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The Romans and the Persians fight with each other over Armenia and Hiberia.

Now the king of the Persians, the famous 1 Sapor, now aged, 2 and from the very outset of his reign given over to the pleasure of plunder, after the death of the emperor Julian and the shameful treaty of peace that was struck, 3 for a time appeared with his subjects to be friendly to us. But then, trampling under foot the promise of the pact made under Jovian, 4 he laid his hand on Armenia, with the intention of bringing the country under his sway, as if all force of the agreements that had been made was at an end. [2] At first he tried to accomplish his purpose through various arts of deception, and he inflicted slight losses on this powerfully populous nation, by [p. 79] soliciting some of the grandees and satraps and surprising others by unexpected forays. [3] Then, by carefully calculated flattery mingled with perjury, King Arsaces himself was tricked; for after being invited to a banquet he was taken according to orders to a secret rear-door; there, after his eyes had been gouged out, he was bound in silver chains, which among that people is regarded as a consolation, though an empty one, for the punishment of men of rank, 5 and then he was banished to a fortress called Agabana, where after being tortured he was slain by the penal steel. [4] After this, in order to leave nothing unstained by treachery, Sapor drove out Sauromaces, who by Rome's authority had been given the rule of Hiberia, and appointed a certain Aspacures 6 to govern that same people; and besides he bestowed on him the crown, in order to show his contempt of our authority. [5] After thus effecting these abominable designs, he entrusted Armenia to Cylaces, a eunuch, and to Arrabannes, both of whom he had long before received as deserters—of these the former was said to have been previously a governor in that nation, the latter, a commander-in-chief-giving them orders to use all care to destroy Artogerassa, a powerful town with strong walls, which guarded the treasury of Arsaces, as well as his son and his wife. 7 [6] These leaders began the siege according to their orders. And since they could not gain access to the fortress, which was situated on a rough mountain, because the weather was then stiff with snow and frost, Cylaces, being a eunuch and skilled in cajoling like a woman, in company with Arrabannes, having first obtained a pledge that [p. 81] their lives would be spared, came quickly up to the very walls; and when at his request he was allowed to enter with his colleague, he persuaded the defenders and the queen, also using threats, that by a speedy surrender they should try to mollify the violent nature of Sapor, who was a man of unexampled cruelty. [7] After this there was much discussion pro and con and the queen lamented the cruel fate of her husband; whereupon the most zealous inciters to the act of perfidy were turned to pity and changed their plan. Encouraged by the hope of greater rewards, 8 in secret conferences they arranged that at an appointed hour of the night the gates should suddenly be thrown open and a strong force should sally forth and suddenly attack the enemy's camp with murderous intent; and they promised to see to it that their attempt should not be known. [8] When this promise had been confirmed by an oath, they left the city, and by asserting that the besieged had asked that two days be allowed them to consider what course they ought to take, they brought over the besiegers into inaction. Then, in the watches of the night when all men, free from care, are in deep sleep, and snoring, the gate of the city was unbarred, young warriors rushed quickly out, with noiseless step and drawn swords crept up to the camp, where men were in no fear of danger, then rushed in, and without opposition butchered a great many as they lay asleep. [9] This unexpected treachery and the unforeseen slaughter of the Persians aroused reasons for frightful hatred between ourselves and Sapor, which was made still worse because Papa, son of Arsaces, 9 at the persuasion of his mother, [p. 83] had departed with a few followers from the fortified town 10 and been received by the emperor Valens, who advised that he stay a while at Neocaesarea, a wellknown city of Pontus Polemoniacus, 11 where he was to receive liberal support and education.

This act of clemency encouraged Cylaces and Arrabannes to send envoys to Valens to ask that he aid them and give them the said Papa as their king. [10] The aid, however, was denied them for the time, but Papa was sent back to Armenia through the general Terentius, 12 that he might rule the land for a time, but without any emblems of royal rank; a condition which was complied with for a legitimate reason, namely, that we might not be charged with breaking the treaty and violating the peace.

[11] On learning of this course of events, Sapor was filled with superhuman wrath, and mustering greater forces began to devastate Armenia with open pillage. By his coming Papa, as well as Cylaces and Arrabannes, were seized with such fear that, after looking about and seeing no help from any source, they sought the refuge of the high mountains which separate our territory from Lazica. 13 There they remained concealed in the deep woods and defiles of the hills for five months, and eluded the many attempts which the king made to find them. [12] Since Sapor saw, as the winter stars were galling, 14 that he was wasting his labour to no purpose, after burning the fruit-bearing trees and the fortified castles and strongholds that he had taken by force or by betrayal, he blockaded Artogerassa with the whole weight of his forces and after some battles of [p. 85] varying result and the exhaustion of the defenders, forced his way into the city and set it on fire, dragging out and carrying off the wife and the treasures of Arsaces.

[13] For these reasons Count Arintheus 15 was sent to those parts with an army, to render aid to the Armenians in case the Persians should try to harass them in a second campaign.

[14] Meanwhile Sapor, who was immensely crafty and according to his advantage either humble or arrogant, under pretence of a future alliance, upbraided Papa through secret messengers as regardless of his own interests in being the slave of Cylaces and Arrabannes under the semblance of royal power. Papa, in headlong haste, and using the allurements of flattering blandishments, had the two men killed, and, when they were slain, sent their heads to Sapor as a sign of his submission.

[15] The news of this disaster spread widely and all Armenia would have been lost for lack of defenders, had not the Persians, terrified by the coming of Arintheus, postponed a second invasion of the land. For the present they contented themselves with merely sending envoys to the emperor, asking that, in accordance with the agreement that Jovian had made with Sapor, 16 he should not defend that nation. [16] This proposal was rejected, and Sauromaces, who (as I have already said) 3had been driven from the throne of Hiberia, was sent back there with Terentius and twelve legions. And when he had nearly reached the river Cyrus, 17 Aspacures begged him that they should, being cousins, 18 rule the country with conjoint authority, pleading that [p. 87] he could not withdraw or go over to the Roman side, for the reason that his son Ultra was still held in the condition of a hostage by the Persians.

[17] When the emperor learned of this, in order by a prudent plan to appease the disturbances that would be aroused from this affair also, he consented to a division of Hiberia with the river Cyrus as the boundary line. Sauromaces was to hold the part of that country bordering on Armenia and the Lazi, and Aspacures the part next to Albania and the Persians. 19

[18] At this Sapor was greatly incensed, declaring that he was shamefully treated in that help was given to the Armenians contrary to the provisions of the treaties, and that the deputation which he had sent to remonstrate against this had come to nothing; also, because without his consent or knowledge it had been decided to divide the kingdom of Hiberia. Accordingly, having bolted, as it were, the door to friendship, he sought aid from the neighbouring nations and got his own army ready, in order that with the opening of mild weather he might overturn everything that the Romans had contrived to their own interests.

1 368–70 A.D.

2 He was now 70 years old.

3 Cf. xxv. 7, 9 ff.

4 Cf. xxv. 7, 14.

5 Cf. Curtius, v. 12, 20, ne tamen honos regi non haberetur, aureis compedibus Dareum vinciunt; Hdt. iii. 130.

6 Cf. xxx. 2, 2, and p. 86, note 1.

7 She was called Olympias.

8 From the Romans.

9 See § 3, above.

10 Artogerassa; see § 5, above.

11 A Roman province, a division of the Diocese of Pontus; see Map 1, Vol. I.

12 Cf. xxx. 1, 2, 4.

13 The name given at the time to what was formerly Colchis.

14 With cold; cf. urente, xvi. 12, 15.

15 Called magister peditum in 5, 4; cf. equitum et peditum in 5, 9.

16 Cf. xxv. 7, 12. 3xxvii. 12, 4.

17 Modern Kur.

18 I.e., Sauromaces and Aspacures.

19 Hiberia lay north of Armenia, between the Lazi and the Albani, allies of the Persians. On the east was Albania; on the west, Colchis, or Lazica.

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load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1940)
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load focus Latin (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1935)
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