After having mentioned the events in Syria just before the death of
Decius (the troubles in Cappadocia and Syria, see above), the death of
Decius and the accession of Trebonianus Gallus, the civil war in Rome
and the famine, plague and storms which raged during this time (a
cliché several times repeated by him) the author adds (107 f.)
the following general remark: | .
. The and calamities which overcame Syria he divides
into three sections arranged apparently in chronological order:
110-118; 119-136 and, after an excursus (137- 146) on the conditions
in the rest of the Empire and the civil war, a third section,
147-154. All this is before the accession of Valerian and Gallienus,
who are first mentioned in 155 ff.
It is reasonable to suggest that the first section, though not exactly dated and rather general in its statements, is not a general summary of the next two sections but deals with events which preceded the invasion of Syria by Shapuhr, which last is described in 119-136. The calamities which are mentioned: flight to other countries of well-to-do people, wholesale murders and unheard of suffering are ascribed to a combined action of Persians and Syrians, 110 f.: | . We may suppose that the campaign of Shapuhr and his invasion of Syria were preceded by events similar to those which took place under Jotapianus and Uranius Antoninus and those which happened in A.D. 250/1 in Cappadocia and Syria, that is to say a revolt of the population against the Romans due to the anarchy which reigned in the Roman Empire, a revolt supported by the Persians.
Be this as it may, in the following section (119-136) the author gives a substantial and picturesque report of the invasion of Syria by the Persians, who were led by a man described as (v. 122), almost certainly Mareades, whose agents we may perhaps hold responsible for the troubles in Syria immediately before this invasion (vv. 110 ff.). Antioch was taken, pillaged, deprived of residents (, apparently meaning taking the population as captives) and destroyed. Hierapolis, Beroea and Chalcis met the same fate. In addition the whole of Syria and part of Asia were devastated and pillaged. Instead of cities the "prophet" mentions the mountains (Casius and Amanus) and the rivers (Lycus, Marsyas, Pyramus) of the invaded regions. It is superfluous to remind the reader how similar is this account to the report of Shapuhr on his first invasion of Syria in his inscription. Hierapolis, Beroea, Chalcis and Antioch are all of them mentioned.
After this account of the invasion of Syria comes the excursus (137-146) dealing with the events in the rest of the Roman Empire, some confused words about civil war and the victory and death of Aemilianus. We are therefore, according to the author in the summer of A.D. 253.
But the Persian invasion was not yet over. The Persians were still in Syria. Their success would be complete were it not for the resistance of an , native of Syria, called .It is probably the Sampsiceramus of Malalas (see below) and his defense of Hemesa, described by Malalas as a complete success of Sampsiceramus.
All the events described by Orac. Sib. XIII, 103-134 are assigned to the reigns of
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