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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Nushirvan reigned forty seven years and six months


[Footnote 39: The fame of the new law for the community of women was soon propagated in Syria (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 402) and Greece, (Procop. Persic. l. i. c. 5.)]

[Footnote 40: He offered his own wife and sister to the prophet; but the prayers of Nushirvan saved his mother, and the indignant monarch never forgave the humiliation to which his filial piety had stooped: pedes tuos deosculatus (said he to Mazdak,) cujus foetor adhuc nares occupat, (Pocock, Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 71.)]

[Footnote 4011: St. Martin questions this adoption: he urges its improbability; and supposes that Procopius, perverting some popular traditions, or the remembrance of some fruitless negotiations which took place at that time, has mistaken, for a treaty of adoption some treaty of guaranty or protection for the purpose of insuring the crown, after the death of Kobad, to his favorite son Chosroes, vol. viii. p. 32. Yet the Greek historians seem unanimous as to the proposal: the Persians might be expected to maintain silence on such a subject.--M.]

[Footnote 41: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 11. Was not Proclus over-wise? Was not the danger imaginary?--The excuse, at least, was injurious to a nation not ignorant of letters. Whether any mode of adoption was practised in Persia, I much doubt.]

[Footnote 42: From Procopius and Agathias, Pagi (tom. ii. p. 543, 626) has proved that Chosroes Nushirvan ascended the throne in the fifth year of Justinian, (A.D. 531, April 1.--A.D. 532, April 1.) But the true chronology, which harmonizes with the Greeks and Orientals, is ascertained by John Malala, (tom. ii. 211.) Cabades, or Kobad, after a reign of forty-three years and two months, sickened the 8th, and died the 13th of September, A.D. 531, aged eighty-two years. According to the annals of Eutychius, Nushirvan reigned forty seven years and six months; and his death must consequently be placed in March, A.D. 579.]

But the justice of kings is understood by themselves, and even by their subjects, with an ample indulgence for the gratification of passion and interest. The virtue of Chosroes was that of a conqueror, who, in the measures of peace and war, is excited by ambition, and restrained by prudence; who confounds the greatness with the happiness of a nation, and calmly devotes the lives of thousands to the fame, or even the amusement, of a single man. In his domestic administration, the just Nushirvan would merit in our feelings the appellation of a tyrant. His two elder brothers had been deprived of their fair expectations of the diadem: their future life, between the supreme rank and the condition of subjects, was anxious to themselves and formidable to their master: fear as well as revenge might tempt them to rebel: the slightest evidence of a conspiracy satisfied the author of their wrongs; and the repose of Chosroes was secured by the death of these unhappy princes, with their families and adherents. One guiltless youth was saved and dismissed by the compassion of a veteran general; and this act of humanity, which was revealed by his son, overbalanced the merit of reducing twelve nations to the obedience of Persia. The zeal and prudence of Mebodes had fixed the diadem on the head of Chosroes himself; but he delayed to attend the royal summons, till he had performed the duties of a military review: he was instantly commanded to repair to the iron tripod, which stood before the gate of the palace, [43] where it was death to relieve or approach the victim; and Mebodes languished several days before his sentence was pronounced, by the inflexible pride and calm ingratitude of the son of Kobad. But the people, more especially in the East, is disposed to forgive, and even to applaud, the cruelty


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