Author: * Basileos Nestor -
on this thread out of
Date: Mar 14, 2008 - 22:43
For the wars of Justin II with Persia, we here translate the history of John of Epiphania as found in Volume IV Fragmenta historicorum graecorum by Karl Muller. The history, though existing in fragmentary form, was written by the relative of the ecclesiastical historian Evagrius.
On the of Chosroes the younger to Maurice the Roman emperor
By John of Epiphania the Scholastic and Prefect
1. What the Romans and Medians felt and did making war on each other during the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian has been described by Agathias of Myrina, a preeminent man amongst the rhetors of Byzantium recording after Procopius of Caesarea the events happening with the barbarians As it is of great importance that which we have heard: the king of the Persians taking flight from his own land after having been deposed coming over to the Roman State to ask aid of the emperor Maurice in restoring himself to the throne, I have come upon this work not depending on a wealth of talk or in aim of making money, but so that such a thing should not be left unsung to posterity, since the greatest deeds if they are not preserved in words and committed to memory they will be extinguished by the darkness of silence. For words provide life as things wear away. As I have met many of the men taking part in these events having talked with ChosroŽs himself and other mentionable Medians (I was previously an advisor to Gregory the archpriest of the city of Antioch accompanying him oftentimes in meetings with them and after the end of the war went to Persia with Gregory having like knowledge of what was going on), I do not believe it is misplaced for me to narrate these events, as I am able, to those who do not know about them. As it is necessary to know precisely about important previous events to learn about what follows, I feel I must make mention of the events that took place prior to me in brief including the revolt that took place against Hormisdas the father of ChosroŽs before proceeding to the rest of the work reminding those who know about these things of the actions taken and giving a starting point for those who have not heard anything at all of them to learn clearly before proceeding to subsequent events.
2. When Justinian after reigning for thirty nine years ended his life, he died having peace with other nations including the Medians and was succeeded by his nephew Justin the younger under whom the peace treaties Justinian had made with ChosroŽs, the Persian king, for a period of fifty five years after having waged war on another, which were in their twentieth year during the seventh year of Justinís reign and would reach their end in the ninth year of the emperor Maurice, broke down. The causes of their strife with one another were as such: the Romans were hostile that to the Medians intending to separate the Homerites (an Indic race allied and subject to them), with them having no choice, had made an attack on them in the present period of peace offerings. Besides this, as the Turks had sent envoys to the Romans to which the emperor Justin had responded sending Zemarchus, a member of the Senate, back with them again, the Persians planned to bribe the Alans through whose lands they were about to make their passage to become an obstruct Zemarchus and the Romans and Turks with him. The Medians had a similar way about it finding causes for war with the Romans as the Armenians, their vassals, had risen up in revolt, killed their ruler by the name of Surenes, and gone over to the Roman Empire, the Romans welcoming them and offering them an alliance. Their contentiousness increased even further (for whoever wishes to learn the most disgraceful reason, though true) when Justin did not deem to pay the Medians the five hundred pounds of gold each year previously agreed to under the peace treaties and let the Roman State remain forever a tributary of the Persians.
3. As the time drew near for the previously agreed sums of money to be taken to ChosroŽs (it had been agreed to had over the amount for ten years' time), nothing was done as had been agreed and instead Justin, the Roman emperor, sent in haste to the east his general Marcian, who numbered amongst the patricians of the Senate and was related to him being not unskilled in war and exceptionally brave. Crossing the Euphrates River, Marcian came to OsroŽne already when the summer was underway and with the barbarians having no forewarning of war sent a contingent of three thousand men to Arzanene entrusting Theodore and Sergius, who were descended from the family of Rabdios, with command of them as well as sending Juventinus, the commander of the legions in Chalkis. They suddenly invaded ravaging Persian land and returned carrying off a considerable amount of plunder in all haste. After the winter season, Marcian gathered together his forces again and set out from Dara meeting with the barbarians in front of the city of Nisibis led by Varaman, who was in command of the companies stationed them. A fierce battle followed in which the Romans turned to the barbarians to flight vigorously near the Persian place called Sarmathon bringing down many of them then making an attempt at the fortress of Thebython where they spent ten days. Unable to seize it, they returned to the city of Dara still during the spring again invading enemy land with decided to besiege Nisibis with the consent of the emperor Justin.
4. While they were encamped near the city, King ChosroŽs set out from Babylon with an army of Medians crossing the Tigris River and passing over empty land, as the Roman had not heard of the kingĎs movements, coming near to the Persian fortress of Amvaron (it is five days distant from the city of Circesion), where he dispatched Adaarmanes, as the general was called, to cross the Euphrates River there plunder Roman territory with thousands of his own Medians and nomadic barbarians. At the same time, he urged Avorras on to the Romans besieging Nisibis. When Adaarmanes reached the city of Circesion, he crossed the Euphrates and began to forage Roman lands without any restraint. For due to the previous peace and quiet that they had enjoyed during the reign of Justinian, their war time preparation had receded and their virility completely vanished. As no one dared to come to blows with the barbarians, Adaarmanes was able to come as near as the city of Antioch ravaging the places and farms near the city and then advancing on Coele Syria. He made camp not far from the great city of Apamea, to whose citizens embassies he promised to enter the city and leave it unharmed, then actually entering it where the Persians seized their possessions, enslaved its inhabitants, and put the entire city to the flame then returning in all haste to their own land. As a result of these actions, the emperor Justin dispatched Acacius (the Romans are accustomed to add the name of Archelaus) removing Marcian, who was still besieging Nisibis, from office suspecting him off slacking on duty with nobody taking possession of the city.
5. As the Romans were retreating, they came to a fortress on the border named Mardes by its inhabitants where the king ChosroŽs suddenly...laying siege himself...and the water of the city...constructing great (the word is unclear -φους) by the city wall and making use of projectile launching machines against it, and because no aid from the outside came for the inhabitants he captured the city with the Medians violently mounting the city wall. He plundered the entire city and enslaved its inhabitants including even John the son of Timostratus, a man surpassing in strength and honor who had been entrusted with rule and administration of the city, leaving behind a sufficient garrison and then returning home while the Romans were still holed up at the fortress of Mardes with Magnus having been entrusted with command, who also was in charge of imperial monies. Not many days later, Justin came down suddenly with a physical ailment and fearing for it all made a truce in that year with the Persians. When his ailment grew worse, he decided to announce his adoption of Tiberius, who commanded his bodyguards (Romans call this person the comes excubitorum) and proclaimed him Caesar handing over to him the cares of government. Of all of Justin's actions, this one, besides providing a good and indeed salutary period of rule, became responsible for a great number of fair things for the Roman affairs. When it happened that Tiberius took charge in the present circumstances, lest some terrible harm befall...to save and the starting points... seemed...Theodore who was in charge of the affairs of Armenia holding many other not ignoble offices being very learned and quite well able to see to what was necessary, so he sent off the barbarians revealing the things being done about him according to his arrangement and charging ChosroŽs to make a truce. A short while later, he sent off in haste to the east likewise Justinian, the son of Germanus, who numbered amongst the patricians of the Senate, entrusting him with charge of the war as he had been a man raised in the ways of war coming to maturity in it being subject neither to the rashness of youth, nor the frailty of age. Justinian came in all haste to the east taking care for the good conduct and order of his soldiers. Tiberius the Caesar then sent an army not small in number off in speed taking great care for its preparation for war by allocating a boundless sum of money and raising a mighty and war-like number from the nations taking great care for the coming war. As the duration of the truce was nearing its end, the Persians gathered themselves near Dara and came upon the city of Constantina, which Daras is four hundred and ninety stades to the west of.