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As Julianus Augustus marches through Mesopotamia, the princes of the Saracen nations of their own accord offer him a golden crown and auxiliary troops. A Roman fleet of 1100 ships arrives and bridges the Euphrates.

Departing from there in sorrow, by a forced march he came to Carrae, an ancient town, notorious for the disaster of the Crassi and the Roman army. 1 From there two different royal highways lead to Persia: the one on the left through Adiabene and over the Tigris; the other, on the right, through [p. 321] Assyria and across the Euphrates. [2] Having delayed there several days for necessary preparations, and to offer sacrifices according to the native rites to the Moon, which is religiously venerated in that region, before the altar, with no witness present, Julian is said secretly to have handed his purple mantle to his relative Procopius, and to have ordered him boldly to assume the rule, if he learned that the emperor had died among the Parthians. [3] Here, as Julian slept, his mind was disturbed by dreams, which made him think that some sorrow would come to him. Therefore, both he himself and the interpreters of dreams, considering the present conditions, declared that the following day, which was the nineteenth of March, ought to be carefully watched. But, as was afterwards learned, it was on that same night that the temple of the Palatine Apollo, under the prefecture of Apronianus, was burned in the eternal city; and if it had not been for the employment of every possible help, the Cumaean books 2 also would have been destroyed by the raging flames.

[4] After these matters were thus arranged, just as Julian was busy with the army and in getting supplies of every kind, it was reported to him by scouts who arrived in breathless haste, that some bands of the enemy's horsemen had suddenly broken through a part of the neighbouring frontier and carried off booty. [5] Startled by this cruel disaster, Julian (as he had previously planned) instantly put 30,000 picked men under the command of the [p. 323] aforesaid Procopius, and joined to him with equal powers Sebastianus, formerly a military commander in Egypt, and now a count, with orders to keep for the present on this side of the Tigris and to watch carefully everywhere and see that nothing unexpected should happen on the unprotected side, such as he had heard had often occurred. And he gave the order that (if it could be done to greater advantage) they should join King Arsaces, march with him through Corduene 3 and Moxoëne, 4 lay waste in passing by Chiliocomum, a fruitful region of Media, 5 and other places, and meet him while he was still in Assyria, so as to aid him in cases of necessity.

[6] After these arrangements had thus been made, he himself feigned a march across the Tigris, an expedition for which he had also ordered supplies to be carefully prepared, but then turned to the right and, after passing a quiet night, called next morning for the mount which he usually rode. And when the horse, called Babylonius, was brought to him, it was laid low by a missile from the artillery, and as it rolled on the ground in unbearable pain, it scattered about its ornaments, which were adorned with gold and precious stones. Delighted by this omen, Julian cried out amid expressions of joy from the bystanders, that Babylon had fallen to the ground, stripped of all its adornments. [7] Then delaying for a time, in order to confirm the omen by favourable signs from victims, he came to the fortified camp of Davana at the source of the river Belias, a tributary of the Euphrates. Here we rested and took food, and on the following day arrived at Callinicum, a strong fortress, and most welcome because of its [p. 325] rich trade. There, on the twenty-seventh of March, the day on which at Rome the annual procession in honour of the Mother of the Gods takes place, and the carriage in which her image is carried is washed, as it is said, in the waters of the Almo, he celebrated the usual rites in the ancient fashion and spent the night in peaceful sleep, happy and full of confidence. [8] The next day he marched on from there along the brow of the river-banks, since the waters were rising from streams flowing in on all sides, and kept on with his armed force until he came to an outpost, where he encamped. There the princes of the Saracen nations as suppliants on bended knees presented him with a golden crown and did obeisance to him as lord of the world and of its peoples; and they were gladly received, since they were adapted for guerilla warfare. [9] And while he was giving them audience his fleet arrived, equal to that of the mighty king Xerxes, under the command of the tribune Constantianus and Count Lucillianus; and the broad Euphrates was almost too narrow for it, consisting as it did of a thousand cargo-carriers of varied construction, and bringing an abundance of supplies, weapons, and also siege-engines; there were besides fifty warships and an equal number which were needed for making bridges.

1 Marcus Crassus, the triumvir, and his son Publius in 53 B.C.; cf. Florus, i. 46, 11, etc.

2 These Sibylline books had been kept in the pedestal of the statue of Apollo, in accordance with the desire of Augustus, who built the temple. See Suet., Aug. xxxi. 1 (L.C.L., i. 170).

3 Cf. xviii. 6, 20; modern Turkestan.

4 In Armenia.

5 It was really in Assyria.

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