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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

The chagan delighted in the use of these aromatics


his prudence to withdraw the

citizens and their effects, and to resign a city which it is now impossible to relieve or defend." Without the hope of relief, the defence of Sirmium was prolonged above three years: the walls were still untouched; but famine was enclosed within the walls, till a merciful capitulation allowed the escape of the naked and hungry inhabitants. Singidunum, at the distance of fifty miles, experienced a more cruel fate: the buildings were razed, and the vanquished people was condemned to servitude and exile. Yet the ruins of Sirmium are no longer visible; the advantageous situation of Singidunum soon attracted a new colony of Sclavonians, and the conflux of the Save and Danube is still guarded by the fortifications of Belgrade, or the White City, so often and so obstinately disputed by the Christian and Turkish arms. [28] From Belgrade to the walls of Constantinople a line may be measured of six hundred miles: that line was marked with flames and with blood; the horses of the Avars were alternately bathed in the Euxine and the Adriatic; and the Roman pontiff, alarmed by the approach of a more savage enemy, [29] was reduced to cherish the Lombards, as the protectors of Italy. The despair of a captive, whom his country refused to ransom, disclosed to the Avars the invention and practice of military engines. [30] But in the first attempts they were rudely framed, and awkwardly managed; and the resistance of Diocletianopolis and Beraea, of Philippopolis and Adrianople, soon exhausted the
skill and patience of the besiegers. The warfare of Baian was that of a Tartar; yet his mind was susceptible of a humane and generous sentiment: he spared Anchialus, whose salutary waters had restored the health of the best beloved of his wives; and the Romans confessed, that their starving army was fed and dismissed by the liberality of a foe. His empire extended over Hungary, Poland, and Prussia, from the mouth of the Danube to that of the Oder; [31] and his new subjects were divided and transplanted by the jealous policy of the conqueror. [32] The eastern regions of Germany, which had been left vacant by the emigration of the Vandals, were replenished with Sclavonian colonists; the same tribes are discovered in the neighborhood of the Adriatic and of the Baltic, and with the name of Baian himself, the Illyrian cities of Neyss and Lissa are again found in the heart of Silesia. In the disposition both of his troops and provinces the chagan exposed the vassals, whose lives he disregarded, [33] to the first assault; and the swords of the enemy were blunted before they encountered the native valor of the Avars.

[Footnote 23: A general idea of the pride and power of the chagan may be taken from Menander (Excerpt. Legat. p. 118, &c.) and Theophylact, (l. i. c. 3, l. vii. c. 15,) whose eight books are much more honorable to the Avar than to the Roman prince. The predecessors of Baian had tasted the liberality of Rome, and he survived the reign of Maurice, (Buat, Hist. des Peuples Barbares, tom. xi. p. 545.) The chagan who invaded Italy, A.D. 611, (Muratori, Annali, tom. v. p. 305,) was then invenili aetate florentem, (Paul Warnefrid, de Gest. Langobard. l v c 38,) the son, perhaps, or the grandson, of Baian.]

[Footnote 24: Theophylact, l. i. c. 5, 6.]

[Footnote 25: Even in the field, the chagan delighted in the use of these aromatics. He solicited, as a gift, and received. Theophylact, l. vii. c. 13. The Europeans of the ruder ages consumed more spices in their meat and drink than is compatible with the delicacy of a modern palate. Vie Privee des Francois, tom. ii. p. 162, 163.]

[Footnote 26: Theophylact, l. vi. c. 6, l. vii. c. 15. The Greek historian confesses the truth and justice of his reproach]


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