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

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crowded with illustrious beggars of either sex, and every age,
who excited the public compassion by the remembrance of their
past fortune. ^114 This awful catastrophe of Rome filled the
astonished empire with grief and terror. So interesting a
contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed the fond credulity of
the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, the afflictions of
the queen of cities. The clergy, who applied to recent events
the lofty metaphors of oriental prophecy, were sometimes tempted
to confound the destruction of the capital and the dissolution of
the globe.
[Footnote 108: Orosius (l. ii. c. 19, p. 142) compares the
cruelty of the Gauls and the clemency of the Goths. Ibi vix
quemquam inventum senatorem, qui vel absens evaserit; hic vix
quemquam requiri, qui forte ut latens perierit. But there is an
air of rhetoric, and perhaps of falsehood, in this antithesis;
and Socrates (l. vii. c. 10) affirms, perhaps by an opposite
exaggeration, that many senators were put to death with various
and exquisite tortures.]
[Footnote 109: Multi ... Christiani incaptivitatem ducti sunt.
Augustin, de Civ Dei, l. i. c. 14; and the Christians experienced
no peculiar hardships.]
[Footnote 110: See Heineccius, Antiquitat. Juris Roman. tom. i.
p. 96.]
[Footnote 111: Appendix Cod. Theodos. xvi. in Sirmond. Opera,
tom. i. p. 735. This edict was published on the 11th of December,
A.D. 408, and is more reasonable than properly belonged to the
ministers of Honorius.]
[Footnote 112: Eminus Igilii sylvosa cacumina miror;
Quem fraudare nefas laudis honore suae.

Haec proprios nuper tutata est insula saltus;

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

Haec multos lacera suscepit ab urbe fugates,

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

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

Tam prope Romanis, tam procul esse Getis.

Rutilius, in Itinerar. l. i. 325

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

[Footnote 114: See the pathetic complaint of Jerom, (tom. v. p.
400,) in his preface to the second book of his Commentaries on
the Prophet Ezekiel.]
There exists in human nature a strong propensity to
depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the
present times. Yet, when the first emotions had subsided, and a
fair estimate was made of the real damage, the more learned and
judicious contemporaries were forced to confess, that infant Rome
had formerly received more essential injury from the Gauls, than
she had now sustained from the Goths in her declining age. ^115
The experience of eleven centuries has enabled posterity to
produce a much more singular parallel; and to affirm with
confidence, that the ravages of the Barbarians, whom Alaric had
led from the banks of the Danube, were less destructive than the
hostilities exercised by the troops of Charles the Fifth, a
Catholic prince, who styled himself Emperor of the Romans. ^116
The Goths evacuated the city at the end of six days, but Rome
remained above nine months in the possession of the Imperialists;
and every hour was stained by some atrocious act of cruelty,
lust, and rapine. The authority of Alaric preserved some order
and moderation among the ferocious multitude which acknowledged
him for their leader and king; but the constable of Bourbon had
gloriously fallen in the attack of the walls; and the death of
the general removed every restraint of discipline from an army
which consisted of three independent nations, the Italians, the
Spaniards, and the Germans. In the beginning of the sixteenth
century, the manners of Italy exhibited a remarkable scene of the
depravity of mankind. They united the sanguinary crimes that
prevail in an unsettled state of society, with the polished vices
which spring from the abuse of art and luxury; and the loose
adventurers, who had violated every prejudice of patriotism and
superstition to assault the palace of the Roman pontiff, must
deserve to be considered as the most profligate of the Italians.
At the same aera, the Spaniards were the terror both of the Old
and New World: but their high- spirited valor was disgraced by
gloomy pride, rapacious avarice, and unrelenting cruelty.
Indefatigable in the pursuit of fame and riches, they had
improved, by repeated practice, the most exquisite and effectual
methods of torturing their prisoners: many of the Castilians, who
pillaged Rome, were familiars of the holy inquisition; and some
volunteers, perhaps, were lately returned from the conquest of
Mexico The Germans were less corrupt than the Italians, less
cruel than the Spaniards; and the rustic, or even savage, aspect
of those Tramontane warriors, often disguised a simple and
merciful disposition. But they had imbibed, in the first fervor
of the reformation, the spirit, as well as the principles of
Luther. It was their favorite amusement to insult, or destroy,
the consecrated objects of Catholic superstition; they indulged,
without pity or remorse, a devout hatred against the clergy of
every denomination and degree, who form so considerable a part of
the inhabitants of modern Rome; and their fanatic zeal might
aspire to subvert the throne of Anti-christ, to purify, with
blood and fire, the abominations of the spiritual Babylon. ^117
[Footnote 115: Orosius, though with some theological partiality,
states this comparison, l. ii. c. 19, p. 142, l. vii. c. 39, p.
575. But, in the history of the taking of Rome by the Gauls,
every thing is uncertain, and perhaps fabulous. See Beaufort sur
l'Incertitude, &c., de l'Histoire Romaine, p. 356; and Melot, in
the Mem. de l'Academie des Inscript. tom. xv. p. 1 - 21.]
[Footnote 116: The reader who wishes to inform himself of the
circumstances of his famous event, may peruse an admirable
narrative in Dr. Robertson's History of Charles V. vol. ii. p.
283; or consult the Annali d'Italia of the learned Muratori, tom.
xiv. p. 230 - 244, octavo edition. If he is desirous of
examining the originals, he may have recourse to the eighteenth
book of the great, but unfinished, history of Guicciardini. But
the account which most truly deserves the name of authentic and
original, is a little book, entitled, Il Sacco di Roma, composed,
within less than a month after the assault of the city, by the
brother of the historian Guicciardini, who appears to have been
an able magistrate and a dispassionate writer.]

[Footnote 117: The furious spirit of Luther, the effect of temper
and enthusiasm, has been forcibly attacked, (Bossuet, Hist. des
Variations des Eglises Protestantes, livre i. p. 20 - 36,) and
feebly defended, (Seckendorf. Comment. de Lutheranismo,
especially l. i. No. 78, p. 120, and l. iii. No. 122, p. 556.)]
The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evacuated Rome on
the sixth day, ^118 might be the result of prudence; but it was
not surely the effect of fear. ^119 At the head of an army
encumbered with rich and weighty spoils, their intrepid leader
advanced along the Appian way into the southern provinces of
Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose his passage, and
contenting himself with the plunder of the unresisting country.
The fate of Capua, the proud and luxurious metropolis of
Campania, and which was respected, even in its decay, as the
eighth city of the empire, ^120 is buried in oblivion; whilst the
adjacent town of Nola ^121 has been illustrated, on this
occasion, by the sanctity of Paulinus, ^122 who was successively
a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At the age of forty, he
renounced the enjoyment of wealth and honor, of society and
literature, to embrace a life of solitude and penance; and the
loud applause of the clergy encouraged him to despise the
reproaches of his worldly friends, who ascribed this desperate
act to some disorder of the mind or body. ^123 An early and
passionate attachment determined him to fix his humble dwelling
in one of the suburbs of Nola, near the miraculous tomb of St.
Faelix, which the public devotion had already surrounded with
five large and populous churches. The remains of his fortune,
and of his understanding, were dedicated to the service of the
glorious martyr; whose praise, on the day of his festival,
Paulinus never failed to celebrate by a solemn hymn; and in whose
name he erected a sixth church, of superior elegance and beauty,
which was decorated with many curious pictures, from the history
of the Old and New Testament. Such assiduous zeal secured the
favor of the saint, ^124 or at least of the people; and, after
fifteen years' retirement, the Roman consul was compelled to
accept the bishopric of Nola, a few months before the city was
invested by the Goths. During the siege, some religious persons
were satisfied that they had seen, either in dreams or visions,
the divine form of their tutelar patron; yet it soon appeared by
the event, that Faelix wanted power, or inclination, to preserve
the flock of which he had formerly been the shepherd. Nola was
not saved from the general devastation; ^125 and the captive
bishop was protected only by the general opinion of his innocence
and poverty. Above four years elapsed from the successful
invasion of Italy by the arms of Alaric, to the voluntary retreat
of the Goths under the conduct of his successor Adolphus; and,
during the whole time, they reigned without control over a
country, which, in the opinion of the ancients, had united all
the various excellences of nature and art. The prosperity,
indeed, which Italy had attained in the auspicious age of the
Antonines, had gradually declined with the decline of the empire.

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

[Footnote 118: Marcellinus, in Chron. Orosius, (l. vii. c. 39, p.
575,) asserts, that he left Rome on the third day; but this
difference is easily reconciled by the successive motions of
great bodies of troops.]
[Footnote 119: Socrates (l. vii. c. 10) pretends, without any
color of truth, or reason, that Alaric fled on the report that
the armies of the Eastern empire were in full march to attack

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

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

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

[Footnote 123: See the affectionate letters of Ausonius (epist.
xix. - xxv. p. 650-698, edit. Toll.) to his colleague, his
friend, and his disciple, Paulinus. The religion of Ausonius is
still a problem, (see Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom.
xv. p. 123 - 138.) I believe that it was such in his own time,
and, consequently, that in his heart he was a Pagan.]
[Footnote 124: The humble Paulinus once presumed to say, that he
believed St. Faelix did love him; at least, as a master loves his
little dog.]
[Footnote 125: See Jornandes, de Reb. Get. c. 30, p. 653.
Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 3. Augustin. de Civ. Dei, l.i.c. 10.
Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 410, No. 45, 46.]

[Footnote 126: The platanus, or plane-tree, was a favorite of the
ancients, by whom it was propagated, for the sake of shade, from
the East to Gaul. Plin. Hist. Natur. xii. 3, 4, 5. He mentions
several of an enormous size; one in the Imperial villa, at
Velitrae, which Caligula called his nest, as the branches were
capable of holding a large table, the proper attendants, and the
emperor himself, whom Pliny quaintly styles pars umbroe; an
expression which might, with equal reason, be applied to Alaric]
[Footnote 127: The prostrate South to the destroyer yields

Her boasted titles, and her golden fields;

With grim delight the brood of winter view

A brighter day, and skies of azure hue;

Scent the new fragrance of the opening rose,

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

Whether fame, or conquest, or riches, were the object or
Alaric, he pursued that object with an indefatigable ardor, which
could neither be quelled by adversity nor satiated by success.
No sooner had he reached the extreme land of Italy, than he was
attracted by the neighboring prospect of a fertile and peaceful
island. Yet even the possession of Sicily he considered only as
an intermediate step to the important expedition, which he
already meditated against the continent of Africa. The Straits
of Rhegium and Messina ^128 are twelve miles in length, and, in
the narrowest passage, about one mile and a half broad; and the
fabulous monsters of the deep, the rocks of Scylla, and the
whirlpool of Charybdis, could terrify none but the most timid and
unskilful mariners. Yet as soon as the first division of the
Goths had embarked, a sudden tempest arose, which sunk, or
scattered, many of the transports; their courage was daunted by
the terrors of a new element; and the whole design was defeated
by the premature death of Alaric, which fixed, after a short
illness, the fatal term of his conquests. The ferocious
character of the Barbarians was displayed in the funeral of a
hero whose valor and fortune they celebrated with mournful
applause. By the labor of a captive multitude, they forcibly
diverted the course of the Busentinus, a small river that washes
the walls of Consentia. The royal sepulchre, adorned with the
splendid spoils and trophies of Rome, was constructed in the
vacant bed; the waters were then restored to their natural
channel; and the secret spot, where the remains of Alaric had
been deposited, was forever concealed by the inhuman massacre of
the prisoners, who had been employed to execute the work. ^129
[Footnote 128: For the perfect description of the Straits of
Messina, Scylla, Clarybdis, &c., see Cluverius, (Ital. Antiq. l.
iv. p. 1293, and Sicilia Antiq. l. i. p. 60 - 76, who had
diligently studied the ancients, and surveyed with a curious eye
the actual face of the country.]

[Footnote 129: Jornandes, de Reb Get. c. 30, p. 654.]

Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By

Part V.

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

The oppressed provincials might exclaim, that the miserable
remnant, which the enemy had spared, was cruelly ravished by
their pretended allies; yet some specious colors were not wanting
to palliate, or justify the violence of the Goths. The cities of
Gaul, which they attacked, might perhaps be considered as in a
state of rebellion against the government of Honorius: the
articles of the treaty, or the secret instructions of the court,
might sometimes be alleged in favor of the seeming usurpations of
Adolphus; and the guilt of any irregular, unsuccessful act of
hostility might always be imputed, with an appearance of truth,
to the ungovernable spirit of a Barbarian host, impatient of
peace or discipline. The luxury of Italy had been less effectual
to soften the temper, than to relax the courage, of the Goths;
and they had imbibed the vices, without imitating the arts and
institutions, of civilized society. ^132

[Footnote 130: Orosius, l. vii. c. 43, p. 584, 585. He was sent
by St. Augustin in the year 415, from Africa to Palestine, to
visit St. Jerom, and to consult with him on the subject of the
Pelagian controversy.]
[Footnote 131: Jornandes supposes, without much probability, that
Adolphus visited and plundered Rome a second time, (more
locustarum erasit) Yet he agrees with Orosius in supposing that a
treaty of peace was concluded between the Gothic prince and
Honorius. See Oros. l. vii. c. 43 p. 584, 585. Jornandes, de
Reb. Geticis, c. 31, p. 654, 655.]

[Footnote 132: The retreat of the Goths from Italy, and their
first transactions in Gaul, are dark and doubtful. I have
derived much assistance from Mascou, (Hist. of the Ancient
Germans, l. viii. c. 29, 35, 36, 37,) who has illustrated, and
connected, the broken chronicles and fragments of the times.]
The professions of Adolphus were probably sincere, and his
attachment to the cause of the republic was secured by the
ascendant which a Roman princess had acquired over the heart and
understanding of the Barbarian king. Placidia, ^133 the daughter
of the great Theodosius, and of Galla, his second wife, had
received a royal education in the palace of Constantinople; but
the eventful story of her life is connected with the revolutions
which agitated the Western empire under the reign of her brother
Honorius. When Rome was first invested by the arms of Alaric,
Placidia, who was then about twenty years of age, resided in the
city; and her ready consent to the death of her cousin Serena has
a cruel and ungrateful appearance, which, according to the
circumstances of the action, may be aggravated, or excused, by
the consideration of her tender age. ^134 The victorious
Barbarians detained, either as a hostage or a captive, ^135 the
sister of Honorius; but, while she was exposed to the disgrace of
following round Italy the motions of a Gothic camp, she
experienced, however, a decent and respectful treatment. The
authority of Jornandes, who praises the beauty of Placidia, may
perhaps be counterbalanced by the silence, the expressive
silence, of her flatterers: yet the splendor of her birth, the
bloom of youth, the elegance of manners, and the dexterous
insinuation which she condescended to employ, made a deep
impression on the mind of Adolphus; and the Gothic king aspired
to call himself the brother of the emperor. The ministers of
Honorius rejected with disdain the proposal of an alliance so
injurious to every sentiment of Roman pride; and repeatedly urged
the restitution of Placidia, as an indispensable condition of the
treaty of peace. But the daughter of Theodosius submitted,
without reluctance, to the desires of the conqueror, a young and
valiant prince, who yielded to Alaric in loftiness of stature,
but who excelled in the more attractive qualities of grace and
beauty. The marriage of Adolphus and Placidia ^136 was
consummated before the Goths retired from Italy; and the solemn,
perhaps the anniversary day of their nuptials was afterwards
celebrated in the house of Ingenuus, one of the most illustrious
citizens of Narbonne in Gaul. The bride, attired and adorned
like a Roman empress, was placed on a throne of state; and the
king of the Goths, who assumed, on this occasion, the Roman
habit, contented himself with a less honorable seat by her side.
The nuptial gift, which, according to the custom of his nation,
^137 was offered to Placidia, consisted of the rare and
magnificent spoils of her country. Fifty beautiful youths, in
silken robes, carried a basin in each hand; and one of these
basins was filled with pieces of gold, the other with precious
stones of an inestimable value. Attalus, so long the sport of
fortune, and of the Goths, was appointed to lead the chorus of
the Hymeneal song; and the degraded emperor might aspire to the
praise of a skilful musician. The Barbarians enjoyed the
insolence of their triumph; and the provincials rejoiced in this
alliance, which tempered, by the mild influence of love and
reason, the fierce spirit of their Gothic lord. ^138
[Footnote 133: See an account of Placidia in Ducange Fam. Byzant.
p. 72; and Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 260, 386,
&c. tom. vi. p. 240.]
[Footnote 134: Zosim. l. v. p. 350.]

[Footnote 135: Zosim. l. vi. p. 383. Orosius, (l. vii. c. 40, p.
576,) and the Chronicles of Marcellinus and Idatius, seem to
suppose, that the Goths did not carry away Placidia till after
the last siege of Rome.]
[Footnote 136: See the pictures of Adolphus and Placidia, and the
account of their marriage, in Jornandes, de Reb. Geticis, c. 31,
p. 654, 655. With regard to the place where the nuptials were
stipulated, or consummated, or celebrated, the Mss. of Jornandes
vary between two neighboring cities, Forli and Imola, (Forum
Livii and Forum Cornelii.) It is fair and easy to reconcile the
Gothic historian with Olympiodorus, (see Mascou, l. viii. c. 46:)
but Tillemont grows peevish, and swears that it is not worth
while to try to conciliate Jornandes with any good authors.]
[Footnote 137: The Visigoths (the subjects of Adolphus)
restrained by subsequent laws, the prodigality of conjugal love.
It was illegal for a husband to make any gift or settlement for
the benefit of his wife during the first year of their marriage;
and his liberality could not at any time exceed the tenth part of
his property. The Lombards were somewhat more indulgent: they
allowed the morgingcap immediately after the wedding night; and
this famous gift, the reward of virginity might equal the fourth
part of the husband's substance. Some cautious maidens, indeed,
were wise enough to stipulate beforehand a present, which they
were too sure of not deserving. See Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix,
l. xix. c. 25. Muratori, delle Antichita Italiane, tom. i.
Dissertazion, xx. p. 243.]

[Footnote 138: We owe the curious detail of this nuptial feast to
the historian Olympiodorus, ap. Photium, p. 185, 188.]

The hundred basins of gold and gems, presented to Placidia
at her nuptial feast, formed an inconsiderable portion of the
Gothic treasures; of which some extraordinary specimens may be
selected from the history of the successors of Adolphus. Many
curious and costly ornaments of pure gold, enriched with jewels,
were found in their palace of Narbonne, when it was pillaged, in
the sixth century, by the Franks: sixty cups, caps, or chalices;
fifteen patens, or plates, for the use of the communion; twenty
boxes, or cases, to hold the books of the Gospels: this
consecrated wealth ^139 was distributed by the son of Clovis
among the churches of his dominions, and his pious liberality
seems to upbraid some former sacrilege of the Goths. They
possessed, with more security of conscience, the famous
missorium, or great dish for the service of the table, of massy
gold, of the weight of five hundred pounds, and of far superior
value, from the precious stones, the exquisite workmanship, and
the tradition, that it had been presented by Aetius, the
patrician, to Torismond, king of the Goths. One of the successors
of Torismond purchased the aid of the French monarch by the
promise of this magnificent gift. When he was seated on the
throne of Spain, he delivered it with reluctance to the
ambassadors of Dagobert; despoiled them on the road; stipulated,
after a long negotiation, the inadequate ransom of two hundred
thousand pieces of gold; and preserved the missorium, as the
pride of the Gothic treasury. ^140 When that treasury, after the
conquest of Spain, was plundered by the Arabs, they admired, and
they have celebrated, another object still more remarkable; a
table of considerable size, of one single piece of solid emerald,
^141 encircled with three rows of fine pearls, supported by three
hundred and sixty-five feet of gems and massy gold, and estimated
at the price of five hundred thousand pieces of gold. ^142 Some
portion of the Gothic treasures might be the gift of friendship,
or the tribute of obedience; but the far greater part had been
the fruits of war and rapine, the spoils of the empire, and
perhaps of Rome.
[Footnote 139: See in the great collection of the Historians of
France by Dom Bouquet, tom. ii. Greg. Turonens. l. iii. c. 10,
p. 191. Gesta Regum Francorum, c. 23, p. 557. The anonymous
writer, with an ignorance worthy of his times, supposes that
these instruments of Christian worship had belonged to the temple
of Solomon. If he has any meaning it must be, that they were
found in the sack of Rome.]

[Footnote 140: Consult the following original testimonies in the
Historians of France, tom. ii. Fredegarii Scholastici Chron. c.
73, p. 441. Fredegar. Fragment. iii. p. 463. Gesta Regis
Dagobert, c. 29, p. 587. The accession of Sisenand to the throne
of Spain happened A.D. 631. The 200,000 pieces of gold were
appropriated by Dagobert to the foundation of the church of St.
[Footnote 141: The president Goguet (Origine des Loix, &c., tom.
ii. p. 239) is of opinion, that the stupendous pieces of emerald,
the statues and columns which antiquity has placed in Egypt, at
Gades, at Constantinople, were in reality artificial compositions
of colored glass. The famous emerald dish, which is shown at
Genoa, is supposed to countenance the suspicion.]
[Footnote 142: Elmacin. Hist. Saracenica, l. i. p. 85. Roderic.
Tolet. Hist. Arab. c. 9. Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de
l'Espagne sous les Arabes tom. i. p. 83. It was called the Table
of Solomon, according to the custom of the Orientals, who ascribe
to that prince every ancient work of knowledge or magnificence.]
After the deliverance of Italy from the oppression of the
Goths, some secret counsellor was permitted, amidst the factions
of the palace, to heal the wounds of that afflicted country. ^143
By a wise and humane regulation, the eight provinces which had
been the most deeply injured, Campania, Tuscany, Picenum,
Samnium, Apulia, Calabria, Bruttium, and Lucania, obtained an
indulgence of five years: the ordinary tribute was reduced to one
fifth, and even that fifth was destined to restore and support
the useful institution of the public posts. By another law, the
lands which had been left without inhabitants or cultivation,
were granted, with some diminution of taxes, to the neighbors who
should occupy, or the strangers who should solicit them; and the
new possessors were secured against the future claims of the
fugitive proprietors. About the same time a general amnesty was
published in the name of Honorius, to abolish the guilt and
memory of all the involuntary offences which had been committed
by his unhappy subjects, during the term of the public disorder
and calamity A decent and respectful attention was paid to the
restoration of the capital; the citizens were encouraged to
rebuild the edifices which had been destroyed or damaged by
hostile fire; and extraordinary supplies of corn were imported
from the coast of Africa. The crowds that so lately fled before
the sword of the Barbarians, were soon recalled by the hopes of
plenty and pleasure; and Albinus, praefect of Rome, informed the
court, with some anxiety and surprise, that, in a single day, he
had taken an account of the arrival of fourteen thousand
strangers. ^144 In less than seven years, the vestiges of the
Gothic invasion were almost obliterated; and the city appeared to
resume its former splendor and tranquillity. The venerable
matron replaced her crown of laurel, which had been ruffled by
the storms of war; and was still amused, in the last moment of
her decay, with the prophecies of revenge, of victory, and of
eternal dominion. ^145

[Footnote 143: His three laws are inserted in the Theodosian
Code, l. xi. tit. xxviii. leg. 7. L. xiii. tit. xi. leg. 12. L.
xv. tit. xiv. leg. 14 The expressions of the last are very
remarkable; since they contain not only a pardon, but an

[Footnote 144: Olympiodorus ap. Phot. p. 188. Philostorgius (l.
xii. c. 5) observes, that when Honorius made his triumphal entry,
he encouraged the Romans, with his hand and voice, to rebuild
their city; and the Chronicle of Prosper commends Heraclian, qui
in Romanae urbis reparationem strenuum exhibuerat ministerium.]
[Footnote 145: The date of the voyage of Claudius Rutilius
Numatianus is clogged with some difficulties; but Scaliger has
deduced from astronomical characters, that he left Rome the 24th
of September and embarked at Porto the 9th of October, A.D. 416.
See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom, v. p. 820. In this
poetical Itinerary, Rutilius (l. i. 115, &c.) addresses Rome in a
high strain of congratulation: -

Erige crinales lauros, seniumque sacrati
Verticis in virides, Roma, recinge comas, &c.]

This apparent tranquillity was soon disturbed by the
approach of a hostile armament from the country which afforded
the daily subsistence of the Roman people. Heraclian, count of
Africa, who, under the most difficult and distressful
circumstances, had supported, with active loyalty, the cause of
Honorius, was tempted, in the year of his consulship, to assume
the character of a rebel, and the title of emperor. The ports of
Africa were immediately filled with the naval forces, at the head
of which he prepared to invade Italy: and his fleet, when it cast
anchor at the mouth of the Tyber, indeed surpassed the fleets of
Xerxes and Alexander, if all the vessels, including the royal
galley, and the smallest boat, did actually amount to the
incredible number of three thousand two hundred. ^146 Yet with
such an armament, which might have subverted, or restored, the
greatest empires of the earth, the African usurper made a very
faint and feeble impression on the provinces of his rival. As he
marched from the port, along the road which leads to the gates of
Rome, he was encountered, terrified, and routed, by one of the
Imperial captains; and the lord of this mighty host, deserting
his fortune and his friends, ignominiously fled with a single
ship. ^147 When Heraclian landed in the harbor of Carthage, he
found that the whole province, disdaining such an unworthy ruler,
had returned to their allegiance. The rebel was beheaded in the
ancient temple of Memory his consulship was abolished: ^148 and
the remains of his private fortune, not exceeding the moderate
sum of four thousand pounds of gold, were granted to the brave
Constantius, who had already defended the throne, which he
afterwards shared with his feeble sovereign. Honorius viewed,
with supine indifference, the calamities of Rome and Italy; ^149
but the rebellious attempts of Attalus and Heraclian, against his
personal safety, awakened, for a moment, the torpid instinct of
his nature. He was probably ignorant of the causes and events
which preserved him from these impending dangers; and as Italy
was no longer invaded by any foreign or domestic enemies, he
peaceably existed in the palace of Ravenna, while the tyrants
beyond the Alps were repeatedly vanquished in the name, and by
the lieutenants, of the son of Theodosius. ^150 In the course of
a busy and interesting narrative I might possibly forget to
mention the death of such a prince: and I shall therefore take
the precaution of observing, in this place, that he survived the
last siege of Rome about thirteen years.
[Footnote 146: Orosius composed his history in Africa, only two
years after the event; yet his authority seems to be overbalanced
by the improbability of the fact. The Chronicle of Marcellinus
gives Heraclian 700 ships and 3000 men: the latter of these
numbers is ridiculously corrupt; but the former would please me
very much.]

[Footnote 147: The Chronicle of Idatius affirms, without the
least appearance of truth, that he advanced as far as Otriculum,
in Umbria, where he was overthrown in a great battle, with the
loss of 50,000 men.]
[Footnote 148: See Cod. Theod. l. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 13. The
legal acts performed in his name, even the manumission of slaves,
were declared invalid, till they had been formally repeated.]
[Footnote 149: I have disdained to mention a very foolish, and
probably a false, report, (Procop. de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 2,)
that Honorius was alarmed by the loss of Rome, till he understood
that it was not a favorite chicken of that name, but only the
capital of the world, which had been lost. Yet even this story is
some evidence of the public opinion.]
[Footnote 150: The materials for the lives of all these tyrants
are taken from six contemporary historians, two Latins and four
Greeks: Orosius, l. vii. c. 42, p. 581, 582, 583; Renatus
Profuturus Frigeridus, apud Gregor Turon. l. ii. c. 9, in the
Historians of France, tom. ii. p. 165, 166; Zosimus, l. v. p.
370, 371; Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p. 180, 181, 184, 185;
Sozomen, l. ix. c. 12, 13, 14, 15; and Philostorgius, l. xii. c.
5, 6, with Godefroy's Dissertation, p. 477-481; besides the four
Chronicles of Prosper Tyro, Prosper of Aquitain, Idatius, and

The usurpation of Constantine, who received the purple from
the legions of Britain, had been successful, and seemed to be
secure. His title was acknowledged, from the wall of Antoninus
to the columns of Hercules; and, in the midst of the public
disorder he shared the dominion, and the plunder, of Gaul and
Spain, with the tribes of Barbarians, whose destructive progress
was no longer checked by the Rhine or Pyrenees. Stained with the
blood of the kinsmen of Honorius, he extorted, from the court of
Ravenna, with which he secretly corresponded, the ratification of
his rebellious claims Constantine engaged himself, by a solemn
promise, to deliver Italy from the Goths; advanced as far as the
banks of the Po; and after alarming, rather than assisting, his
pusillanimous ally, hastily returned to the palace of Arles, to
celebrate, with intemperate luxury, his vain and ostentatious
triumph. But this transient prosperity was soon interrupted and
destroyed by the revolt of Count Gerontius, the bravest of his
generals; who, during the absence of his son Constants, a prince
already invested with the Imperial purple, had been left to
command in the provinces of Spain. From some reason, of which we
are ignorant, Gerontius, instead of assuming the diadem, placed
it on the head of his friend Maximus, who fixed his residence at
Tarragona, while the active count pressed forwards, through the
Pyrenees, to surprise the two emperors, Constantine and Constans,
before they could prepare for their defence. The son was made
prisoner at Vienna, and immediately put to death: and the
unfortunate youth had scarcely leisure to deplore the elevation
of his family; which had tempted, or compelled him,
sacrilegiously to desert the peaceful obscurity of the monastic
life. The father maintained a siege within the walls of Arles;
but those walls must have yielded to the assailants, had not the
city been unexpectedly relieved by the approach of an Italian
army. The name of Honorius, the proclamation of a lawful
emperor, astonished the contending parties of the rebels.
Gerontius, abandoned by his own troops, escaped to the confines
of Spain; and rescued his name from oblivion, by the Roman
courage which appeared to animate the last moments of his life.
In the middle of the night, a great body of his perfidious
soldiers surrounded and attacked his house, which he had strongly
barricaded. His wife, a valiant friend of the nation of the
Alani, and some faithful slaves, were still attached to his
person; and he used, with so much skill and resolution, a large
magazine of darts and arrows, that above three hundred of the
assailants lost their lives in the attempt. His slaves when all
the missile weapons were spent, fled at the dawn of day; and
Gerontius, if he had not been restrained by conjugal tenderness,
might have imitated their example; till the soldiers, provoked by
such obstinate resistance, applied fire on all sides to the
house. In this fatal extremity, he complied with the request of
his Barbarian friend, and cut off his head. The wife of
Gerontius, who conjured him not to abandon her to a life of
misery and disgrace, eagerly presented her neck to his sword; and
the tragic scene was terminated by the death of the count
himself, who, after three ineffectual strokes, drew a short
dagger, and sheathed it in his heart. ^151 The unprotected
Maximus, whom he had invested with the purple, was indebted for
his life to the contempt that was entertained of his power and
abilities. The caprice of the Barbarians, who ravaged Spain,
once more seated this Imperial phantom on the throne: but they
soon resigned him to the justice of Honorius; and the tyrant
Maximus, after he had been shown to the people of Ravenna and
Rome, was publicly executed.

[Footnote 151: The praises which Sozomen has bestowed on this act
of despair, appear strange and scandalous in the mouth of an
ecclesiastical historian. He observes (p. 379) that the wife of
Gerontius was a Christian; and that her death was worthy of her
religion, and of immortal fame.]

The general, (Constantius was his name,) who raised by his
approach the siege of Arles, and dissipated the troops of
Gerontius, was born a Roman; and this remarkable distinction is
strongly expressive of the decay of military spirit among the
subjects of the empire. The strength and majesty which were
conspicuous in the person of that general, ^152 marked him, in
the popular opinion, as a candidate worthy of the throne, which
he afterwards ascended. In the familiar intercourse of private
life, his manners were cheerful and engaging; nor would he
sometimes disdain, in the license of convivial mirth, to vie with
the pantomimes themselves, in the exercises of their ridiculous
profession. But when the trumpet summoned him to arms; when he
mounted his horse, and, bending down (for such was his singular
practice) almost upon the neck, fiercely rolled his large
animated eyes round the field, Constantius then struck terror
into his foes, and inspired his soldiers with the assurance of
victory. He had received from the court of Ravenna the important
commission of extirpating rebellion in the provinces of the West;
and the pretended emperor Constantine, after enjoying a short and
anxious respite, was again besieged in his capital by the arms of
a more formidable enemy. Yet this interval allowed time for a
successful negotiation with the Franks and Alemanni and his
ambassador, Edobic, soon returned at the head of an army, to
disturb the operations of the siege of Arles. The Roman general,
instead of expecting the attack in his lines, boldly and perhaps
wisely, resolved to pass the Rhone, and to meet the Barbarians.
His measures were conducted with so much skill and secrecy, that,
while they engaged the infantry of Constantius in the front, they
were suddenly attacked, surrounded, and destroyed, by the cavalry
of his lieutenant Ulphilas, who had silently gained an
advantageous post in their rear. The remains of the army of
Edobic were preserved by flight or submission, and their leader
escaped from the field of battle to the house of a faithless
friend; who too clearly understood, that the head of his
obnoxious guest would be an acceptable and lucrative present for
the Imperial general. On this occasion, Constantius behaved with
the magnanimity of a genuine Roman. Subduing, or suppressing,
every sentiment of jealousy, he publicly acknowledged the merit
and services of Ulphilas; but he turned with horror from the
assassin of Edobic; and sternly intimated his commands, that the
camp should no longer be polluted by the presence of an
ungrateful wretch, who had violated the laws of friendship and
hospitality. The usurper, who beheld, from the walls of Arles,
the ruin of his last hopes, was tempted to place some confidence
in so generous a conqueror. He required a solemn promise for his
security; and after receiving, by the imposition of hands, the
sacred character of a Christian Presbyter, he ventured to open
the gates of the city. But he soon experienced that the
principles of honor and integrity, which might regulate the
ordinary conduct of Constantius, were superseded by the loose
doctrines of political morality. The Roman general, indeed,
refused to sully his laurels with the blood of Constantine; but
the abdicated emperor, and his son Julian, were sent under a
strong guard into Italy; and before they reached the palace of
Ravenna, they met the ministers of death.
[Footnote 152: It is the expression of Olympiodorus, which he
seems to have borrowed from Aeolus, a tragedy of Euripides, of
which some fragments only are now extant, (Euripid. Barnes, tom.
ii. p. 443, ver 38.) This allusion may prove, that the ancient
tragic poets were still familiar to the Greeks of the fifth

At a time when it was universally confessed, that almost
every man in the empire was superior in personal merit to the
princes whom the accident of their birth had seated on the
throne, a rapid succession of usurpers, regardless of the fate of
their predecessors, still continued to arise. This mischief was
peculiarly felt in the provinces of Spain and Gaul, where the
principles of order and obedience had been extinguished by war
and rebellion. Before Constantine resigned the purple, and in the
fourth month of the siege of Arles, intelligence was received in
the Imperial camp, that Jovinus has assumed the diadem at Mentz,
in the Upper Germany, at the instigation of Goar, king of the
Alani, and of Guntiarius, king of the Burgundians; and that the
candidate, on whom they had bestowed the empire, advanced with a
formidable host of Barbarians, from the banks of the Rhine to
those of the Rhone. Every circumstance is dark and extraordinary
in the short history of the reign of Jovinus. It was natural to
expect, that a brave and skilful general, at the head of a
victorious army, would have asserted, in a field of battle, the
justice of the cause of Honorius. The hasty retreat of
Constantius might be justified by weighty reasons; but he
resigned, without a struggle, the possession of Gaul; and
Dardanus, the Praetorian praefect, is recorded as the only
magistrate who refused to yield obedience to the usurper. ^153
When the Goths, two years after the siege of Rome, established
their quarters in Gaul, it was natural to suppose that their
inclinations could be divided only between the emperor Honorius,
with whom they had formed a recent alliance, and the degraded
Attalus, whom they reserved in their camp for the occasional
purpose of acting the part of a musician or a monarch. Yet in a
moment of disgust, (for which it is not easy to assign a cause,
or a date,) Adolphus connected himself with the usurper of Gaul;
and imposed on Attalus the ignominious task of negotiating the
treaty, which ratified his own disgrace. We are again surprised
to read, that, instead of considering the Gothic alliance as the
firmest support of his throne, Jovinus upbraided, in dark and
ambiguous language, the officious importunity of Attalus; that,
scorning the advice of his great ally, he invested with the
purple his brother Sebastian; and that he most imprudently
accepted the service of Sarus, when that gallant chief, the
soldier of Honorius, was provoked to desert the court of a
prince, who knew not how to reward or punish. Adolphus, educated
among a race of warriors, who esteemed the duty of revenge as the
most precious and sacred portion of their inheritance, advanced
with a body of ten thousand Goths to encounter the hereditary
enemy of the house of Balti. He attacked Sarus at an unguarded
moment, when he was accompanied only by eighteen or twenty of his
valiant followers. United by friendship, animated by despair,
but at length oppressed by multitudes, this band of heroes
deserved the esteem, without exciting the compassion, of their
enemies; and the lion was no sooner taken in the toils, ^154 than
he was instantly despatched. The death of Sarus dissolved the
loose alliance which Adolphus still maintained with the usurpers
of Gaul. He again listened to the dictates of love and prudence;
and soon satisfied the brother of Placidia, by the assurance that
he would immediately transmit to the palace of Ravenna the heads
of the two tyrants, Jovinus and Sebastian. The king of the Goths
executed his promise without difficulty or delay; the helpless
brothers, unsupported by any personal merit, were abandoned by
their Barbarian auxiliaries; and the short opposition of Valentia
was expiated by the ruin of one of the noblest cities of Gaul.
The emperor, chosen by the Roman senate, who had been promoted,
degraded, insulted, restored, again degraded, and again insulted,
was finally abandoned to his fate; but when the Gothic king
withdrew his protection, he was restrained, by pity or contempt,
from offering any violence to the person of Attalus. The
unfortunate Attalus, who was left without subjects or allies,
embarked in one of the ports of Spain, in search of some secure
and solitary retreat: but he was intercepted at sea, conducted to
the presence of Honorius, led in triumph through the streets of
Rome or Ravenna, and publicly exposed to the gazing multitude, on
the second step of the throne of his invincible conqueror. The
same measure of punishment, with which, in the days of his
prosperity, he was accused of menacing his rival, was inflicted
on Attalus himself; he was condemned, after the amputation of two
fingers, to a perpetual exile in the Isle of Lipari, where he was
supplied with the decent necessaries of life. The remainder of
the reign of Honorius was undisturbed by rebellion; and it may be
observed, that, in the space of five years, seven usurpers had
yielded to the fortune of a prince, who was himself incapable
either of counsel or of action.

[Footnote 153: Sidonius Apollinaris, (l. v. epist. 9, p. 139, and
Not. Sirmond. p. 58,) after stigmatizing the inconstancy of
Constantine, the facility of Jovinus, the perfidy of Gerontius,
continues to observe, that all the vices of these tyrants were
united in the person of Dardanus. Yet the praefect supported a
respectable character in the world, and even in the church; held
a devout correspondence with St. Augustin and St. Jerom; and was
complimented by the latter (tom. iii. p. 66) with the epithets of
Christianorum Nobilissime, and Nobilium Christianissime.]

[Footnote 154: The expression may be understood almost literally:
Olympiodorus says a sack, or a loose garment; and this method of
entangling and catching an enemy, laciniis contortis, was much
practised by the Huns, (Ammian. xxxi. 2.) Il fut pris vif avec
des filets, is the translation of Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs,
tom. v. p. 608.

Note: Bekker in his Photius reads something, but in the new
edition of the Bysantines, he retains the old version, which is
translated Scutis, as if they protected him with their shields,
in order to take him alive. Photius, Bekker, p. 58. - M]

Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By

Part VI.

The situation of Spain, separated, on all sides, from the
enemies of Rome, by the sea, by the mountains, and by
intermediate provinces, had secured the long tranquillity of that
remote and sequestered country; and we may observe, as a sure
symptom of domestic happiness, that, in a period of four hundred
years, Spain furnished very few materials to the history of the
Roman empire. The footsteps of the Barbarians, who, in the reign
of Gallienus, had penetrated beyond the Pyrenees, were soon
obliterated by the return of peace; and in the fourth century of
the Christian aera, the cities of Emerita, or Merida, of Corduba,
Seville, Bracara, and Tarragona, were numbered with the most
illustrious of the Roman world. The various plenty of the
animal, the vegetable, and the mineral kingdoms, was improved and
manufactured by the skill of an industrious people; and the
peculiar advantages of naval stores contributed to support an
extensive and profitable trade. ^155 The arts and sciences
flourished under the protection of the emperors; and if the
character of the Spaniards was enfeebled by peace and servitude,
the hostile approach of the Germans, who had spread terror and
desolation from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, seemed to rekindle
some sparks of military ardor. As long as the defence of the
mountains was intrusted to the hardy and faithful militia of the
country, they successfully repelled the frequent attempts of the
Barbarians. But no sooner had the national troops been compelled
to resign their post to the Honorian bands, in the service of
Constantine, than the gates of Spain were treacherously betrayed
to the public enemy, about ten months before the sack of Rome by
the Goths. ^156 The consciousness of guilt, and the thirst of
rapine, prompted the mercenary guards of the Pyrenees to desert
their station; to invite the arms of the Suevi, the Vandals, and
the Alani; and to swell the torrent which was poured with
irresistible violence from the frontiers of Gaul to the sea of
Africa. The misfortunes of Spain may be described in the
language of its most eloquent historian, who has concisely
expressed the passionate, and perhaps exaggerated, declamations
of contemporary writers. ^157 "The irruption of these nations was
followed by the most dreadful calamities; as the Barbarians
exercised their indiscriminate cruelty on the fortunes of the
Romans and the Spaniards, and ravaged with equal fury the cities
and the open country. The progress of famine reduced the
miserable inhabitants to feed on the flesh of their
fellow-creatures; and even the wild beasts, who multiplied,
without control, in the desert, were exasperated, by the taste of
blood, and the impatience of hunger, boldly to attack and devour
their human prey. Pestilence soon appeared, the inseparable
companion of famine; a large proportion of the people was swept
away; and the groans of the dying excited only the envy of their
surviving friends. At length the Barbarians, satiated with
carnage and rapine, and afflicted by the contagious evils which
they themselves had introduced, fixed their permanent seats in
the depopulated country. The ancient Gallicia, whose limits
included the kingdom of Old Castille, was divided between the
Suevi and the Vandals; the Alani were scattered over the
provinces of Carthagena and Lusitania, from the Mediterranean to
the Atlantic Ocean; and the fruitful territory of Boetica was
allotted to the Silingi, another branch of the Vandalic nation.
After regulating this partition, the conquerors contracted with
their new subjects some reciprocal engagements of protection and
obedience: the lands were again cultivated; and the towns and
villages were again occupied by a captive people. The greatest
part of the Spaniards was even disposed to prefer this new
condition of poverty and barbarism, to the severe oppressions of
the Roman government; yet there were many who still asserted
their native freedom; and who refused, more especially in the
mountains of Gallicia, to submit to the Barbarian yoke." ^158
[Footnote 155: Without recurring to the more ancient writers, I
shall quote three respectable testimonies which belong to the
fourth and seventh centuries; the Expositio totius Mundi, (p. 16,
in the third volume of Hudson's Minor Geographers,) Ausonius, (de
Claris Urbibus, p. 242, edit. Toll.,) and Isidore of Seville,
(Praefat. ad. Chron. ap. Grotium, Hist. Goth. 707.) Many
particulars relative to the fertility and trade of Spain may be
found in Nonnius, Hispania Illustrata; and in Huet, Hist. du
Commerce des Anciens, c. 40. p. 228 - 234.]

[Footnote 156: The date is accurately fixed in the Fasti, and the
Chronicle of Idatius. Orosius (l. vii. c. 40, p. 578) imputes
the loss of Spain to the treachery of the Honorians; while
Sozomen (l. ix. c. 12) accuses only their negligence.]

[Footnote 157: Idatius wishes to apply the prophecies of Daniel
to these national calamities; and is therefore obliged to
accommodate the circumstances of the event to the terms of the
[Footnote 158: Mariana de Rebus Hispanicis, l. v. c. 1, tom. i.
p. 148. Comit. 1733. He had read, in Orosius, (l. vii. c. 41, p.
579,) that the Barbarians had turned their swords into
ploughshares; and that many of the Provincials had preferred
inter Barbaros pauperem libertatem, quam inter Romanos
tributariam solicitudinem, sustinere.]

The important present of the heads of Jovinus and Sebastian
had approved the friendship of Adolphus, and restored Gaul to the
obedience of his brother Honorius. Peace was incompatible with
the situation and temper of the king of the Goths. He readily
accepted the proposal of turning his victorious arms against the
Barbarians of Spain; the troops of Constantius intercepted his
communication with the seaports of Gaul, and gently pressed his
march towards the Pyrenees: ^159 he passed the mountains, and
surprised, in the name of the emperor, the city of Barcelona.
The fondness of Adolphus for his Roman bride, was not abated by
time or possession: and the birth of a son, surnamed, from his
illustrious grandsire, Theodosius, appeared to fix him forever in
the interest of the republic. The loss of that infant, whose
remains were deposited in a silver coffin in one of the churches
near Barcelona, afflicted his parents; but the grief of the
Gothic king was suspended by the labors of the field; and the
course of his victories was soon interrupted by domestic treason.

He had imprudently received into his service one of the followers
of Sarus; a Barbarian of a daring spirit, but of a diminutive
stature; whose secret desire of revenging the death of his
beloved patron was continually irritated by the sarcasms of his
insolent master. Adolphus was assassinated in the palace of
Barcelona; the laws of the succession were violated by a
tumultuous faction; ^160 and a stranger to the royal race,
Singeric, the brother of Sarus himself, was seated on the Gothic
throne. The first act of his reign was the inhuman murder of the
six children of Adolphus, the issue of a former marriage, whom he
tore, without pity, from the feeble arms of a venerable bishop.
^161 The unfortunate Placidia, instead of the respectful
compassion, which she might have excited in the most savage
breasts, was treated with cruel and wanton insult. The daughter
of the emperor Theodosius, confounded among a crowd of vulgar
captives, was compelled to march on foot above twelve miles,
before the horse of a Barbarian, the assassin of a husband whom
Placidia loved and lamented. ^162 [Footnote 159: This mixture of
force and persuasion may be fairly inferred from comparing
Orosius and Jornandes, the Roman and the Gothic historian.]
[Footnote 160: According to the system of Jornandes, (c. 33, p.
659,) the true hereditary right to the Gothic sceptre was vested
in the Amali; but those princes, who were the vassals of the
Huns, commanded the tribes of the Ostrogoths in some distant
parts of Germany or Scythia.]
[Footnote 161: The murder is related by Olympiodorus: but the
number of the children is taken from an epitaph of suspected
[Footnote 162: The death of Adolphus was celebrated at
Constantinople with illuminations and Circensian games. (See
Chron. Alexandrin.) It may seem doubtful whether the Greeks were
actuated, on this occasion, be their hatred of the Barbarians, or
of the Latins.]

But Placidia soon obtained the pleasure of revenge, and the
view of her ignominious sufferings might rouse an indignant
people against the tyrant, who was assassinated on the seventh
day of his usurpation. After the death of Singeric, the free
choice of the nation bestowed the Gothic sceptre on Wallia; whose
warlike and ambitious temper appeared, in the beginning of his
reign, extremely hostile to the republic. He marched in arms
from Barcelona to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which the
ancients revered and dreaded as the boundary of the world. But
when he reached the southern promontory of Spain, ^163 and, from
the rock now covered by the fortress of Gibraltar, contemplated
the neighboring and fertile coast of Africa, Wallia resumed the
designs of conquest, which had been interrupted by the death of
Alaric. The winds and waves again disappointed the enterprise of
the Goths; and the minds of a superstitious people were deeply
affected by the repeated disasters of storms and shipwrecks. In
this disposition the successor of Adolphus no longer refused to
listen to a Roman ambassador, whose proposals were enforced by
the real, or supposed, approach of a numerous army, under the
conduct of the brave Constantius. A solemn treaty was stipulated
and observed; Placidia was honorably restored to her brother; six
hundred thousand measures of wheat were delivered to the hungry
Goths; ^164 and Wallia engaged to draw his sword in the service
of the empire. A bloody war was instantly excited among the
Barbarians of Spain; and the contending princes are said to have
addressed their letters, their ambassadors, and their hostages,
to the throne of the Western emperor, exhorting him to remain a
tranquil spectator of their contest; the events of which must be
favorable to the Romans, by the mutual slaughter of their common
enemies. ^165 The Spanish war was obstinately supported, during
three campaigns, with desperate valor, and various success; and
the martial achievements of Wallia diffused through the empire
the superior renown of the Gothic hero. He exterminated the
Silingi, who had irretrievably ruined the elegant plenty of the
province of Boetica. He slew, in battle, the king of the Alani;
and the remains of those Scythian wanderers, who escaped from the
field, instead of choosing a new leader, humbly sought a refuge
under the standard of the Vandals, with whom they were ever
afterwards confounded. The Vandals themselves, and the Suevi,
yielded to the efforts of the invincible Goths. The promiscuous
multitude of Barbarians, whose retreat had been intercepted, were
driven into the mountains of Gallicia; where they still
continued, in a narrow compass and on a barren soil, to exercise
their domestic and implacable hostilities. In the pride of
victory, Wallia was faithful to his engagements: he restored his
Spanish conquests to the obedience of Honorius; and the tyranny
of the Imperial officers soon reduced an oppressed people to
regret the time of their Barbarian servitude. While the event of
the war was still doubtful, the first advantages obtained by the
arms of Wallia had encouraged the court of Ravenna to decree the
honors of a triumph to their feeble sovereign. He entered Rome
like the ancient conquerors of nations; and if the monuments of
servile corruption had not long since met with the fate which
they deserved, we should probably find that a crowd of poets and
orators, of magistrates and bishops, applauded the fortune, the
wisdom, and the invincible courage, of the emperor Honorius. ^166

[Footnote 163: Quod Tartessiacis avus hujus Vallia terris
Vandalicas turmas, et juncti Martis Alanos
Stravit, et occiduam texere cadavera Calpen.

Sidon. Apollinar. in Panegyr. Anthem. 363 p. 300, edit.
[Footnote 164: This supply was very acceptable: the Goths were
insulted by the Vandals of Spain with the epithet of Truli,
because in their extreme distress, they had given a piece of gold
for a trula, or about half a pound of flour. Olympiod. apud
Phot. p. 189.]

[Footnote 165: Orosius inserts a copy of these pretended letters.

Tu cum omnibus pacem habe, omniumque obsides accipe; nos nobis
confligimus nobis perimus, tibi vincimus; immortalis vero
quaestus erit Reipublicae tuae, si utrique pereamus. The idea is
just; but I cannot persuade myself that it was entertained or
expressed by the Barbarians.]

[Footnote 166: Roman triumphans ingreditur, is the formal
expression of Prosper's Chronicle. The facts which relate to the
death of Adolphus, and the exploits of Wallia, are related from
Olympiodorus, (ap. Phot. p. 188,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 43 p. 584
- 587,) Jornandes, (de Rebus p. 31, 32,) and the chronicles of
Idatius and Isidore.]

Such a triumph might have been justly claimed by the ally of
Rome, if Wallia, before he repassed the Pyrenees, had extirpated
the seeds of the Spanish war. His victorious Goths, forty-three
years after they had passed the Danube, were established,
according to the faith of treaties, in the possession of the
second Aquitain; a maritime province between the Garonne and the
Loire, under the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of
Bourdeaux. That metropolis, advantageously situated for the
trade of the ocean, was built in a regular and elegant form; and
its numerous inhabitants were distinguished among the Gauls by
their wealth, their learning, and the politeness of their
manners. The adjacent province, which has been fondly compared
to the garden of Eden, is blessed with a fruitful soil, and a
temperate climate; the face of the country displayed the arts and
the rewards of industry; and the Goths, after their martial
toils, luxuriously exhausted the rich vineyards of Aquitain. ^167
The Gothic limits were enlarged by the additional gift of some
neighboring dioceses; and the successors of Alaric fixed their
royal residence at Thoulouse, which included five populous
quarters, or cities, within the spacious circuit of its walls.
About the same time, in the last years of the reign of Honorius,
the Goths, the Burgundians, and the Franks, obtained a permanent
seat and dominion in the provinces of Gaul. The liberal grant of
the usurper Jovinus to his Burgundian allies, was confirmed by
the lawful emperor; the lands of the First, or Upper, Germany,
were ceded to those formidable Barbarians; and they gradually
occupied, either by conquest or treaty, the two provinces which
still retain, with the titles of Duchy and County, the national
appellation of Burgundy. ^168 The Franks, the valiant and
faithful allies of the Roman republic, were soon tempted to
imitate the invaders, whom they had so bravely resisted. Treves,
the capital of Gaul, was pillaged by their lawless bands; and the
humble colony, which they so long maintained in the district of
Toxandia, in Brabant, insensibly multiplied along the banks of
the Meuse and Scheld, till their independent power filled the
whole extent of the Second, or Lower Germany. These facts may be
sufficiently justified by historic evidence; but the foundation
of the French monarchy by Pharamond, the conquests, the laws, and
even the existence, of that hero, have been justly arraigned by
the impartial severity of modern criticism. ^169
[Footnote 167: Ausonius (de Claris Urbibus, p. 257 - 262)
celebrates Bourdeaux with the partial affection of a native. See
in Salvian (de Gubern. Dei, p. 228. Paris, 1608) a florid
description of the provinces of Aquitain and Novempopulania.]
[Footnote 168: Orosius (l. vii. c. 32, p. 550) commends the
mildness and modesty of these Burgundians, who treated their
subjects of Gaul as their Christian brethren. Mascou has
illustrated the origin of their kingdom in the four first
annotations at the end of his laborious History of the Ancient
Germans, vol. ii. p. 555 - 572, of the English translation.]
[Footnote 169: See Mascou, l. viii. c. 43, 44, 45. Except in a
short and suspicious line of the Chronicle of Prosper, (in tom.
i. p. 638,) the name of Pharamond is never mentioned before the
seventh century. The author of the Gesta Francorum (in tom. ii.
p. 543) suggests, probably enough, that the choice of Pharamond,
or at least of a king, was recommended to the Franks by his
father Marcomir, who was an exile in Tuscany.
Note: The first mention of Pharamond is in the Gesta
Francorum, assigned to about the year 720. St. Martin, iv. 469.
The modern French writers in general subscribe to the opinion of
Thierry: Faramond fils de Markomir, quo que son nom soit bien
germanique, et son regne possible, ne figure pas dans les
histoires les plus dignes de foi. A. Thierry, Lettres l'Histoire
de France, p. 90. - M.]

The ruin of the opulent provinces of Gaul may be dated from
the establishment of these Barbarians, whose alliance was
dangerous and oppressive, and who were capriciously impelled, by
interest or passion, to violate the public peace. A heavy and
partial ransom was imposed on the surviving provincials, who had
escaped the calamities of war; the fairest and most fertile lands
were assigned to the rapacious strangers, for the use of their
families, their slaves, and their cattle; and the trembling
natives relinquished with a sigh the inheritance of their
fathers. Yet these domestic misfortunes, which are seldom the
lot of a vanquished people, had been felt and inflicted by the
Romans themselves, not only in the insolence of foreign conquest,
but in the madness of civil discord. The Triumvirs proscribed
eighteen of the most flourishing colonies of Italy; and
distributed their lands and houses to the veterans who revenged
the death of Caesar, and oppressed the liberty of their country.
Two poets of unequal fame have deplored, in similar
circumstances, the loss of their patrimony; but the legionaries
of Augustus appear to have surpassed, in violence and injustice,
the Barbarians who invaded Gaul under the reign of Honorius. It
was not without the utmost difficulty that Virgil escaped from
the sword of the Centurion, who had usurped his farm in the
neighborhood of Mantua; ^170 but Paulinus of Bourdeaux received a
sum of money from his Gothic purchaser, which he accepted with
pleasure and surprise; and though it was much inferior to the
real value of his estate, this act of rapine was disguised by
some colors of moderation and equity. ^171 The odious name of
conquerors was softened into the mild and friendly appellation of
the guests of the Romans; and the Barbarians of Gaul, more
especially the Goths, repeatedly declared, that they were bound
to the people by the ties of hospitality, and to the emperor by
the duty of allegiance and military service. The title of
Honorius and his successors, their laws, and their civil
magistrates, were still respected in the provinces of Gaul, of
which they had resigned the possession to the Barbarian allies;
and the kings, who exercised a supreme and independent authority
over their native subjects, ambitiously solicited the more
honorable rank of master-generals of the Imperial armies. ^172
Such was the involuntary reverence which the Roman name still
impressed on the minds of those warriors, who had borne away in
triumph the spoils of the Capitol.
[Footnote 170: O Lycida, vivi pervenimus: advena nostri
(Quod nunquam veriti sumus) ut possessor agelli
Diseret: Haec mea sunt; veteres migrate coloni.
Nunc victi tristes, &c.

See the whole of the ninth eclogue, with the useful Commentary of
Servius. Fifteen miles of the Mantuan territory were assigned to
the veterans, with a reservation, in favor of the inhabitants, of
three miles round the city. Even in this favor they were cheated
by Alfenus Varus, a famous lawyer, and one of the commissioners,
who measured eight hundred paces of water and morass.]

[Footnote 171: See the remarkable passage of the Eucharisticon of
Paulinus, 575, apud Mascou, l. viii. c. 42.]

[Footnote 172: This important truth is established by the
accuracy of Tillemont, (Hist. des Emp. tom. v. p. 641,) and by
the ingenuity of the Abbe Dubos, (Hist. de l'Etablissement de la
Monarchie Francoise dans les Gaules, tom. i. p. 259.)]

Whilst Italy was ravaged by the Goths, and a succession of
feeble tyrants oppressed the provinces beyond the Alps, the
British island separated itself from the body of the Roman
empire. The regular forces, which guarded that remote province,
had been gradually withdrawn; and Britain was abandoned without
defence to the Saxon pirates, and the savages of Ireland and
Caledonia. The Britons, reduced to this extremity, no longer
relied on the tardy and doubtful aid of a declining monarchy.
They assembled in arms, repelled the invaders, and rejoiced in
the important discovery of their own strength. ^173 Afflicted by
similar calamities, and actuated by the same spirit, the
Armorican provinces (a name which comprehended the maritime
countries of Gaul between the Seine and the Loire ^174) resolved
to imitate the example of the neighboring island. They expelled
the Roman magistrates, who acted under the authority of the
usurper Constantine; and a free government was established among
a people who had so long been subject to the arbitrary will of a
master. The independence of Britain and Armorica was soon
confirmed by Honorius himself, the lawful emperor of the West;
and the letters, by which he committed to the new states the care
of their own safety, might be interpreted as an absolute and
perpetual abdication of the exercise and rights of sovereignty.
This interpretation was, in some measure, justified by the event.

After the usurpers of Gaul had successively fallen, the maritime
provinces were restored to the empire. Yet their obedience was
imperfect and precarious: the vain, inconstant, rebellious
disposition of the people, was incompatible either with freedom
or servitude; ^175 and Armorica, though it could not long
maintain the form of a republic, ^176 was agitated by frequent
and destructive revolts. Britain was irrecoverably lost. ^177
But as the emperors wisely acquiesced in the independence of a
remote province, the separation was not imbittered by the
reproach of tyranny or rebellion; and the claims of allegiance
and protection were succeeded by the mutual and voluntary offices
of national friendship. ^178

[Footnote 173: Zosimus (l. vi. 376, 383) relates in a few words
the revolt of Britain and Armorica. Our antiquarians, even the
great Cambder himself, have been betrayed into many gross errors,
by their imperfect knowledge of the history of the continent.]
[Footnote 174: The limits of Armorica are defined by two national
geographers, Messieurs De Valois and D'Anville, in their Notitias
of Ancient Gaul. The word had been used in a more extensive, and
was afterwards contracted to a much narrower, signification.]
[Footnote 175: Gens inter geminos notissima clauditur amnes,

Armoricana prius veteri cognomine dicta.

Torva, ferox, ventosa, procax, incauta, rebellis;

Inconstans, disparque sibi novitatis amore;

Prodiga verborum, sed non et prodiga facti.
Erricus, Monach. in Vit. St. Germani. l. v. apud Vales. Notit.
Galliarum, p. 43. Valesius alleges several testimonies to
confirm this character; to which I shall add the evidence of the
presbyter Constantine, (A.D. 488,) who, in the life of St.
Germain, calls the Armorican rebels mobilem et indisciplinatum
populum. See the Historians of France, tom. i. p. 643.]

[Footnote 176: I thought it necessary to enter my protest against
this part of the system of the Abbe Dubos, which Montesquieu has
so vigorously opposed. See Esprit des Loix, l. xxx. c. 24.
Note: See Memoires de Gallet sur l'Origine des Bretons,
quoted by Daru Histoire de Bretagne, i. p. 57. According to the
opinion of these authors, the government of Armorica was
monarchical from the period of its independence on the Roman
empire. - M.]

[Footnote 177: The words of Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c.
2, p. 181, Louvre edition) in a very important passage, which has
been too much neglected Even Bede (Hist. Gent. Anglican. l. i. c.
12, p. 50, edit. Smith) acknowledges that the Romans finally left
Britain in the reign of Honorius. Yet our modern historians and
antiquaries extend the term of their dominion; and there are some
who allow only the interval of a few months between their
departure and the arrival of the Saxons.]

[Footnote 178: Bede has not forgotten the occasional aid of the
legions against the Scots and Picts; and more authentic proof
will hereafter be produced, that the independent Britons raised
12,000 men for the service of the emperor Anthemius, in Gaul.]
This revolution dissolved the artificial fabric of civil and
military government; and the independent country, during a period
of forty years, till the descent of the Saxons, was ruled by the
authority of the clergy, the nobles, and the municipal towns.
^179 I. Zosimus, who alone has preserved the memory of this
singular transaction, very accurately observes, that the letters
of Honorius were addressed to the cities of Britain. ^180 Under
the protection of the Romans, ninety-two considerable towns had
arisen in the several parts of that great province; and, among
these, thirty-three cities were distinguished above the rest by
their superior privileges and importance. ^181 Each of these
cities, as in all the other provinces of the empire, formed a
legal corporation, for the purpose of regulating their domestic
policy; and the powers of municipal government were distributed
among annual magistrates, a select senate, and the assembly of
the people, according to the original model of the Roman
constitution. ^182 The management of a common revenue, the
exercise of civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the habits of
public counsel and command, were inherent to these petty
republics; and when they asserted their independence, the youth
of the city, and of the adjacent districts, would naturally range
themselves under the standard of the magistrate. But the desire
of obtaining the advantages, and of escaping the burdens, of
political society, is a perpetual and inexhaustible source of
discord; nor can it reasonably be presumed, that the restoration
of British freedom was exempt from tumult and faction. The
preeminence of birth and fortune must have been frequently
violated by bold and popular citizens; and the haughty nobles,
who complained that they were become the subjects of their own
servants, ^183 would sometimes regret the reign of an arbitrary
monarch. II. The jurisdiction of each city over the adjacent
country, was supported by the patrimonial influence of the
principal senators; and the smaller towns, the villages, and the
proprietors of land, consulted their own safety by adhering to
the shelter of these rising republics. The sphere of their
attraction was proportioned to the respective degrees of their
wealth and populousness; but the hereditary lords of ample
possessions, who were not oppressed by the neighborhood of any
powerful city, aspired to the rank of independent princes, and
boldly exercised the rights of peace and war. The gardens and
villas, which exhibited some faint imitation of Italian elegance,
would soon be converted into strong castles, the refuge, in time
of danger, of the adjacent country: ^184 the produce of the land
was applied to purchase arms and horses; to maintain a military
force of slaves, of peasants, and of licentious followers; and
the chieftain might assume, within his own domain, the powers of
a civil magistrate. Several of these British chiefs might be the
genuine posterity of ancient kings; and many more would be
tempted to adopt this honorable genealogy, and to vindicate their
hereditary claims, which had been suspended by the usurpation of
the Caesars. ^185 Their situation and their hopes would dispose
them to affect the dress, the language, and the customs of their
ancestors. If the princes of Britain relapsed into barbarism,
while the cities studiously preserved the laws and manners of
Rome, the whole island must have been gradually divided by the
distinction of two national parties; again broken into a thousand
subdivisions of war and faction, by the various provocations of
interest and resentment. The public strength, instead of being
united against a foreign enemy, was consumed in obscure and
intestine quarrels; and the personal merit which had placed a
successful leader at the head of his equals, might enable him to
subdue the freedom of some neighboring cities; and to claim a
rank among the tyrants, ^186 who infested Britain after the
dissolution of the Roman government. III. The British church
might be composed of thirty or forty bishops, ^187 with an
adequate proportion of the inferior clergy; and the want of
riches (for they seem to have been poor ^188) would compel them
to deserve the public esteem, by a decent and exemplary behavior.

The interest, as well as the temper of the clergy, was favorable
to the peace and union of their distracted country: those
salutary lessons might be frequently inculcated in their popular
discourses; and the episcopal synods were the only councils that
could pretend to the weight and authority of a national assembly.

In such councils, where the princes and magistrates sat
promiscuously with the bishops, the important affairs of the
state, as well as of the church, might be freely debated;
differences reconciled, alliances formed, contributions imposed,
wise resolutions often concerted, and sometimes executed; and
there is reason to believe, that, in moments of extreme danger, a
Pendragon, or Dictator, was elected by the general consent of the
Britons. These pastoral cares, so worthy of the episcopal
character, were interrupted, however, by zeal and superstition;
and the British clergy incessantly labored to eradicate the
Pelagian heresy, which they abhorred, as the peculiar disgrace of
their native country. ^189

[Footnote 179: I owe it to myself, and to historic truth, to
declare, that some circumstances in this paragraph are founded
only on conjecture and analogy. The stubbornness of our language
has sometimes forced me to deviate from the conditional into the
indicative mood.]

[Footnote 180: Zosimus, l. vi. p. 383.]

[Footnote 181: Two cities of Britain were municipia, nine
colonies, ten Latii jure donatoe, twelve stipendiarioe of eminent
note. This detail is taken from Richard of Cirencester, de Situ
Britanniae, p. 36; and though it may not seem probable that he
wrote from the Mss. of a Roman general, he shows a genuine
knowledge of antiquity, very extraordinary for a monk of the
fourteenth century.

Note: The names may be found in Whitaker's Hist. of
Manchester vol. ii. 330, 379. Turner, Hist. Anglo-Saxons, i.
216. - M.]

[Footnote 182: See Maffei Verona Illustrata, part i. l. v. p. 83
- 106.]
[Footnote 183: Leges restituit, libertatemque reducit,
Et servos famulis non sinit esse suis.

Itinerar. Rutil. l. i. 215.]

[Footnote 184: An inscription (apud Sirmond, Not. ad Sidon.
Apollinar. p. 59) describes a castle, cum muris et portis,
tutioni omnium, erected by Dardanus on his own estate, near
Sisteron, in the second Narbonnese, and named by him Theopolis.]
[Footnote 185: The establishment of their power would have been
easy indeed, if we could adopt the impracticable scheme of a
lively and learned antiquarian; who supposes that the British
monarchs of the several tribes continued to reign, though with
subordinate jurisdiction, from the time of Claudius to that of
Honorius. See Whitaker's History of Manchester, vol. i. p. 247 -

[Footnote 186: Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 181.
Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, was the expression of
Jerom, in the year 415 (tom. ii. p. 255, ad Ctesiphont.) By the
pilgrims, who resorted every year to the Holy Land, the monk of
Bethlem received the earliest and most accurate intelligence.]
[Footnote 187: See Bingham's Eccles. Antiquities, vol. i. l. ix.
c. 6, p. 394.]

[Footnote 188: It is reported of three British bishops who
assisted at the council of Rimini, A.D. 359, tam pauperes fuisse
ut nihil haberent. Sulpicius Severus, Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 420.

Some of their brethren however, were in better circumstances.]
[Footnote 189: Consult Usher, de Antiq. Eccles. Britannicar. c. 8
- 12.]
It is somewhat remarkable, or rather it is extremely
natural, that the revolt of Britain and Armorica should have
introduced an appearance of liberty into the obedient provinces
of Gaul. In a solemn edict, ^190 filled with the strongest
assurances of that paternal affection which princes so often
express, and so seldom feel, the emperor Honorius promulgated his
intention of convening an annual assembly of the seven provinces:
a name peculiarly appropriated to Aquitain and the ancient
Narbonnese, which had long since exchanged their Celtic rudeness
for the useful and elegant arts of Italy. ^191 Arles, the seat of
government and commerce, was appointed for the place of the
assembly; which regularly continued twenty-eight days, from the
fifteenth of August to the thirteenth of September, of every
year. It consisted of the Praetorian praefect of the Gauls; of
seven provincial governors, one consular, and six presidents; of
the magistrates, and perhaps the bishops, of about sixty cities;
and of a competent, though indefinite, number of the most
honorable and opulent possessors of land, who might justly be
considered as the representatives of their country. They were
empowered to interpret and communicate the laws of their
sovereign; to expose the grievances and wishes of their
constituents; to moderate the excessive or unequal weight of
taxes; and to deliberate on every subject of local or national
importance, that could tend to the restoration of the peace and
prosperity of the seven provinces. If such an institution, which
gave the people an interest in their own government, had been
universally established by Trajan or the Antonines, the seeds of
public wisdom and virtue might have been cherished and propagated
in the empire of Rome. The privileges of the subject would have
secured the throne of the monarch; the abuses of an arbitrary
administration might have been prevented, in some degree, or
corrected, by the interposition of these representative
assemblies; and the country would have been defended against a
foreign enemy by the arms of natives and freemen. Under the mild
and generous influence of liberty, the Roman empire might have
remained invincible and immortal; or if its excessive magnitude,
and the instability of human affairs, had opposed such perpetual
continuance, its vital and constituent members might have
separately preserved their vigor and independence. But in the
decline of the empire, when every principle of health and life
had been exhausted, the tardy application of this partial remedy
was incapable of producing any important or salutary effects.
The emperor Honorius expresses his surprise, that he must compel
the reluctant provinces to accept a privilege which they should
ardently have solicited. A fine of three, or even five, pounds
of gold, was imposed on the absent representatives; who seem to
have declined this imaginary gift of a free constitution, as the
last and most cruel insult of their oppressors.

[Footnote 190: See the correct text of this edict, as published
by Sirmond, (Not. ad Sidon. Apollin. p. 148.) Hincmar of Rheims,
who assigns a place to the bishops, had probably seen (in the
ninth century) a more perfect copy. Dubos, Hist. Critique de la
Monarchie Francoise, tom. i. p. 241 - 255]
[Footnote 191: It is evident from the Notitia, that the seven
provinces were the Viennensis, the maritime Alps, the first and
second Narbonnese Novempopulania, and the first and second
Aquitain. In the room of the first Aquitain, the Abbe Dubos, on
the authority of Hincmar, desires to introduce the first
Lugdunensis, or Lyonnese.]

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

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

The division of the Roman world between the sons of
Theodosius marks the final establishment of the empire of the
East, which, from the reign of Arcadius to the taking of
Constantinople by the Turks, subsisted one thousand and
fifty-eight years, in a state of premature and perpetual decay.
The sovereign of that empire assumed, and obstinately retained,
the vain, and at length fictitious, title of Emperor of the
Romans; and the hereditary appellation of Caesar and Augustus
continued to declare, that he was the legitimate successor of the
first of men, who had reigned over the first of nations. The
place of Constantinople rivalled, and perhaps excelled, the
magnificence of Persia; and the eloquent sermons of St.
Chrysostom ^1 celebrate, while they condemn, the pompous luxury
of the reign of Arcadius. "The emperor," says he, "wears on his
head either a diadem, or a crown of gold, decorated with precious
stones of inestimable value. These ornaments, and his purple
garments, are reserved for his sacred person alone; and his robes
of silk are embroidered with the figures of golden dragons. His
throne is of massy gold. Whenever he appears in public, he is
surrounded by his courtiers, his guards, and his attendants.
Their spears, their shields, their cuirasses, the bridles and
trappings of their horses, have either the substance or the
appearance of gold; and the large splendid boss in the midst of
their shield is encircled with smaller bosses, which represent
the shape of the human eye. The two mules that drew the chariot
of the monarch are perfectly white, and shining all over with
gold. The chariot itself, of pure and solid gold, attracts the
admiration of the spectators, who contemplate the purple
curtains, the snowy carpet, the size of the precious stones, and
the resplendent plates of gold, that glitter as they are agitated
by the motion of the carriage. The Imperial pictures are white,
on a blue ground; the emperor appears seated on his throne, with
his arms, his horses, and his guards beside him; and his
vanquished enemies in chains at his feet." The successors of
Constantine established their perpetual residence in the royal
city, which he had erected on the verge of Europe and Asia.
Inaccessible to the menaces of their enemies, and perhaps to the
complaints of their people, they received, with each wind, the
tributary productions of every climate; while the impregnable
strength of their capital continued for ages to defy the hostile
attempts of the Barbarians. Their dominions were bounded by the
Adriatic and the Tigris; and the whole interval of twenty-five
days' navigation, which separated the extreme cold of Scythia
from the torrid zone of Aethiopia, ^2 was comprehended within the
limits of the empire of the East. The populous countries of that
empire were the seat of art and learning, of luxury and wealth;
and the inhabitants, who had assumed the language and manners of
Greeks, styled themselves, with some appearance of truth, the
most enlightened and civilized portion of the human species. The
form of government was a pure and simple monarchy; the name of
the Roman Republic, which so long preserved a faint tradition of
freedom, was confined to the Latin provinces; and the princes of
Constantinople measured their greatness by the servile obedience
of their people. They were ignorant how much this passive
disposition enervates and degrades every faculty of the mind.
The subjects, who had resigned their will to the absolute
commands of a master, were equally incapable of guarding their
lives and fortunes against the assaults of the Barbarians, or of
defending their reason from the terrors of superstition.

[Footnote 1: Father Montfaucon, who, by the command of his
Benedictine superiors, was compelled (see Longueruana, tom. i. p.
205) to execute the laborious edition of St. Chrysostom, in
thirteen volumes in folio, (Paris, 1738,) amused himself with
extracting from that immense collection of morals, some curious
antiquities, which illustrate the manners of the Theodosian age,
(see Chrysostom, Opera, tom. xiii. p. 192 - 196,) and his French
Dissertation, in the Memoires de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom.
xiii. p. 474 - 490.]
[Footnote 2: According to the loose reckoning, that a ship could
sail, with a fair wind, 1000 stadia, or 125 miles, in the
revolution of a day and night, Diodorus Siculus computes ten days
from the Palus Moeotis to Rhodes, and four days from Rhodes to
Alexandria. The navigation of the Nile from Alexandria to Syene,
under the tropic of Cancer, required, as it was against the
stream, ten days more. Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. iii. p. 200,
edit. Wesseling. He might, without much impropriety, measure the
extreme heat from the verge of the torrid zone; but he speaks of
the Moeotis in the 47th degree of northern latitude, as if it lay
within the polar circle.]

The first events of the reign of Arcadius and Honorius are
so intimately connected, that the rebellion of the Goths, and the
fall of Rufinus, have already claimed a place in the history of
the West. It has already been observed, that Eutropius, ^3 one
of the principal eunuchs of the palace of Constantinople,
succeeded the haughty minister whose ruin he had accomplished,
and whose vices he soon imitated. Every order of the state bowed
to the new favorite; and their tame and obsequious submission
encouraged him to insult the laws, and, what is still more
difficult and dangerous, the manners of his country. Under the
weakest of the predecessors of Arcadius, the reign of the eunuchs
had been secret and almost invisible. They insinuated themselves
into the confidence of the prince; but their ostensible functions
were confined to the menial service of the wardrobe and Imperial
bed-chamber. They might direct, in a whisper, the public
counsels, and blast, by their malicious suggestions, the fame and
fortunes of the most illustrious citizens; but they never
presumed to stand forward in the front of empire, ^4 or to
profane the public honors of the state. Eutropius was the first
of his artificial sex, who dared to assume the character of a
Roman magistrate and general. ^5 Sometimes, in the presence of
the blushing senate, he ascended the tribunal to pronounce
judgment, or to repeat elaborate harangues; and, sometimes,
appeared on horseback, at the head of his troops, in the dress
and armor of a hero. The disregard of custom and decency always
betrays a weak and ill-regulated mind; nor does Eutropius seem to
have compensated for the folly of the design by any superior
merit or ability in the execution. His former habits of life had
not introduced him to the study of the laws, or the exercises of
the field; his awkward and unsuccessful attempts provoked the
secret contempt of the spectators; the Goths expressed their wish
that such a general might always command the armies of Rome; and
the name of the minister was branded with ridicule, more
pernicious, perhaps, than hatred, to a public character. The
subjects of Arcadius were exasperated by the recollection, that
this deformed and decrepit eunuch, ^6 who so perversely mimicked
the actions of a man, was born in the most abject condition of
servitude; that before he entered the Imperial palace, he had
been successively sold and purchased by a hundred masters, who
had exhausted his youthful strength in every mean and infamous
office, and at length dismissed him, in his old age, to freedom
and poverty. ^7 While these disgraceful stories were circulated,
and perhaps exaggerated, in private conversation, the vanity of
the favorite was flattered with the most extraordinary honors.
In the senate, in the capital, in the provinces, the statues of
Eutropius were erected, in brass, or marble, decorated with the
symbols of his civil and military virtues, and inscribed with the
pompous title of the third founder of Constantinople. He was
promoted to the rank of patrician, which began to signify in a
popular, and even legal, acceptation, the father of the emperor;
and the last year of the fourth century was polluted by the
consulship of a eunuch and a slave. This strange and inexpiable
prodigy ^8 awakened, however, the prejudices of the Romans. The
effeminate consul was rejected by the West, as an indelible stain
to the annals of the republic; and without invoking the shades of
Brutus and Camillus, the colleague of Eutropius, a learned and
respectable magistrate, ^9 sufficiently represented the different
maxims of the two administrations.
[Footnote 3: Barthius, who adored his author with the blind
superstition of a commentator, gives the preference to the two
books which Claudian composed against Eutropius, above all his
other productions, (Baillet Jugemens des Savans, tom. iv. p.
227.) They are indeed a very elegant and spirited satire; and
would be more valuable in an historical light, if the invective
were less vague and more temperate.]

[Footnote 4: After lamenting the progress of the eunuchs in the
Roman palace, and defining their proper functions, Claudian adds,

- A fronte recedant.

In Eutrop. i. 422.

Yet it does not appear that the eunuchs had assumed any of the
efficient offices of the empire, and he is styled only
Praepositun sacri cubiculi, in the edict of his banishment. See
Cod. Theod. l. leg 17.

Jamque oblita sui, nec sobria divitiis mens
In miseras leges hominumque negotia ludit
Judicat eunuchus .......
Arma etiam violare parat ......

Claudian, (i. 229 - 270,) with that mixture of indignation and
humor which always pleases in a satiric poet, describes the
insolent folly of the eunuch, the disgrace of the empire, and the
joy of the Goths.

- Gaudet, cum viderit, hostis,
Et sentit jam deesse viros.]

[Footnote 6: The poet's lively description of his deformity (i.
110 - 125) is confirmed by the authentic testimony of Chrysostom,
(tom. iii. p. 384, edit Montfaucon;) who observes, that when the
paint was washed away the face of Eutropius appeared more ugly
and wrinkled than that of an old woman. Claudian remarks, (i.
469,) and the remark must have been founded on experience, that
there was scarcely an interval between the youth and the decrepit
age of a eunuch.]

[Footnote 7: Eutropius appears to have been a native of Armenia
or Assyria. His three services, which Claudian more particularly
describes, were these: 1. He spent many years as the catamite of
Ptolemy, a groom or soldier of the Imperial stables. 2. Ptolemy
gave him to the old general Arintheus, for whom he very skilfully
exercised the profession of a pimp. 3. He was given, on her
marriage, to the daughter of Arintheus; and the future consul was
employed to comb her hair, to present the silver ewer to wash and
to fan his mistress in hot weather. See l. i. 31 - 137.]

[Footnote 8: Claudian, (l. i. in Eutrop. l. - 22,) after
enumerating the various prodigies of monstrous births, speaking
animals, showers of blood or stones, double suns, &c., adds, with
some exaggeration,

Omnia cesserunt eunucho consule monstra.

The first book concludes with a noble speech of the goddess of
Rome to her favorite Honorius, deprecating the new ignominy to
which she was exposed.]
[Footnote 9: Fl. Mallius Theodorus, whose civil honors, and
philosophical works, have been celebrated by Claudian in a very
elegant panegyric.]
The bold and vigorous mind of Rufinus seems to have been
actuated by a more sanguinary and revengeful spirit; but the
avarice of the eunuch was not less insatiate than that of the
praefect. ^10 As long as he despoiled the oppressors, who had
enriched themselves with the plunder of the people, Eutropius
might gratify his covetous disposition without much envy or
injustice: but the progress of his rapine soon invaded the wealth
which had been acquired by lawful inheritance, or laudable
industry. The usual methods of extortion were practised and
improved; and Claudian has sketched a lively and original picture
of the public auction of the state. "The impotence of the
eunuch," says that agreeable satirist, "has served only to
stimulate his avarice: the same hand which in his servile
condition, was exercised in petty thefts, to unlock the coffers
of his master, now grasps the riches of the world; and this
infamous broker of the empire appreciates and divides the Roman
provinces from Mount Haemus to the Tigris. One man, at the
expense of his villa, is made proconsul of Asia; a second
purchases Syria with his wife's jewels; and a third laments that
he has exchanged his paternal estate for the government of
Bithynia. In the antechamber of Eutropius, a large tablet is
exposed to public view, which marks the respective prices of the
provinces. The different value of Pontus, of Galatia, of Lydia,
is accurately distinguished. Lycia may be obtained for so many
thousand pieces of gold; but the opulence of Phrygia will require
a more considerable sum. The eunuch wishes to obliterate, by the
general disgrace, his personal ignominy; and as he has been sold
himself, he is desirous of selling the rest of mankind. In the
eager contention, the balance, which contains the fate and
fortunes of the province, often trembles on the beam; and till
one of the scales is inclined, by a superior weight, the mind of
the impartial judge remains in anxious suspense. ^11 Such,"
continues the indignant poet, "are the fruits of Roman valor, of
the defeat of Antiochus, and of the triumph of Pompey." This
venal prostitution of public honors secured the impunity of
future crimes; but the riches, which Eutropius derived from
confiscation, were already stained with injustice; since it was
decent to accuse, and to condemn, the proprietors of the wealth,
which he was impatient to confiscate. Some noble blood was shed
by the hand of the executioner; and the most inhospitable
extremities of the empire were filled with innocent and
illustrious exiles. Among the generals and consuls of the East,
Abundantius ^12 had reason to dread the first effects of the
resentment of Eutropius. He had been guilty of the unpardonable
crime of introducing that abject slave to the palace of
Constantinople; and some degree of praise must be allowed to a
powerful and ungrateful favorite, who was satisfied with the
disgrace of his benefactor. Abundantius was stripped of his ample
fortunes by an Imperial rescript, and banished to Pityus, on the
Euxine, the last frontier of the Roman world; where he subsisted
by the precarious mercy of the Barbarians, till he could obtain,
after the fall of Eutropius, a milder exile at Sidon, in
Phoenicia. The destruction of Timasius ^13 required a more
serious and regular mode of attack. That great officer, the
master-general of the armies of Theodosius, had signalized his
valor by a decisive victory, which he obtained over the Goths of
Thessaly; but he was too prone, after the example of his
sovereign, to enjoy the luxury of peace, and to abandon his
confidence to wicked and designing flatterers. Timasius had
despised the public clamor, by promoting an infamous dependant to
the command of a cohort; and he deserved to feel the ingratitude
of Bargus, who was secretly instigated by the favorite to accuse
his patron of a treasonable conspiracy. The general was
arraigned before the tribunal of Arcadius himself; and the
principal eunuch stood by the side of the throne to suggest the
questions and answers of his sovereign. But as this form of
trial might be deemed partial and arbitrary, the further inquiry
into the crimes of Timasius was delegated to Saturninus and
Procopius; the former of consular rank, the latter still
respected as the father-in-law of the emperor Valens. The
appearances of a fair and legal proceeding were maintained by the
blunt honesty of Procopius; and he yielded with reluctance to the
obsequious dexterity of his colleague, who pronounced a sentence
of condemnation against the unfortunate Timasius. His immense
riches were confiscated in the name of the emperor, and for the
benefit of the favorite; and he was doomed to perpetual exile a
Oasis, a solitary spot in the midst of the sandy deserts of
Libya. ^14 Secluded from all human converse, the master-general
of the Roman armies was lost forever to the world; but the
circumstances of his fate have been related in a various and
contradictory manner. It is insinuated that Eutropius despatched
a private order for his secret execution. ^15 It was reported,
that, in attempting to escape from Oasis, he perished in the
desert, of thirst and hunger; and that his dead body was found on
the sands of Libya. ^16 It has been asserted, with more
confidence, that his son Syagrius, after successfully eluding the
pursuit of the agents and emissaries of the court, collected a
band of African robbers; that he rescued Timasius from the place
of his exile; and that both the father and the son disappeared
from the knowledge of mankind. ^17 But the ungrateful Bargus,
instead of being suffered to possess the reward of guilt was soon
after circumvented and destroyed, by the more powerful villany of
the minister himself, who retained sense and spirit enough to
abhor the instrument of his own crimes.

[Footnote 10: Drunk with riches, is the forcible expression of
Zosimus, (l. v. p. 301;) and the avarice of Eutropius is equally
execrated in the Lexicon of Suidas and the Chronicle of
Marcellinus Chrysostom had often admonished the favorite of the
vanity and danger of immoderate wealth, tom. iii. p. 381.
- certantum saepe duorum
Diversum suspendit onus: cum pondere judex
Vergit, et in geminas nutat provincia lances.

Claudian (i. 192 - 209) so curiously distinguishes the
circumstances of the sale, that they all seem to allude to
particular anecdotes.]
[Footnote 12: Claudian (i. 154 - 170) mentions the guilt and
exile of Abundantius; nor could he fail to quote the example of
the artist, who made the first trial of the brazen bull, which he
presented to Phalaris. See Zosimus, l. v. p. 302. Jerom, tom.
i. p. 26. The difference of place is easily reconciled; but the
decisive authority of Asterius of Amasia (Orat. iv. p. 76, apud
Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 435) must turn the
scale in favor of Pityus.]

[Footnote 13: Suidas (most probably from the history of Eunapius)
has given a very unfavorable picture of Timasius. The account of
his accuser, the judges, trial, &c., is perfectly agreeable to
the practice of ancient and modern courts. (See Zosimus, l. v.
p. 298, 299, 300.) I am almost tempted to quote the romance of a
great master, (Fielding's Works, vol. iv. p. 49, &c., 8vo.
edit.,) which may be considered as the history of human nature.]
[Footnote 14: The great Oasis was one of the spots in the sands
of Libya, watered with springs, and capable of producing wheat,
barley, and palm- trees. It was about three days' journey from
north to south, about half a day in breadth, and at the distance
of about five days' march to the west of Abydus, on the Nile.
See D'Anville, Description de l'Egypte, p. 186, 187, 188. The
barren desert which encompasses Oasis (Zosimus, l. v. p. 300) has
suggested the idea of comparative fertility, and even the epithet
of the happy island ]
[Footnote 15: The line of Claudian, in Eutrop. l. i. 180,

Marmaricus claris violatur caedibus Hammon,

evidently alludes to his persuasion of the death of Timasius.

Note: A fragment of Eunapius confirms this account. "Thus
having deprived this great person of his life - a eunuch, a man,
a slave, a consul, a minister of the bed-chamber, one bred in
camps." Mai, p. 283, in Niebuhr. 87 - M.]

[Footnote 16: Sozomen, l. viii. c. 7. He speaks from report.]
[Footnote 17: Zosimus, l. v. p. 300. Yet he seems to suspect
that this rumor was spread by the friends of Eutropius.]

The public hatred, and the despair of individuals,
continually threatened, or seemed to threaten, the personal
safety of Eutropius; as well as of the numerous adherents, who
were attached to his fortune, and had been promoted by his venal
favor. For their mutual defence, he contrived the safeguard of a
law, which violated every principal of humanity and justice. ^18
I. It is enacted, in the name, and by the authority of Arcadius,
that all those who should conspire, either with subjects or with
strangers, against the lives of any of the persons whom the
emperor considers as the members of his own body, shall be
punished with death and confiscation. This species of fictitious
and metaphorical treason is extended to protect, not only the
illustrious officers of the state and army, who were admitted
into the sacred consistory, but likewise the principal domestics
of the palace, the senators of Constantinople, the military
commanders, and the civil magistrates of the provinces; a vague
and indefinite list, which, under the successors of Constantine,
included an obscure and numerous train of subordinate ministers.
II. This extreme severity might perhaps be justified, had it
been only directed to secure the representatives of the sovereign
from any actual violence in the execution of their office. But
the whole body of Imperial dependants claimed a privilege, or
rather impunity, which screened them, in the loosest moments of
their lives, from the hasty, perhaps the justifiable, resentment
of their fellow-citizens; and, by a strange perversion of the
laws, the same degree of guilt and punishment was applied to a
private quarrel, and to a deliberate conspiracy against the
emperor and the empire. The edicts of Arcadius most positively
and most absurdly declares, that in such cases of treason,
thoughts and actions ought to be punished with equal severity;
that the knowledge of a mischievous intention, unless it be
instantly revealed, becomes equally criminal with the intention
itself; ^19 and that those rash men, who shall presume to solicit
the pardon of traitors, shall themselves be branded with public
and perpetual infamy. III. "With regard to the sons of the
traitors," (continues the emperor,) "although they ought to share
the punishment, since they will probably imitate the guilt, of
their parents, yet, by the special effect of our Imperial lenity,
we grant them their lives; but, at the same time, we declare them
incapable of inheriting, either on the father's or on the
mother's side, or of receiving any gift or legacy, from the
testament either of kinsmen or of strangers. Stigmatized with
hereditary infamy, excluded from the hopes of honors or fortune,
let them endure the pangs of poverty and contempt, till they
shall consider life as a calamity, and death as a comfort and
relief." In such words, so well adapted to insult the feelings of
mankind, did the emperor, or rather his favorite eunuch, applaud
the moderation of a law, which transferred the same unjust and
inhuman penalties to the children of all those who had seconded,
or who had not disclosed, their fictitious conspiracies. Some of
the noblest regulations of Roman jurisprudence have been suffered
to expire; but this edict, a convenient and forcible engine of
ministerial tyranny, was carefully inserted in the codes of
Theodosius and Justinian; and the same maxims have been revived
in modern ages, to protect the electors of Germany, and the
cardinals of the church of Rome. ^20

[Footnote 18: See the Theodosian Code, l. ix. tit. 14, ad legem
Corneliam de Sicariis, leg. 3, and the Code of Justinian, l. ix.
tit. viii, viii. ad legem Juliam de Majestate, leg. 5. The
alteration of the title, from murder to treason, was an
improvement of the subtle Tribonian. Godefroy, in a formal
dissertation, which he has inserted in his Commentary,
illustrates this law of Arcadius, and explains all the difficult
passages which had been perverted by the jurisconsults of the
darker ages. See tom. iii. p. 88 - 111.]
[Footnote 19: Bartolus understands a simple and naked
consciousness, without any sign of approbation or concurrence.
For this opinion, says Baldus, he is now roasting in hell. For
my own part, continues the discreet Heineccius, (Element. Jur.
Civil l. iv. p. 411,) I must approve the theory of Bartolus; but
in practice I should incline to the sentiments of Baldus. Yet
Bartolus was gravely quoted by the lawyers of Cardinal Richelieu;
and Eutropius was indirectly guilty of the murder of the virtuous
De Thou.]

[Footnote 20: Godefroy, tom. iii. p. 89. It is, however,
suspected, that this law, so repugnant to the maxims of Germanic
freedom, has been surreptitiously added to the golden bull.]
Yet these sanguinary laws, which spread terror among a
disarmed and dispirited people, were of too weak a texture to
restrain the bold enterprise of Tribigild ^21 the Ostrogoth. The
colony of that warlike nation, which had been planted by
Theodosius in one of the most fertile districts of Phrygia, ^22
impatiently compared the slow returns of laborious husbandry with
the successful rapine and liberal rewards of Alaric; and their
leader resented, as a personal affront, his own ungracious
reception in the palace of Constantinople. A soft and wealthy
province, in the heart of the empire, was astonished by the sound
of war; and the faithful vassal who had been disregarded or
oppressed, was again respected, as soon as he resumed the hostile
character of a Barbarian. The vineyards and fruitful fields,
between the rapid Marsyas and the winding Maeander, ^23 were
consumed with fire; the decayed walls of the cities crumbled into
dust, at the first stroke of an enemy; the trembling inhabitants
escaped from a bloody massacre to the shores of the Hellespont;
and a considerable part of Asia Minor was desolated by the
rebellion of Tribigild. His rapid progress was checked by the
resistance of the peasants of Pamphylia; and the Ostrogoths,
attacked in a narrow pass, between the city of Selgae, ^24 a deep
morass, and the craggy cliffs of Mount Taurus, were defeated with
the loss of their bravest troops. But the spirit of their chief
was not daunted by misfortune; and his army was continually
recruited by swarms of Barbarians and outlaws, who were desirous
of exercising the profession of robbery, under the more honorable
names of war and conquest. The rumors of the success of Tribigild
might for some time be suppressed by fear, or disguised by

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