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sians of Artaxerxes were inferior to the Parthians of Orodes in military skill and courage; but, had Xenophon suffered himself to be cajoled by the treacherous advice of Tissaphernes and Mithradates, or been induced to cross the Tigris into the arid plains of Mesopotamia, we may be certain that none of his followers would ever again have seen their native country. On the other hand, had Crassus but paid attention to the sound counsel of the King of Armenia, and taken the mountainous road to that country, neither he nor his troops would have fallen unavenged by the arrows of the Parthian horsemen. But, as the balance of difficulty and danger was all against Xenophon, so was that of conduct and moral intrepidity in his favour; and we may be sure that under no circumstances would Crassus ever have evinced that admirable presence of mind which, while it preserved the little band of Greeks in the plains of Assyria, enabled their commander to make head against the attacks of the bold Carduchian mountaineers, in his arduous march across their almost impervious country.


Continued Contests between the Romans and Persians.

The Parthians overrun the Country to Antioch, which is twice saved with Difficulty.-Antony, having obtained the Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire, overtaxes Syria.-That Province, &c., overrun by Labienus.-Pacoras defeated by Ventidius and slain.-Antony resolves to invade the Parthian Empire.-His Success at first.-Takes the Route of Armenia.-Invests Praaspa, the Capital of Media.-Is forced to raise the Siege and retreat.-Hardships during his Retreat.-Succeeds in reaching and crossing the Araxes.-His impatient Obstinacy. -Farther Losses in Armenia.-Augustus Cæsar forces Phraates to make Peace.-Successes of Trajan.-War continued with various Success.-Exploits of Shapoor.-Constantius succeeded by Julian.-Julian's Defiance of Shapoor.-His Expedition.-Successful Career.Change of Fortune at Ctesiphon.-He is betrayed-Attacked, and killed by a Javelin.-Disastrous Retreat of the Roman Army under Jovian. -Mesopotamia continues the Theatre of War till the Invasion of the Huns. The Roman Provinces invaded by Nooshirwan.-He is checked by Belisarius.-Victorious Career of Khoosroo Purveez.-Arrested by Heraclius, who outmanœuvres and defeats the Persians.-Triumphant Expeditions of Heraclius.-Farther Efforts of Khoosroo.-He is defeated at all Points.-Destagerd taken.-Khoosroo put to Death by his Son Siroes, who concludes a Treaty with Heraclius.-Capture of Ctesiphon by the Moslems, and Incorporation of the two Provinces with the Dominions of the Caliphs.

AFTER the defeat of Crassus, the Parthians, elated by success, crossed the Euphrates, and overran the country as far as Antioch, which they twice besieged. The first time it was saved by the valour of Cassius and Cicero, and the second by the intrigues of Bibulus, the Roman governor, who created a diversion by promoting a rebellion among them. But their power and their insolence had arrived at such a pitch, that the great Julius himself, after having become master of the Republic, considered them as enemies worthy of his sword, and proposed an expedition against them, which was only frustrated by his murder.

In the partition of empire that followed, Antony having obtained the eastern provinces, and overtaxed that of Syria, the inhabitants invited the Parthians to invade the country; and, accordingly, led by Labienus, one of Pompey's generals, they overran it, as well as Palestine and

Phoenicia, even to the gates of Tyre, making great advances also in Asia Minor. But the bravery and skill of Ventidius, who served under Marc Antony, put a stop to their progress, and restored the Roman affairs. He surprised the invader, who fled to Tauris, and sent to Pacoras, the son of Orodes, for assistance. But Ventidius entirely defeated the Parthians, put Labienus to death, and forced the barbarians to recross the Euphrates. In a second attempt they were still more unsuccessful; for, being deceived by a stratagem, they were utterly routed, Pacoras himself slain, and most of their army put to the sword. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the Roman name, the conqueror, fearing to excite too far the jealous disposition of his master, did not push his conquests across the river, nor, as he might have done, annex Mesopotamia and Babylonia to the Asiatic provinces, but contented himself with reducing the revolted places in Asia Minor.

Antony had, in fact, already taken umbrage at the great success of his general, whom, on his arrival in Syria, he sent to Rome, on pretence that he deserved a triumph, and he himself immediately assumed the command. The army, as we learn, amounted to 100,000 men, in a high state of discipline, and amply provided with military stores; while, owing to the disturbances which had recently occurred in Parthia, where the tyrannical Phraates, having put his father Orodes to death, had disgusted many of his nobles, there appeared every reason to hope for success. And success did at first attend his steps, for he subdued all the neighbouring states, including Armenia; but having, while he attempted to cross the Euphrates, endeavoured to throw Phraates off his guard by negotiation, he found himself baffled by the vigilance of his antagonist, who had guarded the passes. He therefore proceeded to attack Media.

But, in carrying this measure into effect, he suffered himself, like Crassus, to be deceived and betrayed. Artabazus, king of Armenia, who had his own ends in view, led the army by such circuitous routes that, fatigued and impatient, Antony left his military engines under his lieutenant Stratianus, with 10,000 men, while he pushed forward to invest Praaspa, the capital.*

*The site of this Median capital is not known. It has been placed at Casbin and at Sultanieh; but D'Anville rejects both these positions.

To take this place, however, without his battering machines, he found to be impossible; and the Parthians, re solving to frustrate his enterprise, pushed past the beleaguered city, and cut off the whole of the detachment to whose care they had been intrusted. The consequence was, that he was forced to raise the siege; and, after a vain attempt to conclude a peace, on condition of receiving from the Parthian monarch the standards and prisoners taken in the expedition of Crassus, he trusted to an equivocal promise of safety, and commenced a retreat towards the Araxes, which, in point of hardship and painful anxiety, yielded not, perhaps, to that of the Ten Thousand Greeks, whose sufferings were often in his mind. It is true, he had but 300 miles to traverse through a hostile country, but his wily foe was most powerful and active; while the troops under his command were depressed by ill success, and so much in want of the necessaries of life, that, before the march was over, a quart of wheat was sold for fifty drach. mas, and barley loaves for their weight in silver. Thus situated, in the course of twenty-seven days he was eigh teen times attacked by the whole Parthian forces, besides incidental skirmishes, in which he lost many men; and thrice he nearly fell into an ambuscade, from which he was only saved by the fidelity of his guide, a native of the coun try. But so harassing and painful were the circumstances of the retreat, that his constancy utterly gave way; and, rushing into his tent, he called on one of his freedmen to put an end to his life, and conceal his head, that it might not fall into the hands of the enemy. Nor would he have altered his intention but for the opportune entrance of the guide, who assured him that the worst was over. "O the Ten Thousand!" he frequently exclaimed, as he saw his men dropping from fatigue, or transfixed by the Parthian arrows: and when, at length, diminished in numbers, wounded, and exhausted, they actually recrossed the Araxes, the soldiers fell down and kissed the soil, embracing each other like persons reprieved from death.

But, though Antony in this desperate enterprise displayed many of the good qualities of a general, and succeeded in rescuing the remains of his legions, the impatient obstinacy which led him into his embarrassments was more disastrous to Rome than even the total failure of Crassus. Nor did his infatuated imprudence end here; for, eager to

rejoin his mistress, the celebrated Cleopatra, instead of halting in Armenia to refresh his troops, he led them, without stopping, over its snow-covered mountains, and thus added to their previous misfortunes the loss of 8000 men. In short, scarcely one third of his army returned to Syria.

Some time afterward, Augustus Cæsar, too powerful for even the Parthians to contend with, compelled Phraates to conclude a peace, one condition of which was the surrender of all the standards and prisoners taken from the Romans in their several expeditions. After the death of that emperor, the treaty was frequently violated, particularly by the first Vologeses, who ascended the throne about A.D. 50, and made war upon the Europeans with various success. But Trajan completely turned the tide of 'conquest against them, by first overrunning Mesopotamia and Assyria, and, secondly, by placing in the hands of Parthanaspates the sceptre of Parthia, thus rendering the whole country tributary to Rome. It is true that matters did not continue long on this footing, and even Mesopotamia was frequently abandoned and recovered, till at length the power of the Arsacidæ was utterly broken by Ardeshir Babegan, called Artaxerxes in the West, who founded the new dynasty of the Sassanides.

In the frequent wars which raged between the Romans and Sassanians, Mesopotamia still continued to be the great field on which the prize of victory was contended for; and the city of Orfa (Edessa) witnessed the utter defeat of the Emperor Valerian by Shapoor. Odenathus, the chief of Palmyrene, husband of the celebrated Zenobia, revived the drooping fortunes of Rome; and though the imprudent rashness of Galerius subjected him to the mortification of a defeat near the banks of the Euphrates, he soon retrieved his error by utterly destroying the army of Narses, and depressing that monarch to the condition of a vassal.

The result of these victories was a treaty of peace, by which Mesopotamia and five provinces of Assyria became united to the Roman Empire. The second Shapoor, distinguished in Persian history by the name of Zoolactaf, a brave and successful warrior, disputed this arrangement; and his efforts to reconquer the fine country lost by Narses rendered the Mesopotamian plain once more a scene of

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