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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

And the satraps who had deposed Hormouz


contempt; they were fired with

indignation when he dared to vilify the character of Chosroes; and by the indiscreet offer of resigning the sceptre to the second of his sons, he subscribed his own condemnation, and sacrificed the life of his own innocent favorite. The mangled bodies of the boy and his mother were exposed to the people; the eyes of Hormouz were pierced with a hot needle; and the punishment of the father was succeeded by the coronation of his eldest son. Chosroes had ascended the throne without guilt, and his piety strove to alleviate the misery of the abdicated monarch; from the dungeon he removed Hormouz to an apartment of the palace, supplied with liberality the consolations of sensual enjoyment, and patiently endured the furious sallies of his resentment and despair. He might despise the resentment of a blind and unpopular tyrant, but the tiara was trembling on his head, till he could subvert the power, or acquire the friendship, of the great Bahram, who sternly denied the justice of a revolution, in which himself and his soldiers, the true representatives of Persia, had never been consulted. The offer of a general amnesty, and of the second rank in his kingdom, was answered by an epistle from Bahram, friend of the gods, conqueror of men, and enemy of tyrants, the satrap of satraps, general of the Persian armies, and a prince adorned with the title of eleven virtues. [14] He commands Chosroes, the son of Hormouz, to shun the example and fate of his father, to confine the traitors who had been
released from their chains, to deposit in some holy place the diadem which he had usurped, and to accept from his gracious benefactor the pardon of his faults and the government of a province. The rebel might not be proud, and the king most assuredly was not humble; but the one was conscious of his strength, the other was sensible of his weakness; and even the modest language of his reply still left room for treaty and reconciliation. Chosroes led into the field the slaves of the palace and the populace of the capital: they beheld with terror the banners of a veteran army; they were encompassed and surprised by the evolutions of the general; and the satraps who had deposed Hormouz, received the punishment of their revolt, or expiated their first treason by a second and more criminal act of disloyalty. The life and liberty of Chosroes were saved, but he was reduced to the necessity of imploring aid or refuge in some foreign land; and the implacable Bindoes, anxious to secure an unquestionable title, hastily returned to the palace, and ended, with a bowstring, the wretched existence of the son of Nushirvan. [15]

[Footnote 13: The Orientals suppose that Bahram convened this assembly and proclaimed Chosroes; but Theophylact is, in this instance, more distinct and credible. * Note: Yet Theophylact seems to have seized the opportunity to indulge his propensity for writing orations; and the orations read rather like those of a Grecian sophist than of an Eastern assembly.--M.]

[Footnote 14: See the words of Theophylact, l. iv. c. 7., &c. In answer, Chosroes styles himself in genuine Oriental bombast.]

[Footnote 15: Theophylact (l. iv. c. 7) imputes the death of Hormouz to his son, by whose command he was beaten to death with clubs. I have followed the milder account of Khondemir and Eutychius, and shall always be content with the slightest evidence to extenuate the crime of parricide. Note: Malcolm concurs in ascribing his death to Bundawee, (Bindoes,) vol. i. p. 123. The Eastern writers generally impute the crime to the uncle St. Martin, vol. x. p. 300.--M.]


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