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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Colchos was insulted by the licentiousness


[Footnote

76: Herodot. l. iii. c. 97. See, in l. vii. c. 79, their arms and service in the expedition of Xerxes against Greece.]

[Footnote 77: Xenophon, who had encountered the Colchians in his retreat, (Anabasis, l. iv. p. 320, 343, 348, edit. Hutchinson; and Foster's Dissertation, p. liii.--lviii., in Spelman's English version, vol. ii.,) styled them. Before the conquest of Mithridates, they are named by Appian, (de Bell. Mithridatico, c. 15, tom. i. p. 661, of the last and best edition, by John Schweighaeuser. Lipsae, 1785 8 vols. largo octavo.)]

[Footnote 78: The conquest of Colchos by Mithridates and Pompey is marked by Appian (de Bell. Mithridat.) and Plutarch, (in Vit. Pomp.)]

[Footnote 79: We may trace the rise and fall of the family of Polemo, in Strabo, (l. xi. p. 755, l. xii. p. 867,) Dion Cassius, or Xiphilin, (p. 588, 593, 601, 719, 754, 915, 946, edit. Reimar,) Suetonius, (in Neron. c. 18, in Vespasian, c. 8,) Eutropius, (vii. 14,) Josephus, (Antiq. Judaic. l. xx. c. 7, p. 970, edit. Havercamp,) and Eusebius, (Chron. with Scaliger, Animadvers. p. 196.)]

[Footnote 80: In the time of Procopius, there were no Roman forts on the Phasis. Pityus and Sebastopolis were evacuated on the rumor of the Persians, (Goth. l. iv. c. 4;) but the latter was afterwards restored by Justinian, (de Edif. l. iv. c. 7.)]

[Footnote

81: In the time of Pliny, Arrian, and Ptolemy, the Lazi were a particular tribe on the northern skirts of Colchos, (Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 222.) In the age of Justinian, they spread, or at least reigned, over the whole country. At present, they have migrated along the coast towards Trebizond, and compose a rude sea-faring people, with a peculiar language, (Chardin, p. 149. Peyssonel p. 64.)]

[Footnote 82: John Malala, Chron. tom. ii. p. 134--137 Theophanes, p. 144. Hist. Miscell. l. xv. p. 103. The fact is authentic, but the date seems too recent. In speaking of their Persian alliance, the Lazi contemporaries of Justinian employ the most obsolete words, &c. Could they belong to a connection which had not been dissolved above twenty years?]

But this honorable connection was soon corrupted by the avarice and ambition of the Romans. Degraded from the rank of allies, the Lazi were incessantly reminded, by words and actions, of their dependent state. At the distance of a day's journey beyond the Apsarus, they beheld the rising fortress of Petra, [83] which commanded the maritime country to the south of the Phasis. Instead of being protected by the valor, Colchos was insulted by the licentiousness, of foreign mercenaries; the benefits of commerce were converted into base and vexatious monopoly; and Gubazes, the native prince, was reduced to a pageant of royalty, by the superior influence of the officers of Justinian. Disappointed in their expectations of Christian virtue, the indignant Lazi reposed some confidence in the justice of an unbeliever. After a private assurance that their ambassadors should not be delivered to the Romans, they publicly solicited the friendship and aid of Chosroes. The sagacious monarch instantly discerned the use and importance of Colchos; and meditated a plan of conquest, which was renewed at the end of a thousand years by Shah Abbas, the wisest and most powerful of his successors. [84] His ambition was fired by the hope of launching a Persian navy from the Phasis, of commanding the trade and navigation of the Euxine Sea, of desolating the coast of Pontus and Bithynia, of distressing, perhaps of attacking, Constantinople, and of persuading the Barbarians of Europe to second his arms and counsels against the common enemy of mankind.


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