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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 8611 According to Agathias


[Footnote

86: The punishment of flaying alive could not be introduced into Persia by Sapor, (Brisson, de Regn. Pers. l. ii. p. 578,) nor could it be copied from the foolish tale of Marsyas, the Phrygian piper, most foolishly quoted as a precedent by Agathias, (l. iv. p. 132, 133.)]

[Footnote 8611: According to Agathias, the death of Gubazos preceded the defeat of Nacoragan. The trial took place after the battle.--M.]

[Footnote 87: In the palace of Constantinople there were thirty silentiaries, who were styled hastati, ante fores cubiculi, an honorable title which conferred the rank, without imposing the duties, of a senator, (Cod. Theodos. l. vi. tit. 23. Gothofred. Comment. tom. ii. p. 129.)]

[Footnote 88: On these judicial orations, Agathias (l. iii. p. 81-89, l. iv. p. 108--119) lavishes eighteen or twenty pages of false and florid rhetoric. His ignorance or carelessness overlooks the strongest argument against the king of Lazica--his former revolt. * Note: The Orations in the third book of Agathias are not judicial, nor delivered before the Roman tribunal: it is a deliberative debate among the Colchians on the expediency of adhering to the Roman, or embracing the Persian alliance.--M.]

In peace, the king of Persia continually sought the pretences of a rupture: but no sooner had he taken up arms, than he expressed his desire of a safe and honorable

treaty. During the fiercest hostilities, the two monarchs entertained a deceitful negotiation; and such was the superiority of Chosroes, that whilst he treated the Roman ministers with insolence and contempt, he obtained the most unprecedented honors for his own ambassadors at the Imperial court. The successor of Cyrus assumed the majesty of the Eastern sun, and graciously permitted his younger brother Justinian to reign over the West, with the pale and reflected splendor of the moon. This gigantic style was supported by the pomp and eloquence of Isdigune, one of the royal chamberlains. His wife and daughters, with a train of eunuchs and camels, attended the march of the ambassador: two satraps with golden diadems were numbered among his followers: he was guarded by five hundred horse, the most valiant of the Persians; and the Roman governor of Dara wisely refused to admit more than twenty of this martial and hostile caravan. When Isdigune had saluted the emperor, and delivered his presents, he passed ten months at Constantinople without discussing any serious affairs. Instead of being confined to his palace, and receiving food and water from the hands of his keepers, the Persian ambassador, without spies or guards, was allowed to visit the capital; and the freedom of conversation and trade enjoyed by his domestics, offended the prejudices of an age which rigorously practised the law of nations, without confidence or courtesy. [89] By an unexampled indulgence, his interpreter, a servant below the notice of a Roman magistrate, was seated, at the table of Justinian, by the side of his master: and one thousand pounds of gold might be assigned for the expense of his journey and entertainment.


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