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

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

Part 8 out of 14

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

saved, which contained his voluminous writings; two hundred and
thirty-two separate books or treatises on theological subjects,
besides a complete exposition of the psalter and the gospel, and
a copious magazine of epistles and homilies. ^28 According to the
judgment of the most impartial critics, the superficial learning
of Augustin was confined to the Latin language; ^29 and his
style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence of passion, is
usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric. But he possessed
a strong, capacious, argumentative mind; he boldly sounded the
dark abyss of grace, predestination, free will, and original sin;
and the rigid system of Christianity which he framed or restored,
^30 has been entertained, with public applause, and secret
reluctance, by the Latin church. ^31
[Footnote 26: See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. part ii.
p. 112. Leo African. in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 70. L'Afrique de
Marmol, tom. ii. p. 434, 437. Shaw's Travels, p. 46, 47. The
old Hippo Regius was finally destroyed by the Arabs in the
seventh century; but a new town, at the distance of two miles,
was built with the materials; and it contained, in the sixteenth
century, about three hundred families of industrious, but
turbulent manufacturers. The adjacent territory is renowned for
a pure air, a fertile soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits.]
[Footnote 27: The life of St. Augustin, by Tillemont, fills a
quarto volume (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii.) of more than one thousand
pages; and the diligence of that learned Jansenist was excited,
on this occasion, by factious and devout zeal for the founder of
his sect.]

[Footnote 28: Such, at least, is the account of Victor Vitensis,
(de Persecut. Vandal. l. i. c. 3;) though Gennadius seems to
doubt whether any person had read, or even collected, all the
works of St. Augustin, (see Hieronym. Opera, tom. i. p. 319, in
Catalog. Scriptor. Eccles.) They have been repeatedly printed;
and Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom. iii. p. 158 - 257) has given
a large and satisfactory abstract of them as they stand in the
last edition of the Benedictines. My personal acquaintance with
the bishop of Hippo does not extend beyond the Confessions, and
the City of God.]

[Footnote 29: In his early youth (Confess. i. 14) St. Augustin
disliked and neglected the study of Greek; and he frankly owns
that he read the Platonists in a Latin version, (Confes. vii. 9.)
Some modern critics have thought, that his ignorance of Greek
disqualified him from expounding the Scriptures; and Cicero or
Quintilian would have required the knowledge of that language in
a professor of rhetoric.]

[Footnote 30: These questions were seldom agitated, from the time
of St. Paul to that of St. Augustin. I am informed that the
Greek fathers maintain the natural sentiments of the
Semi-Pelagians; and that the orthodoxy of St. Augustin was
derived from the Manichaean school.]

[Footnote 31: The church of Rome has canonized Augustin, and
reprobated Calvin. Yet as the real difference between them is
invisible even to a theological microscope, the Molinists are
oppressed by the authority of the saint, and the Jansenists are
disgraced by their resemblance to the heretic. In the mean while,
the Protestant Arminians stand aloof, and deride the mutual
perplexity of the disputants, (see a curious Review of the
Controversy, by Le Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelle, (tom. xiv. p.
144 - 398.) Perhaps a reasoner still more independent may smile
in his turn, when he peruses an Arminian Commentary on the
Epistle to the Romans.]

Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

Part II.

By the skill of Boniface, and perhaps by the ignorance of
the Vandals, the siege of Hippo was protracted above fourteen
months: the sea was continually open; and when the adjacent
country had been exhausted by irregular rapine, the besiegers
themselves were compelled by famine to relinquish their
enterprise. The importance and danger of Africa were deeply felt
by the regent of the West. Placidia implored the assistance of
her eastern ally; and the Italian fleet and army were reenforced
by Asper, who sailed from Constantinople with a powerful
armament. As soon as the force of the two empires was united
under the command of Boniface, he boldly marched against the
Vandals; and the loss of a second battle irretrievably decided
the fate of Africa. He embarked with the precipitation of
despair; and the people of Hippo were permitted, with their
families and effects, to occupy the vacant place of the soldiers,
the greatest part of whom were either slain or made prisoners by
the Vandals. The count, whose fatal credulity had wounded the
vitals of the republic, might enter the palace of Ravenna with
some anxiety, which was soon removed by the smiles of Placidia.
Boniface accepted with gratitude the rank of patrician, and the
dignity of master-general of the Roman armies; but he must have
blushed at the sight of those medals, in which he was represented
with the name and attributes of victory. ^32 The discovery of his
fraud, the displeasure of the empress, and the distinguished
favor of his rival, exasperated the haughty and perfidious soul
of Aetius. He hastily returned from Gaul to Italy, with a
retinue, or rather with an army, of Barbarian followers; and such
was the weakness of the government, that the two generals decided
their private quarrel in a bloody battle. Boniface was
successful; but he received in the conflict a mortal wound from
the spear of his adversary, of which he expired within a few
days, in such Christian and charitable sentiments, that he
exhorted his wife, a rich heiress of Spain, to accept Aetius for
her second husband. But Aetius could not derive any immediate
advantage from the generosity of his dying enemy: he was
proclaimed a rebel by the justice of Placidia; and though he
attempted to defend some strong fortresses, erected on his
patrimonial estate, the Imperial power soon compelled him to
retire into Pannonia, to the tents of his faithful Huns. The
republic was deprived, by their mutual discord, of the service of
her two most illustrious champions. ^33

[Footnote 32: Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 67. On one side, the head
of Valentinian; on the reverse, Boniface, with a scourge in one
hand, and a palm in the other, standing in a triumphal car, which
is drawn by four horses, or, in another medal, by four stags; an
unlucky emblem! I should doubt whether another example can be
found of the head of a subject on the reverse of an Imperial
medal. See Science des Medailles, by the Pere Jobert, tom. i. p.
132 - 150, edit. of 1739, by the haron de la Bastie.

Note: Lord Mahon, Life of Belisarius, p. 133, mentions one
of Belisarius on the authority of Cedrenus - M.]

[Footnote 33: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 185)
continues the history of Boniface no further than his return to
Italy. His death is mentioned by Prosper and Marcellinus; the
expression of the latter, that Aetius, the day before, had
provided himself with a longer spear, implies something like a
regular duel.]

It might naturally be expected, after the retreat of
Boniface, that the Vandals would achieve, without resistance or
delay, the conquest of Africa. Eight years, however, elapsed,
from the evacuation of Hippo to the reduction of Carthage. In
the midst of that interval, the ambitious Genseric, in the full
tide of apparent prosperity, negotiated a treaty of peace, by
which he gave his son Hunneric for a hostage; and consented to
leave the Western emperor in the undisturbed possession of the
three Mauritanias. ^34 This moderation, which cannot be imputed
to the justice, must be ascribed to the policy, of the conqueror.

His throne was encompassed with domestic enemies, who accused the
baseness of his birth, and asserted the legitimate claims of his
nephews, the sons of Gonderic. Those nephews, indeed, he
sacrificed to his safety; and their mother, the widow of the
deceased king, was precipitated, by his order, into the river
Ampsaga. But the public discontent burst forth in dangerous and
frequent conspiracies; and the warlike tyrant is supposed to have
shed more Vandal blood by the hand of the executioner, than in
the field of battle. ^35 The convulsions of Africa, which had
favored his attack, opposed the firm establishment of his power;
and the various seditions of the Moors and Germans, the Donatists
and Catholics, continually disturbed, or threatened, the
unsettled reign of the conqueror. As he advanced towards
Carthage, he was forced to withdraw his troops from the Western
provinces; the sea-coast was exposed to the naval enterprises of
the Romans of Spain and Italy; and, in the heart of Numidia, the
strong inland city of Corta still persisted in obstinate
independence. ^36 These difficulties were gradually subdued by
the spirit, the perseverance, and the cruelty of Genseric; who
alternately applied the arts of peace and war to the
establishment of his African kingdom. He subscribed a solemn
treaty, with the hope of deriving some advantage from the term of
its continuance, and the moment of its violation. The vigilance
of his enemies was relaxed by the protestations of friendship,
which concealed his hostile approach; and Carthage was at length
surprised by the Vandals, five hundred and eighty-five years
after the destruction of the city and republic by the younger
Scipio. ^37
[Footnote 34: See Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4, p. 186.
Valentinian published several humane laws, to relieve the
distress of his Numidian and Mauritanian subjects; he discharged
them, in a great measure, from the payment of their debts,
reduced their tribute to one eighth, and gave them a right of
appeal from their provincial magistrates to the praefect of Rome.

Cod. Theod. tom. vi. Novell. p. 11, 12.]

[Footnote 35: Victor Vitensis, de Persecut. Vandal. l. ii. c. 5,
p. 26. The cruelties of Genseric towards his subjects are
strongly expressed in Prosper's Chronicle, A.D. 442.]

[Footnote 36: Possidius, in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart,
p. 428.]
[Footnote 37: See the Chronicles of Idatius, Isidore, Prosper,
and Marcellinus. They mark the same year, but different days,
for the surprisal of Carthage.]

A new city had arisen from its ruins, with the title of a
colony; and though Carthage might yield to the royal prerogatives
of Constantinople, and perhaps to the trade of Alexandria, or the
splendor of Antioch, she still maintained the second rank in the
West; as the Rome (if we may use the style of contemporaries) of
the African world. That wealthy and opulent metropolis ^38
displayed, in a dependent condition, the image of a flourishing
republic. Carthage contained the manufactures, the arms, and the
treasures of the six provinces. A regular subordination of civil
honors gradually ascended from the procurators of the streets and
quarters of the city, to the tribunal of the supreme magistrate,
who, with the title of proconsul, represented the state and
dignity of a consul of ancient Rome. Schools and gymnasia were
instituted for the education of the African youth; and the
liberal arts and manners, grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy, were
publicly taught in the Greek and Latin languages. The buildings
of Carthage were uniform and magnificent; a shady grove was
planted in the midst of the capital; the new port, a secure and
capacious harbor, was subservient to the commercial indus try of
citizens and strangers; and the splendid games of the circus and
theatre were exhibited almost in the presence of the Barbarians.
The reputation of the Carthaginians was not equal to that of
their country, and the reproach of Punic faith still adhered to
their subtle and faithless character. ^39 The habits of trade,
and the abuse of luxury, had corrupted their manners; but their
impious contempt of monks, and the shameless practice of
unnatural lusts, are the two abominations which excite the pious
vehemence of Salvian, the preacher of the age. ^40 The king of
the Vandals severely reformed the vices of a voluptuous people;
and the ancient, noble, ingenuous freedom of Carthage (these
expressions of Victor are not without energy) was reduced by
Genseric into a state of ignominious servitude. After he had
permitted his licentious troops to satiate their rage and
avarice, he instituted a more regular system of rapine and
oppression. An edict was promulgated, which enjoined all
persons, without fraud or delay, to deliver their gold, silver,
jewels, and valuable furniture or apparel, to the royal officers;
and the attempt to secrete any part of their patrimony was
inexorably punished with death and torture, as an act of treason
against the state. The lands of the proconsular province, which
formed the immediate district of Carthage, were accurately
measured, and divided among the Barbarians; and the conqueror
reserved for his peculiar domain the fertile territory of
Byzacium, and the adjacent parts of Numidia and Getulia. ^41
[Footnote 38: The picture of Carthage; as it flourished in the
fourth and fifth centuries, is taken from the Expositio totius
Mundi, p. 17, 18, in the third volume of Hudson's Minor
Geographers, from Ausonius de Claris Urbibus, p. 228, 229; and
principally from Salvian, de Gubernatione Dei, l. vii. p. 257,

[Footnote 39: The anonymous author of the Expositio totius Mundi
compares in his barbarous Latin, the country and the inhabitants;
and, after stigmatizing their want of faith, he coolly concludes,
Difficile autem inter eos invenitur bonus, tamen in multis pauci
boni esse possunt P. 18.]

[Footnote 40: He declares, that the peculiar vices of each
country were collected in the sink of Carthage, (l. vii. p. 257.)
In the indulgence of vice, the Africans applauded their manly
virtue. Et illi se magis virilis fortitudinis esse crederent,
qui maxime vires foeminei usus probositate fregissent, (p. 268.)
The streets of Carthage were polluted by effeminate wretches, who
publicly assumed the countenance, the dress, and the character of
women, (p. 264.) If a monk appeared in the city, the holy man was
pursued with impious scorn and ridicule; de testantibus ridentium
cachinnis, (p. 289.)]

[Footnote 41: Compare Procopius de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p.
189, 190, and Victor Vitensis, de Persecut Vandal. l. i. c. 4.]
It was natural enough that Genseric should hate those whom
he had injured: the nobility and senators of Carthage were
exposed to his jealousy and resentment; and all those who refused
the ignominious terms, which their honor and religion forbade
them to accept, were compelled by the Arian tyrant to embrace the
condition of perpetual banishment. Rome, Italy, and the
provinces of the East, were filled with a crowd of exiles, of
fugitives, and of ingenuous captives, who solicited the public
compassion; and the benevolent epistles of Theod oret still
preserve the names and misfortunes of Caelestian and Maria. ^42
The Syrian bishop deplores the misfortunes of Caelestian, who,
from the state of a noble and opulent senator of Carthage, was
reduced, with his wife and family, and servants, to beg his bread
in a foreign country; but he applauds the resignation of the
Christian exile, and the philosophic temper, which, under the
pressure of such calamities, could enjoy more real happiness than
was the ordinary lot of wealth and prosperity. The story of
Maria, the daughter of the magnificent Eudaemon, is singular and
interesting. In the sack of Carthage, she was purchased from the
Vandals by some merchants of Syria, who afterwards sold her as a
slave in their native country. A female attendant, transported
in the same ship, and sold in the same family, still continued to
respect a mistress whom fortune had reduced to the common level
of servitude; and the daughter of Eudaemon received from her
grateful affection the domestic services which she had once
required from her obedience. This remarkable behavior divulged
the real condition of Maria, who, in the absence of the bishop of
Cyrrhus, was redeemed from slavery oy the generosity of some
soldiers of the garrison. The liberality of Theodoret provided
for her decent maintenance; and she passed ten months among the
deaconesses of the church; till she was unexpectedly informed,
that her father, who had escaped from the ruin of Carthage,
exercised an honorable office in one of the Western provinces.
Her filial impatience was seconded by the pious bishop:
Theodoret, in a letter still extant, recommends Maria to the
bishop of Aegae, a maritime city of Cilicia, which was
frequented, during the annual fair, by the vessels of the West;
most earnestly requesting, that his colleague would use the
maiden with a tenderness suitable to her birth; and that he would
intrust her to the care of such faithful merchants, as would
esteem it a sufficient gain, if they restored a daughter, lost
beyond all human hope, to the arms of her afflicted parent.
[Footnote 42: Ruinart (p. 441 - 457) has collected from
Theodoret, and other authors, the misfortunes, real and fabulous,
of the inhabitants of Carthage.]
Among the insipid legends of ecclesiastical history, I am
tempted to distinguish the memorable fable of the Seven Sleepers;
^43 whose imaginary date corresponds with the reign of the
younger Theodosius, and the conquest of Africa by the Vandals.
^44 When the emperor Decius persecuted the Christians, seven
noble youths of Ephesus concealed themselves in a spacious cavern
in the side of an adjacent mountain; where they were doomed to
perish by the tyrant, who gave orders that the entrance should be
firmly secured by the a pile of huge stones. They immediately
fell into a deep slumber, which was miraculously prolonged
without injuring the powers of life, during a period of one
hundred and eighty-seven years. At the end of that time, the
slaves of Adolius, to whom the inheritance of the mountain had
descended, removed the stones to supply materials for some rustic
edifice: the light of the sun darted into the cavern, and the
Seven Sleepers were permitted to awake. After a slumber, as they
thought of a few hours, they were pressed by the calls of hunger;
and resolved that Jamblichus, one of their number, should
secretly return to the city to purchase bread for the use of his
companions. The youth (if we may still employ that appellation)
could no longer recognize the once familiar aspect of his native
country; and his surprise was increased by the appearance of a
large cross, triumphantly erected over the principal gate of
Ephesus. His singular dress, and obsolete language, confounded
the baker, to whom he offered an ancient medal of Decius as the
current coin of the empire; and Jamblichus, on the suspicion of a
secret treasure, was dragged before the judge. Their mutual
inquiries produced the amazing discovery, that two centuries were
almost elapsed since Jamblichus and his friends had escaped from
the rage of a Pagan tyrant. The bishop of Ephesus, the clergy,
the magistrates, the people, and, as it is said, the emperor
Theodosius himself, hastened to visit the cavern of the Seven
Sleepers; who bestowed their benediction, related their story,
and at the same instant peaceably expired. The origin of this
marvellous fable cannot be ascribed to the pious fraud and
credulity of the modern Greeks, since the authentic tradition may
be traced within half a century of the supposed miracle. James of
Sarug, a Syrian bishop, who was born only two years after the
death of the younger Theodosius, has devoted one of his two
hundred and thirty homilies to the praise of the young men of
Ephesus. ^45 Their legend, before the end of the sixth century,
was translated from the Syriac into the Latin language, by the
care of Gregory of Tours. The hostile communions of the East
preserve their memory with equal reverence; and their names are
honorably inscribed in the Roman, the Abyssinian, and the Russian
calendar. ^46 Nor has their reputation been confined to the
Christian world. This popular tale, which Mahomet might learn
when he drove his camels to the fairs of Syria, is introduced as
a divine revelation, into the Koran. ^47 The story of the Seven
Sleepers has been adopted and adorned by the nations, from Bengal
to Africa, who profess the Mahometan religion; ^48 and some
vestiges of a similar tradition have been discovered in the
remote extremities of Scandinavia. ^49 This easy and universal
belief, so expressive of the sense of mankind, may be ascribed to
the genuine merit of the fable itself. We imperceptibly advance
from youth to age, without observing the gradual, but incessant,
change of human affairs; and even in our larger experience of
history, the imagination is accustomed, by a perpetual series of
causes and effects, to unite the most distant revolutions. But
if the interval between two memorable aeras could be instantly
annihilated; if it were possible, after a momentary slumber of
two hundred years, to display the new world to the eyes of a
spectator, who still retained a lively and recent impression of
the old, his surprise and his reflections would furnish the
pleasing subject of a philosophical romance. The scene could not
be more advantageously placed, than in the two centuries which
elapsed between the reigns of Decius and of Theodosius the
Younger. During this period, the seat of government had been
transported from Rome to a new city on the banks of the Thracian
Bosphorus; and the abuse of military spirit had been suppressed
by an artificial system of tame and ceremonious servitude. The
throne of the persecuting Decius was filled by a succession of
Christian and orthodox princes, who had extirpated the fabulous
gods of antiquity: and the public devotion of the age was
impatient to exalt the saints and martyrs of the Catholic church,
on the altars of Diana and Hercules. The union of the Roman
empire was dissolved; its genius was humbled in the dust; and
armies of unknown Barbarians, issuing from the frozen regions of
the North, had established their victorious reign over the
fairest provinces of Europe and Africa.

[Footnote 43: The choice of fabulous circumstances is of small
importance; yet I have confined myself to the narrative which was
translated from the Syriac by the care of Gregory of Tours, (de
Gloria Martyrum, l. i. c. 95, in Max. Bibliotheca Patrum, tom.
xi. p. 856,) to the Greek acts of their martyrdom (apud Photium,
p. 1400, 1401) and to the Annals of the Patriarch Eutychius,
(tom. i. p. 391, 531, 532, 535, Vers. Pocock.)]

[Footnote 44: Two Syriac writers, as they are quoted by
Assemanni, (Bibliot. Oriental. tom. i. p. 336, 338,) place the
resurrection of the Seven Sleepers in the year 736 (A.D. 425) or
748, (A.D. 437,) of the aera of the Seleucides. Their Greek acts,
which Photius had read, assign the date of the thirty-eighth year
of the reign of Theodosius, which may coincide either with A.D.
439, or 446. The period which had elapsed since the persecution
of Decius is easily ascertained; and nothing less than the
ignorance of Mahomet, or the legendaries, could suppose an
internal of three or four hundred years.]
[Footnote 45: James, one of the orthodox fathers of the Syrian
church, was born A.D. 452; he began to compose his sermons A.D.
474; he was made bishop of Batnae, in the district of Sarug, and
province of Mesopotamia, A.D. 519, and died A.D. 521.
(Assemanni, tom. i. p. 288, 289.) For the homily de Pueris
Ephesinis, see p. 335 - 339: though I could wish that Assemanni
had translated the text of James of Sarug, instead of answering
the objections of Baronius.]
[Footnote 46: See the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, Mensis
Julii, tom. vi. p. 375 - 397. This immense calendar of Saints,
in one hundred and twenty-six years, (1644 - 1770,) and in fifty
volumes in folio, has advanced no further than the 7th day of
October. The suppression of the Jesuits has most probably
checked an undertaking, which, through the medium of fable and
superstition, communicates much historical and philosophical
[Footnote 47: See Maracci Alcoran. Sura xviii. tom. ii. p. 420 -
427, and tom. i. part iv. p. 103. With such an ample privilege,
Mahomet has not shown much taste or ingenuity. He has invented
the dog (Al Rakim) the Seven Sleepers; the respect of the sun,
who altered his course twice a day, that he might not shine into
the cavern; and the care of God himself, who preserved their
bodies from putrefaction, by turning them to the right and left.]

[Footnote 48: See D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 139; and
Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 39, 40.]

[Footnote 49: Paul, the deacon of Aquileia, (de Gestis
Langobardorum, l. i. c. 4, p. 745, 746, edit. Grot.,) who lived
towards the end of the eight century, has placed in a cavern,
under a rock, on the shore of the ocean, the Seven Sleepers of
the North, whose long repose was respected by the Barbarians.
Their dress declared them to be Romans and the deacon
conjectures, that they were reserved by Providence as the future
apostles of those unbelieving countries.]

Chapter XXXIV: Attila.

Part I.

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

The Western world was oppressed by the Goths and Vandals,
who fled before the Huns; but the achievements of the Huns
themselves were not adequate to their power and prosperity.
Their victorious hordes had spread from the Volga to the Danube;
but the public force was exhausted by the discord of independent
chieftains; their valor was idly consumed in obscure and
predatory excursions; and they often degraded their national
dignity, by condescending, for the hopes of spoil, to enlist
under the banners of their fugitive enemies. In the reign of
Attila, ^1 the Huns again became the terror of the world; and I
shall now describe the character and actions of that formidable
Barbarian; who alternately insulted and invaded the East and the
West, and urged the rapid downfall of the Roman empire.

[Footnote 1: The authentic materials for the history of Attila,
may be found in Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 34-50, p.
668-688, edit. Grot.) and Priscus (Excerpta de Legationibus, p.
33-76, Paris, 1648.) I have not seen the Lives of Attila,
composed by Juvencus Caelius Calanus Dalmatinus, in the twelfth
century, or by Nicholas Olahus, archbishop of Gran, in the
sixteenth. See Mascou's History of the Germans, ix., and Maffei
Osservazioni Litterarie, tom. i. p. 88, 89. Whatever the modern
Hungarians have added must be fabulous; and they do not seem to
have excelled in the art of fiction. They suppose, that when
Attila invaded Gaul and Italy, married innumerable wives, &c., he
was one hundred and twenty years of age. Thewrocz Chron. c. i. p.
22, in Script. Hunger. tom. i. p. 76.]

In the tide of emigration which impetuously rolled from the
confines of China to those of Germany, the most powerful and
populous tribes may commonly be found on the verge of the Roman
provinces. The accumulated weight was sustained for a while by
artificial barriers; and the easy condescension of the emperors
invited, without satisfying, the insolent demands of the
Barbarians, who had acquired an eager appetite for the luxuries
of civilized life. The Hungarians, who ambitiously insert the
name of Attila among their native kings, may affirm with truth
that the hordes, which were subject to his uncle Roas, or
Rugilas, had formed their encampments within the limits of modern
Hungary, ^2 in a fertile country, which liberally supplied the
wants of a nation of hunters and shepherds. In this advantageous
situation, Rugilas, and his valiant brothers, who continually
added to their power and reputation, commanded the alternative of
peace or war with the two empires. His alliance with the Romans
of the West was cemented by his personal friendship for the great
Aetius; who was always secure of finding, in the Barbarian camp,
a hospitable reception and a powerful support. At his
solicitation, and in the name of John the usurper, sixty thousand
Huns advanced to the confines of Italy; their march and their
retreat were alike expensive to the state; and the grateful
policy of Aetius abandoned the possession of Pannonia to his
faithful confederates. The Romans of the East were not less
apprehensive of the arms of Rugilas, which threatened the
provinces, or even the capital. Some ecclesiastical historians
have destroyed the Barbarians with lightning and pestilence; ^3
but Theodosius was reduced to the more humble expedient of
stipulating an annual payment of three hundred and fifty pounds
of gold, and of disguising this dishonorable tribute by the title
of general, which the king of the Huns condescended to accept.
The public tranquillity was frequently interrupted by the fierce
impatience of the Barbarians, and the perfidious intrigues of the
Byzantine court. Four dependent nations, among whom we may
distinguish the Barbarians, disclaimed the sovereignty of the
Huns; and their revolt was encouraged and protected by a Roman
alliance; till the just claims, and formidable power, of Rugilas,
were effectually urged by the voice of Eslaw his ambassador.
Peace was the unanimous wish of the senate: their decree was
ratified by the emperor; and two ambassadors were named,
Plinthas, a general of Scythian extraction, but of consular rank;
and the quaestor Epigenes, a wise and experienced statesman, who
was recommended to that office by his ambitious colleague.
[Footnote 2: Hungary has been successively occupied by three
Scythian colonies. 1. The Huns of Attila; 2. The Abares, in the
sixth century; and, 3. The Turks or Magiars, A.D. 889; the
immediate and genuine ancestors of the modern Hungarians, whose
connection with the two former is extremely faint and remote.
The Prodromus and Notitia of Matthew Belius appear to contain a
rich fund of information concerning ancient and modern Hungary. I
have seen the extracts in Bibli otheque Ancienne et Moderne, tom.
xxii. p. 1 - 51, and Bibliotheque Raisonnee, tom. xvi. p. 127 -

Note: Mailath (in his Geschichte der Magyaren) considers the
question of the origin of the Magyars as still undecided. The
old Hungarian chronicles unanimously derived them from the Huns
of Attila See note, vol. iv. pp. 341, 342. The later opinion,
adopted by Schlozer, Belnay, and Dankowsky, ascribes them, from
their language, to the Finnish race. Fessler, in his history of
Hungary, agrees with Gibbon in supposing them Turks. Mailath has
inserted an ingenious dissertation of Fejer, which attempts to
connect them with the Parthians. Vol. i. Ammerkungen p. 50 - M.]

[Footnote 3: Socrates, l. vii. c. 43. Theodoret, l. v. c. 36.
Tillemont, who always depends on the faith of his ecclesiastical
authors, strenuously contends (Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 136,
607) that the wars and personages were not the same.]

The death of Rugilas suspended the progress of the treaty.
His two nephews, Attila and Bleda, who succeeded to the throne of
their uncle, consented to a personal interview with the
ambassadors of Constantinople; but as they proudly refused to
dismount, the business was transacted on horseback, in a spacious
plain near the city of Margus, in the Upper Maesia. The kings of
the Huns assumed the solid benefits, as well as the vain honors,
of the negotiation. They dictated the conditions of peace, and
each condition was an insult on the majesty of the empire.
Besides the freedom of a safe and plentiful market on the banks
of the Danube, they required that the annual contribution should
be augmented from three hundred and fifty to seven hundred pounds
of gold; that a fine or ransom of eight pieces of gold should be
paid for every Roman captive who had escaped from his Barbarian
master; that the emperor should renounce all treaties and
engagements with the enemies of the Huns; and that all the
fugitives who had taken refuge in the court or provinces of
Theodosius, should be delivered to the justice of their offended
sovereign. This justice was rigorously inflicted on some
unfortunate youths of a royal race. They were crucified on the
territories of the empire, by the command of Attila: and as soon
as the king of the Huns had impressed the Romans with the terror
of his name, he indulged them in a short and arbitrary respite,
whilst he subdued the rebellious or independent nations of
Scythia and Germany. ^4

[Footnote 4: See Priscus, p. 47, 48, and Hist. de Peuples de
l'Europe, tom. v. i. c. xii, xiii, xiv, xv.]

Attila, the son of Mundzuk, deduced his noble, perhaps his
regal, descent ^5 from the ancient Huns, who had formerly
contended with the monarchs of China. His features, according to
the observation of a Gothic historian, bore the stamp of his
national origin; and the portrait of Attila exhibits the genuine
deformity of a modern Calmuk; ^6 a large head, a swarthy
complexion, small, deep-seated eyes, a flat nose, a few hairs in
the place of a beard, broad shoulders, and a short square body,
of nervous strength, though of a disproportioned form. The
haughty step and demeanor of the king of the Huns expressed the
consciousness of his superiority above the rest of mankind; and
he had a custom of fiercely rolling his eyes, as if he wished to
enjoy the terror which he inspired. Yet this savage hero was not
inaccessible to pity; his suppliant enemies might confide in the
assurance of peace or pardon; and Attila was considered by his
subjects as a just and indulgent master. He delighted in war;
but, after he had ascended the throne in a mature age, his head,
rather than his hand, achieved the conquest of the North; and the
fame of an adventurous soldier was usefully exchanged for that of
a prudent and successful general. The effects of personal valor
are so inconsiderable, except in poetry or romance, that victory,
even among Barbarians, must depend on the degree of skill with
which the passions of the multitude are combined and guided for
the service of a single man. The Scythian conquerors, Attila and
Zingis, surpassed their rude countrymen in art rather than in
courage; and it may be observed that the monarchies, both of the
Huns and of the Moguls, were erected by their founders on the
basis of popular superstition The miraculous conception, which
fraud and credulity ascribed to the virgin-mother of Zingis,
raised him above the level of human nature; and the naked
prophet, who in the name of the Deity invested him with the
empire of the earth, pointed the valor of the Moguls with
irresistible enthusiasm. ^7 The religious arts of Attila were not
less skillfully adapted to the character of his age and country.
It was natural enough that the Scythians should adore, with
peculiar devotion, the god of war; but as they were incapable of
forming either an abstract idea, or a corporeal representation,
they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol of an iron
cimeter. ^8 One of the shepherds of the Huns perceived, that a
heifer, who was grazing, had wounded herself in the foot, and
curiously followed the track of the blood, till he discovered,
among the long grass, the point of an ancient sword, which he dug
out of the ground and presented to Attila. That magnanimous, or
rather that artful, prince accepted, with pious gratitude, this
celestial favor; and, as the rightful possessor of the sword of
Mars, asserted his divine and indefeasible claim to the dominion
of the earth. ^9 If the rites of Scythia were practised on this
solemn occasion, a lofty altar, or rather pile of fagots, three
hundred yards in length and in breadth, was raised in a spacious
plain; and the sword of Mars was placed erect on the summit of
this rustic altar, which was annually consecrated by the blood of
sheep, horses, and of the hundredth captive. ^10 Whether human
sacrifices formed any part of the worship of Attila, or whether
he propitiated the god of war with the victims which he
continually offered in the field of battle, the favorite of Mars
soon acquired a sacred character, which rended his conquests more
easy and more permanent; and the Barbarian princes confessed, in
the language of devotion or flattery, that they could not presume
to gaze, with a steady eye, on the divine majesty of the king of
the Huns. ^11 His brother Bleda, who reigned over a considerable
part of the nation, was compelled to resign his sceptre and his
life. Yet even this cruel act was attributed to a supernatural
impulse; and the vigor with which Attila wielded the sword of
Mars, convinced the world that it had been reserved alone for his
invincible arm. ^12 But the extent of his empire affords the only
remaining evidence of the number and importance of his victories;
and the Scythian monarch, however ignorant of the value of
science and philosophy, might perhaps lament that his illiterate
subjects were destitute of the art which could perpetuate the
memory of his exploits.

[Footnote 5: Priscus, p. 39. The modern Hungarians have deduced
his genealogy, which ascends, in the thirty-fifth degree, to Ham,
the son of Noah; yet they are ignorant of his father's real name.

(De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 297.)]

[Footnote 6: Compare Jornandes (c. 35, p. 661) with Buffon, Hist.
Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 380. The former had a right to observe,
originis suae sigua restituens. The character and portrait of
Attila are probably transcribed from Cassiodorus.]

[Footnote 7: Abulpharag. Pocock, p. 281. Genealogical History of
the Tartars, by Abulghazi Bahader Khan, part iii c. 15, part iv
c. 3. Vie de Gengiscan, par Petit de la Croix, l. 1, c. 1, 6.
The relations of the missionaries, who visited Tartary in the
thirteenth century, (see the seventh volume of the Histoire des
Voyages,) express the popular language and opinions; Zingis is
styled the son of God, &c. &c.]

[Footnote 8: Nec templum apud eos visitur, aut delubrum, ne
tugurium quidem culmo tectum cerni usquam potest; sed gladius
Barbarico ritu humi figitur nudus, eumque ut Martem regionum quas
circumcircant praesulem verecundius colunt. Ammian. Marcellin.
xxxi. 2, and the learned Notes of Lindenbrogius and Valesius.]
[Footnote 9: Priscus relates this remarkable story, both in his
own text (p. 65) and in the quotation made by Jornandes, (c. 35,
p. 662.) He might have explained the tradition, or fable, which
characterized this famous sword, and the name, as well as
attributes, of the Scythian deity, whom he has translated into
the Mars of the Greeks and Romans.]

[Footnote 10: Herodot. l. iv. c. 62. For the sake of economy, I
have calculated by the smallest stadium. In the human
sacrifices, they cut off the shoulder and arm of the victim,
which they threw up into the air, and drew omens and presages
from the manner of their falling on the pile]
[Footnote 11: Priscus, p. 65. A more civilized hero, Augustus
himself, was pleased, if the person on whom he fixed his eyes
seemed unable to support their divine lustre. Sueton. in August.
c. 79.]

[Footnote 12: The Count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe,
tom. vii. p. 428, 429) attempts to clear Attila from the murder
of his brother; and is almost inclined to reject the concurrent
testimony of Jornandes, and the contemporary Chronicles.]

If a line of separation were drawn between the civilized and
the savage climates of the globe; between the inhabitants of
cities, who cultivated the earth, and the hunters and shepherds,
who dwelt in tents, Attila might aspire to the title of supreme
and sole monarch of the Barbarians. ^13 He alone, among the
conquerors of ancient and modern times, united the two mighty
kingdoms of Germany and Scythia; and those vague appellations,
when they are applied to his reign, may be understood with an
ample latitude. Thuringia, which stretched beyond its actual
limits as far as the Danube, was in the number of his provinces;
he interposed, with the weight of a powerful neighbor, in the
domestic affairs of the Franks; and one of his lieutenants
chastised, and almost exterminated, the Burgundians of the Rhine.

He subdued the islands of the ocean, the kingdoms of Scandinavia,
encompassed and divided by the waters of the Baltic; and the Huns
might derive a tribute of furs from that northern region, which
has been protected from all other conquerors by the severity of
the climate, and the courage of the natives. Towards the East,
it is difficult to circumscribe the dominion of Attila over the
Scythian deserts; yet we may be assured, that he reigned on the
banks of the Volga; that the king of the Huns was dreaded, not
only as a warrior, but as a magician; ^14 that he insulted and
vanquished the khan of the formidable Geougen; and that he sent
ambassadors to negotiate an equal alliance with the empire of
China. In the proud review of the nations who acknowledged the
sovereignty of Attila, and who never entertained, during his
lifetime, the thought of a revolt, the Gepidae and the Ostrogoths
were distinguished by their numbers, their bravery, and the
personal merits of their chiefs. The renowned Ardaric, king of
the Gepidae, was the faithful and sagacious counsellor of the
monarch, who esteemed his intrepid genius, whilst he loved the
mild and discreet virtues of the noble Walamir, king of the
Ostrogoths. The crowd of vulgar kings, the leaders of so many
martial tribes, who served under the standard of Attila, were
ranged in the submissive order of guards and domestics round the
person of their master. They watched his nod; they trembled at
his frown; and at the first signal of his will, they executed,
without murmur or hesitation, his stern and absolute commands.
In time of peace, the dependent princes, with their national
troops, attended the royal camp in regular succession; but when
Attila collected his military force, he was able to bring into
the field an army of five, or, according to another account, of
seven hundred thousand Barbarians. ^15

[Footnote 13: Fortissimarum gentium dominus, qui inaudita ante se
potentia colus Scythica et Germanica regna possedit. Jornandes,
c. 49, p. 684. Priscus, p. 64, 65. M. de Guignes, by his
knowledge of the Chinese, has acquired (tom. ii. p. 295 - 301) an
adequate idea of the empire of Attila.]
[Footnote 14: See Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 296. The Geougen
believed that the Huns could excite, at pleasure, storms of wind
and rain. This phenomenon was produced by the stone Gezi; to
whose magic power the loss of a battle was ascribed by the
Mahometan Tartars of the fourteenth century. See Cherefeddin Ali,
Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. i. p. 82, 83.]

[Footnote 15: Jornandes, c. 35, p. 661, c. 37, p. 667. See
Tillemont, Hist. dea Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 129, 138. Corneille
has represented the pride of Attila to his subject kings, and his
tragedy opens with these two ridiculous lines: -

Ils ne sont pas venus, nos deux rois! qu'on leur die Qu'ils se
font trop attendre, et qu'Attila s'ennuie.

The two kings of the Gepidae and the Ostrogoths are profound
politicians and sentimental lovers, and the whole piece exhibits
the defects without the genius, of the poet.]

The ambassadors of the Huns might awaken the attention of
Theodosius, by reminding him that they were his neighbors both in
Europe and Asia; since they touched the Danube on one hand, and
reached, with the other, as far as the Tanais. In the reign of
his father Arcadius, a band of adventurous Huns had ravaged the
provinces of the East; from whence they brought away rich spoils
and innumerable captives. ^16 They advanced, by a secret path,
along the shores of the Caspian Sea; traversed the snowy
mountains of Armenia; passed the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the
Halys; recruited their weary cavalry with the generous breed of
Cappadocian horses; occupied the hilly country of Cilicia, and
disturbed the festal songs and dances of the citizens of Antioch.
Egypt trembled at their approach; and the monks and pilgrims of
the Holy Land prepared to escaped their fury by a speedy
embarkation. The memory of this invasion was still recent in the
minds of the Orientals. The subjects of Attila might execute,
with superior forces, the design which these adventurers had so
boldly attempted; and it soon became the subject of anxious
conjecture, whether the tempest would fall on the dominions of
Rome, or of Persia. Some of the great vassals of the king of the
Huns, who were themselves in the rank of powerful princes, had
been sent to ratify an alliance and society of arms with the
emperor, or rather with the general of the West. They related,
during their residence at Rome, the circumstances of an
expedition, which they had lately made into the East. After
passing a desert and a morass, supposed by the Romans to be the
Lake Maeotis, they penetrated through the mountains, and arrived,
at the end of fifteen days' march, on the confines of Media;
where they advanced as far as the unknown cities of Basic and
Cursic. ^* They encountered the Persian army in the plains of
Media and the air, according to their own expression, was
darkened by a cloud of arrows. But the Huns were obliged to
retire before the numbers of the enemy. Their laborious retreat
was effected by a different road; they lost the greatest part of
their booty; and at length returned to the royal camp, with some
knowledge of the country, and an impatient desire of revenge. In
the free conversation of the Imperial ambassadors, who discussed,
at the court of Attila, the character and designs of their
formidable enemy, the ministers of Constantinople expressed their
hope, that his strength might be diverted and employed in a long
and doubtful contest with the princes of the house of Sassan.
The more sagacious Italians admonished their Eastern brethren of
the folly and danger of such a hope; and convinced them, that the
Medes and Persians were incapable of resisting the arms of the
Huns; and that the easy and important acquisition would exalt the
pride, as well as power, of the conqueror. Instead of contenting
himself with a moderate contribution, and a military title, which
equalled him only to the generals of Theodosius, Attila would
proceed to impose a disgraceful and intolerable yoke on the necks
of the prostrate and captive Romans, who would then be
encompassed, on all sides, by the empire of the Huns. ^17
[Footnote 16: - alii per Caspia claustra
Armeniasque nives, inopino tramite ducti

Invadunt Orientis opes: jam pascua fumant

Cappadocum, volucrumque parens Argaeus equorum.

Jam rubet altus Halys, nec se defendit iniquo

Monte Cilix; Syriae tractus vestantur amoeni

Assuetumque choris, et laeta plebe canorum,

Proterit imbellem sonipes hostilis Orontem.
Claudian, in Rufin. l. ii. 28 - 35.

See likewise, in Eutrop. l. i. 243 - 251, and the strong
description of Jerom, who wrote from his feelings, tom. i. p. 26,
ad Heliodor. p. 200 ad Ocean. Philostorgius (l. ix. c. 8)
mentions this irruption.]

[Footnote *: Gibbon has made a curious mistake; Basic and Cursic
were the names of the commanders of the Huns. Priscus, edit.
Bonn, p. 200. - M.]
[Footnote 17: See the original conversation in Priscus, p. 64,
While the powers of Europe and Asia were solicitous to avert
the impending danger, the alliance of Attila maintained the
Vandals in the possession of Africa. An enterprise had been
concerted between the courts of Ravenna and Constantinople, for
the recovery of that valuable province; and the ports of Sicily
were already filled with the military and naval forces of
Theodosius. But the subtle Genseric, who spread his negotiations
round the world, prevented their designs, by exciting the king of
the Huns to invade the Eastern empire; and a trifling incident
soon became the motive, or pretence, of a destructive war. ^18
Under the faith of the treaty of Margus, a free market was held
on the Northern side of the Danube, which was protected by a
Roman fortress surnamed Constantia. A troop of Barbarians
violated the commercial security; killed, or dispersed, the
unsuspecting traders; and levelled the fortress with the ground.
The Huns justified this outrage as an act of reprisal; alleged,
that the bishop of Margus had entered their territories, to
discover and steal a secret treasure of their kings; and sternly
demanded the guilty prelate, the sacrilegious spoil, and the
fugitive subjects, who had escaped from the justice of Attila.
The refusal of the Byzantine court was the signal of war; and the
Maesians at first applauded the generous firmness of their
sovereign. But they were soon intimidated by the destruction of
Viminiacum and the adjacent towns; and the people was persuaded
to adopt the convenient maxim, that a private citizen, however
innocent or respectable, may be justly sacrificed to the safety
of his country. The bishop of Margus, who did not possess the
spirit of a martyr, resolved to prevent the designs which he
suspected. He boldly treated with the princes of the Huns:
secured, by solemn oaths, his pardon and reward; posted a
numerous detachment of Barbarians, in silent ambush, on the banks
of the Danube; and, at the appointed hour, opened, with his own
hand, the gates of his episcopal city. This advantage, which had
been obtained by treachery, served as a prelude to more honorable
and decisive victories. The Illyrian frontier was covered by a
line of castles and fortresses; and though the greatest part of
them consisted only of a single tower, with a small garrison,
they were commonly sufficient to repel, or to intercept, the
inroads of an enemy, who was ignorant of the art, and impatient
of the delay, of a regular siege. But these slight obstacles
were instantly swept away by the inundation of the Huns. ^19 They
destroyed, with fire and sword, the populous cities of Sirmium
and Singidunum, of Ratiaria and Marcianopolis, of Naissus and
Sardica; where every circumstance of the discipline of the
people, and the construction of the buildings, had been gradually
adapted to the sole purpose of defence. The whole breadth of
Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the Euxine to
the Hadriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, and desolated,
by the myriads of Barbarians whom Attila led into the field. The
public danger and distress could not, however, provoke Theodosius
to interrupt his amusements and devotion, or to appear in person
at the head of the Roman legions. But the troops, which had been
sent against Genseric, were hastily recalled from Sicily; the
garrisons, on the side of Persia, were exhausted; and a military
force was collected in Europe, formidable by their arms and
numbers, if the generals had understood the science of command,
and the soldiers the duty of obedience. The armies of the
Eastern empire were vanquished in three successive engagements;
and the progress of Attila may be traced by the fields of battle.

The two former, on the banks of the Utus, and under the walls of
Marcianopolis, were fought in the extensive plains between the
Danube and Mount Haemus. As the Romans were pressed by a
victorious enemy, they gradually, and unskilfully, retired
towards the Chersonesus of Thrace; and that narrow peninsula, the
last extremity of the land, was marked by their third, and
irreparable, defeat. By the destruction of this army, Attila
acquired the indisputable possession of the field. From the
Hellespont to Thermopylae, and the suburbs of Constantinople, he
ravaged, without resistance, and without mercy, the provinces of
Thrace and Macedonia. Heraclea and Hadrianople might, perhaps,
escape this dreadful irruption of the Huns; but the words, the
most expressive of total extirpation and erasure, are applied to
the calamities which they inflicted on seventy cities of the
Eastern empire. ^20 Theodosius, his court, and the unwarlike
people, were protected by the walls of Constantinople; but those
walls had been shaken by a recent earthquake, and the fall of
fifty-eight towers had opened a large and tremendous breach. The
damage indeed was speedily repaired; but this accident was
aggravated by a superstitious fear, that Heaven itself had
delivered the Imperial city to the shepherds of Scythia, who were
strangers to the laws, the language, and the religion, of the
Romans. ^21

[Footnote 18: Priscus, p. 331. His history contained a copious
and elegant account of the war, (Evagrius, l. i. c. 17;) but the
extracts which relate to the embassies are the only parts that
have reached our times. The original work was accessible,
however, to the writers from whom we borrow our imperfect
knowledge, Jornandes, Theophanes, Count Marcellinus, Prosper-
Tyro, and the author of the Alexandrian, or Paschal, Chronicle.
M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii. c. xv.) has
examined the cause, the circumstances, and the duration of this
war; and will not allow it to extend beyond the year 44.]

[Footnote 19: Procopius, de Edificiis, l. 4, c. 5. These
fortresses were afterwards restored, strengthened, and enlarged
by the emperor Justinian, but they were soon destroyed by the
Abares, who succeeded to the power and possessions of the Huns.]
[Footnote 20: Septuaginta civitates (says Prosper-Tyro)
depredatione vastatoe. The language of Count Marcellinus is still
more forcible. Pene totam Europam, invasis excisisque
civitatibus atque castellis, conrasit.]
[Footnote 21: Tillemont (Hist des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 106,
107) has paid great attention to this memorable earthquake; which
was felt as far from Constantinople as Antioch and Alexandria,
and is celebrated by all the ecclesiastical writers. In the
hands of a popular preacher, an earthquake is an engine of
admirable effect.]

In all their invasions of the civilized empires of the
South, the Scythian shepherds have been uniformly actuated by a
savage and destructive spirit. The laws of war, that restrain
the exercise of national rapine and murder, are founded on two
principles of substantial interest: the knowledge of the
permanent benefits which may be obtained by a moderate use of
conquest; and a just apprehension, lest the desolation which we
inflict on the enemy's country may be retaliated on our own. But
these considerations of hope and fear are almost unknown in the
pastoral state of nations. The Huns of Attila may, without
injustice, be compared to the Moguls and Tartars, before their
primitive manners were changed by religion and luxury; and the
evidence of Oriental history may reflect some light on the short
and imperfect annals of Rome. After the Moguls had subdued the
northern provinces of China, it was seriously proposed, not in
the hour of victory and passion, but in calm deliberate council,
to exterminate all the inhabitants of that populous country, that
the vacant land might be converted to the pasture of cattle. The
firmness of a Chinese mandarin, ^22 who insinuated some
principles of rational policy into the mind of Zingis, diverted
him from the execution of this horrid design. But in the cities
of Asia, which yielded to the Moguls, the inhuman abuse of the
rights of war was exercised with a regular form of discipline,
which may, with equal reason, though not with equal authority, be
imputed to the victorious Huns. The inhabitants, who had
submitted to their discretion, were ordered to evacuate their
houses, and to assemble in some plain adjacent to the city; where
a division was made of the vanquished into three parts. The
first class consisted of the soldiers of the garrison, and of the
young men capable of bearing arms; and their fate was instantly
decided they were either enlisted among the Moguls, or they were
massacred on the spot by the troops, who, with pointed spears and
bended bows, had formed a circle round the captive multitude.
The second class, composed of the young and beautiful women, of
the artificers of every rank and profession, and of the more
wealthy or honorable citizens, from whom a private ransom might
be expected, was distributed in equal or proportionable lots.
The remainder, whose life or death was alike useless to the
conquerors, were permitted to return to the city; which, in the
mean while, had been stripped of its valuable furniture; and a
tax was imposed on those wretched inhabitants for the indulgence
of breathing their native air. Such was the behavior of the
Moguls, when they were not conscious of any extraordinary rigor.
^23 But the most casual provocation, the slightest motive of
caprice or convenience, often provoked them to involve a whole
people in an indiscriminate massacre; and the ruin of some
flourishing cities was executed with such unrelenting
perseverance, that, according to their own expression, horses
might run, without stumbling, over the ground where they had once
stood. The three great capitals of Khorasan, Maru, Neisabour,
and Herat, were destroyed by the armies of Zingis; and the exact
account which was taken of the slain amounted to four millions
three hundred and forty-seven thousand persons. ^24 Timur, or
Tamerlane, was educated in a less barbarous age, and in the
profession of the Mahometan religion; yet, if Attila equalled the
hostile ravages of Tamerlane, ^25 either the Tartar or the Hun
might deserve the epithet of the Scourge of God. ^26

[Footnote 22: He represented to the emperor of the Moguls that
the four provinces, (Petcheli, Chantong, Chansi, and
Leaotong,)which he already possessed, might annually produce,
under a mild administration, 500,000 ounces of silver, 400,000
measures of rice, and 800,000 pieces of silk. Gaubil, Hist. de la
Dynastie des Mongous, p. 58, 59. Yelut chousay (such was the
name of the mandarin) was a wise and virtuous minister, who saved
his country, and civilized the conquerors.

Note: Compare the life of this remarkable man, translated
from the Chinese by M. Abel Remusat. Nouveaux Melanges
Asiatiques, t. ii. p. 64. - M]
[Footnote 23: Particular instances would be endless; but the
curious reader may consult the life of Gengiscan, by Petit de la
Croix, the Histoire des Mongous, and the fifteenth book of the
History of the Huns.]
[Footnote 24: At Maru, 1,300,000; at Herat, 1,600,000; at
Neisabour, 1,747,000. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p.
380, 381. I use the orthography of D'Anville's maps. It must,
however, be allowed, that the Persians were disposed to
exaggerate their losses and the Moguls to magnify their

[Footnote 25: Cherefeddin Ali, his servile panegyrist, would
afford us many horrid examples. In his camp before Delhi, Timour
massacred 100,000 Indian prisoners, who had smiled when the army
of their countrymen appeared in sight, (Hist. de Timur Bec, tom.
iii. p. 90.) The people of Ispahan supplied 70,000 human skulls
for the structure of several lofty towers, (id. tom. i. p. 434.)
A similar tax was levied on the revolt of Bagdad, (tom. iii. p.
370;) and the exact account, which Cherefeddin was not able to
procure from the proper officers, is stated by another historian
(Ahmed Arabsiada, tom. ii. p. 175, vera Manger) at 90,000 heads.]

[Footnote 26: The ancients, Jornandes, Priscus, &c., are ignorant
of this epithet. The modern Hungarians have imagined, that it
was applied, by a hermit of Gaul, to Attila, who was pleased to
insert it among the titles of his royal dignity. Mascou, ix. 23,
and Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 143.]

Chapter XXXIV: Attila.

Part II.

It may be affirmed, with bolder assurance, that the Huns
depopulated the provinces of the empire, by the number of Roman
subjects whom they led away into captivity. In the hands of a
wise legislator, such an industrious colony might have
contributed to diffuse through the deserts of Scythia the
rudiments of the useful and ornamental arts; but these captives,
who had been taken in war, were accidentally dispersed among the
hordes that obeyed the empire of Attila. The estimate of their
respective value was formed by the simple judgment of
unenlightened and unprejudiced Barbarians. Perhaps they might
not understand the merit of a theologian, profoundly skilled in
the controversies of the Trinity and the Incarnation; yet they
respected the ministers of every religion and the active zeal of
the Christian missionaries, without approaching the person or the
palace of the monarch, successfully labored in the propagation of
the gospel. ^27 The pastoral tribes, who were ignorant of the
distinction of landed property, must have disregarded the use, as
well as the abuse, of civil jurisprudence; and the skill of an
eloquent lawyer could excite only their contempt or their
abhorrence. ^28 The perpetual intercourse of the Huns and the
Goths had communicated the familiar knowledge of the two national
dialects; and the Barbarians were ambitious of conversing in
Latin, the military idiom even of the Eastern empire. ^29 But
they disdained the language and the sciences of the Greeks; and
the vain sophist, or grave philosopher, who had enjoyed the
flattering applause of the schools, was mortified to find that
his robust servant was a captive of more value and importance
than himself. The mechanic arts were encouraged and esteemed, as
they tended to satisfy the wants of the Huns. An architect in
the service of Onegesius, one of the favorites of Attila, was
employed to construct a bath; but this work was a rare example of
private luxury; and the trades of the smith, the carpenter, the
armorer, were much more adapted to supply a wandering people with
the useful instruments of peace and war. But the merit of the
physician was received with universal favor and respect: the
Barbarians, who despised death, might be apprehensive of disease;
and the haughty conqueror trembled in the presence of a captive,
to whom he ascribed, perhaps, an imaginary power of prolonging or
preserving his life. ^30 The Huns might be provoked to insult the
misery of their slaves, over whom they exercised a despotic
command; ^31 but their manners were not susceptible of a refined
system of oppression; and the efforts of courage and diligence
were often recompensed by the gift of freedom. The historian
Priscus, whose embassy is a source of curious instruction, was
accosted in the camp of Attila by a stranger, who saluted him in
the Greek language, but whose dress and figure displayed the
appearance of a wealthy Scythian. In the siege of Viminiacum, he
had lost, according to his own account, his fortune and liberty;
he became the slave of Onegesius; but his faithful services,
against the Romans and the Acatzires, had gradually raised him to
the rank of the native Huns; to whom he was attached by the
domestic pledges of a new wife and several children. The spoils
of war had restored and improved his private property; he was
admitted to the table of his former lord; and the apostate Greek
blessed the hour of his captivity, since it had been the
introduction to a happy and independent state; which he held by
the honorable tenure of military service. This reflection
naturally produced a dispute on the advantages and defects of the
Roman government, which was severely arraigned by the apostate,
and defended by Priscus in a prolix and feeble declamation. The
freedman of Onegesius exposed, in true and lively colors, the
vices of a declining empire, of which he had so long been the
victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman princes, unable to
protect their subjects against the public enemy, unwilling to
trust them with arms for their own defence; the intolerable
weight of taxes, rendered still more oppressive by the intricate
or arbitrary modes of collection; the obscurity of numerous and
contradictory laws; the tedious and expensive forms of judicial
proceedings; the partial administration of justice; and the
universal corruption, which increased the influence of the rich,
and aggravated the misfortunes of the poor. A sentiment of
patriotic sympathy was at length revived in the breast of the
fortunate exile; and he lamented, with a flood of tears, the
guilt or weakness of those magistrates who had perverted the
wisest and most salutary institutions. ^32

[Footnote 27: The missionaries of St. Chrysostom had converted
great numbers of the Scythians, who dwelt beyond the Danube in
tents and wagons. Theodoret, l. v. c. 31. Photius, p. 1517. The
Mahometans, the Nestorians, and the Latin Christians, thought
themselves secure of gaining the sons and grandsons of Zingis,
who treated the rival missionaries with impartial favor.]
[Footnote 28: The Germans, who exterminated Varus and his
legions, had been particularly offended with the Roman laws and
lawyers. One of the Barbarians, after the effectual precautions
of cutting out the tongue of an advocate, and sewing up his
mouth, observed, with much satisfaction, that the viper could no
longer hiss. Florus, iv. 12.]

[Footnote 29: Priscus, p. 59. It should seem that the Huns
preferred the Gothic and Latin languages to their own; which was
probably a harsh and barren idiom.]

[Footnote 30: Philip de Comines, in his admirable picture of the
last moments of Lewis XI., (Memoires, l. vi. c. 12,) represents
the insolence of his physician, who, in five months, extorted
54,000 crowns, and a rich bishopric, from the stern, avaricious

[Footnote 31: Priscus (p. 61) extols the equity of the Roman
laws, which protected the life of a slave. Occidere solent (says
Tacitus of the Germans) non disciplina et severitate, sed impetu
et ira, ut inimicum, nisi quod impune. De Moribus Germ. c. 25.
The Heruli, who were the subjects of Attila, claimed, and
exercised, the power of life and death over their slaves. See a
remarkable instance in the second book of Agathias]

[Footnote 32: See the whole conversation in Priscus, p. 59 - 62.]

The timid or selfish policy of the Western Romans had
abandoned the Eastern empire to the Huns. ^33 The loss of armies,
and the want of discipline or virtue, were not supplied by the
personal character of the monarch. Theodosius might still affect
the style, as well as the title, of Invincible Augustus; but he
was reduced to solicit the clemency of Attila, who imperiously
dictated these harsh and humiliating conditions of peace. I. The
emperor of the East resigned, by an express or tacit convention,
an extensive and important territory, which stretched along the
southern banks of the Danube, from Singidunum, or Belgrade, as
far as Novae, in the diocese of Thrace. The breadth was defined
by the vague computation of fifteen ^* days' journey; but, from
the proposal of Attila to remove the situation of the national
market, it soon appeared, that he comprehended the ruined city of
Naissus within the limits of his dominions. II. The king of the
Huns required and obtained, that his tribute or subsidy should be
augmented from seven hundred pounds of gold to the annual sum of
two thousand one hundred; and he stipulated the immediate payment
of six thousand pounds of gold, to defray the expenses, or to
expiate the guilt, of the war. One might imagine, that such a
demand, which scarcely equalled the measure of private wealth,
would have been readily discharged by the opulent empire of the
East; and the public distress affords a remarkable proof of the
impoverished, or at least of the disorderly, state of the
finances. A large proportion of the taxes extorted from the
people was detained and intercepted in their passage, though the
foulest channels, to the treasury of Constantinople. The revenue
was dissipated by Theodosius and his favorites in wasteful and
profuse luxury; which was disguised by the names of Imperial
magnificence, or Christian charity. The immediate supplies had
been exhausted by the unforeseen necessity of military
preparations. A personal contribution, rigorously, but
capriciously, imposed on the members of the senatorian order, was
the only expedient that could disarm, without loss of time, the
impatient avarice of Attila; and the poverty of the nobles
compelled them to adopt the scandalous resource of exposing to
public auction the jewels of their wives, and the hereditary
ornaments of their palaces. ^34 III. The king of the Huns
appears to have established, as a principle of national
jurisprudence, that he could never lose the property, which he
had once acquired, in the persons who had yielded either a
voluntary, or reluctant, submission to his authority. From this
principle he concluded, and the conclusions of Attila were
irrevocable laws, that the Huns, who had been taken prisoner in
war, should be released without delay, and without ransom; that
every Roman captive, who had presumed to escape, should purchase
his right to freedom at the price of twelve pieces of gold; and
that all the Barbarians, who had deserted the standard of Attila,
should be restored, without any promise or stipulation of pardon.

In the execution of this cruel and ignominious treaty, the
Imperial officers were forced to massacre several loyal and noble
deserters, who refused to devote themselves to certain death; and
the Romans forfeited all reasonable claims to the friendship of
any Scythian people, by this public confession, that they were
destitute either of faith, or power, to protect the suppliant,
who had embraced the throne of Theodosius. ^35

[Footnote 33: Nova iterum Orienti assurgit ruina ... quum nulla
ab Cocidentalibus ferrentur auxilia. Prosper Tyro composed his
Chronicle in the West; and his observation implies a censure.]
[Footnote *: Five in the last edition of Priscus. Niebuhr, Byz.
Hist. p 147 - M]

[Footnote 34: According to the description, or rather invective,
of Chrysostom, an auction of Byzantine luxury must have been very
productive. Every wealthy house possessed a semicircular table of
massy silver such as two men could scarcely lift, a vase of solid
gold of the weight of forty pounds, cups, dishes, of the same
metal, &c.]

[Footnote 35: The articles of the treaty, expressed without much
order or precision, may be found in Priscus, (p. 34, 35, 36, 37,
53, &c.) Count Marcellinus dispenses some comfort, by observing,
1. That Attila himself solicited the peace and presents, which he
had formerly refused; and, 2dly, That, about the same time, the
ambassadors of India presented a fine large tame tiger to the
emperor Theodosius.]

The firmness of a single town, so obscure, that, except on
this occasion, it has never been mentioned by any historian or
geographer, exposed the disgrace of the emperor and empire.
Azimus, or Azimuntium, a small city of Thrace on the Illyrian
borders, ^36 had been distinguished by the martial spirit of its
youth, the skill and reputation of the leaders whom they had
chosen, and their daring exploits against the innumerable host of
the Barbarians. Instead of tamely expecting their approach, the
Azimuntines attacked, in frequent and successful sallies, the
troops of the Huns, who gradually declined the dangerous
neighborhood, rescued from their hands the spoil and the
captives, and recruited their domestic force by the voluntary
association of fugitives and deserters. After the conclusion of
the treaty, Attila still menaced the empire with implacable war,
unless the Azimuntines were persuaded, or compelled, to comply
with the conditions which their sovereign had accepted. The
ministers of Theodosius confessed with shame, and with truth,
that they no longer possessed any authority over a society of
men, who so bravely asserted their natural independence; and the
king of the Huns condescended to negotiate an equal exchange with
the citizens of Azimus. They demanded the restitution of some
shepherds, who, with their cattle, had been accidentally
surprised. A strict, though fruitless, inquiry was allowed: but
the Huns were obliged to swear, that they did not detain any
prisoners belonging to the city, before they could recover two
surviving countrymen, whom the Azimuntines had reserved as
pledges for the safety of their lost companions. Attila, on his
side, was satisfied, and deceived, by their solemn asseveration,
that the rest of the captives had been put to the sword; and that
it was their constant practice, immediately to dismiss the Romans
and the deserters, who had obtained the security of the public
faith. This prudent and officious dissimulation may be
condemned, or excused, by the casuists, as they incline to the
rigid decree of St. Augustin, or to the milder sentiment of St.
Jerom and St. Chrysostom: but every soldier, every statesman,
must acknowledge, that, if the race of the Azimuntines had been
encouraged and multiplied, the Barbarians would have ceased to
trample on the majesty of the empire. ^37

[Footnote 36: Priscus, p. 35, 36. Among the hundred and
eighty-two forts, or castles, of Thrace, enumerated by Procopius,
(de Edificiis, l. iv. c. xi. tom. ii. p. 92, edit. Paris,) there
is one of the name of Esimontou, whose position is doubtfully
marked, in the neighborhood of Anchialus and the Euxine Sea. The
name and walls of Azimuntium might subsist till the reign of
Justinian; but the race of its brave defenders had been carefully
extirpated by the jealousy of the Roman princes]

[Footnote 37: The peevish dispute of St. Jerom and St. Augustin,
who labored, by different expedients, to reconcile the seeming
quarrel of the two apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, depends on
the solution of an important question, (Middleton's Works, vol.
ii. p. 5 - 20,) which has been frequently agitated by Catholic
and Protestant divines, and even by lawyers and philosophers of
every age.]

It would have been strange, indeed, if Theodosius had
purchased, by the loss of honor, a secure and solid tranquillity,
or if his tameness had not invited the repetition of injuries.
The Byzantine court was insulted by five or six successive
embassies; ^38 and the ministers of Attila were uniformly
instructed to press the tardy or imperfect execution of the last
treaty; to produce the names of fugitives and deserters, who were
still protected by the empire; and to declare, with seeming
moderation, that, unless their sovereign obtained complete and
immediate satisfaction, it would be impossible for him, were it
even his wish, to check the resentment of his warlike tribes.
Besides the motives of pride and interest, which might prompt the
king of the Huns to continue this train of negotiation, he was
influenced by the less honorable view of enriching his favorites
at the expense of his enemies. The Imperial treasury was
exhausted, to procure the friendly offices of the ambassadors and
their principal attendants, whose favorable report might conduce
to the maintenance of peace. The Barbarian monarch was flattered
by the liberal reception of his ministers; he computed, with
pleasure, the value and splendor of their gifts, rigorously
exacted the performance of every promise which would contribute
to their private emolument, and treated as an important business
of state the marriage of his secretary Constantius. ^39 That
Gallic adventurer, who was recommended by Aetius to the king of
the Huns, had engaged his service to the ministers of
Constantinople, for the stipulated reward of a wealthy and noble
wife; and the daughter of Count Saturninus was chosen to
discharge the obligations of her country. The reluctance of the
victim, some domestic troubles, and the unjust confiscation of
her fortune, cooled the ardor of her interested lover; but he
still demanded, in the name of Attila, an equivalent alliance;
and, after many ambiguous delays and excuses, the Byzantine court
was compelled to sacrifice to this insolent stranger the widow of
Armatius, whose birth, opulence, and beauty, placed her in the
most illustrious rank of the Roman matrons. For these
importunate and oppressive embassies, Attila claimed a suitable
return: he weighed, with suspicious pride, the character and
station of the Imperial envoys; but he condescended to promise
that he would advance as far as Sardica to receive any ministers
who had been invested with the consular dignity. The council of
Theodosius eluded this proposal, by representing the desolate and
ruined condition of Sardica, and even ventured to insinuate that
every officer of the army or household was qualified to treat
with the most powerful princes of Scythia. Maximin, ^40 a
respectable courtier, whose abilities had been long exercised in
civil and military employments, accepted, with reluctance, the
troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, commission of reconciling the
angry spirit of the king of the Huns. His friend, the historian
Priscus, ^41 embraced the opportunity of observing the Barbarian
hero in the peaceful and domestic scenes of life: but the secret
of the embassy, a fatal and guilty secret, was intrusted only to
the interpreter Vigilius. The two last ambassadors of the Huns,
Orestes, a noble subject of the Pannonian province, and Edecon, a
valiant chieftain of the tribe of the Scyrri, returned at the
same time from Constantinople to the royal camp. Their obscure
names were afterwards illustrated by the extraordinary fortune
and the contrast of their sons: the two servants of Attila became
the fathers of the last Roman emperor of the West, and of the
first Barbarian king of Italy.

[Footnote 38: Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c. c.
xix.) has delineated, with a bold and easy pencil, some of the
most striking circumstances of the pride of Attila, and the
disgrace of the Romans. He deserves the praise of having read
the Fragments of Priscus, which have been too much disregarded.]
[Footnote 39: See Priscus, p. 69, 71, 72, &c. I would fain
believe, that this adventurer was afterwards crucified by the
order of Attila, on a suspicion of treasonable practices; but
Priscus (p. 57) has too plainly distinguished two persons of the
name of Constantius, who, from the similar events of their lives,
might have been easily confounded.]

[Footnote 40: In the Persian treaty, concluded in the year 422,
the wise and eloquent Maximin had been the assessor of
Ardaburius, (Socrates, l. vii. c. 20.) When Marcian ascended the
throne, the office of Great Chamberlain was bestowed on Maximin,
who is ranked, in the public edict, among the four principal
ministers of state, (Novell. ad Calc. Cod. Theod. p. 31.) He
executed a civil and military commission in the Eastern
provinces; and his death was lamented by the savages of
Aethiopia, whose incursions he had repressed. See Priscus, p.
40, 41.]

[Footnote 41: Priscus was a native of Panium in Thrace, and
deserved, by his eloquence, an honorable place among the sophists
of the age. His Byzantine history, which related to his own
times, was comprised in seven books. See Fabricius, Bibliot.
Graec. tom. vi. p. 235, 236. Notwithstanding the charitable
judgment of the critics, I suspect that Priscus was a Pagan.

Note: Niebuhr concurs in this opinion. Life of Priscus in the
new edition of the Byzantine historians. - M]

The ambassadors, who were followed by a numerous train of
men and horses, made their first halt at Sardica, at the distance
of three hundred and fifty miles, or thirteen days' journey, from
Constantinople. As the remains of Sardica were still included
within the limits of the empire, it was incumbent on the Romans
to exercise the duties of hospitality. They provided, with the
assistance of the provincials, a sufficient number of sheep and
oxen, and invited the Huns to a splendid, or at least, a
plentiful supper. But the harmony of the entertainment was soon
disturbed by mutual prejudice and indiscretion. The greatness of
the emperor and the empire was warmly maintained by their
ministers; the Huns, with equal ardor, asserted the superiority
of their victorious monarch: the dispute was inflamed by the rash
and unseasonable flattery of Vigilius, who passionately rejected
the comparison of a mere mortal with the divine Theodosius; and
it was with extreme difficulty that Maximin and Priscus were able
to divert the conversation, or to soothe the angry minds, of the
Barbarians. When they rose from table, the Imperial ambassador
presented Edecon and Orestes with rich gifts of silk robes and
Indian pearls, which they thankfully accepted. Yet Orestes could
not forbear insinuating that he had not always been treated with
such respect and liberality: and the offensive distinction which
was implied, between his civil office and the hereditary rank of
his colleague seems to have made Edecon a doubtful friend, and
Orestes an irreconcilable enemy. After this entertainment, they
travelled about one hundred miles from Sardica to Naissus. That
flourishing city, which has given birth to the great Constantine,
was levelled with the ground: the inhabitants were destroyed or
dispersed; and the appearance of some sick persons, who were
still permitted to exist among the ruins of the churches, served
only to increase the horror of the prospect. The surface of the
country was covered with the bones of the slain; and the
ambassadors, who directed their course to the north-west, were
obliged to pass the hills of modern Servia, before they descended
into the flat and marshy grounds which are terminated by the
Danube. The Huns were masters of the great river: their
navigation was performed in large canoes, hollowed out of the
trunk of a single tree; the ministers of Theodosius were safely
landed on the opposite bank; and their Barbarian associates
immediately hastened to the camp of Attila, which was equally
prepared for the amusements of hunting or of war. No sooner had
Maximin advanced about two miles ^* from the Danube, than he
began to experience the fastidious insolence of the conqueror.
He was sternly forbid to pitch his tents in a pleasant valley,
lest he should infringe the distant awe that was due to the royal
mansion. ^! The ministers of Attila pressed them to communicate
the business, and the instructions, which he reserved for the ear
of their sovereign When Maximin temperately urged the contrary
practice of nations, he was still more confounded to find that
the resolutions of the Sacred Consistory, those secrets (says
Priscus) which should not be revealed to the gods themselves, had
been treacherously disclosed to the public enemy. On his refusal
to comply with such ignominious terms, the Imperial envoy was
commanded instantly to depart; the order was recalled; it was
again repeated; and the Huns renewed their ineffectual attempts
to subdue the patient firmness of Maximin. At length, by the
intercession of Scotta, the brother of Onegesius, whose
friendship had been purchased by a liberal gift, he was admitted
to the royal presence; but, in stead of obtaining a decisive
answer, he was compelled to undertake a remote journey towards
the north, that Attila might enjoy the proud satisfaction of
receiving, in the same camp, the ambassadors of the Eastern and
Western empires. His journey was regulated by the guides, who
obliged him to halt, to hasten his march, or to deviate from the
common road, as it best suited the convenience of the king. The
Romans, who traversed the plains of Hungary, suppose that they
passed several navigable rivers, either in canoes or portable
boats; but there is reason to suspect that the winding stream of
the Teyss, or Tibiscus, might present itself in different places
under different names. From the contiguous villages they
received a plentiful and regular supply of provisions; mead
instead of wine, millet in the place of bread, and a certain
liquor named camus, which according to the report of Priscus, was
distilled from barley. ^42 Such fare might appear coarse and
indelicate to men who had tasted the luxury of Constantinople;
but, in their accidental distress, they were relieved by the
gentleness and hospitality of the same Barbarians, so terrible
and so merciless in war. The ambassadors had encamped on the
edge of a large morass. A violent tempest of wind and rain, of
thunder and lightning, overturned their tents, immersed their
baggage and furniture in the water, and scattered their retinue,
who wandered in the darkness of the night, uncertain of their
road, and apprehensive of some unknown danger, till they awakened
by their cries the inhabitants of a neighboring village, the
property of the widow of Bleda. A bright illumination, and, in a
few moments, a comfortable fire of reeds, was kindled by their
officious benevolence; the wants, and even the desires, of the
Romans were liberally satisfied; and they seem to have been
embarrassed by the singular politeness of Bleda's widow, who
added to her other favors the gift, or at least the loan, of a
sufficient number of beautiful and obsequious damsels. The
sunshine of the succeeding day was dedicated to repose, to
collect and dry the baggage, and to the refreshment of the men
and horses: but, in the evening, before they pursued their
journey, the ambassadors expressed their gratitude to the
bounteous lady of the village, by a very acceptable present of
silver cups, red fleeces, dried fruits, and Indian pepper. Soon
after this adventure, they rejoined the march of Attila, from
whom they had been separated about six days, and slowly proceeded
to the capital of an empire, which did not contain, in the space
of several thousand miles, a single city.

[Footnote *: 70 stadia. Priscus, 173. - M.]

[Footnote !: He was forbidden to pitch his tents on an eminence
because Attila's were below on the plain. Ibid. - M.]

[Footnote 42: The Huns themselves still continued to despise the
labors of agriculture: they abused the privilege of a victorious
nation; and the Goths, their industrious subjects, who cultivated
the earth, dreaded their neighborhood, like that of so many
ravenous wolves, (Priscus, p. 45.) In the same manner the Sarts
and Tadgics provide for their own subsistence, and for that of
the Usbec Tartars, their lazy and rapacious sovereigns. See
Genealogical History of the Tartars, p. 423 455, &c.]

As far as we may ascertain the vague and obscure geography
of Priscus, this capital appears to have been seated between the
Danube, the Teyss, and the Carpathian hills, in the plains of
Upper Hungary, and most probably in the neighborhood of Jezberin,
Agria, or Tokay. ^43 In its origin it could be no more than an
accidental camp, which, by the long and frequent residence of
Attila, had insensibly swelled into a huge village, for the
reception of his court, of the troops who followed his person,
and of the various multitude of idle or industrious slaves and
retainers. ^44 The baths, constructed by Onegesius, were the only
edifice of stone; the materials had been transported from
Pannonia; and since the adjacent country was destitute even of
large timber, it may be presumed, that the meaner habitations of
the royal village consisted of straw, or mud, or of canvass. The
wooden houses of the more illustrious Huns were built and adorned
with rude magnificence, according to the rank, the fortune, or
the taste of the proprietors. They seem to have been distributed
with some degree of order and symmetry; and each spot became more
honorable as it approached the person of the sovereign. The
palace of Attila, which surpassed all other houses in his
dominions, was built entirely of wood, and covered an ample space
of ground. The outward enclosure was a lofty wall, or palisade,
of smooth square timber, intersected with high towers, but
intended rather for ornament than defence. This wall, which
seems to have encircled the declivity of a hill, comprehended a
great variety of wooden edifices, adapted to the uses of royalty.

A separate house was assigned to each of the numerous wives of
Attila; and, instead of the rigid and illiberal confinement
imposed by Asiatic jealousy they politely admitted the Roman
ambassadors to their presence, their table, and even to the
freedom of an innocent embrace. When Maximin offered his
presents to Cerca, ^* the principal queen, he admired the
singular architecture on her mansion, the height of the round
columns, the size and beauty of the wood, which was curiously
shaped or turned or polished or carved; and his attentive eye was
able to discover some taste in the ornaments and some regularity
in the proportions. After passing through the guards, who
watched before the gate, the ambassadors were introduced into the
private apartment of Cerca. The wife of Attila received their
visit sitting, or rather lying, on a soft couch; the floor was
covered with a carpet; the domestics formed a circle round the
queen; and her damsels, seated on the ground, were employed in
working the variegated embroidery which adorned the dress of the
Barbaric warriors. The Huns were ambitious of displaying those
riches which were the fruit and evidence of their victories: the
trappings of their horses, their swords, and even their shoes,
were studded with gold and precious stones; and their tables were
profusely spread with plates, and goblets, and vases of gold and
silver, which had been fashioned by the labor of Grecian artists.

The monarch alone assumed the superior pride of still adhering to
the simplicity of his Scythian ancestors. ^45 The dress of
Attila, his arms, and the furniture of his horse, were plain,
without ornament, and of a single color. The royal table was
served in wooden cups and platters; flesh was his only food; and
the conqueror of the North never tasted the luxury of bread.
[Footnote 43: It is evident that Priscus passed the Danube and
the Teyss, and that he did not reach the foot of the Carpathian
hills. Agria, Tokay, and Jazberin, are situated in the plains
circumscribed by this definition. M. de Buat (Histoire des
Peuples, &c., tom. vii. p. 461) has chosen Tokay; Otrokosci, (p.
180, apud Mascou, ix. 23,) a learned Hungarian, has preferred
Jazberin, a place about thirty-six miles westward of Buda and the
Note: M. St. Martin considers the narrative of Priscus, the
only authority of M. de Buat and of Gibbon, too vague to fix the
position of Attila's camp. "It is worthy of remark, that in the
Hungarian traditions collected by Thwrocz, l. 2, c. 17, precisely
on the left branch of the Danube, where Attila's residence was
situated, in the same parallel stands the present city of Buda,
in Hungarian Buduvur. It is for this reason that this city has
retained for a long time among the Germans of Hungary the name of
Etzelnburgh or Etzela-burgh, i. e., the city of Attila. The
distance of Buda from the place where Priscus crossed the Danube,
on his way from Naissus, is equal to that which he traversed to
reach the residence of the king of the Huns. I see no good
reason for not acceding to the relations of the Hungarian
historians." St. Martin, vi. 191. - M]

[Footnote 44: The royal village of Attila may be compared to the
city of Karacorum, the residence of the successors of Zingis;
which, though it appears to have been a more stable habitation,
did not equal the size or splendor of the town and abbey of St.
Denys, in the 13th century. (See Rubruquis, in the Histoire
Generale des Voyages, tom. vii p. 286.) The camp of Aurengzebe,
as it is so agreeably described by Bernier, (tom. ii. p. 217 -
235,) blended the manners of Scythia with the magnificence and
luxury of Hindostan.]
[Footnote *: The name of this queen occurs three times in
Priscus, and always in a different form - Cerca, Creca, and
Rheca. The Scandinavian poets have preserved her memory under
the name of Herkia. St. Martin, vi. 192. - M.]
[Footnote 45: When the Moguls displayed the spoils of Asia, in
the diet of Toncat, the throne of Zingis was still covered with
the original black felt carpet, on which he had been seated, when
he was raised to the command of his warlike countrymen. See Vie
de Gengiscan, v. c. 9.]

When Attila first gave audience to the Roman ambassadors on
the banks of the Danube, his tent was encompassed with a
formidable guard. The monarch himself was seated in a wooden
chair. His stern countenance, angry gestures, and impatient
tone, astonished the firmness of Maximin; but Vigilius had more
reason to tremble, since he distinctly understood the menace,
that if Attila did not respect the law of nations, he would nail
the deceitful interpreter to the cross. and leave his body to the
vultures. The Barbarian condescended, by producing an accurate
list, to expose the bold falsehood of Vigilius, who had affirmed
that no more than seventeen deserters could be found. But he
arrogantly declared, that he apprehended only the disgrace of
contending with his fugitive slaves; since he despised their
impotent efforts to defend the provinces which Theodosius had
intrusted to their arms: "For what fortress," (added Attila,)
"what city, in the wide extent of the Roman empire, can hope to
exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that it
should be erased from the earth?" He dismissed, however, the
interpreter, who returned to Constantinople with his peremptory
demand of more complete restitution, and a more splendid embassy.

His anger gradually subsided, and his domestic satisfaction in a
marriage which he celebrated on the road with the daughter of
Eslam, ^* might perhaps contribute to mollify the native
fierceness of his temper. The entrance of Attila into the royal
village was marked by a very singular ceremony. A numerous troop
of women came out to meet their hero and their king. They
marched before him, distributed into long and regular files; the
intervals between the files were filled by white veils of thin
linen, which the women on either side bore aloft in their hands,
and which formed a canopy for a chorus of young virgins, who
chanted hymns and songs in the Scythian language. The wife of
his favorite Onegesius, with a train of female attendants,
saluted Attila at the door of her own house, on his way to the
palace; and offered, according to the custom of the country, her
respectful homage, by entreating him to taste the wine and meat
which she had prepared for his reception. As soon as the monarch
had graciously accepted her hospitable gift, his domestics lifted
a small silver table to a convenient height, as he sat on
horseback; and Attila, when he had touched the goblet with his
lips, again saluted the wife of Onegesius, and continued his
march. During his residence at the seat of empire, his hours were
not wasted in the recluse idleness of a seraglio; and the king of
the Huns could maintain his superior dignity, without concealing
his person from the public view. He frequently assembled his
council, and gave audience to the ambassadors of the nations; and
his people might appeal to the supreme tribunal, which he held at
stated times, and, according to the Eastern custom, before the
principal gate of his wooden palace. The Romans, both of the
East and of the West, were twice invited to the banquets, where
Attila feasted with the princes and nobles of Scythia. Maximin
and his colleagues were stopped on the threshold, till they had
made a devout libation to the health and prosperity of the king
of the Huns; and were conducted, after this ceremony, to their
respective seats in a spacious hall. The royal table and couch,
covered with carpets and fine linen, was raised by several steps
in the midst of the hall; and a son, an uncle, or perhaps a
favorite king, were admitted to share the simple and homely
repast of Attila. Two lines of small tables, each of which
contained three or four guests, were ranged in order on either
hand; the right was esteemed the most honorable, but the Romans
ingenuously confess, that they were placed on the left; and that
Beric, an unknown chieftain, most probably of the Gothic race,
preceded the representatives of Theodosius and Valentinian. The
Barbarian monarch received from his cup-bearer a goblet filled
with wine, and courteously drank to the health of the most
distinguished guest; who rose from his seat, and expressed, in
the same manner, his loyal and respectful vows. This ceremony was
successively performed for all, or at least for the illustrious
persons of the assembly; and a considerable time must have been
consumed, since it was thrice repeated as each course or service
was placed on the table. But the wine still remained after the
meat had been removed; and the Huns continued to indulge their
intemperance long after the sober and decent ambassadors of the
two empires had withdrawn themselves from the nocturnal banquet.
Yet before they retired, they enjoyed a singular opportunity of
observing the manners of the nation in their convivial
amusements. Two Scythians stood before the couch of Attila, and
recited the verses which they had composed, to celebrate his
valor and his victories. ^* A profound silence prevailed in the
hall; and the attention of the guests was captivated by the vocal
harmony, which revived and perpetuated the memory of their own
exploits; a martial ardor flashed from the eyes of the warriors,
who were impatient for battle; and the tears of the old men
expressed their generous despair, that they could no longer
partake the danger and glory of the field. ^46 This
entertainment, which might be considered as a school of military
virtue, was succeeded by a farce, that debased the dignity of
human nature. A Moorish and a Scythian buffcon ^* successively
excited the mirth of the rude spectators, by their deformed
figure, ridiculous dress, antic gestures, absurd speeches, and
the strange, unintelligible confusion of the Latin, the Gothic,
and the Hunnic languages; and the hall resounded with loud and
licentious peals of laughter. In the midst of this intemperate
riot, Attila alone, without a change of countenance, maintained
his steadfast and inflexible gravity; which was never relaxed,
except on the entrance of Irnac, the youngest of his sons: he
embraced the boy with a smile of paternal tenderness, gently
pinched him by the cheek, and betrayed a partial affection, which
was justified by the assurance of his prophets, that Irnac would
be the future support of his family and empire. Two days
afterwards, the ambassadors received a second invitation; and
they had reason to praise the politeness, as well as the
hospitality, of Attila. The king of the Huns held a long and
familiar conversation with Maximin; but his civility was
interrupted by rude expressions and haughty reproaches; and he
was provoked, by a motive of interest, to support, with
unbecoming zeal, the private claims of his secretary Constantius.

"The emperor" (said Attila) "has long promised him a rich wife:
Constantius must not be disappointed; nor should a Roman emperor
deserve the name of liar." On the third day, the ambassadors were
dismissed; the freedom of several captives was granted, for a
moderate ransom, to their pressing entreaties; and, besides the
royal presents, they were permitted to accept from each of the
Scythian nobles the honorable and useful gift of a horse.
Maximin returned, by the same road, to Constantinople; and though
he was involved in an accidental dispute with Beric, the new
ambassador of Attila, he flattered himself that he had
contributed, by the laborious journey, to confirm the peace and
alliance of the two nations. ^47

[Footnote *: Was this his own daughter, or the daughter of a
person named Escam? (Gibbon has written incorrectly Eslam, an
unknown name. The officer of Attila, called Eslas.) In either
case the construction is imperfect: a good Greek writer would
have introduced an article to determine the sense. Nor is it
quite clear, whether Scythian usage is adduced to excuse the
polygamy, or a marriage, which would be considered incestuous in
other countries. The Latin version has carefully preserved the
ambiguity, filiam Escam uxorem. I am not inclined to construe it
'his own daughter' though I have too little confidence in the
uniformity of the grammatical idioms of the Byzantines (though
Priscus is one of the best) to express myself without hesitation.
- M.]
[Footnote *: This passage is remarkable from the connection of
the name of Attila with that extraordinary cycle of poetry, which
is found in different forms in almost all the Teutonic languages.

A Latin poem, de prima expeditione Attilae, Regis Hunnorum, in
Gallias, was published in the year 1780, by Fischer at Leipsic.
It contains, with the continuation, 1452 lines. It abounds in
metrical faults, but is occasionally not without some rude spirit
and some copiousness of fancy in the variation of the
circumstances in the different combats of the hero Walther,
prince of Aquitania. It contains little which can be supposed
historical, and still less which is characteristic concerning
Attila. It relates to a first expedition of Attila into Europe
which cannot be traced in history, during which the kings of the
Franks, of the Burgundians, and of Aquitaine, submit themselves,
and give hostages to Attila: the king of the Franks, a personage
who seems the same with the Hagen of Teutonic romance; the king
of Burgundy, his daughter Heldgund; the king of Aquitaine, his
son Walther. The main subject of the poem is the escape of
Walther and Heldgund from the camp of Attila, and the combat
between Walther and Gunthar, king of the Franks. with his twelve
peers, among whom is Hagen. Walther had been betrayed while he
passed through Worms, the city of the Frankish king. by paying
for his ferry over the Rhine with some strange fish, which he had
caught during his flight, and which were unknown in the waters of
the Rhine. Gunthar was desirous of plundering him of the
treasure, which Walther had carried off from the camp of Attila.
The author of this poem is unknown, nor can I, on the vague and
rather doubtful allusion to Thule, as Iceland, venture to assign
its date. It was, evidently, recited in a monastery, as appears
by the first line; and no doubt composed there. The faults of
metre would point out a late date; and it may have been formed
upon some local tradition, as Walther, the hero, seems to have
turned monk.
This poem, however, in its character and its incidents,
bears no relation to the Teutonic cycle, of which the Nibelungen
Lied is the most complete form. In this, in the Heldenbuch, in
some of the Danish Sagas. in countess lays and ballads in all the
dialects of Scandinavia, appears King Etzel (Attila) in strife
with the Burgundians and the Franks. With these appears, by a
poetic anachronism, Dietrich of Berne. (Theodoric of Verona,)
the celebrated Ostrogothic king; and many other very singular
coincidences of historic names, which appear in the poems. (See
Lachman Kritik der Sage in his volume of various readings to the
Nibelungen; Berlin, 1836, p. 336.)

Chapter XXXIV: Attila.

Part III.

I must acknowledge myself unable to form any satisfactory
theory as to the connection of these poems with the history of
the time, or the period, from which they may date their origin;
notwithstanding the laborious investigations and critical
sagacity of the Schlegels, the Grimms, of P. E. Muller and
Lachman, and a whole host of German critics and antiquaries; not
to omit our own countryman, Mr. Herbert, whose theory concerning
Attila is certainly neither deficient in boldness nor
originality. I conceive the only way to obtain any thing like a
clear conception on this point would be what Lachman has begun,
(see above,) patiently to collect and compare the various forms
which the traditions have assumed, without any preconceived,
either mythical or poetical, theory, and, if possible, to
discover the original basis of the whole rich and fantastic
legend. One point, which to me is strongly in favor of the
antiquity of this poetic cycle, is, that the manners are so
clearly anterior to chivalry, and to the influence exercised on
the poetic literature of Europe by the chivalrous poems and
romances. I think I find some traces of that influence in the
Latin poem, though strained through the imagination of a monk.
The English reader will find an amusing account of the
German Nibelungen and Heldenbuch, and of some of the Scandinavian
Sagas, in the volume of Northern Antiquities published by Weber,
the friend of Sir Walter Scott. Scott himself contributed a
considerable, no doubt far the most valuable, part to the work.
See also the various German editions of the Nibelungen, to which
Lachman, with true German perseverance, has compiled a thick
volume of various readings; the Heldenbuch, the old Danish poems
by Grimm, the Eddas, &c. Herbert's Attila, p. 510, et seq. - M.]
[Footnote 46: If we may believe Plutarch, (in Demetrio, tom. v.
p. 24,) it was the custom of the Scythians, when they indulged in
the pleasures of the table, to awaken their languid courage by
the martial harmony of twanging their bow-strings.]

[Footnote *: The Scythian was an idiot or lunatic; the Moor a
regular buffcon - M.]

[Footnote 47: The curious narrative of this embassy, which
required few observations, and was not susceptible of any
collateral evidence, may be found in Priscus, p. 49 - 70. But I
have not confined myself to the same order; and I had previously
extracted the historical circumstances, which were less
intimately connected with the journey, and business, of the Roman

But the Roman ambassador was ignorant of the treacherous
design, which had been concealed under the mask of the public
faith. The surprise and satisfaction of Edecon, when he
contemplated the splendor of Constantinople, had encouraged the
interpreter Vigilius to procure for him a secret interview with
the eunuch Chrysaphius, ^48 who governed the emperor and the
empire. After some previous conversation, and a mutual oath of
secrecy, the eunuch, who had not, from his own feelings or
experience, imbibed any exalted notions of ministerial virtue,
ventured to propose the death of Attila, as an important service,
by which Edecon might deserve a liberal share of the wealth and
luxury which he admired. The ambassador of the Huns listened to
the tempting offer; and professed, with apparent zeal, his
ability, as well as readiness, to execute the bloody deed; the
design was communicated to the master of the offices, and the
devout Theodosius consented to the assassination of his
invincible enemy. But this perfidious conspiracy was defeated by
the dissimulation, or the repentance, of Edecon; and though he
might exaggerate his inward abhorrence for the treason, which he
seemed to approve, he dexterously assumed the merit of an early
and voluntary confession. If we now review the embassy of
Maximin, and the behavior of Attila, we must applaud the
Barbarian, who respected the laws of hospitality, and generously
entertained and dismissed the minister of a prince who had
conspired against his life. But the rashness of Vigilius will
appear still more extraordinary, since he returned, conscious of
his guilt and danger, to the royal camp, accompanied by his son,
and carrying with him a weighty purse of gold, which the favorite
eunuch had furnished, to satisfy the demands of Edecon, and to
corrupt the fidelity of the guards. The interpreter was
instantly seized, and dragged before the tribunal of Attila,
where he asserted his innocence with specious firmness, till the
threat of inflicting instant death on his son extorted from him a
sincere discovery of the criminal transaction. Under the name of
ransom, or confiscation, the rapacious king of the Huns accepted
two hundred pounds of gold for the life of a traitor, whom he
disdained to punish. He pointed his just indignation against a
nobler object. His ambassadors, Eslaw and Orestes, were
immediately despatched to Constantinople, with a peremptory
instruction, which it was much safer for them to execute than to
disobey. They boldly entered the Imperial presence, with the
fatal purse hanging down from the neck of Orestes; who
interrogated the eunuch Chrysaphius, as he stood beside the
throne, whether he recognized the evidence of his guilt. But the
office of reproof was reserved for the superior dignity of his
colleague Eslaw, who gravely addressed the emperor of the East in
the following words: "Theodosius is the son of an illustrious and
respectable parent: Attila likewise is descended from a noble
race; and he has supported, by his actions, the dignity which he
inherited from his father Mundzuk. But Theodosius has forfeited
his paternal honors, and, by consenting to pay tribute has
degraded himself to the condition of a slave. It is therefore
just, that he should reverence the man whom fortune and merit
have placed above him; instead of attempting, like a wicked
slave, clandestinely to conspire against his master." The son of
Arcadius, who was accustomed only to the voice of flattery, heard
with astonishment the severe language of truth: he blushed and
trembled; nor did he presume directly to refuse the head of
Chrysaphius, which Eslaw and Orestes were instructed to demand.
A solemn embassy, armed with full powers and magnificent gifts,
was hastily sent to deprecate the wrath of Attila; and his pride
was gratified by the choice of Nomius and Anatolius, two
ministers of consular or patrician rank, of whom the one was
great treasurer, and the other was master-general of the armies
of the East. He condescended to meet these ambassadors on the
banks of the River Drenco; and though he at first affected a
stern and haughty demeanor, his anger was insensibly mollified by
their eloquence and liberality. He condescended to pardon the
emperor, the eunuch, and the interpreter; bound himself by an
oath to observe the conditions of peace; released a great number
of captives; abandoned the fugitives and deserters to their fate;
and resigned a large territory, to the south of the Danube, which
he had already exhausted of its wealth and inhabitants. But this
treaty was purchased at an expense which might have supported a
vigorous and successful war; and the subjects of Theodosius were
compelled to redeem the safety of a worthless favorite by
oppressive taxes, which they would more cheerfully have paid for
his destruction. ^49

[Footnote 48: M. de Tillemont has very properly given the
succession of chamberlains, who reigned in the name of
Theodosius. Chrysaphius was the last, and, according to the
unanimous evidence of history, the worst of these favorites, (see
Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 117 - 119. Mem. Eccles. tom. xv.
p. 438.) His partiality for his godfather the heresiarch
Eutyches, engaged him to persecute the orthodox party]

[Footnote 49: This secret conspiracy and its important
consequences, may be traced in the fragments of Priscus, p. 37,
38, 39, 54, 70, 71, 72. The chronology of that historian is not
fixed by any precise date; but the series of negotiations between
Attila and the Eastern empire must be included within the three
or four years which are terminated, A.D. 450. by the death of

The emperor Theodosius did not long survive the most
humiliating circumstance of an inglorious life. As he was
riding, or hunting, in the neighborhood of Constantinople, he was
thrown from his horse into the River Lycus: the spine of the back
was injured by the fall; and he expired some days afterwards, in
the fiftieth year of his age, and the forty-third of his reign.
^50 His sister Pulcheria, whose authority had been controlled
both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs by the pernicious
influence of the eunuchs, was unanimously proclaimed Empress of
the East; and the Romans, for the first time, submitted to a
female reign. No sooner had Pulcheria ascended the throne, than
she indulged her own and the public resentment, by an act of
popular justice. Without any legal trial, the eunuch Chrysaphius
was executed before the gates of the city; and the immense riches
which had been accumulated by the rapacious favorite, served only
to hasten and to justify his punishment. ^51 Amidst the general
acclamations of the clergy and people, the empress did not forget
the prejudice and disadvantage to which her sex was exposed; and
she wisely resolved to prevent their murmurs by the choice of a
colleague, who would always respect the superior rank and virgin
chastity of his wife. She gave her hand to Marcian, a senator,
about sixty years of age; and the nominal husband of Pulcheria
was solemnly invested with the Imperial purple. The zeal which
he displayed for the orthodox creed, as it was established by the
council of Chalcedon, would alone have inspired the grateful
eloquence of the Catholics. But the behavior of Marcian in a
private life, and afterwards on the throne, may support a more
rational belief, that he was qualified to restore and invigorate
an empire, which had been almost dissolved by the successive
weakness of two hereditary monarchs. He was born in Thrace, and
educated to the profession of arms; but Marcian's youth had been
severely exercised by poverty and misfortune, since his only
resource, when he first arrived at Constantinople, consisted in
two hundred pieces of gold, which he had borrowed of a friend.
He passed nineteen years in the domestic and military service of
Aspar, and his son Ardaburius; followed those powerful generals
to the Persian and African wars; and obtained, by their
influence, the honorable rank of tribune and senator. His mild
disposition, and useful talents, without alarming the jealousy,
recommended Marcian to the esteem and favor of his patrons; he
had seen, perhaps he had felt, the abuses of a venal and
oppressive administration; and his own example gave weight and
energy to the laws, which he promulgated for the reformation of
manners. ^52
[Footnote 50: Theodorus the Reader, (see Vales. Hist. Eccles.
tom. iii. p. 563,) and the Paschal Chronicle, mention the fall,
without specifying the injury: but the consequence was so likely
to happen, and so unlikely to be invented, that we may safely
give credit to Nicephorus Callistus, a Greek of the fourteenth

[Footnote 51: Pulcheriae nutu (says Count Marcellinus) sua cum
avaritia interemptus est. She abandoned the eunuch to the pious
revenge of a son, whose father had suffered at his instigation.
Note: Might not the execution of Chrysaphius have been a
sacrifice to avert the anger of Attila, whose assassination the
eunuch had attempted to contrive? - M.]

[Footnote 52: de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4. Evagrius, l. ii. c.
1. Theophanes, p. 90, 91. Novell. ad Calcem. Cod. Theod. tom. vi.
p. 30. The praises which St. Leo and the Catholics have bestowed
on Marcian, are diligently transcribed by Baronius, as an
encouragement for future princes.]

Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.

Part I.

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

Book of the day: