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129 389 

Map 1 

Roman Empire 
Eastern Division 

\1, !?; ^W-.rH-a^ ....-;.':, 





Set up .md electrot/pcd, Published Novcjiihcr, tyt 

.I. H, (ItlHhln^ C... It.n \v(rk A' Smith < 'n, 
Miifwiioil, M*M M IUA, 


FTpHE present work is intended as a comprehensive account of medieval 
limes, drawn up on the same lines as The Cambridge Modern 
History^ but with a few improvements of detail suggested by experience. 
Il is intended partly for the general reader, as a clear and, as far as 
possible, interesting narrative; partly for the student, as a summary of 
ascertained facts, with indications (not discussions) of disputed points ; 
partly as a book of reference, containing all that can reasonably be 
required in a comprehensive work of general history. A full biblio- 
graphy is added to every chapter, and a portfolio of illustrative maps 
is published to accompany each volume. 

There is nothing in the English language resembling the present 
work. Germany, indeed, has Hccren and Oncken, but in Prance even 
the groat work of Lavisse and Rambaud deals with the Middle Ages on a 
much smaller scale than is here contemplated. The present volumes arc 
intended to cover the entire field of European medieval history, so that 
m every chapter a spmalisl sums up recent research upon the subject* 
America* France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Spain and 
Russia are represented in the list of contributors* 

The principles on which the work is constructed were laid down by 
the late Lord Acton for The Cambridge Modern, History. Professor 
Bury, Lord Acton's successor as Regius Professor of Modern History, 
was invited by the Syndics of the Press to plan the History as a whole, 
and to draw up the scheme of each volume. The first editors appointed 
were the Rev. IL M. Gwntkin, M.A., Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical 
History, Miss Mary Balewon and Mr G. T. Lapsley, M,A., Fellow of 
Trinity College. On Miss Batoson's death, the Rev. J. P. Whitney, B.D. 
of King's College, was appointed in her stead; but on Mr JDapslcy's 

vi General Preface 

retirement through ill-health (happily only temporary) his place was not 
filled up. The present editors are, therefore, Professor Gwatkin and 
Mr Whitney. They wish to place on record their grateful thanks for 
the helpful advice which Professor Bury has always been ready to give 
them when requested ; but it should be understood that the editors are 
alone responsible for the matter contained in each volume, for the 
selection of the writers of the various chapters and for the general 
treatment of the subjects discussed. 

It is hoped to publish two volumes yearly in regular succession. 

II M. G. 
J. P. W. 

September 1911 


THE present volume covers a space of about two hundred years 
beginning with Constantine and stopping a little short of 
Justinian. At its opening the Roman Empire is standing in its ancient 
majesty, drawing new strength from the reforms of Diocletian and the 
statesmanship of Constantine : at its close the Empire has vanished from 
the West, while the East is slowly recovering from the pressure of the 
barbarians in the fifth century, and gathering strength for Justinian's 
wars of conquest. At its opening heathenism is still a mighty power, 
society is built up on heathen pride of class, and Rome still seems the 
centre of the world: at its ending we see Christianity supreme, Con- 
stantinople the seat of power, and the old heathen order of society 
in the West dissolving in the confusion of barbarian devastations. At its 
opening Caesar's will is law from the Atlantic to Armenia : at its ending 
a great system of Teutonic and Arian kingdoms in the West has just 
been grievously shaken by the conversion of the Pranks from heathenism 
direct to orthodoxy. 

In our first chapter we trace the rise of Constantine, his reunion of 
the Empire, his conversion to Christianity, the political side of the 
Nicene Council, and the foundation of Constantinople. Then follows 
Dr Reid's account of the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine, which 
fixed for centuries the general outline of the administration. After this 
Mr Norman Baynes takes up the struggle with Persia under Constantius 
and Julian, and continues in a later chapter the story of the wars of Rome 
in East and West in the times of Valentinian and Theodosius. The 
victory of Christianity is treated by Principal Lindsay ; and he describes 
also the rival systems of Neoplatonism and Mithraism, and gives an 
account of Julian's reaction and the last struggles of heathenism. The 
next chapter is devoted to Arianism. First the doctrine is described, 
in itself and in some of its relations to modern thought; then the 
religious side of the Nicene Council is given, and the complicated history 
of the reaction is traced down to the decisive overthrow of Arianism in 
the Empire by Theodosius. After this Mr C. H. Turner describes the 
organisation of the Church clergy, creeds and worship looking back 
to the beginning, but chiefly concerned with its development in the age 
of the great Councils. 

C. MED. H VOL. I. Vil & 

viii Preface 

We now pass to tlie Teutons. Dr Martin Bang begins in prehistoric 
times, describing their migrations and their conquests westward and 
southward till the legions brought them to a stand on the Rhine and the 
Danube, and their long struggle of four centuries to break through the 
Roman frontier before the battle of Hadrianople settled them inside 
the Danube. Then Dr Manitius carries down the story through the 
administrations of Theodosius and Stilicho to the great collapse the 
passing of the Rhine, the overrunning of Gaul and Spain, the Roman 
mutiny of Pavia, and the sack of Rome by Alaric. After this the great 
Teutonic peoples have to be dealt with severally. Dr Ludwig Schmidt 
begins with the settlement of the Visigoths in Gaul, traces the growth 
and culmination of their kingdom of Toulouse, and ends with their 
expulsion from Aquitaine by Clovis. Professor Pfister gives the early 
history of the Franks ; but they are still a feeble folk when he leaves, 
them, for the conquests of Clovis belong to another volume. Then 
Dr Schmidt tells the little that is known of the Sueves and Alans in 
Spain, and more fully describes the history and institutions of the Vandal 
kingdom in Africa to its destruction by Belisarius. 

Our next chapter differs from the rest in containing very little 
history. It is Dr Peisker's account of Central Asia and the Altaian 
mounted nomads. It is given as a general (and much needed) intro- 
duction to the chapters on the Huns, the Avars, the Turks, and the rest 
of the Asiatic hordes who devastated Europe in the Middle Ages. To 
this is attached Dr Schmidt's short account of the Huns and Attila. Wo 
next turn to our own country. Professor Havcrficld describes the 
conquest and organisation of Roman Britain, and the decline and fall 
of the Roman power in the island, while Mr Beck deals with the English 
in their continental home, and tells the story of their settlement in 
Britain from the English side. After this Mr Barker records the last 
struggles of the Western Empire the loyalty of Gaul and the dis- 
affection of Africa under Aetius and Majorian, concluding with the 
barbarian mutiny at Pa via which overthrew the last Augustus of the 
West. Then M Maurice Dumoulin continues the history of Italy under 
the barbarian rule of Odovacar and Theodoric, describing the great 
king's policy, and shewing how he kept in check for awhile the feud of 
Roman and barbarian which had wrecked the Western Empire. Turning 
now to the Eastern provinces, the fifth century, which falls to Mr Brooks, 
is upon the whole a prosaic period of second-rate rulers and dire financial 
strain. Yet even here we have striking events, remarkable characters, 
and important movements the fall of Rufimis and the failure of 
GaJnas ; Pulcheria ruling the Empire as a girl of sixteen, the romance 

Preface ix 

of Athenais, and the catastrophe of Basiliscus ; the Isaurian policy of 
Leo, and the reforms of Anastasius. Then Miss Alice Gardner traces 
the history of religious disunion in the East. The fall of Chrysostom 
brought to the front the rivalry of Constantinople and Alexandria, the 
defeat of Nestorianism at Ephesus and of Monophysitism at Chalcedon 
fixed the lines of orthodoxy, but left Egypt and Syria heterodox and 
disaffected, and the reconciling Henoticon of Zeno produced nothing 
but a new schism. In the next chapter Dom Butler traces the growth 
of monasticism and its various forms in East and West, including the 
Benedictine rule and the Irish monks. After this Professor Vinogradoff 
surveys the whole field of social and economic conditions in the declining 
Empire, and shews the part which rotten economics and bad taxation 
played in its destruction. Then Mr H. F. Stewart gives his account of 
the heathen and Christian literature of the time, and of the various 
lines of thought which seemed to converge upon the grand figure of 
Augustine. The volume concludes with Mr Lethaby's account of the 
beginnings and early development of Christian art. 

Shortly : to the student of universal history the Roman Empire is 
the bulwark which for near six hundred years kept back the ever- 
threatening attacks of Teutonic and Altaian barbarism. Behind that 
bulwark rose Lhe mighty structure of Roman Law, and behind it a new 
order of the world was beginning to unfold from the fruitful seeds of 
Christian thought. So when the years of respite ended, and the 
universal Empire went down in universal ruin, the Christian Church 
was able from the first to put some check on the northern conquerors, 
and then by the long training of the Middle Ages to mould the nations 
of Europe into forms which have issued in richer and fuller developments 
of life and civilisation than imperial Rome had ever known. 

It remains for us to give our best thanks to Dr A. W. Ward for 
much counsel and assistance, and to all those who have kindly helped 
us by looking over the proofs of particular chapters. 

H. M. G. 
J. P. W. 

September 1911 



By H. M. GWATKEST, M.A., Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical 
History, Cambridge 


Where does Medieval History begin ? 1 

Early life of Constantine .... % 

Constantine made Caesar ... . 3 

Battle of Saxa Rubra ... .4 

Edict of Milan 5 

Defeat of Maximin Daza ...... G 

Wars with Licinius ...... . 7 

Constantine's religious policy coinage legislation en- 
dowments .......... 8-12 

Council of Nicaea ......... 13-15 

Executions of Crispus and Fausta . 15 

Site of Constantinople . . 16 

Earlier history of Byzantium . .... 17 

Foundation of Constantinople ..... .18 

The Gothic War 19 

Constantine's later years . ...... 20 

Last arrangements . 22 

Death of Constantine . ..... S3 



By J. S. REID, Litt.D., Professor of Ancient 
History, Cambridge 

Tendency to despotism ........ 24 

Growth of centralisation ........ 26 

New form of the Executive ....... 27 

The Great Officials of the Court - the Praefects the 

provincial governors ........ 28 

Praefectures and (hoeceses 31 



The Praefectus Practorio the Vicariuj . 

The Civil Service 

The Agentes in rebus 

The Quaestor . . . 

Financial changes 

Reform of the currency 

Assessment of taxes . ... 

Financial administration 

Organisation of the army . 

The Magister militum .... 

Comdtes ....... 

Patneii the Consistorium 

The Senate . ... 

The City of Rome ...... 

Subjects of the Empire Curiales Collegia Coloni 




By NORMAN H. BAYNES, M.A. Oxon., Barristcr-al-Law 

Last dispositions of Constantine . 55 

The Persian War . . .57 

Reign of Constans . . . 58 

Revolt of Magnentius ..... 59 

Civil War Vetranio Battle of Mursa . . 00 

Julian's youth and conversion to Paganism . , 03 

Julian made Caesar his first campaign in Gaul . (55 

Constantius at Rome . . .07 

Battle of Strassburg .08 

Julian on the Rhine .... OJ) 

Constantius on the Danube .... .71 

Siege of Amida .... . .79 

"Julianus Augustus" .73 

Negotiations with Constantius .... .71 

Death and character of Constantius ... .70 

Julian's reforms .... 78 

Julian's religious policy . 70-80 

The Persian Expedition . 81-3 

Death of Julian Election of Jovian . .84 

Disgraceful Peace with Persia .... .85 

Death of Jovian .80 

Contents xiii 



By the Rev. 1\ M. LINDSAY, D.D., LL.D., Principal of the 
Glasgow College of the United Free Church of Scotland 


Nature of the Triumph .... 87 

Cosmopolitan Society 88 

Oriental Religions Worship of Isis 89 

The new Paganism Taurobolia . . . . 92 

Neoplatonism and Christianity ....... 03-4 

Growing strength of Christianity in the third century . . 95-6 

Legislation against Paganism 97 

Julian's youth and education . .... 98-9 

Julian and Paganism . ... 100 

Julian in Gaul . ' . 101-2 

Julian's religious policy 103 

Julian's endeavours to reform Paganism 105 

The Mysteries ... 109 

Julian's failure 110 

Decay of Paganism in the East and survivals of it . . . 112 
Paganism in the West, and its influence on literature and 

Christianity . . .... 114 



By Professor GWATKIN 

Origin of Arianism . . 118 

The Council of Nicaea .120 

The Creed hesitation of the bishops ... .121 

Significance of the decision of Nicaea ... . 123 

Causes and general course of the conservative Reaction . 125 

Marcelius and Athanasius . 127 

Death of Constantine . 128 

Council of the Dedication . ... . 129 

Council of Sardica . 130 

Renewal of the contest Third exile of Athanasius . . 131 

The Homoean domination ... . . 133 

Julian's policy, and its influence on the Christians . . 134 

The Homoean domination restored by Valens . . . 137 

Basil of Caesarea . . .... .138 

Last years of Athanasius . 139 

Theodpsius .... ... .140 

Council of Constantinople and Fall of Arianism . . . 141 





By C. H. TURNER, M.A., F.B.A., Fellow of Magdalen 
College, Oxford 

The Missionary Ministry . 

The Local Church . . 

The Bishop .... 


Deacons and Minor Orders 

The Cursus Honorum 

Episcopal Elections 

Relations of the Orders to each other 
Altered use of Sacerdos .... 
Parish clergy in Rome and Alexandria 
The right of preaching .... 

Local Councils 

General Councils 

Equality of Bishops 


Church and State 

The three great Sees . 
The Roman Theory . 

Rise of Jerusalem 

Councils and the Creed 

Church Law its origin and codification . 

Greek and Latin Canon Law . 


























Origin of the Teutons 183 

Teutons and Kelts 185 

Migrations and Civilisation of the Kelts 186 

Teutonic migrations and invasion of Gaul .... 188 

TheBastarnae 100 

Cimbri and Teutons 19 J 

Ariovistus and Caesar 194 

Marbod 106 

The Marcomanni 107 

Marcus Aurclius and Commodus 100 

The Alcmanni 201 

The Goths Decius Claudius Aurelian Diocletian , 202 

Constantine and the Goths 208 

Julian and Valentinian on the Rhine 201) 

The Goths in Dacia their Conversion 211 

Invasion of the Huns 215 

Battle of Hadrianople 21G 







Election of Valentinian Valens co-Emperor . . . . 218 

Revolt of Prpcopius 220 

Valentinian in Gaul Count Theodosius in Britain . . 222 

Rome and Armenia . 225 

Conspiracy of Theodorus 226 

Count Romanus in Africa 227 

Execution of Count Theodosius 228 

Work and character of Valentinian 229 

Gratian Emperor 231 

The Goths Battle of Hadrianople Death and character of 

Valens 232 

Theodosius and the Gothic war 235 

The usurper Maximus ........ 238 

Partition of Armenia 240 

Riot at Antioch 241 

The Fall of Maximus 242 

Ambrose and Theodosius 244 

Revolt of Arbogast Eugenius 245 

Battle of the Frigidus 247 

Death of Theodosius 24S 



By Dr M. MANITIUS, Privatgelehrter in Radebeul 
bei Dresden 

Sequel to the Battle of Hadrianople . 

Appointment of Theodosius 

Settlement of the Goths in the Empire . 

The Franks 

Revolt of Arbogast Death of Theodosius 
Division of the Empire .... 

Alaric in Greece 

Revolt of Gainas 

Battle of Pollentia 

Barbarian invasion of Gaul The usurper Constantino 


Alaiic in Italy 

Attalus Emperor 

Sack of Rome by the Goths 
Barbarian conquests in Spain . 
Constantius , 


xvi Contents 



By Prof. Dr LUDWIG SCHMIDT, Bibliothekar an dor 
Konigl. Bibliothek Dresden 


The Visigoths in Gaul ~ Ataulf and Wallia . . . 277 

Theodoric and Aelius ... . 279 

Invasion of Attila . . - ^BO 

Theodoric II Euric . 81 

Alaric II Battle of Vougi^ .... 285 

Goths and Romans Social and political conditions . 287 

The Church Arianism 290 


By M. CHKISTIAN PFISTEE, docteur eis Ictlres, professeur 
a la Pacult6 des lettres de PUniversit6 de Paris 

Origin of the Franks Tacitus . . 202 

Franks and Romans ... ... #95 

The Salian Franks ... ... 1 20(> 

Clodion Merovech Chiklenc . . 207 

The Ripuarian Franks 200 

The Salic Law , . 300 

Political organisation tf()l 




Sueves and Alans m Spain ..... 

Passage of the Vandals into Africa . . , 

Capture of Carthage . ... . 

Settlement in Africa ....... 

Sack of Rome by the Vandak ..... 

Majorian ......... 

Last years of Gaiseric ...... 

Huneric Gunthamund Thrasamund Halderic 
Gelimer Fall of the Vandal kingdom ... 
Social state Vandals and Bomans . . . . 

Political organisation ...... 

Religion ......... 

3 1 % 





By T. PEISKER, Ph.D., Privatdocent and Librarian, Graz 


Soil and climate of Central Asia 33 

Changes of climate Irrigation . . . 325 

Origin of the nomads . 328 

Domestication of animals the horse 330 

Ethnography and languages 332 

Social organisation of the nomads 333 

Wanderings the tent . ... 335 

Winter and summer pastures 337 

Food Jcumiz .......... 339 

Dress of the nomads 341 

Religion Shamanism Cosmogony 343 

Weapons Predatory life Slavery 34T 

Conquests 349 

Altaian Empires . 352 

Mixture of races disappearance of Altaian features and lan- 
guage 353 

Scythians and Magyars 355 

Origin of the Roumanians 357 

Place of the nomads in history 359 


Attila's policy Relations to the Eastern Empire . 
Attila in Gaul Battle of the Mauriac Plain . 
Death of Attila ... . 




By F. J. HAVERFIELD, LL.D., F.B.A., Camden Professor 
of Ancient History, Oxford 

Geographical position of Britain 

The Roman Conquest 

The Roman garrison 

How far Britain became Roman 

Towns Villages Roads , 

Saxon invasions 

The Saxon Conquest 





By F. G. M. BECK, M A , Fellow of Clare College, 

Bede's account of the Conquest .... 

Early notices of the Invaders 

Civilisation of the Invaders Religion Agriculture 

Nature and course of the Invasion 

The English kingdoms Wessex Mercia Northumbria 




By ERNEST BARKER, M.A., Fellow of St John's College, 


The Barbarians in the Empire the barbarian magister militiae 302 

East and West . 305 

The Papacy the Senate .... .390 

Placidia and Attila . ... .398 

Ataulfm Italy in Gaul. ... . 399 

Revolt of Heraclian . ... 40$ 

The reign of Wallia 401 

Castinus and Boniface . ... . 400 

Usurpation of John Regency of Placidia . . 407 

The Vandal invasion of Africa .... . 409 

Ae'tius and Boniface Actius in Gaul . .410 

The Codex Theodonanus Gaiseric's policy . .411 

The Huns Attila and the West ... .414 

Battle of the Mauriac Plain .... .410 

Attila in Italy his death . .417 

Assassination of Aetius of Valentinian HI . .418 

Maximus and Avitus 4iil 

Ricimer and Majorian .... , 4 

Aegidius and St Severinus .... , 45 

The Armada of Basiliscus .... , 4G 

The reign of Anthemius . 437 

The mutiny of 470 End of the Western Empire . 430 



By MAURICE DUMOTTLIN, Professeur de PTJniversit do France 

Orestes .... 
Odovacar .... 
Zeno and Odovacar . 
Government of Odovacar . 
Theodoric's early life 




Theodoric's invasion of Italy Fall of Odovacar 
Theodoric's Court and Officials 
The Senate the Consulship . 

Theodoric's Government 

Corn-distributions Buildings 
The Church Theodoric's tolerance 

Foreign affairs 

Theodoric's last years Boethius . 

Death of Theodoric 




By E. W. BROOKS, M.A., King's College, Cambridge 

Murder of Rufinus ... 457 

Pall of Eutropius ... 459 

Revolt of Gainas ... 460 

Exile of John Chrysostom . . . 461 

Regency of Pulcheria .... . 463 

Elevation of Valentinian III . . . 465 

Fall of Eudocia . . . 466 

Accession of Marcian of Leo I . 467 

Rise of Zeno Murder of Aspar . . 469 

Usurpation of Basihscus .... . 473 

Gothic wars . 474 

Revolt of Illus 478 

Accession of Anastasius .... . 479 

Isaurian revolt ...... . . 480 

Invasion of Kawad 481 

Peace with Persia . 483 

Financial administration of Anastasius . . . 484 

Revolt of Vitalianus , 485 

Death of Anastasius 486 


By ALICE GARDNER, Lecturer of NewrJham College, 

Schools of Antioch and Alexandria 
Chrysostom and Theophilus . 



Council of the Oak . 

Exile of Chrysostom 
Nestorianism .... 



. 489-94 


xx Contents 


Nestorius . 495 

The QeoroKos . 496 

Beginnings of the Controversy . ... 498 

Council of Ephesus . . . 500 

End of Nestorius 502 

Eutychianism . . ... 503-15 

Dioscorus ... . .503 

Outbreak of the Controversy . . 504 

The Latroeimum . ... 505 

Leo and Marcian ... . 506 

Council of Chalcedon definition of Faith . . 507 

Canon XXVTII and Roman objections ... 511 

Timothy the Cat Rise of Monophysitism . 512 

The School of Edessa .... .514 

The Henoticon of Zeno . 515-20 

Zeno Acacius . .515 

The Henoticon .... 51C 

End of the Schism . ... .518 

The Nestonan Church in Persia . .510 



By Dom E. C. BUTLER, M.A., Hon. D.Litt. Dublin, 
Abbot of Downside Abbey 

Early Monasticism . . 521 

Anthony ... . ... 522 

Pachomius . . ... 52$ 

Cassian's Collations ... 525 

Monasticism in Greek countries . Basil Sabas Theodore 

theStudite 527 

Nuns in the East 580 

Monasticism in the West : Rome Africa Spain . . 531 

Keltic Monasticism 583 

Monasticism in Gaul 534 

The Benedictine Rule and its spread in the West . . . 535-42 



By PAUL VINOGRADOFF, Hon. D.C.L., F.B.A., Corpus 
Professor of Jurisprudence, Oxford 

The Roman world 542 

Languages in the Empire 545 

Debasement of Culture 547 

Commerce 548 

Corporations their decay ....... 551-58 



The Curia 

The Colonate 

Emphyteusis ...... 

Landowners and Patronage 

Checks Curiosi, defensores, the Church 

Powers and influence of Bishops 








By the Rev. H. F. STEWART, B D., Fellow of St John's 
College, Cambridge 

The persistence of Paganism . ... 568 

The influence of Rhetoric . . .570 

Macrobius Martianus Capella . . . 572 

The Eternal City ... . .574 

The De Cimtate Dei . . 576 

Neoplatonism Synesius Augustine .... 578 

Divination . . 580 

Authority of Scripture Cosmogony . 581 

Chronography Eusebius 582 

Theological Controversy Substance and Person Freewill 

and Grace The Atonement . . . 584 

The Church Sacraments 588 

The Empire and the Church Organisation Taxation 

Justice T90 

The Church and Society Slavery Games Luxury 

Charities - Women .... ... 592 



By W. R LETHABY, Architect, Professor of Design, 
Royal College of Art 

The Catacombs . 598 

Christian paintings . . . 600 

Sculpture. . . 601 

Engraved gems . . . 6Q& 

Symbols .... . 603 

Ivories Gilt glasses Lamps . 604 

Architecture .... . . 608 

Churches at Jerusalem, etc. , 609 

Mosaics .... 61$ 

Art in Britain . 613 






Abbreviations 615-6 

General Bibliography for Volume I ... 617-83 
I, II, V. I. Constantine and his City. II. The Reor- 
ganisation of the Empire. V. Heresies (Arian 

Controversy to 381) 624-9 

Constantine's Successors (to Jovian) and the 

Struggle with Persia 630-5 

The Triumph of Christianity .... 636-41 

Organisation of the Church .... 648-3 

Expansion of the Teutons 644-8 

Valentinian to Theodosius 640-51 

The Teutonic Migrations . . 658-3 

X (A). The Visigoths in Gaul, 418-507 . . . 654-6 

X (B). The Franks before Clovis 657 

XI. The Sueves, Alans and Vandals in Spain, 400-480 

The Rule of the Vandals in Africa, 480-533 658-0 

XII (A). The Asiatic Background . . 660-4 

XII (B). Attila .... .... 665 

XIII (A). Roman Britain . .... 666-7 
XIII (B). Teutonic Conquest of Britain .... 668-70 

XIV. Italy to the Revolution of Odovacar . . 671-4 

The Kingdom of Italy under Odovacar and 

Theodoric. ... ... 675 

The Eastern Provinces 676-80 

Religious Disunion in the Fifth Century . , 681-8 

Monasticism 683-7 

Social and Economic Conditions . . . . 688-00 

Thought and Ideas of the Age . 601 -4 

Early Christian Art 695 
















THE first question that has to be considered in laying down the plan 
of a Medieval History is, Where to begin ? Where shall we draw the 
line that separates it from Ancient History ? Some would fix it at the 
death of Domitian, others at that of Marcus. Some would come down 
to Constantine, to the death of Theodosius, to the great barbarian in- 
vasion of 406, or to the end of the Western Empire in 476 ; and others 
again would go on to Gregory I, or even as late as Charlemagne. There 
is even something to be said for beginning with Augustus, or at the 
destruction of Jerusalem, though perhaps these epochs are not seriously 
proposed. However, they all have their advantages. If for example we 
consider only the literary merit of the historians, we must draw the line 
after Tacitus ; and if we fix our eyes on the feud of Roman and bar- 
barian, we cannot stop till the coronation of Charlemagne. Curiously 
enough, the epoch usually laid down at the end of the Western Empire 
in 476, is precisely the one for which there is least to be said. We 
should do better than this by dividing in the middle of the Gothic 
War (535-553). We have in quick succession the closing of the 
Schools of Athens, the Code of Justinian, the great siege of Rome, 
and the abolition of the consulship. The Rome which Belisarius de- 
livered was still the Rome of the Caesars, while the Rome which Narses 
entered sixteen years later is already the Rome of the popes. It is the 
same in Gaul. The remains of the old civilization still found under the 
sons of Clovis are mostly obliterated in the next generation. Procopius 
witnessed as great a revolution as did Polybius. 

But even this would not be satisfactory. We cannot cut in two the 
Gothic War and the reign of Justinian ; and in any case we can draw no 
sharp division after Constantine without ignoring the greatest power of 
the world that Eastern Roman Empire which carried down the old 
Graeco-Roman civilisation almost to the end of the Middle Ages. In 
truth, the precise beginning of Medieval History is as indefinite as the 
precise beginning of the fog. There is no point between Augustus and 
Charlemagne where we can say, The old is finished, the new not yet 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. I. 1 

2 Early life of Constantine [274-317 

begun. Choose where we will, medieval elements are traceable before it, 
ancient elements after it. Thus Theodoric's government of Italy is on 
the old lines, while the Frankish invasion of Gaul belongs to the new 
order. If in the present work we begin with Constantine, we do not 
mean that there is any break in history at this point, though we see 
important changes in the adoption of Christianity and the fixing of the 
government in the form it retained for centuries. The chief advantage 
of choosing this epoch is that as the medieval elements were not strong 
before the fourth century, we shall be able to trace nearly the whole of 
their growth without encroaching too much on Ancienl History. At 
the same time, we shall hold ourselves free to trace them back as far as 
n^ay be needful, and to point out the ancient elements as late as they 
may appear. 

We begin with an outline of Constantine's life. Its significance we 
can discuss later, 

Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born at Naissus in Dacia, about 
the year 74. His father Constantius was already a man of some mark, 
though still in the lower stages of the career which brought him to the 
purple. On his father's side Constantius belonged to the great families 
of Dardania, the hilly province north of Macedonia, while his mother 
was a niece of the emperor Claudius Gothicus. But Constantino's own 
mother Helena was a woman of low rank from Drepanum in Bithynia, 
though there is no reason to doubt that she held the legal (and quite 
moral) position of concubina or morganatic wife to Constantius. 

Of Constantine's early years we know only that he had no learned 
education ; and we may presume from his hesitating Greek that ho WHS 
brought up in Latin lands, perhaps partly in Dalmatia, where his father 
was at one time governor. In 893 Constantius was made Caesar, and 
practically master of Gaul, with the task assigned him of recovering 
Britain from Carausius. But as a condition of his elevation he was 
required to divorce Helena and marry Theodora, a stepdaughter of 
Maximian. Constantine was taken to the court of Diocletian, partly as 
a hostage for his father, and partly with a view to a future place for him 
in the college of emperors. So he went with Diocletian to Egypt in 
296, and made acquaintance on the way with Eusebius, the future 
historian and bishop of Caesarea. Next year he seems to have seen 
service with Galerius against the Persians. About this time lie must 
have taken Minervina (most likely as a concubina), for her sou Orispus 
was already a young man in 317. Early in 303 the Great Persecution 
was begun with the demolition of the church at Nicomcdia : and there 
was a tall young officer looking on with thoughts of his own, like 
Napoleon watching the riot of June 179&. 

When Diocletian and Maximian abdicated (1 May 305) it was 
generally believed that Constantine would be one of the new Caesars. 
There was reason for this belief. He had been betrothed to JfruiflUi the 

254-312] Constantine Caesar 

daughter of Maximian as far back as 293, when she was a mere child ; 
and daughters of emperors were not common enough to be thrown away 
on outsiders. Moreover, money had recently been coined at Alexandria 
with the inscription CONSTANTINUS CAESAR. But at the last moment 
Diocletian passed him over. Perhaps he was over-persuaded by 
Galerius : more likely he was reserving him to succeed his father in 
Gaul. After this, however, the court of Galerius was no place for 
Constantine. Presently he managed to escape, and joined his father 
at Boulogne. After a short campaign in Caledonia, Constantius died 
at York (5 July 306) and the army hailed Constantine Augustus. He 
was a good officer, the sons of Theodora were only boys, and the army 
of Britain (always the most mutinous in the Empire) had no mind to 
wait for a new Caesar from the East. Its chief mover was Crocus the 
Alemannic king : and this would seem to be the first case of a barbarian 
king as a Roman general, and also the first case of barbarian action in 
the election of an emperor. Willingly or unwillingly, Galerius recog- 
nised Constantine, though only as Caesar. It mattered little : he had 
the power, and the title came a couple of years later. 

Thus Constantine succeeded his father in Gaul and Britain. We 
hear little of his administration during the next six years (306-312), 
but we get a general impression that he was a good ruler, and careful of 
his people. Such fighting as he had to do was of the usual sort against 
the Franks, mostly inside the Rhine, and against the Alemanni and the 
Bructeri beyond it. The war however was merciless, for even heathen 
feeling was shocked when he gave barbarian kings to the beasts, along with 
their followers by thousands at a time. But Gaul had never recovered 
from the great invasions (254-285) and his remissions of taxation gave 
no permanent relief to the public misery. In religion he was of course 
heathen ; but he grew more and more monotheistic, and the Christians 
always counted him friendly like his father. 

The last act of Galerius (Apr. 311) was an edict of toleration for the 
Christians. It was not encumbered with any "hard conditions," l but it 
was given on the heathen principle that every god is entitled to the 
worship of his own people, whereas the persecution hindered the Chris- 
tians from rendering that worship. A few days after this Galerius died. 
There were now four emperors. Constantine held Gaul and Britain, 
Maxentius Italy, Spain and Africa, while Licinius (more properly 
Licinian) ruled Illyricum, Greece and Thrace, and Maximin Daza (or 
Daia) held everything beyond the Bosphorus. Their political alliances 
were partly determined by their geographical position, Constantine 
reaching over Maxentius to Licinius, while Maximin reached over Licinius 
to Maxentius ; partly also by their relation to the Christians, for this 
was now the immediate question of practical politics. Constantine was 

1 One of the toleration laws alluded to by Licinius was so encumbered ; but this 
appears to have been the rescript of Maximin Daza a little later. 
CH. I. 

4 The War with Maxentius [312-338 

friendly to them, and Licinius had never been an active persecutor; 
whereas Maximin was a cruel and malicious enemy, and Maxentius, 
standing as he did for Rome, could not but be hostile to them. So 
Maxentius was to crush Constantine, and Maximin to deal with Licinius. 

Constantine did not wait to be crushed. Breaking up his camp at 
Colmar, be pushed rapidly across the Alps. In a cavalry fight near 
Turin, the Gauls overcame the formidable cataphi acti horse and rider 
clad in mail of Maxentius. Then straight to Verona, where in Ruricius 
Pompeianus he found a foeman worthy of his steel. Right well did 
Pompeianus defend Verona; and if he escaped from the siege, il was 
only to gather an army for its relief. Then another great battle. 
Pompeianus was killed, Verona surrendered, and Constantine made 
straight for Rome. Still Maxentius gave no sign He had baffled 
invasion twice before by sitting still in Rome, and Constantine could 
not have besieged the city with far inferior forces. At the last moment 
Maxentius came out a few miles, and offered battle ($8 Oct. 31) at 
Saxa Rubra. A skilful flank march of Constantine forced him to fight 
with the Tiber behind him, and the Mulvian bridge for his retreat. 
His Numidians fled before the Gaulish cavalry, the Praetorian Guard 
fell fighting where it stood, and the rest of the army was driven head- 
long into the river. Maxentius perished in the waters, and Constantino 
was master of the West. 

This short campaign the most brilliant feat of arms since Aurclian's 
time was an epoch for Constantine himself. To it belongs the story 
of the Shining Cross. Somewhere between Colmar and Saxa Rubra he 
saw in the sky one afternoon a bright cross with the words Hoc mnce, 
and the army saw it too ; and in a dream that night Christ bade him 
take it for his standard. So Constantine himself told Euscbius, and so 
Eusebius recorded it in 338 ; and there is no reason to suspect cither 
the one or the other of deceit. The evidence of the army is in any case 
not worth much ; but that of Lactantius l in 314 and of the heathen 
Nazarius in 321 puts it beyond reasonable doubt that something of the 
sort did happen. But we need not therefore set it down for a miracle. 
The cross observed may very well have been a halo, such as Whymper 
saw when he came down after the accident on the Matterhorn in 1805 
three crosses for his three lost companions. The rest is no more than 
can be accounted for by Constantine's imagination, inflamed as it must 
have been by the intense anxiety of the unequal contest. Yet after all, 
the cross was not an exclusively Christian symbol- The action was am- 
biguous, like most of Constantino's actions at this period of his life. He 
was quite clear about monotheism ; but he was not equally clear about 
the difference between Christ and the Unconquered Sun. The Gauls had 
fought of old beneath the Sun-god's cross of light : so while the Christians 

1 Lactantius is not discredited by the similar vision he gives to Licinius. Why should 
not Licinius take a hint from Constantine, and have a vision of his own ? 

311-315] The Edict of Milan 

saw in the labarum the cross of Christ, the heathens in the army would 
only be receiving an old standard back again. Such was the origin of 
the Byzantine Labarum. 

One enduring monument of the victory is the triumphal arch still 
standing at Rome, dedicated to him by the Senate and People in 315. 
Its inscription recites how INSTINCTU DIVINITATIS he inflicted just punish- 
ment on the tyrant and all his party. The expression has been set down 
as a later correction of some such heathen form as NUTU lovis o. M. : 
but it is certainly original, and must express Constantine's declared belief 
for we may trust the Senate and the other panegyrists for know- 
ing what was likely to please him. 

Constantine remained two months in Rome, leaving in the first days 
of 313 for Milan, where he gave his sister Constantia in marriage to 
Licinius, and conferred with him on policy generally, and on the 
hostile attitude of Maximin in particular. That ruler had not published 
the edict of Galerius, but merely sent a circular to the officials that 
actual persecution was to be stopped for the present. A few months 
later (about Nov. 311) he resumed it, with less bloodshed and more 
statesmanship. It was far more skilfully planned than any that had 
gone before. Maximin's endeavour was to stir up the municipalities 
against the Christians, to organise a rival church of heathenism, and 
to give a definitely antichristian bias to education. Even the fall of 
Maxentius had drawn from him only a rescript so full of inconsistencies 
that neither heathens nor Christians could make head or tail of it, except 
that Maximin was a prodigious liar* He even denied that there had 
been any persecution during his reign. At all events, this was not 
the complete change of policy needed to save him. Constantine and 
Licinius saw their advantage, and issued from Milan a new edict of 
toleration. Its text is lost, 1 but it went far beyond the edict of Galerius. 
For the first time in history, the principle of universal toleration was 
officially laid down that every man has a right to choose his religion, 
and to practise it in his own way without any discouragement from the 
State. No doubt it was laid down as a political move, for neither 
Constantine nor Licinius kept to it. Constantine tried to crush 
Donatists and Arians, and Licinius fell back even from toleration of 
Christians. Still the old heathen principle, that no man may worship 
gods who are not on the official list, was rejected for the present, and 
toleration became the general law of the Empire, till the time of 

The wedding festivities were rudely interrupted by the news that 
Maximin had made a sudden attack without waiting for the end of the 

1 The issue of the edict seems proved by Eus. H. E. x. 5 r&v pa<rt\ucQv (incL Con- 
stantine) 5iar<euj> Its purport is recited in the LiUerae Licvnii which is the form in 
which it reached Maximin's domtoions, and is therefore given in its place by Eus. and Lact. 
CH. I 

6 The defeat of Maximin Dam [313 

winter, and met with brilliant success, capturing Byzantium and 
pushing on towards Hadrianople. There, however, Licmius met him 
with a very inferior force, and completely routed him (30 April 313). 
Maximin fled to Nicomedia, and soon found that it would be as much 
as he could do to hold the line of Mount Taurus. Now he had no 
choice the Christians were strong in Egypt and Syria, and must be 
conciliated at any cost. So he issued a new edict, explaining that the 
officials had committed many oppressions very painful to a benevolent 
ruler like himself ; and now, to make further mistakes impossible, he lets 
all men know that everyone is free to practise whatever religion he 
pleases. Maximin gives the same liberty as Constantino and Liciuius 
he could not safely offer less but he states no principle of toleration. 
However, it was too late now. Maximin died in the summer, and 
Licinius issued a rescript carrying out the decisions of Milan, and 
restoring confiscated property to "the corporation of the Christians." 
It was published at Nicomedia 13 June $13. Constantino sent out 
similar letters in the West. 

The defeat of Maximin ends the long contest of Church and State 
begun by Nero. Former persecutions had died out of themselves, and 
even Gallienus had only restored the confiscated property ; but now the 
Christians had gained full legal recognition, of which they were never 
again deprived. Licinius and Julian might devise annoyances and 
connive at outrages, and work the administration in a hostile spirit; 
but they never ventured to revoke the Edict of Milan. Heathenism 
was still strong in its associations with Greek philosophy and culture, 
with Roman law and social order, and its moral character stood higher 
than it had done. It hardly looked like a beaten enemy : yet such it 
was. Its last real hope was gone. 

Religious peace was assured, but the unity of the Empire was not 
yet restored. Constantino and Licinius were both ambitious, and war 
between them was only a question of time. They were not uucqimlly 
matched. If Constantine had the victorious legions of Gaul, Licinius 
ruled the East from the frontier of Armenia to that of Italy, HO that 
he was master of the Illyrian provinces, which furnished the bent 
soldiers of the Roman army. Every emperor from Claudius to Licinius 
himself was an Illyrian, except Tacitus and Carus. And if Constantine 
had done a splendid feat of arms, Licinius was a fine soldier too, and 
(with all his personal vices) not less careful of his subjects. 

Constantine was called away from Milan by some incursions of the 
Pranks, who kept him busy during the summer of 31$. When things 
were more settled, he proposed to institute a middle domain for his 
other brother-in-law Bassianus, The plan seems to have been that while 
Constantine gave him Italy, Licinius should give him Illyricura. Licinius 
frustrated it by engaging Bassianus in a plot for which he was put to 
death, and then refused to give up to Constantine his agent Senecio, 

314^323] The Wars with Lieinius 7 

the brother of Bassianus. This meant war. Constantine took the 
offensive as he had done before, pushing into Pannonia with no more 
than 20,000 men, and attacking Lieinius at Cibalae, where he was 
endeavouring to cover Sirmium. He had 35,000 against him, but a 
hard-fought battle (8 Oct. 314) ended in a complete victory, and the 
capture of Sirmium. Lieinius fled towards Hadrianople, deepening the 
quarrel on the way by giving the rank of Caesar to his Illyrian general 
Valens. A new army was collected ; but another great battle on the 
Mardian plain was indecisive. Constantine won the victory; but 
Lieinius and Valens were able to take up a threatening position in his 
rear at Beroea. So peace had to be made. First Valens was sacrificed : 
then Lieinius gave up Illyricum from the Danube to the extremity of 
Greece, retaining in Europe only Thrace, which, however, in those days 
reached north to the Danube. So things settled down. Constantine 
returned to Rome in the summer to celebrate his Decennalia (25 July 
315), and in 317 the succession was secured by the nomination of 
Caesars, Crispus and Constantino the sons of Constantine, and Li- 
cinianus the son of Lieinius. Crispus was grown up, but Constantine 
was a baby. 

The treaty might be hollow, but it kept the peace for nearly eight 
years. If Constantine was evidently the stronger, Lieinius was still too 
strong to be rashly attacked. So each went his own way. It soon 
appeared which was the better statesman. Constantine drew nearer to 
the Christians, while Lieinius drifted into persecution, devising annoy- 
ances enough to make them enemies but not enough to make them 
harmless. Thus Constantine allows manumission in church, judges the 
Donatists, closes the courts on Sundays, loads the churches with gifts, 
and, at last (May 3&3), 1 frees Christians from all pagan ceremonies of 
state. Lieinius drove the Christians from his court, forbade meetings 
of bishops, and meddled vexatiously with their worship. This gave the 
war something of a religious character; but its occasion was not 
religious. The Goths had been pretty quiet since Aurelian had settled 
them in Dacia. It was not till 322 that Rausimod their king crossed 
the Danube on a foray. Constantine drove them back, chased them 
beyond the Danube, slew Rausimod, and settled thousands of Gothic 
serfs in the adjacent provinces. But in the pursuit he crossed the 
territory of Lieinius; and this led to war. Constantine's army was 
130,000 strong, and his son Crispus had a fleet of 00 sail, in the 
Piraeus. Lieinius awaited him with 160,000 men near Hadrianople, 
while his admiral Amandus was to hold the Hellespont with 350 ships. 
There was no idea of using the fleet to take Constantine in the rear. 

1 Recent opinion (Jonquet, Pears) seems to place the campaign in 324. The question 
is difficult: but the Council of Nicaea seems firmly fixed for 825, the preparations for it 
cannot have begun till the war was ended, and no room seems left for them if the battle of 
Chrysopolis is placed in Sept. 324. 
CH. I. 

8 How Constantine became Christian [323-337 

After some difficult manoeuvres, Constantine won the first battle 
(3 July 33), but was brought to a stop before the walls of Byzantium. 
Licinius was safe there, so long as he held the sea ; so he chose Marti- 
nianus his magister officiorum for the new Augustus of Lhe West. 
Meanwhile Constantine strengthened his fleet, and his son Crispus com- 
pletely defeated Amandus in the Hellespont. Licinius left Byzantium to 
defend itself it had held out two years against Severus and prepared 
to maintain the Asiatic shore. Constantine left Byzantium on one side 
and landed near Chrysopolis, where he found the whole army of Licinius 
drawn up to meet him. The battle of Chrysopolis (18 or 20 Sept 323) 
was decisive. Licinius fled to Nicomedia, and presently Constantia 
came out to ask for her husband's life. It was granted, and Constantine 
confirmed his promise with an oath. Nevertheless Licinius was put to 
death in October 325 on a charge of treasonable intrigue. The charge 
is unlikely : but Licinius was quite capable of it, and his execution docs 
not seem to have estranged Constantia from her brother. But perhaps 
the matter is best connected with the family tragedy which we shall 
come to presently. 

As a general, Constantine ranks high among the emperors. Good 
soldiers as they mostly were, none but Severus and Aurelian could boast 
of any such career of victory as had brought Constantine from the 
shores of Britain to the banks of the Tiber and the walls of Byzantium. 
But after the "crowning mercy" of ChrysopolLs there was no more 
fighting, except with the Goths. The last fourteen years of Constantino 
(323-337) were years of peace: and the first question which then 
confronted him was the question of religion. By what road did he 
approach Christianity, and how far did he come on the journey ? 

Two fables may be dismissed at once the heathen fable told by 
Zosimus in the fifth century, that the Christians were complaisant when 
the philosophers refused to absolve him for the murder of his son 
Crispus ; and the papal fable of the eighth century, that he was healed 
of leprosy by Pope Sylvester, and thereupon gave him dominion over 
"the palace, the city of Borne, and the entire West." These legends 
are summarily refuted by the fact that he was baptised in 337, not a 
they tell us in 326. Turning now to history, we have no reason io 
suppose that he owed Christian impressions to his mother's teaching : 
but Constantius was an eclectic of the better sort, and a man of some 
culture ; and his memory contrasted well with that of his colleagues. 
Constantine seems to have begun where his father left off, as more or 
less monotheistic and averse to idols, and more or less friendly to the 
Christians , and all these things grew upon him. The last of them may 
not have meant much at first, for even hostile emperors like Severus and 
Diocletian had sense enough to keep on good terms with the Christians 
when they were not prepared to crush them. But Constantine was 
drawn to them personally as well as politically; by his pure life and 

323-337] Policy of Constantine 9 

genuine humanity as well as by his shrewd statesmanship. Their lofty 
monotheism and austere morals attracted the man, their strong organi- 
sation arrested the attention of the ruler. When Diocletian threw 
down his challenge to the Church, he made religion the urgent question 
of the time : and the persecution was a visible failure before Constantine 
was well settled in Gaul. If Diocletian had failed to crush the Church, 
others were not likely to succeed. Maximin or Licmius might hark 
back to the past , but Constantine saw clearly that the Empire would 
have to make some sort of terms with the Church, so that the only 
question was how far it would be needful or safe to go. For the 
moment, a little friendliness to the Gaulish bishops was enough to 
secure the good will of the Christians all over the Empire. Then came 
the wars of 312-3, which forced on Constantine and Licinius the 
championship of the Christians, and made it plain good policy to give 
them full legal toleration. Licinius stopped there, and Constantine did 
not make up his mind without anxiety. The God of the Christians 
had shown great power, and might be the best protector; and in any 
case a firm alliance with their strong hierarchy would not only remove a 
great danger, but give the very help which the Empire needed. On 
the other hand, it was a serious thing to break with the past and brave 
the terrors of heathen magic. Moreover, the Christians were a minority 
even in the East, and he could not openly go over to them without risk 
of a pagan reaction. So he moved cautiously. Christianity differed 
forsooth very little from the better sort of heathenism. They could 
both be brought under the broad shield of monotheism, if the heathens 
would give up their idols and immoral worships, and the Christians 
would not insist too rudely on that awkward doctrine of the deity of 
Christ. On these terms the lion of Christianity might lie down with 
the lamb of Eclecticism, and the guileless emperor would be the little 
child to lead them both. 

The problem, of Church and State was new, for the old religion of 
Rome was never more than a department of the State, and the worship- 
pers of Isis and Mithras readily "conformed to the ceremonies of the 
Roman people.*' But when Christianity made a practical distinction 
between Caesar's things and God's, the relation of Church and State 
became a difficult question. Constantine handled it with great skill 
and much success. He not only made the Christians thoroughly loyal, 
but won the active support of the churches, and obtained such influence 
over the bishops that they seemed almost willing to sink into a depart- 
ment of the State. But he forgot one thing. The surface thought of 
his time, Christian as well as heathen, tended to a vague monotheism 
which looked on Christ and the sun as almost equally good symbols of 
the Supreme : and this obscured the deeper conviction of the Christians 
that the deity of Christ is as essential as the unity of God. After all, 
Christianity is not a monotheistic philosophy, but a life in Christ. 

OH. I. 

10 Religious Policy of Constantine [315-337 

When this conviction asserted itself with overwhelming power at the 
Council of Nicaea, Constantine gave way with a good grace. As it had 
been decided at Saxa Rubra that the Empire was to fight beneath the 
cross of God, so now it was decided at Nicaea that the cross was to be 
the cross of Christ, and not the Sun-god's cross of light. 

We may doubt whether Constantine took in the full meaning of the 
decision : but at any rate it meant that the Christians refused to be 
included with others in a monotheistic state religion. If the Empire 
was to have their full friendship, it must become definitely Christian : 
and this is the goal to which Constantine seems to have looked forward 
in his later years, though he can hardly have hoped himself to reach it. 
Heathenism was still strong, and he continued to use vague monotheistic 
language. Only in his last illness did he feel it safe to throw oil the 
mask and avow himself a Christian. "Let there be no ambiguity," 
said he, as he asked for baptism ; and then he laid aside the purple, and 
passed away in the white robe of a Christian neophyte (22 May 337). 

This would seem to be the general outline of Constantino's religious 
life and policy. We can now return to the morrow of Chrysopolis, 
and take it more in detail. Now that he was master of the Empire, he 
made his alliance with the Christians as close as he could without 
abandoning the official neutrality of his monotheism. His attitude is 
well shown by his coins. Mars and Genius P. R. disappear aflcr Saxa 
Rubra, or at latest by 317 : Sol invictus by 315, or at any rate 323. 
Coins of luppiter Aug. seem to have been struck only for Licinius. 
Later on, the heathen inscriptions are replaced by phrases as neutral as 
the cross itself, like Beata tranquillitas or Providentia Augg.< or Instinctn 
Divinitatis on his triumphal arch at Rome. His laws keep pace with 
the coins. In form they are mostly neutral ; but they show an increasing 
leaning to Christianity. Thus his edict for the observance of "the 
venerable day of the Sun" only raised it to the rank of the heathen 
feriae by closing the law-courts ; and the Latin prayer he imposed on 
the army (the first case known of prayer iu an unknown tongue) is quite 
indeterminate as between Christ and Jupiter. So too when before 310 
he sanctioned manumissions in churches, he was only taking a hint from 
the manumissions in certain temples. Yet again, when in 313 (and by 
later law) he exempted the clergy of the Catholic Church not those of 
the sects from the decurionate and other burdens, he gave them 
only the privileges already enjoyed by some of the heathen priests and 
teachers. But the relief was great enough to cause an ungodly rush for 
holy Orders, and with it such a loss of taxpayers that in 320 he had to 
forbid th,e ordination of anyone qualified for the curia of his city. 
None but the poor (and an occasional official) could now be ordained, 
and those only to fill vacancies caused by death. The second limitation 
may not have been enforced, but the first remained. To save the 
revenue, the Church was debased at a stroke. 

319-337] Religious Policy of Constantine 11 

Other laws however lean more to a side, like the edict of 319 which 
threatens to burn the Jews if they stone "a convert to the worship of 
God." No doubt such converts needed protection; and Roman law 
was not squeamish about burning criminals, if they were of low rank. 
Upon the whole, this policy of official neutrality and personal favour 
powerfully stimulated the growth of the churches. The time-servers 
were all Christians now, and Eusebius plainly denounces their "unspeak- 
able hypocrisy/' At least in later years, Constantine himself had to 
rebuke bishops for flattery. The defeat of Licinius enabled him to 
come forward more openly as the patron of the churches. His letter 
to the provincials of the Empire (Eusebius naturally gives the copy which 
went to Palestine) begins with high praise of the confessors and strong 
denunciation of the persecutors, whose wickedness is shown by their 
miserable ends. They would have destroyed the republic, if the Divinity 
had not raised up me, Constantine, from the far West of Britain to 
destroy them. He then restores rank and property to all the victims of 
persecution in the islands, the mines, and the houses of forced labour, 
and finishes with an earnest exhortation to the worship of the one true 

But after all, the Church was not quite what Constantine wanted it 
to be. He was not more attracted to it by its lofty monotheism than 
by the imposing unity which promised new life to the weary State. For 
six hundred years the world had been in quest of a universal religion. 
Stoicism was no more than a philosophy for the few, the worship of the 
emperor was debased by officialism, and by this time quite outworn, and 
even Mithraism had neve* shown such living power as Christianity. 
Here then was something that could realise the religious side of the 
Empire in a nobler form than Augustus or Hadrian had ever dreamed 
of a universal Church that could stand beside the universal Empire and 
worthily support its labours for the peace and welfare of the world. 
But for this purpose unity was essential. If the Church was divided 
against itself, it could not help the Empire. Worse than this ; it could 
hardly be divided against itself without being also divided against the 
Empire. One of the parties was likely to appeal to the emperor ; and 
then he would have to decide between them and make an enemy of the 
defeated party ; and if he tried to enforce his decision, they were likely 
to resist him as stubbornly as the whole Church had resisted the heathen 
emperors. This would bring back the whole difficulty of the perse- 
cutions, though possibly on a smaller scale. To put it shortly, the 
Christians had a conscience in matters of religion, and sometimes mis- 
took self-will for conscience. 

Constantine had experience of Christian self-will in Africa soon after 
the defeat of Maxentius. When Diocletian commanded the Christians 
to give up their sacred books, all parties agreed in refusing to obey. 
Those who did obey were called traditores. But the officers did not 

CH. i. 

12 The Donatists [311-321 

always care what books they took : might apocryphal books be given 
up? So thought Mensurius of Carthage, while others counted it 
apostasy to give up any books at all. The controversy became acute at 
the death of Mensurius in 311, when Felix of Aptunga consecrated his 
successor Caecilian. But that right was claimed by Secundus of Tigisis, 
the senior bishop of Numidia, who consecrated a rival bishop of Carthage. 
It was some time before the Donatists (as they soon came to be called) 
got their position clear. They held that Felix was a traditor, that the 
ministrations of a traditor are null and void, and that a church which 
has communion with a traditor is apostate. 

After the battle of Saxa Eubra Constantine sent money to Caecilian 
for the clergy "of the catholic church"; and as he "had heard that 
some evil-disposed persons were troubling them," he directed Caecilian 
to refer them to the civil authorities for punishment Thereupon they 
appealed to him. Constantine seems to have contemplated a small 
court to try the case Miltiades of Rome, three Gaulish bishops, and 
apparently the archdeacon of Rome : but a small council met instead 
(Oct. 313) at Rome, which pronounced for Caecilian. The Donatists 
were furious, and appealed again. This time Constantine summoned as 
many bishops as he could, directing each to bring so many clergy and 
servants with him, and giving him power to use the state post (curavs 
publicus) for the journey. So a large council of the Western churches 
met at Aries in August 314 (possibly 315). Even Britain sent bishops 
from London, York, and some other place. It destroyed the Donatist 
contention by deciding that Felix was not a traditor. It also settled 
some more outstanding controversies, in favour of the Roman date of 
Easter, and the Roman custom of not repeating heretical baptism, if it 
had been given in the name of the Trinity. The decisions were sent to 
Sylvester of Rome for circulation not for confirmation. We can recog- 
nise in Aries the pattern of the Nicene Council. Still the Donatists 
were not satisfied. They asked the emperor to decide the matter 
himself, and he unwillingly consented. He heard them at Milan 
(Nov. 316) and once more decided against them. Then they turned 
round and said, What business has the emperor to meddle with the 
Church ? A vigorous persecution was begun, but with small success. 
A band of Donatist fanatics called Circumcelliones ranged the country, 
committing disorders and defying the authorities to make martyrs of 
them. Even in 317 Constantine ordered that their outrages were not 
to be retaliated ; and when they sent him a message in 31 that they 
would in no way communicate with "that scoundrel, his bishop," he 
stopped the persecution as useless, and frankly gave them toleration. 
Africa was fairly quiet for the rest of his reign. 

After the defeat of Licinius, Constantine found several disputes in 
the Eastern churches. The old Easter question was still unsettled, the 
Meletian schism was dividing Egypt, and there was no knowing how far 

325] The Council of Nicaea 13 

the Arian controversy would spread. Unity must be restored at once, 
and that by the old plan of calling a council The churches had long 
been in the habit of conferring together when difficulties arose. They 
could refuse to recognise an unsatisfactory bishop ; and dr. 69 a council 
ventured to depose Paul of Samosata, and Aurelian had enforced its 
decision. The weak point of this method was that rival councils could 
be got up, so that every local quarrel had an excellent chance of 
becoming a general controversy Arianism in particular was setting 
council against council. Constantine determined to go a step beyond 
these local meetings. As he had summoned the Western bishops to 
Aries, so now he summoned all the bishops of Christendom. If he 
could bring them to a decision, it was not likely to be disputed ; and 
in any case he could safely give it the force of law. An oecumenical 
council would be a grand demonstration, not only of the unity of the 
Church, but of its close alliance with the Empire. So he issued invita- 
tions to all Christian bishops to meet him at Nicaea in Bithynia in the 
summer of 35, to make a final end of all the disputes which rent the 
unity of Christendom. The programme was even wider than at Aries ; 
but the Donatists were not included in it. Constantine could let 
sleeping dogs lie. We note here the choice of Nicaea for its auspicious 
name the city of victory and convenience of access ; and we see in it 
one of many signs that the true centre of the Empire was settling down 
somewhere near the Bosphorus. 

We need not closely analyse the imposing list of bishops present 
from almost every province of the Empire, with a few from beyond its 
frontiers in the far East and North. Legend made them 318, the holy 
number (rnj) of the cross of Jesus. We have lists in sundry languages, 
none of them giving more than 21 names ; but these are known to be 
incomplete. The actual number may have been near 300. All the 
thirteen great dioceses of the Empire were represented except Britain 
and Illyricum, though only single bishops came from Africa, Spain, 
Gaul and Dacia. Only one came in person from Italy, though two 
presbyters appeared for the bishop of Rome. So the vast majority came 
from the Eastern provinces of the Empire. The outsiders were four or 
five Theophilus bishop of the Goths beyond the Danube, Cathirius 
(the name is corrupt) of the Crimean Bosphorus, John the Persian, 
and Bestaces the Armenian, the son of Gregory the Illuminator, with 
perhaps another Armenian bishop. Eusebius is full of enthusiasm over 
his majestic roll of churches far and near, from the extremity of Europe 
,to the furthest ends of Asia. It was a day of victory for both the 
Empire and the Church. The Empire had not only made peace with 
the stubbornest of its enemies, but been accepted as its protector and 
guide. The Church had won the greatest of all its victories when 
Galerius issued his edict of toleration: but its mission to the whole 
world has never been so vividly embodied as by that august assembly. 

CH. I. 

14 The Council of Nicaea [325 

We miss half the meaning of the Council if we overlook the tremulous 
hope and joy of those first years of worldwide victory. Athanasitis 
shows it even more than Eusebius. One thing at least was clear. The 
new world faced the old, and the spell of the Holy Roman Empire had 
already begun to work. 

Constantine took up at once the position of a moderator. He began 
by burning unread the budget of complaints against each other which 
the bishops had presented to him. He then preached them a sermon on 
unity ; and unity was his text all through. He was much more anxious 
to make the decisions unanimous than to influence them one way or 
another. His one object was to make an end of division in the churches. 
So whatever pleased the bishops pleased the emperor too. Easter was 
fixed according to the custom of Rome and Alexandria for the Sunday 
after the full moon following the vernal equinox. It is the rule we 
have now, and though it did not produce complete unity till the lunar 
cycle was quite settled, it secured that Easter should come after the 
Passover, for, said Constantine, How can we who are Christians keep the 
same day as those ufcgodly Jews ? The Mcletian schism was peacefully 
settled to the disgust of Athanasius in later years by giving the 
Meletian clergy a status next to the orthodox, with a right of succession 
if found worthy. So far well : but the condemnation of Arianism may 
have been something of a trial to Constantine, who could not quite see 
why they thought it worth while to be so hot on such a trifling question 
as the deity of Christ. However that may be, Arianism was politically 
impossible. He must have known already from Hosius that the West 
would not accept it, and the first act of the Council meant its almost 
unanimous rejection by the East. As soon as there was no doubt what 
the decision would be, he did his best to make it quite unanimous. All 
the arts of imperial persuasion were tried on the waverers, till iu the 
end only two stubborn recusants remained to be sent into exile. 

To some wider aspects of the Council we shall return hereafter. For 
the moment it may be enough to say that Constantine had won a groat 
success. He had not only got his questions settled, but had himself 
taken a conspicuous part in settling them. More than this. Ho had 
established formal relations, no longer with bishops or groups of bishops, 
but with a great confederacy of churches. The churches had long been 
tending to organise themselves on the lines of the Empire, as wo see iu 
Cyprian's theories ; and now Constantine made the Church an alter ego 
of the State, and gave it a concrete unity of the political sort which it 
never had before. Henceforth the holy Catholic Church of the crcccb was 
more and more limited to the confederation of churches recognised by 
the State, so that it only remained to compel all men to come into those, 
and prevent the formation of any other religious communities. In this 
way the Church became much more useful to the State, and also perhaps 
fitter to resist the shock of the barbarian conquests which followed ; but 

315-326] Crispus and Fausta 15 

surely something was lost in freedom and spirituality, and therefore also 
in practical morality. 

We pass from the Council of Nicaea to a family tragedy. So far 
Constantine may pass as fairly merciful to the plotters of his own house. 
Maximian, Bassianus and Licinius had all tried to assassinate him ; and 
if he put to death Bassianus (see p. 8), he had spared Maximian till he 
plotted again, and so far he had spared Licinius also. But now in a few 
months from Oct. 325 he puts to death not only Licinius but his own son 
Crispus and the younger Licinius, then his own wife Fausta, and then a 
number of his friends The facts are certain, but their exact meaning is 
obscure. It must however be noticed that the dynastic policy of Diocletian 
had given a new political importance to members of an imperial family. 
The widows of the third century emperors fall into obscurity; but the 
widow of Galerius is first sought in marriage by Maximin Daza, then 
executed by Licinius, who also put to death the children of Severus, 
Daza and Galerius. Now Constantine married twice ; and there may 
well have been a bitter division in his family. Minervina was the 
mother of Crispus, whom we have seen greatly distinguishing himself 
in the war with Licinius : and there seems no serious doubt that the 
three younger sons were children of Fausta, though the eldest of them 
was not born till 315-6, eight years after her marriage. So we come to 
the questions we cannot answer. Was Constantine jealous of his eldest 
son, or anxious to get him out of the way of the others ? Or was Crispus 
a plotter justly put to death ? And how came Fausta to share his fate 
a little later ? They are not likely to have been accomplices in a plot 
or connected by a guilty passion, though the story of Zosimus is not 
impossible, that she accused him falsely, and was herself put to death 
for it when Helena convicted her. We have not material enough for 
any decided opinion. The worst point, it may be, against Constantine 
is that he did not spare the young Licinius. If he was the son of 
Constantia, he cannot have been more than twelve years old. But the 
allusions to him suggest that he was something more than a boy, and 
we know that Constantia was on the best of terms with her brother 
when she died a couple of years later. If Constantine suspected the 
elder Licinius, the new sultanism would involve the younger in his fate ; 
and if Crispus had married Helena his daughter, suspicion might attach 
to him too. Fausta's fate is the mystery. Or was Constantine more or 
less out of his mind that winter, as despots occasionally are ? One or 
two of his laws may point that way, and the possibility may help to 
explain a good deal. 

Constantine kept his Vicennalia at Rome in the summer of 326. It 
was an unhappy visit, even if the domestic tragedy had already taken 
place. Rome was the focus of heathenism, and of Roman pride. She 
expected to see her sovereigns at the ceremonies, and to treat them with 
something of republican familiarity. Constantine scandalised her with 

CH. I. 

16 The site of Constantinople [326 

his Eastern pomp, and gave deep offence to the senate and people by 
refusing to join the immemorial procession of the knights of Rome to 
the Capitol. When he left the city in September, he left it for ever. 

Rome indeed had long ceased to be a good capital. 1 1 was too far 
from the frontier for military purposes, too full of republican survivals 
for such sultans as the emperors had now become, too heathen for 
Christian Caesars. So Maximian held his court at Milan, while Dio- 
cletian gradually shifted his chief resort eastward from Sirmium to 
Nicomedia. There were many signs now that the seat of empire ought 
to be somewhere near the Bosphorus. The chief dangers had always 
come from the Danube and the Euphrates ; and about the Bosphorus 
was the only point which commanded both. If these were watched by 
the emperor himself, the Rhine might be left in charge of a Caesar. 
This was much the best course for the present ; but in the long run the 
problem was insoluble. The Rhine and the Danube might be guarded, 
or the Danube and the Euphrates ; but now that Rome had failed to 
make a solid nation of her empire, she could not permanently guard all 
three together. Sooner or later it must come to a choice between the 
Rhine and the Euphrates, between Italy and Greece, between Europe 
and Asia. Constantine is not likely to have seen clearly all this; but 
he did see that he commanded more important countries from the 
Bosphorus than he could from Rome or Milan. These might control the 
Latin West and the upper Danube; but at the Bosphorus he had at 
his feet the Greek world from Taurus to the Balkans, flanked northward 
by the warlike peoples of Illyncum, and eastward by the great barbarian, 
fringe of Egypt, Syria and Armenia, reaching from the Caucasus to the 
cataracts of the Nile. Nobody could yet foresee that by the seventh 
century nothing but the Greek world would be left. But where pre- 
cisely was the new capital to be placed ? Nicomedia would have been 
Diocletian's city, not Constantine's, and in any case it lay at the far end 
of a gulf, some fifty miles from the main line of traffic. Constantino 
may at one time have dreamed of his own birthplace Naissus, or of 
Sardica, and at another he began buildings on the site of Troy, before 
he fixed upon the matchless position of Byzantium. 

Europe and Asia are separated by the broad expanses of the Euxine 
and Aegean seas, together stretching nearly a thousand miles from the 
Crimea to the mountains of Crete, and in ancient times almost fringed 
'round with Greek cities. It is not all a land of the vine and the olive, 
even in Aegean waters, for the Russian wind sweeps over the whole 
region except in sheltered parts, as where Trebizond is protected by the 
Caucasus, Philippi by the Rhodope, or Sparta by Taygetus, or where 
Ionia hides behind the Mysian Olympus and the Trojan Ida. For all 
its heat in summer, Constantinople is quite as cold in winter as London, 
and the western ports of the Black Sea are more cumbered with ice than 
the north of Norway. But the Aegean and the Euxine arc not a single 

B.C. 674-A.D. 323] Byzantium 17 

broad sheet of water. In the narrows between them the coasts of 
Europe and Asia draw so close together that we can sail for more than 
two hundred miles in full view of both continents. Leaving the warm 
South behind at Lesbos (Mitylene) we pass from the Aegean to the 
Propontis (Marmora) by the Hellespont (Dardanelles) a channel of 
some fifty miles in length to Gallipoli, and two or three miles broad. 
Then a voyage of a hundred and forty miles through the more open 
waters of the Propontis brings us to the Bosphorus, which averages only 
three-quarters of a mile wide, and has a winding course of sixteen miles 
from Byzantium to the Cyanean rocks at the entrance of the Euxine. 
It follows that a city on the Propontis is protected north and south by 
the narrow passages of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and that all 
traffic between the Aegean and the Euxine must pass its walls. More- 
over, the Bosphorus lay more conveniently than the Dardanelles for the 
passage from Europe to Asia. Thus two of the chief trade-routes of the 
Roman world crossed each other at Byzantium. 

The Megarians may have had some idea of these things when they 
colonised Chalcedon (B.C. 674) just outside the south end of the Bosphorus, 
on the Asiatic side of the Propontis. But the site of Chalcedon has no 
special advantages, so that its founders became a proverb of blindness for 
overlooking the superb position of Byzantium across the water, which was 
not occupied till B.C. 657. At the south end of the Bosphorus, but on 
the European side, a blunt triangle is formed by the Propontis and the 
Golden Horn, a deep inlet of the Bosphorus running seven miles to the 
north-west. On the rising ground between them was built the city of 
Byzantium. Small as its extent was in Greek times, it played a great 
part in history. Its command of the corn trade of the Euxine made it 
one of the most important strategic positions in the Greek world, so 
that its capture by Alexander (it had repulsed Philip) was one of the 
chief steps of his advance to empire. It formed an early alliance with 
the Romans, who freed it from its perpetual trouble with the barbarians 
of Thrace, whom neither peace nor war could keep quiet. Vespasian 
(A.D. 73) took away its privileges and threw it into the province of 
Thrace. In the civil wars of Septimius Severus it took the side of 
Pescennius Niger, and held out for two years after Niger's overthrow at 
Issus in 194. Severus destroyed its walls, and made it a subject-village 
of Perinthus. - Caracalla made it a city again, but it was sacked afresh 
by Gallienus. Meanwhile the Gothic vikings came sailing past its ruined 
walls to spread terror all over the Aegean and to the shores of Italy. 
Under the Illyrian emperors it was fortified again. Even then it was 
taken first by Maximin Daza and then by Constantine in the first Licinian 
war, so that its full significance only came out in the second. Licinius 
was a good general, and pivoted the whole war upon it after his defeat at 
Hadrianople. He might have held his ground indefinitely, if the destruc- 
tion of his fleet in the Hellespont had not driven him from Byzantium. 

a MED. H. VOL. I. CH. I. 2 

18 Constantinople [330-1204 

The lesson was not lost on Constantine. He began the work some 
time after his visit to Rome, and pushed it forward with impatience. 
He traced his walls to form a base two and a half miles from the apex 
of the triangle. Byzantium stood on a single hill, but he took in five, 
and his successors counted seven, according to the number of the hills of 
Rome. The market-place was on the second hill, where his camp had 
been during the siege. He erected great buildings, and gathered works 
of art from all parts to adorn it. The temples of Byzantium remained, 
though they were overshadowed by the great cathedral of the Twelve 
Apostles. Some heathen ceremonies also were used, for Constantinople 
was the last and greatest colony of Rome, and for centuries retained the 
flavour of a Latin city. He gave it a senate also, and brought over 
many of the senators of Rome to be senators of the New Rome for such 
was its official title, though it has always been known as the City of 
Constantine. The Northmen called it simply Miklagard, the Great 
City. It never had much in the way of amphitheatre or beast-fights : 
amusement more Christian and humaixe was provided by a circus and 
horse-races. Its corn largesses were like those of Rome, and the corn of 
Egypt was diverted to its use, leaving that of Sicily and Africa for Rome. 
The New Rome stood next to the Old in rank and dignity, being 
separated from the province of Europa, and governed by proconsuls till 
it received a Praefectiis Urbi like Rome in 359. The bishop also noon 
shook off his dependence on Perinthus, and was recognised as standing 
next to the bishop of Rome, "because Constantinople is New Rome/' by 
the Council of 381. This ousted Alexandria from the second place, and 
the jealousy thereupon arising had important ecclesiastical consequences. 
The work was complete, so far as the hasty building would allow, by 
the spring of 330 : and 11 May of that year is the official date for tho 
foundation of Constantinople. 1 

It would be hard to overestimate the strength given to the Empire 
by the new capital. So long as the Romans hold the sea, the city was 
impregnable. If it was attacked on one side, it could draw supplies 
from the other; and when it was attacked on both sides in (>8, Persians 
and Avars could not join hands across the Bosphorus. Even when the 
command of the sea was lost, it still remained a fortress of uncommon 
strength. So stood Constantinople for more than a thousand years. 
Goths and Avars, Persians and Saracens, Bulgarians and Russians, 
dashed in vain upon its walls, and even the Turks failed more than 
once. It was often enough taken in civil war by help from within; 
but no foreign enemy ever stormed its walls till the Fourth Crusade 
(A.D. 1204). The Arian controversy first made it clear thah the heart 
of the Empire was in the Greek world, or more precisely in Asiatic 
Greece between the Taurus and the Bosphorus ; and of the Greek world 
Constantinople was the natural capital It did not however at once 
1 The city will be described in Vol. iv. CL xx, 

131-1261] The Gothic War 19 

become the regular residence of the emperors. Constantine himself 
died in a suburb of Nicomedia, Constantius led a wandering life, Jovian 
never reached the city, and Valens in his later years avoided it. Theo- 
dosius was the first emperor who made it his usual residence. But the 
commercial supremacy of Constantinople was assured from the outset. 
The centre of gravity of Asia Minor had shifted northward since the 
first century, and the Bosphorus gave an easier passage to Europe than 
the Aegean. So the roads which had converged on Ephesus now con- 
verged on Constantinople. It dominated the Greek world; and the 
Greek world was the solid part of the Empire which resisted all attacks 
for ages. The loss was more apparent than real when first the Slavic 
lands were torn away, then Syria and Egypt, and lastly Sicily and Italy. 
The Empire was never struck in a vital part till the Seljuks rooted out 
Greek civilization from the highland of Asia Minor in the eleventh 
century. Even after that it was still a conquering power under the 
Comnenians and the house of Lascaris ; and its fate was never hopeless 
till its last firm ground in Asia was destroyed by the corrupt and selfish 
policy of Michael Palaeologus. 

We know little of Constantine's declining years, except that they 
were generally years of peace. The civil wars were ended at Chrysopolis : 
now there was not even a pretender, unless we count as such Calocerus 
the camel-driver in Cyprus, who was put down without much difficulty, 
and duly burned in the market-place of Tarsus (335). If the Rhine was 
not entirely quiet, the troubles there were not serious. The Jews, to be 
sure, were never loyal, and the Christian Empire had already shown 
marked hostility to them. A rising mentioned only by Chrysostom is 
most likely a legend : but there may have been already some signs of 
the great outbreak put down by Ursicinus in 352. However, upon the 
whole there was peace. The old emperor never again took the field in 
person. His last war was with the Goths ; and that was conducted by 
the younger Constantine. 

On a broad view, the legions of the Danube faced the Germans in 
its upper course and the Goths lower down, with the Sarmatians between 
them ; and each of these names stands for sundry tribes and groups of 
tribes, whose mutual enmities were diligently fostered by the policy of 
Rome. In 331 the Sarmatians and the Vandals had somehow got mixed 
up together, and suffered a great defeat from the Goths. They asked 
Constantine for help, and he was very willing to check the growth of the 
Gothic power. Araric the Gothic king replied by carrying the war into 
the Roman province of Moesia, from which he was driven out with 
heavy loss. The younger Constantine gained a great victory over him, 
April 332 ; and when peace was made, the Goths returned to their 
old position as servants and allies of Rome. But when the Sarmatians 
themselves made inroads on Roman territory, Constantine left them to 
their fate. They were soon in difficulties with Geberic the new Gothic 

CH. I. 

20 The last years of Constantine [284-988 

king, and with their own slaves the Limigantes, who drove them out of 
their country. Some fled to the Quadi, some found refuge among the 
Gothic tribes, but 300,000 of them sought shelter in the Empire, and 
were given lands by Constantine, chiefly in Pannonia. 

The most interesting circumstance of the Gothic war is the help 
which Constantine received from Cherson, the last of the Greek re- 
publics. It stood where Sebastopol now stands. The story is told only 
by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (911-959), but the learned emperor 
was an excellent antiquarian, and used original authorities. Cherson 
and the Goths were old enemies, Rome and Cherson old allies. The 
republic decided for war, and its first magistrate Diogenes struck a 
decisive blow by attacking the rear of the Goths. Cherson received 
a rich reward from Constantine, and remained in generally friendly 
relations to the Empire till its annexation in 89, and even till its capture 
by the Russians in 988. 

The settlement of the Danube was the last of Constantine's great 
services to the Empire. The Edict of Milan had removed the standing 
danger of Christian disaffection in the East, the defeat of Licinius had 
put an end to the civil wars, the reform of the administration completed 
Diocletian's work of reducing the army to permanent obedience, the 
Council of Nicaea had secured the active alliance of the Christian 
churches, the foundation of Constantinople made the seat of power 
safe for centuries ; and now the consolidation of the northern frontier 
seemed to enlist all the most dangerous enemies of Rome in her defence. 
The Empire gained three hundred thousand settlers for the wastes of 
the Gothic march, and a firm peace of more than thirty years with the 
greatest of the northern nations. Henceforth the Rhine was guarded 
by the Franks, the Danube covered by the Goths, and the Euphrates 
flanked by the Christian kingdom of Armenia. The Empire was already 
dangerously dependent on barbarian help inside and outside its fronticrB ; 
but the Roman peace never seemed more secure than when the skilful 
policy of Constantine had formed its chief barbarian enemies into a 
covering ring of friendly client states. 

At all events, the years of peace were not a time of healthful 
recovery. The Empire had not gained strength in the long peace of 
the Antonines ; arid it had gone a long way downhill since the second 
century. When Diocletian came to the throne in 884, he found three 
great problems before him. The first was military how to stop the 
continual mutinies which cut off the emperors before they could do their 
work. This he solved, though at the cost of leaving behind him a period 
of civil war. The second was religious how to deal with the Christians. 
Diocletian went wrong on this, and left his mistake to be repaired by 
Constantine. The third and hardest was mainly economic to restore 
the dwindled agriculture, commerce, and population of the Empire. On 
this Diocletian and Constantine went wrong together* They not only 

325-337] The later years of Constantine 21 

failed to cure the evil, but greatly increased it. Not much was gained 
by remitting taxes that could not be paid, and settling barbarian 
colonists and barbarian serfs in the wasted provinces. Serious economic 
difficulties have moral causes, and there was no radical cure short of a 
complete change in the temper of society. Yet much might have been 
done by a permanent reduction of taxation and a reform of its incidence 
and of the methods of collection. Instead of this, the machinery of 
government (and its expense) was greatly increased. The army had to 
be held in check by courts of Oriental splendour and a vast establish- 
ment of corrupt officials. We can see the growth of officialism even in the 
language, if we compare the Latin words in Athanasius with those in the 
New Testament. So heavier taxes had to be levied from a smaller and 
poorer population. Taxation under the Empire had never been light ; in 
the third century it grew heavy, under Diocletian it was crushing, and 
in the later years of Constantine the burden was further increased by the 
enormous expenditure which built up the new capital like the city in a 
fairy tale. We are within sight of the time when the whole policy of 
the government was dictated by dire financial need. We have already 
reached a state of things like that we see in Russia. The strongest of 
the emperors had never been able to put down brigandage; and now 
disorder was rampant in the mountains, and often elsewhere. The great 
army of officials was all-powerful for oppression, and very little con- 
trolled by the emperor. He might displace an official at a moment's 
notice, or "deliver him to the avenging flames"; but he could enforce 
no reform against the passive resistance of the officials and the land- 
owners. So things drifted on from bad to worse. 

Nor can we doubt that Constantine himself grew slacker in the years 
of peace. Nature had richly gifted him with sound health, strong 
limbs, and a stately presence. His energy was untiring, his observation 
keen, his decision quick. He was a splendid soldier, and the best general 
since Aurelian. If he had no learned education, he was not without 
interest in literature, and in practical statesmanship he may fairly rank 
with Diocletian. His general humanity stands out clear in his laws, for 
no emperor ever did more for the slave, the foundling, and the oppressed. 
If he began by giving the Frankish kings to the beasts, he went on (325) 
to forbid the games of the amphitheatre. In private life he was chaste 
and sober, moderate and pleasant. Yet he was given to raillery, and 
his nearest friends could not entirely trust him. His ambition was 
great, and he was very susceptible to flattery. So freely was it 
ministered to him that he sometimes had to check it himself: but 
in his later years he was more or less influenced by unworthy favourites, 
as Ablabius and Sopater seem to have been. No doubt his Christianity 
is of itself an offence to Zosimus and Julian, so that we may discount 
their charges of sloth and luxury : but upon the whole, the judgment of 
Eutropius would seem, impartial, that Constantine was a match for the 

CH. I. 

22 Constantine' $ disposition of the Empire [217-380 

best emperors in the early part of his reign, and at its end no more than 

As Constantine had won the Empire, so now he had to dispose of it. 
Constantine, Constantius, and Constans, his three sons by Fausta, were 
born in 316, 317, 320, and received the title of Caesar in 317, 323, 333. 
In 335 their inheritance was marked out. Constantine was to have the 
Gaulish prefecture, Constantius the Eastern, Constans the Italian and 
Illyrian. This is the partition actually made after the emperor's death ; 
but for the present it was complicated by some obscure transactions. 
Constantine had made honourable provision for his half-brothers Del- 
matius and Julius Constantius, the sons of Theodora, and they never 
gave him political trouble. Of their sisters, he married Constantia to 
Licinius, Anastasia to Bassianus and Nepotianus, of whom the second 
certainly was a great Roman noble, so that they too suffered no dis- 
paragement. Basilina also, the wife of Julius Constantius and mother 
of the emperor Julian, belonged to the great Anician family. Now 
Delmatius left two sons, Delmatius and Hanniballianus. Of these 
Delmatius must have been a man of mark, for he held the high office 
of magister militum, and was made Caesar in 335, while Hanniballianus 
was the husband of Constantine's daughter Constantina. But they had 
no proper claim to any share in the succession, and we do not know why 
they were given it. There may have been parties in the palace ; and if 
so, Ablabius is likely to have had a share in the matter, for he was put 
to death along with them in the massacre which followed Constantino's 
death. Certain it is that shares were carved out for them from Lhc 
inheritance of their cousins. Delmatius was to have the Gothic march, 
while Hanniballianus received Pontus, with the astonishing title of 
rex regum for no Roman since the Tarquins had ever borne the name 
of king. 

The strange title may point to some design upon Armenia, for the 
whole Eastern Question of the day was raised when Persia threatened 
war. Four emperors in the third century had met with disaster on the 
Persian frontier, but there had been forty years of peace since the victory 
of Galerius in 97. The Empire gained Mesopotamia to the Aboras, 
and the five provinces which covered the southern slopes of the Armenian 
mountains ; and in Armenia itself, Roman supremacy was fully recog- 
nised by its great king Tiridates (287-314). If his adoption of 
Christianity led to a short war with Maximin Daza, it only drew 
Armenia closer to Constantine. But if the royal house was Christian 
and leaned on Rome, there was a large heathen party which looked to 
Persia: and Persia was an aggressive power under Sapor II (309-880). 
A vigorous persecution of Christians was carried on, and war with Rome 
was only a question of time. Sapor demanded back the five provinces 
and attacked Mesopotamia, while a revolution in the palace threw 
Armenia into his hands. 

337] Death of Constantine 23 

How much of this was done during Constantine's lifetime is more 
than we can say but at all events a Persian war was plain in sight by 
the spring of 337 ; and a war with Persia was too serious a matter to be 
left to Caesars like a Frankish foray or a Gothic inroad, so the old 
emperor prepared to take the field in person. He never set out. Con- 
stantine fell sick soon after Easter, and when the sickness grew upon 
him, he took up his abode at Ancyrona, a suburb of Nicomedia. As 
his end drew near, he received the imposition of hands, for up to that 
time he had not been even a catechumen. He then applied for baptism, 
explaining that he had hoped some day to receive it in the waters of the 
Jordan like the Lord himself. After the ceremony he laid aside the 
purple, and passed away in stainless white (22 May 337). As all his 
sons were absent, the government was carried on for three months in the 
dead emperor's name, till they had made their arrangements, and the 
soldiers had slaughtered almost the entire house of Theodora. Con- 
stantine was buried on the spot he had himself marked out in the 
cathedral of the Twelve Apostles in his own imperial city. The Greek 
Church still calls him iVaTroVroAos an equal of the Apostles. 

CH. I. 



IT is natural to think of Diocletian as the projector and of Constantino 
as the completer of a new system of government for the Roman Empire, 
which persisted with mere changes of detail until it was laid in rums by 
the barbarians. But in reality the imperial institutions from the time of 
Augustus onwards had passed through a course of continuous develop- 
ment. Diocletian did but acceleiate processes which had been in 
operation from the Empire's earliest days, and Constantino left much 
for his successors to accomplish. Still these two great organisers did so 
far change the world which they ruled as to he rightly styled the founders 
of a new type of monarchy. We will first sketch rapidly the most striking 
aspects of this altered world, and then consider them one by one some- 
what more closely. But our survey must be in the main of a general 
character, and many details, especially when open to doubt, must be 
passed over. In particular, the minutiae of chronology, which in thi& 
region of history are specially difficult to determine, must often be 

The ideal of a balance of power between the Princeps and the Senate, 
which Augustus dangled before the eyes of his contemporaries, was never 
approached in practice. From the first the imperial constitution bore 
within it the seed of autocracy, and the plant was not of slow growth. 
The historian Tacitus was not far wrong when he described Augustus as 
having drawn to himself all the functions which in the Republic had 
belonged to magistrates and to laws. The founder of the Empire had 
studied well the art of concealing his political art, but the pressure of hit* 
hand was felt in every corner of the administration. Each princcps wan 
as far above law as he chose to rise, so long as he did not .strain the 
endurance of the Senate and people to the point of breaking. When 
that point was passed there was the poor consolation of refusing him his 
apotheosis, or of branding with infamy his memory. As the possibility 
of imperial interference was ever present in every section of the vast 
machine of government, all concerned in its working were anxious to- 
secure themselves by obtaining an order from above. This anxiety is 
conspicuous in the letters written by Pliny to his master Trajan. Even, 


The tendency to Despotism 25 

those emperors who were most citizen-like (civiles as the phrase went) 
were carried away by the tide. Tacitus exhibits the Senate as eagerly 
pressing Tiberius to permit the enlargement of his powers Tiberius 
who regarded every precept of Augustus as a law for himself. The 
so-called lex regia Vespasiani shews how constantly the admitted 
authority of the emperor advanced by the accumulation of precedents. 
Pliny gave Trajan credit for having reconciled the Empire with "liberty" ; 
but "liberty" had come to mean little more than orderly and benevolent 
administration, free from cruel caprice, with some external deference paid 
to the Senate. Developed custom made the rule of Marcus Aurelius 
greatly more despotic than that of Augustus. Even the emperors of the 
third century who, like Severus Alexander, made most of the Senate, 
could not turn back the current. It was long, however, before the subjects 
of the Empire realised that the ancient glory had departed. Down to 
the time of the Emperor Tacitus pretenders found their account in posing 
as senatorial champions, and rulers used the Senate's name as a con- 
venient screen for their crimes. But the natural outcome of the anarchy 
of the third century was the unveiled despotism of Diocletian. He was the 
last in a line of valiant soldiers sprung from Illyrian soil, who accomplished 
the rescue of Rome from the dissolution with which it had been threatened 
by forces without and by forces within. To him more than to Aurelian, 
on whom it was bestowed, belonged by right the title "restorer of the 
world." For three centuries the legions had been a standing menace to 
the very existence of Graeco-Roman civilisation. They made emperors 
and unmade them, and devoured the substance of the State, exacting 
continually lavish largess at the sword's point. One hope of Diocletian 
when, following in the steps of Aurelian, he hedged round the throne with 
pomp and majesty, was that a new awe might shield the civil power 
from the lawless soldiery. In place of an Augustus, loving to parade as 
a bourgeois leader of the people, there comes a kind of Sultan, with 
trappings such as the men of the West had been used to associate with 
the servile East, with the Persians and Parthians. The ruler of the 
Roman world wears the oriental diadem, the mere dread of which had 
brought Caesar to his end. He is approached as a living god with that 
adoration from which the souls of the Greeks revolted when they came 
into the presence of the Great King, though Alexander bent them to 
endure it. Eunuchs are among his greatest officers. Lawyers buttress 
his throne with an absolutist theory of the constitution which is 
universally accepted. 

From Augustus to Diocletian the trend of the government towards 
centralisation had been incessant. The new monarchy gave to the 
centralisation an intensity and an elaboration unknown before. In the 
early days of conquest, whether within Italy or beyond its boundaries, 
the Roman power had attempted no unification of its dominions. As 
rulers, the Romans had shewn themselves thorough opportunists. They 

CH. n. 

26 The growth of Centralisation 

tolerated great varieties of local privilege and partial liberty. Their 
government had followed, almost timidly, the line of least resistance, and 
had adapted itself to circumstance, to usage, and to prejudice in every 
part of the Empire. Even taxation had been elastic. Before the age of 
despotism, few matters had ever been regulated by one unvarying 
enactment for every province. To this great policy the Romans chiefly 
owed the rapidity of their successes and the security of their ascendancy. 
The tendency towards unity was of course manifest from the first. But 
it sprang far less from the direct action of the central government than 
from the instinctive and unparalleled attraction which the Roman institu- 
tions possessed for the provincials, particularly in the West. In part by 
the extension of Roman and Italian rights to the provinces, in part 
by the gradual depression of Italy to the level of a province, and in part 
by interference designed to correct misgovernment, local differences were 
to a great extent effaced. Septimius Severus by stationing a legion in 
Italy removed one chief distinction between that favoured land and the 
subject regions outside. Under his successor, Caracalla, all communities 
within the Empire became alike Roman. By Diocletian and by Con- 
stantine, control from the centre was made systematic and organic. Yet 
absolute uniformity was not attained. In taxation, in legal administra- 
tion, and in some other departments of government, local conditions 
still induced some toleration of diversities. 

Centralisation brought into existence with its growth a vast bureau- 
cracy. The organisation of the Imperial side of the administration, as 
opposed to the Senatorial, became more and more complex, while the 
importance of the Senate in the administrative machinery continually 
lessened. The expansion and organisation of the executive engaged the 
attention of many emperors, particularly Claudius, Vespasian, Trajan, 
Hadrian, and Septimius Severus. When the chaos of the third century 
had been overcome, Diocletian and his successors were compelled to 
reconstruct the whole service of the Empire, and a great network of 
officials, bearing for the most part new titles and largely undertaking 
new functions, was spread over it. 

Along with the development of absolutism and the extension of 
bureaucracy, and the unification of administration had gone certain 
tendencies which had cut deeply into the constitution of society at largo. 
The boundaries between class and class tended more and more to become 
fixed and impassable. As the Empire decayed society stiffened, and some 
approximations were made to the oriental institution of caste. Augustus 
had tried to give a rigid organisation to the circle from which senators 
were drawn, and had constituted it as an order of nobility passing down 
from father to son, only to be slowly recruited by imperial choice. 
Many duties owed to the State tended to become hereditary, and it was 
made difficult for men to rid themselves of the status which they acquired 
at birth. The exigencies of finance made membership of the local 

The new form of the Executive Government 27 

senates in the municipalities almost impossible to escape. The frontier 
legions, partly by encouragement and partly by ordinance, were largely 
filled with sons of the camp. Several causes, the chief of which was the 
financial system, gave rise to a kind of serfdom (colonatus) which at first 
attached the cultivators of the soil, and as time went on, approximated 
to a condition of actual slavery. The provisioning of the great capitals, 
Rome and Constantinople, and the transportation of goods on public 
account, rendered occupations connected with them hereditary. And 
many inequalities between classes became pronounced. The criminal 
law placed the honestiores and the tenuiores in different categories. 

The main features of the executive government as organised by 
Diocletian and his successors, must now be briefly described. For the 
first time the difference between the prevalently Latin West and the pre- 
valently Greek East was clearly reflected in the scheme of administration. 
Diocletian ordained (286) that two Augusti with equal authority should 
share the supreme power, one making his residence in the Eastern, the 
other in the Western portion. The Empire was not formally divided 
between them ; they were to work together for the benefit of the whole 
State. This association of Augusti was not exactly new; but it had 
never been before formalised so completely. The separation of West 
from East had been foreshadowed from the early days of the Empire. 
In the first century it had been found necessary to have a Greek 
Secretary of State (a hbellis Graecis) as well as a Latin Secretary (a 
libellis Latinis). The civilisation of the two spheres, in spite of much 
interaction, remained markedly different. The municipal life of the 
Eastern regions in which Greek influence predominated was fixed in its 
characteristics before the Romans acquired their ascendancy, and the 
impression they made on it was not on the whole great. But they 
spread their own municipal institutions all over Western lands. 
Although Diocletian's arrangement of the two Augusti was over- 
thrown by Constautine, the inherent incompatibility between the two 
sections of the Empire continued to assert itself, and the separation 
became permanent in fact if not in form on the death of Theodosius. 
The establishment of Constantinople as the capital rendered the ultimate 
severance inevitable. Another problem which Diocletian attacked was 
that of the succession to the throne. Each "Augustus" was to have 
assigned to him (293) a "Caesar" who would assist him in the task of 
government and succeed him on his retirement or death. The trans- 
ference of power would thus be peaceful and the violent revolutions caused 
by the claims of the legions to nominate emperors would cease. But in the 
nature of things this device could not prosper. The Empire followed the 
course it had taken from the beginning. The dynastic principle strove 
time after time to establish itself, but dynasties were ever threatened with 
catastrophe, such as had ensued on the deaths of Nero, of Commodus, 
and of Severus Alexander. But new emperors frequently did homage to 
OH. n. 

28 Personal authority of the Emperor 

heredity by a process of posthumous and fictitious adoption, whereby 
they grafted themselves on to the line of their predecessors. Apparently 
even this phantom of legitimacy had some value for the effect it produced 
on the public mind. 

The theory of government now became, as has been said, frankly 
autocratic. Even Aurelian, a man of simple and soldierly life, had 
thought well to take to himself officially the title of "lord and god" 
which private flattery had bestowed upon Domitian. The lawyers 
established a fiction that the Roman people had voluntarily resigned 
all authority into the hands of the monarch. The fable was as baseless 
and as serviceable as that of the "social compact/' received in the 
eighteenth century. No person or class held any rights against the 
emperor. The revenues were his private property. All payments from 
the treasury were "sacred largesses" conceded by the divine ruler. So 
far as the State was concerned, the distinction between the senatorial 
exchequer (aerarium) and the imperial exchequer (fiscus) disappeared. 
Certain revenues, as for instance those derived from the confiscated 
estates of unsuccessful pretenders, were labelled as the emperor's private 
property (res privata), and others as belonging to his "family estate" 
(patrinionium). But these designations were merely formal and ad- 
ministrative The emperor was the sole ultimate source of all law and 
authority. The personnel by which he was immediately surrounded in 
his capital was of vast extent, and the palace was often a hotbed of 
intrigue. Even in the time of the Severi the "Caesareans" (Kat<raptot) > 
as Dio Cassius names them, were numerous enough to imperil often the 
public peace. Another class of imperial servants, the workers at the 
mint, had, in the reign of Aurelian, raised an insurrection which led to a 
shedding of blood in Rome such as bad not been witnessed since the age 
of Sulla. The military basis of imperial power, partly concealed by the 
earlier emperors, stood fully revealed. Septimius Severus had been, the 
first to wear regularly in the capital the full insignia of military 
command, previously seen there only on days of triumph. Now every 
department of the public service was regarded as "militia," and "camp" 
(castra) is the official name for the court. All high officers, with the 
exception of the praefectus urbi, wore the military garb. It is necdl<\s& 
to say that officials who were nominally the emperor's domestic servants 
easily gathered power into their own hands and often became the real 
rulers of the Empire. The line between domestic offices and those which 
were political and military was never strictly drawn. All higher functions 
whose exercise required close attention on the emperor's person were 
covered by the description dignitates palatinae. Under the early 
emperors the great ministers of state were largely freedmen, whose 
status was rather that of court servants than of public administrators. 
The great departments of the imperial service were gradually freed from 
their close attachment to the emperor's person. The natural result was, 

Officers attached to the Emperor's person 29 

that direct personal influence over the ruler often passed into the hands 
of men whose duties were in name connected only with the daily life of 
the palace. From the third century onwards the Eastern custom of 
choosing eunuchs as the most trusted servants prevailed in the imperial 
household as in the private households of the wealthy. The greatest of 
these was the praepositus sacri cubiculi or Great Chamberlain. This 
officer often wielded the power which had been enjoyed by such men 
as Parthenius had been under Domitian. The office grew in importance, 
as measured by dignity and precedence, until in the time of Theo- 
dosius the Great it was one of four high offices which conferred on 
their holders membership of the Imperial Council (Consistorium), and 
a little later was made equal in honour to the other three. The 
" Palatine " servants, high and low, formed a mighty host, which re- 
quired a special department for their provisioning and another for their 
tendance in sickness. But exactly how many of them were under the 
immediate direction (sub dispositione) of the praepositus sacri cubiculi 
cannot be determined. Some duties fell to him which are hardly 
suggested by his title. He was in control of the emperor's select and 
intimate bodyguard, which bore the name of silentiarii, thirty in number, 
with three decuriones for officers. Curiously, he superintended one 
division of the vast imperial domains, that considerable portion of them 
which lay within the province of Cappadocia. Dependent probably on 
the praepositus sacri cubiculi was the primicenus sacri cubiculi, who 
appears in the Notitia Dignitatum as possessing the quality of a pro- 
consular. Whether the castrensis sacri palatii was independent or 
subordinate, cannot be determined. Under his rule were a host of pages 
and lower menials of many kinds, and he had to care for the fabric of 
the imperial palaces. Also he had charge of the private archives of the 
imperial family. 

The service of the officers described was rather personal to the 
emperor than public in character. We now turn to the civil and 
military administration as it was refashioned under the new monarchy. 
The chaos of the period preceding Diocletian's supremacy had finally 
effaced some of the leading features of the Augustan Principate which 
had become fainter and fainter as the Empire ran its course. The Senate 
lost the last remnant of real power* Such of its surviving privileges and 
dignities as might carry back the mind to the days of its glory were 
mere shadows without substance. All provinces had become imperial. 
All functionaries of every class owed obedience to the autocrat alone, 
and looked to him for their career. The old state-treasury, the aerarium, 
retained its name, but became in practice the municipal exchequer of 
Rome, which ceased to be the capital of the Empire and was merely the 
first of its municipalities. The army and the civil service alike were 
filled with officers whose titles and duties would have seemed strange to 
a Roman of the second century of the Empire. 

CH. II. 

30 The forms of Provincial Government 

The aspect of the provincial government, as ordered by the new 
monarchy, differed profoundly from that which it had worn in the age 
of the early Principate. To diminish the danger of military revolutions 
Diocletian carried to a conclusion a policy which had been adopted in 
part by his predecessors. The great military commands in the provinces 
which had often enabled their holders to destroy or to imperil dynasties 
or rulers were broken up; and the old provinces were severed into 
fragments. Spain, for example, now comprised six divisions, and Gaul 
fifteen. Within these fragments, still named provinces, the civil power 
and the military authority were, as a rule, not placed in the same hands. 
The divisions of the Empire now numbered about a hundred and twenty, 
as against forty-five which existed at the end of Trajan's reign. Twelve 
of the new sections lay within the boundaries of Italy, and of the old 
contrast between Italy and the provinces of the Principate, few traces 
remained. Egypt, hitherto treated as a land apart, was brought within 
the new organisation. The titles of the civil administrators were various. 
Three, who ruled regions bearing the ancient provincial names of Asia, 
Africa, and Achaia were distinguished by the title of proconsul, which 
had once belonged to all administrators of senatorial provinces. About 
thirty-six were known as conmlares. This designation ceased to indicate, 
as of old, the men who had passed the consulship : it was merely con- 
nected with the government of provinces. The consularis became 
technically a member of the Roman Senate, though he ranked below 
the ex-consul. So also with the provincial governors who bore the 
common title of praeses, and the rarer name of corrector. This last 
appellation belonged, in the fourth century, to the chiefs of two districts 
in Italy, Apulia, and Lucania, and of three outside. It denoted originally 
officers who began to be appointed in Trajan's reign to reform the 
condition of municipalities. The precedence of the correctores among 
the governors seems to have placed them, in the West, after the 
consulares, in the East after the praesides. Sometimes the title of 
proconsul was for personal reasons bestowed on a governor whoso 
province was ordinarily ruled by an officer of lower dignity. Bui, such 
an arrangement was temporary. The old expressions legatus pro practore 
or procurator, in its application to provincial rulers, wont out of use. 
After the age of Constantino new and fanciful descriptions of the pro- 
vincial governors, as of other officers, tended to spring into existence. 
A few frontier districts were treated (as was the case under the 
Principate) in an exceptional manner. Their chiefs were allowed to 
exercise civil as well as military functions and were naturally described 
by the ordinary name for an army commander (dux). 

The proconsuls possessed some privileges of their own. Two of thcm 1 
the procpnstil of Africa and the proconsul of Asia, were alone among 
provincial governors entitled to receive their orders from the emperor 
himself ; and the Asian proconsul was distinguished by having under him 

The new divisions of the Empire 31 

two deputies, who directed a region known as Hellespontus and the 
Insulae or islands lying near the Asiatic coast. All other adminis- 
trators communicated with the emperor through one or other of four 
great officers of state, the Praefecti Praetorio. Their title had been 
originally invented to designate the commander of the Praetorian 
Cohorts, whom Augustus called into existence. The control of these 
was usually vested in two men. Now and then three commanders were 
appointed. Some emperors, disregarding the danger to themselves, 
allowed a single officer to hold command. Men like Sejanus under 
Tiberius and Plautianus under Septimius Severus were practically vice- 
emperors. As time went on, the office gradually lost its military 
character. Sometimes one of the commanders was a soldier and the 
other a civilian. During the reign of Severus Alexander the great 
lawyer Ulpian was in sole charge, being the first senator who had been 
permitted to hold the post. The legal duties of the Praefect continued 
to grow in importance. When the Praetorian Cohorts brought destruc- 
tion on themselves by their support of Maxentius against Constantine, 
the Praefectus Praetorio became a purely civil functionary. The four 
Praefecti were distinguished as Praefectus Praetorio, Galliarum, Italiae, 
Illyrici and Orientis respectively. The first administered not only the 
ancient Gaul, but also the Rhine frontier and Britain, Spain, Sardinia, 
Corsica and Sicily. The second in addition to Italy had under him 
Rhaetia, Noricum, Dalmatia, Pannonia, and some regions on the upper 
Danube, also most of Roman Africa; the third Dacia, Achaia, and 
districts near the lower Danube besides Illyricum, properly so called ; the 
fourth all Asia Minor, in so far as it was not subjected to the proconsul 
of Asia, with Egypt and Thrace, and some lands by the mouth of the 
Danube. It will be seen that three out of the four had the direction of 
provinces lying on or near the Danube. Probably on their first institu- 
tion and for some time afterwards all the Praefecti retained in their own 
hands the administration of some portions of the great territories com- 
mitted to their charge. Later the Illyrian praefect alone had a district, 
a portion of Dacia, under his own immediate control. Apart from this 
exception, the Praefecti conducted their government through officials 
subordinated to them. 

Each praefectal region was divided into great sections called dioeceses. 
Each of these was formed by combination of a certain number of pro- 
vinces; and each was comparable to the more important of the old 
provinces of the age of the Republic and early Principate. The word 
dioecesis had passed through a long history before the time of Diocletian. 
The Romans found it existent in their Asiatic dominions, where it had 
been applied by earlier rulers to an administrative district, especially in 
relation to legal affairs. The Roman government extended the employ- 
ment of the term both in the East and in the West and connected it 
with other sides of administration besides the legal. Diocletian marked 

CH. II. 

32 The Status of Functionaries 

out ten great divisions of the Empire to be designated by this title. The 
number of the divisions and their limits were somewhat altered by his 
successors. At the head of each Dioecesis was placed an officer who bore 
the name vicarius, excepting in the Eastern praefecture. Here the 
Vicarius was after a while replaced by a comes Orientis, to whom the 
governor of Egypt was at first subject, though he acquired independent 
authority later. The treatment of Italy (in the new and extended sense) 
was peculiar. It constituted a single Dioecesis, but possessed two vicarii, 
one of whom had his seat at Milan, the other at Rome. This bisection 
of the Italian praefecture depended on differences in taxation, to which 
we must recur later. In the Dioecesis Asiana, and the Dioecesis Af ricae, 
the Vicarius was of course responsible not to the Praefectus, but to the 

Such were, in broad outline, the features which the civil administra- 
tion of the Empire wore after Diocletian's reforms. Some rough idea 
must be conveyed of the mode in which the scheme was applied to the 
practical work of government. It must be premised that now, as hereto- 
fore, there was no point in the vast and complex machinery of bureaucracy 
at which the direct interposition of the emperor might not be at any 
moment brought into play. There was therefore no mechanical sub- 
ordination of officer to officer, such as would produce an unbroken official 
chain, passing down from the emperor to the lowest official. And even 
apart from imperial intervention we must not conceive of the different 
grades of functionaries as arranged in absolutely systematic subjection, 
one grade to another. This would have interfered with one principal 
purpose of the new organisation, which aimed at providing the emperor 
with information about the whole state of his dominions, through officers 
immediately in touch with him at the centre of the government. The 
emperor could not afford to restrict himself to such reports as might 
reach him through a Praefectus Praetorio or a proconsul. Thus the 
Vicarii were never regarded as mere agents or deputies of the Praefocti, 
and the same may be said of other officials. All might be called on to 
leave the beaten track. The Praefecti Praetorio, though each had his 
allotted sphere, were still in some sense colleagues, and wore required on 
occasion to take common action. One great aim of the new system was 
to prevent administrators from accumulating influence by long con- 
tinuance in the same post, or in any other way. Therefore functionaries 
were passed on rapidly from one position to another. Therefore, also, 
except in rare instances, no man was allowed to hold office in the 
province of his birth. All offices were now paid and the importance of 
many was discernible from the amount of the stipend received by the 
holder. As in earlier times, certain offices conferred on their incumbents 
what may be regarded as patents of nobility. The nobiliary Hiatus 
arising from office was not hereditary as in an earlier age ; yet the halo 
of the title to some extent covered the official's family. New appellations 

The Praefecti Praetorio 33 

were invented to decorate the higher offices, whose tenants were graded 
as illustres, spectabiles, and clarissimi. To the last designation all 
senators were entitled. Other expressions as comes, patricius, were less 
closely bound up with office. The use of these titles spread gradually. 
Before the end of the first century vir clarissimus (v.c. on inscriptions) 
began to denote the senator. The employment of distinctive titles for 
high officers of equestrian rank, vir eminentissimus, vir perfectissimus, vir 
egregius, began with Hadrian, and developed in the time of Marcus 
Aurelius. The designation vir egregius fell out of use during or soon 
after Constantine's reign. The tendency of the new organisation was to 
detach many offices from their old connexion with the equestrian body, 
whose importance in the State diminished and then rapidly died away. 
Many changes in the application of these titles to the different offices 
took place from time to time. 

The Praefectus Praetorio was the most exalted civil officer in the new 
Empire. His duties were executive, legal, financial, of every description 
in fact excepting the military. His only service for the army lay in 
the supply of its material requirements in pay, food, and equipment. 
He became in the end one of the highest of the viri illustres. The 
Praefectus in whose district the emperor resided was for the time being 
of enhanced importance, and was denoted as Praefectus Praetorio praesens. 
The office had even before the time of Diocletian attracted to itself a 
good deal of criminal jurisdiction. The Praefectus was now not a judge 
of first instance, but heard appeals from the courts below, within his 
sphere of action, with the exception of the court of the Vicarius, from 
whom the appeal went straight to the emperor. On the other hand, 
after 331 there was in the ordinary way no appeal against a sentence 
passed by the Praefectus, who was held to sit as the alter ego of the 
emperor (vice sacra iudicans). No other official possessed this privilege. 
The whole administration of the regions committed to him was passed 
under review by the Praefectus. His supervision of the provincial 
governors was of the most general kind. Each was compelled to send 
in twice a year a report on the administration of his province, and 
particularly on his exercise of jurisdiction. In the selection of governors 
the Praefectus had a large share, and he exercised disciplinary power over 
them. Erring functionaries both military and civil could be suspended 
by him till the emperor's pleasure was known. He usually advised 
the emperor concerning appointments. His control of finance both on 
the side of receipts and on that of expenditure formed a most important 
part of his duties. All difficulties in the incidence of taxation and in the 
collection of the taxes came under his consideration, but no officer of 
the Empire, however highly placed, could diminish or increase taxation 
without the emperor's express sanction. The Praefectus was also re- 
sponsible for the due transport of corn and other necessaries destined for 
the supply of Rome and Constantinople. Many other functions fell 

C. MBD. H. VOL. I. CH. II. 3 

* 34 The Vicarius. The Scrinia 

to his lot, among them the superintendence of the state Post (cursus 

If we may adapt an ecclesiastical phrase which describes the Arch- 
deacon as the oculus Episcopi, we may say that the Vicarius was the 
ocuhts Praefecti. He gave a closer eye to details than was possible for 
his superior within his Dioecesis. At first he was perfectissimus, after- 
wards spectabilis. The tendency of the rulers after Constantine was to 
increase his importance at the expense of the Praef ectus ; rather however 
in the field of jurisdiction than in other fields. The Vicarius had but 
little disciplinary power over the rector provinciae. The governor could 
in a difficult case seek advice from the emperor without having recourse 
to either of his superior officers, though he was bound to inform the 
Vicarius, and the latter could on occasion go straight to the monarch. 
The court of the Vicarius, like that of the Praefectus, was an appeal 
court only. The provincial governor was judge of first instance in all 
civil and criminal matters, except in the cases of some privileged persons, 
and in those minor affairs which were left to the magistrates of the 
municipalities within the province. The small size of the province made 
it unnecessary that its ruler should travel about to administer justice, as 
in the earlier time. Causes were heard at the seat of government. Much 
of the time of the governor was occupied in seeing that imposts were 
duly collected and that no irregularities were practised by subordinates. 
Responsibility for public order rested primarily with him. 

The lower grades of civil servants in the provinces were to a very 
large extent in connexion with and controlled by the great departments 
of the imperial service whose chief offices were in the capital. Early in 
the imperial period three great bureaux were established, whose presidcn ts 
were named ab epistulis, a libellis, and a memoria. These phrases survived 
into the age of Constantine and after, but denoted the offices and not 
their chiefs, whose title was magister. The departments themselves were 
now described by the word scrinium, which had originally denoted a box 
or desk for containing papers. The word had therefore undergone a 
change of meaning similar to that which had passed ovcrfiscus, whereby 
from a basket for holding coin, it came to mean the imperial exchequer. 
The demarcation of business allotted to the three great scrinia was not 
always the same. The magister memoriae gradually encroached on the 
functions of the other two heads of departments and became much the 
most influential of the three. A fourth scrinium, called the scrinium 
dispositionum, was added. Its magister (later called comes) was at first 
inferior to the other three, who belonged to the class of the spectabilcs, 
but was afterwards placed on a level with them. All these magistri on 
being promoted became mcarii. All four were subject to an exalted 
personage known as magister officiorum, who was a vir illustris. 

The department known as ab epistulia was early divided into two 
sections distinguished as ab epistulis Latinw and ab epistulis Graecis. It 

The Scrinia and the Magister Officiorum 35 

was originally the great Secretariat of the Empire. Here were managed 
all communications touching foreign affairs, and the general corre- 
spondence of the government, excepting in so far as it related to the legal 
and other multifarious petitions addressed to the emperor, appealing for 
his interference or his favour. These would come not only from officials, 
but also from private persons, and all fell within the functions of the 
office a libellis. This bureau absorbed into itself another which had 
been specially devoted to legal inquiries, and was called a cognitionibus. 
Hence the magister libellorum is described in the Digest by the fuller 
title magister scrinii hbellorum et sacrarum cognitionum. The depart- 
ment had famous lawyers, like Papinian and TJlpian, connected with it, 
and it must often have sought the aid of specialists in other matters 
belonging to the public service, as revenue and finance : for many of the 
petitions addressed to the ruler sought relief from taxation. 

The name of the department a memoria implies that its head was the 
keeper of the "emperor's memory." It was therefore a Record Office, 
but it was much more. It assisted other offices in putting documents 
into their final shape, and not only recorded the documents but issued 
them* The accounts we have of the office make it clear that it took to 
itself much important business which originally was transacted by other 
departments. Thus the Notitia describes the magister memoriae as 
dictating and issuing adnotationes, that is to say brief pronouncements 
running in the emperor's name ; also as giving answers to supplications 
(preces). Further he gave to bhe emperor's letters, speeches, and general 
announcements their final form, and sent them forth. The magister 
libellorum and the magister epistularum must have become in fact, though 
not in form, his inferiors. From his office emanated diplomas of appoint- 
ments, the permission to use the imperial post, and countless other offi- 
cial permits. The scrinium dispositionum kept in order all the emperor's 
engagements, and made the innumerable arrangements necessary for his 
journeys, and took count of many matters with which he was in touch, 
being of such a nature as not to come definitely within the purview of 
other bureaux. 

All these scrinia were under the control of one of the greatest 
functionaries of the Empire, the magister officiorum. His importance 
grew over a long space of time from small beginnings. His functions 
encroached greatly on those of the Praefectifraetorio, and their develop- 
ment is a measure of the jealousy entertained by the emperors for these 
great officers. The word officium indicates a group of public servants 
placed at the disposal of a state functionary. The magister officiorum 
is the general master of all such groups. Naturally he is vir illustris. 
He selected from the scrinia, in accordance with elaborate rules of service, 
the clerks who were required to carry out many sorts of business in the 
capital and in the provinces. His duties were of many different kinds, 
through which no connected thread of principle ran; they evidently 

CH. II. 

36 The Agentes in Rebus 

reached their full compass by an agglomeration which followed lines of 
convenience merely. One of the most prominent occupations of the 
magister lay in his direction of what may be called the Secret Service of 
the Empire. He had under him the very important schola agentum in 
rebus, which was organised by Constantine or possibly by Diocletian, 
and replaced a body of men called frumentarii, drawn originally from 
the corps which had in charge the provisioning of the army. These had 
acted as secret agents of the government. They were the men by whose 
means Hadrian, as his biographer says, "wormed out all hidden things." 
The vast extension of the Secret Service in the age of Constantine and 
later was a consequence of the huge increase in the number of officials, 
and of the suspicion which an autocratic ruler naturally entertains 
towards his subordinates : in part also of a genuine but ineffectual desire 
to check misgovernment. The term schola is closely connected with the 
army, and implies a service which is regarded as military in trend, like 
that of the other scholae palatinae. The duties assigned to this schola 
opened of course wide doors through which corruption entered, and it 
became one of the greatest scourges from which the subjects of the 
Empire suffered. All attempts to keep it in order failed. The number 
of the officers attached to it was generally enormous. Julian practically 
disbanded it, retaining only a few of its members; but it soon grew 
again to its former proportions. The officers belonging to the schola 
were arranged in five classes, with more or less mechanical promotion, 
such as generally prevailed through the imperial service. The members 
themselves seem to have had some voice in the selection of men for the 
highest and most responsible duties. The standing of the schola became 
continually more honourable; and members of it rose to provincial 
governorships and even to still higher positions. The agens in rebus 
was ubiquitous, but only some of the more momentous forms of his 
activity can be mentioned here. 

An officer called princeps, drawn from the schola, was sent to every 
Vicarius and into every province, where he was the chief of the governor's 
staff of assistants (officium). This officer had gone through a course of 
espionage in lower situations, and his relation to the magister officiorum 
made his proximity uncomfortable for his nominal superior. Indeed the 
princeps came to play the part of a sort of Maire du Palais to the rector 
provindae, who tended to become a merely nominal ruler. The princeps 
and the offidum were quite capable of conducting the affairs of the 
province alone. Hence we hear of youths being corruptly placed in 
important governorships, and of these offices being purchased, as in the 
days of the Republic, only in a different manner. After this provincial 
service, the princeps usually became governor of a province himself. 

At an earlier stage of his career, the agens in rebus would be despatched 
to a province to superintend the imperial Post-service there, and see that 
it was not in any way abused. This title was then praepositus cursus 

The Quaestor Sacri Palatii 37 

publici, or later curwsus. This service would enable him to play the 
part of a spy wherever he went. The burden of providing for the Post 
was one of the heaviest which the provincials had to bear, and those 
who contravened the regulations concerning it were often highly-placed 
officials. That the curiosi by their espionage could make themselves 
intolerable there is much evidence to show. 

The agentes in rebus were also the general messengers of the govern- 
ment, and were continually despatched on occasions great or small, to 
make announcements in every part of the emperor's dominions. While 
performing this function they were often the collectors of special dona- 
tions to the imperial exchequer, and made illegitimate gains of their 
own, owing to the fear which they inspired. A regulation which is 
recorded forbidding any agens in rebus from entering Rome without 
special permission, is eloquent testimony to the reputation which the 
schola in general had earned. 

Among the other miscellaneous duties of the magister offidorum was 
the supervision of formal intercourse between the Empire and foreign 
communities and princes. Also the general superintendence of the 
imperial factories and arsenals which supplied the army with weapons. 
The corps of guards (scholae scutariorum et gentium) who replaced the 
destroyed Praetorians were under his command, so that he resembled the 
Praefectus Praetorio of the earlier empire. And connected with this 
was a responsibility for the safety for the frontiers (limites) and control 
over the military commanders there. Further the servants who attended 
to the court ceremonial (pfficium admissionis) were under his direction, 
as were some others who belonged to the emperor's state. His civil and 
criminal jurisdiction extended over the immense mass of public servants 
at the capital, with few exceptions, and his voice in selecting officials 
for service there was potent. In short, no officer had more constant 
and more confidential relations with the monarch than the magister 
offidorum. He was the most important executive officer at the centre of 

The greatest judicial and legal officer was the quaestor sacri palatii. 
The early history of this officer is obscure and no acceptable explanation 
has been found for the use of the title quaestor in connexion with it. 
The dignity of the Quaestor's functions may be understood from descrip- 
tions given in literature. Symmachus calls him "the disposer of 
petitions and the constructor of laws" (arbiter precum, legum conditor). 
The poet Claudian says that he "issued edicts to the world, and answers 
to suppliants," while Corippus describes him as "the Champion of 
justice, who under the emperor's auspices controls legislation and legal 
principles " (iurd) . The Quaestor's office, like many others, advanced in 
importance after its creation, which appears to have taken place not 
earlier than Constantine's reign. In the latter part of the fourth 
century he took precedence even of the magister offidorum, and with 

OH. II. 

38 The Tribuni et Notarii 

one brief interruption, he maintained this rank. The requirements for 
the office were above all skill in the law and in the art of legal expression. 
On all legal questions, whether questions of change in law, or questions 
of its administration, the emperor gave his final decision by the voice of 
the Quaestor. No body of servants (officium) was specially allotted to 
him, but the scnnia were at his service. Indeed he may be said to have 
been the intermediary between the scnnia and the emperor. His relations 
with the heads of the departments a libellis and a memoria, and particularly 
with the latter, must have been very close ; but their work was prepara- 
tory and subordinate to his so far as legal matters were concerned. The 
instances in which the magister memoriae succeeded in acting independently 
of the Quaestor were exceptional. A share in the appointment to certain 
of the lesser military offices was also assigned to the Quaestor, who kept 
a record of the names of their holders, which was known as laterculum 
minus. In this duty he was assisted by a high official of the scrinium 
memoriae, whose title was later culensis. 

There was another body called tnbuni et notarii, not attached to the 
scrinia, which was of considerable importance. The service of these 
functionaries was closely connected with the deliberations of the great 
Imperial Council, the Consistorium, which is to be described presently. 
They had to see that the proper officers carried out the decisions of the 
Council. Their business often brought them into close and confidential 
relation with the emperor himself. The officer at the head is primicerius 
(literally, one whose name is written first on a wax tablet primd cerd). 
The title is given to many officers serving in other departments and 
indicates usually, but not always, high rank. This particular primicerius 
ranked even higher than the chiefs of the scrinia and the casirensis sacri 
palatii. According to the Notitia he has "cognizance of all dignities 
and administrative offices both military and civil/' He kept the great 
list known as laterculum maius, in which were comprised not only the 
actual tenants of the greater offices, but forms for their appointment, 
schedules of their duties, and even a catalogue of the different sections 
of the army and their stations, including the scholae which served as 
imperial guards. 

The reorganisation of Finance brought into existence a host of 
officials who either bore new names or old titles to which new duties 
had been assigned. The great and complex system of taxation initiated 
by Diocletian and carried further by his successors can hero be only 
sketched in broad outline. Although, like all the institutions of the 
new monarchy, the scheme of taxation had its roots in the past, the new 
development in its completed form stands in such marked contrast to old 
conditions, that there is not much to be gained by detailed references to 
the earlier Empire. Before Diocletian's time the old aerarium Saturni 
had ceased to be of imperial importance, and the aerarium militare of 
Augustus had disappeared. The general census of Roman citizens, 

Financial Changes 39 

carried out at Rome, is not heard of after Vespasian's time. Of the 
ancient revenues of the State very many were swept away by Diocletian's 
reform, even the most productive of all, the five per cent, tax on inherited 
property (vicesima hereditaturri) by which Augustus had subjected Roman 
citizens in general to taxation. The separate provincial census, of which 
in Gaul, for example, we hear much during the early Empire, was 
rendered unnecessary. The great and powerful sodetates pubhcanorum 
had dwindled away, though publicani were still employed for some 
purposes. Direct collection of revenue had gradually taken the place 
of the system of farming. Where any traces of the old system remained, 
it was subject to strict official supervision. Before Diocletian the 
incidence of taxation on the different parts of the Empire had been most 
unequal. The reasons for this lay partly in the extraordinary variety of 
the conditions by which in times past the relation of different portions 
of the Empire to the central government had been fixed when they first 
came under its sway; partly in Republican or Imperial favour or 
disfavour as they afterwards affected the burdens to be endured in 
different places ; partly by the evolutions of the municipalities of different 
types throughout the Roman dominions. Towns and districts which 
once had been immune from imposts or slightly taxed had become 
tributary and vice-versa. The reforms instituted by Augustus and 
carried further by his successors did something towards securing uni- 
formity, but many diversities continued to exist. Some of these were 
produced by the gift of immunitas which was bestowed on many civic 
communities scattered over the Empire. Without this gift even com- 
munities of Roman citizens were not exempt from the taxation which 
marked off the provinces from Italy. 

In order to understand the purpose of Diocletian's changes in the 
taxation of the Empire, it is necessary to consider the struggle which he 
and Constantine made to reform the imperial coinage. The difficult 
task of explaining with exactness the utter demoralisation of the currency 
at the moment when Diocletian ascended the throne cannot be here 
attempted. Only a few outstanding features can be delineated. The 
political importance of sound currency has never been more conspicuously 
shewn than in the century which followed on the death of Commodus 
(A.D, 180). Augustus had given a stability to the Roman coinage which 
it had never before possessed. But he imposed no uniform system on 
the whole of his dominions. Gold (with one slight exception) he 
allowed none to mint but himself. But copper he left in the hands of the 
Senate. Silver he coined himself, while he permitted many local mints 
to strike pieces in that metal also as well as in copper. Subsequent 
history extinguished local diversities and brought about by gradual 
steps a general system which was not attained till the fourth century. 
Aurelian deprived the Senate of the power which Augustus had left it. 

Although the imperial coins underwent a certain amount of deprecia- 

CH. II. 

40 Financial Changes 

tion between the time of Augustus and that of the Severi, it was not such 
as to throw out of gear the taxation and the commerce of the Empire. 
But with Caracalla a rapid decline set in, and by the time of Aurehan 
the disorganisation had gone so far that practically gold and silver were 
demonetised, and copper became the standard medium of exchange. 
The principal coin that professed to be silver had come to contain no 
more than five per cent of that metal, and this proportion sank 
afterwards to two per cent. What a government gains by making its 
payments in corrupted coin is always far more than lost in the revenue 
which it receives. The debasement of the coinage means a lightening 
of taxation, and it is never possible to enhance the nominal amoun t 
receivable by the exchequer so as to keep pace with the depreciation. 
The effect of this in the Roman Empire was greater than it would have 
been at an earlier time, since there is reason to believe that much of the 
revenue formerly payable in kind had been transmuted into money. 
A measure of Aurelian had the effect of multiplying by eight such taxes 
as were to be paid in coin. As the chief (professing) silver coin had 
twenty years earlier contained eight times as much silver as it had then 
come to contain, he claimed that he was only exacting what was justly 
due, but his subjects naturally cried out against his tyranny. No 
greater proof of the disorganisation of the whole financial system could 
be given than lies in the fact that the treasury issued sackloads (folles) 
of the Antoniani, first coined by Caracalla, which were intended to be 
silver, but were now all but base metal only. These folles passed 
from hand to hand unopened. 

Diocletian's attempts to remove these mischiefs were not altogether 
fortunate. He made experiment after experiment, aiming at that 
stability of the currency which had, on the whole, prevailed for two 
centuries after the reforms of Augustus, but never reaching it* Finally, 
discovering that the last change he had made led to general raising of 
prices, he issued the celebrated edict of A.D. 301 by which the charges 
for all commodities were fixed, the penalty for transgression being 

Constantine was forced to handle afresh the tangled problem of the 
currency. The task was rendered especially difficult by the fresh 
debasement of coinage which was perpetrated by Maxentius while he 
was supreme in Italy. It may be said at once that the goal of Diocletian's 
efforts was never reached by Constantine. He did indeed alter the 
weight of the gold piece, which now received the name of solidus, and it 
continued in circulation, practically unchanged, for centuries. But this 
gold piece was to all intents and purposes not a coin, for when payments 
were made in it, they were reckoned by weight. The solidus was in effect 
only a bit of bullion, the fineness of which was conveniently guaranteed 
by the imperial stamp. The same is true of Constantine's silver pieces. 
The only coins which could be paid and received by their number, 

Assessment of Taxes 41 

without weighing, were those contained in the folles, of which mention 
was made above, and the word follis was now applied to the individual 
coins, as well as to the whole sack. It had proved to be impossible to 
restore the monetary system which had prevailed in the first and second 
centuries of the Empire. But the tide of innovation was at length stayed ; 
and this in itself was no small boon. 

The line taken by the reform of Diocletian in the scheme of taxation 
was partly marked out for him by the anarchy of the third century, 
which led to the great debasement of the coinage described above and 
to many oppressive exactions of an arbitrary character. The lowering 
of the currency had disorganised the whole revenue and expenditure of 
the government. Where dues were receivable or stipends payable of a 
fixed nominal amount, these had largely lost their value. A natural 
consequence was that payments both to be made and to be received 
were ordered by Diocletian to be reckoned in the produce of the soil, 
and not in coin. During the era of confusion a phrase, indictio, had 
come into use to denote a special requisition made upon the pro- 
vincials over and above their stated dues. What Diocletian did was 
to make what had been irregular into a regular and general impost, 
subjecting all pr9vincials to it alike, and abolishing the unequal tributes 
of different kinds which had been previously required. The result was 
an enormous levelling of taxation throughout the provinces. And to 
some extent the immunity of Italy itself was withdrawn. But the sum 
to be raised from year to year was not uniform. It depended on an 
announcement to which the word indictio was applied, issued by the 
emperor for each year. Hence the number of indictiones proclaimed 
by an emperor became a convenient means for denoting the years of 
his reign. 

The assessment of communities and individuals was managed by an 
elaborate process. The newly arranged burdens fell on land. The territo- 
rium attached to every town was surveyed and the land classified according 
to its use for growing grain or producing oil or wine. A certain number 
of acres (iugera) of arable land was called a iugum. The number 
varied, partly according to the quality of the soil, which was roughly 
graded, partly according to the province in which it was situated. In 
the case of oil, the taxable unit was often arrived at by counting the 
number of olive trees; and this was sometimes the case with vines. 
The iugum was however supposed to be fixed in accordance with the 
limits of one man's labour, and therefore caput (person) and iugum, from 
the point of view of revenue, became convertible terms. But men and 
women and slaves and cattle were taxed separately, and in addition to 
the tax on the land. Each man or slave on a farm counted as one 
caput and each woman as half a caput. A certain number of cattle 
constituted also a iugum and thus there was no need to divide up the 
pasture lands as the arable lands were divided. Meadows were rated for 

CH. II. 

42 Other Imposts 

the supply of fodder. The total requirements of the government were 
stated in the indictio, and every community had to contribute in 
accordance with the number of taxable units which the survey had 
disclosed. All the produce which the taxpayers handed over was stored 
in great government barns (horrea). 

The system of collection, though decentralised, was bad. The 
decurions or senators of each town, or the ten chief men of each town 
(decemprimi) were responsible for handing over to the government all 
that was due. A revision took place every five years, and was generally 
carried through with much unfairness and oppression of the poorer 
landholders. Apparently a fresh survey was not made, but evidence 
taken by the town-officers in the town itself. Prom 31 onwards we 
find a fifteen-year indiction-period, which came to be largely used as a 
chronological instrument. It would seem that every fifteenth year a 
re-allotment of taxes was made which was based on actual survey. But 
evidence for this is scanty. An imperial revenue officer called censitor 
was restricted to the duty of receiving the dues from a community as 
a whole. Outside imperial officers were called in to assist in the collection 
of dues from recalcitrant taxpayers. This happened at first occasionally, 
then regularly. Naturally another door was thus opened to oppression, 
from which the rich would manage to escape more lightly than the poor. 
The special arrangement made by Diocletian for Italy will be explained 
later , also the exemptions accorded to privileged classes of individuals. 

Along with the payment of government dues in kind went the 
payment of stipends in kind. A certain amount of corn, wine, meat, 
and other necessaries, grouped together, constituted a unit to which the 
name annona was applied, and salaries, military and civil, were largely 
calculated in annonae. Where allowance was made for horses, the amount 
granted for each was called capitum. When stability was in some degree 
secured for the currency, these annonae* were again expressed in money, 
by a valuation called adaeratio. The government, to be on safety's side, 
of course exacted as a rule more produce from the soil than was needed 
for use, and the excess was turned into money, naturally at low prices. 

In addition to the burdens on the land, many other imposts were 
levied. The maintenance of the Post Service along the main roads was 
most oppressive. In the towns every trade was taxed, the contribution 
bearing the name of lustralis cottatio or chrysargyrum. The customs 
dues at the ports and transit dues at the frontier were maintained. 
Revenues were derived from government monopolies in mines, forests, 
salt factories, and other possessions. Some of the old Republican 
imposts, such as the tax on manumitted slaves, still survived. Persons 
of distinction were subject to special exactions. Imperial senators paid 
several dues, especially the so-called aurum oblaticium, which like many 
inevitable forms of taxation, professed in its name to be a free-will 
offering. Senators of municipal towns (decuriones) were weighted both 

The Financial Administration 43 

by local and by imperial burdens. Every five years of his reign the 
emperor celebrated a festival, at which he dispensed large sums to the 
army and to civil functionaries. At the same time the decuriones of the 
municipalities had to pay an oppressive tax known as aurum coronarium, 
the beginnings of which go right back to the time of the Republic. 
As is shewn below, certain trading corporations were hereditarily bound 
to assist in the provisioning of the two capitals; and some other 
miscellaneous services were similarly treated. 

From the third century the officer who in each province looked after 
the imperial revenue, whose earlier title was procurator, began to be 
called rationalis. But under Diocletian's system, each governor became 
the chief financial officer in his province. For each Dioecesis there was 
appointed a rationalis summae rei, in which name summae rei refers to 
the complex of provinces forming the Dioecesis. The great Imperial 
minister of finance at the centre bore the same name at first ; summa res 
in his case indicated the whole Empire. But the title comes sacrarum 
largitionum came into use in the reign of Constantine. This officer 
advanced from the rank of perjectissimus to a high place among the 
illustres. The appellation comes came to be given to all the chief 
financial officers in the Dioeceses of the East and to some of those in the 
West, while others continued to bear the name rationalis. Disputes 
between taxpayers and the lower government financial officers were 
doubtless decided in the last resort by the comes sacrarum largitionum. 
A number of treasury officials and officers of the mint were under his 
orders. In certain places (Rome, Milan, Lugdunum, London and 
others) sub-treasuries of the government were maintained There were 
also factories for the supply to the Court of many fabrics ; all these the 
comes had under his charge. And he was in touch with the administrators 
of all public income and expenditure throughout the Empire. 

The emperor had revenues which he distinguished as personal to 
himself rather than public, although they doubtless were largely expended 
on imperial administration. These personal revenues were derived 
from two sources distinguished as res privata and patrimonium, and 
administered to some extent by different staffs. In theory the patri- 
monium consisted of property which might be regarded as belonging 
to the emperor apart from the crown, while the res privata attached to 
the crown itself. But these distinctions were of no great practical value. 
The imperial estates and possessions had come to be enormous, and 
covered large parts of some provinces. We have seen that the control 
of the imperial domains in one province, Cappadocia, was entrusted to 
the quaestor sacri cubiculi. The concentration of these immense estates 
in the hands of the ruler had an important effect upon the general 
evolution of society in the Empire. These properties had largely accrued 
by confiscation, mainly as a consequence of struggles for the supreme 
power. The head of the administration of the res privata, designated as 

CH. n. 

46 The Magistri Militum 

in the regular army. The members of the body were raised far above 
the ordinary soldier by their personnel, their privileges, their pay, in 
some cases equal to that of civil officials of a high grade, by their equip- 
ment, and by the estimation in which they were held. The historian 
Ammianus Marcellinus served in their ranks. They were divided into 
sections called scholae. 

Still another corps of Imperial Guards was created by Constantine, 
consisting of scholae palatinae, distinguished as scholae scutariorum, 
who were Romans, and scholae gentilium, who were barbarians. They 
were detached from the general army organisation and were under the 
orders of the magister qfficiorum. Their history was not unlike that of 
the Praetorians ; they became equally turbulent, and equally inefficient 
as soldiers. 

With the new organisation of the army, there sprang up new military 
offices of high importance, with new names. Constantine created two 
high officers as chief commanders of the mobile army, a magister equitum 
and a magister peditum. Their position resembled that of the Praefecti 
Praetorio of the early Empire in several respects. They were immediately 
dependent on the emperor, and also, from the nature of their commands, 
on one another. But circumstances in time changed their duties and 
their numbers. They had sometimes to take the field when the emperor 
was not present, and the division between the infantry command and the 
cavalry command thus broke down. Hence the titles magister equitum 
et peditum, and magister utriusque militiae, or magister militum simply. 
The jealousy which the emperors naturally entertained for all high 
officers caused considerable variations in the position and importance of 
these magistri. After the middle of the fourth century the necessary 
connexion of the magistri with the emperor's person had ceased, and the 
command of a magister generally embraced the Dioecesis, within which 
war occurred or threatened. Where the emperor was, there would be 
two magistri called praesentales, either distinguished as commanders of 
infantry and cavalry, or bearing the title of magistri utriusque militiae 
praesentales. But in the fifth century the emperor was generally in 
practice a military nonentity, and was in the hands of one magister who 
was not unfrequently the real ruler of the Empire. As was the case with 
all high officials the magistri exercised jurisdiction over those under 
their dispositio, not only in matters purely military, but in cases of crime 
and even to some extent in connexion with civil proceedings. The lower 
commanders also possessed similar jurisdiction, but the details are not 
known. Appeal was to the emperor, who delegated the hearing as a rule 
to one or other of the highest civil functionaries. 

No view of the great imperial hierarchy of officials would be complete 
which did not take account of the new title comes. Its application 
followed no regular rules. In the earlier Latin it was used somewhat 
loosely to designate men who accompanied a provincial governor, and 

Comites 47 

were attached to his staff (cohors}, especially such as held no definite 
office connected with administration, whether military or civil. Such 
unofficial members of the staff seem especially to have assisted the 
governor in legal matters, and in time they were paid, and were 
punishable under the laws against extortion in the provinces. In 
the early Empire the title comes begins to be applied in no very 
precise manner to persons attached to the service of the emperor or of 
members of the imperial family ; but only slowly did it acquire an official 
significance. Inscriptions of the reign of Marcus Aurelius show a change ; 
as many persons are assigned the title in this one reign as in all the 
preceding reigns put together. Probably at this time began the bestowal 
of the title on military as well as legal assistants of the emperor, and 
soon its possessors were chiefly military officers, who after serving with 
the emperor, took commands on the frontier. Then from the end of 
the reign of Severus Alexander to the early years of Constantine the 
description comes Augusti was abolished for human beings, but attached 
to divinities. Constantine restored it to its mundane employment, 
and used it as an honorific designation for officers of many kinds, who 
were not necessarily in the immediate neighbourhood of an Augustus 
or Caesar, but were servants of the Augustus or Augusti and Caesars 
generally, that is to say might occupy any position in the whole imperial 
administration. Constantine seems to have despatched comites ^ not all 
of the same rank or importance, to provinces or parts of the Empire 
concerning which he wished to have confidential information. Later they 
appear in most districts, and the ordinary rulers are in some degree 
subject to them, and they hear appeals and complaints which otherwise 
would have been laid before the Praefecti Praetorio. The comites 
provinciarum afford a striking illustration of the manner in which offices 
were piled up upon offices, in the vain attempt to check corruption and 

In the immediate neighbourhood of the Court the name comes was 
attached to four high military officers ; the magister equitum and magister 
peditum, and the commanders of the domestici equites and the domestici 
pedites. Also to four high civil officers, the High Treasurer (comes 
sacrarum largitionum) and the controller of the Privy Purse (comes rerum 
privatarum) ; also the quaestor sacri palatii and the magister officiorum. 
These high civil functionaries appear as comites consistoriani, being 
regular members of the Privy Council (consistorium). Before the end 
of Constantine's reign the words connecting the comes with the emperor 
and the Caesars drop out, possibly because the imperial rulers were 
deemed to be too exalted for any form of companionship. A man is 
now not comes Augusti but comes merely or with words added to 
identify his duties, as for instance when the district is stated within 
which a military or civil officer acts, on whom the appellation has been 
bestowed. The former necessary connexion of the comes with the Court 

CH. n. 

48 Comites. Patricii. Consistorium 

having ceased, the name was vulgarised and connected with offices of 
many kinds, sometimes of a somewhat lowly nature. In many cases it 
was not associated with duties at all, but was merely titular. As a 
natural result, comites were classified in three orders of dignity (primi, 
secundi, tertii ordinis) . Admission to the lowest rank was eagerly coveted 
and often purchased, because of the immunity from public burdens which 
the boon carried with it. Constantine also adapted the old phrase 
patricius to new uses. The earlier emperors, first by special authorisa- 
tion, later merely as emperors, had raised families to patrician rank, 
but the result was merely a slight increase in social dignity. From 
Constantine's time onwards, the dignity was rarely bestowed and then 
the patricii became a high and exclusive order of nobility. They had 
precedence next to the emperor, with the exception of the consuls actually 
in office. Their titles did not descend to their sons. The best known of 
the patricii are some of the great generals of barbarian origin, who were 
the last hopes of the crumbling Empire. The title lasted long ; it was 
bestowed on Charles Martel, and was known later in the Byzantine 

At the centre of the great many-storeyed edifice of the bureaucracy 
was the Consistorium or Most Honourable Privy Council . There was deep 
rooted in the Roman mind the idea that neither private citizen nor 
official should decide on important affairs without taking the advice of 
those best qualified to give it. This feeling gave rise to the great 
advising body for the magistrates, the Senate, to the jury who assisted 
in criminal affairs, to the bench of counsellors, drawn from his staff, 
who gave aid to the provincial governor, and also to the loosely con- 
stituted gathering of friends whose opinion the paterfamilias demanded. 
To every one of these groups the word consilium was applicable. It 
was natural that the early emperors should have their consilium, the 
constitution of which gradually became more and more formal and 
regular, Hadrian gave a more important place than heretofore to the 
jurisconsults among his advisers,. For a while a regular paid officer 
called consiliarius existed. In Diocletian's time the old name consilium 
was supplanted by Consistorium. The old advisers of the magistrates 
sat on the bench with them and therefore sometimes bore the name 
adsessores. But it was impious to be seated in the presence of the new 
divinised rulers; and from the practice of standing (consutere) the 
Council derived its new name. From Constantine the Council received 
a more definite frame. As shewn above, certain officers became comites 
consistoriani. But these officers were not always the same after Con- 
stantine's reign, and additional persons were from time to time called 
in for particular business. The Praefectus Praetorio praesens or in 
comitatu would usually attend. The Consistorium was both a Council 
of State for the discussion of knotty imperial questions, and also a High 
Court of Justice, though it is difficult to determine exactly what cases 

The Roman Senate 49 

might be brought before it. Probably that depended on the emperor's 

It is necessary that something should be said of the position which 
the two capitals, Rome and Constantinople, held in the new organisation, 
and of the traces which still hung about Italy of its- older historical 
privileges. The old Roman Senate was allowed a nominal existence, 
with a changed constitution and powers which were rather municipal 
than imperial. Of the old offices whose holders once filled the Senate, the 
Consulship, Praetorship, and Quaestorship survived, while the Tribunate 
and the Aedileship died out. Two consulares ordinarii were named by 
the emperor, who would sometimes listen to recommendations from the 
senators. The years continued to be denoted by the consular names, and, 
to add dignity to the office, the emperor or members of the imperial 
family would sometimes hold it. The tenure of the office was brief, and 
the consules suffecti during the year were selected by the Senate, with the 
emperor's approval. But to be consul suffectus was of little value, even 
from a personal point of view. A list of nominations for the Praetorship 
and Quaestorship was laid by the Praefectus urbi before the emperor for 
confirmation. Apart from these old offices, many of the new dignitates 
carried with them membership of the ordo senatorius. Ultimately all 
officials who were clarissimi, that is to say who possessed the lowest of 
the three noble titles, belonged to it. Thus it included not merely the 
highest functionaries, as the principal military officers, the civil governors, 
and the chiefs of bureaux, but many persons lower down in the hierarchy 
of office, for example all the comites. The whole body must have 
comprised some thousands. But a man might be a member of the ordo 
without being actually a senator. Only the higher functionaries and 
priests and the consulares described above, with possibly a few others, 
actually took part in the proceedings. The actual Senate and the ordo 
were distinguished by high-sounding titles in official documents, and 
emperors would occasionally send communications to the Senate about 
high matters, and make pretence of asking its advice, out of respect for 
its ancient prestige, but its business was for the most part comparatively 
petty, and chiefly confined to the immediate needs of the city. But 
every now and then it was convenient for the ruler to expose the Senate 
to the odium of making unpopular decisions, as in cases of high 
treason ; and when pretenders rose, or changes of government took place, 
the favour of this ancient body still carried with it a certain value. 
Among the chief functions of the senators was the supervision of the 
supply of panis et circenses, provisions and amusements, for the 
capital. The games were chiefly paid for by the holders of the Consul- 
ship, Praetorship, and Quaestorship. The obligation resting on the 
Praetorship was the most serious, and therefore nomination to this 
magistracy took place many years in advance, that the money might 
be ready. Naturally these burdens became to a large extent compulsory ; 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. II. 4 

50 The City of Rome 

and so even women who had inherited from a senator had to supply 
money for such purposes. Rich men of course exceeded the minimum 
largely with a view to display. The old privilege still attached to Rome 
of receiving corn from Africa. Diocletian divided Italy into two 
districts, of which the northern (annonana regio) paid tribute for 
support of the Court at Milan, while the southern (dioecesis Romae, 
or suburbicaria regio) supplied wine, cattle, and some other necessaries 
for the capital. 

Senators as such and the senatorius ordo were subject to special 
taxation, as well as the ordinary taxation of the provinces (with 
exception perhaps of the aurum coronariwri). Thefollis senatorius was 
a particular tax on senatorial lands, and even a landless senator had to 
pay something. The aurum oblaticium, already mentioned, was specially 

The most important officer connected with the Senate was the 
Praefectus urbi. His office had grown steadily in importance during the 
whole existence of the Empire. From the time of Constantine its holder 
was mr illustris. He was the only high official of the Empire who 
continued to wear the toga and not the military garb. He was at the 
head of the Senate and was the intermediary between that body and the 
emperor. The powers of his office were extraordinary. The members of 
the Senate resident in Rome were under his criminal jurisdiction. There 
was an appeal to him from all the lesser functionaries who dealt with 
legal mafcters in the first instance, not only in the capital, but in a 
district extending 100 miles in every direction. His control spread over 
every department of business. He was the chief guardian of public 
security and had the cohortes urbanae, as well as the praefectus vigilum 
under his command. The provisioning of the city was an important 
part of his duty, and the praefectus annonae acted under his orders. A 
whole army of officials, many of them bearing titles which would have 
been strange to the Republic and early Empire, assisted him in looking 
after the water-supply, controlling trade and the markets, and the 
traffic on the river, in maintaining the river banks, in taking account of 
the property of senators and in many other departments of affairs. Tt 
is difficult to say how far his position was affected by the presence in the 
city of a Corrector, and a Vicarius of the Praefectus Praetorio. The 
material welfare of Rome was at least abundantly cared for by the 
new monarchy. The city had already grown accustomed to the loss 
of dignity caused by the residence of the emperors in cities more 
convenient for the purposes of government. But the foundation of 
Constantinople must have been a heavy blow. The institutions of the 
old Rome were to a great extent copied hi the new. There was a Senate 
subject to the same obligations as in Rome. Most of the magistracies 
were repeated. But until 359 no Praefectus urbi seems to have existed 
at Constantinople. Elaborate arrangements were made for placing the 

The Subjects of t he Empire 51 

new city on a level with the old as regards tributes of corn, wine, and 
other necessaries from the provinces. The more frequent presence of 
the ruler gave to the new capital a brilliance which the old must have 

So far the machinery of the new government in its several parts has 
been described. We must now consider in outline what was its total 
effect upon the inhabitants of the Empire. The inability of the ruler to 
assure good government to his subjects was made conspicuous by the 
frequent creation of new offices, whose object was to curb the corruption 
of the old. The multiplication of the functionaries in close touch with 
the population rendered oppression more certain and less punishable 
than ever. Lactantius declares, with pardonable exaggeration, that the 
number of those who lived on the taxes was as great as the number who 
paid them. The evidence of official rapacity is abundant. The laws 
thundered against it in vain. Oftentimes it happened that illegitimate 
exactions were legalised in the empty hope of keeping them within 
bounds. Penalties expressed in laws were plain enough and numerous 
enough. For corruption in a province not only the governor but his 
whole qfficium were liable to make heavy recompense. And the compara- 
tive powerlessness of the governor is shewn by the fact that the qfficium 
is more heavily mulcted than its head. But a down-trodden people 
rarely will or can bring legal proof against its oppressors. Nothing 
but extensive arbitrary dismissal and punishment of his servants by 
the emperor, without insistence on forms of law, would have met the 
evil. As it was, corruption reigned through the Empire with little 
check, and the illicit gains of the emperor's servants added to the strain 
imposed by the heavy imperial taxation. Thus the benefit which the 
provincials had at first received by the substitution of Imperial for 
Republican government was more than swept away. Their absorption 
into the Roman polity on terms of equality with their conquerors, 
brought with it degradation and ruin. 

During the fourth century that extraordinary development was 
completed whereby society was reorganised by a demarcation of classes 
so rigid that it became extremely difficult for any man to escape from 
that condition of life into which he was born. In the main, but not 
altogether, this result was brought about by the fiscal system. When 
the local Senates or their leaders were made responsible for producing to 
the government the quota of taxation imposed on their districts, it 
became necessary to prevent the members (decuriones or curiales) from 
escaping their obligations by passing into another path of life, and also 
to compel the sons to walk in their fathers' footsteps. But the main- 
tenance of the local ordo was necessary also from the local as well as 
the imperial point of view. The magistracies involved compulsory as 
well as voluntary payments for local objects, and therefore those capable 
of filling them must be thrust into them by force if need were. Every 

CH. II. 

52 Curiales. Collegia 

kind of magistracy in every town of the Empire, and every official position 
in connexion with any corporate body, whether priestly college or trade 
guild or religious guild, brought with it expenditure for the benefit of 
the community, and on this, in great part, the ordinary life of every 
town depended. The Theodosian Code shews that the absconding 
decurio was in the end treated as a runaway slave; five gold pieces 
were given to any one who would haul him back to his duties. 

In time the members also of all or nearly all professional corporations 
(collegia or corpora) were held to duties by the State, and the burden of 
them descended from father to son. The evolution by which these free 
unions for holding together in a social brotherhood all those who 
followed a particular occupation were turned into bodies with the stamp 
of caste upon them, is to be traced with difficulty in the extant inscrip- 
tions and the legal literature Here as everywhere the fiscal system 
instituted by Diocletian was a powerful agent. A large part of the 
natural fruits of the earth passed into the hands of government, and 
a vast host of assistants was needed for transport and distribution. And 
the organisation for maintaining the food-supply at Rome and Con- 
stantinople became more and more elaborate. For the annona alone 
many corporations had to give service, in most cases easily divined from 
their names, as navicularii,frumentarii, mercatores, olearii, suarii,pecuarii 9 
pistores, boarii, porcinarii and numerous others. Similar bodies were con- 
nected with public works, with police functions, as the extinction of fires, 
with government operations of numerous kinds, in the mints, the mines, 
the factories for textiles and arms and so on. In the early Empire the 
service rendered to the State was not compulsory, and partly by rewards, 
such as immunity from taxation, partly by pay, the government was 
willingly served. But in time the burdens became intolerable. State 
officers ultimately controlled the minutest details connected with these 
corporations. And the tasks imposed did not entirely proceed from the 
imperial departments. The curiales of the towns could enforce assistance 
from the local collegia within their boundaries. And the tentacles of the 
great octopus of the central government were spread over the provinces. 
In the fourth and later centuries the restrictions on the freedom of these 
corporations were extraordinarily oppressive. Egress from inherited 
membership was inhibited by government except in rare instances. 
Ingress, as into the class of curiales, was, directly or indirectly, com- 
pulsory. The colleges differed greatly in dignity. In some, as in that 
of the navicuLarii, even senators might be concerned, and office-holders 
might obtain, among their rewards, the rank of Roman knight. On the 
other hand, the bakers (pistores) approached near the condition of 
slavery. Marriage, for instance, outside their own circle was forbidden, 
whereas, in other cases, it was only rendered difficult. Property which 
had once become subject to the duties required of a collegium could 
hardly be released* The end was that collegiati or corporati all over the 

Demarcation of Classes 53 

Empire took any method they could find of escaping from their servitude, 
and the law's severest punishments could not check the movement. If we 
may believe some late writers, thousands of citizens found life in barbarian 
lands more tolerable than in the Roman Empire. 

The status of other classes in the community also tended to become 
hereditary. This was the case with the officiates and the soldiers, though 
here compulsion was not so severe. But the tillers of the ground (coloni) 
were more hardly treated than any other class. It became impossible 
for them, without breach of the law, to tear themselves away from the 
soil of the locality within which they were born. The evolution of this 
peculiar form of serfdom, which existed for the purposes of the State, is 
difficult to trace. Many causes contributed to its growth and final 
establishment, as the extension of large private and especially of vast 
imperial domains, the imitation of the German half-free land-tenure 
when barbarians were settled as laeti or inquilini within the Empire, the 
influence of Egyptian and other Eastern land-customs, but above all the 
drastic changes in the imperial imposts which Diocletian introduced. 
The cultivator's principal end in life was to insure a contribution of 
natural products for the revenue. Hence it was a necessity to chain him 
to the ground, and in the law-books adscripticius is the commonest title 
for him. The details of the scheme of taxation, given above, shew how 
it must have tended to diminish population, for every additional person, 
even a slave, increased the contribution which each holding must pay. 
The owners of the land were in the first instance responsible, but the 
burdens of course fell ultimately and in the main on the agricultural 
workers. The temporary loss of provinces to the invader, the failure of 
harvest in any part of the Empire, the economic effects of pestilence, and 
other accidents, all led to greater sacrifices on the part of those provinces 
which were not themselves affected. The exactions became heavier and 
heavier, the punishments for attempts to escape from duty more and more 
severe, and yet flight and disappearance of coloni took place on a large 
scale. By the end of the fourth century it was possible for lawyers to 
say of this unhappy class that they were almost in the condition of slaves, 
and a century or so later that the distinction between them and slaves 
no longer existed ; that they were slaves of the land itself on which they 
were born. 

In many other ways, under the new monarchy, the citizens of the 
Empire were treated with glaring inequality. The gradations of official 
station were almost as important in the general life of the Empire as they 
now are in China, and they were reflected in titular phrases, some of 
which have been given above. Etiquette became most complicated. 
Even the emperor was bound to exalted forms of address in his com- 
munications with his servants or with groups of persons within his 
Empire. "Your sublimity," "Your magnificence," "Your loftiness," 
were common salutations for the greater officers. The ruler did not 


54 Demarcation of Classes 

disdain to employ the title parens in addressing some of them. The 
innumerable new titles which the Empire had invented were highly 
valued and much paraded by their possessors, even the titles of offices in 
the municipalities. Great hardship must have been caused to the lower 
ranks of the taxpayers by the extensive relief from taxation which was 
accorded to hosts of men in the service of the government (nominal or 
real) as part payment for the duties which they performed or were 
supposed to perform. With these immunities, as with everything else in 
the Empire, there was much corrupt dealing. The criminal law became 
a great respecter of persons. Not only was the jurisdiction over the 
upper classes separated at many points from that over the lower, but 
the lower were subject to punishments from which the upper were free. 
Gradually the Empire drifted farther and farther away from the old 
Republican principle, that crimes as a rule are to be punished in the 
same way, whoever among the citizens commits them. A sharp distinc- 
tion was drawn between the "more honourable" (honestiores) and the 
"more humble" (humiliores or plebeii). The former included the 
imperial ordo senator ius, the equites, the soldier-class generally and 
veterans, and the local senators (decuriones). The honestiores could not 
be executed without the emperor's sanction, and if executed, were exempt 
from crucifixion (a form of punishment altogether abolished by the 
Christian emperors). They could not be sentenced to penal servitude in 
mines or elsewhere. Nor could they be tortured in the course of criminal 
proceedings, excepting for treason, magic, and forgery. 

A general- survey of Roman government in the fourth and later 
centuries undoubtedly leaves a strong impression of injustice, inequality, 
and corruption leading fast to ruin. But some parts of the Empire did 
maintain a fair standard of prosperity even to the verge of the general 
collapse. The two greatest problems in history, how to account for the 
rise of Rome and how to account for her fall, never have been, perhaps 
never will be, thoroughly solved. 



DEATH had surprised Constantine when preparing to meet Persian 
aggression on the Eastern frontier and it seems certain that the 
Emperor had made no final provision for the succession to the throne, 
though later writers profess to know of a will which parcelled out the 
Roman world among the members of his family. During his lifetime 
his three sons had been created Caesars and while for his nephew 
Hanniballianus he had fashioned a kingdom in Asia, to his nephew 
Delmatius had been assigned the Ripa Gothica. Possibly we are to see 
in these latter appointments an attempt to satisfy discontent at Court ; 
it may be that Optatus and Ablabius, espousing the cause of a younger 
branch of the imperial stock, had forced Constantine's hand and that it 
was for this interference that they afterwards paid the penalty of their 
lives. But it would seem a more probable suggestion that the Persian 
danger was thought to demand an older and more experienced governor 
than Constantius, while the boy Constans was deemed unequal to 
withstand the Goths in the north. At least the plan would appear to 
have been in substance that of a threefold division of spheres itself 
suggested by administrative necessity; Constantine was true to the 
principle of Diocletian, and it was only a superficial view which saw in 
this devolution of the central power a partition of the Roman Empire. 1 
Thus on the Emperor's death there followed an interregnum of nearly 
four months. Constantine had, however, been successful in inspiring his 
soldiers with his own dynastic views ; they feared new tumult and 
internal struggle and in face of the twenty year old Constantius felt 
themselves to be the masters. The armies agreed that they would have 
none but the sons of Constantine to rule over them, and at one blow 
they murdered all the other relatives of the dead Emperor save only the 
child Julian and Gallus the future Caesar ; in the latter's case men 
looked to his own ill health to spare the executioner. At the same 
time perished Optatus and Ablabius. On 9 September 337 Constantius, 
Constantine II, and Constans each assumed the title of Augustus as joint 

1 Cf . Victor, Caes. xxxix. 30, quasi partito imperio. 
CH. III. 55 

56 The Sons of Constantine [337-338 

His contemporaries were unable to agree how far Constantius was 
to be held responsible for this assassination. He alone of the sons of 
Constantine was present in the capital, it was he who stood to gain 
most by the deed, the property of the victims fell into his hands, while 
it was said that he himself regarded his ill-success in war and his 
childlessness as Heaven's punishment and that this murder was one of 
the three sins which he regretted on his death-bed. In later times some, 
though considering the slaughter as directly inspired by the Emperor, 
have yet held him justified and have viewed him as the victim of 
a tragic necessity of state. Certainty is impossible but the circumstances 
suggest that inaction and not participation is the true charge against 
Constantius ; the army which made and unmade emperors was determined 
that there should be no rival to question their choice. The massacre 
had fatal consequences; it was the seed from which sprang Julian's 
mistrust and ill-will : in a panegyric written for the Emperor's eye he 
might admit the plea of compulsion, but the deep-seated conviction 
remained that he was left an orphan through his cousin's crime. 

In the summer of 338 the new rulers assembled in Pannonia (or 
possibly at Viminacium in Dacia, not far from the Pannonian frontier) 
to determine their spheres of government. According to their father's 
division, it would seem, Spain, Britain, and the two Gauls fell to 
Constantine : the two Italies, Africa, Illyricum, and Thrace were sub- 
jected to Constans, while southward from the Propontis, Asia and the 
Orient with Pontus and Egypt were entrusted to Constantius. It was 
thus to Constantius that, on the death of Hanniballianus, Armenia and 
the neighbouring allied tribes naturally passed, but with this addition 
the eastern Augustus appears to have remained content. The whole of 
the territory subject to Delmatius, i.e. the Ripa Gothica which probably 
comprised Dacia, Moesia I and II, and Scythia (perhaps even Pannonia 
and Noricum) went to swell the share of Constans who was now but 
fifteen years of age. 1 But though both the old and the new Rome were 
thus in the hands of the most youthful of the three emperors, the balance 
of actual power still seemed heavily weighted in favour of Constantine, 
the ruler of the West ; indeed, he appears to have assumed the position 
of guardian over his younger brother. It may be difficult to account 
for the moderation of Constantius, but Julian points out that a war 
with Persia was imminent, the army was disorganised, and the prepa- 
rations for the campaign insufficient ; domestic peace was the Empire's 
great need, while Constantius himself really strengthened his own position 
by renouncing further claims : to widen his sphere of government might 
have only served to limit his moral authority. Further he was perhaps 
unwilling to demand for himself a capital in which his kinsmen had been 

^n his eighteenth year, Eutrop x. 9, cf. Seeck, Z&itschrift Jur Numimatik, xvir. 
pp. 39 sqq. 

338] The War with Persia 57 

so recently murdered : his self-denial should prove his innocence. 1 During 
the next thirteen years three great and more or less independent interests 
absorbed the energies of Constantius . the welfare and doctrine of the 
Christian Church, 2 the long drawn and largely ineffective struggle 
against Persia and lastly the assertion and maintenance of his personal 
influence in the affairs of the West. 

It was to Asia that Constantius hastened after his meeting with his 
co-rulers. Before his arrival Nisibis had successfully withstood a Persian 
siege (autumn 337 or spring 338), and the Emperor at once made 
strenuous efforts to restore order and discipline among the Roman forces. 
Profiting by his previous experience he organised a troop of mail-clad 
horsemen after the Persian model the wonder of the time and raised 
recruits both for the cavalry and infantry regiments; he demanded 
extraordinary contributions from the eastern provinces, enlarged the 
river flotillas and generally made his preparations for rendering effective 
resistance to Persian attacks. The history of this border warfare is 
a tangled tale and our information scanty and fragmentary. In 
Armenia the fugitive king and those nobles who with him were loyal 
to Rome were restored to their country, but for the rest the campaigns 
resolved themselves in the main into the successive forays across 
the frontier of Persian or Roman troops. Though Ludi Persici 
(13-17 May) were founded, though court orators could claim that the 
Emperor had frequently crossed the Tigris, had raised fortresses on its 
banks and laid waste the enemy's territory with fire and sword, yet the 
lasting results of these campaigns were sadly to seek: now an Arab 
tribe would be induced to make common cause with Rome (as in 338) 
and to harry the foe, now a Persian town would be captured and its 
inhabitants transported and settled within the Empire, but it was rare 
indeed for the armies of both powers to meet face to face in the open 
field. Constantius persistently declined to take the aggressive ; he 
hesitated to risk any great engagement which even if successful might 
entail a heavy loss in men whom he could ill afford to spare. Of one 
battle alone have we any detailed account. Sapor had collected a vast 
army ; conscripts of all ages were enlisted, while neighbouring tribesmen 
served for Persian gold. In three divisions the host crossed the Tigris 
and by the Emperor's orders the frontier guards did not dispute the 
passage. The Persians occupied an entrenched camp at Hileia or Ellia 
near Singara, while a distance of some 150 stades lay between them and 
the Roman army. Even on Sapor's advance Constantius true to his 
'defensive policy awaited the enemy's attack; it may be, as Libanius 
asserts, that Rome's best troops were absent at the time. Beneath their 
fortifications the Persians had posted their splendid mailed cavalry 

1 For the above cf Victor, Ejnt XLI. 20; Vita Artemii Martyris, AS. Boll Tom. vin. 
Oct 20, Eutyches, Chron Alex. 01 279, Seeck, Zetis.f. Numismahk, Lc. 

2 See Chap v. 
CH. ill. 

58 Reign of Constans [338-350 

(cataphracti) and upon the ramparts archers were stationed. On a mid- 
summer morning, probably in the year 344 (possibly 348), the struggle 
began. At midday the Persians feigned flight in the direction of their 
camp, hoping that thus their horsemen would charge upon an enemy 
disorganised by long pursuit. It was already evening when the Romans 
drew near the fortifications Constantius gave orders to halt until the 
dawn of the new day; but the burning heat of the sun had caused 
a raging thirst, the springs lay within the Persian camp and the troops 
with little experience of their Emperor's generalship refused to obey his 
commands and resumed the attack. Clubbing the enemy's cavalry, they 
stormed the palisades. Sapor fled for his life to the Tigris, while the 
heir to his throne was captured and put to death. As night fell, the 
victors turned to plunder and excess, and under cover of the darkness 
the Persian fugitives re-formed and won back their camp. But success 
came too late ; their confidence was broken and with the morning the 
retreat began. 

Turning to Lhe history of the West after the meeting of the Augusti 
in 338, it would appear that Constantine forthwith claimed an authority 
superior to that of his co-rulers ; 1 he even legislated for Africa although 
this province fell within the jurisdiction of Constans. The latter, how- 
ever, soon asserted his complete independence of his elder brother and 
in autumn (338 ?) after a victory on the Danube assumed the title of 
Sarmaticus. At this time (339) he probably sought to enlist the support 
of Constantius, surrendering to the latter Thrace and Constantinople. 2 
Disappointed of his hopes, it would seem that the ruler of the West now 
demanded for himself both Italy and Africa. Early in 340 he suddenly 
crossed the Alps and at Aquileia rashly engaged the advanced guard of 
Constans who had marched from Naissus in Dacia, where news had 
reached him of his brother's attack. Constantine falling into an ambush 
perished, and Constans was now master of Britain, Spain, and the Gauls 
(before 9 April 340). He proved himself a terror to the barbarians 
and a general of untiring energy who travelled incessantly, making light 
of extremes of heat and cold In 341 and 342 he drove back an 
inroad of the Franks and compelled that restless tribe "for whom 
inaction was a confession of weakness" to conclude a peace: he dis- 
regarded the perils of the English Channel in winter, and in January 343 
crossed from Boulogne to Britain, perhaps to repel the Picts and Scots. 
His rule is admitted to have been at the outset vigorous and just, but 
the promise of his early years was not maintained : his exactions grew 
more intolerable, his private vices more shameless, while his favourites 
were allowed to violate the laws with impunity. It would seem, however, 
to have been his unconcealed contempt for the army which caused his 

1 This is an inference drawn from Hs coinage. 

2 Cf. the language of the ita Artemii, l.c 6 & K<OVOT<VTIOS , . . rd rrj$ Id/as doirdt- 
<,erat /wepos /cat rorc . . . K r.\. 

350-352] Death of Constans. Vetranio 59 

fall. A party at Court conspired with Marcellinus, Count of the sacred 
largesses, and Magnentius, commander of the picked corps of Joviani and 
Herculeani, to secure his overthrow. Despite his Roman name Magnentius 
was a barbarian : his father had been a slave and subsequently a f reedman 
in the service of Constantine. While at Augustodunum, during the 
absence of the Emperor on a hunting expedition, Marcellinus on the 
pretext of a banquet in honour of his son's birthday feasted the military 
leaders (18 January 350) ; wine had flowed freely and the night was 
already far advanced, when Magnentius suddenly appeared among the 
revellers, clad in the purple. He was straightway acclaimed Augustus : 
the rumour spread: folk from the country-side poured into the city: 
Illyrian horsemen who had been drafted into the Gallic regiments joined 
their comrades, while the officers hardly knowing what was afoot were 
carried by the tide of popular enthusiasm into the usurper's camp. 
Constans fled for Spain and at the foot of the Pyrenees by the small 
frontier fortress of Helene was murdered by Gaiso, the barbarian emissary 
of Magnentius. The news of his brother's death reached Constantius 
when the winter was almost over, but true to his principle never to 
sacrifice the Empire to his own personal advantage he remained in the 
East, providing for its safety during his absence and appointing 
Lucillianus to be commander-in-chief. 

The hardships and oppression which the provinces had suffered under 
Constans were turned by Magnentius to good account. A month after 
his usurpation Italy had joined him and Africa was not slow to follow. 
The army of Illyricum was wavering in its fidelity when, upon the advice 
of Constantia sister of Constantius, Vetranio, magister peditum of the 
forces on the Danube, allowed himself to be acclaimed Emperor 
(1 March, at Mursa or Sirmium) and immediately appealed for help to 
Constantius. The latter recognised the usurper, sent Vetranio a diadem 
and gave orders that he should be supported by the troops on the 
Pannonian frontier. Meanwhile in Rome, the elect of the mob, Flavius 
Popilius Nepotianus, cousin of Constantius, enjoyed a brief and bloody 
reign of some 28 days until, through the treachery of a senator, he fell 
into the hands of the soldiers of Magnentius, led by Marcellinus the 
newly appointed magister offitionim. 

In the East, Nisibis was besieged for the third and last time: 
Sapor's object was, it would seem, permanently to settle a Persian colony 
within the city. The siege was pressed with unexampled energy ; the 
Mygdonius was turned from its course, and thus upon an artificial lake 
the fleet plied its rams but without effect. At length under the weight 
of the waters part of the city wall collapsed; cavalry and elephants 
charged to storm the breach, but the huge beasts turned in flight and 
broke the lines of the assailants. A new wall rose behind the old, and 
though four months had passed, Jacobus, Bishop of Nisibis, never lost 
heart. Then Sapor learned that the Massagetae were invading his own 


60 Gallus Caesar [350-351 

country and slowly the Persian host withdrew. For a time the Eastern 
frontier was at peace (A.D. 350). 

In the West while Magnentius sought to win the recognition of 
Constantius, Vetranio played a waiting game. At last, the historians 
tell us, the Illyrian Emperor broke his promises and made his peace 
with Magnentius. A common embassy sought Constantius : let him 
give Magnentius his sister Constantia to wife, and himself wed the 
daughter of Magnentius. Constantius wavered, but rejected the pro- 
posals and marched towards Sardica. Vetranio held the pass of Succi 
the Iron Gate of later times but on the arrival of the Emperor gave 
way before him. In Naissus, or as others say in Sirmium, the two 
Emperors mounted a rostrum and Constantius harangued the troops ,, 
appealing to them to avenge the death of the son of the great 
Constantine. The army hailed Constantius alone as Augustus and 
Vetranio sought for pardon. The Emperor treated the usurper with 
great respect and accorded him on his retirement to Prusa in Bithynia 
a handsome pension until his death six years later. Such is the story, 
but it can hardly fail to arouse suspicion. The greatest blot on the 
character of Constantius is his ferocity when once he fancied his 
superiority threatened, and here was both treason and treachery, for 
power had been stolen from him by a trick. All difficulties are removed 
if Vetranio throughout never ceased to support Constantius, even though 
the Emperor may have doubted his loyalty for a time when he heard 
that the prudent general had anticipated any action on the part of 
Magnentius by himself seizing the key-position, the pass of Succi. It is 
obvious that their secret was worth keeping : it is ill to play with armies 
as Constantius and Vetranio had done ; while the clemency of an outraged 
sovereign offered a fair theme to the panegyrists of the Emperor. 

Marching against one usurper in the West, Constantius was anxious 
to secure the East to the dynasty of Constantine : the recent success of 
Lucillianus may have appeared dangerously complete. The Emperor 1 ** 
nephew Gallus had, it would seem, for some time followed the Court, 
and while at Sirmium Constantius determined to create him Caesar. 
At the same time (15 March 351) his name was changed into Flavins 
Claudius Constantius, he was married to Constantia and became frater 
Augusti, forthwith the prince and his wife started for Anliocli. 
Meanwhile Magnentius had not been idle; he had raised huge sums 
of money in Gaul, while Pranks, Saxons, and Germans trooped to the 
support of their fellow-countryman, whose army now outnumbered 
that of Constantius. The latter however took the offensive in tlio 
spring of 351 and uniting Vetranio's troops with his own marched 
towards the Alpine passes. An ambush of Magnenlius posted in the 
defiles of Atrans inflicted severe loss on his advance guard and the 
Emperor was compelled to withdraw. Elated by this success, the 
usurper now occupied Pannonia and passing Poetovio made for Sirmium* 

351-353] The Battle of Mursa 61 

Throughout his reign the policy of Constantius was marked by an 
anxious desire to husband the military forces of the Empire, and even 
now he was ready to compromise and to avoid the fearful struggle between 
the armies of Gaul and Illyricum. He dispatched Philippus, offering to 
acknowledge Magnentius as co- Augustus in the West, if he would 
abandon any claim to Italy. The ambassador was detained, but his 
proposals after some delay rejected ; the usurper was so certain of victory 
that his envoy the Senator Titianus could even counsel Constantius to 
abdicate. An attack of Magnentius on Siscia was repulsed and an effort 
to cross the Save was also unsuccessful. Constantius then retired, 
preferring to await the enemy in open country where he could turn to 
the best advantage his superiority in cavalry. At Cibalae the army 
took up an entrenched position, while Magnentius advanced on Sirmium, 
hoping to meet with no resistance. Foiled in this he marched to Mursa 
in the rear of Constantius 5 army. The latter was forced to relieve the 
town and here on 28 September the decisive battle was fought. Behind 
Constantius flowed the Danube and on his right the Drave: for him 
flight must mean destruction. On both wings he posted mounted 
archers and in the forefront the mailed cavalry (cataphracti) which he had 
himself raised after the Persian model ; in the centre the heavy armed 
infantry were stationed and in the rear the bowmen and slingers. Before 
the struggle Silvanus with his horsemen deserted Magnentius. From 
late afternoon till far into the night the battle raged; the cavalry of 
Constantius routed the enemy's right wing and this drew the whole line 
into confusion. Magnentius fled but Marcellinus continued the fight ; the 
Gauls refused to acknowledge defeat; some few escaped through the 
darkness, but thousands were driven into the river or cut down upon the 
plain. It is said that Magnentius lost 24,000 men, Constantius 30,000. 1 
The usurper took refuge in Aquileia and garrisoned the passes of the 
Alps; although his overtures were rejected and though his schemes to 
murder the Caesar Gallus and thus to raise difficulties for Constantius in 
the East were foiled, yet the exhaustion of his enemies and the approach 
of winter made pursuit impossible. Constantius forthwith proclaimed 
an amnesty for all the adherents of Magnentius except only those 
immediately implicated in his brother's murder; many deserted the 
pretender and escaped by sea to the victor. In the following year (352), 
Constantius forced the passes of the Julian Alps, while his fleet dominated 
the Po, Sicily, and Africa. At the news Magnentius fled to Gaul and 
by November the Emperor was already irf Milan, abrogating all the 
fugitive's measures. In 353 Constantius crossed the Cottian Alps and 
at length, three years and a hah* after his assumption of the purple, 
Magnentius was surrounded in Lyons by his own troops, and finding his 

iZonaras states that Constantius had 80,000 men, Magnentms 36,000. Seeck has 
suggested that at this time Magnentius may have been besieging Sirmium. 


62 Magnentius [350-3o3 

cause hopeless committed suicide, while his Caesar Decentiusalso perished 
by his own hand. 

The importance and significance of this unsuccessful bid for empire 
may easily be overlooked. A Roman civil official at the head of some 
discontented spirits at the Court hatches a plot against his sovereign, 
and in order to win the support of the army alienated by the coatempt 
of Constans induces a barbarian general to declare himself Emperor. 
But though the Roman world was willing enough that Germans should 
fight the Empire's battles in their defence, they were not prepared to see 
another Maximin upon the throne; they refused to be reconciled to 
Magnentius even by the admitted justice of his rule. The lesson of his 
failure was well learned : the barbarian Arbogast caused not himself but 
the Roman civilian Eugenius to be elected Emperor. Further, while in 
this struggle the eastern and western halves of the Empire are seen 
falling naturally and almost unconsciously asunder, the most powerful 
force working for unity is the dynastic sentiment: Constantius claims 
support as the legitimate successor of the house of Constantine and as 
the avenger of the death of his son. His claim is not merely as the 
chosen of senate or army but far more as the rightful heir to the throne. 
This struggle throws into prominence the growth of the hereditary 
principle and the warmth of the response which it could evoke from the 
sympathies of the subjects of the Empire. No student of the history 
of the fourth century can indeed afford to neglect the battle of Mursa ; 
contemporaries were staggered at the appalling loss of life, for while 
it is said that the Roman dead numbered 40,000 at Hadrianople 
(A D. 378), at Mursa 54,000 are reported to have been slain. It is 
hardly too much to say that the defence of the Empire in the East was 
crippled by this blow, and it must have been largely through the 
slaughter at Mursa that Constantius was forced to make his fatal demand 
that the troops of Gaul should march against Persia. Neither must the 
military significance of the battle be forgotten : it lies in the fact that 
this was the first victory of the newly formed heavy cavalry, and the 
result of the impact of their charge, which carried all before it, showed 
that it was no longer the legionary who was to play the most important 
part in the campaigns of the future. 

Meanwhile in Antioch Gallus was ruling as an oriental despot ; there 
was in his nature a strain of savagery, and his appointment as Caesar 
seems to have awakened within him a brutal lust for a naked display of 
unrestrained authority. His passions were only fed by the violence of 
Constantia. The unsuccessful plot of Magnentius to assassinate the 
Caesar aroused the latter's suspicions and a reign of terror began; 
judicial procedure was disregarded and informers honoured, men were 
condemned to death without trial and the members of the city council 
imprisoned; when the populace complained of scarcity it was suggested 
that the responsibility lay with Theophilus governor of Syria : the mob 

332-354] Fall of Gallus. Julian's Youth 63 

took the hint and the governor perished. The feeling of insecurity was 
rendered more intense by a rising among the Jews, who declared a certain 
Patricius their King, and by the raids of Saracens and Isaurians upon 
the country-side. The loyalty of the East was jeopardised. The reports 
of Thalassius, the praetorian praefect, and of Barbatio, the Caesar's 
Count of the guard, at length moved Constantius to action. On the 
death of Thalassius (winter 353-4) Domitian was sent to Antioch as 
his successor, directions being given him that Gallus was to be persuaded 
to visit the Emperor in the West. The praefect's studied discourtesy 
and overbearing behaviour enraged the Caesar ; Domitian was thrown 
into prison and the populace responding to the appeal of Gallus tore in 
pieces both the praefect and Montius the quaestor of the palace. The 
trials for treason which followed were but a parody of justice ; fear and 
hate held sway in Antioch. Constantius himself now wrote to Gallus 
praying his presence in Milan. In deep foreboding the Caesar started ; 
on his journey the death of his wife, the Emperor's masterful sister, 
further dismayed him, and after passing through Constantinople his 
guard of honour became his gaolers ; stripped of his purple by Barbatio 
in Poetovio, he was brought near Pola before a commission headed by 
Eusebius, the Emperor's chamberlain, and bidden to account for his 
administration in the East* The Court came to the required conclusion, 
and Gallus was beheaded. 

Thus of the house of Constantine there only remained the Emperor's 
cousin Julian. Born in all probability in April 33, the child spent his 
early years in Constantinople; his mother Basilina, daughter of the 
praetorian praefect Anicius Julianus, died only a few months after the 
birth of her son, while his father Julius Constantius, younger brother of 
Constantine the Great, perished in the massacre of 337. From this 
Julian was spared by his extreme youth and was thereupon removed to 
Nicomedia and entrusted to the charge of a distant relative, by name 
Eusebius, who was at the time bishop of the city. When seven years of 
age,his education was undertaken by Mardonius, a "Scythian "eunuch 
perhaps a Goth who had been engaged by Julian's grandfather to 
instruct Basilina in the works of Homer and Hesiod. Mardonius had 
a passionate love for the classical authors, and on his way to school the 
boy's imagination was fired by the old man's enthusiasm. Already 
Julian's love for nature was aroused ; in the summer he would spend his 
time on a small estate which had belonged to his grandmother; it lay 
eight stades from the coast and contained springs and trees with a garden. 
Here, free from crowds, he would read a book in peace, looking up now 
and again upon the ships and the sea, while from a knoll, he tells us, 
there was a wide view over the town below and thence beyond to the 
capital, the Propontis and the distant islands. Suddenly (in 341 ?) 
both he and his brother Gallus were banished to Marcellum, a large and 
lonely imperial castle in Cappadocia, lying at the foot of Mount Argaeus. 
CH. in. 

64 Julian and Paganism [342-355 

Here for six years the two boys lived in seclusion, for none of their friends 
were allowed to visit them. Julian chafed bitterly at this isolation : in 
one of his rare references to this period he writes "we might have been 
in a Persian prison with only slaves for our companions." For a time 
the suspicions of Constantius seem to have gained the upper hand. At 
length Julian was allowed to visit his birthplace Constantinople. Here, 
while studying under Christian teachers as a citizen among citizens, his 
natural capacity, wit, and sociability rendered him dangerously popular : 
it was rumoured that men were beginning to look upon the young 
prince as Constantius' successor. He was bidden to return to Nicomedia 
(349 ?), where he studied philosophy and came under the influence of 
Libanius, although he was not allowed to attend the latter's lectures. The 
rhetorician dates Julian's conversion to Neoplatonism from this period : 
"the mud-bespattered statues of the gods were set up in the great 
temple of Julian's soul." At last, in 351, when Gallus was created 
Caesar, the student was free to go where he would, and the Pagan 
philosophers of Asia Minor seized their opportunity. One and all 
plotted to secure the complete conversion of the young prince. Aedesius 
and Eusebius at Pergamuni, Maximus and Chrysanthius at Ephesus 
could hardly content Julian's hunger for the forbidden knowledge. It 
was at this time (351-2) when he was twenty years of age (as he him- 
self tells us) that he finally rejected Christianity and was initiated into 
the mysteries of Mithras. The fall of Gallus, however, implicated the 
Caesar's brother and Julian was closely watched and conducted to Italy. 
For seven months he was kept under guard, and during the six months 
which he spent in Milan he had only one interview with Constantius 
which was secured through the efforts of the Empress Eusebia. When 
at length he was allowed to leave the Court and was on his way to 
Asia Minor, the trial of the tribune Marinus and of Africanus, governor 
df Pannonia Secunda, on a charge of high treason inspired Constantius 
with fresh fears and suspicions. Messages reached Julian ordering his 
return. But before his arrival at Milan Eusebia had won from the 
Emperor his permission for Julian to retire to Athens, love of study 
being a characteristic which might with safety be encouraged in members 
of the royal house. Men may have seen in this visit to Greece (355) 
but a banishment ; to Julian, nursing the perilous secret of his new-found 
faith, the change must have been pure joy. In Hellas, his true fatherland, 
he was probably initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, while he plunged 
with impetuous intensity into the life of the University. It was not to 
be for long, for he was soon recalled to sterner activities. 

Since the death of Gallus, the Emperor had stood alone; although 
no longer compromised by the excesses of his Caesar, he was still beset 
by the old problems which appeared to defy solution. At this time the 
power of the central government in Gaul had been still further weakened. 
Here Silvanus, whose timely desertion of Magnentius had contributed to 

354-355] Julian made Caesar 65 

the Emperor's success at the battle of Mursa, had been appointed magister 
peditum. He had won some victories over the Alemanni but, driven 
into treason by Court intrigues, had assumed the purple in Cologne and 
fallen after a short reign of some 28 days a victim to treachery 
(August-September 355?). In his own person Constantius could 
not take the command at once in Rhaetia and in Gaul, and yet along 
the whole northern frontier he was faced with danger and difficulty. 
He was haunted by the continual fear that some capable general might 
of his own motion proclaim himself Augustus, or like Silvanus be 
hounded into rebellion. A military triumph often advantaged the 
captain more than his master and might have but little influence to- 
wards kindling anew the allegiance of the provincials. A prince of the 
royal house could alone with any hope of success attempt to raise the 
imperial prestige in Gaul. It was thus statecraft and no sinister machi- 
nation against his cousin's life which led Constantius to listen to his 
wife's entreaties. He determined to banish suspicion and disregard the 
interested insinuations of the Court eunuchs : he would make of the 
philosopher scholar a Caesar, in whose person the loyalty of the West 
should find a rallying-point and on whom its devotion might be spent. 
In the Emperor's absence Julian once more arrived in Milan (summer 
355), but to him imperial favour seemed a thing more terrible than 
royal neglect ; Eusebia's summons to be of good courage was of no avail, 
only the thought that this was the will of Heaven steeled his purpose. 
Who was he to fight against the Gods ? After some weeks on 6 November 
355 Julian was clothed with the purple by Constantius and enthusias- 
tically acclaimed as Caesar by the army. Before leaving the Court the 
Caesar married Helena, the youngest sister of Constantius ; the union 
was dictated by policy and she would seem never to have taken any 
large place in the life or thought of Julian. The position of affairs in 
Gaul was critical. Magnentius had withdrawn the armies of the West 
to meet Constantius, and horde after horde of barbarians had swept 
across the Rhine. In the north the Salii had taken possession of what 
is now the province of Brabant; in the south the Alemanni under 
Chnodomar had defeated the Caesar Decentius and had ravaged the 
heart of Gaul. The rumour ran that Constantius had even freed the 
Alemanni from their oaths and had given them a bribe to induce them 
to invade Roman territory, allowing them to take for their own any land 
which their swords could win. The story is probably a fabrication of 
Julian and his friends, but the fact of the barbarian invasion cannot be 
doubted. In the spring of 354 Constantius crossed the Jura and marched 
to the neighbourhood of Basel, but the Alemanni under Gundomad 
and Vadomar withdrew and a peace was concluded. In 355 Arbitio 
was defeated near the Lake of Constance and the fall of Silvanus had 
for its immediate consequence the capture of Cologne by the Franks. 
Forty-five towns, not to speak of lesser posts, had been laid waste and 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. III. 5 

66 Julian's First Campaign in Gaul [354-356 

the valley of the Rhine was lost to the Romans. Three hundred stades, 
from the left bank of the river the barbarians were permanently settled 
and their ravages extended for three times that distance. The whole of 
Elsass was in the hands of the Alemanni, the heads of the municipalities 
had been carried into slavery, Strassburg, Brumath, Worms, and Mainz 
had fallen, while soldiers of Magnentius, who had feared to surrender 
themselves after their leader's death, roamed as brigands through the 
country-side and increased the general disorder. On 1 December 355, 
Julian left Milan with a guard of 360 soldiers ; in Turin he learnt of the 
fall of Cologne and thence advanced to Vienne where he spent the winter 
training with rueful energy for his new vocation of a soldier. For the 
following year a combined scheme of operations had been projected: 
while the Emperor advancing from Rhaetia attacked the barbarians in 
their own territory, Julian was to act as lieutenant to Marcellus with 
directions to guard the approaches into Gaul and to drive back any 
fugitives who sought to escape before Constantius. The neutrality 
of the Alemannic princes in the north had been secured in 354, while 
internal dissension among the German tribes favoured the Emperor's 
plans. The army in Gaul was ordered to assemble at Rheims and Julian 
accordingly marched from Vienne, reaching Autun on 4 June. That 
the barbarians should have constantly harried the Caesar's soldiers as 
they advanced through Auxerre and Troyes only serves to show how 
completely Gaul had been flooded by the German tribesmen. From 
Rheims, where the scattered troops were concentrated, the array started 
for Elsass pursuing the most direct route by Metz and Dieuze to Xabcrn, 
Two legions of the rear-guard were surprised on the march and were 
only with difficulty saved from annihilation. At this time Constantius 
was doubtless advancing upon the right bank of the Rhine, for Julian 
at Brumath drove back a body of Ihc Alemanni who were seeking refuge 
in Gaul. The Caesar then marched by Coblenz through the desolated 
Rhine valley to Cologne. This city he recovered and concluded a peace 
with the Franks. The approach of winter brought the operations to a 
close and Julian retired to Sens. Food was scarce and it was difficult to 
provision the army ; the Caesar's best troops the Scu tarii and Gentiles 
were therefore stationed in scattered fortresses. The Alemanni had been 
driven by hunger to continue their raids through Gaul and hearing of 
the weakness of the garrison they suddenly swept down upon Sens. In 
his heroic defence of the town Julian won his spurs as a military 
commander. For thirty days he withstood the attack, until the 
Alemanni retired discomfited. Marcellus had probably already ex- 
perienced the ambition and vanity of the Caesar, his independence and 
intolerance of criticism : an imperial prince was none too agreeable a 
lieutenant. The general may even have considered that the Emperor 
would not be deeply grieved if the fortune of war removed a possible 
menace to the throne. Whatever his reasons may have been, he 

357] Constantius at Rome 67 

treacherously failed to come to the relief of the besieged. When the 
news reached the Court he was recalled and deprived of his command. 
Eutherius, sent by Julian from Gaul, discredited the calumnies of 
Marcellus, and Constantius silenced the malignant whispers of the Court; 
accepting his Caesar's protestations of loyalty, he created him supreme 
commander over the troops in Gaul. The actual gains won by the 
military operations of the year 356 may not have been great but that 
their moral effect was considerable is demonstrated by the campaign of 
357 and by the spirit of the troops at the battle of Strassburg ; above 
all, Julian was no longer an imperial figure-head, he now begins an inde- 
pendent career as general and administrator. 

In the spring of 357 Constantius, wishing to celebrate with high 
pomp and ceremony the twentieth year of his rule since the death of 
Constantine, visited Rome for the first time (28 April-29 May). The 
city filled him with awe and wonder and he caused an obelisk to be 
raised in the Circus Maximus as a memorial of his stay in the capital. 
But to the historian the main interest of this visit lies in the fact that 
as a Christian Emperor Constantius removed from the Senate-house the 
altar of Victory. 1 To the whole-hearted Pagans this altar came to 
stand for a symbol of the Holy Roman Empire as they conceived it : 
it was an outward and visible sign of that bond which none might loose 
between Rome's hard-won greatness as a conquering nation and her 
loyalty to her historic faith. They clung to it with passionate devotion 
as to a time-honoured creed in stone a creed at once political and 
religious and thus again and again they struggled and pleaded for its 
retention or its restoration. The deeper meaning of what might seem a 
matter of trifling import must never be forgotten if we are to understand 
the earnest petition of Symmachus or the scorn of Ambrose. The Pagan 
was defending the last trench : the destruction of the altar of Victory 
meant for him that he could hold the fortress no longer. 

From Rome the Emperor was summoned to the Danube to take 
action against the Sarmatians, Suevi, and Quadi ; he was unable to co- 
operate with Julian in person, but dispatched Barbatio, magister peditum, 
to Gaul in command of 25,000 troops. Julian was to march from the 
north, Barbatio was to make Augst near Basel his base of operations, 
and between the two forces the barbarians were to be enclosed. The 
choice of a general, however, foredoomed the plan of campaign to failure. 
Barbatio, one of the principal agents in the death of Gallus, was the last 
man to work in harmony with Julian. The Caesar leaving Sens concen- 
trated his forces only 13,000 strong at Rheims, and as in the previous 
year marched south to Elsass. Finding the pass of Zabern blocked, he 
drove the barbarians before him and forced them to take refuge in the 
islands of the Rhine. Barbatio had previously allowed a marauding band 
of Laeti laden with booty to pass his camp and to cross the Rhine 

1 Symm. Rel. in. 6. 


68 The Battle of Strassburg [357 

unscathed, and later by false reports he secured the dismissal of the 
tribunes Bainobaudes and the future emperor Valentinian, whom Julian 
had ordered to dispute the robbers' return. He now refused to supply 
the Caesar with boats ; light-armed troops, however, waded across the 
Rhine to the islands and seizing the barbarians' canoes massacred the 
fugitives. After this success Julian fortified the pass of Zabern and thus 
closed the gate into Gaul; he settled garrisons in Elsass along the 
frontier line and did all in his power to supply them with provisions, for 
Barbatio withheld all the supplies which arrived from southern Gaul. 
Having now secured his position, Julian received the amazing intelligence 
that Barbatio had been surprised by the Germans, had lost his whole 
baggage train and had retreated in confusion to Augst, where he had 
gone into winter quarters. It must be confessed that this defeat of 
25,000 men by a sudden barbarian foray seems almost inexplicable, unless 
it be that Barbatio was determined at all costs to refuse in any way to 
co-operate with the Caesar and was surprised while on the march to 
Augst. Julian's position was one of great danger : the Emperor jvas 
far distant on the Danube, the Alemanni previously at variance among 
themselves, were now re-united, Gundomad, the faithful ally of Rome, had 
been treacherously murdered and the followers of Vadomar had joined 
their fellow-countrymen. Barbatio's defeat had raised the enemy's hopes, 
while Julian was unsupported and had only some 13,000 men under his 
command. It was at this critical moment that a host of Alemannic 
tribesmen crossed the Rhine under the leadership of Chnodomar and 
encamped, it would seem, on the left bank of the river, close to the city of 
Strassburg which the Romans had apparently not yet recovered. On the 
third day after the passage of the stream had begun, Julian learned of 
the movement of the barbarians, and set out from Zabern on the military 
road to Brumath, and thence on the highway which ran from Strassburg 
to Mainz towards Weitbruch; here after a march of six or seven hours 
the army would reach the frontier fortification and from this point they 
had to descend by rough and unknown paths into the plain. On sight 
of the enemy despite the counsels of the Caesar, despite their long march 
and the burning heat of an August day, the troops insisted on an im- 
mediate attack. The Roman army was drawn up for battle, Severus on 
rising ground on the left wing, Julian in command of the cavalry on the 
right wing in the plain. Severus from this point of vantage discovered 
an ambush and drove off the barbarians with loss, but the Alemanni in 
their turn routed the Roman horse ; although Julian was successful in 
staying their flight, they were too demoralised to renew the conflict 
The whole brunt of the attack was therefore borne by the Roman centre 
and left wing, and it was a struggle of footmen against footmen. At 
length the stubborn endurance of the Roman infantry carried the day, 
and the Alemanni were driven headlong backwards toward the Rhine. 
Their losses were enormous 6000 left dead on the field of battle and 

357-358] Julian on the Rhine 69 

countless others drowned : Chnodomar was at last captured, and Julian 
sent the redoubtable chieftain as a prisoner to Constantius The victory 
meant the recovery of the upper Rhine and the freeing of Gaul from 
barbarian incursions There would even seem to have been an attempt 
after the battle to hail Julian as Augustus, but this he immediately 
repressed. The booty and captives were sent to Metz and the Caesar 
himself marched to Mainz, being compelled to subdue a mutiny on the 
way; the army had apparently been disappointed in its share of the 
spoil. Julian at once proceeded to cross the Rhine opposite Mainz and 
to conduct a campaign on the Main. His aim would seem to have been 
to strike still deeper terror into the vanquished, and to secure his 
advantage in order that he might feel free to turn to the work which 
awaited him in the north. Three chieftains sued for peace after their 
land had been laid waste with fire and sword, and to seal this success 
Julian rebuilt a fortress which Trajan had constructed on the right bank 
of the Rhine. The great difficulty which faced the Caesar was the question 
of supplies, and one of the terms of the ten months' armistice granted to 
the Alemanni was that they should furnish the garrison of the Muni- 
mentum Trajani with provisions. It was this pressing necessity which 
demanded both an assertion of the power of Rome among the peoples 
dwelling about the mouths of the Meuse and Rhine, and also the re- 
establishment of the regular transport of corn from Britain. During the 
campaign on the Main, Severus had been sent north to reconnoitre ; the 
Franks now occupied a position of virtual independence in the district 
south of the Meuse, and in the absence of Roman garrisons and with the 
Caesar fully occupied by the operations against the Alemanni a troop of 
600 Prankish warriors were devastating the country-side. They retired 
before Severus and occupied two deserted fortresses. Here for 54 days 
in December 357 and January 358 they were besieged by Julian who 
had marched north to support the magister equitum. Hunger compelled 
them at last to yield, for the relief sent by their fellow-tribesmen arrived 
too late. Julian spent the winter in Paris, and in early summer ad- 
vanced with great speed and secrecy, surprised the Pranks in Toxandria 
and forced them to acknowledge Roman supremacy. Further north the 
Chamavi had been driven by the pressure of the Saxons in their rear to 
cross the Rhine and to take possession of the country between that river 
and the Meuse. The co-operation of Severus enabled Julian to force 
them to submission, and it would appear that in consequence they re- 
tired to their former homes on the Yssel. The lower Rhine was now 
once more in Roman hands ; the generalship of Julian had achieved what 
the praef ect Florentius had deemed that Roman gold could alone secure, 
and the building of a fleet of 400 sea-going vessels was at once begun. 
The lower Rhine secured, Julian forthwith (July-August) returned to his 
unfinished task in the south. It was imperative that the ravaged pro- 
vinces of Gaul should be repeopled : their desolation and the honour of 
CH. in. 

70 Administrative Reforms [355-360 

the Empire alike demanded that the prisoners in the hands of the 
barbarians should be restored. The remorseless ravaging of his land 
compelled Hortarius to yield, to surrender his Roman captives and to 
furnish timber for the rebuilding of the Roman towns. The winter past, 
Julian once more left Paris and with his new fleet brought the corn of 
Britain to the garrisons of the Rhine. Seven fortresses, from Castra 
Herculis in the land of the Batavi to Bingen in the south, were recon- 
structed, and then in a last campaign against the most southerly tribes 
of the Alemanni, those chieftains who had taken a leading part in the 
battle of Strassburg were forced to tender their submission. It was no 
easy matter to secure the release of the Roman prisoners, but Julian 
could claim to have restored 0,000 of these unfortunates to their homes. 
The Caesar's work was done : Gaul was once more in peace and the 
Rhine the frontier of the Empire. 

When we turn to Julian's action in the civil affairs of the West, our 
information is all too scanty. It is clear that he approached his task 
with the passionate conviction that at all costs he would relieve the lot 
of the oppressed provincials. He took part in person in the administra- 
tion of justice and himself revised the judgments of provincial governors ; 
he refused to grant "indulgences" whereby arrears of taxation were 
remitted, for he well knew that these imperial acts of grace benefited 
the rich alone, for wealth when first the tribute was assessed could 
purchase the privilege of delay and thus in the end enjoy the relief of 
the general rebate. He resolutely opposed all extraordinary burdens, 
and when Florentius persistently urged him to sign a paper imposing 
additional taxation for war purposes he threw the document indignantly 
to the ground and all the remonstrances of the praef ect were without avail. 
In Belgica the Caesar's own representatives collected the tribute and the 
inhabitants were saved from the exactions alike of the agents of the prae- 
fect and of the governor. So successful was his administration that where 
previously for the land-tax alone twenty-five aurei had been exacted 
seven aurei only were now demanded by the State. But reform was slow 
and in Julian's character there was a strain of restless impatience : he 
was intolerant of delays and of the irrational obstacles that barred the 
highway of progress ; it galled him that he could not appoint as officials 
and subordinates men after his own heart. Admitted that Constantius 
sent him capable civil servants, yet these men who were to be the agents of 
reform were themselves members of the corrupt bureaucracy which was 
ruining the provinces. Indeed, might these nominees of his cousin be 
withstood ? The undefined limits of his office might always render it 
an open question whether the assertion of the Caesar's right were not 
aggression upon imperial privilege. Julian's conscious power and burn- 
ing enthusiasm felt the cruel curb of his subordination. Constantius 
wished loyally to support his young relative, had given him the supreme 
command in Gaul after the first trial year and was determined that he 

355-359] Constantius on the Danube 71 

should be supported by experienced generals, but Julian was far distant 
and his enemies at Court had the Emperor's ear ; for them his successes 
and virtues but rendered him the more dangerous ; the eunuch gang, 
says Ammianus, only worked the harder at the smithies where calumnies 
were forged. At times they mocked the Caesar's vanity and decried his 
conquests, at others they played upon the suspicions of Constantius : 
Julian was victor to-day, why not another Victorinus an upstart 
Emperor of Gaul to-morrow. Imperial messengers to the West were 
careful to bring back ominous reports, and Julian, who knew how matters 
stood and was not ignorant of his cousin's failings, may well have feared 
the overmastering influence of the Emperor's advisers. Thus constantly 
checked in his plans of reform alike religious and political, already, it 
may be, hailed as Augustus by his soldiery and dreading the machinations 
of courtiers, he began, at first perhaps in spite of himself, to long for 
greater independence; in 359 he was dreaming of the time when he 
should be no longer Caesar. The war in the East gave him his opportunity. 

While Julian had been recovering Gaul, Constantius had been engaged 
in a series of campaigns on the Danube frontier, and for this purpose 
had removed his court from Milan to Sirmium. An unimportant 
expedition against the Suevi in Rhaetia in 357 was followed in 358 by 
lengthy operations in the plains about the Danube and the Theiss 
against the Quadi and various Sarmatian tribes who had burst plundering 
across the border. The barbarian territory was ravaged, and through 
the Emperor's successful diplomacy one people after another submitted 
and surrendered their prisoners. They were in most cases left in 
possession of their lands under the supremacy of Rome, but the Limi- 
gantes were forced to settle on the left instead of the right bank of 
the Theiss, while the Sarmatae laberi were given a king by Constantius 
in the person of their native prince Zizais, and were themselves restored 
to the district which the Limigantes had been compelled to leave. The 
latter however in the following year (359), discontented with their new 
homes, craved that they might be allowed to cross the Danube and settle 
within the Empire. This Constantius was persuaded to permit, hoping 
thus to gain recruits for the Roman army and thereby to lighten the 
burdens of the provincials The Limigantes, once admitted upon Roman 
territory, sought to avenge themselves for the losses of the previous year 
by a treacherous onslaught upon the Emperor. Constantius escaped 
and a general massacre of the faithless barbarians ensued. The pacifica- 
tion of the northern frontier was now complete. 

Meanwhile in the East hostilities with Persia had ceased on any large 
scale since 351, and in 356-7 the praefect Musonianus had been carrying 
on negotiations for peace (through Cassianus,. military commander in 
Mesopotamia) with Tampsapor a neighbouring satrap. But the moment 
was inopportune. Sapor himself had at length effected an alliance with 
the Chionitae and Gelani and now (spring 358) in a letter to the Emperor 

CH. in. 

72 The Siege of Amida [359-360 

demanded the restoration of Mesopotamia and Armenia; in case of 
refusal he threatened military action in the following year. Constantius 
proudly rejected the shameful proposal, but sent two successive embassies 
to Persia in the hope of concluding an honourable peace. The effort 
was fruitless. Court intrigue deprived Ursicinus, Rome's one really 
capable general in the East, of the supreme command, and in spite of the 
prayers of the provincials he was succeeded by Sabinianus, who in his 
obscure old age was distinguished only by his wealth, inefficiency and 
credulous piety. During the entire course of the war inactivity was the 
one prominent feature of his generalship. On the outbreak of hostilities 
in 359 the Persians adopted a new plan of campaign. A rich Syrian, 
Antoninus by name, who had served on the staff of the general 
commanding in Mesopotamia, was threatened by powerful enemies with 
ruin. Having compiled from official sources full information alike as to 
Rome's available ammunition and stores and the number of her troops he 
fled with his family to the court of Sapor ; here, welcomed and trusted, 
he counselled immediate action: men had been withdrawn from the 
East for the campaigns on the Danube, let the King no longer be con- 
tent with frontier forays, let him without warning strike for the rich 
province of Syria unravaged since the days of Gallienus ! The deserter's 
advice was adopted by the Persians. On the advance of their army, 
however, the Romans, withdrawing from Charrae and the open country- 
side burned down all vegetation over the whole of northern Mesopotamia. 
This devastation and the swollen stream of the Euphrates forced the 
Persians to strike northward through Sophene ; Sapor crossed the river 
higher in its course and marched towards Amida. The city refused 
to surrender, and the death of the son of Grumbates, king of the 
Chionitae, provoked Sapor to abandon his attack on Syria and to press 
the siege. Six legions formed the standing garrison, a force which 
probably numbered some 6000 men in all. But at the time of 
the Persian advance the country-folk had all assembled for the yearly 
market, and when the peasantry fled for refuge within the city walls 
Amida was densely overcrowded. None however dreamed of surrender ; 
Ammianus, one of the besieged, has left us a vivid account of those heroic 
seventy-three days. In the end the city fell (6 Oct.) and its inhabitants 
were either slain or carried into captivity. Winter was now approaching 
and Sapor was forced to return to Persia with the loss of 30,000 men. 
The sacrifice of Amida had saved the eastern provinces of the Roman 
Empire, but the fall of the city also convinced Constantius that more 
troops were needed if Rome was to withstand the enemy. Accordingly 
the Emperor sent by the tribune Decentius his momentous order that 
the auxiliary troops, the Aeruli Batavi Celtae and Petulantes, should 
leave Gaul forthwith, and with them 300 men from each of the remaining 
Gallic regiments. The demand reached Julian in Paris where he was 
spending the winter (January ? 360) ; for him the serious feature of the 

360] "Julianus Augustus " 73 

despatch was that the execution of the Emperor's command was entrusted 
to Lupicinus and Gintonius, 1 while Julian himself was ignored. The 
transference of the troops was probably an imperial necessity, but this 
could not justify the form of the Emperor's despatch. The unrelenting 
malice of the courtiers had carried the day ; Constantius seems to have 
lost confidence in his Caesar. ; At first Julian thought to lay down his 
office , then he temporised : he professed that obedience to the Emperor 
would imperil the safety of the province, he raised the objection that the 
barbarians had enlisted on the understanding that they should never be 
called upon to serve beyond the Alps, Lupicinus was in Britain fighting the 
Picts and Scots; while Florentius, to whose influence rumour ascribed the 
Emperor's action, was absent in Vienne. Julian summoned him to Paris 
to give his advice, but the praef ect pleaded the urgency of the supervision 
of the corn supply and remained where he was While Julian played 
a waiting game, a timely broadsheet was found in the camp of the 
Celtae and Petulantes. The anonymous author complained that the 
soldiers were being dragged none knew whither, leaving their families to 
be captured by the Alemanni. The partisans of Constantius saw the 
danger ; should Julian still delay, they insisted, he would but justify the 
Emperor's suspicions. His hand was forced; he wrote a letter to 
Constantius, ordered the soldiers to leave their winter quarters and gave 
permission for their families to accompany them ; Sintula, the Caesar's 
tribune of the stable, at once set out for the East with a picked body 
of Gentiles and Scutarii. Unwisely, as events proved, the court party 
demanded that the troops should march through Paris : there, they 
thought, any disaffection could be repressed. Julian met the men outside 
the city and spoke them fair, their officers he invited to a banquet in the 
evening. But when the guests had returned to their quarters, there 
suddenly arose in the camp a passionate shout, and crowding tumultu- 
ously to the palace the soldiers surrounded its walls, raising the fateful 
acclamation, " Julianus Augustus." Without the army clamoured, within 
his room its leader wrestled with the gods until the dawn, and with the 
break of a new day he was assured of Heaven's blessing. When he 
came forth to face his men he might attempt to dissuade them, but he 
knew that he would bow to their will. Raised upon a shield and 
crowned with a standard bearer's torque, the Caesar returned to his 
palace an Emperor. But now that the irrevocable step was taken, his 
resolution seemed to have failed, and he remained in retirement 
perhaps for some days. The adherents of Constantius took heart and 
a group of conspirators plotted against Julian's life. But the secret was 
not kept, and the soldiers once more encircled the palace and would not 
be contented until they had seen their Emperor alive and well. From 
this moment Julian stifled his scruples and accepted accomplished fact. 
After the flight of Decentius and Florentius he despatched Eutherius 

1 Or Smtula. Amm. xx. 4 8 
CH. in. 

74 Julian and Constantius [360-361 

and his magister officiorum Pentadius as ambassadors to Constantius, 
while in his letter he proposed the terms which he was prepared^ to make 
the basis of a compromise. He would send to the East troops raised 
from the dedti&cii and the Germans settled on the left bank of the 
Rhine to withdraw the Gallic troops would be, he professed, to 
endanger the safety of the province while Constantius should allow 
him to appoint his own officials, both military and civil, save only that 
the nomination of the praetorian praefect should rest with the elder 
Augustus, whose superior authority Julian avowed himself willing to 
acknowledge. When the news from Paris reached Caesarea, Constantius 
hesitated : should he march forthwith against his rebellious Caesar and 
desert the East while the Persians were threatening to renew the attack 
of the previous year, or should he subordinate his personal quarrel to the 
interests of the State ? Loyalty to his conception of an Emperor's duty 
carried the day and he advanced to Edessa. The fact that the Persians 
in this year were able to recover Singara, once more fallen into Roman 
hands, and to capture and garrison Bezabd, a fortress on the Tigris in 
Zabdicene, while the Emperor remained perforce inactive, serves to show 
how very earnest was his need of troops. Even the attempt to recover 
Bezabd in the autumn was unsuccessful. Meanwhile Constantius, 
ignoring Julian's proposals, made several nominations to high officers in 
the West,, and despatched Leonas to bid the rebel lay aside the purple 
with which a turbulent soldiery had invested him. The letter, when 
read to the troops, served but to inflame their enthusiasm for their general, 
and Leonas fled for his life. But Julian still hoped that un under- 
standing between himself and Constantius was even now not impossible. 
To save his army from inaction he led them not towards the East, but 
against the Attuarian Franks on the lower Rhine. The barbarians, 
unwarned of the Roman approach, were easily defeated and peace was 
granted on their submission. The campaign lasted three months, and 
thence by Basel and Besangon Julian returned to winter at Vienne, for 
Paris, his beloved Lutetia, lay at too great a distance from Asia. 
Letters were still passing between himself and Constantius, but his task 
lay clear before him: he must be forearmed alike for aggression and 
defence. By a display of power he sought to wrest from his cousin 
recognition and acknowledgment, while, with his troops about him, he 
could at least sustain his cause and escape the shame of his brother's 
fate. Recruits from the barbarian tribes swelled his forces, and large 
sums of money were raised for the coming campaign. In the spring of 
361 Julian by the treacherous capture and banishment of Vadomar 
removed all fears of an invasion by the Alemanni, and about the month 
of July set out from Basel for the East. By this step he took the 
aggressive and himself finally broke off the negotiations ; this was avowed 
by his appointment of a praefect of Gaul in place of Nebridius, the 
nominee of Constantius, who had refused to take the oath of allegiance 

301] Julian marches against Constantius 75 

to Julian. Germanianus temporarily performed the praefect's duties 
but retired in favour of Sallust, while Nevitta was created magister 
armorum and Jovius quaestor. 

As soon as he was freed from the Persian War, Constantius had 
thought to hunt down his usurping Caesar and capture his prey while 
Julian was still in Gaul ; he had set guards about the frontiers and had 
stored corn on the Lake of Constance and in the neighbourhood of the 
Cottian Alps. Julian determined that he would not wait to be surrounded, 
but would strike the first blow, while the greater part of the army of 
Illyricum was still in Asia. He argued that present daring might 
deliver Sirmium into his hands, that thereupon he could seize the 
Pass of Succi, and thus be master of the road to the West. Jovius 
and Jovinus were ordered to advance at full speed through North 
Italy, in command, it would appear, of a squadron of cavalry. They 
would thus surprise the inhabitants into submission, while fear of the 
main army, which would follow more slowly, might overawe opposition. 
Nevitta he commanded to make his way through Rhaetia Mediterranea, 
while he himself left Basel with but a small escort and struck direct 
through the Black Forest for the Danube. Here he seized the vessels 
of the river fleet, and at once embarked his men. Without rest or 
intermission Julian continued the voyage down the river, and reached 
Bononia on the eleventh day. Under the cover of night, Dagalaiphus 
with some picked followers was despatched to Sirmium. At dawn his 
troop was demanding admission in the Emperor's name ; only when too 
late was the discovery made that the Emperor was not Constantius. 
The general Lucilianus, who had already ]begun the leisurely concentra- 
tion of his men for an advance into Gaul, was rudely aroused from sleep 
and hurried away to Bononia. The gates of Sirmium, the northern 
capital of the Empire, were opened and the inhabitants poured forth 
to greet the victor of Strassburg. Two days only did Julian spend in 
the city, then marched to Succi, 1 left Nevitta to guard the pass and retired 
to Naissus, where he spent the winter awaiting the arrival of his army. 
Julian's march from Gaul meant the final breach with Constantius ; his 
present task was to justify his usurpation to the world. Thus the 
imperial pamphleteer was born. One apologia followed another, now 
addressed to the senate, now to Athens as representing the historic 
centre of Hellenism, now to some city whose allegiance Julian sought 
to win. But he overshot the mark; the painting of the character of 
Constantius men felt to be a caricature and the scandalous portraiture 
unworthy of one who owed his advancement to his cousin's favours. 
Meanwhile Julian strained every nerve to raise more troops for ^the 
coming campaign. He was not yet strong enough to advance into 
Thrace to meet the forces under Count Martianus, and the news from 
the West forced him to realise how critical his position might become. 
!Now KapulvrDerbend: Bulgarian, Trajanova Vrata. ' 


76 Death and Character of Constantius [361 

Two legions and a cohort stationed in Sirmium he did not dare to 
trust and so gave the command that they should march to Gaul to 
take the place of those regiments which formed part of his own army. 
On the long journey the men's discontent grew to mutiny : refusing to 
advance, they occupied Aquileia and were supported by the inhabitants 
who had remained at heart loyal to Constantius. The danger was very 
real ; the insurgents might form a nucleus of disaffection in Italy and 
thus imperil Julian's retreat. He gave immediate orders to Jovinus to 
return and to employ in the siege of Aquileia the whole of the main 
force now advancing through Italy. 

In the East Constantius had marched to Edessa (spring 361), where 
he awaited information as to the plans of Sapor. It was only on the 
news of Julian's capture of the pass of Succi that he felt that the war in 
the West could be no longer postponed. At the same time Constantius 
learned of Sapor's retreat, since the auspices forbade the passage of 
the Tigris. The Roman army assembled at Hierapolis greeted the 
Emperor's harangue with enthusiasm, Arbitio was despatched in advance 
to bar Julian's progress through Thrace, and when Constantius had 
made provision in Autioch for the government of the East he started 
in person against the usurper. Fever however attacked him in Tarsus 
and his illness was rendered still more serious by the violent storms of 
late autumn. At Mopsucrenae, in Cilicia, he died on 3 November 361 at 
the age of 44. Ammianus Marcellinus has given us a definitive sketch 
of the character of Constantius. His faults are clear as day. To guard 
the Emperor from treason, Diocletian had made the throne unapproach- 
able, but this severance of sovereign and people drove the ruler back on 
the narrow circle of his ministers. They were at once his informants and 
his advisers : their lord learned only that which they deemed it well for 
him to know. The Emperor was led by his favourites; Constantius 
possessed considerable influence, writes Ammianus in bitter irony, with his 
eunuch chamberlain Eusebius. The insinuations of courtiers ultimately 
sowed mistrust between his Caesar Julian and himself. They played 
upon the suspicious nature of the Emperor, their whispers of treason, 
fired him to senseless ferocity, and the services of brave men were lost 
to the Empire lest their popularity should endanger the monarch's peace. 
Even loyal subjects grew to doubt whether the Emperor's safety were 
worth its fearful price. To maintain the extravagant pomp of his 
rapacious ministers and followers, the provinces- laboured under an over- 
whelming weight of taxes and impositions which were exacted with 
merciless severity, while the public post was ruined by the constant 
journeyings of bishops from one council to another. Yet though these 
dark features of the reign of Constantius are undeniable, below his 
inhuman repression of those who had fallen under the suspicion of 
treason lay a deep conviction of the solemnity of the trust which had 
been handed down to him from father and grandfather. For Constantius 

361] Julian the Apostate 77 

the consciousness that he was representative by the grace of Heaven of a 
hereditary dynasty carried with it its obligation, and the task of main- 
taining the greatness of Rome was subtly confused with the duty of 
self-preservation, since a usurper's reign would never be hallowed by 
the seal of a legitimate succession. With a sense of this responsibility 
Constantius always sought to appoint only tried men to important 
offices in the State, he consistently exalted the civil element at the 
expense of the military and rigidly maintained the separation between 
the two services which had been one of the leading principles of 
Diocletian's reforms. Sober and temperate, he possessed that power of 
physical endurance which was shared by so many of his house. In his 
early years he served as lieutenant to his father alike in East and West 
and gained a wide experience of men and cities. Now on this frontier, 
now on that, he was constantly engaged in the Empire's defence; a 
soldier by necessity and no born general, he was twice hailed by his men 
with the title of Sarmaticus, and in the usurpations of Magnentius and of 
Julian he refused to hazard the safety of the provinces and loyally 
sacrificed all personal interests in face of the higher claims of his duty 
to the Roman world. He was naturally cold and self-contained ; he fails 
to awake our affection or our enthusiasm, but we can hardly withhold 
our tribute of respect. He bore his burden of Empire with high serious- 
ness ; men were conscious in his presence of an overmastering dignity 
and of a majesty which inspired them with something akin to awe. 

By the death of Constantius the Empire was happily freed from the 
horrors of another civil war : Julian was clearly marked out to be his 
'Cousin's successor, and the decision of the army did not admit of doubt ; 
Eusebius and the Court party were forced to abandon any idea of 
putting forward another claimant to the throne. Two officers, 
Theolaif us and Aligildus, bore the news to Julian ; fortune had inter- 
vened to favour his rash adventure, and he at once advanced through 
Thrace by Philippopolis to Constantinople. Agilo was despatched to 
Aquileia and at length the besieged were convinced of the Emperor's 
death and thereupon their stubborn resistance came to an end. Nigrinus, 
the ringleader, and two others were put to death, but soldiers and 
citizens were fully pardoned. When on 11 December 361 Julian, still 
but 81 years old, entered as sole Emperor his eastern capital, all eyes 
were turned in wondering amazement on the youthful hero, and for the 
rest of his life upon him alone was fixed the gaze of Roman historians ; 
wherever Julian is not, there we are left in darkness, of the West for 
example we know next to nothing. The history of Julian's reign 
becomes perforce the biography, of the Emperor. In that biography 
three elements are ail-important : Julian's passionate determination to 
restore the Pagan worship ; his earnest desire that men should see a new 
Marcus Aurelius upon the throne, and that abuses and maladministration 
should hide their heads ashamed before an Emperor who was also a 
CH. in. 

78 Reform [361-362 

philosopher ; and, in the last place, his tragic ambition to emulate the 
achievements of Alexander the Great and by a crushing blow to assert 
over Persia the pre-eminence of Rome. 

Innumerable have been the explanations which men have offered for 
the apostasy of Julian. They have pointed to his Arian teachers, have 
suggested that Christianity was hateful to him as the religion of 
Constantius whom he regarded as his father's murderer, while rationalists 
have paradoxically claimed that the Emperor's reason refused to accept 
the miraculous origin and the subtle theologies of the faith. It would be 
truer to say that Christianity was not miraculous enough was too 
rational for the mystic and enthusiast. The religion which had as its 
central object of adoration the cult of a dead man was to him human, 
all too human : his vague longings after some vast imaginative conception 
of the universe felt themselves cabined and confined in the creeds of 
Christianity. With a Roman's pride and a Roman's loyalty to the past 
as he conceived it, the upstart faith of despised Galilaean peasants 
aroused at one moment his scorn, at another his pity : a Greek by 
education and literary sympathies, the Christian Bible was but a faint 
and distorted reflex of the masterpieces which had comforted his 
solitary youth, a mystic who felt the wonder of the expanse of the 
heavens, with a strain in his nature to which the ritual excesses of the 
Orient appealed with irresistible fascination, it was easy for him to adopt 
the speculations of Neoplatonism and to fall a victim to the lhaumaturgy 
of Maximus. The causes of Julian's apostasy lie deep-rooted in the 
apostate's inmost being. 

His first acts declared his policy: he ordered the temples to be 
opened and the public sacrifices to be revived ; but the Christians were 
to be free to worship, for Julian had learned the lesson of the failure of 
previous persecutions, and by imperial order all the Catholic bishops 
banished under Constantius were permitted to return. Those privileges, 
however, which the State had granted to the churches were now to be 
withdrawn : lands and temples which had belonged to the older religion 
were to be surrendered to their owners, the Christian clergy were no longer 
to claim exemption from the common liability to taxation or from duties 
owed to the municipal senates. With Julian's accession Christianity 
had ceased to be the favoured religion, and it was therefore contended 
that reason demanded alike restitution and equality before the law. 
Meanwhile a Court was sitting at Chalcedon to try the partisans of 
Constantius. Its nominal president was Sallust (probably Julian's friend 
when in Gaul), but the commission was in reality controlled by Arbitio, 
an unprincipled creature of Constantius. Julian may perhaps have 
intended to show impartiality by such .a choice, but as a result justice 
was travestied, and though public opinion approved of the deaths of 
Paul the notary and of Apodemius, who were principally responsible for 
the excesses committed in the treason trials of the late reign, and may 

362-363] Julian at Antioch 79 

have welcomed the fate of the all-powerful chamberlain Eusebius, men 
were horror-struck at the execution of Ursulus, who as treasurer in Gaul 
had loyally supported Julian when Caesar; his unpopularity with the 
troops was indeed his only crime, and the Emperor did not mend his 
error by raising the weak plea that he had been kept in ignorance of the 
sentence. Julian's next step was the summary dismissal of the horde of 
minor officials of the palace who had served to make the Court circle 
under Constantius a very hot-bed of vice and corruption. The purge 
was sudden and indiscriminate; it was the act of a young man in 
a hurry. The feverish ardour of the Emperor's reforming energy swept 
before it alike the innocent and the guilty. Such impatience appeared 
unworthy of a philosopher, and so far from awaking gratitude in his 
subjects served rather to arouse discontent and alarm. 

But already Julian was burning to undertake his great expedition 
against Persia, and refused to listen to counsellors who suggested the 
folly of aggression now that Sapor was no longer pressing the attack. 
The Emperor's preparations could best be made in Antioch and here he 
arrived probably in late July 363. On the way he had made a detour 
to visit Pessinus and Ancyra; the lukewarm devotion of Galatia had 
discouraged him, but in Antioch where lay the sanctuary of Daphne he 
looked for earnest support in his crusade for the moral regeneration of 
Paganism. The Crown of the East (as Ammianus styles his native city) 
welcomed the Emperor with open arms, but the enthusiasm was short- 
lived. The populace gay, factious, pleasure-loving, looked for spectacles 
and the pomp of a Court ; Julian's heart was set on a civil and religious 
reformation. He longed for amendment in law and administration, 
above all for a remodelling of the old cult and the winning of converts 
to the cause of the gods. He himself was to be the head of the new 
state church of Paganism; the hierarchy of the Christians was to be 
adopted the country priests subordinated to the high priest of the 
province, the high priest to be responsible to the Emperor, the pontifex 
maximus. A new spirit was to inspire the Pagan clergy; the priest 
himself was to be no longer a mere performer of public rites, let him 
take up the work of preacher, expound the deeper sense which underlay 
the old mythology and be at once shepherd of souls and an ensample to 
his flock in holy living. What Maximin Daza had attempted to achieve 
in ruder fashion by forged acts of Pilate, Julian's writings against the 
Galilaeans should effect : as Maximin had bidden cities ask what they 
would of his royal bounty, did they but petition that the Christians 
might be removed from their midst, so Julian was ready to assist and 
favour towns which were loyal to the old faith. Maximin had created 
a new priesthood recruited from men who had won distinction in 
public careers . his dream had been to fashion an organisation which 
might successfully withstand the Christian clergy ; here too Julian was 
his disciple. When pest and famine had desolated the Roman East in 


80 Julian and the Christians [363 

Maximia's days, the helpfulness and liberality of Christians towards the 
starving and the plague-stricken had forced men to confess that true 
piety and religion had made their home with the persecuted heretics : 
it was Julian's will that Paganism should boast its public charity and 
that an all-embracing service of humanity should be reasserted as a 
vital part of the ancient creed. If only the worshippers of the gods of 
Hellas were once quickened with a spiritual enthusiasm, the lost ground 
would be recovered. It was indeed to this call that Paganism could not 
respond. There were men who clung to the old belief, but theirs 
was no longer a victorious faith, for the fire had died upon the altar. 
Resignation to Christian intolerance was bitter, but the passion which 
inspires martyrs was nowhere to be found. Julian made converts the 
Christian writers mournfully testify to their numbers but he made them 
by imperial gold, by promises of advancement or fear of dismissal. They 
were not the stuff of which missionaries could be fashonied. The citizens 
were disappointed of their pageants, while the royal enthusiast found his 
hopes to be illusions. Mutual embitterment was the natural result. 
Julian was never a persecutor in the accepted meaning of that word: 
it was the most constant complaint of the Christians that the Emperor 
denied them the glory of martyrdom, but Pagan mobs knew that the 
Emperor would not be quick to punish violence inflicted on the 
Galilaeans : when the Alexandrians brutally murdered their tyrannous 
bishop, George of Cappadocia, they escaped with an admonition ; when 
Julian ^rrote to his subjects of Bostra, it was to suggest that their bishop 
might be hunted from the town. If Pessinus was to receive a boon from 
the Emperor, his counsel was that all her inhabitants should become 
worshippers of the Great Mother; if Nisibis needed protection from 
Persia, it would only be granted on condition that she changed her faith. 
In the schools throughout the Empire Christians were expounding the 
works of the great Greek masters ; from their earliest years children were 
taught to scorn the legends which to Julian were rich with spiritual 
meaning. He that would teach the scriptures must believe in them, 
and given the Emperor's zealous faith, it was but reasonable that he 
should prohibit Christians from teaching the classic literature which 
was his Bible. If Ammianus criticised the edict severely, it was because 
he did not share the Emperor's belief; the historian was a tolerant 
monotheist, Julian an ardent worshipper of the gods. The Emperor's 
conservatism and love of sacrifice alike were stirred by the records of 
the Jews. A" people who in the midst of adversity had clung with 
a passionate devotion to the adoration of the God of their fathers 
deserved well at his hands. Christian renegades should see the glories 
of a restored temple which might stand as an enduring monument of 
his reign. The architect Alypius planned the work, but it was never 
completed. The earth at this time was troubled by strange upheavals, 
earthquakes, and ocean waves, and by some such phenomenon Jerusalem 

363] The Persian Expedition 81 

would seem to have been visited ; l perhaps during the excavations a well 
of naphtha was ignited. We only know that Christians, who saw in 
Julian's plan a defiance of prophecy, proclaimed a miracle, and that the 
Emperor did not live to prove them mistaken. 

Thus in Antioch the relations between the sovereign and his people 
were growing woefully strained. Julian removed the bones of Saint 
Babylas from the precinct of Daphne and soon after the temple was 
burned to the ground. Suspicion fell upon the Christians and their 
great church was closed. A scarcity of provisions made itself felt in the 
city and Julian fixed a maximum price and brought corn from Hierapolis 
and elsewhere, and sold it at reduced rates. It was bought up by the 
merchants, and the efforts to coerce the senate failed. The populace 
ridiculed an Emperor whose aims and character they did not understand. 
The philosopher would not stoop to violence but the man in Julian 
could not hold his peace. The Emperor descended from the awful 
isolation which Diocletian had imposed on his successors ; he challenged 
the satirists to a duel of wits and published the Misopogon. It was to 
sacrifice his vantage-ground. The chosen of Heaven had become the 
jest of the mob, and Julian's pride could have drained no bitterer cup. 
When he left the city for Persia, he had determined to fix his court, upon 
his return, at Tarsus, and neither the entreaties of Libanius nor the tardy 
repentance of Antioch availed to move him from his purpose. 

Here but the briefest outline can be given of the oft-told tale of 
Julian's Persian expedition. Before it criticism sinks powerless, for it is 
a wonder-story and we cannot solve its riddle. The leader perished and 
the rest is silence : with him was lost the secret of his hopes. Julian 
left Antioch on 5 March 363 and on the 9th reached Hierapolis. Here 
the army had been concentrated and four days later the Emperor 
advanced at its head, crossed the Euphrates and passing through 
Batnae halted at Charrae. The name must have awakened gloomy 
memories and the Emperor's mind was troubled with premonitions of 
disaster ; men said that he had bidden his kinsman Procopius mount the 
throne should he himself fall in the campaign. A troop of Persian 
horse had just burst plundering across the frontier and returned laden 
with booty; this event led Julian to disclose his plan of campaign. 
Corn had been stored along the road towards the Tigris, in order to 
create an impression that he had chosen that line for his advance ; in 
fact the Emperor had determined to follow the Euphrates and strike for 
Ctesiphon. He would thus be supported by his fleet bearing supplies 
and engines of war. Procopius and Sebastianus he entrusted with 30,000 
troops almost half his army and directed them to march towards the 
Tigris. They were for the present to act only on the defensive, shielding 
the eastern provinces from invasion and guarding his own forces from 
any Persian attack from the north. When he himself was once at grips 
1 Cf . Vita Attemii Mart. AS. Boll. Tom vm. p. 883, 66. 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. III. 6 

82 Julian's march [363 

with Perbia in the heart of the enemy's territory, Sapor would be forced 
to concentrate his annies,and then, the presence of Julian's generals being 
no longer necessary to protect Mesopotamia, should a favourable 
opportunity offer, they were to act in concert with Arsaces, ravage 
Chiliocomum, a fertile district of Media, and advance through Corduene 
and Moxoene to join him in Assyria That meeting never took place : 
from whatever reason Procopius and Sebastianus never left Mesopotamia. 
Julian reviewed the united forces 65,000 men and then turned south 
following the course of the Bellas (Belecha) until he reached Callinicum 
(Ar-Rakka) on 27 March. 

Another day's march brought him to the Euphrates, and here he 
met the fleet under the command of the tribune Constantianus and the 
Count Lucillianus. Fifty warships, an equal number of boats designed 
to form pontoon bridges, and a thousand transports the Roman armada 
seemed to an eyewitness fitly planned to match the magnificent stream 
on which it floated. Another 98 miles brought the army to Diocletian's 
bulwark fortress of Circesium (Karkisiya) Here the Aboras (Khabur) 
formed the frontier line ; Julian harangued the troops, then crossed the 
river by a bridge of boats and began his march through Persian territory. 
In spite of omens and disregarding the gloomy auguries of the Etruscan 
soothsayers, the Emperor set his face for Ctesiphon; he would storm 
high Heaven by violence and bend the gods to his will. From its 
formation the invading army was made to appear a countless host, for 
their marching column extended over some ten miles, while neither the 
fleet nor the land forces were suffered to lose touch with each other. 
Some of the enemy's forts capitulated, the inhabitants of Anatha being 
transported to Chalcis in Syria, some were found deserted, while the 
garrisons of others refusing to surrender professed themselves willing lo 
abide by the issue of the war, Julian was content to accept these terms 
and continued his unresting advance. Historians have blamed this rash 
confidence, whereby he endangered his own retreat. It is however to be 
remembered that a siege in the fourth century might mean a delay of 
many weeks, that the Emperor's project was clearly to dismay Persia 
by the rapidity of his onset and that it would seem probable that his 
plan, of campaign had been from the first to return by the Tigris and 
not by the Euphrates. The Persians had intended a year or two before 
to leave walled cities untouched and strike for Syria, Julian in his turn 
refused to waste precious time in investing the enemy's strongholds, but 
would deal a blow against the capital itself. The march was attended 
with many difficulties : a storm swept down upon the camp, the swollen, 
river burst its dams and many transports were sunk, the passage of the 
Narraga was only forced by a successful attack on the Persian rear which 
compelled them to evacuate their position in confusion, a mutinous and 
discontented spirit was shown by the Roman troops and the Emperor 
was forced to exert his personal influence and authority before discipline 

363] Ctesipkon 83 

was restored ; finally the Persians raised all the sluices and, freeing the 
waters, turned the country which lay before the army into a widespread 
marsh. Difficulties however vanished before the resource and prompti- 
tude of the Emperor, and the advance guard under Victor brought him 
news that the country up to the walls of Ctesiphon was clear of the 
enemy. On the fall of the strong fortress of Maiozamalcha, the fleet 
followed the Naharmalcha (the great canal which united Euphrates and 
Tigris), while the army kept pace with it on land. The Naharmalcha, 
however, flows into the Tigris three miles below Ctesiphon, and thus the 
Emperor would have been forced to propel his ships up stream in his 
attack on the capital. The difficulty was overcome by clearing the dis- 
used canal of Trajan, down which the fleet emerged into the Tigris 
to the north of Ctesiphon. Prom the triangle thus formed by the 
Naharmalcha, the Tigris, and the canal of Trajan, Julian undertook the 
capture of the left bank of the river. Protected by a palisade, the 
Persians offered a stubborn resistance to the Roman night attack. The 
five ships first despatched were repulsed and set on fire ; on the moment 
"it is the signal that our men hold the bank," cried the Emperor, and 
the whole fleet dashed to their comrades' support. Julian's inspiration 
won a field of battle for the Romans. Underneath a scorching sun the 
armies fought until the Persians elephants, cavalry, and foot were 
fleeing pell-mell for the shelter of the city walls ; their dead numbered 
some 500. Had the pursuit been pressed, Ctesiphon might perhaps 
have been won that day, but plunder and booty held the victors fast. 
Should the capital be besieged or the march against Sapor begun ? It 
would almost seem that Julian himself wavered irresolute, while precious 
days were lost. Secret proposals of peace led him to underestimate the 
enemy's strength, while men, playing the part of deserters, offered to lead 
him through fertile districts against the main Persian army. Should 
he weary his forces and damp the spirit of his men by an arduous siege, 
he might not only be cut off from the reinforcements under Procopius 
and Sebastianus, but might find himself caught between two fires Sapor's 
advance and the resistance of the garrison. To conclude a peace were 
unworthy of one who took Alexander for his model better with his 
victorious troops to strike a final and conclusive blow, and possibly 
before the encounter effect a junction with the northern army. Crews 
numerous enough to propel his fleet against the stream he could not 
spare, and if he were to meet Sapor, he might be drawn too far from 
the river to act in concert with his ships : they must not fall into the 
enemy's hands, and therefore they must be burned. The resolution was 
taken and regretted too late; twelve small boats alone were rescued 
from the flames. Julian's plans miscarried, for the army of the north 
remained inactive, perhaps through the mutual jealousy of its com- 
manders, and Axsaces withheld his support from the foe of Sapor. 
The Persians burned their fields before his advance, and the rich country- 

CH. in. 

84 Death of Julian [363 

side which traitorous guides had promised became a wilderness of ash 
and smoke. Orders were given for a retreat to Corduene; amidst 
sweltering heat, with dwindling stores, the Romans beheld to their 
dismay the cloud of dust upon the horizon which heralded Sapor's 
approach. At dawn the heavy-armed troops of Persia were close at 
hand and only after many engagements were beaten off with loss. 
After a halt of two days at Hucumbra, where a supply of provisions 
was discovered, the army advanced over country which had been de- 
vastated by fire, while the troops were constantly harassed by sudden 
onsets. At Maranga the Persians were once more reinforced; two of 
the king's sons arrived at the head of an elephant column and squadrons 
of mailed cavalry. Julian drew up his forces in semicircular forma- 
tion to meet the new danger ; a rapid charge disconcerted the Persian 
archers, and in the hand-to-hand struggle which followed the enemy 
suffered severely. Lack of provisions, however, tortured the Roman army 
during the three days' truce which ensued. When the march was resumed 
Julian learned of an attack upon his rear. Unarmed he galloped to the 
threatened point, but was recalled to the defence of the vanguard. At 
the same time the elephants and cavalry had burst upon the centre, but 
were already in flight when a horseman's spear grazed the Emperor's arm 
and pierced his ribs. None knew whence the weapon came, though rumour 
ran that a Christian fanatic had assassinated his general, while others said 
that a tribesman of the Taieni had dealt the fatal blow. In vain Julian 
essayed to return to the field of battle ; his soldiers magnificently avenged 
their Emperor, but he could not share their victory. Within his tent he 
calmly reviewed the past and uncomplaining yielded his life into the keep- 
ing of the eternal Godhead. " In medio cursu florentium gloriarum hunc 
merui clarum e mundo digressum." Death in mercy claimed Julian. The 
impatient reformer and champion of a creed outworn might have become 
the embittered persecutor. Rightly or wrongly after generations would 
know him as the great apostate, but he was spared the shame of being 
numbered'among the tyrants. He was born out of due time and therein 
lay the tragedy of his troubled existence ; for long years he dared not 
discover the passionate desires which lay nearest his heart, and when at 
length he could give them expression, there were few or none fully to 
understand or sympathise. His work died with him, and soon, like a 
little cloud blown by the wind, left not a trace behind. 

The next day at early dawn the heads of the army and the principal 
officers assembled to choose an Emperor. Partisans of Julian struggled 
with followers of Constantius, the armies of the West schemed against 
the nominee of the legions of the East, Christianity and Paganism each 
sought its own champion. All were however prepared to sink their 
differences in favour of Sallust, but when he pleaded ill-health and 
advanced age, a small but tumultuous faction carried the election of 
Jovian, the captain of the imperial guard. Down the long line of troops 

363] The Shameful Peace 85 

ran the Emperor's name, and some thought from the sound half-heard 
that Julian was restored to them. They were undeceived at the sight 
of the meagre purple robe which hardly served to cover the vast height 
and bent shoulders of their new ruler. Chosen as a whole-hearted 
adherent of Christianity, Jovian was by nature genial and jocular, a 
gourmand and lover of wine and women a man of kindly disposition 
and very moderate education. The army by its choice had foredoomed 
itself to dishonour ; its excuse, pleads Ammianus, lay in the extreme ur- 
gency of the crisis. The Persians, learning of Julian's death and of the 
incapacity of his successor, pressed hard upon the retreating Romans ; 
charges of the enemy's elephants broke the ranks of the legionaries while 
on the march, and when the army halted their entrenched camp was 
constantly attacked. Saracen horsemen took their revenge for Julian's 
refusal to give them their customary pay by joining hi these unceasing 
assaults. By way of Sumere, Charcha, and Dara the army retired, and 
then for four whole days the enemy harassed the rear-guard, always 
declining an engagement when the Romans turned at bay. The troops 
clamoured to be allowed to cross the Tigris : on the further bank they 
would find provisions and fewer foes, but the generals feared the dangers 
of the swollen stream. Another two days passed days of gnawing 
hunger and scorching heat. At last Sapor sent Surenas with proposals 
of peace. The king knew that Roman forces still remained in 
Mesopotamia and that new regiments could easily be raised in the 
Eastern provinces : desperate men will sell then* lives dearly and diplo- 
macy might win a less costly victory than the sword. Four days the 
negotiations continued, and then when suspense had become intolerable 
the Thirty Years' Peace was signed. All but one of the five satrapies 
which Rome under Diocletian had wrested from Persia were to be 
restored, Nisibis and Singara were to be surrendered, while the Romans 
were no longer to interfere in the internal affairs of Armenia. "We 
ought to have fought ten times over, " cries the soldier Ammian, "rather 
than to have granted such terms as these ! " But Jovian desired (by what 
means it mattered not) to retain a force which should secure him 
against rivals Was not Procopius who, men said, had been marked out 
by Julian as his successor, at the head of an army in Mesopotamia ? 
Thus the shameful bargain was struck, and the miserable retreat 
continued. To the horrible privations of the march were added Persian 
treachery and the bitter hostility of the Saracen tribesmen. At 
Thilsaphata the troops under Sebastianus and Procopius joined the army, 
and at length Nisibis was reached, the fortress which had been Rome's 
bulwark in the East since the days of Mithridates. The citizens prayed 
with tears that they might be allowed single-handed to defend the 
walls against the might of Persia ; but Jovian was too good a Christian, 
to break his faith with Sapor, and Bineses, a Persian noble, occupied the 
city in the name of his master. Procopius, who had been content to 
OH. in. 

86 Jovian' } s Edict of Toleration [364 

acknowledge Jovian, now bore the corpse of Julian to Tarsus for burial, 
and then, his mission accomplished, prudently disappeared. The army 
in Gaul accepted the choice of their eastern comrades, but Jovian's 
success was short-lived. In the depth of winter he hurried from Antioch 
towards Constantinople and with his infant son, Varronianus, assumed the 
consulship at Ancyra. At Dadastana he was found dead in his bedroom 
(16 Feb. 364), suffocated some said by the fumes of a charcoal stove. 
Many versions of his death were current, but apparently no contemporary 
suspected other than natural causes. On his accession the Pagan party 
had looked for persecution, the Christians for the hour of their 
retaliation. But though the Christian faith was restored as the religion 
of the Empire, Jovian's wisdom or good nature triumphed and he 
issued an edict of toleration : he had thereby anticipated the policy 
of his successor. 



THE old or official religions of Greece and of Rome had lost most of 
their power long before Constantine first declared that Christianity was 
henceforth to be recognised as a religio licita and then proceeded to 
bestow the Imperial favour on the faith which his predecessors had 
persecuted. Hellenism had destroyed their influence over the cultivated 
classes, and other religions, coming from the East, had captivated the 
masses of the people. If temples, dedicated to the gods of Olympus, 
were still standing open ; if the time-honoured rites were still duly and 
continuously celebrated ; if the official priesthood, recognised and largely 
supported by the state, still performed its appointed functions ; these 
things no longer compelled the devotion of the crowd. The Imperial 
cult of the Dim and Divae, once so popular, had also lost its power 
to attract and to charm; the routine of ceremonial worship was still 
performed ; the well-organised priesthood spreading all over the Empire 
maintained its privileged position; but crowds no longer thronged the 
temples, and the rites were neglected by the great mass of the population. 

Yet this did not mean, as has often been supposed, the universal 
triumph of Christianity. It may almost be said that Paganism was never 
so active, so assertive, so combative, as in the third century. But this 
paganism, for long the successful rival of Christianity and its real op- 
ponent, was almost as new to Europe as Christianity itself. Something 
must be known about it and its environment ere the reaction under 
Julian and the final triumph of Christianity can be sympathetically 

During the earlier centuries of the Roman Empire the process of 
disintegration was completed which had begun with the conquests of 
Alexander the Great. Instead of a system of self-contained societies, 
solidly united internally and fenced off from all external social, political, 
and religious influences, which characterised ancient civilisation, this 
age saw a mixing of peoples and a cosmopolitan society hitherto un- 

If fighting went on continuously somewhere or other on the extended 
frontiers of the great Empire, peace reigned within its vast domains. A 

CH. IV. 87 

88 Cosmopolitan Society 

system of magnificent roads, for the most part passable all the year 
round, united the capitals with the extremities, from Britain and Spain 
on the west to the Euphrates on the east. The Mediterraneanjhad 
been cleared of pirates, and lines of vessels united the great cities on its 
shores. Travelling, whether for business, health, or pleasure, was possible 
under the Empire with a ' certainty and a safety unknown in after 
centuries until the introduction of steam. It was facilitated by a common 
language, a coinage universally valid, and the protection of the same 
laws. Men could start from the Euphrates and travel onwards to Spain 
using one lingua-franco, everywhere understood. Greek could be heard 
in the streets of every commercial town in Rome, Marseilles, Cadiz, 
and Bordeaux, on the banks of the Nile, of the Orontes, and of the 

With all these things to favour it, the movements of peoples within 
the Empire had become incalculably great, and all the larger cities were 
cosmopolitan. Families from all lands, of differing religions and social 
habits, dwelt within the same walls. National, social, intellectual, and 
religious differences faded insensibly. Thinking became eclectic as it had 
never been before. 

This growing community in habit of thought and even of religious 
belief was fed by something peculiar to the times. The soldier of many 
lands, the travelled trader, the tourist in search of pleasure, and the 
invalid wandering in quest of health were common then as now. 
But a special characteristic of the end of the third and the beginning 
of the fourth century was* the widely wandering student, the teacher 
far from the land of his birth, and the itinerant preacher of new 

The Empire was well provided with what we should now call 
universities. Rome, Milan, and Cremona were seats of higher learning 
for Italy ; Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Autun for Gaul ; Carthage for North 
Africa ; Athens and Apollonia for Greece ; Tarsus for Cilicia ; Smyrna for 
Asia; Beyrout and Antioch for Syria; and Alexandria for Egypt. The 
number of foreign students to be found at each was remarkable. Young 
Romans enrolled themselves at Marseilles and Bordeaux. Greeks crossed 
the seas to attend lectures at Antioch, and found as their neighbours men 
from Assyria, Phoenicia, and Egypt. At Alexandria the number of 
students from distant parts of the Empire exceeded largely those from 
the neighbourhood. At Athens, whose schools were the most famous in 
the beginning of the fourth century, the crowds of Barbarians (for so 
the citizens called those foreign students) were so great that it was said 
that their presence threatened to spoil the purity of the language. 
Everywhere, in that age of wandering, the student seemed to prefer 
to study far from home and to flit from one place of learning to 

Nor were the professors much different. They commonly taught far 

Oriental Religions 89 

from their native land. Even at Athens it became increasingly rare to 
find a teacher who belonged by birth to Greece. They too travelled from 
one university seat to another. Lucian, Philostratus, Apuleius, all who 
portray the age and the class, describe their wanderings 

Missionaries of new cults went about in the same way. Bands of 
itinerant devotees, the prophets and priests of Syrian, Persian, possibly 
of Hindu cults, passed along the great Roman roads. Solitary preachers 
of Oriental faiths, with all the fire of missionary enthusiasm, tramped 
from town to town, drawil by an irresistible impulse to Rome, the centre 
of power, the protectress of the religions of her myriad subjects, the 
tribune from which, if a speaker could only ascend it, he might address 
the world. The end of the third and the beginning of the fourth 
century was an age of religious excitements, of curiosity about strange 
faiths, when all who had something new to teach about the secrets of 
the soul and of the universe, hawked their theories as traders their 

This mixture of peoples, this new cosmopolitanism, this hurrying to 
and fro of religious teachers, brought it about that Oriental faiths, at first 
only the religions of groups of families who had brought their cults with 
them into the West, made numerous converts and spread themselves 
over the Roman Empire. These Oriental religions prospered the more 
because from the middle of the third century onwards Rome was looking 
to the East for many things. From it came the deftest artizans and 
mechanics who gave to life most of its material comforts. It largely con- 
tributed to feed Rome with its grain. Its philosophy (for most of 
the greatest stoical thinkers were not Greeks but Orientals) gave the 
substructure to Roman Law; and the most famous Law School in the 
third, fourth, and fifth centuries was not in Rome but at Beyrout. 
Ulpian came from Tyre and Papinian from Syria. The greatest non- 
Christian thinkers of these centuries were neither Greeks nor Romans 
but Orientals. Plotinus was an Egyptian ; lamblichus, Porphyry, and 
Libanius were Syrians; Galen was an Asiatic Oriental ideas were 
slowly changing Rome's political institutions themselves, and the 
Prmceps of a Republic, as was Octavius, became, in the persons of 
Diocletian and Constantine, an Oriental monarch. Rome, by the 
discipline of its legions, by the mingled severity and generosity of its 
rule, by the justice of its legislation, had conquered the East. Eastern 
thought, wedded to Hellenism, was in its turn subjugating the Empire. 
Its religions had their share in the conquest. 

Among those Oriental faiths which spread themselves over civilised 
Europe some were much more popular than others. All entered the 
Empire at an early date and won their way very slowly at first. Most 
of them seem to have made some alliance with the survivals of such 
Greek mysteries as those of Eleusis and of Dionysos All of them, save 
that of Mithras, had been affected and to some extent changed by 

CH. IV. 

90 Oriental Religions 

Hellenism before they entered into the full light of history in the begin- 
ning of the third century. 

From Asia Minor came the worship of Cybele with its hymns and 
dances, its mysterious ideas of a deity dying to live again, its frenzies and 
trances, its soothsayings, and its blood-baths of purification and sanctifica- 
tion. From Syria came the cult of the Dea Syra, described by Lucian the 
sceptic, with its sacred prostitutions, its more than hints of human 
sacrifices, its mystics and its pillar saints. Persia sent forth the worship 
of Mithras, with its initiations, its sacraments, its mysteries, and the 
stern discipline which made it a favourite religion among the Roman 
legionaries. Egypt gave birth to many a cult. Chief among them was 
the worship of Isis, Before the end of the second century it had far 
outstripped Christianity and could boast of its thousands where the 
religion of the Cross could only number hundreds. It had penetrated 
everywhere, even to far-off Britain, A ring bearing the figure of the 
goddess' constant companion, the dog-headed Anubis, has been discovered 
in a grave in the Isle of Man. Votaries of Isis could be found from 
the Roman Wall to Land's End. 

The worship of Isis may be taken as a type of those Oriental faiths 
before whose presence the official gods of Olympus were receding into the 
background. The cult had a body of clergy, highly organised, a book 
of prayers, a code of liturgical actions, a tonsure, vestments, and an 
elaborate impressive ceremonial. The inner circle of its devotees were 
caDed "the religious," like the monks of the Middle Ages; those who 
were altogether outside the faith were termed "pagans" ; the service of 
the goddess was a "holy war," and her worshippers of all grades were 
banded together in a "militia," Apuieius, himself con verted* to the faith, 
has, in his Metamorphoses, described its ceremonies of worship and 
enabled us to see how desires after a better life drew men like himself to 
reverence the deity and enrol himself among her followers. He has 
described, with a vividness that makes us see them, the stately processions 
which moved with deliberate pace through the crowded narrow streets of 
oriental towns, and drew after them to the temple many a hitherto 
unattached inquirer. We can enter the temple with him and listen to 
the solemn exhortation of the high-priest ; hear him dwell upon the past 
sins and follies of the neophyte and the unfailing goodness and mercy of 
the goddess whose eyes had followed him through them all and who now 
waited to receive him if he truly desired to become her disciple and 
worshipper. The initiation was a secret rite and Apuieius is careful not 
to profane it by description ; but we learn that there was a baptism, a 
fast of ten days, a course of priestly instruction, sponsors given to the 
neophyte,^ and, in the evening, a reception of the new brother by the 
congregation, when every one greeted him kindly and presented him with 
some small gift. We can penetrate with him into the secret chamber 
reserved for the higher initiation where he was taught that he would 

Oriental Religions 91 

endure a voluntary death which he was to look upon as the gateway into 
a higher and better life. We can dimly see him excited with wild 
anticipations, dizzy with protracted fasting, almost suffocated by surging 
vapours, blinded by sudden and unexpected flashes of light, undergo his 
hypnotic trance during which he saw unutterable things. "I trod the 
confines of death and the threshold of Proserpine ; I was swept round all 
the elements and back again ; I saw the sun shining at midnight in purest 
radiance ; gods of heaven and gods of hell^I saw face to face and adored 
in presence." We can understand how such an hypnotic trance marked 
a man for life. 

Isis worship, humanised by Hellenism, extracted from the crude wild 
legends of Egypt the thought of a suffering and all-merciful Mother- 
Goddess who yearned to ease the woes of mankind. It raised the 
beast-gods of the Nile and the tales about them into emblems and 
parables. It captured the common man by its thaumaturgy. For the 
more cultured intelligences it had a more sublime theology which appealed 
to the philosophy of the day. In all this it was a type, perhaps the 
best, of those Oriental cults which were permeating the Empire. 

All those religions, whatever their special form of teaching or variety 
of cult, brought with them thoughts foreign to the old official worships 
of Greece and Rome; though not altogether strange to the Mysteries 
which had for long been the real people's religion in Greece nor to the 
cult of Dionysos which in various forms had preserved its vitality. 

They taught (or perhaps it would be more correct to say that the 
action of the subtle Greek intellect, playing upon the crude ideas which 
these Oriental religions presented to it, evolved from them) a series of 
religious conceptions foreign to the old paganism, and these became 
common parts of the newer non-Christian intelligence which was powerful 
in the third and fourth centuries. 

A sharp distinction, much more definite than anything previous, was 
drawn between the soul and the body. The soul belonged to a different 
sphere and was more estimable than the body. The former was the 
inhabitant of a higher and better world and was therefore immortal. 
The thoughts of individuality and personality became much clearer. 
In the same way the thoughts of Godhead as a whole and of the 
world as a whole conceptions scarcely separate before were distin- 
guished more or less clearly. Godhead became what the world was not, 
and yet Something good and great Which was the primal basis of all 

The earlier philosophical depreciation of the world of matter became 
more emphatic, and raised the question whether the creation of the 
whole material world and of the body which belonged to it was not after 
all a mistake ; whether the body was not a prison or at least a house 9! 
correction in which the soul was grievously detained ; whether the soul 
could ever become what it really was until it had undergone a deliverance 

CH. IV. 

92 The New Paganism 

from the body. Such deliverance was called salvation, and much 
practical tiiinking was expended on the proper means of effecting it. 
Might not knowledge and the means it suggested of living purely or 
with as little bodily contamination as possible while this life lasted, be 
the beginnings of entrance into the real and eternal life of the soul? 
Was it not most likely that souls had been gradually confined in bodies, 
and must not the process of delivery be gradual also ? The gradual 
Way of Return to God became a feature in almost all those Eastern cults, 
by whatever means they sought to accomplish it. 

Perhaps however the most novel thought was the conviction that 
something more than knowledge, beyond any means of living purely 
which human wisdom could suggest, something outside man and belong- 
ing to the sphere of divinity, was needed to start the soul on this gradual 
Way of Return and sustain his faltering footsteps along the difficult 
path. Contact with the Godhead was needed to save and redeem. 
Such contact was to be found in a consecration (mysterium, sacramentum, 
initiation) wherein the soul, in some hypnotic trance, was possessed by 
the deity who overpowered it and for ever afterwards led it step by step 
along the path of salvation or Way of Return. Perhaps something more 
than any such consecration was needed ; might not some surer way be 
found if only diligently sought for ? It might be in one of the older 
cults whose inner meaning had never been rightly understood ; or in some 
mystery not yet completely accessible ; or in a divinely commissioned maix 
who had not yet appeared. It might even be found within the soul 
itself, if men could only discover and use the true powers of the human 
soul (Higher Thought). At all events it was held that true religion 
really implied a detachment from the world, and included a strict 
discipline of soul and body while life lasted. 

Such a paganism was very different from the polytheism with its 
furred, feathered, and scaly deities which first confronted Christianity and 
was attacked by the early Christian apologists. The later ones recognised 
its power. Firmicus Maternus, wri ting in the time of Constantine, dismisses 
with good-humoured scorn the deities of Olympus and their myths, but 
criticises with thorough earnestness the Oriental religions. It had, in 
spite of its external multiformity, a natural cohesion in virtue of the 
circle of common thoughts above described. It hardly deserves the name 
of polytheism ; for its idea of one abstract divinity, separate from the 
world of matter, made it monotheism of a kind ; and evidence shews that 
its votaries regarded Isis, Cybele, and the rest more as the representa- 
tives and impersonations of the one godhead than as individual deities. 
Inscriptions from tombstones reveal that worshippers did not attach 
themselves to one cult exclusively. The varying forms of initiation 
were all separate methods of attaining to union with the one divinity, 
the different ceremonies of purification were all ways of reaching the 
same end, and, as one might succeed where another failed, they could be 

The New Paganism 93 

all tried impartially. Just as we find men and women in the beginning of 
the sixteenth century enrolling themselves in several religious associations 
of different kinds (witness Dr Pfeffinger, a member of thirty-two religious 
confraternities), so in the third and fourth centuries members of both 
sexes were initiated into several cults and performed the lustrations 
prescribed by very different worships, in order to miss no chance of union 
with divinity and to leave no means of purification and sanctification 
untried. The tombstone of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, the friend of 
Symmachus, who took part in the Saturnalia of Macrobius, records that 
he had been initiated into several cults and that he had performed the 
taurobolium. His wife, Aconia Paulina, was more indefatigable still. 
This lady, a member of the exclusive circle of the old pagan nobility of 
Rome, went to Eleusis and was initiated with baptism, fasting, vigil, 
hymn-singing into the several mysteries of Dionysos, of Ceres, and Kor6. 
Not content with these, she went on to Lerna and sought communion with 
the same three deities in different rites of initiation. She travelled to 
Aegina, was again initiated, slept or waked in the porches of the small 
temples there in the hope that the divinities of the place in dream or 
waking vision might communicate to her their way of salvation. She 
became a hierophant of Hecate with still different and more dreaded 
rites of consecration. Finally, like her husband, she submitted herself to 
the dreadful, and to us disgusting, purification won in the taurobolium. 
A great pit was dug into which the neophyte descended naked ; it was 
covered with stout planks placed about an inch apart ; a young bull was 
led or forced upon the planks ; it was stabbed by the officiating priest in 
such a way that the thrust was mortal and that the blood might flow as 
freely as possible. As the blood poured down on the planks and dripped 
into the pit the neophyte moved backwards and forwards to receive as 
much as possible of the red warm shower and remained until every drop 
had ceased to drip. Inscription after inscription records the fact that the 
deceased had been a tauroboliatus or a tauroboliata, had gone through this 
blood-bath in search of sanctification. Evidence from inscriptions seems 
to shew that in the declining days of paganism, the energy of its votaries 
drove them in greater numbers to accumulate initiations and to undergo 
the more severe rites of purification. 

This multiform and yet homogeneous paganism had the further 
support of a system of philosophy expounded and enforced by the 
greatest non-Christian thinkers of the age. Neoplatonism, the last 
birth of Hellenic thought, not without traces of Oriental parentage, has 
the look of a philosophy of hesitation and expectancy. It had lost the 
firm tread of Plato and Aristotle, and feared that the human intelligence 
unaided could not penetrate and explain all things. The intellectual 
faculty of man was reduced to something intermediate between mere 
sense perception and some vague intuition of the supernatural, and the 
whole energy of the movement was concentrated on discovering the 

CH. IV. 

94 Neoplatonism and Christianity 

means to follow out this intuition and to attain by it not only com- 
munion but union with what was completely and externally divine. 

Its great thinker was Plotinus (d. 69). His disciples Porphyry 
(233-304) and lamblichus (d. circa 330) made it the basis and buttress of 
paganism when it was fighting for its life against a conquering Christian- 
ity. If the Universe of things seen and unseen be an emanation from 
Absolute Being, the Primal Cause of all things, the fountain from which 
all existence flows and the haven to which everything that has reality in 
it will return when its cycle is complete, then every heathen deity has its 
place in this flow of existence. Its cult, however crude, is an obscure 
witness to the presence of the intuition of the supernatural. The legends 
which have gathered round its name, if only rightly understood, are 
mystic revelations of the divine which permeates all things. Its initia- 
tions and rites of purification are all meant to help the soul on the same 
path of return by which it completes its cycle of wanderings. The new 
paganism can be represented to be the collected flower and fruit of all 
the older faiths presented and ready to satisfy the deeper desires of the 
spirit of man. Neoplatonism could present itself as a naturalistic, 
rational polytheism, retaining all the old structures of tradition, of thought 
and of social organisation. The "common man" was not asked to forsake 
the deities he was wont to reverence. The Roman was not required to 
despise the gods who, as his forefathers believed, had led them to the 
conquest of the world. The cultured Hellenist was taught to overstep, 
without disturbing, creeds which for him were worn out and to seek and 
find communion with the Divine which lies behind all gods. The very 
conjuror was encouraged to cultivate his magic. Pantheism, that 
wonder-child of thought and of the phantasy, included all within the 
wide sweep of its sheltering arms and made them feel the claim of a 
common kinship. Jesus Himself, had His followers allowed, might have 
had a place between Dionysos and Isis ; but Christianity, which according 
to Porphyry had departed widely from the simple teaching of the mystic 
of Galilee, was sternly excluded from the Neoplatonist brotherhood of 
religions. Its idea of a creation in time seemed irreligious to Porphyry ; 
its doctrine of the Incarnation introduced a false conception of the 
union between God and the world; its teaching about the end of all 
things he thought both irreverent and irreligious ; above all things its 
claim to be the one religion, its exclusiveness, was hateful to him. He 
was too noble a man (philosopkus nobilis, says Augustine) not to 
sympathise with much in Christianity, and seems to have appreciated 
it more and more in his later writings Still his opinion remained 
unchanged : "The gods have declared Christ to have been most pious ; 
he has become immortal, and by them his memory is cherished. 
Whereas the Christians are a polluted set, contaminated and enmeshed 
ia error." Christianity was the one religion to be fought against and if 
possible conquered. 

The growing strength of Christianity 95 

What Neoplatonism did theoretically the force of circumstances 
accomplished on. the practical side. The Oriental creeds had not merely 
gained multitudes of private worshippers ; they had forced their way 
among the public deities of Rome. Isis, Mithra, Sol Invictus, Dea 
Syra, the Great Mother, took their places alongside of Jupiter, Venus, 
Mars, etc., and the Sacra peregrina appeared on the calendar of public 
festivals. As most of these Oriental cults contained within them the 
monotheist idea it is possible that they might have fought for pre- 
eminence and each aspired to become the official religion of the Empire. 
But they all recognised Christianity to be a common danger, and 
M. Cumont has shewn that this feeling united them and made them 
think and act as one. 

Such was the paganism which faced Christianity in the fourth 
century a marvellous mixture of philosophy and religion, not without 
grandeur and nobility of thought, feeling keenly the unity of nature, 
the essential kinship of man with the Divine, and knowing something of 
the yearning in man's heart for redemption and for communion with 
God. It was able to fascinate and enthral many of the keenest intellects 
and loftiest natures of the time. It laid hold on Julian. 

Christianity was the common opponent of all these cults. It had 
entered the field last and seemed easily outstripped in the race. In its 
beginning it was but a ripple on the surface of a Galilaean lake. Now, 
in the fourth century, it had compelled Imperial recognition and alliance. 
In strength and in weakness its claim had been always the same. It 
was the one, the only true, the universal religion. 

From its beginning it had never lacked at least a few wealthy and 
cultured adherents, but during the first two centuries the overwhelming 
majority of its converts had come from the poorer classes slaves, 
freedmen, labourers. It had early drawn upon itself the contempt of 
society and the hatred of the populace. It was held to be something 
inhuman. Its votaries were "the third race." They had all the un- 
social vices of the Jews and even worse vices of their own. Christians 
had appropriated the epithet flung at them in scorn. They were "the 
third race," a peculiar people, separate from the rest of mankind, a 
natio by themselves. 

The last decade of the second century witnessed the beginnings of a 
change. Men of all ranks and classes became converts members of the 
Senatorial and Equestrian Orders, distinguished pleaders, physicians, 
officers in the army, officials in the civil service, judges, even governors 
of provinces. Their wives, sisters, and daughters accompanied or more 
frequently preceded them. Then the tone of society began to change, 
gradually and insensibly. Scorn and contempt gave place to feelings of 
toleration. Before the end of the third century no one gave credit to 
the old scandalous reproaches which had keen flung at the followers of 
Jesus, even when an Emperor tried to revive them. Statesmen were 

CH. IV. 

96 The growing strength of Christianity 

compelled to consider the movement not now because it affected a 
town or a province, but as something pervading the Empire. They 
found that it possessed two characteristics which were enormous sources 
of strength a peculiar power of assimilation and a compact organization. 

From the first Christianity had proclaimed that the whole life of 
man belonged to it. This meant that everything that made man's life 
wider, deeper, fuller; whatever made it more joyous or contented; 
whatever sharpened the brain, strengthened and taught the muscles, 
gave full play to man's energies, could be taken up into and become 
part of the Christian life. Sin and foulness were sternly excluded ; but, 
that done, there was no element of the Graeco-Roman civilisation which 
could not be appropriated by Christianity. So it assimilated Hellenism 
or the fine flower and fruit of Greek thought and feeling; it appro- 
priated Roman law and institutions ; it made its own the simple festivals 
of the common people. All were theirs ; and they were Christ's ; and 
Christ was God's. 

Then the Christian churches were compactly organised. Their polity 
had been a natural growth. Its power of assimilation had enabled 
Christianity to absorb what was best in Roman civil and temple organi- 
sation, to exclude the worst elements of the bureaucracy, and to preserve 
much democratic popular life. Its local rulers belonged to the people 
they at once ruled and served. No over-centralisation crushed the local 
and provincial life. Christian societies formed themselves into groups, 
more or less compact, and made use of the synod to effect the grouping. 
One common life throbbed through the network of synods. The feeling 
of brotherhood did not exhaust itself in sentiment. If one part were 
attacked all the others were swift to help. Nothing within the Empire 
save the army could compare with the compact organisation of the 
Christian Church. 

In the middle of the third century the Emperor and the Empire 
learnt to dread this organised force within their midst. The despised 
"third race" had become indeed a natio within the Empire. The 
first impulse was to exterminate what seemed to be a source of danger. 
One well-organised universal persecution followed another. From each 
Christianity emerged with sadly diminished numbers (for the lapsed 
were always a larger body than the martyrs), but with spirit unbroken 
and with organisation intact and usually strengthened. 

Constantine himself had watched the last, the most prolonged and 
relentless of all that under Diocletian and his successors and had 
marked its failure. From his entrance into public life he made it plain 
that, while his rivals clung to the method of repression, he had com- 
pletely abandoned it. Christianity won toleration and then Imperial 

It cannot have been difficult for Constantine to carry out his policy 
towards the Christian religion. We cannot ascertain the proportion of 

337-361] Legislation against Paganism 97 

Christians to pagans at the close of the second decade of the fourth 
century, but it may be assumed that, when their organisation is taken 
into account, they were able to control public opinion in the most 
populous and important provinces of the Empire. All he had to do 
"was to let the leading provinces have the religion they desired"; the 
rest of the Empire would follow in their wake. He was content 
to adopt the principle of toleration; though for himself Christi- 
anity became more and more the one religion in which "crowning 
reverence is observed towards the holiest powers of heaven." *He 
probably carried the public opinion of the Empire with him. The 
paganism of the fourth century was for the most part quiet and desired 
only to be left in peace. Perhaps Ammianus Marcellinus, himself a 
pagan, expressed the general opinion of his co-religionists when he 
praised the Emperor Valentinian because he tolerated all creeds, gave 
no orders that any one divinity should be worshipped, and did not 
strive to bend the necks of his subjects to adore what he did. 

The sons of Constantine changed all this. They proposed to destroy 
paganism by legislation. Their laws, doubtless, inflicted much injury on 
individual pagans, and, in the hands of such unprincipled Imperial 
sycophants as Paulus and Mercurius, were the pretexts for many exe- 
cutions, banishments, and confiscation of goods; but they remained 
inoperative in all the greater pagan centres. The worship of the gods 
went on as before in Rome, Alexandria, Heliopolis, and in many other 
cities. But they could not fail to irritate. If the laws were inoperative, 
they remained to threaten. Proposed destruction of temples and pro- 
hibition of heathen ceremonies meant in many cases the abandonment of 
the games and spectacles to which the careless multitude were strongly 
attached. Scholars saw in the advancing power of the Church the 
destruction of the old learning which gave its charm to their lives. 
Christianity itself, troubled by the meddling of the heads of the State, 
seemed to be rent in pieces by its controversies, to have lost its original 
purity and simplicity, and to have degenerated into "old-wife supersti- 
tions " (Ammianus). So wherever paganism abounded, and in places too 
where it only lingered, there was a general feeling of discontent ready 
to welcome the first signs of a reaction and eagerly listening to whispers 
that the last of the race of Constantine, if he lived to assume to the 
Imperial purple, would undo what his kinsmen had accomplished. 

At the death of Constantine his nephew, Flavius Claudius Julianus, 
was six years old. The child escaped, almost by accident, the massacre 
of his family connived at if not ordered by Constantius. He lived for 
more than twenty years in constant peril, in the power of that suspicious 
cousin who scarcely knew whether he wished to slay or to spare him. 
He was kept secluded, now in one or other of the great cities of the 
East, for long in a palace far from the haunts of men, solacing himself 
with hard uninterrupted studies. Then for seven brief years he startled 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH IV. 7 

98 Julian 9 s Youth and Education [332-344 

the Roman world by his meteor-like career, and died from wounds 
received in battle against the Persians at the age of thirty-two. Two 
things about him filled the imagination of his contemporaries and have 
drawn the attention of succeeding generations : that he a recluse, suddenly 
snatched from his loved studies in poetry and philosophy, proved himself 
all at once not merely an intrepid soldier but a skilful general, and a 
born leader of men ; and that he, a baptised Christian, who had actually 
been accustomed to read the lessons at public worship, threw off like a 
mask the Christianity he had professed and spent the last years of his 
short life in a feverish attempt to restore the old and expiring paganism. 
It is this last fact that made him the object of undying hate and 
unconquerable love to his contemporaries, and still excites the interest 
of mankind. 

His own writings which have survived make it plain that from his 
earliest years he looked at Christianity and Christians through the 
blood-red mist of the massacre of his relations father, brother, uncles, 
cousins. His education did little to remove the impression. The lonely, 
imaginative, lovable child had never known his mother's care, but he 
inherited her fondness for Homer, Hesiod, and the masters of Greek 
poetry. Mardonius, who had been his mother's tutor, was his also, 
and the boy went through the same course of study. The tutor was. 
passionately fond of Greek literature and especially of Homer, and he 
imbued mother and son with his own tastes. For the rest he was 
something of a martinet. The young Julian had the strictest moral 
training and never forgot those early lessons. He was taught to be 
temperate and self -restrained ; to look with dislike on pantomimes, 
races, and the other more or less licentious amusements of the populace. 
His tutor made him read in Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and other 
pagan moralists, and was unwearied in enforcing pure living after these 
examples of antiquity. Julian was all his life a puritan pagan, and this 
puritanism of his was perhaps his greatest obstacle in accomplishing the 
task to which he subsequently dedicated himself. He never entered 
a theatre save when he was commanded to do so by the Emperor, and 
was seldom on a race-course in his life. He was naturally a dreamy, 
sensitive child, full of yearning fancies, which he kept to himself. He 
tells us that from early boyhood he felt a strange elevation of soul when 
he watched the sun and saw it dispensing light and heat; that he 
worshipped the stars and understood their whispered thoughts. He 
was filled with enthusiasm for everything Greek and the very word 
Hellas sent a thrill through him when he pronounced it. Seven years 
were spent under the care of the kindly, stern preceptor, and the impress 
they made was lasting. 

In 344 Constantius suddenly sent Julian into obscurity. His 
elder brother, Gallus, who had escaped the massacre of 337 because he 
was so sickly that he was not expected to live, accompanied him. They 

344-355] Julian's Youth and Education 99 

were sent to Macellum, a palace in a remote part of Cappadocia 
splendid enough with, its baths, its springs, and its gardens, but which 
Julian looked upon as a prison. There he was supplied with teachers 
in abundance, Christian clergy who were supposed to teach the faith to 
the young princes, and from whose instructions Julian doubtless acquired 
that superficial knowledge of the Scriptures he afterwards shewed that 
he possessed. Books were granted him, and he seems to have been 
permitted to send to Alexandria for what Greek literature he desired. 
He mentions specially volumes from the library of Bishop George 
because, along with many treatises on Christianity for which he did 
not care, they included the writings of philosophers and rhetoricians. 
But he bitterly complained that neither he nor his brother were allowed 
to see any suitable companions, and he believed that all their attendants 
were imperial spies. The boy, reserved before, shrank further into 
himself. Outwardly he was a pattern of devotion. He received 
Christian instruction; was taught the "evidences of Christianity" and 
used the knowledge later to expose its weaknesses ; was trained to give 
alms, to observe fasts, to venerate the shrines of saints to the extent of 
aiding to build them with his own hands ; and occasionally to officiate 
as reader at public worship. Privately he fed his mind on the lessons of 
Mardonius and studied such books of philosophy and rhetoric as he could 
command. Ammianus Marcellinus, who knew him well, says that from 
his early years he felt attracted to the worship of the gods. 

After six years in the gilded prison of Macellum the brothers were 
summoned to Constantinople Gallus to be made Caesar or Vice- 
Emperor, to misgovern frightfully the province entrusted to his care, 
and in consequence to meet a not undeserved death, though to his 
brother it was another crime to be charged against Constantius, a 
Christian and the murderer of kinsmen; Julian to meet soon the 
supreme moment of his religious life. He was set at first to pursue his 
studies in the capital city and the scholar appointed to take charge of 
him was Hecebolius, the fourth century Vicar of Bray, whose religion 
was always that of the reigning Emperor. But too many admiring 
eyes followed the princely student, and Constantius ordered him to 
Nicomedia, the centre of the cultured paganism of the East and the 
home of its acknowledged leader, the great rhetorician Libanius. Julian 
had promised not to attend the lectures of Libanius ; he kept his pledge 
in the letter and broke it in the spirit. He got notes written out for 
him and pored over them day and night. But more important than all 
lectures was the intercourse with men such as he had never met before. 
At Nicomedia, Julian first came in touch with those for whom the old 
gods were living, who had the gift of "seers/' to whom prophecies and 
prodigies were matters of fact. He saw and conversed with men who 
"had easy access to the ears of the gods," who could "command 
winds, waves, and earthquakes." He knew Aedesius who was said to 

CH. IV. 

100 Julian's Youth and Education [355 

receive oracles from the deities by night, and whose wife Sosipatra had 
"lived from girlhood amid prodigies of all kinds." He was told 
of the wonderful s&ances presided over by Maximus and of the marvels 
which occurred at them. This Maximus was one of the most cele- 
brated theurgies or "mediums" of fourth century Neoplatonism. His 
favourite occupation, he said, was to live in constant communion with the 
gods. He had long white hair, brilliant magnetic eyes, and his disciples 
boasted that his influence was irresistible over all those with whom he 
came in contact. Eusebius of Myndus, also a Neoplatonist, told Julian 
of his powers. "He made a number of us descend into the temple of 
Hecate. There he saluted the goddess. Then he said: *Be seated, 
friends, see what happens, then judge whether I am not superior to 
most men/ We all sat down. He burnt a grain of incense and chanted 
a whole hymn in a low voice. The statue began to smile, then to laugh. 
We were afraid at the sight. * Do not be alarmed/ he said, e you will 
see that the lamps which the goddess holds in her hands will light of 
themselves/ As he spoke the light streamed from the lamps/' Julian 
eagerly begged to be introduced to the man who was so powerful with 
the gods, and Maximus was even more ready to gain one who stood so 
near the Imperial throne. No accounts survive of the spiritualistic stances 
at which he assisted ; but their effect on the nervous, sensitive young 
man was irresistible. Maximus converted him heart and soul to the 
new paganism and was the confidential adviser of Julian from that time 
onwards. The young man entered into a new life. The religion which 
Homer and Hesiod had sung, which Plato and Aristotle had speculated 
upon, which he had known as a student from books, became all at once 
living to him. His day-dreams of the past vanished, or rather changed 
into an actual present. The passion for Greece which had gradually 
grown to be the ruling force in his character had now the support of 
every-day experience. The gods sung by the old Greek poets, and 
many a passionate Oriental deity unknown to them, could be seen and 
their presence felt. He could himself have communion with them 
through mysterious rites of divination. They had created the noblest 
thing on earth, Greek civilisation ; they were even now moulding and 
controlling events; they could give courage and inspiration to their 
votaries. From his sojourn at Nicomedia onwards, Julian believed 
that all his actions were determined by divine voices which he heard 
and obeyed. This natural religion was not the crude polytheism his 
Christian teachers had said. Hellenism bad made it a unity. A great 
First Cause, the Father and King of all men, had parcelled out the lands 
and peoples among the deities, His viceroys. They were the real rulers 
of provinces and cities and governed them according to their natural 
habits and dispositions. What was Christianity when compared with 
this ancient and universal worship, supported by the wealth of civilisa- 
tion which had come down from the past ? It was a cult of barbarian 

355] Julian made Caesar 101 

origin, born in an obscure province, ignorant of Hellenic culture, its 
very Scriptures written in a barbarous Greek offensive to the ears of 
educated men. Was Greece to abdicate in favour of Galilee ? Perish 
the thought ! So Julian believed, and longed to steep himself in 
Hellenism at its purest source the Schools at Athens. 

He gained his wish through the sisterly kindness of the Empress 
Eusebia. At Athens, as at all the schools of higher learning, the 
majority of the teachers were pagans, and Julian with more than his 
usual eagerness devoted himself to their lectures and to all the benefits 
of the place. "He was continually seen surrounded by crowds of youths, 
old men, philosophers, and rhetoricians." Outwardly he was still a 
Christian, for his life depended on his conformity to the Imperial creed ; 
but inwardly he had consecrated himself heart and soul to paganism, had 
already became conscious that he had a divine mission, and that he was 
a favourite of the gods. The double life he had to live, the knowledge 
that he was surrounded by spies ready to report anything compromising 
to his Imperial cousin, must have acted upon his naturally nervous and 
emotional temperament and betrayed itself in many outward ways. His 
portrait drawn by a fellow-student, Gregory of Nazianzus, though the 
work of an enemy, needs only a little toning down twitching shoulders, 
eyes glancing from side to side, something conceited in nostrils and 
face, feet that were never still, hasty laugh, sentences begun and never 
finished, irrelevant answers. Julian had more to do at Athens than 
study philosophy ; he had to penetrate to the centre of Greek religion. 
He was secretly initiated into the ancient mysteries of Eleusis; and 
there are hints of other initiations either there or afterwards of the 
worship of Mithras, of the purifying rite of the taurobolium. 

Constantius was childless the punishment of the gods whose temples 
he had despoiled, said the pagans ; a retribution for the slaughter of his 
kinsmen, his own conscience sometimes whispered. The needs of the 
Empire demanded assistance. It is hard to say whether the Emperor or 
the student was the more unwilling, the one to summon and the other to 
obey the call. Julian was ordered to Milan where the Court was. He 
was made Caesar, was married to Helena, the Emperor's sister, and 
sent to Gaul to protect the province from invading Germans. The 
recluse bookworm, the man whose emotional nature had succumbed 
without suspicion to the suggestions of spiritualist s6ances, was suddenly 
confronted with one of the hardest tasks that practical life could offer. 
He had to restore a half-ruined province and to overcome an enemy 
grown bold by success. He was totally ignorant of the arts of war and 
of administration. It need not cause surprise that he proved an intrepid 
soldier. He was the last of a race of warriors, and the blood spoke. His 
studies had taught him the need of concentration and thoroughness ; he 
set himself to learn and speedily mastered the elements of drill and 
discipline. But what the world did wonder at was that, hampered as he 

CH. rv. 

102 Julian declares himself a Pagan [355-361 

was by the assistants whom the jealousy of the Emperor had forced upon 
him, he shewed himself a general who defeated his foes as much by 
strategy as by fighting. 

The Germans had been driven back ; the administration of Gaul was 
improved and its finances reformed, when the legions, irritated at com- 
mands from the distant Emperor, mutinied and called upon their general 
to assume the purple (Jan. 360). After long hesitation Julian consented. 
It meant civil war. But the gods encouraged him, his mission called 
him, the soldiers rallied round him, and he marched against Constantius. 
There was no battle. Constantius died before the armies met, and 
Julian became sole ruler over the Roman Empire. 

During the whole of Julian's five years' stay in Gaul he publicly pro- 
fessed the Christian religion which privately he had repudiated. He 
allowed his name to be attached to the persecuting edicts of Constantius, 
while in secret he began the day with a prayer to Hermes. His 
dissimulation went the length of joining with Constantius in threatening 
anyone with torture who took part in the very ceremonies of divination 
which he himself was all the while practising in private. The only 
trace of his real feelings is that no Christian emblems appear on the 
coins which he struck in Gaul. This double life did not cease when he 
assumed the purple. He ostentatiously joined in the public devotions of 
the people during the festival of Epiphany (361), while in private he was 
practising all manner of secret incantations and divinations aided by an 
adept in the mysteries of Eleusis. It may be that he waited until he was 
sure of the sympathies of the army. He seems to have taken care that 
most of the soldiers who followed him from Gaul were pagans; and 
that the Christian troops were left behind to guard the province. At 
all events it was not until he reached Sirmium on the lower Danube, 
where the magistrates, citizens, and soldiers received him with acclama- 
tions, that he declared himself a pagan, and could write to Maximus : 
"We worship the gods openly; most of the soldiers who follow me 
reverence them ! We have thanked the gods in the sight of men 
with many hecatombs." He entered Constantinople a professed pagan, 
believing himself commissioned by the gods to restore the ancient religion, 
a Dionysos and a Hercules in one, the prophet and king of a pagan 

In his treatment of Christianity he believed that he shewed 
impartiality and refrained from persecution, and, if due allowance be 
made for his private hatred of those whom he contemptuously called 
Galilaeans, it is possible to believe that he was sincere in his pro- 

His first act was to issue an edict permitting all bishops, exiled by 
Constantius for their attachment to the Nicene theology, to return and 
resume possession of their confiscated property but not their sees. More 
than once the leaders, clerical and laic, of the various parties into which 

361-363] Julian's treatment of Christianity 103 

Christianity was then divided, were summoned to his palace and told 
that they were at liberty to follow and advocate any form of belief they 
pleased. Ammiamis Marcellinus, himself a pagan and a devoted admirer 
of Julian, declares that the Emperor did this in the firm belief that the 
Christians were so thoroughly divided that this liberty would end in their 
destroying each other by their mutual quarrels. If so the intention 
shows how little Juhan understood the faith he despised. The bishops 
who had thronged the antechambers of Constantius and used backstairs 
intrigues against their rivals were very poor specimens of Christianity. 
The freedom of discussion which Julian permitted, the absence of 
Imperial interference, were the means of uniting not destroying the 

The greater part of the Emperor's edicts against Christianity were 
undoubtedly meant by him to make restitution to paganism and to the 
State of property and privileges which had been wrongly bestowed. The 
churches were commanded to restore the temple-sites and lands which had 
been given them for ecclesiastical purposes. If churches had been erected 
they were ordered to be demolished and the temples rebuilt at the 
expense of the Christians. The clergy and Christian poor had been 
granted sums of money from municipal treasuries; and these grants 
were to cease. Constantino's legislation had given to the Christian 
clergy privileges enjoyed by the heathen priesthood. To Julian's mind 
paganism was the religion of the State and alone it carried privileges 
witn it. So the special laws guaranteeing to the Church rights of 
inheritance, and laws exempting the clergy from personal taxation and 
freeing them from the obligation to serve on municipal councils, were 
abrogated. Ammianus Marcellinus probably expresses the popular 
opinion when he declares that this legislation, however just in theory, 
was harsh in practice from its cumulative weight and the haste with which 
it was enforced. 

No edict of Julian's excited the indignation of the Christians so 
thoroughly as that upon education. It enacted that no Christian was to 
be allowed to teach in schools where the literature of Greece and' Rome 
formed the basis of education ; that all teachers must expound and insist 
upon the religion of the authors studied; but that Christian children 
might attend the schools. Perhaps the Emperor's reasons for his legisla- 
tion increased their wrath ; for pedantry is more irritating than force, 
and Julian's pedantic nature is displayed in his reasonings. "Homer, 
Hesiod, Demosthenes, Thucydides, Isocrates, Lysias, all founded their 
learning on the gods. Did not some of them believe themselves to be 
consecrated to Hermes and others to the muses ? It seems therefore 
absurd to me that those who explain their works should not worship the 
gods they reverenced." He did not like to remember that Mardonius, 
his own honoured teacher, had been a Christian. His fixed idea was 
that Christianity could have no connexion with Hellenic thought or 

CH. IV. 

104 Julian's treatment of Christians [361-363 

civilisation, that its affectation of interest in ancient Greek literature was 
hypocrisy, and that it was his duty as ruler to keep men from occasions 
of practising such a vice. From one point of view the edict seemed to 
affect the Christians but slightly. They had long been accustomed to 
send their children to schools in which the most famous teachers were 
pagans ; but now they believed that the Emperor desired to use all the 
public schools throughout the Empire for proselytising purposes. In 
the end this edict did more good than harm to Christianity. It shewed 
in a striking way both the stedfastness and the resources of the Christians. 
The two most distinguished Christian teachers, Prohaeresius of Athens 
and C. Marius Victorians of Rome, at once resigned their appointments. 
The former was the most esteemed teacher in the East, Libanius only 
excepted Julian did his utmost to win him over to paganism. When 
he remained firm, the Emperor offered to make him an exception to 
his rule; but the Christian refused to accept any concession which 
was not to be shared by his humbler brethren. Christian teachers 
all over the East assiduously devoted themselves to acquire the 
elegancies of the Greek tongue and to write school-books in that 
language which could serve as^ substitutes for the authors they were 
forbidden to use. 

The Emperor naturally abolished the Labarum, and changed all 
other Christian into pagan emblems. He permitted, encouraged, the 
worship of his statues ; he purged the Praetorian guard (not the whole 
army) of Christians. He also dismissed from his service all Christian 
attendants, and endeavoured to make the civil service completely 

At least one distinguished Christian had little cause to thank Julian 
for his toleration, and his treatment of Athanasius almost suggests that 
the Emperor felt that the great bishop was the opponent from whom his 
plans had most to fear. On Julian's edict restoring to their homes and 
properties Christian bishops who had been banished by Constantius, 
Athanasius naturally returned to Alexandria and was warmly welcomed 
by his people. Julian was indignant. He insisted that his edict had not 
authorised the banished bishops to resume their ecclesiastical work, and 
ordered Athanasius to be sent away from the city and then from 
Egypt. "By all the gods," he wrote to the governor of Egypt, 
"nothing could give me more pleasure than that thou shouldst expel 
from every corner of Egypt that criminal Athanasius, who has dared, 
during my reign, to baptise Greek wives of illustrious citizens. He must 
be persecuted." 

Julian's efforts to restore and put new life into paganism are much 
more interesting than his attempts to damage Christianity. He called 
the religion he had so fervently adopted Hellenism, and his co-religionists 
Hellenes : Christianity was a barbarian cult, its supporters Galilaeans. 
But in reality the Christianity of the fourth century had absorbed much 

361-363] Julian's Paganism 105 

of what was best and most enduring in Hellenism ; while the religion of 
Julian drew more of its contents from Oriental than from Hellenist 
sources. One cult into which he had been initiated and which he greatly 
esteemed, Mithraism, was the only one of those Oriental religions which 
seems to have been entirely unaffected by Hellenist thought. 

The religion which Julian attempted to force on the Empire was a 
mosaic of decadent philosophy, bloody sacrifices, rituals old and new, 
"spiritualism," and divinations of all sorts. Its piety came from the cult 
of the Mysteries. It contained so much that was new that it was much 
more an attempted reconstruction or reformation than a revival of 

Julian was quick to see that no religion could be universally accepted 
which had not behind it some common stable truths, and that Christianity 
had gained enormously from that compact system of doctrine which it 
had laboriously built up during the three centuries of its existence. If 
critics, like Celsus, had made capital out of the intellectual differences 
within Christianity, paganism was in a worse case. Heathenism had 
no basis of intellectual certainty; it had no universally accepted or 
acknowledged system of doctrine. If pagan philosophy were appealed 
to, it was anything but an harmonious system one teacher said one 
thing only to be refuted by another. The Hermotimus of Lucian had 
somewhat wickedly shewn that the opinions of philosophy were as 
various as the thinkers were numerous. But the philosophic thinking of 
the age of Julian was eclectic, and Neoplatonism was supposed to reconcile 
all sorts of opinions. By ignoring some and rounding off the sharp 
corners of others it might be plausibly made out that all philosophies 
really meant to say the same things if they were only rightly understood. 
So Julian went to Neoplatonism for the intellectual basis or dogmatic 
theology of his new catholic State Religion. His philosophical acumen 
was by no means equal to that of his masters and he modestly confessed 
it. lamblichus had taught him all that he knew, and that philosopher, 
in the opinion of Julian, had so explored the heights and depths of 
human and divine thought that nothing remained for any man save 
to accept his conclusions. The Neoplatonic thought of a Trinity of 
existence took the central place of the Christian in this new pagan 

Three worlds exist. First and highest is the realm of pure ideas 
where the Supreme Principle, the One, the Highest Good, the Great First 
Cause, lives and reigns. Below it is the intellectual world over which 
presides the same Supreme Principle, but now represented by an emanation 
from Itself, wholly spiritual, the Logos of the Platonic philosophy. The 
third is the world of sense existence, the universe of things seen and 
handled, and there, as beseems its surroundings, the ruler, the emanation 
from the Supreme Principle, assumes a visible form and can be seen while 

CH. rv. 

106 Julian's Paganism 

The "common man/ 5 of course, could not be expected to understand 
or care for such high matters ; but pagan philosophy had never thought 
much of the ' fc common man " (which was its weakness) , and he had always 
the gods nearest him to worship in that instinctive way which was alone 
possible for an intelligence such as his. Yet Julian, with more sympa- 
thetic feeling for his needs than most pagan thinkers, made provision 
that even he should be taught the underlying unity and catholicity of 
his ancestral faith. Just as in Christianity, Jesus was the revealer of the 
Father, and men were taught to see the One Supreme God in the Son 
Incarnate, the Mediator, so Julian called on all men to see in the great 
orb of day the visible manifestation of the Supreme Principle, the 
First Cause, Who has begotten him and placed him in the heavens, the 
medium through which He dispenses His benefits throughout the universe 
of men and things. Even Christians, Julian thinks, might come to see 
this if their minds were not so darkened. They believe in Jesus, whom 
neither they nor their fathers have ever seen; but they do not believe 
that the God Helios is the true revealer of God, Helios whom the whole 
human race from the beginning of time has seen and has honoured as 
their munificent and potent benefactor, Helios the living animated 
beneficent image of the Supreme Father, Who is exalted above all the 
powers of reason Man has body as well as soul, he has senses as he has 
capacities for intellectual thinking, therefore he needs visible gods to 
represent the gods invisible whom the Supreme Principle has sent forth 
from Himself and who suit the religious needs not merely of the different 
nations and tribes of mankind but also of the various divisions of men such 
as shopkeepers, tax-gatherers, dancers, etc. These thousands of deities 
are all in their places representatives of the One Supreme Principle, 
Who has sent them forth and on Whom they depend. The sun among 
the stars is an emblem of this divine unity in diversity. 

Having thus demonstrated, as he believed, by exhortations and 
treatises, the unity which underlay the surface diversity of polytheism, 
Julian gave full scope to his desire to honour every manifestation of the 
one Supreme Principle, and to make use of every means whereby man 
could both shew his reverence for and seek communion with the divine. 
His first care was to make it clear to all that the worship of the old 
gods was to be the privileged cult. Bishops were banished from the ante- 
chambers and audience halls of the palace and in their stead came pagan 
priests and Neoplatonic philosophers chief among them being Maximus 
the "medium/* The Emperor was unwearied in issuing decrees that all 
the ancient temples were to be thrown open and that the ceremonies of 
all the ancient cults were to be duly performed. It might be said that 
he converted his palace into a temple so determined was he that every 
heathen festival should be observed and every detail of appropriate 
rite and sacrifice duly attended to and it was said that his knowledge of 
the various rituals surpassed that of the priests themselves. His devotion 

Julian as Pontifex Maximus 107 

to the whole sacrificial system of paganism has been recorded both by 
enemies and friends. We are told of one solemn sacrifice at which the 
victims included one hundred bulls, rams, sheep, and goats, as well as 
innumerable white birds from land and sea. He issued minute directions 
about the number of the sacrifices which were to be offered by day and 
by night, in the reopened temples. He wished that all the old gods 
should be invoked Saturn, Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Pluto, Bacchus, 
Silenus, Aesculapius, Castor and Pollux, Khea, Juno, Minerva, Latona, 
Venus, Hecate, the Muses, etc., etc. ; but personally, like the pagans of the 
age he lived in, he was more devoted to the deities of Oriental origin 
to the Attis cult, to Mithras, and most of all to Isis and Serapis. 
Dionysos, whose cult had many of the Oriental characteristics, seems to 
have been his most favoured among the gods of Greece. 

The office of Pontifex Maximus was an Imperial prerogative and the 
one most prized by Julian. He was unwearied in the performance of 
all the duties it required and he used it in his attempt to create that 
Catholic Pagan State Church. The very conception is decisive proof that 
Julian aimed, not at the revival but at a thorough reconstruction of 
paganism. He had the thought of a great independent spiritual 
community, wide as the Empire a community so holy and separated 
that men and women who abandoned Christianity could only be admitted 
into it after the performance of prescribed purifying rites. This 
community was to be ruled over by a priesthood set apart for the service 
and forming a graded hierarchy. At the head of all was the Pontifex 
Maximus; next came pagan metropolitans or the high-priests of 
provinces ; under them were high-priests who had rule over the temples 
and priests within che districts assigned to them. It is improbable 
that Julian had completed the hierarchical organisation of the Empire 
before his death, but large parts of the East had been put in order. 
We have some briefs which he, as supreme pontiff, sent down to his 
metropolitans in which he regulated many things from the dress and 
morals of the clergy to the training of temple choirs so minute was the 
interference of the Pontifex Maximus Now it is possible that one form 
of paganism, the Imperial^cult, had been strictly organised in the West 
and its provincial priests may have had some jurisdiction over the 
ministers of other cults ; Maximin Daza had attempted to do something 
similar in the East ; but the attempt to gather every cult of polytheism 
into one organised communion was not merely new; it was a startling 
novelty. Julian's conception of a pagan priesthood entirely devoted to 
the service of religion was certainly not Hellenist ; nor was it Roman ; 
it was Oriental ; the cults of Egypt, of Syria, and of Asia had separated 
priesthoods. It was a new thing to be introduced into a universal State 
Church whose religion called itself Hellenism. 

Julian thought a great deal about this priesthood of his and recog- 
nised its supreme importance for the reformation he dreamt of making. 

CH. IV. 

108 Reorganization of Paganism 

As the priest, from the office he fills, ought to be an example to all men, 
he should be selected with care if possible a man of good family, 
neither very rich, nor very poor ; but the indispensable qualifications are 
that he loves God and his neighbour. Love to God may be tested by 
observing whether the members of his family attend the temple services 
with regularity (Julian was very indignant when he discovered that the 
wives and daughters of some pagan priests were actually Christians), and 
love to one's neighbour by charity to the poor. Julian further insisted 
that the priest must be careful about what he reads. He is to shun all 
lascivious writings such as the old comedies or the contemporary erotic 
novels. He is to be equally circumspect in his conduct. He must not 
go to the theatre, nor to spectacles, and is not to frequent wine-shops. 
He is not to consort with actors nor to admit them to his house, he is 
even recommended not to accept too many invitations to dinner. On 
the other hand he is to see that he is master within his temple. He is 
to wear within it gorgeous vestments in honour of the gods whom he 
serves ; but outside the sanctuary, when he mingles with men, he is to 
wear the ordinary dress. He is not to permit even the commander of 
the forces or the governor of the province to enter the temple with 
ostentation. He is to know the service thoroughly and to be able to 
repeat all the divine hymns. Occasionally he is to deliver addresses on 
philosophical subjects for the instruction of the multitude. 

Julian also desired that the priests should organise schemes of 
charitable relief, more especially for the poor who attend the temple 
services. He thought that some such widely organised scheme might help 
to counteract the popularity of the " Galilaeans." He seems also to have 
contemplated the institution of religious communities of men and women 
vowed to a life of chastity and meditation another proof that his 
so-called Hellenism was based much more on Oriental religions than on 
those of Greece 

The Emperor in all this legislation or advice was at pains to declare 
that he was acting, not as Emperor, but as "Pontifex Maximus of the 
religion of my country." 

One feature of Julian's attempt to make the worship of the gods the 
universal and privileged religion of the Empire is too characteristic of 
the age to be entirely passed over. In the opening pages of this 
chapter, in which Lhe living paganism of the third and fourth centuries 
is briefly described, it is shewn that the old official worships of 
Greece and Rome lingered as mere simulacra and that the real religious 
life of the times was fed by Oriental faiths which had introduced such 
thoughts as redemption, salvation, purification, the Way of Return, etc. 
It is not too much to say that whatever of the old pagan piety remained 
in the middle of 'the fourth century had attached itself to the worship of 
the Mysteries ; and that pious men, if educated, looked on the different 
initiations and rites of purification taught in the various cults to be 

The Mysteries and Pagan Piety 109 

ways of attaining the same redemption, or finding the same Way of 
Return. ^ Julian belonged to his age He was a pure-hearted and 
deeply pious man. His piety was in a real sense heart religion, and, 
like that of his contemporaries, clothed itself in the cult of the 
Mysteries ; while his nervous, sensitive character inclined him personally 
to the theurgic or magical side of the cult, and especially to what re- 
produced the old Dionysiac ecstasy. Hence the dominating thought in 
Julian's mind was to reform the whole public worship of paganism by 
impregnating it with the real piety and heart religion of the Mysteries 
cult. The one thing really reactionary in the movement he con- 
templated was the return to the worship of the old official deities, but 
he proposed to attempt this in a way which can only be called revolu- 
tionary. He endeavoured to put life into the old rituals by bringing 
to their aid and quickening them with that sincere fervour which the 
Mysteries cult demanded from its votaries. This is what makes Julian 
such an interesting figure in the history of paganism ; while it in part 
accounts for his complete failure to do what he attempted. He tried to 
unite two things which had utterly separate roots, whose ideals were 
different, and which could not easily blend. For the religion of the 
Mysteries was essentially a private cult, into which men and women 
were received, one by one, by rites of initiation which each had to pass 
through personally, and, when admitted, they became members of coteries, 
large or small, of like-minded persons. They had entered because their 
souls had craved something which they believed the initiations and 
purifications would give. It was a common saying among them that as 
sickness of the body needed medicine, so the sickness of the soul required 
those rites to which they submitted. What had this to do with the 
courteous recognition due to bright celestial beings which was the 
central thought of the official religion of Greece, or the punctilious 
performance of ceremonies which was believed to propitiate the sterner 
deities of Rome ? Mysteries and participation in their rites may exist 
along with a belief in the necessity and religious value of the public 
services of a state religion; but whenever the latter can only be 
justified, even by its own votaries, on the ground of traditional and 
patriotic propriety, Mystery worship may take its place but can never 
quicken it. When the whole piety of paganism disappeared in the 
Mysteries cult, it estranged itself from the national and official religion ; 
and the Mysteries could never be used to recall the gods of Olympus for 
whose banishment they had been largely responsible. 

No edicts of an Emperor could change the bright deities of Olympus 
into saviours, or transform their careless votaries into men who felt in 
their hearts the need of redemption and a way of return. Yet that was 
what Julian had to do when he proposed to impregnate the old official 
worship with the fervour of the Mysteries cult. It was equally in vain 
to think that the Mysteries cult, which owed its power to its spontaneity, 
CH. iv. 

110 Julian's Failure 

to its independence, to its individuality, could be drilled and organised 
into the national religion of a great Empire. It was a true instinct that 
led Julian to see that the real and living pagan piety of his generation 
had taken refuge within the circles of the Mysteries, and that the hope 
of paganism lay in the spread of the fervour which kindled their votaries ; 
his mistake lay in thinking that it could be used to requicken the official 
worship. It would have been better for his designs had he acted as did 
Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, the model of genuine pagan piety in the 
Roman senatorial circle (princeps religiosorum, Macrobius calls him). 
Praetextatus contented himself with a dignified and cool recognition of 
the official deities of Rome but sought outlet for his piety elsewhere, in 
initiations at Eleusis and other places and in the purifying rite of the 
taurobolium. The sentimental side of Julian's nature led him astray. 
He could not forget his early studies in Homer and Hesiod (he quotes 
Homer as frequently and as fervently as a contemporary Christian does 
the Holy Scriptures) and he had to introduce the gods of Olympus 
somewhere. He tried to unite the passionate Oriental worships with 
the dignified Greek and the grave Roman ceremonies where personal 
faith was superfluous. The elements were too incongruous. - 

In spite of all the signs of a reaction against Christianity Julian 
failed; and for himself the tragedy of his failure lay in the apathy of 
his co-religionists. In spite of his elaborate treatise against Christianity 
and his other writings; notwithstanding his public orations and his 
private persuasions, Julian did not succeed in making many converts. 
We hear of no Christians of mark who embraced Hellenism, save the 
rhetorician Hecebolius and Pegasius, a bishop with a questionable 
past. The Emperor boasted that his Hellenism made some progress 
in the army, but at his death the legions selected a Christian 

It is almost pathetic to read Julian's accounts of his continual dis- 
appointments. He could not find in "all Cappadocia a single man who 
was a true Hellenist." They did not care to offer sacrifice, and those 
who_did so, did not know how. In Galatia, at Pessinus where stood a 
famous temple erected to the Great Mother, he had to bribe and 
threaten the inhabitants to do honour to the goddess. At Beroea he 
harangued the municipal council on the duty of worshipping the gods. 
"They all warmly praised my discourse," he says somewhat sadly, "but 
none were convinced by it save the few who were convinced before 
hearing." So it was wherever he went. Even pagan admirers like 
Ammianus Marcellinus were rather bored with the Emperor's Hellenism 
and thought the whole thing a devout imagination not worth the trouble 
he wasted on it. The senatorial circle at Rome had no sympathy 
with Julian's Hellenic revival. No one shewed any enthusiasm but 
the narrow circle of Neoplatonist sbphists, and they had no influence 
with the people. 

Julian's Failure 111 

Yet Julian's attempt to stay the progress of Christianity and to 
drive back the tide which was submerging the Empire, was, with all 
its practical faults, by far the ablest yet conceived. It provided a sub- 
stitute and presented an alternative. The substitute was pretentious 
and artificial, but it was probably the best that the times could furnish 
Hellenism, Julian called it; but where in that golden past of Hellas 
into which the Imperial dreamer peered, could be found a puritan 
strictness of conduct, a prolonged and sustained religious fervour, and 
a religion independent of the State ? The three strongest parts of his 
scheme had no connexion with Hellenism. Religions may be used, but 
cannot be created by statesmen, unless they happen to have the prophetic 
fire and inspiration and Julian was no prophet. He may be credited 
with seizing and combining in one whole the strongest anti-Christian 
forces of his generation the passion of Oriental religion, the patriotic 
desire to retain the old religion under which Greece and Rome had 
grown great, the glory of the ancient literature, the superstition which 
clung to magic and divinations, and a philosophy which, if it lacked 
independence of thought, at least represented that eclecticism which was 
the intellectual atmosphere which all men then breathed. He brought 
them together to build an edifice which was to be the temple of his 
Empire. But though the builder had many of the qualities which go to 
make a religious reformer pure in heart and life, full of sincere piety, 
manly and with a strong sense of duty the edifice he reared was quite 
artificial, lacked the living principle of growth, and could not last. 
Athanasius gave its history in four words when he said "It will soon 
pass." The world had outgrown paganism. 

Whatever faults the Christianity of the time exhibited, whatever ills 
had come to it from Imperial patronage and conformity with the world, 
it still retained within it the original simplicity and profundity of its 
message. Nothing in its environment could take that from it. It 
proclaimed a living God, Who had made man and all things and for 
Whom man was made. That God had manifested Himself in Jesus 
Christ and the centre of the manifestation was the Passion of our 
Lord the Cross. Whatever special meanings attach themselves to the 
intellectual apprehension of this manifestation, it contains two plain 
thoughts which can be grasped as easily by the simplest as by the most 
cultured intelligence, and was therefore universal as no previous religion 
had ever been. It gave a new revelation of God a personal Deity, 
whose chief est manifestation was a sympathy with all who were beneath 
Him and a yearning to deliver them at all costs to Himself. It gave, 
at the same time, a new revelation of man, made in the image of God 
and therefore capable of a far-off imitation ; his life no longer ruled by 
the precepts of a calculating utilitarianism nor curbed by a statutory 
morality, freed from the chains of all taboos and rituals, inspired by the 
one principle "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," and this 

CH. IV. ' 

112 Julian's Failure 

thought made vivid by the vision of a pure active Divine Life which 
spent itself in the service of mankind. 

Some of the Oriental religions, notably those of Mithras and Isis, 
were groping after this idea of "brother man"; the Imperial world 
was, in a vague way, advancing towards it; but the Cross of Christ 
shewed its highest and clearest manifestation. Therefore Christianity 
teaching that every follower of Christ, in so far as he was really a 
disciple, should imitate the Master, could set the stamp of the Cross on 
every portion of human life and on every social institution. It was the 
religion of the Cross, the religion whose watchword was "brother man." 
It was therefore universal and to it the future belonged. 

If such things can be dated, the death of Julian marks the triumph 
of Christianity in the Roman world, eastern and western. The ex- 
clamation, "Galilaean, Thou hast conquered," is a fable which clothes a 
fact. Yet it would be a grave mistake to say that paganism disappeared 
suddenly either from the East or from the West. 

In the East it never recovered its position as a state religion, but it 
existed as a private cult practised by no inconsiderable proportion of the 
people. It did not offer the strenuous resistance to Imperial anti-pagan 
legislation which was to be seen in the West. The number of Christians 
had always been much larger and it is more than probable that many of 
the laws against pagans were supported by public opinion. Julian's 
immediate successors practised a policy of toleration for all religions, and 
contented themselves with professing and favouring Christianity. It 
was the religion of the Imperial household and of the great majority of 
the population nothing more. Pagans lived on free to worship what 
divinities they pleased. Even when Valens and emperors who came after 
him renewed and enforced laws against pagan worship no traces are to 
be found of anything like a general persecution. Accusations were 
listened to and procedure taken against numbers of wealthy persons in 
the hope of filling the Imperial treasury ; but the mass of the people 
remained untouched. Whole districts, which were notoriously poor, 
were exempted from the operation of the laws. During the reign of 
Valens a large number of temples fell into ruins, but probably it was not 
the operation of the law which caused their destruction. The more 
celebrated temples were often in possession of large yearly revenues 
derived from lands and other endowments and in charge of the hereditary 
priesthood who presided over the worship. As paganism decayed these 
priesthoods frequently secularised the revenues, took possession of them, 
and were content to see the edifices fall into ruin. Still, paganism 
remained rooted in many of the old noble families of the East, and in 
such aristocratic households the place of private chaplain was filled by a 
Neoplatonic philosopher. As many of the members of this nobility 
were called to occupy high places in the civil administration of the 
Empire, they were able to protect their co-religionists and took care to 

394-484] Survivals of Paganism in the East 113 

see that the anti-pagan laws were not enforced within their jurisdic- 
tions. Optatus, praefect of Constantinople in 404 was a pagan. In 
A.D. 467 Isokasios, the quaestor of Antioch, was accused of paganism. 
Phocas took poison to prevent himself being obliged to embrace 
Christianity as late as the time of Justinian. Many of the more famous 
literary men Eunapius, Zosimus, perhaps Procopius' were strongly 
anti-Christian. Pamprepius, a Neoplatonist, famed for his power of 
divination, an avowed pagan, drew a salary from the public revenues 
and, along with distinguished generals like Marsus and Leontius, aided 
Illus in his revolt against the Emperor Zeno in 484. But by the 
end and indeed throughout the whole of the fifth century thoughtful 
paganism had become a sort of Quietism and exercised no influence on 
the public life of the population. When Theodosius the Great succeeded 
in uniting the orthodox Church with the Imperial administration, when 
the great bishops were placed in possession of powers almost equal to 
those of the governors of provinces, the Church became the guardian of 
the rights of the people and the interpreter of its wishes. The Church, 
in that age of bureaucracy, had a popular constitution ; its clergy came 
from the people ; the services were in the language of the district ; its 
bishops were the natural and sympathetic leaders of the people; and 
the whole population gradually became included within the Christian 

Athens and Achaia long remained the last stronghold of paganism 
in the East. The Eleusinian and other mysteries, the great heathen 
festivals celebrated in Athens and in other cities of Hellas, attracted crowds 
of strangers from all parts of the Empire. Religious beliefs, patriotic 
associations, thoughts of material prosperity, combined to make the 
people of the towns and districts resolute to maintain and defend them. 
So strong were the popular feelings that it would have led to riots, probably 
to attempted insurrection, to enforce the Imperial legislation against 
temples, sacrifices, and the celebration of pagan ceremonies by night. 
The emperors found it necessary either to exempt Hellas from the 
operation of these laws altogether or to suffer their non-enforcement. 
The Eleusinian Mysteries continued until the famous temple was 
destroyed by the Goths under Alaric. The Olympic Games were 
celebrated until the reign of Theodosius I (394). The great and 
venerated statue of Minerva remained to protect the city of Athens 
until about 480. The great temple of Olympia remained open until its 
destruction whether by the Goths or by command of Theodosius II is 

In the fourth and fifth centuries Athens remained the most distin- 
guished intellectual centre of the time The teachers in its schools, for 
the most part Neoplatonists who resolutely refused to accept Christianity, 
maintained the old pagan traditions. Their influence was recognised 
and feared. Theodosius II forbade private teachers to give public 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. IV. 8 

114 Survivals of Paganism in the West [375-383 

lectures under pain of banishment. Justinian, determined to crush the 
last remains of paganism, confiscated the funds which furnished the 
salaries of the professors, seized on the endowments of the Academy 
of Plato, and closed the schools. The persecuted philosophers fled to 
Persia to avoid imprisonment or death and remained there until King 
Chosroes obtained from the Emperor a promise that they would be 
unmolested if they returned to their homes. 

In the West paganism shewed itself much stronger. It displayed its 
greatest tenacity in Rome itself, and there were many reasons why it 
should do so. The old paganism had been closely connected with the 
State and when it ceased to be the privileged religion it had no common 
centre round which to rally. In Rome it was otherwise. Its stronghold 
was the Senate, and all the elements of opposition to Christianity could 
group themselves round that venerable assembly. The Senate had lost 
its powers but its prestige remained, and the Emperors were chary of 
attacking its dignity. It represented the ancient grandeur of Rome and 
was the heir and defender of old Roman traditions. The city was full 
of monuments of Rome's past greatness. They were, for the most part, 
temples built to commemorate signal victories, and were visible signs of 
the old religion under which Rome had grown to greatness. The Senate 
took pride in preserving these witnesses of the past splendours of the 
Imperial city and in seeing that the old ceremonial rites were duly 
performed in spite of anti-pagan legislation. During the second half of 
the fourth century and into the fifth, the pagan senators of Rome 
flaunted their religion in the face of the world. They were at pains to 
record on their family tombstones and other private monuments that 
they had been hierophants of Hecate, had been initiated at Eleusis, 
had been priests of Hercules, Attis, Isis, or Mithras. In spite of the 
edicts and efforts of the sons of Constantine and of successors of 
Julian paganism was the state religion of Rome down to 383. Its 
worship was performed according to the old rites. The days consecrated 
to the old gods, and others added in honour of the newer Oriental 
deities, were the Roman holidays. Every year on 27 January the 
Praefectus urbi went down to Ostia and presided over "games" in honour 
of Castor and Pollux. All these costly ceremonies, sacrifices, and shows 
were provided for out of the Imperial treasury. They were part of the 
state religion, and the Senate were determined that they should be so 
regarded. The Emperor might be a Christian, but he was neverthe- 
less Pontifex Maximus, the official head of the old pagan religion, 
and they believed themselves justified in performing its rites in his 

The Emperor Gratian delivered the first effectual blow against this 
state of matters. He refused to assume the office of Pontifex Maximus, 
probably in 375. In 38 he ordered that the great pagan ceremonies 
and sacrifices should no longer be defrayed out of the Imperial treasury, 

394] Paganism in Literature 115 

and saw that he was obeyed. He took from the ancient priesthoods 
of Rome the emoluments and immunities which they had enjoyed for 
centuries. He removed from the Senate House the statue of Victory 
and its altar on which incense had been duly burnt since the days of 
Ocfcavius. The last great battle for the official recognition of paganism 
raged over these decrees. It lasted about ten years. Symmachus and 
Ambrose, both representatives of old Roman patrician families, were the 
leaders on the pagan and on the Christian side. The pagan party in 
the Senate fought every inch of ground against the advancing tide of 
Christianity. Its leading members enrolled themselves in the ancient 
priesthoods and assumed the dignities of the sacra peregrina. They 
provided for the sacrifices and other sacred rites at their own expense. 
They spent their means in restoring ancient temples and in building 
new ones. They had high hopes of a pagan reaction under Maximus, 
who had defeated and slain Gratian; under the short-lived Emperor 
Eugenius, who promised on his leaving Milan to meet Theodosius in 
battle that, on his return, he would stable his horses in Christian basilicas. 
The victory of Theodosius (394) on the Frigidus ended these hopes. 
They revived again for the last time when Alaric made Attalus a rival 
emperor to Honorius and when that ruler gathered round him counsellors 
who were for the most part pagans professed or secret. But paganism 
was not destined to obtain even a temporary victory. Perhaps, as Augus- 
tine said, it only desired to die honourably. Its political defeats did 
not quench the zeal of its lessening number of votaries. They engaged 
in polemical contests with their opponents. They wrote books to prove 
that the invasions of the barbarians and the weakness of the Empire were 
punishments sent by the gods for the abandonment of the ancient 
religion, and called forth such replies as the Historia adversus paganos 
of Paulus Orosius and the De Civitate Dei of St Augustine. 

The tenacity of paganism in the West was not confined to Rome. 
The poems of RutUius, the Homilies of Maximus of Turin and of 
Martin of Bracara, the Epistles of St Augustine, the history of Gregory 
of Tours, and the series of facts collected in the Anecdota of Caspar!, all 
shew that paganism lingered long in Italy, Gaul, Spain, and North 
Africa, and that neither the persuasions of Christian preachers nor 
the penalties threatened by the State were able to uproot it altogether. 
The records of district ecclesiastical councils tell the same tale. 

Literature may almost be called the last stronghold of paganism 
for the cultivated classes all over the Empire. It is hard for us to 
sympathise with the feelings of Christians in the fifth century for whom 
cultivated paganism was a living reality possessed of a seductive power ; 
who could not separate classical literature from the religious atmosphere in 
which it had been produced ; and who regarded the masterpieces of the 
Augustan age as beautiful horrors from which they might hardly escape. 
Jerome had fears for his soul's salvation because he could not conquer 

CH. IV. 

116 Paganism in Literature 

his admiration for Cicero's Latin prose, and Augustine shrank within 
himself when he thought on his love for the poems of Vergil. Had not 
his classical tastes driven him in youth from the uncouth latinity of the 
copies of the Holy Scriptures when he tried to read them ? Christianity 
had mastered their heart, mind, and conscience, but it could not stifle 
fond recollection nor tame the imagination. In some respects paganism 
ruled over literature. The poet Claudian, whether he was heathen or 
Christian, lived and moved and had his being in the world of pagan 
thought. Sidonius Apollinaris could not string verses without endless 
mythological allusions. Rutilius, a hater of Christians and of their 
religion, adored with heart and soul the Dea Roma, Urbs Aeterna. 
Perhaps the dread of the power which seemed to lurk in literature was 
heightened by the courteous and kindly intercourse of Christians with 
pagans during the years of the last struggle. The Church owed much to 
the schools and was almost afraid of the debt. Basil and Gregory had 
been fellow-students with Julian at Athens. Chrysostom had been a 
pupil of Libanius, and acknowledged how much he owed to the great 
anti-Christian leader. Synesius had sat in the class-room of Hypatia at 
Alexandria, and never forgot some of the lessons he had learned there. 
And paganism never shewed itself to greater advantage than during its 
last years of heroic but unavailing struggle. Its leaders, whether in the 
Schools of Athens or among the Senatorial party at Rome, were for the 
most part men of pure lives with a high moral standard of conduct 
men who .commanded esteem and respect. Immorality abounded, but 
the pagan standard had become much higher. Christians and heathen 
were full of mutual esteem for each other. The letters exchanged between 
Symmachus and Ambrose reveal the intimacy in which the nobler pagans 
and earnest-minded Christians lived. Even the caustic Jerome seems to 
have a lurking but sincere affection for some of the leaders of the pagan 
Senatorial party. It is curious too to find that many of those stalwart 
supporters of the old religion of Rome were married to Christian wives, 
and that their daughters were brought up as Christians while the sons 
followed the father's faith. Jerome has drawn no more charming picture 
than that of the old heathen pontiff Albinus, the leader of the anti- 
Christian party in Rome, sitting in his study with his small grand- 
daughter on his knees, listening to the child while she repeated to him a 
Christian hymn she had just been taught by her mother. Theodosius II, 
most theological of emperors, married the daughter of a pagan who had 
taught philosophy in the Schools of Athens. 

Yet however near pagans and Christians might approach each other 
in life and standard of conduct, a great gulf separated them. In the 
grey twilight of that fifth century, when men whose sight seemed 
furthest looked forward to the coming of a night of chaos, the Christian 
whisper of consolation was better than the pagan thought of destiny. 
The difference went further than ideals. If it be strange to find practical 

The Triumph of Christianity 117 

statesmen like Ambrose and Augustine, able to see that the pressing 
need of the times was upright citizenship, defending that ascetic life 
which threw aside all civic duties and responsibilities, surely it is 
stranger still to find those pure-minded, noble pagans forced by religious 
partizanship to be the zealous defenders of the bloody gladiatorial 
spectacles and the untiring opponents of all attempts to better the 
unhappy lot of actors and actresses condemned to life-long slavery in 
a calling which then could not fail to be disgraceful. If the dying 
world was to be requickened, it was not paganism that could bring 
salvation. So it slowly, almost unconsciously, passed away before the 
advancing tide of Christianity. 

Means were found of reconciling many festivals to which the populace 
was devoted, both in town and in country, with the prevailing Christian 
sentiment. It was evil to fte Bacchus or Ceres, but there could be no 
harm in rejoicing publicly over the vintage and the harvest. The. 
Lupercalia themselves were changed into a Christian festival by Pope 
Gelasius. Many a tutelary deity became a patron saint. The people 
retained their rustic processions, their feasts, and their earthly delights. 
The temples were left standing. They became public halls where the 
citizens could meet, or exchanges where the merchants could congregate, 
while the statues of the gods looked down from their niches undisturbed 
and unheeded. 

So when the Teutonic invasion seemed to overwhelm utterly the 
ancient civilisation, the Church with its compact organisation was strong 
enough to sustain itself amid the wreck of all things, and was able to 
teach the barbarian conquerors to assimilate much of the culture, many 
of the laws and institutions of the conquered, and in the end to rear a 
new and Holy Roman Empire on the ruins of the old. 

CH rv. 


ARIANISM finds its place in history as one of the four great contro- 
versies which have done so much to shape the growth of Christian 
thought. They all put the central question d as Wesen des Christen- 
turns but they put it from different points of view. For Gnosticism 

Is the Gospel history ; or is it an edifying parable ? For Arianism 

Is it the revelation of a divine Son, which must be final; or is it 
something short of this, which cannot be final ? For the Reformation 

Is its meaning to be declared by authority ; or is it to be investigated 
by sound learning? The scientific (or more truly philosophical) 
scepticism of our own time accepts the decision of the Reformation, but 
raises afresh the issues of Gnosticism and Arianism as parts of the 
deeper question, whether the reign of law leaves any freedom to either 
God or man. 

The Arian controversy arose on this wise. Both Greece and Israel 
had long been tending in different ways to a conception of God as 
purely transcendent. If the Stoics made him the immanent principle 
of reason in the world, they only helped the forces which made for 
transcendence by their utter failure to shew that the things in the world 
are according to reason. As the Christians also accepted any current 
beliefs which did not evidently contradict their doctrine of a historic 
incarnation, all parties were so far generally agreed by the end of the 
second century. In times of disillusion God seems far from men, and in 
the deepening gloom of the declining Empire he seemed further off than 
ever. But a transcendent God needs some sort of mediation to connect 
him with the world. There was no great difficulty in gathering this 
mediation into the hand of a Logos, as was already done by Philo the 
Jew in our Lord's time, and to assign him functions as of creation ; and 
of redemption, as Christians and Gnostics added. But then came the 
question, Is the Logos fully divine, or not ? If no, how can he create 
much less redeem ? If yes, then the purely transcendent God acts for 
himself, and ceases to be transcendent. The dilemma was hopeless. 
A transcendent God must have a mediator, and yet the mediator cannot 
be either divine or undivine. Points were cleared up, as when Tertullian 
shifted the stress of Christian thought from the Logos doctrine to the 


318-323] Origin of Arianism 119 

Sonship, and when Origen's theory of the eternal generation presented 
the Sonship as a relation independent of time : but the main question 
was as dark as ever at the opening of the fourth century. There could 
be no solution till the pure transcendence was given up, and the Sonship 
placed inside the divine nature : and this is what was done by Atha- 
nasius. There was no other escape from the dilemma, that if the Son 
is from the divine will, he cannot be more than a creature ; if not, God 
is subject to necessity. 

The controversy broke out about 318. Arius was no bustling 
heresiarch, but a grave and blameless presbyter of Alexandria, and a 
disciple of the learned Lucian of Antioch ; only he could not under- 
stand a metaphor. Must not a son be later than the father, and 
inferior to him ? He forgot first that a divine relation cannot be an 
affair of time, then that even a human son is essentially equal to his 
father. However, he concluded that the Son of God cannot be either 
eternal or equal to the Father. On both grounds then he cannot be 
more than a creature no doubt a lofty creature, created before all time 
to be the creator of the rest, but still only a creature who cannot reveal 
the fulness of deity. "Begotten" can only mean created. He is not 
truly God, nor even truly man, for the impossibility of combining two 
finite spirits in one person made it necessary to maintain that the created 
Son had nothing human but a body. Arius had no idea of starting a 
heresy : his only aim was to give a commonsense answer to the pressing 
difficulty, that if Christ is God, he is a second God. But if the churches 
did worship two gods, nothing was gained by making one of them a 
creature without ceasing to worship him, and something was lost by 
tampering with the initial fact that Christ was true man. As Athanasius 
put it, one who is not God cannot create much less restore while 
one who is not man cannot atone for men. In seeking a via media 
between a Christian and a Unitarian interpretation of the Gospel, Arius 
managed to combine the difficulties of both without securing the ad- 
vantages of either. If Christ is not truly God, the Christians are 
convicted of idolatry, and if he is not truly man, there is no case for 
Unitarianism. Arius is condemned both ways. 

The dispute spread rapidly. At the first signs of opposition, Arius 
appealed from the Church to the people. With commonsense doctrine 
put into theological songs, he soon made a party at Alexandria ; and 
when driven thence to Caesarea, he secured more or less approval from 
its learned bishop, the historian Eusebius, and from other conspicuous 
bishops, including Constantine's chief Eastern adviser, Eusebius of 
Nicomedia, who was another disciple of Lucian. As it appeared later, 
few agreed with him; but there were many who saw no reason for 
turning him out of the Church. So when Constantine became master of 
the East in 323, he found a great controversy raging, which his OWB 
interests compelled him to bring to some decision. With his view of 

CH. v. 

120 The Council of Nicaea [325 

Christianity as essentially monotheism, his personal leaning might be to 
the Arian side : but if he was too much of a politician to care greatly 
how the question was decided, he could quite understand some of its 
practical aspects. It was causing a stir in Egypt : and Egypt was not 
only a specially important province, but also a specially troublesome 
one witness the eighty years of disturbance from Caracalla's massacre 
in 216 to the suppression of Achillaeus in 296. More than this, Arianism 
imperilled the imposing unity of the Church, and with it the support which 
the Empire expected from an undivided Church. The State could deal 
with an orderly confederation of churches, but not with miscellaneous 
gatherings of schismatics. So he was quite sincere when he began by 
writing to Arius and his bishop Alexander that they had managed to 
quarrel over a trifle. The dispute was really childish, and most dis- 
tressing to himself. 

This failing, the next step was to invite all the bishops of Christen- 
dom to a council to be held at Nicaea in Bithynia (an auspicious name !) 
in the summer of 325, to settle all the outstanding questions which 
troubled the Eastern churches. If only the bishops could be brought 
to some decision, it was not likely to be disobeyed ; and the State could 
safely enforce it if it was. Local councils had long been held for the 
decision of local questions, like Montanism or Paul of Samosata ; but 
a general council was a novelty. As it could fairly claim to speak for the 
churches generally, it was soon invested with the authority of the ideal 
Catholic Church ; and from this it was an easy step to make its decisions 
per se infallible. This step however was not taken for the present: 
Athanasius in particular repudiates any such idea. 

As we have already discussed the council as sealing the alliance of 
Church and State, we have now to trace only its dealings with Arianism. 
Constantine was resolved not only to settle the question of Arianism, 
but to make all future controversies harmless; and this he proposed 
to do by drawing up a test creed for bishops, and for bishops only. 
This was a momentous change, for as yet no creed had any general 
authority. The Lord's Baptismal Formula (Mt. xxviii. 19)was variously 
expanded for the catechumen's profession at Baptism, and some churches 
further expanded it into a syllabus for teaching, perhaps as long as our 
Nicene Creed; but every church expanded it at its own discretion. 
Now however bishops were to sign one creed everywhere. Whatever 
was put into it was binding ; whatever was left out remained an open 
question. The council was to draw it up. 

The bishops at Nicaea were not generally men of learning, though 
Eusebius of Caesarea is hardly surpassed by Origen himself. But they 
had among them statesmen like Hosius of Cordova, Eusebius of 
Nicomedia, and the young deacon Athanasius from Alexandria; and 
men of modest parts were quite able to say whether Arianism was or 
was not what they had spent their lives in teaching. On that question 

325] The Creed of the Council 121 

they had no doubt at all. The Arianisers mustered a score or so of bishops 
out of about 300 two from Libya, four from the province of Asia, 
perhaps four from Egypt, the rest thinly scattered over Syria from Mount 
Taurus to the Jordan valley. There were none from Pontus or from any 
part of Europe or Africa north of Mount Atlas. The first act of the 
council was the summary rejection of an Arian creed presented to them. 
The deity of Christ was not an open question in the churches. But was 
it needful to put the condemnation of Arianism into the creed ? Athana- 
sius had probably but few decided supporters. Between them and the 
Arianisers floated a great conservative centre party, whose chief aim 
was to keep things nearly as they were. These men were not Arians, 
for the open denial of the Lord's true deity shocked them : but neither 
would they go with Athanasius. Arianism might be condemned in the 
creed, if it could be done without going beyond the actual words of 
Scripture, but not otherwise. As they would have said, Arianism was 
not all false, though it went too far. It maintained the Lord's pre- 
mundane and real personality, and might be useful as against the 
Sabellianism which reduced him to a temporary appearance of the 
one God. Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra were mistaken in 
thinking Arianism a pressing danger, when it had just been so decisively 
rejected. Only five bishops now supported it. So the conservatives 
hesitated Then Eusebius of Caesarea presented the catechetical creed 
of his own church, a simple document couched in Scripture language, 
which left Arianism an open question. It was universally approved: 
Athanasius could find nothing wrong in it, and the Arians were glad 
now to escape a direct condemnation. For a moment, the matter 
seemed settled. 

Never was a more illogical conclusion. If the Lord's full deity is 
false, they had done wrong in condemning Arianism : if true, it must 
be vital. The one impossible course was to let every bishop teach or 
disown it as he pleased. So Athanasius and his friends were on firm 
ground when they insisted on revising the Caesarean creed to remove its 
ambiguity. After much discussion, the following form was reached : 

We believe in one God, the Father all-Sovereign, 

maker of all things, both visible and invisible : 
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God, 
begotten of the Father, an only-begotten 

that is, from the essence (oinrta) of the Father 
God from God, 
Light from light, 
true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, 

being of one essence (bfMofoiov) with the Father; 
by whom all things were made, 

both things in heaven and things on earth; 
CH v. 

122 The Creed of the Council [325 

who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, 
was made man, suffered, and ro^e again the third day, 
ascended into heaven, 
cometh to judge quick and dead: 
And in the Holy Spirit. 
But those who say 

that "there was once when he was not,'* 
and "before he was begotten he was not," 
and "he was made of things that were not," 
or maintain that the Son of God 
is of a different essence, 1 

or created or subject to moral change or alteration 
These doth the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematize 

It will be seen at once that the creed of the council differs a good 
deal from the "Nicene Creed" now in use, which is a revision of the 
catechetical creed of Jerusalem, made about 36. 2 That is not the 
work of the Council of Constantinople in 381, but displaced the genuine 
Nicene Creed partly by its merits, and partly through the influence of 
the capital. However, it will be noted further that (apart from the 
anathemas) the stress of the defence against Arianism rests on the two 
clauses from the essence of the Father, and of one essence with the Father; 
to which we may add that begotten, not made contrasts the words which 
the Arians industriously confused, and that the clause was made man 
meets the Arian denial that he took anything human but a body. 
Now the essence (ovo-to) of a thing is that by which it is whatever we 
are supposing it*to be. It is not the general ground of all attributes, 
but the particular ground of the particular supposition we are making. 
As we are here supposing that the Father is God, the statement will 
be first that the Son is from that essence by which the Father is God, 
then that he shares the possession of it with the Father, so that the 
two together allow no escape from the confession that the Son is as 
truly divine and as fully divine as the Father. The existence of the Son 
is not a matter of will or of necessity, but belongs to the divine nature. 
Two generations later, under Semiarian influences, a similar result was 
reached by taking essence in the sense of substance, as the common 
ground of all the attributes, so that if the Son is of one essence with the 
Father, he shares all the attributes of deity without exception. 3 

The conservative centre struggled in vain. The decisive word 
(6/xoovVtov, of one essence with) is not found in Scripture. But there 
was no dispute about the Canon, so that the Arians had their own 

1 &rpcL$ otiirlas % $To<rn<re&;s. The two words are used here as synonyms. 

2 A comparison of our "Nicene" Creed, first with the Jerusalem Creed, then 
with that of the Council, shews that it is the Jerusalem Creed with a few clauses 
from that of the Council, and differs entirely in structure from the latter. It even 
omits the central clause K T^S o&rtes. 

s Mr Bethune Baker (Texts and Studies f vn. 1) endeavours to shew that 
was practically a Latin word, and underwent no change of meaning. 

325] Significance of the Creed 123 

interpretations for all words that are found in Scripture. Thus to, The 
Son is eternal, they replied, "So are we, for We which live are alway" 
( Cor. iv. 11, delivered unto death). The bishops were gradually forced 
back on the plain fact that no imaginable evasion of Scripture can be 
forbidden without going outside Scripture for a word to define the true 
sense : and ofwovcnov was a word which could not be evaded. No 
doubt it was a revolution to put such a word into the creed . but now 
that the issue was fairly raised by Constantine's summons., they could 
not leave the Lord's full deity an open question without ceasing to be 
Christians. Given the unity of God and the worship of Christ and 
even the Arians agreed to this there was no escape from the dilemma, 
opoovcriov or creature- worship. So they yielded to necessity. Eusebius 
of Caesarea signed with undisguised reluctance, though not against his con- 
science. To his mind the creed was not untrue,though it was revolutionary 
and dangerous, and he was only convinced against his will that it was 
needed. The emperor's influence counted heavily in the last stage of 
the debates for Constantine was too shrewd to use it before the 
question was nearly settled and in the end only two bishops refused to 
sign the creed. These he promptly sent into exile along with Arius 
himself ; and Eusebius of Nicomedia* shared their fate a few months 
later. If he had signed the creed at last, he had opposed it too long 
and been too intimate with its enemies. 

Let us now look beyond the stormy controversies of the next half 
century to the broad issues of the council. The two fundamental 
doctrines of Christianity are the deity of Christ and the unity of God. 
Without the one, it merges in philosophy or Unitarianism ; without the 
other, it sinks into polytheism. These two doctrines had never gone 
very well together ; and now the council reconciled them by giving up 
the purely transcendental conception of God which brought them into 
collision with each other and with the historical facts of the Incarnation. 
The question was ripe for decision, as we see from the prevalence of such 
an unthinkable conception as that of a secondary God: and if the 
conservatives had been able to keep it unsettled, one of the two 
fundamental doctrines must before long have overcome the other. Had 
the unity of God prevailed, Christianity would have sunk into a very 
ordinary sort of Deism, or might possibly have become something like 
Islam, with Jesus for the prophet instead of Mahomet. But it is much 
more likely that the deity of Christ would have effaced the unity of 
God, and in effacing it have opened a wide door for polytheism, and 
itself sunk to the level of heathen hero-worship. As a matter of history, 
the churches did sink into polytheism for centuries, for common people 
made no practical difference between the worship of saints and that of 
the old gods. But because the Council of Nicaea had made it impossible 
to think of Christ simply as one of the saints, the Reformers were able 
to drop the saint-worship without falling into Deism. 

CH. v. 

124 The Conservative Reaction [325 

Further, the recognition of eternal distinctions in the divine nature 
establishes within that nature a social element before which despotism 
or slavery in earth or heaven stands condemned It makes illogical the 
conception of God as inscrutable Power in whose acts we must not presume 
to seek for reason a conception common to Rome, Islam, and Geneva. 
Yet more, if God himself is not a despot, but a constitutional sovereign 
who rules by law and desires his subjects to see reason in his acts, this is 
an ideal which must profoundly influence political thought. True, there 
was little sign for centuries of any such influence. The Empire did not 
grow less despotic, and such ideas of freedom as the Teutons brought in 
did not come out of the Gospel and if Islam and the Papacy lean to 
despotism, the Unitarians have done honourable work in the cause of 
liberty. But thoughts which colour the whole of life may have to work 
for ages before they are clearly understood The Latin Church of the 
Middle Ages was not a mere apotheosis of power like Islam ; and when 
Teutonic Europe broke away from Latin tutelage, the way was prepared 
for the slow recognition of a higher ideal than power, and our own age 
is beginning to see better the profound and far-reaching significance of 
the Nicene decision, not for religion only, but for political, scientific, 
and social thought. * 

The victory won at Nicaea was decisive. Arianism started vigorously, 
and seemed for awhile the winning side ; but the moment it faced the 
council, it collapsed before the all but ananimous reprobation of the 
Christian churches. Only two bishops from the edge of the African 
desert ventured to deny that it contradicts essentials of the Gospel. 
The decision was free, for Constantine would not risk another Donatist 
controversy by putting pressure on the bishops before he could safely 
crush the remnant; and it was permanent, for words deliberately put 
into a creed cannot be removed without admitting that the objection to 
them is valid on one ground or another. Thus Arianism was not only 
condemned, but condemned in the most impressive way by the assembly 
which comes nearer than any other in history to the stately dream of a 
concrete catholic church speaking words of divine authority. No later 
gathering could pretend to rival the august assembly where Christendom 
had once for all pronounced the condemnation of Arianism, and no later 
movements were able definitely to reverse its decision. 

But if the conservatives (who were the mass of the Eastern bishops) 
had signed the creed with a good conscience, they had no idea of making 
it their working belief. They were not Arians or they would not 
have torn up the Arianising creed at Nicaea; but if they had been 
hearty Nicenes, no influence of the Court could have kept up an Arianis- 
ing reaction for half a century. Christendom as a whole was neither 
Arian nor Nicene, but conservative. If the East was not Nicene, 
neither was it Arian, but conservative : and if the West was not Arian, 
neither was it Nicene, but conservative also. But conservatism was not 

325-363] Course of tlie Reaction 125 

the same in East and West. Eastern conservatism inherited its doctrine 
from the age of subordination theories, and dreaded the Nicene definition 
as needless and dangerous But the Westerns had no great interest in 
the question and could scarcely even translate its technical terms into 
Latin, and in any case their minds were much more legal than the 
Greek ; so they simply fell back on the authority of the Great Council, 
Shortly, "East and West were alike conservative ; but while conservatism 
in the East went behind the council, in the West it was content to 
start from it." 1 

The Eastern reaction was therefore mainly conservative. The Arians 
were the tail of the party ; they were not outcasts only because conservative 
hesitation at the Nicene Creed kept open the back door of the Church 
for them. For thirty years they had to shelter themselves behind the 
conservatives. It was not till 357 that they ventured to have a policy 
of their own ; and then they broke up the anti-Nicene coalition at once. 
The strength of Arianism was that while it claimed to be Christian, it 
brought together and to their logical results all the elements of heathen- 
ism in the current Christian thought. So the reaction rested not only 
on conservative timidity, but on the heathen influences around. And 
heathenism was still a living power in the world, strong in numbers, and 
still stronger in the imposing memories of history. Christianity was still 
an upstart on Caesar's throne, and no man could yet be sure that victory 
would not sway back to the side of the immortal gods. So the Nicene 
age was pre-eminently an age of waverers ; and every waverer leaned to 
Arianism as a via media between Christianity and heathenism. The 
Court also leaned to Arianism. The genuine Arians indeed were not 
more pliant than the Nicenes; but conservatives are always open to 
the influence of a Court, and the intriguers of the Court (and under 
Constantius they were legion) found it their interest to unsettle the 
Nicene decisions in the name of conservatism forsooth. To put it 
shortly, the Arians could have done nothing without a formidable mass 
of conservative discontent behind them, and the conservatives would 
have been equally helpless if the Court had not supplied them with the 
means of action. The ultimate power lay with the majority, which was 
at present conservative, while the initiative rested with the Court, which 
leaned on Asia, so that the reaction went on as long as both were agreed 
against the Nicene doctrine. It was suspended when Julian's policy 
turned another way, became unreal when conservative alarm subsided, 
and came to an end when Asia went over to the Nicenes. 

The contest (325-381) falls into two main periods, separated by 
the Council of Constantinople in 360, when the success of the reaction 
seemed complete. We have also halts of importance at the return of 
Athanasius in 346 and the death of Julian in 363. 

The first period is a fight in the dark, as Socrates calls it, but upon 

1 Studies of Ananism, p. 57. 

CH. V. 

126 Course of the Reaction [337-381 

the whole the conservative coalition steadily gained ground till 357, in 
spite of Nicene reactions after Constantine's death in 337 and the 
detection of Stephen's plot in 344. First the Arianising leaders had to 
obtain their own restoration, then to depose the Nicene chiefs one after 
another. By 34*1 the way was open for a series of attempts to replace 
the Nicene Creed by something that would let in the Arians But this 
meant driving out the Nicenes, for they could not compromise without 
complete surrender ; and the West was with the Nicenes in refusing to 
unsettle the creed. Western influence prevailed at Sardica in 343, and 
Western intervention secured an uneasy truce which lasted till Constantius 
became master of the West m 353. Meanwhile conservatism was 
softening into a less hostile Semiarian form, while Arianism was growing 
into a more offensive Anomoean doctrine. So the conservatives were 
less interested when Constantius renewed the contest, and took alarm 
at the open Arianism of the Sirmian manifesto in 357. This brought 
things to a deadlock, and gave rise to a Homoean or professedly neutral 
party supported by the Anomoeans and the Court. They were repulsed 
at Seleucia by a new alliance of Semiarians and Nicenes, and at Arimi- 
num by the conservative West ; but their command of the Court enabled 
them to exile the Semiarian leaders after the Council of Constantinople 
in 360. 

The second period of the reaction opens with a precarious Homoean 
supremacy. It was grievously shaken at the outset by Julian's restora- 
tion of the exiles. The Nicenes were making rapid progress, and might 
have restored peace if Julian had lived longer. But Valens, with a 
feebler character and a weaker position, returned to the policy of 
Constantius. For the moment it may have been the best policy; but 
the permanent forces were for the Nicenes, and their issue was only a 
question of time. There were misunderstandings in abundance, but a 
fairly united party hailed in Theodosius (379) an orthodox emperor from 
the West. The Arians were first put out of the churches, then formally 
condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381. Henceforth 
Arianism ceased to be a power except among its Teutonic converts. Now 
we return to the morrow of the great council. 

When the bishops returned home, they took up their controversies 
just where the summons to the council had interrupted them. The 
creed was signed and done with, and we hear no more of it. Yet both 
sides had learned caution at Nicaea. Marcellus disavowed Sabellianism 
and Eusebius avoided Arianism, and even directly controverted some of 
its main positions. Before long however a party was formed against 
the council. Its leader was Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had returned 
from exile and recovered his influence at Court. Round him gathered 
the bishops of the school of Lucian, and round these again all sorts 
of malcontents. The conservatives in particular gave extensive help. 
Charges of heresy against the Nicene chiefs were sometimes more than 

297-335] Marcellus and Athanasius 127 

plausible. Marcellus was practically Sabellian, and Athanasius at least 
refused to disavow him. Some even of the darker charges may have 
had truth in them, or at least a semblance of truth. 

So in the next few years we have a series of depositions of Nicene 
leaders. By 335 the Church was fairly cleared of all but the two chief 
of them, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Athanasius of Alexandria (since 328). 
Marcellus was already in middle life when he refuted the Arians at 
Nicaea ; and in a diocese full of the strife and debate of endless Gaulish 
sects and superstitions he had learned that the Gospel is wider than 
Greek philosophy, and that simpler forms may better suit a rude flock. 
So his system is an appeal from Origen to St John. He begins with the 
Logos as impersonal as at once the thinking principle which is in God 
and the active creating principle which comes forth from God, and yet 
remains with God. Thus the Logos came forth from the Father for the 
work of creation, and in the fulness of time descended into human flesh, 
becoming the Son of God in becoming the Son of Man. Only in virtue 
of this humiliating separation did the Logos acquire personality for a 
time : but when the work is done, the human flesh will be thrown aside, 
and the Logos will return to the Father and be immanent and imper- 
sonal as before. Marcellus has got away from Arianism as far as he 
can : but he is involved in much the same difficulties. If for example 
the idea of an eternal Son is polytheistic, nothing is gained by trans- 
ferring the eternity to an impersonal Logos ; and if the work of creation 
is unworthy of God, it matters little whether it is delegated to a created 
Son or to a transitory Logos. Marcellus misses as completely as Arius 
the Christian conception of the Incarnation. 

Then they turned to a greater than Marcellus. Athanasius was a 
Greek by birth and education ; Greek also in subtle thought and philo- 
sophic insight, in oratorical power and skilful statesmanship. Of Coptic 
influence he scarcely shows a sign. His very style is clear and simple, 
without a trace of Egyptian involution and obscurity. Athanasius was 
born about 97, so that he must have well remembered the last years of 
the Great Persecution, which lasted till 313. He may have been a 
lawyer for a short time, and seems to have known Latin ; but his main 
training was Greek and scriptural. As a man of learning or a skilful 
party-leader Athanasius was not beyond the reach of rivals. But he 
was more than this. His whole spirit is lighted up with vivid faith in 
the reality and eternal meaning of the Incarnation. His small work 
de Incarnatione, written before the rise of Arianism, ranks with the 
Epistle to Diognetus as the most brilliant pamphlet of early Christian 
times. Even there he rises far above the level of Arianism and Sabel- 
lianism ; and throughout his long career we catch glimpses of a spiritual 
depth which few of his contemporaries could reach. And Athanasius 
was before all things a man whose life was consecrated to a simple purpose. 
Through five exiles and fifty years of controversy he stood in defence 

CH. v. 

128 Death of Constantine [335-340 

of the great coimciL The care of many churches rested on him, the 
pertinacity of many enemies wore out his life ; yet he is never soured 
but for a moment by the atrocious treachery of 356. At the first gleam 
of hope he is himself again, full of brotherly consideration and respectful 
sympathy for old enemies returning to a better mind. Even Gibbon is 
awed for once before "the immortal name of Athanasius." 

Marcellus had fairly exposed himself to a doctrinal attack, but 
against Athanasius the most convenient charge was that of episcopal 
tyranny. In 335 the Eastern bishops gathered to Jerusalem to dedicate 
the splendid church which Constantine had built on Golgotha. First 
however a synod was held at Tyre to restore peace in Egypt. The 
Eusebians had the upper hand, and they used their power shamelessly. 
Scandal succeeded scandal, till the iniquity culminated in the despatch 
of an openly partizan commission (including two young Pannonian 
bishops, Ursacius and Valens) to get up evidence in Egypt. Moderate 
men protested, and Athanasius took ship for Constantinople. The 
council condemned him by default and the condemnation was repeated at 
Jerusalem, where also proceedings were commenced against Marcellus. 
They also restored Arius ; but his actual reception was prevented by his 
sudden death the evening before the day appointed. Meanwhile Athana- 
sius had appealed to Constantine in person, who summoned the bishops 
at once to Constantinople. They dropped the charges of sacrilege 
and tyranny, and brought forward a new charge of political intrigue. 
Athauasius was allowed no reply, but sent into exile at Trier in Gaul, 
where he was honourably received by the younger Constantine. The 
emperor seems as usual to have been aiming at peace and unity. 
Athanasius was evidently a centre of disturbance, and the Asiatic 
bishops disliked him: he was therefore best kept out of the way for 
the present. 

Constantine died %& May 337, and his sons at once restored the 
exiles. Presently things settled down in 340 with the second son Con- 
stantius master of the East, and Constans the youngest holding the 
three Western praefectures. So Eusebian intrigues were soon resumed. 
Constantius was essentially a little man, weak and vain, easy-tempered 
and suspicious. He had also a taste for church matters, and without 
ever being a genuine Arian, he hated first the Nicene Council, and then 
Athanasius personally. The intriguers could scarcely have desired a 
better tool. 

They began by raising troubles at Alexandria, and deposing Athana- 
sius afresh (late in 338) for having allowed the civil power to restore 
him. In Lent 339 Athanasius was expelled, and Gregory of Cappadocia 
installed by military violence in his place. The ejected bishops 
Athanasius, Marcellus and others fled to Rome. Bishop Julius at 
once took up the high tone of impartiality which became an arbiter of 
Christendom. He received the fugitives with a decent reserve, and 

340-343] Council of the Dedication 129 

invited the Easterns to the council they had asked him to hold. After 
long delay, it was plain that they did not mean to come ; so a council of 
fifty bishops met at Rome in the autumn of 340, by which Athanasius 
and Marcellus were acquitted. As Julius reported to the Easterns, the 
charges against Athanasius were inconsistent with each other and con- 
tradicted by evidence from Egypt, and the proceedings at Tyre were a 
travesty of justice. It was unreasonable to insist on its condemnation 
of Athanasius as final. Even the great council of Nicaea had decided 
(and not without the will of God) that the acts of one council might be 
revised by another : and in any case Nicaea was better than Tyre. As 
for Marcellus, he had denied the charge of heresy and presented a sound 
confession of his faith (our own Apostles' Creed, very nearly) and the 
Roman legates at Nicaea had borne honourable witness to the part he 
had taken in the council. If they had complaints against Athanasius, 
they should not have neglected the old custom of writing first to Rome, 
that a legitimate decision might issue from the apostolic see. 

The Eusebians replied in the summer of 841, when some ninety 
bishops met to consecrate the Golden Church of Constantine at Antioch. 
Hence it is called the Council of the Dedication. Like the Nicene, it 
seems to have been in the main conservative ; but the active minority 
was Arianising, not Athanasian; and it was not quite so successful. 
The bishops began as at Nicaea by rejecting an Arian creed. They next 
approved a creed of a conservative sort, said to be the work of Lucian 
of Antioch, the teacher of Arius. The decisive clause however was 
rather Nicene than conservative. It declared the Son "morally un- 
changeable, the unvarying image of the deity and essence of the Father." 
The phrase declares that there is no change of essence in passing from 
the Father to the Son, and is therefore equivalent to komoousion. 
Athanasius might have accepted it at Nicaea, but he could not now; 
and the conservatives did not mean O/AOOU'CTIOV only the illogical 
6/M>ioiJcriov, of like essence. So they were satisfied with the Lucianic 
creed : but the Arianisers endeavoured to upset it with a third creed, 
and the council seems to have broken up uncertainly, though without 
revoking the Lucianic creed. A few months later, another council met 
at Antioch and adopted a fourth creed, more to the mind of the 
Arianisers. In substance it was less opposed to Arianism than the 
Lucianic, its form is^ a close copy of the Nicene. In fact, it is the 
Nicene down to the anathemas, but the Nicene with every sharp edge 
taken off. So well did it suit the Arianisers that they reissued it (with 
ever-growing anathemas) three times in the next ten years. 

Western suspicion became a certainty, now that the intriguers were 
openly tampering with the Nicene faith. Constans demanded a general 
council, and Constantius was too busy with the Persian war to refuse 
him. So it met at Sardica, the modern Sofia, in the summer of 348. 
The Westerns were some 96 in number "with Hosius of Cordova for 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. V. 9 

130 Council of Sardica [343-353 

their father/' The Easterns, under Stephen of Antioch, were about 76. 
They demanded that the condemnation of Athanasius and Marcellus 
should be taken as final, and retired across the Balkans to Philippopolis 
when the Westerns insisted on reopening the case. So there were two 
contending councils. At Sardica the accused were acquitted, while the 
Easterns confirmed their condemnation, denounced Julius and Hosius, 
and reissued the fourth creed of Antioch with some new anathemas. 

The quarrel was worse than ever. But next year came a reaction. 
When the Western envoy Euphrates of Cologne reached Antioch, a 
harlot was let loose upon him; and the plot was traced up to bishop 
Stephen. The scandal was too great : Stephen was deposed, and the 
fourth creed of Antioch reissued, but this time with long conciliatory 
explanations for the Westerns. The way was clearing for a cessation of 
hostilities. Constans pressed the decrees of Sardica, Ursacius and Valens 
recanted the charges against Athanasius, and at last Constantius con- 
sented to his return. His entry into AJexandria (31 Oct. 346) was the 
crowning triumph of his life. 

The next few years were an interval of suspense, for nothing was 
decided. Conservative suspicion was not dispelled, and the return of 
Athanasius was a personal humiliation for Constantius. But the mere 
cessation of hostilities was not without influence. The conservatives 
were fundamentally agreed with the Nicenes on the reality of the Lord's 
divinity; and minor jealousies abated when they were less busily 
encouraged. The Eusebian phase of conservatism, which dreaded 
Sabellianism and distrusted the Nicenes, was giving place to the 
Semiarian, which was coming to see that Arianism was the more 
pressing danger, and slowly moving towards an alliance with the 
Nicenes. We see also the rise of a more defiant Arianism, less patient 
of conservative supremacy, and less pliant to imperial dictation. The 
Anomoean leaders emphasised the most offensive aspects of Arianism, 
declaring that the Son is unlike the Father, and boldly maintaining that 
there is no mystery at all in God. Their school was presumptuous and 
shallow, quarrelsome and heathenising, yet not without a directness and 
firm conviction which compares well with the wavering and insincerity 
of the conservative chiefs. 

Meanwhile new troubles were gathering in the West. Constans was 
deposed (Jan. 350) by Magnentius. After a couple of minor claimants 
were disposed of, the struggle lay between Magnentius and Constantius. 
The decisive battle was fought (8 Sept. 351) near Mursa in Pannonia, 
but the destruction of Magnentius was not completed till 353. Con- 
stantius remained the master of the world. The Eusebians now had 
their opportunity. Already in 351-& they had reissued the fourth 
creed of Antioch from Sirmium, with its two anathemas grown into 
twenty-seven. But as soon as Constantius was master of Gaul, he deter- 
mined to force on the Westerns an indirect condemnation of the Nicene 

353-355] Renewal of the Contest 131 

faith in the person of Athanasius. A direct approval of Arianism was 
out of the question, for Western conservatism was firmly set against it 
by the Nicene and Sardican councils. The bishops were nearly all 
resolute against it. Liberius of Rome followed in the steps of Julius, 
Hosius of Cordova was still the patriarch of Christendom, and the 
bishops of Trier, Toulouse and Milan proved their faith in exile. So 
doctrine was kept in the background. Constantius came forward per- 
sonally before a council at Aries (Oct. 353) as the accuser of Athanasius, 
while all the time he was giving him solemn and repeated promises of 
protection. The bishops were not unwilling to take the emperor's word, 
if the Court party would clear itself of Arianism ; and at last they gave 
way, the Roman legate with the rest. Only Paulinus of Trier had to be 
exiled. For the next two years Constantius was busy with the bar- 
barians, so that it was not till the autumn of 355 that he was able to 
call another council at Milan, where Julian was made Caesar for Gaul. 
It proved quite unmanageable, and only yielded at last to open violence* 
Three bishops were exiled, including Lucifer of Calaris in Sardinia. 

Lucifer's appearance is a landmark. The lawless despotism of Con- 
stantius had roused an aggressive fanaticism. Lucifer had all the 
courage of Athanasius, but nothing of his wary self-respect and 
moderation. He scarcely condescends to reason, but revels in the 
pleasanter work of denouncing the fires of damnation against the dis- 
obedient emperor. A worthier champion was Hilary of Poitiers, the 
noblest representative of Western literature in the Nicene age. Hilary 
was by birth a heathen, coming before us in 355 as an old convert and 
a bishop of some standing. In massive power of thought he was a match 
for Athanasius ; but he was rather student and thinker than orator and 
statesman. He had not studied the Nicene Creed till lately ; but when 
he found it true, he could not refuse to defend it. He was not at the 
council, but was exiled to Asia a few months later, apparently on the 
charge of immorality, which the Eusebians usually brought against 
obnoxious bishops. 

When Hosius of Cordova had been imprisoned, there remained but 
one power in the West which could not be summarily dealt with. The 
grandeur of Hosius "was personal, but Liberius claimed the universal 
reverence due to the apostolic and imperial see of Rome. Such a bishop 
was a power of the first importance, when Arianism was dividing the 
Empire round the hostile camps of Gaul and Asia. Liberius was a 
staunch Nicene. When his legates yielded at Aries, he disavowed their 
action. The emperor's threats he disregarded, the emperor's gifts 
he cast out of the Church. It was not long before the world was 
scandalised by the news that Constantius had arrested and exiled the 
bishop of Rome. 

Attempts had already been made to dislodge Athanasius from 
Alexandria, but he refused to obey anything but written orders from the 

CH. v. 

132 Third Exile of Athanasius [356-358 

emperor. As Constantius had given his solemn promise to protect him 
in 346, and three times written to repeat it since his brother's death, 
duty as well as policy forbade him to credit officials. The most pious 
emperor could not be supposed to mean treachery ; but he must say so 
himself if he did. The message was plain enough when it came. A 
force of 5000 men surrounded the church of Theonas on a night of 
vigil (8 Feb. 356). The congregation was caught as in a net. Athana- 
sius fainted In the tumult : yet when the soldiers reached the bishop's 
throne, its occupant had somehow been conveyed away. 

For six years Athanasius disappeared from the eyes of men, while 
Alexandria was given over to military outrage. The new bishop George 
of Cappadocia (formerly a pork-contractor) arrived in Lent 357, and 
soon provoked the fierce populace of Alexandria. He escaped with 
difficulty from one riot in 358, and was fairly driven from the city by 
another in October. Constantius had his revenge, but it shook the 
Empire to its base. The flight of Athanasius revealed the power of 
religion to stir up a national rising, none the less real for not breaking 
out in open war. In the next century the councils of the Church became 
the battlefield of nations, and the victory of Hellenic orthodoxy at 
Chalcedon implied sooner or later the separation of Monophysite Egypt 
and Nestorian Syria. 

Arianism seemed to have won its victory when the last Nicene 
champion was driven into the desert. But the West was only terrorised, 
Egypt was devoted to its patriarch, Nicenes were fairly strong in the 
East, and the conservatives who had won the battle would never accept 
Arianism. However, this was the time chosen for an open declaration 
of Arianism, by a small council of Western bishops at Sirmium, headed 
by Ursacius and Valens. They emphasise the unity of God, condemn 
the words ov<rfa (essence), O/AOOVO-COF and dfiotoub-to?, lay stress on the inferi- 
ority of the Son, limit the Incarnation to the assumption of a body, and 
more than half say that he is only a creature. This was clear Anomoean 
doctrine, and made a stir even in the West, where it was promptly con- 
demned by the Gaulish bishops, now partly shielded from Constantius 
by the Caesarship of Julian. But the Sirmian manifesto spread dismay 
through the ranks of the Eastern conservatives. They had not put down 
Sabellianism only in order to set up the Anomoeans ; and the danger was 
brought home to them when Eudoxius of Antioch and Acacius of 
Caesarea convened a Syrian synod to approve the manifesto. The 
conservative counterblow was struck at Ancyra in Lent 358. The 
synodical letter is long and clumsy, but we see in it conservatism 
changing from its Eusebian to a Semiarian phase from fear of Sabel- 
lianism to fear of Arianism. They won a complete victory at the Court, 
and sent Eudoxius and the rest into exile. This however was too much. 
The exiles were soon recalled, and the strife began again more bitterly 
than ever. 

359-360] The Homoean domination 133 

Here was a deadlock. All parties had failed. The Anomoeans were 
active enough, but pure Arianism was hopelessly discredited throughout 
the Empire. The Nicenes had Egypt and the West, but they could 
not overcome the Court and Asia. The Eastern Semiarians were the 
strongest party, but such men of violence could not close the strife. In 
this deadlock nothing was left but specious charity and colourless in- 
definiteness ; and this was the plan of the new Homoean party, formed 
by Acacius and Eudoxius in the East, Ursacius and Vaiens in the West. 

A general council was decided on ; but it was divided into two the 
Westerns to meet at Ariminum, the Easterns at Seleucia in Cilicia, the 
headquarters of the army then operating against the Isaurians. Mean- 
while parties began to group themselves afresh. The Anomoeans went 
with the Homoeans, from whom alone they could expect any favour, 
while the Semiarians drew closer to the Nicenes, and were welcomed by 
Hilary of Poitiers in his conciliatory de Synodis. The next step was a 
small meeting of Homoean and Semiarian leaders, held in the emperor's 
presence on Pentecost Eve (2 May 359) to draw up a creed to be laid 
before the councils. The dated creed (or fourth of Sirmium) is conser- 
vative in its appeals to Scripture, in its solemn reverence for the Lord, 
in its rejection of essence (OVO-LO) as not found in Scripture, and in its insist- 
ence on the mystery of the eternal generation. But its central clause gave 
a decisive advantage to the Homoeans. "We say that the Son is like 
the Father in all things as the Scriptures say and teach. " Even the 
Anomoeans could sign this. "Like the Father as the Scriptures say 
and no further ; and we find very little likeness taught in Scripture. Like 
the Father if you will, but not like God, for no creature can be. Like the 
Father certainly, but not in essence, for likeness which is not identity 
implies difference or in other words, likeness is a question of degree." 
Of these three replies, the first is fair, the "third perfectly sound. 

The reception of the creed was hostile in both councils. The 
Westerns at Ariminum rejected it, deposed the Homoean leaders, 
and ratified the Nicene Creed. In the end however they accepted the 
Sirmian, but with the addition of a stringent series of anathemas against 
Arianism, which Vaiens accepted for the moment. The Easterns at 
Seleucia rejected it likewise, deposed the Homoean leaders, and ratified 
the Lucianic creed. Both sides sent deputies to the emperor, as had 
been arranged ; and after much pressure, these deputies signed a revision 
of the dated creed on the night of 31 Dec. 359. The Homoeans now 
saw their way to final victory. 

By throwing over the Anomoeans and condemning their leader 
Aetius, they were able to enforce the prohibition of the Semiarian 
op.oLov(nov : and then it only remained to revise the dated creed again 
for a council held at Constantinople in Feb. 360, and send the Semiarian 
leaders into exile. 

The Homoean domination never extended beyond the Alps. Gaul 

CH. v. 

134 Julian [356-361 

was firmly Nicene, and Constantius could do nothing there after the 
mutiny at Paris in Jan. 360 had made Julian independent of him. The 
few Western Arians soon died out. But in the East, the Homoean 
power lasted nearly twenty years. Its strength lay in its appeal to the 
moderate men who were tired of strife, and to the confused thinkers who 
did not see that a vital question was at issue. The dated creed seemed 
reverent and safe ; and its defects would not have been easy to see if the 
Anomoeans had not made them plain. But the position of parties was 
greatly changed since 356. First Hilary of Poitiers had done something 
to bring together conservatives and Nicenes ; then Athanasius took up 
the work in his own de Synodis. It is a noble overture of friendship to 
his old conservative enemies. The Semiarians, or many of them, accepted 
of the essence (*K r^s oucrtas) and the Nicene anathemas, and doubted only 
of the opoovo-iov. Such men, says he, are not to be treated as enemies, 
but reasoned with as brethren who differ from us only in the use of a 
word which sums up their own teaching as well as ours. When they 
confess that the Lord is a true Son of God and not a creature, they 
grant all that we are contending for. Their own homoiousion without 
of the essence does not shut out Arianism, but the two together amount 
tohomoousion. Moreover, homoiousion is illogical, for likeness is of 
properties and qualities, whereas the essence must be the same or 
different, so that the word rather suggests Arianism, whereas homoousion 
shuts it out effectually. If they accept our doctrine, sooner or later 
they will find that they cannot refuse its necessary safeguard. But if 
Nicenes and Semiarians drew together, so did Homoeans and Anomoeans. 
Any ideas of conciliating Nicene support were destroyed by the exile of 
Meletius, the new bishop of Antioch, for preaching a sermon carefully 
modelled on the dated creed, but substantially Nicene in doctrine. A 
schism arose at Antioch ; and henceforth the leaders of the Homoeans 
were practically Arians. 

The mutiny at Paris implied a civil war: but just as it was be- 
ginning, Constantius died at Mopsucrenae beneath Mount Taurus 
(3 Nov. 361) and Julian remained sole emperor. We are not here 
concerned with the general history of his reign, or even with his policy 
towards the Christians only with its bearing on Arianism. In general, 
he held to the toleration of the Edict of Milan. The Christians are not 
to be persecuted only deprived of special privileges but the emperor's 
favour must be reserved for the worshippers of the gods. So the ad- 
ministration was unfriendly to the Christians, and left occasional outrages 
unpunished, or dismissed them with a thin reproof. But these were no 
great matters, for the Christians were now too strong to be lynched at 
pleasure. Julian's chief endeavour was to put new life into heathenism : 
and in this the heathens themselves hardly took him seriously. His 
only act of definite persecution was the edict near the end of his reign, 
which forbade the Christians to teach the classics; and this is dis- 
approved by "the cool and impartial heathen" Ammianus. 

362] Apollinarius of Laodicea 135 

Every blow struck by Julian against the Christians fell first on the 
Homoeans whom Constantius had left in power ; and the reaction he 
provoked against Greek culture threatened the philosophical postulates 
of Arianism. But Julian cared little for the internal quarrels of the 
Christians, and only broke his rule of contemptuous impartiality when 
he recognised one greater than himself in "the detestable Athanasius." 
Before long an edict recalled the exiled bishops, though it did not replace 
them in their churches. If others were in possession, it was not Julian's 
business to turn them out. This was toleration, but Julian had a 
malicious hope of still further embroiling the confusion. If the 
Christians were left to themselves, they would "quarrel like beasts." 
He got a few scandalous wranglings, but in the main he was mistaken. 
The Christians only closed their ranks against the common enemy : the 
Arians also were sound Christians in this matter blind old Maris of 
Chalcedon came and cursed him to his face. 

Back to their cities came the survivors of the exiled bishops, no 
longer travelling in pomp and circumstance to their noisy councils, but 
bound on the nobler errand of seeking out their lost or scattered flocks. 
It was time to resume Hilary's interrupted work of conciliation. 
Semiarian violence had discredited in advance the new conservatism 
at Seleucia : but Athanasius had things more in his favour, for Julian's 
reign had not only sobered partisanship, but left a clear field for the 
strongest moral force in Christendom to assert itself. And this force was 
with the Nicenes. Athanasius reappeared at Alexandria 2 Feb. 362, 
and held a small council there before Julian drove him out again. It 
was decided first that Arians who came over to the Nicene side were to 
retain their rank on condition of accepting the Nicene council, none but 
the chiefs and active defenders of Arianism being reduced to lay com- 
munion. Then, after clearing up some misunderstandings of East and 
West, and trying to settle the schism at Antioch by inducing the old 
Nicenes, who at present had no bishop, to accept Meletius, they took in 
hand two new questions of doctrine. One was the divinity of the Holy 
Spirit. Its reality was acknowledged, except by the Arians ; but did it 
amount to co-essential deity ? That was still an open question. But 
now that attention was fully directed to the subject, it appeared from 
Scripture that the theory of eternal distinctions in the divine nature 
must either be extended to the Holy Spirit or abandoned. Athanasius 
took one course, the Anomoeans the other, while the Semiarians tried 
to make a difference between the Lord's deity and that of the Holy 
Spirit : and this gradually became the chief obstacle to their union with 
the Nicenes. The other subject of debate was the new system of Apol- 
linarius of Laodicea the most suggestive of all the ancient heresies. 
Apollinarius was the first who fairly faced the difficulty, that if all men 
are sinners, and the Lord was not a sinner, he cannot have been truly 
man. Apollinarius replied that sin lies in the weakness of the human 

CH V. 

136 Movements under Julian [362-363 

spirit, and accounted for the sinlessness of Christ by putting in its place 
lie divine Logos, and adding the important statement that if the human 
spirit was created in the image of the Logos (Gen. i. 28) Christ would 
not be the less human but the more so for the difference. The spirit in 
Christ was human spirit, although divine. Further, the Logos which in 
Christ was human spirit was eternal. Apart then from the Incarnation, 
the Logos was archetypal man as well as God, so that the Incarnation 
was not simply an expedient to get rid of sin, but the historic revelation 
of that which was latent in the Logos from eternity. The Logos and 
man are not alien beings, but joined in their inmost nature, and in a 
real sense each is incomplete without the other. Suggestive as this is, 
Apollinarius reaches no true incarnation. Against him it was decided 
that the Incarnation implied a human soul as well as a human body a 
decision which struck straight enough at the Arians, but quite missed 
the triple division of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. v. 23) on which 
Apollinarius based his system. 

Athanasius was exiled again almost at once: Julian's anger was 
kindled by the news that he had baptised some heathen ladies at 
Alexandria. But his work remained. At Antioch indeed it was 
marred by Lucifer of Calaris, who would have nothing to do with 
Meletius, and consecrated Paulinus as bishop for the old Nicenes. So 
the schism continued, and henceforth the rising Nicene party of Pontus 
and Asia was divided by this personal question from the older Nicenes 
of Egypt and the West. But upon the whole the lenient policy of the 
council was a great success. Bishop after bishop gave in his adhesion 
to the Nicene faith. Friendly Semiarians came in like Cyril of Jeru- 
salem, old conservatives followed, and at last (in Jovian's time) the 
arch-enemy Acacius himself gave in his signature. Even creeds were re- 
modelled in all directions in a Nicene sense, as at Jerusalem and Antioch, 
and in Cappadocia and Mesopotamia. True, the other parties were not 
idle. The Homoean coalition was even more unstable than the Eusebian, 
and broke up of itself as soon as opinion was free. One party favoured 
the Anomoeans, another drew nearer to the Nicenes, while the Semiarians 
completed the confusion by confirming the Seleucian decisions and re- 
issuing the Lucianic creed. But the main current set in a Nicene 
direction, and the Nicene faith was rapidly winning its way to victory 
when the process was thrown back for nearly twenty years by Julian's 
death in Persia (26 June 363). 

Julian's death seemed to leave the Empire in the gift of four bar- 
barian generals : but while they were debating, a few of the soldiers 
outside hailed a favourite named Jovian as emperor. The cry was taken 
up, and in a few minutes the young officer found himself the successor 
of Augustus. Jovian was a decided Christian, though his personal 
character did no credit to the Gospel. But his religious policy was one 
of genuine toleration. If Athanasius was graciously received at Antioch, 

364-365] Insecurity of Homoean domination 137 

the Arians were told with, scant courtesy that they could hold meetings 
as they pleased at Alexandria. So all parties went on consolidating 
themselves. The Anomoeans had been restive since the condemnation 
of Aetius at Constantinople, but it was not till now that they lost hope 
of the Homoeans, and formed an organised sect. But all these move- 
ments came to an end with the sudden death of Jovian (16-17 Feb. 364). 
This time the generals chose ; and they chose the Pannonian Valentinian 
for emperor. A month later he assigned the East from Thrace to his 
brother Valens. 

Valentinian was a good soldier and little more, though he could 
honour learning and carry forward the reforming work of Constantine. 
His religious policy was toleration. If he refused to displace the few 
Arian bishops he found in possession, he left the churches free to choose 
Nicene successors. So the West soon recovered from the strife which 
Constantius had introduced. It was otherwise in the East. Valens was 
a weaker character timid and inert, but not inferior to his brother in 
scrupulous care for the interests of his subjects. No soldier, but more 
or less good at finance. For awhile events continued to develop 
naturally. The Homoean bishops held their sees, but their influence 
was fast declining. The Anomoeans were forming a schism on one side, 
the Nicenes were recovering power on the other. On both sides the 
simpler doctrines were driving out the compromises. It was time for 
even the Semiarians to bestir themselves. A few years before they were 
beyond question the majority in the East ; but this was not so certain 
now. The Nicenes had made a great advance since the Council of 
Ancyra, and were now less conciliatory. Lucifer had compromised them 
in one direction, Apollinarius in another, and even Marcellus had never 
been disavowed ; but the chief cause of suspicion to the Semiarians was 
now the advance of the Nicenes to a belief in the deity of the Holy Spirit. 

It was some time before Valens had a policy to declare He was only 
a catechumen, perhaps cared little for the questions before his elevation, 
and inherited no assured position like Constantius It was some time 
before he fell into the hands of the Homoean Eudoxius of Constantinople, a 
man of experience and learning, whose mild prudence gave him just the 
help he needed. In fact, a Homoean policy was really the easiest for the 
moment. Heathenism had failed in Julian's hands, and an Anomoean 
course was even more hopeless, while the Nicenes were still a minority 
outside Egypt. The only alternative was to favour the Semiarians ; and 
this too was full of difficulties. Upon the whole, the Homoeans were 
still the strongest party in 365. They were in possession of the churches 
and had astute leaders, and their doctrine had not yet lost its attraction 
for the quiet men who were tired of controversy. 

In the spring of 365 an imperial rescript commanded the munici- 
palities to drive out from their cities the bishops who had been exiled 
by Constantius and restored by Julian. At Alexandria the populace 

CH. v. 

138 Basil of Caesarea [360-378 

declared that the rescript did not apply to Athanasius, whom Julian 
had not restored, and raised such dangerous riots that the matter had 
to be referred back to Valens. Then came the revolt of Procopius, who 
seized Constantinople and very nearly displaced Valens. Athanasius was 
restored, and could not safely be disturbed again. Then after the 
Procopian revolt came the Gothic war, which kept Valens occupied till 
369 : and before he could return to church affairs, he had lost his best 
adviser, for Eudoxius of Constantinople was ill replaced by the rash 

The Homoean party was the last hope of Arianism. The original 
doctrine of Arius had been decisively rejected at Nicaea, the Eusebian 
coalition was broken up by the Sinnian manifesto, and if the Homoean 
union also failed, its failure meant the fall of Arianism. Now the 
weakness of the Homoean power is shewn by the growth of a new 
Nicene party in the most Arian province of the Empire. Cappadocia 
was a country district : yet Julian found it incorrigibly Christian, and 
we hear very little of heathenism from Basil. But it was a stronghold 
of Arianism ; and here was formed the alliance which decided the fate 
of Arianism. Serious men like Meletius had only been attracted to the 
side of the Homoeans by their professions of reverence for the Person of 
the Lord, and began to look back to the Nicene council when it appeared 
that Eudoxius and his friends were practically Arians after all. Of the 
old conservatives also, there were many who felt that the Semiarian 
position was unsound, and yet could find no satisfaction in the indefinite 
doctrine professed at Court. Thus the Homoean domination was 
threatened with a double secession. If the two groups of malcontents 
could form a union with each other and with the older Nicenes of 
Egypt and the West, they would be much the strongest of the parties. 

This was the policy of the man who was now coming to the front of 
the Nicene leaders. Basil of Caesarea the Cappadocian Caesarea was 
a disciple of the Athenian schools, and a master of heathen eloquence 
and learning, and man of the world enough to secure the friendly interest 
of men of all sorts. His connexions lay among the old conservatives, 
though he had been a decided opponent of Arianism since 360. He 
succeeded to the bishopric of Caesarea in 370. The crisis was near. 
Valens moved eastward in 371, reaching Caesarea in time for the great 
midwinter festival of Epiphany 372. Many of the lesser bishops yielded, 
but threats and blandishments were thrown away on their metropolitan, 
and when Valens himself and Basil met face to face, the emperor was 
overawed. More than once the order was prepared for his exile, but it 
was never issued. Valens went forward on his journey, leaving behind 
a princely gift for Basil's poorhouse. Thenceforth he fixed his quarters 
at Antioch till the disasters of the Gothic war called him back to 
Europe in 378. 

Armed with spiritual power which in some sort extended over 

355-373] Last Years of Athanasius 139 

Galatia and Armenia, Basil was now free to labour at his plan. Homoean 
malcontents formed the nucleus of the league, but old conservatives 
came in, and Athanasius gave his patriarchal blessing to the scheme. 
But the difficulties were enormous. The league was full of jealousies. 
Athanasius might recognise the orthodoxy of Meletius, but others 
almost went the length of banning all who had ever been Arians. 
Others again were lukewarm or sunk in worldliness, while the West 
stood aloof. The confessors of 355 were mostly gathered to their rest, 
and the Church of Rome cared little for troubles that were not likely to 
reach herself. Nor was Basil quite the man for the work. His courage 
indeed was indomitable. He ruled Cappadocia from a sick-bed, and 
bore down opposition by sheer force of will ; and to this he joined an 
ascetic fervour which secured the devotion of his friends, and often the 
respect of his enemies. But we miss the lofty self-respect of Athanasius. 
The ascetic is usually too full of his own purposes to feel sympathy with 
others, or even to feign it like a diplomatist. Basil had worldly prudence 
enough to dissemble his belief in the Holy Spirit, not enough to shield 
his nearest friends from his imperious temper. Small wonder if the 
great scheme met with many difficulties. 

The declining years of Athanasius were spent in peace. Heathenism 
was still a power at Alexandria, but the Arians were nearly extinct. 
One of his last public acts was to receive a confession presented on 
behalf of Marcellus, who was still living in extreme old age at Ancyra. 
It was a sound confession so far as it went ; and though Athanasius did 
not agree with Marcellus, he had never thought his errors vital. So he 
accepted it, refusing once again to sacrifice the old companion of his 
exile. It was nobly done ; but it did not conciliate Basil. 

The school of Marcellus expired with him, and if Apollinarius was 
forming another, he was at any rate a resolute enemy of Arianism. 
Meanwhile the churches of the East seemed in a state of universal disso- 
lution. Disorder under Constantius became confusion worse confounded 
under Valens. The exiled bishops were so many centres of strife, and 
personal quarrels had full scope. When for example Basil's brother 
Gregory was expelled from Nyssa by a riot got up by Anthimus of 
Tyana, he took refuge under the eyes of Anthimus at Doara, where 
another riot had driven out the Arian bishop. Creeds were in the same 
confusion. The Homoeans had no consistent principle beyond the 
rejection of technical terms. Some of their bishops were substantially 
Nicenes, while others were thoroughgoing Anomoeans. There was 
room for all in the happy family of Demophilus. Church history records 
no clearer period of decline than this. The descent from Athanasius 
to Basil is plain; from Basil to Cyril it is rapid. The victors of 
Constantinople are but the Epigoni of a mighty contest. 

Athanasius passed away in 373, and Alexandria became the prey of 
Arian violence. The deliverance came suddenly, and in the confusion 

CH. v. 

140 Theodosius [378-380 

of the greatest disaster that had ever yet befallen Rome. When the 
Huns came up from the Asiatic steppes, the Goths sought refuge beneath 
the shelter of the Roman eagles. But the greed and peculations of 
Roman officials drove them to revolt : and when Valens himself with 
the whole army of the East encountered them near Hadrianople 
(9 Aug. 378) his defeat was overwhelming. Full two-thirds of the 
Roman army perished in the slaughter, and the emperor himself was 
never heard of more. The blow was crushing : for the first time since 
the days of Gallienus, the Empire could place no army in the field. 

The care of the whole world now rested on the Western emperor, 
Gratian the son of Valentinian, a youth of nineteen. Gratian was a 
zealous Christian, and as a Western he held the Nicene faith. His 
first step was to proclaim religious liberty in the East, except for 
Anomoeans and Photinians a small sect supposed to have pushed the 
doctrine of Marcellus too far. As toleration was still the general law of 
the Empire (though Valens might have exiled individual bishops) the 
gain of the rescript fell almost entirely to the Nicenes. The exiles 
found little difficulty in resuming the government of their flocks, or 
even in sending missions to the few places where the Arians were strong, 
like that undertaken by Gregory of Nazianzus to Constantinople. The 
Semiarians were divided. Numbers of them joined the Nicenes, while 
the rest took an independent position. Thus the Homoean power in 
the provinces collapsed of itself, and almost without a struggle, before it 
was touched by persecution. 

Gratian's next step was to share his heavy burden with a colleague. 
The new emperor came from the far West of Cauca near Segovia, and to 
him was entrusted the Gothic war, and with it the government of 
all the provinces east of Sirmium. Theodosius was therefore a Western 
and a Nicene, with a full measure of Spanish courage and intolerance. 
The war was not very dangerous, for the Goths could do nothing with 
their victory, and Theodosius was able to deal with the Church long 
before it ended. A dangerous illness early in 380 led to his baptism by 
Acholius of Thessalonica ; and this was the natural signal for a more 
decided policy. A law dated 27 Feb. 380 commanded all men to follow 
the Nicene doctrine, "committed by the apostle Peter to the Romans, 
and now professed by Damasue of Rome and Peter of Alexandria/' and 
threatened heretics with temporal punishment. In this he seems to 
abandon Constantine's test of orthodoxy by subscription to a creed, 
returning to Aurelian's requirement of communion with the chief bishops 
of Christendom. But the mention of St Peter and the choice both of 
Rome and Alexandria, are enough to shew that he was still a stranger 
to the state of parties in the East. 

Theodosius made his formal entry into Constantinople 24 Nov. 380, 
and at once required the bishop either to accept the Nicene faith or to 
leave the city. Demophilus honourably refused to give up his heresy, 

ssi] Council of Constantinople 141 

and adjourned his services to the suburbs. But the mob of Constan- 
tinople was Arian, and their stormy demonstrations when the cathedral 
of the Twelve Apostles was given up to Gregory of Nazianzus made 
Theodosius waver. Not for long. A second edict in Jan. 381 forbade 
all heretical assemblies inside cities, and ordered the churches everywhere 
to be given up to the Nicenes. Thus was Arianism put down as it had 
been set up, by the civil power. Nothing remained but to clear away 
the wrecks of the contest. 

Once more an imperial summons went forth for a council of the 
Eastern bishops to meet at Constantinople in May 381. It was a 
sombre gathering : even the conquerors can have had no more hopeful 
feeling than that of satisfaction to see the end of the long contest. Only 
150 bishops were present none from the west of Thessalonica. The 
Semiarians however mustered 36, under Eleusius of Cyzicus. Meletius 
of Antioch presided, and the Egyptians were not invited to the earlier 
sittings, or at least were not present. Theodosius was no longer neutral 
as between the old and new Nicenes. After ratifying the choice of 
Gregory of Nazianzus as bishop of Constantinople, the next move was 
to sound the Semiarians. They were still a strong party beyond the 
Bosphorus, so that their friendship was important. But Eleusius was 
not to be tempted. However he might oppose the Anomoeans, he could 
not forgive the Nicenes their doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Those of the 
Semiarians who were willing to join the Nicenes had already done so, 
and the rest were obstinate. They withdrew from the council and gave 
up their churches like the Arians. 

Whatever jealousies might divide the conquerors, the contest with 
Arianism was now at an end. Pontus and Syria were still divided from 
Rome and Egypt on the question of Meletius, and there were germs 
of future trouble in the disposition of Alexandria to look to Rome 
for help against the upstart see of Constantinople. But against Arianism 
the council was united. Its first canon is a solemn ratification of the 
Nicene creed in its original form, with an anathema against all the 
Arianising parties. It only remained for the emperor to complete the 
work of the council. An edict in the middle of July forbade Arians 
of all sorts to build churches even outside cities ; and at the end of the 
month Theodosius issued an amended definition of orthodoxy. The 
true faith was henceforth to be guarded by the demand of communion, 
no longer with Rome and Alexandria, but with Constantinople, 
Alexandria, and the chief sees of the East: and the choice of cities 
is significant. A small place like Nyssa might be included for the 
personal eminence of its bishop ; but the omission of Hadrianople, 
Perinthus, Ephesus and Nicomedia shews the determination to leave 
a clear field for the supremacy of Constantinople. 

So far as numbers went, the cause of Arianism was not hopeless even 
yet. It was fairly strong in Asia, could raise dangerous riots in Con- 

CH. y. 

142 Fall of Arianism [383 

stantinople, and had on its side the Western empress-mother Justina. 
But its fate was only a question of time. Its cold logic generated no 
fiery enthusiasm, its recent origin allowed no venerable traditions to 
grow up round it, and its imperial claims cut it off from any appeal 
to provincial feeling. So when the last overtures of Theodosius fell 
through in 383, Arianism soon ceased to be a religion in the civilised 
world. Such existence as it kept up for the next three hundred years 
was due to its barbarian converts. 



CHRISTIAN organisation was the means of expressing that which is 
behind and beneath all its details, namely the underlying and pene- 
trating consciousness of the oneness of the Christian body and the 
Christian life. It was the process by which the separate charismata could 
be developed and differentiated, while at the same time the unity of the 
whole was safeguarded. Looked at in this light, the history of organisa- 
tion in the Christian Church is, in its main stream, the history of two 
processes, partly successive, partly simultaneous, but always closely 
related: the process by which the individual communities became 
complete in themselves, sufficient for their own needs, microcosms of the 
Church at large ; and the process by which the communities thus organised 
as units proceeded to combine in an always more formal and more ex- 
tensive federation. But these two processes were not merely successive. 
Just as there never had been a time when the separate communities, before 
they became fully organised, were devoid of outside ministration or 
supervision, so there never came a period when the fully organised 
communities lived only to themselves : unity was preserved by informal 
means, till the growing size and number of the communities, and the 
increasing complexity of circumstances, made informal means inadequate 
and further formal organisation imperative. And again, though the 
formal self-expression of the individual community necessarily preceded 
the formal self-expression of the federation of communities, yet the 
history of organisation within the single community does not come to an 
abrupt end as soon as the community becomes complete in itself : all 
functions essential for the Christian life are henceforth there, but as 
numbers increase and needs and duties multiply, the superabundant 
vitality of the organism shews itself in the differentiation of new, though 
always subordinate, functions. And therefore, side by side with the 
well-known history of the federation of the Christian churches, it will be 
our business to trace also the obscurer and less recognised, but perhaps 
not less important, processes which were going on, simultaneously with 
the larger processes of federation, in the individual churches and especially 
in those of them which were most influential as models to the rest. 

OH. vi. 143 

144 The Missionary Ministry 

(A) In the early days of Christianity the first beginnings of a new 
community were of a very simple kind : indeed the local organisation 
had at first no need to be anything but rudimentary, just because the 
community was never thought of as complete in itself apart from its 
apostolic founder or other representatives of the missionary ministry. 
41 Presbyters " and " deacons " no doubt existed in these communities from 
the first : "presbyters " were ordained for each church as it was founded 
on St Paul's first missionary journey; "bishops and deacons" constitute, 
together with the "holy people," the church of PhilippL These purely 
local officials were naturally chosen from among the first converts 
in each district, and to them were naturally assigned the duties of 
providing for the permanently recurring needs of Christian life, 
especially the sacraments of Baptism St Paul indicates that baptism 
was not normally the work of an apostle and the Eucharist. But the 
evidence of the earlier epistles of St Paul is decisive as to the small 
relative importance which this local ministry enjoyed : the true ministry 
of the first generation was the ordered hierarchy, "first apostles, secondly 
prophets, thirdly teachers," of which the apostle speaks with such empha- 
sis in his first epistle to the Corinthians. Next in due order after the 
ranks of the primary ministry came tHe gifts of miracles "then powers, 
then gifts of healing" and only after these, wrapped up in the obscure 
designation of "helps and governments," can we find room for the local 
service of presbyters and deacons. Even without the definite evidence of 
the Acts and the Pastoral Epistles and St Clement of Rome it would 
be already clear enough that the powers of the local ministry were 
narrowly limited, and that to the higher ministry, the exercise of 
whose gifts was not confined to any one community but was independent 
of place altogether, belonged not only the general right of supervision 
and ultimate authority over local churches, but also in particular the 
imparting of the gift of the Spirit, whether in what we call Confirmation 
or in what we call Ordination. In effect the Church of the first 
age may almost be said to have consisted of a laity grouped in local 
communities, and a ministry that moved about from place to place to do 
the work of missionaries to the heathen and of preachers and teachers to 
the converts. Most of St Paul's epistles to churches are addressed to 
the community, the holy people, the brethren, without any hint in the 
title of the existence of a local clergy : the apostle and the Christian 
congregation are the two factors of primary account. The Didache 
shews us how right down to the end of the first century, in remoter 
districts, the communities depended on the services of wandering apostles, 
or of prophets and teachers, sometimes wandering sometimes settled, and 
how they held by comparison in very light esteem their presbyters and 
deacons. Even a well-established church, like that of Corinth, with half 
a century of history behind it, was able, however unreasonably, to refuse 
to recognise in its local ministry any right of tenure other than the will 

The Local Church 145 

of the community : and when the Roman church intervened to point out 
the gravity of the blow thus struck at the principle of Christian order, it 
was still the community of Home which addressed the community of 
Corinth. And this custom of writing in the name, or to the address, of 
the community continued, a relic of an earlier age, well into the days 
of the strictest monarchical episcopacy : it was not so much the bishop's 
headship of the community as the multiplication of the clergy which (as 
we shall see) made the real gap between the bishop and his people. 

Most of our documents then of the first century shew us the local 
churches neither self-sufficient nor self-contained, but dependent for all 
special ministries upon the visits of the superior officers of the Church. 
On the other hand most of our documents of the second century in its 
earlier years the Ignatian letters, and an ever-increasing bulk of evidence 
as the century goes on shew us the local churches complete in them- 
selves, with an officer at the head of each who concentrates in his hands 
both the powers of the local ministers and those also which had at first 
been reserved exclusively for the "general" ministry, but who is himself 
as strictly limited in the extent of his jurisdiction to a single church as 
were the humbler presbyter-bishops from whom he derived his name. 
When we have explained how the supreme powers of the general ministry 
were made to devolve on an individual who belonged to the local 
ministry, we have explained the origin of episcopacy. With that 
problem of explanation we have not here to deal in detail : we have only 
to recognise the result and its importance, when in and with the bishop 
the local church sufficed in itself for the extraordinary as well as for the 
ordinary functions of church government and Christian life. 

In those early days of episcopacy, among the diminutive groups of 
Christian "strangers and sojourners" which were dotted over the pagan 
world of the second century, we must conceive of a quite special 
closeness of relation between a bishop and his people. Regularly in all 
cities and it was in the provinces where city life was most developed 
that the Church made quickest progress a bishop is found at the head 
of the community of Christians : and his intimacy with his people was in 
those primitive days unhindered by the interposition of any hierarchy of 
functionaries or attendants. His flock was small enough for him to carry 
out to the letter the pastoral metaphor, and to "call his sheep byname." 
If the consent of the Christian people had always been, as Clement 
of Rome tells us, a necessary preliminary to the ordination of Christian 
ministers, in the case of the appointment of their bishop the people did 
not consent merely, they elected: not till the fourth century did the 
clergy begin to acquire first a separate and ultimately a predominant share 
in the process of choice. Even though the "angel of the church" in the 
Apocalypse may not have been, in the mind of the seer, at all intended 
to refer to the bishop, yet this quasi-identification of the community 
with its representative exactly expresses the ideal of second century 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VI. 10 

146 Bishop and People 

writers. "The whole number of you I welcome in God's Name in the 
person of Onesimus," "in Polybius I beheld the whole multitude of you," 
writes Ignatius to the Christians of Ephesus and Tralles : "be subject to 
the bishop and to one another" is his injunction to the Magnesians : the 
power of Christian worship is in "the prayer of the bishop and the whole 
church/' So too to Justin Martyr, "the brethren as we are called" and 
** the president '* are the essential figures in the portraiture of the Christian 
society. If it is true that in the first century the apostle-founder and 
the community as founded by him are the two outstanding elements of 
Christian organisation, it is no less true that in the second century the 
twin ideas of bishop and people attain a prominence which throws all 
subordinate distinctions into the background. Even as late as the middle 
of the third century we see Cyprian who is quite misunderstood if he is 
looked on only as an innovator in the sphere of organisation maintaining 
and emphasising at every turn the intimate union, in normal church life, 
of bishop and laity, while he also recognises the duty of the laity, in 
abnormal circumstances, to separate from the communion of the bishop 
who had proved himself unworthy of their choice : " it is the people in the 
first place which has the power both of electing worthy bishops and of 
spurning the unworthy." Similar witness for the East is borne in the 
same century by the Didascalia Apostolorum, where bishop and laity 
are addressed in turn, and their mutual relations are almost the main 
theme of the writer. 

But this personal relation of the bishop to his flock, which was the 
ideal of church administrators and thinkers from Ignatius to Cyprian, 
could only find effective realisation in a relatively small community : the 
very success of the Christian propaganda, and the consequent increase 
everywhere of the numbers of the Christian people, made some further 
development of organisation imperative. Especially during the long 
peace between Severus and Decius (211-49) did recruits pour in. 
In the larger towns at least there could be now no question of personal 
acquaintance between the president of the community and all its members. 
No doubt it might have been possible to preserve the old intimacy at the 
cost of unity, and to create a bishop for each congregation. But the sense 
of civic unity was an asset of which Christians instinctively availed them- 
selves in the service of religion. If practical convenience sometimes 
dictated the appointment of bishops in villages, these xcopemcncoTroi were 
only common in districts where, as in Cappadocia, cities were few, and 
where consequently the extent of the territory of each city was unduly 
large for supervision by the single bishop of the TroAis. Normally, 
even in days before there was any idea of the formal demarcation of 
territorial jurisdiction, the ?ro' or dvitas with all its dependent lands 
was the natural sphere of the individual bishop's authority. And within 
the walls of the city it was never so much as conceivable that the ecclesia 
should be divided. When the Council of Nicaea was making provision 

Episcopacy and Unity 147 

for the reinstatement in clerical rank of Novatianist clergy willing to be 
reconciled with the Church, the arrangement was subject always to the 
maintenance of the principle that there should not be k< two bishops 
in the city." The very rivalries between different claimants of one 
episcopal throne serve to bring out the same result witness the earliest 
instances of pope and anti-pope of which we have documentary know- 
ledge, those of Cornelius and Novatian in 251, and of Liberius and Felix 
about 357. In the latter case Constantius, with a politician's eye to 
compromise, recommended the joint recognition of both claimants : but 
the Roman people Theodoret, to whose History we owe the details, 
is careful to note that he has recorded the very language used saluted 
the reading of the rescript in the circus with the mocking cry that two 
leaders would do very well for the factions at the games, but that there 
could be only "one God, one Christ, one bishop." Exactly the same 
reason had been given a century earlier in almost the same words, by 
the Roman confessors when writing to Cyprian, for their abandonment 
of Novatian and adhesion to Cornelius : "we are not unaware that there 
is one God, and one Christ the Lord whom we have confessed, one Holy 
Spirit, and therefore only one true bishop in the communion of the 
Catholic Church." Both in East and West, in the largest cities as well 
as in the smallest, the society of the faithful was conceived of as an 
indivisible unit ; and its oneness was expressed in the person of its one 
bishop. The TrapotKta of Christians in any locality was not like a hive 
of bees, which, when numbers multiplied inconveniently, could throw off 
a part of the whole, to be henceforward a complete and independent 
organism under separate control. The necessity for new organisation 
had to be met in some way which would preserve at all costs the oneness 
of the body and its head. 

It followed that the work and duties which the individual bishop 
could no longer perform in person must be shared with, or deputed to, 
subordinate officials. New offices came into being in the course 
especially of the third century, and the growth of this clerus or clergy, 
and its gradual acquisition during the fourth and fifth centuries of the 
character of a hierarchy nicely ordered in steps and degrees, is a feature 
of ecclesiastical history of which the importance has not always been 
adequately realised. 

Of such a hierarchy the germs had no doubt existed from the 
beginning; and indeed presbyters and deacons were, as we have seen, 
older component parts of the local communities than were the bishops 
themselves. In the Ignatian theory bishop, presbyters, and deacons are 
the three universal elements of organisation, "without which nothing can 
be called a church" (ad Trail. 3). And the distinction between the two 
subordinate orders, in their original scope and intention, was just the 
distinction between the two sides of clerical office which in the bishop 
were in some sort combined, the spiritual and the administrative: 

CH. VI. 

148 Presbyters 

presbyters were the associates of the bishop in his spiritual character, 
deacons in his administrative functions. 

Our earliest documents define the work of presbyters by no language 
more commonly than by that which expresses the "pastoral" relation of 
a shepherd to his flock: "the flock in which the Holy Ghost hath set 
you as overseers to shepherd the Church of God," "the presbyters I 
exhort . . . shepherd the flock of God among you . . . not as lords of the 
ground but as examples of the flock, until the Great Shepherd shall 
appear." But in proportion as the local oragnisation became episcopal, 
the pastoral idea, and even the name of TTOL^V, concentrated itself upon 
the bishop. To Ignatius the distinctive function of the presbyters is 
rather that of a council, gathered round the bishop as the apostles were 
gathered round Christ an idea not unconnected perhaps with the 
position of the presbyters in the Christian assembly; for there is no 
reason to doubt that primitive tradition underlies the arrangement of 
the early Christian basilicas, where the bishop's chair stood in the centre 
of the apse behind the altar, and the consessus presbyterorum extended 
right and left in a semicircle, as represented in the Apocalypse. So 
too in the Didascalia Apostolorum (Syriac and Latin) the one definite 
function allotted to presbyters is that of "consiiium et curia ecclesiae." 
Besides pastoral duties, however, the Pauline epistles bring presbyters 
into definite relation also with the work of teaching. If "teachers " were 
originally one grade of the general ministry, they would naturally have 
settled down in the communities earlier than the itinerant apostles 
or prophets: "pastors and teachers" are already closely connected 
in the epistle to the Ephesians: and the first epistle to Timothy 
shews us that "speaking' and teaching," Xoyos /cat SiSaoTcaA-ax, was a 
function to which some at least of the presbyters might aspire. It is 
probable enough that the second-century bishop shared this, as all 
other functions of the presbyterate : St Polycarp is described by his 
flock as an "apostolic nd prophetic teacher": but, as differentiation 
progressed, teaching was one of the duties less easily retained in the 
bishop's hands, and our third-century authorities are full of references 
to the class known in Greek as ot frpea^vre/xH /cat StSaV/caXot, in Latin as 
presbyteri doctores. 

If presbyters were thus the bishop's counsellors and advisers where 
counsel was needed, his colleagues in the rites of Christian worship, his 
assistants and representatives in pastoral and teaching duties, the proto- 
types of the diaconate are to be found in the Seven of the Acts, 
who were appointed to disburden the apostles of the work of poor 
relief and charity and to set them free for their more spiritual duties of 
"prayer and ministering of the Word." Quite similarly in the &dWot 
or "servants" of the local church, the bishop found ready to hand 
a personal staff of clerks and secretaries. The Christian Church in 
one not unimportant aspect was a gigantic friendly society: and the 

Deacons and Readers 149 

deacons were the relieving officers who, under the direction of the 
7novwro? or "overseer," sought out the local members of the society in. 
their homes, and dispensed to those who were in permanent or temporary 
need the contributions of their more fortunate brethren. From their 
district- visiting the deacons would derive an intimate knowledge of the 
circumstances and characters of individual Christians, and of the way in 
which each was living up to his profession : by a very natural develop- 
ment it became part of their recognised duties, as we learn from the 
Didascalia, to report to the bishop cases calling for the exercise of the 
penitential discipline of the Church. Throughout all the early centuries 
the closeness of their personal relation with the bishop remains : but 
what had been spread over the whole diaconate tends to be concentrated 
on an individual, when the office of archdeacon oculus episcopi, according 
to a favourite metaphor begins to emerge : the earliest instances of 
the actual title are c. 370-380, in Optatus (of Caecilian of Carthage) 
and in the Gesta inter Liberium et Felicem (of Felix of Rome). 

Originally, as it would seem, deacons were not ministers of worship 
at all : the earliest subordinate office in the liturgy was that of reader. 
We need not suppose that 6 arayivo>or/ca>v in the New Testament means 
a distinct official in the Church any more than in the Synagogue : but 
the same phrase in Justin's Apology has more of a formal sound, and by 
the end of the second century the first of the minor orders had obviously 
an established place in church usage. While Ignatius names only 
bishop, presbyters, and deacons, Tertullian, contrasting the stable orders 
of Catholics with the unsettled arrangements of heretics, speaks of bishop, 
presbyter, deacon, and reader : "alius hodie episcopus, eras alius ; hodie 
diaconus qui eras lector ; hodie presbyter qui eras laicus." And in remote 
churches or backwardly organised provinces the same four orders were 
the minimum recognised long after Tertullian, as in the so-called 
Apostolic Church Order (third century, perhaps for Egypt) and in the 
canons of the Council of Sardica (343, for the Balkan peninsula : the 
canon is proposed by the Spaniard Hosius of Cordova). 

But the process of transformation by which the diaconate became 
more and more a spiritual office began early, and one of its results was to 
degrade the readership by ousting it from its proper functions. It was 
as attendants on the bishop that the deacons, we may well suppose, were 
deputed from the first to take the Eucharist, over which the bishop had 
offered the prayers and thanksgivings of the Church, to the absent sick. 
In Rome, when Justin wrote, soon after 150, they were already dis- 
tributing the consecrated "bread and wine and water" in the Christian 
assembly. Not very much later the reading of the Gospel began 
to be assigned to them: Cyprian is the last writer to connect the 
Gospel still with the reader ; by the end of the third century it was 
a constant function of the deacon, and the reader had sunk pro- 
portionately in rank and dignity. 

CH. vr. 

150 Minor Orders 

But this development of the diaconate is only part of a much larger 
movement. In the greater churches at least an elaborate differentiation 
of functions and functionaries was in course of process during the third 
century. Under the pressure of circumstances, and the accumulation of 
new duties which the increasing size and importance of the Christian 
communities thrust upon the bishop, much which he had hitherto done 
for himself, and which long remained his in theory, came in practice 
to be done for him by the higher clergy. As they moved up to take his 
place, they in turn left duties to be provided for : as they drew more 
and more to the spiritual side of their work, they left the more secular 
duties to new officials in their place. Evidence for Carthage and Rome 
in the middle of the third century shews us that, besides the principal 
orders of bishop, presbyters, and deacons, a large community would now 
complete its clerics by two additional pairs of officers, subdeacon and 
acolyte, exorcist and reader, making seven altogether. The church of 
Carthage, we learn from the Cyprianic correspondence, had exorcists and 
readers, apparently at the bottom of the clergy (ep. xxiii. "praesente de 
clero et exorcista et lectore [the words are no doubt ironical] Lucianus 
scripsit") ; and it had also hypodiaconi and acoliti, who served as the 
bearers of letters or gifts from the bishop to his correspondents.- 
Subdeacons and acolytes were now in fact what deacons had earlier been, 
the personal and secretarial staff of the bishop, while exorcists and 
readers were the subordinate members of the liturgical ranks. The 
combination of all these various officers into a single definitely graduated 
hierarchy was the work of the fourth century: but it is at least 
adumbrated in the enumeration of the Roman derus addressed by 
Pope Cornelius, Cyprian's contemporary, to Fabius of Antioch in 51. 
Besides the bishop, there were at Rome forty-six presbyters, seven 
deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes ; of exorcists and readers, 
together with doorkeepers, there were fifty-two ; of widows and afflicted 
over fifteen hundred: and all this "great multitude" was "necessary 
in the church." 

Promotion from one rank of the ministry to another was of course 
no new thing. In particular the rise from the diaconate to the 
presbyterate, from the more secular to the more spiritual office, was 
always recognised as a legitimate reward for good service. "They that 
have served well as deacons," wrote St Paul, "purchase for themselves an 
honourable step"; though when the Apostolic Church Order interprets 
the {taQfjLos /coXos as TOTTOS 7roiju.ew/co's, it is a question whether the 
place of a presbyter or that of a bishop is meant. But it was a 
serious and far-reaching development when, in the fourth century, the 
idea grew up that the Christian clergy consisted of a hierarchy of grades, 
through each of which it was necessary to pass in order to reach the 
higher offices. The Council of Nicaea had contented itself with the 
reasonable prohibition (canon ) of the ordination of neophytes as bishops 

The Cursus Honorum 151 

or presbyters. The Council of Sardica in 343 prescribes for the episcopate 
a "prolixum tempus" of promotions through the "munus" of reader, 
the "officium" of deacon, and the "ministerium" of presbyter. But it 
was in the church of Rome that the conception of the cursus honorum 
borrowed, we may suppose, consciously or unconsciously from the civil 
magistracies of the Roman State took deepest root. Probably the 
oldest known case of particular clerical offices held in succession by the 
same individual is the record, in an inscription of Pope Damasus, of 
either his own or his father's career there are variant readings "pater" 
and " puer," but even the son's career must have begun early in the fourth 
century "exceptor, lector, levita, sacerdos.' 1 Ambrosiaster, a Roman 
and younger contemporary of Damasus, expresses clearly the conception 
of grades of order in which the greater includes the less, so that not only 
are presbyters ordained out of deacons and not vice versa, but a presbyter 
has in himself all the powers of the inferior ranks of the hierarchy : 
" maior enim ordo intra se et apud se habet et minorem, presbyter enim et 
diaconi agit officium et exorcistae et lectoris." The earliest of the 
dated disciplinary decretals that has come down to us, the letter of Pope 
Siricius to Himerius of Tarragona in 385 (its prescriptions are repeated 
with less precision in that of Zosimus to Hesychius of Saiona in 418), 
emphasizes the stages and intervals of a normal ecclesiastical career. A 
child devoted early to the clerical life is made a reader at once, then 
acolyte and subdeacon up to thirty, deacon for five years, and presbyter 
for ten, so that forty-five is the minimum age for a bishop : even those 
who take orders in later life must spend two years among the readers or 
exorcists, and five as acolyte and subdeacon. But the requirements of 
Siricius and Zosimus are moderate when brought into comparison with 
the pseudo-papal documents which came crowding into being at the 
beginning of the sixth century : of the apocryphal councils fathered on 
Pope Sylvester the one gives a cur$u$ of 5 years, the other of 55, before 
the episcopate. 

Two considerations indeed must be borne in mind which qualify the 
apparent rigour of the fourth and fifth century cursus. In the first place 
we have already traced the beginning of the depreciation of the readership. 
In days when liturgical formulae were still unwritten, the reader's office 
was the only one that was mechanical : what it had necessarily implied 
was a modicum of education, and all who had passed through the office 
had at least learned to read. Thus it came about, from the fourth century 
onwards, that the readers were the boys who were receiving training and 
education in the schools of the Church: according to the canons, for 
instance, of the Council of Hippo in 393 readers on attaining* the age of 
puberty made choice between marriage and permanent readership on the 
one hand, celibacy and rise through the various grades of clerical office 
on the other. And the second thing to be remembered is that all these 
prescriptions of canons or decretals represented a theoretical standard 

CH. VI. 

152 Encroachments of the Clergy 

rather than a practice regularly carried out. Canon Law in the fourth 
century could still be put aside, by bishop or people, when need arose, 
without scruple. Minor orders might be omitted. St Hilary of Poitiers 
wanted to ordain Martin a deacon straight off, and only made him an 
exorcist instead because he reckoned that Martin's humility would not 
allow him to refuse so low an office. Augustine and Jerome were ordained 
presbyters direct. Even the salutary Nicene rules about neophytes were 
on emergency violated : Ambrose of Milan and Nectarius of Constanti- 
nople were both elected as laymen (the former indeed as a catechumen), 
and were rushed through the preliminary grades without appreciable 
delay ; St Ambrose passed from baptism to the episcopate in the course 
of a week. 

But in spite of any occasional reassertions of the older freedom, it 
did nevertheless remain true that the cursus and all it stood for was 
gradually establishing itself as a real influence : and it stood for a body 
continually growing in size, in articulation, in strength, in dead weight, 
which drove in like a wedge between bishop and people, and fortified 
itself by encroachments on both sides. Doubtless it would have been 
natural in any case that bishop and people, no longer enjoying the old 
affectionateness of personal intercourse, should lose the sense of commu- 
nity and imperceptibly drift apart : but the process was at least hastened 
and the gap widened by the interposition of the clerus. It was no longer 
the laity, but the clergy alone, who were in direct touch with the bishop. 
Even the fundamental right of the people to elect their bishop slipped 
gradually from their hands into the hands of the clergy. Within the 
clerical class a continual and steady upward pressure was at work. The 
minor orders take over the business of the diaconate : deacons assert 
themselves against presbyters : presbyters in turn are no longer a body 
of counsellors to the bishop acting in common, but, having of necessity 
begun to take over all pastoral relations with the laity, tend as parish 
priests to a centrifugal independence. The process of entrenchment 
within the parochial freehold was still only in its first beginnings : but 
already in the fourth century when theologians and exegetes were 
feeling after a formal and scientific basis for what had been natural, 
instinctive, traditional we find presbyters asserting the claim of an 
ultimate identity of order with the episcopate. 

Such are the summary outlines of the picture, which must now be 
filled in, here and there, with more detail. And the details will serve to 
reinforce the conclusion that the principal features of the history of 
church organisation in the fourth and fifth centuries are not unconnected 
accidents, but are to a large extent just different aspects of a single 
process, the multiplication and development of the Christian clergy. 

1. The people had originally chosen their bishop without serious 
possibility of interference from the clergy. Voting by orders in the 
modern sense was hardly known : in so far as any check existed on the 

Episcopal Elections 153 

unfettered choice of the laity, it lay in the hands of the neighbouring 
bishops from whom the bishop-elect would naturally receive consecration. 
Cyprian, it is clear from his whole correspondence, was made bishop 
of Carthage by the laity against the decided wishes of his colleagues in 
the presbyterate. After the death of Anteros of Rome in 236, we learn 
from the story in Eusebius that "all the brethren were gathered together 
for the appointment of a successor to the bishopric." And this was still 
the practice after the middle of the fourth century : the description of 
the election of St Ambrose in 374 by his biographer mentions the people 
only, "cum populus ad seditionem surgeret in petendo episcopo . . . quia 
et Arriani sibi et Catholici sibi episcopum cupiebant superatis alterutris 
ordinari." Another biography, that of St Martin of Tours by Sulpicius 
Severus, depicts a similar scene about the same date : Martin was 
elected, in the face of opposition from some of the assembled bishops, 
by the persistent vote of the people. The laity too, at least in some 
churches, still selected even the candidates for the priesthood. Possidius, 
the biographer of St Augustine, relates how Valerius of Hippo put 
before the "plebs dei" the need for an additional presbyter, and how 
the Catholic people, "knowing Saint Augustine's faith and life," seized 
hold of him, and, "ut in talibus consuetum est," presented him to the 
bishop for ordination. In Rome however the influence of the clergy 
was already predominant. The episcopal elections, during the troubled 
decade that followed the exile of Liberius in 355, are described 
in the Gesta inter Liberium et Felicem: the clergy "clerus omnis, 
id est presbyteri et archidiaconus Felix et ipse Damasus diaconus et 
cuncta ecclesiae officia" first pledge their loyalty to Liberius and then 
accept Felix in his place : the opposition, who clung all through to Liberius 
and after his death elected Ursinus as his successor, are represented 
as mainly a lay party "multitude fidelium," "sancta plebs," "fidelis 
populus," " dei populus " yet even in their electoral assembly the clergy 
receive principal mention, "presbyteri et diacones . . . cum plebe sancta." 
And though there are some indications that the party of Ursinus had 
strong support in the local episcopate, it was Damasus, the candidate of 
the majority of the clergy, who secured recognition by the civil power. 
At the end of the fourth century a definite place is accorded to the clergy 
in the theory of episcopal appointments. The eighth book of the 
Apostolic Constitutions distinguishes the three steps of election by the 
people, approval by the clergy, consecration by the bishops. Siricius of 
Rome, in his decretal letter to Himerius, puts the clergy before the 
people, "si eum cleri ac plebis edecumarit electio": the phrase "cleri 
plebisque" became normal in this connexion, and ultimately meant that 
it was for the clergy to elect and for the people to approve. 

Fundamental as these changes were, no doubt each stage of them 
seemed natural enough at its time. Indirect election was an expedient 
unknown as yet : real election by the laity, in view of the dimensions of 

CH. VI. 

154 Deacon and Presbyter 

the Christian population, became more and more difficult, and the 
pretence of it tumultuous and unsatisfactory. The members of the 
clergy on the other hand were now considerable enough for a genuine 
electing body, yet not too unwieldy for control : and the people were 
gradually ousted from any effective participation. So far as the influence 
of the laity still continued to make itself felt, it was through the 
interference of the State. Under either alternative Christian feeling 
had to content itself with a grave deflection from primitive ideals. 

2. The earlier paragraphs of this chapter have already given us 
reason to anticipate the developments of the diaconate in the fourth 
century. We have seen how the intimate relations of the deacons with 
the bishop as his personal staff caused the business of the churches to 
pass more and more, as numbers multiplied, through their hands ; we 
have seen also how from their attendance on the bishop, in church as 
well as outside of it, they gradually acquired what they did not originally 
possess, a status in Christian worship. It is just on these two lines that 
their aggrandisement still proceeded. In Rome and in some of the 
Eastern churches (witness the last canon of the Council of Neocaesarea 
in Pontus, c. 315), the deacons were limited, on the supposed model of 
the Acts, to seven, while the presbyterate admitted of indefinite increase, 
and the mere disproportion in numbers exalted the individual deacon : 
"diaconos paucitas honorabiles, presbyteros turba contemptibiles 
f acit," says Jerome bitterly. But if complaint and criticism focused itself 
on the affairs of the church of Rome, where everything was on a larger 
scale and on a more prominent stage than elsewhere, the indications all 
suggest that the same thing was in lesser measure happening in other 

The legislation of the earliest councils of the fourth century supplies 
eloquent testimony to the ambition of deacons in general and Roman 
deacons in particular. The Spanish canons of Elvira, c. 305, shew 
that a deacon might be in the position of "regens plebem," in charge, no 
doubt, of a village congregation : he might (exceptionally) baptize, but 
he might not do what "in many places" the bishops of the Council of 
Aries, in 314, learnt that he did, namely "offer" the Eucharist. By 
a special canon of the same Council of Aries, the deacons of the (Roman) 
City are directed not to take so much upon themselves, but to defer to 
the presbyters and to act only with their sanction. Both these canons of 
Aries are combined and repeated in the 18th canon of Nicaea : but the 
reference to Rome is omitted, and the presumptions of the diaconate 
we must suppose that existing conditions in the Eastern churches are 
now in view take the form of administering the Eucharist to presbyters, 
receiving the Eucharist before bishops, and sitting down among the 
presbyters in church. Later on in the century we find the Roman deacons 
wearing the vestment called "dalmatic," which elsewhere was reserved to 
the bishop : and one of them probably the Mercury who is mentioned 

Presbyter and Bishop 155 

in one of Pope Damasus' epigrams had asserted the absolute equality 
of deacons and priests. Ambrosiaster, who may be confidently identified 
with the Roman ex-Jew Isaac, the supporter of the Anti-pope Ursinus, 
treats in the hundred and first of his Quaestiones "de iactantia Roma- 
norum levitarum": Jerome, in his epistle ad Evangelum presbyterum, 
appropriates the arguments of Ambrosiaster and clothes them with his 
own incomparable style. The Roman deacons, they tell us, arrogate to 
themselves the functions of priests in saying grace when asked out to din- 
ner, and in getting responses made to themselves in church instead of to 
the priests : and this arrogance is made possible because of their influence 
with the laity and in the administration of ecclesiastical affairs, "adsiduae 
stationes domesticae et officialitas." But the mind of the Church is clear : 
" si auctoritas quaeritur, Orbis maior est Urbe " : even at Rome presbyters 
sit, while deacons stand, and if at Rome deacons do not carry the altar 
and its furniture or pour water over the hands of the priest as they do 
in every other church that is only because at Rome there is a "multitude 
of clerks" to undertake these offices in their place. We do not know 
that these indignant remonstrances of Ambrosiaster and Jerome had any 
practical results : we do know that in the second half of the fourth 
and the beginning of the fifth century three deacons, Felix, Ursinus, 
and Eulalius, made vain attempts upon the papal throne the successful 
rivals of the two lattdr were priests, Damasus and Boniface while by 
the middle of the fifth century, as illustrated in the persons of St Leo 
and his successor Hilarius, the archdeacon almost naturally became 

3. As the deacon thus pressed hard on the heels of the presbyter, 
so the presbyter in turn put himself into competition with the 
bishop. Ambrosiaster and Jerome not only deny any parity of deacon 
and presbyter, but assert in opposition a fundamental parity of order 
between presbyter and bishop. Both were commentators on St Paul. 
Exegesis was one of the most fertile forms of that astonishing intellectual 
efflorescence, which, bursting out at the beginning of the fourth century 
in the schools of Origen and of Lucian, and in the West fifty years 
later, produced during several generations a literary harvest unequalled 
throughout the Christian centuries. And the two Latin presbyters 
found in the Pastoral Epistles just the historical and scriptural basis for 
the establishment of the claims of the presbyterate, that the instinct 
of the times called for. The apostle had distinguished clearly enough 
between deacons and presbyters or bishops : but he had used so they 
rightly saw the terms wpeo-^vrepos and 7rur/Mro5 for the same order of 
the ministry, and it was an easy deduction that presbyter and bishop 
must be still essentially one. So Ambrosiaster (on 1 Timothy) "post 
episcopum tamen diaconatus ordinationem subiecit; quare, nisi quia 
episcopi et presbyteri una ordinatio est? uterque enim sacerdos est, 
sed episcopus primus est; ut omnis episcopus presbyter sit, non tamen 

CH. VI. 

156 Priesthood versus Order 

omnis presbyter episcopus, hie enim episcopus est qui inter presbyteros 
primus est." And so Jerome (on Titus) explains that in the apostolic 
age presbyters and bishops were the same, until as a safeguard against 
dissensions one was chosen out of the presbyters to be set over the rest : 
consequently bishops should know "se magis consuetudme quam dis- 
positionis dominicae veritate presbyteris esse maiores, et in commune 
debere ecclesiam regere." The exegesis of Ambrosiaster and Jerome was 
undeniably sound : their historical conclusions were, if the picture given 
in the earlier pages of this chapter is correct, not so just to the facts as 
those of another commentator of the time, perhaps the greatest of them 
all, Theodore of Mopsuestia. No doubt the New Testament bishop was 
a presbyter . but " those who had authority to ordain, the officers we 
now call bishops, were not limited to a single church but presided over a 
whole province and were known by the title of apostles. In this way 
blessed Paul set Timothy over all Asia, and Titus over Crete, and 
doubtless others separately over other provinces * , . so that those who are 
now called bishops but were then called apostles bore then the same 
relation to the province that they do now to the city and villages for 
which they are appointed" : Timothy and Titus "visited cities, just as 
bishops to-day visit country parishes." 

"Uterque enim sacerdos est." In these words lies perhaps the real 
inwardness of the movement for equating presbyters with bishops and of 
its partial success : "Priesthood" was taking the place of "Order." In 
the first centuries, to St Ignatius for instance and to St Cyprian, the 
essential principle was that all things must be done within the Unity of 
the Church, and of that unity the bishop was the local centre and the 
guardian. That alone is a true Eucharist, in the language of Ignatius, 
which is under the authority of the bishop or his representative. No rite 
or sacrament administered outside this ordered unity had any reality. 
Baptism or Laying on of hands schismatically conferred, whether 
without the Church among the sects or without the bishop's sanction by 
any intruder in his sphere, were simply as though they had not been. 
Under the dominance of this conception the position of the bishop was 
unique and unassailable. But, as time went on, the single conception of 
Order, intense and overmastering as to those early Christians it had been, 
was found insufficient : other considerations must be taken into account, 
"lest one good custom should corrupt the world." Breaches were made 
in the theory first at one point, then at another. Christian charity 
rebelled against the thought of wholly rejecting what was intended, 
however imperfectly, to be Christian Baptism : iteration of such Baptism 
was felt, and nowhere more clearly than at Rome, to be intolerable. As 
with Baptism, so, though much more gradually and uncertainly, with 
Holy Orders. The distinction between validity and regularity was 
hammered out : "quod fieri non debuit, factum valet" was the expression 
of the newer point of view: Augustine, in his writings against the 

Altered use of Sacerdos 157 

Donatists, laid down the principles of the revised theology, and later ages 
have done little more than develop and systematise his work. 

It is obvious that in this conception less stress will be set on the 
circumstances of the sacrament, more on the sacrament itself : less on the 
jurisdiction of the minister to perform it, more on his inherent capacity : 
less, in other words, on Order, more on Priesthood. We are not to 
suppose that earlier thought necessarily differed from later on the 
question, for instance, to what orders of the ministry was committed the 
conduct of the characteristic action of Christian worship, or as to its 
sacrificial nature, or as to the priestly function of the ministrants. But 
earlier language did certainly differ from later as to the direction in which 
sacerdotal terminology was most freely employed. In the general idea of 
primitive times the whole congregation took part in the priestly office : 
when a particular usage of tepfc or "sacerdos" first came in, and for 
several generations afterwards, it meant the bishop and the bishop only. 
The prhaseology in this respect of St Cyprian is repeated by a whole 
chain of writers down to St Ambrose. No doubt the hierarchical 
language of the Old Testament was applied to the ministry of the Church 
long before the fourth century : but it was either transferred in quite 
general terms from the one hierarchy to the other as a whole, or it was 
concentrated upon the bishop. Thus in the Didascdia Apostolorum it is 
the bishops who inherit the Levites' right to material support, the 
bishops who are addressed as "priests to your people and levites who 
serve in the house of God, the holy catholic Church," the bishop again 
who is "the levite and the high priest" (contrast the language of 
the Didache). But the detailed comparison of the three orders of the 
Jewish ministry and the Christian was so obvious that it can only have 
been the traditional use of "sacerdos" for the bishop that retarded the 
parallelism. We find "levita" for deacon in the egiprams of Damasus 
and in the de Officiis of St Ambrose : but the complete triad of "levita, 
sacerdos, summus sacerdos" for deacon, presbyter, and bishop meets us 
first in the pages of the ex-Jew Ambrosiaster. And while Ambrose 
employs the Old Testament associations of the levite to exalt the dignity 
and calling of the Christian deacon, Ambrosiaster contrasts the "hewers 
of wood and drawers of water" with the priests, and paraphrases the titles 
"sacerdos" and "summus sacerdos" as "presbyter" and "primus pres- 
byter." " Summus sacerdos " is freely used of bishops by Jerome, though 
the title was forbidden even to metropolitans by an African canon. 
But in any case the new extension of "sacerdos" to the Christian 
presbyter was too closely in harmony with existing tendencies not to 
take root at once. It is common in both St Jerome and St Augustine : 
Pope Innocent speaks of presbyters as "secundi sacerdotes" : and from 
this time onward bishop and priest tend more and more to be ranked 
together as joint possessors of a common "sacerdotium." 

This new emphasis on the "sacerdotium" of Christian presbyters is 

CH. VI. 

158 New Churches built 

perhaps to be connected with the new position which in the fourth and 
following centuries they were beginning to occupy as parish priests. It 
was the necessity of the regular administration of the Eucharist which 
dictated the commencements of the parochial system. While the custom 
of daily Eucharists was neither universal nor perhaps earlier than the 
third century it arose partly out of Christian devotion, partly out of 
the allegorical interpretation of the "daily bread" the weekly Eucharist 
was both primitive and universal, and the needs in this respect of the 
Christian people could ultimately be met only by a wide extension of 
the independent action of the presbyterate. Though in the larger cities it 
can never have been possible, even at the first, for the Christian people 
to meet together at a single Eucharist, the bishop, as Ignatius tells us, 
kept under his own control all arrangements for separate services, and 
the presbyters, like the head-quarters staff of a general, were sent hither 
and thither as occasion demanded. It may have been as definite localities 
came to be permanently set apart for Christian worship, that the custom 
grew up of attaching particular presbyters to particular churches. 

Probably it was during the long peace 11-249 that ground was 
first acquired for churches within the walls at Rome : cemeteries were 
constructed by the ecclesiastical authorities as soon as the beginning of 
the third century, but the earliest mention of church property in the 
City is when the Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235), as we learn from 
Lampridius, decided a question of disputed ownership of land between 
the "christiani" and the "popinarii" in favour of the former, because of 
the religious use which they were going to make of it. Certainly by 
the time of Diocletian Christian churches throughout the Empire were of 
sufficient number and prominence to become, with the sacred vessels and 
the sacred books, a special mark for the edict of persecution in 303. 
And just as the restoration of peace produced an outburst of calligraphic 
skill devoted to the Bible, of which the Vatican and Sinaitic codices are 
the enduring monuments, so, too, the ruined buildings were replaced by 
others more numerous and more magnificent. Constantine erected 
churches over the graves of the Apostles on the Vatican hill and the 
Ostian Way, while inside the walls the Lateran basilica of the Saviour 
and the Sessorian basilica of the Holy Cross testified further to the 
policy of the emperor and the piety of his mother. When Optatus 
wrote, fifty years later, there were over forty Roman basilicas, all of 
them open to the African Catholics and closed to the Donatists : "inter 
quadraginta et quod excurrit basilicas locum ubi colligerent non habe- 
bant." But this number perhaps includes the cemetery churches, for the 
parish churches or "tituli" of the City appear to have been exactly 
twenty-five under Pope Hilary (461-468), in its life of whom the Liber 
Pontificalis enumerates a service of altar vessels for use within the City, 
one golden bowl for the <s station" and twenty-five silver bowls (with 
twenty-five "amae" or cruets, and fifty chalices) for the parish churches, 

Parish Clergy in Rome 159 

"scyphus stationarius," "scyphipertitulos " The "station thus opposed 
to the "parishes" is the reunion, on certain days of the year, of the 
whole body of the Roman clergy and faithful under the pope at some 
particular church : it was a corrective to the growth of parochial sepa- 
ratism, like the custom of sending round every Sunday, from the pope's 
mass to the mass of every church within the walls, the "fermentum" 
or portion of the consecrated bread. So Innocent writes, in 416, in 
his decretal letter to Decentius of Gubbio: "presbyteri quia die ipso 
propter plebem sibi creditam nobiscum. convenire non possunt, idcirco 
fermentum a nobis confection per acolythos accipiunt, ut se a nostra 
communione maxima ilia die non iudicent separates ; quod per parochias " 
[ = in other dioceses] "fieri debere non puto, quia non longe portanda 
sunt sacrament a, nee nos per coemeteria di versa constitutis presbyteris 
destinanms " 

It was part of the same careful guard against the over-development 
of parochial independence, that, though there were parish clergy at Rome 
in the fourth and fifth centuries, there was as yet no parish priest. 
When Ambrosiaster wrote, it was the custom to allot two priests to 
each church (in 1 Tim. iii. 12, 13) "septem diaconos esse oportet, et 
aliquantos presbyteros ut bini sint per ecclesias, et unus in civitate 
episcopus." At a council under Pope Symmachus in 499, sixty-seven 
priests of the City subscribe, each with his "title," "Gordianus presbyter 
tituli Pammachii" and so on : but the "tituli" are not more than thirty, 
some of them having as many as four or five priests attached to them. 
Indeed, thirty is perhaps too high a figure, for some "tituli" may appear 
under more than one name an original name from the donor or the 
reigning pope, and a supplementary name in honour of a saint. Of the 
fourth century popes Damasus had named a church after St Lawrence, 
and Siricius after St Clement: the basilica built under Pope Liberius 
became St Mary Major under Xystus III (432-440), and the two 
basilicas founded under Pope Julius (337-352) became in time the 
Holy Apostles and St Mary across Tiber. 

But if the parochial system with its single rector was thus no part of 
Roman organisation as late as the end of the fifth century, it was in full 
vigour at Alexandria two centuries earlier. Epiphanius tells us that, 
though all the churches belonging to the catholic body in Alexandria 
(he gives the names of eight) were under one archbishop, presbyters were 
appointed to each of them for the ecclesiastical necessities of the inhabitants 
in the several districts. The history of Arius takes the parochial system 
fifty or sixty years behind Epiphanius : it was as parish priest of the 
church and quarter named Baucalis that he was enabled to organise his 
revolt against the theology dominant at head-quarters under the bishop 
Alexander. The failure of the presbyter and victory of the bishop 
may have reacted unfavourably upon the position of the Alexandrine 
presbyters generally ; the historian Socrates expressly tells us that after 

CH. VI. 

160 Parish Clergy in Alexandria 

the Arian trouble presbyters were not allowed to preach there. At any 
rate it is just down to the time of Alexander and his successor, Athanasius, 
that those writers who testify to peculiar privileges of the Alexandrine 
presbyterate in the appointment of the patriarch suppose them to have 
survived. The most precise evidence comes from a tenth century writer, 
Eutychius, who relates that by ordinance of St Mark twelve presbyters 
were to assist the patriarch, and at his death to elect and lay hands 
upon one of themselves as his successor, Athanasius being the first to 
be appointed by the bishops. Severus of Antioch, in the sixth century, 
mentions that "in former days" the bishop was "appointed" by pres- 
byters at Alexandria. Jerome (in the same letter that was cited above, 
but independent for the moment of Ambrosiaster) deduces the essen- 
tial equality of priest and bishop from the consideration that the Alex- 
andrine bishop "down to Heraclas and Dionysius " (32-265) was chosen 
by the presbyters from among themselves without any special form of 
consecration. Earlier than any of these is the story told in connexion 
with the hermit Poemen in the Apophthegms of the Egyptian monks. 
Poemen was visited one day by heretics who began to criticise the arch- 
bishop of Alexandria as having only presbyterian ordination, o>s on 
Trapa Trpco-jSvre/owv \oi T^V X/OOTOI/IV. Unfortunately the hermit declined 
to argue with them, gave them their dinner, and promptly dismissed 

It is clear that an Alexandrine bishop of the fourth century slandered 
by heretics can be no one but Athanasius; and therefore this, the 
earliest evidence for presbyterian ordination at Alexandria, is just that 
which is most demonstrably false. For Athanasius was neither elected 
nor consecrated by presbyters : not more than ten or twelve years after 
the event, the bishops of Egypt affirmed categorically that the electors 
were "the whole multitude and the whole people" and that the con- 
secrators were "the greater number of ourselves." Yet this very 
emphasis on the part of the supporters of Athanasius reveals one line 
of the Arian campaign against him ; and the conjecture may be there- 
fore hazarded that it was by Arian controversialists that the allegations 
of Alexandrine "presbyterianism" were first circulated, and that their 
real origin lay in the desire to turn the edge of any argument that 
might be based upon the solidarity of the episcopate. If the Catholics 
called upon the bishops of the East not to champion a rebellious 
presbyter, their opponents would, on this view, "go one better" in their 
enthusiasm for episcopacy, and answer that Athanasius was no more 
than a presbyter himself. It is difficult for us, who have to reconstruct 
the history of the fourth century out of Catholic material, to form any 
just conception either of the mass of the lost Arian literature exegetical 
and historical, as well as doctrinal and polemical or of its almost 
exclusive vogue for the time being throughout the East, and of the 
influence which, in a thousand indirect ways, it must have exerted 

Effects of Arian struggle 161 

upon Catholic writers of the next generations. Jerome, writing amid 
Syrian surroundings, would eagerly accept the there current presentation 
of the Alexandrine tradition, though his knowledge of the later facts 
caused him to throwback the dates from the known to the unknown, from 
Athanasius and Alexander to Dionysius and Heraclas. Of course there 
is no smoke without fire ; and presumably the Alexandrine presbyterate, 
in the generations immediately preceding the Council of Xicaea, must 
have possessed some unusual powers in the appointment of their 
patriarch. But it seems as likely that these were the powers which 
elsewhere belonged to the people as that they were the powers which 
elsewhere belonged to the bishops 

The explanation here offered would no doubt have to be disallowed, 
if it were true, as has sometimes been alleged, that Arianism all the world 
over stood for the rights of presbyters, while the cause of Athanasius was 
bound up with the aggrandisement of the episcopate. But the connexion 
was purely adventitious at Alexandria, or at any rate local, and the 
conditions did not reproduce themselves elsewhere. There is no reason 
at all to suppose any general alliance between presbyters and Arianism, 
or between the episcopate and orthodoxy: on the contrary, all the 
evidence goes to shew that in Syria and Asia Minor, and perhaps 
elsewhere, the bishops were less Catholic than their flocks. At Antioch, 
for instance, where Arian bishops were dominant during half a century, 
orthodox zeal was kept alive by the exertions of Flavian and Diodorus, 
originally as laymen, afterwards as priests. In so far as the doctrinal 
issue affected the development of organisation at all, it must on the 
whole, both because of the general confusion of discipline and also 
because of the ill repute which the tergiversations of so many bishops 
earned for their order, have enhanced the tendency towards the emanci- 
pation of presbyters from episcopal control. 

Whatever special conditions may have affected the course of develop- 
ment at Rome or Alexandria, it may be taken as generally true that, by 
the end of the fourth century the Christian presbyter's right to celebrate 
the Eucharist was coming to be regarded as inherent in his sacerdotium 
rather than as devolved upon him by the bishop. With this right went 
-also the right to be served by deacons as ministri or vTnyperat, and ulti- 
mately the right to preach. While the 18th canon of Nicaea still regards 
the deacons as ** ministers "of the bishop only, later in the fourth century 
the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions speaks of TTJS irpo? 
d/z,<oTpovs Sio/covtas, "their service to both bishops and priests," and 
Ambrosiaster is aghast at the audacity of trying to put presbyters and 
their servants on a par, "presbyteris ministros ipsorum pares facere." 
The right to preach had never been formally associated with any order of 
the Christian ministry: Ambrosiaster was certainly interpreting the 
documents on his own account, rather than recording tradition, when 
he asserts (in Eph. iv. 11, 12) "omnibus inter initia concessum est et 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VI. 11 

162 The Right of Preaching 

evangelizare et baptizare et scripturas in ecclesia explanare," but it is 
clear that in early times even a layman, like Origen, might at the 
bishop's request expound Scripture to the congregation. Nevertheless, 
though the right might be thus deputed, the sermon (o/uXui, fractal) was 
part of the Eucharistic service, and Justin Martyr no doubt describes 
the normal practice when he makes the president of the assembly in 
person expound and apply the lections just read from Prophets or 
Gospels. In the fourth century it was treated as axiomatic that the 
right to preach, as part of the liturgy, could not even be deputed save to 
those to whom could also be deputed the right to offer the Eucharist 
itself. It is true that in many parts of the West the archdeacon did 
compose and pronounce a solemn thanksgiving once a year, at the 
lighting of the Paschal candle on Easter Even : but even this extra- 
liturgical sermon de laudibus cerei was unknown at Rome, and Jerome, 
or whoever was the author of the letter addressed in 384 to a deacon of 
Piacenza (printed in the appendix to Vallarsi's edition), finds in it a gross 
violation of Church order, "tacente episcopo, et presbyteris quodam- 
modo in plebeium cultum redactis, levita loquitur docetque quod paene 
non didicit, et festivissimo praedicans tempore toto dehinc anno iusti- 
tium vocis eius indicitur." Even the rights of presbyters in this respect 
were inchoate and still strictly circumscribed. In the Eastern churches it 
was customary for some of them to preach in the presence of the bishop 
and for the bishop to preach after them : and Valerius of Hippo was 
consciously introducing an Eastern use into Africa he was himself 
a Greek, and therefore unable to speak fluently to his Latin flock when 
he commissioned his presbyter Augustine "against the custom of the 
African churches" to expound the Gospel and preach frequently in his 
presence. To Jerome, familiar with the Eastern custom, it was "pessimae 
consuetudinis" that in some (doubtless Western) churches presbyters 
kept silence in the presence of their bishop : their right to preach at- 
tached directly to the pastoral office which they held, according to 
him, in common with the bishop. 

But because presbyters might preach in the bishop's church, where 
he could note and correct at once any defects in their teaching, it does 
not necessarily follow that they might preach in the parish churches, 
and there does not seem to be any clear indication in the fourth and 
fifth centuries that they did in fact do so. For Rome indeed this is 
hardly surprising : we have seen how jealously parochial independence 
was there limited, and even at the bishop's mass, if we may believe 
the historian Sozomen, there were no sermons either by priest or bishop. 
In fact St Leo's sermons he became pope just about the time that Sozo- 
men published his Church History are the first of which we hear after 
Justin's time in Rome. But in Gaul too, and as late as the beginning 
of the sixth century, only the city priests, the priests, that is, who served 
in the bishop's church, had the right to preach : the second canon of the 

Bishops at Home and Abroad 163 

second Council of Vaison in 529 extends the right, apparently for the 
first time, to country parishes, "placuit ut non solum in civitatibus sed 
etiam in omnibus parrociis verbum faciendi daremus presbyteris potes- 
tatem" ; if the priest is at any time unable to preach through illness, the 
deacon is to read to the people "homilies of the holy fathers. 3 * 

It is perhaps surprising at first sight to find that in the fourth and 
fifth centuries presbyters are establishing a new independence in face of 
the bishop, rather than bishops exerting a new and stricter authority 
over presbyters. The conclusion has been reached by direct evidence ; 
but it is also the conclusion clearly indicated by the analogy of the 
whole upward movement which we have seen at work in respect both to 
the minor orders and to the diaconate. 

But if this movement exerted so powerful an influence on the one 
hand upon minor orders and diaconate, and on the other hand upon the 
priesthood, we could not expect that bishops should be exempt from it. 
How and where it led in their case it will be part of our business, in the 
second half of this chapter, to trace. It was outside their own borders 
that the bishops of the great churches were tempted to look for a wider 
field of activity and a more commanding position. Prom the very first 
the bishop of each community had represented it in its relation to other 
Christian communities, had been, so to say, its minister for foreign 
affairs. The Visions of Hermas were to be communicated to "the cities 
outside" by Clement, "for that function belongs to him," l/cetvco yap 
eTrirerpcwrrat. The complex developments of this function, from the 
second century to the fifth, must now engage our attention. 

(B) So far we have been dealing only with the internal development 
of the individual Christian community. But there is an external as well 
as an internal development to trace; the separate communities were 
always in intimate touch with one another, and the common feeling of 
the mass of them formed an authority which, from the beginning, the law 
of Christian brotherhood made supreme. " If one member suffer, all the 
members suffer," "we have no such custom, neither the churches of God : " 
the principles are laid down in our earliest Christian documents, and the 
organisation of the Catholic Church was an attempt to work them out 
in practice. No doubt the result only imperfectly embodied the idea, 
and in the process of translation into concrete form the means came 
sometimes to appear of more value than the end. 

The history of the second century shews how naturally the formal 
processes of federation grew out of what was at first the spontaneous 
response to the calls of membership of the great Society, the natural 
effort to express the reality of Christian union and fellowship. The 
Roman community, under the leadership of St Clement, writes a letter 
of expostulation when the traditions of stability and order are threatened 
by the dissensions between the Corinthian community and its presbyters, 

CH. VI. 

164 Local Councils 

St Ignatius addresses separate epistles to the churches of several cities in 
Asia Minor, on or near his road to Rome, exhorting them to hold fast 
to the traditional teaching and world- wide organisation of the Christian 
Society. The church of Smyrna announces to the church of Philomelium 
the martyrdom of its bishop Poylcarp: the churches of Lyons and 
Vienne send to their brethren in Asia and Phrygia an account of the 
great persecution of 177, and the confessors from the same cities 
intervene with Pope Eleutherus in favour of a sympathetic treatment of 
the Montanist movement. Correspondence was reinforced by personal 
intercourse : Polycarp journeyed to Rome to discuss the Easter difficulty 
with Pope Anicetus ; Hegesippus, Melito and Abercius travelled widely 
among different churches ; Clement of Alexandria had sat at the feet of 
half-a-dozen teachers. Never was the impulse to unity, the desire to 
test the doctrine of one church or of one teacher by its agreement with 
the doctrine of the rest, stronger than in the days when formal methods 
of arriving at the general sense of the scattered communities had not as 
yet been hammered out. The Christian statesmen of the age of the 
councils were only attempting to provide a more scientific means of 
attaining an end which was vividly before the minds of their pre- 
decessors in the sub-apostolic generations. 

The crucial step in the direction of organised action was taken when 
the bishops of neighbouring communities began to meet together for 
mutual counsel. Such owosoi or concilia were no doubt, in the first 
instance, called for specific purposes and at irregular times. Tertullian 
alludes to decisions of church councils unfavourable to the canonicity 
of the Shepherd of Hermas, and makes special mention on another 
occasion of councils in Greece : "ilia certis in locis concilia ex universis 
ecclesiis, per quae et altiora quaeque in commune tractantur, et ipsa 
repraesentatio totius nominis christiani magna veneratione celebratur." 
The earliest notice of separate councils held simultaneously to discuss 
a pressing problem of the day is also the earliest indication of the sort 
of area from which any one of such councils would naturally be drawn ; 
for when, about 196, tension became acute in regard to the attitude of 
the bishops of proconsular Asia, who refused to come into line with the 
Paschal observances of other churches, councils were held, as we learn 
from Eusebius, of the bishops in Palestine and in Pontus and in Gaul 
and in Osrhoene. During the course of the third century these local 
or provincial councils became more and more a regular and essential 
feature of church life and government. But there was as yet very 
little that was stereotyped about the system. It was Cyprian beyond 
all others who succeeded, during his brief ten years of episcopate, 248- 
258, in forging a very practical weapon for the needs of the time out 
of the conciliar movement : and of Cyprian's councils some represented 
(proconsular) Africa alone, some Africa and Numidia, some Africa, 
Numidia, and Mauretania combined; the meetings were more or less 

General Councils 165 

annual, but the extent of the area from which the bishops were 
summoned depended apparently upon the gravity of the business to 
be dealt with. Again, if the civil province was in ordinary cases the 
natural model to follow, there was no necessary dependence upon its 
boundary lines, where these were artificial or arbitrary. For reasons of 
State the senatorial province of proconsular Africa and the imperial 
province of Numidia were so arranged that the more civilised districts 
and the seaboard belonged to the one, the more backward interior to 
the other : but the Numidia of ecclesiastical organisation was the ethnic 
Numidia, the country of the Numidians, not the Numidia of political 
geography. Perhaps it was just for this reason, because ethnic and 
ecclesiastical Numidia was shared between two civil provinces, that in 
assemblies of the Numidian bishops the president was not, as elsewhere, 
the bishop of the capital or /^rpoTroAis of the province, but the bishop 
senior by consecration. 

Not the least important result of the new direction given by 
Constantine to the relations of Church and State was the authorisation 
and encouragement of episcopal assemblies on a larger scale than had 
in earlier days been possible. Where difficulties, disciplinary or doctrinal, 
proved beyond the power of local effort to resolve, councils were planned 
of a more than provincial type. The Council of Aries in 314 was a " gen- 
eral council," concilium plenarium, of the Western Church, summoned by 
Constantine as lord of the Western Empire, to terminate the quarrel in 
Africa between the partisans of Caecilian and the partisans of Donatus. 
Judgment went in favour of Caecilian, whose party, because they alone 
now remained in communion with the churches outside Africa, were 
henceforward the Catholics, while the others became a sect known after 
the name of their leader as the Donatists. The dispute between 
Alexander and Arius at Alexandria was in its beginning as purely 
local as that between Caecilian and Donatus, but the issue soon came to 
involve the comparison of the fundamental theologies of the two great 
rival schools of Alexandria and Antioch. From a council such as Aries it 
was but a step to the conception of a general council of the whole 
Church, where bishops from all over the world should meet for com- 
parison of the forms which the Christian tradition had taken in their 
respective communities, for open ventilation of points of controversy, 
and for the removal of misunderstanding by personal intercourse. 
Constantine, now master of an undivided empire, organised the first 
oecumenical council at Nicaea in 325. The great experiment was not 
an immediate success : the Nicene council rather opened than closed the 
history of Arianism on the larger stage, and it was not till after the lapse 
of half a century that wisdom was seen to be justified of its works, though 
the very keenness of the struggle made the long delayed and hardly won 
triumph more complete in the end. No council ever fastened its hold 
on Christian imagination in quite the same way as the Council of Nicaea. 

CH. VI. 

166 Surfeit of Councils 

Not that there was ever any quarrel between the supporters and the 
opponents of the Homoousion as to the Tightness of the procedure which 
had been called into being. The weapons with which the council and 
the creed were fought were rival councils and rival creeds : the verdict 
of the court was to be set aside by renewed trials and multiplied appeals 
in the hope of modifying somehow the original judgment. Of all these sup- 
plementary councils none was strictly general, though on three occasions 
at Sardica and Philippopolis in 343, at Ariminum and Seleucia in 359, 
at Aquileia and Constantinople in 381 councils representing separately 
the Greek and the Latin episcopate were held more or less at the same 
time in East and West. Others, like that of Sirmium in 351, were 
held, wherever the emperor happened to be in residence, by the bishops 
attached at the moment to the court, the <m/oSos cvS^owa as it was 
later called at Constantinople : others again were local and provincial. 
The atmosphere of Rome was never perhaps quite congenial to councils : 
yet even the Roman Church was swept into the movement, and the 
pronouncements of Pope Damasus (366-384) came before the world 
under the guise of conciliar decisions. 

The experience of the fifty years that followed the Council of Tyre 
in 335 taught the lesson that it was possible to have too much even 
of a good thing. Pagan historian and Christian saint from different 
starting-points arrived at the same conclusion. Ammianus Marcellinus, 
criticising the character and career of the Emperor Constantius, noted 
caustically that he threw the coaching system quite out of gear because 
so many of the relays were employed in conveying bishops to and from 
their councils, "per synodos quas appellant," at the expense of the State. 
And Gregory of Nazianzus, in the year 382, refused to obey the summons 
to a new council, because, he says, he never saw "any good end to 
a council nor any remedy of evils, but rather an addition of more evil 
as its result. There are always contentions and strivings for dominion 
beyond what words can describe." 

Perhaps it was partly by a natural reaction against councils, in those 
districts especially where they had followed most quickly upon one 
another, that the tendency to aggrandise the important sees at the 
expense of other bishops and at the expense therefore of the conciliar 
movement, since in a council all bishops had an equal vote seems 
about this time to take a sudden leap forward. Valens the Arian and 
Theodosius the Catholic alike made communion with some leading bishop 
the test of orthodoxy for other bishops. A first edict of Theodosius on 
his way from the West to take up the Eastern Empire in 380 expresses 
Western conceptions by naming in this connexion only Damasus of Rome 
and Peter of Alexandria : a later edict from Constantinople in 381 places 
Nectariusof Constantinople before Timothy of Alexandria, and adds half- 
a-dozen bishops in Asia Minor and a couple in the Danube lands as 
centres of communion for their respective districts. 

Equality of Bishops 167 

Here then we must pause for a moment to take into account the second 
main element in the history of the federation of the Christian churches. 
Every federation has to face this primary problem the reconcilia- 
tion of the equal rights of all participating bodies with the proportional 
rights of each according to their greater or less importance. The 
difficulty which modern constitutions have tried to solve by the ex- 
pedient of a dual organisation, the one part of it giving to all 
constituent units an equal representation, the other part of it a 
proportionate representation according to population (or whatever 
other criterion of value may be selected), was a difficulty which lay 
also before the early Church. The unit of the Christian federation 
was the community, whose growth and development is described in 
the first half of this chapter; and that description has shewn us that 
the necessary and only conceivable representative of the individual 
community was its bishop. But some communities were small and 
insignificant and unknown in history, others were larger in numbers, 
or more potent in influence, or more venerable in traditions : were the 
bishops of these diverse communities all to enjoy equal weight ? 

Such a question was no doubt not consciously put until the scientific 
and reflective period of Christian thought began, nor before the complex 
process of federation was approaching completeness : that is to say, not 
before the end of the fourth century. But in so far as it was put, it 
could receive but one answer. In the theory of Christian writers from 
St Irenaeus and St Cyprian onwards, all bishops were equal, for they 
were all appointed to the same order and invested with the same powers, 
whether the sphere in which they exercised them were great or small; 
and this theory was given its sharpest expression in Jerome's assertion (in 
the same 146th letter) that the bishop of Gubbio had the same dignity as 
the bishop of Rome, seeing that both were equally successors of the 
Apostles, "ubicumque fuerit episcopus, sive Romae sive Eugubii, sive 
Constantinopoli sive Rhegii sive Alexandriae sive Tanis, eiusdem meriti 
eiusdem est sacerdotii . . . omnes apostolorum successores sunt." But in fact, 
and side by side with the fullest recognition of this theoretical equality, 
the bishops of the greater or more important churches were recognised, as 
the rules of the federation were gradually crystallised, to hold positions 
of privilege, so that the ministry of the Church came to consist not only of 
a hierarchy within each local community, at the head of which stood the 
bishop, but of a further hierarchy among the bishops themselves, at the 
head of which, in some sense, stood the bishop of Rome. The first steps 
towards such a hierarchy were on the one hand the traditional influence 
and privileges which had grown up unnoticed round the greater sees, and 
on the other hand the position acquired by metropolitans in the working 
out of the provincial system. 

The canons of the same councils which first provide for regular 
meetings of the bishops of each iTrap^ta or province, reveal also the 

CH. VI. 

168 Superiority of Metropolitans 

rapid aggrandisement of the pyTpoTroXiTys, or bishop of the metropolis, 
who presided over them. If at Nieaea the "commonwealth of bishops," 
TO KOIVOV ruv evicTKoirtav, is the authority according to one canon, by 
another the "ratification of the proceedings " belongs to the metropolitan. 
The canons of Antioch, sixteen years later, lay it down that the com- 
pleteness of a synod consists in the presence of the metropolitan, and, 
while he is not to act without the rest, they in turn must recognise that 
the care of the province is committed to him and must be content to 
take no step of any sort outside their own diocese apart from him. 
Traditional sanction is already claimed for these prerogatives of the 
metropolitan they are "according to the ancient and still governing 
canon of the fathers." 

Things were not so far advanced in this direction, it is true, in the 
West. At any point in the first five centuries the Latin Church lagged 
far behind the pitch of development attained by its Greek contemporaries. 
Christianity had had a century's start in the East, and at the conversion 
of Constantine it is probable that if the proportion of Christians in the 
whole population was a half, or nearly a half, among Greek-speaking 
peoples, it was not more than a fifth, in many parts not more than 
a tenth, in the West. The Latin canons of Sardica in 343 shew how 
little was as yet known of metropolitans. Although many of the enact- 
ments deal with questions of jurisdiction and judicature, the bishop of 
the metropolis is mentioned only once, and then in general terms, 
"coepiscopum nostrum qui in maxima civitate, id est metropoli, con- 
sistit." The name "metropolitan" is as foreign to these canons as to the 
earliest versions of the Nicene canons, where we meet with just the same 
paraphrases, "qui in metropoli sit constitutus," "qui in ampliori civitate 
provinciae videtur esse constitutus, id est in metropoli." 

With this backwardness of development among the Latins went also 
a much smaller degree of subservience to the State : and it resulted from 
these two causes combined that their church organisation in the fourth and 
fifth centuries reflected the civil polity much less closely than was the 
case in the East. The "province" of the Nicene or Antiochene canons 
is the civil province, its metropolitan is the bishop of the civil metropolis, 
and it is assumed that every civil province formed also a separate 
ecclesiastical unit. It followed logically that the division of a civil 
province involved division of the ecclesiastical province as well. When the 
Arian emperor Valens, about 372, divided Cappadocia into Prima and 
Secunda, it was with the particular object of annoying the metropolitan 
of Caesarea, St Basil, and of diminishing the extent of his jurisdiction 
by raising Anthimus of Tyana to metropolitan rank ; and though Basil 
resisted, Anthimus succeeded in the end in establishing his claim. 
Before the end of the fourth century not only every province but every 
group of provinces formed an ecclesiastical as well as a civil unit : the 
provinces of the Roman Empire had by subdivision become so numerous 

East and West 169 

that Diocletian had grouped them into some dozen 3toi/cj?ors or dioeceses 
with an exarch at the head of each, and the Council of Constantinople 
in 381 forbids the bishops of one dioecese or exarchate to interfere 
with the affairs of "the churches beyond their borders, " So wholly 
modelled upon civil lines was the ecclesiastical organisation throughout 
the East, that in the middle of the fifth century the canons of Chalcedon 
assume an absolute correspondence of the one with the other. Every 
place which by imperial edict might be raised to the rank of a city, 
gained ipso facto the right to a bishop (canon 17). Every division for 
ecclesiastical purposes of a province which remained for civil purposes 
undivided was null and void even if backed up by an imperial edict 
the "real" metropolis being alone entitled to a metropolitan (canon 
12). Civil and public lines must be followed in the arrangement of 

ecclesiastical boundaries, TOIS TTO\LTLKOL^ Kal S^juxxr/ots TVTTOLS /cat ru>v 

This conception summed itself up in the claim put forward on 
behalf of the see of Constantinople at the councils of 381 and 451. 
The bishops of these councils, deferring, perhaps not unwillingly, to the 
pressure of the local authorities, civil and ecclesiastical, gave to the 
bishop of Constantinople the next place after the bishop of Rome, on 
the ground that Constantinople was "New Rome," and that "the fathers 
had assigned precedence to the throne of Old Rome because it was the 
Imperial City." 

Nothing was better calculated than such a claim to bring out the 
latent divergences of East and West. Both in Church and State the 
rift between the Latin and the Hellenic element had begun to widen 
perceptibly during the course of the fourth century. Diocletian's- 
drastic reorganisation of the Imperial government gave the first 
official recognition to the bipartite nature of the Roman realm, and 
after the death of Julian in 363 the two halves of the Empire, though 
they lived under the same laws, obeyed with rare and brief exceptions 
separate masters. Parallel tendencies in the ecclesiastical world were 
working to the surface about the same time. The Latinisation of the 
Western Churches was complete before Constantine : no longer clothed 
in the medium of a common language, the ideas and interests of Latin- 
speaking and Greek-speaking communities grew unconsciously apart. 
The rival ambitions of Rome and Constantinople expressed this 
antinomy in its acutest form. 

The right of the civil government to be in its own sphere the 
accredited representative of Divine power on earth, the duty of the 
Christian Society to preserve at all costs its separateness and inde- 
pendence as the salt of mankind, the city set upon a hill these were 
fundamental principles which could both appeal to the sanction of the 
Christian Scriptures. To hold the balance evenly between them has 
been, through the long centuries since Christianity began to play 

CH. VI. 

170 Church and State 

a leading part upon the political stage, the worthy task of philosophers 
and statesmen. That one scale should outweigh the other was perhaps 
inevitable in the first attempts, and it was at least instructive for future 
generations that the experiment of an over-strained allegiance to each 
of the two theories should have been given full trial in one part or 
another of Christendom 

To Byzantine churchmen the vision of the Christian State and the 
Christian Emperor proved so dazzling that they transferred to them 
something of the religious awe with which their ancestors had venerated 
the genius of Rome and Augustus. The memory of Constantine was 
honoured as of an to-aTrocrroAos, a "thirteenth apostle." The resentment 
of the native Monophysite churches of Syria and Egypt against such of 
their fellow-countrymen as remained in communion with Constantinople 
concentrated itself in the scornful epithet of Melkite or "King's man." 

The Latins were more moved by the sentiment of the Roman name, 
and less by its incarnation in the Emperor. As Romans and Roman 
citizens, they felt the majesty of the Roman Respublica to attach to 
place even more than to person. If Rome was no longer the abode of 
emperors, it was in their eyes not Rome but emperors who lost thereby. 
The event which stirred men in the West to the depths of their being 
was not the conversion of Constantine but the fall of Rome. When 
Alaric led his Goths to the storm of the City in 410, there seemed to be 
need for a new theory of life and for revision of first principles. The 
great occasion was greatly met St Augustine wrote his twenty-two 
books de Civitate Dei to answer the obvious objection that Rome, 
inviolate under her ancestral gods, perished only when she turned to 
Christ. True it was that the City of the World had fallen : but it had 
fallen in the Divine providence, when the times were ripe for a new and 
higher order of things to take its place. The reign of the City of God 
had been ushered in. 

It was a natural corollary of the principles of Western churchmen 
that the Divine Society could not possibly be bound to imitate the 
organisation of the earthly society which it was to supplant. Pope 
Innocent, in direct opposition to the practice of the East, wrote to 
Alexander of Antioch in 415 that the civil division of a province ought 
not to carry ecclesiastical division with it ; the world might change, not 
so the Church, and therefore it was not fitting " ad mobilitatem necessi- 
tatum mundanarum Dei ecclesiam commutari." Pope Leo refused his 
assent to the so-called 28th "canon" of Chalcedon, not merely as an 
innovation, but because its deduction of the ecclesiastical primacy of 
Rome from her civil position was quite inconsistent with the doctrine 
cherished by the popes upon the subject since at least the days of 

Here then we have a bifurcation of Eastern and Western ideas, 
leading to a clear-cut issue, in which both sides appealed to the truth of 

The Three Great Sees 171 

facts. Which ol them represented the genuine Christian tradition? 
Certainly the case of provincial organisation favoured the Eastern view, 
for it was taken over bodily from the State. But then it was relatively 
modern ; a far higher antiquity attached to the privileged position of 
the greater sees, and it was upon the origin and history of their 
privileges that the answer really turned. 

Of course there never had been a time when some churches had not 
stood out above the rest, and the bishops of those churches above other 
bishops. The Council of Nicaea, side by side with the canons that 
prescribed the normal organisation by provinces and metropolitans, 
recognised at the same time certain exceptional prerogatives as 
guaranteed by "ancient custom," ra apxatd #77. In Egypt especially, 
Alexandria eclipsed its neighbour cities to a degree unparalleled 
elsewhere in the East; and while it might not have been easy to 
sanction the authority, Qo-vcria, of the Alexandrine bishop over the 
whole of "Egypt Libya and Pentapolis," if it had been quite unique in 
its extent, the Nicene fathers could shelter themselves under the plea 
that "the same thing is customary at Rome " A gloss in an early Latin 
version of the canons interprets the Roman parallel to consist in the 
"care of the suburbicarian churches," that is to say, the churches of the 
ten provinces of the Vicariate of Rome central and southern Italy with 
the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Over these wider districts the Roman 
and Alexandrine popes respectively exercised direct jurisdiction, to the 
exclusion in either case of the ordinary powers of metropolitans. The 
further prescription of the Nicene canon that "in the case of Antioch 
and in the other provinces" the churches were to keep their privileges, 
ra Trpcor^eta, was understood by Pope Innocent to cover similar direct 
jurisdiction of Alexander of Antioch over Cyprus ; and a version of the 
canons "transcribed at Rome from the copies*' of the same pope defines 
the sphere of Antioch as "the whole of Coele-Syria." 

What was it then that had given these three churches of Rome, 
Alexandria, and Antioch the special position to the antiquity of which 
the Nicene council witnesses? Roman theologians from Damasus 
onwards would have answered unhesitatingly that the motive was 
deference to the Prince of the Apostles, who had founded the churches 
of Rome and Antioch himself, and the church of Alexandria through 
his disciple Mark. But this answer is open to two fatal retorts : it does 
not explain why Alexandria, the see of the disciple, should rank above 
Antioch, a see of the master, and it does not explain why our earliest 
authorities, both Roman and non-Roman, so persistently couple the 
name of St Paul with the name of St Peter as joint patron of the Roman 
Church. Cyprian is the first writer to talk of the "chair of Peter" only. 

Therefore we are driven back upon the secular prominence of the 
three cities as the obvious explanation of their ecclesiastical dignity. 
Yet if the appeal to history of the two councils which elevated 


172 Roman Tradition before Damasus 

Constantinople to the second place was thus not without a large 
measure of justification, their bald expression of Byzantine theory does 
not really, any better than the contemporary Roman view, cover the 
whole of the facts. If rank and influence in the ecclesiastical sphere 
depended, more than on anything else, on rank and influence in the 
civil sphere, it did not depend on it entirely. The personality and 
memory of great churchmen went for something. Carthage was no 
doubt the civil capital of the dioecese of Africa, and Milan of the 
dioecese of Italy: but it would be rash to assert that the inheritance 
which St Cyprian left to Carthage and St Ambrose to Milan was quite 
worthless or ephemeral. And if this was true of the great bishops of 
the third and fourth centuries, it was still more true of the apostles 
whom the whole Church united in venerating. Legends of apostolic 
foundation were often baseless enough, but their very frequency testified 
to the value set upon the thing claimed. Throughout the course of the 
long struggle with Gnosticism, the teaching of the apostles was the 
unvarying standard of Christian appeal : and evidence of that teaching 
was found not only in the written Creed and Scriptures but in the 
unwritten tradition of the churches and episcopal successions founded 
by apostles. " Percurre ecclesias apostolicas " cries Tertullian confidently 
to his adversary: "habemus adnumerare eos qui ab apostolis insti- 
tuti sunt episcopi in ecclesiis et successiones eorum usque ad nos" is 
Irenaeus' rendering of the same argument. And both the Gallican and 
the African writer go on to select among apostolic churches the church 
of Rome "ista quam felix ecclesia," "maximae et antiquissimae et 
omnibus cognitae ecclesiae traditionem et fidem" as for themselves 
the obvious witness of this teaching. From the second century 
onwards a catena of testimony makes and acknowledges the claim of 
the Roman Church to be, through its connexion with St Peter and St Paul, 
in a special sense the depository and guardian of an apostolic tradition, 
a type and model for other churches. 

The pontificate of Damasus (366-384) has been more than once 
mentioned in the preceding pages as the period of the first definite 
self-expression of the papacy. The continuous history of Latin 
Christian literature does not commence till after the middle of the 
fourth century ; the dogmatic and exegetical writings of Hilary in Gaul 
(c. 355) and Marius Victorinus in Rome (c. 360) are the first factors in 
a henceforward unbroken series. On the beginnings of this new literary 
development followed quickly the movement, of which we have already 
noticed symptoms in other directions, for interpreting existing conditions 
and constructing out of them a coherent and scientific scheme. These 
conditions had grown up gradually, naturally, and almost at haphazard : 
it now seemed time to try to put them on to a firm theological basis, 
and in the process much that had been fluid, immature, tentative, was 
crystallised into a hard and fast system. It fell to the able and 

Roman Theory under Damasus 173 

masterful Damasus, in the last years of a long life and a troubled 
pontificate, to attempt what his predecessors had not yet attempted, 
and to formulate in brief and incisive terms the doctrine of Rome upon 
Creed and Bible and Pope. A council of 378 or 379, after reciting the 
Nicene symbol, laid down the sober lines of Catholic theology as against 
the various forms of one-sided speculation, Eunomian and Macedonian, 
Photinian and Apollinarian, to which the confusions of the half-century 
since Nicaea had given birth; and the East could do no better than 
accept the Tome of Damasus, as seventy years later it accepted the Tome 
of Leo. Another council in 382 published the first official Canon 
of Scripture in the West the influence of Jerome, at that time papal 
secretary, is traceable in it and the first official definition of papal claims. 
Roman primacy ("ceteris ecclesiis praelata," "primatum obtinuit") 
is grounded, with obvious reference to the vote of the council of 381 in 
favour of Constantinople, on "no synodal decisions" but directly on the 
promise of Christ to Peter recorded in the Gospel. Respect for Roman 
tradition imposes next a mention of "the fellowship of the most blessed 
Paul" ; but the dominant motif reappears in the concluding paragraph, 
and the three sees whose prerogative was recognised at Nicaea are 
transformed into a Petrine hierarchy with its "prima sedes" at Rome, 
its "secunda sedes" at Alexandria, and its "tertia sedes" at x\ntioch. 
St Augustine's theory of the Civitas Dei was, in germ, that of the 
medieval papacy, without the name of Rome. In Rome itself it was 
easy to supply the insertion, and to conceive of a dominion still 
wielded from the ancient seat of government, as world-wide and almost 
as authoritative as that of the Empire. The inheritance of the imperial 
traditions of Rome, left begging by the withdrawal of the secular 
monarch, fell as it were into the lap of the Christian bishop. In 
this connexion it is a significant coincidence that the first description 
which history has preserved to us of the outward habit of life of a Roman 
pontiff belongs to the same period, probably to the same pope, as the 
formulation of the claim to spiritual lordship. Ammianus was a pagan, 
but not a bigoted one. He professes, and we need not doubt that he felt, 
a genuine respect for simple provincial bishops, whose plain living and 
modest exterior "commended them to the Deity and His true worship- 
pers." But the atmosphere of the capital, the "ostentatio rerum 
Urbanarum," was fatal to unworldliness in religion. After relating 
that in the year 366 one hundred and thirty-seven corpses were counted 
at the end of the day in the Liberian basilica, on the occasion of the 
fight between the opposing factions of Damasus and Ursinus, the 
historian grimly adds that the prize was one which candidates might 
naturally count it worth any effort to obtain, seeing that an ample 
revenue, showered on the Roman bishop by the piety of Roman ladies, 
enabled him to dress like a gentleman, to ride in his own carriage, 
and to give dinner-parties not less well appointed than the Caesar's. 

CH. VI. 

174 Rise of Jerusalem 

Some forty or fifty years after Damasus the Roman author of the 
original form of the so-called Isidorian collection of canons, incorporating 
in his preface the substance of the Damasine definition on the subject of 
the three Petrine sees, adds to Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch mention 
also of the honour paid, for the sake of James the brother of the Lord 
and of John the apostle and evangelist, to the bishops of Jerusalem and 
Ephesus. Mere veneration of the "pillars" of the apostolic Church is 
not enough to account for this modification of the original triad ; the 
reasons must be sought in the circumstances of the day. If Ephesus is 
said to " have a more honourable place in synod than other metropolitans," 
it may be merely that Ephesus, the most distinguished church of those 
over which Constantinople, from the time of St John Chrysostom, 
asserted jurisdiction, was a convenient stalking-horse for the movement 
of resistance to Constantinopolitan claims ; but it is also possible that 
the phrase was penned after the oecumenical Council of Ephesus in 
431, where Memnon of Ephesus was seated next after the bishops of 
Alexandria and Jerusalem. If the bishop of Jerusalem is "accounted 
honourable by all for the reverence due to so hallowed a spot," and 
nevertheless "the first throne," sedes prima, "was never by the ancient 
definition of the fathers reckoned to Jerusalem, lest it should be 
thought that the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ was on earth and not 
in heaven," we cannot help suspecting that at the back of the writer's 
mind hovers an uneasy consciousness that the apostolic traditions of 
Rome, which were so readily brought into play against Constantinople, 
might find an inconvenient rival in Jerusalem. Not that at Jerusalem, 
apart from a certain emphasis on the position of James the Lord's 
brother, there was ever any conscious competition, with Rome : but it 
was true that, about the time that this canonical collection was published, 
the see of Jerusalem was just pushing a campaign of aggrandisement, 
carried on for over a century, to a triumphant conclusion. 

The claims of Jerusalem were comparatively modest at the start, 
and it did not occur to Damasus for instance that they need be taken 
into serious consideration. Two initial difficulties hampered their early 
course. Although Jerusalem was the mother church of Christendom, 
and the home and centre of the first apostolic preaching, Aelia 
Capitolina, the Gentile city founded by Hadrian, had no real continuity 
with the Jewish city on the ruins of which it rose. The church of 
Jerusalem had been a church of Jewish Christians, the church of Aelia 
was a church of Gentile Christians, and for a couple of generations too 
obscure to have any history. A probably spurious list of bishops is all 
the record that survives of it before the third century. Then came the 
taste for pilgrimages in A.D. 333 a pilgrim made the journey all the 
way from Bordeaux and the growing cult of the Holy Places : Jerusalem 
was the scene of the most sacred of Christian memories, and locally at 
any rate Aelia was Jerusalem. From the time of Constantine onwards 

Contentions for higher place 175 

the identification was complete. The second difficulty was of a less 
archaic kind, and took longer to circumvent Aelia-Jerusalem did not 
even dominate its own district, but was quite outshone by its near 
neighbour at Caesarea. Politically Caesarea was capital of the province : 
ecclesiastically it was the home of the teaching and the library of 
Origen, and the Origenian tradition was kept alive by Famphilus the 
confessor and by Eusebius, bishop of the church at the time of the Nicene 
council. It was hardly likely that the council would do anything 
derogatory to the friend of Constantine, the most learned ecclesiastic 
of the age : and in fact all the satisfaction that the bishop of Jerusalem 
obtained at Nicaea was the apparent right to rank as the first of the 
suffragans of the province like Autun in the province of Lyons, 
or London in the province of Canterbury. Local patriotism felt the sop 
thus thrown to it to be quite unsatisfying, and for a hundred years the 
sordid strife "for the first place/* irepl TrpwreiW as Theodoret calls it, 
went on between the bishop of Jerusalem and the bishop of Caesarea. 
In the confusion of the doctrinal struggle it was easy enough for an 
orthodox bishop to refuse allegiance to an Arianising metropolitan: 
and Caesarea being in close relations with Antioch, it was natural for 
the bishops of Jerusalem to turn to their neighbours at Alexandria, nor, 
we may suppose, was Alexandria disinclined to favour encroachment 
upon the territory of its Antiochene rival. Western churchmen, with 
their profound belief in the finality of every decision of Nicaea, looked 
coldly on the movement, and it is one of the counts in Jerome's 
catalogue of grievances against John of Jerusalem. But at the first 
Council of Ephesus, with Cyril of Alexandria in the chair and John of 
Antioch absent, Juvenal of Jerusalem secured the second place, though 
he still failed to abrogate the metropolitical rights of Caesarea. At the 
Latrocinium of Ephesus in 449, again under Alexandrine presidency, he 
managed to sit even above Domnus of Antioch. The business of the 
Council of Chalcedon was to reverse the proceedings of the Latrocinium, 
and it might have been anticipated that with the eclipse of Alexandrine 
influence the fortunes of Jerusalem would also suffer. But a timely 
tergiversation on the doctrinal issue saved something for Juvenal and 
his see : the council decreed a partition of patriarchal rights over the 
"East" between the churches of Antioch and Jerusalem. 

Very similar were the proceedings which established the "auto- 
cephalous" character of the island church of Cyprus. The Cypriots 
too began by renouncing the communion of the Arian bishops of 
Antioch: they too espoused the cause of Cyril against John at the 
Council of Ephesus, and were rewarded accordingly : and just as the 
Empress Helena's discovery of the Cross served the claims of the church of 
Jerusalem, so the discovery of the coffin containing the body of Barnabas 
the Cypriot, with the autograph of St Matthew's Gospel, was held to 
demonstrate finally the right of the Cypriots to ecclesiastical isolation. 

CH. VI. 

176 Solid work of Councils 

With this evidence before us, it is hard to deny that the history of 
the generations which first experienced the "fatal gift" of Constantine 
supplied only too good ground for St Gregory's complaint of contentions 
and strivings for dominion among Christian bishops But though these 
contentions disturbed the work of councils, councils did not create them 
and Gregory was hardly fair if he laid on councils the responsibility for 
them : rather, in this direction lay the remedy and counterpoise, seeing 
that councils represented the parliamentary and democratic side of church 
government stood, that is to say, in idea at least, for free and open 
discussion as against the untrammelled decrees of authority, and for the 
equality of churches as against the preponderance of metropolitan or 
patriarch or pope. No more grandiloquent utterance of these principles 
could indeed possibly be found than the words with which the Council of 
Ephesus concludes its examination of the Cypriot claim. "Let none of 
the most reverend bishops annex a province which has not been from 
the first under the jurisdiction of himself and his predecessors; and 
so the canons of the fathers shall not be overstepped, nor pride of 
worldly power creep in under the guise of priesthood, nor we lose little 
by little, without knowing it, that freedom which our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Liberator of all men, purchased for us with his blood." 

And councils really were, at any rate in two main departments of 
their activity, the organ through which the mind of the federated Chris- 
tian communities did arrive at some definite and lasting self-expres- 
sion, namely in the Creed and in the Canon Law. In both directions, it 
is true, East and West moved only a certain part of the way together : 
in both too, while the impulse was given by councils, the influence of 
the great churches added something to the completeness of the work : 
in the case of the Creed, what became a universal usage in the liturgy 
was at first only a usage of Antioch and Constantinople ; in the case of 
the Canon Law the collective decisions of councils were supplemented 
by the individual judgments of popes or doctors before the corpus of 
either Western or Eastern Law was complete. Nevertheless it remains 
the fact that it was from and out of the conciliar movement that 
Church Law, as such, came into being at all ; that the canons of certain 
fourth and fifth century councils are the only part of this Law common 
to both East and West ; and that again the only common formulation 
of Christian doctrine was also the joint work of councils, which for 
that very reason enjoy the name of oecumenical, Nicaea, Constantinople, 
and Chalcedon. 

1. The origins of the Christian Creed or Symbolum are lost in the 
obscurity which hangs over the sub-apostolic age. We know it first in 
a completed form as used in the Roman church about the middle of the 
second century. Prom Rome it spread through the West, taking the 
shape ultimately of our Apostles* Creed; and one view of its history 
would make this Roman Creed the source of all Eastern Creeds as well. 

Councils and the Creed 177 

But a summary statement of Christian belief for the use of catechumens 
must have been wanted from very early times, and it is possible that what 
St Paul "handed over at the first" to his Corinthian converts (1 Cor. 
xv 3) was nothing else than a primitive form of the Creed. Anyhow, 
from whatever source it was derived, a common nucleus was expanded 
or modified to meet the needs of different churches and different genera- 
tions, so that a family likeness existed between all early Creeds, but 
identity between none of them. 

At the Council of Nicaea the Creed was for the first time given an 
official and authoritative form, and was at the same time put to a novel 
use. The baptismal Creed of the church of Palestinian Caesarea, itself 
a much more technically theological document than any corresponding 
Creed in the West, was propounded by Eusebius : out of this Creed the 
Council constructed its own confession of faith, no longer for baptismal 
and general use, but as the "form of sound words" by acceptance of 
which the bishops of the churches throughout the world were to exclude 
the Arian conception of Christianity. The example of the Creed of 
Nicaea on the orthodox side was followed in the next generation by 
numerous conciliar formularies expressing one shade or another of 
opposing belief. When the Nicene cause finally triumphed, the Nicene 
Creed was received all the world over as the expression of the Catholic 
Faith; and the Council of Ephesus condemned as derogatory to it the 
composition of any new formula, however orthodox. 

The Council of Ephesus represented the Alexandrine position : at , 
Constantinople, however, a new Creed was already in use, which was 
like enough to the Nicene Creed to pass as an expanded form of it, and was 
destined in the end to annex both its name and fame. This Creed of 
Constantinople had been developed out of some older Creed, probably 
that of Jerusalem, by the help of the test phrases of the Nicaenum, and 
of further phrases aimed at the opposite heresies of the semi-Sabellian 
Marcellus and the semi-Arian Macedonius. It may be supposed that 
this Creed had been laid before the fathers of the council of 381 : 
for at the Council of Chalcedon, where of course Constantinopolitan 
influences were dominant, it was recited as the Creed of the 150 fathers 
of Constantinople, on practically equal terms with the Creed of the 318 
fathers of Nicaea. In another fifty years the two Creeds were beginning 
to be hopelessly confused, at least in the sphere of Constantinople, and 
the Constantinopolitanwn was introduced into the liturgy as the actual 
Creed of Nicaea. In the course of the sixth century it became not only 
the liturgical but also the baptismal Creed throughout the East. In 
the West it never superseded the older baptismal Creeds except 
apparently for a time under Byzantine influence in Rome but as 
a liturgical Creed it was adopted in Spain on the occasion of the 
conversion of King Reccared and his Arian Visigoths in 589, and spread 
thence in the course of time through Gaul and Germany to Rome, 

C. MED. H. VOL I. CH. VI. 12 

178 Origins of Church Law 

2. Canon Law, even more clearly than the Creed, owed its develop- 
ment to the work of councils. 

The conception of a Church Law, ius ecclesiasticum, ius canonicum, 
was not matured till the fourth century, and then largely as a result of 
the new position of the Church in relation to the State, and in conscious 
or unconscious imitation of the Civil Law. Down to the close of the 
era of persecutions the discipline of the Church was administered under 
consensual jurisdiction without any written code other than the Scrip- 
tures, in general subordination to the unwritten KO.V&V or regula, the 
"rule of truth," "the ecclesiastical tradition." Primitive books like the 
Didascalia Apostolorum and the Apostolic Church Order give us a naive 
picture of the unfettered action of the bishop as judge with his presbyters 
as assessors But as time went on the questions to be dealt with grew 
more and more complex ; it became no longer possible to keep the world 
at arm's length, and the relations of Christians with the heathen society 
round them required an increasingly delicate adjustment ; the simplicity 
of the rigorist discipline, by which in the second century all sins of 
idolatry, murder, fraud, and unchastity were visited with lifelong 
exclusion from communion, yielded at one point after another to the 
demands of Christian charity and to the need of distinctions between case 
and case. The problem became pressing when the persecution of Decius 
suddenly broke up the long peace, and multitudes of professing 
Christians were tempted or driven to a momentary apostasy. The 
Novatianist minority seceded rather than hold out to these unwilling 
idolaters the hope of any readmission to the sacraments : the Church 
was forced to face the situation, and it was obviously undesirable that 
individual bishops should adjudicate upon similar circumstances in 
wholly different ways. -It was here that St Cyprian struck out his 
successful line : his first councils were called to deal with the dis- 
organisation which the persecution left behind it, and the bishops at 
least of Africa were induced to agree upon a common policy worked out 
on a uniform scale of treatment. 

There is, however, nothing to shew that at Cyprian's councils any 
canons were committed to writing, to serve as a permanent standard 
of church discipline. That crucial step was only taken fifty years 
later, as the persecution initiated by Diocletian relaxed and the bishops 
of various localities could meet to take common counsel for the repair 
of moral and material damage. During the decade 305-315 the 
bishops of Spain met at Elvira, the bishops of Asia Minor at Ancyra 
and at Neocaesarea, the Western bishops generally at Aries ; and the 
codes of these four councils are the earliest material preserved in later 
Canon Law. 

The decisions of such councils had however no currency, in the first 
instance, outside their own localities, and even the Council of Aries was a 
concilium plenarium only of the West ; but the feeling was already gaining 

Universal Church Law 179 

strength, and it was quite in accordance with the ecclesiastical policy of 
Constantine, that uniformity was desirable even in many matters where 
it was not essential, and an oecumenical council offered unique oppor- 
tunities of arriving at a common understanding So we find the Council 
of Nicaea issuing, side by side with its doctrinal definition, a series of 
disciplinary regulations, among which are incorporated, often in a greatly 
modified form, some canons of the Eastern Council of Ancyra and some 
canons of the Western Council of Aries. 

These Nicene canons are the earliest code that can be called Canon 
Law of the whole Church, and at least in the West they enjoyed 
something like the same finality in the realm of discipline that the 
Nicene Creed enjoyed in the realm of doctrine. * fc Other canon than the 
Nicene canons the Roman church receives not," "the Nicene canons alone 
is the Catholic Church bound to recognise and to follow," writes 
Innocent of Rome in the cause of St Chrysostom. Leo does not exclude 
quite so rigorously the possibility of additions to the Church's code: 
but the Nicene fathers still exercise an authority unhampered by time 
or place, "mansuras usque in finem mundi leges ecclesiasticorum ca- 
nonum condiderunt, et apud nos et in toto orbe terrarum." 

The principle was simplicity itself, but it came to be worked 
out with a naive disregard of facts. On the one hand the genuine 
Nicene code was not accepted quite entire, and where Western tradition 
and Nicene rules were inconsistent, it was not always the tradition that 
went under : the canon against kneeling at Eastertide is, in all early 
versions that we can connect with Rome, entirely absent; the canon 
against the validity of Paulianist baptism was misinterpreted to mean 
that the Paulianists did not employ the baptismal formula. On the 
other hand many early codes that had no sort of real connexion with the 
Nicene councils sheltered themselves under its name and shared its 
authority. The canons of Ancyra, Neocaesarea and Gangra, possibly 
also those of Antioch, were all included as Nicene in the early 
Gallican collection. The canons of Sardica, probably because of the 
occurrence in them of the name of Hosius of Cordova, are in most of 
the oldest collections joined without break to the canons of Nicaea: 
and a rather acrimonious controversy was carried on between Rome and 
Carthage in the years 418 and 419, because Pope Zosimus cited the 
Snrdican canons as Nicene, and the Africans neither found these canons 
in their own copies nor could learn anything about them in the East. 
The original form of the collection known as Isidore's was apparently 
translated from the Greek under Roman auspices at about this time : 
the canons of Nicaea are those "quas sancta Romana recipit ecclesia," 
the codes of the six Greek councils Ancyra, Neocaesarea, Gangra, 
Antioch, Laodicea, and Constantinople follow, and then the Sardican 
canons under the heading "concilium Nicaenum xx episcoporum, quae in 
graeco non habentur sed in latino inveniuntur ita." A Gallican editor of 

CH. VI. 

180 Codification of Church Law 

this version, later in the fifth century, combines the newer material with 
the older tradition in the shape of a canon proposed by Hosius, giving 
the sanction of the Nicene or Sardican council to the three codes of 
Aneyra, Neocaesarea, and Gangra. 

We must not suppose that all this juggling with the name Nicene 
was in the strict sense fraudulent : we need not doubt the good faith of 
St Ambrose when he quoted a canon against digamous clergy as Nicene, 
though it is really Neocaesarean, or of St Augustine when he concludes 
that the followers of Paul of Samosata did not observe the "rule of 
baptism," because the Nicene canons ordered them to be baptized, or 
for that matter of popes Zosimus and Boniface because they made the 
most of the Sardican prescriptions about appeals to Rome, which their 
manuscripts treated as Nicene. The fact was that the twenty canons of 
Nicaea were not sufficient to form a system of law : the new wine must 
burst the old bottles, and by hook or by crook the code of authoritative 
rules must be enlarged, if it was to be a serviceable guide for the 
uniform exercise of church discipline. The spurious canon which the 
Gallican Isidore fathers on Hosius puts just this point; "quoniam 
multa praetermissa sunt quae ad robur ecclesiasticum pertinent, quae 
iam priori synodo . . . constituta sunt," let these other acts too receive 
sanction. In the fourth century the councils had committed their canons 
to writing. In the fifth century came the impulse to collect and codify 
the extant material into a corpus of Canon Law. 

The first steps were taken, as might be expected, in the East. 
Somewhere about the year 400, and in the sphere of Constantinople- 
Antioch, the canons of half-a-dozen councils, held in that part of 
the world during the preceding century, were brought together into a 
single collection and numbered continuously throughout. The editio 
princeps, so to say, of this Greek code contained the canons of Nicaea 
(20), Ancyra (25), Neocaesarea (14), Gangra (20), Antioch (25), and 
Laodicea (59) : it was rendered into Latin by the Isidorian collector, 
and it was used by the officials of the church of Constantinople at the 
Council of Chalcedon, for in the fourth session canons 4 and 5 of Antioch 
were read as "canon 83" and "canon 84," and in the eleventh session 
canons 16 and 17 of Antioch as " canon 95 " and " canon 96." The canons 
of Constantinople were the first appendix to the code : they are trans- 
lated in the Isidorian collection, and they are cited in the acts of 
Chalcedon, but in neither case under the continuous numeration. 
When Dionysius Exiguus, early in the sixth century, made a quasi- 
official book of Canon Law for the Roman church, he found the canons 
of Constantinople numbered with the rest, bringing up the total to 165 
chapters : his two other Greek authorities, the canons of the Apostles and 
the canons of Chalcedon, were numbered independently. The earliest 
Syriac version adds to the original nucleus only those of Constantinople 
and Chalcedon, with a double system of numeration, the one separate 

Greek Canon Law 181 

for each council, the other continuous throughout the whole series. 
And in the digest of Canon Law, published about the middle of the 
sixth century by John Scholasticus of Antioch (afterwards intruded as 
patriarch of Constantinople), the "great synods of the fathers after the 
apostles " are ten in number i e not counting the Apostolic Canons the 
councils proper are brought up to ten by the inclusion of Sardica, 
Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon and "besides these, many 
canonical rules were laid down by Basil the Great " 

Two features in the work of John the Lawyer illustrate the transition 
from earlier to later Canon Law. In the first place the list of authorities 
is no longer confined strictly to councils, to whose decrees alone canonical 
validity as yet attached in the fourth and fifth centuries : a new element 
is introduced with the Canons of St Basil, and by the time we arrive at 
the end of the seventh century, when the constituent parts of Eastern 
Canon Law were finally settled at the Quinisextine council in Trullo, the 
enumeration of Greek councils is followed by the enumeration of 
individual doctors of the Greek Church, and an equal authority is 
attributed to the rules or canons of both. In the second place John 
represents a new movement for the arrangement of the material of 
Church Law, not on the older historical and chronological method, 
by which all the canons of each council were kept together, but on 
a system of subject-matter headings, so that in every chapter all the 
appropriate rules, however different in date or inconsistent in character, 
would be set down in juxtaposition. Three of John's contemporaries 
were doing the same sort of thing for Latin Church Law that he had 
done for Greek the deacon Ferrandus of Carthage in his Breviatio 
Canonum, Cresconius, also an African, in his Concordia Canonum, and 
Martin, bishop of Braga in north-western Spain, in his Capitula. But 
the day of the great medieval systematisers was not yet : these tentative 
efforts after an orderly system seem to have met at most with local 
success, and the business of canonists was still directed in the main to 
the enlargement of their codes, rather than to the co-ordination of the 
diverse elements existing side by side in them. 

Early Greek Church Law was simple and homogeneous enough, for it 
consisted of nothing but Greek councils : even the first beginnings of the 
corpus of Latin Church Law were more complex, because not one element 
but three went to its composition. We have seen that its nucleus 
consisted in the universal acceptance of the canons of Nicaea, and in the 
grafting of the canons of other early councils on to the Nicene stock. 
Thus, whereas Greek canon law admitted no purely Latin element (and 
in that way had no sort of claim to universality), Latin canon law not 
only admitted but centred round Greek material. Of course, as soon as 
the idea of a corpus of ecclesiastical law took shape in the West* a Latin 
element was bound to add itself to the Greek ; and this Latin element 
took two forms. The natural supplement to Greek councils were Latin 


182 Latin Canon Law 

councils : and every local collector would add to his Greek code the councils 
of his own part of the world, Gallic, Spanish, African, as the case might 
be. But just about the same time with the commencement of the con- 
tinuous series of councils whose canons were taken up into our extant 
Latin codes, commences a parallel series of papal decretals : the African 
councils begin with the Council of Carthage in 390 and the Council 
of Hippo in 393, the decretals with the letter of Pope Siricius to 
Himerius of Tarragona in 385. Such decretal letters were issued to 
churches in most parts of the European West, Illyria included, but 
not to north Italy, which looked to Milan, and not to Africa, which 
depended on Carthage. As their immediate destination was local, 
not one of them is found in the early Western codes so universally as the 
Greek councils ; on the other hand their circulation was larger than 
that of any local Western council, and some or others of them are found 
in almost every collection. It would even appear that a group of some 
eight decretals of Siricius and Innocent, Zosimus and Celestine, had been 
put together and published as a sort of authoritative handbook before 
the papacy of Leo (441H&61). Outside Rome, there were thus three 
elements normally present in a Western code, the Greek, the local, 
and the papal. In a Roman collection, the decretals were themselves 
the local element: thus Dionysius Exiguus' edition consists of two 
parts, the first containing the Greek councils (and by exception the 
Carthaginian council of 419), the second containing papal letters from 
Siricius down to Gelasius and Anastasius II. But even the code of 
Dionysius, though superior to all others in accuracy and convenience, 
was made only for Roman use, and for more than two centuries had 
only a limited vogue elsewhere. Each district in the West had its 
separate Church Law as much as its separate liturgy or its separate 
political organisation ; and it was not till the union of Gaul and Italy 
under one head in the person of Charles the Great, that the collection 
of Dionysius, as sent to Charles by Pope Hadrian in 774, was given 
official position throughout the Franklin dominions. 



THE race which played the leading part in history after the break-up 
of the Roman Empire was the race known as the Teutons. Their early 
history is shrouded in obscurity, an obscurity which only begins to be 
lightened about the end of the second century of our era. Such infor- 
mation as we have we owe to Greeks and Romans ; and what they give 
us is almost exclusively contemporary history, and the few fragmentary 
statements referring to earlier conditions, invaluable as they are to us, 
do not go far behind their own time. Archaeology alone enables us to 
penetrate further back. Without its aid it would be vain to think of 
attempting to answer the question of the origin and original distribution 
of the Germanic race. 

The earliest home of the Teutons was in the countries surrounding 
the western extremity of the Baltic Sea, comprising what is now the 
south of Sweden, Jutland with Schleswig-Holstein, the German Baltic 
coast to about the Oder, and the islands with which the sea is studded 
as far as Gothland. This, not Asia, is the region which, with a certain 
extension south, as far, say, as the great mountain chain of central 
Germany, may be described as the cradle of the Indo-Germanic race. 
According to all appearance, this was the centre from which it impelled 
its successive waves of population towards the west, south, and south-east, 
to take possession, in the end, of all Europe and even of a part of Asia. 
A portion of the'Indo-Gennanic race, however, remained behind in the 
north, to emerge after the lapse of two thousand years into the light of 
history as a new people of wonderful homogeneity and remarkable 
uniformity of physical type, the people which we know as the Teutons. 
The expansion of the Indo-Germanic race and its division into various 
nations and groups of nations had in the main been completed during 
the Neolithic Period, so that in the Bronze Age roughly, for the 
northern races, B.C. 1500500 the territories which we have indicated 
above belonged exclusively to the Teutons who formed a distinct race 
with its own special characteristics and language. 

The distinctive feature of the civilisation of these prehistoric 
Teutons is the working of bronze. It is well known that in the North 

CH. vir. 183 

184 The Teutons [B c. 600-500 

a region where the Bronze Age was of long duration a remarkable degree 
of skill was attained in this art. The Northern Teutonic Bronze Age 
forms therefore in every respect a striking phenomenon in the general 
history of human progress. On the other hand, the advance in culture 
which followed the introduction of the use of iron was not at first shared 
by the Northern peoples. It was only about B.C. 500, that is to say 
quite five hundred years later than in Greece and Italy, in the South 
of France and the upper part of the Danube basin, that the use of iron 
was introduced among the Teutons. The period of civilisation usually 
known as the Hallstatt period, of which the latter portion (from about 
B.C. 600 onwards) was not less brilliant than the Later Bronze Age, 
remained practically unknown to the Teutons. 

The nearest neighbours of the Teutons in this earliest period were, 
to the south the Kelts, to the east the Baltic peoples (Letts, Lithuanians, 
Prussians) and the Slavs, in the extreme north the Finns. How far the 
Teutonic territories extended northward, it is difficult to say. The 
southern extremity of Scandinavia, that is to say the present Sweden up 
to about the lakes, certainly always belonged to them. This is put 
beyond doubt by archaeological discoveries. The Teutons therefore have 
as good a claim to be considered the original inhabitants of Scandinavia 
as their northern neighbours the great Finnish people. It is certain that 
even in the earliest times they were expanding in a northerly direction, 
and that they settled in the Swedish lake district, as far north as the 
Dal Elf, and the southern part of Norway, long before we have any 
historical information about these countries. Whether they found them 
unoccupied, or whether they drove the Finns steadily backward, cannot 
be certainly decided, although the latter is the more probable. The 
Sitones whom Tacitus mentions along with the Suiones as the nations 
dwelling furthest to the north were certainly Finns. 

On the east, the Teutonic territory, which as we saw did not 
originally extend beyond the Oder, touched on that of the Baltic peoples 
who were later known collectively, by a name which is doubtless of 
Teutonic derivation, as Aists (Aestii in Tacitus, Germ. 45). To the 
south and east of these lay the numerous Slavonic tribes (called Venedi 
or Veneti by ancient writers) . The land between the Oder and the Vistula 
was therefore in the earliest times inhabited, in the north by peoples of 
the Letto-Lithuanian linguistic group, and southward by Slavs. On 
this side also the Teutons in quite early times forced their way beyond 
the boundaries of their original territory. In the sixth century B.C., 
as can be determined with considerable certainty from archaeo- 
logical discoveries, the settlement of these territories by the Teutons 
was to a large extent accomplished, the Baltic peoples being forced to 
retire eastward, beyond the Vistula, and the Slavs towards the south-east. 
It is likely that the conquerors came from the north, from Scandinavia ; 
that they sought a new home on the south coast of the Baltic and 

B.C. 400-300] Teutons and Kelts 185 

towards the east and south-east. To this points also the fact (otherwise 
hard to explain) that the tribes which in historic times are settled in 
these districts, Goths, Gepidae, Rugii, Lemovii, Burgundii, Charini, Varini 
and Vandals, form a separate group, substantially distinguished in customs 
and speech from the Western Teutons, but shewing numerous points of 
affinity, especially in language and legal usage, to the Northern Teutons. 
When, further, a series of Eastern Teutonic names of peoples appear 
again in Scandinavia, those for instance of the Goths : Gauthigoth (Tavrot., 
Gautar, Gothland) ; Greutungi : Greotingi ; Rugians : Rugi (Rygir, 
Rogaland) ; Burgundiones : Borgundarholmr ; and when we find in 
Jordanes the legend of the Gothic migration asserting that this people 
came from Scandinavia (Scandza insula) as the officina gentium aid eerie 
velut vagina nationum the evidence in favour of a gradual settlement of 
eastern Germany by immigrants from the north seems irresistible. 

By the year B c. 400, at latest, the Teutons must have reached the 
northern base of the Sudetes. 1 It was only a step further to the settle- 
ment of the upper Vistula , and if the Bastarnae, the first Germanic tribe 
which comes into the light of history, had their seat here about B.C. 300, 
the settlement of the whole basin of the upper Vistula, right up to the 
Carpathians, must have been carried out by the Teutons in the course of 
the fourth century B.C. 

It was with Kelts that the Teutons came in contact towards the 
sources of the Oder in the mountains which form the boundary of 
Bohemia. Now thefe is no race to which the Teutons owe so much as 
to the Kelts. The whole development of their civilisation was most 
strongly influenced by the latter so much so that in the centuries next 
before the Christian era the whole Teutonic race shared a common 
civilisation with the Kelts, to whom they stood in a relation of intel- 
lectual dependence; in every aspect of public and private life Keltic 
influence was reflected. How came it then that a people whose civilisa- 
tion shews such marked characteristics as that of the Teutons of the 
Later Bronze Age could lose these with such surprising rapidity 
perhaps in the course of a single century ? 

The earliest habitat of the Teutons extended, as we have seen, on the 
south as far as the Elbe. This river also marks the northern boundary 
of the Kelts. All Germany west of the Elbe from the North Sea to the 

1 This is shewn by the name borrowed from the Keltic for the great central 
German range> the Hercynian Forest of the Greeks and Romans, called in Old 
High German Fergunna from the Teutonic Tergunjo (*Pergunia) from the Early 
Teutonic = Early Keltic *Perkunia (borrowed, therefore, before the loss of the 
j?-sound, which took place in Keltic at latest in the fifth century B.C., and before the 
Teutonic sound-shifting), and also by the name for the Kelts in general Wcdchen or 
Walhas or Walhds from the Keltic *Wolkoi (Lat. Volcae), borrowings which can 
only be explained by contact with the Kelts who lived on the southern skirts of the 


186 Migrations of the Kelts [B.C. 1000 

Alps was in the possession of the Kelts, at the time when the Teutons 
occupied the western shores of the Baltic basin. The vigorous power of 
expansion which this race displayed in the last thousand years of the 
prehistoric age has left its traces throughout Europe, and even in Asia ; 
and that is what gives it such importance in the history of the world. 
The whole of Western Europe France with Belgium and Holland, the 
British Isles and the greater part of the Pyrenaean peninsula, in the south 
the region of the Alps and the plains of the Po has been at one time 
or another subject to their rule. Eastward, migratory swarms of Kelts 
pushed their way down the Danube to the Black Sea and even into Asia 

The starting-point of this movement was probably in what is now 
north-western Germany and the Netherlands, and this region is therefore 
to be regarded as the original home of the Keltic race. Place-names 
and river-names, the study of which is a most valuable means of 
elucidating prehistoric conditions, enable us to prove the existence in 
many districts of this original Keltic population. 1 They are scattered 
over the whole of western Germany and as far as Brabant and Flanders, 
but occur with especial frequency between the Rhine and the Weser. 
In the north the Wdrpe-Bach (north-east of Bremen) marks the limits 
of their distribution, in the east the course of the Leine, down to 
Rosoppe ; in the south they extend as far as the Main where the Aschaff 
(anciently Ascapha) at Aschaffenburg forms the last outpost of their 
territory. They are not found on the strip of coast along the North 
Sea, occupied later by the Chauci and Frisians, nor on the western side 
of the Elbe. From this we may safely conclude that these districts 
were abandoned by their original Keltic population earlier, indeed 
considerably earlier, than those to the west of the Weser, and also that 
the expansion of the Teutons westwards proceeded along two distinct 
lines, though doubtless almost contemporaneously one westward along 
the North Sea and one in a more southerly direction up the Elbe along 
both its banks. 

With this view the results of prehistoric archaeology are in complete 
agreement. We have determined the area of distribution of the 
Northern Bronze Age which we saw to be specifically Teutonic as 
consisting, in the earlier period (up to c. B.C. 1000), of Scandinavia and 
the Danish islands, and also Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg and West- 

1 Among Keltic river-names are the Rhine (Keltic Renos from an older *Reinas, 
*Rainas), the Main (Old-High-Germ. Moin, in which the Keltic diphthong is 
preserved), the Embscher (Embiscara from an older Amblscara) and the Lippe, also 
perhaps the Lahn, Sieg, Ruhr, Leine and even the Weser The mountain-names 
Taunus, Finne and Semana (the old name for the Thuringian Forest) also betray a 
Keltic origin. With these must be classed numerous names of places and rivers 
which have, sometimes even now, the archaic termination -apa or in High German 
-a/a, -afa (-epa, -efa, -ipa, -ifa t -upa, -w/a), which is absolutely inexplicable from 
the Teutonic but has its parallels m Keltic and points clearly to a Keltic origin. 

B.C. 1000-200] Civilisation of the Kelts 1S7 

Pomerania, and therefore bounded on the south-west by the Elbe. 
But in the Later Bronze Age (c. B.C. 1000-600) this territory is enlarged 
in all directions. On the south and west especially, to judge from the 
evidence of excavations, it extends from the point at which the Wartha 
flows into the Oder, in a south-westerly direction through the Spreewald 
and Flaming districts to the Elbe ; then further west to the Harz, and 
from there northwards along the Oker and Aller to about the estuary of 
the Weser, and finally along the coast-line as far as Holland. In 
Thuringia the Keltic peoples maintained their hold somewhat longer. 
The northern part of it above the Unstrut may have received a 
Teutonic population in the course of the fifth century B.C. ; the southern 
in the course of the fourth. On the other hand, the whole region 
westward from the Weser and the Thuringian Forest as far as the Rhine 
was still in the possession of the Kelts about the year B.C. 300, and was 
only conquered by the Teutons in the course of the following century. 1 
It may be taken as the assured result of all the linguistic and 
archaeological data, that only about the year B.C. 200 the whole of 
north-western Germany was held by the Teutons, who had now reached 
the frontier-lines formed by the Rhine and the Main. 

About the close of the fifth century B.C., a new civilisation appears 
in the Keltic domain, a civilisation which, from the fine taste and 
technical perfection of its productions, deserves in more than one 
respect to rank with that of the classical nations. This is the so-called 
La Tene Civilisation, which takes its name from a place on the north 
side of the Lake of NeuchMel where especially numerous and varied 
remains of it have come to light. Where its centre is to be located we 
do not know somewhere, we may conjecture, in the South of France or 
in Switzerland. Starting from this point it spread through all the parts 
of Europe, which were not under the sway of the Greek and Roman 
civilisation. Following the course of the Rhone, of the Rhine, and of the 
Danube, it rapidly conquered all the countries in which Gallic tongues 
were spoken and maintained its supremacy until the Graeco-Roman 
civilisation deposed it from its primacy. 

It was with this highly developed civilisation so far superior, 
especially in its highly advanced knowledge of the working of iron, to 
the Northern, which still only made use of bronze that the Teutons 
came in contact in their advance towards the south-west. It is quite 
intelligible that the Teutons in the course of their two hundred years of 
struggle with the Kelts for the possession of north-western Germany, 
should have eagerly adopted the higher civilisation of the Kelts. 

x The Keltic local names in -apa which lie mainly in the country between the 
Weser and the Rhine were unaffected by the Teutonic sound-shifting, therefore 
must have been already adopted into the vocabulary of the advancing Teutons. 
Then, too, prehistoric remains in this region down to the "Middle La Tene Period" 
(c B^C. 300), and in its southern parts even later, are so distinctively Keltic that there 
can be no doubt it was still in Keltic occupation. 


188 Movements of the Teutons [B.C. 400-200 

Vague reminiscences of the former supremacy of the Keltic race 
survived into historic times. Ac fuit antea tempus cum Germanos Galli 
lirtuie superaient, ultro bella inferrent, propter hominum midtitudinem 
agrique inopiam trans Rhenum colonias mitterent> writes Caesar 
a piece of information which he must have derived from Gaulish 
sources. Here belongs also the Gallic tradition reported by Timagenes l 
according to which a part of the nation was said ab insulis extimis 
confluxisse et tractibus Transrhenanis crebntate bellorum et adluvione 
femdi maris sedibus SKIS expulsos. Caesar himself mentions a Keltic 
tribe, the Menapii, on the right bank of the lower Rhine. 

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Keltic Teuriscans of 
northern Hungary were originally settled in south-central Germany 
between the Erzgebirge and the Harz, but later (about B.C. 400) were 
forced out of this district by the pressure of the advancing Germans, 
and retired in two sections towards the south and south-east. 

About the year B.C. 00 the Teuton occupation of north-west 
Germany was, as we have seen, completed, having reached the Rhine on 
the west and the Main on the south. But the great forward movement 
towards the south-west was not to be stayed by these rivers. Vast 
waves of population kept pressing downward from the north, and giving 
fresh impetus to the movement. The whole Germanic world must at 
that time have been in constant ferment and unrest. Nations were born 
and perished. Everywhere there was pressure and counter-pressure. 
Any people that had not the strength to maintain itself against its 
neighbours, or to strike out a new path for itself, was swept away. The 
tension thus set up first found relief on the Rhenish frontier. About 
the middle of the second century B.C. Teutonic hordes swept across the 
river and occupied the whole country westward of the lower Rhine as 
far as the Ardennes and the Eifel. These hordes were the ancestors of 
the later tribes and clans which meet us here in the first dawn of history, 
the Eburones, Condrusi, Caeroesi, Paemani, Segni, Nervii, Grudii, and 
also of the Texuandri, Sunuci, Baetusii, Caraces, who appear later, as well 
as of the Tungri 9 who after the annihilation of the Eburones by Caesar 
succeeded to their territory and position of influence. The Treveri, on 
the other hand, who had their seat further to the south beyond the 
Eifel, were doubtless Kelts. 2 

The Teutonic invasion of Gaul must have taken place mainly in the 
second half of the second century B.C., blit it was still in progress in 
Caesar's time. It may suffice briefly to recall in this connexion the 
successful campaign of Ariovistus; the incursion immediately before 

1 Ammianus, xv. 9. 4 

2 That the other tribes which we have just named were of Teutonic origin there 
can be no doubt, and the attempt of Mullenhoff to prove that these tribes were 
Keltic (Deutsche AUertumskunde, n 2 . pp. 194 ff ) must be pronounced to have com- 
pletely failed, as is shewn by R. Much (Deutsche Stammsiize, pp. 162 ff.). 

B.C. 5S-9] Teutonic Invasion of Gaul 189 

Caesar entered upon his province, of 54,000 Harudi into the country of 
the Sequani ; the invasion of the Suebi under Xasua and Cimberius in 
the year 58 ; and of the Usipetes and Tencteri at the beginning of the 
year B.C. 55. That there were even later immigrations of Teutonic hosts 
into north-eastern Gaul may be conjectured from the absence of any 
mention by Caesar of several of the tribes which were settled here in the 
time by the Empire, and this conjecture is raised almost to a certainty 
by the known instance of the Tungri. 

It was only later, in the time of the migrations of the Cimbri, and 
doubtless in connexion therewith, that the frontier formed by the Main 
was crossed. It was to the best of our information a portion of the 
Suebi, previously settled on the northern bank of this river, who were the 
first to push across it, and after driving out the Helveti, established 
themselves firmly to the south of the river, and were here known under 
the name of Marcomanni (Men of the Marches) the name first meets 
us in Caesar, in the enumeration of the peoples led by Ariovistus. 
Their country, the Marca, extended south to the Danube. That the 
Tulingi (mentioned by Caesar Sisfinetini of the Helveti) were of Germanic 
origin is put beyond doubt by their name, which is good German and 
forms a pendant to that of the Thuringi. But it will doubtless be 
near the truth to see in them not the whole nation of the Marcomanni, 
but only a tribe or local division of it, and doubtless its advance-guard 
towards the south. In any case it is evident from Caesar's account that 
numbering as they did a round 36,000 (E.G. i. 29. 2), of whom about 
8000 were warriors, they formed a united whole with a definite territory 
and were not merely a migratory body of Marcomanni gathered together 
ad hoc. 

A remnant of the old Marcomanni of South Germany, who in the 
year B.C. 9 migrated to Bohemia, is doubtless to be found in the Suebi 
Nicretes whom we meet with in the time of the Empire on the lower 
Neckar. Further to the north, on the southern bank of the Main, near 
Mittenberg, we find the name of the Toutoni in an inscription which 
came to light in the year 1878. 1 Hereupon certain scholars 2 have 
arrived at the conviction that this locality was the original home of the 
Teutones whom we hear of in association with the Cimbri, and so that 
they were not of Germanic but of Keltic origin, being of Helvetic race 
and identified with the Helvetic local clan of the To>vyv of Strabo. 
This hypothesis must be absolutely rejected. There must have been, 
some connexion between those Toutoni and the Teutoni of history. But 
to conclude without more ado that the Teutoni were Helveti, South- 
German Kelts, is to do direct violence to the whole body of ancient 

1 C I.L. xiu. 6610, dating perhaps from about the beginning of the second 
century A.D. : inter \ Toutones \C..\A .\H.\F... 

2 G. Kessima, Westdeutsche Zettschrijt, ix (1890), p. 213; B. Much, Deutsche 
Stam-msitze, p. 5. 


190 The Bastarnae [B.C. 132 

tradition, which consistently represents the Teutoni as a people whose 
original home was in the North. The simplest solution of the difficulty 
is that the Mittenberg Toutoni were a fragment which split off from the 
Teutonic peoples during their migration southward, and settled in this 
district, just as in north-eastern Gaul a portion of the Cimbri and 
Teutones maintained itself as the tribe of the Aduatuci. 

The whole process of the expulsion of the Kelts from South Germany 
must have been accomplished between B.C. 100 and 70, for Caesar knows 
of no Gauls on the right bank of the upper Rhine, and the Helveti had 
been living for a considerable time to the south of the head-waters of 
the river which, as Caesar tells us, divides Helvetic from German 

The first collision between the Teutons and the Graeco-Roman 
world took place far to the east of Gaul. It resulted from a great 
migration of the eastern Teutonic tribes in the neighbourhood of the 
Vistula, which had carried some of them as far as the shore of the Black 
Sea. The chief of these tribes was that of the Bastarnae. Settled, it 
would seem, before their exodus near the head-waters of the Vistula they 
appear, as early as the beginning of the second century B.C., near the 
estuary of the Danube. The whole region north of the Pruth, from the 
Black Sea to the northern slope of the Carpathians, was in their 
possession and remained so during all the time that they are known to 
history. Another Germanic tribe, doubtless dependent upon them, 
meets us in the same district, namely the Sciri from the lower Vistula. 
The well-known and much discussed "psephisma"of the town of Olbia 
in honour of Protogenes mentions them as allied with the Galatai, and 
there has been much debate as to what nation is to be understood by 
these TaXdrca, and they have sometimes been conjectured to be Illyrian 
Kelts (Scordisci), sometimes Thracian, sometimes the also Keltic 
Britolages, or the Teutonic Bastarnae, or even the Goths. The majority 
of scholars has however decided that these "Galatians" are the 
Bastarnae, 1 whose presence in the neighbourhood of Olbia in the year 
B.C. 182 is attested by Polybius. There is, indeed, much in favour of 
this hypothesis and nothing against it. The inscription then, which is 
proved by the character of the writing to be one of the oldest found in 
this locality, would have been written about the time of the arrival of 
the Bastarnae at the estuary of the Danube, that is to say, about B.C. 200 
-180, and would therefore be the earliest documentary evidence for the 
entrance of the Germanic tribes on the field of general history. 

As early as the year B.C. 182 we find the Bastarnae in negotiations 
with Philip of Macedon. Philip's plan was to get rid of the Dardanians, 
and after settling his allies on the territory thus vacated to use it as a 
base for an expedition against Italy. After long negotiations, the 
Bastarnae in 179 abandoned their lately-won territory, crossed the 

* So Zeuss and Staehelin, 

B.C. 182-iooj Cimbri and Teutons 191 

Danube and advanced into Thrace. At this poin'c King Philip died, and 
after an unsuccessful battle with the Thracians the Bastarnae began a re- 
treat to the settlement which they had abandoned ; but a detachment of 
some 30,000 men under Clondicus pressed on into Dardania. With the 
aid of the Thracians and Scordiscans and with the connivance of Philip's 
successor, Perseus, he pressed the Dardanians hard for a time, but at last 
in the winter of 175 he also decided to retire. In Rome the intrigues 
of the Macedonian kings had been watched with growing mistrust and 
displeasure, which found expression hi the despatch of a commission lo 
investigate the situation in Macedonia and especially on the Dardanian 
border. This, therefore, is the first occasion on which the Roman State 
had to concern itself with Teutonic affairs. At that time,4t is true, the 
racial difference between Kelts and Teutons was not yet recognised and 
the Bastarnae were therefore supposed to be Gauls. Before very long 
(168), we find the Bastarnae again in relations with the King of Macedon. 
Twenty thousand men, again under the command of Clondicus, were to 
join him in his struggle with the Romans in Paeonia. But Perseus was 
blinded by avarice, and failed to keep his promises. Clondicus therefore, 
who had already reached the country of the Maedi, promptly turned to 
the right-about and marched home through Thrace. Prom this point 
they disappear from history for a time, only to reappear in the 
Mithradatic wars as allies of that King, and they consequently appear 
also in the list of the nations over whom Pompey triumphed in the 
year 61. 

In the East, on the frontiers of Europe and Asia, the Germanic 
race attracted little notice; but in the West, about the close of the 
second century B.C., it shook the edifice of the Roman State to its 
foundations and spread the terror of its name over the whole of Western 
Europe. It was the Cimbri, along with their allies the Teutones and 
Ambrones, who for half a score of years kept the world in suspense. All 
three peoples were doubtless of Germanic stock. 1 We may take it as 
established that the original home of the Cimbri was on the Jutish 
peninsula, that of the Teutones somewhere between the Ems and the 
Weser, and that of the Ambrones in the same neighbourhood, also on 
the North Sea coast. The cause of their migration was the constant 
encroachment of the sea upon their coasts, the occasion being an 
inundation which devastated their territory, great stretches of it being 
engulfed by the sea. This is the account given by ancient writers and 

x The arguments which have been alleged in favour of the Keltic origin of the 
Teutones, and sometimes also of the Ambrones, and even of the Cimbri, are quite 
untenable Not only the unanimous -witness of antiquity which always represents 
the Cimbri and Teutones as having their original home on the German North Sea 
coast, but also the very names of these peoples which, despite all the contrary 
assertions of the Keltic enthusiasts, can be naturally and convincingly explained 
from the Teutonic, put their Germanic character beyond doubt. 


192 Cimbri and Teutons [B c. 115-100 

we have no reason to doubt its truth. The exodus of all three peoples 
took place about the same time, and obviously in such a way that fiorn 
the first they went forward in close touch with one another. First they 
turned southwards, probably following the line of the Elbe, crossed the 
Erzgebirge and pressed on into Bohemia, the land of the Boii. Driven 
back by the latter, they seem to have made their way along the valley of 
the March, southwards to the Danube, and then through Pannonia into 
the country of the Scordisci. Here, too, they encountered (in the year 

114) such vigorous opposition that they preferred to turn westwards. 
That brought them into contact with the Taurisci who had just (B.C. 

115) formed a close alliance with the Romans. In the Carnic Alps was 
stationed a Roman army under the command of the Consul Cn. Papirius 
Carbo, which immediately advanced into Noricum. Carbo's attempt by 
means of a treacherous attack to annihilate the Teutons ended in a 
severe defeat. The way into Italy now lay open to the victors. But 
so great was the awe in which they still held the Roman name, that they 
promptly turned away towards the north. Their route led them to the 
territory of the Helveti, which then extended from the Lake of Constance 
as far as the Main. The Helveti do not seem to have offered any 
resistance ; indeed a considerable section of the Helveti the Tigurini 
and Toygeni attached themselves to the Teutonic migrants. The 
Germanic hosts then crossed the Rhine and pressed on southwards, 
plundering as they went. 

In B.C. 109 they halted in the valley of the Rhone, on the frontier 
of the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, for the protection of 
which a strong army under the Consul M. Junius Silanus had taken 
the field. The Romans attacked, but were defeated for the second 
time. Again the Germans shrank from invading Roman territory 
and preferred to plunder and ravage the Gallic districts, which they 
completely laid waste. Finally, in the year 105 they appeared once 
more on the frontier of "the Province," this time resolved to attack the 
Romans. Of the three armies which opposed them that of the Legate 
M. Aurelius Scaurus was first defeated in the territory of the Allobroges. 
On 6 October followed the bloody battle of Arausio in which the other 
two armies, under the Consul Cn. Mallius Maximus and the Proconsul Q. 
Servilius Caepio, in all some 60,000 troops, were completely annihilated. 
But instead of marching into Italy, the barbarians once again let the 
favourable moment slip, and thus lost the fruits of their victory. They 
divided their forces. The Cimbri marched away westwards, first into 
the country of the Volcae, then on over the Pyrenees into Spain where 
they carried on a desultory and indecisive struggle with the Celtiberi ; 
the Teutons and Helveti turned northwards to continue the work of 
plundering Gaul. In 103 the Cimbrian hosts made their way back to 
Gaul and reunited, in the territory of South-Belgic Veliocasses, with 
fcheir comrades who had remained behind. 

B.C. 102-60] Teutonic Invasion of Gaul 193 

Now at last they prepared a inarch upon Italy. In the spring of 
102 the main mass of the united hordes began to move southwards. 
Only one section, of about 6000 men the nucleus of the later tribe 
of the Aduatuci remained behind in Belgica to guard the spoils. 
Doubtless with a view to the difficulties of the passage of the Alps, 
especially in the matter of supply, the invading host was before long 
divided into three columns. The plan was that the Teutones and 
Ambrones should make their way into the plain of the Po from the 
western side, crossing the Maritime Alps, while the Cimbri and the 
Tigurini should make a wide flanking movement and enter from 
the north, the former by way of the Tridentine, the latter by way of the 
Noric Alps. But the attempt was planned on too vast a scale, and was 
wrecked by the military skill of Marius. The Ambrones and Teutones 
were annihilated in the double battle near Aquae Sextiae (summer 
102), while the fate of the Cimbri overtook them in the following year. 
They had already reached the soil of Italy, into which they had forced 
their way after a victorious encounter with Quintus Lutatius Catulus on 
the Adige,when (30 July 101), on the plains of Vercellae, the so-called 
Campi Raudii, they were utterly routed by the united forces of Marius 
and Catulus. The Tigurini, who were to form the third invading force, 
received the news of the defeat of the Cimbri when they were still on 
the Noric Alps, and immediately turned round and retired to their 
own country. Thus the great invasion of the northern barbarians was 
defeated, and Western Europe could once more breathe freely. 

We saw above that about B.C. 100, doubtless in connexion with the 
appearance of the Cimbri and Teutones in South Germany, the line 
of the Main was crossed by the Germanic peoples, and the settlement 
of the territory between that and the Danube began. Less than a 
generation later there was another attempt to extend the Germanic 
sphere of influence westward over Gaul. About the year B.C. 71, on the 
invitation of the powerful tribe of the Sequani, Ariovistus chief of the 
Suebi crossed the Rhine with 15,000 warriors to serve as mercenaries to 
the Sequani against their neighbours the Aedui. But after the victory 
was won, the strangers did not return to their own land but remained 
on the western side of the Rhine and established themselves in the 
territory of their employers, taking possession of about a third of it, 
presumably at its northern extremity. Strengthened by large accessions 
from the home-land this Germanic settlement on Gaulish territory it 
consisted of the Vangiones, Nemetes and Tribocci, and finally extended 
over the whole of the left side of the Rhine valley, eastward of the 
Vosges soon became a menace to all the surrounding tribes. A united 
attempt, in which the Aedui took a leading part, to expel the intruders 
by force of arms ended after months of indecisive fighting in a crushing 
defeat of the Gauls (at Admagetobrgia), apparently in the year B.C. 61. 
Gaul lay defenceless at the feet of the victors, and they did not fail to 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VII. 13 

194 Ariovistus and Caesar [B.C. 61-58 

make the most of their success. The Aedui and all their adherents 
were forced to give hostages and to pay a yearly tribute. None dared 
to oppose the conquerors, who already regarded the whole of Gaul as 
their prey. They pursued their work deliberately and systematically, 
constantly bringing in new swarms of their compatriots, chiefly Suebi and 
Marcomanni, and assigning them lands in the territories which they had 
subjugated. Settlers came even from Jutland, Endusi and Harudes 
24,000 strong, and on their arrival the Sequani were forced to give up 
another third of their territory to the new-comers. Thus the power 
of Ariovistus became very formidable. The establishment of a great 
Germanic Empire over the whole of Gaul seemed not far distant. 

At other points also the Teutons were preparing to cross the Rhine. 
It seemed as if the example set by Ariovistus would lead to a general 
invasion of Gaul, flood the whole country with Germans, and overwhelm 
the Gaulish race. The movement began on the upper Rhine, on the 
Helvetic border. The Helveti had been obliged, as we have already 
seen, to retire further and further before the pressure of the Germans, 
until finally all the country north of the Lake of Constance was lost to 
them, and the Rhine became their northern frontier. Even here they 
were not allowed to rest. A short time after the appearance of 
Ariovistus the Teutons had again endeavoured to enlarge their border 
towards the south, and there ensued a long struggle upon the Rhine 
frontier. It was only by their utmost efforts that the Helveti were able 
to beat off the attacks of their opponents. Weary of the constant 
struggle, they at last resolved (B.C. 61) to leave their territory. This, 
as we have seen, they did three years later, when some smaller tribes, 
among them the Germanic Tulingi (p. 189 sup.), threw in their lot with 
them. The Jura region, the entrance to southern Gaul, thus lay open 
to the Teutons. In the same year there appeared on the middle Rhine, 
probably in the Taunus region, a powerful Suebian army a hundred 
"gauV under the leadership of two brothers named Nasua (perhaps 
Masua) and Cimberius and threatened to invade from this point the 
territory of the Treveri on the opposite bank. Finally, there was great 
restlessness also on the lower Rhine, among the tribes inhabiting the 
right bank, especially among the Usipetes and Tencteri, in consequence 
especially of the repeated aggressions of the warlike Suebi. 

This was the condition of affairs when Caesar (B.C 58) took up his 
command in Gaul. He was well aware of the danger to the Roman 
occupation which lay in these wholesale immigrations of Germanic 
hordes into Gaulish territory, and it was consequently his first care to 
take prompt measures to meet the Teutonic peril. It is well known 
how he performed this task, how he removed the haunting dread of a 
general irruption of the Germanic peoples into Keltic territory, and at 
the same time established security and order upon the Rhine frontier. 
The restoration of the conquered Helveti to their abandoned territory 

B c. 60-A.D. 9] Teutons and Romans 195 

in order that they might continue to serve, but now in the Roman 
interest, as a buffer-state, secured Gaul, and especially the valley of the 
Rhone, against incursions from, the direction of the upper Rhine. His 
victory over Ariovistus destroyed the latter's vast levies and with them 
his ascendancy, but not and herein we see again the far-sighted policy 
of the conqueror the work of colonisation begun by the Germanic- 
ruler. The tribes of the Vangiones, Nemetes and Tribocci which he had 
settled in Gaul were allowed to remain where they were, and, like the 
Helveti, were placed under the Roman suzerainty while retaining their 
racial independence ut arcerent, non id custodirentur. But while 
Caesar allowed these settlements to remain, he repressed with all the 
greater energy all further efforts of expansion on the part of the dwellers 
on the upper Rhine. True, the Suebian bands which in 58 had mustered 
on the right bank of the river, had retired on receiving news of the 
defeat of Ariovistus, so that there was no fighting with them, but the 
attempt of Usipetes and Tencteri, in the following year, to find a new 
home for themselves in Gaul led to a battle, in which a large portion 
of them perished, and the rest were flung back across the Rhine. 

Augustus assumed the offensive against the Teutons. Even though 
the extension of the Roman dominion as far as the Elbe effected by 
the brilliant military successes of the two step-sons of the Emperor 
was of short duration the year A.D. 9 witnessed the loss of the territory 
won by the expenditure of so much blood, of which it had been proposed 
to make a new province of Germania Magna yet the Rhine frontier 
was secured for a considerable time to come by a belt of fortresses 
garrisoned by an army of nearly 80,000 men. This frontier was not 
seriously threatened for two hundred years thereafter. Throughout that 
period, except for a few insignificant raids, Gaul's eastern neighbour 
remained quiescent. It was only in the third century that unrest shewed 
itself again, thereafter steadily increasing as time went on. And the 
cause of this was the appearance of two powerful confederacies which 
thenceforward dominated the history of the Rhineland the Alemans 
and the Franks. 

While the expansion of the Teutons towards the west was thus 
barred by the Romans, it proceeded the more vigorously in a southward 
and south-eastward direction. It is true that but little certain informa- 
tion has come down to us. The movements of population, implied by 
the appearance of the Marcomanni in Bohemia, of the Quadi in Moravia, 
of the Naristi between the Bohmer-Wald and the Danube, of the Buri, 
Lacringi, Victovali in the north of the Hungarian lowlands, are all 
more or less shrouded in obscurity, and it is but rarely possible to find a 
clue to their relations. About B.C. 60 the Boii had been forced by the 
advance of the Germanic races from the north to abandon their ancestral 
possessions. A portion of them found a dwelling-place in Pannonia, 
another portion, on its way from Noricum, joined the Helvetic migra- 


196 Marbod [A D. 6-14 

tion. The north of the country thus left unoccupied was immediately 
taken up by Hermunduric, Semnonic, and Vandalic bands, offshoots of 
the three great tribes which flanked Bohemia on the north. From them 
were doubtless sprung the peoples who at a later time are met with here 
at the southern base of the Sudetes, the Sudiai, Bativi, and Corconti. 
They were followed by the Marcomanni, who, doubtless in consequence 
of the military successes of Drusus in Germany, made their way, under 
the lead of their chief Marbod, to the further side of the Bohmer-Wald 
and occupied the main portion of the former country of the Boii. 

The powerful kingdom which this Germanic prince established by 
bringing in further masses of settlers and by subjugating the surround- 
ing tribes even the powerful Semnones, the Langobards, the Goths, and 
the Lugi (Vandals) are said to have acknowledged his suzerainty had 
no rival in northern Europe, and with its trained army of 70,000 
footmen and 4000 horse soon became a menace to the Roman Empire. 
The importance which was attached to it, and to the commanding 
personality of its ruler by the Romans themselves,, is evident from the 
extraordinary military preparations which Tiberius set on foot (A.D. 6). 
As is well known, the intervention of the Roman arms was not in the 
end called for. But what even they might not have been able to accom- 
plish was effected by inner dissension. In the struggle for the supremacy 
of Germany against Arminius at the head of the Cherusci, and of all the 
other peoples who flocked to the standard of the liberator Germamae, 
Marbod was defeated, and the fate of his kingdom was thereby decided. 
First the Semnones and Langobards ranged themselves on the side of his 
adversaries, then one tribe after another, so that he found his dominions 
in the end reduced to their original extent, the country of the Marco- 
nianni. With the ruin of his Empire his own fate overtook him. 
Treachery in his own camp forced him to seek the protection of the 
Romans. The fall of its founder did not, however, affect the stability 
of the Bohemian kingdom of the Suebi. Although the Marcomanni 
were never afterwards able to regain their ascendancy, they held their 
own far on into the decline of the ancient world, in the country which 
they had occupied under Marbod's leadership. Indeed after a time their 
power was so far revived that, in alliance with the Quadi, they were able 
to dominate the upper Danube frontier for fully a century. 

The earliest mention of the Quadi occurs in the geographer Strabo. 
He names them among the Suebian tribes who settled within the 
Hercynian Forest, the mountains which form the frontier of Bohemia. 
The country which they inhabited is nearly the present Moravia. Its 
eastern frontier was formed by the March, the ancient Marus. That 
they were of Suebian origin is clear from the express testimony of 
Strabo, as well as on linguistic grounds. The only point which remains 
doubtful is whether even before their coming into Moravia they had 
formed a political unit, or whether they were a migratory band sent 

B.C. 60-2] The Marcomanni 197 

out by one of the great Suebian peoples, perhaps the Semnones, which 
only developed into a united and independent national community after 
settling in Moravia. The former, however, is the more probable. 

Like their western neighbours the Marcomanni, the Quadi were the 
successors of a Keltic people. As the Boii had been settled in Bohemia, 
so in Moravia, from a remote period and down to Caesar's day had been 
settled the Volcae Tectosages. Seeing that about B.C. CO, the advance of 
the Teutons from the north over the Erzgebirge and Sudetes caused the 
Boii to leave their territory, it is probable that at the same time, or a 
little later, the peoples further to the east became involved in a struggle 
with the invaders. But whereas the Boii by their prompt retirement 
escaped the danger, the Tectosages, it would appear, were utterly 
destroyed. We find the Quadi soon after in possession of their territory, 
and since we get no hint of the fate of the Moravian Tectosages, the 
Romans cannot yet have been in possession of the neighbouring country 
of Noricum. Their destruction must therefore have fallen before B.C. 15, 
when Noricum passed under the dominion of Rome. If this hypothesis 
is correct the irruption of the Quadi into Moravia took place shortly 
after the Boii had left Bohemia ; in any case a considerable time before 
the occupation of that country by the MarcomannL 

To the west of the Marcomanni, between the Bohmer-Wald and the 
Danube as far up as the river Naab, were settled the Naristi. It is 
equally uncertain whence they came and when they appeared in this 
region. It is possible, though that is the most that can be said, that like 
their eastern neighbours they belonged to the Suebian confederacy 
Tacitus certainly counts them as members of it and that they are to 
be numbered among those peoples which, according to Strabo, Marbod 
had settled in the region of the Hercynia Sylva. 

Guarding the flanks, as it were, of the southern territories of the 
Teutons lay two settlements planted by the Romans ; in the west the 
Hermunduri between the upper Main and the Danube, and in the east 
the Vannianic kingdom of the Suebi. The former came into being 
B.C. 6-, the Roman general, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, having assigned 
to a band of Hermunduri the eastern part of the territory left free by 
the migration of the Marcomanni into Bohemia ; the latter was created 
by the settlement of bands of Suebian warriors belonging to the following 
of the fallen Suebian leaders, Marbod and Casvalda. 

The Moras is of course the March, the Cusus, as this Suebian settle- 
ment cannot have been very extensive, was probably the Waag, though 
it may have been the Gran, which lies further to the east. The Bafyuu 
of Ptolemy are probably identical with these Suebians of northern 
Hungary, who come into notice several times in the course of the first 
century. As they disappear later, they were probably absorbed by the 
Quadi. Further towards the north-east, in the Hungarian Erzgebirge, 
and beyond in the upper region of the Vistula, we find in the first 


198 Germany in the First Century [A.D. 14-167 

century of our era the Buri and Sidones. The former, who are men- 
tioned as early as Strabo, were probably of Bastarnian, and the latter 
of Lugian origin; further still, abutting on the eastern flank of the 
Sidones, were the Burgiones, Ambrones, and Frugundiones, doubtless 
also Bastarnian. 

If we now review the ethnographic situation in ancient Germany 
about the close of the first century A.D., we find on its western frontier, 
in the eastern basin of the lower Rhine, the Chamavi, the Bructcri, 
the Usipii, the Tencteri, the Chattuarii and Tubantes , further in the 
interior, on both sides of the Weser, the great tribes of the Chatti and 
Cherusci; further to the north, the Angrivarii; and, on the North Sea 
coast, the Chauci and Frisians. In the heart of the country three 
powerful Suebian populations have their seat : on the western bank of 
the middle Elbe, extending as far south as the Rhaetian frontier, the 
Hermunduri ; north of them, on the western bank of the lower Elbe, 
the Langobards, and beyond that river, in the basins of the Havel and 
the Spree, the Semnones, who were held to be the primitive stock of the 
Suebi. The eastern part of the country was mainly occupied by the 
Lugii. The tribes too which appear later, in the wars of the Marco- 
manni (the Victovali, Asdingi, and Lacringi), were doubtless also Vandalic. 
Northward in the region of the Wartha and Netze, dwelt the Bm- 
gundiones or Burgundi ; further north still, on the Pomeranian Baltic 
coast, the Rugii and Lemovi, next to whom on the western side came 
(with some other smaller tribes) the Saxons. North of these again, on 
the Jutish peninsula, lay the Anglii and Varini. Turning back to the 
Vistula again, we find on its eastern bank the Goths, who, apparently by 
the beginning of our era, had spread from the shores of its estuary to its 
upper waters. In the south, the portion of the Hermunduri which had 
its seat between the Main and the Danube formed the first link iu 
a long chain consisting of Naristi, Marcomanni, Quadi, Buri, and 
finally, beyond the confinium Germanorum, the numerous branches of the 

It was therefore a vast territory which the Germanic races claimed 
for their own, and yet, as was soon to appear, it was loo narrow for the 
energies of these young and vigorous nations. On their north foamed 
the sea, to the east yawned the desert steppes of southern Russia thus 
any further expansion could only take a westward or southward direction. 
But on the one side as on the other lay the unbroken line of the Roman 
frontier. Any attempt at expansion in either of these directions 
must inevitably lead to an immediate collision with the Roman 

The storm which lowered upon the Bohemian mountains was soon to 
burst. Mighty forces were doubtless at work in the interior of Germany 
which shortly after the accession of Marcus Aurelius stirred up the whole 
mass of nations from the Bdhmer-Wald to the Carpathians, and let loose 

A D. 167-174] Marcus Aurelius 199 

a tempest such as the Roman Empire had never before encountered on 
its frontiers. In the summer of 167 hosts of barbarians mustered along 
the line of the Danube, ready to make an inroad into Roman territory. 
The Praetorian Praefect, Furius Victorinus, was defeated, and slain with 
most of his troops; and the invading flood poured forward over the 
unprotected provinces. Not until the two Emperors reached the seat of 
war (spring 168) was the plundering and ravaging stopped. The bar- 
barians then withdrew to the further side of the Danube and declared 
their readiness to enter into negotiations. 1 There, in the winter of 168-9 
the plague broke out with fearful violence in the Roman camp, and at 
once the complexion of events changed for the worse. In the spring, in 
the absence of the Emperors, who on the outbreak of the epidemic had 
returned to the capital, the army, weakened and disorganised by disease, 
suffered another severe defeat, and the Praetorian Praefect, Macrinius 
Vindex, met his death. Following up their victory, the Teutons assumed 
the offensive all along the line. A surging mass of peoples Hermunduri, 
Naristi, Marcomanni, Quadi, Lacringi, Buri, Victovali, Asdingi and other 
tribes Germanic and lazygic swept over the provinces of Rhaetia, 
Noricum, Pannonia, and Daeid. Some detached bands even pushed 
their way into North Italy, laid siege to Aquileia, and destroyed Opiter- 
gium, further to the west. 

But the danger passed as quickly as it had arisen. Effective 
measures were instantly taken. The flood of invasion was stemmed, and 
as it receded the Romans, led by the Emperor in person, took the 
aggressive. All the Teutons and lazyges who remained on the south 
bank were forced back across the river. So successful were the Roman 
arms that by the year 171 the Quadi sued for peace. In the following 
year the Roman army crossed the Danube, and laid waste the country of 
the Marcomanni. Thus the two most dangerous adversaries had been sub- 
dued and the war seemed over. But by the year 174 the Emperor again 
found himself obliged to return to Germany. Scarcely had he entered 
the country of the Quadi, when the army was placed in a highly 
dangerous position by an enveloping movement of the enemy, and by 
want of water. Suddenly a torrent of rain descended, 2 and legionaries 
saw in the "miracle" a proof of the favour of the gods, and were inspired 
to fight with splendid valour, and gained a complete victory. This 
broke the resistance of the Quadi, and the Marcomanni also were forced 

*I refer to the fragment of Petrus Patricius (6) which Mommsen, Ges 
Scknften, iv. p. 492 n 1, assigns to the time of Pius 

2 There is no reason to doubt either the event itself, or the fact that it appeared 
to the minds of contemporaries, especially of Marcus Aurelius himself, as a miracle 
See Harnack, Svteungsber. der Bert. Akad. 1894, p. 835, and Th. Mommsen, Hermes, 
30 (1895), p 90 = Ges Schnjten, iv p 498 (against E. Petersen, M tit. des Arch, 
lust. row. Abt. 9 (1894), p 78 and A. von Damaszewski, Rhein. Mus /, Phttol 49 
(1894), p. 61), cf also J Geffcken, N. Jahrbuch f d. Klass. Altertum, 3 (1899), 
p. 253. Further literature m Schanz, Gesch. d rom Literatur, m 2 644. 

CH. vn. 

200 Commodus [A.D 176-235 

to make peace. In 176 the Emperor returned to Rome, and there 
celebrated, along with his son Commodus, a well-deserved triumph. 
In 177 Marcus rejoined his army with the purpose of completing the 
work of conquest. Two new provinces, Marcomania and Sarmatia, were 
to be added to his Empire and were to round off his northern boundary. 
The war began (apparently before the end of 177) with an attack upon 
the Quadi, after which the Marcomanni were to be dealt with. In the 
course of the three-years' war both peoples were so thoroughly exhausted 
that when the Emperor suddenly died (17 March 180) their military 
strength was already broken. 

One of the first acts of Commodus, an unworthy successor of his father, 
was to make peace which surrendered to the all but beaten enemy every 
advantage that had been wrested from them The struggle for the lands 
to the north of the Danube was at an end. Meanwhile the Romans 
were confronted, about the close of the century, with a new and dangerous 
enemy in the west, in the angle between the Main and the frontier of 
upper Germany and Rhaetia by the Alemans. As their name indicates, 1 
the Alemans were not a single tribe but a union of tribes a confederacy. 
We hear (somewhat later) the names of several of the component tribes, 
the Juthungi, the Brisigavi, the Bucinobantes, and the Lcntienses. 
Whence did they come ? No doubt the nucleus of this confederacy was 
formed by the southern divisions of the Hermunduri. To these there 
may have attached themselves various fragments of peoples which had 
split off before and after the Marco mannic war, just as later, towards the 
middle of the third century, the Sernnones, in the course of a migration 
southward, probably joined this confederacy and were absorbed by it. 

Before long as early as 213 the new nation came in contact with 
the Romans. So far as can be made out from the confused account 
which is given us of their first appearance 2 they had invaded Rhaetia, 
whereupon the Emperor Caracalla took the field against them, flung them 
back across the frontier and advanced into their territory carrying all be- 
fore him. 3 Before twenty years had passed the Teutons- presumably the 
Alemans again renewed the attack upon the Roman frontier defences. 
So threatening was the situation that the Emperor Scverus Alexander felt 

ni (Gothic damans from the Old Teutonic *a1amannez) means '*all 
people," "all men," and therefore designates an aggregate of peoples. So the 
historian Asimus Quadratus (in Agalhias, i 6, p 17) : ol ' Ahapavol . . . tywi\v8& 
cltrtp Mpcnroi K0.1 (uydSes, Kal TOVTO WVCLTCLI CLVTOLS % &rww/*/a. 

2 Dio, LXXVII. 13-15, on which see Bang, Hermes, 41 (1900), p. 6583; cf. Herodian, 
iv. 7. 2-3 ; Vita Carac 5. 4 6 , 10. 6. 

3 According to the records of the Arval College for the year 213 (C.I L 
vi. 2086) the members made an offering on 11 August quod dormnus n[oster] . . . 
per limitem Raetiae ad hastes extirpandos barbarorum [terram] introiturus est t ut ea 
res ei prospere felidterque cedat, 1 and on 6 October ob sahtte[m] wctoriamqw 
Germardcam of the sovereign Ob victoriam Oermanicam is also the cause of the setting 
up of the inscription in OIL. xm. 6459 and the same victoria Germanica appears on 
the corns of the year 213 (Cohen, iv 2 . p. 210 n. 645-C). 

A D 235-258] The Alemanui 201 

himself obliged to break off his campaign against the Persians, and take 
over in person the direction of the operations on the Rhine. Negotia- 
tions had already begun before his assassination (March 235), but his 
successor, the rough and soldierly Maximin, brought new life into the 
campaign. Advancing by forced marches into the country of the 
Alemans he drove the barbarians before him without serious resistance, 
laid waste their fields and dwellings far and wide, and finally defeated 
them far in the interior of their territory. 

The result of this campaign, the last war of offence on a large scale 
which the Romans waged on the Rhine, was the restoration of security 
to the frontier for a period of twenty years. Under Gallienus probably 
about the year 258 the storm broke. With irresistible force the armies 
of the Alemans broke through the great chain of frontier fortifications 
between the Main and the Danube, and after overpowering the scattered 
Roman garrisons, poured like a flood across the whole of the Agri 
Decumates, and established themselves permanently in the conquered 
territory. At the same time Rhaetia became a prey to them ; nay more, 
a strong force even crossed the Alps and penetrated as far as Ravenna. 
The invaders were, it is true, defeated by Gallienus near Milan, and 
forced to retreat, but the country at the northern base of the Alps was 
lost, and its loss threw open to the Germanic hordes the gates of Italy. 

In addition to the Alemans of the upper Rhine, there now appeared, 
on the lower course of that river, another dangerous enemy, namely the 
Franks. The frontier had scarcely ever been seriously threatened at this 
point since the days of Augustus, but now under Gallienus the situation 
was altered. Here also there had quietly grown up a confederacy which, 
under the name of Fraud, the Free, presumably comprised the tribes 
formerly met with in these regions, the Chamavi, Sugambri, and other 
smaller clans. Their name, first heard in the time of Gallienus, was soon 
to become even more terrible in the ears of the Romans than that of the 
Alemans. The first attack of the new league of peoples upon the Rhine 
frontier occurred in 25&. The districts on the Gaulish bank of the 
Rhine soon fell into the hands of the enemy. With great difficulty 
Gallienus succeeded in forcing them back across the Rhine. But others 
followed them, and there ensued a series of desperate struggles which 
lasted till 258. On the whole the Romans had the best of it, even 
though their army was not large enough to prevent isolated bands of 
Franks from establishing themselves upon the left bank of the Rhine. 

In 258 Gallienus was called away to the lower Danube, which 
urgently demanded his presence. The confusion which was created in 
the Rhine district by the assassination in the following year of the 
Emperor's son Valerian who had been left behind as Imperial Resident 
at Cologne, by the ambitious general Cassianus Postumus, gave the Franks 
a welcome opportunity to make a new inroad into Gaul. Their bands 
ranged almost unresisted through the whole country from the Rhine to 

CH. vn. 

202 The Goths [A.D. 230-232 

the Pyrenees, devastating as they went. Then they pushed on, as the 
Cimbri had done before them, across the mountains into Spain, and 
made havoc of that country for several years, reducing to subjection even 
great cities like Tarraco, while, like the Vandals after them, they also 
made a foray into Africa. As at the time of the Cimbrian war, the 
terror of the Germans spread through all the countries of Western 
Europe. Only after a considerable time Postmnus a capable soldier 
and a well-intentioned administrator was able to force the Germanic 
hordes out of Gaul and restore peace and security. But the Rhine 
became the frontier of the Empire and remained so as long as the 
Empire lasted. 

From this time onward begins a period of incessant fighting with the 
Teutons of the Rhine-country : with the Alemans in the south and the 
Franks in the north The weakness and exhaustion of the Empire 
caused by inner dissensions becomes manifest. If Postumus succeeded 
in keeping the Roman possessions on the Gaulish bank of the Rhine 
essentially intact, his immediate successors were less successful. The 
country was left defenceless, and large portions of it were plundered and 
drained of their resources. Probus indeed, whose short reign (76~82) 
is a ray of light in these gloomy times, succeeded in clearing them out of 
Gaul, and even ventured to assume the offensive on the upper Rhine, in 
a brilliant campaign forcing the Alemans back to the further side of the 
Neckar But such successes were but temporary. Only in the Lime of 
Diocletian does a durable improvement on the Rhine frontier set in, an 
improvement which was maintained for the next two or three generations. 
During this period a third set of invaders, in addition to the Franks and 
Alemans, appeared towards the close of the century in the Saxons, the 
terror of the British and Gaulish coasts. In the main, however, Gaul 
was suffered to enjoy peace; and with peace returned prosperity. 

Meanwhile on the shores of the Euxine, there emerges a people 
with whose name the world was to ring for centuries, the Goths. 
Their original home had been, it would appear, in Scandinavia, and 
after their migration to the German Baltic coast they had at first 
established themselves about the estuary of the Vistula, 1 then in course 
of time they had moved further southward along the right bank of that 
river, so that at the beginning of our era they appear as far south as the 
neighbourhood of the Bohemian kingdom of the Marcomanni. How 
long they remained in this region we do not know, but it is not unlikely 
that their eastward migration falls about the time of the great 
Marcomannic war. We are equally ignorant of the time occupied by 
this migration and the details of its progress ; the only thing certain is 
that it reached its close not later than c. &30-&40. 

1 The Outones on the North Sea coast mentioned by Pytheas in the fourth century 
B c may have been a branch of this people which had wandered westward, and were 
absorbed probably by the Frisians. 

A D. 240-250] The Goths 203 

The territory where the Goths at last took up their abode embraced 
the whole of the northern coast of the Black Sea In the east it was 
separated by the Don from that of the Alani, in the west it bordered on 
the tract of country northward of the Danube Delta and the Dacian 
frontier which had been settled four hundred years earlier by the 
Bastarnae and the Sciri. Here the Goths divided into two sections soon 
after their immigration, that dwelling more to the west being known 
as the Tervingi, "the inhabitants of the forest region," while the 
eastern division was known as the Greutungi, "the inhabitants of the 
Steppes." For the former the name Visigoths (Vesegoti) came into use, 1 
at latest c. 350, for the latter the name Ostrogoths, designations however 
of which the meaning is not absolutely certain, although "the western 
Goths" and "the eastern Goths" was an interpretation already known 
to Jordanes. The boundary between them was formed by the Dniester. 
Before long there appear alongside of them other Germanic peoples, the 
Gepidae, Taifali, Borani, Urugundi, and Heruli. The two first of these 
had some original link of connexion with them. The Gepidae indeed 
appear in the Gothic legend of their migrations as an actual part of 
the Gothic nation. Whether they migrated to the Black Sea region 
at the same time as the Goths, or followed them later, must remain an 
open question. 

Towards the end of the reign of Severus Alexander (222-235) the 
first indications of the appearance on the northern shores of the Black Sea 
of a new and powerful barbarian race, of a most warlike temper, had 
already become manifest, when the Greek towns of Olbia and Tyras fell 
victims to the sudden descent of an unknown enemy from the North. 
A little later, under Gordian III (238-244), its name is found. In the 
spring of 238 Gothic war-bands marched southwards, crossed the Danube 
with the connivance of the Dacian Carpi and broke into the province of 
Lower Moesia, where they captured and plundered the town of Istrus. 
The Procurator of the province, Tullius Menophilus (238-241), being 
unable to repel the invasion by force of arms, induced the Goths to 
retire by the promise of a yearly subsidy. But by 248 they had renewed 
their attacks on the Roman frontier in alliance with the Taifali, Asdingi, 
and Bastarnae. Under the leadership of Argaith and Gunterich their 
bands again broke into Lower Moesia, assailed without success the fortified 
town of Marcianople and plundered the unfortunate province again. 

But these first exploits of the Goths were completely thrown into 
the shade by the great invasion of Roman territory made at the 
beginning of 250 by the half-legendary King Kniwa at the head of a 
powerful army. While the Carpi flung themselves upon Dacia, the 
Gothic attack was directed as before upon Moesia. Thence a strong 

1 These names, hke the division of the race which they express, may have been 
considerably older, and as the occurrence of Greutungi in Scandinavia suggests, 
brought by the Goths from their original home. 

CH. vn. 

204 Decius [A D. 250-265 

detachment pressed onward over the undefended passes of the Balkans 
into Thrace, laid siege to Philippopolis, and even despatched a plundering 
party into Macedonia. One division of the Gothic army, after vainly 
assaulting Novae and Nicopolis, was defeated in the neighbourhood of 
the latter town by the Emperor Decius in person, but this success 
was immediately counterbalanced by a reverse The Goths, while 
retiring southwards by way of Berofe (Augusta Traiana), the present 
Eski-Zaghra, on the southern slope of the Balkans, defeated the Roman 
troops who were pursuing them. After this battle the victorious Goths 
effected a junction with their countrymen who were investing Philip- 
popolis, and that city fell into their hands. The Romans, however, were 
now making extensive preparations, in view of which the barbarians 
began their retreat. Decius, eager to wipe out the failure at Beroe, 
sought to bar their path, and, in the hope of inflicting a crushing defeat 
upon them, engaged them, near Abrittus, about 30 miles south-east of 
Durostorum (Silistria) in June 251. The day, which began well for the 
Romans, ended in a fearful disaster, a great part of their army was 
destroyed, and the Emperor himself and one of his sons were among the 
slain. The country from which the barbarians had just retired now lay 
once more defenceless before them. They were finally bought off by the 
promise of a yearly subsidy. 

The Gothic war of 50-251 had revealed in its full extent the 
danger which had lain hidden behind the mountains of Dacia. Later 
events did little to remove the terrible impression which the invasion of 
Kmwa had left behind. On the contrary, the history of the eastern half 
of the Empire in the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, Claudius, Aurelian, 
and Probus is filled with incessant struggles against the Goths and their 
allies. For even Asia Minor was not exempt from their ravages ; besides 
the bands which swept down by the Balkans and back again there were 
now others which came by sea from the Crimea and Lake Macotis to 
ravage a constantly widening area of the coasts of Asia Minor and 
which even penetrated to the inland districts. Especially prominent in 
these piratical raids were the Borani and Heruli, two peoples who here 
appear in history for the first time side by side with the Goths. The 
first of these expeditions, made by the Borani in 56 against the town 
of Pityus (on the eastern shore of the Black Sea), ended in failure, but 
by the following year these same Borani succeeded in capturing and 
sacking Pityus and Trapezus. Even more destructive was the expedition 
which (spring 58) was undertaken by the West Goths, starting by sea 
and land from the port of Tyras The whole western coast of Bithynia 
with the cities of Chalcedon, Nicomedia, Nicaca, Apamea, and Prusa 
was ravaged. The years 63, 64, and 65 also witnessed the vasting of 
the coast lands of Asia Minor by similar expeditions of the Pontic 
Teutons. Ilium, Ephesus with its renowned temple of Artemis, 
and Chalcedon were this time the victims of the barbarians. 

But all these exploits were far surpassed in importance by the great 

A.D. 267-270] Claudius 205 

plundering expedition of the Heruli in the year 267. From Lake 
Maeotis a fleet, said to have been five hundred strong, sailed along the 
western shore of the Euxine, then through the Bosphorus, where they 
made a successful coup-de-main against Byzantium, through the 
Propontis, where Cyzicus was captured, and the Hellespont, and onward 
past Lemnos and Scyros across the Aegean to Greece Here on the 
classic soil of Attica, Argolis, and Laconia the wild hosts of these 
barbarians made fearful havoc, and it was long enough before the 
bewildered provincial government ventured to oppose them. The 
defenders, in whose ranks the historian Dexippus of Athens played 
a leading part, gradually gained confidence, and when they had succeeded 
in destroying the ships, the invaders were obliged to retreat by the 
land route. Beaten by the Roman troops their hosts rolled northwards 
through Boeotia, Epirus, Macedonia, towards their home, which they 
succeeded in reaching although hard pressed by their pursuers and at the 
very last compelled by the Emperor Gallienus to fight a battle, in which 
they incurred heavy losses, at the river Nestus, on the boundary between 
Macedonia and Thrace. 

We have seen above how the Danube had been constantly threatened 
since the appearance of the Goths on the Black Sea, how invasion after 
invasion had descended on Dacia and Moesia. Soon after the accession 
of Gallienus (probably 56-7) , x Dacia with the exception of the 
narrow strip between the Temes and the Danube, which continued to be 
held down to the time of Aurelian, together with the portion of Lower 
Moesia which lay to the north of the Danube (the present Great 
Wallachia), became the prey of the barbarians. Some of the West 
'Goths settled ha Great Wallachia and the Taifali in the Banat; the 
northern districts, especially Transylvania, were occupied by the Victovali 
and Gepidae, who at this time make their appearance among the 
enemies of Rome. The consequence of the loss of Dacia and Trans- 
Danubian Moesia was that the Teutons now became on the lower 
Danube as well as elsewhere the immediate neighbours of the Empire, 
their territory being divided from it only by the river. 

Only once in this whole period of inward decay did the imperial 
power succeed in winning a decisive victory. That was the achievement 
of the Emperor Claudius, whom his grateful contemporaries and succes- 
sors have rightly adorned with the honourable title of "Gothicus." In 
the spring of 69 the Teutons made yet another attack upon the Empire, 
surpassing all former ones in violence East Goths and West Goths, 
whom tradition here first distinguishes, Bastarnae (Peucini), Gepidae, 
and Heruli united their forces and advanced with a mighty army 
,and fleet estimated in the sources at 300,000 fighting-men and 2000 

l ln this year the minting of coins for the province of Dacia breaks off. The 
inscriptions found in this country too do not come down beyond the first year of 
the reign of Valerian. 


206 Claudius and Aurelian [A D. 268-284 

ships against the Danubian frontier. Once more the province of Lower 
Moesia bore the brunt of their attack. The land army of the Teutons, 
in which lay their main strength, first made an unsuccessful attempt to 
take Tomi and Marcianople, then swept like a flood over the interior 
of the country, wasting and plundering as they went. Meanwhile the 
fleet, which was manned chiefly by Heruli, sailed past Byzantium and 
Cyzicus into the Aegean, and appeared before Thessalonica. Part of it 
remained there and blockaded the city; the remainder made a great 
plundering expedition which bears eloquent testimony to the seamanship 
and daring of these Teutons, along the coasts of Macedonia, Greece, and 
Asia Minor, extending even as far as Crete and Cyprus. 

This was the situation when the Emperor Claudius reached the 
scene of war. At his approach the besiegers of the hard-pressed 
Thessalonica had hastily drawn off northwards and effected a junction 
with their kinsmen in Upper Moesia. The hostile forces met near 
Naissus. In the desperate struggle which ensued the Teutons suffered 
a crushing defeat. What remained of their army was in part cut to 
pieces in the pursuit, in part driven into the inhospitable recesses of the 
Balkans, where the survivors surrendered. They were partly enrolled in 
the Roman army, partly, in pursuance of a policy initiated by the 
Emperor Marcus, settled as coloni in the devastated frontier districts. 

Thus the danger was averted from the Empire, and the desire of its 
restless neighbours beyond the Danube to make expeditions on the great 
scale was damped for nearly a hundred years. No doubt the inroads and 
piratical voyages of smaller Gothic war-bands continued ; indeed, in the 
next fourteen years (27Q-&84), there was fighting with bands of this 
kind under Quintillus, Aurelian, Tacitus, and Probus, but all these 
incursions were easily repelled by the imperial government, which 
gained strength under Aurelian and Probus Just at this time, too, 
there broke out a severe internal struggle between the Teutons of the 
Euxine and those of the Danube. The first aid called in by the Golhs 
against the Tervingi was that of the Bastarnae, but the outcome of the 
struggle was that the Bastarnae were defeated and compelled to abandon 
the territory which they had held so tenaciously for more than five 
hundred years. The expelled Bastarnae, said to have numbered 100,000 
men, were taken under his protection by the Emperor Probus and settled 
in Thrace. After that the Tervingi, supported by the Taifali, made war 
on the allied Gepidae and Vandals, while the East Goths fought with 
their eastern neighbours the Urugundi, who on their defeat were taken 
under the protection of the Alani. 1 We can see that the whole of the 
eastern Germanic world was in a state of wild uproar. 

On the middle Danube there had been no fighting worth mention 

1 Mamert. genethl Maxvm. 17 (p. 114 Baehrens) where 'the Impossible Alamanni 
is doubtless to be corrected to Alani; the Burgundii are of course the UrugundL 
Cf. L. Schmidt, Gesch. dcr Wandalen, p. 14 

A.D 282-299] Diocletian, Carausius 207 

since the Marcomannic war. We hear indeed of an incursion of the 
Marcomanni in the reign of Valerian, but, broadly speaking, the name 
of this once so warlike nation may be said to disappear from history. 
Their old comrades the Quadi often appear in association with the 
lazyges, from the time of Gallienus, when they made a descent upon 
Pannonia. There was further fighting with them in 283, as is proved 
by a coin of Numerian. 1 However, they are in this period thrown into 
the shade by the other more dangerous assailants of the Empire ; indeed, 
with the appearance of the Goths the main struggle between the Roman 
and Germanic powers had shifted from the middle to the lower Danube. 
Shortly after the death of Probus (Oct. 282), the Alemans on the 
upper Rhine, and the Pranks and Saxons on the lower Rhine, had 
begun their forays again. The eastern districts of Gaul were again over- 
run, while the coasts of the Channel were harried by Saxon pirates. The 
Burgundians also had left their home between the Oder and the Vistula, 
and forced their way through the heart of Germany to the Main. When 
the government had been taken over by Diocletian, his colleague and 
(after April 286) co-Emperor Maximian entered Gaul in the beginning 
of that year; it was his first care, so soon as he had suppressed the 
insurrection of the Bagaudae, to put a stop to the piracy of the Saxons* 
and Franks. He first cleared the left bank of the Rhine, drove the 
Heruli and Chaivones, two Baltic tribes who had invaded Gaul, right 
out of the country, and, basing himself on Mainz, conducted a successful 
defensive campaign against Alemans and Burgundians. The defence of 
the coasts was entrusted to a capable officer, Carausius the Menapian, 
with a strong command and extensive authority. But when Carausius 
set up for Emperor in Britain towards the end of 286 the Teutons found 
a fresh opportunity. The usurper even made common cause with the 
enemies of the Empire and openly helped them. Maximian, indeed, 
repeatedly (287 and 291) gained successes against them, but the first 
decided improvement on the Rhine frontier was due to a new develop- 
ment of imperial organisation by which Gaul and Britain became a 
distinct administrative department with a governor of their own in the 
person of the general Flavius Constantius (March 293), who was at the 
same time appointed Caesar. The Franks were decisively defeated 
within their own borders (summer 293), Britain was reconquered for 
the Empire (spring 296) Carausius himself had fallen a victim to a 
conspiracy in 293 and finally by two great victories over the Alemans 
on the upper Rhine peace was at length restored (298-9), and the Rhine 
was made secure, especially as regards the upper part of its course, by 
the building of forts and the restoration of the defensive works which 
had been destroyed by the enemy or had fallen into decay. Following 
the example of Maximian, Constantius settled large numbers of prisoners 

1 Cohen, n 2 p 878 n. 91, with the inscription trivrmfu[*} Quadorfum], 

208 Constantine and Constantius [A.D. 299-353 

of war, Franks, Frisians, and Chamavi, as laeti and coloni, in the wasted 
and depopulated districts of north-east Gaul. Here they were to 
cultivate the fields that had been lying fallow, to supply the labour 
that was sorely needed, and to aid in the defence of the frontier. The 
country rapidly recovered, trade and commerce began to flourish again, 
and the ancient prosperity returned. 

It was in this hopeful condition that the Western provinces came 
into the hands of Constantine when (25 July 306) he was called by the 
will of the army to take up the reins of government. During a reign of 
thirty-one years he thoroughly fulfilled the promise of his youth. From 
the first day of his rule he devoted all his efforts to the securing and well- 
being of the provinces. The Franks who were again on the move were 
energetically repressed; in the process two of their chiefs were taken 
prisoners, and given to the beasts Similarly four years later a 
combined attack of the Bructeri, Chamavi, Cherusci, Lanciones, Alemans, 
and Tubantes was repulsed with heavy loss. These were the only 
occasions during Constantine's long reign on which the Germanic peoples 
of the Rhine-district made any expeditions on a large scale. 

As regards the actual defence of the frontier, the number of troops 
,was increased, the flotilla on the Rhine was reorganised and raised to a 
considerable strength, and the belt of fortresses along the frontier was 
improved. In this connexion took place the reoccupation and reforti- 
fication of Divitia (Deutz), the old bridge-head of Cologne, which once 
more gave the Romans a firm foothold on the right bank of the Rhine 
on what had now become Frankish soil. 

The coast defence of Gaul and Britain likewise underwent further 
improvements. The establishment of a special military command in the 
latter country, mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum under the title comes 
litons Saxonici per Britanniam, most probably goes back to Constantine. 
When the Emperor towards the end of 316 left Gaul for the last time, 
the land was in the enjoyment of complete peace, and this happy state of 
affairs continued so long as the internal peace of the Empire was preserved. 
The enemy on the further side of the Rhine was thoroughly overawed, 
and ventured on nothing more than small violations of the frontier. 

Nevertheless the peace did not endure. When Magnentius, a Frank 
by race, set himself up as Emperor (350), the security of the Rhine was 
immediately imperilled, since the eastern Emperor Constantius himself 
incited the Teutons to attack the usurper and so to invade the Empire. 
All that had been accomplished by Constantine was rapidly lost in the 
disastrous years of civil war between 351 and 353. The left bank of the 
Rhine was again overrun by the Teutons, the fortified positions, denuded 
of their garrisons, were almost all captured and destroyed and the open 
country far into the interior of the province was plundered till there was 
nothing left to plunder. Although Constantius, after the suppression 
of the pestifera tyrannis, himself made two, campaigns against the 

A D. 354-368] Julian 209 

Alemans, in the first (spring 354) against the kings Gundomad and 
Vadomar, in the second (summer 355) against the Lentienses, he effected 
practically nothing. It was only when the young Caesar Julian took 
up the command in Gaul that the situation began to improve. The 
whole year 356 was taken up in fighting against the Alemans, who were 
driven back on all sides. A great number of towns, including Cologne, 
which had been captured by the Franks, were won back again. A 
serious defeat incurred in 357 by the magister peditum Barbatio was 
retrieved by the brilliant victory of the Caesar over the united forces 
of Chnodomar, Serapio, Vestralp, and other kings in all 35,000 men 
under seven "kings" (reges) and ten "sub-kings" (regales) at Argento- 
ratum (Strassburg). Two further campaigns against the Alemans, in 
359 and 361, were equally successful On the lower Rhine also Julian 
defeated the Franks, the Chauci, and the Chamavi (358-360) ; the 
tracts between the Scheldt and the Meuse were cleared of the enemy, 
seven towns, among them the old fortresses of Bingium, Antunnacum, 
Bonna, Novaesium, and Vetera (all on the Rhine) were retaken, and 
again put in a state of defence. Thus the young Caesar seemed in the 
way of bringing about a complete pacification of the Rhine country, when 
he was compelled to leave Gaul by the outbreak of the conflict with 
Constantius (361). 1 

Once again the country was left defenceless before the barbarians,who 
did not fail to profit by the situation. It was indeed high time when, 
after the death of Jovian (Feb. 364), the new Emperor Valentinian entered 
the threatened province in the late autumn of 365, and took up his 
headquarters at Paris. So much had the situation altered for the worse 
since the departure of Julian that the Alemans could venture in January 
366 to cross the frozen Rhine, and penetrate to the neighbourhood of 
Chalons-sur-Marne. Here, indeed, they were defeated by the general 
Jovinus who had hastened from Paris to intercept them, and were 
compelled to beat a retreat. But the danger was not done with. The 
guerrilla warfare continued on the frontier, with its forays and surprises. 
Several years of vigorous action were needed before any change was 
apparent. Following the old and well-tried maxim that attack is the 
best defence, Valentinian in 368 himself crossed the Rhine at the head of 
a considerable army reinforced by contingents of Illyrian and Italian 
troops. Advancing into the country of the Alemans he came upon the 
enemy at Solicinium (Suk on the upper Neckar ?) 2 and defeated them 

1 Fuller accounts of these campaigns and of the Gothic War are given in the 
next chapter. 

2 If this identification is correct, Valentinian started from Trier, and marched 
to the Rhine by the great military road through Metz-Zabern-Strassburg, and from this 
point advanced in a south-easterly direction, using the old military road which led 
upwards from Offenburg in the Konzig Valley and on which also lies Sulz, formerly 
the site of a Roman fortress. 

0. MED. H. VOL I. CH. VII. 14 

210 Valentinian [A.D 282-383 

in a bloody battle. Two smaller expeditions beyond the Rhine followed 
in the years 371 and 374. The result of this successful assumption of 
the aggressive by the Romans was, broadly speaking, the recovery of the 
Rhine frontier, which remained for the present exempt from serious 

During this time of military activity the defences along the whole 
line of the Rhine were strengthened. The existing castles and watch- 
towers were improved and many new ones were built ; indeed a vigorous 
development of this old and well-tried system of frontier defence is the 
special merit of Valentinian. Taken generally, his reign marks a revival 
of the strength of the Empire, inward as well as outward, and the results 
of his work upon the Rhine could be felt for a generation after his 
death. Thus his son and successor, Gratian (375-383), found for the 
most part his ways made plain and a more peaceful situation obtaining 
on his arrival in Gaul than that which had confronted his father ten 
years earlier. Nevertheless he too had to draw the sword against the 
Alemans, who mainly the tribe of theLentienses in the spring of 378 
crossed the Rhine with a considerable force. A battle took place near 
Argentaria (Horburg near Colmar) in which the Romans gained a 
complete victory, destroying the greater part of the enemy. Thus, here 
on the Rhine frontier the year 378 brought the Romans once more a 
complete success the same year which in the East witnessed the break- 
down of the Roman military power and the disastrous fall of the 
Emperor Valens 

In contrast to the Rhine countries, the Danubian provinces had, since 
the death of the Emperor Probus, enjoyed comparative peace. The 
power of the most dangerous neighbour of the Empire, the Goths, had 
been crippled for a long time, as we have seen, by Claudius and Aurelian, 
and more especially by the dissensions and struggles between the 
different tribes. The East Goths in particular had, since the close of 
the third century, been fully occupied with their own affairs, and com- 
pletely disappear for nearly a century. In the fourth century it is always 
the western division, the Tervingi, of whom we hear ; as is indeed natural, 
seeing that their conquest of Trans-Danubian Moesia under Gallienus 
had made them the immediate neighbours of the Empire. 

No events of any great importance on the Danubian frontier are 
recorded down to the time of Constantine, True, ail inscription of 
Diocletian and his colleagues of a date shortly before 301, celebrates a 
victory over hostile tribes on the lower Danube, 1 which doubtless means 
the Goths, but these battles can hardly have been of any considerable 
importance. On the other hand Constantine frequently had trouble 
with the Goths. After some inroads in 314 the frontier defences 
were strengthened by the building of the fortress Tropaeum Traiani 

1 C LL. m. 6151. 

A.D. 323-340] The Goths in Dacia 211 

(Adamelissi). 1 The removal of troops from the frontier during prepara- 
tions of Licinius for another civil war gave the signal at the beginning of 
323 for a new incursion of the Goths. Thanks to the rapid advance 
of Constantine which brought him into his colleague's territory the 
invaders were intercepted before they had done any great damage, and 
after severe losses, including the death of their leader, Rausimod, were 
forced back across the Danube. 

After the end of the civil war Constanline strove with unwearying 
zeal to improve the defences of the frontier. The line was protected by 
castles, and although the number of the frontier troops to whom was 
especially assigned the duty of garrisoning them the milites limitanei or 
tiparienses was considerably reduced, there was no diminution, but, 
on the contrary, a distinct increase of military security, gained by 
the creation at the same time of a mobile field force. So strong did 
the Roman Empire feel itself at this period that towards the close of the 
reign of Constantine it even ventured to interfere in events on the 
further side of the Danube where the Goths and Taif ali were encroaching 
on the Sarmatians who occupied the tract between the Theiss and the 
Danube. In response to an appeal of the Sarmatians for help, the 
Emperor's eldest son Constantine crossed the river at the head of an 
army and, in conjunction with the Sarmatians, thoroughly routed the 
Teutons (20 April 332). 

Doubtless in consequence of this defeat, which clearly brought home 
to them the military superiority of the Empire, the warlike ardour of the 
Tervingi and Taifali was extinguished for a long time. Their impulse to 
expand, the driving force of all their undertakings, was exhausted for 
the present. The barbarians began to busy themselves with agriculture 
and cattle-raising. As regards their relation to the Empire, former 
conditions were reversed. By the treaty of peace concluded after their 
defeat they nominally surrendered their independence and recognised the 
suzerainty of the Roman government, being pledged as foederati, in 
return for yearly subsidies (annonaefoederaticae), to share in the defence 
of the frontier, and in case of war to serve as auxiliary troops. The 
peace continued for more than thirty years. From time to time there 
may have been slight disturbances of the peace of this, indeed, there 
is inscriptional evidence from the period of the joint rule of the three sons 
of Constantine (337-340) , 2 but on the whole both sides strictly observed 
their compact. 

x The only record of these events is contained in CJL. in. 13734 (presumably 
from the year 316) : Romanae securtiatiU libertatisque vindtdbus dd. nn. Fl Vol. 
Constantino etV[al. Licin]ia[no Licinio] piis felicibus aeterms Augg. quorum virtute 
et provideittia edomitis ubique barbararum gentium popuhs ad confirmandam hmitis 
tutelam etiam Tropeensium civitas auspwato a fundamentis fchctier opere conatruda 

* CJ.L m 12483 


212 Conversion of the Goths [A.D. 332-381 

During this long period of peace the West Goths underwent a 
revolution, primarily religious but one which in its consequences affected 
the whole mental, social, and political life of the people the introduc- 
tion of Christianity. As early as the second half of the third century 
Christian teaching had obtained an entrance among them through 
Cappadocian prisoners, taken in the sea-expeditions against Asia Minor. 
There is no reason to doubt this fact , and it is equally certain that a 
century later there were among the Goths representatives of the most 
various schools of belief, Catholics, Arians, and (since about 350) Audians. 
Accordingly, the beginnings of Christianity among the Goths of the 
Danube reach far back, and its diffusion among them took place under 
the most various and independent influences. Of a conversion of the 
nation there can be no question, at least as far down as the middle of 
the fourth century. Their conversion only begins with the appearance 
of Ulfila. 1 

Born of Christian parents about the year 310-11 in the country of 
the Goths, he grew up as a Goth among the Goths, although Greek 
blood flowed in his veins. One or other of his parents came of a 
Christian family from the neighbourhood of Parnasus in Cappadocia 
which had been carried into captivity by the Goths in the time of 
Gallienus (64 ?). First employed as a Reader, he was, at the age of 
about 30, that is to say about the year 341, consecrated as bishop 
of the Christian community in the land of the Goths, by Eusebius (of 
Nicomedia), the famous leader of the Arian party, at that time bishop 
of Constantinople. Equally efficient as missionary and as organiser, 
Ulfila gathered and united the scattered confessors of the Christian faith, 
and, by his enthusiastic preaching of the Gospel he won for it many 
new adherents. For seven years he worked with great success among 
his fellow-countrymen, and then he was suddenly obliged (c. 348) to 
interrupt his work. A "godless and impious prince," probably 
Athanarich, inflicted cruel persecution on the Christians who dwelt 
within his dominion, by which the newly organised church was scattered 
and its bishop compelled to leave his home. Ulfila gathered together 
his adherents or as many of them as had escaped the persecution and 
fled with them across the Danube into Roman territory, where the 
Emperor Constantius gave him shelter. Here he lived and worked (in 
the neighbourhood of Nicopolis) as the priestly, and also as the political, 
head of the Goths who had accompanied him in his flight, until 380 or 
381 in very truth the apostle of the Goths, and not least so in virtue 
of his great work of translating the Bible, by which he transmitted to 
his people the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures for all time ; and although 

1 On the form of the name cf . G. Kaufmann in his very thorough dissertation on the 
sources of the history of Ulfila (Zeitschr. f deutsch AlterL 7, N F 15, pp. 43 f ). 
According to him the bishop of the Golhs was named Ulfila not Vulfila, the 
latter form having only come into use later, alongside of the former. 

A D. 361-370] Valens 213 

his missionary activity in his native land had early been brought to a 
close, yet the conversion of the whole Gothic race to Arian Christianity 
was nothing else than the harvest of that seed which he had sown in 
those first years of his work among them. 

Soon after the death of Constantius (361) the friendly relations 
between the West Goths and the Empire began to change. Scarcely 
had Valentinian and Valens ascended the throne when there was an open 
rupture. First, towards the end of 364, predatory bands of Goths 
devastated Thrace at the same time there was an incursion of the 
Quadi and Sarmatians into Pannonia then in the spring of 365 the 
whole Gothic nation prepared for a great expedition against the Roman 
territory. Once more the danger was averted ; Valens, although he was 
on the march for Syria and had already reached Bithynia, at once 
took vigorous measures to cope with it. Two years later however came 
the long-expected collision. Valens himself advanced to the attack. 
He found a pretext in the ambiguous attitude of the Goths in recent 
years, especially in their having aided the usurper Procopius with a 
contingent of 3000 men (winter of 365-6). In the summer of 367 the 
Roman army crossed the Danube. Yet no events of decisive importance 
took place, either in this or the two following years for the war lasted 
till 369. The Goths, who had chosen as their leader Athanarich, 
skilfully avoided a pitched battle, and they withdrew into the fastnesses 
of the Transylvanian highlands. 1 In the end both sides were weary of 
the war and negotiations were set on foot, which resulted in a treaty of 
peace whereby the alliance with the Tervingi was formally annulled and 
the Danube was established as the boundary between the two powers. 

Immediately after the war, which had restored the status quo of the 
beginning of the century, and therewith the complete liberty of the 
Goths, 2 the Romans set to work on a thorough restoration of the 
frontier defences. Numerous burgi (barrier-forts) were erected along 
the line of the Danube, as we learn in part from the evidence of 
inscriptions. Yet at first the frontier remained undisturbed. Internal 
dissensions and strife (chiefly due to a general persecution of the 
Christians stirred up by Athanarich about the year 370) withdrew his 
attention from external affairs. The Gothic prince shewed the utmost 

^^The statement of Ammianus (xxvn 5 6) that Athanarich nevertheless towards 
the close of the war finally offered battle and was beaten and put to flight, is open 
to grave doubt, since it is not obvious why the Gothic leader should suddenly 
abandon the strategic method which had hitherto served him so well, and, 
moreover, neither Zosimus (iv. 11) nor Themistms in his oration on the peace in 370 
(Or x ) makes any mention of a battle in which the Romans had been successful 

2 As the well-known inscription of Hissarhk, C. I L in. 7494 (cf . Mommsen, 
Hermes, xvn 1882, pp 523 ff. = Qes. Scknften, vi. pp. 303 ff.) expressly emphasises ; 
(Valens) ...[in fidem recepto rege Aihan]arico t metis superaOsque Gotkis . . . [huno 
burgum] ad defenswnem r&i publicae exfruxit. . . 

214 Athanarich and Fritigern [A.D. 370-375 

ferocity against all Christians, without distinction of high or low, Arian, 
Catholic, or Audian, with the avowed intention of extirpating Chris- 
tianity as dangerous to the State and deleterious to the strength and 
vigour of the nation. 

Probably in connexion with this, there arose (c. 370) a violent 
conflict between the two most influential chiefs, Athanarich and Fritigern, 
which finally led to an open schism between two portions of the race. 
Fritigern was worsted, retired with his whole following into Roman 
territory, and placed himself under the protection of the Emperor, who 
readily accorded him all possible succour and support. This step had 
an important result for the cause of the persecuted Christians, inas- 
much as Fritigern with all his followers went over to Christianity and 
adopted the Arian creed. This conversion of Fritigern to Christi- 
anity, and, moreover, to Arian Christianity, powerfully influenced 
the further development of events, since, on the one hand, it prepared 
the way for the wider extension and final victory of Christianity 
among the Goths, and on the other hand it became a serious danger 
to the political existence of the nation when Arianism had been sup- 
pressed among the Romans, for it had acquired a virtually national 
significance for the Goths. 

The sojourn of Fritigern in Roman territory was not of long 
duration. Confident in the support of the Roman government, he 
returned with his followers to his own country and succeeded in main- 
taining his position against Athanarich, there seems indeed to have 
been a reconciliation between the rivals. Alongside of them, though 
doubtless inferior to them in power and influence, a whole series of 
important chiefs are mentioned by name in this period, among them 
Alavio, Munderich, Eriwulf, and Fravitta. At the same time, however, 
Athanarich continued to exercise a certain primacy, although his 
position was not in any sense constitutionally defined among the 
Romans he always bears the title of judex not rex. 

The East Goths, of whom we have so long lost sight, had in the 
meantime extended their dominions far and wide. A mighty empire 
extending from the Don to the Dniester, from the Black Sea to the 
marshes of the Pripet and the head-waters of the Dnieper and the 
Volga, had emerged from their continual wars of conquest against their 
neighbours, Germanic (such as the Heruli), Slavonic, and Finnish. The 
main portion of these conquests is doubtless to be ascribed to King 
Ermanarich, who had ruled over the Greutungi since the middle of the 
century. In contrast with the West Goths who, as we have seen, down 
to the end of their residence on the Danube, were ruled according to 
ancient Germanic custom by prindpes or local chiefs, the East Goths had 
early developed a monarchy embracing the whole nation. It is doubtless 
to the inner strength which belongs to a firm and undivided exercise of 
authority, that we are to attribute the rapid rise of the young Ostro- 

A.D. 370-376] The Huns 215 

gothic State under its kings from Ostrogotha to Ermanarich, a monarch 
under whose vigorous rule it enjoyed its period of greatest prosperity 
and also met its fall. 

Such was the state of affairs when a nation of untamed savages, horrible 
in aspect and terrible from their countless numbers and ferocious courage, 
broke forth from the interior of Asia and threatened the whole of the 
West with destruction. These were the Huns. They were doubtless of 
Mongolian race, and were probably natives of the great expanse of 
steppes which lies to the north and east of the Caspian Sea. Soon after 
370 they penetrated into Europe, and threw themselves with irresistible 
fury upon the peoples which came in their way. The Alani, who had to 
bear the first brunt of their attack, were soon overpowered, and com- 
pelled to join their conquerors, and the same fate befell the smaller 
peoples whose settlements lay further north, on the right bank of the 

The fate of the Ostrogothic Empire was now imminent. For a con- 
siderable time they succeeded in holding the enemy at the sword's point, 
but finally their strength broke down before the weight of the Asiatic 
hordes. Ermanarich himself died by his own hand rather than live to see 
the downfall of his kingdom ; his successor, Withimir, after several bloody 
defeats, met his death on the field of battle All resistance ceased, and 
the whole people surrendered itself to the Huns. 

The invading flood rolled westward to encounter the Tervingi (375). 
At the first tidings of the events in the neighbouring country, Athanarich 
called his people to arms and marched with a part of his forces to meet 
the Huns. The Gothic leader took his stand on the bank of the 
Dniester; but finding himself compelled to abandon this position by a 
crafty turning-movement of the enemy, Athanarich gave up thence- 
forward all thought of resistance in the field, and betook himself to the 
impenetrable ravines of the Transylvanian highlands. But only some of 
the Goths followed him thither. The mass of the people, weary of 
hardship and privation, separated themselves and resolved to abandon 
their country. Under the leadership of their local chiefs Alavio and 
Fritigern they mustered their forces in the spring of 376 on the north 
bank of the Danube and besought permission to enter the Roman 
Empire, in the hope of finding a dwelling-place in the rich plains of 
Thrace. The Emperor Valens graciously received their request and gave 
orders to the commanders on the frontier to take measures for the 
shelter and provisioning of this huge mass of people. The Goths passed 
the river. In boats, and rafts, and hollowed tree-trunks they made their 
way across and covered all the country round " like the rain of ashes from 
an eruption of Etna. ' ' At first all went well. The new-comers maintained 
an exemplary attitude : not so the Roman officials the chief of whom 
was the Thracian comes Lupicinus. They used the precarious position 
of the barbarians to their own profit, taking advantage of them in every 


216 Battle of Hadrianople [A.D 376-378 

possible way. It was not long before their shameless injustice aroused 
the deep resentment of the Teutons, among whom famine had already 
set in. 

Things soon came to open rupture. In the immediate neighbourhood 
of Marcianople a bloody battle was fought between the infuriated 
Teutons and the soldiers of Lupicinus. The Romans were almost 
annihilated, their leader took refuge behind the strong walls of the town, 
which was immediately invested by the main body of the Tervingian 
forces. Other divisions scattered over the plains, plundering as they 
went All attempts of the barbarians failed to take the town by storm. 
So Fritigern "made his peace with stone walls." A strong force remained 
before the place as an army of observation, while the main body turned, 
as detachments of it had done before, to the plundering of the adjoining- 
districts of Moesia. Once more the country suffered fearfully, and to 
complete its misery other bands of plunderers now joined the Goths. 
Taifali, Alani, and even Huns were drawn across the Danube by the hope 
of plundering and ravaging these fertile provinces. This was in the 
summer of 377. 

Troops were hurried up from all sides for the defence of the threatened 
provinces ; even Gratian sent aid from the West. Meanwhile the Gotlis 
had overrun all Moesia. Not only had the bloody battle fought at a 
place called Salices (late summer 377) been indecisive and cost the 
Romans heavy losses, but a strong detachment of Roman troops under 
the tribune Barzimeres, a Teuton by race, had been cut to pieces at 
Dibaltus. A success which the dux Frigeridus, likewise of Teutonic birth, 
gained over the Taifali and a company of the Greutungi under their 
chief Farnobius was not much to balance this and did not alter the fact 
that Thrace, which after the battle of Salices had been overrun by the 
Teutons, remained a prey to them. 

Finally (30 May 378) Valens arrived at Constantinople. As soon 
as Fritigern, who lay in the neighbourhood of Hadrianople, heard of the 
Emperor's arrival, he gave the order for the widely scattered Gothic 
forces to unite. From this point onward events followed in quick 
succession. At first the fortune of war seemed to smile upon the 
Romans. Making Hadrianople his base, Sebastianus, the commander 
of reinforcements sent by Gratian, succeeded in inflicting a reverse upon 
the Goths, Fritigern thereupon retired to the neighbourhood of Cabyle 
and there concentrated his forces. Thereupon Valens, on his part, 
advanced to Hadrianople, resolved to venture upon a decisive stroke. 
He had set his heart upon meeting his nephew Gratian, who was 
hastening up from the West, with the news of a great victory. And so 
(9 Aug. 378) battle was joined near Hadrianople. It resulted in a 
terrible defeat of the Romans, in which the Emperor himself was slain. 
More than two-thirds of his army, the flower of the military forces of 
the East, was left upon the field of battle* 

A.D. 378] Battle of Hadrianople 217 

It was in truth a second Cannae. The Empire rocked to its foun- 
dations. Sheer panic fell upon all that bore the name of Rome. The 
power and glory of the Empire seemed stamped into the dust by the 
barbarian hordes. The struggle between Rome and the Teutons which 
we have followed through five centuries was drawing to a close. The 
battle of Hadrianople introduces the last act of the great drama, the 
most pregnant with consequences which the history of the world has 
ever seen. 




THE imperial throne was once more vacant (16-17 February 364), 
but the army had learned the danger of a tumultuous election, and 
after the troops had advanced by an eight days' march to Nicaea, both 
the civil and military authorities weighed with anxious deliberation 
the rival claims of possible candidates. Aequitius, tribune of the first 
regiment of the scutani, men knew to be harsh and uncultured, 
Januarius, a relative of Jovian in supreme command in Illyricum, was 
too far distant, and at length one and all agreed to offer the diadem 
to Valentinian. The new Emperor had not marched from Ancyra with 
the army, but had received orders to follow in due course with his regi- 
ment, the second schola of scutarii ; thus, while messengers hastened his 
journey, the Roman world was for ten days without a master. Valentinian 
was a native of Pannonia; his father Gratian, a peasant rope-seller of 
Cibalae, had early distinguished himself by his strength and bravery. 
Risen from the ranks he had become successively protector, tribune, and 
general of the Roman forces in Africa ; accused of peculation, he re- 
mained for a time under a cloud, only to be given later the command 
of the legions of Britain. After his retirement, hospitality shewn to 
Magnentius led to the confiscation of Gratian's property by Constantius, 
but the services of the father made advancement easy for Valenlinian. 
In Gaul, however, when acting under Julian's orders he was dismissed 
from the army by Barbatio, but on Julian's accession he re-enlisted. 
Valentinian's military capacity outweighed even in the eyes of an 
apostate emperor his pronounced Christianity, and an important com- 
mand was given him in the Persian War. Later he had been sent on 
a mission to the West, bearing the news of Jovian's election, and from 
this journey he had but recently returned. The life story of Gratian 
and Valentinian is one of the most striking examples of the splendid 
career which lay open to talent in the Roman army. The father, 
a peasant unknown and without influence, by his ability rises to supreme 
command over Britain, while his son becomes Emperor of Rome. It is 


364-365] Valens co-Emperor 219 

hardly surprising that barbarians were ready to enter a service which 
offered to the capable soldier such prospects of promotion. It may also 
be noticed in passing that in the council at Nicaea only military officers 
were considered as successors of Jovian : we do not hear of any civil 
administrator as a possible candidate for the vacant throne. 

From the very day of his accession the character of Valentinian was 
declared. When the crowd bade him name at once a co-Augustus, he 
replied that but an hour before they had possessed the right to command, 
but that right now belonged to the Emperor of their own creation. 
From the first the stern glance and majestic bearing of Valentinian 
bowed men to his will. Through Nicomedia he advanced to Constanti- 
nople, and here in the suburb of the Hebdomon on 28 March 364 he 
created his brother Valens co-Emperor; he looked for loyal subjection 
and personal dependence, and he was not disappointed ; with the rank 
of Augustus, Valens was content in effect to play the part of a 
Caesar. At Naissus the military forces of the Empire were divided, and 
many Pannonians were raised to high office. The new rulers were, how- 
ever, careful to retain in their posts men who had been chosen both by 
Julian and Jovian; they wished to injure no susceptibilities by open 
partisanship. But even though Valentinian remained true to his constant 
principle of religious toleration and refused to favour the nominees either 
of a Christian or a Pagan Emperor, yet men traced a secret distrust and 
covert jealousy of those who had been Julian's intimates ; Sallust, the all- 
powerful praefect, was removed, and accusations were brought against the 
philosopher Maximus. When both Emperors were attacked with fever, 
a commission of high imperial officials was appointed to examine whether 
the disease might not be due to secret arts. No shred of evidence of any 
unholy design was discovered, but the common rumour ran that the only 
object of the inquiry was to bring into disrepute the memory and the 
friends of Julian. Those who had been loyal to the old dynasty began 
to seek a leader. 

At Sirmium the brothers parted, Valentinian for Milan, Valens for 
Constantinople; they each entered on their first consulship in the 
following year (365), and as soon as the winter was past Valens travelled 
with all speed for Syria ; it would seem that already the terms of the 
Thirty Years' Peace were giving rise to fresh difficulties; too many 
questions remained open between Rome and Persia. 

But as yet it was not foreign invasion but domestic rebellion which 
was to endanger the life and throne of Valens. When Procopius had 
laid the corpse of Julian to rest in Tarsus, he himself discreetly vanished 
from the sight of kings and courtiers : it was a perilous distinction to 
have enjoyed the peculiar favour of the dead Emperor. 1 Before long 
however he grew weary of his fugitive existence : life as a hunted exile 
in the Crimea was too dearly bought. In desperation he sailed secretly 

1 Cf . p. 85. 


220 Revolt of Procopius [365 

for the capital where he found shelter in the friendly house of a senator 
Strategius, while a eunuch, Eugenius by name, recently dismissed from 
the imperial service, put unlimited funds at his disposal. As he wandered 
unrecognised through the streets, on every hand he heard men muttering 
of the cruelty and avarice of Petronius, the father-in-law of Valens. The 
Emperor himself was no longer in Constantinople, and popular discontent 
seemed only to need its champion. The regiments of the Divitenses and 
the Tungritani Juniores, on their march from Bithynia for the defence of 
Thrace, were at the moment in the city. For two days Procopius 
negotiated with their officers ; his gold and promises won their allegiance 
and in their quarters at the Anastasian Baths the soldiers met under 
cover of night and swore to support the usurpation. "Leaving the 
inkpot and stool of the notary," so ran the scornful phrase of the 
Court rhetorician, this stage figure of an emperor, hesitating to the last, 
assumed the purple and with stammering tongue harangued his followers. 
Any sensation was grateful to the populace, and they were content to 
accept without enthusiasm their new ruler. Those who had nothing 
to lose were ready enough to share the spoils, but the upper classes 
generally held aloof or fled to the Court of Valens ; none of them met 
Procopius as he entered the deserted senate house. He relied for 
support upon men's devotion to the family of Constantine ; as reinforce- 
ments bound for Thrace reached the capital, he came before them with 
Faustina, the widow of Constantius, by his side, while he himself 
bore her little daughter in his arms. He pleaded his own kinship 
to Julian and the troops were won. Gumoarius and Agilo who had 
served Constantius well were recalled from retirement and put at the 
head of the army, while to Julian's friend Phronemius was given the 
charge of the capital. Valentinian had advanced Pannonians, Procopius 
chose Gauls, for the Gallic provinces had most reason to remember 
Julian's services to the Empire. Nebridius, recently created praetorian 
praefect through the influence of Petronius, was held a prisoner and 
forced to write despatches recalling Julius who was in command in 
Thrace; the stratagem succeeded and the province was won without 
a blow. The embassy to Illyricum, however, bearing the newly minted 
coinage of Procopius, was defeated by the vigilance of Aequitius, every 
approach, whether through Dacia, Macedonia, or the pass of Succi, being 
effectually barred. 

The news of the revolt reached Valens as he was leaving Bithynia for 
Antioch, and he was only recalled from abject despair by the counsels of 
his friends. Procopius with the Divitenses and a hastily collected force 
had advanced to Nicaea, but before the approach of the Jovii and Victores 
he retreated to Mygdus on the Sangarius. Once more the soldiers yielded 
when he appealed to their loyalty to the house of Constantine: the 
troops of Valens deserting "the degenerate Pannonian," "the drinker of 
miserable baxley beer," went over to the usurper. One success followed 

366-369] Fall of Procopius 221 

another : Nicomedia was surprised by the tribune Rumitalca, who forth- 
with marched to the north ; Valens who was besieging Chalcedon was 
taken unawares and forced to fly for his life to Ancyra. Thus Bithynia 
was won for Procopius. His fleet under Marcellus attacked Cyzicus and 
when once the chain across the harbour's mouth was broken the garrison 
surrendered. With the fall of Cyzicus, Valens had lost the mastery of 
the Hellespont, while he could expect no help from his brother, since 
Valentinian had determined that the safety of the whole Roman Empire 
demanded his presence on the western frontier. Thus during the early 
months of 366, while Procopius endeavoured to raise funds for the future 
conduct of the war, Valens could only await the arrival of Lupicinus. 
The Emperor's final victory was indeed mainly due to an ill-considered 
act of his rival. Arbitio, the retired general of Constantius, had supported 
the usurper, but had declined an invitation to his court, pleading the 
infirmities of old age and ill-health. Procopius replied by an order 
that the general's house should be pillaged, thereby turning a friend 
into a bitter foe. Arbitio on the appeal of Valens joined the camp of 
Lupicinus; his arrival at once inspired the Emperor with fresh hope 
and courage, and gave the signal for wholesale defections from the 
usurper's forces. In an engagement at Thyatira, Gumoarius procured 
his own capture and carried with him many of his men. After the 
march of Valens into Phrygia, Agilo in his turn deserted when the 
armies met at Nacolia. The soldiers refused to continue the struggle 
(26 May 366). Procopius was betrayed to the Emperor by two of his 
own officers and was immediately put to death. Imperial suspicion and 
persecution had once again goaded a loyal subject to treason and to 
ruin. His severed head was borne beneath the walls of Philippopolis, 
and the city surrendered to Aequitius. The ghastly trophy was even 
carried to Valentinian through the provinces of Gaul, lest loyalty to the 
memory of Julian should awake treason in the West. Valens could 
now avenge his terror and sate his avarice. The suppression of the 
rebellion was followed by a train of executions, burnings, proscriptions, 
and banishments which caused men to curse the victory of the lawful 

The plea of kinship with the family of Constantine had induced some 
thousands of the Gothic tribesmen on the Danube to cross the Roman 
frontier in support of Procopius. Valens refused to recognise their 
defence, and depriving them of their weapons settled them in the cities 
along the northern boundaries of the Empire. When discontent declared 
itself, in fear of a general attack he acted on his brother's advice, and 
marched in person to the Danube, and for the three succeeding years 
(367-369) the Gothic campaign absorbed his attention. With Marci- 
anople as his base of operations, he crossed the river in 367 and 369 ; 
in the latter year he conquered Athanarich, and during the autumn 
concluded an advantageous peace. The Emperor and the Gothic judex 


222 Valentinian I in Gaul [364-306 

met on a ship in mid-stream, for Athanarich professed himself bound by 
a fearful oath never to set foot upon Roman soil. During these years 
Valens, pursuing in the East his brother's policy, strengthened the whole 
of the Danube frontier line with forts and garrisons. 

Valentinian may indeed be styled the frontier Emperor , his title to 
fame is his restoration of the defences of Rome in the West against the 
surging barbarian hordes. He was a hard-worked soldier prince, and 
the one purpose which inspires his reign is his fixed determination never 
to yield an inch of Roman territory. He had always before his eyes the 
terrible warning of his predecessor. In the year 364, when the Emperor 
was still at Milan, ambassadors from the Alemanni came to greet him on 
his accession, and to receive the tribute which Roman pride disguised 
under the fairer name of gifts. Valentinian would not squander state 
funds in bounty to barbarians ; the presents were small, while Ursatius, 
the magister officiorum, who took his cue from his master, treated the 
messengers with scant courtesy. They returned indignant to their homes, 
and in the early days of the new year, A.D. 365, the Alemanni burst 
plundering and ravaging across the frontier. Charietto, the count 
commanding in both Germanies, and the aged general Servianus, 
stationed at Cabillona (Chlons-sur-Sa6ne), both fell before the 
barbarian onset. Gaul demanded Valentinian's presence ; the Emperor 
started for Paris in the month of October; and while on the march, 
news reached him of the revolt of Procopius. The report gave no details 
he did not know whether Valens were alive or dead. But with that strong 
sense of imperial duty which dignifies the characters of the fourth 
century emperors, he subordinated utterly the personal interest to the 
common weal : "Procopius is but my brother's enemy and my own," he 
repeated to himself ; "the Alemanni are the foes of the Roman world." 

Arrived at Paris, it was from that city that he despatched Dagalaiphus 
against the Alemanni. Autumn was fast giving place to winter, the 
tribesmen had scattered, and the new general was dilatory and inactive ; 
he was recalled to become consul with the Emperor's son Gratian 
(Jan. 366) and Jovinus, as magister equitum, took his place at the 
head of the Roman troops. Three successive victories virtually concluded 
the campaign ; at Scarponna (Charpeigne) one band of barbarians was 
surprised and defeated, while another was massacred on the Moselle. In 
negligent security the Alemanni on the river bank were drinking, 
washing, and dyeing their hair red, when from the fringe of the forest 
the Roman legionaries poured down upon them. Jovinus then under- 
took a further march and pitched his camp at CMlons-sur-Marne ; here 
there was a desperate engagement with a third force of the enemy. The 
withdrawal during the battle of the tribune Balchobaudes seriously 
endangered the army's safety, but at length the day was won. The 
Alemanni lost six thousand killed and four thousand wounded ; of the 
Romans two hundred were wounded and twelve hundred killed; in 

366-369] Count Theodosius in Britain 223 

the pursuit Ascarii in the Roman service captured the barbarian king, 
and in the heat of the moment he was struck dead. After a few lesser 
encounters resistance was for the time at an end. It was probably his 
interest in this campaign which had led Valentinian to spend the early 
months of 366 at Rheims. He now returned to Paris and from the latter 
city advanced (end of June 366 ?) to meet his successful general, whom he 
nominated for the consulship in the succeeding year. At the same time 
the head of Procopius reached him from the East. But in the high tide 
of success he was struck down with a serious illness (winter 366-7). The 
Court was already considering possible candidates for the purple when 
Valentinian recovered, but, realising the dangers for the West which 
Btight arise from a disputed succession, at Amiens on 24 August 367 
he procured from the troops the recognition of the seven year old Gratian 
as co-Augustus. It may well have been the necessity for defending the 
northern coast against raids of Franks and Saxons which had summoned 
Valentinian to Amiens ; and now on his way from that town to Trier 
tidings reached him of a serious revolt in Britain. Pullofaudes, the 
Roman general, together with Nectaridus, the commander of the coast 
line (count of the Saxon shore ?), had both met their deaths. In the 
autumn of 367 Severus, count of the imperial guards, was despatched to 
the island only to be recalled. Jovinus, appointed in his place, sent Pro- 
vertides in advance to raise levies, while in view of the constant reports 
of fresh disasters the Count Theodosius (the father of Theodosius the 
Great) was ordered to sail for Britain at the head of Gallic reinforcements. 
From Boulogne he landed at Rutupiae (Richborough : spring 368) and 
was followed by the Batavi, Heruli, Jovii, and Victores. Scenes of hope- 
less confusion met him on his arrival ; Dicalydones and Verturiones (the 
two divisions of the Picts), Attacotti and Scotti (Irish) all ranged pillaging 
over the countryside, while Frank and Saxon marauders swept down in 
forays on the coast. Theodosius marched towards London, and it would 
seem made this city his head-quarters. Defeating the scattered troops 
of spoil-laden barbarians, he restored the greater part of the booty to the 
harassed provincials, while deserters were recalled to the standard by 
promises of pardon. From London, where he spent the winter, Theodosius 
prayed the Emperor to appoint men of wide experience to govern the 
island Civilis as pro-praefect and Dulcitius as general ; in this year too, 
he probably co-operated with imperial troops on the continent in the 
suppression of Frank and Saxon pirates in the Low Countries and about 
the mouths of the Rhine and Waal. Valentinian himself advanced as 
far north as Cologne in the autumn of 368. In the year 369 Theodosius 
everywhere surprised the barbarians and swept the country clear of their 
robber bands. Town-fortifications were restored, forts rebuilt, and 
frontiers regarrisoned, while the Areani, a treacherous border militia, were 
removed. Territory in the north was recovered, and a new fifth 
province of Valentia or Valentinia created. The revolt of Valentinus, 


224 Valentinian I and Frontier Defence [367-371 

who had been exiled to Britain on a criminal charge, was easily crushed 
by Theodosius, who repressed with a strong hand the treason trials which 
usually followed the defeat of an unsuccessful usurper. When he sailed 
for Gaul, probably in the spring of 370, he left the provincials "leaping 
for very joy." On his return to the Court he was appointed to succeed 
Jovinus as magister equitum (before end of May 370). 

While his lieutenant had been restoring order in Britain, Valentinian 
had been actively engaged in Gaul. The winter of 367-8 the Emperor 
spent at Rheims preparing for his vengeance upon the disturbers of the 
peace in the West. But the new year opened with a disaster, for while 
the Christian inhabitants of Mainz were keeping festival (Epiphany ? 368) 
the Aleman prince Rando surprised and sacked the town. The Romans, 
however, gained a treacherous advantage by the murder of King Withicab, 
and in the summer of the same year the Emperor together with his son in- 
vaded the territory between Neckar and Rhine. Our authorities give us 
no certain information as to his route, perhaps he advanced by the Rhine 
road and then turned off by Ettlingen and Pforzheim. Solicinium (near 
Rottenburg on the left bank of the Neckar) was the scene of the decisive 
struggle. The barbarians occupied a strong position on a precipitous 
hill; the Romans experienced great difficulty in dislodging them but 
were at length successful, and the enemy fled over the Neckar by 
Lopodunum towards the Danube. The advantage thus gained was 
secured by the building of a strong fort, apparently at Altrip, and for its 
erection it seems possible that the ruins of Lopodunum were employed. 
The Emperor spent the winter in Trier, and with the new year (369) 
began his great work of frontier defence extending from the province of 
Rhaetia to the ocean. Valentinian even sought to plant his fortresses 
in the enemy's territory. This was regarded by the Alemanni as a breach 
of treaty rights, and the Romans suffered a serious reverse at the Mons 
Piri (Heidelberg ?). The Emperor accordingly entered into negotiations 
Tvith the Burgundians, who were to attack the Alemanni with the support 
of the Roman troops. The Burgundians, long at feud with their neigh- 
bours over the possession of some salt springs on their borders, gladly 
accepted the Emperor Js overtures and appeared in immense force on the 
Rhine : the confederate seemed more terrible than the foe. Valentinian 
was absent superintending the building of his new forts, and feared either 
to accept or refuse the assistance of such dangerous allies. He sought to 
gain time by inaction, and the Burgundians, infuriated at this betrayal, 
were forced to withdraw, since the Alemanni threatened to oppose their 
homeward march. Meanwhile Theodosius, newly arrived in Gaul from 
Britain, swept upon the distracted Alemanni from Rhaetia, and after a 
successful campaign was able to settle his captives as farmers in the valley 
of the Po. Macrian, king of the Alemanni, had been the heart and soul 
of his people's resistance to Rome; with the intention therefore of 
capturing this dangerous enemy by a sudden surprise, in September 371 

305-371] Rome and Armenia 225 

Valentinian accompanied by Theodosius left Mainz for Aquae Mattiacae ; 
but with the troops the opportunities for pillage outweighed the Emperor's 
strictest orders. The smoke of burning homesteads betrayed the Roman 
approach ; the army advanced some fifty miles, but the purpose of the 
expedition was defeated and the Emperor returned disappointed to 

Meanwhile in the East time only served to shew the futility of 
Jovian's peace with Persia. Rome had sacrificed much but had settled 
nothing. Sapor claimed that under the treaty he could do as he would 
with Armenia, which still remained the apple of discord as before, and 
that Rome had relinquished any right to interfere. But it was precisely 
this claim that Rome could never in the last resort allow Armenia 
under Persian rule was far too great a menace. The chronology of the 
events which followed the treaty must remain to some extent a matter of 
conjecture, but from the first Sapor seems to have enforced his conception 
of his rights, seeking in turn by bribes and forays to reduce Armenia to 
Persian vassalage. Valens as early as 365 was on his way to the Persian 
frontier when he was recalled by the revolt of Procopius. At the close 
of the year 368, or at the beginning of 369, Sapor got possession of King 
Arsaces, whom he put to death some years later. In 369, it would 
appear, Persia interfered in the affairs of Hiberia : Sauromaces, ruling 
under Roman protection, was expelled, and Aspacures, a Persian 
nominee, was made king. In Armenia the fortress of Artagherk 
(Artogerassa) where the queen Pharrantsem had taken refuge was 
besieged (369), while her son Pap, acting on his mother's counsel, fled 
to the protection of Valens ; in his flight he was assisted by Cylaces and 
Artabannes, Armenian renegades, who now proved disloyal to their 
Persian master. The exile was well received, and accorded a home at 
Neocaesarea. But when Muschegh, the Armenian general, prayed that 
the Emperor would take effective action and stay the ravages of Persia, 
Valens hesitated : he felt that his hands were tied by the terms of the 
peace of Jovian. Terentius, the Roman dux, accompanied Pap on his 
return to Armenia, but without the support of the legions the prince 
was powerless. Artagherk fell in the fourteenth month of the siege 
(winter 370), Pharrantsem was hurried away to her death, and Pap was 
forced to flee into the mountains which lay between Lazica and the 
Roman frontier. Here he remained in hiding for five months ; Persian 
pillage and massacre proceeded unchecked, until Sapor could leave his 
generals in command of the army, while two Armenian nobles were 
entrusted with the civil government of the country and with the in- 
troduction of the Magian religion. At length Valens took action, and 
the Count Arinthaeus, acting in concert with Terentius and Addaeus, 
was sent to Armenia to place Pap upon the throne and to prevent the 
commission of further outrage by Persia. In May 371 the Emperor 
himself left Constantinople, slowly journeying towards Syria. Sapor's 

O. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VIII. 15 

226 The Conspiracy of Theodorus [371-374 

next move was an attempt to win Pap by promises of alliance, counsel- 
ing him to be no longer the puppet of his ministers; the ruse was 
successful and the king put to death both Cylaces and Artabannes. 
Meanwhile a Persian embassy complained that the protection of Armenia 
by Rome was a breach of her obligations under the treaty. In April 
372 Valens reached Antioch. His answer to Persia was further in- 
terference in Hiberia. While Muschegh invaded Persian territory, 
Terentius with twelve legions restored Sauromaces as ruler over the 
country bordering on Lazica and Armenia, Sapor on his side making 
great preparations for a campaign in the following spring, raising levies 
from the surrounding tribes and hiring mercenaries. In 373 Trajan 
and Vadomar marched to the East with a formidable army, having 
strict orders not to break the peace but to act on the defensive. The 
Emperor himself moved to Hierapolis in order to superintend the 
operations from that city. At Vagobanta (Bagavan) the Romans were 
forced to engage and in the result were victorious. A truce was con- 
cluded at the end of the summer, and while Sapor retired to Ctesiphon, 
Valens took up his residence in Antioch. 

Here in the following year 374, so far as we can judge from the 
vague chronology of our authorities, a widespread conspiracy was 
discovered in which Maximus, Julian's master, Eutropius the historian, 
and many other leading philosophers and heathens were implicated. 
Anxious to discover who was to succeed Valens, some daring spirits had 
suspended a ring over a consecrated table upon which was placed a 
round metal dish ; about the rim of the dish was engraved the alphabet. 
The ring had spelt out the letters THEO when with one voice all 
present exclaimed that Theodorus was clearly destined for empire. 
Born in Gaul of an old and honourable family, he had enjoyed 
a liberal education and already held the second place among the 
imperial notaries; distinguished for his humanity and moderation, in 
every post alike his merits outshone his office. Absent from Antioch 
at the time, he was at once recalled, and the enthusiasm of his friends 
seems to have shaken his loyalty. The life of Valens had previously 
been threatened by would-be assassins, and when the conspirators' secret 
was betrayed the Emperor's vengeance knew no bounds ; he swept the 
whole of the Roman East for victims and, as at the fall of Procopius, so 
now his avarice ruled unchecked. If the accused's life was spared, 
proscription in bitter mockery posed as clemency and the banishment of 
the innocent as an act of royal grace. For years the trials continued : 
"We all crept about as though in Cimmerian darkness," writes an 
eyewitness, "the sword of Damocles hung suspended over our heads." 

Of Western affairs during those years when the long drawn game of 
plot and counterplot was being played between Valens and Sapor we 
know but little. Valentinian remained in Gaul (autumn 371 spring 
373), doubtless busied with his schemes for the maintenance of security 

363-367] Count Romanus in Africa 227 

upon the frontiers, but detailed information we have none. Where 
Valentinian governed in person we hear of no rebellions : the constitu- 
tions even shew that a limited relief was granted from taxation and that 
measures were taken to check oppression, but elsewhere on every hand 
the Emperor's good intentions were betrayed by his agents. In Britain 
a disorganised army and a harassed population could offer no effective 
resistance to the invader : gross misgovernrnent in the Pannonian 
provinces made it doubtful whether the excesses of imperial offices or 
the forays of the barbarian enemy were more to be dreaded, while the 
story of the woes of Africa only serves to shew how terrible was the cost 
which the Empire paid for its unscrupulous bureaucracy. Under Jovian 
(368-4) the Austoriani had suddenly invaded the province of Tripolis, 
intending to avenge the death of one of their tribesmen who had been 
burned alive for plotting against the Roman power. They laid waste 
the rich countryside around Leptis, and when the city appealed for help 
to the commander-in-chief, Count Romanus, he refused to take any 
action unless supplied with a vast store of provisions and four thousand 
camels. The demand could not be met, and after forty days the general 
departed, while the despairing provincials at the regular annual assembly 
of their city council elected an embassy to carry statues of victory to 
Valentinian and to greet him upon his accession. At Milan (364-5) 
the ambassadors gave (as it would seem) a full report of the sufferings of 
Leptis, but Remigius, the magister officiorum, a relative and confederate 
of Romanus, was forewarned and contradicted their assertions, while 
he was successful in securing the appointment of Romanus upon the 
commission of inquiry which was ordered by the Emperor. The 
military command was given for a time to the governor Ruricius, but 
was shortly after once more put into the hands of Romanus. It was 
not long before news of a fresh invasion of Tripolis by the barbarians 
reached Valentinian in Gaul (A.D. 365). The African army had not yet 
received the customary donative upon the Emperor's accession ; Palladius 
was accordingly entrusted with gold to distribute amongst the troops, 
and was instructed to hold a complete and searching inquiry into the 
affairs of the province. Meanwhile for the third time the desert 
clansmen had spread rapine and outrage through Roman territory, and 
for eight days had laid formal siege to the city of Leptis itself. A 
second embassy consisting of Jovinus and Pancratius was sent to the 
Emperor who was found at Trier (winter 367). On the arrival of 
Palladius in Africa, Romanus induced the officers to relinquish their 
share of the donative and to restore it to the imperial commissioner, as 
a mark of their personal respect. The inquiry then proceeded ; much 
evidence was taken and the complaints against Romanus proved up to 
the hilt ; the report for the Emperor was already* prepared when the 
Count threatened, if it were not withdrawn, to disclose the personal profit 
of Palladius in the matter of the donative. The commissioner yielded 


228 Death of Count Theodosius [369-376 

and went over to the side of Romanus ; on his return to the Court he 
found nothing to criticise in the administration of the province. 
Pancratius had died at Trier but Jovinus was sent back to Africa with 
Palladius, the latter being directed to hold a further examination as to 
the truth of the allegations made by the second embassy. Men who on 
the shewing of the Emperor's representative had given false witness on 
the inquiry were to have their tongues cut from iheir mouths By 
threats, trickery, and bribes Romanus once more achieved his end. The 
citizens of Leptis denied that they had ever given any authority to 
Jovinus to act on their behalf, while he, endeavouring to save his life, was 
forced to confess himself a liar. It was to no purpose : together with 
Ruricius the governor and others he was put to death by order of the 
Emperor (369?). 

Not even this sacrifice of innocent lives gave peace to Africa. 
Firmus, a Moorish prince, on the death of his father Nebul, had slain his 
brother; that brother however had enjoyed the favour of Romanus, and 
the machinations of the Roman general drove Firrnus into rebellion. 
He assumed the purple, while persecuted Donatists and exasperated 
soldiers and provincials gladly rallied round him. Theodosius, fresh 
from his successes in Britain and Gaul, was despatched to Africa by 
Valentinian as commander-in-chief , charged with the task of reasserting 
imperial authority. On examining his predecessor's papers, a chance 
reference caused the discovery of the plots of the last eight years, but it 
was not till the reign of Gratian that the subsequent inquiries were 
concluded. Palladius and Remigius both committed suicide, but the 
arch-offender Romanus was protected by the influence of Merobaudes. 
The whole story needs no comment : before men's eyes the powerlessness 
of the Emperor and the might of organised corruption stood luridly 

For at least two years Theodosius fought and struggled against odds 
in Africa; at length discipline was restored amongst the troops, the 
Moors were defeated with great loss, and the usurper driven to take his 
own life: the Roman commander entered Sitifis in triumph (374?). 
Hardly however was his master Valentinian removed by death when 
Theodosius fell a victim to the intrigues of his enemies (at Carthage, 
A.D. 375-6) ; baptised at the last hour and thus cleansed of all sin, he 
walked calmly to the block. We do not know the ostensible charge 
upon which he was beheaded, nor do our authorities name his accuser. 
But the evidence points to Merobaudes, the all-powerful minister of 
Gratian. Theodosius had superseded Romanus and disclosed his schemes, 
and Romanus was the friend and protSgS of Merobaudes, while it is 
clear that Gratian held in his own hands the entire West including 
Africa, for as yet (376) the youthful Valentinian II was not permitted 
to exercise any independent authority l Possibly Merobaudes may have 
1 Rauschen, Jahrbucher, p. $3. 

373-375] The last Campaigns of Valentinian I 229 

been assisted in the attainment of his ends by timely representations 
from the East, for the general's name began with the same letters which 
had only recently (374 ?) proved fatal to Theodorus 

In 373 Valentinian had left Gaul for Milan, but returned in the 
following year (May 374), and after a raid upon the Alemanni, while 
at the fortress of Robur near Basel, he learned in late autumn that the 
Quadi and Sarmatae had burst across the frontier. The Emperor with 
his passion for fortress-building had given orders for a garrison station 
to be erected on the left bank of the Danube within the territory of the 
Quadi, while at the same time the youthful Marcellianus through the 
influence of his father Maximinus, the ill-famed praefect of Ulyricum, 1 
had succeeded the able general Aequitius as magister armorum. Gabinius, 
king of the Quadi, came to the Roman camp to pray that this violation 
of his rights might cease. The newly appointed general treacherously 
murdered his guest, and at the news the barbarians flew to arms, poured 
across the Danube upon the unsuspecting farmers, and all but captured 
the daughter of Constantius who was on her journey to meet Gratian 
her future husband. Sarmatae and Quadi devastated Moesia and Pan- 
nonia, the praetorian praefect Probus was stupefied into inactivity, and 
the Roman legionaries at feud between themselves were routed in con- 
fusion. The only successful resistance was offered by the younger 
Theodosius the future Emperor who compelled one of the invading 
Sarmatian hosts to sue for peace. Valentinian desired to march eastward 
forthwith, but was dissuaded by those who urged the hardships of a 
winter campaign and the danger of leaving Gaul while the leader of 
the Alemanni was still unsubdued Both Romans and barbarians were, 
however, alike weary of the ceaseless struggle, and during the winter 
Valentinian and Macrian concluded an enduring peace. In the late 
spring of 375 the Emperor left Gaul ; from June to August he was at 
Carnuntum, endeavouring to restore order within the devastated province, 
and thence marched to Acincum, crossed the Danube, and wasted the 
territory of the invading tribesmen. Autumn surprised him while still 
in the field he retired to Sabaria and took up his winter quarters at 
Bregetio. The Quadi, conscious of the hopelessness of further resistance, 
sent an embassy excusing their action and pleading that the Romans 
were in truth the aggressors. The Emperor, passionately enraged 
at this freedom of speech, was seized in th^ paroxysm of his anger 
with an apoplectic fit and carried dying from the audience hall 
(17 November 375). 

High-complexioned, with a strong and muscular body cast in a noble 
and majestic mould, his steel-blue eyes scanning men and things with 
a gaze of sinister intensity, the Emperor stands before us as an imposing 
and stately figure. Yet his stern and forbidding nature awakes but 
little sympathy, and it is easy to do less than justice to the character and 
1 For his cruelty when acting as praefect of Rome, cf. Ammiauus, xxvm. 1. 5. 


230 The Character and Work of Valentinian I 

work of Valentinian. With a strong hand Diocletian had endeavoured 
by his administrative system and by the enforcement of hereditary 
duties to weld together the Roman Empire which had been shattered 
by the successive catastrophes of the third century ; to Valentinian it 
seemed as though the same iron constraint could alone check the process 
of dissolution. If it were possible, he would make life for the provincials 
worth the living, for then resistance to the invader would be the more 
resolute: he would protect them with forts and garrisons upon their 
frontiers, would lighten (if he dare) the weight of taxation, would accord 
them liberty of conscience and freedom for their varied faiths, and 
would to the best of his power appoint honest and capable men as his 
representatives : but a spirit of dissatisfaction and discontent among his 
subjects was not merely disloyalty, it was a menace to the Empire, 
for it tended to weaken the solidarity of governors and governed : 
to remove an official for abusing his trust was in Valentinian's eyes to 
prejudice men's respect for the State, and thus the strain of brutality 
in his nature declared itself in his refusal to check stern measures or 
pitiless administration : to save the Roman world from disintegration 
it must be cowed into unity. Without mercy to others he never 
spared himself ; as a restless and untiring leader with no mean gifts of 
generalship and strategy it was but natural that he should give prefer- 
ment to his officers, till contemporaries bitterly complained that never 
before had civilians been thus neglected or the army so highly privileged. 
It could indeed hardly be otherwise, for with every frontier threatened 
it was the military captain who was indispensable. The Emperor's 
efforts to suppress abuses were untiring; simplicity characterised his 
Court and strict economy was practised. His laws in the Theodosian 
Code are a standing witness to his passion for reform. He regulated the 
corn supply and the transport of the gram by sea, he made less bur- 
densome the collection of the taxes levied in kind on the provincials, 
he exerted himself to protect the curials and the members of municipal 
senates, he settled barbarians as colonists on lands which were passing 
out of cultivation, he endeavoured to put a stop to the debasement of 
the coinage, while in the administration of justice he attempted to check 
the misuse of wealth and favour by insisting upon publicity of trial and 
by granting greater facilities for appeals. As a contemporary observes, 
Valentinian's one sore need was honest agents and upright administrators, 
and these he could not secure: men only sought for power in order 
to abuse it. Had the Emperor been served by more men of the stamp 
of Theodosius, the respect of posterity might have given place to 
admiration. Even as it was, in later days when men praised Theodoric 
they compared him with two great Emperors of the past, with Trajan 
and Valentinian. 

At the time of the Emperor's death, Gratian was far distant at Trier, 
and there was a general fear that the fickle Gallic troops now encamped 

375-377] Gratian 231 

on the left bank of the Danube might claim to raise to the throne some 
candidate whom they themselves had chosen, perhaps Sebastianus a 
man by nature inactive but high in the favour of the army. Merobaudes, 
the general in command, was therefore recalled as though by order of 
Valentinian on a pretext of fresh disturbances upon the Rhine, and after 
prolonged consultation it was decided to ummon the late Emperor's 
four year old son Valentinian. The boy's uncle covered post-haste the 
hundred Roman miles which lay between Bregetio and the country house 
of Murocincta, where the young prince was living with his mother 
Justina. Valentinian was carried back to the camp in a litter, and 
six days after his father's death was solemnly proclaimed Augustus. 
Gratian's kindly nature soon dispelled any fear that he would refuse 
to recognise this hurried election: the elder brother always shewed 
towards the younger a father's care and affection. No partition of the 
West however took place at this time, and there could as yet be no 
question of the exercise of independent power by Valentinian II ; Gratian 
ruled over all those provinces which had been subject to Valentinian I, 
and his infant colleague's name is not even mentioned in the constitutions 
before the year 379. Of the government of Gratian however we know 
but little ; its importance lies mainly in the fact that he was determined 
to be first and foremost an orthodox Christian Emperor, and even 
refused to wear the robe or assume the title of Pontifex Maximus 
(probably 375). 

Meanwhile in the East the fidelity* of Pap grew suspect in the eyes 
of Rome. The unfavourable despatches of Terentius, the murder of 
the Katholikos Nerses, and the consecration of his successor by the king 
without the customary appeal to Caesarea (Mazaca) led Valens to invite 
Pap to Tarsus, where he remained virtually a prisoner. Escaping to 
his own country he fell a victim to Roman treachery (375 ?). Still 
Rome and Persia negotiated, and at length (376) Valens despatched 
Victor and Arbicius with an ultimatum ; the Emperor demanded that 
the fortresses which of right belonged to Sauromaces should be evacuated 
by the beginning of 377. The claims of Rome were ignored, and Valens 
was planning at Hierapolis (July August 377) a great campaign against 
Persia when the news from Europe made ft imperative to withdraw 
the Roman army of occupation from Armenia. For several years the 
European crisis engaged all the Emperor's energies, and he was unable 
to interfere effectually in Eastern affairs. The Huns had burst into 
Europe, had conquered the Alans, subjected the East Goths (Ostrogoths) 
and driven the West Goths (Visigoths) to crave admission within the 
territory of Rome. Athanarich and Fritigern had become leaders of 
two distinct parties among the West Goths ; Athanarich, driven before 
the Huns, had lost much of his wealth, and, as he was unable to support 
his followers, the greater number deserted their aged leader and joined 
Fritigern. It seems possible too that religious differences may have 

CH. vm. 

232 The Goths and the Empire [377 

played their part in these dissensions : Athanarich may have stood at 
the head of those who were loyal to the old religion, Fritigern may have 
been willing to secure any advantage which the profession of the 
Christian faith might win from a devout Emperor. Whether this be 
so or not, it was the tribesmen of Fritigern who appealed to Valens. 
It was no unusual request:* the settling of barbarians as colonists on 
Roman soil was of frequent occurrence, while the provision of barbarian 
recruits for the Roman army was a constant clause in the treaties of the 
fourth century. Valens and his ministers congratulated themselves that, 
without their seeking, so admirable an opportunity had presented itself 
of infusing new life and vigour into the northern provinces of the Empire. 
The conditions for the reception of the Goths were that they should 
give up their arms and surrender many of their sons as hostages. The 
church historians add the stipulation that the Goths should adopt the 
Christian faith, but this would seem to have been only a pious hope and 
not a condition for the passage of the Danube, although it was only 
natural that the Goths should affect to have assumed the religion of 
their new fellow-countrymen. The conditions were stern enough, but 
the fate which threatened the barbarians at the hands of the Huns 
seemed even more unrelenting. The Goths accepted the terms: but 
for the Romans the enforcement of their own requisitions was a work 
which demanded extraordinary tact and unremitting forethought. 

In face of this immense and sobering responsibility, which should 
have summoned forth all the energy and loyalty of which men were 
capable, the ministers of Valens (so far as we can see) did nothing 
they left to chance alone the feeding of a multitude which none could 
number. It is not in their everyday peculations, nor in their habitual 
violence and oppression of the provincials, that the degradation of the 
bureaucracy of the Empire is seen in its most hideous form : the weightiest 
count in the indictment is that when met by an extraordinary crisis- 
which imperilled the existence of the Empire itself the agents of the 
State, with the danger in concrete form before their very eyes, failed to 
check their lust or bridle their avarice. Maximinus and Lupicinus kept 
the Goths upon the banks^of the Danube in order to wring from them 
all they had to give except their arms. Provisions failed utterly : for 
the body of a dog a man would be bartered into slavery. As for the 
Goths who remained north of the river, Athanarich, remembering that 
he had declined to meet Valens on Roman soil, thought it idle to pray 
for admission within the Empire and retired, it would seem, into the 
highlands of Transylvania; now however that the imperial garrisons 
had been withdrawn to watch the passage of the followers of Fritigern, 
the Greutungi under Alatheus and Saphrax crossed the Danube unmo- 
lested, although leave to cross the frontier had previously been refused' 
them. Meanwhile Fritigern slowly advanced on Marcianople, ready if 
need be to join his compatriots who were now encamped on the south 

377-378] War with the Goths 233 

bank of the river. Still the Goths took no hostile step, but their 
exclusion from Marcianople led to a brawl with Roman soldiers out- 
side the walls; within the city the news reached Lupicinus who was 
entertaining Alavio and Fritigern to a feast. Orders were hurriedly 
given for the massacre of the Gothic guardsmen who had accompanied 
their leaders. Fritigern at the head of his men fought his way back to 
camp, while Alavio seems to have fallen in the fray, for we hear of 
him no more. 

The peace was at an end : nine miles from Marcianople Lupicinus 
was repulsed with loss ; the criminal folly of the authorities of Hadria- 
nople forced into rebellion the loyal Gothic auxiliaries who were stationed 
in the town ; barbarians bartered as slaves rejoined their comrades, while 
labourers from the imperial gold mines played their part in spreading 
havoc throughout Thrace. Thus at last the Goths took their revenge, 
and only the walls of cities could resist their onset. From Asia Valens 
despatched Prof uturus and Trajan to the province, and they at length 
succeeded in driving back the barbarian host beyond the Balkans, The 
Roman army occupied the passes. Gratian had sent reinforcements from 
the West under Frigeridus and Richomer, and the latter was associated 
with the generals of Valens; the barbarians drawing together their 
scattered bands formed a huge wagon laager (carrago) at a spot called 
Ad Salices, not far from Tomi. The Romans were still much inferior 
in numbers, and anxiously awaited an opportunity to pour down upon 
the enemy while on the march* For some time however the Goths made 
no move ; when at length they attempted to seize the higher ground the 
battle began. The Roman left wing was broken and the legionaries were 
forced to retreat, but neither side gained any decisive advantage: the 
Goths remained for seven days longer within the shelter of their camp 
while the Romans drove other troops of barbarians to the north of the 
mountain chain (early autumn 377). At this time Richomer returned 
in order to secure further help from Gratian, while Saturninus arrived 
from Asia with the rank of magister equitum, in command, it would 
seem, of reinforcements. But the tide of fortune which had favoured 
the Romans during the previous months now ebbed. The Goths, de- 
spairing of breaking the cordon or piercing the Balkan passes, by promises 
of unlimited booty won over hordes of Huns and Alans to their side. 
Saturninus found that he could hold his position no longer, and was 
thus forced to retire on the Rhodope chain. Save for a defeat at 
Dibaltus near the sea-coast he successfully masked his retreat, while 
Frigeridus, who was stationed in the neighbourhood of Beroea, fell back 
before the enemy upon Illyricum, where he captured the barbarian leader 
Farnobius and defeated the Taifali ; as in Valentinian's day the captives 
were settled in the depopulated districts of Italy. The help however 
which was expected from the West was long delayed ; in February 378 
the Lentienses chanced to hear from one of their fellow-tribesmen who 

CH. vni. 

234 The Battle of Hadrianople [378 

was serving in the Roman army that Gratian had been summoned to 
the East. Collecting allies from the neighbouring clans, they burst 
across the border some 40,000 strong (panegyrists said 70,000). 
Gratian was forced to recall the troops who had already marched into 
Pannonia, and in command of these as well as of his Gallic legionaries 
he placed Nannienus and the Frankish king Mallobaudes. At the 
battle of Argentaria, near Colmar in Alsace, Priarius the barbarian 
king was slain and with him, it is said, more than 30,000 of the enemy . 
according to the Roman estimate only some 5000 escaped through the 
dense forests into the shelter of the hills. Gratian in person then crossed 
the Rhine and after laborious operations among the mountains starved 
the fugitives into surrender ; by the terms of peace they were bound to 
furnish recruits for the Roman army. The result of the campaign was 
a very real triumph for the youthful Emperor of the West. 

Meanwhile Sebastian, appointed in the East to succeed Trajan in 
the command of the infantry, was raising and training a small force of 
picked men with which to begin operations in the spring. In April 378 
Valens left Antioch for the capital at the head of reinforcements drawn 
from Asia : he arrived on 30 May. The Goths now held the Schipka 
Pass and were stationed both north and south of the Balkans at Nico- 
polis and Beroea. Sebastian had successfully freed the country round 
Hadrianople from plundering bands, and Fritigern concentrating the 
Gothic forces had withdrawn north to Cabyle. At the end of June 
Valens advanced with his army from Melanthias, which lay some 15 miles 
west of Constantinople. Against the advice of Sebastian the Emperor 
determined upon an immediate march in order to effect a junction with 
the forces of his nephew, who was now advancing by Lauriacum and 
Sirmium. The eastern army entered the Maritza Pass, but at the same 
time Fritigern would seem to have despatched some Goths southwards. 
These were sighted by the Roman scouts, and in fear that the passes 
should be blocked behind him and his supplies cut off, the Emperor 
retreated towards Hadrianople. Fritigern himself meanwhile marched 
south over the pass of Bujuk-Derbent in the direction of Nike, as though 
he would intercept communication between Valens and his capital. 
Two alternative courses were now open to the Emperor : he might tajce 
up a strong position at Hadrianople and await the army of the Wcsit 
(this was Gratian ? s counsel brought by Richomer who reached the camp 
on 7 August), or he might at once engage the enemy. Valens adopted 
the latter alternative; it would seem that he under-estimated the 
number of the Goths, and it is possible that he desired to shew that he 
too could win victories in his own strength as well as the western 
Emperor; Sebastian, who had at his own request left the service of 
Gratian for that of Valens, may have sought to rob his former master of 
any further laurels. At dawn on the following morning (9 August) 
the advance began; when about midday the armies came in sight of 

378-379] Death and Character of Valens 235 

each other (probably near the modern Demeranlija) Fritigern, in order 
to gain time, entered into negotiations, but on the arrival of his cavalry 
he felt sure of victory and struck the first blow. We cannot reconstruct 
the battle : Valens, Trajan, and Sebastian all fell, and with them, two- 
thirds of the Roman army. In the open country no resistance could be 
offered to the victorious barbarians, but they were beaten back from the 
walls of Hadrianople, and a troop of Saracen horsemen repelled them 
from the capital. Victor bore the news of the appalling catastrophe 
to Gratian. 

In the face of hostile criticism Valentinian had chosen Valens as his 
co-Augustus, intending that he should carry out in the East the same 
policy which he himself had planned for the West. His judgment was 
not at fault, for in the sphere of religion alone did the two Emperors 
pursue different ends. Like an orderly, with unfailing loyalty Valens 
obeyed his brother's instructions. He too strengthened the frontier 
with fortresses and lightened the burden of taxation, while under 
his care magnificent public buildings rose throughout the eastern 
provinces. But Valentinian's masterful decision of character was alien 
to Valens : his was a weaker nature which under adversity easily yielded 
to despair. Severity, anxiously assumed, tended towards ferocity, and 
a consciousness of insecurity rendered him tyrannical when his life or 
throne was threatened. His subjects could neither forget nor forgive 
the horrible excesses which marked the suppression of the rebellion of 
Procopius or of the conspiracy of Theodorus. He was hated by the 
orthodox as an Arian heretic and by the Pagans as a Christian zealot, 
while it was upon the Emperor that men laid the responsibility for the 
overwhelming disaster of Hadrianople. Thus there were few to judge 
him with impartial justice, and it is probable that even later historians 
have been unduly influenced by the invectives of his enemies. His 
imperious brother had made of an excellent civil servant an Emperor 
who was no match for the crisis which he was fated to meet. 

On the news of the defeat at Hadrianople Gratian at once turned 
to the general who had shewn such brilliant promise a few years before 
in the defence of Moesia. The young Theodosius was recalled from his 
retirement in Spain and put in command of the Roman troops in 
Thrace. Here, it would appear, he was victorious over the Sarmatians, 
and at Sirmium in the month of January 379 (probably 19 January 379) 
Gratian created him co-Augustus. It was only after long hesitation 
that Theodosius accepted the heavy task of restoring order in the 
eastern provinces, but the decision once taken there was no delay. 
Before the Emperors parted company their joint forces seem to have 
defeated the Goths ; Gratian then relinquished some of his troops in 
favour of Theodosius and himself started with all speed for Gaul, where 
Pranks and Vandals had crossed the Rhine. After defeating the 
invaders Gratian went into winter quarters at Trier. Theodosius was 


236 Theodosius I and the War against the Goths [379-380 

left to rule the Eastern praefecture, while it must perhaps remain a 
doubtful question whether eastern Elyricum was not also included 
within his jurisdiction. 

The course of events which led up to the final subjection of the 
Gothic invaders by Theodosius is for us a lost chapter in the story of 
East Rome. Some few disconnected fragments can, it is true, be recovered, 
but their setting is too often conjectural. Many have been the attempts 
to unravel the confused tangle of incidents which Zosimus offers in 
the place of an ordered history, but however the ingenuity of critics 
may amaze us, it rarely convinces. Even so bald a statement as thai 
of the following paragraphs is, it must be confessed, in large measure but 
a hypothetical reconstruction. 

A pestilence had broken out among the barbarians besieging 
Thessalonica, and plague and famine drove them from the walls. The 
city could therefore be occupied without difficulty by Theodosius, who 
chose it for his base of operations Its natural position made it an 
admirable centre : from it led the high roads towards the north to the 
Danube and towards the east to Constantinople. Its splendid harbour 
offered shelter to merchant ships from Asia and Egypt, and thus the 
army's stores and provisions could not be intercepted by the Goths ; 
while from this point military operations could be undertaken alike in 
Thrace and in Illyricum. The first task to which Theodosius directed 
his commanding energy was the restoration of discipline among his 
disorganised troops ; no longer did the Emperor hold himself aloof 
an unapproachable being hedged about with awe and majesty : the con- 
ception which had since Diocletian become a court tradition gave place 
to the liberality and friendliness of a captain in the midst of his men. 
Early in June Theodosius reached Thessalonica, and despatched Modares, 
a barbarian of royal blood, to sweep the Goths from Thrace. Falling 
upon the unsuspecting foe, the Romans massacred a host of marauders 
laden with the booty of the provinces. The legionaries recovered 
confidence in themselves, and the main body of the invaders was driven 
northwards. The Emperor himself, with Thessalonica secured and 
garrisoned, marched north towards the Danube to Scupi (Uskub: 
6 July 379) and Vicus Augusti ( August). From the first he was 
determined to win the victory, if it were possible, rather by conciliation 
than armed force. It would seem probable that even in the year 379 
he was enrolling Goths among his troops and converting bands of 
pillagers into Roman subjects. But in his winter quarters at Thessalonica 
the Emperor was struck down by disease, and for long his life hung in 
the balance (February 380). He prepared himself for his end by 
baptism the magical sacrament which obliterated all sin and was 
therefore postponed till the hour when life itself was ebbing. Military 
action was paralysed, and the fruits of the previous year's campaign 
were lost. The Goths took fresh courage ; Fritigern led one host into 

380-382] Peace 237 

Thessaly, Epirus, and Achaia, another under Alatheus and Saphrax 
devastated Pannonia, while Nicopolis was lost to the Romans. Gratian 
hastened perforce to the help of his disabled colleague; Bauto and 
Arbogast were despatched to check the Goths in the north, and in the 
summer Gratian himself marched to Sirmium, where he concluded a 
truce with the barbarians under which the Romans were to supply pro- 
visions, while the Goths furnished recruits for the army. It is probable 
that Gratian and Theodosius met in conference at Sirmium in September. 
The danger in the south was averted by the death of Fritigern ; without 
a leader the Gothic host turned once more northwards In the autumn 
Theodosius was back in Thessalonica, and in November he entered 
Constantinople in triumph. This fact of itself must signify that the 
immediate peril was past. 

Fortune now favoured Theodosius: Fritigern his most formidable 
opponent was dead, and, at length, the pride of the aged Athanarich was 
broken. Wearied out by feuds among his own people he, together with 
his followers, sought refuge amongst his foes. On 11 January 381 he 
was welcomed beyond the city walls by Theodosius and escorted with all 
solemnity and kingly pomp into the capital. Fourteen days later he 
died, and was buried by the Emperor with royal honours. The mag- 
nanimity of Theodosius and the respect paid to their great chieftain 
did more than many military successes to subdue the stubborn Gothic 
tribesmen. We hear of no more battles, and in the following year peace 
was concluded Saturninus was empowered to offer the Goths new homes 
in the devastated districts of Thrace, and the victors of Hadrianople 
became the allies of the Empire, 1 pledged in the event of war to furnish 
soldiers for the imperial army Themistius, the Court orator, could 
express the hope that when once the wounds of strife were healed Rome's 
bravest enemies would become her truest and most loyal friends. 

Peace was hardly won in the East before usurpation and murder 
threw the West into turmoil. In the early years of the reign of Gratian 
Christian and Pagan alike had been captivated by the grace and charm 
of their youthful ruler. His military success against the Lentienses, his 
heroic efforts to bring help to the East in her darkest hour and the 
loyal support which he had given to Theodosius only served to heighten 
his popularity. The orthodox found in him a fearless champion of 
their cause : the incomes of the vestal virgins were appropriated in part 
for the relief of the imperial treasury and in part for the purposes of the 
public post; in future the immemorial sisterhood was to hold no real 
property whatever. The altar and statue of Victory which Julian had 
restored to the senate house and which the tolerance of Valentinian had 
permitted to stand undisturbed were now ordered to be removed (382). 
Damasus, bishop of Rome, and Ambrose, bishop of Milan, claiming to 
represent a Christian majority in the senate, prevailed upon the Emperor 
1 The actual word foederati first occurs in a document of A D 406. 


238 The Death of Gratian 

to refuse to receive an embassy, headed by Synimachus, of the leading 
Pagans in Borne, and the church was overjoyed at the uncompromising 
zeal of their Emperor. But the radiant hopes which men had formed 
of Gratian were not fulfilled ; his private life remained blameless, and 
he was still liberal and humane, but affairs of state failed to interest 
him and he devoted his days to sport and exercise. His love for the 
chase became a passion, and he would take part in person in the wild- 
beast hunts of the amphitheatre. Emergencies which, in the words of 
a contemporary, would have taxed the statesmanship of a Marcus 
Aurelius were disregarded by the Emperor; he alienated Roman 
sentiment by his devotion to his German troops, and although he might 
court popularity amongst the soldiers by permitting them to lay aside 
breastplate and helm and to carry the spiculum in place of the weighty 
pilum, yet the favours shewn to the Alans outweighed all else and 
jealousy awoke disaffection amongst the legionaries. The malcontents 
were not long in finding a leader. Magnus Clemens Maximus, a 
Spaniard who claimed kinship with Theodosius and had served with him 
in Britain, won a victory over the Picts and Scots. In spite of his 
protests the Roman army in Britain hailed him as Augustus (early in 
383?) and leaving the island defenceless he immediately crossed the 
Channel, determined to strike the first blow. From the mouth of the 
Rhine where he was welcomed by the troops Maximus marched to Paris, 
and here he met Gratian. For five days the armies skirmished, and then 
the Emperor's Moorish cavalry went over to the usurper in a body. 
Gratian saw his forces melting away, and at length with 300 horsemen 
fled headlong for the Alps; nowhere could he find a refuge, for the 
cities of Gaul closed their gates at his approach. The accounts of his 
death are varied and inconsistent, but it would seem that Andragathius 
was sent by Maximus hot-foot after the fugitive; at Lugdunum by a 
bridge over the Rhone Gratian was captured by means of a stratagem 
and was murdered within the city walls. Assured of his life by a solemn 
oath and thus lulled into a false security, he was treacherously stabbed by 
his host while sitting at a banquet (5 August 383). The murderer (who 
was perhaps Andragathius himself) was highly rewarded by Maximus. 

Forthwith the usurper sent his chamberlain to Theodosius to claim 
recognition and alliance. The historian notices as a remarkable exception 
to the customs of the time that this official was not a eunuch, and further 
states that Maximus would have no eunuchs about his court. Theodosius 
had planned a campaign of vengeance for the death of the young ruler to 
whom he owed so much, but on the arrival of the embassy he temporised. 
It would be dangerous for him to leave the East : in Persia Ardaschir 
(379-383) had just died and the policy of the new monarch Sapor III 
(383-388) was quite unknown ; troubles had arisen on the frontier : the 
nomad Saracens had broken their treaty of alliance with Rome, and 
Richomer had marched on a punitive expedition. Although the Goths 

383-384] The usurper Maximus and Valentinian II 239 

were now peacefully settled on Haemus and Hebrus and had begun to 
cultivate their allotted lands, although it was once more safe to travel 
by road and not only by sea, yet for many years the Scyri, the Carpi, and 
the Huns broke ever and again across the boundaries of the Empire and 
gave work to the generals of Theodosius; the newly won quiet and 
order in Thrace might easily have been imperilled by the absence of 
the Emperor.' With the deliberate caution that always characterised 
his action save when he was seized by some gust of passion, Theodosius 
acknowledged his co-Augustus and ordered statues to be raised to him 
throughout the East. Africa, Spain, Gaul, and Britain, it would seem, 
acknowledged Maximus, while even in Egypt the mob of Alexandria 
shouted for the western Emperor. 

Meanwhile upon his brother's death Valentinian II began his personal 
rule in Italy. For the next few years Ambrose and Justina fight a long- 
drawn duel to decide whether mother or bishop shall frame the young 
Emperor's policy : on Justina's death there remained no rival to challenge 
the influenceof Ambrose. The latterwas indeed throughout Valentinian's 
reign the power behind the throne ; born probably in 340, the son of a 
praetorian praefect of Gaul, he had been educated in Rome until in the 
year 374 he was appointed consularis of Aemilia and Liguria. In this 
capacity he was present at the election (autumn 374) of a new bishop 
in Milan, while he was taking anxious precautions lest the contest 
between Arian and orthodox should end in bloodshed, a child's cry (says 
the legend) of "Bishop Ambrose!" suggested a candidate whom both 
factions agreed to accept. The city would take no refusal : against his 
will the statesman governor became the statesman bishop. Thus in the 
winter of 383^4, although Valentinian looked to Theodosius for help 
and counsel, Constantinople seemed to the Court at Milan to lie at 
a hopeless distance, while Maximus in Gaul was perilously near. The 
Emperor instinctively turned to Ambrose, his one powerful protector, 
while even Arianism forgot its feud with orthodoxy. At Justina's 
request the bishop started on an embassy to secure peace between Gaul 
and Italy. Maximus, however, desired that Valentinian should leave 
Milan and that together they should consider the terms of their agree- 
ment. Ambrose objected that it was winter: how in such weather 
could a boy and his widowed mother cross the Alps ? His own authority 
was only to treat for peace he could promise nothing. Accordingly 
Maximus sent his son Victor (shortly afterwards created Caesar) to 
Valentinian to request his presence in Gaul. But the net had been 
spread in the sight of the bird, and Victor returned from his mission 
unsuccessful ; when he arrived at Mogontiacum, Ambrose left for Milan 
and met on the journey Valentinian's envoys bearing a formal reply 
to the proposals of Maximus. If the bishop's diplomacy had achieved 
nothing else, precious time had been gained, for Bauto had occupied the 
Alpine passes and thus secured Italy from invasion. 


240 The Partition of Armenia [384-387 

In the year 384 the Pagan party in Rome had taken fresh heart ; 
the Emperor had raised two of their number to high office Symmachus 
had been made urban praef ect and Praetextatus praetorian praef ect . Men 
began to hope for a repeal of the hostile measures of Gratian, and a 
resolution of the senate empowered Symmachus to present to Valentinian 
their plea for toleration and in especial for the restoration of the altar 
of Victory. Gratian had thought (the praefect contended) that he 
was fulfilling the senate's own desires, but the Emperor had been misled ; 
the senate, nay Rome herself, prayed to retain that honoured symbol 
of her greatness before which her sons for countless generations had 
pledged their faith. It was the loyalty to their past and to that 
Godhead before whom their ancestors had bowed that had made the 
Romans masters of the world and had filled their lands with increase. 
It was a high and noble argument, but it availed nothing before the 
scornful taunts of Ambrose, and Valentinian dismissed the ambassadors 
with a refusal. 

At this time a Persian embassy arrived in Constantinople (384) 
announcing the accession of Sapor III (383-388), and bringing costly 
gifts for Theodosius gems, silk, and even elephants while in 385 the 
Emperor secured the submission of the revolted eastern tribes. In the 
following years the disputed question of predominance in Armenia was 
revived . Stilicho was sent to represent Rome at the Persian Court and 
in 387 a treaty between the two great powers was concluded, whereby 
Armenia was partitioned. Some districts were annexed by Rome and 
some by Persia, while two vassal kings were in future to govern the 
country, some four-fifths of which was to acknowledge the supremacy 
of Persia, and the remaining one-fifth the lordship of Rome. Modern 
historians have condemned Theodosius for his acceptance of these terms, 
but he needed peace on the eastern frontier if he were to march against 
his western rival, and his predecessors had all experienced the extreme 
difficulty of retaining the loyalty of Armenian kings : better a disadvan- 
tageous partition with security, he may have argued, than an independent 
State in secret alliance with the enemy. The Emperor was, in fact, forced 
to recognise the strength of Persia's position. 1 In the West Ambrose 
once more travelled to Gaul at Valentinian's request upon a diplomatic 
mission probably at the end of 385 or in 386. 2 He sought the consent of 
Maximus to the burial of Gratian's corpse in Italian soil, but permission 
was refused. Maximus was heard to regret that he had not invaded 
Italy on Gratian's death : Ambrose and Bauto, he muttered, had foiled 

l lt is thus highly improbable that Persia should have agreed to pay tribute 
to Borne: tpse die rex . . . etsi adJiuc nomine foederatus, iam tamen tuis cultibus 
Lributarius est (Pacalus, c. 22 s f ) are the words of a court orator addressing the 
Emperor in Rome when a Persian embassy announcing the accession of Bahram IV 
was in the city. If Persia had really agreed to the payment of tribute the language 
of the panegyric would have been less studiously vague. 

2 Cf . Rauschen, Jahrbucher, Appendix x. p. 487. 

387] Riot in Antioch 241 

his schemes. When the bishop returned to Milan he was convinced 
that the peace could not endure. 

Indeed, events shewed the profound suspicion and mistrust which 
underlay fair-seeming concord. Bauto was still holding the Alpine 
passes when the Juthungi, a branch of the Alemanni, entered Ehaetia 
to rob and plunder. Bauto desired that domestic pillage should recall 
the tribesmen to their homes. And at his instigation the Huns and 
Alans who were approaching Gaul were diverted and fell upon the 
territory of the Alemanni. Maximus complained that hordes of 
marauders were being brought to the confines of his territory, and 
Valentiniah was forced to purchase the retreat of his own allies. 

Preparations for the coming struggle with Maximus absorbed the 
attention of Theodosius in the East, and the exceptional expenditure 
placed a severe strain upon his resources. In one and the same year, 
it would seem (January 387), the Emperor celebrated his own decennalia 
and the quinquennalia of his son Arcadius who had been created 
Augustus in the year 383. On the occasion of this double festival 
heavy sums in gold were needed for distribution as donatives among 
the troops. In consequence, an extraordinary tax was laid upon the 
city of Antioch, and the magnitude of the sum demanded reduced the 
senators and leading citizens to despair. But with the inherited 
resignation of the middle classes of the Roman Empire they yielded 
to inexorable fate. Not so the populace : turbulent spirits with little 
to lose and led by foreigners clamoured round the bishop Flavian's 
house ; in his absence, their numbers swollen by fresh recruits from the 
city mob, they burst into the public baths intent on destruction, and 
then overturning the statues of the imperial family dashed them to 
pieces. One house was already in flames and a move had been made 
towards the imperial palace when at length the authorities took action, 
the governor (or comes orientis) interfered and the crowd was dispersed. 

Immediately the citizens were seized with hopeless dismay as they 
realised the horror of their crime. A courier was forthwith despatched 
with the news to the Emperor, while the authorities, attempting to 
atone by feverish violence for past neglect, began with indiscriminate 
haste to condemn to death men, women, and even children : some were 
burned alive and others were given to the beasts in the arena. The 
glory of the East saw her streets deserted and men awaited in shuddering 
terror the arrival of the imperial commissioners. While Chrysostom 
in his Lenten homilies endeavoured to rouse his flock from their 
anguish of dread, while Libanius strove to stay the citizens from 
headlong flight, the aged Flavian braving the hardships of winter 
journeyed to Constantinople to plead with Theodosius. On Monday 
of the third week of the fast the commissioners arrived Caesarius 
magister offidorum and Hellebicus magister mHitiae bearing with 
them the Emperor's edict : baths, circus, and theatres were to be closed, 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VIII. 16 

242 Maximus invades Italy [387 

the public distribution of grain was to cease, and Antioch was to lose 
her proud position and be subjected to her rival Laodicea. On the 
following Wednesday the commission began its sittings; confessions 
were wrung from the accused by tortuie and scourgings, but to the 
unbounded relief of all no death sentences were passed, and judgment 
upon the guilty was left to the decision of Theodosius. Caesarius 
himself started with his report for the capital : sleepless and unresting, 
he covered the distance between Antioch and Constantinople in the 
incredibly short space of six days. The prayers of Flavian had calmed 
the Emperor's anger and the passionate appeal of Caesarius carried the 
day : already the principal offenders had paid the forfeit of their lives, 
the city in its agony of terror had drained its cup of suffering: let 
Theodosius have mercy and stay his hand ! The news of a complete 
amnesty was borne hot-foot to Antioch, and to the joy of Easter were 
added the transports of a pardoned city. 

At length in the West the formal peace was broken, and in 387 the 
army of Gaul invaded Italy. Of late Justina's influence had gained the 
upper hand in Milan, and the Arianism of Valentinian afforded a laud- 
able pretext for the action of Maximus; he came as the champion of 
oppressed orthodoxy : previous warnings had produced no effect on 
the heretical Court ; it must be chastened by the scourge of God. It 
would seem that Valentinian's opposition to Ambrose had for the time 
alienated the bishop, and the Emperor no longer chose him as his 
ambassador. Domninus sought to strengthen good relations between 
Trier and Milan, and asked that help should be given in the task of driv- 
ing back the barbarians who threatened Pannonia. The cunning of 
Maximus seized the favourable moment ; he detached a part of his own 
army with orders to march to the support of Valentinian. He himself 
however at the head of his troops followed close behind, and was thus 
able to force the passes of the Cottian Alps unopposed. This treacherous 
attack upon Valentinian was marked by the murder of Merobaudes, the 
minister who had carried through the hasty election at Bregetio 
(autumn 387). From Milan Justina and her son fled to Aquileia, 
from Aquileia to Thessalonica, where they were joined by Theodosius, 
who had recently married Galla, the sister of Valentinian II. Here it 
would seem that the Emperor of the East received an embassy from 
Maximus, the latter doubtless claiming that he had only acted in 
the interests of the Creed of Nicaea, of which his co-Augustus was so 
staunch a champion. The action of Theodosius was characteristic ; he 
gave no definite reply, while he endeavoured to convert the fugitive 
Emperor to orthodoxy. The whole winter through he made his 
preparations for the war which he could no longer honourably escape. 
Goths, Huns, and Alans readily enlisted ; Pacatus tells us that from the 
Nile to the Caucasus, from the Taurus range to the Danube, men 
streamed to his standards* Promotus, who had recently annihilated 

3SSJ The Fall of Maximus 243 

a host of Greutungi under Odothaeus upon the Danube (386), commanded 
the cavalry and Timasius the infantry ; among the officers were Bichomer 
and Arbogast. In June Theodosius with Valentinian marched towards 
the West ; he could look for no support from Italy, for Rome had fallen 
into the hands of Maximus during the preceding January, and the 
usurper's fleet was cruising in the Adriatic Theodosius reached Stobi 
on June 14 and Scupi (TJskub) on June 21. It would seem that 
emissaries of Maximus had spread disaffection among the Germans in 
the eastern army, but a plot to murder Theodosius was disclosed in time 
and the traitors were cut down in the swamps to which they had fled 
for refuge The Emperor advanced to Siscia on the Save ; here, despite 
their inferiority in numbers, his troops swam the river and charged and 
routed the enemy. It is probable that in this engagement Andragathius, 
the foremost general on the side of Maximus, met his death. Theodosius 
won a second victory at Poetovio, where the western forces under the 
command of the usurper's brother Marcellinus fled in wild disorder. 
Many joined the victorious army, and Aemona (Laibach), which had 
stubbornly withstood a long siege, welcomed Theodosius within its walls. 
Maximus retreated into Italy and encamped around Aquileia. But he 
was allowed no opportunity to collect fresh forces wherewith to renew 
the struggle. Theodosius followed hard on the fugitive's track. 
Maximus with the courage of despair fell upon his pursuers, but was 
driven back into Aquileia and forced to surrender. Three miles from 
the city walls the captive was brought into the Emperor's presence. 
The soldiers anticipated the victor's pity and hurried Maximus off to 
his death (probably 28 July 388). Only a few of his partisans, among 
them his Moorish guards, shared their leader's fate. His fleet was 
defeated off Sicily, and Victor who had been left as Augustus in Gaul 
was slain by Arbogast. A general pardon quieted unrest in Italy, and 
Theodosius remained in Milan during the winter. Valentinian was 
restored to power, and with the death of his mother Justina his conversion 
to orthodoxy was completed. 

Maximus had fallen, and for a court orator his character possessed 
no redeeming feature. But from less prejudiced authorities we seem 
to gain a picture of a man whose only fault was his enforced disloyalty 
to Theodosius, and of an Emperor who shewed himself a vigorous and 
upright ruler, and who could plead as excuse for his avarice the pressure 
of long-threatened war with his co-Augustus. From these exactions 
which -were perhaps unavoidable Gaul suffered severely, and on his 
departure from the West, while Nannienus and Quintinus were acting 
as joint magistri militum, the Franks burst across the Rhine under 
Genobaudes, Marcomir, and Sunno and threatened Cologne. After a 
Roman victory at the Silva Carvonaria (near Tournai?) Quintinus 
invaded barbarian territory from Novaesium, but the campaign was a 
disastrous failure. On the fall of Victor Arbogast remained, under the 


244 Ambrose and Theodosius I [388-390 

vague title of Comes or Count, the virtual ruler of Gaul, while Carietto 
and Syrus succeeded as magistri militum the nominees of Maximus. 
Arbogast on his arrival counselled a punitive expedition, but it would 
seeni that Theodosius did not accept the advice. A peace was concluded, 
Marcomir and Sunno gave hostages, and Arbogast himself retired to 
winter quarters in Trier. 

Valentinian remained with Theodosius in Milan during the winter 
of 388-9 and was with him on 13 June 389 when he made his solemn 
entry into Rome, accompanied by his five year old son Honorius. _ On 
this, apparently his only visit to the western capital he anxiously 
endeavoured to weaken the power and influence of Paganism, while he 
effected reforms both in the social and municipal life of the city To 
the stern and haughty Diocletian the familiarity of the populace had 
been insufferable : Theodosius was liberal with his gifts, attended the 
public games, and won all hearts by his ready courtesy and genial 
humanity. In the autumn of 389 he returned to Milan, and there he 
remained during 390 that memorable year in which Church and State 
met as opposing powers and a righteous victory lay with the Church. 
In fact, he who would write of affairs of state during the last years of the 
fourth century must ever go borrowing from the church historians ; he 
dare not at his peril omit the figure of the counsellor of Emperor after 
Emperor, the fearless, tyrannous, passionate, and loving bishop of Milan. 
Though the conduct of Ambrose may at times be arbitrary and repellent, 
the critic in his own despite admits perforce that he was a man worthy 
of a sovereign's trust and confidence. The facts of the massacre of 
Thessalonica are well known. Popular discontent had been aroused 
by the billeting upon the inhabitants of barbarian troops, and resent- 
ment sought its opportunity. Botherich, captain of the garrison, 
imprisoned a favourite charioteer for gross immorality and refused to 
free him at the demand of the citizens. The mob seized the occasion : 
disappointed of its pleasure, it murdered Botherich with savage brutality. 
The anger of Theodosius was ungovernable, and the repeated prayers 
of Ambrose for mercy were of no avail. The court circle had long 
been jealous of the bishop's influence and had endeavoured to exclude 
him from any interference with state policy. Ambrose knew well that 
he no longer enjoyed the full confidence of the Emperor. Theodosius 
listened to his ministers who urged an exemplary punishment, and the 
order was issued for a ruthless vengeance upon Thessalonica. The 
message cancelling the imperial command arrived too late to save the 
city. The Emperor had decreed retribution and his officers gave rein 
to their passions. Upon the people crowded in the circus the soldiers 
poured and an indiscriminate slaughter ensued; at least 7000 victims 
fell before the troops stayed their hand. Ambrose, pleading illness, 
withdrew from Milan and refused to meet Theodosius. With his own 
hand he wrote a private letter to the Emperor, acknowledging his zeal 

391-392] Valentinian II and Arbogast 245 

and love for God, but claiming that for such a crime of headlong passion 
there must be profound contrition : as David listened to Nathan, so let 
Theodosius hear God's minister; until repentance he dare not offer 
the sacrifice in the Emperor's presence. The letter is the appeal 
of undaunted courage to the essential nobility of the character of 
Theodosius. The gusts of fury passed and remorse issued in penitence. 
With his subjects around him in the Cathedral of Milan the Emperor, 
stripped of his royal purple, bowed himself in humility before the offended 
majesty of Heaven. Men have sought to heighten the victory of the 
Church and fables have clustered round the -story, but the dignity of 
fact in its simplicity is far more splendid than the ornate fancies of any 
legend. Bishop and Emperor had proved each worthy of the other. 

In 391 Theodosius returned to Constantinople by way of Thessalonica 
and Valentinian was left to rule the West. He did not reach Gaul 
till the autumn of 391; it was too late. Three years of undisputed 
power had left Arbogast without a rival in Gaul. It was not the troops 
alone who looked to their unconquered captain with blind admiration 
and unquestioning devotion : he was surrounded by a circle of Prankish 
fellow-countrymen who owed to him their promotion, while his honourable 
character, his generosity, and the sheer force of his personality had brought 
even the civil authorities to his side. There was one law in Gaul, and 
that was the will of Arbogast, there was only one superior whom 
Arbogast acknowledged, and he was the Emperor Theodosius who had 
given the West into his charge. From the first Valentinian's authority 
was flouted : his legislative power was allowed to rust unused, his orders 
were disobeyed and his palace became his prison : not even the imperial 
purple could protect Harmonius, who was slain by Arbogast's orders at 
the Emperor's very feet. Valentinian implored support from Theodosius 
and contemplated seeking refuge in the East ; he solemnly handed the 
haughty Count his dismissal, but Arbogast tore the paper in pieces with 
the retort that he would only receive his discharge from the Emperor who 
had appointed him. A letter was despatched by Valentinian urging 
Ambrose to come to him with all speed to administer the sacrament 
of baptism ; clearly he thought his life was threatened. He hailed the 
pretext of barbarian disturbances about the Alpine passes and himself 
prepared to leave for Italy, but mortification and pride kept him still 
in Vienne. The Pagan party considered that at length the influence 
of Arbogast might procure for them the restoration of the altar of Victory, 
but the disciple of Ambrose refused the ambassador's request. A few 
days later it was known that Valentinian had been strangled. Contem- 
poraries could not determine whether he had met his death by violence 
or by his own hand (15 May 892). Ambrose seems to have accepted 
the latter alternative, and the guilt of Arbogast was never proven ; with 
the longed-for rite of baptism so near at hand suicide certainly appears 
improbable, but perhaps the strain and stress of those days of waiting 


246 Eugenius [393-394 

broke down the Emperor's endurance, and the mockery of his position 
became too bitter for a son of Valentinian I. His death, it must be 
admitted, did not find Arbogast unprepared. He could not declare 
himself Emperor, for Christian hatred, Roman pride, and Frankish 
jealousy barred the way; thus he became the first of a long line of 
barbarian king-makers : he overcame the reluctance of Eugenius and 
placed him on the throne. 

The first sovereign to be at once the nominee and puppet of a barbarian 
general was a man of good family ; formerly a teacher of rhetoric and later 
a high-placed secretary in the imperial service, the friend of Bichomer 
and Symmachus and a peace-loving civilian he would not endanger 
Arbogast's authority. Himself a Christian, although an associate of 
the Pagan aristocrats in Rome, he was unwilling to alienate the sympathies 
of either party, and adopted an attitude of impartial tolerance; he 
hoped to find safety in half measures. Rome saw a feverish revival of 
the old faith with strange processions of oriental deities, while Flavianus, 
a leading pagan, was made praetorian praef ect. The altar of Victory was 
restored, but Eugenius sought to respect Christian prejudices, and the 
temples did not recover their confiscated revenues ; these were granted 
as a personal gift to the petitioners But in the fourth century none 
save minorities would hear of toleration, and men drew the inference 
that he who was no partisan was little better than a traitor. The 
orthodox Church in the person of Ambrose withdrew from Eugenius 
as from an apostate. The new Emperor naturally recognised Theodosius 
and Arcadius as co-Augusti, but in all the transactions between the 
western Court and Constantinople the person of Arbogast was discreetly 
veiled; his name was not suggested for the consulship, and it was no 
Frankish soldier who headed the embassy to Theodosius : the wisdom 
of Athens in the person of Rufinus and the purity of Christian bishops 
attested the king-maker's innocence, but the ambiguous reply of 
Theodosius hardly disguised his real intentions. The nomination of 
Eugenius was, it would seem, disregarded in the East, while in West and 
East alike diplomacy was but a means for gaining time before the 
inevitable arbitrament of war. To secure Gaul during his absence 
Arbogast determined to impress the barbarians with a wholesome dread 
of the power of Rome ; in a winter campaign he devastated the territories 
of Bructeri and Chamavi, while Alemanni and Franks were forced to 
accept terms of peace whereby they agreed to furnish recruits for the 
Roman armies. Thus freed from anxiety in the West, Arbogast and 
Eugenius left with large reinforcements for Italy, where it seems that 
the new Emperor had been acknowledged from the time of his accession 
(spring 393?). In the following year Theodosius marched from 
Constantinople (end of May 394) ; Honorius, who had been created 
Augustus in January 393, was left behind with Arcadius in the capital. 
The Emperor appointed Timasius as general-in-chief with Stilicho for 

394r-395] The Battle on the Frigidus 247 

his subordinate ; immense preparations had been made for the campaign 
of the Goths alone some 20,000 under the leadership of Saul, Gainas, 
and Bacurius had been enlisted in the army. Arbogast, either through 
the claim of kinship or as virtual ruler of the West, could bring into 
the field large forces of both Franks and Gauls, but he was outnumbered 
by the troops of ^ Theodosius. Eugenius did not leave Milan till 
1 August. Flavianus, as augur, declared that victory was assured ; he 
had himself undertaken the defence of the passes of the Julian Alps, 
where he placed gilded statues of Jupiter to declare his devotion to 
Paganism. Theodosius overcame all resistance with ease and Flavianus, 
discouraged and ashamed, committed suicide. At about an equal 
distance between Aemona and Aquileia, on the stream of the Frigidus 
(Wipbach), the decisive battle took place. The Western army was 
encamped in the plain, awaiting the descent of Theodosius from the 
heights; Arbogast had posted Arbitio in ambush with orders to fall 
upon the unsuspecting troops as they left the higher ground. The 
Goths led the van and were the first to engage the enemy. Despite 
their heroic valour, the attack was unsuccessful ; Bacurius was slain and 
10,000 Goths lost their lives. Eugenius, as he rewarded his soldiers, 
considered the victory decisive, and the generals of Theodosius counselled 
retreat. Through the hours of the night the Emperor prayed alone 
and in the morning (6 September) with the battle-cry of "Where is 
the God of Theodosius ? " he renewed the struggle. Arbitio played the 
traitor's part and leaving his hiding-place joined the Eastern army. 
But it was no human aid which decided the issue of the day. A 
tempestuous hurricane swept down upon the enemy : blinded by clouds 
of dust, their shields wrenched from their grasp, their missiles carried 
back upon themselves, the troops of Eugenius turned in panic flight. 
Theodosius had called on God, and Heaven had answered. The moral 
effect was overwhelming. Eugenius was surrendered by his own soldiers 
and slain; Arbogast fled into the mountains and two days later fell by 
his own hand. 

Theodosius did not abuse his victory ; he granted a general pardon 
even the usurper's ministers lost only their rank and titles, which 
were restored to them in the following year. But the fatigues and 
hardships of the war had broken down the Emperor's health ; Honorius 
was summoned from Constantinople and was present in Milan at his 
father's death (17 January S95) 

From the invective of heathen critics and the flattery of court 
orators it is no easy task rightly to estimate the character and work 
of Theodosius To the Christians he was naturally first and foremost 
the founder of an orthodox State and the scourge of heretics and pagans, 
while to the worshippers of the older faith it was precisely his religious 
views and the legislation inspired by them which inflamed their furious 
resentment. The judgment of both parties on the Emperor's policy 


248 The Legislation of Theodosius I 

as a whole was determined by their religious preconceptions. Rome 
at least was his debtor; in the darkest hour after the disaster at 
Hadrianople he had not despaired of the Empire, but had proved 
himself at once statesman and general. The Goths might have become 
to the provinces of the East what the Alemanni had long been to Gaul ; 
the fact that it was otherwise was primarily due to the diplomacy of 
Theodosius. Retrenchment and economy, a breathing space in which 
to recover from her utter exhaustion, were a necessity for the Roman 
world ; a brilliant and meteoric sovereign would have been but an added 
peril. To the men of his time the unwearying caution of Theodosius 
was a positive and precious virtue. His throne was supported by no 
hereditary dynastic sentiment, and he thus consciously and deliberately 
made a bid for public favour; he abandoned court tradition and 
appealed with the directness of a soldier to the sympathies of his 
subjects. In this he was justified, throughout his reign it was only 
in the West that usurpers arose, and even they would have been content 
to remain his colleagues, had he only consented. But this was not the 
only result of his refusal to play the demigod; Valentinian had often 
been perforce the tool of his ministers, but Theodosius determined 
to gather his own information and to see for himself the abuses from 
which the Empire suffered. His legislation is essentially detailed and 
practical the accused must not be haled off forthwith on information 
laid against him, but must be given thirty days to put his house in order ; 
provision is to be made for the children of the criminal, whether he be 
banished or executed, for they are not to suffer for their father's sins, 
and some share of the convict's property is to pass to his issue; men 
are not to be ruined by any compulsion to undertake high-priestly 
offices, as that of the high-priesthood of the province of Syria which 
entailed the holding of costly public games ; provincials should not be 
driven to sell corn to the State below its market price, while corn from 
sea-coast lands is to be shipped to neighbouring sea-coast towns and 
not to distant inland districts, in order that the cost of transport may 
not ruin the farmer. Fixed measures in metal and stone must be used 
by imperial tax collectors, that extortion may be made more difficult, 
while defensores are to be appointed to see to it that through the 
connivance of the authorities robbers and highwaymen shall not escape 
unpunished. Theodosius himself had superintended the work of clearing 
Macedonia from troops of brigands, and he directed that men were to 
be permitted to take the law into their own hands if robbed on the 
high-roads or in the villages by night, and might slay the offender where 
he stood Examples might be increased at will, but such laws as these 
suffice to illustrate the point. In a word, Theodosius knew where the 
shoe pinched, and he did what he could to ease the pain. Even when 
claims of Church and State conflicted, he refused to sacrifice justice to 
the demands of orthodox intolerance ; in one case the tyrannous insistence 

" Theodosius the Great " 249 

of Ambrose conquered, and Christian monks who had at Callinicum 
destroyed a Jewish synagogue were at last freed from the duty of 
making reparation; but even here the stubborn resistance of the 
Emperor shews the general principles which governed his administration. 
Though naturally merciful, so that contemporaries wondered at his 
clemency towards the followers of defeated rivals, yet when seized by 
some sudden outburst of passion he could be terrible in his ferocity. 
He himself was conscious of his great failing, and when his anger had 
passed, men knew that he was the readier to pardon: Praerogativa 
ignoscendi erat indignatum fuisse. But with every acknowledgment 
made of his weaknesses he served the Empire well ; he brought the East 
from chaos into order ; and even if it be on other grounds, posterity can 
hardly dispute the judgment of the Church or deny that the Emperor 
has been rightly styled "Theodosius the Great." 

OH viir. 



THE enormous force of the onrush made by the Huns upon the 
Ostrogoths had been decisive for the fate of the Visigoths also. A 
considerable part of Athanarich's army under their leaders Alavio and 
Fritigern had asked for and obtained from the Emperor Valens in the 
year 376 land for settlements on the right bank of the Danube. From 
that time these Goths were foederati of the Empire, and as such were 
obliged to render armed assistance and supply recruits. A demand 
for land made by bands of Ostrogoths under Alatheus and Saphrax was 
refused; nevertheless these bold Teutons effected the crossing of the 
river and followed their kinsmen. Quarrels between Romans and 
Goths led to Fritigern's victory of Marcianople, which opened the way 
to the Goths as far as Hadrianople. They were pushed back indeed 
into the Dobrudscha by Valens* army, and the troops under Richomer 
sent from the West by Gratian to assist the Eastern Empire were able 
to join the Eastern forces. After this however the success of arms 
remained changeable, especially when a section of Huns and Alani had 
joined the Goths. Thrace was left exposed to the enemy's raids, which 
extended as far as Macedonia. Now it was time for the Emperor to 
intervene in person, the more so as Gratian had promised to come 
quickly to his assistance. At first the campaign was successful. The 
Goths were defeated on the Maritza near Hadrianople, and Valens 
advanced towards Philippopolis to effect a junction with Gratian. But 
Fritigern hastened southward to cut Valens off from Constantinople. 
The Emperor was forced to turn back, and whilst at Hadrianople was 
asked by Gratian in a letter delivered by Richomer to postpone the final 
attack until his arrival. At a council of war however Valens complied 
with his general Sebastian's opinion to strike without delay, as he had 
been informed that the enemy numbered but ten thousand. In any case 
they would have had to wait a long time for Gratian, who was hurrying 
eastward from a remote field of war. After rejecting a very ambiguous 
message from Fritigern, Valens led the Romans against the Goths, and 
(9 Aug. 378) a battle took place to the north-east of Hadrianople, 
probably near Demeranlija. The Goths were fortunate in receiving 


378] Sequel to the Battle of Hadrianople 251 

timely assistance (from the Ostrogoths and Alani under Alatheus 
and Saphrax) after they had already defeated a body of Roman 
cavalry, which had attacked them prematurely. The Roman infantry 
also met with defeat at the hands of the Goths, and two-thirds of 
their army perished. The Emperor himself was killed by an arrow, and 
his generals Sebastian and Trajan also lost their lives. When he heard 
the news from Richomer, Gratian withdrew to Sirmium, and now the 
Eastern Empire lay open to the attacks of the barbarians. 

On 10 August the Goths advanced to storm Hadrianople, as 
they had been informed that there, in a strongly fortified place, the 
Emperor's treasure and the war-chest were kept. But their efforts to 
seize the town were in vain. The municipal authorities of Hadrianople 
had not even admitted within its walls those Roman soldiers who 
during the night after their defeat had fled there and found shelter 
in the suburbs under the ramparts. At ten o'clock in the morning 
the long-protracted struggle for the town began. In the niidst of 
the turmoil three hundred Roman infantry formed a wedge and went 
over to the enemy, by whom, strange to say, all were killed. At last a 
terrible storm put an end to the fight by bringing the besieged the 
much needed supply of water, for want of which they had suffered 
the utmost distress. After this the Goths made several fruitless 
attempts to take the town by stratagem. When in the course of the 
struggle it became evident that many lives were being sacrificed to no 
purpose the Goths abandoned the siege from which the prudent Fritigern 
had from the beginning tried to dissuade them. Early on 1 August 
a council of war was held, in which it was decided to march against 
Perinthus on the Propontis, where, according to the report of many 
deserters, great treasures were to be found. 

When the Goths had left Hadrianople the Roman soldiers gathered 
together and during the night one part of them, avoiding the high-roads, 
marched by lonely forest-paths to Philippopolis and thence to Sardica, 
probably to effect a junction with Gratian ; whilst another part conveyed 
the well-preserved imperial treasures to Macedonia, where the Emperor, 
whose death was as yet unknown, was supposed to be. It will be 
observed that at this time the position of the Eastern Empire seemed 
hopeless. It could no longer defend itself against those robbing and 
plundering barbarians who, now that the battle was won, actually 
thought themselves strong enough to advance southward as far as the 
Propontis, and on their march could also rely on the assistance of the 
Huns and Alani. But here again the Goths had trusted too much to their 
good fortune. For, though on their arrival in the environs of Perinthus 
they encamped before the town, they did not feel strong enough for an 
attack, and carried on the war by terrible and systematic devastations 
only. In these circumstances it is surprising that they next marched 
upon Constantinople itself, the treasures of which greatly excited their 

CH. IX. 

252 Gratian's action [378 

covetousness. Apparently they hoped to surprise and take the capital 
at one blow. This time, however, through fear of hostile attacks they 
decided to approach the town in close array. They had almost reached 
Constantinople when they encountered a body of Saracens, who had 
come out in its defence. It is reported that by a monstrous deed one of 
these, a hairy, naked fellow, caused them to turn back. He threw 
himself with wild screams on one of the Goths, pierced his throat with a 
dagger, and greedily drank the blood which welled forth. For a time 
the struggles seem to have continued, but soon the Goths saw that they 
were powerless against the large and strongly fortified town and that 
they suffered greater loss than they inflicted. They therefore destroyed 
their siege engines on the Bosphorus, and bursting forth in single 
detachments, moved in a north-westerly direction through Thrace, Moesia, 
and Illyricum as far as the foot of the Julian Alps, plundering and 
devastating the country as they went. Every hand in the Eastern 
Empire was paralysed with horror at the unrestrained ferocity of the 
barbarians. Only Julius, the magister militum 9 who held the command 
in the province of Asia, had courage enough for a terrible deed, which 
shews the boundless hatred felt by the Romans for the Goths, as well as 
the cruelty practised in warfare at that time. He announced that on a 
certain day all Gothic soldiers in the towns and camps of Asia should 
receive their pay ; instead of which all of them were at his command cut 
down by the Romans. In this manner he freed the provinces of the 
East from future danger. At the same time this incident shews clearly 
the straits to which the Eastern Empire was reduced. There was need 
of a clear-headed and determined ruler, if peace was ever to be restored to 
the Empire. With regard to this, however, everything depended upon 
the decision of Gratian, of whose doings we shall now have to give 
a short account. 

We know that Gratian had made efforts long before the catastrophes 
to come to his uncle's aid against the Goths. From this he was 
prevented by a war with the Alemanni. An Aleman from the country 
of the Lentienses (afterwards the Linzgau on the Lake of Constance) 
who served in the Roman Guard had returned to his country with the 
news that Gratian was shortly going to render assistance to his uncle in 
the East. This news had induced his tribesmen to make a raid across 
the Rhine in February 378. They were at first repulsed by frontier 
troops ; but when it became known that the greater part of the Roman 
army had marched for Illyricum they prevailed upon their tribesmen to 
join in a big campaign. It was rumoured in Gaul that 40,000 or even 
as many as 70,000 Alemanni were on the war-path. Gratian at once 
called back those of his cohorts which were already on the way to 
Pannonia and put the comes Brittanniae Nannienus in command of his 
troops, together with the brave Mallobaudes, king of the Franks. A 
battle was fought at Argentaria (near Colmar), in which the Romans, 

379-380] Appointment of Theodosius 253 

thanks to the skill of their generals, won a complete victory, and 
Priarius, the chieftain of the Lentienses, was killed. Gratian now 
attacked the Alemanni, crossed the Rhine, and sent the Lentienses flying 
to their mountains. There they were completely hemmed in and had to 
surrender, promising to supply recruits to the Romans. After this 
Gratian marched from Arbor Felix (near St Gallen) eastwards along the 
high-road, passing Lauriacum on the way. As we have already seen, he 
did not reach Thrace in time, and on hearing of the defeat at Hadrianople 
he withdrew to Sirmium. Here, at the beginning of 379, a great political 
event took place. It must be mentioned that Theodosius, who had 
formerly been the commander-in-chief in Upper Moesia, and had since 
been living in a kind of exile in Spain, had been recalled by Gratian and 
entrusted with a new command. Before the end of 378 Theodosius had 
already given a proof of his ability by the defeat of the Sarmatians, who 
appear to have invaded Pannonia. The success was welcome in a time 
so disastrous for the Romans This is most probably one of the reasons 
why Gratian (19 Jan. 379) at Sirmium raised him to be Emperor of the 
East and enlarged his dominions by adding to them Dacia, Upper 
Moesia, Macedonia, Epirus and Achaia, i.e. Eastern Illyricum. 

The Visigoths under Fritigern had without doubt been the moving 
spirit in the war, although the Ostrogoths had played a valiant part in 
it. After Ermanarich had committed suicide, Withimir had become 
king of the Ostrogoths. He lost his life fighting against the Alani, and 
seems to have been succeeded by his infant son, in whose name the 
princes Alatheus and Saphrax reigned supreme. These, as we saw, 
joined forces later on with the Visigoths and contributed largely to the 
victory at Hadrianople. It appears that for some time after this, both 
tribes of the Goths made common cause against the Romans. At first 
the two Emperors were successful in some minor campaigns against the 
Goths, and while Gratian went westward against the Franks and perhaps 
against the Vandals who had made an invasion across the Rhine, Theodosius 
succeeded in creating at Thessalonica, a place which he chose as a strong 
and sure base for his further operations, a new and efficient army, into 
which he admitted a considerable number of Goths. Before the end of 
379 he and his forces gained important successes over the enemy, who 
found themselves almost entirely confined to Lower Moesia and, owing to 
a lack of supplies, were compelled to renew the war in 380. The 
Visigoths under Fritigern advanced in a south-westerly direction towards 
Macedonia, whilst the Ostrogoths, Alani, and Huns went to the north- 
west against Pannonia. Theodosius, who hurried to meet the Visigoths, 
suffered a severe defeat in an unexpected night-attack. The Goths, 
however, did not follow up their victory, but contented themselves with 
pillaging Macedonia and Thessaly, whilst the Emperor Theodosius lay 
a prey to a protracted illness at Thessalonica. During this period 
Macedonia suffered terribly from the barbarians. At last when Gratian, 

CH. IX. 

254 End of the Gothic War [380-382 

whose assistance Theodosius had implored, sent an army under Bauto 
and Arbogast, two Prankish generals, the Goths were compelled to 
retreat into Lower Moesia. Gratian himself was at the same time forced 
to take command of an army again ; for his general Vitalianus had been 
unable to prevent the Ostrogoths, Alani, and Huns from invading 
Pannonia. As this barbarian invasion was a great danger to the 
Western Empire, it was highly important for Gratian to make peace 
with the enemy before suffering great losses. This he accomplished by 
assigning Pannonia and Upper Moesia to the Ostrogoths and their allies 
as foederati. This settlement of the barbarians at its eastern frontier 
guaranteed the peace of the Western Empire in the immediate future. For 
the Eastern Empire also peace seemed now ensured. When Theodosius, 
who as an orthodox ruler commanded greater sympathy from his subjects 
than his predecessor, the Arian Valens, had recovered from his illness, he 
made a triumphal entry into Constantinople (24 Nov. 380), and here 
(11 Jan. 381) the Visigoth Athanarich arrived with his followers. He 
had been banished by the Goths whom he had led into Transylvania, 
and not desiring to ally himself with Fritigern on account of an old feud, 
asked to be admitted into the Empire. He was received with the 
greatest honours by Theodosius, but only survived his entrance by a 
fortnight. The high honour shewn to Athanarich was evidently intended 
to create the impression among the inhabitants of the capital that war 
with the Goths was at an end; perhaps it was also hoped to promote 
more peaceful feelings among Fritigern's followers. We are also led to 
believe that Theodosius soon commenced negotiations with this dreaded 
prince, which were brought to a conclusion in 382 by the magister 
militum Saturninus. A treaty of peace was concluded at Constantinople 
(3 Oct. 38) by which permission was given to Fritigern and all his 
Goths to settle as allies in Lower Moesia. They were also to retain 
their domestic legislation and the right to elect their own princes. It 
was their duty in return to defend the frontier and to furnish troops, 
which, however, were to be led by their own chiefs. They obtained the 
districts assigned to them free of tribute, and moreover the Romans 
agreed to pay them annually a sum of money. 

This treaty was, without doubt, at the time a triumph for 
Theodosius, and as such it was loudly praised by the Emperor's flatterers. 
But on closer examination we shall see that the Romans had only 
gained a momentary peace. From the outset it was impossible to 
accustom the Goths, proud conquerors of the Roman armies as they 
were, to the peaceful occupation of tilling the ground, and, as they had 
doubtless been allowed to settle in Moesia in a compact mass, retaining 
their domestic government, all efforts to Romanise them could but prove 
vain. Besides this the Danube, with the exception of the Dobrudscha, 
was stripped of Roman troops, and the ever-increasing number of Goths 
who entered the Roman army was naturally a considerable danger to it. 

382-388] The Goths in the Empire 255 

Moreover the majority of the Goths were Arians, and the rest still 
heathens. A year previously, however, Theodosius had not only attacked 
heathenism, but had issued a law against heretics, especially Arians. He 
had even sent 1 his general Sapor into the East to expel the Arian bishops 
from their churches; only bishops professing the Nicene faith were to 
possess the churches. Thus the peace could not possibly be of long 

How greatly political questions excited the Goths, and how pas- 
sionately their national feeling would sometimes break forth is shewn 
by an event which occurred at Constantinople soon after 382. One day 
at the royal table two Gothic princes, who were specially honoured by 
Theodosius, gave free utterance to their opposed political convictions 
Eriwulf was the leader of the national party among the Goths, which 
considered the destruction of the Roman Empire their ultimate object ; 
he was an Arian by confession. Fravitta, on the other hand, was the 
head of that party which saw their future salvation in a close union with 
the Empire. He had married a Roman lady, and had remained a 
heathen. The quarrel between the two party-leaders ended by Fravitta 
drawing his sword and killing his opponent just outside the palace. 
The attempts of Eriwulf 's followers to take immediate revenge were met 
with armed resistance on the part of the imperial palace-guards. This 
incident doubtless helped to strengthen Fravitta's position at the 
Emperor's Court, whilst he had made himself impossible to the Goths. 

At this time a new danger to the Empire arose from those Goths who 
had remained at home and had been conquered by the Huns. As early 
as the winter of 384* or 385 they had taken possession of Halmyris (a 
town to the south of the estuary of the Danube) which however they left 
again, only to return in the autumn of 386 to ask for admission into the 
Empire together with other tribes. But the magister militum Promotus, 
commander of the troops in Thrace, forbade them to cross the river. 
He had the frontier carefully guarded, and met their attack with a ruse, 
cleverly conceived and successfully executed, by sending some of his men 
to the Ostrogoths under the pretence of betraying the Roman army to 
them. In reality .however those soldiers of his reported to Promotus the 
place and time of the proposed night-attack, and when the barbarians, 
led by Odothaeus, crossed the river, the Romans, who were posted on a 
large number of anchored boats, made short work of them. This time 
the better strategy of the Romans gained a complete victory over the 
Goths, To commemorate this victory the Emperor, who subsequently 
appeared in person on the battle-field, erected a huge column ornamented 
with reliefs in the quarter of the town which is called Taurus. 

Meanwhile (5 Aug. 383) Gratian had been killed at Lyons at the 
instigation of the usurper Maximus, who had been proclaimed Emperor 
by the army in Britain and had found followers in Gaul. At first 
Theodosius pretended to accept Maximus for a colleague; but in 388 he 

CH. IX. 

256 The Franks [383-389 

led his army against him and defeated him at Liscia and Pettau. In the 
end the usurper was taken prisoner and killed at Aquileia. Theodosius 
now appointed Valentinian II, Gratian's youthful brother, Emperor of 
the West, only reserving for himself the co-regency of Italy. He then 
sent his experienced general Arbogast into Gaul, where the Teutons 
from the right bank of the Rhine had seized the occasion offered by the 
quarrel for the throne to extend their power beyond the frontier. 
Three chiefs of the Bipuarian Pranks, Genobaudes, Marcomir, and 
Sunno, had indeed crossed the Rhine in the neighbourhood of Cologne 
and made a raid upon the Roman territory. When the Roman generals 
Nannienus and Quintinus went to meet the raiders at Cologne, one part 
of them left the borderland of the province, whilst the others continued 
their march into the country, till they were at last beaten back in the 
Carbonarian forest (to the east of Tournai) . Quintinus now proceeded to 
attack the enemy and crossed the Rhine at Novaesium (Neuss) . But after 
pushing forward for three days into the wild and pathless regions on 
the right bank of the Rhine, he was decoyed into an ambush, in which 
almost the whole of his army perished. Thus it appeared likely that the 
Roman rule in the Rhenish provinces would before long be completely 
overthrown ; for the generals Carietto and Syrus, whom Maximus had 
left behind, found it impossible to put a stop to the barbarian raids. 
At this juncture Arbogast was sent by Theodosius to save the West. 
His first act was to capture Flavius Victor, the infant son of Maximus, and 
to have him put to death. Then he reinforced his army with those 
troops which Maximus had left stationed in Gaul, and which together 
with their generals Carietto and Syrus were easily won over to his side. 
Last of all he turned against his former tribesmen, the Franks, and 
demanded from them the restitution of the booty and surrender of the 
originators of the war. When these demands were refused, he hesitated 
to begin war by himself. He found it difficult to come to a decision, for 
the fate of Quintinus' troops was still fresh in his memory. In these 
straits he wrote to the Emperor Valentinian II, who seems to have urged 
a friendly settlement of the feuds; for in the autumn of 389 Arbogast 
had an interview with Marcomir and Sunno. The Franks, possibly 
fearing the mighty Theodosius, gave hostages, and a treaty of peace was 
concluded which cannot have been unfavourable to the barbarians. 

In this way the Western Empire shewed considerable indulgence in 
its treatment of the Teutons. The Eastern Empire on the contrary, and 
especially the Emperor, was soon directly and indirectly exposed to 
serious troubles from the Visigoths. We know that the Goths had 
extended their raids as far as Thessalonica. In this large town, the 
second in importance in the Balkan peninsula, there existed a certain 
amount of ill-feeling against the barbarians, which was greatly increased 
by the fact that the highest offices, both civil and military, were chiefly 
held by Teutons ; moreover the town was garrisoned by Teuton soldiers. 

389-392] The Massacre at Thessalonica 257 

The innate pride of Greeks and Romans alike was deeply wounded by 
this situation, and a very insignificant occurrence in the year 390 sufficed 
to make their hatred burst into flames. It happened in the following 
way. Botherich, the commandant of the town, had imprisoned a very 
popular charioteer and refused to set him free, when the people clamoured 
for his deliverance because of the approaching circus-games. This caused 
a rising against the obnoxious barbarian in which he lost his life. At 
the time of this incident the Emperor Theodosius was at Milan where he 
had frequent intercourse with the influential bishop Ambrose ; this was 
not without its effect upon him, though in his innermost heart the 
Emperor as a secular autocrat could not but be opposed to ecclesiastical 
pretensions. Although Theodosius inclined by nature to leniency, or 
at any rate made a show of that quality, in this case at least wrath 
overcame every human feeling in him, and he resolved to chastise 
the town in a way so cruel, that nothing can be put forward in 
defence of it. When the people of Thessalonica were assembled in the 
circus and absorbed in contemplation of the games soldiers suddenly 
broke in and cut down all whom their swords could reach. For three 
hours the slaughter went on, till the victims numbered 7000. The 
Emperor himself, urged perhaps to mercy by Ambrose, had at the last 
hour revoked his order, but it was too late. Probably Theodosius had 
been led to this unspeakable cruelty by persons of his intimate acquaint- 
ance, among whom Rufinus played a prominent part. It seems that 
Rufinus had been magister offidorum since 38 ; in 39 he rose to the 
position of Praefectus Praetorio. When the news of this massacre 
reached Milan, the Christian population of the town was paralysed with 
terror. Ambrose left the town and addressed a letter of the utmost 
gravity to Theodosius. He explained to him that his deed called for 
penitence and warned him not to attend at church. The proud 
sovereign perceived that he would have to submit to the penitence 
imposed on him, and obeyed the bishop's will. He did not leave Milan 
till the following year; but before returning to the Eastern capital he 
had to sustain a dangerous attack from the Goths in Thrace. 

In 390 the Visigoths broke the peace to which they had sworn, and 
invaded Thrace ; Huns and other tribes from beyond the Danube had 
thrown in their lot with them. They were commanded by Alaric, a 
prince of the Visigoths, belonging to the family of the Balti. This is 
the first appearance of Alaric, who was then about twenty years of age, 
and whose great campaigns subsequently excited such terror throughout 
the Roman Empire. But even then the Thracians appear to have been 
in great distress : for (1 July 391) Theodosius issued an edict at Aquileia, 
by which the inhabitants of the endangered district received permission 
to carry arms and to kill anybody found marauding in the open 
country. After Theodosius had entered the province, he took great 
pains to destroy the bands of marauders, and himself assisted in their 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. IX. 17 

258 Arbogast [391-392 

pursuit. On the Maritza, however, he fell into an ambush and was 
completely defeated. Even his life seems to have been in danger, but he 
was rescued by his general Promotus. The latter continued the war 
against the Goths till the end of 391, though he had apparently fallen 
into disfavour at Court. He lost his life in the war, and public opinion 
at the capital attributed his death to Rufinus. Stilicho the Vandal now 
became commander of the troops in Thrace. He was born about 360, 
and had at an early age been attached to an embassy to Persia. After- 
wards Theodosius had given him his niece Serena in marriage and 
promoted him step by step. He was considered to be one of the ablest 
statesmen in the Eastern Empire, and the military command entrusted 
to him in 392 was destined to increase the importance of his position. 
For he succeeded at length in defeating the enemy, who for so long a 
time had been the terror of the Empire. The Goths were surrounded 
on the Maritza. But again the Emperor shewed mercy and gave orders 
that the enemy should be permitted to go free. Theodosius' policy may 
probably be attributed to a certain fear of revenge, and it was doubtless 
influenced by Rufinus, who did not wish Stilicho to become too 
powerful. Thus a treaty with the vanquished Goths was concluded. 

Meanwhile Arbogast had embarked upon a most ambitious course 
of politics. His aim was to get rid of the young and irresolute 
Valentinian II. Not indeed that he himself wished for the imperial crown, 
for he very likely felt its possession to be undesirable. His idea was to 
get Valentinian II out of the way, and then assist to the imperial throne 
some one of his ardent devotees, under whose name he himself hoped to 
wield the supreme power. For the attainment of this end, his first 
requisite was a trustworthy army. He therefore levied a large number 
of Teuton troops, in whose loyalty he could place the utmost confidence. 
When Valentinian took up his abode in Gaul, the relations between him 
and the powerful Frank became more and more strained, till finally the 
Emperor from his throne handed to his rival a written order, demanding 
that he should resign his post. Arbogast tore the document in pieces 
before the eyes of the Emperor, whose days were thenceforth numbered. 
On 15 May 39 the youthful sovereign was assassinated at Vienne ; but 
whether Arbogast was directly responsible for this deed remains uncer- 
tain. The way was now clear for the Frank's ambitious plans A short 
time previously the Frank Richomer had recommended to his tribesman 
Arbogast the head of the imperial chancery, the magister scrinionwi 
Eugenius. This Roman, formerly a rhetorician and grammarian, was 
the man whom Arbogast intended to raise to the imperial throne. 
Eugenius could not but yield to the mighty man's wish. He therefore 
sent an embassy to Theodosius in 392 to obtain his recognition. But 
Theodosius gave an evasive answer ; and as there was every prospect of a 
war, Arbogast deemed it necessary to make provision for a safe retreat. 
We know that the neighbourhood of the Franks formed a very vulnerable 

392-395] Battle of the Frigidus 259 

point of the Roman government in Gaul. For this reason in the winter 
of 392 Arbogast undertook a campaign against these dangerous 
neighbours. He probably hoped at the.same time to reinforce his army 
with Prankish troops, should he be successful in this war. He pushed 
on through Cologne and the country along the river Lippe into the 
territory of the Bructeri and Chamavi, after which he turned eastward 
against the Ampsivarii, who had joined forces with the Chatti under 
Marcomir. Apparently he met with but little resistance, for in the spring 
of 393 Eugenius succeeded in concluding treaties with the Franks and 
even the Alemanni, on condition that they supplied him with troops. 
The ensuing period was spent in preparations for war in both Empires, 
Eugenius having been, thanks to Arbogast's influence, recognised as 
Emperor in Italy also. Theodosius had reinforced his army more 
especially with Teutons ; the Visigoths were again commanded by Alaric, 
whilst the leaders of the other foederati were Gainas, Saul, and the 
comes domesticorum Bacurius, an Armenian. The meeting of the two 
armies took place 5 Sept. 394 on the Frigidus, a tributary of the 
Isonza, probably the Hubel. As the Gothic troops formed the vanguard 
and opened the attack on the enemy, who were posted very favourably, 
they suffered severe losses on the first day of the battle, which greatly 
elated the Westerns. On the second day the battle would in all 
probability have been decided in favour of Arbogast, had not his 
general Arbitrio, who commanded the Frankish troops, gone over to 
Theodosius. It is related besides, that a violent storm from the north- 
east the Bora, as it is called wrought such havoc in the ranks of 
Eugenius' army, that it helped Theodosius to gain a complete victory. 
Eugenius was taken prisoner and put to death, and Arbogast escaped 
into the mountains, where he died by his own hand (8 Sept.). But whilst 
the relations and followers of Eugenius and Arbogast were pardoned, 
Alaric waited in vain for the post in the Roman army which Theodosius 
had promised him ; and when (17 Jan. 395) Theodosius died at Milan, 
still in the prime of life, the Goths were sent home by Stilicho, who had 
been second in command during the war. To make matters worse, the 
yearly payments which had hitherto been made to the Goths were now 
injudicioUssly held back. These various causes combined to disturb the 
peace between the Romans and Goths, which had so far been tolerably 
well preserved, and the Goths once more commenced hostilities. 

The time for a general rising seemed to be well chosen. Theodosius, 
whose strong hand had endeavoured to maintain the peace within the 
Empire, was now no more, and his sons were yet of tender age. The 
late Emperor had been the last to reign over the whole Empire. And 
even he, powerless to stay its decline, had been obliged to cede to the 
Goths an extensive district within its borders. How important the 
Teutonic element had grown can best be understood from the fact that 
the Teutons not only furnished the best part of the troops, but also 

CH. IX. 

260 Division of the Empire [395 

commanded the armies and held the highest appointments, both civil and 
military. Now that Theodosius was dead, the Empire was divided for 
ever. At an age of hardly eighteen years his son Arcadius received the 
Empire of the East under the guidance of Rufinus, who had in 394, during 
the absence of Theodosius, been entrusted with the regency as well as 
with the supreme direction of Arcadius. On 27 April 395, to Rufinus' 
great vexation, the young Emperor married Eudoxia, who had been 
brought to him by Eutropius, the eunuch of the palace. She was the 
daughter of Bauto, the Frank who had played an important part under 
Gratian and Valentinian. In the course of the same year Rufinus was most 
cruelly slain by the soldiers whom Gainas had but recently led back to 
Constantinople. After his death Eutropius stood in high favour with 
the Emperor. He received the office of High Chamberlain (praepositus 
sacri cubiculi) and later on the title patricius. The younger son 
Honorius, who was in his eleventh year, received the Western Empire. 
Stilicho was appointed his guardian and also regent. He had been 
raised to the rank of magister utriusque militiae by Theodosius before his 
death, and, as we saw, had married a niece of the Emperor. This 
capable man was no doubt better fitted than any other to rule the 
Empire in the spirit of Theodosius, and when the Emperor died it was 
he who without delay hurried to the Rhine to receive homage for 
Honorius from the Teuton tribes, even as far as the Batavi. Apparently 
on this journey King Marcomir was delivered into his hands, and was 
sent into exile to Tuscany. After this Stilicho immediately returned to 

Meanwhile the Visigoths had broken loose from Moesia. Those of 
their tribesmen who had formerly accompanied Alaric to Transylvania 
had joined them and chosen Alaric, whose power at that time, however, 
was still limited, as leader in the coming war. This war was fraught 
with danger for the Eastern Empire, for it appears that in the early 
spring of 395 the whole mass of the Visigoths marched south towards 
Constantinople. As before, there could of course be no question 
of capturing the city, but the surrounding country was mercilessly 
devastated. It is most probable that Rufinus, who paid repeated visits 
to the hostile camp, bribed the enemy to retire. Alaric now made his way 
along the coast to Macedonia and Thessaly . Near Larissa he encountered 
Stilicho, who had left Italy with strong forces. These were the victorious 
East-Roman soldiers, whom he was leading home to their own country, 
hoping at the same time to win back Dlyria for the Western Empire. 
This province, though given to Theodosius by Gratian, was said to have 
been restored by the former a short time before his death. Apparently 
the Goths had first of all tried to gain the valley of the Peneus, the Vale 
of Tempe ; but meeting with resistance, they had pushed on across the 
eastern slopes of Olympus into Thessaly, where they barricaded them- 
selves behind their wagons. Stilicho was on the point of attacking 

395-397] Alaric in Greece 261 

them when he received a message from Arcadius, ordering him to dismiss 
the army of the Eastern Empire, and himself return to Italy. If at 
first sight this order seems strange, it is because we have long been 
accustomed to see in Stilieho a disinterested statesman and general, who 
dedicated his labour and personality to the family of Theodosius. This 
disposition of Eastern Illyria, which Theodosius was supposed to have 
made shortly before his death, is however very doubtful, and it is certain 
that Stilieho had entertained personal ambitions with regard to that 
province. Viewed in the light of these circumstances, the order from 
Arcadius appears in a very different light, especially if to this is added 
the fact that in the same year the Huns had broken through the gates 
of the Caucasus at Baku on the Caspian Sea and reached Syria by way of 
Armenia. There they laid siege to Antioch and proceeded thence to 
Asia Minor. Ravages of every kind marked their way. In this situation 
it was an absolute necessity for the welfare of the State that the army 
should return to its own country. Stilieho obeyed the order, because, as 
has justly been remarked, he was probably uncertain about the future 
conduct of the East-Roman troops, a section of whom remained in 
Greece under Gerontius' command to cover Thermopylae. Alaric, how- 
ever, assisted perhaps by treachery, took possession of this famous pass 
without difficulty. After this the Goths marched through Boeotia into 
Attica. Here Alaric succeeded in seizing the Piraeus, and forced Athens 
to capitulate by cutting off her supplies. It is probable that she escaped 
pillage by the payment of a sum of money; Alaric stayed for a short 
time peacefully within her walls. From Athens the march of the Goths 
was continued to Eleusis, where they ransacked the temple of Demeter, 
and further to Megara, which was quickly taken. Gerontius had left the 
entrance to the Peloponnesus undefended, and the Gothic hordes, 
meeting with no resistance, broke like a torrent upon Corinth and thence 
on Argos and Sparta. Many an ancient work of art must have perished 
in this rush, but no mention is made of any systematic and wilful 
destruction of the ancient monuments. 

It is a curious fact, that after all this the East-Roman government 
seems neither to have made war against the Huns, who had invaded 
Asia, nor to have lent assistance to the Greeks, when Gerontius had so 
utterly failed to do his duty at Thermopylae and the Isthmus. Help 
came rather from another quarter, and primarily, it must be owned, 
with a different purpose in view. Though Stilieho had returned to 
Italy, he had been kept well informed about events in Greece. As he 
himself had designs on East-IUyria, to which Epirus and Achaia 
belonged, and as Alaric was to all appearances endeavouring to create an 
independent sovereignty in these provinces, it was imperative for the 
vicegerent of the West to interfere. In 397 he transported an army to 
Greece, and, landing on the south side of Corinth, expelled the Goths 
from Arcadia and surrounded them at Elis near the Alpheus on the 

CH. IX. 

262 Revolt of Gamas [394r-399 

plateau of Pholoe. But no decisive battle was fought, for Stilicho was 
not sufficiently master of his own troops, and just then the revolt of the 
Moorish prince Gildo threatened to become a serious danger to the 
Western Empire. Gildo had formerly been praefect of Mauretania and 
had subsequently been raised to the office of magister utriusque militiae. 
In the year 394 he began his revolt, whereby he intended to secure the 
North coast of Africa as a dominion of his own, and in 397 he offered 
Africa as a feudal province to the Eastern Empire, hoping thereby to 
kindle war between the two Empires. In this predicament Stilicho 
avoided a decisive encounter with the Goths. For the second time he 
allowed his adversary to escape. He even concluded a treaty with 
Alaric, which doubtless contained an alliance against the Eastern 
Empire; for in these precarious circumstances the chief of the brave 
Goths might possibly prove of great service to Stilicho in his ambitious 
private policy. The effect of these conditions on the mutual relations 
of the two Empires was soon apparent. At Constantinople Stilicho was 
declared an enemy of the State, whilst in the Western Empire the 
consulship of Eutropius, who had been nominated for 399 and had 
entirely won the favour of Arcadius, was not acknowledged. Before his 
death Theodosius had so arranged the division of the Empire that the 
cohesion of the whole might for the future be firmly and permanently 
secured. Thus the first deep cleft had been made in a union which 
was already difficult to maintain. Neither Empire had a permanent 
diplomatic representation ; only special embassies were sent from time 
to time, so that unfounded suspicions were very likely to arise on either 

At this time, while Stilicho was sailing back in haste from Greece to 
Italy to prepare for war against Gildo, the Goths made a raid into 
Epirus, which they devastated in a terrible manner. At last the 
government at Constantinople was roused sufficiently to make proposals 
of peace to Alaric In return for a sum of money and the position of 
magister militum in Illyria, Alaric withdrew from the alliance with 
Stilicho, made peace with the Eastern Empire, and occupied Epirus, 
which had been assigned to him, with his Gothic troops. Another 
trouble for the Eastern Empire at this time arose from the large number 
of Goths who served in the army, and more especially through their 
leader Gainas. At his command they had killed Rufinus in 395. 
When Eutropius did not reward him for his services with the high 
military office he coveted, he joined a rebellion of his compatriot 
Tribigild in Phrygia, against whom he had been sent out with an army. 
For after the fall and execution of the powerful favourite Eutropius in 
the summer of 399, a national movement was set on foot at Constan- 
tinople, having for its object the abolition of foreign influence in the 
high government offices ; Aurelianus, Eutropius' successor, was at the 
head of this movement. But the Roman supremacy was not destined to 

400] Revolts of Gainas and Gildo 263 

be revived. The Gothic rebellion in Asia Minor grew more and more 
alarming, and Arcadius was soon obliged to negotiate with Gainas. 
During an interview with the Emperor, the Goth succeeded in obtaining 
his nomination to the post of magister militum praesentalis and the 
extradition of the three leaders of the national party, one of whom was 
Aurelianus. On his subsequent return to the capital, Gainas could 
consider himself master of the Empire, and as such demanded of the 
Emperor a place of worship for the Arian Goths. But the famous 
theologian and bishop, John Chrysostom, contrived to avert this danger 
to the orthodox Church. But the power of Gainas was not to be of 
long duration. When in July 400 he left the town with the majority 
of the Goths, owing to a feeling of insecurity, the inhabitants rose 
against those who had been left behind. At last no refuge remained to 
them except the church they had lately been given. In its ruins they 
were burned, as Gainas failed to come to their rescue in time to storm 
the city. Gainas was declared a public enemy, and the pursuit was 
entrusted to his tribesman Fravitta, who so far carried out his order that 
he followed Gainas to Thrace and the Hellespont, and prevented him 
from crossing to Asia. Eventually, at the end of the year 400, Gainas 
was killed on the further side of the Danube by a chief of the Huns, 
called Uldin, who sent his head to Constantinople. 

Nothing is more characteristic of the impotence of the Eastern 
Empire, than the revolt of this Gothic general, whose downfall was only 
secured by a combination of favourable circumstances. The clever and 
valiant Goth succumbed only to strangers ; the Empire itself had no 
means to overthrow him. 

Such were the conditions at the dawn of the new century ; the last 
twenty-five years of the old having brought nothing but war, poverty, 
and depopulation to the Eastern Empire. It is true that for the 
Western Empire the century had closed more favourably ; the campaign 
against Gildo especially had been prepared by Stilicho with characteristic 
ability. This Moorish prince, after putting to death the sons of his 
brother Mascezel, who had gone to Italy, had proceeded to conquer the 
North of Africa. Only the large and fortified towns could resist his 
ever-increasing power. He created great anxiety in Rome by cutting 
off her African corn-supply ; but the danger of a famine was averted by 
Stilicho, who succeeded in having corn brought by sea from Gaul and 
Spain. When his preparations for war were completed, Stilicho did not 
at this critical time put himself at the head of the army, but resigned 
the supreme command to Mascezel. The army was not large, but it 
seems that Stilicho relied upon the skill of its commander for entering 
into secret relations with the leaders of the enemy. Mascezel departed 
for Africa, where the campaign was decided between Tebeste and 
Ammedera on the Ardalio, a tributary of the Bagradas. Apparently no 
real battle was f ought,but Gildo's troops went over to the enemy or fled 

CH. IX. 

264 Stilicho' s Position [398-401 

into the mountains. Gildo himself first tried to escape by sea, but 
returned to land and soon after met his death at Tabraca. These wars 
against the two rebels Gainas and Gildo so excited the imagination of 
the contemporary world, that they formed the subject of many poetical 
productions. Of these "The Egyptians or On Providence," a novel by 
Synesius of Cyrene, and Claudian's " War against Gildo " are preserved. 

With the year 401, however, there began for the Western Empire 
a period similar to that which the Eastern Empire had already so 
long endured. The Teutons began to press forward in dense masses 
against the provinces of the Western Empire, which they had so long 
spared, and finally effected the complete dissolution of that once so 
mighty realm. But this time the disturbance did not proceed from the 
Goths only; other tribes also were involved in the movement, which 
could no longer be restrained, and the danger to the Empire grew in 
proportion. In the first place Alaric had made use of the short time of 
his alliance with the Eastern Empire to increase his power, chiefly by 
re-arming his Goths from the Roman arsenals. His plan of founding an 
independent kingdom for himself in Greece had failed, and it probably 
seemed most tempting to him to transfer his attentions to Italy, whose 
resources were not yet so completely drained by the Goths. No doubt 
Stilicho ruled there with a firm hand. He had in 398 created for 
himself an unassailable position by giving his daughter Maria, a mere 
child, in marriage to the Emperor Honorius, who was then fourteen 
years of age. But apparently Alaric did not fear the power of Stilicho, 
who had twice allowed him to escape from a most critical position; 
furthermore the Western Empire was just now engaged in a different 
direction. In the year 401, the Vandals, who had long ago settled in 
the regions between the Danube and the Theiss, began to grow restless. 
On account of their increasing population the majority of them had 
resolved to emigrate with their king Godigisel, retaining at the same 
time the right of possession over their old dominions. They were joined 
by Alani from Pannonia, and in the same year this new wave of migration 
reached Rhaetia by way of Noricum. Stilicho at first opposed them, 
but was eventually obliged to grant them territories in Noricum and 
Vindelicia under the suzerainty of Rome, in return for which they bound 
themselves to serve in the Roman army. 

By this time Alaric had already left Epirus far behind and reached 
Aquileia by way of Aemona and the Birnbaum forest. This invasion of 
Italy by the barbarians caused great consternation ; the fortifications of 
Rome were repaired and strengthened, and the young Emperor Honorius 
even contemplated an escape into Gaul. Venetia was already in the 
enemy's hands, and the road to Milan was occupied by the Goths. As 
Honorius was staying in this city, Alaric naturally desired above all to 
take possession of it. But Stilicho came to the rescue. He had rein- 
forced his army with the Vandals and Alani with whom he had just 

402-405] Battle of Pollentia 265 

made peace, and Alaric was forced to abandon the siege of Milan. He 
now tried to gain the coast in order to reach Rome. With Stilicho at 
his heels he turned to Ticinum and Hasta and thence to Pollentia. 
Here (6 April 402) a battle was fought in the early stages of which it 
seemed likely that the Romans would be defeated, as Saul, the Roman 
general of the Alani, had begun the battle prematurely. But the appear- 
ance of Stilicho with the main body of infantry changed the aspect of affairs. 
The fight was continued until nightfall, but though the Romans were 
left in possession of the field and took numerous prisoners, Stilicho can 
hardly be said to have gained a victory. For Alaric's forces retreated in 
perfect order and were able to continue their march on Rome. In this 
crisis Stilicho was obliged to come to terms with Alaric. The Gothic 
chief was raised to the rank of magister militum and promised to evacuate 
Italy. For the future the two generals arranged to conquer Eastern 
Illyria for the Western Empire. This treaty, which put a considerable 
check on the movements of the Goths, is explained not only by the state 
of affairs at that time, but also by the fact that Alaric's wife and 
children had been made prisoners during the battle. The Goths now 
left Italy, but remained close to the frontier, and made a fresh invasion 
in 403. This time Alaric tried to lay siege to Verona, but was defeated 
by Stilicho, and on trying to gain Rhaetia by way of the Brenner again 
found himself in a very dangerous plight, from which he could only 
extricate himself by concluding a new treaty with Stilicho against the 
Eastern Empire. Probably it was at this juncture that Sarus the 
Visigothic prince with his followers went over to Stilicho, a desertion 
which must be ascribed to Stilicho 's diplomatic skill. The uncertainty 
of the situation may account for the very remarkable fact that Stilicho 
suffered the enemy to escape so often from his fatal embrace. Be that 
as it may, the Goths withdrew, and Stilicho could celebrate a brilliant 
triumph with Honorius. Alaric, however, does not appear to have 
returned to Epirus till much later, but remained for some time in the 
neighbourhood of Illyria. 

In the following year (405) the Ostrogoths and Vandals, the Alani 
and the Quadi under the leadership of Radagaisus left their homes, 
crossed the Alps, ancl descended into Italy. Their number, though much 
exaggerated by contemporary historians, must have been considerable; 
for the hostile army marched through the North of the peninsula in 
several divisions. Stilicho seems to have collected his troops at Pavia ; 
the invasion happened at a very inopportune moment, as he was about to 
carry out his designs on Eastern Illyria. This time, however, he quickly 
succeeded in ridding himself of the enemy. He surrounded Radagaisus 
who had attacked Florence, in the narrow valleys of the Apennines near 
Faesulae, and destroyed a large part of his army. Radagaisus himself 
was captured with his sons whilst trying to escape, and was shortly 
afterwards executed. For this victory Stilicho's thanks were chiefly due 

CH. IX. 

266 Barbarian Invasion of Gaul [406 

to two foreign generals, Sarus the Goth and Uldin the Hun. In this 
manner Italy had indeed been speedily saved from great danger, but at the 
end of the next year (406) hostile hordes broke into Gaul with so much 
the greater violence. It is very probable that this invasion, which was 
undertaken by the Vandals, had some connexion with that of Radagaisus. 
In conjunction with the Vandals were the Alani, who had recently formed 
an alliance with them, and the Suevi, by whom we must understand the 
Quadi, who had formerly dwelt north of the Vandals. This great tribal 
migration, following the road along the Roman frontier (limes) , reached 
the river Main, where they met the Silingi, a Vandal tribe which had 
gone westward with the Burgundians in the third century. These now 
helped to swell the Vandal hordes, whilst a part of the Alani under the 
leadership of Goar enlisted in the Roman army on the Rhine. Near this 
river the Vandals were attacked by some Prankish tribes, who were 
keeping guard on the frontier, in accordance with their treaty with 
Stilicho. In the ensuing fight the Vandals suffered severe losses, their 
king Godigisel being among the slain. On receiving this news the Alani 
immediately turned about, and, led by their king Respendial, they 
completely routed the Franks. On the last day of 406 this mass of 
people crossed the Rhine at Mainz, which they invested and destroyed. 
The march was continued by Treves to Rheims, where the bishop 
Nicasius was slain in his own church ; thence to Toiu*nai, Terouenne, Arras, 
and Amiens. From this point the journey proceeded through Gallia 
Lugdunensis to Paris, Orleans, and Tours, and, passing through Aquitania 
into Novempopulana, by Bordeaux to Toulouse, which the bishop 
Exuperius saved from falling into the enemies' hands. But the fortified 
passes of the Pyrenees put a step to their further advance. Thus Spain 
remained unconquered for the present, and the Vandals now made their 
way into the rich province of Narbonensis. The devastation of the 
extensive provinces and the conquered cities of Gaul was terrible; 
contemporary writers of prose and verse alike complain bitterly of the 
atrocities committed by the barbarians in this unhappy country. The 
oldest people could not remember so disastrous an invasion., The 
weakness of the Empire is revealed by the absence of a Roman army to 
oppose the Germans, Stilicho 's policy was at that time directed towards 
lUyria, and for this reason he probably found it impossible to come to 
the assistance of Gaul. 

This first great danger was soon followed by a second. The migration 
of the Vandals had very likely caused the Burgundians along the middle 
course of the Main to become restless ; they now began to bear down 
upon the Alemanni on the lower Main. A part of the Burgundians had 
perhaps intended to join the great migration of 406, for shortly after we 
meet with them on the west side of the Rhine. The most important 
result, however, was, that the Alemanni now entered on a campaign 
against Roman Upper Germany, and conquered Worms, Speier, and 

406-407] The usurper Constantine 267 

Strassburg. Here again the Empire failed to send help, and the allied 
Franks remained quiet. Stilicho meanwhile collected an army in 406 
and arranged a plan with Alaric, by which he could carry out his Illyrian 
projects from Epirus. Already a Praefectus Praetono for Illyria had 
been nominated in the person of Jovius, when in the year 407 an event 
occurred which threw everything else into the background. A new 
emperor appeared on the scene. When a rumour had spread, that 
Alaric was dead, the legions in Britain after two unsuccessful attempts 1 
proclaimed Constantine emperor. According to Orosius, he was a 
common soldier, but his name excited hopes for better times. The new 
Emperor crossed over to Gaul without delay, where he was recognised by 
the Roman troops throughout the country. He immediately pushed 
forward into the districts along the Rhone, where, though he probably 
concluded treaties with the Alemanni, Burgundians, and Franks, he made 
but little impression on the Teutons who had invaded the land. But 
Stilicho had already sent the experienced general Sarus with an army 
against him. In the neighbourhood of Valence, which Constantine had 
made his temporary abode, his general Justinian was defeated and killed 
in battle by Sarus. Another of the usurper's generals met his death soon 
afterwards during an interview with the crafty Goth. When, however, 
Constantine sent against him his newly appointed generals, the Frank 
Edobic and the Briton Gerontius, Sarus abandoned the siege of Valence 
and effected a passage into Italy by paying a sum of money to the 
fugitive peasants called Bagaudae, who at that time held the passes of 
the Western Alps Stilicho joined Honorius at Rome to discuss the 
serious situation. Constantine, however, directed his attention towards 
Spain, evidently with a view to protect his rear before attacking Italy. 
At the passes across the Pyrenees he met with energetic resistance from 
Didymus, Verenianus, Theodosius, and Logadius, all relatives of the 
Emperor. But Constantino's son Constans soon overcame the enemy; 
he captured Verenianus and Didymus, whilst Theodosius and Logadius 
fled, the former to Italy, the latter to the East. After this, when 
Constans had returned to Gaul in triumph, he entrusted the passes to 
Gerontius, who was in command of the Honorians, a troop of barbarian 
foederati. These, it appears, fulfilled their duty but indifferently, for 
during the quarrels which ensued in the borderlands the Vandals, Alani 
and Suevi, who had pushed on as far as southern Gaul, saw an oppor- 
tunity of executing their design on Spain. 

With these disturbances in Spain is generally connected a great rising 
of the Celts in Britain and Gaul, which was directed against the 
advancing Teutonic tribes as well as against the Roman rule, and in 
which the Gaulish district of Annorica was specially concerned. Thus 

1 First a man named Marcus and after him Gratian, a British official* had 
been declared emperors; both however were after a short time put to death by the 

CH. IX. 

268 Alaric [408 

was prepared in these provinces the separation from the Roman govern- 
ment which had lasted for centuries, and at the same time Teutonic rule 
superseded that of the Romans in Spain. 

Meanwhile Alaric had not failed to profit by the violent disturbances 
within the Western Empire. As Stilicho had neither undertaken the 
campaign against Illyria nor met the demands of the Gothic soldiers 
for their pay, Alaric believed himself entitled to deal a powerful blow 
at the Western Empire. Stilicho had recently strengthened his relations 
with the imperial house by a new link. The Empress Maria had died 
early, still a virgin as rumour went, and Stilicho succeeded in persuading 
the Emperor to marry his second daughter Thermantia. Now Alaric 
tried to force his way into Italy. He had left Epirus and reached 
Aemona. There he probably found the roads to the South barred ; he 
therefore crossed the river Aquilis and made his way to Virunum in 
Noricum, whence he sent an embassy to Stilicho at Ravenna. The 
ambassadors demanded the enormous sum of four thousand pounds of 
gold as compensation for the long delay in Epirus and the present 
campaign of the Goths. Stilicho went to Rome to discuss the matter 
with the Emperor and the Senate. The majority of the Senate was 
opposed to the concession of this demand and would have preferred war 
with the Goths, but Stilicho 's power in the assembly was still so great 
that his opinion, prevailed and the huge sum was paid. At this juncture 
the rumour spread that the Emperor of the East was dead. Arcadius 
had indeed died (1 May 408). This greatly altered the situation, for 
Theodosius II, the heir to the Eastern throne, was but a child of seven. 
Honorius now decided to go to Ravenna, but was opposed by Stilicho, 
who wanted himself to inspect the troops there. But neither did 
Stilicho succeed in dissuading Honorius nor could a mutiny among 
the soldiers at Ravenna, which Sarus had promoted, induce the 
Emperor to desist from his plan. Nevertheless he eventually diverged 
from the route to Ravenna, and went to Bologna, where he ordered 
Stilicho to meet him for the purpose of discussing the situation in the 

Stilicho's first concern at Bologna was to calm the agitation amongst 
the soldiers and recommend the ringleaders to the Emperor's mercy; 
then he took counsel with Honorius. It was the Emperor's wish to go 
in person to Constantinople and settle the affairs of the Eastern Empire, 
but Stilicho tried to turn him from this purpose, pointing out that the 
journey would cause too much expense, and that the Emperor could not 
well leave Italy whilst Constantine was as yet powerful and residing 
at Aries. Honorius bent his will to the prudent counsel of his great 
statesman, arid it was resolved that Stilicho should go to the East, whilst 
Alaric was sent with an army to Gaul against Constantine. Stilicho, 
however, neither departed for the East nor did he gather together the 
troops which remained assembled at Pavia, and were ill-disposed towards 

408] Fall of Stilicho 269 

Lim Meanwhile a cunning Greek, the chancellor Olympius, profited by 
the change in the Emperor's feelings towards his great minister. Under 
the mask of Christian piety he secretly intrigued against Stilicho in 
order to undermine his position. Thus Olympius accompanied the 
Emperor to Pavia and on this occasion spread the calumnious report, 
that Stilicho intended to kill the child Theodosius and put his own son 
Eucherius on the throne. The storm now gathered over Stilicho's head. 
The prelude to the catastrophe, however, took place at Pavia. 

When the Emperor had arrived with Olympius at this town, the 
latter made an exhibition of his philanthropy by visiting the sick 
soldiers; probably his real object was to gather the threads of the 
conspiracy which he had already spun and to weave them further. On 
the fourth day Honorius himself appeared among the troops and tried 
to inspire them with enthusiasm for the fight against Constantine, At 
this moment Olympius gave a sign to the soldiers, and, in accordance 
with 'a previous arrangement, they threw themselves upon all the high 
military and civil officers present, who were supposed to be Stilicho's 
adherents. Some of them escaped to the town, but the soldiers rushed 
through the streets and killed all the unpopular dignitaries. The 
slaughter continued under the very eyes of the Emperor, who had 
withdrawn at first but reappeared without his royal robes and tried to 
check the mad fury of the soldiers. When the Emperor, fearing for his 
own life, had a second time retired, Longinianus, the Praefectus Praetor io 
for Italy, was also slain. News of this horrible mutiny reached Stilicho 
at Bologna. He at once summoned all the generals of Teutonic race in 
whose loyalty alone he could still trust. It was decided to attack the 
Roman army, should the Emperor himself have been killed. When, 
however, Stilicho learned that the mutiny had not been directed against 
Honorius, he resolved to abstain from punishing the culprits, for his 
enemies were numerous and he was no longer sure of the Emperor's 
support. But to this the Teuton generals would not agree, and Sarus 
even went so far as to have Stilicho's Hunnic body-guard killed during 
the night. Stilicho now betook himself to Ravenna, and to this town 
Olympius despatched a letter from the Emperor, addressed to the army, 
with the order to arrest Stilicho and keep him in honourable custody. 
During the night Stilicho took refuge in a church to secure the right of 
sanctuary ; but in the morning the soldiers fetched him away, solemnly 
assuring him that his life was safe. Then a second letter from the 
Emperor was read, which condemned Stilicho to death for high-treason. 
The fallen man might still have saved his life by appealing to the 
Teuton soldiers, who were devoted to him, and would readily have 
fought for him. But he made no attempt to do so, probably to preserve 
the Empire from a civil war, which would have been fatal at this time. 
Without resistance he offered his neck to the sword In him the Roman 
Empire (S August 408) lost one of its most prominent statesmen, and 

CH. IX. 

270 Alaric in Italy [408 

at the same time one of its ablest generals, one who had been in command 
of the army for twenty-three years. 

Without doubt we should consider the fall of Stilicho as a mani- 
festation of a national Roman reaction against the ever-increasing 
Teutonic influence within the Empire, a reaction proceeding from the 
political party which saw in the removal of the barbarians the salvation 
of Rome. Whether this party was right or not, they certainly had acted 
most unwisely, for Olympius, the successor to Stilicho's position, turned 
his power to very foolish account. Even the severest tortures could not 
wring from Stilicho's friends and followers the confession desired by 
Olympius, that the executed minister had aspired to the imperial throne. 
x\nd still more injudicious was the edict by which all those who had 
attained high office under Stilicho's administration forfeited their 
property to the State. But most incomprehensible of all was the fact 
that the Roman soldiers were allowed to wander about murdering and 
robbing the families of the Teuton troops in Italy. The consequence 
was that thousands of these soldiers deserted, and went over to Alaric. 
Thermantia was sent back to her mother Serena by Honorius, who also 
sentenced Eucherius to death. But as the latter had escaped to Rome 
and taken refuge in a church, he was left unmolested for a time. 
Shortly afterwards, however, he was murdered by two eunuchs who were 
rewarded by high offices in the State. 

Alarie's opportunity had arrived, now that the Empire had of its 
own free will lost the services of its great leader. At first the Gothic 
chief tried to maintain the peace. He sent ambassadors to the Emperor 
with the message that he would adhere to the treaties made with Stilicho, 
if he received a moderate payment of money, and that if an exchange of 
hostages were effected, he would withdraw his troops from Noricum to 
Pannonia. Although Honorius rejected Alaric's proposals for a peaceful 
arrangement, he did not take any active steps to ensure success in the 
campaign which had now become inevitable. Instead of entrusting to 
Sams the command of the troops against Alaric, Olympius bestowed it 
on two men who were faithfully devoted to him but absolutely devoid of 
merit. This time Alaric did not tarry long. However, as the campaign 
promised to assume greater dimensions, he sent for reinforcements from 
his brother-in-law Ataulf , who was stationed in Upper Pannonia with 
Hunnic and Gothic troops. Without waiting for Ataulf 's arrival, Alaric 
marched to Aquileia and thence westward to Cremona, where he crossed 
the Po, without meeting with the slightest resistance. Then the Goths 
proceeded south-east from Placentia to Ariminum, leaving Ravenna 
unmolested, and through Picenum, until they arrived before Rome 
without opposition. When Alaric surrounded the city the Senate 
believed Serena, Stilicho's widow, to be in connivance with him, and as 
Placidia, the sister of Honorius, was of the same opinion, Serena was put 
to death. This act of violence had, of course, no influence upon Alaric's 

408-409] Alaric' s negotiations with Honorius 271 

policy ; on the contrary the investment of the city was carried on with 
greater vigour than before. As the Goths also blockaded the Tiber, the 
city was cut off from all supplies, and soon famine broke out. No help 
came from Ravenna, and when the distress in the city was at its highest 
ambassadors were sent to the hostile camp to ask for moderate terms. 
At first Alaric demanded the surrender of all the gold and silver in the 
city, inclusive of all precious movable goods, and the emancipation of all 
Teuton slaves, but in the end he lowered his demand to an imposition, 
which, however, was still so heavy that it necessitated the confiscation of 
the sacred treasures stored in the temples. After this he withdrew his 
troops from Rome and went into the neighbouring province of Tuscany 
where he collected around his standard a great number of slaves, who had 
escaped from Rome. But even in this situation Honorius declined the 
negotiations for peace which were now urged by Alaric and the Senate 

This temporising policy could not but bring ruin upon Italy, the 
more so, as at the beginning of 409 ambassadors came to treat with 
Honorius about the recognition of Constantine. The usurper had 
raised his son Constans, who had returned from Spain to Gaul, to the 
dignity of a co-emperor, and had had the two cousins of Honorius put 
to death. The Emperor, who entertained hopes that they were still 
alive and counted upon assistance from Constantine against Alaric, no 
longer withheld his recognition, and even sent him an imperial robe. 
During this time Olympius did not shew himself in any way equal to the 
situation, but continued to persecute those whom he believed to be 
Stilicho's adherents. Honorius now ordered a body of picked troops 
from Dalmatia to come to the protection of Rome. These six thousand 
men, however, under their leader Valens were on their way surprised by 
Alaric, and all of them but one hundred were cut down. A second 
Roman embassy, in which the Roman bishop Innocent took part, and 
which was escorted by troops furnished by Alaric, was now sent to the 
Emperor. In the meantime Ataulf had at last made his way from 
Pannonia across the Alps, and although an army sent by the Emperor 
caused him some loss, probably near Ravenna, his junction with Alaric 
could not be prevented. Now at last a general outcry against Olympius, 
who had shewn himself so utterly incompetent, arose at the imperial 
Court. The Emperor was forced to give in and depose his favourite, 
and after this he at length inclined his ear to more peaceful proposals. 
When, however, the Gothic chief in an interview with the Praefectus 
Praetorio Jovius at Arimirmm demanded not only an annual subsidy of 
money and corn, but also the cession of Venetia, Noricum, and Dalmatia, 
and when moreover the same Jovius in a letter to the Emperor proposed 
that Alaric should be raised to the rank of a magister utrisque militae, 
because it was hoped that this would induce him to lower his 
terms, Honorius refused everything and was determined to go to war. 

CH. IX. 

272 Attains Emperor [4io 

Apparently this bellicose mood continued, for shortly afterwards a fresh 
embassy from Constantine appeared at the Court, promising Honorius 
speedy support from British, Gaulish, and Spanish soldiers. Even 
Jovius had allowed himself to be persuaded by the Emperor and together 
with other high officials had taken an oath on pain of death never to 
make peace with Alaric. 

At first all seemed to go well ; Honorius levied 10,000 Huns for his 
army, and to his great satisfaction found that Alaric himself was inclined 
to peace and was sending some Italian bishops as ambassadors to him. 
Of his former conditions he only maintained the cession of Noricum and 
a subsidy of corn, the amount of which was to be left to the Emperor's 
decision. He requested Honorius not to allow the city of Rome, which 
had ruled the world for more than a thousand years, to be sacked and 
burnt by the Teutons. There can be no doubt that the Goths were 
forced by the pressure of circumstances to offer these conditions. But 
Honorius was prevented from complying with them by Jovius, who is 
said to have pleaded the sanctity of the oath which he and others had 
taken. Alaric now had recourse to a simple device in order to attain 
the object of his desires. As he could not out of consideration for the 
Goths aspire to the imperial crown himself, he caused an emperor to be 
proclaimed. In order to put this proclamation into effect he marched to 
Rome, seized the harbour of Portus, and told the Senate of his intention 
to divide among his troops all the corn which he found stored there, 
should the city refuse to obey his orders. The Senate gave in, and in 
compliance with Alaric's wish was Attalus raised to the throne, * He was 
a Roman of noble descent, who had been given a high government post 
by Olympius and shortly afterwards made praefect of the city by 
Honorius. Attalus thereupon raised Alaric to the rank of magister 
militum praesentalis, and Ataulf to that of comes domesticorum; but he 
gave them each a Roman colleague in their office, and Valens was made 
magister militum, while Lampadius, an enemy of Alaric, became praefect 
of the city. On the next day Attalus delivered a high-flown oration in 
the Senate, boasting that it would be a small matter for him and the 
Romans to subjugate the whole world. Soon, however, his relations with 
Alaric became strained. Formerly he had been a heathen, but though 
he now accepted the Arian faith and was baptised by the Gothic bishop 
Sigesar, he not only openly slighted the Goths but also, disregarding 
Alaric 's advice to send a Gothic army under Druma to Africa, despatched 
the Roman Constans with troops ill-prepared for war to that country. 
Africa was at that time held by Heraclian, one of Honorius' generals, the 
murderer of Stilicho, and the province required the Emperor's whole 
attention, as the entire corn supply of Rome depended upon its 

Attalus himself now marched against Honorius at Ravenna. The 
latter, who had already contemplated an escape to the East, sent Attalus 

410] Sack of Rome 273 

a message to the effect that he would consent to acknowledge him as 
co-emperor. Attains replied, through Jovius, that he would order 
Honorius to be mutilated and banish him to some remote island, besides 
depriving him of his imperial dignity. At this critical moment, however, 
Honorius was saved by four thousand soldiers of the Eastern Empire, 
who disembarked at Ravenna and came to his assistance. When the 
news arrived that the expedition against Heraclian in Africa had proved 
a complete failure and that Rome was again exposed to a great famine, 
owing to this victory of Honorius* arms, Attains and Alaric abandoned 
the siege of Ravenna. Alaric turned against Aemilia where he took 
possession of all the cities except Bologna, and then advanced in a north- 
westerly direction towards Liguria. Attalus on the other hand hastened 
to Rome to take counsel with the Senate about the pressing African 
question. The majority of the assembly decided to send an army of 
Gothic and Roman troops to Africa under the command of the Goth 
Drama, but Attalus opposed the plan. This brought about his fall; 
for when Alaric heard of it he returned, stripped Attalus of the diadem 
and purple at Ariminum, and sent both to Honorius. He did not, 
however, leave the deposed Emperor to his fate, but kept him and his 
son Ampelius under his protection till peace had been concluded with 
Honorius. Placidia, Honorius' sister, was also in Alaric's keeping. If 
we may believe Zosimus, she was brought from Rome as a kind of hostage 
by Alaric, who, however, granted her imperial honours. 

The deposition of Attalus in May or June 410 was the starting-point 
for renewed negotiations for peace between Alaric and the Emperor, in 
the course of which the former perhaps claimed a part of Italy for himself. 
But the peaceful propositions were nipped in the bud by the Goth Sarus. 
He was hostile to Alaric and Ataulf ; at that time he lay encamped in 
Picenum. Under pretence of being menaced by Ataulf 's strong body of 
troops, he went over to the Emperor and violated the truce by an attack 
on the Gothic camp. Alaric now marched for the third time against 
Rome, doubtless firmly resolved to punish the Emperor for his duplicity 
by thoroughly chastising the city, and to establish at last a kingdom of 
his own. The investment by the Goths caused another terrible famine 
in the city, and at last, during the night preceding 4 August 410, the 
Salarian gate was treacherously opened. Then followed a complete sack 
of the city, which did not, however, degenerate into mere wanton 
destruction, especially as it only lasted three days. The deeds of 
violence and cruelty which are mentioned more particularly in the writings 
of contemporary Christians were probably for the greater part committed 
by the slaves, who, as we know, had flocked to the Goths in great 
numbers. As early as 7 August the Goths left Rome laden with 
enormous spoil, and marched by Capua and Nola into southern Italy. 
For Alaric, who had probably borne the title of king already for a con- 
siderable time, had resolved to go to Africa by way of Sicily, and gain 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. IX. 18 

274 Barbarian Conquest in Spain [409-412 

the dominion of Italy by the possession of that rich province. But when 
part of the army had embarked at Rhegium, his ships were scattered and 
destroyed by a storm. Alaric, therefore, turned back ; but on the way 
north was seized by an illness which proved fatal before the end of the 
year 410. He was laid to rest in the river Basentus (Busento) near 
Cosentia. A large number of slaves were employed in first diverting the 
course of the river and then bringing it back into its former channel after 
the dead king and his treasures had been buried. In order that nobody 
might ever know the burial place, all the slaves who had been employed 
in the labour were killed. Ataulf was now elected king. He seems at 
first to have thought of carrying out the plans of his brother-in-law, 
Alaric ; but on further consideration of the great power of Heraclian in 
Africa, he abandoned them and resolved rather to lead the Goths against 
GauL It is possible that on his march northward he again sacked Rome, 
and he certainly married Placidia before he withdrew from Italy. He 
invaded Gaul in 41, and in that year commenced the war which was 
waged so long by the Teutons against the Roman supremacy in that 

A little earlier a similar struggle had begun in Spain, which 
resulted in the victory of the barbarians. In the autumn of 409 the 
Vandals, Alani, and Suevi had penetrated into Spain, tempted thither 
no doubt by the treasures of that rich country and by the greater 
security of a future settlement there. The course followed by those 
tribes was towards the west of the peninsula, first of all passing through 
Galicia and Lusitania. Constans, on leaving Spain, had certainly made 
an unfortunate choice in appointing Gerontius praefect; for not only 
did this official allow the Teutons to enter the country but he tried at the 
same time to put an end to Constantine's rule, by deserting him and 
causing one of his own followers, Maximus, to be proclaimed emperor. 
Circumstances even forced Gerontius into an alliance with the barbarians. 
For when Constans returned to Spain, the usurper could only drive him 
out of the country by making common cause with the Teutons. 
Gerontius followed Constans to Gaul, invested him at Vienne, and put 
him to death at the beginning of 411. He then turned his attention to 
Constantine, who concentrated his forces at Aries. But Hotiorius had 
by now recovered sufficiently to make war against Constantine. For 
that purpose he sent the Roman Constantius and a Goth named Wulfila 
with an army to Gaul. When Gerontius advanced to meet them, his 
soldiers deserted him and joined the imperial troops. He himself met 
his death shortly afterwards in a burning house, whilst Maximus 
succeeded in escaping. This sealed the fate of Constantine; for 
Constantius and Wulfila defeated the army of the Frank Edobic, 
who came to render him assistance. Constantius then proceeded to 
besiege Aries, which for a considerable time withstood his efforts, but 
eventually surrendered on conditions to the general of Honorius. The 

Constantius 275 

reason for this was that Constantius had heard that Guntiarius, king of 
the Burgundians, and Goar, king of the Alani, had raised the Gaulish 
noble Jovinus to the imperial throne at Mainz, and in these circum- 
stances he deemed it necessary to offer easy terms of capitulation to 
Constantine. The usurper submitted ; but on the way to Ravenna he 
and his youngest son were killed by Honorius' command. His head was 
brought to Ravenna (18 Sept. 411). Meanwhile Jovinus with an army 
consisting of Burgundians, Franks, and Alemanni had marched south- 
ward, apparently in the belief that the critical situation of the Empire, 
which was at war with both Goths and Vandals, would facilitate a rapid 
extension of his power. 

In these circumstances it was an easy matter for the Teutons who 
had invaded Spain to spread over a large part of the peninsula. For 
two years they scoured the west and south of the country, devastating 
and plundering as they went, until the alteration in the political 
situation, caused by the victories of Constantius, induced them to join 
the united Empire as foederati. In 411 they concluded a treaty with 
the Emperor, which imposed upon them the duty of defending Spain 
from foreign invasions. In return the Asdingi and Suevi received landed 
property for settlements in Galicia, the Silingi in Baetica, and the 
Alani in Lusitama and Carthaginensis. The larger Roman landowners 
probably ceded a third part of the land to them. 

It was a time of the gravest convulsions for the Western .Empire ; 
for during these years were laid the foundations, on which the first 
important Teutonic States on Roman soil were built. Stilicho seems to 
have thought it possible for a kind of organic whole to develop out of 
the Roman and Teutonic nationalities ; at least, that great statesman 
had always promoted peaceful relations between Romans and Teutons. 
But the change in politics after his death, as well as the immense size of 
the Empire, made a fusion of those two factors impossible. Now the 
time of the Teutonic conquests begins, though the name of foederati 
helped for a while to hide the real state of affairs. The very foundation 
of the Western Empire were shaken ; but, above all, the future of Italy 
as the ruling power of the West was endangered by violent agitations in 
Africa, the country from which she drew her food-supplies. Just as 
here, in the heart of the Empire, so too on its borders, could serious 
danger be foreseen. Throughout the provinces the dissolution of the 
Empire was threatening. It had probably only been delayed so far by 
the lack of system in the Teutonic invasions and by the immense prestige 
of the Empire. But in respect of this the last generation had wrought 
a very perceptible change. During the long-continued warfare the 
Teutons had had time to become familiar with the manners of the 
Romans, their strategy, diplomacy, and political institutions, and it was 
owing to this that the great coalitions of tribes in 405 and 406 had 
already taken place. They are probably to be explained by the ever- 

CH. IX. 

276 The Teutons [410-412 

increasing political discernment of the Teutons. Another result of those 
years of war was that under Alaric's rule the principle of monarchy was 
evolved out of military leadership ; for the continuous warlike enterprises 
could not but develop an appreciation of a higher and more compre- 
hensive supreme power. Thus Alaric was no longer the mere adviser 
of his tribe. His actions however do not shew that he abused his high 
rank in his behaviour towards his tribesmen, while at the same time he 
ever displayed towards the Romans a humane and generous spirit which 
was remarkable in those times. On the other hand the Teutonic tribes, 
and especially the Visigoths, had seen enough of the internal weakness 
of the great Empire and of the impotence of its rulers to encourage 
them to make more serious attacks on the Western half, although Alaric 
in 410 would willingly have saved from pillage the capital of the world 
that capital which, according to his own words in a message brought 
to Honorius by an embassy of bishops, had ruled the world for more 
than a thousand years. The fact that he nevertheless led his army to 
the sack of the city proves that he did not shrink from extreme measures 
when it was important to display the superiority of the Gothic army 
over the Roman mercenaries. 

Thus it is evident that the Teutonic tribes, and more especially the 
Visigoths, were at this time passing through a transition stage. They 
had not yet forgotten their native customs and manner of living, whilst 
at the same time the foreign influences to which they had been exposed 
had been sufficiently strong to modify to some extent their original 
disposition and mode of viewing things. But as far as may be gathered 
from contemporary sources, their policy had not been influenced by 
Christian principles, and Christianity altogether played an unimportant 
part in the history of these migrating Teutons. It is true that, owing 
to the scantiness of contemporary evidence, we have in many decisive 
cases to trust to conjecture, and it is a cause for much regret that the 
moving political forces and even more the real conditions of life among 
the migrating Teutons are wrapt in impenetrable darkness, which is only 
dispersed as they begin to live a more settled life, and in particular after 
the establishment of the Visigoths in Gaul and Spain, the Vandals in 
Africa, and the Ostrogoths in Italy. 



KING ATATJLF had no intention of establishing a permanent dominion 
in Italy. As an occupation of Africa seemed hopeless he turned towards 
Gaul in the year 412, probably making use of the military road which 
crossed Mt Gen&vre via Turin to the Rhone. Here he at first joined 
the anti-emperor Jovinus (set up in the summer of 411) who had 
a sure footing, especially in Auvergne, but was little pleased by the 
arrival of the Visigoths, which interfered with his plans of governing the 
whole of Gaul. Hence the two rulers soon came to open strife, especially 
as Jovinus had not named the Gothic king co-ruler, as he had hoped, 
but his own brother Sebastian. Ataulf went over to the side of the 
Emperor Honorius and promised, in return for the assurance of supplies 
of grain (and assignments of land), to deliver up the heads of both 
usurpers and to set free Placidia, the Emperor's sister, who was held as 
a prisoner by the Goths. He certainly succeeded without much trouble 
in getting rid of the usurpers. As, however, Honorius kept back the 
supply of grain and Ataulf, exasperated by this, did not give up Placidia, 
hostilities once more began between the Goths and the Romans. After 
an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Marseilles, Ataulf captured the 
towns of Narbonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux by force of arms (413). 
But a complete alteration took place in the king's intentions, obviously 
through the influence of Placidia, whom he took as his (second) wife in 
January (414). As he himself repeatedly declared, he now finally gave 
up his original cherished plan of converting the Roman Empire into a 
Gothic one, and rather strove to identify his people wholly with the 
Roman State. His political programme was therefore just the same as 
that of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, later on, when he accomplished 
the founding of the Italian kingdom. In spite of these assurances the 
Emperor refused him every concession ; - influenced by the general Con- 
stantius, who himself desired the hand of the beautiful princess, Honorius 
looked upon the marriage of his sister with the Barbarian as a grievous 
disgrace to his house. In consequence Ataulf was again compelled to 
turn his arms against the Empire. He first appointed an anti-emperor 
in the person of Attalus, without however achieving any success by this 

CH. X. $77 

278 Ataulf, Wallia [415-418 

move, since Attalus had not the slightest support in Gaul. When Con- 
stantius then blockaded the Gallic ports with his fleet and cut off 
supplies, the position of the Goths there became quite untenable, so 
that Ataulf decided to seek a place of retreat in Spain. He evacuated 
Gaul, after terrible devastation, and took possession of the Spanish 
province of Tarraconensis (in the beginning of 415), but without quite 
giving up the thought of a future understanding with the imperial 
power. In Barcelona, Placidia bore him a son, who received the name 
of Theodosius at his baptism, but he soon died, i\nd not long after- 
wards death overtook the king from a wound which one of his followers 
inflicted out of revenge (in the summer of 415). 

After Ataulf's death the anti-romanising tendencies among the 
Visigoths, never quite suppressed, became active again. Many Pre- 
tenders contended for the throne, but all, as it seems, were animated by 
the thought of governing independently of Rome and not in subjection 
to it. At length Sigerich, brother of the Visigoth prince Sarus, 
murdered by Ataulf, succeeded in getting possession of the throne. 
Sigerich at once had the children of Ataulf's first marriage slaughtered, 
and Placidia suffered the most shameful treatment from him. However, 
after reigning for one week only he was murdered; certainly by the 
instigation of Wallia, who now became head of the Goths (autumn 

Wallia, although no less an enemy to Rome than his predecessor, 
at once granted the imperial princess a more humane treatment, and 
first tried to develop further the dominion already founded in Spain. 
But as the imperial fleet again cut off all supplies, and famine broke 
out, he determined to take possession of the Roman granary in Africa. 
But the undertaking miscarried because of the foundering in the Straits 
of Gibraltar of a detachment sent on in advance, which was looked upon 
as a bad omen (416) . The king, obliged by necessity, concluded a treaty 
with Constantius in consequence of which the Goths pledged themselves, 
in return for a supply of 600,000 measures of grain from the Emperor, to 
deliver up Placidia, to free Spain from the Vandals, Alans, and Sueves, 
and to give hostages. After fierce protracted fighting the Gothic army 
overcame first the Silingian Vandals and then the Alans (416-418). 
But when Wallia also wanted to advance against the Asdingian Vandals 
and the Sueves in Galicia he was suddenly called back by Constantius, 
who did not wish the Goths to become too powerful, and land for his 
people to settle upon was assigned to him in the province of Aquitanica 
Secunda and in some adjoining districts by the terms of a treaty of 
alliance (end of 418). Shortly after Wallia died, and was succeeded on 
the Visigoth throne by Theodoric I, chosen by the people. 

Historical tradition is silent over the first years of Theodoric's 
reign; they were taken up with the difficulties of devising and exe- 
cuting the partition of the land with the settled Roman population. 

421-451] Tkeodoric and Aetius 279 

The Goths kept their national constitution and were pledged to 
give military assistance to the Empire. Their king was under the 
supreme command of the Emperor ; he only possessed a real power over 
his own people, while he had no legal authority over the Roman pro- 
vincials. Such an indeterminate situation, after the endeavours so 
long directed towards the attainment of political independence, could 
not last long. 

In 421 or 422 Theodoric fulfilled his agreement by sending a con- 
tingent to the Roman army which was marching against the Vandals ; but 
in the decisive battle these troops fell upon the Romans from behind and 
so helped the Vandals to a brilliant victory. In spite of this base breach 
of faith the Goths came off unpunished, and even dared to advance 
southwards to the Mediterranean coast. In the year 425 a Gothic 
corps was before the important fortress of Aries, the coveted key of the 
Rhone valley ; but it was forced to retreat by the rapid approach of an 
army under Aetius. After further fighting, about which unfortunately 
nothing detailed is known to us, peace was made and the Goths were 
granted full sovereignty over the provinces which had originally been 
assigned to them for occupation only Aquitanica Secunda and the 
north-west corner of Narbonensis Prima while they restored all their 
conquests (c. 426). 

This peace continued for a considerable period and was only inter- 
rupted by the unsuccessful attempt of the Goths to surprise Aries (430). 
But when in 435 fresh disturbances broke out in Gaul, Theodoric took 
up once more his plans for the conquest of the whole of Narbonensian 
Gaul. In 436 he appeared with a strong force before the town of 
Narbonne, which however after a long siege was relieved by Roman 
troops (437). The Goths went on fighting, but without success, and 
were at last driven back as far as Toulouse. But in the decisive battle 
which was fought before the walls of this town (439) the Romans suffered 
a severe defeat, and only the heavy loss of life which the Goths them- 
selves sustained could decide the king to agree to the provisional 
restoration of the status quo. 

Theodoric was certainly not disposed to be satisfied with the narrow 
territory surrendered to him. Therefore (c. 442) we find him again on 
the side of Rome's enemies. First he entered into close relations with 
Gaiseric, the dreaded king of the Vandals; but this coalition, which 
would have been so dangerous for the Roman Empire, was broken up by 
the ingenious diplomacy of Aetius. He next tried to attach himself to 
the powerful and rising kingdom of the Sueves by giving King Rechiar 
one of his daughters in marriage, and by furnishing troops to assist 
his advance into Spain (449). It was only when danger threatened 
the whole of the civilised West by the rise of the power of the Huns 
under Attila, that the Goths again allied themselves with the Romans. 

In the beginning of the year 451 Attila's mighty army, estimated at 

CH. x. 

280 Invasion of Attila [451 

half a million, set out from Hungary, crossed the Rhine at Easter-time, 
and invaded Belgica. It was only now that Aetius, who had been 
deceived by the false representations of the king of the Huns, thought 
of offering resistance ; but the standing army at his command was ab- 
solutely insufficient to hold the field against such a formidable opponent. 
He found himself, therefore, obliged to beg for help from the king of 
the Visigoths, who although he had at first intended to keep himself 
neutral and await the development of events in his territory, thought, 
after long hesitation, that it would be to his own interest to obey the 
call. Theodoric joined the Romans with a fine army which he himself 
led, accompanied by his sons Thorismud and Theodoric Attila had 
in the meantime advanced as far as Orleans, which Sangiban, the king 
of the Alans who were settled there, promised to betray to him The 
proposed treachery, however, was frustrated, for the allies were already 
on the spot before the arrival of the Huns, and had encamped in strength 
before the city. Attila thought he could not venture an attack on the 
strong fortifications with his troops, which principally consisted of 
cavalry, so he retreated to Troyes and took up a position five miles 
before that town on an extensive plain near the place called Mauriacus, 
there to await a decisive battle with the Gotho-Roman army which was 
following him. Attila occupied the centre of the Hun array with the 
picked troops of his people, while both the wings were composed of 
troops from the subjected German tribes. His opponents were so 
arranged that Theodoric with the bulk of the Visigoths occupied the 
right wing, Aetius with the Romans, and a part of the Goths under 
Thorismud formed the left wing of the army, while the untrustworthy 
Alans stood in the centre. Attila first tried to get possession of a height 
commanding the battlefield, but Aetius and Thorismud were beforehand 
and successfully repulsed all the attacks of the Huns on their position. 
The king of the Huns now hurled thimself with great force on the 
Visigothic main body commanded by Theodoric. After a long struggle 
the Goths succeeded in driving the Huns back to their camp ; great 
losses occurred on both sides ; the aged king of the Goths was among 
the slain, as was also a kinsman of Attila's. 

The battle however remained drawn, for both sides kept the field. The 
moral effect, which told for the Romans and their allies, was, however, 
very important, inasmuch as the belief that the powerful king of the 
Huns was invincible had suffered a severe shock. At first it was decided 
to shut up the Huns in their barricade of wagons and starve them 
out. But when the body of Theodoric, who had been supposed up till 
then to be among the survivors, had been found and buried, Thorismud, 
who was recognised as king by the army, called upon his people to 
revenge and to take the enemy's position by storm. But Aetius, who 
did not wish to let the Goths become too powerful, succeeded in per- 
suading Thorismud to relinquish his scheme, advising his return to 

451-456] Theodoric II 281 

Toulouse* to prevent any attempt on his brother's part to get possession 
of the crown by means of the royal hoard there. Thus were the Goths 
deprived of the well-earned fruits of their famous exploit; the Huns 
returned home unmolested (451). 

Thorismud proved himself anxious to develop the national policy 
adopted by his father, and in the same spirit. After he had succeeded, 
for the time being, in keeping possession of the throne, he subdued the 
Alans who had settled near Orleans and thereby made preparations for 
extending the Gothic territory beyond the Loire. Then he tried to 
bring Aries under his power, but without having attained his object he 
returned once more to his country, where in the meanwhile his brothers 
Theodoric (II) and Friedrich had stirred up a rebellion. After several 
armed encounters Thorismud was assassinated (453). 

Theodoric II succeeded him on the throne. The characteristic mark 
of his rule is the close though occasionally interrupted connexion with 
Rome. The treaty broken under Theodoric I which implied the 
supremacy of the Empire over the kingdom of Toulouse was renewed 
immediately after his accession to the throne. For the rest, this con- 
nexion was never taken seriously by Theodoric but was principally used by 
him as a means towards the attainment of that end which his predecessors 
had vainly striven for by direct means the spread of the Visigoth 
dominion in Gaul and more especially in Spain. Already, in the year 
454, Theodoric found an opportunity for activity in the interest of the 
Roman Empire; a Gothic army under Friedrich marched into Spain 
and pacified the rebellious Bagaudae ex auctoritate Romana. After 
the murder of Valentinian III (March 455) Avitus went as magister 
militum to Gaul to win over the most influential powers of the country 
for the new Emperor, Petronius Maximus. In consequence of his 
personal influence he had formerly initiated Theodoric into the know- 
ledge of Roman literature he succeeded in bringing the king of the 
Goths to recognise Maximus. When, however, soon after this, the 
news of the murder of the Emperor arrived (31 May), Theodoric requested 
him to take the imperium himself. On 9 July, Avitus, who had 
been proclaimed Emperor, accompanied by Gothic troops marched 
into Italy where he met with universal recognition. The close relations 
between, the Empire and the Goths came again into operation against 
the Sueves. As the latter repeatedly made plundering expeditions into 
Roman territory, Theodoric, with a considerable force to which the 
Burgundians also added a contingent, marched over the Pyrenees in the 
summer of 456, decisively defeated them, and took possession of a largo 
part of Spain, nominally for the Empire, but actually for himself. 

But the state of affairs changed at one stroke when Avitus, in the 
autumn of the year 456, abdicated the purple. Theodoric had now no 
longer any interest in adhering to the Empire. He had in fact required 
the promotion of Avitus because he enjoyed a great reputation in, Gaul 

CH. x 

282 Tkeodoric II, Euric [457-466 

and possessed there a strong support among the resident nobility. 
Friendship with him could only be of use to the king of the Goths in 
respect to the Roman provincials living in Toulouse. But the elevation 
of the new Emperor Majorian, on 1 April 457, had occurred in direct 
opposition to the wishes of the Gallo-Roman nobility to place one 
of themselves upon the imperial throne. Taking advantage of the con- 
sequent discord in Gaul, Theodoric appeared as the open foe of the 
imperial power of Rome. He himself marched with an army into the 
Gallic province of Narbonne and once more began with the siege of 
Aries; he also sent troops to Spain which, however, only fought with 
varying success. But in the winter of 458 the Emperor appeared in 
Gaul with considerable forces, quieted the rebellious Burgundians, and 
obliged the Visigoths to raise the blockade of Aries and again conclude 
peace (spring 459). 

Although in the year 461 yet another change took place on the 
imperial throne, Theodoric thought it more advantageous for the time 
being to maintain, at least formally, the imperial alliance. On the other 
hand the chief general Aegidius, a faithful follower of Majorian, sup- 
ported by a fine army, marched against the new imperial ruler. In 
the conflict which then ensued Theodoric found a favourable opportunity 
for resuming his policy of expansion in Gaul. At the call of Count 
Agrippinus, who was commanding in Narbonne and was hard pressed by 
Aegidius, he marched into the Roman territory and quartered upon that 
important town Gothic troops under the command of his brother 
Friedrich (46S). Driven out of southern Gaul, Aegidius turned north- 
wards whither a Gothic army led by Friedrich followed him. A great 
battle took place near Orleans in which the Goths suffered a severe 
defeat, chiefly through the bravery of the Salian Franks, who were 
opposed to them and lost their leader in the battle (463). Taking 
advantage of the victory, Aegidius now began to press victoriously into 
the Visigoth territory, but sudden death prevented him from carrying 
out his purposes (464). 

Theodoric, freed from his most dangerous enemy, did not delay 
making good the losses he had suffered ; but he died in the year 466 
at the hand of his brother Euric, who was a champion of the anti- 
Roman national party and now ascended the throne.- Contemporaries 
agree in describing the new king as characterised by great energy and 
warlike ability. We may venture to add from historical facts that he 
was also a man of distinguished political talent. The leading idea in 
his policy the entire rejection of even a formal suzerainty of the 
Roman Empire came into operation on his accession to the throne. 
The embassy which he then sent off to the Emperor of Eastern 
Rome can only have had for its object a request for the recognition of 
the Visigoth sovereignty. As no agreement was arrived at he tried to 
bring about an alliance with the Vandals and the Sueves, but the 

467-475] Euric 283 

negotiations came to nothing when a strong East-Roman fleet appeared 
in African waters (467). Euric at first pursued a neutral course, but as 
the Roman expedition, set on foot with such considerable effort against 
the Vandal kingdom, resulted so lamentably (468), he did not hesitate 
to come forward as assailant, while he simultaneously pushed forward his 
troops into Gaul and Spain (469). He opened hostilities in Gaul with 
a sudden attack on the Bretons whom the Emperor had sent to 
the town of Bourges; at Deols, not far from Chateauroux, a battle 
took place in which the Bretons were overthrown. Yet the Goths did 
not succeed in pushing forward over the Loire to the north. Count 
Paulus, supported by Prankish auxiliaries, successfully opposed them 
here. Euric therefore concentrated his whole strength partly on the 
conquest of the province of Aquitanica Prima, partly on the annexation 
of the lower Rhone valley, especially the long-coveted Aries. The 
provinces of Novempopulana and (for the most part) Narbonensis Prima 
had been probably already occupied by the Goths under Theodoric II. 
An army which the West-Roman Emperor Anthemius sent to Gaul 
for the relief of Aries was defeated in the year 470 or 471, and for 
the time being a large part of Provence was seized by the Goths. In 
Aquitanica Prima, also, town after town fell into the hands of Euric's 
general Victorius ; only Clennont, the capital city of Auvergne, obstinately 
defied the repeated attacks of the barbarians for many years. The 
moving spirits in the resistance were the brave Ecdicius, a son of the 
former Emperor Avitus, and the poet Sidonius Apollinaris, who had 
been its bishop from about 470. The letters of the latter give us a 
clear picture of the struggle which was waged with the greatest animosity 
on both sides. Euric is said to have stated that he would rather give 
up the much more valuable Septimania than renounce the possession of 
that town. The wholly impotent Western Empire was unable to do 
anything for the besieged. In the year 475 peace was at last made 
between the Emperor Nepos and Euric by the intervention of Bishop 
Epiphanius of Ticinum (Pavia). Unfortunately the conditions are not 
more accurately known, but there can be no doubt that, besides the 
previously conquered territory in Spain, the district between the Loire, 
the Rhone, the Pyrenees, and the two seas was relinquished to Euric in 
sovereign possession. Thus Auvergne, so fiercely contended for, was 
surrendered to the Goths. 

But in spite of this important success the king of the Goths had by 
no means reached the goal of his desires ; it may be seen from the line 
of policy he followed later that the present moment seemed to him fit 
for carrying out that subjection of the whole of the West which had 
long since been the ami of Alaric I. 

For this reason peace only lasted for a year, which was spent in 
settling internal affairs. The most important event under Euric's 
government at this time is the publication of a Code of Law which was 

CH. x. 

284 Euric [476-484 

intended to settle the legal relations of the Goths, both amongst them- 
selves and with the Romans who had come under the Gothic dominion. 
The deposition of the last West-Roman Emperor, Romulus, by the 
leader of the mercenaries, Odovacar (Sept. 476), gave the king a welcome 
reason for renewing hostilities, as he looked upon the treaty made with 
the Empire as dissolved. A Gothic army crossed the Rhone and ob- 
tained final possession of the whole of southern Provence as far as the 
Maritime Alps, together with the cities of Aries and Marseilles, after 
a victorious battle against the Burgundians, who had ruled over this 
district under Roman suzerainty. But when Euric also marched a 
body of troops into Italy it suffered defeat from the officers of Odovacar. 
Consequently a treaty was concluded by the East-Roman Emperor 
Zeno and the king of the Burgundians whereby the newly conquered 
territory in Gaul (between the Rhone and the Alps south of the 
Durance) was surrendered by Odovacar to the Goths, while Euric 
evidently pledged himself to undertake no further hostilities against 
Italy (c. 477). 

Euric was incessantly harassed by the difficulties of defending this 
mighty conquest from foes without and within. In particular, very 
frequent cause for interference was given by the conduct of the Catholic 
clergy, who openly shewed their disloyalty, and in the Vandal kingdom 
did not shrink from the most treacherous actions. Yet they seem only 
in rare instances to have been answered by violence and cruelty. The 
Saxon pirates who, according to old custom, infested the coast of Gaul 
were vigorously punished by a fleet sent out against them. In the 
same way it seems that an invasion of the Salian Franks was warded 
off successfully. It is not strange that, owing to the prestige of the 
Visigoth power, Euric's help was repeatedly requested by other peoples, 
as by the Heruli, Warni, and Tulingi who, settled in the Netherlands, 
found themselves threatened by the overwhelming might of the Franks 
and owed to the intervention of the Gothic king the maintenance of 
their political existence. The poet Sidonius Apollinaris has left behind 
a vivid description of the way in which, at that time, the representatives 
of the most diverse nations pressed round Euric at the Visigoth Court, 
even the Persians are said to have formed an alliance with him against the 
Eastern Empire. It seems that envoys from the Roman population of 
Italy also appeared at Toulouse to ask the king to expel Odovacar, whose 
rule was only reluctantly endured by the Italians. 

We do not know if Euric intended gratifying this last request, in 
any case he was prevented from executing any such designs through 
death, which overtook him in Aries in December 484. Under his son 
Alaric II the Visigoth power fell from its height. To be sure, the 
beginning of the decline originated at a time further back. Ataulf's 
political programme, as already observed, had originally contemplated 
the establishment of a national Gothic State in the place of the Roman 

484-502] Alaric II 285 

Empire. Yet not one of the Visigoth rulers, in spite of honest purpose, 
could accomplish this task. It is to their credit that they succeeded at 
last, after severe fighting, in freeing themselves from the suzerainty of 
the Emperor and obtaining political autonomy, but the State which 
thus resulted resembled a Germanic National State no more than it did a 
Roman Imperium, and it could not contain the seeds of life because it was 
in a great measure dependent on foreign obsolescent institutions. The 
Goths had entered the world of Roman civilisation too suddenly to be 
able either to resist or to absorb the foreign influences which pressed on 
them from all sides. It was fortunate for the progress of Romanisation 
that the Goths, cut off from the rest of the German world, could not 
draw thence fresh strength to recuperate their nationality or to replace 
their losses, and moreover that through the immense extension of the 
kingdom under Euric the numerical proportion between the Roman and 
Gothic population had altered very much in favour of the former. So 
under the circumstances it was a certainty that the Gothic kingdom in 
Gaul must succumb to the rising and politically creative power of the 
Franks. Neither the personality of Alaric, who was little fitted for 
ruling, nor the antagonism between Catholicism and Arianism caused 
the downfall, they only hastened it. 

Alaric ascended the throne on 28 December 484. The king was 
of an indolent weak nature, altogether the opposite of his father, and 
without energy or warlike capacity, as immediately became evident. 
For example, he submitted to give up Syagrius, whom he had received 
into his kingdom after the battle of Soissons (486), when the victorious 
king of the Franks threatened him with war. The inevitable settlement 
by arms of the rivalry between the two principal powers in Gaul was 
of course only put off a little longer by this compliance. About 494 
the war began. It lasted for many years and was carried on with varying 
success on both sides. Hostilities were ended through the mediation 
of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric who in the meanwhile had become 
Alaric's father-in-law by the conclusion of a treaty of peace on the 
terms of Uti possidetis (c. 502), but this condition could not last long, 
for the anatagonism was considerably aggravated by the conversion 
of Clovis to the Catholic Church in the year 496 (25 Dec.). Conse- 
quently the greatest part of Alaric's Roman subjects, with the clergy of 
course at their head, adhered to the Franks, and jealously endeavoured 
to bring about the subjection of the Visigoth kingdom to their rule. 
Alaric was obliged to adopt severe measures in some instances against 
such treasonable desires, but usually he tried by gentleness and the 
granting of favours to win over the Romans to his support, an attempt 
which, in view of the prevalent and insurmountable antagonism, was of 
course quite ineffectual and even defeated its own ends, being regarded 
only as weakness. Thus he permitted the bishoprics kept vacant under 
Euric to be again filled, he moreover permitted the Gallic bishops to 

CH x. 

286 Battle of Vougle [506-507 

hold a Council at Agde in September 506, and indication of the 
ambiguous attitude of the clergy it was opened with a prayer for 
the prosperity of the Visigoth kingdom. The publication of the so- 
called Lex Romano. Visigothorum, also named Breviarium Alandanum, 
represented the most important act of conciliation. This Code of Law, 
which had been composed by a commission of lawyers together with 
prominent laymen and even clergy, and was drawn from extracts and 
explanations of Roman law, was sanctioned by the king at Toulouse, 
Feb. 506, after having received the approval of an assembly of 
bishops and distinguished provincials, and was ordered to be used by 
the Roman population in the Gothic kingdom. 

Why the explosion was delayed until the year 507 is unknown. That 
the king of the Pranks was the aggressor .is certain. He easily found a 
pretext for beginning the war as champion and protector of Catholic Chris- 
tianity against the absolutely just measures which Alaric took against his 
treacherous orthodox clergy. Clovis had sufficiently appreciated the by 
no means despicable power of the Visigoth kingdom, and had summoned 
a very considerable army, one contingent of which was furnished by the 
Ripuarian Franks. His allies, the Burgundians, approached from the 
east in order to take the Goths in the flank. Among his allies Clovis 
probably also counted on the Byzantines, who placed their fleet at his 
disposal. On his part Alaric had not looked upon coming events 
idly, but his preparations were hampered by the bad state of the finances 
of his kingdom. In order to obtain the necessary funds he was obliged to 
coin gold pieces of inferior value, which were soon discredited everywhere. 
Apparently the fighting strength of the Gothic army was inferior to the 
army of Clovis, but if the Ostrogoth troops, who had held out prospects 
of coming, should arrive at the right time Alaric could hope to oppose 
his foe successfully. The king of the Franks had to endeavour to bring 
about a decisive action before the arrival of these allies. In the spring 
of 507 he suddenly crossed the Loire and marched towards Poitiers, 
where he probably joined the Burgundians. On the Campus Vocladensis, 
ten miles from Poitiers, the Visigoths had taken up their position. 
Alaric put off beginning battle because he was waiting for the Ostrogoth 
troops, but as they were hindered by the appearance of a Byzantine fleet 
ia Italian waters he determined to fight instead of beating a retreat, 
as it would have been wise to do. After a short engagement the Goths 
turned and fled. In the pursuit the king of the Goths was killed, it was 
said by Clovis' own hand (507). With this overthrow the rule of the 
Visigoths in Gaul was ended for ever. 

The principal town of the Gothic kingdom was Toulouse, where the 
royal treasure was also kept ; Euric from time to time also held court in 
Bordeaux, Alaric II in Narbonne. The Gothic rule originally stretched, 
as has been already mentioned, as far as the province of Aquitanica 

Goths and Romans 287 

Secunda and some bordering municipalities, among which was the 
district of Toulouse, but later on it extended not only over the whole 
territory of the Gallic provinces, but in addition to several parts of the 
provinces Viennensis, Narbonensis Secunda, Alpes Maritimae, and 
Lugdunensis Tertia. The Gothic possessions included also the greater 
part of the Iberian peninsula, i.e the provinces of Baetica, Lusitania, 
Tarraconensis, and Carthaginensis. The provinces named were in Roman 
times, in so far as it was a question of civil administration, governed by 
consulares or praesides, and they were again divided into city-districts 
(civitates or municipia). Under the sovereignty of the Goths this 
constitution was maintained in its chief features. 

The inhabitants of the kingdom of Toulouse were composed of two 
races the Goths and the Romans. The Goths were regarded by the 
Romans as foreigners so long as the federal connexion remained in force, 
yet both peoples lived side by side, each under its own law and jurisdic- 
tion : intermarriage was forbidden. This rigid line of separation was 
adhered to even when the Goths had shaken off the imperial suzerainty 
and the Gothic king had become the sovereign of the native population 
of Gaul. Theoretically, the Romans had equal privileges in the State ; 
thus they were not treated as a conquered people without rights, as 
the Vandals and Langobards (Lombards) dealt with the inhabitants of 
Africa and Italy. That the Goths were the real rulers was clearly enough 
made manifest to the Romans. 

The domestic condition of the Visigoths before the settlement in 
Gaul was undoubtedly on the same level as in their original home; 
private property in land was unknown, agriculture was comparatively 
primitive, and cattle-rearing provided the principal means of subsistence. 
A national change began with the settlement in Aquitaine. This was 
done on the principle of the Roman quartering of troops, so that the 
Roman landowners were obliged to give up to the Goths in free possession 
a portion of their total property together with the coloni, slaves, and 
cattle appertaining to it. According to the oldest Gothic codes of law 
the Goth received two-thirds of the tilled land and, it seems, one-half 
of the woods. The wood and the meadow land which was not partitioned 
belonged to the Goths and the Romans for use in common. The parcels 
of land subjected to partition were called sortes, the Roman share, 
generally, tertia, their occupants hospites or consortes. The Gothic 
series were exempt from taxation. As the invaders were very numerous 
compared with the extent of the province to be apportioned, there 
is no doubt that not only the large estates, but also the middle- 
sized and smaller properties were partitioned Nevertheless it is evident 
that not every Goth can have shared with a Roman possessor, because 
there would certainly not have been estates enough; we must rather 
assume that in the share given up larger properties were split up among 
several families, as a rule among kinsmen. As the apportionment of the 
CH. x 

288 Social Conditions 

single lots undoubtedly took place through the decisive influence of the 
king, it is natural that the nobility (i e. nobility by military service) was 
favoured in the partition above the ordinary freemen. The landed 
property of the monarch's favourites must have gained considerably in 
extent, as elsewhere, through assignments from state property. The 
very considerable imperial possessions, both crown and private property, 
as a rule fell to the share of royalty. 

Land partition in the districts conquered later followed the same 
plan as in Aquitaine ; seizures of entire Roman estates certainly occurred, 
but they were exceptions and happened under special circumstances. As 
a rule the Romans were protected by law in the possession of their 
tertiae, even if it were only for fiscal reasons. The considerably 
extended range of the Gothic kingdom offered the people ample space 
for colonisation, so it was not necessary to encroach on the whole of the 
Roman territory as had been the case in Aquitaine. It is to be assumed 
that in the newly won territories only the superfluous element of the 
population had to be provided for; we are not to suppose a general 
desertion of the home-land. 

The social economy proceeded, on the whole, on the same lines as 
before, i.e. through coloni and slaves, from whose toil the owners derived 
their principal support, at least in so far as it was a question of food. 
For the Goths, whose favourite occupations were warfare and the chase, 
had no inclination to devote themselves to arduous agricultural toil. 
They only wanted to control directly the rearing of cattle, as they did 
of old ; animal food seems to have been provided principally by means 
of large herds of swine. The revolution which the partition of land 
brought about in the habits of the Goths was too powerful not to exert 
the deepest influence on all the conditions of life. The rich revenues 
led to the display of a wanton and indolent way of living; the close 
contact with the Romans, who were for the most part morally decadent, 
was bound to affect injuriously a people so famous in earlier times for its 
austere manners. The old national bonds of union, besides having been 
relaxed through the migration, now from the scattering of the mass in 
colonisation lost more and more of their original importance, since kins- 
men need no longer be companions on the farmstead in order to obtain 
a living. The adoption of the Roman conditions of land-holding 
obliged the Goths to accept numerous legal arrangements which were 
foreign to their national law and altered its principles considerably. 
Nevertheless the national consciousness was strong enough to prevent 
it from merging itself quickly and completely in the Roman system ; in 
contrast to the Ostrogoths who did nothing but carefully conserve the 
Roman institutions which they found, the Visigoths are remarkable 
for an attitude in many respects independent towards the foreign 

The entire power of government lay in the hands of the king, but 

Political Conditions 289 

the several rulers did not succeed in making their power absolute. 
Outwardly the Visigoth king was only slightly distinguished from the 
other freemen ; like them he wore the national skin garment, and long 
curly hair. The raised seat as well as the sword appear as tokens of 
royal power, the insignia such as the purple mantle and the crown do 
not come till later. The succession to the throne follows the system 
peculiar to the old German constitution of combined election and 
inheritance. After the death of Alaric I his brother-in-law Ataulf was 
chosen king; thus a kindred connexion played an important part in 
this choice. Ataulf 's friendliness to Rome had placed him in opposition 
to the great mass of the people, therefore his successor was not his 
brother, as he had wished, but first Sigerich and then Wallia, who both 
belonged to other houses. The elevation of Theodoric I is also an 
instance of free election ; the royal dignity remained in his house for 
over a century. Thorismud was appointed king by the army; the 
succession of Theodoric II, Euric, and Alaric II, on the other hand, was 
only confirmed by popular recognition. 

Just as the people regularly took a part in the choice of the successor 
to the throne, so their influence was often brought to bear on the 
sovereign's conduct of government. After the settlement in Gaul there 
could certainly no longer be any question of a national assembly in the 
old sense of the word, especially after the great expansion of territory 
under Euric. Meetings of all the freemen had become impossible on 
account of the expansion of the Gothic colonies. The circle of those 
who could obey the call to assemble became, therefore, smaller and 
smaller, while in carrying out the principal public functions, such as 
the coronation of the king, only those of the people who happened 
to be present at the place of election or who lived in the immediate 
neighbourhood, could as a rule take part. The importance which the 
commonalty hereby lost was gained by the nobility, an aristocracy 
founded on personal service to the king. It was only in the army that 
the greater part of the people found opportunity of expressing its will. 
It is certain that among the Visigoths, as among the Franks, regular 
military assemblies were held, which at first served the purpose of 
reviews and were under the command of the king. In these assemblies 
important political questions were discussed ; but the decision of the 
people was not always for the welfare of the State. 

The kingdom was subdivided very nearly on the lines of the previous 
Roman divisions into provindae, and these again into dvitates (territoria). 
At the head of the province was the dux as magistrate for Goths and 
Romans. He was also, as his title implies, in the first place the 
commander of the militia in his district, and he provided also the final 
authority and appeal in matters of government, corresponding to the 
Praefectus Praetorio or vicarius of imperial times. The centre of 
gravity of the government lay in the municipalities whose rulers were 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. X. 19 

290 The Church 

comites civitatum. They took exactly the place of the Roman pro- 
vincial governors, so that the city-districts also appear under the title of 
provinciae. Their authority extended even to the exercise of jurisdiction 
with the exception of such cases as were reserved to the civic magistrates, 
and included control of the police and the collection of taxes. The 
dux could at the same time be comes of a civitas in his district. At the 
head of the towns themselves were the curiales who, as hitherto, were 
bound by oath to fill their offices ; and they were personally responsible 
for collecting the taxes. The most important official was the defensor, 
who was chosen from among the curiales by the citizens and only con- 
firmed by the king. He exercised, in the first instance, jurisdiction in 
minor matters, but his activity extended over all the branches of 
municipal administration. Side by side with this Roman magistrature 
existed the national system which the Goths had brought with them. 
The Gothic people formed themselves into bodies of thousands, five 
hundreds, hundreds, and tens, which also remained as personal societies 
after the settlement. The millenarius, as of old, led the thousand in 
war and ruled over it jointly with the heads of the hundreds both in 
war and in peace. The comes civitatis and his vicar originally only 
possessed jurisdiction over the Romans of his own circuit, but in Euric's 
time that had so far changed that he now possessed authority to judge 
the Goths as well in civil suits in conjunction with the millenarius : thus 
the later condition was prepared in which the millenarius appears only 
as military official. On the other hand the defensor remained a judiciary 
solely for the Romans. 

We know but little about the officers of the central government. 
The first minister of Euric and of Alaric II was Leo of Narbonne, a 
distinguished man of varied talents. His duty comprised a combination 
of the functions of the quaestor sacri palatii and of the magister 
qfficiorum at the imperial Court; he drew up the king's orders, con- 
ducted business with the ambassadors, and arranged the applications for 
an audience. A higher minister of the royal chancery was Anianus, 
who attested the authenticity of the official copies of the Lex Romana 
Visigothorum and distributed them ; he seems to have answered to the 
Roman primicerius notariorum or referendarius. 

The organisation of the Catholic Church was not disturbed by the 
Visigoth rule : rather it was strengthened. The ecclesiastical subdivision 
of the land as it had developed in the last years of the Roman sway 
corresponded on the whole with the political: the bishoprics, which 
coincided in extent with the town districts, were grouped under metro- 
politan sees, which corresponded with the provinces of the secular 
administration. Since the middle of the fifth century the authority of 
the Roman bishop over the Church had been generally recognised. Next 
to the Pope the bishop of Aries exercised over the Gallic clergy a theo- 
retically almost unlimited disciplinary power. A bishop was chosen by 

Arianism 291 

the laity- and the clergy of his see, and was ordained by the metropolitan 
bishop of the province together with other bishops. Although the 
boundaries of the Visigoth kingdom now in no way coincided with the 
old provincial and metropolitan boundaries, the hitherto existing metro- 
politan connexion was nevertheless not set aside, nor were the relations 
of the bishops with the Pope interfered with. The Gothic government 
as a rule shewed great indulgence and consideration to the Catholic 
Church, which only changed to a more severe treatment when the clergy 
were guilty of treasonable practices, as happened under Euric. No 
organised and general persecution of the Catholics from religious 
fanaticism ever took place. The Catholic Church enjoyed particularly 
favourable conditions under Alaric II, who in consideration of the 
threatening struggle with Clovis acknowledged the formal legal position 
of the Roman Church according to the hitherto existing rules. 

Hardly anything is known of the ecclesiastical organisation of the 
Arians in the kingdom of Toulouse. Probably in all the larger towns 
there were Arian bishops as well as orthodox ones, and no doubt in 
earlier times they had been appointed by the king. Under the several 
bishops were the different classes of subordinate clergy ; presbyters and 
deacons are mentioned as in the orthodox Church. The endowment 
of the Arian Church was probably as a rule allowed for out of the 
revenue; now and then confiscated Catholic churches as well as their 
endowments were also made over to it. The church service was of 
course held in the vernacular as it was in other German churches ; the 
greater number of the clergy were therefore of Gothic nationality. The 
opposition between the two creeds was also certainly a very sharp one. 
Both sides carried on an active propaganda, which on the Arian side 
not unfrequently seems to have been urged by force, but such ebullitions 
scarcely had the support and approval of the Gothic government. 

Very scanty indeed is our knowledge of the civilisation of the 
kingdom of Toulouse. That the Romance element was foremost in 
almost every department has already been observed. The Goths how- 
ever held to their national dress until a later period; they wore the 
characteristic skin garment which covered the upper part of the body, 
and laced boots of horse-hide which reached up to the calf of the 
leg; the knee was left bare. There is no doubt that the Gothic 
tongue was spoken by the people in intercourse with each other; un- 
happily no vestiges remain of it except in proper names. It is certain 
however that a great part of the nobility, especially the higher officials, 
understood Latin well. Most of the Arian clergy undoubtedly were 
also masters of both languages. Latin was the language of diplomatic 
intercourse and of legislation. Theodoric II was trained in Roman 
literature by Avitus ; Euric however understood so little of the foreign 
language that he was obliged to use an interpreter for diplomatic 
correspondence. Yet this king was in no way opposed to the knowledge 

CH. x. 

292 Civilisation 

and significance of classical culture The Visigotnic Court therefore 
formed a haven of frequent resort for the last representatives of Roman 
literature in Gaul. And the kings, from various motives, but especially 
from a fondness for Roman models, would employ the art of these men 
to celebrate their own deeds. Here may be named in the first place 
the poet Sidonius Apollinaris who for a long time lived, first in the 
Court of Theodoric II and then in that of Euric. Euric's minister Leo 
also is said to have distinguished himself as a poet, historian, and lawyer, 
but no more of his writings have been preserved than of the rhetorician 
Lampridius, who sang the fame of the Gothic royal house at the Court 
of Bordeaux. But the decay of literature and of culture in general, 
which had been for so long in progress in spite of the support of the 
still existent schools of rhetoricians, could assuredly not be stayed by 
the patronage of the Gothic kings. 


Tacitus, in the de Moribus Germanorum, tells us that the Germans 
claimed to be descended from a common ancestor, Mannus, son of the 
earth-born god Tuisco. Mannus, according to the legend, had three 
sons, from whom sprang three groups of tribes: the Istaevones, who 
dwelt along the banks of the Rhine ; the Ingaevones, whose seat was on 
the shores of the two seas, the Oceanus Germanicus (North Sea) and the 
Mare Suevicum (the Baltic), and in the Cimbric peninsula between ; and, 
lastly, more to the east and south, on the banks of the Elbe and the 
Danube, the Herminones. After indicating this general division, 
Tacitus, in the latter part of his work, enumerates about forty tribes, 
whose customs presented, no doubt, a strong general resemblance, but 
whose institutions and organisation shewed differences of a sufficiently 
marked character. 

When we pass from the first century to the fifth, we find that the 
names of the Germanic peoples given by Tacitus have completely 
disappeared. Not only is there no mention of Istaevones, Ingaevones, 
and Herminones, but there is no trace of individual tribes such as the 
Chatti, Chauci, and Cherusci ; their names are wholly unknown to the 
writers of the fourth and fifth centuries. In their place we find these 
writers using other designations : they speak of Franks, Saxons, Alemans. 

The writers of the Merovingian period not unnaturally supposed 
that these were the names of new peoples, who had invaded Germany 
and made good their footing there in the interval. This hypothesis 

Legends of the Franks 293 

found favour especially with regard lo the Franks As early as Gregory 
of Tours, we find mention of a tradition according to which the Pranks 
had come from Pannonia, had first established themselves on the right 
bank of the Rhine, and had subsequently crossed the river. In the 
chronicler known under the name of Fredegar the Franks are represented 
as descended from the Trojans. "Their first king was Priam; after- 
wards they had a king named Friga ; later, they divided into two parts, 
one of which migrated into Macedonia and received the name of 
Macedonians. Those who remained were driven out of Phrygia and 
wandered about, with their wives and children, for many years. They 
chose for themselves a king named Francion, and from him took the 
name of Franks Francion made war upon many peoples, and after 
devastating Asia finally passed over into Europe, and established himself 
between the Rhine, the Danube and the sea." The writer of the Liber 
Historiae combines the statements of Gregory of Tours and of the 
pseudo-Fredegar, and, with a fine disregard of chronology, relates that, 
after the fall of Troy, one part of the Trojan people, under Priam and 
Antenor, came by way of the Black Sea to the mouth of the Danube, 
sailed up the river to Pannonia, and founded a city called Sicambria. 
The Trojans, so this anonymous writer continues, were defeated by the 
Emperor Valentinian, who laid them under tribute and named them 
Franks, that is wild men (feros), because of their boldness and hardness 
of heart. After a time the Franks slew the Roman officials whose duty 
it was to demand the tribute from them, and, on the death of Priam, 
they quitted Sicambria, and came to the neighbourhood of the Rhine* 
There they chose themselves a king named Pharamond, son of Marcomir. 
This naif legend, half-popular, half -learned, was accepted as fact 
throughout the Middle Ages. From it alone comes the name of 
Pharamond, which in most histories heads the list of the kings of 
France. In reality, there is nothing to prove that the Franks, any 
more than the Saxons or the Alemans, were races who came in from 
without, driven into Germany by an invasion of their own territory. 

Some modern scholars have thought that the origin of the Franks, 
and of other races who make their appearance between the third 
century and the fifth, might be traced to a curious custom of the 
Germanic tribes. The nobles, whom Tacitus calls prineipes, attached 
to themselves a certain number of comrades, comites, whom they bound 
to fealty by a solemn oath. At the head of these followers they made 
pillaging expeditions, and levied war upon the neighbouring peoples, 
without however involving the community to which they belonged. 
The comes was ready to die for his chief ; to desert him would have been 
an infamy. The chief, on his part, protected his follower, and gave 
him a war-horse, spear, etc. as the reward of his loyalty. Thus there 
were formed, outside the regular State, bands of warriors united together 
by the closest ties. These bands, so it is said, soon formed, in the 

CH. x. 

294 Origin of the Franks 

interior of Germany, what were virtually new States, and the former 
princeps simply took the title of king. Such, according to the theory, 
was the origin of the Franks, the Aleinans, and the Saxons. But this 
theory, however ingenious, cannot be accepted. The bands were formed 
exclusively of young men of an age to bear arms; among the Franks 
we find from the first old men, women, and children. The bands were 
organised solely for war ; whereas the most ancient laws of the Franks 
have much to say about the ownership of land, and about crimes against 
property ; they represent the Franks as an organised nation with regular 

The Franks, then, did not come into Germany from without; and 
it would be rash to seek their origin in the custom of forming bands. 
That being so, only one hypothesis remains open. From the second 
century to the fourth the Germans lived in a continual state of unrest. 
The different communities ceaselessly made war on one another and 
destroyed one another. Civil war also devastated many of them. The 
ancient communities were thus broken up, and from their remains were 
formed new communities which received new names. Thus is to be 
explained why it is that the nomenclature of the Germanic peoples in 
the fifth century differs so markedly from that which Tacitus has recorded. 
But neighbouring tribes presented, despite their constant antagonisms, 
considerable resemblances. They had a common dialect and similar 
habits and customs. They sometimes made temporary alliances, though 
holding themselves free to quarrel again before long and make war on 
one another with the utmost ferocity. In time, groups of these tribes 
came to be called by generic names, and this is doubtless the character 
of the names Franks, Alemans, and Saxons, These names were not 
applied, in the fourth and fifth centuries, to a single tribe, but to a group 
of neighbouring tribes who presented, along with real differences, certain 
common characteristics. 

It appears that the peoples who lived along the right bank of the 
Rhine, to the north of the Main, received the name of Franks ; those 
who had established themselves between the Ems and the Elbe, that of 
Saxons (Ptolemy mentions the Solves as inhabitants of the Cimbric 
peninsula, and perhaps the name of this petty tribe had passed to the 
whole group) ; while those whose territory lay to the south of the Main 
and who at some time or other had overflowed into the agri decumates 
(the present Baden) were called Alemans. It is possible that, after all, 
we should see in these three peoples, as Waitz has suggested, the 
Istaevones, Ingaevones, and Herminones of Tacitus. 

But it must be understood that between the numerous tribes known 
under each of the general names of Franks, Saxons, and Alemans there 
was no common bond. They did not constitute a single State but 
groups of States without federal connexion or common organisation. 
Sometimes two, three, even a considerable number of tribes, might join 

240-392] Franks and Romans 295 

together to prosecute a war in common, but when the war was over the 
link snapped and the tribes fell asunder again. 

Documentary evidence enables us to trace how the generic name 
Fraud came to be given to certain tribes between the Main and the 
North Sea, for we find these tribes designated now by the ancient 
name which was known to Tacitus and again by the later name. In 
Peutinger's chart we find Chamavi qui et Pranci and there is no 
doubt that we should read qui et Fraud. The Chamavi inhabited the 
country between the Yssel and the Ems ; later on, we find them a little 
further south, on the banks of the Rhine in Hamaland, and their laws 
were collected in the ninth century in the document known as the Lex 
Francorum Chamavorum. Along with the Chamavi we may reckon among 
the Franks the Attuarii or Chattuarii. We read in Ammianus Marcelli- 
nus (xx. 10) Rheno transmisso, regionem pervasit (Julian in A.D. 360) 
Francorum quos Atthuarios vacant. Later, the pagus Attuariorum will 
correspond to the country of Emmerich, of Cleves, and of Xanten. We 
may note that in the Middle Ages there was to be found in Burgundy, in 
the neighbourhood of Dijon, a pagus Attuariorum^ and it is very probable 
that a portion of this tribe settled at this spot in the course of the fifth 
century. The Bructeri, the Ampsivarii, and the Chatti were, like the 
Chamavi, reckoned as Franks. They are mentioned as such in a well- 
known passage of Sulpicius Alexander which is cited by Gregory of 
Tours (Historia Francorum, u. 9). Arbogast, a barbarian general in the 
service of Rome, desires to take vengeance on the Franks and their 
chiefs subreguli Sunno and Marcomir. Consequently in midwinter 
of the year 39 collecto exerdtu transgressus Rhenum, Bructeros ripae 
proximos, pagum etiam quern Chamavi incolunt depopulatus est, nullo 
unquam occursante, nisi qttod paud ex Ampsivariis et Catthis Marcomere 
duce in ulterioribus collium jugis apparuere. It is this Marcomir, chief 
of the Ampsivarii and Chatti, whom the author of the Liber Historiae 
makes the father of Pharamond, though he has nothing whatever to 
do with the Salian Franks. 

Thus it is evident that the name Franks was given to a group of 
tribes, not to a single tribe. The earliest historical mention of the 
name may be that in Peutinger's chart, 1 supposing, at least, that the words 
et Prand are not a later interpolation. The earliest mention in a 
literary source is in the Vita Aureliani of Vopiscus, cap. 7. In the year 
40, Aurelian, who was then only a military tribune, immediately after 
defeating the Franks in the neighbourhood of Mainz, was marching 
against the Persians, and his soldiers as the$r marched chanted this 

refrain : 

Mille Sarmatas, mille Francos semel et seme! occidimus ; 
Mille Persas quaerimus. 

It would be in any case impossible to follow the history of all these 

1 The date of the chart is very uncertain. 
CH. x. 

296 The Salian Franks [358-400 

Prankish tribes for want of evidence, but even if their history was known 
it would be of quite secondary interest, for it would have only a remote 
connexion with the history of France. Offshoots from these various 
tribes no doubt established themselves sporadically here and there in 
ancient Gaul, as in the case of the Attuarii. It was not however by 
the Franks as a whole, but by a single tribe, the Salian Franks, that 
Gaul was to be conquered ; it was their king who was destined to be the 
ruler of this noble territory. It is therefore to the Salian Franks that 
we must devote our attention. 

The Salian Franks are mentioned for the first time in A.D. 358. In 
that year Julian, as yet only a Caesar, marched against them. Petit 
primos omnium Francos, eos videlicet quos consuetudo Salios appellavit 
(Ammianus Marcellinus, xvn. 8). What is the origin of the name? 
It was long customary to derive it from the river Yssel (Isala), or 
from Saalland to the south of the Zuiderzee ; but it seems much more 
probable that the name comes from sal (the salt sea). The Salian 
Franks at first lived by the shores of the North Sea, and were known 
by this name in contradistinction to the Ripuarian Franks, who lived 
on the banks of the Rhine. All their oldest legends speak of the sea, 
and the name of one of their earliest kings, Merovech, signifies sea-born. 

From the shores of the North Sea the Salian Franks had advanced 
little by little towards the south, and at the period when Ammianus 
Marcellinus mentions them they occupied Toxandria, that is to say the 
region to the south of the Meuse, between that river and the Scheldt. 
Julian completely defeated the Salian Franks, but he left them in 
possession of their territory of Toxandria. Only, instead of occupying 
it as conquerors, they held it as foederati, agreeing to defend it against 
all other invaders. They furnished also to the armies of Rome soldiers 
whom we hear of as serving in far distant regions. In the notitia 
Dignitatum, in which we find a sort of Army List of the Empire drawn 
up about the beginning of the fifth century, there is mention of 
Salii seniores and Salii juniores, and we also find Salii figuring in the 
auxilia palatina. 

At the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century the 
Salian Franks established in Toxandria ceased to recognise the authority 
of Rome, and began to assert their independence. It was at this period 
that the Roman civilisation disappeared from these regions. The Latin 
language ceased to be spoken and the Germanic tongue was alone 
employed. Even at the present day the inhabitants of these districts 
speak Flemish, a Germanic dialect. The place-names were altered and 
took on a Germanic form, with the terminations hem, ghem, seele, and 
zele, indicating a dwelling-place, loo wood, dal valley. The Christian 
religion retreated along with the Roman civilisation, and those regions 
reverted to paganism. For a long time, it would seem, these Salian 
Franks were held in check by the great Roman road which led, by way 

431-451] Clodion, Meroveck 297 

of Arras, Cambrai, and Bavay, to Cologne, and which was protected by 
numerous forts. 

The Salians were subdivided into a number of tribes each holding 
a pagus. Each of these divisions had a king who was chosen from 
the most noble family, and who was distinguished from his fellow- 
Franks by his long hair criniti reges. The first of these kings to whom 
we have a distinct reference bore the name of Clogio or Clojo (Clodion). 
He had his seat at Dispargum, the exact position of which has not 
been determined it may have been Diest in Brabant. Desiring to 
extend the borders of the Salian Pranks he advanced southwards in 
the direction of the great Roman road. Before reaching it, however, he 
was surprised, near the town of Helena (Helesmes-Nord), when engaged 
in celebrating the betrothal of one of his warriors to a fair-haired 
maiden, by Aetius, who exercised in the name of Rome the military 
command in Gaul. He sustained a crushing defeat ; the victor carried 
off his chariots and took prisoner even the trembling bride. This was 
about the year 431. But Clodion was not long in recovering from this 
defeat. He sent spies into the neighbourhood of Cambrai, defeated the 
Romans, and captured the town. He had thus gained command of the 
great Roman road. Then, without encountering opposition, he advanced 
as far as the Somme, which marked the limit of Prankish territory. 
About this period Tournai on the Scheldt seems to have become the 
capital of the Salian Pranks. 

Clodion was succeeded in the kingship of the Franks by Merovech.. 
All our histories of France assert that he was the son of Clodion ; but 
Gregory of Tours simply says that he belonged to the family of that 
king, and he does not give even this statement as certain; it is main- 
tained, he says, by certain persons De huius stirpe quidam Merovechum 
regem fuisse adserunt. We should perhaps refer to Merovech certain 
statements of the Greek historian Priscus, who lived about the middle of 
the fifth century. On the death of a king of the Franks, he says, his 
two sons disputed the succession. The elder betook himself to Attila to- 
seek his support ; the younger preferred to claim the protection of the 
Emperor, and journeyed to Rome. " I saw him there," he says ; " he was 
still quite young. His fair hair, thick and very long, fell over his 
shoulders." Aetius, who was at this time in Rome, received him 
graciously, loaded him with presents, and sent him back as a friend and 
ally. Certainly, in the sequel the Salian Franks responded to the 
appeal of Aetius and mustered to oppose the great invasion of Attila, 
fighting in the ranks of the Roman army at the battle of the Mauriac 
Plain (A.D. 451). The Vita Lupi, in which some confidence may be 
placed, names King Merovech among the combatants. 

Various legends have gathered round the figure of Merovech. The 
pseudo-Fredegar narrates that as the mother of this prince was sitting- 
by the sea-shore a monster sprang from the waves and overpowered her ; 

OH. x. 

298 Childeric [463 

and from this union was born Merovech. Evidently the legend owes its 
origin to an attempt to explain the etymology of the name Merovech, 
son of the sea. In consequence of this legend some historians have 
maintained that Merovech was a wholly mythical personage and they 
have sought out some remarkable etymologies to explain the name 
Merovingian, which is given to the kings of the first dynasty ; but in 
our opinion the existence of this prince is sufficiently proved, and we 
interpret the term Merovingian as meaning descendants of Merovech. 

Merovech had a son named Childeric. The relationship is attested 
in precise terms by Gregory of Tours who says cujus filius fuit Childericus* 
In addition to the legendary narratives about Childeric which Gregory 
gathered from oral tradition, we have also some very precise details 
which the celebrated historian borrowed from annals now no longer 
extant. The legendary tale is as follows. Childeric, who was extremely 
licentious, dishonoured the daughters of many of the Franks. His 
subjects therefore rose in their wrath, drove him from the throne, and 
even threatened to kill him. He fled to Thuringia it is uncertain 
whether this was Thuringia beyond the Rhine, or whether there was a 
Thuringia on the left bank of the river but he left behind him a 
faithful friend whom he charged to win back the allegiance of the Franks. 
Childeric and his friend broke a gold coin in two and each took a part. 
"When I send you my part," said the friend, "and the pieces fit together 
to form one whole you may safely return to your country." The Franks 
unanimously chose for their king Aegidius, who had succeeded Aetius 
in Gaul as magister militum. At the end of eight years the faithful 
friend, having succeeded in gaining over the Franks, sent to Childeric 
the token agreed upon, and the prince, on his return, was restored to the 
throne. The queen of the Thuringians, Basina by name, left her 
husband Basinus to follow Childeric. " I know thy worth," said she, " and 
thy great courage ; therefore I have come to live with thee. If I had 
known, even beyond the sea, a man more worthy than thou art, I would 
have gone to him." Childeric, well pleased, married her forthwith, and 
from their union was born Clovis. This legend, on which it would be 
rash to base any historical conclusion, was amplified later, and the 
further developments of it have been preserved by the pseudo-Fredegar 
and the author of the Liber Historiae. 

But alongside of this legendary story we have some definite information 
regarding Childeric. While the main centre of his kingdom continued 
to be in the neighbourhood of Tournai, he fought along with the Roman 
generals in the valley of the Loire against all the enemies who sought 
to wrest Gaul from the Empire. Unlike his predecessor Clodion and 
his son Clovis, he faithfully fulfilled his duties as a foederatus. In the 
year 463 the Visigoths made an effort to extend their dominions to the 
banks of the Loire. Aegidius marched against them, and defeated them at 
Orleans, Friedrich, brother of King Theodoric II, being slain in the battle. 

360-481] The Ripuarian Franks 299 

Now we know for certain that Childeric was present at this battle. A short 
time afterwards the Saxons made a descent, by way of the North Sea, the 
Channel, and the Atlantic, under the leadership of a chief named Odovacar, 
established themselves in some islands at the mouth of the Loire, and 
threatened the town of Angers on the Mayenne. The situation was the 
more serious because Aegidius had lately died (October 464), leaving the 
command to his son Syagrius. Childeric threw himself into Angers and 
held it against the Saxons. He succeeded in beating off the besiegers, 
assumed the offensive, and recaptured from the Saxons the islands which 
they had seized. The defeated Odovacar placed himself, like Childeric, 
at the service of Rome, and the two adversaries, now reconciled, barred 
the path of a troop of Alemans who were returning from a pillaging 
expedition into Italy. Thus Childeric policed Gaul on behalf of Rome 
and endeavoured to check the inroads and forays of the other barbarians. 

The death of Childeric probably took place in the year 481, and he 
was buried at Tournai. His tomb was discovered in the year 1653. In 
it was a ring bearing his name, CHILDIRICI REGIS, with the image 
of the head and shoulders of a long-haired warrior. Numerous objects 
of value, arms, jewels, remains of a purple robe ornamented with golden 
bees, gold coins bearing the effigies of Leo I and Zeno, Emperors of 
Constantinople, were found in the tomb. Such of these treasures as 
could be preserved are now in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. They 
serve as evidence that these Merovingian kings were fond of luxury and 
possessed quantities of valuable objects. In the ensuing volume it will 
be seen how Childeric's son Clovis broke with his father's policy, threw 
off his allegiance to the Empire, and conquered Gaul for his own hand. 
While Childeric was reigning at Tournai, another Salian chief, Ragnachar, 
reigned at Cambrai, the town which Clodion had taken ; the residence of 
a third, named Chararic, is unknown to us. 

The Salian Franks, as we have said above, were so called in contra- 
distinction to the Ripuarians. The latter doubtless included a certain 
number of tribes, such as the Ampsivarii and the Bructeri. Julian, in 
the year 860, checked the advance of these barbarians and forced them 
to retire across the Rhine. In 889 Arbogast similarly checked their 
inroads and conquered all their territory in 892, as we have already 
said. But in the beginning of the fifth century, when Stilicho had 
withdrawn the Roman garrisons from the banks of the Rhine, they 
were able to advance without hindrance and establish themselves on the 
left bank of the river. Their progress however was far from rapid. 
They only gained possession of Cologne at a time when Salvian, 
born about 400, was a man in middle life ; and even then the town 
was retaken. It did not finally pass into their hands until the year 
463. The town of Treves was taken and burned by the Franks four 
times before they made themselves masters of it. Towards 470 the 
Ripuarians had founded a fairly compact kingdom, of which the 

CH. X. 

300 The Salic Law [507-511 

principal cities were Aix-la-Chapelle, Bonn, Juliers, and Zulpich. They 
had advanced southwards as far as Divodurum (Metz), the fortifications 
of which seem to have defied all their efforts. The Roman civilisation, 
the Latin language, and even the Christian religion seem to have 
disappeared from the regions occupied by the compact masses of these 
invaders. The present frontier of the French and German languages, or 
a frontier drawn a little further to the south for it appears that in course 
of time French has gained ground a little indicates the limit of their 
dominions. In the course of their advance southwards, the Ripuarians 
came into collision with the Alemans, who had already made themselves 
masters of Alsace and were endeavouring to enlarge their borders in all 
directions. There were many battles between the Ripuarians and 
Alemans, of one of which, fought at Zulpich (Tolbiacum), a record has 
been preserved. Sigebert, king of the Ripuarians, was there wounded 
in the knee and walked lame for the rest of his life; whence he was 
known as Sigebertus Claudus. It appears that at this time the Alemans 
had penetrated far north into the kingdom of the Ripuarians. This 
kingdom was destined to have but a transient existence ; we shall see in 
the following volume how it was destroyed by Clovis, and how all the 
Frankish tribes on the left bank of the Rhine were brought under his 

While the Salian and Ripuarian Franks were spreading along the 
left bank of the Rhine, and founding flourishing kingdoms there, other 
Frankish tribes remained on the right bank. They were firmly estab- 
lished, especially to the north of the Main, and among them the ancient 
tribe of the Chatti, from whom the Hessians are derived, took a leading 
place. Later this territory formed one of the duchies into which 
Germany was divided, and took from its Frankish inhabitants the name 
of Franconia. 

If we desire to make ourselves acquainted with the manners and 
customs of the Franks, we must have recourse to the most ancient 
document which has come down from them the Salic Law. The 
oldest redaction of this Law, as will be shewn in the next volume, 
probably dates only from the last years of Clovis (507-511), but in 
it are codified much more ancient usages. On the basis of this code 
we can conjecture the condition of the Franks in the time of Clodion, 
of Merovech, and of Childeric. The family is still a very closely united 
whole ; there is solidarity among relatives even to a remote degree. If 
a murderer could not pay the fine to which he had been sentenced, he must 
bring before the mdl (court) twelve comprobators who made affirmation 
that he could not pay it. That done, he returned to his dwelling, took 
up some earth from each of the four corners of his room, and cast it with 
the left hand over his shoulder towards his nearest relative ; then, bare- 
foot and clad only in his shirt, but bearing a spear in his hand, he 

Political Organisation 301 

leaped over the hedge which surrounded his dwelling. Once this cere- 
mony had been performed, it devolved upon his relative, to whom he 
had thereby ceded his house, to pay the fine in his place. He might 
appeal in this way to a series of relatives one after another; and if, 
ultimately, none of them was able to pay, he was brought before four 
successive mals, and if no one took pity on him and paid his debt, he 
was put to death. But if the family was thus a unit for the payment of 
fines, it had the compensating advantage of sharing the fine paid for 
the murder of one of its members Since the solidarity of the family 
sometimes entailed dangerous consequences, it was permissible for an 
individual to break these family ties. The man who wished to do so 
presented himself at the mdl before the centenanus and broke into 
four pieces, above his head, three wands of alder He then threw the 
pieces into the four corners, declaring that he separated himself from his 
relatives and renounced all rights of succession. The family included the 
slaves and liti or f reedmen. Slaves were the chattels of their master ; if 
they were wounded, maimed, or killed, the master received the com- 
pensation ; on the other hand, if the slave had committed any crime the 
master was obliged to pay, unless he preferred to give him up to bear 
the punishment. The Franks recognised private property, and severe 
penalties were denounced against those who invaded the rights of owner- 
ship; there are penalties for stealing from another's garden, meadow, 
corn-field, or flax-field, and for ploughing another's land. At a man's 
death all his property was divided among his sons ; a daughter had no 
olaim to any share of it. Later, she is simply excluded from Salic 
ground, that is from her father's house and the land that surrounds it. 

We find also in the Salic Law some information about the organisa- 
tion of the State. The royal power appears strong. Any man who 
refuses to appear before the royal tribunal is outlawed. All his goods 
are confiscated and anyone who chooses may slay him with impunity; 
no one, not even his wife, may give him food, under penalty of a very 
heavy fine. All those who are employed about the king's person are 
protected by a special sanction. Their wergeld is three times as high 
as that of other Franks of the same social status. Over each of the 
territorial divisions called pagi the king placed a representative of his 
.authority known as the grafio, or, to give him his later title, the comes. 
The grqfio maintained order within his jurisdiction, levied such fines as 
were due to the king, executed the sentences of the courts, and seized 
the property of condemned persons who refused to pay their fines. The 
pagus was in turn subdivided into "hundreds" (centenae). Each "hun- 
dred " had its court of judgment known as the mdl ; the place where it met 
was known as the mdlberg. This tribunal was presided over by the 
>centenarius or ikunginus these terms appear to us to be synonymous. 
Historians have devoted much discussion to the question whether this 
^official was appointed by the king or elected by the freemen of the 

CH. x. 

302 Crimes and Offences 

"hundred." At the court of the "hundred" all the freemen had a 
right to be present, but only a few of them took part in the proceedings 
some of them would be nominated for this duty on one occasion, some 
on another. In their capacity as assistants to the centenarius at the mdl 
the freemen were designated rachineburgi. In order to make a sentence 
valid it was required that seven rachineburgi should pronounce judg- 
ment. A plaintiff had the right to summon seven of them to give 
judgment upon his suit. If they refused, they had to pay a fine of 
three sols. If they persisted in their refusal, and did not undertake 
to pay the three sols before sunset, they incurred a fine of fifteen sols. 

Every man's life was rated at a certain value; this was his price, 
the wergeld. The wergeld of a Salian Frank was 00 sols; that of a 
Roman 100 sols. If a Salian Frank had killed another Salian, or a 
Roman, without aggravating circumstances, the Court sentenced him to 
pay the price of the victim, the 00 or 100 sols. The compositio in this case 
is exactly equivalent to the wergeld ; if, however, he had only wounded 
his victim he paid, according to the severity of the injury, a lower sum 
proportionate to the wergeld. If, however, the murder has taken place 
in particularly atrocious circumstances, if the murderer has endeavoured 
to conceal the corpse, if he has been accompanied by an armed band, or 
if the assassination has been unprovoked, the compositio may be three 
times, six times, nine times, the wergeld. Of this compositio, two thirds 
were paid to the relatives of the victim ; this was the/cwda and bought 
off the right of private vengeance; the other third was paid to the 
State or to the king : it was called fretus or fredum from the German 
word Friede peace, and was a compensation for the breach of the public 
peace of which the king is the guardian. Thus a very lofty principle 
was embodied in this penalty. 

The Salic Law is mainly a tariff of the fines which must be paid for 
various crimes and offences. The State thus endeavoured to substitute 
the judicial sentences of the courts for private vengeance, part of the 
compensation being paid to the victim or his family to induce them to 
renounce this right. But we may safely conjecture that the triumph of 
law over inveterate custom was not immediate. It was long before 
families were willing to leave to the judgment of the courts serious 
crimes which had been committed against them, such as homicides and 
adulteries; they flew to arms and made war upon the guilty person 
and his family. The forming in this way of armed bands was very 
detrimental to public order. 

The crimes mentioned most frequently hi the Salic Law give us 
some grounds on which to form an idea of the manners and charac- 
teristics of the Franks. These Franks would seem to have been much 
given to bad language, for the Law mentions a great variety of terms 
of abuse. It is forbidden to call one's adversary a fox or a hare, or to 
reproach him with having flung away his shield; it is forbidden to 

Weapons of the Franks 303 

call a woman meretrix, or to say that she had joined the witches at 
their revels. Warriors who are so easily enraged readily pass to violence 
and murder. Every form of homicide is mentioned in the Salic Law. 
The roads are not safe, and are often infested by armed bands. In 
addition to murder, theft is very often mentioned by the code theft 
of fruits, of hay, of cattle-bells, of horse-clogs, of animals, of river-boats, 
of slaves, and even of freemen. All these thefts are punished with 
severity and are held by all to be base and shameful crimes. But 
there is a punishment of special severity for robbing a corpse which has 
been buried. The guilty person is outlawed, and is to be treated like a 
wild beast. 

The civilisation of these Franks is primitive ; they are, above all else, 
warriors. As to then* appearance, they brought their fair hair forward 
from the top of the head, leaving the back of the neck bare. On their 
faces they generally wore no hair but the moustache. They wore close- 
fitting garments, fastened with brooches, and bound in at the waist by a 
leather belt which was covered with bands of enamelled iron and clasped 
by an ornamental buckle. From this belt hung the long sword, the 
hanger or scramasax, and various articles of the toilet, such as scissors 
and combs made of bone. From it too was hung the single-bladed axe, 
the favourite weapon of the Franks, known as the frandsca, which they 
used both at close quarters and by hurling it at their enemies from a 
distance. They were also armed with a long lance or spear (Lat. framed} 
formed of an iron blade at the end of a long wooden shaft. For defence 
they carried a large shield, made of wood or wattles covered with skins, 
the centre of which was formed by a convex plate of metal, the boss 
(umbo), fastened by iron rods to the body of the shield. They were 
fond of jewellery, wearing gold finger-rings and armlets, and collars 
formed of beads of amber or glass or paste inlaid with colour. They 
were buried with their arms and ornaments, and many Frankish ceme- 
teries have been explored in which the dead were found fully armed, as 
if prepared for a great military review. The Franks were universally 
distinguished for courage. As Sidonius ApoUinaris wrote of them: 
"from their youth up war is their passion. If they are crushed by 
weight of numbers, or through being taken at a disadvantage, death 
may overwhelm them, but not fear." 

CH. x. 



THANKS to its geographically strong position, the Iberian peninsula had 
up till now escaped barbarian invasions ; when however the Roman troops 
stationed to protect the passes of the Pyrenees gave way to negligence, 
the Asdingian and Silingian Vandals, the (non-German) Alans, and the 
Sueves availed themselves of the favourable opportunity to cross the 
mountains (autumn 409) . For two whole years the four peoples wandered 
about devastating the flourishing country, especially the western and 
southern provinces, without settling anywhere ; it was only when famine 
and disease broke out and menaced their own existence that they were 
persuaded to more peaceful relations. They concluded a treaty in the 
year 411 with the Emperor, according to which they received land to 
settle on as foederati, i.e. as subjects of the Empire with the duty of 
defending Spain against attacks from without. The assignment of the 
provinces in which the different peoples should settle was decided by 
lot ; Galicia fell to the Asdingians and the Sueves, while the Silingians re- 
ceived Baetica (southern Spain), and the Alans, numerically the strongest 
people, Lusitania (Portugal) and Carthaginensis (capital Carthagena). 
Probably they divided the land with the Roman proprietors. The 
peace brought about in this way did not however last long; the 
t Imperial Government had professed only to regard the arrangement as 
a temporary expedient. As early as the year 416 the Visigoth king, 
Wallia, appeared in Spain with a considerable army to free the land 
from the barbarians in the name of the Emperor. First of all the 
Silingians were attacked and, after repeated combats, completely destroyed 
(418), their king, Fredbal, being carried to Italy as prisoner. As a 
tribal name the name of Asdingians disappears : it only survived as the 
appellation of members of the royal family. The Alans also, against 
whom Wallia next marched, were severely beaten and so much weakened 
that after the death of King Addac the people decided not to choose 
another head but to join the Asdingian Vandals, whose kings from that 
time bore the title Reges Vandalorum et Alanorum (418). Only the 
recall of Wallia (end of 418) saved the Asdingians and the Sueves 


419-430] Passage into Africa 305 

from the extermination which menaced them. The former rallied 
wonderfully : they first of all turned against their Suevian neighbours, 
then under the rule of Hermeric, who had once more made overtures 
to the Emperor, and pressed them back into the Cantabrian Mountains 
from which they were only extricated by a Roman army which hurriedly 
came to their assistance (419). Obliged to retreat to Baetica, the Vandals 
encountered in 421 or 422 a strong Roman army under Castinus, but 
owing to the treachery of the Visigoth troops who were fighting on the 
Roman side they gained a brilliant victory. This success immensely 
stimulated the power of the Vandals and their desire for expansion. 
They then laid the foundation of their maritime power, afterwards so 
formidable ; we understand that they infested the Balearic Isles and the 
coast of Mauretania in the year 425. At that time Carthagena and 
Seville, the last bulwarks of the Romans in southern Spain, also fell into 
their power. 

Three years later died Gunderic who had ruled over the Vandals 
since 406. He was succeeded on the throne by his brother Gaiseric 1 
(born about 400), one of the most famous figures in the Wandering of the 
Nations (428). A year after his accession Gaiseric led his people over 
to Africa. This undertaking sprang from the same political considera- 
tions as had earlier moved the Visigoth kings, Alaric and Wallia: the 
rulers of that province, whose main function it was to supply Italy with 
corn, had the fate of the Roman Empire in their hands, but they were 
themselves in an almost unassailable position so long as a good navy 
was at their disposal. The immediate occasion was furnished by the 
confusion which then reigned in Africa the revolt of the Moors, the 
revolutionary upheaval of the severely oppressed peasantry, the revolt 
of the ecclesiastical sects, particularly the Donatists (Circumcelliones), 
the manifest weakness of the Roman system of defence everywhere, and, 
finally, a quarrel between the military governor of Africa, Bonifacius, 
and the Imperial Government. The well-known story that Bonifacius 
himself had called the Vandals into the land to revenge the wrongs he 
had suffered is a fable, which first appeared in Roman authorities of a 
later time and was invented to veil the real reason. The crossing took 
place at Julia Traducta, now Tarifa, in May 429. Shortly before 
embarking the Vandal king turned back with a division of his army 
and totally defeated the Sueves in a bloody fight near Merida. The 
Sueves had taken advantage of the departure of their enemies to invade 
Lusitania. According to a trustworthy account, Gaiseric's people 
numbered at that time about 80,000 souls, i.e. about 15,000 armed men; 
their numbers were made up of Vandals, Alans, and Visigoth stragglers 
who had remained behind in Spain. 

The Germans first met with the sternest resistance when they 
entered Numidia in the year 430 : Bonifacius opposed them here with 
1 Correctly Gaisarix. The frequent form Genseric is philologically impossible. 

C. MBD. H. VOL. I. CH. XI. 20 

306 Capture of Carthage [430-441 

some hurriedly collected troops, but was defeated. The open country was 
then completely given over to the enemy, only a few forts Hippo 
Regius (now Bona), Cirta (Constantine), and Carthage were kept by 
the Romans, Hippo mainly through the influence of St Augustine who 
died during the siege 8 August 430. As it was impossible for 
the barbarians to take these strongholds owing to their inexperience 
in siege-work, and as the Romans in the meantime sent reinforcements 
under Aspar into Carthage by sea, Gaiseric, after heavy losses, resolved 
to enter into negotiations with the Emperor. On 11 Feb. 435, at 
Hippo Regius, a treaty was concluded with the imperial agent Trigetius, 
according to which the Vandals entered the service of the Empire as 
Joederati and were settled in the proconsulate of Numidia (capital Hippo), 
probably in the same way as earlier in Spain, for here too no formal 
cession of territory took place. 

Gaiseric, however, no doubt regarded the situation thus produced 
as only temporary. After he had again to some extent united his forces, 
he posed as a perfectly independent ruler in the district assigned to him. 
The arbitrary actions in which he indulged comprised the deposition of a 
number of orthodox clergy who had tried to hinder the performance of 
the Arian service. Vandal pirates scoured the Mediterranean and even 
plundered the coasts of Sicily in 437. But on 19 Oct. 439, Gaiseric 
unexpectedly attacked Carthage and captured the city without a stroke. 
The occupation was followed by a general pillage which naturally did 
not end without deeds of violence, even if we are not told of any 
deliberate destruction or damage to particular buildings. The Catholic 
clergy and the noble inhabitants of Carthage experienced the fate of 
banishment or slavery. All the churches inside the town as well as 
some outside were closed for orthodox services and given over to the 
Arian clergy together with the ecclesiastical property. 

Gaiseric must have expected that after these proceedings the Imperial 
Government would use every possible means of chastising the bold 
raiders of its most valuable province. To prevent this and to reduce 
the Western Empire to a state of permanent helplessness by continuously 
harassing it, he fitted out a powerful fleet in the harbour of Carthage in 
the spring of 440 with the special aim of attacking Sardinia and Sicily, 
which were now primarily relied upon to supply Italy with corn. 
Although extensive preparations for defence had been arranged the 
Vandals landed in Sicily without encountering any resistance and moved 
to and fro, burning and laying waste, but returned to Africa in the same 
year, 440, on hearing tidings of the approach of powerful Byzantine 
succours. The expected Greek fleet certainly appeared in Sicilian waters 
in 441, but the commanders wasted their time there in useless delay, 
and when the Persians and the Huns invaded the borderlands which 
had been denuded of troops, the whole fighting force was called back 
without having effected anything. Under these circumstances the 

442-455] Settlement in Africa 307 

Emperor of Western Rome found himself obliged to conclude a peace 
with Gaiseric, whose rule was officially recognised as independent, 442. 
It is stated by some authorities that xlfrica was divided between the 
two powers. The best parts of the country : Tingitian Mauretania (by 
which the Straits of Gibraltar were controlled), Zeugitana or Proconsu- 
laris, Byzacena and Numidia proconsularis fell to the Vandals, whilst 
Mauretania Caesariensis and Sitifensis, Cirtan Numidia and Tripolis 
remained to the Roman Empire. 

This treaty forms an important epoch in the history of the Vandals 
and marks the end of their migration. A final settlement of the 
conditions for colonisation now took place. The Vandals settled down 
definitely in the country districts of Zeugitana in the neighbourhood of 
Carthage. Military reasons, which made a settlement of the people 
desirable, especially in the neighbourhood of the capital city, as well as 
the circumstance that the most fertile arable land lay there, were of 
principal weight in this step. The former landowners as many as had 
not been slain or exiled during the conquest had to choose whether, 
after the loss of their property, they would make their home as freemen 
elsewhere or remain as servants, i.e. probably as coloni, on their former 
estates. The Catholic clergy, if they resided within the so-called Vandal 
allotment, met with the same fate as the landowners, a measure which 
was principally directed against their suspected political propaganda. 
In the other provinces and especially in the towns the Roman conditions 
of property remained as a rule undisturbed, although the Romans were 
considered as a subject people and the land the property of the State or 
the king. In order to deprive his enemies, internal or external, of every 
possible gathering-point, Gaiseric next had the fortifications of most of the 
towns demolished, with the exception of the Castle Septa in the Straits 
of Gibraltar, and the towns Hippo Regius and Carthage. The last was 
looked upon as the principal bulwark of the Vandal power. The 
sovereign position which Vandal power had now attained found expression 
in the legal dating of the regnal years from 19 Oct. 439, the date of 
the taking of Carthage, which was reckoned as New Year's Day. There 
is no trace here of any reckoning according to the consular years or 
indictions, as was the custom, for example, in the kingdom of the 
Burgundians, who continued to consider themselves formally as citizens 
of the Roman Empire. 

How powerful the kingdom of Gaiseric was at this epoch is seen 
from the fact that the Visigoth king, Theodoric I, sought to form 
alliance with him by marrying his daughter to the king's son Huneric, 
the heir-presumptive to the throne. This state of affairs however did 
not last long, for Gaiseric, under the pretext that his daughter-in-law 
wanted to poison him, sent her back to her father after having cut off 
her nose and her ears. Probably the dissolution of this coalition, so 
menacing to Rome, was brought about by a diplomatic move on the part 

CH. xi. 

308 The Sack of Rome [455 

of the West-Roman minister Aetius, who held out prospects to the king 
of the Vandals of a marriage between his son and a daughter of the 
Emperor Valentinian III. Although the projected wedding did not 
take place, friendly relations were begun between the Vandals and the 
Romans which lasted until the year 455. Gaiseric was even induced to 
allow the see of Carthage, which had been vacant since 439, to be again 

But this friendly connexion ceased at once when the Emperor 
Valentinian, the murderer of Aetius, was himself slain by that general's 
following (16 March 455). Gaiseric announced that he could not 
recognise the new Emperor Maximus, who had had a hand in the 
murders of Aetius and Valentinian and had forced the widowed Em- 
press Eudoxia to marry him, as a fit inheritor of the imperial throne. 
Under this pretext he immediately sailed to Italy with a large fleet, 
which seems to have been long since equipped in readiness for coming 
events. That he came in response to an appeal from Eudoxia cannot 
be for a moment supposed. Without meeting with any resistance the 
Vandals, amongst whom also were Moors, landed in the harbour of 
Portus, and marched along the Via Portuensis to the Eternal City. A 
great number of the inhabitants took to flight ; when Maximus prepared 
to do likewise he was killed by one of the soldiers of his body-guard 
(31 May). On June Gaiseric marched into Rome. At the Porta 
Portuensis he was received by Pope Leo I, who is said to have prevailed 
upon the king to refrain at least from fire and slaughter and content 
himself merely with plundering. 

The Vandals stayed a fortnight (June 455) in Rome, long enough to 
take all the treasures which had been left by the Visigoths in the year 410 
or restored since. First of all the imperial palace was fallen upon, all 
that was there was brought to the ships to adorn the royal residence in 
Carthage, among other things the insignia of imperial dignity. The 
same fate befell the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, of which even the 
half of the gilded roof was taken away. Among the plundered treasure 
the vessels of Solomon's Temple, formerly brought to Rome by Titus, 
took a conspicuous place. On the other hand, the Christian churches as 
a rule were spared. Murder and incendiarism also, as has been certainly 
proved, did not take place, neither was there any wanton destruction of 
buildings or works of art. It is therefore very unjust to brand Gaiseric's 
people with the word "Vandalism/' which indeed came into use in 
France no earlier than the end of the eighteenth century. Besides the 
enormous spoil which the Vandals carried away were numerous prisoners, 
in particular the widowed Empress Eudoxia with her two daughters, 
Eudoxia and Placidia, as well as Gaudentius, the son of Aetius. The 
Vandals and the Moors divided the prisoners between them on their 
return ; nevertheless Bishop Deogratias raised funds to ransom many of 
them by selling the vessels of the churches. 

455-460] Avitus and Majorian 309 

The capture of the Empress Eudoxia and her daughters gave the 
king valuable hostages against the hostile invasion of his kingdom 
which might now be expected. He was now fully master of the situation ; 
his personality is from this time the centre of Western history The 
Vandal fleet ruled the Mediterranean and cut off all supplies from Italy, 
so that a great famine broke out. In order to put an end to this 
intolerable state of affairs, Avitus the new Emperor of Western Rome 
(from 9 July 455) sent an embassy to Byzantium to induce the Emperor 
to take part in a joint attack against the Vandal Empire, for in an 
attack on Africa he could not dispense with the East-Roman fleet. But 
Marcian, probably influenced by the chief general Aspar, all-powerful 
in the East, still clung to inactivity and contented himself with asking 
Gaiseric to refrain from further hostilities towards Italy and to deliver 
up the prisoners of the imperial house, a proceeding which of course 
was quite ineffectual. 

The result of this lethargy on the part of both empires was that 
the Vandals were in a position to seize the rest of the African provinces 
belonging to Rome ; even the Moorish tribes seem to have acknowledged 
the Vandal sovereignty without positive resistance. Moreover Gaiseric 
made an alliance with the Spanish Sueves who had invaded and 
plundered the province of Tarraconensis (456) which belonged to the 
Roman Empire. At the same time a Vandal fleet laid waste Sicily and 
the bordering coast territory of South Italy. It is true that on land the 
Romans succeeded, under Ricimer, in defeating a hostile division at 
Agrigentum, as well as one at sea in Corsican waters, but these successes 
had no lasting effect, for the Vandals still commanded the Mediterranean 
as before. The populace, furious from the continued famine, compelled 
Avitus to fly to Gaul, where he died at the end of the year 456. 

His successor on the imperial throne, Majorian (from 1 April 457), 
at once began in real earnest to consider schemes for the destruction of 
the Vandal Empire. It might be looked upon as auspicious that not 
long after his accession a body of Roman troops succeeded in defeating 
a band of Vandals and Moors, led by Gaiseric's brother-in-law, who were 
engaged in desultory plunder in South Italy. The Emperor himself 
marched with a large army, which he had not got together without 
difficulty, from Italy to Gaul, in November 458, in order to exact 
recognition of his authority from the Visigoths and Burgundians who 
had seceded from Rome, and his success in this task at once rendered 
nugatory Gaiseric's conclusion of a Visigoth, Suevian, and Vandal alliance. 
In May 460 Majorian crossed the Pyrenees and moved upon Zaragoza 
to Carthagena in order to cross from thence to Africa. The force that 
had been raised was so impressive that the king of the Vandals did not 
feel himself a match for it and sent messengers to sue for peace. When 
peace was refused he laid waste Mauretania and poisoned the wells in 
order to delay the advance of the enemy as much as possible. The 

CH. XI. 

310 Majorian [460-468 

Roman attack, however, could not be carried out, for the Vandals 
managed by means of treachery to seize a great number of the Roman 
ships which were lying outside the naval harbour near the modern Elche 
Majorian had no alternative but to make peace with Gaiseric; his 
authority, however, was so shaken by this failure that he was divested 
of his dignity by Ricimer in August 461. 

The result of the elevation of a new Emperor, Libius Severus, was that 
Gaiseric once more declared the agreement he had but just made to be at 
an end. He again began his naval attacks on Italy and Sicily. The 
embassies sent to him by the West-Roman as well as by the Byzantine 
Emperor Leo had no further result than the deliverance of Valentinian's 
widow and her daughter Placidia, for he had previously given the elder 
princess Eudoxia to his son Huneric in marriage. The king received 
as ransom a part of the treasure of Valentinian. It also seems that an 
agreement was come to with the East-Roman Empire. On the other 
hand the hostile relations with West-Rome continued, for Ricimer 
refused to comply with Gaiseric's principal demand, the bestowal of the 
imperial throne of the West upon Olybrius, Huneric's brother-in-law. 
Every year in the beginning of spring detachments of the Vandal fleet 
left the African harbours to infest the Mediterranean coasts. Unpro- 
tected places were plundered and destroyed, while the garrisoned places 
were carefully avoided. 

The danger threatening the Western Empire reached its height 
when the commander Aegidius, who maintained an independent position 
in Gaul, made an alliance with Gaiseric and prepared to attack Italy in 
conjunction with him. This scheme was not carried out, for Aegidius 
died prematurely (464), but the situation still remained dangerous. 

These miserable conditions lasted until the end of 467. The 
energetic Emperor Leo had by this time succeeded in overcoming the 
influence of Aspar, who had always been a hindrance to hostile measures 
against the Vandals. He despatched a fleet under the command of 
Marcellinus to convey the newly-created Western Emperor Anthemius 
to Italy and afterwards proceed to Africa. But first he sent an embassy 
to Gaiseric to inform him of the accession of Anthemius and to threaten 
him with war unless he would relinquish his marauding expeditions. 
The king instantly refused the demand and declared the agreements 
made with Byzantium at an end. His ships no longer sought Italy, but 
the coasts of the Eastern Empire : Illyria, the Peloponnesus, and all 
the rest of Greece felt his powerful arm, and even Alexandria felt 
itself menaced. But when the attempt of Marcellinus to advance 
against Africa miscarried on account of contrary winds, Leo determined 
to make great warlike preparations and to destroy his terrible opponent 
at one blow. Eleven hundred ships were got together and an army 
of 100,000 men raised. The plan of campaign was to attack the Vandal 
Empire on three sides. The main army was to march under Basiliscus 

468-477] Last years of Gaiseric 311 

direct to Carthage, another body under Heraclius and Marsus was to 
advance overland from Egypt to the West, while Marcellinus with his 
fleet was to strike at the Vandal centre in the Mediterranean. But 
once more fortune favoured the Vandals. They succeeded under cover 
of night in surprising Basiliscus' fleet, which was already anchored at 
the Promontorium Mercurii (now Cape Bon), and destroyed a part 
of it by fire. The rest took to flight and scarcely one-half of the fine 
armada managed to escape to Sicily (468). The not unimportant 
successes which the other Byzantine generals had in the meantime 
achieved could not balance this catastrophe, and as a crowning mis- 
fortune the able Marcellinus when on the point of sailing for Carthage 
was murdered (August 468). Leo was therefore obliged to relinquish 
further undertakings and make peace once more with Gaiseric. 

The peace, however, only lasted a few years. After Leo's death 
(Jan. 474) the Vandals again devastated the coast of Greece in frequent 
expeditions. The Emperor Zeno, who was not prepared to punish the 
marauders, was obliged to sue for peace, and sent the Senator Severus 
to Carthage to superintend negotiations. It was agreed that the two 
empires from that time should not be hostile to each other. The king 
promised to guarantee freedom of worship to the Catholics in Carthage 
and to permit the return of the clergy who had been banished for 
political intrigues, although he could not be prevailed upon to allow 
a new appointment to the Carthaginian bishopric, vacant since 
Deogratias' death (457). Besides this he restored without ransom the 
Roman prisoners who had been allotted to him and his family, and gave 
Severus permission to buy back the slaves allotted as booty among the 
Vandals with the goodwill of their owners. In return the Byzantine 
Emperor, as the overlord of both halves of the Empire, no doubt formally 
recognised the Vandal kingdom in its then extent it comprised the 
entire Roman province of Africa, the Balearic Isles, Pithyusae, Corsica, 
Sardinia, and Sicily (autumn 476). Gaiseric soon afterwards made 
over Sicily to Odovacar in return for the payment of a yearly tribute, 
only reserving for himself the town of Lilybaeum, which had a strategical 
importance as a starting-point for Africa. 

On 25 January 477, Gaiseric died at a very great age after he 
had raised the Vandal Empire to the height of its power. What he 
accomplished, as general and politician, in his active life is beyond praise 
and is unreservedly acknowledged by contemporaries. On the other 
hand, a less favourable verdict must be pronounced on his statesmanship. 
The Empire he established was a hybrid State and therefore bore from 
the beginning the seeds of decay in itself. The nations under his rule 
were kept strictly separate from each other, and the possibility of an 
amalgamation, which might have been the foundation of a new political 
organisation, was thus prevented. Herein is seen the truth found by 
experience, that the existence of all kingdoms erected by conquest is 

CH. XI. 

312 Huneric and Guntkamund [477-487 

bound up with the life of their creator unless the latter can succeed 
in creating a united organism on a national, constitutional, or economic 

The decline was already noticeable under Gaiseric's eldest son and 
successor, Huneric, the husband of the imperial princess Eudoxia. The 
Moorish tribes living in the Aures mountains, after fighting for some 
time with varying fortune, succeeded at last in shaking off the Vandal 
rule. In a quarrel with the Eastern Empire over the surrender of 
Eudoxia's fortune, Huneric early gave in; he was even willing to 
permit the episcopal see at Carthage to be filled again (481) and grant 
the Catholics in his Empire still greater freedom of movement. Only 
when he learned that he had not to fear hostilities from Byzantium did 
he shew himself in his true colours, a tyrant of the worst, most blood- 
thirsty type. Then he raged against the members of his own house 
and against his father's friends. Some of them he banished, others he 
murdered in a horrible manner in order to secure the succession to his 
son Hilderic. When nothing more remained for him to do in this 
direction he proceeded to oppress his Catholic subjects. Among some 
of the measures taken by him the most important is the notorious 
Edict of 4 January 484, in which the king ordered that the edicts 
made by the Roman Emperors against heresy should be applied to all 
his Catholic subjects unless they adopted Arianism by 1 June in 
that year. Next, orthodox priests were forbidden to hold religious 
services, to possess churches or build new ones, to baptise, consecrate, 
and so forth, and they were especially forbidden to reside in any towns 
or villages. The property of all Catholic churches and the churches 
themselves were bestowed on the Arian clergy. Laymen were disabled 
from making or receiving gifts or legacies ; court officials of the Catholic 
creed were deprived of their dignity and declared infamous. For the 
several classes of the people graduated money-fines were established 
according to rank; but in case of persistence all were condemned to 
transportation and confiscation of property. Huneric gave the execution 
of these provisions into the hands of the Arian clergy, who carried out 
the punishments threatened with the most revolting cruelty, and even 
went beyond them. Repeated intervention on the part of the Emperor 
and the Pope remained quite ineffectual, for they confined themselves 
to representations. Perhaps Catholicism might have been quite rooted 
out in Africa if the king had not died prematurely on 3 December 484. 

Under his successor Gunthamund, better times began for the oppressed 
orthodox Church. As early as the year 487 most of the Catholic 
churches were opened again and the banished priests recalled. The 
reason for these changed circumstances lay partly in the personal 
character of the king, partly in the Emperor's separation from the Roman 
Church which appeared to debar Gunthamund's Catholic subjects from 
conspiring with Byzantium, and partly in the now ever-increasing 

484-523] Thrasamund 313 

dimensions of Moorish rebellion. Gunthamund was very fortunate in 
driving back these last to their haunts, but he did not succeed in com- 
pletely defeating them. He absolutely failed when he attempted to 
regain possession of Sicily during the struggle between Odovacar and 
Theodoric the Great. The expedition sent thither was expelled by the 
Ostrogoths, and the king was compelled even to relinquish the tribute 
which had hitherto been paid to him (491). 

Gunthamund died 3 September 496; Thrasamund his brother, 
distinguished for his beauty, amiability, wisdom, and general culture, 
succeeded him on the throne. He pursued yet a different course 
from that of his predecessors with regard to the Catholics. He tried, 
like Huneric, to spread Arianism in his kingdom, yet as a rule he avoided 
the violent measures to which that king had recourse. Thus several 
bishops, among whom was the bishop of Carthage, were once more 
banished, but they were well treated in their exile. His action was 
mainly due to religious fanaticism, for there was no ground for political 
suspicion, at least during the greater part of his reign; the king was 
on friendly terms with the schismatical Emperor Anastasius. After 
the accession of the orthodox Emperor Justin (518) Thrasamund's 
aversion to the Catholics is easier to understand, especially when 
the Emperor took steps to improve the position of the orthodox 
episcopate in Africa. The Vandal kingdom found a real support in 
the alliance with the Ostrogoths in Italy Theodoric the Great, swayed 
by the desire to bring about an alliance of all German princes of the 
Arian faith, wedded his widowed sister Amalafrida to Thrasamund, 
whose first wife had died childless ; she came to Carthage with a retinue 
of 1000 distinguished Goths as her body-guard as well as 5000 slaves 
capable of bearing arms, and brought her royal husband a dowry of the 
part of the island of Sicily round Lilybaeum (500). A temporary 
interruption occurred in the alliance between the two States in 510-511, 
because Thrasamund gave pecuniary support to Gesalech the pretender 
to the Visigothic throne, who was not recognised by Theodoric ; but on 
the representation of his brother-in-law he repented and apologised. 
Serious difficulties occurred in the Vandal kingdom once more through 
the Moors. The tribes of Tripolis really succeeded in making them- 
selves independent. At the end of his reign the king himself took the 
field against them, but suffered defeat. 

Thrasamund died on 6 May 523; he was succeeded by the al- 
ready aged, utterly effeminate son of Huneric and Eudoxia, Hilderic, 
who was averse from warfare. Thrasamund, having a presentiment of 
future events, had exacted an oath from him not to restore to the 
banished Catholics either their churches or their privileges, but Hilderic 
evaded his pledge, for even before his formal accession, he recalled the 
exiled clergy and ordered fresh elections in the place of those who had 
died. In foreign politics also the new king turned entirely from the system 

CH. xi. 

314 Hilderic [523-530 

hitherto followed, of alliance with the Ostrogoth kingdom, and entered 
into a close connexion with the Byzantine Empire where Justinian, the 
nephew of the ageing Emperor Justin, already practically wielded the 
sceptre. Inasmuch as he had coins struck bearing the effigy of Justin I, 
Hilderic formally gave the impression of recognising a kind of suzerainty 
of the Byzantine Empire. To the opposition of Amalafrida and her 
following he replied by slaughtering the Goths and flinging the sister 
of Theodoric into prison. To avenge this insult the Gothic king fitted 
out a strong fleet, but his death (526) prevented the despatch of the 
expedition, which would probably have been fatal to the Vandal kingdom. 
Theodoric's grandson and successor Athalarich, or rather his mother 
Amalasuntha, was content with making remonstrances, which of course 
received no attention. 

Though there was nothing to fear from the Ostrogoths, the danger 
from the Moors waxed ever greater. After the year 525 it appears that 
they had acquired control over Mauretania Caesariensis with the excep- 
tion of its capital city, of the Sitif ensis Province, and of southern Numidia 
as well Mauretania Tingitana had already been given up . But especially 
momentous in its wide-spread results was the rise of Antalas who at the 
head of some tribes in the southern part of Byzacene infested this 
province more and more, and at last severely defeated the relieving 
Vandal troops commanded by Oamer, a cousin of Hilderic. The dislike 
of the Vandals to their king, which had been existent long before this 
event, shewed itself fully at this failure. Hilderic was deposed by the 
defeated army on its return home and was imprisoned together with his 
followers, and in his stead the next heir to the throne Gelimer, 1 a great- 
grandson of Gaiseric, was called upon to rule (19 May 530). Doubtless 
this usurpation was mainly the result of Gelimer's ambition and love of 
power, but on the whole it was sustained by the will of the people. 
They were discontented with the policy hitherto pursued towards the 
Catholics and Byzantium as well as with the unwarlike, inconsistent 
character of Hilderic, who was to Teutonic ideas utterly unworthy of 

This course of events was most welcome to the Byzantine Emperor, 
who in any case had for some time past harboured some idea of the 
plan which later he definitely announced for joining all the lands 
belonging to the old Roman Empire under his own sceptre. Just as 
he afterwards posed as the avenger of Amalasuntha, so he now became 
the official protector of the rights of the deposed king of the Vandals. 
He asked Gelimer in the most courteous manner not openly to violate 
the law regarding the succession to the throne, which had been decreed 
by Gaiseric and had been always hitherto respected, but to be satisfied 
with the actual exercise of power and to let the old king, whose death 

1 More correctly Geilamir as the name reads in inscriptions and on coins. 

530-533] Gelimer 315 

might shortly be expected, remain as nominal ruler. Gelimer did not 
deign at first to answer the Emperor ; when, however, the latter took 
a sharper tone and demanded the surrender of the prisoners he haughtily 
rejected the interference, emphatically claimed validity for his own 
succession and declared that he was ready to oppose with the utmost 
vigour any attack which might occur. Justinian was now firmly resolved 
to bring matters to an armed decision, but first took steps to end the 
war which had been begun against the Persians. In the year 532 peace 
was concluded with them. 

The scheme directed against the Vandal kingdom found no approval 
from the body of crown councillors before whom Justinian laid it for an 
opinion. They objected to the chronic want of money in the state 
treasury and that the same fate might easily be prepared for the 
Byzantines as had befallen Basiliscus under Gaiseric The troops, too, 
which had just sustained the fatigues of the Persian campaign, were little 
fit to be again sent to an uncertain conflict against a powerful and 
famous kingdom on the other side of the sea. Justinian was almost 
persuaded to give up the undertaking when a fresh impulse, that of 
religion, made itself felt. An oriental bishop appeared at Court and 
declared that God himself had, in a dream, commanded him to reproach 
the Emperor on account of his indecision and to tell him that he might 
count on the support of Heaven if he would march forth to liberate the 
Christian (that is, the orthodox) people of Africa from the dominion of 
the heretics. 

Through this kind of influence on the part of the Catholic clergy, and 
through the endeavours of the Roman nobility who had been reinstated 
by Hilderic but driven forth again by Gelimer, Justinian was entirely 
brought round. Belisarius, previously commander-in-chief in the Persian 
war, was placed at the head of the expedition with unlimited authority. 
It was very fortunate for the Emperor that, in the first place, the Ostro- 
goth queen Amalasuntha declared for him and held out prospects of 
supplying provisions and horses in Sicily, and, further, that the Vandal 
governor of Sardinia, Godas, rose against Gelimer and asked for troops 
to enable him to hold his own, and finally that the population of 
Tripolis, led by a distinguished Roman, Prudentius, declared itself in 
favour of union with Byzantium. 

In June 533 the preparations for war were completed The army 
mustered reckoned 10,000 infantry under Johannes of Epidamnus and 
about 5000 cavalry, also the 5000 men of Belisarius* powerfully mounted 
guard, 400 Herds, and 600 Huns. The fleet was composed of 500 
transport vessels and 92 battleships under the command of Kalonymus. 
Among Belisarius' attendants was the historian Procopius of Caesarea, 
to whom we owe the vivid and trustworthy description of the campaign. 
The departure of the ships took place at the end of July, and the last 
hour of the kingdom which was once so powerful had struck. 

CH. XI. 

316 Vandals and Romans 

It is only in Africa that we are well acquainted with the internal 
circumstances of the Vandal kingdom ; for of the parallel conditions in 
the Spanish communities of the Sueves, Alans, and the Silingian and 
Asdingian Vandals we only know, at the present time, that they were 
under monarchical rule. The centre of Vandal rule in Africa was Carthage ; 
here all the threads of the government converged, here the king also 
held court. The Roman division of the land into provinces (Mauretania : 
Tingitana, Caesariensis, Sitif ensis ; Numidia ; Proconsularis or Zeugitana ; 
Byzacene; Tripolitana) remained the same. The districts assigned to 
the Vandals, the so-called "Sortes Vandalorum," were separated as 
especial commands. The governing people were the Vandals of the 
Asdingian branch which now alone survived, with whom were joined the 
Alans and contingents from different peoples, among whom in particular 
were Goths. The Alans, who probably were already Germanised at the 
time of the transference to Africa, seem to have maintained a kind of 
independence for a while, but in Procopius' time these foreign elements 
had become completely merged in the Vandals. The Romans were by 
far more numerous. These were by no means looked upon as having 
equal privileges, but were treated as conquered subjects according to the 
usages of war. Marriages between them and the Vandals were forbidden, 
as they were in all the German States founded on Roman soil except 
among the Franks. If, however, the hitherto existing arrangements 
outside the Vandal settlements remained the same in the main and 
indeed even the high offices were left in the hands of the Romans this 
only happened because the Vandal kings proved themselves incapable of 
providing a fresh political organisation. On the other hand, the numerous 
Moorish tribes were to a great extent held in only slight subjection. 
They retained their autonomy, as they did in the time of the Romans, 
but their princes received from the hands of the Vandal kings the 
insignia of their dignity. Under Gaiseric's stern government they 
conducted themselves quietly and completely left off their raids into 
civilised districts, which had occurred so frequently in the last years of the 
Roman rule, but even under Huneric they began with ever-increasing 
success to struggle for their independence. The destruction which befell 
the works of ancient civilisation in Africa must be placed to the account 
of the Moors, not of the Vandals. 

The first settlement of the Vandals in Africa was on the basis of a 
treaty with the Roman Empire, when the people were settled among the 
Roman landowners and as an equivalent became liable to land tax and 
military service. The land settlement which took place after the 
recognition of the Vandal sovereignty was carried out as by right, of 
conquest; the largest and most valuable estates of the country land- 
owners in the province of Zeugitana were taken possession of and given 
to individual Vandal households. Further particulars of the details are 
wanting, yet it is certain that the Roman organisation arranged on the- 

The Sortes Vandalorum 317 

basis of landed property grants was not disturbed. The property only 
changed hands, otherwise the conditions were the same as they had been 
under Roman government. Of the villa, the manor-house on the 
Roman estate, a Vandal with his family now took possession, and the 
coloni had to pay the necessary dues to the landed proprietor or his 
representative and render the usual compulsory service. The profits of 
the single estates were in any case on an average not insignificant, for 
they made the development of a luxurious mode of life possible even 
after an increase in the number of the population. The management of 
the estate was, as formerly, directed only in a minority of cases by the 
new masters themselves, for they lacked the necessary knowledge, and 
service in the Court and in the army compelled them to be absent 
frequently from their property. More often the management was 
entrusted to stewards or farmers (conductores) who were survivals from 
the earlier state of things. Nevertheless the position of the dependents 
of the manor, wherever they were directly under the Vandal rule, must 
have been materially improved in comparison with what it had been 
formerly, for we know from various authorities that the country people 
were in no way content with the reintroduction of the old system of 
oppression by the Byzantines after the fall of the Vandal kingdom. 

The Vandals like the other German races were divided into three 
classes slaves, freemen, and nobles. The nobleman as he now appears 
is a noble by service who derives his privileged position from serving the 
king, not as earlier from birth. The freemen comprised the bulk of 
the people, nevertheless they had, in comparison with earlier times, lost 
considerably in political importance while the rights of the popular 
assembly had devolved in the strengthened monarchy. The slaves were 
entirely without rights, they were reckoned not as persons but as 
alienable chattels. The position of the coloni who were taken over 
from the Roman settlement was wholly foreign to the Vandals; they 
remained tied to the soil but were personally free peasants who kept 
their former constitutional status. 

At the head of the State was the King, whose power had gradually 
become unlimited and differed but little from that of the Byzantine 
Roman Emperor. His full official title was Rex Vandalonim et Alanorum. 
His mark of distinction and that of his kindred was, as with the 
Merwings, long hair falling to the shoulders. While the earlier rulers 
dressed in the customary Vandal costume, Gelimer wore the purple 
mantle, like the Emperor. 

The succession to the throne was legally settled by Gaiseric's so-called 
testament. Gaiseric, who himself had obtained the throne through the 
choice of the people, ignoring probably the sons of his predecessor 
Gunderic, who were still minors, considered himself after he had fully 
grasped monarchical power as the new founder of the Vandal kingship, 
as the originator of a dynasty. The sovereignty was looked upon as an 

CU. XI. 

318 The King 

inheritance for his family over which no right of disposal belonged to 
the people. As however the existence of several heirs threatened the by 
no means solidly established kingdom with the risk of subdivision into 
several portions, Gaiseric established the principle of individual succession ; 
moreover he provided that the crown should pass to the eldest of his 
male issue at the time being. By this last provision the government of 
a minor, unable to bear arms, was made, humanly speaking, impossible. 
The Vandal kingdom was the first and for a long time the only State in 
which the idea of a permanent rule of succession came to be realised 
and rightly is Gaiseric's family statute reckoned in history among the 
most remarkable facts relating to public law. It remained valid until 
the end of the kingdom. Gaiseric himself was succeeded by his eldest 
son Huneric who was succeeded in turns by two of his nephews 
Gunthamund and Thrasamund, and only after the death of the latter 
came Huneric's son Hilderic. Gelimer obtained the throne, on the 
other hand, in a direct and irregular way, and his endeavours to represent 
himself to Justinian as a legitimate ruler did not succeed. 

The scope of the royal power comprised the national army, the 
convening of the assembly, justice, legislation and executive, the appoint- 
ments to the praefecture, the supreme control of finance, of police, and of 
the Church. Of any co-operation in the government by the people 
by the Vandals (not of course by the Romans) such as obtained in olden 
times, there is no sign whatever. 

The development of absolute government seems to have been com- 
pleted in the year 442 ; according to the brief but significant statements 
of our authorities several nobles, who had twice risen against the king 
because he had overstepped the limits of his authority, were put to 
death with a good many of the people. The origin of the royal power 
is traceable to God ; the dominant centre of the State is the king and 
his court. 

In war the king is in chief command over the troops and issues the 
summons to the weapon-bearing freemen. The arrangement of the 
army was, like that of the nation, by thousands and hundreds. Larger 
divisions of troops were placed under commanders appointed especially 
by the monarch and generally selected from the royal family. The 
Vandals had been even in their settlements in Hungary a nation of 
horsemen, and they remained so in Africa. They were chiefly armed 
with long spears and swords, and were little suited to long campaigns. 
Their principal strength lay in their fleet. The ships they commanded 
were usually small, lightly built, fast sailing cruisers which did not hold 
more than about 40 persons. In the great mobility of the army as well 
as of the navy lay the secret of the surprising successes which the 
Vandals achieved. But immediately after Gaiseric's death, a general 
military decline began. Enervated by the hot climate and the luxury 
into which they had been allured by the produce of a rich country, 

The Law 319 

they lost their warlike capacity more and more, and thus sank before 
the attack of the Byzantines in a manner almost unique in history. 

The king is the director of the whole external polity. He sends 
forth and receives envoys, concludes alliances, decides war and peace. 
On single and peculiarly important questions he may take counsel 
beforehand with the chiefs of his following, but the royal will alone is 

The Vandals were judged according to their national principles of 
jurisprudence in the separate hundred districts by the leaders of the 
thousands. Sentences for political offences were reserved for the king 
as executor of justice in the national assembly. Legal procedure for the 
Romans remained the same as before. Judgment was passed on trivial 
matters by the town magistrates, on greater by provincial governors 
according to Roman law but in the name of the king. Quarrels between 
Vandals and Romans were of course settled only in the Vandal court of 
justice according to the law of the victor. That the king often inter- 
fered arbitrarily in the regular legal proceedings of the Romans is not 
surprising, considering the state of affairs, but a similar arbitrary inter- 
ference among the Vandals is a circumstance of political importance : 
treason, treachery against the person of the king and his house, apostasy 
from the Arian Church come into prominence, so that the life and 
freedom of individuals were almost at the mercy of the monarch's 

The laws which the Vandal kings enacted were, as far as we know, 
for the most part directed against the Romans and the Catholics. In 
addition to the numerous edicts concerning religion the regulations 
issued against the immorality so wide-spread in Africa are especially 
worthy of remark, but like all regulations of the kind only possessed a 
temporary efficiency. On the other hand, the law of royal succession 
which we have already alluded to possessed universal validity. 

The officials in the service of the Court and State as also those in 
the Church are all subject to the royal power ; they are nominated by 
the monarch or at least confirmed by him, and can be deprived of their 
functions by peremptory royal decree. The members belonging to the 
household of the king represent different elements, spiritual and lay, 
German and Roman, free and unfree together. The highest official in 
the Vandal Court was the praepositus regni, whose importance lay entirely 
in the sphere of the government of the kingdom ; his position corresponded 
to that of a prime minister. As holders of this office appear, so far as 
is known, only persons of Teutonic nationality An important post was 
also that of head of the Chancery of the Cabinet, who had to draw up 
the king's written edicts and was besides frequently entrusted with 
different missions of especial political importance. The existence of a 
special Arian court clergy is to be inferred from the fact that at the 
princely courts house chaplains are mentioned. Besides these there 

CH. XI. 

320 The Officials 

lived permanently at the Vandal Court a supernumerary class of men 
who without holding any definite office enjoyed the favour of the king 
and were employed by him in different ways. A number of them seem 
to have borne the title comes as among the Franks, Ostrogoths, and 
others ; from among them were taken, for example, the envoys sent to 
foreign nations. Together with the provincial officials, who might be 
temporarily present at the Court, and the Arian bishops, the persons of 
principal position in the king's circle frequently co-operated in the 
decision of important questions of state affairs. As a general designation 
for these persons when they belonged to the laity the expression domestid 
appears. Admittance into the royal household required an oath of 

From among the king's circle were drawn the greater part of the 
higher officials in the provincial government, especially over the Vandals. 
The most important officers of the Vandals were the heads of the 
thousands (the chiliarchs, millenarii)> on whom devolved the management 
of the districts, i.e. the settlements of a thousand heads of families, in 
judicial, military, administrative, and fiscal respects. Outside the Vandal 
allotments the organisation of the Roman system in Africa still remained, 
with the exception of the military, and the duties of the separate offices 
were discharged by the Romans themselves. The only exceptions were 
the islands in the Mediterranean; Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic 
Isles were united into one province and placed under a governor of 
German nationality who resided in Sardinia and exercised both military 
and civil functions. 

The ruler has by virtue of his position absolute right over the 
revenue of the State; state property and royal private property are 
identical. A principal source of revenue is provided by the produce of 
royal domains, which in Roman Africa occupy a particularly important 
place. To this was added the taxes paid by the provincials, from which 
the Vandals themselves were entirely exempt. The burdens, however, 
cannot as a rule have been so oppressive as they were under the Roman 
rule, for later on, under the government of the Byzantines, the former 
more lenient conditions were regretted. Besides the taxes were to be 
taken into account the proceeds from the tolls, the right of coinage, 
fines, dues from mines and manufactures, and other unusual 

The Arian as well as the Catholic Church is subject to the royal 
power ; the appointment of bishops is dependent on the consent of the 
sovereign, the synods are convoked by the king and can only meet with 
his permission. The Asdingian Vandals in their seats in Hungary had 
clearly been already converted to Arianism, while the Silingians, Alans, 
and Sueves in the first phase of their Spanish career were still adherents 
of paganism. After the occupation of Africa the Catholic clergy were 
entirely expelled from the country districts in the province of Zeugitana 

Religion 321 

as well as from Carthage, and the vacant places were given over to the 
Arian clergy with the whole of the church property. In the other 
parts of the kingdom few or no Arian priests were to be found ; only 
under Huneric who presented the whole of the Catholic churches to the 
Arians (a measure which certainly was never wholly carried out) were 
they installed in greater numbers. The bishop residing in Carthage 
bore the title of Patriarch and exercised as metropolitan a supreme 
power over the whole of the Arian clergy. Since the Arian church- 
service was held in the vernacular as among the other Germans, the 
clergy were mostly of German nationality. 

The position of the Catholic Church was, as has been already remarked, 
very varied under the different rulers and very largely dependent on the 
state of foreign politics. In Africa, after the tumult of the conquest 
had passed over and the endowment of the Arian Established Church 
was put into effect, Gaiseric only proceeded against those adherents of 
orthodoxy from whom danger to the State was to be feared. The clergy 
beyond the Vandal allotment were closely supervised, but they were not 
molested if they did not oppose the royal will but confined themselves 
to the execution of their pastoral duties. The real persecutions began 
first under Huneric and were co