;
TI,2L,7; II,22,2.
Thamanon: IV,29,7.
Thebes (in Egypt): V,13,8.
Theodahad: Preface3O; I,5,8.
1. Theodebald the son of Theodebert:
I,4,7; T,5; T,5,2; I,6; I,6,6; IT,
2. Theodebald the Varne: I,21,2.
Theodebert: I,3,6; I,4; I,4,54; I,6,6.
1, Theoderic the Osrogoth: Preface
30; I,5,6-7; I,6,4.
2. Theoderic the son of Chlodwig: I,
Theodorias: V,L,4.
Theodorus: I1,20,7-8; TI,2l,4; III,
20,9; III, 22,4; III,26,3; IY,l3,2;
IV, 14; IV, 18; V, 1,3; Y,2; Y,2,
Theodosius: Prelace 23; IY, 26, 3.
Thermopylae: Y, L9; Y,23, 6.
Thersites: TI,29,6.
Thescos: Y,L2,2.
Thessaly: Prelace26.
Thrace: I,4; I,4,4; V, 11,6; Y,14,5;
Y, 23,6; Y, 24, 5; Y, 25, 2.
Thracian Chersonese: Y,LL,7; Y,L2; Y,
12,2; Y,12,5; Y,2L; Y,21,4-5; Y,
Thyanes: III,16.
Tiberius Constantine: IV, 29, 8,
Tigris: TII,L7,7.
Totila: Preface 3l; I,7; I,4; I,8,4; II,
Tralles: II, 17; II, L7,8-9; Y,6,1,
Trebizond (Trapezus): III, 19,)i V, 1,2,