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Historical Sketches: Volumes 1 To 3 -Blessed John Henry Newman

“Lately I have been flitting from place to place in the very depth of winter, now in towns, now in ravines and woods, driven to and fro by the inroads of the Isaurians. When this disturbance had at length abated a little, I left these desolate places, and betook myself to Arabissus; not to the town, for that is quite as unsafe as they are, but to the fortress, which, however, in spite of its being safer, was a worse dwelling than any prison. And, besides the imminent prospect of death day by day from the Isaurians, who were making their attacks in every direction, and destroying human beings and houses by fire and sword, I am in dread of famine too, from our want of resources, and the number who have taken refuge here. And I have had to endure a tedious illness, brought on by the winter and my incessant wanderings, and I still carry the remains of it, though I have recovered from its violence.”—Ep. 69.

And to Polybius:

“I lament your separation from me as a heavier trial than this desolateness, my illness, and the winter. The winter, indeed, has added to it; for it has deprived me of that intercourse by letter, which was my sole relief of your most painful absence; roads being blocked up by vast drifts of snow, and the passage interrupted, whether from the outward world hither, or from hence to you. And now the same obstruction is caused by fear of the Isaurians; nay, much greater, increasing the desolateness, putting into confusion, flight, and exile the whole population. No one any longer endures to remain at home; all leave their dwellings and scamper off. The cities are but walls and roofs; and the ravines and woods are cities. We, who dwell in Armenia, are obliged to run from place to place day after day, living the life of nomads and strollers, from fear to settle any where; such confusion reigns. When the plunderers come up, they slaughter, burn, enslave; when they are even rumoured, they put to flight the inhabitants of the cities, nay, I may say, murder them also; for the young children, who have been suddenly forced to fly, as if smoked out of their houses, in the dead of night, often in hard frost, have needed no Isaurian sword, but have been frozen to death in the snow.”—Ep. 127.

To another friend he says, “In whatever direction you go, you will see torrents of blood, heaps of corpses, houses demolished, cities sacked.”—Ep. 68. He seems to have been besieged at Arabissus, from the following passage:

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