Page 0426

426 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

and the General was urged to avail himself of the opportunity. He accordingly went forth

into the plain, where a conference was held between him and the Surena. Terms of peace

were discussed and agreed upon; but the Parthian insisted that the stipulations should be

reduced to writing, and to this end the Romans present were induced to mount Parthian

horses and to ride off towards the Surena's tent. Scarcely, however, had they started,

when Crassus and his friends, suspecting treachery, reined up the horses, and refused to

proceed. The difficulty grew hot, and one of the Parthians was cut down with the sword.

Weapons were drawn, and all of the Romans, including Crassus, were slain on the spot.

Thus, far off on the Mesopotamian plain, was the rich Triumvir, who, with Pompey the Great

and Julius Caesar, had recently divided the world as a family inheritance, done to death

on the treacherous sword of a Parthian warrior.

When the Roman soldiers in Carrhae learned the fate of their general, they were in

despair. Most of them surrendered to the Parthians. Some escaped. Altogether ten thousand

were taken prisoners. These were transferred into the heart of the Parthian Empire,

colonized and absorbed by intermarriage. Of the whole Roman army, numbering forty

thousand, only about one-fourth succeeded in reaching places of safety. The disaster was

overwhelming-wanting nothing to complete its magnitude or horror.

The immediate result of this, the first war of the Romans with the Asiatic Empire, was to

restore to. the latter all the provinces which she had possessed on the side of

Mesopotamia. The Euphrates again became the western boundary. As for Armenia, that State

also passed to the Parthian dominion. It will be remembered that Crassus, to the hour of

his death, expected the Armenian king, Artavasdes, to come to his assistance; but that

monarch had decided to accept a position subordinate to the King of Kings. At the very

time that the Surena was bringing down the Roman eagles on the Upper Euphrates, Orodes

himself was making an expedition into Armenia. This it was that determined the friendship

of the king of that country. It was expedient for him to become friendly. In order to

cement the ties thus formed, the Parthian king took for his son Pacorus, the daughter of

the Armenian monarch, in marriage. Nor may we pass from the event without noting the

manners of the age. While the festival was on at the Armenian capital-while Orodes and

Artavasdes were witnessing the performance of one of the tragedies of Euripides-the news

came of the overthrow and death of Crassus and the destruction of his army. As usual, in

such cases, the head of the Roman Proconsul was brought along to confirm the intelligence.

It happened that in the play the Greek actor had to represent a similar slaughter by the

display of a mock-head on his thyrsus. By one of the happy inspirations of barbarism, he

substituted the real head of Crassus! Doubtless the sensation in the royal boxes was

sufficient.

In another direction, the drama was continued in the desert. The Surena, at enmity with

Seleucia for her half-treachery to the Parthian cause, marched thither, to bring the

citizens to a renewal of loyalty. He chose to spread the report in this direction that

Crassus was not killed, but was a prisoner in the hands of the conqueror. To give

verisimilitude to his fiction, he selected a Roman, like Crassus in personal appearance,

clad him in the proconsular insignia, mounted him on a horse, compelled him to play his

part, and sent after him into Seleucia a troop of mockers and abandoned women. Going into

Seleucia himself, the Surena divulged to the Senate the horrid immoralities which he had

discovered in the literature of the Roman camp-a revelation sufficiently disgusting to the

people who were unable to recognize in themselves a society fully as abominable and more

perfidious in its manners than that of the Romans.

By this time, however, the Surena had reached the limit of his career. His success in the

field had been so great as to make him, according to the judgment of Orodes, a person

dangerous to the Empire. The great captain was accordingly seized and put to death. The

command of the army was transferred to Osaces, who was presently sent to the Syrian

frontier, to assist