This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Another cause of the failure of the expedition was the fact of king Obodas not paying much attention to public affairs, and especially to those relative to war (as is the custom with all Arabian kings), but placed everything in the power of Syllæus the minister. His whole conduct in command of the army was perfidious, and his object was, as I suppose, to examine as a spy the state of the country, and to destroy, in concert with the Romans, certain cities and tribes; and when the Romans should be consumed by famine, fatigue, and disease, and by all the evils which he had treacherously contrived, to declare himself master of the whole country. Gallus however arrived at Leuce-Come, with the army labouring under stomacacce and scelotyrbe, diseases of the country, the former affecting the mouth, the other the legs, with a kind of paralysis, caused by the water and the plants [which the soldiers had used in their food]. He was therefore compelled to pass the summer and the winter there, for the recovery of the sick. Merchandise is conveyed from Leuce-Come to Petra, thence to Rhinocolura in Phœnicia, near Egypt, and thence to other nations. But at present the greater part is transported by the Nile to Alexandreia. It is brought down from Arabia and India to Myus Hormus, it is then conveyed on camels to Coptus1 of the Thebais, situated on a canal of the Nile, and to Alexandreia. Gallus, setting out again from Leuce-Come on his return with his army, and through the treachery of his guide, traversed such tracts of country, that the army was obliged to carry water with them upon camels. After a march of many days, therefore, he came to the territory of Aretas, who was related to Obodas. Aretas received him in a friendly manner, and offered presents. But by the treachery of Syllæus, Gallus was conducted by a difficult road through the country ; for he occupied thirty days in passing through it. It afforded barley, a few palm trees, and butter instead of oil. The next country to which he came belonged to Nomades, and was in great part a complete desert. It was called Ararene. The king of the country was Sabos. Gallus spent fifty days in passing through this territory, for want of roads, and came to a city of the Negrani, and to a fertile country peacefully disposed. The king had fled, and the city was taken at the first onset. After a march of six days from thence, he came to the river. Here the barbarians attacked the Romans, and lost about ten thousand men; the Romans lost only two men. For the barbarians were entirely inexperienced in war, and used their weapons unskilfully, which were bows, spears, swords, and slings; but the greater part of them wielded a double-edged axe. Immediately afterwards he took the city called Asca, which had been abandoned by the king. He thence came to a city Athrula, and took it without resistance; having placed a garrison there, and collected provisions for the march, consisting of corn and dates, he proceeded to a city Marsiaba, belonging to the nation of the Rhammanitæ, who were subjects of Ilasarus. He assaulted and besieged it for six days, but raised the siege in consequence of a scarcity of water. He was two days' march from the aromatic region, as he was informed by his prisoners. He occupied in his marches a period of six months, in consequence of the treachery of his guides. This he discovered when he was returning; and although he was late in discovering the design against him, he had time to take another road back; for he arrived in nine days at Negrana, where the battle was fought, and thence in eleven days he came to the ‘Seven Wells,’ as the place is called from the fact of their existing there. Thence he marched through a desert country, and came to Chaalla a village, and then to another called Malothas, situated on a river. His road then lay through a desert country, which had only a few watering-places, as far as Egra2 a village. It belongs to the territory of Obodas, and is situated upon the sea. He accomplished on his return the whole distance in sixty days, in which, on his first journey, he had consumed six months. From Negra he conducted his army in eleven days to Myus Hormus; thence across the country to Coptus, and arrived at Alexandreia with so much of his army as could be saved. The remainder he lost, not by the enemy, but by disease, fatigue, famine, and marches through bad roads ; for seven men only perished in battle. For these reasons this expedition contributed little in extending our knowledge of the country. It was however of some small service. Syllæus, the author of these disasters, was punished for his treachery at Rome. He affected friendship, but he was convicted of other offences, besides perfidy in this instance, and was beheaded.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.