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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

The natural fortifications of Cilicia protected


[Footnote

75: George Pisid. Acroas. i. 51, &c. p: 4. The Orientals are not less fond of remarking this strange vicissitude; and I remember some story of Khosrou Parviz, not very unlike the ring of Polycrates of Samos.]

[Footnote 76: Baronius gravely relates this discovery, or rather transmutation, of barrels, not of honey, but of gold, (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 620, No. 3, &c.) Yet the loan was arbitrary, since it was collected by soldiers, who were ordered to leave the patriarch of Alexandria no more than one hundred pounds of gold. Nicephorus, (p. 11,) two hundred years afterwards, speaks with ill humor of this contribution, which the church of Constantinople might still feel.]

[Footnote 77: Theophylact Symocatta, l. viii. c. 12. This circumstance need not excite our surprise. The muster-roll of a regiment, even in time of peace, is renewed in less than twenty or twenty-five years.]

[Footnote 78: He changed his purple for black, buckskins, and dyed them red in the blood of the Persians, (Georg. Pisid. Acroas. iii. 118, 121, 122 See the notes of Foggini, p. 35.)]

The neighboring heights of Chalcedon were covered with tents and arms: but if the new levies of Heraclius had been rashly led to the attack, the victory of the Persians in the sight of Constantinople might have been the last day of the Roman empire. As imprudent would it have been to advance into

the provinces of Asia, leaving their innumerable cavalry to intercept his convoys, and continually to hang on the lassitude and disorder of his rear. But the Greeks were still masters of the sea; a fleet of galleys, transports, and store-ships, was assembled in the harbor; the Barbarians consented to embark; a steady wind carried them through the Hellespont the western and southern coast of Asia Minor lay on their left hand; the spirit of their chief was first displayed in a storm, and even the eunuchs of his train were excited to suffer and to work by the example of their master. He landed his troops on the confines of Syria and Cilicia, in the Gulf of Scanderoon, where the coast suddenly turns to the south; [79] and his discernment was expressed in the choice of this important post. [80] From all sides, the scattered garrisons of the maritime cities and the mountains might repair with speed and safety to his Imperial standard. The natural fortifications of Cilicia protected, and even concealed, the camp of Heraclius, which was pitched near Issus, on the same ground where Alexander had vanquished the host of Darius. The angle which the emperor occupied was deeply indented into a vast semicircle of the Asiatic, Armenian, and Syrian provinces; and to whatsoever point of the circumference he should direct his attack, it was easy for him to dissemble his own motions, and to prevent those of the enemy. In the camp of Issus, the Roman general reformed the sloth and disorder of the veterans, and educated the new recruits in the knowledge and practice of military virtue. Unfolding the miraculous image of Christ, he urged them to revenge the holy altars which had been profaned by the worshippers of fire; addressing them by the endearing appellations of sons and brethren, he deplored the public and private wrongs of the republic. The subjects of a monarch were persuaded that they fought in the cause of freedom; and a similar enthusiasm was communicated to the foreign mercenaries, who must have viewed with equal indifference the interest of Rome and of Persia. Heraclius himself, with the skill and patience of a centurion, inculcated the lessons of the school of tactics, and the soldiers were assiduously trained in the use of their weapons, and the exercises and evolutions of the field. The cavalry and infantry in light or heavy


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