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Title: History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 3
Author: Gibbon, Edward
Language: English
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HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Edward Gibbon,
Esq. With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman Vol. 3 1782 (Written), 1845
(Revised)



    CONTENTS


    Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part I.

         Death Of Gratian.—Ruin Of Arianism.—St. Ambrose.—First
         Civil War, Against Maximus.—Character, Administration, And
         Penance Of Theodosius.—Death Of Valentinian II.—Second
         Civil War, Against Eugenius.—Death Of Theodosius.

    Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part II.

    Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part III.

    Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part V.

    Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part I.

         Final Destruction Of Paganism.—Introduction Of The Worship
         Of Saints, And Relics, Among The Christians.

    Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part II.

    Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part III.

    Chapter XXIX: Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of Theodosius.—Part I.

         Final Division Of The Roman Empire Between The Sons Of
         Theodosius.—Reign Of Arcadius And Honorius—Administration
         Of Rufinus And Stilicho.—Revolt And Defeat Of Gildo In
         Africa.

    Chapter XXIX: Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of Theodosius.—Part II.

    Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part I.

         Revolt Of The Goths.—They Plunder Greece.—Two Great
         Invasions Of Italy By Alaric And Radagaisus.—They Are
         Repulsed By Stilicho.—The Germans Overrun Gaul.—Usurpation
         Of Constantine In The West.—Disgrace And Death Of Stilicho.

    Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part II.

    Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part III.

    Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part V.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part I.

         Invasion Of Italy By Alaric.—Manners Of The Roman Senate
         And People.—Rome Is Thrice Besieged, And At Length
         Pillaged, By The Goths.—Death Of Alaric.—The Goths
         Evacuate Italy.—Fall Of Constantine.—Gaul And Spain Are
         Occupied By The Barbarians. —Independence Of Britain.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part V.

    Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By Barbarians.—Part VI.

    Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part I.

         Arcadius Emperor Of The East.—Administration And Disgrace
         Of Eutropius.—Revolt Of Gainas.—Persecution Of St. John
         Chrysostom.—Theodosius II. Emperor Of The East.—His Sister
         Pulcheria.—His Wife Eudocia.—The Persian War, And Division
         Of Armenia.

    Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.—Part I.

         Death Of Honorius.—Valentinian III.—Emperor Of The East.
         —Administration Of His Mother Placidia—Aetius And
         Boniface.—Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

    Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part I.

         The Character, Conquests, And Court Of Attila, King Of The
         Huns.—Death Of Theodosius The Younger.—Elevation Of
         Marcian To The Empire Of The East.

    Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part I.

         Invasion Of Gaul By Attila.—He Is Repulsed By Aetius And
         The Visigoths.—Attila Invades And Evacuates Italy.—The
         Deaths Of Attila, Aetius, And Valentinian The Third.

    Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part I.

         Sack Of Rome By Genseric, King Of The Vandals.—His Naval
         Depredations.—Succession Of The Last Emperors Of The West,
         Maximus, Avitus, Majorian, Severus, Anthemius, Olybrius,
         Glycerius, Nepos, Augustulus.—Total Extinction Of The
         Western Empire.—Reign Of Odoacer, The First Barbarian King
         Of Italy.

    Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part V.

    Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.—Part I.

         Origin Progress, And Effects Of The Monastic Life.—
         Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity And Arianism.—
         Persecution Of The Vandals In Africa.—Extinction Of
         Arianism Among The Barbarians.

    Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part I.

         Reign And Conversion Of Clovis.—His Victories Over The
         Alemanni, Burgundians, And Visigoths.—Establishment Of The
         French Monarchy In Gaul.—Laws Of The Barbarians.—State Of
         The Romans.—The Visigoths Of Spain.—Conquest Of Britain By
         The Saxons.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part II.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part III.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part IV.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part V.

    Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.—Part VI.



Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part I.

     Death Of Gratian.—Ruin Of Arianism.—St. Ambrose.—First
     Civil War, Against Maximus.—Character, Administration, And
     Penance Of Theodosius.—Death Of Valentinian II.—Second
     Civil War, Against Eugenius.—Death Of Theodosius.

The fame of Gratian, before he had accomplished the twentieth year of
his age, was equal to that of the most celebrated princes. His gentle
and amiable disposition endeared him to his private friends, the
graceful affability of his manners engaged the affection of the people:
the men of letters, who enjoyed the liberality, acknowledged the taste
and eloquence, of their sovereign; his valor and dexterity in arms were
equally applauded by the soldiers; and the clergy considered the humble
piety of Gratian as the first and most useful of his virtues. The
victory of Colmar had delivered the West from a formidable invasion; and
the grateful provinces of the East ascribed the merits of Theodosius to
the author of his greatness, and of the public safety. Gratian survived
those memorable events only four or five years; but he survived his
reputation; and, before he fell a victim to rebellion, he had lost, in a
great measure, the respect and confidence of the Roman world.

The remarkable alteration of his character or conduct may not be imputed
to the arts of flattery, which had besieged the son of Valentinian from
his infancy; nor to the headstrong passions which the that gentle youth
appears to have escaped. A more attentive view of the life of Gratian
may perhaps suggest the true cause of the disappointment of the public
hopes. His apparent virtues, instead of being the hardy productions of
experience and adversity, were the premature and artificial fruits of
a royal education. The anxious tenderness of his father was continually
employed to bestow on him those advantages, which he might perhaps
esteem the more highly, as he himself had been deprived of them; and the
most skilful masters of every science, and of every art, had labored to
form the mind and body of the young prince. 1 The knowledge which they
painfully communicated was displayed with ostentation, and celebrated
with lavish praise. His soft and tractable disposition received the fair
impression of their judicious precepts, and the absence of passion might
easily be mistaken for the strength of reason. His preceptors gradually
rose to the rank and consequence of ministers of state: 2 and, as
they wisely dissembled their secret authority, he seemed to act with
firmness, with propriety, and with judgment, on the most important
occasions of his life and reign. But the influence of this elaborate
instruction did not penetrate beyond the surface; and the skilful
preceptors, who so accurately guided the steps of their royal pupil,
could not infuse into his feeble and indolent character the vigorous and
independent principle of action which renders the laborious pursuit
of glory essentially necessary to the happiness, and almost to the
existence, of the hero. As soon as time and accident had removed those
faithful counsellors from the throne, the emperor of the West insensibly
descended to the level of his natural genius; abandoned the reins of
government to the ambitious hands which were stretched forwards to grasp
them; and amused his leisure with the most frivolous gratifications. A
public sale of favor and injustice was instituted, both in the court and
in the provinces, by the worthless delegates of his power, whose merit
it was made sacrilege to question. 3 The conscience of the credulous
prince was directed by saints and bishops; 4 who procured an Imperial
edict to punish, as a capital offence, the violation, the neglect, or
even the ignorance, of the divine law. 5 Among the various arts which
had exercised the youth of Gratian, he had applied himself, with
singular inclination and success, to manage the horse, to draw the bow,
and to dart the javelin; and these qualifications, which might be useful
to a soldier, were prostituted to the viler purposes of hunting. Large
parks were enclosed for the Imperial pleasures, and plentifully stocked
with every species of wild beasts; and Gratian neglected the duties, and
even the dignity, of his rank, to consume whole days in the vain display
of his dexterity and boldness in the chase. The pride and wish of the
Roman emperor to excel in an art, in which he might be surpassed by the
meanest of his slaves, reminded the numerous spectators of the examples
of Nero and Commodus, but the chaste and temperate Gratian was a
stranger to their monstrous vices; and his hands were stained only with
the blood of animals. 6 The behavior of Gratian, which degraded his
character in the eyes of mankind, could not have disturbed the security
of his reign, if the army had not been provoked to resent their peculiar
injuries. As long as the young emperor was guided by the instructions of
his masters, he professed himself the friend and pupil of the soldiers;
many of his hours were spent in the familiar conversation of the camp;
and the health, the comforts, the rewards, the honors, of his faithful
troops, appeared to be the objects of his attentive concern. But,
after Gratian more freely indulged his prevailing taste for hunting
and shooting, he naturally connected himself with the most dexterous
ministers of his favorite amusement. A body of the Alani was received
into the military and domestic service of the palace; and the admirable
skill, which they were accustomed to display in the unbounded plains
of Scythia, was exercised, on a more narrow theatre, in the parks and
enclosures of Gaul. Gratian admired the talents and customs of these
favorite guards, to whom alone he intrusted the defence of his person;
and, as if he meant to insult the public opinion, he frequently showed
himself to the soldiers and people, with the dress and arms, the long
bow, the sounding quiver, and the fur garments of a Scythian warrior.
The unworthy spectacle of a Roman prince, who had renounced the dress
and manners of his country, filled the minds of the legions with grief
and indignation. 7 Even the Germans, so strong and formidable in
the armies of the empire, affected to disdain the strange and horrid
appearance of the savages of the North, who, in the space of a few
years, had wandered from the banks of the Volga to those of the Seine. A
loud and licentious murmur was echoed through the camps and garrisons of
the West; and as the mild indolence of Gratian neglected to extinguish
the first symptoms of discontent, the want of love and respect was not
supplied by the influence of fear. But the subversion of an established
government is always a work of some real, and of much apparent,
difficulty; and the throne of Gratian was protected by the sanctions of
custom, law, religion, and the nice balance of the civil and military
powers, which had been established by the policy of Constantine. It is
not very important to inquire from what cause the revolt of Britain
was produced. Accident is commonly the parent of disorder; the seeds
of rebellion happened to fall on a soil which was supposed to be more
fruitful than any other in tyrants and usurpers; 8 the legions of that
sequestered island had been long famous for a spirit of presumption and
arrogance; 9 and the name of Maximus was proclaimed, by the tumultuary,
but unanimous voice, both of the soldiers and of the provincials. The
emperor, or the rebel,—for this title was not yet ascertained by
fortune,—was a native of Spain, the countryman, the fellow-soldier,
and the rival of Theodosius whose elevation he had not seen without some
emotions of envy and resentment: the events of his life had long
since fixed him in Britain; and I should not be unwilling to find some
evidence for the marriage, which he is said to have contracted with the
daughter of a wealthy lord of Caernarvonshire. 10 But this provincial
rank might justly be considered as a state of exile and obscurity;
and if Maximus had obtained any civil or military office, he was not
invested with the authority either of governor or general. 11 His
abilities, and even his integrity, are acknowledged by the partial
writers of the age; and the merit must indeed have been conspicuous
that could extort such a confession in favor of the vanquished enemy of
Theodosius. The discontent of Maximus might incline him to censure the
conduct of his sovereign, and to encourage, perhaps, without any views
of ambition, the murmurs of the troops. But in the midst of the tumult,
he artfully, or modestly, refused to ascend the throne; and some credit
appears to have been given to his own positive declaration, that he was
compelled to accept the dangerous present of the Imperial purple. 12

1 (return) [ Valentinian was less attentive to the religion of his son;
since he intrusted the education of Gratian to Ausonius, a professed
Pagan. (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xv. p. 125-138). The
poetical fame of Ausonius condemns the taste of his age.]

2 (return) [ Ausonius was successively promoted to the Praetorian
praefecture of Italy, (A.D. 377,) and of Gaul, (A.D. 378;) and was
at length invested with the consulship, (A.D. 379.) He expressed his
gratitude in a servile and insipid piece of flattery, (Actio Gratiarum,
p. 699-736,) which has survived more worthy productions.]

3 (return) [ Disputare de principali judicio non oportet. Sacrilegii
enim instar est dubitare, an is dignus sit, quem elegerit imperator.
Codex Justinian, l. ix. tit. xxix. leg. 3. This convenient law was
revived and promulgated, after the death of Gratian, by the feeble court
of Milan.]

4 (return) [ Ambrose composed, for his instruction, a theological
treatise on the faith of the Trinity: and Tillemont, (Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. v. p. 158, 169,) ascribes to the archbishop the merit of
Gratian's intolerant laws.]

5 (return) [ Qui divinae legis sanctitatem nesciendo omittunt, aut
negligende violant, et offendunt, sacrilegium committunt. Codex
Justinian. l. ix. tit. xxix. leg. 1. Theodosius indeed may claim his
share in the merit of this comprehensive law.]

6 (return) [ Ammianus (xxxi. 10) and the younger Victor acknowledge the
virtues of Gratian; and accuse, or rather lament, his degenerate taste.
The odious parallel of Commodus is saved by "licet incruentus;" and
perhaps Philostorgius (l. x. c. 10, and Godefroy, p. 41) had guarded
with some similar reserve, the comparison of Nero.]

7 (return) [ Zosimus (l. iv. p. 247) and the younger Victor ascribe the
revolution to the favor of the Alani, and the discontent of the Roman
troops Dum exercitum negligeret, et paucos ex Alanis, quos ingenti auro
ad sa transtulerat, anteferret veteri ac Romano militi.]

8 (return) [ Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, is a memorable
expression, used by Jerom in the Pelagian controversy, and variously
tortured in the disputes of our national antiquaries. The revolutions
of the last age appeared to justify the image of the sublime Bossuet,
"sette ile, plus orageuse que les mers qui l'environment."]

9 (return) [ Zosimus says of the British soldiers.]

10 (return) [ Helena, the daughter of Eudda. Her chapel may still be
seen at Caer-segont, now Caer-narvon. (Carte's Hist. of England, vol. i.
p. 168, from Rowland's Mona Antiqua.) The prudent reader may not perhaps
be satisfied with such Welsh evidence.]

11 (return) [ Camden (vol. i. introduct. p. ci.) appoints him governor
at Britain; and the father of our antiquities is followed, as usual, by
his blind progeny. Pacatus and Zosimus had taken some pains to prevent
this error, or fable; and I shall protect myself by their decisive
testimonies. Regali habitu exulem suum, illi exules orbis induerunt, (in
Panegyr. Vet. xii. 23,) and the Greek historian still less equivocally,
(Maximus) (l. iv. p. 248.)]

12 (return) [ Sulpicius Severus, Dialog. ii. 7. Orosius, l. vii. c.
34. p. 556. They both acknowledge (Sulpicius had been his subject) his
innocence and merit. It is singular enough, that Maximus should be less
favorably treated by Zosimus, the partial adversary of his rival.]

But there was danger likewise in refusing the empire; and from the
moment that Maximus had violated his allegiance to his lawful sovereign,
he could not hope to reign, or even to live, if he confined his moderate
ambition within the narrow limits of Britain. He boldly and wisely
resolved to prevent the designs of Gratian; the youth of the island
crowded to his standard, and he invaded Gaul with a fleet and
army, which were long afterwards remembered, as the emigration of a
considerable part of the British nation. 13 The emperor, in his peaceful
residence of Paris, was alarmed by their hostile approach; and the darts
which he idly wasted on lions and bears, might have been employed more
honorably against the rebels. But his feeble efforts announced his
degenerate spirit and desperate situation; and deprived him of the
resources, which he still might have found, in the support of his
subjects and allies. The armies of Gaul, instead of opposing the march
of Maximus, received him with joyful and loyal acclamations; and the
shame of the desertion was transferred from the people to the prince.
The troops, whose station more immediately attached them to the service
of the palace, abandoned the standard of Gratian the first time that it
was displayed in the neighborhood of Paris. The emperor of the West fled
towards Lyons, with a train of only three hundred horse; and, in the
cities along the road, where he hoped to find refuge, or at least a
passage, he was taught, by cruel experience, that every gate is shut
against the unfortunate. Yet he might still have reached, in safety,
the dominions of his brother; and soon have returned with the forces
of Italy and the East; if he had not suffered himself to be fatally
deceived by the perfidious governor of the Lyonnese province. Gratian
was amused by protestations of doubtful fidelity, and the hopes of a
support, which could not be effectual; till the arrival of Andragathius,
the general of the cavalry of Maximus, put an end to his suspense. That
resolute officer executed, without remorse, the orders or the intention
of the usurper. Gratian, as he rose from supper, was delivered into the
hands of the assassin: and his body was denied to the pious and pressing
entreaties of his brother Valentinian. 14 The death of the emperor was
followed by that of his powerful general Mellobaudes, the king of the
Franks; who maintained, to the last moment of his life, the ambiguous
reputation, which is the just recompense of obscure and subtle policy.
15 These executions might be necessary to the public safety: but the
successful usurper, whose power was acknowledged by all the provinces of
the West, had the merit, and the satisfaction, of boasting, that, except
those who had perished by the chance of war, his triumph was not stained
by the blood of the Romans. 16

13 (return) [ Archbishop Usher (Antiquat. Britan. Eccles. p. 107, 108)
has diligently collected the legends of the island, and the continent.
The whole emigration consisted of 30,000 soldiers, and 100,000
plebeians, who settled in Bretagne. Their destined brides, St. Ursula
with 11,000 noble, and 60,000 plebeian, virgins, mistook their way;
landed at Cologne, and were all most cruelly murdered by the Huns. But
the plebeian sisters have been defrauded of their equal honors; and what
is still harder, John Trithemius presumes to mention the children of
these British virgins.]

14 (return) [ Zosimus (l. iv. p. 248, 249) has transported the death
of Gratian from Lugdunum in Gaul (Lyons) to Singidunum in Moesia. Some
hints may be extracted from the Chronicles; some lies may be detected in
Sozomen (l. vii. c. 13) and Socrates, (l. v. c. 11.) Ambrose is our
most authentic evidence, (tom. i. Enarrat. in Psalm lxi. p. 961, tom ii.
epist. xxiv. p. 888 &c., and de Obitu Valentinian Consolat. Ner. 28, p.
1182.)]

15 (return) [ Pacatus (xii. 28) celebrates his fidelity; while his
treachery is marked in Prosper's Chronicle, as the cause of the ruin of
Gratian. Ambrose, who has occasion to exculpate himself, only condemns
the death of Vallio, a faithful servant of Gratian, (tom. ii. epist.
xxiv. p. 891, edit. Benedict.) * Note: Le Beau contests the reading
in the chronicle of Prosper upon which this charge rests. Le Beau, iv.
232.—M. * Note: According to Pacatus, the Count Vallio, who commanded
the army, was carried to Chalons to be burnt alive; but Maximus,
dreading the imputation of cruelty, caused him to be secretly strangled
by his Bretons. Macedonius also, master of the offices, suffered the
death which he merited. Le Beau, iv. 244.—M.]

16 (return) [ He protested, nullum ex adversariis nisi in acissie
occubu. Sulp. Jeverus in Vit. B. Martin, c. 23. The orator Theodosius
bestows reluctant, and therefore weighty, praise on his clemency. Si
cui ille, pro ceteris sceleribus suis, minus crudelis fuisse videtur,
(Panegyr. Vet. xii. 28.)]

The events of this revolution had passed in such rapid succession, that
it would have been impossible for Theodosius to march to the relief of
his benefactor, before he received the intelligence of his defeat and
death. During the season of sincere grief, or ostentatious mourning,
the Eastern emperor was interrupted by the arrival of the principal
chamberlain of Maximus; and the choice of a venerable old man, for an
office which was usually exercised by eunuchs, announced to the court of
Constantinople the gravity and temperance of the British usurper.

The ambassador condescended to justify, or excuse, the conduct of his
master; and to protest, in specious language, that the murder of
Gratian had been perpetrated, without his knowledge or consent, by the
precipitate zeal of the soldiers. But he proceeded, in a firm and equal
tone, to offer Theodosius the alternative of peace, or war. The speech
of the ambassador concluded with a spirited declaration, that although
Maximus, as a Roman, and as the father of his people, would choose
rather to employ his forces in the common defence of the republic,
he was armed and prepared, if his friendship should be rejected, to
dispute, in a field of battle, the empire of the world. An immediate
and peremptory answer was required; but it was extremely difficult for
Theodosius to satisfy, on this important occasion, either the feelings
of his own mind, or the expectations of the public. The imperious voice
of honor and gratitude called aloud for revenge. From the liberality
of Gratian, he had received the Imperial diadem; his patience would
encourage the odious suspicion, that he was more deeply sensible of
former injuries, than of recent obligations; and if he accepted the
friendship, he must seem to share the guilt, of the assassin. Even the
principles of justice, and the interest of society, would receive a
fatal blow from the impunity of Maximus; and the example of successful
usurpation would tend to dissolve the artificial fabric of government,
and once more to replunge the empire in the crimes and calamities of
the preceding age. But, as the sentiments of gratitude and honor
should invariably regulate the conduct of an individual, they may
be overbalanced in the mind of a sovereign, by the sense of superior
duties; and the maxims both of justice and humanity must permit the
escape of an atrocious criminal, if an innocent people would be involved
in the consequences of his punishment. The assassin of Gratian had
usurped, but he actually possessed, the most warlike provinces of the
empire: the East was exhausted by the misfortunes, and even by the
success, of the Gothic war; and it was seriously to be apprehended,
that, after the vital strength of the republic had been wasted in a
doubtful and destructive contest, the feeble conqueror would remain an
easy prey to the Barbarians of the North. These weighty considerations
engaged Theodosius to dissemble his resentment, and to accept the
alliance of the tyrant. But he stipulated, that Maximus should content
himself with the possession of the countries beyond the Alps. The
brother of Gratian was confirmed and secured in the sovereignty of
Italy, Africa, and the Western Illyricum; and some honorable conditions
were inserted in the treaty, to protect the memory, and the laws, of the
deceased emperor. 17 According to the custom of the age, the images of
the three Imperial colleagues were exhibited to the veneration of the
people; nor should it be lightly supposed, that, in the moment of a
solemn reconciliation, Theodosius secretly cherished the intention of
perfidy and revenge. 18

17 (return) [ Ambrose mentions the laws of Gratian, quas non abrogavit
hostia (tom. ii epist. xvii. p. 827.)]

18 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 251, 252. We may disclaim his odious
suspicions; but we cannot reject the treaty of peace which the friends
of Theodosius have absolutely forgotten, or slightly mentioned.]

The contempt of Gratian for the Roman soldiers had exposed him to the
fatal effects of their resentment. His profound veneration for the
Christian clergy was rewarded by the applause and gratitude of a
powerful order, which has claimed, in every age, the privilege of
dispensing honors, both on earth and in heaven. 19 The orthodox bishops
bewailed his death, and their own irreparable loss; but they were soon
comforted by the discovery, that Gratian had committed the sceptre of
the East to the hands of a prince, whose humble faith and fervent zeal,
were supported by the spirit and abilities of a more vigorous character.
Among the benefactors of the church, the fame of Constantine has been
rivalled by the glory of Theodosius. If Constantine had the advantage
of erecting the standard of the cross, the emulation of his successor
assumed the merit of subduing the Arian heresy, and of abolishing the
worship of idols in the Roman world. Theodosius was the first of the
emperors baptized in the true faith of the Trinity. Although he was born
of a Christian family, the maxims, or at least the practice, of the
age, encouraged him to delay the ceremony of his initiation; till he
was admonished of the danger of delay, by the serious illness which
threatened his life, towards the end of the first year of his reign.
Before he again took the field against the Goths, he received
the sacrament of baptism 20 from Acholius, the orthodox bishop of
Thessalonica: 21 and, as the emperor ascended from the holy font, still
glowing with the warm feelings of regeneration, he dictated a solemn
edict, which proclaimed his own faith, and prescribed the religion of
his subjects. "It is our pleasure (such is the Imperial style) that all
the nations, which are governed by our clemency and moderation, should
steadfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to
the Romans; which faithful tradition has preserved; and which is now
professed by the pontiff Damasus, and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a
man of apostolic holiness. According to the discipline of the apostles,
and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe the sole deity of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; under an equal majesty, and a pious
Trinity. We authorize the followers of this doctrine to assume the title
of Catholic Christians; and as we judge, that all others are extravagant
madmen, we brand them with the infamous name of Heretics; and
declare that their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable
appellation of churches. Besides the condemnation of divine justice,
they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority,
guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict upon them." 22
The faith of a soldier is commonly the fruit of instruction, rather
than of inquiry; but as the emperor always fixed his eyes on the visible
landmarks of orthodoxy, which he had so prudently constituted, his
religious opinions were never affected by the specious texts, the subtle
arguments, and the ambiguous creeds of the Arian doctors. Once indeed he
expressed a faint inclination to converse with the eloquent and
learned Eunomius, who lived in retirement at a small distance from
Constantinople. But the dangerous interview was prevented by the prayers
of the empress Flaccilla, who trembled for the salvation of her husband;
and the mind of Theodosius was confirmed by a theological argument,
adapted to the rudest capacity. He had lately bestowed on his eldest
son, Arcadius, the name and honors of Augustus, and the two princes were
seated on a stately throne to receive the homage of their subjects.
A bishop, Amphilochius of Iconium, approached the throne, and after
saluting, with due reverence, the person of his sovereign, he accosted
the royal youth with the same familiar tenderness which he might have
used towards a plebeian child. Provoked by this insolent behavior, the
monarch gave orders, that the rustic priest should be instantly driven
from his presence. But while the guards were forcing him to the door,
the dexterous polemic had time to execute his design, by exclaiming,
with a loud voice, "Such is the treatment, O emperor! which the King
of heaven has prepared for those impious men, who affect to worship the
Father, but refuse to acknowledge the equal majesty of his divine Son."
Theodosius immediately embraced the bishop of Iconium, and never forgot
the important lesson, which he had received from this dramatic parable.
23

19 (return) [ Their oracle, the archbishop of Milan, assigns to his
pupil Gratian, a high and respectable place in heaven, (tom. ii. de
Obit. Val. Consol p. 1193.)]

20 (return) [ For the baptism of Theodosius, see Sozomen, (l. vii. c.
4,) Socrates, (l. v. c. 6,) and Tillemont, (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v.
p. 728.)]

21 (return) [ Ascolius, or Acholius, was honored by the friendship, and
the praises, of Ambrose; who styles him murus fidei atque sanctitatis,
(tom. ii. epist. xv. p. 820;) and afterwards celebrates his speed and
diligence in running to Constantinople, Italy, &c., (epist. xvi. p.
822.) a virtue which does not appertain either to a wall, or a bishop.]

22 (return) [ Codex Theodos. l. xvi. tit. i. leg. 2, with Godefroy's
Commentary, tom. vi. p. 5-9. Such an edict deserved the warmest praises
of Baronius, auream sanctionem, edictum pium et salutare.—Sic itua ad
astra.]

23 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. 6. Theodoret, l. v. c. 16. Tillemont
is displeased (Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 627, 628) with the terms of
"rustic bishop," "obscure city." Yet I must take leave to think, that
both Amphilochius and Iconium were objects of inconsiderable magnitude
in the Roman empire.]



Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part II.

Constantinople was the principal seat and fortress of Arianism; and,
in a long interval of forty years, 24 the faith of the princes and
prelates, who reigned in the capital of the East, was rejected in the
purer schools of Rome and Alexandria. The archiepiscopal throne of
Macedonius, which had been polluted with so much Christian blood, was
successively filled by Eudoxus and Damophilus. Their diocese enjoyed a
free importation of vice and error from every province of the empire;
the eager pursuit of religious controversy afforded a new occupation to
the busy idleness of the metropolis; and we may credit the assertion
of an intelligent observer, who describes, with some pleasantry, the
effects of their loquacious zeal. "This city," says he, "is full of
mechanics and slaves, who are all of them profound theologians; and
preach in the shops, and in the streets. If you desire a man to change
a piece of silver, he informs you, wherein the Son differs from the
Father; if you ask the price of a loaf, you are told by way of reply,
that the Son is inferior to the Father; and if you inquire, whether the
bath is ready, the answer is, that the Son was made out of nothing."
25 The heretics, of various denominations, subsisted in peace under the
protection of the Arians of Constantinople; who endeavored to secure
the attachment of those obscure sectaries, while they abused, with
unrelenting severity, the victory which they had obtained over
the followers of the council of Nice. During the partial reigns of
Constantius and Valens, the feeble remnant of the Homoousians was
deprived of the public and private exercise of their religion; and it
has been observed, in pathetic language, that the scattered flock was
left without a shepherd to wander on the mountains, or to be devoured
by rapacious wolves. 26 But, as their zeal, instead of being subdued,
derived strength and vigor from oppression, they seized the first
moments of imperfect freedom, which they had acquired by the death
of Valens, to form themselves into a regular congregation, under the
conduct of an episcopal pastor. Two natives of Cappadocia, Basil, and
Gregory Nazianzen, 27 were distinguished above all their contemporaries,
28 by the rare union of profane eloquence and of orthodox piety.

These orators, who might sometimes be compared, by themselves, and by
the public, to the most celebrated of the ancient Greeks, were united
by the ties of the strictest friendship. They had cultivated, with
equal ardor, the same liberal studies in the schools of Athens; they
had retired, with equal devotion, to the same solitude in the deserts
of Pontus; and every spark of emulation, or envy, appeared to be totally
extinguished in the holy and ingenuous breasts of Gregory and Basil.
But the exaltation of Basil, from a private life to the archiepiscopal
throne of Caesarea, discovered to the world, and perhaps to himself,
the pride of his character; and the first favor which he condescended to
bestow on his friend, was received, and perhaps was intended, as a cruel
insult. 29 Instead of employing the superior talents of Gregory in some
useful and conspicuous station, the haughty prelate selected, among
the fifty bishoprics of his extensive province, the wretched village of
Sasima, 30 without water, without verdure, without society, situate at
the junction of three highways, and frequented only by the incessant
passage of rude and clamorous wagoners. Gregory submitted with
reluctance to this humiliating exile; he was ordained bishop of Sasima;
but he solemnly protests, that he never consummated his spiritual
marriage with this disgusting bride. He afterwards consented to
undertake the government of his native church of Nazianzus, 31 of which
his father had been bishop above five-and-forty years. But as he was
still conscious that he deserved another audience, and another theatre,
he accepted, with no unworthy ambition, the honorable invitation, which
was addressed to him from the orthodox party of Constantinople. On his
arrival in the capital, Gregory was entertained in the house of a pious
and charitable kinsman; the most spacious room was consecrated to the
uses of religious worship; and the name of Anastasia was chosen to
express the resurrection of the Nicene faith. This private conventicle
was afterwards converted into a magnificent church; and the credulity
of the succeeding age was prepared to believe the miracles and visions,
which attested the presence, or at least the protection, of the Mother
of God. 32 The pulpit of the Anastasia was the scene of the labors
and triumphs of Gregory Nazianzen; and, in the space of two years, he
experienced all the spiritual adventures which constitute the prosperous
or adverse fortunes of a missionary. 33 The Arians, who were provoked by
the boldness of his enterprise, represented his doctrine, as if he had
preached three distinct and equal Deities; and the devout populace was
excited to suppress, by violence and tumult, the irregular assemblies of
the Athanasian heretics. From the cathedral of St. Sophia there issued a
motley crowd "of common beggars, who had forfeited their claim to pity;
of monks, who had the appearance of goats or satyrs; and of women, more
terrible than so many Jezebels." The doors of the Anastasia were broke
open; much mischief was perpetrated, or attempted, with sticks, stones,
and firebrands; and as a man lost his life in the affray, Gregory,
who was summoned the next morning before the magistrate, had the
satisfaction of supposing, that he publicly confessed the name of
Christ. After he was delivered from the fear and danger of a foreign
enemy, his infant church was disgraced and distracted by intestine
faction. A stranger who assumed the name of Maximus, 34 and the cloak of
a Cynic philosopher, insinuated himself into the confidence of Gregory;
deceived and abused his favorable opinion; and forming a secret
connection with some bishops of Egypt, attempted, by a clandestine
ordination, to supplant his patron in the episcopal seat of
Constantinople. These mortifications might sometimes tempt the
Cappadocian missionary to regret his obscure solitude. But his fatigues
were rewarded by the daily increase of his fame and his congregation;
and he enjoyed the pleasure of observing, that the greater part of his
numerous audience retired from his sermons satisfied with the eloquence
of the preacher, 35 or dissatisfied with the manifold imperfections of
their faith and practice. 36

24 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. v. Socrates, l. v. c. 7. Marcellin.
in Chron. The account of forty years must be dated from the election or
intrusion of Eusebius, who wisely exchanged the bishopric of Nicomedia
for the throne of Constantinople.]

25 (return) [ See Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv.
p. 71. The thirty-third Oration of Gregory Nazianzen affords indeed some
similar ideas, even some still more ridiculous; but I have not yet found
the words of this remarkable passage, which I allege on the faith of a
correct and liberal scholar.]

26 (return) [ See the thirty-second Oration of Gregory Nazianzen, and
the account of his own life, which he has composed in 1800 iambics.
Yet every physician is prone to exaggerate the inveterate nature of the
disease which he has cured.]

27 (return) [ I confess myself deeply indebted to the two lives of
Gregory Nazianzen, composed, with very different views, by Tillemont
(Mem. Eccles. tom. ix. p. 305-560, 692-731) and Le Clerc, (Bibliotheque
Universelle, tom. xviii. p. 1-128.)]

28 (return) [ Unless Gregory Nazianzen mistook thirty years in his own
age, he was born, as well as his friend Basil, about the year 329. The
preposterous chronology of Suidas has been graciously received, because
it removes the scandal of Gregory's father, a saint likewise, begetting
children after he became a bishop, (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. ix. p.
693-697.)]

29 (return) [ Gregory's Poem on his own Life contains some beautiful
lines, (tom. ii. p. 8,) which burst from the heart, and speak the pangs
of injured and lost friendship. ——In the Midsummer Night's Dream,
Helena addresses the same pathetic complaint to her friend Hermia:—Is
all the counsel that we two have shared. The sister's vows, &c.
Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory Nazianzen; he was
ignorant of the Greek language; but his mother tongue, the language of
Nature, is the same in Cappadocia and in Britain.]

30 (return) [ This unfavorable portrait of Sasimae is drawn by Gregory
Nazianzen, (tom. ii. de Vita sua, p. 7, 8.) Its precise situation,
forty-nine miles from Archelais, and thirty-two from Tyana, is fixed in
the Itinerary of Antoninus, (p. 144, edit. Wesseling.)]

31 (return) [ The name of Nazianzus has been immortalized by Gregory;
but his native town, under the Greek or Roman title of Diocaesarea,
(Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. ix. p. 692,) is mentioned by Pliny, (vi.
3,) Ptolemy, and Hierocles, (Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 709). It appears to
have been situate on the edge of Isauria.]

32 (return) [ See Ducange, Constant. Christiana, l. iv. p. 141, 142. The
Sozomen (l. vii. c. 5) is interpreted to mean the Virgin Mary.]

33 (return) [ Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. ix. p. 432, &c.) diligently
collects, enlarges, and explains, the oratorical and poetical hints of
Gregory himself.]

34 (return) [ He pronounced an oration (tom. i. Orat. xxiii. p. 409)
in his praise; but after their quarrel, the name of Maximus was changed
into that of Heron, (see Jerom, tom. i. in Catalog. Script. Eccles. p.
301). I touch slightly on these obscure and personal squabbles.]

35 (return) [ Under the modest emblem of a dream, Gregory (tom. ii.
Carmen ix. p. 78) describes his own success with some human complacency.
Yet it should seem, from his familiar conversation with his auditor St.
Jerom, (tom. i. Epist. ad Nepotian. p. 14,) that the preacher understood
the true value of popular applause.]

36 (return) [ Lachrymae auditorum laudes tuae sint, is the lively and
judicious advice of St. Jerom.]

The Catholics of Constantinople were animated with joyful confidence
by the baptism and edict of Theodosius; and they impatiently waited the
effects of his gracious promise. Their hopes were speedily accomplished;
and the emperor, as soon as he had finished the operations of the
campaign, made his public entry into the capital at the head of a
victorious army. The next day after his arrival, he summoned Damophilus
to his presence, and offered that Arian prelate the hard alternative of
subscribing the Nicene creed, or of instantly resigning, to the orthodox
believers, the use and possession of the episcopal palace, the cathedral
of St. Sophia, and all the churches of Constantinople. The zeal of
Damophilus, which in a Catholic saint would have been justly applauded,
embraced, without hesitation, a life of poverty and exile, 37 and his
removal was immediately followed by the purification of the Imperial
city. The Arians might complain, with some appearance of justice, that
an inconsiderable congregation of sectaries should usurp the hundred
churches, which they were insufficient to fill; whilst the far greater
part of the people was cruelly excluded from every place of religious
worship. Theodosius was still inexorable; but as the angels who
protected the Catholic cause were only visible to the eyes of faith, he
prudently reenforced those heavenly legions with the more effectual
aid of temporal and carnal weapons; and the church of St. Sophia was
occupied by a large body of the Imperial guards. If the mind of Gregory
was susceptible of pride, he must have felt a very lively satisfaction,
when the emperor conducted him through the streets in solemn triumph;
and, with his own hand, respectfully placed him on the archiepiscopal
throne of Constantinople. But the saint (who had not subdued the
imperfections of human virtue) was deeply affected by the mortifying
consideration, that his entrance into the fold was that of a wolf,
rather than of a shepherd; that the glittering arms which surrounded his
person, were necessary for his safety; and that he alone was the object
of the imprecations of a great party, whom, as men and citizens, it was
impossible for him to despise. He beheld the innumerable multitude of
either sex, and of every age, who crowded the streets, the windows, and
the roofs of the houses; he heard the tumultuous voice of rage, grief,
astonishment, and despair; and Gregory fairly confesses, that on the
memorable day of his installation, the capital of the East wore the
appearance of a city taken by storm, and in the hands of a Barbarian
conqueror. 38 About six weeks afterwards, Theodosius declared his
resolution of expelling from all the churches of his dominions the
bishops and their clergy who should obstinately refuse to believe, or at
least to profess, the doctrine of the council of Nice. His lieutenant,
Sapor, was armed with the ample powers of a general law, a special
commission, and a military force; 39 and this ecclesiastical revolution
was conducted with so much discretion and vigor, that the religion of
the emperor was established, without tumult or bloodshed, in all the
provinces of the East. The writings of the Arians, if they had been
permitted to exist, 40 would perhaps contain the lamentable story of the
persecution, which afflicted the church under the reign of the impious
Theodosius; and the sufferings of their holy confessors might claim the
pity of the disinterested reader. Yet there is reason to imagine, that
the violence of zeal and revenge was, in some measure, eluded by the
want of resistance; and that, in their adversity, the Arians displayed
much less firmness than had been exerted by the orthodox party under the
reigns of Constantius and Valens. The moral character and conduct of the
hostile sects appear to have been governed by the same common principles
of nature and religion: but a very material circumstance may be
discovered, which tended to distinguish the degrees of their theological
faith. Both parties, in the schools, as well as in the temples,
acknowledged and worshipped the divine majesty of Christ; and, as we are
always prone to impute our own sentiments and passions to the Deity,
it would be deemed more prudent and respectful to exaggerate, than to
circumscribe, the adorable perfections of the Son of God. The disciple
of Athanasius exulted in the proud confidence, that he had entitled
himself to the divine favor; while the follower of Arius must have been
tormented by the secret apprehension, that he was guilty, perhaps, of
an unpardonable offence, by the scanty praise, and parsimonious honors,
which he bestowed on the Judge of the World. The opinions of Arianism
might satisfy a cold and speculative mind: but the doctrine of the
Nicene creed, most powerfully recommended by the merits of faith and
devotion, was much better adapted to become popular and successful in a
believing age.

37 (return) [ Socrates (l. v. c. 7) and Sozomen (l. vii. c. 5) relate
the evangelical words and actions of Damophilus without a word of
approbation. He considered, says Socrates, that it is difficult to
resist the powerful, but it was easy, and would have been profitable, to
submit.]

38 (return) [ See Gregory Nazianzen, tom. ii. de Vita sua, p. 21,
22. For the sake of posterity, the bishop of Constantinople records a
stupendous prodigy. In the month of November, it was a cloudy morning,
but the sun broke forth when the procession entered the church.]

39 (return) [ Of the three ecclesiastical historians, Theodoret alone
(l. v. c. 2) has mentioned this important commission of Sapor, which
Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 728) judiciously removes from
the reign of Gratian to that of Theodosius.]

40 (return) [ I do not reckon Philostorgius, though he mentions (l.
ix. c. 19) the explosion of Damophilus. The Eunomian historian has been
carefully strained through an orthodox sieve.]

The hope, that truth and wisdom would be found in the assemblies of the
orthodox clergy, induced the emperor to convene, at Constantinople,
a synod of one hundred and fifty bishops, who proceeded, without much
difficulty or delay, to complete the theological system which had been
established in the council of Nice. The vehement disputes of the fourth
century had been chiefly employed on the nature of the Son of God; and
the various opinions which were embraced, concerning the Second, were
extended and transferred, by a natural analogy, to the Third person of
the Trinity. 41 Yet it was found, or it was thought, necessary, by the
victorious adversaries of Arianism, to explain the ambiguous language of
some respectable doctors; to confirm the faith of the Catholics; and to
condemn an unpopular and inconsistent sect of Macedonians; who freely
admitted that the Son was consubstantial to the Father, while they were
fearful of seeming to acknowledge the existence of Three Gods. A final
and unanimous sentence was pronounced to ratify the equal Deity of
the Holy Ghost: the mysterious doctrine has been received by all the
nations, and all the churches of the Christian world; and their grateful
reverence has assigned to the bishops of Theodosius the second rank
among the general councils. 42 Their knowledge of religious truth may
have been preserved by tradition, or it may have been communicated
by inspiration; but the sober evidence of history will not allow much
weight to the personal authority of the Fathers of Constantinople. In an
age when the ecclesiastics had scandalously degenerated from the model
of apostolic purity, the most worthless and corrupt were always the most
eager to frequent, and disturb, the episcopal assemblies. The conflict
and fermentation of so many opposite interests and tempers inflamed the
passions of the bishops: and their ruling passions were, the love
of gold, and the love of dispute. Many of the same prelates who now
applauded the orthodox piety of Theodosius, had repeatedly changed,
with prudent flexibility, their creeds and opinions; and in the various
revolutions of the church and state, the religion of their sovereign
was the rule of their obsequious faith. When the emperor suspended his
prevailing influence, the turbulent synod was blindly impelled by the
absurd or selfish motives of pride, hatred, or resentment. The death of
Meletius, which happened at the council of Constantinople, presented
the most favorable opportunity of terminating the schism of Antioch,
by suffering his aged rival, Paulinus, peaceably to end his days in the
episcopal chair. The faith and virtues of Paulinus were unblemished. But
his cause was supported by the Western churches; and the bishops of
the synod resolved to perpetuate the mischiefs of discord, by the
hasty ordination of a perjured candidate, 43 rather than to betray the
imagined dignity of the East, which had been illustrated by the birth
and death of the Son of God. Such unjust and disorderly proceedings
forced the gravest members of the assembly to dissent and to secede; and
the clamorous majority which remained masters of the field of battle,
could be compared only to wasps or magpies, to a flight of cranes, or to
a flock of geese. 44

41 (return) [ Le Clerc has given a curious extract (Bibliotheque
Universelle, tom. xviii. p. 91-105) of the theological sermons which
Gregory Nazianzen pronounced at Constantinople against the Arians,
Eunomians, Macedonians, &c. He tells the Macedonians, who deified the
Father and the Son without the Holy Ghost, that they might as well be
styled Tritheists as Ditheists. Gregory himself was almost a Tritheist;
and his monarchy of heaven resembles a well-regulated aristocracy.]

42 (return) [ The first general council of Constantinople now triumphs
in the Vatican; but the popes had long hesitated, and their hesitation
perplexes, and almost staggers, the humble Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom.
ix. p. 499, 500.)]

43 (return) [ Before the death of Meletius, six or eight of his most
popular ecclesiastics, among whom was Flavian, had abjured, for the
sake of peace, the bishopric of Antioch, (Sozomen, l. vii. c. 3, 11.
Socrates, l. v. c. v.) Tillemont thinks it his duty to disbelieve the
story; but he owns that there are many circumstances in the life of
Flavian which seem inconsistent with the praises of Chrysostom, and the
character of a saint, (Mem. Eccles. tom. x. p. 541.)]

44 (return) [ Consult Gregory Nazianzen, de Vita sua, tom. ii. p. 25-28.
His general and particular opinion of the clergy and their assemblies
may be seen in verse and prose, (tom. i. Orat. i. p. 33. Epist. lv.
p. 814, tom. ii. Carmen x. p. 81.) Such passages are faintly marked by
Tillemont, and fairly produced by Le Clerc.]

A suspicion may possibly arise, that so unfavorable a picture of
ecclesiastical synods has been drawn by the partial hand of some
obstinate heretic, or some malicious infidel. But the name of the
sincere historian who has conveyed this instructive lesson to
the knowledge of posterity, must silence the impotent murmurs of
superstition and bigotry. He was one of the most pious and eloquent
bishops of the age; a saint, and a doctor of the church; the scourge of
Arianism, and the pillar of the orthodox faith; a distinguished member
of the council of Constantinople, in which, after the death of Meletius,
he exercised the functions of president; in a word—Gregory Nazianzen
himself. The harsh and ungenerous treatment which he experienced,
45 instead of derogating from the truth of his evidence, affords an
additional proof of the spirit which actuated the deliberations of the
synod. Their unanimous suffrage had confirmed the pretensions which the
bishop of Constantinople derived from the choice of the people, and the
approbation of the emperor. But Gregory soon became the victim of malice
and envy. The bishops of the East, his strenuous adherents, provoked
by his moderation in the affairs of Antioch, abandoned him, without
support, to the adverse faction of the Egyptians; who disputed the
validity of his election, and rigorously asserted the obsolete canon,
that prohibited the licentious practice of episcopal translations. The
pride, or the humility, of Gregory prompted him to decline a contest
which might have been imputed to ambition and avarice; and he publicly
offered, not without some mixture of indignation, to renounce the
government of a church which had been restored, and almost created,
by his labors. His resignation was accepted by the synod, and by the
emperor, with more readiness than he seems to have expected. At the
time when he might have hoped to enjoy the fruits of his victory,
his episcopal throne was filled by the senator Nectarius; and the new
archbishop, accidentally recommended by his easy temper and venerable
aspect, was obliged to delay the ceremony of his consecration, till
he had previously despatched the rites of his baptism. 46 After this
remarkable experience of the ingratitude of princes and prelates,
Gregory retired once more to his obscure solitude of Cappadocia;
where he employed the remainder of his life, about eight years, in the
exercises of poetry and devotion. The title of Saint has been added to
his name: but the tenderness of his heart, 47 and the elegance of
his genius, reflect a more pleasing lustre on the memory of Gregory
Nazianzen.

45 (return) [ See Gregory, tom. ii. de Vita sua, p. 28-31. The
fourteenth, twenty-seventh, and thirty-second Orations were pronounced
in the several stages of this business. The peroration of the last,
(tom. i. p. 528,) in which he takes a solemn leave of men and angels,
the city and the emperor, the East and the West, &c., is pathetic, and
almost sublime.]

46 (return) [ The whimsical ordination of Nectarius is attested by
Sozomen, (l. vii. c. 8;) but Tillemont observes, (Mem. Eccles. tom. ix.
p. 719,) Apres tout, ce narre de Sozomene est si honteux, pour tous ceux
qu'il y mele, et surtout pour Theodose, qu'il vaut mieux travailler a le
detruire, qu'a le soutenir; an admirable canon of criticism!]

47 (return) [ I can only be understood to mean, that such was his
natural temper when it was not hardened, or inflamed, by religious zeal.
From his retirement, he exhorts Nectarius to prosecute the heretics of
Constantinople.]

It was not enough that Theodosius had suppressed the insolent reign
of Arianism, or that he had abundantly revenged the injuries which
the Catholics sustained from the zeal of Constantius and Valens. The
orthodox emperor considered every heretic as a rebel against the supreme
powers of heaven and of earth; and each of those powers might exercise
their peculiar jurisdiction over the soul and body of the guilty.
The decrees of the council of Constantinople had ascertained the
true standard of the faith; and the ecclesiastics, who governed the
conscience of Theodosius, suggested the most effectual methods of
persecution. In the space of fifteen years, he promulgated at least
fifteen severe edicts against the heretics; 48 more especially against
those who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity; and to deprive them of
every hope of escape, he sternly enacted, that if any laws or rescripts
should be alleged in their favor, the judges should consider them as the
illegal productions either of fraud or forgery. The penal statutes were
directed against the ministers, the assemblies, and the persons of
the heretics; and the passions of the legislator were expressed in the
language of declamation and invective. I. The heretical teachers, who
usurped the sacred titles of Bishops, or Presbyters, were not only
excluded from the privileges and emoluments so liberally granted to the
orthodox clergy, but they were exposed to the heavy penalties of
exile and confiscation, if they presumed to preach the doctrine, or to
practise the rites, of their accursed sects. A fine of ten pounds of
gold (above four hundred pounds sterling) was imposed on every person
who should dare to confer, or receive, or promote, an heretical
ordination: and it was reasonably expected, that if the race of pastors
could be extinguished, their helpless flocks would be compelled, by
ignorance and hunger, to return within the pale of the Catholic church.
II. The rigorous prohibition of conventicles was carefully extended to
every possible circumstance, in which the heretics could assemble with
the intention of worshipping God and Christ according to the dictates of
their conscience. Their religious meetings, whether public or secret, by
day or by night, in cities or in the country, were equally proscribed
by the edicts of Theodosius; and the building, or ground, which had been
used for that illegal purpose, was forfeited to the Imperial domain.
III. It was supposed, that the error of the heretics could proceed only
from the obstinate temper of their minds; and that such a temper was a
fit object of censure and punishment. The anathemas of the church were
fortified by a sort of civil excommunication; which separated them
from their fellow-citizens, by a peculiar brand of infamy; and this
declaration of the supreme magistrate tended to justify, or at least to
excuse, the insults of a fanatic populace. The sectaries were gradually
disqualified from the possession of honorable or lucrative employments;
and Theodosius was satisfied with his own justice, when he decreed,
that, as the Eunomians distinguished the nature of the Son from that
of the Father, they should be incapable of making their wills or of
receiving any advantage from testamentary donations. The guilt of the
Manichaean heresy was esteemed of such magnitude, that it could be
expiated only by the death of the offender; and the same capital
punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, 49 who
should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an
improper day the festival of Easter. Every Roman might exercise the
right of public accusation; but the office of Inquisitors of the Faith,
a name so deservedly abhorred, was first instituted under the reign of
Theodosius. Yet we are assured, that the execution of his penal edicts
was seldom enforced; and that the pious emperor appeared less desirous
to punish, than to reclaim, or terrify, his refractory subjects. 50

48 (return) [ See the Theodosian Code, l. xvi. tit. v. leg. 6—23,
with Godefroy's commentary on each law, and his general summary, or
Paratitlon, tom vi. p. 104-110.]

49 (return) [ They always kept their Easter, like the Jewish Passover,
on the fourteenth day of the first moon after the vernal equinox; and
thus pertinaciously opposed the Roman Church and Nicene synod, which had
fixed Easter to a Sunday. Bingham's Antiquities, l. xx. c. 5, vol. ii.
p. 309, fol. edit.]

50 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. 12.]

The theory of persecution was established by Theodosius, whose justice
and piety have been applauded by the saints: but the practice of it, in
the fullest extent, was reserved for his rival and colleague, Maximus,
the first, among the Christian princes, who shed the blood of his
Christian subjects on account of their religious opinions. The cause
of the Priscillianists, 51 a recent sect of heretics, who disturbed
the provinces of Spain, was transferred, by appeal, from the synod of
Bordeaux to the Imperial consistory of Treves; and by the sentence of
the Praetorian praefect, seven persons were tortured, condemned, and
executed. The first of these was Priscillian 52 himself, bishop of
Avila, in Spain; who adorned the advantages of birth and fortune, by the
accomplishments of eloquence and learning. 53 Two presbyters, and two
deacons, accompanied their beloved master in his death, which they
esteemed as a glorious martyrdom; and the number of religious victims
was completed by the execution of Latronian, a poet, who rivalled the
fame of the ancients; and of Euchrocia, a noble matron of Bordeaux,
the widow of the orator Delphidius. 54 Two bishops who had embraced the
sentiments of Priscillian, were condemned to a distant and dreary exile;
55 and some indulgence was shown to the meaner criminals, who assumed
the merit of an early repentance. If any credit could be allowed
to confessions extorted by fear or pain, and to vague reports, the
offspring of malice and credulity, the heresy of the Priscillianists
would be found to include the various abominations of magic, of impiety,
and of lewdness. 56 Priscillian, who wandered about the world in the
company of his spiritual sisters, was accused of praying stark naked in
the midst of the congregation; and it was confidently asserted, that the
effects of his criminal intercourse with the daughter of Euchrocia
had been suppressed, by means still more odious and criminal. But
an accurate, or rather a candid, inquiry will discover, that if
the Priscillianists violated the laws of nature, it was not by the
licentiousness, but by the austerity, of their lives. They absolutely
condemned the use of the marriage-bed; and the peace of families was
often disturbed by indiscreet separations. They enjoyed, or recommended,
a total abstinence from all animal food; and their continual prayers,
fasts, and vigils, inculcated a rule of strict and perfect devotion. The
speculative tenets of the sect, concerning the person of Christ, and the
nature of the human soul, were derived from the Gnostic and Manichaean
system; and this vain philosophy, which had been transported from
Egypt to Spain, was ill adapted to the grosser spirits of the West.
The obscure disciples of Priscillian suffered languished, and gradually
disappeared: his tenets were rejected by the clergy and people, but his
death was the subject of a long and vehement controversy; while some
arraigned, and others applauded, the justice of his sentence. It is
with pleasure that we can observe the humane inconsistency of the most
illustrious saints and bishops, Ambrose of Milan, 57 and Martin of
Tours, 58 who, on this occasion, asserted the cause of toleration. They
pitied the unhappy men, who had been executed at Treves; they refused
to hold communion with their episcopal murderers; and if Martin deviated
from that generous resolution, his motives were laudable, and his
repentance was exemplary. The bishops of Tours and Milan pronounced,
without hesitation, the eternal damnation of heretics; but they were
surprised, and shocked, by the bloody image of their temporal death,
and the honest feelings of nature resisted the artificial prejudices
of theology. The humanity of Ambrose and Martin was confirmed by the
scandalous irregularity of the proceedings against Priscillian and his
adherents. The civil and ecclesiastical ministers had transgressed the
limits of their respective provinces. The secular judge had presumed to
receive an appeal, and to pronounce a definitive sentence, in a
matter of faith, and episcopal jurisdiction. The bishops had disgraced
themselves, by exercising the functions of accusers in a criminal
prosecution. The cruelty of Ithacius, 59 who beheld the tortures, and
solicited the death, of the heretics, provoked the just indignation
of mankind; and the vices of that profligate bishop were admitted as a
proof, that his zeal was instigated by the sordid motives of interest.
Since the death of Priscillian, the rude attempts of persecution have
been refined and methodized in the holy office, which assigns their
distinct parts to the ecclesiastical and secular powers. The devoted
victim is regularly delivered by the priest to the magistrate, and by
the magistrate to the executioner; and the inexorable sentence of the
church, which declares the spiritual guilt of the offender, is expressed
in the mild language of pity and intercession.

51 (return) [ See the Sacred History of Sulpicius Severus, (l. ii. p.
437-452, edit. Ludg. Bat. 1647,) a correct and original writer. Dr.
Lardner (Credibility, &c., part ii. vol. ix. p. 256-350) has labored
this article with pure learning, good sense, and moderation. Tillemont
(Mem. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 491-527) has raked together all the dirt of
the fathers; a useful scavenger!]

52 (return) [ Severus Sulpicius mentions the arch-heretic with esteem
and pity Faelix profecto, si non pravo studio corrupisset optimum
ingenium prorsus multa in eo animi et corporis bona cerneres. (Hist.
Sacra, l ii. p. 439.) Even Jerom (tom. i. in Script. Eccles. p. 302)
speaks with temper of Priscillian and Latronian.]

53 (return) [ The bishopric (in Old Castile) is now worth 20,000 ducats
a year, (Busching's Geography, vol. ii. p. 308,) and is therefore much
less likely to produce the author of a new heresy.]

54 (return) [ Exprobrabatur mulieri viduae nimia religio, et diligentius
culta divinitas, (Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 29.) Such was the idea of
a humane, though ignorant, polytheist.]

55 (return) [ One of them was sent in Sillinam insulam quae ultra
Britannianest. What must have been the ancient condition of the rocks of
Scilly? (Camden's Britannia, vol. ii. p. 1519.)]

56 (return) [ The scandalous calumnies of Augustin, Pope Leo, &c., which
Tillemont swallows like a child, and Lardner refutes like a man, may
suggest some candid suspicions in favor of the older Gnostics.]

57 (return) [ Ambros. tom. ii. Epist. xxiv. p. 891.]

58 (return) [ In the Sacred History, and the Life of St. Martin,
Sulpicius Severus uses some caution; but he declares himself more freely
in the Dialogues, (iii. 15.) Martin was reproved, however, by his own
conscience, and by an angel; nor could he afterwards perform miracles
with so much ease.]

59 (return) [ The Catholic Presbyter (Sulp. Sever. l. ii. p. 448) and
the Pagan Orator (Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 29) reprobate, with equal
indignation, the character and conduct of Ithacius.]



Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part III.

Among the ecclesiastics, who illustrated the reign of Theodosius,
Gregory Nazianzen was distinguished by the talents of an eloquent
preacher; the reputation of miraculous gifts added weight and dignity
to the monastic virtues of Martin of Tours; 60 but the palm of episcopal
vigor and ability was justly claimed by the intrepid Ambrose. 61 He was
descended from a noble family of Romans; his father had exercised the
important office of Praetorian praefect of Gaul; and the son, after
passing through the studies of a liberal education, attained, in the
regular gradation of civil honors, the station of consular of Liguria,
a province which included the Imperial residence of Milan. At the age
of thirty-four, and before he had received the sacrament of baptism,
Ambrose, to his own surprise, and to that of the world, was suddenly
transformed from a governor to an archbishop. Without the least
mixture, as it is said, of art or intrigue, the whole body of the
people unanimously saluted him with the episcopal title; the concord
and perseverance of their acclamations were ascribed to a praeternatural
impulse; and the reluctant magistrate was compelled to undertake a
spiritual office, for which he was not prepared by the habits and
occupations of his former life. But the active force of his genius soon
qualified him to exercise, with zeal and prudence, the duties of his
ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and while he cheerfully renounced the vain
and splendid trappings of temporal greatness, he condescended, for the
good of the church, to direct the conscience of the emperors, and to
control the administration of the empire. Gratian loved and revered him
as a father; and the elaborate treatise on the faith of the Trinity
was designed for the instruction of the young prince. After his tragic
death, at a time when the empress Justina trembled for her own safety,
and for that of her son Valentinian, the archbishop of Milan was
despatched, on two different embassies, to the court of Treves.
He exercised, with equal firmness and dexterity, the powers of his
spiritual and political characters; and perhaps contributed, by his
authority and eloquence, to check the ambition of Maximus, and to
protect the peace of Italy. 62 Ambrose had devoted his life, and his
abilities, to the service of the church. Wealth was the object of his
contempt; he had renounced his private patrimony; and he sold, without
hesitation, the consecrated plate, for the redemption of captives. The
clergy and people of Milan were attached to their archbishop; and he
deserved the esteem, without soliciting the favor, or apprehending the
displeasure, of his feeble sovereigns.

60 (return) [ The Life of St. Martin, and the Dialogues concerning his
miracles contain facts adapted to the grossest barbarism, in a style not
unworthy of the Augustan age. So natural is the alliance between good
taste and good sense, that I am always astonished by this contrast.]

61 (return) [ The short and superficial Life of St. Ambrose, by his
deacon Paulinus, (Appendix ad edit. Benedict. p. i.—xv.,) has the
merit of original evidence. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. x. p. 78-306)
and the Benedictine editors (p. xxxi.—lxiii.) have labored with their
usual diligence.]

62 (return) [ Ambrose himself (tom. ii. Epist. xxiv. p. 888—891) gives
the emperor a very spirited account of his own embassy.]

The government of Italy, and of the young emperor, naturally devolved to
his mother Justina, a woman of beauty and spirit, but who, in the
midst of an orthodox people, had the misfortune of professing the Arian
heresy, which she endeavored to instil into the mind of her son. Justina
was persuaded, that a Roman emperor might claim, in his own dominions,
the public exercise of his religion; and she proposed to the archbishop,
as a moderate and reasonable concession, that he should resign the use
of a single church, either in the city or the suburbs of Milan. But the
conduct of Ambrose was governed by very different principles. 63 The
palaces of the earth might indeed belong to Caesar; but the churches
were the houses of God; and, within the limits of his diocese, he
himself, as the lawful successor of the apostles, was the only minister
of God. The privileges of Christianity, temporal as well as spiritual,
were confined to the true believers; and the mind of Ambrose was
satisfied, that his own theological opinions were the standard of truth
and orthodoxy. The archbishop, who refused to hold any conference,
or negotiation, with the instruments of Satan, declared, with modest
firmness, his resolution to die a martyr, rather than to yield to the
impious sacrilege; and Justina, who resented the refusal as an act
of insolence and rebellion, hastily determined to exert the Imperial
prerogative of her son. As she desired to perform her public devotions
on the approaching festival of Easter, Ambrose was ordered to appear
before the council. He obeyed the summons with the respect of a faithful
subject, but he was followed, without his consent, by an innumerable
people; they pressed, with impetuous zeal, against the gates of
the palace; and the affrighted ministers of Valentinian, instead of
pronouncing a sentence of exile on the archbishop of Milan, humbly
requested that he would interpose his authority, to protect the person
of the emperor, and to restore the tranquility of the capital. But the
promises which Ambrose received and communicated were soon violated by
a perfidious court; and, during six of the most solemn days, which
Christian piety had set apart for the exercise of religion, the city
was agitated by the irregular convulsions of tumult and fanaticism. The
officers of the household were directed to prepare, first, the Portian,
and afterwards, the new, Basilica, for the immediate reception of the
emperor and his mother. The splendid canopy and hangings of the royal
seat were arranged in the customary manner; but it was found necessary
to defend them. by a strong guard, from the insults of the populace.
The Arian ecclesiastics, who ventured to show themselves in the streets,
were exposed to the most imminent danger of their lives; and Ambrose
enjoyed the merit and reputation of rescuing his personal enemies from
the hands of the enraged multitude.

63 (return) [ His own representation of his principles and conduct (tom.
ii. Epist. xx xxi. xxii. p. 852-880) is one of the curious monuments
of ecclesiastical antiquity. It contains two letters to his sister
Marcellina, with a petition to Valentinian and the sermon de Basilicis
non madendis.]

But while he labored to restrain the effects of their zeal, the pathetic
vehemence of his sermons continually inflamed the angry and seditious
temper of the people of Milan. The characters of Eve, of the wife of
Job, of Jezebel, of Herodias, were indecently applied to the mother
of the emperor; and her desire to obtain a church for the Arians was
compared to the most cruel persecutions which Christianity had endured
under the reign of Paganism. The measures of the court served only to
expose the magnitude of the evil. A fine of two hundred pounds of gold
was imposed on the corporate body of merchants and manufacturers: an
order was signified, in the name of the emperor, to all the officers,
and inferior servants, of the courts of justice, that, during the
continuance of the public disorders, they should strictly confine
themselves to their houses; and the ministers of Valentinian imprudently
confessed, that the most respectable part of the citizens of Milan was
attached to the cause of their archbishop. He was again solicited to
restore peace to his country, by timely compliance with the will of
his sovereign. The reply of Ambrose was couched in the most humble and
respectful terms, which might, however, be interpreted as a serious
declaration of civil war. "His life and fortune were in the hands of the
emperor; but he would never betray the church of Christ, or degrade the
dignity of the episcopal character. In such a cause he was prepared
to suffer whatever the malice of the daemon could inflict; and he only
wished to die in the presence of his faithful flock, and at the foot of
the altar; he had not contributed to excite, but it was in the power of
God alone to appease, the rage of the people: he deprecated the scenes
of blood and confusion which were likely to ensue; and it was his
fervent prayer, that he might not survive to behold the ruin of a
flourishing city, and perhaps the desolation of all Italy." 64 The
obstinate bigotry of Justina would have endangered the empire of her
son, if, in this contest with the church and people of Milan, she could
have depended on the active obedience of the troops of the palace. A
large body of Goths had marched to occupy the Basilica, which was
the object of the dispute: and it might be expected from the Arian
principles, and barbarous manners, of these foreign mercenaries, that
they would not entertain any scruples in the execution of the most
sanguinary orders. They were encountered, on the sacred threshold,
by the archbishop, who, thundering against them a sentence of
excommunication, asked them, in the tone of a father and a master,
whether it was to invade the house of God, that they had implored the
hospitable protection of the republic. The suspense of the Barbarians
allowed some hours for a more effectual negotiation; and the empress
was persuaded, by the advice of her wisest counsellors, to leave the
Catholics in possession of all the churches of Milan; and to dissemble,
till a more convenient season, her intentions of revenge. The mother of
Valentinian could never forgive the triumph of Ambrose; and the royal
youth uttered a passionate exclamation, that his own servants were ready
to betray him into the hands of an insolent priest.

64 (return) [ Retz had a similar message from the queen, to request that
he would appease the tumult of Paris. It was no longer in his power,
&c. A quoi j'ajoutai tout ce que vous pouvez vous imaginer de respect
de douleur, de regret, et de soumission, &c. (Memoires, tom. i. p.
140.) Certainly I do not compare either the causes or the men yet the
coadjutor himself had some idea (p. 84) of imitating St. Ambrose]

The laws of the empire, some of which were inscribed with the name of
Valentinian, still condemned the Arian heresy, and seemed to excuse the
resistance of the Catholics. By the influence of Justina, an edict of
toleration was promulgated in all the provinces which were subject to
the court of Milan; the free exercise of their religion was granted to
those who professed the faith of Rimini; and the emperor declared, that
all persons who should infringe this sacred and salutary constitution,
should be capitally punished, as the enemies of the public peace. 65
The character and language of the archbishop of Milan may justify the
suspicion, that his conduct soon afforded a reasonable ground, or at
least a specious pretence, to the Arian ministers; who watched the
opportunity of surprising him in some act of disobedience to a law which
he strangely represents as a law of blood and tyranny. A sentence of
easy and honorable banishment was pronounced, which enjoined Ambrose to
depart from Milan without delay; whilst it permitted him to choose the
place of his exile, and the number of his companions. But the authority
of the saints, who have preached and practised the maxims of passive
loyalty, appeared to Ambrose of less moment than the extreme and
pressing danger of the church. He boldly refused to obey; and his
refusal was supported by the unanimous consent of his faithful people.
66 They guarded by turns the person of their archbishop; the gates of
the cathedral and the episcopal palace were strongly secured; and the
Imperial troops, who had formed the blockade, were unwilling to risk the
attack, of that impregnable fortress. The numerous poor, who had been
relieved by the liberality of Ambrose, embraced the fair occasion
of signalizing their zeal and gratitude; and as the patience of the
multitude might have been exhausted by the length and uniformity of
nocturnal vigils, he prudently introduced into the church of Milan the
useful institution of a loud and regular psalmody. While he maintained
this arduous contest, he was instructed, by a dream, to open the earth
in a place where the remains of two martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius,
67 had been deposited above three hundred years. Immediately under the
pavement of the church two perfect skeletons were found, 68 with the
heads separated from their bodies, and a plentiful effusion of blood.
The holy relics were presented, in solemn pomp, to the veneration of the
people; and every circumstance of this fortunate discovery was admirably
adapted to promote the designs of Ambrose. The bones of the martyrs,
their blood, their garments, were supposed to contain a healing power;
and the praeternatural influence was communicated to the most
distant objects, without losing any part of its original virtue. The
extraordinary cure of a blind man, 69 and the reluctant confessions
of several daemoniacs, appeared to justify the faith and sanctity of
Ambrose; and the truth of those miracles is attested by Ambrose
himself, by his secretary Paulinus, and by his proselyte, the celebrated
Augustin, who, at that time, professed the art of rhetoric in Milan.
The reason of the present age may possibly approve the incredulity of
Justina and her Arian court; who derided the theatrical representations
which were exhibited by the contrivance, and at the expense, of the
archbishop. 70 Their effect, however, on the minds of the people, was
rapid and irresistible; and the feeble sovereign of Italy found himself
unable to contend with the favorite of Heaven. The powers likewise of
the earth interposed in the defence of Ambrose: the disinterested advice
of Theodosius was the genuine result of piety and friendship; and the
mask of religious zeal concealed the hostile and ambitious designs of
the tyrant of Gaul. 71

65 (return) [ Sozomen alone (l. vii. c. 13) throws this luminous fact
into a dark and perplexed narrative.]

66 (return) [ Excubabat pia plebs in ecclesia, mori parata cum episcopo
suo.... Nos, adhuc frigidi, excitabamur tamen civitate attonita atque
curbata. Augustin. Confession. l. ix. c. 7]

67 (return) [ Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. ii. p. 78, 498. Many churches
in Italy, Gaul, &c., were dedicated to these unknown martyrs, of whom
St. Gervaise seems to have been more fortunate than his companion.]

68 (return) [ Invenimus mirae magnitudinis viros duos, ut prisca aetas
ferebat, tom. ii. Epist. xxii. p. 875. The size of these skeletons
was fortunately, or skillfully, suited to the popular prejudice of the
gradual decrease of the human stature, which has prevailed in every
age since the time of Homer.—Grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa
sepulchris.]

69 (return) [ Ambros. tom. ii. Epist. xxii. p. 875. Augustin. Confes, l.
ix. c. 7, de Civitat. Dei, l. xxii. c. 8. Paulin. in Vita St. Ambros.
c. 14, in Append. Benedict. p. 4. The blind man's name was Severus; he
touched the holy garment, recovered his sight, and devoted the rest of
his life (at least twenty-five years) to the service of the church. I
should recommend this miracle to our divines, if it did not prove the
worship of relics, as well as the Nicene creed.]

70 (return) [ Paulin, in Tit. St. Ambros. c. 5, in Append. Benedict. p.
5.]

71 (return) [ Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. x. p. 190, 750. He partially
allow the mediation of Theodosius, and capriciously rejects that of
Maximus, though it is attested by Prosper, Sozomen, and Theodoret.]

The reign of Maximus might have ended in peace and prosperity, could
he have contented himself with the possession of three ample countries,
which now constitute the three most flourishing kingdoms of modern
Europe. But the aspiring usurper, whose sordid ambition was not
dignified by the love of glory and of arms, considered his actual forces
as the instruments only of his future greatness, and his success was the
immediate cause of his destruction. The wealth which he extorted 72 from
the oppressed provinces of Gaul, Spain, and Britain, was employed in
levying and maintaining a formidable army of Barbarians, collected, for
the most part, from the fiercest nations of Germany. The conquest of
Italy was the object of his hopes and preparations: and he secretly
meditated the ruin of an innocent youth, whose government was abhorred
and despised by his Catholic subjects. But as Maximus wished to occupy,
without resistance, the passes of the Alps, he received, with perfidious
smiles, Domninus of Syria, the ambassador of Valentinian, and pressed
him to accept the aid of a considerable body of troops, for the service
of a Pannonian war. The penetration of Ambrose had discovered the snares
of an enemy under the professions of friendship; 73 but the Syrian
Domninus was corrupted, or deceived, by the liberal favor of the court
of Treves; and the council of Milan obstinately rejected the suspicion
of danger, with a blind confidence, which was the effect, not of
courage, but of fear. The march of the auxiliaries was guided by
the ambassador; and they were admitted, without distrust, into the
fortresses of the Alps. But the crafty tyrant followed, with hasty and
silent footsteps, in the rear; and, as he diligently intercepted all
intelligence of his motions, the gleam of armor, and the dust excited
by the troops of cavalry, first announced the hostile approach of a
stranger to the gates of Milan. In this extremity, Justina and her son
might accuse their own imprudence, and the perfidious arts of Maximus;
but they wanted time, and force, and resolution, to stand against the
Gauls and Germans, either in the field, or within the walls of a large
and disaffected city. Flight was their only hope, Aquileia their only
refuge; and as Maximus now displayed his genuine character, the brother
of Gratian might expect the same fate from the hands of the same
assassin. Maximus entered Milan in triumph; and if the wise archbishop
refused a dangerous and criminal connection with the usurper, he might
indirectly contribute to the success of his arms, by inculcating, from
the pulpit, the duty of resignation, rather than that of resistance. 74
The unfortunate Justina reached Aquileia in safety; but she distrusted
the strength of the fortifications: she dreaded the event of a siege;
and she resolved to implore the protection of the great Theodosius,
whose power and virtue were celebrated in all the countries of the West.
A vessel was secretly provided to transport the Imperial family; they
embarked with precipitation in one of the obscure harbors of Venetia,
or Istria; traversed the whole extent of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas;
turned the extreme promontory of Peloponnesus; and, after a long, but
successful navigation, reposed themselves in the port of Thessalonica.
All the subjects of Valentinian deserted the cause of a prince, who, by
his abdication, had absolved them from the duty of allegiance; and if
the little city of Aemona, on the verge of Italy, had not presumed to
stop the career of his inglorious victory, Maximus would have obtained,
without a struggle, the sole possession of the Western empire.

72 (return) [ The modest censure of Sulpicius (Dialog. iii. 15) inflicts
a much deeper wound than the declamation of Pacatus, (xii. 25, 26.)]

73 (return) [ Esto tutior adversus hominem, pacis involurco tegentem,
was the wise caution of Ambrose (tom. ii. p. 891) after his return from
his second embassy.]

74 (return) [ Baronius (A.D. 387, No. 63) applies to this season of
public distress some of the penitential sermons of the archbishop.]

Instead of inviting his royal guests to take the palace of
Constantinople, Theodosius had some unknown reasons to fix their
residence at Thessalonica; but these reasons did not proceed from
contempt or indifference, as he speedily made a visit to that city,
accompanied by the greatest part of his court and senate. After the
first tender expressions of friendship and sympathy, the pious emperor
of the East gently admonished Justina, that the guilt of heresy was
sometimes punished in this world, as well as in the next; and that the
public profession of the Nicene faith would be the most efficacious step
to promote the restoration of her son, by the satisfaction which it must
occasion both on earth and in heaven. The momentous question of peace or
war was referred, by Theodosius, to the deliberation of his council; and
the arguments which might be alleged on the side of honor and justice,
had acquired, since the death of Gratian, a considerable degree of
additional weight. The persecution of the Imperial family, to which
Theodosius himself had been indebted for his fortune, was now aggravated
by recent and repeated injuries. Neither oaths nor treaties could
restrain the boundless ambition of Maximus; and the delay of vigorous
and decisive measures, instead of prolonging the blessings of peace,
would expose the Eastern empire to the danger of a hostile invasion. The
Barbarians, who had passed the Danube, had lately assumed the character
of soldiers and subjects, but their native fierceness was yet untamed:
and the operations of a war, which would exercise their valor, and
diminish their numbers, might tend to relieve the provinces from
an intolerable oppression. Notwithstanding these specious and solid
reasons, which were approved by a majority of the council, Theodosius
still hesitated whether he should draw the sword in a contest which
could no longer admit any terms of reconciliation; and his magnanimous
character was not disgraced by the apprehensions which he felt for the
safety of his infant sons, and the welfare of his exhausted people. In
this moment of anxious doubt, while the fate of the Roman world depended
on the resolution of a single man, the charms of the princess Galla most
powerfully pleaded the cause of her brother Valentinian. 75 The heart
of Theodosius wa softened by the tears of beauty; his affections were
insensibly engaged by the graces of youth and innocence: the art of
Justina managed and directed the impulse of passion; and the celebration
of the royal nuptials was the assurance and signal of the civil war. The
unfeeling critics, who consider every amorous weakness as an indelible
stain on the memory of a great and orthodox emperor, are inclined,
on this occasion, to dispute the suspicious evidence of the historian
Zosimus. For my own part, I shall frankly confess, that I am willing to
find, or even to seek, in the revolutions of the world, some traces of
the mild and tender sentiments of domestic life; and amidst the crowd
of fierce and ambitious conquerors, I can distinguish, with peculiar
complacency, a gentle hero, who may be supposed to receive his armor
from the hands of love. The alliance of the Persian king was secured by
the faith of treaties; the martial Barbarians were persuaded to follow
the standard, or to respect the frontiers, of an active and liberal
monarch; and the dominions of Theodosius, from the Euphrates to the
Adriatic, resounded with the preparations of war both by land and sea.
The skilful disposition of the forces of the East seemed to multiply
their numbers, and distracted the attention of Maximus. He had reason
to fear, that a chosen body of troops, under the command of the intrepid
Arbogastes, would direct their march along the banks of the Danube, and
boldly penetrate through the Rhaetian provinces into the centre of Gaul.
A powerful fleet was equipped in the harbors of Greece and Epirus, with
an apparent design, that, as soon as the passage had been opened by a
naval victory, Valentinian and his mother should land in Italy, proceed,
without delay, to Rome, and occupy the majestic seat of religion and
empire. In the mean while, Theodosius himself advanced at the head of a
brave and disciplined army, to encounter his unworthy rival, who, after
the siege of Aemona, 7511 had fixed his camp in the neighborhood of
Siscia, a city of Pannonia, strongly fortified by the broad and rapid
stream of the Save.

75 (return) [ The flight of Valentinian, and the love of Theodosius
for his sister, are related by Zosimus, (l. iv. p. 263, 264.) Tillemont
produces some weak and ambiguous evidence to antedate the second
marriage of Theodosius, (Hist. des Empereurs, to. v. p. 740,) and
consequently to refute ces contes de Zosime, qui seroient trop
contraires a la piete de Theodose.]

7511 (return) [ Aemonah, Laybach. Siscia Sciszek.—M.]



Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part IV.

The veterans, who still remembered the long resistance, and successive
resources, of the tyrant Magnentius, might prepare themselves for the
labors of three bloody campaigns. But the contest with his successor,
who, like him, had usurped the throne of the West, was easily decided
in the term of two months, 76 and within the space of two hundred miles.
The superior genius of the emperor of the East might prevail over the
feeble Maximus, who, in this important crisis, showed himself destitute
of military skill, or personal courage; but the abilities of Theodosius
were seconded by the advantage which he possessed of a numerous and
active cavalry. The Huns, the Alani, and, after their example, the
Goths themselves, were formed into squadrons of archers; who fought on
horseback, and confounded the steady valor of the Gauls and Germans, by
the rapid motions of a Tartar war. After the fatigue of a long march, in
the heat of summer, they spurred their foaming horses into the waters
of the Save, swam the river in the presence of the enemy, and instantly
charged and routed the troops who guarded the high ground on the
opposite side. Marcellinus, the tyrant's brother, advanced to support
them with the select cohorts, which were considered as the hope and
strength of the army. The action, which had been interrupted by the
approach of night, was renewed in the morning; and, after a sharp
conflict, the surviving remnant of the bravest soldiers of Maximus threw
down their arms at the feet of the conqueror. Without suspending his
march, to receive the loyal acclamations of the citizens of Aemona,
Theodosius pressed forwards to terminate the war by the death or
captivity of his rival, who fled before him with the diligence of fear.
From the summit of the Julian Alps, he descended with such incredible
speed into the plain of Italy, that he reached Aquileia on the evening
of the first day; and Maximus, who found himself encompassed on all
sides, had scarcely time to shut the gates of the city. But the gates
could not long resist the effort of a victorious enemy; and the despair,
the disaffection, the indifference of the soldiers and people, hastened
the downfall of the wretched Maximus. He was dragged from his throne,
rudely stripped of the Imperial ornaments, the robe, the diadem, and
the purple slippers; and conducted, like a malefactor, to the camp and
presence of Theodosius, at a place about three miles from Aquileia.
The behavior of the emperor was not intended to insult, and he showed
disposition to pity and forgive, the tyrant of the West, who had never
been his personal enemy, and was now become the object of his contempt.
Our sympathy is the most forcibly excited by the misfortunes to which we
are exposed; and the spectacle of a proud competitor, now prostrate at
his feet, could not fail of producing very serious and solemn thoughts
in the mind of the victorious emperor. But the feeble emotion of
involuntary pity was checked by his regard for public justice, and the
memory of Gratian; and he abandoned the victim to the pious zeal of
the soldiers, who drew him out of the Imperial presence, and instantly
separated his head from his body. The intelligence of his defeat and
death was received with sincere or well-dissembled joy: his son Victor,
on whom he had conferred the title of Augustus, died by the order,
perhaps by the hand, of the bold Arbogastes; and all the military plans
of Theodosius were successfully executed. When he had thus terminated
the civil war, with less difficulty and bloodshed than he might
naturally expect, he employed the winter months of his residence at
Milan, to restore the state of the afflicted provinces; and early in the
spring he made, after the example of Constantine and Constantius, his
triumphal entry into the ancient capital of the Roman empire. 77

76 (return) [ See Godefroy's Chronology of the Laws, Cod. Theodos, tom
l. p. cxix.]

77 (return) [ Besides the hints which may be gathered from chronicles
and ecclesiastical history, Zosimus (l. iv. p. 259—267,) Orosius,
(l. vii. c. 35,) and Pacatus, (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 30-47,) supply the
loose and scanty materials of this civil war. Ambrose (tom. ii. Epist.
xl. p. 952, 953) darkly alludes to the well-known events of a magazine
surprised, an action at Petovio, a Sicilian, perhaps a naval, victory,
&c., Ausonius (p. 256, edit. Toll.) applauds the peculiar merit and good
fortune of Aquileia.]

The orator, who may be silent without danger, may praise without
difficulty, and without reluctance; 78 and posterity will confess, that
the character of Theodosius 79 might furnish the subject of a sincere
and ample panegyric. The wisdom of his laws, and the success of his
arms, rendered his administration respectable in the eyes both of his
subjects and of his enemies. He loved and practised the virtues of
domestic life, which seldom hold their residence in the palaces of
kings. Theodosius was chaste and temperate; he enjoyed, without excess,
the sensual and social pleasures of the table; and the warmth of his
amorous passions was never diverted from their lawful objects. The
proud titles of Imperial greatness were adorned by the tender names of
a faithful husband, an indulgent father; his uncle was raised, by
his affectionate esteem, to the rank of a second parent: Theodosius
embraced, as his own, the children of his brother and sister; and the
expressions of his regard were extended to the most distant and obscure
branches of his numerous kindred. His familiar friends were judiciously
selected from among those persons, who, in the equal intercourse
of private life, had appeared before his eyes without a mask; the
consciousness of personal and superior merit enabled him to despise the
accidental distinction of the purple; and he proved by his conduct, that
he had forgotten all the injuries, while he most gratefully remembered
all the favors and services, which he had received before he ascended
the throne of the Roman empire. The serious or lively tone of his
conversation was adapted to the age, the rank, or the character of his
subjects, whom he admitted into his society; and the affability of
his manners displayed the image of his mind. Theodosius respected the
simplicity of the good and virtuous: every art, every talent, of a
useful, or even of an innocent nature, was rewarded by his judicious
liberality; and, except the heretics, whom he persecuted with implacable
hatred, the diffusive circle of his benevolence was circumscribed only
by the limits of the human race. The government of a mighty empire may
assuredly suffice to occupy the time, and the abilities, of a mortal:
yet the diligent prince, without aspiring to the unsuitable reputation
of profound learning, always reserved some moments of his leisure
for the instructive amusement of reading. History, which enlarged his
experience, was his favorite study. The annals of Rome, in the long
period of eleven hundred years, presented him with a various and
splendid picture of human life: and it has been particularly observed,
that whenever he perused the cruel acts of Cinna, of Marius, or of
Sylla, he warmly expressed his generous detestation of those enemies
of humanity and freedom. His disinterested opinion of past events was
usefully applied as the rule of his own actions; and Theodosius has
deserved the singular commendation, that his virtues always seemed to
expand with his fortune: the season of his prosperity was that of his
moderation; and his clemency appeared the most conspicuous after the
danger and success of a civil war. The Moorish guards of the tyrant had
been massacred in the first heat of the victory, and a small number of
the most obnoxious criminals suffered the punishment of the law. But the
emperor showed himself much more attentive to relieve the innocent than
to chastise the guilty. The oppressed subjects of the West, who would
have deemed themselves happy in the restoration of their lands, were
astonished to receive a sum of money equivalent to their losses; and the
liberality of the conqueror supported the aged mother, and educated the
orphan daughters, of Maximus. 80 A character thus accomplished might
almost excuse the extravagant supposition of the orator Pacatus; that,
if the elder Brutus could be permitted to revisit the earth, the stern
republican would abjure, at the feet of Theodosius, his hatred of kings;
and ingenuously confess, that such a monarch was the most faithful
guardian of the happiness and dignity of the Roman people. 81

78 (return) [ Quam promptum laudare principem, tam tutum siluisse de
principe, (Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 2.) Latinus Pacatus Drepanius,
a native of Gaul, pronounced this oration at Rome, (A.D. 388.) He was
afterwards proconsul of Africa; and his friend Ausonius praises him as a
poet second only to Virgil. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v.
p. 303.]

79 (return) [ See the fair portrait of Theodosius, by the younger
Victor; the strokes are distinct, and the colors are mixed. The praise
of Pacatus is too vague; and Claudian always seems afraid of exalting
the father above the son.]

80 (return) [ Ambros. tom. ii. Epist. xl. p. 55. Pacatus, from the want
of skill or of courage, omits this glorious circumstance.]

81 (return) [ Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 20.]

Yet the piercing eye of the founder of the republic must have discerned
two essential imperfections, which might, perhaps, have abated his
recent love of despostism. The virtuous mind of Theodosius was often
relaxed by indolence, 82 and it was sometimes inflamed by passion. 83
In the pursuit of an important object, his active courage was capable
of the most vigorous exertions; but, as soon as the design was
accomplished, or the danger was surmounted, the hero sunk into
inglorious repose; and, forgetful that the time of a prince is the
property of his people, resigned himself to the enjoyment of the
innocent, but trifling, pleasures of a luxurious court. The natural
disposition of Theodosius was hasty and choleric; and, in a station
where none could resist, and few would dissuade, the fatal consequence
of his resentment, the humane monarch was justly alarmed by the
consciousness of his infirmity and of his power. It was the constant
study of his life to suppress, or regulate, the intemperate sallies
of passion and the success of his efforts enhanced the merit of his
clemency. But the painful virtue which claims the merit of victory, is
exposed to the danger of defeat; and the reign of a wise and merciful
prince was polluted by an act of cruelty which would stain the annals
of Nero or Domitian. Within the space of three years, the inconsistent
historian of Theodosius must relate the generous pardon of the citizens
of Antioch, and the inhuman massacre of the people of Thessalonica.

82 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 271, 272. His partial evidence is
marked by an air of candor and truth. He observes these vicissitudes of
sloth and activity, not as a vice, but as a singularity in the character
of Theodosius.]

83 (return) [ This choleric temper is acknowledged and excused by Victor
Sed habes (says Ambrose, in decent and many language, to his sovereign)
nature impetum, quem si quis lenire velit, cito vertes ad misericordiam:
si quis stimulet, in magis exsuscitas, ut eum revocare vix possis, (tom.
ii. Epist. li. p. 998.) Theodosius (Claud. in iv. Hon. 266, &c.) exhorts
his son to moderate his anger.]

The lively impatience of the inhabitants of Antioch was never satisfied
with their own situation, or with the character and conduct of their
successive sovereigns. The Arian subjects of Theodosius deplored the
loss of their churches; and as three rival bishops disputed the throne
of Antioch, the sentence which decided their pretensions excited the
murmurs of the two unsuccessful congregations. The exigencies of the
Gothic war, and the inevitable expense that accompanied the conclusion
of the peace, had constrained the emperor to aggravate the weight of
the public impositions; and the provinces of Asia, as they had not been
involved in the distress were the less inclined to contribute to the
relief, of Europe. The auspicious period now approached of the tenth
year of his reign; a festival more grateful to the soldiers, who
received a liberal donative, than to the subjects, whose voluntary
offerings had been long since converted into an extraordinary and
oppressive burden. The edicts of taxation interrupted the repose, and
pleasures, of Antioch; and the tribunal of the magistrate was besieged
by a suppliant crowd; who, in pathetic, but, at first, in respectful
language, solicited the redress of their grievances. They were gradually
incensed by the pride of their haughty rulers, who treated their
complaints as a criminal resistance; their satirical wit degenerated
into sharp and angry invectives; and, from the subordinate powers of
government, the invectives of the people insensibly rose to attack
the sacred character of the emperor himself. Their fury, provoked by
a feeble opposition, discharged itself on the images of the Imperial
family, which were erected, as objects of public veneration, in the
most conspicuous places of the city. The statues of Theodosius, of his
father, of his wife Flaccilla, of his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius,
were insolently thrown down from their pedestals, broken in pieces, or
dragged with contempt through the streets; and the indignities which
were offered to the representations of Imperial majesty, sufficiently
declared the impious and treasonable wishes of the populace. The tumult
was almost immediately suppressed by the arrival of a body of archers:
and Antioch had leisure to reflect on the nature and consequences of
her crime. 84 According to the duty of his office, the governor of the
province despatched a faithful narrative of the whole transaction: while
the trembling citizens intrusted the confession of their crime, and the
assurances of their repentance, to the zeal of Flavian, their bishop,
and to the eloquence of the senator Hilarius, the friend, and most
probably the disciple, of Libanius; whose genius, on this melancholy
occasion, was not useless to his country. 85 But the two capitals,
Antioch and Constantinople, were separated by the distance of eight
hundred miles; and, notwithstanding the diligence of the Imperial posts,
the guilty city was severely punished by a long and dreadful interval of
suspense. Every rumor agitated the hopes and fears of the Antiochians,
and they heard with terror, that their sovereign, exasperated by the
insult which had been offered to his own statues, and more especially,
to those of his beloved wife, had resolved to level with the ground the
offending city; and to massacre, without distinction of age or sex, the
criminal inhabitants; 86 many of whom were actually driven, by their
apprehensions, to seek a refuge in the mountains of Syria, and the
adjacent desert. At length, twenty-four days after the sedition, the
general Hellebicus and Caesarius, master of the offices, declared the
will of the emperor, and the sentence of Antioch. That proud capital
was degraded from the rank of a city; and the metropolis of the East,
stripped of its lands, its privileges, and its revenues, was subjected,
under the humiliating denomination of a village, to the jurisdiction
of Laodicea. 87 The baths, the Circus, and the theatres were shut:
and, that every source of plenty and pleasure might at the same time
be intercepted, the distribution of corn was abolished, by the severe
instructions of Theodosius. His commissioners then proceeded to inquire
into the guilt of individuals; of those who had perpetrated, and of
those who had not prevented, the destruction of the sacred statues. The
tribunal of Hellebicus and Caesarius, encompassed with armed soldiers,
was erected in the midst of the Forum. The noblest, and most wealthy, of
the citizens of Antioch appeared before them in chains; the examination
was assisted by the use of torture, and their sentence was pronounced or
suspended, according to the judgment of these extraordinary magistrates.
The houses of the criminals were exposed to sale, their wives and
children were suddenly reduced, from affluence and luxury, to the most
abject distress; and a bloody execution was expected to conclude the
horrors of the day, 88 which the preacher of Antioch, the eloquent
Chrysostom, has represented as a lively image of the last and universal
judgment of the world. But the ministers of Theodosius performed, with
reluctance, the cruel task which had been assigned them; they dropped
a gentle tear over the calamities of the people; and they listened with
reverence to the pressing solicitations of the monks and hermits, who
descended in swarms from the mountains. 89 Hellebicus and Caesarius were
persuaded to suspend the execution of their sentence; and it was agreed
that the former should remain at Antioch, while the latter returned,
with all possible speed, to Constantinople; and presumed once more to
consult the will of his sovereign. The resentment of Theodosius had
already subsided; the deputies of the people, both the bishop and the
orator, had obtained a favorable audience; and the reproaches of the
emperor were the complaints of injured friendship, rather than the stern
menaces of pride and power. A free and general pardon was granted to
the city and citizens of Antioch; the prison doors were thrown open;
the senators, who despaired of their lives, recovered the possession of
their houses and estates; and the capital of the East was restored
to the enjoyment of her ancient dignity and splendor. Theodosius
condescended to praise the senate of Constantinople, who had generously
interceded for their distressed brethren: he rewarded the eloquence of
Hilarius with the government of Palestine; and dismissed the bishop of
Antioch with the warmest expressions of his respect and gratitude. A
thousand new statues arose to the clemency of Theodosius; the applause
of his subjects was ratified by the approbation of his own heart; and
the emperor confessed, that, if the exercise of justice is the most
important duty, the indulgence of mercy is the most exquisite pleasure,
of a sovereign. 90

84 (return) [ The Christians and Pagans agreed in believing that the
sedition of Antioch was excited by the daemons. A gigantic woman (says
Sozomen, l. vii. c. 23) paraded the streets with a scourge in her hand.
An old man, says Libanius, (Orat. xii. p. 396,) transformed himself into
a youth, then a boy, &c.]

85 (return) [ Zosimus, in his short and disingenuous account, (l. iv.
p. 258, 259,) is certainly mistaken in sending Libanius himself to
Constantinople. His own orations fix him at Antioch.]

86 (return) [ Libanius (Orat. i. p. 6, edit. Venet.) declares, that
under such a reign the fear of a massacre was groundless and absurd,
especially in the emperor's absence, for his presence, according to the
eloquent slave, might have given a sanction to the most bloody acts.]

87 (return) [ Laodicea, on the sea-coast, sixty-five miles from Antioch,
(see Noris Epoch. Syro-Maced. Dissert. iii. p. 230.) The Antiochians
were offended, that the dependent city of Seleucia should presume to
intercede for them.]

88 (return) [ As the days of the tumult depend on the movable festival
of Easter, they can only be determined by the previous determination of
the year. The year 387 has been preferred, after a laborious inquiry,
by Tillemont (Hist. des. Emp. tom. v. p. 741-744) and Montfaucon,
(Chrysostom, tom. xiii. p. 105-110.)]

89 (return) [ Chrysostom opposes their courage, which was not attended
with much risk, to the cowardly flight of the Cynics.]

90 (return) [ The sedition of Antioch is represented in a lively, and
almost dramatic, manner by two orators, who had their respective shares
of interest and merit. See Libanius (Orat. xiv. xv. p. 389-420, edit.
Morel. Orat. i. p. 1-14, Venet. 1754) and the twenty orations of St.
John Chrysostom, de Statuis, (tom. ii. p. 1-225, edit. Montfaucon.) I do
not pretend to much personal acquaintance with Chrysostom but Tillemont
(Hist. des. Empereurs, tom. v. p. 263-283) and Hermant (Vie de St.
Chrysostome, tom. i. p. 137-224) had read him with pious curiosity and
diligence.]

The sedition of Thessalonica is ascribed to a more shameful cause, and
was productive of much more dreadful consequences. That great city, the
metropolis of all the Illyrian provinces, had been protected from
the dangers of the Gothic war by strong fortifications and a numerous
garrison. Botheric, the general of those troops, and, as it should seem
from his name, a Barbarian, had among his slaves a beautiful boy, who
excited the impure desires of one of the charioteers of the Circus.
The insolent and brutal lover was thrown into prison by the order
of Botheric; and he sternly rejected the importunate clamors of the
multitude, who, on the day of the public games, lamented the absence of
their favorite; and considered the skill of a charioteer as an object
of more importance than his virtue. The resentment of the people was
imbittered by some previous disputes; and, as the strength of the
garrison had been drawn away for the service of the Italian war, the
feeble remnant, whose numbers were reduced by desertion, could not save
the unhappy general from their licentious fury. Botheric, and several
of his principal officers, were inhumanly murdered; their mangled bodies
were dragged about the streets; and the emperor, who then resided at
Milan, was surprised by the intelligence of the audacious and wanton
cruelty of the people of Thessalonica. The sentence of a dispassionate
judge would have inflicted a severe punishment on the authors of the
crime; and the merit of Botheric might contribute to exasperate the
grief and indignation of his master.

The fiery and choleric temper of Theodosius was impatient of the
dilatory forms of a judicial inquiry; and he hastily resolved, that the
blood of his lieutenant should be expiated by the blood of the guilty
people. Yet his mind still fluctuated between the counsels of clemency
and of revenge; the zeal of the bishops had almost extorted from the
reluctant emperor the promise of a general pardon; his passion was again
inflamed by the flattering suggestions of his minister Rufinus; and,
after Theodosius had despatched the messengers of death, he attempted,
when it was too late, to prevent the execution of his orders. The
punishment of a Roman city was blindly committed to the undistinguishing
sword of the Barbarians; and the hostile preparations were concerted
with the dark and perfidious artifice of an illegal conspiracy. The
people of Thessalonica were treacherously invited, in the name of their
sovereign, to the games of the Circus; and such was their insatiate
avidity for those amusements, that every consideration of fear, or
suspicion, was disregarded by the numerous spectators. As soon as the
assembly was complete, the soldiers, who had secretly been posted round
the Circus, received the signal, not of the races, but of a general
massacre. The promiscuous carnage continued three hours, without
discrimination of strangers or natives, of age or sex, of innocence or
guilt; the most moderate accounts state the number of the slain at seven
thousand; and it is affirmed by some writers that more than fifteen
thousand victims were sacrificed to the names of Botheric. A foreign
merchant, who had probably no concern in his murder, offered his own
life, and all his wealth, to supply the place of one of his two sons;
but, while the father hesitated with equal tenderness, while he was
doubtful to choose, and unwilling to condemn, the soldiers determined
his suspense, by plunging their daggers at the same moment into the
breasts of the defenceless youths. The apology of the assassins, that
they were obliged to produce the prescribed number of heads, serves only
to increase, by an appearance of order and design, the horrors of the
massacre, which was executed by the commands of Theodosius. The guilt
of the emperor is aggravated by his long and frequent residence at
Thessalonica. The situation of the unfortunate city, the aspect of the
streets and buildings, the dress and faces of the inhabitants, were
familiar, and even present, to his imagination; and Theodosius possessed
a quick and lively sense of the existence of the people whom he
destroyed. 91

91 (return) [ The original evidence of Ambrose, (tom. ii. Epist. li. p.
998.) Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 26,) and Paulinus, (in Vit. Ambros.
c. 24,) is delivered in vague expressions of horror and pity. It is
illustrated by the subsequent and unequal testimonies of Sozomen, (l.
vii. c. 25,) Theodoret, (l. v. c. 17,) Theophanes, (Chronograph. p.
62,) Cedrenus, (p. 317,) and Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xiii. p. 34.) Zosimus
alone, the partial enemy of Theodosius, most unaccountably passes over
in silence the worst of his actions.]

The respectful attachment of the emperor for the orthodox clergy, had
disposed him to love and admire the character of Ambrose; who united
all the episcopal virtues in the most eminent degree. The friends and
ministers of Theodosius imitated the example of their sovereign; and
he observed, with more surprise than displeasure, that all his secret
counsels were immediately communicated to the archbishop; who acted from
the laudable persuasion, that every measure of civil government may
have some connection with the glory of God, and the interest of the true
religion. The monks and populace of Callinicum, 9111 an obscure town on
the frontier of Persia, excited by their own fanaticism, and by that of
their bishop, had tumultuously burnt a conventicle of the Valentinians,
and a synagogue of the Jews. The seditious prelate was condemned, by the
magistrate of the province, either to rebuild the synagogue, or to repay
the damage; and this moderate sentence was confirmed by the emperor.
But it was not confirmed by the archbishop of Milan. 92 He dictated an
epistle of censure and reproach, more suitable, perhaps, if the emperor
had received the mark of circumcision, and renounced the faith of
his baptism. Ambrose considers the toleration of the Jewish, as the
persecution of the Christian, religion; boldly declares that he himself,
and every true believer, would eagerly dispute with the bishop of
Callinicum the merit of the deed, and the crown of martyrdom; and
laments, in the most pathetic terms, that the execution of the sentence
would be fatal to the fame and salvation of Theodosius. As this private
admonition did not produce an immediate effect, the archbishop, from his
pulpit, 93 publicly addressed the emperor on his throne; 94 nor would
he consent to offer the oblation of the altar, till he had obtained from
Theodosius a solemn and positive declaration, which secured the impunity
of the bishop and monks of Callinicum. The recantation of Theodosius
was sincere; 95 and, during the term of his residence at Milan, his
affection for Ambrose was continually increased by the habits of pious
and familiar conversation.

9111 (return) [ Raeca, on the Euphrates—M.]

92 (return) [ See the whole transaction in Ambrose, (tom. ii. Epist.
xl. xli. p. 950-956,) and his biographer Paulinus, (c. 23.) Bayle
and Barbeyrac (Morales des Peres, c. xvii. p. 325, &c.) have justly
condemned the archbishop.]

93 (return) [ His sermon is a strange allegory of Jeremiah's rod, of an
almond tree, of the woman who washed and anointed the feet of Christ.
But the peroration is direct and personal.]

94 (return) [ Hodie, Episcope, de me proposuisti. Ambrose modestly
confessed it; but he sternly reprimanded Timasius, general of the horse
and foot, who had presumed to say that the monks of Callinicum deserved
punishment.]

95 (return) [ Yet, five years afterwards, when Theodosius was absent
from his spiritual guide, he tolerated the Jews, and condemned the
destruction of their synagogues. Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. viii. leg.
9, with Godefroy's Commentary, tom. vi. p. 225.]

When Ambrose was informed of the massacre of Thessalonica, his mind was
filled with horror and anguish. He retired into the country to
indulge his grief, and to avoid the presence of Theodosius. But as
the archbishop was satisfied that a timid silence would render him
the accomplice of his guilt, he represented, in a private letter, the
enormity of the crime; which could only be effaced by the tears of
penitence. The episcopal vigor of Ambrose was tempered by prudence;
and he contented himself with signifying 96 an indirect sort of
excommunication, by the assurance, that he had been warned in a
vision not to offer the oblation in the name, or in the presence, of
Theodosius; and by the advice, that he would confine himself to the
use of prayer, without presuming to approach the altar of Christ, or
to receive the holy eucharist with those hands that were still polluted
with the blood of an innocent people. The emperor was deeply affected by
his own reproaches, and by those of his spiritual father; and after he
had bewailed the mischievous and irreparable consequences of his rash
fury, he proceeded, in the accustomed manner, to perform his devotions
in the great church of Milan. He was stopped in the porch by the
archbishop; who, in the tone and language of an ambassador of Heaven,
declared to his sovereign, that private contrition was not sufficient
to atone for a public fault, or to appease the justice of the offended
Deity. Theodosius humbly represented, that if he had contracted the
guilt of homicide, David, the man after God's own heart, had been
guilty, not only of murder, but of adultery. "You have imitated David in
his crime, imitate then his repentance," was the reply of the undaunted
Ambrose. The rigorous conditions of peace and pardon were accepted; and
the public penance of the emperor Theodosius has been recorded as one of
the most honorable events in the annals of the church. According to the
mildest rules of ecclesiastical discipline, which were established in
the fourth century, the crime of homicide was expiated by the penitence
of twenty years: 97 and as it was impossible, in the period of human
life, to purge the accumulated guilt of the massacre of Thessalonica,
the murderer should have been excluded from the holy communion till
the hour of his death. But the archbishop, consulting the maxims of
religious policy, granted some indulgence to the rank of his illustrious
penitent, who humbled in the dust the pride of the diadem; and the
public edification might be admitted as a weighty reason to abridge the
duration of his punishment. It was sufficient, that the emperor of the
Romans, stripped of the ensigns of royalty, should appear in a mournful
and suppliant posture; and that, in the midst of the church of Milan, he
should humbly solicit, with sighs and tears, the pardon of his sins. 98
In this spiritual cure, Ambrose employed the various methods of mildness
and severity. After a delay of about eight months, Theodosius was
restored to the communion of the faithful; and the edict which
interposes a salutary interval of thirty days between the sentence and
the execution, may be accepted as the worthy fruits of his repentance.
99 Posterity has applauded the virtuous firmness of the archbishop; and
the example of Theodosius may prove the beneficial influence of those
principles, which could force a monarch, exalted above the apprehension
of human punishment, to respect the laws, and ministers, of an invisible
Judge. "The prince," says Montesquieu, "who is actuated by the hopes and
fears of religion, may be compared to a lion, docile only to the voice,
and tractable to the hand, of his keeper." 100 The motions of the royal
animal will therefore depend on the inclination, and interest, of the
man who has acquired such dangerous authority over him; and the priest,
who holds in his hands the conscience of a king, may inflame, or
moderate, his sanguinary passions. The cause of humanity, and that of
persecution, have been asserted, by the same Ambrose, with equal energy,
and with equal success.

96 (return) [ Ambros. tom. ii. Epist. li. p. 997-1001. His epistle is a
miserable rhapsody on a noble subject. Ambrose could act better than he
could write. His compositions are destitute of taste, or genius; without
the spirit of Tertullian, the copious elegance of Lactantius the lively
wit of Jerom, or the grave energy of Augustin.]

97 (return) [ According to the discipline of St. Basil, (Canon lvi.,)
the voluntary homicide was four years a mourner; five a hearer; seven in
a prostrate state; and four in a standing posture. I have the original
(Beveridge, Pandect. tom. ii. p. 47-151) and a translation (Chardon,
Hist. des Sacremens, tom. iv. p. 219-277) of the Canonical Epistles of
St. Basil.]

98 (return) [ The penance of Theodosius is authenticated by Ambrose,
(tom. vi. de Obit. Theodos. c. 34, p. 1207,) Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei,
v. 26,) and Paulinus, (in Vit. Ambros. c. 24.) Socrates is ignorant;
Sozomen (l. vii. c. 25) concise; and the copious narrative of Theodoret
(l. v. c. 18) must be used with precaution.]

99 (return) [ Codex Theodos. l. ix. tit. xl. leg. 13. The date and
circumstances of this law are perplexed with difficulties; but I feel
myself inclined to favor the honest efforts of Tillemont (Hist. des Emp.
tom. v. p. 721) and Pagi, (Critica, tom. i. p. 578.)]

100 (return) [ Un prince qui aime la religion, et qui la craint, est
un lion qui cede a la main qui le flatte, ou a la voix qui l'appaise.
Esprit des Loix, l. xxiv. c. 2.]



Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part V.

After the defeat and death of the tyrant of Gaul, the Roman world was in
the possession of Theodosius. He derived from the choice of Gratian his
honorable title to the provinces of the East: he had acquired the West
by the right of conquest; and the three years which he spent in Italy
were usefully employed to restore the authority of the laws, and
to correct the abuses which had prevailed with impunity under the
usurpation of Maximus, and the minority of Valentinian. The name of
Valentinian was regularly inserted in the public acts: but the tender
age, and doubtful faith, of the son of Justina, appeared to require the
prudent care of an orthodox guardian; and his specious ambition might
have excluded the unfortunate youth, without a struggle, and
almost without a murmur, from the administration, and even from the
inheritance, of the empire. If Theodosius had consulted the rigid maxims
of interest and policy, his conduct would have been justified by his
friends; but the generosity of his behavior on this memorable occasion
has extorted the applause of his most inveterate enemies. He seated
Valentinian on the throne of Milan; and, without stipulating any present
or future advantages, restored him to the absolute dominion of all the
provinces, from which he had been driven by the arms of Maximus. To
the restitution of his ample patrimony, Theodosius added the free and
generous gift of the countries beyond the Alps, which his successful
valor had recovered from the assassin of Gratian. 101 Satisfied with the
glory which he had acquired, by revenging the death of his benefactor,
and delivering the West from the yoke of tyranny, the emperor returned
from Milan to Constantinople; and, in the peaceful possession of
the East, insensibly relapsed into his former habits of luxury and
indolence. Theodosius discharged his obligation to the brother, he
indulged his conjugal tenderness to the sister, of Valentinian; and
posterity, which admires the pure and singular glory of his elevation,
must applaud his unrivalled generosity in the use of victory.

101 (return) [ It is the niggard praise of Zosimus himself, (l. iv.
p. 267.) Augustin says, with some happiness of expression,
Valentinianum.... misericordissima veneratione restituit.]

The empress Justina did not long survive her return to Italy; and,
though she beheld the triumph of Theodosius, she was not allowed to
influence the government of her son. 102 The pernicious attachment
to the Arian sect, which Valentinian had imbibed from her example
and instructions, was soon erased by the lessons of a more orthodox
education. His growing zeal for the faith of Nice, and his filial
reverence for the character and authority of Ambrose, disposed the
Catholics to entertain the most favorable opinion of the virtues of
the young emperor of the West. 103 They applauded his chastity and
temperance, his contempt of pleasure, his application to business, and
his tender affection for his two sisters; which could not, however,
seduce his impartial equity to pronounce an unjust sentence against
the meanest of his subjects. But this amiable youth, before he had
accomplished the twentieth year of his age, was oppressed by domestic
treason; and the empire was again involved in the horrors of a civil
war. Arbogastes, 104 a gallant soldier of the nation of the Franks, held
the second rank in the service of Gratian. On the death of his master
he joined the standard of Theodosius; contributed, by his valor and
military conduct, to the destruction of the tyrant; and was appointed,
after the victory, master-general of the armies of Gaul. His real merit,
and apparent fidelity, had gained the confidence both of the prince and
people; his boundless liberality corrupted the allegiance of the troops;
and, whilst he was universally esteemed as the pillar of the state, the
bold and crafty Barbarian was secretly determined either to rule, or to
ruin, the empire of the West. The important commands of the army were
distributed among the Franks; the creatures of Arbogastes were promoted
to all the honors and offices of the civil government; the progress
of the conspiracy removed every faithful servant from the presence of
Valentinian; and the emperor, without power and without intelligence,
insensibly sunk into the precarious and dependent condition of a
captive. 105 The indignation which he expressed, though it might arise
only from the rash and impatient temper of youth, may be candidly
ascribed to the generous spirit of a prince, who felt that he was
not unworthy to reign. He secretly invited the archbishop of Milan to
undertake the office of a mediator; as the pledge of his sincerity, and
the guardian of his safety. He contrived to apprise the emperor of the
East of his helpless situation, and he declared, that, unless Theodosius
could speedily march to his assistance, he must attempt to escape
from the palace, or rather prison, of Vienna in Gaul, where he had
imprudently fixed his residence in the midst of the hostile faction.
But the hopes of relief were distant, and doubtful: and, as every
day furnished some new provocation, the emperor, without strength or
counsel, too hastily resolved to risk an immediate contest with his
powerful general. He received Arbogastes on the throne; and, as the
count approached with some appearance of respect, delivered to him a
paper, which dismissed him from all his employments. "My authority,"
replied Arbogastes, with insulting coolness, "does not depend on the
smile or the frown of a monarch;" and he contemptuously threw the paper
on the ground. The indignant monarch snatched at the sword of one of
the guards, which he struggled to draw from its scabbard; and it was
not without some degree of violence that he was prevented from using the
deadly weapon against his enemy, or against himself. A few days after
this extraordinary quarrel, in which he had exposed his resentment and
his weakness, the unfortunate Valentinian was found strangled in his
apartment; and some pains were employed to disguise the manifest guilt
of Arbogastes, and to persuade the world, that the death of the young
emperor had been the voluntary effect of his own despair. 106 His
body was conducted with decent pomp to the sepulchre of Milan; and the
archbishop pronounced a funeral oration to commemorate his virtues and
his misfortunes. 107 On this occasion the humanity of Ambrose tempted
him to make a singular breach in his theological system; and to comfort
the weeping sisters of Valentinian, by the firm assurance, that their
pious brother, though he had not received the sacrament of baptism, was
introduced, without difficulty, into the mansions of eternal bliss. 108

102 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. 14. His chronology is very
irregular.]

103 (return) [ See Ambrose, (tom. ii. de Obit. Valentinian. c. 15,
&c. p. 1178. c. 36, &c. p. 1184.) When the young emperor gave an
entertainment, he fasted himself; he refused to see a handsome actress,
&c. Since he ordered his wild beasts to to be killed, it is ungenerous
in Philostor (l. xi. c. 1) to reproach him with the love of that
amusement.]

104 (return) [ Zosimus (l. iv. p. 275) praises the enemy of Theodosius.
But he is detested by Socrates (l. v. c. 25) and Orosius, (l. vii. c.
35.)]

105 (return) [ Gregory of Tours (l. ii. c. 9, p. 165, in the second
volume of the Historians of France) has preserved a curious fragment of
Sulpicius Alexander, an historian far more valuable than himself.]

106 (return) [ Godefroy (Dissertat. ad. Philostorg. p. 429-434) has
diligently collected all the circumstances of the death of Valentinian
II. The variations, and the ignorance, of contemporary writers, prove
that it was secret.]

107 (return) [ De Obitu Valentinian. tom. ii. p. 1173-1196. He is forced
to speak a discreet and obscure language: yet he is much bolder than any
layman, or perhaps any other ecclesiastic, would have dared to be.]

108 (return) [ See c. 51, p. 1188, c. 75, p. 1193. Dom Chardon,
(Hist. des Sacramens, tom. i. p. 86,) who owns that St. Ambrose most
strenuously maintains the indispensable necessity of baptism, labors to
reconcile the contradiction.]

The prudence of Arbogastes had prepared the success of his ambitious
designs: and the provincials, in whose breast every sentiment of
patriotism or loyalty was extinguished, expected, with tame resignation,
the unknown master, whom the choice of a Frank might place on the
Imperial throne. But some remains of pride and prejudice still opposed
the elevation of Arbogastes himself; and the judicious Barbarian thought
it more advisable to reign under the name of some dependent Roman. He
bestowed the purple on the rhetorician Eugenius; 109 whom he had already
raised from the place of his domestic secretary to the rank of master of
the offices. In the course, both of his private and public service, the
count had always approved the attachment and abilities of Eugenius;
his learning and eloquence, supported by the gravity of his manners,
recommended him to the esteem of the people; and the reluctance with
which he seemed to ascend the throne, may inspire a favorable prejudice
of his virtue and moderation. The ambassadors of the new emperor were
immediately despatched to the court of Theodosius, to communicate, with
affected grief, the unfortunate accident of the death of Valentinian;
and, without mentioning the name of Arbogastes, to request, that
the monarch of the East would embrace, as his lawful colleague, the
respectable citizen, who had obtained the unanimous suffrage of the
armies and provinces of the West. 110 Theodosius was justly provoked,
that the perfidy of a Barbarian, should have destroyed, in a moment, the
labors, and the fruit, of his former victory; and he was excited by
the tears of his beloved wife, 111 to revenge the fate of her unhappy
brother, and once more to assert by arms the violated majesty of the
throne. But as the second conquest of the West was a task of difficulty
and danger, he dismissed, with splendid presents, and an ambiguous
answer, the ambassadors of Eugenius; and almost two years were consumed
in the preparations of the civil war. Before he formed any decisive
resolution, the pious emperor was anxious to discover the will of
Heaven; and as the progress of Christianity had silenced the oracles of
Delphi and Dodona, he consulted an Egyptian monk, who possessed, in the
opinion of the age, the gift of miracles, and the knowledge of futurity.
Eutropius, one of the favorite eunuchs of the palace of Constantinople,
embarked for Alexandria, from whence he sailed up the Nile, as far as
the city of Lycopolis, or of Wolves, in the remote province of Thebais.
112 In the neighborhood of that city, and on the summit of a lofty
mountain, the holy John 113 had constructed, with his own hands, an
humble cell, in which he had dwelt above fifty years, without opening
his door, without seeing the face of a woman, and without tasting any
food that had been prepared by fire, or any human art. Five days of the
week he spent in prayer and meditation; but on Saturdays and Sundays
he regularly opened a small window, and gave audience to the crowd of
suppliants who successively flowed from every part of the Christian
world. The eunuch of Theodosius approached the window with respectful
steps, proposed his questions concerning the event of the civil war, and
soon returned with a favorable oracle, which animated the courage of the
emperor by the assurance of a bloody, but infallible victory. 114 The
accomplishment of the prediction was forwarded by all the means that
human prudence could supply. The industry of the two master-generals,
Stilicho and Timasius, was directed to recruit the numbers, and to
revive the discipline of the Roman legions. The formidable troops of
Barbarians marched under the ensigns of their national chieftains. The
Iberian, the Arab, and the Goth, who gazed on each other with mutual
astonishment, were enlisted in the service of the same prince; 1141 and
the renowned Alaric acquired, in the school of Theodosius, the knowledge
of the art of war, which he afterwards so fatally exerted for the
destruction of Rome. 115

109 (return) [ Quem sibi Germanus famulam delegerat exul, is the
contemptuous expression of Claudian, (iv. Cons. Hon. 74.) Eugenius
professed Christianity; but his secret attachment to Paganism (Sozomen,
l. vii. c. 22, Philostorg. l. xi. c. 2) is probable in a grammarian, and
would secure the friendship of Zosimus, (l. iv. p. 276, 277.)]

110 (return) [ Zosimus (l. iv. p. 278) mentions this embassy; but he is
diverted by another story from relating the event.]

111 (return) [ Zosim. l. iv. p. 277. He afterwards says (p. 280) that
Galla died in childbed; and intimates, that the affliction of her
husband was extreme but short.]

112 (return) [ Lycopolis is the modern Siut, or Osiot, a town of Said,
about the size of St. Denys, which drives a profitable trade with the
kingdom of Senaar, and has a very convenient fountain, "cujus potu signa
virgini tatis eripiuntur." See D'Anville, Description de l'Egypte, p.
181 Abulfeda, Descript. Egypt. p. 14, and the curious Annotations, p.
25, 92, of his editor Michaelis.]

113 (return) [ The Life of John of Lycopolis is described by his two
friends, Rufinus (l. ii. c. i. p. 449) and Palladius, (Hist. Lausiac.
c. 43, p. 738,) in Rosweyde's great Collection of the Vitae Patrum.
Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. x. p. 718, 720) has settled the
chronology.]

114 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. 22. Claudian (in Eutrop. l. i. 312)
mentions the eunuch's journey; but he most contemptuously derides the
Egyptian dreams, and the oracles of the Nile.]

1141 (return) [ Gibbon has embodied the picturesque verses of
Claudian:—

     .... Nec tantis dissona linguis
     Turba, nec armorum cultu diversion unquam]

115 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 280. Socrates, l. vii. 10. Alaric
himself (de Bell. Getico, 524) dwells with more complacency on his early
exploits against the Romans.

.... Tot Augustos Hebro qui teste fugavi.

Yet his vanity could scarcely have proved this plurality of flying
emperors.]

The emperor of the West, or, to speak more properly, his general
Arbogastes, was instructed by the misconduct and misfortune of Maximus,
how dangerous it might prove to extend the line of defence against a
skilful antagonist, who was free to press, or to suspend, to contract,
or to multiply, his various methods of attack. 116 Arbogastes fixed
his station on the confines of Italy; the troops of Theodosius were
permitted to occupy, without resistance, the provinces of Pannonia, as
far as the foot of the Julian Alps; and even the passes of the mountains
were negligently, or perhaps artfully, abandoned to the bold invader.
He descended from the hills, and beheld, with some astonishment, the
formidable camp of the Gauls and Germans, that covered with arms and
tents the open country which extends to the walls of Aquileia, and the
banks of the Frigidus, 117 or Cold River. 118 This narrow theatre of the
war, circumscribed by the Alps and the Adriatic, did not allow much room
for the operations of military skill; the spirit of Arbogastes
would have disdained a pardon; his guilt extinguished the hope of a
negotiation; and Theodosius was impatient to satisfy his glory and
revenge, by the chastisement of the assassins of Valentinian. Without
weighing the natural and artificial obstacles that opposed his efforts,
the emperor of the East immediately attacked the fortifications of
his rivals, assigned the post of honorable danger to the Goths, and
cherished a secret wish, that the bloody conflict might diminish the
pride and numbers of the conquerors. Ten thousand of those auxiliaries,
and Bacurius, general of the Iberians, died bravely on the field of
battle. But the victory was not purchased by their blood; the Gauls
maintained their advantage; and the approach of night protected the
disorderly flight, or retreat, of the troops of Theodosius. The emperor
retired to the adjacent hills; where he passed a disconsolate night,
without sleep, without provisions, and without hopes; 119 except that
strong assurance, which, under the most desperate circumstances, the
independent mind may derive from the contempt of fortune and of life.
The triumph of Eugenius was celebrated by the insolent and dissolute joy
of his camp; whilst the active and vigilant Arbogastes secretly detached
a considerable body of troops to occupy the passes of the mountains, and
to encompass the rear of the Eastern army. The dawn of day discovered to
the eyes of Theodosius the extent and the extremity of his danger; but
his apprehensions were soon dispelled, by a friendly message from the
leaders of those troops who expressed their inclination to desert the
standard of the tyrant. The honorable and lucrative rewards, which
they stipulated as the price of their perfidy, were granted without
hesitation; and as ink and paper could not easily be procured, the
emperor subscribed, on his own tablets, the ratification of the treaty.
The spirit of his soldiers was revived by this seasonable reenforcement;
and they again marched, with confidence, to surprise the camp of a
tyrant, whose principal officers appeared to distrust, either the
justice or the success of his arms. In the heat of the battle, a violent
tempest, 120 such as is often felt among the Alps, suddenly arose from
the East. The army of Theodosius was sheltered by their position from
the impetuosity of the wind, which blew a cloud of dust in the faces
of the enemy, disordered their ranks, wrested their weapons from their
hands, and diverted, or repelled, their ineffectual javelins. This
accidental advantage was skilfully improved, the violence of the storm
was magnified by the superstitious terrors of the Gauls; and they
yielded without shame to the invisible powers of heaven, who seemed to
militate on the side of the pious emperor. His victory was decisive; and
the deaths of his two rivals were distinguished only by the difference
of their characters. The rhetorician Eugenius, who had almost acquired
the dominion of the world, was reduced to implore the mercy of the
conqueror; and the unrelenting soldiers separated his head from his body
as he lay prostrate at the feet of Theodosius. Arbogastes, after the
loss of a battle, in which he had discharged the duties of a soldier and
a general, wandered several days among the mountains. But when he was
convinced that his cause was desperate, and his escape impracticable,
the intrepid Barbarian imitated the example of the ancient Romans, and
turned his sword against his own breast. The fate of the empire was
determined in a narrow corner of Italy; and the legitimate successor
of the house of Valentinian embraced the archbishop of Milan, and
graciously received the submission of the provinces of the West. Those
provinces were involved in the guilt of rebellion; while the inflexible
courage of Ambrose alone had resisted the claims of successful
usurpation. With a manly freedom, which might have been fatal to any
other subject, the archbishop rejected the gifts of Eugenius, 1201
declined his correspondence, and withdrew himself from Milan, to avoid
the odious presence of a tyrant, whose downfall he predicted in discreet
and ambiguous language. The merit of Ambrose was applauded by the
conqueror, who secured the attachment of the people by his alliance with
the church; and the clemency of Theodosius is ascribed to the humane
intercession of the archbishop of Milan. 121

116 (return) [ Claudian (in iv. Cons. Honor. 77, &c.) contrasts the
military plans of the two usurpers:—

     .... Novitas audere priorem
     Suadebat; cautumque dabant exempla sequentem.
     Hic nova moliri praeceps: hic quaerere tuta
     Providus.  Hic fusis; colectis viribus ille.
     Hic vagus excurrens; hic claustra reductus
     Dissimiles, sed morte pares......]

117 (return) [ The Frigidus, a small, though memorable, stream in the
country of Goretz, now called the Vipao, falls into the Sontius, or
Lisonzo, above Aquileia, some miles from the Adriatic. See D'Anville's
ancient and modern maps, and the Italia Antiqua of Cluverius, (tom. i.
c. 188.)]

118 (return) [ Claudian's wit is intolerable: the snow was dyed red; the
cold ver smoked; and the channel must have been choked with carcasses
the current had not been swelled with blood. Confluxit populus: totam
pater undique secum Moverat Aurorem; mixtis hic Colchus Iberis, Hic
mitra velatus Arabs, hic crine decoro Armenius, hic picta Saces,
fucataque Medus, Hic gemmata tiger tentoria fixerat Indus.—De Laud.
Stil. l. 145.—M.]

119 (return) [ Theodoret affirms, that St. John, and St. Philip,
appeared to the waking, or sleeping, emperor, on horseback, &c. This
is the first instance of apostolic chivalry, which afterwards became so
popular in Spain, and in the Crusades.]

120 (return) [ Te propter, gelidis Aquilo de monte procellis

    Obruit adversas acies; revolutaque tela
    Vertit in auctores, et turbine reppulit hastas

    O nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ab antris
    Aeolus armatas hyemes; cui militat Aether,
    Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti.

These famous lines of Claudian (in iii. Cons. Honor. 93, &c. A.D. 396)
are alleged by his contemporaries, Augustin and Orosius; who suppress
the Pagan deity of Aeolus, and add some circumstances from the
information of eye-witnesses. Within four months after the victory,
it was compared by Ambrose to the miraculous victories of Moses and
Joshua.]

1201 (return) [ Arbogastes and his emperor had openly espoused the Pagan
party, according to Ambrose and Augustin. See Le Beau, v. 40. Beugnot
(Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme) is more full, and perhaps
somewhat fanciful, on this remarkable reaction in favor of Paganism, but
compare p 116.—M.]

121 (return) [ The events of this civil war are gathered from Ambrose,
(tom. ii. Epist. lxii. p. 1022,) Paulinus, (in Vit. Ambros. c. 26-34,)
Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 26,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 35,) Sozomen,
(l. vii. c. 24,) Theodoret, (l. v. c. 24,) Zosimus, (l. iv. p. 281,
282,) Claudian, (in iii. Cons. Hon. 63-105, in iv. Cons. Hon. 70-117,)
and the Chronicles published by Scaliger.]

After the defeat of Eugenius, the merit, as well as the authority, of
Theodosius was cheerfully acknowledged by all the inhabitants of the
Roman world. The experience of his past conduct encouraged the most
pleasing expectations of his future reign; and the age of the emperor,
which did not exceed fifty years, seemed to extend the prospect of the
public felicity. His death, only four months after his victory, was
considered by the people as an unforeseen and fatal event, which
destroyed, in a moment, the hopes of the rising generation. But the
indulgence of ease and luxury had secretly nourished the principles of
disease. 122 The strength of Theodosius was unable to support the sudden
and violent transition from the palace to the camp; and the increasing
symptoms of a dropsy announced the speedy dissolution of the emperor.
The opinion, and perhaps the interest, of the public had confirmed the
division of the Eastern and Western empires; and the two royal youths,
Arcadius and Honorius, who had already obtained, from the tenderness of
their father, the title of Augustus, were destined to fill the thrones
of Constantinople and of Rome. Those princes were not permitted to share
the danger and glory of the civil war; 123 but as soon as Theodosius had
triumphed over his unworthy rivals, he called his younger son, Honorius,
to enjoy the fruits of the victory, and to receive the sceptre of the
West from the hands of his dying father. The arrival of Honorius at
Milan was welcomed by a splendid exhibition of the games of the Circus;
and the emperor, though he was oppressed by the weight of his disorder,
contributed by his presence to the public joy. But the remains of his
strength were exhausted by the painful effort which he made to assist at
the spectacles of the morning. Honorius supplied, during the rest of the
day, the place of his father; and the great Theodosius expired in the
ensuing night. Notwithstanding the recent animosities of a civil
war, his death was universally lamented. The Barbarians, whom he had
vanquished and the churchmen, by whom he had been subdued, celebrated,
with loud and sincere applause, the qualities of the deceased emperor,
which appeared the most valuable in their eyes. The Romans
were terrified by the impending dangers of a feeble and divided
administration, and every disgraceful moment of the unfortunate reigns
of Arcadius and Honorius revived the memory of their irreparable loss.

122 (return) [ This disease, ascribed by Socrates (l. v. c. 26) to the
fatigues of war, is represented by Philostorgius (l. xi. c. 2) as
the effect of sloth and intemperance; for which Photius calls him an
impudent liar, (Godefroy, Dissert. p. 438.)]

123 (return) [ Zosimus supposes, that the boy Honorius accompanied his
father, (l. iv. p. 280.) Yet the quanto flagrabrant pectora voto is all
that flattery would allow to a contemporary poet; who clearly describes
the emperor's refusal, and the journey of Honorius, after the victory
(Claudian in iii. Cons. 78-125.)]

In the faithful picture of the virtues of Theodosius, his imperfections
have not been dissembled; the act of cruelty, and the habits of
indolence, which tarnished the glory of one of the greatest of the Roman
princes. An historian, perpetually adverse to the fame of Theodosius,
has exaggerated his vices, and their pernicious effects; he boldly
asserts, that every rank of subjects imitated the effeminate manners
of their sovereign; and that every species of corruption polluted the
course of public and private life; and that the feeble restraints of
order and decency were insufficient to resist the progress of that
degenerate spirit, which sacrifices, without a blush, the consideration
of duty and interest to the base indulgence of sloth and appetite. 124
The complaints of contemporary writers, who deplore the increase of
luxury, and depravation of manners, are commonly expressive of their
peculiar temper and situation. There are few observers, who possess a
clear and comprehensive view of the revolutions of society; and who
are capable of discovering the nice and secret springs of action, which
impel, in the same uniform direction, the blind and capricious passions
of a multitude of individuals. If it can be affirmed, with any degree of
truth, that the luxury of the Romans was more shameless and dissolute in
the reign of Theodosius than in the age of Constantine, perhaps, or
of Augustus, the alteration cannot be ascribed to any beneficial
improvements, which had gradually increased the stock of national
riches. A long period of calamity or decay must have checked the
industry, and diminished the wealth, of the people; and their profuse
luxury must have been the result of that indolent despair, which enjoys
the present hour, and declines the thoughts of futurity. The uncertain
condition of their property discouraged the subjects of Theodosius from
engaging in those useful and laborious undertakings which require
an immediate expense, and promise a slow and distant advantage. The
frequent examples of ruin and desolation tempted them not to spare the
remains of a patrimony, which might, every hour, become the prey of the
rapacious Goth. And the mad prodigality which prevails in the confusion
of a shipwreck, or a siege, may serve to explain the progress of luxury
amidst the misfortunes and terrors of a sinking nation.

124 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 244.]

The effeminate luxury, which infected the manners of courts and cities,
had instilled a secret and destructive poison into the camps of the
legions; and their degeneracy has been marked by the pen of a military
writer, who had accurately studied the genuine and ancient principles of
Roman discipline. It is the just and important observation of Vegetius,
that the infantry was invariably covered with defensive armor, from
the foundation of the city, to the reign of the emperor Gratian. The
relaxation of discipline, and the disuse of exercise, rendered the
soldiers less able, and less willing, to support the fatigues of the
service; they complained of the weight of the armor, which they seldom
wore; and they successively obtained the permission of laying aside both
their cuirasses and their helmets. The heavy weapons of their ancestors,
the short sword, and the formidable pilum, which had subdued the world,
insensibly dropped from their feeble hands. As the use of the shield
is incompatible with that of the bow, they reluctantly marched into the
field; condemned to suffer either the pain of wounds, or the ignominy of
flight, and always disposed to prefer the more shameful alternative. The
cavalry of the Goths, the Huns, and the Alani, had felt the benefits,
and adopted the use, of defensive armor; and, as they excelled in the
management of missile weapons, they easily overwhelmed the naked
and trembling legions, whose heads and breasts were exposed, without
defence, to the arrows of the Barbarians. The loss of armies, the
destruction of cities, and the dishonor of the Roman name, ineffectually
solicited the successors of Gratian to restore the helmets and the
cuirasses of the infantry. The enervated soldiers abandoned their
own and the public defence; and their pusillanimous indolence may be
considered as the immediate cause of the downfall of the empire. 125

125 (return) [ Vegetius, de Re Militari, l. i. c. 10. The series of
calamities which he marks, compel us to believe, that the Hero, to
whom he dedicates his book, is the last and most inglorious of the
Valentinians.]



Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part I.

     Final Destruction Of Paganism.—Introduction Of The Worship
     Of Saints, And Relics, Among The Christians.

The ruin of Paganism, in the age of Theodosius, is perhaps the
only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and popular
superstition; and may therefore deserve to be considered as a singular
event in the history of the human mind. The Christians, more especially
the clergy, had impatiently supported the prudent delays of Constantine,
and the equal toleration of the elder Valentinian; nor could they deem
their conquest perfect or secure, as long as their adversaries were
permitted to exist. The influence which Ambrose and his brethren had
acquired over the youth of Gratian, and the piety of Theodosius, was
employed to infuse the maxims of persecution into the breasts of their
Imperial proselytes. Two specious principles of religious jurisprudence
were established, from whence they deduced a direct and rigorous
conclusion, against the subjects of the empire who still adhered to the
ceremonies of their ancestors: that the magistrate is, in some measure,
guilty of the crimes which he neglects to prohibit, or to punish; and,
that the idolatrous worship of fabulous deities, and real daemons, is
the most abominable crime against the supreme majesty of the Creator.
The laws of Moses, and the examples of Jewish history, 1 were hastily,
perhaps erroneously, applied, by the clergy, to the mild and universal
reign of Christianity. 2 The zeal of the emperors was excited to
vindicate their own honor, and that of the Deity: and the temples of the
Roman world were subverted, about sixty years after the conversion of
Constantine.

1 (return) [ St. Ambrose (tom. ii. de Obit. Theodos. p. 1208) expressly
praises and recommends the zeal of Josiah in the destruction of idolatry
The language of Julius Firmicus Maternus on the same subject (de Errore
Profan. Relig. p. 467, edit. Gronov.) is piously inhuman. Nec filio
jubet (the Mosaic Law) parci, nec fratri, et per amatam conjugera
gladium vindicem ducit, &c.]

2 (return) [ Bayle (tom. ii. p. 406, in his Commentaire Philosophique)
justifies, and limits, these intolerant laws by the temporal reign of
Jehovah over the Jews. The attempt is laudable.]

From the age of Numa to the reign of Gratian, the Romans preserved the
regular succession of the several colleges of the sacerdotal order. 3
Fifteen Pontiffs exercised their supreme jurisdiction over all things,
and persons, that were consecrated to the service of the gods; and the
various questions which perpetually arose in a loose and traditionary
system, were submitted to the judgment of their holy tribunal.
Fifteen grave and learned Augurs observed the face of the heavens, and
prescribed the actions of heroes, according to the flight of birds.
Fifteen keepers of the Sibylline books (their name of Quindecemvirs was
derived from their number) occasionally consulted the history of future,
and, as it should seem, of contingent, events. Six Vestals devoted their
virginity to the guard of the sacred fire, and of the unknown pledges of
the duration of Rome; which no mortal had been suffered to behold with
impunity. 4 Seven Epulos prepared the table of the gods, conducted the
solemn procession, and regulated the ceremonies of the annual festival.
The three Flamens of Jupiter, of Mars, and of Quirinus, were considered
as the peculiar ministers of the three most powerful deities, who
watched over the fate of Rome and of the universe. The King of the
Sacrifices represented the person of Numa, and of his successors, in the
religious functions, which could be performed only by royal hands. The
confraternities of the Salians, the Lupercals, &c., practised such rites
as might extort a smile of contempt from every reasonable man, with
a lively confidence of recommending themselves to the favor of the
immortal gods. The authority, which the Roman priests had formerly
obtained in the counsels of the republic, was gradually abolished by the
establishment of monarchy, and the removal of the seat of empire. But
the dignity of their sacred character was still protected by the laws,
and manners of their country; and they still continued, more especially
the college of pontiffs, to exercise in the capital, and sometimes
in the provinces, the rights of their ecclesiastical and civil
jurisdiction. Their robes of purple, chariotz of state, and sumptuous
entertainments, attracted the admiration of the people; and they
received, from the consecrated lands, and the public revenue, an ample
stipend, which liberally supported the splendor of the priesthood, and
all the expenses of the religious worship of the state. As the service
of the altar was not incompatible with the command of armies, the
Romans, after their consulships and triumphs, aspired to the place of
pontiff, or of augur; the seats of Cicero 5 and Pompey were filled, in
the fourth century, by the most illustrious members of the senate;
and the dignity of their birth reflected additional splendor on their
sacerdotal character. The fifteen priests, who composed the college of
pontiffs, enjoyed a more distinguished rank as the companions of their
sovereign; and the Christian emperors condescended to accept the robe
and ensigns, which were appropriated to the office of supreme
pontiff. But when Gratian ascended the throne, more scrupulous or more
enlightened, he sternly rejected those profane symbols; 6 applied to the
service of the state, or of the church, the revenues of the priests
and vestals; abolished their honors and immunities; and dissolved
the ancient fabric of Roman superstition, which was supported by the
opinions and habits of eleven hundred years. Paganism was still the
constitutional religion of the senate. The hall, or temple, in which
they assembled, was adorned by the statue and altar of Victory; 7 a
majestic female standing on a globe, with flowing garments, expanded
wings, and a crown of laurel in her outstretched hand. 8 The senators
were sworn on the altar of the goddess to observe the laws of the
emperor and of the empire: and a solemn offering of wine and incense
was the ordinary prelude of their public deliberations. 9 The removal of
this ancient monument was the only injury which Constantius had offered
to the superstition of the Romans. The altar of Victory was again
restored by Julian, tolerated by Valentinian, and once more banished
from the senate by the zeal of Gratian. 10 But the emperor yet spared
the statues of the gods which were exposed to the public veneration:
four hundred and twenty-four temples, or chapels, still remained to
satisfy the devotion of the people; and in every quarter of Rome the
delicacy of the Christians was offended by the fumes of idolatrous
sacrifice. 11

3 (return) [ See the outlines of the Roman hierarchy in Cicero, (de
Legibus, ii. 7, 8,) Livy, (i. 20,) Dionysius Halicarnassensis, (l. ii.
p. 119-129, edit. Hudson,) Beaufort, (Republique Romaine, tom. i. p.
1-90,) and Moyle, (vol. i. p. 10-55.) The last is the work of an English
whig, as well as of a Roman antiquary.]

4 (return) [ These mystic, and perhaps imaginary, symbols have given
birth to various fables and conjectures. It seems probable, that the
Palladium was a small statue (three cubits and a half high) of Minerva,
with a lance and distaff; that it was usually enclosed in a seria, or
barrel; and that a similar barrel was placed by its side to disconcert
curiosity, or sacrilege. See Mezeriac (Comment. sur les Epitres d'Ovide,
tom i. p. 60—66) and Lipsius, (tom. iii. p. 610 de Vesta, &c. c 10.)]

5 (return) [ Cicero frankly (ad Atticum, l. ii. Epist. 5) or indirectly
(ad Familiar. l. xv. Epist. 4) confesses that the Augurate is the
supreme object of his wishes. Pliny is proud to tread in the footsteps
of Cicero, (l. iv. Epist. 8,) and the chain of tradition might be
continued from history and marbles.]

6 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 249, 250. I have suppressed the foolish
pun about Pontifex and Maximus.]

7 (return) [ This statue was transported from Tarentum to Rome, placed
in the Curia Julia by Caesar, and decorated by Augustus with the spoils
of Egypt.]

8 (return) [ Prudentius (l. ii. in initio) has drawn a very awkward
portrait of Victory; but the curious reader will obtain more
satisfaction from Montfaucon's Antiquities, (tom. i. p. 341.)]

9 (return) [ See Suetonius (in August. c. 35) and the Exordium of
Pliny's Panegyric.]

10 (return) [ These facts are mutually allowed by the two advocates,
Symmachus and Ambrose.]

11 (return) [ The Notitia Urbis, more recent than Constantine, does not
find one Christian church worthy to be named among the edifices of
the city. Ambrose (tom. ii. Epist. xvii. p. 825) deplores the public
scandals of Rome, which continually offended the eyes, the ears, and the
nostrils of the faithful.]

But the Christians formed the least numerous party in the senate of
Rome: 12 and it was only by their absence, that they could express their
dissent from the legal, though profane, acts of a Pagan majority. In
that assembly, the dying embers of freedom were, for a moment, revived
and inflamed by the breath of fanaticism. Four respectable deputations
were successively voted to the Imperial court, 13 to represent the
grievances of the priesthood and the senate, and to solicit the
restoration of the altar of Victory. The conduct of this important
business was intrusted to the eloquent Symmachus, 14 a wealthy and noble
senator, who united the sacred characters of pontiff and augur with the
civil dignities of proconsul of Africa and praefect of the city. The
breast of Symmachus was animated by the warmest zeal for the cause of
expiring Paganism; and his religious antagonists lamented the abuse
of his genius, and the inefficacy of his moral virtues. 15 The orator,
whose petition is extant to the emperor Valentinian, was conscious
of the difficulty and danger of the office which he had assumed. He
cautiously avoids every topic which might appear to reflect on the
religion of his sovereign; humbly declares, that prayers and entreaties
are his only arms; and artfully draws his arguments from the schools of
rhetoric, rather than from those of philosophy. Symmachus endeavors to
seduce the imagination of a young prince, by displaying the attributes
of the goddess of victory; he insinuates, that the confiscation of
the revenues, which were consecrated to the service of the gods, was
a measure unworthy of his liberal and disinterested character; and he
maintains, that the Roman sacrifices would be deprived of their force
and energy, if they were no longer celebrated at the expense, as well
as in the name, of the republic. Even scepticism is made to supply an
apology for superstition. The great and incomprehensible secret of the
universe eludes the inquiry of man. Where reason cannot instruct,
custom may be permitted to guide; and every nation seems to consult
the dictates of prudence, by a faithful attachment to those rites and
opinions, which have received the sanction of ages. If those ages
have been crowned with glory and prosperity, if the devout people have
frequently obtained the blessings which they have solicited at the
altars of the gods, it must appear still more advisable to persist in
the same salutary practice; and not to risk the unknown perils that
may attend any rash innovations. The test of antiquity and success
was applied with singular advantage to the religion of Numa; and Rome
herself, the celestial genius that presided over the fates of the city,
is introduced by the orator to plead her own cause before the tribunal
of the emperors. "Most excellent princes," says the venerable matron,
"fathers of your country! pity and respect my age, which has hitherto
flowed in an uninterrupted course of piety. Since I do not repent,
permit me to continue in the practice of my ancient rites. Since I am
born free, allow me to enjoy my domestic institutions. This religion has
reduced the world under my laws. These rites have repelled Hannibal from
the city, and the Gauls from the Capitol. Were my gray hairs reserved
for such intolerable disgrace? I am ignorant of the new system that I am
required to adopt; but I am well assured, that the correction of old
age is always an ungrateful and ignominious office." 16 The fears of the
people supplied what the discretion of the orator had suppressed; and
the calamities, which afflicted, or threatened, the declining empire,
were unanimously imputed, by the Pagans, to the new religion of Christ
and of Constantine.

12 (return) [ Ambrose repeatedly affirms, in contradiction to common
sense (Moyle's Works, vol. ii. p. 147,) that the Christians had a
majority in the senate.]

13 (return) [ The first (A.D. 382) to Gratian, who refused them
audience; the second (A.D. 384) to Valentinian, when the field was
disputed by Symmachus and Ambrose; the third (A.D. 388) to Theodosius;
and the fourth (A.D. 392) to Valentinian. Lardner (Heathen Testimonies,
vol. iv. p. 372-399) fairly represents the whole transaction.]

14 (return) [ Symmachus, who was invested with all the civil and
sacerdotal honors, represented the emperor under the two characters of
Pontifex Maximus, and Princeps Senatus. See the proud inscription at
the head of his works. * Note: Mr. Beugnot has made it doubtful whether
Symmachus was more than Pontifex Major. Destruction du Paganisme, vol.
i. p. 459.—M.]

15 (return) [ As if any one, says Prudentius (in Symmach. i. 639) should
dig in the mud with an instrument of gold and ivory. Even saints, and
polemic saints, treat this adversary with respect and civility.]

16 (return) [ See the fifty-fourth Epistle of the tenth book of
Symmachus. In the form and disposition of his ten books of Epistles, he
imitated the younger Pliny; whose rich and florid style he was supposed,
by his friends, to equal or excel, (Macrob. Saturnal. l. v. c. i.) But
the luxcriancy of Symmachus consists of barren leaves, without fruits,
and even without flowers. Few facts, and few sentiments, can be
extracted from his verbose correspondence.]

But the hopes of Symmachus were repeatedly baffled by the firm and
dexterous opposition of the archbishop of Milan, who fortified the
emperors against the fallacious eloquence of the advocate of Rome.
In this controversy, Ambrose condescends to speak the language of a
philosopher, and to ask, with some contempt, why it should be thought
necessary to introduce an imaginary and invisible power, as the cause
of those victories, which were sufficiently explained by the valor and
discipline of the legions. He justly derides the absurd reverence for
antiquity, which could only tend to discourage the improvements of
art, and to replunge the human race into their original barbarism.
From thence, gradually rising to a more lofty and theological tone,
he pronounces, that Christianity alone is the doctrine of truth and
salvation; and that every mode of Polytheism conducts its deluded
votaries, through the paths of error, to the abyss of eternal perdition.
17 Arguments like these, when they were suggested by a favorite bishop,
had power to prevent the restoration of the altar of Victory; but the
same arguments fell, with much more energy and effect, from the mouth
of a conqueror; and the gods of antiquity were dragged in triumph at the
chariot-wheels of Theodosius. 18 In a full meeting of the senate, the
emperor proposed, according to the forms of the republic, the important
question, Whether the worship of Jupiter, or that of Christ, should
be the religion of the Romans. 1811 The liberty of suffrages, which
he affected to allow, was destroyed by the hopes and fears that his
presence inspired; and the arbitrary exile of Symmachus was a recent
admonition, that it might be dangerous to oppose the wishes of the
monarch. On a regular division of the senate, Jupiter was condemned
and degraded by the sense of a very large majority; and it is rather
surprising, that any members should be found bold enough to declare, by
their speeches and votes, that they were still attached to the interest
of an abdicated deity. 19 The hasty conversion of the senate must be
attributed either to supernatural or to sordid motives; and many of
these reluctant proselytes betrayed, on every favorable occasion, their
secret disposition to throw aside the mask of odious dissimulation.
But they were gradually fixed in the new religion, as the cause of
the ancient became more hopeless; they yielded to the authority of the
emperor, to the fashion of the times, and to the entreaties of their
wives and children, 20 who were instigated and governed by the clergy
of Rome and the monks of the East. The edifying example of the Anician
family was soon imitated by the rest of the nobility: the Bassi,
the Paullini, the Gracchi, embraced the Christian religion; and "the
luminaries of the world, the venerable assembly of Catos (such are the
high-flown expressions of Prudentius) were impatient to strip themselves
of their pontifical garment; to cast the skin of the old serpent; to
assume the snowy robes of baptismal innocence, and to humble the pride
of the consular fasces before tombs of the martyrs." 21 The citizens,
who subsisted by their own industry, and the populace, who were
supported by the public liberality, filled the churches of the Lateran,
and Vatican, with an incessant throng of devout proselytes. The decrees
of the senate, which proscribed the worship of idols, were ratified by
the general consent of the Romans; 22 the splendor of the Capitol was
defaced, and the solitary temples were abandoned to ruin and contempt.
23 Rome submitted to the yoke of the Gospel; and the vanquished
provinces had not yet lost their reverence for the name and authority of
Rome. 2311

17 (return) [ See Ambrose, (tom. ii. Epist. xvii. xviii. p. 825-833.)
The former of these epistles is a short caution; the latter is a formal
reply of the petition or libel of Symmachus. The same ideas are more
copiously expressed in the poetry, if it may deserve that name, of
Prudentius; who composed his two books against Symmachus (A.D. 404)
while that senator was still alive. It is whimsical enough that
Montesquieu (Considerations, &c. c. xix. tom. iii. p. 487) should
overlook the two professed antagonists of Symmachus, and amuse himself
with descanting on the more remote and indirect confutations of Orosius,
St. Augustin, and Salvian.]

18 (return) [ See Prudentius (in Symmach. l. i. 545, &c.) The Christian
agrees with the Pagan Zosimus (l. iv. p. 283) in placing this visit of
Theodosius after the second civil war, gemini bis victor caede Tyranni,
(l. i. 410.) But the time and circumstances are better suited to his
first triumph.]

1811 (return) [ M. Beugnot (in his Histoire de la Destruction du
Paganisme en Occident, i. p. 483-488) questions, altogether, the truth
of this statement. It is very remarkable that Zosimus and Prudentius
concur in asserting the fact of the question being solemnly deliberated
by the senate, though with directly opposite results. Zosimus declares
that the majority of the assembly adhered to the ancient religion of
Rome; Gibbon has adopted the authority of Prudentius, who, as a Latin
writer, though a poet, deserves more credit than the Greek historian.
Both concur in placing this scene after the second triumph of
Theodosius; but it has been almost demonstrated (and Gibbon—see the
preceding note—seems to have acknowledged this) by Pagi and Tillemont,
that Theodosius did not visit Rome after the defeat of Eugenius. M.
Beugnot urges, with much force, the improbability that the Christian
emperor would submit such a question to the senate, whose authority was
nearly obsolete, except on one occasion, which was almost hailed as
an epoch in the restoration of her ancient privileges. The silence of
Ambrose and of Jerom on an event so striking, and redounding so much to
the honor of Christianity, is of considerable weight. M. Beugnot would
ascribe the whole scene to the poetic imagination of Prudentius; but
I must observe, that, however Prudentius is sometimes elevated by the
grandeur of his subject to vivid and eloquent language, this flight of
invention would be so much bolder and more vigorous than usual with this
poet, that I cannot but suppose there must have been some foundation
for the story, though it may have been exaggerated by the poet, or
misrepresented by the historian.—M]

19 (return) [ Prudentius, after proving that the sense of the senate is
declared by a legal majority, proceeds to say, (609, &c.)—

     Adspice quam pleno subsellia nostra Senatu
     Decernant infame Jovis pulvinar, et omne
     Idolum longe purgata ex urbe fugandum,
     Qua vocat egregii sententia Principis, illuc
     Libera, cum pedibus, tum corde, frequentia transit.

Zosimus ascribes to the conscript fathers a heathenish courage, which
few of them are found to possess.]

20 (return) [ Jerom specifies the pontiff Albinus, who was surrounded
with such a believing family of children and grandchildren, as would
have been sufficient to convert even Jupiter himself; an extraordinary
proselyted (tom. i. ad Laetam, p. 54.)]

21 (return) [

     Exultare Patres videas, pulcherrima mundi
     Lumina; Conciliumque senum gestire Catonum
     Candidiore toga niveum pietatis amictum
     Sumere; et exuvias deponere pontificales.

The fancy of Prudentius is warmed and elevated by victory]

22 (return) [ Prudentius, after he has described the conversion of the
senate and people, asks, with some truth and confidence,

    Et dubitamus adhuc Romam, tibi, Christe, dicatam
    In leges transisse tuas?]

23 (return) [ Jerom exults in the desolation of the Capitol, and the
other temples of Rome, (tom. i. p. 54, tom. ii. p. 95.)]

2311 (return) [ M. Beugnot is more correct in his general estimate of
the measures enforced by Theodosius for the abolition of Paganism. He
seized (according to Zosimus) the funds bestowed by the public for the
expense of sacrifices. The public sacrifices ceased, not because they
were positively prohibited, but because the public treasury would no
longer bear the expense. The public and the private sacrifices in the
provinces, which were not under the same regulations with those of the
capital, continued to take place. In Rome itself, many pagan ceremonies,
which were without sacrifice, remained in full force. The gods,
therefore, were invoked, the temples were frequented, the pontificates
inscribed, according to ancient usage, among the family titles of honor;
and it cannot be asserted that idolatry was completely destroyed by
Theodosius. See Beugnot, p. 491.—M.]



Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part II.

The filial piety of the emperors themselves engaged them to proceed,
with some caution and tenderness, in the reformation of the eternal
city. Those absolute monarchs acted with less regard to the prejudices
of the provincials. The pious labor which had been suspended near twenty
years since the death of Constantius, 24 was vigorously resumed, and
finally accomplished, by the zeal of Theodosius. Whilst that warlike
prince yet struggled with the Goths, not for the glory, but for the
safety, of the republic, he ventured to offend a considerable party of
his subjects, by some acts which might perhaps secure the protection of
Heaven, but which must seem rash and unseasonable in the eye of human
prudence. The success of his first experiments against the Pagans
encouraged the pious emperor to reiterate and enforce his edicts of
proscription: the same laws which had been originally published in the
provinces of the East, were applied, after the defeat of Maximus, to the
whole extent of the Western empire; and every victory of the orthodox
Theodosius contributed to the triumph of the Christian and Catholic
faith. 25 He attacked superstition in her most vital part, by
prohibiting the use of sacrifices, which he declared to be criminal as
well as infamous; and if the terms of his edicts more strictly condemned
the impious curiosity which examined the entrails of the victim, 26
every subsequent explanation tended to involve in the same guilt the
general practice of immolation, which essentially constituted the
religion of the Pagans. As the temples had been erected for the purpose
of sacrifice, it was the duty of a benevolent prince to remove from his
subjects the dangerous temptation of offending against the laws which
he had enacted. A special commission was granted to Cynegius, the
Praetorian praefect of the East, and afterwards to the counts Jovius
and Gaudentius, two officers of distinguished rank in the West; by
which they were directed to shut the temples, to seize or destroy the
instruments of idolatry, to abolish the privileges of the priests, and
to confiscate the consecrated property for the benefit of the emperor,
of the church, or of the army. 27 Here the desolation might have
stopped: and the naked edifices, which were no longer employed in the
service of idolatry, might have been protected from the destructive
rage of fanaticism. Many of those temples were the most splendid and
beautiful monuments of Grecian architecture; and the emperor himself was
interested not to deface the splendor of his own cities, or to diminish
the value of his own possessions. Those stately edifices might be
suffered to remain, as so many lasting trophies of the victory of
Christ. In the decline of the arts they might be usefully converted into
magazines, manufactures, or places of public assembly: and perhaps, when
the walls of the temple had been sufficiently purified by holy rites,
the worship of the true Deity might be allowed to expiate the ancient
guilt of idolatry. But as long as they subsisted, the Pagans fondly
cherished the secret hope, that an auspicious revolution, a second
Julian, might again restore the altars of the gods: and the earnestness
with which they addressed their unavailing prayers to the throne, 28
increased the zeal of the Christian reformers to extirpate, without
mercy, the root of superstition. The laws of the emperors exhibit some
symptoms of a milder disposition: 29 but their cold and languid efforts
were insufficient to stem the torrent of enthusiasm and rapine, which
was conducted, or rather impelled, by the spiritual rulers of the
church. In Gaul, the holy Martin, bishop of Tours, 30 marched at the
head of his faithful monks to destroy the idols, the temples, and the
consecrated trees of his extensive diocese; and, in the execution of
this arduous task, the prudent reader will judge whether Martin was
supported by the aid of miraculous powers, or of carnal weapons.
In Syria, the divine and excellent Marcellus, 31 as he is styled by
Theodoret, a bishop animated with apostolic fervor, resolved to level
with the ground the stately temples within the diocese of Apamea. His
attack was resisted by the skill and solidity with which the temple of
Jupiter had been constructed. The building was seated on an eminence:
on each of the four sides, the lofty roof was supported by fifteen massy
columns, sixteen feet in circumference; and the large stone, of which
they were composed, were firmly cemented with lead and iron. The force
of the strongest and sharpest tools had been tried without effect. It
was found necessary to undermine the foundations of the columns, which
fell down as soon as the temporary wooden props had been consumed with
fire; and the difficulties of the enterprise are described under the
allegory of a black daemon, who retarded, though he could not defeat,
the operations of the Christian engineers. Elated with victory,
Marcellus took the field in person against the powers of darkness; a
numerous troop of soldiers and gladiators marched under the episcopal
banner, and he successively attacked the villages and country temples
of the diocese of Apamea. Whenever any resistance or danger was
apprehended, the champion of the faith, whose lameness would not allow
him either to fight or fly, placed himself at a convenient distance,
beyond the reach of darts. But this prudence was the occasion of his
death: he was surprised and slain by a body of exasperated rustics; and
the synod of the province pronounced, without hesitation, that the holy
Marcellus had sacrificed his life in the cause of God. In the support of
this cause, the monks, who rushed with tumultuous fury from the desert,
distinguished themselves by their zeal and diligence. They deserved the
enmity of the Pagans; and some of them might deserve the reproaches of
avarice and intemperance; of avarice, which they gratified with holy
plunder, and of intemperance, which they indulged at the expense of the
people, who foolishly admired their tattered garments, loud psalmody,
and artificial paleness. 32 A small number of temples was protected by
the fears, the venality, the taste, or the prudence, of the civil and
ecclesiastical governors. The temple of the Celestial Venus at Carthage,
whose sacred precincts formed a circumference of two miles, was
judiciously converted into a Christian church; 33 and a similar
consecration has preserved inviolate the majestic dome of the Pantheon
at Rome. 34 But in almost every province of the Roman world, an army
of fanatics, without authority, and without discipline, invaded
the peaceful inhabitants; and the ruin of the fairest structures of
antiquity still displays the ravages of those Barbarians, who alone had
time and inclination to execute such laborious destruction.

24 (return) [ Libanius (Orat. pro Templis, p. 10, Genev. 1634, published
by James Godefroy, and now extremely scarce) accuses Valentinian and
Valens of prohibiting sacrifices. Some partial order may have been
issued by the Eastern emperor; but the idea of any general law
is contradicted by the silence of the Code, and the evidence of
ecclesiastical history. Note: See in Reiske's edition of Libanius, tom.
ii. p. 155. Sacrific was prohibited by Valens, but not the offering of
incense.—M.]

25 (return) [ See his laws in the Theodosian Code, l. xvi. tit. x. leg.
7-11.]

26 (return) [ Homer's sacrifices are not accompanied with any
inquisition of entrails, (see Feithius, Antiquitat. Homer. l. i. c. 10,
16.) The Tuscans, who produced the first Haruspices, subdued both the
Greeks and the Romans, (Cicero de Divinatione, ii. 23.)]

27 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 245, 249. Theodoret. l. v. c. 21.
Idatius in Chron. Prosper. Aquitan. l. iii. c. 38, apud Baronium, Annal.
Eccles. A.D. 389, No. 52. Libanius (pro Templis, p. 10) labors to prove
that the commands of Theodosius were not direct and positive. * Note:
Libanius appears to be the best authority for the East, where, under
Theodosius, the work of devastation was carried on with very different
degrees of violence, according to the temper of the local authorities
and of the clergy; and more especially the neighborhood of the more
fanatican monks. Neander well observes, that the prohibition of
sacrifice would be easily misinterpreted into an authority for the
destruction of the buildings in which sacrifices were performed.
(Geschichte der Christlichen religion ii. p. 156.) An abuse of this kind
led to this remarkable oration of Libanius. Neander, however, justly
doubts whether this bold vindication or at least exculpation, of
Paganism was ever delivered before, or even placed in the hands of the
Christian emperor.—M.]

28 (return) [ Cod. Theodos, l. xvi. tit. x. leg. 8, 18. There is room to
believe, that this temple of Edessa, which Theodosius wished to save for
civil uses, was soon afterwards a heap of ruins, (Libanius pro Templis,
p. 26, 27, and Godefroy's notes, p. 59.)]

29 (return) [ See this curious oration of Libanius pro Templis,
pronounced, or rather composed, about the year 390. I have consulted,
with advantage, Dr. Lardner's version and remarks, (Heathen Testimonies,
vol. iv. p. 135-163.)]

30 (return) [ See the Life of Martin by Sulpicius Severus, c. 9-14. The
saint once mistook (as Don Quixote might have done) a harmless funeral
for an idolatrous procession, and imprudently committed a miracle.]

31 (return) [ Compare Sozomen, (l. vii. c. 15) with Theodoret, (l. v. c.
21.) Between them, they relate the crusade and death of Marcellus.]

32 (return) [ Libanius, pro Templis, p. 10-13. He rails at these
black-garbed men, the Christian monks, who eat more than elephants. Poor
elephants! they are temperate animals.]

33 (return) [ Prosper. Aquitan. l. iii. c. 38, apud Baronium; Annal.
Eccles. A.D. 389, No. 58, &c. The temple had been shut some time, and
the access to it was overgrown with brambles.]

34 (return) [ Donatus, Roma Antiqua et Nova, l. iv. c. 4, p. 468. This
consecration was performed by Pope Boniface IV. I am ignorant of the
favorable circumstances which had preserved the Pantheon above two
hundred years after the reign of Theodosius.]

In this wide and various prospect of devastation, the spectator may
distinguish the ruins of the temple of Serapis, at Alexandria. 35
Serapis does not appear to have been one of the native gods, or
monsters, who sprung from the fruitful soil of superstitious Egypt. 36
The first of the Ptolemies had been commanded, by a dream, to import
the mysterious stranger from the coast of Pontus, where he had been long
adored by the inhabitants of Sinope; but his attributes and his reign
were so imperfectly understood, that it became a subject of dispute,
whether he represented the bright orb of day, or the gloomy monarch
of the subterraneous regions. 37 The Egyptians, who were obstinately
devoted to the religion of their fathers, refused to admit this foreign
deity within the walls of their cities. 38 But the obsequious priests,
who were seduced by the liberality of the Ptolemies, submitted, without
resistance, to the power of the god of Pontus: an honorable and domestic
genealogy was provided; and this fortunate usurper was introduced into
the throne and bed of Osiris, 39 the husband of Isis, and the celestial
monarch of Egypt. Alexandria, which claimed his peculiar protection,
gloried in the name of the city of Serapis. His temple, 40 which
rivalled the pride and magnificence of the Capitol, was erected on the
spacious summit of an artificial mount, raised one hundred steps above
the level of the adjacent parts of the city; and the interior cavity
was strongly supported by arches, and distributed into vaults and
subterraneous apartments. The consecrated buildings were surrounded by
a quadrangular portico; the stately halls, and exquisite statues,
displayed the triumph of the arts; and the treasures of ancient learning
were preserved in the famous Alexandrian library, which had arisen
with new splendor from its ashes. 41 After the edicts of Theodosius
had severely prohibited the sacrifices of the Pagans, they were
still tolerated in the city and temple of Serapis; and this singular
indulgence was imprudently ascribed to the superstitious terrors of the
Christians themselves; as if they had feared to abolish those ancient
rites, which could alone secure the inundations of the Nile, the
harvests of Egypt, and the subsistence of Constantinople. 42

35 (return) [ Sophronius composed a recent and separate history, (Jerom,
in Script. Eccles. tom. i. p. 303,) which has furnished materials to
Socrates, (l. v. c. 16.) Theodoret, (l. v. c. 22,) and Rufinus, (l. ii.
c. 22.) Yet the last, who had been at Alexandria before and after the
event, may deserve the credit of an original witness.]

36 (return) [ Gerard Vossius (Opera, tom. v. p. 80, and de Idoloaltria,
l. i. c. 29) strives to support the strange notion of the Fathers; that
the patriarch Joseph was adored in Egypt, as the bull Apis, and the
god Serapis. * Note: Consult du Dieu Serapis et son Origine, par J D.
Guigniaut, (the translator of Creuzer's Symbolique,) Paris, 1828; and in
the fifth volume of Bournouf's translation of Tacitus.—M.]

37 (return) [ Origo dei nondum nostris celebrata. Aegyptiorum antistites
sic memorant, &c., Tacit. Hist. iv. 83. The Greeks, who had travelled
into Egypt, were alike ignorant of this new deity.]

38 (return) [ Macrobius, Saturnal, l. i. c. 7. Such a living fact
decisively proves his foreign extraction.]

39 (return) [ At Rome, Isis and Serapis were united in the same temple.
The precedency which the queen assumed, may seem to betray her unequal
alliance with the stranger of Pontus. But the superiority of the female
sex was established in Egypt as a civil and religious institution,
(Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. i. p. 31, edit. Wesseling,) and the same
order is observed in Plutarch's Treatise of Isis and Osiris; whom he
identifies with Serapis.]

40 (return) [ Ammianus, (xxii. 16.) The Expositio totius Mundi, (p. 8,
in Hudson's Geograph. Minor. tom. iii.,) and Rufinus, (l. ii. c. 22,)
celebrate the Serapeum, as one of the wonders of the world.]

41 (return) [ See Memoires de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. ix. p.
397-416. The old library of the Ptolemies was totally consumed in
Caesar's Alexandrian war. Marc Antony gave the whole collection of
Pergamus (200,000 volumes) to Cleopatra, as the foundation of the new
library of Alexandria.]

42 (return) [ Libanius (pro Templis, p. 21) indiscreetly provokes his
Christian masters by this insulting remark.]

At that time 43 the archiepiscopal throne of Alexandria was filled by
Theophilus, 44 the perpetual enemy of peace and virtue; a bold, bad
man, whose hands were alternately polluted with gold and with blood. His
pious indignation was excited by the honors of Serapis; and the insults
which he offered to an ancient temple of Bacchus, 4411 convinced the
Pagans that he meditated a more important and dangerous enterprise.
In the tumultuous capital of Egypt, the slightest provocation was
sufficient to inflame a civil war. The votaries of Serapis, whose
strength and numbers were much inferior to those of their antagonists,
rose in arms at the instigation of the philosopher Olympius, 45 who
exhorted them to die in the defence of the altars of the gods. These
Pagan fanatics fortified themselves in the temple, or rather fortress,
of Serapis; repelled the besiegers by daring sallies, and a resolute
defence; and, by the inhuman cruelties which they exercised on their
Christian prisoners, obtained the last consolation of despair. The
efforts of the prudent magistrate were usefully exerted for the
establishment of a truce, till the answer of Theodosius should determine
the fate of Serapis. The two parties assembled, without arms, in the
principal square; and the Imperial rescript was publicly read. But
when a sentence of destruction against the idols of Alexandria was
pronounced, the Christians set up a shout of joy and exultation, whilst
the unfortunate Pagans, whose fury had given way to consternation,
retired with hasty and silent steps, and eluded, by their flight or
obscurity, the resentment of their enemies. Theophilus proceeded to
demolish the temple of Serapis, without any other difficulties, than
those which he found in the weight and solidity of the materials: but
these obstacles proved so insuperable, that he was obliged to leave the
foundations; and to content himself with reducing the edifice itself to
a heap of rubbish, a part of which was soon afterwards cleared away, to
make room for a church, erected in honor of the Christian martyrs.
The valuable library of Alexandria was pillaged or destroyed; and near
twenty years afterwards, the appearance of the empty shelves excited the
regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was not totally
darkened by religious prejudice. 46 The compositions of ancient genius,
so many of which have irretrievably perished, might surely have been
excepted from the wreck of idolatry, for the amusement and instruction
of succeeding ages; and either the zeal or the avarice of the
archbishop, 47 might have been satiated with the rich spoils, which were
the reward of his victory. While the images and vases of gold and
silver were carefully melted, and those of a less valuable metal were
contemptuously broken, and cast into the streets, Theophilus labored
to expose the frauds and vices of the ministers of the idols; their
dexterity in the management of the loadstone; their secret methods
of introducing a human actor into a hollow statue; 4711 and their
scandalous abuse of the confidence of devout husbands and unsuspecting
females. 48 Charges like these may seem to deserve some degree of
credit, as they are not repugnant to the crafty and interested spirit of
superstition. But the same spirit is equally prone to the base practice
of insulting and calumniating a fallen enemy; and our belief is
naturally checked by the reflection, that it is much less difficult
to invent a fictitious story, than to support a practical fraud. The
colossal statue of Serapis 49 was involved in the ruin of his temple
and religion. A great number of plates of different metals, artificially
joined together, composed the majestic figure of the deity, who touched
on either side the walls of the sanctuary. The aspect of Serapis, his
sitting posture, and the sceptre, which he bore in his left hand, were
extremely similar to the ordinary representations of Jupiter. He was
distinguished from Jupiter by the basket, or bushel, which was placed on
his head; and by the emblematic monster which he held in his right hand;
the head and body of a serpent branching into three tails, which were
again terminated by the triple heads of a dog, a lion, and a wolf.
It was confidently affirmed, that if any impious hand should dare
to violate the majesty of the god, the heavens and the earth would
instantly return to their original chaos. An intrepid soldier, animated
by zeal, and armed with a weighty battle-axe, ascended the ladder; and
even the Christian multitude expected, with some anxiety, the event of
the combat. 50 He aimed a vigorous stroke against the cheek of Serapis;
the cheek fell to the ground; the thunder was still silent, and both the
heavens and the earth continued to preserve their accustomed order and
tranquillity. The victorious soldier repeated his blows: the huge idol
was overthrown, and broken in pieces; and the limbs of Serapis were
ignominiously dragged through the streets of Alexandria. His mangled
carcass was burnt in the Amphitheatre, amidst the shouts of the
populace; and many persons attributed their conversion to this discovery
of the impotence of their tutelar deity. The popular modes of religion,
that propose any visible and material objects of worship, have the
advantage of adapting and familiarizing themselves to the senses of
mankind: but this advantage is counterbalanced by the various and
inevitable accidents to which the faith of the idolater is exposed.
It is scarcely possible, that, in every disposition of mind, he should
preserve his implicit reverence for the idols, or the relics, which the
naked eye, and the profane hand, are unable to distinguish from the
most common productions of art or nature; and if, in the hour of danger,
their secret and miraculous virtue does not operate for their own
preservation, he scorns the vain apologies of his priests, and justly
derides the object, and the folly, of his superstitious attachment.
51 After the fall of Serapis, some hopes were still entertained by the
Pagans, that the Nile would refuse his annual supply to the impious
masters of Egypt; and the extraordinary delay of the inundation seemed
to announce the displeasure of the river-god. But this delay was soon
compensated by the rapid swell of the waters. They suddenly rose to
such an unusual height, as to comfort the discontented party with the
pleasing expectation of a deluge; till the peaceful river again subsided
to the well-known and fertilizing level of sixteen cubits, or about
thirty English feet. 52

43 (return) [ We may choose between the date of Marcellinus (A.D. 389)
or that of Prosper, ( A.D. 391.) Tillemont (Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p.
310, 756) prefers the former, and Pagi the latter.]

44 (return) [ Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 441-500. The ambiguous
situation of Theophilus—a saint, as the friend of Jerom a devil, as
the enemy of Chrysostom—produces a sort of impartiality; yet, upon the
whole, the balance is justly inclined against him.]

4411 (return) [ No doubt a temple of Osiris. St. Martin, iv 398-M.]

45 (return) [ Lardner (Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 411) has alleged
beautiful passage from Suidas, or rather from Damascius, which show the
devout and virtuous Olympius, not in the light of a warrior, but of a
prophet.]

46 (return) [ Nos vidimus armaria librorum, quibus direptis, exinanita
ea a nostris hominibus, nostris temporibus memorant. Orosius, l. vi. c.
15, p. 421, edit. Havercamp. Though a bigot, and a controversial writer.
Orosius seems to blush.]

47 (return) [ Eunapius, in the Lives of Antoninus and Aedesius,
execrates the sacrilegious rapine of Theophilus. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles.
tom. xiii. p. 453) quotes an epistle of Isidore of Pelusium, which
reproaches the primate with the idolatrous worship of gold, the auri
sacra fames.]

4711 (return) [ An English traveller, Mr. Wilkinson, has discovered the
secret of the vocal Memnon. There was a cavity in which a person was
concealed, and struck a stone, which gave a ringing sound like brass.
The Arabs, who stood below when Mr. Wilkinson performed the miracle,
described sound just as the author of the epigram.—M.]

48 (return) [ Rufinus names the priest of Saturn, who, in the character
of the god, familiarly conversed with many pious ladies of quality,
till he betrayed himself, in a moment of transport, when he could not
disguise the tone of his voice. The authentic and impartial narrative
of Aeschines, (see Bayle, Dictionnaire Critique, Scamandre,) and the
adventure of Mudus, (Joseph. Antiquitat. Judaic. l. xviii. c. 3, p. 877
edit. Havercamp,) may prove that such amorous frauds have been practised
with success.]

49 (return) [ See the images of Serapis, in Montfaucon, (tom. ii. p.
297:) but the description of Macrobius (Saturnal. l. i. c. 20) is much
more picturesque and satisfactory.]

50 (return) [

     Sed fortes tremuere manus, motique verenda
     Majestate loci, si robora sacra ferirent
     In sua credebant redituras membra secures.

(Lucan. iii. 429.) "Is it true," (said Augustus to a veteran of Italy,
at whose house he supped) "that the man who gave the first blow to the
golden statue of Anaitis, was instantly deprived of his eyes, and of his
life?"—"I was that man, (replied the clear-sighted veteran,) and you
now sup on one of the legs of the goddess." (Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii.
24)]

51 (return) [ The history of the reformation affords frequent examples
of the sudden change from superstition to contempt.]

52 (return) [ Sozomen, l. vii. c. 20. I have supplied the measure. The
same standard, of the inundation, and consequently of the cubit, has
uniformly subsisted since the time of Herodotus. See Freret, in the
Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xvi. p. 344-353. Greaves's
Miscellaneous Works, vol. i. p. 233. The Egyptian cubit is about
twenty-two inches of the English measure. * Note: Compare Wilkinson's
Thebes and Egypt, p. 313.—M.]

The temples of the Roman empire were deserted, or destroyed; but the
ingenious superstition of the Pagans still attempted to elude the laws
of Theodosius, by which all sacrifices had been severely prohibited. The
inhabitants of the country, whose conduct was less opposed to the eye of
malicious curiosity, disguised their religious, under the appearance of
convivial, meetings. On the days of solemn festivals, they assembled in
great numbers under the spreading shade of some consecrated trees; sheep
and oxen were slaughtered and roasted; and this rural entertainment was
sanctified by the use of incense, and by the hymns which were sung in
honor of the gods. But it was alleged, that, as no part of the animal
was made a burnt-offering, as no altar was provided to receive the
blood, and as the previous oblation of salt cakes, and the concluding
ceremony of libations, were carefully omitted, these festal meetings
did not involve the guests in the guilt, or penalty, of an illegal
sacrifice. 53 Whatever might be the truth of the facts, or the merit
of the distinction, 54 these vain pretences were swept away by the last
edict of Theodosius, which inflicted a deadly wound on the superstition
of the Pagans. 55 5511 This prohibitory law is expressed in the most
absolute and comprehensive terms. "It is our will and pleasure," says
the emperor, "that none of our subjects, whether magistrates or private
citizens, however exalted or however humble may be their rank and
condition, shall presume, in any city or in any place, to worship an
inanimate idol, by the sacrifice of a guiltless victim." The act of
sacrificing, and the practice of divination by the entrails of the
victim, are declared (without any regard to the object of the inquiry)
a crime of high treason against the state, which can be expiated only
by the death of the guilty. The rites of Pagan superstition, which might
seem less bloody and atrocious, are abolished, as highly injurious to
the truth and honor of religion; luminaries, garlands, frankincense,
and libations of wine, are specially enumerated and condemned; and
the harmless claims of the domestic genius, of the household gods, are
included in this rigorous proscription. The use of any of these profane
and illegal ceremonies, subjects the offender to the forfeiture of the
house or estate, where they have been performed; and if he has artfully
chosen the property of another for the scene of his impiety, he is
compelled to discharge, without delay, a heavy fine of twenty-five
pounds of gold, or more than one thousand pounds sterling. A fine, not
less considerable, is imposed on the connivance of the secret enemies
of religion, who shall neglect the duty of their respective stations,
either to reveal, or to punish, the guilt of idolatry. Such was the
persecuting spirit of the laws of Theodosius, which were repeatedly
enforced by his sons and grandsons, with the loud and unanimous applause
of the Christian world. 56

53 (return) [ Libanius (pro Templis, p. 15, 16, 17) pleads their cause
with gentle and insinuating rhetoric. From the earliest age, such feasts
had enlivened the country: and those of Bacchus (Georgic. ii. 380) had
produced the theatre of Athens. See Godefroy, ad loc. Liban. and Codex
Theodos. tom. vi. p. 284.]

54 (return) [ Honorius tolerated these rustic festivals, (A.D. 399.)
"Absque ullo sacrificio, atque ulla superstitione damnabili." But nine
years afterwards he found it necessary to reiterate and enforce the same
proviso, (Codex Theodos. l. xvi. tit. x. leg. 17, 19.)]

55 (return) [ Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. x. leg. 12. Jortin (Remarks on
Eccles. History, vol. iv. p. 134) censures, with becoming asperity, the
style and sentiments of this intolerant law.]

5511 (return) [ Paganism maintained its ground for a considerable time
in the rural districts. Endelechius, a poet who lived at the beginning
of the fifth century, speaks of the cross as Signum quod perhibent esse
crucis Dei, Magnis qui colitur solus inurbibus. In the middle of the
same century, Maximus, bishop of Turin, writes against the heathen
deities as if their worship was still in full vigor in the neighborhood
of his city. Augustine complains of the encouragement of the Pagan rites
by heathen landowners; and Zeno of Verona, still later, reproves the
apathy of the Christian proprietors in conniving at this abuse. (Compare
Neander, ii. p. 169.) M. Beugnot shows that this was the case throughout
the north and centre of Italy and in Sicily. But neither of these
authors has adverted to one fact, which must have tended greatly to
retard the progress of Christianity in these quarters. It was still
chiefly a slave population which cultivated the soil; and however, in
the towns, the better class of Christians might be eager to communicate
"the blessed liberty of the gospel" to this class of mankind; however
their condition could not but be silently ameliorated by the humanizing
influence of Christianity; yet, on the whole, no doubt the servile
class would be the least fitted to receive the gospel; and its
general propagation among them would be embarrassed by many peculiar
difficulties. The rural population was probably not entirely converted
before the general establishment of the monastic institutions. Compare
Quarterly Review of Beugnot. vol lvii. p. 52—M.]

56 (return) [ Such a charge should not be lightly made; but it may
surely be justified by the authority of St. Augustin, who thus
addresses the Donatists: "Quis nostrum, quis vestrum non laudat leges
ab Imperatoribus datas adversus sacrificia Paganorum? Et certe longe
ibi poera severior constituta est; illius quippe impietatis capitale
supplicium est." Epist. xciii. No. 10, quoted by Le Clerc, (Bibliotheque
Choisie, tom. viii. p. 277,) who adds some judicious reflections on the
intolerance of the victorious Christians. * Note: Yet Augustine, with
laudable inconsistency, disapproved of the forcible demolition of the
temples. "Let us first extirpate the idolatry of the hearts of the
heathen, and they will either themselves invite us or anticipate us in
the execution of this good work," tom. v. p. 62. Compare Neander, ii.
169, and, in p. 155, a beautiful passage from Chrysostom against all
violent means of propagating Christianity.—M.]



Chapter XXVIII: Destruction Of Paganism.—Part III.

In the cruel reigns of Decius and Diocletian, Christianity had been
proscribed, as a revolt from the ancient and hereditary religion of the
empire; and the unjust suspicions which were entertained of a dark
and dangerous faction, were, in some measure, countenanced by the
inseparable union and rapid conquests of the Catholic church. But the
same excuses of fear and ignorance cannot be applied to the Christian
emperors who violated the precepts of humanity and of the Gospel. The
experience of ages had betrayed the weakness, as well as folly, of
Paganism; the light of reason and of faith had already exposed, to the
greatest part of mankind, the vanity of idols; and the declining sect,
which still adhered to their worship, might have been permitted
to enjoy, in peace and obscurity, the religious costumes of their
ancestors. Had the Pagans been animated by the undaunted zeal which
possessed the minds of the primitive believers, the triumph of the
Church must have been stained with blood; and the martyrs of Jupiter and
Apollo might have embraced the glorious opportunity of devoting their
lives and fortunes at the foot of their altars. But such obstinate zeal
was not congenial to the loose and careless temper of Polytheism. The
violent and repeated strokes of the orthodox princes were broken by the
soft and yielding substance against which they were directed; and
the ready obedience of the Pagans protected them from the pains and
penalties of the Theodosian Code. 57 Instead of asserting, that
the authority of the gods was superior to that of the emperor, they
desisted, with a plaintive murmur, from the use of those sacred rites
which their sovereign had condemned. If they were sometimes tempted by
a sally of passion, or by the hopes of concealment, to indulge their
favorite superstition, their humble repentance disarmed the severity
of the Christian magistrate, and they seldom refused to atone for their
rashness, by submitting, with some secret reluctance, to the yoke of the
Gospel. The churches were filled with the increasing multitude of these
unworthy proselytes, who had conformed, from temporal motives, to the
reigning religion; and whilst they devoutly imitated the postures, and
recited the prayers, of the faithful, they satisfied their conscience
by the silent and sincere invocation of the gods of antiquity. 58 If the
Pagans wanted patience to suffer they wanted spirit to resist; and
the scattered myriads, who deplored the ruin of the temples, yielded,
without a contest, to the fortune of their adversaries. The disorderly
opposition 59 of the peasants of Syria, and the populace of Alexandria,
to the rage of private fanaticism, was silenced by the name and
authority of the emperor. The Pagans of the West, without contributing
to the elevation of Eugenius, disgraced, by their partial attachment,
the cause and character of the usurper. The clergy vehemently exclaimed,
that he aggravated the crime of rebellion by the guilt of apostasy;
that, by his permission, the altar of victory was again restored; and
that the idolatrous symbols of Jupiter and Hercules were displayed in
the field, against the invincible standard of the cross. But the vain
hopes of the Pagans were soon annihilated by the defeat of Eugenius; and
they were left exposed to the resentment of the conqueror, who labored
to deserve the favor of Heaven by the extirpation of idolatry. 60

57 (return) [ Orosius, l. vii. c. 28, p. 537. Augustin (Enarrat. in
Psalm cxl apud Lardner, Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 458) insults
their cowardice. "Quis eorum comprehensus est in sacrificio (cum his
legibus sta prohiberentur) et non negavit?"]

58 (return) [ Libanius (pro Templis, p. 17, 18) mentions, without
censure the occasional conformity, and as it were theatrical play, of
these hypocrites.]

59 (return) [ Libanius concludes his apology (p. 32) by declaring to
the emperor, that unless he expressly warrants the destruction of the
temples, the proprietors will defend themselves and the laws.]

60 (return) [ Paulinus, in Vit. Ambros. c. 26. Augustin de Civitat. Dei,
l. v. c. 26. Theodoret, l. v. c. 24.]

A nation of slaves is always prepared to applaud the clemency of their
master, who, in the abuse of absolute power, does not proceed to the
last extremes of injustice and oppression. Theodosius might undoubtedly
have proposed to his Pagan subjects the alternative of baptism or of
death; and the eloquent Libanius has praised the moderation of a prince,
who never enacted, by any positive law, that all his subjects should
immediately embrace and practise the religion of their sovereign. 61 The
profession of Christianity was not made an essential qualification for
the enjoyment of the civil rights of society, nor were any peculiar
hardships imposed on the sectaries, who credulously received the fables
of Ovid, and obstinately rejected the miracles of the Gospel. The
palace, the schools, the army, and the senate, were filled with declared
and devout Pagans; they obtained, without distinction, the civil and
military honors of the empire. 6111 Theodosius distinguished his liberal
regard for virtue and genius by the consular dignity, which he bestowed
on Symmachus; 62 and by the personal friendship which he expressed to
Libanius; 63 and the two eloquent apologists of Paganism were never
required either to change or to dissemble their religious opinions.
The Pagans were indulged in the most licentious freedom of speech and
writing; the historical and philosophic remains of Eunapius, Zosimus, 64
and the fanatic teachers of the school of Plato, betray the most furious
animosity, and contain the sharpest invectives, against the sentiments
and conduct of their victorious adversaries. If these audacious libels
were publicly known, we must applaud the good sense of the Christian
princes, who viewed, with a smile of contempt, the last struggles of
superstition and despair. 65 But the Imperial laws, which prohibited the
sacrifices and ceremonies of Paganism, were rigidly executed; and every
hour contributed to destroy the influence of a religion, which was
supported by custom, rather than by argument. The devotion or the poet,
or the philosopher, may be secretly nourished by prayer, meditation, and
study; but the exercise of public worship appears to be the only solid
foundation of the religious sentiments of the people, which derive their
force from imitation and habit. The interruption of that public exercise
may consummate, in the period of a few years, the important work of a
national revolution. The memory of theological opinions cannot long be
preserved, without the artificial helps of priests, of temples, and of
books. 66 The ignorant vulgar, whose minds are still agitated by the
blind hopes and terrors of superstition, will be soon persuaded by their
superiors to direct their vows to the reigning deities of the age; and
will insensibly imbibe an ardent zeal for the support and propagation
of the new doctrine, which spiritual hunger at first compelled them to
accept. The generation that arose in the world after the promulgation of
the Imperial laws, was attracted within the pale of the Catholic
church: and so rapid, yet so gentle, was the fall of Paganism, that only
twenty-eight years after the death of Theodosius, the faint and minute
vestiges were no longer visible to the eye of the legislator. 67

61 (return) [ Libanius suggests the form of a persecuting edict,
which Theodosius might enact, (pro Templis, p. 32;) a rash joke, and a
dangerous experiment. Some princes would have taken his advice.]

6111 (return) [ The most remarkable instance of this, at a much later
period, occurs in the person of Merobaudes, a general and a poet, who
flourished in the first half of the fifth century. A statue in honor of
Merobaudes was placed in the Forum of Trajan, of which the inscription
is still extant. Fragments of his poems have been recovered by the
industry and sagacity of Niebuhr. In one passage, Merobaudes, in
the genuine heathen spirit, attributes the ruin of the empire to the
abolition of Paganism, and almost renews the old accusation of Atheism
against Christianity. He impersonates some deity, probably Discord,
who summons Bellona to take arms for the destruction of Rome; and in
a strain of fierce irony recommends to her other fatal measures, to
extirpate the gods of Rome:—

     Roma, ipsique tremant furialia murmura reges.
     Jam superos terris atque hospita numina pelle:
     Romanos populare Deos, et nullus in aris
     Vestoe exoratoe fotus strue palleat ignis.
     Ilis instructa dolis palatia celsa subibo;
     Majorum mores, et pectora prisca fugabo
     Funditus; atque simul, nullo discrimine rerum,
     Spernantur fortes, nec sic reverentia justis.
     Attica neglecto pereat facundia Phoebo:
     Indignis contingat honos, et pondera rerum;
     Non virtus sed casus agat; tristique cupido;
     Pectoribus saevi demens furor aestuet aevi;
     Omniaque hoec sine mente Jovis, sine numine sumimo.

Merobaudes in Niebuhr's edit. of the Byzantines, p. 14.—M.]

62 (return) [ Denique pro meritis terrestribus aequa rependens

     Munera, sacricolis summos impertit honores.

     Dux bonus, et certare sinit cum laude suorum,
     Nec pago implicitos per debita culmina mundi Ire
     viros prohibet.
     Ipse magistratum tibi consulis, ipse tribunal

     Contulit.
     Prudent. in Symmach. i. 617, &c.

Note: I have inserted some lines omitted by Gibbon.—M.]

63 (return) [ Libanius (pro Templis, p. 32) is proud that Theodosius
should thus distinguish a man, who even in his presence would swear
by Jupiter. Yet this presence seems to be no more than a figure of
rhetoric.]

64 (return) [ Zosimus, who styles himself Count and Ex-advocate of the
Treasury, reviles, with partial and indecent bigotry, the Christian
princes, and even the father of his sovereign. His work must have
been privately circulated, since it escaped the invectives of the
ecclesiastical historians prior to Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 40-42,)
who lived towards the end of the sixth century. * Note: Heyne in his
Disquisitio in Zosimum Ejusque Fidem. places Zosimum towards the close
of the fifth century. Zosim. Heynii, p. xvii.—M.]

65 (return) [ Yet the Pagans of Africa complained, that the times would
not allow them to answer with freedom the City of God; nor does St.
Augustin (v. 26) deny the charge.]

66 (return) [ The Moors of Spain, who secretly preserved the Mahometan
religion above a century, under the tyranny of the Inquisition,
possessed the Koran, with the peculiar use of the Arabic tongue. See the
curious and honest story of their expulsion in Geddes, (Miscellanies,
vol. i. p. 1-198.)]

67 (return) [ Paganos qui supersunt, quanquam jam nullos esse credamus,
&c. Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. x. leg. 22, A.D. 423. The younger
Theodosius was afterwards satisfied, that his judgment had been somewhat
premature. Note: The statement of Gibbon is much too strongly worded.
M. Beugnot has traced the vestiges of Paganism in the West, after this
period, in monuments and inscriptions with curious industry. Compare
likewise note, p. 112, on the more tardy progress of Christianity in the
rural districts.—M.]

The ruin of the Pagan religion is described by the sophists as a
dreadful and amazing prodigy, which covered the earth with darkness,
and restored the ancient dominion of chaos and of night. They relate,
in solemn and pathetic strains, that the temples were converted into
sepulchres, and that the holy places, which had been adorned by the
statues of the gods, were basely polluted by the relics of Christian
martyrs. "The monks" (a race of filthy animals, to whom Eunapius is
tempted to refuse the name of men) "are the authors of the new
worship, which, in the place of those deities who are conceived by the
understanding, has substituted the meanest and most contemptible slaves.
The heads, salted and pickled, of those infamous malefactors, who for
the multitude of their crimes have suffered a just and ignominious
death; their bodies still marked by the impression of the lash, and
the scars of those tortures which were inflicted by the sentence of the
magistrate; such" (continues Eunapius) "are the gods which the earth
produces in our days; such are the martyrs, the supreme arbitrators of
our prayers and petitions to the Deity, whose tombs are now consecrated
as the objects of the veneration of the people." 68 Without approving
the malice, it is natural enough to share the surprise of the sophist,
the spectator of a revolution, which raised those obscure victims of the
laws of Rome to the rank of celestial and invisible protectors of the
Roman empire. The grateful respect of the Christians for the martyrs of
the faith, was exalted, by time and victory, into religious adoration;
and the most illustrious of the saints and prophets were deservedly
associated to the honors of the martyrs. One hundred and fifty years
after the glorious deaths of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Vatican and the
Ostian road were distinguished by the tombs, or rather by the trophies,
of those spiritual heroes. 69 In the age which followed the conversion
of Constantine, the emperors, the consuls, and the generals of armies,
devoutly visited the sepulchres of a tentmaker and a fisherman; 70 and
their venerable bones were deposited under the altars of Christ, on
which the bishops of the royal city continually offered the unbloody
sacrifice. 71 The new capital of the Eastern world, unable to produce
any ancient and domestic trophies, was enriched by the spoils of
dependent provinces. The bodies of St. Andrew, St. Luke, and St.
Timothy, had reposed near three hundred years in the obscure graves,
from whence they were transported, in solemn pomp, to the church of the
apostles, which the magnificence of Constantine had founded on the banks
of the Thracian Bosphorus. 72 About fifty years afterwards, the same
banks were honored by the presence of Samuel, the judge and prophet of
the people of Israel. His ashes, deposited in a golden vase, and covered
with a silken veil, were delivered by the bishops into each other's
hands. The relics of Samuel were received by the people with the same
joy and reverence which they would have shown to the living prophet;
the highways, from Palestine to the gates of Constantinople, were filled
with an uninterrupted procession; and the emperor Arcadius himself,
at the head of the most illustrious members of the clergy and senate,
advanced to meet his extraordinary guest, who had always deserved and
claimed the homage of kings. 73 The example of Rome and Constantinople
confirmed the faith and discipline of the Catholic world. The honors of
the saints and martyrs, after a feeble and ineffectual murmur of profane
reason, 74 were universally established; and in the age of Ambrose and
Jerom, something was still deemed wanting to the sanctity of a Christian
church, till it had been consecrated by some portion of holy relics,
which fixed and inflamed the devotion of the faithful.

68 (return) [ See Eunapius, in the Life of the sophist Aedesius; in that
of Eustathius he foretells the ruin of Paganism.]

69 (return) [ Caius, (apud Euseb. Hist. Eccles. l. ii. c. 25,) a Roman
presbyter, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, (A.D. 202-219,) is an
early witness of this superstitious practice.]

70 (return) [ Chrysostom. Quod Christus sit Deus. Tom. i. nov. edit.
No. 9. I am indebted for this quotation to Benedict the XIVth's pastoral
letter on the Jubilee of the year 1759. See the curious and entertaining
letters of M. Chais, tom. iii.]

71 (return) [ Male facit ergo Romanus episcopus? qui, super mortuorum
hominum, Petri & Pauli, secundum nos, ossa veneranda ... offeri Domino
sacrificia, et tumulos eorum, Christi arbitratur altaria. Jerom. tom.
ii. advers. Vigilant. p. 183.]

72 (return) [ Jerom (tom. ii. p. 122) bears witness to these
translations, which are neglected by the ecclesiastical historians.
The passion of St. Andrew at Patrae is described in an epistle from the
clergy of Achaia, which Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 60, No. 34) wishes
to believe, and Tillemont is forced to reject. St. Andrew was adopted
as the spiritual founder of Constantinople, (Mem. Eccles. tom. i. p.
317-323, 588-594.)]

73 (return) [ Jerom (tom. ii. p. 122) pompously describes the
translation of Samuel, which is noticed in all the chronicles of the
times.]

74 (return) [ The presbyter Vigilantius, the Protestant of his age,
firmly, though ineffectually, withstood the superstition of monks,
relics, saints, fasts, &c., for which Jerom compares him to the Hydra,
Cerberus, the Centaurs, &c., and considers him only as the organ of the
Daemon, (tom. ii. p. 120-126.) Whoever will peruse the controversy of
St. Jerom and Vigilantius, and St. Augustin's account of the miracles of
St. Stephen, may speedily gain some idea of the spirit of the Fathers.]

In the long period of twelve hundred years, which elapsed between the
reign of Constantine and the reformation of Luther, the worship of
saints and relics corrupted the pure and perfect simplicity of the
Christian model: and some symptoms of degeneracy may be observed even
in the first generations which adopted and cherished this pernicious
innovation.

I. The satisfactory experience, that the relics of saints were more
valuable than gold or precious stones, 75 stimulated the clergy to
multiply the treasures of the church. Without much regard for truth or
probability, they invented names for skeletons, and actions for names.
The fame of the apostles, and of the holy men who had imitated their
virtues, was darkened by religious fiction. To the invincible band of
genuine and primitive martyrs, they added myriads of imaginary heroes,
who had never existed, except in the fancy of crafty or credulous
legendaries; and there is reason to suspect, that Tours might not be the
only diocese in which the bones of a malefactor were adored, instead of
those of a saint. 76 A superstitious practice, which tended to increase
the temptations of fraud, and credulity, insensibly extinguished the
light of history, and of reason, in the Christian world.

75 (return) [ M. de Beausobre (Hist. du Manicheisme, tom. ii. p. 648)
has applied a worldly sense to the pious observation of the clergy of
Smyrna, who carefully preserved the relics of St. Polycarp the martyr.]

76 (return) [ Martin of Tours (see his Life, c. 8, by Sulpicius Severus)
extorted this confession from the mouth of the dead man. The error is
allowed to be natural; the discovery is supposed to be miraculous. Which
of the two was likely to happen most frequently?]

II. But the progress of superstition would have been much less rapid
and victorious, if the faith of the people had not been assisted by the
seasonable aid of visions and miracles, to ascertain the authenticity
and virtue of the most suspicious relics. In the reign of the younger
Theodosius, Lucian, 77 a presbyter of Jerusalem, and the ecclesiastical
minister of the village of Caphargamala, about twenty miles from the
city, related a very singular dream, which, to remove his doubts, had
been repeated on three successive Saturdays. A venerable figure stood
before him, in the silence of the night, with a long beard, a white
robe, and a gold rod; announced himself by the name of Gamaliel, and
revealed to the astonished presbyter, that his own corpse, with the
bodies of his son Abibas, his friend Nicodemus, and the illustrious
Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith, were secretly buried
in the adjacent field. He added, with some impatience, that it was time
to release himself and his companions from their obscure prison; that
their appearance would be salutary to a distressed world; and that they
had made choice of Lucian to inform the bishop of Jerusalem of their
situation and their wishes. The doubts and difficulties which still
retarded this important discovery were successively removed by new
visions; and the ground was opened by the bishop, in the presence of an
innumerable multitude. The coffins of Gamaliel, of his son, and of his
friend, were found in regular order; but when the fourth coffin, which
contained the remains of Stephen, was shown to the light, the earth
trembled, and an odor, such as that of paradise, was smelt, which
instantly cured the various diseases of seventy-three of the assistants.
The companions of Stephen were left in their peaceful residence of
Caphargamala: but the relics of the first martyr were transported, in
solemn procession, to a church constructed in their honor on Mount Sion;
and the minute particles of those relics, a drop of blood, 78 or the
scrapings of a bone, were acknowledged, in almost every province of the
Roman world, to possess a divine and miraculous virtue. The grave and
learned Augustin, 79 whose understanding scarcely admits the excuse of
credulity, has attested the innumerable prodigies which were performed
in Africa by the relics of St. Stephen; and this marvellous narrative is
inserted in the elaborate work of the City of God, which the bishop
of Hippo designed as a solid and immortal proof of the truth of
Christianity. Augustin solemnly declares, that he has selected those
miracles only which were publicly certified by the persons who were
either the objects, or the spectators, of the power of the martyr. Many
prodigies were omitted, or forgotten; and Hippo had been less favorably
treated than the other cities of the province. And yet the bishop
enumerates above seventy miracles, of which three were resurrections
from the dead, in the space of two years, and within the limits of his
own diocese. 80 If we enlarge our view to all the dioceses, and all the
saints, of the Christian world, it will not be easy to calculate the
fables, and the errors, which issued from this inexhaustible source.
But we may surely be allowed to observe, that a miracle, in that age of
superstition and credulity, lost its name and its merit, since it could
scarcely be considered as a deviation from the ordinary and established
laws of nature.

77 (return) [ Lucian composed in Greek his original narrative, which has
been translated by Avitus, and published by Baronius, (Annal. Eccles.
A.D. 415, No. 7-16.) The Benedictine editors of St. Augustin have given
(at the end of the work de Civitate Dei) two several copies, with many
various readings. It is the character of falsehood to be loose and
inconsistent. The most incredible parts of the legend are smoothed and
softened by Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. ii. p. 9, &c.)]

78 (return) [ A phial of St. Stephen's blood was annually liquefied
at Naples, till he was superseded by St. Jamarius, (Ruinart. Hist.
Persecut. Vandal p. 529.)]

79 (return) [ Augustin composed the two-and-twenty books de Civitate Dei
in the space of thirteen years, A.D. 413-426. Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles.
tom. xiv. p. 608, &c.) His learning is too often borrowed, and his
arguments are too often his own; but the whole work claims the merit of
a magnificent design, vigorously, and not unskilfully, executed.]

80 (return) [ See Augustin de Civitat. Dei, l. xxii. c. 22, and the
Appendix, which contains two books of St. Stephen's miracles, by
Evodius, bishop of Uzalis. Freculphus (apud Basnage, Hist. des Juifs,
tom. vii. p. 249) has preserved a Gallic or a Spanish proverb, "Whoever
pretends to have read all the miracles of St. Stephen, he lies."]

III. The innumerable miracles, of which the tombs of the martyrs were
the perpetual theatre, revealed to the pious believer the actual state
and constitution of the invisible world; and his religious speculations
appeared to be founded on the firm basis of fact and experience.
Whatever might be the condition of vulgar souls, in the long interval
between the dissolution and the resurrection of their bodies, it was
evident that the superior spirits of the saints and martyrs did not
consume that portion of their existence in silent and inglorious sleep.
81 It was evident (without presuming to determine the place of their
habitation, or the nature of their felicity) that they enjoyed the
lively and active consciousness of their happiness, their virtue, and
their powers; and that they had already secured the possession of
their eternal reward. The enlargement of their intellectual faculties
surpassed the measure of the human imagination; since it was proved
by experience, that they were capable of hearing and understanding the
various petitions of their numerous votaries; who, in the same moment of
time, but in the most distant parts of the world, invoked the name
and assistance of Stephen or of Martin. 82 The confidence of their
petitioners was founded on the persuasion, that the saints, who reigned
with Christ, cast an eye of pity upon earth; that they were warmly
interested in the prosperity of the Catholic Church; and that the
individuals, who imitated the example of their faith and piety, were the
peculiar and favorite objects of their most tender regard. Sometimes,
indeed, their friendship might be influenced by considerations of a less
exalted kind: they viewed with partial affection the places which had
been consecrated by their birth, their residence, their death, their
burial, or the possession of their relics. The meaner passions of pride,
avarice, and revenge, may be deemed unworthy of a celestial breast; yet
the saints themselves condescended to testify their grateful approbation
of the liberality of their votaries; and the sharpest bolts of
punishment were hurled against those impious wretches, who violated
their magnificent shrines, or disbelieved their supernatural power. 83
Atrocious, indeed, must have been the guilt, and strange would have
been the scepticism, of those men, if they had obstinately resisted the
proofs of a divine agency, which the elements, the whole range of the
animal creation, and even the subtle and invisible operations of
the human mind, were compelled to obey. 84 The immediate, and almost
instantaneous, effects that were supposed to follow the prayer, or the
offence, satisfied the Christians of the ample measure of favor and
authority which the saints enjoyed in the presence of the Supreme
God; and it seemed almost superfluous to inquire whether they were
continually obliged to intercede before the throne of grace; or whether
they might not be permitted to exercise, according to the dictates of
their benevolence and justice, the delegated powers of their subordinate
ministry. The imagination, which had been raised by a painful effort to
the contemplation and worship of the Universal Cause, eagerly embraced
such inferior objects of adoration as were more proportioned to its
gross conceptions and imperfect faculties. The sublime and simple
theology of the primitive Christians was gradually corrupted; and the
Monarchy of heaven, already clouded by metaphysical subtleties, was
degraded by the introduction of a popular mythology, which tended to
restore the reign of polytheism. 85

81 (return) [ Burnet (de Statu Mortuorum, p. 56-84) collects the
opinions of the Fathers, as far as they assert the sleep, or repose, of
human souls till the day of judgment. He afterwards exposes (p. 91, &c.)
the inconveniences which must arise, if they possessed a more active and
sensible existence.]

82 (return) [ Vigilantius placed the souls of the prophets and martyrs,
either in the bosom of Abraham, (in loco refrigerii,) or else under the
altar of God. Nec posse suis tumulis et ubi voluerunt adesse praesentes.
But Jerom (tom. ii. p. 122) sternly refutes this blasphemy. Tu Deo leges
pones? Tu apostolis vincula injicies, ut usque ad diem judicii teneantur
custodia, nec sint cum Domino suo; de quibus scriptum est, Sequuntur
Agnum quocunque vadit. Si Agnus ubique, ergo, et hi, qui cum Agno sunt,
ubique esse credendi sunt. Et cum diabolus et daemones tote vagentur in
orbe, &c.]

83 (return) [ Fleury Discours sur l'Hist. Ecclesiastique, iii p. 80.]

84 (return) [ At Minorca, the relics of St. Stephen converted, in eight
days, 540 Jews; with the help, indeed, of some wholesome severities,
such as burning the synagogue, driving the obstinate infidels to starve
among the rocks, &c. See the original letter of Severus, bishop of
Minorca (ad calcem St. Augustin. de Civ. Dei,) and the judicious remarks
of Basnage, (tom. viii. p. 245-251.)]

85 (return) [ Mr. Hume (Essays, vol. ii. p. 434) observes, like a
philosopher, the natural flux and reflux of polytheism and theism.]

IV. As the objects of religion were gradually reduced to the standard
of the imagination, the rites and ceremonies were introduced that seemed
most powerfully to affect the senses of the vulgar. If, in the beginning
of the fifth century, 86 Tertullian, or Lactantius, 87 had been suddenly
raised from the dead, to assist at the festival of some popular saint,
or martyr, 88 they would have gazed with astonishment, and indignation,
on the profane spectacle, which had succeeded to the pure and spiritual
worship of a Christian congregation. As soon as the doors of the church
were thrown open, they must have been offended by the smoke of incense,
the perfume of flowers, and the glare of lamps and tapers, which
diffused, at noonday, a gaudy, superfluous, and, in their opinion, a
sacrilegious light. If they approached the balustrade of the altar, they
made their way through the prostrate crowd, consisting, for the most
part, of strangers and pilgrims, who resorted to the city on the
vigil of the feast; and who already felt the strong intoxication of
fanaticism, and, perhaps, of wine. Their devout kisses were imprinted on
the walls and pavement of the sacred edifice; and their fervent prayers
were directed, whatever might be the language of their church, to
the bones, the blood, or the ashes of the saint, which were usually
concealed, by a linen or silken veil, from the eyes of the vulgar.
The Christians frequented the tombs of the martyrs, in the hope of
obtaining, from their powerful intercession, every sort of spiritual,
but more especially of temporal, blessings. They implored the
preservation of their health, or the cure of their infirmities; the
fruitfulness of their barren wives, or the safety and happiness of their
children. Whenever they undertook any distant or dangerous journey, they
requested, that the holy martyrs would be their guides and protectors
on the road; and if they returned without having experienced any
misfortune, they again hastened to the tombs of the martyrs, to
celebrate, with grateful thanksgivings, their obligations to the memory
and relics of those heavenly patrons. The walls were hung round with
symbols of the favors which they had received; eyes, and hands, and
feet, of gold and silver: and edifying pictures, which could not long
escape the abuse of indiscreet or idolatrous devotion, represented the
image, the attributes, and the miracles of the tutelar saint. The same
uniform original spirit of superstition might suggest, in the most
distant ages and countries, the same methods of deceiving the credulity,
and of affecting the senses of mankind: 89 but it must ingenuously
be confessed, that the ministers of the Catholic church imitated
the profane model, which they were impatient to destroy. The most
respectable bishops had persuaded themselves that the ignorant rustics
would more cheerfully renounce the superstitions of Paganism, if they
found some resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of Christianity.
The religion of Constantine achieved, in less than a century, the final
conquest of the Roman empire: but the victors themselves were insensibly
subdued by the arts of their vanquished rivals. 90 9011

86 (return) [ D'Aubigne (see his own Memoires, p. 156-160) frankly
offered, with the consent of the Huguenot ministers, to allow the first
400 years as the rule of faith. The Cardinal du Perron haggled for forty
years more, which were indiscreetly given. Yet neither party would have
found their account in this foolish bargain.]

87 (return) [ The worship practised and inculcated by Tertullian,
Lactantius Arnobius, &c., is so extremely pure and spiritual, that their
declamations against the Pagan sometimes glance against the Jewish,
ceremonies.]

88 (return) [ Faustus the Manichaean accuses the Catholics of idolatry.
Vertitis idola in martyres.... quos votis similibus colitis. M. de
Beausobre, (Hist. Critique du Manicheisme, tom. ii. p. 629-700,)
a Protestant, but a philosopher, has represented, with candor and
learning, the introduction of Christian idolatry in the fourth and fifth
centuries.]

89 (return) [ The resemblance of superstition, which could not be
imitated, might be traced from Japan to Mexico. Warburton has seized
this idea, which he distorts, by rendering it too general and absolute,
(Divine Legation, vol. iv. p. 126, &c.)]

90 (return) [ The imitation of Paganism is the subject of Dr.
Middleton's agreeable letter from Rome. Warburton's animadversions
obliged him to connect (vol. iii. p. 120-132,) the history of the two
religions, and to prove the antiquity of the Christian copy.]

9011 (return) [ But there was always this important difference between
Christian and heathen Polytheism. In Paganism this was the whole
religion; in the darkest ages of Christianity, some, however obscure and
vague, Christian notions of future retribution, of the life after death,
lurked at the bottom, and operated, to a certain extent, on the thoughts
and feelings, sometimes on the actions.—M.]



Chapter XXIX: Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of
Theodosius.—Part I.

     Final Division Of The Roman Empire Between The Sons Of
     Theodosius.—Reign Of Arcadius And Honorius—Administration
     Of Rufinus And Stilicho.—Revolt And Defeat Of Gildo In
     Africa.

The genius of Rome expired with Theodosius; the last of the successors
of Augustus and Constantine, who appeared in the field at the head
of their armies, and whose authority was universally acknowledged
throughout the whole extent of the empire. The memory of his virtues
still continued, however, to protect the feeble and inexperienced youth
of his two sons. After the death of their father, Arcadius and Honorius
were saluted, by the unanimous consent of mankind, as the lawful
emperors of the East, and of the West; and the oath of fidelity was
eagerly taken by every order of the state; the senates of old and
new Rome, the clergy, the magistrates, the soldiers, and the people.
Arcadius, who was then about eighteen years of age, was born in Spain,
in the humble habitation of a private family. But he received a princely
education in the palace of Constantinople; and his inglorious life was
spent in that peaceful and splendid seat of royalty, from whence he
appeared to reign over the provinces of Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and
Egypt, from the Lower Danube to the confines of Persia and Aethiopia.
His younger brother Honorius, assumed, in the eleventh year of his age,
the nominal government of Italy, Africa, Gaul, Spain, and Britain; and
the troops, which guarded the frontiers of his kingdom, were opposed, on
one side, to the Caledonians, and on the other, to the Moors. The
great and martial praefecture of Illyricum was divided between the
two princes: the defence and possession of the provinces of Noricum,
Pannonia, and Dalmatia still belonged to the Western empire; but the two
large dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia, which Gratian had intrusted to
the valor of Theodosius, were forever united to the empire of the East.
The boundary in Europe was not very different from the line which now
separates the Germans and the Turks; and the respective advantages of
territory, riches, populousness, and military strength, were fairly
balanced and compensated, in this final and permanent division of the
Roman empire. The hereditary sceptre of the sons of Theodosius appeared
to be the gift of nature, and of their father; the generals and
ministers had been accustomed to adore the majesty of the royal infants;
and the army and people were not admonished of their rights, and of
their power, by the dangerous example of a recent election. The gradual
discovery of the weakness of Arcadius and Honorius, and the repeated
calamities of their reign, were not sufficient to obliterate the deep
and early impressions of loyalty. The subjects of Rome, who still
reverenced the persons, or rather the names, of their sovereigns,
beheld, with equal abhorrence, the rebels who opposed, and the ministers
who abused, the authority of the throne.

Theodosius had tarnished the glory of his reign by the elevation of
Rufinus; an odious favorite, who, in an age of civil and religious
faction, has deserved, from every party, the imputation of every crime.
The strong impulse of ambition and avarice 1 had urged Rufinus to
abandon his native country, an obscure corner of Gaul, 2 to advance
his fortune in the capital of the East: the talent of bold and ready
elocution, 3 qualified him to succeed in the lucrative profession of the
law; and his success in that profession was a regular step to the most
honorable and important employments of the state. He was raised, by just
degrees, to the station of master of the offices. In the exercise of
his various functions, so essentially connected with the whole system
of civil government, he acquired the confidence of a monarch, who soon
discovered his diligence and capacity in business, and who long
remained ignorant of the pride, the malice, and the covetousness of his
disposition. These vices were concealed beneath the mask of profound
dissimulation; 4 his passions were subservient only to the passions
of his master; yet in the horrid massacre of Thessalonica, the cruel
Rufinus inflamed the fury, without imitating the repentance, of
Theodosius. The minister, who viewed with proud indifference the rest
of mankind, never forgave the appearance of an injury; and his personal
enemies had forfeited, in his opinion, the merit of all public services.
Promotus, the master-general of the infantry, had saved the empire
from the invasion of the Ostrogoths; but he indignantly supported the
preeminence of a rival, whose character and profession he despised; and
in the midst of a public council, the impatient soldier was provoked
to chastise with a blow the indecent pride of the favorite. This act
of violence was represented to the emperor as an insult, which it was
incumbent on his dignity to resent. The disgrace and exile of Promotus
were signified by a peremptory order, to repair, without delay, to
a military station on the banks of the Danube; and the death of that
general (though he was slain in a skirmish with the Barbarians) was
imputed to the perfidious arts of Rufinus. 5 The sacrifice of a hero
gratified his revenge; the honors of the consulship elated his vanity;
but his power was still imperfect and precarious, as long as
the important posts of praefect of the East, and of praefect of
Constantinople, were filled by Tatian, 6 and his son Proculus; whose
united authority balanced, for some time, the ambition and favor of
the master of the offices. The two praefects were accused of rapine and
corruption in the administration of the laws and finances. For the
trial of these illustrious offenders, the emperor constituted a special
commission: several judges were named to share the guilt and reproach
of injustice; but the right of pronouncing sentence was reserved to the
president alone, and that president was Rufinus himself. The father,
stripped of the praefecture of the East, was thrown into a dungeon; but
the son, conscious that few ministers can be found innocent, where an
enemy is their judge, had secretly escaped; and Rufinus must have
been satisfied with the least obnoxious victim, if despotism had not
condescended to employ the basest and most ungenerous artifice. The
prosecution was conducted with an appearance of equity and moderation,
which flattered Tatian with the hope of a favorable event: his
confidence was fortified by the solemn assurances, and perfidious
oaths, of the president, who presumed to interpose the sacred name of
Theodosius himself; and the unhappy father was at last persuaded to
recall, by a private letter, the fugitive Proculus. He was instantly
seized, examined, condemned, and beheaded, in one of the suburbs of
Constantinople, with a precipitation which disappointed the clemency of
the emperor. Without respecting the misfortunes of a consular senator,
the cruel judges of Tatian compelled him to behold the execution of his
son: the fatal cord was fastened round his own neck; but in the moment
when he expected. and perhaps desired, the relief of a speedy death, he
was permitted to consume the miserable remnant of his old age in poverty
and exile. 7 The punishment of the two praefects might, perhaps, be
excused by the exceptionable parts of their own conduct; the enmity
of Rufinus might be palliated by the jealous and unsociable nature
of ambition. But he indulged a spirit of revenge equally repugnant to
prudence and to justice, when he degraded their native country of Lycia
from the rank of Roman provinces; stigmatized a guiltless people with
a mark of ignominy; and declared, that the countrymen of Tatian and
Proculus should forever remain incapable of holding any employment of
honor or advantage under the Imperial government. 8 The new praefect of
the East (for Rufinus instantly succeeded to the vacant honors of his
adversary) was not diverted, however, by the most criminal pursuits,
from the performance of the religious duties, which in that age
were considered as the most essential to salvation. In the suburb of
Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak, he had built a magnificent villa; to which
he devoutly added a stately church, consecrated to the apostles St.
Peter and St. Paul, and continually sanctified by the prayers and
penance of a regular society of monks. A numerous, and almost general,
synod of the bishops of the Eastern empire, was summoned to celebrate,
at the same time, the dedication of the church, and the baptism of the
founder. This double ceremony was performed with extraordinary pomp; and
when Rufinus was purified, in the holy font, from all the sins that
he had hitherto committed, a venerable hermit of Egypt rashly proposed
himself as the sponsor of a proud and ambitious statesman. 9

1 (return) [ Alecto, envious of the public felicity, convenes an
infernal synod Megaera recommends her pupil Rufinus, and excites him
to deeds of mischief, &c. But there is as much difference between
Claudian's fury and that of Virgil, as between the characters of Turnus
and Rufinus.]

2 (return) [ It is evident, (Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p. 770,)
though De Marca is ashamed of his countryman, that Rufinus was born at
Elusa, the metropolis of Novempopulania, now a small village of Gassony,
(D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 289.)]

3 (return) [ Philostorgius, l. xi c. 3, with Godefroy's Dissert. p.
440.]

4 (return) [ A passage of Suidas is expressive of his profound
dissimulation.]

5 (return) [ Zosimus, l. iv. p. 272, 273.]

6 (return) [ Zosimus, who describes the fall of Tatian and his son, (l.
iv. p. 273, 274,) asserts their innocence; and even his testimony may
outweigh the charges of their enemies, (Cod. Theod. tom. iv. p. 489,)
who accuse them of oppressing the Curiae. The connection of Tatian
with the Arians, while he was praefect of Egypt, (A.D. 373,) inclines
Tillemont to believe that he was guilty of every crime, (Hist. des Emp.
tom. v. p. 360. Mem. Eccles. tom vi. p. 589.)]

7 (return) [—Juvenum rorantia colla Ante patrum vultus stricta
cecidere securi.

     Ibat grandaevus nato moriente superstes
     Post trabeas exsul.
    —-In Rufin. i. 248.

The facts of Zosimus explain the allusions of Claudian; but his classic
interpreters were ignorant of the fourth century. The fatal cord,
I found, with the help of Tillemont, in a sermon of St. Asterius of
Amasea.]

8 (return) [ This odious law is recited and repealed by Arcadius, (A.D.
296,) on the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit. xxxviii. leg. 9. The sense
as it is explained by Claudian, (in Rufin. i. 234,) and Godefroy, (tom.
iii. p. 279,) is perfectly clear.

    —-Exscindere cives
     Funditus; et nomen gentis delere laborat.

The scruples of Pagi and Tillemont can arise only from their zeal for
the glory of Theodosius.]

9 (return) [ Ammonius.... Rufinum propriis manibus suscepit sacro fonte
mundatum. See Rosweyde's Vitae Patrum, p. 947. Sozomen (l. viii. c. 17)
mentions the church and monastery; and Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. ix.
p. 593) records this synod, in which St. Gregory of Nyssa performed a
conspicuous part.]

The character of Theodosius imposed on his minister the task of
hypocrisy, which disguised, and sometimes restrained, the abuse of
power; and Rufinus was apprehensive of disturbing the indolent slumber
of a prince still capable of exerting the abilities and the virtue,
which had raised him to the throne. 10 But the absence, and, soon
afterwards, the death, of the emperor, confirmed the absolute authority
of Rufinus over the person and dominions of Arcadius; a feeble youth,
whom the imperious praefect considered as his pupil, rather than his
sovereign. Regardless of the public opinion, he indulged his passions
without remorse, and without resistance; and his malignant and rapacious
spirit rejected every passion that might have contributed to his own
glory, or the happiness of the people. His avarice, 11 which seems
to have prevailed, in his corrupt mind, over every other sentiment,
attracted the wealth of the East, by the various arts of partial and
general extortion; oppressive taxes, scandalous bribery, immoderate
fines, unjust confiscations, forced or fictitious testaments, by
which the tyrant despoiled of their lawful inheritance the children of
strangers, or enemies; and the public sale of justice, as well as
of favor, which he instituted in the palace of Constantinople. The
ambitious candidate eagerly solicited, at the expense of the fairest
part of his patrimony, the honors and emoluments of some provincial
government; the lives and fortunes of the unhappy people were abandoned
to the most liberal purchaser; and the public discontent was sometimes
appeased by the sacrifice of an unpopular criminal, whose punishment
was profitable only to the praefect of the East, his accomplice and
his judge. If avarice were not the blindest of the human passions, the
motives of Rufinus might excite our curiosity; and we might be tempted
to inquire with what view he violated every principle of humanity and
justice, to accumulate those immense treasures, which he could not spend
without folly, nor possess without danger. Perhaps he vainly imagined,
that he labored for the interest of an only daughter, on whom he
intended to bestow his royal pupil, and the august rank of Empress of
the East. Perhaps he deceived himself by the opinion, that his avarice
was the instrument of his ambition. He aspired to place his fortune on
a secure and independent basis, which should no longer depend on the
caprice of the young emperor; yet he neglected to conciliate the hearts
of the soldiers and people, by the liberal distribution of those riches,
which he had acquired with so much toil, and with so much guilt. The
extreme parsimony of Rufinus left him only the reproach and envy of
ill-gotten wealth; his dependants served him without attachment; the
universal hatred of mankind was repressed only by the influence of
servile fear. The fate of Lucian proclaimed to the East, that the
praefect, whose industry was much abated in the despatch of ordinary
business, was active and indefatigable in the pursuit of revenge.
Lucian, the son of the praefect Florentius, the oppressor of Gaul,
and the enemy of Julian, had employed a considerable part of his
inheritance, the fruit of rapine and corruption, to purchase the
friendship of Rufinus, and the high office of Count of the East. But the
new magistrate imprudently departed from the maxims of the court, and
of the times; disgraced his benefactor by the contrast of a virtuous and
temperate administration; and presumed to refuse an act of injustice,
which might have tended to the profit of the emperor's uncle. Arcadius
was easily persuaded to resent the supposed insult; and the praefect
of the East resolved to execute in person the cruel vengeance, which he
meditated against this ungrateful delegate of his power. He performed
with incessant speed the journey of seven or eight hundred miles, from
Constantinople to Antioch, entered the capital of Syria at the dead of
night, and spread universal consternation among a people ignorant of
his design, but not ignorant of his character. The Count of the fifteen
provinces of the East was dragged, like the vilest malefactor, before
the arbitrary tribunal of Rufinus. Notwithstanding the clearest evidence
of his integrity, which was not impeached even by the voice of an
accuser, Lucian was condemned, almost with out a trial, to suffer a
cruel and ignominious punishment. The ministers of the tyrant, by the
orders, and in the presence, of their master, beat him on the neck with
leather thongs armed at the extremities with lead; and when he fainted
under the violence of the pain, he was removed in a close litter, to
conceal his dying agonies from the eyes of the indignant city. No
sooner had Rufinus perpetrated this inhuman act, the sole object of his
expedition, than he returned, amidst the deep and silent curses of a
trembling people, from Antioch to Constantinople; and his diligence was
accelerated by the hope of accomplishing, without delay, the nuptials of
his daughter with the emperor of the East. 12

10 (return) [ Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, l. xii. c. 12) praises one
of the laws of Theodosius addressed to the praefect Rufinus, (l. ix.
tit. iv. leg. unic.,) to discourage the prosecution of treasonable, or
sacrilegious, words. A tyrannical statute always proves the existence of
tyranny; but a laudable edict may only contain the specious professions,
or ineffectual wishes, of the prince, or his ministers. This, I am
afraid, is a just, though mortifying, canon of criticism.]

11 (return) [

     —fluctibus auri Expleri sitis ista nequit—
     *****
     Congestae cumulantur opes; orbisque ruinas Accipit una domus.

This character (Claudian, in. Rufin. i. 184-220) is confirmed by Jerom,
a disinterested witness, (dedecus insatiabilis avaritiae, tom. i. ad
Heliodor. p. 26,) by Zosimus, (l. v. p. 286,) and by Suidas, who copied
the history of Eunapius.]

12 (return) [

     —Caetera segnis;
     Ad facinus velox; penitus regione remotas
     Impiger ire vias.

This allusion of Claudian (in Rufin. i. 241) is again explained by the
circumstantial narrative of Zosimus, (l. v. p. 288, 289.)]

But Rufinus soon experienced, that a prudent minister should constantly
secure his royal captive by the strong, though invisible chain of habit;
and that the merit, and much more easily the favor, of the absent,
are obliterated in a short time from the mind of a weak and capricious
sovereign. While the praefect satiated his revenge at Antioch, a secret
conspiracy of the favorite eunuchs, directed by the great chamberlain
Eutropius, undermined his power in the palace of Constantinople. They
discovered that Arcadius was not inclined to love the daughter of
Rufinus, who had been chosen, without his consent, for his bride; and
they contrived to substitute in her place the fair Eudoxia, the daughter
of Bauto, 13 a general of the Franks in the service of Rome; and who was
educated, since the death of her father, in the family of the sons of
Promotus. The young emperor, whose chastity had been strictly guarded by
the pious care of his tutor Arsenius, 14 eagerly listened to the artful
and flattering descriptions of the charms of Eudoxia: he gazed with
impatient ardor on her picture, and he understood the necessity of
concealing his amorous designs from the knowledge of a minister who was
so deeply interested to oppose the consummation of his happiness. Soon
after the return of Rufinus, the approaching ceremony of the royal
nuptials was announced to the people of Constantinople, who prepared
to celebrate, with false and hollow acclamations, the fortune of his
daughter. A splendid train of eunuchs and officers issued, in hymeneal
pomp, from the gates of the palace; bearing aloft the diadem, the
robes, and the inestimable ornaments, of the future empress. The solemn
procession passed through the streets of the city, which were adorned
with garlands, and filled with spectators; but when it reached the house
of the sons of Promotus, the principal eunuch respectfully entered
the mansion, invested the fair Eudoxia with the Imperial robes, and
conducted her in triumph to the palace and bed of Arcadius. 15 The
secrecy and success with which this conspiracy against Rufinus had been
conducted, imprinted a mark of indelible ridicule on the character of a
minister, who had suffered himself to be deceived, in a post where
the arts of deceit and dissimulation constitute the most distinguished
merit. He considered, with a mixture of indignation and fear, the
victory of an aspiring eunuch, who had secretly captivated the favor
of his sovereign; and the disgrace of his daughter, whose interest
was inseparably connected with his own, wounded the tenderness, or, at
least, the pride of Rufinus. At the moment when he flattered himself
that he should become the father of a line of kings, a foreign maid, who
had been educated in the house of his implacable enemies, was introduced
into the Imperial bed; and Eudoxia soon displayed a superiority of sense
and spirit, to improve the ascendant which her beauty must acquire
over the mind of a fond and youthful husband. The emperor would soon be
instructed to hate, to fear, and to destroy the powerful subject, whom
he had injured; and the consciousness of guilt deprived Rufinus of every
hope, either of safety or comfort, in the retirement of a private
life. But he still possessed the most effectual means of defending
his dignity, and perhaps of oppressing his enemies. The praefect
still exercised an uncontrolled authority over the civil and military
government of the East; and his treasures, if he could resolve to use
them, might be employed to procure proper instruments for the execution
of the blackest designs, that pride, ambition, and revenge could suggest
to a desperate statesman. The character of Rufinus seemed to justify the
accusations that he conspired against the person of his sovereign, to
seat himself on the vacant throne; and that he had secretly invited
the Huns and the Goths to invade the provinces of the empire, and to
increase the public confusion. The subtle praefect, whose life had been
spent in the intrigues of the palace, opposed, with equal arms, the
artful measures of the eunuch Eutropius; but the timid soul of Rufinus
was astonished by the hostile approach of a more formidable rival, of
the great Stilicho, the general, or rather the master, of the empire of
the West. 16

13 (return) [ Zosimus (l. iv. p. 243) praises the valor, prudence, and
integrity of Bauto the Frank. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom.
v. p. 771.]

14 (return) [ Arsenius escaped from the palace of Constantinople, and
passed fifty-five years in rigid penance in the monasteries of Egypt.
See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 676-702; and Fleury, Hist
Eccles. tom. v. p. 1, &c.; but the latter, for want of authentic
materials, has given too much credit to the legend of Metaphrastes.]

15 (return) [ This story (Zosimus, l. v. p. 290) proves that the
hymeneal rites of antiquity were still practised, without idolatry, by
the Christians of the East; and the bride was forcibly conducted from
the house of her parents to that of her husband. Our form of marriage
requires, with less delicacy, the express and public consent of a
virgin.]

16 (return) [ Zosimus, (l. v. p. 290,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 37,) and
the Chronicle of Marcellinus. Claudian (in Rufin. ii. 7-100) paints, in
lively colors, the distress and guilt of the praefect.]

The celestial gift, which Achilles obtained, and Alexander envied, of
a poet worthy to celebrate the actions of heroes has been enjoyed by
Stilicho, in a much higher degree than might have been expected from the
declining state of genius, and of art. The muse of Claudian, 17 devoted
to his service, was always prepared to stigmatize his adversaries,
Rufinus, or Eutropius, with eternal infamy; or to paint, in the most
splendid colors, the victories and virtues of a powerful benefactor. In
the review of a period indifferently supplied with authentic materials,
we cannot refuse to illustrate the annals of Honorius, from the
invectives, or the panegyrics, of a contemporary writer; but as Claudian
appears to have indulged the most ample privilege of a poet and a
courtier, some criticism will be requisite to translate the language
of fiction or exaggeration, into the truth and simplicity of historic
prose. His silence concerning the family of Stilicho may be admitted as
a proof, that his patron was neither able, nor desirous, to boast of a
long series of illustrious progenitors; and the slight mention of his
father, an officer of Barbarian cavalry in the service of Valens, seems
to countenance the assertion, that the general, who so long commanded
the armies of Rome, was descended from the savage and perfidious race of
the Vandals. 18 If Stilicho had not possessed the external advantages
of strength and stature, the most flattering bard, in the presence of
so many thousand spectators, would have hesitated to affirm, that he
surpassed the measure of the demi-gods of antiquity; and that whenever
he moved, with lofty steps, through the streets of the capital, the
astonished crowd made room for the stranger, who displayed, in a private
condition, the awful majesty of a hero. From his earliest youth he
embraced the profession of arms; his prudence and valor were soon
distinguished in the field; the horsemen and archers of the East admired
his superior dexterity; and in each degree of his military promotions,
the public judgment always prevented and approved the choice of the
sovereign. He was named, by Theodosius, to ratify a solemn treaty with
the monarch of Persia; he supported, during that important embassy, the
dignity of the Roman name; and after he returned to Constantinople,
his merit was rewarded by an intimate and honorable alliance with the
Imperial family. Theodosius had been prompted, by a pious motive of
fraternal affection, to adopt, for his own, the daughter of his brother
Honorius; the beauty and accomplishments of Serena 19 were universally
admired by the obsequious court; and Stilicho obtained the preference
over a crowd of rivals, who ambitiously disputed the hand of the
princess, and the favor of her adopted father. 20 The assurance that
the husband of Serena would be faithful to the throne, which he was
permitted to approach, engaged the emperor to exalt the fortunes, and to
employ the abilities, of the sagacious and intrepid Stilicho. He rose,
through the successive steps of master of the horse, and count of the
domestics, to the supreme rank of master-general of all the cavalry and
infantry of the Roman, or at least of the Western, empire; 21 and his
enemies confessed, that he invariably disdained to barter for gold
the rewards of merit, or to defraud the soldiers of the pay and
gratifications which they deserved or claimed, from the liberality of
the state. 22 The valor and conduct which he afterwards displayed, in
the defence of Italy, against the arms of Alaric and Radagaisus, may
justify the fame of his early achievements and in an age less attentive
to the laws of honor, or of pride, the Roman generals might yield
the preeminence of rank, to the ascendant of superior genius. 23 He
lamented, and revenged, the murder of Promotus, his rival and his
friend; and the massacre of many thousands of the flying Bastarnae is
represented by the poet as a bloody sacrifice, which the Roman Achilles
offered to the manes of another Patroclus. The virtues and victories of
Stilicho deserved the hatred of Rufinus: and the arts of calumny might
have been successful if the tender and vigilant Serena had not protected
her husband against his domestic foes, whilst he vanquished in the
field the enemies of the empire. 24 Theodosius continued to support an
unworthy minister, to whose diligence he delegated the government of
the palace, and of the East; but when he marched against the tyrant
Eugenius, he associated his faithful general to the labors and glories
of the civil war; and in the last moments of his life, the dying monarch
recommended to Stilicho the care of his sons, and of the republic.
25 The ambition and the abilities of Stilicho were not unequal to the
important trust; and he claimed the guardianship of the two empires,
during the minority of Arcadius and Honorius. 26 The first measure of
his administration, or rather of his reign, displayed to the nations the
vigor and activity of a spirit worthy to command. He passed the Alps
in the depth of winter; descended the stream of the Rhine, from the
fortress of Basil to the marshes of Batavia; reviewed the state of
the garrisons; repressed the enterprises of the Germans; and, after
establishing along the banks a firm and honorable peace, returned, with
incredible speed, to the palace of Milan. 27 The person and court of
Honorius were subject to the master-general of the West; and the armies
and provinces of Europe obeyed, without hesitation, a regular authority,
which was exercised in the name of their young sovereign. Two rivals
only remained to dispute the claims, and to provoke the vengeance, of
Stilicho. Within the limits of Africa, Gildo, the Moor, maintained a
proud and dangerous independence; and the minister of Constantinople
asserted his equal reign over the emperor, and the empire, of the East.

17 (return) [ Stilicho, directly or indirectly, is the perpetual
theme of Claudian. The youth and private life of the hero are vaguely
expressed in the poem on his first consulship, 35-140.]

18 (return) [ Vandalorum, imbellis, avarae, perfidae, et dolosae,
gentis, genere editus. Orosius, l. vii. c. 38. Jerom (tom. i. ad
Gerontiam, p. 93) call him a Semi-Barbarian.]

19 (return) [ Claudian, in an imperfect poem, has drawn a fair, perhaps
a flattering, portrait of Serena. That favorite niece of Theodosius was
born, as well as here sister Thermantia, in Spain; from whence, in
their earliest youth, they were honorably conducted to the palace of
Constantinople.]

20 (return) [ Some doubt may be entertained, whether this adoption was
legal or only metaphorical, (see Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 75.) An
old inscription gives Stilicho the singular title of Pro-gener Divi
Theodosius]

21 (return) [ Claudian (Laus Serenae, 190, 193) expresses, in poetic
language "the dilectus equorum," and the "gemino mox idem culmine duxit
agmina." The inscription adds, "count of the domestics," an important
command, which Stilicho, in the height of his grandeur, might prudently
retain.]

22 (return) [ The beautiful lines of Claudian (in i. Cons. Stilich. ii.
113) displays his genius; but the integrity of Stilicho (in the military
administration) is much more firmly established by the unwilling
evidence of Zosimus, (l. v. p. 345.)]

23 (return) [—Si bellica moles Ingrueret, quamvis annis et jure
minori,

    Cedere grandaevos equitum peditumque magistros

Adspiceres. Claudian, Laus Seren. p. 196, &c. A modern general would
deem their submission either heroic patriotism or abject servility.]

24 (return) [ Compare the poem on the first consulship (i. 95-115) with
the Laus Serenoe (227-237, where it unfortunately breaks off.) We may
perceive the deep, inveterate malice of Rufinus.]

25 (return) [—Quem fratribus ipse Discedens, clypeum defensoremque
dedisti. Yet the nomination (iv. Cons. Hon. 432) was private, (iii.
Cons. Hon. 142,) cunctos discedere... jubet; and may therefore be
suspected. Zosimus and Suidas apply to Stilicho and Rufinus the same
equal title of guardians, or procurators.]

26 (return) [ The Roman law distinguishes two sorts of minority, which
expired at the age of fourteen, and of twenty-five. The one was subject
to the tutor, or guardian, of the person; the other, to the curator, or
trustee, of the estate, (Heineccius, Antiquitat. Rom. ad Jurisprudent.
pertinent. l. i. tit. xxii. xxiii. p. 218-232.) But these legal ideas
were never accurately transferred into the constitution of an elective
monarchy.]

27 (return) [ See Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich. i. 188-242;) but he must
allow more than fifteen days for the journey and return between Milan
and Leyden.]



Chapter XXIX: Division Of Roman Empire Between Sons Of
Theodosius.—Part II.

The impartiality which Stilicho affected, as the common guardian of the
royal brothers, engaged him to regulate the equal division of the arms,
the jewels, and the magnificent wardrobe and furniture of the deceased
emperor. 28 But the most important object of the inheritance consisted
of the numerous legions, cohorts, and squadrons, of Romans, or
Barbarians, whom the event of the civil war had united under the
standard of Theodosius. The various multitudes of Europe and Asia,
exasperated by recent animosities, were overawed by the authority of a
single man; and the rigid discipline of Stilicho protected the lands
of the citizens from the rapine of the licentious soldier. 29 Anxious,
however, and impatient, to relieve Italy from the presence of this
formidable host, which could be useful only on the frontiers of the
empire, he listened to the just requisition of the minister of Arcadius,
declared his intention of reconducting in person the troops of the East,
and dexterously employed the rumor of a Gothic tumult to conceal his
private designs of ambition and revenge. 30 The guilty soul of Rufinus
was alarmed by the approach of a warrior and a rival, whose enmity he
deserved; he computed, with increasing terror, the narrow space of his
life and greatness; and, as the last hope of safety, he interposed
the authority of the emperor Arcadius. Stilicho, who appears to have
directed his march along the sea-coast of the Adriatic, was not far
distant from the city of Thessalonica, when he received a peremptory
message, to recall the troops of the East, and to declare, that his
nearer approach would be considered, by the Byzantine court, as an act
of hostility. The prompt and unexpected obedience of the general of the
West, convinced the vulgar of his loyalty and moderation; and, as he had
already engaged the affection of the Eastern troops, he recommended
to their zeal the execution of his bloody design, which might be
accomplished in his absence, with less danger, perhaps, and with less
reproach. Stilicho left the command of the troops of the East to Gainas,
the Goth, on whose fidelity he firmly relied, with an assurance, at
least, that the hardy Barbarians would never be diverted from his
purpose by any consideration of fear or remorse. The soldiers were
easily persuaded to punish the enemy of Stilicho and of Rome; and such
was the general hatred which Rufinus had excited, that the fatal secret,
communicated to thousands, was faithfully preserved during the long
march from Thessalonica to the gates of Constantinople. As soon as they
had resolved his death, they condescended to flatter his pride;
the ambitious praefect was seduced to believe, that those powerful
auxiliaries might be tempted to place the diadem on his head; and the
treasures which he distributed, with a tardy and reluctant hand, were
accepted by the indignant multitude as an insult, rather than as a gift.
At the distance of a mile from the capital, in the field of Mars, before
the palace of Hebdomon, the troops halted: and the emperor, as well as
his minister, advanced, according to ancient custom, respectfully to
salute the power which supported their throne. As Rufinus passed along
the ranks, and disguised, with studied courtesy, his innate haughtiness,
the wings insensibly wheeled from the right and left, and enclosed the
devoted victim within the circle of their arms. Before he could reflect
on the danger of his situation, Gainas gave the signal of death; a
daring and forward soldier plunged his sword into the breast of the
guilty praefect, and Rufinus fell, groaned, and expired, at the feet
of the affrighted emperor. If the agonies of a moment could expiate the
crimes of a whole life, or if the outrages inflicted on a breathless
corpse could be the object of pity, our humanity might perhaps be
affected by the horrid circumstances which accompanied the murder
of Rufinus. His mangled body was abandoned to the brutal fury of the
populace of either sex, who hastened in crowds, from every quarter of
the city, to trample on the remains of the haughty minister, at whose
frown they had so lately trembled. His right hand was cut off, and
carried through the streets of Constantinople, in cruel mockery, to
extort contributions for the avaricious tyrant, whose head was publicly
exposed, borne aloft on the point of a long lance. 31 According to the
savage maxims of the Greek republics, his innocent family would have
shared the punishment of his crimes. The wife and daughter of Rufinus
were indebted for their safety to the influence of religion. Her
sanctuary protected them from the raging madness of the people; and they
were permitted to spend the remainder of their lives in the exercise of
Christian devotions, in the peaceful retirement of Jerusalem. 32

28 (return) [ I. Cons. Stilich. ii. 88-94. Not only the robes and
diadems of the deceased emperor, but even the helmets, sword-hilts,
belts, rasses, &c., were enriched with pearls, emeralds, and diamonds.]

29 (return) [—Tantoque remoto Principe, mutatas orbis non sensit
habenas. This high commendation (i. Cons. Stil. i. 149) may be justified
by the fears of the dying emperor, (de Bell. Gildon. 292-301;) and the
peace and good order which were enjoyed after his death, (i. Cons. Stil
i. 150-168.)]

30 (return) [ Stilicho's march, and the death of Rufinus, are described
by Claudian, (in Rufin. l. ii. 101-453, Zosimus, l. v. p. 296, 297,)
Sozomen (l. viii. c. 1,) Socrates, l. vi. c. 1,) Philostorgius, (l. xi
c. 3, with Godefory, p. 441,) and the Chronicle of Marcellinus.]

31 (return) [ The dissection of Rufinus, which Claudian performs
with the savage coolness of an anatomist, (in Rufin. ii. 405-415,) is
likewise specified by Zosimus and Jerom, (tom. i. p. 26.)]

32 (return) [ The Pagan Zosimus mentions their sanctuary and pilgrimage.
The sister of Rufinus, Sylvania, who passed her life at Jerusalem, is
famous in monastic history. 1. The studious virgin had diligently, and
even repeatedly, perused the commentators on the Bible, Origen, Gregory,
Basil, &c., to the amount of five millions of lines. 2. At the age of
threescore, she could boast, that she had never washed her hands, face,
or any part of her whole body, except the tips of her fingers to receive
the communion. See the Vitae Patrum, p. 779, 977.]

The servile poet of Stilicho applauds, with ferocious joy, this horrid
deed, which, in the execution, perhaps, of justice, violated every law
of nature and society, profaned the majesty of the prince, and renewed
the dangerous examples of military license. The contemplation of the
universal order and harmony had satisfied Claudian of the existence of
the Deity; but the prosperous impunity of vice appeared to contradict
his moral attributes; and the fate of Rufinus was the only event which
could dispel the religious doubts of the poet. 33 Such an act might
vindicate the honor of Providence, but it did not much contribute to the
happiness of the people. In less than three months they were informed
of the maxims of the new administration, by a singular edict, which
established the exclusive right of the treasury over the spoils of
Rufinus; and silenced, under heavy penalties, the presumptuous claims
of the subjects of the Eastern empire, who had been injured by his
rapacious tyranny. 34 Even Stilicho did not derive from the murder of
his rival the fruit which he had proposed; and though he gratified his
revenge, his ambition was disappointed. Under the name of a favorite,
the weakness of Arcadius required a master, but he naturally preferred
the obsequious arts of the eunuch Eutropius, who had obtained his
domestic confidence: and the emperor contemplated, with terror and
aversion, the stern genius of a foreign warrior. Till they were divided
by the jealousy of power, the sword of Gainas, and the charms of
Eudoxia, supported the favor of the great chamberlain of the palace: the
perfidious Goth, who was appointed master-general of the East, betrayed,
without scruple, the interest of his benefactor; and the same troops,
who had so lately massacred the enemy of Stilicho, were engaged to
support, against him, the independence of the throne of Constantinople.
The favorites of Arcadius fomented a secret and irreconcilable war
against a formidable hero, who aspired to govern, and to defend, the
two empires of Rome, and the two sons of Theodosius. They incessantly
labored, by dark and treacherous machinations, to deprive him of the
esteem of the prince, the respect of the people, and the friendship of
the Barbarians. The life of Stilicho was repeatedly attempted by the
dagger of hired assassins; and a decree was obtained from the senate
of Constantinople, to declare him an enemy of the republic, and to
confiscate his ample possessions in the provinces of the East. At a time
when the only hope of delaying the ruin of the Roman name depended on
the firm union, and reciprocal aid, of all the nations to whom it had
been gradually communicated, the subjects of Arcadius and Honorius
were instructed, by their respective masters, to view each other in a
foreign, and even hostile, light; to rejoice in their mutual calamities,
and to embrace, as their faithful allies, the Barbarians, whom they
excited to invade the territories of their countrymen. 35 The natives
of Italy affected to despise the servile and effeminate Greeks of
Byzantium, who presumed to imitate the dress, and to usurp the dignity,
of Roman senators; 36 and the Greeks had not yet forgot the sentiments
of hatred and contempt, which their polished ancestors had so long
entertained for the rude inhabitants of the West. The distinction of
two governments, which soon produced the separation of two nations, will
justify my design of suspending the series of the Byzantine history, to
prosecute, without interruption, the disgraceful, but memorable, reign
of Honorius.

33 (return) [ See the beautiful exordium of his invective against
Rufinus, which is curiously discussed by the sceptic Bayle, Dictionnaire
Critique, Rufin. Not. E.]

34 (return) [ See the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit. xlii. leg. 14, 15.
The new ministers attempted, with inconsistent avarice, to seize
the spoils of their predecessor, and to provide for their own future
security.]

35 (return) [ See Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich, l. i. 275, 292, 296, l.
ii. 83,) and Zosimus, (l. v. p. 302.)]

36 (return) [ Claudian turns the consulship of the eunuch Eutropius into
a national reflection, (l. ii. 134):—

    —-Plaudentem cerne senatum,
     Et Byzantinos proceres Graiosque Quirites:
     O patribus plebes, O digni consule patres.

It is curious to observe the first symptoms of jealousy and schism
between old and new Rome, between the Greeks and Latins.]

The prudent Stilicho, instead of persisting to force the inclinations
of a prince, and people, who rejected his government, wisely abandoned
Arcadius to his unworthy favorites; and his reluctance to involve the
two empires in a civil war displayed the moderation of a minister,
who had so often signalized his military spirit and abilities. But if
Stilicho had any longer endured the revolt of Africa, he would have
betrayed the security of the capital, and the majesty of the Western
emperor, to the capricious insolence of a Moorish rebel. Gildo, 37 the
brother of the tyrant Firmus, had preserved and obtained, as the reward
of his apparent fidelity, the immense patrimony which was forfeited by
treason: long and meritorious service, in the armies of Rome, raised him
to the dignity of a military count; the narrow policy of the court of
Theodosius had adopted the mischievous expedient of supporting a legal
government by the interest of a powerful family; and the brother of
Firmus was invested with the command of Africa. His ambition soon
usurped the administration of justice, and of the finances, without
account, and without control; and he maintained, during a reign of
twelve years, the possession of an office, from which it was impossible
to remove him, without the danger of a civil war. During those twelve
years, the provinces of Africa groaned under the dominion of a tyrant,
who seemed to unite the unfeeling temper of a stranger with the partial
resentments of domestic faction. The forms of law were often superseded
by the use of poison; and if the trembling guests, who were invited to
the table of Gildo, presumed to express fears, the insolent suspicion
served only to excite his fury, and he loudly summoned the ministers of
death. Gildo alternately indulged the passions of avarice and lust;
38 and if his days were terrible to the rich, his nights were not
less dreadful to husbands and parents. The fairest of their wives and
daughters were prostituted to the embraces of the tyrant; and afterwards
abandoned to a ferocious troop of Barbarians and assassins, the black,
or swarthy, natives of the desert; whom Gildo considered as the only
guardians of his throne. In the civil war between Theodosius and
Eugenius, the count, or rather the sovereign, of Africa, maintained
a haughty and suspicious neutrality; refused to assist either of the
contending parties with troops or vessels, expected the declaration
of fortune, and reserved for the conqueror the vain professions of his
allegiance. Such professions would not have satisfied the master of the
Roman world; but the death of Theodosius, and the weakness and discord
of his sons, confirmed the power of the Moor; who condescended, as a
proof of his moderation, to abstain from the use of the diadem, and to
supply Rome with the customary tribute, or rather subsidy, of corn.
In every division of the empire, the five provinces of Africa were
invariably assigned to the West; and Gildo had to govern that extensive
country in the name of Honorius, but his knowledge of the character and
designs of Stilicho soon engaged him to address his homage to a more
distant and feeble sovereign. The ministers of Arcadius embraced
the cause of a perfidious rebel; and the delusive hope of adding the
numerous cities of Africa to the empire of the East, tempted them to
assert a claim, which they were incapable of supporting, either by
reason or by arms. 39

37 (return) [ Claudian may have exaggerated the vices of Gildo; but his
Moorish extraction, his notorious actions, and the complaints of St.
Augustin, may justify the poet's invectives. Baronius (Annal. Eccles.
A.D. 398, No. 35-56) has treated the African rebellion with skill and
learning.]

38 (return) [

     Instat terribilis vivis, morientibus haeres,
     Virginibus raptor, thalamis obscoenus adulter.
     Nulla quies: oritur praeda cessante libido,
     Divitibusque dies, et nox metuenda maritis.
     Mauris clarissima quaeque
     Fastidita datur.
    ——De Bello Gildonico, 165, 189.

Baronius condemns, still more severely, the licentiousness of Gildo;
as his wife, his daughter, and his sister, were examples of perfect
chastity. The adulteries of the African soldiers are checked by one of
the Imperial laws.]

39 (return) [ Inque tuam sortem numerosas transtulit urbes. Claudian
(de Bell. Gildonico, 230-324) has touched, with political delicacy,
the intrigues of the Byzantine court, which are likewise mentioned by
Zosimus, (l. v. p. 302.)]

When Stilicho had given a firm and decisive answer to the pretensions of
the Byzantine court, he solemnly accused the tyrant of Africa before the
tribunal, which had formerly judged the kings and nations of the earth;
and the image of the republic was revived, after a long interval, under
the reign of Honorius. The emperor transmitted an accurate and ample
detail of the complaints of the provincials, and the crimes of Gildo,
to the Roman senate; and the members of that venerable assembly were
required to pronounce the condemnation of the rebel. Their unanimous
suffrage declared him the enemy of the republic; and the decree of the
senate added a sacred and legitimate sanction to the Roman arms. 40 A
people, who still remembered that their ancestors had been the
masters of the world, would have applauded, with conscious pride, the
representation of ancient freedom; if they had not since been accustomed
to prefer the solid assurance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of
liberty and greatness. The subsistence of Rome depended on the harvests
of Africa; and it was evident, that a declaration of war would be
the signal of famine. The praefect Symmachus, who presided in the
deliberations of the senate, admonished the minister of his just
apprehension, that as soon as the revengeful Moor should prohibit the
exportation of corn, tranquility and perhaps the safety, of the capital
would be threatened by the hungry rage of a turbulent multitude. 41 The
prudence of Stilicho conceived and executed, without delay, the most
effectual measure for the relief of the Roman people. A large and
seasonable supply of corn, collected in the inland provinces of Gaul,
was embarked on the rapid stream of the Rhone, and transported, by an
easy navigation, from the Rhone to the Tyber. During the whole term
of the African war, the granaries of Rome were continually filled, her
dignity was vindicated from the humiliating dependence, and the minds
of an immense people were quieted by the calm confidence of peace and
plenty. 42

40 (return) [ Symmachus (l. iv. epist. 4) expresses the judicial forms
of the senate; and Claudian (i. Cons. Stilich. l. i. 325, &c.) seems to
feel the spirit of a Roman.]

41 (return) [ Claudian finely displays these complaints of Symmachus, in
a speech of the goddess of Rome, before the throne of Jupiter, (de Bell
Gildon. 28-128.)]

42 (return) [ See Claudian (in Eutrop. l. i 401, &c. i. Cons. Stil. l.
i. 306, &c. i. Cons. Stilich. 91, &c.)]

The cause of Rome, and the conduct of the African war, were intrusted by
Stilicho to a general, active and ardent to avenge his private injuries
on the head of the tyrant. The spirit of discord which prevailed in the
house of Nabal, had excited a deadly quarrel between two of his sons,
Gildo and Mascezel. 43 The usurper pursued, with implacable rage, the
life of his younger brother, whose courage and abilities he feared; and
Mascezel, oppressed by superior power, refuge in the court of Milan,
where he soon received the cruel intelligence that his two innocent
and helpless children had been murdered by their inhuman uncle. The
affliction of the father was suspended only by the desire of revenge.
The vigilant Stilicho already prepared to collect the naval and military
force of the Western empire; and he had resolved, if the tyrant should
be able to wage an equal and doubtful war, to march against him in
person. But as Italy required his presence, and as it might be dangerous
to weaken the of the frontier, he judged it more advisable, that
Mascezel should attempt this arduous adventure at the head of a chosen
body of Gallic veterans, who had lately served exhorted to convince
the world that they could subvert, as well as defend the throne of
a usurper, consisted of the Jovian, the Herculian, and the Augustan
legions; of the Nervian auxiliaries; of the soldiers who displayed
in their banners the symbol of a lion, and of the troops which were
distinguished by the auspicious names of Fortunate, and Invincible. Yet
such was the smallness of their establishments, or the difficulty of
recruiting, that these seven bands, 44 of high dignity and reputation
in the service of Rome, amounted to no more than five thousand effective
men. 45 The fleet of galleys and transports sailed in tempestuous
weather from the port of Pisa, in Tuscany, and steered their course to
the little island of Capraria; which had borrowed that name from the
wild goats, its original inhabitants, whose place was occupied by a new
colony of a strange and savage appearance. "The whole island (says an
ingenious traveller of those times) is filled, or rather defiled, by
men who fly from the light. They call themselves Monks, or solitaries,
because they choose to live alone, without any witnesses of their
actions. They fear the gifts of fortune, from the apprehension of
losing them; and, lest they should be miserable, they embrace a life of
voluntary wretchedness. How absurd is their choice! how perverse their
understanding! to dread the evils, without being able to support the
blessings, of the human condition. Either this melancholy madness is the
effect of disease, or exercise on their own bodies the tortures which
are inflicted on fugitive slaves by the hand of justice." 46 Such
was the contempt of a profane magistrate for the monks as the chosen
servants of God. 47 Some of them were persuaded, by his entreaties,
to embark on board the fleet; and it is observed, to the praise of
the Roman general, that his days and nights were employed in prayer,
fasting, and the occupation of singing psalms. The devout leader, who,
with such a reenforcement, appeared confident of victory, avoided the
dangerous rocks of Corsica, coasted along the eastern side of Sardinia,
and secured his ships against the violence of the south wind, by casting
anchor in the and capacious harbor of Cagliari, at the distance of one
hundred and forty miles from the African shores. 48

43 (return) [ He was of a mature age; since he had formerly (A.D. 373)
served against his brother Firmus (Ammian. xxix. 5.) Claudian, who
understood the court of Milan, dwells on the injuries, rather than the
merits, of Mascezel, (de Bell. Gild. 389-414.) The Moorish war was not
worthy of Honorius, or Stilicho, &c.]

44 (return) [ Claudian, Bell. Gild. 415-423. The change of discipline
allowed him to use indifferently the names of Legio Cohors, Manipulus.
See Notitia Imperii, S. 38, 40.]

45 (return) [ Orosius (l. vii. c. 36, p. 565) qualifies this account
with an expression of doubt, (ut aiunt;) and it scarcely coincides with
Zosimus, (l. v. p. 303.) Yet Claudian, after some declamation about
Cadmus, soldiers, frankly owns that Stilicho sent a small army lest the
rebels should fly, ne timeare times, (i. Cons. Stilich. l. i. 314 &c.)]

46 (return) [ Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinerar. i. 439-448. He
afterwards (515-526) mentions a religious madman on the Isle of Gorgona.
For such profane remarks, Rutilius and his accomplices are styled, by
his commentator, Barthius, rabiosi canes diaboli. Tillemont (Mem.
Eccles com. xii. p. 471) more calmly observes, that the unbelieving poet
praises where he means to censure.]

47 (return) [ Orosius, l. vii. c. 36, p. 564. Augustin commends two of
these savage saints of the Isle of Goats, (epist. lxxxi. apud Tillemont,
Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 317, and Baronius, Annal Eccles. A.D. 398 No.
51.)]

48 (return) [ Here the first book of the Gildonic war is terminated. The
rest of Claudian's poem has been lost; and we are ignorant how or where
the army made good their landing in Afica.]

Gildo was prepared to resist the invasion with all the forces of Africa.
By the liberality of his gifts and promises, he endeavored to secure the
doubtful allegiance of the Roman soldiers, whilst he attracted to
his standard the distant tribes of Gaetulia and Aethiopia. He proudly
reviewed an army of seventy thousand men, and boasted, with the rash
presumption which is the forerunner of disgrace, that his numerous
cavalry would trample under their horses' feet the troops of Mascezel,
and involve, in a cloud of burning sand, the natives of the cold regions
of Gaul and Germany. 49 But the Moor, who commanded the legions of
Honorius, was too well acquainted with the manners of his countrymen,
to entertain any serious apprehension of a naked and disorderly host of
Barbarians; whose left arm, instead of a shield, was protected only
by mantle; who were totally disarmed as soon as they had darted their
javelin from their right hand; and whose horses had never been in
combat. He fixed his camp of five thousand veterans in the face of a
superior enemy, and, after the delay of three days, gave the signal of
a general engagement. 50 As Mascezel advanced before the front with
fair offers of peace and pardon, he encountered one of the foremost
standard-bearers of the Africans, and, on his refusal to yield, struck
him on the arm with his sword. The arm, and the standard, sunk under
the weight of the blow; and the imaginary act of submission was hastily
repeated by all the standards of the line. At this the disaffected
cohorts proclaimed the name of their lawful sovereign; the Barbarians,
astonished by the defection of their Roman allies, dispersed, according
to their custom, in tumultuary flight; and Mascezel obtained the of
an easy, and almost bloodless, victory. 51 The tyrant escaped from the
field of battle to the sea-shore; and threw himself into a small vessel,
with the hope of reaching in safety some friendly port of the empire of
the East; but the obstinacy of the wind drove him back into the harbor
of Tabraca, 52 which had acknowledged, with the rest of the province,
the dominion of Honorius, and the authority of his lieutenant. The
inhabitants, as a proof of their repentance and loyalty, seized and
confined the person of Gildo in a dungeon; and his own despair saved him
from the intolerable torture of supporting the presence of an injured
and victorious brother. 53 The captives and the spoils of Africa were
laid at the feet of the emperor; but more sincere, in the midst of
prosperity, still affected to consult the laws of the republic; and
referred to the senate and people of Rome the judgment of the most
illustrious criminals. 54 Their trial was public and solemn; but the
judges, in the exercise of this obsolete and precarious jurisdiction,
were impatient to punish the African magistrates, who had intercepted
the subsistence of the Roman people. The rich and guilty province was
oppressed by the Imperial ministers, who had a visible interest to
multiply the number of the accomplices of Gildo; and if an edict
of Honorius seems to check the malicious industry of informers, a
subsequent edict, at the distance of ten years, continues and renews the
prosecution of the offences which had been committed in the time of the
general rebellion. 55 The adherents of the tyrant who escaped the first
fury of the soldiers, and the judges, might derive some consolation from
the tragic fate of his brother, who could never obtain his pardon for
the extraordinary services which he had performed. After he had finished
an important war in the space of a single winter, Mascezel was received
at the court of Milan with loud applause, affected gratitude, and secret
jealousy; 56 and his death, which, perhaps, was the effect of passage of
a bridge, the Moorish prince, who accompanied the master-general of the
West, was suddenly thrown from his horse into the river; the officious
haste of the attendants was on the countenance of Stilicho; and while
they delayed the necessary assistance, the unfortunate Mascezel was
irrecoverably drowned. 57

49 (return) [ Orosius must be responsible for the account. The
presumption of Gildo and his various train of Barbarians is celebrated
by Claudian, Cons. Stil. l. i. 345-355.]

50 (return) [ St. Ambrose, who had been dead about a year, revealed, in
a vision, the time and place of the victory. Mascezel afterwards related
his dream to Paulinus, the original biographer of the saint, from whom
it might easily pass to Orosius.]

51 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 303) supposes an obstinate combat;
but the narrative of Orosius appears to conceal a real fact, under the
disguise of a miracle.]

52 (return) [ Tabraca lay between the two Hippos, (Cellarius, tom. ii.
p. 112; D'Anville, tom. iii. p. 84.) Orosius has distinctly named the
field of battle, but our ignorance cannot define the precise situation.]

53 (return) [ The death of Gildo is expressed by Claudian (i. Cons.
Stil. 357) and his best interpreters, Zosimus and Orosius.]

54 (return) [ Claudian (ii. Cons. Stilich. 99-119) describes their
trial (tremuit quos Africa nuper, cernunt rostra reos,) and applauds the
restoration of the ancient constitution. It is here that he introduces
the famous sentence, so familiar to the friends of despotism:

    —-Nunquam libertas gratior exstat,
     Quam sub rege pio.

But the freedom which depends on royal piety, scarcely deserves
appellation]

55 (return) [ See the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit. xxxix. leg. 3, tit.
xl. leg. 19.]

56 (return) [ Stilicho, who claimed an equal share in all the victories
of Theodosius and his son, particularly asserts, that Africa was
recovered by the wisdom of his counsels, (see an inscription produced by
Baronius.)]

57 (return) [ I have softened the narrative of Zosimus, which, in its
crude simplicity, is almost incredible, (l. v. p. 303.) Orosius damns
the victorious general (p. 538) for violating the right of sanctuary.]

The joy of the African triumph was happily connected with the nuptials
of the emperor Honorius, and of his cousin Maria, the daughter of
Stilicho: and this equal and honorable alliance seemed to invest the
powerful minister with the authority of a parent over his submissive
pupil. The muse of Claudian was not silent on this propitious day; 58
he sung, in various and lively strains, the happiness of the royal pair;
and the glory of the hero, who confirmed their union, and supported
their throne. The ancient fables of Greece, which had almost ceased to
be the object of religious faith, were saved from oblivion by the genius
of poetry. The picture of the Cyprian grove, the seat of harmony and
love; the triumphant progress of Venus over her native seas, and the
mild influence which her presence diffused in the palace of Milan,
express to every age the natural sentiments of the heart, in the just
and pleasing language of allegorical fiction. But the amorous impatience
which Claudian attributes to the young prince, 59 must excite the smiles
of the court; and his beauteous spouse (if she deserved the praise of
beauty) had not much to fear or to hope from the passions of her lover.
Honorius was only in the fourteenth year of his age; Serena, the mother
of his bride, deferred, by art of persuasion, the consummation of the
royal nuptials; Maria died a virgin, after she had been ten years a
wife; and the chastity of the emperor was secured by the coldness,
perhaps, the debility,of his constitution. 60 His subjects, who
attentively studied the character of their young sovereign, discovered
that Honorius was without passions, and consequently without talents;
and that his feeble and languid disposition was alike incapable of
discharging the duties of his rank, or of enjoying the pleasures of his
age. In his early youth he made some progress in the exercises of
riding and drawing the bow: but he soon relinquished these fatiguing
occupations, and the amusement of feeding poultry became the serious
and daily care of the monarch of the West, 61 who resigned the reins
of empire to the firm and skilful hand of his guardian Stilicho. The
experience of history will countenance the suspicion that a prince who
was born in the purple, received a worse education than the meanest
peasant of his dominions; and that the ambitious minister suffered him
to attain the age of manhood, without attempting to excite his courage,
or to enlighten his under standing. 62 The predecessors of Honorius were
accustomed to animate by their example, or at least by their presence,
the valor of the legions; and the dates of their laws attest the
perpetual activity of their motions through the provinces of the Roman
world. But the son of Theodosius passed the slumber of his life, a
captive in his palace, a stranger in his country, and the patient,
almost the indifferent, spectator of the ruin of the Western empire,
which was repeatedly attacked, and finally subverted, by the arms of the
Barbarians. In the eventful history of a reign of twenty-eight years, it
will seldom be necessary to mention the name of the emperor Honorius.

58 (return) [ Claudian,as the poet laureate, composed a serious and
elaborate epithalamium of 340 lines; besides some gay Fescennines, which
were sung, in a more licentious tone, on the wedding night.]

59 (return) [

     Calet obvius ire
     Jam princeps, tardumque cupit discedere solem.
     Nobilis haud aliter sonipes.

(De Nuptiis Honor. et Mariae, and more freely in the Fescennines
112-116)

     Dices, O quoties,hoc mihi dulcius
     Quam flavos decics vincere Sarmatas.
    ....
     Tum victor madido prosilias toro,
     Nocturni referens vulnera proelii.]

60 (return) [ See Zosimus, l. v. p. 333.]

61 (return) [ Procopius de Bell. Gothico, l. i. c. 2. I have borrowed
the general practice of Honorius, without adopting the singular, and
indeed improbable tale, which is related by the Greek historian.]

62 (return) [ The lessons of Theodosius, or rather Claudian, (iv. Cons.
Honor 214-418,) might compose a fine institution for the future
prince of a great and free nation. It was far above Honorius, and his
degenerate subjects.]



Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part I.

     Revolt Of The Goths.—They Plunder Greece.—Two Great
     Invasions Of Italy By Alaric And Radagaisus.—They Are
     Repulsed By Stilicho.—The Germans Overrun Gaul.—Usurpation
     Of Constantine In The West.—Disgrace And Death Of Stilicho.

If the subjects of Rome could be ignorant of their obligations to the
great Theodosius, they were too soon convinced, how painfully the spirit
and abilities of their deceased emperor had supported the frail and
mouldering edifice of the republic. He died in the month of January; and
before the end of the winter of the same year, the Gothic nation was in
arms. 1 The Barbarian auxiliaries erected their independent standard;
and boldly avowed the hostile designs, which they had long cherished in
their ferocious minds. Their countrymen, who had been condemned, by
the conditions of the last treaty, to a life of tranquility and labor,
deserted their farms at the first sound of the trumpet; and eagerly
resumed the weapons which they had reluctantly laid down. The barriers
of the Danube were thrown open; the savage warriors of Scythia issued
from their forests; and the uncommon severity of the winter allowed the
poet to remark, "that they rolled their ponderous wagons over the broad
and icy back of the indignant river." 2 The unhappy natives of the
provinces to the south of the Danube submitted to the calamities, which,
in the course of twenty years, were almost grown familiar to their
imagination; and the various troops of Barbarians, who gloried in the
Gothic name, were irregularly spread from woody shores of Dalmatia,
to the walls of Constantinople. 3 The interruption, or at least the
diminution, of the subsidy, which the Goths had received from the
prudent liberality of Theodosius, was the specious pretence of their
revolt: the affront was imbittered by their contempt for the unwarlike
sons of Theodosius; and their resentment was inflamed by the weakness,
or treachery, of the minister of Arcadius. The frequent visits of
Rufinus to the camp of the Barbarians whose arms and apparel he affected
to imitate, were considered as a sufficient evidence of his guilty
correspondence, and the public enemy, from a motive either of gratitude
or of policy, was attentive, amidst the general devastation, to spare
the private estates of the unpopular praefect. The Goths, instead of
being impelled by the blind and headstrong passions of their chiefs,
were now directed by the bold and artful genius of Alaric. That renowned
leader was descended from the noble race of the Balti; 4 which yielded
only to the royal dignity of the Amali: he had solicited the command of
the Roman armies; and the Imperial court provoked him to demonstrate the
folly of their refusal, and the importance of their loss. Whatever hopes
might be entertained of the conquest of Constantinople, the judicious
general soon abandoned an impracticable enterprise. In the midst of
a divided court and a discontented people, the emperor Arcadius was
terrified by the aspect of the Gothic arms; but the want of wisdom and
valor was supplied by the strength of the city; and the fortifications,
both of the sea and land, might securely brave the impotent and random
darts of the Barbarians. Alaric disdained to trample any longer on the
prostrate and ruined countries of Thrace and Dacia, and he resolved
to seek a plentiful harvest of fame and riches in a province which had
hitherto escaped the ravages of war. 5

1 (return) [ The revolt of the Goths, and the blockade of
Constantinople, are distinctly mentioned by Claudian, (in Rufin. l. ii.
7-100,) Zosimus, (l. v. 292,) and Jornandes, (de Rebus Geticis, c. 29.)]

2 (return) [—

     Alii per toga ferocis
     Danubii solidata ruunt; expertaque remis
     Frangunt stagna rotis.

Claudian and Ovid often amuse their fancy by interchanging the metaphors
and properties of liquid water, and solid ice. Much false wit has been
expended in this easy exercise.]

3 (return) [ Jerom, tom. i. p. 26. He endeavors to comfort his friend
Heliodorus, bishop of Altinum, for the loss of his nephew, Nepotian, by
a curious recapitulation of all the public and private misfortunes of
the times. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xii. p. 200, &c.]

4 (return) [ Baltha or bold: origo mirifica, says Jornandes, (c. 29.)
This illustrious race long continued to flourish in France, in the
Gothic province of Septimania, or Languedoc; under the corrupted
appellation of Boax; and a branch of that family afterwards settled in
the kingdom of Naples (Grotius in Prolegom. ad Hist. Gothic. p. 53.) The
lords of Baux, near Arles, and of seventy-nine subordinate places, were
independent of the counts of Provence, (Longuerue, Description de la
France, tom. i. p. 357).]

5 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 293-295) is our best guide for the
conquest of Greece: but the hints and allusion of Claudian are so many
rays of historic light.]

The character of the civil and military officers, on whom Rufinus had
devolved the government of Greece, confirmed the public suspicion, that
he had betrayed the ancient seat of freedom and learning to the Gothic
invader. The proconsul Antiochus was the unworthy son of a respectable
father; and Gerontius, who commanded the provincial troops, was much
better qualified to execute the oppressive orders of a tyrant, than to
defend, with courage and ability, a country most remarkably fortified by
the hand of nature. Alaric had traversed, without resistance, the plains
of Macedonia and Thessaly, as far as the foot of Mount Oeta, a steep and
woody range of hills, almost impervious to his cavalry. They stretched
from east to west, to the edge of the sea-shore; and left, between the
precipice and the Malian Gulf, an interval of three hundred feet, which,
in some places, was contracted to a road capable of admitting only a
single carriage. 6 In this narrow pass of Thermopylae, where Leonidas
and the three hundred Spartans had gloriously devoted their lives, the
Goths might have been stopped, or destroyed, by a skilful general; and
perhaps the view of that sacred spot might have kindled some sparks of
military ardor in the breasts of the degenerate Greeks. The troops which
had been posted to defend the Straits of Thermopylae, retired, as
they were directed, without attempting to disturb the secure and rapid
passage of Alaric; 7 and the fertile fields of Phocis and Boeotia were
instantly covered by a deluge of Barbarians who massacred the males
of an age to bear arms, and drove away the beautiful females, with the
spoil and cattle of the flaming villages. The travellers, who visited
Greece several years afterwards, could easily discover the deep and
bloody traces of the march of the Goths; and Thebes was less indebted
for her preservation to the strength of her seven gates, than to the
eager haste of Alaric, who advanced to occupy the city of Athens, and
the important harbor of the Piraeus. The same impatience urged him to
prevent the delay and danger of a siege, by the offer of a capitulation;
and as soon as the Athenians heard the voice of the Gothic herald, they
were easily persuaded to deliver the greatest part of their wealth, as
the ransom of the city of Minerva and its inhabitants. The treaty was
ratified by solemn oaths, and observed with mutual fidelity. The Gothic
prince, with a small and select train, was admitted within the walls;
he indulged himself in the refreshment of the bath, accepted a splendid
banquet, which was provided by the magistrate, and affected to show that
he was not ignorant of the manners of civilized nations. 8 But the
whole territory of Attica, from the promontory of Sunium to the town
of Megara, was blasted by his baleful presence; and, if we may use the
comparison of a contemporary philosopher, Athens itself resembled the
bleeding and empty skin of a slaughtered victim. The distance between
Megara and Corinth could not much exceed thirty miles; but the bad road,
an expressive name, which it still bears among the Greeks, was, or might
easily have been made, impassable for the march of an enemy. The thick
and gloomy woods of Mount Cithaeron covered the inland country; the
Scironian rocks approached the water's edge, and hung over the
narrow and winding path, which was confined above six miles along the
sea-shore. 9 The passage of those rocks, so infamous in every age, was
terminated by the Isthmus of Corinth; and a small a body of firm
and intrepid soldiers might have successfully defended a temporary
intrenchment of five or six miles from the Ionian to the Aegean Sea. The
confidence of the cities of Peloponnesus in their natural rampart, had
tempted them to neglect the care of their antique walls; and the avarice
of the Roman governors had exhausted and betrayed the unhappy province.
10 Corinth, Argos, Sparta, yielded without resistance to the arms of the
Goths; and the most fortunate of the inhabitants were saved, by death,
from beholding the slavery of their families and the conflagration
of their cities. 11 The vases and statues were distributed among the
Barbarians, with more regard to the value of the materials, than to the
elegance of the workmanship; the female captives submitted to the laws
of war; the enjoyment of beauty was the reward of valor; and the Greeks
could not reasonably complain of an abuse which was justified by the
example of the heroic times. 12 The descendants of that extraordinary
people, who had considered valor and discipline as the walls of Sparta,
no longer remembered the generous reply of their ancestors to an invader
more formidable than Alaric. "If thou art a god, thou wilt not hurt
those who have never injured thee; if thou art a man, advance:—and
thou wilt find men equal to thyself." 13 From Thermopylae to Sparta, the
leader of the Goths pursued his victorious march without encountering
any mortal antagonists: but one of the advocates of expiring Paganism
has confidently asserted, that the walls of Athens were guarded by the
goddess Minerva, with her formidable Aegis, and by the angry phantom of
Achilles; 14 and that the conqueror was dismayed by the presence of the
hostile deities of Greece. In an age of miracles, it would perhaps
be unjust to dispute the claim of the historian Zosimus to the common
benefit: yet it cannot be dissembled, that the mind of Alaric was
ill prepared to receive, either in sleeping or waking visions, the
impressions of Greek superstition. The songs of Homer, and the fame
of Achilles, had probably never reached the ear of the illiterate
Barbarian; and the Christian faith, which he had devoutly embraced,
taught him to despise the imaginary deities of Rome and Athens. The
invasion of the Goths, instead of vindicating the honor, contributed, at
least accidentally, to extirpate the last remains of Paganism: and the
mysteries of Ceres, which had subsisted eighteen hundred years, did not
survive the destruction of Eleusis, and the calamities of Greece. 15

6 (return) [ Compare Herodotus (l. vii. c. 176) and Livy, (xxxvi. 15.)
The narrow entrance of Greece was probably enlarged by each successive
ravisher.]

7 (return) [ He passed, says Eunapius, (in Vit. Philosoph. p. 93, edit.
Commelin, 1596,) through the straits, of Thermopylae.]

8 (return) [ In obedience to Jerom and Claudian, (in Rufin. l. ii. 191,)
I have mixed some darker colors in the mild representation of Zosimus,
who wished to soften the calamities of Athens.

     Nec fera Cecropias traxissent vincula matres.

Synesius (Epist. clvi. p. 272, edit. Petav.) observes, that Athens,
whose sufferings he imputes to the proconsul's avarice, was at that time
less famous for her schools of philosophy than for her trade of honey.]

9 (return) [—

     Vallata mari Scironia rupes,
     Et duo continuo connectens aequora muro
     Isthmos.
     —Claudian de Bel. Getico, 188.

The Scironian rocks are described by Pausanias, (l. i. c. 44, p. 107,
edit. Kuhn,) and our modern travellers, Wheeler (p. 436) and Chandler,
(p. 298.) Hadrian made the road passable for two carriages.]

10 (return) [ Claudian (in Rufin. l. ii. 186, and de Bello Getico,
611, &c.) vaguely, though forcibly, delineates the scene of rapine and
destruction.]

11 (return) [ These generous lines of Homer (Odyss. l. v. 306) were
transcribed by one of the captive youths of Corinth: and the tears of
Mummius may prove that the rude conqueror, though he was ignorant of the
value of an original picture, possessed the purest source of good taste,
a benevolent heart, (Plutarch, Symposiac. l. ix. tom. ii. p. 737, edit.
Wechel.)]

12 (return) [ Homer perpetually describes the exemplary patience of
those female captives, who gave their charms, and even their hearts,
to the murderers of their fathers, brothers, &c. Such a passion (of
Eriphile for Achilles) is touched with admirable delicacy by Racine.]

13 (return) [ Plutarch (in Pyrrho, tom. ii. p. 474, edit. Brian) gives
the genuine answer in the Laconic dialect. Pyrrhus attacked Sparta with
25,000 foot, 2000 horse, and 24 elephants, and the defence of that open
town is a fine comment on the laws of Lycurgus, even in the last stage
of decay.]

14 (return) [ Such, perhaps, as Homer (Iliad, xx. 164) had so nobly
painted him.]

15 (return) [ Eunapius (in Vit. Philosoph. p. 90-93) intimates that a
troop of monks betrayed Greece, and followed the Gothic camp. *
Note: The expression is curious: Vit. Max. t. i. p. 53, edit.
Boissonade.—M.]

The last hope of a people who could no longer depend on their arms,
their gods, or their sovereign, was placed in the powerful assistance
of the general of the West; and Stilicho, who had not been permitted
to repulse, advanced to chastise, the invaders of Greece. 16 A numerous
fleet was equipped in the ports of Italy; and the troops, after a short
and prosperous navigation over the Ionian Sea, were safely disembarked
on the isthmus, near the ruins of Corinth. The woody and mountainous
country of Arcadia, the fabulous residence of Pan and the Dryads, became
the scene of a long and doubtful conflict between the two generals
not unworthy of each other. The skill and perseverance of the Roman at
length prevailed; and the Goths, after sustaining a considerable loss
from disease and desertion, gradually retreated to the lofty mountain of
Pholoe, near the sources of the Peneus, and on the frontiers of Elis; a
sacred country, which had formerly been exempted from the calamities of
war. 17 The camp of the Barbarians was immediately besieged; the waters
of the river 18 were diverted into another channel; and while they
labored under the intolerable pressure of thirst and hunger, a strong
line of circumvallation was formed to prevent their escape. After these
precautions, Stilicho, too confident of victory, retired to enjoy his
triumph, in the theatrical games, and lascivious dances, of the Greeks;
his soldiers, deserting their standards, spread themselves over the
country of their allies, which they stripped of all that had been saved
from the rapacious hands of the enemy. Alaric appears to have seized the
favorable moment to execute one of those hardy enterprises, in which the
abilities of a general are displayed with more genuine lustre, than in
the tumult of a day of battle. To extricate himself from the prison of
Peloponnesus, it was necessary that he should pierce the intrenchments
which surrounded his camp; that he should perform a difficult and
dangerous march of thirty miles, as far as the Gulf of Corinth; and that
he should transport his troops, his captives, and his spoil, over an arm
of the sea, which, in the narrow interval between Rhium and the opposite
shore, is at least half a mile in breadth. 19 The operations of Alaric
must have been secret, prudent, and rapid; since the Roman general
was confounded by the intelligence, that the Goths, who had eluded his
efforts, were in full possession of the important province of Epirus.
This unfortunate delay allowed Alaric sufficient time to conclude
the treaty, which he secretly negotiated, with the ministers of
Constantinople. The apprehension of a civil war compelled Stilicho to
retire, at the haughty mandate of his rivals, from the dominions
of Arcadius; and he respected, in the enemy of Rome, the honorable
character of the ally and servant of the emperor of the East.

16 (return) [ For Stilicho's Greek war, compare the honest narrative of
Zosimus (l. v. p. 295, 296) with the curious circumstantial flattery of
Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich. l. i. 172-186, iv. Cons. Hon. 459-487.) As
the event was not glorious, it is artfully thrown into the shade.]

17 (return) [ The troops who marched through Elis delivered up their
arms. This security enriched the Eleans, who were lovers of a rural
life. Riches begat pride: they disdained their privilege, and they
suffered. Polybius advises them to retire once more within their magic
circle. See a learned and judicious discourse on the Olympic games,
which Mr. West has prefixed to his translation of Pindar.]

18 (return) [ Claudian (in iv. Cons. Hon. 480) alludes to the fact
without naming the river; perhaps the Alpheus, (i. Cons. Stil. l. i.
185.)

   —-Et Alpheus Geticis angustus acervis
    Tardior ad Siculos etiamnum pergit amores.

Yet I should prefer the Peneus, a shallow stream in a wide and deep bed,
which runs through Elis, and falls into the sea below Cyllene. It had
been joined with the Alpheus to cleanse the Augean stable. (Cellarius,
tom. i. p. 760. Chandler's Travels, p. 286.)]

19 (return) [ Strabo, l. viii. p. 517. Plin. Hist. Natur. iv. 3.
Wheeler, p. 308. Chandler, p. 275. They measured from different points
the distance between the two lands.]

A Grecian philosopher, 20 who visited Constantinople soon after the
death of Theodosius, published his liberal opinions concerning the
duties of kings, and the state of the Roman republic. Synesius observes,
and deplores, the fatal abuse, which the imprudent bounty of the late
emperor had introduced into the military service. The citizens and
subjects had purchased an exemption from the indispensable duty of
defending their country; which was supported by the arms of Barbarian
mercenaries. The fugitives of Scythia were permitted to disgrace
the illustrious dignities of the empire; their ferocious youth, who
disdained the salutary restraint of laws, were more anxious to acquire
the riches, than to imitate the arts, of a people, the object of
their contempt and hatred; and the power of the Goths was the stone of
Tantalus, perpetually suspended over the peace and safety of the devoted
state. The measures which Synesius recommends, are the dictates of a
bold and generous patriot. He exhorts the emperor to revive the courage
of his subjects, by the example of manly virtue; to banish luxury
from the court and from the camp; to substitute, in the place of the
Barbarian mercenaries, an army of men, interested in the defence of
their laws and of their property; to force, in such a moment of public
danger, the mechanic from his shop, and the philosopher from his school;
to rouse the indolent citizen from his dream of pleasure, and to
arm, for the protection of agriculture, the hands of the laborious
husbandman. At the head of such troops, who might deserve the name, and
would display the spirit, of Romans, he animates the son of Theodosius
to encounter a race of Barbarians, who were destitute of any real
courage; and never to lay down his arms, till he had chased them far
away into the solitudes of Scythia; or had reduced them to the state of
ignominious servitude, which the Lacedaemonians formerly imposed on the
captive Helots. 21 The court of Arcadius indulged the zeal, applauded
the eloquence, and neglected the advice, of Synesius. Perhaps the
philosopher who addresses the emperor of the East in the language of
reason and virtue, which he might have used to a Spartan king, had not
condescended to form a practicable scheme, consistent with the temper,
and circumstances, of a degenerate age. Perhaps the pride of the
ministers, whose business was seldom interrupted by reflection, might
reject, as wild and visionary, every proposal, which exceeded the
measure of their capacity, and deviated from the forms and precedents
of office. While the oration of Synesius, and the downfall of the
Barbarians, were the topics of popular conversation, an edict was
published at Constantinople, which declared the promotion of Alaric
to the rank of master-general of the Eastern Illyricum. The Roman
provincials, and the allies, who had respected the faith of treaties,
were justly indignant, that the ruin of Greece and Epirus should be
so liberally rewarded. The Gothic conqueror was received as a lawful
magistrate, in the cities which he had so lately besieged. The fathers,
whose sons he had massacred, the husbands, whose wives he had violated,
were subject to his authority; and the success of his rebellion
encouraged the ambition of every leader of the foreign mercenaries. The
use to which Alaric applied his new command, distinguishes the firm
and judicious character of his policy. He issued his orders to the four
magazines and manufactures of offensive and defensive arms, Margus,
Ratiaria, Naissus, and Thessalonica, to provide his troops with an
extraordinary supply of shields, helmets, swords, and spears; the
unhappy provincials were compelled to forge the instruments of their
own destruction; and the Barbarians removed the only defect which had
sometimes disappointed the efforts of their courage. 22 The birth of
Alaric, the glory of his past exploits, and the confidence in his future
designs, insensibly united the body of the nation under his victorious
standard; and, with the unanimous consent of the Barbarian chieftains,
the master-general of Illyricum was elevated, according to ancient
custom, on a shield, and solemnly proclaimed king of the Visigoths. 23
Armed with this double power, seated on the verge of the two empires,
he alternately sold his deceitful promises to the courts of Arcadius and
Honorius; till he declared and executed his resolution of invading the
dominions of the West. The provinces of Europe which belonged to
the Eastern emperor, were already exhausted; those of Asia were
inaccessible; and the strength of Constantinople had resisted his
attack. But he was tempted by the fame, the beauty, the wealth of Italy,
which he had twice visited; and he secretly aspired to plant the
Gothic standard on the walls of Rome, and to enrich his army with the
accumulated spoils of three hundred triumphs. 25

20 (return) [ Synesius passed three years (A.D. 397-400) at
Constantinople, as deputy from Cyrene to the emperor Arcadius. He
presented him with a crown of gold, and pronounced before him the
instructive oration de Regno, (p. 1-32, edit. Petav. Paris, 1612.) The
philosopher was made bishop of Ptolemais, A.D. 410, and died about 430.
See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xii. p. 490, 554, 683-685.]

21 (return) [ Synesius de Regno, p. 21-26.]

22 (return) [—qui foedera rumpit

      Ditatur: qui servat, eget: vastator Achivae
      Gentis, et Epirum nuper populatus inultam,
      Praesidet Illyrico: jam, quos obsedit, amicos
      Ingreditur muros; illis responsa daturus,
      Quorum conjugibus potitur, natosque peremit.

Claudian in Eutrop. l. ii. 212. Alaric applauds his own policy (de
Bell Getic. 533-543) in the use which he had made of this Illyrian
jurisdiction.]

23 (return) [ Jornandes, c. 29, p. 651. The Gothic historian adds, with
unusual spirit, Cum suis deliberans suasit suo labore quaerere regna,
quam alienis per otium subjacere.

     Discors odiisque anceps civilibus orbis,
     Non sua vis tutata diu, dum foedera fallax
     Ludit, et alternae perjuria venditat aulae.
    —-Claudian de Bell. Get. 565]

25 (return) [ Alpibus Italiae ruptis penetrabis ad Urbem. This authentic
prediction was announced by Alaric, or at least by Claudian, (de
Bell. Getico, 547,) seven years before the event. But as it was
not accomplished within the term which has been rashly fixed the
interpreters escaped through an ambiguous meaning.]

The scarcity of facts, 26 and the uncertainty of dates, 27 oppose our
attempts to describe the circumstances of the first invasion of Italy
by the arms of Alaric. His march, perhaps from Thessalonica, through
the warlike and hostile country of Pannonia, as far as the foot of the
Julian Alps; his passage of those mountains, which were strongly guarded
by troops and intrenchments; the siege of Aquileia, and the conquest
of the provinces of Istria and Venetia, appear to have employed a
considerable time. Unless his operations were extremely cautious and
slow, the length of the interval would suggest a probable suspicion,
that the Gothic king retreated towards the banks of the Danube; and
reenforced his army with fresh swarms of Barbarians, before he again
attempted to penetrate into the heart of Italy. Since the public and
important events escape the diligence of the historian, he may amuse
himself with contemplating, for a moment, the influence of the arms
of Alaric on the fortunes of two obscure individuals, a presbyter
of Aquileia and a husbandman of Verona. The learned Rufinus, who was
summoned by his enemies to appear before a Roman synod, 28 wisely
preferred the dangers of a besieged city; and the Barbarians, who
furiously shook the walls of Aquileia, might save him from the cruel
sentence of another heretic, who, at the request of the same bishops,
was severely whipped, and condemned to perpetual exile on a desert
island. 29 The old man, 30 who had passed his simple and innocent life
in the neighborhood of Verona, was a stranger to the quarrels both of
kings and of bishops; his pleasures, his desires, his knowledge, were
confined within the little circle of his paternal farm; and a staff
supported his aged steps, on the same ground where he had sported in
his infancy. Yet even this humble and rustic felicity (which Claudian
describes with so much truth and feeling) was still exposed to the
undistinguishing rage of war. His trees, his old contemporary trees, 31
must blaze in the conflagration of the whole country; a detachment of
Gothic cavalry might sweep away his cottage and his family; and the
power of Alaric could destroy this happiness, which he was not able
either to taste or to bestow. "Fame," says the poet, "encircling with
terror her gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the Barbarian army, and
filled Italy with consternation:" the apprehensions of each individual
were increased in just proportion to the measure of his fortune: and the
most timid, who had already embarked their valuable effects, meditated
their escape to the Island of Sicily, or the African coast. The public
distress was aggravated by the fears and reproaches of superstition.
32 Every hour produced some horrid tale of strange and portentous
accidents; the Pagans deplored the neglect of omens, and the
interruption of sacrifices; but the Christians still derived some
comfort from the powerful intercession of the saints and martyrs. 33

26 (return) [ Our best materials are 970 verses of Claudian in the poem
on the Getic war, and the beginning of that which celebrates the sixth
consulship of Honorius. Zosimus is totally silent; and we are reduced
to such scraps, or rather crumbs, as we can pick from Orosius and the
Chronicles.]

27 (return) [ Notwithstanding the gross errors of Jornandes, who
confounds the Italian wars of Alaric, (c. 29,) his date of the
consulship of Stilicho and Aurelian (A.D. 400) is firm and respectable.
It is certain from Claudian (Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p. 804)
that the battle of Polentia was fought A.D. 403; but we cannot easily
fill the interval.]

28 (return) [ Tantum Romanae urbis judicium fugis, ut magis obsidionem
barbaricam, quam pacatoe urbis judicium velis sustinere. Jerom, tom.
ii. p. 239. Rufinus understood his own danger; the peaceful city was
inflamed by the beldam Marcella, and the rest of Jerom's faction.]

29 (return) [ Jovinian, the enemy of fasts and of celibacy, who was
persecuted and insulted by the furious Jerom, (Jortin's Remarks, vol.
iv. p. 104, &c.) See the original edict of banishment in the Theodosian
Code, xvi. tit. v. leg. 43.]

30 (return) [ This epigram (de Sene Veronensi qui suburbium nusquam
egres sus est) is one of the earliest and most pleasing compositions of
Claudian. Cowley's imitation (Hurd's edition, vol. ii. p. 241) has
some natural and happy strokes: but it is much inferior to the original
portrait, which is evidently drawn from the life.]

31 (return) [

     Ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum
     Aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus.

     A neighboring wood born with himself he sees,
     And loves his old contemporary trees.

In this passage, Cowley is perhaps superior to his original; and the
English poet, who was a good botanist, has concealed the oaks under a
more general expression.]

32 (return) [ Claudian de Bell. Get. 199-266. He may seem prolix: but
fear and superstition occupied as large a space in the minds of the
Italians.]

33 (return) [ From the passages of Paulinus, which Baronius has
produced, (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 403, No. 51,) it is manifest that the
general alarm had pervaded all Italy, as far as Nola in Campania, where
that famous penitent had fixed his abode.]



Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part II.

The emperor Honorius was distinguished, above his subjects, by the
preeminence of fear, as well as of rank. The pride and luxury in which
he was educated, had not allowed him to suspect, that there existed
on the earth any power presumptuous enough to invade the repose of the
successor of Augustus. The arts of flattery concealed the impending
danger, till Alaric approached the palace of Milan. But when the sound
of war had awakened the young emperor, instead of flying to arms with
the spirit, or even the rashness, of his age, he eagerly listened to
those timid counsellors, who proposed to convey his sacred person,
and his faithful attendants, to some secure and distant station in the
provinces of Gaul. Stilicho alone 34 had courage and authority to resist
his disgraceful measure, which would have abandoned Rome and Italy to
the Barbarians; but as the troops of the palace had been lately detached
to the Rhaetian frontier, and as the resource of new levies was slow
and precarious, the general of the West could only promise, that if the
court of Milan would maintain their ground during his absence, he would
soon return with an army equal to the encounter of the Gothic king.
Without losing a moment, (while each moment was so important to the
public safety,) Stilicho hastily embarked on the Larian Lake, ascended
the mountains of ice and snow, amidst the severity of an Alpine winter,
and suddenly repressed, by his unexpected presence, the enemy, who had
disturbed the tranquillity of Rhaetia. 35 The Barbarians, perhaps some
tribes of the Alemanni, respected the firmness of a chief, who still
assumed the language of command; and the choice which he condescended
to make, of a select number of their bravest youth, was considered as a
mark of his esteem and favor. The cohorts, who were delivered from
the neighboring foe, diligently repaired to the Imperial standard; and
Stilicho issued his orders to the most remote troops of the West, to
advance, by rapid marches, to the defence of Honorius and of Italy.
The fortresses of the Rhine were abandoned; and the safety of Gaul was
protected only by the faith of the Germans, and the ancient terror of
the Roman name. Even the legion, which had been stationed to guard
the wall of Britain against the Caledonians of the North, was hastily
recalled; 36 and a numerous body of the cavalry of the Alani was
persuaded to engage in the service of the emperor, who anxiously
expected the return of his general. The prudence and vigor of Stilicho
were conspicuous on this occasion, which revealed, at the same time,
the weakness of the falling empire. The legions of Rome, which had long
since languished in the gradual decay of discipline and courage, were
exterminated by the Gothic and civil wars; and it was found impossible,
without exhausting and exposing the provinces, to assemble an army for
the defence of Italy.

34 (return) [ Solus erat Stilicho, &c., is the exclusive commendation
which Claudian bestows, (del Bell. Get. 267,) without condescending to
except the emperor. How insignificant must Honorius have appeared in his
own court.]

35 (return) [ The face of the country, and the hardiness of Stilicho,
are finely described, (de Bell. Get. 340-363.)]

36 (return) [

    Venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis,
    Quae Scoto dat frena truci.
   —-De Bell. Get. 416.

Yet the most rapid march from Edinburgh, or Newcastle, to Milan, must
have required a longer space of time than Claudian seems willing to
allow for the duration of the Gothic war.]



Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part III.

When Stilicho seemed to abandon his sovereign in the unguarded palace of
Milan, he had probably calculated the term of his absence, the distance
of the enemy, and the obstacles that might retard their march. He
principally depended on the rivers of Italy, the Adige, the Mincius,
the Oglio, and the Addua, which, in the winter or spring, by the fall of
rains, or by the melting of the snows, are commonly swelled into broad
and impetuous torrents. 37 But the season happened to be remarkably dry:
and the Goths could traverse, without impediment, the wide and stony
beds, whose centre was faintly marked by the course of a shallow stream.
The bridge and passage of the Addua were secured by a strong detachment
of the Gothic army; and as Alaric approached the walls, or rather the
suburbs, of Milan, he enjoyed the proud satisfaction of seeing the
emperor of the Romans fly before him. Honorius, accompanied by a feeble
train of statesmen and eunuchs, hastily retreated towards the Alps, with
a design of securing his person in the city of Arles, which had often
been the royal residence of his predecessors. 3711 But Honorius 38 had
scarcely passed the Po, before he was overtaken by the speed of the
Gothic cavalry; 39 since the urgency of the danger compelled him to seek
a temporary shelter within the fortifications of Asta, a town of Liguria
or Piemont, situate on the banks of the Tanarus. 40 The siege of an
obscure place, which contained so rich a prize, and seemed incapable of
a long resistance, was instantly formed, and indefatigably pressed, by
the king of the Goths; and the bold declaration, which the emperor might
afterwards make, that his breast had never been susceptible of fear, did
not probably obtain much credit, even in his own court. 41 In the last,
and almost hopeless extremity, after the Barbarians had already proposed
the indignity of a capitulation, the Imperial captive was suddenly
relieved by the fame, the approach, and at length the presence, of the
hero, whom he had so long expected. At the head of a chosen and intrepid
vanguard, Stilicho swam the stream of the Addua, to gain the time which
he must have lost in the attack of the bridge; the passage of the Po
was an enterprise of much less hazard and difficulty; and the successful
action, in which he cut his way through the Gothic camp under the walls
of Asta, revived the hopes, and vindicated the honor, of Rome. Instead
of grasping the fruit of his victory, the Barbarian was gradually
invested, on every side, by the troops of the West, who successively
issued through all the passes of the Alps; his quarters were straitened;
his convoys were intercepted; and the vigilance of the Romans prepared
to form a chain of fortifications, and to besiege the lines of the
besiegers. A military council was assembled of the long-haired chiefs of
the Gothic nation; of aged warriors, whose bodies were wrapped in furs,
and whose stern countenances were marked with honorable wounds. They
weighed the glory of persisting in their attempt against the advantage
of securing their plunder; and they recommended the prudent measure of
a seasonable retreat. In this important debate, Alaric displayed
the spirit of the conqueror of Rome; and after he had reminded his
countrymen of their achievements and of their designs, he concluded
his animating speech by the solemn and positive assurance that he was
resolved to find in Italy either a kingdom or a grave. 42

37 (return) [ Every traveller must recollect the face of Lombardy, (see
Fonvenelle, tom. v. p. 279,) which is often tormented by the capricious
and irregular abundance of waters. The Austrians, before Genoa, were
encamped in the dry bed of the Polcevera. "Ne sarebbe" (says Muratori)
"mai passato per mente a que' buoni Alemanni, che quel picciolo
torrente potesse, per cosi dire, in un instante cangiarsi in un terribil
gigante." (Annali d'Italia, tom. xvi. p. 443, Milan, 1752, 8vo edit.)]

3711 (return) [ According to Le Beau and his commentator M. St. Martin,
Honorius did not attempt to fly. Settlements were offered to the Goths
in Lombardy, and they advanced from the Po towards the Alps to take
possession of them. But it was a treacherous stratagem of Stilicho, who
surprised them while they were reposing on the faith of this treaty. Le
Beau, v. x.]

38 (return) [ Claudian does not clearly answer our question, Where was
Honorius himself? Yet the flight is marked by the pursuit; and my idea
of the Gothic was is justified by the Italian critics, Sigonius (tom.
P, ii. p. 369, de Imp. Occident. l. x.) and Muratori, (Annali d'Italia.
tom. iv. p. 45.)]

39 (return) [ One of the roads may be traced in the Itineraries, (p.
98, 288, 294, with Wesseling's Notes.) Asta lay some miles on the right
hand.]

40 (return) [ Asta, or Asti, a Roman colony, is now the capital of a
pleasant country, which, in the sixteenth century, devolved to the dukes
of Savoy, (Leandro Alberti Descrizzione d'Italia, p. 382.)]

41 (return) [ Nec me timor impulit ullus. He might hold this proud
language the next year at Rome, five hundred miles from the scene of
danger (vi. Cons. Hon. 449.)]

42 (return) [ Hanc ego vel victor regno, vel morte tenebo Victus,
humum.——The speeches (de Bell. Get. 479-549) of the Gothic Nestor,
and Achilles, are strong, characteristic, adapted to the circumstances;
and possibly not less genuine than those of Livy.]

The loose discipline of the Barbarians always exposed them to the danger
of a surprise; but, instead of choosing the dissolute hours of riot and
intemperance, Stilicho resolved to attack the Christian Goths, whilst
they were devoutly employed in celebrating the festival of Easter. 43
The execution of the stratagem, or, as it was termed by the clergy of
the sacrilege, was intrusted to Saul, a Barbarian and a Pagan, who
had served, however, with distinguished reputation among the veteran
generals of Theodosius. The camp of the Goths, which Alaric had pitched
in the neighborhood of Pollentia, 44 was thrown into confusion by the
sudden and impetuous charge of the Imperial cavalry; but, in a few
moments, the undaunted genius of their leader gave them an order, and
a field of battle; and, as soon as they had recovered from their
astonishment, the pious confidence, that the God of the Christians would
assert their cause, added new strength to their native valor. In this
engagement, which was long maintained with equal courage and success,
the chief of the Alani, whose diminutive and savage form concealed a
magnanimous soul approved his suspected loyalty, by the zeal with which
he fought, and fell, in the service of the republic; and the fame of
this gallant Barbarian has been imperfectly preserved in the verses of
Claudian, since the poet, who celebrates his virtue, has omitted the
mention of his name. His death was followed by the flight and dismay of
the squadrons which he commanded; and the defeat of the wing of
cavalry might have decided the victory of Alaric, if Stilicho had not
immediately led the Roman and Barbarian infantry to the attack. The
skill of the general, and the bravery of the soldiers, surmounted every
obstacle. In the evening of the bloody day, the Goths retreated from the
field of battle; the intrenchments of their camp were forced, and the
scene of rapine and slaughter made some atonement for the calamities
which they had inflicted on the subjects of the empire. 45 The
magnificent spoils of Corinth and Argos enriched the veterans of the
West; the captive wife of Alaric, who had impatiently claimed his
promise of Roman jewels and Patrician handmaids, 46 was reduced to
implore the mercy of the insulting foe; and many thousand prisoners,
released from the Gothic chains, dispersed through the provinces of
Italy the praises of their heroic deliverer. The triumph of Stilicho 47
was compared by the poet, and perhaps by the public, to that of Marius;
who, in the same part of Italy, had encountered and destroyed another
army of Northern Barbarians. The huge bones, and the empty helmets, of
the Cimbri and of the Goths, would easily be confounded by succeeding
generations; and posterity might erect a common trophy to the memory
of the two most illustrious generals, who had vanquished, on the same
memorable ground, the two most formidable enemies of Rome. 48

43 (return) [ Orosius (l. vii. c. 37) is shocked at the impiety of the
Romans, who attacked, on Easter Sunday, such pious Christians. Yet, at
the same time, public prayers were offered at the shrine of St. Thomas
of Edessa, for the destruction of the Arian robber. See Tillemont (Hist
des Emp. tom. v. p. 529) who quotes a homily, which has been erroneously
ascribed to St. Chrysostom.]

44 (return) [ The vestiges of Pollentia are twenty-five miles to the
south-east of Turin. Urbs, in the same neighborhood, was a royal
chase of the kings of Lombardy, and a small river, which excused the
prediction, "penetrabis ad urbem," (Cluver. Ital. Antiq tom. i. p.
83-85.)]

45 (return) [ Orosius wishes, in doubtful words, to insinuate the defeat
of the Romans. "Pugnantes vicimus, victores victi sumus." Prosper (in
Chron.) makes it an equal and bloody battle, but the Gothic writers
Cassiodorus (in Chron.) and Jornandes (de Reb. Get. c. 29) claim a
decisive victory.]

46 (return) [ Demens Ausonidum gemmata monilia matrum, Romanasque alta
famulas cervice petebat. De Bell. Get. 627.]

47 (return) [ Claudian (de Bell. Get. 580-647) and Prudentius (in
Symmach. n. 694-719) celebrate, without ambiguity, the Roman victory of
Pollentia. They are poetical and party writers; yet some credit is
due to the most suspicious witnesses, who are checked by the recent
notoriety of facts.]

48 (return) [ Claudian's peroration is strong and elegant; but the
identity of the Cimbric and Gothic fields must be understood (like
Virgil's Philippi, Georgic i. 490) according to the loose geography of
a poet. Verselle and Pollentia are sixty miles from each other; and the
latitude is still greater, if the Cimbri were defeated in the wide and
barren plain of Verona, (Maffei, Verona Illustrata, P. i. p. 54-62.)]

The eloquence of Claudian 49 has celebrated, with lavish applause, the
victory of Pollentia, one of the most glorious days in the life of his
patron; but his reluctant and partial muse bestows more genuine praise
on the character of the Gothic king. His name is, indeed, branded with
the reproachful epithets of pirate and robber, to which the conquerors
of every age are so justly entitled; but the poet of Stilicho is
compelled to acknowledge that Alaric possessed the invincible temper
of mind, which rises superior to every misfortune, and derives new
resources from adversity. After the total defeat of his infantry, he
escaped, or rather withdrew, from the field of battle, with the greatest
part of his cavalry entire and unbroken. Without wasting a moment to
lament the irreparable loss of so many brave companions, he left his
victorious enemy to bind in chains the captive images of a Gothic king;
50 and boldly resolved to break through the unguarded passes of the
Apennine, to spread desolation over the fruitful face of Tuscany, and
to conquer or die before the gates of Rome. The capital was saved by the
active and incessant diligence of Stilicho; but he respected the despair
of his enemy; and, instead of committing the fate of the republic to
the chance of another battle, he proposed to purchase the absence of
the Barbarians. The spirit of Alaric would have rejected such terms, the
permission of a retreat, and the offer of a pension, with contempt and
indignation; but he exercised a limited and precarious authority over
the independent chieftains who had raised him, for their service, above
the rank of his equals; they were still less disposed to follow an
unsuccessful general, and many of them were tempted to consult their
interest by a private negotiation with the minister of Honorius. The
king submitted to the voice of his people, ratified the treaty with
the empire of the West, and repassed the Po with the remains of the
flourishing army which he had led into Italy. A considerable part of the
Roman forces still continued to attend his motions; and Stilicho, who
maintained a secret correspondence with some of the Barbarian chiefs,
was punctually apprised of the designs that were formed in the camp and
council of Alaric. The king of the Goths, ambitious to signalize
his retreat by some splendid achievement, had resolved to occupy the
important city of Verona, which commands the principal passage of the
Rhaetian Alps; and, directing his march through the territories of those
German tribes, whose alliance would restore his exhausted strength, to
invade, on the side of the Rhine, the wealthy and unsuspecting provinces
of Gaul. Ignorant of the treason which had already betrayed his bold and
judicious enterprise, he advanced towards the passes of the mountains,
already possessed by the Imperial troops; where he was exposed, almost
at the same instant, to a general attack in the front, on his flanks,
and in the rear. In this bloody action, at a small distance from the
walls of Verona, the loss of the Goths was not less heavy than that
which they had sustained in the defeat of Pollentia; and their valiant
king, who escaped by the swiftness of his horse, must either have been
slain or made prisoner, if the hasty rashness of the Alani had not
disappointed the measures of the Roman general. Alaric secured the
remains of his army on the adjacent rocks; and prepared himself, with
undaunted resolution, to maintain a siege against the superior numbers
of the enemy, who invested him on all sides. But he could not oppose the
destructive progress of hunger and disease; nor was it possible for
him to check the continual desertion of his impatient and capricious
Barbarians. In this extremity he still found resources in his own
courage, or in the moderation of his adversary; and the retreat of
the Gothic king was considered as the deliverance of Italy. 51 Yet the
people, and even the clergy, incapable of forming any rational judgment
of the business of peace and war, presumed to arraign the policy of
Stilicho, who so often vanquished, so often surrounded, and so often
dismissed the implacable enemy of the republic. The first momen of
the public safety is devoted to gratitude and joy; but the second is
diligently occupied by envy and calumny. 52

49 (return) [ Claudian and Prudentius must be strictly examined, to
reduce the figures, and extort the historic sense, of those poets.]

50 (return) [

     Et gravant en airain ses freles avantages
     De mes etats conquis enchainer les images.

The practice of exposing in triumph the images of kings and provinces
was familiar to the Romans. The bust of Mithridates himself was twelve
feet high, of massy gold, (Freinshem. Supplement. Livian. ciii. 47.)]

51 (return) [ The Getic war, and the sixth consulship of Honorius,
obscurely connect the events of Alaric's retreat and losses.]

52 (return) [ Taceo de Alarico... saepe visto, saepe concluso, semperque
dimisso. Orosius, l. vii. c. 37, p. 567. Claudian (vi. Cons. Hon. 320)
drops the curtain with a fine image.]

The citizens of Rome had been astonished by the approach of Alaric;
and the diligence with which they labored to restore the walls of the
capital, confessed their own fears, and the decline of the empire.
After the retreat of the Barbarians, Honorius was directed to accept
the dutiful invitation of the senate, and to celebrate, in the Imperial
city, the auspicious aera of the Gothic victory, and of his sixth
consulship. 53 The suburbs and the streets, from the Milvian bridge to
the Palatine mount, were filled by the Roman people, who, in the space
of a hundred years, had only thrice been honored with the presence
of their sovereigns. While their eyes were fixed on the chariot where
Stilicho was deservedly seated by the side of his royal pupil, they
applauded the pomp of a triumph, which was not stained, like that of
Constantine, or of Theodosius, with civil blood. The procession passed
under a lofty arch, which had been purposely erected: but in less than
seven years, the Gothic conquerors of Rome might read, if they were able
to read, the superb inscription of that monument, which attested the
total defeat and destruction of their nation. 54 The emperor resided
several months in the capital, and every part of his behavior was
regulated with care to conciliate the affection of the clergy, the
senate, and the people of Rome. The clergy was edified by his frequent
visits and liberal gifts to the shrines of the apostles. The senate,
who, in the triumphal procession, had been excused from the humiliating
ceremony of preceding on foot the Imperial chariot, was treated with the
decent reverence which Stilicho always affected for that assembly.
The people was repeatedly gratified by the attention and courtesy of
Honorius in the public games, which were celebrated on that occasion
with a magnificence not unworthy of the spectator. As soon as the
appointed number of chariot-races was concluded, the decoration of
the Circus was suddenly changed; the hunting of wild beasts afforded
a various and splendid entertainment; and the chase was succeeded by a
military dance, which seems, in the lively description of Claudian, to
present the image of a modern tournament.

53 (return) [ The remainder of Claudian's poem on the sixth consulship
of Honorius, describes the journey, the triumph, and the games,
(330-660.)]

54 (return) [ See the inscription in Mascou's History of the Ancient
Germans, viii. 12. The words are positive and indiscreet: Getarum
nationem in omne aevum domitam, &c.]

In these games of Honorius, the inhuman combats of gladiators 55
polluted, for the last time, the amphitheater of Rome. The first
Christian emperor may claim the honor of the first edict which condemned
the art and amusement of shedding human blood; 56 but this benevolent
law expressed the wishes of the prince, without reforming an inveterate
abuse, which degraded a civilized nation below the condition of savage
cannibals. Several hundred, perhaps several thousand, victims were
annually slaughtered in the great cities of the empire; and the month
of December, more peculiarly devoted to the combats of gladiators, still
exhibited to the eyes of the Roman people a grateful spectacle of blood
and cruelty. Amidst the general joy of the victory of Pollentia, a
Christian poet exhorted the emperor to extirpate, by his authority,
the horrid custom which had so long resisted the voice of humanity
and religion. 57 The pathetic representations of Prudentius were less
effectual than the generous boldness of Telemachus, an Asiatic monk,
whose death was more useful to mankind than his life. 58 The Romans were
provoked by the interruption of their pleasures; and the rash monk, who
had descended into the arena to separate the gladiators, was overwhelmed
under a shower of stones. But the madness of the people soon subsided;
they respected the memory of Telemachus, who had deserved the honors
of martyrdom; and they submitted, without a murmur, to the laws
of Honorius, which abolished forever the human sacrifices of the
amphitheater. 5811 The citizens, who adhered to the manners of their
ancestors, might perhaps insinuate that the last remains of a martial
spirit were preserved in this school of fortitude, which accustomed the
Romans to the sight of blood, and to the contempt of death; a vain and
cruel prejudice, so nobly confuted by the valor of ancient Greece, and
of modern Europe! 59

55 (return) [ On the curious, though horrid, subject of the gladiators,
consult the two books of the Saturnalia of Lipsius, who, as an
antiquarian, is inclined to excuse the practice of antiquity, (tom. iii.
p. 483-545.)]

56 (return) [ Cod. Theodos. l. xv. tit. xii. leg. i. The Commentary of
Godefroy affords large materials (tom. v. p. 396) for the history of
gladiators.]

57 (return) [ See the peroration of Prudentius (in Symmach. l. ii.
1121-1131) who had doubtless read the eloquent invective of Lactantius,
(Divin. Institut. l. vi. c. 20.) The Christian apologists have not
spared these bloody games, which were introduced in the religious
festivals of Paganism.]

58 (return) [ Theodoret, l. v. c. 26. I wish to believe the story of St.
Telemachus. Yet no church has been dedicated, no altar has been erected,
to the only monk who died a martyr in the cause of humanity.]

5811 (return) [ Muller, in his valuable Treatise, de Genio, moribus et
luxu aevi Theodosiani, is disposed to question the effect produced by
the heroic, or rather saintly, death of Telemachus. No prohibitory law
of Honorius is to be found in the Theodosian Code, only the old and
imperfect edict of Constantine. But Muller has produced no evidence or
allusion to gladiatorial shows after this period. The combats with wild
beasts certainly lasted till the fall of the Western empire; but the
gladiatorial combats ceased either by common consent, or by Imperial
edict.—M.]

59 (return) [ Crudele gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis
videri solet, et haud scio an ita sit, ut nunc fit. Cicero Tusculan. ii.
17. He faintly censures the abuse, and warmly defends the use, of these
sports; oculis nulla poterat esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem
disciplina. Seneca (epist. vii.) shows the feelings of a man.]

The recent danger, to which the person of the emperor had been exposed
in the defenceless palace of Milan, urged him to seek a retreat in some
inaccessible fortress of Italy, where he might securely remain, while
the open country was covered by a deluge of Barbarians. On the coast of
the Adriatic, about ten or twelve miles from the most southern of the
seven mouths of the Po, the Thessalians had founded the ancient colony
of Ravenna, 60 which they afterwards resigned to the natives of Umbria.
Augustus, who had observed the opportunity of the place, prepared, at
the distance of three miles from the old town, a capacious harbor,
for the reception of two hundred and fifty ships of war. This naval
establishment, which included the arsenals and magazines, the barracks
of the troops, and the houses of the artificers, derived its origin and
name from the permanent station of the Roman fleet; the intermediate
space was soon filled with buildings and inhabitants, and the three
extensive and populous quarters of Ravenna gradually contributed to
form one of the most important cities of Italy. The principal canal of
Augustus poured a copious stream of the waters of the Po through the
midst of the city, to the entrance of the harbor; the same waters were
introduced into the profound ditches that encompassed the walls; they
were distributed by a thousand subordinate canals, into every part
of the city, which they divided into a variety of small islands; the
communication was maintained only by the use of boats and bridges;
and the houses of Ravenna, whose appearance may be compared to that
of Venice, were raised on the foundation of wooden piles. The adjacent
country, to the distance of many miles, was a deep and impassable
morass; and the artificial causeway, which connected Ravenna with the
continent, might be easily guarded or destroyed, on the approach of a
hostile army These morasses were interspersed, however, with vineyards:
and though the soil was exhausted by four or five crops, the town
enjoyed a more plentiful supply of wine than of fresh water. 61 The air,
instead of receiving the sickly, and almost pestilential, exhalations
of low and marshy grounds, was distinguished, like the neighborhood
of Alexandria, as uncommonly pure and salubrious; and this singular
advantage was ascribed to the regular tides of the Adriatic, which swept
the canals, interrupted the unwholesome stagnation of the waters, and
floated, every day, the vessels of the adjacent country into the heart
of Ravenna. The gradual retreat of the sea has left the modern city at
the distance of four miles from the Adriatic; and as early as the
fifth or sixth century of the Christian aera, the port of Augustus was
converted into pleasant orchards; and a lonely grove of pines covered
the ground where the Roman fleet once rode at anchor. 62 Even this
alteration contributed to increase the natural strength of the place,
and the shallowness of the water was a sufficient barrier against the
large ships of the enemy. This advantageous situation was fortified by
art and labor; and in the twentieth year of his age, the emperor of the
West, anxious only for his personal safety, retired to the perpetual
confinement of the walls and morasses of Ravenna. The example of
Honorius was imitated by his feeble successors, the Gothic kings,
and afterwards the Exarchs, who occupied the throne and palace of
the emperors; and till the middle of the eight century, Ravenna was
considered as the seat of government, and the capital of Italy. 63

60 (return) [ This account of Ravenna is drawn from Strabo, (l. v. p.
327,) Pliny, (iii. 20,) Stephen of Byzantium, (sub voce, p. 651, edit.
Berkel,) Claudian, (in vi. Cons. Honor. 494, &c.,) Sidonius Apollinaris,
(l. i. epist. 5, 8,) Jornandes, (de Reb. Get. c. 29,) Procopius (de
Bell, (lothic, l. i. c. i. p. 309, edit. Louvre,) and Cluverius, (Ital.
Antiq tom i. p. 301-307.) Yet I still want a local antiquarian and a
good topographical map.]

61 (return) [ Martial (Epigram iii. 56, 57) plays on the trick of the
knave, who had sold him wine instead of water; but he seriously declares
that a cistern at Ravenna is more valuable than a vineyard. Sidonius
complains that the town is destitute of fountains and aqueducts;
and ranks the want of fresh water among the local evils, such as the
croaking of frogs, the stinging of gnats, &c.]

62 (return) [ The fable of Theodore and Honoria, which Dryden has so
admirably transplanted from Boccaccio, (Giornata iii. novell. viii.,)
was acted in the wood of Chiassi, a corrupt word from Classis, the naval
station which, with the intermediate road, or suburb the Via Caesaris,
constituted the triple city of Ravenna.]

63 (return) [ From the year 404, the dates of the Theodosian Code become
sedentary at Constantinople and Ravenna. See Godefroy's Chronology of
the Laws, tom. i. p. cxlviii., &c.]

The fears of Honorius were not without foundation, nor were his
precautions without effect. While Italy rejoiced in her deliverance from
the Goths, a furious tempest was excited among the nations of Germany,
who yielded to the irresistible impulse that appears to have been
gradually communicated from the eastern extremity of the continent of
Asia. The Chinese annals, as they have been interpreted by the earned
industry of the present age, may be usefully applied to reveal the
secret and remote causes of the fall of the Roman empire. The extensive
territory to the north of the great wall was possessed, after the flight
of the Huns, by the victorious Sienpi, who were sometimes broken into
independent tribes, and sometimes reunited under a supreme chief;
till at length, styling themselves Topa, or masters of the earth, they
acquired a more solid consistence, and a more formidable power. The Topa
soon compelled the pastoral nations of the eastern desert to acknowledge
the superiority of their arms; they invaded China in a period of
weakness and intestine discord; and these fortunate Tartars, adopting
the laws and manners of the vanquished people, founded an Imperial
dynasty, which reigned near one hundred and sixty years over the
northern provinces of the monarchy. Some generations before they
ascended the throne of China, one of the Topa princes had enlisted in
his cavalry a slave of the name of Moko, renowned for his valor, but who
was tempted, by the fear of punishment, to desert his standard, and
to range the desert at the head of a hundred followers. This gang of
robbers and outlaws swelled into a camp, a tribe, a numerous people,
distinguished by the appellation of Geougen; and their hereditary
chieftains, the posterity of Moko the slave, assumed their rank
among the Scythian monarchs. The youth of Toulun, the greatest of his
descendants, was exercised by those misfortunes which are the school of
heroes. He bravely struggled with adversity, broke the imperious yoke of
the Topa, and became the legislator of his nation, and the conqueror of
Tartary. His troops were distributed into regular bands of a hundred
and of a thousand men; cowards were stoned to death; the most splendid
honors were proposed as the reward of valor; and Toulun, who had
knowledge enough to despise the learning of China, adopted only such
arts and institutions as were favorable to the military spirit of his
government. His tents, which he removed in the winter season to a more
southern latitude, were pitched, during the summer, on the fruitful
banks of the Selinga. His conquests stretched from Corea far beyond the
River Irtish. He vanquished, in the country to the north of the Caspian
Sea, the nation of the Huns; and the new title of Khan, or Cagan,
expressed the fame and power which he derived from this memorable
victory. 64

64 (return) [ See M. de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 179-189, tom
ii p. 295, 334-338.]

The chain of events is interrupted, or rather is concealed, as it passes
from the Volga to the Vistula, through the dark interval which separates
the extreme limits of the Chinese, and of the Roman, geography. Yet the
temper of the Barbarians, and the experience of successive emigrations,
sufficiently declare, that the Huns, who were oppressed by the arms of
the Geougen, soon withdrew from the presence of an insulting victor.
The countries towards the Euxine were already occupied by their kindred
tribes; and their hasty flight, which they soon converted into a bold
attack, would more naturally be directed towards the rich and level
plains, through which the Vistula gently flows into the Baltic Sea. The
North must again have been alarmed, and agitated, by the invasion of the
Huns; 6411 and the nations who retreated before them must have pressed
with incumbent weight on the confines of Germany. 65 The inhabitants
of those regions, which the ancients have assigned to the Suevi, the
Vandals, and the Burgundians, might embrace the resolution of abandoning
to the fugitives of Sarmatia their woods and morasses; or at least of
discharging their superfluous numbers on the provinces of the Roman
empire. 66 About four years after the victorious Toulun had assumed the
title of Khan of the Geougen, another Barbarian, the haughty Rhodogast,
or Radagaisus, 67 marched from the northern extremities of Germany
almost to the gates of Rome, and left the remains of his army to
achieve the destruction of the West. The Vandals, the Suevi, and the
Burgundians, formed the strength of this mighty host; but the Alani, who
had found a hospitable reception in their new seats, added their active
cavalry to the heavy infantry of the Germans; and the Gothic adventurers
crowded so eagerly to the standard of Radagaisus, that by some
historians, he has been styled the King of the Goths. Twelve thousand
warriors, distinguished above the vulgar by their noble birth, or their
valiant deeds, glittered in the van; 68 and the whole multitude, which
was not less than two hundred thousand fighting men, might be increased,
by the accession of women, of children, and of slaves, to the amount of
four hundred thousand persons. This formidable emigration issued from
the same coast of the Baltic, which had poured forth the myriads of
the Cimbri and Teutones, to assault Rome and Italy in the vigor of the
republic. After the departure of those Barbarians, their native country,
which was marked by the vestiges of their greatness, long ramparts,
and gigantic moles, 69 remained, during some ages, a vast and
dreary solitude; till the human species was renewed by the powers of
generation, and the vacancy was filled by the influx of new inhabitants.
The nations who now usurp an extent of land which they are unable to
cultivate, would soon be assisted by the industrious poverty of their
neighbors, if the government of Europe did not protect the claims of
dominion and property.

6411 (return) [ There is no authority which connects this inroad of the
Teutonic tribes with the movements of the Huns. The Huns can hardly have
reached the shores of the Baltic, and probably the greater part of the
forces of Radagaisus, particularly the Vandals, had long occupied a more
southern position.—M.]

65 (return) [ Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. iii. p. 182) has
observed an emigration from the Palus Maeotis to the north of Germany,
which he ascribes to famine. But his views of ancient history are
strangely darkened by ignorance and error.]

66 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 331) uses the general description of
the nations beyond the Danube and the Rhine. Their situation, and
consequently their names, are manifestly shown, even in the various
epithets which each ancient writer may have casually added.]

67 (return) [ The name of Rhadagast was that of a local deity of
the Obotrites, (in Mecklenburg.) A hero might naturally assume the
appellation of his tutelar god; but it is not probable that the
Barbarians should worship an unsuccessful hero. See Mascou, Hist. of the
Germans, viii. 14. * Note: The god of war and of hospitality with the
Vends and all the Sclavonian races of Germany bore the name of Radegast,
apparently the same with Rhadagaisus. His principal temple was at Rhetra
in Mecklenburg. It was adorned with great magnificence. The statue of
the gold was of gold. St. Martin, v. 255. A statue of Radegast, of much
coarser materials, and of the rudest workmanship, was discovered between
1760 and 1770, with those of other Wendish deities, on the supposed site
of Rhetra. The names of the gods were cut upon them in Runic characters.
See the very curious volume on these antiquities—Die Gottesdienstliche
Alterthumer der Obotriter—Masch and Wogen. Berlin, 1771.—M.]

68 (return) [ Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180), uses the Greek word
which does not convey any precise idea. I suspect that they were the
princes and nobles with their faithful companions; the knights
with their squires, as they would have been styled some centuries
afterwards.]

69 (return) [ Tacit. de Moribus Germanorum, c. 37.]



Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part IV.

The correspondence of nations was, in that age, so imperfect and
precarious, that the revolutions of the North might escape the knowledge
of the court of Ravenna; till the dark cloud, which was collected along
the coast of the Baltic, burst in thunder upon the banks of the
Upper Danube. The emperor of the West, if his ministers disturbed his
amusements by the news of the impending danger, was satisfied with being
the occasion, and the spectator, of the war. 70 The safety of Rome was
intrusted to the counsels, and the sword, of Stilicho; but such was
the feeble and exhausted state of the empire, that it was impossible to
restore the fortifications of the Danube, or to prevent, by a vigorous
effort, the invasion of the Germans. 71 The hopes of the vigilant
minister of Honorius were confined to the defence of Italy. He once more
abandoned the provinces, recalled the troops, pressed the new levies,
which were rigorously exacted, and pusillanimously eluded; employed the
most efficacious means to arrest, or allure, the deserters; and offered
the gift of freedom, and of two pieces of gold, to all the slaves who
would enlist. 72 By these efforts he painfully collected, from the
subjects of a great empire, an army of thirty or forty thousand men,
which, in the days of Scipio or Camillus, would have been instantly
furnished by the free citizens of the territory of Rome. 73 The thirty
legions of Stilicho were reenforced by a large body of Barbarian
auxiliaries; the faithful Alani were personally attached to his service;
and the troops of Huns and of Goths, who marched under the banners of
their native princes, Huldin and Sarus, were animated by interest
and resentment to oppose the ambition of Radagaisus. The king of the
confederate Germans passed, without resistance, the Alps, the Po, and
the Apennine; leaving on one hand the inaccessible palace of Honorius,
securely buried among the marshes of Ravenna; and, on the other, the
camp of Stilicho, who had fixed his head-quarters at Ticinum, or Pavia,
but who seems to have avoided a decisive battle, till he had assembled
his distant forces. Many cities of Italy were pillaged, or destroyed;
and the siege of Florence, 74 by Radagaisus, is one of the earliest
events in the history of that celebrated republic; whose firmness
checked and delayed the unskillful fury of the Barbarians. The senate
and people trembled at their approach within a hundred and eighty miles
of Rome; and anxiously compared the danger which they had escaped, with
the new perils to which they were exposed. Alaric was a Christian and
a soldier, the leader of a disciplined army; who understood the laws
of war, who respected the sanctity of treaties, and who had familiarly
conversed with the subjects of the empire in the same camps, and the
same churches. The savage Radagaisus was a stranger to the manners, the
religion, and even the language, of the civilized nations of the South.
The fierceness of his temper was exasperated by cruel superstition; and
it was universally believed, that he had bound himself, by a solemn vow,
to reduce the city into a heap of stones and ashes, and to sacrifice the
most illustrious of the Roman senators on the altars of those gods
who were appeased by human blood. The public danger, which should have
reconciled all domestic animosities, displayed the incurable madness
of religious faction. The oppressed votaries of Jupiter and Mercury
respected, in the implacable enemy of Rome, the character of a devout
Pagan; loudly declared, that they were more apprehensive of the
sacrifices, than of the arms, of Radagaisus; and secretly rejoiced in
the calamities of their country, which condemned the faith of their
Christian adversaries. 75 7511

70 (return) [

     Cujus agendi
     Spectator vel causa fui,
    —-(Claudian, vi. Cons. Hon. 439,)

is the modest language of Honorius, in speaking of the Gothic war, which
he had seen somewhat nearer.]

71 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 331) transports the war, and the victory
of Stilisho, beyond the Danube. A strange error, which is awkwardly and
imperfectly cured (Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p. 807.) In
good policy, we must use the service of Zosimus, without esteeming or
trusting him.]

72 (return) [ Codex Theodos. l. vii. tit. xiii. leg. 16. The date of
this law A.D. 406. May 18 satisfies me, as it had done Godefroy, (tom.
ii. p. 387,) of the true year of the invasion of Radagaisus. Tillemont,
Pagi, and Muratori, prefer the preceding year; but they are bound, by
certain obligations of civility and respect, to St. Paulinus of Nola.]

73 (return) [ Soon after Rome had been taken by the Gauls, the senate,
on a sudden emergency, armed ten legions, 3000 horse, and 42,000 foot;
a force which the city could not have sent forth under Augustus, (Livy,
xi. 25.) This declaration may puzzle an antiquary, but it is clearly
explained by Montesquieu.]

74 (return) [ Machiavel has explained, at least as a philosopher, the
origin of Florence, which insensibly descended, for the benefit of
trade, from the rock of Faesulae to the banks of the Arno, (Istoria
Fiorentina, tom. i. p. 36. Londra, 1747.) The triumvirs sent a colony
to Florence, which, under Tiberius, (Tacit. Annal. i. 79,) deserved the
reputation and name of a flourishing city. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. tom.
i. p. 507, &c.]

75 (return) [ Yet the Jupiter of Radagaisus, who worshipped Thor and
Woden, was very different from the Olympic or Capitoline Jove. The
accommodating temper of Polytheism might unite those various and remote
deities; but the genuine Romans ahhorred the human sacrifices of Gaul
and Germany.]

7511 (return) [ Gibbon has rather softened the language of Augustine as
to this threatened insurrection of the Pagans, in order to restore the
prohibited rites and ceremonies of Paganism; and their treasonable hopes
that the success of Radagaisus would be the triumph of idolatry. Compare
ii. 25—M.]

Florence was reduced to the last extremity; and the fainting courage of
the citizens was supported only by the authority of St. Ambrose; who had
communicated, in a dream, the promise of a speedy deliverance. 76 On
a sudden, they beheld, from their walls, the banners of Stilicho, who
advanced, with his united force, to the relief of the faithful city; and
who soon marked that fatal spot for the grave of the Barbarian host. The
apparent contradictions of those writers who variously relate the defeat
of Radagaisus, may be reconciled without offering much violence to
their respective testimonies. Orosius and Augustin, who were intimately
connected by friendship and religion, ascribed this miraculous victory
to the providence of God, rather than to the valor of man. 77 They
strictly exclude every idea of chance, or even of bloodshed; and
positively affirm, that the Romans, whose camp was the scene of plenty
and idleness, enjoyed the distress of the Barbarians, slowly expiring
on the sharp and barren ridge of the hills of Faesulae, which rise above
the city of Florence. Their extravagant assertion that not a single
soldier of the Christian army was killed, or even wounded, may be
dismissed with silent contempt; but the rest of the narrative of
Augustin and Orosius is consistent with the state of the war, and the
character of Stilicho. Conscious that he commanded the last army of the
republic, his prudence would not expose it, in the open field, to the
headstrong fury of the Germans. The method of surrounding the enemy with
strong lines of circumvallation, which he had twice employed against the
Gothic king, was repeated on a larger scale, and with more considerable
effect. The examples of Caesar must have been familiar to the most
illiterate of the Roman warriors; and the fortifications of Dyrrachium,
which connected twenty-four castles, by a perpetual ditch and rampart
of fifteen miles, afforded the model of an intrenchment which might
confine, and starve, the most numerous host of Barbarians. 78 The Roman
troops had less degenerated from the industry, than from the valor, of
their ancestors; and if their servile and laborious work offended the
pride of the soldiers, Tuscany could supply many thousand peasants, who
would labor, though, perhaps, they would not fight, for the salvation of
their native country. The imprisoned multitude of horses and men 79 was
gradually destroyed, by famine rather than by the sword; but the Romans
were exposed, during the progress of such an extensive work, to the
frequent attacks of an impatient enemy. The despair of the hungry
Barbarians would precipitate them against the fortifications of
Stilicho; the general might sometimes indulge the ardor of his brave
auxiliaries, who eagerly pressed to assault the camp of the Germans;
and these various incidents might produce the sharp and bloody conflicts
which dignify the narrative of Zosimus, and the Chronicles of Prosper
and Marcellinus. 80 A seasonable supply of men and provisions had
been introduced into the walls of Florence, and the famished host
of Radagaisus was in its turn besieged. The proud monarch of so many
warlike nations, after the loss of his bravest warriors, was reduced
to confide either in the faith of a capitulation, or in the clemency of
Stilicho. 81 But the death of the royal captive, who was ignominiously
beheaded, disgraced the triumph of Rome and of Christianity; and the
short delay of his execution was sufficient to brand the conqueror with
the guilt of cool and deliberate cruelty. 82 The famished Germans,
who escaped the fury of the auxiliaries, were sold as slaves, at the
contemptible price of as many single pieces of gold; but the difference
of food and climate swept away great numbers of those unhappy strangers;
and it was observed, that the inhuman purchasers, instead of reaping the
fruits of their labor were soon obliged to provide the expense of their
interment Stilicho informed the emperor and the senate of his success;
and deserved, a second time, the glorious title of Deliverer of Italy.
83

76 (return) [ Paulinus (in Vit. Ambros c. 50) relates this story, which
he received from the mouth of Pansophia herself, a religious matron of
Florence. Yet the archbishop soon ceased to take an active part in the
business of the world, and never became a popular saint.]

77 (return) [ Augustin de Civitat. Dei, v. 23. Orosius, l. vii. c. 37,
p. 567-571. The two friends wrote in Africa, ten or twelve years after
the victory; and their authority is implicitly followed by Isidore of
Seville, (in Chron. p. 713, edit. Grot.) How many interesting facts
might Orosius have inserted in the vacant space which is devoted to
pious nonsense!]

78 (return) [

     Franguntur montes, planumque per ardua Caesar
     Ducit opus: pandit fossas, turritaque summis
     Disponit castella jugis, magnoque necessu
     Amplexus fines, saltus, memorosaque tesqua
     Et silvas, vastaque feras indagine claudit.!

Yet the simplicity of truth (Caesar, de Bell. Civ. iii. 44) is far
greater than the amplifications of Lucan, (Pharsal. l. vi. 29-63.)]

79 (return) [ The rhetorical expressions of Orosius, "in arido et aspero
montis jugo;" "in unum ac parvum verticem," are not very suitable to
the encampment of a great army. But Faesulae, only three miles from
Florence, might afford space for the head-quarters of Radagaisus, and
would be comprehended within the circuit of the Roman lines.]

80 (return) [ See Zosimus, l. v. p. 331, and the Chronicles of Prosper
and Marcellinus.]

81 (return) [ Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180) uses an expression
which would denote a strict and friendly alliance, and render Stilicho
still more criminal. The paulisper detentus, deinde interfectus, of
Orosius, is sufficiently odious. * Note: Gibbon, by translating this
passage of Olympiodorus, as if it had been good Greek, has probably
fallen into an error. The natural order of the words is as Gibbon
translates it; but it is almost clear, refers to the Gothic chiefs,
"whom Stilicho, after he had defeated Radagaisus, attached to his army."
So in the version corrected by Classen for Niebuhr's edition of the
Byzantines, p. 450.—M.]

82 (return) [ Orosius, piously inhuman, sacrifices the king and people,
Agag and the Amalekites, without a symptom of compassion. The bloody
actor is less detestable than the cool, unfeeling historian.——Note:
Considering the vow, which he was universally believed to have made, to
destroy Rome, and to sacrifice the senators on the altars, and that he
is said to have immolated his prisoners to his gods, the execution of
Radagaisus, if, as it appears, he was taken in arms, cannot deserve
Gibbon's severe condemnation. Mr. Herbert (notes to his poem of Attila,
p. 317) justly observes, that "Stilicho had probably authority
for hanging him on the first tree." Marcellinus, adds Mr. Herbert,
attributes the execution to the Gothic chiefs Sarus.—M.]

83 (return) [ And Claudian's muse, was she asleep? had she been ill
paid! Methinks the seventh consulship of Honorius (A.D. 407) would have
furnished the subject of a noble poem. Before it was discovered that the
state could no longer be saved, Stilicho (after Romulus, Camillus and
Marius) might have been worthily surnamed the fourth founder of Rome.]

The fame of the victory, and more especially of the miracle, has
encouraged a vain persuasion, that the whole army, or rather nation, of
Germans, who migrated from the shores of the Baltic, miserably perished
under the walls of Florence. Such indeed was the fate of Radagaisus
himself, of his brave and faithful companions, and of more than one
third of the various multitude of Sueves and Vandals, of Alani and
Burgundians, who adhered to the standard of their general. 84 The union
of such an army might excite our surprise, but the causes of separation
are obvious and forcible; the pride of birth, the insolence of valor,
the jealousy of command, the impatience of subordination, and the
obstinate conflict of opinions, of interests, and of passions, among so
many kings and warriors, who were untaught to yield, or to obey. After
the defeat of Radagaisus, two parts of the German host, which must have
exceeded the number of one hundred thousand men, still remained in arms,
between the Apennine and the Alps, or between the Alps and the Danube.
It is uncertain whether they attempted to revenge the death of their
general; but their irregular fury was soon diverted by the prudence and
firmness of Stilicho, who opposed their march, and facilitated their
retreat; who considered the safety of Rome and Italy as the great object
of his care, and who sacrificed, with too much indifference, the wealth
and tranquillity of the distant provinces. 85 The Barbarians acquired,
from the junction of some Pannonian deserters, the knowledge of the
country, and of the roads; and the invasion of Gaul, which Alaric had
designed, was executed by the remains of the great army of Radagaisus.
86

84 (return) [ A luminous passage of Prosper's Chronicle, "In tres
partes, pes diversos principes, diversus exercitus," reduces the miracle
of Florence and connects the history of Italy, Gaul, and Germany.]

85 (return) [ Orosius and Jerom positively charge him with instigating
the in vasion. "Excitatae a Stilichone gentes," &c. They must mean a
directly. He saved Italy at the expense of Gaul]

86 (return) [ The Count de Buat is satisfied, that the Germans who
invaded Gaul were the two thirds that yet remained of the army of
Radagaisus. See the Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Europe, (tom.
vii. p. 87, 121. Paris, 1772;) an elaborate work, which I had not the
advantage of perusing till the year 1777. As early as 1771, I find the
same idea expressed in a rough draught of the present History. I
have since observed a similar intimation in Mascou, (viii. 15.) Such
agreement, without mutual communication, may add some weight to our
common sentiment.]

Yet if they expected to derive any assistance from the tribes of
Germany, who inhabited the banks of the Rhine, their hopes were
disappointed. The Alemanni preserved a state of inactive neutrality; and
the Franks distinguished their zeal and courage in the defence of the
of the empire. In the rapid progress down the Rhine, which was the first
act of the administration of Stilicho, he had applied himself, with
peculiar attention, to secure the alliance of the warlike Franks, and
to remove the irreconcilable enemies of peace and of the republic.
Marcomir, one of their kings, was publicly convicted, before the
tribunal of the Roman magistrate, of violating the faith of treaties. He
was sentenced to a mild, but distant exile, in the province of Tuscany;
and this degradation of the regal dignity was so far from exciting the
resentment of his subjects, that they punished with death the turbulent
Sunno, who attempted to revenge his brother; and maintained a dutiful
allegiance to the princes, who were established on the throne by the
choice of Stilicho. 87 When the limits of Gaul and Germany were shaken
by the northern emigration, the Franks bravely encountered the single
force of the Vandals; who, regardless of the lessons of adversity,
had again separated their troops from the standard of their Barbarian
allies. They paid the penalty of their rashness; and twenty thousand
Vandals, with their king Godigisclus, were slain in the field of battle.
The whole people must have been extirpated, if the squadrons of the
Alani, advancing to their relief, had not trampled down the infantry
of the Franks; who, after an honorable resistance, were compelled to
relinquish the unequal contest. The victorious confederates pursued
their march, and on the last day of the year, in a season when the
waters of the Rhine were most probably frozen, they entered, without
opposition, the defenceless provinces of Gaul. This memorable passage
of the Suevi, the Vandals, the Alani, and the Burgundians, who never
afterwards retreated, may be considered as the fall of the Roman empire
in the countries beyond the Alps; and the barriers, which had so long
separated the savage and the civilized nations of the earth, were from
that fatal moment levelled with the ground. 88

87 (return) [

     Provincia missos
     Expellet citius fasces, quam Francia reges
     Quos dederis.

Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. l. i. 235, &c.) is clear and satisfactory.
These kings of France are unknown to Gregory of Tours; but the author
of the Gesta Francorum mentions both Sunno and Marcomir, and names the
latter as the father of Pharamond, (in tom. ii. p. 543.) He seems to
write from good materials, which he did not understand.]

88 (return) [ See Zosimus, (l. vi. p. 373,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 40, p.
576,) and the Chronicles. Gregory of Tours (l. ii. c. 9, p. 165, in
the second volume of the Historians of France) has preserved a valuable
fragment of Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus, whose three names denote a
Christian, a Roman subject, and a Semi-Barbarian.]

While the peace of Germany was secured by the attachment of the Franks,
and the neutrality of the Alemanni, the subjects of Rome, unconscious of
their approaching calamities, enjoyed the state of quiet and prosperity,
which had seldom blessed the frontiers of Gaul. Their flocks and
herds were permitted to graze in the pastures of the Barbarians; their
huntsmen penetrated, without fear or danger, into the darkest recesses
of the Hercynian wood. 89 The banks of the Rhine were crowned, like
those of the Tyber, with elegant houses, and well-cultivated farms; and
if a poet descended the river, he might express his doubt, on which side
was situated the territory of the Romans. 90 This scene of peace and
plenty was suddenly changed into a desert; and the prospect of the
smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the
desolation of man. The flourishing city of Mentz was surprised and
destroyed; and many thousand Christians were inhumanly massacred in the
church. Worms perished after a long and obstinate siege; Strasburgh,
Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced the cruel oppression
of the German yoke; and the consuming flames of war spread from the
banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the seventeen provinces of
Gaul. That rich and extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps,
and the Pyrenees, was delivered to the Barbarians, who drove before
them, in a promiscuous crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin,
laden with the spoils of their houses and altars. 91 The ecclesiastics,
to whom we are indebted for this vague description of the public
calamities, embraced the opportunity of exhorting the Christians
to repent of the sins which had provoked the Divine Justice, and to
renounce the perishable goods of a wretched and deceitful world. But as
the Pelagian controversy, 92 which attempts to sound the abyss of grace
and predestination, soon became the serious employment of the Latin
clergy, the Providence which had decreed, or foreseen, or permitted,
such a train of moral and natural evils, was rashly weighed in the
imperfect and fallacious balance of reason. The crimes, and the
misfortunes, of the suffering people, were presumptuously compared with
those of their ancestors; and they arraigned the Divine Justice, which
did not exempt from the common destruction the feeble, the guiltless,
the infant portion of the human species. These idle disputants
overlooked the invariable laws of nature, which have connected peace
with innocence, plenty with industry, and safety with valor. The timid
and selfish policy of the court of Ravenna might recall the Palatine
legions for the protection of Italy; the remains of the stationary
troops might be unequal to the arduous task; and the Barbarian
auxiliaries might prefer the unbounded license of spoil to the benefits
of a moderate and regular stipend. But the provinces of Gaul were filled
with a numerous race of hardy and robust youth, who, in the defence of
their houses, their families, and their altars, if they had dared to
die, would have deserved to vanquish. The knowledge of their native
country would have enabled them to oppose continual and insuperable
obstacles to the progress of an invader; and the deficiency of the
Barbarians, in arms, as well as in discipline, removed the only pretence
which excuses the submission of a populous country to the inferior
numbers of a veteran army. When France was invaded by Charles V., he
inquired of a prisoner, how many days Paris might be distant from the
frontier; "Perhaps twelve, but they will be days of battle:" 93 such was
the gallant answer which checked the arrogance of that ambitious prince.
The subjects of Honorius, and those of Francis I., were animated by a
very different spirit; and in less than two years, the divided troops of
the savages of the Baltic, whose numbers, were they fairly stated, would
appear contemptible, advanced, without a combat, to the foot of the
Pyrenean Mountains.

89 (return) [ Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. l. i. 221, &c., l. ii. 186)
describes the peace and prosperity of the Gallic frontier. The Abbe
Dubos (Hist. Critique, &c., tom. i. p. 174) would read Alba (a nameless
rivulet of the Ardennes) instead of Albis; and expatiates on the
danger of the Gallic cattle grazing beyond the Elbe. Foolish enough! In
poetical geography, the Elbe, and the Hercynian, signify any river,
or any wood, in Germany. Claudian is not prepared for the strict
examination of our antiquaries.]

90 (return) [—Germinasque viator Cum videat ripas, quae sit Romana
requirat.]

91 (return) [ Jerom, tom. i. p. 93. See in the 1st vol. of the
Historians of France, p. 777, 782, the proper extracts from the Carmen
de Providentil Divina, and Salvian. The anonymous poet was himself a
captive, with his bishop and fellow-citizens.]

92 (return) [ The Pelagian doctrine, which was first agitated A.D.
405, was condemned, in the space of ten years, at Rome and Carthage. St
Augustin fought and conquered; but the Greek church was favorable to his
adversaries; and (what is singular enough) the people did not take any
part in a dispute which they could not understand.]

93 (return) [ See the Memoires de Guillaume du Bellay, l. vi. In French,
the original reproof is less obvious, and more pointed, from the double
sense of the word journee, which alike signifies, a day's travel, or a
battle.]

In the early part of the reign of Honorius, the vigilance of Stilicho
had successfully guarded the remote island of Britain from her incessant
enemies of the ocean, the mountains, and the Irish coast. 94 But those
restless Barbarians could not neglect the fair opportunity of the Gothic
war, when the walls and stations of the province were stripped of the
Roman troops. If any of the legionaries were permitted to return from
the Italian expedition, their faithful report of the court and character
of Honorius must have tended to dissolve the bonds of allegiance, and
to exasperate the seditious temper of the British army. The spirit of
revolt, which had formerly disturbed the age of Gallienus, was revived
by the capricious violence of the soldiers; and the unfortunate, perhaps
the ambitious, candidates, who were the objects of their choice, were
the instruments, and at length the victims, of their passion. 95 Marcus
was the first whom they placed on the throne, as the lawful emperor of
Britain and of the West. They violated, by the hasty murder of Marcus,
the oath of fidelity which they had imposed on themselves; and their
disapprobation of his manners may seem to inscribe an honorable epitaph
on his tomb. Gratian was the next whom they adorned with the diadem and
the purple; and, at the end of four months, Gratian experienced the
fate of his predecessor. The memory of the great Constantine, whom the
British legions had given to the church and to the empire, suggested the
singular motive of their third choice. They discovered in the ranks a
private soldier of the name of Constantine, and their impetuous
levity had already seated him on the throne, before they perceived his
incapacity to sustain the weight of that glorious appellation. 96 Yet
the authority of Constantine was less precarious, and his government was
more successful, than the transient reigns of Marcus and of Gratian.
The danger of leaving his inactive troops in those camps, which had
been twice polluted with blood and sedition, urged him to attempt
the reduction of the Western provinces. He landed at Boulogne with an
inconsiderable force; and after he had reposed himself some days,
he summoned the cities of Gaul, which had escaped the yoke of the
Barbarians, to acknowledge their lawful sovereign. They obeyed the
summons without reluctance. The neglect of the court of Ravenna had
absolved a deserted people from the duty of allegiance; their actual
distress encouraged them to accept any circumstances of change, without
apprehension, and, perhaps, with some degree of hope; and they might
flatter themselves, that the troops, the authority, and even the name
of a Roman emperor, who fixed his residence in Gaul, would protect the
unhappy country from the rage of the Barbarians. The first successes of
Constantine against the detached parties of the Germans, were magnified
by the voice of adulation into splendid and decisive victories; which
the reunion and insolence of the enemy soon reduced to their just value.
His negotiations procured a short and precarious truce; and if some
tribes of the Barbarians were engaged, by the liberality of his gifts
and promises, to undertake the defence of the Rhine, these expensive
and uncertain treaties, instead of restoring the pristine vigor of the
Gallic frontier, served only to disgrace the majesty of the prince, and
to exhaust what yet remained of the treasures of the republic. Elated,
however, with this imaginary triumph, the vain deliverer of Gaul
advanced into the provinces of the South, to encounter a more pressing
and personal danger. Sarus the Goth was ordered to lay the head of the
rebel at the feet of the emperor Honorius; and the forces of Britain and
Italy were unworthily consumed in this domestic quarrel. After the loss
of his two bravest generals, Justinian and Nevigastes, the former of
whom was slain in the field of battle, the latter in a peaceful but
treacherous interview, Constantine fortified himself within the walls
of Vienna. The place was ineffectually attacked seven days; and the
Imperial army supported, in a precipitate retreat, the ignominy of
purchasing a secure passage from the freebooters and outlaws of the
Alps. 97 Those mountains now separated the dominions of two rival
monarchs; and the fortifications of the double frontier were guarded
by the troops of the empire, whose arms would have been more usefully
employed to maintain the Roman limits against the Barbarians of Germany
and Scythia.

94 (return) [ Claudian, (i. Cons. Stil. l. ii. 250.) It is supposed
that the Scots of Ireland invaded, by sea, the whole western coast of
Britain: and some slight credit may be given even to Nennius and the
Irish traditions, (Carte's Hist. of England, vol. i. p. 169.) Whitaker's
Genuine History of the Britons, p. 199. The sixty-six lives of St.
Patrick, which were extant in the ninth century, must have contained
as many thousand lies; yet we may believe, that, in one of these Irish
inroads the future apostle was led away captive, (Usher, Antiquit.
Eccles Britann. p. 431, and Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 45 782,
&c.)]

95 (return) [ The British usurpers are taken from Zosimus, (l. vi. p.
371-375,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 40, p. 576, 577,) Olympiodorus,
(apud Photium, p. 180, 181,) the ecclesiastical historians, and the
Chronicles. The Latins are ignorant of Marcus.]

96 (return) [ Cum in Constantino inconstantiam... execrarentur,
(Sidonius Apollinaris, l. v. epist. 9, p. 139, edit. secund. Sirmond.)
Yet Sidonius might be tempted, by so fair a pun, to stigmatize a prince
who had disgraced his grandfather.]

97 (return) [ Bagaudoe is the name which Zosimus applies to them;
perhaps they deserved a less odious character, (see Dubos, Hist.
Critique, tom. i. p. 203, and this History, vol. i. p. 407.) We shall
hear of them again.]



Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part V.

On the side of the Pyrenees, the ambition of Constantine might
be justified by the proximity of danger; but his throne was soon
established by the conquest, or rather submission, of Spain; which
yielded to the influence of regular and habitual subordination, and
received the laws and magistrates of the Gallic praefecture. The only
opposition which was made to the authority of Constantine proceeded not
so much from the powers of government, or the spirit of the people, as
from the private zeal and interest of the family of Theodosius. Four
brothers 98 had obtained, by the favor of their kinsman, the deceased
emperor, an honorable rank and ample possessions in their native
country; and the grateful youths resolved to risk those advantages in
the service of his son. After an unsuccessful effort to maintain their
ground at the head of the stationary troops of Lusitania, they retired
to their estates; where they armed and levied, at their own expense, a
considerable body of slaves and dependants, and boldly marched to occupy
the strong posts of the Pyrenean Mountains. This domestic insurrection
alarmed and perplexed the sovereign of Gaul and Britain; and he was
compelled to negotiate with some troops of Barbarian auxiliaries, for
the service of the Spanish war. They were distinguished by the title of
Honorians; 99 a name which might have reminded them of their fidelity
to their lawful sovereign; and if it should candidly be allowed that the
Scots were influenced by any partial affection for a British prince, the
Moors and the Marcomanni could be tempted only by the profuse liberality
of the usurper, who distributed among the Barbarians the military, and
even the civil, honors of Spain. The nine bands of Honorians, which may
be easily traced on the establishment of the Western empire, could not
exceed the number of five thousand men: yet this inconsiderable force
was sufficient to terminate a war, which had threatened the power and
safety of Constantine. The rustic army of the Theodosian family was
surrounded and destroyed in the Pyrenees: two of the brothers had the
good fortune to escape by sea to Italy, or the East; the other two,
after an interval of suspense, were executed at Arles; and if Honorius
could remain insensible of the public disgrace, he might perhaps be
affected by the personal misfortunes of his generous kinsmen. Such were
the feeble arms which decided the possession of the Western provinces
of Europe, from the wall of Antoninus to the columns of Hercules. The
events of peace and war have undoubtedly been diminished by the narrow
and imperfect view of the historians of the times, who were equally
ignorant of the causes, and of the effects, of the most important
revolutions. But the total decay of the national strength had
annihilated even the last resource of a despotic government; and the
revenue of exhausted provinces could no longer purchase the military
service of a discontented and pusillanimous people.

98 (return) [ Verinianus, Didymus, Theodosius, and Lagodius, who
in modern courts would be styled princes of the blood, were not
distinguished by any rank or privileges above the rest of their
fellow-subjects.]

99 (return) [ These Honoriani, or Honoriaci, consisted of two bands of
Scots, or Attacotti, two of Moors, two of Marcomanni, the Victores, the
Asca in, and the Gallicani, (Notitia Imperii, sect. xxxiii. edit. Lab.)
They were part of the sixty-five Auxilia Palatina, and are properly
styled by Zosimus, (l. vi. 374.)]

The poet, whose flattery has ascribed to the Roman eagle the victories
of Pollentia and Verona, pursues the hasty retreat of Alaric, from the
confines of Italy, with a horrid train of imaginary spectres, such as
might hover over an army of Barbarians, which was almost exterminated
by war, famine, and disease. 100 In the course of this unfortunate
expedition, the king of the Goths must indeed have sustained a
considerable loss; and his harassed forces required an interval of
repose, to recruit their numbers and revive their confidence. Adversity
had exercised and displayed the genius of Alaric; and the fame of
his valor invited to the Gothic standard the bravest of the Barbarian
warriors; who, from the Euxine to the Rhine, were agitated by the desire
of rapine and conquest. He had deserved the esteem, and he soon accepted
the friendship, of Stilicho himself. Renouncing the service of the
emperor of the East, Alaric concluded, with the court of Ravenna, a
treaty of peace and alliance, by which he was declared master-general
of the Roman armies throughout the praefecture of Illyricum; as it was
claimed, according to the true and ancient limits, by the minister of
Honorius. 101 The execution of the ambitious design, which was either
stipulated, or implied, in the articles of the treaty, appears to
have been suspended by the formidable irruption of Radagaisus; and
the neutrality of the Gothic king may perhaps be compared to the
indifference of Caesar, who, in the conspiracy of Catiline, refused
either to assist, or to oppose, the enemy of the republic. After the
defeat of the Vandals, Stilicho resumed his pretensions to the provinces
of the East; appointed civil magistrates for the administration of
justice, and of the finances; and declared his impatience to lead to
the gates of Constantinople the united armies of the Romans and of the
Goths. The prudence, however, of Stilicho, his aversion to civil war,
and his perfect knowledge of the weakness of the state, may countenance
the suspicion, that domestic peace, rather than foreign conquest, was
the object of his policy; and that his principal care was to employ the
forces of Alaric at a distance from Italy. This design could not long
escape the penetration of the Gothic king, who continued to hold a
doubtful, and perhaps a treacherous, correspondence with the rival
courts; who protracted, like a dissatisfied mercenary, his languid
operations in Thessaly and Epirus, and who soon returned to claim the
extravagant reward of his ineffectual services. From his camp near
Aemona, 102 on the confines of Italy, he transmitted to the emperor of
the West a long account of promises, of expenses, and of demands; called
for immediate satisfaction, and clearly intimated the consequences of
a refusal. Yet if his conduct was hostile, his language was decent and
dutiful. He humbly professed himself the friend of Stilicho, and the
soldier of Honorius; offered his person and his troops to march, without
delay, against the usurper of Gaul; and solicited, as a permanent
retreat for the Gothic nation, the possession of some vacant province of
the Western empire.

100 (return) [

     Comitatur euntem
     Pallor, et atra fames; et saucia lividus ora
     Luctus; et inferno stridentes agmine morbi.
    —-Claudian in vi. Cons. Hon. 821, &c.]

101 (return) [ These dark transactions are investigated by the Count
de Bual (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii. c. iii.—viii. p.
69-206,) whose laborious accuracy may sometimes fatigue a superficial
reader.]

102 (return) [ See Zosimus, l. v. p. 334, 335. He interrupts his scanty
narrative to relate the fable of Aemona, and of the ship Argo; which was
drawn overland from that place to the Adriatic. Sozomen (l. viii. c.
25, l. ix. c. 4) and Socrates (l. vii. c. 10) cast a pale and doubtful
light; and Orosius (l. vii. c. 38, p. 571) is abominably partial.]

The political and secret transactions of two statesmen, who labored to
deceive each other and the world, must forever have been concealed in
the impenetrable darkness of the cabinet, if the debates of a popular
assembly had not thrown some rays of light on the correspondence of
Alaric and Stilicho. The necessity of finding some artificial support
for a government, which, from a principle, not of moderation, but of
weakness, was reduced to negotiate with its own subjects, had insensibly
revived the authority of the Roman senate; and the minister of Honorius
respectfully consulted the legislative council of the republic. Stilicho
assembled the senate in the palace of the Caesars; represented, in a
studied oration, the actual state of affairs; proposed the demands of
the Gothic king, and submitted to their consideration the choice of
peace or war. The senators, as if they had been suddenly awakened from a
dream of four hundred years, appeared, on this important occasion, to
be inspired by the courage, rather than by the wisdom, of their
predecessors. They loudly declared, in regular speeches, or in
tumultuary acclamations, that it was unworthy of the majesty of Rome to
purchase a precarious and disgraceful truce from a Barbarian king; and
that, in the judgment of a magnanimous people, the chance of ruin was
always preferable to the certainty of dishonor. The minister, whose
pacific intentions were seconded only by the voice of a few servile and
venal followers, attempted to allay the general ferment, by an apology
for his own conduct, and even for the demands of the Gothic prince. "The
payment of a subsidy, which had excited the indignation of the Romans,
ought not (such was the language of Stilicho) to be considered in the
odious light, either of a tribute, or of a ransom, extorted by the
menaces of a Barbarian enemy. Alaric had faithfully asserted the just
pretensions of the republic to the provinces which were usurped by the
Greeks of Constantinople: he modestly required the fair and stipulated
recompense of his services; and if he had desisted from the prosecution
of his enterprise, he had obeyed, in his retreat, the peremptory, though
private, letters of the emperor himself. These contradictory orders (he
would not dissemble the errors of his own family) had been procured by
the intercession of Serena. The tender piety of his wife had been too
deeply affected by the discord of the royal brothers, the sons of her
adopted father; and the sentiments of nature had too easily prevailed
over the stern dictates of the public welfare." These ostensible
reasons, which faintly disguise the obscure intrigues of the palace
of Ravenna, were supported by the authority of Stilicho; and obtained,
after a warm debate, the reluctant approbation of the senate. The tumult
of virtue and freedom subsided; and the sum of four thousand pounds of
gold was granted, under the name of a subsidy, to secure the peace
of Italy, and to conciliate the friendship of the king of the Goths.
Lampadius alone, one of the most illustrious members of the assembly,
still persisted in his dissent; exclaimed, with a loud voice, "This is
not a treaty of peace, but of servitude;" 103 and escaped the danger
of such bold opposition by immediately retiring to the sanctuary of a
Christian church. [See Palace Of The Caesars]

103 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 338, 339. He repeats the words of
Lampadius, as they were spoke in Latin, "Non est ista pax, sed pactio
servi tutis," and then translates them into Greek for the benefit of his
readers. * Note: From Cicero's XIIth Philippic, 14.—M.]

But the reign of Stilicho drew towards its end; and the proud minister
might perceive the symptoms of his approaching disgrace. The generous
boldness of Lampadius had been applauded; and the senate, so patiently
resigned to a long servitude, rejected with disdain the offer of
invidious and imaginary freedom. The troops, who still assumed the name
and prerogatives of the Roman legions, were exasperated by the partial
affection of Stilicho for the Barbarians: and the people imputed to the
mischievous policy of the minister the public misfortunes, which were
the natural consequence of their own degeneracy. Yet Stilicho might have
continued to brave the clamors of the people, and even of the soldiers,
if he could have maintained his dominion over the feeble mind of his
pupil. But the respectful attachment of Honorius was converted into
fear, suspicion, and hatred. The crafty Olympius, 104 who concealed his
vices under the mask of Christian piety, had secretly undermined the
benefactor, by whose favor he was promoted to the honorable offices of
the Imperial palace. Olympius revealed to the unsuspecting emperor,
who had attained the twenty-fifth year of his age, that he was without
weight, or authority, in his own government; and artfully alarmed his
timid and indolent disposition by a lively picture of the designs of
Stilicho, who already meditated the death of his sovereign, with the
ambitious hope of placing the diadem on the head of his son Eucherius.
The emperor was instigated, by his new favorite, to assume the tone
of independent dignity; and the minister was astonished to find, that
secret resolutions were formed in the court and council, which were
repugnant to his interest, or to his intentions. Instead of residing in
the palace of Rome, Honorius declared that it was his pleasure to return
to the secure fortress of Ravenna. On the first intelligence of the
death of his brother Arcadius, he prepared to visit Constantinople,
and to regulate, with the authority of a guardian, the provinces of the
infant Theodosius. 105 The representation of the difficulty and expense
of such a distant expedition, checked this strange and sudden sally of
active diligence; but the dangerous project of showing the emperor to
the camp of Pavia, which was composed of the Roman troops, the
enemies of Stilicho, and his Barbarian auxiliaries, remained fixed and
unalterable. The minister was pressed, by the advice of his confidant,
Justinian, a Roman advocate, of a lively and penetrating genius, to
oppose a journey so prejudicial to his reputation and safety. His
strenuous but ineffectual efforts confirmed the triumph of Olympius;
and the prudent lawyer withdrew himself from the impending ruin of his
patron.

104 (return) [ He came from the coast of the Euxine, and exercised a
splendid office. His actions justify his character, which Zosimus (l. v.
p. 340) exposes with visible satisfaction. Augustin revered the piety
of Olympius, whom he styles a true son of the church, (Baronius, Annal.
Eccles, Eccles. A.D. 408, No. 19, &c. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii.
p. 467, 468.) But these praises, which the African saint so unworthily
bestows, might proceed as well from ignorance as from adulation.]

105 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 338, 339. Sozomen, l. ix. c. 4.
Stilicho offered to undertake the journey to Constantinople, that he
might divert Honorius from the vain attempt. The Eastern empire would
not have obeyed, and could not have been conquered.]

In the passage of the emperor through Bologna, a mutiny of the guards
was excited and appeased by the secret policy of Stilicho; who announced
his instructions to decimate the guilty, and ascribed to his own
intercession the merit of their pardon. After this tumult, Honorius
embraced, for the last time, the minister whom he now considered as
a tyrant, and proceeded on his way to the camp of Pavia; where he was
received by the loyal acclamations of the troops who were assembled
for the service of the Gallic war. On the morning of the fourth day, he
pronounced, as he had been taught, a military oration in the presence
of the soldiers, whom the charitable visits, and artful discourses, of
Olympius had prepared to execute a dark and bloody conspiracy. At
the first signal, they massacred the friends of Stilicho, the most
illustrious officers of the empire; two Praetorian praefects, of Gaul
and of Italy; two masters-general of the cavalry and infantry; the
master of the offices; the quaestor, the treasurer, and the count of the
domestics. Many lives were lost; many houses were plundered; the furious
sedition continued to rage till the close of the evening; and the
trembling emperor, who was seen in the streets of Pavia without his
robes or diadem, yielded to the persuasions of his favorite; condemned
the memory of the slain; and solemnly approved the innocence and
fidelity of their assassins. The intelligence of the massacre of Pavia
filled the mind of Stilicho with just and gloomy apprehensions; and he
instantly summoned, in the camp of Bologna, a council of the confederate
leaders, who were attached to his service, and would be involved in his
ruin. The impetuous voice of the assembly called aloud for arms, and
for revenge; to march, without a moment's delay, under the banners of
a hero, whom they had so often followed to victory; to surprise, to
oppress, to extirpate the guilty Olympius, and his degenerate Romans;
and perhaps to fix the diadem on the head of their injured general.
Instead of executing a resolution, which might have been justified by
success, Stilicho hesitated till he was irrecoverably lost. He was still
ignorant of the fate of the emperor; he distrusted the fidelity of his
own party; and he viewed with horror the fatal consequences of arming a
crowd of licentious Barbarians against the soldiers and people of Italy.
The confederates, impatient of his timorous and doubtful delay, hastily
retired, with fear and indignation. At the hour of midnight, Sarus,
a Gothic warrior, renowned among the Barbarians themselves for his
strength and valor, suddenly invaded the camp of his benefactor,
plundered the baggage, cut in pieces the faithful Huns, who guarded
his person, and penetrated to the tent, where the minister, pensive and
sleepless, meditated on the dangers of his situation. Stilicho escaped
with difficulty from the sword of the Goths and, after issuing a last
and generous admonition to the cities of Italy, to shut their gates
against the Barbarians, his confidence, or his despair, urged him to
throw himself into Ravenna, which was already in the absolute possession
of his enemies. Olympius, who had assumed the dominion of Honorius, was
speedily informed, that his rival had embraced, as a suppliant the altar
of the Christian church. The base and cruel disposition of the hypocrite
was incapable of pity or remorse; but he piously affected to elude,
rather than to violate, the privilege of the sanctuary. Count Heraclian,
with a troop of soldiers, appeared, at the dawn of day, before the gates
of the church of Ravenna. The bishop was satisfied by a solemn oath,
that the Imperial mandate only directed them to secure the person of
Stilicho: but as soon as the unfortunate minister had been tempted
beyond the holy threshold, he produced the warrant for his instant
execution. Stilicho supported, with calm resignation, the injurious
names of traitor and parricide; repressed the unseasonable zeal of his
followers, who were ready to attempt an ineffectual rescue; and, with a
firmness not unworthy of the last of the Roman generals, submitted his
neck to the sword of Heraclian. 106

106 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 336-345) has copiously, though not
clearly, related the disgrace and death of Stilicho. Olympiodorus, (apud
Phot. p. 177.) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 38, p. 571, 572,) Sozomen, (l.
ix. c. 4,) and Philostorgius, (l. xi. c. 3, l. xii. c. 2,) afford
supplemental hints.]

The servile crowd of the palace, who had so long adored the fortune of
Stilicho, affected to insult his fall; and the most distant connection
with the master-general of the West, which had so lately been a title to
wealth and honors, was studiously denied, and rigorously punished. His
family, united by a triple alliance with the family of Theodosius,
might envy the condition of the meanest peasant. The flight of his son
Eucherius was intercepted; and the death of that innocent youth soon
followed the divorce of Thermantia, who filled the place of her sister
Maria; and who, like Maria, had remained a virgin in the Imperial bed.
107 The friends of Stilicho, who had escaped the massacre of Pavia, were
persecuted by the implacable revenge of Olympius; and the most exquisite
cruelty was employed to extort the confession of a treasonable and
sacrilegious conspiracy. They died in silence: their firmness justified
the choice, 108 and perhaps absolved the innocence of their patron:
and the despotic power, which could take his life without a trial, and
stigmatize his memory without a proof, has no jurisdiction over the
impartial suffrage of posterity. 109 The services of Stilicho are great
and manifest; his crimes, as they are vaguely stated in the language of
flattery and hatred, are obscure at least, and improbable. About four
months after his death, an edict was published, in the name of Honorius,
to restore the free communication of the two empires, which had been so
long interrupted by the public enemy. 110 The minister, whose fame
and fortune depended on the prosperity of the state, was accused of
betraying Italy to the Barbarians; whom he repeatedly vanquished at
Pollentia, at Verona, and before the walls of Florence. His pretended
design of placing the diadem on the head of his son Eucherius, could
not have been conducted without preparations or accomplices; and the
ambitious father would not surely have left the future emperor, till
the twentieth year of his age, in the humble station of tribune of the
notaries. Even the religion of Stilicho was arraigned by the malice
of his rival. The seasonable, and almost miraculous, deliverance was
devoutly celebrated by the applause of the clergy; who asserted, that
the restoration of idols, and the persecution of the church, would have
been the first measure of the reign of Eucherius. The son of Stilicho,
however, was educated in the bosom of Christianity, which his father
had uniformly professed, and zealously supported. 111 1111 Serena had
borrowed her magnificent necklace from the statue of Vesta; 112 and the
Pagans execrated the memory of the sacrilegious minister, by whose order
the Sibylline books, the oracles of Rome, had been committed to the
flames. 113 The pride and power of Stilicho constituted his real guilt.
An honorable reluctance to shed the blood of his countrymen appears to
have contributed to the success of his unworthy rival; and it is the
last humiliation of the character of Honorius, that posterity has not
condescended to reproach him with his base ingratitude to the guardian
of his youth, and the support of his empire.

107 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 333. The marriage of a Christian with
two sisters, scandalizes Tillemont, (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p.
557;) who expects, in vain, that Pope Innocent I. should have done
something in the way either of censure or of dispensation.]

108 (return) [ Two of his friends are honorably mentioned, (Zosimus,
l. v. p. 346:) Peter, chief of the school of notaries, and the great
chamberlain Deuterius. Stilicho had secured the bed-chamber; and it is
surprising that, under a feeble prince, the bed-chamber was not able to
secure him.]

109 (return) [ Orosius (l. vii. c. 38, p. 571, 572) seems to copy the
false and furious manifestos, which were dispersed through the provinces
by the new administration.]

110 (return) [ See the Theodosian code, l. vii. tit. xvi. leg. 1, l.
ix. tit. xlii. leg. 22. Stilicho is branded with the name of proedo
publicus, who employed his wealth, ad omnem ditandam, inquietandamque
Barbariem.]

111 (return) [ Augustin himself is satisfied with the effectual laws,
which Stilicho had enacted against heretics and idolaters; and which
are still extant in the Code. He only applies to Olympius for their
confirmation, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 408, No. 19.)]

112 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 351. We may observe the bad taste of
the age, in dressing their statues with such awkward finery.]

113 (return) [ See Rutilius Numatianus, (Itinerar. l. ii. 41-60,) to
whom religious enthusiasm has dictated some elegant and forcible
lines. Stilicho likewise stripped the gold plates from the doors of the
Capitol, and read a prophetic sentence which was engraven under them,
(Zosimus, l. v. p. 352.) These are foolish stories: yet the charge of
impiety adds weight and credit to the praise which Zosimus reluctantly
bestows on his virtues. Note: One particular in the extorted praise of
Zosimus, deserved the notice of the historian, as strongly opposed to
the former imputations of Zosimus himself, and indicative of he corrupt
practices of a declining age. "He had never bartered promotion in the
army for bribes, nor peculated in the supplies of provisions for the
army." l. v. c. xxxiv.—M.]

1111 (return) [ Hence, perhaps, the accusation of treachery is
countenanced by Hatilius:—

     Quo magis est facinus diri Stilichonis iniquum
     Proditor arcani quod fuit imperii.
     Romano generi dum nititur esse superstes,
     Crudelis summis miscuit ima furor.
     Dumque timet, quicquid se fecerat ipso timeri,
     Immisit Latiae barbara tela neci.  Rutil. Itin. II. 41.—M.]
     Among the train of dependants whose wealth and dignity
     attracted the notice of their own times, our curiosity is excited
     by the celebrated name of the poet Claudian, who enjoyed the
     favor of Stilicho, and was overwhelmed in the ruin of his patron.]

The titular offices of tribune and notary fixed his rank in the Imperial
court: he was indebted to the powerful intercession of Serena for his
marriage with a very rich heiress of the province of Africa; 114 and the
statute of Claudian, erected in the forum of Trajan, was a monument of
the taste and liberality of the Roman senate. 115 After the praises
of Stilicho became offensive and criminal, Claudian was exposed to the
enmity of a powerful and unforgiving courtier, whom he had provoked by
the insolence of wit. He had compared, in a lively epigram, the opposite
characters of two Praetorian praefects of Italy; he contrasts the
innocent repose of a philosopher, who sometimes resigned the hours of
business to slumber, perhaps to study, with the interesting diligence
of a rapacious minister, indefatigable in the pursuit of unjust or
sacrilegious, gain. "How happy," continues Claudian, "how happy might it
be for the people of Italy, if Mallius could be constantly awake, and if
Hadrian would always sleep!" 116 The repose of Mallius was not disturbed
by this friendly and gentle admonition; but the cruel vigilance of
Hadrian watched the opportunity of revenge, and easily obtained, from
the enemies of Stilicho, the trifling sacrifice of an obnoxious
poet. The poet concealed himself, however, during the tumult of the
revolution; and, consulting the dictates of prudence rather than of
honor, he addressed, in the form of an epistle, a suppliant and humble
recantation to the offended praefect. He deplores, in mournful strains,
the fatal indiscretion into which he had been hurried by passion and
folly; submits to the imitation of his adversary the generous examples
of the clemency of gods, of heroes, and of lions; and expresses his hope
that the magnanimity of Hadrian will not trample on a defenceless and
contemptible foe, already humbled by disgrace and poverty, and deeply
wounded by the exile, the tortures, and the death of his dearest
friends. 117 Whatever might be the success of his prayer, or the
accidents of his future life, the period of a few years levelled in the
grave the minister and the poet: but the name of Hadrian is almost sunk
in oblivion, while Claudian is read with pleasure in every country which
has retained, or acquired, the knowledge of the Latin language. If we
fairly balance his merits and his defects, we shall acknowledge that
Claudian does not either satisfy, or silence, our reason. It would not
be easy to produce a passage that deserves the epithet of sublime
or pathetic; to select a verse that melts the heart or enlarges the
imagination. We should vainly seek, in the poems of Claudian, the happy
invention, and artificial conduct, of an interesting fable; or the just
and lively representation of the characters and situations of real life.
For the service of his patron, he published occasional panegyrics and
invectives: and the design of these slavish compositions encouraged
his propensity to exceed the limits of truth and nature. These
imperfections, however, are compensated in some degree by the poetical
virtues of Claudian. He was endowed with the rare and precious talent
of raising the meanest, of adorning the most barren, and of diversifying
the most similar, topics: his coloring, more especially in descriptive
poetry, is soft and splendid; and he seldom fails to display, and even
to abuse, the advantages of a cultivated understanding, a copious fancy,
an easy, and sometimes forcible, expression; and a perpetual flow of
harmonious versification. To these commendations, independent of any
accidents of time and place, we must add the peculiar merit which
Claudian derived from the unfavorable circumstances of his birth. In the
decline of arts, and of empire, a native of Egypt, 118 who had received
the education of a Greek, assumed, in a mature age, the familiar use,
and absolute command, of the Latin language; 119 soared above the heads
of his feeble contemporaries; and placed himself, after an interval of
three hundred years, among the poets of ancient Rome. 120

114 (return) [ At the nuptials of Orpheus (a modest comparison!) all the
parts of animated nature contributed their various gifts; and the gods
themselves enriched their favorite. Claudian had neither flocks, nor
herds, nor vines, nor olives. His wealthy bride was heiress to them all.
But he carried to Africa a recommendatory letter from Serena, his Juno,
and was made happy, (Epist. ii. ad Serenam.)]

115 (return) [ Claudian feels the honor like a man who deserved it, (in
praefat Bell. Get.) The original inscription, on marble, was found at
Rome, in the fifteenth century, in the house of Pomponius Laetus. The
statue of a poet, far superior to Claudian, should have been erected,
during his lifetime, by the men of letters, his countrymen and
contemporaries. It was a noble design.]

116 (return) [ See Epigram xxx.

     Mallius indulget somno noctesque diesque:
     Insomnis Pharius sacra, profana, rapit.
     Omnibus, hoc, Italae gentes, exposcite votis;
     Mallius ut vigilet, dormiat ut Pharius.

Hadrian was a Pharian, (of Alexandrian.) See his public life in
Godefroy, Cod. Theodos. tom. vi. p. 364. Mallius did not always sleep.
He composed some elegant dialogues on the Greek systems of natural
philosophy, (Claud, in Mall. Theodor. Cons. 61-112.)]

117 (return) [ See Claudian's first Epistle. Yet, in some places, an
air of irony and indignation betrays his secret reluctance. * Note:
M. Beugnot has pointed out one remarkable characteristic of Claudian's
poetry, and of the times—his extraordinary religious indifference.
Here is a poet writing at the actual crisis of the complete triumph of
the new religion, the visible extinction of the old: if we may so speak,
a strictly historical poet, whose works, excepting his Mythological poem
on the rape of Proserpine, are confined to temporary subjects, and to
the politics of his own eventful day; yet, excepting in one or two
small and indifferent pieces, manifestly written by a Christian, and
interpolated among his poems, there is no allusion whatever to the great
religious strife. No one would know the existence of Christianity
at that period of the world, by reading the works of Claudian. His
panegyric and his satire preserve the same religious impartiality; award
their most lavish praise or their bitterest invective on Christian or
Pagan; he insults the fall of Eugenius, and glories in the victories
of Theodosius. Under the child,—and Honorius never became more than a
child,—Christianity continued to inflict wounds more and more deadly
on expiring Paganism. Are the gods of Olympus agitated with apprehension
at the birth of this new enemy? They are introduced as rejoicing at his
appearance, and promising long years of glory. The whole prophetic
choir of Paganism, all the oracles throughout the world, are summoned
to predict the felicity of his reign. His birth is compared to that
of Apollo, but the narrow limits of an island must not confine the new
deity—

     ... Non littora nostro
     Sufficerent angusta Deo.

Augury and divination, the shrines of Ammon, and of Delphi, the Persian
Magi, and the Etruscan seers, the Chaldean astrologers, the Sibyl
herself, are described as still discharging their prophetic functions,
and celebrating the natal day of this Christian prince. They are noble
lines, as well as curious illustrations of the times:

     ... Quae tunc documenta futuri?
     Quae voces avium? quanti per inane volatus?
     Quis vatum discursus erat?  Tibi corniger Ammon,
     Et dudum taciti rupere silentia Delphi.
     Te Persae cecinere Magi, te sensit Etruscus
     Augur, et inspectis Babylonius horruit astris;
     Chaldaei stupuere senes, Cumanaque rursus
     Itonuit rupes, rabidae delubra Sibyllae.
     —Claud. iv. Cons. Hon. 141.

From the Quarterly Review of Beugnot. Hist. de la Paganisme en Occident,
Q. R. v. lvii. p. 61.—M.]

118 (return) [ National vanity has made him a Florentine, or a Spaniard.
But the first Epistle of Claudian proves him a native of Alexandria,
(Fabricius, Bibliot. Latin. tom. iii. p. 191-202, edit. Ernest.)]

119 (return) [ His first Latin verses were composed during the
consulship of Probinus, A.D. 395.

Romanos bibimus primum, te consule, fontes, Et Latiae cessit Graia
Thalia togae.

Besides some Greek epigrams, which are still extant, the Latin poet had
composed, in Greek, the Antiquities of Tarsus, Anazarbus, Berytus, Nice,
&c. It is more easy to supply the loss of good poetry, than of authentic
history.]

120 (return) [ Strada (Prolusion v. vi.) allows him to contend with
the five heroic poets, Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, and Statius. His
patron is the accomplished courtier Balthazar Castiglione. His admirers
are numerous and passionate. Yet the rigid critics reproach the exotic
weeds, or flowers, which spring too luxuriantly in his Latian soil]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part I.

     Invasion Of Italy By Alaric.—Manners Of The Roman Senate
     And People.—Rome Is Thrice Besieged, And At Length
     Pillaged, By The Goths.—Death Of Alaric.—The Goths
     Evacuate Italy.—Fall Of Constantine.—Gaul And Spain Are
     Occupied By The Barbarians. —Independence Of Britain.

The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may often assume the
appearance, and produce the effects, of a treasonable correspondence
with the public enemy. If Alaric himself had been introduced into the
council of Ravenna, he would probably have advised the same measures
which were actually pursued by the ministers of Honorius. 1 The king of
the Goths would have conspired, perhaps with some reluctance, to destroy
the formidable adversary, by whose arms, in Italy, as well as in
Greece, he had been twice overthrown. Their active and interested hatred
laboriously accomplished the disgrace and ruin of the great Stilicho.
The valor of Sarus, his fame in arms, and his personal, or hereditary,
influence over the confederate Barbarians, could recommend him only to
the friends of their country, who despised, or detested, the worthless
characters of Turpilio, Varanes, and Vigilantius. By the pressing
instances of the new favorites, these generals, unworthy as they had
shown themselves of the names of soldiers, 2 were promoted to the
command of the cavalry, of the infantry, and of the domestic troops. The
Gothic prince would have subscribed with pleasure the edict which
the fanaticism of Olympius dictated to the simple and devout emperor.
Honorius excluded all persons, who were adverse to the Catholic church,
from holding any office in the state; obstinately rejected the service
of all those who dissented from his religion; and rashly disqualified
many of his bravest and most skilful officers, who adhered to the Pagan
worship, or who had imbibed the opinions of Arianism. 3 These measures,
so advantageous to an enemy, Alaric would have approved, and might
perhaps have suggested; but it may seem doubtful, whether the Barbarian
would have promoted his interest at the expense of the inhuman and
absurd cruelty which was perpetrated by the direction, or at least with
the connivance of the Imperial ministers. The foreign auxiliaries, who
had been attached to the person of Stilicho, lamented his death; but the
desire of revenge was checked by a natural apprehension for the safety
of their wives and children; who were detained as hostages in the strong
cities of Italy, where they had likewise deposited their most valuable
effects. At the same hour, and as if by a common signal, the cities of
Italy were polluted by the same horrid scenes of universal massacre and
pillage, which involved, in promiscuous destruction, the families and
fortunes of the Barbarians. Exasperated by such an injury, which might
have awakened the tamest and most servile spirit, they cast a look of
indignation and hope towards the camp of Alaric, and unanimously swore
to pursue, with just and implacable war, the perfidious nation who had
so basely violated the laws of hospitality. By the imprudent conduct
of the ministers of Honorius, the republic lost the assistance, and
deserved the enmity, of thirty thousand of her bravest soldiers; and the
weight of that formidable army, which alone might have determined the
event of the war, was transferred from the scale of the Romans into that
of the Goths.

1 (return) [ The series of events, from the death of Stilicho to the
arrival of Alaric before Rome, can only be found in Zosimus, l. v. p.
347-350.]

2 (return) [ The expression of Zosimus is strong and lively, sufficient
to excite the contempt of the enemy.]

3 (return) [ Eos qui catholicae sectae sunt inimici, intra palatium
militare pro hibemus. Nullus nobis sit aliqua ratione conjunctus, qui a
nobis fidest religione discordat. Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. v. leg. 42,
and Godefroy's Commentary, tom. vi. p. 164. This law was applied in the
utmost latitude, and rigorously executed. Zosimus, l. v. p. 364.]

In the arts of negotiation, as well as in those of war, the Gothic king
maintained his superior ascendant over an enemy, whose seeming changes
proceeded from the total want of counsel and design. From his camp, on
the confines of Italy, Alaric attentively observed the revolutions of
the palace, watched the progress of faction and discontent, disguised
the hostile aspect of a Barbarian invader, and assumed the more popular
appearance of the friend and ally of the great Stilicho: to whose
virtues, when they were no longer formidable, he could pay a just
tribute of sincere praise and regret. The pressing invitation of the
malecontents, who urged the king of the Goths to invade Italy, was
enforced by a lively sense of his personal injuries; and he might
especially complain, that the Imperial ministers still delayed and
eluded the payment of the four thousand pounds of gold which had been
granted by the Roman senate, either to reward his services, or to
appease his fury. His decent firmness was supported by an artful
moderation, which contributed to the success of his designs. He
required a fair and reasonable satisfaction; but he gave the strongest
assurances, that, as soon as he had obtained it, he would immediately
retire. He refused to trust the faith of the Romans, unless Aetius and
Jason, the sons of two great officers of state, were sent as hostages to
his camp; but he offered to deliver, in exchange, several of the noblest
youths of the Gothic nation. The modesty of Alaric was interpreted, by
the ministers of Ravenna, as a sure evidence of his weakness and fear.
They disdained either to negotiate a treaty, or to assemble an army; and
with a rash confidence, derived only from their ignorance of the extreme
danger, irretrievably wasted the decisive moments of peace and war.
While they expected, in sullen silence, that the Barbarians would
evacuate the confines of Italy, Alaric, with bold and rapid marches,
passed the Alps and the Po; hastily pillaged the cities of Aquileia,
Altinum, Concordia, and Cremona, which yielded to his arms; increased
his forces by the accession of thirty thousand auxiliaries; and, without
meeting a single enemy in the field, advanced as far as the edge of the
morass which protected the impregnable residence of the emperor of the
West. Instead of attempting the hopeless siege of Ravenna, the prudent
leader of the Goths proceeded to Rimini, stretched his ravages along the
sea-coast of the Hadriatic, and meditated the conquest of the ancient
mistress of the world. An Italian hermit, whose zeal and sanctity were
respected by the Barbarians themselves, encountered the victorious
monarch, and boldly denounced the indignation of Heaven against the
oppressors of the earth; but the saint himself was confounded by the
solemn asseveration of Alaric, that he felt a secret and praeternatural
impulse, which directed, and even compelled, his march to the gates of
Rome. He felt, that his genius and his fortune were equal to the most
arduous enterprises; and the enthusiasm which he communicated to
the Goths, insensibly removed the popular, and almost superstitious,
reverence of the nations for the majesty of the Roman name. His troops,
animated by the hopes of spoil, followed the course of the Flaminian
way, occupied the unguarded passes of the Apennine, 4 descended into
the rich plains of Umbria; and, as they lay encamped on the banks of
the Clitumnus, might wantonly slaughter and devour the milk-white oxen,
which had been so long reserved for the use of Roman triumphs. A lofty
situation, and a seasonable tempest of thunder and lightning, preserved
the little city of Narni; but the king of the Goths, despising the
ignoble prey, still advanced with unabated vigor; and after he had
passed through the stately arches, adorned with the spoils of Barbaric
victories, he pitched his camp under the walls of Rome. 6

4 (return) [ Addison (see his Works, vol. ii. p. 54, edit. Baskerville)
has given a very picturesque description of the road through the
Apennine. The Goths were not at leisure to observe the beauties of
the prospect; but they were pleased to find that the Saxa Intercisa, a
narrow passage which Vespasian had cut through the rock, (Cluver. Italia
Antiq. tom. i. p. 168,) was totally neglected.

     Hine albi, Clitumne, greges, et maxima taurus
     Victima, saepe tuo perfusi flumine sacro,
     Romanos ad templa Deum duxere triumphos.
     —Georg. ii. 147.

Besides Virgil, most of the Latin poets, Propertius, Lucan, Silius
Italicus, Claudian, &c., whose passages may be found in Cluverius and
Addison, have celebrated the triumphal victims of the Clitumnus.]

6 (return) [ Some ideas of the march of Alaric are borrowed from the
journey of Honorius over the same ground. (See Claudian in vi. Cons.
Hon. 494-522.) The measured distance between Ravenna and Rome was 254
Roman miles. Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 126.]

During a period of six hundred and nineteen years, the seat of empire
had never been violated by the presence of a foreign enemy. The
unsuccessful expedition of Hannibal 7 served only to display the
character of the senate and people; of a senate degraded, rather than
ennobled, by the comparison of an assembly of kings; and of a people, to
whom the ambassador of Pyrrhus ascribed the inexhaustible resources of
the Hydra. 8 Each of the senators, in the time of the Punic war, had
accomplished his term of the military service, either in a subordinate
or a superior station; and the decree, which invested with temporary
command all those who had been consuls, or censors, or dictators, gave
the republic the immediate assistance of many brave and experienced
generals. In the beginning of the war, the Roman people consisted of
two hundred and fifty thousand citizens of an age to bear arms. 9 Fifty
thousand had already died in the defence of their country; and the
twenty-three legions which were employed in the different camps of
Italy, Greece, Sardinia, Sicily, and Spain, required about one hundred
thousand men. But there still remained an equal number in Rome, and the
adjacent territory, who were animated by the same intrepid courage; and
every citizen was trained, from his earliest youth, in the discipline
and exercises of a soldier. Hannibal was astonished by the constancy of
the senate, who, without raising the siege of Capua, or recalling their
scattered forces, expected his approach. He encamped on the banks of
the Anio, at the distance of three miles from the city; and he was soon
informed, that the ground on which he had pitched his tent, was sold for
an adequate price at a public auction; 911 and that a body of troops was
dismissed by an opposite road, to reenforce the legions of Spain. 10 He
led his Africans to the gates of Rome, where he found three armies in
order of battle, prepared to receive him; but Hannibal dreaded the event
of a combat, from which he could not hope to escape, unless he destroyed
the last of his enemies; and his speedy retreat confessed the invincible
courage of the Romans.

7 (return) [ The march and retreat of Hannibal are described by Livy,
l. xxvi. c. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; and the reader is made a spectator of the
interesting scene.]

8 (return) [ These comparisons were used by Cyneas, the counsellor of
Pyrrhus, after his return from his embassy, in which he had diligently
studied the discipline and manners of Rome. See Plutarch in Pyrrho. tom.
ii. p. 459.]

9 (return) [ In the three census which were made of the Roman people,
about the time of the second Punic war, the numbers stand as follows,
(see Livy, Epitom. l. xx. Hist. l. xxvii. 36. xxix. 37:) 270,213,
137,108 214,000. The fall of the second, and the rise of the third,
appears so enormous, that several critics, notwithstanding the unanimity
of the Mss., have suspected some corruption of the text of Livy. (See
Drakenborch ad xxvii. 36, and Beaufort, Republique Romaine, tom. i. p.
325.) They did not consider that the second census was taken only at
Rome, and that the numbers were diminished, not only by the death, but
likewise by the absence, of many soldiers. In the third census, Livy
expressly affirms, that the legions were mustered by the care of
particular commissaries. From the numbers on the list we must always
deduct one twelfth above threescore, and incapable of bearing arms. See
Population de la France, p. 72.]

911 (return) [ Compare the remarkable transaction in Jeremiah xxxii. 6,
to 44, where the prophet purchases his uncle's estate at the approach
of the Babylonian captivity, in his undoubting confidence in the
future restoration of the people. In the one case it is the triumph of
religious faith, in the other of national pride.—M.]

10 (return) [ Livy considers these two incidents as the effects only
of chance and courage. I suspect that they were both managed by the
admirable policy of the senate.]

From the time of the Punic war, the uninterrupted succession of senators
had preserved the name and image of the republic; and the degenerate
subjects of Honorius ambitiously derived their descent from the heroes
who had repulsed the arms of Hannibal, and subdued the nations of the
earth. The temporal honors which the devout Paula 11 inherited and
despised, are carefully recapitulated by Jerom, the guide of her
conscience, and the historian of her life. The genealogy of her father,
Rogatus, which ascended as high as Agamemnon, might seem to betray
a Grecian origin; but her mother, Blaesilla, numbered the Scipios,
Aemilius Paulus, and the Gracchi, in the list of her ancestors; and
Toxotius, the husband of Paula, deduced his royal lineage from Aeneas,
the father of the Julian line. The vanity of the rich, who desired to
be noble, was gratified by these lofty pretensions. Encouraged by the
applause of their parasites, they easily imposed on the credulity of
the vulgar; and were countenanced, in some measure, by the custom of
adopting the name of their patron, which had always prevailed among the
freedmen and clients of illustrious families. Most of those families,
however, attacked by so many causes of external violence or internal
decay, were gradually extirpated; and it would be more reasonable to
seek for a lineal descent of twenty generations, among the mountains of
the Alps, or in the peaceful solitude of Apulia, than on the theatre
of Rome, the seat of fortune, of danger, and of perpetual revolutions.
Under each successive reign, and from every province of the empire, a
crowd of hardy adventurers, rising to eminence by their talents or their
vices, usurped the wealth, the honors, and the palaces of Rome; and
oppressed, or protected, the poor and humble remains of consular
families; who were ignorant, perhaps, of the glory of their ancestors.
12

11 (return) [ See Jerom, tom. i. p. 169, 170, ad Eustochium; he bestows
on Paula the splendid titles of Gracchorum stirps, soboles Scipionum,
Pauli haeres, cujus vocabulum trahit, Martiae Papyriae Matris Africani
vera et germana propago. This particular description supposes a more
solid title than the surname of Julius, which Toxotius shared with a
thousand families of the western provinces. See the Index of Tacitus, of
Gruter's Inscriptions, &c.]

12 (return) [ Tacitus (Annal. iii. 55) affirms, that between the battle
of Actium and the reign of Vespasian, the senate was gradually filled
with new families from the Municipia and colonies of Italy.]

In the time of Jerom and Claudian, the senators unanimously yielded the
preeminence to the Anician line; and a slight view of their history will
serve to appreciate the rank and antiquity of the noble families, which
contended only for the second place. 13 During the five first ages of
the city, the name of the Anicians was unknown; they appear to have
derived their origin from Praeneste; and the ambition of those new
citizens was long satisfied with the Plebeian honors of tribunes of the
people. 14 One hundred and sixty-eight years before the Christian aera,
the family was ennobled by the Praetorship of Anicius, who gloriously
terminated the Illyrian war, by the conquest of the nation, and the
captivity of their king. 15 From the triumph of that general, three
consulships, in distant periods, mark the succession of the Anician
name. 16 From the reign of Diocletian to the final extinction of the
Western empire, that name shone with a lustre which was not eclipsed,
in the public estimation, by the majesty of the Imperial purple. 17 The
several branches, to whom it was communicated, united, by marriage or
inheritance, the wealth and titles of the Annian, the Petronian, and the
Olybrian houses; and in each generation the number of consulships was
multiplied by an hereditary claim. 18 The Anician family excelled
in faith and in riches: they were the first of the Roman senate who
embraced Christianity; and it is probable that Anicius Julian, who was
afterwards consul and praefect of the city, atoned for his attachment
to the party of Maxentius, by the readiness with which he accepted the
religion of Constantine. 19 Their ample patrimony was increased by the
industry of Probus, the chief of the Anician family; who shared with
Gratian the honors of the consulship, and exercised, four times,
the high office of Praetorian praefect. 20 His immense estates were
scattered over the wide extent of the Roman world; and though the public
might suspect or disapprove the methods by which they had been acquired,
the generosity and magnificence of that fortunate statesman deserved the
gratitude of his clients, and the admiration of strangers. 21 Such was
the respect entertained for his memory, that the two sons of Probus, in
their earliest youth, and at the request of the senate, were associated
in the consular dignity; a memorable distinction, without example, in
the annals of Rome. 22

13 (return) [

     Nec quisquam Procerum tentet (licet aere vetusto
     Floreat, et claro cingatur Roma senatu)
     Se jactare parem; sed prima sede relicta
     Aucheniis, de jure licet certare secundo.
    —-Claud. in Prob. et Olybrii Coss. 18.

Such a compliment paid to the obscure name of the Auchenii has amazed
the critics; but they all agree, that whatever may be the true reading,
the sense of Claudian can be applied only to the Anician family.]

14 (return) [ The earliest date in the annals of Pighius, is that of M.
Anicius Gallus. Trib. Pl. A. U. C. 506. Another tribune, Q. Anicius, A.
U. C. 508, is distinguished by the epithet of Praenestinus. Livy (xlv.
43) places the Anicii below the great families of Rome.]

15 (return) [ Livy, xliv. 30, 31, xlv. 3, 26, 43. He fairly appreciates
the merit of Anicius, and justly observes, that his fame was clouded
by the superior lustre of the Macedonian, which preceded the Illyrian
triumph.]

16 (return) [ The dates of the three consulships are, A. U. C. 593, 818,
967 the two last under the reigns of Nero and Caracalla. The second
of these consuls distinguished himself only by his infamous flattery,
(Tacit. Annal. xv. 74;) but even the evidence of crimes, if they bear
the stamp of greatness and antiquity, is admitted, without reluctance,
to prove the genealogy of a noble house.]

17 (return) [ In the sixth century, the nobility of the Anician name is
mentioned (Cassiodor. Variar. l. x. Ep. 10, 12) with singular respect by
the minister of a Gothic king of Italy.]

18 (return) [

     Fixus in omnes
     Cognatos procedit honos; quemcumque requiras
     Hac de stirpe virum, certum est de Consule
     nasci. Per fasces numerantur Avi, semperque
     renata Nobilitate virent, et prolem fata sequuntur.

(Claudian in Prob. et Olyb. Consulat. 12, &c.) The Annii, whose
name seems to have merged in the Anician, mark the Fasti with many
consulships, from the time of Vespasian to the fourth century.]

19 (return) [ The title of first Christian senator may be justified by
the authority of Prudentius (in Symmach. i. 553) and the dislike of the
Pagans to the Anician family. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom.
iv. p. 183, v. p. 44. Baron. Annal. A.D. 312, No. 78, A.D. 322, No. 2.]

20 (return) [ Probus... claritudine generis et potentia et opum
magnitudine, cognitus Orbi Romano, per quem universum poene patrimonia
sparsa possedit, juste an secus non judicioli est nostri. Ammian
Marcellin. xxvii. 11. His children and widow erected for him a
magnificent tomb in the Vatican, which was demolished in the time of
Pope Nicholas V. to make room for the new church of St. Peter Baronius,
who laments the ruin of this Christian monument, has diligently
preserved the inscriptions and basso-relievos. See Annal. Eccles. A.D.
395, No. 5-17.]

21 (return) [ Two Persian satraps travelled to Milan and Rome, to hear
St. Ambrose, and to see Probus, (Paulin. in Vit. Ambros.) Claudian (in
Cons. Probin. et Olybr. 30-60) seems at a loss how to express the glory
of Probus.]

22 (return) [ See the poem which Claudian addressed to the two noble
youths.]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part II.

"The marbles of the Anician palace," were used as a proverbial
expression of opulence and splendor; 23 but the nobles and senators of
Rome aspired, in due gradation, to imitate that illustrious family. The
accurate description of the city, which was composed in the Theodosian
age, enumerates one thousand seven hundred and eighty houses, the
residence of wealthy and honorable citizens. 24 Many of these stately
mansions might almost excuse the exaggeration of the poet; that Rome
contained a multitude of palaces, and that each palace was equal to a
city: since it included within its own precincts every thing which could
be subservient either to use or luxury; markets, hippodromes, temples,
fountains, baths, porticos, shady groves, and artificial aviaries. 25
The historian Olympiodorus, who represents the state of Rome when it
was besieged by the Goths, 26 continues to observe, that several of the
richest senators received from their estates an annual income of four
thousand pounds of gold, above one hundred and sixty thousand pounds
sterling; without computing the stated provision of corn and wine,
which, had they been sold, might have equalled in value one third of
the money. Compared to this immoderate wealth, an ordinary revenue of
a thousand or fifteen hundred pounds of gold might be considered as no
more than adequate to the dignity of the senatorian rank, which required
many expenses of a public and ostentatious kind. Several examples
are recorded, in the age of Honorius, of vain and popular nobles, who
celebrated the year of their praetorship by a festival, which lasted
seven days, and cost above one hundred thousand pounds sterling. 27 The
estates of the Roman senators, which so far exceeded the proportion
of modern wealth, were not confined to the limits of Italy. Their
possessions extended far beyond the Ionian and Aegean Seas, to the most
distant provinces: the city of Nicopolis, which Augustus had founded
as an eternal monument of the Actian victory, was the property of the
devout Paula; 28 and it is observed by Seneca, that the rivers, which
had divided hostile nations, now flowed through the lands of private
citizens. 29 According to their temper and circumstances, the estates
of the Romans were either cultivated by the labor of their slaves, or
granted, for a certain and stipulated rent, to the industrious farmer.
The economical writers of antiquity strenuously recommend the former
method, wherever it may be practicable; but if the object should be
removed, by its distance or magnitude, from the immediate eye of
the master, they prefer the active care of an old hereditary tenant,
attached to the soil, and interested in the produce, to the mercenary
administration of a negligent, perhaps an unfaithful, steward. 30

23 (return) [ Secundinus, the Manichaean, ap. Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D.
390, No. 34.]

24 (return) [ See Nardini, Roma Antica, p. 89, 498, 500.]

25 (return) [

    Quid loquar inclusas inter laquearia sylvas;
    Vernula queis vario carmine ludit avis.

Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinerar. ver. 111. The poet lived at the
time of the Gothic invasion. A moderate palace would have covered
Cincinnatus's farm of four acres (Val. Max. iv. 4.) In laxitatem ruris
excurrunt, says Seneca, Epist. 114. See a judicious note of Mr. Hume,
Essays, vol. i. p. 562, last 8vo edition.]

26 (return) [ This curious account of Rome, in the reign of Honorius, is
found in a fragment of the historian Olympiodorus, ap. Photium, p. 197.]

27 (return) [ The sons of Alypius, of Symmachus, and of Maximus, spent,
during their respective praetorships, twelve, or twenty, or forty,
centenaries, (or hundred weight of gold.) See Olympiodor. ap. Phot. p.
197. This popular estimation allows some latitude; but it is difficult
to explain a law in the Theodosian Code, (l. vi. leg. 5,) which fixes
the expense of the first praetor at 25,000, of the second at 20,000,
and of the third at 15,000 folles. The name of follis (see Mem. de
l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 727) was equally applied to
a purse of 125 pieces of silver, and to a small copper coin of the value
of 1/2625 part of that purse. In the former sense, the 25,000 folles
would be equal to 150,000 L.; in the latter, to five or six ponuds
sterling The one appears extravagant, the other is ridiculous. There
must have existed some third and middle value, which is here understood;
but ambiguity is an excusable fault in the language of laws.]

28 (return) [ Nicopolis...... in Actiaco littore sita possessioris
vestra nunc pars vel maxima est. Jerom. in Praefat. Comment. ad Epistol.
ad Titum, tom. ix. p. 243. M. D. Tillemont supposes, strangely enough,
that it was part of Agamemnon's inheritance. Mem. Eccles. tom. xii. p.
85.]

29 (return) [ Seneca, Epist. lxxxix. His language is of the declamatory
kind: but declamation could scarcely exaggerate the avarice and luxury
of the Romans. The philosopher himself deserved some share of the
reproach, if it be true that his rigorous exaction of Quadringenties,
above three hundred thousand pounds which he had lent at high interest,
provoked a rebellion in Britain, (Dion Cassius, l. lxii. p. 1003.)
According to the conjecture of Gale (Antoninus's Itinerary in Britain,
p. 92,) the same Faustinus possessed an estate near Bury, in Suffolk and
another in the kingdom of Naples.]

30 (return) [ Volusius, a wealthy senator, (Tacit. Annal. iii. 30,)
always preferred tenants born on the estate. Columella, who received
this maxim from him, argues very judiciously on the subject. De Re
Rustica, l. i. c. 7, p. 408, edit. Gesner. Leipsig, 1735.]

The opulent nobles of an immense capital, who were never excited by
the pursuit of military glory, and seldom engaged in the occupations of
civil government, naturally resigned their leisure to the business
and amusements of private life. At Rome, commerce was always held
in contempt: but the senators, from the first age of the republic,
increased their patrimony, and multiplied their clients, by the
lucrative practice of usury; and the obselete laws were eluded, or
violated, by the mutual inclinations and interest of both parties. 31 A
considerable mass of treasure must always have existed at Rome, either
in the current coin of the empire, or in the form of gold and silver
plate; and there were many sideboards in the time of Pliny which
contained more solid silver, than had been transported by Scipio from
vanquished Carthage. 32 The greater part of the nobles, who dissipated
their fortunes in profuse luxury, found themselves poor in the midst of
wealth, and idle in a constant round of dissipation. Their desires were
continually gratified by the labor of a thousand hands; of the numerous
train of their domestic slaves, who were actuated by the fear of
punishment; and of the various professions of artificers and merchants,
who were more powerfully impelled by the hopes of gain. The ancients
were destitute of many of the conveniences of life, which have been
invented or improved by the progress of industry; and the plenty of
glass and linen has diffused more real comforts among the modern
nations of Europe, than the senators of Rome could derive from all the
refinements of pompous or sensual luxury. 33 Their luxury, and their
manners, have been the subject of minute and laborious disposition:
but as such inquiries would divert me too long from the design of
the present work, I shall produce an authentic state of Rome and its
inhabitants, which is more peculiarly applicable to the period of the
Gothic invasion. Ammianus Marcellinus, who prudently chose the capital
of the empire as the residence the best adapted to the historian of
his own times, has mixed with the narrative of public events a lively
representation of the scenes with which he was familiarly conversant.
The judicious reader will not always approve of the asperity of censure,
the choice of circumstances, or the style of expression; he will perhaps
detect the latent prejudices, and personal resentments, which soured the
temper of Ammianus himself; but he will surely observe, with philosophic
curiosity, the interesting and original picture of the manners of Rome.
34

31 (return) [ Valesius (ad Ammian. xiv. 6) has proved, from Chrysostom
and Augustin, that the senators were not allowed to lend money at usury.
Yet it appears from the Theodosian Code, (see Godefroy ad l. ii. tit.
xxxiii. tom. i. p. 230-289,) that they were permitted to take six
percent., or one half of the legal interest; and, what is more singular,
this permission was granted to the young senators.]

32 (return) [ Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 50. He states the silver at
only 4380 pounds, which is increased by Livy (xxx. 45) to 100,023: the
former seems too little for an opulent city, the latter too much for any
private sideboard.]

33 (return) [ The learned Arbuthnot (Tables of Ancient Coins, &c. p.
153) has observed with humor, and I believe with truth, that Augustus
had neither glass to his windows, nor a shirt to his back. Under the
lower empire, the use of linen and glass became somewhat more common. *
Note: The discovery of glass in such common use at Pompeii, spoils the
argument of Arbuthnot. See Sir W. Gell. Pompeiana, 2d ser. p. 98.—M.]

34 (return) [ It is incumbent on me to explain the liberties which I
have taken with the text of Ammianus. 1. I have melted down into
one piece the sixth chapter of the fourteenth and the fourth of the
twenty-eighth book. 2. I have given order and connection to the confused
mass of materials. 3. I have softened some extravagant hyperbeles, and
pared away some superfluities of the original. 4. I have developed some
observations which were insinuated rather than expressed. With these
allowances, my version will be found, not literal indeed, but faithful
and exact.]

"The greatness of Rome"—such is the language of the historian—"was
founded on the rare, and almost incredible, alliance of virtue and of
fortune. The long period of her infancy was employed in a laborious
struggle against the tribes of Italy, the neighbors and enemies of
the rising city. In the strength and ardor of youth, she sustained
the storms of war; carried her victorious arms beyond the seas and the
mountains; and brought home triumphal laurels from every country of the
globe. At length, verging towards old age, and sometimes conquering
by the terror only of her name, she sought the blessings of ease and
tranquillity. The venerable city, which had trampled on the necks of
the fiercest nations, and established a system of laws, the perpetual
guardians of justice and freedom, was content, like a wise and wealthy
parent, to devolve on the Caesars, her favorite sons, the care of
governing her ample patrimony. 35 A secure and profound peace, such as
had been once enjoyed in the reign of Numa, succeeded to the tumults of
a republic; while Rome was still adored as the queen of the earth; and
the subject nations still reverenced the name of the people, and the
majesty of the senate. But this native splendor," continues Ammianus,
"is degraded, and sullied, by the conduct of some nobles, who, unmindful
of their own dignity, and of that of their country, assume an unbounded
license of vice and folly. They contend with each other in the empty
vanity of titles and surnames; and curiously select, or invent, the most
lofty and sonorous appellations, Reburrus, or Fabunius, Pagonius, or
Tarasius, 36 which may impress the ears of the vulgar with astonishment
and respect. From a vain ambition of perpetuating their memory, they
affect to multiply their likeness, in statues of bronze and marble;
nor are they satisfied, unless those statues are covered with plates
of gold; an honorable distinction, first granted to Acilius the consul,
after he had subdued, by his arms and counsels, the power of King
Antiochus. The ostentation of displaying, of magnifying, perhaps, the
rent-roll of the estates which they possess in all the provinces, from
the rising to the setting sun, provokes the just resentment of every
man, who recollects, that their poor and invincible ancestors were not
distinguished from the meanest of the soldiers, by the delicacy of their
food, or the splendor of their apparel. But the modern nobles measure
their rank and consequence according to the loftiness of their chariots,
37 and the weighty magnificence of their dress. Their long robes of
silk and purple float in the wind; and as they are agitated, by art
or accident, they occasionally discover the under garments, the rich
tunics, embroidered with the figures of various animals. 38 Followed by
a train of fifty servants, and tearing up the pavement, they move along
the streets with the same impetuous speed as if they travelled with
post-horses; and the example of the senators is boldly imitated by the
matrons and ladies, whose covered carriages are continually driving
round the immense space of the city and suburbs. Whenever these persons
of high distinction condescend to visit the public baths, they assume,
on their entrance, a tone of loud and insolent command, and appropriate
to their own use the conveniences which were designed for the Roman
people. If, in these places of mixed and general resort, they meet
any of the infamous ministers of their pleasures, they express
their affection by a tender embrace; while they proudly decline the
salutations of their fellow-citizens, who are not permitted to aspire
above the honor of kissing their hands, or their knees. As soon as they
have indulged themselves in the refreshment of the bath, they resume
their rings, and the other ensigns of their dignity, select from their
private wardrobe of the finest linen, such as might suffice for a dozen
persons, the garments the most agreeable to their fancy, and maintain
till their departure the same haughty demeanor; which perhaps might have
been excused in the great Marcellus, after the conquest of Syracuse.
Sometimes, indeed, these heroes undertake more arduous achievements;
they visit their estates in Italy, and procure themselves, by the toil
of servile hands, the amusements of the chase. 39 If at any time,
but more especially on a hot day, they have courage to sail, in their
painted galleys, from the Lucrine Lake 40 to their elegant villas on the
seacoast of Puteoli and Cayeta, 41 they compare their own expeditions to
the marches of Caesar and Alexander. Yet should a fly presume to
settle on the silken folds of their gilded umbrellas; should a sunbeam
penetrate through some unguarded and imperceptible chink, they deplore
their intolerable hardships, and lament, in affected language, that they
were not born in the land of the Cimmerians, 42 the regions of eternal
darkness. In these journeys into the country, 43 the whole body of the
household marches with their master. In the same manner as the cavalry
and infantry, the heavy and the light armed troops, the advanced guard
and the rear, are marshalled by the skill of their military leaders;
so the domestic officers, who bear a rod, as an ensign of authority,
distribute and arrange the numerous train of slaves and attendants. The
baggage and wardrobe move in the front; and are immediately followed by
a multitude of cooks, and inferior ministers, employed in the service
of the kitchens, and of the table. The main body is composed of a
promiscuous crowd of slaves, increased by the accidental concourse of
idle or dependent plebeians. The rear is closed by the favorite band
of eunuchs, distributed from age to youth, according to the order of
seniority. Their numbers and their deformity excite the horror of the
indignant spectators, who are ready to execrate the memory of Semiramis,
for the cruel art which she invented, of frustrating the purposes of
nature, and of blasting in the bud the hopes of future generations. In
the exercise of domestic jurisdiction, the nobles of Rome express
an exquisite sensibility for any personal injury, and a contemptuous
indifference for the rest of the human species. When they have called
for warm water, if a slave has been tardy in his obedience, he is
instantly chastised with three hundred lashes: but should the same slave
commit a wilful murder, the master will mildly observe, that he is a
worthless fellow; but that, if he repeats the offence, he shall not
escape punishment. Hospitality was formerly the virtue of the Romans;
and every stranger, who could plead either merit or misfortune, was
relieved, or rewarded by their generosity. At present, if a foreigner,
perhaps of no contemptible rank, is introduced to one of the proud and
wealthy senators, he is welcomed indeed in the first audience, with such
warm professions, and such kind inquiries, that he retires, enchanted
with the affability of his illustrious friend, and full of regret that
he had so long delayed his journey to Rome, the active seat of manners,
as well as of empire. Secure of a favorable reception, he repeats his
visit the ensuing day, and is mortified by the discovery, that his
person, his name, and his country, are already forgotten. If he still
has resolution to persevere, he is gradually numbered in the train
of dependants, and obtains the permission to pay his assiduous and
unprofitable court to a haughty patron, incapable of gratitude or
friendship; who scarcely deigns to remark his presence, his departure,
or his return. Whenever the rich prepare a solemn and popular
entertainment; 44 whenever they celebrate, with profuse and pernicious
luxury, their private banquets; the choice of the guests is the subject
of anxious deliberation. The modest, the sober, and the learned, are
seldom preferred; and the nomenclators, who are commonly swayed
by interested motives, have the address to insert, in the list of
invitations, the obscure names of the most worthless of mankind. But the
frequent and familiar companions of the great, are those parasites, who
practise the most useful of all arts, the art of flattery; who eagerly
applaud each word, and every action, of their immortal patron; gaze with
rapture on his marble columns and variegated pavements; and strenuously
praise the pomp and elegance which he is taught to consider as a part of
his personal merit. At the Roman tables, the birds, the squirrels, 45
or the fish, which appear of an uncommon size, are contemplated with
curious attention; a pair of scales is accurately applied, to ascertain
their real weight; and, while the more rational guests are disgusted by
the vain and tedious repetition, notaries are summoned to attest, by an
authentic record, the truth of such a marvelous event. Another method of
introduction into the houses and society of the great, is derived from
the profession of gaming, or, as it is more politely styled, of play.
The confederates are united by a strict and indissoluble bond of
friendship, or rather of conspiracy; a superior degree of skill in the
Tesserarian art (which may be interpreted the game of dice and tables)
46 is a sure road to wealth and reputation. A master of that sublime
science, who in a supper, or assembly, is placed below a magistrate,
displays in his countenance the surprise and indignation which Cato
might be supposed to feel, when he was refused the praetorship by
the votes of a capricious people. The acquisition of knowledge seldom
engages the curiosity of nobles, who abhor the fatigue, and disdain
the advantages, of study; and the only books which they peruse are the
Satires of Juvenal, and the verbose and fabulous histories of Marius
Maximus. 47 The libraries, which they have inherited from their fathers,
are secluded, like dreary sepulchres, from the light of day. 48 But
the costly instruments of the theatre, flutes, and enormous lyres, and
hydraulic organs, are constructed for their use; and the harmony of
vocal and instrumental music is incessantly repeated in the palaces of
Rome. In those palaces, sound is preferred to sense, and the care of the
body to that of the mind."

It is allowed as a salutary maxim, that the light and frivolous
suspicion of a contagious malady, is of sufficient weight to excuse
the visits of the most intimate friends; and even the servants, who
are despatched to make the decent inquiries, are not suffered to return
home, till they have undergone the ceremony of a previous ablution.
Yet this selfish and unmanly delicacy occasionally yields to the more
imperious passion of avarice. The prospect of gain will urge a rich
and gouty senator as far as Spoleto; every sentiment of arrogance and
dignity is subdued by the hopes of an inheritance, or even of a legacy;
and a wealthy childless citizen is the most powerful of the Romans. The
art of obtaining the signature of a favorable testament, and sometimes
of hastening the moment of its execution, is perfectly understood; and
it has happened, that in the same house, though in different apartments,
a husband and a wife, with the laudable design of overreaching each
other, have summoned their respective lawyers, to declare, at the same
time, their mutual, but contradictory, intentions. The distress which
follows and chastises extravagant luxury, often reduces the great to the
use of the most humiliating expedients. When they desire to borrow, they
employ the base and supplicating style of the slave in the comedy;
but when they are called upon to pay, they assume the royal and tragic
declamation of the grandsons of Hercules. If the demand is repeated,
they readily procure some trusty sycophant, instructed to maintain a
charge of poison, or magic, against the insolent creditor; who is seldom
released from prison, till he has signed a discharge of the whole debt.
These vices, which degrade the moral character of the Romans, are mixed
with a puerile superstition, that disgraces their understanding. They
listen with confidence to the predictions of haruspices, who pretend
to read, in the entrails of victims, the signs of future greatness and
prosperity; and there are many who do not presume either to bathe, or
to dine, or to appear in public, till they have diligently consulted,
according to the rules of astrology, the situation of Mercury, and the
aspect of the moon. 49 It is singular enough, that this vain credulity
may often be discovered among the profane sceptics, who impiously doubt,
or deny, the existence of a celestial power."

35 (return) [ Claudian, who seems to have read the history of Ammianus,
speaks of this great revolution in a much less courtly style:—

     Postquam jura ferox in se communia Caesar
     Transtulit; et lapsi mores; desuetaque priscis
     Artibus, in gremium pacis servile recessi.
     —De Be. Gildonico, p. 49.]

36 (return) [ The minute diligence of antiquarians has not been able
to verify these extraordinary names. I am of opinion that they were
invented by the historian himself, who was afraid of any personal satire
or application. It is certain, however, that the simple denominations
of the Romans were gradually lengthened to the number of four, five, or
even seven, pompous surnames; as, for instance, Marcus Maecius Maemmius
Furius Balburius Caecilianus Placidus. See Noris Cenotaph Piran Dissert.
iv. p. 438.]

37 (return) [ The or coaches of the romans, were often of solid silver,
curiously carved and engraved; and the trappings of the mules, or
horses, were embossed with gold. This magnificence continued from the
reign of Nero to that of Honorius; and the Appian way was covered with
the splendid equipages of the nobles, who came out to meet St. Melania,
when she returned to Rome, six years before the Gothic siege, (Seneca,
epist. lxxxvii. Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 49. Paulin. Nolan. apud
Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D. 397, No. 5.) Yet pomp is well exchange for
convenience; and a plain modern coach, that is hung upon springs, is
much preferable to the silver or gold carts of antiquity, which rolled
on the axle-tree, and were exposed, for the most part, to the inclemency
of the weather.]

38 (return) [ In a homily of Asterius, bishop of Amasia, M. de Valois
has discovered (ad Ammian. xiv. 6) that this was a new fashion; that
bears, wolves lions, and tigers, woods, hunting-matches, &c., were
represented in embroidery: and that the more pious coxcombs substituted
the figure or legend of some favorite saint.]

39 (return) [ See Pliny's Epistles, i. 6. Three large wild boars were
allured and taken in the toils without interrupting the studies of the
philosophic sportsman.]

40 (return) [ The change from the inauspicious word Avernus, which
stands in the text, is immaterial. The two lakes, Avernus and Lucrinus,
communicated with each other, and were fashioned by the stupendous
moles of Agrippa into the Julian port, which opened, through a narrow
entrance, into the Gulf of Puteoli. Virgil, who resided on the spot, has
described (Georgic ii. 161) this work at the moment of its execution:
and his commentators, especially Catrou, have derived much light from
Strabo, Suetonius, and Dion. Earthquakes and volcanoes have changed the
face of the country, and turned the Lucrine Lake, since the year 1538,
into the Monte Nuovo. See Camillo Pellegrino Discorsi della Campania
Felice, p. 239, 244, &c. Antonii Sanfelicii Campania, p. 13, 88—Note:
Compare Lyell's Geology, ii. 72.—M.]

41 (return) [ The regna Cumana et Puteolana; loca caetiroqui valde
expe tenda, interpellantium autem multitudine paene fugienda. Cicero ad
Attic. xvi. 17.]

42 (return) [ The proverbial expression of Cimmerian darkness was
originally borrowed from the description of Homer, (in the eleventh book
of the Odyssey,) which he applies to a remote and fabulous country on
the shores of the ocean. See Erasmi Adagia, in his works, tom. ii. p.
593, the Leyden edition.]

43 (return) [ We may learn from Seneca (epist. cxxiii.) three curious
circumstances relative to the journeys of the Romans. 1. They were
preceded by a troop of Numidian light horse, who announced, by a cloud
of dust, the approach of a great man. 2. Their baggage mules transported
not only the precious vases, but even the fragile vessels of crystal and
murra, which last is almost proved, by the learned French translator
of Seneca, (tom. iii. p. 402-422,) to mean the porcelain of China and
Japan. 3. The beautiful faces of the young slaves were covered with a
medicated crust, or ointment, which secured them against the effects of
the sun and frost.]

44 (return) [ Distributio solemnium sportularum. The sportuloe, or
sportelloe, were small baskets, supposed to contain a quantity of hot
provisions of the value of 100 quadrantes, or twelvepence halfpenny,
which were ranged in order in the hall, and ostentatiously distributed
to the hungry or servile crowd who waited at the door. This indelicate
custom is very frequently mentioned in the epigrams of Martial, and the
satires of Juvenal. See likewise Suetonius, in Claud. c. 21, in Neron.
c. 16, in Domitian, c. 4, 7. These baskets of provisions were afterwards
converted into large pieces of gold and silver coin, or plate, which
were mutually given and accepted even by persons of the highest rank,
(see Symmach. epist. iv. 55, ix. 124, and Miscell. p. 256,) on solemn
occasions, of consulships, marriages, &c.]

45 (return) [ The want of an English name obliges me to refer to the
common genus of squirrels, the Latin glis, the French loir; a little
animal, who inhabits the woods, and remains torpid in cold weather, (see
Plin. Hist. Natur. viii. 82. Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. viii. 153.
Pennant's Synopsis of Quadrupeds, p. 289.) The art of rearing and
fattening great numbers of glires was practised in Roman villas as a
profitable article of rural economy, (Varro, de Re Rustica, iii. 15.)
The excessive demand of them for luxurious tables was increased by the
foolish prohibitions of the censors; and it is reported that they are
still esteemed in modern Rome, and are frequently sent as presents by
the Colonna princes, (see Brotier, the last editor of Pliny tom. ii. p.
453. epud Barbou, 1779.)—Note: Is it not the dormouse?—M.]

46 (return) [ This game, which might be translated by the more familiar
names of trictrac, or backgammon, was a favorite amusement of the
gravest Romans; and old Mucius Scaevola, the lawyer, had the reputation
of a very skilful player. It was called ludus duodecim scriptorum, from
the twelve scripta, or lines, which equally divided the alvevolus
or table. On these, the two armies, the white and the black, each
consisting of fifteen men, or catculi, were regularly placed, and
alternately moved according to the laws of the game, and the chances of
the tesseroe, or dice. Dr. Hyde, who diligently traces the history and
varieties of the nerdiludium (a name of Persic etymology) from Ireland
to Japan, pours forth, on this trifling subject, a copious torrent
of classic and Oriental learning. See Syntagma Dissertat. tom. ii. p.
217-405.]

47 (return) [ Marius Maximus, homo omnium verbosissimus, qui, et
mythistoricis se voluminibus implicavit. Vopiscus in Hist. August.
p. 242. He wrote the lives of the emperors, from Trajan to Alexander
Severus. See Gerard Vossius de Historicis Latin. l. ii. c. 3, in his
works, vol. iv. p. 47.]

48 (return) [ This satire is probably exaggerated. The Saturnalia of
Macrobius, and the epistles of Jerom, afford satisfactory proofs, that
Christian theology and classic literature were studiously cultivated by
several Romans, of both sexes, and of the highest rank.]

49 (return) [ Macrobius, the friend of these Roman nobles, considered
the siara as the cause, or at least the signs, of future events, (de
Somn. Scipion l. i. c 19. p. 68.)]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part II.

In populous cities, which are the seat of commerce and manufactures,
the middle ranks of inhabitants, who derive their subsistence from the
dexterity or labor of their hands, are commonly the most prolific,
the most useful, and, in that sense, the most respectable part of the
community. But the plebeians of Rome, who disdained such sedentary and
servile arts, had been oppressed from the earliest times by the weight
of debt and usury; and the husbandman, during the term of his military
service, was obliged to abandon the cultivation of his farm. 50 The
lands of Italy which had been originally divided among the families of
free and indigent proprietors, were insensibly purchased or usurped by
the avarice of the nobles; and in the age which preceded the fall of the
republic, it was computed that only two thousand citizens were possessed
of an independent substance. 51 Yet as long as the people bestowed, by
their suffrages, the honors of the state, the command of the legions,
and the administration of wealthy provinces, their conscious pride
alleviated in some measure, the hardships of poverty; and their wants
were seasonably supplied by the ambitious liberality of the candidates,
who aspired to secure a venal majority in the thirty-five tribes, or
the hundred and ninety-three centuries, of Rome. But when the prodigal
commons had not only imprudently alienated the use, but the inheritance
of power, they sunk, under the reign of the Caesars, into a vile and
wretched populace, which must, in a few generations, have been
totally extinguished, if it had not been continually recruited by the
manumission of slaves, and the influx of strangers. As early as the time
of Hadrian, it was the just complaint of the ingenuous natives, that the
capital had attracted the vices of the universe, and the manners of the
most opposite nations. The intemperance of the Gauls, the cunning and
levity of the Greeks, the savage obstinacy of the Egyptians and Jews,
the servile temper of the Asiatics, and the dissolute, effeminate
prostitution of the Syrians, were mingled in the various multitude,
which, under the proud and false denomination of Romans, presumed to
despise their fellow-subjects, and even their sovereigns, who dwelt
beyond the precincts of the Eternal City. 52

50 (return) [ The histories of Livy (see particularly vi. 36) are full
of the extortions of the rich, and the sufferings of the poor debtors.
The melancholy story of a brave old soldier (Dionys. Hal. l. vi. c.
26, p. 347, edit. Hudson, and Livy, ii. 23) must have been frequently
repeated in those primitive times, which have been so undeservedly
praised.]

51 (return) [ Non esse in civitate duo millia hominum qui rem habereni.
Cicero. Offic. ii. 21, and Comment. Paul. Manut. in edit. Graev. This
vague computation was made A. U. C. 649, in a speech of the tribune
Philippus, and it was his object, as well as that of the Gracchi, (see
Plutarch,) to deplore, and perhaps to exaggerate, the misery of the
common people.]

52 (return) [ See the third Satire (60-125) of Juvenal, who indignantly
complains,

     Quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei!
     Jampridem Syrus in Tiberem defluxit Orontes;
     Et linguam et mores, &c.

Seneca, when he proposes to comfort his mother (Consolat. ad Helv. c.
6) by the reflection, that a great part of mankind were in a state of
exile, reminds her how few of the inhabitants of Rome were born in the
city.]

Yet the name of that city was still pronounced with respect: the
frequent and capricious tumults of its inhabitants were indulged with
impunity; and the successors of Constantine, instead of crushing the
last remains of the democracy by the strong arm of military power,
embraced the mild policy of Augustus, and studied to relieve the
poverty, and to amuse the idleness, of an innumerable people. 53 I. For
the convenience of the lazy plebeians, the monthly distributions of corn
were converted into a daily allowance of bread; a great number of
ovens were constructed and maintained at the public expense; and at the
appointed hour, each citizen, who was furnished with a ticket, ascended
the flight of steps, which had been assigned to his peculiar quarter or
division, and received, either as a gift, or at a very low price, a loaf
of bread of the weight of three pounds, for the use of his family. II.
The forest of Lucania, whose acorns fattened large droves of wild hogs,
54 afforded, as a species of tribute, a plentiful supply of cheap and
wholesome meat. During five months of the year, a regular allowance of
bacon was distributed to the poorer citizens; and the annual consumption
of the capital, at a time when it was much declined from its former
lustre, was ascertained, by an edict from Valentinian the Third, at
three millions six hundred and twenty-eight thousand pounds. 55 III. In
the manners of antiquity, the use of oil was indispensable for the lamp,
as well as for the bath; and the annual tax, which was imposed on Africa
for the benefit of Rome, amounted to the weight of three millions of
pounds, to the measure, perhaps, of three hundred thousand English
gallons. IV. The anxiety of Augustus to provide the metropolis with
sufficient plenty of corn, was not extended beyond that necessary
article of human subsistence; and when the popular clamor accused the
dearness and scarcity of wine, a proclamation was issued, by the grave
reformer, to remind his subjects that no man could reasonably complain
of thirst, since the aqueducts of Agrippa had introduced into the city
so many copious streams of pure and salubrious water. 56 This rigid
sobriety was insensibly relaxed; and, although the generous design of
Aurelian 57 does not appear to have been executed in its full extent,
the use of wine was allowed on very easy and liberal terms. The
administration of the public cellars was delegated to a magistrate of
honorable rank; and a considerable part of the vintage of Campania was
reserved for the fortunate inhabitants of Rome.

53 (return) [ Almost all that is said of the bread, bacon, oil, wine,
&c., may be found in the fourteenth book of the Theodosian Code; which
expressly treats of the police of the great cities. See particularly
the titles iii. iv. xv. xvi. xvii. xxiv. The collateral testimonies
are produced in Godefroy's Commentary, and it is needless to transcribe
them. According to a law of Theodosius, which appreciates in money the
military allowance, a piece of gold (eleven shillings) was equivalent to
eighty pounds of bacon, or to eighty pounds of oil, or to twelve modii
(or pecks) of salt, (Cod. Theod. l. viii. tit. iv. leg. 17.) This
equation, compared with another of seventy pounds of bacon for an
amphora, (Cod. Theod. l. xiv. tit. iv. leg. 4,) fixes the price of wine
at about sixteenpence the gallon.]

54 (return) [ The anonymous author of the Description of the World (p.
14. in tom. iii. Geograph. Minor. Hudson) observes of Lucania, in his
barbarous Latin, Regio optima, et ipsa omnibus habundans, et lardum
multum foras. Proptor quod est in montibus, cujus aescam animalium
rariam, &c.]

55 (return) [ See Novell. ad calcem Cod. Theod. D. Valent. l. i. tit.
xv. This law was published at Rome, June 29th, A.D. 452.]

56 (return) [ Sueton. in August. c. 42. The utmost debauch of the
emperor himself, in his favorite wine of Rhaetia, never exceeded
a sextarius, (an English pint.) Id. c. 77. Torrentius ad loc. and
Arbuthnot's Tables, p. 86.]

57 (return) [ His design was to plant vineyards along the sea-coast of
Hetruria, (Vopiscus, in Hist. August. p. 225;) the dreary, unwholesome,
uncultivated Maremme of modern Tuscany]

The stupendous aqueducts, so justly celebrated by the praises of
Augustus himself, replenished the Thermoe, or baths, which had been
constructed in every part of the city, with Imperial magnificence. The
baths of Antoninus Caracalla, which were open, at stated hours, for the
indiscriminate service of the senators and the people, contained above
sixteen hundred seats of marble; and more than three thousand were
reckoned in the baths of Diocletian. 58 The walls of the lofty
apartments were covered with curious mosaics, that imitated the art of
the pencil in the elegance of design, and the variety of colors. The
Egyptian granite was beautifully encrusted with the precious green
marble of Numidia; the perpetual stream of hot water was poured into
the capacious basins, through so many wide mouths of bright and massy
silver; and the meanest Roman could purchase, with a small copper coin,
the daily enjoyment of a scene of pomp and luxury, which might excite
the envy of the kings of Asia. 59 From these stately palaces issued a
swarm of dirty and ragged plebeians, without shoes and without a mantle;
who loitered away whole days in the street of Forum, to hear news and
to hold disputes; who dissipated in extravagant gaming, the miserable
pittance of their wives and children; and spent the hours of the night
in the obscure taverns, and brothels, in the indulgence of gross and
vulgar sensuality. 60

58 (return) [ Olympiodor. apud Phot. p. 197.]

59 (return) [ Seneca (epistol. lxxxvi.) compares the baths of Scipio
Africanus, at his villa of Liternum, with the magnificence (which was
continually increasing) of the public baths of Rome, long before the
stately Thermae of Antoninus and Diocletian were erected. The quadrans
paid for admission was the quarter of the as, about one eighth of an
English penny.]

60 (return) [ Ammianus, (l. xiv. c. 6, and l. xxviii. c. 4,) after
describing the luxury and pride of the nobles of Rome, exposes, with
equal indignation, the vices and follies of the common people.]

But the most lively and splendid amusement of the idle multitude,
depended on the frequent exhibition of public games and spectacles.
The piety of Christian princes had suppressed the inhuman combats of
gladiators; but the Roman people still considered the Circus as their
home, their temple, and the seat of the republic. The impatient crowd
rushed at the dawn of day to secure their places, and there were many
who passed a sleepless and anxious night in the adjacent porticos. From
the morning to the evening, careless of the sun, or of the rain,
the spectators, who sometimes amounted to the number of four hundred
thousand, remained in eager attention; their eyes fixed on the horses
and charioteers, their minds agitated with hope and fear, for the
success of the colors which they espoused: and the happiness of Rome
appeared to hang on the event of a race. 61 The same immoderate ardor
inspired their clamors and their applause, as often as they were
entertained with the hunting of wild beasts, and the various modes of
theatrical representation. These representations in modern capitals
may deserve to be considered as a pure and elegant school of taste,
and perhaps of virtue. But the Tragic and Comic Muse of the Romans, who
seldom aspired beyond the imitation of Attic genius, 62 had been almost
totally silent since the fall of the republic; 63 and their place was
unworthily occupied by licentious farce, effeminate music, and splendid
pageantry. The pantomimes, 64 who maintained their reputation from the
age of Augustus to the sixth century, expressed, without the use of
words, the various fables of the gods and heroes of antiquity; and the
perfection of their art, which sometimes disarmed the gravity of the
philosopher, always excited the applause and wonder of the people. The
vast and magnificent theatres of Rome were filled by three thousand
female dancers, and by three thousand singers, with the masters of the
respective choruses. Such was the popular favor which they enjoyed,
that, in a time of scarcity, when all strangers were banished from the
city, the merit of contributing to the public pleasures exempted them
from a law, which was strictly executed against the professors of the
liberal arts. 65

61 (return) [ Juvenal. Satir. xi. 191, &c. The expressions of the
historian Ammianus are not less strong and animated than those of the
satirist and both the one and the other painted from the life. The
numbers which the great Circus was capable of receiving are taken from
the original Notitioe of the city. The differences between them prove
that they did not transcribe each other; but the same may appear
incredible, though the country on these occasions flocked to the city.]

62 (return) [ Sometimes indeed they composed original pieces.

     Vestigia Graeca
     Ausi deserere et celeb rare domestica facta.

Horat. Epistol. ad Pisones, 285, and the learned, though perplexed note
of Dacier, who might have allowed the name of tragedies to the Brutus
and the Decius of Pacuvius, or to the Cato of Maternus. The Octavia,
ascribed to one of the Senecas, still remains a very unfavorable
specimen of Roman tragedy.]

63 (return) [ In the time of Quintilian and Pliny, a tragic poet was
reduced to the imperfect method of hiring a great room, and reading his
play to the company, whom he invited for that purpose. (See Dialog. de
Oratoribus, c. 9, 11, and Plin. Epistol. vii. 17.)]

64 (return) [ See the dialogue of Lucian, entitled the Saltatione, tom.
ii. p. 265-317, edit. Reitz. The pantomimes obtained the honorable name;
and it was required, that they should be conversant with almost
every art and science. Burette (in the Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. i. p. 127, &c.) has given a short history of the art
of pantomimes.]

65 (return) [ Ammianus, l. xiv. c. 6. He complains, with decent
indignation that the streets of Rome were filled with crowds of females,
who might have given children to the state, but whose only occupation
was to curl and dress their hair, and jactari volubilibus gyris, dum
experimunt innumera simulacra, quae finxere fabulae theatrales.]

It is said, that the foolish curiosity of Elagabalus attempted to
discover, from the quantity of spiders' webs, the number of the
inhabitants of Rome. A more rational method of inquiry might not have
been undeserving of the attention of the wisest princes, who could
easily have resolved a question so important for the Roman government,
and so interesting to succeeding ages. The births and deaths of the
citizens were duly registered; and if any writer of antiquity had
condescended to mention the annual amount, or the common average, we
might now produce some satisfactory calculation, which would destroy the
extravagant assertions of critics, and perhaps confirm the modest and
probable conjectures of philosophers. 66 The most diligent researches
have collected only the following circumstances; which, slight and
imperfect as they are, may tend, in some degree, to illustrate the
question of the populousness of ancient Rome. I. When the capital of
the empire was besieged by the Goths, the circuit of the walls was
accurately measured, by Ammonius, the mathematician, who found it equal
to twenty-one miles. 67 It should not be forgotten that the form of the
city was almost that of a circle; the geometrical figure which is known
to contain the largest space within any given circumference. II. The
architect Vitruvius, who flourished in the Augustan age, and whose
evidence, on this occasion, has peculiar weight and authority, observes,
that the innumerable habitations of the Roman people would have spread
themselves far beyond the narrow limits of the city; and that the want
of ground, which was probably contracted on every side by gardens and
villas, suggested the common, though inconvenient, practice of raising
the houses to a considerable height in the air. 68 But the loftiness of
these buildings, which often consisted of hasty work and insufficient
materials, was the cause of frequent and fatal accidents; and it was
repeatedly enacted by Augustus, as well as by Nero, that the height of
private edifices within the walls of Rome, should not exceed the measure
of seventy feet from the ground. 69 III. Juvenal 70 laments, as it
should seem from his own experience, the hardships of the poorer
citizens, to whom he addresses the salutary advice of emigrating,
without delay, from the smoke of Rome, since they might purchase, in the
little towns of Italy, a cheerful commodious dwelling, at the same price
which they annually paid for a dark and miserable lodging. House-rent
was therefore immoderately dear: the rich acquired, at an enormous
expense, the ground, which they covered with palaces and gardens; but
the body of the Roman people was crowded into a narrow space; and the
different floors, and apartments, of the same house, were divided, as it
is still the custom of Paris, and other cities, among several families
of plebeians. IV. The total number of houses in the fourteen regions
of the city, is accurately stated in the description of Rome, composed
under the reign of Theodosius, and they amount to forty-eight thousand
three hundred and eighty-two. 71 The two classes of domus and of
insuloe, into which they are divided, include all the habitations of
the capital, of every rank and condition from the marble palace of the
Anicii, with a numerous establishment of freedmen and slaves, to the
lofty and narrow lodging-house, where the poet Codrus and his wife were
permitted to hire a wretched garret immediately under the tiles. If we
adopt the same average, which, under similar circumstances, has been
found applicable to Paris, 72 and indifferently allow about twenty-five
persons for each house, of every degree, we may fairly estimate the
inhabitants of Rome at twelve hundred thousand: a number which cannot be
thought excessive for the capital of a mighty empire, though it exceeds
the populousness of the greatest cities of modern Europe. 73 7311

66 (return) [ Lipsius (tom. iii. p. 423, de Magnitud. Romana, l. iii.
c. 3) and Isaac Vossius (Observant. Var. p. 26-34) have indulged strange
dreams, of four, or eight, or fourteen, millions in Rome. Mr. Hume,
(Essays, vol. i. p. 450-457,) with admirable good sense and scepticism
betrays some secret disposition to extenuate the populousness of ancient
times.]

67 (return) [ Olympiodor. ap. Phot. p. 197. See Fabricius, Bibl. Graec.
tom. ix. p. 400.]

68 (return) [ In ea autem majestate urbis, et civium infinita
frequentia, innumerabiles habitationes opus fuit explicare. Ergo cum
recipero non posset area plana tantam multitudinem in urbe, ad auxilium
altitudinis aedificiorum res ipsa coegit devenire. Vitruv. ii. 8. This
passage, which I owe to Vossius, is clear, strong, and comprehensive.]

69 (return) [ The successive testimonies of Pliny, Aristides, Claudian,
Rutilius, &c., prove the insufficiency of these restrictive edicts. See
Lipsius, de Magnitud. Romana, l. iii. c. 4.

     Tabulata tibi jam tertia fumant;
     Tu nescis; nam si gradibus trepidatur ab imis
     Ultimus ardebit, quem tegula sola tuetur
     A pluvia. —-Juvenal. Satir. iii. 199]

70 (return) [ Read the whole third satire, but particularly 166, 223,
&c. The description of a crowded insula, or lodging-house, in Petronius,
(c. 95, 97,) perfectly tallies with the complaints of Juvenal; and we
learn from legal authority, that, in the time of Augustus, (Heineccius,
Hist. Juris. Roman. c. iv. p. 181,) the ordinary rent of the several
coenacula, or apartments of an insula, annually produced forty thousand
sesterces, between three and four hundred pounds sterling, (Pandect. l.
xix. tit. ii. No. 30,) a sum which proves at once the large extent, and
high value, of those common buildings.]

71 (return) [ This sum total is composed of 1780 domus, or great houses
of 46,602 insuloe, or plebeian habitations, (see Nardini, Roma Antica,
l. iii. p. 88;) and these numbers are ascertained by the agreement of
the texts of the different Notitioe. Nardini, l. viii. p. 498, 500.]

72 (return) [ See that accurate writer M. de Messance, Recherches sur la
Population, p. 175-187. From probable, or certain grounds, he assigns to
Paris 23,565 houses, 71,114 families, and 576,630 inhabitants.]

73 (return) [ This computation is not very different from that which M.
Brotier, the last editor of Tacitus, (tom. ii. p. 380,) has assumed
from similar principles; though he seems to aim at a degree of precision
which it is neither possible nor important to obtain.]

7311 (return) [ M. Dureau de la Malle (Economic Politique des Romaines,
t. i. p. 369) quotes a passage from the xvth chapter of Gibbon, in which
he estimates the population of Rome at not less than a million, and adds
(omitting any reference to this passage,) that he (Gibbon) could not
have seriously studied the question. M. Dureau de la Malle proceeds
to argue that Rome, as contained within the walls of Servius Tullius,
occupying an area only one fifth of that of Paris, could not have
contained 300,000 inhabitants; within those of Aurelian not more than
560,000, inclusive of soldiers and strangers. The suburbs, he endeavors
to show, both up to the time of Aurelian, and after his reign, were
neither so extensive, nor so populous, as generally supposed. M.
Dureau de la Malle has but imperfectly quoted the important passage
of Dionysius, that which proves that when he wrote (in the time of
Augustus) the walls of Servius no longer marked the boundary of the
city. In many places they were so built upon, that it was impossible to
trace them. There was no certain limit, where the city ended and ceased
to be the city; it stretched out to so boundless an extent into the
country. Ant. Rom. iv. 13. None of M. de la Malle's arguments appear to
me to prove, against this statement, that these irregular suburbs did
not extend so far in many parts, as to make it impossible to calculate
accurately the inhabited area of the city. Though no doubt the city, as
reconstructed by Nero, was much less closely built and with many more
open spaces for palaces, temples, and other public edifices, yet many
passages seem to prove that the laws respecting the height of houses
were not rigidly enforced. A great part of the lower especially of the
slave population, were very densely crowded, and lived, even more than
in our modern towns, in cellars and subterranean dwellings under the
public edifices. Nor do M. de la Malle's arguments, by which he would
explain the insulae insulae (of which the Notitiae Urbis give us the
number) as rows of shops, with a chamber or two within the domus,
or houses of the wealthy, satisfy me as to their soundness of their
scholarship. Some passages which he adduces directly contradict his
theory; none, as appears to me, distinctly prove it. I must adhere
to the old interpretation of the word, as chiefly dwellings for the
middling or lower classes, or clusters of tenements, often perhaps,
under the same roof. On this point, Zumpt, in the Dissertation before
quoted, entirely disagrees with M. de la Malle. Zumpt has likewise
detected the mistake of M. de la Malle as to the "canon" of corn,
mentioned in the life of Septimius Severus by Spartianus. On this canon
the French writer calculates the inhabitants of Rome at that time. But
the "canon" was not the whole supply of Rome, but that quantity which
the state required for the public granaries to supply the gratuitous
distributions to the people, and the public officers and slaves; no
doubt likewise to keep down the general price. M. Zumpt reckons the
population of Rome at 2,000,000. After careful consideration, I should
conceive the number in the text, 1,200,000, to be nearest the truth—M.
1845.]

Such was the state of Rome under the reign of Honorius; at the time when
the Gothic army formed the siege, or rather the blockade, of the city.
74 By a skilful disposition of his numerous forces, who impatiently
watched the moment of an assault, Alaric encompassed the walls,
commanded the twelve principal gates, intercepted all communication
with the adjacent country, and vigilantly guarded the navigation of
the Tyber, from which the Romans derived the surest and most plentiful
supply of provisions. The first emotions of the nobles, and of the
people, were those of surprise and indignation, that a vile Barbarian
should dare to insult the capital of the world: but their arrogance was
soon humbled by misfortune; and their unmanly rage, instead of being
directed against an enemy in arms, was meanly exercised on a defenceless
and innocent victim. Perhaps in the person of Serena, the Romans might
have respected the niece of Theodosius, the aunt, nay, even the
adoptive mother, of the reigning emperor: but they abhorred the widow
of Stilicho; and they listened with credulous passion to the tale
of calumny, which accused her of maintaining a secret and criminal
correspondence with the Gothic invader. Actuated, or overawed, by the
same popular frenzy, the senate, without requiring any evidence of his
guilt, pronounced the sentence of her death. Serena was ignominiously
strangled; and the infatuated multitude were astonished to find, that
this cruel act of injustice did not immediately produce the retreat of
the Barbarians, and the deliverance of the city. That unfortunate city
gradually experienced the distress of scarcity, and at length the horrid
calamities of famine. The daily allowance of three pounds of bread was
reduced to one half, to one third, to nothing; and the price of corn
still continued to rise in a rapid and extravagant proportion. The
poorer citizens, who were unable to purchase the necessaries of life,
solicited the precarious charity of the rich; and for a while the public
misery was alleviated by the humanity of Laeta, the widow of the emperor
Gratian, who had fixed her residence at Rome, and consecrated to the use
of the indigent the princely revenue which she annually received
from the grateful successors of her husband. 75 But these private
and temporary donatives were insufficient to appease the hunger of a
numerous people; and the progress of famine invaded the marble palaces
of the senators themselves. The persons of both sexes, who had been
educated in the enjoyment of ease and luxury, discovered how little is
requisite to supply the demands of nature; and lavished their unavailing
treasures of gold and silver, to obtain the coarse and scanty sustenance
which they would formerly have rejected with disdain. The food the most
repugnant to sense or imagination, the aliments the most unwholesome
and pernicious to the constitution, were eagerly devoured, and fiercely
disputed, by the rage of hunger. A dark suspicion was entertained, that
some desperate wretches fed on the bodies of their fellow-creatures,
whom they had secretly murdered; and even mothers, (such was the horrid
conflict of the two most powerful instincts implanted by nature in the
human breast,) even mothers are said to have tasted the flesh of their
slaughtered infants! 76 Many thousands of the inhabitants of Rome
expired in their houses, or in the streets, for want of sustenance;
and as the public sepulchres without the walls were in the power of
the enemy the stench, which arose from so many putrid and unburied
carcasses, infected the air; and the miseries of famine were succeeded
and aggravated by the contagion of a pestilential disease. The
assurances of speedy and effectual relief, which were repeatedly
transmitted from the court of Ravenna, supported for some time, the
fainting resolution of the Romans, till at length the despair of
any human aid tempted them to accept the offers of a praeternatural
deliverance. Pompeianus, praefect of the city, had been persuaded, by
the art or fanaticism of some Tuscan diviners, that, by the mysterious
force of spells and sacrifices, they could extract the lightning from
the clouds, and point those celestial fires against the camp of the
Barbarians. 77 The important secret was communicated to Innocent, the
bishop of Rome; and the successor of St. Peter is accused, perhaps
without foundation, of preferring the safety of the republic to the
rigid severity of the Christian worship. But when the question was
agitated in the senate; when it was proposed, as an essential condition,
that those sacrifices should be performed in the Capitol, by the
authority, and in the presence, of the magistrates, the majority of
that respectable assembly, apprehensive either of the Divine or of the
Imperial displeasure, refused to join in an act, which appeared almost
equivalent to the public restoration of Paganism. 78

74 (return) [ For the events of the first siege of Rome, which are often
confounded with those of the second and third, see Zosimus, l. v.
p. 350-354, Sozomen, l. ix. c. 6, Olympiodorus, ap. Phot. p. 180,
Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 3, and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 467-475.]

75 (return) [ The mother of Laeta was named Pissumena. Her father,
family, and country, are unknown. Ducange, Fam. Byzantium, p. 59.]

76 (return) [ Ad nefandos cibos erupit esurientium rabies, et sua
invicem membra laniarunt, dum mater non parcit lactenti infantiae; et
recipit utero, quem paullo ante effuderat. Jerom. ad Principiam, tom. i.
p. 121. The same horrid circumstance is likewise told of the sieges
of Jerusalem and Paris. For the latter, compare the tenth book of the
Henriade, and the Journal de Henri IV. tom. i. p. 47-83; and observe
that a plain narrative of facts is much more pathetic, than the most
labored descriptions of epic poetry]

77 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 355, 356) speaks of these ceremonies
like a Greek unacquainted with the national superstition of Rome and
Tuscany. I suspect, that they consisted of two parts, the secret and the
public; the former were probably an imitation of the arts and spells, by
which Numa had drawn down Jupiter and his thunder on Mount Aventine.

     Quid agant laqueis, quae carmine dicant,
     Quaque trahant superis sedibus arte Jovem,
     Scire nefas homini.

The ancilia, or shields of Mars, the pignora Imperii, which were carried
in solemn procession on the calends of March, derived their origin
from this mysterious event, (Ovid. Fast. iii. 259-398.) It was probably
designed to revive this ancient festival, which had been suppressed by
Theodosius. In that case, we recover a chronological date (March the
1st, A.D. 409) which has not hitherto been observed. * Note: On this
curious question of the knowledge of conducting lightning, processed by
the ancients, consult Eusebe Salverte, des Sciences Occultes, l. xxiv.
Paris, 1829.—M.]

78 (return) [ Sozomen (l. ix. c. 6) insinuates that the experiment was
actually, though unsuccessfully, made; but he does not mention the name
of Innocent: and Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. x. p. 645) is
determined not to believe, that a pope could be guilty of such impious
condescension.]

The last resource of the Romans was in the clemency, or at least in the
moderation, of the king of the Goths. The senate, who in this emergency
assumed the supreme powers of government, appointed two ambassadors
to negotiate with the enemy. This important trust was delegated to
Basilius, a senator, of Spanish extraction, and already conspicuous in
the administration of provinces; and to John, the first tribune of the
notaries, who was peculiarly qualified, by his dexterity in business,
as well as by his former intimacy with the Gothic prince. When they were
introduced into his presence, they declared, perhaps in a more lofty
style than became their abject condition, that the Romans were resolved
to maintain their dignity, either in peace or war; and that, if Alaric
refused them a fair and honorable capitulation, he might sound his
trumpets, and prepare to give battle to an innumerable people, exercised
in arms, and animated by despair. "The thicker the hay, the easier it is
mowed," was the concise reply of the Barbarian; and this rustic metaphor
was accompanied by a loud and insulting laugh, expressive of his
contempt for the menaces of an unwarlike populace, enervated by luxury
before they were emaciated by famine. He then condescended to fix the
ransom, which he would accept as the price of his retreat from the
walls of Rome: all the gold and silver in the city, whether it were
the property of the state, or of individuals; all the rich and precious
movables; and all the slaves that could prove their title to the name of
Barbarians. The ministers of the senate presumed to ask, in a modest and
suppliant tone, "If such, O king, are your demands, what do you
intend to leave us?" "Your Lives!" replied the haughty conqueror: they
trembled, and retired. Yet, before they retired, a short suspension
of arms was granted, which allowed some time for a more temperate
negotiation. The stern features of Alaric were insensibly relaxed; he
abated much of the rigor of his terms; and at length consented to raise
the siege, on the immediate payment of five thousand pounds of gold,
of thirty thousand pounds of silver, of four thousand robes of silk,
of three thousand pieces of fine scarlet cloth, and of three thousand
pounds weight of pepper. 79 But the public treasury was exhausted; the
annual rents of the great estates in Italy and the provinces, had been
exchanged, during the famine, for the vilest sustenance; the hoards of
secret wealth were still concealed by the obstinacy of avarice; and
some remains of consecrated spoils afforded the only resource that
could avert the impending ruin of the city. As soon as the Romans had
satisfied the rapacious demands of Alaric, they were restored, in some
measure, to the enjoyment of peace and plenty. Several of the gates were
cautiously opened; the importation of provisions from the river and the
adjacent country was no longer obstructed by the Goths; the citizens
resorted in crowds to the free market, which was held during three days
in the suburbs; and while the merchants who undertook this gainful
trade made a considerable profit, the future subsistence of the city was
secured by the ample magazines which were deposited in the public
and private granaries. A more regular discipline than could have been
expected, was maintained in the camp of Alaric; and the wise Barbarian
justified his regard for the faith of treaties, by the just severity
with which he chastised a party of licentious Goths, who had insulted
some Roman citizens on the road to Ostia. His army, enriched by the
contributions of the capital, slowly advanced into the fair and fruitful
province of Tuscany, where he proposed to establish his winter quarters;
and the Gothic standard became the refuge of forty thousand Barbarian
slaves, who had broke their chains, and aspired, under the command of
their great deliverer, to revenge the injuries and the disgrace of
their cruel servitude. About the same time, he received a more honorable
reenforcement of Goths and Huns, whom Adolphus, 80 the brother of his
wife, had conducted, at his pressing invitation, from the banks of
the Danube to those of the Tyber, and who had cut their way, with some
difficulty and loss, through the superior number of the Imperial troops.
A victorious leader, who united the daring spirit of a Barbarian with
the art and discipline of a Roman general, was at the head of a hundred
thousand fighting men; and Italy pronounced, with terror and respect,
the formidable name of Alaric. 81

79 (return) [ Pepper was a favorite ingredient of the most expensive
Roman cookery, and the best sort commonly sold for fifteen denarii,
or ten shillings, the pound. See Pliny, Hist. Natur. xii. 14. It was
brought from India; and the same country, the coast of Malabar, still
affords the greatest plenty: but the improvement of trade and navigation
has multiplied the quantity and reduced the price. See Histoire
Politique et Philosophique, &c., tom. i. p. 457.]

80 (return) [ This Gothic chieftain is called by Jornandes and Isidore,
Athaulphus; by Zosimus and Orosius, Ataulphus; and by Olympiodorus,
Adaoulphus. I have used the celebrated name of Adolphus, which seems to
be authorized by the practice of the Swedes, the sons or brothers of the
ancient Goths.]

81 (return) [ The treaty between Alaric and the Romans, &c., is taken
from Zosimus, l. v. p. 354, 355, 358, 359, 362, 363. The additional
circumstances are too few and trifling to require any other quotation.]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part III.

At the distance of fourteen centuries, we may be satisfied with relating
the military exploits of the conquerors of Rome, without presuming to
investigate the motives of their political conduct. In the midst of
his apparent prosperity, Alaric was conscious, perhaps, of some secret
weakness, some internal defect; or perhaps the moderation which he
displayed, was intended only to deceive and disarm the easy credulity
of the ministers of Honorius. The king of the Goths repeatedly declared,
that it was his desire to be considered as the friend of peace, and
of the Romans. Three senators, at his earnest request, were sent
ambassadors to the court of Ravenna, to solicit the exchange of
hostages, and the conclusion of the treaty; and the proposals, which he
more clearly expressed during the course of the negotiations, could only
inspire a doubt of his sincerity, as they might seem inadequate to
the state of his fortune. The Barbarian still aspired to the rank
of master-general of the armies of the West; he stipulated an annual
subsidy of corn and money; and he chose the provinces of Dalmatia,
Noricum, and Venetia, for the seat of his new kingdom, which would have
commanded the important communication between Italy and the Danube. If
these modest terms should be rejected, Alaric showed a disposition to
relinquish his pecuniary demands, and even to content himself with
the possession of Noricum; an exhausted and impoverished country,
perpetually exposed to the inroads of the Barbarians of Germany. 82
But the hopes of peace were disappointed by the weak obstinacy, or
interested views, of the minister Olympius. Without listening to the
salutary remonstrances of the senate, he dismissed their ambassadors
under the conduct of a military escort, too numerous for a retinue of
honor, and too feeble for any army of defence. Six thousand Dalmatians,
the flower of the Imperial legions, were ordered to march from Ravenna
to Rome, through an open country which was occupied by the formidable
myriads of the Barbarians. These brave legionaries, encompassed and
betrayed, fell a sacrifice to ministerial folly; their general, Valens,
with a hundred soldiers, escaped from the field of battle; and one of
the ambassadors, who could no longer claim the protection of the law
of nations, was obliged to purchase his freedom with a ransom of thirty
thousand pieces of gold. Yet Alaric, instead of resenting this act of
impotent hostility, immediately renewed his proposals of peace; and the
second embassy of the Roman senate, which derived weight and dignity
from the presence of Innocent, bishop of the city, was guarded from the
dangers of the road by a detachment of Gothic soldiers. 83

82 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 367 368, 369.]

83 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 360, 361, 362. The bishop, by remaining
at Ravenna, escaped the impending calamities of the city. Orosius, l.
vii. c. 39, p. 573.]

Olympius 84 might have continued to insult the just resentment of a
people who loudly accused him as the author of the public calamities;
but his power was undermined by the secret intrigues of the palace. The
favorite eunuchs transferred the government of Honorius, and the empire,
to Jovius, the Praetorian praefect; an unworthy servant, who did
not atone, by the merit of personal attachment, for the errors and
misfortunes of his administration. The exile, or escape, of the guilty
Olympius, reserved him for more vicissitudes of fortune: he experienced
the adventures of an obscure and wandering life; he again rose to power;
he fell a second time into disgrace; his ears were cut off; he expired
under the lash; and his ignominious death afforded a grateful spectacle
to the friends of Stilicho. After the removal of Olympius, whose
character was deeply tainted with religious fanaticism, the Pagans and
heretics were delivered from the impolitic proscription, which excluded
them from the dignities of the state. The brave Gennerid, 85 a soldier
of Barbarian origin, who still adhered to the worship of his ancestors,
had been obliged to lay aside the military belt: and though he was
repeatedly assured by the emperor himself, that laws were not made
for persons of his rank or merit, he refused to accept any partial
dispensation, and persevered in honorable disgrace, till he had extorted
a general act of justice from the distress of the Roman government. The
conduct of Gennerid in the important station to which he was promoted or
restored, of master-general of Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Rhaetia,
seemed to revive the discipline and spirit of the republic. From a life
of idleness and want, his troops were soon habituated to severe exercise
and plentiful subsistence; and his private generosity often supplied the
rewards, which were denied by the avarice, or poverty, of the court of
Ravenna. The valor of Gennerid, formidable to the adjacent Barbarians,
was the firmest bulwark of the Illyrian frontier; and his vigilant
care assisted the empire with a reenforcement of ten thousand Huns,
who arrived on the confines of Italy, attended by such a convoy of
provisions, and such a numerous train of sheep and oxen, as might
have been sufficient, not only for the march of an army, but for the
settlement of a colony. But the court and councils of Honorius still
remained a scene of weakness and distraction, of corruption and anarchy.
Instigated by the praefect Jovius, the guards rose in furious mutiny,
and demanded the heads of two generals, and of the two principal
eunuchs. The generals, under a perfidious promise of safety, were sent
on shipboard, and privately executed; while the favor of the eunuchs
procured them a mild and secure exile at Milan and Constantinople.
Eusebius the eunuch, and the Barbarian Allobich, succeeded to the
command of the bed-chamber and of the guards; and the mutual jealousy of
these subordinate ministers was the cause of their mutual destruction.
By the insolent order of the count of the domestics, the great
chamberlain was shamefully beaten to death with sticks, before the eyes
of the astonished emperor; and the subsequent assassination of Allobich,
in the midst of a public procession, is the only circumstance of his
life, in which Honorius discovered the faintest symptom of courage or
resentment. Yet before they fell, Eusebius and Allobich had contributed
their part to the ruin of the empire, by opposing the conclusion of a
treaty which Jovius, from a selfish, and perhaps a criminal, motive,
had negotiated with Alaric, in a personal interview under the walls
of Rimini. During the absence of Jovius, the emperor was persuaded
to assume a lofty tone of inflexible dignity, such as neither his
situation, nor his character, could enable him to support; and a letter,
signed with the name of Honorius, was immediately despatched to the
Praetorian praefect, granting him a free permission to dispose of the
public money, but sternly refusing to prostitute the military honors of
Rome to the proud demands of a Barbarian. This letter was imprudently
communicated to Alaric himself; and the Goth, who in the whole
transaction had behaved with temper and decency, expressed, in the most
outrageous language, his lively sense of the insult so wantonly offered
to his person and to his nation. The conference of Rimini was hastily
interrupted; and the praefect Jovius, on his return to Ravenna, was
compelled to adopt, and even to encourage, the fashionable opinions
of the court. By his advice and example, the principal officers of the
state and army were obliged to swear, that, without listening, in any
circumstances, to any conditions of peace, they would still persevere
in perpetual and implacable war against the enemy of the republic. This
rash engagement opposed an insuperable bar to all future negotiation.
The ministers of Honorius were heard to declare, that, if they had only
in voked the name of the Deity, they would consult the public safety,
and trust their souls to the mercy of Heaven: but they had sworn by the
sacred head of the emperor himself; they had sworn by the sacred head of
the emperor himself; they had touched, in solemn ceremony, that august
seat of majesty and wisdom; and the violation of their oath would
exposethem to the temporal penalties of sacrilege and rebellion. 86

84 (return) [ For the adventures of Olympius, and his successors in the
ministry, see Zosimus, l. v. p. 363, 365, 366, and Olympiodor. ap. Phot.
p. 180, 181. ]

85 (return) [ Zosimus (l. v. p. 364) relates this circumstance with
visible complacency, and celebrates the character of Gennerid as the
last glory of expiring Paganism. Very different were the sentiments
of the council of Carthage, who deputed four bishops to the court of
Ravenna to complain of the law, which had been just enacted, that all
conversions to Christianity should be free and voluntary. See Baronius,
Annal. Eccles. A.D. 409, No. 12, A.D. 410, No. 47, 48.]

86 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 367, 368, 369. This custom of swearing
by the head, or life, or safety, or genius, of the sovereign, was of the
highest antiquity, both in Egypt (Genesis, xlii. 15) and Scythia. It was
soon transferred, by flattery, to the Caesars; and Tertullian complains,
that it was the only oath which the Romans of his time affected to
reverence. See an elegant Dissertation of the Abbe Mossieu on the Oaths
of the Ancients, in the Mem de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. i. p.
208, 209.]

While the emperor and his court enjoyed, with sullen pride, the security
of the marches and fortifications of Ravenna, they abandoned Rome,
almost without defence, to the resentment of Alaric. Yet such was the
moderation which he still preserved, or affected, that, as he moved with
his army along the Flaminian way, he successively despatched the
bishops of the towns of Italy to reiterate his offers of peace, and
to congradulate the emperor, that he would save the city and its
inhabitants from hostile fire, and the sword of the Barbarians. 87 These
impending calamities were, however, averted, not indeed by the wisdom
of Honorius, but by the prudence or humanity of the Gothic king; who
employed a milder, though not less effectual, method of conquest.
Instead of assaulting the capital, he successfully directed his efforts
against the Port of Ostia, one of the boldest and most stupendous
works of Roman magnificence. 88 The accidents to which the precarious
subsistence of the city was continually exposed in a winter navigation,
and an open road, had suggested to the genius of the first Caesar the
useful design, which was executed under the reign of Claudius. The
artificial moles, which formed the narrow entrance, advanced far into
the sea, and firmly repelled the fury of the waves, while the largest
vessels securely rode at anchor within three deep and capacious basins,
which received the northern branch of the Tyber, about two miles from
the ancient colony of Ostia. 89 The Roman Port insensibly swelled to the
size of an episcopal city, 90 where the corn of Africa was deposited in
spacious granaries for the use of the capital. As soon as Alaric was in
possession of that important place, he summoned the city to surrender at
discretion; and his demands were enforced by the positive declaration,
that a refusal, or even a delay, should be instantly followed by the
destruction of the magazines, on which the life of the Roman people
depended. The clamors of that people, and the terror of famine, subdued
the pride of the senate; they listened, without reluctance, to the
proposal of placing a new emperor on the throne of the unworthy
Honorius; and the suffrage of the Gothic conqueror bestowed the purple
on Attalus, praefect of the city. The grateful monarch immediately
acknowledged his protector as master-general of the armies of the West;
Adolphus, with the rank of count of the domestics, obtained the custody
of the person of Attalus; and the two hostile nations seemed to be
united in the closest bands of friendship and alliance. 91

87 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 368, 369. I have softened the
expressions of Alaric, who expatiates, in too florid a manner, on the
history of Rome]

88 (return) [ See Sueton. in Claud. c. 20. Dion Cassius, l. lx. p. 949,
edit Reimar, and the lively description of Juvenal, Satir. xii. 75, &c.
In the sixteenth century, when the remains of this Augustan port were
still visible, the antiquarians sketched the plan, (see D'Anville, Mem.
de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxx. p. 198,) and declared, with
enthusiasm, that all the monarchs of Europe would be unable to execute
so great a work, (Bergier, Hist. des grands Chemins des Romains, tom.
ii. p. 356.)]

89 (return) [ The Ostia Tyberina, (see Cluver. Italia Antiq. l. iii.
p. 870-879,) in the plural number, the two mouths of the Tyber, were
separated by the Holy Island, an equilateral triangle, whose sides
were each of them computed at about two miles. The colony of Ostia
was founded immediately beyond the left, or southern, and the Port
immediately beyond the right, or northern, branch of hte river; and the
distance between their remains measures something more than two miles
on Cingolani's map. In the time of Strabo, the sand and mud deposited by
the Tyber had choked the harbor of Ostia; the progress of the same cause
has added much to the size of the Holy Islands, and gradually left both
Ostia and the Port at a considerable distance from the shore. The dry
channels (fiumi morti) and the large estuaries (stagno di Ponente, di
Levante) mark the changes of the river, and the efforts of the sea.
Consult, for the present state of this dreary and desolate tract, the
excellent map of the ecclesiastical state by the mathematicians of
Benedict XIV.; an actual survey of the Agro Romano, in six sheets, by
Cingolani, which contains 113,819 rubbia, (about 570,000 acres;) and the
large topographical map of Ameti, in eight sheets.]

90 (return) [ As early as the third, (Lardner's Credibility of the
Gospel, part ii. vol. iii. p. 89-92,) or at least the fourth, century,
(Carol. a Sancta Paulo, Notit. Eccles. p. 47,) the Port of Rome was an
episcopal city, which was demolished, as it should seem in the ninth
century, by Pope Gregory IV., during the incursions of the Arabs. It
is now reduced to an inn, a church, and the house, or palace, of the
bishop; who ranks as one of six cardinal-bishops of the Roman church.
See Eschinard, Deserizione di Roman et dell' Agro Romano, p. 328. *
Note: Compare Sir W. Gell. Rome and its Vicinity vol. ii p. 134.—M.]

91 (return) [ For the elevation of Attalus, consult Zosimus, l. vi. p.
377-380, Sozomen, l. ix. c. 8, 9, Olympiodor. ap. Phot. p. 180, 181,
Philostorg. l. xii. c. 3, and Godefroy's Dissertat. p. 470.]

The gates of the city were thrown open, and the new emperor of the
Romans, encompassed on every side by the Gothic arms, was conducted, in
tumultuous procession, to the palace of Augustus and Trajan. After he
had distributed the civil and military dignities among his favorites and
followers, Attalus convened an assembly of the senate; before whom, in
a formal and florid speech, he asserted his resolution of restoring the
majesty of the republic, and of uniting to the empire the provinces of
Egypt and the East, which had once acknowledged the sovereignty of Rome.
Such extravagant promises inspired every reasonable citizen with a just
contempt for the character of an unwarlike usurper, whose elevation
was the deepest and most ignominious wound which the republic had yet
sustained from the insolence of the Barbarians. But the populace,
with their usual levity, applauded the change of masters. The public
discontent was favorable to the rival of Honorius; and the sectaries,
oppressed by his persecuting edicts, expected some degree of
countenance, or at least of toleration, from a prince, who, in his
native country of Ionia, had been educated in the Pagan superstition,
and who had since received the sacrament of baptism from the hands of
an Arian bishop. 92 The first days of the reign of Attalus were fair
and prosperous. An officer of confidence was sent with an inconsiderable
body of troops to secure the obedience of Africa; the greatest part of
Italy submitted to the terror of the Gothic powers; and though the
city of Bologna made a vigorous and effectual resistance, the people of
Milan, dissatisfied perhaps with the absence of Honorius, accepted,
with loud acclamations, the choice of the Roman senate. At the head of a
formidable army, Alaric conducted his royal captive almost to the gates
of Ravenna; and a solemn embassy of the principal ministers, of Jovius,
the Praetorian praefect, of Valens, master of the cavalry and infantry,
of the quaestor Potamius, and of Julian, the first of the notaries,
was introduced, with martial pomp, into the Gothic camp. In the name of
their sovereign, they consented to acknowledge the lawful election
of his competitor, and to divide the provinces of Italy and the West
between the two emperors. Their proposals were rejected with disdain;
and the refusal was aggravated by the insulting clemency of Attalus, who
condescended to promise, that, if Honorius would instantly resign the
purple, he should be permitted to pass the remainder of his life in the
peaceful exile of some remote island. 93 So desperate indeed did the
situation of the son of Theodosius appear, to those who were the best
acquainted with his strength and resources, that Jovius and Valens, his
minister and his general, betrayed their trust, infamously deserted
the sinking cause of their benefactor, and devoted their treacherous
allegiance to the service of his more fortunate rival. Astonished by
such examples of domestic treason, Honorius trembled at the approach of
every servant, at the arrival of every messenger. He dreaded the secret
enemies, who might lurk in his capital, his palace, his bed-chamber;
and some ships lay ready in the harbor of Ravenna, to transport the
abdicated monarch to the dominions of his infant nephew, the emperor of
the East.

92 (return) [ We may admit the evidence of Sozomen for the Arian
baptism, and that of Philostorgius for the Pagan education, of Attalus.
The visible joy of Zosimus, and the discontent which he imputes to the
Anician family, are very unfavorable to the Christianity of the new
emperor.]

93 (return) [ He carried his insolence so far, as to declare that
he should mutilate Honorius before he sent him into exile. But this
assertion of Zosimus is destroyed by the more impartial testimony
of Olympiodorus; who attributes the ungenerous proposal (which was
absolutely rejected by Attalus) to the baseness, and perhaps the
treachery, of Jovius.]

But there is a Providence (such at least was the opinion of the
historian Procopius) 94 that watches over innocence and folly; and
the pretensions of Honorius to its peculiar care cannot reasonably be
disputed. At the moment when his despair, incapable of any wise or manly
resolution, meditated a shameful flight, a seasonable reenforcement of
four thousand veterans unexpectedly landed in the port of Ravenna. To
these valiant strangers, whose fidelity had not been corrupted by the
factions of the court, he committed the walls and gates of the city; and
the slumbers of the emperor were no longer disturbed by the apprehension
of imminent and internal danger. The favorable intelligence which was
received from Africa suddenly changed the opinions of men, and the state
of public affairs. The troops and officers, whom Attalus had sent into
that province, were defeated and slain; and the active zeal of Heraclian
maintained his own allegiance, and that of his people. The faithful
count of Africa transmitted a large sum of money, which fixed the
attachment of the Imperial guards; and his vigilance, in preventing the
exportation of corn and oil, introduced famine, tumult, and discontent,
into the walls of Rome. The failure of the African expedition was the
source of mutual complaint and recrimination in the party of Attalus;
and the mind of his protector was insensibly alienated from the interest
of a prince, who wanted spirit to command, or docility to obey. The most
imprudent measures were adopted, without the knowledge, or against the
advice, of Alaric; and the obstinate refusal of the senate, to allow,
in the embarkation, the mixture even of five hundred Goths, betrayed
a suspicious and distrustful temper, which, in their situation, was
neither generous nor prudent. The resentment of the Gothic king was
exasperated by the malicious arts of Jovius, who had been raised to the
rank of patrician, and who afterwards excused his double perfidy, by
declaring, without a blush, that he had only seemed to abandon the
service of Honorius, more effectually to ruin the cause of the usurper.
In a large plain near Rimini, and in the presence of an innumerable
multitude of Romans and Barbarians, the wretched Attalus was publicly
despoiled of the diadem and purple; and those ensigns of royalty were
sent by Alaric, as the pledge of peace and friendship, to the son of
Theodosius. 95 The officers who returned to their duty, were reinstated
in their employments, and even the merit of a tardy repentance was
graciously allowed; but the degraded emperor of the Romans, desirous of
life, and insensible of disgrace, implored the permission of following
the Gothic camp, in the train of a haughty and capricious Barbarian. 96

94 (return) [ Procop. de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2.]

95 (return) [ See the cause and circumstances of the fall of Attalus in
Zosimus, l. vi. p. 380-383. Sozomen, l. ix. c. 8. Philostorg. l. xii.
c. 3. The two acts of indemnity in the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit.
xxxviii. leg. 11, 12, which were published the 12th of February, and the
8th of August, A.D. 410, evidently relate to this usurper.]

96 (return) [ In hoc, Alaricus, imperatore, facto, infecto, refecto, ac
defecto... Mimum risit, et ludum spectavit imperii. Orosius, l. vii. c.
42, p. 582.]

The degradation of Attalus removed the only real obstacle to the
conclusion of the peace; and Alaric advanced within three miles of
Ravenna, to press the irresolution of the Imperial ministers, whose
insolence soon returned with the return of fortune. His indignation was
kindled by the report, that a rival chieftain, that Sarus, the personal
enemy of Adolphus, and the hereditary foe of the house of Balti, had
been received into the palace. At the head of three hundred followers,
that fearless Barbarian immediately sallied from the gates of Ravenna;
surprised, and cut in pieces, a considerable body of Goths; reentered
the city in triumph; and was permitted to insult his adversary, by the
voice of a herald, who publicly declared that the guilt of Alaric had
forever excluded him from the friendship and alliance of the emperor. 97
The crime and folly of the court of Ravenna was expiated, a third
time, by the calamities of Rome. The king of the Goths, who no longer
dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, appeared in arms under
the walls of the capital; and the trembling senate, without any hopes of
relief, prepared, by a desperate resistance, to defray the ruin of their
country. But they were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy
of their slaves and domestics; who, either from birth or interest,
were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight, the
Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened
by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and
sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city,
which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was
delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia.
98

97 (return) [ Zosimus, l. vi. p. 384. Sozomen, l. ix. c. 9.
Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 3. In this place the text of Zosimus is
mutilated, and we have lost the remainder of his sixth and last book,
which ended with the sack of Rome. Credulous and partial as he is, we
must take our leave of that historian with some regret.]

98 (return) [ Adest Alaricus, trepidam Romam obsidet, turbat, irrumpit.
Orosius, l. vii. c. 39, p. 573. He despatches this great event in seven
words; but he employs whole pages in celebrating the devotion of the
Goths. I have extracted from an improbable story of Procopius, the
circumstances which had an air of probability. Procop. de Bell. Vandal.
l. i. c. 2. He supposes that the city was surprised while the senators
slept in the afternoon; but Jerom, with more authority and more reason,
affirms, that it was in the night, nocte Moab capta est. nocte cecidit
murus ejus, tom. i. p. 121, ad Principiam.]

The proclamation of Alaric, when he forced his entrance into a
vanquished city, discovered, however, some regard for the laws of
humanity and religion. He encouraged his troops boldly to seize the
rewards of valor, and to enrich themselves with the spoils of a wealthy
and effeminate people: but he exhorted them, at the same time, to spare
the lives of the unresisting citizens, and to respect the churches
of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, as holy and inviolable
sanctuaries. Amidst the horrors of a nocturnal tumult, several of the
Christian Goths displayed the fervor of a recent conversion; and some
instances of their uncommon piety and moderation are related, and
perhaps adorned, by the zeal of ecclesiastical writers. 99 While the
Barbarians roamed through the city in quest of prey, the humble dwelling
of an aged virgin, who had devoted her life to the service of the altar,
was forced open by one of the powerful Goths. He immediately demanded,
though in civil language, all the gold and silver in her possession;
and was astonished at the readiness with which she conducted him to a
splendid hoard of massy plate, of the richest materials, and the most
curious workmanship. The Barbarian viewed with wonder and delight this
valuable acquisition, till he was interrupted by a serious admonition,
addressed to him in the following words: "These," said she, "are the
consecrated vessels belonging to St. Peter: if you presume to touch
them, the sacrilegious deed will remain on your conscience. For my part,
I dare not keep what I am unable to defend." The Gothic captain, struck
with reverential awe, despatched a messenger to inform the king of the
treasure which he had discovered; and received a peremptory order
from Alaric, that all the consecrated plate and ornaments should be
transported, without damage or delay, to the church of the apostle. From
the extremity, perhaps, of the Quirinal hill, to the distant quarter of
the Vatican, a numerous detachment of Goths, marching in order of battle
through the principal streets, protected, with glittering arms, the long
train of their devout companions, who bore aloft, on their heads,
the sacred vessels of gold and silver; and the martial shouts of the
Barbarians were mingled with the sound of religious psalmody. From
all the adjacent houses, a crowd of Christians hastened to join this
edifying procession; and a multitude of fugitives, without distinction
of age, or rank, or even of sect, had the good fortune to escape to
the secure and hospitable sanctuary of the Vatican. The learned work,
concerning the City of God, was professedly composed by St. Augustin,
to justify the ways of Providence in the destruction of the Roman
greatness. He celebrates, with peculiar satisfaction, this memorable
triumph of Christ; and insults his adversaries, by challenging them
to produce some similar example of a town taken by storm, in which the
fabulous gods of antiquity had been able to protect either themselves or
their deluded votaries. 100

99 (return) [ Orosius (l. vii. c. 39, p. 573-576) applauds the piety of
the Christian Goths, without seeming to perceive that the greatest part
of them were Arian heretics. Jornandes (c. 30, p. 653) and Isidore of
Seville, (Chron. p. 417, edit. Grot.,) who were both attached to the
Gothic cause, have repeated and embellished these edifying tales.
According to Isidore, Alaric himself was heard to say, that he waged war
with the Romans, and not with the apostles. Such was the style of the
seventh century; two hundred years before, the fame and merit had been
ascribed, not to the apostles, but to Christ.]

100 (return) [ See Augustin, de Civitat. Dei, l. i. c. 1-6. He
particularly appeals to the examples of Troy, Syracuse, and Tarentum.]

In the sack of Rome, some rare and extraordinary examples of Barbarian
virtue have been deservedly applauded. But the holy precincts of
the Vatican, and the apostolic churches, could receive a very small
proportion of the Roman people; many thousand warriors, more especially
of the Huns, who served under the standard of Alaric, were strangers
to the name, or at least to the faith, of Christ; and we may suspect,
without any breach of charity or candor, that in the hour of savage
license, when every passion was inflamed, and every restraint was
removed, the precepts of the Gospel seldom influenced the behavior of
the Gothic Christians. The writers, the best disposed to exaggerate
their clemency, have freely confessed, that a cruel slaughter was made
of the Romans; 101 and that the streets of the city were filled
with dead bodies, which remained without burial during the general
consternation. The despair of the citizens was sometimes converted into
fury: and whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they
extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the
helpless. The private revenge of forty thousand slaves was exercised
without pity or remorse; and the ignominious lashes, which they had
formerly received, were washed away in the blood of the guilty, or
obnoxious, families. The matrons and virgins of Rome were exposed to
injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension of chastity, than death
itself; and the ecclesiastical historian has selected an example of
female virtue, for the admiration of future ages. 102 A Roman lady, of
singular beauty and orthodox faith, had excited the impatient desires
of a young Goth, who, according to the sagacious remark of Sozomen, was
attached to the Arian heresy. Exasperated by her obstinate resistance,
he drew his sword, and, with the anger of a lover, slightly wounded her
neck. The bleeding heroine still continued to brave his resentment,
and to repel his love, till the ravisher desisted from his unavailing
efforts, respectfully conducted her to the sanctuary of the Vatican, and
gave six pieces of gold to the guards of the church, on condition that
they should restore her inviolate to the arms of her husband. Such
instances of courage and generosity were not extremely common. The
brutal soldiers satisfied their sensual appetites, without consulting
either the inclination or the duties of their female captives: and a
nice question of casuistry was seriously agitated, Whether those tender
victims, who had inflexibly refused their consent to the violation which
they sustained, had lost, by their misfortune, the glorious crown of
virginity. 103 Their were other losses indeed of a more substantial
kind, and more general concern. It cannot be presumed, that all the
Barbarians were at all times capable of perpetrating such amorous
outrages; and the want of youth, or beauty, or chastity, protected the
greatest part of the Roman women from the danger of a rape. But avarice
is an insatiate and universal passion; since the enjoyment of almost
every object that can afford pleasure to the different tastes and
tempers of mankind may be procured by the possession of wealth. In the
pillage of Rome, a just preference was given to gold and jewels, which
contain the greatest value in the smallest compass and weight: but,
after these portable riches had been removed by the more diligent
robbers, the palaces of Rome were rudely stripped of their splendid
and costly furniture. The sideboards of massy plate, and the variegated
wardrobes of silk and purple, were irregularly piled in the wagons, that
always followed the march of a Gothic army. The most exquisite works
of art were roughly handled, or wantonly destroyed; many a statue was
melted for the sake of the precious materials; and many a vase, in the
division of the spoil, was shivered into fragments by the stroke of a
battle-axe.

The acquisition of riches served only to stimulate the avarice of
the rapacious Barbarians, who proceeded, by threats, by blows, and
by tortures, to force from their prisoners the confession of hidden
treasure. 104 Visible splendor and expense were alleged as the proof
of a plentiful fortune; the appearance of poverty was imputed to a
parsimonious disposition; and the obstinacy of some misers, who endured
the most cruel torments before they would discover the secret object of
their affection, was fatal to many unhappy wretches, who expired under
the lash, for refusing to reveal their imaginary treasures. The edifices
of Rome, though the damage has been much exaggerated, received some
injury from the violence of the Goths. At their entrance through the
Salarian gate, they fired the adjacent houses to guide their march, and
to distract the attention of the citizens; the flames, which encountered
no obstacle in the disorder of the night, consumed many private and
public buildings; and the ruins of the palace of Sallust 105 remained,
in the age of Justinian, a stately monument of the Gothic conflagration.
106 Yet a contemporary historian has observed, that fire could scarcely
consume the enormous beams of solid brass, and that the strength of man
was insufficient to subvert the foundations of ancient structures. Some
truth may possibly be concealed in his devout assertion, that the wrath
of Heaven supplied the imperfections of hostile rage; and that the proud
Forum of Rome, decorated with the statues of so many gods and heroes,
was levelled in the dust by the stroke of lightning. 107

101 (return) [ Jerom (tom. i. p. 121, ad Principiam) has applied to the
sack of Rome all the strong expressions of Virgil:—

     Quis cladem illius noctis, quis funera fando,
     Explicet, &c.

Procopius (l. i. c. 2) positively affirms that great numbers were slain
by the Goths. Augustin (de Civ. Dei, l. i. c. 12, 13) offers Christian
comfort for the death of those whose bodies (multa corpora) had remained
(in tanta strage) unburied. Baronius, from the different writings of the
Fathers, has thrown some light on the sack of Rome. Annal. Eccles. A.D.
410, No. 16-34.]

102 (return) [ Sozomen. l. ix. c. 10. Augustin (de Civitat. Dei, l.
i. c. 17) intimates, that some virgins or matrons actually killed
themselves to escape violation; and though he admires their spirit, he
is obliged, by his theology, to condemn their rash presumption. Perhaps
the good bishop of Hippo was too easy in the belief, as well as too
rigid in the censure, of this act of female heroism. The twenty
maidens (if they ever existed) who threw themselves into the Elbe, when
Magdeburgh was taken by storm, have been multiplied to the number of
twelve hundred. See Harte's History of Gustavus Adolphus, vol. i. p.
308.]

103 (return) [ See Augustin de Civitat. Dei, l. i. c. 16, 18. He treats
the subject with remarkable accuracy: and after admitting that there
cannot be any crime where there is no consent, he adds, Sed quia non
solum quod ad dolorem, verum etiam quod ad libidinem, pertinet, in
corpore alieno pepetrari potest; quicquid tale factum fuerit, etsi
retentam constantissimo animo pudicitiam non excutit, pudorem tamen
incutit, ne credatur factum cum mentis etiam voluntate, quod fieri
fortasse sine carnis aliqua voluptate non potuit. In c. 18 he makes some
curious distinctions between moral and physical virginity.]

104 (return) [ Marcella, a Roman lady, equally respectable for her rank,
her age, and her piety, was thrown on the ground, and cruelly beaten
and whipped, caesam fustibus flagellisque, &c. Jerom, tom. i. p. 121,
ad Principiam. See Augustin, de Civ. Dei, l. c. 10. The modern Sacco
di Roma, p. 208, gives an idea of the various methods of torturing
prisoners for gold.]

105 (return) [ The historian Sallust, who usefully practiced the vices
which he has so eloquently censured, employed the plunder of Numidia to
adorn his palace and gardens on the Quirinal hill. The spot where the
house stood is now marked by the church of St. Susanna, separated only
by a street from the baths of Diocletian, and not far distant from the
Salarian gate. See Nardini, Roma Antica, p. 192, 193, and the great
I'lan of Modern Rome, by Nolli.]

106 (return) [ The expressions of Procopius are distinct and moderate,
(de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2.) The Chronicle of Marcellinus speaks too
strongly partem urbis Romae cremavit; and the words of Philostorgius (l.
xii. c. 3) convey a false and exaggerated idea. Bargaeus has composed
a particular dissertation (see tom. iv. Antiquit. Rom. Graev.) to prove
that the edifices of Rome were not subverted by the Goths and Vandals.]

107 (return) [ Orosius, l. ii. c. 19, p. 143. He speaks as if he
disapproved all statues; vel Deum vel hominem mentiuntur. They consisted
of the kings of Alba and Rome from Aeneas, the Romans, illustrious
either in arms or arts, and the deified Caesars. The expression which he
uses of Forum is somewhat ambiguous, since there existed five principal
Fora; but as they were all contiguous and adjacent, in the plain which
is surrounded by the Capitoline, the Quirinal, the Esquiline, and the
Palatine hills, they might fairly be considered as one. See the Roma
Antiqua of Donatus, p. 162-201, and the Roma Antica of Nardini, p.
212-273. The former is more useful for the ancient descriptions, the
latter for the actual topography.]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part IV.

Whatever might be the numbers of equestrian or plebeian rank, who
perished in the massacre of Rome, it is confidently affirmed that only
one senator lost his life by the sword of the enemy. 108 But it was not
easy to compute the multitudes, who, from an honorable station and a
prosperous fortune, were suddenly reduced to the miserable condition of
captives and exiles. As the Barbarians had more occasion for money
than for slaves, they fixed at a moderate price the redemption of their
indigent prisoners; and the ransom was often paid by the benevolence of
their friends, or the charity of strangers. 109 The captives, who were
regularly sold, either in open market, or by private contract, would
have legally regained their native freedom, which it was impossible for
a citizen to lose, or to alienate. 110 But as it was soon discovered
that the vindication of their liberty would endanger their lives; and
that the Goths, unless they were tempted to sell, might be provoked
to murder, their useless prisoners; the civil jurisprudence had been
already qualified by a wise regulation, that they should be obliged to
serve the moderate term of five years, till they had discharged by their
labor the price of their redemption. 111 The nations who invaded the
Roman empire, had driven before them, into Italy, whole troops of hungry
and affrighted provincials, less apprehensive of servitude than of
famine. The calamities of Rome and Italy dispersed the inhabitants to
the most lonely, the most secure, the most distant places of refuge.
While the Gothic cavalry spread terror and desolation along the
sea-coast of Campania and Tuscany, the little island of Igilium,
separated by a narrow channel from the Argentarian promontory, repulsed,
or eluded, their hostile attempts; and at so small a distance from Rome,
great numbers of citizens were securely concealed in the thick woods of
that sequestered spot. 112 The ample patrimonies, which many senatorian
families possessed in Africa, invited them, if they had time, and
prudence, to escape from the ruin of their country, to embrace the
shelter of that hospitable province. The most illustrious of these
fugitives was the noble and pious Proba, 113 the widow of the praefect
Petronius. After the death of her husband, the most powerful subject
of Rome, she had remained at the head of the Anician family, and
successively supplied, from her private fortune, the expense of the
consulships of her three sons. When the city was besieged and taken
by the Goths, Proba supported, with Christian resignation, the loss of
immense riches; embarked in a small vessel, from whence she beheld, at
sea, the flames of her burning palace, and fled with her daughter Laeta,
and her granddaughter, the celebrated virgin, Demetrias, to the coast of
Africa. The benevolent profusion with which the matron distributed
the fruits, or the price, of her estates, contributed to alleviate the
misfortunes of exile and captivity. But even the family of Proba herself
was not exempt from the rapacious oppression of Count Heraclian, who
basely sold, in matrimonial prostitution, the noblest maidens of Rome to
the lust or avarice of the Syrian merchants. The Italian fugitives were
dispersed through the provinces, along the coast of Egypt and Asia, as
far as Constantinople and Jerusalem; and the village of Bethlem, the
solitary residence of St. Jerom and his female converts, was crowded
with illustrious beggars of either sex, and every age, who excited the
public compassion by the remembrance of their past fortune. 114 This
awful catastrophe of Rome filled the astonished empire with grief and
terror. So interesting a contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed the
fond credulity of the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, the
afflictions of the queen of cities. The clergy, who applied to recent
events the lofty metaphors of oriental prophecy, were sometimes tempted
to confound the destruction of the capital and the dissolution of the
globe.

108 (return) [ Orosius (l. ii. c. 19, p. 142) compares the cruelty
of the Gauls and the clemency of the Goths. Ibi vix quemquam inventum
senatorem, qui vel absens evaserit; hic vix quemquam requiri, qui forte
ut latens perierit. But there is an air of rhetoric, and perhaps of
falsehood, in this antithesis; and Socrates (l. vii. c. 10) affirms,
perhaps by an opposite exaggeration, that many senators were put to
death with various and exquisite tortures.]

109 (return) [ Multi... Christiani incaptivitatem ducti sunt. Augustin,
de Civ Dei, l. i. c. 14; and the Christians experienced no peculiar
hardships.]

110 (return) [ See Heineccius, Antiquitat. Juris Roman. tom. i. p. 96.]

111 (return) [ Appendix Cod. Theodos. xvi. in Sirmond. Opera, tom. i. p.
735. This edict was published on the 11th of December, A.D. 408, and is
more reasonable than properly belonged to the ministers of Honorius.]

112 (return) [ Eminus Igilii sylvosa cacumina miror; Quem fraudare nefas
laudis honore suae.

     Haec proprios nuper tutata est insula saltus;

     Sive loci ingenio, seu Domini genio.
     Gurgite cum modico victricibus obstitit
     armis, Tanquam longinquo dissociata mari.

     Haec multos lacera suscepit ab urbe fugates,

     Hic fessis posito certa timore salus.
     Plurima terreno populaverat aequora bello,

     Contra naturam classe timendus eques:
     Unum, mira fides, vario discrimine portum!

     Tam prope Romanis, tam procul esse Getis.

    —-Rutilius, in Itinerar. l. i. 325

The island is now called Giglio. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. l. ii. ]

113 (return) [ As the adventures of Proba and her family are connected
with the life of St. Augustin, they are diligently illustrated by
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 620-635. Some time after their
arrival in Africa, Demetrias took the veil, and made a vow of virginity;
an event which was considered as of the highest importance to Rome and
to the world. All the Saints wrote congratulatory letters to her; that
of Jerom is still extant, (tom. i. p. 62-73, ad Demetriad. de servand
Virginitat.,) and contains a mixture of absurd reasoning, spirited
declamation, and curious facts, some of which relate to the siege and
sack of Rome.]

114 (return) [ See the pathetic complaint of Jerom, (tom. v. p. 400,)
in his preface to the second book of his Commentaries on the Prophet
Ezekiel.]

There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the
advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times. Yet, when
the first emotions had subsided, and a fair estimate was made of the
real damage, the more learned and judicious contemporaries were forced
to confess, that infant Rome had formerly received more essential
injury from the Gauls, than she had now sustained from the Goths in
her declining age. 115 The experience of eleven centuries has enabled
posterity to produce a much more singular parallel; and to affirm with
confidence, that the ravages of the Barbarians, whom Alaric had led
from the banks of the Danube, were less destructive than the hostilities
exercised by the troops of Charles the Fifth, a Catholic prince, who
styled himself Emperor of the Romans. 116 The Goths evacuated the city
at the end of six days, but Rome remained above nine months in the
possession of the Imperialists; and every hour was stained by some
atrocious act of cruelty, lust, and rapine. The authority of Alaric
preserved some order and moderation among the ferocious multitude which
acknowledged him for their leader and king; but the constable of Bourbon
had gloriously fallen in the attack of the walls; and the death of
the general removed every restraint of discipline from an army which
consisted of three independent nations, the Italians, the Spaniards, and
the Germans. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the manners of
Italy exhibited a remarkable scene of the depravity of mankind. They
united the sanguinary crimes that prevail in an unsettled state of
society, with the polished vices which spring from the abuse of art and
luxury; and the loose adventurers, who had violated every prejudice of
patriotism and superstition to assault the palace of the Roman pontiff,
must deserve to be considered as the most profligate of the Italians.
At the same aera, the Spaniards were the terror both of the Old and
New World: but their high-spirited valor was disgraced by gloomy pride,
rapacious avarice, and unrelenting cruelty. Indefatigable in the pursuit
of fame and riches, they had improved, by repeated practice, the most
exquisite and effectual methods of torturing their prisoners: many
of the Castilians, who pillaged Rome, were familiars of the holy
inquisition; and some volunteers, perhaps, were lately returned from the
conquest of Mexico The Germans were less corrupt than the Italians,
less cruel than the Spaniards; and the rustic, or even savage, aspect
of those Tramontane warriors, often disguised a simple and merciful
disposition. But they had imbibed, in the first fervor of the
reformation, the spirit, as well as the principles of Luther. It was
their favorite amusement to insult, or destroy, the consecrated objects
of Catholic superstition; they indulged, without pity or remorse, a
devout hatred against the clergy of every denomination and degree, who
form so considerable a part of the inhabitants of modern Rome; and
their fanatic zeal might aspire to subvert the throne of Anti-christ, to
purify, with blood and fire, the abominations of the spiritual Babylon.
117

115 (return) [ Orosius, though with some theological partiality, states
this comparison, l. ii. c. 19, p. 142, l. vii. c. 39, p. 575. But,
in the history of the taking of Rome by the Gauls, every thing is
uncertain, and perhaps fabulous. See Beaufort sur l'Incertitude, &c.,
de l'Histoire Romaine, p. 356; and Melot, in the Mem. de l'Academie des
Inscript. tom. xv. p. 1-21.]

116 (return) [ The reader who wishes to inform himself of the
circumstances of his famous event, may peruse an admirable narrative in
Dr. Robertson's History of Charles V. vol. ii. p. 283; or consult the
Annali d'Italia of the learned Muratori, tom. xiv. p. 230-244, octavo
edition. If he is desirous of examining the originals, he may have
recourse to the eighteenth book of the great, but unfinished, history
of Guicciardini. But the account which most truly deserves the name of
authentic and original, is a little book, entitled, Il Sacco di Roma,
composed, within less than a month after the assault of the city, by the
brother of the historian Guicciardini, who appears to have been an able
magistrate and a dispassionate writer.]

117 (return) [ The furious spirit of Luther, the effect of temper and
enthusiasm, has been forcibly attacked, (Bossuet, Hist. des Variations
des Eglises Protestantes, livre i. p. 20-36,) and feebly defended,
(Seckendorf. Comment. de Lutheranismo, especially l. i. No. 78, p. 120,
and l. iii. No. 122, p. 556.)]

The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evacuated Rome on the sixth
day, 118 might be the result of prudence; but it was not surely the
effect of fear. 119 At the head of an army encumbered with rich and
weighty spoils, their intrepid leader advanced along the Appian way into
the southern provinces of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose
his passage, and contenting himself with the plunder of the unresisting
country. The fate of Capua, the proud and luxurious metropolis of
Campania, and which was respected, even in its decay, as the eighth city
of the empire, 120 is buried in oblivion; whilst the adjacent town of
Nola 121 has been illustrated, on this occasion, by the sanctity of
Paulinus, 122 who was successively a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At
the age of forty, he renounced the enjoyment of wealth and honor, of
society and literature, to embrace a life of solitude and penance; and
the loud applause of the clergy encouraged him to despise the reproaches
of his worldly friends, who ascribed this desperate act to some disorder
of the mind or body. 123 An early and passionate attachment determined
him to fix his humble dwelling in one of the suburbs of Nola, near the
miraculous tomb of St. Faelix, which the public devotion had already
surrounded with five large and populous churches. The remains of his
fortune, and of his understanding, were dedicated to the service of
the glorious martyr; whose praise, on the day of his festival, Paulinus
never failed to celebrate by a solemn hymn; and in whose name he erected
a sixth church, of superior elegance and beauty, which was decorated
with many curious pictures, from the history of the Old and New
Testament. Such assiduous zeal secured the favor of the saint, 124 or
at least of the people; and, after fifteen years' retirement, the Roman
consul was compelled to accept the bishopric of Nola, a few months
before the city was invested by the Goths. During the siege, some
religious persons were satisfied that they had seen, either in dreams or
visions, the divine form of their tutelar patron; yet it soon appeared
by the event, that Faelix wanted power, or inclination, to preserve the
flock of which he had formerly been the shepherd. Nola was not saved
from the general devastation; 125 and the captive bishop was protected
only by the general opinion of his innocence and poverty. Above four
years elapsed from the successful invasion of Italy by the arms of
Alaric, to the voluntary retreat of the Goths under the conduct of his
successor Adolphus; and, during the whole time, they reigned without
control over a country, which, in the opinion of the ancients, had
united all the various excellences of nature and art. The prosperity,
indeed, which Italy had attained in the auspicious age of the Antonines,
had gradually declined with the decline of the empire.

The fruits of a long peace perished under the rude grasp of the
Barbarians; and they themselves were incapable of tasting the more
elegant refinements of luxury, which had been prepared for the use of
the soft and polished Italians. Each soldier, however, claimed an ample
portion of the substantial plenty, the corn and cattle, oil and wine,
that was daily collected and consumed in the Gothic camp; and the
principal warriors insulted the villas and gardens, once inhabited
by Lucullus and Cicero, along the beauteous coast of Campania. Their
trembling captives, the sons and daughters of Roman senators, presented,
in goblets of gold and gems, large draughts of Falernian wine to the
haughty victors; who stretched their huge limbs under the shade of
plane-trees, 126 artificially disposed to exclude the scorching rays,
and to admit the genial warmth, of the sun. These delights were enhanced
by the memory of past hardships: the comparison of their native soil,
the bleak and barren hills of Scythia, and the frozen banks of the Elbe
and Danube, added new charms to the felicity of the Italian climate. 127

118 (return) [ Marcellinus, in Chron. Orosius, (l. vii. c. 39, p. 575,)
asserts, that he left Rome on the third day; but this difference is
easily reconciled by the successive motions of great bodies of troops.]

119 (return) [ Socrates (l. vii. c. 10) pretends, without any color of
truth, or reason, that Alaric fled on the report that the armies of the
Eastern empire were in full march to attack him.]

120 (return) [ Ausonius de Claris Urbibus, p. 233, edit. Toll. The
luxury of Capua had formerly surpassed that of Sybaris itself. See
Athenaeus Deipnosophist. l. xii. p. 528, edit. Casaubon.]

121 (return) [ Forty-eight years before the foundation of Rome, (about
800 before the Christian aera,) the Tuscans built Capua and Nola, at the
distance of twenty-three miles from each other; but the latter of the
two cities never emerged from a state of mediocrity.]

122 (return) [ Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 1-46) has compiled,
with his usual diligence, all that relates to the life and writings of
Paulinus, whose retreat is celebrated by his own pen, and by the praises
of St. Ambrose, St. Jerom, St. Augustin, Sulpicius Severus, &c., his
Christian friends and contemporaries.]

123 (return) [ See the affectionate letters of Ausonius (epist.
xix.—xxv. p. 650-698, edit. Toll.) to his colleague, his friend, and
his disciple, Paulinus. The religion of Ausonius is still a problem,
(see Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xv. p. 123-138.) I
believe that it was such in his own time, and, consequently, that in his
heart he was a Pagan.]

124 (return) [ The humble Paulinus once presumed to say, that he
believed St. Faelix did love him; at least, as a master loves his little
dog.]

125 (return) [ See Jornandes, de Reb. Get. c. 30, p. 653. Philostorgius,
l. xii. c. 3. Augustin. de Civ. Dei, l.i.c. 10. Baronius, Annal. Eccles.
A.D. 410, No. 45, 46.]

126 (return) [ The platanus, or plane-tree, was a favorite of the
ancients, by whom it was propagated, for the sake of shade, from the
East to Gaul. Plin. Hist. Natur. xii. 3, 4, 5. He mentions several of
an enormous size; one in the Imperial villa, at Velitrae, which Caligula
called his nest, as the branches were capable of holding a large table,
the proper attendants, and the emperor himself, whom Pliny quaintly
styles pars umbroe; an expression which might, with equal reason, be
applied to Alaric]

127 (return) [ The prostrate South to the destroyer yields

     Her boasted titles, and her golden fields;
     With grim delight the brood of winter view
     A brighter day, and skies of azure hue;
     Scent the new fragrance of the opening rose,
     And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows.

See Gray's Poems, published by Mr. Mason, p. 197. Instead of compiling
tables of chronology and natural history, why did not Mr. Gray apply
the powers of his genius to finish the philosophic poem, of which he has
left such an exquisite specimen?]

Whether fame, or conquest, or riches, were the object or Alaric, he
pursued that object with an indefatigable ardor, which could neither be
quelled by adversity nor satiated by success. No sooner had he reached
the extreme land of Italy, than he was attracted by the neighboring
prospect of a fertile and peaceful island. Yet even the possession
of Sicily he considered only as an intermediate step to the important
expedition, which he already meditated against the continent of Africa.
The Straits of Rhegium and Messina 128 are twelve miles in length,
and, in the narrowest passage, about one mile and a half broad; and the
fabulous monsters of the deep, the rocks of Scylla, and the whirlpool of
Charybdis, could terrify none but the most timid and unskilful mariners.
Yet as soon as the first division of the Goths had embarked, a sudden
tempest arose, which sunk, or scattered, many of the transports; their
courage was daunted by the terrors of a new element; and the whole
design was defeated by the premature death of Alaric, which fixed,
after a short illness, the fatal term of his conquests. The ferocious
character of the Barbarians was displayed in the funeral of a hero whose
valor and fortune they celebrated with mournful applause. By the
labor of a captive multitude, they forcibly diverted the course of the
Busentinus, a small river that washes the walls of Consentia. The royal
sepulchre, adorned with the splendid spoils and trophies of Rome, was
constructed in the vacant bed; the waters were then restored to their
natural channel; and the secret spot, where the remains of Alaric had
been deposited, was forever concealed by the inhuman massacre of the
prisoners, who had been employed to execute the work. 129

128 (return) [ For the perfect description of the Straits of Messina,
Scylla, Clarybdis, &c., see Cluverius, (Ital. Antiq. l. iv. p. 1293, and
Sicilia Antiq. l. i. p. 60-76), who had diligently studied the ancients,
and surveyed with a curious eye the actual face of the country.]

129 (return) [ Jornandes, de Reb Get. c. 30, p. 654.]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part V.

The personal animosities and hereditary feuds of the Barbarians were
suspended by the strong necessity of their affairs; and the brave
Adolphus, the brother-in-law of the deceased monarch, was unanimously
elected to succeed to his throne. The character and political system
of the new king of the Goths may be best understood from his own
conversation with an illustrious citizen of Narbonne; who afterwards, in
a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, related it to St. Jerom, in the presence
of the historian Orosius. "In the full confidence of valor and victory,
I once aspired (said Adolphus) to change the face of the universe; to
obliterate the name of Rome; to erect on its ruins the dominion of the
Goths; and to acquire, like Augustus, the immortal fame of the founder
of a new empire. By repeated experiments, I was gradually convinced,
that laws are essentially necessary to maintain and regulate a
well-constituted state; and that the fierce, untractable humor of the
Goths was incapable of bearing the salutary yoke of laws and civil
government. From that moment I proposed to myself a different object of
glory and ambition; and it is now my sincere wish that the gratitude of
future ages should acknowledge the merit of a stranger, who employed
the sword of the Goths, not to subvert, but to restore and maintain,
the prosperity of the Roman empire." 130 With these pacific views,
the successor of Alaric suspended the operations of war; and seriously
negotiated with the Imperial court a treaty of friendship and alliance.
It was the interest of the ministers of Honorius, who were now released
from the obligation of their extravagant oath, to deliver Italy from the
intolerable weight of the Gothic powers; and they readily accepted their
service against the tyrants and Barbarians who infested the provinces
beyond the Alps. 131 Adolphus, assuming the character of a Roman
general, directed his march from the extremity of Campania to the
southern provinces of Gaul. His troops, either by force of agreement,
immediately occupied the cities of Narbonne, Thoulouse, and Bordeaux;
and though they were repulsed by Count Boniface from the walls of
Marseilles, they soon extended their quarters from the Mediterranean to
the Ocean.

The oppressed provincials might exclaim, that the miserable remnant,
which the enemy had spared, was cruelly ravished by their pretended
allies; yet some specious colors were not wanting to palliate, or
justify the violence of the Goths. The cities of Gaul, which they
attacked, might perhaps be considered as in a state of rebellion against
the government of Honorius: the articles of the treaty, or the secret
instructions of the court, might sometimes be alleged in favor of
the seeming usurpations of Adolphus; and the guilt of any irregular,
unsuccessful act of hostility might always be imputed, with an
appearance of truth, to the ungovernable spirit of a Barbarian host,
impatient of peace or discipline. The luxury of Italy had been less
effectual to soften the temper, than to relax the courage, of the
Goths; and they had imbibed the vices, without imitating the arts and
institutions, of civilized society. 132

130 (return) [ Orosius, l. vii. c. 43, p. 584, 585. He was sent by St.
Augustin in the year 415, from Africa to Palestine, to visit St. Jerom,
and to consult with him on the subject of the Pelagian controversy.]

131 (return) [ Jornandes supposes, without much probability, that
Adolphus visited and plundered Rome a second time, (more locustarum
erasit) Yet he agrees with Orosius in supposing that a treaty of peace
was concluded between the Gothic prince and Honorius. See Oros. l. vii.
c. 43 p. 584, 585. Jornandes, de Reb. Geticis, c. 31, p. 654, 655.]

132 (return) [ The retreat of the Goths from Italy, and their first
transactions in Gaul, are dark and doubtful. I have derived much
assistance from Mascou, (Hist. of the Ancient Germans, l. viii. c. 29,
35, 36, 37,) who has illustrated, and connected, the broken chronicles
and fragments of the times.]

The professions of Adolphus were probably sincere, and his attachment
to the cause of the republic was secured by the ascendant which a Roman
princess had acquired over the heart and understanding of the Barbarian
king. Placidia, 133 the daughter of the great Theodosius, and of
Galla, his second wife, had received a royal education in the palace of
Constantinople; but the eventful story of her life is connected with
the revolutions which agitated the Western empire under the reign of her
brother Honorius. When Rome was first invested by the arms of Alaric,
Placidia, who was then about twenty years of age, resided in the city;
and her ready consent to the death of her cousin Serena has a cruel
and ungrateful appearance, which, according to the circumstances of
the action, may be aggravated, or excused, by the consideration of her
tender age. 134 The victorious Barbarians detained, either as a hostage
or a captive, 135 the sister of Honorius; but, while she was exposed to
the disgrace of following round Italy the motions of a Gothic camp, she
experienced, however, a decent and respectful treatment. The authority
of Jornandes, who praises the beauty of Placidia, may perhaps be
counterbalanced by the silence, the expressive silence, of her
flatterers: yet the splendor of her birth, the bloom of youth,
the elegance of manners, and the dexterous insinuation which she
condescended to employ, made a deep impression on the mind of Adolphus;
and the Gothic king aspired to call himself the brother of the emperor.
The ministers of Honorius rejected with disdain the proposal of an
alliance so injurious to every sentiment of Roman pride; and repeatedly
urged the restitution of Placidia, as an indispensable condition of
the treaty of peace. But the daughter of Theodosius submitted, without
reluctance, to the desires of the conqueror, a young and valiant prince,
who yielded to Alaric in loftiness of stature, but who excelled in the
more attractive qualities of grace and beauty. The marriage of Adolphus
and Placidia 136 was consummated before the Goths retired from Italy;
and the solemn, perhaps the anniversary day of their nuptials was
afterwards celebrated in the house of Ingenuus, one of the most
illustrious citizens of Narbonne in Gaul. The bride, attired and adorned
like a Roman empress, was placed on a throne of state; and the king of
the Goths, who assumed, on this occasion, the Roman habit, contented
himself with a less honorable seat by her side. The nuptial gift, which,
according to the custom of his nation, 137 was offered to Placidia,
consisted of the rare and magnificent spoils of her country. Fifty
beautiful youths, in silken robes, carried a basin in each hand; and one
of these basins was filled with pieces of gold, the other with precious
stones of an inestimable value. Attalus, so long the sport of fortune,
and of the Goths, was appointed to lead the chorus of the Hymeneal
song; and the degraded emperor might aspire to the praise of a skilful
musician. The Barbarians enjoyed the insolence of their triumph; and
the provincials rejoiced in this alliance, which tempered, by the mild
influence of love and reason, the fierce spirit of their Gothic lord.
138

133 (return) [ See an account of Placidia in Ducange Fam. Byzant. p. 72;
and Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 260, 386, &c. tom. vi. p.
240.]

134 (return) [ Zosim. l. v. p. 350.]

135 (return) [ Zosim. l. vi. p. 383. Orosius, (l. vii. c. 40, p. 576,)
and the Chronicles of Marcellinus and Idatius, seem to suppose, that the
Goths did not carry away Placidia till after the last siege of Rome.]

136 (return) [ See the pictures of Adolphus and Placidia, and the
account of their marriage, in Jornandes, de Reb. Geticis, c. 31, p. 654,
655. With regard to the place where the nuptials were stipulated, or
consummated, or celebrated, the Mss. of Jornandes vary between two
neighboring cities, Forli and Imola, (Forum Livii and Forum Cornelii.)
It is fair and easy to reconcile the Gothic historian with Olympiodorus,
(see Mascou, l. viii. c. 46:) but Tillemont grows peevish, and swears
that it is not worth while to try to conciliate Jornandes with any good
authors.]

137 (return) [ The Visigoths (the subjects of Adolphus) restrained by
subsequent laws, the prodigality of conjugal love. It was illegal for
a husband to make any gift or settlement for the benefit of his wife
during the first year of their marriage; and his liberality could not
at any time exceed the tenth part of his property. The Lombards were
somewhat more indulgent: they allowed the morgingcap immediately after
the wedding night; and this famous gift, the reward of virginity might
equal the fourth part of the husband's substance. Some cautious maidens,
indeed, were wise enough to stipulate beforehand a present, which they
were too sure of not deserving. See Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, l.
xix. c. 25. Muratori, delle Antichita Italiane, tom. i. Dissertazion,
xx. p. 243.]

138 (return) [ We owe the curious detail of this nuptial feast to the
historian Olympiodorus, ap. Photium, p. 185, 188.]

The hundred basins of gold and gems, presented to Placidia at her
nuptial feast, formed an inconsiderable portion of the Gothic treasures;
of which some extraordinary specimens may be selected from the history
of the successors of Adolphus. Many curious and costly ornaments of pure
gold, enriched with jewels, were found in their palace of Narbonne, when
it was pillaged, in the sixth century, by the Franks: sixty cups, caps,
or chalices; fifteen patens, or plates, for the use of the communion;
twenty boxes, or cases, to hold the books of the Gospels: this
consecrated wealth 139 was distributed by the son of Clovis among the
churches of his dominions, and his pious liberality seems to upbraid
some former sacrilege of the Goths. They possessed, with more security
of conscience, the famous missorium, or great dish for the service of
the table, of massy gold, of the weight of five hundred pounds, and of
far superior value, from the precious stones, the exquisite workmanship,
and the tradition, that it had been presented by Aetius, the patrician,
to Torismond, king of the Goths. One of the successors of Torismond
purchased the aid of the French monarch by the promise of this
magnificent gift. When he was seated on the throne of Spain, he
delivered it with reluctance to the ambassadors of Dagobert; despoiled
them on the road; stipulated, after a long negotiation, the inadequate
ransom of two hundred thousand pieces of gold; and preserved the
missorium, as the pride of the Gothic treasury. 140 When that treasury,
after the conquest of Spain, was plundered by the Arabs, they admired,
and they have celebrated, another object still more remarkable; a
table of considerable size, of one single piece of solid emerald, 141
encircled with three rows of fine pearls, supported by three hundred and
sixty-five feet of gems and massy gold, and estimated at the price of
five hundred thousand pieces of gold. 142 Some portion of the Gothic
treasures might be the gift of friendship, or the tribute of obedience;
but the far greater part had been the fruits of war and rapine, the
spoils of the empire, and perhaps of Rome.

139 (return) [ See in the great collection of the Historians of France
by Dom Bouquet, tom. ii. Greg. Turonens. l. iii. c. 10, p. 191. Gesta
Regum Francorum, c. 23, p. 557. The anonymous writer, with an ignorance
worthy of his times, supposes that these instruments of Christian
worship had belonged to the temple of Solomon. If he has any meaning it
must be, that they were found in the sack of Rome.]

140 (return) [ Consult the following original testimonies in the
Historians of France, tom. ii. Fredegarii Scholastici Chron. c. 73, p.
441. Fredegar. Fragment. iii. p. 463. Gesta Regis Dagobert, c. 29, p.
587. The accession of Sisenand to the throne of Spain happened A.D.
631. The 200,000 pieces of gold were appropriated by Dagobert to the
foundation of the church of St. Denys.]

141 (return) [ The president Goguet (Origine des Loix, &c., tom. ii. p.
239) is of opinion, that the stupendous pieces of emerald, the
statues and columns which antiquity has placed in Egypt, at Gades,
at Constantinople, were in reality artificial compositions of colored
glass. The famous emerald dish, which is shown at Genoa, is supposed to
countenance the suspicion.]

142 (return) [ Elmacin. Hist. Saracenica, l. i. p. 85. Roderic. Tolet.
Hist. Arab. c. 9. Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous les
Arabes tom. i. p. 83. It was called the Table of Solomon, according to
the custom of the Orientals, who ascribe to that prince every ancient
work of knowledge or magnificence.]

After the deliverance of Italy from the oppression of the Goths, some
secret counsellor was permitted, amidst the factions of the palace,
to heal the wounds of that afflicted country. 143 By a wise and humane
regulation, the eight provinces which had been the most deeply injured,
Campania, Tuscany, Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Calabria, Bruttium, and
Lucania, obtained an indulgence of five years: the ordinary tribute was
reduced to one fifth, and even that fifth was destined to restore and
support the useful institution of the public posts. By another law,
the lands which had been left without inhabitants or cultivation, were
granted, with some diminution of taxes, to the neighbors who should
occupy, or the strangers who should solicit them; and the new possessors
were secured against the future claims of the fugitive proprietors.
About the same time a general amnesty was published in the name of
Honorius, to abolish the guilt and memory of all the involuntary
offences which had been committed by his unhappy subjects, during
the term of the public disorder and calamity A decent and respectful
attention was paid to the restoration of the capital; the citizens were
encouraged to rebuild the edifices which had been destroyed or damaged
by hostile fire; and extraordinary supplies of corn were imported from
the coast of Africa. The crowds that so lately fled before the sword of
the Barbarians, were soon recalled by the hopes of plenty and pleasure;
and Albinus, praefect of Rome, informed the court, with some anxiety and
surprise, that, in a single day, he had taken an account of the arrival
of fourteen thousand strangers. 144 In less than seven years, the
vestiges of the Gothic invasion were almost obliterated; and the city
appeared to resume its former splendor and tranquillity. The venerable
matron replaced her crown of laurel, which had been ruffled by the
storms of war; and was still amused, in the last moment of her decay,
with the prophecies of revenge, of victory, and of eternal dominion. 145

143 (return) [ His three laws are inserted in the Theodosian Code, l.
xi. tit. xxviii. leg. 7. L. xiii. tit. xi. leg. 12. L. xv. tit. xiv.
leg. 14 The expressions of the last are very remarkable; since they
contain not only a pardon, but an apology.]

144 (return) [ Olympiodorus ap. Phot. p. 188. Philostorgius (l. xii. c.
5) observes, that when Honorius made his triumphal entry, he encouraged
the Romans, with his hand and voice, to rebuild their city; and
the Chronicle of Prosper commends Heraclian, qui in Romanae urbis
reparationem strenuum exhibuerat ministerium.]

145 (return) [ The date of the voyage of Claudius Rutilius Numatianus
is clogged with some difficulties; but Scaliger has deduced from
astronomical characters, that he left Rome the 24th of September and
embarked at Porto the 9th of October, A.D. 416. See Tillemont, Hist. des
Empereurs, tom, v. p. 820. In this poetical Itinerary, Rutilius (l. i.
115, &c.) addresses Rome in a high strain of congratulation:—

Erige crinales lauros, seniumque sacrati Verticis in virides, Roma,
recinge comas, &c.]

This apparent tranquillity was soon disturbed by the approach of a
hostile armament from the country which afforded the daily subsistence
of the Roman people. Heraclian, count of Africa, who, under the most
difficult and distressful circumstances, had supported, with active
loyalty, the cause of Honorius, was tempted, in the year of his
consulship, to assume the character of a rebel, and the title of
emperor. The ports of Africa were immediately filled with the naval
forces, at the head of which he prepared to invade Italy: and his fleet,
when it cast anchor at the mouth of the Tyber, indeed surpassed the
fleets of Xerxes and Alexander, if all the vessels, including the royal
galley, and the smallest boat, did actually amount to the incredible
number of three thousand two hundred. 146 Yet with such an armament,
which might have subverted, or restored, the greatest empires of the
earth, the African usurper made a very faint and feeble impression on
the provinces of his rival. As he marched from the port, along the road
which leads to the gates of Rome, he was encountered, terrified, and
routed, by one of the Imperial captains; and the lord of this mighty
host, deserting his fortune and his friends, ignominiously fled with
a single ship. 147 When Heraclian landed in the harbor of Carthage, he
found that the whole province, disdaining such an unworthy ruler, had
returned to their allegiance. The rebel was beheaded in the ancient
temple of Memory; his consulship was abolished: 148 and the remains of
his private fortune, not exceeding the moderate sum of four thousand
pounds of gold, were granted to the brave Constantius, who had already
defended the throne, which he afterwards shared with his feeble
sovereign. Honorius viewed, with supine indifference, the calamities
of Rome and Italy; 149 but the rebellious attempts of Attalus and
Heraclian, against his personal safety, awakened, for a moment, the
torpid instinct of his nature. He was probably ignorant of the causes
and events which preserved him from these impending dangers; and as
Italy was no longer invaded by any foreign or domestic enemies, he
peaceably existed in the palace of Ravenna, while the tyrants beyond the
Alps were repeatedly vanquished in the name, and by the lieutenants,
of the son of Theodosius. 150 In the course of a busy and interesting
narrative I might possibly forget to mention the death of such a prince:
and I shall therefore take the precaution of observing, in this place,
that he survived the last siege of Rome about thirteen years.

146 (return) [ Orosius composed his history in Africa, only two years
after the event; yet his authority seems to be overbalanced by the
improbability of the fact. The Chronicle of Marcellinus gives Heraclian
700 ships and 3000 men: the latter of these numbers is ridiculously
corrupt; but the former would please me very much.]

147 (return) [ The Chronicle of Idatius affirms, without the least
appearance of truth, that he advanced as far as Otriculum, in Umbria,
where he was overthrown in a great battle, with the loss of 50,000 men.]

148 (return) [ See Cod. Theod. l. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 13. The legal acts
performed in his name, even the manumission of slaves, were declared
invalid, till they had been formally repeated.]

149 (return) [ I have disdained to mention a very foolish, and probably
a false, report, (Procop. de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2,) that Honorius
was alarmed by the loss of Rome, till he understood that it was not a
favorite chicken of that name, but only the capital of the world,
which had been lost. Yet even this story is some evidence of the public
opinion.]

150 (return) [ The materials for the lives of all these tyrants are
taken from six contemporary historians, two Latins and four Greeks:
Orosius, l. vii. c. 42, p. 581, 582, 583; Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus,
apud Gregor Turon. l. ii. c. 9, in the Historians of France, tom. ii. p.
165, 166; Zosimus, l. v. p. 370, 371; Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p. 180,
181, 184, 185; Sozomen, l. ix. c. 12, 13, 14, 15; and Philostorgius, l.
xii. c. 5, 6, with Godefroy's Dissertation, p. 477-481; besides the
four Chronicles of Prosper Tyro, Prosper of Aquitain, Idatius, and
Marcellinus.]

The usurpation of Constantine, who received the purple from the legions
of Britain, had been successful, and seemed to be secure. His title was
acknowledged, from the wall of Antoninus to the columns of Hercules;
and, in the midst of the public disorder he shared the dominion, and
the plunder, of Gaul and Spain, with the tribes of Barbarians, whose
destructive progress was no longer checked by the Rhine or Pyrenees.
Stained with the blood of the kinsmen of Honorius, he extorted, from the
court of Ravenna, with which he secretly corresponded, the ratification
of his rebellious claims. Constantine engaged himself, by a solemn
promise, to deliver Italy from the Goths; advanced as far as the banks
of the Po; and after alarming, rather than assisting, his pusillanimous
ally, hastily returned to the palace of Arles, to celebrate, with
intemperate luxury, his vain and ostentatious triumph. But this
transient prosperity was soon interrupted and destroyed by the revolt of
Count Gerontius, the bravest of his generals; who, during the absence
of his son Constans, a prince already invested with the Imperial purple,
had been left to command in the provinces of Spain. From some reason, of
which we are ignorant, Gerontius, instead of assuming the diadem,
placed it on the head of his friend Maximus, who fixed his residence
at Tarragona, while the active count pressed forwards, through the
Pyrenees, to surprise the two emperors, Constantine and Constans, before
they could prepare for their defence. The son was made prisoner at
Vienna, and immediately put to death: and the unfortunate youth had
scarcely leisure to deplore the elevation of his family; which had
tempted, or compelled him, sacrilegiously to desert the peaceful
obscurity of the monastic life. The father maintained a siege within the
walls of Arles; but those walls must have yielded to the assailants, had
not the city been unexpectedly relieved by the approach of an Italian
army. The name of Honorius, the proclamation of a lawful emperor,
astonished the contending parties of the rebels. Gerontius, abandoned by
his own troops, escaped to the confines of Spain; and rescued his name
from oblivion, by the Roman courage which appeared to animate the last
moments of his life. In the middle of the night, a great body of his
perfidious soldiers surrounded and attacked his house, which he had
strongly barricaded. His wife, a valiant friend of the nation of the
Alani, and some faithful slaves, were still attached to his person; and
he used, with so much skill and resolution, a large magazine of darts
and arrows, that above three hundred of the assailants lost their lives
in the attempt. His slaves when all the missile weapons were spent,
fled at the dawn of day; and Gerontius, if he had not been restrained
by conjugal tenderness, might have imitated their example; till the
soldiers, provoked by such obstinate resistance, applied fire on all
sides to the house. In this fatal extremity, he complied with the
request of his Barbarian friend, and cut off his head. The wife of
Gerontius, who conjured him not to abandon her to a life of misery and
disgrace, eagerly presented her neck to his sword; and the tragic scene
was terminated by the death of the count himself, who, after three
ineffectual strokes, drew a short dagger, and sheathed it in his heart.
151 The unprotected Maximus, whom he had invested with the purple, was
indebted for his life to the contempt that was entertained of his power
and abilities. The caprice of the Barbarians, who ravaged Spain, once
more seated this Imperial phantom on the throne: but they soon resigned
him to the justice of Honorius; and the tyrant Maximus, after he had
been shown to the people of Ravenna and Rome, was publicly executed.

151 (return) [ The praises which Sozomen has bestowed on this act of
despair, appear strange and scandalous in the mouth of an ecclesiastical
historian. He observes (p. 379) that the wife of Gerontius was a
Christian; and that her death was worthy of her religion, and of
immortal fame.]

The general, (Constantius was his name,) who raised by his approach
the siege of Arles, and dissipated the troops of Gerontius, was born
a Roman; and this remarkable distinction is strongly expressive of the
decay of military spirit among the subjects of the empire. The strength
and majesty which were conspicuous in the person of that general, 152
marked him, in the popular opinion, as a candidate worthy of the throne,
which he afterwards ascended. In the familiar intercourse of private
life, his manners were cheerful and engaging; nor would he sometimes
disdain, in the license of convivial mirth, to vie with the pantomimes
themselves, in the exercises of their ridiculous profession. But when
the trumpet summoned him to arms; when he mounted his horse, and,
bending down (for such was his singular practice) almost upon the neck,
fiercely rolled his large animated eyes round the field, Constantius
then struck terror into his foes, and inspired his soldiers with the
assurance of victory. He had received from the court of Ravenna the
important commission of extirpating rebellion in the provinces of the
West; and the pretended emperor Constantine, after enjoying a short and
anxious respite, was again besieged in his capital by the arms of a
more formidable enemy. Yet this interval allowed time for a successful
negotiation with the Franks and Alemanni and his ambassador, Edobic,
soon returned at the head of an army, to disturb the operations of the
siege of Arles. The Roman general, instead of expecting the attack in
his lines, boldly and perhaps wisely, resolved to pass the Rhone, and to
meet the Barbarians. His measures were conducted with so much skill and
secrecy, that, while they engaged the infantry of Constantius in the
front, they were suddenly attacked, surrounded, and destroyed, by
the cavalry of his lieutenant Ulphilas, who had silently gained an
advantageous post in their rear. The remains of the army of Edobic were
preserved by flight or submission, and their leader escaped from the
field of battle to the house of a faithless friend; who too clearly
understood, that the head of his obnoxious guest would be an acceptable
and lucrative present for the Imperial general. On this occasion,
Constantius behaved with the magnanimity of a genuine Roman. Subduing,
or suppressing, every sentiment of jealousy, he publicly acknowledged
the merit and services of Ulphilas; but he turned with horror from the
assassin of Edobic; and sternly intimated his commands, that the camp
should no longer be polluted by the presence of an ungrateful wretch,
who had violated the laws of friendship and hospitality. The usurper,
who beheld, from the walls of Arles, the ruin of his last hopes, was
tempted to place some confidence in so generous a conqueror. He
required a solemn promise for his security; and after receiving, by the
imposition of hands, the sacred character of a Christian Presbyter, he
ventured to open the gates of the city. But he soon experienced that
the principles of honor and integrity, which might regulate the ordinary
conduct of Constantius, were superseded by the loose doctrines of
political morality. The Roman general, indeed, refused to sully his
laurels with the blood of Constantine; but the abdicated emperor, and
his son Julian, were sent under a strong guard into Italy; and before
they reached the palace of Ravenna, they met the ministers of death.

152 (return) [ It is the expression of Olympiodorus, which he seems
to have borrowed from Aeolus, a tragedy of Euripides, of which some
fragments only are now extant, (Euripid. Barnes, tom. ii. p. 443, ver
38.) This allusion may prove, that the ancient tragic poets were still
familiar to the Greeks of the fifth century.]

At a time when it was universally confessed, that almost every man
in the empire was superior in personal merit to the princes whom the
accident of their birth had seated on the throne, a rapid succession of
usurpers, regardless of the fate of their predecessors, still continued
to arise. This mischief was peculiarly felt in the provinces of
Spain and Gaul, where the principles of order and obedience had been
extinguished by war and rebellion. Before Constantine resigned the
purple, and in the fourth month of the siege of Arles, intelligence was
received in the Imperial camp, that Jovinus has assumed the diadem at
Mentz, in the Upper Germany, at the instigation of Goar, king of
the Alani, and of Guntiarius, king of the Burgundians; and that the
candidate, on whom they had bestowed the empire, advanced with a
formidable host of Barbarians, from the banks of the Rhine to those of
the Rhone. Every circumstance is dark and extraordinary in the short
history of the reign of Jovinus. It was natural to expect, that a
brave and skilful general, at the head of a victorious army, would have
asserted, in a field of battle, the justice of the cause of Honorius.
The hasty retreat of Constantius might be justified by weighty reasons;
but he resigned, without a struggle, the possession of Gaul; and
Dardanus, the Praetorian praefect, is recorded as the only magistrate
who refused to yield obedience to the usurper. 153 When the Goths, two
years after the siege of Rome, established their quarters in Gaul, it
was natural to suppose that their inclinations could be divided only
between the emperor Honorius, with whom they had formed a recent
alliance, and the degraded Attalus, whom they reserved in their camp for
the occasional purpose of acting the part of a musician or a monarch.
Yet in a moment of disgust, (for which it is not easy to assign a cause,
or a date,) Adolphus connected himself with the usurper of Gaul; and
imposed on Attalus the ignominious task of negotiating the treaty, which
ratified his own disgrace. We are again surprised to read, that, instead
of considering the Gothic alliance as the firmest support of his
throne, Jovinus upbraided, in dark and ambiguous language, the officious
importunity of Attalus; that, scorning the advice of his great ally,
he invested with the purple his brother Sebastian; and that he most
imprudently accepted the service of Sarus, when that gallant chief, the
soldier of Honorius, was provoked to desert the court of a prince, who
knew not how to reward or punish. Adolphus, educated among a race of
warriors, who esteemed the duty of revenge as the most precious and
sacred portion of their inheritance, advanced with a body of ten
thousand Goths to encounter the hereditary enemy of the house of Balti.
He attacked Sarus at an unguarded moment, when he was accompanied only
by eighteen or twenty of his valiant followers. United by friendship,
animated by despair, but at length oppressed by multitudes, this band
of heroes deserved the esteem, without exciting the compassion, of their
enemies; and the lion was no sooner taken in the toils, 154 than he was
instantly despatched. The death of Sarus dissolved the loose alliance
which Adolphus still maintained with the usurpers of Gaul. He again
listened to the dictates of love and prudence; and soon satisfied the
brother of Placidia, by the assurance that he would immediately transmit
to the palace of Ravenna the heads of the two tyrants, Jovinus and
Sebastian. The king of the Goths executed his promise without difficulty
or delay; the helpless brothers, unsupported by any personal merit, were
abandoned by their Barbarian auxiliaries; and the short opposition of
Valentia was expiated by the ruin of one of the noblest cities of
Gaul. The emperor, chosen by the Roman senate, who had been promoted,
degraded, insulted, restored, again degraded, and again insulted, was
finally abandoned to his fate; but when the Gothic king withdrew his
protection, he was restrained, by pity or contempt, from offering any
violence to the person of Attalus. The unfortunate Attalus, who was left
without subjects or allies, embarked in one of the ports of Spain, in
search of some secure and solitary retreat: but he was intercepted at
sea, conducted to the presence of Honorius, led in triumph through
the streets of Rome or Ravenna, and publicly exposed to the gazing
multitude, on the second step of the throne of his invincible conqueror.
The same measure of punishment, with which, in the days of his
prosperity, he was accused of menacing his rival, was inflicted on
Attalus himself; he was condemned, after the amputation of two fingers,
to a perpetual exile in the Isle of Lipari, where he was supplied with
the decent necessaries of life. The remainder of the reign of Honorius
was undisturbed by rebellion; and it may be observed, that, in the space
of five years, seven usurpers had yielded to the fortune of a prince,
who was himself incapable either of counsel or of action.

153 (return) [ Sidonius Apollinaris, (l. v. epist. 9, p. 139, and Not.
Sirmond. p. 58,) after stigmatizing the inconstancy of Constantine, the
facility of Jovinus, the perfidy of Gerontius, continues to observe,
that all the vices of these tyrants were united in the person of
Dardanus. Yet the praefect supported a respectable character in the
world, and even in the church; held a devout correspondence with St.
Augustin and St. Jerom; and was complimented by the latter (tom. iii.
p. 66) with the epithets of Christianorum Nobilissime, and Nobilium
Christianissime.]

154 (return) [ The expression may be understood almost literally:
Olympiodorus says a sack, or a loose garment; and this method of
entangling and catching an enemy, laciniis contortis, was much practised
by the Huns, (Ammian. xxxi. 2.) Il fut pris vif avec des filets, is the
translation of Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 608. * Note:
Bekker in his Photius reads something, but in the new edition of the
Bysantines, he retains the old version, which is translated Scutis, as
if they protected him with their shields, in order to take him alive.
Photius, Bekker, p. 58.—M]



Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By
Barbarians.—Part VI.

The situation of Spain, separated, on all sides, from the enemies of
Rome, by the sea, by the mountains, and by intermediate provinces, had
secured the long tranquillity of that remote and sequestered country;
and we may observe, as a sure symptom of domestic happiness, that, in a
period of four hundred years, Spain furnished very few materials to the
history of the Roman empire. The footsteps of the Barbarians, who, in
the reign of Gallienus, had penetrated beyond the Pyrenees, were soon
obliterated by the return of peace; and in the fourth century of the
Christian aera, the cities of Emerita, or Merida, of Corduba, Seville,
Bracara, and Tarragona, were numbered with the most illustrious of the
Roman world. The various plenty of the animal, the vegetable, and the
mineral kingdoms, was improved and manufactured by the skill of
an industrious people; and the peculiar advantages of naval stores
contributed to support an extensive and profitable trade. 155 The arts
and sciences flourished under the protection of the emperors; and if
the character of the Spaniards was enfeebled by peace and servitude, the
hostile approach of the Germans, who had spread terror and desolation
from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, seemed to rekindle some sparks of
military ardor. As long as the defence of the mountains was intrusted
to the hardy and faithful militia of the country, they successfully
repelled the frequent attempts of the Barbarians. But no sooner had
the national troops been compelled to resign their post to the Honorian
bands, in the service of Constantine, than the gates of Spain were
treacherously betrayed to the public enemy, about ten months before
the sack of Rome by the Goths. 156 The consciousness of guilt, and
the thirst of rapine, prompted the mercenary guards of the Pyrenees to
desert their station; to invite the arms of the Suevi, the Vandals, and
the Alani; and to swell the torrent which was poured with irresistible
violence from the frontiers of Gaul to the sea of Africa. The
misfortunes of Spain may be described in the language of its most
eloquent historian, who has concisely expressed the passionate, and
perhaps exaggerated, declamations of contemporary writers. 157 "The
irruption of these nations was followed by the most dreadful calamities;
as the Barbarians exercised their indiscriminate cruelty on the fortunes
of the Romans and the Spaniards, and ravaged with equal fury the cities
and the open country. The progress of famine reduced the miserable
inhabitants to feed on the flesh of their fellow-creatures; and even
the wild beasts, who multiplied, without control, in the desert, were
exasperated, by the taste of blood, and the impatience of hunger, boldly
to attack and devour their human prey. Pestilence soon appeared, the
inseparable companion of famine; a large proportion of the people was
swept away; and the groans of the dying excited only the envy of their
surviving friends. At length the Barbarians, satiated with carnage and
rapine, and afflicted by the contagious evils which they themselves had
introduced, fixed their permanent seats in the depopulated country. The
ancient Gallicia, whose limits included the kingdom of Old Castille, was
divided between the Suevi and the Vandals; the Alani were scattered over
the provinces of Carthagena and Lusitania, from the Mediterranean to the
Atlantic Ocean; and the fruitful territory of Boetica was allotted to
the Silingi, another branch of the Vandalic nation. After regulating
this partition, the conquerors contracted with their new subjects some
reciprocal engagements of protection and obedience: the lands were again
cultivated; and the towns and villages were again occupied by a captive
people. The greatest part of the Spaniards was even disposed to prefer
this new condition of poverty and barbarism, to the severe oppressions
of the Roman government; yet there were many who still asserted their
native freedom; and who refused, more especially in the mountains of
Gallicia, to submit to the Barbarian yoke." 158

155 (return) [ Without recurring to the more ancient writers, I shall
quote three respectable testimonies which belong to the fourth and
seventh centuries; the Expositio totius Mundi, (p. 16, in the third
volume of Hudson's Minor Geographers,) Ausonius, (de Claris Urbibus,
p. 242, edit. Toll.,) and Isidore of Seville, (Praefat. ad. Chron. ap.
Grotium, Hist. Goth. 707.) Many particulars relative to the fertility
and trade of Spain may be found in Nonnius, Hispania Illustrata; and in
Huet, Hist. du Commerce des Anciens, c. 40. p. 228-234.]

156 (return) [ The date is accurately fixed in the Fasti, and the
Chronicle of Idatius. Orosius (l. vii. c. 40, p. 578) imputes the loss
of Spain to the treachery of the Honorians; while Sozomen (l. ix. c. 12)
accuses only their negligence.]

157 (return) [ Idatius wishes to apply the prophecies of Daniel to
these national calamities; and is therefore obliged to accommodate the
circumstances of the event to the terms of the prediction.]

158 (return) [ Mariana de Rebus Hispanicis, l. v. c. 1, tom. i. p. 148.
Comit. 1733. He had read, in Orosius, (l. vii. c. 41, p. 579,) that the
Barbarians had turned their swords into ploughshares; and that many of
the Provincials had preferred inter Barbaros pauperem libertatem, quam
inter Romanos tributariam solicitudinem, sustinere.]

The important present of the heads of Jovinus and Sebastian had approved
the friendship of Adolphus, and restored Gaul to the obedience of his
brother Honorius. Peace was incompatible with the situation and temper
of the king of the Goths. He readily accepted the proposal of turning
his victorious arms against the Barbarians of Spain; the troops of
Constantius intercepted his communication with the seaports of Gaul,
and gently pressed his march towards the Pyrenees: 159 he passed the
mountains, and surprised, in the name of the emperor, the city of
Barcelona. The fondness of Adolphus for his Roman bride, was not abated
by time or possession: and the birth of a son, surnamed, from his
illustrious grandsire, Theodosius, appeared to fix him forever in the
interest of the republic. The loss of that infant, whose remains were
deposited in a silver coffin in one of the churches near Barcelona,
afflicted his parents; but the grief of the Gothic king was suspended
by the labors of the field; and the course of his victories was soon
interrupted by domestic treason.

He had imprudently received into his service one of the followers of
Sarus; a Barbarian of a daring spirit, but of a diminutive stature;
whose secret desire of revenging the death of his beloved patron was
continually irritated by the sarcasms of his insolent master. Adolphus
was assassinated in the palace of Barcelona; the laws of the succession
were violated by a tumultuous faction; 160 and a stranger to the royal
race, Singeric, the brother of Sarus himself, was seated on the Gothic
throne. The first act of his reign was the inhuman murder of the six
children of Adolphus, the issue of a former marriage, whom he tore,
without pity, from the feeble arms of a venerable bishop. 161 The
unfortunate Placidia, instead of the respectful compassion, which she
might have excited in the most savage breasts, was treated with cruel
and wanton insult. The daughter of the emperor Theodosius, confounded
among a crowd of vulgar captives, was compelled to march on foot above
twelve miles, before the horse of a Barbarian, the assassin of a husband
whom Placidia loved and lamented. 162

159 (return) [ This mixture of force and persuasion may be fairly
inferred from comparing Orosius and Jornandes, the Roman and the Gothic
historian.]

160 (return) [ According to the system of Jornandes, (c. 33, p. 659,)
the true hereditary right to the Gothic sceptre was vested in the Amali;
but those princes, who were the vassals of the Huns, commanded the
tribes of the Ostrogoths in some distant parts of Germany or Scythia.]

161 (return) [ The murder is related by Olympiodorus: but the number of
the children is taken from an epitaph of suspected authority.]

162 (return) [ The death of Adolphus was celebrated at Constantinople
with illuminations and Circensian games. (See Chron. Alexandrin.) It
may seem doubtful whether the Greeks were actuated, on this occasion, be
their hatred of the Barbarians, or of the Latins.]

But Placidia soon obtained the pleasure of revenge, and the view of
her ignominious sufferings might rouse an indignant people against the
tyrant, who was assassinated on the seventh day of his usurpation. After
the death of Singeric, the free choice of the nation bestowed the Gothic
sceptre on Wallia; whose warlike and ambitious temper appeared, in the
beginning of his reign, extremely hostile to the republic. He marched
in arms from Barcelona to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which the
ancients revered and dreaded as the boundary of the world. But when he
reached the southern promontory of Spain, 163 and, from the rock now
covered by the fortress of Gibraltar, contemplated the neighboring and
fertile coast of Africa, Wallia resumed the designs of conquest, which
had been interrupted by the death of Alaric. The winds and waves
again disappointed the enterprise of the Goths; and the minds of a
superstitious people were deeply affected by the repeated disasters of
storms and shipwrecks. In this disposition the successor of Adolphus
no longer refused to listen to a Roman ambassador, whose proposals were
enforced by the real, or supposed, approach of a numerous army, under
the conduct of the brave Constantius. A solemn treaty was stipulated and
observed; Placidia was honorably restored to her brother; six hundred
thousand measures of wheat were delivered to the hungry Goths; 164 and
Wallia engaged to draw his sword in the service of the empire. A
bloody war was instantly excited among the Barbarians of Spain; and
the contending princes are said to have addressed their letters, their
ambassadors, and their hostages, to the throne of the Western emperor,
exhorting him to remain a tranquil spectator of their contest; the
events of which must be favorable to the Romans, by the mutual slaughter
of their common enemies. 165 The Spanish war was obstinately supported,
during three campaigns, with desperate valor, and various success;
and the martial achievements of Wallia diffused through the empire the
superior renown of the Gothic hero. He exterminated the Silingi, who had
irretrievably ruined the elegant plenty of the province of Boetica.
He slew, in battle, the king of the Alani; and the remains of those
Scythian wanderers, who escaped from the field, instead of choosing a
new leader, humbly sought a refuge under the standard of the Vandals,
with whom they were ever afterwards confounded. The Vandals themselves,
and the Suevi, yielded to the efforts of the invincible Goths. The
promiscuous multitude of Barbarians, whose retreat had been intercepted,
were driven into the mountains of Gallicia; where they still continued,
in a narrow compass and on a barren soil, to exercise their domestic and
implacable hostilities. In the pride of victory, Wallia was faithful to
his engagements: he restored his Spanish conquests to the obedience
of Honorius; and the tyranny of the Imperial officers soon reduced an
oppressed people to regret the time of their Barbarian servitude. While
the event of the war was still doubtful, the first advantages obtained
by the arms of Wallia had encouraged the court of Ravenna to decree the
honors of a triumph to their feeble sovereign. He entered Rome like
the ancient conquerors of nations; and if the monuments of servile
corruption had not long since met with the fate which they deserved, we
should probably find that a crowd of poets and orators, of magistrates
and bishops, applauded the fortune, the wisdom, and the invincible
courage, of the emperor Honorius. 166

163 (return) [

     Quod Tartessiacis avus hujus Vallia terris
     Vandalicas turmas, et juncti Martis Alanos
     Stravit, et occiduam texere cadavera Calpen.

Sidon. Apollinar. in Panegyr. Anthem. 363 p. 300, edit. Sirmond.]

164 (return) [ This supply was very acceptable: the Goths were insulted
by the Vandals of Spain with the epithet of Truli, because in their
extreme distress, they had given a piece of gold for a trula, or about
half a pound of flour. Olympiod. apud Phot. p. 189.]

165 (return) [ Orosius inserts a copy of these pretended letters. Tu
cum omnibus pacem habe, omniumque obsides accipe; nos nobis confligimus
nobis perimus, tibi vincimus; immortalis vero quaestus erit Reipublicae
tuae, si utrique pereamus. The idea is just; but I cannot persuade
myself that it was entertained or expressed by the Barbarians.]

166 (return) [ Roman triumphans ingreditur, is the formal expression of
Prosper's Chronicle. The facts which relate to the death of Adolphus,
and the exploits of Wallia, are related from Olympiodorus, (ap. Phot. p.
188,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 43 p. 584-587,) Jornandes, (de Rebus p. 31,
32,) and the chronicles of Idatius and Isidore.]

Such a triumph might have been justly claimed by the ally of Rome, if
Wallia, before he repassed the Pyrenees, had extirpated the seeds of
the Spanish war. His victorious Goths, forty-three years after they had
passed the Danube, were established, according to the faith of treaties,
in the possession of the second Aquitain; a maritime province
between the Garonne and the Loire, under the civil and ecclesiastical
jurisdiction of Bourdeaux. That metropolis, advantageously situated for
the trade of the ocean, was built in a regular and elegant form; and its
numerous inhabitants were distinguished among the Gauls by their wealth,
their learning, and the politeness of their manners. The adjacent
province, which has been fondly compared to the garden of Eden, is
blessed with a fruitful soil, and a temperate climate; the face of the
country displayed the arts and the rewards of industry; and the Goths,
after their martial toils, luxuriously exhausted the rich vineyards of
Aquitain. 167 The Gothic limits were enlarged by the additional gift
of some neighboring dioceses; and the successors of Alaric fixed their
royal residence at Thoulouse, which included five populous quarters, or
cities, within the spacious circuit of its walls. About the same time,
in the last years of the reign of Honorius, the Goths, the Burgundians,
and the Franks, obtained a permanent seat and dominion in the provinces
of Gaul. The liberal grant of the usurper Jovinus to his Burgundian
allies, was confirmed by the lawful emperor; the lands of the First,
or Upper, Germany, were ceded to those formidable Barbarians; and they
gradually occupied, either by conquest or treaty, the two provinces
which still retain, with the titles of Duchy and County, the national
appellation of Burgundy. 168 The Franks, the valiant and faithful allies
of the Roman republic, were soon tempted to imitate the invaders, whom
they had so bravely resisted. Treves, the capital of Gaul, was pillaged
by their lawless bands; and the humble colony, which they so long
maintained in the district of Toxandia, in Brabant, insensibly
multiplied along the banks of the Meuse and Scheld, till their
independent power filled the whole extent of the Second, or Lower
Germany. These facts may be sufficiently justified by historic evidence;
but the foundation of the French monarchy by Pharamond, the conquests,
the laws, and even the existence, of that hero, have been justly
arraigned by the impartial severity of modern criticism. 169

167 (return) [ Ausonius (de Claris Urbibus, p. 257-262) celebrates
Bourdeaux with the partial affection of a native. See in Salvian (de
Gubern. Dei, p. 228. Paris, 1608) a florid description of the provinces
of Aquitain and Novempopulania.]

168 (return) [ Orosius (l. vii. c. 32, p. 550) commends the mildness
and modesty of these Burgundians, who treated their subjects of Gaul
as their Christian brethren. Mascou has illustrated the origin of
their kingdom in the four first annotations at the end of his laborious
History of the Ancient Germans, vol. ii. p. 555-572, of the English
translation.]

169 (return) [ See Mascou, l. viii. c. 43, 44, 45. Except in a short and
suspicious line of the Chronicle of Prosper, (in tom. i. p. 638,) the
name of Pharamond is never mentioned before the seventh century. The
author of the Gesta Francorum (in tom. ii. p. 543) suggests, probably
enough, that the choice of Pharamond, or at least of a king, was
recommended to the Franks by his father Marcomir, who was an exile in
Tuscany. Note: The first mention of Pharamond is in the Gesta Francorum,
assigned to about the year 720. St. Martin, iv. 469. The modern French
writers in general subscribe to the opinion of Thierry: Faramond fils de
Markomir, quo que son nom soit bien germanique, et son regne possible,
ne figure pas dans les histoires les plus dignes de foi. A. Thierry,
Lettres l'Histoire de France, p. 90.—M.]

The ruin of the opulent provinces of Gaul may be dated from the
establishment of these Barbarians, whose alliance was dangerous and
oppressive, and who were capriciously impelled, by interest or passion,
to violate the public peace. A heavy and partial ransom was imposed on
the surviving provincials, who had escaped the calamities of war; the
fairest and most fertile lands were assigned to the rapacious strangers,
for the use of their families, their slaves, and their cattle; and the
trembling natives relinquished with a sigh the inheritance of their
fathers. Yet these domestic misfortunes, which are seldom the lot of a
vanquished people, had been felt and inflicted by the Romans themselves,
not only in the insolence of foreign conquest, but in the madness of
civil discord. The Triumvirs proscribed eighteen of the most flourishing
colonies of Italy; and distributed their lands and houses to the
veterans who revenged the death of Caesar, and oppressed the liberty
of their country. Two poets of unequal fame have deplored, in similar
circumstances, the loss of their patrimony; but the legionaries of
Augustus appear to have surpassed, in violence and injustice, the
Barbarians who invaded Gaul under the reign of Honorius. It was not
without the utmost difficulty that Virgil escaped from the sword of the
Centurion, who had usurped his farm in the neighborhood of Mantua;
170 but Paulinus of Bourdeaux received a sum of money from his Gothic
purchaser, which he accepted with pleasure and surprise; and though it
was much inferior to the real value of his estate, this act of rapine
was disguised by some colors of moderation and equity. 171 The odious
name of conquerors was softened into the mild and friendly appellation
of the guests of the Romans; and the Barbarians of Gaul, more especially
the Goths, repeatedly declared, that they were bound to the people by
the ties of hospitality, and to the emperor by the duty of allegiance
and military service. The title of Honorius and his successors, their
laws, and their civil magistrates, were still respected in the provinces
of Gaul, of which they had resigned the possession to the Barbarian
allies; and the kings, who exercised a supreme and independent authority
over their native subjects, ambitiously solicited the more honorable
rank of master-generals of the Imperial armies. 172 Such was the
involuntary reverence which the Roman name still impressed on the minds
of those warriors, who had borne away in triumph the spoils of the
Capitol.

170 (return) [ O Lycida, vivi pervenimus: advena nostri (Quod nunquam
veriti sumus) ut possessor agelli Diseret: Haec mea sunt; veteres
migrate coloni. Nunc victi tristes, &c.——See the whole of the ninth
eclogue, with the useful Commentary of Servius. Fifteen miles of the
Mantuan territory were assigned to the veterans, with a reservation, in
favor of the inhabitants, of three miles round the city. Even in this
favor they were cheated by Alfenus Varus, a famous lawyer, and one
of the commissioners, who measured eight hundred paces of water and
morass.]

171 (return) [ See the remarkable passage of the Eucharisticon of
Paulinus, 575, apud Mascou, l. viii. c. 42.]

172 (return) [ This important truth is established by the accuracy of
Tillemont, (Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p. 641,) and by the ingenuity of the
Abbe Dubos, (Hist. de l'Etablissement de la Monarchie Francoise dans les
Gaules, tom. i. p. 259.)]

Whilst Italy was ravaged by the Goths, and a succession of feeble
tyrants oppressed the provinces beyond the Alps, the British island
separated itself from the body of the Roman empire. The regular forces,
which guarded that remote province, had been gradually withdrawn; and
Britain was abandoned without defence to the Saxon pirates, and
the savages of Ireland and Caledonia. The Britons, reduced to this
extremity, no longer relied on the tardy and doubtful aid of a declining
monarchy. They assembled in arms, repelled the invaders, and rejoiced in
the important discovery of their own strength. 173 Afflicted by similar
calamities, and actuated by the same spirit, the Armorican provinces (a
name which comprehended the maritime countries of Gaul between the Seine
and the Loire 174 resolved to imitate the example of the neighboring
island. They expelled the Roman magistrates, who acted under the
authority of the usurper Constantine; and a free government was
established among a people who had so long been subject to the arbitrary
will of a master. The independence of Britain and Armorica was soon
confirmed by Honorius himself, the lawful emperor of the West; and the
letters, by which he committed to the new states the care of their own
safety, might be interpreted as an absolute and perpetual abdication of
the exercise and rights of sovereignty. This interpretation was, in some
measure, justified by the event.

After the usurpers of Gaul had successively fallen, the maritime
provinces were restored to the empire. Yet their obedience was imperfect
and precarious: the vain, inconstant, rebellious disposition of the
people, was incompatible either with freedom or servitude; 175 and
Armorica, though it could not long maintain the form of a republic,
176 was agitated by frequent and destructive revolts. Britain was
irrecoverably lost. 177 But as the emperors wisely acquiesced in the
independence of a remote province, the separation was not imbittered by
the reproach of tyranny or rebellion; and the claims of allegiance
and protection were succeeded by the mutual and voluntary offices of
national friendship. 178

173 (return) [ Zosimus (l. vi. 376, 383) relates in a few words the
revolt of Britain and Armorica. Our antiquarians, even the great Cambder
himself, have been betrayed into many gross errors, by their imperfect
knowledge of the history of the continent.]

174 (return) [ The limits of Armorica are defined by two national
geographers, Messieurs De Valois and D'Anville, in their Notitias
of Ancient Gaul. The word had been used in a more extensive, and was
afterwards contracted to a much narrower, signification.]

175 (return) [ Gens inter geminos notissima clauditur amnes,

     Armoricana prius veteri cognomine dicta.
     Torva, ferox, ventosa, procax, incauta, rebellis;
     Inconstans, disparque sibi novitatis amore;
     Prodiga verborum, sed non et prodiga facti.

Erricus, Monach. in Vit. St. Germani. l. v. apud Vales. Notit.
Galliarum, p. 43. Valesius alleges several testimonies to confirm
this character; to which I shall add the evidence of the presbyter
Constantine, (A.D. 488,) who, in the life of St. Germain, calls the
Armorican rebels mobilem et indisciplinatum populum. See the Historians
of France, tom. i. p. 643.]

176 (return) [ I thought it necessary to enter my protest against
this part of the system of the Abbe Dubos, which Montesquieu has so
vigorously opposed. See Esprit des Loix, l. xxx. c. 24. Note: See
Memoires de Gallet sur l'Origine des Bretons, quoted by Daru Histoire
de Bretagne, i. p. 57. According to the opinion of these authors,
the government of Armorica was monarchical from the period of its
independence on the Roman empire.—M.]

177 (return) [ The words of Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2, p.
181, Louvre edition) in a very important passage, which has been too
much neglected Even Bede (Hist. Gent. Anglican. l. i. c. 12, p. 50,
edit. Smith) acknowledges that the Romans finally left Britain in the
reign of Honorius. Yet our modern historians and antiquaries extend the
term of their dominion; and there are some who allow only the interval
of a few months between their departure and the arrival of the Saxons.]

178 (return) [ Bede has not forgotten the occasional aid of the legions
against the Scots and Picts; and more authentic proof will hereafter be
produced, that the independent Britons raised 12,000 men for the service
of the emperor Anthemius, in Gaul.]

This revolution dissolved the artificial fabric of civil and military
government; and the independent country, during a period of forty
years, till the descent of the Saxons, was ruled by the authority of the
clergy, the nobles, and the municipal towns. 179 I. Zosimus, who alone
has preserved the memory of this singular transaction, very accurately
observes, that the letters of Honorius were addressed to the cities of
Britain. 180 Under the protection of the Romans, ninety-two considerable
towns had arisen in the several parts of that great province; and, among
these, thirty-three cities were distinguished above the rest by their
superior privileges and importance. 181 Each of these cities, as in all
the other provinces of the empire, formed a legal corporation, for the
purpose of regulating their domestic policy; and the powers of municipal
government were distributed among annual magistrates, a select senate,
and the assembly of the people, according to the original model of the
Roman constitution. 182 The management of a common revenue, the exercise
of civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the habits of public counsel and
command, were inherent to these petty republics; and when they
asserted their independence, the youth of the city, and of the adjacent
districts, would naturally range themselves under the standard of the
magistrate. But the desire of obtaining the advantages, and of escaping
the burdens, of political society, is a perpetual and inexhaustible
source of discord; nor can it reasonably be presumed, that the
restoration of British freedom was exempt from tumult and faction. The
preeminence of birth and fortune must have been frequently violated by
bold and popular citizens; and the haughty nobles, who complained that
they were become the subjects of their own servants, 183 would sometimes
regret the reign of an arbitrary monarch.

II. The jurisdiction of each city over the adjacent country, was
supported by the patrimonial influence of the principal senators; and
the smaller towns, the villages, and the proprietors of land, consulted
their own safety by adhering to the shelter of these rising republics.
The sphere of their attraction was proportioned to the respective
degrees of their wealth and populousness; but the hereditary lords of
ample possessions, who were not oppressed by the neighborhood of any
powerful city, aspired to the rank of independent princes, and boldly
exercised the rights of peace and war. The gardens and villas, which
exhibited some faint imitation of Italian elegance, would soon be
converted into strong castles, the refuge, in time of danger, of the
adjacent country: 184 the produce of the land was applied to purchase
arms and horses; to maintain a military force of slaves, of peasants,
and of licentious followers; and the chieftain might assume, within his
own domain, the powers of a civil magistrate. Several of these British
chiefs might be the genuine posterity of ancient kings; and many more
would be tempted to adopt this honorable genealogy, and to vindicate
their hereditary claims, which had been suspended by the usurpation of
the Caesars. 185 Their situation and their hopes would dispose them to
affect the dress, the language, and the customs of their ancestors.
If the princes of Britain relapsed into barbarism, while the cities
studiously preserved the laws and manners of Rome, the whole island must
have been gradually divided by the distinction of two national parties;
again broken into a thousand subdivisions of war and faction, by the
various provocations of interest and resentment. The public strength,
instead of being united against a foreign enemy, was consumed in obscure
and intestine quarrels; and the personal merit which had placed a
successful leader at the head of his equals, might enable him to subdue
the freedom of some neighboring cities; and to claim a rank among the
tyrants, 186 who infested Britain after the dissolution of the Roman
government. III. The British church might be composed of thirty or forty
bishops, 187 with an adequate proportion of the inferior clergy; and the
want of riches (for they seem to have been poor 188 would compel them to
deserve the public esteem, by a decent and exemplary behavior.

The interest, as well as the temper of the clergy, was favorable to
the peace and union of their distracted country: those salutary lessons
might be frequently inculcated in their popular discourses; and the
episcopal synods were the only councils that could pretend to the weight
and authority of a national assembly.

In such councils, where the princes and magistrates sat promiscuously
with the bishops, the important affairs of the state, as well as of
the church, might be freely debated; differences reconciled, alliances
formed, contributions imposed, wise resolutions often concerted, and
sometimes executed; and there is reason to believe, that, in moments
of extreme danger, a Pendragon, or Dictator, was elected by the general
consent of the Britons. These pastoral cares, so worthy of the episcopal
character, were interrupted, however, by zeal and superstition; and the
British clergy incessantly labored to eradicate the Pelagian heresy,
which they abhorred, as the peculiar disgrace of their native country.
189

179 (return) [ I owe it to myself, and to historic truth, to declare,
that some circumstances in this paragraph are founded only on conjecture
and analogy. The stubbornness of our language has sometimes forced me to
deviate from the conditional into the indicative mood.]

180 (return) [ Zosimus, l. vi. p. 383.]

181 (return) [ Two cities of Britain were municipia, nine colonies, ten
Latii jure donatoe, twelve stipendiarioe of eminent note. This detail is
taken from Richard of Cirencester, de Situ Britanniae, p. 36; and though
it may not seem probable that he wrote from the Mss. of a Roman general,
he shows a genuine knowledge of antiquity, very extraordinary for a monk
of the fourteenth century.

Note: The names may be found in Whitaker's Hist. of Manchester vol. ii.
330, 379. Turner, Hist. Anglo-Saxons, i. 216.—M.]

182 (return) [ See Maffei Verona Illustrata, part i. l. v. p. 83-106.]

183 (return) [ Leges restituit, libertatemque reducit, Et servos famulis
non sinit esse suis. Itinerar. Rutil. l. i. 215.]

184 (return) [ An inscription (apud Sirmond, Not. ad Sidon. Apollinar.
p. 59) describes a castle, cum muris et portis, tutioni omnium, erected
by Dardanus on his own estate, near Sisteron, in the second Narbonnese,
and named by him Theopolis.]

185 (return) [ The establishment of their power would have been easy
indeed, if we could adopt the impracticable scheme of a lively and
learned antiquarian; who supposes that the British monarchs of the
several tribes continued to reign, though with subordinate jurisdiction,
from the time of Claudius to that of Honorius. See Whitaker's History of
Manchester, vol. i. p. 247-257.]

186 (return) [ Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 181. Britannia
fertilis provincia tyrannorum, was the expression of Jerom, in the year
415 (tom. ii. p. 255, ad Ctesiphont.) By the pilgrims, who resorted
every year to the Holy Land, the monk of Bethlem received the earliest
and most accurate intelligence.]

187 (return) [ See Bingham's Eccles. Antiquities, vol. i. l. ix. c. 6,
p. 394.]

188 (return) [ It is reported of three British bishops who assisted at
the council of Rimini, A.D. 359, tam pauperes fuisse ut nihil haberent.
Sulpicius Severus, Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 420. Some of their brethren
however, were in better circumstances.]

189 (return) [ Consult Usher, de Antiq. Eccles. Britannicar. c. 8-12.]

It is somewhat remarkable, or rather it is extremely natural, that the
revolt of Britain and Armorica should have introduced an appearance
of liberty into the obedient provinces of Gaul. In a solemn edict, 190
filled with the strongest assurances of that paternal affection which
princes so often express, and so seldom feel, the emperor Honorius
promulgated his intention of convening an annual assembly of the seven
provinces: a name peculiarly appropriated to Aquitain and the ancient
Narbonnese, which had long since exchanged their Celtic rudeness for the
useful and elegant arts of Italy. 191 Arles, the seat of government and
commerce, was appointed for the place of the assembly; which regularly
continued twenty-eight days, from the fifteenth of August to the
thirteenth of September, of every year. It consisted of the Praetorian
praefect of the Gauls; of seven provincial governors, one consular, and
six presidents; of the magistrates, and perhaps the bishops, of about
sixty cities; and of a competent, though indefinite, number of the most
honorable and opulent possessors of land, who might justly be considered
as the representatives of their country. They were empowered to
interpret and communicate the laws of their sovereign; to expose the
grievances and wishes of their constituents; to moderate the excessive
or unequal weight of taxes; and to deliberate on every subject of local
or national importance, that could tend to the restoration of the peace
and prosperity of the seven provinces. If such an institution,
which gave the people an interest in their own government, had been
universally established by Trajan or the Antonines, the seeds of public
wisdom and virtue might have been cherished and propagated in the empire
of Rome. The privileges of the subject would have secured the throne of
the monarch; the abuses of an arbitrary administration might have been
prevented, in some degree, or corrected, by the interposition of these
representative assemblies; and the country would have been defended
against a foreign enemy by the arms of natives and freemen. Under the
mild and generous influence of liberty, the Roman empire might have
remained invincible and immortal; or if its excessive magnitude, and the
instability of human affairs, had opposed such perpetual continuance,
its vital and constituent members might have separately preserved their
vigor and independence. But in the decline of the empire, when every
principle of health and life had been exhausted, the tardy application
of this partial remedy was incapable of producing any important or
salutary effects. The emperor Honorius expresses his surprise, that he
must compel the reluctant provinces to accept a privilege which they
should ardently have solicited. A fine of three, or even five, pounds
of gold, was imposed on the absent representatives; who seem to have
declined this imaginary gift of a free constitution, as the last and
most cruel insult of their oppressors.

190 (return) [ See the correct text of this edict, as published by
Sirmond, (Not. ad Sidon. Apollin. p. 148.) Hincmar of Rheims, who
assigns a place to the bishops, had probably seen (in the ninth century)
a more perfect copy. Dubos, Hist. Critique de la Monarchie Francoise,
tom. i. p. 241-255]

191 (return) [ It is evident from the Notitia, that the seven provinces
were the Viennensis, the maritime Alps, the first and second Narbonnese
Novempopulania, and the first and second Aquitain. In the room of the
first Aquitain, the Abbe Dubos, on the authority of Hincmar, desires to
introduce the first Lugdunensis, or Lyonnese.]



Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part I.

     Arcadius Emperor Of The East.—Administration And Disgrace
     Of Eutropius.—Revolt Of Gainas.—Persecution Of St. John
     Chrysostom.—Theodosius II. Emperor Of The East.—His Sister
     Pulcheria.—His Wife Eudocia.—The Persian War, And Division
     Of Armenia.

The division of the Roman world between the sons of Theodosius marks the
final establishment of the empire of the East, which, from the reign
of Arcadius to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, subsisted one
thousand and fifty-eight years, in a state of premature and perpetual
decay. The sovereign of that empire assumed, and obstinately retained,
the vain, and at length fictitious, title of Emperor of the Romans; and
the hereditary appellation of Caesar and Augustus continued to declare,
that he was the legitimate successor of the first of men, who had
reigned over the first of nations. The place of Constantinople rivalled,
and perhaps excelled, the magnificence of Persia; and the eloquent
sermons of St. Chrysostom 1 celebrate, while they condemn, the pompous
luxury of the reign of Arcadius. "The emperor," says he, "wears on his
head either a diadem, or a crown of gold, decorated with precious stones
of inestimable value. These ornaments, and his purple garments,
are reserved for his sacred person alone; and his robes of silk are
embroidered with the figures of golden dragons. His throne is of massy
gold. Whenever he appears in public, he is surrounded by his courtiers,
his guards, and his attendants. Their spears, their shields, their
cuirasses, the bridles and trappings of their horses, have either the
substance or the appearance of gold; and the large splendid boss in the
midst of their shield is encircled with smaller bosses, which represent
the shape of the human eye. The two mules that drew the chariot of the
monarch are perfectly white, and shining all over with gold. The
chariot itself, of pure and solid gold, attracts the admiration of the
spectators, who contemplate the purple curtains, the snowy carpet, the
size of the precious stones, and the resplendent plates of gold, that
glitter as they are agitated by the motion of the carriage. The Imperial
pictures are white, on a blue ground; the emperor appears seated on his
throne, with his arms, his horses, and his guards beside him; and his
vanquished enemies in chains at his feet." The successors of Constantine
established their perpetual residence in the royal city, which he had
erected on the verge of Europe and Asia. Inaccessible to the menaces
of their enemies, and perhaps to the complaints of their people, they
received, with each wind, the tributary productions of every climate;
while the impregnable strength of their capital continued for ages
to defy the hostile attempts of the Barbarians. Their dominions were
bounded by the Adriatic and the Tigris; and the whole interval of
twenty-five days' navigation, which separated the extreme cold of
Scythia from the torrid zone of Aethiopia, 2 was comprehended within the
limits of the empire of the East. The populous countries of that
empire were the seat of art and learning, of luxury and wealth; and the
inhabitants, who had assumed the language and manners of Greeks, styled
themselves, with some appearance of truth, the most enlightened and
civilized portion of the human species. The form of government was a
pure and simple monarchy; the name of the Roman Republic, which so
long preserved a faint tradition of freedom, was confined to the Latin
provinces; and the princes of Constantinople measured their greatness by
the servile obedience of their people. They were ignorant how much this
passive disposition enervates and degrades every faculty of the mind.
The subjects, who had resigned their will to the absolute commands of
a master, were equally incapable of guarding their lives and fortunes
against the assaults of the Barbarians, or of defending their reason
from the terrors of superstition.

1 (return) [ Father Montfaucon, who, by the command of his Benedictine
superiors, was compelled (see Longueruana, tom. i. p. 205) to execute
the laborious edition of St. Chrysostom, in thirteen volumes in
folio, (Paris, 1738,) amused himself with extracting from that immense
collection of morals, some curious antiquities, which illustrate the
manners of the Theodosian age, (see Chrysostom, Opera, tom. xiii. p.
192-196,) and his French Dissertation, in the Memoires de l'Acad. des
Inscriptions, tom. xiii. p. 474-490.]

2 (return) [ According to the loose reckoning, that a ship could sail,
with a fair wind, 1000 stadia, or 125 miles, in the revolution of a day
and night, Diodorus Siculus computes ten days from the Palus Moeotis to
Rhodes, and four days from Rhodes to Alexandria. The navigation of the
Nile from Alexandria to Syene, under the tropic of Cancer, required, as
it was against the stream, ten days more. Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. iii.
p. 200, edit. Wesseling. He might, without much impropriety, measure
the extreme heat from the verge of the torrid zone; but he speaks of the
Moeotis in the 47th degree of northern latitude, as if it lay within the
polar circle.]

The first events of the reign of Arcadius and Honorius are so intimately
connected, that the rebellion of the Goths, and the fall of Rufinus,
have already claimed a place in the history of the West. It has already
been observed, that Eutropius, 3 one of the principal eunuchs of the
palace of Constantinople, succeeded the haughty minister whose ruin he
had accomplished, and whose vices he soon imitated. Every order of
the state bowed to the new favorite; and their tame and obsequious
submission encouraged him to insult the laws, and, what is still more
difficult and dangerous, the manners of his country. Under the weakest
of the predecessors of Arcadius, the reign of the eunuchs had been
secret and almost invisible. They insinuated themselves into the
confidence of the prince; but their ostensible functions were confined
to the menial service of the wardrobe and Imperial bed-chamber. They
might direct, in a whisper, the public counsels, and blast, by their
malicious suggestions, the fame and fortunes of the most illustrious
citizens; but they never presumed to stand forward in the front of
empire, 4 or to profane the public honors of the state. Eutropius was
the first of his artificial sex, who dared to assume the character of a
Roman magistrate and general. Sometimes, in the presence of the blushing
senate, he ascended the tribunal to pronounce judgment, or to repeat
elaborate harangues; and, sometimes, appeared on horseback, at the head
of his troops, in the dress and armor of a hero. The disregard of custom
and decency always betrays a weak and ill-regulated mind; nor does
Eutropius seem to have compensated for the folly of the design by any
superior merit or ability in the execution. His former habits of life
had not introduced him to the study of the laws, or the exercises of
the field; his awkward and unsuccessful attempts provoked the secret
contempt of the spectators; the Goths expressed their wish that such
a general might always command the armies of Rome; and the name of
the minister was branded with ridicule, more pernicious, perhaps, than
hatred, to a public character. The subjects of Arcadius were exasperated
by the recollection, that this deformed and decrepit eunuch, 6 who so
perversely mimicked the actions of a man, was born in the most abject
condition of servitude; that before he entered the Imperial palace, he
had been successively sold and purchased by a hundred masters, who had
exhausted his youthful strength in every mean and infamous office, and
at length dismissed him, in his old age, to freedom and poverty. 7 While
these disgraceful stories were circulated, and perhaps exaggerated, in
private conversation, the vanity of the favorite was flattered with
the most extraordinary honors. In the senate, in the capital, in the
provinces, the statues of Eutropius were erected, in brass, or marble,
decorated with the symbols of his civil and military virtues, and
inscribed with the pompous title of the third founder of Constantinople.
He was promoted to the rank of patrician, which began to signify in a
popular, and even legal, acceptation, the father of the emperor; and
the last year of the fourth century was polluted by the consulship of
a eunuch and a slave. This strange and inexpiable prodigy 8 awakened,
however, the prejudices of the Romans. The effeminate consul was
rejected by the West, as an indelible stain to the annals of the
republic; and without invoking the shades of Brutus and Camillus,
the colleague of Eutropius, a learned and respectable magistrate,
9 sufficiently represented the different maxims of the two
administrations.

3 (return) [ Barthius, who adored his author with the blind superstition
of a commentator, gives the preference to the two books which Claudian
composed against Eutropius, above all his other productions, (Baillet
Jugemens des Savans, tom. iv. p. 227.) They are indeed a very elegant
and spirited satire; and would be more valuable in an historical light,
if the invective were less vague and more temperate.]

4 (return) [ After lamenting the progress of the eunuchs in the Roman
palace, and defining their proper functions, Claudian adds,

     A fronte recedant.
     Imperii.
    —-In Eutrop. i. 422.

Yet it does not appear that the eunuchs had assumed any of the efficient
offices of the empire, and he is styled only Praepositun sacri cubiculi,
in the edict of his banishment. See Cod. Theod. l. leg 17.

     Jamque oblita sui, nec sobria divitiis mens
     In miseras leges hominumque negotia ludit
     Judicat eunuchus.......
     Arma etiam violare parat......

Claudian, (i. 229-270,) with that mixture of indignation and humor which
always pleases in a satiric poet, describes the insolent folly of the
eunuch, the disgrace of the empire, and the joy of the Goths.

     Gaudet, cum viderit, hostis,
     Et sentit jam deesse viros.]

6 (return) [ The poet's lively description of his deformity (i. 110-125)
is confirmed by the authentic testimony of Chrysostom, (tom. iii. p.
384, edit Montfaucon;) who observes, that when the paint was washed away
the face of Eutropius appeared more ugly and wrinkled than that of an
old woman. Claudian remarks, (i. 469,) and the remark must have been
founded on experience, that there was scarcely an interval between the
youth and the decrepit age of a eunuch.]

7 (return) [ Eutropius appears to have been a native of Armenia or
Assyria. His three services, which Claudian more particularly describes,
were these: 1. He spent many years as the catamite of Ptolemy, a groom
or soldier of the Imperial stables. 2. Ptolemy gave him to the old
general Arintheus, for whom he very skilfully exercised the profession
of a pimp. 3. He was given, on her marriage, to the daughter of
Arintheus; and the future consul was employed to comb her hair, to
present the silver ewer to wash and to fan his mistress in hot weather.
See l. i. 31-137.]

8 (return) [ Claudian, (l. i. in Eutrop. l.—22,) after enumerating
the various prodigies of monstrous births, speaking animals, showers of
blood or stones, double suns, &c., adds, with some exaggeration,

Omnia cesserunt eunucho consule monstra.

The first book concludes with a noble speech of the goddess of Rome to
her favorite Honorius, deprecating the new ignominy to which she was
exposed.]

9 (return) [ Fl. Mallius Theodorus, whose civil honors, and
philosophical works, have been celebrated by Claudian in a very elegant
panegyric.]

The bold and vigorous mind of Rufinus seems to have been actuated by a
more sanguinary and revengeful spirit; but the avarice of the eunuch was
not less insatiate than that of the praefect. 10 As long as he despoiled
the oppressors, who had enriched themselves with the plunder of the
people, Eutropius might gratify his covetous disposition without much
envy or injustice: but the progress of his rapine soon invaded the
wealth which had been acquired by lawful inheritance, or laudable
industry. The usual methods of extortion were practised and improved;
and Claudian has sketched a lively and original picture of the public
auction of the state. "The impotence of the eunuch," says that agreeable
satirist, "has served only to stimulate his avarice: the same hand which
in his servile condition, was exercised in petty thefts, to unlock the
coffers of his master, now grasps the riches of the world; and this
infamous broker of the empire appreciates and divides the Roman
provinces from Mount Haemus to the Tigris. One man, at the expense of
his villa, is made proconsul of Asia; a second purchases Syria with his
wife's jewels; and a third laments that he has exchanged his paternal
estate for the government of Bithynia. In the antechamber of Eutropius,
a large tablet is exposed to public view, which marks the respective
prices of the provinces. The different value of Pontus, of Galatia, of
Lydia, is accurately distinguished. Lycia may be obtained for so many
thousand pieces of gold; but the opulence of Phrygia will require a
more considerable sum. The eunuch wishes to obliterate, by the general
disgrace, his personal ignominy; and as he has been sold himself, he is
desirous of selling the rest of mankind. In the eager contention, the
balance, which contains the fate and fortunes of the province, often
trembles on the beam; and till one of the scales is inclined, by a
superior weight, the mind of the impartial judge remains in anxious
suspense. Such," continues the indignant poet, "are the fruits of Roman
valor, of the defeat of Antiochus, and of the triumph of Pompey." This
venal prostitution of public honors secured the impunity of future
crimes; but the riches, which Eutropius derived from confiscation, were
already stained with injustice; since it was decent to accuse, and
to condemn, the proprietors of the wealth, which he was impatient to
confiscate. Some noble blood was shed by the hand of the executioner;
and the most inhospitable extremities of the empire were filled with
innocent and illustrious exiles. Among the generals and consuls of
the East, Abundantius 12 had reason to dread the first effects of the
resentment of Eutropius. He had been guilty of the unpardonable crime of
introducing that abject slave to the palace of Constantinople; and some
degree of praise must be allowed to a powerful and ungrateful favorite,
who was satisfied with the disgrace of his benefactor. Abundantius was
stripped of his ample fortunes by an Imperial rescript, and banished to
Pityus, on the Euxine, the last frontier of the Roman world; where
he subsisted by the precarious mercy of the Barbarians, till he could
obtain, after the fall of Eutropius, a milder exile at Sidon, in
Phoenicia. The destruction of Timasius 13 required a more serious and
regular mode of attack. That great officer, the master-general of the
armies of Theodosius, had signalized his valor by a decisive victory,
which he obtained over the Goths of Thessaly; but he was too prone,
after the example of his sovereign, to enjoy the luxury of peace, and to
abandon his confidence to wicked and designing flatterers. Timasius had
despised the public clamor, by promoting an infamous dependant to the
command of a cohort; and he deserved to feel the ingratitude of Bargus,
who was secretly instigated by the favorite to accuse his patron of a
treasonable conspiracy. The general was arraigned before the tribunal
of Arcadius himself; and the principal eunuch stood by the side of the
throne to suggest the questions and answers of his sovereign. But as
this form of trial might be deemed partial and arbitrary, the further
inquiry into the crimes of Timasius was delegated to Saturninus and
Procopius; the former of consular rank, the latter still respected as
the father-in-law of the emperor Valens. The appearances of a fair and
legal proceeding were maintained by the blunt honesty of Procopius; and
he yielded with reluctance to the obsequious dexterity of his colleague,
who pronounced a sentence of condemnation against the unfortunate
Timasius. His immense riches were confiscated in the name of the
emperor, and for the benefit of the favorite; and he was doomed to
perpetual exile a Oasis, a solitary spot in the midst of the
sandy deserts of Libya. 14 Secluded from all human converse, the
master-general of the Roman armies was lost forever to the world;
but the circumstances of his fate have been related in a various and
contradictory manner. It is insinuated that Eutropius despatched a
private order for his secret execution. 15 It was reported, that, in
attempting to escape from Oasis, he perished in the desert, of thirst
and hunger; and that his dead body was found on the sands of Libya. 16
It has been asserted, with more confidence, that his son Syagrius, after
successfully eluding the pursuit of the agents and emissaries of the
court, collected a band of African robbers; that he rescued Timasius
from the place of his exile; and that both the father and the son
disappeared from the knowledge of mankind. 17 But the ungrateful Bargus,
instead of being suffered to possess the reward of guilt was soon after
circumvented and destroyed, by the more powerful villany of the minister
himself, who retained sense and spirit enough to abhor the instrument of
his own crimes.

10 (return) [ Drunk with riches, is the forcible expression of Zosimus,
(l. v. p. 301;) and the avarice of Eutropius is equally execrated in the
Lexicon of Suidas and the Chronicle of Marcellinus Chrysostom had often
admonished the favorite of the vanity and danger of immoderate wealth,
tom. iii. p. 381. -certantum saepe duorum Diversum suspendit onus: cum
pondere judex Vergit, et in geminas nutat provincia lances. Claudian (i.
192-209) so curiously distinguishes the circumstances of the sale, that
they all seem to allude to particular anecdotes.]

12 (return) [ Claudian (i. 154-170) mentions the guilt and exile of
Abundantius; nor could he fail to quote the example of the artist, who
made the first trial of the brazen bull, which he presented to Phalaris.
See Zosimus, l. v. p. 302. Jerom, tom. i. p. 26. The difference of place
is easily reconciled; but the decisive authority of Asterius of Amasia
(Orat. iv. p. 76, apud Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 435)
must turn the scale in favor of Pityus.]

13 (return) [ Suidas (most probably from the history of Eunapius)
has given a very unfavorable picture of Timasius. The account of his
accuser, the judges, trial, &c., is perfectly agreeable to the practice
of ancient and modern courts. (See Zosimus, l. v. p. 298, 299, 300.) I
am almost tempted to quote the romance of a great master, (Fielding's
Works, vol. iv. p. 49, &c., 8vo. edit.,) which may be considered as the
history of human nature.]

14 (return) [ The great Oasis was one of the spots in the sands of
Libya, watered with springs, and capable of producing wheat, barley, and
palm-trees. It was about three days' journey from north to south, about
half a day in breadth, and at the distance of about five days' march to
the west of Abydus, on the Nile. See D'Anville, Description de l'Egypte,
p. 186, 187, 188. The barren desert which encompasses Oasis (Zosimus, l.
v. p. 300) has suggested the idea of comparative fertility, and even the
epithet of the happy island ]

15 (return) [ The line of Claudian, in Eutrop. l. i. 180,

     Marmaricus claris violatur caedibus Hammon,

evidently alludes to his persuasion of the death of Timasius. * Note: A
fragment of Eunapius confirms this account. "Thus having deprived
this great person of his life—a eunuch, a man, a slave, a consul,
a minister of the bed-chamber, one bred in camps." Mai, p. 283, in
Niebuhr. 87—M.]

16 (return) [ Sozomen, l. viii. c. 7. He speaks from report.]

17 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 300. Yet he seems to suspect that this
rumor was spread by the friends of Eutropius.]

The public hatred, and the despair of individuals, continually
threatened, or seemed to threaten, the personal safety of Eutropius; as
well as of the numerous adherents, who were attached to his fortune,
and had been promoted by his venal favor. For their mutual defence,
he contrived the safeguard of a law, which violated every principal
of humanity and justice. 18 I. It is enacted, in the name, and by the
authority of Arcadius, that all those who should conspire, either with
subjects or with strangers, against the lives of any of the persons whom
the emperor considers as the members of his own body, shall be punished
with death and confiscation. This species of fictitious and metaphorical
treason is extended to protect, not only the illustrious officers of
the state and army, who were admitted into the sacred consistory,
but likewise the principal domestics of the palace, the senators of
Constantinople, the military commanders, and the civil magistrates of
the provinces; a vague and indefinite list, which, under the successors
of Constantine, included an obscure and numerous train of subordinate
ministers. II. This extreme severity might perhaps be justified, had it
been only directed to secure the representatives of the sovereign from
any actual violence in the execution of their office. But the whole body
of Imperial dependants claimed a privilege, or rather impunity, which
screened them, in the loosest moments of their lives, from the hasty,
perhaps the justifiable, resentment of their fellow-citizens; and, by a
strange perversion of the laws, the same degree of guilt and punishment
was applied to a private quarrel, and to a deliberate conspiracy against
the emperor and the empire. The edicts of Arcadius most positively and
most absurdly declares, that in such cases of treason, thoughts and
actions ought to be punished with equal severity; that the knowledge
of a mischievous intention, unless it be instantly revealed, becomes
equally criminal with the intention itself; 19 and that those rash men,
who shall presume to solicit the pardon of traitors, shall themselves be
branded with public and perpetual infamy. III. "With regard to the sons
of the traitors," (continues the emperor,) "although they ought to share
the punishment, since they will probably imitate the guilt, of their
parents, yet, by the special effect of our Imperial lenity, we grant
them their lives; but, at the same time, we declare them incapable
of inheriting, either on the father's or on the mother's side, or of
receiving any gift or legacy, from the testament either of kinsmen or of
strangers. Stigmatized with hereditary infamy, excluded from the hopes
of honors or fortune, let them endure the pangs of poverty and contempt,
till they shall consider life as a calamity, and death as a comfort
and relief." In such words, so well adapted to insult the feelings of
mankind, did the emperor, or rather his favorite eunuch, applaud the
moderation of a law, which transferred the same unjust and inhuman
penalties to the children of all those who had seconded, or who had
not disclosed, their fictitious conspiracies. Some of the noblest
regulations of Roman jurisprudence have been suffered to expire; but
this edict, a convenient and forcible engine of ministerial tyranny,
was carefully inserted in the codes of Theodosius and Justinian; and the
same maxims have been revived in modern ages, to protect the electors of
Germany, and the cardinals of the church of Rome. 20

18 (return) [ See the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit. 14, ad legem
Corneliam de Sicariis, leg. 3, and the Code of Justinian, l. ix. tit.
viii, viii. ad legem Juliam de Majestate, leg. 5. The alteration of
the title, from murder to treason, was an improvement of the subtle
Tribonian. Godefroy, in a formal dissertation, which he has inserted in
his Commentary, illustrates this law of Arcadius, and explains all the
difficult passages which had been perverted by the jurisconsults of the
darker ages. See tom. iii. p. 88-111.]

19 (return) [ Bartolus understands a simple and naked consciousness,
without any sign of approbation or concurrence. For this opinion, says
Baldus, he is now roasting in hell. For my own part, continues the
discreet Heineccius, (Element. Jur. Civil l. iv. p. 411,) I must
approve the theory of Bartolus; but in practice I should incline to the
sentiments of Baldus. Yet Bartolus was gravely quoted by the lawyers of
Cardinal Richelieu; and Eutropius was indirectly guilty of the murder of
the virtuous De Thou.]

20 (return) [ Godefroy, tom. iii. p. 89. It is, however, suspected,
that this law, so repugnant to the maxims of Germanic freedom, has been
surreptitiously added to the golden bull.]

Yet these sanguinary laws, which spread terror among a disarmed and
dispirited people, were of too weak a texture to restrain the bold
enterprise of Tribigild 21 the Ostrogoth. The colony of that warlike
nation, which had been planted by Theodosius in one of the most fertile
districts of Phrygia, 22 impatiently compared the slow returns of
laborious husbandry with the successful rapine and liberal rewards
of Alaric; and their leader resented, as a personal affront, his own
ungracious reception in the palace of Constantinople. A soft and wealthy
province, in the heart of the empire, was astonished by the sound of
war; and the faithful vassal who had been disregarded or oppressed,
was again respected, as soon as he resumed the hostile character of a
Barbarian. The vineyards and fruitful fields, between the rapid Marsyas
and the winding Maeander, 23 were consumed with fire; the decayed walls
of the cities crumbled into dust, at the first stroke of an enemy; the
trembling inhabitants escaped from a bloody massacre to the shores of
the Hellespont; and a considerable part of Asia Minor was desolated
by the rebellion of Tribigild. His rapid progress was checked by the
resistance of the peasants of Pamphylia; and the Ostrogoths, attacked
in a narrow pass, between the city of Selgae, 24 a deep morass, and
the craggy cliffs of Mount Taurus, were defeated with the loss of
their bravest troops. But the spirit of their chief was not daunted
by misfortune; and his army was continually recruited by swarms of
Barbarians and outlaws, who were desirous of exercising the profession
of robbery, under the more honorable names of war and conquest. The
rumors of the success of Tribigild might for some time be suppressed
by fear, or disguised by flattery; yet they gradually alarmed both the
court and the capital. Every misfortune was exaggerated in dark and
doubtful hints; and the future designs of the rebels became the subject
of anxious conjecture. Whenever Tribigild advanced into the inland
country, the Romans were inclined to suppose that he meditated the
passage of Mount Taurus, and the invasion of Syria. If he descended
towards the sea, they imputed, and perhaps suggested, to the Gothic
chief, the more dangerous project of arming a fleet in the harbors of
Ionia, and of extending his depredations along the maritime coast, from
the mouth of the Nile to the port of Constantinople. The approach
of danger, and the obstinacy of Tribigild, who refused all terms of
accommodation, compelled Eutropius to summon a council of war. 25 After
claiming for himself the privilege of a veteran soldier, the eunuch
intrusted the guard of Thrace and the Hellespont to Gainas the Goth, and
the command of the Asiatic army to his favorite, Leo; two generals, who
differently, but effectually, promoted the cause of the rebels. Leo,
26 who, from the bulk of his body, and the dulness of his mind, was
surnamed the Ajax of the East, had deserted his original trade of a
woolcomber, to exercise, with much less skill and success, the military
profession; and his uncertain operations were capriciously framed and
executed, with an ignorance of real difficulties, and a timorous neglect
of every favorable opportunity. The rashness of the Ostrogoths had
drawn them into a disadvantageous position between the Rivers Melas and
Eurymedon, where they were almost besieged by the peasants of Pamphylia;
but the arrival of an Imperial army, instead of completing their
destruction, afforded the means of safety and victory. Tribigild
surprised the unguarded camp of the Romans, in the darkness of
the night; seduced the faith of the greater part of the Barbarian
auxiliaries, and dissipated, without much effort, the troops, which had
been corrupted by the relaxation of discipline, and the luxury of the
capital. The discontent of Gainas, who had so boldly contrived and
executed the death of Rufinus, was irritated by the fortune of his
unworthy successor; he accused his own dishonorable patience under the
servile reign of a eunuch; and the ambitious Goth was convicted,
at least in the public opinion, of secretly fomenting the revolt of
Tribigild, with whom he was connected by a domestic, as well as by a
national alliance. 27 When Gainas passed the Hellespont, to unite under
his standard the remains of the Asiatic troops, he skilfully adapted his
motions to the wishes of the Ostrogoths; abandoning, by his retreat, the
country which they desired to invade; or facilitating, by his approach,
the desertion of the Barbarian auxiliaries. To the Imperial court he
repeatedly magnified the valor, the genius, the inexhaustible resources
of Tribigild; confessed his own inability to prosecute the war; and
extorted the permission of negotiating with his invincible adversary.
The conditions of peace were dictated by the haughty rebel; and the
peremptory demand of the head of Eutropius revealed the author and the
design of this hostile conspiracy.

21 (return) [ A copious and circumstantial narrative (which he might
have reserved for more important events) is bestowed by Zosimus (l.
v. p. 304-312) on the revolt of Tribigild and Gainas. See likewise
Socrates, l. vi. c. 6, and Sozomen, l. viii. c. 4. The second book
of Claudian against Eutropius, is a fine, though imperfect, piece of
history.]

22 (return) [ Claudian (in Eutrop. l. ii. 237-250) very accurately
observes, that the ancient name and nation of the Phrygians extended
very far on every side, till their limits were contracted by the
colonies of the Bithvnians of Thrace, of the Greeks, and at last of the
Gauls. His description (ii. 257-272) of the fertility of Phrygia, and of
the four rivers that produced gold, is just and picturesque.]

23 (return) [ Xenophon, Anabasis, l. i. p. 11, 12, edit. Hutchinson.
Strabo, l. xii p. 865, edit. Amstel. Q. Curt. l. iii. c. 1. Claudian
compares the junction of the Marsyas and Maeander to that of the Saone
and the Rhone, with this difference, however, that the smaller of the
Phrygian rivers is not accelerated, but retarded, by the larger.]

24 (return) [ Selgae, a colony of the Lacedaemonians, had formerly
numbered twenty thousand citizens; but in the age of Zosimus it was
reduced to a small town. See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq tom. ii. p.
117.]

25 (return) [ The council of Eutropius, in Claudian, may be compared to
that of Domitian in the fourth Satire of Juvenal. The principal members
of the former were juvenes protervi lascivique senes; one of them had
been a cook, a second a woolcomber. The language of their original
profession exposes their assumed dignity; and their trifling
conversation about tragedies, dancers, &c., is made still more
ridiculous by the importance of the debate.]

26 (return) [ Claudian (l. ii. 376-461) has branded him with infamy; and
Zosimus, in more temperate language, confirms his reproaches. L. v. p.
305.]

27 (return) [ The conspiracy of Gainas and Tribigild, which is attested
by the Greek historian, had not reached the ears of Claudian, who
attributes the revolt of the Ostrogoth to his own martial spirit, and
the advice of his wife.]



Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part II.

The bold satirist, who has indulged his discontent by the partial and
passionate censure of the Christian emperors, violates the dignity,
rather than the truth, of history, by comparing the son of Theodosius
to one of those harmless and simple animals, who scarcely feel that
they are the property of their shepherd. Two passions, however, fear
and conjugal affection, awakened the languid soul of Arcadius: he was
terrified by the threats of a victorious Barbarian; and he yielded
to the tender eloquence of his wife Eudoxia, who, with a flood of
artificial tears, presenting her infant children to their father,
implored his justice for some real or imaginary insult, which she
imputed to the audacious eunuch. 28 The emperor's hand was directed to
sign the condemnation of Eutropius; the magic spell, which during four
years had bound the prince and the people, was instantly dissolved;
and the acclamations that so lately hailed the merit and fortune of the
favorite, were converted into the clamors of the soldiers and people,
who reproached his crimes, and pressed his immediate execution. In this
hour of distress and despair, his only refuge was in the sanctuary of
the church, whose privileges he had wisely or profanely attempted to
circumscribe; and the most eloquent of the saints, John Chrysostom,
enjoyed the triumph of protecting a prostrate minister, whose choice
had raised him to the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople. The
archbishop, ascending the pulpit of the cathedral, that he might be
distinctly seen and heard by an innumerable crowd of either sex and
of every age, pronounced a seasonable and pathetic discourse on the
forgiveness of injuries, and the instability of human greatness. The
agonies of the pale and affrighted wretch, who lay grovelling under the
table of the altar, exhibited a solemn and instructive spectacle; and
the orator, who was afterwards accused of insulting the misfortunes of
Eutropius, labored to excite the contempt, that he might assuage the
fury, of the people. 29 The powers of humanity, of superstition, and
of eloquence, prevailed. The empress Eudoxia was restrained by her own
prejudices, or by those of her subjects, from violating the sanctuary of
the church; and Eutropius was tempted to capitulate, by the milder
arts of persuasion, and by an oath, that his life should be spared. 30
Careless of the dignity of their sovereign, the new ministers of the
palace immediately published an edict to declare, that his late favorite
had disgraced the names of consul and patrician, to abolish his statues,
to confiscate his wealth, and to inflict a perpetual exile in the Island
of Cyprus. 31 A despicable and decrepit eunuch could no longer alarm the
fears of his enemies; nor was he capable of enjoying what yet remained,
the comforts of peace, of solitude, and of a happy climate. But their
implacable revenge still envied him the last moments of a miserable
life, and Eutropius had no sooner touched the shores of Cyprus, than he
was hastily recalled. The vain hope of eluding, by a change of place,
the obligation of an oath, engaged the empress to transfer the scene of
his trial and execution from Constantinople to the adjacent suburb of
Chalcedon. The consul Aurelian pronounced the sentence; and the motives
of that sentence expose the jurisprudence of a despotic government.
The crimes which Eutropius had committed against the people might
have justified his death; but he was found guilty of harnessing to
his chariot the sacred animals, who, from their breed or color, were
reserved for the use of the emperor alone. 32

28 (return) [ This anecdote, which Philostorgius alone has preserved,
(l xi. c. 6, and Gothofred. Dissertat. p. 451-456) is curious and
important; since it connects the revolt of the Goths with the secret
intrigues of the palace.]

29 (return) [ See the Homily of Chrysostom, tom. iii. p. 381-386, which
the exordium is particularly beautiful. Socrates, l. vi. c. 5. Sozomen,
l. viii. c. 7. Montfaucon (in his Life of Chrysostom, tom. xiii. p. 135)
too hastily supposes that Tribigild was actually in Constantinople; and
that he commanded the soldiers who were ordered to seize Eutropius
Even Claudian, a Pagan poet, (praefat. ad l. ii. in Eutrop. 27,) has
mentioned the flight of the eunuch to the sanctuary.

     Suppliciterque pias humilis prostratus ad aras,
     Mitigat iratas voce tremente nurus,]

30 (return) [ Chrysostom, in another homily, (tom. iii. p. 386,) affects
to declare that Eutropius would not have been taken, had he not deserted
the church. Zosimus, (l. v. p. 313,) on the contrary, pretends, that his
enemies forced him from the sanctuary. Yet the promise is an evidence of
some treaty; and the strong assurance of Claudian, (Praefat. ad l. ii.
46,) Sed tamen exemplo non feriere tuo, may be considered as an evidence
of some promise.]

31 (return) [ Cod. Theod. l. ix. tit. xi. leg. 14. The date of that
law (Jan. 17, A.D. 399) is erroneous and corrupt; since the fall
of Eutropius could not happen till the autumn of the same year. See
Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 780.]

32 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 313. Philostorgius, l. xi. c. 6.]

While this domestic revolution was transacted, Gainas 33 openly revolted
from his allegiance; united his forces at Thyatira in Lydia, with those
of Tribigild; and still maintained his superior ascendant over the
rebellious leader of the Ostrogoths. The confederate armies advanced,
without resistance, to the straits of the Hellespont and the Bosphorus;
and Arcadius was instructed to prevent the loss of his Asiatic
dominions, by resigning his authority and his person to the faith of the
Barbarians. The church of the holy martyr Euphemia, situate on a lofty
eminence near Chalcedon, 34 was chosen for the place of the interview.
Gainas bowed with reverence at the feet of the emperor, whilst he
required the sacrifice of Aurelian and Saturninus, two ministers of
consular rank; and their naked necks were exposed, by the haughty
rebel, to the edge of the sword, till he condescended to grant them a
precarious and disgraceful respite. The Goths, according to the terms of
the agreement, were immediately transported from Asia into Europe; and
their victorious chief, who accepted the title of master-general of
the Roman armies, soon filled Constantinople with his troops, and
distributed among his dependants the honors and rewards of the empire.
In his early youth, Gainas had passed the Danube as a suppliant and a
fugitive: his elevation had been the work of valor and fortune; and his
indiscreet or perfidious conduct was the cause of his rapid downfall.
Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of the archbishop, he
importunately claimed for his Arian sectaries the possession of a
peculiar church; and the pride of the Catholics was offended by the
public toleration of heresy. 35 Every quarter of Constantinople was
filled with tumult and disorder; and the Barbarians gazed with such
ardor on the rich shops of the jewellers, and the tables of the bankers,
which were covered with gold and silver, that it was judged prudent to
remove those dangerous temptations from their sight. They resented the
injurious precaution; and some alarming attempts were made, during the
night, to attack and destroy with fire the Imperial palace. 36 In this
state of mutual and suspicious hostility, the guards and the people of
Constantinople shut the gates, and rose in arms to prevent or to punish
the conspiracy of the Goths. During the absence of Gainas, his troops
were surprised and oppressed; seven thousand Barbarians perished in this
bloody massacre. In the fury of the pursuit, the Catholics uncovered
the roof, and continued to throw down flaming logs of wood, till they
overwhelmed their adversaries, who had retreated to the church or
conventicle of the Arians. Gainas was either innocent of the design, or
too confident of his success; he was astonished by the intelligence that
the flower of his army had been ingloriously destroyed; that he himself
was declared a public enemy; and that his countryman, Fravitta, a brave
and loyal confederate, had assumed the management of the war by sea and
land. The enterprises of the rebel, against the cities of Thrace, were
encountered by a firm and well-ordered defence; his hungry soldiers were
soon reduced to the grass that grew on the margin of the fortifications;
and Gainas, who vainly regretted the wealth and luxury of Asia, embraced
a desperate resolution of forcing the passage of the Hellespont. He
was destitute of vessels; but the woods of the Chersonesus afforded
materials for rafts, and his intrepid Barbarians did not refuse to trust
themselves to the waves. But Fravitta attentively watched the progress
of their undertaking. As soon as they had gained the middle of the
stream, the Roman galleys, 37 impelled by the full force of oars, of the
current, and of a favorable wind, rushed forwards in compact order,
and with irresistible weight; and the Hellespont was covered with the
fragments of the Gothic shipwreck. After the destruction of his hopes,
and the loss of many thousands of his bravest soldiers, Gainas, who
could no longer aspire to govern or to subdue the Romans, determined
to resume the independence of a savage life. A light and active body
of Barbarian horse, disengaged from their infantry and baggage, might
perform in eight or ten days a march of three hundred miles from the
Hellespont to the Danube; 38 the garrisons of that important frontier
had been gradually annihilated; the river, in the month of December,
would be deeply frozen; and the unbounded prospect of Scythia was opened
to the ambition of Gainas. This design was secretly communicated to the
national troops, who devoted themselves to the fortunes of their
leader; and before the signal of departure was given, a great number
of provincial auxiliaries, whom he suspected of an attachment to their
native country, were perfidiously massacred. The Goths advanced,
by rapid marches, through the plains of Thrace; and they were soon
delivered from the fear of a pursuit, by the vanity of Fravitta, 3811
who, instead of extinguishing the war, hastened to enjoy the popular
applause, and to assume the peaceful honors of the consulship. But a
formidable ally appeared in arms to vindicate the majesty of the empire,
and to guard the peace and liberty of Scythia. 39 The superior forces of
Uldin, king of the Huns, opposed the progress of Gainas; a hostile and
ruined country prohibited his retreat; he disdained to capitulate; and
after repeatedly attempting to cut his way through the ranks of the
enemy, he was slain, with his desperate followers, in the field of
battle. Eleven days after the naval victory of the Hellespont, the
head of Gainas, the inestimable gift of the conqueror, was received at
Constantinople with the most liberal expressions of gratitude; and the
public deliverance was celebrated by festivals and illuminations.
The triumphs of Arcadius became the subject of epic poems; 40 and the
monarch, no longer oppressed by any hostile terrors, resigned himself to
the mild and absolute dominion of his wife, the fair and artful Eudoxia,
who was sullied her fame by the persecution of St. John Chrysostom.

33 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 313-323,) Socrates, (l. vi. c. 4,)
Sozomen, (l. viii. c. 4,) and Theodoret, (l. v. c. 32, 33,) represent,
though with some various circumstances, the conspiracy, defeat, and
death of Gainas.]

34 (return) [ It is the expression of Zosimus himself, (l. v. p. 314,)
who inadvertently uses the fashionable language of the Christians.
Evagrius describes (l. ii. c. 3) the situation, architecture, relics,
and miracles, of that celebrated church, in which the general council of
Chalcedon was afterwards held.]

35 (return) [ The pious remonstrances of Chrysostom, which do not
appear in his own writings, are strongly urged by Theodoret; but his
insinuation, that they were successful, is disproved by facts. Tillemont
(Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 383) has discovered that the emperor,
to satisfy the rapacious demands of Gainas, was obliged to melt the
plate of the church of the apostles.]

36 (return) [ The ecclesiastical historians, who sometimes guide, and
sometimes follow, the public opinion, most confidently assert, that the
palace of Constantinople was guarded by legions of angels.]

37 (return) [ Zosmius (l. v. p. 319) mentions these galleys by the name
of Liburnians, and observes that they were as swift (without explaining
the difference between them) as the vessels with fifty oars; but that
they were far inferior in speed to the triremes, which had been long
disused. Yet he reasonably concludes, from the testimony of Polybius,
that galleys of a still larger size had been constructed in the
Punic wars. Since the establishment of the Roman empire over the
Mediterranean, the useless art of building large ships of war had
probably been neglected, and at length forgotten.]

38 (return) [ Chishull (Travels, p. 61-63, 72-76) proceeded from
Gallipoli, through Hadrianople to the Danube, in about fifteen days. He
was in the train of an English ambassador, whose baggage consisted of
seventy-one wagons. That learned traveller has the merit of tracing a
curious and unfrequented route.]

3811 (return) [ Fravitta, according to Zosimus, though a Pagan, received
the honors of the consulate. Zosim, v. c. 20. On Fravitta, see a very
imperfect fragment of Eunapius. Mai. ii. 290, in Niebuhr. 92.—M.]

39 (return) [ The narrative of Zosimus, who actually leads Gainas beyond
the Danube, must be corrected by the testimony of Socrates, aud Sozomen,
that he was killed in Thrace; and by the precise and authentic dates of
the Alexandrian, or Paschal, Chronicle, p. 307. The naval victory of the
Hellespont is fixed to the month Apellaeus, the tenth of the Calends of
January, (December 23;) the head of Gainas was brought to Constantinople
the third of the nones of January, (January 3,) in the month Audynaeus.]

40 (return) [ Eusebius Scholasticus acquired much fame by his poem on
the Gothic war, in which he had served. Near forty years afterwards
Ammonius recited another poem on the same subject, in the presence of
the emperor Theodosius. See Socrates, l. vi. c. 6.]

After the death of the indolent Nectarius, the successor of Gregory
Nazianzen, the church of Constantinople was distracted by the ambition
of rival candidates, who were not ashamed to solicit, with gold or
flattery, the suffrage of the people, or of the favorite. On this
occasion Eutropius seems to have deviated from his ordinary maxims; and
his uncorrupted judgment was determined only by the superior merit of a
stranger. In a late journey into the East, he had admired the sermons
of John, a native and presbyter of Antioch, whose name has been
distinguished by the epithet of Chrysostom, or the Golden Mouth. 41 A
private order was despatched to the governor of Syria; and as the
people might be unwilling to resign their favorite preacher, he was
transported, with speed and secrecy in a post-chariot, from Antioch to
Constantinople. The unanimous and unsolicited consent of the court, the
clergy, and the people, ratified the choice of the minister; and, both
as a saint and as an orator, the new archbishop surpassed the sanguine
expectations of the public. Born of a noble and opulent family, in the
capital of Syria, Chrysostom had been educated, by the care of a tender
mother, under the tuition of the most skilful masters. He studied the
art of rhetoric in the school of Libanius; and that celebrated sophist,
who soon discovered the talents of his disciple, ingenuously confessed
that John would have deserved to succeed him, had he not been stolen
away by the Christians. His piety soon disposed him to receive the
sacrament of baptism; to renounce the lucrative and honorable profession
of the law; and to bury himself in the adjacent desert, where he
subdued the lusts of the flesh by an austere penance of six years. His
infirmities compelled him to return to the society of mankind; and the
authority of Meletius devoted his talents to the service of the church:
but in the midst of his family, and afterwards on the archiepiscopal
throne, Chrysostom still persevered in the practice of the monastic
virtues. The ample revenues, which his predecessors had consumed in pomp
and luxury, he diligently applied to the establishment of hospitals;
and the multitudes, who were supported by his charity, preferred the
eloquent and edifying discourses of their archbishop to the amusements
of the theatre or the circus. The monuments of that eloquence, which
was admired near twenty years at Antioch and Constantinople, have been
carefully preserved; and the possession of near one thousand sermons, or
homilies has authorized the critics 42 of succeeding times to appreciate
the genuine merit of Chrysostom. They unanimously attribute to the
Christian orator the free command of an elegant and copious language;
the judgment to conceal the advantages which he derived from the
knowledge of rhetoric and philosophy; an inexhaustible fund of metaphors
and similitudes of ideas and images, to vary and illustrate the most
familiar topics; the happy art of engaging the passions in the service
of virtue; and of exposing the folly, as well as the turpitude, of vice,
almost with the truth and spirit of a dramatic representation.

41 (return) [ The sixth book of Socrates, the eighth of Sozomen, and the
fifth of Theodoret, afford curious and authentic materials for the life
of John Chrysostom. Besides those general historians, I have taken for
my guides the four principal biographers of the saint. 1. The author
of a partial and passionate Vindication of the archbishop of
Constantinople, composed in the form of a dialogue, and under the name
of his zealous partisan, Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, (Tillemont,
Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 500-533.) It is inserted among the works
of Chrysostom. tom. xiii. p. 1-90, edit. Montfaucon. 2. The moderate
Erasmus, (tom. iii. epist. Mcl. p. 1331-1347, edit. Lugd. Bat.) His
vivacity and good sense were his own; his errors, in the uncultivated
state of ecclesiastical antiquity, were almost inevitable. 3. The
learned Tillemont, (Mem. Ecclesiastiques, tom. xi. p. 1-405, 547-626,
&c. &c.,) who compiles the lives of the saints with incredible patience
and religious accuracy. He has minutely searched the voluminous works
of Chrysostom himself. 4. Father Montfaucon, who has perused those
works with the curious diligence of an editor, discovered several new
homilies, and again reviewed and composed the Life of Chrysostom, (Opera
Chrysostom. tom. xiii. p. 91-177.)]

42 (return) [ As I am almost a stranger to the voluminous sermons of
Chrysostom, I have given my confidence to the two most judicious and
moderate of the ecclesiastical critics, Erasmus (tom. iii. p. 1344)
and Dupin, (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, tom. iii. p. 38:) yet the
good taste of the former is sometimes vitiated by an excessive love
of antiquity; and the good sense of the latter is always restrained by
prudential considerations.]

The pastoral labors of the archbishop of Constantinople provoked, and
gradually united against him, two sorts of enemies; the aspiring clergy,
who envied his success, and the obstinate sinners, who were offended by
his reproofs. When Chrysostom thundered, from the pulpit of St. Sophia,
against the degeneracy of the Christians, his shafts were spent among
the crowd, without wounding, or even marking, the character of any
individual. When he declaimed against the peculiar vices of the rich,
poverty might obtain a transient consolation from his invectives; but
the guilty were still sheltered by their numbers; and the reproach
itself was dignified by some ideas of superiority and enjoyment. But
as the pyramid rose towards the summit, it insensibly diminished to a
point; and the magistrates, the ministers, the favorite eunuchs, the
ladies of the court, 43 the empress Eudoxia herself, had a much larger
share of guilt to divide among a smaller proportion of criminals. The
personal applications of the audience were anticipated, or confirmed, by
the testimony of their own conscience; and the intrepid preacher assumed
the dangerous right of exposing both the offence and the offender to
the public abhorrence. The secret resentment of the court encouraged
the discontent of the clergy and monks of Constantinople, who were
too hastily reformed by the fervent zeal of their archbishop. He had
condemned, from the pulpit, the domestic females of the clergy of
Constantinople, who, under the name of servants, or sisters, afforded a
perpetual occasion either of sin or of scandal. The silent and solitary
ascetics, who had secluded themselves from the world, were entitled to
the warmest approbation of Chrysostom; but he despised and stigmatized,
as the disgrace of their holy profession, the crowd of degenerate monks,
who, from some unworthy motives of pleasure or profit, so frequently
infested the streets of the capital. To the voice of persuasion, the
archbishop was obliged to add the terrors of authority; and his ardor,
in the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, was not always exempt
from passion; nor was it always guided by prudence. Chrysostom was
naturally of a choleric disposition. 44 Although he struggled, according
to the precepts of the gospel, to love his private enemies, he indulged
himself in the privilege of hating the enemies of God and of the church;
and his sentiments were sometimes delivered with too much energy
of countenance and expression. He still maintained, from some
considerations of health or abstinence, his former habits of taking
his repasts alone; and this inhospitable custom, 45 which his enemies
imputed to pride, contributed, at least, to nourish the infirmity of
a morose and unsocial humor. Separated from that familiar intercourse,
which facilitates the knowledge and the despatch of business, he reposed
an unsuspecting confidence in his deacon Serapion; and seldom applied
his speculative knowledge of human nature to the particular character,
either of his dependants, or of his equals.

Conscious of the purity of his intentions, and perhaps of the
superiority of his genius, the archbishop of Constantinople extended the
jurisdiction of the Imperial city, that he might enlarge the sphere of
his pastoral labors; and the conduct which the profane imputed to an
ambitious motive, appeared to Chrysostom himself in the light of a
sacred and indispensable duty. In his visitation through the Asiatic
provinces, he deposed thirteen bishops of Lydia and Phrygia;
and indiscreetly declared that a deep corruption of simony and
licentiousness had infected the whole episcopal order. 46 If those
bishops were innocent, such a rash and unjust condemnation must excite
a well-grounded discontent. If they were guilty, the numerous associates
of their guilt would soon discover that their own safety depended on the
ruin of the archbishop; whom they studied to represent as the tyrant of
the Eastern church.

43 (return) [ The females of Constantinople distinguished themselves by
their enmity or their attachment to Chrysostom. Three noble and opulent
widows, Marsa, Castricia, and Eugraphia, were the leaders of the
persecution, (Pallad. Dialog. tom. xiii. p. 14.) It was impossible
that they should forgive a preacher who reproached their affectation to
conceal, by the ornaments of dress, their age and ugliness, (Pallad
p. 27.) Olympias, by equal zeal, displayed in a more pious cause, has
obtained the title of saint. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi p.
416-440.]

44 (return) [ Sozomen, and more especially Socrates, have defined the
real character of Chrysostom with a temperate and impartial freedom,
very offensive to his blind admirers. Those historians lived in the next
generation, when party violence was abated, and had conversed with many
persons intimately acquainted with the virtues and imperfections of the
saint.]

45 (return) [ Palladius (tom. xiii. p. 40, &c.) very seriously defends
the archbishop 1. He never tasted wine. 2. The weakness of his stomach
required a peculiar diet. 3. Business, or study, or devotion, often kept
him fasting till sunset. 4. He detested the noise and levity of great
dinners. 5. He saved the expense for the use of the poor. 6. He was
apprehensive, in a capital like Constantinople, of the envy and reproach
of partial invitations.]

46 (return) [ Chrysostom declares his free opinion (tom. ix. hom. iii
in Act. Apostol. p. 29) that the number of bishops, who might be saved,
bore a very small proportion to those who would be damned.]

This ecclesiastical conspiracy was managed by Theophilus, 47 archbishop
of Alexandria, an active and ambitious prelate, who displayed the fruits
of rapine in monuments of ostentation. His national dislike to the
rising greatness of a city which degraded him from the second to the
third rank in the Christian world, was exasperated by some personal
dispute with Chrysostom himself. 48 By the private invitation of
the empress, Theophilus landed at Constantinople with a stou body of
Egyptian mariners, to encounter the populace; and a train of dependent
bishops, to secure, by their voices, the majority of a synod. The synod
49 was convened in the suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak,
where Rufinus had erected a stately church and monastery; and their
proceedings were continued during fourteen days, or sessions. A bishop
and a deacon accused the archbishop of Constantinople; but the frivolous
or improbable nature of the forty-seven articles which they presented
against him, may justly be considered as a fair and unexceptional
panegyric. Four successive summons were signified to Chrysostom; but he
still refused to trust either his person or his reputation in the hands
of his implacable enemies, who, prudently declining the examination of
any particular charges, condemned his contumacious disobedience, and
hastily pronounced a sentence of deposition. The synod of the Oak
immediately addressed the emperor to ratify and execute their judgment,
and charitably insinuated, that the penalties of treason might be
inflicted on the audacious preacher, who had reviled, under the name
of Jezebel, the empress Eudoxia herself. The archbishop was rudely
arrested, and conducted through the city, by one of the Imperial
messengers, who landed him, after a short navigation, near the entrance
of the Euxine; from whence, before the expiration of two days, he was
gloriously recalled.

47 (return) [ See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 441-500.]

48 (return) [ I have purposely omitted the controversy which arose
among the monks of Egypt, concerning Origenism and Anthropomorphism; the
dissimulation and violence of Theophilus; his artful management of the
simplicity of Epiphanius; the persecution and flight of the long,
or tall, brothers; the ambiguous support which they received at
Constantinople from Chrysostom, &c. &c.]

49 (return) [ Photius (p. 53-60) has preserved the original acts of the
synod of the Oak; which destroys the false assertion, that Chrysostom
was condemned by no more than thirty-six bishops, of whom twenty-nine
were Egyptians. Forty-five bishops subscribed his sentence. See
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 595. * Note: Tillemont argues
strongly for the number of thirty-six—M]

The first astonishment of his faithful people had been mute and passive:
they suddenly rose with unanimous and irresistible fury. Theophilus
escaped, but the promiscuous crowd of monks and Egyptian mariners
was slaughtered without pity in the streets of Constantinople. 50 A
seasonable earthquake justified the interposition of Heaven; the torrent
of sedition rolled forwards to the gates of the palace; and the empress,
agitated by fear or remorse, threw herself at the feet of Arcadius,
and confessed that the public safety could be purchased only by the
restoration of Chrysostom. The Bosphorus was covered with innumerable
vessels; the shores of Europe and Asia were profusely illuminated; and
the acclamations of a victorious people accompanied, from the port to
the cathedral, the triumph of the archbishop; who, too easily, consented
to resume the exercise of his functions, before his sentence had been
legally reversed by the authority of an ecclesiastical synod. Ignorant,
or careless, of the impending danger, Chrysostom indulged his zeal, or
perhaps his resentment; declaimed with peculiar asperity against female
vices; and condemned the profane honors which were addressed, almost
in the precincts of St. Sophia, to the statue of the empress. His
imprudence tempted his enemies to inflame the haughty spirit of Eudoxia,
by reporting, or perhaps inventing, the famous exordium of a sermon,
"Herodias is again furious; Herodias again dances; she once more
requires the head of John;" an insolent allusion, which, as a woman and
a sovereign, it was impossible for her to forgive. 51 The short interval
of a perfidious truce was employed to concert more effectual measures
for the disgrace and ruin of the archbishop. A numerous council of
the Eastern prelates, who were guided from a distance by the advice of
Theophilus, confirmed the validity, without examining the justice, of
the former sentence; and a detachment of Barbarian troops was introduced
into the city, to suppress the emotions of the people. On the vigil of
Easter, the solemn administration of baptism was rudely interrupted
by the soldiers, who alarmed the modesty of the naked catechumens,
and violated, by their presence, the awful mysteries of the Christian
worship. Arsacius occupied the church of St. Sophia, and the
archiepiscopal throne. The Catholics retreated to the baths of
Constantine, and afterwards to the fields; where they were still pursued
and insulted by the guards, the bishops, and the magistrates. The
fatal day of the second and final exile of Chrysostom was marked by the
conflagration of the cathedral, of the senate-house, and of the adjacent
buildings; and this calamity was imputed, without proof, but not without
probability, to the despair of a persecuted faction. 52

50 (return) [ Palladius owns (p. 30) that if the people of
Constantinople had found Theophilus, they would certainly have thrown
him into the sea. Socrates mentions (l. vi. c. 17) a battle between the
mob and the sailors of Alexandria, in which many wounds were given, and
some lives were lost. The massacre of the monks is observed only by the
Pagan Zosimus, (l. v. p. 324,) who acknowledges that Chrysostom had a
singular talent to lead the illiterate multitude.]

51 (return) [ See Socrates, l. vi. c. 18. Sozomen, l. viii. c. 20.
Zosimus (l. v. p 324, 327) mentions, in general terms, his invectives
against Eudoxia. The homily, which begins with those famous words, is
rejected as spurious. Montfaucon, tom. xiii. p. 151. Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom xi. p. 603.]

52 (return) [ We might naturally expect such a charge from Zosimus, (l.
v. p. 327;) but it is remarkable enough, that it should be confirmed by
Socrates, (l. vi. c. 18,) and the Paschal Chronicle, (p. 307.)]

Cicero might claim some merit, if his voluntary banishment preserved
the peace of the republic; 53 but the submission of Chrysostom was the
indispensable duty of a Christian and a subject. Instead of listening to
his humble prayer, that he might be permitted to reside at Cyzicus, or
Nicomedia, the inflexible empress assigned for his exile the remote
and desolate town of Cucusus, among the ridges of Mount Taurus, in the
Lesser Armenia. A secret hope was entertained, that the archbishop might
perish in a difficult and dangerous march of seventy days, in the heat
of summer, through the provinces of Asia Minor, where he was continually
threatened by the hostile attacks of the Isaurians, and the more
implacable fury of the monks. Yet Chrysostom arrived in safety at the
place of his confinement; and the three years which he spent at Cucusus,
and the neighboring town of Arabissus, were the last and most glorious
of his life. His character was consecrated by absence and persecution;
the faults of his administration were no longer remembered; but every
tongue repeated the praises of his genius and virtue: and the respectful
attention of the Christian world was fixed on a desert spot among the
mountains of Taurus. From that solitude the archbishop, whose active
mind was invigorated by misfortunes, maintained a strict and frequent
correspondence 54 with the most distant provinces; exhorted the separate
congregation of his faithful adherents to persevere in their allegiance;
urged the destruction of the temples of Phoenicia, and the extirpation
of heresy in the Isle of Cyprus; extended his pastoral care to the
missions of Persia and Scythia; negotiated, by his ambassadors, with
the Roman pontiff and the emperor Honorius; and boldly appealed, from
a partial synod, to the supreme tribunal of a free and general council.
The mind of the illustrious exile was still independent; but his captive
body was exposed to the revenge of the oppressors, who continued to
abuse the name and authority of Arcadius. 55 An order was despatched for
the instant removal of Chrysostom to the extreme desert of Pityus: and
his guards so faithfully obeyed their cruel instructions, that, before
he reached the sea-coast of the Euxine, he expired at Comana, in Pontus,
in the sixtieth year of his age. The succeeding generation acknowledged
his innocence and merit. The archbishops of the East, who might blush
that their predecessors had been the enemies of Chrysostom, were
gradually disposed, by the firmness of the Roman pontiff, to restore
the honors of that venerable name. 56 At the pious solicitation of the
clergy and people of Constantinople, his relics, thirty years after his
death, were transported from their obscure sepulchre to the royal city.
57 The emperor Theodosius advanced to receive them as far as Chalcedon;
and, falling prostrate on the coffin, implored, in the name of his
guilty parents, Arcadius and Eudoxia, the forgiveness of the injured
saint. 58

53 (return) [ He displays those specious motives (Post Reditum, c. 13,
14) in the language of an orator and a politician.]

54 (return) [ Two hundred and forty-two of the epistles of Chrysostom
are still extant, (Opera, tom. iii. p. 528-736.) They are addressed to
a great variety of persons, and show a firmness of mind much superior to
that of Cicero in his exile. The fourteenth epistle contains a curious
narrative of the dangers of his journey.]

55 (return) [ After the exile of Chrysostom, Theophilus published
an enormous and horrible volume against him, in which he perpetually
repeats the polite expressions of hostem humanitatis, sacrilegorum
principem, immundum daemonem; he affirms, that John Chrysostom had
delivered his soul to be adulterated by the devil; and wishes that
some further punishment, adequate (if possible) to the magnitude of his
crimes, may be inflicted on him. St. Jerom, at the request of his friend
Theophilus, translated this edifying performance from Greek into Latin.
See Facundus Hermian. Defens. pro iii. Capitul. l. vi. c. 5 published by
Sirmond. Opera, tom. ii. p. 595, 596, 597.]

56 (return) [ His name was inserted by his successor Atticus in the
Dyptics of the church of Constantinople, A.D. 418. Ten years afterwards
he was revered as a saint. Cyril, who inherited the place, and the
passions, of his uncle Theophilus, yielded with much reluctance. See
Facund. Hermian. l. 4, c. 1. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p.
277-283.]

57 (return) [ Socrates, l. vii. c. 45. Theodoret, l. v. c. 36. This
event reconciled the Joannites, who had hitherto refused to acknowledge
his successors. During his lifetime, the Joannites were respected, by
the Catholics, as the true and orthodox communion of Constantinople.
Their obstinacy gradually drove them to the brink of schism.]

58 (return) [ According to some accounts, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D.
438 No. 9, 10,) the emperor was forced to send a letter of invitation
and excuses, before the body of the ceremonious saint could be moved
from Comana.]



Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.—Part III.

Yet a reasonable doubt may be entertained, whether any stain of
hereditary guilt could be derived from Arcadius to his successor.
Eudoxia was a young and beautiful woman, who indulged her passions,
and despised her husband; Count John enjoyed, at least, the familiar
confidence of the empress; and the public named him as the real father
of Theodosius the younger. 59 The birth of a son was accepted, however,
by the pious husband, as an event the most fortunate and honorable to
himself, to his family, and to the Eastern world: and the royal infant,
by an unprecedented favor, was invested with the titles of Caesar and
Augustus. In less than four years afterwards, Eudoxia, in the bloom
of youth, was destroyed by the consequences of a miscarriage; and this
untimely death confounded the prophecy of a holy bishop, 60 who, amidst
the universal joy, had ventured to foretell, that she should behold the
long and auspicious reign of her glorious son. The Catholics applauded
the justice of Heaven, which avenged the persecution of St. Chrysostom;
and perhaps the emperor was the only person who sincerely bewailed the
loss of the haughty and rapacious Eudoxia. Such a domestic misfortune
afflicted him more deeply than the public calamities of the East; 61
the licentious excursions, from Pontus to Palestine, of the Isaurian
robbers, whose impunity accused the weakness of the government; and the
earthquakes, the conflagrations, the famine, and the flights of locusts,
62 which the popular discontent was equally disposed to attribute to the
incapacity of the monarch. At length, in the thirty-first year of his
age, after a reign (if we may abuse that word) of thirteen years,
three months, and fifteen days, Arcadius expired in the palace of
Constantinople. It is impossible to delineate his character; since, in
a period very copiously furnished with historical materials, it has not
been possible to remark one action that properly belongs to the son of
the great Theodosius.

59 (return) [ Zosimus, l. v. p. 315. The chastity of an empress should
not be impeached without producing a witness; but it is astonishing,
that the witness should write and live under a prince whose legitimacy
he dared to attack. We must suppose that his history was a party libel,
privately read and circulated by the Pagans. Tillemont (Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. v. p. 782) is not averse to brand the reputation of
Eudoxia.]

60 (return) [ Porphyry of Gaza. His zeal was transported by the order
which he had obtained for the destruction of eight Pagan temples of
that city. See the curious details of his life, (Baronius, A.D. 401, No.
17-51,) originally written in Greek, or perhaps in Syriac, by a monk,
one of his favorite deacons.]

61 (return) [ Philostorg. l. xi. c. 8, and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 457.]

62 (return) [ Jerom (tom. vi. p. 73, 76) describes, in lively colors,
the regular and destructive march of the locusts, which spread a dark
cloud, between heaven and earth, over the land of Palestine. Seasonable
winds scattered them, partly into the Dead Sea, and partly into the
Mediterranean.]

The historian Procopius 63 has indeed illuminated the mind of the dying
emperor with a ray of human prudence, or celestial wisdom. Arcadius
considered, with anxious foresight, the helpless condition of his son
Theodosius, who was no more than seven years of age, the dangerous
factions of a minority, and the aspiring spirit of Jezdegerd, the
Persian monarch. Instead of tempting the allegiance of an ambitious
subject, by the participation of supreme power, he boldly appealed
to the magnanimity of a king; and placed, by a solemn testament,
the sceptre of the East in the hands of Jezdegerd himself. The royal
guardian accepted and discharged this honorable trust with unexampled
fidelity; and the infancy of Theodosius was protected by the arms and
councils of Persia. Such is the singular narrative of Procopius; and his
veracity is not disputed by Agathias, 64 while he presumes to dissent
from his judgment, and to arraign the wisdom of a Christian emperor,
who, so rashly, though so fortunately, committed his son and his
dominions to the unknown faith of a stranger, a rival, and a heathen.
At the distance of one hundred and fifty years, this political question
might be debated in the court of Justinian; but a prudent historian will
refuse to examine the propriety, till he has ascertained the truth,
of the testament of Arcadius. As it stands without a parallel in the
history of the world, we may justly require, that it should be attested
by the positive and unanimous evidence of contemporaries. The strange
novelty of the event, which excites our distrust, must have attracted
their notice; and their universal silence annihilates the vain tradition
of the succeeding age.

63 (return) [ Procopius, de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 2, p. 8, edit.
Louvre.]

64 (return) [ Agathias, l. iv. p. 136, 137. Although he confesses the
prevalence of the tradition, he asserts, that Procopius was the first
who had committed it to writing. Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom.
vi. p. 597) argues very sensibly on the merits of this fable. His
criticism was not warped by any ecclesiastical authority: both Procopius
and Agathias are half Pagans. * Note: See St Martin's article on
Jezdegerd, in the Biographie Universelle de Michand.—M.]

The maxims of Roman jurisprudence, if they could fairly be transferred
from private property to public dominion, would have adjudged to the
emperor Honorius the guardianship of his nephew, till he had attained,
at least, the fourteenth year of his age. But the weakness of Honorius,
and the calamities of his reign, disqualified him from prosecuting
this natural claim; and such was the absolute separation of the two
monarchies, both in interest and affection, that Constantinople would
have obeyed, with less reluctance, the orders of the Persian, than those
of the Italian, court. Under a prince whose weakness is disguised by the
external signs of manhood and discretion, the most worthless favorites
may secretly dispute the empire of the palace; and dictate to submissive
provinces the commands of a master, whom they direct and despise. But
the ministers of a child, who is incapable of arming them with the
sanction of the royal name, must acquire and exercise an independent
authority. The great officers of the state and army, who had been
appointed before the death of Arcadius, formed an aristocracy, which
might have inspired them with the idea of a free republic; and the
government of the Eastern empire was fortunately assumed by the praefect
Anthemius, 65 who obtained, by his superior abilities, a lasting
ascendant over the minds of his equals. The safety of the young emperor
proved the merit and integrity of Anthemius; and his prudent firmness
sustained the force and reputation of an infant reign. Uldin, with a
formidable host of Barbarians, was encamped in the heart of Thrace; he
proudly rejected all terms of accommodation; and, pointing to the rising
sun, declared to the Roman ambassadors, that the course of that planet
should alone terminate the conquest of the Huns. But the desertion
of his confederates, who were privately convinced of the justice and
liberality of the Imperial ministers, obliged Uldin to repass the
Danube: the tribe of the Scyrri, which composed his rear-guard,
was almost extirpated; and many thousand captives were dispersed to
cultivate, with servile labor, the fields of Asia. 66 In the midst of
the public triumph, Constantinople was protected by a strong enclosure
of new and more extensive walls; the same vigilant care was applied
to restore the fortifications of the Illyrian cities; and a plan was
judiciously conceived, which, in the space of seven years, would have
secured the command of the Danube, by establishing on that river a
perpetual fleet of two hundred and fifty armed vessels. 67

65 (return) [ Socrates, l. vii. c. l. Anthemius was the grandson of
Philip, one of the ministers of Constantius, and the grandfather of the
emperor Anthemius. After his return from the Persian embassy, he was
appointed consul and Praetorian praefect of the East, in the year 405
and held the praefecture about ten years. See his honors and praises in
Godefroy, Cod. Theod. tom. vi. p. 350. Tillemont, Hist. des Emptom. vi.
p. 1. &c.]

66 (return) [ Sozomen, l. ix. c. 5. He saw some Scyrri at work near
Mount Olympus, in Bithynia, and cherished the vain hope that those
captives were the last of the nation.]

67 (return) [ Cod. Theod. l. vii. tit. xvi. l. xv. tit. i. leg. 49.]

But the Romans had so long been accustomed to the authority of a
monarch, that the first, even among the females, of the Imperial family,
who displayed any courage or capacity, was permitted to ascend the
vacant throne of Theodosius. His sister Pulcheria, 68 who was only two
years older than himself, received, at the age of sixteen, the title of
Augusta; and though her favor might be sometimes clouded by caprice or
intrigue, she continued to govern the Eastern empire near forty years;
during the long minority of her brother, and after his death, in her
own name, and in the name of Marcian, her nominal husband. From a motive
either of prudence or religion, she embraced a life of celibacy; and
notwithstanding some aspersions on the chastity of Pulcheria, 69 this
resolution, which she communicated to her sisters Arcadia and Marina,
was celebrated by the Christian world, as the sublime effort of heroic
piety. In the presence of the clergy and people, the three daughters
of Arcadius 70 dedicated their virginity to God; and the obligation of
their solemn vow was inscribed on a tablet of gold and gems; which they
publicly offered in the great church of Constantinople. Their palace was
converted into a monastery; and all males, except the guides of their
conscience, the saints who had forgotten the distinction of sexes,
were scrupulously excluded from the holy threshold. Pulcheria, her two
sisters, and a chosen train of favorite damsels, formed a religious
community: they denounced the vanity of dress; interrupted, by frequent
fasts, their simple and frugal diet; allotted a portion of their time to
works of embroidery; and devoted several hours of the day and night to
the exercises of prayer and psalmody. The piety of a Christian virgin
was adorned by the zeal and liberality of an empress. Ecclesiastical
history describes the splendid churches, which were built at the
expense of Pulcheria, in all the provinces of the East; her charitable
foundations for the benefit of strangers and the poor; the ample
donations which she assigned for the perpetual maintenance of monastic
societies; and the active severity with which she labored to suppress
the opposite heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches. Such virtues were
supposed to deserve the peculiar favor of the Deity: and the relics of
martyrs, as well as the knowledge of future events, were communicated
in visions and revelations to the Imperial saint. 71 Yet the devotion
of Pulcheria never diverted her indefatigable attention from temporal
affairs; and she alone, among all the descendants of the great
Theodosius, appears to have inherited any share of his manly spirit and
abilities. The elegant and familiar use which she had acquired, both
of the Greek and Latin languages, was readily applied to the various
occasions of speaking or writing, on public business: her deliberations
were maturely weighed; her actions were prompt and decisive; and, while
she moved, without noise or ostentation, the wheel of government, she
discreetly attributed to the genius of the emperor the long tranquillity
of his reign. In the last years of his peaceful life, Europe was indeed
afflicted by the arms of war; but the more extensive provinces of Asia
still continued to enjoy a profound and permanent repose. Theodosius the
younger was never reduced to the disgraceful necessity of encountering
and punishing a rebellious subject: and since we cannot applaud the
vigor, some praise may be due to the mildness and prosperity, of the
administration of Pulcheria.

68 (return) [ Sozomen has filled three chapters with a magnificent
panegyric of Pulcheria, (l. ix. c. 1, 2, 3;) and Tillemont (Memoires
Eccles. tom. xv. p. 171-184) has dedicated a separate article to the
honor of St. Pulcheria, virgin and empress. * Note: The heathen Eunapius
gives a frightful picture of the venality and a justice of the court of
Pulcheria. Fragm. Eunap. in Mai, ii. 293, in p. 97.—M.]

69 (return) [ Suidas, (Excerpta, p. 68, in Script. Byzant.) pretends,
on the credit of the Nestorians, that Pulcheria was exasperated against
their founder, because he censured her connection with the beautiful
Paulinus, and her incest with her brother Theodosius.]

70 (return) [ See Ducange, Famil. Byzantin. p. 70. Flaccilla, the eldest
daughter, either died before Arcadius, or, if she lived till the year
431, (Marcellin. Chron.,) some defect of mind or body must have excluded
her from the honors of her rank.]

71 (return) [ She was admonished, by repeated dreams, of the place
where the relics of the forty martyrs had been buried. The ground
had successively belonged to the house and garden of a woman of
Constantinople, to a monastery of Macedonian monks, and to a church
of St. Thyrsus, erected by Caesarius, who was consul A.D. 397; and
the memory of the relics was almost obliterated. Notwithstanding the
charitable wishes of Dr. Jortin, (Remarks, tom. iv. p. 234,) it is not
easy to acquit Pulcheria of some share in the pious fraud; which must
have been transacted when she was more than five-and-thirty years of
age.]

The Roman world was deeply interested in the education of its master. A
regular course of study and exercise was judiciously instituted; of the
military exercises of riding, and shooting with the bow; of the liberal
studies of grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy: the most skilful masters
of the East ambitiously solicited the attention of their royal pupil;
and several noble youths were introduced into the palace, to animate his
diligence by the emulation of friendship. Pulcheria alone discharged the
important task of instructing her brother in the arts of government;
but her precepts may countenance some suspicions of the extent of her
capacity, or of the purity of her intentions. She taught him to maintain
a grave and majestic deportment; to walk, to hold his robes, to seat
himself on his throne, in a manner worthy of a great prince; to abstain
from laughter; to listen with condescension; to return suitable answers;
to assume, by turns, a serious or a placid countenance: in a word, to
represent with grace and dignity the external figure of a Roman emperor.
But Theodosius 72 was never excited to support the weight and glory of
an illustrious name: and, instead of aspiring to support his ancestors,
he degenerated (if we may presume to measure the degrees of incapacity)
below the weakness of his father and his uncle. Arcadius and Honorius
had been assisted by the guardian care of a parent, whose lessons were
enforced by his authority and example. But the unfortunate prince, who
is born in the purple, must remain a stranger to the voice of truth;
and the son of Arcadius was condemned to pass his perpetual infancy
encompassed only by a servile train of women and eunuchs. The ample
leisure which he acquired by neglecting the essential duties of his high
office, was filled by idle amusements and unprofitable studies. Hunting
was the only active pursuit that could tempt him beyond the limits of
the palace; but he most assiduously labored, sometimes by the light of a
midnight lamp, in the mechanic occupations of painting and carving;
and the elegance with which he transcribed religious books entitled the
Roman emperor to the singular epithet of Calligraphes, or a fair writer.
Separated from the world by an impenetrable veil, Theodosius trusted the
persons whom he loved; he loved those who were accustomed to amuse and
flatter his indolence; and as he never perused the papers that were
presented for the royal signature, the acts of injustice the most
repugnant to his character were frequently perpetrated in his name. The
emperor himself was chaste, temperate, liberal, and merciful; but these
qualities, which can only deserve the name of virtues when they
are supported by courage and regulated by discretion, were seldom
beneficial, and they sometimes proved mischievous, to mankind. His mind,
enervated by a royal education, was oppressed and degraded by abject
superstition: he fasted, he sung psalms, he blindly accepted the
miracles and doctrines with which his faith was continually nourished.
Theodosius devoutly worshipped the dead and living saints of the
Catholic church; and he once refused to eat, till an insolent monk, who
had cast an excommunication on his sovereign, condescended to heal the
spiritual wound which he had inflicted. 73

72 (return) [ There is a remarkable difference between the two
ecclesiastical historians, who in general bear so close a resemblance.
Sozomen (l. ix. c. 1) ascribes to Pulcheria the government of the
empire, and the education of her brother, whom he scarcely condescends
to praise. Socrates, though he affectedly disclaims all hopes of favor
or fame, composes an elaborate panegyric on the emperor, and cautiously
suppresses the merits of his sister, (l. vii. c. 22, 42.) Philostorgius
(l. xii. c. 7) expresses the influence of Pulcheria in gentle and
courtly language. Suidas (Excerpt. p. 53) gives a true character of
Theodosius; and I have followed the example of Tillemont (tom. vi. p.
25) in borrowing some strokes from the modern Greeks.]

73 (return) [ Theodoret, l. v. c. 37. The bishop of Cyrrhus, one of the
first men of his age for his learning and piety, applauds the obedience
of Theodosius to the divine laws.]

The story of a fair and virtuous maiden, exalted from a private
condition to the Imperial throne, might be deemed an incredible romance,
if such a romance had not been verified in the marriage of Theodosius.
The celebrated Athenais 74 was educated by her father Leontius in the
religion and sciences of the Greeks; and so advantageous was the opinion
which the Athenian philosopher entertained of his contemporaries,
that he divided his patrimony between his two sons, bequeathing to his
daughter a small legacy of one hundred pieces of gold, in the lively
confidence that her beauty and merit would be a sufficient portion. The
jealousy and avarice of her brothers soon compelled Athenais to seek
a refuge at Constantinople; and, with some hopes, either of justice
or favor, to throw herself at the feet of Pulcheria. That sagacious
princess listened to her eloquent complaint; and secretly destined the
daughter of the philosopher Leontius for the future wife of the emperor
of the East, who had now attained the twentieth year of his age. She
easily excited the curiosity of her brother, by an interesting picture
of the charms of Athenais; large eyes, a well-proportioned nose, a fair
complexion, golden locks, a slender person, a graceful demeanor,
an understanding improved by study, and a virtue tried by distress.
Theodosius, concealed behind a curtain in the apartment of his
sister, was permitted to behold the Athenian virgin: the modest youth
immediately declared his pure and honorable love; and the royal
nuptials were celebrated amidst the acclamations of the capital and the
provinces. Athenais, who was easily persuaded to renounce the errors of
Paganism, received at her baptism the Christian name of Eudocia; but
the cautious Pulcheria withheld the title of Augusta, till the wife of
Theodosius had approved her fruitfulness by the birth of a daughter,
who espoused, fifteen years afterwards, the emperor of the West. The
brothers of Eudocia obeyed, with some anxiety, her Imperial summons; but
as she could easily forgive their unfortunate unkindness, she indulged
the tenderness, or perhaps the vanity, of a sister, by promoting them
to the rank of consuls and praefects. In the luxury of the palace,
she still cultivated those ingenuous arts which had contributed to her
greatness; and wisely dedicated her talents to the honor of religion,
and of her husband. Eudocia composed a poetical paraphrase of the first
eight books of the Old Testament, and of the prophecies of Daniel and
Zechariah; a cento of the verses of Homer, applied to the life and
miracles of Christ, the legend of St. Cyprian, and a panegyric on the
Persian victories of Theodosius; and her writings, which were applauded
by a servile and superstitious age, have not been disdained by the
candor of impartial criticism. 75 The fondness of the emperor was not
abated by time and possession; and Eudocia, after the marriage of her
daughter, was permitted to discharge her grateful vows by a solemn
pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her ostentatious progress through the East may
seem inconsistent with the spirit of Christian humility; she pronounced,
from a throne of gold and gems, an eloquent oration to the senate of
Antioch, declared her royal intention of enlarging the walls of the
city, bestowed a donative of two hundred pounds of gold to restore
the public baths, and accepted the statues, which were decreed by the
gratitude of Antioch. In the Holy Land, her alms and pious foundations
exceeded the munificence of the great Helena, and though the public
treasure might be impoverished by this excessive liberality, she enjoyed
the conscious satisfaction of returning to Constantinople with the
chains of St. Peter, the right arm of St. Stephen, and an undoubted
picture of the Virgin, painted by St. Luke. 76 But this pilgrimage was
the fatal term of the glories of Eudocia. Satiated with empty pomp, and
unmindful, perhaps, of her obligations to Pulcheria, she ambitiously
aspired to the government of the Eastern empire; the palace was
distracted by female discord; but the victory was at last decided, by
the superior ascendant of the sister of Theodosius. The execution of
Paulinus, master of the offices, and the disgrace of Cyrus, Praetorian
praefect of the East, convinced the public that the favor of Eudocia
was insufficient to protect her most faithful friends; and the uncommon
beauty of Paulinus encouraged the secret rumor, that his guilt was that
of a successful lover. 77 As soon as the empress perceived that the
affection of Theodosius was irretrievably lost, she requested the
permission of retiring to the distant solitude of Jerusalem. She
obtained her request; but the jealousy of Theodosius, or the vindictive
spirit of Pulcheria, pursued her in her last retreat; and Saturninus,
count of the domestics, was directed to punish with death two
ecclesiastics, her most favored servants. Eudocia instantly revenged
them by the assassination of the count; the furious passions which she
indulged on this suspicious occasion, seemed to justify the severity of
Theodosius; and the empress, ignominiously stripped of the honors of her
rank, 78 was disgraced, perhaps unjustly, in the eyes of the world.
The remainder of the life of Eudocia, about sixteen years, was spent in
exile and devotion; and the approach of age, the death of Theodosius,
the misfortunes of her only daughter, who was led a captive from Rome
to Carthage, and the society of the Holy Monks of Palestine, insensibly
confirmed the religious temper of her mind. After a full experience of
the vicissitudes of human life, the daughter of the philosopher Leontius
expired, at Jerusalem, in the sixty-seventh year of her age; protesting,
with her dying breath, that she had never transgressed the bounds of
innocence and friendship. 79

74 (return) [ Socrates (l. vii. c. 21) mentions her name, (Athenais, the
daughter of Leontius, an Athenian sophist,) her baptism, marriage, and
poetical genius. The most ancient account of her history is in John
Malala (part ii. p. 20, 21, edit. Venet. 1743) and in the Paschal
Chronicle, (p. 311, 312.) Those authors had probably seen original
pictures of the empress Eudocia. The modern Greeks, Zonaras, Cedrenus,
&c., have displayed the love, rather than the talent of fiction. From
Nicephorus, indeed, I have ventured to assume her age. The writer of
a romance would not have imagined, that Athenais was near twenty eight
years old when she inflamed the heart of a young emperor.]

75 (return) [ Socrates, l. vii. c. 21, Photius, p. 413-420. The Homeric
cento is still extant, and has been repeatedly printed: but the claim
of Eudocia to that insipid performance is disputed by the critics. See
Fabricius, Biblioth. Graec. tom. i. p. 357. The Ionia, a miscellaneous
dictionary of history and fable, was compiled by another empress of
the name of Eudocia, who lived in the eleventh century: and the work is
still extant in manuscript.]

76 (return) [ Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 438, 439) is copious and
florid, but he is accused of placing the lies of different ages on the
same level of authenticity.]

77 (return) [ In this short view of the disgrace of Eudocia, I have
imitated the caution of Evagrius (l. i. c. 21) and Count Marcellinus,
(in Chron A.D. 440 and 444.) The two authentic dates assigned by the
latter, overturn a great part of the Greek fictions; and the celebrated
story of the apple, &c., is fit only for the Arabian Nights, where
something not very unlike it may be found.]

78 (return) [ Priscus, (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 69,) a contemporary, and
a courtier, dryly mentions her Pagan and Christian names, without adding
any title of honor or respect.]

79 (return) [ For the two pilgrimages of Eudocia, and her long residence
at Jerusalem, her devotion, alms, &c., see Socrates (l. vii. c. 47) and
Evagrius, (l. i. c. 21, 22.) The Paschal Chronicle may sometimes deserve
regard; and in the domestic history of Antioch, John Malala becomes a
writer of good authority. The Abbe Guenee, in a memoir on the fertility
of Palestine, of which I have only seen an extract, calculates the gifts
of Eudocia at 20,488 pounds of gold, above 800,000 pounds sterling.]

The gentle mind of Theodosius was never inflamed by the ambition of
conquest, or military renown; and the slight alarm of a Persian war
scarcely interrupted the tranquillity of the East. The motives of this
war were just and honorable. In the last year of the reign of Jezdegerd,
the supposed guardian of Theodosius, a bishop, who aspired to the crown
of martyrdom, destroyed one of the fire-temples of Susa. 80 His zeal
and obstinacy were revenged on his brethren: the Magi excited a cruel
persecution; and the intolerant zeal of Jezdegerd was imitated by his
son Varanes, or Bahram, who soon afterwards ascended the throne. Some
Christian fugitives, who escaped to the Roman frontier, were sternly
demanded, and generously refused; and the refusal, aggravated by
commercial disputes, soon kindled a war between the rival monarchies.
The mountains of Armenia, and the plains of Mesopotamia, were filled
with hostile armies; but the operations of two successive campaigns were
not productive of any decisive or memorable events. Some engagements
were fought, some towns were besieged, with various and doubtful
success: and if the Romans failed in their attempt to recover the
long-lost possession of Nisibis, the Persians were repulsed from the
walls of a Mesopotamian city, by the valor of a martial bishop, who
pointed his thundering engine in the name of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Yet the splendid victories which the incredible speed of the messenger
Palladius repeatedly announced to the palace of Constantinople, were
celebrated with festivals and panegyrics. From these panegyrics the
historians 81 of the age might borrow their extraordinary, and, perhaps,
fabulous tales; of the proud challenge of a Persian hero, who was
entangled by the net, and despatched by the sword, of Areobindus the
Goth; of the ten thousand Immortals, who were slain in the attack of
the Roman camp; and of the hundred thousand Arabs, or Saracens, who
were impelled by a panic terror to throw themselves headlong into
the Euphrates. Such events may be disbelieved or disregarded; but the
charity of a bishop, Acacius of Amida, whose name might have dignified
the saintly calendar, shall not be lost in oblivion. Boldly declaring,
that vases of gold and silver are useless to a God who neither eats
nor drinks, the generous prelate sold the plate of the church of Amida;
employed the price in the redemption of seven thousand Persian captives;
supplied their wants with affectionate liberality; and dismissed them
to their native country, to inform their king of the true spirit of the
religion which he persecuted. The practice of benevolence in the midst
of war must always tend to assuage the animosity of contending
nations; and I wish to persuade myself, that Acacius contributed to the
restoration of peace. In the conference which was held on the limits of
the two empires, the Roman ambassadors degraded the personal character
of their sovereign, by a vain attempt to magnify the extent of his
power; when they seriously advised the Persians to prevent, by a timely
accommodation, the wrath of a monarch, who was yet ignorant of this
distant war. A truce of one hundred years was solemnly ratified;
and although the revolutions of Armenia might threaten the public
tranquillity, the essential conditions of this treaty were respected
near fourscore years by the successors of Constantine and Artaxerxes.

80 (return) [ Theodoret, l. v. c. 39 Tillemont. Mem. Eccles tom. xii.
356-364. Assemanni, Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p. 396, tom. iv. p. 61.
Theodoret blames the rashness of Abdas, but extols the constancy of his
martyrdom. Yet I do not clearly understand the casuistry which prohibits
our repairing the damage which we have unlawfully committed.]

81 (return) [ Socrates (l. vii. c. 18, 19, 20, 21) is the best author
for the Persian war. We may likewise consult the three Chronicles, the
Paschal and those of Marcellinus and Malala.]

Since the Roman and Parthian standards first encountered on the banks
of the Euphrates, the kingdom of Armenia 82 was alternately oppressed
by its formidable protectors; and in the course of this History, several
events, which inclined the balance of peace and war, have been already
related. A disgraceful treaty had resigned Armenia to the ambition of
Sapor; and the scale of Persia appeared to preponderate. But the royal
race of Arsaces impatiently submitted to the house of Sassan; the
turbulent nobles asserted, or betrayed, their hereditary independence;
and the nation was still attached to the Christian princes of
Constantinople. In the beginning of the fifth century, Armenia was
divided by the progress of war and faction; 83 and the unnatural
division precipitated the downfall of that ancient monarchy. Chosroes,
the Persian vassal, reigned over the Eastern and most extensive portion
of the country; while the Western province acknowledged the jurisdiction
of Arsaces, and the supremacy of the emperor Arcadius. 8111 After
the death of Arsaces, the Romans suppressed the regal government, and
imposed on their allies the condition of subjects. The military command
was delegated to the count of the Armenian frontier; the city of
Theodosiopolis 84 was built and fortified in a strong situation, on a
fertile and lofty ground, near the sources of the Euphrates; and the
dependent territories were ruled by five satraps, whose dignity was
marked by a peculiar habit of gold and purple. The less fortunate
nobles, who lamented the loss of their king, and envied the honors of
their equals, were provoked to negotiate their peace and pardon at the
Persian court; and returning, with their followers, to the palace of
Artaxata, acknowledged Chosroes 8411 for their lawful sovereign.
About thirty years afterwards, Artasires, the nephew and successor
of Chosroes, fell under the displeasure of the haughty and capricious
nobles of Armenia; and they unanimously desired a Persian governor in
the room of an unworthy king. The answer of the archbishop Isaac, whose
sanction they earnestly solicited, is expressive of the character of a
superstitious people. He deplored the manifest and inexcusable vices
of Artasires; and declared, that he should not hesitate to accuse him
before the tribunal of a Christian emperor, who would punish, without
destroying, the sinner. "Our king," continued Isaac, "is too much
addicted to licentious pleasures, but he has been purified in the holy
waters of baptism. He is a lover of women, but he does not adore the
fire or the elements. He may deserve the reproach of lewdness, but he
is an undoubted Catholic; and his faith is pure, though his manners
are flagitious. I will never consent to abandon my sheep to the rage of
devouring wolves; and you would soon repent your rash exchange of the
infirmities of a believer, for the specious virtues of a heathen." 85
Exasperated by the firmness of Isaac, the factious nobles accused both
the king and the archbishop as the secret adherents of the emperor;
and absurdly rejoiced in the sentence of condemnation, which, after
a partial hearing, was solemnly pronounced by Bahram himself. The
descendants of Arsaces were degraded from the royal dignity, 86 which
they had possessed above five hundred and sixty years; 87 and the
dominions of the unfortunate Artasires, 8711 under the new and
significant appellation of Persarmenia, were reduced into the form of a
province. This usurpation excited the jealousy of the Roman government;
but the rising disputes were soon terminated by an amicable, though
unequal, partition of the ancient kingdom of Armenia: 8712 and a
territorial acquisition, which Augustus might have despised, reflected
some lustre on the declining empire of the younger Theodosius.

82 (return) [ This account of the ruin and division of the kingdom of
Armenia is taken from the third book of the Armenian history of Moses of
Chorene. Deficient as he is in every qualification of a good historian,
his local information, his passions, and his prejudices are strongly
expressive of a native and contemporary. Procopius (de Edificiis, l.
iii. c. 1, 5) relates the same facts in a very different manner; but I
have extracted the circumstances the most probable in themselves, and
the least inconsistent with Moses of Chorene.]

83 (return) [ The western Armenians used the Greek language and
characters in their religious offices; but the use of that hostile
tongue was prohibited by the Persians in the Eastern provinces, which
were obliged to use the Syriac, till the invention of the Armenian
letters by Mesrobes, in the beginning of the fifth century, and the
subsequent version of the Bible into the Armenian language; an
event which relaxed to the connection of the church and nation with
Constantinople.]

84 (return) [ Moses Choren. l. iii. c. 59, p. 309, and p. 358.
Procopius, de Edificiis, l. iii. c. 5. Theodosiopolis stands, or rather
stood, about thirty-five miles to the east of Arzeroum, the modern
capital of Turkish Armenia. See D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii.
p. 99, 100.]

8111 (return) [ The division of Armenia, according to M. St. Martin,
took place much earlier, A. C. 390. The Eastern or Persian division was
four times as large as the Western or Roman. This partition took place
during the reigns of Theodosius the First, and Varanes (Bahram) the
Fourth. St. Martin, Sup. to Le Beau, iv. 429. This partition was but
imperfectly accomplished, as both parts were afterwards reunited under
Chosroes, who paid tribute both to the Roman emperor and to the Persian
king. v. 439.—M.]

8411 (return) [ Chosroes, according to Procopius (who calls him Arsaces,
the common name of the Armenian kings) and the Armenian writers,
bequeathed to his two sons, to Tigranes the Persian, to Arsaces the
Roman, division of Armenia, A. C. 416. With the assistance of the
discontented nobles the Persian king placed his son Sapor on the throne
of the Eastern division; the Western at the same time was united to
the Roman empire, and called the Greater Armenia. It was then that
Theodosiopolis was built. Sapor abandoned the throne of Armenia to
assert his rights to that of Persia; he perished in the struggle, and
after a period of anarchy, Bahram V., who had ascended the throne
of Persia, placed the last native prince, Ardaschir, son of Bahram
Schahpour, on the throne of the Persian division of Armenia. St. Martin,
v. 506. This Ardaschir was the Artasires of Gibbon. The archbishop
Isaac is called by the Armenians the Patriarch Schag. St. Martin, vi.
29.—M.]

85 (return) [ Moses Choren, l. iii. c. 63, p. 316. According to the
institution of St. Gregory, the Apostle of Armenia, the archbishop
was always of the royal family; a circumstance which, in some degree,
corrected the influence of the sacerdotal character, and united the
mitre with the crown.]

86 (return) [ A branch of the royal house of Arsaces still subsisted
with the rank and possessions (as it should seem) of Armenian satraps.
See Moses Choren. l. iii. c. 65, p. 321.]

87 (return) [ Valarsaces was appointed king of Armenia by his brother
the Parthian monarch, immediately after the defeat of Antiochus Sidetes,
(Moses Choren. l. ii. c. 2, p. 85,) one hundred and thirty years before
Christ. Without depending on the various and contradictory periods of
the reigns of the last kings, we may be assured, that the ruin of the
Armenian kingdom happened after the council of Chalcedon, A.D. 431, (l.
iii. c. 61, p. 312;) and under Varamus, or Bahram, king of Persia, (l.
iii. c. 64, p. 317,) who reigned from A.D. 420 to 440. See Assemanni,
Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p. 396. * Note: Five hundred and eighty.
St. Martin, ibid. He places this event A. C 429.—M.——Note:
According to M. St. Martin, vi. 32, Vagharschah, or Valarsaces,
was appointed king by his brother Mithridates the Great, king of
Parthia.—M.]

8711 (return) [ Artasires or Ardaschir was probably sent to the castle
of Oblivion. St. Martin, vi. 31.—M.]

8712 (return) [ The duration of the Armenian kingdom according to M. St.
Martin, was 580 years.—M]



Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.—Part I.

     Death Of Honorius.—Valentinian III.—Emperor Of The East.
     —Administration Of His Mother Placidia—Aetius And
     Boniface.—Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

During a long and disgraceful reign of twenty-eight years, Honorius,
emperor of the West, was separated from the friendship of his
brother, and afterwards of his nephew, who reigned over the East; and
Constantinople beheld, with apparent indifference and secret joy, the
calamities of Rome. The strange adventures of Placidia 1 gradually
renewed and cemented the alliance of the two empires. The daughter of
the great Theodosius had been the captive, and the queen, of the Goths;
she lost an affectionate husband; she was dragged in chains by his
insulting assassin; she tasted the pleasure of revenge, and was
exchanged, in the treaty of peace, for six hundred thousand measures of
wheat. After her return from Spain to Italy, Placidia experienced a new
persecution in the bosom of her family. She was averse to a marriage,
which had been stipulated without her consent; and the brave
Constantius, as a noble reward for the tyrants whom he had vanquished,
received, from the hand of Honorius himself, the struggling and the
reluctant hand of the widow of Adolphus. But her resistance ended with
the ceremony of the nuptials: nor did Placidia refuse to become the
mother of Honoria and Valentinian the Third, or to assume and exercise
an absolute dominion over the mind of her grateful husband. The generous
soldier, whose time had hitherto been divided between social pleasure
and military service, was taught new lessons of avarice and ambition:
he extorted the title of Augustus: and the servant of Honorius was
associated to the empire of the West. The death of Constantius, in the
seventh month of his reign, instead of diminishing, seemed to inerease
the power of Placidia; and the indecent familiarity 2 of her brother,
which might be no more than the symptoms of a childish affection, were
universally attributed to incestuous love. On a sudden, by some
base intrigues of a steward and a nurse, this excessive fondness was
converted into an irreconcilable quarrel: the debates of the emperor and
his sister were not long confined within the walls of the palace; and
as the Gothic soldiers adhered to their queen, the city of Ravenna was
agitated with bloody and dangerous tumults, which could only be appeased
by the forced or voluntary retreat of Placidia and her children. The
royal exiles landed at Constantinople, soon after the marriage of
Theodosius, during the festival of the Persian victories. They were
treated with kindness and magnificence; but as the statues of the
emperor Constantius had been rejected by the Eastern court, the title of
Augusta could not decently be allowed to his widow. Within a few months
after the arrival of Placidia, a swift messenger announced the death of
Honorius, the consequence of a dropsy; but the important secret was not
divulged, till the necessary orders had been despatched for the march of
a large body of troops to the sea-coast of Dalmatia. The shops and the
gates of Constantinople remained shut during seven days; and the loss
of a foreign prince, who could neither be esteemed nor regretted, was
celebrated with loud and affected demonstrations of the public grief.

1 (return) [ See vol. iii. p. 296.]

2 (return) [ It is the expression of Olympiodorus (apud Phetium p. 197;)
who means, perhaps, to describe the same caresses which Mahomet bestowed
on his daughter Phatemah. Quando, (says the prophet himself,) quando
subit mihi desiderium Paradisi, osculor eam, et ingero linguam meam
in os ejus. But this sensual indulgence was justified by miracle and
mystery; and the anecdote has been communicated to the public by the
Reverend Father Maracci in his Version and Confutation of the Koran,
tom. i. p. 32.]

While the ministers of Constantinople deliberated, the vacant throne
of Honorius was usurped by the ambition of a stranger. The name of the
rebel was John; he filled the confidential office of Primicerius, or
principal secretary, and history has attributed to his character more
virtues, than can easily be reconciled with the violation of the most
sacred duty. Elated by the submission of Italy, and the hope of an
alliance with the Huns, John presumed to insult, by an embassy, the
majesty of the Eastern emperor; but when he understood that his agents
had been banished, imprisoned, and at length chased away with deserved
ignominy, John prepared to assert, by arms, the injustice of his claims.
In such a cause, the grandson of the great Theodosius should have
marched in person: but the young emperor was easily diverted, by his
physicians, from so rash and hazardous a design; and the conduct of the
Italian expedition was prudently intrusted to Ardaburius, and his son
Aspar, who had already signalized their valor against the Persians. It
was resolved, that Ardaburius should embark with the infantry; whilst
Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, conducted Placidia and her son
Valentinian along the sea-coast of the Adriatic. The march of the
cavalry was performed with such active diligence, that they surprised,
without resistance, the important city of Aquileia: when the hopes of
Aspar were unexpectedly confounded by the intelligence, that a storm
had dispersed the Imperial fleet; and that his father, with only two
galleys, was taken and carried a prisoner into the port of Ravenna. Yet
this incident, unfortunate as it might seem, facilitated the conquest
of Italy. Ardaburius employed, or abused, the courteous freedom which
he was permitted to enjoy, to revive among the troops a sense of loyalty
and gratitude; and as soon as the conspiracy was ripe for execution,
he invited, by private messages, and pressed the approach of, Aspar. A
shepherd, whom the popular credulity transformed into an angel, guided
the eastern cavalry by a secret, and, it was thought, an impassable
road, through the morasses of the Po: the gates of Ravenna, after
a short struggle, were thrown open; and the defenceless tyrant was
delivered to the mercy, or rather to the cruelty, of the conquerors. His
right hand was first cut off; and, after he had been exposed, mounted
on an ass, to the public derision, John was beheaded in the circus
of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius, when he received the news of the
victory, interrupted the horse-races; and singing, as he marched through
the streets, a suitable psalm, conducted his people from the Hippodrome
to the church, where he spent the remainder of the day in grateful
devotion. 3

3 (return) [ For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult
Olympiodor, apud Phot. p. 192, 193, 196, 197, 200; Sozomen, l. ix. c.
16; Socrates, l. vii. 23, 24; Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 10, 11, and
Godefroy, Dissertat p. 486; Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p.
182, 183, in Chronograph, p. 72, 73, and the Chronicles.]

In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, might be
considered as elective, or hereditary, or patrimonial, it was impossible
that the intricate claims of female and collateral succession should
be clearly defined; 4 and Theodosius, by the right of consanguinity or
conquest, might have reigned the sole legitimate emperor of the
Romans. For a moment, perhaps, his eyes were dazzled by the prospect
of unbounded sway; but his indolent temper gradually acquiesced in the
dictates of sound policy. He contented himself with the possession of
the East; and wisely relinquished the laborious task of waging a distant
and doubtful war against the Barbarians beyond the Alps; or of securing
the obedience of the Italians and Africans, whose minds were alienated
by the irreconcilable difference of language and interest. Instead of
listening to the voice of ambition, Theodosius resolved to imitate the
moderation of his grandfather, and to seat his cousin Valentinian on the
throne of the West. The royal infant was distinguished at Constantinople
by the title of Nobilissimus: he was promoted, before his departure from
Thessalonica, to the rank and dignity of Caesar; and after the conquest
of Italy, the patrician Helion, by the authority of Theodosius, and in
the presence of the senate, saluted Valentinian the Third by the name
of Augustus, and solemnly invested him with the diadem and the Imperial
purple. 5 By the agreement of the three females who governed the Roman
world, the son of Placidia was betrothed to Eudoxia, the daughter of
Theodosius and Athenais; and as soon as the lover and his bride had
attained the age of puberty, this honorable alliance was faithfully
accomplished. At the same time, as a compensation, perhaps, for the
expenses of the war, the Western Illyricum was detached from the Italian
dominions, and yielded to the throne of Constantinople. 6 The emperor of
the East acquired the useful dominion of the rich and maritime province
of Dalmatia, and the dangerous sovereignty of Pannonia and Noricum,
which had been filled and ravaged above twenty years by a promiscuous
crowd of Huns, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Bavarians. Theodosius and
Valentinian continued to respect the obligations of their public and
domestic alliance; but the unity of the Roman government was finally
dissolved. By a positive declaration, the validity of all future laws
was limited to the dominions of their peculiar author; unless he should
think proper to communicate them, subscribed with his own hand, for the
approbation of his independent colleague. 7

4 (return) [ See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, l. ii. c. 7. He
has laboriously out vainly, attempted to form a reasonable system of
jurisprudence from the various and discordant modes of royal succession,
which have been introduced by fraud or force, by time or accident.]

5 (return) [ The original writers are not agreed (see Muratori, Annali
d'Italia tom. iv. p. 139) whether Valentinian received the Imperial
diadem at Rome or Ravenna. In this uncertainty, I am willing to believe,
that some respect was shown to the senate.]

6 (return) [ The count de Buat (Hist. des Peup es de l'Europe, tom.
vii. p. 292-300) has established the reality, explained the motives, and
traced the consequences, of this remarkable cession.]

7 (return) [ See the first Novel of Theodosius, by which he ratifies and
communicates (A.D. 438) the Theodosian Code. About forty years before
that time, the unity of legislation had been proved by an exception. The
Jews, who were numerous in the cities of Apulia and Calabria, produced a
law of the East to justify their exemption from municipal offices, (Cod.
Theod. l. xvi. tit. viii. leg. 13;) and the Western emperor was obliged
to invalidate, by a special edict, the law, quam constat meis partibus
esse damnosam. Cod. Theod. l. xi. tit. i. leg. 158.]

Valentinian, when he received the title of Augustus, was no more than
six years of age; and his long minority was intrusted to the guardian
care of a mother, who might assert a female claim to the succession
of the Western empire. Placidia envied, but she could not equal, the
reputation and virtues of the wife and sister of Theodosius, the elegant
genius of Eudocia, the wise and successful policy of Pulcheria. The
mother of Valentinian was jealous of the power which she was incapable
of exercising; 8 she reigned twenty-five years, in the name of her son;
and the character of that unworthy emperor gradually countenanced
the suspicion that Placidia had enervated his youth by a dissolute
education, and studiously diverted his attention from every manly and
honorable pursuit. Amidst the decay of military spirit, her armies
were commanded by two generals, Aetius 9 and Boniface, 10 who may be
deservedly named as the last of the Romans. Their union might have
supported a sinking empire; their discord was the fatal and immediate
cause of the loss of Africa. The invasion and defeat of Attila have
immortalized the fame of Aetius; and though time has thrown a shade
over the exploits of his rival, the defence of Marseilles, and the
deliverance of Africa, attest the military talents of Count Boniface.
In the field of battle, in partial encounters, in single combats, he
was still the terror of the Barbarians: the clergy, and particularly
his friend Augustin, were edified by the Christian piety which had once
tempted him to retire from the world; the people applauded his spotless
integrity; the army dreaded his equal and inexorable justice, which may
be displayed in a very singular example. A peasant, who complained
of the criminal intimacy between his wife and a Gothic soldier, was
directed to attend his tribunal the following day: in the evening the
count, who had diligently informed himself of the time and place of
the assignation, mounted his horse, rode ten miles into the country,
surprised the guilty couple, punished the soldier with instant death,
and silenced the complaints of the husband by presenting him, the next
morning, with the head of the adulterer. The abilities of Aetius and
Boniface might have been usefully employed against the public enemies,
in separate and important commands; but the experience of their past
conduct should have decided the real favor and confidence of the empress
Placidia. In the melancholy season of her exile and distress, Boniface
alone had maintained her cause with unshaken fidelity: and the troops
and treasures of Africa had essentially contributed to extinguish
the rebellion. The same rebellion had been supported by the zeal and
activity of Aetius, who brought an army of sixty thousand Huns from the
Danube to the confines of Italy, for the service of the usurper. The
untimely death of John compelled him to accept an advantageous treaty;
but he still continued, the subject and the soldier of Valentinian,
to entertain a secret, perhaps a treasonable, correspondence with his
Barbarian allies, whose retreat had been purchased by liberal gifts,
and more liberal promises. But Aetius possessed an advantage of singular
moment in a female reign; he was present: he besieged, with artful and
assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised his dark designs
with the mask of loyalty and friendship; and at length deceived both
his mistress and his absent rival, by a subtle conspiracy, which a
weak woman and a brave man could not easily suspect. He had secretly
persuaded 11 Placidia to recall Boniface from the government of Africa;
he secretly advised Boniface to disobey the Imperial summons: to the
one, he represented the order as a sentence of death; to the other, he
stated the refusal as a signal of revolt; and when the credulous
and unsuspectful count had armed the province in his defence, Aetius
applauded his sagacity in foreseeing the rebellion, which his own
perfidy had excited. A temperate inquiry into the real motives of
Boniface would have restored a faithful servant to his duty and to
the republic; but the arts of Aetius still continued to betray and to
inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution, to embrace the most
desperate counsels. The success with which he eluded or repelled the
first attacks, could not inspire a vain confidence, that at the head
of some loose, disorderly Africans, he should be able to withstand
the regular forces of the West, commanded by a rival, whose military
character it was impossible for him to despise. After some hesitation,
the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface despatched a trusty
friend to the court, or rather to the camp, of Gonderic, king of the
Vandals, with the proposal of a strict alliance, and the offer of an
advantageous and perpetual settlement.

8 (return) [ Cassiodorus (Variar. l. xi. Epist. i. p. 238) has compared
the regencies of Placidia and Amalasuntha. He arraigns the weakness
of the mother of Valentinian, and praises the virtues of his royal
mistress. On this occasion, flattery seems to have spoken the language
of truth.]

9 (return) [ Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 12, and Godefroy's Dissertat. p.
493, &c.; and Renatus Frigeridus, apud Gregor. Turon. l. ii. c. 8, in
tom. ii. p. 163. The father of Aetius was Gaudentius, an illustrious
citizen of the province of Scythia, and master-general of the cavalry;
his mother was a rich and noble Italian. From his earliest youth,
Aetius, as a soldier and a hostage, had conversed with the Barbarians.]

10 (return) [ For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus, apud
Phot. p. 196; and St. Augustin apud Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom.
xiii. p. 712-715, 886. The bishop of Hippo at length deplored the fall
of his friend, who, after a solemn vow of chastity, had married a
second wife of the Arian sect, and who was suspected of keeping several
concubines in his house.]

11 (return) [ Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, 4, p. 182-186)
relates the fraud of Aetius, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of
Africa. This anecdote, which is supported by some collateral testimony,
(see Ruinart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal. p. 420, 421,) seems agreeable
to the practice of ancient and modern courts, and would be naturally
revealed by the repentance of Boniface.]

After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of Honorius had obtained
a precarious establishment in Spain; except only in the province of
Gallicia, where the Suevi and the Vandals had fortified their camps,
in mutual discord and hostile independence. The Vandals prevailed; and
their adversaries were besieged in the Nervasian hills, between Leon
and Oviedo, till the approach of Count Asterius compelled, or rather
provoked, the victorious Barbarians to remove the scene of the war to
the plains of Boetica. The rapid progress of the Vandals soon acquired
a more effectual opposition; and the master-general Castinus marched
against them with a numerous army of Romans and Goths. Vanquished in
battle by an inferior army, Castinus fled with dishonor to Tarragona;
and this memorable defeat, which has been represented as the punishment,
was most probably the effect, of his rash presumption. 12 Seville and
Carthagena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious
conquerors; and the vessels which they found in the harbor of Carthagena
might easily transport them to the Isles of Majorca and Minorca, where
the Spanish fugitives, as in a secure recess, had vainly concealed their
families and their fortunes. The experience of navigation, and perhaps
the prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to accept the invitation
which they received from Count Boniface; and the death of Gonderic
served only to forward and animate the bold enterprise. In the room of a
prince not conspicuous for any superior powers of the mind or body, they
acquired his bastard brother, the terrible Genseric; 13 a name, which,
in the destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with
the names of Alaric and Attila. The king of the Vandals is described to
have been of a middle stature, with a lameness in one leg, which he had
contracted by an accidental fall from his horse. His slow and cautious
speech seldom declared the deep purposes of his soul; he disdained
to imitate the luxury of the vanquished; but he indulged the sterner
passions of anger and revenge. The ambition of Genseric was without
bounds and without scruples; and the warrior could dexterously employ
the dark engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be useful
to his success, or to scatter among his enemies the seeds of hatred and
contention. Almost in the moment of his departure he was informed
that Hermanric, king of the Suevi, had presumed to ravage the Spanish
territories, which he was resolved to abandon.

Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of the Suevi
as far as Merida; precipitated the king and his army into the River
Anas, and calmly returned to the sea-shore to embark his victorious
troops. The vessels which transported the Vandals over the modern
Straits of Gibraltar, a channel only twelve miles in breadth, were
furnished by the Spaniards, who anxiously wished their departure; and by
the African general, who had implored their formidable assistance. 14

12 (return) [ See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian (de
Gubernat. Dei, l. vii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the victory of the
Vandals to their superior piety. They fasted, they prayed, they
carried a Bible in the front of the Host, with the design, perhaps, of
reproaching the perfidy and sacrilege of their enemies.]

13 (return) [ Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statura
mediocris et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus,
luxuriae contemptor, ira turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas
gentes providentissimus, semina contentionum jacere, odia miscere
paratus. Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 33, p. 657. This portrait,
which is drawn with some skill, and a strong likeness, must have been
copied from the Gothic history of Cassiodorus.]

14 (return) [ See the Chronicle of Idatius. That bishop, a Spaniard and
a contemporary, places the passage of the Vandals in the month of May,
of the year of Abraham, (which commences in October,) 2444. This date,
which coincides with A.D. 429, is confirmed by Isidore, another Spanish
bishop, and is justly preferred to the opinion of those writers who have
marked for that event one of the two preceding years. See Pagi Critica,
tom. ii. p. 205, &c.]

Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multiply the martial
swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from the North, will perhaps
be surprised by the account of the army which Genseric mustered on the
coast of Mauritania. The Vandals, who in twenty years had penetrated
from the Elbe to Mount Atlas, were united under the command of their
warlike king; and he reigned with equal authority over the Alani, who
had passed, within the term of human life, from the cold of Scythia
to the excessive heat of an African climate. The hopes of the bold
enterprise had excited many brave adventurers of the Gothic nation; and
many desperate provincials were tempted to repair their fortunes by the
same means which had occasioned their ruin. Yet this various multitude
amounted only to fifty thousand effective men; and though Genseric
artfully magnified his apparent strength, by appointing eighty
chinarchs, or commanders of thousands, the fallacious increase of old
men, of children, and of slaves, would scarcely have swelled his army to
the number of four-score thousand persons. 15 But his own dexterity,
and the discontents of Africa, soon fortified the Vandal powers, by the
accession of numerous and active allies. The parts of Mauritania which
border on the Great Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, were filled with
a fierce and untractable race of men, whose savage temper had been
exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by their dread of the Roman arms.
The wandering Moors, 16 as they gradually ventured to approach the
seashore, and the camp of the Vandals, must have viewed with terror and
astonishment the dress, the armor, the martial pride and discipline
of the unknown strangers who had landed on their coast; and the fair
complexions of the blue-eyed warriors of Germany formed a very singular
contrast with the swarthy or olive hue which is derived from the
neighborhood of the torrid zone. After the first difficulties had in
some measure been removed, which arose from the mutual ignorance
of their respective language, the Moors, regardless of any future
consequence, embraced the alliance of the enemies of Rome; and a crowd
of naked savages rushed from the woods and valleys of Mount Atlas,
to satiate their revenge on the polished tyrants, who had injuriously
expelled them from the native sovereignty of the land.

15 (return) [ Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 190)
and Victor Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandal. l. i. c. 1, p. 3, edit.
Ruinart.) We are assured by Idatius, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum
Vandalis omnibus eorumque familiis; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c.
28, apud Ruinart, p. 427) describes his army as manus ingens immanium
gentium Vandalorum et Alanorum, commixtam secum babens Gothorum gentem,
aliarumque diversarum personas.]

16 (return) [ For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius, (de Bell.
Vandal. l. ii. c. 6, p. 249;) for their figure and complexion, M.
de Buffon, (Histoire Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 430.) Procopius says in
general, that the Moors had joined the Vandals before the death of
Valentinian, (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 190;) and it is probable
that the independent tribes did not embrace any uniform system of
policy.]

The persecution of the Donatists 17 was an event not less favorable to
the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years before he landed in Africa, a
public conference was held at Carthage, by the order of the magistrate.
The Catholics were satisfied, that, after the invincible reasons which
they had alleged, the obstinacy of the schismatics must be inexcusable
and voluntary; and the emperor Honorius was persuaded to inflict the
most rigorous penalties on a faction which had so long abused his
patience and clemency. Three hundred bishops, 18 with many thousands of
the inferior clergy, were torn from their churches, stripped of their
ecclesiastical possessions, banished to the islands, and proscribed by
the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in the provinces of
Africa. Their numerous congregations, both in cities and in the
country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise
of religious worship. A regular scale of fines, from ten to two
hundred pounds of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the
distinction of rank and fortune, to punish the crime of assisting at
a schismatic conventicle; and if the fine had been levied five times,
without subduing the obstinacy of the offender, his future punishment
was referred to the discretion of the Imperial court. 19 By these
severities, which obtained the warmest approbation of St. Augustin, 20
great numbers of Donatists were reconciled to the Catholic Church; but
the fanatics, who still persevered in their opposition, were provoked to
madness and despair; the distracted country was filled with tumult and
bloodshed; the armed troops of Circumcellions alternately pointed their
rage against themselves, or against their adversaries; and the calendar
of martyrs received on both sides a considerable augmentation. 21 Under
these circumstances, Genseric, a Christian, but an enemy of the orthodox
communion, showed himself to the Donatists as a powerful deliverer,
from whom they might reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and
oppressive edicts of the Roman emperors. 22 The conquest of Africa
was facilitated by the active zeal, or the secret favor, of a domestic
faction; the wanton outrages against the churches and the clergy of
which the Vandals are accused, may be fairly imputed to the fanaticism
of their allies; and the intolerant spirit which disgraced the triumph
of Christianity, contributed to the loss of the most important province
of the West. 23

17 (return) [ See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 516-558;
and the whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments,
published by Dupin at the end of Optatus, p. 323-515.]

18 (return) [ The Donatist Bishops, at the conference of Carthage,
amounted to 279; and they asserted that their whole number was not less
than 400. The Catholics had 286 present, 120 absent, besides sixty four
vacant bishoprics.]

19 (return) [ The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian
Code exhibits a series of the Imperial laws against the Donatists, from
the year 400 to the year 428. Of these the 54th law, promulgated by
Honorius, A.D. 414, is the most severe and effectual.]

20 (return) [ St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard tosthe proper
treatment of heretics. His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence
for the Manichaeans, has been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p.
469) among the choice specimens of his common-place book. Another
philosopher, the celebrated Bayle, (tom. ii. p. 445-496,) has refuted,
with superfluous diligence and ingenuity, the arguments by which the
bishop of Hippo justified, in his old age, the persecution of the
Donatists.]

21 (return) [ See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 586-592, 806.
The Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary martyrs.
Augustin asserts, and probably with truth, that these numbers were much
exaggerated; but he sternly maintains, that it was better that some
should burn themselves in this world, than that all should burn in hell
flames.]

22 (return) [ According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the Donatists
were inclined to the principles, or at least to the party, of the
Arians, which Genseric supported. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p.
68.]

23 (return) [ See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 428, No. 7, A.D. 439,
No. 35. The cardinal, though more inclined to seek the cause of great
events in heaven than on the earth, has observed the apparent connection
of the Vandals and the Donatists. Under the reign of the Barbarians, the
schismatics of Africa enjoyed an obscure peace of one hundred years; at
the end of which we may again trace them by the fight of the Imperial
persecutions. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 192. &c.]

The court and the people were astonished by the strange intelligence,
that a virtuous hero, after so many favors, and so many services, had
renounced his allegiance, and invited the Barbarians to destroy the
province intrusted to his command. The friends of Boniface, who still
believed that his criminal behavior might be excused by some honorable
motive, solicited, during the absence of Aetius, a free conference with
the Count of Africa; and Darius, an officer of high distinction,
was named for the important embassy. 24 In their first interview at
Carthage, the imaginary provocations were mutually explained; the
opposite letters of Aetius were produced and compared; and the fraud was
easily detected. Placidia and Boniface lamented their fatal error; and
the count had sufficient magnanimity to confide in the forgiveness
of his sovereign, or to expose his head to her future resentment. His
repentance was fervent and sincere; but he soon discovered that it was
no longer in his power to restore the edifice which he had shaken to
its foundations. Carthage and the Roman garrisons returned with their
general to the allegiance of Valentinian; but the rest of Africa was
still distracted with war and faction; and the inexorable king of the
Vandals, disdaining all terms of accommodation, sternly refused to
relinquish the possession of his prey. The band of veterans who marched
under the standard of Boniface, and his hasty levies of provincial
troops, were defeated with considerable loss; the victorious Barbarians
insulted the open country; and Carthage, Cirta, and Hippo Regius, were
the only cities that appeared to rise above the general inundation.

24 (return) [ In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustin,
without examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to
discharge the duties of a Christian and a subject: to extricate himself
without delay from his dangerous and guilty situation; and even, if he
could obtain the consent of his wife, to embrace a life of celibacy and
penance, (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 890.) The bishop was
intimately connected with Darius, the minister of peace, (Id. tom. xiii.
p. 928.)]

The long and narrow tract of the African coast was filled with frequent
monuments of Roman art and magnificence; and the respective degrees of
improvement might be accurately measured by the distance from Carthage
and the Mediterranean. A simple reflection will impress every thinking
mind with the clearest idea of fertility and cultivation: the country
was extremely populous; the inhabitants reserved a liberal subsistence
for their own use; and the annual exportation, particularly of wheat,
was so regular and plentiful, that Africa deserved the name of the
common granary of Rome and of mankind. On a sudden the seven fruitful
provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, were overwhelmed by the invasion
of the Vandals; whose destructive rage has perhaps been exaggerated by
popular animosity, religious zeal, and extravagant declamation. War, in
its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice;
and the hostilities of Barbarians are inflamed by the fierce and lawless
spirit which incessantly disturbs their peaceful and domestic society.
The Vandals, where they found resistance, seldom gave quarter; and the
deaths of their valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin of the
cities under whose walls they had fallen. Careless of the distinctions
of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species of indignity and
torture, to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth.
The stern policy of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military
execution: he was not always the master of his own passions, or of
those of his followers; and the calamities of war were aggravated by the
licentiousness of the Moors, and the fanaticism of the Donatists. Yet
I shall not easily be persuaded, that it was the common practice of the
Vandals to extirpate the olives, and other fruit trees, of a country
where they intended to settle: nor can I believe that it was a usual
stratagem to slaughter great numbers of their prisoners before the
walls of a besieged city, for the sole purpose of infecting the air,
and producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must have been the
first victims. 25

25 (return) [ The original complaints of the desolation of Africa are
contained 1. In a letter from Capreolus, bishop of Carthage, to excuse
his absence from the council of Ephesus, (ap. Ruinart, p. 427.) 2. In
the life of St. Augustin, by his friend and colleague Possidius, (ap.
Ruinart, p. 427.) 3. In the history of the Vandalic persecution, by
Victor Vitensis, (l. i. c. 1, 2, 3, edit. Ruinart.) The last picture,
which was drawn sixty years after the event, is more expressive of the
author's passions than of the truth of facts.]

The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured by the exquisite
distress of beholding the ruin which he had occasioned, and whose rapid
progress he was unable to check. After the loss of a battle he retired
into Hippo Regius; where he was immediately besieged by an enemy, who
considered him as the real bulwark of Africa. The maritime colony of
Hippo, 26 about two hundred miles westward of Carthage, had formerly
acquired the distinguishing epithet of Regius, from the residence of
Numidian kings; and some remains of trade and populousness still adhere
to the modern city, which is known in Europe by the corrupted name of
Bona. The military labors, and anxious reflections, of Count Boniface,
were alleviated by the edifying conversation of his friend St. Augustin;
27 till that bishop, the light and pillar of the Catholic church,
was gently released, in the third month of the siege, and in the
seventy-sixth year of his age, from the actual and the impending
calamities of his country. The youth of Augustin had been stained by the
vices and errors which he so ingenuously confesses; but from the moment
of his conversion to that of his death, the manners of the bishop of
Hippo were pure and austere: and the most conspicuous of his virtues was
an ardent zeal against heretics of every denomination; the Manichaeans,
the Donatists, and the Pelagians, against whom he waged a perpetual
controversy. When the city, some months after his death, was burnt by
the Vandals, the library was fortunately saved, which contained his
voluminous writings; two hundred and thirty-two separate books or
treatises on theological subjects, besides a complete exposition of the
psalter and the gospel, and a copious magazine of epistles and homilies.
28 According to the judgment of the most impartial critics, the
superficial learning of Augustin was confined to the Latin language; 29
and his style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence of passion,
is usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric. But he possessed a
strong, capacious, argumentative mind; he boldly sounded the dark abyss
of grace, predestination, free will, and original sin; and the rigid
system of Christianity which he framed or restored, 30 has been
entertained, with public applause, and secret reluctance, by the Latin
church. 31

26 (return) [ See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. part ii. p. 112.
Leo African. in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 70. L'Afrique de Marmol, tom. ii.
p. 434, 437. Shaw's Travels, p. 46, 47. The old Hippo Regius was finally
destroyed by the Arabs in the seventh century; but a new town, at the
distance of two miles, was built with the materials; and it contained,
in the sixteenth century, about three hundred families of industrious,
but turbulent manufacturers. The adjacent territory is renowned for a
pure air, a fertile soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits.]

27 (return) [ The life of St. Augustin, by Tillemont, fills a quarto
volume (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii.) of more than one thousand pages; and
the diligence of that learned Jansenist was excited, on this occasion,
by factious and devout zeal for the founder of his sect.]

28 (return) [ Such, at least, is the account of Victor Vitensis, (de
Persecut. Vandal. l. i. c. 3;) though Gennadius seems to doubt whether
any person had read, or even collected, all the works of St. Augustin,
(see Hieronym. Opera, tom. i. p. 319, in Catalog. Scriptor. Eccles.)
They have been repeatedly printed; and Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom.
iii. p. 158-257) has given a large and satisfactory abstract of them
as they stand in the last edition of the Benedictines. My personal
acquaintance with the bishop of Hippo does not extend beyond the
Confessions, and the City of God.]

29 (return) [ In his early youth (Confess. i. 14) St. Augustin disliked
and neglected the study of Greek; and he frankly owns that he read the
Platonists in a Latin version, (Confes. vii. 9.) Some modern critics
have thought, that his ignorance of Greek disqualified him from
expounding the Scriptures; and Cicero or Quintilian would have required
the knowledge of that language in a professor of rhetoric.]

30 (return) [ These questions were seldom agitated, from the time of
St. Paul to that of St. Augustin. I am informed that the Greek fathers
maintain the natural sentiments of the Semi-Pelagians; and that the
orthodoxy of St. Augustin was derived from the Manichaean school.]

31 (return) [ The church of Rome has canonized Augustin, and reprobated
Calvin. Yet as the real difference between them is invisible even to a
theological microscope, the Molinists are oppressed by the authority of
the saint, and the Jansenists are disgraced by their resemblance to the
heretic. In the mean while, the Protestant Arminians stand aloof, and
deride the mutual perplexity of the disputants, (see a curious Review
of the Controversy, by Le Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelle, tom. xiv.
p. 144-398.) Perhaps a reasoner still more independent may smile in
his turn, when he peruses an Arminian Commentary on the Epistle to the
Romans.]



Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.—Part II.

By the skill of Boniface, and perhaps by the ignorance of the Vandals,
the siege of Hippo was protracted above fourteen months: the sea was
continually open; and when the adjacent country had been exhausted by
irregular rapine, the besiegers themselves were compelled by famine to
relinquish their enterprise. The importance and danger of Africa were
deeply felt by the regent of the West. Placidia implored the assistance
of her eastern ally; and the Italian fleet and army were reenforced by
Asper, who sailed from Constantinople with a powerful armament. As
soon as the force of the two empires was united under the command of
Boniface, he boldly marched against the Vandals; and the loss of a
second battle irretrievably decided the fate of Africa. He embarked with
the precipitation of despair; and the people of Hippo were permitted,
with their families and effects, to occupy the vacant place of the
soldiers, the greatest part of whom were either slain or made prisoners
by the Vandals. The count, whose fatal credulity had wounded the vitals
of the republic, might enter the palace of Ravenna with some anxiety,
which was soon removed by the smiles of Placidia. Boniface accepted with
gratitude the rank of patrician, and the dignity of master-general of
the Roman armies; but he must have blushed at the sight of those medals,
in which he was represented with the name and attributes of victory.
32 The discovery of his fraud, the displeasure of the empress, and the
distinguished favor of his rival, exasperated the haughty and perfidious
soul of Aetius. He hastily returned from Gaul to Italy, with a retinue,
or rather with an army, of Barbarian followers; and such was the
weakness of the government, that the two generals decided their private
quarrel in a bloody battle. Boniface was successful; but he received in
the conflict a mortal wound from the spear of his adversary, of which he
expired within a few days, in such Christian and charitable sentiments,
that he exhorted his wife, a rich heiress of Spain, to accept Aetius for
her second husband. But Aetius could not derive any immediate advantage
from the generosity of his dying enemy: he was proclaimed a rebel by
the justice of Placidia; and though he attempted to defend some strong
fortresses, erected on his patrimonial estate, the Imperial power soon
compelled him to retire into Pannonia, to the tents of his faithful
Huns. The republic was deprived, by their mutual discord, of the service
of her two most illustrious champions. 33

32 (return) [ Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 67. On one side, the head of
Valentinian; on the reverse, Boniface, with a scourge in one hand, and
a palm in the other, standing in a triumphal car, which is drawn by four
horses, or, in another medal, by four stags; an unlucky emblem! I should
doubt whether another example can be found of the head of a subject on
the reverse of an Imperial medal. See Science des Medailles, by the Pere
Jobert, tom. i. p. 132-150, edit. of 1739, by the haron de la Bastie. *
Note: Lord Mahon, Life of Belisarius, p. 133, mentions one of Belisarius
on the authority of Cedrenus—M.]

33 (return) [ Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 185) continues
the history of Boniface no further than his return to Italy. His death
is mentioned by Prosper and Marcellinus; the expression of the latter,
that Aetius, the day before, had provided himself with a longer spear,
implies something like a regular duel.]

It might naturally be expected, after the retreat of Boniface, that
the Vandals would achieve, without resistance or delay, the conquest of
Africa. Eight years, however, elapsed, from the evacuation of Hippo to
the reduction of Carthage. In the midst of that interval, the ambitious
Genseric, in the full tide of apparent prosperity, negotiated a treaty
of peace, by which he gave his son Hunneric for a hostage; and consented
to leave the Western emperor in the undisturbed possession of the three
Mauritanias. 34 This moderation, which cannot be imputed to the justice,
must be ascribed to the policy, of the conqueror.

His throne was encompassed with domestic enemies, who accused the
baseness of his birth, and asserted the legitimate claims of his
nephews, the sons of Gonderic. Those nephews, indeed, he sacrificed
to his safety; and their mother, the widow of the deceased king, was
precipitated, by his order, into the river Ampsaga. But the public
discontent burst forth in dangerous and frequent conspiracies; and the
warlike tyrant is supposed to have shed more Vandal blood by the hand
of the executioner, than in the field of battle. 35 The convulsions of
Africa, which had favored his attack, opposed the firm establishment
of his power; and the various seditions of the Moors and Germans, the
Donatists and Catholics, continually disturbed, or threatened, the
unsettled reign of the conqueror. As he advanced towards Carthage,
he was forced to withdraw his troops from the Western provinces; the
sea-coast was exposed to the naval enterprises of the Romans of Spain
and Italy; and, in the heart of Numidia, the strong inland city of Corta
still persisted in obstinate independence. 36 These difficulties were
gradually subdued by the spirit, the perseverance, and the cruelty
of Genseric; who alternately applied the arts of peace and war to the
establishment of his African kingdom. He subscribed a solemn treaty,
with the hope of deriving some advantage from the term of its
continuance, and the moment of its violation. The vigilance of his
enemies was relaxed by the protestations of friendship, which concealed
his hostile approach; and Carthage was at length surprised by the
Vandals, five hundred and eighty-five years after the destruction of the
city and republic by the younger Scipio. 37

34 (return) [ See Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4, p. 186.
Valentinian published several humane laws, to relieve the distress of
his Numidian and Mauritanian subjects; he discharged them, in a great
measure, from the payment of their debts, reduced their tribute to
one eighth, and gave them a right of appeal from their provincial
magistrates to the praefect of Rome. Cod. Theod. tom. vi. Novell. p. 11,
12.]

35 (return) [ Victor Vitensis, de Persecut. Vandal. l. ii. c. 5, p. 26.
The cruelties of Genseric towards his subjects are strongly expressed in
Prosper's Chronicle, A.D. 442.]

36 (return) [ Possidius, in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p. 428.]

37 (return) [ See the Chronicles of Idatius, Isidore, Prosper, and
Marcellinus. They mark the same year, but different days, for the
surprisal of Carthage.]

A new city had arisen from its ruins, with the title of a colony; and
though Carthage might yield to the royal prerogatives of Constantinople,
and perhaps to the trade of Alexandria, or the splendor of Antioch, she
still maintained the second rank in the West; as the Rome (if we may
use the style of contemporaries) of the African world. That wealthy and
opulent metropolis 38 displayed, in a dependent condition, the image of
a flourishing republic. Carthage contained the manufactures, the arms,
and the treasures of the six provinces. A regular subordination of
civil honors gradually ascended from the procurators of the streets and
quarters of the city, to the tribunal of the supreme magistrate, who,
with the title of proconsul, represented the state and dignity of a
consul of ancient Rome. Schools and gymnasia were instituted for the
education of the African youth; and the liberal arts and manners,
grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy, were publicly taught in the Greek and
Latin languages. The buildings of Carthage were uniform and magnificent;
a shady grove was planted in the midst of the capital; the new port, a
secure and capacious harbor, was subservient to the commercial indus
try of citizens and strangers; and the splendid games of the circus and
theatre were exhibited almost in the presence of the Barbarians. The
reputation of the Carthaginians was not equal to that of their country,
and the reproach of Punic faith still adhered to their subtle and
faithless character. 39 The habits of trade, and the abuse of luxury,
had corrupted their manners; but their impious contempt of monks, and
the shameless practice of unnatural lusts, are the two abominations
which excite the pious vehemence of Salvian, the preacher of the age.
40 The king of the Vandals severely reformed the vices of a voluptuous
people; and the ancient, noble, ingenuous freedom of Carthage (these
expressions of Victor are not without energy) was reduced by Genseric
into a state of ignominious servitude. After he had permitted his
licentious troops to satiate their rage and avarice, he instituted a
more regular system of rapine and oppression. An edict was promulgated,
which enjoined all persons, without fraud or delay, to deliver their
gold, silver, jewels, and valuable furniture or apparel, to the royal
officers; and the attempt to secrete any part of their patrimony was
inexorably punished with death and torture, as an act of treason against
the state. The lands of the proconsular province, which formed the
immediate district of Carthage, were accurately measured, and divided
among the Barbarians; and the conqueror reserved for his peculiar domain
the fertile territory of Byzacium, and the adjacent parts of Numidia and
Getulia. 41

38 (return) [ The picture of Carthage; as it flourished in the fourth
and fifth centuries, is taken from the Expositio totius Mundi, p. 17,
18, in the third volume of Hudson's Minor Geographers, from Ausonius
de Claris Urbibus, p. 228, 229; and principally from Salvian, de
Gubernatione Dei, l. vii. p. 257, 258.]

39 (return) [ The anonymous author of the Expositio totius Mundi
compares in his barbarous Latin, the country and the inhabitants; and,
after stigmatizing their want of faith, he coolly concludes, Difficile
autem inter eos invenitur bonus, tamen in multis pauci boni esse possunt
P. 18.]

40 (return) [ He declares, that the peculiar vices of each country were
collected in the sink of Carthage, (l. vii. p. 257.) In the indulgence
of vice, the Africans applauded their manly virtue. Et illi se magis
virilis fortitudinis esse crederent, qui maxime vires foeminei usus
probositate fregissent, (p. 268.) The streets of Carthage were polluted
by effeminate wretches, who publicly assumed the countenance, the dress,
and the character of women, (p. 264.) If a monk appeared in the city,
the holy man was pursued with impious scorn and ridicule; de testantibus
ridentium cachinnis, (p. 289.)]

41 (return) [ Compare Procopius de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 189,
190, and Victor Vitensis, de Persecut Vandal. l. i. c. 4.]

It was natural enough that Genseric should hate those whom he had
injured: the nobility and senators of Carthage were exposed to his
jealousy and resentment; and all those who refused the ignominious
terms, which their honor and religion forbade them to accept, were
compelled by the Arian tyrant to embrace the condition of perpetual
banishment. Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the East, were filled
with a crowd of exiles, of fugitives, and of ingenuous captives, who
solicited the public compassion; and the benevolent epistles of Theod
oret still preserve the names and misfortunes of Caelestian and Maria.
42 The Syrian bishop deplores the misfortunes of Caelestian, who, from
the state of a noble and opulent senator of Carthage, was reduced,
with his wife and family, and servants, to beg his bread in a foreign
country; but he applauds the resignation of the Christian exile, and the
philosophic temper, which, under the pressure of such calamities,
could enjoy more real happiness than was the ordinary lot of wealth
and prosperity. The story of Maria, the daughter of the magnificent
Eudaemon, is singular and interesting. In the sack of Carthage, she was
purchased from the Vandals by some merchants of Syria, who afterwards
sold her as a slave in their native country. A female attendant,
transported in the same ship, and sold in the same family, still
continued to respect a mistress whom fortune had reduced to the common
level of servitude; and the daughter of Eudaemon received from her
grateful affection the domestic services which she had once required
from her obedience. This remarkable behavior divulged the real condition
of Maria, who, in the absence of the bishop of Cyrrhus, was redeemed
from slavery oy the generosity of some soldiers of the garrison. The
liberality of Theodoret provided for her decent maintenance; and she
passed ten months among the deaconesses of the church; till she was
unexpectedly informed, that her father, who had escaped from the ruin of
Carthage, exercised an honorable office in one of the Western provinces.
Her filial impatience was seconded by the pious bishop: Theodoret, in a
letter still extant, recommends Maria to the bishop of Aegae, a maritime
city of Cilicia, which was frequented, during the annual fair, by the
vessels of the West; most earnestly requesting, that his colleague would
use the maiden with a tenderness suitable to her birth; and that he
would intrust her to the care of such faithful merchants, as would
esteem it a sufficient gain, if they restored a daughter, lost beyond
all human hope, to the arms of her afflicted parent.

42 (return) [ Ruinart (p. 441-457) has collected from Theodoret, and
other authors, the misfortunes, real and fabulous, of the inhabitants of
Carthage.]

Among the insipid legends of ecclesiastical history, I am tempted
to distinguish the memorable fable of the Seven Sleepers; 43 whose
imaginary date corresponds with the reign of the younger Theodosius,
and the conquest of Africa by the Vandals. 44 When the emperor Decius
persecuted the Christians, seven noble youths of Ephesus concealed
themselves in a spacious cavern in the side of an adjacent mountain;
where they were doomed to perish by the tyrant, who gave orders that
the entrance should be firmly secured by the a pile of huge stones. They
immediately fell into a deep slumber, which was miraculously prolonged
without injuring the powers of life, during a period of one hundred and
eighty-seven years. At the end of that time, the slaves of Adolius, to
whom the inheritance of the mountain had descended, removed the stones
to supply materials for some rustic edifice: the light of the sun darted
into the cavern, and the Seven Sleepers were permitted to awake. After a
slumber, as they thought of a few hours, they were pressed by the calls
of hunger; and resolved that Jamblichus, one of their number, should
secretly return to the city to purchase bread for the use of his
companions. The youth (if we may still employ that appellation) could no
longer recognize the once familiar aspect of his native country; and his
surprise was increased by the appearance of a large cross, triumphantly
erected over the principal gate of Ephesus. His singular dress, and
obsolete language, confounded the baker, to whom he offered an ancient
medal of Decius as the current coin of the empire; and Jamblichus, on
the suspicion of a secret treasure, was dragged before the judge. Their
mutual inquiries produced the amazing discovery, that two centuries were
almost elapsed since Jamblichus and his friends had escaped from
the rage of a Pagan tyrant. The bishop of Ephesus, the clergy, the
magistrates, the people, and, as it is said, the emperor Theodosius
himself, hastened to visit the cavern of the Seven Sleepers; who
bestowed their benediction, related their story, and at the same
instant peaceably expired. The origin of this marvellous fable cannot
be ascribed to the pious fraud and credulity of the modern Greeks,
since the authentic tradition may be traced within half a century of the
supposed miracle. James of Sarug, a Syrian bishop, who was born only two
years after the death of the younger Theodosius, has devoted one of
his two hundred and thirty homilies to the praise of the young men
of Ephesus. 45 Their legend, before the end of the sixth century, was
translated from the Syriac into the Latin language, by the care of
Gregory of Tours. The hostile communions of the East preserve their
memory with equal reverence; and their names are honorably inscribed in
the Roman, the Abyssinian, and the Russian calendar. 46 Nor has their
reputation been confined to the Christian world. This popular tale,
which Mahomet might learn when he drove his camels to the fairs of
Syria, is introduced as a divine revelation, into the Koran. 47 The
story of the Seven Sleepers has been adopted and adorned by the nations,
from Bengal to Africa, who profess the Mahometan religion; 48 and some
vestiges of a similar tradition have been discovered in the remote
extremities of Scandinavia. 49 This easy and universal belief, so
expressive of the sense of mankind, may be ascribed to the genuine merit
of the fable itself. We imperceptibly advance from youth to age, without
observing the gradual, but incessant, change of human affairs; and even
in our larger experience of history, the imagination is accustomed, by
a perpetual series of causes and effects, to unite the most distant
revolutions. But if the interval between two memorable aeras could be
instantly annihilated; if it were possible, after a momentary slumber of
two hundred years, to display the new world to the eyes of a spectator,
who still retained a lively and recent impression of the old, his
surprise and his reflections would furnish the pleasing subject of
a philosophical romance. The scene could not be more advantageously
placed, than in the two centuries which elapsed between the reigns of
Decius and of Theodosius the Younger. During this period, the seat of
government had been transported from Rome to a new city on the banks
of the Thracian Bosphorus; and the abuse of military spirit had been
suppressed by an artificial system of tame and ceremonious servitude.
The throne of the persecuting Decius was filled by a succession of
Christian and orthodox princes, who had extirpated the fabulous gods of
antiquity: and the public devotion of the age was impatient to exalt the
saints and martyrs of the Catholic church, on the altars of Diana and
Hercules. The union of the Roman empire was dissolved; its genius was
humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown Barbarians, issuing from the
frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over
the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa.

43 (return) [ The choice of fabulous circumstances is of small
importance; yet I have confined myself to the narrative which was
translated from the Syriac by the care of Gregory of Tours, (de Gloria
Martyrum, l. i. c. 95, in Max. Bibliotheca Patrum, tom. xi. p. 856,) to
the Greek acts of their martyrdom (apud Photium, p. 1400, 1401) and to
the Annals of the Patriarch Eutychius, (tom. i. p. 391, 531, 532, 535,
Vers. Pocock.)]

44 (return) [ Two Syriac writers, as they are quoted by Assemanni,
(Bibliot. Oriental. tom. i. p. 336, 338,) place the resurrection of the
Seven Sleepers in the year 736 (A.D. 425) or 748, (A.D. 437,) of the
aera of the Seleucides. Their Greek acts, which Photius had read, assign
the date of the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Theodosius, which
may coincide either with A.D. 439, or 446. The period which had elapsed
since the persecution of Decius is easily ascertained; and nothing less
than the ignorance of Mahomet, or the legendaries, could suppose an
internal of three or four hundred years.]

45 (return) [ James, one of the orthodox fathers of the Syrian church,
was born A.D. 452; he began to compose his sermons A.D. 474; he was made
bishop of Batnae, in the district of Sarug, and province of Mesopotamia,
A.D. 519, and died A.D. 521. (Assemanni, tom. i. p. 288, 289.) For the
homily de Pueris Ephesinis, see p. 335-339: though I could wish
that Assemanni had translated the text of James of Sarug, instead of
answering the objections of Baronius.]

46 (return) [ See the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, Mensis Julii,
tom. vi. p. 375-397. This immense calendar of Saints, in one hundred
and twenty-six years, (1644-1770,) and in fifty volumes in folio, has
advanced no further than the 7th day of October. The suppression of the
Jesuits has most probably checked an undertaking, which, through the
medium of fable and superstition, communicates much historical and
philosophical instruction.]

47 (return) [ See Maracci Alcoran. Sura xviii. tom. ii. p. 420-427, and
tom. i. part iv. p. 103. With such an ample privilege, Mahomet has not
shown much taste or ingenuity. He has invented the dog (Al Rakim) the
Seven Sleepers; the respect of the sun, who altered his course twice
a day, that he might not shine into the cavern; and the care of God
himself, who preserved their bodies from putrefaction, by turning them
to the right and left.]

48 (return) [ See D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 139; and
Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 39, 40.]

49 (return) [ Paul, the deacon of Aquileia, (de Gestis Langobardorum,
l. i. c. 4, p. 745, 746, edit. Grot.,) who lived towards the end of the
eight century, has placed in a cavern, under a rock, on the shore of the
ocean, the Seven Sleepers of the North, whose long repose was respected
by the Barbarians. Their dress declared them to be Romans and the
deacon conjectures, that they were reserved by Providence as the future
apostles of those unbelieving countries.]



Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part I.

     The Character, Conquests, And Court Of Attila, King Of The
     Huns.—Death Of Theodosius The Younger.—Elevation Of
     Marcian To The Empire Of The East.

The Western world was oppressed by the Goths and Vandals, who fled
before the Huns; but the achievements of the Huns themselves were not
adequate to their power and prosperity. Their victorious hordes had
spread from the Volga to the Danube; but the public force was exhausted
by the discord of independent chieftains; their valor was idly consumed
in obscure and predatory excursions; and they often degraded their
national dignity, by condescending, for the hopes of spoil, to enlist
under the banners of their fugitive enemies. In the reign of Attila, 1
the Huns again became the terror of the world; and I shall now describe
the character and actions of that formidable Barbarian; who alternately
insulted and invaded the East and the West, and urged the rapid downfall
of the Roman empire.

1 (return) [ The authentic materials for the history of Attila, may be
found in Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 34-50, p. 668-688, edit. Grot.)
and Priscus (Excerpta de Legationibus, p. 33-76, Paris, 1648.) I have
not seen the Lives of Attila, composed by Juvencus Caelius Calanus
Dalmatinus, in the twelfth century, or by Nicholas Olahus, archbishop
of Gran, in the sixteenth. See Mascou's History of the Germans, ix., and
Maffei Osservazioni Litterarie, tom. i. p. 88, 89. Whatever the modern
Hungarians have added must be fabulous; and they do not seem to have
excelled in the art of fiction. They suppose, that when Attila invaded
Gaul and Italy, married innumerable wives, &c., he was one hundred and
twenty years of age. Thewrocz Chron. c. i. p. 22, in Script. Hunger.
tom. i. p. 76.]

In the tide of emigration which impetuously rolled from the confines
of China to those of Germany, the most powerful and populous tribes may
commonly be found on the verge of the Roman provinces. The accumulated
weight was sustained for a while by artificial barriers; and the easy
condescension of the emperors invited, without satisfying, the insolent
demands of the Barbarians, who had acquired an eager appetite for the
luxuries of civilized life. The Hungarians, who ambitiously insert the
name of Attila among their native kings, may affirm with truth that the
hordes, which were subject to his uncle Roas, or Rugilas, had formed
their encampments within the limits of modern Hungary, 2 in a fertile
country, which liberally supplied the wants of a nation of hunters and
shepherds. In this advantageous situation, Rugilas, and his valiant
brothers, who continually added to their power and reputation, commanded
the alternative of peace or war with the two empires. His alliance with
the Romans of the West was cemented by his personal friendship for the
great Aetius; who was always secure of finding, in the Barbarian camp, a
hospitable reception and a powerful support. At his solicitation, and
in the name of John the usurper, sixty thousand Huns advanced to the
confines of Italy; their march and their retreat were alike expensive to
the state; and the grateful policy of Aetius abandoned the possession of
Pannonia to his faithful confederates. The Romans of the East were
not less apprehensive of the arms of Rugilas, which threatened the
provinces, or even the capital. Some ecclesiastical historians have
destroyed the Barbarians with lightning and pestilence; 3 but Theodosius
was reduced to the more humble expedient of stipulating an annual
payment of three hundred and fifty pounds of gold, and of disguising
this dishonorable tribute by the title of general, which the king of
the Huns condescended to accept. The public tranquillity was frequently
interrupted by the fierce impatience of the Barbarians, and the
perfidious intrigues of the Byzantine court. Four dependent nations,
among whom we may distinguish the Barbarians, disclaimed the sovereignty
of the Huns; and their revolt was encouraged and protected by a Roman
alliance; till the just claims, and formidable power, of Rugilas, were
effectually urged by the voice of Eslaw his ambassador. Peace was the
unanimous wish of the senate: their decree was ratified by the emperor;
and two ambassadors were named, Plinthas, a general of Scythian
extraction, but of consular rank; and the quaestor Epigenes, a wise
and experienced statesman, who was recommended to that office by his
ambitious colleague.

2 (return) [ Hungary has been successively occupied by three Scythian
colonies. 1. The Huns of Attila; 2. The Abares, in the sixth century;
and, 3. The Turks or Magiars, A.D. 889; the immediate and genuine
ancestors of the modern Hungarians, whose connection with the two former
is extremely faint and remote. The Prodromus and Notitia of Matthew
Belius appear to contain a rich fund of information concerning ancient
and modern Hungary. I have seen the extracts in Bibli otheque Ancienne
et Moderne, tom. xxii. p. 1-51, and Bibliotheque Raisonnee, tom. xvi. p.
127-175. * Note: Mailath (in his Geschichte der Magyaren) considers
the question of the origin of the Magyars as still undecided. The old
Hungarian chronicles unanimously derived them from the Huns of Attila
See note, vol. iv. pp. 341, 342. The later opinion, adopted by Schlozer,
Belnay, and Dankowsky, ascribes them, from their language, to the
Finnish race. Fessler, in his history of Hungary, agrees with Gibbon in
supposing them Turks. Mailath has inserted an ingenious dissertation
of Fejer, which attempts to connect them with the Parthians. Vol. i.
Ammerkungen p. 50—M.]

3 (return) [ Socrates, l. vii. c. 43. Theodoret, l. v. c. 36. Tillemont,
who always depends on the faith of his ecclesiastical authors,
strenuously contends (Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 136, 607) that the wars
and personages were not the same.]

The death of Rugilas suspended the progress of the treaty. His two
nephews, Attila and Bleda, who succeeded to the throne of their
uncle, consented to a personal interview with the ambassadors of
Constantinople; but as they proudly refused to dismount, the business
was transacted on horseback, in a spacious plain near the city of
Margus, in the Upper Maesia. The kings of the Huns assumed the solid
benefits, as well as the vain honors, of the negotiation. They dictated
the conditions of peace, and each condition was an insult on the majesty
of the empire. Besides the freedom of a safe and plentiful market on the
banks of the Danube, they required that the annual contribution should
be augmented from three hundred and fifty to seven hundred pounds of
gold; that a fine or ransom of eight pieces of gold should be paid for
every Roman captive who had escaped from his Barbarian master; that the
emperor should renounce all treaties and engagements with the enemies of
the Huns; and that all the fugitives who had taken refuge in the court
or provinces of Theodosius, should be delivered to the justice of
their offended sovereign. This justice was rigorously inflicted on
some unfortunate youths of a royal race. They were crucified on the
territories of the empire, by the command of Attila: and as soon as the
king of the Huns had impressed the Romans with the terror of his name,
he indulged them in a short and arbitrary respite, whilst he subdued the
rebellious or independent nations of Scythia and Germany. 4

4 (return) [ See Priscus, p. 47, 48, and Hist. de Peuples de l'Europe,
tom. v. i. c. xii, xiii, xiv, xv.]

Attila, the son of Mundzuk, deduced his noble, perhaps his regal,
descent 5 from the ancient Huns, who had formerly contended with the
monarchs of China. His features, according to the observation of
a Gothic historian, bore the stamp of his national origin; and the
portrait of Attila exhibits the genuine deformity of a modern Calmuk;
6 a large head, a swarthy complexion, small, deep-seated eyes, a flat
nose, a few hairs in the place of a beard, broad shoulders, and a short
square body, of nervous strength, though of a disproportioned form.
The haughty step and demeanor of the king of the Huns expressed the
consciousness of his superiority above the rest of mankind; and he had a
custom of fiercely rolling his eyes, as if he wished to enjoy the terror
which he inspired. Yet this savage hero was not inaccessible to pity;
his suppliant enemies might confide in the assurance of peace or pardon;
and Attila was considered by his subjects as a just and indulgent
master. He delighted in war; but, after he had ascended the throne in a
mature age, his head, rather than his hand, achieved the conquest of the
North; and the fame of an adventurous soldier was usefully exchanged for
that of a prudent and successful general. The effects of personal valor
are so inconsiderable, except in poetry or romance, that victory, even
among Barbarians, must depend on the degree of skill with which the
passions of the multitude are combined and guided for the service of a
single man. The Scythian conquerors, Attila and Zingis, surpassed their
rude countrymen in art rather than in courage; and it may be observed
that the monarchies, both of the Huns and of the Moguls, were erected
by their founders on the basis of popular superstition The miraculous
conception, which fraud and credulity ascribed to the virgin-mother
of Zingis, raised him above the level of human nature; and the naked
prophet, who in the name of the Deity invested him with the empire of
the earth, pointed the valor of the Moguls with irresistible enthusiasm.
7 The religious arts of Attila were not less skillfully adapted to
the character of his age and country. It was natural enough that the
Scythians should adore, with peculiar devotion, the god of war; but as
they were incapable of forming either an abstract idea, or a corporeal
representation, they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol of
an iron cimeter. 8 One of the shepherds of the Huns perceived, that a
heifer, who was grazing, had wounded herself in the foot, and curiously
followed the track of the blood, till he discovered, among the long
grass, the point of an ancient sword, which he dug out of the ground
and presented to Attila. That magnanimous, or rather that artful,
prince accepted, with pious gratitude, this celestial favor; and, as
the rightful possessor of the sword of Mars, asserted his divine and
indefeasible claim to the dominion of the earth. 9 If the rites of
Scythia were practised on this solemn occasion, a lofty altar, or rather
pile of fagots, three hundred yards in length and in breadth, was raised
in a spacious plain; and the sword of Mars was placed erect on the
summit of this rustic altar, which was annually consecrated by the
blood of sheep, horses, and of the hundredth captive. 10 Whether human
sacrifices formed any part of the worship of Attila, or whether he
propitiated the god of war with the victims which he continually offered
in the field of battle, the favorite of Mars soon acquired a sacred
character, which rended his conquests more easy and more permanent;
and the Barbarian princes confessed, in the language of devotion or
flattery, that they could not presume to gaze, with a steady eye, on
the divine majesty of the king of the Huns. 11 His brother Bleda, who
reigned over a considerable part of the nation, was compelled to resign
his sceptre and his life. Yet even this cruel act was attributed to a
supernatural impulse; and the vigor with which Attila wielded the sword
of Mars, convinced the world that it had been reserved alone for
his invincible arm. 12 But the extent of his empire affords the only
remaining evidence of the number and importance of his victories; and
the Scythian monarch, however ignorant of the value of science and
philosophy, might perhaps lament that his illiterate subjects were
destitute of the art which could perpetuate the memory of his exploits.

5 (return) [ Priscus, p. 39. The modern Hungarians have deduced his
genealogy, which ascends, in the thirty-fifth degree, to Ham, the son
of Noah; yet they are ignorant of his father's real name. (De Guignes,
Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 297.)]

6 (return) [ Compare Jornandes (c. 35, p. 661) with Buffon, Hist.
Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 380. The former had a right to observe, originis
suae sigua restituens. The character and portrait of Attila are probably
transcribed from Cassiodorus.]

7 (return) [ Abulpharag. Pocock, p. 281. Genealogical History of the
Tartars, by Abulghazi Bahader Khan, part iii c. 15, part iv c. 3. Vie
de Gengiscan, par Petit de la Croix, l. 1, c. 1, 6. The relations of the
missionaries, who visited Tartary in the thirteenth century, (see
the seventh volume of the Histoire des Voyages,) express the popular
language and opinions; Zingis is styled the son of God, &c. &c.]

8 (return) [ Nec templum apud eos visitur, aut delubrum, ne tugurium
quidem culmo tectum cerni usquam potest; sed gladius Barbarico ritu humi
figitur nudus, eumque ut Martem regionum quas circumcircant praesulem
verecundius colunt. Ammian. Marcellin. xxxi. 2, and the learned Notes of
Lindenbrogius and Valesius.]

9 (return) [ Priscus relates this remarkable story, both in his own
text (p. 65) and in the quotation made by Jornandes, (c. 35, p. 662.) He
might have explained the tradition, or fable, which characterized this
famous sword, and the name, as well as attributes, of the Scythian
deity, whom he has translated into the Mars of the Greeks and Romans.]

10 (return) [ Herodot. l. iv. c. 62. For the sake of economy, I have
calculated by the smallest stadium. In the human sacrifices, they cut
off the shoulder and arm of the victim, which they threw up into the
air, and drew omens and presages from the manner of their falling on the
pile]

11 (return) [ Priscus, p. 65. A more civilized hero, Augustus himself,
was pleased, if the person on whom he fixed his eyes seemed unable to
support their divine lustre. Sueton. in August. c. 79.]

12 (return) [ The Count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom.
vii. p. 428, 429) attempts to clear Attila from the murder of his
brother; and is almost inclined to reject the concurrent testimony of
Jornandes, and the contemporary Chronicles.]

If a line of separation were drawn between the civilized and the savage
climates of the globe; between the inhabitants of cities, who cultivated
the earth, and the hunters and shepherds, who dwelt in tents, Attila
might aspire to the title of supreme and sole monarch of the Barbarians.
13 He alone, among the conquerors of ancient and modern times, united
the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia; and those vague
appellations, when they are applied to his reign, may be understood with
an ample latitude. Thuringia, which stretched beyond its actual limits
as far as the Danube, was in the number of his provinces; he interposed,
with the weight of a powerful neighbor, in the domestic affairs of the
Franks; and one of his lieutenants chastised, and almost exterminated,
the Burgundians of the Rhine.

He subdued the islands of the ocean, the kingdoms of Scandinavia,
encompassed and divided by the waters of the Baltic; and the Huns might
derive a tribute of furs from that northern region, which has been
protected from all other conquerors by the severity of the climate,
and the courage of the natives. Towards the East, it is difficult to
circumscribe the dominion of Attila over the Scythian deserts; yet we
may be assured, that he reigned on the banks of the Volga; that the king
of the Huns was dreaded, not only as a warrior, but as a magician; 14
that he insulted and vanquished the khan of the formidable Geougen; and
that he sent ambassadors to negotiate an equal alliance with the empire
of China. In the proud review of the nations who acknowledged the
sovereignty of Attila, and who never entertained, during his
lifetime, the thought of a revolt, the Gepidae and the Ostrogoths were
distinguished by their numbers, their bravery, and the personal merits
of their chiefs. The renowned Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, was the
faithful and sagacious counsellor of the monarch, who esteemed his
intrepid genius, whilst he loved the mild and discreet virtues of the
noble Walamir, king of the Ostrogoths. The crowd of vulgar kings, the
leaders of so many martial tribes, who served under the standard of
Attila, were ranged in the submissive order of guards and domestics
round the person of their master. They watched his nod; they trembled at
his frown; and at the first signal of his will, they executed, without
murmur or hesitation, his stern and absolute commands. In time of peace,
the dependent princes, with their national troops, attended the royal
camp in regular succession; but when Attila collected his military
force, he was able to bring into the field an army of five, or,
according to another account, of seven hundred thousand Barbarians. 15

13 (return) [ Fortissimarum gentium dominus, qui inaudita ante se
potentia colus Scythica et Germanica regna possedit. Jornandes, c.
49, p. 684. Priscus, p. 64, 65. M. de Guignes, by his knowledge of the
Chinese, has acquired (tom. ii. p. 295-301) an adequate idea of the
empire of Attila.]

14 (return) [ See Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 296. The Geougen believed
that the Huns could excite, at pleasure, storms of wind and rain. This
phenomenon was produced by the stone Gezi; to whose magic power the
loss of a battle was ascribed by the Mahometan Tartars of the fourteenth
century. See Cherefeddin Ali, Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. i. p. 82, 83.]

15 (return) [ Jornandes, c. 35, p. 661, c. 37, p. 667. See Tillemont,
Hist. dea Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 129, 138. Corneille has represented the
pride of Attila to his subject kings, and his tragedy opens with these
two ridiculous lines:—

     Ils ne sont pas venus, nos deux rois!  qu'on leur die
     Qu'ils se font trop attendre, et qu'Attila s'ennuie.

The two kings of the Gepidae and the Ostrogoths are profound politicians
and sentimental lovers, and the whole piece exhibits the defects without
the genius, of the poet.]

The ambassadors of the Huns might awaken the attention of Theodosius,
by reminding him that they were his neighbors both in Europe and Asia;
since they touched the Danube on one hand, and reached, with the other,
as far as the Tanais. In the reign of his father Arcadius, a band of
adventurous Huns had ravaged the provinces of the East; from whence they
brought away rich spoils and innumerable captives. 16 They advanced, by
a secret path, along the shores of the Caspian Sea; traversed the snowy
mountains of Armenia; passed the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Halys;
recruited their weary cavalry with the generous breed of Cappadocian
horses; occupied the hilly country of Cilicia, and disturbed the festal
songs and dances of the citizens of Antioch. Egypt trembled at their
approach; and the monks and pilgrims of the Holy Land prepared to escape
their fury by a speedy embarkation. The memory of this invasion was
still recent in the minds of the Orientals. The subjects of Attila might
execute, with superior forces, the design which these adventurers had so
boldly attempted; and it soon became the subject of anxious conjecture,
whether the tempest would fall on the dominions of Rome, or of Persia.
Some of the great vassals of the king of the Huns, who were themselves
in the rank of powerful princes, had been sent to ratify an alliance
and society of arms with the emperor, or rather with the general of the
West. They related, during their residence at Rome, the circumstances of
an expedition, which they had lately made into the East. After passing a
desert and a morass, supposed by the Romans to be the Lake Maeotis, they
penetrated through the mountains, and arrived, at the end of fifteen
days' march, on the confines of Media; where they advanced as far as the
unknown cities of Basic and Cursic. 1611 They encountered the Persian
army in the plains of Media and the air, according to their own
expression, was darkened by a cloud of arrows. But the Huns were obliged
to retire before the numbers of the enemy. Their laborious retreat
was effected by a different road; they lost the greatest part of their
booty; and at length returned to the royal camp, with some knowledge
of the country, and an impatient desire of revenge. In the free
conversation of the Imperial ambassadors, who discussed, at the court
of Attila, the character and designs of their formidable enemy, the
ministers of Constantinople expressed their hope, that his strength
might be diverted and employed in a long and doubtful contest with the
princes of the house of Sassan. The more sagacious Italians admonished
their Eastern brethren of the folly and danger of such a hope; and
convinced them, that the Medes and Persians were incapable of resisting
the arms of the Huns; and that the easy and important acquisition
would exalt the pride, as well as power, of the conqueror. Instead of
contenting himself with a moderate contribution, and a military title,
which equalled him only to the generals of Theodosius, Attila would
proceed to impose a disgraceful and intolerable yoke on the necks of
the prostrate and captive Romans, who would then be encompassed, on all
sides, by the empire of the Huns. 17

16 (return) [

     Alii per Caspia claustra
     Armeniasque nives, inopino tramite ducti
     Invadunt Orientis opes: jam pascua fumant
     Cappadocum, volucrumque parens Argaeus equorum.
     Jam rubet altus Halys, nec se defendit iniquo
     Monte Cilix; Syriae tractus vestantur amoeni
     Assuetumque choris, et laeta plebe canorum,
     Proterit imbellem sonipes hostilis Orontem.
    —-Claudian, in Rufin. l. ii. 28-35.

See likewise, in Eutrop. l. i. 243-251, and the strong description of
Jerom, who wrote from his feelings, tom. i. p. 26, ad Heliodor. p. 200
ad Ocean. Philostorgius (l. ix. c. 8) mentions this irruption.]

1611 (return) [ Gibbon has made a curious mistake; Basic and Cursic
were the names of the commanders of the Huns. Priscus, edit. Bonn, p.
200.—M.]

17 (return) [ See the original conversation in Priscus, p. 64, 65.]

While the powers of Europe and Asia were solicitous to avert the
impending danger, the alliance of Attila maintained the Vandals in
the possession of Africa. An enterprise had been concerted between the
courts of Ravenna and Constantinople, for the recovery of that valuable
province; and the ports of Sicily were already filled with the military
and naval forces of Theodosius. But the subtle Genseric, who spread his
negotiations round the world, prevented their designs, by exciting the
king of the Huns to invade the Eastern empire; and a trifling incident
soon became the motive, or pretence, of a destructive war. 18 Under the
faith of the treaty of Margus, a free market was held on the Northern
side of the Danube, which was protected by a Roman fortress surnamed
Constantia. A troop of Barbarians violated the commercial security;
killed, or dispersed, the unsuspecting traders; and levelled the
fortress with the ground. The Huns justified this outrage as an act
of reprisal; alleged, that the bishop of Margus had entered their
territories, to discover and steal a secret treasure of their kings;
and sternly demanded the guilty prelate, the sacrilegious spoil, and
the fugitive subjects, who had escaped from the justice of Attila. The
refusal of the Byzantine court was the signal of war; and the Maesians
at first applauded the generous firmness of their sovereign. But they
were soon intimidated by the destruction of Viminiacum and the adjacent
towns; and the people was persuaded to adopt the convenient maxim,
that a private citizen, however innocent or respectable, may be justly
sacrificed to the safety of his country. The bishop of Margus, who did
not possess the spirit of a martyr, resolved to prevent the designs
which he suspected. He boldly treated with the princes of the Huns:
secured, by solemn oaths, his pardon and reward; posted a numerous
detachment of Barbarians, in silent ambush, on the banks of the Danube;
and, at the appointed hour, opened, with his own hand, the gates of his
episcopal city. This advantage, which had been obtained by treachery,
served as a prelude to more honorable and decisive victories. The
Illyrian frontier was covered by a line of castles and fortresses; and
though the greatest part of them consisted only of a single tower,
with a small garrison, they were commonly sufficient to repel, or to
intercept, the inroads of an enemy, who was ignorant of the art, and
impatient of the delay, of a regular siege. But these slight obstacles
were instantly swept away by the inundation of the Huns. 19 They
destroyed, with fire and sword, the populous cities of Sirmium and
Singidunum, of Ratiaria and Marcianopolis, of Naissus and Sardica; where
every circumstance of the discipline of the people, and the construction
of the buildings, had been gradually adapted to the sole purpose of
defence. The whole breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hundred
miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic, was at once invaded, and
occupied, and desolated, by the myriads of Barbarians whom Attila led
into the field. The public danger and distress could not, however,
provoke Theodosius to interrupt his amusements and devotion, or to
appear in person at the head of the Roman legions. But the troops, which
had been sent against Genseric, were hastily recalled from Sicily; the
garrisons, on the side of Persia, were exhausted; and a military force
was collected in Europe, formidable by their arms and numbers, if the
generals had understood the science of command, and the soldiers the
duty of obedience. The armies of the Eastern empire were vanquished in
three successive engagements; and the progress of Attila may be traced
by the fields of battle.

The two former, on the banks of the Utus, and under the walls of
Marcianopolis, were fought in the extensive plains between the Danube
and Mount Haemus. As the Romans were pressed by a victorious enemy, they
gradually, and unskilfully, retired towards the Chersonesus of Thrace;
and that narrow peninsula, the last extremity of the land, was marked by
their third, and irreparable, defeat. By the destruction of this army,
Attila acquired the indisputable possession of the field. From the
Hellespont to Thermopylae, and the suburbs of Constantinople, he
ravaged, without resistance, and without mercy, the provinces of Thrace
and Macedonia. Heraclea and Hadrianople might, perhaps, escape this
dreadful irruption of the Huns; but the words, the most expressive of
total extirpation and erasure, are applied to the calamities which they
inflicted on seventy cities of the Eastern empire. 20 Theodosius,
his court, and the unwarlike people, were protected by the walls of
Constantinople; but those walls had been shaken by a recent earthquake,
and the fall of fifty-eight towers had opened a large and tremendous
breach. The damage indeed was speedily repaired; but this accident was
aggravated by a superstitious fear, that Heaven itself had delivered
the Imperial city to the shepherds of Scythia, who were strangers to the
laws, the language, and the religion, of the Romans. 21

18 (return) [ Priscus, p. 331. His history contained a copious and
elegant account of the war, (Evagrius, l. i. c. 17;) but the extracts
which relate to the embassies are the only parts that have reached our
times. The original work was accessible, however, to the writers from
whom we borrow our imperfect knowledge, Jornandes, Theophanes, Count
Marcellinus, Prosper-Tyro, and the author of the Alexandrian, or
Paschal, Chronicle. M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii.
c. xv.) has examined the cause, the circumstances, and the duration of
this war; and will not allow it to extend beyond the year 44.]

19 (return) [ Procopius, de Edificiis, l. 4, c. 5. These fortresses
were afterwards restored, strengthened, and enlarged by the emperor
Justinian, but they were soon destroyed by the Abares, who succeeded to
the power and possessions of the Huns.]

20 (return) [ Septuaginta civitates (says Prosper-Tyro) depredatione
vastatoe. The language of Count Marcellinus is still more forcible.
Pene totam Europam, invasis excisisque civitatibus atque castellis,
conrasit.]

21 (return) [ Tillemont (Hist des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 106, 107) has
paid great attention to this memorable earthquake; which was felt as far
from Constantinople as Antioch and Alexandria, and is celebrated by
all the ecclesiastical writers. In the hands of a popular preacher, an
earthquake is an engine of admirable effect.]

In all their invasions of the civilized empires of the South, the
Scythian shepherds have been uniformly actuated by a savage and
destructive spirit. The laws of war, that restrain the exercise of
national rapine and murder, are founded on two principles of substantial
interest: the knowledge of the permanent benefits which may be obtained
by a moderate use of conquest; and a just apprehension, lest the
desolation which we inflict on the enemy's country may be retaliated on
our own. But these considerations of hope and fear are almost unknown
in the pastoral state of nations. The Huns of Attila may, without
injustice, be compared to the Moguls and Tartars, before their primitive
manners were changed by religion and luxury; and the evidence of
Oriental history may reflect some light on the short and imperfect
annals of Rome. After the Moguls had subdued the northern provinces
of China, it was seriously proposed, not in the hour of victory
and passion, but in calm deliberate council, to exterminate all the
inhabitants of that populous country, that the vacant land might be
converted to the pasture of cattle. The firmness of a Chinese mandarin,
22 who insinuated some principles of rational policy into the mind of
Zingis, diverted him from the execution of this horrid design. But in
the cities of Asia, which yielded to the Moguls, the inhuman abuse of
the rights of war was exercised with a regular form of discipline, which
may, with equal reason, though not with equal authority, be imputed
to the victorious Huns. The inhabitants, who had submitted to their
discretion, were ordered to evacuate their houses, and to assemble
in some plain adjacent to the city; where a division was made of the
vanquished into three parts. The first class consisted of the soldiers
of the garrison, and of the young men capable of bearing arms; and their
fate was instantly decided: they were either enlisted among the Moguls,
or they were massacred on the spot by the troops, who, with pointed
spears and bended bows, had formed a circle round the captive multitude.
The second class, composed of the young and beautiful women, of the
artificers of every rank and profession, and of the more wealthy or
honorable citizens, from whom a private ransom might be expected, was
distributed in equal or proportionable lots. The remainder, whose life
or death was alike useless to the conquerors, were permitted to return
to the city; which, in the mean while, had been stripped of its valuable
furniture; and a tax was imposed on those wretched inhabitants for the
indulgence of breathing their native air. Such was the behavior of the
Moguls, when they were not conscious of any extraordinary rigor. 23
But the most casual provocation, the slightest motive of caprice
or convenience, often provoked them to involve a whole people in an
indiscriminate massacre; and the ruin of some flourishing cities was
executed with such unrelenting perseverance, that, according to their
own expression, horses might run, without stumbling, over the ground
where they had once stood. The three great capitals of Khorasan, Maru,
Neisabour, and Herat, were destroyed by the armies of Zingis; and the
exact account which was taken of the slain amounted to four millions
three hundred and forty-seven thousand persons. 24 Timur, or Tamerlane,
was educated in a less barbarous age, and in the profession of the
Mahometan religion; yet, if Attila equalled the hostile ravages of
Tamerlane, 25 either the Tartar or the Hun might deserve the epithet of
the Scourge of God. 26

22 (return) [ He represented to the emperor of the Moguls that the four
provinces, (Petcheli, Chantong, Chansi, and Leaotong,)which he already
possessed, might annually produce, under a mild administration, 500,000
ounces of silver, 400,000 measures of rice, and 800,000 pieces of silk.
Gaubil, Hist. de la Dynastie des Mongous, p. 58, 59. Yelut chousay (such
was the name of the mandarin) was a wise and virtuous minister, who
saved his country, and civilized the conquerors. * Note: Compare the
life of this remarkable man, translated from the Chinese by M. Abel
Remusat. Nouveaux Melanges Asiatiques, t. ii. p. 64.—M]

23 (return) [ Particular instances would be endless; but the curious
reader may consult the life of Gengiscan, by Petit de la Croix, the
Histoire des Mongous, and the fifteenth book of the History of the
Huns.]

24 (return) [ At Maru, 1,300,000; at Herat, 1,600,000; at Neisabour,
1,747,000. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 380, 381. I use the
orthography of D'Anville's maps. It must, however, be allowed, that
the Persians were disposed to exaggerate their losses and the Moguls to
magnify their exploits.]

25 (return) [ Cherefeddin Ali, his servile panegyrist, would afford us
many horrid examples. In his camp before Delhi, Timour massacred 100,000
Indian prisoners, who had smiled when the army of their countrymen
appeared in sight, (Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. iii. p. 90.) The people of
Ispahan supplied 70,000 human skulls for the structure of several lofty
towers, (id. tom. i. p. 434.) A similar tax was levied on the revolt of
Bagdad, (tom. iii. p. 370;) and the exact account, which Cherefeddin
was not able to procure from the proper officers, is stated by another
historian (Ahmed Arabsiada, tom. ii. p. 175, vera Manger) at 90,000
heads.]

26 (return) [ The ancients, Jornandes, Priscus, &c., are ignorant of
this epithet. The modern Hungarians have imagined, that it was applied,
by a hermit of Gaul, to Attila, who was pleased to insert it among the
titles of his royal dignity. Mascou, ix. 23, and Tillemont, Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 143.]



Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part II.

It may be affirmed, with bolder assurance, that the Huns depopulated the
provinces of the empire, by the number of Roman subjects whom they
led away into captivity. In the hands of a wise legislator, such an
industrious colony might have contributed to diffuse through the deserts
of Scythia the rudiments of the useful and ornamental arts; but these
captives, who had been taken in war, were accidentally dispersed among
the hordes that obeyed the empire of Attila. The estimate of their
respective value was formed by the simple judgment of unenlightened and
unprejudiced Barbarians. Perhaps they might not understand the merit of
a theologian, profoundly skilled in the controversies of the Trinity and
the Incarnation; yet they respected the ministers of every religion and
the active zeal of the Christian missionaries, without approaching
the person or the palace of the monarch, successfully labored in the
propagation of the gospel. 27 The pastoral tribes, who were ignorant of
the distinction of landed property, must have disregarded the use, as
well as the abuse, of civil jurisprudence; and the skill of an eloquent
lawyer could excite only their contempt or their abhorrence. 28 The
perpetual intercourse of the Huns and the Goths had communicated the
familiar knowledge of the two national dialects; and the Barbarians were
ambitious of conversing in Latin, the military idiom even of the Eastern
empire. 29 But they disdained the language and the sciences of the
Greeks; and the vain sophist, or grave philosopher, who had enjoyed
the flattering applause of the schools, was mortified to find that his
robust servant was a captive of more value and importance than himself.
The mechanic arts were encouraged and esteemed, as they tended to
satisfy the wants of the Huns. An architect in the service of Onegesius,
one of the favorites of Attila, was employed to construct a bath; but
this work was a rare example of private luxury; and the trades of the
smith, the carpenter, the armorer, were much more adapted to supply a
wandering people with the useful instruments of peace and war. But the
merit of the physician was received with universal favor and respect:
the Barbarians, who despised death, might be apprehensive of disease;
and the haughty conqueror trembled in the presence of a captive, to whom
he ascribed, perhaps, an imaginary power of prolonging or preserving
his life. 30 The Huns might be provoked to insult the misery of their
slaves, over whom they exercised a despotic command; 31 but their
manners were not susceptible of a refined system of oppression; and the
efforts of courage and diligence were often recompensed by the gift of
freedom. The historian Priscus, whose embassy is a source of curious
instruction, was accosted in the camp of Attila by a stranger, who
saluted him in the Greek language, but whose dress and figure displayed
the appearance of a wealthy Scythian. In the siege of Viminiacum, he had
lost, according to his own account, his fortune and liberty; he became
the slave of Onegesius; but his faithful services, against the Romans
and the Acatzires, had gradually raised him to the rank of the native
Huns; to whom he was attached by the domestic pledges of a new wife
and several children. The spoils of war had restored and improved his
private property; he was admitted to the table of his former lord; and
the apostate Greek blessed the hour of his captivity, since it had been
the introduction to a happy and independent state; which he held by the
honorable tenure of military service. This reflection naturally produced
a dispute on the advantages and defects of the Roman government, which
was severely arraigned by the apostate, and defended by Priscus in a
prolix and feeble declamation. The freedman of Onegesius exposed, in
true and lively colors, the vices of a declining empire, of which he
had so long been the victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman princes,
unable to protect their subjects against the public enemy, unwilling to
trust them with arms for their own defence; the intolerable weight of
taxes, rendered still more oppressive by the intricate or arbitrary
modes of collection; the obscurity of numerous and contradictory laws;
the tedious and expensive forms of judicial proceedings; the partial
administration of justice; and the universal corruption, which increased
the influence of the rich, and aggravated the misfortunes of the poor.
A sentiment of patriotic sympathy was at length revived in the breast of
the fortunate exile; and he lamented, with a flood of tears, the guilt
or weakness of those magistrates who had perverted the wisest and most
salutary institutions. 32

27 (return) [ The missionaries of St. Chrysostom had converted great
numbers of the Scythians, who dwelt beyond the Danube in tents and
wagons. Theodoret, l. v. c. 31. Photius, p. 1517. The Mahometans, the
Nestorians, and the Latin Christians, thought themselves secure
of gaining the sons and grandsons of Zingis, who treated the rival
missionaries with impartial favor.]

28 (return) [ The Germans, who exterminated Varus and his legions, had
been particularly offended with the Roman laws and lawyers. One of the
Barbarians, after the effectual precautions of cutting out the tongue of
an advocate, and sewing up his mouth, observed, with much satisfaction,
that the viper could no longer hiss. Florus, iv. 12.]

29 (return) [ Priscus, p. 59. It should seem that the Huns preferred the
Gothic and Latin languages to their own; which was probably a harsh and
barren idiom.]

30 (return) [ Philip de Comines, in his admirable picture of the last
moments of Lewis XI., (Memoires, l. vi. c. 12,) represents the insolence
of his physician, who, in five months, extorted 54,000 crowns, and a
rich bishopric, from the stern, avaricious tyrant.]

31 (return) [ Priscus (p. 61) extols the equity of the Roman laws, which
protected the life of a slave. Occidere solent (says Tacitus of the
Germans) non disciplina et severitate, sed impetu et ira, ut inimicum,
nisi quod impune. De Moribus Germ. c. 25. The Heruli, who were the
subjects of Attila, claimed, and exercised, the power of life and death
over their slaves. See a remarkable instance in the second book of
Agathias]

32 (return) [ See the whole conversation in Priscus, p. 59-62.]

The timid or selfish policy of the Western Romans had abandoned the
Eastern empire to the Huns. 33 The loss of armies, and the want of
discipline or virtue, were not supplied by the personal character of the
monarch. Theodosius might still affect the style, as well as the title,
of Invincible Augustus; but he was reduced to solicit the clemency of
Attila, who imperiously dictated these harsh and humiliating conditions
of peace. I. The emperor of the East resigned, by an express or tacit
convention, an extensive and important territory, which stretched along
the southern banks of the Danube, from Singidunum, or Belgrade, as far
as Novae, in the diocese of Thrace. The breadth was defined by the vague
computation of fifteen 3311 days' journey; but, from the proposal of
Attila to remove the situation of the national market, it soon appeared,
that he comprehended the ruined city of Naissus within the limits of
his dominions. II. The king of the Huns required and obtained, that his
tribute or subsidy should be augmented from seven hundred pounds of gold
to the annual sum of two thousand one hundred; and he stipulated
the immediate payment of six thousand pounds of gold, to defray the
expenses, or to expiate the guilt, of the war. One might imagine, that
such a demand, which scarcely equalled the measure of private wealth,
would have been readily discharged by the opulent empire of the East;
and the public distress affords a remarkable proof of the impoverished,
or at least of the disorderly, state of the finances. A large proportion
of the taxes extorted from the people was detained and intercepted
in their passage, though the foulest channels, to the treasury of
Constantinople. The revenue was dissipated by Theodosius and his
favorites in wasteful and profuse luxury; which was disguised by the
names of Imperial magnificence, or Christian charity. The immediate
supplies had been exhausted by the unforeseen necessity of military
preparations. A personal contribution, rigorously, but capriciously,
imposed on the members of the senatorian order, was the only expedient
that could disarm, without loss of time, the impatient avarice of
Attila; and the poverty of the nobles compelled them to adopt the
scandalous resource of exposing to public auction the jewels of their
wives, and the hereditary ornaments of their palaces. 34 III. The king
of the Huns appears to have established, as a principle of national
jurisprudence, that he could never lose the property, which he had
once acquired, in the persons who had yielded either a voluntary,
or reluctant, submission to his authority. From this principle he
concluded, and the conclusions of Attila were irrevocable laws, that
the Huns, who had been taken prisoner in war, should be released without
delay, and without ransom; that every Roman captive, who had presumed
to escape, should purchase his right to freedom at the price of twelve
pieces of gold; and that all the Barbarians, who had deserted the
standard of Attila, should be restored, without any promise or
stipulation of pardon.

In the execution of this cruel and ignominious treaty, the Imperial
officers were forced to massacre several loyal and noble deserters, who
refused to devote themselves to certain death; and the Romans forfeited
all reasonable claims to the friendship of any Scythian people, by this
public confession, that they were destitute either of faith, or power,
to protect the suppliant, who had embraced the throne of Theodosius. 35

33 (return) [ Nova iterum Orienti assurgit ruina... quum nulla ab
Cocidentalibus ferrentur auxilia. Prosper Tyro composed his Chronicle in
the West; and his observation implies a censure.]

3311 (return) [ Five in the last edition of Priscus. Niebuhr, Byz. Hist.
p 147—M]

34 (return) [ According to the description, or rather invective,
of Chrysostom, an auction of Byzantine luxury must have been very
productive. Every wealthy house possessed a semicircular table of massy
silver such as two men could scarcely lift, a vase of solid gold of the
weight of forty pounds, cups, dishes, of the same metal, &c.]

35 (return) [ The articles of the treaty, expressed without much order
or precision, may be found in Priscus, (p. 34, 35, 36, 37, 53, &c.)
Count Marcellinus dispenses some comfort, by observing, 1. That Attila
himself solicited the peace and presents, which he had formerly refused;
and, 2dly, That, about the same time, the ambassadors of India presented
a fine large tame tiger to the emperor Theodosius.]

The firmness of a single town, so obscure, that, except on this
occasion, it has never been mentioned by any historian or geographer,
exposed the disgrace of the emperor and empire. Azimus, or Azimuntium, a
small city of Thrace on the Illyrian borders, 36 had been distinguished
by the martial spirit of its youth, the skill and reputation of the
leaders whom they had chosen, and their daring exploits against the
innumerable host of the Barbarians. Instead of tamely expecting their
approach, the Azimuntines attacked, in frequent and successful
sallies, the troops of the Huns, who gradually declined the dangerous
neighborhood, rescued from their hands the spoil and the captives, and
recruited their domestic force by the voluntary association of fugitives
and deserters. After the conclusion of the treaty, Attila still menaced
the empire with implacable war, unless the Azimuntines were persuaded,
or compelled, to comply with the conditions which their sovereign had
accepted. The ministers of Theodosius confessed with shame, and with
truth, that they no longer possessed any authority over a society of
men, who so bravely asserted their natural independence; and the king of
the Huns condescended to negotiate an equal exchange with the citizens
of Azimus. They demanded the restitution of some shepherds, who,
with their cattle, had been accidentally surprised. A strict, though
fruitless, inquiry was allowed: but the Huns were obliged to swear, that
they did not detain any prisoners belonging to the city, before they
could recover two surviving countrymen, whom the Azimuntines had
reserved as pledges for the safety of their lost companions. Attila,
on his side, was satisfied, and deceived, by their solemn asseveration,
that the rest of the captives had been put to the sword; and that it
was their constant practice, immediately to dismiss the Romans and
the deserters, who had obtained the security of the public faith. This
prudent and officious dissimulation may be condemned, or excused, by the
casuists, as they incline to the rigid decree of St. Augustin, or to
the milder sentiment of St. Jerom and St. Chrysostom: but every soldier,
every statesman, must acknowledge, that, if the race of the Azimuntines
had been encouraged and multiplied, the Barbarians would have ceased to
trample on the majesty of the empire. 37

36 (return) [ Priscus, p. 35, 36. Among the hundred and eighty-two
forts, or castles, of Thrace, enumerated by Procopius, (de Edificiis,
l. iv. c. xi. tom. ii. p. 92, edit. Paris,) there is one of the name of
Esimontou, whose position is doubtfully marked, in the neighborhood of
Anchialus and the Euxine Sea. The name and walls of Azimuntium might
subsist till the reign of Justinian; but the race of its brave defenders
had been carefully extirpated by the jealousy of the Roman princes]

37 (return) [ The peevish dispute of St. Jerom and St. Augustin, who
labored, by different expedients, to reconcile the seeming quarrel of
the two apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, depends on the solution of
an important question, (Middleton's Works, vol. ii. p. 5-20,) which has
been frequently agitated by Catholic and Protestant divines, and even by
lawyers and philosophers of every age.]

It would have been strange, indeed, if Theodosius had purchased, by the
loss of honor, a secure and solid tranquillity, or if his tameness had
not invited the repetition of injuries. The Byzantine court was insulted
by five or six successive embassies; 38 and the ministers of Attila were
uniformly instructed to press the tardy or imperfect execution of the
last treaty; to produce the names of fugitives and deserters, who were
still protected by the empire; and to declare, with seeming moderation,
that, unless their sovereign obtained complete and immediate
satisfaction, it would be impossible for him, were it even his wish, to
check the resentment of his warlike tribes. Besides the motives of pride
and interest, which might prompt the king of the Huns to continue this
train of negotiation, he was influenced by the less honorable view of
enriching his favorites at the expense of his enemies. The Imperial
treasury was exhausted, to procure the friendly offices of the
ambassadors and their principal attendants, whose favorable report might
conduce to the maintenance of peace. The Barbarian monarch was flattered
by the liberal reception of his ministers; he computed, with pleasure,
the value and splendor of their gifts, rigorously exacted the
performance of every promise which would contribute to their private
emolument, and treated as an important business of state the marriage
of his secretary Constantius. 39 That Gallic adventurer, who was
recommended by Aetius to the king of the Huns, had engaged his service
to the ministers of Constantinople, for the stipulated reward of a
wealthy and noble wife; and the daughter of Count Saturninus was chosen
to discharge the obligations of her country. The reluctance of the
victim, some domestic troubles, and the unjust confiscation of her
fortune, cooled the ardor of her interested lover; but he still
demanded, in the name of Attila, an equivalent alliance; and, after
many ambiguous delays and excuses, the Byzantine court was compelled to
sacrifice to this insolent stranger the widow of Armatius, whose birth,
opulence, and beauty, placed her in the most illustrious rank of the
Roman matrons. For these importunate and oppressive embassies, Attila
claimed a suitable return: he weighed, with suspicious pride, the
character and station of the Imperial envoys; but he condescended to
promise that he would advance as far as Sardica to receive any ministers
who had been invested with the consular dignity. The council of
Theodosius eluded this proposal, by representing the desolate and ruined
condition of Sardica, and even ventured to insinuate that every officer
of the army or household was qualified to treat with the most powerful
princes of Scythia. Maximin, 40 a respectable courtier, whose abilities
had been long exercised in civil and military employments, accepted,
with reluctance, the troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, commission of
reconciling the angry spirit of the king of the Huns. His friend,
the historian Priscus, 41 embraced the opportunity of observing the
Barbarian hero in the peaceful and domestic scenes of life: but the
secret of the embassy, a fatal and guilty secret, was intrusted only to
the interpreter Vigilius. The two last ambassadors of the Huns, Orestes,
a noble subject of the Pannonian province, and Edecon, a valiant
chieftain of the tribe of the Scyrri, returned at the same time from
Constantinople to the royal camp. Their obscure names were afterwards
illustrated by the extraordinary fortune and the contrast of their sons:
the two servants of Attila became the fathers of the last Roman emperor
of the West, and of the first Barbarian king of Italy.

38 (return) [ Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c. c. xix.)
has delineated, with a bold and easy pencil, some of the most striking
circumstances of the pride of Attila, and the disgrace of the Romans. He
deserves the praise of having read the Fragments of Priscus, which have
been too much disregarded.]

39 (return) [ See Priscus, p. 69, 71, 72, &c. I would fain believe, that
this adventurer was afterwards crucified by the order of Attila, on a
suspicion of treasonable practices; but Priscus (p. 57) has too plainly
distinguished two persons of the name of Constantius, who, from the
similar events of their lives, might have been easily confounded.]

40 (return) [ In the Persian treaty, concluded in the year 422, the wise
and eloquent Maximin had been the assessor of Ardaburius, (Socrates,
l. vii. c. 20.) When Marcian ascended the throne, the office of Great
Chamberlain was bestowed on Maximin, who is ranked, in the public edict,
among the four principal ministers of state, (Novell. ad Calc. Cod.
Theod. p. 31.) He executed a civil and military commission in the
Eastern provinces; and his death was lamented by the savages of
Aethiopia, whose incursions he had repressed. See Priscus, p. 40, 41.]

41 (return) [ Priscus was a native of Panium in Thrace, and deserved,
by his eloquence, an honorable place among the sophists of the age.
His Byzantine history, which related to his own times, was comprised
in seven books. See Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 235, 236.
Notwithstanding the charitable judgment of the critics, I suspect that
Priscus was a Pagan. * Note: Niebuhr concurs in this opinion. Life of
Priscus in the new edition of the Byzantine historians.—M]

The ambassadors, who were followed by a numerous train of men and
horses, made their first halt at Sardica, at the distance of three
hundred and fifty miles, or thirteen days' journey, from Constantinople.
As the remains of Sardica were still included within the limits of
the empire, it was incumbent on the Romans to exercise the duties of
hospitality. They provided, with the assistance of the provincials, a
sufficient number of sheep and oxen, and invited the Huns to a splendid,
or at least, a plentiful supper. But the harmony of the entertainment
was soon disturbed by mutual prejudice and indiscretion. The greatness
of the emperor and the empire was warmly maintained by their ministers;
the Huns, with equal ardor, asserted the superiority of their victorious
monarch: the dispute was inflamed by the rash and unseasonable flattery
of Vigilius, who passionately rejected the comparison of a mere mortal
with the divine Theodosius; and it was with extreme difficulty that
Maximin and Priscus were able to divert the conversation, or to soothe
the angry minds, of the Barbarians. When they rose from table, the
Imperial ambassador presented Edecon and Orestes with rich gifts of silk
robes and Indian pearls, which they thankfully accepted. Yet Orestes
could not forbear insinuating that he had not always been treated with
such respect and liberality: and the offensive distinction which
was implied, between his civil office and the hereditary rank of his
colleague seems to have made Edecon a doubtful friend, and Orestes an
irreconcilable enemy. After this entertainment, they travelled about one
hundred miles from Sardica to Naissus. That flourishing city, which has
given birth to the great Constantine, was levelled with the ground: the
inhabitants were destroyed or dispersed; and the appearance of some
sick persons, who were still permitted to exist among the ruins of
the churches, served only to increase the horror of the prospect. The
surface of the country was covered with the bones of the slain; and the
ambassadors, who directed their course to the north-west, were obliged
to pass the hills of modern Servia, before they descended into the flat
and marshy grounds which are terminated by the Danube. The Huns were
masters of the great river: their navigation was performed in large
canoes, hollowed out of the trunk of a single tree; the ministers of
Theodosius were safely landed on the opposite bank; and their Barbarian
associates immediately hastened to the camp of Attila, which was equally
prepared for the amusements of hunting or of war. No sooner had
Maximin advanced about two miles 4111 from the Danube, than he began
to experience the fastidious insolence of the conqueror. He was sternly
forbid to pitch his tents in a pleasant valley, lest he should infringe
the distant awe that was due to the royal mansion. 4112 The ministers of
Attila pressed them to communicate the business, and the instructions,
which he reserved for the ear of their sovereign. When Maximin
temperately urged the contrary practice of nations, he was still more
confounded to find that the resolutions of the Sacred Consistory,
those secrets (says Priscus) which should not be revealed to the gods
themselves, had been treacherously disclosed to the public enemy. On his
refusal to comply with such ignominious terms, the Imperial envoy was
commanded instantly to depart; the order was recalled; it was again
repeated; and the Huns renewed their ineffectual attempts to subdue the
patient firmness of Maximin. At length, by the intercession of Scotta,
the brother of Onegesius, whose friendship had been purchased by a
liberal gift, he was admitted to the royal presence; but, in stead of
obtaining a decisive answer, he was compelled to undertake a
remote journey towards the north, that Attila might enjoy the proud
satisfaction of receiving, in the same camp, the ambassadors of the
Eastern and Western empires. His journey was regulated by the guides,
who obliged him to halt, to hasten his march, or to deviate from the
common road, as it best suited the convenience of the king. The Romans,
who traversed the plains of Hungary, suppose that they passed several
navigable rivers, either in canoes or portable boats; but there is
reason to suspect that the winding stream of the Teyss, or Tibiscus,
might present itself in different places under different names. From
the contiguous villages they received a plentiful and regular supply of
provisions; mead instead of wine, millet in the place of bread, and a
certain liquor named camus, which according to the report of Priscus,
was distilled from barley. 42 Such fare might appear coarse and
indelicate to men who had tasted the luxury of Constantinople; but,
in their accidental distress, they were relieved by the gentleness and
hospitality of the same Barbarians, so terrible and so merciless in war.
The ambassadors had encamped on the edge of a large morass. A violent
tempest of wind and rain, of thunder and lightning, overturned their
tents, immersed their baggage and furniture in the water, and scattered
their retinue, who wandered in the darkness of the night, uncertain of
their road, and apprehensive of some unknown danger, till they awakened
by their cries the inhabitants of a neighboring village, the property
of the widow of Bleda. A bright illumination, and, in a few moments, a
comfortable fire of reeds, was kindled by their officious benevolence;
the wants, and even the desires, of the Romans were liberally satisfied;
and they seem to have been embarrassed by the singular politeness of
Bleda's widow, who added to her other favors the gift, or at least the
loan, of a sufficient number of beautiful and obsequious damsels. The
sunshine of the succeeding day was dedicated to repose, to collect and
dry the baggage, and to the refreshment of the men and horses: but,
in the evening, before they pursued their journey, the ambassadors
expressed their gratitude to the bounteous lady of the village, by a
very acceptable present of silver cups, red fleeces, dried fruits, and
Indian pepper. Soon after this adventure, they rejoined the march of
Attila, from whom they had been separated about six days, and slowly
proceeded to the capital of an empire, which did not contain, in the
space of several thousand miles, a single city.

4111 (return) [ 70 stadia. Priscus, 173.—M.]

4112 (return) [ He was forbidden to pitch his tents on an eminence
because Attila's were below on the plain. Ibid.—M.]

42 (return) [ The Huns themselves still continued to despise the labors
of agriculture: they abused the privilege of a victorious nation; and
the Goths, their industrious subjects, who cultivated the earth, dreaded
their neighborhood, like that of so many ravenous wolves, (Priscus,
p. 45.) In the same manner the Sarts and Tadgics provide for their own
subsistence, and for that of the Usbec Tartars, their lazy and rapacious
sovereigns. See Genealogical History of the Tartars, p. 423 455, &c.]

As far as we may ascertain the vague and obscure geography of Priscus,
this capital appears to have been seated between the Danube, the Teyss,
and the Carpathian hills, in the plains of Upper Hungary, and most
probably in the neighborhood of Jezberin, Agria, or Tokay. 43 In its
origin it could be no more than an accidental camp, which, by the long
and frequent residence of Attila, had insensibly swelled into a huge
village, for the reception of his court, of the troops who followed his
person, and of the various multitude of idle or industrious slaves and
retainers. 44 The baths, constructed by Onegesius, were the only edifice
of stone; the materials had been transported from Pannonia; and since
the adjacent country was destitute even of large timber, it may be
presumed, that the meaner habitations of the royal village consisted of
straw, or mud, or of canvass. The wooden houses of the more illustrious
Huns were built and adorned with rude magnificence, according to the
rank, the fortune, or the taste of the proprietors. They seem to have
been distributed with some degree of order and symmetry; and each spot
became more honorable as it approached the person of the sovereign. The
palace of Attila, which surpassed all other houses in his dominions,
was built entirely of wood, and covered an ample space of ground.
The outward enclosure was a lofty wall, or palisade, of smooth square
timber, intersected with high towers, but intended rather for ornament
than defence. This wall, which seems to have encircled the declivity of
a hill, comprehended a great variety of wooden edifices, adapted to the
uses of royalty.

A separate house was assigned to each of the numerous wives of Attila;
and, instead of the rigid and illiberal confinement imposed by Asiatic
jealousy they politely admitted the Roman ambassadors to their presence,
their table, and even to the freedom of an innocent embrace. When
Maximin offered his presents to Cerca, 4411 the principal queen, he
admired the singular architecture on her mansion, the height of the
round columns, the size and beauty of the wood, which was curiously
shaped or turned or polished or carved; and his attentive eye was able
to discover some taste in the ornaments and some regularity in the
proportions. After passing through the guards, who watched before the
gate, the ambassadors were introduced into the private apartment of
Cerca. The wife of Attila received their visit sitting, or rather lying,
on a soft couch; the floor was covered with a carpet; the domestics
formed a circle round the queen; and her damsels, seated on the ground,
were employed in working the variegated embroidery which adorned the
dress of the Barbaric warriors. The Huns were ambitious of displaying
those riches which were the fruit and evidence of their victories: the
trappings of their horses, their swords, and even their shoes, were
studded with gold and precious stones; and their tables were profusely
spread with plates, and goblets, and vases of gold and silver, which had
been fashioned by the labor of Grecian artists.

The monarch alone assumed the superior pride of still adhering to the
simplicity of his Scythian ancestors. 45 The dress of Attila, his arms,
and the furniture of his horse, were plain, without ornament, and of a
single color. The royal table was served in wooden cups and platters;
flesh was his only food; and the conqueror of the North never tasted the
luxury of bread.

43 (return) [ It is evident that Priscus passed the Danube and the
Teyss, and that he did not reach the foot of the Carpathian hills.
Agria, Tokay, and Jazberin, are situated in the plains circumscribed
by this definition. M. de Buat (Histoire des Peuples, &c., tom. vii.
p. 461) has chosen Tokay; Otrokosci, (p. 180, apud Mascou, ix. 23,)
a learned Hungarian, has preferred Jazberin, a place about thirty-six
miles westward of Buda and the Danube. * Note: M. St. Martin considers
the narrative of Priscus, the only authority of M. de Buat and of
Gibbon, too vague to fix the position of Attila's camp. "It is worthy of
remark, that in the Hungarian traditions collected by Thwrocz, l. 2, c.
17, precisely on the left branch of the Danube, where Attila's residence
was situated, in the same parallel stands the present city of Buda, in
Hungarian Buduvur. It is for this reason that this city has retained
for a long time among the Germans of Hungary the name of Etzelnburgh or
Etzela-burgh, i. e., the city of Attila. The distance of Buda from the
place where Priscus crossed the Danube, on his way from Naissus, is
equal to that which he traversed to reach the residence of the king of
the Huns. I see no good reason for not acceding to the relations of the
Hungarian historians." St. Martin, vi. 191.—M]

44 (return) [ The royal village of Attila may be compared to the city of
Karacorum, the residence of the successors of Zingis; which, though it
appears to have been a more stable habitation, did not equal the size or
splendor of the town and abbey of St. Denys, in the 13th century. (See
Rubruquis, in the Histoire Generale des Voyages, tom. vii p. 286.) The
camp of Aurengzebe, as it is so agreeably described by Bernier, (tom.
ii. p. 217-235,) blended the manners of Scythia with the magnificence
and luxury of Hindostan.]

4411 (return) [ The name of this queen occurs three times in Priscus,
and always in a different form—Cerca, Creca, and Rheca. The
Scandinavian poets have preserved her memory under the name of Herkia.
St. Martin, vi. 192.—M.]

45 (return) [ When the Moguls displayed the spoils of Asia, in the diet
of Toncat, the throne of Zingis was still covered with the original
black felt carpet, on which he had been seated, when he was raised to
the command of his warlike countrymen. See Vie de Gengiscan, v. c. 9.]

When Attila first gave audience to the Roman ambassadors on the banks
of the Danube, his tent was encompassed with a formidable guard. The
monarch himself was seated in a wooden chair. His stern countenance,
angry gestures, and impatient tone, astonished the firmness of Maximin;
but Vigilius had more reason to tremble, since he distinctly understood
the menace, that if Attila did not respect the law of nations, he would
nail the deceitful interpreter to the cross. and leave his body to the
vultures. The Barbarian condescended, by producing an accurate list,
to expose the bold falsehood of Vigilius, who had affirmed that no more
than seventeen deserters could be found. But he arrogantly declared,
that he apprehended only the disgrace of contending with his fugitive
slaves; since he despised their impotent efforts to defend the provinces
which Theodosius had intrusted to their arms: "For what fortress,"
(added Attila,) "what city, in the wide extent of the Roman empire, can
hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that
it should be erased from the earth?" He dismissed, however, the
interpreter, who returned to Constantinople with his peremptory demand
of more complete restitution, and a more splendid embassy.

His anger gradually subsided, and his domestic satisfaction in a
marriage which he celebrated on the road with the daughter of Eslam,
4511 might perhaps contribute to mollify the native fierceness of his
temper. The entrance of Attila into the royal village was marked by a
very singular ceremony. A numerous troop of women came out to meet their
hero and their king. They marched before him, distributed into long
and regular files; the intervals between the files were filled by white
veils of thin linen, which the women on either side bore aloft in their
hands, and which formed a canopy for a chorus of young virgins, who
chanted hymns and songs in the Scythian language. The wife of his
favorite Onegesius, with a train of female attendants, saluted Attila
at the door of her own house, on his way to the palace; and offered,
according to the custom of the country, her respectful homage, by
entreating him to taste the wine and meat which she had prepared for his
reception. As soon as the monarch had graciously accepted her hospitable
gift, his domestics lifted a small silver table to a convenient height,
as he sat on horseback; and Attila, when he had touched the goblet with
his lips, again saluted the wife of Onegesius, and continued his march.
During his residence at the seat of empire, his hours were not wasted
in the recluse idleness of a seraglio; and the king of the Huns could
maintain his superior dignity, without concealing his person from the
public view. He frequently assembled his council, and gave audience
to the ambassadors of the nations; and his people might appeal to the
supreme tribunal, which he held at stated times, and, according to the
Eastern custom, before the principal gate of his wooden palace. The
Romans, both of the East and of the West, were twice invited to the
banquets, where Attila feasted with the princes and nobles of Scythia.
Maximin and his colleagues were stopped on the threshold, till they had
made a devout libation to the health and prosperity of the king of the
Huns; and were conducted, after this ceremony, to their respective seats
in a spacious hall. The royal table and couch, covered with carpets and
fine linen, was raised by several steps in the midst of the hall; and
a son, an uncle, or perhaps a favorite king, were admitted to share the
simple and homely repast of Attila. Two lines of small tables, each of
which contained three or four guests, were ranged in order on either
hand; the right was esteemed the most honorable, but the Romans
ingenuously confess, that they were placed on the left; and that Beric,
an unknown chieftain, most probably of the Gothic race, preceded the
representatives of Theodosius and Valentinian. The Barbarian monarch
received from his cup-bearer a goblet filled with wine, and courteously
drank to the health of the most distinguished guest; who rose from his
seat, and expressed, in the same manner, his loyal and respectful vows.
This ceremony was successively performed for all, or at least for the
illustrious persons of the assembly; and a considerable time must have
been consumed, since it was thrice repeated as each course or service
was placed on the table. But the wine still remained after the meat had
been removed; and the Huns continued to indulge their intemperance long
after the sober and decent ambassadors of the two empires had withdrawn
themselves from the nocturnal banquet. Yet before they retired, they
enjoyed a singular opportunity of observing the manners of the nation
in their convivial amusements. Two Scythians stood before the couch of
Attila, and recited the verses which they had composed, to celebrate his
valor and his victories. 4512 A profound silence prevailed in the hall;
and the attention of the guests was captivated by the vocal harmony,
which revived and perpetuated the memory of their own exploits; a
martial ardor flashed from the eyes of the warriors, who were impatient
for battle; and the tears of the old men expressed their generous
despair, that they could no longer partake the danger and glory of the
field. 46 This entertainment, which might be considered as a school of
military virtue, was succeeded by a farce, that debased the dignity of
human nature. A Moorish and a Scythian buffcon successively excited
the mirth of the rude spectators, by their deformed figure, ridiculous
dress, antic gestures, absurd speeches, and the strange, unintelligible
confusion of the Latin, the Gothic, and the Hunnic languages; and the
hall resounded with loud and licentious peals of laughter. In the midst
of this intemperate riot, Attila alone, without a change of countenance,
maintained his steadfast and inflexible gravity; which was never
relaxed, except on the entrance of Irnac, the youngest of his sons: he
embraced the boy with a smile of paternal tenderness, gently pinched him
by the cheek, and betrayed a partial affection, which was justified by
the assurance of his prophets, that Irnac would be the future support of
his family and empire. Two days afterwards, the ambassadors received a
second invitation; and they had reason to praise the politeness, as
well as the hospitality, of Attila. The king of the Huns held a long and
familiar conversation with Maximin; but his civility was interrupted
by rude expressions and haughty reproaches; and he was provoked, by a
motive of interest, to support, with unbecoming zeal, the private claims
of his secretary Constantius.

"The emperor" (said Attila) "has long promised him a rich wife:
Constantius must not be disappointed; nor should a Roman emperor deserve
the name of liar." On the third day, the ambassadors were dismissed; the
freedom of several captives was granted, for a moderate ransom, to
their pressing entreaties; and, besides the royal presents, they were
permitted to accept from each of the Scythian nobles the honorable
and useful gift of a horse. Maximin returned, by the same road, to
Constantinople; and though he was involved in an accidental dispute with
Beric, the new ambassador of Attila, he flattered himself that he had
contributed, by the laborious journey, to confirm the peace and alliance
of the two nations.

4511 (return) [ Was this his own daughter, or the daughter of a person
named Escam? (Gibbon has written incorrectly Eslam, an unknown name.
The officer of Attila, called Eslas.) In either case the construction
is imperfect: a good Greek writer would have introduced an article to
determine the sense. Nor is it quite clear, whether Scythian usage is
adduced to excuse the polygamy, or a marriage, which would be considered
incestuous in other countries. The Latin version has carefully preserved
the ambiguity, filiam Escam uxorem. I am not inclined to construe it
'his own daughter' though I have too little confidence in the uniformity
of the grammatical idioms of the Byzantines (though Priscus is one of
the best) to express myself without hesitation.-M.]

4512 (return) [ This passage is remarkable from the connection of the
name of Attila with that extraordinary cycle of poetry, which is found
in different forms in almost all the Teutonic languages.]

A Latin poem, de prima expeditione Attilae, Regis Hunnorum, in Gallias,
was published in the year 1780, by Fischer at Leipsic. It contains,
with the continuation, 1452 lines. It abounds in metrical faults, but is
occasionally not without some rude spirit and some copiousness of fancy
in the variation of the circumstances in the different combats of the
hero Walther, prince of Aquitania. It contains little which can be
supposed historical, and still less which is characteristic concerning
Attila. It relates to a first expedition of Attila into Europe which
cannot be traced in history, during which the kings of the Franks, of
the Burgundians, and of Aquitaine, submit themselves, and give hostages
to Attila: the king of the Franks, a personage who seems the same
with the Hagen of Teutonic romance; the king of Burgundy, his daughter
Heldgund; the king of Aquitaine, his son Walther. The main subject of
the poem is the escape of Walther and Heldgund from the camp of Attila,
and the combat between Walther and Gunthar, king of the Franks. with his
twelve peers, among whom is Hagen. Walther had been betrayed while he
passed through Worms, the city of the Frankish king. by paying for his
ferry over the Rhine with some strange fish, which he had caught during
his flight, and which were unknown in the waters of the Rhine. Gunthar
was desirous of plundering him of the treasure, which Walther had
carried off from the camp of Attila. The author of this poem is unknown,
nor can I, on the vague and rather doubtful allusion to Thule, as
Iceland, venture to assign its date. It was, evidently, recited in a
monastery, as appears by the first line; and no doubt composed there.
The faults of metre would point out a late date; and it may have been
formed upon some local tradition, as Walther, the hero, seems to have
turned monk.

This poem, however, in its character and its incidents, bears no
relation to the Teutonic cycle, of which the Nibelungen Lied is the most
complete form. In this, in the Heldenbuch, in some of the Danish Sagas.
in countess lays and ballads in all the dialects of Scandinavia, appears
King Etzel (Attila) in strife with the Burgundians and the Franks. With
these appears, by a poetic anachronism, Dietrich of Berne. (Theodoric of
Verona,) the celebrated Ostrogothic king; and many other very singular
coincidences of historic names, which appear in the poems. (See Lachman
Kritik der Sage in his volume of various readings to the Nibelungen;
Berlin, 1836, p. 336.)



Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part III.

I must acknowledge myself unable to form any satisfactory theory as
to the connection of these poems with the history of the time, or the
period, from which they may date their origin; notwithstanding the
laborious investigations and critical sagacity of the Schlegels, the
Grimms, of P. E. Muller and Lachman, and a whole host of German critics
and antiquaries; not to omit our own countryman, Mr. Herbert, whose
theory concerning Attila is certainly neither deficient in boldness nor
originality. I conceive the only way to obtain any thing like a clear
conception on this point would be what Lachman has begun, (see above,)
patiently to collect and compare the various forms which the traditions
have assumed, without any preconceived, either mythical or poetical,
theory, and, if possible, to discover the original basis of the whole
rich and fantastic legend. One point, which to me is strongly in favor
of the antiquity of this poetic cycle, is, that the manners are so
clearly anterior to chivalry, and to the influence exercised on the
poetic literature of Europe by the chivalrous poems and romances. I
think I find some traces of that influence in the Latin poem, though
strained through the imagination of a monk. The English reader will find
an amusing account of the German Nibelungen and Heldenbuch, and of
some of the Scandinavian Sagas, in the volume of Northern Antiquities
published by Weber, the friend of Sir Walter Scott. Scott himself
contributed a considerable, no doubt far the most valuable, part to the
work. 4612 4712

See also the various German editions of the Nibelungen, to which
Lachman, with true German perseverance, has compiled a thick volume of
various readings; the Heldenbuch, the old Danish poems by Grimm, the
Eddas, &c. Herbert's Attila, p. 510, et seq.—M.]

46 (return) [ If we may believe Plutarch, (in Demetrio, tom. v. p. 24,)
it was the custom of the Scythians, when they indulged in the pleasures
of the table, to awaken their languid courage by the martial harmony of
twanging their bow-strings.]

4612 (return) [ The Scythian was an idiot or lunatic; the Moor a regular
buffcon—M.]

4712 (return) [ The curious narrative of this embassy, which required
few observations, and was not susceptible of any collateral evidence,
may be found in Priscus, p. 49-70. But I have not confined myself to the
same order; and I had previously extracted the historical circumstances,
which were less intimately connected with the journey, and business, of
the Roman ambassadors.]

But the Roman ambassador was ignorant of the treacherous design, which
had been concealed under the mask of the public faith. The surprise
and satisfaction of Edecon, when he contemplated the splendor of
Constantinople, had encouraged the interpreter Vigilius to procure for
him a secret interview with the eunuch Chrysaphius, 48 who governed the
emperor and the empire. After some previous conversation, and a mutual
oath of secrecy, the eunuch, who had not, from his own feelings or
experience, imbibed any exalted notions of ministerial virtue, ventured
to propose the death of Attila, as an important service, by which Edecon
might deserve a liberal share of the wealth and luxury which he
admired. The ambassador of the Huns listened to the tempting offer; and
professed, with apparent zeal, his ability, as well as readiness, to
execute the bloody deed; the design was communicated to the master of
the offices, and the devout Theodosius consented to the assassination of
his invincible enemy. But this perfidious conspiracy was defeated by
the dissimulation, or the repentance, of Edecon; and though he might
exaggerate his inward abhorrence for the treason, which he seemed to
approve, he dexterously assumed the merit of an early and voluntary
confession. If we now review the embassy of Maximin, and the behavior
of Attila, we must applaud the Barbarian, who respected the laws of
hospitality, and generously entertained and dismissed the minister of a
prince who had conspired against his life. But the rashness of Vigilius
will appear still more extraordinary, since he returned, conscious of
his guilt and danger, to the royal camp, accompanied by his son, and
carrying with him a weighty purse of gold, which the favorite eunuch had
furnished, to satisfy the demands of Edecon, and to corrupt the fidelity
of the guards. The interpreter was instantly seized, and dragged before
the tribunal of Attila, where he asserted his innocence with specious
firmness, till the threat of inflicting instant death on his son
extorted from him a sincere discovery of the criminal transaction. Under
the name of ransom, or confiscation, the rapacious king of the Huns
accepted two hundred pounds of gold for the life of a traitor, whom he
disdained to punish. He pointed his just indignation against a nobler
object. His ambassadors, Eslaw and Orestes, were immediately despatched
to Constantinople, with a peremptory instruction, which it was much
safer for them to execute than to disobey. They boldly entered the
Imperial presence, with the fatal purse hanging down from the neck of
Orestes; who interrogated the eunuch Chrysaphius, as he stood beside the
throne, whether he recognized the evidence of his guilt. But the office
of reproof was reserved for the superior dignity of his colleague Eslaw,
who gravely addressed the emperor of the East in the following words:
"Theodosius is the son of an illustrious and respectable parent: Attila
likewise is descended from a noble race; and he has supported, by his
actions, the dignity which he inherited from his father Mundzuk. But
Theodosius has forfeited his paternal honors, and, by consenting to
pay tribute has degraded himself to the condition of a slave. It is
therefore just, that he should reverence the man whom fortune and merit
have placed above him; instead of attempting, like a wicked slave,
clandestinely to conspire against his master." The son of Arcadius, who
was accustomed only to the voice of flattery, heard with astonishment
the severe language of truth: he blushed and trembled; nor did he
presume directly to refuse the head of Chrysaphius, which Eslaw and
Orestes were instructed to demand. A solemn embassy, armed with full
powers and magnificent gifts, was hastily sent to deprecate the wrath
of Attila; and his pride was gratified by the choice of Nomius and
Anatolius, two ministers of consular or patrician rank, of whom the one
was great treasurer, and the other was master-general of the armies of
the East. He condescended to meet these ambassadors on the banks of
the River Drenco; and though he at first affected a stern and haughty
demeanor, his anger was insensibly mollified by their eloquence and
liberality. He condescended to pardon the emperor, the eunuch, and
the interpreter; bound himself by an oath to observe the conditions of
peace; released a great number of captives; abandoned the fugitives and
deserters to their fate; and resigned a large territory, to the south
of the Danube, which he had already exhausted of its wealth and
inhabitants. But this treaty was purchased at an expense which might
have supported a vigorous and successful war; and the subjects of
Theodosius were compelled to redeem the safety of a worthless favorite
by oppressive taxes, which they would more cheerfully have paid for his
destruction. 49

48 (return) [ M. de Tillemont has very properly given the succession of
chamberlains, who reigned in the name of Theodosius. Chrysaphius was the
last, and, according to the unanimous evidence of history, the worst
of these favorites, (see Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 117-119.
Mem. Eccles. tom. xv. p. 438.) His partiality for his godfather the
heresiarch Eutyches, engaged him to persecute the orthodox party]

49 (return) [ This secret conspiracy and its important consequences, may
be traced in the fragments of Priscus, p. 37, 38, 39, 54, 70, 71, 72.
The chronology of that historian is not fixed by any precise date; but
the series of negotiations between Attila and the Eastern empire must be
included within the three or four years which are terminated, A.D. 450.
by the death of Theodosius.]

The emperor Theodosius did not long survive the most humiliating
circumstance of an inglorious life. As he was riding, or hunting, in the
neighborhood of Constantinople, he was thrown from his horse into the
River Lycus: the spine of the back was injured by the fall; and he
expired some days afterwards, in the fiftieth year of his age, and the
forty-third of his reign. 50 His sister Pulcheria, whose authority
had been controlled both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs by the
pernicious influence of the eunuchs, was unanimously proclaimed Empress
of the East; and the Romans, for the first time, submitted to a female
reign. No sooner had Pulcheria ascended the throne, than she indulged
her own and the public resentment, by an act of popular justice. Without
any legal trial, the eunuch Chrysaphius was executed before the gates
of the city; and the immense riches which had been accumulated by the
rapacious favorite, served only to hasten and to justify his punishment.
51 Amidst the general acclamations of the clergy and people, the empress
did not forget the prejudice and disadvantage to which her sex was
exposed; and she wisely resolved to prevent their murmurs by the choice
of a colleague, who would always respect the superior rank and virgin
chastity of his wife. She gave her hand to Marcian, a senator, about
sixty years of age; and the nominal husband of Pulcheria was solemnly
invested with the Imperial purple. The zeal which he displayed for the
orthodox creed, as it was established by the council of Chalcedon, would
alone have inspired the grateful eloquence of the Catholics. But the
behavior of Marcian in a private life, and afterwards on the throne,
may support a more rational belief, that he was qualified to restore and
invigorate an empire, which had been almost dissolved by the successive
weakness of two hereditary monarchs. He was born in Thrace, and educated
to the profession of arms; but Marcian's youth had been severely
exercised by poverty and misfortune, since his only resource, when he
first arrived at Constantinople, consisted in two hundred pieces of
gold, which he had borrowed of a friend. He passed nineteen years in the
domestic and military service of Aspar, and his son Ardaburius; followed
those powerful generals to the Persian and African wars; and obtained,
by their influence, the honorable rank of tribune and senator. His
mild disposition, and useful talents, without alarming the jealousy,
recommended Marcian to the esteem and favor of his patrons; he had
seen, perhaps he had felt, the abuses of a venal and oppressive
administration; and his own example gave weight and energy to the laws,
which he promulgated for the reformation of manners. 52

50 (return) [ Theodorus the Reader, (see Vales. Hist. Eccles. tom. iii.
p. 563,) and the Paschal Chronicle, mention the fall, without specifying
the injury: but the consequence was so likely to happen, and so unlikely
to be invented, that we may safely give credit to Nicephorus Callistus,
a Greek of the fourteenth century.]

51 (return) [ Pulcheriae nutu (says Count Marcellinus) sua cum avaritia
interemptus est. She abandoned the eunuch to the pious revenge of a
son, whose father had suffered at his instigation. Note: Might not the
execution of Chrysaphius have been a sacrifice to avert the anger of
Attila, whose assassination the eunuch had attempted to contrive?—M.]

52 (return) [ de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4. Evagrius, l. ii. c. 1.
Theophanes, p. 90, 91. Novell. ad Calcem. Cod. Theod. tom. vi. p. 30.
The praises which St. Leo and the Catholics have bestowed on Marcian,
are diligently transcribed by Baronius, as an encouragement for future
princes.]



Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part I.

     Invasion Of Gaul By Attila.—He Is Repulsed By Aetius And
     The Visigoths.—Attila Invades And Evacuates Italy.—The
     Deaths Of Attila, Aetius, And Valentinian The Third.

It was the opinion of Marcian, that war should be avoided, as long as
it is possible to preserve a secure and honorable peace; but it was
likewise his opinion, that peace cannot be honorable or secure, if
the sovereign betrays a pusillanimous aversion to war. This temperate
courage dictated his reply to the demands of Attila, who insolently
pressed the payment of the annual tribute. The emperor signified to the
Barbarians, that they must no longer insult the majesty of Rome by the
mention of a tribute; that he was disposed to reward, with becoming
liberality, the faithful friendship of his allies; but that, if they
presumed to violate the public peace, they should feel that he possessed
troops, and arms, and resolution, to repel their attacks. The same
language, even in the camp of the Huns, was used by his ambassador
Apollonius, whose bold refusal to deliver the presents, till he had been
admitted to a personal interview, displayed a sense of dignity, and a
contempt of danger, which Attila was not prepared to expect from the
degenerate Romans. 1 He threatened to chastise the rash successor
of Theodosius; but he hesitated whether he should first direct his
invincible arms against the Eastern or the Western empire. While mankind
awaited his decision with awful suspense, he sent an equal defiance to
the courts of Ravenna and Constantinople; and his ministers saluted the
two emperors with the same haughty declaration. "Attila, my lord,
and thy lord, commands thee to provide a palace for his immediate
reception." 2 But as the Barbarian despised, or affected to despise, the
Romans of the East, whom he had so often vanquished, he soon declared
his resolution of suspending the easy conquest, till he had achieved a
more glorious and important enterprise. In the memorable invasions of
Gaul and Italy, the Huns were naturally attracted by the wealth
and fertility of those provinces; but the particular motives and
provocations of Attila can only be explained by the state of the Western
empire under the reign of Valentinian, or, to speak more correctly,
under the administration of Aetius. 3

1 (return) [ See Priscus, p. 39, 72.]

2 (return) [ The Alexandrian or Paschal Chronicle, which introduces this
haughty message, during the lifetime of Theodosius, may have anticipated
the date; but the dull annalist was incapable of inventing the original
and genuine style of Attila.]

3 (return) [ The second book of the Histoire Critique de l'Etablissement
de la Monarchie Francoise tom. i. p. 189-424, throws great light on the
state of Gaul, when it was invaded by Attila; but the ingenious author,
the Abbe Dubos, too often bewilders himself in system and conjecture.]

After the death of his rival Boniface, Aetius had prudently retired to
the tents of the Huns; and he was indebted to their alliance for his
safety and his restoration. Instead of the suppliant language of a
guilty exile, he solicited his pardon at the head of sixty thousand
Barbarians; and the empress Placidia confessed, by a feeble resistance,
that the condescension, which might have been ascribed to clemency,
was the effect of weakness or fear. She delivered herself, her son
Valentinian, and the Western empire, into the hands of an insolent
subject; nor could Placidia protect the son-in-law of Boniface, the
virtuous and faithful Sebastian, 4 from the implacable persecution which
urged him from one kingdom to another, till he miserably perished in
the service of the Vandals. The fortunate Aetius, who was immediately
promoted to the rank of patrician, and thrice invested with the honors
of the consulship, assumed, with the title of master of the cavalry and
infantry, the whole military power of the state; and he is sometimes
styled, by contemporary writers, the duke, or general, of the Romans of
the West. His prudence, rather than his virtue, engaged him to leave the
grandson of Theodosius in the possession of the purple; and Valentinian
was permitted to enjoy the peace and luxury of Italy, while the
patrician appeared in the glorious light of a hero and a patriot, who
supported near twenty years the ruins of the Western empire. The Gothic
historian ingenuously confesses, that Aetius was born for the salvation
of the Roman republic; 5 and the following portrait, though it is
drawn in the fairest colors, must be allowed to contain a much larger
proportion of truth than of flattery. 411 "His mother was a wealthy and
noble Italian, and his father Gaudentius, who held a distinguished
rank in the province of Scythia, gradually rose from the station of a
military domestic, to the dignity of master of the cavalry. Their son,
who was enrolled almost in his infancy in the guards, was given as
a hostage, first to Alaric, and afterwards to the Huns; 412 and he
successively obtained the civil and military honors of the palace, for
which he was equally qualified by superior merit. The graceful figure
of Aetius was not above the middle stature; but his manly limbs were
admirably formed for strength, beauty, and agility; and he excelled in
the martial exercises of managing a horse, drawing the bow, and darting
the javelin. He could patiently endure the want of food, or of sleep;
and his mind and body were alike capable of the most laborious efforts.
He possessed the genuine courage that can despise not only dangers,
but injuries: and it was impossible either to corrupt, or deceive, or
intimidate the firm integrity of his soul." 6 The Barbarians, who had
seated themselves in the Western provinces, were insensibly taught to
respect the faith and valor of the patrician Aetius. He soothed their
passions, consulted their prejudices, balanced their interests, and
checked their ambition. 611 A seasonable treaty, which he concluded
with Genseric, protected Italy from the depredations of the Vandals;
the independent Britons implored and acknowledged his salutary aid; the
Imperial authority was restored and maintained in Gaul and Spain; and he
compelled the Franks and the Suevi, whom he had vanquished in the field,
to become the useful confederates of the republic.

4 (return) [ Victor Vitensis (de Persecut. Vandal. l. i. 6, p. 8, edit.
Ruinart) calls him, acer consilio et strenuus in bello: but his courage,
when he became unfortunate, was censured as desperate rashness; and
Sebastian deserved, or obtained, the epithet of proeceps, (Sidon.
Apollinar Carmen ix. 181.) His adventures in Constantinople, in Sicily,
Gaul, Spain, and Africa, are faintly marked in the Chronicles of
Marcellinus and Idatius. In his distress he was always followed by a
numerous train; since he could ravage the Hellespont and Propontis, and
seize the city of Barcelona.]

5 (return) [ Reipublicae Romanae singulariter natus, qui superbiam
Suevorum, Francorumque barbariem immensis caedibus servire Imperio
Romano coegisset. Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 34, p. 660.]

411 (return) [ Some valuable fragments of a poetical panegyric on Aetius
by Merobaudes, a Spaniard, have been recovered from a palimpsest MS. by
the sagacity and industry of Niebuhr. They have been reprinted in the
new edition of the Byzantine Historians. The poet speaks in glowing
terms of the long (annosa) peace enjoyed under the administration of
Aetius. The verses are very spirited. The poet was rewarded by a statue
publicly dedicated to his honor in Rome.

     Danuvii cum pace redit, Tanaimque furore
     Exuit, et nigro candentes aethere terras
     Marte suo caruisse jubet.  Dedit otia ferro
     Caucasus, et saevi condemnant praelia reges.
     Addidit hiberni famulantia foedera Rhenus
     Orbis......
     Lustrat Aremoricos jam mitior incola saltus;
     Perdidit et mores tellus, adsuetaque saevo
     Crimine quaesitas silvis celare rapinas,
     Discit inexpertis Cererem committere campis;
     Caesareoque diu manus obluctata labori
     Sustinet acceptas nostro sub consule leges;
     Et quamvis Geticis sulcum confundat aratris,
     Barbara vicinae refugit consortia gentis.
     —Merobaudes, p. 1]

412 (return) [—cum Scythicis succumberet ensibus orbis,

     Telaque Tarpeias premerent Arctoa secures,
     Hostilem fregit rabiem, pignus quesuperbi
     Foederis et mundi pretium fuit.  Hinc modo voti
     Rata fides, validis quod dux premat impiger armis
     Edomuit quos pace puer; bellumque repressit
     Ignarus quid bella forent.  Stupuere feroces
     In tenero jam membra Getae.  Rex ipse, verendum
     Miratus pueri decus et prodentia fatum
     Lumina, primaevas dederat gestare faretras,
     Laudabatque manus librantem et tela gerentem
     Oblitus quod noster erat Pro nescia regis
     Corda, feris quanto populis discrimine constet
     Quod Latium docet arma ducem.
     —Merobaudes, Panegyr. p. 15.—M.]

6 (return) [ This portrait is drawn by Renetus Profuturus Frigeridus, a
contemporary historian, known only by some extracts, which are preserved
by Gregory of Tours, (l. ii. c. 8, in tom. ii. p. 163.) It was probably
the duty, or at least the interest, of Renatus, to magnify the virtues
of Aetius; but he would have shown more dexterity if he had not insisted
on his patient, forgiving disposition.]

611 (return) [

     Insessor Libyes, quamvis, fatalibus armis
     Ausus Elisaei solium rescindere regni,
     Milibus Arctois Tyrias compleverat arces,
     Nunc hostem exutus pactis proprioribus arsit

     Romanam vincire fidem, Latiosque parentes
     Adnumerare sib, sociamque intexere prolem.
    —-Merobaudes, p. 12.—M.]

From a principle of interest, as well as gratitude, Aetius assiduously
cultivated the alliance of the Huns. While he resided in their tents as
a hostage, or an exile, he had familiarly conversed with Attila himself,
the nephew of his benefactor; and the two famous antagonists appeared
to have been connected by a personal and military friendship, which
they afterwards confirmed by mutual gifts, frequent embassies, and the
education of Carpilio, the son of Aetius, in the camp of Attila. By
the specious professions of gratitude and voluntary attachment, the
patrician might disguise his apprehensions of the Scythian conqueror,
who pressed the two empires with his innumerable armies. His demands
were obeyed or eluded. When he claimed the spoils of a vanquished city,
some vases of gold, which had been fraudulently embezzled, the civil and
military governors of Noricum were immediately despatched to satisfy his
complaints: 7 and it is evident, from their conversation with Maximin
and Priscus, in the royal village, that the valor and prudence of Aetius
had not saved the Western Romans from the common ignominy of tribute.
Yet his dexterous policy prolonged the advantages of a salutary peace;
and a numerous army of Huns and Alani, whom he had attached to his
person, was employed in the defence of Gaul. Two colonies of these
Barbarians were judiciously fixed in the territories of Valens and
Orleans; 8 and their active cavalry secured the important passages of
the Rhone and of the Loire. These savage allies were not indeed less
formidable to the subjects than to the enemies of Rome. Their original
settlement was enforced with the licentious violence of conquest;
and the province through which they marched was exposed to all the
calamities of a hostile invasion. 9 Strangers to the emperor or the
republic, the Alani of Gaul was devoted to the ambition of Aetius, and
though he might suspect, that, in a contest with Attila himself, they
would revolt to the standard of their national king, the patrician
labored to restrain, rather than to excite, their zeal and resentment
against the Goths, the Burgundians, and the Franks.

7 (return) [ The embassy consisted of Count Romulus; of Promotus,
president of Noricum; and of Romanus, the military duke. They were
accompanied by Tatullus, an illustrious citizen of Petovio, in the same
province, and father of Orestes, who had married the daughter of Count
Romulus. See Priscus, p. 57, 65. Cassiodorus (Variar. i. 4) mentions
another embassy, which was executed by his father and Carpilio, the son
of Aetius; and, as Attila was no more, he could safely boast of their
manly, intrepid behavior in his presence.]

8 (return) [ Deserta Valentinae urbis rura Alanis partienda traduntur.
Prosper. Tyronis Chron. in Historiens de France, tom. i. p. 639. A few
lines afterwards, Prosper observes, that lands in the ulterior Gaul were
assigned to the Alani. Without admitting the correction of Dubos, (tom.
i. p. 300,) the reasonable supposition of two colonies or garrisons of
Alani will confirm his arguments, and remove his objections.]

9 (return) [ See Prosper. Tyro, p. 639. Sidonius (Panegyr. Avit. 246)
complains, in the name of Auvergne, his native country,

     Litorius Scythicos equites tunc forte subacto
     Celsus Aremorico, Geticum rapiebat in agmen
     Per terras, Averne, tuas, qui proxima quaedue
     Discursu, flammis, ferro, feritate, rapinis,
     Delebant; pacis fallentes nomen inane.

another poet, Paulinus of Perigord, confirms the complaint:—

     Nam socium vix ferre queas, qui durior hoste.
    —-See Dubos, tom. i. p. 330.]

The kingdom established by the Visigoths in the southern provinces of
Gaul, had gradually acquired strength and maturity; and the conduct
of those ambitious Barbarians, either in peace or war, engaged the
perpetual vigilance of Aetius. After the death of Wallia, the Gothic
sceptre devolved to Theodoric, the son of the great Alaric; 10 and his
prosperous reign of more than thirty years, over a turbulent people, may
be allowed to prove, that his prudence was supported by uncommon vigor,
both of mind and body. Impatient of his narrow limits, Theodoric aspired
to the possession of Arles, the wealthy seat of government and commerce;
but the city was saved by the timely approach of Aetius; and the
Gothic king, who had raised the siege with some loss and disgrace, was
persuaded, for an adequate subsidy, to divert the martial valor of his
subjects in a Spanish war. Yet Theodoric still watched, and eagerly
seized, the favorable moment of renewing his hostile attempts. The
Goths besieged Narbonne, while the Belgic provinces were invaded by the
Burgundians; and the public safety was threatened on every side by the
apparent union of the enemies of Rome. On every side, the activity
of Aetius, and his Scythian cavalry, opposed a firm and successful
resistance. Twenty thousand Burgundians were slain in battle; and the
remains of the nation humbly accepted a dependent seat in the mountains
of Savoy. 11 The walls of Narbonne had been shaken by the battering
engines, and the inhabitants had endured the last extremities of famine,
when Count Litorius, approaching in silence, and directing each
horseman to carry behind him two sacks of flour, cut his way through the
intrenchments of the besiegers. The siege was immediately raised; and
the more decisive victory, which is ascribed to the personal conduct of
Aetius himself, was marked with the blood of eight thousand Goths. But
in the absence of the patrician, who was hastily summoned to Italy
by some public or private interest, Count Litorius succeeded to the
command; and his presumption soon discovered that far different talents
are required to lead a wing of cavalry, or to direct the operations of
an important war. At the head of an army of Huns, he rashly advanced to
the gates of Thoulouse, full of careless contempt for an enemy whom his
misfortunes had rendered prudent, and his situation made desperate.
The predictions of the augurs had inspired Litorius with the profane
confidence that he should enter the Gothic capital in triumph; and the
trust which he reposed in his Pagan allies, encouraged him to reject the
fair conditions of peace, which were repeatedly proposed by the bishops
in the name of Theodoric. The king of the Goths exhibited in his
distress the edifying contrast of Christian piety and moderation; nor
did he lay aside his sackcloth and ashes till he was prepared to arm
for the combat. His soldiers, animated with martial and religious
enthusiasm, assaulted the camp of Litorius. The conflict was obstinate;
the slaughter was mutual. The Roman general, after a total defeat,
which could be imputed only to his unskilful rashness, was actually
led through the streets of Thoulouse, not in his own, but in a hostile
triumph; and the misery which he experienced, in a long and ignominious
captivity, excited the compassion of the Barbarians themselves. 12
Such a loss, in a country whose spirit and finances were long since
exhausted, could not easily be repaired; and the Goths, assuming, in
their turn, the sentiments of ambition and revenge, would have planted
their victorious standards on the banks of the Rhone, if the presence
of Aetius had not restored strength and discipline to the Romans. 13 The
two armies expected the signal of a decisive action; but the generals,
who were conscious of each other's force, and doubtful of their own
superiority, prudently sheathed their swords in the field of battle; and
their reconciliation was permanent and sincere. Theodoric, king of
the Visigoths, appears to have deserved the love of his subjects, the
confidence of his allies, and the esteem of mankind. His throne was
surrounded by six valiant sons, who were educated with equal care in
the exercises of the Barbarian camp, and in those of the Gallic schools:
from the study of the Roman jurisprudence, they acquired the theory,
at least, of law and justice; and the harmonious sense of Virgil
contributed to soften the asperity of their native manners. 14 The two
daughters of the Gothic king were given in marriage to the eldest sons
of the kings of the Suevi and of the Vandals, who reigned in Spain and
Africa: but these illustrious alliances were pregnant with guilt
and discord. The queen of the Suevi bewailed the death of a husband
inhumanly massacred by her brother. The princess of the Vandals was
the victim of a jealous tyrant, whom she called her father. The cruel
Genseric suspected that his son's wife had conspired to poison him; the
supposed crime was punished by the amputation of her nose and ears;
and the unhappy daughter of Theodoric was ignominiously returned to the
court of Thoulouse in that deformed and mutilated condition. This horrid
act, which must seem incredible to a civilized age drew tears from every
spectator; but Theodoric was urged, by the feelings of a parent and a
king, to revenge such irreparable injuries. The Imperial ministers, who
always cherished the discord of the Barbarians, would have supplied the
Goths with arms, and ships, and treasures, for the African war; and
the cruelty of Genseric might have been fatal to himself, if the artful
Vandal had not armed, in his cause, the formidable power of the Huns.
His rich gifts and pressing solicitations inflamed the ambition of
Attila; and the designs of Aetius and Theodoric were prevented by the
invasion of Gaul. 15

10 (return) [ Theodoric II., the son of Theodoric I., declares to
Avitus his resolution of repairing, or expiating, the faults which his
grandfather had committed,—

Quae noster peccavit avus, quem fuscat id unum, Quod te, Roma, capit.

Sidon. Panegyric. Avit. 505.

This character, applicable only to the great Alaric, establishes the
genealogy of the Gothic kings, which has hitherto been unnoticed.]

11 (return) [ The name of Sapaudia, the origin of Savoy, is first
mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus; and two military posts are
ascertained by the Notitia, within the limits of that province; a
cohort was stationed at Grenoble in Dauphine; and Ebredunum, or
Iverdun, sheltered a fleet of small vessels, which commanded the Lake of
Neufchatel. See Valesius, Notit. Galliarum, p. 503. D'Anville, Notice de
l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 284, 579.]

12 (return) [ Salvian has attempted to explain the moral government of
the Deity; a task which may be readily performed by supposing that the
calamities of the wicked are judgments, and those of the righteous,
trials.]

13 (return) [

     —Capto terrarum damna patebant
     Litorio, in Rhodanum proprios producere fines,
     Thendoridae fixum; nec erat pugnare  necesse,
     Sed migrare Getis; rabidam trux asperat iram
     Victor; quod sensit Scythicum sub moenibus hostem
     Imputat, et nihil estgravius, si forsitan unquam
     Vincerecontingat, trepido.
     —Panegyr. Avit. 300, &c.

Sitionius then proceeds, according to the duty of a panegyrist, to
transfer the whole merit from Aetius to his minister Avitus.]

14 (return) [ Theodoric II. revered, in the person of Avitus, the
character of his preceptor.

     Mihi Romula dudum
     Per te jura placent; parvumque ediscere jussit
     Ad tua verba pater, docili quo prisca Maronis
     Carmine molliret Scythicos mihi pagina mores.
    —-Sidon. Panegyr. Avit. 495 &c.]

15 (return) [ Our authorities for the reign of Theodoric I. are,
Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 34, 36, and the Chronicles of Idatius,
and the two Prospers, inserted in the historians of France, tom. i. p.
612-640. To these we may add Salvian de Gubernatione Dei, l. vii. p.
243, 244, 245, and the panegyric of Avitus, by Sidonius.]

The Franks, whose monarchy was still confined to the neighborhood of the
Lower Rhine, had wisely established the right of hereditary succession
in the noble family of the Merovingians. 16 These princes were elevated
on a buckler, the symbol of military command; 17 and the royal fashion
of long hair was the ensign of their birth and dignity. Their flaxen
locks, which they combed and dressed with singular care, hung down in
flowing ringlets on their back and shoulders; while the rest of the
nation were obliged, either by law or custom, to shave the hinder part
of their head, to comb their hair over the forehead, and to content
themselves with the ornament of two small whiskers. 18 The lofty stature
of the Franks, and their blue eyes, denoted a Germanic origin; their
close apparel accurately expressed the figure of their limbs; a weighty
sword was suspended from a broad belt; their bodies were protected by
a large shield; and these warlike Barbarians were trained, from their
earliest youth, to run, to leap, to swim; to dart the javelin, or
battle-axe, with unerring aim; to advance, without hesitation, against a
superior enemy; and to maintain, either in life or death, the
invincible reputation of their ancestors. 19 Clodion, the first of their
long-haired kings, whose name and actions are mentioned in authentic
history, held his residence at Dispargum, 20 a village or fortress,
whose place may be assigned between Louvain and Brussels. From the
report of his spies, the king of the Franks was informed, that the
defenceless state of the second Belgic must yield, on the slightest
attack, to the valor of his subjects. He boldly penetrated through the
thickets and morasses of the Carbonarian forest; 21 occupied Tournay
and Cambray, the only cities which existed in the fifth century, and
extended his conquests as far as the River Somme, over a desolate
country, whose cultivation and populousness are the effects of more
recent industry. 22 While Clodion lay encamped in the plains of Artois,
23 and celebrated, with vain and ostentatious security, the marriage,
perhaps, of his son, the nuptial feast was interrupted by the unexpected
and unwelcome presence of Aetius, who had passed the Somme at the
head of his light cavalry. The tables, which had been spread under the
shelter of a hill, along the banks of a pleasant stream, were rudely
overturned; the Franks were oppressed before they could recover their
arms, or their ranks; and their unavailing valor was fatal only to
themselves. The loaded wagons, which had followed their march, afforded
a rich booty; and the virgin-bride, with her female attendants,
submitted to the new lovers, who were imposed on them by the chance of
war. This advance, which had been obtained by the skill and activity of
Aetius, might reflect some disgrace on the military prudence of Clodion;
but the king of the Franks soon regained his strength and reputation,
and still maintained the possession of his Gallic kingdom from the
Rhine to the Somme. 24 Under his reign, and most probably from the
enterprising spirit of his subjects, his three capitals, Mentz, Treves,
and Cologne, experienced the effects of hostile cruelty and avarice. The
distress of Cologne was prolonged by the perpetual dominion of the same
Barbarians, who evacuated the ruins of Treves; and Treves, which in
the space of forty years had been four times besieged and pillaged, was
disposed to lose the memory of her afflictions in the vain amusements
of the Circus. 25 The death of Clodion, after a reign of twenty years,
exposed his kingdom to the discord and ambition of his two sons.
Meroveus, the younger, 26 was persuaded to implore the protection of
Rome; he was received at the Imperial court, as the ally of Valentinian,
and the adopted son of the patrician Aetius; and dismissed to his native
country, with splendid gifts, and the strongest assurances of friendship
and support. During his absence, his elder brother had solicited, with
equal ardor, the formidable aid of Attila; and the king of the Huns
embraced an alliance, which facilitated the passage of the Rhine, and
justified, by a specious and honorable pretence, the invasion of Gaul.
27

16 (return) [ Reges Crinitos se creavisse de prima, et ut ita dicam
nobiliori suorum familia, (Greg. Turon. l. ii. c. 9, p. 166, of the
second volume of the Historians of France.) Gregory himself does not
mention the Merovingian name, which may be traced, however, to the
beginning of the seventh century, as the distinctive appellation of the
royal family, and even of the French monarchy. An ingenious critic has
deduced the Merovingians from the great Maroboduus; and he has clearly
proved, that the prince, who gave his name to the first race, was more
ancient than the father of Childeric. See Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. xx. p. 52-90, tom. xxx. p. 557-587.]

17 (return) [ This German custom, which may be traced from Tacitus
to Gregory of Tours, was at length adopted by the emperors of
Constantinople. From a MS. of the tenth century, Montfaucon has
delineated the representation of a similar ceremony, which the ignorance
of the age had applied to King David. See Monumens de la Monarchie
Francoise, tom. i. Discours Preliminaire.]

18 (return) [ Caesaries prolixa... crinium flagellis per terga dimissis,
&c. See the Preface to the third volume of the Historians of France,
and the Abbe Le Boeuf, (Dissertat. tom. iii. p. 47-79.) This peculiar
fashion of the Merovingians has been remarked by natives and strangers;
by Priscus, (tom. i. p. 608,) by Agathias, (tom. ii. p. 49,) and by
Gregory of Tours, (l. viii. 18, vi. 24, viii. 10, tom. ii. p. 196, 278,
316.)]

19 (return) [ See an original picture of the figure, dress, arms,
and temper of the ancient Franks, in Sidonius Apollinaris, (Panegyr.
Majorian. 238-254;) and such pictures, though coarsely drawn, have a
real and intrinsic value. Father Daniel (History de la Milice Francoise,
tom. i. p. 2-7) has illustrated the description.]

20 (return) [ Dubos, Hist. Critique, &c., tom. i. p. 271, 272. Some
geographers have placed Dispargum on the German side of the Rhine. See a
note of the Benedictine Editors, to the Historians of France, tom. ii p.
166.]

21 (return) [ The Carbonarian wood was that part of the great forest of
the Ardennes which lay between the Escaut, or Scheldt, and the Meuse.
Vales. Notit. Gall. p. 126.]

22 (return) [ Gregor. Turon. l. ii. c. 9, in tom. ii. p. 166, 167.
Fredegar. Epitom. c. 9, p. 395. Gesta Reg. Francor. c. 5, in tom. ii. p.
544. Vit St. Remig. ab Hincmar, in tom. iii. p. 373.]

23 (return) [

     —Francus qua Cloio patentes
     Atrebatum terras pervaserat.
     —Panegyr. Majorian 213

The precise spot was a town or village, called Vicus Helena; and both
the name and place are discovered by modern geographers at Lens See
Vales. Notit. Gall. p. 246. Longuerue, Description de la France tom. ii.
p. 88.]

24 (return) [ See a vague account of the action in Sidonius. Panegyr.
Majorian 212-230. The French critics, impatient to establish their
monarchy in Gaul, have drawn a strong argument from the silence of
Sidonius, who dares not insinuate, that the vanquished Franks were
compelled to repass the Rhine. Dubos, tom. i. p. 322.]

25 (return) [ Salvian (de Gubernat. Dei, l. vi.) has expressed, in vague
and declamatory language, the misfortunes of these three cities, which
are distinctly ascertained by the learned Mascou, Hist. of the Ancient
Germans, ix. 21.]

26 (return) [ Priscus, in relating the contest, does not name the two
brothers; the second of whom he had seen at Rome, a beardless youth,
with long, flowing hair, (Historians of France, tom. i. p. 607, 608.)
The Benedictine Editors are inclined to believe, that they were the
sons of some unknown king of the Franks, who reigned on the banks of the
Neckar; but the arguments of M. de Foncemagne (Mem. de l'Academie, tom.
viii. p. 464) seem to prove that the succession of Clodion was disputed
by his two sons, and that the younger was Meroveus, the father of
Childeric. * Note: The relationship of Meroveus to Clodion is extremely
doubtful.—By some he is called an illegitimate son; by others merely
of his race. Tur ii. c. 9, in Sismondi, Hist. des Francais, i. 177. See
Mezeray.]

27 (return) [ Under the Merovingian race, the throne was hereditary;
but all the sons of the deceased monarch were equally entitled to their
share of his treasures and territories. See the Dissertations of M.
de Foncemagne, in the sixth and eighth volumes of the Memoires de
l'Academie.]



Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part II.

When Attila declared his resolution of supporting the cause of his
allies, the Vandals and the Franks, at the same time, and almost in the
spirit of romantic chivalry, the savage monarch professed himself
the lover and the champion of the princess Honoria. The sister of
Valentinian was educated in the palace of Ravenna; and as her marriage
might be productive of some danger to the state, she was raised, by the
title of Augusta, 28 above the hopes of the most presumptuous subject.
But the fair Honoria had no sooner attained the sixteenth year of her
age, than she detested the importunate greatness which must forever
exclude her from the comforts of honorable love; in the midst of vain
and unsatisfactory pomp, Honoria sighed, yielded to the impulse of
nature, and threw herself into the arms of her chamberlain Eugenius. Her
guilt and shame (such is the absurd language of imperious man) were soon
betrayed by the appearances of pregnancy; but the disgrace of the royal
family was published to the world by the imprudence of the empress
Placidia who dismissed her daughter, after a strict and shameful
confinement, to a remote exile at Constantinople. The unhappy princess
passed twelve or fourteen years in the irksome society of the sisters
of Theodosius, and their chosen virgins; to whose crown Honoria could
no longer aspire, and whose monastic assiduity of prayer, fasting, and
vigils, she reluctantly imitated. Her impatience of long and hopeless
celibacy urged her to embrace a strange and desperate resolution. The
name of Attila was familiar and formidable at Constantinople; and his
frequent embassies entertained a perpetual intercourse between his camp
and the Imperial palace. In the pursuit of love, or rather of revenge,
the daughter of Placidia sacrificed every duty and every prejudice; and
offered to deliver her person into the arms of a Barbarian, of whose
language she was ignorant, whose figure was scarcely human, and whose
religion and manners she abhorred. By the ministry of a faithful eunuch,
she transmitted to Attila a ring, the pledge of her affection; and
earnestly conjured him to claim her as a lawful spouse, to whom he had
been secretly betrothed. These indecent advances were received, however,
with coldness and disdain; and the king of the Huns continued to
multiply the number of his wives, till his love was awakened by the
more forcible passions of ambition and avarice. The invasion of Gaul
was preceded, and justified, by a formal demand of the princess Honoria,
with a just and equal share of the Imperial patrimony. His predecessors,
the ancient Tanjous, had often addressed, in the same hostile and
peremptory manner, the daughters of China; and the pretensions of Attila
were not less offensive to the majesty of Rome. A firm, but temperate,
refusal was communicated to his ambassadors. The right of female
succession, though it might derive a specious argument from the recent
examples of Placidia and Pulcheria, was strenuously denied; and the
indissoluble engagements of Honoria were opposed to the claims of her
Scythian lover. 29 On the discovery of her connection with the king
of the Huns, the guilty princess had been sent away, as an object of
horror, from Constantinople to Italy: her life was spared; but the
ceremony of her marriage was performed with some obscure and nominal
husband, before she was immured in a perpetual prison, to bewail those
crimes and misfortunes, which Honoria might have escaped, had she not
been born the daughter of an emperor. 30

28 (return) [ A medal is still extant, which exhibits the pleasing
countenance of Honoria, with the title of Augusta; and on the reverse,
the improper legend of Salus Reipublicoe round the monogram of Christ.
See Ducange, Famil. Byzantin. p. 67, 73.]

29 (return) [ See Priscus, p, 39, 40. It might be fairly alleged, that
if females could succeed to the throne, Valentinian himself, who had
married the daughter and heiress of the younger Theodosius, would have
asserted her right to the Eastern empire.]

30 (return) [ The adventures of Honoria are imperfectly related by
Jornandes, de Successione Regn. c. 97, and de Reb. Get. c. 42, p. 674;
and in the Chronicles of Prosper and Marcellinus; but they cannot be
made consistent, or probable, unless we separate, by an interval of time
and place, her intrigue with Eugenius, and her invitation of Attila.]

A native of Gaul, and a contemporary, the learned and eloquent Sidonius,
who was afterwards bishop of Clermont, had made a promise to one of his
friends, that he would compose a regular history of the war of Attila.
If the modesty of Sidonius had not discouraged him from the prosecution
of this interesting work, 31 the historian would have related, with the
simplicity of truth, those memorable events, to which the poet, in vague
and doubtful metaphors, has concisely alluded. 32 The kings and nations
of Germany and Scythia, from the Volga perhaps to the Danube, obeyed
the warlike summons of Attila. From the royal village, in the plains of
Hungary his standard moved towards the West; and after a march of seven
or eight hundred miles, he reached the conflux of the Rhine and the
Neckar, where he was joined by the Franks, who adhered to his ally, the
elder of the sons of Clodion. A troop of light Barbarians, who roamed in
quest of plunder, might choose the winter for the convenience of passing
the river on the ice; but the innumerable cavalry of the Huns required
such plenty of forage and provisions, as could be procured only in a
milder season; the Hercynian forest supplied materials for a bridge of
boats; and the hostile myriads were poured, with resistless violence,
into the Belgic provinces. 33 The consternation of Gaul was universal;
and the various fortunes of its cities have been adorned by tradition
with martyrdoms and miracles. 34 Troyes was saved by the merits of
St. Lupus; St. Servatius was removed from the world, that he might not
behold the ruin of Tongres; and the prayers of St. Genevieve diverted
the march of Attila from the neighborhood of Paris. But as the greatest
part of the Gallic cities were alike destitute of saints and soldiers,
they were besieged and stormed by the Huns; who practised, in the
example of Metz, 35 their customary maxims of war. They involved, in
a promiscuous massacre, the priests who served at the altar, and the
infants, who, in the hour of danger, had been providently baptized by
the bishop; the flourishing city was delivered to the flames, and a
solitary chapel of St. Stephen marked the place where it formerly stood.
From the Rhine and the Moselle, Attila advanced into the heart of Gaul;
crossed the Seine at Auxerre; and, after a long and laborious march,
fixed his camp under the walls of Orleans. He was desirous of securing
his conquests by the possession of an advantageous post, which commanded
the passage of the Loire; and he depended on the secret invitation of
Sangiban, king of the Alani, who had promised to betray the city, and to
revolt from the service of the empire. But this treacherous conspiracy
was detected and disappointed: Orleans had been strengthened with recent
fortifications; and the assaults of the Huns were vigorously repelled by
the faithful valor of the soldiers, or citizens, who defended the place.
The pastoral diligence of Anianus, a bishop of primitive sanctity and
consummate prudence, exhausted every art of religious policy to support
their courage, till the arrival of the expected succors. After an
obstinate siege, the walls were shaken by the battering rams; the Huns
had already occupied the suburbs; and the people, who were incapable of
bearing arms, lay prostrate in prayer. Anianus, who anxiously counted
the days and hours, despatched a trusty messenger to observe, from the
rampari, the face of the distant country. He returned twice, without
any intelligence that could inspire hope or comfort; but, in his third
report, he mentioned a small cloud, which he had faintly descried at the
extremity of the horizon. "It is the aid of God!" exclaimed the bishop,
in a tone of pious confidence; and the whole multitude repeated after
him, "It is the aid of God." The remote object, on which every eye
was fixed, became each moment larger, and more distinct; the Roman and
Gothic banners were gradually perceived; and a favorable wind blowing
aside the dust, discovered, in deep array, the impatient squadrons of
Aetius and Theodoric, who pressed forwards to the relief of Orleans.

31 (return) [ Exegeras mihi, ut promitterem tibi, Attilae bellum stylo
me posteris intimaturum.... coeperam scribere, sed operis arrepti fasce
perspecto, taeduit inchoasse. Sidon. Apoll. l. viii. epist. 15, p. 235]

32 (return) [

     Subito cum rupta tumultu
     Barbaries totas in te transfuderat Arctos,

     Gallia.  Pugnacem Rugum comitante Gelono,
     Gepida trux sequitur; Scyrum Burgundio cogit:

     Chunus, Bellonotus, Neurus, Basterna, Toringus,

     Bructerus, ulvosa vel quem Nicer abluit unda

Prorumpit Francus. Cecidit cito secta bipenni Hercynia in lintres, et
Rhenum texuit alno. Et jam terrificis diffuderat Attila turmis In campos
se, Belga, tuos. Panegyr. Avit.]

33 (return) [ The most authentic and circumstantial account of this war
is contained in Jornandes, (de Reb. Geticis, c. 36-41, p. 662-672,) who
has sometimes abridged, and sometimes transcribed, the larger history
of Cassiodorus. Jornandes, a quotation which it would be superfluous to
repeat, may be corrected and illustrated by Gregory of Tours, l. ii. c.
5, 6, 7, and the Chronicles of Idatius, Isidore, and the two Prospers.
All the ancient testimonies are collected and inserted in the Historians
of France; but the reader should be cautioned against a supposed extract
from the Chronicle of Idatius, (among the fragments of Fredegarius, tom.
ii. p. 462,) which often contradicts the genuine text of the Gallician
bishop.]

34 (return) [ The ancient legendaries deserve some regard, as they
are obliged to connect their fables with the real history of their own
times. See the lives of St. Lupus, St. Anianus, the bishops of Metz,
Ste. Genevieve, &c., in the Historians of France, tom. i. p. 644, 645,
649, tom. iii. p. 369.]

35 (return) [ The scepticism of the count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples,
tom. vii. p. 539, 540) cannot be reconciled with any principles of
reason or criticism. Is not Gregory of Tours precise and positive in his
account of the destruction of Metz? At the distance of no more than a
hundred years, could he be ignorant, could the people be ignorant of
the fate of a city, the actual residence of his sovereigns, the kings of
Austrasia? The learned count, who seems to have undertaken the apology
of Attila and the Barbarians, appeals to the false Idatius, parcens
Germaniae et Galliae, and forgets that the true Idatius had explicitly
affirmed, plurimae civitates effractoe, among which he enumerates Metz.]

The facility with which Attila had penetrated into the heart of Gaul,
may be ascribed to his insidious policy, as well as to the terror of his
arms. His public declarations were skilfully mitigated by his private
assurances; he alternately soothed and threatened the Romans and the
Goths; and the courts of Ravenna and Thoulouse, mutually suspicious of
each other's intentions, beheld, with supine indifference, the approach
of their common enemy. Aetius was the sole guardian of the public
safety; but his wisest measures were embarrassed by a faction, which,
since the death of Placidia, infested the Imperial palace: the youth
of Italy trembled at the sound of the trumpet; and the Barbarians, who,
from fear or affection, were inclined to the cause of Attila, awaited
with doubtful and venal faith, the event of the war. The patrician
passed the Alps at the head of some troops, whose strength and numbers
scarcely deserved the name of an army. 36 But on his arrival at Arles,
or Lyons, he was confounded by the intelligence, that the Visigoths,
refusing to embrace the defence of Gaul, had determined to expect,
within their own territories, the formidable invader, whom they
professed to despise. The senator Avitus, who, after the honorable
exercise of the Praetorian praefecture, had retired to his estate
in Auvergne, was persuaded to accept the important embassy, which he
executed with ability and success. He represented to Theodoric, that an
ambitious conqueror, who aspired to the dominion of the earth, could be
resisted only by the firm and unanimous alliance of the powers whom he
labored to oppress. The lively eloquence of Avitus inflamed the Gothic
warriors, by the description of the injuries which their ancestors had
suffered from the Huns; whose implacable fury still pursued them from
the Danube to the foot of the Pyrenees. He strenuously urged, that it
was the duty of every Christian to save, from sacrilegious violation,
the churches of God, and the relics of the saints: that it was the
interest of every Barbarian, who had acquired a settlement in Gaul,
to defend the fields and vineyards, which were cultivated for his use,
against the desolation of the Scythian shepherds. Theodoric yielded to
the evidence of truth; adopted the measure at once the most prudent and
the most honorable; and declared, that, as the faithful ally of Aetius
and the Romans, he was ready to expose his life and kingdom for the
common safety of Gaul. 37 The Visigoths, who, at that time, were in the
mature vigor of their fame and power, obeyed with alacrity the signal of
war; prepared their arms and horses, and assembled under the standard of
their aged king, who was resolved, with his two eldest sons, Torismond
and Theodoric, to command in person his numerous and valiant people. The
example of the Goths determined several tribes or nations, that
seemed to fluctuate between the Huns and the Romans. The indefatigable
diligence of the patrician gradually collected the troops of Gaul and
Germany, who had formerly acknowledged themselves the subjects, or
soldiers, of the republic, but who now claimed the rewards of voluntary
service, and the rank of independent allies; the Laeti, the Armoricans,
the Breones the Saxons, the Burgundians, the Sarmatians, or Alani, the
Ripuarians, and the Franks who followed Meroveus as their lawful prince.
Such was the various army, which, under the conduct of Aetius and
Theodoric, advanced, by rapid marches to relieve Orleans, and to give
battle to the innumerable host of Attila. 38

36 (return) [

     Vix liquerat Alpes
     Aetius, tenue, et rarum sine milite ducens
     Robur, in auxiliis Geticum male credulus agmen
     Incassum propriis praesumens adfore castris.
    —-Panegyr. Avit. 328, &c.]

37 (return) [ The policy of Attila, of Aetius, and of the Visigoths, is
imperfectly described in the Panegyric of Avitus, and the thirty-sixth
chapter of Jornandes. The poet and the historian were both biased
by personal or national prejudices. The former exalts the merit and
importance of Avitus; orbis, Avite, salus, &c.! The latter is anxious
to show the Goths in the most favorable light. Yet their agreement when
they are fairly interpreted, is a proof of their veracity.]

38 (return) [ The review of the army of Aetius is made by Jornandes,
c. 36, p. 664, edit. Grot. tom. ii. p. 23, of the Historians of France,
with the notes of the Benedictine editor. The Loeti were a promiscuous
race of Barbarians, born or naturalized in Gaul; and the Riparii, or
Ripuarii, derived their name from their post on the three rivers,
the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Moselle; the Armoricans possessed the
independent cities between the Seine and the Loire. A colony of Saxons
had been planted in the diocese of Bayeux; the Burgundians were settled
in Savoy; and the Breones were a warlike tribe of Rhaetians, to the east
of the Lake of Constance.]

On their approach the king of the Huns immediately raised the siege, and
sounded a retreat to recall the foremost of his troops from the pillage
of a city which they had already entered. 39 The valor of Attila was
always guided by his prudence; and as he foresaw the fatal consequences
of a defeat in the heart of Gaul, he repassed the Seine, and expected
the enemy in the plains of Chalons, whose smooth and level surface
was adapted to the operations of his Scythian cavalry. But in this
tumultuary retreat, the vanguard of the Romans and their allies
continually pressed, and sometimes engaged, the troops whom Attila had
posted in the rear; the hostile columns, in the darkness of the night
and the perplexity of the roads, might encounter each other without
design; and the bloody conflict of the Franks and Gepidae, in which
fifteen thousand 40 Barbarians were slain, was a prelude to a more
general and decisive action. The Catalaunian fields 41 spread themselves
round Chalons, and extend, according to the vague measurement of
Jornandes, to the length of one hundred and fifty, and the breadth of
one hundred miles, over the whole province, which is entitled to
the appellation of a champaign country. 42 This spacious plain was
distinguished, however, by some inequalities of ground; and the
importance of a height, which commanded the camp of Attila, was
understood and disputed by the two generals. The young and valiant
Torismond first occupied the summit; the Goths rushed with irresistible
weight on the Huns, who labored to ascend from the opposite side: and
the possession of this advantageous post inspired both the troops and
their leaders with a fair assurance of victory. The anxiety of Attila
prompted him to consult his priests and haruspices. It was reported,
that, after scrutinizing the entrails of victims, and scraping their
bones, they revealed, in mysterious language, his own defeat, with the
death of his principal adversary; and that the Barbarians, by accepting
the equivalent, expressed his involuntary esteem for the superior merit
of Aetius. But the unusual despondency, which seemed to prevail among
the Huns, engaged Attila to use the expedient, so familiar to the
generals of antiquity, of animating his troops by a military oration;
and his language was that of a king, who had often fought and conquered
at their head. 43 He pressed them to consider their past glory, their
actual danger, and their future hopes. The same fortune, which opened
the deserts and morasses of Scythia to their unarmed valor, which had
laid so many warlike nations prostrate at their feet, had reserved the
joys of this memorable field for the consummation of their victories.
The cautious steps of their enemies, their strict alliance, and their
advantageous posts, he artfully represented as the effects, not of
prudence, but of fear. The Visigoths alone were the strength and
nerves of the opposite army; and the Huns might securely trample on
the degenerate Romans, whose close and compact order betrayed their
apprehensions, and who were equally incapable of supporting the dangers
or the fatigues of a day of battle. The doctrine of predestination, so
favorable to martia virtue, was carefully inculcated by the king of the
Huns; who assured his subjects, that the warriors, protected by Heaven,
were safe and invulnerable amidst the darts of the enemy; but that the
unerring Fates would strike their victims in the bosom of inglorious
peace. "I myself," continued Attila, "will throw the first javelin,
and the wretch who refuses to imitate the example of his sovereign, is
devoted to inevitable death." The spirit of the Barbarians was rekindled
by the presence, the voice, and the example of their intrepid leader;
and Attila, yielding to their impatience, immediately formed his order
of battle. At the head of his brave and faithful Huns, he occupied in
person the centre of the line. The nations subject to his empire, the
Rugians, the Heruli, the Thuringians, the Franks, the Burgundians, were
extended on either hand, over the ample space of the Catalaunian fields;
the right wing was commanded by Ardaric, king of the Gepidae; and the
three valiant brothers, who reigned over the Ostrogoths, were posted on
the left to oppose the kindred tribes of the Visigoths. The disposition
of the allies was regulated by a different principle. Sangiban, the
faithless king of the Alani, was placed in the centre, where his motions
might be strictly watched, and that the treachery might be instantly
punished. Aetius assumed the command of the left, and Theodoric of the
right wing; while Torismond still continued to occupy the heights which
appear to have stretched on the flank, and perhaps the rear, of the
Scythian army. The nations from the Volga to the Atlantic were assembled
on the plain of Chalons; but many of these nations had been divided by
faction, or conquest, or emigration; and the appearance of similar arms
and ensigns, which threatened each other, presented the image of a civil
war.

39 (return) [ Aurelianensis urbis obsidio, oppugnatio, irruptio,
nec direptio, l. v. Sidon. Apollin. l. viii. Epist. 15, p. 246. The
preservation of Orleans might easily be turned into a miracle, obtained
and foretold by the holy bishop.]

40 (return) [ The common editions read xcm but there is some authority
of manuscripts (and almost any authority is sufficient) for the more
reasonable number of xvm.]

41 (return) [ Chalons, or Duro-Catalaunum, afterwards Catalauni, had
formerly made a part of the territory of Rheims from whence it is
distant only twenty-seven miles. See Vales, Notit. Gall. p. 136.
D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 212, 279.]

42 (return) [ The name of Campania, or Champagne, is frequently
mentioned by Gregory of Tours; and that great province, of which
Rheims was the capital, obeyed the command of a duke. Vales. Notit. p.
120-123.]

43 (return) [ I am sensible that these military orations are usually
composed by the historian; yet the old Ostrogoths, who had served under
Attila, might repeat his discourse to Cassiodorus; the ideas, and even
the expressions, have an original Scythian cast; and I doubt, whether an
Italian of the sixth century would have thought of the hujus certaminis
gaudia.]

The discipline and tactics of the Greeks and Romans form an interesting
part of their national manners. The attentive study of the military
operations of Xenophon, or Caesar, or Frederic, when they are described
by the same genius which conceived and executed them, may tend to
improve (if such improvement can be wished) the art of destroying the
human species. But the battle of Chalons can only excite our curiosity
by the magnitude of the object; since it was decided by the blind
impetuosity of Barbarians, and has been related by partial writers,
whose civil or ecclesiastical profession secluded them from the
knowledge of military affairs. Cassiolorus, however, had familiarly
conversed with many Gothic warriors, who served in that memorable
engagement; "a conflict," as they informed him, "fierce, various,
obstinate, and bloody; such as could not be paralleled either in the
present or in past ages." The number of the slain amounted to one
hundred and sixty-two thousand, or, according to another account, three
hundred thousand persons; 44 and these incredible exaggerations suppose
a real and effective loss sufficient to justify the historian's remark,
that whole generations may be swept away by the madness of kings, in
the space of a single hour. After the mutual and repeated discharge of
missile weapons, in which the archers of Scythia might signalize their
superior dexterity, the cavalry and infantry of the two armies were
furiously mingled in closer combat. The Huns, who fought under the eyes
of their king pierced through the feeble and doubtful centre of the
allies, separated their wings from each other, and wheeling, with
a rapid effort, to the left, directed their whole force against the
Visigoths. As Theodoric rode along the ranks, to animate his troops, he
received a mortal stroke from the javelin of Andages, a noble Ostrogoth,
and immediately fell from his horse. The wounded king was oppressed in
the general disorder, and trampled under the feet of his own cavalry;
and this important death served to explain the ambiguous prophecy of the
haruspices. Attila already exulted in the confidence of victory,
when the valiant Torismond descended from the hills, and verified the
remainder of the prediction. The Visigoths, who had been thrown into
confusion by the flight or defection of the Alani, gradually restored
their order of battle; and the Huns were undoubtedly vanquished, since
Attila was compelled to retreat. He had exposed his person with the
rashness of a private soldier; but the intrepid troops of the centre had
pushed forwards beyond the rest of the line; their attack was faintly
supported; their flanks were unguarded; and the conquerors of Scythia
and Germany were saved by the approach of the night from a total defeat.
They retired within the circle of wagons that fortified their camp; and
the dismounted squadrons prepared themselves for a defence, to which
neither their arms, nor their temper, were adapted. The event was
doubtful: but Attila had secured a last and honorable resource. The
saddles and rich furniture of the cavalry were collected, by his order,
into a funeral pile; and the magnanimous Barbarian had resolved, if his
intrenchments should be forced, to rush headlong into the flames, and to
deprive his enemies of the glory which they might have acquired, by the
death or captivity of Attila. 45

44 (return) [ The expressions of Jornandes, or rather of Cassiodorus,
are extremely strong. Bellum atrox, multiplex, immane, pertinax, cui
simile nulla usquam narrat antiquitas: ubi talia gesta referuntur, ut
nihil esset quod in vita sua conspicere potuisset egregius, qui hujus
miraculi privaretur aspectu. Dubos (Hist. Critique, tom. i. p. 392,
393) attempts to reconcile the 162,000 of Jornandes with the 300,000 of
Idatius and Isidore, by supposing that the larger number included the
total destruction of the war, the effects of disease, the slaughter of
the unarmed people, &c.]

45 (return) [ The count de Buat, (Hist. des Peuples, &c., tom. vii. p.
554-573,) still depending on the false, and again rejecting the true,
Idatius, has divided the defeat of Attila into two great battles; the
former near Orleans, the latter in Champagne: in the one, Theodoric was
slain in the other, he was revenged.]

But his enemies had passed the night in equal disorder and anxiety. The
inconsiderate courage of Torismond was tempted to urge the pursuit, till
he unexpectedly found himself, with a few followers, in the midst of the
Scythian wagons. In the confusion of a nocturnal combat, he was thrown
from his horse; and the Gothic prince must have perished like his
father, if his youthful strength, and the intrepid zeal of his
companions, had not rescued him from this dangerous situation. In the
same manner, but on the left of the line, Aetius himself, separated
from his allies, ignorant of their victory, and anxious for their fate,
encountered and escaped the hostile troops that were scattered over the
plains of Chalons; and at length reached the camp of the Goths, which
he could only fortify with a slight rampart of shields, till the dawn
of day. The Imperial general was soon satisfied of the defeat of Attila,
who still remained inactive within his intrenchments; and when he
contemplated the bloody scene, he observed, with secret satisfaction,
that the loss had principally fallen on the Barbarians. The body of
Theodoric, pierced with honorable wounds, was discovered under a heap of
the slain: is subjects bewailed the death of their king and father; but
their tears were mingled with songs and acclamations, and his funeral
rites were performed in the face of a vanquished enemy. The Goths,
clashing their arms, elevated on a buckler his eldest son Torismond, to
whom they justly ascribed the glory of their success; and the new king
accepted the obligation of revenge as a sacred portion of his paternal
inheritance. Yet the Goths themselves were astonished by the fierce and
undaunted aspect of their formidable antagonist; and their historian has
compared Attila to a lion encompassed in his den, and threatening
his hunters with redoubled fury. The kings and nations who might have
deserted his standard in the hour of distress, were made sensible that
the displeasure of their monarch was the most imminent and inevitable
danger. All his instruments of martial music incessantly sounded a loud
and animating strain of defiance; and the foremost troops who advanced
to the assault were checked or destroyed by showers of arrows from every
side of the intrenchments. It was determined, in a general council
of war, to besiege the king of the Huns in his camp, to intercept his
provisions, and to reduce him to the alternative of a disgraceful
treaty or an unequal combat. But the impatience of the Barbarians soon
disdained these cautious and dilatory measures; and the mature policy
of Aetius was apprehensive that, after the extirpation of the Huns, the
republic would be oppressed by the pride and power of the Gothic nation.
The patrician exerted the superior ascendant of authority and reason
to calm the passions, which the son of Theodoric considered as a duty;
represented, with seeming affection and real truth, the dangers of
absence and delay and persuaded Torismond to disappoint, by his speedy
return, the ambitious designs of his brothers, who might occupy the
throne and treasures of Thoulouse. 46 After the departure of the Goths,
and the separation of the allied army, Attila was surprised at the vast
silence that reigned over the plains of Chalons: the suspicion of some
hostile stratagem detained him several days within the circle of his
wagons, and his retreat beyond the Rhine confessed the last victory
which was achieved in the name of the Western empire. Meroveus and his
Franks, observing a prudent distance, and magnifying the opinion of
their strength by the numerous fires which they kindled every night,
continued to follow the rear of the Huns till they reached the confines
of Thuringia. The Thuringians served in the army of Attila: they
traversed, both in their march and in their return, the territories
of the Franks; and it was perhaps in this war that they exercised the
cruelties which, about fourscore years afterwards, were revenged by the
son of Clovis. They massacred their hostages, as well as their captives:
two hundred young maidens were tortured with exquisite and unrelenting
rage; their bodies were torn asunder by wild horses, or their bones were
crushed under the weight of rolling wagons; and their unburied limbs
were abandoned on the public roads, as a prey to dogs and vultures.
Such were those savage ancestors, whose imaginary virtues have sometimes
excited the praise and envy of civilized ages. 47

46 (return) [ Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 41, p. 671. The policy of
Aetius, and the behavior of Torismond, are extremely natural; and
the patrician, according to Gregory of Tours, (l. ii. c. 7, p. 163,)
dismissed the prince of the Franks, by suggesting to him a similar
apprehension. The false Idatius ridiculously pretends, that Aetius
paid a clandestine nocturnal visit to the kings of the Huns and of the
Visigoths; from each of whom he obtained a bribe of ten thousand pieces
of gold, as the price of an undisturbed retreat.]

47 (return) [ These cruelties, which are passionately deplored by
Theodoric, the son of Clovis, (Gregory of Tours, l. iii. c. 10, p. 190,)
suit the time and circumstances of the invasion of Attila. His residence
in Thuringia was long attested by popular tradition; and he is supposed
to have assembled a couroultai, or diet, in the territory of Eisenach.
See Mascou, ix. 30, who settles with nice accuracy the extent of ancient
Thuringia, and derives its name from the Gothic tribe of the Therungi]



Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part III.

Neither the spirit, nor the forces, nor the reputation, of Attila, were
impaired by the failure of the Gallic expedition In the ensuing spring
he repeated his demand of the princess Honoria, and her patrimonial
treasures. The demand was again rejected, or eluded; and the indignant
lover immediately took the field, passed the Alps, invaded Italy,
and besieged Aquileia with an innumerable host of Barbarians. Those
Barbarians were unskilled in the methods of conducting a regular siege,
which, even among the ancients, required some knowledge, or at least
some practice, of the mechanic arts. But the labor of many thousand
provincials and captives, whose lives were sacrificed without pity,
might execute the most painful and dangerous work. The skill of the
Roman artists might be corrupted to the destruction of their country.
The walls of Aquileia were assaulted by a formidable train of battering
rams, movable turrets, and engines, that threw stones, darts, and fire;
48 and the monarch of the Huns employed the forcible impulse of hope,
fear, emulation, and interest, to subvert the only barrier which delayed
the conquest of Italy. Aquileia was at that period one of the richest,
the most populous, and the strongest of the maritime cities of the
Adriatic coast. The Gothic auxiliaries, who appeared to have served
under their native princes, Alaric and Antala, communicated their
intrepid spirit; and the citizens still remembered the glorious and
successful resistance which their ancestors had opposed to a fierce,
inexorable Barbarian, who disgraced the majesty of the Roman purple.
Three months were consumed without effect in the siege of the Aquileia;
till the want of provisions, and the clamors of his army, compelled
Attila to relinquish the enterprise; and reluctantly to issue his
orders, that the troops should strike their tents the next morning, and
begin their retreat. But as he rode round the walls, pensive, angry, and
disappointed, he observed a stork preparing to leave her nest, in one
of the towers, and to fly with her infant family towards the country.
He seized, with the ready penetration of a statesman, this trifling
incident, which chance had offered to superstition; and exclaimed, in
a loud and cheerful tone, that such a domestic bird, so constantly
attached to human society, would never have abandoned her ancient seats,
unless those towers had been devoted to impending ruin and solitude.
49 The favorable omen inspired an assurance of victory; the siege was
renewed and prosecuted with fresh vigor; a large breach was made in the
part of the wall from whence the stork had taken her flight; the Huns
mounted to the assault with irresistible fury; and the succeeding
generation could scarcely discover the ruins of Aquileia. 50 After this
dreadful chastisement, Attila pursued his march; and as he passed, the
cities of Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced into heaps of
stones and ashes. The inland towns, Vicenza, Verona, and Bergamo, were
exposed to the rapacious cruelty of the Huns. Milan and Pavia submitted,
without resistance, to the loss of their wealth; and applauded the
unusual clemency which preserved from the flames the public, as well as
private, buildings, and spared the lives of the captive multitude. The
popular traditions of Comum, Turin, or Modena, may justly be suspected;
yet they concur with more authentic evidence to prove, that Attila
spread his ravages over the rich plains of modern Lombardy; which are
divided by the Po, and bounded by the Alps and Apennine. 51 When he took
possession of the royal palace of Milan, he was surprised and offended
at the sight of a picture which represented the Caesars seated on their
throne, and the princes of Scythia prostrate at their feet. The revenge
which Attila inflicted on this monument of Roman vanity, was harmless
and ingenious. He commanded a painter to reverse the figures and
the attitudes; and the emperors were delineated on the same canvas,
approaching in a suppliant posture to empty their bags of tributary gold
before the throne of the Scythian monarch. 52 The spectators must have
confessed the truth and propriety of the alteration; and were perhaps
tempted to apply, on this singular occasion, the well-known fable of the
dispute between the lion and the man. 53

48 (return) [ Machinis constructis, omnibusque tormentorum generibus
adhibitis. Jornandes, c. 42, p. 673. In the thirteenth century, the
Moguls battered the cities of China with large engines, constructed by
the Mahometans or Christians in their service, which threw stones from
150 to 300 pounds weight. In the defence of their country, the Chinese
used gunpowder, and even bombs, above a hundred years before they
were known in Europe; yet even those celestial, or infernal, arms were
insufficient to protect a pusillanimous nation. See Gaubil. Hist. des
Mongous, p. 70, 71, 155, 157, &c.]

49 (return) [ The same story is told by Jornandes, and by Procopius, (de
Bell Vandal. l. i. c. 4, p. 187, 188:) nor is it easy to decide which
is the original. But the Greek historian is guilty of an inexcusable
mistake, in placing the siege of Aquileia after the death of Aetius.]

50 (return) [ Jornandes, about a hundred years afterwards, affirms,
that Aquileia was so completely ruined, ita ut vix ejus vestigia, ut
appareant, reliquerint. See Jornandes de Reb. Geticis, c. 42, p. 673.
Paul. Diacon. l. ii. c. 14, p. 785. Liutprand, Hist. l. iii. c. 2. The
name of Aquileia was sometimes applied to Forum Julii, (Cividad del
Friuli,) the more recent capital of the Venetian province. * Note:
Compare the curious Latin poems on the destruction of Aquileia,
published by M. Endlicher in his valuable catalogue of Latin Mss. in the
library of Vienna, p. 298, &c.

 Repleta quondam domibus sublimibus, ornatis mire, niveis, marmorels,
 Nune ferax frugum metiris funiculo ruricolarum.

The monkish poet has his consolation in Attila's sufferings in soul and
body.

 Vindictam tamen non evasit impius destructor tuus Attila sevissimus,
 Nunc igni simul gehennae et vermibus excruciatur—P. 290.—M.]

51 (return) [ In describing this war of Attila, a war so famous, but so
imperfectly known, I have taken for my guides two learned Italians,
who considered the subject with some peculiar advantages; Sigonius,
de Imperio Occidentali, l. xiii. in his works, tom. i. p. 495-502; and
Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. iv. p. 229-236, 8vo. edition.]

52 (return) [ This anecdote may be found under two different articles of
the miscellaneous compilation of Suidas.]

53 (return) [

     Leo respondit, humana, hoc pictum manu:
     Videres hominem dejectum, si pingere
     Leones scirent.
     —Appendix ad Phaedrum, Fab. xxv.

The lion in Phaedrus very foolishly appeals from pictures to the
amphitheatre; and I am glad to observe, that the native taste of La
Fontaine (l. iii. fable x.) has omitted this most lame and impotent
conclusion.]

It is a saying worthy of the ferocious pride of Attila, that the
grass never grew on the spot where his horse had trod. Yet the savage
destroyer undesignedly laid the foundation of a republic, which
revived, in the feudal state of Europe, the art and spirit of commercial
industry. The celebrated name of Venice, or Venetia, 54 was formerly
diffused over a large and fertile province of Italy, from the confines
of Pannonia to the River Addua, and from the Po to the Rhaetian and
Julian Alps. Before the irruption of the Barbarians, fifty Venetian
cities flourished in peace and prosperity: Aquileia was placed in the
most conspicuous station: but the ancient dignity of Padua was supported
by agriculture and manufactures; and the property of five hundred
citizens, who were entitled to the equestrian rank, must have amounted,
at the strictest computation, to one million seven hundred thousand
pounds. Many families of Aquileia, Padua, and the adjacent towns, who
fled from the sword of the Huns, found a safe, though obscure, refuge
in the neighboring islands. 55 At the extremity of the Gulf, where the
Adriatic feebly imitates the tides of the ocean, near a hundred small
islands are separated by shallow water from the continent, and protected
from the waves by several long slips of land, which admit the entrance
of vessels through some secret and narrow channels. 56 Till the middle
of the fifth century, these remote and sequestered spots remained
without cultivation, with few inhabitants, and almost without a
name. But the manners of the Venetian fugitives, their arts and their
government, were gradually formed by their new situation; and one of
the epistles of Cassiodorus, 57 which describes their condition about
seventy years afterwards, may be considered as the primitive monument of
the republic. 571 The minister of Theodoric compares them, in his quaint
declamatory style, to water-fowl, who had fixed their nests on the bosom
of the waves; and though he allows, that the Venetian provinces had
formerly contained many noble families, he insinuates, that they were
now reduced by misfortune to the same level of humble poverty. Fish was
the common, and almost the universal, food of every rank: their only
treasure consisted in the plenty of salt, which they extracted from the
sea: and the exchange of that commodity, so essential to human life,
was substituted in the neighboring markets to the currency of gold and
silver. A people, whose habitations might be doubtfully assigned to the
earth or water, soon became alike familiar with the two elements; and
the demands of avarice succeeded to those of necessity. The islanders,
who, from Grado to Chiozza, were intimately connected with each other,
penetrated into the heart of Italy, by the secure, though laborious,
navigation of the rivers and inland canals. Their vessels, which were
continually increasing in size and number, visited all the harbors of
the Gulf; and the marriage which Venice annually celebrates with
the Adriatic, was contracted in her early infancy. The epistle of
Cassiodorus, the Praetorian praefect, is addressed to the maritime
tribunes; and he exhorts them, in a mild tone of authority, to animate
the zeal of their countrymen for the public service, which required
their assistance to transport the magazines of wine and oil from the
province of Istria to the royal city of Ravenna. The ambiguous office
of these magistrates is explained by the tradition, that, in the twelve
principal islands, twelve tribunes, or judges, were created by an annual
and popular election. The existence of the Venetian republic under the
Gothic kingdom of Italy, is attested by the same authentic record, which
annihilates their lofty claim of original and perpetual independence. 58

54 (return) [ Paul the Deacon (de Gestis Langobard. l. ii. c. 14,
p. 784) describes the provinces of Italy about the end of the eighth
century Venetia non solum in paucis insulis quas nunc Venetias dicimus,
constat; sed ejus terminus a Pannoniae finibus usque Adduam fluvium
protelatur. The history of that province till the age of Charlemagne
forms the first and most interesting part of the Verona (Illustrata,
p. 1-388,) in which the marquis Scipio Maffei has shown himself equally
capable of enlarged views and minute disquisitions.]

55 (return) [ This emigration is not attested by any contemporary
evidence; but the fact is proved by the event, and the circumstances
might be preserved by tradition. The citizens of Aquileia retired to the
Isle of Gradus, those of Padua to Rivus Altus, or Rialto, where the city
of Venice was afterwards built, &c.]

56 (return) [ The topography and antiquities of the Venetian islands,
from Gradus to Clodia, or Chioggia, are accurately stated in the
Dissertatio Chorographica de Italia Medii Aevi. p. 151-155.]

57 (return) [ Cassiodor. Variar. l. xii. epist. 24. Maffei (Verona
Illustrata, part i. p. 240-254) has translated and explained this
curious letter, in the spirit of a learned antiquarian and a faithful
subject, who considered Venice as the only legitimate offspring of the
Roman republic. He fixes the date of the epistle, and consequently the
praefecture, of Cassiodorus, A.D. 523; and the marquis's authority has
the more weight, as he prepared an edition of his works, and actually
published a dissertation on the true orthography of his name. See
Osservazioni Letterarie, tom. ii. p. 290-339.]

571 (return) [ The learned count Figliasi has proved, in his memoirs
upon the Veneti (Memorie de' Veneti primi e secondi del conte Figliasi,
t. vi. Veneziai, 796,) that from the most remote period, this nation,
which occupied the country which has since been called the Venetian
States or Terra Firma, likewise inhabited the islands scattered upon
the coast, and that from thence arose the names of Venetia prima and
secunda, of which the first applied to the main land and the second
to the islands and lagunes. From the time of the Pelasgi and of the
Etrurians, the first Veneti, inhabiting a fertile and pleasant country,
devoted themselves to agriculture: the second, placed in the midst
of canals, at the mouth of several rivers, conveniently situated with
regard to the islands of Greece, as well as the fertile plains of Italy,
applied themselves to navigation and commerce. Both submitted to the
Romans a short time before the second Punic war; yet it was not till
after the victory of Marius over the Cimbri, that their country was
reduced to a Roman province. Under the emperors, Venetia Prima obtained
more than once, by its calamities, a place in history. * * But the
maritime province was occupied in salt works, fisheries, and commerce.
The Romans have considered the inhabitants of this part as beneath the
dignity of history, and have left them in obscurity. * * * They dwelt
there until the period when their islands afforded a retreat to their
ruined and fugitive compatriots. Sismondi. Hist. des Rep. Italiens, v.
i. p. 313.—G. ——Compare, on the origin of Venice, Daru, Hist. de
Venise, vol. i. c. l.—M.]

58 (return) [ See, in the second volume of Amelot de la Houssaie,
Histoire du Gouvernement de Venise, a translation of the famous
Squittinio. This book, which has been exalted far above its merits, is
stained, in every line, with the disingenuous malevolence of party: but
the principal evidence, genuine and apocryphal, is brought together and
the reader will easily choose the fair medium.]

The Italians, who had long since renounced the exercise of arms, were
surprised, after forty years' peace, by the approach of a formidable
Barbarian, whom they abhorred, as the enemy of their religion, as well
as of their republic. Amidst the general consternation, Aetius alone was
incapable of fear; but it was impossible that he should achieve, alone
and unassisted, any military exploits worthy of his former renown. The
Barbarians who had defended Gaul, refused to march to the relief of
Italy; and the succors promised by the Eastern emperor were distant
and doubtful. Since Aetius, at the head of his domestic troops, still
maintained the field, and harassed or retarded the march of Attila, he
never showed himself more truly great, than at the time when his conduct
was blamed by an ignorant and ungrateful people. 59 If the mind of
Valentinian had been susceptible of any generous sentiments, he would
have chosen such a general for his example and his guide. But the timid
grandson of Theodosius, instead of sharing the dangers, escaped from
the sound of war; and his hasty retreat from Ravenna to Rome, from an
impregnable fortress to an open capital, betrayed his secret intention
of abandoning Italy, as soon as the danger should approach his Imperial
person. This shameful abdication was suspended, however, by the spirit
of doubt and delay, which commonly adheres to pusillanimous counsels,
and sometimes corrects their pernicious tendency. The Western emperor,
with the senate and people of Rome, embraced the more salutary
resolution of deprecating, by a solemn and suppliant embassy, the wrath
of Attila. This important commission was accepted by Avienus, who, from
his birth and riches, his consular dignity, the numerous train of his
clients, and his personal abilities, held the first rank in the Roman
senate. The specious and artful character of Avienus 60 was admirably
qualified to conduct a negotiation either of public or private interest:
his colleague Trigetius had exercised the Praetorian praefecture of
Italy; and Leo, bishop of Rome, consented to expose his life for the
safety of his flock. The genius of Leo 61 was exercised and displayed in
the public misfortunes; and he has deserved the appellation of Great, by
the successful zeal with which he labored to establish his opinions
and his authority, under the venerable names of orthodox faith and
ecclesiastical discipline. The Roman ambassadors were introduced to the
tent of Attila, as he lay encamped at the place where the slow-winding
Mincius is lost in the foaming waves of the Lake Benacus, 62 and
trampled, with his Scythian cavalry, the farms of Catullus and Virgil.
63 The Barbarian monarch listened with favorable, and even respectful,
attention; and the deliverance of Italy was purchased by the immense
ransom, or dowry, of the princess Honoria. The state of his army might
facilitate the treaty, and hasten his retreat. Their martial spirit was
relaxed by the wealth and idolence of a warm climate. The shepherds of
the North, whose ordinary food consisted of milk and raw flesh, indulged
themselves too freely in the use of bread, of wine, and of meat,
prepared and seasoned by the arts of cookery; and the progress of
disease revenged in some measure the injuries of the Italians. 64 When
Attila declared his resolution of carrying his victorious arms to the
gates of Rome, he was admonished by his friends, as well as by his
enemies, that Alaric had not long survived the conquest of the eternal
city. His mind, superior to real danger, was assaulted by imaginary
terrors; nor could he escape the influence of superstition, which had so
often been subservient to his designs. 65 The pressing eloquence of
Leo, his majestic aspect and sacerdotal robes, excited the veneration of
Attila for the spiritual father of the Christians. The apparition of
the two apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, who menaced the Barbarian with
instant death, if he rejected the prayer of their successor, is one
of the noblest legends of ecclesiastical tradition. The safety of Rome
might deserve the interposition of celestial beings; and some indulgence
is due to a fable, which has been represented by the pencil of Raphael,
and the chisel of Algardi. 66

59 (return) [ Sirmond (Not. ad Sidon. Apollin. p. 19) has published a
curious passage from the Chronicle of Prosper. Attila, redintegratis
viribus, quas in Gallia amiserat, Italiam ingredi per Pannonias
intendit; nihil duce nostro Aetio secundum prioris belli opera
prospiciente, &c. He reproaches Aetius with neglecting to guard the
Alps, and with a design to abandon Italy; but this rash censure may at
least be counterbalanced by the favorable testimonies of Idatius and
Isidore.]

60 (return) [ See the original portraits of Avienus and his rival
Basilius, delineated and contrasted in the epistles (i. 9. p. 22) of
Sidonius. He had studied the characters of the two chiefs of the senate;
but he attached himself to Basilius, as the more solid and disinterested
friend.]

61 (return) [ The character and principles of Leo may be traced in
one hundred and forty-one original epistles, which illustrate the
ecclesiastical history of his long and busy pontificate, from A.D. 440
to 461. See Dupin, Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, tom. iii. part ii p.
120-165.]

62 (return) [

     Tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat
     Mincius, et tenera praetexit arundine ripas
   ———-
     Anne lacus tantos, te Lari maxime, teque
     Fluctibus, et fremitu assurgens Benace marino.]

63 (return) [ The marquis Maffei (Verona Illustrata, part i. p. 95,
129, 221, part ii. p. 2, 6) has illustrated with taste and learning this
interesting topography. He places the interview of Attila and St. Leo
near Ariolica, or Ardelica, now Peschiera, at the conflux of the lake
and river; ascertains the villa of Catullus, in the delightful peninsula
of Sirmio, and discovers the Andes of Virgil, in the village of Bandes,
precisely situate, qua se subducere colles incipiunt, where the Veronese
hills imperceptibly slope down into the plain of Mantua. * Note: Gibbon
has made a singular mistake: the Mincius flows out of the Bonacus
at Peschiera, not into it. The interview is likewise placed at Ponte
Molino. and at Governolo, at the conflux of the Mincio and the Gonzaga.
bishop of Mantua, erected a tablet in the year 1616, in the church of
the latter place, commemorative of the event. Descrizione di Verona a de
la sua provincia. C. 11, p. 126.—M.]

64 (return) [ Si statim infesto agmine urbem petiissent, grande
discrimen esset: sed in Venetia quo fere tractu Italia mollissima est,
ipsa soli coelique clementia robur elanquit. Ad hoc panis usu carnisque
coctae, et dulcedine vini mitigatos, &c. This passage of Florus (iii.
3) is still more applicable to the Huns than to the Cimbri, and it may
serve as a commentary on the celestial plague, with which Idatius and
Isidore have afflicted the troops of Attila.]

65 (return) [ The historian Priscus had positively mentioned the effect
which this example produced on the mind of Attila. Jornandes, c. 42, p.
673]

66 (return) [ The picture of Raphael is in the Vatican; the basso (or
perhaps the alto) relievo of Algardi, on one of the altars of St. Peter,
(see Dubos, Reflexions sur la Poesie et sur la Peinture, tom. i. p. 519,
520.) Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 452, No. 57, 58) bravely sustains
the truth of the apparition; which is rejected, however, by the most
learned and pious Catholics.]

Before the king of the Huns evacuated Italy, he threatened to return
more dreadful, and more implacable, if his bride, the princess Honoria,
were not delivered to his ambassadors within the term stipulated by the
treaty. Yet, in the mean while, Attila relieved his tender anxiety,
by adding a beautiful maid, whose name was Ildico, to the list of his
innumerable wives. 67 Their marriage was celebrated with barbaric pomp
and festivity, at his wooden palace beyond the Danube; and the monarch,
oppressed with wine and sleep, retired at a late hour from the banquet
to the nuptial bed. His attendants continued to respect his pleasures,
or his repose, the greatest part of the ensuing day, till the unusual
silence alarmed their fears and suspicions; and, after attempting to
awaken Attila by loud and repeated cries, they at length broke into the
royal apartment. They found the trembling bride sitting by the bedside,
hiding her face with her veil, and lamenting her own danger, as well as
the death of the king, who had expired during the night. 68 An artery
had suddenly burst: and as Attila lay in a supine posture, he was
suffocated by a torrent of blood, which, instead of finding a passage
through the nostrils, regurgitated into the lungs and stomach. His body
was solemnly exposed in the midst of the plain, under a silken pavilion;
and the chosen squadrons of the Huns, wheeling round in measured
evolutions, chanted a funeral song to the memory of a hero, glorious in
his life, invincible in his death, the father of his people, the scourge
of his enemies, and the terror of the world. According to their national
custom, the Barbarians cut off a part of their hair, gashed their faces
with unseemly wounds, and bewailed their valiant leader as he deserved,
not with the tears of women, but with the blood of warriors. The remains
of Attila were enclosed within three coffins, of gold, of silver, and
of iron, and privately buried in the night: the spoils of nations were
thrown into his grave; the captives who had opened the ground were
inhumanly massacred; and the same Huns, who had indulged such excessive
grief, feasted, with dissolute and intemperate mirth, about the recent
sepulchre of their king. It was reported at Constantinople, that on the
fortunate night on which he expired, Marcian beheld in a dream the bow
of Attila broken asunder: and the report may be allowed to prove, how
seldom the image of that formidable Barbarian was absent from the mind
of a Roman emperor. 69

67 (return) [ Attila, ut Priscus historicus refert, extinctionis suae
tempore, puellam Ildico nomine, decoram, valde, sibi matrimonium post
innumerabiles uxores... socians. Jornandes, c. 49, p. 683, 684.

He afterwards adds, (c. 50, p. 686,) Filii Attilae, quorum per licentiam
libidinis poene populus fuit. Polygamy has been established among the
Tartars of every age. The rank of plebeian wives is regulated only by
their personal charms; and the faded matron prepares, without a murmur,
the bed which is destined for her blooming rival. But in royal families,
the daughters of Khans communicate to their sons a prior right. See
Genealogical History, p. 406, 407, 408.]

68 (return) [ The report of her guilt reached Constantinople, where
it obtained a very different name; and Marcellinus observes, that the
tyrant of Europe was slain in the night by the hand, and the knife, of
a woman Corneille, who has adapted the genuine account to his tragedy,
describes the irruption of blood in forty bombast lines, and Attila
exclaims, with ridiculous fury,

     S'il ne veut s'arreter, (his blood.)
    (Dit-il) on me payera ce qui m'en va couter.]

69 (return) [ The curious circumstances of the death and funeral of
Attila are related by Jornandes, (c. 49, p. 683, 684, 685,) and were
probably transcribed from Priscus.]

The revolution which subverted the empire of the Huns, established the
fame of Attila, whose genius alone had sustained the huge and disjointed
fabric. After his death, the boldest chieftains aspired to the rank of
kings; the most powerful kings refused to acknowledge a superior; and
the numerous sons, whom so many various mothers bore to the deceased
monarch, divided and disputed, like a private inheritance, the sovereign
command of the nations of Germany and Scythia. The bold Ardaric felt and
represented the disgrace of this servile partition; and his subjects,
the warlike Gepidae, with the Ostrogoths, under the conduct of three
valiant brothers, encouraged their allies to vindicate the rights of
freedom and royalty. In a bloody and decisive conflict on the banks of
the River Netad, in Pannonia, the lance of the Gepidae, the sword of the
Goths, the arrows of the Huns, the Suevic infantry, the light arms of
the Heruli, and the heavy weapons of the Alani, encountered or supported
each other; and the victory of the Ardaric was accompanied with the
slaughter of thirty thousand of his enemies. Ellac, the eldest son of
Attila, lost his life and crown in the memorable battle of Netad: his
early valor had raised him to the throne of the Acatzires, a Scythian
people, whom he subdued; and his father, who loved the superior merit,
would have envied the death of Ellac. 70 His brother, Dengisich, with an
army of Huns, still formidable in their flight and ruin, maintained his
ground above fifteen years on the banks of the Danube. The palace of
Attila, with the old country of Dacia, from the Carpathian hills to the
Euxine, became the seat of a new power, which was erected by Ardaric,
king of the Gepidae. The Pannonian conquests from Vienna to Sirmium,
were occupied by the Ostrogoths; and the settlements of the tribes,
who had so bravely asserted their native freedom, were irregularly
distributed, according to the measure of their respective strength.
Surrounded and oppressed by the multitude of his father's slaves, the
kingdom of Dengisich was confined to the circle of his wagons; his
desperate courage urged him to invade the Eastern empire: he fell in
battle; and his head ignominiously exposed in the Hippodrome, exhibited
a grateful spectacle to the people of Constantinople. Attila had fondly
or superstitiously believed, that Irnac, the youngest of his sons, was
destined to perpetuate the glories of his race. The character of that
prince, who attempted to moderate the rashness of his brother Dengisich,
was more suitable to the declining condition of the Huns; and Irnac,
with his subject hordes, retired into the heart of the Lesser Scythia.
They were soon overwhelmed by a torrent of new Barbarians, who followed
the same road which their own ancestors had formerly discovered. The
Geougen, or Avares, whose residence is assigned by the Greek writers to
the shores of the ocean, impelled the adjacent tribes; till at length
the Igours of the North, issuing from the cold Siberian regions, which
produce the most valuable furs, spread themselves over the desert, as
far as the Borysthenes and the Caspian gates; and finally extinguished
the empire of the Huns. 71

70 (return) [ See Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 50, p. 685, 686, 687,
688. His distinction of the national arms is curious and important.
Nan ibi admirandum reor fuisse spectaculum, ubi cernere erat cunctis,
pugnantem Gothum ense furentem, Gepidam in vulnere suorum cuncta tela
frangentem, Suevum pede, Hunnum sagitta praesumere, Alanum gravi Herulum
levi, armatura, aciem instruere. I am not precisely informed of the
situation of the River Netad.]

71 (return) [ Two modern historians have thrown much new light on the
ruin and division of the empire of Attila; M. de Buat, by his laborious
and minute diligence, (tom. viii. p. 3-31, 68-94,) and M. de Guignes,
by his extraordinary knowledge of the Chinese language and writers. See
Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 315-319.]

Such an event might contribute to the safety of the Eastern empire,
under the reign of a prince who conciliated the friendship, without
forfeiting the esteem, of the Barbarians. But the emperor of the West,
the feeble and dissolute Valentinian, who had reached his thirty-fifth
year without attaining the age of reason or courage, abused this
apparent security, to undermine the foundations of his own throne, by
the murder of the patrician Aetius. From the instinct of a base and
jealous mind, he hated the man who was universally celebrated as the
terror of the Barbarians, and the support of the republic; 711 and his
new favorite, the eunuch Heraclius, awakened the emperor from the supine
lethargy, which might be disguised, during the life of Placidia, 72 by
the excuse of filial piety. The fame of Aetius, his wealth and dignity,
the numerous and martial train of Barbarian followers, his powerful
dependants, who filled the civil offices of the state, and the hopes of
his son Gaudentius, who was already contracted to Eudoxia, the emperor's
daughter, had raised him above the rank of a subject. The ambitious
designs, of which he was secretly accused, excited the fears, as well
as the resentment, of Valentinian. Aetius himself, supported by the
consciousness of his merit, his services, and perhaps his innocence,
seems to have maintained a haughty and indiscreet behavior. The
patrician offended his sovereign by a hostile declaration; he aggravated
the offence, by compelling him to ratify, with a solemn oath, a treaty
of reconciliation and alliance; he proclaimed his suspicions, he
neglected his safety; and from a vain confidence that the enemy, whom
he despised, was incapable even of a manly crime, he rashly ventured his
person in the palace of Rome. Whilst he urged, perhaps with intemperate
vehemence, the marriage of his son, Valentinian, drawing his sword, the
first sword he had ever drawn, plunged it in the breast of a general who
had saved his empire: his courtiers and eunuchs ambitiously struggled
to imitate their master; and Aetius, pierced with a hundred wounds,
fell dead in the royal presence. Boethius, the Praetorian praefect, was
killed at the same moment, and before the event could be divulged, the
principal friends of the patrician were summoned to the palace, and
separately murdered. The horrid deed, palliated by the specious names
of justice and necessity, was immediately communicated by the emperor
to his soldiers, his subjects, and his allies. The nations, who were
strangers or enemies to Aetius, generously deplored the unworthy fate of
a hero: the Barbarians, who had been attached to his service, dissembled
their grief and resentment: and the public contempt, which had been so
long entertained for Valentinian, was at once converted into deep and
universal abhorrence. Such sentiments seldom pervade the walls of a
palace; yet the emperor was confounded by the honest reply of a Roman,
whose approbation he had not disdained to solicit. "I am ignorant, sir,
of your motives or provocations; I only know, that you have acted like a
man who cuts off his right hand with his left." 73

711 (return) [ The praises awarded by Gibbon to the character of Aetius
have been animadverted upon with great severity. (See Mr. Herbert's
Attila. p. 321.) I am not aware that Gibbon has dissembled or palliated
any of the crimes or treasons of Aetius: but his position at the time
of his murder was certainly that of the preserver of the empire, the
conqueror of the most dangerous of the barbarians: it is by no means
clear that he was not "innocent" of any treasonable designs against
Valentinian. If the early acts of his life, the introduction of the Huns
into Italy, and of the Vandals into Africa, were among the proximate
causes of the ruin of the empire, his murder was the signal for its
almost immediate downfall.—M.]

72 (return) [ Placidia died at Rome, November 27, A.D. 450. She was
buried at Ravenna, where her sepulchre, and even her corpse, seated in
a chair of cypress wood, were preserved for ages. The empress received
many compliments from the orthodox clergy; and St. Peter Chrysologus
assured her, that her zeal for the Trinity had been recompensed by an
august trinity of children. See Tillemont, Uist. Jer Emp. tom. vi. p.
240.]

73 (return) [ Aetium Placidus mactavit semivir amens, is the expression
of Sidonius, (Panegyr. Avit. 359.) The poet knew the world, and was not
inclined to flatter a minister who had injured or disgraced Avitus and
Majorian, the successive heroes of his song.]

The luxury of Rome seems to have attracted the long and frequent visits
of Valentinian; who was consequently more despised at Rome than in any
other part of his dominions. A republican spirit was insensibly revived
in the senate, as their authority, and even their supplies, became
necessary for the support of his feeble government. The stately demeano
of an hereditary monarch offended their pride; and the pleasures of
Valentinian were injurious to the peace and honor of noble families. The
birth of the empress Eudoxia was equal to his own, and her charms and
tender affection deserved those testimonies of love which her inconstant
husband dissipated in vague and unlawful amours. Petronius Maximus, a
wealthy senator of the Anician family, who had been twice consul, was
possessed of a chaste and beautiful wife: her obstinate resistance
served only to irritate the desires of Valentinian; and he resolved to
accomplish them, either by stratagem or force. Deep gaming was one of
the vices of the court: the emperor, who, by chance or contrivance, had
gained from Maximus a considerable sum, uncourteously exacted his ring
as a security for the debt; and sent it by a trusty messenger to his
wife, with an order, in her husband's name, that she should immediately
attend the empress Eudoxia. The unsuspecting wife of Maximus was
conveyed in her litter to the Imperial palace; the emissaries of her
impatient lover conducted her to a remote and silent bed-chamber; and
Valentinian violated, without remorse, the laws of hospitality. Her
tears, when she returned home, her deep affliction, and her bitter
reproaches against a husband whom she considered as the accomplice of
his own shame, excited Maximus to a just revenge; the desire of revenge
was stimulated by ambition; and he might reasonably aspire, by the free
suffrage of the Roman senate, to the throne of a detested and despicable
rival. Valentinian, who supposed that every human breast was devoid,
like his own, of friendship and gratitude, had imprudently admitted
among his guards several domestics and followers of Aetius. Two
of these, of Barbarian race were persuaded to execute a sacred and
honorable duty, by punishing with death the assassin of their patron;
and their intrepid courage did not long expect a favorable moment.
Whilst Valentinian amused himself, in the field of Mars, with the
spectacle of some military sports, they suddenly rushed upon him with
drawn weapons, despatched the guilty Heraclius, and stabbed the emperor
to the heart, without the least opposition from his numerous train,
who seemed to rejoice in the tyrant's death. Such was the fate of
Valentinian the Third, 74 the last Roman emperor of the family of
Theodosius. He faithfully imitated the hereditary weakness of his cousin
and his two uncles, without inheriting the gentleness, the purity, the
innocence, which alleviate, in their characters, the want of spirit and
ability. Valentinian was less excusable, since he had passions, without
virtues: even his religion was questionable; and though he never
deviated into the paths of heresy, he scandalized the pious Christians
by his attachment to the profane arts of magic and divination.

74 (return) [ With regard to the cause and circumstances of the deaths
of Aetius and Valentinian, our information is dark and imperfect.
Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4, p. 186, 187, 188) is a fabulous
writer for the events which precede his own memory. His narrative must
therefore be supplied and corrected by five or six Chronicles, none of
which were composed in Rome or Italy; and which can only express, in
broken sentences, the popular rumors, as they were conveyed to Gaul,
Spain, Africa, Constantinople, or Alexandria.]

As early as the time of Cicero and Varro, it was the opinion of
the Roman augurs, that the twelve vultures which Romulus had seen,
represented the twelve centuries, assigned for the fatal period of his
city. 75 This prophecy, disregarded perhaps in the season of health
and prosperity, inspired the people with gloomy apprehensions, when
the twelfth century, clouded with disgrace and misfortune, was almost
elapsed; 76 and even posterity must acknowledge with some surprise, that
the arbitrary interpretation of an accidental or fabulous circumstance
has been seriously verified in the downfall of the Western empire. But
its fall was announced by a clearer omen than the flight of vultures:
the Roman government appeared every day less formidable to its enemies,
more odious and oppressive to its subjects. 77 The taxes were multiplied
with the public distress; economy was neglected in proportion as it
became necessary; and the injustice of the rich shifted the unequal
burden from themselves to the people, whom they defrauded of the
indulgences that might sometimes have alleviated their misery. The
severe inquisition which confiscated their goods, and tortured their
persons, compelled the subjects of Valentinian to prefer the more simple
tyranny of the Barbarians, to fly to the woods and mountains, or to
embrace the vile and abject condition of mercenary servants. They
abjured and abhorred the name of Roman citizens, which had formerly
excited the ambition of mankind. The Armorican provinces of Gaul, and
the greatest part of Spain, were-thrown into a state of disorderly
independence, by the confederations of the Bagaudae; and the Imperial
ministers pursued with proscriptive laws, and ineffectual arms, the
rebels whom they had made. 78 If all the Barbarian conquerors had been
annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have
restored the empire of the West: and if Rome still survived, she
survived the loss of freedom, of virtue, and of honor.

75 (return) [ This interpretation of Vettius, a celebrated augur, was
quoted by Varro, in the xviiith book of his Antiquities. Censorinus, de
Die Natali, c. 17, p. 90, 91, edit. Havercamp.]

76 (return) [ According to Varro, the twelfth century would expire
A.D. 447, but the uncertainty of the true aera of Rome might allow some
latitude of anticipation or delay. The poets of the age, Claudian (de
Bell Getico, 265) and Sidonius, (in Panegyr. Avit. 357,) may be admitted
as fair witnesses of the popular opinion.

     Jam reputant annos, interceptoque volatu
     Vulturis, incidunt properatis saecula metis.
     .......
     Jam prope fata tui bissenas Vulturis alas
     Implebant; seis namque tuos, scis, Roma, labores.
     —See Dubos, Hist. Critique, tom. i. p. 340-346.]

77 (return) [ The fifth book of Salvian is filled with pathetic
lamentations and vehement invectives. His immoderate freedom serves to
prove the weakness, as well as the corruption, of the Roman government.
His book was published after the loss of Africa, (A.D. 439,) and before
Attila's war, (A.D. 451.)]

78 (return) [ The Bagaudae of Spain, who fought pitched battles with
the Roman troops, are repeatedly mentioned in the Chronicle of Idatius.
Salvian has described their distress and rebellion in very forcible
language. Itaque nomen civium Romanorum... nunc ultro repudiatur ac
fugitur, nec vile tamen sed etiam abominabile poene habetur... Et hinc
est ut etiam hi quid ad Barbaros non confugiunt, Barbari tamen
esse coguntur, scilicet ut est pars magna Hispanorum, et non minima
Gallorum.... De Bagaudis nunc mihi sermo est, qui per malos judices
et cruentos spoliati, afflicti, necati postquam jus Romanae libertatis
amiserant, etiam honorem Romani nominis perdiderunt.... Vocamus
rabelles, vocamus perditos quos esse compulimua criminosos. De Gubernat.
Dei, l. v. p. 158, 159.]



Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part I.

     Sack Of Rome By Genseric, King Of The Vandals.—His Naval
     Depredations.—Succession Of The Last Emperors Of The West,
     Maximus, Avitus, Majorian, Severus, Anthemius, Olybrius,
     Glycerius, Nepos, Augustulus.—Total Extinction Of The
     Western Empire.—Reign Of Odoacer, The First Barbarian King
     Of Italy.

The loss or desolation of the provinces, from the Ocean to the Alps,
impaired the glory and greatness of Rome: her internal prosperity was
irretrievably destroyed by the separation of Africa. The rapacious
Vandals confiscated the patrimonial estates of the senators, and
intercepted the regular subsidies, which relieved the poverty and
encouraged the idleness of the plebeians. The distress of the Romans
was soon aggravated by an unexpected attack; and the province, so long
cultivated for their use by industrious and obedient subjects, was
armed against them by an ambitious Barbarian. The Vandals and Alani, who
followed the successful standard of Genseric, had acquired a rich and
fertile territory, which stretched along the coast above ninety days'
journey from Tangier to Tripoli; but their narrow limits were pressed
and confined, on either side, by the sandy desert and the Mediterranean.
The discovery and conquest of the Black nations, that might dwell
beneath the torrid zone, could not tempt the rational ambition of
Genseric; but he cast his eyes towards the sea; he resolved to create a
naval power, and his bold resolution was executed with steady and active
perseverance.

The woods of Mount Atlas afforded an inexhaustible nursery of
timber: his new subjects were skilled in the arts of navigation and
ship-building; he animated his daring Vandals to embrace a mode of
warfare which would render every maritime country accessible to their
arms; the Moors and Africans were allured by the hopes of plunder; and,
after an interval of six centuries, the fleets that issued from the port
of Carthage again claimed the empire of the Mediterranean. The success
of the Vandals, the conquest of Sicily, the sack of Palermo, and the
frequent descents on the coast of Lucania, awakened and alarmed the
mother of Valentinian, and the sister of Theodosius. Alliances were
formed; and armaments, expensive and ineffectual, were prepared, for the
destruction of the common enemy; who reserved his courage to encounter
those dangers which his policy could not prevent or elude. The designs
of the Roman government were repeatedly baffled by his artful delays,
ambiguous promises, and apparent concessions; and the interposition of
his formidable confederate, the king of the Huns, recalled the emperors
from the conquest of Africa to the care of their domestic safety. The
revolutions of the palace, which left the Western empire without a
defender, and without a lawful prince, dispelled the apprehensions, and
stimulated the avarice, of Genseric. He immediately equipped a numerous
fleet of Vandals and Moors, and cast anchor at the mouth of the Tyber,
about three months after the death of Valentinian, and the elevation of
Maximus to the Imperial throne.

The private life of the senator Petronius Maximus 1 was often alleged as
a rare example of human felicity. His birth was noble and illustrious,
since he descended from the Anician family; his dignity was supported by
an adequate patrimony in land and money; and these advantages of fortune
were accompanied with liberal arts and decent manners, which adorn or
imitate the inestimable gifts of genius and virtue. The luxury of his
palace and table was hospitable and elegant. Whenever Maximus appeared
in public, he was surrounded by a train of grateful and obsequious
clients; 2 and it is possible that among these clients, he might deserve
and possess some real friends. His merit was rewarded by the favor of
the prince and senate: he thrice exercised the office of Praetorian
praefect of Italy; he was twice invested with the consulship, and he
obtained the rank of patrician. These civil honors were not incompatible
with the enjoyment of leisure and tranquillity; his hours, according
to the demands of pleasure or reason, were accurately distributed by a
water-clock; and this avarice of time may be allowed to prove the sense
which Maximus entertained of his own happiness. The injury which he
received from the emperor Valentinian appears to excuse the most bloody
revenge. Yet a philosopher might have reflected, that, if the resistance
of his wife had been sincere, her chastity was still inviolate, and
that it could never be restored if she had consented to the will of the
adulterer. A patriot would have hesitated before he plunged himself
and his country into those inevitable calamities which must follow
the extinction of the royal house of Theodosius. The imprudent Maximus
disregarded these salutary considerations; he gratified his resentment
and ambition; he saw the bleeding corpse of Valentinian at his feet; and
he heard himself saluted Emperor by the unanimous voice of the senate
and people. But the day of his inauguration was the last day of his
happiness. He was imprisoned (such is the lively expression of Sidonius)
in the palace; and after passing a sleepless night, he sighed that he
had attained the summit of his wishes, and aspired only to descend
from the dangerous elevation. Oppressed by the weight of the diadem, he
communicated his anxious thoughts to his friend and quaestor Fulgentius;
and when he looked back with unavailing regret on the secure pleasures
of his former life, the emperor exclaimed, "O fortunate Damocles, 3
thy reign began and ended with the same dinner;" a well-known allusion,
which Fulgentius afterwards repeated as an instructive lesson for
princes and subjects.

1 (return) [ Sidonius Apollinaris composed the thirteenth epistle of
the second book, to refute the paradox of his friend Serranus, who
entertained a singular, though generous, enthusiasm for the deceased
emperor. This epistle, with some indulgence, may claim the praise of
an elegant composition; and it throws much light on the character of
Maximus.]

2 (return) [ Clientum, praevia, pedisequa, circumfusa, populositas, is
the train which Sidonius himself (l. i. epist. 9) assigns to another
senator of rank]

3 (return) [

     Districtus ensis cui super impia
     Cervice pendet, non Siculoe dapes
     Dulcem elaborabunt saporem:
     Non avium citharaeque cantus
     Somnum reducent.
     —Horat. Carm. iii. 1.

Sidonius concludes his letter with the story of Damocles, which Cicero
(Tusculan. v. 20, 21) had so inimitably told.]

The reign of