Here is the first of what I hope will be a series of recordings from Sir Edward Gibbon‘s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which I have been reading over the last couple of years with my private student, Dr M, as part of our “History in English” class.
We have reached the XXIVth chapter. Julian the Apostate is now emperor and has embarked on the invasion of Persia.
In this extract, we follow the progress of the Roman army as they leave the Christian city of Antioch and head east towards, and then down, the Euphrates towards Ctesiphon the capital of the Persian empire…
We hear Xenephon‘s description of the desert when he marched across it with Cyrus the Younger, 700 years before Julian. We hear Julian win over his troops with his oratory when they grumble about how little they received as a reward for their exertions:
“Riches are the object of your desires; those riches are in the hands of the Persians…”
Read this chapter online: Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XXIV