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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

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the effect of the military song; and the passions which it tended
to excite, the desire of fame, and the contempt of death, were
the habitual sentiments of a German mind. ^71 ^*

[Footnote 71: See Tacit. Germ. c. 3. Diod. Sicul. l. v. Strabo,
l. iv. p. 197. The classical reader may remember the rank of
Demodocus in the Phaeacian court, and the ardor infused by
Tyrtaeus into the fainting Spartans. Yet there is little
probability that the Greeks and the Germans were the same people.

Much learned trifling might be spared, if our antiquarians would
condescend to reflect, that similar manners will naturally be
produced by similar situations.]

[Footnote *: Besides these battle songs, the Germans sang at
their festival banquets, (Tac. Ann. i. 65,) and around the bodies
of their slain heroes. King Theodoric, of the tribe of the Goths,
killed in a battle against Attila, was honored by songs while he
was borne from the field of battle. Jornandes, c. 41. The same
honor was paid to the remains of Attila. Ibid. c. 49. According
to some historians, the Germans had songs also at their weddings;
but this appears to me inconsistent with their customs, in which
marriage was no more than the purchase of a wife. Besides, there
is but one instance of this, that of the Gothic king, Ataulph,
who sang himself the nuptial hymn when he espoused Placidia,
sister of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius, (Olympiodor. p. 8.)
But this marriage was celebrated according to the Roman rites, of
which the nuptial songs formed a part. Adelung, p. 382. - G.
Charlemagne is said to have collected the national songs of
the ancient Germans. Eginhard, Vit. Car. Mag. - M.]

Such was the situation, and such were the manners of the
ancient Germans. Their climate, their want of learning, of arts,
and of laws, their notions of honor, of gallantry, and of
religion, their sense of freedom, impatience of peace, and thirst
of enterprise, all contributed to form a people of military
heroes. And yet we find, that during more than two hundred and
fifty years that elapsed from the defeat of Varus to the reign of
Decius, these formidable barbarians made few considerable
attempts, and not any material impression on the luxurious and
enslaved provinces of the empire. Their progress was checked by
their want of arms and discipline, and their fury was diverted by
the intestine divisions of ancient Germany.
I. It has been observed, with ingenuity, and not without
truth, that the command of iron soon gives a nation the command
of gold. But the rude tribes of Germany, alike destitute of both
those valuable metals, were reduced slowly to acquire, by their
unassisted strength, the possession of the one as well as the
other. The face of a German army displayed their poverty of
iron. Swords, and the longer kind of lances, they could seldom
use. Their frameoe (as they called them in their own language)
were long spears headed with a sharp but narrow iron point, and
which, as occasion required, they either darted from a distance,
or pushed in close onset. With this spear, and with a shield,
their cavalry was contented. A multitude of darts, scattered ^72
with incredible force, were an additional resource of the
infantry. Their military dress, when they wore any, was nothing
more than a loose mantle. A variety of colors was the only
ornament of their wooden or osier shields. Few of the chiefs
were distinguished by cuirasses, scarcely any by helmets. Though
the horses of Germany were neither beautiful, swift, nor
practised in the skilful evolutions of the Roman manege, several
of the nations obtained renown by their cavalry; but, in general,
the principal strength of the Germans consisted in their
infantry, ^73 which was drawn up in several deep columns,
according to the distinction of tribes and families. Impatient
of fatigue and delay, these half-armed warriors rushed to battle
with dissonant shouts and disordered ranks; and sometimes, by the
effort of native valor, prevailed over the constrained and more
artificial bravery of the Roman mercenaries. But as the
barbarians poured forth their whole souls on the first onset,
they knew not how to rally or to retire. A repulse was a sure
defeat; and a defeat was most commonly total destruction. When
we recollect the complete armor of the Roman soldiers, their
discipline, exercises, evolutions, fortified camps, and military
engines, it appears a just matter of surprise, how the naked and
unassisted valor of the barbarians could dare to encounter, in
the field, the strength of the legions, and the various troops of
the auxiliaries, which seconded their operations. The contest
was too unequal, till the introduction of luxury had enervated
the vigor, and a spirit of disobedience and sedition had relaxed
the discipline, of the Roman armies. The introduction of
barbarian auxiliaries into those armies, was a measure attended
with very obvious dangers, as it might gradually instruct the
Germans in the arts of war and of policy. Although they were
admitted in small numbers and with the strictest precaution, the
example of Civilis was proper to convince the Romans, that the
danger was not imaginary, and that their precautions were not
always sufficient. ^74 During the civil wars that followed the
death of Nero, that artful and intrepid Batavian, whom his
enemies condescended to compare with Hannibal and Sertorius, ^75
formed a great design of freedom and ambition. Eight Batavian
cohorts renowned in the wars of Britain and Italy, repaired to
his standard. He introduced an army of Germans into Gaul,
prevailed on the powerful cities of Treves and Langres to embrace
his cause, defeated the legions, destroyed their fortified camps,
and employed against the Romans the military knowledge which he
had acquired in their service. When at length, after an
obstinate struggle, he yielded to the power of the empire,
Civilis secured himself and his country by an honorable treaty.
The Batavians still continued to occupy the islands of the Rhine,
^76 the allies, not the servants, of the Roman monarchy.
[Footnote 72: Missilia spargunt, Tacit. Germ. c. 6. Either that
historian used a vague expression, or he meant that they were
thrown at random.]
[Footnote 73: It was their principal distinction from the
Sarmatians, who generally fought on horseback.]

[Footnote 74: The relation of this enterprise occupies a great
part of the fourth and fifth books of the History of Tacitus, and
is more remarkable for its eloquence than perspicuity. Sir Henry
Saville has observed several inaccuracies.]

[Footnote 75: Tacit. Hist. iv. 13. Like them he had lost an
[Footnote 76: It was contained between the two branches of the
old Rhine, as they subsisted before the face of the country was
changed by art and nature. See Cluver German. Antiq. l. iii. c.
30, 37.]

II. The strength of ancient Germany appears formidable,
when we consider the effects that might have been produced by its
united effort. The wide extent of country might very possibly
contain a million of warriors, as all who were of age to bear
arms were of a temper to use them. But this fierce multitude,
incapable of concerting or executing any plan of national
greatness, was agitated by various and often hostile intentions.
Germany was divided into more than forty independent states; and,
even in each state, the union of the several tribes was extremely
loose and precarious. The barbarians were easily provoked; they
knew not how to forgive an injury, much less an insult; their
resentments were bloody and implacable. The casual disputes that
so frequently happened in their tumultuous parties of hunting or
drinking, were sufficient to inflame the minds of whole nations;
the private feuds of any considerable chieftains diffused itself
among their followers and allies. To chastise the insolent, or
to plunder the defenceless, were alike causes of war. The most
formidable states of Germany affected to encompass their
territories with a wide frontier of solitude and devastation.
The awful distance preserved by their neighbors attested the
terror of their arms, and in some measure defended them from the
danger of unexpected incursions. ^77

[Footnote 77: Caesar de Bell. Gal. l. vi. 23.]

"The Bructeri ^* (it is Tacitus who now speaks) were totally
exterminated by the neighboring tribes, ^78 provoked by their
insolence, allured by the hopes of spoil, and perhaps inspired by
the tutelar deities of the empire. Above sixty thousand
barbarians were destroyed; not by the Roman arms, but in our
sight, and for our entertainment. May the nations, enemies of
Rome, ever preserve this enmity to each other! We have now
attained the utmost verge of prosperity, ^79 and have nothing
left to demand of fortune, except the discord of the barbarians."
^80 - These sentiments, less worthy of the humanity than of the
patriotism of Tacitus, express the invariable maxims of the
policy of his countrymen. They deemed it a much safer expedient
to divide than to combat the barbarians, from whose defeat they
could derive neither honor nor advantage. The money and
negotiations of Rome insinuated themselves into the heart of
Germany; and every art of seduction was used with dignity, to
conciliate those nations whom their proximity to the Rhine or
Danube might render the most useful friends as well as the most
troublesome enemies. Chiefs of renown and power were flattered
by the most trifling presents, which they received either as
marks of distinction, or as the instruments of luxury. In civil
dissensions the weaker faction endeavored to strengthen its
interest by entering into secret connections with the governors
of the frontier provinces. Every quarrel among the Germans was
fomented by the intrigues of Rome; and every plan of union and
public good was defeated by the stronger bias of private jealousy
and interest. ^81

[Footnote *: The Bructeri were a non-Suevian tribe, who dwelt
below the duchies of Oldenburgh, and Lauenburgh, on the borders
of the Lippe, and in the Hartz Mountains. It was among them that
the priestess Velleda obtained her renown. - G.]

[Footnote 78: They are mentioned, however, in the ivth and vth
centuries by Nazarius, Ammianus, Claudian, &c., as a tribe of
Franks. See Cluver. Germ. Antiq. l. iii. c. 13.]
[Footnote 79: Urgentibus is the common reading; but good sense,
Lipsius, and some Mss. declare for Vergentibus.]

[Footnote 80: Tacit Germania, c. 33. The pious Abbe de la
Bleterie is very angry with Tacitus, talks of the devil, who was
a murderer from the beginning, &c., &c.]

[Footnote 81: Many traces of this policy may be discovered in
Tacitus and Dion: and many more may be inferred from the
principles of human nature.]
The general conspiracy which terrified the Romans under the
reign of Marcus Antoninus, comprehended almost all the nations of
Germany, and even Sarmatia, from the mouth of the Rhine to that
of the Danube. ^82 It is impossible for us to determine whether
this hasty confederation was formed by necessity, by reason, or
by passion; but we may rest assured, that the barbarians were
neither allured by the indolence, nor provoked by the ambition,
of the Roman monarch. This dangerous invasion required all the
firmness and vigilance of Marcus. He fixed generals of ability
in the several stations of attack, and assumed in person the
conduct of the most important province on the Upper Danube.
After a long and doubtful conflict, the spirit of the barbarians
was subdued. The Quadi and the Marcomanni, ^83 who had taken the
lead in the war, were the most severely punished in its
catastrophe. They were commanded to retire five miles ^84 from
their own banks of the Danube, and to deliver up the flower of
the youth, who were immediately sent into Britain, a remote
island, where they might be secure as hostages, and useful as
soldiers. ^85 On the frequent rebellions of the Quadi and
Marcomanni, the irritated emperor resolved to reduce their
country into the form of a province. His designs were
disappointed by death. This formidable league, however, the only
one that appears in the two first centuries of the Imperial
history, was entirely dissipated, without leaving any traces
behind in Germany.

[Footnote 82: Hist. Aug. p. 31. Ammian. Marcellin. l. xxxi. c.
5. Aurel. Victor. The emperor Marcus was reduced to sell the
rich furniture of the palace, and to enlist slaves and robbers.]

[Footnote 83: The Marcomanni, a colony, who, from the banks of
the Rhine occupied Bohemia and Moravia, had once erected a great
and formidable monarchy under their king Maroboduus. See Strabo,
l. vii. [p. 290.] Vell. Pat. ii. 108. Tacit. Annal. ii. 63.

Note: The Mark-manaen, the March-men or borderers. There
seems little doubt that this was an appellation, rather than a
proper name of a part of the great Suevian or Teutonic race. -

[Footnote 84: Mr. Wotton (History of Rome, p. 166) increases the
prohibition to ten times the distance. His reasoning is
specious, but not conclusive. Five miles were sufficient for a
fortified barrier.]

[Footnote 85: Dion, l. lxxi. and lxxii.]

In the course of this introductory chapter, we have confined
ourselves to the general outlines of the manners of Germany,
without attempting to describe or to distinguish the various
tribes which filled that great country in the time of Caesar, of
Tacitus, or of Ptolemy. As the ancient, or as new tribes
successively present themselves in the series of this history, we
shall concisely mention their origin, their situation, and their
particular character. Modern nations are fixed and permanent
societies, connected among themselves by laws and government,
bound to their native soil by arts and agriculture. The German
tribes were voluntary and fluctuating associations of soldiers,
almost of savages. The same territory often changed its
inhabitants in the tide of conquest and emigration. The same
communities, uniting in a plan of defence or invasion, bestowed a
new title on their new confederacy. The dissolution of an
ancient confederacy restored to the independent tribes their
peculiar but long-forgotten appellation. A victorious state
often communicated its own name to a vanquished people. Sometimes
crowds of volunteers flocked from all parts to the standard of a
favorite leader; his camp became their country, and some
circumstance of the enterprise soon gave a common denomination to
the mixed multitude. The distinctions of the ferocious invaders
were perpetually varied by themselves, and confounded by the
astonished subjects of the Roman empire. ^86
[Footnote 86: See an excellent dissertation on the origin and
migrations of nations, in the Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. xviii. p. 48 - 71. It is seldom that the
antiquarian and the philosopher are so happily blended.]

Wars, and the administration of public affairs, are the
principal subjects of history; but the number of persons
interested in these busy scenes is very different, according to
the different condition of mankind. In great monarchies, millions
of obedient subjects pursue their useful occupations in peace and
obscurity. The attention of the writer, as well as of the
reader, is solely confined to a court, a capital, a regular army,
and the districts which happen to be the occasional scene of
military operations. But a state of freedom and barbarism, the
season of civil commotions, or the situation of petty republics,
^87 raises almost every member of the community into action, and
consequently into notice. The irregular divisions, and the
restless motions, of the people of Germany, dazzle our
imagination, and seem to multiply their numbers. The profuse
enumeration of kings, of warriors, of armies and nations,
inclines us to forget that the same objects are continually
repeated under a variety of appellations, and that the most
splendid appellations have been frequently lavished on the most
inconsiderable objects.

[Footnote 87: Should we suspect that Athens contained only 21,000
citizens, and Sparta no more than 39,000? See Hume and Wallace
on the number of mankind in ancient and modern times.

Note: This number, though too positively stated, is probably
not far wrong, as an average estimate. On the subject of
Athenian population, see St. Croix, Acad. des Inscrip. xlviii.
Boeckh, Public Economy of Athens, i. 47. Eng Trans, Fynes
Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, vol. i. p. 381. The latter author
estimates the citizens of Sparta at 33,000 - M.]

Chapter X: Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And

Part I.

The Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian, And Gallienus.
- The General Irruption Of The Barbari Ans. - The Thirty Tyrants.

From the great secular games celebrated by Philip, to the
death of the emperor Gallienus, there elapsed twenty years of
shame and misfortune. During that calamitous period, every
instant of time was marked, every province of the Roman world was
afflicted, by barbarous invaders, and military tyrants, and the
ruined empire seemed to approach the last and fatal moment of its
dissolution. The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of
authentic memorials, oppose equal difficulties to the historian,
who attempts to preserve a clear and unbroken thread of
narration. Surrounded with imperfect fragments, always concise,
often obscure, and sometimes contradictory, he is reduced to
collect, to compare, and to conjecture: and though he ought never
to place his conjectures in the rank of facts, yet the knowledge
of human nature, and of the sure operation of its fierce and
unrestrained passions, might, on some occasions, supply the want
of historical materials.

There is not, for instance, any difficulty in conceiving,
that the successive murders of so many emperors had loosened all
the ties of allegiance between the prince and people; that all
the generals of Philip were disposed to imitate the example of
their master; and that the caprice of armies, long since
habituated to frequent and violent revolutions, might every day
raise to the throne the most obscure of their fellow-soldiers.
History can only add, that the rebellion against the emperor
Philip broke out in the summer of the year two hundred and
forty-nine, among the legions of Maesia; and that a subaltern
officer, ^1 named Marinus, was the object of their seditious
choice. Philip was alarmed. He dreaded lest the treason of the
Maesian army should prove the first spark of a general
conflagration. Distracted with the consciousness of his guilt and
of his danger, he communicated the intelligence to the senate. A
gloomy silence prevailed, the effect of fear, and perhaps of
disaffection; till at length Decius, one of the assembly,
assuming a spirit worthy of his noble extraction, ventured to
discover more intrepidity than the emperor seemed to possess. He
treated the whole business with contempt, as a hasty and
inconsiderate tumult, and Philip's rival as a phantom of royalty,
who in a very few days would be destroyed by the same inconstancy
that had created him. The speedy completion of the prophecy
inspired Philip with a just esteem for so able a counsellor; and
Decius appeared to him the only person capable of restoring peace
and discipline to an army whose tumultuous spirit did not
immediately subside after the murder of Marinus. Decius, ^2 who
long resisted his own nomination, seems to have insinuated the
danger of presenting a leader of merit to the angry and
apprehensive minds of the soldiers; and his prediction was again
confirmed by the event. The legions of Maesia forced their judge
to become their accomplice. They left him only the alternative
of death or the purple. His subsequent conduct, after that
decisive measure, was unavoidable. He conducted, or followed,
his army to the confines of Italy, whither Philip, collecting all
his force to repel the formidable competitor whom he had raised
up, advanced to meet him. The Imperial troops were superior in
number; but the rebels formed an army of veterans, commanded by
an able and experienced leader. Philip was either killed in the
battle, or put to death a few days afterwards at Verona. His son
and associate in the empire was massacred at Rome by the
Praetorian guards; and the victorious Decius, with more favorable
circumstances than the ambition of that age can usually plead,
was universally acknowledged by the senate and provinces. It is
reported, that, immediately after his reluctant acceptance of the
title of Augustus, he had assured Philip, by a private message,
of his innocence and loyalty, solemnly protesting, that, on his
arrival on Italy, he would resign the Imperial ornaments, and
return to the condition of an obedient subject. His professions
might be sincere; but in the situation where fortune had placed
him, it was scarcely possible that he could either forgive or be
forgiven. ^3

[Footnote 1: The expression used by Zosimus and Zonaras may
signify that Marinus commanded a century, a cohort, or a legion.]

[Footnote 2: His birth at Bubalia, a little village in Pannonia,
(Eutrop. ix. Victor. in Caesarib. et Epitom.,) seems to
contradict, unless it was merely accidental, his supposed descent
from the Decii. Six hundred years had bestowed nobility on the
Decii: but at the commencement of that period, they were only
plebeians of merit, and among the first who shared the consulship
with the haughty patricians. Plebeine Deciorum animae, &c.
Juvenal, Sat. viii. 254. See the spirited speech of Decius, in
Livy. x. 9, 10.]
[Footnote 3: Zosimus, l. i. p. 20, c. 22. Zonaras, l. xii. p.
624, edit. Louvre.]

The emperor Decius had employed a few months in the works of
peace and the administration of justice, when he was summoned to
the banks of the Danube by the invasion of the Goths. This is
the first considerable occasion in which history mentions that
great people, who afterwards broke the Roman power, sacked the
Capitol, and reigned in Gaul, Spain, and Italy. So memorable was
the part which they acted in the subversion of the Western
empire, that the name of Goths is frequently but improperly used
as a general appellation ef rude and warlike barbarism.

In the beginning of the sixth century, and after the
conquest of Italy, the Goths, in possession of present greatness,
very naturally indulged themselves in the prospect of past and of
future glory. They wished to preserve the memory of their
ancestors, and to transmit to posterity their own achievements.
The principal minister of the court of Ravenna, the learned
Cassiodorus, gratified the inclination of the conquerors in a
Gothic history, which consisted of twelve books, now reduced to
the imperfect abridgment of Jornandes. ^4 These writers passed
with the most artful conciseness over the misfortunes of the
nation, celebrated its successful valor, and adorned the triumph
with many Asiatic trophies, that more properly belonged to the
people of Scythia. On the faith of ancient songs, the uncertain,
but the only memorials of barbarians, they deduced the first
origin of the Goths from the vast island, or peninsula, of
Scandinavia. ^5 ^* That extreme country of the North was not
unknown to the conquerors of Italy: the ties of ancient
consanguinity had been strengthened by recent offices of
friendship; and a Scandinavian king had cheerfully abdicated his
savage greatness, that he might pass the remainder of his days in
the peaceful and polished court of Ravenna. ^6 Many vestiges,
which cannot be ascribed to the arts of popular vanity, attest
the ancient residence of the Goths in the countries beyond the
Rhine. From the time of the geographer Ptolemy, the southern
part of Sweden seems to have continued in the possession of the
less enterprising remnant of the nation, and a large territory is
even at present divided into east and west Gothland. During the
middle ages, (from the ninth to the twelfth century,) whilst
Christianity was advancing with a slow progress into the North,
the Goths and the Swedes composed two distinct and sometimes
hostile members of the same monarchy. ^7 The latter of these two
names has prevailed without extinguishing the former. The
Swedes, who might well be satisfied with their own fame in arms,
have, in every age, claimed the kindred glory of the Goths. In a
moment of discontent against the court of Rome, Charles the
Twelfth insinuated, that his victorious troops were not
degenerated from their brave ancestors, who had already subdued
the mistress of the world. ^8

[Footnote 4: See the prefaces of Cassiodorus and Jornandes; it is
surprising that the latter should be omitted in the excellent
edition, published by Grotius, of the Gothic writers.]

[Footnote 5: On the authority of Ablavius, Jornandes quotes some
old Gothic chronicles in verse. De Reb. Geticis, c. 4.]

[Footnote *: The Goths have inhabited Scandinavia, but it was not
their original habitation. This great nation was anciently of
the Suevian race; it occupied, in the time of Tacitus, and long
before, Mecklenburgh, Pomerania Southern Prussia and the
north-west of Poland. A little before the birth of J. C., and in
the first years of that century, they belonged to the kingdom of
Marbod, king of the Marcomanni: but Cotwalda, a young Gothic
prince, delivered them from that tyranny, and established his own
power over the kingdom of the Marcomanni, already much weakened
by the victories of Tiberius. The power of the Goths at that
time must have been great: it was probably from them that the
Sinus Codanus (the Baltic) took this name, as it was afterwards
called Mare Suevicum, and Mare Venedicum, during the superiority
of the proper Suevi and the Venedi. The epoch in which the Goths
passed into Scandinavia is unknown. See Adelung, Hist. of Anc.
Germany, p. 200. Gatterer, Hist. Univ. 458. - G.

M. St. Martin observes, that the Scandinavian descent of the
Goths rests on the authority of Jornandes, who professed to
derive it from the traditions of the Goths. He is supported by
Procopius and Paulus Diaconus. Yet the Goths are unquestionably
the same with the Getae of the earlier historians. St. Martin,
note on Le Beau, Hist. du bas Empire, iii. 324. The identity of
the Getae and Goths is by no means generally admitted. On the
whole, they seem to be one vast branch of the Indo-Teutonic race,
who spread irregularly towards the north of Europe, and at
different periods, and in different regions, came in contact with
the more civilized nations of the south. At this period, there
seems to have been a reflux of these Gothic tribes from the

Malte Brun considers that there are strong grounds for
receiving the Islandic traditions commented by the Danish Varro,
M. Suhm. From these, and the voyage of Pytheas, which Malte Brun
considers genuine, the Goths were in possession of Scandinavia,
Ey-Gothland, 250 years before J. C., and of a tract on the
continent (Reid-Gothland) between the mouths of the Vistula and
the Oder. In their southern migration, they followed the course
of the Vistula; afterwards, of the Dnieper. Malte Brun, Geogr.
i. p. 387, edit. 1832. Geijer, the historian of Sweden, ably
maintains the Scandinavian origin of the Goths. The Gothic
language, according to Bopp, is the link between the Sanscrit and
the modern Teutonic dialects: "I think that I am reading Sanscrit
when I am reading Olphilas." Bopp, Conjugations System der
Sanscrit Sprache, preface, p. x - M.]

[Footnote 6: Jornandes, c. 3.]

[Footnote 7: See in the Prolegomena of Grotius some large
extracts from Adam of Bremen, and Saxo-Grammaticus. The former
wrote in the year 1077, the latter flourished about the year

[Footnote 8: Voltaire, Histoire de Charles XII. l. iii. When the
Austrians desired the aid of the court of Rome against Gustavus
Adolphus, they always represented that conqueror as the lineal
successor of Alaric. Harte's History of Gustavus, vol. ii. p.

Till the end of the eleventh century, a celebrated temple
subsisted at Upsal, the most considerable town of the Swedes and
Goths. It was enriched with the gold which the Scandinavians had
acquired in their piratical adventures, and sanctified by the
uncouth representations of the three principal deities, the god
of war, the goddess of generation, and the god of thunder. In
the general festival, that was solemnized every ninth year, nine
animals of every species (without excepting the human) were
sacrificed, and their bleeding bodies suspended in the sacred
grove adjacent to the temple. ^9 The only traces that now subsist
of this barbaric superstition are contained in the Edda, ^* a
system of mythology, compiled in Iceland about the thirteenth
century, and studied by the learned of Denmark and Sweden, as the
most valuable remains of their ancient traditions.

[Footnote 9: See Adam of Bremen in Grotii Prolegomenis, p. 105.
The temple of Upsal was destroyed by Ingo, king of Sweden, who
began his reign in the year 1075, and about fourscore years
afterwards, a Christian cathedral was erected on its ruins. See
Dalin's History of Sweden, in the Bibliotheque Raisonee.]

[Footnote *: The Eddas have at length been made accessible to
European scholars by the completion of the publication of the
Saemundine Edda by the Arna Magnaean Commission, in 3 vols. 4to.,
with a copious lexicon of northern mythology. - M.]

Notwithstanding the mysterious obscurity of the Edda, we can
easily distinguish two persons confounded under the name of Odin;
the god of war, and the great legislator of Scandinavia. The
latter, the Mahomet of the North, instituted a religion adapted
to the climate and to the people. Numerous tribes on either side
of the Baltic were subdued by the invincible valor of Odin, by
his persuasive eloquence, and by the fame which he acquired of a
most skilful magician. The faith that he had propagated, during
a long and prosperous life, he confirmed by a voluntary death.
Apprehensive of the ignominious approach of disease and
infirmity, he resolved to expire as became a warrior. In a
solemn assembly of the Swedes and Goths, he wounded himself in
nine mortal places, hastening away (as he asserted with his dying
voice) to prepare the feast of heroes in the palace of the God of
war. ^10
[Footnote 10: Mallet, Introduction a l'Histoire du Dannemarc.]
The native and proper habitation of Odin is distinguished by
the appellation of As-gard. The happy resemblance of that name
with As-burg, or As-of, ^11 words of a similar signification, has
given rise to an historical system of so pleasing a contexture,
that we could almost wish to persuade ourselves of its truth. It
is supposed that Odin was the chief of a tribe of barbarians
which dwelt on the banks of the Lake Maeotis, till the fall of
Mithridates and the arms of Pompey menaced the North with
servitude. That Odin, yielding with indignant fury to a power
which he was unable to resist, conducted his tribe from the
frontiers of the Asiatic Sarmatia into Sweden, with the great
design of forming, in that inaccessible retreat of freedom, a
religion and a people, which, in some remote age, might be
subservient to his immortal revenge; when his invincible Goths,
armed with martial fanaticism, should issue in numerous swarms
from the neighborhood of the Polar circle, to chastise the
oppressors of mankind. ^12

[Footnote 11: Mallet, c. iv. p. 55, has collected from Strabo,
Pliny, Ptolemy, and Stephanus Byzantinus, the vestiges of such a
city and people.]
[Footnote 12: This wonderful expedition of Odin, which, by
deducting the enmity of the Goths and Romans from so memorable a
cause, might supply the noble groundwork of an epic poem, cannot
safely be received as authentic history. According to the
obvious sense of the Edda, and the interpretation of the most
skilful critics, As-gard, instead of denoting a real city of the
Asiatic Sarmatia, is the fictitious appellation of the mystic
abode of the gods, the Olympus of Scandinavia; from whence the
prophet was supposed to descend, when he announced his new
religion to the Gothic nations, who were already seated in the
southern parts of Sweden.

Note: A curious letter may be consulted on this subject from
the Swede, Ihre counsellor in the Chancery of Upsal, printed at
Upsal by Edman, in 1772 and translated into German by M.
Schlozer. Gottingen, printed for Dietericht, 1779. - G.

Gibbon, at a later period of his work, recanted his opinion
of the truth of this expedition of Odin. The Asiatic origin of
the Goths is almost certain from the affinity of their language
to the Sanscrit and Persian; but their northern writers, when all
mythology was reduced to hero worship. - M.]
If so many successive generations of Goths were capable of
preserving a faint tradition of their Scandinavian origin, we
must not expect, from such unlettered barbarians, any distinct
account of the time and circumstances of their emigration. To
cross the Baltic was an easy and natural attempt. The
inhabitants of Sweden were masters of a sufficient number of
large vessels, with oars, ^13 and the distance is little more
than one hundred miles from Carlscroon to the nearest ports of
Pomerania and Prussia. Here, at length, we land on firm and
historic ground. At least as early as the Christian aera, ^14
and as late as the age of the Antonines, ^15 the Goths were
established towards the mouth of the Vistula, and in that fertile
province where the commercial cities of Thorn, Elbing,
Koningsberg, and Dantzick, were long afterwards founded. ^16
Westward of the Goths, the numerous tribes of the Vandals were
spread along the banks of the Oder, and the sea-coast of
Pomerania and Mecklenburgh. A striking resemblance of manners,
complexion, religion, and language, seemed to indicate that the
Vandals and the Goths were originally one great people. ^17 The
latter appear to have been subdivided into Ostrogoths, Visigoths,
and Gepidae. ^18 The distinction among the Vandals was more
strongly marked by the independent names of Heruli, Burgundians,
Lombards, and a variety of other petty states, many of which, in
a future age, expanded themselves into powerful monarchies. ^*
[Footnote 13: Tacit. Germania, c. 44.]

[Footnote 14: Tacit. Annal. ii. 62. If we could yield a firm
assent to the navigations of Pytheas of Marseilles, we must allow
that the Goths had passed the Baltic at least three hundred years
before Christ.]

[Footnote 15: Ptolemy, l. ii.]

[Footnote 16: By the German colonies who followed the arms of the
Teutonic knights. The conquest and conversion of Prussia were
completed by those adventurers in the thirteenth century.]

[Footnote 17: Pliny (Hist. Natur. iv. 14) and Procopius (in Bell.

Vandal. l. i. c. l) agree in this opinion. They lived in distant
ages, and possessed different means of investigating the truth.]

[Footnote 18: The Ostro and Visi, the eastern and western Goths,
obtained those denominations from their original seats in
Scandinavia. In all their future marches and settlements they
preserved, with their names, the same relative situation. When
they first departed from Sweden, the infant colony was contained
in three vessels. The third, being a heavy sailer, lagged
behind, and the crew, which afterwards swelled into a nation,
received from that circumstance the appellation of Gepidae or
Loiterers. Jornandes, c. 17.
Note: It was not in Scandinavia that the Goths were divided
into Ostrogoths and Visigoths; that division took place after
their irruption into Dacia in the third century: those who came
from Mecklenburgh and Pomerania were called Visigoths; those who
came from the south of Prussia, and the northwest of Poland,
called themselves Ostrogoths. Adelung, Hist. All. p. 202
Gatterer, Hist. Univ. 431. - G.]

[Footnote *: This opinion is by no means probable. The Vandals
and the Goths equally belonged to the great division of the
Suevi, but the two tribes were very different. Those who have
treated on this part of history, appear to me to have neglected
to remark that the ancients almost always gave the name of the
dominant and conquering people to all the weaker and conquered
races. So Pliny calls Vindeli, Vandals, all the people of the
north-east of Europe, because at that epoch the Vandals were
doubtless the conquering tribe. Caesar, on the contrary, ranges
under the name of Suevi, many of the tribes whom Pliny reckons as
Vandals, because the Suevi, properly so called, were then the
most powerful tribe in Germany. When the Goths, become in their
turn conquerors, had subjugated the nations whom they encountered
on their way, these nations lost their name with their liberty,
and became of Gothic origin. The Vandals themselves were then
considered as Goths; the Heruli, the Gepidae, &c., suffered the
same fate. A common origin was thus attributed to tribes who had
only been united by the conquests of some dominant nation, and
this confusion has given rise to a number of historical errors. -

M. St. Martin has a learned note (to Le Beau, v. 261) on the
origin of the Vandals. The difficulty appears to be in rejecting
the close analogy of the name with the Vend or Wendish race, who
were of Sclavonian, not of Suevian or German, origin. M. St.
Martin supposes that the different races spread from the head of
the Adriatic to the Baltic, and even the Veneti, on the shores of
the Adriatic, the Vindelici, the tribes which gave their name to
Vindobena, Vindoduna, Vindonissa, were branches of the same stock
with the Sclavonian Venedi, who at one time gave their name to
the Baltic; that they all spoke dialects of the Wendish language,
which still prevails in Carinthia, Carniola, part of Bohemia, and
Lusatia, and is hardly extinct in Mecklenburgh and Pomerania.
The Vandal race, once so fearfully celebrated in the annals of
mankind, has so utterly perished from the face of the earth, that
we are not aware that any vestiges of their language can be
traced, so as to throw light on the disputed question of their
German, their Sclavonian, or independent origin. The weight of
ancient authority seems against M. St. Martin's opinion.
Compare, on the Vandals, Malte Brun. 394. Also Gibbon's note, c.
xli. n. 38. - M.]

In the age of the Antonines, the Goths were still seated in
Prussia. About the reign of Alexander Severus, the Roman province
of Dacia had already experienced their proximity by frequent and
destructive inroads. ^19 In this interval, therefore, of about
seventy years, we must place the second migration of about
seventy years, we must place the second migration of the Goths
from the Baltic to the Euxine; but the cause that produced it
lies concealed among the various motives which actuate the
conduct of unsettled barbarians. Either a pestilence or a
famine, a victory or a defeat, an oracle of the gods or the
eloquence of a daring leader, were sufficient to impel the Gothic
arms on the milder climates of the south. Besides the influence
of a martial religion, the numbers and spirit of the Goths were
equal to the most dangerous adventures. The use of round
bucklers and short swords rendered them formidable in a close
engagement; the manly obedience which they yielded to hereditary
kings, gave uncommon union and stability to their councils; ^20
and the renowned Amala, the hero of that age, and the tenth
ancestor of Theodoric, king of Italy, enforced, by the ascendant
of personal merit, the prerogative of his birth, which he derived
from the Anses, or demi gods of the Gothic nation. ^21

[Footnote 19: See a fragment of Peter Patricius in the Excerpta
Legationum and with regard to its probable date, see Tillemont,
Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 346.]

[Footnote 20: Omnium harum gentium insigne, rotunda scuta, breves
gladii, et erga rages obsequium. Tacit. Germania, c. 43. The
Goths probably acquired their iron by the commerce of amber.]

[Footnote 21: Jornandes, c. 13, 14.]

The fame of a great enterprise excited the bravest warriors
from all the Vandalic states of Germany, many of whom are seen a
few years afterwards combating under the common standard of the
Goths. ^22 The first motions of the emigrants carried them to the
banks of the Prypec, a river universally conceived by the
ancients to be the southern branch of the Borysthenes. ^23 The
windings of that great stream through the plains of Poland and
Russia gave a direction to their line of march, and a constant
supply of fresh water and pasturage to their numerous herds of
cattle. They followed the unknown course of the river, confident
in their valor, and careless of whatever power might oppose their
progress. The Bastarnae and the Venedi were the first who
presented themselves; and the flower of their youth, either from
choice or compulsion, increased the Gothic army. The Bastarnae
dwelt on the northern side of the Carpathian Mountains: the
immense tract of land that separated the Bastarnae from the
savages of Finland was possessed, or rather wasted, by the
Venedi; ^24 we have some reason to believe that the first of
these nations, which distinguished itself in the Macedonian war,
^25 and was afterwards divided into the formidable tribes of the
Peucini, the Borani, the Carpi, &c., derived its origin from the
Germans. ^* With better authority, a Sarmatian extraction may be
assigned to the Venedi, who rendered themselves so famous in the
middle ages. ^26 But the confusion of blood and manners on that
doubtful frontier often perplexed the most accurate observers.
^27 As the Goths advanced near the Euxine Sea, they encountered a
purer race of Sarmatians, the Jazyges, the Alani, ^!! and the
Roxolani; and they were probably the first Germans who saw the
mouths of the Borysthenes, and of the Tanais. If we inquire into
the characteristic marks of the people of Germany and of
Sarmatia, we shall discover that those two great portions of
human kind were principally distinguished by fixed huts or
movable tents, by a close dress or flowing garments, by the
marriage of one or of several wives, by a military force,
consisting, for the most part, either of infantry or cavalry; and
above all, by the use of the Teutonic, or of the Sclavonian
language; the last of which has been diffused by conquest, from
the confines of Italy to the neighborhood of Japan.

[Footnote 22: The Heruli, and the Uregundi or Burgundi, are
particularly mentioned. See Mascou's History of the Germans, l.
v. A passage in the Augustan History, p. 28, seems to allude to
this great emigration. The Marcomannic war was partly occasioned
by the pressure of barbarous tribes, who fled before the arms of
more northern barbarians.]

[Footnote 23: D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, and the third part
of his incomparable map of Europe.]

[Footnote 24: Tacit. Germania, c. 46.]

[Footnote 25: Cluver. Germ. Antiqua, l. iii. c. 43.]

[Footnote *: The Bastarnae cannot be considered original
inhabitants of Germany Strabo and Tacitus appear to doubt it;
Pliny alone calls them Germans: Ptolemy and Dion treat them as
Scythians, a vague appellation at this period of history; Livy,
Plutarch, and Diodorus Siculus, call them Gauls, and this is the
most probable opinion. They descended from the Gauls who entered
Germany under Signoesus. They are always found associated with
other Gaulish tribes, such as the Boll, the Taurisci, &c., and
not to the German tribes. The names of their chiefs or princes,
Chlonix, Chlondicus. Deldon, are not German names. Those who
were settled in the island of Peuce in the Danube, took the name
of Peucini.

The Carpi appear in 237 as a Suevian tribe who had made an
irruption into Maesia. Afterwards they reappear under the
Ostrogoths, with whom they were probably blended. Adelung, p.
236, 278. - G.]

[Footnote 26: The Venedi, the Slavi, and the Antes, were the
three great tribes of the same people. Jornandes, 24.

Note Dagger: They formed the great Sclavonian nation. - G.]
[Footnote 27: Tacitus most assuredly deserves that title, and
even his cautious suspense is a proof of his diligent inquiries.]

[Footnote !!: Jac. Reineggs supposed that he had found, in the
mountains of Caucasus, some descendants of the Alani. The
Tartars call them Edeki-Alan: they speak a peculiar dialect of
the ancient language of the Tartars of Caucasus. See J.
Reineggs' Descr. of Caucasus, p. 11, 13. - G.
According to Klaproth, they are the Ossetes of the present
day in Mount Caucasus and were the same with the Albanians of
antiquity. Klaproth, Hist. de l'Asie, p. 180. - M.]

Chapter X: Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And

Part II.

The Goths were now in possession of the Ukraine, a country
of considerable extent and uncommon fertility, intersected with
navigable rivers, which, from either side, discharge themselves
into the Borysthenes; and interspersed with large and leafy
forests of oaks. The plenty of game and fish, the innumerable
bee-hives deposited in the hollow of old trees, and in the
cavities of rocks, and forming, even in that rude age, a valuable
branch of commerce, the size of the cattle, the temperature of
the air, the aptness of the soil for every species of gain, and
the luxuriancy of the vegetation, all displayed the liberality of
Nature, and tempted the industry of man. ^28 But the Goths
withstood all these temptations, and still adhered to a life of
idleness, of poverty, and of rapine.

[Footnote 28: Genealogical History of the Tartars, p. 593. Mr.
Bell (vol. ii. p 379) traversed the Ukraine, in his journey from
Petersburgh to Constantinople. The modern face of the country is
a just representation of the ancient, since, in the hands of the
Cossacks, it still remains in a state of nature.]

The Scythian hordes, which, towards the east, bordered on
the new settlements of the Goths, presented nothing to their
arms, except the doubtful chance of an unprofitable victory. But
the prospect of the Roman territories was far more alluring; and
the fields of Dacia were covered with rich harvests, sown by the
hands of an industrious, and exposed to be gathered by those of a
warlike, people. It is probable that the conquests of Trajan,
maintained by his successors, less for any real advantage than
for ideal dignity, had contributed to weaken the empire on that
side. The new and unsettled province of Dacia was neither strong
enough to resist, nor rich enough to satiate, the rapaciousness
of the barbarians. As long as the remote banks of the Niester
were considered as the boundary of the Roman power, the
fortifications of the Lower Danube were more carelessly guarded,
and the inhabitants of Maesia lived in supine security, fondly
conceiving themselves at an inaccessible distance from any
barbarian invaders. The irruptions of the Goths, under the reign
of Philip, fatally convinced them of their mistake. The king, or
leader, of that fierce nation, traversed with contempt the
province of Dacia, and passed both the Niester and the Danube
without encountering any opposition capable of retarding his
progress. The relaxed discipline of the Roman troops betrayed
the most important posts, where they were stationed, and the fear
of deserved punishment induced great numbers of them to enlist
under the Gothic standard. The various multitude of barbarians
appeared, at length, under the walls of Marcianopolis, a city
built by Trajan in honor of his sister, and at that time the
capital of the second Maesia. ^29 The inhabitants consented to
ransom their lives and property by the payment of a large sum of
money, and the invaders retreated back into their deserts,
animated, rather than satisfied, with the first success of their
arms against an opulent but feeble country. Intelligence was
soon transmitted to the emperor Decius, that Cniva, king of the
Goths, had passed the Danube a second time, with more
considerable forces; that his numerous detachments scattered
devastation over the province of Maesia, whilst the main body of
the army, consisting of seventy thousand Germans and Sarmatians,
a force equal to the most daring achievements, required the
presence of the Roman monarch, and the exertion of his military
[Footnote 29: In the sixteenth chapter of Jornandes, instead of
secundo Maesiam we may venture to substitute secundam, the second
Maesia, of which Marcianopolis was certainly the capital. (See
Hierocles de Provinciis, and Wesseling ad locum, p. 636.
Itinerar.) It is surprising how this palpable error of the scribe
should escape the judicious correction of Grotius.
Note: Luden has observed that Jornandes mentions two
passages over the Danube; this relates to the second irruption
into Maesia. Geschichte des T V. ii. p. 448. - M.]

Decius found the Goths engaged before Nicopolis, one of the
many monuments of Trajan's victories. ^30 On his approach they
raised the siege, but with a design only of marching away to a
conquest of greater importance, the siege of Philippopolis, a
city of Thrace, founded by the father of Alexander, near the foot
of Mount Haemus. ^31 Decius followed them through a difficult
country, and by forced marches; but when he imagined himself at a
considerable distance from the rear of the Goths, Cniva turned
with rapid fury on his pursuers. The camp of the Romans was
surprised and pillaged, and, for the first time, their emperor
fled in disorder before a troop of half-armed barbarians. After
a long resistance, Philoppopolis, destitute of succor, was taken
by storm. A hundred thousand persons are reported to have been
massacred in the sack of that great city. ^32 Many prisoners of
consequence became a valuable accession to the spoil; and
Priscus, a brother of the late emperor Philip, blushed not to
assume the purple, under the protection of the barbarous enemies
of Rome. ^33 The time, however, consumed in that tedious siege,
enabled Decius to revive the courage, restore the discipline, and
recruit the numbers of his troops. He intercepted several
parties of Carpi, and other Germans, who were hastening to share
the victory of their countrymen, ^34 intrusted the passes of the
mountains to officers of approved valor and fidelity, ^35
repaired and strengthened the fortifications of the Danube, and
exerted his utmost vigilance to oppose either the progress or the
retreat of the Goths. Encouraged by the return of fortune, he
anxiously waited for an opportunity to retrieve, by a great and
decisive blow, his own glory, and that of the Roman arms. ^36

[Footnote 30: The place is still called Nicop. D'Anville,
Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 307. The little stream, on whose
banks it stood, falls into the Danube.]

[Footnote 31: Stephan. Byzant. de Urbibus, p. 740. Wesseling,
Itinerar. p. 136. Zonaras, by an odd mistake, ascribes the
foundation of Philippopolis to the immediate predecessor of

Note: Now Philippopolis or Philiba; its situation among the
hills caused it to be also called Trimontium. D'Anville, Geog.
Anc. i. 295. - G.]
[Footnote 32: Ammian. xxxi. 5.]

[Footnote 33: Aurel. Victor. c. 29.]

[Footnote 34: Victorioe Carpicoe, on some medals of Decius,
insinuate these advantages.]

[Footnote 35: Claudius (who afterwards reigned with so much
glory) was posted in the pass of Thermopylae with 200 Dardanians,
100 heavy and 160 light horse, 60 Cretan archers, and 1000
well-armed recruits. See an original letter from the emperor to
his officer, in the Augustan History, p. 200.]
[Footnote 36: Jornandes, c. 16 - 18. Zosimus, l. i. p. 22. In
the general account of this war, it is easy to discover the
opposite prejudices of the Gothic and the Grecian writer. In
carelessness alone they are alike.]
At the same time when Decius was struggling with the
violence of the tempest, his mind, calm and deliberate amidst the
tumult of war, investigated the more general causes, that, since
the age of the Antonines, had so impetuously urged the decline of
the Roman greatness. He soon discovered that it was impossible
to replace that greatness on a permanent basis, without restoring
public virtue, ancient principles and manners, and the oppressed
majesty of the laws. To execute this noble but arduous design,
he first resolved to revive the obsolete office of censor; an
office which, as long as it had subsisted in its pristine
integrity, had so much contributed to the perpetuity of the
state, ^37 till it was usurped and gradually neglected by the
Caesars. ^38 Conscious that the favor of the sovereign may confer
power, but that the esteem of the people can alone bestow
authority, he submitted the choice of the censor to the unbiased
voice of the senate. By their unanimous votes, or rather
acclamations, Valerian, who was afterwards emperor, and who then
served with distinction in the army of Decius, was declared the
most worthy of that exalted honor. As soon as the decree of the
senate was transmitted to the emperor, he assembled a great
council in his camp, and before the investiture of the censor
elect, he apprised him of the difficulty and importance of his
great office. "Happy Valerian," said the prince to his
distinguished subject, "happy in the general approbation of the
senate and of the Roman republic! Accept the censorship of
mankind; and judge of our manners. You will select those who
deserve to continue members of the senate; you will restore the
equestrian order to its ancient splendor; you will improve the
revenue, yet moderate the public burdens. You will distinguish
into regular classes the various and infinite multitude of
citizens, and accurately view the military strength, the wealth,
the virtue, and the resources of Rome. Your decisions shall
obtain the force of laws. The army, the palace, the ministers of
justice, and the great officers of the empire, are all subject to
your tribunal. None are exempted, excepting only the ordinary
consuls, ^39 the praefect of the city, the king of the
sacrifices, and (as long as she preserves her chastity inviolate)
the eldest of the vestal virgins. Even these few, who may not
dread the severity, will anxiously solicit the esteem, of the
Roman censor." ^40

[Footnote 37: Montesquieu, Grandeur et Decadence des Romains, c.
viii. He illustrates the nature and use of the censorship with
his usual ingenuity, and with uncommon precision.]

[Footnote 38: Vespasian and Titus were the last censors, (Pliny,
Hist. Natur vii. 49. Censorinus de Die Natali.) The modesty of
Trajan refused an honor which he deserved, and his example became
a law to the Antonines. See Pliny's Panegyric, c. 45 and 60.]

[Footnote 39: Yet in spite of his exemption, Pompey appeared
before that tribunal during his consulship. The occasion,
indeed, was equally singular and honorable. Plutarch in Pomp. p.

[Footnote 40: See the original speech in the Augustan Hist. p.
A magistrate, invested with such extensive powers, would
have appeared not so much the minister, as the colleague of his
sovereign. ^41 Valerian justly dreaded an elevation so full of
envy and of suspicion. He modestly argued the alarming greatness
of the trust, his own insufficiency, and the incurable corruption
of the times. He artfully insinuated, that the office of censor
was inseparable from the Imperial dignity, and that the feeble
hands of a subject were unequal to the support of such an immense
weight of cares and of power. ^42 The approaching event of war
soon put an end to the prosecution of a project so specious, but
so impracticable; and whilst it preserved Valerian from the
danger, saved the emperor Decius from the disappointment, which
would most probably have attended it. A censor may maintain, he
can never restore, the morals of a state. It is impossible for
such a magistrate to exert his authority with benefit, or even
with effect, unless he is supported by a quick sense of honor and
virtue in the minds of the people, by a decent reverence for the
public opinion, and by a train of useful prejudices combating on
the side of national manners. In a period when these principles
are annihilated, the censorial jurisdiction must either sink into
empty pageantry, or be converted into a partial instrument of
vexatious oppression. ^43 It was easier to vanquish the Goths
than to eradicate the public vices; yet even in the first of
these enterprises, Decius lost his army and his life.

[Footnote 41: This transaction might deceive Zonaras, who
supposes that Valerian was actually declared the colleague of
Decius, l. xii. p. 625.]
[Footnote 42: Hist. August. p. 174. The emperor's reply is
[Footnote 43: Such as the attempts of Augustus towards a
reformation of manness. Tacit. Annal. iii. 24.]

The Goths were now, on every side, surrounded and pursued by
the Roman arms. The flower of their troops had perished in the
long siege of Philippopolis, and the exhausted country could no
longer afford subsistence for the remaining multitude of
licentious barbarians. Reduced to this extremity, the Goths
would gladly have purchased, by the surrender of all their booty
and prisoners, the permission of an undisturbed retreat. But the
emperor, confident of victory, and resolving, by the chastisement
of these invaders, to strike a salutary terror into the nations
of the North, refused to listen to any terms of accommodation.
The high-spirited barbarians preferred death to slavery. An
obscure town of Maesia, called Forum Terebronii, ^44 was the
scene of the battle. The Gothic army was drawn up in three
lines, and either from choice or accident, the front of the third
line was covered by a morass. In the beginning of the action,
the son of Decius, a youth of the fairest hopes, and already
associated to the honors of the purple, was slain by an arrow, in
the sight of his afflicted father; who, summoning all his
fortitude, admonished the dismayed troops, that the loss of a
single soldier was of little importance to the republic. ^45 The
conflict was terrible; it was the combat of despair against grief
and rage. The first line of the Goths at length gave way in
disorder; the second, advancing to sustain it, shared its fate;
and the third only remained entire, prepared to dispute the
passage of the morass, which was imprudently attempted by the
presumption of the enemy. "Here the fortune of the day turned,
and all things became adverse to the Romans; the place deep with
ooze, sinking under those who stood, slippery to such as
advanced; their armor heavy, the waters deep; nor could they
wield, in that uneasy situation, their weighty javelins. The
barbarians, on the contrary, were inured to encounter in the
bogs, their persons tall, their spears long, such as could wound
at a distance." ^46 In this morass the Roman army, after an
ineffectual struggle, was irrecoverably lost; nor could the body
of the emperor ever be found. ^47 Such was the fate of Decius, in
the fiftieth year of his age; an accomplished prince, active in
war and affable in peace; ^48 who, together with his son, has
deserved to be compared, both in life and death, with the
brightest examples of ancient virtue. ^49

[Footnote 44: Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, tom. iii. p.
598. As Zosimus and some of his followers mistake the Danube for
the Tanais, they place the field of battle in the plains of

[Footnote 45: Aurelius Victor allows two distinct actions for the
deaths of the two Decii; but I have preferred the account of
[Footnote 46: I have ventured to copy from Tacitus (Annal. i. 64)
the picture of a similar engagement between a Roman army and a
German tribe.]
[Footnote 47: Jornandes, c. 18. Zosimus, l. i. p. 22, [c. 23.]
Zonaras, l. xii. p. 627. Aurelius Victor.]

[Footnote 48: The Decii were killed before the end of the year
two hundred and fifty-one, since the new princes took possession
of the consulship on the ensuing calends of January.]

[Footnote 49: Hist. August. p. 223, gives them a very honorable
place among the small number of good emperors who reigned between
Augustus and Diocletian.]

This fatal blow humbled, for a very little time, she
insolence of the legions. They appeared to have patiently
expected, and submissively obeyed, the decree of the senate which
regulated the succession to the throne. From a just regard for
the memory of Decius, the Imperial title was conferred on
Hostilianus, his only surviving son; but an equal rank, with more
effectual power, was granted to Gallus, whose experience and
ability seemed equal to the great trust of guardian to the young
prince and the distressed empire. ^50 The first care of the new
emperor was to deliver the Illyrian provinces from the
intolerable weight of the victorious Goths. He consented to
leave in their hands the rich fruits of their invasion, an
immense booty, and what was still more disgraceful, a great
number of prisoners of the highest merit and quality. He
plentifully supplied their camp with every conveniency that could
assuage their angry spirits or facilitate their so much
wished-for departure; and he even promised to pay them annually a
large sum of gold, on condition they should never afterwards
infest the Roman territories by their incursions. ^51

[Footnote 50: Haec ubi Patres comperere . . . . decernunt.
Victor in Caesaribus.]

[Footnote 51: Zonaras, l. xii. p. 628.]

In the age of the Scipios, the most opulent kings of the
earth, who courted the protection of the victorious commonwealth,
were gratified with such trifling presents as could only derive a
value from the hand that bestowed them; an ivory chair, a coarse
garment of purple, an inconsiderable piece of plate, or a
quantity of copper coin. ^52 After the wealth of nations had
centred in Rome, the emperors displayed their greatness, and even
their policy, by the regular exercise of a steady and moderate
liberality towards the allies of the state. They relieved the
poverty of the barbarians, honored their merit, and recompensed
their fidelity. These voluntary marks of bounty were understood
to flow, not from the fears, but merely from the generosity or
the gratitude of the Romans; and whilst presents and subsidies
were liberally distributed among friends and suppliants, they
were sternly refused to such as claimed them as a debt. ^53 But
this stipulation, of an annual payment to a victorious enemy,
appeared without disguise in the light of an ignominious tribute;
the minds of the Romans were not yet accustomed to accept such
unequal laws from a tribe of barbarians; and the prince, who by a
necessary concession had probably saved his country, became the
object of the general contempt and aversion. The death of
Hostiliamus, though it happened in the midst of a raging
pestilence, was interpreted as the personal crime of Gallus; ^54
and even the defeat of the later emperor was ascribed by the
voice of suspicion to the perfidious counsels of his hated
successor. ^55 The tranquillity which the empire enjoyed during
the first year of his administration, ^56 served rather to
inflame than to appease the public discontent; and as soon as the
apprehensions of war were removed, the infamy of the peace was
more deeply and more sensibly felt.

[Footnote 52: A Sella, a Toga, and a golden Patera of five pounds
weight, were accepted with joy and gratitude by the wealthy king
of Egypt. (Livy, xxvii. 4.) Quina millia Aeris, a weight of
copper, in value about eighteen pounds sterling, was the usual
present made to foreign are ambassadors. (Livy, xxxi. 9.)]

[Footnote 53: See the firmness of a Roman general so late as the
time of Alexander Severus, in the Excerpta Legationum, p. 25,
edit. Louvre.]
[Footnote 54: For the plague, see Jornandes, c. 19, and Victor in

[Footnote 55: These improbable accusations are alleged by
Zosimus, l. i. p. 28, 24.]

[Footnote 56: Jornandes, c. 19. The Gothic writer at least
observed the peace which his victorious countrymen had sworn to
But the Romans were irritated to a still higher degree, when
they discovered that they had not even secured their repose,
though at the expense of their honor. The dangerous secret of
the wealth and weakness of the empire had been revealed to the
world. New swarms of barbarians, encouraged by the success, and
not conceiving themselves bound by the obligation of their
brethren, spread devastation though the Illyrian provinces, and
terror as far as the gates of Rome. The defence of the monarchy,
which seemed abandoned by the pusillanimous emperor, was assumed
by Aemilianus, governor of Pannonia and Maesia; who rallied the
scattered forces, and revived the fainting spirits of the troops.

The barbarians were unexpectedly attacked, routed, chased, and
pursued beyond the Danube. The victorious leader distributed as
a donative the money collected for the tribute, and the
acclamations of the soldiers proclaimed him emperor on the field
of battle. ^57 Gallus, who, careless of the general welfare,
indulged himself in the pleasures of Italy, was almost in the
same instant informed of the success, of the revolt, and of the
rapid approach of his aspiring lieutenant. He advanced to meet
him as far as the plains of Spoleto. When the armies came in
right of each other, the soldiers of Gallus compared the
ignominious conduct of their sovereign with the glory of his
rival. They admired the valor of Aemilianus; they were attracted
by his liberality, for he offered a considerable increase of pay
to all deserters. ^58 The murder of Gallus, and of his son
Volusianus, put an end to the civil war; and the senate gave a
legal sanction to the rights of conquest. The letters of
Aemilianus to that assembly displayed a mixture of moderation and
vanity. He assured them, that he should resign to their wisdom
the civil administration; and, contenting himself with the
quality of their general, would in a short time assert the glory
of Rome, and deliver the empire from all the barbarians both of
the North and of the East. ^59 His pride was flattered by the
applause of the senate; and medals are still extant, representing
him with the name and attributes of Hercules the Victor, and Mars
the Avenger. ^60
[Footnote 57: Zosimus, l. i. p. 25, 26.]

[Footnote 58: Victor in Caesaribus.]

[Footnote 59: Zonaras, l. xii. p. 628.]

[Footnote 60: Banduri Numismata, p. 94.]

If the new monarch possessed the abilities, he wanted the
time, necessary to fulfil these splendid promises. Less than
four months intervened between his victory and his fall. ^61 He
had vanquished Gallus: he sunk under the weight of a competitor
more formidable than Gallus. That unfortunate prince had sent
Valerian, already distinguished by the honorable title of censor,
to bring the legions of Gaul and Germany ^62 to his aid. Valerian
executed that commission with zeal and fidelity; and as he
arrived too late to save his sovereign, he resolved to revenge
him. The troops of Aemilianus, who still lay encamped in the
plains of Spoleto, were awed by the sanctity of his character,
but much more by the superior strength of his army; and as they
were now become as incapable of personal attachment as they had
always been of constitutional principle, they readily imbrued
their hands in the blood of a prince who so lately had been the
object of their partial choice. The guilt was theirs, ^* but the
advantage of it was Valerian's; who obtained the possession of
the throne by the means indeed of a civil war, but with a degree
of innocence singular in that age of revolutions; since he owed
neither gratitude nor allegiance to his predecessor, whom he
[Footnote 61: Eutropius, l. ix. c. 6, says tertio mense. Eusebio
this emperor.]

[Footnote 62: Zosimus, l. i. p. 28. Eutropius and Victor station
Valerian's army in Rhaetia.]

[Footnote *: Aurelius Victor says that Aemilianus died of a
natural disorder. Tropius, in speaking of his death, does not say
that he was assassinated - G.]
Valerian was about sixty years of age ^63 when he was
invested with the purple, not by the caprice of the populace, or
the clamors of the army, but by the unanimous voice of the Roman
world. In his gradual ascent through the honors of the state, he
had deserved the favor of virtuous princes, and had declared
himself the enemy of tyrants. ^64 His noble birth, his mild but
unblemished manners, his learning, prudence, and experience, were
revered by the senate and people; and if mankind (according to
the observation of an ancient writer) had been left at liberty to
choose a master, their choice would most assuredly have fallen on
Valerian. ^65 Perhaps the merit of this emperor was inadequate to
his reputation; perhaps his abilities, or at least his spirit,
were affected by the languor and coldness of old age. The
consciousness of his decline engaged him to share the throne with
a younger and more active associate; ^66 the emergency of the
times demanded a general no less than a prince; and the
experience of the Roman censor might have directed him where to
bestow the Imperial purple, as the reward of military merit. But
instead of making a judicious choice, which would have confirmed
his reign and endeared his memory, Valerian, consulting only the
dictates of affection or vanity, immediately invested with the
supreme honors his son Gallienus, a youth whose effeminate vices
had been hitherto concealed by the obscurity of a private
station. The joint government of the father and the son
subsisted about seven, and the sole administration of Gallien
continued about eight, years. But the whole period was one
uninterrupted series of confusion and calamity. As the Roman
empire was at the same time, and on every side, attacked by the
blind fury of foreign invaders, and the wild ambition of domestic
usurpers, we shall consult order and perspicuity, by pursuing,
not so much the doubtful arrangement of dates, as the more
natural distribution of subjects. The most dangerous enemies of
Rome, during the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, were, 1. The
Franks; 2. The Alemanni; 3. The Goths; and, 4. The Persians.
Under these general appellations, we may comprehend the
adventures of less considerable tribes, whose obscure and uncouth
names would only serve to oppress the memory and perplex the
attention of the reader.
[Footnote 63: He was about seventy at the time of his accession,
or, as it is more probable, of his death. Hist. August. p. 173.
Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 893, note 1.]

[Footnote 64: Inimicus tyrannorum. Hist. August. p. 173. In the
glorious struggle of the senate against Maximin, Valerian acted a
very spirited part. Hist. August. p. 156.]

[Footnote 65: According to the distinction of Victor, he seems to
have received the title of Imperator from the army, and that of
Augustus from the senate.]

[Footnote 66: From Victor and from the medals, Tillemont (tom.
iii. p. 710) very justly infers, that Gallienus was associated to
the empire about the month of August of the year 253.]

I. As the posterity of the Franks compose one of the
greatest and most enlightened nations of Europe, the powers of
learning and ingenuity have been exhausted in the discovery of
their unlettered ancestors. To the tales of credulity have
succeeded the systems of fancy. Every passage has been sifted,
every spot has been surveyed, that might possibly reveal some
faint traces of their origin. It has been supposed that
Pannonia, ^67 that Gaul, that the northern parts of Germany, ^68
gave birth to that celebrated colony of warriors. At length the
most rational critics, rejecting the fictitious emigrations of
ideal conquerors, have acquiesced in a sentiment whose simplicity
persuades us of its truth. ^69 They suppose, that about the year
two hundred and forty, ^70 a new confederacy was formed under the
name of Franks, by the old inhabitants of the Lower Rhine and the
Weser. ^* The present circle of Westphalia, the Landgraviate of
Hesse, and the duchies of Brunswick and Luneburg, were the
ancient of the Chauci who, in their inaccessible morasses, defied
the Roman arms; ^71 of the Cherusci, proud of the fame of
Arminius; of the Catti, formidable by their firm and intrepid
infantry; and of several other tribes of inferior power and
renown. ^72 The love of liberty was the ruling passion of these
Germans; the enjoyment of it their best treasure; the word that
expressed that enjoyment, the most pleasing to their ear. They
deserved, they assumed, they maintained the honorable appellation
of Franks, or Freemen; which concealed, though it did not
extinguish, the peculiar names of the several states of the
confederacy. ^73 Tacit consent, and mutual advantage, dictated
the first laws of the union; it was gradually cemented by habit
and experience. The league of the Franks may admit of some
comparison with the Helvetic body; in which every canton,
retaining its independent sovereignty, consults with its brethren
in the common cause, without acknowledging the authority of any
supreme head, or representative assembly. ^74 But the principle
of the two confederacies was extremely different. A peace of two
hundred years has rewarded the wise and honest policy of the
Swiss. An inconstant spirit, the thirst of rapine, and a
disregard to the most solemn treaties, disgraced the character of
the Franks.
[Footnote 67: Various systems have been formed to explain a
difficult passage in Gregory of Tours, l. ii. c. 9.]

[Footnote 68: The Geographer of Ravenna, i. 11, by mentioning
Mauringania, on the confines of Denmark, as the ancient seat of
the Franks, gave birth to an ingenious system of Leibritz.]

[Footnote 69: See Cluver. Germania Antiqua, l. iii. c. 20. M.
Freret, in the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom.

[Footnote 70: Most probably under the reign of Gordian, from an
accidental circumstance fully canvassed by Tillemont, tom. iii.
p. 710, 1181.]
[Footnote *: The confederation of the Franks appears to have been
formed, 1. Of the Chauci. 2. Of the Sicambri, the inhabitants of
the duchy of Berg. 3. Of the Attuarii, to the north of the
Sicambri, in the principality of Waldeck, between the Dimel and
the Eder. 4. Of the Bructeri, on the banks of the Lippe, and in
the Hartz. 5. Of the Chamavii, the Gambrivii of Tacitua, who were
established, at the time of the Frankish confederation, in the
country of the Bructeri. 6. Of the Catti, in Hessia. - G. The
Salii and Cherasci are added. Greenwood's Hist. of Germans, i
193. - M.]
[Footnote 71: Plin. Hist. Natur. xvi. l. The Panegyrists
frequently allude to the morasses of the Franks.]

[Footnote 72: Tacit. Germania, c. 30, 37.]

[Footnote 73: In a subsequent period, most of those old names are
occasionally mentioned. See some vestiges of them in Cluver.
Germ. Antiq. l. iii.]

[Footnote 74: Simler de Republica Helvet. cum notis Fuselin.]

Chapter X: Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And

Part III.

The Romans had long experienced the daring valor of the
people of Lower Germany. The union of their strength threatened
Gaul with a more formidable invasion, and required the presence
of Gallienus, the heir and colleague of Imperial power. ^75
Whilst that prince, and his infant son Salonius, displayed, in
the court of Treves, the majesty of the empire its armies were
ably conducted by their general, Posthumus, who, though he
afterwards betrayed the family of Valerian, was ever faithful to
the great interests of the monarchy. The treacherous language of
panegyrics and medals darkly announces a long series of
victories. Trophies and titles attest (if such evidence can
attest) the fame of Posthumus, who is repeatedly styled the
Conqueror of the Germans, and the Savior of Gaul. ^76

[Footnote 75: Zosimus, l. i. p. 27.]

[Footnote 76: M. de Brequigny (in the Memoires de l'Academie,
tom. xxx.) has given us a very curious life of Posthumus. A
series of the Augustan History from Medals and Inscriptions has
been more than once planned, and is still much wanted.

Note: M. Eckhel, Keeper of the Cabinet of Medals, and
Professor of Antiquities at Vienna, lately deceased, has supplied
this want by his excellent work, Doctrina veterum Nummorum,
conscripta a Jos. Eckhel, 8 vol. in 4to Vindobona, 1797. - G.
Captain Smyth has likewise printed (privately) a valuable
Descriptive Catologue of a series of Large Brass Medals of this
period Bedford, 1834. - M. 1845.]

But a single fact, the only one indeed of which we have any
distinct knowledge, erases, in a great measure, these monuments
of vanity and adulation. The Rhine, though dignified with the
title of Safeguard of the provinces, was an imperfect barrier
against the daring spirit of enterprise with which the Franks
were actuated. Their rapid devastations stretched from the river
to the foot of the Pyrenees; nor were they stopped by those
mountains. Spain, which had never dreaded, was unable to resist,
the inroads of the Germans. During twelve years, the greatest
part of the reign of Gallie nus, that opulent country was the
theatre of unequal and destructive hostilities. Tarragona, the
flourishing capital of a peaceful province, was sacked and almost
destroyed; ^77 and so late as the days of Orosius, who wrote in
the fifth century, wretched cottages, scattered amidst the ruins
of magnificent cities, still recorded the rage of the barbarians.
^78 When the exhausted country no longer supplied a variety of
plunder, the Franks seized on some vessels in the ports of Spain,
^79 and transported themselves into Mauritania. The distant
province was astonished with the fury of these barbarians, who
seemed to fall from a new world, as their name, manners, and
complexion, were equally unknown on the coast of Africa. ^80
[Footnote 77: Aurel. Victor, c. 33. Instead of Poene direpto,
both the sense and the expression require deleto; though indeed,
for different reasons, it is alike difficult to correct the text
of the best, and of the worst, writers.]

[Footnote 78: In the time of Ausonius (the end of the fourth
century) Ilerda or Lerida was in a very ruinous state, (Auson.
Epist. xxv. 58,) which probably was the consequence of this

[Footnote 79: Valesius is therefore mistaken in supposing that
the Franks had invaded Spain by sea.]

[Footnote 80: Aurel. Victor. Eutrop. ix. 6.]

II. In that part of Upper Saxony, beyond the Elbe, which is
at present called the Marquisate of Lusace, there existed, in
ancient times, a sacred wood, the awful seat of the superstition
of the Suevi. None were permitted to enter the holy precincts,
without confessing, by their servile bonds and suppliant posture,
the immediate presence of the sovereign Deity. ^81 Patriotism
contributed, as well as devotion, to consecrate the Sonnenwald,
or wood of the Semnones. ^82 It was universally believed, that
the nation had received its first existence on that sacred spot.
At stated periods, the numerous tribes who gloried in the Suevic
blood, resorted thither by their ambassadors; and the memory of
their common extraction was perpetrated by barbaric rites and
human sacrifices. The wide-extended name of Suevi filled the
interior countries of Germany, from the banks of the Oder to
those of the Danube. They were distinguished from the other
Germans by their peculiar mode of dressing their long hair, which
they gathered into a rude knot on the crown of the head; and they
delighted in an ornament that showed their ranks more lofty and
terrible in the eyes of the enemy. ^83 Jealous as the Germans
were of military renown, they all confessed the superior valor of
the Suevi; and the tribes of the Usipetes and Tencteri, who, with
a vast army, encountered the dictator Caesar, declared that they
esteemed it not a disgrace to have fled before a people to whose
arms the immortal gods themselves were unequal. ^84
[Footnote 81: Tacit. Germania, 38.]

[Footnote 82: Cluver. Germ. Antiq. iii. 25.]

[Footnote 83: Sic Suevi a ceteris Germanis, sic Suerorum ingenui
a servis separantur. A proud separation!]

[Footnote 84: Caesar in Bello Gallico, iv. 7.]

In the reign of the emperor Caracalla, an innumerable swarm
of Suevi appeared on the banks of the Mein, and in the
neighborhood of the Roman provinces, in quest either of food, of
plunder, or of glory. ^85 The hasty army of volunteers gradually
coalesced into a great and permanent nation, and as it was
composed from so many different tribes, assumed the name of
Alemanni, ^* or Allmen; to denote at once their various lineage
and their common bravery. ^86 The latter was soon felt by the
Romans in many a hostile inroad. The Alemanni fought chiefly on
horseback; but their cavalry was rendered still more formidable
by a mixture of light infantry, selected from the bravest and
most active of the youth, whom frequent exercise had inured to
accompany the horsemen in the longest march, the most rapid
charge, or the most precipitate retreat. ^87

[Footnote 85: Victor in Caracal. Dion Cassius, lxvii. p. 1350.]
[Footnote *: The nation of the Alemanni was not originally formed
by the Suavi properly so called; these have always preserved
their own name. Shortly afterwards they made (A. D. 357) an
irruption into Rhaetia, and it was not long after that they were
reunited with the Alemanni. Still they have always been a
distinct people; at the present day, the people who inhabit the
north-west of the Black Forest call themselves Schwaben,
Suabians, Sueves, while those who inhabit near the Rhine, in
Ortenau, the Brisgaw, the Margraviate of Baden, do not consider
themselves Suabians, and are by origin Alemanni.

The Teucteri and the Usipetae, inhabitants of the interior
and of the north of Westphalia, formed, says Gatterer, the
nucleus of the Alemannic nation; they occupied the country where
the name of the Alemanni first appears, as conquered in 213, by
Caracalla. They were well trained to fight on horseback,
(according to Tacitus, Germ. c. 32;) and Aurelius Victor gives
the same praise to the Alemanni: finally, they never made part of
the Frankish league. The Alemanni became subsequently a centre
round which gathered a multitude of German tribes, See Eumen.
Panegyr. c. 2. Amm. Marc. xviii. 2, xxix. 4. - G.

The question whether the Suevi was a generic name
comprehending the clans which peopled central Germany, is rather
hastily decided by M. Guizot Mr. Greenwood, who has studied the
modern German writers on their own origin, supposes the Suevi,
Alemanni, and Marcomanni, one people, under different
appellations. History of Germany, vol i. - M.]

[Footnote 86: This etymology (far different from those which
amuse the fancy of the learned) is preserved by Asinius
Quadratus, an original historian, quoted by Agathias, i. c. 5.]

[Footnote 87: The Suevi engaged Caesar in this manner, and the
manoeuvre deserved the approbation of the conqueror, (in Bello
Gallico, i. 48.)]
This warlike people of Germans had been astonished by the
immense preparations of Alexander Severus; they were dismayed by
the arms of his successor, a barbarian equal in valor and
fierceness to themselves. But still hovering on the frontiers of
the empire, they increased the general disorder that ensued after
the death of Decius. They inflicted severe wounds on the rich
provinces of Gaul; they were the first who removed the veil that
covered the feeble majesty of Italy. A numerous body of the
Alemanni penetrated across the Danube and through the Rhaetian
Alps into the plains of Lombardy, advanced as far as Ravenna, and
displayed the victorious banners of barbarians almost in sight of
Rome. ^88

[Footnote 88: Hist. August. p. 215, 216. Dexippus in the
Excerpts. Legationam, p. 8. Hieronym. Chron. Orosius, vii. 22.]

The insult and the danger rekindled in the senate some
sparks of their ancient virtue. Both the emperors were engaged
in far distant wars, Valerian in the East, and Gallienus on the
Rhine. All the hopes and resources of the Romans were in
themselves. In this emergency, the senators resumed he defence
of the republic, drew out the Praetorian guards, who had been
left to garrison the capital, and filled up their numbers, by
enlisting into the public service the stoutest and most willing
of the Plebeians. The Alemanni, astonished with the sudden
appearance of an army more numerous than their own, retired into
Germany, laden with spoil; and their retreat was esteemed as a
victory by the unwarlike Romans. ^89

[Footnote 89: Zosimus, l. i. p. 34.]

When Gallienus received the intelligence that his capital
was delivered from the barbarians, he was much less delighted
than alarmed with the courage of the senate, since it might one
day prompt them to rescue the public from domestic tyranny as
well as from foreign invasion. His timid ingratitude was
published to his subjects, in an edict which prohibited the
senators from exercising any military employment, and even from
approaching the camps of the legions. But his fears were
groundless. The rich and luxurious nobles, sinking into their
natural character, accepted, as a favor, this disgraceful
exemption from military service; and as long as they were
indulged in the enjoyment of their baths, their theatres, and
their villas, they cheerfully resigned the more dangerous cares
of empire to the rough hands of peasants and soldiers. ^90

[Footnote 90: Aurel. Victor, in Gallieno et Probo. His
complaints breathe as uncommon spirit of freedom.]

Another invasion of the Alemanni, of a more formidable
aspect, but more glorious event, is mentioned by a writer of the
lower empire. Three hundred thousand are said to have been
vanquished, in a battle near Milan, by Gallienus in person, at
the head of only ten thousand Romans. ^91 We may, however, with
great probability, ascribe this incredible victory either to the
credulity of the historian, or to some exaggerated exploits of
one of the emperor's lieutenants. It was by arms of a very
different nature, that Gallienus endeavored to protect Italy from
the fury of the Germans. He espoused Pipa, the daughter of a
king of the Marcomanni, a Suevic tribe, which was often
confounded with the Alemanni in their wars and conquests. ^92 To
the father, as the price of his alliance, he granted an ample
settlement in Pannonia. The native charms of unpolished beauty
seem to have fixed the daughter in the affections of the
inconstant emperor, and the bands of policy were more firmly
connected by those of love. But the haughty prejudice of Rome
still refused the name of marriage to the profane mixture of a
citizen and a barbarian; and has stigmatized the German princess
with the opprobrious title of concubine of Gallienus. ^93

[Footnote 91: Zonaras, l. xii. p. 631.]

[Footnote 92: One of the Victors calls him king of the
Marcomanni; the other of the Germans.]

[Footnote 93: See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iii. p.
398, &c.]
III. We have already traced the emigration of the Goths
from Scandinavia, or at least from Prussia, to the mouth of the
Borysthenes, and have followed their victorious arms from the
Borysthenes to the Danube. Under the reigns of Valerian and
Gallienus, the frontier of the last- mentioned river was
perpetually infested by the inroads of Germans and Sarmatians;
but it was defended by the Romans with more than usual firmness
and success. The provinces that were the seat of war, recruited
the armies of Rome with an inexhaustible supply of hardy
soldiers; and more than one of these Illyrian peasants attained
the station, and displayed the abilities, of a general. Though
flying parties of the barbarians, who incessantly hovered on the
banks of the Danube, penetrated sometimes to the confines of
Italy and Macedonia, their progress was commonly checked, or
their return intercepted, by the Imperial lieutenants. ^94 But
the great stream of the Gothic hostilities was diverted into a
very different channel. The Goths, in their new settlement of
the Ukraine, soon became masters of the northern coast of the
Euxine: to the south of that inland sea were situated the soft
and wealthy provinces of Asia Minor, which possessed all that
could attract, and nothing that could resist, a barbarian

[Footnote 94: See the lives of Claudius, Aurelian, and Probus, in
the Augustan History.]

The banks of the Borysthenes are only sixty miles distant
from the narrow entrance ^95 of the peninsula of Crim Tartary,
known to the ancients under the name of Chersonesus Taurica. ^96
On that inhospitable shore, Euripides, embellishing with
exquisite art the tales of antiquity, has placed the scene of one
of his most affecting tragedies. ^97 The bloody sacrifices of
Diana, the arrival of Orestes and Pylades, and the triumph of
virtue and religion over savage fierceness, serve to represent an
historical truth, that the Tauri, the original inhabitants of the
peninsula, were, in some degree, reclaimed from their brutal
manners by a gradual intercourse with the Grecian colonies, which
settled along the maritime coast. The little kingdom of
Bosphorus, whose capital was situated on the Straits, through
which the Maeotis communicates itself to the Euxine, was composed
of degenerate Greeks and half-civilized barbarians. It
subsisted, as an independent state, from the time of the
Peloponnesian war, ^98 was at last swallowed up by the ambition
of Mithridates, ^99 and, with the rest of his dominions, sunk
under the weight of the Roman arms. From the reign of Augustus,
^100 the kings of Bosphorus were the humble, but not useless,
allies of the empire. By presents, by arms, and by a slight
fortification drawn across the Isthmus, they effectually guarded
against the roving plunderers of Sarmatia, the access of a
country, which, from its peculiar situation and convenient
harbors, commanded the Euxine Sea and Asia Minor. ^101 As long as
the sceptre was possessed by a lineal succession of kings, they
acquitted themselves of their important charge with vigilance and
success. Domestic factions, and the fears, or private interest,
of obscure usurpers, who seized on the vacant throne, admitted
the Goths into the heart of Bosphorus. With the acquisition of a
superfluous waste of fertile soil, the conquerors obtained the
command of a naval force, sufficient to transport their armies to
the coast of Asia. ^102 This ships used in the navigation of the
Euxine were of a very singular construction. They were slight
flat-bottomed barks framed of timber only, without the least
mixture of iron, and occasionally covered with a shelving roof,
on the appearance of a tempest. ^103 In these floating houses,
the Goths carelessly trusted themselves to the mercy of an
unknown sea, under the conduct of sailors pressed into the
service, and whose skill and fidelity were equally suspicious.
But the hopes of plunder had banished every idea of danger, and a
natural fearlessness of temper supplied in their minds the more
rational confidence, which is the just result of knowledge and
experience. Warriors of such a daring spirit must have often
murmured against the cowardice of their guides, who required the
strongest assurances of a settled calm before they would venture
to embark; and would scarcely ever be tempted to lose sight of
the land. Such, at least, is the practice of the modern Turks;
^104 and they are probably not inferior, in the art of
navigation, to the ancient inhabitants of Bosphorus.

[Footnote 95: It is about half a league in breadth. Genealogical
History of the Tartars, p 598.]

[Footnote 96: M. de Peyssonel, who had been French Consul at
Caffa, in his Observations sur les Peuples Barbares, que ont
habite les bords du Danube]
[Footnote 97: Eeripides in Iphigenia in Taurid.]

[Footnote 98: Strabo, l. vii. p. 309. The first kings of
Bosphorus were the allies of Athens.]

[Footnote 99: Appian in Mithridat.]

[Footnote 100: It was reduced by the arms of Agrippa. Orosius,
vi. 21. Eu tropius, vii. 9. The Romans once advanced within
three days' march of the Tanais. Tacit. Annal. xii. 17.]

[Footnote 101: See the Toxaris of Lucian, if we credit the
sincerity and the virtues of the Scythian, who relates a great
war of his nation against the kings of Bosphorus.]

[Footnote 102: Zosimus, l. i. p. 28.]

[Footnote 103: Strabo, l. xi. Tacit. Hist. iii. 47. They were
called Camaroe.]

[Footnote 104: See a very natural picture of the Euxine
navigation, in the xvith letter of Tournefort.]

The fleet of the Goths, leaving the coast of Circassia on
the left hand, first appeared before Pityus, ^105 the utmost
limits of the Roman provinces; a city provided with a convenient
port, and fortified with a strong wall. Here they met with a
resistance more obstinate than they had reason to expect from the
feeble garrison of a distant fortress. They were repulsed; and
their disappointment seemed to diminish the terror of the Gothic
name. As long as Successianus, an officer of superior rank and
merit, defended that frontier, all their efforts were
ineffectual; but as soon as he was removed by Valerian to a more
honorable but less important station, they resumed the attack of
Pityus; and by the destruction of that city, obliterated the
memory of their former disgrace. ^106

[Footnote 105: Arrian places the frontier garrison at Dioscurias,
or Sebastopolis, forty-four miles to the east of Pityus. The
garrison of Phasis consisted in his time of only four hundred
foot. See the Periplus of the Euxine.

Note: Pityus is Pitchinda, according to D'Anville, ii. 115.
- G. Rather Boukoun. - M. Dioscurias is Iskuriah. - G.]

[Footnote 106: Zosimus, l. i. p. 30.]

Circling round the eastern extremity of the Euxine Sea, the
navigation from Pityus to Trebizond is about three hundred miles.
^107 The course of the Goths carried them in sight of the country
of Colchis, so famous by the expedition of the Argonauts; and
they even attempted, though without success, to pillage a rich
temple at the mouth of the River Phasis. Trebizond, celebrated
in the retreat of the ten thousand as an ancient colony of
Greeks, ^108 derived its wealth and splendor from the
magnificence of the emperor Hadrian, who had constructed an
artificial port on a coast left destitute by nature of secure
harbors. ^109 The city was large and populous; a double enclosure
of walls seemed to defy the fury of the Goths, and the usual
garrison had been strengthened by a reenforcement of ten thousand
men. But there are not any advantages capable of supplying the
absence of discipline and vigilance. The numerous garrison of
Trebizond, dissolved in riot and luxury, disdained to guard their
impregnable fortifications. The Goths soon discovered the supine
negligence of the besieged, erected a lofty pile of fascines,
ascended the walls in the silence of the night, and entered the
defenceless city sword in hand. A general massacre of the people
ensued, whilst the affrighted soldiers escaped through the
opposite gates of the town. The most holy temples, and the most
splendid edifices, were involved in a common destruction. The
booty that fell into the hands of the Goths was immense: the
wealth of the adjacent countries had been deposited in Trebizond,
as in a secure place of refuge. The number of captives was
incredible, as the victorious barbarians ranged without
opposition through the extensive province of Pontus. ^110 The
rich spoils of Trebizond filled a great fleet of ships that had
been found in the port. The robust youth of the sea-coast were
chained to the oar; and the Goths, satisfied with the success of
their first naval expedition, returned in triumph to their new
establishment in the kingdom of Bosphorus. ^111

[Footnote 107: Arrian (in Periplo Maris Euxine, p. 130) calls the
distance 2610 stadia.]

[Footnote 108: Xenophon, Anabasis, l. iv. p. 348, edit.
Note: Fallmerayer (Geschichte des Kaiserthums von Trapezunt,
p. 6, &c) assigns a very ancient date to the first (Pelasgic)
foundation of Trapezun (Trebizond) - M.]

[Footnote 109: Arrian, p. 129. The general observation is
[Footnote 110: See an epistle of Gregory Thaumaturgus, bishop of
Neo- Caeoarea, quoted by Mascou, v. 37.]

[Footnote 111: Zosimus, l. i. p. 32, 33.]

The second expedition of the Goths was undertaken with
greater powers of men and ships; but they steered a different
course, and, disdaining the exhausted provinces of Pontus,
followed the western coast of the Euxine, passed before the wide
mouths of the Borysthenes, the Niester, and the Danube, and
increasing their fleet by the capture of a great number of
fishing barks, they approached the narrow outlet through which
the Euxine Sea pours its waters into the Mediterranean, and
divides the continents of Europe and Asia. The garrison of
Chalcedon was encamped near the temple of Jupiter Urius, on a
promontory that commanded the entrance of the Strait; and so
inconsiderable were the dreaded invasions of the barbarians that
this body of troops surpassed in number the Gothic army. But it
was in numbers alone that they surpassed it. They deserted with
precipitation their advantageous post, and abandoned the town of
Chalcedon, most plentifully stored with arms and money, to the
discretion of the conquerors. Whilst they hesitated whether they
should prefer the sea or land Europe or Asia, for the scene of
their hostilities, a perfidious fugitive pointed out Nicomedia,
^* once the capital of the kings of Bithynia, as a rich and easy
conquest. He guided the march which was only sixty miles from
the camp of Chalcedon, ^112 directed the resistless attack, and
partook of the booty; for the Goths had learned sufficient policy
to reward the traitor whom they detested. Nice, Prusa, Apamaea,
Cius, ^! cities that had sometimes rivalled, or imitated, the
splendor of Nicomedia, were involved in the same calamity, which,
in a few weeks, raged without control through the whole province
of Bithynia. Three hundred years of peace, enjoyed by the soft
inhabitants of Asia, had abolished the exercise of arms, and
removed the apprehension of danger. The ancient walls were
suffered to moulder away, and all the revenue of the most opulent
cities was reserved for the construction of baths, temples, and
theatres. ^113
[Footnote *: It has preserved its name, joined to the preposition
of place in that of Nikmid. D'Anv. Geog. Anc. ii. 28. - G.]

[Footnote 112: Itiner. Hierosolym. p. 572. Wesseling.]

[Footnote !: Now Isnik, Bursa, Mondania Ghio or Kemlik D'Anv. ii.
23. - G.]
[Footnote 113: Zosimus, l. . p. 32, 33.]

When the city of Cyzicus withstood the utmost effort of
Mithridates, ^114 it was distinguished by wise laws, a nava power
of two hundred galleys, and three arsenals, of arms, of military
engines, and of corn. ^115 It was still the seat of wealth and
luxury; but of its ancient strength, nothing remained except the
situation, in a little island of the Propontis, connected with
the continent of Asia only by two bridges. From the recent sack
of Prusa, the Goths advanced within eighteen miles. ^116 of the
city, which they had devoted to destruction; but the ruin of
Cyzicus was delayed by a fortunate accident. The season was
rainy, and the Lake Apolloniates, the reservoir of all the
springs of Mount Olympus, rose to an uncommon height. The little
river of Rhyndacus, which issues from the lake, swelled into a
broad and rapid stream, and stopped the progress of the Goths.
Their retreat to the maritime city of Heraclea, where the fleet
had probably been stationed, was attended by a long train of
wagons, laden with the spoils of Bithynia, and was marked by the
flames of Nico and Nicomedia, which they wantonly burnt. ^117
Some obscure hints are mentioned of a doubtful combat that
secured their retreat. ^118 But even a complete victory would
have been of little moment, as the approach of the autumnal
equinox summoned them to hasten their return. To navigate the
Euxine before the month of May, or after that of September, is
esteemed by the modern Turks the most unquestionable instance of
rashness and folly. ^119

[Footnote 114: He besieged the place with 400 galleys, 150,000
foot, and a numerous cavalry. See Plutarch in Lucul. Appian in
Mithridat Cicero pro Lege Manilia, c. 8.]

[Footnote 115: Strabo, l. xii. p. 573.]

[Footnote 116: Pocock's Description of the East, l. ii. c. 23,
[Footnote 117: Zosimus, l. i. p. 33.]

[Footnote 118: Syncellus tells an unintelligible story of Prince
Odenathus, who defeated the Goths, and who was killed by Prince
[Footnote 119: Voyages de Chardin, tom. i. p. 45. He sailed with
the Turks from Constantinople to Caffa.]

When we are informed that the third fleet, equipped by the
Goths in the ports of Bosphorus, consisted of five hundred sails
of ships, ^120 our ready imagination instantly computes and
multiplies the formidable armament; but, as we are assured by the
judicious Strabo, ^121 that the piratical vessels used by the
barbarians of Pontus and the Lesser Scythia, were not capable of
containing more than twenty-five or thirty men we may safely
affirm, that fifteen thousand warriors, at the most, embarked in
this great expedition. Impatient of the limits of the Euxine,
they steered their destructive course from the Cimmerian to the
Thracian Bosphorus. When they had almost gained the middle of
the Straits, they were suddenly driven back to the entrance of
them; till a favorable wind, springing up the next day, carried
them in a few hours into the placid sea, or rather lake, of the
Propontis. Their landing on the little island of Cyzicus was
attended with the ruin of that ancient and noble city. From
thence issuing again through the narrow passage of the
Hellespont, they pursued their winding navigation amidst the
numerous islands scattered over the Archipelago, or the Aegean
Sea. The assistance of captives and deserters must have been
very necessary to pilot their vessels, and to direct their
various incursions, as well on the coast of Greece as on that of
Asia. At length the Gothic fleet anchored in the port of
Piraeus, five miles distant from Athens, ^122 which had attempted
to make some preparations for a vigorous defence. Cleodamus, one
of the engineers employed by the emperor's orders to fortify the
maritime cities against the Goths, had already begun to repair
the ancient walls, fallen to decay since the time of Scylla. The
efforts of his skill were ineffectual, and the barbarians became
masters of the native seat of the muses and the arts. But while
the conquerors abandoned themselves to the license of plunder and
intemperance, their fleet, that lay with a slender guard in the
harbor of Piraeus, was unexpectedly attacked by the brave
Dexippus, who, flying with the engineer Cleodamus from the sack
of Athens, collected a hasty band of volunteers, peasants as well
as soldiers, and in some measure avenged the calamities of his
country. ^123

[Footnote 120: Syncellus (p. 382) speaks of this expedition, as
undertaken by the Heruli.]

[Footnote 121: Strabo, l. xi. p. 495.]

[Footnote 122: Plin. Hist. Natur. iii. 7.]

[Footnote 123: Hist. August. p. 181. Victor, c. 33. Orosius,
vii. 42. Zosimus, l. i. p. 35. Zonaras, l. xii. 635. Syncellus,
p. 382. It is not without some attention, that we can explain
and conciliate their imperfect hints. We can still discover some
traces of the partiality of Dexippus, in the relation of his own
and his countrymen's exploits.

Note: According to a new fragment of Dexippus, published by
Mai, he 2000 men. He took up a strong position in a mountainous
and woods district, and kept up a harassing warfare. He
expresses a hope of being speedily joined by the Imperial fleet.
Dexippus in rov. Byzantinorum Collect a Niebuhr, p. 26, 8 - M.]

But this exploit, whatever lustre it might shed on the
declining age of Athens, served rather to irritate than to subdue
the undaunted spirit of the northern invaders. A general
conflagration blazed out at the same time in every district of
Greece. Thebes and Argos, Corinth and Sparta, which had formerly
waged such memorable wars against each other, were now unable to
bring an army into the field, or even to defend their ruined
fortifications. The rage of war, both by land and by sea, spread
from the eastern point of Sunium to the western coast of Epirus.
The Goths had already advanced within sight of Italy, when the
approach of such imminent danger awakened the indolent Gallienus
from his dream of pleasure. The emperor appeared in arms; and
his presence seems to have checked the ardor, and to have divided
the strength, of the enemy. Naulobatus, a chief of the Heruli,
accepted an honorable capitulation, entered with a large body of
his countrymen into the service of Rome, and was invested with
the ornaments of the consular dignity, which had never before
been profaned by the hands of a barbarian. ^124 Great numbers of
the Goths, disgusted with the perils and hardships of a tedious
voyage, broke into Maesia, with a design of forcing their way
over the Danube to their settlements in the Ukraine. The wild
attempt would have proved inevitable destruction, if the discord
of the Roman generals had not opened to the barbarians the means
of an escape. ^125 The small remainder of this destroying host
returned on board their vessels; and measuring back their way
through the Hellespont and the Bosphorus, ravaged in their
passage the shores of Troy, whose fame, immortalized by Homer,
will probably survive the memory of the Gothic conquests. As
soon as they found themselves in safety within the basin of the
Euxine, they landed at Anchialus in Thrace, near the foot of
Mount Haemus; and, after all their toils, indulged themselves in
the use of those pleasant and salutary hot baths. What remained
of the voyage was a short and easy navigation. ^126 Such was the
various fate of this third and greatest of their naval
enterprises. It may seem difficult to conceive how the original
body of fifteen thousand warriors could sustain the losses and
divisions of so bold an adventure. But as their numbers were
gradually wasted by the sword, by shipwrecks, and by the
influence of a warm climate, they were perpetually renewed by
troops of banditti and deserters, who flocked to the standard of
plunder, and by a crowd of fugitive slaves, often of German or
Sarmatian extraction, who eagerly seized the glorious opportunity
of freedom and revenge. In these expeditions, the Gothic nation
claimed a superior share of honor and danger; but the tribes that
fought under the Gothic banners are sometimes distinguished and
sometimes confounded in the imperfect histories of that age; and
as the barbarian fleets seemed to issue from the mouth of the
Tanais, the vague but familiar appellation of Scythians was
frequently bestowed on the mixed multitude. ^127
[Footnote 124: Syncellus, p. 382. This body of Heruli was for a
long time faithful and famous.]

[Footnote 125: Claudius, who commanded on the Danube, thought
with propriety and acted with spirit. His colleague was jealous
of his fame Hist. August. p. 181.]

[Footnote 126: Jornandes, c. 20.]

[Footnote 127: Zosimus and the Greeks (as the author of the
Philopatris) give the name of Scythians to those whom Jornandes,
and the Latin writers, constantly represent as Goths.]

Chapter X: Emperors Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian And

Part IV.

In the general calamities of mankind, the death of an
individual, however exalted, the ruin of an edifice, however
famous, are passed over with careless inattention. Yet we cannot
forget that the temple of Diana at Ephesus, after having risen
with increasing splendor from seven repeated misfortunes, ^128
was finally burnt by the Goths in their third naval invasion.
The arts of Greece, and the wealth of Asia, had conspired to
erect that sacred and magnificent structure. It was supported by

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