The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Part V.


    The esteem of an enemy is most sincerely expressed by his
fears; and the degree of fear may be accurately measured by the
joy with which he celebrates his deliverance.  The welcome news
of the death of Julian, which a deserter revealed to the camp of
Sapor, inspired the desponding monarch with a sudden confidence
of victory.  He immediately detached the royal cavalry, perhaps
the ten thousand Immortals, ^104 to second and support the
pursuit; and discharged the whole weight of his united forces on
the rear- guard of the Romans.  The rear-guard was thrown into
disorder; the renowned legions, which derived their titles from
Diocletian, and his warlike colleague, were broke and trampled
down by the elephants; and three tribunes lost their lives in
attempting to stop the flight of their soldiers.  The battle was
at length restored by the persevering valor of the Romans; the
Persians were repulsed with a great slaughter of men and
elephants; and the army, after marching and fighting a long
summer's day, arrived, in the evening, at Samara, on the banks of
the Tigris, about one hundred miles above Ctesiphon. ^105 On the
ensuing day, the Barbarians, instead of harassing the march,
attacked the camp, of Jovian; which had been seated in a deep and
sequestered valley.  From the hills, the archers of Persia
insulted and annoyed the wearied legionaries; and a body of
cavalry, which had penetrated with desperate courage through the
Praetorian gate, was cut in pieces, after a doubtful conflict,
near the Imperial tent. In the succeeding night, the camp of
Carche was protected by the lofty dikes of the river; and the
Roman army, though incessantly exposed to the vexatious pursuit
of the Saracens, pitched their tents near the city of Dura, ^106
four days after the death of Julian.  The Tigris was still on
their left; their hopes and provisions were almost consumed; and
the impatient soldiers, who had fondly persuaded themselves that
the frontiers of the empire were not far distant, requested their
new sovereign, that they might be permitted to hazard the passage
of the river.  With the assistance of his wisest officers, Jovian
endeavored to check their rashness; by representing, that if they
possessed sufficient skill and vigor to stem the torrent of a
deep and rapid stream, they would only deliver themselves naked
and defenceless to the Barbarians, who had occupied the opposite
banks, Yielding at length to their clamorous importunities, he
consented, with reluctance, that five hundred Gauls and Germans,
accustomed from their infancy to the waters of the Rhine and
Danube, should attempt the bold adventure, which might serve
either as an encouragement, or as a warning, for the rest of the
army.  In the silence of the night, they swam the Tigris,
surprised an unguarded post of the enemy, and displayed at the
dawn of day the signal of their resolution and fortune.  The
success of this trial disposed the emperor to listen to the
promises of his architects, who propose to construct a floating
bridge of the inflated skins of sheep, oxen, and goats, covered
with a floor of earth and fascines. ^107 Two important days were
spent in the ineffectual labor; and the Romans, who already
endured the miseries of famine, cast a look of despair on the
Tigris, and upon the Barbarians; whose numbers and obstinacy
increased with the distress of the Imperial army. ^108

    [Footnote 104: Regius equitatus.  It appears, from Irocopius,
that the Immortals, so famous under Cyrus and his successors,
were revived, if we may use that improper word, by the
Sassanides.  Brisson de Regno Persico, p. 268, &c.;]

    [Footnote 105: The obscure villages of the inland country are
irrecoverably lost; nor can we name the field of battle where
Julian fell: but M. D'Anville has demonstrated the precise
situation of Sumere, Carche, and Dura, along the banks of the
Tigris, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 248 L'Euphrate et le
Tigre, p. 95, 97.) In the ninth century, Sumere, or Samara,
became, with a slight change of name, the royal residence of the
khalifs of the house of Abbas.

    Note: Sormanray, called by the Arabs Samira, where D'Anville
placed Samara, is too much to the south; and is a modern town
built by Caliph Morasen.  Serra-man-rai means, in Arabic, it
rejoices every one who sees it. St. Martin, iii. 133. - M.]

    [Footnote 106: Dura was a fortified place in the wars of
Antiochus against the rebels of Media and Persia, (Polybius, l.
v. c. 48, 52, p. 548, 552 edit. Casaubon, in 8vo.)]

    [Footnote 107: A similar expedient was proposed to the leaders of
the ten thousand, and wisely rejected.  Xenophon, Anabasis, l.
iii. p. 255, 256, 257. It appears, from our modern travellers,
that rafts floating on bladders perform the trade and navigation
of the Tigris.]

    [Footnote 108: The first military acts of the reign of Jovian are
related by Ammianus, (xxv. 6,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 146,
p. 364,) and Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 189, 190, 191.) Though we may
distrust the fairness of Libanius, the ocular testimony of
Eutropius (uno a Persis atque altero proelio victus, x. 17) must
incline us to suspect that Ammianus had been too jealous of the
honor of the Roman arms.]

    In this hopeless condition, the fainting spirits of the
Romans were revived by the sound of peace.  The transient
presumption of Sapor had vanished: he observed, with serious
concern, that, in the repetition of doubtful combats, he had lost
his most faithful and intrepid nobles, his bravest troops, and
the greatest part of his train of elephants: and the experienced
monarch feared to provoke the resistance of despair, the
vicissitudes of fortune, and the unexhausted powers of the Roman
empire; which might soon advance to elieve, or to revenge, the
successor of Julian. The Surenas himself, accompanied by another
satrap, ^* appeared in the camp of Jovian; ^109 and declared,
that the clemency of his sovereign was not averse to signify the
conditions on which he would consent to spare and to dismiss the
Caesar with the relics of his captive army. ^! The hopes of
safety subdued the firmness of the Romans; the emperor was
compelled, by the advice of his council, and the cries of his
soldiers, to embrace the offer of peace; ^!! and the praefect
Sallust was immediately sent, with the general Arinthaeus, to
understand the pleasure of the Great King.  The crafty Persian
delayed, under various pretenses, the conclusion of the
agreement; started difficulties, required explanations, suggested
expedients, receded from his concessions, increased his demands,
and wasted four days in the arts of negotiation, till he had
consumed the stock of provisions which yet remained in the camp
of the Romans.  Had Jovian been capable of executing a bold and
prudent measure, he would have continued his march, with
unremitting diligence; the progress of the treaty would have
suspended the attacks of the Barbarians; and, before the
expiration of the fourth day, he might have safely reached the
fruitful province of Corduene, at the distance only of one
hundred miles. ^110 The irresolute emperor, instead of breaking
through the toils of the enemy, expected his fate with patient
resignation; and accepted the humiliating conditions of peace,
which it was no longer in his power to refuse.  The five
provinces beyond the Tigris, which had been ceded by the
grandfather of Sapor, were restored to the Persian monarchy.  He
acquired, by a single article, the impregnable city of Nisibis;
which had sustained, in three successive sieges, the effort of
his arms.  Singara, and the castle of the Moors, one of the
strongest places of Mesopotamia, were likewise dismembered from
the empire. It was considered as an indulgence, that the
inhabitants of those fortresses were permitted to retire with
their effects; but the conqueror rigorously insisted, that the
Romans should forever abandon the king and kingdom of Armenia.
^!!! A peace, or rather a long truce, of thirty years, was
stipulated between the hostile nations; the faith of the treaty
was ratified by solemn oaths and religious ceremonies; and
hostages of distinguished rank were reciprocally delivered to
secure the performance of the conditions. ^111

    [Footnote 109: Sextus Rufus (de Provinciis, c. 29) embraces a
poor subterfuge of national vanity.  Tanta reverentia nominis
Romani fuit, ut a Persis primus de pace sermo haberetur.]

    [Footnote *: He is called Junius by John Malala; the same, M. St.
Martin conjectures, with a satrap of Gordyene named Jovianus, or
Jovinianus; mentioned in Ammianus Marcellinus, xviii. 6. - M.]

    [Footnote !: The Persian historians couch the message of
Shah-pour in these Oriental terms: "I have reassembled my
numerous army.  I am resolved to revenge my subjects, who have
been plundered, made captives, and slain. It is for this that I
have bared my arm, and girded my loins.  If you consent to pay
the price of the blood which has been shed, to deliver up the
booty which has been plundered, and to restore the city of
Nisibis, which is in Irak, and belongs to our empire, though now
in your possession, I will sheathe the sword of war; but should
you refuse these terms, the hoofs of my horse, which are hard as
steel, shall efface the name of the Romans from the earth; and my
glorious cimeter, that destroys like fire, shall exterminate the
people of your empire." These authorities do not mention the
death of Julian.  Malcolm's Persia, i. 87. - M.]

    [Footnote !!: The Paschal chronicle, not, as M. St. Martin says,
supported by John Malala, places the mission of this ambassador
before the death of Julian. The king of Persia was then in
Persarmenia, ignorant of the death of Julian; he only arrived at
the army subsequent to that event. St. Martin adopts this view,
and finds or extorts support for it, from Libanius and Ammianus,
iii. 158. - M.]

    [Footnote 110: It is presumptuous to controvert the opinion of
Ammianus, a soldier and a spectator.  Yet it is difficult to
understand how the mountains of Corduene could extend over the
plains of Assyria, as low as the conflux of the Tigris and the
great Zab; or how an army of sixty thousand men could march one
hundred miles in four days.

    Note: Yet this appears to be the case (in modern maps: ) the
march is the difficulty. - M.]

    [Footnote !!!: Sapor availed himself, a few years after, of the
dissolution of the alliance between the Romans and the Armenians.
See St. M. iii. 163. - M.]

    [Footnote 111: The treaty of Dura is recorded with grief or
indignation by Ammianus, (xxv. 7,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c.
142, p. 364,) Zosimus, (l. iii. p. 190, 191,) Gregory Nazianzen,
(Orat. iv. p. 117, 118, who imputes the distress to Julian, the
deliverance to Jovian,) and Eutropius, (x. 17.) The
last-mentioned writer, who was present in military station,
styles this peace necessarium quidem sed ignoblem.]

    The sophist of Antioch, who saw with indignation the sceptre
of his hero in the feeble hand of a Christian successor,
professes to admire the moderation of Sapor, in contenting
himself with so small a portion of the Roman empire.  If he had
stretched as far as the Euphrates the claims of his ambition, he
might have been secure, says Libanius, of not meeting with a
refusal.  If he had fixed, as the boundary of Persia, the
Orontes, the Cydnus, the Sangarius, or even the Thracian
Bosphorus, flatterers would not have been wanting in the court of
Jovian to convince the timid monarch, that his remaining
provinces would still afford the most ample gratifications of
power and luxury. ^112 Without adopting in its full force this
malicious insinuation, we must acknowledge, that the conclusion
of so ignominious a treaty was facilitated by the private
ambition of Jovian. The obscure domestic, exalted to the throne
by fortune, rather than by merit, was impatient to escape from
the hands of the Persians, that he might prevent the designs of
Procopius, who commanded the army of Mesopotamia, and establish
his doubtful reign over the legions and provinces which were
still ignorant of the hasty and tumultuous choice of the camp
beyond the Tigris. ^113 In the neighborhood of the same river, at
no very considerable distance from the fatal station of Dura,
^114 the ten thousand Greeks, without generals, or guides, or
provisions, were abandoned, above twelve hundred miles from their
native country, to the resentment of a victorious monarch.  The
difference of their conduct and success depended much more on
their character than on their situation. Instead of tamely
resigning themselves to the secret deliberations and private
views of a single person, the united councils of the Greeks were
inspired by the generous enthusiasm of a popular assembly; where
the mind of each citizen is filled with the love of glory, the
pride of freedom, and the contempt of death.  Conscious of their
superiority over the Barbarians in arms and discipline, they
disdained to yield, they refused to capitulate: every obstacle
was surmounted by their patience, courage, and military skill;
and the memorable retreat of the ten thousand exposed and
insulted the weakness of the Persian monarchy. ^115

    [Footnote 112: Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 143, p. 364, 365.]

    [Footnote 113: Conditionibus . . . . . dispendiosis Romanae
reipublicae impositis . . . . quibus cupidior regni quam gloriae
Jovianus, imperio rudis, adquievit.  Sextus Rufus de Provinciis,
c. 29.  La Bleterie has expressed, in a long, direct oration,
these specious considerations of public and private interest,
(Hist. de Jovien, tom. i. p. 39, &c.;)]

    [Footnote 114: The generals were murdered on the bauks of the
Zabatus, (Ana basis, l. ii. p. 156, l. iii. p. 226,) or great
Zab, a river of Assyria, 400 feet broad, which falls into the
Tigris fourteen hours below Mosul. The error of the Greeks
bestowed on the greater and lesser Zab the names of the Walf,
(Lycus,) and the Goat, (Capros.) They created these animals to
attend the Tiger of the East.]

    [Footnote 115: The Cyropoedia is vague and languid; the Anabasis
circumstance and animated.  Such is the eternal difference
between fiction and truth.]

    As the price of his disgraceful concessions, the emperor
might perhaps have stipulated, that the camp of the hungry Romans
should be plentifully supplied; ^116 and that they should be
permitted to pass the Tigris on the bridge which was constructed
by the hands of the Persians.  But, if Jovian presumed to solicit
those equitable terms, they were sternly refused by the haughty
tyrant of the East, whose clemency had pardoned the invaders of
his country.  The Saracens sometimes intercepted the stragglers
of the march; but the generals and troops of Sapor respected the
cessation of arms; and Jovian was suffered to explore the most
convenient place for the passage of the river.  The small
vessels, which had been saved from the conflagration of the
fleet, performed the most essential service.  They first conveyed
the emperor and his favorites; and afterwards transported, in
many successive voyages, a great part of the army.  But, as every
man was anxious for his personal safety, and apprehensive of
being left on the hostile shore, the soldiers, who were too
impatient to wait the slow returns of the boats, boldly ventured
themselves on light hurdles, or inflated skins; and, drawing
after them their horses, attempted, with various success, to swim
across the river.  Many of these daring adventurers were
swallowed by the waves; many others, who were carried along by
the violence of the stream, fell an easy prey to the avarice or
cruelty of the wild Arabs: and the loss which the army sustained
in the passage of the Tigris, was not inferior to the carnage of
a day of battle. As soon as the Romans were landed on the western
bank, they were delivered from the hostile pursuit of the
Barbarians; but, in a laborious march of two hundred miles over
the plains of Mesopotamia, they endured the last extremities of
thirst and hunger.  They were obliged to traverse the sandy
desert, which, in the extent of seventy miles, did not afford a
single blade of sweet grass, nor a single spring of fresh water;
and the rest of the inhospitable waste was untrod by the
footsteps either of friends or enemies. Whenever a small measure
of flour could be discovered in the camp, twenty pounds weight
were greedily purchased with ten pieces of gold: ^117 the beasts
of burden were slaughtered and devoured; and the desert was
strewed with the arms and baggage of the Roman soldiers, whose
tattered garments and meagre countenances displayed their past
sufferings and actual misery.  A small convoy of provisions
advanced to meet the army as far as the castle of Ur; and the
supply was the more grateful, since it declared the fidelity of
Sebastian and Procopius.  At Thilsaphata, ^118 the emperor most
graciously received the generals of Mesopotamia; and the remains
of a once flourishing army at length reposed themselves under the
walls of Nisibis.  The messengers of Jovian had already
proclaimed, in the language of flattery, his election, his
treaty, and his return; and the new prince had taken the most
effectual measures to secure the allegiance of the armies and
provinces of Europe, by placing the military command in the hands
of those officers, who, from motives of interest, or inclination,
would firmly support the cause of their benefactor. ^119

    [Footnote 116: According to Rufinus, an immediate supply of
provisions was stipulated by the treaty, and Theodoret affirms,
that the obligation was faithfully discharged by the Persians.
Such a fact is probable but undoubtedly false.  See Tillemont,
Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 702.]

    [Footnote 117: We may recollect some lines of Lucan, (Pharsal.
iv. 95,) who describes a similar distress of Caesar's army in
Spain: -

    Saeva fames aderat -

    Miles eget: toto censu non prodigus emit

    Exiguam Cererem.  Proh lucri pallida tabes!

    Non deest prolato jejunus venditor auro.
See Guichardt (Nouveaux Memoires Militaires, tom. i. p. 370-382.)
His analysis of the two campaigns in Spain and Africa is the
noblest monument that has ever been raised to the fame of
Caesar.]

    [Footnote 118: M. d'Anville (see his Maps, and l'Euphrate et le
Tigre, p. 92, 93) traces their march, and assigns the true
position of Hatra, Ur, and Thilsaphata, which Ammianus has
mentioned. ^* He does not complain of the Samiel, the deadly hot
wind, which Thevenot (Voyages, part ii. l. i. p. 192) so much
dreaded.]

    [Footnote *: Hatra, now Kadhr.  Ur, Kasr or Skervidgi.
Thilsaphata is unknown - M.]

    [Footnote 119: The retreat of Jovian is described by Ammianus,
(xxv. 9,) Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 143, p. 365,) and Zosimus,
(l. iii. p. 194.)]

    The friends of Julian had confidently announced the success
of his expedition.  They entertained a fond persuasion that the
temples of the gods would be enriched with the spoils of the
East; that Persia would be reduced to the humble state of a
tributary province, governed by the laws and magistrates of Rome;
that the Barbarians would adopt the dress, and manners, and
language of their conquerors; and that the youth of Ecbatana and
Susa would study the art of rhetoric under Grecian masters. ^120
The progress of the arms of Julian interrupted his communication
with the empire; and, from the moment that he passed the Tigris,
his affectionate subjects were ignorant of the fate and fortunes
of their prince.  Their contemplation of fancied triumphs was
disturbed by the melancholy rumor of his death; and they
persisted to doubt, after they could no longer deny, the truth of
that fatal event. ^121 The messengers of Jovian promulgated the
specious tale of a prudent and necessary peace; the voice of
fame, louder and more sincere, revealed the disgrace of the
emperor, and the conditions of the ignominious treaty.  The minds
of the people were filled with astonishment and grief, with
indignation and terror, when they were informed, that the
unworthy successor of Julian relinquished the five provinces
which had been acquired by the victory of Galerius; and that he
shamefully surrendered to the Barbarians the important city of
Nisibis, the firmest bulwark of the provinces of the East. ^122
The deep and dangerous question, how far the public faith should
be observed, when it becomes incompatible with the public safety,
was freely agitated in popular conversation; and some hopes were
entertained that the emperor would redeem his pusillanimous
behavior by a splendid act of patriotic perfidy.  The inflexible
spirit of the Roman senate had always disclaimed the unequal
conditions which were extorted from the distress of their captive
armies; and, if it were necessary to satisfy the national honor,
by delivering the guilty general into the hands of the
Barbarians, the greatest part of the subjects of Jovian would
have cheerfully acquiesced in the precedent of ancient times.
^123

    [Footnote 120: Libanius, (Orat. Parent. c. 145, p. 366.) Such
were the natural hopes and wishes of a rhetorician.]

    [Footnote 121: The people of Carrhae, a city devoted to Paganism,
buried the inauspicious messenger under a pile of stones,
(Zosimus, l. iii. p. 196.) Libanius, when he received the fatal
intelligence, cast his eye on his sword; but he recollected that
Plato had condemned suicide, and that he must live to compose the
Panegyric of Julian, (Libanius de Vita sua, tom. ii. p. 45, 46.)]

    [Footnote 122: Ammianus and Eutropius may be admitted as fair and
credible witnesses of the public language and opinions.  The
people of Antioch reviled an ignominious peace, which exposed
them to the Persians, on a naked and defenceless frontier,
(Excerpt. Valesiana, p. 845, ex Johanne Antiocheno.)]

    [Footnote 123: The Abbe de la Bleterie, (Hist. de Jovien, tom. i.
p. 212- 227.) though a severe casuist, has pronounced that Jovian
was not bound to execute his promise; since he could not
dismember the empire, nor alienate, without their consent, the
allegiance of his people.  I have never found much delight or
instruction in such political metaphysics.]

    But the emperor, whatever might be the limits of his
constitutional authority, was the absolute master of the laws and
arms of the state; and the same motives which had forced him to
subscribe, now pressed him to execute, the treaty of peace.  He
was impatient to secure an empire at the expense of a few
provinces; and the respectable names of religion and honor
concealed the personal fears and ambition of Jovian.
Notwithstanding the dutiful solicitations of the inhabitants,
decency, as well as prudence, forbade the emperor to lodge in the
palace of Nisibis; but the next morning after his arrival.
Bineses, the ambassador of Persia, entered the place, displayed
from the citadel the standard of the Great King, and proclaimed,
in his name, the cruel alternative of exile or servitude.  The
principal citizens of Nisibis, who, till that fatal moment, had
confided in the protection of their sovereign, threw themselves
at his feet.  They conjured him not to abandon, or, at least, not
to deliver, a faithful colony to the rage of a Barbarian tyrant,
exasperated by the three successive defeats which he had
experienced under the walls of Nisibis.  They still possessed
arms and courage to repel the invaders of their country: they
requested only the permission of using them in their own defence;
and, as soon as they had asserted their independence, they should
implore the favor of being again admitted into the ranks of his
subjects.  Their arguments, their eloquence, their tears, were
ineffectual.  Jovian alleged, with some confusion, the sanctity
of oaths; and, as the reluctance with which he accepted the
present of a crown of gold, convinced the citizens of their
hopeless condition, the advocate Sylvanus was provoked to
exclaim, "O emperor!  may you thus be crowned by all the cities
of your dominions!" Jovian, who in a few weeks had assumed the
habits of a prince, ^124 was displeased with freedom, and
offended with truth: and as he reasonably supposed, that the
discontent of the people might incline them to submit to the
Persian government, he published an edict, under pain of death,
that they should leave the city within the term of three days.
Ammianus has delineated in lively colors the scene of universal
despair, which he seems to have viewed with an eye of compassion.
^125 The martial youth deserted, with indignant grief, the walls
which they had so gloriously defended: the disconsolate mourner
dropped a last tear over the tomb of a son or husband, which must
soon be profaned by the rude hand of a Barbarian master; and the
aged citizen kissed the threshold, and clung to the doors, of the
house where he had passed the cheerful and careless hours of
infancy.  The highways were crowded with a trembling multitude:
the distinctions of rank, and sex, and age, were lost in the
general calamity.  Every one strove to bear away some fragment
from the wreck of his fortunes; and as they could not command the
immediate service of an adequate number of horses or wagons, they
were obliged to leave behind them the greatest part of their
valuable effects.  The savage insensibility of Jovian appears to
have aggravated the hardships of these unhappy fugitives.  They
were seated, however, in a new-built quarter of Amida; and that
rising city, with the reenforcement of a very considerable
colony, soon recovered its former splendor, and became the
capital of Mesopotamia. ^126 Similar orders were despatched by
the emperor for the evacuation of Singara and the castle of the
Moors; and for the restitution of the five provinces beyond the
Tigris. Sapor enjoyed the glory and the fruits of his victory;
and this ignominious peace has justly been considered as a
memorable aera in the decline and fall of the Roman empire.  The
predecessors of Jovian had sometimes relinquished the dominion of
distant and unprofitable provinces; but, since the foundation of
the city, the genius of Rome, the god Terminus, who guarded the
boundaries of the republic, had never retired before the sword of
a victorious enemy. ^127

    [Footnote 124: At Nisibis he performed a royal act.  A brave
officer, his namesake, who had been thought worthy of the purple,
was dragged from supper, thrown into a well, and stoned to death
without any form of trial or evidence of guilt.  Anomian. xxv.
8.]

    [Footnote 125: See xxv. 9, and Zosimus, l. iii. p. 194, 195.]

    [Footnote 126: Chron. Paschal. p. 300.  The ecclesiastical
Notitie may be consulted.]

    [Footnote 127: Zosimus, l. iii. p. 192, 193.  Sextus Rufus de
Provinciis, c. 29.  Augustin de Civitat. Dei, l. iv. c. 29.  This
general position must be applied and interpreted with some
caution.]

    After Jovian had performed those engagements which the voice
of his people might have tempted him to violate, he hastened away
from the scene of his disgrace, and proceeded with his whole
court to enjoy the luxury of Antioch. ^128 Without consulting the
dictates of religious zeal, he was prompted, by humanity and
gratitude, to bestow the last honors on the remains of his
deceased sovereign: ^129 and Procopius, who sincerely bewailed
the loss of his kinsman, was removed from the command of the
army, under the decent pretence of conducting the funeral.  The
corpse of Julian was transported from Nisibis to Tarsus, in a
slow march of fifteen days; and, as it passed through the cities
of the East, was saluted by the hostile factions, with mournful
lamentations and clamorous insults.  The Pagans already placed
their beloved hero in the rank of those gods whose worship he had
restored; while the invectives of the Christians pursued the soul
of the Apostate to hell, and his body to the grave. ^130 One
party lamented the approaching ruin of their altars; the other
celebrated the marvellous deliverance of their church.  The
Christians applauded, in lofty and ambiguous strains, the stroke
of divine vengeance, which had been so long suspended over the
guilty head of Julian. They acknowledge, that the death of the
tyrant, at the instant he expired beyond the Tigris, was revealed
to the saints of Egypt, Syria, and Cappadocia; ^131 and instead
of suffering him to fall by the Persian darts, their indiscretion
ascribed the heroic deed to the obscure hand of some mortal or
immortal champion of the faith. ^132 Such imprudent declarations
were eagerly adopted by the malice, or credulity, of their
adversaries; ^133 who darkly insinuated, or confidently asserted,
that the governors of the church had instigated and directed the
fanaticism of a domestic assassin. ^134 Above sixteen years after
the death of Julian, the charge was solemnly and vehemently
urged, in a public oration, addressed by Libanius to the emperor
Theodosius.  His suspicions are unsupported by fact or argument;
and we can only esteem the generous zeal of the sophist of
Antioch for the cold and neglected ashes of his friend. ^135

    [Footnote 128: Ammianus, xxv. 9.  Zosimus, l. iii. p. 196.  He
might be edax, vino Venerique indulgens.  But I agree with La
Bleterie (tom. i. p. 148-154) in rejecting the foolish report of
a Bacchanalian riot (ap. Suidam) celebrated at Antioch, by the
emperor, his wife, and a troop of concubines.]

    [Footnote 129: The Abbe de la Bleterie (tom. i. p. 156-209)
handsomely exposes the brutal bigotry of Baronius, who would have
thrown Julian to the dogs, ne cespititia quidem sepultura
dignus.]

    [Footnote 130: Compare the sophist and the saint, (Libanius,
Monod. tom. ii. p. 251, and Orat. Parent. c. 145, p. 367, c. 156,
p. 377, with Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. iv. p. 125-132.) The
Christian orator faintly mutters some exhortations to modesty and
forgiveness; but he is well satisfied, that the real sufferings
of Julian will far exceed the fabulous torments of Ixion or
Tantalus.]

    [Footnote 131: Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 549)
has collected these visions.  Some saint or angel was observed to
be absent in the night, on a secret expedition, &c.;]

    [Footnote 132: Sozomen (l. vi. 2) applauds the Greek doctrine of
tyrannicide; but the whole passage, which a Jesuit might have
translated, is prudently suppressed by the president Cousin.]

    [Footnote 133: Immediately after the death of Julian, an
uncertain rumor was scattered, telo cecidisse Romano.  It was
carried, by some deserters to the Persian camp; and the Romans
were reproached as the assassins of the emperor by Sapor and his
subjects, (Ammian. xxv. 6. Libanius de ulciscenda Juliani nece,
c. xiii. p. 162, 163.) It was urged, as a decisive proof, that no
Persian had appeared to claim the promised reward, (Liban. Orat.
Parent. c. 141, p. 363.) But the flying horseman, who darted the
fatal javelin, might be ignorant of its effect; or he might be
slain in the same action.  Ammianus neither feels nor inspires a
suspicion.]

    [Footnote 134: This dark and ambiguous expression may point to
Athanasius, the first, without a rival, of the Christian clergy,
(Libanius de ulcis. Jul. nece, c. 5, p. 149.  La Bleterie, Hist.
de Jovien, tom. i. p. 179.)]

    [Footnote 135: The orator (Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. vii.
p. 145-179) scatters suspicions, demands an inquiry, and
insinuates, that proofs might still be obtained.  He ascribes the
success of the Huns to the criminal neglect of revenging Julian's
death.]

    It was an ancient custom in the funerals, as well as in the
triumphs, of the Romans, that the voice of praise should be
corrected by that of satire and ridicule; and that, in the midst
of the splendid pageants, which displayed the glory of the living
or of the dead, their imperfections should not be concealed from
the eyes of the world. ^136 This custom was practised in the
funeral of Julian.  The comedians, who resented his contempt and
aversion for the theatre, exhibited, with the applause of a
Christian audience, the lively and exaggerated representation of
the faults and follies of the deceased emperor.  His various
character and singular manners afforded an ample scope for
pleasantry and ridicule. ^137 In the exercise of his uncommon
talents, he often descended below the majesty of his rank.
Alexander was transformed into Diogenes; the philosopher was
degraded into a priest.  The purity of his virtue was sullied by
excessive vanity; his superstition disturbed the peace, and
endangered the safety, of a mighty empire; and his irregular
sallies were the less entitled to indulgence, as they appeared to
be the laborious efforts of art, or even of affectation.  The
remains of Julian were interred at Tarsus in Cilicia; but his
stately tomb, which arose in that city, on the banks of the cold
and limpid Cydnus, ^138 was displeasing to the faithful friends,
who loved and revered the memory of that extraordinary man.  The
philosopher expressed a very reasonable wish, that the disciple
of Plato might have reposed amidst the groves of the academy;
^139 while the soldier exclaimed, in bolder accents, that the
ashes of Julian should have been mingled with those of Caesar, in
the field of Mars, and among the ancient monuments of Roman
virtue. ^140 The history of princes does not very frequently
renew the examples of a similar competition.

    [Footnote 136: At the funeral of Vespasian, the comedian who
personated that frugal emperor, anxiously inquired how much it
cost.  Fourscore thousand pounds, (centies.) Give me the tenth
part of the sum, and throw my body into the Tiber.  Sueton, in
Vespasian, c. 19, with the notes of Casaubon and Gronovius.]

    [Footnote 137: Gregory (Orat. iv. p. 119, 120) compares this
supposed ignominy and ridicule to the funeral honors of
Constantius, whose body was chanted over Mount Taurus by a choir
of angels.]

    [Footnote 138: Quintus Curtius, l. iii. c. 4.  The luxuriancy of
his descriptions has been often censured.  Yet it was almost the
duty of the historian to describe a river, whose waters had
nearly proved fatal to Alexander.]

    [Footnote 139: Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. 156, p. 377.  Yet he
acknowledges with gratitude the liberality of the two royal
brothers in decorating the tomb of Julian, (de ulcis. Jul. nece,
c. 7, p. 152.)]

    [Footnote 140: Cujus suprema et cineres, si qui tunc juste
consuleret, non Cydnus videre deberet, quamvis gratissimus amnis
et liquidus: sed ad perpetuandam gloriam recte factorum
praeterlambere Tiberis, intersecans urbem aeternam, divorumque
veterum monumenta praestringens Ammian. xxv. 10.]

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