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earlier career. Syria was rapidly reduced; Antioch was taken; and the capital of Cappadocia, with the holy city of Jerusalem, fell before the arms of this victorious monarch. Egypt again owned a Persian master. "His western trophy was erected, not on the walls of Carthage, but in the neighbourhood of Tripoli. The Greek colonies of Cyrene were finally extirpated; and the conqueror, treading in the footsteps of Alexander, returned in triumph through the sands of the Libyan desert. In the same campaign, another army advanced from the Euphrates to the Thracian Bosphorus; Chalcedon surrendered after a long siege; and a Persian camp was maintained above ten years in the presence of Constantinople."*
But the day of reverse at length arrived. Heraclius, aroused from sloth or despair, made gigantic efforts, and evinced a knowledge and conduct in warlike affairs which he had never been suspected to possess. Concluding a peace with the Avars, who had advanced to the gates of Constantinople, he mustered his troops at Issus, adroitly drew the Persians, who occupied Cilicia, into a general action, defeated them, marched through Cappadocia, and wintered his army on the fertile banks of the Halys, The spring saw him again in movement. Sailing from Constantinople to Trebizond, he gathered together his soldiers, and, while the enemy was fruitlessly insulting the capital, he suddenly made his appearance at Tauris, in the heart of the Persian territories. At the head of 40,000 men, Khoosroo himself retreated before the emperor, who pursued his victorious career till the approach of the cold months, when he retired to the plains of Mogam. The succeeding campaign carried his army to Cashin and Ispahan, where never yet had Romans been seen. The rest of the season was marked by a series of triumphs; and another winter of repose only prepared his troops for new successes, Traversing the mountains of Kurdistan, and passing the Tigris, the emperor deposited his spoils and captives at Diarbekir, and informed the senate of Constantinople of his safety and success. Crossing the Euphrates by a ford, he next advanced against a multitude of barbarians who defended the passage of the Sarus, overthrew and dispersed them, and, marching through
Sebaste in Cappadocia, the present Sivas, reached the coast of the Euxine, just three years from the time he left it on his long and glorious expedition.
But the ambition of Khoosroo was not yet humbled, nor his resources exhausted. Hate and a thirst of revenge exasperated the one, a wide realm and a host of tributaries supplied the other; and a treaty formed with the Chagan of the Avars gave him additional ground of hope. Three armies were simultaneously raised: the first, of 50,000 "Golden Spears," was destined to oppose Heraclius; the second was stationed to prevent his junction with the troops of his brother Theodorus; the third was directed to act with the Avars, who advanced with 100,000 men to besiege Constantinople. The preparations and arrangements of the emperor were not less active and earnest; but we must refer our readers to the pages of the Roman historian for an account of the deliverance of his capital. Himself, with 70,000 men, flew to the recovery of Syria, Mesopotamia, and Armenia; while his intrigues, or the insane jealousy of the king, produced the defection of Sarbar, the general of his third division, and neutralized the opposition he would have made to the Roman arms.
Traversing the country from the Araxes to the Tigris, Heraclius met and overthrew the army of Khoosroo on the plain of Nineveh, in a battle that raged from daybreak till late at night. Those of the Persians who were not killed in the action dispersed, and the victorious Romans continued their march unopposed through Assyria to Destagerd. Their way was marked with fire and blood: they spoiled and destroyed the country in the very wantonness of vengeance. But "the recovery of 300 Roman standards, and the deliverance of the numerous captives of Edessa and Alexandrea, reflect a purer glory on the imperial arms."
The passage of the Arba or Diala could scarcely have formed an obstacle to arrest the career of Heraclius. The rigour of the season-for it was winter-and the fame of an impregnable capital, may have had their influence. Be that as it may, the Roman emperor stopped short of Ctesiphon; and, passing through Seazurus, the present Shahrasour, he crossed Mount Zara of Zagros-probably Avroman, and reached Gandzaca, now Tabreez, most fortunately before a fall of snow, which lasted thirty-four days.
But the pride of the Persian had not yet sunk to the level of his fortune. In spite of his disgraceful flight from Destagerd, he commanded a new army to be raised, and a new camp to be formed behind the Arba; and rejecting all pacific overtures, and even solicitations, from a conqueror whose retreat had inspired the vanquished with some confidence, he thought only of continuing the struggle. But his will was no longer the law in Persia; a conspiracy of his nobles, headed by his son Siroes, raised the latter to the throne, and sent the aged monarch to a bloody tomb. A treaty was formed between the new sovereign and Heraclius, who returned to enjoy his well-merited triumph in Constantinople.
The death of Khoosroo occurred A.D. 628. Nine years afterward, Ctesiphon, his capital, which had been spared by the Romans, was sacked and destroyed by the victorious followers of Mohammed. In another year the whole of Syria was wrested from Heraclius, now aged and feeble, by the grasp of the invincible Moslems. The walls of Edessa and Amida, of Dara and Nisibis, which had resisted the arms and engines of Shapoor or Nooshirwan, were levelled in the dust; and Mesopotamia and Assyria, with the rest of Western and Central Asia, became thenceforth integral parts of the vast dominions of the caliphs and their successors.
Present State of Mesopotomia.
Buckingham's Account of Bir.-Orfa.-Mosque and Pool of "Abraham the Beloved."-Mosques.-Gardens.- Population.- Manufactures.Castle. History.-Haran.-Division of Opinions in regard to its Identity with the Haran of Genesis.-March to Mardin.-Plundering Arabs. --Mardin described.-Ceremonial of the Syrian Church.-March to Diarbekir.-Wadi Zenaar.-Approach to Diarbekir.-The City described.-Walls.-Mosques and Churches.-History.-Population.-Sinjar Mountains.-Dara.- Nisibin.-Sheik Farsee. - Extortion.- Account of Nisibin. More Extortion.-Journey to Mosul.-Appearance of Mosul.- Description. - Houses.- Bazars.-Coffee-houses.- Churches-Population.-Government.-Trade.-Climate.-Extent according to Mr. Southgate.-Sinjar District visited by Mr. Forbes.-Yezidee Robbers subdued by Hafiz Pacha.-Til Afar.-Bukrah.-Mirka.-Kirsi. Kolgha.-Samukhah.-Sakiniyah.-Description of the Country. -Geographical Observations.
We shall now proceed to give some idea of the present state of Mesopotamia and Assyria, as described by modern travellers. Beginning with the former of these provinces, and taking Mr. Buckingham, one of the most recent, as our guide, we cross the Euphrates at Bir. This city, known as the Birtha of antiquity, stands on the eastern side of the Euphrates, just below a bend of that river, which is there about the width of the Thames at Blackfriars' Bridge, and flows to the southward. It contains about 400 houses, five mosques, and from three to four thousand inhabitants. The hill on which it is situated, and from which it is built, is of a hard, chalky substance, so that the whole presents a glaring white mass. A number of caves and grottoes are found among the rocks, which do not, however, appear to have been sepulchral, and are now used by the inhabitants as dwellings, being closed up with masonry in front. In the centre, on a height, appears an old fortification; and the walls and towers of a large castle still crown the perpendicular cliff that faces the water. Mr. Buckingham also observed here many architectural relics in the Roman style. The streets are narrow, though, from their steepness, and the nature of its materials, the
town is unusually clean. The caravan crossed the river on large flat-boats, each carrying four camels, a few horses and asses, with eight or ten passengers, besides about two tons of merchandise. He saw none of those rafts, buoyed upon inflated hides, formerly used on the Euphrates between Armenia and Babylon; but men and boys of ten passed the stream upon a sheep or goatskin filled with air, embracing it with their hands, and propelling it with their feet, and carrying their clothes on their heads.
From Bir the traveller departed on the 1st of June for Orfa, under the protection of a caravan. The way lay over an uninteresting country of swelling ridges, scantily covered with grass, interspersed in the hollows with a few patches of corn, but without a tree or bush to relieve the monotony of the scene. He compares its appearance to that of the undulating waves of the ocean when subsiding after a tempest. The thermometer at sunrise was 78°; at noon, in the sun, 102°; 96o in the tent; at sunset, 88°; and at midnight, 76°; but the air was dry, fresh, and pleasant. This plain was sprinkled with tents of Turkoman hordes.
On the fourth day of June he reached Orfa, which was approached by a broad paved road, and through an extensive cemetery. This town, which is the capital of Diar Rabiaa, is seated on the eastern side of a hill where it slopes to the plain, so that its western side rises slightly above the opposite quarter. The wall is between three and four miles in circuit, forming an irregular triangle, though Niebuhr thinks it bears a greater resemblance to a square. It is well filled with houses, having few open spaces; but the streets are narrow, and constructed with a paved causeway on each side of a central channel for water. The bazars are amply supplied, and separated, as usual, into departments for the various commodities that are sold or manufactured. The khans or caravansaries are numerous, some of them excellent, and laid out upon a plan calcula ted to supply the traveller with every necessary: lodging, stabling, food, and water for all purposes are in abundance, and served in the most convenient manner.
Of mosques, distinguished by minarets, there are about fifteen; among which that of Ibrahim ul Khaleel is the most beautiful, though not the largest. This structure, which has received its name from the patriarch Abraham the Beloved, or Friend of God, stands by a lake called