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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Heraclius boldly ascended the heights of Mount Taurus


armor were divided into two

parties; the trumpets were fixed in the centre, and their signals directed the march, the charge, the retreat or pursuit; the direct or oblique order, the deep or extended phalanx; to represent in fictitious combat the operations of genuine war. Whatever hardships the emperor imposed on the troops, he inflicted with equal severity on himself; their labor, their diet, their sleep, were measured by the inflexible rules of discipline; and, without despising the enemy, they were taught to repose an implicit confidence in their own valor and the wisdom of their leader. Cilicia was soon encompassed with the Persian arms; but their cavalry hesitated to enter the defiles of Mount Taurus, till they were circumvented by the evolutions of Heraclius, who insensibly gained their rear, whilst he appeared to present his front in order of battle. By a false motion, which seemed to threaten Armenia, he drew them, against their wishes, to a general action. They were tempted by the artful disorder of his camp; but when they advanced to combat, the ground, the sun, and the expectation of both armies, were unpropitious to the Barbarians; the Romans successfully repeated their tactics in a field of battle, [81] and the event of the day declared to the world, that the Persians were not invincible, and that a hero was invested with the purple. Strong in victory and fame, Heraclius boldly ascended the heights of Mount Taurus, directed his march through the plains of Cappadocia, and established his troops,
for the winter season, in safe and plentiful quarters on the banks of the River Halys. [82] His soul was superior to the vanity of entertaining Constantinople with an imperfect triumph; but the presence of the emperor was indispensably required to soothe the restless and rapacious spirit of the Avars.

[Footnote 79: George of Pisidia, (Acroas. ii. 10, p. 8) has fixed this important point of the Syrian and Cilician gates. They are elegantly described by Xenophon, who marched through them a thousand years before. A narrow pass of three stadia between steep, high rocks, and the Mediterranean, was closed at each end by strong gates, impregnable to the land, accessible by sea, (Anabasis, l. i. p. 35, 36, with Hutchinson's Geographical Dissertation, p. vi.) The gates were thirty-five parasangs, or leagues, from Tarsus, (Anabasis, l. i. p. 33, 34,) and eight or ten from Antioch. Compare Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 580, 581. Schultens, Index Geograph. ad calcem Vit. Saladin. p. 9. Voyage en Turquie et en Perse, par M. Otter, tom. i. p. 78, 79.]

[Footnote 80: Heraclius might write to a friend in the modest words of Cicero: "Castra habuimus ea ipsa quae contra Darium habuerat apud Issum Alexander, imperator haud paulo melior quam aut tu aut ego." Ad Atticum, v. 20. Issus, a rich and flourishing city in the time of Xenophon, was ruined by the prosperity of Alexandria or Scanderoon, on the other side of the bay.]


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