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devastation. But he lost, in the protracted siege of Nisibis, the advantages he had gained in the battle of Singara; and a Scythian invasion forced him to an unwilling truce with Rome. A successful expedition to the banks of the Oxus, however, enabled the warlike monarch to return with his ranks re-enforced by a large body of veterans; and, had he not wasted the flower of his troops and the best of the season in a tedious investment of Amida, he might have wrested the whole region from the Roman arms, as he did the important strongholds of Sinjar and Bezabde.
The efforts of the aged and weak Constantius were unable to retrieve the losses in those provinces; but when Shapoor was informed that the purple had descended on a younger and more resolute monarch, the celebrated Julian, he condescended to make overtures of peace. The pride of the Eastern prince was astonished by the firmness of the new emperor, who sternly declared that he would never consent to hold a peaceful conference among the flames and ruins of the cities of Mesopotamia; and who added, with a smile of contempt, that it was needless to treat by ambassadors, as he himself had determined to visit speedily the court of Persia.
In the spring of A.D. 363, accordingly, passing through Berea (now Aleppo) to Hierapolis, the appointed rendezvous of the Roman troops, he crossed the Euphrates by a bridge of boats, and advanced immediately to Charræ. From hence he despatched 30,000 men, under his kinsman Procopius, and Sebastian, duke of Egypt, towards Nisibis, to secure that frontier; afterward, with the assistance of the King of Armenia, to ravage Media and Adiabene, and then to meet him under the walls of Ctesiphon, whither, by advancing along the bank of the Euphrates, he hoped himself to arrive. But the Armenian proved as faithless to Julian as his predecessor had been to Antony, and when the day of need arrived, he appeared not. The emperor, a month after his departure from Antioch, arrived at Circesium, the extreme limit of the Roman dominions; for the Khabour had for some time been regarded as their boundary in this direction. Sixty-five thousand effective and well-disciplined soldiers crossed this stream, accompanied by all the requisite engines and muniments of war, laden upon 1100 vessels of various descriptions and burden, which floated simultaneously down the Euphrates, Fol
lowing nearly the tract of Cyrus the Younger, he spared Anatho, denounced a heavy doom upon Thilutha, should he return victorious, and, committing great havoc, in spite of the presence of a hostile army which hovered round his legions, in fifteen days arrived at Macepracta, where, after a hot assault, he took and razed the ill-fated town of Perisabor.
The fortress of Maogamalcha, reputed impregnable, was his next object of attack; and, while the inhabitants were deriding the assailants, and singing the praises of Shapoor, a mine, which was silently pushed into the body of the place, admitted 1500 chosen men. It was forthwith taken; and the revenge of the soldiers was satiated by a bloody
Controlling by a manly address the insolent complaints of his army, he next led them against Ctesiphon itself, bringing his fleet across the narrow isthmus of Babylonia by means of a cut between the Nahr Malikah and a channěl opened for the same purpose by the Emperor Trajan. By a bold manoeuvre, he passed the Tigris itself in the night, making good his footing on the farther bank, in spite of the enemy's opposition. Here, however, the fortunes of Julian changed. His anxious looks towards the northern plains of Assyria failed to discover the advance of his troops under Procopius; he was therefore forced to relinquish the intention of besieging Ctesiphon; and, rejecting with a foolish obstinacy the pacific overtures of Shapoor, he resolved, like Alexander, to carry the war into the heart of his enemy's country, and force him in the open field to contend for the dominion of Asia.
But the emperor, however vigilant, appears to have been open to imposition. A Persian noble, who placed himself in the dangerous position of a spy, by pretending friendship, gained an influence over him; and through his advice, as it appears, he was induced to burn his fleet, and the greater part of his magazines. The former might have been useless for remounting the Tigris; but he speedily had to deplore the loss of his provisions. No sooner did he leave his camp before Ctesiphon, and turn his face towards Media, than flames arose in every quarter: the crops were burned with fire; the cattle were driven away; the inhabitants everywhere disappeared; the desolated country could no longer supply food to its invaders; and
they were soon reduced to the scanty supply which they had saved from their stores. The spy and his associates disappeared when their work was accomplished, dissipating the visions of victory which Julian had entertained; and in their room were seen bodies of Persian horsemen, who harassed his army as soon as he began to retreat towards the banks of the Tigris. Next morning he was surrounded by vast numbers of the enemy, who proved only the vanguard of that mighty force which Shapoor had summoned from every province of his dominions. This prince now resumed the tactics which had ruined Crassus and Antony, compelling the Romans to retreat under a shower of darts, and harassed by constant attacks. A severe skirmish took place at Maronga, though the famished legionaries could scarcely sustain their arms. After a night of alarming visions, as Julian led his army through a hilly tract, the heights and passes of which had been occupied by the enemy, he was informed that his rear was suddenly attacked. "The heat of the weather had tempted him to lay aside his cuirass; but he snatched a shield from one of his attendants, and hastened, with a sufficient reenforcement, to the relief of the rear-guard. A similar danger recalled the intrepid prince to the defence of the front; and, as he galloped between the two columns, the centre of the left was attacked, and almost overpowered, by a furious charge of the Persian cavalry and elephants. This huge body was soon defeated by the well-timed evolution of the light infantry, who aimed their weapons with dexterity and effect against the backs of the horsemen and the legs of the elephants. The barbarians fled and Julian, who was foremost in every danger, animated the pursuit with his voice and gestures. His trembling guards, scattered and oppressed by the disorderly throng of friends and enemies, reminded their fearless sovereign that he was without armour, and conjured him to decline the fate of the impending ruin. As they exclaimed, a cloud of darts and arrows was discharged from the flying squadrons, and a javelin, after rasing the skin of his arm, transpierced the ribs, and fixed in the inferior part of the liver. Julian attempted to draw the deadly weapon from his side, but his fingers were cut by the sharpness of the steel, and he fell senseless from his horse. His guards flew to his relief, and the wounded emperor was gently
raised from the ground, and conveyed out of the tumult of the battle into an adjacent tent. The report of the melancholy event passed from rank to rank; but the grief of the Romans inspired them with invincible valour and the desire of revenge. The bloody and obstinate conflict was maintained by the two armies till they were separated by the total darkness of the night. The first words that Julian uttered, after his recovery from the fainting-fit into which he had been thrown by loss of blood, were expressive of his martial spirit. He called for his horse and arms, and was impatient to rush into the battle. His remaining strength was exhausted by the painful effort; and the surgeons who examined his wound discovered the symptoms of approaching death. He employed the awful moments with the firm temper of a hero and a sage; the philosophers who had accompanied him in this fatal expedition compared the tent of Julian with the prison of Socrates; and the spectators, whom duty, or friendship, or curiosity had assembled round his couch, listened with respectful grief to the funeral oration of their dying emperor."
Such was the end of the Emperor Julian: a man whose gallantry and virtues render still more dark the stain of apostacy which has obscured his character. The army, perplexed and confounded at an event so disastrous, eagerly adopted the first suggestions offered; and Jovian, who possessed not a single title to the choice, was elected his successor. The death of his able opponent renewed the hopes of Shapoor, who attacked the Romans repeatedly, always inflicting a heavy loss, until, after encamping at Samarra and Carche, they pitched their tents at Dura, on the fourth night after the fall of their leader. An attempt to cross the Tigris at this place spent in vain two precious days; but the fainting spirits of the fugitives were here revived by the unexpected sound of peace. The Persian, who felt that his very success was ruinous, and that, though he might annihilate the Roman army, it must be at the expense of his own, condescended to offer terms; and, after craftily tantalizing the invaders during four days-a delay that exhausted the constancy of the irresolute Jovian as well as the scanty provisions of his troops-he vouchsafed
* Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by the Rev. H. H. Milman, 8vo, Lend., 1828, vol. iv,, p. 186-188.
to specify, as the terms, the cession of the five provinces which his grandfather had given up to Rome, with the impregnable city of Nisibis, and some other of the strongest places in Mesopotamia. With these humiliating conditions the emperor complied. He crossed the river unassisted, but unassailed by the haughty conqueror; and the loss which his followers sustained in this passage was not inferior to the carnage of a day of battle. He had next to traverse two hundred miles of desert, enduring all the pangs of thirst and hunger; and the pathless waste was Strewed with the bodies, the arms, and the baggage of his soldiery. A small supply of food was forwarded to the fainting squadrons on their march; at Thilsphata, their imperial master received the generals of Mesopotamia; and the poor remains of a splendid army at length found repose beneath the walls of Nisibis.
For nearly two centuries after this time, the same region continued to be the theatre of battle, passing partially from hand to hand, according as the throne of either empire was ably or weakly filled.
The invasion of the Huns had perplexed both powers, and forced them alternately to withdraw their forces from this quarter, in order to repel another and more dangerous foe. But the first Khoosroo, known in the East by the name of Nooshirwan, and who mounted the throne of the Sassanides in the reign of Justinian, A.D. 531, resolving to extend his dominion towards the West, took the field, and with a large army overran Syria and Cilicia. Antioch was burned to quicken the negotiations for a peace, in which he dared to demand an annual tribute and subsidy from Rome. But, while taking city after city with frightful rapidity, his career was checked by the genius of Belisarius; and, after various fortunes, a treaty was once more concluded, to be broken soon after, when Khoosroo found he could recommence the war with a prospect of success. His last pitched battle with the Romans was fought at Malatia, with a result that would have remained doubtful had he not retired in the night, conscious of a loss, the greatness of which his opponents had not the means to estimate.
The last successful inroad upon the imperial provinces was made by the no less celebrated Khoosroo Purveez, a prince whose subsequent fate belied the promise of his