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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Salt's Travels give a high notion of the ruins of Axum


[Footnote 99: Alvarez (in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 219, vers. 221, vers.) saw the flourishing state of Axume in the year 1520--luogomolto buono e grande. It was ruined in the same century by the Turkish invasion. No more than 100 houses remain; but the memory of its past greatness is preserved by the regal coronation, (Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. l. ii. c. 11.) * Note: Lord Valentia's and Mr. Salt's Travels give a high notion of the ruins of Axum.--M.]

[Footnote 9911: The Negus is differently called Elesbaan, Elesboas, Elisthaeus, probably the same name, or rather appellation. See St. Martin, vol. viii. p. 49.--M.]

[Footnote 9912: According to the Arabian authorities, (Johannsen, Hist. Yemanae, p. 94, Bonn, 1828,) Abrahah was an Abyssinian, the rival of Ariathus, the brother of the Abyssinian king: he surprised and slew Ariathus, and by his craft appeased the resentment of Nadjash, the Abyssinian king. Abrahah was a Christian; he built a magnificent church at Sana, and dissuaded his subjects from their accustomed pilgrimages to Mecca. The church was defiled, it was supposed, by the Koreishites, and Abrahah took up arms to revenge himself on the temple at Mecca. He was repelled by miracle: his elephant would not advance, but knelt down before the sacred place; Abrahah fled, discomfited and mortally wounded, to Sana--M.]

[Footnote 100: The revolutions of Yemen in the sixth century must be collected from Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 19, 20,) Theophanes Byzant., (apud Phot. cod. lxiii. p. 80,) St. Theophanes, (in Chronograph. p. 144, 145, 188, 189, 206, 207, who is full of strange blunders,) Pocock, (Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 62, 65,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 12, 477,) and Sale's Preliminary Discourse and Koran, (c. 105.) The revolt of Abrahah is mentioned by Procopius; and his fall, though clouded with miracles, is an historical fact. Note: To the authors who have illustrated the obscure history of the Jewish and Abyssinian kingdoms in Homeritis may be added Schultens, Hist. Joctanidarum; Walch, Historia rerum in Homerite gestarum, in the 4th vol. of the Gottingen Transactions; Salt's Travels, vol. ii. p. 446, &c.: Sylvestre de Sacy, vol. i. Acad. des Inscrip. Jost, Geschichte der Israeliter; Johannsen, Hist. Yemanae; St. Martin's notes to Le Beau, t. vii p. 42.--M.]

[Footnote 1001: A period of sixty-seven years is assigned by most of the Arabian authorities to the Abyssinian kingdoms in Homeritis.--M.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.--Part I.

Rebellions Of Africa.--Restoration Of The Gothic Kingdom By Totila.--Loss And Recovery Of Rome.--Final Conquest Of Italy By Narses.--Extinction Of The Ostrogoths.--Defeat Of The Franks And Alemanni.--Last Victory, Disgrace, And Death Of Belisarius.--Death And Character Of Justinian.--Comet, Earthquakes, And Plague.

The review of the nations from the Danube to the Nile has exposed, on every side, the weakness of the Romans; and our wonder is reasonably excited that they should presume to enlarge an empire whose ancient limits they were incapable of defending. But the wars, the conquests, and the triumphs of Justinian, are the feeble and pernicious efforts of old age, which exhaust the remains of strength, and accelerate the decay of the powers of life. He exulted in the glorious act of restoring Africa and Italy to the republic; but the calamities which followed the departure of Belisarius betrayed the impotence of the conqueror, and accomplished the ruin of those unfortunate countries.


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