Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II by Edward Gibbon

Part 14 out of 16

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

and the misfortune of fourscore ecclesiastics of Constantinople,
who, perhaps accidentally, were burned on shipboard, was imputed
to the cruel and premeditated malice of the emperor, and his
Arian ministers. In every contest, the Catholics (if we may
anticipate that name) were obliged to pay the penalty of their
own faults, and of those of their adversaries. In every
election, the claims of the Arian candidate obtained the
preference; and if they were opposed by the majority of the
people, he was usually supported by the authority of the civil
magistrate, or even by the terrors of a military force. The
enemies of Athanasius attempted to disturb the last years of his
venerable age; and his temporary retreat to his father's
sepulchre has been celebrated as a fifth exile. But the zeal of
a great people, who instantly flew to arms, intimidated the
praefect: and the archbishop was permitted to end his life in
peace and in glory, after a reign of forty-seven years. The
death of Athanasius was the signal of the persecution of Egypt;
and the Pagan minister of Valens, who forcibly seated the
worthless Lucius on the archiepiscopal throne, purchased the
favor of the reigning party, by the blood and sufferings of their
Christian brethren. The free toleration of the heathen and
Jewish worship was bitterly lamented, as a circumstance which
aggravated the misery of the Catholics, and the guilt of the
impious tyrant of the East. ^68

[Footnote 66: Eudoxus was of a mild and timid disposition. When
he baptized Valens, (A. D. 367,) he must have been extremely old;
since he had studied theology fifty-five years before, under
Lucian, a learned and pious martyr. Philostorg. l. ii. c. 14-16,
l. iv. c. 4, with Godefroy, p 82, 206, and Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom. v. p. 471-480, &c.]

[Footnote *: Through the influence of his wife say the
ecclesiastical writers. - M.]

[Footnote 67: Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxv. p. 432) insults the
persecuting spirit of the Arians, as an infallible symptom of
error and heresy.]
[Footnote 68: This sketch of the ecclesiastical government of
Valens is drawn from Socrates, (l. iv.,) Sozomen, (l. vi.,)
Theodoret, (l. iv.,) and the immense compilations of Tillemont,
(particularly tom. vi. viii. and ix.)]
The triumph of the orthodox party has left a deep stain of
persecution on the memory of Valens; and the character of a
prince who derived his virtues, as well as his vices, from a
feeble understanding and a pusillanimous temper, scarcely
deserves the labor of an apology. Yet candor may discover some
reasons to suspect that the ecclesiastical ministers of Valens
often exceeded the orders, or even the intentions, of their
master; and that the real measure of facts has been very
liberally magnified by the vehement declamation and easy
credulity of his antagonists. ^69 1. The silence of Valentinian
may suggest a probable argument that the partial severities,
which were exercised in the name and provinces of his colleague,
amounted only to some obscure and inconsiderable deviations from
the established system of religious toleration: and the judicious
historian, who has praised the equal temper of the elder brother,
has not thought himself obliged to contrast the tranquillity of
the West with the cruel persecution of the East. ^70 2. Whatever
credit may be allowed to vague and distant reports, the
character, or at least the behavior, of Valens, may be most
distinctly seen in his personal transactions with the eloquent
Basil, archbishop of Caesarea, who had succeeded Athanasius in
the management of the Trinitarian cause. ^71 The circumstantial
narrative has been composed by the friends and admirers of Basil;
and as soon as we have stripped away a thick coat of rhetoric and
miracle, we shall be astonished by the unexpected mildness of the
Arian tyrant, who admired the firmness of his character, or was
apprehensive, if he employed violence, of a general revolt in the
province of Cappadocia. The archbishop, who asserted, with
inflexible pride, ^72 the truth of his opinions, and the dignity
of his rank, was left in the free possession of his conscience
and his throne. The emperor devoutly assisted at the solemn
service of the cathedral; and, instead of a sentence of
banishment, subscribed the donation of a valuable estate for the
use of a hospital, which Basil had lately founded in the
neighborhood of Caesarea. ^73 3. I am not able to discover, that
any law (such as Theodosius afterwards enacted against the
Arians) was published by Valens against the Athanasian sectaries;
and the edict which excited the most violent clamors, may not
appear so extremely reprehensible. The emperor had observed,
that several of his subjects, gratifying their lazy disposition
under the pretence of religion, had associated themselves with
the monks of Egypt; and he directed the count of the East to drag
them from their solitude; and to compel these deserters of
society to accept the fair alternative of renouncing their
temporal possessions, or of discharging the public duties of men
and citizens. ^74 The ministers of Valens seem to have extended
the sense of this penal statute, since they claimed a right of
enlisting the young and ablebodied monks in the Imperial armies.
A detachment of cavalry and infantry, consisting of three
thousand men, marched from Alexandria into the adjacent desert of
Nitria, ^75 which was peopled by five thousand monks. The
soldiers were conducted by Arian priests; and it is reported,
that a considerable slaughter was made in the monasteries which
disobeyed the commands of their sovereign. ^76

[Footnote 69: Dr. Jortin (Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol.
iv. p. 78) has already conceived and intimated the same

[Footnote 70: This reflection is so obvious and forcible, that
Orosius (l. vii. c. 32, 33,) delays the persecution till after
the death of Valentinian. Socrates, on the other hand, supposes,
(l. iii. c. 32,) that it was appeased by a philosophical oration,
which Themistius pronounced in the year 374, (Orat. xii. p. 154,
in Latin only.) Such contradictions diminish the evidence, and
reduce the term, of the persecution of Valens.]

[Footnote 71: Tillemont, whom I follow and abridge, has extracted
(Mem. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 153-167) the most authentic
circumstances from the Panegyrics of the two Gregories; the
brother, and the friend, of Basil. The letters of Basil himself
(Dupin, Bibliotheque, Ecclesiastique, tom. ii. p. 155-180) do not
present the image of a very lively persecution.]
[Footnote 72: Basilius Caesariensis episcopus Cappadociae clarus
habetur ... qui multa continentiae et ingenii bona uno superbiae
malo perdidit. This irreverent passage is perfectly in the style
and character of St. Jerom. It does not appear in Scaliger's
edition of his Chronicle; but Isaac Vossius found it in some old
Mss. which had not been reformed by the monks.]
[Footnote 73: This noble and charitable foundation (almost a new
city) surpassed in merit, if not in greatness, the pyramids, or
the walls of Babylon. It was principally intended for the
reception of lepers, (Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. xx. p. 439.)]

[Footnote 74: Cod. Theodos. l. xii. tit. i. leg. 63. Godefroy
(tom. iv. p. 409-413) performs the duty of a commentator and
advocate. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 808) supposes a
second law to excuse his orthodox friends, who had misrepresented
the edict of Valens, and suppressed the liberty of choice.]

[Footnote 75: See D'Anville, Description de l'Egypte, p. 74.
Hereafter I shall consider the monastic institutions.]

[Footnote 76: Socrates, l. iv. c. 24, 25. Orosius, l. vii. c.
33. Jerom. in Chron. p. 189, and tom. ii. p. 212. The monks of
Egypt performed many miracles, which prove the truth of their
faith. Right, says Jortin, (Remarks, vol iv. p. 79,) but what
proves the truth of those miracles.]
The strict regulations which have been framed by the wisdom
of modern legislators to restrain the wealth and avarice of the
clergy, may be originally deduced from the example of the emperor
Valentinian. His edict, ^77 addressed to Damasus, bishop of
Rome, was publicly read in the churches of the city. He
admonished the ecclesiastics and monks not to frequent the houses
of widows and virgins; and menaced their disobedience with the
animadversion of the civil judge. The director was no longer
permitted to receive any gift, or legacy, or inheritance, from
the liberality of his spiritual-daughter: every testament
contrary to this edict was declared null and void; and the
illegal donation was confiscated for the use of the treasury. By
a subsequent regulation, it should seem, that the same provisions
were extended to nuns and bishops; and that all persons of the
ecclesiastical order were rendered incapable of receiving any
testamentary gifts, and strictly confined to the natural and
legal rights of inheritance. As the guardian of domestic
happiness and virtue, Valentinian applied this severe remedy to
the growing evil. In the capital of the empire, the females of
noble and opulent houses possessed a very ample share of
independent property: and many of those devout females had
embraced the doctrines of Christianity, not only with the cold
assent of the understanding, but with the warmth of affection,
and perhaps with the eagerness of fashion. They sacrificed the
pleasures of dress and luxury; and renounced, for the praise of
chastity, the soft endearments of conjugal society. Some
ecclesiastic, of real or apparent sanctity, was chosen to direct
their timorous conscience, and to amuse the vacant tenderness of
their heart: and the unbounded confidence, which they hastily
bestowed, was often abused by knaves and enthusiasts; who
hastened from the extremities of the East, to enjoy, on a
splendid theatre, the privileges of the monastic profession. By
their contempt of the world, they insensibly acquired its most
desirable advantages; the lively attachment, perhaps of a young
and beautiful woman, the delicate plenty of an opulent household,
and the respectful homage of the slaves, the freedmen, and the
clients of a senatorial family. The immense fortunes of the
Roman ladies were gradually consumed in lavish alms and expensive
pilgrimages; and the artful monk, who had assigned himself the
first, or possibly the sole place, in the testament of his
spiritual daughter, still presumed to declare, with the smooth
face of hypocrisy, that he was only the instrument of charity,
and the steward of the poor. The lucrative, but disgraceful,
trade, ^78 which was exercised by the clergy to defraud the
expectations of the natural heirs, had provoked the indignation
of a superstitious age: and two of the most respectable of the
Latin fathers very honestly confess, that the ignominious edict
of Valentinian was just and necessary; and that the Christian
priests had deserved to lose a privilege, which was still enjoyed
by comedians, charioteers, and the ministers of idols. But the
wisdom and authority of the legislator are seldom victorious in a
contest with the vigilant dexterity of private interest; and
Jerom, or Ambrose, might patiently acquiesce in the justice of an
ineffectual or salutary law. If the ecclesiastics were checked
in the pursuit of personal emolument, they would exert a more
laudable industry to increase the wealth of the church; and
dignify their covetousness with the specious names of piety and
patriotism. ^79

[Footnote 77: Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. ii. leg. 20. Godefroy,
(tom. vi. p. 49,) after the example of Baronius, impartially
collects all that the fathers have said on the subject of this
important law; whose spirit was long afterwards revived by the
emperor Frederic II., Edward I. of England, and other Christian
princes who reigned after the twelfth century.]
[Footnote 78: The expressions which I have used are temperate and
feeble, if compared with the vehement invectives of Jerom, (tom.
i. p. 13, 45, 144, &c.) In his turn he was reproached with the
guilt which he imputed to his brother monks; and the Sceleratus,
the Versipellis, was publicly accused as the lover of the widow
Paula, (tom. ii. p. 363.) He undoubtedly possessed the affection,
both of the mother and the daughter; but he declares that he
never abused his influence to any selfish or sensual purpose.]

[Footnote 79: Pudet dicere, sacerdotes idolorum, mimi et aurigae,
et scorta, haereditates capiunt: solis clericis ac monachis hac
lege prohibetur. Et non prohibetur a persecutoribus, sed a
principibus Christianis. Nec de lege queror; sed doleo cur
meruerimus hanc legem. Jerom (tom. i. p. 13) discreetly
insinuates the secret policy of his patron Damasus.]

Damasus, bishop of Rome, who was constrained to stigmatize
the avarice of his clergy by the publication of the law of
Valentinian, had the good sense, or the good fortune, to engage
in his service the zeal and abilities of the learned Jerom; and
the grateful saint has celebrated the merit and purity of a very
ambiguous character. ^80 But the splendid vices of the church of
Rome, under the reign of Valentinian and Damasus, have been
curiously observed by the historian Ammianus, who delivers his
impartial sense in these expressive words: "The praefecture of
Juventius was accompanied with peace and plenty, but the
tranquillity of his government was soon disturbed by a bloody
sedition of the distracted people. The ardor of Damasus and
Ursinus, to seize the episcopal seat, surpassed the ordinary
measure of human ambition. They contended with the rage of
party; the quarrel was maintained by the wounds and death of
their followers; and the praefect, unable to resist or appease
the tumult, was constrained, by superior violence, to retire into
the suburbs. Damasus prevailed: the well-disputed victory
remained on the side of his faction; one hundred and thirty-seven
dead bodies ^81 were found in the Basilica of Sicininus, ^82
where the Christians hold their religious assemblies; and it was
long before the angry minds of the people resumed their
accustomed tranquillity. When I consider the splendor of the
capital, I am not astonished that so valuable a prize should
inflame the desires of ambitious men, and produce the fiercest
and most obstinate contests. The successful candidate is secure,
that he will be enriched by the offerings of matrons; ^83 that,
as soon as his dress is composed with becoming care and elegance,
he may proceed, in his chariot, through the streets of Rome; ^84
and that the sumptuousness of the Imperial table will not equal
the profuse and delicate entertainments provided by the taste,
and at the expense, of the Roman pontiffs. How much more
rationally (continues the honest Pagan) would those pontiffs
consult their true happiness, if, instead of alleging the
greatness of the city as an excuse for their manners, they would
imitate the exemplary life of some provincial bishops, whose
temperance and sobriety, whose mean apparel and downcast looks,
recommend their pure and modest virtue to the Deity and his true
worshippers!" ^85 The schism of Damasus and Ursinus was
extinguished by the exile of the latter; and the wisdom of the
praefect Praetextatus ^86 restored the tranquillity of the city.
Praetextatus was a philosophic Pagan, a man of learning, of
taste, and politeness; who disguised a reproach in the form of a
jest, when he assured Damasus, that if he could obtain the
bishopric of Rome, he himself would immediately embrace the
Christian religion. ^87 This lively picture of the wealth and
luxury of the popes in the fourth century becomes the more
curious, as it represents the intermediate degree between the
humble poverty of the apostolic fishermen, and the royal state of
a temporal prince, whose dominions extend from the confines of
Naples to the banks of the Po.

[Footnote 80: Three words of Jerom, sanctoe memorioe Damasus
(tom. ii. p. 109,) wash away all his stains, and blind the devout
eyes of Tillemont. (Mem Eccles. tom. viii. p. 386-424.)]

[Footnote 81: Jerom himself is forced to allow, crudelissimae
interfectiones diversi sexus perpetratae, (in Chron. p. 186.) But
an original libel, or petition of two presbyters of the adverse
party, has unaccountably escaped. They affirm that the doors of
the Basilica were burnt, and that the roof was untiled; that
Damasus marched at the head of his own clergy, grave-diggers,
charioteers, and hired gladiators; that none of his party were
killed, but that one hundred and sixty dead bodies were found.
This petition is published by the P. Sirmond, in the first volume
of his work.]

[Footnote 82: The Basilica of Sicininus, or Liberius, is probably
the church of Sancta Maria Maggiore, on the Esquiline hill.
Baronius, A. D. 367 No. 3; and Donatus, Roma Antiqua et Nova, l.
iv. c. 3, p. 462.]

[Footnote 83: The enemies of Damasus styled him Auriscalpius
Matronarum the ladies' ear-scratcher.]

[Footnote 84: Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxxii. p. 526) describes
the pride and luxury of the prelates who reigned in the Imperial
cities; their gilt car, fiery steeds, numerous train, &c. The
crowd gave way as to a wild beast.]
[Footnote 85: Ammian. xxvii. 3. Perpetuo Numini, verisque ejus
cultoribus. The incomparable pliancy of a polytheist!]

[Footnote 86: Ammianus, who makes a fair report of his
praefecture (xxvii. 9) styles him praeclarae indolis,
gravitatisque senator, (xxii. 7, and Vales. ad loc.) A curious
inscription (Grutor MCII. No. 2) records, in two columns, his
religious and civil honors. In one line he was Pontiff of the
Sun, and of Vesta, Augur, Quindecemvir, Hierophant, &c., &c. In
the other, 1. Quaestor candidatus, more probably titular. 2.
Praetor. 3. Corrector of Tuscany and Umbria. 4. Consular of
Lusitania. 5. Proconsul of Achaia. 6. Praefect of Rome. 7.
Praetorian praefect of Italy. 8. Of Illyricum. 9. Consul elect;
but he died before the beginning of the year 385. See Tillemont,
Hist. des Empereurs, tom v. p. 241, 736.]

[Footnote 87: Facite me Romanae urbis episcopum; et ero protinus
Christianus (Jerom, tom. ii. p. 165.) It is more than probable
that Damasus would not have purchased his conversion at such a

Chapter XXV: Reigns Of Jovian And Valentinian, Division Of The

Part IV.

When the suffrage of the generals and of the army committed
the sceptre of the Roman empire to the hands of Valentinian, his
reputation in arms, his military skill and experience, and his
rigid attachment to the forms, as well as spirit, of ancient
discipline, were the principal motives of their judicious choice.

The eagerness of the troops, who pressed him to nominate his
colleague, was justified by the dangerous situation of public
affairs; and Valentinian himself was conscious, that the
abilities of the most active mind were unequal to the defence of
the distant frontiers of an invaded monarchy. As soon as the
death of Julian had relieved the Barbarians from the terror of
his name, the most sanguine hopes of rapine and conquest excited
the nations of the East, of the North, and of the South. Their
inroads were often vexatious, and sometimes formidable; but,
during the twelve years of the reign of Valentinian, his firmness
and vigilance protected his own dominions; and his powerful
genius seemed to inspire and direct the feeble counsels of his
brother. Perhaps the method of annals would more forcibly
express the urgent and divided cares of the two emperors; but the
attention of the reader, likewise, would be distracted by a
tedious and desultory narrative. A separate view of the five
great theatres of war; I. Germany; II. Britain; III. Africa;
IV. The East; and, V. The Danube; will impress a more distinct
image of the military state of the empire under the reigns of
Valentinian and Valens.

I. The ambassadors of the Alemanni had been offended by the
harsh and haughty behavior of Ursacius, master of the offices;
^88 who by an act of unseasonable parsimony, had diminished the
value, as well as the quantity, of the presents to which they
were entitled, either from custom or treaty, on the accession of
a new emperor. They expressed, and they communicated to their
countrymen, their strong sense of the national affront. The
irascible minds of the chiefs were exasperated by the suspicion
of contempt; and the martial youth crowded to their standard.
Before Valentinian could pass the Alps, the villages of Gaul were
in flames; before his general Degalaiphus could encounter the
Alemanni, they had secured the captives and the spoil in the
forests of Germany. In the beginning of the ensuing year, the
military force of the whole nation, in deep and solid columns,
broke through the barrier of the Rhine, during the severity of a
northern winter. Two Roman counts were defeated and mortally
wounded; and the standard of the Heruli and Batavians fell into
the hands of the Heruli and Batavians fell into the hands of the
conquerors, who displayed, with insulting shouts and menaces, the
trophy of their victory. The standard was recovered; but the
Batavians had not redeemed the shame of their disgrace and flight
in the eyes of their severe judge. It was the opinion of
Valentinian, that his soldiers must learn to fear their
commander, before they could cease to fear the enemy. The troops
were solemnly assembled; and the trembling Batavians were
enclosed within the circle of the Imperial army. Valentinian
then ascended his tribunal; and, as if he disdained to punish
cowardice with death, he inflicted a stain of indelible ignominy
on the officers, whose misconduct and pusillanimity were found to
be the first occasion of the defeat. The Batavians were degraded
from their rank, stripped of their arms, and condemned to be sold
for slaves to the highest bidder. At this tremendous sentence,
the troops fell prostrate on the ground, deprecated the
indignation of their sovereign, and protested, that, if he would
indulge them in another trial, they would approve themselves not
unworthy of the name of Romans, and of his soldiers. Valentinian,
with affected reluctance, yielded to their entreaties; the
Batavians resumed their arms, and with their arms, the invincible
resolution of wiping away their disgrace in the blood of the
Alemanni. ^89 The principal command was declined by Dagalaiphus;
and that experienced general, who had represented, perhaps with
too much prudence, the extreme difficulties of the undertaking,
had the mortification, before the end of the campaign, of seeing
his rival Jovinus convert those difficulties into a decisive
advantage over the scattered forces of the Barbarians. At the
head of a well-disciplined army of cavalry, infantry, and light
troops, Jovinus advanced, with cautious and rapid steps, to
Scarponna, ^90 ^* in the territory of Metz, where he surprised a
large division of the Alemanni, before they had time to run to
their arms; and flushed his soldiers with the confidence of an
easy and bloodless victory. Another division, or rather army, of
the enemy, after the cruel and wanton devastation of the adjacent
country, reposed themselves on the shady banks of the Moselle.
Jovinus, who had viewed the ground with the eye of a general,
made a silent approach through a deep and woody vale, till he
could distinctly perceive the indolent security of the Germans.
Some were bathing their huge limbs in the river; others were
combing their long and flaxen hair; others again were swallowing
large draughts of rich and delicious wine. On a sudden they
heard the sound of the Roman trumpet; they saw the enemy in their
camp. Astonishment produced disorder; disorder was followed by
flight and dismay; and the confused multitude of the bravest
warriors was pierced by the swords and javelins of the
legionaries and auxiliaries. The fugitives escaped to the third,
and most considerable, camp, in the Catalonian plains, near
Chalons in Champagne: the straggling detachments were hastily
recalled to their standard; and the Barbarian chiefs, alarmed and
admonished by the fate of their companions, prepared to
encounter, in a decisive battle, the victorious forces of the
lieutenant of Valentinian. The bloody and obstinate conflict
lasted a whole summer's day, with equal valor, and with alternate
success. The Romans at length prevailed, with the loss of about
twelve hundred men. Six thousand of the Alemanni were slain,
four thousand were wounded; and the brave Jovinus, after chasing
the flying remnant of their host as far as the banks of the
Rhine, returned to Paris, to receive the applause of his
sovereign, and the ensigns of the consulship for the ensuing
year. ^91 The triumph of the Romans was indeed sullied by their
treatment of the captive king, whom they hung on a gibbet,
without the knowledge of their indignant general. This
disgraceful act of cruelty, which might be imputed to the fury of
the troops, was followed by the deliberate murder of Withicab,
the son of Vadomair; a German prince, of a weak and sickly
constitution, but of a daring and formidable spirit. The
domestic assassin was instigated and protected by the Romans; ^92
and the violation of the laws of humanity and justice betrayed
their secret apprehension of the weakness of the declining
empire. The use of the dagger is seldom adopted in public
councils, as long as they retain any confidence in the power of
the sword.

[Footnote 88: Ammian, xxvi. 5. Valesius adds a long and good
note on the master of the offices.]

[Footnote 89: Ammian. xxvii. 1. Zosimus, l. iv. p. 208. The
disgrace of the Batavians is suppressed by the contemporary
soldier, from a regard for military honor, which could not affect
a Greek rhetorician of the succeeding age.]

[Footnote 90: See D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 587.
The name of the Moselle, which is not specified by Ammianus, is
clearly understood by Mascou, (Hist. of the Ancient Germans, vii.

[Footnote *: Charpeigne on the Moselle. Mannert - M.]

[Footnote 91: The battles are described by Ammianus, (xxvii. 2,)
and by Zosimus, (l. iv. p. 209,) who supposes Valentinian to have
been present.]
[Footnote 92: Studio solicitante nostrorum, occubuit. Ammian
xxvii. 10.]
While the Alemanni appeared to be humbled by their recent
calamities, the pride of Valentinian was mortified by the
unexpected surprisal of Moguntiacum, or Mentz, the principal city
of the Upper Germany. In the unsuspicious moment of a Christian
festival, ^* Rando, a bold and artful chieftain, who had long
meditated his attempt, suddenly passed the Rhine; entered the
defenceless town, and retired with a multitude of captives of
either sex. Valentinian resolved to execute severe vengeance on
the whole body of the nation. Count Sebastian, with the bands of
Italy and Illyricum, was ordered to invade their country, most
probably on the side of Rhaetia. The emperor in person,
accompanied by his son Gratian, passed the Rhine at the head of a
formidable army, which was supported on both flanks by Jovinus
and Severus, the two masters-general of the cavalry and infantry
of the West. The Alemanni, unable to prevent the devastation of
their villages, fixed their camp on a lofty, and almost
inaccessible, mountain, in the modern duchy of Wirtemberg, and
resolutely expected the approach of the Romans. The life of
Valentinian was exposed to imminent danger by the intrepid
curiosity with which he persisted to explore some secret and
unguarded path. A troop of Barbarians suddenly rose from their
ambuscade: and the emperor, who vigorously spurred his horse down
a steep and slippery descent, was obliged to leave behind him his
armor-bearer, and his helmet, magnificently enriched with gold
and precious stones. At the signal of the general assault, the
Roman troops encompassed and ascended the mountain of Solicinium
on three different sides. ^! Every step which they gained,
increased their ardor, and abated the resistance of the enemy:
and after their united forces had occupied the summit of the
hill, they impetuously urged the Barbarians down the northern
descent, where Count Sebastian was posted to intercept their
retreat. After this signal victory, Valentinian returned to his
winter quarters at Treves; where he indulged the public joy by
the exhibition of splendid and triumphal games. ^93 But the wise
monarch, instead of aspiring to the conquest of Germany, confined
his attention to the important and laborious defence of the
Gallic frontier, against an enemy whose strength was renewed by a
stream of daring volunteers, which incessantly flowed from the
most distant tribes of the North. ^94 The banks of the Rhine ^!!
from its source to the straits of the ocean, were closely planted
with strong castles and convenient towers; new works, and new
arms, were invented by the ingenuity of a prince who was skilled
in the mechanical arts; and his numerous levies of Roman and
Barbarian youth were severely trained in all the exercises of
war. The progress of the work, which was sometimes opposed by
modest representations, and sometimes by hostile attempts,
secured the tranquillity of Gaul during the nine subsequent years
of the administration of Valentinian. ^95

[Footnote *: Probably Easter. Wagner. - M.]

[Footnote !: Mannert is unable to fix the position of Solicinium.
Haefelin (in Comm Acad Elect. Palat. v. 14) conjectures
Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg. See Wagner's note. St. Martin,
Sultz in Wirtemberg, near the sources of the Neckar St. Martin,
iii. 339. - M.]

[Footnote 93: The expedition of Valentinian is related by
Ammianus, (xxvii. 10;) and celebrated by Ausonius, (Mosell. 421,
&c.,) who foolishly supposes, that the Romans were ignorant of
the sources of the Danube.]
[Footnote 94: Immanis enim natio, jam inde ab incunabulis primis
varietate casuum imminuta; ita saepius adolescit, ut fuisse
longis saeculis aestimetur intacta. Ammianus, xxviii. 5. The
Count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vi. p. 370)
ascribes the fecundity of the Alemanni to their easy adoption of

Note: "This explanation," says Mr. Malthus, "only removes
the difficulty a little farther off. It makes the earth rest
upon the tortoise, but does not tell us on what the tortoise
rests. We may still ask what northern reservoir supplied this
incessant stream of daring adventurers. Montesquieu's solution of
the problem will, I think, hardly be admitted, (Grandeur et
Decadence des Romains, c. 16, p. 187.) * * * The whole
difficulty, however, is at once removed, if we apply to the
German nations, at that time, a fact which is so generally known
to have occurred in America, and suppose that, when not checked
by wars and famine, they increased at a rate that would double
their numbers in twenty-five or thirty years. The propriety, and
even the necessity, of applying this rate of increase to the
inhabitants of ancient Germany, will strikingly appear from that
most valuable picture of their manners which has been left us by
Tacitus, (Tac. de Mor. Germ. 16 to 20.) * * * With these manners,
and a habit of enterprise and emigration, which would naturally
remove all fears about providing for a family, it is difficult to
conceive a society with a stronger principle of increase in it,
and we see at once that prolific source of armies and colonies
against which the force of the Roman empire so long struggled
with difficulty, and under which it ultimately sunk. It is not
probable that, for two periods together, or even for one, the
population within the confines of Germany ever doubled itself in
twenty- five years. Their perpetual wars, the rude state of
agriculture, and particularly the very strange custom adopted by
most of the tribes of marking their barriers by extensive
deserts, would prevent any very great actual increase of numbers.

At no one period could the country be called well peopled, though
it was often redundant in population. * * * Instead of clearing
their forests, draining their swamps, and rendering their soil
fit to support an extended population, they found it more
congenial to their martial habits and impatient dispositions to
go in quest of food, of plunder, or of glory, into other
countries." Malthus on Population, i. p. 128. - G.]
[Footnote !!!: The course of the Neckar was likewise strongly
guarded. The hyperbolical eulogy of Symmachus asserts that the
Neckar first became known to the Romans by the conquests and
fortifications of Valentinian. Nunc primum victoriis tuis
externus fluvius publicatur. Gaudeat servitute, captivus
innotuit. Symm. Orat. p. 22. - M.]

[Footnote 95: Ammian. xxviii. 2. Zosimus, l. iv. p. 214. The
younger Victor mentions the mechanical genius of Valentinian,
nova arma meditari fingere terra seu limo simulacra.]

That prudent emperor, who diligently practised the wise
maxims of Diocletian, was studious to foment and excite the
intestine divisions of the tribes of Germany. About the middle
of the fourth century, the countries, perhaps of Lusace and
Thuringia, on either side of the Elbe, were occupied by the vague
dominion of the Burgundians; a warlike and numerous people, ^* of
the Vandal race, ^96 whose obscure name insensibly swelled into a
powerful kingdom, and has finally settled on a flourishing
province. The most remarkable circumstance in the ancient
manners of the Burgundians appears to have been the difference of
their civil and ecclesiastical constitution. The appellation of
Hendinos was given to the king or general, and the title of
Sinistus to the high priest, of the nation. The person of the
priest was sacred, and his dignity perpetual; but the temporal
government was held by a very precarious tenure. If the events
of war accuses the courage or conduct of the king, he was
immediately deposed; and the injustice of his subjects made him
responsible for the fertility of the earth, and the regularity of
the seasons, which seemed to fall more properly within the
sacerdotal department. ^97 The disputed possession of some
salt-pits ^98 engaged the Alemanni and the Burgundians in
frequent contests: the latter were easily tempted, by the secret
solicitations and liberal offers of the emperor; and their
fabulous descent from the Roman soldiers, who had formerly been
left to garrison the fortresses of Drusus, was admitted with
mutual credulity, as it was conducive to mutual interest. ^99 An
army of fourscore thousand Burgundians soon appeared on the banks
of the Rhine; and impatiently required the support and subsidies
which Valentinian had promised: but they were amused with excuses
and delays, till at length, after a fruitless expectation, they
were compelled to retire. The arms and fortifications of the
Gallic frontier checked the fury of their just resentment; and
their massacre of the captives served to imbitter the hereditary
feud of the Burgundians and the Alemanni. The inconstancy of a
wise prince may, perhaps, be explained by some alteration of
circumstances; and perhaps it was the original design of
Valentinian to intimidate, rather than to destroy; as the balance
of power would have been equally overturned by the extirpation of
either of the German nations. Among the princes of the Alemanni,
Macrianus, who, with a Roman name, had assumed the arts of a
soldier and a statesman, deserved his hatred and esteem. The
emperor himself, with a light and unencumbered band, condescended
to pass the Rhine, marched fifty miles into the country, and
would infallibly have seized the object of his pursuit, if his
judicious measures had not been defeated by the impatience of the
troops. Macrianus was afterwards admitted to the honor of a
personal conference with the emperor; and the favors which he
received, fixed him, till the hour of his death, a steady and
sincere friend of the republic. ^100

[Footnote *: According to the general opinion, the Burgundians
formed a Gothic o Vandalic tribe, who, from the banks of the
Lower Vistula, made incursions, on one side towards Transylvania,
on the other towards the centre of Germany. All that remains of
the Burgundian language is Gothic. * * * Nothing in their customs
indicates a different origin. Malte Brun, Geog. tom. i. p. 396.
(edit. 1831.) - M.]

[Footnote 96: Bellicosos et pubis immensae viribus affluentes; et
ideo metuendos finitimis universis. Ammian. xxviii. 5.]

[Footnote 97: I am always apt to suspect historians and
travellers of improving extraordinary facts into general laws.
Ammianus ascribes a similar custom to Egypt; and the Chinese have
imputed it to the Ta-tsin, or Roman empire, (De Guignes, Hist.
des Huns, tom. ii. part. 79.)]

[Footnote 98: Salinarum finiumque causa Alemannis saepe
jurgabant. Ammian xxviii. 5. Possibly they disputed the
possession of the Sala, a river which produced salt, and which
had been the object of ancient contention. Tacit. Annal. xiii.
57, and Lipsius ad loc.]

[Footnote 99: Jam inde temporibus priscis sobolem se esse Romanam
Burgundii sciunt: and the vague tradition gradually assumed a
more regular form, (Oros. l. vii. c. 32.) It is annihilated by
the decisive authority of Pliny, who composed the History of
Drusus, and served in Germany, (Plin. Secund. Epist. iii. 5,)
within sixty years after the death of that hero. Germanorum
genera quinque; Vindili, quorum pars Burgundiones, &c., (Hist.
Natur. iv. 28.)]
[Footnote 100: The wars and negotiations relative to the
Burgundians and Alemanni, are distinctly related by Ammianus
Marcellinus, (xxviii. 5, xxix 4, xxx. 3.) Orosius, (l. vii. c.
32,) and the Chronicles of Jerom and Cassiodorus, fix some dates,
and add some circumstances.]

The land was covered by the fortifications of Valentinian;
but the sea-coast of Gaul and Britain was exposed to the
depredations of the Saxons. That celebrated name, in which we
have a dear and domestic interest, escaped the notice of Tacitus;
and in the maps of Ptolemy, it faintly marks the narrow neck of
the Cimbric peninsula, and three small islands towards the mouth
of the Elbe. ^101 This contracted territory, the present duchy of
Sleswig, or perhaps of Holstein, was incapable of pouring forth
the inexhaustible swarms of Saxons who reigned over the ocean,
who filled the British island with their language, their laws,
and their colonies; and who so long defended the liberty of the
North against the arms of Charlemagne. ^102 The solution of this
difficulty is easily derived from the similar manners, and loose
constitution, of the tribes of Germany; which were blended with
each other by the slightest accidents of war or friendship. The
situation of the native Saxons disposed them to embrace the
hazardous professions of fishermen and pirates; and the success
of their first adventures would naturally excite the emulation of
their bravest countrymen, who were impatient of the gloomy
solitude of their woods and mountains. Every tide might float
down the Elbe whole fleets of canoes, filled with hardy and
intrepid associates, who aspired to behold the unbounded prospect
of the ocean, and to taste the wealth and luxury of unknown
worlds. It should seem probable, however, that the most numerous
auxiliaries of the Saxons were furnished by the nations who dwelt
along the shores of the Baltic. They possessed arms and ships,
the art of navigation, and the habits of naval war; but the
difficulty of issuing through the northern columns of Hercules
^103 (which, during several months of the year, are obstructed
with ice) confined their skill and courage within the limits of a
spacious lake. The rumor of the successful armaments which sailed
from the mouth of the Elbe, would soon provoke them to cross the
narrow isthmus of Sleswig, and to launch their vessels on the
great sea. The various troops of pirates and adventurers, who
fought under the same standard, were insensibly united in a
permanent society, at first of rapine, and afterwards of
government. A military confederation was gradually moulded into
a national body, by the gentle operation of marriage and
consanguinity; and the adjacent tribes, who solicited the
alliance, accepted the name and laws, of the Saxons. If the fact
were not established by the most unquestionable evidence, we
should appear to abuse the credulity of our readers, by the
description of the vessels in which the Saxon pirates ventured to
sport in the waves of the German Ocean, the British Channel, and
the Bay of Biscay. The keel of their large flat- bottomed boats
were framed of light timber, but the sides and upper works
consisted only of wicker, with a covering of strong hides. ^104
In the course of their slow and distant navigations, they must
always have been exposed to the danger, and very frequently to
the misfortune, of shipwreck; and the naval annals of the Saxons
were undoubtedly filled with the accounts of the losses which
they sustained on the coasts of Britain and Gaul. But the daring
spirit of the pirates braved the perils both of the sea and of
the shore: their skill was confirmed by the habits of enterprise;
the meanest of their mariners was alike capable of handling an
oar, of rearing a sail, or of conducting a vessel, and the Saxons
rejoiced in the appearance of a tempest, which concealed their
design, and dispersed the fleets of the enemy. ^105 After they
had acquired an accurate knowledge of the maritime provinces of
the West, they extended the scene of their depredations, and the
most sequestered places had no reason to presume on their
security. The Saxon boats drew so little water that they could
easily proceed fourscore or a hundred miles up the great rivers;
their weight was so inconsiderable, that they were transported on
wagons from one river to another; and the pirates who had entered
the mouth of the Seine, or of the Rhine, might descend, with the
rapid stream of the Rhone, into the Mediterranean. Under the
reign of Valentinian, the maritime provinces of Gaul were
afflicted by the Saxons: a military count was stationed for the
defence of the sea-coast, or Armorican limit; and that officer,
who found his strength, or his abilities, unequal to the task,
implored the assistance of Severus, master-general of the
infantry. The Saxons, surrounded and outnumbered, were forced to
relinquish their spoil, and to yield a select band of their tall
and robust youth to serve in the Imperial armies. They
stipulated only a safe and honorable retreat; and the condition
was readily granted by the Roman general, who meditated an act of
perfidy, ^106 imprudent as it was inhuman, while a Saxon remained
alive, and in arms, to revenge the fate of their countrymen. The
premature eagerness of the infantry, who were secretly posted in
a deep valley, betrayed the ambuscade; and they would perhaps
have fallen the victims of their own treachery, if a large body
of cuirassiers, alarmed by the noise of the combat, had not
hastily advanced to extricate their companions, and to overwhelm
the undaunted valor of the Saxons. Some of the prisoners were
saved from the edge of the sword, to shed their blood in the
amphitheatre; and the orator Symmachus complains, that
twenty-nine of those desperate savages, by strangling themselves
with their own hands, had disappointed the amusement of the
public. Yet the polite and philosophic citizens of Rome were
impressed with the deepest horror, when they were informed, that
the Saxons consecrated to the gods the tithe of their human
spoil; and that they ascertained by lot the objects of the
barbarous sacrifice. ^107

[Footnote 101: At the northern extremity of the peninsula, (the
Cimbric promontory of Pliny, iv. 27,) Ptolemy fixes the remnant
of the Cimbri. He fills the interval between the Saxons and the
Cimbri with six obscure tribes, who were united, as early as the
sixth century, under the national appellation of Danes. See
Cluver. German. Antiq. l. iii. c. 21, 22, 23.]
[Footnote 102: M. D'Anville (Establissement des Etats de
l'Europe, &c., p. 19-26) has marked the extensive limits of the
Saxony of Charlemagne.]
[Footnote 103: The fleet of Drusus had failed in their attempt to
pass, or even to approach, the Sound, (styled, from an obvious
resemblance, the columns of Hercules,) and the naval enterprise
was never resumed, (Tacit. de Moribus German. c. 34.) The
knowledge which the Romans acquired of the naval powers of the
Baltic, (c. 44, 45) was obtained by their land journeys in search
of amber.]

[Footnote 104: Quin et Aremoricus piratam Saxona tractus

Sperabat; cui pelle salum sulcare Britannum

Ludus; et assuto glaucum mare findere lembo
Sidon. in Panegyr. Avit. 369.

The genius of Caesar imitated, for a particular service, these
rude, but light vessels, which were likewise used by the natives
of Britain. (Comment. de Bell. Civil. i. 51, and Guichardt,
Nouveaux Memoires Militaires, tom. ii. p. 41, 42.) The British
vessels would now astonish the genius of Caesar.]
[Footnote 105: The best original account of the Saxon pirates may
be found in Sidonius Apollinaris, (l. viii. epist. 6, p. 223,
edit. Sirmond,) and the best commentary in the Abbe du Bos,
(Hist. Critique de la Monarchie Francoise, &c. tom. i. l. i. c.
16, p. 148-155. See likewise p. 77, 78.)]
[Footnote 106: Ammian. (xxviii. 5) justifies this breach of faith
to pirates and robbers; and Orosius (l. vii. c. 32) more clearly
expresses their real guilt; virtute atque agilitate terribeles.]

[Footnote 107: Symmachus (l. ii. epist. 46) still presumes to
mention the sacred name of Socrates and philosophy. Sidonius,
bishop of Clermont, might condemn, (l. viii. epist. 6,) with less
inconsistency, the human sacrifices of the Saxons.]

II. The fabulous colonies of Egyptians and Trojans, of
Scandinavians and Spaniards, which flattered the pride, and
amused the credulity, of our rude ancestors, have insensibly
vanished in the light of science and philosophy. ^108 The present
age is satisfied with the simple and rational opinion, that the
islands of Great Britain and Ireland were gradually peopled from
the adjacent continent of Gaul. From the coast of Kent, to the
extremity of Caithness and Ulster, the memory of a Celtic origin
was distinctly preserved, in the perpetual resemblance of
language, of religion, and of manners; and the peculiar
characters of the British tribes might be naturally ascribed to
the influence of accidental and local circumstances. ^109 The
Roman Province was reduced to the state of civilized and peaceful
servitude; the rights of savage freedom were contracted to the
narrow limits of Caledonia. The inhabitants of that northern
region were divided, as early as the reign of Constantine,
between the two great tribes of the Scots and of the Picts, ^110
who have since experienced a very different fortune. The power,
and almost the memory, of the Picts have been extinguished by
their successful rivals; and the Scots, after maintaining for
ages the dignity of an independent kingdom, have multiplied, by
an equal and voluntary union, the honors of the English name. The
hand of nature had contributed to mark the ancient distinctions
of the Scots and Picts. The former were the men of the hills,
and the latter those of the plain. The eastern coast of
Caledonia may be considered as a level and fertile country,
which, even in a rude state of tillage, was capable of producing
a considerable quantity of corn; and the epithet of cruitnich, or
wheat-eaters, expressed the contempt or envy of the carnivorous
highlander. The cultivation of the earth might introduce a more
accurate separation of property, and the habits of a sedentary
life; but the love of arms and rapine was still the ruling
passion of the Picts; and their warriors, who stripped themselves
for a day of battle, were distinguished, in the eyes of the
Romans, by the strange fashion of painting their naked bodies
with gaudy colors and fantastic figures. The western part of
Caledonia irregularly rises into wild and barren hills, which
scarcely repay the toil of the husbandman, and are most
profitably used for the pasture of cattle. The highlanders were
condemned to the occupations of shepherds and hunters; and, as
they seldom were fixed to any permanent habitation, they acquired
the expressive name of Scots, which, in the Celtic tongue, is
said to be equivalent to that of wanderers, or vagrants. The
inhabitants of a barren land were urged to seek a fresh supply of
food in the waters. The deep lakes and bays which intersect
their country, are plentifully supplied with fish; and they
gradually ventured to cast their nets in the waves of the ocean.
The vicinity of the Hebrides, so profusely scattered along the
western coast of Scotland, tempted their curiosity, and improved
their skill; and they acquired, by slow degrees, the art, or
rather the habit, of managing their boats in a tempestuous sea,
and of steering their nocturnal course by the light of the
well-known stars. The two bold headlands of Caledonia almost
touch the shores of a spacious island, which obtained, from its
luxuriant vegetation, the epithet of Green; and has preserved,
with a slight alteration, the name of Erin, or Ierne, or Ireland.
It is probable, that in some remote period of antiquity, the
fertile plains of Ulster received a colony of hungry Scots; and
that the strangers of the North, who had dared to encounter the
arms of the legions, spread their conquests over the savage and
unwarlike natives of a solitary island. It is certain, that, in
the declining age of the Roman empire, Caledonia, Ireland, and
the Isle of Man, were inhabited by the Scots, and that the
kindred tribes, who were often associated in military enterprise,
were deeply affected by the various accidents of their mutual
fortunes. They long cherished the lively tradition of their
common name and origin; and the missionaries of the Isle of
Saints, who diffused the light of Christianity over North
Britain, established the vain opinion, that their Irish
countrymen were the natural, as well as spiritual, fathers of the
Scottish race. The loose and obscure tradition has been
preserved by the venerable Bede, who scattered some rays of light
over the darkness of the eighth century. On this slight
foundation, a huge superstructure of fable was gradually reared,
by the bards and the monks; two orders of men, who equally abused
the privilege of fiction. The Scottish nation, with mistaken
pride, adopted their Irish genealogy; and the annals of a long
line of imaginary kings have been adorned by the fancy of
Boethius, and the classic elegance of Buchanan. ^111

[Footnote 108: In the beginning of the last century, the learned
Camden was obliged to undermine, with respectful scepticism, the
romance of Brutus, the Trojan; who is now buried in silent
oblivion with Scota the daughter of Pharaoh, and her numerous
progeny. Yet I am informed, that some champions of the Milesian
colony may still be found among the original natives of Ireland.
A people dissatisfied with their present condition, grasp at any
visions of their past or future glory.]

[Footnote 109: Tacitus, or rather his father-in-law, Agricola,
might remark the German or Spanish complexion of some British
tribes. But it was their sober, deliberate opinion: "In
universum tamen aestimanti Gallos cicinum solum occupasse
credibile est. Eorum sacra deprehendas. . . . ermo haud multum
diversus," (in Vit. Agricol. c. xi.) Caesar had observed their
common religion, (Comment. de Bello Gallico, vi. 13;) and in his
time the emigration from the Belgic Gaul was a recent, or at
least an historical event, (v. 10.) Camden, the British Strabo,
has modestly ascertained our genuine antiquities, (Britannia,
vol. i. Introduction, p. ii. - xxxi.)]

[Footnote 110: In the dark and doubtful paths of Caledonian
antiquity, I have chosen for my guides two learned and ingenious
Highlanders, whom their birth and education had peculiarly
qualified for that office. See Critical Dissertations on the
Origin and Antiquities, &c., of the Caledonians, by Dr. John
Macpherson, London 1768, in 4to.; and Introduction to the History
of Great Britain and Ireland, by James Macpherson, Esq., London
1773, in 4to., third edit. Dr. Macpherson was a minister in the
Isle of Sky: and it is a circumstance honorable for the present
age, that a work, replete with erudition and criticism, should
have been composed in the most remote of the Hebrides.]

[Footnote 111: The Irish descent of the Scots has been revived in
the last moments of its decay, and strenuously supported, by the
Rev. Mr. Whitaker, (Hist. of Manchester, vol. i. p. 430, 431; and
Genuine History of the Britons asserted, &c., p. 154-293) Yet he
acknowledges, 1. That the Scots of Ammianus Marcellinus (A.D.
340) were already settled in Caledonia; and that the Roman
authors do not afford any hints of their emigration from another
country. 2. That all the accounts of such emigrations, which
have been asserted or received, by Irish bards, Scotch
historians, or English antiquaries, (Buchanan, Camden, Usher,
Stillingfleet, &c.,) are totally fabulous. 3. That three of the
Irish tribes, which are mentioned by Ptolemy, (A.D. 150,) were of
Caledonian extraction. 4. That a younger branch of Caledonian
princes, of the house of Fingal, acquired and possessed the
monarchy of Ireland. After these concessions, the remaining
difference between Mr. Whitaker and his adversaries is minute and
obscure. The genuine history, which he produces, of a Fergus, the
cousin of Ossian, who was transplanted (A.D. 320) from Ireland to
Caledonia, is built on a conjectural supplement to the Erse
poetry, and the feeble evidence of Richard of Cirencester, a monk
of the fourteenth century. The lively spirit of the learned and
ingenious antiquarian has tempted him to forget the nature of a
question, which he so vehemently debates, and so absolutely

Note: This controversy has not slumbered since the days of
Gibbon. We have strenuous advocates of the Phoenician origin of
the Irish, and each of the old theories, with several new ones,
maintains its partisans. It would require several pages fairly
to bring down the dispute to our own days, and perhaps we should
be no nearer to any satisfactory theory than Gibbon was.]

Chapter XXV: Reigns Of Jovian And Valentinian, Division Of The

Part V.

Six years after the death of Constantine, the destructive
inroads of the Scots and Picts required the presence of his
youngest son, who reigned in the Western empire. Constans
visited his British dominions: but we may form some estimate of
the importance of his achievements, by the language of panegyric,
which celebrates only his triumph over the elements or, in other
words, the good fortune of a safe and easy passage from the port
of Boulogne to the harbor of Sandwich. ^112 The calamities which
the afflicted provincials continued to experience, from foreign
war and domestic tyranny, were aggravated by the feeble and
corrupt administration of the eunuchs of Constantius; and the
transient relief which they might obtain from the virtues of
Julian, was soon lost by the absence and death of their
benefactor. The sums of gold and silver, which had been
painfully collected, or liberally transmitted, for the payment of
the troops, were intercepted by the avarice of the commanders;
discharges, or, at least, exemptions, from the military service,
were publicly sold; the distress of the soldiers, who were
injuriously deprived of their legal and scanty subsistence,
provoked them to frequent desertion; the nerves of discipline
were relaxed, and the highways were infested with robbers. ^113
The oppression of the good, and the impunity of the wicked,
equally contributed to diffuse through the island a spirit of
discontent and revolt; and every ambitious subject, every
desperate exile, might entertain a reasonable hope of subverting
the weak and distracted government of Britain. The hostile
tribes of the North, who detested the pride and power of the King
of the World, suspended their domestic feuds; and the Barbarians
of the land and sea, the Scots, the Picts, and the Saxons, spread
themselves with rapid and irresistible fury, from the wall of
Antoninus to the shores of Kent. Every production of art and
nature, every object of convenience and luxury, which they were
incapable of creating by labor or procuring by trade, was
accumulated in the rich and fruitful province of Britain. ^114 A
philosopher may deplore the eternal discords of the human race,
but he will confess, that the desire of spoil is a more rational
provocation than the vanity of conquest. From the age of
Constantine to the Plantagenets, this rapacious spirit continued
to instigate the poor and hardy Caledonians; but the same people,
whose generous humanity seems to inspire the songs of Ossian, was
disgraced by a savage ignorance of the virtues of peace, and of
the laws of war. Their southern neighbors have felt, and perhaps
exaggerated, the cruel depredations of the Scots and Picts; ^115
and a valiant tribe of Caledonia, the Attacotti, ^116 the
enemies, and afterwards the soldiers, of Valentinian, are
accused, by an eye-witness, of delighting in the taste of human
flesh. When they hunted the woods for prey, it is said, that
they attacked the shepherd rather than his flock; and that they
curiously selected the most delicate and brawny parts, both of
males and females, which they prepared for their horrid repasts.
^117 If, in the neighborhood of the commercial and literary town
of Glasgow, a race of cannibals has really existed, we may
contemplate, in the period of the Scottish history, the opposite
extremes of savage and civilized life. Such reflections tend to
enlarge the circle of our ideas; and to encourage the pleasing
hope, that New Zealand may produce, in some future age, the Hume
of the Southern Hemisphere.
[Footnote 112: Hyeme tumentes ac saevientes undas calcastis
Oceani sub remis vestris; . . . insperatam imperatoris faciem
Britannus expavit. Julius Fermicus Maternus de Errore Profan.
Relig. p. 464. edit. Gronov. ad calcem Minuc. Fael. See
Tillemont, (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 336.)]
[Footnote 113: Libanius, Orat. Parent. c. xxxix. p. 264. This
curious passage has escaped the diligence of our British

[Footnote 114: The Caledonians praised and coveted the gold, the
steeds, the lights, &c., of the stranger. See Dr. Blair's
Dissertation on Ossian, vol ii. p. 343; and Mr. Macpherson's
Introduction, p. 242-286.]

[Footnote 115: Lord Lyttelton has circumstantially related,
(History of Henry II. vol. i. p. 182,) and Sir David Dalrymple
has slightly mentioned, (Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 69,) a
barbarous inroad of the Scots, at a time (A.D. 1137) when law,
religion, and society must have softened their primitive

[Footnote 116: Attacotti bellicosa hominum natio. Ammian. xxvii.
8. Camden (Introduct. p. clii.) has restored their true name in
the text of Jerom. The bands of Attacotti, which Jerom had seen
in Gaul, were afterwards stationed in Italy and Illyricum,
(Notitia, S. viii. xxxix. xl.)]

[Footnote 117: Cum ipse adolescentulus in Gallia viderim
Attacottos (or Scotos) gentem Britannicam humanis vesci carnibus;
et cum per silvas porcorum greges, et armentorum percudumque
reperiant, pastorum nates et feminarum papillas solere
abscindere; et has solas ciborum delicias arbitrari. Such is the
evidence of Jerom, (tom. ii. p. 75,) whose veracity I find no
reason to question.

Note: See Dr. Parr's works, iii. 93, where he questions the
propriety of Gibbon's translation of this passage. The learned
doctor approves of the version proposed by a Mr. Gaches, who
would make out that it was the delicate parts of the swine and
the cattle, which were eaten by these ancestors of the Scotch
nation. I confess that even to acquit them of this charge. I
cannot agree to the new version, which, in my opinion, is
directly contrary both to the meaning of the words, and the
general sense of the passage. But I would suggest, did Jerom, as
a boy, accompany these savages in any of their hunting
expeditions? If he did not, how could he be an eye-witness of
this practice? The Attacotti in Gaul must have been in the
service of Rome. Were they permitted to indulge these cannibal
propensities at the expense, not of the flocks, but of the
shepherds of the provinces? These sanguinary trophies of plunder
would scarce'y have been publicly exhibited in a Roman city or a
Roman camp. I must leave the hereditary pride of our northern
neighbors at issue with the veracity of St. Jerom.]

Every messenger who escaped across the British Channel,
conveyed the most melancholy and alarming tidings to the ears of
Valentinian; and the emperor was soon informed that the two
military commanders of the province had been surprised and cut
off by the Barbarians. Severus, count of the domestics, was
hastily despatched, and as suddenly recalled, by the court of
Treves. The representations of Jovinus served only to indicate
the greatness of the evil; and, after a long and serious
consultation, the defence, or rather the recovery, of Britain was
intrusted to the abilities of the brave Theodosius. The exploits
of that general, the father of a line of emperors, have been
celebrated, with peculiar complacency, by the writers of the age:
but his real merit deserved their applause; and his nomination
was received, by the army and province, as a sure presage of
approaching victory. He seized the favorable moment of
navigation, and securely landed the numerous and veteran bands of
the Heruli and Batavians, the Jovians and the Victors. In his
march from Sandwich to London, Theodosius defeated several
parties of the Barbarians, released a multitude of captives, and,
after distributing to his soldiers a small portion of the spoil,
established the fame of disinterested justice, by the restitution
of the remainder to the rightful proprietors. The citizens of
London, who had almost despaired of their safety, threw open
their gates; and as soon as Theodosius had obtained from the
court of Treves the important aid of a military lieutenant, and a
civil governor, he executed, with wisdom and vigor, the laborious
task of the deliverance of Britain. The vagrant soldiers were
recalled to their standard; an edict of amnesty dispelled the
public apprehensions; and his cheerful example alleviated the
rigor of martial discipline. The scattered and desultory warfare
of the Barbarians, who infested the land and sea, deprived him of
the glory of a signal victory; but the prudent spirit, and
consummate art, of the Roman general, were displayed in the
operations of two campaigns, which successively rescued every
part of the province from the hands of a cruel and rapacious
enemy. The splendor of the cities, and the security of the
fortifications, were diligently restored, by the paternal care of
Theodosius; who with a strong hand confined the trembling
Caledonians to the northern angle of the island; and perpetuated,
by the name and settlement of the new province of Valentia, the
glories of the reign of Valentinian. ^118 The voice of poetry and
panegyric may add, perhaps with some degree of truth, that the
unknown regions of Thule were stained with the blood of the
Picts; that the oars of Theodosius dashed the waves of the
Hyperborean ocean; and that the distant Orkneys were the scene of
his naval victory over the Saxon pirates. ^119 He left the
province with a fair, as well as splendid, reputation; and was
immediately promoted to the rank of master-general of the
cavalry, by a prince who could applaud, without envy, the merit
of his servants. In the important station of the Upper Danube,
the conqueror of Britain checked and defeated the armies of the
Alemanni, before he was chosen to suppress the revolt of Africa.
[Footnote 118: Ammianus has concisely represented (xx. l. xxvi.
4, xxvii. 8 xxviii. 3) the whole series of the British war.]

[Footnote 119: Horrescit . . . . ratibus . . . . impervia
Thule. Ille . . . . nec falso nomine Pictos
Edomuit. Scotumque vago mucrone secutus,

Fregit Hyperboreas remis audacibus undas.
Claudian, in iii. Cons. Honorii, ver. 53, &c
- Madurunt Saxone fuso
Orcades: incaluit Pictorum sanguine Thule,

Scotorum cumulos flevit glacialis Ierne.
In iv. Cons. Hon. ver. 31, &c.

See likewise Pacatus, (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 5.) But it is not
easy to appreciate the intrinsic value of flattery and metaphor.
Compare the British victories of Bolanus (Statius, Silv. v. 2)
with his real character, (Tacit. in Vit. Agricol. c. 16.)]

III. The prince who refuses to be the judge, instructs the
people to consider him as the accomplice, of his ministers. The
military command of Africa had been long exercised by Count
Romanus, and his abilities were not inadequate to his station;
but, as sordid interest was the sole motive of his conduct, he
acted, on most occasions, as if he had been the enemy of the
province, and the friend of the Barbarians of the desert. The
three flourishing cities of Oea, Leptis, and Sobrata, which,
under the name of Tripoli, had long constituted a federal union,
^120 were obliged, for the first time, to shut their gates
against a hostile invasion; several of their most honorable
citizens were surprised and massacred; the villages, and even the
suburbs, were pillaged; and the vines and fruit trees of that
rich territory were extirpated by the malicious savages of
Getulia. The unhappy provincials implored the protection of
Romanus; but they soon found that their military governor was not
less cruel and rapacious than the Barbarians. As they were
incapable of furnishing the four thousand camels, and the
exorbitant present, which he required, before he would march to
the assistance of Tripoli; his demand was equivalent to a
refusal, and he might justly be accused as the author of the
public calamity. In the annual assembly of the three cities,
they nominated two deputies, to lay at the feet of Valentinian
the customary offering of a gold victory; and to accompany this
tribute of duty, rather than of gratitude, with their humble
complaint, that they were ruined by the enemy, and betrayed by
their governor. If the severity of Valentinian had been rightly
directed, it would have fallen on the guilty head of Romanus.
But the count, long exercised in the arts of corruption, had
despatched a swift and trusty messenger to secure the venal
friendship of Remigius, master of the offices. The wisdom of the
Imperial council was deceived by artifice; and their honest
indignation was cooled by delay. At length, when the repetition
of complaint had been justified by the repetition of public
misfortunes, the notary Palladius was sent from the court of
Treves, to examine the state of Africa, and the conduct of
Romanus. The rigid impartiality of Palladius was easily
disarmed: he was tempted to reserve for himself a part of the
public treasure, which he brought with him for the payment of the
troops; and from the moment that he was conscious of his own
guilt, he could no longer refuse to attest the innocence and
merit of the count. The charge of the Tripolitans was declared
to be false and frivolous; and Palladius himself was sent back
from Treves to Africa, with a special commission to discover and
prosecute the authors of this impious conspiracy against the
representatives of the sovereign. His inquiries were managed
with so much dexterity and success, that he compelled the
citizens of Leptis, who had sustained a recent siege of eight
days, to contradict the truth of their own decrees, and to
censure the behavior of their own deputies. A bloody sentence
was pronounced, without hesitation, by the rash and headstrong
cruelty of Valentinian. The president of Tripoli, who had
presumed to pity the distress of the province, was publicly
executed at Utica; four distinguished citizens were put to death,
as the accomplices of the imaginary fraud; and the tongues of two
others were cut out, by the express order of the emperor.
Romanus, elated by impunity, and irritated by resistance, was
still continued in the military command; till the Africans were
provoked, by his avarice, to join the rebellious standard of
Firmus, the Moor. ^121.
[Footnote 120: Ammianus frequently mentions their concilium
annuum, legitimum, &c. Leptis and Sabrata are long since ruined;
but the city of Oea, the native country of Apuleius, still
flourishes under the provincial denomination of Tripoli. See
Cellarius (Geograph. Antiqua, tom. ii. part ii. p. 81,)
D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. p. 71, 72,) and
Marmol, (Arrique, tom. ii. p. 562.)]

[Footnote 121: Ammian. xviii. 6. Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs,
tom. v. p 25, 676) has discussed the chronological difficulties
of the history of Count Romanus.]

His father Nabal was one of the richest and most powerful of
the Moorish princes, who acknowledged the supremacy of Rome. But
as he left, either by his wives or concubines, a very numerous
posterity, the wealthy inheritance was eagerly disputed; and
Zamma, one of his sons, was slain in a domestic quarrel by his
brother Firmus. The implacable zeal, with which Romanus
prosecuted the legal revenge of this murder, could be ascribed
only to a motive of avarice, or personal hatred; but, on this
occasion, his claims were just; his influence was weighty; and
Firmus clearly understood, that he must either present his neck
to the executioner, or appeal from the sentence of the Imperial
consistory, to his sword, and to the people. ^122 He was received
as the deliverer of his country; and, as soon as it appeared that
Romanus was formidable only to a submissive province, the tyrant
of Africa became the object of universal contempt. The ruin of
Caesarea, which was plundered and burnt by the licentious
Barbarians, convinced the refractory cities of the danger of
resistance; the power of Firmus was established, at least in the
provinces of Mauritania and Numidia; and it seemed to be his only
doubt whether he should assume the diadem of a Moorish king, or
the purple of a Roman emperor. But the imprudent and unhappy
Africans soon discovered, that, in this rash insurrection, they
had not sufficiently consulted their own strength, or the
abilities of their leader. Before he could procure any certain
intelligence, that the emperor of the West had fixed the choice
of a general, or that a fleet of transports was collected at the
mouth of the Rhone, he was suddenly informed that the great
Theodosius, with a small band of veterans, had landed near
Igilgilis, or Gigeri, on the African coast; and the timid usurper
sunk under the ascendant of virtue and military genius. Though
Firmus possessed arms and treasures, his despair of victory
immediately reduced him to the use of those arts, which, in the
same country, and in a similar situation, had formerly been
practised by the crafty Jugurtha. He attempted to deceive, by an
apparent submission, the vigilance of the Roman general; to
seduce the fidelity of his troops; and to protract the duration
of the war, by successively engaging the independent tribes of
Africa to espouse his quarrel, or to protect his flight.
Theodosius imitated the example, and obtained the success, of his
predecessor Metellus. When Firmus, in the character of a
suppliant, accused his own rashness, and humbly solicited the
clemency of the emperor, the lieutenant of Valentinian received
and dismissed him with a friendly embrace: but he diligently
required the useful and substantial pledges of a sincere
repentance; nor could he be persuaded, by the assurances of
peace, to suspend, for an instant, the operations of an active
war. A dark conspiracy was detected by the penetration of
Theodosius; and he satisfied, without much reluctance, the public
indignation, which he had secretly excited. Several of the
guilty accomplices of Firmus were abandoned, according to ancient
custom, to the tumult of a military execution; many more, by the
amputation of both their hands, continued to exhibit an
instructive spectacle of horror; the hatred of the rebels was
accompanied with fear; and the fear of the Roman soldiers was
mingled with respectful admiration. Amidst the boundless plains
of Getulia, and the innumerable valleys of Mount Atlas, it was
impossible to prevent the escape of Firmus; and if the usurper
could have tired the patience of his antagonist, he would have
secured his person in the depth of some remote solitude, and
expected the hopes of a future revolution. He was subdued by the
perseverance of Theodosius; who had formed an inflexible
determination, that the war should end only by the death of the
tyrant; and that every nation of Africa, which presumed to
support his cause, should be involved in his ruin. At the head
of a small body of troops, which seldom exceeded three thousand
five hundred men, the Roman general advanced, with a steady
prudence, devoid of rashness or of fear, into the heart of a
country, where he was sometimes attacked by armies of twenty
thousand Moors. The boldness of his charge dismayed the irregular
Barbarians; they were disconcerted by his seasonable and orderly
retreats; they were continually baffled by the unknown resources
of the military art; and they felt and confessed the just
superiority which was assumed by the leader of a civilized
nation. When Theodosius entered the extensive dominions of
Igmazen, king of the Isaflenses, the haughty savage required, in
words of defiance, his name, and the object of his expedition.
"I am," replied the stern and disdainful count, "I am the general
of Valentinian, the lord of the world; who has sent me hither to
pursue and punish a desperate robber. Deliver him instantly into
my hands; and be assured, that if thou dost not obey the commands
of my invincible sovereign, thou, and the people over whom thou
reignest, shall be utterly extirpated." ^* As soon as Igmazen was
satisfied, that his enemy had strength and resolution to execute
the fatal menace, he consented to purchase a necessary peace by
the sacrifice of a guilty fugitive. The guards that were placed
to secure the person of Firmus deprived him of the hopes of
escape; and the Moorish tyrant, after wine had extinguished the
sense of danger, disappointed the insulting triumph of the
Romans, by strangling himself in the night. His dead body, the
only present which Igmazen could offer to the conqueror, was
carelessly thrown upon a camel; and Theodosius, leading back his
victorious troops to Sitifi, was saluted by the warmest
acclamations of joy and loyalty. ^123

[Footnote 122: The Chronology of Ammianus is loose and obscure;
and Orosius (i. vii. c. 33, p. 551, edit. Havercamp) seems to
place the revolt of Firmus after the deaths of Valentinian and
Valens. Tillemont (Hist. des. Emp. tom. v. p. 691) endeavors to
pick his way. The patient and sure-foot mule of the Alps may be
trusted in the most slippery paths.]

[Footnote *: The war was longer protracted than this sentence
would lead us to suppose: it was not till defeated more than once
that Igmazen yielded Amm. xxix. 5. - M]

[Footnote 123: Ammian xxix. 5. The text of this long chapter
(fifteen quarto pages) is broken and corrupted; and the narrative
is perplexed by the want of chronological and geographical

Africa had been lost by the vices of Romanus; it was
restored by the virtues of Theodosius; and our curiosity may be
usefully directed to the inquiry of the respective treatment
which the two generals received from the Imperial court. The
authority of Count Romanus had been suspended by the
master-general of the cavalry; and he was committed to safe and
honorable custody till the end of the war. His crimes were
proved by the most authentic evidence; and the public expected,
with some impatience, the decree of severe justice. But the
partial and powerful favor of Mellobaudes encouraged him to
challenge his legal judges, to obtain repeated delays for the
purpose of procuring a crowd of friendly witnesses, and, finally,
to cover his guilty conduct, by the additional guilt of fraud and
forgery. About the same time, the restorer of Britain and
Africa, on a vague suspicion that his name and services were
superior to the rank of a subject, was ignominiously beheaded at
Carthage. Valentinian no longer reigned; and the death of
Theodosius, as well as the impunity of Romanus, may justly be
imputed to the arts of the ministers, who abused the confidence,
and deceived the inexperienced youth, of his sons. ^124

[Footnote 124: Ammian xxviii. 4. Orosius, l. vii. c. 33, p. 551,
552. Jerom. in Chron. p. 187.]

If the geographical accuracy of Ammianus had been
fortunately bestowed on the British exploits of Theodosius, we
should have traced, with eager curiosity, the distinct and
domestic footsteps of his march. But the tedious enumeration of
the unknown and uninteresting tribes of Africa may be reduced to
the general remark, that they were all of the swarthy race of the
Moors; that they inhabited the back settlements of the
Mauritanian and Numidian province, the country, as they have
since been termed by the Arabs, of dates and of locusts; ^125 and
that, as the Roman power declined in Africa, the boundary of
civilized manners and cultivated land was insensibly contracted.
Beyond the utmost limits of the Moors, the vast and inhospitable
desert of the South extends above a thousand miles to the banks
of the Niger. The ancients, who had a very faint and imperfect
knowledge of the great peninsula of Africa, were sometimes
tempted to believe, that the torrid zone must ever remain
destitute of inhabitants; ^126 and they sometimes amused their
fancy by filling the vacant space with headless men, or rather
monsters; ^127 with horned and cloven-footed satyrs; ^128 with
fabulous centaurs; ^129 and with human pygmies, who waged a bold
and doubtful warfare against the cranes. ^130 Carthage would have
trembled at the strange intelligence that the countries on either
side of the equator were filled with innumerable nations, who
differed only in their color from the ordinary appearance of the
human species: and the subjects of the Roman empire might have
anxiously expected, that the swarms of Barbarians, which issued
from the North, would soon be encountered from the South by new
swarms of Barbarians, equally fierce and equally formidable.
These gloomy terrors would indeed have been dispelled by a more
intimate acquaintance with the character of their African
enemies. The inaction of the negroes does not seem to be the
effect either of their virtue or of their pusillanimity. They
indulge, like the rest of mankind, their passions and appetites;
and the adjacent tribes are engaged in frequent acts of
hostility. ^131 But their rude ignorance has never invented any
effectual weapons of defence, or of destruction; they appear
incapable of forming any extensive plans of government, or
conquest; and the obvious inferiority of their mental faculties
has been discovered and abused by the nations of the temperate
zone. Sixty thousand blacks are annually embarked from the coast
of Guinea, never to return to their native country; but they are
embarked in chains; ^132 and this constant emigration, which, in
the space of two centuries, might have furnished armies to
overrun the globe, accuses the guilt of Europe, and the weakness
of Africa.

[Footnote 125: Leo Africanus (in the Viaggi di Ramusio, tom. i.
fol. 78-83) has traced a curious picture of the people and the
country; which are more minutely described in the Afrique de
Marmol, tom. iii. p. 1-54.]
[Footnote 126: This uninhabitable zone was gradually reduced by
the improvements of ancient geography, from forty-five to
twenty-four, or even sixteen degrees of latitude. See a learned
and judicious note of Dr. Robertson, Hist. of America, vol. i. p.

[Footnote 127: Intra, si credere libet, vix jam homines et magis
semiferi ... Blemmyes, Satyri, &c. Pomponius Mela, i. 4, p. 26,
edit. Voss. in 8vo. Pliny philosophically explains (vi. 35) the
irregularities of nature, which he had credulously admitted, (v.

[Footnote 128: If the satyr was the Orang-outang, the great human
ape, (Buffon, Hist. Nat. tom. xiv. p. 43, &c.,) one of that
species might actually be shown alive at Alexandria, in the reign
of Constantine. Yet some difficulty will still remain about the
conversation which St. Anthony held with one of these pious
savages, in the desert of Thebais. (Jerom. in Vit. Paul. Eremit.
tom. i. p. 238.)]

[Footnote 129: St. Anthony likewise met one of these monsters;
whose existence was seriously asserted by the emperor Claudius.
The public laughed; but his praefect of Egypt had the address to
send an artful preparation, the embalmed corpse of a
Hippocentaur, which was preserved almost a century afterwards in
the Imperial palace. See Pliny, (Hist. Natur. vii. 3,) and the
judicious observations of Freret. (Memoires de l'Acad. tom. vii.
p. 321, &c.)]
[Footnote 130: The fable of the pygmies is as old as Homer,
(Iliad. iii. 6) The pygmies of India and Aethiopia were
(trispithami) twenty-seven inches high. Every spring their
cavalry (mounted on rams and goats) marched, in battle array, to
destroy the cranes' eggs, aliter (says Pliny) futuris gregibus
non resisti. Their houses were built of mud, feathers, and egg-
shells. See Pliny, (vi. 35, vii. 2,) and Strabo, (l. ii. p.
[Footnote 131: The third and fourth volumes of the valuable
Histoire des Voyages describe the present state of the Negroes.
The nations of the sea- coast have been polished by European
commerce; and those of the inland country have been improved by
Moorish colonies.

Note: The martial tribes in chain armor, discovered by
Denham, are Mahometan; the great question of the inferiority of
the African tribes in their mental faculties will probably be
experimentally resolved before the close of the century; but the
Slave Trade still continues, and will, it is to be feared, till
the spirit of gain is subdued by the spirit of Christian
humanity. - M.]

[Footnote 132: Histoire Philosophique et Politique, &c., tom. iv.
p. 192.]

Chapter XXV: Reigns Of Jovian And Valentinian, Division Of The

Part VI.

IV. The ignominious treaty, which saved the army of Jovian,
had been faithfully executed on the side of the Romans; and as
they had solemnly renounced the sovereignty and alliance of
Armenia and Iberia, those tributary kingdoms were exposed,
without protection, to the arms of the Persian monarch. ^133
Sapor entered the Armenian territories at the head of a
formidable host of cuirassiers, of archers, and of mercenary
foot; but it was the invariable practice of Sapor to mix war and
negotiation, and to consider falsehood and perjury as the most
powerful instruments of regal policy. He affected to praise the
prudent and moderate conduct of the king of Armenia; and the
unsuspicious Tiranus was persuaded, by the repeated assurances of
insidious friendship, to deliver his person into the hands of a
faithless and cruel enemy. In the midst of a splendid
entertainment, he was bound in chains of silver, as an honor due
to the blood of the Arsacides; and, after a short confinement in
the Tower of Oblivion at Ecbatana, he was released from the
miseries of life, either by his own dagger, or by that of an
assassin. ^* The kingdom of Armenia was reduced to the state of a
Persian province; the administration was shared between a
distinguished satrap and a favorite eunuch; and Sapor marched,
without delay, to subdue the martial spirit of the Iberians.
Sauromaces, who reigned in that country by the permission of the
emperors, was expelled by a superior force; and, as an insult on
the majesty of Rome, the king of kings placed a diadem on the
head of his abject vassal Aspacuras. The city of Artogerassa
^134 was the only place of Armenia ^!! which presumed to resist
the efforts of his arms. The treasure deposited in that strong
fortress tempted the avarice of Sapor; but the danger of
Olympias, the wife or widow of the Armenian king, excited the
public compassion, and animated the desperate valor of her
subjects and soldiers. ^!!! The Persians were surprised and
repulsed under the walls of Artogerassa, by a bold and
well-concerted sally of the besieged. But the forces of Sapor
were continually renewed and increased; the hopeless courage of
the garrison was exhausted; the strength of the walls yielded to
the assault; and the proud conqueror, after wasting the
rebellious city with fire and sword, led away captive an
unfortunate queen; who, in a more auspicious hour, had been the
destined bride of the son of Constantine. ^135 Yet if Sapor
already triumphed in the easy conquest of two dependent kingdoms,
he soon felt, that a country is unsubdued as long as the minds of
the people are actuated by a hostile and contumacious spirit.
The satraps, whom he was obliged to trust, embraced the first
opportunity of regaining the affection of their countrymen, and
of signalizing their immortal hatred to the Persian name. Since
the conversion of the Armenians and Iberians, these nations
considered the Christians as the favorites, and the Magians as
the adversaries, of the Supreme Being: the influence of the
clergy, over a superstitious people was uniformly exerted in the
cause of Rome; and as long as the successors of Constantine
disputed with those of Artaxerxes the sovereignty of the
intermediate provinces, the religious connection always threw a
decisive advantage into the scale of the empire. A numerous and
active party acknowledged Para, the son of Tiranus, as the lawful
sovereign of Armenia, and his title to the throne was deeply
rooted in the hereditary succession of five hundred years. By
the unanimous consent of the Iberians, the country was equally
divided between the rival princes; and Aspacuras, who owed his
diadem to the choice of Sapor, was obliged to declare, that his
regard for his children, who were detained as hostages by the
tyrant, was the only consideration which prevented him from
openly renouncing the alliance of Persia. The emperor Valens,
who respected the obligations of the treaty, and who was
apprehensive of involving the East in a dangerous war, ventured,
with slow and cautious measures, to support the Roman party in
the kingdoms of Iberia and Armenia. ^!!!! Twelve legions
established the authority of Sauromaces on the banks of the
Cyrus. The Euphrates was protected by the valor of Arintheus. A
powerful army, under the command of Count Trajan, and of
Vadomair, king of the Alemanni, fixed their camp on the confines
of Armenia. But they were strictly enjoined not to commit the
first hostilities, which might be understood as a breach of the
treaty: and such was the implicit obedience of the Roman general,
that they retreated, with exemplary patience, under a shower of
Persian arrows till they had clearly acquired a just title to an
honorable and legitimate victory. Yet these appearances of war
insensibly subsided in a vain and tedious negotiation. The
contending parties supported their claims by mutual reproaches of
perfidy and ambition; and it should seem, that the original
treaty was expressed in very obscure terms, since they were
reduced to the necessity of making their inconclusive appeal to
the partial testimony of the generals of the two nations, who had
assisted at the negotiations. ^136 The invasion of the Goths and
Huns which soon afterwards shook the foundations of the Roman
empire, exposed the provinces of Asia to the arms of Sapor. But
the declining age, and perhaps the infirmities, of the monarch
suggested new maxims of tranquillity and moderation. His death,
which happened in the full maturity of a reign of seventy years,
changed in a moment the court and councils of Persia; and their
attention was most probably engaged by domestic troubles, and the
distant efforts of a Carmanian war. ^137 The remembrance of
ancient injuries was lost in the enjoyment of peace. The
kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia were permitted, by the
mutual,though tacit consent of both empires, to resume their
doubtful neutrality. In the first years of the reign of
Theodosius, a Persian embassy arrived at Constantinople, to
excuse the unjustifiable measures of the former reign; and to
offer, as the tribute of friendship, or even of respect, a
splendid present of gems, of silk, and of Indian elephants. ^138

[Footnote 133: The evidence of Ammianus is original and decisive,
(xxvii. 12.) Moses of Chorene, (l. iii. c. 17, p. 249, and c. 34,
p. 269,) and Procopius, (de Bell. Persico, l. i. c. 5, p. 17,
edit. Louvre,) have been consulted: but those historians who
confound distinct facts, repeat the same events, and introduce
strange stories, must be used with diffidence and caution.
Note: The statement of Ammianus is more brief and succinct,
but harmonizes with the more complicated history developed by M.
St. Martin from the Armenian writers, and from Procopius, who
wrote, as he states from Armenian authorities. - M.]

[Footnote *: According to M. St. Martin, Sapor, though supported
by the two apostate Armenian princes, Meroujan the Ardzronnian
and Vahan the Mamigonian, was gallantly resisted by Arsaces, and
his brave though impious wife Pharandsem. His troops were
defeated by Vasag, the high constable of the kingdom. (See M.
St. Martin.) But after four years' courageous defence of his
kingdom, Arsaces was abandoned by his nobles, and obliged to
accept the perfidious hospitality of Sapor. He was blinded and
imprisoned in the "Castle of Oblivion;" his brave general Vasag
was flayed alive; his skin stuffed and placed near the king in
his lonely prison. It was not till many years after (A.D. 371)
that he stabbed himself, according to the romantic story, (St. M.
iii. 387, 389,) in a paroxysm of excitement at his restoration to
royal honors. St. Martin, Additions to Le Beau, iii. 283, 296. -
[Footnote 134: Perhaps Artagera, or Ardis; under whose walls
Caius, the grandson of Augustus, was wounded. This fortress was
situate above Amida, near one of the sources of the Tigris. See
D'Anville, Geographie Ancienue, tom. ii. p. 106.

Note: St. Martin agrees with Gibbon, that it was the same
fortress with Ardis Note, p. 373. - M.]

[Footnote !!: Artaxata, Vagharschabad, or Edchmiadzin,
Erovantaschad, and many other cities, in all of which there was a
considerable Jewish population were taken and destroyed. - M.]

[Footnote !!!: Pharandsem, not Olympias, refusing the orders of
her captive husband to surrender herself to Sapor, threw herself
into Artogerassa St. Martin, iii. 293, 302. She defended herself
for fourteen months, till famine and disease had left few
survivors out of 11,000 soldiers and 6000 women who had taken
refuge in the fortress. She then threw open the gates with her
own hand. M. St. Martin adds, what even the horrors of Oriental
warfare will scarcely permit us to credit, that she was exposed
by Sapor on a public scaffold to the brutal lusts of his
soldiery, and afterwards empaled, iii. 373, &c. - M.]

[Footnote 135: Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 701)
proves, from chronology, that Olympias must have been the mother
of Para.
Note *: An error according to St. M. 273. - M.]

[Footnote !!!!: According to Themistius, quoted by St. Martin, he
once advanced to the Tigris, iii. 436. - M.]

[Footnote 136: Ammianus (xxvii. 12, xix. 1. xxx. 1, 2) has
described the events, without the dates, of the Persian war.
Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. l. iii. c. 28, p. 261, c. 31, p.
266, c. 35, p. 271) affords some additional facts; but it is
extremely difficult to separate truth from fable.]
[Footnote 137: Artaxerxes was the successor and brother (the
cousin-german) of the great Sapor; and the guardian of his son,
Sapor III. (Agathias, l. iv. p. 136, edit. Louvre.) See the
Universal History, vol. xi. p. 86, 161. The authors of that
unequal work have compiled the Sassanian dynasty with erudition
and diligence; but it is a preposterous arrangement to divide the
Roman and Oriental accounts into two distinct histories.

Note: On the war of Sapor with the Bactrians, which diverted
from Armenia, see St. M. iii. 387. - M.]

[Footnote 138: Pacatus in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 22, and Orosius, l.
vii. c. 34. Ictumque tum foedus est, quo universus Oriens usque
ad num (A. D. 416) tranquillissime fruitur.]

In the general picture of the affairs of the East under the
reign of Valens, the adventures of Para form one of the most
striking and singular objects. The noble youth, by the
persuasion of his mother Olympias, had escaped through the
Persian host that besieged Artogerassa, and implored the
protection of the emperor of the East. By his timid councils,
Para was alternately supported, and recalled, and restored, and
betrayed. The hopes of the Armenians were sometimes raised by
the presence of their natural sovereign, ^* and the ministers of
Valens were satisfied, that they preserved the integrity of the
public faith, if their vassal was not suffered to assume the
diadem and title of King. But they soon repented of their own
rashness. They were confounded by the reproaches and threats of
the Persian monarch. They found reason to distrust the cruel and
inconstant temper of Para himself; who sacrificed, to the
slightest suspicions, the lives of his most faithful servants,
and held a secret and disgraceful correspondence with the
assassin of his father and the enemy of his country. Under the
specious pretence of consulting with the emperor on the subject
of their common interest, Para was persuaded to descend from the
mountains of Armenia, where his party was in arms, and to trust
his independence and safety to the discretion of a perfidious
court. The king of Armenia, for such he appeared in his own eyes
and in those of his nation, was received with due honors by the
governors of the provinces through which he passed; but when he
arrived at Tarsus in Cilicia, his progress was stopped under
various pretences; his motions were watched with respectful
vigilance, and he gradually discovered, that he was a prisoner in
the hands of the Romans. Para suppressed his indignation,
dissembled his fears, and after secretly preparing his escape,
mounted on horseback with three hundred of his faithful
followers. The officer stationed at the door of his apartment
immediately communicated his flight to the consular of Cilicia,
who overtook him in the suburbs, and endeavored without success,
to dissuade him from prosecuting his rash and dangerous design.
A legion was ordered to pursue the royal fugitive; but the
pursuit of infantry could not be very alarming to a body of light
cavalry; and upon the first cloud of arrows that was discharged
into the air, they retreated with precipitation to the gates of
Tarsus. After an incessant march of two days and two nights,
Para and his Armenians reached the banks of the Euphrates; but
the passage of the river which they were obliged to swim, ^** was
attended with some delay and some loss. The country was alarmed;
and the two roads, which were only separated by an interval of
three miles had been occupied by a thousand archers on horseback,
under the command of a count and a tribune. Para must have
yielded to superior force, if the accidental arrival of a
friendly traveller had not revealed the danger and the means of
escape. A dark and almost impervious path securely conveyed the
Armenian troop through the thicket; and Para had left behind him
the count and the tribune, while they patiently expected his
approach along the public highways. They returned to the
Imperial court to excuse their want of diligence or success; and
seriously alleged, that the king of Armenia, who was a skilful
magician, had transformed himself and his followers, and passed
before their eyes under a borrowed shape. ^! After his return to
his native kingdom, Para still continued to profess himself the
friend and ally of the Romans: but the Romans had injured him too
deeply ever to forgive, and the secret sentence of his death was
signed in the council of Valens. The execution of the bloody
deed was committed to the subtle prudence of Count Trajan; and he
had the merit of insinuating himself into the confidence of the
credulous prince, that he might find an opportunity of stabbing
him to the heart Para was invited to a Roman banquet, which had
been prepared with all the pomp and sensuality of the East; the
hall resounded with cheerful music, and the company was already
heated with wine; when the count retired for an instant, drew his
sword, and gave the signal of the murder. A robust and desperate
Barbarian instantly rushed on the king of Armenia; and though he
bravely defended his life with the first weapon that chance
offered to his hand, the table of the Imperial general was
stained with the royal blood of a guest, and an ally. Such were
the weak and wicked maxims of the Roman administration, that, to
attain a doubtful object of political interest the laws of
nations, and the sacred rights of hospitality were inhumanly
violated in the face of the world. ^139
[Footnote *: On the reconquest of Armenia by Para, or rather by
Mouschegh, the Mamigonian see St. M. iii. 375, 383. - M.]

[Footnote **: On planks floated by bladders. - M.]

[Footnote !: It is curious enough that the Armenian historian,
Faustus of Byzandum, represents Para as a magician. His impious
mother Pharandac had devoted him to the demons on his birth. St.
M. iv. 23. - M.]
[Footnote 139: See in Ammianus (xxx. 1) the adventures of Para.
Moses of Chorene calls him Tiridates; and tells a long, and not
improbable story of his son Gnelus, who afterwards made himself
popular in Armenia, and provoked the jealousy of the reigning
king, (l. iii. c 21, &c., p. 253, &c.)
Note: This note is a tissue of mistakes. Tiridates and Para
are two totally different persons. Tiridates was the father of
Gnel first husband of Pharandsem, the mother of Para. St.
Martin, iv. 27 - M.]

V. During a peaceful interval of thirty years, the Romans
secured their frontiers, and the Goths extended their dominions.
The victories of the great Hermanric, ^140 king of the
Ostrogoths, and the most noble of the race of the Amali, have
been compared, by the enthusiasm of his countrymen, to the
exploits of Alexander; with this singular, and almost incredible,
difference, that the martial spirit of the Gothic hero, instead
of being supported by the vigor of youth, was displayed with
glory and success in the extreme period of human life, between
the age of fourscore and one hundred and ten years. The
independent tribes were persuaded, or compelled, to acknowledge
the king of the Ostrogoths as the sovereign of the Gothic nation:
the chiefs of the Visigoths, or Thervingi, renounced the royal
title, and assumed the more humble appellation of Judges; and,
among those judges, Athanaric, Fritigern, and Alavivus, were the
most illustrious, by their personal merit, as well as by their
vicinity to the Roman provinces. These domestic conquests, which
increased the military power of Hermanric, enlarged his ambitious
designs. He invaded the adjacent countries of the North; and
twelve considerable nations, whose names and limits cannot be
accurately defined, successively yielded to the superiority of
the Gothic arms ^141 The Heruli, who inhabited the marshy lands
near the lake Maeotis, were renowned for their strength and
agility; and the assistance of their light infantry was eagerly
solicited, and highly esteemed, in all the wars of the
Barbarians. But the active spirit of the Heruli was subdued by
the slow and steady perseverance of the Goths; and, after a
bloody action, in which the king was slain, the remains of that
warlike tribe became a useful accession to the camp of Hermanric.

He then marched against the Venedi; unskilled in the use of arms,
and formidable only by their numbers, which filled the wide
extent of the plains of modern Poland. The victorious Goths, who
were not inferior in numbers, prevailed in the contest, by the
decisive advantages of exercise and discipline. After the
submission of the Venedi, the conqueror advanced, without
resistance, as far as the confines of the Aestii; ^142 an ancient
people, whose name is still preserved in the province of
Esthonia. Those distant inhabitants of the Baltic coast were
supported by the labors of agriculture, enriched by the trade of
amber, and consecrated by the peculiar worship of the Mother of
the Gods. But the scarcity of iron obliged the Aestian warriors
to content themselves with wooden clubs; and the reduction of
that wealthy country is ascribed to the prudence, rather than to
the arms, of Hermanric. His dominions, which extended from the
Danube to the Baltic, included the native seats, and the recent
acquisitions, of the Goths; and he reigned over the greatest part
of Germany and Scythia with the authority of a conqueror, and
sometimes with the cruelty of a tyrant. But he reigned over a
part of the globe incapable of perpetuating and adorning the
glory of its heroes. The name of Hermanric is almost buried in
oblivion; his exploits are imperfectly known; and the Romans
themselves appeared unconscious of the progress of an aspiring
power which threatened the liberty of the North, and the peace of
the empire. ^143
[Footnote 140: The concise account of the reign and conquests of
Hermanric seems to be one of the valuable fragments which
Jornandes (c 28) borrowed from the Gothic histories of Ablavius,
or Cassiodorus.]

[Footnote 141: M. d. Buat. (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom.
vi. p. 311- 329) investigates, with more industry than success,
the nations subdued by the arms of Hermanric. He denies the
existence of the Vasinobroncoe, on account of the immoderate
length of their name. Yet the French envoy to Ratisbon, or
Dresden, must have traversed the country of the Mediomatrici.]
[Footnote 142: The edition of Grotius (Jornandes, p. 642)
exhibits the name of Aestri. But reason and the Ambrosian MS.
have restored the Aestii, whose manners and situation are
expressed by the pencil of Tacitus, (Germania, c. 45.)]

[Footnote 143: Ammianus (xxxi. 3) observes, in general terms,
Ermenrichi .... nobilissimi Regis, et per multa variaque fortiter
facta, vicinigentibus formidati, &c.]

The Goths had contracted an hereditary attachment for the
Imperial house of Constantine, of whose power and liberality they
had received so many signal proofs. They respected the public
peace; and if a hostile band sometimes presumed to pass the Roman
limit, their irregular conduct was candidly ascribed to the
ungovernable spirit of the Barbarian youth. Their contempt for
two new and obscure princes, who had been raised to the throne by
a popular election, inspired the Goths with bolder hopes; and,
while they agitated some design of marching their confederate
force under the national standard, ^144 they were easily tempted
to embrace the party of Procopius; and to foment, by their
dangerous aid, the civil discord of the Romans. The public
treaty might stipulate no more than ten thousand auxiliaries; but
the design was so zealously adopted by the chiefs of the
Visigoths, that the army which passed the Danube amounted to the
number of thirty thousand men. ^145 They marched with the proud
confidence, that their invincible valor would decide the fate of
the Roman empire; and the provinces of Thrace groaned under the
weight of the Barbarians, who displayed the insolence of masters
and the licentiousness of enemies. But the intemperance which
gratified their appetites, retarded their progress; and before
the Goths could receive any certain intelligence of the defeat
and death of Procopius, they perceived, by the hostile state of
the country, that the civil and military powers were resumed by
his successful rival. A chain of posts and fortifications,
skilfully disposed by Valens, or the generals of Valens, resisted
their march, prevented their retreat, and intercepted their
subsistence. The fierceness of the Barbarians was tamed and
suspended by hunger; they indignantly threw down their arms at
the feet of the conqueror, who offered them food and chains: the
numerous captives were distributed in all the cities of the East;
and the provincials, who were soon familiarized with their savage
appearance, ventured, by degrees, to measure their own strength
with these formidable adversaries, whose name had so long been
the object of their terror. The king of Scythia (and Hermanric
alone could deserve so lofty a title) was grieved and exasperated
by this national calamity. His ambassadors loudly complained, at
the court of Valens, of the infraction of the ancient and solemn
alliance, which had so long subsisted between the Romans and the
Goths. They alleged, that they had fulfilled the duty of allies,
by assisting the kinsman and successor of the emperor Julian;
they required the immediate restitution of the noble captives;
and they urged a very singular claim, that the Gothic generals
marching in arms, and in hostile array, were entitled to the
sacred character and privileges of ambassadors. The decent, but
peremptory, refusal of these extravagant demands, was signified
to the Barbarians by Victor, master-general of the cavalry; who
expressed, with force and dignity, the just complaints of the
emperor of the East. ^146 The negotiation was interrupted; and
the manly exhortations of Valentinian encouraged his timid
brother to vindicate the insulted majesty of the empire. ^147

[Footnote 144: Valens . . . . docetur relationibus Ducum, gentem
Gothorum, ea tempestate intactam ideoque saevissimam,
conspirantem in unum, ad pervadenda parari collimitia Thraciarum.

Ammian. xxi. 6.]

[Footnote 145: M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom.
vi. p. 332) has curiously ascertained the real number of these
auxiliaries. The 3000 of Ammianus, and the 10,000 of Zosimus,
were only the first divisions of the Gothic army.

Note: M. St. Martin (iii. 246) denies that there is any
authority for these numbers. - M.]

[Footnote 146: The march, and subsequent negotiation, are
described in the Fragments of Eunapius, (Excerpt. Legat. p. 18,
edit. Louvre.) The provincials who afterwards became familiar
with the Barbarians, found that their strength was more apparent
than real. They were tall of stature; but their legs were
clumsy, and their shoulders were narrow.]

[Footnote 147: Valens enim, ut consulto placuerat fratri, cujus
regebatur arbitrio, arma concussit in Gothos ratione justa
permotus. Ammianus (xxvii. 4) then proceeds to describe, not the
country of the Goths, but the peaceful and obedient province of
Thrace, which was not affected by the war.]
The splendor and magnitude of this Gothic war are celebrated
by a contemporary historian: ^148 but the events scarcely deserve
the attention of posterity, except as the preliminary steps of
the approaching decline and fall of the empire. Instead of
leading the nations of Germany and Scythia to the banks of the
Danube, or even to the gates of Constantinople, the aged monarch
of the Goths resigned to the brave Athanaric the danger and glory
of a defensive war, against an enemy, who wielded with a feeble
hand the powers of a mighty state. A bridge of boats was
established upon the Danube; the presence of Valens animated his
troops; and his ignorance of the art of war was compensated by
personal bravery, and a wise deference to the advice of Victor
and Arintheus, his masters-general of the cavalry and infantry.
The operations of the campaign were conducted by their skill and
experience; but they found it impossible to drive the Visigoths
from their strong posts in the mountains; and the devastation of
the plains obliged the Romans themselves to repass the Danube on
the approach of winter. The incessant rains, which swelled the
waters of the river, produced a tacit suspension of arms, and
confined the emperor Valens, during the whole course of the
ensuing summer, to his camp of Marcianopolis. The third year of
the war was more favorable to the Romans, and more pernicious to
the Goths. The interruption of trade deprived the Barbarians of
the objects of luxury, which they already confounded with the
necessaries of life; and the desolation of a very extensive tract
of country threatened them with the horrors of famine. Athanaric
was provoked, or compelled, to risk a battle, which he lost, in
the plains; and the pursuit was rendered more bloody by the cruel
precaution of the victorious generals, who had promised a large
reward for the head of every Goth that was brought into the
Imperial camp. The submission of the Barbarians appeased the
resentment of Valens and his council: the emperor listened with
satisfaction to the flattering and eloquent remonstrance of the
senate of Constantinople, which assumed, for the first time, a
share in the public deliberations; and the same generals, Victor
and Arintheus, who had successfully directed the conduct of the
war, were empowered to regulate the conditions of peace. The
freedom of trade, which the Goths had hitherto enjoyed, was
restricted to two cities on the Danube; the rashness of their
leaders was severely punished by the suppression of their
pensions and subsidies; and the exception, which was stipulated
in favor of Athanaric alone, was more advantageous than honorable
to the Judge of the Visigoths. Athanaric, who, on this occasion,
appears to have consulted his private interest, without expecting
the orders of his sovereign, supported his own dignity, and that
of his tribe, in the personal interview which was proposed by the
ministers of Valens. He persisted in his declaration, that it
was impossible for him, without incurring the guilt of perjury,
ever to set his foot on the territory of the empire; and it is
more than probable, that his regard for the sanctity of an oath
was confirmed by the recent and fatal examples of Roman
treachery. The Danube, which separated the dominions of the two
independent nations, was chosen for the scene of the conference.
The emperor of the East, and the Judge of the Visigoths,
accompanied by an equal number of armed followers, advanced in
their respective barges to the middle of the stream. After the
ratification of the treaty, and the delivery of hostages, Valens
returned in triumph to Constantinople; and the Goths remained in
a state of tranquillity about six years; till they were violently
impelled against the Roman empire by an innumerable host of
Scythians, who appeared to issue from the frozen regions of the
North. ^149

[Footnote 148: Eunapius, in Excerpt. Legat. p. 18, 19. The Greek
sophist must have considered as one and the same war, the whole
series of Gothic history till the victories and peace of

[Footnote 149: The Gothic war is described by Ammianus, (xxvii.
6,) Zosimus, (l. iv. p. 211-214,) and Themistius, (Orat. x. p.
129-141.) The orator Themistius was sent from the senate of
Constantinople to congratulate the victorious emperor; and his
servile eloquence compares Valens on the Danube to Achilles in
the Scamander. Jornandes forgets a war peculiar to the
Visi-Goths, and inglorious to the Gothic name, (Mascon's Hist. of
the Germans, vii. 3.)]

The emperor of the West, who had resigned to his brother the
command of the Lower Danube, reserved for his immediate care the
defence of the Rhaetian and Illyrian provinces, which spread so
many hundred miles along the greatest of the European rivers.
The active policy of Valentinian was continually employed in
adding new fortifications to the security of the frontier: but
the abuse of this policy provoked the just resentment of the
Barbarians. The Quadi complained, that the ground for an
intended fortress had been marked out on their territories; and
their complaints were urged with so much reason and moderation,
that Equitius, master-general of Illyricum, consented to suspend
the prosecution of the work, till he should be more clearly
informed of the will of his sovereign. This fair occasion of
injuring a rival, and of advancing the fortune of his son, was
eagerly embraced by the inhuman Maximin, the praefect, or rather
tyrant, of Gaul. The passions of Valentinian were impatient of
control; and he credulously listened to the assurances of his
favorite, that if the government of Valeria, and the direction of
the work, were intrusted to the zeal of his son Marcellinus, the
emperor should no longer be importuned with the audacious
remonstrances of the Barbarians. The subjects of Rome, and the
natives of Germany, were insulted by the arrogance of a young and
worthless minister, who considered his rapid elevation as the
proof and reward of his superior merit. He affected, however, to
receive the modest application of Gabinius, king of the Quadi,
with some attention and regard: but this artful civility
concealed a dark and bloody design, and the credulous prince was
persuaded to accept the pressing invitation of Marcellinus. I am
at a loss how to vary the narrative of similar crimes; or how to
relate, that, in the course of the same year, but in remote parts
of the empire, the inhospitable table of two Imperial generals
was stained with the royal blood of two guests and allies,
inhumanly murdered by their order, and in their presence. The
fate of Gabinius, and of Para, was the same: but the cruel death
of their sovereign was resented in a very different manner by the
servile temper of the Armenians, and the free and daring spirit
of the Germans. The Quadi were much declined from that
formidable power, which, in the time of Marcus Antoninus, had
spread terror to the gates of Rome. But they still possessed arms
and courage; their courage was animated by despair, and they
obtained the usual reenforcement of the cavalry of their
Sarmatian allies. So improvident was the assassin Marcellinus,
that he chose the moment when the bravest veterans had been drawn
away, to suppress the revolt of Firmus; and the whole province
was exposed, with a very feeble defence, to the rage of the
exasperated Barbarians. They invaded Pannonia in the season of

Book of the day: