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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

His Colchians imitated the submission of their prince


Under

the pretence of a Scythian war, he silently led his troops to the frontiers of Iberia; the Colchian guides were prepared to conduct them through the woods and along the precipices of Mount Caucasus; and a narrow path was laboriously formed into a safe and spacious highway, for the march of cavalry, and even of elephants. Gubazes laid his person and diadem at the feet of the king of Persia; his Colchians imitated the submission of their prince; and after the walls of Petra had been shaken, the Roman garrison prevented, by a capitulation, the impending fury of the last assault. But the Lazi soon discovered, that their impatience had urged them to choose an evil more intolerable than the calamities which they strove to escape. The monopoly of salt and corn was effectually removed by the loss of those valuable commodities. The authority of a Roman legislator, was succeeded by the pride of an Oriental despot, who beheld, with equal disdain, the slaves whom he had exalted, and the kings whom he had humbled before the footstool of his throne. The adoration of fire was introduced into Colchos by the zeal of the Magi: their intolerant spirit provoked the fervor of a Christian people; and the prejudice of nature or education was wounded by the impious practice of exposing the dead bodies of their parents, on the summit of a lofty tower, to the crows and vultures of the air. [85] Conscious of the increasing hatred, which retarded the execution of his great designs, the just Nashirvan had
secretly given orders to assassinate the king of the Lazi, to transplant the people into some distant land, and to fix a faithful and warlike colony on the banks of the Phasis. The watchful jealousy of the Colchians foresaw and averted the approaching ruin. Their repentance was accepted at Constantinople by the prudence, rather than clemency, of Justinian; and he commanded Dagisteus, with seven thousand Romans, and one thousand of the Zani, [8511] to expel the Persians from the coast of the Euxine.

[Footnote 83: The sole vestige of Petra subsists in the writings of Procopius and Agathias. Most of the towns and castles of Lazica may be found by comparing their names and position with the map of Mingrelia, in Lamberti.]

[Footnote 84: See the amusing letters of Pietro della Valle, the Roman traveler, (Viaggi, tom. ii. 207, 209, 213, 215, 266, 286, 300, tom. iii. p. 54, 127.) In the years 1618, 1619, and 1620, he conversed with Shah Abbas, and strongly encouraged a design which might have united Persia and Europe against their common enemy the Turk.]

[Footnote 85: See Herodotus, (l. i. c. 140, p. 69,) who speaks with diffidence, Larcher, (tom. i. p. 399--401, Notes sur Herodote,) Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 11,) and Agathias, (l. ii. p. 61, 62.) This practice, agreeable to the Zendavesta, (Hyde, de Relig. Pers. c. 34, p. 414--421,) demonstrates that the burial of the Persian kings, (Xenophon, Cyropaed. l. viii. p. 658,) is a Greek fiction, and that their tombs could be no more than cenotaphs.]

[Footnote 8511: These seem the same people called Suanians, p. 328.--M.]

The siege of Petra, which the Roman general, with the aid of the Lazi, immediately undertook, is


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