Front Page Titles (by Subject) 10.: THE WAR IN AFRICA AFTER THE DEATH OF SOLOMON — ( P. 238 sqq. ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 7
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10.: THE WAR IN AFRICA AFTER THE DEATH OF SOLOMON — ( P. 238 sqq. ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 7 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 7.
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THE WAR IN AFRICA AFTER THE DEATH OF SOLOMON — (P. 238sqq.)
John — who is distinguished, among the numerous officers who bore the same name, as the “brother of Pappus” (Jordanes calls him Troglita; Rom. 385) — arrived in Africa towards the end of 546. He had served under Belisarius in the overthrow of the Vandal kingdom and had remained in Africa during the first military governorship of Solomon (Joh. i. 470). He was then commander of the army in Mesopotamia in the Persian War (Procop. B.P. 2, 14), and was engaged in the battle of Nisibis in which Nabedes was defeated in 541. Procopius (ib. 17) represents him as on this occasion rashly involving the army in extreme peril, which was only avoided by the skill of Belisarius; but Corippus ascribes the victory to his hero: —
John contrived to enter Theodosiopolis, when it was besieged by the host of Mermeroes, and took part in the defeat of that general at Daras (Coripp. ib. 70 sqq.). He brought with him to Africa a trusted councillor named Recinarius — lateri Recinarius haerens (ib. 2, 314), — who had been employed in the negotiations with Chosroes in 544.
It would probably have been impossible for the Roman power to hold its own in Africa, if the Moors from the Syrtis Major to Mount Atlas had been united in a solid league. It is highly important to observe that the success of the Empire depended on the discord of the Moorish chiefs, and that the forces upon which John relied in the war were more Moorish than Roman. The three most important chiefs were Antāla, king of the Frexenses (Fraschisch), in Byzacium; Cūsĭna, whose tribe1 was settled under Mount Aurasius, in the neighbourhood of Lambaesis; and Jaudas, king of the Moors of Mount Aurasius. Cusina and Antala were always on opposite sides. Antala was loyal to Rome, when Cusina rebelled in 535; Cusina was true to Solomon, when Antala took up arms in 544. John was now supported by Cusina, and by Ifisdaias, the chief of another tribe in Numidia. The first battle was fought in the interior regions of Byzacium, in the winter 546-7, and Antala was routed. John returned to Carthage, but in the following summer had to face a great coalition of the Syrtic tribes, including the Laguantan and the Marmarides, under the leadership of Carcasan. This league was not joined by Antala. The Romans suffered a complete defeat near Marta, a place about ten Roman miles from Tacape on the Lesser Syrtis (Partsch, Proœm. p. xxxiii.), and John was unable to resume hostilities till the following year. He retired to Laribus in Western Zeugitana, a town which Justinian had fortified:2 —
Here he was close to Numidia and his Moorish confederates, the faithful Cusina and the savage Ifisdaias, and here he spent the winter 547-8. He succeeded in obtaining the help of King Jaudas, who was generally hostile to Rome; and the whole army, including the immense forces of Cusina and Ifisdaias, assembled in the plain of Arsuris, an unknown place, probably in Byzacium. The Marmaridae and Southern Moors had now been joined by Antala. His wise advice was not to venture on a battle until they had wearied the enemy out by long marches, and the Moors withdrew to the south of Byzacium. But John declined to pursue them; he fortified himself in a stronghold on the coast of that province, where he would probably have awaited their attack if the event had not been hastened by the impatience of his mutinous soldiers. With the help of his Moorish allies he repressed the sedition, but thought it wise to lead his army down into the plains. He encamped in an unknown region called the “fields of Cato,” and the Moors, pressed by hunger, were soon compelled to leave their camp and take the field. The defeat of Marta was brilliantly retrieved. Carcasan fell, and the Moors were so effectually broken that Africa had rest for about fourteen years. John remained in Africa as magister militum, at least till 553, in which year we find him undertaking an expedition to Sardinia.3
In 562 the Moorish troubles broke out again. Cusina, the faithful adherent to the Roman cause, was treacherously killed by John Rogatinus, the magister militum, and his sons roused the Moors to vengeance, and devastated the provinces.4
In this account I have been assisted by the disquisition of J. Partsch, in the Proœmium to his edition of Corippus, and by the narrative of M. Ch. Diehl, in L’Afrique byzantine.
[1 ]The name is not certain. The verse 3, 408,
[2 ]A plan of the citadel is given in Diehl, l’Afrique byzantine, p. 273.
[3 ]Procop. B.G. 4, 24.
[4 ]John Malalas, p. 495, ed. Bonn. Cp. Diehl, p. 599.