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DARAS

DARAS (Δάρας, Procop. Bell. Pers. 1.10, 2.13, de Aedif. 2.1--3, 3.5), a town of Mesopotamia, about 98 stadia from Nisibis, which plays an important part in the wars of the Lower Empire between the Greeks of Constantinople and the Sassanian princes. According to Procopius, it was raised from a village to a city by the emperor Anastasius, who gave it his own name, and called it Anastasiopolis, A.D. 507. (Malala, xvi. p. 115, who calls it Δοράς.) It was built on the eastern frontier of the Roman empire towards Assvria, with the object of overawing [p. 1.753]and keeping some check upon the incursions of the Persians, and appears to have fulfilled the object for which it was erected for nearly 70 years, from the reign of Cabades (Kobád) to that of Chosroes I. (Anushírwán). Procopius gives a full account (Bell. Pers. 2.13) of the way in which Daras was fortified, which, as Gibbon has remarked (Decline and Fall, ch. 40), may be considered as representing the military architecture of the age. But besides its strong fortifications, which enabled it to resist more than one attack from the Persians, Daras was exceedingly well supplied with provisions, &c. for the troops engaged in its defence. Procopius gives an account of a marvellous fountain of water, whose source, on a neighbouring height, was in such a position that the supply could not be cut off by an enemy, while, at the same time, it was' distributed through the town to the inhabitants by various channels, no one knowing whither it went on reaching the outer walls (Bell. Goth. 4.7).

Procopius also mentions a series of combats which took place under the walls of Daras between the Romans under Belisarius and the Persians (Bell. Pers. 1.13), by which the Romans maintained the town, owing to the admirable military dispositions of Belisarius. Daras fell at last into the hands of the Persians during the reign of Justin II., A.D. 574, after a memorable siege of six months by Chosroes II. (Theophyl. Hist. Maur. 3.9, 10.) The campaign of Marcian took place in the eighth year of Justin, and the result of the fall of Daras was the disgrace of the general (Theophyl. l.c.; Theophan. ap. Phot. Cod. 64; Evagr. 5.88--10), a truce with the Persians, and the appointment of Tiberius as an associate in the empire. Hormisdas IV. (Hormuzd IV.), who succeeded Chosroes, is said by Theophanes to have been the general who took Daras, and subsequently concluded the above-mentioned peace. (Theophan. l.c.) D'Anville (L'Euphrate et Tigre, p. 53) has tried, but we think in vain, to find any town or ruins which may mark the site of Daras.

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