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birth among the peasants of Thrace, forming no parallel to the unrestrained and withholds from him the benefits of licentiousness by which the Eastern early studies and liberal education. empress and her favourite were deHe entered the private guards of Jus- graded. Sarah of Marlborough was tinian before he was emperor, and rose mean and vindictive; ambitious, gripto rank and distinction by individual ing, selfish, and cold-hearted; but her merit, without interest. Nature had chastity was unimpeached, and she disendowed bim with a tall, commanding charged her duties as a wife and moform, a noble countenance, great acti- ther without stain or reproach. vity and vigour, coolness, constitutional When Belisarius made his first essay self-possession and daring courage. as commander-in-chief in the Persian The external requisites were combined war, he was a very young general, not with the intellectual composition of a more than six-and-twenty, being of the hero. He began his military course same age as Napoleon when he conprecisely as what, in our own days, is quered Italy, and the elder Africanus termed a soldier of fortune, trusting when he wrested Spain from Carthage. for advancement to chance and oppor- His two Persian campaigns were illustunity. A successful campaign against trated by two great battles, fought at the Persians, which he commenced in Dara and Callinicum. In the first, he a subordinate capacity, but terminated obtained a complete victory over an as commander-in-chief, followed by army doubling his own in number. In his faithful service in the great sedi- the second, he was defeated by the tion of Constantinople, between the same overwhelming force, and through blue and green factions of the circus, the delinquency of his own troops, established his ability and reputation who clamorously insisted on engagwith the emperor, and placed him, ing, contrary to his better judgment, while yet in the prime of life, beyond and proved faithless to him and to the reach of envious rivalry. His for- themselves in the hour of difficulty. tunes were materially promoted by There are points of peculiar interest his marriage with Antonina, who, attached to this battle, which deserve though a widow, without dowry, pos- a plan and a minute explanation. It sessed much political influence, as hav- affords a memorable example of the ing been long the chosen friend and power with which high intuitive genius companion of the empress Theodora, soars above established rules, and the participator and confidante in her triumphs, when mediocrity or incapaearly irregularities. In the imperial city sins against them and fails. The household she seems to have filled an Persians had invaded the Roman terimportant office, nearly the same as ritories on the side of Mesopotamia, that of lady of the bedchamber in mo- and, crossing the Euphrates, advanced dern courts, with rank, bonour, and against Chalcis and Antioch. Belisaemolument in due accordance. Igno. rius hastily collected such forces as he ble in birth (her father was a cha- had at his disposal, and hastened from rioteer, her mother an actress of loose Dara, where he was stationed on the character), and disdaining the com. frontiers, to intercept them. He armonplace merit of conjugal fidelity, rived in time, and the Persian army, Antonina expressed for Belisarius, remembering the overthrow of Dara, the friendship of a military comrade, paused and retreated.* Belisarius, not who accompanied him in all his wars, wishing to hazard a battle with very regardless of personal hardship or pri- inferior numbers, and in which victory vation. In like manner the career of could scarcely give him more advan. Marlborough was assisted by the as- tages than he already possessed, fol. cendancy which his duchess for a long lowed them cautiously, remaining time maintained over the unstable usually at one day's march behind mind and variable affections of Queen them, encamping each night on the Anne. The effect in both cases was station they had left the morning bethe same, but between the characters fore. He felt the wisdom and adopted of the English and the Roman ladies the maxim of Cæsar, who was of opi. a wide distinction is to be drawn. The nion that a good general, in most cases, former were respectable in private mo. should make a bridge of gold for a rerality, and faithful in domestic rela- treating enemy. The Persians marched tions; bearing no resemblance, and along the right bank of the Euphrates,
a broad and rapid river, until they came opposite to Callinicum, a little above which they intended to cross, and passing (as on their advance) through Mesopotamia, to regain their own country. The Roman soldiers, indignant at seeing their enemies escape, and over-estimating their own prowess, assailed Belisarius with loud reproaches. They attributed his systematic caution to cowardice or ignorance, and urged by the inferior officers, loudly demanded to be led to battle. Belisarius, compelled to sacrifice his own judgment to this senseless clamour, submitted cheerfully to the dangerous alternative he
could no longer avoid, regained the confidence of his troops by pretending that he had only delayed the combat to test their alacrity and spirit, and proceeded to make the ablest arrangement of his forces which circumstances allowed. It was by no choice of his own that he fought with an unfordable river in his rear; a vicious disposition, contrary to all sound principles, and seldom ventured on without fatal consequences.
We shall soon see that what would have ruined an ordinary general, his ready genius converted to a source of safety.
BATTLE OF CALLINICUM, BETWEEN BELISARIOS AND THE PERSIANS, FOUGHT ON
EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL THE 19TH, A.D. 531.—NO. I.
A-Persian army under Azarethes and Almondar. B-Roman army commanded by Belisarios.
a—Roman infantry of the left wing resting on the river. bb_Roman cavalry in the centre. c-Isaurian (or Arabiau) auxi iaries on the right. d d d - Islands on the Euphrates to which the Roman cavalry, and some of the right wing escaped, when routed by the Persians,
Belisarius drew up his best troops, slaughtered or made prisoners on the his infantry, on the left. The Arab spot. Belisarius dismounted from his auxiliaries, on whom he placed less horse, calling upon all his staff to fol. dependence, he posted on the right, low bis example, and took part at and took his own station with the ca. the head of the infantry of the left, valry, in the centre. The arms of his who still stood firm in their original men, both offensive and defensive, places. His eagle eye detected at a were superior to those of the enemy, glance, the advantages of the ground, but the Persians were more rapid and and that by rapidly wheeling back their more skilful bowmen than the Greek- right, the bend of the river immeRomans. For a considerable part of diately behind them would cover both the day, no advantage was gained on flanks, and enable them to maintain either side ; at length the Isaurians their position. At all events, their fled, actuated by either cowardice or lives depended on an obstinate defence. treachery, or more probably by both. Procopius relates what followed, with The Persians then surrounded the ca- the clear accuracy of an eye-witness. valry, who, pressed on all sides, and exhausted with fatigue, gave way, and fled headlong to some islands on the
“The Persians seeing the resolution taken Euphrates in the rear. Those who
by Belisarius, of still resisting with the Rofailed to effect their escape, were man infantry, ceased to pursue the fugi
He says :
A—Roman infantry of the left wing under Belisarius, in a compact mass, resisting the attack of the
Persians. B-The entire Persian army, thrown on the left wing of the Romans. d d d Islands on the Eupbrates to which Belisarius retreated during the night, after having repulsed th
VOL. XLII.NO. CCXLVIII.
tives, and united their whole forces to fall no line of retreat open to him, in case upon the remnant of his army, who turned of disaster. His operations proceeded their backs to the river, to prevent being from his own free choice, and demonsurrounded. The combat was most obsti
strated a lamentable want of generalnate, but the forces were very unequal. A inere handful of foot-soldiers opposed to the
ship. But he won the battle he ought innumerable cavalry of the enemy. But
to have lost, by the superior arms, disthis small detachment was neither broken,
cipline, and courage of his troops. The nor reduced to fight. They closed their
senate justly censured his conduct, ranks, and linked their large bucklers toge- notwithstanding his victory, and emi. ther so effectually, that they inflicted a nent historians, commencing with Polymuch heavier loss than they endured. The bius, have ratified the decree. This enemy tried to break their compact order same Flaminius repeated bis error at by repeated charges of heavy horse, but Thrasymene, and paid dearly for the without effect. The remainder of the day second experiment. passed in this obstinate contest, which was
This time he had to deal with Hanonly interrupted by the approach of dark
nibal, and not with a barbarian who ness. During the night, the Persians withdrew to their camp, and Belisarius having
knew no principle of war, beyond the found some boats, embarked the few sur
simple one of close and desperate comvivors of this sanguinary battle, and gained
bat. Overtaken and surprised on his some islands of the Euphrates, where the
march, in loose order, and unprepared, rest of his army had already taken refuge." the enemy poured down from the high
ground on his left flank, while the lake The next morning, the Persians shut in his right, which soon became having plundered the dead bodies, and his rear, as he faced round to encounlamented their own slain, continued ter his opponents. Into this lake his their retreat, while Belisarius crossed army were pushed by thousands, when over to Callinicum on the opposite broken and scattered by the skilful bank of the river. The foregoing plan, stratagem of the Carthaginian comNo. 2, shows the concluding manæuvre mander. Maxentius, in bis great batof the battle.
tle with Constantine, at the Saxa Ru. Nothing can be more dangerous, or bra, near Rome, fought with the Tiber more opposed to skilful tactics, than in his rear, and sustained a defeat, taking up a position for battle with a in which he lost his empire and his river in the rear. A wood is quite a
life. Cæsar was too consummate a different matter. Wallenstein covered master of his trade to fall into these his retreat from Lutzen by means of errors. In the war against the Belgæ, the woods, which assisted and concealed he passed the Axona, now the Aisne, his own movements, while they im- and encamped with the river close bepeded the advance of the Swedes. The hind him; but, dreading an attack Duke of Wellington, if by any over- from the enemy in this disadvantageous whelming attack he had been driven position, which his inferior forces prefrom the position of Waterloo, would vented him from quitting immediately, have found certain shelter in the wood he entrenched his front with a fosse of Soignies, and effectual means of and rampart, extending four hundred checking the enemy.* But a river paces, communicating at each end with neither offers cover nor outlet. The a tower provided with engines, at right Roman consul Caius Flaminius, in his angles with, and extending to, the campaign against the Insubrian Gauls, river. He thus covered both his passed the Adda, broke up his tempo- flanks, so that he could not be turned, rary bridge, cut off his own communi- or driven back into the stream ; and cations, and engaged a formidable the enemy, struck with terror by these enemy with the river at his back, and formidable preparations, abandoned
* At one of his military dinners many years since, when the conversation happened to turn on Waterloo, the Duke was asked by a general officer present, what he would have done, if his position had been forced ? “I should have retreated into the wood," was the ready answer. "And what would your grace have done if you had been driven from the wood ?" continued the pertinacious querist. Everybody stared, but the Duke quietly replied, "No, no; hang it, that was impossible. They never could have beaten us out of the wood." The anecdote was related to the writer by another general present, who was not a little astonished at the boldness of his brother in arms. But fortunately, the great captain was neither beaten into the wood, nor out of it.
their preconcerted plans, and dared sarius nor Marlborough. On that not to attack him.*
great day, the English general having, Belisarius at Callinicum, as we have after a desperate conflict, attended by seen, in a critical moment formed some vicissitudes, broken the centre of his foot in a dense mass, within a bend the French, and completely separated of the Euphrates. Until then, we their wings, abandoned the right, under may suppose they were drawn up in Marsin and the Elector of Bavaria, to the usual open order of the Romans, the disposal of Eugene, and turned his and in three lines, as handed down in whole force against the left. He saw their habitual practice, which, toge- in a moment the errors of Tallard's ther with the legionary form, had not dispositions, and how completely his yet been abolished. The result showed battalions posted in Blenheim, and the the immeasurable superiority of in. sustaining squadrons in their rear, were fantry, when cool, determined, and insulated. With a furious charge of well commanded, in resisting the seven thousand horse, in one compact clamorous and outwardly, imposing body, he overpowered opposition, and attacks of cavalry. Tallard, at Blen. drove many French squadrons before heim, was less fortunate, although his him into an abrupt bend of the troops were brave and well-disciplined Danube, immediately in their rear, -in his own opinion, the best in the exactly similar to that of the Euworld. But Tallard was neither Beli- phrates at Callinicum.
DECISIVE CRISIS OF BLENHEIM.
A B-English Cavalry. C-English Infantry. D— French Cavalry driven into the Danube. E-French Battalions in Blenheim forced to surrender,
Had Tallard withdrawn his twenty- bend, supported on either flank by seven battalions from Blenheim by a the cavalry, he might have held his rapid movement, while time was yet ground as Belisarius did, and, if unleft him, and formed them across the able to obtain a victory, might at least,
• " Ab utroque latere ejus collis transversam fossain obduxit circitur passuum C.D. ; et ad extremas fossas castella constituit ibique tormenta collocavit ; ne quum aciem instruxisset, hostes (quod tantum multitudine poterant), à lateribus suos pugnantes circumvenire possent.” - Cos. de Bello Gall., lib. ii. c. 8.
† At least, so he said when presenting his sword to the victor_“Your grace has beaten except those who beat thein."