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At that time the idea occurred to the Emperor Justinian to ally withhimself the Aethiopians and the Homeritae, in order to injure thePersians. I shall now first explain what part of the earth thesenations occupy, and then I shall point out in what manner the emperorhoped that they would be of help to the Romans. The boundaries ofPalestine extend toward the east to the sea which is called the RedSea. Now this sea, beginning at India, comes to an end at this pointin the Roman domain. And there is a city called Aelas on its shore,where the sea comes to an end, as I have said, and becomes a verynarrow gulf. And as one sails into the sea from there, the Egyptianmountains lie on the right, extending toward the south; on the otherside a country deserted by men extends northward to an indefinitedistance; and the land on both sides is visible as one sails in as faras the island called Iotabe, not less than one thousand stades distantfrom the city of Aelas. On this island Hebrews had lived from of oldin autonomy, but in the reign of this Justinian they have becomesubject to the Romans. From there on there comes a great open sea. Andthose who sail into this part of it no longer see the land on theright, but they always anchor along the left coast when night comeson. For it is impossible to navigate in the darkness on this sea,since it is everywhere full of shoals. But there are harbours thereand great numbers of them, not made by the hand of man, but by thenatural contour of the land, and for this reason it is not[7-16]difficult for mariners to find anchorage wherever they happen to be.
About opposite the Homeritae on the opposite mainland dwell theAethiopians who are called Auxomitae, because their king resides inthe city of Auxomis. And the expanse of sea which lies between iscrossed in a voyage of five days and nights, when a moderatelyfavouring wind blows. For here they are accustomed to navigate bynight also, since there are no shoals at all in these parts; thisportion of the sea has been called the Red Sea by some. For the seawhich one traverses beyond this point as far as the shore and the cityof Aelas has received the name of the Arabian Gulf, inasmuch as thecountry which extends from here to the limits of the city of Gaza usedto be called in olden times Arabia, since the king of the Arabs hadhis palace in early times in the city of Petrae. Now the harbour ofthe Homeritae from which they are accustomed to put to sea for thevoyage to Aethiopia is called Bulicas; and at the end of the sailacross the sea they always put in at the harbour of the Adulitae. Butthe city of Adulis is removed from the harbour a distance of twentystades (for it lacks only so much of being on the sea), while from thecity of Auxomis it is a journey of twelve days.
540 A.D.When the winter was already reaching its close, and the thirteenthyear of the reign of the Emperor Justinian was ending, Chosroes, sonof Cabades, invaded the land of the Romans at the opening of springwith a mighty army, and openly broke the so-called endless peace. Buthe did not enter by the country between the rivers, but advanced withthe Euphrates on his right. On the other side of the river stands thelast Roman stronghold which is called Circesium, an exceedingly strongplace,since the River Aborras, a large stream, has its mouth at thispoint and mingles with the Euphrates, and this fortress lies exactlyin the angle which is made by the junction of the two rivers. And along second wall outside the fortress cuts off the land between thetwo rivers, and completes the form of a triangle around Circesium.Chosroes, therefore, not wishing to make trial of so strong a fortressand not having in mind to cross the River Euphrates, but rather to goagainst the Syrians and Cilicians, without any hesitation led his armyforward, and after advancing for what, to an unencumbered traveller,is about a three-days' journey along the bank of the Euphrates, hecame upon the city of Zenobia; this place Zenobia had built in formertimes, and, as was natural, she gave her name to the city. Now Zenobiawas the wife of Odonathus, the ruler of the Saracens of that region,who had been on terms of peace with the Romans[6-13] from of old. ThisOdonathus rescued for the Romans the Eastern Empire when it had comeunder the power of the Medes; but this took place in former times.Chosroes then came near to Zenobia, but upon learning that the placewas not important and observing that the land was untenanted anddestitute of all good things, he feared lest any time spent by himthere would be wasted on an affair of no consequence and would be ahindrance to great undertakings, and he attempted to force the placeto surrender. But meeting with no success, he hastened his marchforward.
At that time also the Emperor Justinian wrote a letter to Chosroes,promising to carry out the agreement which had been made by him andthe ambassadors regarding the peace. When this message wasreceived by Chosroes, he released the hostages and made preparationsfor his departure, and he wished to sell off all the captives fromAntioch. And when the citizens of Edessa learned of this, theydisplayed an unheard-of zeal. For there was not a person who did notbring ransom for the captives and deposit it in the sanctuaryaccording to the measure of his possessions. And there were some whoeven exceeded their proportionate amount in so doing. For the harlotstook off all the adornment which they wore on their persons, and threwit down there, and any farmer who was in want[4-13] of plate or of money,but who had an ass or a sheep, brought this to the sanctuary withgreat zeal. So there was collected an exceedingly great amount of goldand silver and money in other forms, but not a bit of it was given forransom. For Bouzes happened to be present there, and he took in handto prevent the transaction, expecting that this would bring him somegreat gain. Therefore Chosroes moved forward, taking with him all thecaptives. And the citizens of Carrhae met him holding out to him greatsums of money; but he said that it did not belong to him because themost of them are not Christians but are of the old faith.
And already Chosroes had abandoned Adarbiganon a little before throughfear of the plague and was off with his whole army into Assyria, wherethe pestilence had not as yet become epidemic. Valerianus accordinglyencamped close by Theodosiopolis with the troops under him; and withhim was arrayed Narses, who had with him Armenians and some of theEruli. And Martinus, the General of the East, together with Ildigerand Theoctistus, reached the fortress of Citharizon, and fixing hiscamp there, remained on the spot. This fortress is separated fromTheodosiopolis by a journey of four days. There too Peter came notlong afterwards together with Adolius and some other commanders. Nowthe troops in this region were commanded by Isaac, the brother ofNarses. And Philemouth and Beros with the Eruli who were under themcame into the territory of Chorzianene, not far from the camp ofMartinus. And Justus, the emperor's nephew, and Peranius and John, theson of Nicetas, together with Domentiolus and John, who was[15-1] calledthe Glutton, made camp near the place called Phison, which is close bythe boundaries of Martyropolis. Thus then were encamped the Romancommanders with their troops; and the whole army amounted to thirtythousand men. Now all these troops were neither gathered into oneplace, nor indeed was there any general meeting for conference. Butthe generals sent to each other some of their followers and began tomake enquiries concerning the invasion. Suddenly, however, Peter,without communicating with anyone, and without any carefulconsideration, invaded the hostile land with his troops. And when onthe following day this was found out by Philemouth and Beros, theleaders of the Eruli, they straightway followed. And when this in turncame to the knowledge of Martinus and Valerianus and their men, theyquickly joined in the invasion. And all of them a little later unitedwith each other in the enemy's territory, with the exception of Justusand his men, who, as I have said, had encamped far away from the restof the army, and learned later of their invasion; then, indeed, theyalso invaded the territory of the enemy as quickly as possible at thepoint where they were, but failed altogether to unite with the othercommanders. As for the others, they proceeded in a body straight forDoubios, neither plundering nor damaging in any other way the land ofthe Persians. 2b1af7f3a8