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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Which answers to the position of Adulis


dress of the Chinese, the manufactures

of silk, and the myriads of silk-worms, whose education (either on trees or in houses) had once been considered as the labor of queens. [75] They soon discovered that it was impracticable to transport the short-lived insect, but that in the eggs a numerous progeny might be preserved and multiplied in a distant climate. Religion or interest had more power over the Persian monks than the love of their country: after a long journey, they arrived at Constantinople, imparted their project to the emperor, and were liberally encouraged by the gifts and promises of Justinian. To the historians of that prince, a campaign at the foot of Mount Caucasus has seemed more deserving of a minute relation than the labors of these missionaries of commerce, who again entered China, deceived a jealous people by concealing the eggs of the silk-worm in a hollow cane, and returned in triumph with the spoils of the East. Under their direction, the eggs were hatched at the proper season by the artificial heat of dung; the worms were fed with mulberry leaves; they lived and labored in a foreign climate; a sufficient number of butterflies was saved to propagate the race, and trees were planted to supply the nourishment of the rising generations. Experience and reflection corrected the errors of a new attempt, and the Sogdoite ambassadors acknowledged, in the succeeding reign, that the Romans were not inferior to the natives of China in the education of the insects, and the manufactures of silk, [76] in which
both China and Constantinople have been surpassed by the industry of modern Europe. I am not insensible of the benefits of elegant luxury; yet I reflect with some pain, that if the importers of silk had introduced the art of printing, already practised by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander and the entire decads of Livy would have been perpetuated in the editions of the sixth century.

A larger view of the globe might at least have promoted the improvement of speculative science, but the Christian geography was forcibly extracted from texts of Scripture, and the study of nature was the surest symptom of an unbelieving mind. The orthodox faith confined the habitable world to one temperate zone, and represented the earth as an oblong surface, four hundred days' journey in length, two hundred in breadth, encompassed by the ocean, and covered by the solid crystal of the firmament. [77]

[Footnote 73: See Procopius, Persic. (l. ii. c. 20.) Cosmas affords some interesting knowledge of the port and inscription of Adulis, (Topograph. Christ. l. ii. p. 138, 140--143,) and of the trade of the Axumites along the African coast of Barbaria or Zingi, (p. 138, 139,) and as far as Taprobane, (l. xi. p. 339.)]

[Footnote 7311: Mr. Salt obtained information of considerable ruins of an ancient town near Zulla, called Azoole, which answers to the position of Adulis. Mr. Salt was prevented by illness, Mr. Stuart, whom he sent, by the jealousy of the natives, from investigating these ruins: of their existence there seems no doubt. Salt's 2d Journey, p. 452.--M.]

[Footnote 74: See the Christian missions in India, in Cosmas, (l. iii. p. 178, 179, l. xi. p. 337,) and consult Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. (tom. iv. p. 413--548.)]


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