The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 8)

My, this is a long chapter.  But it brings the whole pre-Islamic period to an end, so we’re stuck with it.  The narrative of Chosroes II continues.

24. When Kisra came to Maurice, king of Rum, he was received with very great honors and granted many soldiers in aid.  With the soldiers that Maurice had given him, Kisra entered Armenia and encamped near Adharbayğān, where he fought a violent battle.  Bahram Sūnir was defeated and fled to the Turks.  But Kisra did not desist from pursuing him until he killed him.  Kisra, son of Hurmuz, called Abarwīz, reigned thirty-nine years.  This happened in the seventh year of the reign of Maurice, king of Rum.  When he became undisputed king, Kisra sent back the soldiers that he had been given by the king Maurice, after covering them with gifts, and the best gifts that one of his rank had the authority to give to others like himself.  He then wrote a letter to King Maurice asking him to give him in marriage his daughter Maria.  King Maurice replied with a letter in which he said: “I am not allowed to give my daughter as your wife unless you become a Christian.”  Kisra granted his request and agreed to become a Christian.  His advisers, his ministers and his generals condemned such conduct, saying: “What you intend is shameful for both us and for you.  No king of Persia has ever done such a thing from Azdashīr until today.  Your desire to marry this woman should definitely not lead you to abandon the faith of your fathers.  Moreover, we cannot advise you at all to adopt the religion of the Christians, because the Christians are a people unable to keep a deal, nor you can trust their word.”  But [Kisra] did not accept their advice.  Becoming a Christian, Kisra wrote to the king Maurice a letter in which he made him aware of it.  Maurice sent his daughter with an indescribable amount of gold and silver, with furniture, servants and handmaids, of which the equal has never been seen.  Abarwīz Kisra later arrested those who had killed his father and put them to death, even his uncles Nibdī and Nistām.  Then he set to rule his subjects with despotism and harsh manners, preoccupied with amassing wealth as none of his predecessors had ever been, and avoiding spending it.  He was contemptuous of the nobles and humbled the leaders.

25. Maurice, king of Rum, had a servant named Theodore whom he loved and favored.  But it happened that he became angry with him and had him flogged in blood, to the point that he had a heart full of resentment against him.  There was also one of his generals named Phocas, with whom king Maurice was angry.  Then Phocas said to the servant Theodore, after giving him money: “Find a way to kill Maurice”.  Driven by resentment stored up towards Maurice, the servant came to him at night, killed him and Phocas took possession of the kingdom.  Phocas reigned over Rum for eight years.  This happened in the fifteenth year of the reign of Kisra, king of the Persians.  King Phocas broke out against the children of Maurice and he killed them, but their nurse managed to save one and hid him, replacing him with his own son who was killed.  When he  grew up, the young man embraced the monastic life on Mount Sinai and died.  When Kisra, son of Hurmuz, had notice that the king Maurice was killed along with all his children, he summoned his advisers and said to them: “I can’t avoid claiming revenge for the blood of my father in law, to avenge him”.  Instigating this was his wife Maria, daughter of Maurice.  And his ministers said to him: “We told you that the Christians have neither honor nor religion nor acknowledge an alliance, but you would not listen to us.  If they had had honor or religion, they would not have killed their king.  However now we will advise the king how he should behave with them, to humiliate their hearts, to overthrow the whole state, and annihilate the religion.  They have a temple in Jerusalem which they hold in great reverence.  However, let the king send to destroy it, and as soon as that temple is destroyed their power will weaken and their kingdom will be impoverished.”


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