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Full text of "The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire"

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RIEBER HALL LIBRARY 



THE 



HISTORY 



OF 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OP THE 



ROMAN EMPIRE. 

By EDWABD GIBBON, Esq. 

WITH NOTES, 
By the Eev. H. H. MILMAN, 

PREBENDARY OF ST. PETER'S, AND RECTOR OF ST. MARGARET'S, WESTMINSTER. 

fs. NEW ^DITION, 
TO WHICH IS ADDED 

A COMPLETE INDEX OF THE WHOLE WORK. 

IN SIX VOLUMES. 
VOL. III. 



PHILADELPHIA-. 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., 

1880. 



Rieber Hall, 
Library 

CONTENTS 

OF THE THIRD VOLUME. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

BANNERS OP THE PASTORAL NATIONS. — PROGRESS OP THE HUNS PRO* 
CHINA TO EUROPE. — FLIGHT OP THE GOTHS. THEY PASS THE DAN- 
UBE. — GOTHIC WAR. — DEFEAT AND DEATH OP VALENS. — GRATIAN 
INVESTS THEODOSIUS WITH THE EASTERN EMPIRE. — HIS CHARACTER 
AND SUCCESS. — PEACE AND SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS. 

4.. D. PAGE. 

365. Earthquakes, 1 

376. The Huns and Goths, 3 

The pastoral Manners of the Scythians, or Tartars, 3 

Diet, 5 

Habitations, 6 

Exercises, 8 

Government, .' 10 

Situation and Extent of Scythia, or Tartary,. 12 

Original Seat of the Huns, 15 

Their Conquests in Scythia, 16 

A. C. 

201. Their Wars with the Chinese, 18 

141—87. Decline and Fall of the Huns, 19 

A. D. 

100. Their Emigrations, 21 

The White Huns of Sogdiana, 22 

The Huns of the Volga, 23 

Their Conquest of the Alani, 24 

375. Their Victories over the Goths, 26 

376. The Goths implore the Protection of Valens, 29 

They are transported over the Danube into the Roman Empire,. 31 

Their Distress and Discontent 34 

Iteyolt of the Goths in Majsia, and their first Victories, 36 

They penetrate into Thrace, 38 



iv CONTENTS. 

». D r»aa 

877- Operations of the Gothic War, 40 

Union of t.ie Goths with the Huns, Alani, &c 4i 

378. Victory of Gratian over the Alemanni, 44 

Valens marches against the Goths, 46 

Battle of Hadrianople, 49 

The Defeat of the Romans 49 

Death of the Emperor Valens, 60 

Funeral Oration of Valens and his Army 61 

The Goths besiege Hadrianople, 62 

878, 379. They ravage the Roman Provinces, 54 

37S. Massacre of the Gothic Youth in Asia, 66 

379. The Emperor Gratian invests Theodosius with the Empire of the 

East, 66 

Birth and Character of Theodosius 58 

379 — 382. His prudent and successful Conduct of the Gothic War,.... 60 

Divisions, Defeat, and Submission of the Goths, 63 

381. Death and Funeral of Athanaric 64 

S86. Invasion and Defeat of the Gruthungi, or Ostrogoths, 66 

383—395. Settlement of the Goths in Thrace and Asia 68 

Their hostile Sentiments, 70 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

DEATH OF GRATIAN. — RUIN OF ARIANISM. — ST. AMBROSE. — FIRST CIVIL 
WAR AGAINST MAXIMUS. — CHARACTER, ADMINISTRATION, AND PEN- 
ANCE OF THEODOSIUS. — DEATH OF VALENTINIAN II. — SECOND CIVIL 
WAR AGAINST EUOENIUS. — DEATH OF THEODOSIUS. 

879 — 383. Character and Conduct of the Emperor Gratian 72 

His Defects 72 

883. Discontent of the Roman Troops, 74 

Revolt of Maximus in Britain, 75 

883. Flight and Death of Gratian, 76 

383—387. Treaty of Peace between Maximus and Theodosius 78 

880. Baptism and Orthodox Edicts of Theodosius, 80 

840 — 380. Arianism of Constantinople, 82 

878. Gregory Nazianzen accepts the Mission of Constantinople 83 

380. Ruin of Arianism at Constantinople, 86 

881. Ruin of Arianism in the East, 87 

The Council of Constantinople, 88 

Retreat of Gregory Nazianzen 90 

880 — 394. Edicts of Theodosius against the Heretics 91 

885. Execution of Priscillian and his Associates 93 

174 — 397- Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan 96 



CONTENTS. f 

I O "OB, 

386 His successful Opposition to the Empress Justina, 97 

887. Maxhnus invades Italy, 103 

Flight of Valentinian, 103 

Theodosius takes Arms in the Cause of Valentinian, 103 

188. Defeat and Death of Maximus, 105 

Virtues of Theodosius, * 107 

Faults of Theodosius, ••• 109 

387. The Sedition of Antioch, 110 

Clemency of Theodosius, 112 

390. Sedition and Massacre of Thessalonica, US 

380. Influence and Conduct of Ambrose, 115 

390. Penance of Theodosius, 116 

388—391. Generosity of Theodosius, US 

391. Character of Valentinian 119 

392. His Death 121 

392 — 394. Usurpation of Eugenius 121 

Theodosius prepares for War, 122 

394. His Victory over Eugenius 124 

395. Death of Theodosius 127 

Corruption of the Times 128 

The Infantry lay aside their Armor, 129 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

FINAL DESTRUCTION OF PAGANISM. — INTRODUCTION OF THE WORSHW 
OE SAINTS AND RELICS AMONG THE CHRISTIANS. 

378—395. The Destruction of the Pagan Religion 131 

State of Paganism at Rome, • 132 

384. Petition of the Senate for the Altar of Victory, 134 

388 Conversion of Rome, 136 

381. Destruction of the Temples in the Provinces, 139 

The Temple of Serapis at Alexandria, 143 

389 Its final Destruction, 144 

390. The Pagan Religion is prohibited 148 

Oppressed, 150 

590-420. Finally extinguished, 152 

The Worship of the Christian Martyrs, 155 

General Reflections 157 

I. Fabulous Martyrs and Relics, 157 

II. Miracles, 158 

III. Revival of Polytheism 15* 

IV. Introduction of Pagan Ceremonies, 161 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

RNAL DIVISION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE BETWEEN THE SONS OF THRO 
DOSIUS. — REIGN OF ARCADIUS AND HONORIUS. — ADMIN ISTRATIOK 
Q#" RUFINUS AND STILICHO. — REVOLT AND DEFEAT OF OILDO IN 
AFRICA. 

A. D. no: 

395. Division of the Empire between Arcadius and Honorius 164 

386 — 395. Character and Administration of Rufinus, 165 

395. He oppresses the East, 163 

He is disappointed by the Marriage of Arcadius, 171 

Character of Stilicho, the Minister and General of the "Western 

Empire, 173 

385—408. His Military Command 174 

395. TheFall and Death of Rufinus 176 

396 Discord of the two Empires, 178 

386 -393. Revolt of Gildo in Africa, 180 

397. He is condemned by the Roman Senate 182 

398. The African War, 183 

398. Defeat and Death of Gildo, 185 

3S8. Marriage and Character of Honorius, 187 



CHAPTER XXX 

REVOLT OF THE GOTHS. — THEY PLUNDER GREECE. — TWO GREAT INVA- 
SIONS OF ITALY BY ALARIC AND RADAGAISUS. — THEY ARE REPULSED 
BY STILICHO. — THE GERMANS OVERRUN GAUL. — USURPATION OF 
CONSTANTINE IN THE WEST. — DISGRACE AND DEATH OF STILICHO. 

895. Revolt of the Goths, 190 

896. Alaric marches into Greece, 192 

897. He is attacked by Stilicho, 195 

Escapes to Epirus, 196 

898. Alaric is declared Master-General of the Eastern Illyricum 197 

Is proclaimed King of the Visigoths, 199 

400-403. He invades Italy 199 

403. Honorius flies from Milan, 201 

He is pursued and besieged by the Goths 203 

403. Battle of Pollentia, 206 

Boldness and Retreat of Alaric, 206 

404 The Triumph of Honorius at Rome, 208 

The Gladiators abolished, 209 

HoDOffioa fixes his Residence at Ravenna, 211 



CONTENTS. VU 

fc. » mob. 

400. The Revolutions of Scythia, 213 

406. Emigration of the Northern Germans, 214 

406. Radagaisus invades Italj', 216 

Radagaisus besieges Florence • 217 

Radagaisus threatens Rome 218 

s0€. Defeat and Destruction of his Army by Stilicho 218 

The Remainder of the Germans invade Gaul, 221 

407. Desolation of Gaul 22« 

Revolt of the British Army 223 

Constantine is acknowledged in Britain and Gaul, 226 

408. He reduces Spain, 227 

404—408. Negotiation of Alaric and Stilicho 229 

408. Debates of the Roman Senate, 230 

Intrigues of the Palace, 232 

408. Disgrace and Death of Stilicho 232 

His Memory persecuted, 23S 

The Poet Claudian among the Train of Stilicho's Dependants,.. 237 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

INVASION OF ITALY BY ALARIC. — MANNERS OF THE ROMAN 8ENATB 
AND PEOPLE. — ROME IS THRICE BESIEGED, AND AT LENGTH PIL- 
LAGED BY THE GOTHS. — DEATH OF ALARIC. — THE GOTHS EVACUATB 
ITALY. — FALL OF CONSTANTINE. — GAUL AND SPAIN ARE OCCUPIED 
BY THE BARBARIANS. — INDEPENDENCE OF BRITAIN. 

408. Weakness of the Court of Ravenna, 241 

Alaric marches to Rome, 242 

Hannibal at the Gates of Rome 244 

Genealogy of the Senators, 246 

The Anician Family, 247 

Wealth of the Roman Nobles, 24C 

Their Manners, 251 

Character of the Roman Nobles, by Ammianus Marcellinus, . . . . 252 

State and Character of the People of Rome, 2-59 

Public Distribution of Bread, Bacon, Oil, Wine, &c., 261 

Use of the public Baths 262 

Games and Spectacles, 263 

Populousness of Rome 265 

toa First Siege of Rome by the Goths, 268 

Famine, 289 

Plague, 270 

Superstition • • 270 

4M>. Alarie accepts a Ransom, and raises the Siege, •• 271 



nn CONTENTS. 

Fruitless Negotiations for Peace, 273 

Change and Succession of Ministers, 274 

409. Second Siege of Rome by the Goths 277 

Attalus is created Emperor by the Goths and Romans, 278 

110. He is degraded by Alaric, 280 

Third Siege and Sack of Rome by the Goths, 281 

Respect of the Goths for the Christian Religion, 282 

Pillage and Fire of Rome .■ 284 

Captives and Fugitives, 287 

Sack of Rome by the Troops of Charles V., 239 

410. Alaric evacuates Rome, and ravages Italy, 291 

408—412. Possession of Italy by the Goths 293 

410. Death of Alaric, 294 

412. Adolphus, King of the Goths, concludes a Peace with the Em- 

pire, and marches into Gaul, .' 294 

414. His Marriage with Placidia, 296 

The Gothic Treasures, 298 

410 — 417. Laws for the Relief of Italy and Rome, 299 

413. Revolt and Defeat of Heraclian, Count of Africa, 300 

409^13. Revolutions of Gaul and Spain, 302 

Character and Victories of the General Constantius, 303 

411. Death of the Usurper Constantine, 305 

411 — 416. Fall of the Usurpers, Jovinus, Sebastian, and Attalus, .... 305 
409. Invasion of Spain by the Sueva, Vandals, Alani, &c. 307 

414. Adolphus, King of the Goths, marches into Spain, 309 

415. His Death 310 

415—418. The Goths conquer and restore Spain, 311 

419. Their Establishment in Aqui tain, 312 

The Burgundians, 313 

420, &c. State of the Barbarians in Gaul, 314 

409. Revolt of Britain and Armorica 315 

409—449. State of Britain, 317 

418. Assembly of the Seven Provinces of Gaul, 320 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

«.HCADrUS EMPEROR OF THE EAST. — ADMINISTRATION AND DISORACH 
OP EUTROPIUS. — REVOLT OF OAINAS. — PERSECUTION OF ST. JOHN 
CHRTSOSTOM. — THEODOSIUS II. EMPEROR OF THE EAST. — HIS SISTER 
PDLCHERIA. — HIS WIFE EUDOCIA. — THE PERSIAN WAR, AND DIVIS- 
ION OP ARMENIA. 

J85— 1453. The Empire of the East 322 

»5— 408. Reign of Arcadius, 329 



CONTENTS. a 

»• B, riau. 

996 — 399. Administration and Character of Eutropius 324 

His Venality and Injustice 32? 

Ruin of Abundantius 327 

Destruction of Timasius, 328 

397. A cruel and unjust Law of Treason, 329 

399. Rebellion of Tribigild, 331 

Fall of Eutropius 334 

400. Conspiracy and Fall of Gainas 336 

398. Election and Merit of St. John Chrysostom, 339 

398 — 403. His Administration and Defects, 34' 

403. Chrysostom is persecuted by the Empress Eudoxia, 34b 

Popular Tumults at Constantinople, 344 

404. Exile of Chrysostom, 346 

407. His Death, 347 

438. His Relics transported to Constantinople, 347 

408. Death of Arcadius, 347 

His supposed Testament, 349 

40S — 415. Administration of Anthemius, 349 

41 i — 453. Character and Administration of Pulcheria, 351 

Education and Character of Theodosius the Younger, 353 

421 — 460. Character and Adventures of the Empress Eudocia 854 

422. The Persian War 357 

431 — 440. Armenia divided between the Persians and the Romans,.. 359 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

DEATH OF HONORIU8. — VALENTINIAN III. EMPEROR OP THE WEST. — 
ADMINISTRATION OF HIS MOTHER PLACIDIA. — .BTIUS AND BONIFACE. 
— CONQUEST OF AFRICA BY THE VANDALS. 

423. Last Years and Death of Honorius, 363 

423—425. Elevation and Fall of the Usurper John, 364 

425-^55. Valentinian III. Emperor of the West, 365 

425 — 450. Administration of his Mother Placidia, 367 

Her two Generals. ^Etius and Boniface, 367 

427. Error and Revolt of Boniface in Africa, 369 

428. He invites the Vandals ,. 369 

Genseric King of the Vandals, 370 

429. He lands in Africa, S71 

Reviews his Army 371 

The Moors, 372 

The Donatists, 372 

430. Tardy Repentance of Boniface, ?74 

54* 



8 CONTENTS. 

Desolation of Africa, 874 

430. Piege of Hippo 37* 

430. Death of St. Augustin, 376 

431. Defeat and Retreat of Boniface, 377 

432. His Death, 378 

431--439. Progress of the Vandals in Africa 379 

439. They surprise Carthage, ••• 360 

African Exiles and Captives, • 381 

Fable of the Seven Sleepers 383 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE CHARACTER, CONQUEST8, AND COURT OP ATTILA, KINO OP THE 
HUNS. — DEATH OP THEODOSIUS THE YOUNGER. — ELEVATION OP 
MARCIAN TO THE EMPIRE OF THE EAST. 

376-433. TheHuns, 386 

Their Establishment in modern Hungary 386 

433—453. Reign of Attila 388 

His Figure and Character, 389 

He discovers the Sword of Mars, 390 

Acquires the Empire of Scy thia and Germany, 391 

430—440. The Huns invade Persia, 392 

441, &c. They attack the Eastern Empire >.... 394 

Ravage Europe as far as Constantinople 396 

The Scythian or Tartar Wars 397 

State of the Captives, 399 

446. Treaty of Peace between Attila and the Eastern Empire, 401 

Spirit of the Azimuntines, 403 

Embassies from Attila to Constantinople, 404 

448. The Embassy of Maximin to Attila, 406 

The royal Village and Palace 409 

The Behavior of Attila to the Raman Ambassadors, 411 

The royal Feast, 412 

Conspiracy of the Romans against the Life of Attila, 416 

He reprimands and forgives the Emperor, 417 

450. Theodosius the Younger dies 418 

Is succeeded by Marcian, 419 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

INVASION OF GAUL BY ATTILA. — HE IS REPULSED BY JETIUS AND TBJi 
VI8IOOTHS. — ATTILA INVADES AND EVACUATES ITALY. — THE DBA.THB 
OP ATTILA, JiTIUS, AND VALENTINIAN III. 

«, D. 'AGS. 

450. Attila threatens both Empires, and prepares to invade Gaul 429 

435—454. Character and Administration of iEtius, 421 

His Connection with the Huns and Alani,. ..." 425 

419- 451. The Visigoths in Gaul under the Reign of Theodoric, .... 425 
435- 439. The Goths besiege Narbonne, &c.,..'. 425 

420- 451. The Franks in Gaul under the Merovingian Kings 428 

The Adventures of the Princess Honoria 431 

451 Attila invades Gaul, and besieges Orleans, 433 

Alliance of the Romans and Visigoths 435 

Attila retires to the Plains of Champagne 437 

Battle of Chalons, 439 

Retreat of Attila 441 

452 Invasion of Italy by Attila, 443 

Foundation of the Republic of Venice, 446 

Attila gives Peace to the Romans, 448 

45H. The Death of Attila, 451 

Destruction of his Empire, 452 

454. Valentinian murders the Patrician ^Etius, 454 

Valentinian ravishes the Wife of Maximus, 456 

455. Death of Valentinian, 457 

Symptoms of the Decay and Ruin of the Roman Government,. . 457 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

SACK OF ROME BY GENSERIC, KING OF THE VANDALS. — HIS NAVAL 
DEPREDATIONS. — SUCCESSION OF THE LAST EMPERORS OF THE WEST, 
MAXIMUS, AVITUS, MAJORIAN, SEVERUS, ANTHEMIUS, OLYBKIU8, GLY- 
CERIUS, NEPOS, AUGUSTULUS. — TOTAL EXTINCTION OF THE WESTERN 
EMPIRE. — REIGN OF ODOACER, THE FIRST BARBARIAN KING OP 
ITALY. 



439_445. Naval Power of the Vandals, « 459 

455. The Character and Reign of the Emperor Maximus, 460 

455. His Death, 46 * 

455. Sack of Rome by the Vandals, 463 

The Emperor Avitus 465 

460 — 406. Character of Theodorio, King of the Visigotns 467 



JU1 CONTENTS. 

«~ » man, 
456. His Expedition into Spain, 468 

456. Avitus is deposed, 471 

467. Character and Elevation of Majorian, 473 

467—461. His salutary Laws 47« 

The Edifices of Rome, 478 

457. Majorian prepares to invade Africa, 479 

The Loss of his Fleet, 483 

461. His Death, , 483 

461 — 467. Ricimer reigns under the Name of Severus, 484 

Revolt of Marce-llinus in Dalmatia, 484 

Revolt of JSgidius in Gaul, 48o 

461—467. Naval War of the Vandals, 486 

462, &c. Negotiations with the Eastern Empire, 487 

457—474. Leo, Emperor of the East, 488 

467—472. Anthemius, Emperor of the West, 490 

The Festival of the Lupercalia, 492 

468. Preparations against the Vandals of Africa, 494 

Failure of the Expedition, 496 

462 — 472. Conquests of the Visigoths in Spain and Gaul, 498 

468. Trial of Arvandus, 500 

471. Discord of Anthemius and Ricimer 502 

472. Olybrius, Emperor of the West 504 

472. Sack of Rome, and Death of Anthemius, 505 

Death of Ricimer, 506 

Death of Olybrius, 506 

472 — 475. Julius Nepos and Glycerius, Emperors of the West, 507 

475. The Patrician Orestes, 508 

476. His Son Augustulus, the last Emperor of the West, 509 

476-490. Odoacer, King of Italy, 510 

476 or 479. Extinction of the Western Empire, 512 

Augustulus is banished to the Lucullan Villa 513 

Decay of the Roman Spirit, 615 

476—490. Character and Reign of Odoacer 516 

Miserable State of Italy, 617 



CHAPTER AAXVu. 

OHIOIN, PROGRESS, AND EFFECTS OF THE MONASTIC LIFE. — CONVERSES 
OF THE BARBARIANS TO CHRISTIANITY AND ARIANISM. — PERSECU- 
TION OP THE VANDALS IN AFRICA. — EXTINCTION OP ARIANISM 
AMONG THE BARBARIANS. 

I. Institution of the Monastic Life, 520 

Origin of the Monks 620 



CONTENTS. XU1 

* o nut. 

BOS. Antony, and the Monks of Egypt 622 

841. Propagation of the Monastic Life at Rome 524 

321. Hilarion in Palestine, 524 

360. Basil in Pontus, 624 

8?0, Martin in Gaul 626 

Causes of *he rapid Progress of the Monastic Life 626 

Obedience af the Monks, 528 

Their Dress and Habitations, 53C 

Their Diet 631 

Their manual Labor 63? 

Their Riches 633 

Their Solitude, 53£ 

Their Devotion and Visions 536 

The Coenobites and Anachorets, 537 

395-451. Simeon Stylites, 538 

Miracles and Worship of the Monks, 539 

Superstition of the Age, 540 

II. Conversion of the Barbarians, 540 

360, &c. Ulphilas, Apostle of the Goths 541 

400, &c. The Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, &c, embrace Christianity, 543 

Motives of their Faith 543 

Effects of their Conversion, , 545 

They are involved in the Arian Heresy, 546 

General Toleration, 548 

Arian Persecution of the Vandals, 548 

429—477. Genseric 548 

177. Hunneric 649 

484. Gundamund, 549 

496. Thrasimund 549 

523. Hilderic 549 

630. Gelimer, 549 

A general View of the Persecution in Africa , 550 

Catholic Frauds 555 

Miracles, 557 

f-90 —700. The Ruin of Ananism among the Barbarians, 659 

«*77 — 584. Revolt and Martyrdom of Hermenegild in Spain, 5&d 

586 -589. Conversion of Recared and the Visigoths of Spain, 660 

600 &c. Conversion of the Lombards of Italy, 562 

512-712. Persecution of the Jews in Spain, Wv* 

Conclusion, . , 564 



MP CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

SXtON AND CONVERSION OF CLOVIS. — HIS VICTOHIE8 OVER THE 4LE- 
MANNI, BUKOUNDIANS, AND VISIOOTH8. — ESTABLISHMENT OP JTHB 
FRENCH MONARCHY IN GAUL. — LAWS OF THE BARBARIANS. — STATB 
OF THE ROMANS. — THE VISIGOTHS OF SPAIN. — CONQUEST OF B37TA1N 
BT THE SAXONS. 

*. t» »»«■• 

The Revolution of Gaul, 566 

476—485. Euric.Kingof the Visigoths, 567 

481—511. Clovis, King of the Franks, 568 

486. His Victory over Syagrius, 570 

496. Defeat and Submission of the Alemanni, 572 

496. Conversion of Clovis, 573 

497, &c Submission of the Armoricans and the Roman Troops, 576 

499. The Burgundian War, 578 

600. Victoryof Clovis, 579 

632. Final Conquest of Burgundy by the Franks 580 

607. The Gothic War 581 

Victory of Clovis, 583 

608. Conquest of Aquitain by the Franks 585 

610. Consulship of Clovis, 587 

636. Final Establishment of the French Monarchy in Gaul 587 

Political Controversy, ' 589 

Laws of the Barbarians, 590 

Pecuniary Fines for Homicide 593 

Judgments of God, 695 

Judicial Combats, , 596 

Division of Land by the Barbarians 597 

Domain and Benefices of the Merovingians, 599 

Private Usurpations • 601 

Personal Servitude 602 

Example of Auvergne, 604 

Story of Attalus, 606 

Privileges of the Romans in Gaul 608 

Anarchy of the Franks 610 

The Visigoths of Spain, 6W 

Legislative Assemblies of Spain 612 

Code of the Visigoths 6l4 

Revolution of Britain, 615 

449. Descent of the Saxons, 618 

165—682. Establishment of the Saxon Heptarchy, 617 

State of the Britons, fiW 

Their Resistance, 62 ° 



CONTENTS. XV 

A D. PAGE. 

Their Flight, -.. 620 

The Fame of Arthur, 622 

Desolation of Britain, 624 

Servitude of the Britons, 626 

Manners of the Britons, 628 

Obscure or fabulous State of Britain 629 

Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, 631 

SajTBiiaL Observations on the Fall o» the Roman Emplrb 

tn thh West f ........ 633 



THE HISTORY 



OF 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OF THE 



ROMAN EMPIRE. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

MANNERS OF THE PASTORAL NATIONS. — PROGRESS OP THJJ 
HUNS, FROM CHINA TO EUROPE. — FLIGHT OF THE GOTHS. 
— THEY PASS THE DANUBE. — GOTHIC WAR. — DEFEAT AND 
DEATH OF VALENS. — GRATIAN INVESTS THEODOSIUS WITH 

THE EASTERN EMPIRE. HIS CHARACTER AND SUCCESS. 

PEACE AND SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS. 

In the second year of the reign of Valentinian and Valeng, 
Dn the morning of the twenty-first day of July, the greatest 
part of the Roman world was shaken by a violent and de- 
structive earthquake. The impression was communicated to 
the waters ; the shores of the Mediterranean were left dry, 
by the sudden retreat of the sea ; great quantities of fish 
were caught with the hand ; large vessels were stranded on, 
the mud; and a curious spectator 1 amused his eye, or rather 
his fancy, by contemplating the various appearance of valleys 
and mountains, which had never, since the formation of the 

1 Such is the bad taste of Ammianus, (xxvi. 10,) that it is not 
easy to distinguish his facts from his metaphors. Yet lie positively 
affirms, that he 6aw the rotten carcass of a ship, ad secundum lapir 
4cm, at Mothone, or Modon, in Peloponnesus. 

1 



2 TKE DECLINE AND FALL 

globe, been exposed to the sun. But the tide soon returned, 
with the weight of an immense and irresistible deluge, which 
was severely felt on the coasts of Sicily, of Dalmatia, of 
Greece, and of Egypt : large boats were transported, and 
lodged on the roofs of houses, or at the distance of two miles 
from the shore ; the people, with their habitations, were swept 
away by the waters ; and the city of Alexandria annually 
commemorated the fatal day, on which fifty thousand persona 
had lost their lives in the inundation. This calamity, the 
report of which was magnified from one province to another, 
astonished and terrified the subjects of Rome ; and their 
affrighted imagination enlarged the real extent of a moment- 
ary evil. They recollected the preceding earthquakes, which 
had subverted the cities of Palestine and Bithynia : they con 
sidered these alarming strokes as the prelude only of still 
more dreadful calamities, and their fearful vanity was dis- 
posed to confound the symptoms of a declining empire and a 
sinking world. 2 It was the fashion of the times to attribute 
every remarkable event to the particular will of the Deity ; 
the alterations of nature were connected, by an invisible 
chain, with the moral and metaphysical opinions of the 
human mind ; and the most sagacious divines could distin 
guish, according to the color of their respective prejudices, 
that the establishment of heresy tended to produce an earth- 
quake ; or that a deluge was the inevitable consequence of 
the progress of sin and error. Without presuming to discuss 
the truth or propriety of these lofty speculations, the nistorian 
may content himself with an observation, which seems to be 
justified by experience, that man has much more to fear from 
the passions of his fellow-creatures, than from the convulsions 
of the elements. 3 The mischievous effects of an earthquake, 
or deluge, a hurricane, or the eruption of a volcano, bear a 
very inconsiderable proportion to the ordinary calamities of 

8 Tiie earthquakes and inundations are variously described by 
I/ibanius, (Orat. de ulciscenda JuUani nece, c. x., in Fabricius, Bibl. 
Grsec. torn. vii. p. 158, with a learned note of Olcarius,) Zosimus, 
(1. iv. p. 221,) Sozomen, (1. vi. c. 2,) Ccdrenus, (p. 310, 314,) and 
Jerom, (in Chron. p. 186, and torn. i. p. 2.50, in Vit. Hilarion.) Epi- 
daurus must have been overwhelmed, had not the prudent citizens 
placed St. Hilarion, an Egyptian monk, on the beach. He made the 
sign of the cross : the mountain-wave stopped, bowed, and returned. 

3 Dicasarchus, the Peripatetic, composed a formal treatise, to prove 
this obvious truth ; which is not the nost honorable to the humaD 
species. (Cicero, de Officiis, ii. 5.) 



OF THE RGM^N EMPIRE. 3 

war, as they are now moderated by the prudence or humanity 
of the princes of Europe, who amuse their own leisure, and 
exercise the courage of their subjects, in the practice of the 
military art. But the laws and manners of modern nations 
protect the safety and freedom of the vanquished soldier ; and 
the peaceful citizen has seldom reason to complain, that hi? 
life, or even his fortune, is exposed to the rage of war. In 
the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, which 
may justly be dated from the reign of Valens, the happiness 
and security of each individual were personally attacked ; and 
the arts and labors of ages were rudely defaced by the Bar- 
barians of Scythia and Germany. The invasion of the Huns 
precipitated on the provinces of the West the Gothic nation, 
which advanced, in less than forty years, from the Danube to 
the Atlantic, and opened a way, by the success of their arms, 
to the inroads of so many hostile tribes, more savage than 
themselves. The original principle of motion was concealed 
in the remote countries of the North ; and the curious obser* 
vation of the pastoral life of the Scythians, 4 or Tartars, 5 will 
illustrate the latent cause of these destructive emigrations. 

The different characters that mark the civilized nations of 
the globe, may be ascribed to the use, and the abus>e, of rea- 
son; which so variously shapes, and so artificially composes, 
the manners and opinions of a European, or a Chinese. But 
the operation of instinct is more sure and simple than that of 
reason : it is much easier to ascertain the appetites of a quad- 
ruped than the speculations of a philosopher; and the savage 
tribes of mankind, as they approach nearer to the condition 

4 The original Scythians of Herodotus (1. iv. c. 47- -57, 99—101) 
were confined, by the Danube and the Palus Maeotis, within a square 
of 4009"5tadia, (400 Roman miles.) See D'Anville (Mem. de l'Acada- 
mie, torn. xxxv. p. 573 — 591.) Diodorus Siculus (torn. i. 1. ii. p. 155, 
edit. Wesseling) has marked the gradual progress of the name and 
nation. 

6 The Tatars, or Tartars, were a primitive tribe, the rivals, and at 
length the subjects, of the Moguls.* In the victorious armies of Zin- 
gis Khan, and his siiccessors, the Tartars formed the vanguard ; and 
the name, which first reached the ears of foreigners, was applied to 
the whole nation, (Freret, in the Hist, de 1' Academic, torn, xviii. p. 60.) 
In speaking of all, or any of the northern shepherds of Europe, or 
Asia, I indifferently use the appellations of Scythians, or Tartars. 



• The Moguls, (Mongols,) according to M. Klaproth, are a tribe of th« 
Tatar nation. Tableaux H'st. de l'Asie, p. 154. — M. 



4 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of animals, preserve a stronger resemblance to themselves 
and to each other. The uniform stability of their manners ia 
the natural consequence of the imperfection of their faculties. 
Reduced to a similar situation, their wants, their desires, their 
enjoyments, still coi tinue the same : and the influence of food 
or climate, which, in a more improved state of society, is sus- 
pended, or subdued, by so many moral causes, most power- 
fully contributes to form, and to maintain, the national char* 
acter of Barbarians. In every age, the immense plains of 
Scythia, or Tartary, have been inhabited by vagrant tribes of 
hunters and shepherds, whose indolence refuses to cultivate 
the earth, and whose restless spirit disdains the confinement 
of a sedentary life. In every age, the Scythians, and Tartars, 
have been renowned for their invincible courage and rapid 
conquests. The thrones of Asia have been repeatedly over- 
turned by the shepherds of the North ; and their arms have 
spread terror and devastation over the most fertile and war- 
like countries of Europe. 6 On this occasion, as well as on 
many others, the sober historian is forcibly awakened from a 
pleasing vision ;. and is compelled, with some reluctance, to 
confess, that the pastoral manners, which have been adorned 
with the fairest attributes of peace and innocence, are much 
better adapted to the fierce and cruel habits of a military life. 
To illustrate this observation, I shall now proceed to consider 
a nation of shepherds and of warriors, in the three important 
articles of, I. Their diet; II. Their habitations; and, III. 
Their exercises. The narratives of antiquity are justified by 
the experience of modern times; 7 and the banks of the Borys- 

8 Imperium Asiae ter quaesivere : ipsi perpetuo ab alieno imperio, 
aut intacti aut invicti, mansere. Since the time of Justin, (ii. 2) 
they have multiplied this account. Voltaire, in a few words, (torn. 
x. p. 64, Hist. Gen6rale, c. 156,) has abridged the Tartar conquests. 

Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar. 

Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war.* 

7 The fourth book of Herodotus affords a curious, though imper- 
fect, portrait of the Scythians. Among the moderns, who describe 
the uniform scene, the Khan of Khowarcsm, Abulghazi Bahadur, 
expresses his native feelings ; and his genealogical history of the Ta- 
tars has been copiously illustrated by the French and English editors. 
Carpin, Ascelin, and Itubruquis (in the Hist, des Voyages, torn, vii.) 
represent the Moguls of the fourteenth century. To these guides I 
have added Gerbillon, and the other Jesuits, (Description de la Chine. 

• Gray. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. » 

thenes, of the Volga, or of the Selinga, will indifferently pre- 
sent the same uniform spectacle of similar and native man* 
ners. 8 

I. The corn, or even the rice, which constitutes the ordi- 
nary and wholesome food of a civilized peoply, can be 
obtained only by the patient toil of the husbandman. Some 
of the happy savages, who dwell between the tropics, are 
plentifully nourished by the liberality of nature ; but in the 
climates of the North, a nation of shepherds is reduced to 
their flocks and herds. The skilful practitioners of the 
medical art will determine (if they are able to determine) 
how far the temper of the human mind may be affected by 
the use of animal, or of vegetable, food ; and whether the 
common association of carnivorous and cruel deserves to be 
considered in any other light than that of an innocent, perhaps 
a salutary, prejudice of humanity. 9 Yet if it be true, that 
the sentiment of compassion is imperceptibly weakened by 
the sight and practice of domestic cruelty, we may observe, 
that the horrid objects which are disguised by the arts of 
European refinement, are exhibited in their naked and most 
disgusting simplicity in the tent of a Tartarian shepherd. 
The ox, or the sheep, are slaughtered by the same hand from 
which they were accustomed to receive their daily food ; and 
the bleeding limbs are served, with very little preparation, on 
the table of their unfeeling murderer. In the military pro- 
fession, and especially in the conduct of a numerous army, 
the exclusive use of animal food appears to be productive of 

par du Halde, torn, iv.,) who accurately surveyed the Chinese Tar- 
tary ; and that honest and intelligent traveller, Bell, of Antermony 
(two volumes in 4to. Glasgow, 1763.)* 

8 The Uzbeks are the most altered from their primitive manners ; 
1. By the profession of the Mahometan religion ; and 2. By the pos- 
session of the cities and harvests of the great Bucharia. 

9 II est certain que les grands mangeurs de vi'ande sont en general 
cruels et fcroces plus que les autres hommes. Cette observation est 
de tous les lieux, et de tous les temps : la barbaric Angloise est connue, 
&c. Emile de Rousseau, torn. i. p. 274. "Whatever we may think of 
the general observation, toe shall not easily allow the truth of his 
txample. The good-natured complaints of Plutarch, and the pathet- 
ic lamentations of Ovid, seduce our reason, by exciting our sensi- 
bility. 

* Of the various works published since the time of Gibbrn, which throw 
light on the nomadic population of Central Asia, may be particulaily 
remarked the Travels and Dissertations of Pallas ; and above all, the verj 
curious work of Bergman, Nomadische Streifereyen. Riga, 1305. — M. 



6 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the most solid advantages. Corn is a bulky and perishable 
commodity ; and the large magazines, wh'ch are indispen- 
sably necessary for the subsistence of our troops, must be 
slowly transported by the labor of men or horses. But tho 
flocks and* herds, which accompany the march of the Tartars, 
afford a sure and increasing supply of flesh and milk : in the 
far greater part of the uncultivated waste, the vegetation of 
the grass is quick and luxuriant ; and there are few places sq 
extremely ban-en, that the hardy cattle of the North cannot 
find some tolerable pasture. The supply is multiplied and 
prolonged by the undistinguishing appetite, and patient absti- 
nence, of the Tartars. They indifferently feed on the flesh 
of those animals that have been killed for the table, or have 
died of disease. Horseflesh, which in every age and country 
has been proscribed by the civilized nations of Europe and 
Asia, they devour with peculiar greediness ; and this singular 
taste facilitates the success of their military operations. The 
active cavalry of Scythia is always followed, in their most 
distant and rapid incursions, by an adequate number of spare 
horses, who may be occasionally used, either to redouble the 
speed, or to satisfy the hunger, of the Barbarians. Many 
are the resources of courage and poverty. When the forage 
round a camp of Tartars is almost consumed, they slaughter 
the greatest part of their cattle, and preserve the flesh, either 
smoked, or dried in the sun. On the sudden emergency of 
a hasty march, they provide themselves with a sufficient 
quantity of little balls of cheese, or rather of hard curd, 
which they occasionally dissolve in water ; and this unsub- 
stantial diet will support, for many days, the life, and even 
the spirits, of the patient warrior. But this extraordinary 
abstinence, which the Stoic would approve, and the hermit 
might envy, is commonly succeeded by the most voracious 
indulgence of appetite. The wines of a happier climate are 
the most grateful present, or the most valuable commodity, 
that can be offered to the Tartars ; and the only example of 
their industry seems to consist in the art of extracting from 
mare's milk a fermented liquor, which possesses a very strong 
power of intoxication. Like the animals cf prey, the sav- 
ages, both of the old and new world, experience the alternate 
vicissitudes of famine and plenty ; and their stomach is 
mured to sustain, without much inconvenience, the opposite 
extremes of hunger and of intemperance. 

II. In the ages of rustic and martia simplicity, a people 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 7 

c* soldiers and husbandmen are dispersed over the face of 
an extensive and cultivated country ; and some time must 
elapse before the warlike youth of Greece or Italy could be 
assembled under the same standard, either to defend their 
own confines, or to invade the territories of the adjacent 
tribes. The progress of manufactures and commerce insen- 
sibly collects a large multitude within the walls of a city : 
but the.>e citizens are no longer soldiers ; and the arts which 
adorn and improve the state of civil society, corrupt the 
habits of the military life. The pastoral manners of the 
Scythians seem to unite the different advantages of simplicity 
and refinement. The individuals of the same tribe are con- 
stantly assembled, but they are assembled in a camp ; and 
the native spirit of these dauntless shepherds is animated by 
mutual support and emulation. The houses of the Tartars 
are no more than small tents, of an oval form, which afford a 
cold and dirty habitation, for the promiscuous youth of both 
sexes. The palaces of the rich consist of wooden huts, of 
6uch a size that they may be conveniently fixed on large 
wagons, and drawn by a team perhaps of twenty or thirty 
oxen. The flocks and herds, after grazing all day in the 
adjacent pastures, retire, on the approach of night, within the 
protection of the camp. The necessity of preventing the 
most mischievous confusion, in such a perpetual concourse 
of men and animals, must gradually introduce, in the distri- 
bution, the order, and the guard, of the encampment, the 
rudiments of the military art. As soon as the forage of a 
certain district is consumed, the tribe, or rather army, of 
(shepherds, makes a regular march to some fresh pastures ; 
and thus acquires, in the ordinary occupations of the pastoral 
life, the practical knowledge of one of the most important 
and difficult operations of war. The choice of stations is 
regulated by the difference of the seasons : in the summer, 
the Tartars advance towards the North, and pitch their fents 
on the banks of a river, or, at least, in the neighborhood of 
a running stream. But in the winter, they return to the 
South, and shelter their camp, behind some convenient emi- 
nence, against the winds, which are chilled in their passage 
aver the bleak and icy regions of Siberia. These manners 
are admirably adapted to diffuse, among the wandering tribes, 
the spirit of emigration and conquest. The connection be- 
tween the people and their territory is of so frail a texture, 
that it may be broken by the slightest accident. The camp. 



8 " THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and not the soil, is the native country of the genuine Tartar. 
Within the precincts of that camp, his family, his compan- 
ions, his property, are always included; and, in the most 
distant marches, he is still surrounded by the objects which 
are dear, or valuable, or familiar in his eyes. The thirst of 
rapine, the fear, or the resentment of injury, the impatience 
of servitude, have, in every age, been sufficient causes to 
urge the tribes of Scythia boldly to advance into some un- 
known countries, where they might hope to find a more 
plentiful subsistence or a less formidable enemy. The revo- 
lutions of the North have frequently determinea the fate of 
the South ; and in the conflict of hostile nations, the victor 
and the vanquished have alternately drove, and been driven, 
from the confines of China to those of Germany. 10 These 
great emigrations, which have been sometimes executed with 
almost incredible diligence, were rendered more easy by tho 
peculiar nature of the climate. It is well known that the 
cold of Tartary is much more severe than in the midst of the 
temperate zone might reasonably be expected ; this uncom- 
mon rigor is attributed to the height of the plains, which rise, 
especially towards the East, more than half a mile above the 
level of the sea; and to the quantity of saltpetre with which 
the soil is deeply impregnated. 11 In the winter season, the 
broad and rapid rivers, that discharge their waters into the 
Euxine, the Caspian, or the Icy Sea, are strongly frozen ; the 
fields are covered with a bed of snow; and the fugitive, of 
victorious, tribes may securely traverse, with their families, 
their wagons, and their cattle, the smooth and hard surface 
of an immense plain. 

III. The pastoral life, compared with the labors of agri- 
culture and manufactures, is undoubtedly a life of idleness ; 
and as the most honorable shepherds of the Tartar race 
devolve -on their captives the domestic management of the 

10 These Tartar emigrations have been discovered by M. de Gui- 
gnes (Histoire des Huns, torn. i. ii. ) a skilful and laborious inter- 
preter of the Chinese language ; who has thus laid open new aud 
important scenes in the history of mankind. 

11 A plain in the Chinese Tartary, only eighty leagues from the 
great wall, was found by the missionaries to be three thousand geo- 
metrical paces above the level of the sea. Montesquieu, who has 
used, and abused, the relations of travellers, deduces the revolutions 
of Asia from this important circumstance, that heat and cold, 
weakness and strength, touch each other without any teriperat* 
cone, (Esprit des Loix, 1. xvii. o. 3.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPKtE. 9 

catile, then own leisure is seldom disturbed by any servile 
and assiduous cares. But this leisure, instead of being 
devoted to the soft enjoyments of love and harmony, is use- 
fully spent in the violent and sanguinary exercise of the 
v.hase. The plains of Tartary are rilled with a strong and 
serviceable breed of horses, which are easily trained for the 
purposes of war and hunting. The Scythians of every age 
have been celebrated as bold and skilful riders ; and constant 
practice had seated them so firmly on horseback, that they 
were supposed by strangers to perform the ordinary duties 
of civil life, to eat, to drink, and even to sleep, without dis- 
mounting from their steeds. They excel in the dexterous 
management of the lance ; the long Tartar bow is drawn 
with a nervous arm ; and the weighty arrow is directed to its 
object with unerring aim and irresistible force. These 
arrows are often pointed against the harmless animals of the 
desert, which increase and multiply in the absence of their 
most formidable enemy ; the hare, the goat, the roebuck, the 
fallow-deer, the stag, the elk, and the antelope. The vigor 
and patience, both of the men and horses, are continually 
exercised by the fatigues of the chase ; and the plentiful 
supply of game contributes to the subsistence, and even 
luxury, of a Tartar camp. But the exploits of the huntsrs 
of Scythia are not confined to the destruction of timid or 
innoxious beasts ; they boldly encounter the angry wild boar, 
when he turns against his pursuers, excite the sluggish 
courage of the bear, and provoke the fury of the tiger, as he 
slumbers in the thicket. Where there is danger, there may 
be glory ; and the mode of hunting, which opens the fairest 
field to the exertions of valor, may justly be considered as 
the image, and as the school, of war. The general hunting 
matches, the pride and delight of the Tartar princes, compose 
an instructive exercise for their numerous cavalry. A circle 
is drawn, of many miles in circumference, to encompass the 
game of an extensive district ; and the troops that form the 
circle regularly advance towards a common centre ; where the 
captive animals, surrounded on every side, are abandoned to 
the darts of the hunters. In this march, which frequently 
continues many days, the cavalry are obliged to climb the 
nills, to swim the rivers, and to wind through the valleys, 
without interrupting the prescribed order of their gradual 
progress. They acquire the habit of directing their eye, and 
their steps, to a remote object ; ol preserving their intervals 
55 



10 THE DECL'NE AND FALL 

of suspending or accelerating their pace, according to th« 
motions of the troops on their right and left ; and of watching 
and repeating the signals of their leaders. Their leaders 
study, in this practical school, the most important lesson of 
the military art ; the prompt and accurate judgment of ground, 
of distance, and of time. To employ against a human 
enemy the same patience and valor, the same skill and dis- 
cipline, is the only alteration which is required in real war ; 
and the amusements of the chase serve as a prelude to the 
conquest of an empire. 12 

The political society of the ancient Germans has the appeal - 
ance of a voluntary alliance of independent warriors. The 
tribes of Scythia, distinguished by the modern appellation of 
Hords, assume the form of a numerous and increasing family ; 
which, in the course of successive generations, has been prop- 
agated from the same original stock. The meanest, and most 
ignorant, of the Tartars, preserve, with conscious pride, the 
inestimable treasure of their genealogy ; and whatever dis- 
tinctions of rank may have been introduced, by the unequal 
distribution of pastoral wealth, they mutually respect them- 
selves, and each other, as the descendants of the first foundei 
of the tribe. The custom, which still prevails, of adopt- 
ing the bravest and most faithful of the captives, may coun- 
tenance the very probable suspicion, that this extensive con- 
sanguinity is, in a great measure, legal and fictitious. But 
the useful prejudice, which has obtained the sanction of time 
and opinion, produces the effects of truth ; the haughty Bar- 
barians yield a cheerful and voluntary obedience to the head 
of their blood ; and their chief, or mursa, as the representative 
of their great father, exercises the authority of a judge in 
peace, and of a leader in war. In the original state of the 
pastoral world, each of the mursas (if we may continue to use 
a modern appellation) acted as the independent chief of a 
large and separate family ; and the limits of their peculiar 
territories were gradually fixed by superior force, or mutual 
consent. But the constant operation of various and perma- 

* Petit de la Croix (Vie de Gengiscan, 1. iii. c. 6) represents the 
full glory and extent of the Mogul chase. The Jesuits Gerbillon and 
Verbiest followed the emperor Khamhi when he hunted in TarUry, 
(Duhalde, Description de la Chine, torn. iv. p. 81, 290, &c, folio edit.) 
His grar.dson, Kienlong, who unites the Tartar discipline with the 
laws and learning of China, describes ^Eloge de Mouidtn, p. 273 
— 285) as a poet the pleasures which he had often enj'>v«>d -w a 
sportsman. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 11 

nont causes contributed to unite the vagrant Herds into na« 
tional communities, under the command of a supreme head. 
The weak vvere desirous of support, and the strong were am« 
bilious of dominion ; the power, which is the result of unicn, 
uppressed and collected the divided forces of the adjacent 
tribes ; and, as the vanquished were freely admitted to share 
the advantages of victory, the most valiant chiefs hastened to 
range themselves and their followers under the formidable 
standard of a confederate nation. The most successful of ihe 
Tartar princes assumed the military command, to which he 
was entitled by the superiority, either of merit or of power. 
He was raised to the throne by the acclamations of his 
equals ; and the title of Khan expresses, in the language of 
thq^North of Asia, the full extent of the regal dignity. The 
right of hereditary succession was long confined to the blood 
of the founder of the monarchy ; and at this moment all the 
Khans, who reign from Crimea to the wall of China, are the 
lineal descendants of the renowned Zingis. 13 But, as it is the 
indispensable duty of a Tartar sovereign to lead his warlike 
fiubjects into the field, the claims of an infant are often dis- 
regarded ; and some royal kinsman, distinguished by his age 
and valor, is intrusted with the sword and sceptre of his pred- 
ecessor. Two distinct and regular taxes are levied on the 
tribes, to support the dignity of their national monarch, and 
of their peculiar chief; and each of those contributions 
amounts to the tithe, both of their property, and of their spoil 
A Tartar sovereign enjoys the tenth part of the wealth of his 
people ; and as his own domestic riches of flocks and herds 
increase in a much larger proportion, he is able plentifully to 
maintain the rustic splendor of his court, to reward the most 
deserving, or the most favored, of his followers, and to obtain, 
from the gentle influence of corruption, the obedience which 
might be sometimes refused to the stern mandates of author- 
ity. The manneis of his subjects, accustomed, like himself, 
to blood and rapine, might excuse, in their eyes, such partial 
acts of tyranny, as would excite the horror of a civilized peo- 
ple ; but the power of a despot has never been acknowledged 

13 See the second volume of the Genealogical History of the Tar- 
tars ; and the list of the Khans, at the end of the life of Gengis, or 
Zingis. Under the reign of Timur, or Tamerlane, one of his sub- 
jects, a descendant of Zirgis, still bore the regal appellation of Khan 
And the conqueror of Asia contented himself with the title of Kmir 
or Sultan. Abulghazi, part v. c. 4. D'Herbelot, Bibliothe<yifc Ori- 
entate, p. 887. 



12 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

in the deserts of Scythia. The immediate jurisdiction of the 
khan is confined within the limits of his own tribe ; and the 
exercise of his royal prerogative has been moderated by the 
ancient institution of a national council. The Coroultai, 14 or 
Diet, of the Tartars, was regularly held in the spring and au« 
tumn, in the midst of a plain ; where the princes of the reign- 
ing family, and the mursas of the respective tribes, may con- 
veniently assemble on horseback, with their martial and 
numerous trains ; and the ambitious monarch, who reviewed 
the strength, must consult the inclination, of an armed people. 
The rudiments of a feudal government may be discovered in 
the constitution of the Scythian or Tartar nations ; but the 
perpetual conflict of those hostile nations has sometimes ter- 
minated in the establishment of a powerful and despotic^m- 
pire. The victor, enriched by the tribute, and fortified by the 
arms, of dependent kings, has spread his conquests over Eu- 
rope or Asia : the successful shepherds of the North have 
submitted to the confinement of arts, of laws, and of cities ; 
and the introduction of luxury, after destroying the freedom 
of the people, has undermined the foundations of the throne. 15 
The memory of past events cannot long be preserved, in 
the frequent and remote emigrations of illiterate Barbarians. 
The modern Tartars are ignorant of the conquests of their 
ancestors ; 16 and our knowledge of the history of the Scythians 
is derived from their intercourse with the learned and civilized 
nations of the South, the Greeks, the Persians, and the Chi- 
nese. The Greeks, who navigated the Euxine, and planted 
their colonies along the sea-coast, made the gradual and im- 
perfect discovery of Scythia ; from the Danube, and the con- 

14 See the Diets of the ancient Huns, (De Guignes, torn. ii. p. 20,) 
and a curious description of those of Zingis, (Vie de Gengiscaa, 1. i. 
c. 6, 1. iv. c. 11.) Such assemblies are frequently mentioned in the 
Persian history of Timur ; though they served only to countenance 
the resolutions of their master. 

15 Montesquieu labors to explain a difference, which has not exiit 
ed, between the liberty of the Arabs, and the perpetual slavery of the 
Tartars. (Esprit des Loix, 1. xvii. c. 5, 1. xviii. c. 19, &c.) 

16 Abulghasi Khan, in the two first parts of his Genealogical His- 
lory, relates the miserable fables and traditions of the Uzbek Tiirtars 
concerning the times which preceded the reign of Zingis.* 



* The differences between the various pastoral tribes and nations com 
jirehenied by the ancients under the vague name of Scythians, and by 
Gibbon under that of Tartai I, have received some, and still, perhaps, ma) 
receive more, light from the 3ompari6ons of their dialects and languagei 
by modern scholars. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMFIRE. 1? 

fines of Thrace, as far as the frozen MaGOtis, the seat of eter- 
nal winter, and Mount Caucasus, which, in the language of 
poetry, was described as the utmost boundary of the earth. 
They celebrated, with simple credulity, the virtues of the 
pastoral life : n they entertained a more rational apprehen- 
sion of the strength and numbers of the warlike Barbarians, 1 * 
who contemptuously baffled the immense armament of Darius, 
the son of Hystaspes. 19 The Persian monarchs had extended 
their western conquests to the banks of the Danube, and the 
limits of European Scythia. The eastern provinces of their 
empire were exposed to the Scythians of Asia ; the wild in- 
habitants of the plains beyond the Oxus and the Jaxartes, two 
mighty rivers, which direct their course towards the Caspian 
Sea. The long and memorable quarrel of Iran and Touran 
is still the theme of history or romance : the famous, perhaps 
the fabulous, valor of the Persian heroes, Rustan and Asfen- 
diar, was signalized, in the defence of their country, against 
the Afrasiabs of the North ; 20 and the invincible spirit of the 

17 In the thirteenth book of the Iliad, Jupiter turns away his eyes 
from the bloody fields of Troy, to the plains of Thrace and Scythia. 
He would not/by changing the prospect, behold a more peaceful or 
innocent scene. 

18 Thucydides, 1. ii. c. 97. - 

19 See the fourth book of Herodotus. When Darius adyanced int4 
the Moldavian desert, between the Danube and the Niester, the king 
of the Scythians sent him a mouse, a frog, a bird, and five arrows ; a 
tremendous allegory ! 

20 These wars and heroes may be found under their respective titles, 
in the Bibliotheque Orientate of DTIcrbclot. They have been cele- 
brated in an epic poem of sixty thousand rhymed couplets, by Fer- 
dusi,* the Homer of Persia. See the history of Nadir Shah, p. 145. 
165. The public must lament that Mr. Jones has suspended the pur- 
suit of Oriental learning, f 



* Ferdusi is yet imperfectly known to European readers. An abstract 
of the whole poem has been published by Goerres in German, under the 
title "das Heldenbuch de3 Iran." In English, an abstract with poetical 
translations, by Mr. Atkinson, has appeared, under the auspices of the 
Oriental Fund.' But to translate a poet a man must be a poet. The best 
account of the poem is in an article by Von Hammer in the Vienna Jahr- 
bocher, 1820 ; or perhaps in a masterly article in Cochrane's Foreign Quar- 
terly Review, No. 1, 1835. A splendid and critical edition of the whole 
work has been published by a very learned English Orientalist, Captain 
Macan, at the expense of the king of Oude. As to the number of 60,000 
ceuplet-s, Captain Macan (Preface, p. 39) states that l.e never saw a MS. 
containing more than 56,68;"), including doubtful and spurious passages and 
tpisodes. — M. 

* The later studies of Sir W. Jones were more in unison with the wunei 
of the public, thus expressel by Gibbon. — M. 



14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

same Barbarians resisted, on the same ground, the victorious 
arms of Cyrus and Alexander. 21 In the eyes of the Greeks 
and Persians, the real geography of Scythia was bounded, on 
the East, by the mountains of Imaus, or Caf ; and their distant 
prospect of the extreme and inaccessible parts of Asia was 
clouded by ignorance, or perplexed by fiction. But those inac- 
cessible regions are the ancient residence of a powerful and 
civilized nation, 22 which ascends, by a probable tradition, above 
forty centuries ; 23 and which is able to verify a series of near 
two thousand years, by the perpetual testimony of accurate 
and contemporary historians. 24 The annals of China 25 illus- 

51 The Caspian Sea, with its rivers and adjacent tribes, are labori- 
ously illustrated in the Examen Critique des Historiens d' Alexandre, 
which compares the true geography, and the errors produced by the 
vanity or ignorance of the Greeks. 

22 The original seat of the nation appears to have been in the North- 
west of China, in the provinces of Chensi and Chansi. Under the 
two first dynasties, the principal town was still a movable camp ; the 
villages were thiiily scattered ; more land was employed in pasture 
than in tillage ; the exercise of hunting was ordained to clear the 
country from wild beasts ; Petch^li (where Pekin stands) was a des • 
ert, and the Southern provinces were peopled with Indian savages 
The dynasty of the Han (before Christ 206) gave the empire its actua. 
form and extent. 

23 The aora of the Chinese monarchy has been variously fixed from 
2952 to 2132 years before Christ ; and the year 2637 has been choser 
for the lawful epoch, by the authority of the present emperor. The 
difference arises from the uncertain duration of the two first dynas- 
ties ; and the vacant space that lies beyond them, as far as the real, 
or fabulous, times of Fohi, or Hoangti. Sematsien dates his authentic 
chronology from the year 841 ; the thirty-six eclipses of Confucius 
(thirty-one of which have been verified) were observed between the 
years 722 and 480 before Christ. The historical period of China does 
not ascend above the Greek Olympiads. 

24 After several ages of anarchy and despotism, the dynasty of the 
Han (before Christ 206) was the a?ra of the revival of learning. The 
fragments of ancient literature were restored ; the characters were 
improved and fixed ; and the future preservation of books was secured 
by the useful inventions of ink, paper, and the art of printing. 
Ninety-seven years before Christ, Sematsien published the first his- 
tory of China. His labors were illustrated, and continued, by a sent* 
of one hundred and eighty historians. The substance of their works 
is stdl extant ; and the most considerable of them are now deposited 
in the king of France's library. 

25 China has been illustrated by the labors of the French ; of the 
missionaries it Pekin, and Messrs. Freret and De Guignes at Paris. 
The substance of the three preceding notes is extracted from the 
Chou-king, with the preface and notes of M. de Guignes, Pans, 1770. 
The Tong-KienKang-Mou, translated by P. de 'Niailla, ui der tbe name 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 15 

trate the state and revolutions of the pastoral tribes, which 
may still be distinguished by the vague appellation of Scyth- 
ians, or Tartars ; the vassals, the enemies, and sometimes the 
conquerors, of a great empire ; whose policy has uniformly 
opposed thp blind and impetuous valor of the Barbarians of 
the North. From the mouth of the Danube to the Sea of 
Japan, the whole longitude of Scythia is about one hundred 
and ten degrees, which, in that parallel, are equal to more 
than five thousand miles. The latitude of these extensive 
deserts cannot be so easily, or so accurately, measured '; but, 
from the fortieth degree, which touches the wall of China, we 
may securely advance above a thousand miles to the north- 
ward, till our progress is stopped by the excessive cold of 
Siberia. In that dreary climate, instead of the animated pic- 
ture of a Tartar camp, the smoke that issues from the earth, 
or rather from the snow, betrays the subterraneous dwellings 
of the Tongouses, and the Samoides : the want of horses anr 1 
oxen is imperfectly supplied by the use of reindeer, and of 
large dogs ; and the conquerors of the earth insensibly de- 
generate into a race of deformed and diminutive savages, who 
tremble at the sound of arms. 26 

The Huns, who under the reign of Valens threatened the 
empire of Rome, had been formidable, in a much earlier pe- 
riod, to the empire of China. 27 Their ancient, perhaps their 

of Hist. Generate de la Chine, torn. i. p. xlix. — co. ; the Memoires 
sur la Chine, Paris, 1776, &c., torn. i. p. 1 — 323 ; torn. ii. p. 5 — 364 ; 
the Histoire des Huns, torn. i. p. 4 — 131, torn. v. p. 345 — 362 ; and 
the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, torn. x. p. 377 — 402 ; 
torn. xv. p. 495 — 564 ; torn, xviii. p. 178 — 295 ; torn, xxxvi. p. 164 — 
238. 

26 See the Histoire Generale des Voyages, torn, xviii., and the Gene- 
alogical History, vol. ii. p. 620 — 664. 

27 M. de Gnignes (torn. ii. p. 1 — 124) has given the original history 
of the ancient Hiong-nou, or Huns.* The Chinese geography of 
their country (torn. i. part ii. p. lv. — lxiii.) seems to comprise a part 
of their conquests. 



* The theory of De Guignes on the early history of the Huns is, in gen- 
eral, rejected by modern writers. De Guignes advanced no valid proof of 
the identity of the Hioung-nou of the Chinese writers with the Huns, 
except the similarity of name. 

Sehlozer, (Allgemeine Nordische Geschichte, p. 252,) Klaproth, (Ta 
bleaux Historiques de l'Asie, p. 246,) St. Martin, iv. 61, and A. Remusa . 
'Recherches sur les Langues Tartares, D. P. xlvi. and p. 328 ; though in 
che latter passage he considers the theory of De Guignes not absolut' ly 
disproved,) concur in considering the Huns as belonging to the Fiumsh 
itock. distinct from the Moguls, the Mandscheus, and the Turks. Tha 



16 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

original, scat was an extensive, though dry and barren, tracl 
of country, immediately on the north side of the great wall. 
Their place is at present occupied by the forty-nine Hords oi 
Banners of the Mongous, a pastoral nation, which consists of 
about two hundred thousand families. 28 But the valor of the 
Huns had extended the narrow limits of their dominions ; and 
their rustic chiefs, who assumed the appellation of Tanjou, 
gradually became the conquerors, and the sovereigns, of a 
formidable empire. Towards the East, their victorious arms 
were stopped only by the ocean ; and the tribes, which are 
thinly scattered between the Amoor and the extreme penin- 
sula of Corea, adhered, with reluctance, to the standard of 
the Huns. On the West, near the head of the Irtish, in the 
valleys of Imaus, they found a more ample space, and more 
numerous enemies. One of the lieutenants of the Tanjou 
subdued, in a single expedition, twenty-six nations ; the 
Igours, 29 distinguished above the Tartar race by the use of 
letters, were in the number of his vassals ; and, by the strange 
connection of human events, the flight of one of those vagrant 

28 See in Duhalde (torn. iv. p. 18 — 65) a circumstantial descrip- 
tion, with a correct map, of the country of the Mongous. 

29 The Igours, or Vigours, were divided into three branches ; hunt- 



Hiong-nou, according to Klaproth, were Turks. The names of the Hun- 
nish chiefs could not be pronounced by a Turk ; and, according to the 
same author, the Hioung-nou, which is explained in Chinese as detestable 
slaves, as early as the year 91 J. C, were dispersed by the Chinese, and 
assumed the name of Yue-po or Yue-pan. M. St. Martin does not con- 
sider it impossible that the appellation of Hioung-nou may have belonged 
to the Huns. But all -agree in considering the Madjar or Magyar of mod- 
ern Hungary the descendants of the Huns. Their language (compare 
Gibbon, c. Iv. n. 22) is nearly related to the Lapponian and Vogoul. The 
noble forms of the modern Hungarians, so strongly contrasted with the 
hideous pictures which the fears and the hatred of the Romans give of the 
Huns, M. Klaproth accounts for by the intermingling with other races, 
Turkish and Slavonian. The present state of the question is thus stated 
in the last edition of Malte Brun, and a new and ingenious hypothesis 
suggested to resolve all the difficulties of the question. 

Were the Huns Finns ? This obscure question has not been debated till 
very recently, and is yet very far from being decided. We are cf opinion 
that it will be so hereafter in the same manner as that with regard to the 
Scythians. We shall trace in the portrait of Attila a dominant tribe of 
Mongols, or Kalmucks, with all the hereditary ugliness of that race; but 
in the mass of the Hunnish army and nation will be recognized the Chuni 
and the Ounni of the Greek Geography, the Kuns of the Hungarians, the 
European Huns, and a race in close relationship with the Finnish stock. 
Malte-Brun, vi. p. 94. This theory is m>re fully and ably developed, p. 743. 
Whoever has seen the emperor of Austria's Hungarian guard, will not 
readily admit their descent from the Huns described by Sidonius A.polli 
naris. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMTIRE. 1 / 

tribes recalled the victorious Parthians from the invasion of 
Syria. 30 On the side of the North, the ocean was assigned 
as the limit of the power of the Huns. Without enemies to 
resist their progress, or witnesses to contradict their vanity 
they might securely achieve a real, or imaginary, conquest 
o( the frozen regions of Siberia. The Northern Sea was fixed 
as the remote boundary of their empire. But the name of 
that sea, on whose shores the patriot Sovou embraced the life 
of a shepherd and an exile, 31 may he transferred, with much 
more probability, to the Baikal, a capacious basin, above three 
hundred miles in length, which disdains the modest appellation 
of a lake, 32 and which actually communicates with the seas of 
the North, by the long course of the Angara, the Tongusha, 
and the Jenissea. The submission of so many distant nations 
might flatter the pride of the Tanjou ; but the valor of the 
Huns could be rewarded only by the enjoyment of the wealth 
and luxury of the empire of the South. In the third century t 
before the Christian sera, a wall of fifteen hundred miles iff 
length was constructed, to defend the frontiers of Chini 



ers, shepherds, and husbandmen ; and the last class was despised \. 
the two former. See Abulghazi, part ii. c. 7.* 

30 Mcmoires de 1' Academic des Inscriptions, torn. xxv. p. 17 — 3S 
The comprehensive view of M. de (iuignes has compared these dis 
tant events. 

31 The fame of Sovou, or So-ou, his merit, and his singular adven 
tures, are still celebrated in China. See the Eloge de Moukden, p. 2Q 
and notes, p. 241 — 247 ; and Memoires sur la Chine, torn. iii. p. 311 
—360. 

32 See Isbrand Ives in Harris's Collection, vol. ii. p. 931 ; Bell's 
Travels, vol. i. p. 247 — 254 ; and Gmelin, in the Hist. Generale des 
Voyages, torn, xviii. 283 — 329. They all remark the vulgar opinion 
that the holy sea grows angry and tempestuous if any one presumes 
to call it a lake. This grammatical nicety often excites a dispute be- 
tween the absurd superstition of the mariners and the absurd obsti- 
nacy of travellers. 



* On the Ouigour or Igour characters, see the work of M. A. R^musat, 
Sur les Langues Tartares. He conceives the Ouigour alphabet of sixteen 
letters to have been formed from the Syriac, and introduced by the Nes- 
toriar. Christians. Ch. ii. — M. 

t 244 years before Christ. It was built by Chi-hoang-ti of the Dynasty 
Thsin. It is from twenty to twenty-live feet high. Ce monument, aussi 
jigantesque qu'impuissant, arrt terait bien les incursions de quelquea 
Nomades ; mais il n'a jan-ais empeche les invasions des Turcs, des Mon 
gols, et des Mandchous. Abel Rcmusat. Rech. Asiat 2d ser. vol. i p. 
W. — M 

55* 



18 THE DECLINE AMD FALL 

Rgainst the inroads of the Huns , 33 but this stupendojs work, 
which holds a conspicuous place in the map of the world, ha* 
never contributed to the safetj' of an unwarlike people. The 
cavalry of the Tanjou frequently consisted of two or three 
hundred thousand men, formidable by the matchless dexterity 
with which they managed their bows and their horses : by their 
hardy patience in supporting the inclemency of the weather ; 
and by the incredible speed of their march, which was sel- 
dom checked bv torrents, or precipices, by the deepest rivers 
or by the most lofty mountains. They spread themselves al 
once over the face of the country ; and their rapid impetu- 
osity surprised, astonished, and disconcerted the grave and 
elaborate tactics of a Chinese army. The emperor Kaoti, 3 * a 
soldier of fortune, whose personal merit had raised him to the 
throne, marched against the Huns with those veteran troops 
which had been trained in the civil wars of China. But he 
was soon surrounded by the Barbarians ; and, after a siege oi 
seven days, the monarch, hopeless of relief, was reduced to 
purchase his deliverance by an ignominious capitulation. The 
successors of Kaoti, whose lives were dedicated to the arts of 
peace, or the luxury of the palace, submitted to a more per- 
manent disgrace. They too hastily confessed the insufficiency 
of arms and fortifications. They were too easily convinced, 
that while the blazing signals announced on every side the 
approach of the Huns, the Chinese troops, who slept with the 
helmet on their head, and the cuirass on their back, were' 
destroyed by the incessant labor of ineffectual marches. 35 A 
regular payment of money, and silk, was stipulated as tht 
condition of a temporary and precarious peace ; and the 
wretched expedient of disguising a real tribute, under the 
names of a gift or subsidy, was practised by the emperors of 

33 The construction of the wall of China is mentioned by Duhalde 
(torn. ii. p. 45) and De Guignes, (torn. ii. p. 59.) 

34 See the life of Lieoupang, or Kaoti, in the Hist, de la Chine, 
published at Paris, 1777, &c, torn. i. p. 442 — 522. This voluminous 
work is the translation (by the P. de Mailla) of the Tong-Kien-Kang- 
Mou, the celebrated abridgment of the great History of Semakouang 
(A. D. 1084) and his continuators. 

35 See a free and ample memorial, presented by a Mandarin to the 
emperor Venti, (before Christ 180 — 157,) in Duhalde, (torn. ii. p. 412 
— 426,) from a collection of State papers marked with the red pencil 
by Kamhi himself, (p. 384 — G12.) Another memorial Iron the min 
ist^i of war (Kang-Mou, torn. ii. p. 555) supplies some c ariou>» ck 
cuiustances of the manners of the Huns. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. li« 

3hm& as well as by those of Rome. But there still i smained 
a more disgraceful article of tribute, which violated the sacred 
feelings of humanity and nature. The hardships of the savage 
life, which destroy in their infancy the children who are born 
with a less healthy and robust constitution, introduced a re» 
markable disproportion between the numbers of the two sexes. 
The Tartars are an ugly and even deformed race ; and while 
they consider their own women as the instruments of domestic 
labor, their desires, or rather their appetites, are directed to 
the enjoyment of more elegant beauty. A select band of 
the fairest maidens of China was annually devoted to the 
rude embraces of the Huns ; 36 and the alliance of the haughty 
Tanjous was secured by their marriage with the genuine, or 
adopted, daughters of the Imperial family, which vainly 
attempted to escape the sacrilegious pollution. The situation 
of these unhappy victims is described in the verses of a Chi- 
nese princess, who laments that she had been condemned by 
her parents to a distant exile, under a Barbarian husband; 
who complains that sour milk was her only drink, raw flesb 
her only food, a tent her only palace ; and who expresses, 
in a strain of pathetic simplicity, the natural wish, that she 
were transformed into a bird, to fly back to her dear country ; 
.he 'object of her tender and perpetual regret. 37 

The conquest of China has been twice achieved by the 
pastoral tribes of the North : the forces of the Huns were not 
inferior to those of the Moguls, or of the Mantcheoux ; and 
their ambition might entertain the most sanguine hopes of 
success. But their pride was humbled, and their progress 
was checked, by the arms and policy of Vouti, 38 the fifth 
emperor of the powerful dynasty of the Han. In his long 
reign of fifty-four years, the Barbarians of the southern prov- 
inces submitted to the laws and manners of China ; and the 
ancient limits of the monarchy were enlarged, from the great 
river of Kiang, to the port of Canton. Instead of confining 
himself to the timid operations of a defensive war, his lieu- 
tenants penetrated many hundred miles into the country of 



86 A supply of women is mentioned as a customary article of treaty 
%nd tribute, (Hist, do la Conquete de la Chine, par les Tartares Mant- 
eheoux, torn. L p. 18(5, 187, with the note of the editor.) 

37 De Guigncs, Hist, des Huns, torn. ii. p. 62. 

38 See the reign of the emperor Vouti, in the Kang-Mou, torn, iii 
p. 1 — 98. HU various and inconsistent character seerrs to be impar- 
tially drawi,. 



20 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the Huns. In those houndless deserts, where it is impossible 
to ,orm magazines, and difficult to transport a sufficient sup- 
ply of provisions, the armies of Vouti were repeatedly exposed 
to intolerable hardships : and, of one hundred and forty thou- 
sand soldiers, who marched against the Barbarians, thirt) 
thousand only returned in safety to the feet of their master. 
These losses, however, were compensated by splendid and 
decisive success. The Chinese generals improved the supe- 
riority which they derived from the temper of their arms, 
their chariots of war, and the service of their Tartar auxiliaries. 
The camp of the Tanjou was surprised in the midst of sleep 
and intemperance : and, though the monarch of the Huns 
bravely cut his way through the ranks of the enemy, he left 
above fifteen thousand of his subjects on the field of battle. 
Yet this signal victory, which was preceded and followed by 
many bloody engagements, contributed much less to the 
destruction of the power of the Huns than the effectual policy 
which was employed to detach the tributary nations from 
their obedience. Intimidated by the arms, or allured by the 
promises, of Vouti and his successors, the most considerable 
tribes, both of the East and of the West, disclaimed the au- 
thority of the Tanjou. While some acknowledged themselves 
the allies or vassals of the empire, they all became the impla- 
cable enemies of the Huns : and the numbers of that haughty 
people, as soon as they were reduced to their native strength, 
might, perhaps, have been contained within the walls of one 
of the great and populous cities of China. 39 The desertion 
of his subjects, and the perplexity of a civil war, at length 
compelled the Tanjou himself to renounce the dignity of an 
independent sovereign, and the freedom of a warlike and 
high-spirited nation. He was received at Sigan, the capital of 
the monarchy, by the troops, the mandarins, and the emperor 
himself, with all the honors that could adorn and disguise the 
triumph of Chinese vanity. 40 A magnificent palace was pre- 
pared for his reception ; his place was assigned above all the 

39 This expression is used in the memorial to the emperor Venti, 
(Duhalde, torn. ii. p. 417.) Without adopting the exaggerations of 
Marco Polo and Isaac Vossius, we may rationally allow for Pekin 
two millions of inhabitants. The cities of the South, which cji.tain 
the manufactures of China, are still more populous. 

40 See the Kang-Mou, torn. hi. p. 150, and the subsequent events 
under the proper years. This memorable festival is celebrated u tho 
Eloge de Aloukden, and explained in a note by the P. Gaubil, j. 63, 
90. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 2) 

princes of thb royal family ; and the patience of the Barbarian 
king was exhausted by the ceremonies of a banquet, which 
consisted of eight courses of meat, and of nine solemn piecea 
of music. But he performed, on his knees, the duty of a 
respectful homage to the emperor of China ; pronounced, in 
his own name, and in the name of his successors, a perpetual 
oath of fidelity ; and gratefully accepted a seal, which was 
bestowed as the emblem of his regal dependence. After this 
humiliating submission, the Tanjous sometimes departed from 
th:jir allegiance and seized the favorable moments of war and 
rapine ; but the monarchy of the Huns gradually declined, 
till it was broken, by civil dissension, into two hostile and 
separate kingdoms. One of the princes of the nation was 
urged, by fear and ambition, to retire towards the South with 
eight hords, which composed between forty and fifty thousand 
families. He obtained, with the title of Tanjou, a convenient 
territory on the verge of the Chinese provinces ; and his con 
stant attachment to the service of the empire was secured by 
weakness, and the desire of revenge. From the time of tliis 
fatal schism, the Huns of the North continued to languish 
about fifty years ; till they were oppressed on every side by 
their foreign and domestic enemies. The proud inscription 4) 
of a column, erected on a lofty mountain, announced to pos- 
terity, that a Chinese army had marched seven hundred miles 
into the heart of their country. The Sienpi, 42 a tribe of Ori- 
ental Tartars, retaliated the injuries which they had formerly 
sustained ; and the power of the Tanjous, after a reign of 
thirteen hundred years, was utterly destroyed before the end 
of the first century of the Christian aera. 43 

The fate of the vanquished Huns was diversified by the 
various influence of character and situation. 44 Above one 



41 This inscription was composed on the spot by Pankou, President 
of the Tribunal of History (Kang-Mou, torn. iii. p. 392.) SiniUar 
monuments have been discovered in many parts of Tartary, (His- 
toire des Huns, torn. ii. p. 122.) 

42 M. de Guigncs (torn. i. p. 189) has inserted a short account of 
the Sienpi. 

43 The aera of the Huns is placed, by the Chinese, 1210 years befcra 
Christ, Uut the series of their kings does not commence till the year 
230, (Hist, des Huns, torn. ii. p. 21, 123.) 

44 The various accidents, the downfall, and flight of the Huns, 
are related in the Kang-Mou, torn. iii. p. 88, 91, 95, 139, &c. The 
imall numbers of each horde may be ascribed to their losses and 
divisions. 



22 the de;line and fall 

hundred thousand persons, the poorest, indeed, and the most 
pusillanimous of the people, were contented to remain ic 
their native country, to renounce their peculiar name and 
origin, and to mingle with the victorious nation of the Sienpl. 
Fifty-eight hords, about two hundred thousand men, ambitious 
of a more honorable servitude, retired towards the South ; 
implored the protection of the emperors of China ; and were 
permitted to inhabit, and to guard, the extreme frontiers of 
the province of Chansi and the territory of Ortous. But the 
most warlike and powerful tribes cf the Huns maintained, in 
their adverse fortune, the undaunted spirit of their ancestors. 
The Western world was open to their valor ; and they 
resolved, under the conduct of their hereditary chieftains, to 
discover and subdue some remote country, which was still 
inaccessible to the arms of the Sienpi, and to the laws of 
China. 45 The course of their emigration soon carried them 
beyond the mountains of Imaus, and the limits of the Chinese 
geography ; but we are able to distinguish the two great 
divisions of these formidable exiles, which directed their 
march towards the Oxus, and towards the Volga. The first 
of these colonies established their dominion in the fruitful 
and extensive plains of Sogdiana, on the eastern side of the 
Caspian ; where they preserved the name of Huns, with the 
epithet of Euthalites, or Nepthalites.* Their manners were 
softened, and even their features were insensibly improved, 
by the mildness of the climate, and their long residence in a 
flourishing province, 46 which might still retain a faint impres- 
sion of the arts of Greece. 47 The white Huns, a name 

45 M. de Guignes has skilfully traced the footsteps of the Huns 
through the vast deserts of Tartary, (torn. ii. p. 123, 277, &c, 
325, &c.) 

46 Mohammed, sultan of Carizme, reigned in Sogdiana when it was 
uvaded (A. D. 1218) by Zingis and his moguls. The Oriental histo- 
rians (see D'Herbelot, Petit de la Croix, &c.) celebrate the populous 
cities which he ruined, and the fruitful country which he desolated. 
In the next century, the same provinces of Chorasmia and Nawaral- 
nah/ were described by Abulfeda, (Hudson, Geograph. Minor, torn, 
iii.) Their actual misery may be seen in the Genealogical History of 
the Tartars, p. 423— 4G9. 

47 Justin (xli. 6) has left a short abridgment of the Greek kings 
of Bactriana. To their industry I should ascribe the new aud extra- 



• The Armenian authors often mention this people under the name of 
Hepthal St. Martin considers that the name Nephthalites is an error of 
a copvist. In Procopius, they are 'E^daXhai. St. Martin, iv. 254. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 23 

which they derived from the change of their complexions, 
soon abandoned the pastoral life of Scythia. Gorgo, which, 
ander the appellation of Carizme, has since enjoyed a tem- 
porary splendor, was the residence of the king, who exercised 
a legal authority over an obedient people. Their luxury was 
maintained by the labor of the Sogdians ; and the only 
vestige of their ancient barbarism, was the custom which 
obliged all the companions, perhaps to the number of twenty, 
who had shared the liberality of a wealthy lord, to be buried 
alive in the same grave. 48 The vicinity of the Huns to the 
provinces of Persia involved them in frequent and b!<><> ly 
contests with the power of that monarchy. But they respecu- J, 
in peace, the faith of treaties ; in war, the dictates of humanity ; 
and their memorable victory over Peroses, or Firuz, displayed 
the moderation, as well as the valor, of the Barbarians. The 
second division of their countrymen, the Huns, who graduall) 
advanced towards the North-west, were exercised by the 
hardships of a colder climate, and a more laborious march. 
Necessity compelled them to exchange the silks of China for 
the furs of Siberia ; the imperfect rudiments of civilized life 
were obliterated ; and the native fierceness of the Huns was 
exasperated by their intercourse with the savage tribes, who 
were compared, with some propriety, to the wild beasts of 
the desert. Their independent spirit soon rejected the hered- 
itary succession of the Tanjous ; and while each horde was 
governed by ks peculiar mursa, their tumultuary council 
directed the public measures of the whole nation. As late 
as the thirteenth century, their transient residence on the 
eastern banks of the Volga was attested by the name of 
Great Hungary. 49 In the winter, they descended with theii 
flocks and herds towards the mouth of that mighty river ; and 
their summer excursions reached as high as the latitude of 
SaratofT, or perhaps the conflux of the Kama. Such at least 



ordinary trade, which transported the merchandises of India into 
Europe, by the Oxus, the Caspian, the Cyrus, the Phasis, and the 
Euxine. The other ways, both of the land and sea, were possessed by 
the Seleucides and the Ptolemies. (See 1' Esprit des Loix, 1. xxi.; 

48 Procopius de Bell. Persico, 1. i. c. 3, p. 9. 

49 In the thirteenth century, the monk Plubruquis (who traversed 
the immense plain of Kipzak, in his journey to the court of the Great 
Khan) observed the remarkable name of Hungary, with the traces 
tf a common language and origin, (Hist, des Voyages, torn. vxL 
p. 269.) 



u 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



were the recent limits of the black Calmucks, 50 who remained 
about a century under the protection of Eussia; and who 
have since returned to their native seats on the frontiers of 
the Chinese empire. The march, and the return, of those 
wandering Tartars, whose united camp consists of fifty 
thousand tents or families, illustrate the distant emigrations 
of the ancient Huns. 51 

It is impossible to fill the dark interval of time, which 
elapsed, after the Huns of the Volga were lost in the eyes 
of the Chinese, and before they showed themselves to those 
of the Romans. There is some reason, however, to appre- 
hend, that the same force which had driven them from their 
native seats, still continued to impel their march towards the 
frontiers of Europe. The power of the Sienpi, their impla- 
cable enemies, which extended above three thousand miles 
from East to West, 52 must have gradually oppressed them 
by the weight and terror of a formidable neighborhood ; and 
the flight of the tribes of Scythia would inevitably tend to 
increase the strength, or to contract the territories, of the 
Huns. The harsh and obscure appellations of those tribes 
would offend the ear, without informing the understanding 
of the reader; but I cannot suppress the very natural sus- 
picion, that the Huns of the North derived a considerable 
reenforcement from the ruin of the dynasty of the South, 
which., in the course of the third century, submitted to the 
dominion of China ; that the bravest warriors marched aWay 
in search of their free and adventurous countrymen ; and 

50 Bell, (vol. i. p. 29—34,) and the editors of the Genealogical His- 
tory, (p. 539,) have described the Calmucks of the Volga in the begin- 
ning of the present century. 

51 This great transmigration of 300,000 Calmucks, or Torgouts, hap- 
pened in the year 1771. The original narrative of Kien-long, the reign- 
ing emperor of China, which was intended for the inscription of a col- 
umn, has been translated by the missionaries cf Pekin, (Memoires sur 
la Chine, torn. i. p. 401—418.) The emperor affects the smooth and 
specious language of the Son of Heaven, and the Father of his People. 

52 The Khan-Mou (torn. iii. p. 447) ascribes to their conquests a 
space of 14,000 lis. According to the present standard, 200 lis (or 
more accurately 193) are equal to one degree of latitude ; and one 
English mile consequently exceeds three miles of China. Put there 
are strong reasons to believe that the ancient li scarcely equalled one 
half of the modern. See the elaborate researches of M. D'Anville, 
a geographer who is not a stranger in any age or climate of the 
globe. (Memoires de l'Acad. torn. ii. p. 125—502. Meaures Pine- 
raire8, p. lot- 167. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 25 

that, as they had been divided by prosperity, they were easdy 
reunited by the common hardships of their adverse fortune. 53 
The Huns, with their flocks and herds, their wives and chil- 
dren, their dependants and allies, were transported to the 
west of the Volga, and they boldly advanced to invade the 
country of the Alani, a pastoral people, who occupied, or 
wasted, an extensive tract of the deserts of Scythia. The 
plains between the Volga and the Tanais ■were covered with 
the tents of the Alani, but their name and manners were dif-. 
fused over the wide extent of their conquests ; and the painted 
tribes of the Agathyrsi and Geloni were confounded among 
their vassals. Towards the North, they penetrated into the 
frozen regions of Siberia, among the savages who were 
accustomed, in their rage or hunger, to the taste of human 
flesh ; and their Southern inroads were pushed as far as the 
confines of Persia and India. The mixture of Samatic and 
German blood had contributed to improve the features of the 
Alani,* to whiten their swarthy complexions, and to tinge 
their hair with a yellowish cast, which is seldom found in th<? 
Tartar race. They were less deformed in their persons, les<* 
brutish in their manners, than the Huns ; but they did not 
yield to those formidable Barbarians in their martial and inde- 
pendent spirit ; in the love of freedom, which rejected even 
the use of domestic slaves ; and in the love of arms, which 
considered war and rapine as the pleasure and the glory of 
mankind. A naked cimeter, fixed in the ground, was the 
only object of their religious worship ; the scalps of their 
enemies formed the costly trappings of their horses ; and 
they viewed, with pity and contempt, the pusillanimous war- 
riors, who patiently expected the infirmities of age, and the 



83 See Histoire des Huns, torn. ii. p. 125 — 144. The subsequent 
history (p. 145 — 277) of three or four Hunnic dynasties evidently 
proves that their martial spirit was not impaired by a long residence 
in China. 



* Compare M. Klaproth's curious speculations on the Alani. He sup- 
poses them to have been the people, known by the Chinese, at the time 
»f their first expeditions to the West, under the name of Yath-sai or A lan- 
na, the Alanan of Persian tradition, as preserved in Ferdusi ; the same, 
according to Ammianus, with the Massagetw, and with the Albani. The 
remains of the nation still exist in the Ossetm of Mount Caucasus. Klap- 
roth, Tableaux Historiques de l'Asie, p. 174. — M. Compare Shafarik 
Blawische alterthumer, i. p. 350. — M. 1845. 



26 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tortures of lingering disease. 54 On the banks of the Tanais, 
the military power of the Huns and the Alani encountered 
eacli other with equal valor, but with unequal success. The 
Huns prevailed in the bloody contest; the king of the Alani 
was slain ; and the remains of the vanquished nation were 
dispersed by the ordinary alternative of flight or submission. 6 * 
A colony of exiles found a secure refuge in the mountains 
of Caucasus, between the Euxine and the Caspian, where 
they still preserve their name and their independence. An- 
other colony advanced, with more intrepid courage, towards 
the shores of the Baltic ; associated themselves with the 
Northern tribes of Germany ; and shared the spoil of the 
Roman provinces of Gaul and Spain. But the greatest part 
of the nation of the Alani embraced the offers of an honor- 
able and advantageous union ; and the Huns, who esteemed 
the valor of their less fortunate enemies, proceeded, with ail 
increase of numbers and confidence, to invade the limits of 
the Gothic empire. 

The great Hermanric, whose dominions extended from the 
Baltic to the Euxine, enjoyed, in the full maturity of age and 
reputation, the fruit of his victories, when he was alarmed by 
the formidable approach of a host of unknown enemies, 68 
on whom his barbarous subjects might, without injusdce, 
bestow the epithet of Barbarians. The numbers, the strength, 
the rapid motions, and the implacable cruelty of the Huns, 
were felt, and dreaded, and magnified, by the astonished 
Goths ; who beheld their fields and villages consumed with 
liames, and deluged with indiscriminate slaughter. To these 
real terrors they added the surprise and abhorrence which 

61 Utque hominibus quietis et placidis otium est voluptabile, ita 
illos pericula juvant et bella. Judicatur ibi beatus qui in proelio 
profuderit animam : senescentes etiam et fortuitis mom bus in undo 
digressos, ut degeneres et ignaTos, conviciis atrocibus insectantur. 
[Ammiaa. xxxi. 11.] We must think highly of the conquerors of 
stuh men. 

5 "> On the subject of the Alani, see Ammianus, (xxxi. 2,) Jornandes, 
(de Rebus Geticis, c. 24,) M. de Guignes, (Hist, des Huns, torn. ii. 
p 27'J,) and the Genealogical History of the Tartars, (torn. ii. p. 617.) 

& - As we are possessed of the authentic history of the Huns, it would 
be impertinent to repeat, or to refute, the tables which misrepresent 
their origin and progress, their passage of the mud or water of the 
Mjeotis, in pursuit of an ox or stag, les Indes qu'ils avoient de'eouvertes, 
Sw., (Z^simus, 1. iv. p. 224. Sozomen, 1. vi. c. 37. Proeopius, Hist 
Miseell. c. 6. Jornandes, c. 24. Grandeur et Decadence, &c, de« 
Komains, c. 17.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 27 

were excited by the shrill voice, the uncouth gestures, and 
the strange deformity of the Huns.* These savages of* 
Scythia were compared (and the picture had some resem- 
blance) to the animals who walk very awkwardly on two 
legs ; and to the misshapen figures, the Termini, which were 
often placed on the bridges of antiquity. They were dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the human species by their broad 
shoulders, fiat noses, and small black eyes, deeply buried in 
the head ; and as they were almost destitute of beards, they 
never enjoyed either the manly grace of youth, or the ven- 
erable aspect of age. 57 A fabulous origin was assigned, 
worthy of their form and manners ; that the witches of 
Scythia, who, for their foul and deadly practices, had been 
driven from society, had copulated in the desert with infernal 
spirits ; and that the Huns were the offspring of this execrable 
conjunction. 58 The tale, so full of horror and absurdity, was 
greedily embraced by the credulous hatred of the Goths ; 
but, while it gratified their hatred, it increased their fear, 
since the posterity of daemons and witches might be supposed 
to inherit some share of the prseternatural powers, as well as 
of the malignant temper, of their parents. Against these 
enemies, Hermanric prepared to exert the united forces of 

• « 

57 Prodigiosse formae, et pandi ; ut bipedes existimes bestias ; vel 
quales in oommarginandis pontibus, effigiati stipites dolantur in- 
compte. Ammian. xxxi. i. Jornandes (c. 24) draws a strong carica- 
ture of a Calmuck face. Species pavenda nigredine . . . qusedam 
deformis offa, non facies ; habensque magis puncta quam lumina. 
See Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, torn. iii. p. 380. 

58 This execrable origin, which Jornandes (c. 24) describes with 
the rancor of a Goth, might be originally derived from a more 
pleasing fable of the Greeks. (Herodot. 1. iv. c. 9, &c.) 



* Art added to their native ugliness ; in fact, it is difficult to ascribe the 
proper share in the features of this hideous picture to nature, to the bar- 
barous skill with which they were self-disfigured, or to the terror and hatred 
of the Romans. Their noses 'vere flattened by their nurses, their cheeks 
were gashed by an iron instrument, that the scars might look more fearful, 
and prevent the growth of the beard. Jornandes and Sidonius Apolli 
naris : — 

Obtiindit tenoras circumdata fascia nares, 

Ut galeis cedant. 

Vet he adds t£At their forms were robust and manly, their height of 9 wrid- 
i)e siae, but, from the habit of riding, disproportioned. 

Stant pectora vasta, 
Insignes humeri, succincta sub ilibus alvus. 
Forma quidem pediti media est, procera sed eztat 
8i cernas equilcs, sic longi stepe putantur 
Si sedeunt. — M 



28 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Ine Gothic state ; but he soon discovered that his va&sal tribes 
provoked by oppression, were much more inc.'ined to secondj 
than to repel, the invasion of the Huns. One of the chiefs 
of the Ruxolani 59 had formerly deserted the standard of Her 
manric, and the cruel tyrant had condemned the innocent 
wife of the traitor to be torn asunder by wild horses. The 
brothers of that unfortunate woman seized the favorable 
moment of revenge. The aged king of the Goths languished 
Borne time after the dangerous wound which he received fiom 
their daggers ; but the conduct of the war was retarded oy 
his infirmities ; and the public councils of the nation were 
distracted by a spirit of jealousy and discord. His death, 
which has been imputed to his own despair, left the reins of 
government in the hands of Withimer, who, with the doubtful 
aid of some Scythian mercenaries, maintained the unequal 
contest against the arms of the Huns and the Alani, till he 
was defeated and slain in a decisive battle. The Ostrogoths 
submitted to their fate ; and the royal race of the Amali will 
hereafter be found among the subjects of the haughty Attila. 
But the person of Witheric, the infant king, was saved bj 
the diligence of Alatheus and Saphrax ; two warriors of 
approved valor and fidelity, who, by cautious marches, con 
ducted the independent remains of the nation of the Ostro 
goths towards the Danastus, or Niester ; a considerable river 
which now separates the Turkish dominions from the empire 
of Russia. On the banks of the Niester, the prudent Athan- 
aric, more attentive to his own than to the general safety 
had fixed the camp of the Visigoths ; with the firm resolution 
of opposing the victorious Barbarians, whom he thought it 
less advisable to provoke. The ordinary speed of the Huns 
was checked by the weight of baggage, and the encumbrance 
of captives ; but their military skill deceived, and almost 
destroyed, the army of Athanaric. While the Judge of the 
Visigoths defended the banks of the Niester, he was encom- 
passed and attacked by a numerous detachment of cavalry, 



59 The Roxolani may be the fathers of the Pvk, the Russians, (D'An- 
rille, Empire de Russie, p. 1 — 10,) whose residence (A. D. 862) about 
Novogrod Veliki cannot be very remote from that which the Geogra- 
pher of Ravenna (i. 12, iv. 4, 46, v. 28, 30) assigns to tl e Roxolani. 
(A. D. 886.)* 

* See, on the origin of the Russ, Schlozer, Nordische Gescbchte, p 
222. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 29 

who, by the light of the moon, had passed the river m a 
fordable place ; and it was not without the utmost efforts of 
courage and conduct, that he was able to effect his retreat 
towards the hilly country. The undaunted general had 
already formed a new and judicious plan of defensive war, 
and the strong lines, which he was preparing to construct 
between the mountains, the Pruth, and the Danube, would 
have secured the extensive and fertile territory that bears the 
modern name of Walachia, from the destructive inroads of 
the Huns. 60 But the hopes and measures of the Judge of 
the Visigoths were soon disappointed, by the trembling im- 
patience of his dismayed countrymen ; who were persuaded 
by their fears, that the interposition of the Danube was the 
only barrier that could save them from the rapid pursuit, and 
invincible valor, of the Barbarians of Scythia. Under the 
command of Fritigern and Alavivus, 61 the body of the nation 
hastily advanced to the banks of the great river, and implored 
the protection of the Roman emperor of-the East. Athanaric 
himself, still anxious to avoid the guilt of perjury, retired, 
with a band of faithful followers, into the mountainous 
country of Caucaland ; which appears to have been guarded, 
and almost concealed, by the impenetrable forests of Tran- 
sylvania. 6 - * 

After Valens had terminated the Gothic war with some 
appearance of glory and success, he made a progress through 
his dominions of Asia, and at length fixed his residence in 
the capital of Syria. The five years 63 which he spent at 

60 The text of Ammianus seems to be imperfect or corrupt ; but 
the nature of the ground explains, and almost defines, the Gothio 
rampart. Mcmoires de l'Academie, &c, torn, xxviii. p. 444 — 462. 

61 M. de Buat (Hist, des Peuples de l'Europe, torn. vi. p. 407) has 
conceived a strange idea, that Alavivus was the same person as Ul- 
philas, the Gothic bishop ; and that Ulphilas, the grandson of a Cap- 
padocian captive, became a temporal prince of the Goths. 

6 ' 2 Ammianus (xxxi. 3) and Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 24) 
describe the subversion of the Gothic empire by the Huns. 

63 The chronology of Ammianus is obscure and imperfect. Tille- 
mont has labored to clear and settle the annals of Valens. 



* The most probable opinion as to the position of this land is that of 
M. Malte-Brun. He thinks that Caucaland is the territory of the Caco 
enses, placed by Ptolemy (1. iii. c. 8) towards the Carpathian Mountains, 
jn the side of the present Transylvania, and therefore the canton of Ca- 
cava, to the south of Hermanstadt, the capital of that principality. 
Caucaland, it is evident, is the Gothic form of these different names. St 
Martin, iv. 103. — M. 



80 THE DECLINE AND FALL, 

Antioch were employed to watch, from a secure distance, the 
hostile designs of the Persian monarch ; to check the depre* 
dati )ns of the Saracens and Isaurians ; 64 to enforce, by argu- 
ments more prevalent than those of reason and eloquence, 
the belief of the Arian theology ; and to satisfy his anxious 
suspicions by the promiscuous execution of the innocent and 
the guilty. But the attention of the emperor was most 
seriously engaged, by the important intelligence which he 
received from the civil and military officers who were intrusted 
with the defence of the Danube. He was informed, that the 
North was agitated by a furious tempest ; that the irruption 
of the Huns, an unknown and monstrous race of savages, had 
subverted the power of the Goths ; and that the suppliant 
multitudes of that warlike nation, whose pride was now hum- 
bled in the dust, covered a space of many miles along the 
banks of the river. With outstretched arms, and -pathetic 
lamentations, they loudly deplored their past misfortunes and 
their present danger; acknowledged that their only hope of 
safety was in the clemency of the Roman government ; 
and most solemnly protested, that if the gracious liberality 
of the emperor would permit them to cultivate the waste 
lands of Thrace, they should ever hold themselves bound, by 
strongest obligations of duty and gratitude, to obey the laws, 
and to guard the limits, of the republic. These assurances 
were confirmed by the ambassadors of the Goths,* who impa- 
tiently expected from the mouth of Valens an answer that 
must finally determine the fate of their unhappy countrymen. 
The emperor of the East was no longer guided by the wis- 
dom and authority of his elder brother, whose death happened 
towards the end of the preceding year ; and as the distressful 
situation of the Goths required an instant and peremptory 
decision, he was deprived of the favorite resource of feeble 
and timid minds, who consider the use of dilatory and am- 
biguous measures as the most admirable efforts of consum- 
mate prudence. As long as the same passions and interests 
subsist among mankind, the questions of war and peace, of 

a< Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 223. Sozomen, 1. vi. c. 38. The Isauiians, 
each winter, infested the roads oi Asia Minor, as far as the neighbor- 
hood of Constantinople. Basil, Epist. eel. apud Tillemont, Hist, del 
fcmpereurs, torn. v. p. 106. 



* Sozomen and Philostorgius say that the bishop Ulphilas wag die of 
these ambassadors. — M. 



0/ THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 3] 

justice and policy, which were debated in the councils of 
antiquity, will frequently present themselves as the subject of 
modern deliberation. But the most experienced statesman 
of Europe has never been summoned to consider the pro- 
priety, or the danger, of admitting, or rejecting, an innumer- 
able multitude of Barbarians, who are driven by despair and 
hunger to solicit a settlement on the territories of a civilized 
nation. When that important proposition, so essentially con- 
nected with the public safety, was referred to the ministers 
of Valens, they were perplexed and divided ; but they soon 
acquiesced in the flattering sentiment which seemed the most 
favorable to the pride, the indolence, and the avarice of their 
sovereign. The slaves, who were decorated with the titles 
of prcefects and generals, dissembled or disregarded the ter- 
rors of this national emigration ; so extremely different from 
the partial and accidental colonies, which had been received 
on the extreme limits of the empire. But they applauded 
the liberality of fortune, which had conducted, from the most 
distant countries of the globe, a numerous and invincible 
army of strangers, to defend the throne of Valens ; who 
might now add to the royal treasures the immense sums of 
gold supplied by the provincials to compensate their annual 
proportion of recruits. The prayers of the Goths were 
granted, and their service was accepted by the Imperial 
court : and orders were immediately despatched to the civil 
and military governors of the Thracian diocese, to make the 
necessary preparations for the passage and subsistence of a 
great people, till a proper and sufficient territory could be 
allotted for their future residence. The liberality of the em- 
peror was accompanied, however, with two harsh and rigor- 
ous conditions, which prudence might justify on the side of 
the Romans ; but which distress alone could extort from tho 
indignant Goths. Before they passed the Danube, they were 
required to deliver their arms : and it was insisted, that their 
children should be taken from them, and dispersed through 
the provinces of Asia ; where they might be civilized by the 
arts of education, and serve as hostages to secure the fidelity 
of their parents. 

During the suspense of a doubtful and distant negotiation, 
\he impatient Goths made some rash attempts to pass the 
Danube, without the permission of the government, whose 
protection they had implored. Their motions were strictly 
observed by the vigilance of the troops which were stationed 



82 THE DECLINE AND FA^L 

along the river ; and their foremost detachments were defeated 
with considerable slaughter ; yet such were the timid coun- 
cils of the reign of Valens, that the brave officers who had 
served their country in the execution of their duty, were 
punished by the loss of their employments, and narrowly 
escaped the loss of their heads. The Imperial mandate was 
at length, received for transporting over the Danube the 
whole body of the Gothic nation ; 65 but the execution of this 
order was a task, of labor and difficulty. The stream of the 
Danube, which in those parts is above a mile broad, 66 had 
been swelled by incessant rains ; and in this tumultuous pas- 
sage, many were swept away, and drowned, by the rapid 
violence of the current. A large fleet of vessels, of boats, and 
of canoes, was provided ; many days and nights they passed 
and repassed with indefatigable toil ; and the most strenuous 
diligence was exerted by the officers of Valens, that not a 
single Barbarian, of those who were reserved to subvert the 
foundations of Rome, should be left on the opposite shore. It 
was thought expedient that an accurate account should be 
taken of their numbers ; but the persons who were employed 
soon desisted, with amazement and dismay, from the prose- 
cution of the endless and impracticable task : 67 and the prin- 
cipal historian of the age most seriously affirms, that the 
prodigious armies of Darius and Xerxes, which had so long 
been considered as the fables of vain and credulous antiquity, 
were now justified, in the eyes of mankind, by the evidence 
of fact and experience. A probable testimony has fixed the 
number of the Gothic warriors at two hundred thousand men : 
and if we can venture to add the just proportion of women, 

64 The passage of the Danube is exposed by Ammianus, (xxxi. 3, 4,) 
Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 2'23, 224,) Eunapius in Excerpt. Legat. (p. 19, 20,) 
and Jornandes, (c. 25, 26.) Ammianus declares (c. S^ that he means 
only, ipsas rerum digerere summitates. But he often takes a false 
measure of their importance ; and his superfluous prolixity is disa- 
greeably balanced by his unseasonable brevity. 

66 Chishull, a curious traveller, has remarked the breadth of the 
Danube, which he passed to the south of Bucharest near the conflux 
of the Argish, (p. 77.) He admires the beauty and spontaneous 
plenty of Maesia, or Bulgaria. 

91 Quern si scire velit, Libyci velit sequoris idem 

Discere quam multae Zephyro turbentur harenae. 
Ammianus has inserted, in his prose, these lines of Virgil, (Georgia 
L ii. 105,) originally designed by the poet to express the impossibility 
of numbering the different sorts of vines. , See Plin. Hist. Natur. 
L xiv. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 33 

of children, and of slaves, the whole mass of people which 
composed this formidable emigration, must have amounted to 
near a million of persons, of both sexes, and of all ages. The 
children of the Goths, those at least of a distinguished rank 
were separated from the multitude. They were conducted 
without delay, to the distant seats assigned for their residence 
and education ; and as the numerous train of hostages or cap- 
tives passed through the cities, their gay and splendid apparel, 
their robust and martial figure, excited the surprise and envy 
of the Provincials.* But the stipulation, the most offensive 
to the Goths, and the most important to the Romans, was 
shamefully eluded. The Barbarians, who considered their 
arms as the ensigns of honor and the pledges of safety, were 
disposed to oifer a price, which. the lust or avarice of the Im 
perial officers was easily tempted to accept. To preserve 
their arms, the haughty warriors consented, with some reluc- 
tance, to prostitute their wives or their daughters ; the charms 
of a beauteous maid, or a comely boy, secured the connivance 
of the inspectors ; who sometimes cast an eye of covetous- 
ness on the fringed carpets and linen garments of their new 
allies, 68 or who sacrificed their duty to the mean considera- 
tion of filling their farms with cattle, and their houses with 
slaves. The Goths, with arms in their hands, were permitted 
to enter the boats ; and when their strength was collected on 
the other side of the river, the immense camp which was 
spread over the plains and the hills of the Lower Msesia, as- 
sumed a threatening and even hostile aspect. The leaders of 

68 Eunapius and Zosimus curiously specify these articles of Gothic 
wealth and luxury. Yet it must be presumed that they were the 
manufactures of the provinces ; which the Barbarians had acquirec 
as the spoils of war ; or as the gifts, or merchandise, of peace. 

* A very curious, but obscure, passage of Eunapius, appears to me to 
have been misunderstood by M. Mai, to whom we owe its discovery. The 
substance is as follows : " The Goths transported over the river their native 
deities, with their priests of both sexes ; but concerning their rites they 
maintained a deep and ' adamantine silence.' To the Romans they pre- 
tended to be generally Christians, and placed certain persons to represent 
bishops in a conspicuous manner on their wagons. There was even among 
them a sort of what are called monks, persons whom it was not difficult to 
mimic; it was enough to wear black raiment, to be wicked, and held in 
respect, novr/pois n tlvai xai zwTtitoQai." (Eunapius hated the " black-robed 
monks," as appears in another passage, with the cordial detestation of a 
heathen philosopher.) "Thus, while they faithfully but secretly adhered 
to their own religion, the Romans were weak enough to suppose them 
perfect Christians." Mai, 277. Eunapius in Nicbuhr, 82. — M. 
56 



54 THE DECLINE &ND FALL 

the Ostrogcths, Alatheus and Saphrax, the guardians of theii 
infant king, appeared soon afterw ards on the Northern banks 
of the Danube ; and immediately despatched their ambas- 
sadors to the court of Antioch, to solicit, with the same pro- 
fessions of allegiance and gratitude, the same favor which had 
been granted to the suppliant Visigoths. The absolute refu- 
sal of Valens suspended their progress, and discovered the 
repentance, the suspicions, and the fears, of the Imperial 
council. 

An undisciplined and unsettled nation of Barbarians 
required the firmest temper, and the most dexterous manage- 
ment. The daily subsistence of near a million of extraor 
dinary subjects could be supplied only by constant and skilful 
diligence, and might continually be interrupted by mistake or 
accident. The insolence, or the indignation, of the Goths, if 
they conceived themselves to be the objects either of fear 
or of contempt, might urge them to the most desperate 
extremities ; and the fortune of the state seemed to depend 
on the prudence, as well as the integrity, of the generals of 
Valens. At this important crisis, the military government of 
Thrace was exercised by Lupicinus and Maximus, in whose 
venal minds the slightest hope of private emolument out- 
weighed every consideration of public advantage ; and whose 
guilt was only alleviated by their incapacity of discerning the 

fiernicious effects of their rash and criminal administration, 
nstead of obeying the orders of their sovereign, and satisfy- 
ing, with decent liberality, the demands of the Goths, they 
levied an ungenerous and oppressive tax on the wants of 
the hungry Barbarians. The vilest food was sold at an 
extravagant price ; and, in the room of wholesome and sub- 
stantial provisions, the markets were filled with the flesh of 
dogs, and of unclean animals, who had died of disease. To 
obtain the valuable acquisition of a pound of bread, the 
Goths resigned the possession of an expensive, though ser- 
viceable, slave ; and a small quantity of meat was greedily 
purchased with ten pounds of a precious, but useless metal. 69 

69 Decern libras ; the word silver must be understood. Jornandea 
betrays the passions and prejudices of a Goth. The servile Greeks, 
Eunapius * and Zosimus, disguise the lloman oppression, and exe- 



* A new passage from the history of Eunapius is nearer to the truth 
" It appeared to our commanders a legitimate source of gain to be bribed 
by the Barbarians : xipioi avroif Hokci yvriaiov rd buiyoiotiiBdai na\A rwr iro\t 
•<W." Edit Niebuhr, p. 82 — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 35 

When their property was exhausted, they continued this 
necessary traffic by the sale of their sons and daughters ; and 
notwithstanding the love of freedom, which animated every 
Gothic breast, they submitted to the humiiiating maxim, that 
it was better for their children to be maintained in a servile 
condition, than to perish in a state of wretched and helpless 
independence. The most lively resentment is excited by the 
tyranny of pretended benefactors, who sternly exact the debt 
of gratitude which they have cancelled by subsequent inju- 
ries : a spirit of discontent insensibly arose in the camp of 
the Barbarians, who pleaded, without success, the merit of their 
patient and dutiful behavior ; and loudly complained of the 
inhospitable treatment which they had received from their 
new allies. They beheld around them the wealth and plenty 
of a fertile province, in the midst of which they suffered the 
intolerable hardships of artificial famine. But the means of 
relief, and even of revenge, were in their hands ; since the 
rapaciousness of their tyrants had left to an injured people 
the possession and the use of arms. The clamois of a mul- 
titude, untaught to disguise their sentiments, announced the 
first symptoms of resistance, and alarmed the timid and guilty 
minds of Lupicinus and Maximus. Those cratry ministers, 
who substituted the cunning of temporary expedients to the 
wise and salutary councils of general policy, attempted to 
remove the Goths from their dangerous station on the fron- 
tiers of the empire ; and to disperse them, in separate quar- 
ters of cantonment, through the interior provinces. As they 
were conscious how ill they had deserved the respect, or con- 
fidence, of the Barbarians, they diligently collected, from 
every side, a military force, that might urge the tardy and 
reluctant march of a people, who had not yet renounced the 
utle, or the duties, of Roman subjects. But the generals of 
Valens, while their attention was solely directed to the dis- 
contented Visigoths, imprudently disarmed the ships and the 
fortifications which constituted the defence of the Danube. 
The fatal oversight was observed, and improved, by Alatheus 
and Saphrax, who anxiously watched the favorable momenl 
of escaping from the pursuit of the Huns. By the help of 



crate the perfidy of the Barbarians. Ammianus, a patriot historian, 
•lightly, and reluctantly, touches on the odious subject. Jeiom, who 
WTote almost* on the spot, is fair, though concise. Per avaritiam 
Maximi riucis, ad rcbellionem fame coacti sunt, (in Chron.1 



86 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

such rafis and vessels as could be hastily procured, the leaders 
of the Ostrogoths transported, without opposition, their king 
and their army ; and boldly fixed a hostile and independent 
camp ou the territories of the empire. 70 

Under the name of Judges, Alavivus and Fritigern were 
the leaders of the Visigoths in peace and war; and the 
authority which they derived from their birth was ratified by 
the free consent of the nation. In a season of tranquillity, 
their power might have been equal, as well as their rank; 
but, as soon as their countrymen were exasperated by hunger 
and oppression, the superior abilities of Fritigern assumed the 
military command, which he was qualified to exercise for the 
public welfare. He restrained the impatient spirit of the 
Visigoths till the injuries and the insults of their tyrants should 
justify their resistance in the opinion of mankind : but he 
was not disposed to sacrifice any solid advantages for the 
empty praise of justice and moderation. Sensible of the 
benefits which would result from the union of the Gothic 
powers under the same standard, he secretly cultivated the 
friendship of the Ostrogoths ; and while he professed an im- 
plicit obedience to the orders of the Roman generals, he pro- 
teeded by slow marches towards Marcianopolis, the capital 
l»f the Lower Maesia, about seventy miles from the banks of 
]he Danube. On that fatal spot, the flames of discord and 
inutual hatred burst forth into a dreadful conflagration. Lu- 
picinus had invited the Gothic chiefs to a splendid entertain- 
ment ; and their martial train remained under arms at the 
entrance of the palace. But the gates of the city were strictly 
guarded, and the Barbarians were sternly excluded from the 
use of a plentiful market, to which they asserted their equal 
claim of subjects and allies. Their humble prayers were 
rejected with insolence and derision ; and as their patience 
was now exhausted, the townsmen, the soldiers, and the Goths, 
were soon involved in a conflict of passionate altercation and 
angry reproaches. A blow was imprudently given ; a sword 
was hastily drawn ; and the first blood that was spilt in this 
accidental quarrel became the signal of a long and destruc- 
tive war. In the midst of noise and brutal intemperance. 
Lupicinus was informed, by a secret messenger, that many 
of his soldiers were slain, and despoiled of their arms ; and 
us he was already inflamed by wine, and oppressed by sleep, 



70 Ammianus, xxxi. 4, 6. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 37 

he issued a rash commar J, that their death should be revenged 
by the massacre of the g jards of Fritigern and Alavivus. The 
ilamorous shouts and dying groans apprised Fritigern of his 
extreme danger ; and, as he possessed the calm and intrepid 
spirit of a hero, he saw that he was lost if he allowed a 
moment of deliberation to the man who had so deeply injured 
him. " A trifling dispute," said the Gothic leader, with a 
firm but gentle tone of voice, " appears to have arisen be- 
tween the two nations ; but it may be productive of the most 
dangerous consequences, unless the tumult is immediately 
pacified by the assurance of our safety, and the authority of 
our presence." At these words, Fritigern and his com- 
panions drew their swords, opened their passage through the 
unresisting crowd, which filled the palace, the streets, and the 
gates, of Marcianopolis, and, mounting their horses, hastily 
vanished from the eyes of the astonished Romans. The 
generals of the Goths were saluted by the fierce and joyful 
acclamations of the camp ; war was instantly resolved, and 
the resolution was executed without delay : the banners of 
the nation were displayed according to the custom of their 
ancestors ; and the air resounded with the harsh and mourn- 
ful music of the Barbarian trumpet. 71 The weak and guilty 
Lupicinus, who had dared to provoke, who had neglected to 
destroy, and who still presumed to despise, his formidable 
enemy, marched against the Goths, at the head of such a 
military force as could be collected on this sudden emergency. 
The Barbarians expected his approach about nine miles from 
Marcianopolis ; and on this occasion the talents of the general 
were found to be of more prevailing efficacy than the weap- 
ons and discipline of the troops. The valor of the Goths was 
so ably directed by the genius of> Fntigern, that they broke, 
by a close and vigorous attack, the ranks of the Roman 
leg'nus. Lupicinus left his arms and standards, his tribunes 

71 Vexillis de more sublatis, auditisque triste sononlihns ciassicit. 
Ammian xxxi. 5. These are the rauca curnua of Claudian, (in Rutin, 
ii. 57,) the large horns of the Uri, or wild bull ; such as have been 
more recently used by the Swiss Cantons of Uri and Underwald. 
(Simler de Republic! Ilelvet. 1. ii. p. 201, edit. Fuselin. Tigur. 1734.) 
Their military horn is finely, though perhaps casually, introduced in 
an original narrative of the battle of Nancy, (A. D. 1477.) "Attendant 
le combat le dit cor fut come par trois fois, tant que le vent du soutfler 
pouvoit durer: ce ^ui esbahit fort Monsieur de ISourgoigne ; car deja 
a Marat I'avoit ouij." (See the Pieces .lustificatives in the 4to. edition 
of Philippe de Comines, toui. iii. p. 493.* 



88 THE DECLINE AND FALL. 

and h s bravest soldiers, on the field of battle ; and their use- 
less courage served only to protect the ignominious flight of 
their leader. " That successful day pin an end to the 
distress of the Barbarians, and the security 01 the Romans : 
t'rora that day, the Goths, renouncing the precarious condition 
of strangers and exiles, assumed tbe character of citizens and 
masters, claimed an absolute dominion over the possessors of 
land, and held, in their own right, the northern provinces of 
the empire, which are bounded by the Danube." Such are 
the words of the Gothic historian, 72 who celebrates, with rude 
eloquence, the glory of his countrymen. But the dominion 
of the Barbarians was exercised only for the purposes of 
rapine and destruction. As they had been deprived, by the 
ministers of the emperor, of the common benefits of nature 
and the fair intercourse of social life, they retaliated the 
injustice on the subjects of the empire ; and the crimes of 
Lupicinus were expiated by the ruin of the peaceful hus- 
bandmen of Thrace, the conflagration of their villages, and 
the massacre, or captivity, of their innocent families. The 
report of the Gothic victory was soon diffused over the ad- 
: acent country ; and while it filled the minds of the Romans 
with terror and dismay, their own hasty imprudence con- 
*nbuted to increase the forces of Fritigern, and the calamities 
of the province. Some time before the great emigration, a 
numerous body of Goths, under the command of Suerid and 
Colias, had been received into the protection and service of 
the empire. 73 They were encamped under the walls of Ha- 
drianople ; but the ministers of Valens were anxious to remove 
them beyond the Hellespont, at a distance from the danger- 
ous temptation which might so easily be communicated by the 
neighborhood, and the success, of their countrymen. The 
respectful submission with which they yielded to the order of 
their march, might be considered as a proof of their fidelity ; 
and their moderate request of a sufficient allowance of pro- 
visions, and of a delay of only two days, was expressed in 
the most dutiful terms. But the first magistrate of Hadrian 
ople incensed by seme disorders which had bee a committed 
at his country-house, refused this indulgence ; and arming 

7 * Jomandes de Rebus Geticis, c. 26, p. 648, edit Grot. lhese 
splendidi panni (they are comparatively such) are undoubtedly tran- 
scribed from the larger histories of Priscus, Ablavius, or Cassiodorus. 

73 Cum populis suis longe ante suscepti. We are ig; orai c of tha 
precise datr and cii'-ixostaucefi of their tiransmigratinr, 



JF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 39 

against the.n the .^habitants and manufacturers of a populous 
city, he urged, witk hostile threats, their instant departure. 
The Barbarians stocd silent and amazed, till they were exas- 
perated by the insulting clamors, and missile weapons, of the 
populace : but when patience or contempt was fatigued, they 
crushed the undisciplined multitude, inflicted many a shame- 
ful wound on the backs of their flying enemies, and despoiled 
them of '.he splendid armor, 74 which they were unworthy to 
oear. The resemblance of their sufferings and their actions 
soon united this victorious detachment to the nation of the 
Visigoths • the troops of Colias and Suerid expected the 
approach of the great Fritigern, ranged themselves under his 
standard, and signalized their ardor in the siege of Hadriano- 
ple. But the resistance of the garrison informed the Bar- 
barians, that in the attack of regular fortifications, the efforts 
of unskilful courage are seldom effectual. Their general 
acknowledged his error, raised the siege, declared that " he 
was at peace with stone walls," 73 and revenged his disap- 
pointment on the adjacent country. He accepted, with 
pleasure, the useful reenforcement of hardy workmen, who 
labored in the gold mines of Thrace, 76 for the emolument, and 
under the lash, of an unfeeling master : 77 and these new 
associates conducted the Barbarians, through the secret paths, 
to the most sequestered places, which had been chosen to 
secure the inhabitants, the cattle, and the magazines of corn. 
With the assistance of such guides, nothing could remain 
impervious or inaccessible ; resistance was fatal ; flight was 
impracticable ; and the patient submission of helpless inno- 

74 An Imperial manufacture of shields, &c, was established at 
Hadrianople ; and the populace were headed by the Fabricenses, or 
workmen. (Vales, ad Amniian. xxxi. 6.) 

76 Pacem sibi esse cum parietibus memorans. Ammian. xxxi. 7. 

76 These mines were in the country of the Bessi, in the ridge of 
mountains, the Rhodope, that runs between Philippi and Philippop- 
olis.; two Macedonian cities, which derived their name and origin 
from the father of Alexander. From the mines of Thrace he annually 
received the value, not the weight, of a thousand talents, (200,000/.,) 
a revenue which paid the phalanx, and corrupted the orators of 
Greece. See Diodor. Siculus, torn. ii. 1. xvi. p. 88, edit. Wesseling. 
Godefroy's Commentary on the Theodosian Code, torn. iii. p. 496. 
Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. torn. i. p. 676, 857. D'Anville, Geogra- 
phic Ancienne, torn. i. p. 336. 

" 7 As those unhappy workmen often ran away, Valens had enacted 
were laws to drag them from their hiding-places. Cod. Theodosian 
%. x. tit. xix. leg 5, 7. 



40 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

on^e seldom found mercy from the Barbarian conqueror. Iiv 
the course of these depredations, a great number of t lie chil- 
dren of the Goths, who had been sold into captivity, were 
restored to the embraces of their afflicted parents; but these 
tender interviews, which might have revived and cherished 
in their minds some sentiments of humanity, tended only to 
stimulate their native fierceness by the desire of revenge. 
They listened, with eager attention, to the complaints of their 
captive children, who had suffered the most cruel indignities 
from the lustful or angry passions of their masters, and the 
game cruelties, the same indignities, were severely retaliated 
on the sons and daughters of the Romans. 78 

T'i8 imprudence of Valens and his ministers had introduced 
intc ihe heart of the empire a nation of enemies ; but the Vis- 
igoths might even yet have been reconciled, by the manly con- 
fession of past errors, and the sincere performance of former 
engagements. These healing and temperate measures seemed 
to concur with the timorous disposition of the sovereign of the 
East : but, on this occasion alone, Valens was brave ; and his 
unseasonable bravery was fatal to himself and to his subjects. 
He declared his intention of marching from Antioch to Con- 
stantinople, to subdue this dangerous rebellion ; and, as he 
was not ignorant'of the difficulties of the enterprise, he solicit- 
ed the assistance of his nephew, the emperor Gratian, who 
commanded all the forces of the West. The veteran troops 
were hastily recalled from the defence of Armenia ; that im- 
portant frontier was abandoned to the discretion of Sapor ; 
and the immediate conduct of the Gothic war was intrusted, 
during the absence of Valens, to his lieutenants Trajan and 
Profuturus, two generals who indulged themselves in a very 
false and favorable opinion of their own abilities. On their 
arrival in Thrace, they were joined by Richomer, count of the 
domestics ; and the auxiliaries of the West, that marched un- 
der his banner, were composed of the Gallic legions, reduced 
indeed, by a spirit of desertion, to the vain appearances jof 
stiengthand numbers. In a council of war, which was in 
fluenced by pride, rather than by reason, it was resolved to 
seek, and to encounter, the Barbarians, who lay encamped in 
the spacious and fertile meadows, near the most southern of 

79 See Ammianus, xxxi. 5, 6. The historian of the Gothic wai 
.oses time and space, Ny an unseasonable recapitulation of the ancien« 
Inroads of the Barbarians. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 41 

the six mouihs o ..' the Danube. 79 Their camp was surrounded 
by the usual fortification of wagons ; 80 and the Barbarians 
secure within the vast circle of the enclosure, enjoyed the 
fruits of their valor, and the spoils of the province. In tho 
midst of riotous intemperance, the watchful Fritigern observed 
the motions, and penetrated the designs, of the Romans. lie 
perceived, that the numbers of the enemy were continually 
increasing : and, as he understood their intention of attacking 
his rear, as soon as the scarcity of forage should oblige him 
lo remove his camp, he recalled to their standard his predatory 
detachments, which covered the adjacent country. As soon 
as they descried the flaming beacons, 81 they obeyed, with 
incredible speed, the signal of their leader : the camp was 
filled with the martial crowd of Barbarians ; their impatient 
clamors demanded the battle, and their tumultuous zeal was 
approved and animated by the spirit of their chiefs. The 
evening was already far advanced ; and the two armies pre- 
pared themselves for the approaching combat, which was 
deferred only till the dawn of day. While the trumpet? 
sounded to arms, the undaunted courage of the Goths was 
confirmed by the mutual obligation of a solemn oath ; and as 
they advanced to meet the enemy, the rude songs, which 
celebrated the glory of their forefathers, were mingled with 
their fierce and dissonant outcries, and opposed to the arti- 
ficial harmony of the Roman shout. Some military skill waa 
displayed by Fritigern to gain the advantage of a command- 
ing eminence ; but the bloody conflict, which began and ended 
with the light, was maintained on either side, by the personal 
and obstinate efforts of strength, valcr, and agility. The 
legions of Armenia supported their fame in arms ; but they 
were oppressed by the irresistible weight of the hostile mul- 

79 The Itinerary of Antoninus (p. 226, 227, edit. Wesseling) marks 
the situation of this place about sixty miles north of Tomi, Ovid's 
exile ; and the name of Salioes (the willows) expresses the nature of 
the soil. 

80 This circle of wagons, the Carrago, was the usual fortification 
of the Barbarians. (Vegetius de lie Militari, 1. iii. c. 10. Valosius 
ad Ammian. xxxi. 7.) The practice and the name were preserved by 
their descendants as late as the fifteenth century. The Charroy, 
which surrounded the Ust, is a word familiar to the readers of Frois- 
gard, or Comines. 

81 Statim ut accensi malleoli. I have used the literal sense of rea. 
torches or beacons ; but I abnost suspect, that it is only one of those 
turgid metaphors, those false ornaments, that perpetually oiiriguxa 
'he. sty le of Ammianus. 

50* 



42 THE DECLINE A.NI TALL 

titude : Lie left wing ol the Romans was thrown inx> disorder 
and the field was strewed with their mangled carcasses. This 
partial defeat was balanced, however, by partial success; and 
when the two armies, at a late hour of the evenmg, retreated 
to their respective camps, neither of them could claim the 
honors, or the effects, of a decisive victory. The real loss 
was more severely felt by the Romans, in proportion to the 
smallness of their numbers; but the Goths were so deeply 
confounded and dismayed by this vigorous, and perhaps 
unexpected, resistance, that they remained seven days within 
the circle of their fortifications. Such funeral rites, a* .he 
circumstances of time and place would admit, were pioasly 
discharged to some officers of distinguished rank ; but the 
indiscriminate vulgar was left unburied on the plain. Their 
flesh was greedily devoured by the birds of prey, who in that 
age enjoyed very frequent and delicious feasts ; and several 
years afterwards the white and naked bones, which covered 
the wide extent of the fields, presented to the eyes of Ammia- 
nus a dreadful monument of the battle of Salices. 82 

The progress of the Goths had been checked by the doubt- 
ful event of that bloody day ; and the Imperial generals, 
whose army would have been consumed by the repetition of 
such a contest, embraced the more rational plan of destroy- 
ing the Barbarians by the wants and pressure of their own 
multitudes. They prepared to confine the Visigoths in the 
narrow angle of land between the Danube, the desert of 
Scythia, and the mountains of Hsemus, till their strength and 
spirit should be insensibly wasted by the inevitable operation of 
famine. The design was prosecuted with some conduct and 
success : the Barbarians had almost exhausted their own 
magazines, and the harvests of the country ; and the diligence 
of Saturninus, the master-general of the cavalry, was em- 
ployed to improve the strength, and to contract the extent, of 
the Roman fortifications. His labors were interrupted by the 
alarming intelligence, that new swarms of Barbarians had 
parsed the unguarded Danube, either to support the cause, or 

8a Indicant nunc usque albentes ossibus campi. Ammian. xxxi. 7. 
The historian might have viewed these plains, either as a soldier, or 
is a traveller. But his modesty has suppressed the adventures of hia 
ywn life subsequent to the Persian wars of Constanti.ua and Julian. 
We are ignorant of the time when he quitted the service, and retired 
to Home where he appears to ha- e composed his History of ris Uwn 
Vim us. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 43 

co imitate the example, of Fritigern. The just apprehension, 
that lie himself might be surrounded, and overwhelmed, by 
the arms of hostile and unknown nations, compelled Saturm- 
nus to relinquish the siege of the Gothic camp ; and the in- 
dignant Visigoths, breaking from their confinement, satiated 
their hunger and revenge by the repeated devastation of the 
fruitful country, which extends above three hundred milesi 
from the banks of the Danube to the Straits of the Helles- 
pont. 83 The sagacious Fritigern had successfully appealea 
to the passions, as well as to the interest, of his Barbarian 
allies; and the love of rapine, and the "hatred of Rome, sec- 
onded, or even prevented, the eloquence of his ambassadors 
He cemented a strict and useful alliance with the great body 
of his countrymen, who obeyed Alatheus and Saphrax as the 
guardians of their infant king: the long animosity of rival 
tribes was suspended by the sense of their common interest ; 
the independent part of the nation was associated under one 
standard ; and the chiefs of the Ostrogoths appear to have 
yielded to the superior genius of the general of the Visigoths 
He obtained the formidable aid of the Taifalse,* whose mil- 
itary renown was disgraced and polluted by the public infamy 
of their domestic manners. Every youth, on his entrance 
into the world, was united by the ties of honorable friendship, 
and brutal love, to some warrior of the tribe ; nor could he 
hope to be released from this unnatural connection, till he had 
approved his manhood by slaying, in single combat, a huge 
bear, or a wild boar of the forest. 84 But the most powerful 



b3 Ammifin. xxxi. 8. 

84 Hanc Taifalorum gentem turpem, et obseenre vitee flagitiis ita 
accipimus mcrsam ; ut apud cos nefandi concubitus foedere copulen- 
tur marcs puberes, aetatis viriditatem in eorum pollutis usibus con- 
sumpturi. Porro, siqui jam adidtus aprum exceperit solus, vel intere- 
niit ursum immanent, coiluvione liberatur incesti. Ammian. xxxi. 9. 



* The Taifalae, who at this period inhabited the country which now forms 
the principality of Wallachia, were, in my opinion, the last remains of the 
great and powerful nation of the Ducians,' (Daei or Dahse,) which has given 
its name to these regions, over which they had ruled so long. The Taifala 
passed with the Goths into the territory of the empire. _ A great numbet 
of them entered the Roman service, and were quartered in dilferent pro* 
inces. TIipv are mentioned in the Notitia Imperii. There was a consid 
eral'le hoay in the country of the Pictavi, now Poithou. They long retained 
t'ueir manners and language, and caused the name of the Thcofalgicua 
pagu» to he given to the district they inhabited. Two places iu the 
department of La Vendee, Tiifanges, and La Tiffarditre, still preserve evi- 
dent traces of this denomination. St. Martin, iv. 118. — M. 



44 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

auxiliaries of .he Goths were drawn from the camp of those 
enemies who had expelled them from their native seats. The ' 
loose subordination, and extensive possessions, of the Hune 
and the Alani, delayed the conquests, and distracted the coun- 
cils, of that victorious people. Several of the hords were 
allured by the liberal promises of Fritigern ; and the rapid 
cavalry of Scythia added weight and energy to the steady and 
strenuous efforts of the Gothic infantry. The Sarmatians, 
who could never forgive the successor of Valentinian, enjoyed 
and increased the general confusion ; and a seasonable irrup- 
tion of the Alemanni, into the provinces of Gaui, engaged 
the attention, and diverted the forces, of the emperor of the 
West. 85 

One of the most dangerous inconveniences of the introduc- 
tion of the Barbarians into the army and the palace, was 
sensibly felt in their correspondence with their hostile coun- 
trymen ; to whom they imprudently, or maliciously, revealed 
the weakness of the Roman empire. A soldier, of the life- 
guards of Gratian, was of the nation of the Alemanni, and of 
the tribe of the Lentienses, who dwelt beyond the Lake of 
Constance. Some domestic business obliged him to request 
a leave of absence. In a short visit to his family and 
friends, he was exposed to their curious inquiries : and the 
vanity of the loquajious soldier tempted him to display his 
intimate acquaintance with the secrets of the state, and the 
designs of his master. The intelligence, that Gratian was 
preparing to lead the military force of Gaul, and of the West, 
to the assistance of his uncle Valens, pointed out to the rest- 
less spirit of the Alemanni the moment, and the mode, of a 
successful invasion. The enterprise of some light detach- 
ments, who, in the month of February, passed the Rhine upon 
the ice, was the prelude of a more important war. The bold- 
est hopes of rapine, perhaps of conquest, outweighed the 
considerations of timid prudence, or national faith. Every 
forest, and every village, poured forth a band of hardy adven- 
turers ; and the great army of the Alemanni, which, on their 

Among the Greeks, likewise, more especially among the Cretans, 
the holy bands of friendship were confirmed, and sullied, by unnat- 
ural love. 

94 Ammian. xxxi. 8, 9. Jerom (torn. i. p. 26) enumerates the na- 
tions, and marks a calamitous period of twenty years. This epistle «* 
Heliodoms was composed in the year 397, (Till emont, Mem. Eccl"» 
torn. xii. p. 645.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 45 

Approach, was estimated at forty thousand men by the fears 
• of the people was afterwards magnified to the number of 
seventy thousand by the vain and credulous flattery of the 
Imperial court. The legions, which had been ordered tc 
march into Pannonia, were immediately recalled, or detained, 
for the defence of Gaul ; the military command was divided 
between Nanienus and Mellobaudes ; and the youthful em- 
peror, though he respected the long experience and sober 
wisdom of the former, was much more inclined to admire 
and to follow, the martial ardor of his colleague ; who was 
allowed to unite the incompatible characters of count of the 
domestics, and of king of the Ffenks. His rival Priarius. 
king of the Alemanni, was guided, or rather impelled, by the 
same headstrong valor ; and as their troops were animated by 
the spirit of their leaders, they met, they saw, they encoun 
tered, each other, near the town of Argentaria, or Colmar, 8b 
in the plains of Alsace. The glory of the day was justly 
ascribed to the missile weapons, and well-practised evolutions 
of the Roman soldiers ; the Alemanni, who long maintained 
their ground, were slaughtered with unrelenting fury ; five 
thousand only of the Barbarians escaped to the woods and 
mountains ; and the glorious death of their king on the field of 
battle saved him from the reproaches of the people, who are 
always disposed to accuse the justice, or policy, of an unsuc- 
cessful war. After this signal victory, which secured the 
peace of Gaul, and asserted the honor of the Roman arms 
the emperor Gratian appeared to proceed without delay on 
his Eastern expedition ; but as he approached the confines of 
the Alemanni, he suddenly inclined to the left, surprised them 
by his unexpected passage of the Rhine, and boldly advanced 
into the heart of their country. The Barbarians opposed to 
his progress the obstacles of nature and of courage ; and still 
continued to retreat, from one hill to another, till they were, 
satisfied, by repeated trials, of the power and perseverance 
of their enemies. Their submission was accepted as a proof, 
<?ot indeed of their sincere repentance, but of their actual 

88 The field of battle, Argentaria or Argentovaria, is accurately fixed 
by M. D'Anville (Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 96 — 99) at twenty- 
three Gallic leagues, or thirty-four and a half Roman miles to the 
•outh of Strasburg. From its ruins the adjacent town of Colmar baa 
arisen.* 

* It is rather Horburg, on the right bank of the River 111 opposite to 
Cohnar. From Schoepnin, Alsatia Illustrata. St Martin i* 121. — M. 



46 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

distress : and a select number of their brave and robust youth 
was exacted from the faithless nation, as the most substantia, 
pledge of their future moderation. The subjects of the em- 
pire, who had so often experienced that the Alemanni could 
neither be subdued by arms, nor restrained by treaties, might 
not promise themselves any solid or lasting tranquillity : bu« 
they discovered, in the virtues of their young sovereign, the 
prospect of a long and auspicious reign. When the legions 
climbed the mountains, and scaled the fortifications of the 
Barbarians, the valor of Gratian was distinguished in the fore- 
most ranks ; and the gilt and variegated armor of his guards 
was pierced and shattered by the blows which they had re- 
ceived in their constant attachment to the person of theii 
sovereign. At the age of nineteen, the son of Valentinian 
seemed to possess the talents of peace and war ; and his per- 
sonal success against the Alemanni was interpreted as a sure 
presage of his Gothic triumphs." 7 

While Gratian deserved and enjoyed the applause of his 
subjects, the emperor Valens, who, at length, had removed 
his court and army from Antioch, was received by the people 
of Constantinople as the author of the public calamity. Be- 
fore he had reposed himself ten days in the capital, he was 
urged by the licentious clamors i f the Hippodrome to march 
against the Barbarians, whom he had invited into his domin- 
.ons ; and the citizens, who are always brave at a distance 
from any real danger, declared, with confidence, that, if they 
were supplied with arms, they alone would undertake to deliver 
'he province from the ravages of an insulting foe. 88 The 
vain reproaches of an ignorant multitude hastened the down- 
fall of the Roman empire ; they provoked the desperate rash- 
ness of Valens; who did not find, either in his reputation or 
in his mind, any motives to support with firmness the public 
contempt. He was soon persuaded, by the successful achieve 
ments of his lieutenants, to despise the power of the Goths, 



87 The full and impartial narrative of Ammianus (xxxi. 10) may 
derive some additional li^ht from the Epitome of Victor, the Chroiu- 
cle of Jerom, and the History of Orosius, (1. vii. c. 33, p. 552, edit. 
Haver camp.) 

b8 Moratus paucissimos dies, seditione popularium levium pulsus. 
Ammian. xxxi. 11. fciocra es (1. iv. c. 38) supplies the dates and some 
cue u instances. 



Compare fi igment of Eunapius. Mai, 272, H Niebuhi, p 77. — M 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 47 

who, by the diligence of Fritigern, were now collected in the 
neighborhood of Hadrianople. The march of the Taifalse 
had been intercepted by the valiant Frigerid : the king of 
'hose licentious Barbarians was slain in battle ; and the sup- 
pliant captives were sent into distant exile to cultivate the 
lands of Italy, which were assigned for their settlement in the 
vacant territories of Modena and Parma. 89 The exploits of 
Sebastian, 90 who was recently engaged in the service of 
Valens, and promoted to the rank of master-general of the 
infantry, were still more honorable to himself, and useful to 
the republic. He obtained the permission of selecting three 
hundred soldiers from each of the legions; and this separate 
detachment soon acquired the spirit of discipline, and the ex- 
ercise of arms, which were almost forgotten under the reign 
of Valens. By the vigor and conduct of Sebastian, a large 
body of the Goths was surprised in their camp ; and the im- 
mense spoil, which was recovered from their hands, filled the 
city of Hadrianople, and the adjacent plain. The splendio 
narratives, which the general transmitted of his own exploits, 
alarmed the Imperial court by the appearance of superioi 
merit; and though he cautiously insisted on the difficulties of 
the Gothic war, his valor was praised, his advice was rejected ; 
and Valens, who listened with pride and pleasure to the flat- 
tering suggestions of the eunuchs of the palace, was impatient 
to seize the glory of an easy and assured conquest. His army 
was strengthened by a numerous reenforcement of veterans ; 
and his march from Constantinople to Hadrianople was con- 
ducted with so much military skill, that he prevented the ac- 
tivity of the Barbarians, who designed to occupy the inter- 
mediate defiles, and to intercept either the troops themselves 
or their convoys of provisions. The camp of Valens, which 
he pitched under the' walls of Hadrianople, was fortified, ac- 



89 Vivosque omnes circa Mutinam, Regiumque, et Parmam, Italica 
oppida, rura culturos exterminavit. Ammianu?, xxxi. 9. Those 
cities and districts, about ten years after the colony of the Taifalae, 
appear in a very desolate state. See Muratori, Dissertazioni sopra le 
Antichitu Italiane, torn. i. Dissertat. xxi. p. 354. 

90 Ammian. xxxi. 11. Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 228—230. The lattei 
expatiates on the desultory exploits of Sebastian, and despatches, in a 
few lines,, the important battle of Hadrianople. According to the 
ecclesiastical critics, who hate Sebastiar. the piaise of Zosimus is 
disgrace, (Tillemont, Hist, des Empereura, torn. v. p. 12].) His pre- 
judice and ignorance undoubtedly render him a very questionable 
judge of merit. 



48 IttJt DECLINE AND FALL 

cording to the practice of the Romans, with a ditch and ram 
*)art ; and a most important council was summoned, to decide 
the fate of the emperor and of the empire. The party of reason 
and of delay was strenuously maintained by Victor, who had 
corrected, by the lessons of experience, the native fierceness 
of the Sarmatian character ; while Sebastian, with the flexible 
and obsequious eloquence of a courtier, represented every 
precaution, and every measure, that implied a doubt of im 
mediate victory, as unworthy of the courage and majesty of 
their invincible monarch. The ruin of Valens was precip- 
itated by the deceitful arts of Fritigern, and the prudent 
admonitions of the emperor of the West. The advantages of 
negotiating in the midst of war were perfectly understood by 
the general of the Barbarians ; and a Christian ecclesiastic 
was despatched, as the holy minister of peace, to penetrate, 
and to perplex, the councils of the enemy. The misfortunes, 
as well as the provocations, of the Gothic nation, were forcibly 
and truly described by their ambassador ; who protested, in 
the name of Fritigern, that he was still disposed to lay down 
his arms, or to employ them only in the defence of the em- 
pire ; if he could secure for his wandering countrymen a 
tranquil settlement on the waste lands of Thrace, and a suffi. 
cient allowance of corn and cattle. But he added, in a whis- 
per of confidential friendship, that the exasperated Barbarians 
were averse to these reasonable conditions ; and that Fritigern 
was doubtful whether he could accomplish the conclusion of 
the treaty, unless he found himself supported by the presence 
and terrors of an Imperial army. About the same time, Count 
Richomer returned from the West to announce the defeat and 
submission of the Alemanni, to inform Valens that his nephew 
advanced by rapid marches at the head of the veteran and 
victorious legions of Gaul ; and to request, in the name of 
Gratian and of the republic, that every dangerous and decisive 
measure might be suspended, till the junction of the two em- 
perors should insure the success of the Gothic war. But the 
feeble sovereign of the East was actuated only by the fatal 
illusions of pride and jealousy. He disdained the importunate 
advice ; he rejected the humiliating aid ; he secretly compared 
the ignominious, at least the inglorious, period of his own 
reign, with the fame of a beardless youth ; and Valens rushed 
into the field, to erect his imaginary trophy, before the dili- 
gence of his colleague could usurp any share of the triumphs 
t»f die day 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 49 

On the nintn of August, a day which has deserved to be 
marked among the most inauspicious of the Roman Calen- 
dar, 91 the emperor Valens, leaving, under a strong guard, hia 
baggage and military treasure, marched from Hadrianople to 
attack the Goths, who were encamped about twelve miles 
from the city. 92 By some mistake of the orders, or some 
ignorance of the ground, the right wing, or column of cav* 
airy, arrived in sight of the enemy, whilst the left was still 
at a considerable distance ; the soldiers were compelled, in 
the sultry heat of summer, to precipitate their pace ; and the 
line of battle was formed with tedious confusion and irregular 
delay. The Gothic cavalry had been detached to forage in 
the adjacent country ; and Fritigern still continued to practise 
his customary arts. He despatched messengers of peace, 
made proposals, required hostages, ajid wasted the hours, till 
the Romans, exposed without shelter to the burning rays of 
the sun, were exhausted by thirst, hunger, and intolerable 
fatigue. The emperor was persuaded to send an ambassador 
to the Gothic camp ; the zeal of Richomer, who alone had 
courage to accept the dangerous commission, was applauded ; , 
and the count of the domestics, adorned with the splendid 
ensigns of his dignity, had proceeded some way in the space 
between the two armies, when he was suddenly recalled by 
the alarm of battle. The hasty and imprudent attack was 
made by Bacurius the Iberian, who commanded a body of 
archers and targiteers ; and as they advanced with rashness, 
they retreated with loss and disgrace. In the same moment, 
the flying squadrons of Alatheus and Saphrax, whose return 
was anxiously expected by the general of the Goths, descend- 
ed like a whirlwind from the hills, swept across the plain, 
and added new terrors to the tumultuous, but irresistible 
charge of the Barbarian host. The event of the battle of 
Hadrianople, so fatal to Valens and to the empire, may be 
described in a few words : the Roman cavalry fled ; the 

91 Ammianus (xxxi. 12, 13) almost alone describes the council* 
and actions which were terminated by the fatal battle of Hadrianople. 
We might censure the vices of his style, the disorder and perplexity 
of his narrative : but we must now take leave of this impartial his- 
torian ; and reproach is silenced by our regret for such an irreparable 
loss. 

92 The difference of the eight miles of Ammianus, and the twelve 
of ldatius, can only embarrass those critics (Valesius ad loc.) who 
suppose a great army to be a mathematical point, without space oj 
dimensional, 



/ 



50 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

infantry was abandoned, surrounded, and cut in pieces. Th.a 
most skilful evolutions, the firmest courage, are scarcely suf 
ficient to extricate a body of foot, encompassed, on an open 
plain, by superior numbers of horse ; but the troops of Valens, 
oppressed by the weight of the enemy and their own fears 
were crowded into a narrow space, where it was impossible 
for them to extend their ranks, or even to use, with effect, 
their swords and javelins. In the midst of tumult, of 
(daughter, and of dismay, the emperor, deserted by his guards, 
and wounded, as it was supposed, with an arrow, sought pro- 
tection among the Lancearii and the Mattiarii, who still main- 
tained their ground with some appearance of order and 
firmness. His faithful generals, Trajan and Victor, who 
perceived his danger, loudly exclaimed that all was lost, 
unless the person of the emperor could be saved Some 
troops, animated by their exhortation, advanced to his relief . 
they found only a bloody spot, covered with a heap of broken 
arms and mangled bodies, without being able to discover their 
unfortunate prince, either among the living or the dead. 
Their search could not indeed be successful, if there is any 
truth in the circumstances with which some historians have 
related the death of the emperor. By the care of his attend- 
ants, Valens was removed from the field of battle to a 
neighboring cottage, where they attempted to dress his 
wound, and to provide for his future safety. But this humble 
retreat was instantly surrounded by the enemy : they tried to 
force the door ; they were provoked by a discharge of arrows 
from the roof, till at length, impatient of delay, they set fire 
♦n a pile of dry fagots, and consumed the cottage with the 
Roman emperor and his train. Valens perished in the flames ,• 
and a youth, who dropped from the window, alone escaped, to 
attest the melancholy tale, and to inform the Goths of the 
inestimable prize which they had lost by their own rashness. 
A great number of brave and distinguished officers perished 
in the battle of Hadrianople, which equalled in the actual 
loss, and far surpassed in the fatal consequences, the misfor 
tune which Rome had formerly sustained in the fields of 
Cannae. 93 Two master-generals of the cavalry and infantry, 

* 3 Nee ulla annalibus, praeter Cannensem pugnam, ita ad interne- 
cioneni res legitur gesta. Ammian. xxxi. 13. According to tha 
grave Polybius, no more than 370 horse, and 3,000 foot, escaped from 
the Held of Cannae : 10,000 were made prisoners ; and the number of 
the slain amounted to 5,630 horse, and 70,000 foot, (Polyb. 1. iii. d. 



OV THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 5l 

rvo great officers of the palace, and thirty-five triounes, were 
round among the slain ; and the death of Sebastian might 
satisfy the world, that he was the victim, as well as the 
author, of the public calamity. Above two thirds of the 
Roman army were destroyed : and the darkness of the night 
was esteemed a very favorable circumstance, as it served to 
conceal the flight of the multitude, and to protect the more 
orderly retreat of Victor and Richomer, who alone, amidst 
the general consternation, maintained the advantage of calm 
courage and regular discipline. 94 

While the impressions of grief and terror were still recent 
in the minds of men, the most celebrated rhetorici. n of the 
age composed the funeral oration of a vanquished army, and 
of an unpopular prince, whose throne was already occupied 
by a stranger. " There are not wanting," says the candid 
Libanius, " those who arraign the prudence of the emperor, 
or who impute the public misfortune to the want of courage 
and discipline in the troops. For my own part, I reverence 
the memory of their former exploits : I reverence the glori- 
ous death, which they bravely received, standing, and fighting 
in their ranks : I reverence the field of battle, stained with 
their blood, and the blood of the Barbarians. Those honor- 
able marks have been already washed away by the rains ; but 
the lofty monuments of their bones, the bones of generals, 
of centurions, and of valiant warriors, claim a longer period 
of duration. The king himself fought and fell in the fore- 
most ranks of the battle. His attendants presented him whi- 
ttle fleetest horses of the Imperial stable, that would soor 
have carried him beyond the pursuit of the enemy. They 
vainly pressed him to reserve his important life for the 
future service of the republic. He still declared that he was 
unworthy to survive so many of the bravest and most faithful 
of his subjects ; and the monarch was nobly buried under a 
mountain of the slain. Let none, therefore, presume to 
ascribe the victory of the Barbarians to the fear, the weak- 

371, edit. Casaubon, 8vo.) Livy (xxii. 49) is somewhat less bloody ! 
he slaughters only 2,700 horse, and 40,000 foot. The Roman army 
was supposed to consist of 87,200 effective men, (xxii. 36.) 

04 We have gained some faint fight from Jerom, (torn. i. p. 28 and 
in Chron. p. 188,) Victor, v in Epitome,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 33, p. 654,) 
J-.-Tiaiides, Cc. 27,) Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 230,) Socrates, (1. iv. c. 38,) 
Sozomen, <1. vi. c. 40.) Idatius, (in Chron.) But their united evi- 
dence, if weighed against Amraianus alone, is light and unsubstan- 
tial. 



52 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ness, or the imprudence, of the Roman troops. The chiefs 
and the soldiers were animated by the virtue of their ances- 
tors, whom they equalled in discipline and the arts of war 
Their generous emulation was supported by the love of glory, 
which prompted them to contend at the same time with h'iat 
and thirst, with fire and the sword ; and cheerfully to embrace 
an honorable death, as their refuge against flight and infamy. 
The indignation of the gods has been the only cause of the 
success of our enemies." The truth of history may disclaim 
some parts of this panegyric, which cannot strictly be recon- 
ciled with the character of Valens, or the circumstances of 
the battle ; but the fairest commendation is due to the elo- 
quence, and still more to the generosity, of the sophist of 
Antioch. 95 

The pride of the Goths was elated by this memorable 
victory ; but their avarice was disappointed by the mortifying 
discovery, that the richest part of the Imperial spoil had been 
within the walls of Hadrianople. They hastened to possess 
the reward of their valor ; but they were encountered by the 
remains of a vanquished army, with an intrepid resolution, 
which was the effect of their despair, and the only hope of 
their safety. The walls of the city, and the ramparts of the 
adjacent camp, were lined with military engines, that threw 
stones of an enormous weight ; and astonished the ignorant 
Barbarians by the noise, and velocity, still more than by the 
real effects, of the discharge. The soldiers, the citizens, the 
provincials, the domestics of the palace, were united in the 
danger, and in the defence : the furious assault of the Goths 
was repulsed ; their secret arts of treachery and treason were 
discovered ; and, after an obstinate conflict of many hours, 
they retired to their tents ; convinced, by experience, that it 
would be far more advisable to observe the treaty, which 
their sagacious leader had tacitly stipulated with the fortifi- 
cations of great and populous cities After the hasty and 
impolitic massacre of three hundred deserters, an act ot 
justice extremely useful to the discipline of the Roman 
armies, the Goths indignantly raised the siege of Hadrianople. 
The scene of war and tumult was instantly converted into a 
silent solitude : the multitude suddenly disappeared; the 
secret paths of the woods and mountains were marked with 
the footsteps of the trembling fugitives, who sought a refuge 

M Libanius de ulciscend. Julian, nece, c. 3, in Fabriciu?. Bibliot. 
Grace, tim. vii. p. 146—148. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 53 

in the distant citie3 of Illyricum and Macedonia ; and the 
faithful officers of the household, and the treasury, cautiously 
proceeded in search of the emperor, of whose death # they 
were still ignorant. The tide of the Gothic inundation rolled 
from the walls of Hadrianople to the suburbs of Constan- 
tinople. The Barbarians were surprised with the splendid 
appearance of the capital of the East, the height and extent 
of the walls, the myriads of wealthy and affrighted citizens 
who crowded the ramparts, and the various prospect of the 
sea and land. While they gazed with hopeless desire on the 
inaccessible beauties of Constantinople, a sally was made 
from one of the gates by a party of Saracens, 96 who had 
been fortunately engaged in the service of Valens. The 
cavalry of Scythia was forced to yield to the admirable swift- 
ness and spirit of the Arabian horses : their riders were 
skilled in the evolutions of irregular war ; and the Northern 
Barbarians were astonished and dismayed, by the inhuman 
ferocity of the Barbarians of the South. A Gothic soldier 
was slain by the dagger of an Arab ; and the hairy, naked 
savage, applying his lips to the wound, expressed a horrid 
delight, while he sucked the blood of his vanquished enemy. 9 " 
The army of the Goths, laden with the spoils of the wealthy 
suburbs and the adjacent territory, slowly moved, from the 
Bosphorus, to the mountains which form the western boun- 
dary of Thrace. The important pass of Succi was betrayed 
by the fear, or the misconduct, of Maurus ; and the Bar- 
barians, who no longer had any resistance to apprehend from 
scattered and vanquished troops of the East, spread them- 
selves over the face of a fertile and cultivated country, as far 
as the confines of Italy, and the Hadriatic Sea. 98 



96 Valens had gained, or rather purchased, the friendship of the 
Saracens, whose vexatious inroads were felt on the boarders of Phoe- 
nicia, Palestine, and Egypt. The Christian faith had been lately 
introduced among a people, reserved, in a future age, to propagate 
another religion, (Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 104, 
\D6, 141. Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 593.) 

97 Crinitus quidam, nudus omnia prater pubem, subraucum et 
lugubre strepens. Ammian. xxxi. 16, and Vales, ad loc. The Axabu 
often fought naked ; a custom which may be ascribed to their sultry 
climate, and ostentatious bravery. The description of this unknown 
savage is the lively portrait of Derar, a name so dreadful to tha 
Christians of Syria. See Ockley's Hist, of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 72, 
14,87 

98 The series of events may still be traced in the last pages of Am 



54 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The Romans, who so coolly, and so concisely, mention the 
acts of justice which were exercised by the legions," reserve 
their compassion, and their eloquence, for their own suffer- 
ings, when the provinces were invaded, and desolated, by the 
arms of the successful Barbarians. The simple circumstan- 
tial narrative (did such a narrative exist) of the ruin of a 
single town, of the misfortunes of a single family, 100 might 
exhibit an interesting and instructive picture of human inar.« 
ners : but the tedious repetition of vague and declamatory 
complaints would fatigue the attention of the most patient 
reader. The same censure may be applied, though not per- 
haps in an equal degree, to the profane, and the ecclesiastical, 
writers of this unhappy period ; that their minds were in- 
flamed by popular and religious animosity ; and that the true 
size and color of every object is falsified by the exaggera- 
tions of their corrupt eloquence. The vehement Jerom 101 
might justly deplore the calamities inflicted by the Goths, and 
their barbarous allies, on his native country of Pannonia, and 
the wide extent of the provinces, from the walls of Constan- 
tinople to the foot of the Julian Alps ; the rapes, the mas- 
sacres, the conflagrations ; and, above all, the profanation of 
the churches, that were turned into stables, and the contemptu- 
ous treatment of the relics of holy martyrs. But the Saint is 
surely transported beyond the limits of nature and history, 
when he affirms, " that, in those desert countries, nothing was 
left except the sky and the earth ; that, after the destruction 

mianus, (xxxi. 15, 16.) Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 227, 231,) whom we are 
now reduced to cherish, misplaces the sally of the Arabs before the 
death of Valens. Eunapius (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 20) praises the 
fertility of Thrace, Macedonia, &c. 

99 Observe with how much indiiference Caesar relates, in the Com- 
mentaries of the Gallic war, that he put to death the whole senate of 
the Veneti, who had yielded to his mercy, (hi. 16 ;) that he labored 
to extirpate the whole nation of the Eburones, (vi. 31 ;) that forty 
chousand persons were massacred at Bourges by the just revenge of 
ais soldiers, who spared neither age nor sex, (vii. 27,) &c. 

100 Such are the accounts of the sack of Magdeburgh, by the eccle- 
siastic and the fisherman, which Mr. Harte has transcribed, (Hist, of 
Gustavus Adolphus, vol. i. p. 313 — 320,) with some apprehension of 
violating the dignity of history. 

101 Et vastatis urbibus, hominibusque interfectis, solitudinem et 
raritatem hestiarum quoque fieri, et volatilium, pisciumque : testis Elyri- 
cum est, '.estis Thracia, testis in quo ortus sum wlum, (Pannonia;) 
ubi praeter coelum et terrain, et crescentes vepres, ec condensa sylva- 
rum cuttcta perienutf. Tom. vii. p. 250, ad 1 , Cap. Sophonias ; and 
HBQ. L p. 2 J 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 55 

of the cities, and the extirpation of the human race, the land 
was overgrown with thick forests and inextricable brambles ; 
and that the universal desolation, announced by the prophet 
Zephaniah, was accomplished, in the scarcity of the beasts, 
the birds, and even of the fish." These complaints were 
pronounced about twenty years after the death of Valens ; 
and the Illyrian provinces, which were constantly exposed to 
the invasion arid passage of the Barbarians, still contipu< il 
after a calamitous period of ten centuries, to supply novv 
materials for rapine and destruction. Could it even be sup- 
posed, that a large tract of country had been left without 
cultivation and without inhabitants, the consequences might 
not have been so fatal to the inferior productions of animated 
nature. The useful and feeble animals, which are nourished 
by the hand of man, might suffer and perish, if they were 
deprived of his protection ; but the beasts of the forest, his 
enemies or his victims, would multiply in the free and undis- 
turbed possession of their solitary domain. The various 
tribes that people the air, or the waters, are still less connected 
with the fate of the human species ; and it is highly probable 
that the fish of the Danube would have felt more terror and 
distress, from the approach of a voracious pike, than from 
the hostile inroad of a Gothic army. 

Whatever may have been the just measure of the calamities 
of Europe, there was reason to fear that the same calamities 
would soon extend to the peaceful countries of Asia. The sons 
of the Goths had been judiciously distributed through the cities 
of the East ; and the arts of education were employed to polish, 
and subdue, the native fierceness of their temper. In the space 
of about twelve years, their numbers had continually increased ; 
and the children, who, in the first emigration, were sent over 
the Hellespont, had attained, with rapid growth, the strength 
and spirit of perfect manhood. 102 It was impossible t& con- 
ceal from their knowledge the events of the Gothic war ; and, 
as those daring youths had not studied the language of dissim- 
ulation, they betrayed their wish, their desire, perhaps their 
Intention, to emulate the glorious example of their fathers. 
The danger of the times seemed to justify the jealous sus- 



109 Eunapius (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 20) foolishly supposes a prte- 
cernatural growth of the young Goths, that he may introduce Cad- 
mus' 8 armed men, who sprung from the dragon's teeth, &c. Buch 
kv the Greek eloquence of the times. 



56 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

picions of the provincials ; and these suspicions were admitted 
as unquestionable evidence, that the Goths of Asia had formed 
a secret and dangerous conspiracy against the public safety. 
The death of Valens had left the East without a sovereign; 
and Julius, who filled the important station of master-general 
of the troops, with a high reputation of diligence and ability, 
thought it his duty to consult the senate of Constantinople ; 
which he considered, during the vacancy of the throne, as the 
representative council of the nation. As soon as he had 
obtainei the discretionaiy power of acting as he should judge 
most expedient for the good of the republic, he assembled the 
principal officers, and privately concerted effectual measures 
for the execution of his bloody design. An order was imme- 
diately promulgated, that, on a stated day, the Gothic youth 
should assemble in the capital cities of their respective prov- 
inces ; and, as a report was industriously circulated, that they 
were summoned to receive a liberal gift of lands and money, 
the pleasing hope allayed the fury of their resentment, and, 
perhaps, suspended the motions of the conspiracy. On the 
appointed day, the unarmed crowd of the Gothic youth was 
carefully collected in the square or Forum ; the streets and 
avenues were occupied by the Roman troops, and the roofs 
of the houses were covered with archers and slingers. At 
the same hour, in all the cities of the East, the signal was 
given of indiscriminate slaughter ; and the provinces of Asia 
were delivered by the cruel prudence of Julius, from a domestic 
enemy, who, in a few months, might have carried fire and 
sword from the Hellespont to the Euphrates. 103 The urgent 
consideration of the public safety may undoubtedly authorize 
the violation of every positive law. How far that, or any 
other, consideration may operate to dissolve the natural obli- 
gations of humanity and justice, is a doctrine of which I still 
desire to remain ignorant. 

The emperor Gratian was far advanced on his march 
towards the plains of Hadrianople, when he was informed, at 
first by the confused voice of fame, and afterwards by the 
more accurate reports of Victor and Richomer, that his im- 



103 Ammianus evidently approves this execution, efficacia velox et 
Balutaris, which concludes his work, (xxxi. 16.) Zosimus, who ie 
curious and copious, (1. iv. p. 233 — 236,) mistakes the date, and 
labors to find the reason, why Julius did not consult the emperor 
Thcodosius, who had not yet ascended the throne of the East. 



V 

OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 5? 

patient colle igue had been slain in battle, and that two thi rds 
of the Roman army were exterminated by the sword of the 
victorious Goths. Whatever resentment the rash and jealous 
vanity of his uncle might deserve, the resentment of a gen- 
erous mind is easily subdued by the softer emotions of grief 
and compassion ; and even the sense of pity was soon lost in 
the serious and alarming consideration of the state of the 
republic. Gratian was too late to assist, he was too weak to 
revenge, his unfortunate colleague ; and the valiant and modest 
youth felt himself unequal to the support of a sinking world. 
A. formidable tempest of the Barbarians of Germany seemed 
ready to burst over the provinces of Gaul ; and the mind of 
Gratian was oppressed and distracied by the administration 
of the Western empire. In this important crisis, the govern- 
ment of the East, and the conduct of the Gothic war, required 
the undivided attention of a hero and a statesman. A subject 
invested with such ample command would not long have pre- 
served his fidelity to a distant benefactor ; and the Imperial 
council embraced the wise and manly resolution of conferring 
an obligation, rather than of yielding to an insult. It was the 
wish of Gratian to bestow the purple as the reward of virtue ; 
but, at the age of nineteen, it is not easy for a prince, educated 
in the supreme rank, to understand the true characters of his 
ministers and generals. He attempted to weigh, with an im- 
partial hand, their various merits and defects ; and, whilst he 
checked the rash confidence of ambition, he distrusted the 
cautious wisdom which despaired of the republic. As each 
moment of delay diminished something of the power and 
resources of the future sovereign of the East, the situation 
of the times would not allow a tedious debate. The choice 
of Gratian was soon declared in favor of an exile, whose 
father, only three years before, had suffered, under the sanc- 
tion of his authority, an unjust and ignominious death. The 
great Theodosius, a name celebrated in history, and dear to 
the Catholic church, 104 was summoned to the Imperial court, 
■which had gradually retreated from the confines of Thrace to 



104 A life of Theodosius the Great was composed in the last cen- 
tury, (Paris, 1679, in 4to. ; 1680, in 12mo.,) to inflame the mind of 
the young Dauphin with Catholic zeal. The author, Flechier, after- 
wards bishop of Nismes, was a celebrated preacher ; and his history 
is adorned, or tainted, with pulpit eloquence ; but he takes hia 
learning from Baronius, and his principles from St. Ambrose and St. 
Augustin. 

57 



58 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the more secure station of Sirmium. Five months after the 
death of Valens, the emperor Gratian produced before tho 
assembled troops his colleague and their master ; who, after 
a modest, perhaps a sincere, resistance, was compelled to 
accept, amidst the general acclamations, the diadem, the 
purple, and the equal title of Augustus. 105 The provinces of 
Thrace, Asia, and Egypt, over which Valens had reigned, 
were resigned to the administration of the new emperor ; but, 
as he was specially intrusted with the conduct of the Gothic 
war, the Illyrian prefecture was dismembered ; and the two 
great dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia were added to the 
dominions of the Eastern empire. 106 

The same province, and perhaps the same city, 107 which 
had given to ihe throne the virtues of Trajan, and the talents 
of Hadrian, was the original seat of another family of Span- 
iards, who, in a less fortunate age, possessed, near fourscore 
years, the declining empire of Rome. 108 They emerged from 
the obscurity of municipal honors by the active spirit of the 
elder Theodosius, a general, whose exploits in Britain and 
Africa have formed one of the most splendid parts of the 
annals of Valentinian. The son of that general, who likewise 
bore the name of Theodosius, was educated, by skilful pre- 
ceptors, in the liberal studies of youth ; but he was instructed 
in the art of war by the tender care and severe discipline of 



10 The birth, character, and elevation of Theodosius are marked 
in I icatus, (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 10, 11, 12,) Themistius, (Orat. xiv. 
p. J t2,) Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 231,) Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 25,) 
Or'v ius, (1. vii. c. 34,) Sozomen, (1. vii. c. 2,) Socrates, (1. v. c. 2,) 
TK* odoret, (1. v. c. 5,) Philostorgius, (1. ix. c. 17, with Godefroy, p. 
390,) the Epitome of Victor, and the Chronicles of Prosper, Idatius, 
and Marcellinus, in the Thesaurus Temporum of Scaliger.* 

ius Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 716, &c. 

107 Italica, founded by Scipio Africanus for his wounded veterans 
of Italy. The ruins still appear, about a league above Seville, but on 
the opposite bank of the river. See the Hispania Illustrata of Nonius, 
a short, though valuable treatise, c. xvii. p. 64 — 67. 

08 I agree with Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn i . p. 726) 
In suspecting the royal pedigree, which remained a secret till the 
promotion of Theodosius. Even after that event, the silence of 
Pacatus outweighs the venal evidence of Themistius, Victor, and 
Claudvan, who connect the family of Theodosius with the blood of 
Trajan and Hadrian. 



• Add a hostile fragment of Eunapius. Mai, p. 273, in Niebub;, \v 
78.— M. 



0¥ THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 59 

his father. 100 Under the standard of such a leader, young 
Theodosius sought glory ind knowledge, in the most distant 
scenes of military action ; inured his constitution to the differ- 
ence of seasons and climates ; distinguished his valor by sea 
and land ; and observed the various warfare of the Scots, the 
Saxons, and the Moors. His own merit, and the recom- 
mendation of the conqueror of Africa, soon raised him to a 
eepaiate c&annand ; and, in the station of Duke of Mresia, he 
vanquished an army of Sarmatians ; saved the province ' 
deserved the love of the soldiers ; and provoked the envy of 
the court. 110 His rising fortunes were soon blasted by the 
disgrace and execution of his illustrious father ; and Theodo- 
sius obtained, as a favor the permission of retiring to a private 
life in his native province of Spain. He displayed a firm and 
temperate character in the ease with which he adapted him- 
self to this new situation. His time was almost equally divided 
between the town and country ; the spirit, which had animated 
his public conduct, was shown in the active and affectionate 
performance of every social duty ; and the diligence of the 
soldier was profitably converted to the improvement of ins 
ample patrimony, 111 which lay between Valladolid and Sego- 
► via, in the midst of a fruitful district, still famous for a most 
exquisite breed of sheep. 112 From the innocent, but humble 
labors of his farm, Theodosius was transported, in less than 
four months, to the throne of the Eastern empire ; and the 
whole period of the history of the world will not perhaps 
afford a similar example, of an elevation at the same time so 
pure and so honorable. The princes who peaceably inherit 
the sceptre of their fathers, claim and enjoy a legal right, the 

109 Pacatus compares, and consequently prefers, the youth of Theo« 
dosius to the military education of Alexander, Hannibal, and the 
second Africanus ; who, like him, had served under their fathers, 
(xii. 8.) 

110 Ammianus (xxix. 6) mentions this victory of Theodosius Junioi 
Dux Msesiae, prima etiam turn lanugine juvenis, princeps postea per- 
spectissimus. The same fact is attested by Themistius and Zosimua ; 
but Theodoret, (1. v. c. 5,) who adds some curious circumstanced, 
strangely applies it to the time of the interregnum. 

111 Pacatus (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 9) prefers the rustic life of 
Theodosius to that of Cincinnatus ; the one was the effect of choice, 
the other of poverty. 

112 M. D'Anville (Geographie Ancienne, torn. i. p. 25) han fixed 
the situatior of Caucha, or Coca, in the old province of Gallicia, 
where Zosimus and Idatius have placed the birth, or patrimony, oi 
rheodosms 



60 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

move secure as it is absolutely distinct from the merits of 
thmr personal characters. The subjects, who, in a monarchy, 
or a popular state, acquire the possession of supreme power 
may have raised themselves, by the superiority either of 
genius or virtue, above the heads of their equals ; but their 
virtue is seldom exempt from ambition ; and the cause of ihe 
successful candidate is frequently stained by the guilt of 
conspiracy, or civil war. Even in those governments which 
allow the reigning monarch to declare a colleague or a suc- 
cessor, his partial choice, which may be influenced by the 
blindest passions, is often directed to an unworthy object. 
But the most suspicious malignity cannot ascribe to Theodo- 
sius, in his obscure solitude of Caucha, the arts, the desires, 
or even the hopes, of an ambitious statesman ; and the name 
of the Exile would long since have been forgotten, if his genu- 
ine and distinguished virtues had not left a deep impression in 
the Imperial court. During the season of prosperity, he had 
Hgen neglected ; but, in the public distress, his superior merit 
was universally felt and acknowledged. What confidence 
jnust have been reposed in his integrity, since Gratian could 
trust, that a pious son would forgive, for the sake of the 
vepublic, the murder of his father! What expectations must 
have been formed of his abilities to encourage the hope, that 
a single man could save, and restore, the empire of the East! 
Theodosius was invested with the purple in the thirty-third 
year of his age. The vulgar gazed with admiration on the 
manly beauty of his face, and the graceful majesty of his 
person, which they were pleased to compare with the pictures 
and medals of the emperor Trajan ; whilst intelligent observers 
discovered, in the qualities of his heart and understanding, a 
more important resemblance to the best and greatest of the 
Roman princes. 

It is not without the most sincere regret, that I must now 
take leave of an accurate and faithful guide, who has com- 
posed the history of his own times, without indulging the pre- 
judices and passions, which usually affect the mind of a 
contemporary. Ammianus Marcellinus, who terminates his 
useful work with the defeat and death of Valens, recommends 
the more glorious subject of the ensuing reign to the youlhfuJ 
vigor and eloquence of the rising generation. 113 The rising 

m Let us hear Ammianus himself. Haec, ut miles quondam ec 
GrworuB, a principitu Oap-saris Nervip exorsus, adusque Valentis inter 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 61 

generation was not disposed to accept his advice, or to imilate 
his example ; 114 and, in the study of the reign of Theodosius, 
we are reduced to illustrate the partial narrative of Zosimus 
by the obscure hints of fragments and chronicles, by the 
figurative style of poetry or panegyric, and by the precari- 
ous assistance of the ecclesiastical writers, who, in the heat 
of religious faction, are apt to despise the profane virtues of 
sincerity and moderation. Conscious of these disadvantages 
which will continue to involve a considerable portion of the 
decline and fall of the Roman empire, I shall proceed with 
doubtful and timorous steps. Yet I may boldly pronounce, 
that the battle of Hadrianople was never revenged by any 
signal or decisive victory of Theodosius over the Barbarians : 
and the expressive silence of his venal orators may be con- 
firmed by the observation of the condition and circumstances 
of the times. The fabric of a mighty state, which has been 
reared by the labors of successive ages, could not be over- 
turned by the misfortune of a single day, if the fatal power of 
the imagination did not exaggerate the -real measure of the 
calamity. The loss of forty thousand Romans, who fell in 
the plains of Hadrianople, might have been soon recruited in 
the populous provinces of the East, which contained so many 
millions of inhabitants. The courage of a soldier is found to 
be the cheapest, and most common, quality of human nature 
and sufficient skill to encounter an undisciplined foe might hava 
been speedily taught by the care of the surviving centurions. 
If the Barbarians were mounted on the horses, and equipped 
with the armor, of their vanquished enemies, the numerous 
studs of Cappadocia and Spain would have supplied new 
squadrons of cavalry ; the thirty- four arsenals of the empire 
were plentifully stored with magazines of offensive and defen- 

itum, pro virium explicavi mensura : opus veritatem professum nun- 
quam, ut arbitror, sciens, silentio ausus corrumpere vcl mendacio. 
Scribant reliqua potiores a;tate, doctrinisque fiorentes. Quos id, si 
iibuerit, aggressuros, prouudere linguae ad majores moneo stilos. 
Ammian. xxxi. 16. The first thirteen books, a superficial epitome 
of two hundred and fifty-seven years, are now lost : the last eighteen, 
which contain no more than twenty-live years, still preserve the 
copious and authentic history of his own times. 

114 Ammian us was the last subject of Rome who composed a pro- 
fane history in the Latin language. The East, in the next century 
produced some rhetorical historians, Zosimus, Olympiodorus, Mal- 
chus, Candidus, &c. See Vossius de Historicis Graecis, 1. ii. c. 18, da 
Historicis Latinis, 1. ii. c. 10, &c. 



<52 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sivtj arms : and the wealth of Asia might still have yielded an 
ample fund for the expenses of the war. But the effects which 
were produced by the battle of Hadrianople on the minds of 
the Barbarians and of the Romans, extended the victory of the 
former, and the defeat of the latter, far beyond the limits of 
a single day. A Gothic chief was heard to declare, with in- 
solent moderation, that, for his own part, he was fatigued with 
slaughter ; but that he was astonished how a people, who fled 
before him like a flock of sheep, could still presume to dispute 
the possession of their treasures and provinces. 115 The same 
terrors which the name of the Huns had spread among the 
Gothic tribes, were inspired, by the formidable name of the 
Goths, among the subjects and soldiers of the Roman empire. 116 
If Tbeodosius, hastily collecting his scattered forces, had led 
them into tne field to encounter a victorious enemy, his army 
would have been vanquished by their own fears ; and his 
rashness could not have been excused by the chance of suc- 
cess. But the great Theodosius, an epithet which he honor- 
ably deserved on this momentous occasion, conducted himself 
as the firm and faithful guardian of the republic. He fixed 
his head-quarters at Thessalonica, the capital of the Mace- 
donian diocese ; 117 from whence he could watch the irregular 
motions of the Barbarians, and direct the operations of his 
lieutenants, from the gates of Constantinople to the shores of 
the Hadriatic. The fortifications and garrisons of the cities 
were strengthened ; and the troops, among whom a sense of 
order and discipline was revived, were insensibly emboldened 
by the confidence of their own safety. From these secure 
stations, they were encouraged to make frequent sallies on the 
Barbarians, who infested the adjacent country ; and, as they 
were seldom allowed to engage, without some decisive supe- 
riority, either of ground or of numbers, their enterprises were, 
or the most part, successful ; and they were soon convinced, 
oy their own experience, of the possibility of vanquishing their 
invincible enemies. The detachments of these separate gar- 

115 Chrrsostom, torn. i. p. 344, edit. Montfaucon. I have verified 
»nd examined this passage : bat I should never, without the aid of 
Tilleniont (Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p. 152,) have detected an historical 
anecdote, in a strange medley of moral and mystic exhortations, ad- 
dressed, by the preacher of Antioch, to a young widow. 

n " Eunapius, in Excerpt. Legation, p. 21. 

1)7 See Godefroy's Chronology of the Laws. Codex Theodos. \om i 
Piolegomen. p. xcix. — civ. 



' ' OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 63 

lisons were gradually united into small armies, the same 
cautious measures were pursued, according to an extensive 
and well-concerted plan of operations ; the events of each 
day added strength and spirit to the Roman arms ; and the 
artful diligence of the emperor, who circulated the most favor- 
able reports of the success of the war, contributed to subdue 
the pride of the Barbarians, and to animate the hopes and 
courage of his subjects. If, instead of this faint and imper- 
fect outline, we could accurately represent the counsels and 
actions of Theodosius, in four successive campaigns, there is 
reason to believe, that his consummate skill would deserve the 
applause of every military reader. The republic had former- 
ly been saved by the delays of Fabius; and, while the splen- 
did trophies of Scipio, in the field of Zama, attract the eyes 
of posterity, the camps and marches of the dictator among the 
hills of Campania, may claim a juster proportion of the solid 
and independent fame, which the general is not compelled to 
share, either with fortune or with his troops. Such was like- 
wise the merit of Theodosius ; and the infirmities of his body, 
which most unseasonably languished under a long and dan- 
gerous disease, could not oppress the vigor of his mind, or 
divert his attention from the public service. 118 

The deliverance and peace of the Roman provinces 119 was 
the work of prudence, rather than of valor : the prudence of 
Theodosius was seconded by fortune : and the emperor never 
failed to seize, and to improve, every favorable circumstance. 
As long as the superior genius of Fritigern preserved the 
union, and directed the motions of the Barbarians, their power 
was not inadequate to the conquest of a great empire. The 
death of that hero, the predecessor and master of the renowned 
Alaric, relieved an impatient multitude from the intolerable 
yoke of discipline and discretion. The Barbarians, who had 
been restrained by his authority, abandoned themselves to the 
dictates of their passions ; and their passions were seldom 

118 Most writers insist on the illness, and long repose, of Theodo- 
sius, at Thessalonica : Zosimus, to diminish his glory ; Jornandes, to 
favor the Goths ; and the ecclesiastical writers, to introduce Ids 
baptism. 

119 Compare Themistius (Orat. xiv. p. 181) with Zosimus, (1. iv. 
p. 232,) Jornandes, (c. xxvii. p. 649,) and the prolix C< mmentary ol 
M. de Buat, (Hist, des Peuples, &c, torn. vi. p. 477 — 552.1 The 
Chronicle? of Idatius and Mavcellinus allude, in general terms, to 
magna certamina, magna multaque pra;lia. The two epithets are not 
ft*H'uy reconciled. 



b4 THE DECLINE AND FALL, 

uniform or consistent. An army of conquerors was broken 
into many disorderly bands of savage robbers ; and their blind 
and irregular fury was not less pernicious to themselves, than 
to their enemies. Their mischievous disposition was shown 
in the destruction of every object which they wanted strength 
to remove, or taste to enjoy ; and they often consumed, with 
improvident rage, the harvests, or the granaries, which soon 
afterwards became necessary for their own subsistence. A 
spirit of discord arose among the independent tribes and na- 
tions, which had been united only by the bands of a loose and 
voluntary alliance. The troops of the Huns and the Alani 
would naturally upbraid the flight of the Goths ; who were 
not disposed to use with moderation the advantages of their 
fortune ; the ancient jealousy of the Ostrogoths and the Visi- 
goths could not long be suspended ; and the haughty chiefs 
still remembered the insults and injuries, which they had 
reciprocally offered, or sustained, while the nation was seated 
in the countries beyond the Danube. The progress of domes- 
tic faction abated the more diffusive sentiment of national 
animosity ; and the officers of Theodosius were instructed to 
purchase, with liberal gifts and promises, the retreat or ser- 
vice of the discontented party. The acquisition of Modar, a 
prince of the royal blood of the Amali, gave a bold and faith- 
ful champion to the cause of Rome. The illustrious deserter 
soon obtained the rank of master-general, with an important 
command ; surprised an army of his countrymen, who were 
immersed in wine and sleep ; and, after a cruel slaughtei ?f 
the astonished Goths, returned with an immense spoil, and 
four thousand wagons, to the Imperial camp. 120 In the hands 
of a skilful politician, the most different means may be suc- 
cessfully applied to the same ends ; and the peace of the em- 
pire, which had been forwarded by the divisions, was accom- 
plished by the reunion, of the Gothic nation. Athanaric, who 
had been a patient spectator of these extraordinary events, 
was at length driven, by the chance of arms, from the dark 
recesses of the woods of Caucaland. He no longer hesitated 
to p;.ss the Danube ; and a very considerable part of the sub- 
jects of Fritigern, who already felt the inconveniences of 
anarchy, were easily persuaded to acknowledge for their king 
a Gothic Judge, whose birth they respected, and whose abil- 



1,0 Zosimus (1. iv. p. 232) styles him a Scythian, a name which the 
more recent Greeks seem to have appropriated to the Goths. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 65 

ities they had frequently experienced. But age had chilled 
the daring spirit of Athanaric ; and, instead of leading his 
people to the field of battle and victory, he wisely listened to 
the fair proposal of an honorable and advantageous treaty. 
Theodosius, who was acquainted with the merit and power of 
his new ally, condescended to meet him at the distance of 
several miles from Constantinople ; and entertained him ia 
the Imperial city, with the confidence of a friend, and the 
magnificence of a monarch. "The Barbarian prince observed, 
with curious attention, the variety of objects which attracted 
his notice, and at last broke out into a sincere and passionate 
exclamation of wonder. I now behold (said he) what I never 
could believe, the glories of this stupendous capital ! And as 
he cast his eyes around, he viewed, and he admired, the com- 
manding situation of the city, the strength and beauty of the 
walls and public edifices, the capacious harbor, crowded with 
innumerable vessels, the perpetual concourse of distant na- 
tions, and the arms and discipline of the troops. Indeed, (con- 
tinued Athanaric,) the emperor of the Romans is a god upon 
earth; and the presumptuous man, who dares to lift his hand 
against him, is guilty of his own blood." 121 The Gothic King 
did not long enjoy this splendid and honorable reception ; 
and. as temperance was not the virtue of his nation, it may 
justly be suspected, that his mortal disease was contracted 
amidst the pleasures of the Imperial banquets. But the policy 
of Theodosius derived more solid benefit from the death, than 
he could have expected from the most faithful services, of his 
ully. The funeral of Athanaric was performed with solemn 
rites in the capital of the East ; a stately monument was 
erected to his memory ; and his whole army, won by the 
liberal courtesy, and decent grief, of Theodosius, enlisted 
jnder the standard of the Roman empire. 122 The submission 



121 The reader will not be displeased tu see the original words of 
Jornandes, or the author whom he transcribed. liegiam urbem 
ingressus est, rniransque, En, inquit, cerno quod sajpe incredulus 
audiebam, t'amam videlicet tantae urbis. Et hue illue oeulos volveus, 
nunc situm urbis, coinmeatuinque navium, nunc moenia clara pro- 
spectans, miratur ; populosque diversarum gentium, quasi fonte in uno 
« diversis partibus scatunente unda, sic quoque mititeru ordlnatuia 
nspiciens ; Dens, inquit, sine dubio est terrenus Imperator, et quis- 
quis adversus eum munum moverit, ipse sui sanguinis reus existit. 
Jornandes (c. xxviii. p. 650) proceeds to mention his death and 
funeral. 

a% Jornan les, c. xxviii. p. 650. Even Zosimus (1. iv. p. 246) I* 
K7 * 



66 THi; DECLINE AND FALL 

of so great a body of the Visigoths was productive of the 
mosl salutary consequences ; and the mixed influence of force 
of reason, and of corruption, became every day more powerful 
and more extensive. Each independent chieftain hastened to 
obtain a separate treaty, from the apprehension that an ob- 
stinate delay might expose him, alone and unprotected, to the 
revenge, or justice, of the conqueror. The general, or rather 
the final, capitulation of the Goths, may be dated four years 
one month, and twenty-five days, after the defeat and death 
of the emperor Valens. 123 

The provinces of the Danube had been already 'relieved 
from the oppressive weight of the Gruthungi, or Ostrogoths, 
by the voluntary retreat of Alatheus and Saphrax, whose 
restless spirit had prompted them to seek new scenes of rapine 
and glory. Their destructive course was pointed towards 
the West ; but we must be satisfied with a very obscure and 
imperfect knowledge of their various adventures. The Ostro- 
goths impelled several of the German tribes on the provinces 
of Gaul ; concluded, and soon violated, a treaty with the 
emperor Gratian ; advanced into the unknown countries of 
the North ; and, after an interval of more than four years, 
returned, with accumulated *brce, to the banks of the Lowex 
Danube. Their troops were /ecruited with the fiercest war- 
riors of Germany and Scythia ; and the soldiers, or at least 
the historians, of the empire, no longer recognized the name 
and countenances of their former enemies. 124 The general 
who commanded the military and naval powers of the Thra- 
cian frontier, soon perceived that his superiority would be 
disadvantageous to the public service ; and that the Barba- 
rians, awed by the presence of his fleet and legions, would 
probably defer tne passage of the river till the approaching 
winter. The dexterity of the spies, whom he sent into the 
Gothic camp, allured the Barbarians into a fatal snare. They 
were persuaded that, by a bold attempt, they might surprise, 
in the silence and darkness of the night, the sleeping army 
of the Romans ; and the whole multitude was hastily embarked 

compelled to approve the generosity of Theodosius, so honorable is 
hunt elf, and so beneficial to the public. 

123 The short, but authentic, hints in the Fasti of Idatius (CLron. 
Bcaligx-r. p. 52) are stained with contemporary passion. The four- 
teenth oration of Themistius is a compliment to Peace, and the con- 
sul Saturninus, (A. D. 383.) 

1,4 "E6kj( ro 2xi6ixuy nuoit aytworoi. Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 252. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 67 

in a fleet of three thousand canoes. 125 The bravest of the 
Ostrogoths led the van ; the main body consisted of the 
remainder of their subjects and soldiers ; and the women and 
children securely followed in the rear. One of the nights 
without a moon had been selected for the execution of then 
design ; and they had almost reached the southern bank of the 
Danube, in the firm confidence that they should find an easy 
landing and an unguarded camp. But the progress of the 
Barbarians was suddenly stopped by an unexpected obstacle . 
a triple line of vessels, strongly connected with each other, 
and which formed an impenetrable chain of two miles and a 
half along the river. While they struggled to force their 
way in the unequal conflict, their right flank was overwhelmed 
by the irresistible attack of a fleet of galleys, which were 
urged down the stream by the united impulse of oars and of 
the tide. The weight and velocity of those ships of war 
broke, and sunk, and dispersed, the rude and feeble canoes 
of the Barbarians : their valor was ineffectual ; and Alatheus, 
the king, or general, of the Ostrogoths, perished with his 
bravest troops, either by the sword of the Romans, or in the 
waves of the Danube. The last division of this unfortunate 
fleet might regain the opposite shore ; but the distress and 
disorder of the multitude rendered them alike incapable, 
either of action or counsel ; and they soon implored the 
clemency of the victorious enemy. On this occasion, as well 
as on many others, it is a difficult task to reconcile the pas- 
sions and prejudices of the writers of the age of Theodosius. 
The partial and malignant historian, who misrepresents every 
action of his reign, affirms, that the emperor did not appear 
in the field of battle till the Barbarians had been vanquished 
by the valor and conduct of his lieutenant Promotus. 1 ' 26 The 
flattering poet, who celebrated, in the court of Honorius, the 
glory of the father and of the son, ascribes the victory to the 

1,5 I am justified, by reason and example, in applying this Indian 
name to the poiu£v4u of the Barbarians, the single trees hollowed int"J 
the shape of a boat, nkifiti /.luta^vimv ifijii^aatTtg. Zosiinus, 1. iv. p. 

Ami Danuhium qnon hm trannre Griithungi 
In li il res I'regero litmus : tor niille rue'iant 
1'er lluvium plena: cuneis immanibiis iiltii. 

CI .udi.Lii, in iv. Cons. Hon. 623. 

** Zosirmia 1. iv. p. 252--2S5. lie too frequently betrays Ids pov- 
erty of judgment, by disgracing the most serious narratives with 
trilling and incredible circumstances. 



6ti THE DECLINE AND FALL 

personal r rowess of Theoiosius ; and almost insinuates, that 
the king of the Ostiogothb was slain by the hand of the em- 
peror. 1517 The truth of h. story might perhaps be found in 
a just medium between these extreme and contradictory 
assertions. 

The original treaty which fixed the settlement of the Goths, 
Ascertained their privileges, and stipulated their obligations 
would illustrate the history of Theodosius and his successors. 
The series of their history has imperfectly preserved the spirit 
and substance of this singular agreement. 128 The ravages of 
war and tyranny had provided many large tracts of fertile 
out uncultivated land for the use of those Barbarians who 
might not disdain the practice of agriculture. A numerous 
colony of the Visigoths was seated in Thrace ; the remains of 
the Ostrogoths were planted in Phrygia and Lydia ; their im- 
mediate wants were supplied by a distribution of corn and 
cattle ; and their future industry was encouraged by an ex- 
emption from tribute, during a certain term of years. The 
Barbarians would have deserved to feel the cruel and perfidi- 
ous policy of the Imperial court, if they had suffered them- 
selves to be dispersed through the provinces. They required, 
and they obtained, the sole possession of the villages and dis- 
tricts assigned for their residence ; they still cherished and 
propagated their native manners and language ; asserted, in 
the bosom of despotism, the freedom of their domestic gov- 
ernment ; and acknowledged the sovereignty of the emperor, 
without submitting to the inferior jurisdiction of the laws and 
magistrates of Rome. The hereditary chiefs of the tribes and 
families were still permitted to command their followers in 
peace and war ; but the royal dignity was abolished ; and the 
generals of the Goths were appointed and removed at the 
pleasure of the emperor. An army of forty thousand Goths 

127 Odothaei Regis opima 

Itetulir. Ver. 632. 

The opima were the spoils which a Roman general could only win 
from the king, or general, i:£ the enemy, whom he had slain with Ids 
•)wn hands : and no more than three such examples are celebrpted in 
the victorious ages of Rome. 

123 See Themistius, Orat. xvi. p. 211. Claudian (in Eutrop. 1. ii. 
152) mentions the Phrygian colony : — 

Ortrogotbis colitur mistisque Grutliungis 

Phryx uger 

and then pro2eeds to nam., the rivers of lydia, the Pactolus, *n<i 
Hennas. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRft. 69 

was maintained for the perpetual service of the empire of the 
East ; and those haughty troops, who assumed the title of 
FcEclcrati, or allies, were distinguished by their gold collars, 
liberal pay, and licentious privileges. Their native courage 
was improved by the use of arms, and the knowledge of dis- 
cipline; and, while the republic was guarded, or threatened, 
by the doubtful sword of the Barbarians, the last sparks of the 
military flame were finally extinguished in the minds of the 
Romans. 129 Theodosius had the address to persuade his allies 
that the conditions of peace, which had been extorted from 
him by prudence and necessity, were the voluntary expressions 
of his sincere friendship for the Gothic nation. 130 A differ- 
ent mode of vindication or apology was opposed to the com- 
plaints of the people ; who loudly censured these shameful 
and dangerous concessions. 131 The calamities of the war 
were painted in the most lively colors ; and the first symptoms 
of the return of order, of plenty, and security, were diligently 
exasperated. The advocates of Theodosius could affirm, 
with some appearance of truth and reason, that it was impos- 
sible to extirpate so many warlike tribes, who were rendered 
desperate by the loss of their native country ; and that the 
exhausted provinces would be revived by a fresh supply of 
soldiers and husbandmen. The Barbarians still wore an angry 
and hostile aspect ; but the experience of past times might 
encourage the hope, that they would acquire the habits of in- 
dustry and obedience ; that their manners would be polished 
by time, education, and the influence of Christianity ; and that 
their posterity would insensibly blend with the great body of 
the Roman people. 132 

129 Compare Jornandes, (c. xx. 27,) who marks the condition and 
number of the Gothic Fcederati, with Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 258,) who 
mentions their golden collars ; and Pacatus, (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 
37,) who applauds, with false or foolish joy, their bravery and dis- 
cipline. 

130 Amator pacis generisque Gothorum, is the praise bestowed by 
the Gothic historian, (c. xxix.,) who represents his nation as innocent, 
peaceable men, slow to anger, and patient of injuries. According to 
Livy, the Romans conquered the world in their own defence. 

131 Besides the partial invectives of Zosimus, (always discontented 
with the Christian reigns,) sec the grave representations which Syne- 
gius addresses to the emperor Arcadius, (de Regno, p. 2~>, 26, edit. 
Petav.) The philosophic bishop of Cyrene was near enough to 
rudge ; and he was sufficiently removed from the temptation of fear 
■>r llattery. 

138 Themistius (Orat. xvi. p. 211, 212} composes an elaborate anJ 



30 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Notwithstanding these specious arguments, and these san 
guine expectations, it was apparent to every discerning eye, 
♦hat the Goths would long remain the enemies, and mighl 
soon become the conquerors, of the Roman empire. Their 
rude and insolent behavior expressed their contempt of the 
citizens and provincials, whom they insulted with impunity. 133 
To the zeal and valor of the Barbarians Theodosius was 
indebted for the success of his arms : but their assistance was 
precarious ; and they were sometimes seduced, by a treacher- 
ous and inconstant disposition, to abandon his standard, at 
the moment when their service was the most essential. Dur- 
ing the civil war against Maxim us, a great number of Gothic 
deserters retired into the morasses of Macedonia, wasted the 
adjacent provinces, and obliged the intrepid monarch to expose 
his person, and exert his power, to suppress the rising flame of 
rebellion. 134 The public apprehensions were fortified by the 
strong suspicion, that these tumults were not the effect of 
accidental passion, but the result of deep and premeditated 
design. It was generally believed, that the Goths had signed 
the treaty of peace with a hostile and insidious spirit ; and 
that their chiefs had previously bound themselves, by a solemr 
and secret oath, never to keep faith with the Romans ; to 
maintain the fairest show of loyalty and friendship, and to 
watch the favorable moment of rapine, of conquest, and of 
revenge. But, as the minds of the Barbarians were not 
Insensible to the power of gratitude, several of the Gothic 
leaders sincerely devoted themselves to the service of the 
empire, or, at least, of the emperor ; the whole nation was 
insensibly divided into two opposite factions, and much soph- 
istry was employed in conversation and dispute, to compare 
the obligations of their first, and second, engagements. The 
Goths, who considered themselves as the friends of peace, ot 
justice, and of Rome, were directed by the authority of Fra- 
ctional apology, which is not, however, exempt from the puerilities 
of Greek rhetoric. Orpheus could o>dy charm the wild beasts ol 
Thrace ; but Theodosius enchanted the men and women, whose pred- 
ecessors in the same country had torn Orpheus in pieces, &c. 

133 Constantinople was deprived, half a day, of the public allowance 
of bread, to expiate the murder of a Gothic soldier : teivovmg to 
Sxr&ixov, was the guilt of the people. Libanius, Orat. xii. p. 394, 
edit. Morel. 

134 Zosmius, 1. iv. p. 267 — 271. He tells a long and ridiculous 
itory of the adventurous prince, who roved the country with onfj 
five horsemen, of a spy whom they detected, whipped, and killed ii 
in old woman's cottag'e, &c. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 71 

vitta, a valiant and honorable youth, distinguished above the 
rest of his countrymen by the politeness of his manners, the 
liberality of his sentiments, and the mild virtues of social life. 
But the more numerous faction adhered to the fierce and 
faithless Priulf,* who inflamed the passions, and asserted the 
independence, of his warlike followers. On one of the solemn 
festivals, when the chiefs of both parties were invited to the 
Imperial table, they were insensibly heated by wine, till they 
forgot the usual restraints of discretion and respect, and 
betrayed, in the presence of Theodosius, the fatal secret of 
their domestic disputes. The emperor, who had been the 
reluctant witness of this extraordinary controversy, dissembled 
his fears and resentment, and soon dismissed the tumultuous 
assembly. Fravitta, alarmed and exasperated by the insolence 
of his rival, whose departure from the palace might have been 
the signal of a civil war, boldly followed him ; and, drawing 
his sword, laid Priulf dead at his feet. Their companions 
flew to arms ; and the faithful champion of Rome would have 
been oppressed by superior numbers, if he had not been pro- 
tected by the seasonable interposition of the Imperial guards. 135 
Such were the scenes of Barbaric rage, which disgraced the 
palace and table of the Roman emperor ; and, as the im- 
patient Goths could only be restrained by the firm and tem- 
perate character of Theodosius, the public safety seemed to 
depend on the life and abilities of a single man. 136 

135 Compare Eunapius (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 21, 22) with Zosimus, 
(1. iv. p. 279.) The difference of circumstances and names must un- 
doubtedly be applied to the same story. Fravitta, or Travitta, was 
afterwards consul, (A. D. 401,) and still continued his faithful services 
to the eldest son of Theodosius, (Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. 
v. p. 467.) 

136 Les Goths ravagerent tout depuis le Danube jusqu'au Bosphore ; 
exterminerent Valens et son armee ; et ne repasserent le Danube, que 
pour abandonner l'affreuse solitude qu'ils avoient faite, (CEuvres de 
Montesquieu, torn. iii. p. 479. Considerations sur les Causes de la 
Grandeur et de la Decadence des Ilomains, c. xvii.) The president 
Montesquieu seems ignorant, that the Goths, after the defeat of 
Valens, never abandoned the Roman territory. It is now thirty 
years, says Claudian, (de Bello Getico, 166, &c, A. D. 404,) 

Ex quo jam patrios gens hsec oblita Triones, 
Atuue Jstrnm transvecta semel, vestigia fixit 
Threicio funestasolo 

the erior is inexcusable ; since it disguises the principal and imme- 
diate cause of the fall of the Western empire of Rome. 



* 'EpiouX^of. Eunapius. — M. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

DEATH OF GRATIAN. RUIN OF ARIANISM. ST. AMBROSE.— 

FIRST CIVIL WAR, AGAINST MAXIMUS. CHARACTER, ADMIN- 
ISTRATION, AND FENANCE OF THEODOSIUS. DEATH Oi 

VALENTINIAN II. SECOND CIVII WAR, AGAINST EUGENITJS 

--DEATH OF THEODOSIUS. 

The fame of Gratian, before he had accomplished the 
twentieth year of his age, was equal to that of the most cele- 
brated princes. His gentle and amiable disposition endeared 
him to his private friends, the graceful affability of his man- 
ners engaged the affection of the people : the men of letters, 
who enjoyed the liberality, acknowledged the taste and elo- 
quence, of their sovereign ; his valor and dexterity in arms 
were equally applauded by the soldiers ; and the clergy con- 
sidered the humble piety of Gratian as the first and most use- 
ful of his virtues. The victory of Colmar had delivered the 
West from a formidable invasion ; and the grateful provinces 
of the East ascribed the merits of Theodosius to the author 
of his greatness, and of the public safety. Gratian survived 
those memorable events only four or five years ; but he sur- 
vived his reputation ; and, before he fell a victim to rebellion, 
he had lost, in a great measure, the respect and confidence of 
the Roman world. 

The remarkable alteration of his character or conduct may 
not be imputed to the arts of flattery, which had besieged the 
son of Valentinian from his infancy ; nor to the headstrong 
passions which that gentle youth appears to have escaped. A 
more attentive view of the life of Gratian may perhaps sug- 
gest the true cause of the disappointment of the public hopes. 
His apparent virtues, instead of being the hardy productions 
of experience and adversity, were the premature and artificial 
fruits of a royal education. The anxious tenderness of his 
faiher was continually employed to bestow on him those ad- 
vantages, which he might perhaps esteem the more highly, as 
he himself had been deprived of them ; and the most skil- 
ful masters of every science, and jf every art, had labored 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 73 

to form the mind and body of the young prince. 1 The knowl- 
edge which they painfully communicated was displayed with 
ostentation, and celebrated with lavish praise. His soft and 
tractable disposition received the fair impression of their 
judicious precepts, and the absence of passion might easily 
be mistaken for the strength of reason. His preceptors grad- 
ually rose to the rank and consequence of ministers of state :* 
and, as, they wisely dissembled their secret authority, he 
seemed to act with firmness, with propriety, and with judg- 
ment, op th 3 most important occasions of his life and reign. 
But the influence of this elaborate instruction did not penetrate 
beyond the surface ; and the skilful preceptors, who so accu- 
rately guided the steps of their royal pupil, could not infuse 
into h :< * feeble and indolent character the vigorous and inde- 
pendent principle of action which renders the laborious pur- 
suit of glory essentially necessary to the happiness, and almost 
to the existence, of the hero. As soon as time and accident 
had removed those faithful counsellors from the throne, the 
emperor of the West insensibly descended to the level of his 
natural genius ; abandoned the reins of government to the 
ambitious ham i which were stretched forwards to grasp them ; 
and amused his leisure with the most frivolous gratifications. 
A public sale of favor and injustice was instituted, both in the 
court and in the provinces, by the worthless delegates of his 
power, whose merit it was made sacrilege to question. 3 The 
conscience of the credulous prince was directed by saints and 
bishops ; 4 who procured an Imperial edict to punish, as a 

1 Valentinian was less attentive to the religion of his son ; since he 
intrusted the education of Gratian to Ausonius, a professed Pagan. 
(Mem. de l'Acad6mie des Inscriptions, torn. xv. p. 125 — 138. The 
poetical fame of Ausonius condemns the taste of his age. 

2 Ausonius was successively promoted to the Praetorian prefecture 
of Italy, (A. D. 377.) and of Gaul, (A. D. 378 ;) and was at length in- 
vested with the consulship, (A. D. 379.) He expressed his gratitude 
in a servile and insipid piece of flattery, (Actio Gratiarum, p. 699 — 
736,) which has survived more worthy productions. 

3 Disputare de principali judicio non oportet. Sacrilegii enim in- 
?tar est dubitarc, an is dignus sit, quem elegerit imperator. Codex 
Justinian, 1. ix. tit. xxix. leg. 3. This convenient law was revived 
and promulgated, after the death of Gratian, by the feeble court of 
Milan. 

4 Ambrose composed, for his instruction, a theological treatise on 
the faith of the Trinity : and Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. 
p. 158, 169,) ascribes to the archbishop the merit of Gratian's intoler- 
ant laws. 



14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

capital offence, the violation, the neglect, or even the igno« 
ranee, of the divine law. 5 Among the various arts which had 
exercised the youth of Gratian, he had applied himself, with 
singular inclination and success, to manage the horse, to draw 
the bow, and to dart the javelin ; and these qualifications, 
which might be useful to a soldier,-were prostituted to the 
viler purposes of hunting. Large parks were enclosed for the 
Imperial pleasures, and plentifully stocked with every species 
of wild beasts ; and Gratian neglected the duties, and even 
the dignity, of his rank, to consume whole days in the vain 
display of his dexterity and boldness in the chase. The pride 
and wish of the Roman emperor to excel in an art, in which he 
might be surpassed by the meanest of his slaves, reminded the 
numerous spectators of the examples of Nero and Commodus ; 
but the chaste and temperate Gratian was a stranger to their 
monstrous vices ; and his hands were stained only with the 
blood of animals. 6 The behavior of Gratian, which degraded 
his character in the eyes of mankind, could not have disturbed 
the security of his reign, if the army had not been provoked 
to resent their peculiar injuries. As long as the young em- 
peror was guided by the instructions of his masters, he pro 
fessed himself the friend and pupil of the soldiers ; many of 
his hours were spent in the familiar conversation of the camp ; 
and the health, the comforts, the rewards, the honors, of his 
faithful troops, appeared to be the object of his attentive con- 
cern. But, after Gratian more freely indulged his prevailing 
taste for hunting and shooting, he naturally connected himself 
with the most dexterous ministers of his favorite amusement 
A body of the Alani was received into the military and domes- 
tic service of the palace ; and the admirable skill, which they 
were accustomed to display in the unbounded plains of Scythia, 
was exercised, on a more narrow theatre, in the parks and en- 
closures of Gaul. Gratian admired the talents and customs 
of these favorite guards, to whom alone he intrusted the 



5 Qui divinae legis sanctitatem nesciendo omittunt, aut negligendo 
violant, et offendunt, sacrilegium committunt. Codex Justinian. 1. 
ix. tit. xxix. leg. 1. Theodosius indeed may claim his share in the 
merit of this comprehensive law. 

6 Ammianus (xxxi. 10) and the younger Victor acknowledge the 
virtues of Gratian ; and accuse, or rather lament, his degenerate 
taste. The odious parallel of Commodus is saved by " licet incruen- 
tus ; " and perhaps Philostorgius ;1. x. c. 10, and Godefroy, p. 412 
had guarded, with some similar reserve, the comparison of Nero. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 75 

defence of his person ; and, as if he meant to insult the public 
opinion, he frequently showed himself to the soldiers and peo- 
ple, with the dross and arms, the long bow, the sounding 
quiver, and the fur garments of a Scythian warrior. The 
unwortliv spectacle of a Roman prince, who had renounced 
the dress and manners of his country, filled the minds of the 
legions with grief and indignation. 7 Even the Germans, so 
strong and formidable in the armies of the empire, affected to 
disdain the strange and horrid appearance of the savages of 
the North, who, in the space of a few years, had wandered 
from the banks of the Volga to those of the Seine. A loud 
and licentious murmur was echoed through the camps and 
garrisons of the West ; and as the mild indolence of Gratian 
neglected to extinguish the first symptoms of discontent, the 
want of love and respect was not supplied by the influence of 
fear. But the subversion of an established government is 
always a work of some real, and of much apparent, difficulty ; 
and the throne of Gratian was protected by the sanctions of 
custom, law, religion, and the nice balance of the civil and 
military powers, which had been established by the policy of 
Constantino. It is not very important to inquire from what 
causes the revolt of Britain was produced. Accident is com- 
monly the parent of disorder; the seeds of rebellion happened 
to fall on a uoil which was supposed to be more fruitful than 
any other in tyrants and usurpers ; 8 the legions of that seques- 
tered island had been long famous for a spirit of presumption 
and arrogance ; 9 and the name of Maximus was proclaimed, by 
the tumultuary, but unanimous voice, both of the soldiers and 
of the 'provincials. The emperor, or the rebel, — for his title 
was not yet ascertained by fortune, — was a native of Spain, the 
eountryman, the fellow-soldier, and the rival of Theodosius, 
whose elevation he had not seen without some emotions of 



7 Zosimus (1. iv. p. 247) and the younger Victor ascribe the rev- 
olution to the favor of the Alani, and the discontent of the Ro- 
man troops. Dum exereitum negligeret, et paucos ex Alanis, quo* 
ingenti auro ad se transtulerat, anteferrct veteri ac Romano miiiti. 

8 Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, is a memorable expres- 
sion, used by Jerom in the Pelagian controversy, and variously tor- 
tured in the disputes of our national antiquaries. The revolutions of 
the last kge appeared to justify the image of the sublime Bossuet, 
" cetta ile, plus orageuse que les mers qui l'enviroiinent." 

9 Zosimus says of the British soldiers, rco* etXlwv unurrm* nlio* 
»i'tW«itt xai dvfim vixaiflirovg. 



?6 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

envy and resentment : the events of his life had long since 
fixed him in Britain ; and I should not be unwilling to find 
some evidence for the marriage, which he is said to have con- 
tracted with the daughter of a wealthy lord of Caernarvon- 
shire. 10 But this provincial rank might justly be considered 
as a state of exile and obscurity ; and if Maximus had ob- 
tained any civil or military office, he was not invested with 
the authority either of governor or general. 11 His abilities, 
and even his integrity, are acknowledged by the partial writers 
of the age ; and the merit must indeed have been conspicu- 
ous that could extort such a confession in favor of the van- 
quished enemy of Theodosius. The discontent of Maximua 
lfcight incline him to censure the conduct of his sovereign, and 
to encourage, perhaps, without any views of ambition, the 
murmurs of the troops. But in the midst of the tumult, he 
artfully, or modestly, refused to ascend the throne ; and some 
credit appears to have been given" to his own positive decla- 
ration, that he was compelled to accept the dangerous present 
of the Imperial purple. 12 

But there was danger likewise in refusing the empire ; and 
from the moment that Maximus had violated his allegiance to 
his lawful sovereign, he could not hope to reign, or even to 
live, if he confined his moderate ambition within the narrow 
limits of Britain. He boldly and wisely resolved to prevent 
the designs of Gratian ; the youth of the island crowded to 
his standard, and he invaded Gaul with a fleet and army, 
which were long afterwards remembered, as the emigration 
of a considerable part of the British nation. 13 The emperor, 

10 Helena, the daughter of Eudda. Her chapel may still N2 seen at 
Caer-segont, now Caer-narvon. (Carte's Hist, of England, vol. i. p. 
168, from Rowland's Mona Antiqua.) The prudent readei may not 
perhaps be satisfied with such Welsh evidence. 

11 Camden (vol. i. introduct. p. ci.) appoints him governor of Brit- 
ain ; and the father of our antiquities is followed, as usu»4, by hia 
blind progeny. Pacatus and Zosimus had taken some pains to pre- 
vent this error, or fable ; and I shall protect myself by thcil iecisive 
testimonies, llegali habitft exulem suum, illi exules orbis ind'ierunt, 
(in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 23,) and the Greek historian still less equivo- 
cally, uvrog (Maximus) Si uvSi ilg a^jfi,* tvnftuf ixvj(t n(Jotf.6w, (L 
iv. p. 248.) 

18 Sulpicius Severus, Dialog, ii. 7. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 34, y. 556. 
They both acknowledge (Sulpicius had been his subject) his Vuio- 
cence and merit. It is singular enough, that Maximus should l>» les% 
favorably treated by Zosimus, the partial adversary of his rival. 

u Archbishop Usher (Antiquat. Brit an. Eocles. p. 107, Iu8) Swu 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 77 

in nis peaceful residence of Paris, was alarmed by their hos- 
tile approach ; and the darts which he idly wasted on lion? 
and bears, might have been employed more honorably against 
the rebels. But his feeble efforts announced his degenerate 
spirit and desperate situation ; and deprived him of the re- 
sources, which he still might have found, in the support of hia 
subjects and allies. The armies of Gaul, instead of opposing 
the march of Maximus, received him with joyful and loyal 
acclamations ; and the shame of the desertion was transferred 
from the people to the prince. The troops, whose station 
more immediately attached them to the service of the palace, 
abandoned the standard of Gratian the first time that it was 
displayed in the neighborhood of Paris. The emperor of the 
West fled towards Lyons, with a train of only three hundred 
horse ; and, in the cities along the road, where he hoped to 
find refuge, or at least a passage, he was taught, by cruel ex- 
perience, that every gate is shut against the unfortunate. Yet 
he might still have reached, in safety, the dominions of hi? 
brother ; and soon have returned with the forces of Italy and 
the East ; if he had not suffered himself to be fatally deceived 
by the perfidious governor of the Lyonnese province. Gratian 
was amused by protestations of doubtful fidelitv, and the hopes 
of a support, which could not be effectual ; till the arrival of 
Andragathius, the general of the cavalry of Maximus, put an 
end to his suspense. That resolute officer executed, without 
remorse, the orders or the intentions of the usurper. Gratian, 
as he rose from supper, was delivered into the hands of the 
assassin : and his body was denied to the pious and pressing 
entreaties of his brother Valentinian. 14 The death of the 



diligently collected the legends of the island, and the continent. The 
whole emigration consisted of 30,000 soldiers, and 100,000 plebeians, 
who settled in Bretagne.' Their destined brides, St. Ursula with 
11,000 noble, and 60,000 plebeian, virgins, mistook their way ; landed 
at Cologne, and were all most cruelly murdered by the Huns. But 
the plebeian sisters have been defrauded of their equal honors ; and 
what is still harder, John Trithemius presumes to mention the chil- 
dren of these British virgins. 

14 Zosimus (1. iv. p. 248, 249) has transported the death of Gratian 
from Lugdunum in Gaul (Lyons) to Singidunum in Moesia. Some 
uints may be extracted from the Chronicles ; some lies may be detect- 
ed in Sozomen (1. vii. c. 13) and Socrates, (1. v. c. 11.) Ambrose is 
our most authentic evidence, (torn. i. Enarrat in Psalm Ixi. p. 961, 
torn. ii. epist. xxiv. p. 888, &c, and de Obitti "•'alentinian Consolat. 
BTo. 28, p. 1182.) 



78 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

empeior was followed by that of his powerful general Mello- 
baudes, the king of the Franks ; who maintained, to the last 
moment of his life, the ambiguous reputation, which is the 
just recompense of obscure and subtle policy. 15 These ex- 
ecutions might be necessary to the public safety : but the 
successful usurper, whose power was acknowledged by all 
the provinces of the West, had the merit, and the satisfaction, 
of boasting, that, except those who had perished by the chance 
of war, his triumph was not stained by the blood of the 
Romans. 16 

The events of this revolution had passed in such rapid suc- 
cession, that it would have been impossible for Theodosius to 
march to the relief of his benefactor, before he received 
the intelligence of his defeat and death. During the season 
of sincere grief, or ostentatious mourning, the Eastern em- 
peror was interrupted by the arrival of the principal chamber- 
lain of Maximus ; and the choice of a venerable old man, for 
an office which was usually exercised by eunuchs, announced 
to the court of Constantinople the gravity and temperance of 
the British usurper. The ambassador condescended to justify, 
or excuse, the conduct of his master ; and to protest, in spe- 
cious language, that the murder of Gratian had been perpe- 
trated, without his knowledge or consent, by the precipitate 
zeal of the soldiers. But he proceeded, in a firm and equal 
tone, to offer Theodosius the alternative of peace, or war 
The speech of the ambassador concluded with a spirited 
declaration, that although Maximus, as a Roman, and as the 

15 Pacatus (xii. 28) celebrates his fidelity ; while his treachery is 
•narked in Prosper's Chronicle, as the cause of the ruin of Gratian.* 
Ambrose, who has occasion to exculpate himself, only condemns the 
death of Vallio, a faithful servant of Gratian, (torn. ii. epist. xxiv. p. 
891, edit. Benedict.)f 

16 He protested, nullum ex adversaries nisi in acie occubuisse. 
Sulp. Severus in Vit. B. Martin, c. 23. The orator of Theodosius 
bestows reluctant, and therefore weighty, praise on his clemency. Si 
cui ille, pro ceteris sceleribus suis, minus crudelis fuisse videtur, (Pa- 
uegyr. Vet. xii. 28.) 

• Le Beau contests the reading in the chronicle of Prosper upon which 
♦.his charge rests. Le Beau, iv. 232. — M. 

f According to Pacatus, the Count Vallio, who commanded the army, 
was carried to Chalons to be burnt alive ; but Maximus, dreadiug the 
Imputation of cruelty, caused him to be secretly strangled by his Bretons. 
Macedonius also, master of the offices suffered the leath which h8 
merited Le Beau, iv. 244. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRjS. 79 

father of his people, would choose rather to erriDioy his forces 
in the common defence of the republic, he was armtd and 
prepared, if his friendship should be rejected, to dispute, in a 
field of battle, the empire of the world. An immediate and 
peremptory answer was required ; but it was extremely diffi- 
cult for Theodosius to satisfy, on this important occasion, 
either the feelings of his own mind, or the expectations of the 
public. The imperious voice of honor and gratitude called 
aloud for revenge. From the liberality of Gratian, he had 
roceived the Imperial diadem ; his patience would encourage 
the odious suspicion, that he was more deeply sensible of 
former injuries, than of recent obligations ; and if he accepted 
the friendship, he must seem to share the guilt, of the assassin. 
Even the principles of justice, and the interest of society, 
would receive a fatal blow from the impunity of Maximus ; 
and the example of successful usurpation would tend to dis- 
solve the artificial fabric of government, and once more to 
replunge the empire in the crimes and calamities of the pre- 
ceding age. But, as the sentiments of gratitude and honor 
should invariably regulate the conduct of an individual, they 
may be overbalanced in the mind of a sovereign, by the sense 
of superior duties ; and the maxims both of justice and hu- 
manity must permit the escape of an atrocious criminal, if an 
innocent people would be involved in the consequences of his 
punishment. The assassin of Gratian had usurped, but he 
actually possessed, the most warlike provinces of the em- 
pire : the East was exhausted by the misfortunes, and even 
by the success, of the Gothic war ; and it was seriously to be 
apprehended, that, after the vital strength of the republic had 
been wasted in a doubtful and destructive contest, the feeble 
conqueror would remain an easy prey to the Barbarians of 
the North. These weighty considerations engaged Theodo- 
sius to dissemble his resentment, and to accept the alliance of 
the tyrant. But he stipulated, that Maximus should content 
himself with the possession of the countries beyond the Alps. 
The brother of Gratian was confirmed and secured in the 
sovereignty of Italy, Africa, and the Western Illyricum ; and 
some honorable conditions were inserted in the treaty, to pro- 
tect the memory, and the laws, of the deceased emperor. 17 
According to the custom of the age, the images of the three 

17 Ambrose mentions the laws of Gratian, quas non p.brogavit hoa- 
4*, (torn. ii. epist. xvii. p. 827.) 



80 THE DECLIKE AND FALL 

'mperial colleagues were exhibited to the veneration of tfo 
people : nor should it be lightly supposed, that, in the mo. 
ment of a solemn reconciliation, Theodosius secretly cher- 
ished the intention of perfidy and revenge. 18 

The contempt of Gratian for the Roman soldiers had ex- 
posed him to the fatal effects of their resentment. His pro 
found veneration for the Christian clergy was rewarded by 
the applause and gratitude of a powerful order, which has 
claimed, in every age, the privilege of dispensing honors, 
both on earth and in heaven. 19 The orthodox bishops be- 
wailed his death, and their own irreparable loss ; but they 
were soon comforted by the discovery, that Gratian had com- 
mitted the sceptre of the East to the hands of a prince, whose 
humble faith, and fervent zeal, were supported by the spirit 
and abilities of a more vigorous character. Among the ben- 
efactors of the church, the fame of Constantine has been 
rivalled by the glory of Theodosius. If Constantine had the 
advantage of erecting the standard of the cross, the emula- 
tion of his successor assumed the merit of subduing the Arian 
heresy, and of abolishing the worship of idols in the Roman 
world. Theodosius was the first of the emperors baptized in 
the true faith of the Trinity. Although he was born of a 
Christian family, the maxims, or at least the practice, of the 
age, encouraged him to delay the ceremony of his initiation; 
till he was admonished of the danger of delay, by the seri- 
ous illness which threatened his life, towards the end of the 
first year of his reign. . Before he again took the field against 
the Goths, he received the sacrament of baptism 20 from 
Acholius, the orthodox bishop of Thessalonica : 21 and, as the 
emperor ascended from the holy font, still glowing with the 



18 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 251, 252. We may disclaim his odious suspi- 
cions ; but we cannot reject the treaty of peace which the friends of 
Theodosius have absolutely forgotten, or slightly mentioned. 

19 Their oracle, the archbishop of Milan, assigns to his pupil Gra- 
tian a high and respectable place in heaven, ("om. ii. de Obit. VaL 
Consol. p. 1193.) 

20 For the baptism of Theodosius, see Sozomen, (1. vii. c. 4,) Soc- 
rates, (1. v. c. 6,) and Tillemont, (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p 
728.) 

21 Ascolius, or Acholius, was honored by the friendship, and the 
praises, of Ambrose; who styles him murus tidei atque sanctitatis, 
(torn. ii. epis-t. xv. p. 820 ;) and afterwards celebrates his speed and 
diligence is running to Constantinople, Italy, &c, (epist. xvi. p. 822 ;) 
» virtue wluch docs not appertain either to a uxUl, or a bishop. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 8) 

warm feelings of regeneration, he dictated a solemn edict, 
which proclaimed his own faith, and prescribed the religion 
of his subjects. " It is our pleasure (such is the Imperial 
style) that all the nations, which are governed by our clem- 
ency and moderation, should steadfastly adhere to the religion 
which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans ; which faithful 
tradition has preserved ; and which is now professed by the 
pontiff Damasus, and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man 
of apostolic holiness. According to the discipline of the 
apostles, and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe the sole 
deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; under an 
equal majesty, and a pious Trinity. We authorize the follow- 
ers of this doctrine to assume the title of Catholic Christians ; 
and as we judge, that all others are extravagant madmen, we 
brand them with the infamous name of Heretics ; and declare, 
that their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable 
appellation of churches. Besides the condemnation of di- 
vine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, 
which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think 
proper to inflict upon them." ' 2 ' 2 The faith of a soldier is 
commonly the fruit of instruction, rather than of inquiry ; but 
as the emperor always fixed his eyes on the visible land 
mai'ks of orthodoxy, which he had so prudently constituted, 
his religious opinions were never affected by the specious 
texts, the subtle arguments, and the ambiguous creeds of the 
Arian doctors. Once indeed he expressed a faint inclination 
to converse with the eloquent and learned Eunomius, who 
lived in retirement at a small distance from Constantinople. 
But the dangerous interview was prevented by the prayers 
of the empress Flaccilla, who trembled for the salvation of her 
husband ; and the mind of Theodosius was confirmed by a 
theological argument, adapted to the rudest capacity. He had 
lately bestowed on his eldest son, Arcadius, the name and 
honors of Augustus, and the two princes were seated on a 
Btately throne to receive the homage of their subjects. A 
bishop, Amphilochius of Iconium, approached the throne, and 
after saluting, with due reverence, the person of his sove- 
reign, he accosted the royal youth with the same familiar 



23 Codex Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. i. leg. 2, with Godefxoy's Commen- 
tary, torn. vi. p. 5 — 9. Such an edict deserved the warmest praises 
of Baronius, auream sanctionem, «d ctum pium et salutare. — Sic itui 
ad astra. 

58 



62 THE bECLlNE -.NO FALL 

tenderness which he might have used towards a plebeian 
child. Provoked by this insolent behavior, the monarch gave 
orders, that the rustic priest should be instantly driven from 
his precence. But while the guards were forcing him to the 
door, the dexterous polemic had time to execute his design, 
by exclaiming, with a loud voice, " Such is the treatment, O 
emperor ! which the King of heaven has prepared for those 
impious men, who affect to worship the Father, but refuse to 
acknowledge the equal majesty of his divine Son." Theo- 
dosius immediately embraced the bishop of Iconium, and 
never forgot the important lesson, which he had received 
from this dramatic parable. 23 

Constantinople was the principal seat and fortress of Arian- 
ism ; and, in a long interval of forty years," 24 the faith of the 
princes and prelates, who reigned in the capital of the East, 
was rejected in the purer schools of Rome and Alexandria. 
The archiepiscopal throne of Macedonius, which had been 
polluted with so much Christian blood, was successively filled 
by Eudoxus and Damophilus. Their diocese enjoyed a free 
importation of vice and error from every province of the em- 
pire ; the eager pursuit of religious controversy afforded a 
new occupation to the busy idleness of the metropolis ; and 
we may credit the assertion of an intelligent observer, who 
describes, with some pleasantry, the effects of their loquacious 
zeal. " This city,' 1 says he, " is full of mechanics and slaves, 
who are all of them profound theologians ; and preach in the 
shops, and in the streets. If you desire a man to change a 
piece of silver, he informs you, wherein the Son differs from 
the Father ; if you ask the price of a loaf, you are told by 
way of reply, that the Son is inferior to the Father ; and if 
you inquire, whether the bath is ready, the answer is, that the 
Son was made out of nothing.' 1 S5 The heretics, of various 

23 Sozomen, l. vii. c. 6. Theodoret, 1. v. c. 16. Tillemont is dis- 
pleased (Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 627, 628) with the terms of " rustic 
bishop," " obscure city." Yet I must take leave to think, that both 
Amphilochius and Iconium were objects of inconsiderable magnitude 
in the Roman empire. 

** Sozomen, 1. vii. c. v. Socrates, 1. v. c. 7. Marcellin. in Chron, 
The account of forty years must be dated from the election or intru- 
sion of Eusebius, who wisely exchanged the bishopric of Nicomedia 
for the throne of Constantinople. 

■* See Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 71 
The thirty-third Oration of Gregory Nazianzen affords indeel some 
similar ideas, even some still more ridiculous ; but I have not ye* 



OF THE ROWAN EMPIRE. 83 

denominations, subsisted in peace under the protection of the 
Arians of Constantinople ; who endeavored to secure the 
attachment of those obscure sectaries, while they abused, with 
unrelenting severity, the victory which they had obtained over 
the followers of the council of Nice. During the partial reigns 
of Constantius and Valens, the feeble remnant of the Ho- 
moousians was deprived of the public and private exercise of 
then religion ; and it has been observed, in pathetic language 
that the scattered flock was left without a shepherd to wandei 
on the mountains, or to be devoured by rapacious wolves. 26 
But, as their zeal, instead of being subdued, derived strength 
and vigor from oppression, they seized the first moments of 
imperfect freedom, which they had acquired by the death of 
Valens, to form themselves into a regular congregation, under 
the conduct of an episcopal pastor. Two natives of Cappa- 
docia, Basil, and Gregory Nazianzen, 27 were distinguished 
above all their contemporaries, 28 by the rare union of profane 
eloquence and of orthodox piety. These orators, who might 
sometimes be compared, by themselves, and by the public, to 
the most celebrated of the ancient Greeks, were united by the 
ties of the strictest friendship. They had cultivated, with 
equal ardor, the same liberal studies in the schools of Athens ; 
they had retired, with equal devotion, to the same solitude in 
the deserts of Pontus ; and every spark of emulation, or envy, 
appeared to be totally extinguished in the holy and ingenuous 
breasts of Gregory and Basil. But the exaltation of Basil, 
from a private life to the archiepiscopal throne of Cacsarea, 
discovered to the world, and perhaps to himself, the pride of 
his character ; and the first favor which he condescended to 

found the words of this remarkable passage, which I allege on the 
faith of a correct and liberal scholar. 

46 See the thirty-second Oration of Gregory Nazianzen, and the 
account of his own ie, which he has composed in 1800 iambics. 
Yet every physician is prone to exaggerate the inveterate nature of 
the disease which he has cured. 

87 I confess myself deeply indebted to the two lives of Gregory Na- 
eianzen, composed, with very different views, by Tillemont (Me^i. 
Eccles. torn. ix. p 30-5—560, 692—731) and Le Clerc, (Bibliothequa 
Universelle, torn, xviii. p. 1 — 128.) 

a * Unless Gregory Nazianzen mistook thirty years in his own age. 
he was born, as well as his friend Basil, about the year 329. The 
preposterous chrc nology of Suidas has been graciously received, be- 
cause it removes the scandal of Gregory's father, a saint likewise, 
begetting children after he became a bishop, (Tillemont, Mem. Ecclea. 
torn, ix p. 693—697.) 



84 TOE DECLINE AND FALL 

bestow on his friend, was received, and perhaps was intended, 
as a cruel insult. 29 Instead of employing the superior talenta 
of Gregory in some useful and conspicuous station, the haughty 
prelate selected, among the fifty bishoprics of his extensive 
province, the wretcbed village of Sasima, 30 without water, 
without verdure, without society, situate at the junction of 
three highways, and frequented only by the incessant passage 
of rude and clamorous wagoners. Gregory submitted with 
reluctance to this humiliating exile ; he was ordained bishop 
of Sasima ; but he solemnly protests, that he never consum- 
mated his spiritual marriage with this disgusting bride. He 
afterwards consented to undertake the government of his native 
church of Nazianzus, 31 of which his father had been bishop 
above five-and-forty years. But as he was still conscious 
that he deserved another audience, and another theatre, he 
accepted, with no unworthy ambition, the honorable invitation, 
which was addressed to him from the orthodox party of Con- 
stantinople. On his arrival in the capital, Gregory was enter- 
tained in the house of a pious and charitable kinsman ; the 
most spacious room was consecrated to the uses of religious 
worship ; and the name of Anastasia was chosen to express 

*• Gregory's Poem on his own Life contains some beautiful lines, 
(torn. ii. p. 8,) which burst from the heart, and speak the pangs of 
injured and lost friendship : — 

novot xoiroi Xoyotv, 

' Ofiuortyug rt xal avreariog fii'og, 
Nuvg tig iv auipoiv .... 
Jitoy.tSumai 7iciira, xn(Ji}iJirai /u ( »/.i 
jiv(>at (fiftuvoi Tug nuAuiug iXnidug. 

In the Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena addresses the same pa» 
thetic complaint to her friend Hermia : — 

Is all the counsel that we two have shared, 
The sister's vows, &c. 

Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory Nazianzen ; he waa 
ignorant of the Greek language ; bat his mother tongue, the language 
of Nature, is the same in Cappadocia and in Britain. 

30 This unfavorable portrait of Sasima? is drawn by Gregory Nazi- 
anzen, (torn. ii. de Vita sua, p. 7, 8.) Its precise situation, forty mne 
miles from Archelais, and thirty-two from Tyana, is fixed in the Itin- 
erary of Antoninus, (p. 144, edit. Wesseling.) 

31 The name of Nazianzus has been immortalized by Gregory ; but 
his native town, under the Greek or Roman title of Dioca^sarea, (Til- 
lemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. ix. p. 692,) is mentioned by Pliny, (vi. 3.) 
Ptolemy, and Hierocles, (Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 709. N It appears to 
have been situate on the edge of Isauria. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 85 

the resurrection of the Nicene faith. This private conventicle 
was afterwards comerted into a magnificent church; and the 
credulity of the succeeding age was prepared to believe the 
niracles and visions, which attested the presence, or at leasf 
ihe protection, of the Mother of God. 32 The pulpit of the 
Anastasia was the scene of the labors and triumphs of Gregory 
Nazianzen ; and, in the space of two years, he experienced 
all the spiritual adventures which constitute the prosperous or 
adverse fortunes of a missionary. 33 The Arians, who were 
provoked by the boldness of his enterprise, represented his 
doctrine, as it he had preached three distinct and equal 
Deities ; and the devout populace was excited to suppress, by 
violence and tumult, the irregular assemblies of the Athanasian 
heretics. From the cathedral of St. Sophia there issued a mot- 
ley crowd " of common beggars, who had forfeited their claim 
to pity ; of monks, who had the appearance of goats or satyrs ; 
and of women, more terrible than so many Jezebels. 1 ' The 
doors of the Anastasia were broke open ; much mischief was 
perpetrated, or attempted, with sticks, stones, and firebrands; 
and as a man lost his life in the affray, Gregory, who was sum- 
moned the next morning before the magistrate, had the satis- 
faction of supposing, that he publicly confessed the name of 
Christ. After he was delivered from the fear and danger of a 
foreign enemy, his infant church was disgraced and distracted 
by intestine faction. A stranger, who assumed the name of 
Maximus, 34 and the cloak of a Cynic philosopher, insinuated 
himself into the confidence of Gregory ; deceived and abused 
his favorable opinion ; and forming a secret connection with 
some bishops of Egypt, attempted, by a clandestine ordination, 
to supplant his patron in the episcopal seat of Constantinople. 
These mortifications might sometimes tempt the Cappadocian 
missionary to regret his obscure solitude. But his fatigues 
were rewarded by the daily increase of his fame and his con- 



M See Ducange, Constant. Christiana, 1. fv. p. 141, 142. The &iia 
tviuutg of Sozomen (1. vii. c. 5) is interpreted to mean the Virgin 
Mary. 

33 Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn. ix. p. 432, &c.) diligently collects, 
enlarges, and explains, the oratorical and poetical hints of Gregory 
himself, 

34 He pronounced an oration (torn. i. Orat. xxiii. p. 409) in hia 
praise ; but after their quarrel, the name of Maximus was changed 
into that of Heron, (see Jerom, torn. i. in Catalog. Script. Eccles. p 
101.) I touch slightly on these obscure and personal squabbles. 



86 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

gregation , and he enjoyed the pleasure of observing, that th8 
greater part of his numerous audience retired from his ser- 
mons satisfied with the eloquence of the preacher, 35 or dis- 
satisfied with the manifold imperfections of their faith and 
practice. 36 

The Catholics of Constantinople were animated with joyful 
confidence by the baptism and edict of Theodosius ; and they 
impatiently waited the effects of his gracious promise. Their 
hopes were speedily accomplished ; and the emperor, as soon 
as he had finished the operations of the campaign, made his 
public entry into the. capital at the head of a victorious army. 
The next day after his arrival, he summoned Damophilus to 
his presence, and offered that Arian prelate the hard alterna- 
tive of subscribing the Nicene creed, or of instantly resigning, 
to the orthodox believers, the use and possession of the episco 
pal palace, the cathedral of St. Sophia, and all the churches 
of Constantinople. The zeal of Damophilus, which in a 
Catholic saint would have been justly applauded, embraced, 
without hesitation, a life of poverty and exile, 37 and his re- 
moval was immediately followed by the purification of the 
Imperial city. The Arians might compiam, with some appear- 
ance of justice, that an inconsiderable congregation of sectaries 
should usurp the hundred churches, which they were insuffi- 
cient to fill ; whilst the far greater part of the people was 
cruelly excluded from every place of religious worship. 
Theodosius was still inexorable ; but as the angels who pro- 
tected the Catholic cause were only visible to the eyes of 
faith, he prudently reenforced those heavenly legions with the 
more effectual aid of temporal and carnal weapons ; and the 
church of St. Sophia was occupied by a large body of the Impe- 
rial guards. If the mind of Gregory was susceptible of pride, 
he must have felt a very lively satisfaction, when the empero'- 



35 Under the modest emblem of a dream, Gregory (torn. ii. Carmen 
ix. p. 78) describes his own success with some human complacency. 
Yet it should seem, from his familiar conversation with his auditor St. 
Jerom, (torn. i. Epist. ad Nepotian. p. 14,) that the preacher under- 
niood the true value of popular applause. 

39 Lachrymae auditorum laudes tua; sint, is the lively and judicious 
advice of St. Jerom. 

37 Socrates (1. v. c. 7) and Sozomen (1. vii. c. 5) relate the evangeli- 
cal words and actions of Damophilus without a word of approbation. 
He considered, says Socrates, that it is difficult to resist the powerful, 
but it was easy, and would have been profitable, to tubtnit. 



Or THE ROMAN EMPIRE. S"7 

conducted him through the streets in solemn triumph ; and. 
with his own hand, respectfully placed him on the archie- 
piscopal throne of Constantinople. But the saint (wno had 
not subdued the imperfections of human virtue^ was deeply 
affected by the mortifying consideration, that his entrance into 
the fold was that of a wolf, rather than of ashepherd ; that the 
glittering arms which surrounded his person, were necessary 
for his safety ; and that he alone was the object of the impre- 
cations of a great party, whom, as men and citizens, it was 
impossible for him to despise. He beheld the innumerable 
multitude of either sex, and of every age, who crowded the 
streets, the windows, and the roofs of the houses ; he heard 
the tumultuous voice of rage, grief, astonishment, and despair ; 
and Gregory fairly confesses, that on the memorable day of 
his installation, the capital of the East wore the appearance- 
of a city taken by storm", and in the hands of a Barbarian 
conqueror. 38 About six weeks afterwards, Theodosius de- 
clared his resolution of expelling from all the churches of his 
dominions the bishops and their clergy who should obsti- 
nately refuse to believe, or at least to profess, the doctrine of 
the council of Nice. His lieutenant, Sapor, was armed with 
the ample powers of a general law, a special commission, and 
a military force; 39 and this ecclesiastical revolution was con- 
ducted with so much discretion and vigor, that the religion of 
the emperor was established, without tumult or bloodshed, in 
all the provinces of the East The writings of the Arians, if 
they had been permitted to exist, 40 would perhaps contain the 
lamentable story of the persecution, which afflicted the church 
tinder the reign of the impious Theodosius; and the suffer- 
ings of their holy confessors might claim the pity of the dis- 
interested reader. Yet there is reason to imagine, that the 
violence of zeal and revenge was, in some measure, eluded 

3S See Gregory Nazianzen, torn. ii. de Vita sua, p. 21, 22. Fot 
the sake of posterity, the bishop of Constantinople records h stU' 
pendous prodigy. In the month of November, it was a cloudy 
morning, but the sun broke ibnh when the procession entered the 
thureh. 

39 Of the three ecclesiastical historians, Theodoret alone (1. v. c. 2) 
has mentioned this important commission of Sapor, which Tillemont 
(Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 728) judiciously removes from the 
teign oi uratian to that of Theodosius. 

40 I do not reckon Philostorgrus, though he mentions (1 ix. c. 19) 
the expulsion of Daniophilus. The Eunomian historian has bvet 
tarel'ully strained through an orthodox sieve. 



88 TUB DECLINE AND FALL 

by tne want of resistance ; and that, in their adversity, the 
Arians displayed much less firmness than had been exerted 
by the orthodox party under the reigns of Constantius and 
Valens. The moral character and conduct of the hostile 
sects appear to have been governed by the same common 
principles of nature and religion : but a very material circum- 
stance may be discovered, which tended to distinguish the 
degrees of their theological faith. Both parties, in the schools, 
as well as in the temples, acknowledged and worshipped the 
divine majesty of Christ ; and, as we are always prone to 
impute our own sentiments and passions to the Deity, it 
would be deemed more prudent and respectful to exaggerate, 
than to circumscribe, the adorable perfections of the Son of 
God. The disciple of Athanasius exulted in the proud confi- 
dence, that he had entitled himself to the divine favor ; while 
the follower of Arius must have been tormented by the secret 
apprehension, that he was guilty, perhaps, of an unpardona- 
ble offence, by the scanty praise, and parsimonious honors, 
which he bestowed on the Judge of the World. The opin- 
ions of Arianism might satisfy a cold and speculative mind : 
but the doctrine of the Nicene creed, most powerfully recom- 
mended by the merits of faith and devotion, was much 
better adapted to become popular and successful in a believ- 
ing age. 

The hope, that truth and wisdom would be found in the 
assemblies of the orthodox clergy, induced the emperor to 
convene, at Constantinople, a synod of one hundred and fifty 
bishops, who proceeded, without much difficulty or delay, to 
complete the theological system which had been established 
in the council of Nice. The vehement disputes of the fourth 
century had been chiefly employed on the nature of the Son 
of God ; and the various opinions which were embraced con- 
cerning the Second, were extended and transferred, by a nat- 
ural analogy, to the Third person of the Trinity. 41 Yet it 
was found, or it was thought, necessary, by the victorious ad- 



41 Le Clerc has given a curious extract (Bibliothcque Universelle, 
torn, xviii. p. 91 — 105) of the theological sermons which Gregory 
Nazianzen pronounced at Constantinople against the Avians, Euno- 
mians, Macedonians, &c. He tells the Macedonians, who deitied the 
Father and the Son without the Holy Ghost, that they might as well 
be stjled Trltheists as Dit heists. Gregory himself was almost a Tri- 
theist ; and his monarchy of heaven resembles a well-regulated ^rifl- 
tocracy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 89 

vcsaries of Arianism, to explain the ambiguous language of 
some respectable doctors ; to confirm the faith of the Catho- 
des ; and to condemn an unpopular and inconsistent sect of 
Macedonians ; who freely admitted that the Son was consub- 
stantial to the Father, while they were fearful of seeming to 
acknowledge the existence of Three Gods. A final and unani- 
mous sentence was pronounced to ratify the equal Deity of the 
Holy Ghost : the mysterious doctrine has been received by 
all the nations, and all the churches of the Christian world ; 
and their grateful reverence has assigned to the bishops of 
Theodosius the second rank among the general councils. 49 
Their knowledge of religious truth may have been preserved 
by tradition, or it may have been communicated by inspira- 
tion ; but the sober evidence of history will not allow much 
weight to the personal authority of the Fathers of Constanti- 
nople.' In an age when the ecclesiastics had scandalously 
degenerated from the model of apostolical purity, the mosi 
worthless and corrupt were always the most eager to frequent, 
and disturb, the episcopal assemblies. The conflict and fer- 
mentation of so many opposite interests and tempers inflamed 
the passions of the bishops : and their ruling passions were, 
the love of gold, and the love of dispute. Many of the same 
prelates who now applauded the orthodox piety of Theodo- 
sius, had repeatedly changed, with prudent flexibility, their 
creeds and opinions ; and in the various revolutions of the 
church and state, the religion of their sovereign was the rule 
of their obsequious faith. When the emperor suspended his 
prevailing influence, the turbulent synod was blindly impelled 
by the absurd or selfish motives of pride, hatred, and resent- 
ment. The death of Meletius, which happened at the coun- 
cil of Constantinople, presented the most favorable opportu- 
nity of terminating the schism of Antioch, by suffering hia 
aged rival, Paulinus, peaceably to end his days in the episco- 
pal chair. The faith and virtues of Paulinus were unblem- 
ished. But his cause was supported by the Western churches ; 
and the bishops of the synod resolved to perpetuate the mis- 
thiefs of discord, by the hasty ordination of a perjured 



* s The first general council of Constantinople now triumphs in the 
Vatican ; but the popes had long hesitated, and their hesitation per- 
plexes, and almost staggers, the humble Tillemont, (Men. Eccles. torn- 
!x. p. 490, 509.) 

53* 



90 THK DECLINE rtND FALL 

candidate, 4 ' rather than to betray the imagined dignity of .he 
East, which had been illustrated by the birth and death of tho 
Son of God. Such unjust and disorderly proceedings forced 
the gravest members of the assembly to dissent and to secede ; 
and the clamorous majority, which remained masters of the 
field of battle, could be compared only to wasps or magpies, 
to a flight of cranes, or to a flock of geese. 44 

A suspicion may possibly arise, that so unfavorable a pic- 
lure of ecclesiastical synods has been drawn by the partial 
hand of some obstinate heretic, or some malicious nfidel- 
But the name of the sincere historian who has conveyed this 
instructive lesson to the knowledge of posterity, must silence 
the impotent murmurs of superstition and bigotry. He was 
one of the most pious and eloquent bishops of the age ; a 
saint, and a doctor of the church ; the scourge of Arianism, 
and the pillar of the orthodox faith ; a distinguished membei 
of the council of Constantinople, in which, after the death of 
Meletius, he exercised the functions of president ; in a word — 
Gregory Nazianzen himself. The harsh and ungenerous 
treatment which he experienced, 45 instead of derogating from 
the truth of his evidence, affords an additional proof of the 
spirit which actuated the deliberations of the synod. Their 
unanimous suffrage had confirmed the pretensions which the 
bishop of Constantinople derived from the choice of the peo- 
ple, and the approbation of the emperor. But Gregory soon 
became the victim of malice and envy. The bishops of the 
East, his strenuous adherents, provoked by his moderation in 

43 Before the death of Meletius, six or eight of his most "opular 
ecclesiastics, among whom was Flavian, had abjured, for the sake of 
peace, the bishopric of Antioeh, (Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 3, 11. Socrates, 
1. v. c. v.) Tillemont thinks it his duty to disbelieve the story; but 
he owns that there are many circumstances in the life of Flavian 
which seem inconsistent with the praises of Chrysostom, and the char- 
racter of a saint, (Mem. Eccles. torn. x. p. 541.) 

44 Consult Gregory Nazianzen, de Vita sua, torn. ii. p. 25 — 28. Ilia 
general and particular opinion of the clergy and their assemblies may 
De seen in verse and prose, (torn. i. Orat. i. p. 33. Epist. lv. p. 814, 
torn. ii. Carmen x. p. 81.) Such passages are faintly marked by Til- 
lemont, and fairly produced by Le Clerc. 

45 See Gregory, torn. ii. de Vita sua, p. 28 — 31. The fourteenth, 
twenty-seventh, and thirty-second Orations were pronounced in the 
several stages of this business. The peroration of the last, (torn. L 
p. 528,) in which he takes a solemn leave of men and angels, '.he city 
and the emperor, the East and the West, &c, is pathetic, auj. almos 1 
mblime. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 91 

the affairs of Antioch, abandoned him, without support, to the 
adverse faction of the Egyptians , who disputed the validity 
of his election, and rigorously asserted the obsolete canon, 
that prohibited the licentious practice of episcopal transla- 
tions. The pride, or the humility, of Gregory prompted him 
to decline a contest which might have been imputed to am- 
bition and avarice ; and he publicly offered, not without some 
mixture of indignation, to renounce the government of 8 
church which had been restored, and almost created, by hi& 
labors. His resignation was accepted by the synod, and by 
the emperor, with more readiness than he seems to have 
expected. At the time when he might have hoped to en- 
joy the fruits of his victory, his episcopal throne was filled 
by the senator Nectarius ; and the new archbishop, accident- 
ally recommended by his easy temper and venerable aspect, 
w<*»t obliged to delay the ceremony of his consecration, till he 
had previously despatched the rites of his baptism. 46 After 
this remarkable experience of the ingratitude of princes and 
prelates, Gregory retired once more to his obscure solitude 
of Cappadocia ; where he employed the remainder of his life, 
about eight years, in the exercises of poetry and devotion. 
The title of Saint has been added to his name : but the ten- 
derness of his heart, 47 and the elegance of his genius, reflect 
a more pleasing lustre on the memory of Gregory Nazi- 
anzun. 

It was not enough that Theodosius had suppressed the inso- 
lent reign of Arianism, or that he had abundantly revenged 
the injuries which the Catholics sustained from the zeal of 
Constantius and Valens. The orthodox emperor considered 
every heretic as a rebel against the supreme powers of heaven 
and of earth ; and each oT those powers might exercise their 
peculiar jurisdiction over the soul and body of the guilty. 
The decrees of the council of Constantinople had ascertained 



46 The wliimsical ordination of Nectarius is attested by Sozomen, 
(1. vii. c. 8;) but Tillemont observes, (Mem. Eceles. torn. ix. p. 7 19, x 
Apres tout, ce narre de .So/.omene est si honteux pour tous ceux (ju'ii 
y mele, et surtout pour Theodose, qu'il vaut mieux travailler a le de- 
truue, qu'ii le soutenir ; an admirable canon of criticism ! 

■* 7 I can only be understood to mean, that such was his natural 
temper, when it was not hardened, or inflamed, by religious zeal. 
From his retirement, he exhorts Nectarius to prosecute the heretic! 
"»f Constantinople. 



92 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the true standard of the faith ; and the ecclesiastics, who go>. 
erned the conscience of Theodosius, suggested the most effec- 
tual methodg of persecution. In the space of fifteen years 
he promulgated at least fifteen severe edicts against the here- 
tics ; 48 more especially against those who rejected the doctrine 
of the Trinity ; and to deprive them of every hope of escape, 
he sternly enacted, that if any laws or rescripts should be 
alleged in their favor, the judges should consider them as the 
illegal productions either of fraud or forgeiy. The penal 
statutes were directed against the ministers, the assemblies, 
and the persons of the heretics ; and the passions of the legis- 
lator were expressed in the language of declamation and 
invective. I. The heretical teachers, who usurped the sacred 
titles of Bishops, or Presbyters, were not only excluded from 
the privileges and emoluments so liberally granted to the 
orthodox clergy, but they were exposed to the heavy penalties 
of exile and confiscation, if they presumed to preach the doc- 
trine, or to practise the rites, of their accursed sects. A fine 
of ten pounds of gold (above four hundred pounds sterling) 
was imposed on every person who should dare to confer, or 
receive, or promote, an heretical ordination : and it was rea- 
sonably expected, that if the race of pastors could be extin- 
guished, their helpless flocks would be compelled, by ignorance 
and hunger, to return within the pale of the Catholic church. 
II. The rigorous prohibition of conventicles was carefully 
extended to every possible circumstance, in which the heretics 
could assemble with the intention of worshipping God and 
Christ according to the dictates of their conscience. Their 
religious meetings, whether public or secret, by day or by 
night, in cities or in the country, were equally proscribed by 
the edicts of Theodosius ; and the building, or ground, which 
had been used for that illegal purpose, was forfeited to the 
Imperial domain. III. It was supposed, that the error of the 
lerstics could proceed only from the obstinate temper of their 
minds ; and that such a temper was a fit object of censure and 
punishment. The anathemas of the church were fortified by 
a sort of civil excommunication ; which separated them from 
their fellow-citizens, by a peculiar brand of infamy ; and this 

* g See the Theodosian Code, 1. xvi. tit r. leg. G — 23, with Gode- 
Iroy's commentary on each law, and his general summary, or Patatitiun. 
torn vi, n. 104—110. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 93 

declaration of the supreme magistrate tended to justify, cr at 
least to excuse, ihe insults of a fanatic populace. The secta- 
ries were gradually disqualified for the possession of honor- 
able or lucrative employments ; and Theodosius was satisfied 
with his own justice, when he decreed, that, as the Eunomians 
distinguished the nature of the Son from that of the Father 
they should be incapable of making their wdls, or of receiving 
any advantage from testamentary donations. The guilt of 
the Manichsean heresy was esteemed of such magnitude, that 
it could be expiated only by the death of the otfender ; and 
the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, 01 
Quartodecimans, 4 ^ who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious 
crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival of 
Easter. Every Roman might exercise the right of public 
accusation ; but the office of Inquisitors of the Faith, a 
name so deservedly abhorred, was first instituted under the 
reign of Theodosius. .Yet we are assured, that the execution 
of his penal edicts was seldom enforced ; and that the pious 
emperor appeared less desirous to punish, than to reclaim, 01 
terrify, his refractory subjects. 50 

The theory of persecution was established by Theodosius, 
whose justice and piety have been applauded by the saints : 
but the practice of it, in the fullest extent, was reserved foi 
his rival and colleague, Maximus, the first, among the Christian 
princes, who shed the blood of his Christian subjects on 
account of their religious opinions. The cause of the Pris- 
cillianists, 51 a recent sect of heretics, who disturbed the prov- 
inces of Spain, was transferred, by appeal, from the synod of 
Bordeaux to the Imperial consistory of Treves ; and by the 
sentence of the Praetorian prefect, seven persons were tor- 
tured, condemned, and executed. The first of these was 



49 They always kept their Easter, like the Jewish Passover, on the 
fourteenth clay of the first moon after the vernal equinox ; and thus 
pertinaciously opposed the lloman Church and Nicene synod, which 
had jixed Easter to a Sunday. Bingham's Antiquities, 1. xx. c. 5, vol. 
li. p. 309, fol. edit. 

60 Spzomen, 1. vii. c. 12. 

51 See the Sacred History of Sulpicius Severus, (1. ii. p. 437 — 452, 
petit. Lugd. Bat. 1(347, a correct and original writer. l)r. Lardnes 
(Credibility, &c, part ii. vol. ix. p. 256 — 350) has labored this article 
with pure learning, good sense, and moderation. Tillemont (Mem. 
EfcJes. torn. viii. p. 491 — 527) has raked together all t^e dirt irf the 
iuthers , i' useful scavenger ' 



S>1 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Priscillian 59 himself, bishop of Avila, 53 in Spain; who 
adorned the advantages of birth and fortune, by the accom- 
plishments of eloquence and learning. Two presbyters, nnd 
two deacons, accompanied their beloved master in his death, 
which they esteemed as a glorious martyrdom ; and the 
number of religious victims was completed by the execution 
of Latronian, a poet, who rivalled the fame of the ancients ; 
and of Euchrocia, a noble matron of Bordeaux, the widow of 
the orator Delphidius. 54 Two bishops, who had embraced the 
sentiments of Priscillian, were condemned to a distant and 
dreary exile ; 55 and some indulgence was shown to the meaner 
criminals, who assumed the merit of an early repentance. If 
any credit could be allowed to confessions extorted by fear 01 
pain, and to vague reports, the offspring of malice and credu- 
lity, the heresy of the Priscillianists would be found to include 
the various abominations of magic, of impiety, and of lewd- 
ness. 56 Priscillian, who wandered about the world in the 
company of his spiritual sisters, was accused of praying 
stark naked in the midst of the congregation ; and it was con- 
fidently asserted, that the effects of his criminal intercourse 
with the daughter of Euchrocia had been suppressed, by 
means still more odious and criminal. But an accurate, or 
rather a candid, inquiry will discover, that if the Priscillianists 
violated the laws of nature, it was not bv the licentiousness, 
but by the austerity, of their lives. They absolutely con- 
demned the use of the marriage-bed ; and toe peace of fami- 
lies was often disturbed by indiscreet separations. They 



48 Severus Sulpicius mentions the arch-heretic with esteem and pity 
Faelix profeeto, si non pravo studio corrupisset optimum ingenium : 
prorsus 'multa in eo animi et corporis bona eerneres. (Hist. Sacra, 1. 
ii. p. 439.) Even Jerom (torn. i. in Script. Eccles. p. 302) speaks with 
temper of Priscillian and Latronian. 

53 The bishopric (in Old Castile) is now worth 20,000 ducats a 
year, (Busching's Geography, vol. ii. p. 308,) and is therefore much 
less likely to produce the author of a new heresy. 

54 Exprobrabatur mulieri vidua? nimia religio, et diligentius culta 
divinitas, (Paeat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 29.) Such was the idea of a 
humane, though ignorant, polytheist. 

5i One of them was sent in Sillinam insulam qua? idtra Britanniam 
est. What must have been the ancient condition of the rocks of Seil- 
ly f (Camden"s Britannia, vol. ii. p. 1519.) 

* 6 The scandalous calumnies of Augustin, Pope Leo, &c., which 
Tillemont swallows like a child, and Lardner refutes like a man, may 
•uggest some candid suspicions in favor of the older Onostics 



OF Till: ROMAN EMPIRE. 95 

enjoyed, or recommended, a total abstinence from all animal 
food ; and their continual prayers, fasts, and vigils, inculcated 
a rule of strict and perfect devotion. The specula .ive tenets 
of the seet> concerning the person of Christ, and the natme 
of the human soul, were derived from the Gnostic and Mani- 
chrean system ; and this vain philosophy, which had been 
transported from Egypt to Spain, was ill adapted to the grosse. 
spirits of the West. The obscure disciples of Priscillian suf- 
fered, languished, and gradually disappeared : his tenets were 
rejected by the clergy and people, but his death was the sub- 
ject of a long and vehement controversy ; while some ar- 
raigned, and others applauded, the justice of his sentence. It 
is with pleasure that we can observe the humane inconsistency 
of the most illustrious saints and bishops, Ambrose of Milan, 37 
and Martin of Tours, 58 who, on this occasion, asserted the 
cause of toleration. They pitied the unhappy men, who had 
been executed at Treves ; they refused to hold communion 
with their episcopal murderers ; and if Martin deviated from 
that generous resolution, his motives were laudable, and his 
repentance was exemplary. The bishops of Tours and Milan 
pronounced, without hesitation, the eternal damnation of here- 
tics ; but tbev were surprised, and shocked, by the bloody 
image of their temporal death, and the honest feelings of 
nature resisted the artificial prejudices of theology. The 
humanity of Ambrose and Martin was confirmed by the scan- 
dalous irregularity of the proceedings against Priscillian and 
his adherents. The ci'vii and ecclesiastical ministers had trans- 
gressed the limits of their respective provinces. The secular 
judge had presumed to receive an appeal, and to pronounce 
a definitive sentence, in a matter of faith, and episcopal juris- 
diction. The bishops had disgraced themselves, by exercising 
the functions of accusers in a criminal prosecution. The 
cruelty of Ithacius, 5J who beheld the tortures, and solicited the 
death, of the heretics, provoked the just indignation of man- 



57 Ambros. torn. ii. Epist. xxiv. p. 891. 

48 In the Sacred History, and the Life of St. Martin, Snlpicius Se- 
I'srus uses some caution ; but he declares himself more freely in the 
Dialogues, (iii 1.3.) Martin was reproved, however, by his own con- 
scene j, and by an angel; nor could he afterwards perform miracles 
with so much ease. 

59 The Catholic Presbyter (Sulp. Sever. 1. ii. p. 448) and the Pagan 
Orator (Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 29) reprobate, with equal indlj4- 
cation, the I'haractra and conduct of Ithacius. 



6 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

kind ; and the vices of that profligate bishop were admitted 
as a proof, that his zeal was instigated by the sordid motives 
of interest. Since the death of Priscillian, the rude attempts 
of persecution have been refined and methodized in the holy 
office, which assigns their distinct parts to the ecclesiastical 
and secular powers. The devoted victim is regularly deliv- 
ered by the priest to the magistrate, and by the magistrate to 
the executioner ; and the inexorable sentence of the church 
which declares the spiritual guilt of the offender, is expressed 
in the mild language of pity and intercession. 

Among the ecclesiastics, who illustrated the reign of Theo- 
dosius, Gregory Nazianzen was distinguished by the talents 
of an eloquent preacher ; the reputation of miraculous gifts 
added weight and dignity to the monastic virtues of Martin of 
Tours; 1 ' but the palm of episcopal vigor and ability was 
justly claimed by the intrepid Ambrose.' 31 He was descended 
from a noble family of Romans; his father had exercised the 
important office of Praetorian pnefect of Gaul ; and the son, 
after passing through the studies of a liberal education, at- 
tained, in the regular gradation of civil honors, the station of 
consular of Liguria, a province which included the Imperial 
residence of Milan. At the age of thirty-four, and before he 
had received the sacrament of baptism, Ambrose, to his own 
surprise, and to that of the world, was suddenly transformed 
from a governor to an archbishop. Without the least mix- 
ture, as it is said, of art or intrigue, the whole body of the 
people unanimously saluted him with the episcopal title ; the 
concord and perseverance of their acclamations were ascribed 
to a preternatural impulse ; and the reluctant magistrate was 
compelled to undertake a spiritual office, for which he was 
not prepared by the habits and occupations of his former life. 
But the active force of his genius soon qualified him to exer- 
cise, with zeal and prudence, the duties of his ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction ; and while he cheerfully renounced the vain and 



*° The Life of St. Martin, and the Dialogues concerning his miracles, 
contain facts adapted to tne grossest barbarism, in a style not un- 
worthy of the Augustan age. So natural is the alliance between good 
taste and good sense, that I am always astonished by this contrast. 

61 The short and superficial Life of St. Ambrose, by his deacor- 
Paulinus, (ApDendix ad edit. Benedict, p. i.— xv.,) has the merit oi 
jriginal evidence. Tillemont (Mem. Kccles. torn. x. p. 78 — HOG) and 
the Benedictine editors (p. xxxi. — lxiii.) have labored with their usual 
liiitrence. 



OF THE ROMA'S EMPIRE. 97 

splendid trappings of temporal greatness, he condescended, 
for the good of the church, to direct the conscience of the 
emperors, and to control the administration of the empire. 
Gratian loved and revered. Jiim as a father ; and the elaborate 
treatise on the faith of the Trinity was designed for the in- 
struction of the young prince. After his tragic death, at a 
time when the empress Justina trembled for her own safety, 
and for that of her son Valentinian, the archbishop of Milan 
was despatched, on two different embassies, to the court of 
Treves. He exercised, with equal firmness and dexterity, 
the powers of his spiritual and political characters; and per- 
haps contributed, by his authority and eloquence, to check 
the ambition of Maximus, and to protect the peace of Italy. 62 
Ambrose had devoted his life, and his abilities, to the service 
of the church. Wealth was the object of his contempt ; he 
had renounced his private patrimony ; and he sold, without 
hesitation, the consecrated plate, for the redemption of cap- 
tives. The clergy and people of Milan were attached to their 
archbishop; and he deserved the esteem, without soliciting the 
favor, or apprehending the displeasure, of his feeble sov- 
ereigns. 

The government of Italy, and of the young emperor, nat- 
urally devolved to his mother Justina, a woman of beauty and 
spirit, but who, in the midst of an orthodox people, had the 
misfortune of professing the Arian heresy, which she en- 
deavored to instil into the mind of her son. Justina was per- 
suaded, that a Roman emperor might claim, in his own domin- 
ions, the public exercise of his religion ; and she proposed to 
the archbishop, as a moderate and reasonable concession, that 
he should resign the use of a single church, either in the city 
or the suburbs of Milan. But the conduct of Ambrose was 
governed by very different principles. 63 The palaces of the 
earth might indeed belong to Ceesar ; but the churches were 
the houses of God ; and, within the limits of his diocese, hr 
h'unself, as the lawful successor of the apostles, was the on.'^ 
minister of God. The privileges of Christianity, temporal 



" 3 Ambrose himself (torn. ii. Epist. xxiv. p. 888 — S91) gives the 
emperor a very spirited account of his own embassy. 

63 His own representation of his principles and conduct (torn, u. 
Epist. xx. xxi. xxii. p. 852 — 880) is one of the curious monuments of 
ecclesiastical antiquity. It contains two letters to his sister Marcel - 
lina, with a petition to Valentinian, and ihe sermon de Busilwis tion 
%vctLmdis. 



98 THE DECLINE AND [-ALL 

as well as spiritual, were confined to the true believers . and 
the mind of Ambrose was satisfied, that his own theological 
opinions were the standard of truth and orthodoxy. The arch- 
bishop, who refused to hold any conference, or negotiation, 
with the instruments of Satan, declared, with modest firmness, 
his resolution to die a martyr, rather than to yield to the ina- 
pious sacrilege ; and Justina, who resented the refusal as as 
act of insolence and rebellion, hastily determined to exert (he 
Imperial prerogative of her son. As she desired to perform 
her public devotions on the approaching festival of Easter. Am- 
brose was ordered to appear before the council. He obeyed 
the summons with the respect of a faithful subject, but he 
was followed, without his consent, by an innumerable people ; 
they pressed, with impetuous zeal, against the gates of the 
palace , and the affrighted ministers of Valentinian. in-tead 
of pronouncing a sentence of exile on the archbishop of Milan, 
humbly requested that he would interpose his authority, to 
protect the person of the emperor, and to restore the tranquil- 
lity of the capital. But the promises which Ambrose received 
and communicated were soon violated by a perfidious court ; 
and, during six of the most solemn days, which Christian piety 
has set apart for the exercise of religion, the city was agitated 
by the irregular convulsions of tumult and fanaticism. The 
officers of the household were directed to prepare, first, the 
Portian, and afterwards, the new, Basilica, for the immediate 
reception of the emperor and his mother. The splendid 
canopy and hangings of the royal seat were arranged in the 
customary maimer; but it was found necessary to defend them, 
by a strong guard, from the insults of the populace. The 
Arian ecclesiastics, who ventured to show themselves in the 
streets, were exposed to the most imminent danger of their 
lives : and Ambrose enjoyed the merit and reputation of 
rescuing his personal enemies from the hands of the enraged 
multitude. 

But while, he labored to restrain the effects of their zeal, the 
jathetic vehemence of his sermons continually inflamed the 
angry and seditious temper of the people of Milan. The 
characters of Eve, of the wife of Job, of Jezebel, of Herodias, 
were indecently applied to the mother of the emperor ; and 
her desire to obtain a church for the Arians was compared to 
the most cruel persecutions which Christianity had endured 
under the rei<m of Paganism. The measures of the court 
served only to expose the magnitude of the evil. A fine of 



OP TITE ROMAN EMPIRE. 98 

two hundred pounds of gold was imposed on the corporate 
body of merchants and manufacturers : an order was signified, 
in the name of the emperor, to all the officers, and inferior 
servants, of the courts of justice, that, during the continuance 
of the public disorders, they should strictly confine themselves 
to their houses : and the ministers of Valentinian imprudentl) 
confessed, that the most respectable part of the citizens ol 
Milan was attached to the cause of their archbishop. He waa 
again solicited to restore peace to his country, by timely com 
pliance with the will of his sovereign. The reply of Ambrose 
was couched in the most humble and respectful terms, which 
might, however, be interpreted as a serious declaration of 
civil war. " His life and fortune were in the hands of the 
emperor ; but he would never betray the church of Christ, or 
degrade the dignity of the episcopal character. In such a 
cause he was prepared to suffer whatever the malice of the 
daemon could inflict ; and he only wished to die in the presence 
of his faithful flock, and at the foot u ' die altar ; he had not con- 
tributed to excite, but it was in He power of God alone to 
appease, the rase of the people : he deprecated the scenes of 
blood and confusion, which were likely to ensue ; and it was 
his fervent prayer, that he might not survive to behold the ruin 
of a flourishing city, and perhaps the desolation of all Italy.'" 64 
The obstinate bigotry of Justina would have endangered the 
empire of her son, if, in this contest with the church and peo- 
ple of Milan, she could have depended on the active obedience 
of the troops of the palace. A large body of Goths had 
marched to occupy the Basilica, which was the object ot the 
dispute : and it might be expected from the Arian principles, 
and barbarous manners, of these foreign mercenaries, that 
they would not entertain any scruples in the execution of the 
most sanguinary orders. They were encountered, on the 
sacred threshold, by the archbishop, who, thundering against 
them a sentence of excommunication, asked them, in the tone 
of a father and a master, whether it was to invade the house of 
God, that they had implored the hospitable protection of the 



84 Retz had a similar message from the queen, to request that lie 
would appease the tumult of Paris. It was no longer in his power, 
fcc. A quoi j'ajoutai tout ce que vous pouvez vous imaginer de 10- 
epect, de douleur, de regret, et de soumission, &c. (Mcmoires, torn. i. 
p. 1 10.) Certainly I do not compare either the causes or the men; 
f«t the coadjutor himself had some idea (p. 84) of imitating St. Am' 
oroae. 



100 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



* 



republic. The suspense of the Barbarians allowed some hours 
for a more effectual negotiation ; and the empress was per- 
suaded, by the advice of her wisest counsellors, to leave the 
Catholics in possession of all the churches of Milan ; and to dis- 
semble, till a more convenient season, her intentions of revenge. 
The mother of Valentinian could never forgive the triumph of 
Ambrose ; and the royal youth uttered a passionate exclama- 
tion, that his own servants were ready to betray him into the 
hands of an insolent priest. 

The laws of the empire, some of which were inscribed with 
the name of Valentinian, still condemned the Arian heresy, 
and seemed to excuse the resistance of the Catholics. By the 
influence of Justina, an edict of toleration was promulgated in 
all the provinces which were subject to the court of Milan ; 
the free exercise of their religion was granted to those who 
professed the faith of Rimini ; and the emperor declared, that 
all persons who should infringe this sacred and salutary con- 
stitution, should be capitally punished, as the enemies of the 
public peace. 65 The character and language of the archbishop 
of Milan may justify the suspicion, that his conduct soon 
afforded a reasonable ground, or at least a specious pretence, 
to the Arian ministers ; who watched the opportunity of sur- 
prising him in some act of disobedience to a law which he 
strangely represents as a law of blood and tyranny. A sen- 
tence of easy and honorable banishment was pronounced, 
which enjoined Ambrose to depart from Milan without delay ; 
whilst it permitted him to choose the place of his exile, and the 
number of his companions. But the authority of the saints, 
who have preached and practised the maxims of passive loy- 
alty, appeared to Ambrose of less moment than the extreme 
and pressing danger of the church. He boldly refused to 
obey ; and his refusal was supported by the u nan imous consent 
of his faithful people. 06 They guarded by turns the person of 
their archbishop ; the gates of the cathedral and theepiscop&l 
palace werestrongly secured, and the Imperial troops, who had 
formed the blockade, were unwilling to risk the attack of 
that impregnable fortress. The numerous poor, who had been 



te Sozomen alone (1. vii. c. 13) throws this luminous fact into a dark 
and perplexed narrative. 

66 Excubabat pia plebs in ecclesift, mori parata cum episcopo sao 
. . Nos, adhuc fidgidi, excitabamur tamen civitate ptionita atque 
lurbata. Augustin. Confession. 1. ix- c. 7. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. lOl 

ft 

relieved by the liberality of Ambrose, embraced the fair occa 
sion of signalizing their zeal and gratitude ; and as the patience 
of the multitude might have been exhausted by the length and 
uniformity of nocturnal vigils, he prudently introduced into the 
church of Milan the useful institution of a loud and regular 
psalmody. While he maintained this arduous contest, he waa 
instructed, by a dream, to open the earth in a place where the 
remains of two martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius, 67 had been 
deposited above three hundred years. Immediately under the 
pavement of the church two perfect skeletons were found, 68 
with the heads separated from their bodies, and a plentiful 
effusion of blood. The holy relics were presented, in solemn 
pomp, to the veneration of the people ; and every circumstance 
of this fortunate discovery was admirably adapted to promote 
the designs of Ambrose. The bones of the martyrs, their 
blood, their garments, were supposed to contain a healing 
power ; and the preternatural influence was communicated to 
the most distant objects, without losing any part of its original 
virtue. The extraordinary cure of a blind man, 69 and the re- 
luctant confessions of several dsemoniacs, appeared to justify 
the faith and sanctity of Ambrose ; and the truth of thost 
miracles is attested by Ambrose himself, by his secretary Pau- 
linus, and by his proselyte, the celebrated Augustin, who, at 
that time, professed the art of rhetoric in Milan. The reason 
of the present age may possibly approve the incredulity of 
Justina and her Arian court ; who derided the theatrical repre- 
sentations which were exhibited by the contrivance, and at the 

67 Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. ii. p. 78, 498. Many churches in 
Italy, Gaul, &c, were dedicated to these unknown martyrs, of whom 
St. Gervaise seems to have been more fortunate than his companion. 

88 Invenimus mirae magnitudinis viros duos, ut prisca setas ferebat. 
torn. ii. Epist. xxii. p. 875. The size of these skeletons was fortunate- 
ly, or skilfully, suited to the popular prejudice of the gradual de- 
crease of the human stature, which has prevaded in every age since 
the time of Homer. 

Grandiaque effbssis mirabitur ossa sepulchris. 

69 Ambros. torn. ii. Epist. xxii. p. 875. Augustin. Confes. 1. ix. c. 
7, de Civitat. Dei, 1. xxii. c. 8. Paulin, in Vita St. Ambros. c. 14, in 
Append. Benedict, p. 4. The blind man's name was Severus ; he 
touched the holy garment, recovered his sight, and devoted the rest 
of his life (at least twenty-five years) to the service of the church. I 
•hould recommend this miracle to our divines, if it did not prove th» 
worship of i elics, as well as the Nicene creed. 



102 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

• 

expense, of the archbishop. 70 Their effect, however, on the 
minds of the people, was rapid and irresistible ; and the feeble 
sovereign of Italy found himself unable to contend with the 
favorite of Heaven. The powers likewise of the earth inter- 
posed in the defence of Ambrose : the disinterested advice of 
Theodosius was the genuine result of piety and friendship; and 
the mask of religious zeal concealed the hostile and ambitious 
resigns of the tyrant of Gaul. 71 

The reign of Maxinus might have ended in peace and pros- 
perity, could he have contented himself with the possession ol 
three ample countries, which now constitute the three most 
flourishing kingdoms of modern Europe. But the aspiring 
usurper, whose sordid ambition was not dignified by the love 
of glory and of arms, considered his actual forces as the instru- 
ments only of his future greatness, and his success was the 
immediate cause of his destruction. The wealth which he 
extorted 72 from the oppressed provinces of Gaul, Spain, and 
Britain, was employed in levying and maintaining a formidable 
army of Barbarians, collected, for the most part, from the 
fiercest nations of Germany. The conquest of Italy was the 
object of his hopes and preparations ; and he secretly medi- 
tated the ruin of an innocent youth, whose government was 
abhorred and despised by his Catholic subjects. But as Maxi- 
mus wished to occupy, without resistance, the passes of the 
Alps, he received, with perfidious smiles, Domninus of Syria 
the ambassador of Valentinian, and pressed him to accept the 
aid of a considerable body of troops, for the service of a Pan- 
nonian war. The penetration of Ambrose had discovered the 
snares of an enemy under the professions of friendship ; 73 but 
the Syrian Domninus was corrupted, or deceived, by the liberal 
favor of the court of Treves ; and the council of Milan obsti- 
nately rejected the suspicion of danger, with a blind confidence, 
which was the effect, not of courage, but of fear. The march 
of the auxiliaries was guided by the ambassador ; and they 



70 Paulin. in Tit. St. Ambros. c. 5, in Append. Benedict, p. 5. 

71 Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. x. p. 190, 750. He partially al- 
lows the mediation of Theodosius, and capriciously rejects that of 
Maximus, though it is attested by Prosper, Sozomen, and Theodoret. 

" The modest censure of Sulpicius (Dialog, iii. 15) inflicts a much 
deeper wound than the feeble declamation of Pacatus, (xii. 25, 26.) 

7a Esto tutior adversus huminem, pacis involucro tegentem, was 
the wise caution of Ambrose (torn. ii. p. 891) after his return from his 
second embassy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 

were admitted, without distrust, into the fortresses of the Alps 
But the crafty 'yrant followed, with hasty and silent footsteps 
in the rear ; and, as he diligently intercepted all intelligence 
of his motions, the gleam of armor, and the dust excited by the 
troops of cavalry, first announced the hostile approach of a 
stranger to the gates of Milan. In this extremity, Justi \a and 
her son might accuse their own imprudence, and the perlidioir 
arts of Maximus ; but they wanted time, and force, and resolu- 
tion, to stand against the Gauls and Germans, either in the 
field, or within the walls of a large and disaffected city. 
Flight was their only hope, Aquileia their only refuge ; and aa 
Maximus now displayed his genuine character, the brother ol 
Gratian might expect the same fate from the hands of the 
same assassin. Maximus entered Milan in triumph ; and if 
the wise archbishop refused a dangerous and criminal connec- 
tion with the usurper, he might indirectly contribute to the 
success of his arms, by inculcating, from the pulpit, the duty 
of resignation, rather than that of resistance. 74 The unfortu- 
nate Justina reached Aquileia in safety ; but she distrusted the 
strength of the fortifications : she dreaded the event of a siege ; 
and she resolved to implore the protection of the great Theo- 
dosius, whose power and virtue were celebrated in all the 
countries of the West. A vessel was secretly provided to 
transport the Imperial family ; they embarked with precipita 
tion in one of the obscure harbors of Venetia, or Istria ; trav- 
ersed the whole extent of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas ; turned 
the extreme promontory of Peloponnesus ; and, after a long, 
but successful navigation, reposed themselves in the port of 
Thessalonica. All the subjects of Valentinian deserted the 
eause of a prince, who, by his abdication, had absolved them 
from the duty of allegiance ; and if the little city of iEmona, 
on the verge of Italy, had not presumed to stop the career of 
his inglorious victory, Maximus would have obtained, without a 
•truggle, the sole possession of the Western empire. 

Instead of inviting his royal guests to take the palace of 
Constantinople, Theodosius had some unknown reasons to fix 
their residence at Thessalonica ; but these reasons did not 
proceed from contempt or indifference, as he speedily made 
a visit to that city, accompanied by the greatest part of hia 
court and .senate. After the first tender expressions of friend- 

14 Baj~-.ius (A. D. 387, No. 63) applies to this season of public dis- 
tress some of the penitential sermons of t^ie archbishop. 



101 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ship and sympathy, the pious emperor of the East gently 
admonished Justina, that the guilt of heresy was sometimes 
punished in this world, as well as in the next ; and that the 
public profession of the Nicene faith would he the most effica- 
cious step to promote the restoration of her son, by the satis, 
faction which it must occasion both on earth and in heaven. 
The momentous question of peace or war was referred, by 
Theodosius, to the deliberation of his council ; and the argu- 
ments which might be alleged on the side of honor and justice, 
had acquired, since the death of Gratian, a considerable 
degree of additional weight. The persecution of the Impe- 
rial family, to which Theodosius himself had been indebted 
for his fortune, was now aggravated by recent and repeated 
injuries. Neither oaths nor treaties could restrain the bound- 
less ambition of Maximus ; and the delay of vigorous and 
decisive measures, instead of prolonging the blessings of 
peace, would expose the Eastern empire to the danger of a 
hostile invasion. The Barbarians, who had passed the Dan- 
ube, had lately assumed the character of soldiers and subjects, 
but their native fierceness was yet untamed : and the opera- 
tions of a war, which would exercise their valor, and diminish 
their numbers, might tend to relieve the provinces from an 
intolerable oppression. Notwithstanding these specious and 
solid reasons, which were approved by a majority of the 
council, Theodosius still hesitated whether he should draw 
the sword in a contest which could no longer admit any terms 
of reconciliation ; and his magnanimous character was not 
disgraced by the apprehensions which he felt for the safety 
of his infant sons, and the welfare of his exhausted people. 
In this moment of anxious doubt, while the fate of the Roman 
world depended on the resolution of a single man, the charms 
of the princess Galla most powerfully pleaded the cause ot 
her brother Valentinian. 75 The heart of Theodosius was 
ioftened by the tears of beauty ; his affections were insensibly 
engaged by the graces of youth and innocence : the art of 
Justina managed and directed the impulse of passion ; and 
the celebration of the royal nuptials was the assurance and 



75 The flight of Valentinian, and the love of Theodosius for his 
»ister, are related by Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 263, 20i.) Tilleraont pro- 
luces some weak and ambiguous evidence to antedate the second 
marriage of Theodosius, (Hist, des Empeieurs, torn. v. p. 740,) and 
consequently to refute ces contes de Zosime, qui seroient trop con 
trairsrf a la pi6tc de Th6odose. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 105 

signal of the civil war. The unfeeling critics, who consider 
every amorous weakness as an indelible stain on the memory 
of a great and orthodox emperor, are inclined, on this occa- 
sion, to dispute the suspicious evidence of the historian Zosi- 
mus. For my own part, I shall frankly confess, that I am 
willing to find, or even to seek, in the revolutions of the world, 
some traces of the mild and tender sentiments of domestic 
life ; and amidst the crowd of fierce and ambitious conquer- 
ors, I can distinguish, with peculiar complacency, a gentle 
hero, who may be supposed to receive his armor from the 
hands of love. The alliance of the Persian king was secured 
by the faith of treaties; the martial Barbarians were per- 
suaded to follow the standard, or to respect the frontiers, of 
an active and liberal monarch ; and the dominions of Theo- 
dosius, from the Euphrates to the Adriatic, resounded with 
the preparations of war both by land and sea. The skilful 
disposition of the forces of the East seemed to multiply their 
numbers, and distracted the attention of Maximus. He had 
reason to fear, that a chosen body of troops, under the com- 
mand of the intrepid Arbogastes, would direct their march 
along the banks of the Danube, and boldly penetrate through 
the Rhsetian provinces into the centre of Gaul. A powerful 
fleet was equipped in the harbors of Greece and Epirus, with 
an apparent design, that, as soon as the passage had been 
opened by a naval victory, Valentinian and his mother should 
land in Italy, proceed, without delay, to Rome, and occupy the 
majestic seat of religion and empire. In the mean while, 
Theodosius himself advanced at the head of a brave and dis 
ciplined army, to encounter his unworthy rival, who, after the 
siege of jEmona,* had fixed his camp in the neighborhood of 
Siscia, a city of Pannonia, strongly fortified by the broad and 
rapid stream of the Save. 

The veterans, who still remembered the long resistance, 
and successive resources, of the tyrant Magnentius, might 
prepare themselves for the labors of three bloody campaigns. 
But the contest with his successor, who, like him, had usurped 
the throne of the West, was easily decided in the term of two 
months, 76 and within the space of two hundred miles. Tne 
superior genius of the emperor of the East might prevail over 

76 See Godefroy's Chronology of the Laws, Cod. Theodos. torn. L 

p. cxix. 

• JEmonah. I aybach. Sis;ia, Soiszek. — M. 
59 



106 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the feeble Maximus, who, in this important crisis, showed 
himself destitute of military skill, or personal courage ; but 
ihe abilities of Theodosius were seconded by the advantage 
which he possessed of a numerous and active cavalry. The 
Huns, the Alani, and, after their example, the Goths them- 
selves, were formed into squadrons of archers ; who fought 
on horseback, and confounded the steady valor of the Gauls 
and Germans, by the rapid motions of a Tartar war. After 
ihe fatigue of a long march, in the heat of summer, they 
spurred their foaming horses into the waters of the Save, 
swam the river in the presence of the enemy, and instantly 
charged and routed the troops who guarded the high ground 
on the opposite side. Marcellinus, tlie tyrant's brother, ad- 
vanced to support them with the select cohorts, which were 
considered as the hope and strength of the army. The action, 
which had been interrupted by the approach of night, was 
renewed in the morning ; and, after a sharp conflict, the sur- 
viving remnant of the bravest soldiers of Maximus threw down 
their arms at the feet of the conqueror. Without suspending 
his march, to receive the loyal acclamations of the citizens of 
iEmona, Theodosius pressed forwards to terminate the war by 
the death or captivity of his rival, who fled before him with 
the diligence of fear. From the summit of the Julian Alps, 
he descended with such incredible speed into the plain of 
Italy, that he reached Aquileia on the evening of the first 
day ; and Maximus, who found himself encompassed on all 
sides, had scarcely time to shut the gates of the city. But 
the gates could not long resist the effort of a victorious enemy ; 
and the despair, the disaffection, the indifference of the soldiers 
and people, hastened the downfall of the wretched Maximus. 
He was dragged from his throne, rudely stripped of the 
Imperial ornaments, the robe, the diadem, and the purple 
slippers ; and conducted, like a malefactor, to the camp and 
presence of Theodosius, at a place about three miles from 
Aquileia. The behavior of the emperor was not intended to 
insult, and he showed some disposition to pity and forgive, the 
tyrant of the West, who had never been his personal enemy, 
and was now become the object of his contempt. Our sym- 
pathy is the most forcibly excited by the misfortunes to wh ch 
we are exposed ; and the spectacle of a proud competitor, 
now prostrate at his feet, could not fail of producing very 
Bericus and solemn thoughts in the mind of the victorious 
emperor. But the feeble emotion of involuntary pity was 



OF 1IIE ROMAN EMPIRE. 10T 

checxed by his regard for public justice, and .he me nory of 
Gratian ; and he abandoned the victim to the pious zeal of 
the soldiers, who drew him out of the Imperial presence, and 
instantly separated his head from his body. The intelligence 
of his defeat and death was received with sincere or well- 
dissembled joy : his son Victor, on whom he had conferred 
the title of Augustus, died by the order, perhaps by the hand, 
of the bold Arbogastes ; and all the military plans of Theo- 
dosius were successfully executed. When he had thus ter- 
minated the civil war, with less difficulty and bloodshed than 
he might naturally expect, he employed the winter months of 
his residence at Milan, to restore the state of the afflicted 
provinces ; and early in the spring he made, after the example 
of Constantine and'Constantius, his triumphal entry into the 
ancient capital of the Roman empire. 77 

The orator, who may be silent without danger, may praise 
without difficulty, and without reluctance ; 78 and posterity 
will confess, that the character of Theodosius 79 might furnish 
the subject of a sincere and ample panegyric. The wisdom 
of his laws, and the success of his arms, rendered his admin- 
istration respectable in the eyes both of his subjects and of 
nis enemies. He loved and practised the virtues of domestic 
life, which seldom hold their residence in the palaces of 
kings. Theodosius was chaste and temperate ; he enjoyed, 
without excess, the sensual and social pleasures of the table \ 
and the warmth of his amorous passions was never diverted 
from their lawful objects. The proud titles of Imperial great- 

77 Besides the hints which may be gathered from chronicles and 
ecclesiastical history, Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 259 — 267,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 
35,) and Pacatus, (in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 30 — 47,) supply the loose and 
scanty materials of this civil war. Ambrose (torn. ii. Epist. xl. p. 
952, 953) darkly alludes to the well-known events of a magazine sur- 
prised, an action at Petovio, a Sicilian, perhaps a naval, victory, &c. 
Ausonius (p. 256, edit. Toll.) applauds the peculiar merit and good 
fortune of Aquileia. 

78 Quam promptum laudare principem, tarn tutum siluisse de prin- 
cipe, (Pacat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 2.) Latinus Pacatus Drepanius, a 
native of Gaul, pronounced this oration at Rome, (A. D. 388.) He 
was afterwards proconsul of Africa ; and his friend Ausonius praises 
him as a poet second only to Virgil. See Tillemont, Hist, des Em- 
pereurs, torn. v. p. 303. 

79 See the fair portrait of Theodosius, by the younger Victor ; thfl 
strokss are distinct, and the colors are mixed. The praise of Pacatua 
is toe vague ; and Claudian always seems afraid of exalting tlxe father 
above the son. 



108 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ness were adorned by the tender names of a faithful husband 
an indulgent father ; his uncle was raised, by his affectionate 
esteem, to the rank of a second parent : Theodosius em« 
braced, as his own, the children of his brother and sister , 
and the expressions of his regard were extended to the most 
distant and obscure branches of his numerous kindred. His 
familiar friends were judiciously selected from among those 
persons, who, in the equal intercourse of private life, had 
appeared before his eyes without a mask : the consciousness 
of personal and superior merit enabled him to despise the 
accidental distinction of the purple ; and he proved by his 
conduct, that he had forgotten all the injuries, while he most 
gratefully remembered all the favors and services, which he 
had received before he ascended the throne of the Roman 
empire. The serious or lively tone of his conversation was 
adapted to the age, the rank, or the character of his subjects 
whom he admitted into his society ; and the affability of 
his manners displayed the image of his mind. Theodosius 
respected the simplicity of the good and virtuous : every ait, 
Every talent, of a useful, or even of an innocent nature, was 
■ewarded by his judicious liberality; and, except the heretics, 
whom he persecuted with implacable hatred, the diffusive 
circle of his benevolence was circumscribed only by the 
limits of the human race. The government of a mighty 
empire may assuredly suffice to occupy the time, and the 
abilities, of a mortal : yet the diligent prince, without aspiring 
to the unsuitable reputation of profound learning, always 
reserved some moments of his leisure for the instructive 
amusement of reading. History, which enlarged his experi- 
ence, was his favorite study. The annals of Rome, in the 
long period of eleven hundred years, presented him with a 
various and splendid picture of human life : and it has been 
particularly observed, that whenever he perused the cruel 
acts of Cinna, of Marius, or of Sylla, he warmly expressed 
his generous detestation of those enemies of humanity and 
freedom. His disinterested opinion of past events was use- 
fully applied as the rule of his own actions ; and Theodosius 
has deserved the singular commendation, that his virtues 
always seemed to expand with his fortune : the season of his 
prosperity was that of his moderation ; and his clemency 
appeared the most conspicuous after the danger and success 
of a civil war. The Moorish guards of the tyrant had been 
iriassacred in the first heat of the victory, and a small numhei 



OF THE RCMAN EMPIRE. 109 

cf the most obnoxious criminals suffered the punishment of 
ihe law. But the emperor showed himself much more atten 
tive to relieve the innocent, than to chastise the guilty. Thr 
oppressed subjects of the West, who would have deemed 
themselves happy in the restoration of their lands, were 
astonished to receive a sum of money equivalent to theu 
losses ; and the liberality of the conqueror supported the 
aged mother, and educated the orphan daughters, of Maxi- 
inus. 80 A character thus accomplished might almost excuse 
the extravagant supposition of the orator Pacatus ; that, if the 
elder Brutus could be permitted to -revisit the earth, the stern 
republican would abjure, at the feet of Theodosius, his hatred 
;>f kings ; and ingenuously confess, that such a monarch was» 
the most faithful guardian of the happiness and dignity of the 
Roman people. 81 

Yet the piercing eye of the founder of the republic must 
have discerned two essential imperfections, which mightj 
perhaps, have abated his recent love of despotism. The vir- 
tuous mind of Theodosius was often relaxed by indolence, 8 ' 3 
and it was sometimes inflamed by passion. 83 In the pursuit 
of an important object, his active courage was capable of the 
most vigorous exertions ; but, as soon as the design was 
accomplished, or the danger was surmounted, the hero sunk 
into inglorious repose ; and, forgetful that the time of a prince 
is the property of his people, resigned himself to the enjoy- 
ment of the innocent, but trilling, pleasures of a luxurious 
court. The natural disposition of Theodosius was hasty and 
choleric ; and, in a station where none could resist, and few 
would dissuade, the fatal consequence of hi;> resentment, the 
humane monarch was justly alarmed by the consciousness of 
his infirmity and of his power. It was the constant study of his 



80 Anibros. torn, ii Epist. xl. p. 55. Paeaths, from the want of skill 
or of courage, omits this glorious circumstance. 

81 Pitcat. in Panegyr. Vet. xii. 20. 

8 - Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 271, 272. His partial evidence is marked by an 
air of candor and truth. He observes these vicissitudes of sloth and 
activity, not as a vice, but as a singularity, in the character of Theo- 
dosius. 

w This choleric temper is acknowledged and excused by Victor 
Sed babes (says Ambrose, in decent and manly language, to his sov- 
ereign) naturae impetum, quern si quis lenire velit, cito vertes ad mis 
ericordiam : si quis stimulet. in magis exsuscitas, ut eum revocare vix 
nossis, (torn. ii. Epist li. p. 998.) Theodosius (Claud, in. iv. Coi.s 
Won. 26(5 &c.) exhorts his son to moderate his anger. 



I 10 rHE DECLINE AND FALL 

life 10 suppress, or regulate, the intemperate sallies of passion 
and the success of his efforts enhanced the merit of his clem 
ency. But the painful virtue which claims the merit of 
rictory, is exposed to the danger of defeat ; and the reign of 
a wise and merciful prince was polluted hy an act of cruelty, 
which would stain the annals of Nero or Domitian. Within 
(he space of three years, the inconsistent historian of Theo- 
dosius must relate the generous pardon of the citizens of 
Antioch, and the inhuman massacre of the people of Thes 
Balonica. 

The lively impatience of the inhabitants of Antioch waa 
never satisfied with their own situation, or with the character 
and conduct of their successive sovereigns. The Arian sub- 
jects of Theodosius deplored the loss of their churches ; and, 
as three rival bishops disputed the throne of Antioch, the 
sentence which decided their pretensions excited the murmurs 
of the two unsuccessful congregations. The exigencies of 
the Gothic war, and the inevitable expense that accompanied 
the conclusion of the peace, had constrained the emperor to 
aggravate the weight of the public impositions ; and the prov- 
inces of Asia, as they had not been involved in the distress, 
were the less inclined to contribute to the relief, of Europe. 
The auspicious period now approached of the tenth year 
of his reign ; a festival more grateful to the soldiers, who 
received a liberal donative, than to the subjects, whose volun- 
tary offerings had been long since converted into an extraor- 
dinary and oppressive burden. The edicts of taxation inter- 
rupted the repose, and pleasures, of Antioch ; and the tribunal 
of the magistrate was besieged by a suppliant crowd ; who, 
in pathetic, but, at first, in respectful language, solicited the 
redress of their grievances. They were gradually incensed 
by the pride of their haughty rulers, who treated their com- 
plaints as a criminal resistance ; their satirical wit degenerated 
into sharp and angry invectives ; and, from the subordinate 
powers of government, the invectives of the people insensibly 
rose to attack the sacred character of the emperor himself. 
Their fury, provoked by a feeble opposition, discharged itself 
on the images of the Imperial family, which were erected, as 
objects of public veneration, in the most co. \spicuous places 
of the city. The statues of Theodosius, of his father, of his 
wife Flaccilla, of his two sons, Arcadius and Honcrius, were 
vnso'ently thrown down from their pedestals, broker in pieces, 
or diagged with contempt through the streets: and the indig 



OK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Ill 

nities which were offered to the representations of Imperial 
majesty, sufficiently declared the impious and treasonable 
wishes of the populace. The tumult was almost immediately 
suppressed, by the arrival of a body of archers : and Antioch 
had leisure to reflect on the nature and consequences of her 
crime. 84 According to the duty of his office, the governor 
of the province despatched a faithful narrative of the whole 
transaction ; while the trembling citizens intrusted the con- 
fession of their crime, and the assurances of their repentance 
to the zeal of Flavian, their bishop, and to the eloquence of 
the senator Hilarius, the friend, and most probably the disci- 
ple, of Libanius ; whose genius, on this melancholy occasion, 
was noi useless to his country. 85 But the two capitals, Anti- 
och and Constantinople, were separated by the distance of 
eight hunured miles ; and, notwithstanding the diligence of 
die Imperial posts, the guilty city was severely punished by a 
long and dieadtul interval of suspense. Every rumor agi- 
cated the hopes and fears of the Antiochians, and they heard 
with terror, tnat their sovereign, exasperated by the insult 
which had been offered to his own statues, and, more espe- 
ciady, to those of his beloved wife, had resolved to level with 
the ground the offending city ; and to massacre, without dis- 
tinction of age or sex, the criminal inhabitants ; 86 many of 
whom were actually driven, by their apprehensions, to seek a 
refuge in the mountains of Syria, and the adjacent desert. At 
length, twenty-four days after the sedition, the general He'Ieb- 
icus, and Caasarius, master of the offices, declared the will 
of the emperor, and the sentence of Antioch. That proud 
capital was degraded from the rank of a city ; and the 
metropolis of the East, stripped of its lands, its privileges 
and its revenues, was subjected, under the humiliating de- 

84 The Christians and Pagans agreed in believing that the sedition 
of Antioch was excited by the daemons. A gigantic woman (says 
Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 23) paraded the streets with a scourge in her hand. 
An old man, says Libanius, (Orat. xii. p. 396,) transformed lrimself 
into a youth, then a boy, &c. 

85 Zosimus, in his short and disingenuous account, (1. iv. p. 2o8. 
259,) is certainly mistaken in sending Libanius himself to Constanti- 
nople. His own orations fix him at Antioch. 

86 Libanius (Orat. i. p. 6, edit. Venet.) declares, that, under such a 
reign, the fear of a massacre was groundless and absurd, especially in 
the emperor's absence ; for his presence, according to the eloquent 
slove, might have given a sanction to the most bloody acts. 



112 THE DECLINE APSD FALL 

nomination of a village, to the jurisdiction ot Laodicea 
The baths, the Circus, and the theatres were shut : and, that 
every source of plenty and pleasure might at the same time 
be intercepted, the distribution of corn was abolished, by the 
severe instructions of Theodosius. His commissioners then 
proceeded to inquire into the guilt of individuals ; of those 
who had perpetrated, and of those who had not prevented, 
the destruction of the sacred statues. The tribunal of Hel- 
lebicus and Ccesarius encompassed with armed soldiers, was 
erected in the midst of the Forum. The noblest, and most 
wealthy, of the citizens of Antioch appeared before them in 
chains ; the examination was assisted by the use of torture, 
and their sentence was pronounced or suspended, according 
to the judgment of these extraordinary magistrates. The 
houses of the criminals were exposed to sale, their wives and 
children were suddenly reduced, from affluence and luxury, 
to the most abject distress ; and a bloody execution was ex- 
pected to conclude the horrors of a day, 88 which the preacher 
of Antioch, the eloquent Chrysostom, has represented as* a 
lively image of the last and universal judgment of the world. 
But the ministers of Theodosius performed, with reluctance, 
the cruel task which had been assigned them ; they dropped 
a gentle tear over the calamities of the people ; and they 
listened with reverence to the pressing solicitations of the 
monks and hermits, who descended in swarms from the 
mountains. 89 Hellebicus and Ca^sarius were persuaded to 
suspend the execution of their sentence ; and it was agreed 
that the former should remain at Antioch, while the latter 
returned, with all possible speed, to Constantinople ; and pre- 
sumed once more to consult the will of his sovereign. The 
resentment of Theodosius had already subsided ; the deputies 
of the people, both the bishop and the orator, had obtained a 

87 Laodicea, on the sea-coast, sixty-five miles from Antioch, (see 
Noris Epoch. Syro-Maced. Dissert, iii. p. 230.) The Antiochians were 
offended, that the dependent city of Seleucia should presume to inter- 
cede for them. 

88 As the days of the tumult depend on the movable festival of 
Easter, they can only be determined by the previous determination oi 
the year. The year 387 has been preferred, after a laborious inquiry, 
by Tillemont (Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p. 741 — 744) and Montfaucon 
(Chrysostom, torn. xiii. p. 105—110.) 

88 Chrysostom opposes their courage, which was not attended witt 
much risk, to the cowardly flight of the Cynics. 



of the roman empire. lid- 

favorable audience ; and the reproaches of the emperor were 
the complaints of injured friendship, rather than the stern 
menaces of pride and power. A free and general pardon 
was granted to the city and citizens of Antioch ; the prison 
doors were thrown open ; the senators, who despaired of their 
lives, recovered the possession of their houses and estates ; 
and the capital of the East was restored to the enjoyment of 
her ancient dignity and splendor. Theodosius condescended 
to praise the senate of Constantinople, who had generously 
interceded for their distressed brethren : he rewarded the 
eloquence of Hilarius with the government of Palestine ; and 
dismissed the bishop of Antioch with the warmest expressions 
of his respect and gratitude. A thousand new statues arose 
to the clemency of Theodosius ; the applause of his subjects 
was ratified by the approbation of his own heart ; and the 
emperor confessed, that, if the exercise of justice is the most 
important duty, the indulgence of mercy is the most exquisite 
pleasure, of a sovereign. 90 

The sedition of Thessalonica is ascribed to a more shame- 
ful cause, and was productive of much more dreadful conse- 
quences. That great city, the metropolis of all the Illyrian 
provinces, had been protected from the dangers of the Gothic 
war by strong fortifications and a numerous garrison. Bothe- 
ric, the general of those troops, and, as it should seem from 
his name, a Barbarian, had among his slaves a beautiful boy, 
who excited the impure desires of one of the charioteers of 
the Circus. The insolent and brutal lover was thrown into 
orison by the order of Botheric ; and he sternly rejected the 
importunate clamors of the multitude, who, on the day of the 
public games, lamented the absence of their favorite ; and 
considered the skill of a charioteer as an object of more 
importance than his virtue. The resentment of the people 
was imbiUered by some previous disputes; and, as the 
strength of the garrison had been drawn away for the service 

90 The sedition of Antioch is represented in a lively, and almost 
dramatic, manner by two orators, who had their respective shares of 
interest and merit. See Libanius (Orat. xiv. xv. p. 389 — 420, edit. 
Morel. Orat. i. p. 1 — 14, Venet. 1754) and the twenty orations of St. 
J )hn Chrysostom, de Statuis, (torn. ii. p. 1 — 225, edit. Mcntfaucon.) 
I do not pretend to much personal acquaintance with Chrysostom: 
but Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 263 — 283) and Her- 
mant (Vie de St. Chrysostome, torn. i. p. 137 —224) had read him with 
pious curiosity and diligence. 

59* 



114 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of tlie Italian war, tlie feeble remnant, whose numbers weiv 
reduced by deseition, could not save the unhappy genera! 
from their licentious fury. Botheric, and several of his prin- 
cipal officers, were inhumanly murdered ; jheir mangled 
bodies were dragged about the streets ; and the emperor, who 
then resided at Milan, was surprised by the intelligence of the 
audacious and wanton cruelty of the people of Thessalonica. 
The sentence of a dispassionate judge would have inflicted a 
severe punishment on the authors of the crime ; and the merit 
of Botheric might contribute to exasperate the grief and iijig 
nation of his master. The fiery and choleric temper of The- 
odosius was impatient of the di'atory forms of a judicial 
inquiry ; and he hastily resolved, that the blood of his lieu- 
tenant should be expiated by the blood of the guilty people. 
Yet his mind still fluctuated between the counsels of clemency 
and of revenge ; the zeal of the bishops had almost extorted 
from the reluctant emperor the promise of a general pardon; 
his passion was again inflamed by the flattering suggestions of 
his minister Rufinus ; and, after Theodosius had despatched 
the messengers of death, he attempted, when it was too late, 
to prevent the execution of his orders. The punishment of a 
Roman city was blindly committed to the uudistinguishing 
sword of the Barbarians ; and the hostile preparations were 
concerted with the dark and perfidious artifice of an illegal 
conspiracy. The people of Thessalonica were treacherously 
invited, in the name of their sovereign, to the games of the 
Circus ; and such was their insatiate avidity for those amuse 
ments, that every consideration of fear, or suspicion, was dis- 
regarded by the numerous spectators. As soon as the assem- 
bly was complete, the soldiers, who had secretly been posted 
round the Circus, received the signal, not of the races, but of 
a general massacre. The promiscuous carnage continued 
three hours, without discrimination of strangers of natives, of 
age or sex, of innocence or guilt ; the most moderate accounts 
state the number of the slain at seven thousand; and it is 
affirmed by some writers that more than fifteen thousand 
victims were sacrificed to the manes of Botheric. A foreign 
merchant, who had probably no concern in his murder, offered 
his own life, and all his wealth, to supply the place of one of 
his two sons ; but, while the father hesitated with equal ten- 
derness, while he was doubtful to choose, and unwilling to 
condemn, the soldiers determined his suspense, by plunging 
their daggers at the same moment into the breasts of the 



OF THE ROMAN 3MPIRE. 115 

defenceless youths. The apology of the assassins, that they 
were obliged to produce the prescribed number of heaas 
serves only to increase, by an appearance of order and design. 
(lie horrors of tiie massacre, which was executed by the com- 
mands of Theodosius. The guilt of the emperor is aggra- 
vated by his long and frequent, residence at Thessalonica. 
The situation of the unfortunate city, the aspect of the streets 
and buildings, the dress and faces of the inhabitants, wsro 
familiar, and even present, to his imagination ; and Theodosiua 
possessed a quick and lively sense of the existence of the 
people whom he destroyed. 91 

The respectful attachment of the emperor for the orthodox 
clergy, had disposed him to love and admire the character of 
Ambrose ; who united all the episcopal virtues in the most emi- 
nent degree. The friends and ministers of 'Theodosius imitated 
the example of their sovereign ; and he observed, with more 
surprise than displeasure, that all his secret counsels were 
immediately communicated to the archbishop ; who acted from 
the laudable persuasion, that every measure of civil govern- 
ment may have some connection with the glory of God, and 
the interest of the true religion. The monks and populace of 
Callinicum,* an obscure town on the frontier of Persia, excited 
by their own fanaticism, and by that of their bishop, had 
tumultuously burnt a conventicle of the Valentinians, and a 
synagogue of the Jews. The seditious prelate was con- 
demned, by the magistrate of the province, either to rebuild 
the synagogue, or to repay the damage ; and this moderate 
sentence was confirmed by the emperor. But it was not con- 
firmed by the archbishop of Milan. 92 He dictated an epistle 
of censure and reproach, more suitable, perhaps, if the 

91 The original evidence of Ambrose, (torn. ii. Epist. li. p. 998,) 
Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 26.) and Paulinus, (in Vit. Ambros. c. 
24,) is delivered in vague expressions of horror and pity. It is illus- 
trated by the subsequent and unequal testimonies of Sozomen, (1. vii. 
c. 25,) Theodoret, (1. v. c. 17,) Theophanes, (Chronograph, p. 62,) 
Cedrenus, (p. 317,) and Zonaras, (torn. ii. 1. xiii. p. 34.) Zosimua 
alone, the partial enemy of Theodosius, most unaccountably passes 
over in silence the worst of his actions. 

9? See the whole transaction in Ambrose, (torn. ii. Episu xl. xli. 
p. 946 — 9.k'>,) and his biographer Paulinus, (c. 23.) Bayle and Bar- 
bcyrac (Morales des Peres, c. xvii. p. 32-5, &c.) have justly condemiwtil 
\hjt archbishop. 

* Racca, on the Euphrates. — M. 



116 THE DECLIINE Ktiv (am, 

emperor had received the mark of circumcision, and re- 
nounced the faith of his baptism. Ambrose considers the 
toleration of the Jewish, as the persecution of the Christian, 
religion ; boldly declares that he himself, and every true 
believer, would eagerly dispute with the bishop of Callinicum 
the merit of the deed, and the crown of martyrdom ; and 
laments, in the most pathetic terms, that the execution of the 
sentence would be fatal to the fame and salvation of Thec- 
dosius. As this private admonition did not produce an im- 
mediate effect, the archbishop, from his pulpit, 93 publicly 
addressed the emperor on his throne ; 94 nor would he consent 
to offer the oblation of the altar, till he had obtained from 
Theodosius a solemn and positive declaration, which secured 
the impunity of the bishop and monks of Callinicum. The 
recantation of Theodosius was sincere ; 95 and, during the 
term of his residence at Milan, his affection for Ambrose was 
continually increased by the habits of pious and familiar con- 
versation. 

When Ambrose was informed of the massacre of Thessa- 
lonica, his mind was filled with horror and anguish. He 
retired into the country to indulge his grief, and to avoid the 
presence of Theodosius. But as the archbishop was satisfied 
that a timid silence would render him the accomplice of his 
guilt, he represented, in a private letter, the enormity of the 
crime ; which could only be effaced by the tears of penitence. 
The episcopal vigor of Ambrose was tempered by prudence ; 
and he contented himself with signifying 96 an indirect sort of 
excommunication, by the assurance, that he had been warned 



93 His sermon is a strange allegory of Jeremiah's rod, of an almond 
tree, of the woman who -washed and anointed the feet of Christ. But 
the peroration is direct and personal. 

94 Hodie, Episoope, de me proposuisti. Ambrose modestly confessed 
it; but he sternly reprimanded Timasius, general of the horse and 
foot, who had presumed to say that the monks of Callinicum de- 
served punishment. 

95 Yet, five years afterwnrds, when Theodosius was absent from 
his spiritual guide, he tolerated the Jews, and condemned the de- 
struction of their synagogues. Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. viii. leg. 9, 
with Gidefroy's Commentary, torn. vi. p. 225. 

98 Ambros. torn. ii. Epist. li. p. 997 — 1001. His epistle is a miser- 
able rhapsody on a noble subject. Ambrose could act better than he 
could write. His compositions are destitute of taste, or genius ; 
without the spirit of Tertullian, the copious elegance of Lacftantiu*.. 
the lively wit of Jerom, or the grave energy of Augustin. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRtt. 117 

in a vision not to offer the oblation in the name, or in the pres 
ence, of Theodosius ; and by the advice, that he would con- 
fine himself to the use of prayer, without presuming to 
approach the altar of Christ, or to receive the holy eucharist 
with those hands that were still polluted with the blood of an 
innocent people. The emperor was deeply affected by his 
own reproaches^ and by those of his spiritual father ; and 
after he had bewailed the mischievous and irreparable conse 
quences of his rash fury, he proceeded, in the accustomer. 
manner, to perform his devotions in the great church of Milan 
He was stopped in the porch by the archbishop ; who, in the 
tone and language of an ambassador of Heaven, declared to 
his sovereign, that private contrition was not sufficient to atone 
for a public fault, or to appease the justice of the offended 
Deity. Theodosius humbly represented, that if he had con- 
tracted the guilt of homicide, David, the man after God's own 
heart, had been guilty, not only of murder, but of adultery. 
*' You have imitated David in his crime, imitate then his 
repentance," was the reply of the undaunted Ambrose. The 
rigorous conditions of peace and pardon were accepted ; and 
the public penance of the emperor Theodosius has been 
recorded as one of the most honorable events in the annals of 
the church. According to the mildest rules of ecclesiastical 
discipline, which were established in the fourth century, the 
crime of homicide was expiated by the penitence of twenty 
yeaia: 97 and as it was impossible, in the period of human 
life, to purge the accumulated guilt of the massacre of Thes- 
salonica, the murderer should have been excluded from the 
holy communion till the hour of his death. But the arch- 
bhihop, consulting the maxims of religious policy, granted 
some indulgence to the rank of his illustrious penitent, who 
humbled in the dust the pride of the diadem ; and the public 
edification might be admitted as a weighty reason to abridge 
the duration of his punishment. It was sufficient, that the 
emperor of the Romans, stripped of the ensigns of royalty, 
should appear in a mournful and suppliant posture ; and that, 
in the midst of the church of Milan, he should humbly solicit, 



97 According to the discipline of St. Basil, (Can >n lvi.,) the volun- 
tary homicide was four years a mourner ; five a hearer ; seven in a 
prostrate state ; and four in a standing posture. I have the original 
v'Beveridge, Pandect, torn. ii. p. 47 — 151) and a translation (Chardon, 
Hist, des Sacremens, torn. iv. p. 219 — 277) of the Canonical Epistle* 
of St Basil. 



118 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

with signs and tears, the pardon of his sins. 98 In this spiritual 
cure, Ambrose employed the various methods of mildness and 
severity. After a delay of about eight months, Theodosius 
was restored to the communion of the faithful ; and the edict, 
which interposes a salutary interval of thirty days between 
the sentence and the execution, may be accepted as the 
worthy fruits of his repentance. 89 Posterity has applauded 
the virtuous firmness of the archbishop ; and the example of 
Theodosius may prove the beneficial influence of those prin- 
ciples, which could force a monarch, exalted above the appre- 
hension of human punishment, to respect the laws, and minis- 
ters, of an invisible Judge. " The prince," says Montesquieu, 
" who is actuated by the hopes and fears of religion, may be 
compared to a lion, docile only to the voice, and tractable to 
the hand of his keeper." 10 ° The motions of the royal ani- 
mal will therefore depend on the inclination, and interest, of 
the man who has acquired such dangerous authority over 
him ; and the priest, who holds in his hand the conscience of 
a king, may inflame, or moderate, his sanguinary passions, 
The cause of humanity, and that of persecution, have been 
asserted, by the same Ambrose, with equal energy, and with 
equal success. 

After the defeat and death of the tyrant of Gaul, the Roman 
world was in the possession of Theodosius. He derived from 
the choice of Gratian his honorable title to the provinces of 
the East: he had acquired the West by the right of conquest; 
and the three years which he spent in Italy were usefully em- 
ployed to restore the authority of the laws, and to correct the 
abuses which had prevailed with impunity under the usurpa- 
tion of Maximus, and the minority of Valentinian. The name 
of Valentinian was regularly inserted in the public acts : but 
the tender age, and doubtful faith, of the son of Justina, ap- 

98 The penance of Theodosius is authenticated by Ambrose, (torn. vi. 
de Obit. Theodos. c. 34, p. 1207,) Augustin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 26,) 
and Paulinus, (in Vit. Arabros. c. 24.) Socrates is ignorant; Sozomen 
(1. vii. c. 25) concise; and the copious narrative of Theodoret (1. v. 
C. 18) must be used with precaution. 

99 Codex Theodos. 1. ix. tit. xl. leg. 13. The date and circumstances 
of this law are perplexed with difficulties; but I feel myself inclined to 
favor the honest efforts of Tillemont (Hist, des Emp. torn. t. p. 721) 
and Pagi, (Critica, torn. i. p. 578.) 

100 Un prince qui aime la religion, et qui la craint, est un lion qui 
cede a la main qui le fiatte, ou a la voix qui 1'appaiso. Esprit des 
Loix, 1. xxiv e. 2. 



OF THE ROMAN EMFIRE. 11JJ 

peared to require tie prudent care of an orthodox guardian; 
an J his specious ambition might have excluded the unfortunate 
youth, without a struggle, and almost without a murmur, from 
the administration, and even from the inheritance, of the em- 
pire. If Theodosius had consulted the rigid maxims of inter 
est and policy, his conduct would have been justified by his 
friends ; but the generosity of his behavior on this memora- 
ble occasion has extorted the applause of his most inveterate 
enemies. He seated Valentinian on the throne of Milan; 
and, without stipulating any present or future advantages, 
restored him to the absolute dominion of all the provinces, 
from which he had been driven by the arms of Maximus. 'IV 
the restitution of his ample patrimony, Theodosius added the 
free and generous gift of the countries beyond the Alps, which 
his successful valor had recovered from the assassin of Gra- 
tian. 101 Satisfied with the glory which he had acquired, by re- 
venging the death of his benefactor, and delivering the West 
from the yoke of tyranny, the emperor returned from Milan to 
Constantinople ; and, in the peaceful possession of the East, 
insensibly relapsed into his former habits of luxury and in- 
dolence. Theodosius discharged his obligation to the brother, 
he indulged his conjugal tenderness to the sister, of Valen- 
tinian ; and posterity, which admires the pure and singular 
glory of his elevation, must applaud his unrivalled generosity 
in the use of victory. 

The empress Justina did not long survive her return to 
Italy ; and, though she beheld the triumph of Theodosius, she 
was not allowed to influence the government of her son. 10 ' 2 
The pernicious attachment to the Arian sect, which Valen- 
unian had imbibed from her example and instructions, was 
soon erased by the lessons of a more orthodox education. His 
growing zeal for the faith of Nice, and his filial reverence for 
the character and authority of Ambrose, disposed the Cath- 
olics to entertain the most favorable opinion of the virtues of 
the young emperor of the West. 103 They applauded his chas- 

lul Tovto niQi nnvg trtoyfTag xufiijxov t3o$tv sir at, is the niggard 
praise of Zosimus himself, (1. iv. p. 267.) Augustin says, with soma 
happiness of expression, Valentinianum .... misericordissima ve- 
ueratione restituit. 

108 Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 14. His chronology is very irregular. 

ws Sue Ambrose, (torn. ii. de Obit. Valentinian. c. 15, &c. p. 1178. 
? 30, &.c. p. 1184.) When the young Emperor gave an entertainment, 
We fasted himself ; he refined to see a handsome actress, &c. Since 



120 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tity and temperance, his contempt of pleasure, his application 
to business, and his tender affection for his two sisters ; which 
could not, however, seduce his impartial equity to pronounce 
an unjust sentence against the meanest of his subjects. But 
this amiable youth, before he had accomplished the twentieth 
year of his age, was oppressed by domestic treason; and 
the empire was again involved in the horrors of a civil wai. 
Arbogartes, 104 a gallant soldier of the nation of the Franks, 
held the second rank in the service of Gratian. On the death 
of his master he joined the standard of Theodosius ; con- 
tributed, by his valor and military conduct, to the destruction 
of the tyrant ; and was appointed, after the victory, master 
general of the armies of Gaul. His real merit, and apparent 
fidelity, had gained the confidence both of the prince and peo- 
ple ; Lis boundless liberality corrupted the allegiance of the 
troops ; and, whilst he was universally esteemed as the pillar 
of the state, the bold and crafty Barbarian was secretly deter- 
mined either to rule, or to ruin, the empire of the West. The 
important commands of the army were distributed among the 
Franks ; the creatures of Arbogastes were promoted to all the 
tionors and offices of the civil government ; the progress of 
the conspiracy removed every faithful servant from the pres- 
ence of Valentinian ; and the emperor, without power and 
without intelligence, insensibly sunk into the precarious and 
dependent condition of a captive. 105 The indignation which 
he expressed, though it might arise only from the rash and 
impatient temper of youth, may be candidly ascribed to the 
generous spirit of a prince, who felt that he was not unworthy 
to reign. He secretly invited the archbishop of Milan to un- 
dertake the office of a mediator ; as the pledge of his sincer- 
ity, and the guardian of his safety. He contrived to apprise 
the emperor of the East of his helpless situation, and he de- 
clared, that, unless Theodosius could speedily march to his 
assistance, he must attempt to escape from the palace, or 
rather prison, of Vienna in Gaul, where he had imprudently 
fixed his residence in the midst of the hostile faction. But 



he ordered his -wild beasts to be killed, it is ungenerous in Philostor- 
gius (1. xi. c. 1) to reproach him. with the love of that amusement 

1 '-'* Zosimus (1. iv. p. 275) praises the enemy of Ti.eodosius. Bu: 
he is detested by Socrates (1. v. c. 25) and Orosius, (1. vii. c. 35.) 

105 Gregory of Tours (1. ii. c. 9, p. 165, in the second volume of 
the Historians of France) has preserved a curious fragment of S''lj.-i- 
eius Alexander, an historian far more valuable than himself. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 121 

the hopes of relief were distant, and doubtful : and, as eveiy 
day furnished some new provocation, the emperor, without 
strength or counsel, too hastily resolved to risk an immediate 
contest with his powerful general. He received Arbogastes 
on the throne ; and, as the count approached with some 
appearance of respect, delivered to him a paper, which dis- 
missed him from all his employments. " My authority," re 
plied Arbogastes, with insulting coolness, " does not depend 
on the smile or the frown of a monarch ; " and he contempt- 
uously threw the paper on the ground. The indignant monarch 
snatched at the sword of one of the guards, which he struggled 
to draw from its scabbard ; and it was not without some de- 
gree of violence that he was prevented from using the deadly 
weapon against his enemy, or against himself. A few days 
after this extraordinary quarrel, in which he had exposed his 
resentment and his weakness, the unfortunate Valentinian 
was found strangled in his apartment ; and some pains were 
employed to disguise the manifest guilt of Arbogastes, and to 
persuade the world, that the death of the young emperor had 
been the voluntary effect of his own despair. 106 His body 
was conducted with decent pomp to the sepulchre of Milan ; 
and the archbishop pronounced a funeral oration to commem- 
orate his virtue and his misfortunes. 107 On this occasion the 
humanity of Ambrose tempted him to make a singular breach 
in his theological system ; and to comfort the weeping sisters 
of Valentinian, by the firm assurance, that their pious 
brother, though he had not received the sacrament of bap- 
tism, was introduced, without difficulty, into the mansions of 
eternal bliss. 108 

The prudence of Arbogastes had prepared the success of hia 
ambitious designs : and the provincials, in whose breast every 
sentiment of patriotism or loyalty was extinguished, expected, 
with tame resignation, the unknown master, whom the choice 

106 Godefroy (Dissertat. ad. Philostorg. p. 429—434) has diligently 
collected all the circumstances of the death of Valentinian II. The 
variations, and the ignorance, of contemporary writers, prove that it 
was secret 

107 De ObitG Valentinian. torn. ii. p. 1178—1196. He is forced to 
speak a discreet and obscure language : yet he is much bolder than 
any layman, or perhaps any other ecclesiastic, would have dared to be. 

ftw See c 51, p. Ilb8, c. 75, p. 1193. Dom Chardon, (Hist, dea 
Sacramens, torn. i. p. 86,) who owns that St. Ambrose most strenu- 
ously maintains the indispensable necessity of baptism, labors to reoou« 
silo the contradiction. 



122 THE DECLINE APiD FALL 

of a Frank might place on the Imperial throne. But some 
remains of pride and prejudice still opposed the elevation of 
Arbogastes himself; and the judicious Barbarian thought it 
more advisable to reign under the name of some dependen, 
Roman. He bestowed the purple on the rhetorician Euge- 
nius ; 109 whom he had already raised from the place of hi? 
domestic secretary to the rank of master of the offices. In 
the course both of his private and public service, the counl 
had always approved the attachment and abilities of Eugenius; 
his learning and eloquence, supported by the gravity of his 
manners, recommended him to the esteem of the people ; and 
the reluctance with which he seemed to ascend the throne, may 
inspire a favorable prejudice of his virtue and moderation. 
The ambassadors of the new emperor were immediately de- 
spatched to the court of Theodosius, to communicate, with 
affected grief, the unfortunate accident of the death of Valen- 
tinian ; and, without mentioning the name of Arbogastes, to 
request, that the monarch of the East would embrace, as his 
lawful colleague, the respectable citizen, who had obtained the 
unanimous suffrage of the armies and provinces of the West. 110 
Theodosius was justly provoked, that the perfidy of a Barba- 
rian should have destroyed, in a moment, the labors, and the 
fruit, of his former victory ; and he was excited by the tears 
of his beloved wife, 1U to revenge the fate of her unhappy 
brother, and once more to assert by arms the violated majesty 
of the throne. But as the second conquest of the West was a 
task of difficulty and danger, he dismissed, with splendid 
presents, and an ambiguous answer, the ambassadors of Euge- 
nius; and almost two years were consumed in the preparations 
of the civil war. Before he formed any decisive resolution, 
the pious emperor was anxious to discover the will of Heaven ; 
and as the progress of Christianity had silenced the oracles of 
Delphi and Dodona, he consulted an Egyptian monk, who 

109 Quern sibi Germanus famulum delegerat exul, 

is the contemptuous expression of Claudian, (iv. Cons. Hon. 74.) 
Eugenius professed Christianity ; but his secret attachment to Pagan- 
win (Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 22. Philostorg. 1. xi. c. 2) is probable in a 
grammarian, and would secure the friendship of Zosirnus, (1. iv. p. 
27C, 277.) 

110 Zosirnus (1. iv. p. 278) mentions this embassy ; but he is divert- 
ed by another story from relating the event. 

1,1 JZvviTuQaie r i t Tuvtuv yu/ztu, I'aXXa ra JlaaiXna Tor afitlipoi 
ikowvQvutrrj. Zosim. 1. iv. p. 277. He afterwards says (p. 230 ) thai 
Galla died in childbed ; and intimates, that the affliction ■>{ her hus- 
Iwind was extreme, but short- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 12il 

possessed, in the opinion of the age, the gift of miracles, and 
the knowledge of futurity. Eutropius, one of the favorite 
eunuchs of the palace of Constantinople, embarked for Alexan- 
dria, from whence he sailed up the Nile, as far as the city of 
Lycopolis, or of Wolves, in the remote province of Thebais. 112 
In the neighborhood of that city, and on the summit of a lofty 
mountain, the holy John U3 had constructed, with his own 
hands, an humble cell, in which he had dwelt abeve fifty 
years, without opening his door, without seeing the face of a 
woman, and without tasting any food that had been pre- 
pared by fire, or any human art. Five days of the week 
he spent in prayer and meditation ; but on Saturdays and Sun- 
days he regularly opened a small window, and gave audience 
to the crowd of suppliants who successively flowed from 
every part of the Christian world. The eunuch of Theodosius 
approached the window with respectful steps, proposed hia 
questions concerning the event of the civil war, and soon 
returned with a favorable oracle, which animated the courage 
of the emperor by the assurance of a bloody, but infallible 
victory. 114 The accomplishment of the prediction was for- 
warded by all the means that human prudence could supply 
The industry of the two master-generals, Stilicho and Ti 
masius, was directed to recruit the numbers, and to revive the 
discipline, of the Roman legions. The formidable troops of 
Barbarians marched under the ensigns of their national chief- 
tains. The Iberian, the Arab, and the Goth, who gazed on 
each other with mutual astonishment, were enlisted in the 
service of the same prince ; * and the renowned Alaric 

1,2 Lycopolis is the modern Siut, or Osiot, a town of Said, about 
the size" of St. Denys, which drives a profitable trade with the king- 
dom of Sennaar, and has a very convenient fountain, " cujus potu 
signa virginitatis eripiuntur." See D'Anville, Description do 
l'Egypte, p. 181. Abulfeda, Descript. Egypt, p. 14, and the curioua 
Annotations, p. 25, 92, of his editor Michaelis. 

113 The Life of John of Lycopolis is described by his two friends, 
Rufinus (1. ii. c. i. p. 449) and Palladius, (Hist. Lausiac. c. 43, p. 738,) 
in Rosweyde's great Collection of the Vitse Patrum. Tillemont (Mem. 
Eccles. torn. x. p. 718, 720) has settled the chronology. 

lM Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 22. Claudian (in Eutrop. 1. i. 312) mentions 
the eunuch's journey ; but he most conterajttuously derid-js the 
Egyptian dreams, and the oracles of the Nile. 

* Gibbon has embodied the picturesque verses of Claudian : — 
.... Ncc tantis dissona Unguis 
Turba, nee armorum cultu diversior unquim 



121 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

acquired, in the school of Theodosius, the knowledge of the 
art of war, which he afterwards so fatally exerted for the 
destruction of Rome. 115 ' 

The emperor of the West, or, to speak more properly, his 
general Arbogastes, was instructed by the misconduct and 
misfortune of Maximus, how dangerous it might prove to 
extend the line of defence against a skilful antagonist, who 
was free to press, or to suspend, to contract, or to multiply, 
his various methods of attack. 116 Arbogastes fixed his station 
on the confines of Italy ; the troops of Theodosius were per 
mitted to occupy, without resistance, the provinces of Panno- 
nia, as far as the foot of the Julian Alps ; and even the passes 
of the mountains were negligently, or perhaps artfully, aban- 
doned to the bold invader. He descended from the hills, and 
beheld, with some astonishment, the formidable camp of the 
Gauls and Germans, that covered with arms and tents the 
open countiy which extends to the walls of Aquileia, and the 
banks of the Frigidus, 117 or Cold River. 118 This narrow 



116 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 280. Socrates, 1. vii. 10. Alaric himself (de 
Bell. Getico, 524) dwells with more complacency on his early ex- 
ploits against the Romans. 

. . . . Tot Augustos Uebro qui teste fugavi. 

Yet his vanity could scarcely have proved this plurality of flying em- 
perors. 

116 Claudian (in iv. Cons. Honor. 77, &c.) contrasts trie militarv 
plans of the two usurpers : — 

. . . . Novitas audere priorem 
Suadebat ; cauturpque dabaul exempla sequentem. 
Hie nova moliri prsceps : hie quaerere tuta 
Providus. Hie fusis ; collectis viribus i He. 
Hie vagus excurrens ; hie intra claustra reductua ; 
Dissimiles, sed morte pares 

117 The Fngidu?, d small, though memorable, stream in the coun- 
try of Goretz, now called the Vipao, falls into the Sontius, or Lisonzo, 
above Aquileia, some miles from the Adriatic. See D'Anville's an- 
cient and modern maps, and the Italia Antiqua of Cluverius, (torn. i. 
p. 188.) 

*" Claudian's wit is intolerable : the snow was dyed red ; the 
cold river smoked ; and the channel must have been choked with 
carcasses if the current had not been swelled with blood. 



Confluxit populus : totam pater undique secura 

Moverat Aurorem ; mixtis hie Colchus Iberis, 

Hie imtri velatus Arabs, hie crine decoro 

A vnienius, hie pitta Saces, fucataque Medus, 

U'ic gemmata niger lentoria tixeral Indus. — De Laud. StU t. 114. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 125 

theatre of the war, circumscribed by the Alps and the Adri- 
atic, did not allow much room for the operations of military 
skill ; the spirit of Arbogastes would have disdained a pardon , 
his guilt extinguished the hope of a negotiation ; and Theodo- 
sius was impatient to satisfy his glory and revenge, by the 
chastisement of the assassins of Valentinian. Without weigh- 
ing the natural and artificial obstacles that opposed his efforts, 
the emperor of the East immediately attacked the fortifications 
of his rivals, assigned the post of honorable danger to the 
Goths, and cherished a secret wish, that the bloody conflict 
might diminish the pride and numbers of the. conquerors. 
Ten thousand of those auxiliaries, and Bacurius, general of 
the Iberians, died bravely on the field of battle. But the 
victory was not purchased by their blood ; the Gauls main- 
tained their advantage ; and the approach of night protected 
the disorderly flight, or retreat, of the troops of Theodosius. 
The emperor retired to the adjacent hills ; where he passed a 
disconsolate night, without sleep, without provisions, and with- 
out hopes ; 119 except that strong assurance, which, under the 
most desperate circumstances, the independent mind may de- 
rive from the contempt of fortune and of life. The triumph 
of Eugenius was celebrated by the insolent and dissolute joy 
of his camp ; whilst the active and vigilant Arbogastes secretly 
detached a considerable body of troops to occupy the passes 
of the mountains, and to encompass the rear of the Eastern 
army. The dawn of day discovered to the eyes of Theodo- 
sius the extent and the extremity of his danger ; but his appre- 
hensions were soon dispelled, by a friendly message from the 
leaders of those troops who expressed their inclination to 
desert the standard of the tyrant. The honorable and lucra- 
tive rewards, which they stipulated as the price of their per- 
fidy, were granted without hesitation ; and as ink and paper 
could not easily be procured, the emperor subscribed, on hia 
own tablets, the ratification of the treaty. The spirit of hia 
soldiers was revived by this seasonable reenforcement ; and 
they again marched, with confidence, to surprise the camp of 
a tyrant, whose principal officers appeared to distrust, either 

119 Theodoret affirms, that St. John, and St. Philip, appeared to tha 
waking, or sleeping, emperor, on horseback, &c. This is the first in- 
stance of apostolic chivalry, which afterwards became so popular in 
Spain, and in the Crusades. 



126 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the justice or the success of his arms. In the heat of th« 
battle, a violent tempest, 120 such as is often felt among rho 
Alps, suddenly arose from the East. The army of Theodo 
sius was sheltered by their position from the impetuosity of 
the wind, which blew a cloud of dust in the faces of th« 
enemy, disordered their ranks, wrested their weapons from 
their hands, and diverted, or repelled, their ineffectual javelins. 
This accidental advantage was skilfully improved ; the vio- 
lence of the storm was magnified by the superstitious terrors 
of the Gauls ; and they yielded without shame to the invisible 
powers of heaven, who seemed to militate on the side of the 
pious emperor. His victory was decisive ; and the deaths of 
his two rivals were distinguished only by the difference of 
their characters. The rhetorician Eugenius, who had almost 
acquired the dominion of the world, was reduced to implore 
the mercy of the conqueror ; and the unrelenting soldiers 
separated his head from his body as he lay prostrate at the 
feet of Theodosius. Arbogastes, after the loss of a battle, in 
which he had discharged the duties of a soldier and a general, 
wandered several days among the mountains. But when he 
was convinced that his cause was desperate, and his escape 
impracticable, the intrepid Barbarian imitated the example of 
the ancient Romans, and turned his sword against his own 
breast. The fate of the empire was determined in a narrow 
corner of Italy ; and the legitimate successor of the house of 
Valentinian embraced the archbishop of Milan, and graciously 
received the submission of the provinces of the West. Those 
provinces were involved in the guilt of rebellion ; while the 
inflexible courage of Ambrose alone had resisted the claims 
of successful usurpation. With a manly freedon , which 
might have been fatal to any other subject, the archbishop 



IW Te propter, gelidis Aquilo de monte procellis 

Obruit adversaa acies ; revolutaque tela 
Vertit in auctores, et turbine reppulit hastas. 
O nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ab antris 
iEolus armatas hyeines ; cui militat iEther, 
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti. 

These famous lines of Claudian (in iii. Cons. Honor. 93, &c. A. D. 
396) are alleged by his contemporaries, Augustin and Orosius ; who 
suppress the Pagan deity of ^Eolus, and add some circumstances 
from the information of eye-witnesses. Within four months after the 
victory, it was compared by Ambrose to the miraculous victories of 
Moeefc and Joshua, 



OF THK ROMAN EMPIRE. 127 

rejected 'he gifts of Eugenius,* declined his correspondence, 
and withdrew himself from Milan, to avoid the odious presence 
of a tyrant, whose downfall he predicted in discreet and am- 
biguous language. The merit of Ambrose was applauded by 
the conqueror, who secured the attachment of the people by 
his alliance with the church ; and the clemency of Theodosius 
is ascribed to the humane intercession of the archbishop of 
Milan. 12 ! 

After the defeat of Eugenius, the merit, as well as the 
authority, of Theodosius was cheerfully acknowledged by all 
the inhabitants of the Roman world. The experience of his 
past conduct encouraged the most pleasing expectations of his 
future reign ; and the age of the emperor, which did not 
exceed fifty years, seemed to extend the prospect of the pub- 
lic felicity. His death, only four months after his victory, 
was considered by the people as an unforeseen and fatal 
event, which destroyed, in a moment, the hopes of the rising 
generation. But the indulgence of ease and luxury had 
secretly nourished the principles of disease. 12 - The strength 
of Theodosius was unable to support the sudden and violent 
transition from the palace to the camp ; and the increasing 
symptoms of a dropsy announced the speedy dissolution of 
ihe emperor. The opinion, and perhaps the interest, of the 
public had confirmed the division of the Eastern and Western 
empires ; and the two royal youths, Arcadius and Honorius, 
who had already obtained, from the tenderness of their father, 
the title of Augustus, were destined to fill the thrones of Con- 
stantinople and of Rome. Those princes were not permitted 

121 The events of this ci /il war are gathered from Ambrose, (torn. 
li. Epist. Lxii. p. 1022,) Paulinus, (in Vit. Ambros. c. 26—34,) Augus- 
tin, (de Civitat. Dei, v. 26,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 35,) Sozomen, v l. vii. c. 
24,) Theodoret, (1. v. c. 24,) Zosimus, (1. iv. p. 281, 282,) Claudian, 
(in iii. Cons. Hon. 63 — 105, in iv. Cons. Hon. 70 — 117,) and the 
Chronicles published by Scaliger. 

iss 'j^ 1 i 3 disease, ascribed by Socrates (1. v. c. 26) to the fatigues of 
«rar, is represented by Philostorgius (1. xi. c. 2) as the effect of sloth 
•»nd intemperance ; for which Photius calls him an impudent liar, 
(Oodefroy, Dissert, p. 438.) 



* Arbogastes and his emperor had openly espoused the Pagan party 
iccording to Ambrose and Augustin. See Le Beau, v. 40. Beugno 
(Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme) is more full, and perhaps 
somewhat fanciful, on this remarkable reaction \n favor of f aganism ; but 
»ompare p. 116. — M. 



128 THE DECLINE AND PALL 

to share the danger and glory of the civil war ; 123 but as sooii 
as Theodosius had triumphed over his unworthy rivals, he 
called his younger son, Honorius, to enjoy the fruits of the 
victory, and to receive the sceptre of the West from the hands 
of his dying father. The arrival of Honorius at Milan was 
welcomed by a splendid exhibition of the games of the Circus , 
and the emperor, though he was oppressed by the weight of 
his disorder, contributed by his presence to the public joy. 
But the remains of his strength were exhausted by the painful 
efFort which he made to assist at the spectacles of the morning. 
Honorius supplied, during, the rest of the day, the place of his 
father ; and the great Theodosius expired in the ensuing 
night. Notwithstanding the recent animosities of a civil war, 
his death was universally lamented. The Barbarians, whom 
he had vanquished, and the ' churchmen, by whom he had 
been subdued, celebrated, with loud and sincere applause, the 
qualities of the deceased emperor, which appeared the most 
valuable in their eyes. The Romans were terrified by the 
impending dangers of a feeble and divided administration ; 
and every disgraceful moment of the unfortunate reigns of 
Arcadius and Honorius revived the memory of their irrep- 
arable loss. 

In the faithful picture of the virtues of Theodosius, his im- 
perfections have not been dissembled ; the act of cruelty, and 
the habits of indolence, which tarnished the glory of one of the 
greatest of the Roman princes. An historian, perpetually- 
adverse to the fame of Theodosius, has exaggerated his vices 
and their pernicious effects ; he boldly asserts, that every rank 
of subjects imitated the effeminate manners of their sovereign ; 
that every species of corruption polluted the course of public 
and private life ; and that the feeble restraints of order and 
decency were insufficient to resist the progress of that degen- 
erate spirit, which sacrifices, without a blush, the consider- 
ation of duty and interest to the base indulgence of sloth and 
appetite. 124 The complaints of contemporary writers, who 
deolore the increase of luxury, and depravation of man- 
ners, are commonly expressive of their peculiar temper and 

1,3 Zosimus supposes, that the boy Honorius accompanied hii 
father, (1. iv. p. 280.) Yet the quanto flagrabrant pectora voto is all 
that flattery would allow to a contemporary poet ; who clearly de- 
scribes the emperor's refusal, and the journey of Honorius, after th« 
victory, ^Claudian in iii. Cons. 78 — 125.) 
14 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 244. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 129 

situation. There are few observers, who possess a clear an<i 
comprehensive view of the revolutions of* society ; and who 
are capable of discovering the nice and secret springs of ac- 
tion, which impel, in the same uniform direction, the blind 
and capricious passions of a multitude of individuals. If it 
can be affirmed, with any degree of truLh, that the luxury of 
the Romans was more shameless and dissolute in the reijrn 
of Theodosius than in the age of Constantine, perhaps, or of 
Augustus, the alteration cannot be ascribed to any beneficial 
improvements, which had gradually increased the stock of na- 
tional-riches. A long period of calamity or decay must have 
checked the industry, and diminished the wealth, of the peo- 
ple ; and their profuse luxury must have been the result of 
that indolent despair, which enjoys the present hour, and de- 
clines the thoughts of futurity. The uncertain condition of 
'.heir property discouraged the subjects of Theodosius from 
engaging in those useful and laborious undertakings which 
require an immediate expense, and promise a slow and distant 
advantage. The frequent examples of ruin and desolation 
tempted them not to spare the remains of a patrimony, which 
might, every hour, become the prey of the rapacious Goth. 
And the mad prodigality which prevails in the confusion of 
a shipwreck, or a siege, may serve to explain the progress 
of luxury amidst the misfortunes and terrors of a sinking 
nation. 

The effeminate luxury, which infected the manners of 
courts and cities, had instilled a secret and destructive poison 
into the camps of the legions ; and their degeneracy has been 
marked by the pen of a military writer, who had accurately 
studied the genuine and ancient principles of Roman discipline. 
It is the just and important observation of Vegetius, that the 
infantry was invariably covered with defensive armor, from 
the foundation of the city, to the reign of the emperor Gra- 
tian. The relaxation of discipline, and the disuse of exercise, 
rendered the soldiers less able, and less willing, to support the 
fatigues of the service ; they complained of the weight of the 
armor, which they seldom wore ; and they successively ob- 
tained the permission of laying aside both their cuirasses and 
their helmets. The heavy weapons of their ancestors the 
short sword, and the formidable pilum, which had subdued the 
world, insensibly dropped from their feeble hands. As the 
'ise of the shield is incompatible with that of the bow, they 
reluctanliy marched into the field ; condemned to suffer either 
60 



180 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the pain of wounds, or the ignominy of flig.it, and always dis- 
posed to prefer the more shameful alternative. The cavalry 
o) the Goths, the Huns, and the Alani. had felt the benefits, 
and adopted the use. of defensive armor ; and, as they ex- 
ceiled in the management of missile weapons, they easily 
overwhelmed the naked and trembling legions, whose heade 
and breasts were exposed, without defence, to the arrows of 
tne Barbarians. The loss of armies, the destruction oi cities, 
and the dishonor of the Roman name, ineffectually solicited the 
successors of Gratian to restore the helmets and the cuirasses 
of the infantry. The enervated soldiers abandoned their own 
and the public defence ; and their pusillanimous indolence 
may be considered as the immediate cause of the downfall of 
the empire. 125 



"i 



us Vegetius, de Re Militari, 1. i. c. 10. The series of calamities 
which he marks, compel us to believe, that the Hero, to whom h« 
Abdicates his book, is the last and most inglorious of the Valentini*u8 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

FINAL DESTRUCTION OF PAGANISM. INTRODUCTION OF THJJ 

WORSHIP OF SAINTS, AND RELICS, AMONG THE CHRISTIANS. 

The ruin of Paganism, in the age of Theodosius, is perhaps 
the only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and 
popular superstition ; and may therefore deserve to be con- 
sidered as a singular event in the history of the human mind. 
The Christians, more especially the clergy, had impatiently 
supported the prudem delays of Constantine, and the equal 
toleration of the elder Valentinian ; nor could they deem their 
conquest perfect or secure, as long as their adversaries were 
permitted to exist. The influence which Ambrose and his 
brethren had acquired over the youth of Gratian, and the piety 
of Theodosius, was employed to infuse the maxims of perse- 
cution into the breasts of their Imperial proselytes. Two 
specious principles of religious jurisprudence were established, 
from whence they deduced a direct and rigorous conclusion, 
against the subjects of the empire who still adhered to the 
ceremonies of their ancestors : that the magistrate is, in some 
measure, guilty of the crimes which he neglects to prohibit, 
or to punish ; and, that the idolatrous worship of fabulous 
deities, and real daemons, is the most abominable crime against 
the supreme majesty of the Creator. The laws of Moses, and 
the examples of Jewish history, 1 were hastily, perhaps erro- 
neously, applied, by the clergy, to the mild and universal reign 
of Christianity. 2 The zeal of the emperors was excited to 
vindicate their own honor, and that of the Deity : and the 
temples of the Roman world were subverted, about sixty years 
after the conversion of Constantine. 

1 St. Ambrose (torn. ii. de Obit. Theodos. p. 1208) expressly praises 
and recommends the zeal of Josiah in the destruction of idolatry. 
The language of Julius Firmicus Maternus on the same subject (de 
Errore Profan. Relig. p. 467, edit. Gronov.) is piously inhuman. Nea 
tiho jubet (the Mosaic Law) parci, nee fratri, et per amatam conju- 
gem gladium vindicem ducit, &c. 

* Bay^e (torn. ii. p. 400, in his Commentaire Philosophique) justifies, 
•uid limits, these intolerant laws by the temporal reign of Jehovah 
over the Jews. The attempt is laudable. 

131 



13SJ THE DECLINE AND FALL 

From the age of Numa to the reign of Grauan, the Ro- 
mans preserved the regular succession of the several colleges 
of the sacerdotal order. 3 Fifteen Pontiffs exercised their 
supreme jurisdiction over all things, and persons, that were 
consecrated to the service of the gods ; and the various 
questions which perpetually arose in a loose and traditionary 
system, were submitted to the judgment of their holy tribunal. 
Fifteen grave and learned Augurs observed the face of the 
heavens, and prescribed the actions of heroes, according to the 
flight of birds. Fifteen keepers of the Sibylline books (their 
name of Quindecemvirs was derived from their number) 
occasionally consulted the history of future, and, as it should 
seem, of contingent, events. Six Vestals devoted their 
virginity to the guard of the sacred fire, and of the unknown 
pledges of the duration of Rome ; which no mortal had been 
suffered to behold with impunity. 4 Seven Epulos prepared 
the table of the gods, conducted the solemn procession, and 
regulated the ceremonies of the annual festival. The three 
Flamens of Jupiter, of Mars, and of Quirinus, were considered 
as the peculiar ministers of the three most powerful deities, 
who watched over the fate of Rome and of the universe. Th*? 
King of the Sacrifices represented the pei»son of Numa, and 
of his successors, in the religious functions, which could be 
performed only by royal hands. The confraternities of the 
Salians, the Lupercals, &c, practised such rites as might 
extort a smile of contempt from every reasonable man, with 
a lively confidence of recommending themselves to the favor 
of the immortal gods. The authority, which the .Roman 
priests had formerly obtained in the counsels of the republic, 
was gradually abolished by the establishment of monarchy, 
*nd the removal of the seat of empire. But the dignity of 

3 See the outlines of the Roman hierarchy in Cicero, (de Legibus, 
i. 7, 8,) Livy, (i. 20,) Dionysius Halicarnassensis, (1. ii. p. 119 — 129, 
<dit. Hudson,) Beaufort, (Republique Romaine, torn. i. p. 1 — 90,) 
and Moyle, (vol. i. p. 10 — 55.) The last is the work of an English 
whig, as well as of a Roman antiquary. 

4 These mystic, and perhaps imaginary, symbols have given birth 
lo various fables and conjectures. It seems probable, that the Palla. 
dium was a small statue (three cubits and a half high) of Minerva, 
with a lance and distaff ; that it was usually enclosed in a seria, oi 
barrel ; and that a similar barrel was placed by its side to discon- 
cert curiosity, or sacrilege. See Mezeriac (Comment, sur les Epiireg 
A'Ovide, torn. i. p. 60—66) and Lipsiu«, (torn. iii. p. 610, de Vesta, 
fcc., c. 10 ^ 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 183 

their sacred character was still protected hy the laws and 
manners of their country ; and they still continued, more 
especially the college of pontiffs, to exercise in the capital, 
and sometimes in the provinces, the rights of their ecclesi- 
astical and civil jurisdiction. Their robes of purple, chariots 
of state, and sumptuous entertainments, attracted the admi- 
ration of the people ; and they received, from the consecrated 
lands, and the public revenue, an ample stipend, which 
liberally supported the splendor of the priesthood, and all 
the expenses of the religious worship of the state. As the 
service of the iltar was not incompatible with the command 
of armies, the Romans, after their consulships and triumphs, 
aspired to the place of pontiff, or of augur ; the seats of 
Cicero 5 and Pompey were filled, in the fourth century, by 
the most illustrious members of the senate ; and the dignity 
of their birth reflected additional splendor on their sacerdotal 
character. The fifteen priests, who composed the college 
of pontiffs, enjoyed a more distinguished rank as the com- 
panions of their sovereign ; and the Christian emperors 
condescended to accept the robe and ensigns, which were 
appropriated to the office of supreme pontiff. But when 
Gratian ascended the throne, more scrupulous or more 
enlightened, he sternly rejected those profane symbols; 6 
applied to the service of the state, or of the church, the reve- 
nues of the priests and vestals ; abolished their honors and 
immunities; and dissolved the ancient fabric of Roman super- 
stition, which was supported by the opinions and habits of 
eleven hundred years. Paganism was still the constitutional 
religion of the senate. The hall, or temple, in which they 
assembled, was adorned by the statue and altar of Victory ; 7 a 
majestic female standing on a globe, with flowing garments, 
expanded wings, and a crown of laurel in her outstretched 
hand. 8 The senators were sworn on the altar of the goddess 

8 Cicero frankly (ad Atticum, 1. ii. Epist. 6) or indirectly (ad Famil- 
iar. 1. xv. Epist. 4) confesses that the Augurate is the supreme object 
of his wishes. Pliny is proud to tread in the footsteps of Cicero, (1. iv. 
Epist. 8 ) and the chain of tradition might be continued from history 
and marbles. 

6 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 249, 250. I have suppressed the foolish pui» 
about Pontifex and Maximus. 

7 This statue was transported from Tarentum to Rome, placed in 
the Curia Julia by Caesar, and decorated by Augustus with the spoil* 
•f Egypt 

Prudentius (1. ii. in initio) haa drawn a very awkward portrait of 



134 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

to obsene the la«vs of the emperor and of the empire ; and 
a solemn offering of wine and incense was the ordinary prelude 
of their public deliberations. 9 The removal of this ancient 
monument was the only injury which Constantius had offered 
to the superstition of the Romans. The altar of Victory was 
again restored by Julian, tolerated by Valentinian, and once 
more banished from the senate by the zeal of Gratian. 10 But 
the emperor yet spared the statues of the gods which were 
exposed to the public veneration : four hundred and twenty- 
four temples, or chapels, still remained to satisfy the devotion 
of the people ; and in every quarter of Rome the delicacy 
of the Christians was offended by the fumes of idolatrou*3 
sacrifice. 11 

But the Christians formed the least numerous party in the 
senate of Rome : 12 and it was only by their absence, that 
they could express their dissent from the legal, though pro- 
fane, acts of a Pagan majority. In that assembly, the dying 
embers of freedom were, for a moment, revived and inflamed 
by the breath of fanaticism. Four respectable deputations 
were successively voted to the Imperial court, 13 to represent 
the grievances of the priesthood and the senate, and to solicit 
the restoration of the altar of Victory. The conduct of this 
important business was intrusted to the eloquent Symmachus, 14 
a wealthy and noble senator, who united the sacred characters 



Victory ; but the curious reader will obtain" more satisfaction from 
Montfaucon's Antiquities, (torn. i. p. 341.) 

9 See Suetonius (in August, c. 35) and the Exordium of Pliny'8 
Panegyric. 

10 These facts are mutually allowed by the two advocates, Symma- 
chus and Ambrose. 

11 The Notitia Urbis, more recent than Constantine, does not find 
one Christian church worthy to be named among the edifices of the 
city. Ambrose (torn. ii. Epist. xvii. p. 82,5) deplores the public scan- 
dals of Rome, which continually offended the eyes, the ears, and the 
nostrils of the faithful. 

u Ambrose repeatedly affirms, in contradiction to common sense, 
(Moyle's Works, vol. ii. p. 147,) that the Christians had a majority in 
(lie senate. 

13 The Jin': (A. D. 382) to Gratian, who refused them audience ; 
the second (A. D. 384) to Valentinian, when the field was deputed 
by Symmachus and Ambrose ; the third (A. D. 388) to Theodosius ; 
and the fourth (A. D. 392) to Valentinian. Lardner (Heathen Testi- 
monies, vol. iv. p. 372 — 399) fairly represents the whole transaction. 

'* Symmachus, who was invested with all the civil and sacerdot^ 
honors, represented the emperor under the two characters of Ponti- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. l35 

of pontiff and augur with the civil dignities of proconsul of 
Africa and prajfect of the city. The breast of Symmachus 
was animated by the warmest zeal for the cause of expiring 
Paganism ; and his religions antagonists lamented the abuss 
of his genius, and the ineificacy of his moral virtues. 16 The 
orator, whose petition is extant to the emperor Valentinian, 
was conscious of the difficulty and danger of the office which 
he had assumed. He cautiously avoids every topic which 
might appear to reflect on the religion of Ids sovereign ; 
humbly declares, that prayers and entreaties are his only 
arms ; and artfully draws his arguments from the schools of 
rhetoric, rather than from those of philosophy. Symmachus 
endeavors to seduce the imagination of a young prince, by 
displaying the attributes of the goddess of victory ; he insinu- 
ates, that the confiscation of the revenues, which were conse- 
crated to the service of the gods, was a measure unworthy of 
his liberal and disinterested character ; and he maintains, that 
the Roman sacrifices would be deprived of their force and 
energy, if they were no longer celebrated at the expense, as 
well as in the name, of the republic. Even scepticism is 
made to supply an apology for superstition. The great and 
incomprehensible secret of the universe eludes the inquiry of 
man. Where reason cannot instruct, custom may be permit- 
ted to guide; and every nation seems to consult the dictates 
of prudence, by a faithful attachment to those rites and opin- 
ions, which have received the sanction of ages. If those 
ages have been crowned with glory and prosperity, if the 
devout people have frequently obtained the blessings which 
they have solicited at the altars of the gods, it must appear 
still more advisable to persist in the same salutary practice ; 
and not to risk the unknown perils that may attend any rash 
innovations. The test of antiquity and success was applied 
with singular advantage to the religion of Numa ; and Rome 
herself, the celestial genius that presided over the fates 
of the city, is introduced by the orator to plead her own 



fex Maximus and Princeps Senat&s. See the proud inscription at the 
head of his works.* 

15 As if any one, says Prudentius (in Symmach. i. 639) should dig 
in the mud with an instrument of gold and ivory. Even saints, and 
l>olemic: saints, treat this adversary with respect and civility. 



* M. Beugnot has made it doubtful whether Symmachus was more than 
Peutifex Major. Destruction du Paganisme, vol. i. p. 459. — M. 



136 THE DECLINE AND FALX, 

?ause before the tribunal of the emperors. " Most excellent 
princes," says the venerable matron, " fathers of your coun- 
try ! pity and respect my age, which has hitherto flowed in an 
un.nterrupted course of piety. Since I do not repent, permit 
me to continue in the practice of my ancient rites. Since 1 
am born free, allow me to enjoy my domestic institutions. 
This religion has reduced the world under my laws. These 
rites have repelled Hannibal from the city, and the Gauls 
fiom the Capitol. Were my gray hairs reserved for such 
intolerable disgrace ? I am ignorant of the new system that 
I am required to adopt ; but I am well assured, that the cor. 
rection of old age is always an ungrateful and ignominious 
office." 16 The fears of the people supplied what the discre 
tion of the orator had suppressed ; and the calamities, which 
uillicted, or threatened, the declining empire, were unani- 
mously imputed, by the Pagans, to the new religion of Christ 
and of Constantine. 

But the hopes of* Symmachus were repeatedly baffled by 
'.he firm and dexterous opposition of the archbishop of Milan, 
who fortified the emperors against the fallacious eloquence 
of the advocate of Rome. In this controversy, Ambrose 
condescends to speak the language of a philosopher, and to 
ask, with some contempt, why it should be thought neces- 
sary to introduce an imaginary and invisible power, as the 
cause of those victories, which were sufficiently explained 
by the valor and discipline of the legions. He justly derides 
the absurd reverence for antiquity, which could only tend to 
discourage the improvements of art, and to replunge the 
human race into their original barbarism. From thence, 
gradually rising to a more lofty and theological tone, he pro- 
nounces, that Christianity alone is the doctrine of trutl and 
salvation ; and that every mode of Polytheism conduct its 
deluded votaries, through the paths of error, to the abyss of 
eternal perdition. 17 Arguments like these, when they were 



16 See the fifty-fourth Epistle of the tenth book of Symmachus. In 
the form and disposition of his ten books of Epistles, he imitated the 
younger Pliny ; whose rich and florid style he was supposed, by hi? 
fi tends, to equal or excel, (Macrob. Saturnal. 1. v. c. i.) But th« 
luxurianey of Symmachus consists of barren leaves, without fruits, 
and even without flowers. Few facts, and few sentiments, can be 
extracted from his verbose correspondence. 

See Ambrose, (torn. ii. Epist. xvii. xviii. p. 825—833.) The for- 
mer of these epistles is a short caution ; the latter is a formal rep.y to 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 137 

suggested by a favorite bishop, had power to prevent the 
restoration of the altar of Victory ; but the same arguments 
fell, with much more energy and effect, from the mouth of a 
conqueror ; and the gods of antiquity were dragged in tri- 
umph at the chariot-wheels of Theodosius. 18 In a full meeting 
of the senate, the emperor proposed, according to the forms 
of the republic, the important question, Whether the worship 
of Jupiter, or that of Christ, should be the religion of the 
Romans.* The liberty of suffrages, which he affected to 
allow, was destroyed by the hopes and fears that his presence 
inspired ; and the arbitrary exile of Symmachus was a recem 
admonition, that it might be dangerous to oppose the wishes 



the petition or libel of Symmachus. The same ideas are more copious- 
ly expressed in the poetry, if it may deserve that name, of Prudentius ; 
who composed his two books against Symmachus (A. D. 404) while 
that senator was still alive. It is whimsical enough that Montes- 
quieu (Considerations, &c. c. xix. torn. iii. p. 487) should overlook 
the two professed antagonists of Symmachus, and amuse himself 
with descanting on the more remote and indirect confutations of 
Orosius, St. Augustin, and Salvian. 

18 See Prudentius (in Symmach. 1. i. 545, &c.) The Christian 
agrees with the Pagan Zosimus (1. iv. p. 283) in placing this visit of 
Theodosius after the second civil war, gemini bis victor caede Tyranni, 
(1. i. 410.) But the time and circumstances are better suited to his 
first triumph. 

* M. Beugnot (in his Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme en Occi 
dent, i. p. 483 — 488) questions, altogether, the truth of this statement. It 
is very remarkable that Zosimus and Prudentius concur in asserting the 
fact of the question being solemnly deliberated by the senate, though with 
directly opposite results. Zosimus declares that the majority of the as- 
sembly adhered to the ancient religion of Rome ; Gibbon has adopted the 
authority of Prudentius, who, as a Latin writer, though a poet, deserves 
more credit than the Greek historian. Both concur in placing this scene 
after the second triumph of Theodosius ; but it has been almost demon- 
strated (and Gibbon — see the preceding note — seems to have acknowl- 
edged this) by Pagi and Tillemont, that Theodosius did not visit Rome 
after the defeat of Eugenius. M. Beugnot urges, with much force, the 
improbability that the Christian emperor would submit such a question to 
the senate, whose authority was nearly obsolete, except on one occasion, 
which was almost hailed as an epoch in the restoration of her ancient priv- 
ileges. The silence of Ambrose and of Jerom on an event so striking, 
and redounding so much to the honor of Christianity, is of eonsideralle 
weight. M. Beugnot would ascribe the whole scene to the p( etic imagi- 
nation of Prudentius ; but I must observe, that, however Prudentius is 
sometimes elevated by the grandeur of his subject to vivid and eloquent 
language, this flight of invention would be so much bolder and more vig- 
orous than usual with this poet, that I cannot but sappose there must 
have been s >me foundation for the story, though it may have been exag 
^er?t^d by tae poet, and misrepresented by the histori'vn. ■— M. 

60* 



138 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the monarch. On a regular division of the senate, Jupiter 
was condemned and degraded by the sense of a very large 
majority ; and it is rather surprising, that any members 
should be found bold enough to declare, by their speeches 
and votes, that they were still attached to the interest of an 
abdicated deity. 19 The hasty conversion of the senate mus 
be attributed either to supernatural or to sordid motives ; and 
many of these reluctant proselytes betrayed, on every favor- 
able occasion, their secret disposition to throw aside the mark 
of odious dissimulation. But they were gradually fixed in 
the new religion, as the cause of the ancient became more 
hopeless ; they yielded to the authority of the emperor, to the 
fashion of the times, and to the entreaties of their wives and 
children, 20 who were instigated and governed by the clergy 
of Rome and the monks of the East. The edifying example 
of the Anician family was soon imitated by the rest of the 
nobility : the Bassi, the Paullini, the Gracchi, embraced the 
Christian religion ; and " the luminaries of the world, the 
venerable assembly of Catos (such are the high-flown expres- 
sions of Prudentius) were impatient to strip themselves of 
their pontifical garment ; to cast the skin of the old serpent 
to assume the snowy robes of baptismal innocence, and to 
humble the pride of the consular fasces before the tombs of 
the martyrs." 21 The citizens, who subsisted by their own 
industry, and the populace, who were supported by the public 
liberality, filled the churches of the Lateran, and Vatican, 
with an incessant throng of devout proselytes. The decrees 

19 Prudentius, after proving that the sense of the senate is declared 
by a legal majority, proceeds to say, (609, &c.) — 

Adspice quam pleno suhsilli i nostra Senatft 
Deccriiunt infame Jovis pulvinar, et omne 
Idolum lunge purg.ita ex urbH fiigandum, 
Quh vocat egre;.'ii sententia Principis, illuc 
Libera, cum peilibus, turn corde, frequentia transit. 

Zosimus ascribes to the conscript fathers a heathenish courage, 

which few of them are found to possess. 

2U Jerom specifies the pontiff Albinus, who was surrounded with 

•uch a believing family of children and grandchildren, as would 

have been sufficient to convert even Jupiter himself; an extiaordi 

nary proselyte ! (torn. i. ad Lactam, p. 54.) 

11 Exultare Patres videas, pulcherrima mundi 

Lumina ; Conciliumque senum gestire Catonum 
Candidiore togft niveum pictatis amictum 
Sumere ; et exuvias deponere pontificales. 

The fancy of Prudentius is warmed and elevated by victory. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 139 

of the senate, whicn proscribed the worship of idols, were 
ratified by the general consent of the Romans ,^ the splendor 
of the Capitol was defaced, and the solitary temples were 
abandoned to ruin and contempt. 23 Rome submitted to the 
yoke of the Gospel ; and the vanquished provinces had not 
yet lost their reverence for the name and authority of Rome.* 
The filial piety of the emperors themselves engaged them 
to proceed, with some caution and tenderness, in the reforma- 
tion of the eternal city. Those absolute monarchs acted with 
less regard to the prejudices of the provincials. The pious 
labor which had been suspended near twenty years since 
the death of Constantius, 24 was vigorously resumed, and 
finally accomplished, by the zeal of Theodosius. Whilst that 
warlike prince yet struggled with the Goths, not for the glory, 
but for the safety, of the republic, he ventured to offend a 
considerable party of his subjects, by some acts which might 
perhaps secure the protection of Heaven, but which must 
seem rash and unseasonable in the eye of human prudence. 
The success of his first experiments against the Pagans 
encouraged the pious emperor to reiterate and enforce his 



22 Prudentius, after he has described the conversion of the senate 
and people, asks, with some truth and confidence, 

Et diibirauiiis adhuc Romam, tibi, Christe, dicatara 
In leges cransiase tuas ? 

23 Jerom exults in the desolation of the Capitol, and the other tern, 
pies of Rome, (torn. i. p. 54, torn. ii. p. 95.) 

5,4 Libanius (Orat. pro Templis, p. 10, Genev. 1634, published by- 
James Godefroy, and now extremely scarce) accuses Valentinian and 
Valens of prohibiting sacrifices. Some partial order may have been 
issued by the Eastern emperor ; but the idea of any general law is 
contradicted by the silence of the Code, and the evidence of ecclesias- 
tical history.t 

* M. Beugnot is more correct in his general estimate of the measures 
enforced by Theodosius for the abolition of Paganism. He seized (accord- 
ing to Zosimus) the funds bestowed by the public for the expense of sac- 
rifices. The public sacrifices ceased, not because they were positively 
prohibited, but because the public treasury would no longer bear the ex- 
pense. The public and the private sacrifices in the provinces, which were 
not under the same regulations with those of the capital, continued to 
take pla"e. In Home itself, many Pagan ceremonies, which were without 
sacrifice, remained in full force. The gods, therefore, were invoked, the 
temple were frequented, the pontificates inscribed, according to ancient 
usage, among the family titles of honor ; and it cannot be asserted thai 
idolatry was completely destroyed by Theodosius. See Beugnot, p. 491. 
— M 

f See in Reiske's edition of Libanius, torn. ii. p. 155. Sacrifice was pro 
uilited by Valens, but not the offering of incense. — M. 



140 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

edicts of proscription: the same laws which had been origi- 
nally published in the provinces of the Eas:, were applied 
after the defeat of Maximus, to the whole extent of the West- 
ern empire ; and every victory of the orthodox Theodosius 
contributed to the triumph of the Christian and Catholic 
faith. 25 He attacked superstition in her most vital part, by 
prohibit'ng the use of sacrifices, which he declared to bo 
criminal as well as infamous ; and if the terms of his edicts 
more strictly condemned the impious curiosity which examined 
the entrails of the victims, 26 every subsequent explanation 
tended to involve in the same guilt the general practice of 
immolation, which essentially constituted the religion of the 
Pagans. "As the temples had been erected for the purpose 
of sacrifice, it was the duty of a benevolent prince to remove 
from his subjects the dangerous temptation of offending 
against the laws which he had enacted. A special commis- 
sion was granted to Cynegius, the Praetorian preefect of the 
East, and afterwards to the counts Jovius and Gaudentius, 
two officers of distinguished rank in the West ; by which 
they were directed to shut the temples, to seize or destroy 
the instruments of idolatry, to abolish the privileges of the 
priests, and to confiscate the consecrated property for the 
benefit of the emperor, of the church, or of the army. 27 
Here the desolation might have stopped : and the naked edi- 
fices, which were no longer employed in the service of idol- 

25 See his laws in the Thcodosian Code, 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 7 — 11. 

28 Homer's sacrifices are not accompanied with any inquisition of 
entrails, (see Feithius, Antiquitat. Homer. 1. i. c. 10, 16.) The Tus- 
cans, who produced the first Haruspices, subdued both the Greeks 
and the Romans, (Cicero de Divinatione, ii. 23.) 

27 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 245, 249. Theodoret. 1. v. c. 21. Idatius in 
Chron. Prosper. Aquitan. 1. iii. c. 38, apud Baronium, Annal. Ecelea. 
A. D. 389, No. 52. Libanius (pro Templis, p. 10) labors to prove, 
that the commands of Theodosius were not direct and positive. * 



* Libanius appears to be the best authority for the East, where, under 
Theodosius, the work of devastation was carried on with very different 
degrees of violence, according to the temper of the local authorities and 
of the clergy ; and more especially the neighborhood of the more fanatical 
monks. Neander well observes, that the prohibition of sacrifice -* r ould b6 
easily misinterpreted into an authority for the destruction oi the builuings 
in which sacrifices were performed. (Gesehichte der Christlichen Religian, 
ii. p. 156.) An abuse of this kind led to this remarkable oration of 
Libanius. Neander, however, justly doubts whether this bold vindication, 
or at least exculpation, of Paganism was ever delivered before, or e\tt 
placed in the hands of, the Christian c.nperor. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 141 

atry might have been protected from the destructive rage of 
fanaticism. Many of those temples were the most spiendid 
and. beautiful monuments uf Grecian architecture : and tha 
emperor himself was interested not to deface the splendor of 
his own cities, or to diminish the value of his own possessions. 
Those stately edifices might be suffered to remain, as so 
many lasting trophies of the victory of Christ. In the decline 
of the arts they might be usefully converted into maga- 
zines, manufactures, or places of public assembly : and per- 
lijps, when the walls of the temple had been sufficiently 
purified by holy rites, the worship of the true Deity might be 
allowed to expiate the ancient guilt of idolatry. But as long 
as they subsisted, the Pagans fondly cherished the secret hope, 
that an auspicious revolution, a second Julian, might again 
restore the altars of the gods : and the earnestness with which 
they addressed their unavailing prayers to the throne, 28 in- 
creased the zeal of the Christian reformers to extirpate 
without mercy, the root of superstition. The laws of the 
emperors exhibit some symptoms of a milder disposition : ^ 
but their oold and languid efforts were insufficient to stem 
the torrent of enthusiasm and rapine, which was conduct- 
ed, or rather impelled, by the spiritual rulers of the church. 
In Gaul, the holy Martin, bishop of Tours, 30 marched at the 
head of his faithful monks to destroy the idols, the temples, 
and the consecrated trees of his extensive diocese ; and, in the 
execution of this arduous task, the prudent reader will judge 
whether Martin was supported by the aid of miraculous pow 
ers, or of carnal weapons. In Syria, the divine and excel 
lent Marcellus, 31 as he is styled by Theodoret, a bishop 

M Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 8, 18. There is room to believe ( 
that this temple of Edessa, which Theodosius wished to save for civi- 
lises, was soon afterwards a heap of ruins, (Libanius pro Templis, p ; 
26, 27, and Godefroy's notes, p. 59.) 

29 See this curious oration of Libanius urn Templis, pronounced, or 
rather composed, about the year 390. I have consulted, with advan- 
tage, Dr. Lardner's version and remarks, (Heathen Testimonies, vol. 
iv. p. 135—163.) 

3u See the Life of Martin by Sulpicius Severus. c. 9 — 14. The 
saint once mistook (as Don Quixote might have done) a harmless 
funeral for an idolatrous procession, and imprudently committed a 
miracle. 

Jl Compare Sozomen (1 vii. c. 15) with Theodoret, (1. v. c 21.1 
Between them, they relate the crusade and death of MaiceUus. 



142 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

animated with apostolic fervor, resolved to level with the 
ground the stately temples within the diocese of Apamea. 
Bis attack was resisted by the skill and solidity with which 
the lemple of Jupiter had been constructed. The building 
was seated on an eminence : on each of the four sides, the 
.ofty roof was supported by fifteen massy columns, sixteen 
feet in circumference ; and the large stones, of which they 
were composed, were firmly cemented with lead and iron. 
The force of the strongest and sharpest tools had been tried 
without effect. It was found necessary to undermine the 
foundations of the columns, which fell down as soon as the 
temporary wooden props had been consumed with fire ; and 
the difficulties of the enterprise are described under the alle- 
gory of a black dcemon, who retarded, though he could not 
defeat, the operations of the Christian engineers. Elated 
with victoiy, Marcellus took the field in person against the 
powers of darkness ; a numerous troop of soldiers and glad- 
iators marched under the episcopal banner, and he succes- 
sively attacked the villages and country temples of the diocese 
of Apamea. Whenever any resistance or danger was appre- 
hended, the champion of the faith, whose lameness would not 
allow him either to fight or fly, placed himself at a convenient 
distance, beyond the reach of darts. But this prudence was 
the occasion of his death : he was surprised and slain by a 
body of exasperated rustics ; and the synod of the province 
pronounced, without hesitation, that the holy Marcellus had 
sacrificed his life in the cause of God. In the support of this 
cause, the monks, who rushed, with tumultuous fury from the 
desert, distinguished themselves by their zeal and diligence. 
They deserved the enmity of the Pagans ; and some of them 
might deserve the reproaches of avarice and intemperance ; 
of avarice, which they gratified with holy plunder, and of 
intemperance, which they indulged at the expense of the 
people, who foolishly admired their tattered garments, loud 
psalmody, and artificial paleness. 32 A small number of tem- 
ples was protected by the fears, the venality, the taste, or the 
prudence, of the civil and ecclesiastical governors. The tem- 
ple of the Celestial Venus at Carthage, whose sacred precincts 

33 Libanitis, pro Templis, p. 10 — 13. He rails at these black-garbed 
men, the Christian monks, who cat more than elephants. Foor ele- 
phants ! they are temperate animals. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 143 

formed a circumference of two miles, was judiciously con- 
verted into a Christian church; 33 and a similar consecration 
has preserved inviolate the majestic dome of the Pantheon at 
Rome. 34 But in almost every province of the Roman world, 
an army of fanatics, without authority, and without discipline, 
invaded the peaceful inhabitants ; and the ruin of the fairest 
structures of antiquity still displays the ravages of those Bai 
barians, who alone had time and inclination to execute such 
laborious destruction. 

In this wide and various prospect of devastation, the spec- 
tator may distinguish the ruins of the temple of Serapis, at 
Alexandria. 35 Serapis does not appear to have been one oi 
the native gods, or monsters, who sprung from the fruitful 
soil of superstitious Egypt. 36 The first of the Ptolemies had 
been commanded, by a dream, to import the mysterious 
stranger from the coast of Pontus, where he had been long 
adored by the inhabitants of Sinope ; but his attributes and 
his reign were so imperfectly understood, that it became a 
subject of dispute, whether he represented the bright orb of 
day, or the gloomy monarch of the subterraneous regions. 37 
The Egyptians, who were obstinately devoted to the religion 
of their fathers, refused to admit this foreign deity within the 



33 Prosper. Aquitan. 1. iii. c. 38, apud Baronium ; Annal. Eccles. 
A. D. 389, No. 58, &c. The temple had been shut some time, and 
the access to it was overgrown with brambles. 

34 Donatus, Itoma Antiqua ct Nova, 1. iv. c. 4, p. 468. This con- 
secration was performed by Pope Boniface IV. I am ignorant of the 
favorable circumstances which had preserved the Pantheon above two 
hundred years after the reign of Theodosius. 

35 Sophronius composed a recent and separate history, (Jerom, in 
Script. Eccles. torn. i. p. 303,) which has furnished materials to Socra- 
tes, (1. v. c. 16,) Theodoret, (1. v. c. 22,) and Iiufinus, (1. ii. c. 22.) 
Yet the last, who had been at Alexandria before and after the event, 
may deserve the credit of an original witness. 

86 Gerard Vossius (Opera, torn. v. p. 80, and de Idololatria, 1. i. c. 
29) strives to support the strange notion of the Fathers ; that the pn- 
triarch Joseph was adored in Egj-pt, as the bull Apis, and the god 
Serapis.* 

37 Origo dei nondum nostris celebrata. iEgyptiorum antistites «m 
memorant, &c, Tacit. Hist. iv. 83. The Greeks, who had travelled 
into Egypt, were alike ignorant of this new deity. 



• Consult du Diet* Serapis et son Origine, par J. P. Guigm>ut, (th« 
translator of Creuzer's Symbolique,) Paris, 1828; and in the afth relume 
•f Bournouf s translation of Tacitus — M 



144 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

walls of their cities. 38 But the obsequious priests, who were 
seduced by the liberality of the Ptolemies, submitted, without 
resistance, to the power of the god of Pontus : an honorable 
and domestic genealogy was provided ; and this fortunate 
usurper was introduced into the throne and bed of Osiris, 39 
the husband of Isis, and the celestial monarch of Egypt. 
Alexandria, which claimed his peculiar protection, gloried in 
the name of the city of Serapis. His temple, 40 which rivalled 
t/ie pride and magnificence of the Capitol, was erected on iho 
spacious summit of an artificial mount, raised one hundred 
steps above the level of the adjacent parts of the city ; and 
the interior cavity was strongly supported by arches, and dis- 
tributed into vaults and subterraneous apartments. The con- 
secrated buildings were surrounded by a quadrangular portico . 
the stately halls, and exquisite statues, displayed the triumph 
of the arts ; and the treasures of ancient learning were pre- 
served in the famous Alexandrian library, which had arisen 
with new splendor from its ashes. 41 After the edicts of Theo- 
dosius had severely prohibited the sacrifices of the Pagans, 
they were still tolerated in the city and temple of Serapis ; 
and this singular indulgence was imprudently ascribed to the 
superstitious terrors of the Christians themselves ; as if they 
had feared to abolish those ancient rites, which could alone se- 
cure the inundations of the Nile, the harvests of Egypt, and 
the subsistence of Constantinople. 42 

At that time 43 the archiepiscopal throne of Alexandria was 



38 Macrobius, Saturnal. 1. i. c. 7. Such a living fact decisively 
proves his foreign extraction. 

39 At Rome, Isis and Serapis were united in the same temple. The 
precedency which the queen assumed, may seem to betray her un- 
equal alliance with the stranger of Pontus. But the superiority of 
the female sex was established in Egypt as a civil and religious insti- 
tution, (Diodor. Sicul. torn. i. 1. i. p. 31, edit. Wesseling,) and the 
same order is observed in Plutarch's Treatise of Isis and Osiris ; whom 
he identifies with Serapis. 

40 Ammianus, (xxii. 16.) The Expositio totius Mundi, (p. 8, in 
Iludson's Geograph. Minor, torn, iii.,) and Rufinus, (1. ii. c. 22,) cele- 
brate the Serapeum, as one of the wonders of the world. 

41 See Memoires de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, torn. ix. p. 397 — 416. 
The sld library of the Ptolemies was totally consumed in Caesar's Alex- 
andrian war. Marc Antony gave the whole collection of Pergamui 
(200,000 volumes) to Cleopatra, as the foundation of the new library 
of Alexandria. 

«* Libanius (pro Templis, p. 21) indiscreetly provokes his Christian 
masters bv this insulting remark. 
** We may choose between the date of Marcellinus (A. D. SS^ car 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 115 

filled by Theophilus, 44 the perpetual enemy of peace and 
virtue ; a bold, bad man, whose hands were alternately pol- 
luted with gold and with blood. His pious indignation was 
excited by the honors of Serapis ; and the insults which he 
offered to an ancient chapel of Bacchus,* convinced the Pa- 
gans that he meditated a more important and dangerous en- 
terprise. In the tumultuous capital of Egypt, the slightest 
provocation was sufficient to inflame a civil war. The vota- 
ries of Serapis, whose strength and numbers were much 
inferior to those of their antagonists, rose in arms at the insti- 
gation of the philosopher Olympius, 45 who exhorted them 
to die in the defence of the altars of the gods. These Pagan 
fanatics fortified themselves in the temple, or rather fortress, 
of Serapis ; repelled the besiegers by daring sallies, and a 
resolute defence ; and, by the inhuman cruelties which they 
exercised on their Christian prisoners, obtained the last con- 
solation of despair. The efforts of the prudent magistrate 
were usefully exerted for the establishment of a truce, till the 
answer of Theodosius should determine the fate of Serapis 
The two parties assembled, without arms, in the principal 
square ; and the Imperial rescript was publicly read. But 
when a sentence of destruction against the idols of Alexan- 
dria was pronounced, the Christians sent up a shout of joy 
and exultation, whilst the unfortunate Pagans, whose fury had 
given way to consternation, retired with hasty and silent steps, 
and eluded, by their flight or obscurity, the resentment of 
their enemies. Theophilus proceeded to demolish the temple 
of Serapis, without any other difficulties, than those which he 
found in the weight and solidity of the materials : but these 
obstacles proved so insuperable, that he was obliged to leave 
the foundations ; and to content himself with reducing the 



that of Prosper, (A. D. 391.) Tillemont (Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p 
310, 756) prefers the former, and Pagi the latter. 

44 Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. p. 441 — 500. The ambiguoui 
Bi;aation of Theophilus — a saint, as the friend of Jerom ; a devil, as 
the enemy of Chrysostom — produces a sort of impartiality ; yet, upon 
the whole, the balance is justly inclined against him. 

44 Lardner (Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 411) has alleged a 
beautiful passage from Suidas, or rather from Damascius, which 
shows the devout and virtuous Olympius, not in the light of a war 
nor, but of a prophet. 

* No doubt a temple of Osiris. St. Martin, iv. 398. — M 



146 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

edifice itself to a heap of rubbish, a part of which was soon 
afterwards cleared away, to make room for a church, erected 
in honor of the Christian martyrs. The valuable library of 
Alexandria was pillaged or destroyed ; and near twenty years 
afterwards, the appearance of the empty shelves excited the 
regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was 
not totally darkened by religious prejudice. 46 The compo- 
sitions of ancient genius, so many of which have irretrievably 
perished, might surely have been excepted from the wreck 
of idolatry, for the amusement and instruction of succeeding 
ages ; and either the zeal or the avarice of the archbishop,* 7 
might have been satiated with the rich spoils, which were the 
reward of his victory. While the images and vases of gold 
and silver were carefully melted, and those of a less valuable 
metal were contemptuously broken, and cast into the streets 
Theophilus labored to expose the frauds and vices of the min- 
isters of the idols ; their dexterity in the management of the 
loadstone ; their secret methods of introducing a human actor 
into a hollow statue ; * and their scandalous abuse of the con- 
fidence of devout husbands and unsuspecting females. 48 
Charges like these may seem to deserve some degree of 
credit, as they are not repugnant to the crafty and interested 
spirit of superstition. But the same spirit is equally prone to 



46 Nos vidimus armaria librorum quibus direptis, exinanita ea a 
nostris hominibus, nostris temporibus memorant. Orosius, 1. vi. c. 15, 
p. 421, edit. Havereamp. Though a bigot, and a controversial writer, 
Orosius seems to blush. 

47 Eunapius, in the Lives of Antoninus and iEdesius, execrates the 
sacrilegious rapine of Theophilus. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn, 
xiii. p. 453) quotes an epistle of Isidore of Pelusium, which reproaches 
the primate with the idolatrous worship of gold, the auri sacra fames. 

48 Rufinus names the priest of Saturn, who, in the character of the 
god, familiarly conversed with many pious ladies of quality; till he 
betrayed himself, in a moment of transport, when he could not dis- 
guise the tone of his voice. The authentic and impartial narrative 
of vEschines, (see Bayle, Dictionnaire Critique, Scamandre,) and the 
adventure of Mundus, (Joseph. Antiquitat. Judaic. 1. xviii. c. 3, p. 
877, edit. Havereamp,) may prove that such amorous frauds have 
been practised with success. 



* An English traveller, Mr. Wilkinson, has discovered the secret of the 
vocal Memnon. There was a cavity in which a person was concealed, and 
•truck a stone, which gave a ringing sound like brass. The Arabs, who 
Btood below when Mr. Wilkinson performed the miracle, describe-1 Vhe sound 
just as the author of the epigram, uc xuAaow t'vkevtoc.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 147 

the base practice of insulting and calumniating a fallen enemy $ 
and our belief is naturally checked by the reflection, that it is 
much less difficult to invent a fictitious story, than to support 
a practical fraud. The colossal statue of Serapis 49 was in- 
volved in the ruin of his temple and religion. A great num- 
ber of plates of different metals, artificially joined together, 
composed the majestic figure of the deity, who touched on 
either side the walls of the sanctuary. The aspect of Serapis, 
his sitting posture, and the sceptre, which he bore in his left 
hand, were extremely similar to the ordinary representations 
of Jupiter. He was distinguished from Jupiter by the basket, 
or bushel, which was placed on his head ; and by the em- 
blematic monster, which he held in his right hand ; the head 
and body of a serpent branching into three tails, which were 
again terminated by the triple heads of a dog, a lion, and a 
wolf. It was confidently affirmed, that if any impious hand 
should dare to violate the majesty of the god, the heavens and 
(he earth would instantly return to their original chaos. An 
intrepid soldier, animated by zeal, and armed with a weighty 
battle-axe, ascended the ladder ; and even the Christian mul- 
titude expected, with some anxiety, the event of the combat. 50 
He aimed a vigorous stroke against the cheek of Serapis ; 
ihe cheek fell to the ground ; the thunder was still silent, and 
both the heavens and the earth continued to preserve their 
accustomed order and tranquillity. The victorious soldier 
repeated his blows : the huge idol was overthrown, and broken 
in pieces ; and the limbs of Serapis were ignominiously 
d ragged through the streets of Alexandria. His mangled 
carcass was burnt in the Amphitheatre, amidst the shouts of 
the populace ; and many persons attributed their conversion 
to this discovery of the impotence of their tutelar deity. The 
popular modes of religion, that propose any visible and mate- 

49 See the images of Serapis, in Montfaueon, (torn. ii. p. 297 : ) t"ut 
the description of Macrobius (Saturnal. 1. i. c. 20) is much more pic- 
tuiesque and satisfactory. 

su Sed fortes tremuere manus, motique verenda. 

Mrtjestate loci, si robora sacra ferirent 
In sua credebant redituras membra secures. 
^Lucan. iii. 429.) " Is it true (said Augustus to a veteran of Italy, 
at whose house he supped) " that the man, who gave the first blow 
to the golden statue of Anaitis, was instantly deprived of his eyes, and 
of his life ? " — " / was that man, (replied the clear-sighted veteran,^ 
and you now sup on one of 'the legs of the goddess." (Plin. Hist. 
Nat it. xxx iii. 24.) 



14S THE DECLINE ANE FALL 

rial objects of worship, have the advantage of adapting and 
familiarizing themselves to the senses of mankind : but this 
advantage is counterbalanced by the various and inevitable 
accidents to which the faith of the idolater is exposed. It is 
Bcarci?ly possible, that, in every disposition of mind, he should 
preserve his implicit reverence for the idols, or the relics, 
which the naked eye, and the profane hand, are unable to dis 
tinguish from the most common productions of art or nature ; 
and. if, in the hour of danger, their secret and miraculous vir- 
tue does not operate for their own preservation, he scorns the 
vain apologies of his priests, and justly derides the object, and 
the folly, of his superstitious attachment. 51 After the fall of 
Serapis, some hopes were still entertained by the Pagans, that 
the Nile would refuse his annual supply to the impious mas- 
ters of Egypt ; and the extraordinary delay of the inundation 
seemed to announce the displeasure of the river-god. But 
this delay was soon compensated by the rapid swell of the 
waters. They suddenly rose to such an unusual height, as to 
comfort the discontented party with the pleasing expectation 
of a deluge ; till the peaceful river again subsided to the well 
known and fertilizing level of sixteen cubits, or about thirty 
English feet. 52 

The temples of the Roman empire were deserted, or 
destroyed ; but the ingenious superstition of the Pagans still 
attempted to elude the laws of Theodosius, by which all sac- 
rifices had been severely prohibited. The inhabitants uf the 
country, whose conduct was less opposed to the eye of mali- 
cious curiosity, disguised their religious, under the appear- 
ance of convivial, meetings. On the days of solemn festivals, 
they assembled in great numbers under the spreading shade 
of some consecrated trees ; sheep and oxen were slaughtered 
and roasted ; and this rural entertainment was sanctified by 
the use of incense, and by the hymns which were sung In 

41 The history of *he reformation affords frequent examples of th 9 
■udden change from superstition to contempt. 

62 Sozomen, 1. vii. c. 20. I have supplied the measure. The same 
standard, of the inundation, and consequently of the cubit, has uni- 
formly subsisted since the time of Herodotus. See Freret, in the 
Mfim. de 1' Academic des Inscriptions, torn. xvi. p. 344 — 353. Greaves's 
M-iScellancous Works, vol. i. p. 233. The Egyptian cubit is about 
twenty-two inches of the English measure.* 



Compare Wilkinson's Thebes and Egypt, p. 313. 



OK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 149' 

honoi of the gods. But it was alleged, that, as no part of 
the animal was made a burnt-offering, as no altar was pro- 
vided to leceive the blood, and as the previous oblation of 
salt cakes, and the concluding ceremony of libations, were 
carefully omitted, theso festal meetings did not involve the 
guests in the guilt, or penalty, of an illegal sacrifice. 53 What- 
ever might be the truth of the facts, or the merit of the 
distinction, 54 these vain pretences were swept away by the 
last edict of Theodosius, which inflicted a deadly wound on 
the superstition of the Pagans. 55 * This prohibitory law is 
expressed in the most absolute and comprehensive terms. 
" It is our will and pleasure," says the emperor, " that none 
of our subjects, whether magistrates or private citizens, how- 



63 Libanius (pro Temp lis, p. 15, 16, 17) pleads their cause with 
gentle and insinuating rhetoric. From the earliest age, such feasts 
had enlivened the country : and those of Bacchus (Georgic. ii. 380) 
had produced the theatre of Athens. See Godefroy, ad loc. Liban. 
and Codex Theodos. torn. vi. p. 284. 

54 Honorius tolerated these rustic festivals, (A. D. 399.) "Absque 
ullo sacrificio, atque ulla superstitione damnabili." But nine years 
afterwards he found it necessary to reiterate and enforce the same 
proviso, (Codex Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 17, 19.) 

45 Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 12. Jortin (Remarks on Eccles. 
History, vol. iv. p. 134) censures, with becoming asperity, the style 
and sentiments of this intolerant law. 



* Paganism maintained its ground for a considerable time in the rural 
districts. Endelechius, a poet who lived at the beginning of the fifth cen- 
tury, speaks of the cross as 

Signuni quod perhibent esse crucis Dei, 

Magnis qui colittir sulus inurbibus. 

In the middle of the same century, Maximus, bishop of Turin, writes 
against the heathen deities as if their worship was still in full vigor in the 
neighborhood of his city. Augustine complains of the encouragement of 
the Pagan rites by heathen landowners ; and Zeno of Verona, still later, 
reproves the apathy of the Christian proprietors in conniving at this 
abuse. (Compare Neander, ii. p. 169.) M. Beugnot shows that this was 
the case throughout the north and centre of Italy and in Sicily. But 
neither of these authors has adverted to one fact, which must have tended 
greatly to retard the progress of Christianity in these quarters. It was 
still chiefly a slave population which cultivated the soil ; and however, in 
the towns, the better class of Ch.istians might be eager to communicate 
'' the blessed liberty of the gospel " to this class of mankind ; however 
their condition could not but be silently ameliorated by the humanizing in 
fluence of Christianity ; yet, on the whole, no doubt the servile ekiss would 
be the least fitted to receive the gospel ; and its general propagation among 
them would be embarrassed by many peculiar difficulties. The rural pop- 
ulation was probably not entirely converted before the general establish 
merit o f the monastic institutions. Compare Quarterly Review of Beug- 
not, vol lvii. p. 52. — M. 



150 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ever exal'ed or however humble may be their rank and con- 
dition, shall presume, in any city or in any place, to worship 
an inanimate idol, by the sacrifice of a guiltless victim.'" 
The act of sacrificing, and the practice cf divination by the 
entrails of the victim, are declared (without any regard to the 
object of the inquiry) a crime of high treason against the 
state, which can be expiated only by the death of the guilty. 
The rites of Pagan superstition, which might seem less bloody 
and atrocious, are abolished, as highly injurious to the truth 
and honor of religion ; luminaries, garlands, frankincense, and 
libations of wine, are specially enumerated and condemned ; 
and the harmless claims of the domestic genius, of the house- 
nold gods, are included in this rigorous proscription. The 
ase of any of these profane and illegal ceremonies, subjects 
the offender to the forfeiture of the house or estate, where 
they have been performed ; and if he has artfully chosen the 
property of another for the scene of his impiety, he is com- 
pelled to discharge, without delay, a heavy fine of twenty-five 
pounds of gold, or more than one thousand pounds sterling. 
A fine, not less considerable, is imposed on the connivance of 
the secret enemies of religion, who shall neglect the duty of 
their respective stations, either to reveal, or to punish, the 
guilt of idolatry. Such was the persecuting spirit of the laws 
of Theodosius, which were repeatedly enforced by his sons 
and grandsons, with the loud and unanimous applause of the 
Christian world. 56 

In the cruel reigns of Decius and Dioclesian, Christianity 
had been proscribed, as a revolt from the ancient and hered- 
itary religion of the empire ; and the unjust suspicions which 



66 Such a charge should not be lightly made ; but it may surely bo 

i'ustified by the authority of St. Augustin, who thus addresses the 
)onatists : " Quis nostrum, quis vestrum non laudat leges ab Imper- 
atoribus datas adversus sacrificia Paganorum ? Et certe longe ibi poe- 
na severior constituta est ; illius quippe impietatis capitale supplicium 
est." Epist. xciii. No. 10, quoted by Le Clerc, (Bibliotheque Choisie, 
torn. viii. p. 277,) who adds some judicious reflections on the intoler- 
ance of the victorious Christians.* 



* Yet Augustine, with laudable inconsistency, disapproved of the forci- 
ble demolition of the temples. " Let us first extirpate the idolatry of the 
hearts of the heathen, and they will either themselves invite us or antici 

&ate us in the execution of this good work, torn. v. s. 62. Compare 
(eatder, ii. 169, and, in p. 155. a beautiful passage from Chrysostom against 
ail violent means of propagating Christianity. — M. 



OK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 151 

were entertained of a dark and dangerous faction, were, in 
some measure, countenanced by the inseparable union and 
rapid conquests of the Catholic church. But the sarr.e excuses 
of fear and ignorance cannot be applied to the Christian 
emperors who violated the precepts of humanity and of the 
Gospel. The experience of ages had betrayed the weakness, 
as well as folly, of Paganism ; the light of reason and of faith 
had already exposed, to the greatest part of mankind, the 
vanity of idols ; and the declining sect, which still adhered to 
their worship, might have been permitted to enjoy, in peacu 
and obscurity, the religious customs of their ancestors. Had 
the Pagans been animated by the undaunted zeal which 
possessed the minds of the primitive believers, the triumph 
of the Church must have been stained with blood ; and the 
martyrs of Jupiter and Apollo might have embraced the 
glorious opportunity of devoting their lives and fortunes at 
the foot of their altars. But such obstinate zeal was not 
congenial to the loose and careless temper of Polytheism. 
The violent and repeated strokes of the orthodox princes 
were broken by the soft and yielding substance against which 
they were directed ; and the ready obedience of the Pagans 
protected them from the pains and penalties of the Theodosian 
Code. 57 Instead of asserting, that the authority of the gods 
was superior to that of the emperor, they desisted, with a 
plaintive murmur, from the use of those sacred rites which 
their sovereign had condemned. If they were sometimes 
tempted by a sally of passion, or by the hopes of concealment, 
to indulge their favorite superstition, their humble repentance 
disarmed the severity of the Christian magistrate, and they sel- 
dom refused to atone for their rashness, by submitting, with 
some secret reluctance, to the yoke of the Gospel. The churches 
were filled with the increasing multitude of these unworthy 
proselytes, who had conformed, from temporal motives, to 
the reigning religion ; and whilst they devoutly imitated the 
postures, and recited the prayers, of the faithful, they satisfied 
their conscience by the silent and sincere invocation of the 
gods of antiquity. 58 If the Pagans wanted patience to suffer, 



67 Orosius, 1. vii. c. 28, p. 537. Augustin (Enarrat. in Psalm cxl 
apud Lardner, Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 458) insults their 
cowardice. " Quis eorum comprehensus est in sacriacio (cum his 
leigibus ista prohiberentur) et non negavit ? " 

M Libanius (pro Templis, p. 17, 18) mentions, without censure, 



1&4 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

they wanted spirit to resist ; and the scattered myriads, wlv 
deplored the ruin of the temples, yielded, without a contest, 
to rhe fortune of their adversaries. The disorderly opposition 59 
of the peasants of Syria, and the populace of Alexandria, to 
the rage of private fanaticism, was silenced by the name and 
authority of the emperor. The Pagans of the West, without 
contributing to the elevation of Eugenius, disgraced, by then 
partial attachment, the cause and character of the usurper 
The clergy vehemently exclaimed, that he aggravated the 
crime of rebellion by the guilt of apostasy ; that, by his per- 
mission, the altar of Victory was again restored ; and that the 
idolatrous symbols of Jupiter and Hercules were displayed in 
the field, against the invincible standard of the cross. But 
the vain hopes of the Pagans were soon annihilated by the 
defeat of Eugenius ; and they were left exposed to the resent 
mcnt of the conqueror, who labored to deserve the favor of 
Heaven by the extirpation of idolatry. 60 

A nation of slaves is always prepared to applaud the clem- 
ency of their master, who, in the abuse of absolute power, 
does not proceed to the last extremes of injustice and oppres- 
sion. Theodosius might undoubtedly have proposed to his 
Pagan subjects the alternative of baptism or of death ; ana 
the eloquent Libanius has praised the moderation of a prince, 
who never enacted, by any positive law, that all his subjects 
should immediately embrace and practise the religion of their 
sovf "eign. 61 The profession of Christianity was not made an 
essential qualification for the enjoyment of the civil rights 
of society, nor were any peculiar hardships imposed on the 
sectaries, who credulously received the fables of Ovid, and 
obstinately rejected the miracles of the Gospel. The palace, 
the schools, the army, and the senate, were filled with declared 
and devout Pagans ; they obtained, without distinction, the 



the occasional conformity, and as it were theatrical play, of these 
hypocrites. 

59 Libanius concludes his apology (p. 32) by declaring to the em- 
peror, that unless he expressly warrants the destruction of the tem- 
ples, iciQi rot)? T«r oyptnii <5fff7l<Jra;, y.ixi a'Toi"? xai Tu> vu^iia (lurfi^owias 
the proprietors will defend themselves and the laws. 

60 Paulinus, in Vit. Ambros. c. 26. Augustin de Civitat. Dei, 1. v 
Ij. 20. Theodoret, 1. v. c. 24. 

•' Libanius suggests the form of a persecuting edict, which Theodo- 
6ius might enact, (pro Templis, p. 32 ; ) a rash joke, and a dangerou* 
experiment, Some rrinces would have taken his advice. 



oe I'flE ruMaN empire. 153 

C»W. ana military honors of the empire.* Theodosius 
distinguished his liberal regard for virtue and genius by the 
consular dignity, which he bestowed on Symmachus ; 62 and 
by the personal friendship which he expressed to Libanius ; f>3 
and the two eloquent apologists of Paganism were never 
required either to change or to dissemble their religious 
opinions. The Pagans were indulged in the most licentioua 
freedom of speech and writing ; the historical and philosophic 
remains of Eunapius, Zosimus, 6 ^and the fanatic teachers of 

62 Denique pro meritis terrestribus aequa rependens 
Munera, sacricolis summos impertit honores. 
Dux bonus, et certare sinit cum laude suorum, 
Nee pago implicitos per debita culmina mundi 
Ire viros prohibet.f 

Ipse magistratum tibi consulis, ipse tribunal 
Contulit. 

Prudent, in Syramach. i. 617, &c. 

63 Libanius (pro. Templis, p. 32) is proud that Theodosius should 
thus distinguish a man, who even in his presence would swear by 
Jupiter. Yet this presence seems to be no more than a figure of 
rhetoric. 

64 Zosimus, who styles himself Count and Ex-advocate of the 
Treasury, reviles, with partial and indecent bigotry, the Christian 
princes, and even the father of his sovereign. His work must have 
been privately circulated, since it escaped the invectives of the eccle- 



* The most remarkable instance of this, at a much later period, occurs 
in the person of Merobaudc.s, a general and a poet, who flourished in the 
first half of the fifth century. A statue in honor of Merobaudes was placed 
in the Forum of Trajan, of which the inscription is still extant. Frag- 
ments of his poems have been recovered by the industry and sagacity of 
Niebuhr. In one passage, Merobaudes, in the genuine heathen spirit, 
attributes the ruin of the empire to the abolition of Paganism, and almost 
renews the old accusation of Atheism against Christianity. He imper- 
sonates some deity, probably Discord, who summons Bellona to take arms 
for the destruction of Rome ; and in a strain of fierce irony recommends 
to her, among other fatal measures, to extirpate the gods of Rome ■- 

Roma, ipsique tremant furialia murmura reges. 

Jam superos terris atque hospita mimina pelle : 

Roman/as populare Deos, et null us in aris 

Vestte exor.atm fotus strut pallrnt ignis. 

His instructs dolis palatia eclsa subibo; 

Majoruni mores, et pectora prisca fugabo 

Funditus ; atque simul, nullo discrimine rerum \ 

Spernantur fortes, nee sic reverentia justis. 

Attica neglecto pereat facundia Phoebo : 

Indignis contingat honos, et pontlera rerum ; 

Non virtue sed casus agat ; tristisque cupido ; 

Pectoribus srevi demons furor Kstuet revi ; 

Omniaque h<EC sine mentc Jovis, sine niimint summo 

Merobaudes in Niebuhr's edit, of the Byzantines, p. 14. — M 
+ I have inserted some lines omitted by Gibbon. — M. 

61 



154 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the school of Plato, betray the most furious animosity, and 
contain the sharpest invectives, against the sentiments and 
conduct of their victorious adversaries. If these audacious 
libels were publicly known, we must applaud the good sense 
of the Christiau princes, who viewed, with a smile of 
contempt, the last struggles of superstition and despair. 85 But 
the Imperial laws, which prohibited the sacrifices and cere- 
monies of Paganism, were rigidly executed; and every hour 
contributed to destroy the influence of a religion vhich was 
supported by custom, rather than by argument. The devotion 
of the poet, or the philosopher, may be secretly nourished by 
prayer, meditation, and study ; but the exercise of public 
worship appears to be the only solid foundation of the reli- 
gious sentiments of the people, which derive their force from 
imitation and habit. The interruption of that public exercise 
may consummate, in the period of a few years, the important 
work of a national revolution. The memory of theological 
opinions cannot long be preserved, without the artificial helps 
of priests, of temples, and of books. 06 The ignorant vulgar, 
whose minds are still agitated "by the blind hopes and terrors 
of superstition, will be soon persuaded by their superiors to 
direct their vows to the reigning deities of the age ; and will 
insensibly imbibe an ardent zeal for the support and propaga- 
tion of the new doctrine, which spiritual hunger at first 
compelled them to accept. The generation that arose in the 
world after the promulgation of the Imperial laws, was attracted 
within the pale of the Catholic church : and so rapid, yet so 
gentle, was the fall of Paganism, that only twenty-eight years 
after the death of Theodosius, the faint and minute vestiges 
were no longer visible to the eye of the legislator. 67 

siastical historians prior to Evagrius, (1. iii. c. 40 — 42,) who lived to- 
wards the end of the sixth century.* 

65 Yet the Pagans of Africa complained, that the times would not 
-kdow them to answer with freedom the City of tiod ; nor does St. 
Augustin (v. 26) deny the charge. 

60 The Moors of Spain, Avho secretly preserved the Mahometan reli- 
gion above a century, under the tyranny of the Inquisition, possessed 
the Koran, with the peculiar use of the Arabic tbngiie. See the 
curious and honest story of their expulsion in Geddes, (Miscellanies 
vol. i. p. 1—198.) 

e7 Paganos qui supersunt, quanquam jam nullos esse credamus, &c 



• Heyne, in Lis Disquisitio in Zosimum Ejusque Fidem, places Zosimu* 
-wards the close of tte rifth century. Z-jsim. Heynii, p. xvii. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIHE. 155 

The ruin of the Pagan religion is described by the sophists 
as a dreadful and amazing prodigy, which covered the eanh 
with darkness, and restorec the ancient dominion of chaos 
and of night. They relate, in solemn and pathetic strains, 
that the temples were converted into sepulchres, and that the 
holy places, which had been adorned by the statues of the 
gods, were basely polluted by the relics of Christian martyrs. 
4 The monks " (a race of filthy animals, to whom Eunapiua 
is tempted to refuse the name of men) " are the authors of 
tl>e new worship, which, in the place of those deities who 
are conceived by the understanding, has substituted the 
meanest and most contemptible slaves. The head.-), Salted 
and pickled, of those infamous malefactors, who for the mul- 
lude of their crimes have suffered a just and ignominious 
death ; their bodies, still marked by the impression of the 
lash, and the scars of those tortures which were inflicted by 
the sentence of the magistrate ; such " (continues Eunapius) 
" are the gods which the earth produces in our days ; such are 
the martyrs, the supreme arbitrators of our prayers and peti- 
tions to the Deity, whose tombs are now consecrated as the- 
objects of the veneration of the people." 68 Without approv- 
ing the malice, it is natural enough to share the surprise of 
the sophist, the spectator of a revolution, which raised those 
obscure victims of the laws of Rome to the rank of celestial 
and invisible protectors of the Roman empire. The grateful 
respect of the Christians for the martyrs of the faith, was 
exalted, by time and victory, into religious adoration ; and 
the most illustrious of the saints and prophets were deserv- 
edly associated to the honors of the martyrs. One hundred 
and fifty years after the glorious deaths of St. Peter and St 
Paul, the Vatican and the Ostian road were distinguished by 
the tombs, or rather by the trophies, of those spiritual 



Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 22, A. D. 423. The younger Theo- 
dosius was afterwards satisfied, that his judgment had been somewhat 
premature.* 

68 See Eunapius, in the Life of the sophist iEdesius ; in tfcat of 
Eustathius he foretells the ruin of Paganism, r.ai n fiv6a>det, xai amdif 

tKUTOf TVQUVttjOtl Tu i/ll Y'i? XuAAiatlt. 



• The statement of Gibbon is much too strongly worded. M. Beugnot 
has traced the vestiges of Paganism in the West, after this period, in 
monuments and inscriptions with curious ind> stry. Compare likewise 
ante, p. 112, on tie more tariy progress of Christianity in tke rural 
iistricts. — M. 



156 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

heroes. 69 In the age which followed the conversion of Con- 
stantine, the emperors, the consuls, and the generals of 
armies, devoutly visited the sepulchres of a tentmaker and 
a fisherman ; 70 and their venerable bones were deposited 
under the altars of Christ, on which the bishops of the royal 
city continually offered the unbloody sacrifice. 71 The new 
capital of the Eastern world, unable to produce any ancient 
and domestic trophies, was enriched by the spoils of depend- 
ent provinces. The bodies of St. Andrew, St. Luke, and St. 
Timothy, had reposed near three hundred years in the obscure 
graves, from whence they were transported, in solemn pomp, 
to the church of the apostles, which the magnificence of 
Constantine had founded on the banks of the Thracian Bos- 
phorus. 72 About fifty years afterwards, the same banks were 
honored by the presence of Samuel, the judge and prophet 
of the people of Israel. His ashes, deposited in a golden 
vase, and covered with a silken veil, were delivered by the 
bishops into each other's hands. The relics of Samuel were 
received by the people with the same joy and reverence 
which they would have shown to the living prophet ; the 
highways, from Palestine to the gates of Constantinople, were 
filled with an uninterrupted procession ; and the emperor 
Arcadius himself, at the head of the most illustrious mem- 
bers of the clergy and senate, advanced to meet his extraor- 
dinary guest, who had always deserved and claimed the 
homage of kings. 73 The example of Rome and Constanti- 

69 Caius, (apud Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. ii. c. 25,) a Roman presby- 
ter, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, (A. D. 202 — 219,) is an early 
witness of this superstitious practice. 

70 Chrysostom. Quod Ohristus sit Deus. Tom. i. nov. edit. No. 9. 
I am indebted for this quotation to Benedict the XlVth's pastoral 
letter on the Jubilee of the year 1750. See the curious and entertain- 
ing letters of M. Chais, torn. iii. 

71 Male facit ergo Romanus episcopus ? qui, super mortuorara 
hominum, Petri & Pauli, secundum nos, ossa veneranda . . . offcrt 
Domino sacrificia, et tumulos eorum, Christi arbitratur altaria. Je- 
com. torn. ii. advers. Vigilant, p. 183. 

72 Jerom (torn. ii. p. 122) bears witness to these translations, 
which are neglected by the ecclesiastical historians. The passion of 
Bt. Andrew at Patrae is described in an epistle from the clergy of 
Achaia, which Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 60, No. 34) wishes to 
believe, and Tillemont is forced to reject. St. Andrew was adopted 
VS the spiritual founder oi Constantinople, (Mem. Eccles. torn. i. p. 
217—323, 588—594.) 

73 Jerom. (torn. ii. p. 122' pompously describes the translation of 
SamueL which is noticed it all the chronicles of the times. 



OF THE ItOMAN EMPIRE. 157 

nople confirmed the faith and discipline of the Catholic world. 
The honors of t' le saints and martyrs, after a feeble and Inef- 
fectual murmur of profane reason, 74 were universally estab- 
lished ; and in the age of Ambrose and Jerom, something 
was still deemed wanting to the sanctity of a Christian church, 
t'H <t had been consecrated by some portion of holy relics, 
which fixed and inflamed the devotion of the faithful. 

In the long period of twelve hundred years, which elapsed 
between the leign of Constantine and the reformation of 
Luther, the worship of saints and relics corrupted thp pure 
mid perfect simplicity of the Christian model : and some 
Bymptoms of degeneracy may be observed even in the first 
generations which adopted and cherished this pernicious inno- 
vation. 

I. The satisfactory experience, that the relics of saints 
were more valuable than gold or precious stones, 75 stimulated 
the clergy to multiply the treasures of the church. Without 
much regard for truth or probability, they invented names for 
skeletons, and actions for names. The fame of the apostles, 
and of the holy men who had imitated their virtues, was 
darkened by religious fiction. To the invincible band of 
genuine and primitive martyrs, they added myriads of imagi- 
nary heroes, who had never existed, except in the fancy of 
crafty or credulous legendaries : and there is reason to sus- 
pect, that Tours might not be the only diocese in which the 
bones of a malefactor were adored, instead of those of a 
saint. 76 A superstitious practice, which tended to increase 
the temptations of fraud, and credulity, insensibly extin- 
guished the light of history, and of reason, in the Christian 
world. 

7 * The presbyter Vigihmtius, the Protestant of his age, firmly, 
though ineifectu ally, withstood the superstition of monks, relics, 
taints, fasts, &c. for which Jerom compares him to the Hydra, Cerbe- 
rus, the Centaurs, &c, and considers him only as the organ of the 
Daemon, (torn. ii. p. 120 — 126.) Whoever will peruse the controversy 
of St. Jerom and Vigilantius, and St. Augustin's account of the mira- 
cles of St. Stephen, may speedily gain some idea of the spirit of the 
Fathers. 

75 M. de Beausobre (Hist, du Manicheisme, torn. ii. p. 648) has ap- 
plied a worldly sense to the pious observation of the clergy of Smyr- 
na, who carefully preserved the relics of St. Polycarp the martyr. 

w Martin of Tours (see his Life, c. 8, by Sulpicius Severus) extort- 
ed this confession from the mouth of the dead man. The error is 
allowed to be natural ; the discovery is supposed to be mir aciUoua. 
Which of the two was likely to happen most frequently } 



158 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

II. But th 3 progress of superstition would have been much 
less rapid and victorious, if the faith of the people had not 
been assisted by the seasonable aid of visions and miracles, 
to ascertain the authenticity and virtue of the most suspicious 
relics. In the reign of the younger Theodosius, Lucian, 77 a 
presbyter of Jerusalem, a.id the ecclesiastical minister of 
the village of Gaphargamala, about twenty miles from the 
city, related a very singular dream, which, to remove his 
doubts, had been repeated on three successive Saturdays. A 
venerable figure stood before hiin, in the silence of the night, 
with a long beard, a white robe, and a gold rod ; announced 
himself by the nune _o/ Gamaliel, and revealed to the aston- 
ished presbyter, that his own corpse, with the bodies of his 
son Abibas, his friend Nicodemus, and the illustrious Stephen, 
the first martyr of the Christian faith, were secretly buried 
in the adjaceni field. He added, with -some impatience, that 
it was time to release himself and his companions from their 
obscure prison ; that their appearance would be salutary to a 
distressed world ; and that they had made choice of Lucian 
to inform the bishop of Jerusalem of their situation and their 
wishes. The doubts and difficulties which still retarded this 
important discovery were successively removed by new 
visions ; and the ground was opened by the bishop, in the 
oresence of an innumerable multitude. The coffins of Gama- 
liel, of his son, and of* his friend, were found in regular 
order ; but when the fourth coffin, which contained the 
temains of Stephen, was shown to the light, the earth trem- 
bled, and an odor, such as that of paradise, was smelt, which 
instantly cured the various diseases of seventy-three of the 
assistants. The companions of Stephen were left in their 
peaceful residence of Caphargamala : but the relics of the 
first martyr were transported, in solemn procession, to a 
church constructed in their honor on Mount Sion ; and the 
minute particles of those relics, a drop of blood, 78 or the 

77 Lucian composed in Greek his original narrative, which has 
been translated by Avitus, and published by Baronius, (Annal. Ec- 
eles. A. D. 415, No. 7—16.) The Benedictine editors of St. Augustin 
nave given (at the end of the work de Civitate Dei) two several 
copies, with many various readings. It is the character oi' falsehood 
to be loose and inconsistent. The most incredible parts of the legend 
are smoothed and softened by Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. torn. ii. p. 
9, &c.) 

78 A phia„ of St. Stej hen's blood was annually liquefied at Naples, 
kill he was supers aded by St. Januarius, (Buinart. Hist. Persecui. 
Vandal, p. 529.) 



CF THE ROMAN EM FIRE. 159 

scrapings of a bone, were acknowledged, in almost ever? 
province of the Roman world, to possess a divine and mirac- 
ulous virtue. The grave and learned Augustin, 79 whose 
understanding scarcely admits the excuse of credulity, has 
attested the innumerable prodigies which were performed in 
Africa by the relics of St. Stephen ; and this marvellous nar 
rative is inserted in the elaborate work of the City of God, 
which the bishop of Hippo designed as a solid and immortal 
proof of the truth of Christianity. Augustin solemnly de- 
clares, that he lias selected those miracles only which were 
publicly certified by the persons who were either the objects, 
or the spectators, of the power of the martyr. Many prodi- 
gies were omitted, or forgotten; and 'Hippo had been less 
favorably treated thau the other cities of the province. And 
yet the bishop enumerates above seventy miracles, of which 
three wore resurrections from the dead, in the space of two 
years, a> d within the limits of his own diocese. 80 If we 
enlarge our view to all the dioceses, and all the saints, of the 
Christian world, it will not be easy to calculate the fables, and 
the errors, which issued from this inexhaustible source. But 
we may surely be allowed to observe, that -a miracle, in that 
age of superstition and credulity, lost its name and its merit, 
-since it could scarcely be considered as a deviation from the 
ordinary and established laws of nature. 

III. The innumerable miracles, of which the tombs of the 
martyrs were the perpetual theatre, revealed to the pious be- 
liever the actual state and constitution of the invisible world ; 
and his religious speculations appeared to be founded on the 
firm basis of fact and experience. Whatever might be the con- 
dition of vulgar souls, in the long interval between the disso- 
'ution and the resurrection of their bodies, it was evident that 
tne superior spirits of the saints and martyrs did not consume 



79 Augustin composed the two-and-twenty books de Civitatc De? 
in the space of thirteen years, A. D. 413 — 42(i. (Tillemont, Mem. 
Eccles. torn. xiv. p. 608, &c.) His learning is too often borrowed, 
and his arguments are too often his own ; but the whole work claims 
the merit of a magnificent design, vigorously, and not unskilfully, 
executed. 

81 See Augustin dc Civitat. Dei, 1. xxii. c. 22, and the Appendix, 
which contains two books of St. Stephen's miracles, by Evodius, 
bishop of Uzalis. Freculphus (apud Basnage, Hist, des Juifs, torn, 
viii. p. 249) has preserved a Gallic or a Spanish proverb, " Whoever 
pretends to have read all the miracles of St. Stephen, he lies." 



lb'O THE DECLINE AND FALL 

that portion of their existence in silent and high nous sleep 8 
It was evident (without presuming to determine the place of 
their habitation, or the nature of their felicity) :hat they en 
joyed the lively and active consciousness of the /r happiness, 
their virtue, and their powers; and that they had already 
secured the possession of their eternal reward. The enlarge- 
ment of their intellectual faculties surpassed the measure o' 
the human imagination ; since it was proved by experienct 
that they were capable of hearing and understanding the 
various petitions of their numerous votaries ; who, in the sam» 
moment of time, but in the most distant parts of the world, 
invoked the name and assistance of Stephen or of Martin. 63 
The confidence of their petitioners was founded on the per- 
suasion, that the saints, who reigned with Christ, cast an eye 
of pity upon earth ; that they were warmly interested in the 
prosperity of the Catholic Church ; and that the individuals, 
who imitated the example of their faith and piety, were the 
peculiar and favorite objects of their most tender regard. 
Sometimes, indeed, their friendship might be influenced by 
considerations of a less exalted kind : they viewed, with par- 
tial affection, the places which had been consecrated by their 
birth, their residence, their death, their burial, or the posses 
sion of their relics. The meaner passions of pride, avarice, 
and revenge, may be deemed unworthy of a celestial breast 
yet the saints themselves condescended to testify their grate- 
ful approbation of the liberality of their votaries ; and the 
sharpest bolts of punishment were hurled against those im- 
pious wretches, who violated their magnificent shrines, or 
disbelieved their supernatural power. 83 Atrocious, indeed. 



81 Burnet (de Statu Mortuorum, p. 56—84) collects the opinions of 
the Fathers, as far as they assert the sleep, or repose, of human souls 
till the day of judgment." He afterwards exposes (p. 91, &c.) the in- 
conveniences which must arise, if they possessed a more active and 
sensible existence. 

M Vigilantius placed the souls of the prophets and martyrs, either 
ji the bosom of Abraham, (in loco refrigerii,) or else under the altar 
of God. Nee posse suis tumulis et ubi voluerunt adesse prasentes. 
But Jerom (torn. ii. p. 122) .sternly refutes this blasphemy. Tu Deo 
leges pones? Tu apostolus vihcula injicies, ut usque ad diem judicii 
teneantur custodia, nee sint cum Domino suo ; de quibus scriptum 
est, Sequuntur Agnum quocunque vadit. Si Agnus ubique, ergo, ei 
hi, qui cum Agno sunt, ubique esse credendi sunt. Et cum diab^lus 
et damones tcto vagentur in orbe, &c. 

83 Fleurv, Discours sur 1'llist. Ecclesiastique. iii. p. 80. 



OF THE ROMAN EBTPIRE. 161 

must lia vc been the guilt, and strange would have been the 
Bcepticism, of those men, if they had obstinately resisted the 
proofs of a divine agency, which the elements, the whole* 
range of the animal creation, and even the subtle and invisi- 
ble operations of the human mind, were compelled to obey. 84 
The immediate, and almost instantaneous, effects that were 
supposed to follow the prayer, or the offence, satisfied the 
Christians of the ample measure of favor and authority which 
the saints enjoyed in the presence of the Supreme God ; and 
it seemed almost superfluous to inquire whether they were 
continually obliged to intercede before the throne of grace ; 
or whether they might not be permitted to exercise, according 
to the dictates of their benevolence and justice, the delegated 
powers of their subordinate ministry. The imagination, which 
had been raised by a painful effo ,- i to the contemplation and 
worship of the Universal Cause, eagerly embraced such in- 
ferior objects of adoration as were more proportioned to its 
gross conceptions and imperfect faculties. The sublime and 
simple theology of the primitive Christians was gradually 
corrupted ; and the monarchy of heaven, already clouded by 
metaphysical subtleties, was degraded by the introduction of 
a popular mythology, which tended to restore the reign of 
polytheism. eo 

IV. As the objects of religion were gradually reduced to 
the standard of the imagination, the rites and ceremonies 
were introduced that seemed most powerfully to affect the 
senses of the vulgar. If, in the beginning of the fifth cen- 
tury, 86 Tertullian, or Lactantius, 87 had been suddenly raised 

84 At Minorca, the relics of St. Stephen converted, in eight days, 
540 Jews ; with the help, indeed, of some wholesome severities, such 
as burning the synagogue, chiving the obstinate infidels to starve 
among the rocks, &c. See the original letter of Severus, bishop of 
Minorca, (ad calccm St. Augustin. de Civ. Dei,) and tiie judicious 
remarks of Basnage, (torn. viii. p. 245 — 251.) 

85 Mr. Hume (Essays, vol. ii. p. 434) observes, like a philosopher, 
he natural flux and reflux of polytheism and theism. 

86 D'Aubigne (see his own Memoires, p. 156 — 160) frankly offered, 
with the consent of the Huguenot ministers, to allow the first 400 
years as the rule of faith. The Cardinal du Perron fc aggled for forty 
years more, which were indiscreetly given. Yet neither party would 
have found their account m this foolish bargain. 

87 The w6rship practised and inculcated by Tertullian, Lactantius, 
Arnobius, &c, is so extremely pure and spiritual, that their declania« 
tions against the Pagan, sometimes glance against the Jewish, cere- 
inciies. 

61* 



162 THE uECLINE / ND FALL 

from the dead, to assist at the festival of some popular saint, 
or martyr,** 8 they would have gazed with astonishment, and 
indignation, on the profane spectacle, which had succeeded tc 
the pure and spiritual worship of a Christian congregation. 
As soon as the doors of the church were thrown open, they 
must have heen otfended by the smoke of incense, the perfume 
of flowers, and the glare of lamps and tapers, which diffused, 
at noonday, a gaudy, superfluous, and, in their opinion, a 
sacrilegious light. If they approached the balustrade of the 
altar, they made their way through the prostrate crowd, con- 
sisting, for the most part, of strangers and pilgrims, who 
resorted to the city on the vigil of the feast ; and who already 
felt the strong intoxication of fanaticism, and, perhaps, of 
wine. Their devout kisses were imprinted on the walls and 
pavement of the sacred edifice ; and their fervent prayers were 
directed, whatever might be the language of their church, to 
the bones, the blood, or the ashes of the saint, which were 
usually concealed, by a linen or silken veil, from the eyes of 
the vulgar. The Christiana frequented the tombs of the mar- 
tyrs, in the hope of obtaining, from their powerful intercession, 
every sort of spiritual, but more especially of temporal, 
blessings. They implored the preservation of their health, or 
the cure of their infirmities ; the fruitfulness of their barren 
wives, or the safety and happiness of their children. When- 
ever they undertook any distant or dangerous journey, they 
requested, that the holy martyrs would be their guides and 
protectors on the road; and if they returned without having 
experienced any misfortune, they again hastened to the tombs 
of the martyrs, to celebrate, with grateful thanksgivings, their 
obligations to the memory and relics of those heavenly pa- 
trons. The walls were hung round with symbols of the favors 
which they had received ; eyes, and hands, and feet, of gold 
and silver : and edifying pictures, which could not long escape 
the abuse of indiscreet or idolatrous devotion, represented 
the image, the attributes, and the miracles of the tutelar saint. 
The same uniform original spirit of superstition might suggest, 
in the most distant ages and countries, the same methods of 

88 Faustus the Manichaean accuses the Catholics of idolatry. Yer- 
titis idola in martyrcs . . . quos votis similibus colitis. M. de 
Beausobre, (Hist. Critique du Mamcheisme, torn. ii. p. 629—700.) a 
Protestant, but a philosopher, has represented, with candcr and 
learning, trie introduction of Christian idolatry in the fourth and tilth 
cenlures. 



OF THE ROMAN EMVIRE. 163 

deceiving the credulity, and of affecting the senses of man- 
kind : 89 but it must ingenuously be confessed, that the minis 
iers of the Catholic church imitated the profane model, which 
they were impatiant to destroy. The most respectable bishops 
had persuaded themselves, that the ignorant rustics would 
more cheerfullv renounce the superstitions of Paganism, if 
they found some resemblance, some compensation, in the 
bosom of Christianity. The religion of Constantine achieved 
in less than a century, the final conquest of the Roman em- 
pire : but the v'ctors themselves were insensibly subdued bv 
the arts of their vanquished rivals. 90 * 



89 Tho resemblance of superstition, which could not be imitated, 
might be traced from Japan to Mexico. Warburton has seized this 
idea, which he distorts, by rendering it too general and absolute, 
(Divine Legation, vol. iv. p. 12(5, &c.) 

9U The imitation of Paganism is the subject of Dr. Middleton's 
agreeable letter from Rome. Warburton's animadversions obliged 
1dm to connect (vol, hi, p. 120—132) the history of the two religions, 
und to prove the antiquity of the Christian copy. 



* But there was always this important difference between Christian and 
heathen Polytheism- tn Paganism this was the whole religion ; in the 
darkest ages of Christianity, some, however obscure and vague, Christian 
notions of future retribution, of the life after de? *.h, lurked at the bottom, 
and op >rated. to q. certain extent, on the thoughts and feelings, eometirawi 
ua the actions. — at* 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

FINAL DIVISION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE BETWEEN THE SONS 
OF THEODOSIUS. — -'REIGN OF ARCADIUS AND HONORIUS. — 

ADMINISTRATION OF RUFINUS AND STILICHO. REVOLT AND 

DEFEAT OF GILDO IN AFRICA. 

The genius of Rome expired with Theodosius ; the last of 
the successors of Augustus and Constantine, who appeared in 
the field at the head of their armies, and whose authority was 
universally acknowledged throughout the whole extent of tr>n 
empire. The memory of his virtues still continued, however, 
to protect the feeble and inexperienced youth of his two sons. 
After the death of their father, Arcadius and Honorius were 
saluted, by the unanimous consent of mankind, as the lawful 
emperors of the East, and of the West ; and the oath of 
fidelity was eagerly taken by every order of the state ; the 
senates of old and new Rome, the clergy, the magistrates 
the soldiers, and the people. Arcadius, who was then about 
eighteen years of age, was born in Spain, in the humble 
habitation of a private family. But he received a princely 
education in the palace of Constantinople ; and his inglorious 
life was spent in that peaceful and splendid seat of royalty 
from whence he appeared to reign over the provinces of 
Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, from the Lower Dan 
ube to the confines of Persia and ^Ethiopia. His youngei 
brother, Honorius, assumed, in the eleventh year of his age 
the nominal government of Italy, Africa, Gaul, Spain, ana 
Britain ; and the troops, which guarded the frontiers of his 
kingdom, were opposed, on one side, to the Caledonians, and 
on the other, to the Moors. The great and martial prefecture 
of Illyricum was divided between the two princes : the de- 
fence and possession of the provinces of Noricum, Pannonia 
and Dalmatia, still belonged to the Western empire ; but the 
two large dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia, which Gratian 
had intrusted to the valor of Theodosius, were forever united 
to the empire of the East. The boundary in Europe was na 
very different from the line which now separates the Ger 
mans and the Turks ; and the respective advantages of tern 
164 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 105 

tory, riches, populousness, and military strength, were fairly 
balanced and compensated, in this final and permanent divis- 
ion of the Roman empire. The hereditary sceptre of tht» 
Bons of Theodosius appeared to be the gift of nature, and of 
their father ; the generals and ministers had been accustomed 
to adore the majesty of the royal infants ; and the army anr 
people were not admonished of their rights, and of their 
power, by the dangerous example of a recent election. The 
gradual discovery of the weakness of Arcadius and Honorius, 
and the repeated calamities of their reign, were not sufficient 
to obliterate the deep and early impressions of loyalty. The 
subjects of Rome, who still reverenced the persons, or rathei 
the names, of their sovereigns, beheld, with equal abhorrence, 
the rebels who opposed, and the ministers who abused, the 
authority of the throne. 

Theodosius had tarnished the glory of his reign by the 
elevation of Rufinus ; an odious favorite, who, in an age of 
civil and religious faction, has deserved, from every party, 
the imputation of every crime. The strong impulse of ambi- 
tion and avarice 1 had urged Rufinus to abandon his native 
country, an obscure corner of Gaul,~ to advance his fortune 
in the capital of the East : the talent of bold and ready elocu- 
tion 3 qualified him to succeed in the lucrative profession of 
the law ; and his success in that profession was a regular 
step to the most honorable and important employments of the 
state. He was raised, by just degrees, to the station of master 
of the offices. In the exercise of his various functions, so 
essentially connected with the whote system of civil govern- 
ment, he acquired the confidence of a monarch, who »oon 
discovered his diligence and capacity in business, and who 
long remained ignorant of the pride, the malice, and the 
covetousness of his disposition. These vices were concealed 



1 Alecto, envious of the public felicity, convenes an infernal synod ; 
Megaera recommends her pupil Rufinus, and excites him to deeds of 
mischic-f, &e. But there is as much difference between Claudian's 
fury a.id that of Virgil, as between the characters of Tumus and 
Rufinuo. 

3 It is evident, (Tillemont, Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p. 770,) though 
De Marca is ashamed of his countryman, that Rufinus was born at 
Elusa, the metropolis of Novempopulania, now a small village of G&s- 
oony, (D'Anville, Notice de l'Aiicieime Gaule, p. 289.) 

s PI dostorgius 1. xi. c. 3, with (Jcdefroy's Dissert, p. 440. 



166 



THE DECLINE AND FALI 



bsnpath the mask of profound dissimulation ; 4 his passions 
were subservient only to the passions of his master; yet, 
ai the horrid massacre of Thessalonica, the cruel Rufinus 
inflamed the fury, without imitating the repentance, of The 
odosius. The minister, who viewed with proud indifference 
the rest of mankind, never forgave the appearance of an 
injury ; and his personal enemies had forfeited, in his opinior 
die merit of all public services, Promotus, the master-general 
of the infantry, had saved the empire from the invasion of 
the Ostrogoths ; but he indignantly supported the preeminence 
of a rival, whose character and profession he despised ; ana 
in the midst of a public council, the impatient soldier was 
provoked to chastise with a blow the indecent pride of the 
favorite. This act of violence was represented to the emperoi 
as an insult, which it was incumbent on his dignity to re- 
sent. The disgrace and exile of Promotus were signified by 
a peremptory order, to repair, without delay, to a military 
station on the banks of the Danube ; and the death of that 
general (though he was slain in a skirmish with the Rarba- 
nans) was imputed to the perfidious arts of Rufinus. 5 The 
sacrifice of a hero gratified his revenge ; the honors of the 
consulship elated his vanity ; but his power was still imperfec' 
and precarious, as long as the important posts of preefect of 
the East, and of prcefect of Constantinople, were filled by 
Tatian, 6 and his son Proculus; whose united authority bah 
anced, for some time, the ambition and favor of the master of 
the offices. The two pixefects were accused of rapine and 
corruption in the administration of the laws and finances 
For the trial of these illustrious offenders, the emperor con- 
stituted a special commission : several judges were named to 
share the guilt and reproach of injustice ; but the right of pio- 
nouncing sentence was reserved to the president alone, and 



4 A passage of Suidas is expressive of his profound dissiinulaticn . 
&u£i\>yruitm>v uvfyui/ioc xui X[>v\j.<ivuvg. 

6 Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 272, 273. 

8 Zosimus, who describes the fall of Tatian and his eon, (I. iv. p. 
273, 274,) asserts their innocence ; and even his testimony may out- 
weigh the charges of their enemies, (Cod. Theod. torn. iv. p. 489," 
who accuse them of oppressing the Curia. The connection of Tatiar 
with the Arians, while he was praefect of Egypt, (A. D. 373,) incline* 
Tillemont to believe that he was guilty of every crime, (Hist. de» 
Emp. torn. v. p. 300. Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p, 589,) 



OF THE ROMAN ENTIRE. 1CJ 

thai president was Rufinus himself. The father, stripped of 
Ihe prefecture of the East, was thrown into a dungeon ; bill 
the son, conscious that few ministers can be found innocent, 
where an enemy is their judge, had secretly escaped ; and 
Rufinus must have been satisfied with the least obnoxious 
victim, if despotism had not condescended to employ the 
basest and most ungenerous artifice. The prosecution waa 
conducted with an appearance of equity and moderation 
which flattered Tatian with the hope of a favorable event : 
his confidence was fortified by the solemn assurances, and 
perfidious oaths, of the president, who presumed to interpose 
the sacred name of Theodosius himself; and the unhappy 
father was at last persuaded to recall, by a private letter, the 
fugitive Proculus. He was instantly seized, examined, con- 
demned, and beheaded, in one of the suburbs of Constantino- 
ple, with a precipitation which disappointed the clemency 
of the emperor. Without respecting the misfortunes of a 
consular senator, the cruel judges of Tatian compelled him to 
behold the execution of his son : the fatal cord was fastened 
round his own neck ; but in the moment when he expected, 
and perhaps desired, the relief of a speedy death, he was 
permitted to consume the miserable remnant of his old age in 
poverty and exile. 7 The punishment of the two prsefects 
might, perhaps, be excused by the exceptionable parts of their 
own conduct; the enmity of Rufinus might be palliated by 
the jealous and unsociable nature of ambition. But he indulged 
a spirit of revenge, equally repugnant to prudence and to 
justice, whim he degraded their native country of Lycia from 
the rank of Roman provinces ; stigmatized a guiltless people 
with a mark of ignominy ; and declared, that the countrymen 
of Tatian and Proculus should forever remain incapable of 
holding any employment of honor or advantage under the 
Imperial government. 8 The new proofect of the East (for 



Juvenum rorantia colla 



Ante patrum vultus stricta cecidero securi. 
Ibat grandicvi s nato moricnte supcrstes 
Post trabeas exsul. In Kuhn. 1 248. 

rbc facts of Zosimus explain the allusions of Claudian ; but his clas- 
sic interpreters were ignorant of the fourth century. The fatal com, 
I found, with the help of Tillemont, in a sermon of St. Asterius oi 
Amasea. 

8 This odious law is recited and repealed by Arcadius, (A. D. 29fi, 
ji the Theodosian Ocda, 1. ix. tit. xxxviii. leg. 9. The sense, as it is ex- 



168 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Rufinus instantly succeeded to the vacant honors of his adver- 
sary) was not diverted, however, by the most criminal pur- 
suits, from the performance of the religious duties, which in 
that age were considered as the most essential to salvation. 
In the suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak, he had built 
a magnificent villa; to which he devoutly added a stately 
church, consecrated to the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul 
and continually sanctified by the prayers and penance of a 
regular society of monks. A numerous, and almost general, 
synod of the bishops of the Eastern empire, was summoned 
to celebrate, at the same time, the dedication of the church, 
and the baptism of the founder. This double ceremony was 
performed with extraordinary pomp ; and when Rufinus was 
purified, in the holy font, from all the sins that he had hitherto 
committed, a venerable hermit of Egypt rashly proposed him- 
self as the sponsor of a proud and ambitious statesman. 9 

The character of Theodosius imposed on his minister the 
task of hypocrisy, which disguised, and sometimes restrained, 
the abuse of power ; and Rufinus was 'apprehensive of dis- 
turbing the indolent slumber of a prince still capable of ex- 
erting the abilities, and the virtue, which had raised him to 
the throne. 10 But the absence, and, soon ^afterwards, the 
death, of the emperor, confirmed the absolute authority of 
Rufinus over the person and dominions of Arcadius ; a feeble 
youth, whom the imperious pnefect considered as his pupil, 
rather than his sovereign. Regardless of the public opinion, 
ne indulged his passions without remorse, and without resist- 

plained by Claudian, (in Rufiii. i. 234,) and Godefroy, (torn, iii. p. 270,) 
is perfectly clear. 

Exscindere cives 

Funilitws ; et uoiiien gentis delere laborat. 

The scruples of Pagi and Tillemont can arise only from their zeal for 
the glory of Theodosius. 

9 Ammonius . . . Kufinum propriis manibus suscepit sacro fonte 
mundatum. See Kosweyde's Vita? Patrum, p. 947. Sozomen (1. viii. 
c. 17) mentions the church and monastery; and Tillemont (Mem. 
Eccles. torn. ix. p. 593) records this synod, in which St. Gregory of 
Nyssa performed a conspicuous part. 

in Montesquieu (Esprit des I.oix, 1. xii. c. 12) praises one of the 
laws of Theodosius addressed to the praefect Rufinus, (1. ix. tit. iv. leg. 
unic.,) to discourage the prosecution of tieasonable, or sacrilegious, 
words. A tyrannical statute always proves the existence of tyranny 
but a laudable edict may only contain the spei ious professions, or inef- 
fectual wishes, of the prince, or his ministers This, 1 am afraid, uj a, 
just, though mortifying, canon of criticism. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 169 

ai.ce , and his malignant and rapacious spirit rejected every 
passion that might have contributed to his own glory, or the 
happiness ol the people. His avarice, 11 which seems to have 
prevailed, in his corrupt mind, over every other sentiment, 
attracted the wealth of the East, by the various arts cf par- 
tial and general extortion ; oppressive taxes, scandalous bri- 
be iy, immoderate fines, unjust confiscations, forced or fictitious 
testaments, by which the tyrant despoiled of their lawful in 
heritance the children of strangers, or enemies ; and the pub- 
lic sale of justice, as well as of favor, which he instituted in 
the palace of Constantinople. The ambitious candidate eager- 
ly solicited, at the expense of the fairest part of his patrimony, 
the honors and emoluments of some provincial government ; 
the lives and fortunes of the unhappy people were abandoned 
to the most liberal purchaser ; and the public discontent was 
sometimes appeased by the sacrifice of an unpopular criminal, 
whose punishment was profitable only to the preefect of the 
East, his accomplice and his judge. If avarice were not the 
blindest of the human passions, the motives of Rufinus might 
excite our curiosity ; and we might be tempted to inquire, 
with what view he violated every principle of humanity and 
justice, to accumulate those immense treasures, which he could 
not spend without folly, nor possess without danger. Perhaps 
he vainly imagined, that he labored for the interest, of an only 
daughter, on whom he intended to bestow his royal pupil, and 
tne august rank of Empress of the East. Perhaps he deceived 
himself by the opinion, that his avarice was the instrument of 
his ambition. He aspired to place his fortune on a secure and 
independent basis, which should no longer depend on the ca- 
price of the young emperor ; yet he neglected to .conciliate the 
hearts of the soldiers and people, by the liberal distribution ol 
those riches, which he had acquired with so much toil, and with 
bo much guilt. The extreme parsimony of Rufinus left him 
only the reproach and envy of ill-gotten wealth ; his dependants 

- fluctibus auri 



Expleri sitis ista nequit - 

Congestae cumulantur opes ; orbisque ruinas 
Accipit una domus. 

This character (Claudian, in Rutin, i. 184 — 220) is confirmed Dy 
Jerom, a disinterested witness, (dedecus insatiabilis avaritiae, torn. L 
ad Heliodor. p. 26,) by Zosimus, (1. v. p. 28G,) and by Suidas, who 
copied the history of Eunapius. 



170 THE DECLINE AND FAuli 

served him without attachment; the unnersal hatred of man- 
kind was repressed only by the influence of servile fear. The 
fate of Lucian proclaimed to the East, that the praefect, vhosj 
industry was much abated in the despatch of ordinary business, 
was active and indefatigable in the pursuit of revenge. Lucian, 
the son of the praefect Florentius, the oppressor of Gaul, and 
the enemy of Julian, had employed a considerable part of Ins 
inheritance, the fruit of rapine and corruption, to purchase the 
friendship of Rufinus, and the high office of Count of the East. 
But the new magistrate imprudently departed from the maxims 
of the court, and of the times; disgraced his benefactor by the 
contrast of a virtuous and temperate administration ; and pre- 
sumed to refuse an act of injustice, which might have tended 
to the profit of the emperor's uncle; Arcadius was easily per- 
suaded to resent the supposed insult ; and the praefect of the 
East resolved to execute in person the cruel vengeance, which 
he meditated against this ungrateful delegate of his power. He 
performed with incessant speed the journey of seven or eight 
hundred miles, from Constantinople to Antioch, entered the 
capital of Syria at the dead of night, and spread universal con 
sternation among a people ignorant of his design, but not 
ignorant of his character. The Count of the fifteen provinces 
of the East was dragged, like the vilest malefactor, before the 
arbitrary tribunal of Rufinus. Notwithstanding the clearest 
evidence of his integrity, which was not impeached even b* 
the voice of an accuser, Lucian was condemned, almost with- 
out a trial, to suffer a cruel and ignominious punishment. The 
ministers of the tyrant, by the order, and in the presence, of 
their master, beat him on the neck with leather thongs armed 
at the extremities with lead; and when he fainted under the 
violence of the pain, he was removed in a close litter, to conceal 
his dying agonies from the eyes of the indignant city. No 
sooner had Rufinus perpetrated this inhuman act, the sole ob- 
ject of his expedition, than he returned, amidst the deep and 
silent curses of a trembling people, from Antioch to Constan- 
tinople ; and his diligence was accelerated by the hope of ac- 
complishing, without delay, the nuptials of his daughter with 
the emperor of the East. ia 

Cretera Begins ; 



Ad facinus vclox ; penitus rugione remotas 
Im;)igcr ire vias. 

This allusion of Olaudian (in Rutin, i. 211) is again explained by the 
Circumstantial narrative of Zosimus, (1. v. p. 288, 289.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 171 

Bui Rufinus soon expenen :erl, that a prudent minister should 
constantly secure his royal captive by the strong, though invis- 
ible chain of habit ; and that the merit, and much more easily 
the favor, of the absent, are obliterated in a short time from 
the mind of a weak and capricious sovereign. While the prse- 
fect satiated his revenge at Antioch, a secret conspiracy of the 
favorite eunuchs, directed by the great chamberlain Eutropius, 
undermined his power in the palace of Constantinople. They 
discovered that Arcadius was not inclined to love the daughtei 
of Rufinus, who had been chosen, without his consent, for his 
bride ; and they contrived to substitute in her place the fan 
Eudoxia, the daughter of Bauto, 13 a general of the Franks in 
the service of Rome ; and who was educated, since the death 
of her father, in the family of the sons of Promotus. Thf 
young emperor, whose chastity had been strictly guarded by 
the pious care of his tutor Arsenius, 14 eagerly listened to the 
artful and flattering descriptions of the charms of Eudoxia : 
he gazed with impatient ardor on her picture, and he under- 
stood the necessity of concealing his amorous designs from the 
knowledge of a minister who was so deeply interested to oppose 
the consummation of his happiness. Soon after the return of 
Rufinus, the approaching ceremony of the royal nuptials was 
announced to the people of Constantinople, who prepared to 
celebrate with false and hollow acclamations the fortune of 
his daughter. A splendid train of eunuchs and officers issued, 
in hymeneal pomp, from the gates of the palace ; bearing aloft 
the diadem, the robes, and the inestimable ornaments, of the 
future empress. The solemn procession passed through the 
streets of the city, which were adorned with garlands, and 
filled with spectators ; but when it reached the house of the 
sons of Promotus, the principal eunuch respectfully entered 
the mansion, invested the fair Eudoxia with the Imperial 
robes, and conducted her in triumph to the palace and bed of 
Areadius. 15 The secrecy and success with which this con 



,s Zosimus (1. iv. p. 243) praises the valor, prudence, and integrity 
of Bauto the Frank. See Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn, v 
p. 771. 

14 Arsenius escaped from the palace of Constantinople, and passed 
Bfty-five years in rigid penance in the monasteries of Egypt. Set 
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. p. 676 — 702 ; and Fleury, Hist 
Eccles. torn. v. p. 1, &c. ; but the latter, for want of authentic mate- 
rials has given too much credit to the legend of Mctaphrastes. 

14 This story (Zosimus, 1. v. p. 290) proves that the hymeneal rite* 



172 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

spiracy against Rufinus had been conducted, imprinted a mark 
of indelible ridicule on the character of a minister, who had 
suffered himself to be deceived, in a post where the arts of 
deceit and dissimulation constitute the most distinguished 
merit. He considered, with a mixture of indignation and fear, 
the victory of an aspiring eunuch, who had secretly captivated 
the favor of his sovereign ; and the disgrace of his daughter, 
whose interest was inseparably connected with his own, 
wounded the tenderness, or, at least, the pride of Rufinus. 
At the moment when he flattered himself that he should be- 
come the father of a line of kings, a foreign maid, who had 
been educated in the house of his implacable enemies, was 
introduced into the Imperial bed ; and Eudoxia soon displayed 
a superiority of sense and spirit, to improve the ascendant 
which her beauty must acquire over the mind of a foiid and 
youthful husband. The emperor would soon be instructed to 
hate, to fear, and to destroy the powerful subject, whom he 
had injured ; and the consciousness of guilt deprived Rufinus 
of every hope, either of safety or comfort, in the retirement 
of a private life. But he still possessed the most effectual 
means of defending his dignity, and perhaps of oppressing 
his enemies. The praefect still exercised an uncontrolled au- 
thority over the civil and military government of the East • 
and his treasures, if he could resolve to use them, might be 
employed to procure proper instruments for the execution of 
ihe blackest designs, that pride, ambition, and revenge could 
suggest to a desperate statesman. The character of Rufinus 
seemed to justify the accusations that he conspired against the 
person of his sovereign, to seat himself on the vacant throne ; 
and that he had secretly invited the Huns and the Goths to 
invade the provinces of the empire, and to increase the public 
confusion. The subtle prosfect, whose life had been spent in 
the intrigues of the palace, opposed, with equal arms, the art- 
ful measures of the eunuch Eutropius ; but the timid soul of 
Rufinus was astonished by the hostile approach of a more for- 
midable rival, of the great Stilicho, the general, or rather the 
master, of the empire of the West. 16 

of antiquity were still practised, without idolatry, by the Christians of 
the East ; and the bride -was forcibly conducted from the house of her 
parents to that of her husband. Our form of marriage requires, wiin 
less delicacy, the express and public consent of a virgin. 

lfl Zosimus, (1. v. p. 290,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 37,) and the Chronicle 
of Marcellinus. Claudian (in Rutin, ii. 7 — 100) paints, in lively 
colors, the distress and guilt of the prapfect. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 173 

The celestial gift, which Achilles obtained, and Alexander 
envied, of a poet worthy to celebrate the actions of heroes, 
has been enjoyed by Stilicho, in a much higher degree than 
might have been expected -from the declining state of genius, 
and of art. The muse of Claudian, 17 devoted to his service, 
was always prepared to stigmatize his adversaries, Rufinus, or 
Eutropius, with eternal infamy ; or to paint, in the most splen- 
did colors, the victories and virtues of a powerful benefactor 
In the review of a period indifferently supplied with authentic 
materials, we cannot refuse to illustrate the annals of Hono- 
rius, from the invectives, or the panegyrics, of a contemporary 
•»riter; but as Claudian appears to have indulged the most 
ample privilege of a poet and a courtier, some criticism will 
be requisite to translate the language of fiction, or exaggera- 
tion, into the truth and simplicity of historic prose. His 
silence concerning the family of Stilicho may be admitted as 
a proof, that his patron was neither able, nor desirous, to 
boast of a long series of illustrious progenitors ; and the slight 
mention of his father, an officer of Barbarian cavalry in the 
service of Valens, seems to countenance "the assertion, that 
the general, who so long commanded the armies of Rome, 
was descended from the savage and perfidious race of the 
Vandals. 18 If Stilicho had not possessed the external advan- 
tages of strength and stature, the most flattering bard, in the 
presence of so many thousand spectators, would have hesi- 
tated to affirm, that he surpassed the measure of the demi-gods 
of antiquity ; and that whenever he moved, with lofty steps, 
through the streets of the capital, the astonished crowd made 
room for the stranger, who displayed, in a private condition, 
the awful majesty of a hero. From his earliest youth he 
embraced the profession of arms ; his prudence and valoi 
were soon distinguished in the field ; the horsemen and 
archers of the East admired his superior dexterity ; and in 
each degree of his military promotions, the public judgment 
always prevented and approved the choice of the sovereign. 
He was named, by Theodosius, to ratify a solemn treaty with 
the monarch of Persia ; he supported, during that important 

17 Stilicho, directly or indirectly, is the perpetual theme of Claudian. 
The youth and private life of the hero are vaguely expressed in tha 
poem on his first consulship, 35 — 140. 

n Vandalonim, imbellis, avarae, perfidse, et dolosse, gentis, genert 
feditus. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 38. Jerom (torn. i. ad (ierontiam, p. 9°* 
lallfl him a Semi-Barbarian. 



174 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

embassy, the dignity of the Roman name ; and after hia 
letun. to Constantinople, his merit was rewarded by an inti- 
mate and honorable alliance with the Imperial family. Theo- 
dosius had been prompted, by a pious motive of fraternal 
affection, to adopt, for his own, the daughter of his brother 
Honorius ; the beauty and accomplishments of Serena 19 were 
universally admired by the obsequious court ; and Stilicho 
obtained the preference over a crowd of rivals, who ambi- 
tiously disputed the hand of the princess, and the favor of her 
adopted father. 20 The assurance that the husband of Serena 
would be faithful to the throne, which he was permitted to 
approach, engaged the emperor to exalt the fortunes, and to 
employ the abilities, of the sagacious and intrepid Stilicho. 
He rose, through the successive steps of master of the horse, 
and count of the domestics, to the supreme rank of master- 
general of all the cavalry and infancy of the Roman, or at 
least of the Western, empire; 21 and his enemies confessed, 
that he invariably disdained to barter for gold the rewards of 
merit, or to defraud the soldiers of the pay and gratifications 
which they deserved, or claimed, from the liberality of the 
state. 22 The valor and conduct which he afterwards dis- 
played, in the defence of Italy, against the arms of Alaric and 
Radagaisus, may justify the fame of his early achievements ; 
anu in an age less attentive to the laws of honor, or of pride, 
the Roman generals might yield the preeminence of rank, to 
the ascendant of superior genius. 23 He lamented, and re- 

19 Claudian, in an imperfect poem, has drawn a fair, perhaps a flat- 
tering, portrait of Serena. That favorite niece of Theodosius was 
born, as well as her sister Thcrmantia, in Spain ; from whence, in 
their earliest youth, they were honorably conducted to the palace of 
Constantinople. 

2U Some doubt may be entertained, whether this adoption was legal, 
or only metaphorical, (see Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 75.) An old in- 
scription gives Stilicho the singular title of Vro-gener Divi Theodosii. 

21 Claudian (Laus Serenae, 190, 193) expresses, in poetic language, 
" the dilectus equorum," and the " gemino mox idem culmine duxit 
figmina." The inscription adds, " count of the domestics," an impor- 
tant command, which Stilicho, in the height of his grandeur, might 
prudently retain. 

** The beautiful lines of Claudian (in i. Cons. Stilich. ii. 113) dis- 
plays his genius : but the integrity of Stilicho (in the military admin- 
istration) is much more firmly established by the unwilling evidenc* 
of Zosimus, (1. v. p. 345.) 

M Si hellica moles 

lngrueret, quamvis annis et jure minori. 



O* THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 175 

vended, the minder of Promotus, his rival anj his friend ; and 
the' massacre of many thousands of the flying Bastarme is 
represented by the poet as a bloody sacrifice, which the 
Roman Achilles offered to the manes of another Patroclus. 
The virtues and victories of Stilicho deserved the hatred of 
Rufinus : and the arts of calumny might have been successful, 
if the tender and vigilant Serena had not protected her hus- 
band against his domestic foes, whilst he vanquished in the 
field the enemies of the empire. 24 Theodosius continued to 
support an unworthy minister, to whose diligence he delegated 
the government of the palace, and of the East ; but when he 
marched against the tyrant Eugenius, he associated his faith- 
ful general to the labors and glories of the civil war ; and in 
the last moments of his life, the dying monarch recommended 
to Stilicho the care of his sons, and of the republic. 25 The 
ambition and the abilities of Stilicho were not unequal to the 
important trust; and he claimed the guardianship of the two 
empires, during the minority of Arcadius and Honorius. 26 
The first measure of his administration, or rather of his reign, 
displayed to the nations the vigor and activity of a spirit 
worthy to command. He passed the Alps in the depth of 
winter ; descended the stream of the Rhine, from the fortress 
of Basil to the marshes of Batavia ; reviewed the state of the 
garrisons ; repressed the enterprises of the Germans ; and, 
after establishing along the banks a firm and honorable peace, 

Cedere grandasvos equitum peditumque magistros 
Adspiceres. Claudian, Laus Seren. p. 196, &o. 

A modern general would deem their submission either heroic patriot- 
ism or abject servility. 

24 Compare the poem on the first consulship (i. 95 — 115) with the 
Laus Seren/p (227 — 237, where it unfortunately breaks off.) We may 
perceive the deep, inveterate malice of Rufinus. 

25 Quem fratribus ipse 

Discedens, clypeum defensoremque dedisti. 

Yet the nomination (iv. Cons. Hon. 432) was private, (hi. Cons. Her. 
142,) cunctos discedere . . . jubet; and may therefore be suspected. 
Zosimus and Suidas apply to Stilicho and liurinus the same equal 
jtle of ' ' Eiiirfioitoi, guardians, or procurators. 

*• The Roman law distinguishes two sorts of minority, which ex- 
pired at the age of fourteen, and of twenty-five. The one was sub- 
ject to the tutor, or guardian, of the person ; the other, to the curator, 
or trustee, of the estate, (Hcineccius. Antiquitat. Rom. ad Juris- 
prudent, pertinent. 1. i. tit. xxii. xxiii. p. 218 — 232.) But these legal 
ideas were never accurately transferred into the constitution of ao 
occtive monarchy. 



176 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

returned, with incredible speed, to the palace of Milan.* 1 
The person and court of Honorius were subject to the master- 
general of the West ; and the armies and provinces of Europe 
obeyed, without hesitation, a regular authority, which was 
exercised in the name of their young sovereign. Two rivals 
only remained to dispute the claims, and to provoke the ven- 
geance, of Stilicho. Within the limits of Africa, Gildo, the 
Moor, maintained a proud and dangerous independence and 
the minister of Constantinople asserted his equal reign ^ver 
the emperor, and the empire, of the East. 

The impartiality which Stilicho affected, as the common 
guardian of the royal brothers, engaged him to regulate the 
equal division of the arms, the jewels, and the magnificent 
wardrobe and furniture of the deceased emperor. 28 But the 
most important object of the inheritance consisted of the 
numerous legions, cohorts, and squadrons, of Romans, or 
Barbarians, whom the event of the civil war had united under 
the standard of Theodosius. The various multitudes of 
Europe and Asia, exasperated by recent animosities, were 
overawed by the authority of a single man ; and the rigid 
discipline of Stilicho protected the lands of the citizen from 
the rapine of the licentious soldier. 29 Anxious, however, and 
impatient, to relieve Italy from the presence of this formida- 
ble host, which could be useful only on the frontiers of the 
empire, he listened to the just requisition of the minister of 
Arcadius, declared his intention of reconducting in person the 
troops of the East, and dexterously employed the rumor of 
a Gothic tumult to conceal his private designs of ambition 
and revenge. 30 The guilty soul of Rufinus was alarmed by 

27 See Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich. i. 188—242;) but he must allow 
more than fifteen days for the journey and return between Milan and 
Leyden. 

2S I. Cons. Stilich. ii. 88 — 94. Not only the robes and diadems of 
the deceased emperor, but even the helmets, sword-hilts, belts- cui- 
rasses, &c., were enriched with pearls, emeralds, and diamonds. 

29 Tantoque remoto 

Principe, mutatas orbis non sensit habenas. 

This high commendation (i. Cons. Stil. i. 149) may be justified by the 
fears of the dying emperor, (de Bell. Gildon. 292 — 301;) and the peace 
Bnd good order which were enjoyed after his death, (i. Cons. Stil. i. 
150—168.) 

30 Stilicho's march, and the death of Rufinus, are described by 
Claudian, (in Rufin. 1. ii. 101—453,) Zosimus, (i. v. p. 296, 297,) Sozo- 
oaen, (1. viii. c. 1.) Socrates, (1. vi. c. 1,) Philostorgius, (1. xi. c. 3. vitb 
Godefroy, p. 441,) and the Chronicle of Marcellinus. 



OF THE ROMAN FMPIKE. 177 

the approach of a warrior and a rival, whose enmitj he de- 
Berved ; he computed, with increasing terror, the narrow 
space of his life and greatness; and, as the last hope of 
safety, he interposed the authority of the emperor Arcadius 
Stilicho, who appears to have directed his march along the 
sea-coast of the Adriatic, was not far distant from the city of 
Thessalonica, when he received a peremptory message, to 
recall the troops of the East, and to declare, that his nearer 
approach would be considered, by the Byzantine court, as an 
act of hostility. The prompt and unexpected obedience of 
the general of the West, convinced the vulgar of his loyalty 
and moderation ; and, as he had already engaged the affec- 
tion of the Eastern troops, he recommended to their zeal the 
execution of his bloody design, which might be accomplished 
in his absence, with less danger, perhaps, and with less 
reproach. Stilicho left the command of the troops of the 
East to Gainas, the Goth, on whose fidelity he firmly relied, 
with an assurance, at least, that the hardy Barbarian would 
never be diverted from his purpose by any consideration of 
fear or remorse. The soldiers were easily persuaded to pun- 
ish the enemy of Stilicho and of Rome ; and such was the 
general hatred which Rufinus had excited, that the fatal 
secret, communicated to thousands, was faithfully preserved 
during the long march from Thessalonica to the gates of 
Constantinople. As soon as they had resolved his death, they 
condescended to flatter his pride ; the ambitious praefect was 
seduced to believe, that those powerful auxiliaries might be 
tempted to place the diadem on his head ; and the treasures 
which he distributed, with a tardy and reluctant hand, were 
accepted by the indignant multitude as an insult, rather than 
as a gift. At the distance of a mile from the capital, in the 
field of Mars, before the palace of Hebdomon, the troopa 
halted : and the emperor, as well as his minister, advanced, 
according to ancient custom, respectfully to salute the power 
which supported their throne. As Rufinus passed along the 
ranks, and disguised, with studied courtesy, his innate haugh- 
tiness, the wings insensibly wheeled from the right and left, 
und enclosed the devoted victim within the circle of their 
arms. Before he could reflect on the danger of his situation, 
Gainas gave the signal of death ; a daring and forward sol- 
dier plunged his sword into the breast of the guilty praefect, 
and Rufinus fell, groaned, and expired, at the feet of the 
affrighted emperor. If the agonies of a moment could expi 
62 



178 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ttte the crimes of a whole life, or if the outrages inflicted on 
a breathless corpse could be the object of pity, our humanity 
might perhaps be affected by the horrid circumstances which 
iccompanied the murder of Rufinus. His mangled body 
was abandoned to the brutal fury of the populace of either 
sex, who hastened in crowds, from every quarter of the city, 
to trample on the remains of the haughty minister, at whose 
frown they had so lately trembled. His right hand was cut 
off, and carried through the streets of Constantinople, in 
cruel mockery, to extort contributions for the avaricious tyrant, 
whose head was publicly exposed, borne aloft on the point of 
a long lance. 31 According to the savage maxihis of the 
Greek republics, his innocent family would have shared the 
punishment of his crimes. The wife and daughter of Rufi- 
nus were indebted for their safety to the influence of religion. 
Her sanctuary protected them from the raging madness of 
the people ; and they were permitted to spend the remainder 
of their lives in the exercises of Christian devotion, in the 
peaceful retirement of Jerusalem. 32 

The servile poet of Stilicho applauds, with ferocious joy, 
this horrid deed, which, in the execution, perhaps, of justice, 
violated every law of nature and society, profaned the majesty 
of the prince, and renewed the dangerous examples of military 
license. The contemplation of the universal order and har- 
mony had satisfied Claudian of the existence of the Deity ; 
but the prosperous impunity of vice appeared to contradict his 
moral attributes ; and the fate of Rufinus was the only event 
which could dispel the religious doubts of the poet. 33 Such 
an act might vindicate the honor of Providence ; but it did not 
much contribute to the happiness of the people. In less than 



13 The dissection of Rufinus, which Claudian performs with the sav- 
\ge coolness of an anatomist, (in Rutin, ii. 405 — 415,) is likewise 
Bpecified by Zosimus and Jerom, (torn. i. p. 26.) 

32 The Pagan Zosimus mentions their sanctuary and pilgrimage. 
The sister of Rufinus, Sylvania, who passed her life at Jerusalem, is 
famous in monastic history. 1. The studious virgin had diligently, 
and even repeatedly, perused the commentators on the Bible, Origen, 
Gregory, Basil, &c, to the amount of five millions of lines. 2. At 
the age of threescore, she could boust, that she had never washed her 
hands, face, or any part of her whole body, except the tips of her fin- 
gers, to receive the communion. See the Vitae Patrum, p. 779, 977 

33 See the beautiful exordium of his invective against Rufinus, 
which is curiously discussed by the sceptic Ba/le, LHctiorjaaire Cri- 
tique, Rufin. Not. E. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 179 

three months they were informed of the maxims of the new 
administration, by a singular edict, which established the 
exclusive right of the treasury over the spoils cf Rufinus; and 
silenced, under heavy penalties, the presumptuous claims of 
the subjects of the Eastern empire, who had been injured by 
his rapacious tyranny. 34 Even Stilicho did not derive from 
the murder of his rival the fruit which he had proposed ; and 
though he gratified his revenge, his ambition was disappoint- 
ed. Under the name of a favorite, the weakness of Arcadius 
required a master, but he naturally preferred the obsequious 
arts of the eunuch Eutropius, who had obtained his domestic 
confidence : and the emperor contemplated, with terror and 
aversion, the stern genius of a foreign warrior. Till they 
were divided by the jealousy of power, the sword of Gainas, 
and the charms of Eudoxia, supported the favor of the great 
chamberlain of the palace : the perfidious Goth, who was 
appointed master-general of the East, betrayed, without scru- 
ple the interest of his benefactor ; and the same troops, wno 
had so lately massacred the enemy of Stilicho, were engaged 
to support, against him, the independence of the throne of 
Constantinople. The favorites of Arcadius fomented a secret 
and irreconcilable war against a formidable hero, who aspired 
to govern, and to defend, the two empires of Rome, and the 
two sons of Theodosius. They incessantly labored, by dark 
and treacherous machinations, to deprive him of the esteem 
of the prince, the respect of the people, and the friendship of 
the Barbarians. The life of Stilicho was repeatedly attempted 
by the dagger of hired assassins ; and a decree was obtained 
from the senate of Constantinople, to declare him an enemy 
of the republic, and to confiscate his ample possessions in the 
provinces of the East. At a time when the only hope of 
delaying the ruin of the Roman name depended on the firm 
union, and reciprocal aid, of all the nations to whom it had 
been gradually communicated, the subjects of Arcadius and 
Honorius were instructed, by their respective masters, to view 
each other in a foreign, and even hostile, light ; to rejoice in 
their mutual calam'ties, and to embrace, as their faithful 
allies, the Barbarians, whom they excited to invade the ter- 



34 See the Theodosian Code, 1. ix. tit. xla. leg, 14. 15. Th« new 
ministers attempted, with inconsistent avarice, to seize the spoils of 
their predecessor, and to provide for their own future security. 



180 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ritories of their countrymen. 35 The natives of Italy affected 
to despise the servile and effeminate Greeks of Byzantium, 
who presumed to imitate the dress, and to usurp the digmty, 
of Roman senators ; 36 and the Greeks had not yet forgot the 
sentiments of hatred and contempt, which their polished ances- 
tors had so long entertained for the rude inhabitants of the 
West. The distinction of two governments, which soon pro- 
duced the separation of two nations, will justify my design of 
suspending the series of the Byzantine history, to prosecute, 
without interruption, the disgraceful, but memorable, reign of 
Honorius. 

The prudent Stilicho, instead of persisting to force the 
inclinations of a prince, and people, who rejected his govern- 
ment, wisely abandoned Arcadius to his unworthy favorites ; 
and his reluctance to involve the two empires in a civil war 
displayed the moderation of a minister, who had so often sig- 
nalized his military spirit and abilities. But if Stilicho had 
any longer endured the revolt of Africa, he would have be- 
trayed the security of the capital, and the majesty of the 
Western emperor, to the capricious insolence of a Moorish 
rebel. Gildo, 37 the brother of the tyrant Firmus, had pre- 
served and obtained, as the reward of his apparent fidelity, 
the immense patrimony which was forfeited by treason : long 
and meritorious service, in the armies of Rome, raised him to 
the dignity of a military count ; the narrow policy of the court 
of Theodosius had adopted the mischievous expedient of, 
supporting a legal government by the interest of a powerful 
family ; and the brother of Firmus was invested with the 
command of Africa. His ambition soon usurped the admin- 
istration of justice, and of the finances, without account, and 

* See Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich. 1. i. 275, 292, 296, 1. ii, 83,) and 
Zosimus, (1. v. p. 302.) 

36 Claudian turns the consulship of the eunuch Eutropius into a 
national reflection, (1. ii. 134 :) — 



Plnudentem cerne senatum, 

Et ByzantinoB proceres Graiosquc Quirites : 
O patribu9 plebes, O digni const;'- patres. 

It is curious to observe the first symptoms of jealousy and schism 
between old and new Rome, between the Greeks and Latins. 

37 Claudian may have exaggerated the vices of Gildo ; but his 
Moorish extraction, his notorious actions, and the complaints of St. 
Augustin, may justify the poet's invectives. Baronius (Annal Eccles. 
A. D. 398, No. 35 — 56) has treated the African rebellion with skill and 
learning. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 181 

without control ; and he maintained, during a reign of twelve 
years, the possession of an office, from which it was impossible 
to remove him, without the danger of a civil war. During 
those twelve years, the provinces of Africa groaned under the 
dominion of a tyrant, who seemed to unite the unfeeling tem- 
per of a stranger with the partial resentments of domestic 
faction. The forms of law were often superseded by the use 
of poison ; and if the trembling guests, who were invited to the 
table of Gildo, presumed to express their fears, the insolent 
suspicion served only to excite his fury, and he loudly sum- 
moned the ministers of death. Gildo alternately indulged Ihe 
passions of avarice and lust ; 38 and if his days were terrible 
to the rich, his nights were not less dreadful to husbands and 
parents. The fairest of their wives and daughters were 
prostituted to the embraces of the tyrant ; and afterwards 
abandoned to a ferocious troop of JJarbarians and assassins, 
the black, or swarthy, natives of the desert ; whom Gildo 
considered as the only guardians of his throne. In the civil 
war between Theodosius and Eugenius, the count, or rather 
the sovereign, of Africa, maintained a haughty and suspicious 
neutrality ; refused to assist either of the contending parties 
with troops or vessels, expected the declaration of fortune 
and reserved for the conqueror the vain professions of his 
allegiance. Such professions would not have satisfied the 
master of the Roman world ; but the death of Theodosius, 
and the weakness and discord of his sons, confirmed the 
power of the Moor ; who condescended, as a proof of his 
moderation, to abstain from the use of the diadem, and to 
supply Rome with the customary tribute, or rather subsidy, 
of corn. In every division of the empire, the five provinces 
of Africa were invariably assigned to the West ; and Gildo 
had consented to govern that extensive country in the name 



** Instat terribilis vivi», morientibus hares, 

Virginibus raptor, thalamis obscoenus adulter. 
Nulla quie3 : oritur prsedu. cessante libido, 
Divitibusque dies, et nox metuenda maritis. 

Mauris clarissima quaeque 

Fastidita datur. 

De Bello Gildoniro, 165, 189. 
Baronius condemns, still more severely, the licentiousness of Gildo ; 
as his wife, his daughter, and his sister, were examples of perfect 
ehaetity. The adultoiies of the African soldiers are checked bv one of 
tn« Imperial Jaws. 



192 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Honorius ; but his knowledge of the chai actor < . nd designs 
of Stilicho soon engaged him to address his homage to a 
more distant and feeble sovereign. The ministers of Arca- 
dius embraced the cause of a perfidious rebel ; and the delu. 
sive hope of adding the numerous cities of Africa to the 
empire of the East, tempted them to assert a claim, which 
they were incapable of supporting, either by reason or by 
arms. 39 

When Stilicho had given a hnn and decisive answer to the 
pretensions of the Byzantine court, he solemnly accused the 
tyrant of Africa before the tribunal, which had formerly 
judged the kings and nations of the earth ; and the image of 
the republic was revived, after a long interval, under the reign 
of Honorius. The emperor transmitted an accurate and 
ample detail of the complaints of the provincials, and the 
crimes of Gildo, to the Roman senate ; and the members of 
that venerable assembly were required to pronounce the con- 
demnation of the rebel. Their unanimous suffrage declared 
him the enemy of the republic ; and the decree of the senate 
added a sacred and legitimate sanction to the Roman arms. 40 
A people, who still remembered that their ancestors had been 
the masters of the world, would have applauded, with con- 
scious pride, the representation of ancient freedom ; if they 
had not long since been accustomed to prefer the solid assur- 
ance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of liberty and 
greatness. The subsistence of Rome depended on the har- 
vests of Africa ; and it was evident, that a declaration of war 
would be the signal of famine. The praefect Symmachus, 
who presided in the deliberations of the senate, admonished 
the minister of his just apprehension, that as soon as the 
revengeful Moor should prohibit the exportation of corn, the 
tranquillity, and perhaps the safety, of the capital would be 
threatened by the hungry rage of a turbulent multitude. 41 

39 Inque tuam soriem numerosas transtulit urbes. 

Claudian (de Bell. Gildonico, 230 — 324) has touched, with political 
delicacy, the intrigues of the Byzantine court, which are likewise 
mentioned hy Zosimus, (1. v. p. 302.) 

40 Symmachus (1. iv. epist. 4) expresses the judicial forms of the 
senate; and Claudian (i. Cons. Stilich. 1. i. 325, &c.) seemfi to feel the 
spirit of a Roman. 

41 Claudian finely displays these complaints of Symmachus, in a 
speech of the goddess of Rome, before the throne of Jupitei (de Bell. 
Uildon (28—128.) » 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 1S3 

The prudence of" Stilicho conceived and executed, without 
delay, the most effectual measure for the relief of the Roman 
people. A large and seasonable supply of corn, collected in 
the inland provinces of Gaul, was embarked on the rapid 
stream of the Rhone, and transported, by an easy navigation, 
from the Rhone to the Tyber. During the whole term of 
the African war, the granaries of Rome were continually 
tilled, her dignity was vindicated from the humiliating de- 
pendency, and the minds of an immense people were quieted 
by the ciJm confidence of peace and plenty. 4 - 

The cause of Rome, and the conduct of the African war, 
were intrusted by Stilicho to a general, active and ardent to 
avenge his private injuries on the head of the tyrant. The 
spirit of discord which prevailed in the house of Nabal, had 
excited a deadly quarrel between two of his sons, Gildo and 
Mascezel. 43 The usurper pursued, with implacable rage, the 
life of his younger brother, whose courage and abilities he 
feared ; and Mascezel, oppressed by superior power, took 
refuge in the court of Milan, where he soon received the 
cruel intelligence that his two innocent and helpless children 
had been murdered by their inhuman uncle. The affliction 
of the father was suspended only by the desire of revenge. 
The vigilant Stilicho already prepared to collect the naval and 
military forces of the Western empire ; and he had resolved, 
if the tyrant should be able to wage an equal and doubtful 
war, to march against him in person. But as Italy required 
his presence, and as it might be dangerous to weaken the 
defence of the frontier, he judged it more advisable, that 
Mascezel should attempt this arduous adventure at the head 
of a chosen body of Gallic veterans, who had lately served 
under the standard of Eugenius. These troops, who were 
exhorted to convince the world^ that they could subvert, as well 
as defend, the throne of a usurper, consisted of the Jovian, 
the Herculian, and the Augustan legions ; of the Nervian 
auxiliaries; of the soldiers who displayed in their banners the 
symbol of a lion, and of the troops which were distinguished 

42 See Claudian (in Eutrop. 1. i. 401, &c. i. Cons. Stil. 1. i. 306, &c 
D Cons. Stilich. 91, &c.) 

43 He was of a mature age ; since he had formerly (A. D. 373 
served against his brother Firmus (Ammian. xxix. 5.) Claudian, who 
understood the court of Milan, dwells on the injuries, rather than 
the merits, of Mascezel, (de Bell. (iild. 389—414.) The Moorish 
«rir was not worthy of Honorius, or Stilicho, &c. 



184 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

by the auspicious names of Fortunate, and Invincible. Yei 

such was the smallness of their establishments, or the difficulty 

of recruiting, thut these seven bands, 44 of high dignity and 

reputation in the service of Rome, amounted to no more than 

five thousand effective men. 45 The fleet of galleys and 

transports sailed in tempestuous weather from the port of Pisa, 

in Tuscany, and steered their course to the little island of 

Capraria ; which had borrowed that name from the wild 

goats, its original inhabitants, whose place was now occupied 

by a new colony of a strange and savage appearance. " The 

whole island (says an ingenious traveller of those times-) is 

filled, or rather defiled, by men who fly from the light. They 

call themselves Monks, or solitaries, because they choose to 

live alone, without any witnesses of their actions. They fear 

the gifts of fortune, from the apprehension of losing them ; 

and, lest they should be miserable, they embrace a life of 

voluntary wretchedness. How absurd is their choice ! how 

perverse their understanding ! to dread the evils, without 

being able to support the blessings, of the human condition. 

Either this melancholy madness is the effect of disease, or 

else the consciousness of guilt urges these unhappy men to 

exercise on their own bodies the tortures which are inflicted 

on fugitive slaves by the hand of justice." 46 Such was the 

contempt of a profane magistrate for the monks of Capraria, 

who were revered, by the pious Mascezel, as the chosen 

servants of God. 47 Some of them were persuaded, by his 

44 Claudian, Bell. Gild. 415—423. The ohange of discipline allowed 
him to use indifferently the names of Legio, Cohort, Manipulus. See 
the Notitla Imperii, S. 38, 40. 

45 Orosius (1. vii. c. 36, p. 565) qualifies this account with an ex- 
pression of doubt, (ut aiunt ;) and it scarcely coincides with the 
towutitis itSghcg of Zosimus, (1. v. p^303.) Yet Claudian, alter some 
declamation about Cadmus's soldiers, frankly owns that Stilicho sent 
a small army ; lest the rebel should fly, ne timeare times, (i. Cons. 
Stilich. 1. i. 314, &c.) 

46 Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinerar. i. 439—448. He afterwards 
(515 — 526) mentions a religious madman on the Isle of Gorgona. 
For such profane remarks, ltutilius aud his accomplices are styled 
by his commentator, Barthius, rabiosi canes diaboli. Tillemont (Mem. 
Eccles. torn. xii. p. 471) more calmly observes, that the unbeliev- 
ing poet praises where he means to censure. 

47 Orosius, 1. vii. c. 36, p. 564. Augustin commends two of thest 
■avage saints of the Isle of Goats, (epist. lxxxi. apud Tillemont, Mem 
Eccles. torn. ziii. p. 317, and Baronius, Annal. Eccles A. D. 398 
No. 51.) 



OF THE nOMAN EMPIRE. 185 

entreaties, to embark on board the fleet ; and it is observed, 
to the praise of the Roman general, that his days and nights 
were employed in prayer, fasting, and the occupation of singing 
psalms. The devout leader, who, with such a reinforcement, 
appeared confident of victory, avoided the dangerous rocks of 
Corsica, coasted along the eastern side of Sardinia, and secured 
his ships against the violence of the south wind, by casting 
anchor in the safe and capacious harbor of Cagliari, at the 
distance of one hundred and forty miles from the African 
6hores. 48 

Gildo was prepared to resist the invasion with all the forces 
of Africa. By the liberality of his gifts and promises, he 
endeavored to secure the doubtful allegiance of the Roman 
6oldiers, whilst he attracted to his standard the distant tribes of 
Gaetulia and- ^Ethiopia. He proudly reviewed an army of 
seventy thousand men, and boasted, with the rash presumption 
which is the forerunner of disgrace, that his numerous cavalry 
would trample under their horses' feet the troops of Mascezel, 
and involve, in a cloud of burning sand, the natives of the cold 
regions of Gaul and Germany. 49 But the Moor, who com- 
manded the legions of Honorius, was too well acquainted with 
the manners of his countrymen, to entertain any serious appre- 
hension of a naked and disorderly host of Barbarians ; whose 
left arm, instead of a shield, was protected only by a mantle ; 
who were totally disarmed as soon as they had darted their 
javelin from their right hand ; and whose horses had never 
been taught to bear the control, or to obey the guidance, of 
the bridle. He fixed his camp of five thousand veterans in 
the face of a superior enemy and, after the delay of three 
days, gave the signal of a general engagement. 60 As Mascezel 
advanced before the front with fair offers of peace and pardon, 
he encountered one of the foremost standard-bearers of the 
Africans, and on his refusal to yield, struck him on the arm 



48 Here the first book of the Gildonic war is terminated. The rest 
»f Claudian's poem lias been lost ; and we are ignorant how or where 
die army made good their landing in Africa. 

49 Orosius must be responsible for the account. The presumption 
ot Gildo and his various train of Barbarians is celebrated by Claudian, 
(i. Cons. Stil. 1. i. 345—355.) 

6U St. Ambrose, who had been dead about a year, revealed, in a 
vision, the time and place of the victory. Mascezel afterwards related 
hia dream to Paulinus, the original biographer of the saint, from whom 
it might easily pass to Orosius. 
G2* 



'i86 THE DECLINE AND FaLL 

with his sword. The arm, and the standard, sunk under the 
weight of the blow ; and the imaginary act of submission was 
hastily repeated by all the standards of the line. At this signal 
the disaffected cohorts proc aimed the name of their lawful 
sovereign ; the Barbarians, astonished by the defection of their 
Roman allies, dispersed, according to their custom, in tumult 
uury flight ; and Mascezel obtained the honors of an easy, and 
almost bloodless, victory. 51 The tyrant escaped from the fielc 
of battle to the sea-shore ; and threw himself into a small 
vessel, with the hope of reaching in safety some friendly port 
of the empire of the East ; but the obstinacy of the wind 
drove him back into the harbor of Tabraca, 52 which had 
acknowledged, with the rest of the province, the dominion of 
Honorius, and the authority of his lieutenant. The inhabitants, 
as a proof of their repentance and loyalty, seized and confined 
the person of Gildo in a dungeon ; and his own despair saved 
him from the intolerable torture of supporting the presence of 
an injured and victorious brother. 53 The captives and the 
spoils of Africa were laid at the feet of the emperor ; but 
Stilicho, whose moderation appeared more conspicuous, and 
more sincere, in the midst of prosperity, still affected to consult 
the laws of the republic ; and referred to the senate and 
people of Rome the judgment of the most illustrious crimi- 
nals. 54 Their trial was public and solemn ; but the judges, in 
the exercise of this obsolete and precarious jurisdiction, were 
impatient to punish the African magistrates, who had inter- 
cepted the subsistence of the Roman people. The rich and 
guilty province was oppressed by the Imperial ministers, who 
had a visible interest to multiply the number of the accom- 

61 Zosimus (1. v. p. 303) supposes an obstinate combat ; but the 
narrative of Orosius appears to conceal a real fact, under the disguise 
of a miracle. 

M Tabraca lay between the two Hippos, (Cellarius, torn. ii. p. ii. p. 
112; D'Anville, torn. iii. p. 84.) Orosius has distinctly named the 
field of battle, but our ignorance cannot define the precise situation. 

" The death of Gildo is expressed by Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. 1. 357) 
and his best interpreters, Zosimus and Orosius. 

** Claudian (ii. Cons. Stilich. 99 — 119) describes their trial (tremuit 
quos Africa nuper, cernunt rostra reos,) and applauds the restoration 
of the ancient constitution. It is here that he introduces the famous 
•eutence, so familiar to the friends of despotism : 

Niinqunni litiertas gratior exstat, 

Quain sub rege pio. 

But the freedom, wliich depends on royal piety, scarcely dese>vesthat 
appellation. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 18*5 

plices of Gildo ; and if an edict of Honorius seems to check 
the malicious industry of informers, a subsequent edict, at the 
distance of ten years, continues and renews the prosecutiou 
of the offences which had been committed in the time of th* 
general rebellion. 55 The adherents of the tyrant who escaped 
the first fury of the soldiers, and the judges, might derive 
some consu ation from the tragic fate uf his brother, who could 
never obtain his pardon for the extraordinary services which 
lie had performed. After he had finished an important war 
in the space of a single winter, Mascezel was received at the 
court of Milan with loud applause, affected gratitude, and 
secret jealousy; 56 and his death, which, perhaps, was the 
effect of accident, has been considered as the crime of Stil- 
icho. In the passage of a bridge, the Moorish prince, who 
accompanied the master-general of the West, was suddenly 
thrown from his horse into the river; the officious haste of the 
attendants was restrained by a cruel and perfidious smile, 
which they observed on the countenance of Stilicho; and 
while they delayed the necessary assistance, the unfortunate 
Mascezel was irrecoverably drowned. 57 

The joy of the African triumph was happily connected 
with thp nuptials of the emperor Honorius, and of his cousin 
Maria, the daughter of Stilicho : and this equal and honorable 
alliance seemed to invest the powerful minister with the 
authority of a parent over his submissive pupil. The muse 
of Claudian was not silent on this propitious day ; 58 he sung, 
in various and lively strains, the happiness of the royal pair* 
and the glory of the hero, who confirmed their union, and 
supported their throne. The ancient fables of Greece, which 
had almost ceased to be the object of religious faith, were 
saved from oblivion by the genius of poetry. The picture of 
the Cyprian grove, the scat of harmony and love ; the trium- 
phant progress of Venus over her native seas, and the mild 



65 See the Theodosian Code, 1. ix. tit. xxxix. leg. 3, tit. xl. leg. 19. 

66 Stilicho, who claimed an equal share in all the victories of Theo- 
dosius and his son, particularly asserts, that Africa was recovered by 
the wisdom of his counsels, (see an inscription produced by Baronius.) 

67 I have softened the narrative of Zosimus, which, in its crude 
•implicity, is almost incredible, (1. v. p. 303.) Orosius damns the vic- 
torious general (p. 538) for violating the right of sanctuary. 

68 Claudian, as the poet laureate, composed a serious and elaborate 
epith;;lam.um of 340 lines ; bosides some gay Fescennines, which 
jvrre rtuii^. in a more licentious tone, on the wedding night. 



1S8 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

influence which her presence diffused in the palace of Milan 
express to every age the natural sentiments of the heart, in 
the just and pleasing language of allegorical fiction. But the 
amorous impatience which Claudian attributes to the young 
prince, 59 must excite the smiles of the court ; and his beau- 
teous spouse (if she deserved the praise of beauty) had not 
much to fear or to hope from the passions of her lover. 
Honorius was only in-the fourteenth year of his age ; Serena, 
the mother of his bride, deferred, by art or persuasion, the 
consummation of the royal nuptials ; Maria died a virgin, after 
Bhe had been ten years a wife ; and the chastity of the em- 
peror was secured by the coldness, or, perhaps, the debility, 
of his constitution. 00 His subjects, who attentively studied the 
character of their young sovereign, discovered that Honorius 
was without passions, and consequently without talents ; and 
that his feeble and languid disposition was alike incapable of 
discharging the duties of his rank, or of enjoying the pleasures 
of his age. In his early youth he made some progress in the 
exercises of riding and drawing the bow : but he soon relin- 
quished these fatiguing occupations, and the amusement of 
feeding poultry became the serious and daily care of the mon- 
arch of the West, 61 who resigned the reins of empire to the 
firm and skilful hand of his guardian Stilicho. The experience 
of history will countenance the suspicion that a prince who 
was born in the purple, received a worse education than the 
meanest peasant of his dominions ; and that the ambitious 
minister suffered him to attain the age of manhood, without 
attempting to excite his courage, or to enlighten his under- 
standing. 02 The predecessors of Honorius were accustomed 



59 Calet obvius ire 

Jam princeps, tardumque cupit discedere solem. 
Nobilis haud aliter sonipes. 

(De Nuptiis Honor, et Maris, 287,) and more freely in the Fescenninea, 
112 — 116.) 

Dices, quoties, hoc milii dulcius 

Quam flavos decies viucere Sarmatas. 

Turn victor madido prosilias toro, 
Nocturni referens vulnera iraelii. 

60 See Zosimus, 1. v. p. 333. 

61 Procopius de Bell. Uothico, 1. i. c. 2. I have borrowed the gen- 
eral practice of Honorius, without adopting the singular, and, indeed, 
improbable tale, winch is related by the Greek historian. 

"* Tbe lessons of Theodosius, nr rather Claudian, (iv. Cons. Hour 



OF THE ROMAN EMIVRE. 189 

«> animate by their example, or at least by their presence, the 
valor of the legions ; and the dates of their laws attest the 
perpetual activity of their motions through the provinces of 
the Roman world. But the son of Theodosius passed the 
slumber of his life, a captive in his palace, a stranger in his 
country, and the patient, almost the indifferent, spectator of 
the ruin of the Western empire, which was repeatedly attacked, 
and finally subverted, by the arms of the Barbarians. In 
the eventful history of a reign of twenty-eight years, it will 
seldom be necessary to mention the name of the emperor 
Honorius. 



214 — 418,) might compose a fine institution for the future prince of a 
great and free nation. It was far above Honorius, and his degenerate 
subjects. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

REVOLT OF THE GOTHS. THEY PLUNDER GREECE. -- TWO 

GREAT INVASIONS OF ITALY BY ALARIC AND RADA'iAISUS. 

THEY ARE REPULSED BY STILICHO. THE GERMAN? 

OVERRUN GAUL. USURPATION OF CONSTANT1NE IN THF 

WEST. DISGRACE AND DEATH OF STILICHO. 

If the subjects of Rome could be igiorant of their obliga- 
tions to the great Theodosius, they we'e too soon convinced, 
how painfully the spirit and abilities of their deceased em- 
peror had supported the frail and mouldering edifice of ihe 
republic. He died in the month of January ; and before the 
end of the winter of the same year, the Gothic nation was in 
arms. 1 The Barbarian auxiliaries erected their independent 
standard ; and boldly avowed the hostile designs, which they 
had long cherished in their ferocious minds. Their country- 
men, who had been condemned, hy the conditions of the last 
treaty, to a life of tranquillity and labor, deserted their farms 
at the first sound of the trumpet ; and eagerly resumed the 
weapons which they had reluctantly laid down. The barriers 
of the Danube were thrown open ; the savage warriors of 
Scythia issued from their forests ; and the uncommon severity 
of the winter allowed the poet to remark, " that they rolled 
their ponderous wagons over the broad and icy back of the 
indignant river." 2 The unhappy natives of the provinces to 
the south of the Danube submitted to the calamities, which, 
in the course of twenty years, were almost grown familial to 
their imagination ; and the various troops of Barbarians, who 
gloried in the Gothic name, were irregularly spread from the 

1 The revolt of the Goths, and the blockade of Constantinople, are 
distinctly mentioned by Claudian, (m Rutin. 1. ii. 7 — 100,) Zosiinus, 
(L v. 292,) and Jornandes, (de Rebus Geticis, c. 29.) 

* Alii per terga ferocis 

Danubii solidata ruunt ; expertaque remis 
Frangunt stagna rotis. 
Claudian and Ovid often amuse their fancy by interchanging the met*- 

Ehors and properties of liquid water, and sulid ice Much false wit 
a? been expended in this easy exercise. 
190 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 191 

woody shores of Dalmatia, to the walls of Constantinople. 3 
The interruption, or at least the diminution, of the subsidy 
which the Goths had received from the prudent liberality of 
Thoodo.siu3, was the specious pretence of their revolt : the 
atrront was imbittered by their contempt for the unwarlike 
eons of Theodosius ; and their resentment was inflamed by 
the weakness, or treachery, of the minister of Arcadius. 
The frequent visits of Rufinus to the camp of the Barbarians 
whose arms and apparel he affected to imitate, were consid 
ered as a sufficient evidence of his guilty correspondence 
and the public enemy, from a motive either of gratitude or 
of policy, was attentive, amidst the general devastation, to 
spare the private estates of the unpopular prsefect. The 
Goths instead of being impelled by the blind and headstrong 
passions of their chiefs, were now directed by the bold and 
artful genius of Alaric. That renowned leader was descend- 
ed from the noble race of the Balti ; 4 which yielded only to 
the royal dignity of the Amali : he had solicited the com- 
mand of the Roman armies; and the Imperial court pro- 
voked him to demonstrate the folly of their refusal, and the 
importance of their loss. Whatever hopes might be enter- 
tained of the conquest of Constantinople, the judicious gen- 
eral soon abandoned an impracticable enterprise. In the 
midst of a divided court and a discontented people, the 
emperor Arcadius was terrified by the aspect of the Gothic 
arms ; but the want of wisdom and valor was supplied by the 
strength of the city ; and the fortifications, both of the sea 
and land, might securely brave the impotent and random 
darts of the Barbarians. Alaric disdained to trample any 
longer on the prostrate and ruined countries of Thrace and 
Dacia, and he resolved to seek a plentiful harvest of fame 

3 Jerom, ton. i. p. 26. He endeavors to comfort his friend Helio- 
dorus, bishop of Altinum. for the loss of his nephew, Nepotian, by a 
curious recapitulation of all the public and private misfortunes of the 
times. See Tillemont, Mem. Ecclcs. torn. xii. p. 200, &c. 

4 Baltha, or bold : origo miritica, says Jornandes, (c. 29.) This illus- 
trious race long continued to flourish in France, in the Gothic prov- 
ince of Septimania, or Languedoc ; under the corrupted appellation of 
Boax : and a branch of that family afterwards settled in the kingdom 
•»f Naples (Grotius in Prolegom. ad Hist. Gothic, p. 53.) The lordi 
of Baux, near Aries, and of seventy-nine subordinate ptaces, were 
independent of the cou-V.s of Provence, (Longuerue, Description de 
<a France, torn. i. p. 357.) 



192 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and riches in a province which had hitherto escaped the rav- 
ages of war. & 

The character of the civil and military officers, on whom 
Rufinus had devolved the government of Greece, confirmed 
the public suspicion, that he had betrayed the ancient seat of 
freedom and learning to the Gothic invader. The proconsul 
Antiochus was the unworthy son of a respectable father ; and 
Gerontius, who commanded the provincial troops, was much 
better qualified to execute the oppressive orders of a tyrant, 
than to defend, with courage and ability, a country most 
remarkably fortified by the hand of nature. Alaric had trav- 
ersed, without resistance, the plains of Macedonia and Thes- 
saly, as far as the foot of Mount Oeta, a steep and woody 
range of hills, almost impervious to bis cavalry. They 
stretched from east to west, to the .edge of the sea-shore ; 
and left, between the precipice and the Malian Gulf, an inter- 
val of three hundred feet, which, in some places, was con- 
tracted to a road capable of admitting only a single carriage. 6 
In this narrow pass of Thermopylae, where Leonidas and the 
three hundred Spartans had gloriously devoted their lives, the 
Goths might have been stopped, or destroyed, by a skilful 
general ; and perhaps the view of that sacred spot might 
have kindled some sparks of military ardor in the breasts of 
the degenerate Greeks. The troops which had been posted 
to defend the Straits of Thermopylre, retired, as they were 
directed, without attempting to disturb the secure and rapid 
passage of Alaric; 7 and the fertile fields of Phocis and 
Bosotia were instantly covered by a deluge of Barbarians ; 
who massacred the males of an age to bear arms, and drove 
away the beautiful females, with the spoil and cattle of the 
flaming villages. The travellers, who visited Greece several 
years afterwards, could easily discover the deep and bloody 
traces of the march of the Goths ; and Thebes was less 
indebted for her preservation to the strength of her seven 



8 Zosimus (1. v. p. 293 — 295) is our best guide for the conquest of 
Greece : but the hints and allusion of Claudian are so many rays of 
historic light. 

6 Compare Horodotus (1. vii. c. 176) and Livy, xxxvi. 15.) The 
narrow entrance of Greece was probably enlarged by each successive 
ravishcr. 

7 He passed, says Eunapius, (in Vit. 1'hilosoph. p. 93, edit. Com- 
toelin, 159(5,) through the straits, <5/u r^v nvkior (of Thermopylae 

la^yjitei, UiO/ity <5iu ajtidiuu Tut iTMuKQoTuV ntdiuV tfji^uif. 



OF TIIE ttOMAN EMPIRE. 193 

gates, than to the eager haste of Alaric, who advanced to 
occupy tlit* city of Athens, and the important harbor of the 
Piraeus. The same impatience urged him to prevent the 
delay and danger of a siege, by the offer of a capitulation ; 
and as soon as the Athenians heard the voice of the Gothic 
herald, they were easily persuaded to deliver the greatest 
part of their wealth, as the ransom of the city of Minerva 
and its inhabitants. The treaty was ratified by solemn oaths, 
and observed with mutual fidelity. The Gothic prince, with 
a small and select train, was admitted within the walls ; he 
irdulged himself in the refreshment of the bath, accepted a 
splendid banquet, which was provided by the magistrate, and 
affected to show that he was not ignorant of the manners of 
civilized nations. 8 But the whole territory of Attica, from 
the promontory of Sunium to the town of Megara, was 
blasted by his baleful presence ; and, if we may use the 
comparison of a contemporary philosopher, Athena itself 
resembled the bleeding and empty skin of a slaughtered vic- 
tim. The distance between Megara and Corinth could not 
much exceed thirty miles ; but the bad road, an expressive 
name, which it still bears among the Greeks, was, or might 
easily have been made, impassable for the march of an ene- 
my. The thick and gloomy woods of Mount Citha?ron cov- 
ered the inland country ; the Scironian rocks approached the 
water's edge, and hung over the narrow and winding path, 
which was confined above six miles along the sea-shore, 9 
The passage of those rocks, so infamous in every age, was 
terminated by the Isthmus of Corinth ; and a small body of 
firm and intrepid soldiers might have successfully defended a 



8 In obedience to Jerom and Claudian, (in Rutin. 1. ii. 191,) I have 
mixed some darker colors in the mild representation of Zosimus, 
who wished to soften the calamities of Athens. 

Nee fera Cecropias traxissent vincula matres. 

Synesius (Epist. clvi. p. 272, edit. Petav.) observes that Athens, 
whose sufferings he imputes to the proconsul's avarice, was at that time 
less famous for her schools of philosophy than for her trade of honey. 

9 Vallata mari Scironia rupes, 

Et duo continuo connectens sequora muro 
Isthmos. 

Claudian de Bel. Getico, 188. 
The Scironian rocks are described by Pausanias, (1. i. c. 41, p. 107, 
edit. Kuhn,) and our modern travellers, Wheeler (p. 436) and Chan- 
dler, (p. 298.) Hadrian made the road passable for two carriage* 



194 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

temporary intrenehment of five or six miles from the Ionian 
to the ^Egean Sea. The confidence of the cities of Pelopon- 
nesus in their natural rampart, had tempted them to neglect 
the care of their antique walls ; and the avarice of the Roman 
governors had exhausted and betrayed the unhappy prov- 
ince. 10 Corinth, Argos, Sparta, yielded without resistance to 
the arms of the Goths ; and the most fortunate of the inhab- 
itants were saved, by death, from beholding the slavery of 
their families and the conflagration of their cities. 11 Tho 
vases and statues were distributed among the Barbarians, with 
more regard to the value of the materials, than to the elegance 
of the workmanship ; the female captives submitted to the 
laws of war ; the enjoyment of beauty was the reward of 
valor ; and the Greeks could not reasonably complain of an 
abuse which was justified by the example of the heroic times. 19 
The descendant? of that extraordinary people, who had con- 
sidered valor and discipline as the walls of Sparta, no longer 
remembered the generous rep'y of their ancestors to an inva- 
der more formidable than Alaric. " If thou art a god, thou 
wilt not hurt those who have never injured thee ; if thou art 
a man, advance : — and thou wilt find men equal to thyself." 13 
From Thermopylae to Sparta, the leader of the Goths pursued 
his victorious march without encountering any mortal antago- 
nists : but one of the advocates of expiring Paganism has 
confidently asserted, that the walls of Athens were guarded 
by the goddess Minerva, with her formidable iEgis, and by 

10 Claudian (in Rutin. 1. ii. 13<i, and de Hollo Gotico. 611, &c.) 
vaguely, though forcibly, delineates the scene of rapine and destruc- 
tion. 

" Tglf nuxafjig Jitvuiu xa't rtrouxic, &c. These gener ius lines ol 
Homer (Odyss. 1. v. 306) were transcribed by one of the captive 
youths of Corinth : and the tears of Mummius may prove that the 
rude conqueror, though he was ignorant of the value of an original 
picture, possessed the purest source of good taste, a benevolent heart, 
(Plutarch, Symposiac. 1. ix. torn. ii. p. 737, edit. Wechel.) 

12 Homer perpetually describes the exemplary patience of those 
female captives, who gave their charms, and even their hearts, to 
the murderers of their fathers, brothers, &c. Such a passion (ii 
Eriphile for Achilles) is touched with admirable delicacy by lla- 
cine. 

w Plutarch (in Pyrrho, torn. ii. p. 471, edit. Brian) gives tlo genu- 
ine answer in the Laconic dialect. Pyrrhus attacked Sparta with 
25,000 font, 2000 horse, and 24 elephants , and the defence of that 
open town is a hue comment on the laws of Lycurgus, even u '.he !«*' 
stage of decay. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 195 

the angry phantom of Achilles ; 14 and that the conqueror 
was dismayed by the presence of the hostile deities of Greece. 
In an age of miracles, it would perhaps be unjust to dispute 
the claim of the historian Zosimus to the common benefit : 
yet it cannot be dissembled, that the mind of Alaric was ill 
prepared to receive, either in sleeping or waking visions, the 
impressions of Greek superstition. The songs of Homer 
and the fame of Achilles, had probably never reached the ear 
of the illiterate Barbarian; and the Christian faith, which 
he had devoutly embraced, taught him to despise the imagi- 
nary deities of Rome and Athens. The invasion of the Goths, 
instead of vindicating the honor, contributed, at least acci- 
dentally, to extirpate the last remains, of Paganism : and the 
mysteries of Ceres, which had subsisted eighteen hundred 
years, did not survive the destruction of Eleusis, and the 
calamities of Greece. 15 

The last hope of a people who could no longer depend on 
their arms, their gods, or their sovereign, was placed in the 
powerful assistance of the general of the West ; and Stilicho, 
who had not been permitted to repulse, advanced to chastise, 
the invaders of Greece. 16 A numerous fleet was equipped in 
the ports of Italy ; and the troops, after a short and prosper- 
ous navigation over the Ionian Sea, were safely disembarked 
on the isthmus, near the ruins of Corinth. The woody and 
mountainous country of Arcadia, the fabulous residence of 
Pan and the Dryads, became the scene of a long and doubt- 
ful conflict between the two generals not unworthy of eacn 
other. The skill and perseverance of the Roman at length 
prevailed ; and the Goths, after sustaining a considerable loss 
from disease and desertion, gradually retreated to the lofty 
mountain of Pholoe, near the sources of the Peneus, and on 



u Such, perhaps, as Homer (Iliad, xx. 164) had so nobly painted 
him. 

15 Eunapius (in Vit. Philosoph. p. 90 — 93) intimates that a troop 
of monks betrayed Greece, and followed the Gothic camp.* 

** For Stilicho's Greek war, compare the honest narrative of Zosi- 
mus (1. v. p. 29.5, 296) with the curious circumstantial flattery of 
Claudian, (i. Cons. Stilich. 1. i. 172—186, iv. Cons. Hon. 459—487.) Aa 
the event was not glorious, it is artfully thrown into the shade. 



• The expression is curious : ToiuOra; uvnf rat nbXaf ivliei^t rrjf 'E\X<iSo',, 
(r* -iv Ttl Qata \fiana tx^rwv, &KU)\bTw; npomraonaiXOivTiDV, &cr(@ita. Vit 
Max. t. i. p. 53, edit. Boissonade. — M. 



196 THE DECLINE AND FALT. 

the frontiers of Elis ; a sacred country, which had formerly 
been exempted from the calamities of war. 17 The camp of 
the Barbarians was immediately besieged ; the waters of the 
river 18 were diverted into another channel ; and while they 
labored under the intolerable pressure of thirst and hunger, a 
strong line of circumvallation was formed to prevent their 
escape. After these precautions, Stilicho, too confident of 
victory, retired to enjoy his triumph, in the theatrical games, 
and lascivious dances, of the Greeks ; his soldiers, deserting 
their standards, spread themselves over the country of their 
allies, which they stripped of all that had been saved from the 
rapacious hands of the enemy. Alaric appears to have seized 
the favorable moment to execute one of those hardy enter- 
prises, in which the abilities of a general are displayed with 
more genuine lustre, than in the tumult of a day of battle. 
To extricate himself from the prison of Peloponnesus, it was 
necessary that he should pierce the intrenchments which sur 
rounded his camp ; that he should perform a difficult and 
dangerous march of thirty miles, as far as the Gulf of Cor- 
inth ; and that he should transport his troops, his captives, and 
his spoil, over an arm of the sea, which, in the narrow inter- 
val between Rhium and the opposite shore, is at least half a 
mile in breadth. 19 The operations of Alaric must have been 
secret, prudent, and rapid ; since the Roman general was 
confounded by the intelligence, that the Goths, who had 
eluded his efforts, were in full possession of the important 
province of Epirus. This unfortunate delay allowed Alaric 



17 The troops who marched through Elis delivered up their arms. 
This security enriched the Eleans, who were lovers of a rural life. 
Riches begat pride : they disdained their privilege, and they suffered. 
Polybius advises them to retire once more within their magic circle. 
See a learned and judicious discourse on the Olympic games, which 
Mr. West has prefixed to his translation of Pindar. 

18 Claudian (in iv. Cons. Hon. 480) alludes to the fact withou» 
naming the river ; perhaps the Alpheus, (i. Cons. Stil. 1. i. 185.) 

Et Alpheus Geticis angiisttis acervis 

Tardior ad Siculos c damnum pergit amores. 

Yet I should prefer the Peneus, a shallow stream in a wide and deep 
bed, which runs through Elis, and falls into the sea below Cyllene. 
It had been joined with the Alpheus, to cleanse the Augean stable 
(Cellarius, torn. i. p. 760. Chandler's Travels, p. 286.) 

19 Strabo, 1. viii. p. 517. Plin. Hist. Natur. iv. 3. Whee!er, p. 308 
Chandler, p. 275. They measured, from different points, the (litan.'* 
between the two lands. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 197 

sufficien time to conclude the treaty, which he secretly 
negotiat d, with the ministers of Constantinople. The appre- 
hension of a civil war compelled Stilicho to retire, at the 
haughty mandate of his rivals, from the dominions of Arca- 
dius ; and he respected, in the enemy of Rome, the honorable 
character of the ally and servant of the emperor of the East 
A Grecian philosopher, 20 who visited Constantinople soon 
after the death of Theodosius, published his liberal opinions 
concerning the duties of kings, and the state of the Roman 
republic. Synesius observes, and deplores, the fatal abuse, 
which the imprudent bounty of the late emperor had intro- 
duced into the military service. The citizens and subjects 
had purchased an exemption from the indispensable duty of 
defending their country ; which was supported by the arms 
of Barbarian mercenaries. The fugitives of Scythia were 
permitted to disgrace the illustrious dignities of the empire ; 
their ferocious youth, who disdained the salutary restraint of 
laws, were more anxious to acquire the riches, than to imitate 
the arts, of a people, the object of their contempt and hatred ; 
and the power of the Goths was the stone of Tantalus, per- 
petually suspended over the peace and safety of the devoted 
state. The measures which Synesius recommends, are the 
dictates of a bold and generous patriot. He exhorts the em- 
peror to revive the courage of his subjects, by the example of 
manly virtue ; to banish luxury from the court and from the 
camp ; to substitute, in the place of the Barbarian mercenaries, 
an army of men, interested in the defence of their laws and 
of their property ; to force, in such a moment of public dan- 
ger, the mechanic from his shop, and the philosopher from his 
school ; to rouse the indolent citizen from his dream of pleas- 
ure, and to arm, for the protection of agriculture, the hands 
of the laborious husbandman. At the head of such troops, 
who might deserve the name, and would display the spirit, of 
Romans, he animates the son of Theodosius to encounter a 
race of Barbarians, who were destitute of any real courage ; 
and never to lay down his arms, till he had chased them far 
away into the solitudes of Scythia ; or had reduced them to 

*° Synesius passed three years (A. D. 397 — 400) at Constantinople, 
as deputy from Cyrene to the emperor Arcadius. He presented him 
irith a crown of gold, and pronounced before him the instructive ora- 
tion de Regno, (p. 1 — 32, edit. Petav. Paris, 1612.) The philosoptar 
was made bishop of Ptolemais, A. D. 410, and died about 430. See 
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xii. p. 490, o54, 683 — 685. 



198 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the stale of ignominious- servitude, which the Lacedaemonians 
formelly imposed on the captive Helots. 21 The court of 
Arcadius indulged the zeal, applauded the eloquence, and 
neglected the advice, of Synesius. Perhaps the philosopher, 
who addresses the emperor of the East in the language of 
reason and virtue, which he might have used to a Spaitan 
king, had not condescended to form a practicable scheme, 
consistent with the temper, and circumstances, of a degener^ 
ate age. Perhaps the pride of the ministers, whose business 
was seldom interrupted by reflection, might reject, as wild 
and visionary, every proposal, which exceeded the measure 
of their capacity, and deviated from the forms and precedents 
of office. While the oration of Synesius, and the downfall of 
the Barbarians, were the topics of popular conversation, an 
edict was published at Constantinople, which declared the 
promotion of Alaric to the rank of master-general of the 
Eastern Illyricum. The Roman provincials, and the allies, 
who had respected the faith of treaties, were justly indignant, 
that the ruin of Greece and Epirus should be so liberally 
rewarded. The Gothic conqueror was received as a lawful 
magistrate, in the cities which he had so lately besieged. The 
fathers, whose sons he had massacred, the husbands, whose 
wives he had violated, were subject to his authority ; and the 
success of his rebellion encouraged the ambition of every 
leader of the foreign mercenaries. The use to which Alaric 
applied his new command, distinguishes the firm and judicious 
character of his policy. He issued his orders to the four 
magazines and manufactures of offensive and defensive arms, 
Margus, Ratiaria, Naissus, and Thessalonica, to provide his 
troops with an extraordinary supply of shields, helmets, swords, 
and spears ; the unhappy provincials were compelled to forge 
the instruments of their own destruction ; and the Barbarians 
removed the only defect which had sometimes disappointed 
the efforts of their courage. 22 The birth of Alaric, the glory 

, ™ Synesius de Regno, p. 21 — 26. 

** qui fcedera rumpit 

Ditatur : qui servat, eget : vastator Achivae 
Gentis, et Epirum nuper populatus inultam, 
Praesidet Hlyrico : jam, quos obsedit, amicos 
Ingreditur muros ; illis responsa daturus, 
Quorum conjugibus potitur, natosque peremit. 
Claudian in Eutrop. 1. ii. 212. Alaric applauds his own policy (de 
Bell. Getic. 533—543) in the use which he had made of this IUyrian 
Jurisdiction. 



OF THE Rl MAN EMPIRE. 199 

cf his past exploits, and the ccnfidcnce in his future des'gns, 
insensibly united the body of the nation under his victorious 
standard ; and, with the unanimous consent of the Barbarian 
chieftains, the master-general of Illyricum was elevated, 
according to ancient custom, on a shield, and solemnly pro- 
claimed king of the Visigoths. 53 Armed with this double 
power, seated on the verge of the two empires, he alternately 
sold his deceitful promises to the courts of Arcadius and 
Honorius ; 24 till he declared and executed his resolution of 
invading the dominions of the West. The provinces of 
Europe which belonged to the Eastern emperor, were already 
exhausted ; those of Asia were inaccessible ; and the strength 
of Constant' nople had resisted his attack. But he was temptec 
by the fame, the beauty, the wealth of Italy, which he had 
twice visited ; and he secretly aspired to plant the Gothic 
standard on the walls of Rome, and to enrich his army with 
the accumulated spoils of three hundred triumphs. 25 

The scarcity of- facts, 26 and the uncertainty of dates, 27 
oppose our attempts to describe the circumstances of the first 
invasion of Italy by the arms of Alaric. His march, perhaps 
from Thessalonica, through the warlike and hostile country 
of Pannonia, as far as the foot of the Julian Alps ; his passage 
of those mountains, which were strongly guarded by troops 

33 Jornandes, c. 29, p. 651. The Gothic historian adds, with un- 
usual spirit, Cum suis deliberans suasit suo labore quaerere regna, 
quam alienis per otium subjacere. 

** Discors odiisque anceps civilibus or bis, 

Non sua vis tutata diu, dum foedera fallax 
Ludit, et alternae perjuria venditat aula?. 

Claudian de Bell. Get. 565. 

** Alpibus Italiee ruptis penetrabis ad Urbem. 

This authentic prediction was announced by Alaric, or at least by 
Claudian, (de Bell. Getico, 547,) seven years before the event. But as 
it was not accomplished within the term which has been rashl y fixed, 
the interpreters escaped through an ambiguous meaning. 

M Our best materials are 970 verses of Claudian, in the poem on the 
Getic war, and the beginning of that which celebrates the sixth con- 
sulship of Honorius. Zosimus is totally sdent ; and we are reduced 
to such scraps, or rather crumbs, as we can pick from Orosius and the 
Chronicles. 

17 Notwithstanding the gross errors of Jornandes, who confound* 
the Italian wars of Alaric, (c. 29,) his date of the consulship of Stili- 
sho and Aurclian (A. D. 400) is firm and respectable. It is certain 
from Claudian (Tillemont, Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p. 804) that tha 
oattle of Polcntia was fought A. D. 403 ; but we cannot easily fill 
the interval. 



200 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and intrencnments; the siege of Aquileia, and the conques! 
of the provinces of Istria and Venetia, appear to have em- 
ployed a considerable time. Unless his operations were ex- 
tremely cautious and slow, the length of the interval would 
suggest a probable suspicion, that the Gothic king retreated 
towards the banks of the Danube ; and reenforced his army 
with fresh swarms of Barbarians, before he again attempted 
to penetrate into the heart of Italy. Since the public and im- 
portant events escape the diligence of the historian, he may 
amuse himself with contemplating, for a moment, the influ- 
ence of the arms of Alaric on the fortunes of two obscure 
individuals, a presbyter of Aquileia and a husbandman of 
Verona. The learned Rufinus, who was summoned by his 
enemies to appear before a Roman synod, 28 wisely preferred 
the dangers of a besieged city ; and the Barbarians, who 
furiously shook the walls of Aquileia, might save him from 
the cruel sentence of another heretic, who, at the request of 
the same bishops, was severely whipped, and condemned to 
perpetual exile on a desert island. 29 The old man? who had 
passed his simple and innocent life in the neighborhood of 
Verona, was a stranger to the quarrels both of kings and of 
bishops ; his pleasures, his desires, his knowledge, were cor- 
fined within the little circle of his paternal farm ; and a staff 
supported his aged steps, on the same ground where he had 
sported in his infancy. Yet even this humble and rustic felicity 
(which Claudian describes with so much truth and feeling) 
was still exposed to the undistinguishing rage of war. His 
trees, his old contemporary trees, 31 must blaze in the confla- 
gration of the whole country ; a detachment of Gothic cavalry 

u Tantum Romanse urbis judicium fugis, ut magis obsidionem bar- 
Daricam, quam pacatce urbis judicium velis sustinere. Jerom, torn. ii. 
p. 239. Rufinus understood his own danger ; the peaceful city was 
inflamed by the beldam Marcella, and the rest of Jerom's faction. 

19 Jovinian, the enemy of fasts and of celibacy, who was persecuted 
and insulted by the furious Jerom, (Jortin's Remarks, vol. iv. p. 104, 
&c.) See the original edict of banishment in the Theodosian Code, L 
xvi. tit. v. leg. 43. 

20 This epigram (de Sene Veronensi qui suburbium nusquam egres- 
sus est) is one of the earliest and most pleasing compositions of Clau- 
dian. Cowley's imitation (Hurd's edition, vol. ii. p. 241) has some 
natural and happy strokes : but it is much inferior to the original por- 
trait, which is evidently drawn from the life. 

" Ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum 

^Equuevumque videt consenuisse nemus. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 20) 

might sweep away his cottage and his family , and the powei 
of Alaric could destroy this happiness, which he was not abla 
either to taste or to bestow. " Fame," says the poet, " en- 
circling with terror her gloomy wings, proclaimed the march 
of the Barbarian army, and filled Italy with consternation : " 
the apprehensions of each individual were increased in just 
proportion to the measure of his fortune : and the most timid, 
who had already embarked their valuable effects, meditated 
their escape to the Island of Sicily, or the African coast. 
The public distress was aggravated by the fears and re- 
proaches of superstition. 32 Every hour produced some horrid 
tale of strange and portentous accidents ; the Pagans deplored 
the neglect of omens, and the interruption of sacrifices ; but 
the Christians still derived some comfort from the powerful 
intercession of the saints and martyrs. 33 

The emperor Honorius was distinguished, above his sub- 
jects, by the preeminence of fear, as well as of rank. The 
pride and luxury in which he was educated, had not allowed 
him to suspect, that there existed on the earth any power 
presumptuous enough to invade the repose of the successor 
Df Augustus. The arts of flattery concealed the impending 
danger, till Alaric approached the palace of Milan. But 
when the sound of war had awakened the young emperor, 
instead of flying to arms with the spirit, or even the rashness, 
of his age, he eagerly listened to those timid counsellors, who 
proposed to convey his sacred person, and his faithful attend- 
ants, to some secure and distant station in the provinces of 
Gaul. Stilicho alone 34 had courage and authority to resist 



A neighboring wood born with himself he sees, 
And loves his old contemporary trees. 

In this passage, Cowley is perhaps superior to his original ; and thft 
English poet, who was a good botanist, has concealed the oaks under 
a more general expression. 

32 Claudian de Bell. Get. 199—266. He may seem prolix : but 
fear and superstition occupied as large a space in the minds of the 
Italians. 

33 From the passages of Paulinus, which Baronius has produce.!, 
(Annal. Eccles. A. D. 403, No. 51,) it is manifest that the general 
alarm had pervaded all Italy, as far as Nola in Campania, where that 
famous penitent had fixed his abode. 

34 Solus erat Stilicho, &c, is the exclusive commendation which 
Claudian bestows, (de Bell. Get. 267,) without condescending to except 
the emperor. How insignificant must Honorius have appeared in nis 
own court ! 

63 



202 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

this disgraceful measure, which would have abandoned Rcme 
and Italy to the Barbarians ; but as the troops of the palace 
had been lately detached to the Rhsetian frontier, and as the 
resource of new levies was slow and precarious, the general 
of the West could only promise, that, if the court of Milan 
would maintain their ground during his absence, he would 
soon return with an army equal to the encounter of the Gothic 
king. Without losing a moment, (while each moment was so 
important to the public safety,) Stilicho hastily embarked on 
the Larian Lake, ascended the mountains of ice and snow, 
amidst the severity of an Alpine winter, and suddenly re- 
pressed, by his unexpected presence, the enemy, who had 
disturbed the tranquillity of Rhsetia. 35 The Barbarians, per- 
haps some tribes of the Alemanni, respected the firmness of a 
chief, who still assumed the language of command ; and the 
choice which he condescended to make, of a select number 
of their bravest youth, was considered as a mark of his 
esteem and favor. The cohorts, who were delivered from 
the neighboring foe, diligently repaired to the Imperial stan- 
dard ; and Stilicho issued his orders to the most remote troops 
of the West, to advance, by rapid marches, to the defence of 
Honorius and of Italy. The fortresses of the Rhine were 
abandoned ; and the safety of Gaul was protected only by 
the faith of the Germans, and the ancient terror of the Roman 
name. Even the legion, which had been stationed to guard 
the wall of Britain against the Caledonians of the North, was 
hastily recalled ; 36 and a numerous body of the cavalry of 
the Alani was persuaded to engage in the service of the 
emperor, who anxiously expected the return of his general. 
The prudence and vigor of Stilicho were conspicuous on this 
occasion, which revealed, at the same time, the weakness of 
the falling empire. The legions of Rome, which had long 
since languished in the gradual decay of discipline and cour- 
age, were exterminated by the Gothic and civil wars ; and it 



35 The face of the country, and the hardiness of Stilicho, are finelj 
described, (de Bell. Get. 340—363.) 

39 Venit et extrtmis legio prsetenta Britannia, 

Quae Scoto dat frena truci. 

De Bell. Get. 416. 

Yet the most rapid march from Edinburgh, or Newcastle, to Milan, 
must have required a longer space of time than Claudian seems will* 
big to allow for the duration of the Gothic war. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 203 

was found impossible, without exhausting and exposing tho 
provinces, to assemble an army for the defence of Italy. 

When Slilicho seemed to abandon his sovereign in the 
unguarded palace of Milan, he had probably calculated the 
term of his absence, the distance of the enemy, and the 
obstacle-* that might retard their march. He principally 
depended on the rivers of Italy, the Adige, the Mincius, the 
Oglio, and the Addua, which, in the winter or spring, by the 
fall of rains, or by the melting of the snows, are commonly 
swelled into broad and impetuous torrents. 37 But the season 
happened to be remarkably dry : and the Goths could trav- 
erse, without impediment, the wide and stony beds, whose 
centre was faintly marked by the course of a shallow stream. 
The bridge and passage of the Addua were secured by 
a strong detachment of the Gothic army ; and as Alaric 
approached the walls, or rather the suburbs, of Milan, he 
enjoyed the proud satisfaction of seeing the emperor of the 
Romans fly before him. Honorius, accompanied by a feeble 
train of statesmen and eunuchs, hastily retreated towards the 
Alps, with a design of securing his person in the city of Aries, 
which had often been the royal residence of his predeces- 
sors.* But Honorius 38 had scarcely passed the Po, before 
he wa3 overtaken by the speed of the Gothic cavalry ; 39 since 



37 Every traveller must recollect the face of Lombardy, (see Fon- 
tenelle, torn. v. p. 279,) which is often tormented by the capricious 
and irregular abundance of waters. The Austrians, before Genoa, 
were encamped in the dry bed of the Polcevera. " Ne sarebbe " (says 
Muratori) " mai passato per mente a que' buoni Alemanni, che quel 
picciolo torrente potesse, per cosi dire, in un instante cangiarsi in un 
terribil gigante." (Annali d'ltalia, torn. xvi. p. 443, Milan, 1752, 8vo 
edit.) 

33 Claudian does not clearly 'answer our question, Where was 
Honorius himself ? Yet the flight is marked by the pursuit ; and my 
idea of the Gothic war is justified by the Italian critics, Sigonius ^tom. 
i. P. ii. p. 369, de Imp. Occident. 1. x.) and Muratori, (Annali d'ltalia, 
torn. iv. p. 45.) 

39 One of the roads may be traced in the Itineraries, (p. 98, 288, 
294, with "Wesseling's Notes.) Asta lay some miles on the right 
hand. 

• According to Le Beau and his commentator M. St. Martin, Honorius 
did not attempt to fly. Settlements were offered to the Goths in Lom- 
bardy, and they advanced from the Po towards the Alps to take possession 
df them. But it was a treacherous stratagem of Stilicho, who surprised 
them while they were reposing on the faith of this treaty. Le Beau* 
r. 223. — M. 



204 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the urgency of the danger compelled him to seek a temporary 
shelter within the fortifications of Asta, a town of Liguna or 
Piemont, situate on the banks of the Tanarus. 40 The siege 
of an obscure place, which contained so rich a prize, anci 
seemed incapable of a long resistance, was instantly formed, 
and indefatigably pressed, by the king of the Goths ; and the 
bold declaration, which the emperor might afterwards make, 
that his breast had never been susceptible of fear, did not 
probably obtain much credit, even in his own court. 41 In the 
last, and almost hopeless extremity, after the Barbarians had 
already proposed the indignity of a capitulation, the Imperial 
captive was suddenly relieved by the fame, the approach, and 
at length the presence, of the hero, whom he had so long 
expected. At the head of a chosen and intrepid vanguard, 
Stilicho swam the stream of the Addua, to gain the time 
which he must have lost in the attack of the bridge ; the 
passage of the Po was an enterprise of much less hazard and 
difficulty ; and the successful action, in which he cut his way 
vhrough the Gothic camp under the walls of Asta, revived 
the hopes, and vindicated the honor, of Rome. Instead of 
grasping the fruit of his victory, the Barbarian was gradually 
invested, on every side, by the troops of the West, who suc- 
cessively issued through all the passes of the Alps ; his 
quarters were straitened ; his convoys were intercepted ; and 
the vigilance of the Romans prepared to form a chain of 
fortifications, and to besiege the lines of the besiegers. A 
military council was assembled of the long-haired chiefs of 
the Gothic nation ; of aged warriors, whose bodies were 
wrapped in furs, and whose stern countenances were marked 
with honorable wounds. They weighed the glory of persist- 
ing in their attempt against the advantage of securing their 
plunder; and they recommended the prudent measure of a 
seasonable retreat. In this important debate, Alaric dis- 
played the spirit of the conqueror of Rome ; and after he had 
reminded his countrymen of their achievements and of their 
designs, he concluded his animating speech by the solemn 



40 Asta, or Asti, a Roman colony, is now the capital of a pleasant 
tountry, which, in the sixteenth century, devolved to the dukes of 
Savoy, (Leandro Alberti Descrizzione d'ltalia, p. 382.) 

41 Nee me timor impulit ullus. He might hold this proud lan- 
guage the next year at Home, five hundred miles from the seen* of 
•anger, (vi. Cons. Hon. 449.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 205 

»nd positive assurance that he was resolved to find in Itai^ 
either a kingdom or a grave. 42 

The loose discipline of the Barbarians always exposed 
them to the danger of a surprise ; but, instead of choosing 
the dissolute hours of riot and intemperance, Stilicho re- 
solved to attack the Christian Goths, whilst they were devout- 
ly employed in celebrating the festival of Easter. 43 The 
execution of the stratagem, or, as it was termed by the clergy, 
of the sacrilege, was intrusted to Saul, a Barbarian and a Pagan, 
who had served, however, with distinguished reputation among 
the veteran generals of Theodosius. The camp of the Goths, 
which Alaric had pitched in the neighborhood of Pollentia, 44 
was thrown into confusion by the sudden and impetuous 
charge of the Imperial cavalry ; but, in a few moments, the 
undaunted genius of their leader gave them an order, and a 
field of battle ; and, as soon as they had recovered from their 
astonishment, the pious confidence, that the God of the Chris- 
tians would assert their cause, added new strength to their 
native valor. In this engagement, which was long maintained 
with equal courage and success, the chief of the Alani, whose 
diminutive and savage form concealed a magnanimous soul 
approved his suspected loyalty, by the zeal with which he 
fought, and fell, in the service of the republic ; and the fame 
of this gallant Barbarian has been imperfectly preserved in 
the verses of Claudian, since the poet, who celebrates his 
virtue, has omitted the mention of his name. His death was 
followed by the flight and dismay of the squadrons which he 
commanded ; and the defeat of the wing of cavalry might 
have decided the victory of Alaric, if Stilicho had not imme- 



** Ilanc ego vel victor regno, vel morte tenebo 

Victus, humum. 

ITie speeches (de Bell. Get. 479—549) of the Gothic Nestor T and 
Achilles, arc strong, characteristic, adapted to the circumstances ; and 
possibly not less genuine than thtfse of Livy. 

43 Orosius (1. vii. c. 37) is shocked at the impiety cf the Romans, 
who attacked, on Easter Sunday, such pious Christians. Yet, at the 
same time, pubdc prayers were offered at the shrine of St. Thomas of 
Edossa, for the destruction of the Arian robber. See Tillemont (Hist, 
des Emp. torn. v. p. 529) who quotes a homily, which has been ero 
neously ascribed to St. Chrysostom. 

44 The vestiges of Pollentia are twenty-five miles to the south-east 
of Turin. Urbs, in the same neighborhood, was a royal chase of the 
kings of Lombardy, and a small river, which excused the prediction, 
•* p«»etrabis ad urbern," (Cluver. Ital. Antiq. torn. i. p. 83 — 85.) 



206 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

diately led the Roman and Barbarian infantjy to the attack. 
The skill of the general, and the bravery of the soldiers, sur* 
mounted every obstacle. In the evening of the bloody day, 
the Goths retreated from the field of battle ; the intrench- 
ments of their camp were forced, and the scene of rapine and 
slaughter made some atonement for the calamities which they 
had inflicted on the subjects of the empire. 45 The magnifi- 
cent spoils of Corinth and Argos enriched the veterans of the 
West ; the captive wife of Alaric, who had impatiently claimed 
his promise of Roman jewels and Patrician handmaids, 46 was 
reduced to implore the mercv of the insulting foe ; and many 
thousand prisoners, released trom the Gothic chains, dispersed 
through the provinces of Italy the praises of their heroic 
deliverer. The triumph of Stilicho 47 was compared by the 
poet, and perhaps by the public, to that of Marius ; who, in the 
same part of Italy, had encountered and destroyed another 
army of Northern Barbarians. The huge bones, and the 
empty helmets, of the Cimbri and of the Goths, would easily 
be confounded by succeeding generations ; and posterity 
might erect a common trophy to the memory of the two most 
illustrious generals, who had vanquished, on the same mem- 
orable ground, the two most formidable enemies of Rome. 48 

The eloquence of Claudian 49 has celebrated, with lavish 
applause, the victory of Pollentia, one of the most glorious 



45 Orosius wishes, in doubtful words, to insinuate the defeat of the 
Romans. " Pugnantes vicimus, victores victi sumus." Prosper (in 
Chron.) makes it an equal and bloody battle, but the Gothic writers 
Caesiodorus (in Chron.) and Jornandes (de Reb. Get. c. 29) claim a 
decisive victory. 

48 Demons Ausonidum gemmata monilia matrum, 
Romanasque alta famulas cervice petebat. 

De Pell. Get. 627. 

47 Claudian (de Pell. Get. 580 — 647) and Prudentius (in Symmach. 
1. ii. 694 — 719) celebrate, without ambiguity, the Roman victory of 
Vollentia. They are poetical and party writers ; yet some credit is 
due to the most suspicious witnesses, who are checked by the recent 
notoriety of facts. 

* s Claudian' s peroration is strong and elegant ; but the identity of 
the Cimbric and Gothic fields must be understood (like Virgil's Phihp- 
pi, Georgic i. 490) according to the loose geography of a poet. Vercellsa 
and Pollentia are sixty miles from each other ; and the latitude ia 
•till greater, if the Cimbri were defeated in the wide and barren plain 
of Verona, (Maffei, Verona Illustrata, P. i. p. 54— 62.) 

49 Claudian and Prudentius must be strictly examined, to rciuo« 
the figures, and extort the historic senile, of those poets. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 20*i 

days in the life of his patron; but his reluctant and partial 
muse bestows more genuine praise on the character of the 
Gothic king. His name is, indeed, branded with the reproach- 
ful epithets of pirate and robber, to which the conquerors of 
every age are so justly entitled ; but the poet of Stilicho is 
compelled to acknowledge that Alaric possessed the invincible 
temper of mind, which rises superior to every misfortune, 
and derives new resources from adversity. After the total 
defeat of his infantry, he escaped, or rather withdrew, from 
the field of battle, with the greatest part of his cavalry entire 
and unbroken. Without wasting a moment to lament the 
irreparable loss of so many brave companions, he left his 
victorious enemy to bind in chains the captive images of a 
Gothic king ; 50 and boldly resolved to break through the 
unguarded passes of the Apennine, to spread desolation over 
the fruitful face of Tuscany, and to conquer or die before the 
gates of Rome. The capital was saved by the active and 
incessant diligence of Stilicho : but he respected the despair 
of his enemy ; and, instead of committing the fate of the 
republic to the chance of another battle, he proposed to 
purchase the absence of the Barbarians. The spirit of Alaric 
would have rejected such terms, the permission of a retreat, 
and the offer of a pension, with contempt and indignation ; but 
he exercised a limited and precarious authority over the inde- 
pendent chieftains who had raised him, for their service, above 
the rank of his equals ; they were still less disposed to follow 
an unsuccessful general, and many of them were tempted to 
consult their interest by a private negotiation with the minister 
of Honorius. The king submitted to the voice of his people, 
ratified the treaty with the empire of the West, and repassed 
the Po with the remains of the flourishing army which he had 
led into Italy. A considerable part of the Roman forces still 
continued to attend his motions ; and Stilicho, who maintained 
a secret correspondence with some of the Barbarian chiefs, 
was punctually apprised of the designs that were formed in 
the camp and council of Alaric. The king of the Goths, 
ambitious to signalize his retreat by some splendid achieve 

69 Et gravant en airain scs freles avantages 

De mes etats conquis enchaincr les images. 

fhe practice of exposing in triumph the images of kings and provinces 
was familiar to the Romans. The bust of Mithridates himpelf waa 
twelve feet high, of mass) gold, (Freinshem. Supplement. Liviau, 
Mii. 47.) 



208 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ment. had resolved to occupy the important city of Verom, 
which commands the principal passage of the Rhsetian Alps ; 
and, directing his march through the territories of those 
Gorman tribes, whose alliance would restore his exhausted 
strength, to invade, on the side of the Rhine, the wealthy and 
unsuspecting provinces of Gaul. Ignorant of the treason 
which had already betrayed his bold and judicious enterprise, 
he advanced towards the passes of the mountains, already 
possessed by the Imperial troops ; where he was exposed, 
almost at the same instant, to a general attack in the front, on 
his flanks, and in the rear. In this bloody action, at a small 
distance from the walls of Verona, the loss of the Goths was 
not less heavy than that which they had sustained in the 
defeat of Pollentia ; and their valiant king, who escaped by 
the swiftness of his horse, must either have been slain or mado 
prisoner, if the hasty rashness of the Alani had not disap- 
pointed the measures of the Roman general. Alaric secured 
the remains of his army on the adjacent rocks ; and prepared 
himself, with undaunted resolution, to maintain a siege 
against the superior numbers of the enemy, who invested him 
on all sides. But he could not oppose the destructive progress 
of hunger and disease ; nor was it possible for him to check 
the continual desertion of his impatient and capricious Barba- 
rians. In this extremity he still found resources in his own 
courage, or in the moderation of his adversary; and the 
retreat of the Gothic king was considered as the deliverance 
t of Italy. 51 Yet the people, and even the clergy, incapable 
of forming any rational judgment of the business of peace 
and war, presumed to arraign the policy of Stilicho, who so 
often vanquished, so often surrounded, and so often dismissed 
the implacable enemy of the republic. The first moment 
of the public safety is devoted to gratitude and joy ; but the 
second is diligently occupied by envy and calumny. 52 

The citizens of Rome had been astonished by the approach 
of Alaric : and the diligence with which they labored to 
restore the walls of the capital, confessed their own fears, ond 
the decline of the empire. After the retreat of the Barba- 
rians, Honorius was directed to accept the dutiful invitation 

41 The Getic war, and the sixth consulship of Honorius, obscurely 
connect the events of Alaric's retreat and losses. 

Taceo de Alarico . . . saepe victo, saepe concluso, semperque di- 
misso. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 37, p. 567. Claudian (vi. Cous. Hon. 320) 
drops the curtain with a fine image. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 209 

of th^ senate, and to celebrate, in the Imperial city, the 
auspicious aera cf the Githic victoiy, and of his sixth consul- 
ship. 53 The suburbs and the streets, from the Milvian bridge 
to the Palatine mount, were filled by the Roman people, who. 
in the space of a hundred years, had only thrice been 
honored with the presence of their sovereigns. While their 
eyes were fixed on the chariot where Stilicho was deservedly 
seated by the side of his royal pupil, they applauded the pomp 
of a triumph, which was not stained, like that of Constantine, 
or of Theodosius, with civil blood. The procession passed 
under a lofty arch, which had been purposely erected : but 
in less than seven years, the Gothic conquerors of Rome 
might read, if they were able to read, the superb inscription 
of that monument, which attested the total defeat and destruc- 
tion of their nation. 54 The emperor resided several months in 
the capital, and every part of his behavior was regulated with 
care to conciliate the affection of the clergy, the senate, and 
the people of Rome. The clergy was edified by his frequen* 
visits and liberal gifts to the shrines of the apostles. The 
senate, who, in the triumphal procession, had been excused 
from the humiliating ceremony of preceding on foot the Impe- 
rial chariot, was treated with the decent reverence which Stil- 
icho always affected for that assembly. The people was 
repeatedly gratified by the attention and courtesy of Honorius 
in the public games, which were celebrated on that occasion 
with a magnificence not unworthy of the spectator. As soon 
as the appointed number of chariot-races was concluded, the 
decoration of the Circus was suddenly changed ; the hunting 
of wild beasts afforded a various and splendid entertainment ; 
and the chase was succeeded by a military dance, which seems, 
in the lively description of Claudian, to present the image of a 
modern tournament. 

In these games of Honorius, the inhuman combats of gladi- 
ators 55 polluted, for the last time, the amphitheatre of Rome. 



53 The remaindor of Claudian's poem on the sixth consulship of 
Honorius, describes the journey, the triumph, and the games, (330 — 
660.) 

54 See the inscription in Maseou's History of the Ancient Germans, 
viii. 12. The words are positive and indiscreet : Getarum nationerr- 
in omne a?vum domitam, &c. , 

** On the curious, though horrid, subject of the gladiators, consult 
.he two bonks of the Saturnalia of Lipsius, who as an antiquarian, in 
Inclined tc excuse the practice 6i antiquity, (torn. iii. p. 4S3 — 545.) 

63* 



2J0 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The first Christian emperor may claim the honor of the firs? 
edict which condemned the art and amusement of shedding 
human blood; 56 but this benevolent law expressed the wis iea 
of the prince, without reforming an inveterate abuse, which 
degraded a civilized nation below the condition of savage 
cannibals. Several hundred, perhaps several thousand, victims 
were annually slaughtered in the great cities of the empire , 
and the month of December, more peculiarly devoted to the 
combats of gladiators, still exhibited to the eyes of the Roman 
people a grateful spectacle of blood and cruelty. Amidst the 
general joy of the victoiy of Pollentia, a Christian poet exhort- 
ed the emperor to extirpate, by his authority, the horrid custom 
which had so long resisted the voice of humanity and reli- 
gion. 07 The pathetic representations of Prudentius were less 
effectual than the generous boldness of Telemachus, an Asiatic 
monk, whose death was more useful to mankind than his life. 58 
The Romans were provoked by the interruption of their 
pleasures ; and the rash monk, who had descended into the 
arena to separate the gladiators, was overwhelmed under a 
shower of stones. But the madness of the people soon sub- 
sided ; they respected the memory of Telemachus, who had 
deserved the honors of martyrdom ; and they submitted, with- 
out a murmur, to the laws of Honorius, which abolished for- 
ever the human sacrifices of the amphitheatre.* The citizens, 
who adhered to the manners of their ancestors, might perhaps 

5J Cod. Theodos. 1. xv. tit. xii. leg. i. The Commentary of Gode- 
froy affords large materials (torn. v. p. 396) for the history of gladia- 
tors. 

67 See the peroration of Frudentius (in Symmach. 1. ii. 1121 — 1131) 
who had doubtless read the eloquent invective of Lactantius, (Divin. 
Institut. 1. vi. c. 20.) The Christian apologists have not spared these 
bloody games, which were introduced in the religious festivals of 
Paganism. 

55 Theodoret, 1. v. c. 26. I wish to believe the story of St. Telema- 
chus. Yet no church has been dedicated, no altar has been erected, to 
the only monk who died a martyr iu the cause of humanity. 



* Muller, in Iris valuable Treatise, fie Genio. moribus et luxu sevl Thec- 
dosiani, is disposed to question the effect produced by the heroic, or rather 
laintly, death of Telemachus. No prohibitory law of Honorius is to be 
found in the Theodosian Code, only the old and imperfect edict of Con- 
stantine. But Mulk-r has produced no evidence or allusion to gladiatorial 
Bhosvs after this period. The combats with wild beasts certainly lusted ti. 1 ! 
the fall of the Western empire; but the gladiatorial combats ceased eit*»*r 
V) common consent, or by Imperial edict. — M 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 211 

insinuate that the last remains of a martial spirit were preserved 
in this school of fortitude, which accustomed the Romans io 
the sight of blood, and to the contempt of death ; a vain and 
cruel prejudice, so nobly confuted by the valor of ancient 
Greece, and of modern Europe ! d9 

The recent danger, to which the person of the emperor had 
been exposed in the defenceless palace of Milan, urged him 
to seek a retreat in some inaccessible fortress of Italy, where 
he might securely remain, while the open country was cov- 
ered by a deluge of Barbarians. On the coast of the Adriatic, 
about ten or twelve miles from the most southern of the seven 
mouths of the Po, the Thessalians had founded the ancient 
colony of Ravenna/' which they afterwards resigned to the 
natives of Umbria. Augustus, who had observed the oppor- 
tunity of the place, prepared, at the distance of three miles 
from the old town, a capacious harbor, for the reception of 
two hundred and fifty ships of war. This naval establish- 
ment, which included the arsenals and magazines, the bar- 
racks of the troops, and the houses of the artificers, derived 
its origin and name from the permanent station of the Roman 
fleet; the intermediate space was soon filled with buildings 
and inhabitants, and the three extensive and populous quar- 
ters of Ravenna gradually contributed to form one of the most 
important cities of Italy. The principal canal of Augustus 
poured a copious stream of the waters of the Po through the 
midst of the city, to the entrance of the harbor ; the same 
waters were introduced info the profound ditches that encom- 
passed the walls ; they were distributed, by a thousand sub- 
ordinate canals, into every part of the city, which they divided 
into a variety of small islands ; the communication was main- 
tained only by the use of boats and bridges ; and the houses 

59 Crudcle gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis videri 
polet, et haud acio an ita sit, ut nunc tit. ' Cicero Tusculan. ii. 17. He 
faintly censures the abuse, and warmly defends the icse, of these sports ; 
oculis nulla poterat esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem disciplina.. 
Seneca (epist. vii.) shows the feelings of a man. 

60 This account of Ravenna is drawn from Strabo, (1. v. p. 327,) 
Plinv, (iii. 20, ) Stephen of Byzantium, (sub voce r Fupivva, p. G51, edit. 
Berkel,) Claudian, (in vi. Cons. Honor. 494, &c.,) Sidonius Apollina- 
ris, (1. i. epist. 5, 8,) Jornandes, (de Reb. Get. c. 29,) Procopius, (do 
Bell. Gothic. 1. i. c. i. p. 309, edit. Louvre,) and (,'luverius, (Itai. 
Antiq. torn. i. p. 301 — 307.) Yet I still want a local antiquarian, and 
t good topographical map. 



212 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Ravenna, whose appearance may be compared to that of 
Venice, were raised on the foundation of wooden piles. Tha 
adjacent country, to the distance of many miles, was a deep 
and impassable morass ; and the artificial causeway, which 
connected Ravenna with the continent, might be easily 
guarded, or destroyed, on the approach of a hostile army. 
These morasses were interspersed, however, with vineyards : 
and though the soil was exhausted by four or five crops, the 
town enjoyed a more plentiful supply of wine than of fresh 
water. 01 The air, instead of receiving the sickly, and almost 
pestilential, exhalations of low and marshy grounds, was dis- 
tinguished, like the neighborhood of Alexandria, as uncom- 
monly pure and salubrious ; and this singular advantage was 
ascribed to the regular tides of the Adriatic, which swept the 
canals, interrupted the unwholesome stagnation of the waters, 
and floated, every day, the vessels of the adjacent country 
into the heart of Ravenna. The gradual retreat of the sea 
has left the modern city at the distance of four miles from the 
Adriatic ; and as early as the fifth or sixth century of the 
Christian sera, the port of Augustus was converted into pleas- 
ant orchards ; and a lonely grove of pines ccvered the ground 
where the Roman fleet once rode at anchor. 62 Even thin 
alteration contributed to increase the natural strength 01 
the place ; and the shallowness of the water was a sufiv 
cient barrier against the large ships of the enemy. This- 
advantageous situation was fortified by art and labor ; and id 
the twentieth year of his age, the emperor of the West, anx- 
ious only for his personal safety, retired to the perpetual con- 
finement of the walls and morasses of Ravenna. The example 
of Honorius was imitated by his feeble successors, the Gothic 
kings, and afterwards the Exarchs, who occupied the throne 
and palace of the emperors ; and till the middle of the eighth 

ei Martial (Epigram iii. 56, 57) plays on the trick of the knave, who 
had sold him wine instead of water ; but he seriously declares, that a 
cistern at Ravenna is more valuable than a vineyard. Sidonius com- 
plains that the town is destitute of fountains and aqueducts ; and 
r^-nks the want of fresh water among thb local evils, such as tha 
croaking of frogs, the stinging of gnats, &c. 

32 The fable of Theodore and Honoria, which Dryden has so admi- 
rably transplanted from Boccaccio, (Giornata iii. novell. viii.,) was act- 
^d in the wood of Chiassi, a corrupt word from Classis, the naval sta- 
tion, \» hich, with the intermediate road, or suburb, the Via CtaartM, 
oou&tituted the triple city of Ravenna. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 213 

century, Ravenna was considered as the seat of government 
and the capital of Italy. 63 

The fears of Honorius were not without foundation, noi 
were his precautions without effect. While Italy rejoiced in 
her deliverance from the Goths, a furious tempest was ex- 
cited among the nations of Germany, who yielded to the irre- 
sistible impulse that appears to have been gradually commu- 
nicated from the eastern extremity of the continent of Asia. 
The Chinese annals, as they have been interpreted by the 
♦learned industiy of the present age, may be usefully applied 
to reveal the secret and remote causes of the fall of the 
Roman empire. The extensive territory to the north of the 
great wall was possessed, after the flight of the Huns, by the 
victorious Sienpi, who were sometimes broken into independ- 
ent tribes, and sometimes reunited under a supreme chief, 
till at length, styling themselves Topa, or masters of the earth, 
they acquired a more solid consistence, and a more formida- 
ble power. The Topa soon compelled the pastoral nations 
of the eastern desevt to acknowledge the superiority of their 
arms ; they invaded China in a period of weakness and intes- 
tine discord ; and these fortunate Tartars, adopting the laws 
and manners of the vanquished people, founded an Imperial 
dynasty, which reigned near one hundred and sixty years 
over the northern provinces of the monarchy. Some gener- 
ations before they ascended the throne of China, one of the 
Topa princes had enlisted in his cavalry a slave of the name 
of Moko, renowned for his valor, but who was tempted, by 
the fear of punishment, to desert his standard, and to range 
the desert at the head of a hundred followers. This gang 
of robbers and outlaws swelled into a camp, a tribe, a numer- 
ous people, distinguished by the appellation of Geougen ; and 
their hereditary chieftains, the posterity of Moko the slave, 
assumed their rank among the Scythian monarchs. The 
youth of Toulun, the greatest of his descendants, was exer- 
cised by those misfortunes which are the school of heroes. 
He bravely struggled with adversity, broke the imperious yoke 
of the Topa, and became the legislator of his nation, and the 
conqueror of Tartary. His troops were distributed into regular 
bands of a hundred and of a thousand men ; cowards were 



* 3 From the year 404, the dates of the Theodosian Code become 
•edentary at Constantinople and Ravenna. See Godefroy's Chronol- 
ogy of the Laws, torn. i. p. cxlviii., &c. 



214 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

stoned to death ; the most splendid honors were proposed as 
the reward of valor ; and Toulun, who had knowledge enough 
to despise the learning of China, adopted only such arts and 
institutions as were favorable to the military spirit of his gov- 
ernment. His tents, which he removed in the winter season 
to a more southern latitude, were pitched, during the summer, 
on the fruitful banks of the Selinga. His conquests stretched 
from Corea far beyond the River Irtish. He vanquished, in 
the country to the north of the Caspian Sea, the nation of the 
Huns ; and the new title of Khan or Cagan, expressed the 
fame and power which he derived from this memorable vic- 
tory. 64 

The chain of events is interrupted, or rather is concealed, 
as it passes from the Volga to the Vistula, through the dark 
interval which separates the extreme limits of the Chinese, 
and of the Roman, geography. Yet the temper of the Bar- 
barians, and the experience of successive emigrations, suffi- 
ciently declare, that the Huns, who were oppressed by the 
arms of the Geougen, soon withdrew from the presence of an 
insulting victor. The countries towards the Euxine were 
already occupied by their kindred tribes : and their hasty 
flight, which they soon converted into a bold attack, would 
more naturally be directed towards the rich and level plains, 
through which the Vistula gently flows into the Baltic Sea. 
The North must again have been alarmed, and agitated, by 
the invasion of the Huns ; * and the nations who retreated 
before them must have pressed with incumbent weight on 
the confines of Germany. 66 The inhabitants of those regions, 
which the ancients have assigned to the Suevi, the Vandals, 
and the Burgundians, might embrace the resolution of aban- 
doning to the fugitives of Sarmatia their woods and morasses ; 
or at least of discharging their superfluous numbers on the 

64 See M. de Guignes, Hist, des Huns, torn, i p. 179—189, torn. ii. 
p. 295, 334—338. 

63 Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. ih. c 182) has observed an 
emigration from the Palus Maeotis to the north of Germany, which 
he ascribes to famine. But his views of ancient history are strangely 
darkened by ignorance and error. 



* There is no authority which connects this inroad of the Teutonic tribes 
with the movements of the Huns. The Huns can hardly have reached the 
shores of the Baltic, and probably the greater part of the forces of Rada- 
guisus, particularly the Vandals, had lorg occupied a more southern 
position. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 215 

provinces of the Roman empire. 66 About four years after 
the victorious Toulun had assumed the title of Khan of the 
Geougen, another Barbarian, the haughty Rhodogast, or Rada- 
gaisus, 67 marched from the northern extremities of Germany 
almost to the gates of Rome, and left the remains of his army 
to achieve the destruction of the West. The Vandals, the 
Suevi, and the Burgundians, formed the strength of this 
mighty host ; but the Alani, who had found a hospitable 
reception in their new seats, added their active cavalry to 
the heavy infantry of the Germans ; and the Gothic adven- 
turers crowded so eagerly to the standard of Radagaisus, that, 
by some historians, he has been styled the King of the Goths. 
Twelve thousand warriors, distinguished above the vulgar by 
their noble birth, or their valiant deeds, glittered in the van ; 63 
and the whole multitude, which was not less than two hun- 
dred thousand fighting men, might be increased, by the acces- 
sion of women, of children, and of slaves, to the amount of 
four hundred thousand persons. This formidable emigration 
issued from the same coast of the Baltic, which had poured 



66 Zosimus (1. v. p. 331) uses the general description of, the nations 
beyond the Danube and the Rhine. Their situation, and consequently 
their names, are manifestly shown, even in the various epithets which 
each ancient writer may have casually added. 

67 The name of Rhadagast was that of a local deity of the Obo- 
trites, (in Mecklenburg.) A hero might naturally assume the appel- 
lation of his tutelar god ; but it is not probable that the Barbarians 
should worship an unsuccessful hero. See Mascou, Hist, of the 
Germans, viii. 14.* 

68 Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180, uses the Greek word 
*07irtnuToi ; which does not convey any precise idea.f I suspect that 
they were the princes and nobles with their faithful companions ; the 
knights with their squires, as they would have been styled some cen- 
turies afterwards. 



* The god of war and of hospitality with the Vends and nil the Sclavo- 
nian races of Germany bore the name of Eadegast, apparently the same 
with Rhadagaisus. His principal temple was at Rhetra in Mecklti.burg. 
It was adorned with great magnificence. The statue of the god was of 
(<old. St. Martin, v. 235. A statue of Radegast, of much coarser mate- 
rials, and of the rudest workmanship, was discovered between 1760 and 
1770, with those of other Wendish deities, on the supposed site of Rhetra. 
The names of the gods were cut upon them in Runic characters. See the 
very curious volume on these antiquities — Die Gottesdienstliche Alter- 
ttiumer der Obotriter — by Masch and Wogen. Berlin, 1771. — M. 

f 'Onniidrot is merely the Latin translation of the word *i.£aAai<Sra«. It 
Is not quite clear whether Gibbon derived his expression, "glittered in 
the van," from translating the woid " leaders." — M. 



216 TIIE DECLINE AND FALL 

forth the myriads of the Cimbri and Teutcnes, to assauit 
Rome and Italy in the vigor of the republic. After the de- 
parture of those Barbarians, their native country, which was 
marked by the vestiges of their greatness, long ramparts, and 
gigantic moles, 69 remained, during some ages, a vast and 
dreary solitude ; till the human species was renewed by the 
novvers of generation, and the vacancy was filled by the in- 
flux of new inhabitants. The nations who now usurp an 
extent of land which they are unable to cultivate, would soon 
be assisted by the industrious poverty of their neighbors, if 
the government of Europe did not protect the claims of do- 
minion and property. 

The correspondence of nations was, in that age, so imper- 
fect ana precarious, that the revolutions of the North might 
escape tne knowledge of the court of Ravenna ; till the dark 
cioud, winch was collected along the coast of the Baltic, burst 
in munder upon the banks of the Upper Danube. The em- 
peror of ine West, if his ministers disturbed his amusement* 
by the news of the impending danger, was satisfied with being 
the occasion, and the spectator, of the war. 70 The safety of 
Rome was intrusted to the counsels, and the sword, of Stili- 
cho ; but such was the feeble and exhausted state of the em- 
pire, thai it was impossible to restore the fortifications of the 
Danube, or to prevent, by a vigorous effort, the invasion of 
the Germans. 71 The hopes of the vigilant minister of Hono- 
rius were confined to the defence of Italy. He once more 
abandoned the provinces, recalled the troops, pressed the new 
levies, which were rigorously exacted, and pusillanimously 
eluded ; employed the most efficacious means to arrest, or 
allure, the deserters ; and offered the gift of freedom, and of 
two pieces of gold, to all the slaves who would enlist. 72 By 



69 Tacit, de Moribus Germanorum, c. 37. 

70 Cujus agendi 

Spectator vcl causa fui, 

(Claudian, vi. Cons. Hon. 439.) 
is the modest language of Honorius, in speaking of the Gothic war, 
which he had seen somewhat nearer. 

71 Zosimus (1. v. p. 331) transports the war, and the victory of Stili- 
cho, beyond the Danube. A strange error, which is awkwardly and 
imperfectly cured, by reading \4qrov for 'Iotqov, (Tillemont, Hist, des 
Emp. torn. v. p. 807.) In good policy, we must use the service of 
Zosimus, without esteeming or trusting him. 

72 Codex Theodos. 1. vii. tit. xiii. leg. 16. The date of this .aw 
(A. D. 406, May 18) satisfies me, as it had done Gcdefroy, (torn, ii 



OF TIIE ROMAN EMriSS. 217 

these efforts he painfully collected, from the subjects of a 
great empire, an army of thirty or forty thousand men, which- 
in the days of Scipio or Camillus, would have been instantly 
furnished by the free citizens of the territory of Rome. 73 
The thirty legions of Stilicho were reenforced by a large body 
of Barbarian auxiliaries; the faithful Alani were personally 
attached to his service ; and the troops of Huns and of Goths, 
who marched under the banners of their native princes, Hul- 
din and Sarus, were animated by interest and resentment to 
oppose the ambition of Radagaisus. The king of the con- 
federate Germans passed, without resistance, the Alps, the 
Po, and the Apennine ; leaving on one hand the inaccessible 
palace of Honorius, securely buried among the marshes of 
Ravenna ; and, on the other, the camp of Stilicho, who had 
nxed his head-quarters at Ticinum, or Pavia, but who seems 
to have avoided a decisive battle, till he had assembled his 
distant forces. Many cities of Italy were pillaged, or de- 
stroyed ; and the siege of Florence, 74 by Radagaisus, is one 
of the earliest events in the history of that celebrated repub- 
lic ; whose firmness checked and delayed the unskilful fury 
of the Barbarians. The senate and people trembled at their 
approach within a hundred and eighty miles of Rome ; and 
anxiously compared the danger which they had escaped, with 
the new perils to which they were exposed. Alaric was a 
Christian and a soldier, the leader of a disciplined army ; who 
understood the laws of war, who respected the sanctity of 
treaties, and who had familiarly conversed with the subjects 
of the empire in the same camps, and the same churches. 
The savage Radagaisus was a stranger to the manners, the 



p. 387,) of the true year of the invasion of Radagaisus. Tillemont, 
Pagi, and Muratori, prefer the preceding year ; but they are bound, 
by certain obligations of civility and respect, to St. Paulinus of Nola. 

75 Soon after Rome had been taken by the Gauls, the senate, on a 
sudden emergency, armed ten legions, 3000 horse, and 42,000 foot ; a 
force which the city could not have sent forth under Augustus, (Livy, 
vii. 25.) This declaration may puzzle an antiquary, but it is clearly 
explained by Montesquieu. 

74 Machiavel has explained, at least as a philosopher, the origin of 
Florence, which insensibly descended, for the benefit of trade, from 
the rock of Fcesulse to the banks of the Arno, (Istoria Fiorentina, 
torn. i. 1. ii. p. 36. Londra, 1747.) The triumvirs sent a colony to 
Florence, which, under Tiberius, (Tacit. Annal. i. 79.) deserved tha 
reputation and name of a flourishing city. See Claver Ital. Antiq. 
torn. i. p. 1 07, &c. 



218 THE DECLINE AND TALL 

religion, and even the language, of the civilized nations of the 
South. The fierceness of his temper was exasperated bv 
cruel superstition ; and it was universally believed, that he 
had bound himself, by a solemn vow, to reduce the city into 
a heap of stones and ashes, and to sacrifice the most illus- 
trious of the Roman senators on the altars of those gods who 
were appeased by human blood. The public danger, which 
should have reconciled all domestic animosities, displayed the 
incurable madness of religious faction. The oppressed vo- 
taries of Jupiter and Mercury respected, in the implacable 
enemy of Rome, the character of a devout Pagan ; loudly 
declared, that they were more apprehensive of the sacrifices, 
than of the arms, of Radagaisus ; and secretly rejoiced in the 
calamities of their countiy, which condemned the faith of 
their Christian adversaries. 75 * 

Florence was rsduced to the last extremity ; and the faint- 
ing courage of the citizens was supported only by the authority 
of St. Ambrose ; who had communicated, in a dream, the 
promise of a speedy deliverance. 76 On a sudden, they beheld, 
from their walls, the banners of Stilicho, who advanced, with 
his united force, to the relief of the faithful city ; and who 
soon marked that fatal spot for the grave of the Barbarian 
host. The apparent contradictions of those writers who vari- 
ously relate the defeat of Radagaisus, may be reconciled, 
without offering much violence to their respective testimonies. 
Orosius and Augustin, who were intimately connected by 
friendship and religion, ascribe this miraculous victory to the 
providence of God, rather than to the valor of man. 77 They 

'* Yet the Jupiter of Radagaisus, who worshipped Thor and 
Woden, was very different from the Olympic or Capitoline Jove. 
The accommodating temper of Polytheism might unite those various 
and remote deities ; but the genuine Romans abhorred the human 
sacrifices of Gaul and Germany. 

78 Paulinus (in Vit. Ambros. c. 50) relates this story, which he 
received from the mouth of Pansophia herself, a religious matron ol 
Florence. Yet the archbishop soon ceased to take an active part in 
the business of the world, and never became a popular saint. 

77 Augustin de Civitat. Dei, v. 23. Orosius, 1. vii. c. 37, p. 567 — 
571. The two friends wrote in Africa, ten or twelve years after the 



* Gibbon has rather softened the language of Augustine as to this 
threatened insurrection of the Pagans, in order to restore the prohibited 
rites and ceremonies of Paganism ; and their treasonable hopes that the 
success of Radagaisus would be the triumph of idolatry. Compare 
Beugnot, ii 25. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 229 

Btilctly exclude every idea of chance, or even of bloodshed 
and positively athrm, that the Romans, whose camp was the 
scene of plenty and idleness, enjoyed the distress of the Bar- 
barians, slowly expiring on the sharp and barren ridge of the 
hills of Fsesulre, which rise above the city of Florence. 
Their extravagant assertion that not a single soldier of the 
Christian army was killed, or even wounded, may be dis- 
missed with silent contempt ; but the rest of the narrative of 
Augustin and Orosius is consistent with the state of the war, 
and the character of Stilicho. Conscious that he commanded 
the last army of the republic, his prudence would not expose 
it, in the open field, to the headstrong fury of the Germans. 
The method of surrounding the enemy with strong lines of 
circumvallation, which he had twice employed against the 
Gothic king, was repeated on a larger scale, and with more 
considerable effect. Tii" examples of Caesar must have been 
familiar to the most illiterate of the Roman warriors ; and the 
fortifications of Dyrrachium, which connected twenty-four 
castles, by a perpetual ditch and rampart of fifteen miles, 
afforded the model of an intrenchment which might confine, 
and starve, the most numerous host of Barbarians. 78 The 
Roman troops had less degenerated from the industry, than 
from the valor, of their ancestors ; and if the servile and 
laborious work offended the pride of the soldiers, Tuscany 
could supply many thousand peasants, who would labor, 
though, perhaps, they would not fight, for the salvation of 
their native country. The imprisoned multitude of horses 
and men 79 was gradually destroyed, by famine rather than by 



viocory ; and their authority is implicitly followed by Isidore of Se- 
ville, (in Chron. p. 713, edit. Grot.) How many interesting facts 
might Orosius have inserted 4n the vacant space which is devoted to 
pious nonsense ! 

n Franguntur montes, planumque per ardua Caesar 

Ducit opus : pandit fossas, turritaque summis 

Disponit castella jugis, magnoque necessft 

Amplexus fines, saltus, memorosaque tesqua 

Et silvas, vastaque feras indagine claudit. 

Vet the simplicity of truth (Caesar, de Bell. Civ. iii. 44) is far greater 
than the amplifications of Lucan, (Pharsal. 1. vi. 29 — 63.) 

79 The rhetorical expressions of Orosius, " in arido et aspero montis 
jugo ; " "in unum ac parvum verticem," are not very suitable to the 
encampment of a great army. But Fajsuhe, only three miles from 
Florence, might afford space for the head-quarters of Itadagaisus, and 
would oe comprehended within the circuit of the Roman lines. 



220 THE DECLINE AND FjU.L 

the sword ; but the Romans were exposed, during the progress 
of such an extensive work, to the frequent attacks of an impa- 
tient enemy. The despair of the hungry Barbarians would pre- 
cipitate them against the fortifications of Stilicho ; the genera- 
might sometimes indulge the ardor of his brave auxiliaries, 
who eagerly pressed to assault the camp of the Germans ; 
and these various incidents might produce the sharp and 
bloody conflicts which dignify the narrative of Zosimus, and 
the Chronicles of Prosper and Marcellinus. 80 A seasonaole 
supply of men and provisions had been introduced into the 
walls of Florence, and the famished host of Radagaisus was 
in its turn besieged. The proud monarch of so many warlike 
nations, after the loss of his bravest warriors, was reduced to 
confide either in the faith of a capitulation, or in the clemency 
of Stilicho. 81 But the death of the royal captive, who was 
ignominiously beheaded, disgraced the triumph of Rome and 
of Christianity ; and the short delay of his execution was 
sufficient to brand the conqueror with the guilt of cool and 
deliberate cruelty. 82 The famished Germans, who escaped 
the fury of the auxiliaries, were sold as slaves, at the con- 
temptible price of as many single pieces of gold ; but the 
difference of food and climate swept away great numbers of 



80 See Zosimus, 1. v. p. 331, and the Chronicles of Prosper and 
Marcellinus. 

81 Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180) uses an expression (nqo- 
oTjiaiQioaTo) which would denote a strict and friendly alliance, and 
render Stilicho still more criminal. The paulisper detentus, deinde 
interfectus, of Orosius, is sufficiently odious.* 

88 Orosius, piously inhuman, sacrifices the king and people, Agag 
and the Amalekites, without a symptom of compassion. The bloody 
aetor is less detestable than the cool, unfeeling historian, f 



* Gibbon, by translating this passage of Olympiodorus, as if it had been 
good Greek, has probably fallen, into an error ; out KaTcmo>.ifiiioa$ TriXi^v 
'Poboyaioov npoariTaipiaar:. The natural order of the words is as Gibbon 
translates it ; but npoattTaipiaaro, it is almost clear, refers to the Gothic 
chiefs, " whom Stilicho, after he had defeated Radagaisus, attached to his 
army." So in the version corrected by Classen for Niebuhr's edition of 
the Byzantines, p. 450. — M. 

f Considering the vow, which he was universally believed to have made, 
to destroy Rome, and to sacrifice the senators on the altars, and that he 
is said to have immolated his prisoners to his gods, the execution of Rada- 
gaisus, if, as it appears, he was taken in arms, cannot deserve Gibbon's 
•evere condemnation. Mr. Herbert (notes to his poem of Attila, p. 317) 
justly observes, that "Stilicho had probably authority for hanging him on 
the first tree." Marcellinus, adds Mr. Herbert, attritutes the execution 
to the Gothic chiefs, Huldin and Sarus. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 221 

those unhappy strangers ; and it was observed, that the in- 
human purchasers, instead of reaping the fruits of their labor, 
were soon obliged to provide the expense of their interment. 
Stihcho informed the emperor and the senate of his success , 
and deserved, a second time, the glorious title of Deliverer 
o f Italy. 83 

The fame of the victory, and more especially of the mira- 
cle, has encouraged a vain persuasion, that the whole army, 
or rather nation, of Germans, who migrated from the shores 
of the Baltic, miserably perished under the walls of Florence 
Scch indeed was the fate of Radagaisus himself, of his brave 
end faithful companions, and of more than one third of the 
various multitude of Sueves and Vandals, of Alani and Bur- 
gundians, who adhered to the standard of their general. 84 
The union of such an army might excite our surprise, but the 
causes of separation are obvious and forcible ; the pride of 
birth, the insolence of valor, the jealousy of command, the 
impatience of subordination, and the obstinate conflict of 
ppinions, of interests, and of passions, among so many kings 
and warriors, who were untaught to yield, or to obey. After 
the defeat of Radagaisus, two parts of the German host, 
which must have exceeded the number of one hundred thou- 
sand men, still remained in arms, between the Apennine and 
the Alps, or between the Alps and the Danube. It is uncer- 
tain whether they attempted to revenge the death of their 
general ; but their irregular fury was soon diverted by the 
piudence and firmness of Stilicho, who opposed their march, 
and facilitated their retreat ; who considered the safety of 
Rome and Italy as the great object of his care, and who sac 
rificed, with too much indifference, the wealth and tranquillity 
Df the distant provinces. 85 The Barbarians acquired, from the 
junction of some Pannonian deserters, the knowledge of the 

83 And Claudian's muse, was she asleep ? had she been ill paid ? 
Methinks the seventh consulship of Honorius (A. D. 407) would have 
furnished the subject of a noble poem. Before it was discovered thav 
the state could no longer be saved, Stilicho (after Romulus, Camillus, 
and Marius) might have been worthily surnamed the fourth founder 
of Rome. 

84 A luminous passage of Prosper's Chronicle, " In tres partes, per 
diversos principes, diversus exercitus," reduces the miracle of Florence, 
*nd connects the history of Italy, Gaul, and Germany. 

96 Orosius and Jerom positively charge him with instigating the m- 
ttijuon. "Excitatae a Stilichone gentes," &c. They must mean 
indirectly. lie saved Italy at the expense of Gaul. 



222 THE DECLINE AAD FALL 

country, and of the roads ; and the invasion of Gaul, which 
Alaric had designed, was executed by the remains of the 
great army of Radagaisus. 86 

Yet if they expected to derive any assistance from the 
tribes of Germany, who inhabited the banks of the Rhine, 
their hopes were disappointed. The Alemanni preserved a 
state of inactive neutrality ; and the Franks distinguished their 
zeal and courage in the defence of the empire. In the rapid 
progress down the Rhine, which was the first act of the 
administration of Stilicho, he had applied himself, with pecu- 
liar attention, to secure the alliance of the warlike Franks, 
and to remove the irreconcilable enemies of peace and of the 
republic. Marcomir, one of their kings, was publicly con- 
victed, before the tribunal of the Roman magistrate, of vio- 
lating the faith of treaties. He was sentenced to a mild, but 
distant, exile, in the province of Tuscany ; and this degra- 
dation of the regal dignity was so far from exciting the 
resentment of his subjects, that they punished with death the 
turbulent Sunno, who attempted to revenge^ his brother; and 
maintained a dutiful allegiance to the princes, who were 
established on the throne by the choice of Stilicho. 87 When 
the limits of Gaul and Germany were shaken by the northern 
emigration, the Franks bravely encountered the single force 
of the Vandals ; who, regardless of the lessons of adversity 
had again separated their troops from the standard of their 
Barbarian allies. They paid the penalty of their rashness ; 
and twenty thousand Vandals, with their king Godigisclus, 

86 The Count de Buat is satisfied, that the Germans who invaded 
Gaul were the two thirds that yet remained of the army of Radagai- 
bus. See the Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Europe, (torn. vii. 
p. 87, 121. Paris, 1772 ;) an elaborate work, which I had not the ad- 
vantage of perusing till the year 1777. As early as 1771, I find the 
name idea expressed in a rough draught of the present History. 1 
have since observed a similar intimation in Mascou, (viii. 15.) Such 
agreement, without amtual communication, may add some weight to 
our common sentiment. 

87 Provincia missos 

Expellet citius fasces, quam Francia reges 
Quos dederis. 

Claudian (I. Cons. Stil. 1. i. 235, &c.) is clear and satisfactory. These 
kings of France are unknown to Gregory of Tours , but the author 
Df the Gesta Francorum mentions both Sunno and Marcomir, and 
names the latter as the father of Pharamond, (in torn ii. p. 543.) He 
Eeems to write from good materials, which he did not un Jarstflnd. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 223 

were slain in the field of battle. The whole people must 
have been extirpated, if the squadrons of the Alani, advancing 
to their relief, had not trampled down the infantry of the 
Franks ; who, after an honorable resistance, were compelled 
to relinquish the unequal contest. The victorious confederates 
pursued their march, and on the last day of the year, in a 
season when the waters of the Rhine were most probably 
frozen, they entered, without opposition, the defenceless prov- 
inces of Gaul. This memorable passage of the Suevi, the 
Vandals, the Alani, and the Burgundians, who never after- 
wards retreated, may be considered as the fall of the Roman 
empire in the countries beyond the Alps ; and the barriers, 
which had so long separated the savage and the civilized 
nations of the earth, were from that fatal moment levelled 
with the ground. 88 

While the peace of Germany was secured by the attach- 
ment of the Franks, and the neutrality of the Alemanni, the 
subjects of Rome, unconscious of their approaching calamities, 
enjoyed the state of quiet and prosperity, which had seldom 
blessed the frontiers of Gaul. Their flocks and herds were 
permitted to gaze in the pastures of the Barbarians ; their 
huntsmen penetrated, without fear or danger, into the darkest 
recesses of the Hercynian wood. 89 The banks of the Rhine 
were crowned, like those of the Tyber, with elegant houses, 
and well-cultivated farms ; and if a poet descended the river, 
he might express his doubt, on which side was situated the 
territory of the Romans. 90 This scene of peace and plenty 
was suddenly changed into a desert ; and the prospect of the 
smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature 



88 See Zosimus, (1. vi. p. 373,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 40, p. 576,) and 
the Chronicles. Gregory of Tours (1. ii. e. 9, p. 165, in the second 
volume of the Historians of France) has preserved a valuable fragment 
of Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus, whose three names denote a Chris- 
tian, a Roman subject, and a Semi-Barbarian. 

89 Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. 1. i. 221, &c, 1. ii. 186) describes the 
peace and prosperity of the Gallic frontier. The Abbe Dubor (Hist. 
Critique, &c, torn. i. p. 174) would read Alba (a nameless rivulet of 
the Ardennes) instead of Albis ; and expatiates on the danger of the 
Gallic cattle grazing beyond the Elbe. Foolish enough ! In poetical 
geography, the Elbe, and the Hercynian, signify any river, or any 
wood, in Germany. Claudian is not prepared for the strict examine 
lion of our antiquaries. 

w Germinasque viator 

• Cum videat ripas, quae sit Romana requirat. 



224 "fl£ DECLINE AND FALL 

frc*n the desolation of man. The nourishing city of Menti 
w&s surprised and destroyed ; and many thousand Christians 
weie inhumanly massacred in the church. Worms perished 
uner a long and obstinate siege ; Strasburgh, Spires, Rneims, 
Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced the cruel oppression 
of the German yoke ; and the consuming flames of wai 
spread from the banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of 
the seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive 
country, as far as the ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, was 
delivered to the Barbarians, who drove before them, in a 
promiscuous crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, 
laden with the spoils of their houses and altars. 91 The eccle- 
siastics, to whom we are indebted for this vague description 
of the public calamities, embraced the opportunity of exhort- 
ing the Christians to repent of the sins which had provoked 
the Divine Justice, and to renounce the perishable goods of a 
wretched and deceitful world. But as the Pelagian contro- 
versy, 92 which attempts to sound the abyss of grace and pre- 
destination, soon became the serious employment of the Latin 
clergy, the Providence which had decreed, or foreseen, 01 
permitted, such a train of moral and natural evils, was rashly 
weighed in the imperfect and fallacious balance of reason. 
The crimes, and the misfortunes, of the suffering people, 
were presumptuously compared with those of their ancestors; 
and they arraigned the Divine Justice, which did not exempt 
from the common destruction the feeble, the guiltless, the 
infant portion of the human species. These idle disputants 
overlooked the invariable laws of nature, which have con- 
nected peace with innocence, plenty with industry, and safety 
with valor. The timid and selfish policy of the court of 
Ravenna might recall the Palatine legions for the protection 
of Italy ; the remains of the stationary troops might be un- 
equal to the arduous task; and the Barbarian auxiliaries 
might prefer the unbounded license of spoil to the benefits 



91 Jerom, torn. i. p. 93. See in the 1st vol. of the Historians ol 
France, p. 777, 782, the proper extracts from the Carmen de Providen- 
tia Divina, and Salvian. The anonymous poet was himself a captive, 
with his bishop and fellow-citizens. 

•* The Pelagian doctrine, which was first agitated A. D. 405, wai 
condemned, in the space of ten years, at Rome and Carthage. Su 
Augustin fought and conquered ; but the Greek church was favora- 
ble to his adversaries : and (what is singular enough) the people did 
not take any part in a dispute which tncy could not understand. 



OF THE ROMAN ENTIRE. 22f» 

of a moderate and regular stipend. But the provinces of 
Gaul were filled with a numerous race of hardy and robust 
youth, who, in the defence of their houses, their families, ana 
their altars, if they had dared to die, would have deserved to 
vanquish. The knowledge of their native country would 
have enabled them to oppose continual and insuperable obsta- 
cles to the progress of an invader ; and the deficiency of the 
Barbarians, in arms, as well as in discipline, removed the 
only pretence which excuses the submission of a populous 
country to the inferior numbers of a veteran army. When 
France was invaded by Charles V., he inquired of a prisoner, 
how many days Paris might be distant from the frontier ; 
" Perhaps twelve, but they will be days of battle : " 93 such 
was the gallant answer which checked the arrogance of that 
ambitious prince. The subjects of Honorius, and those of 
Francis I., were animated by a very different spirt ; and in 
less than two years, the divided troops of the savages of the 
Baltic, whose numbers, were they fairly stated, would appear 
contemptible, advanced, without a combat, to the foot of the 
Pyrenean Mountains. 

In the early part of the reign of Honorius, the vigilance of 
Stilicho had successfully guarded the remote island of Britain 
from her incessant enemies of the ocean, the mountains, and 
the Irish coast. 94 But those restless Barbarians could not 
neglect the fair opportunity of the Gothic war, when the walls 
and stations of the province were stripped of the Roman troops. 
If any of the legionaries were permitted to return from the 
Italian expedition, their faithful report of the court and char- 
acter of Honorius must have tended to dissolve the bonds of 
allegiance, and to exasperate the seditious temper of the Brit- 

M See the Memoires de Guillaume du Bellay, 1. vi. In French, tie 
original reproof is less obvious, and more pointed, from the double 
sense of the word journ6e, which alike signifies, a day's travel, or a 
battle. 

• 4 Claudian, (i. Cons. Stil. 1. ii. 250.) It is supposed that the Scot* 
of Ireland invaded, by sea, the whole western coast of Britain : and 
some slight credit may be given even to Nennius and the Irish tradi- 
tions, (Carte's Hist, of England, vol. i. p. 169.) "Whitaker's Genuine 
History of the Britons, p. 199. The sixty-six lives of St. Patrick, 
which were extant in the ninth century, must have contained as 
many thousand lies ; yet we may believe, that, in one of these Irish 
inroads, the future apostle was led away captive, (Usher, Amiquit. 
Eccles. Britann. p. 4c 1, and Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xvi. p. 456, 
782, fcc^ 

64 



226 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ish array. The spirit of revolt, which had formerly disturbed 
the age of Gallienus, was revived by the capricious violence 
of the soldiers ; and the unfortunate, perhaps the ambitious, 
candidates, who were the objects of their choice, were the in- 
struments, and at length the victims, of their passion. 95 Mar- 
cus was the first whom they placed on the throne, as the lawful 
emperor of Britain and of the West. They violated, by the 
hasty murder of Marcus, the oath of fidelity which they 
had imposed on themselves ; and their disapprobation of his 
manners may seem to inscribe an honorable epitaph on his 
tomb. Gratian was the next whom they adorned with the 
diadem and the purple ; and, at the end of four months, Gra- 
tian experienced the fate of his predecessor. The memory of 
the great Constantine, whom the British legions had given to 
the church and to the empire, suggested the singular motive 
of their third choice. They discovered in the ranks a private 
soldier of the name of Constantine, and their impetuous levity 
had already seated him on the throne, before they perceived 
his incapacity to sustain the weight of that glorious appella- 
tion. 95 Yet the authority of Constantine was less precarious, 
and his government was more successful, than the transient 
reigns of Marcus and of Gratian. The danger of leaving his 
inactive troops in those camps, which had been twice polluted 
with blood and sedition, urged him to attempt the reduction of 
the Western provinces. He landed at Boulogne with an in- 
considerable force ; and after he had reposed himself some 
days, he summoned the cities of Gaul, which had escaped the 
yoke of the Barbarians, to acknowledge their lawful sovereign. 
They obeyed the summons without reluctance. The neglect 
of the court of Ravenna had absolved a deserted people from 
the duty of allegiance ; their actual distress encouraged them 
to accept any circumstances- of change, without apprehension, 
and, perhaps, with some degree of hope ; and they might flatter 
themselves, that the troops, the authority, and even the name 
of a Roman emperor, who fixed his residence in Gaul, would 

•* The British usurpers are taken from Zosimus, (1. vi. p. 371 — 375,1 
Orosius, (1. vii. c. 40, p. 576, 577,) Olynipiodorus, (apud Photium, 

L180, 181,) the ecclesiastical historians, and the Chronicles. The 
tins are ignorant of Marcus. 

H Cum in Constantino inconstantiam . . . execrarentur, (Sidoniu» 
Apoliinaris, 1. v. epist. 9, p. 139, edit, secund. Sirmond.) Yet Sido- 
nius might be tempted, by so fair a pun, to stigmatize a prineo -who 
bad disgraced his grandfather 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE % lYl 

protect the unhappy country from the n.ge of the Barbarians. 
The first successes of Constantine against the detached parties 
of the Germans, were magnified by the voice of adulation into 
splendid and decisive victories ; which the reunion and insolence 
of the enemy soon reduced to their just value. His negotiations 
procured a short and precarious truce ; and if some tribes of 
the Barbarians were engaged, by the liberality of his gifts and 
promises, to undertake the defence of the Rhine, these expen- 
sive and uncertain treaties, instead of restoring the pristine 
vigor of the Gallic frontier, served only to disgrace the majesty 
of the prince, and to exhaust what yet. remained of the treas- 
ures of the republic. Elated, however, with this imaginary 
triumph, the vain deliverer of Gaul advanced into the provinces 
of the South, to encounter a more pressing and personal dan- 
ger. Sarus the Goth was ordered to lay the head of the rebel 
at the feet of the emperor Honorius ; and the forces of Britain 
and Italy were unworthily consumed in this domestic quarrel. 
After the loss of his two bravest generals, Justinian and Nevi- 
gastes, the former of whom was slain in the field of battle, the 
latter in a peaceful but treacherous interview, Constantine for- 
tified himself within the walls of Vienna. The place was 
ineffectually attacked seven days ; and the Imperial army 
supported, in a precipitate retreat, the ignominy of purchasing 
a secure passage from the freebooters and outlaws of the 
Alps. 97 Those mountains now separated the dominions of 
two rival monarchs ; and the fortifications of the double fron- 
tier were guarded by the troops of the empire, whose anus 
would have been more usefully employed to maintain die 
Roman limits against the Barbarians of Germany and Scytnia. 
On the side of the Pyrenees, the ambition of Constantine 
might be justified by the proximity of danger ; but his throne 
was soon established by the conquest, or rather submission, of 
Spain ; which yielded to the influence of regular and habitual 
subordination, and received the laws and magistrates of ihe 
Gallic prefecture. The only opposition which was made to 
the authority of Constantine proceeded not so much from the 
powers of government, or the spirit of the people, as from the 
private zeal and interest of the family of Thecdosius. Four 



"" Bagaudce is the name which Zosimus applies to them ; perhaps 
tney deserved a less odious character, (see Duhoa, Hist. Critique, torn. 
I. p. 203, and this History, vol. i p. 407.) We shall hear of them 
%gaic. 



228 THE DECLINE AN0 PALL 

brothers 98 had obtained, by the favor of their kinsman, the 
deceased emperor, an honorable rank and ample possessions 
in their native country ; and the grateful youths resolved to 
risk those advantages in the service of his son. After an un- 
successful effort to maintain their ground at the head of the 
stationary troops of Lusitania, they retired to their estates : 
where they armed and levied, at their own expense, a con- 
siderable body of slaves and dependants, and boldly marched 
to occupy the strong posts of the Pyrenean Mountains. This 
domestic insurrection alarmed and perplexed the sovereign of 
Gaul and Britain ; and he was compelled to negotiate with 
some troops of Barbarian auxiliaries, for the service of the 
Spanish war. They were distinguished by the title of Hono- 
rians ; " a name which might have reminded them of their 
fidelity to their lawful sovereign ; and if it should candidly be 
allowed that the Scots were influenced by any partial affection 
for a British prince, the Moors and the Marcomanni could be 
tempted only by the profuse liberality of the usurper, who dis- 
tributed among the Barbarians the military, and even the civil 
honors of Spain. The nine bands of Honorians, which may 
be easily traced on the establishment of the Western empire, 
could not exceed the number of five thousand men ; yet this 
inconsiderable force was sufficient to terminate a war, which 
had threatened the power and safety of Constantine. The 
rustic army of the Theodosian family was surrounded and 
destroyed in the Pyrenees : two of the brothers had the good 
fortune to escape by sea to Italy, or the East ; the other two, 
after an interval of suspense, were executed at Aries ; and if 
Honorius could remain insensible of the public disgrace, he 
might perhaps be affected by the personal misfortunes of his 
generous kinsmen. Such were the feeble arms which decided 
the possession of the Western provinces of Europe, from the 
wall of Antoninus to the columns of Hercules. The events of 
peace arid war have undoubtedly been diminished by the nar- 
row and imperfect view of the historians of the times, who 

M Verinianus, Didymus, Theodosius, and Lagodiu9, -who in modera 
courts would be styled princes of the blood, were not distinguished 
by any rank or privileges above the rest of their fellow-subjects. 

" These Honoriani, or Honoriaci, consisted of two bands of Scots, ot 
Attacotti, two of Moors, two of Marcomanni, the Victores, the Ascaiii, 
and the Gallicani, (Notitia Imperii, sect, xxxiii. edit. Lab.) Th**y 
were part of the sixty-five Auxilia Palatina, and are properly styl<*d 
i* 1 1 Jf atfij? raitis, by Zosimus, (1. vi. 374.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 229 

were equally ignorant of the causes, and of the effects, of the 
most important revolutions. But the total decay of the national 
strength had annihilated even the last resource of a despotic 
government ; and the revenue of exhausted provinces could 
no longer purchase the military service of a discontented and 
pusillanimous people. 

The poet, whose flattery has ascribed to the Roman eagle 
he victories of Pollentia and Verona, pursues the hasty 
retreat of Alaric, from the confines of Italy, with a horrid 
train of imaginary spectres, such as might hover over an 
army of Barbarians, which was almost exterminated by war, 
famine, and disease. 100 In the course of this unfortunate ex- 
pedition, the king of the Goths must indeed have sustained 
considerable loss ; and his harassed forces required an inter- 
val of repose, to recruit their numbers and revive their confi- 
dence. Adversity had exercised and displayed the genius of 
Alaric ; and the fame of his valor invited to the Gothic stan- 
dard the bravest of the Barbarian warriors ; who, from the 
Euxine to the Rhine, were agitated by the desire of rapine 
and conquest. He had deserved the esteem, and he soon 
accepted the friendship, of Stilicho himself. Renouncing the 
service of the emperor of the East, Alaric concluded, with 
the court of Ravenna, a treaty of peace and alliance, by 
which he was declared master-general of the Roman armies 
throughout the prefecture of Illyricum ; as it was claimed, 
according to the true and ancient limits, by the minister of 
Honorius. 101 The execution of the ambitious design, which 
was either stipulated, or implied, in the articles of the treaty, 
appears to have been suspended by the formidable irruption 
of Radagaisus ; and the neutrality of the Gothic king may 
perhaps be compared to the indifference of Caesar, who, in 
the conspiracy of Catiline, refused either to assist, or to 
oppose the enemy of the republic. After the defeat of the 
Vandals, Stilicho resumed his pretensions to the provinces of 
the East ; appointed civil magistrates for the administration 



Comitatur euntem 



Pallor, et atra fames ; et saucia lividus ora 
Luctus ; et inferno stridentes agmine morbi. 

Claudian in vi. Cons. Hon. 321, &c 

101 These dark transactions are investigated by the Count de Bu.it, 
(Hist, des Peuples de 1'Europe, torn. vii. c. iii. — viii. p. 69 — 206,j 
Vhote laborious accuracy may sometimes fatigue a superficial reader. 



230 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of justice, and of the finances ; and declared his impatience 
to lead to the gates of Constantinople the united armies of 
the Romans and of the Goths. The prudence, however, of 
Stilicho, his aversion to civil war, and his perfect knowledge 
of the weakness of the state, may countenance the suspicion, 
that domestic peace, rather than foreign conquest, was the 
object of his policy ; and that his principal care was to em- 
ploy the forces of Alaric at a distance from Italy. This 
design could not long escape the penetration of the Gothic 
king, who continued to hold a doubtful, and perhaps a treach- 
erous, correspondence with the rival courts ; who protracted, 
like a dissatisfied mercenary, his languid operations in Thes- 
saly and Epirus, and who soon returned to claim the extrava- 
gant reward of his ineffectual services. From his camp near 
jEmona, 102 on the confines of Italy, he transmitted to the 
emperor of the West a long account of promises, of ex- 
penses, and of demands ; called for immediate satisfaction, 
and clearly intimated the consequences of a refusal. Yet if 
his conduct was hostile, his language was decent and dutiful. 
He humbly professed himself the friend of Stilicho, and the 
soldier of Honorius ; offered his person and his troops to 
march, without delay, against the usurper of Gaul ; and 
solicited, as a permanent retreat for the Gothic nation, the 
possession of some vacant province of the Western empire. 

The political and secret transactions of two statesmen, who 
labored to deceive each other and the world, must forever 
have been concealed in the impenetrable darkness of the cab- 
inet, if the debates of a popular assembly had not thrown 
some rays of light on the correspondence of Alaric and Stil- 
icho. The necessity of finding some artificial support for a 
government, which, from a principle, not of moderation, but 
of weakness, was reduced to negotiate with its own subjects, 
had insensibly revived the authority of the Roman senate; 
and the minister of Honorius respectfully consulted the legis- 
lative council of the republic. Stilicho assembled the senate 
in the palace of the Caesars ; represented, in a studied ora- 
tion, the actual state of affairs ; proposed the demands of the 
Gothic king, and submitted to their consideration the choice 

104 See Zosimus, 1. v. p. 334, 335. He interrupts his scanty narra- 
tive to relate the fable of iEmona, and of the ship Argo ; which w&» 
drawn overland from that place to the Adriatic. Sozomen (1. viii. c 
25. 1. ix. c. 4) and Socrates (1. vii. c. 10) cast a pale and doubtful 
light ; and Orosius (1. vii. c. 38, p. 571) is abominably partial. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 231 

>f peac* or war. The senators, as if they had been sud- 
denly awakened from a dream of four hundred years, ap- 
peared, on this important occasion, to be inspired by the cour- 
age, rather than by the wisdom, of their predecessors. They 
loudly declared, in regular speeches, or in tumultuary aorla- 
mations, that it was unworthy of '.the majesty of Rome to pur- 
chase a precarious and disgraceful truce from a Barbarian 
king ; and that, in the judgment of a magnanimous people, 
the chance of ruin was always preferable to the certainty of 
dishonor. The minister, whose pacific intentions were sec- 
onded only by the voices of a few servile and venal followers, 
attempted to allay the general ferment, by an apology for his 
own conduct, and even for the demands of the Gothic prince. 
" The payment of a subsidy, which had excited the indigna- 
tion of the Romans, ought not (such was the language of Stil- 
icho) to be considered in the odious light, either of a tribute, 
or of a ransom, extorted by the menaces of a Barbarian ene- 
my. Alaric had faithfully asserted the just pretensions of the 
republic to the provinces which were usurped by the Greeita 
of Constantinople : he modestly required the fair and stipu- 
lated recompense of his services ; and if he had desisted 
from the prosecution of his enterprise, he had obeyed, in his 
retreat, the peremptory, though private, letters of t\\e emperor 
himself. These contradictory orders (he would not dissem- 
ble the errors of his own family) had been procured by the 
intercession of Serena. The tender piety of his wife had 
been too deeply affected by the discord of the royal brothers, 
the sons of her adopted father ; and the sentiments of nature 
had too easily prevailed over the stern dictates of the public 
welfare." These ostensible reasons, which faintly disguise 
the obscure intrigues of the palace of Ravenna, w e" sup- 
ported by the authority of Stilicho ; and obtained, after a 
warm debate, the reluctant approbation of the senate. The 
tumult of virtue and freedom subsided ; and the sum of four 
thousand pounds of gold was granted, under the name of a 
subsidy, to secure the peace of Italy, and to conciliate the 
friendship of the king of the Goths. Lampadius alone, one 
of the most illustrious members of the assembly, still persisted 
in his dissent ; exclaimed, with a loud voice, " This is not a 
treaty of peace, but of servitude ; " 103 and escaped th6 

,n Zosimus. 1. v. p. 338, 339. He repeats the words of Lampadms, 
M tney were spoke in Latin, '* Non eat ista pax, sed pactio servi- 



232 . THE DECLINE AND FALL 

danger of such bold opposition by immediately retiring to the 
sanctuary of a Christian church. 

But the reign of Stilicho drew towards its end ; and the 
proud minister might perceive the symptoms of his approach- 
ing disgrace. The generous boldness of Lampadius had been 
applauded ; and the senate, so patiently resigned to a lon£ 
servitude, rejected with disdain the offer of invidious and 
imaginary freedom. The troops, who still assumed the name 
and prerogatives of the Roman legions, were exasperated by 
the partial affection of Stilicho for the Barbarians : and the 
people imputed to the mischievous policy of the minister the 
public misfortunes, which were the natural consequence of 
their own degeneracy. Yet Stilicho might have continued to 
brave the clamors of the people, and even of the soldiers, if 
he could have maintained his dominion over the feeble mind 
of his pupil. But the respectful attachment of Honorius 
was converted into fear, suspicion, and hatred. The crafty 
Olympius, 104 who concealed his vices under the mask of 
Christian piety, had secretly undermined the benefactor, by 
whose favor he was promoted to the honorable offices of the 
Imperial palace. Olympius revealed to the unsuspecting em- 
peror, who had attained the twenty-fifth year of his age, that 
he was without weight, or authority, in his own government ; 
and artfully alarmed his timid and indolent disposition by a 
lively picture of the designs of Stilicho, who already medi- 
tated the death of his sovereign, with the ambitious hope of 
placing the diadem on the head of his son Euchenus. The 
emperor was instigated, by his new favorite, to assume the 
tone of independent dignity ; and the minister was astonished 
to find, that secret resolutions were formed in the court and 
council, which were repugnant to his interest, or to his inten- 

tutis,"* and then translates them into Greek for the benefit of hia 
renders. 

1V4 He came from the coast of the Euxine, and exercised a splendid 
office, XafinQat Si OTQartlaf iv Toff paqtktiotf t'^itofiivog. His actions 
justify his character, which Zosimus (1. v. p. 340) exposes with visible 
satisfaction. Augustin revered the piety of Olympius, whom he 
styles a true son of the church, (Baronius, Annal. Ecclea. A. D. 408, 
No. 19, &o. Tillemont, Mem. Ecclcs. torn. xiii. p. 4(57.408.) But 
these praises, which the African saint so unworthily bi;jtow*, slight 
proceed as well from ignorance as from adulation. 



* Frcm Cicero's XHth Philippic, c. 14 — M- 



OP THE ROMAN EMPirtE. 233 

lioin. Instead of residing in the palace of Rome, Hono- 
rius declared that it was his pleasure to return to the secure 
fortress of Ravenna. On the first intelligence of tht. death 
of his brother Arcadius, he prepared to visit Constantinople, 
and to regulate, with the authority of a guardian, the prov. 
mces of the infant Theodosius. 105 The representation of the 
difficulty and expense of such a distant expedition, checked 
this strange and sudden sally of active diligence ; but the 
dangerous project of showing the emperor to the camp of 
Pavia, which was composed of the Roman troops, the enemies 
of Stilicho, and his Barbarian auxiliaries, remained fixed and 
unalterable. The minister was pressed, by the advice of his 
confidant, Justinian, a Roman advocate, of a lively and pen- 
etrating genius, to oppose a journey so prejudicial to his repu- 
tation and safety. His strenuous but ineffectual efforts con- 
firmed the triumph of Olympius ; and the prudent lawyer 
withdrew himself from the impending ruin of his patron. 

In the passage of the emperor through Bologna, a mutiny 
of the guards was excited and appeased by the secret policy 
of Stilicho ; who announced his instructions to decimate the 
guilty, and ascribed to his own intercession the merit of their 
pardon. After this tumult, Honorius embraced, for the last 
time, the minister whom he now considered as a tyrant, and 
proceeded on his way to the camp of Pavia ; where he was re- 
ceived by the loyal acclamations of the troops who were assem- 
bled for the service of the Gallic war. On the morning of the 
fourth day, he pronounced, as he had been taught, a military 
oration in the presence "of the soldiers, whom the charitable 
visits, and artful discourses, of Olympius had prepared to exe- 
cute a dark and bloody conspiracy. At the first signal, the} 
massacred the friends of Stilicho, the most illustrious officers 
of the empire ; two Praetorian prefects, of Gaul and of Italy ; 
two masters-general of the cavalry and infantry ; the master of 
the offices ; the quaestor, the treasurer, and the count of the 
domestics. Many lives were lost ; many houses were plun- 
dered ; the furious sedition continued to rage till the close of 
the evening ; and the trembling emperor, who was sten in the 
streets of Pavia without his robes or diadem, yielded to the 



106 Zosimus, L v. p. 338, 339. Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 4. StiLcho offered 
to_undertake the journey to Constantinople, that he might divert 
Honorius from the vain attempt. The Eastern empire wouid not 
oav*. obeyed, and could not havo boon conquered. 

64* 



234 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

persuasions of his favorite ; condemned the memory of the 
slain ; and solemnly approved the innocence and fidelity of 
their assassins. The intelligence of the massacre of Pavia 
filled the mind of Stilicho with just and gloomy apprehensions ; 
and he instantly summoned, in the camp of Bologna, a coun- 
cil of the confederate leaders, who were attached to his ser- 
vice, and would be involved in hisruin. The impetuous voice 
of the assembly called aloud for arms, and for revenge ; to 
march, without a moment's delay, under the banners of a hero, 
whom they had so often followed to victory ; to surprise, to 
oppress, to extirpate the guilty Olympius, and his degenerate 
Romans ; and perhaps to fix the diadem on the head of their 
injured general. Instead of executing a resolution, which 
might have been justified by success, Stilicho hesitated till 
he was irrecoverably lost. He was still ignorant of the fate 
of the emperor ; he distrusted the fidelity of his own party ; 
and he viewed with horror the fatal consequences of arming 
a crowd of licentious Barbarians against the soldiers and 
people of Italy. The confederates, impatient of his timorous 
and doubtful delay, hastily retired, with fear and indignation. 
At the hour of midnight, Sarus, a Gothic warrior, renowned 
among the Barbarians themselves for his strength and valor, 
suddenly invaded the camp of his benefactor, plundered the 
baggage, cut in pieces the faithful Huns, who guarded his 
person, and penetrated to the tent, where the minister, pen- 
sive and sleepless, meditated on the dangers of his situation. 
Stilicho escaped with difficulty from the sword of the Goths ; 
and, after issuing a last and generous admonition to the cities 
of Italy, to shut their gates against the Barbarians, his confi- 
dence, or his despair, urged him to throw himself into Ravenna, 
which was already in the absolute possession of his enemies. 
Olympius, who had assumed the dominion of Honurius, was 
speedily informed, that his rival had embraced, as a suppliant, 
the altar of the Christian church. The base and cruel dis- 
position of the hypocrite was incapable of pity or remorse ; 
but he piously affected to elude, rather than to violme, the 
privilege of the sanctuary. Count Heraclian, with a troop 
of soldiers, appeared, at the dawn of day, before the gates 
of the church of Ravenna. The bishop was satisfied by a 
solemn oath, that the Imperial mandate only directed them to 
secure the person of Stilicho : but as soon as the unfortunate 
minister had been tempted beyond the holy threshold, he 
uroduced the warrant for his instant execution. Stilicho sup- 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 235 

ported, with calm resignation, the injurious names of traitor 
and parricide ; repressed the unseasonable zeal of his follow- 
ers, who were ready to attempt an Ineffectual rescue; and, 
with a firmness not unworthy of the last of the Roman gen- 
erals, submitted his neck to the sword of Heraclian. 106 

The servile crowd of the palace, who had so long adored 
the fortune of Stilicho, affected to insult his fall ; and the 
most distant connection with the master-general of the West 
which had so lately been a title to wealth and honors, was stu 
diously denied, and rigorously punished. His family, united 
by a triple alliance with the family of Theodosius, might emy 
the condition of the meanest peasant. The flight of his son 
Eucherius was intercepted ; and the death of that innocent 
youth soon followed the divorce of Thermantia, who filled the 
place of her sister Maria ; and who, like Maria, had remained 
a virgin in the Imperial bed. 107 The friends of Stilicho, who 
had escaped the massacre of Pavia, were persecuted by the 
implacable revenge of Olympius ; and the most exquisite 
cruelty was employed to extort the confession of a treasonable 
and sacrilegious conspiracy. They died in silence : their 
firmness justified the choice, 108 and perhaps absolved the in- 
nocence of their patron : and the despotic power, which could 
take his life without a trial, and stigmatize his memory with- 
out a proof, has no jurisdiction over the impartial suffrage of 
posterity. 109 The services of Stilicho are great and manifest ; 
his crimes, as they are vaguely stated in the language of flat- 
tery and hatred, are obscure at least, and improbable. About 
tour months after his death, an edict was published, in the 



108 Zosimus (1. v. p. 333 — 345) has copiously, though not clearly, 
related the disgrace and death of Stilicho. Olympiodorus, (apud 
Phot. p. 177,) Orosius, (1. vii. c. 38. p. 571, 572,) Sozomen, (1. ix. c. 
4,) and Philostorgius, (1. xi. c. 3, 1. xii. c. 2,) afford supplemental 
hints. 

Iw Zosimus, 1. v. p. 333. The marriage of a Christian with two sis- 
ters, scandalizes Tillemont Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 557 ;) 
who expects, in vain, that Pope Innocent I. should have done some- 
thing in the way either of censure or of dispensation. 

108 Two of his friends are honorably mentioned, (Zosimus, 1. v. p. 
346:) Peter, chief of the school of notaries, and the gr3at chamber- 
lain Deutcrius. Stilicho had secured the bed-chamber ; and it is sur- 
prising that, vinder a feeble prince, the bed-chamber was not able to 
secure him. 

' u9 Orosius (1. vii. c. 38, p. 571, 572) seems to copy the false ard 
furious manifestos, which were dispersed through the provinces by 
Lhe new administration. 



236 'XHE DECLINE aND FALL 

name of Honorius, to restore the free communication of tho 
two empires, which had been so long interrupted by the pub- 
lic enemy. 110 The minister, whose fame and fortune depended 
on the prosperity of the state, was accused of betraying Italy 
to the Barbarians , whom he repeatedly vanquished at Pol- 
lentia, at Verona, and before the walls of Florence. His 
pretended design of placing the diadem on the head of his son 
Eucherius, could not have been conducted without prepara- 
tions or accomplices; and the ambitious father would not 
surely have left the future emperor, till the twentieth year of 
his age, in the humble station of tribune of the notaries. 
Even the religion of Stilicho was arraigned by the malice of 
his rival. The seasonable, and almost miraculous, deliver- 
ance was devoutly celebrated by the applause of the clergy ; 
who asserted, that the restoration of idols, and the persecution 
of the church, would have been the first measure of the reign 
of Eucherius. The son of Stilicho, however, was educated 
in the bosom of Christianity, which his father had uniformly 
professed, and zealously supported. 111 * Serena had bor- 
rowed her magnificent necklace from the statue of Vesta ; 119 
and the Pagans execrated the memory of the sacrilegioua 
minister, by whose order the Sibylline books, the oracles of 
Rome, had been committed to the flames. 113 The pride and 

110 See the Theodosian code, 1. vii. tit. xvi. leg. 1, 1. ix. tit. xlii. leg. 
22. Stilicho is branded with the name of prcedo publicus, who em- 
ployed his wealth, ad omnem ditahdam, inquietandamque Barbariem. 

111 Augustin himself is satisfied with the effectual laws, which 
Stilicho had enacted against heretics and idolaters; and which are 
still extant in the Code. He only applies to Olympius for their con- 
firmation, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 408, No. 19.) 

111 Zosimus, 1. y. p. 351. We may observe the bad taste of the age, 
in dressing their statues with such awkward finery. 

1U See Rutilius Numatianus, (Itincrar. 1. ii. 41—60,) to whom re- 
ligious enthusiasm has dictated some elegant and forcible lines. 
Stilicho likewise stripped the gold plates from the doors of the Capi- 
tol, and read a prophetic sentence which was engraven under them, 
(Zosimus, 1. v. p. 352.) These are foolish stories ; yet the charge of 



• Hence, perhaps, the accusation of treachery is countenanced bj 

ntilvis- — 



Butilius : — 



Quo magis est facinus diri Stilichonis lniquura 

Proditor arcani quod fuit imperii, 
itomano generi dutn nitituresse superstes, 

Crudelia summis mincuit ima turor. 
Dunique timet, quicquid se fecerat : pse timen, 

lminisit Latin: burbara tela noci. Ruiii. hie. il. 41 — M 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 237 

power of Stilicho constituted his real guilt. An honorable 
reluctance to shed the blood of his countrymen appears to 
have contributed to the success of his unworthy rival ; and it 
is the last humiliation of the character of Honorius, that pos- 
terity has not condescended to reproach him with his base 
ingratitude to the guardian of his youth, and the support of 
his empire 

Among the train of dependants whose wealth and dignity 
attracted the notice of their own times, our curiosity is excited 
by the celebrated name of the poet Claudian, who enjoyed 
the favor of Stilicho, and was overwhelmed in the ruin of his 
patron. The titular offices of tribune and notary fixed his 
rank in the Imperial court : he was indebted to the powerful 
intercession of Serena for his marriage with a very rich heir, 
ess of the province of Africa ; m and the statue of Claudian, 
erected in the forum of Trajan, was a monument of the taste 
and liberality of the Roman senate. 115 After the praises of 
Stilicho became offensive and criminal, Claudian was exposed 
to the enmity of a powerful and unforgiving courtier, whom 
he had provoked by the insolence of wit. He had compared, 
in a lively epigram, the opposite characters of two Praetorian 
prcefects of Italy ; he contrasts the innocent repose of a 
philosopher, who sometimes resigned the hours of business to 
slumber, perhaps to study, with the interesting diligence of a 
rapacious minister, indefatigable in the pursuit of unjust or 

impiety adds weight and credit to the praise which Zosimus reluctant- 
ly bestows on his virtues.* * 

114 At the nuptials of Orpheus (a modest comparison !) all the 
parts of animated nature contributed their various gifts ; and the 
gods themselves enriched their favorite. Claudian had neither flocks, 
nor herds, nor vines, nor olives. His wealthy bride was heiress to 
them all. But he carried to Africa a recommendatory letter from 
Serena, his Juno, and was made happy, (Epist. ii. ad Sercnam.) 

114 Claudian feels the honor like a man who deserved it, (in praefat. 
Bell. Get.) The original inscription, on marble, was found at Rom-, 
in the fifteenth century, in the hfMise of Pomponius Laetus. The 
etatue of a poet, far superior to Claudian, should have been erected, 
during his lifetime, by the men of letters, his countrymen and con- 
temporaries. It was a noble design. 



• One particular in the extorted praise of Zosimus, deserved the no. ice 
of the historian, as strongly opposed to the former imputations of Zosimus 
nimself, and indicative of the corrupt practices of a declining age. " He 
had never bartered promotion in the army for bribes, nor peculated in th» 
■uppliei of provisions for the army." 1. v o. xxjuv. — M. 



238 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sacrilegious gain. " How happy," continues Clauilian, " h<m 
happy might it be for the people of Italy, if Mallius could be 
constantly awake, and if Hadrian would always sleep ! " u * 
The repose of Mallius was not disturbed by this friendly and 
gentle admonition ; but the cruel vigilance of Hadrian watched 
the opportunity of revenge, and easily obtained, from the 
enemies of Stilicho, the trifling sacrifice of an obnoxious poet. 
The poet concealed himself, however, during the tumult of the 
revolution ; and, consulting the dictates of prudence rather 
than of honor, he addressed, in the form of an epistle, a sup- 
pliant and humble recantation to the offended prsefect. He 
deplores, in mournful strains, the fatal indiscretion into which 
he had been hurried by passion and folly ; submits to the 
imitation of his adversary the generous examples of the 
clemency of gods, of heroes, and of lions ; and expresses his 
hope that the magnanimity of Hadrian will not trample on 
a defenceless and contemptible foe, already humbled by dis 
grace and poverty, and deeply wounded by the exile, thb 
tortures, and the death of his dearest friends. 117 Whatevei 

1,6 See Epigram xxx. 

Mallius indulget somno noctesque diesque: 

Insomnis PUarius sacra, profana, rapit. 
Omnibus, hoc, Ttalre gentes, exposcite votii ; 
Mallius ut vigilet, dormiat ut I'liarius. 

Hadrian was a Pharian, (of Alexandria.) See his public life in Gode- 
froy, Cod. Theodos. torn. vi. p. 364. Mallius did not always sleep 
He composed some elegant dialogues on the Greek systems of natural 
philosophy, (Claud, in Mall. Theodor. Cons. 61 — 112.) 

117 See Claucuan's first Epistle. Yet, in some places, an air of 
irony and indignation betrays his secret reluctance.* 



* M. Beugnot has pointed out one remarkable characteristic of Clau 
dian's poetry, and of the times — his extraordinary religious indifference 
Here is a poet writing at the actual crisis of the complete triumph of the 
new religion, the visible extinction of the old : if we may so speak, & 
strictly historical poet, whose works, excepting his Mythological poem on 
the rape of Proserpine, are confined to temporary subjects, and to the 
politics of his own eventful day ; yet, excepting in one or two small and 
indifferent pieces, manifestly written by a Christian, and interpolated 
among his poems, there is no allusion whatever to the great religious 
strife.^ No one would know the existence of Christianity at that period 
of the world, by reading the works of Claudian. His panegyric and his 
eatire preserve the same religious impartiality; award their most larish 
praise or their bitterest invective on Christian or Pagan ; he insults the 
fall of Eugenius, and glories in the victories of Thcodosius. Under the 
child, — and Honorius never became more than a child, — Christianity con- 
tinued to inflict wounds more and more deadly on expiring Paganism. Ala 
tb ft go Is of Olympus agitated with apprehension at the birth of this new 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 239 

might be the success of his prayer, or the accidents of his 
future life, the period of a few years levelled in the grave the 
minister and the poet: but the name of Hadrian is almost 
sunk in oblivion, while Claudian is read with pleasure in every 
country which has retained, or acquired, the knowledge of the 
Latin language. If we fairly balance his merits and his 
defects, we shall acknowledge that Claudian does not either 
satisfy, or silence, our reason. It would not be easy to produce 
a passage that deserves the epithet of sublime or pathetic ; to 
select a verse that melts the heart or enlarges the imagination. 
We should vainly seek, in the poems of Claudian, the happy 
invention, and artificial conduct, of an interesting fable ; or 
the just and lively representation of the characters and situa- 
tions of real life. For the service of his patron, he published 
occasional panegyrics and invectives : and the design of these 
slavish compositions encouraged his propensity to exceed th« 
limits of truth and nature. These imperfections, however, 
are compensated in some degree by the poetical virtues of 
Claudian. He was endowed with the rare and precious talent 
of raising the meanest, of adorning the most barren, and of 
diversifying the most similar, topics : his coloring, more espe- 
cially in descriptive poetry, is soft and splendid ; and he seldom 
fails to display, and even to abuse, the advantages of a culti- 
vated understanding, a copious fancy, an easy, and sometimes 



enemy? They are introduced as rejoicing at his appearance, and prom- 
ising long years of glory. The whole prophetic choir of Paganism, all the 
oracles throughout the world, are summoned to predict the felicity of his 
reign. His birth is compared to that of Apollo, but the narrow limits of 
an island must not confine the new deity — 

. . . Non littora nostro 
SufScerent angusta Deo. 

Augury and divination, the shrines of Ammon, and of Delphi, the Persian 
Magi, and the Etruscan seers, the Chaldean astrologers, the Sibyl herself, 
are described as still discharging their prophetic functions, and celebrating 
the natal day of this Christian prince. They are noble lines, as well as 
curious illustrations of the times: 

. . . Quae tunc documenta futuri? 
Quae vr.ces avium? quanti per inane volatus? 
Quia Tdtum discursus erat? Tibi corniger Ammon, 
Et du.lum taciti rupere silentia Delphi. 
Te Persae cecinere Magi, te sensit Etruscus 
Augur, et inspectis Babylonius horruit astris; 
Chaldaei stupuere senes, Cumanaque rursus 
Intonuit rupes, rabidae delubra Sibyllae. 

Claud. It. Cons. Hon. 141. 

Fran the Quarterly Review of Beugnot. Hist, de la Destruction do 
Paganism© ei» Occident, Q- R v. lvii. p. 61. — M. 



240 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

forcible, expression ; and a perpetual flow of harmonious 
versification. To these commendations, independent of any 
accidents of time and place, we must add the peculiar merit 
which Claudian derived from the unfavorable circumstances 
of his birth. In the decline of arts, and of empire, a native 
of Egypt, 118 who had received the education of a Greek, 
assumed, in a mature age, the familiar use, and absolute com- 
mand, of the Latin language ; 119 soared above the heads of 
his feeble contemporaries ; and placed himself, after an in- 
terval of three hundred years, among the poets of ancient 
Rome. 1 ^ 



118 National vanity has made him a Florentine, or a Spaniard. But 
the first Epistle of Claudian proves Mm a native of Alexandria, (Fa- 
Dricius, Bibliot. Latin, torn. iii. p. 191 — 202, edit. Ernest.) 

119 His first Latin verse* were composed during the consulship of 
Probinus, A. D. 395. 

Romanoi bibimui pnmum, te consule, fontts. 
Et Lutiie cessit Graiu Thalia toj:«e. 

Besides some Greek epigrams, which are still extant, the Latin poet 
had composed, in Greek, the Antiquities of Tarsus, Anazarbus, Bery- 
tus, Nice, &c. It is more easy to supply the loss of good poetry, than 
of authentic history. 

120 Strada (Prolusion v. vi.) allows him to contend with the fiv« 
heroic poets, Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, and Statius. His patroc 
is the accomplished courtier Balthazar Castiglione. His admirers are 
numerous and passionate. Yet the rigid critics reproach the exotic 
weeds or flowers, which spring too luxuriantly in his Latiar soil 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

INVASION OF ITALY BY ALAKIC. — MANNERS OP THE BOHAI* 

SENATE AND PEOPLE. ROME IS THRICE BESIEGED, AND AT 

LENGTH PILLAGED, BY THE GOTHS. DEATH OF ALARIC. — 

THE GOTHS EVACUATE ITALY. FALL OF CONSTANTINB. — 

GAUL AND SPAIN ARE OCCUPIED BY THE BARBARIANS.— 
INDEPENDENCE OF BRITAIN. 

The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may 
often assume the appearance, and produce the effects, of a 
treasonable correspondence with the public enemy. If Alaric 
himself had been introduced into the council of Ravenna, he 
would probably have advised the same measures which were 
actually pursued by the ministers of Honorius. 1 The king of 
the Goths would have conspired, perhaps with some reluc- 
tance, to destroy the formidable adversary, by whose arms, in 
Italy, as well as in Greece, he had been twice overthrown. 
Their active and interested hatred laboriously accomplished 
the disgrace and ruin of the great Stilicho. The valor of 
Sarus, his fame in arms, and his personal, or hereditary, influ- 
ence over the confederate Barbarians, could recommend him 
only to the friends of their country, who despised, or detested, 
the worthless characters of Turpilio, Varanes, and Vigilantius. 
By the pressing instances of the new favorites, these generals, 
unworthy as they had shown themselves of the names of 
soldiers, 2 were promoted to the command of the cavalry, of 
the infantry, and of the domestic troops. The Gothic prince 
would have subscribed with pleasure the edict which the 
fanaticism of Olympius dictated to the simple and devout 
emperor. Honorius excluded all persons, who were adverse 
to the Catholic church, from holding any office in the state 
obstinately rejected the service of all those who dissented from 
his religion ; and rashly disqualified many of his bravest and 

1 The series of events, from the death of Stilicho to the arrival of 
Alaric befoie Rome, can only be found in Zosimus, 1. v. p. 347 — 350. 

* The expression of Zosimus is strong and lively, xaTai/jfJujcn 
iunuiijaat rot"; nolifiioit a^xovvrut, sufficient to excite the coi.tempt of 
the enemy. 

241 



2VI THE DECLINE AND FALL 

most skilful officers, who adhered to the Pagan worship, 01 
whn had imbibed the opinions of Arianism. 3 These measures, 
bo advantageous to an enemy, Alaric would have approved, 
and m>ght perhaps have suggested ; but it may seem doubtful, 
whether the Barbarian would have promoted his interest at 
the expense of the inhuman and absurd cruelty, which was 
perpetrated by the direction, or at least with the connivance, 
of the Imperial ministers. The foreign auxiliaries, who had 
been attached to the person of Stilicho, lamented his death ; 
but the desire of revenge was checked by a natural appre- 
hension for the safety of their wives and children ; who were 
detained as hostages in the strong cities of Italy, where they 
had likewise deposited their most valuable effects. At the 
same hour, and as if by a common signal, the cities of Italy 
were polluted by the same horrid scenes of universal massacre 
and pillage, which involved, in promiscuous destruction, the 
families and fortunes of the Barbarians. Exasperated by such 
an injury, which might have awakened the tamest and most 
servile spirit, they cast a look of indignation and hope towards 
the camp of Alaric, and unanimously swore to pursue, with 
just and implacable war, the perfidious nation, that had so 
basely violated the laws of hospitality. By the imprudent 
conduct of the ministers of Honorius, the republic lost the 
assistance, and deserved the enmity, of thirty thousand of her 
bravest soldiers ; and the weight of that formidable army, 
which alone might have determined the event of the war, was 
transferred from the scale of the Romans into that of the 
Goths. 

In the arts of negotiation, as well as in those of war, the 
Gothic king maintained his superior ascendant over an enemy, 
whose seeming changes proceeded from the total want of 
counsel and design. From his camp, on the confines of Italy, 
Alaric attentively observed the revolutions of the palace, 
watched the progress of faction and discontent, disguised the 
hostile aspect of a Barbarian invader, and assumed the more 
popular appearance of the friend and al'.y of the great Stilicho ; 
to whose virtues, when they were no longer formidable, he 



* Eos qui catholicae sectae sunt inimici, intra palatium militare pro- 
hibeinus. Nullus nobis sit aliqua ratione conjunctus, qui a nobis fide 
et religisne discordat. Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. v. leg. 42, and Gode- 
troy's Commentary, torn. v i. p. 164. This law was applied in the 
Utmost latitude, and rigorous'y executed. Zosimus, 1. v. p. 364. 



OF THE ROMAN EKPIRE. 243 

could pay a just tribute of sincere praise and regret. The 
pressing invitation of the malecontents, who urged the king of 
the Goths to invade Italy, was enforced by a lively sense of 
his personal injuries ; and he might speciously complain, that , 
the Imperial ministers still delayed and eluded the payment 
of the four thousand pounds of gold, which had been granted 
by the Roman senate, either to reward his services, or to 
appease his fury. His decent firmness was supported by an 
artful moderation, which contributed to the success of hia 
designs. He required a fair and reasonable satisfaction ; but 
he gave the strongest assurances, that, as soon as he had 
obtained it, he would immediately retire. He refused to trust 
the faith of the Romans, unless Muus and Jason, the sons of 
two great officers of state, were sent as hostages to his camp , 
but he offered to deliver, in exchange, several of the noblest 
youths of the Gothic nation. The modesty of Alaric was 
interpreted, by the ministers of Ravenna, as a sure evidence 
of his weakness and fear. They disdained either to negotiate 
a treaty, or to assemble an army ; and with a rash confidence, 
derived only from their ignorance of the extreme danger, 
irretrievably wasted the decisive moments of peace and war. 
While they expected, in sullen silence, that the Barbarians 
6hould evacuate the confines of Italy, Alaric, with bold and 
rapid marches, passed the Alps and the Po ; hastily pillaged 
the cities of Aquileia, Altinum, Concordia, and Cremona, 
which yielded to his arms ; increased his forces \jj the acces- 
sion of thirty thousand auxiliaries ; and, without meeting a 
single enemy in the field, advanced as far as the edge of the 
morass which protected the impregnable residence of the em- 
peror of the West. Instead of attempting the hopeless siege 
of Ravenna, the prudent leader of the Goths proceeded to 
Rimini, stretched his ravages along the sea-coast of the Hadri. 
atic, and meditated the conquest of the ancient mistress of the 
world. An Italian hermit, whose zeal and sanctity were 
respected by the Barbarians themselves, encountered the vic- 
torious monarch, and boldly denounced the indignation of 
Heaven against the oppressors of the earth ; but the saint 
himself was confounded by the solemn asseveration of Alaric, 
that he felt a secret and prajternatural impulse, which directed, 
and even compelled, his march to the gates of Rome. He 
felt, that his genius and his fortune were equal to the most 
arduous enterprises ; and the enthusiasm which he communi- 
cated to the Goths, insensibly removed the popular, and almost 



244 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

superstitious, reverence of the nations for the majestj of the 
Roman name. His troops, animated by the hopes of spoil, 
followed the course of the Flaminian way, occupied the 
unguarded passes of the Apennine, 4 descended into the rich 
plains of Umbria ; and, as they lay encamped on the banks 
of the Clitumnus, might wantonly slaughter and devour the 
milk-white oxen, which had been so long reserved for the use 
of Roman triumphs. 5 A lofty situation, and a seasonable 
tempest of thunder and lightning, preserved the little city of 
Narni ; but the king of the Goths, despising the ignoble prey, 
still advanced with unabated vigor ; and after he had passed 
through the stately arches, adorned with the spoils of Barbaric 
victories, he pitched his camp under the walls of Rome. 6 

During a period of six hundred and nineteen years, the 
seat of empire had never been violated by the presence of a 
foreign enemy. The unsuccessful expedition of Hannibal ' 
served only to display the character of the senate and people ; 
of a senate degraded, rather than ennobled, by the comparison 
of an assembly of kings ; and of a people, to whom the am- 
bassador of Pyrrhus ascribed the inexhaustible resources of the 
Hydra. 8 Each of the senators, in the time of the Punic war, 



4 Addison (see his Works, vol. ii. p. 54, edit. Baskerville) has given 
a very picturesque description of the road through the Apennine. 
The Goths were not at leisure to observe the beauties of the prospect ; 
but they were pleased to find that the Saxa Intercisa, a narrow pas- 
sage which Vespasian had cut through the rock, (Oluver. Italia Antiq. 
torn. i. p. 618,) was totally neglected. 

* Hinc albi, Clitumne, greges, et maxima taurus 
Victima, saepe tuo perfusi flumine sacro, 
Romanos ad tempi a Deum dux ere triumphos. 

Georg. ii. 147. 

Besides Virgil, most of the Latin poets, Propertius, Lucan, Silius Ital- 
.cus, Claudian, &c, whose passages may be found, in Cluverius and 
Addison, have celebrated the triumphal victims of the Clitumnus. 

* Some ideas of the march of Alaric are borrowed from the journey 
of Honorius over the same ground. (See Claudian in vi. Cons. Hon. 
494 — 522.) The measured distance between Ravenna and Borne waa 
254 Roman miles. Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 126. 

7 The march and retreat of Hannibal are described by Livy, 1. xxvi. 
c. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 ; and the reader is made a spectator of the interesting 
Mane. 

* These comparisons were used by Cyneas, the counsellor of Pyr 
»hus, after his return from his embassy, in which he had diligently 
studied the discipline and manners of Rome. See Plutarch in Pyrrho, 
torn. ii. p. 459. 



«»F THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 346 

had accomplished his term of military service, eitier in a sub* 
ordinate or a superior station ; and the decree, which invested 
with temporary command all those who had been consuls, or 
censors, or dictators, gave the republic the immediate assist- 
ance of many brave and experienced generals. In the begin- 
ning of the war, the Roman people consisted of two hundred 
and fifty thousand citizens of an age to bear arms. 9 Fifty 
thousand had already died in the defence of their country ; 
and the twenty-three legions which were employed in the 
different camps of Italy, Greece, Sardinia, Sicily, and Spain, 
required about one hundred thousand men. But there still 
remained an equal number in Rome, and the adjacent territory, 
who were animated by the same intrepid courage ; and every 
citizen was trained, from his earliest youth, in the discipline 
and exercises of a soldier. Hannibal was astonished by the 
constancy of the senate, who, without raising the siege of 
Capua, or recalling their scattered forces, expected his ap- 
proach. He encamped on the banks of the Anio, at the dis- 
tance of three miles from the city ; and he was soon informed, 
that the ground on which he had pitched his tent, was sold for 
an adequate price at a public auction ; * and that a body of 
troops was dismissed by an opposite road to reenforce the 
legions of Spam. 10 He led his Africans in rfie gates of Rome, 

• In the three census which were made of the Roman people, about 
the time of the second Punic war, the numbers stand as follows, (sea 
Livy, Epitom. L xx. Hist. 1. xxvii. 36, xxix. 37 :) 270,213, 137,108, 
214,000. The fall of the second, and the rise of the third, appears sc 
enormous, that several critics, notwithstanding the unanimity of the 
MSS., have suspected some corruption of the text of Livy. (Seo 
Drakenborch ad xxvii. 30, and Beaufort, Rcpublique Romaine, torn. i. 
p. 325.) They did not consider that the second census was taken only 
at Rome, and that the numbers were diminished, not only by the 
death, but likewise by the absence, of many soldiers. In the third 
census, Livy expressly affirms, that the legions were mustered by the 
care of particular commissaries. From the numbers on the list we 
must always deduct one twelfth above threescore, and incapable of 
bearing arms. See Population de la France, p. 72. 

10 Livy considers these two incidents as the effects only of chance 
and courage. I suspect that they were both n. anaged by the admira- 
ble policy of the senate. 

• Compare the remarkable transaction in Jeremiah xxxii. 6, to 44, where 
the prophet purchases his uncle's estate at the approach of the Babylonian 
captivity, in his undoubting confidence in the future restoration of the 
people. In the one case it is the tri.imph of religious faith, in the other 
of national pride. — M. 



246 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

where he found three armies in order of battle, prepared to 
receive him; but Hannibal dreaded the event of a combat, 
from which he could not hope to escape, unless he destroyed 
the last of his enemies ; and his speedy retreat confessed the 
invincible courage of the Romans. 

From the time of the Punic war, the uninterrupted succes- 
sion of senators had preserved the name and .'image of the 
republic ; and the degenerate subjects of Honorius ambitiously 
derived their descent from the heroes who had repulsed the 
arms of Hannibal, and subdued the nations of the earth. The 
temporal honors which the devout Paula n inherited and de- 
spised, are carefully recapitulated by Jerom, the guide of her 
conscience, and the historian of her life. The genealogy of 
her father, Rogatus, which ascended as high as Agamemnon, 
might seem to betray a Grecian origin ; but her mother, Blsesil- 
la, numbered the Scipios, ^Emilius Paulus, and the Gracchi, 
In the list of her ancestors ; and Toxotius, the husband of 
Paula,, deduced his royal lineage from ^Eneas, the father of 
the Julian line. The vanity of the rich, who desired to be 
noble, was gratified by these lofty pretensions. Encouraged 
by the applause of their parasites, they easily imposed on the 
credulity of the vulgar ; and were countenanced, in some 
measure, by the custom of adopting the name of their patron, 
which had always prevailed among the freedmen and clients 
of illustrious families. Most of those families, however, 
attacked by so many causes of external violence or internal 
decay, were gradually extirpated : and it would be more 
reasonable to seek for a lineal descent of twenty generations, 
among the mountains of the Alps, or in the peaceful solitude 
of Apulia, than on the theatre of Rome, the seat of fortune, 
of danger, and of perpetual revolutions. Under each succes- 
sive reign, and from every province of the empire, a crowd 
of hardy adventurers, rising Jo eminence by their talents or 
their vices, usurped the wealth, the honors, and the palaces of 
Rome ; and oppressed, or protected, the poor and humble 



11 See Jerom, torn. i. p. 169,170, ad Eustochium ; he bestows on Paula 
the splendid titles of Gracchorum stirps, soboles Scipionum, Pauli 
haeres, cujus vocabulum trahit, Martise Papyrise Matris Africani vera 
it germana propago. This particular description supposes a more 
•olid title than the surname of Julius, which Toxotius shared with a 
thousand families of the western provinces. See the Index of Taci- 
tus, of Gruter's Inscriptions, &o. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 247 

remains of consular families ; who were ignorant, perhara, of 
the glory of -heir ancestors. 12 

In the time of Jerom and Claudian, the senators unanimously 
yielded the preeminence to the Anician line ; and a slight view 
of their history will serve to appreciate the rank and antiquity 
of the noble families, which contended only for the second 
place. 13 During the five first ages of the city, the name of 
the Anicians was unknown ; they appear to have derived their 
origin from Pneneste ; and the ambition of those new citizens 
was long satisfied with the Plebeian honors of tribunes of the 
people. 14 One hundred and sixty-eight years before the Chris- 
tian sera, the family was ennobled by the Prsetorship of AniciuSj 
who gloriously terminated the Illyrian war, by the conquest of 
the nation, and the captivity of their king. 15 From the triumph 
of that general, three consulships, in distant periods, mark the 
succession of the Anician name. 16 From the reign of Diocle- 
tian to the final extinction of the Western empire, that name 
shone with a lustre which was not eclipsed, in the public 
estimation, by the majesty of the Imperial purple. 17 The 

11 Tacitus (Annal. iii. 55) affirms, that between the battle of Actium 
and the reign of Vespasian, the senate was gradually filled with new 
families from the Municipia and colonies of Italy. 

13 Nee quisquam Procerum tentet (licet aere vetusto 
Floreat, et claro cingatur Roma senate ) 

Se jactare parem ; sed prima sede relicta 
Aucheniis, de jure licet certare secundo. 

Claud, in Prob. et Olybrii Coss. 18. 

Such a compliment paid to the obscure name of the Auchenii haa 
amazed the critics ; but they all agree, that whatever may be the true 
reading, the sense of Claudian can be applied only to the Anician 
family. 

14 The earliest date in the annals of Pighius, is that of M. Anicius 
Gallus, Trib. PI. A. U. C. 506. Another tribune, Q. Anicius, A. U. 
C. 508, is distinguished by the epithet of Praenestinus. Livy (xlv. 43) 
places the Anicii below the great families of Rome. 

14 Livy, xliv. 30, 31, xlv. 3, 26, 43. He fairly appreciates the merit 
of Anicius, and justly observes, that his fame was clouded oy the 
superior lustre of the Macedonian, which preceded the Illyrian, 
triumph. 

18 The dates of the three consulships are, A. IT. C. 593, 818, 967: 
the two last under the reigns of Nero and Caracalla. The second of 
these consuls distinguished himself only by his infamous flattery, 
(Tacit. Annal. xv. 74 ; ) but even the evidence of crimes, if they bear 
t«e stamp of greatness and antiquity, is admitted, without reluctance, 
tf» prove ths genealogy of a noble house. 

* 7 In the sixth century, the nobility of the Anician name ia men- 



248 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

several branches, to whom it was communicated, united, by 
marriage or inheritance, the wealth and titles of the Annian, 
the Petronian, and the Olybrian houses ; and in each gener- 
ation the number of consulships was multiplied by an hered 
itary claim. 18 The Anician family excelled in faith and in 
riches : they were the first of the Roman senate who embraced 
Christianity ; and it is probable that Anicius Julian, who was 
afterwards consul and prsefect of the city, atoned for his attach- 
ment to the party of Maxentius, by the readiness with which 
he accepted the religion of Constantine. 19 Their ample patri- 
mony was increased by the industry of Probus, the chief of 
the Anician family ; who shared with Gratian the honors of 
the consulship, and exercised, four times, the high office of 
Praetorian, praefect. 20 His immense estates were scattered 
over the wide extent of the Roman world ; and though the 
public might suspect or disapprove the methods by which 
they had been acquired, the generosity and magnificence of 
that fortunate statesman deserved the gratitude of his clients 
and the admiration of strangers. 21 Such was the respect en- 



tioned (Cassiodor. Variar. 1. x. Ep. 10, 12) with singular respect by 

the minister of a Gothic king of Italy. 

>• Fixus in omnes 

Cognatos procedit honos ; quemcumque requiras 
Hac de stirpe virum, certum est de Consule nasci. 
Per fasces numerantur Avi, semperque renata 
Nobilitate virent, et prolem fata sequuntur. 

« Haudian in Prob. et Olyb. Consulat. 12, &c.) The Annii, whose 
name seems to have merged in the Anician, mark, the Fasti with many 
consulships, from the time of Vespasian to the fourth century. 

19 The title of first Christian senator may be justified by the 
authority of Prudentius (in Symmach. i. 553) and the dislike of the 
Pagans to the Anician family. See Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, 
torn. iv. p. 183, v. p. 44. Baron. Annal. A. D. 312, No. 78, A. D. 322, 
No. 2. 

,0 Probus .... claritudine generis et potentia et opum magnitu- 
dine, cognitus Orbi Romano, per quern universum poene patrimonii 
eparsa possedit, juste an secus non judicioli est nostri. Ammian. 
Marcellin. xxvii. 11. His children and widow erected for him a mag- 
nificent tomb in the Vatican, which was demolished in the time of 
Pope Nicholas V. to make room for the new church of St. Peter. 
Baronius, who laments the ruin of this Christian monument, has dili- 
gently preserved the inscriptions and basso-relievos. See Annal. Ec- 
cles. A. D. 395, No. 5—17. 

11 Two Parsian satraps travelled to Milan and Rome, to hear St. 
Ambrose, and to see Probus, (Paulin. in Viv. Ambrose Oaudiar 



OK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 249 

tertamed for his memory, that the two sons of Prohufc in theii 
earliest youth, and at the request of the senate, were associated 
in the consular dignity ; a memorable distinction, without ex» 
ample, in the annals of Rome. 22 

" The marbles of the Anician palace," were used as a pro- 
verbial expression of opulence and splendor ; 23 but the nobles 
and senators of Rome aspired, in due gradation, to imitate that 
illustrious family. The accurate description of the city, which 
was composed in the Theodosian age, enumerates one thou- 
sand seven hundred and eighty houses, the residence of wealthy 
and honorable citizens. 24 Many of these stately mansions 
might almost excuse the exaggeration of the poet; that Rome 
contained a multitude of palaces, and that each palace was 
equal to a city: since it included within its own precincts 
every thing which could be subservient either to use or luxury ; 
markets, hippodromes, temples, fountains, baths, porticos, 
shady groves, and artificial aviaries. 25 The historian Olym- 
piodorus, who represents the state of Rome when it was be- 
sieged by the Goths, 26 .continues to observe, that several of the 
richest senators received from their estates an annual income 
v.f four thousand pounds of gold, above one hundred and sixty 
thousand pounds sterling ; without computing the stated pro- 
vision of corn and wine, which, had they been sold, might 
have equalled in value one third of the money. Compared to 
this immoderate wealth, an ordinary revenue of a thousand or 
fifteen hundred pounds of gold might be considered as no more 
than adequate to the dignity of the senatorian rank, which re- 
quired many expenses of a public and ostentatious kind. Sev- 

(in Cons. Probin. et Olybr. 30 — 60) seems at a loss how to express tha 
glory of Probus'. 

82 See the poem which Claudian addressed to the two noble youths. 

93 Secundums, the Manichrean, ap. Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 390, 
No. 34. 

*< See Nardini, Roma Antica, p. 89, 498, 500. 

25 Quid loquar inclusas inter laquearia sylvas ; 
Vernula queis vario carmine ludit avis. 

Claud. Rutil. Numatian. Itinerar. ver. Ill 

The poet lived at the time of the Gothic invasion. A moderate paltice 
would have covered Cincinnatus's farm of four acres, (Val. Max. iv. 4.) 
In laxitatem ruris excurnmt, says Seneca, Epist. 114. See a judi- 
cious note of Mr. Hume, Essays, vol. i. p. 562, last Svo edition. 

26 This curious account of Rome, in the reign of Honorius, ii 
fousid in a fragment of the historiap Olympiodorus, ap. Photiuin, 
■». 197 

6u 



250 THE PECL7NE AND FALL 

eral examples are recorded, In the age of Honorius, of vain 
and popu'ar nobles, who celebrated the year of their praetor* 
ship by a festival, which lasted seven days, and cost above 
one hundred thousand pounds sterling. 27 The estates of the 
Roman senators, which so far exceeded the proportion of 
modern wealth, were not confined to the limits of Italy. Their 
possessions extended far beyond the Ionian and iEgean Seas, 
to the most distant provinces : the city of Nicopolis, which 
.Augustus had founded as an eternal monument of the Actian 
victory, was the property of the devout Paula ; 28 and it is 
observed by Seneca, that the rivers, which had divided hos- 
tile nations, now flowed through the lands of private citizens. 23 
According to their temper and circumstances, the estates of 
the Romans were either cultivated by the labor of their slaves 
or granted, for a certain and stipulated rent, to the industrious 
farmer. The economical writers of antiquity strenuously recom- 
mend the former method, wherever it may be practicable ; 
but if the object should be removed, by its distance or magni 
tude, from the immediate eye of the master, they prefer the 

27 The sons of Alypius, of Symmachus, and of Maximus, spent, 
during their respective piEetorships, twelve, or twenty, or forty, cen- 
tenaries, (or hundred weight of gold.) See Olympiodor. ap. Phot, 
p. 197. This popular estimation allows some latitude ; but it is diffi- 
cult to explain a law in the Theodosian Code, (1. vi. leg. 5,) which iixes 
the expense of the first praetor at 2.5,000, of the second at 20,000, and 
of the third at 15,000 folles. The name oi foil is (see Mem. de 1' Aca- 
demic des Inscriptions, torn, xxviii. p. 727) was equally applied to a 
purse of 125 pieces of silver, and to a small copper^coin of the value 
of 1 part of that purse. In the former sense, the 25,000 folles 

w ould be equal to 150.000Z. ; in the latter, to five or six pounds sterling. 
The one appears extravagant, the other is ridiculous. There must have 
existed some third and middle value, which is here understood ; bui 
ambiguity is an excusable fault in the language of laws. 

*" Nicopolis , in Actiaco littore sita possessionis vestrw 

nunc pars vel maxima est. Jerom. in prsefat. Comment, ad Epistoi. 
ad Titum, torn. ix. p. 243. M. D. Tillemont supposes, strangely 
enough, that it was part of Agamemnon's inheritance. Mem. Ecclee. 
'.cm. xii. p. 85. 

29 Seneca, Epist. lxxxix. His language is of the declamatory kind ' 
Sut declamation could scarcely exaggerate the avarice and luxury .">! 
the Romans. The philosopher himself deserved some share of the 
reproach, if it be true that h.s rigorous exaction of Quadringenties, 
above three hundred thousand pounds which he had lent at high in- 
terest, provoked a rebellion in Britain, (Dion C'assius, 1. lxii. p.. 1003.) 
According to the coi jecture of Gale (Antoninus' 8 Itinerary in Britair. 
p. 92,) the same Faustinus possessed an estate near Bury, in Suffo'': 
and another in the kingdom of Naples. 



OF THE KOMAN UMPIRE. 251 

active care of an old hereditary tenant, attached to the soil, 
and interested in the produce, to the mercenary administration 
of a negligent, perhaps an unfaithful, steward. 30 

The opulent nobles of an immense capital, who wore never 
excited by the pursuit of military glory, and seldom engaged 
in the occupations of civil government, naturally resigned 
their leisure to the business and amusements of private life. 
Ai Rome, commerce was always held in contempt : but the 
senators, from the first age of the republic, increased their 
patrimony, and multiplied their clients, by the lucrative prac- 
tice of usury ; and the obsolete laws were eluded, or violated, 
by the mutual inclinations and interest of both parties. 31 A 
considerable mass of treasure must always have existed at 
Rome, either in the current coin of the empire, or in the form 
of gold and silver plate ; and there were many sideboards in 
the time of Pliny which contained more solid silver, than had 
been transported by Scipio from vanquished Carthage. 32 The 
greater part of the nobles, who dissipated their fortunes in 
profuse luxury, found themselves poor in the midst of wealth, 
and idle in a constant round of dissipation. Their desires 
were continually gratified by the labor of a thousand hands ; 
of the numerous train of their domestic slaves, who were 
actuated by the fear of punishment ; and of the various pro- 
fessions of artificers and merchants, who were more power- 
fully impelled by the hopes of gain. The ancients were 
destitute of many of the conveniences of life, which have 
been invented or improved by the progress of industry ; and 
the plenty of glass and linen has diffused more real comforta 
among the modern nations of Europe, than the senators of 
Rome could derive from all the .refinements of pompous or 



,0 Volusius, a wealthy senator. (Tacit. Annal. iii. 30,) always pre- 
ferred tenants born on the estate. Columella, who received this 
maxim from him, argues very judiciously on the subject. De Re 
Rustiea, 1. i. c. 7, p. 408, edit. Gesner. Leipsig, 1735. 

81 VaJesius (ad Ammian. xi*\ 6) has proved, from Chrysostoia Mid 
A.ugustin, that the senators were not allowed to lend money at usury. 
Yet it appears from the Theodosian Code, (see Godefroy ad 1. ii. tit. 
xxxiii. torn. i. p. 230--2S9,) that they were permitted to take six per 
cent., or one half of tne legal interest; and, what is more singular, this 
permission was granted to the young senators. 

32 Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 50. He states the silver at only 4380 
pounds, which is increased by I.ivy (xxx. 45) to 100,023 : the former 
M*ems too little for an opulent city, the Jatter too much for any piivata 
sideboard 



252 THE DECLINE AN FALL 

sensual luxury. 33 Their luxury, and their manners, ht ve 
been the subject of minute and laborious disquisition : but as 
such inquiries would divert me too long from the design of 
the present work, I shall produce an authentic state of Rome 
and its inhabitants, which is more peculiarly applicable to the 
period of the Gothic invasion. Ammianus Marcel I inus, who 
prudently chose the capital of the empire as the residence the 
best adapted to the historian of his own times, has mixed with 
the narrative of public events a lively representation of the 
scenes with which he was familiarly conversant. The judi~ 
cious reader will not always approve of the asperity of cen- 
sure, the choice of circumstances, or the style of expression • 
he will perhaps detect the latent prejudices, and persona, 
resentments, which soured the temper of Ammianus himself; 
but he will surely observe, with philosophic curiosity, the 
interesting and original picture of the manners of Rome. 34 

" The greatness of Rome " — such is the language of the 
historian — "was founded on the rare, and almost incredible, 
alliance o r virtue and of fortune. The long period of her 
infancy «vas employed in a laborious struggle against the 
tribes of Italy, the neighbors and enemies of the rising city. 
In the- strength and ardor of youth, she sustained the storms 
of war : carried her victorious arms bevond the seas and the 
mountains ; and brought home triumphal laurels from every 
country of the globe. At length, verging towards old age, 
and sometimes conquering by the terror only of her name, 
she sought the blessings of ease and tranquillity. The 
venerable city, which had trampled on the necks of the 



33 The learned Arbuthnot (Tables of Ancient Coins, &c. p. 153) has 
observed with humor, and I believe with truth, that Augustus had 
neither glass to his windows, r.or a shirt to his back. Under the lower 
empire, the use of linen and glass became somewhat more common.* 

34 It is incumbent on me to explain the liberties which I have taken 
with the text of Ammianus. 1. I have melted down into one piece 
the sixth chapter of the fourteenth and the fourth of the twenty- 
eighth book. 2. I have given order and connection to the confused 
mass of materials. 3. I have softened some extravagant hyperboles, 
and pared away some superfluities of the orignal. 4. I have developed 
some observations which were insinuated rather than expressed. 
With these allowances, my versior will be found, not literal indued, 
but faithful ar.d exact. 



• The disco\ery of glass in such common use at Pompeii, spoils th* jest 
•f ArbuVhnot See Sir W. Gell. Pomneiana. 2d ser. p. &<J. — ill . 



OF '•'HE ROMAN EMPIRE. 253 

fiercest nations, and established a system of laws, the per- 
petual guardians of justice and freedom, was content, like a 
wise and wealthy parent, to devolve on the Caesars, her favor 
ite sons, the care of governing her ample patrimony. 35 A 
secure and profound peace, such as had been once enjoyed 
in the reign of Numa, succeeded to the tumults of a republic : 
while Rome was still adored as the queen of the earth; and 
the subject nations still reverenced the name of the people 
and the majesty of the senate. But this native splendor," 
continues Ammianus, " is degraded, and sullied, by the con- 
duct of some nobles, who, unmindful of their own dignity, 
and of that of their country, assume an unbounded license of 
vice and folly. They contend with each other in the empty 
vanity of titles and surnames ; and curiously select, or invent, 
the most lofty and sonorous appellations, Reburrus, or Fa- 
bunius, Pagonius, or Tarasius, 36 which may impress the ear3 
of the vulgar with astonishment and respect. From a vain 
ambition of perpetuating their memory, they affect to multi- 
ply their likeness, in statues of bronze and marble ; nor are 
they satisfied, unless those statues are covered with plates of 
gold ; an honorable distinction, first granted to Acilius the 
consul, after he had subdued, by his arms and counsels, the 
power of King Antiochus. The ostentation of displaying, of 
magnifying, perhaps, the rent-roll of the estates which they 
possess in all the provinces, from the rising to the setting sun, 
provokes the just resentment of every man, who recollects, 
that their poor and invincible ancestors were not distinguished 
from the meanest of the soldiers, by the delicacy of their 
food, or the splendor of their apparel. But the modern nobles 
measure their rank and consequence according to the lofti- 

35 Claudian, who seems to have read the history of Ammianus, 
speaka of this great revolution in a much less courtly style : — 

Fostquam jura ferox in se communia Cisar 
'J'ranstulit ; et iapsi mores ; desuetaque priscia 
Artibus, in gremium pacis servile recessi. 

De Bel. Gildonico, p. 49. 

M The minute diligence of antiquarians has not been able to verify 
these extraordinary names. I am of opinion that they were invented 
by the historian himself, who was afraid of any personal satire or ap- 
plication. It is certain, however, that the simple denominations of 
the Romans were gradually lengthened to the number of four, five, or 
even seven, pompous surnames ; as, for instance, Marcus Mxcius 
Msemmius Furius Balburius Caecilianus Placidus. See Naris Ceno- 
taph. Pisan. Dissert iv. p. 438. 



254 THE LECUNE AND FALL 

ness of their chariots, 37 and the weighty magnificence of tneif 
dress. Their long robes of silk and purple float in the wind ; 
and as they are agitated, by art or accident, they occasionally 
discover the under garments, the rich tunics, embroidered with 
the figures of various animals. 38 Followed by a train of fifty 
servants, and tearing up the pavement, they move along the 
streets with the same impetuous speed as if they travelled 
with post-horses ; and the example of the senators is boldly 
imitated by the matrons and ladies, whose covered carriages 
are continually driving round the immense space of the city 
and suburbs. Whenever these persons of high distinction 
condescend to visit the public baths, they assume, on their 
entrance, a tone of loud and insolent command, and appropri- 
ate to their own use the conveniences which were designed 
for the Roman people. If, in tlijese places of- mixed and gen- 
eral resort, they meet any of the infamous ministers of their 
pleasures, they express their affection by a tender embrace ; 
while they proudly decline the salutations of their fellow- 
citizens, who are not permitted to aspire above the honor of 
kissing their hands, or their knees. As soon as they have 
indulged themselves in the refreshment of the bath, they 
resume their rings, and the other ensigns of their dignity ; 
select from their private wardrobe of the finest linen, such as 
might suffice for a dozen persons, the garments the most 
agreeable to their fancy, and maintain till their departure the 
same haughty demeanor ; which perhaps might have beer 
excused in the great Marcellus, after the conquest of Syra 
cuse. Sometimes, indeed, these heroes undertake mor* 

S7 The carrucce, or coaches of the Romans, were often of solid silver, 
curiously carved and engraved ; and the trappings of the mules, or 
horses, were embossed with gold. This magnificence continued from 
the reign of Nero to that of Honorius ; and the Appian way was covered 
with the splendid equipages of the nobles, who came out to meet St 
Melania, when she returned to Rome, six years before the Gothic 
eiege, (Seneca, epist. lxxxvii. Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 49. Paulin. 
Nolan, apud Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 397, No. 5.) Yet pomp is 
well exchanged for convenience ; and a plain modern coach, that in 
hung upon springs, is much preferable to the silver or gold carts oi 
antiquity, which rolled on the axle-tree, and were exposed, for the 
most part, to the inclemency of the weather. 

38 In a homily of Asterius, bishop of Amasia, M. de Valois has dis- 
covered (ad Ammian. xiv. 6) that this was a new fashion ; that bears, 
wolves, lions, and tigers, woods, hunting- matches, &c, were repre- 
sented in embroidery ; and that the more pious coxcombs substituted 
the figure or legend of some favorite saint. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 255 

arduous achievements ; they visit their estates in itaiy, and 
procure themselves, by the toil of servile hands, the amuse- 
ments of the chase. 39 If at any time, but more especially on 
i hot day, they have courage to sail, in their painted gallevs, 
from the Lucrine Lake 4u to their elegant villas on the sea- 
coast of Puteoli and Cayeta, 41 they compare their own expe- 
ditions to the marches of Caesar and Alexander. Yet should 
a fly presume to settle on the silken folds of their gilded um- 
brellas ; should a sunbeam penetrate through some unguarded 
and imperceptible chink, they deplore their intolerable hard- 
ships, and lament, in affected language, that they were not 
born in the land of the Cimmerians, 4 - the regions of eternal 
darkness. In these journeys into the country, 43 the whole 

39 See Pliny's Epistles, i. 6. Three large wild boars were allured 
and taken in the toils without interrupting the studies of the philo- 
sophic sportsman. 

40 The change from the inauspicious word Avemus, which stands is 
the text, is immaterial. The two lakes, A vermis and Lucrinus, com- 
municated with each other, and were fashioned by the stupendous 
moles of Agrippa into the Julian port, which opened, through a narrow 
entrance, into the Gulf of Puteoli. Virgil, who resided on the spot, 
has described (Georgic ii. 161) this work at the moment of its execu- 
tion : and his commentators, especially Catrou, have derived much 
light from Strabo, Suetonius, and Dion. Earthquakes and volcanoes 
have changed the face of the country, and turned the Lucrine Lake, 
since the year 1538, into the Monte Nuovo. See Camillo Pellegrino 
Discorsi della Campania Felice, p. 239, 244, &c. Antonii Sanfelicii 
Campania, p. 13, 88.* 

41 The regna Cumana et Puteolana ; loca ",aetiroqui valde expe- 
tenda, interpellantium autem multitudine pyene fugienda. Cicero ad 
Attic, xvi. 17. 

ri The proverbial expression of Cimmerian darkness was originally 
borrowed from the description of Homer, (in the eleventh book of the 
Odyssey,) which he applies to a remote and fabulous country on the 
snores of the ocean. See Erasmi Adagia, in his works, torn. ii. p. 593, 
the Leyden edition. 

4J We may learn from Seneca (epist. exxiii.) three curious circum- 
stances relative to the journeys of the Romans. 1. They were pre- 
ceded by a troop of Numidian light horse, who announced, by a cloud of 
dust, the approach of a great man. 2. Their baggage mules tru isported 
not only the precious vases, hut even the fragile vessels of crystal and 
murra, which last is abnost proved, by the learned French translator 
of Seneca, (torn. iii. p. 402 — 422,) to mean the porcelain of China and 
Japan. 3. The beautiful faces of the young slaves were covered with 
a medicated crust, or ointment, which secured them against the effe eta 
of the sun and frost. 



Compare Lyell's Geology, ii. 11. — M. 



256 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

body of the household marches with their master. In the 
same manner as the cavalry and infantry, the heavy and the 
light armed toops, the advanced guard and the rear, are mar- 
shalled by the skill of their military leadeis; so the domestic 
officers, who bear a rod, as an ensign of authority, distribute 
and arrange the numerous train of slaves and attendants. 
The baggage and wardrobe move in the front ; and are im- 
mediately followed by a multitude of cooks, and inferior min- 
isters, employed in the service of the kitchens, and of the 
table. The main body is composed of a promiscuous crowd 
of slaves, increased by the accidental concourse of idle or 
dependent plebeians. The rear is closed by the favorite band 
of eunuchs, distributed from age to youth, according to the 
order of seniority. Their numbers and their deformity excite 
the horror of the indignant spectators, who are ready to exe- 
crate the memory ot eemiramis, for the cruel art which she 
invented, of frustrating the purposes of nature, and of blasting 
in the bud the hopes of future generations. In the exercise 
of domestic jurisdiction, the nobles of Rome express an exqui- 
site sensibility for any personal injury, and a contemptuous 
indifference for the rest of the human species. When they 
have called for warm water, if a slave has been tardy in his 
obedience, he is instantly chastised with three hundred lashes : 
but should the same slave commit a wilful murder, the master 
will mildly observe, that he is a worthless fellow ; but that, 
if he repeats the otfence, he shall not escape punishment. 
Hospitality was formerly the virtue of the Romans ; and every 
stranger, who could plead either merit or misfortune, was 
relieved, or rewarded, by their generosity. At present, if a 
foreigner, perhaps of no contemptible rank, is introduced to 
one of the proud and wealthy senators, he is welcomed indeed 
in the first audience, with such warm professions, and such kind 
inquiries, that he retires, enchanted with the affability of his 
illustrious friend, and full of regret that he had so long delayed 
his journey to Rome, the native seat of manners, as well as of- 
empire. Secure of a favorable reception, he repeats his visit 
the ensuing day, and is mortified by the discovery, that his 
person, his name, and his country, are already forgotten. If 
he still has resolution to persevere, he is gradually numbered 
in the train of dependants, and obtains the permission to pay 
his assiduous and unprofitable court to a haughty patron, in- 
capable of gratitude or friendship ; who scarcely deigns to 
remark his presence, his departure, or his return. Whouevei 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 257 

the rich prepare a solemn and popular entertainment ;** 
whenever they celebrate, with profuse and pernicious luxury, 
their private banquets ; the choice of the guests is the sub 
ject of anxious deliberation. The modest, the sooer, and the 
learned, are seldom preferred ; and the nomenclators, who are 
commonly swayed by interested motives, have the address to 
insert, in the list of invitations, the obscure names of the most 
worthless of mankind. But the frequent and familiar com- 
panions of the great, are those parasites, who practise the most 
useful of all arts, the art of flattery ; who eagerly applaud 
each word, and everv action, of their immortal patron ; gaze 
with rapture on his marble columns and variegated pave- 
ments ; and strenuously praise the pomp and elegance which 
he is taught to consider as a part of his personal merit. At 
the Roman tables, the birds, the squirrels^ or the fish, which 
appear of an uncommon size, are contemplated with curious 
attention ; a pair of scales is accurately applied, to ascertain 
their real weight ; and, while the more rational guests are dis- 
gusted by the vain and tedious repetition, notaries are sum- 
moned to attest, by an authentic record, the truth of such a 

44 Distributio solemnium sportularum. The sportuke, or sportellm, 
were small baskets, supposed to contain a quantity of hot provisions, 
of the value of 100 quadrantes, or twelvepence halfpenny, which 
were ranged in order in the hall, and ostentatiously distributed to the 
hungry or servile crowd who waited at the door. This indelicate cus- 
tom is very frequently mentioned in the epigrams of Martial, and the 
satires of Juvenal. See likewise Suetonius, in Claud, c. 21, in Neron. 
c. 16, in Domitian, c. 4, 7. These baskets of provisions were after- 
wards converted into large pieces of gold and silver coin, or plate, 
which were mutually given and accepted even by persons of the high- 
est rank, (see Symmach. epist. iv. 55, ix. 124, and Miscell. p. 256,) on 
solemn occasions, of consulships, marriages, &c. 

45 The want of an English name obliges me to refer to the common 
genus of squirrels,* the Latin glis, the French loir ; a little animal, 
who inhabits the woods, and remains torpid in cold weather, (see 
Plin. Hist. Natur. viii. 82. Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, torn. viii. 153. 
Pennant's Synopsis of Quadrupeds, p. 289.) The art of rearing and 
fattening great numbers of glires was practised in Roman villas as a 
profitable article of rural economy, (Yarro, de Re Rustica, iii. 15.) 
The excessive demand of them for luxurious tables was increased by 
the foolish prohibitions of the censors ; and it is reported that they ar« 
ntill esteemed in modern Rome, and are frequently sent as presents by 
the Colonna princes, (see Brotier, the last editor of Pliny, torn. ii. 
p. 458, apud Barbou, 1779.) 



• Is it not the dormouse ? — M. 
65* 



858 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

marvellous event. Another method of introduction into the 
houses and society of the great, is derived from the profes- 
sion of gaming, or, as it is more politely styled, of play. The 
confederates are united by a strict and indissoluble bond oi 
friendship, or rather of conspiracy ; a superior degree of skill 
in the Tesserarian art (which may be interpreted the game 
of dice and tables) 46 is a sure road to wealth and reputation, 
A master of that sublime science, who in a supper, or assem 
bly, is placed below a magistrate, displays in his countenance 
the surprise and indignation which Cato might be supposed to 
feel, when he was refused the praetorship by the votes of a 
capricious people. The acquisition of knowledge seldom 
engages the curiosity of nobles, who abhor the fatigue, and 
disdain the advantages, of study ; and the only books which 
they peruse are the Satires of Juvenal, and the verbose and 
fabulous histories of Marius Maximus. 47 The libraries, which 
ihey have inherited from their fathers, are secluded, like dreary 
sepulchres, from the light of day. 48 But the costly instru- 
ments of the theatre, flutes, and enormous lyres, and hydraulic 
organs, are constructed for their use ; and the harmony of 
vocal and instrumental music is incessantly repeated in the 
palaces of Rome. In those palaces, sound is preferred to sense, 
and the care of the body to that of the mind. It is allowed 
as a salutary maxim, that the light and frivolous suspicion of 



* 



46 This game, which might be translated by the more familiar names 
of trictrac, or backgammon, was a favorite amusement of the gravest 
Romans ; and old Mucins Scaevola, the lawyer, had the reputation oi 
a very skilful player. It was called Indies duodecim scriptorum, from 
Axe twelve scripta, or lines, which equally divided the alveolus or table. 
On these, the two armies, the white and the black, each consisting of 
fifteen men, or cat culi, were regularly placed, and alternately moved 
according to the laws of the game, and the chances of the tessera; or 
dice. Dr. Hyde, who diligently traces the history and varieties of the 
nerdiludium (a name of Persic etymology) from Ireland to Japan, 
pours forth, on this trifling subject, a copious torrent of classic and 
Oriental learning. See Syntagma Dissertat. torn. ii. p. 217 — 405. 

47 Marius Maximus, homo omnium verbosissimus, qui, et mythisto- 
ricia se voluminibus implicavit. Vopiscus in Hist. August, p. 242 
He wrote the lives of the emperors, from Trajan to Alexander Sever us 
See Gerard Vossius de Historicis Latin. 1. ii. c. 3, in his works, vol. iv 
p. 47. 

48 This satire is probably exaggerated. The Saturnalia of Macro- 
bius, and the epistles of Jerom, afford satisfactory proofs, that Chris- 
tian theology and classic literature were studiously cultivated by 
■everal Rom ins, of both sexes, and of the highest rank. 



C F thj: ROMAN EMIGRE. 259 

a contagious malady, is of sufficient weight to excuse the visits 
of the most intimate friends ; and even the servants, who are. 
despatched to make the decent inquiries, are not suffered to 
return home, till they have undergone the ceremony of a pre- 
vious ablution. Yet this selfish and unmanly delicacy occa- 
sionally yields to the more imperious passion of avarice. The 
prospect of gain will urge a rich and gouty senator as far as 
Spoleto ; every sentiment of arrogance and dignity is subdued 
by the hopes of an inheritance, or even of a legacy ; and a 
wealthy childless citizen is the most powerful of the Romans. 
The art of obtaining the signature of a favorable testament, 
and sometimes of hastening the moment of its execution, is 
perfectly understood ; and it has happened, that in the same 
house, though in different apartments, a husband and a wife, 
with the laudable design of overreaching each other, have sum- 
moned their respective lawyers, to declare, at the same time, 
their mutual, but contradictory, intentions. The distress which 
follows and chastises extravagant luxury, often* reduces the 
great to the use of the most humiliating expedients. When 
they desire to borrow, they employ the base and supplicating 
style of the slave in the comedy ; but when they are called 
upon to pay, they assume the royal and tragic declamation of 
the grandsons of Hercules. If the demand is repeated, they 
readily procure some trusty sycophant, instructed to main- 
tain a charge of poison, or magic, against the insolent credi- 
tor ; who is seldom released from prison, till he has signed a 
discharge of the whole debt. These vices, which degrade the 
moral character of the Romans, are mixed with a puerile 
superstition, that disgraces their understanding. They listen 
with confidence to the predictions of haruspices, who pretend 
to read, in the entrails of victims, the signs of future greatness 
rind prosperity ; and there are many who do not presume 
either to bathe, or to dine, or to appear in public, till they 
have diligently consulted, according to the rules of astrology, 
the situation of Mercury, and the aspect of the moon. 49 It is 
singular enough, that this vain credulity may often be dis- 
covered among the profane sceptics, who impiously doubt, or 
deny, the existence of a celestial power." 

In populous cities, which are the seat of commerce and 



40 Macrobius, the friend of these Roman nobles, considered the stars 
as the cause, or a'u least the signs, of future events, (tie Somn. Scijioiv 
1. i. c. 19, ].. GS.) 



iJbO THh DECLINE AND KALl 

manufactures, the middle ranks of inhabitants, who derive 
their subsistence from the dexterity or labor of their hands 
are commonly the most prolific, the most useful, and, in thai 
sense, the most respectable part of the community. But the 
plebeians of Rome, who disdained such sedentary a ad servile 
arts, had been oppressed from the earliest times by the weight 
of debt and usury ; and the husbandman, during the term of 
his military service, was obliged to abandon the cultivation 
of his farm. 50 The lands of Italy which had been originally 
divided among the families of free and indigent proprietors, 
were insensibly purchased or usurped by the avarice of the 
nobles ; and in the age which preceded the fall of the republic, 
it was computed that only two thousand citizens were pos- 
sessed of an independent eubstance. 51 Yet as long as the 
people bestowed, by their suffrages, the honors of the state 
the command of the legions, and the administration of wealthy 
provinces, their conscious pride alleviated, in some measure, 
the hardships of poverty ; and their wants were seasonably 
supplied by the ambitious liberality of the candidates, who 
aspired to secure a venal majority in the thirty-five tribes, or 
the hundred and ninety-three centuries, of Rome. But when 
the prodigal commons had imprudently alienated not only the 
use, but the inheritance of power, they sunk, under the reign 
of the Caesars, into a vile and wretched populace, which must, 
in a few generations, have been totally extinguished, if it had 
not been continually recruited by the manumission of slaves, 
and the influx of strangers. As early as the time of Hadrian, 
't was the just complaint of the ingenuous natives, that the 
capital had attracted the vices of the universe, and the man- 
ners of the most opposite nations. The intemperance of the 
Gauls, the cunning and levity of the Greeks, the savage 
obstinacy of the Egyptians and Jews, the servile temper of the 
Asiatics, and the dissolute, effeminate prostitution of the 

*° The histories of Livy (see particularly vi. 36) are full of the ex- 
tortions of the rir h, and the sufferings of the poor debtors. The mel- 
ancholy story of a brave old soldier (Dionys. Hal. 1. vi. c. 26, p. 347, 
edit. Hudson, and Livy, ii. 23) must have been frequently .repeated in 
those primitive times, which have been so undeservedly praised. 

51 Non esse in civitate duo millia hominum qui rem haberent. 
iJicero. Offic. ii. 21. and Comment. Paul. Manut. in edit. Graev. This 
vague computation was made A. U. C. 649, in a speech of the tri unfe 
Philippus, and it was his object, as well as that of the Gracchi (see 
Plutarch,) to deplore, and perhaps to exaggerate, the misery of the 
common people 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 261 

Syrians, were mingled in the various mu'titude, which, under 
the proud and false denomination of Romans, presumed to 
despise theii fellow-subjects, and even their sovereigns, who 
dwelt beyond the precincts of the eternal city. 52 

Yet the name of that city was still pronounced with respect: 
the frequent and capricious tumults of its inhabitants were 
indulged with impunity ; and the successors of Constantine, 
instead of crushing the last remains of the democracy by 
the strong arm of military power, embraced the mild policy 
of Augustus, and studied to relieve the poverty, and to amusr 
the idleness, of an innumerable people. 53 I. For the con- 
venience of the lazy plebeians, the monthly distributions of 
corn were converted into a daily allowance of bread ; a great 
number of ovens were constructed and maintained at the 
public expense ; and at the appointed hour, each citizen, who 
was furnished with a ticket, ascended the flight of steps, 
which had been assigned to his peculiar quarter or division, 
and received, either as a gift, or at a very low price, a loaf of 
bread of the weight of three pounds, for the use of his 
family. II. The forest of Lucania, whose acorns fattened 
large droves of wild hogs, 54 afforded, as a species of tribute. 

52 See the third Satire (60 — 125) of Juvenal, who indignantly com- 
plains, 



. Qimmvis quota portio fa'cis Aclisei ! 



'impridem Syrus in Tiberem ileHuxit Orontes ; 
Et lingual!) et mores, &c. 

Seneca, when he proposes to comfort his mother (Consolat. ad Helv. 
c. 6) by the reflection, that a great part of mankind were in a state of 
exile, reminds her how few of the inhabitants of Rome were born in 
the city. 

53 Almost all that is said of the bread, bacon, oil, wine, &c, may be 
found in the fourteenth book of the Theodosian Code ; which ex- 
pressly treats of the police of the great cities. See particularly the 
titles iii. iv. xv. xvi. xvii. xxiv. The collateral testimonies are pro- 
duced in Godefroy's Commentary, f.nd it is needless to transcribe 
them. According to a law of Theodosius, which appreciates in money 
the military allowance, a piece of gold (eleven shillings) was equiva- 
lent to eighty pounds of bacon, or to eighty pounds of oil, or to 
twelve modii (or pecks) of salt, (Cod. Theod. 1. viii. tit. iv. leg. 17.) 
This equation, compared with another of seventy pounds of bacon ibr 
an amphora, (Cod. Theod. 1. xiv. tit. iv. leg. 4,) Axes the price of wine 
at about sixteenpence the gallon. 

M The anonymous author of the Description of the World (p. 1 i, in 
torn. iii. Geograph. Minor. Hudson) observes of Luiania, in his bar- 
barous Latin, Uegio optima, et ipsa omnibus habundo.ns, et lardum 
multum foras emittit. Propter quod est in montibus, cujus sescara 
animalium variam, &c. 



262 TJIE DECLINE AND FALL 

» 

a plentiful supply of cheap and wholesome me it. During 
five months of the year, a regular allowance of bacon was 
distributed to the poorer citizens ; and the annual consump- 
tion of the capital, at a time when it was much declined from 
its former lustre, was ascertained, by an edict of Valentinian 
the Third, at three millions six hundred and twenty-eight 
thousand pounds. 55 III. In the manners of antiquity, the use 
of oil was indispensable for the lamp, as well as for the bath , 
and the annual tax, which was imposed on Africa for the 
benefit of Rome, amounted to the weight of three millions of 
pounds, to the measure, perhaps, of three hundred thousand 
English gallons. IV. The anxiety of Augustus to provide 
the metropolis with sufficient plenty of corn, was not extended 
beyond that necessary article of human subsistence ; and 
when the popular clamor accused the dearness and scarcity 
of wine, a proclamation was issued, by the grave reformer, 
to remind his subjects that no man could reasonably complain 
of thirst, since the aqueducts of Agrippa had introduced into 
rhe city so many copious streams of pure and salubrious 
water. 56 This rigid sobriety was insensibly relaxed ; and, 
although the generous design of Aurelian 57 does not appear 
"o have been executed in its full extent, the use of wine was 
allowed on very easy and liberal terms. The administration 
jf the public cellars was delegated to a magistrate of honor- 
able rank ; and a considerable part of the vintage of Campania 
was reserved for the fortunate inhabitants of Rome. 

The stupendous aqueducts, so justly celebrated by the 
©raises of Augustus himself, replenished the Thermae, or baths, 
which had been constructed in every part of the citv, with 
.mperial magnificence. The baths of Antoninus Caracalla, 
which were open, at stated hours, for the indiscriminate 
service of the senators and the people, contained above six- 
teen hundred seats of marble ; and more than three thousand 
were reckoned in the baths of Diocletian. 58 The walls of the 



»» See Novell, ad calcem Cod. Theod. D. Valent. 1. i. tit. xv. This 
law was published at Kome, June 29th, A. D. 452. 

46 Sucton. in August, c. 42. The utmost debauch of the emperor 
h : ^nsell', in his favorite wine of Rhietia, never exceeded asextarhis, (an 
English pint.) Id. c. 77. Torrcntius ad loc. and Arbuthnot's Tables, 
p. 86. 

° 7 His design was to plant vineyards along the sea-coast of Hetruria, 
(Vopiscus, in Hist. August, p. 225 ;) the dreary, unwholesome, uncu> 
tivated Maremme of modern Tuscany. 

^ Olympiodor. apud Phot. p. iy7. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 263 

lofty apartments were covered with curious mosaics, thai 
imitated the art of the pencil in the elegance of design, and 
the variety of colors. The Egyptian granite was beautifully 
encrusted with the precious green marble of Numidia ; the 
perpetual stream of hot water was poured into the capacious 
basins, through so many wide mouths of bright and massy 
silver ; and the meanest Roman could purchase, with a small 
copper coin, the daily enjoyment of a scene of pomp and 
luxury, which might excite the envy of the kings of Asia. 59 
From these stately palaces issued a swarm of dirty and ragged 
plebeians, without shoes and without a mantle ; who loitered 
away whole days in the street or Forum, to hear news ana 
to hold disputes ; who dissipated, in extravagant gaming, the 
miserable pittance of their wives and children ; and spent the 
hours of the night in obscure taverns, and brothels, in the in- 
dulgence of gross and vulgar sensuality. 60 

But the most lively and splendid amusement of the idle 
multitude, depended on the frequent exhibition of public 
games and spectacles. The piety of Christian princes had 
suppressed the inhuman combats of gladiators ; but the Roman 
people still considered the Circus as their home, their temple, 
and the seat of the republic. The impatient crowd rushed at 
the dawn of day to secure their places, and there were many who 
passed a sleepless and anxious night in the adjacent porticos 
From the morning to the evening, careless of the sun, or of the 
rain, the spectators, who sometimes amounted to the number 
of four hundred thousand, remained in eager attention ; their 
eyes fixed on the horses and charioteers, their minds agitated 
with hope and fear, for the success of the colors which they 
espoused : and the happiness of Rome appeared to hang on 
the event of a race. 61 The same immoderate ardor inspired 

M Seneca (epistol. lxxxvi.) compares the baths of Scipio Africanus, 
« his villa of Liternum, with the magnificence (which was continu- 
ally increasing) of the public baths of Rome, long before the stately 
Thermae of Antoninus and Diocletian were erected. The quadrant 
paid for admission was the quarter of the as, about one eighth of an 
English penny. 

<u Ammianus, (1. xiv. c. 6, and 1. xxviii. c. 4,) after describing the 
Kixury and pride of the nobles of Rome, exposes, with equal indigna- 
tion, the vices and follies of the common people. 

•' Juvenal. Satir. xi. 191, &c. The expressions of the historian 
Ammianus are not less strong and animated than those of the satirist ; 
and both the one and the other painted from the life. The numbers 
which the great Circis was capable of receiving are taken fiom the 



264 THE DECLINE AMD FALL 

their clamors, and their applause, as often as they were enter 
tained with the hunting of wild beasts, and the various modes 
of theatrical representation. These representations in modern 
capitals may. deserve to be considered as a pure and elegant 
school of taste, and perhaps of virtue. But the Tragic and 
Comic Muse of the Romans, who seldom aspired beyond the 
imitation of Attic genius, 62 had been almost totally silent since 
the fall of the republic ; 63 and their place was unworthily 
occupied by licentious farce, effeminate music, and splendid 
pageantry. The pantomimes, 64 who maintained their reputa- 
tion from the age of Augustus to the sixth century, expressed, 
without the use of words, the various fables of the gods 
and heroes of antiquity ; and the perfection of their art, 
which sometimes disarmed the gravity of the philosopher, 
always excited the applause and wonder of the people. The 
vast and magnificent theatres of Rome were filled by three 
thousand female dancers, a*>d by three thousand singers, with 
the masters of the respective choruses. Such was the popular 
favor which they enjoyed, that, in a time of scarcity, when all 
strangers were banished from the city, the merit of contributing 
to the public pleasures exempted them from a law, which 
was strictly executed against the professors of the liberal 
arts. 65 



original Notitia of the city. The differences between them prove that 
they did not transcribe each other ; but the sum may appear incredi- 
ble, though the country on these occasions nocked to the city. 
62 Sometimes indeed they composed original pieces. 



Vestiaia Grseca 



Ausi deserere et celebraro "domestical facta. 

Horat. Epistol. ad Pisones, 285, and the learned, though perplexed 
note of Dacier, who might have allowed the name of tragedies to the 
Brutus and the Decius of Pacuvius, or to the Cato of Maternus. The 
Octavia, ascribed to one of the Senecas, still remains a very unfavor- 
able specimen of Roman tragedy. 

a3 In the time of Quintilian and Pliny, a tragic poet was reduced to 
the imperfect method of hiring a great room, and reading his play to 
the company, whom he invited for that purpose. (See Dialog, de 
Oratoribus, c. 9, 11, and Plin. Epistol. vii. 17.) 

64 See the dialogue of Lucian, entitled de Saltatione, torn. ii. p. 265 
-317, edit. Ileitz. The pantomimes obtained the honorable name of 
vtiguoowi- ; and it was required, that they should be conversant with 
almost ev ;ry art and science. Burette (in the Memoires de l'Acade- 
inie des Inscriptions, torn. i. p. 127, &c.) has given a short history of 
the art of pantomimes. 

66 Ammianus, 1. jdv. c. 6. He complains, with decent indignation, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 265 

It is said, that the foolish curosity of Elagabalus attempted 
lo discover, from the quantity of spiders' webs, the number 
of the inhabitants of Rome. A more rational method of in- 
quiry might not have been undeserving of the attention of the 
wisest princes, who could easily have resolved a question so 
important for the Roman government, and so interesting to 
succeeding ages. The births and deaths of the citizens were 
duly registered ; and if any writer of antiquity had con- 
descended to mention the annual amount, or the common 
average, we might now produce some satisfactory calculation, 
which woulc destroy the extravagant assertions of critics, and 
perhaps confirm the modest and probable conjectures of phi- 
losophers. til3 The most diligent researches have collected only 
the following circumstances; which, slight and imperfect as 
they are, may tend, in some degree, to illustrate the question 
of the populousness of ancient Rome. I. When the capital 
of the empire was besieged by the Goths, the circuit of the 
walls was accurately measured, by Ammonius, the mathema 
tician, who found it equal to twenty-one miles. 67 It shoula 
not be forgotten that the form of the city was almost that of 
a circle , the geometrical figure which is known to contain 
the largest space within any given circumference. II. The 
architect Vitruvius, who flourished in the Augustan age, ana 
whose evidence, on this occasion, has peculiar weight ana 
authority, observes, that the innumerable habitations of the 
Roman people would have spread themselves far beyond the 
narrow limits of the city ; and that the want of ground, which 
was probably contracted on every side by gardens and villas, 
suggested the common, though inconvenient, practice of rais- 
ing the houses to a considerable height in the air. 68 But the 



that the streets of Rome were filled wHh crowds of females, who 
might have given children to the state, but whose only occupation 
was tc curl and dress their hair, and jactari volubilibus gyris, dura 
esperimunt innumera simulacra, quae finxere fabulse theatrales. 

66 Lipsius (torn. iii. p. 423, de Magnitud. llomana, 1. iii. c. 3) and 
Isaac Vossius (Observat. Var. p. 26 — 34) have indulged strange 
dreams, of four, or eight, or fourteen, millions in Rome. Mr. Hume, 
(Essays, vol. i. p. 450 — 457,) with admirable good sense and scepticism, 
betrays some secret disposition to extenuate the populousness oi 
ancient times. 

67 Olyrnpiodor. ap. Phot. p. 197. See Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. lorn. 
Ix. p. 400. 

68 In ea autem majestate urbis, et civium infinita frequentiA, innu« 
Bierabiles habitationes opus fait explicare. Ergo cum recipere non 



266 THE DECLINE AND FALL, 

oftiness of these buildings, which often consisted of hasty 
work and insufficient materials, was the cause of frequent and 
fatal accidents ; and it was repeatedly enacted by Augu?tus, 
as well as by Nero, that the height of private edifices within 
the walls of Rome, should not excord the measure of seventy 
feet from the ground. 69 III. Juvenal 70 laments, as it should 
seem from his own experience, the hardships of the pool or 
citizens, to whom he addresses the salutary advice of emi- 
grating, without delay, from the smoke of Rome, since they 
might purchase, in the little towns of Italy, a cheerful com- 
modious dwelling, at the same price which they annually paid 
for a dark and miserable lodging. House-rent was therefore 
immoderately dear : the rich acquired, at an enormous ex- 
pense, the ground, which they covered with palaces and gar- 
dens ; but the body of the Roman people was crowded into a 
narrow space; and the different floors, and apartments, of the 
same house, were divided, as it is still the custom of Paris, and 
other cities, among several families of plebeians. IV. The 
total number of houses in the fourteen regions of the city, is 
accurately stated in the description of Rome, composed under 
the reign of Theodosius, and they amount to forty-eight thoii' 
sand three hundred and eighty-two. 71 The two classes of 
domus and of insula, into vvhioh they are divided, include all 

posset area plana tantam multitudinem in urbe, ad auxilium altitu 
dinis ffidificiorum res ipsa coiigit devenire. Vitruv. ii. 8. This pas 
eage, which I owe to Vossius, is clear, strong, and comprehensive. 

69 The successive testimonies of Pliny, Aristides. Olaudian, Rutilius, 
&c, prove the insufficiency of these restrictive edicts. See Lipsius, 
de Magnitud. Romana, 1. hi. c. 4. 



Tahulala lilii jam tertia fumant 



Tu negcis ; nam si gradiSus trepidutur ah imis 

L'ltimiis ardebit, queni ttgulu sola tuutur 

A pluvia. Juvenal. Satir. ill. 199. 

70 Read the whole third satire, but particularly 166, 223, &c. The 
description of a crowded insula, or lodging-house, in Petronius, (c. 96, 
97,) perfectly tallies with the complaints of Juvenal; and we learn 
from legal authority, that, in the time of Augustus, (Heineccius, Hist. 
Juris. Roman, c. iv. p. 181,) the ordinary rent of the several caenacttla, 
or apartments of an insula, annually produced forty thousand sester- 
ces, between three and four hundred pounds sterling, (Pandect. L 
xix. tit. ii. No. 30,) a sum which proves at once the large extent, and 
high value, of those common buildings. 

71 This sum total is composed of 1780 domus, or great houses, of 
46,602 insuUp, or plebeian habitations, (sec Nardini, Roma Antica. I 
id. p. 88 ;) and these numbers arc ascertained by the agreement of 
the texts of the different Nottiia. Nardiid, 1. viii. p. 498, 500. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 267 

the habitations of the capital, of every rank and condition, 
from the marble palace of the Anicii, with a numerous estab- 
lishment of freed men and slaves, to the lofty and narrow 
lodging-house, where the poet Codrus and his wife were 
permitted to hire a wretched garret immediately under the 
tiles. If we adopt the same average, which, under similar 
circumstances, has been found applicable to Paris, 72 and in- 
differently allow about twenty-five persons for each house, of 
every degree, we may fairly estimate the inhabitants of Rome 
at twelve hundred thousand : a number which cannot be 
thought excessive for the capital of a mighty empire, though 
it exceeds the populousuess of the greatest cities of modern 
Europe. 73 * 

78 See that accurate writer M. de Messance, Recherches sur la Po- 
pulation, p. 175 — 187. From probable, or certain grounds, he assigns 
to Paris 23. 56.5 houses, 71,114 families, and 576,630 inhabitants. 

73 This computation is not very different from that which M. 
Brotier, the last editor of Tacitus, (torn. ii. p. 3S0,) has assumed from 
similar principles ; though he seems to aim at a degree of precision 
which it is neither possible nor important to obtain. 



* M. Dureau de la Malle (Economie Politique des Romaines, t. i. p. 
369) quotes a passage from the xvth chapter of Gibbon, in whicn he esti- 
mates the population of Koine at not less than a million, and adds, (omit- 
ting any reference to this passage,) that he (Gibbon) could not have 
seriously studied the question. M. Dureau de la Malle proceeds to argue 
that Rome, as contained within the walls of Servius Tullius, occupying an 
area only one fifth of that of Paris, could not have contained 300,000 in- 
habitants ; within those of Aurelian not more than 560,000, inclusive of 
soldiers and strangers. The suburbs, he endeavors to show, both up to 
the time of Aurelian, and after his reign, were neither so extensive, nor so 
populous, as generally supposed. M. Dureau de la Malle has but imper- 
fectly quoted the important passage of Dionysius, that which proves that 
when he wrote (in the time of Augustus) the walls of Servius no longer 
marked the boundary of the city. In many places they were so built upon, 
that it was impossible to trace them. There was no certain limit, where 
the city ended and ceased to be the city ; it stretched out to so boundless an 

extent into the country. •■i\ t's£< (iijjiuov gii/iiim ov&iv, (J iiinyvibaerai, ptxP' 
rev noojiaivovaa a ttAXii. in -6\n eori, Ktii ndOiv ap-^cTtt nrjKiri uvai rrdAis ovti* 
cvvvfavrui tu> nam 17 X^"' *"' £ '» avctpuv IKfittuvroixivri', Tr6\tu>s vnu\rji^iv -oi$ 
dcmnivoii TTaoivr'ni tl ie 7<3 tei'vci, Tip cvacvpiria \ ptv Svri &tii rai nipi^itftiiuvoiicai 
avr& noAAii^rfyfi' nhtttuKtt «JK"" &i Ttva <f>v\aTTovTi Kara ltoWovs rdnovi tTjs <ip\uiu( 
xvaiTKivru liuv\r)Vnri fitrpciv avrr\v, k. t. X. Ant. Rom. iv. 13. None of M. de 
la Malle's arguments appear to me to prove, against this statement, that 
these irrfgular suburbs did not extend so far in many parts, as to make it 
mipossible to calculate accurately the inhabited area of the city. Thojgh 
io doubt the city, as reconstructed by Nero, was much less closely built, 
and with many more open spaces for palaces, temples, and other publio 
edifices, yet many passages seem to prove that the laws respecting the 
height of houses were not rigidly enforced. A great part of the loTer. 



268 THE DECLINE AND *A_L 

Such was the state of Rome under the reign of Honcrius 
at the time when the Gothic army formed the siege, or rathei 
the blockade, of the city. 74 By a skilful disposition of his 
numerous forces, who impatiently watched the moment of an 
assault, Alaric encompassed the walls, commanded the twelve 
principal gates, intercepted all communication with the ad- 
jacent country, and vigilantly guarded the navigation of the 
lyber, from which the Romans derived the surest and most 
plentiful supply of provisions. The first emotions of the no- 
bles, and of the people, were those of surprise and indignation, 
that a vile Barbarian should dare to insult the capital of the 
world : but their arrogance was soon humbled by misfortune ; 
and their unmanly rage, instead of being directed against an 
enemy in arms, was meanly exercised on a defenceless and 
innocent victim. Perhaps in the person of Serena, the Romans 
might have respected the niece of Theodosius, the aunt, nay, 
even the adoptive mother, of the reigning emperor : but they 
abhorred the widow of Stilicho ; and they listened with cred- 
ulous passion to the tale of calumny, which accused her of 
maintaining a secret and criminal correspondence with the 
Gothic invader. Actuated, or overawed, by the same popular 

74 F<* the events of the first siege of Rome, -which are often con- 
founded with those of the second and third, see Zosimus, 1. v. p. 350 
— 351, Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 6, Olympiodorus, ap. Phot. p. ISO, Philostor 
gius, 1. xii. c. 3, and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 467 — 475. 



especially of the slave, population, were very densely crowded, and lived, 
even more than in our modern towns, in cellars and subterranean dwellings 
under the public edifices. 

Nor do M. de la Malle's arguments, by which he would explain the 
insula? (of which the Notitia? Urbis give us the number) as rows of shops,, 
with a chamber or two within the domus, or houses of the wealthy, satisfy 
me as to their soundness or their scholarship. Some passages which he 
adduces directly contradict his theory; none, as appears to me, distinctly 
prove it. I must adhere to the old interpretation of the word, as chiefly 
dwellings for the middling or lower classes, or clusters of tenements, often, 
perhaps, under the same roof. 

On this point, Zumpt, in the Dissertation before quoted, entirely disa- 
grees witli M de la Malle. Zumpt has likewise detected the mistake of 
M. de la Malle as to the "canon*' of corn, mentioned in the life of Sep- 
tiir.ius Severus by Spartianus. On this canon the French writer calculates 
the inhabitants of Rome at that time. But the "canon" was not the 
whole supply of Rome, but that quantity which the state required for the 
public granaries, to supply the gratuitous distributions to the people, and 
the public officers and slaves ; no doubt likewise to keep down the general 
price. M. Zumpt reckons the population of Rome at 2,000,000. Aftel 
careful consideration, I should conceive the number in the text, 1,200,000 
to be nearest the truth. — M. 1845. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 269 

frenzy, the senate, without requiring any evidence of her guilt, 
pronounced the sentence of her death. Serena was ignomin- 
iously strangled • and the infatuated multitude were astonished 
to find, that this cruel act of injustice did not immediately pro- 
duce the retreat of the Barbarians, and the deliverance of the 
city. That unfortunate city gradually experienced the distress 
of scarcity, and at length the horrid calamities of famine. The 
daily allowance of three pounds of bread was reduced to one 
half, to one third, to nothing ; and the price of corn still con- 
tinued to rise in a rapid and extravagant proportion. The 
poorer citizens, who were unable to purchase the necessaries 
of life, solicited the precarious charity of the rich ; and for a 
while the public misery was alleviated by the humanity of 
Laeta, the widow of the emperor Gratian, who had fixed her 
residence at Rome, and consecrated to the use of the indigent 
the princely revenue which she annually received from the 
grateful successors of her husband. 75 But these private and 
temporary donatives were insufficient to appease the hunger 
of a numerous people ; and the progress of famine invaded the 
marble palaces of the senators themselves. The persons of 
both sexes, who had been educated in the enjoyment of ease 
and luxury, discovered how little is requisite to supply the 
demands of nature ; and lavished their unavailing treasures of 
guld and silver, to obtain the coarse and scanty sustenance 
which they would formerly have rejected with disJain. The 
food the most repugnant to sense or imagination, the ali- 
ments the most unwholesome and pernicious to the constitution, 
were eagerly devoured, and fiercely disputed, by the rage of 
hunger. A dark suspicion was entertained, that some des- 
perate wretches fed on the bodies of their fellow-creatures, 
whom they had secretly murdered ; and even mothers, (such 
was the horrid conflict of the two most powerful instincts im- 
planted by nature in the human breast,) even mothers are said 
to have tasted the flesh of their slaughtered infants ! 7t3 Many 



76 The mother of Lseta was named Pissumena. Her father, family, 
and country, are unknown. Ducange, Fam. Byzantium, p. 59. 

76 Ad nei'andos cibos erupit esurientium rabies, et sua invicem mem< 
bra laniarunt, dum mater non parcit lactenti infantiae ; et recipit utero, 
quem paullo ante effuderat. Jerom. ad Principiam, torn. i. p. 121, 
The same horrid circumstance is likewise told of the sieges of Jerusa- 
lem and Paris. For the latter, compare the tenth book of the Henri- 
ade, and the Journal de Henri IV. torn. i. p. 47—83; and observe 
that a plain narrative of facts is much more pathetic, than the most 
labored descriptions of ethic poetry. 



270 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



thousands of the inhabitants of Rome expired in their houses 
or in the streets, for want of sustenance ; and as the public 
sepulchres without the walls were in the power of the enemy, 
the stench, which arose from so many putrid and unburied 
carcasses, infected the air ; and the miseries of famine were 
succeeded and aggravated by the contagion of a pestilential 
disease. The assurances of speedy and effectual relief, which 
were repeatedly transmitted from the court of Ravenna, sup- 
ported, for some time, the fainting resolution of the Romans, 
till at length the despair of any human aid tempted them to 
accept the offers of a pneternatural deliverance. Pompeianus, 
praefect of the city, had been persuaded, by the art or fanaticism 
of some Tuscan diviners, that, by the mysterious force of spells 
and sacrifices, they could extract the lightning from the clouds, 
and point those celestial fires against the camp of the Barba- 
rians. 77 The important secret was communicated to Innocent, 
the bishop of Rome ; and the successor of St. Peter is accused, 
perhaps without foundation, of preferring the safety of the repub- 
lic to the rigid severity of the Christian worship. But when the 
question was agitated in the senate ; when it was proposed, as 
an essential condition, that those sacrifices should be performed 
in the Capitol, by the authority, and in the presence, of the 
magistrates, the majority of that respectable assembly, appre- 
hensive either of the Divine or of the Imperial displeasure, 
refused to join in an act, which appeared almost equivalent to 
the public restoration of Paganism. 78 



77 Zosimus (1. v. p. 355, 356) speaks of these ceremonies like a Greek 
unacquainted with the national superstition of Rome and Tuscany. I 
Buspect, that they consisted of two parts, the secret and the public ; 
the former were probably an imitation of the arts and spells, by 
which Numa had drawn down Jupiter and his thunder on Mount 
A.vcntine. 



Quid agnit laqueia, quae carmine dicaiit, 



t i 1 1 : i ■ 1 1 1 ■ - trahant superis scdibua arte Jovem, 
Scire nifus homini.* 

Fhe ancilia, or shields of Mars, the pignora Imperii, which were ( nrried 
in solemn procession on the calends of March, derived their origin 
from this mysterious event, (Ovid. Fast. iii. 259 — 398.) It was proba- 
bly designed to revive this ancient lestival, which had been suppressed 
by Theodosius. In that case, we recover a chronological date ( March 
the 1st, A. D. 409) which has not hitherto been observed. 

78 Sozomen (I. ix. c. (1) insinuates that the experiment was actually, 



• On the curious question of the knowledge of conducting lightning! 
possessed bv the ancients, consult Kusebe Salverte. des Sciences Occultea« 
n. axi?. Paris, 1829. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 27 I 

The last resource of the Romans was in the clemency, or 
at ieast in the moderation, of the king of the Goths. The 
senate, who in this emergency assumed the supreme powers 
of government, appointed two ambassadors to negotiate, with 
the enemy. This important trust was delegated to Basilius, a 
senator, of Spanish extraction, and already conspicuous in 
the administration of provinces ; and to John, the first tribune 
of the notaries, who was peculiarly qualified, by his dexterity 
in business, as well as by his former intimacy with the Gothic 
prince. When they were introduced into his presence, they 
declared, perhaps in a more lofty style than became their 
abject condition, that the Romans were resolved to maintain 
their dignity, either in peace or war ; and that, if Alaric 
refused them a fair and honorable capitulation, he might 
sound his trumpets, and prepare to give battle to an innumer- 
able people, exercised in arms, and animated by despair. 
" The thicker the hay, the easier it is mowed, 1 ' was the con- 
cise reply of the Barbarian ; and this rustic metaphor was 
accompanied by a loud and insulting laugh, expressive of his 
contempt for the menaces of an unwnriike populace, ener- 
vated by luxury before they were emaciated by famine. He 
then condescended to fix the ransom, which he would accept 
as the price of his retreat from the walls of Rome : all the 
gold and silver in the city, whether it were the property of 
the state, or of individuals; all the rich and precious mova- 
bles ; and all the slaves who could prove their title to the 
name of Barbarians. The ministers of the senate presumed 
to ask, in a modest and suppliant tone, " If such, O king, are 
your demands, what do you intend to leave us?" "Your 
lives! 1 ' replied the haughty conqueror : they trembled, and 
retired. Yet, before they retired, a short suspension of arms 
was granted, which allowed some time for a more temperate 
negotiation. The stern features of Alaric were insensibly 
relaxed ; he abated much of the rigor of his terms ; and at 
length consented to raise the siege, on the immediate payment 
of five thousand pounds of gold, of thirty thousand pounds 
of silver, of four thousand robes of silk, of three thousand 
pieces of fine scarlet cloth, and of three thousand pounds 



though unsuccessfully, made ; but he does not mention the name of 
Innocent: and Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn. x. p. 645) is determined 
not to believe, that a pope could be guilty of such impious coida- 
tKsensioD . 



272 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

weight of pepper. 79 But the puhlic treasury was exhausted; 
the annual rents of the great estates in Italy and the provinces, 
were intercepted by tl e calamities of war ; the gold and gem* 
had been exchanged, during the famine, for the vilest suste- 
nance ; the hoards of secret wealth were still concealed by 
the obstinacy of avarice ; and some remains of consecrated 
spoils afforded the only resource that could avert the impend- 
ing ruin of the city. As soon as the Romans had satisfied 
the rapacious demands of Alaric, they were restored, in some 
measure, to the enjoyment of peace and plenty. Several of 
the gates were cautiously opened ; the importation of pro- 
visions from the river and the adjacent country was no longer 
obstructed by the Goths; the citizens resorted in crowds to 
the free market, which was held during three days in the sub- 
urbs ; and while the merchants who undertook this gainful 
trade made a considerable profit, the future subsistence of the 
city was secured by the ample magazines which were, depos- 
ited in the public and private granaries. A more regular dis- 
cipline than could have been expected, was maintained in the 
camp of Alaric ; and the wise Barbarian justified his regard 
for the faith of treaties, by the just severity with which he 
chastised a party of licentious Goths, who had insulted some 
Roman citizens on the road to Ostia. His army, enriched by 
the contributions of the capital, slowly advanced into the fair 
and fruitful province of Tuscany, where he proposed to estab- 
lish his winter quarters ; and the Gothic standard became the 
refuge of forty thousand Barbarian slaves, who had broke 
their chains, and aspired, under the command of their great 
deliverer, to revenge the injuries and the disgrace of their 
cruel servitude. About the same time, he received a more 
honorable reenforcement of Goths and Huns, whom Adolphus, 80 
the brother of his wife, had conducted, at his pressing invita- 



79 Pepper was a favorite ingredient of the most expensive Roman 
cookery, and the best sort commonly sold for fifteen denarii, or ten 
shillings, the pound. See Pliny, Hist. Natur. xii. 14. It was brought 
from India ; and the same country, the coast of Malabar, still affords 
the greatest plenty : but the improvement of trade and navigation has 
multiplied the quantity and reduced the price. See Histoire Politique 
et Philosophique, &.c. torn. i. p. 457. 

B0 This Gothic chieftain is called by Jomandcs and Isidore, Athaui- 
phus ; by Zosimus and Orosius, Atau/jihus ; and by Olympiodorus, 
Adfimtlphus. I have used the celebrated name of Adolphus, which 
•eem9 to be authorized by the practice of the Swedes, the sons or 
brothem o*'? the ancient Gath. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 27Jl 

Uon, froM the banks of the Danube to those of the Tyber 
and who had cut their way, with seme difficulty and loss, 
through the superior numbers of the Imperial troops. A vic- 
torious leader, who united the daring spirit of a Barbariau 
with the art and discipline of a Roman general, was at tin 1 
head of a hundred thousand fighttng men; and Italy pio 
nounced, with terror and respect, the formidable name of 
Alaric S1 

At the distance of fourteen centuries, we may be satisfied 
with relating the military exploits of the conquerors of Rome, 
without presuming to investigate the motives of their political 
conduct. In the midst of his apparent prosperity, Aluric was 
conscious, perhaps, of some secret weakness, some internal 
defect ; or perhaps the moderation which he displayed, was 
intended only to deceive and disarm the easy credulity of the 
ministers of Honorius. The king of the Goths repeatedly 
declared, that it was his desire to be considered as the friend 
of peace, and of the Romans. Three senators, at his earnest 
request, were sent ambassadors to the court of Ravenna, to 
solicit the exchange of hostages, and the conclusion of the 
treaty ; and the proposals, which he more clearly expressed 
during the course of the negotiations, could only inspire a 
doubt of his sincerity, as they might seem inadequate to the 
state of his fortune. The Barbarian still aspired to the rank 
of master-general of the armies of the West; he stipulated 
an annual subsidy of corn and money ; and he chose the 
provinces of Dalmatia, Noricum, and Venetia, for the seat of 
his new kingdom, which would have commanded the impor- 
tant communication between Italy and the Danube. If these 
modest terms should be rejected, Alaric showed a disposition 
to relinquish his pecuniary demands, and even to content 
himself with the possession of Noricum ; an exhausted and 
impoverished country, perpetually exposed to the inroads of 
the Barbarians of Germany. 8 - But the hopes of peace were 
disappointed by the weak obstinacy, or interested views, of 
.he minister Olympius. Without listening to the talutary 
remoitstrances of the senate, he dismissed their ambassadors 
under the conduct of a military escort, too numerous for a 



" The treaty between Alaric and the Romans, &c, is taken from 
Zosiraus, 1. v. p. 354, 35.5, 358, 359, 3(52, 363. The additional eircunv 
♦ tanues are too tew and trifling to require any other quotation. 

" Zosimus, 1. v. p. 367, 368, 369. 

66 



274 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



retinue of honor, and too feeble for an army of defence. 
Six thousand Dalmatians, the flower of the Imperial legions, 
were ordered to march from Ravenna to Rome, through ari 
open country which was occupied by the formidable myriads 
of tfie Barbarians. These brave legionaries, encompassed 
and betrayed, fell a sacrifice to ministerial folly ; their gen- 
eral, Valens, with a hundred soldiers, escaped from the field 
of battle ; and one of the ambassadors, who could no longer 
claim the protection of the law of nations, was obliged to pur- 
chase his freedom with a ransom of thirty thousand pieces of 
gold. Yet Alaric, instead of resenting this act of impotent 
hostility, immediately renewed his proposals of peace ; and 
the second embassy of the Roman senate, which derived 
weight and dignity from the presence of Innocent, bishop of 
the city, was guarded from the dangers of the road by a 
detachment of Gothic soldiers. 83 

Olympius 84 might have continued to insult the just resent- 
ment of a people who loudly accused Inm as tne author of 
the public calamities ; but his power was undermined by 
the secret intrigues of -the palace. The favorite eunuchs 
transferred the government of Honorius, and the empire, to 
Jovius, the Praetorian prasfect ; an unworthy servant, who did 
not atone, by the merit of personal attachment, for the errors 
and misfortunes of his administration. The exile, or escape, 
of the guilty Olympius, reserved him for more vicissitudes of 
fortune : he experienced the adventures of an obscure and 
wandering life ; he again rose to power ; he fell a second 
time into disgrace ; his ears were cut off; he expired under 
the lash ; and his ignominious death afforded a grateful 
B]>ectacle to the friends of Stilicho. After the removal of 
Olympius, whose character was deeply tainted with religious 
fanaticism, the Pagans and heretics were delivered from the 
impolitic proscription, which excluded them from the dignir'es 
of the state. The brave Gennerid, 85 a soldier of Barbarian 



* 3 Zosimus, 1. v. p. 360, .3(51, 362. The bishor, by remaining at 
luivenna, escaped the impending calamities of tho city. Orosius, 1. 
vii. c. 39, p. 573. 

84 For the adventures of Olympius, and his successors in the minis" 
trv, see Zosimus, 1. v. p. 363, 365, 366, and Olympiodor. ap. Phot. p. 
ISO, 181. 

84 Zosimus (1. v. p. 364) relates this circumstance with visible com- 
placency, and celebrates the character of Gennerid as the last glory 
of ©spiring Paganism. Very different were the sentiments of tin 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 273 

origin, who still adherea to the worship of his ancestors, had 
been obliged to lay aside the military belt: and though he was 
repeatedly assured by the emperor himself, that laws were 
not made for persons of his rank or merit, he refused to 
accept any partial dispensation, and persevered in honor- 
able disgrace, till he had extorted a general act of justice 
from the distress of the Roman government. The conduct 
of Gennerid, in the important station to which he was pro- 
moted or restored, of master-general of Dalmatia, Pannonia, 
Noricum, and Rhastia, seemed to revive the discipline and 
spirit of the republic. From a life of idleness and want, his 
troops were soon habituated to severe exercise and plentiful 
subsistence ; and his private generosity often supplied the 
rewards, which were denied by the avarice, or poverty, of the 
court of Ravenna. The valor of Gennerid, formidable to the 
adjacent Barbarians, was the firmest bulwark of the lllyrian 
frontier ; and his vigilant care assisted the empire with a 
reenforcement of ten thousand Huns, who arrived on th* 
confines of Italy, attended by such a convoy of provisions, 
and such a numerous train of sheep and oxen, as might have 
been sufficient, not only for the march of an army, but foi 
the settlement of a colony. But the court and councils of 
Honorius still remained a scene of weakness and distraction, 
of corruption and anarchy. Instigated by the prsefect Jovius, 
the guards rose in furious mutiny, and demanded the heads 
of two generals, and of the two principal eunuchs. The gen- 
erals, under a perfidious promise of safety, were sent on 
shipboard, and privately executed ; while the favor of the 
eunuchs procured them a mild and secure exile at Milan and 
Constantinople. Eusebius the eunuch, and the Barbarian 
Allobich, succeeded to the command of the bed-chamber and 
of the guards ; and the mutual jealousy of these subordinate 
ministers was the cause of their mutual destruction. By the 
insolent order of the count of the domestics, the great cham- 
berlain was shamefully beaten to death with sticks, before 
the eyes of the astonished emperor ; and the subsequent 
assassination of Allobich, in the midst of a public procession, 
is the only circumstance of his life, in which Honorius dis- 



council of Carthage, who deputed four bishops to the court of Raven- 
na, to complain of the law, which had been just enacted, that all 
conversions to Christianity should be free and voluntary. See Baro- 
ftius, AnnaJ. Ficles. A. li 409, No. 12, A. D. 410, No. 47. 48. 



276 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

covered the faintest symptom of courage or resentment 
Yet before they fell, Eusebius and Allobich had contributed 
their part to the ruin of the empire, by opposing the conclu- 
sion of a treaty which Jovius, from a selfish, and perhaps a 
criminal, motive, had negotiated with Alaric, in a personal 
interview under the walls of Rimini. During the absence of 
Jovius, the emperor was persuaded to assume a lofty tone of 
inflexible dignity, such as neither his situation, nor his char- 
acter, could enable him to support ; and a letter, signed with 
the name of Honorius, was immediately despatched to the 
l'roetorian prsefect, granting him a free permission to dispose 
of the public money, but sternly refusing to prostitute the 
military honors of Rome to the proud demands of a Barba- 
rian. This letter was imprudently communicated to Alaric 
himself; and the Goth, who in the whole transaction had 
behaved with temper and decency, expressed, in tne most 
outrageous language, his lively sense of the insult so wan- 
tonly offered to his person and to his nation. The confer- 
ence of Rimini was hastily interrupted ; and the prefect 
Jovius, on his return to Ravenna, was compelled to adopt, 
and even to encourage, the fashionable opinions of the court. 
By his advice and example, the principal officers of the state 
and army were obliged to swear, that, without listening, in 
any circumstances, to any conditions of peace, they woulc 
stdl persevere in perpetual and implacable war against the 
enemy of the republic. This rash engagement opposed an 
insuperable bar to all future negotiation. Tho ministers of 
Honorius were heard to declare, that, if thf.y had only in 
vokcd the name of the Deity, they would consult the public 
safety, and trust their souls to the mercy of Heaven : but 
they had sworn by the sacred head of the emperor himself; 
they had touched, in solemn ceremony, that august seat of 
majesty and wisdom ; and the violation of their oath would 
expose them to the temporal penalties of sacrilege and re- 
bellion. 86 



88 Zosimus, 1. v. p. 367, 368, 369. This custom of swearing by the 
head, or life, or safety, or genius, of the sovereign, was of the highest 
antiquity, both in Egypt (Genesis, xlii. 15) and Scythia. It was soon 
transferred, bv flattery, to the Caesars ; and Tertullian complain?, tha» 
it was the only oath which the Romans of his time effected to rever- 
ence. See an elegant Dissertation of the Abbe MsWPl on the Oatrj 
of the Ancien s, in the Mem. de T Academic des Ir.»< f^-ons, tam- i 
p. 208, 209. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 277 

While the emperor and his court enjoyed, with sullen pride, 
the security of the marshes and fortifications of Ravenna, 
they abandoned Rome, almost without defence, to the resent- 
ment of Alaric. Yet such was the moderation which he still 
preserved, or affected, that, as he moved with his army along 
the Flaminian way, he successively despatched the bishops of 
the towns of Italy to reiterate his offers of peace, and to con- 
jure the emperor, that he would save the city and its inhab- 
itants from hostile fire, and the sword of the Barbarians. 87 
These impending calamities were, however, averted, not in- 
deed by the wisdom of Honorius, but by the prudence 01 
humanity of the Gothic king ; who employed a milder, though 
not less effectual, method of conquest. Instead of assaulting 
the capital, he successfully directed his efforts against the 
Port of Ostia, one of the boldest and most stupendous works 
of Roman magnificence. 88 The accidents to which the pre- 
carious subsistence of the city was continually exposed in a 
winter navigation, and an open road, had suggested to the 
genius of the first Caesar the useful design, which was exe- 
cuted under the reign of Claudius. The artificial moles, 
which formed the narrow entrance, advanced far into the sea, 
and firmly repelled the fury of the waves, while the largest 
vessels securely rode at anchor within three deep and capa- 
cious basins, which received the northern branch of the Tyber, 
about two miles from the ancient colony of Ostia. 89 The 



87 Zosimus, 1. v. p. 368, 369. I have softened the expressions of 
Alaric, who expatiates, in too florid a manner, on the history of Rome. 

89 See Sueton. in Claud, c. 20. Dion Cassius, 1. lx. p. 949, edit. 
Reimar, and the lively description of Juvenal, Satir. xii. 75, &c. In 
the sixteenth century, when the remains of this Augustan port were 
still visible, the antiquarians sketched the plan, (see D'Anville, Mom. 
de 1' Academic des Inscriptions, torn. xxx. p. 198,) and declared, with 
enthusiasm, that all the monarchs of Europe would be unable to exe- 
cute so great a work, (Bergier, Hist, des grands Chemins des Romains, 
torn. ii. p. 356) 

89 The Ostia Tyberina, (see Cluver. Italia Antiq. 1. iii. p. 870—879,) 
in the plural number, the two mouths of the Tyber, were separated by 
the Holy Island, an equilateral triangle, whose sides were each of 
them computed at about two miles. The colony of Ostia was founded 
immediately beyond the left, or southern, and the Port immediately 
beyond the right, or northern, branch of the river ; and the distance 
between their remains measures something more thati two miles on 
t/ingolani's map. In the tune of Strabo, the sand anl mud deposited 
by the Tyber had choked the harbor of Ostia; the progress of th« 
some cause, has added much to the size of the Holy Island, and gradu- 



278 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Roman Port insensibly swelled to the size of an episcopal 
cit5 , 90 where the com of Africa was deposited in spacious 
granaries for the use of the capital. As soon as Alaric was 
in possession of that important place, he summoned the city 
tc surrender at discretion ; and his demands were enforced 
by the positive declaration, that a refusal, or even a delay 
should be instantly followed by the destruction of the maga- 
zines, on which the life of the Roman people depended. The 
clamors of that people, and the terror of famine, subdued the 
pride of the senate ; they listened, without reluctance, to the 
proposal of placing a new emperor on the throne of the un 
worthy Honorius ; and the suffrage of the Gothic conqueror 
bestowed the purple on Attains, praefect of the city. The 
grateful monarch immediately acknowledged his protector ua 
master-general ot the armies of the West; Adolphus, with the 
rank of count of the domestics, obtained the custody of the 
person of Attalus ; and the two hostile nations seemed to be 
united in the closest bands of friendship and alliance. 91 

The gates of the city were thrown open, and the new em- 
peror of the Romans, encompassed on every side by the Gothic 
arms, was conducted, in tumultuous procession, to the palace 
of Augustus and Trajan. After he had distributed the civil 
and military dignities among his favorites and followers, At- 
talus convened an assembly of the senate ; before whom, in a 



ally left both Ostia and the Port at a considerable distance from the 
shore. The dry channels (fiurai morti) and the large estuaries (stagno 
di Ponente, di Levante) mark the changes of the river, and the efforts 
of the sea. Consult, for the present state of this dreary and desolate 
tract, the excellent map of the ecclesiastical state by the mathemati- 
cians of Benedict XIV. ; an actual survey of the Agro Romano, in six 
sheets, by Cingolani, which contains 113,819 rubbia, (about 570,000 
acres ;) and the large topographical map of Ameti, in eight sheets. 

90 As early as the third, (Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel, part 
ii. vol. iii. p. S9 — 9'2,) or at least the fourth, century, (Carol, a Sancta 
Paulo, Notit. Eccles. p. 47,) the Port of Home was an episcopal city, 
which was demolished, as it should seem, in the ninth century, by 
Pope Gregory IV., during the incursions of the Arabs. It is now 
reduced to an inn, a church, and the ho"ise, or palbce, of the bishop , 
who ranks as one of six cardinal-bishops of the Roman church. See 
Eschmard, Descrizione di Roma et dell' Agro Romano, p. 328.* 

91 For the elevation of Attalus, consult Zosimus, 1. vi. p. 377 — 38C, 
Sozomen, 1. ixj c. 8, 9, Olympiodor. ap. Phot. p. 180, 181, Fhilo*' 
lorg. 1. xii. c. 3? and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 470. 



Compare Sir W. Gell, Rome and its Vicinity, vol. ii. p. IU. M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 279 

l« rma und florid speech, be asserted his resolution of restoring 
the majesty of the republic, and of uniting to the empire the 
provinces of Egypt and the East, which had once acknowl- 
edged the sovereignty of Rome. Such extravagant promises 
inspired every reasonable citizen with a just contempt for the 
character of an unwarlike usurper, whose elevation was the 
deepest and most ignominious wound which the republic had 
yet sustained from the insolence of the Barbarians. But the 
populace, with their usual levity, applauded the change of 
masters. The public discontent was favorable to the rival of 
Honorius ; and the sectaries, oppressed by his persecuting 
edicts, expected some degree of countenance, or at least of 
toleration, from a prince, who, in his native country of Ionia, 
had been educated in the Pagan superstition, and who had 
since received the sacrament of baptism from the hands of an 
Anan bishop. 92 The first days of the reign of Attalus were 
fair and prosperous. An officer of confidence was sent with 
an inconsiderable body of troops to secure the obedience of 
Africa.* the greatest part of Italy submitted to the terror of the 
orothic powers ; and though the city of Bologna made a vigor- 
ous and effectual resistance, the people of Milan, dissatisfied 
perhaps with the absence of Honorius, accepted, with loud 
acclamations, the choice of the Roman senate. At the head 
of a formidable army, Alaric conducted his royal captive almost 
to the gates of Ravenna ; and a solemn embassy of the prin- 
cipal ministers, of Jovius, the Praetorian .prefect, of Valens, 
master of the cavalry and infantry, of the qiuestor Potamius, 
and of Julian, the first of the notaries, was introduced, with 
martial pomp, into the Gothic camp. In the name of their 
sovereign, they consented to acknowledge the lawful election 
of his competitor, and to divide the provinces of Italy and 
the West between the two emperors. Their proposals were 
rejected with disdain ; and the refusal was aggravated by the 
insulting clemency of Attalus, who condescended to promise 
tnat, if Honorius would instantly resign the purple, he should 
be permitted to pass the remainder of his life in the peaceful 
exile of some remote island. 93 So desperate indeed did the 

M We may admit the evidence of Sozomen for the Arian baptism, 
BT.d that of Philostorgius for the Pagan education, of Attalus. The 
visible joy of Zosimus, and the discontent which he imputes to the 
Anieian family, are very unfavorable to the Christianity of the new 
emperor. 

93 he carried his insolence so far, as to declare that he should mutw 



210 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

situation of the son of Theodosius appear, to those who were 
the best acquainted with his strength and resources, that Jovius 
and Valens, his minister and his general, betrayed their trust, 
infamously deserted the sinking cause of their benefactor, and 
f'evoted their treacherous allegiance to the service of his more 
fortunate rival. Astonished by such examples of domestic 
treason, Honorius trembled at the approach of every servant, 
at the arrival of every messenger. He dreaded the secret 
enemies, who might lurk in his capital, his palace, his bed- 
chamber ; and some ships lay ready in the harbor of Raveflna, 
to transport the abdicated monarch to the dominions of his 
infant nephew, the emperor of the East. 

But there is a Providence (such at least was the opinion of 
the historian Procopius) 94 that watches over innocence and 
folly : and the pretensions of Honorius to its peculiar care 
cannot reasonably be disputed. At the moment when his 
despair, incapable of any wise or manly resolution, meditated 
a shameful flight, a seasonable reenforcement of four thousand 
veterans unexpectedly landed in the port of Ravenna. To 
these valiant strangers, whose fidelity had not been corrupted 
by the factions of the court, he committed the walls and gates 
of the city ; and the slumbers of the emperor were no longer 
disturbed by the apprehension of imminent and internal dan- 
ger. The favorable intelligence which was received from 
Africa suddenly changed the opinions of men, and the state 
of public affairs. The troops and officers, whom Attalus had 
sent into that province, were defeated and slain; and the active 
zeal of Heraclian maintained his own allegiance, and that of 
his people. The faithful count of Africa transmitted a large 
sum of money, which fixed the attachment of the Imperial 
guards ; and his vigilance, in preventing the exportation of 
corn and oil, introduced famine, tumult, and discontent, into 
the walls of Rome. The failure of the African expedition 
was the source of mutual complaint and recrimination in the 
party of Attalus ; and the mind of his protector was insensibly 
alienated from the interest of a prince, who wanted sprit to 
command, or docility to obey. The most imprudent measures 

late Honorius before he sent him into exile. But this assertion of 
Zosimus is destroyed by the more impartial testimony of Olymjno- 
dorus, who attributes the ungenerous proposal (which was absolutely 
rejected by Attalus) to the baseness, and perhfps the treachery, o* 
Jovius. 
w Procop. de Boll. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 28\ 

were adopted, without the knowledge, or against the advice 
of Alaric ; and the obstinate refusal of the senate, to allow, in 
the embarkation, the mixture even of five hundred Goths 
Oetrayed a suspicious and distrustful temper, which, in theii 
situation, was neither generous nor prudent. The resentinenl 
of the Gothic king was exasperated by the malicious arts of 
Jovius, who had been raised to the rank of patrician, and who 
afterwards excused his double perfidy, by declaring, without 
a blush, that he had only seemed to abandon the service of 
Honorius, more effectually to ruin the cause of the usurper. 
In a large plain near Rimini, and in the presence of an innu- 
merable multitude of Romans and Barbarians, the wretched 
Attalus was publicly despoiled of the diadem and purple ; 
and those ensigns of royalty were sent by Alaric, as the pledgo 
of peace and friendship, to the son of Theodosius. 95 The 
officers who returned to their duty, were reinstated in their 
employments, and even the merit of a tardy repentance was 
graciously allowed ; but the degraded emperor of the Romans 
desirous of life, and insensible of disgrace, implored the per 
mission of following the Gothic camp, in the train of a haughty 
and capricious Barbarian. 96 

The degradation of Attalus removed the only real obstacle 
to the conclusion of the peace ; and Alaric advanced within 
three miles of Ravenna, to press the irresolution of the Im- 
perial ministers, whose insolence soon returned with the return 
of fortune. His indignation was kindled by the report, that a 
rival chieftain, that Sarus, the personal enemy of Adolphus, 
and the hereditary foe of the house of Balti, had been received 
into the palace. At the head of three hundred followers, tha' 
fearless Barbarian immediately sallied from the gates of 
Ravenna ; surprised, and cut in pieces, a considerable body 
of Goths ; reentered the city in triumph ; and was permitted 
to insult his adversary, by the voice of a herald, who publicly 
declared that the guilt of Alaric had forever excluded him 



n See the cause and circumstances of the fall of Attalus in Zosimus, 
. vi. p. 380—383. Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 8. Philostorg. 1. xii. c. 3. The 
two acts of indemnity in the Theodosian Code, 1. ix. tit. xxxviii. leg 
11, 12, which were published the 12th of February, and the 8th of 
August, A. D. 410, evidently relate to this usurper. 
•* In hoc, Alaricus, imperatore, facto, infecto, refecto, ac defecto 
■ . ALmum risit, et ludum spectavit imperii. Orosius, 1. svl. c. 12. 
p. 582 

66* 



282 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

from the friendship and alliance of the emperor. 97 The crime 
and foliy of the court of Ravenna was expiated, a third time 
by the cal imities of Rome. The king of the Goths, who no 
longer dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, 
appeared in arms under the walls of the capital ; and the 
trembling senate, without any hopes of relief, prepared, by a 
desperate resistance, to delay the ruin of their country. But 
ihey were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of 
their slaves and domestics ; who, either from birth or interest, 
weie attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of 
midnight, the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the 
inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the 
Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after 
the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had subdued 
and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered 
to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia. 98 
The proclamation of Alaric, when he forced his entrance 
into a vanquished city, discovered, however, some regard for 
the laws of humanity and religion. He encouraged his 
troops boldly to seize the rewards of valor, and to enrich them- 
selves with the spoils of a wealthy and effeminate people : 
but he exhorted them, at the same time, to spare the lives of 
the unresisting citizens, and to respect the churches of the 
apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, as holy and inviolable sanctu- 
aries. Amidst the horrors of a nocturnal tumult, several of 
the Christian Goths displayed the fervor of a recent conversion ; 
and some instances of their uncommon piety and moderation 
are related, and perhaps adorned, by the zeal of ecclesiastical 
writers. 99 While the Barbarians roamed through the city in 

87 Zosimus, 1. vi. p. 384. Sozoraen, 1. ix. c. 9. Philostorgius, 1. xii. 
o. 3. In this place the text of Zosimus is mutilated, and we have lost 
she remainder of his sixth and last book, which ended with the sack 
af liome. Credulous and partial as he iSj we must take our leave of 
that historian with some regret. 

98 Adest Alaricus, trepidam Eomam obsidet, turbat, irrumpit. 
Oroeius, 1. vii. c. 39, p. 573. He despatches this great event in seven 
words ; but he employs whole pages in celebrating the devotion of 
the Goths. I have extracted, from an improbable story of Procopius, 
the circumstances which had an air of probability. Procop. de Bell. 
Vandal. 1. i. c. 2. He supposes that the city was surprised while the 
■enators slept in the afternoon ; but Jerom, with more authority and 
more reason, affirms, that it was in the night, nocte Moab capta est ; 
nocte cecidit murus ejus, torn. i. p. 121, ad Principiam. 

*• Orosius (I vii. c. 39, p. 573—576) applauds the piety of the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 283 

quest of pre) the humble dwelling of an aged virgin, who 
had devoted her life to the service of the altar, was forced 
open by one of the powerful Goths. He immediately de- 
manded, though in civil language, all the gold and silver 10 
her possession ; and was astonished at the readiness with 
which she conducted him to a splendid hoard of massy plate, 
of the richest materials, and the most curious workmanship 
The Barbarian viewed with wonder and delight this valuablt 
acquisition, till he was interrupted by a serious admonition, 
addressed to him in the following words : " These," said she, 
" are the consecrated vessels belonging to St. Peter : if you 
presume to touch them, the sacrilegious deed will remain on 
your conscience. For my part, I dare not keep what I am 
unable to defend. 1 ' The Gothic captain, struck with rever- 
ential awe, despatched a messenger to inform the king of the 
treasure which he had discovered ; and received a peremptory 
order from Alaric, that all the consecrated plate and orna- 
ments should be transported, without damage or delay, to the 
church of the apostle. From the extremity, perhaps, of the 
Quirinal hill, to the -distant quarter of the Vatican, a numer- 
ous detachment of Goths, marching in order of battle through 
the principal streets, protected, with glittering arms, the long 
train of their devout companions, who bore aloft, on their 
heads, the sacred vessels of gold and silver ; and the martial 
shouts of the Barbarians were mingled with the sound of re- 
ligious psalmody. From all the adjacent houses, a crowd of 
Christians hastened to join this edifying procession ; and a 
multitude of fugitives, without distinction of age, or rank, or 
even of sect, had the good fortune to escape to the secure 
and hospitable sanctuary of the Vatican. The learned work, 
concerning the City of God, was professedly composed by St. 
Augustin, to justify the ways of Providence in the destruction 
Df the Roman greatness. He celebrates, with peculiar satis- 
faction, this memorable triumph of Christ ; and insults his 
adversaries, by challenging them to produce some similar 



Christian Goths, without seeming to perceive that the greatest part ol 
them were Arian heretics. Jornandes (c. 30, p. 653) and Isidore of 
Seville, (Chron. p. 417, edit. Grot.,) who were both attached to the 
Gothic cause, have repeated and embellished these edifying tales. 
According to Isidore, Alaric himself was heard to say, that he waged 
wtr with the Romans, and not with the apostles. Such was the style 
of the seventh century ; two hundred years before, the fame anH 
merit had been ascribed, not to the apostles, but to Christ. 



284 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

example oi a town taken by storm, in which the fabulous goila 
of antiquity had been able to protect either themselves or iheir 
deluded votaries. 100 

In the sack of Rome, some rare and extraordinary exam 
pies of Barbarian virtue have been deservedly applauded. 
But the holy precincts of the Vatican, and the apostolic 
churches, could receive a very small proportion of the Roman 
people ; many thousand warriors, more especially of the 
Huns, who served under the standard of Alaric, were stranger? 
to the name, or at least to the faith, of Christ ; and we may 
suspect, without any breach of charity or candor, that in the 
hour of savage license, when every passion was inflamed, 
and every restraint was removed, the precepts of the Gospel 
seldom influenced the behavior of the Gothic Christians. The 
writers, the best disposed to exaggerate their clemency, have 
freely confessed, that a cruel slaughter was made of the 
Romans ; 101 and that the streets of the city were filled with 
dead bodies, which remained without burial during the general 
consternation. The despair of the citizens was sometimes 
converted into fury : and whenever the Barbarians were pro- 
voked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre 
to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless. The private 
revenge of forty thousand slaves was exercised without pity 
or remorse ; and the ignominious lashes, which they had for- 
merly received, were washed away in the blood of the guilty, 
or obnoxious, families. The matrons and virgins of Rome 
were exposed to injuries more dreadful, in the apprehension 
of chastity, than death itself; and the ecclesiastical historian 
has selected an example of female virtue, for the admiration 
of future ages. 102 A Roman lady, of singular beauty and 

100 See Augustin, de Civitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 1 — 6. He particularly ap- 
peals to the examples of Troy, Syracuse, and Tarentum. 

:ul Jerom (torn. i. p. 121, ad Principiam) has applied to the sack of 
Rome all the strong expressions of Virgil : — 

Quis cladem illius noctis, qui:- funera fando, 
Explicet, &.c. 

Procopius (1. i. c. 2) positively affirms that great numbers were slain 
by the Goths. Augustin (de Civ. Dei, 1. i. c. 12, 13) offers Christian 
comfort for the death of those whose bodies (multa corpora) had 
remained (in tanta strage) unburied. Baronius, from the different 
writings of the Fathers, has thrown some light on the sack of 
Rome. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 410, No. 16—34. 

,us So/omen, 1. ix. c. 10. Augustin (de Civitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 17) in- 
timate), that some virgins or matrons actually killed themselves to 



OF THE ROMAN EMP1R*. 285 

•rthoiox faith, had excited the impatient de^res of a young 
oroth, who according to the sagacious remark of Sozomen, 
was attached to the Arian heresy. Exasperated by her ob- 
stinate resistance, he drew his sword, and, with the anger of 
a lover, slightly wounded her neck. The bleeding heroine 
stil. continued to brave his resentment, and to repel his love 
till the ravisher desisted from his unavailing efforts, respect- 
filly conducted her to the sanctuary of the Vatican, and gave 
six pieces of gold to the guards of the church, on condition that 
they should restore her inviolate to the-arms of her husband. 
Such instances of courage and generosity were not extremely 
common. The brutal soldiers satisfied their sensual appetites, 
without consulting either the inclination or the duties of their 
female captives : and a nice question of casuistry was serious- 
ly agitated, Whether those tender victims, who had inflexibly 
refused their consent to the violation which they sustained, 
had lost, by their misfortune, the glorious crown of virginity. 103 
There were other losses indeed of a more substantial kind, 
and more general concern. It cannot be presumed, that all 
the Barbarians were at all times capable of perpetrating such 
amorous outrages ; and the want of youth, or beauty, or chas- 
tity, protected the greatest part of the Roman women from the 
danger of a rape. But avarice is an insatiate and universal 
passion ; since the enjoyment of almost every object that can 
afford pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind 
may be procured by the possession of wealth. In the pillage 
of Rome, a just preference was given to gold and jewels, which 
contain the greatest value in the smallest compass and weight ; 
but, after these portable riches had been removed by the more 

escape violation ; and though he admires their spirit, he is obliged, b> 
his theology, to condemn their rash presumption. Perhaps the good 
bishop of Hippo was too easy in the belief, as well as too rigid in the 
censure, of this act of female heroism. The twenty maidens (if they 
ever existed) who threw themselves into the Elbe, when Magdeburgh 
was taken by storm, have been multiplied to the number of twelve 
hundred. See Harte's History of Gustavus Adolphus, vol. i. p. 308. 

1,3 See Augustin de Civitat. Dei, 1. i. c. 16, 18. He treats the sub- 
ject with remarkable accuracy : and after admitting that there cannot 
be any crime where there is no consent, he adds, Sed quia non solum 
quod ad dolorem, verum etiam quod ad libidinem, pertinet, in corpore 
alieno pepetrari potest ; quicquid tale factum fuerit, etsi retentam con- 
Btantissimo animo pudicitiam non excutit, pudorem tamen incutit, ne 
credatur factum cum mentis etiam voluntate, quod fieri fortasse sine 
carnis aliquft voluptate non potuit. In c. 18 he makes some curioui 
distinctions between moral and physical virginity. 



286 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

diligent robbei ;, the palaces of Rome were rudely stripped of 
th«;ir splendid and costly furniture. The sideboards of massy 
plate, and the variegated wardrobes of silk and purple, were 
irregularly piled in the wagons, that always followed the march 
of a Gothic army. The most exquisite works of art were rough- 
ly handled, or wantonly destroyed ; many a statue was melted 
for the sake of the precious materials ; and many a vase, in 
the division of the spoil, was shivered into fragments by the 
stroke of a battle-axe. The acquisition of riches served only 
to stimulate the avarice of the rapacious Barbarians, who pro- 
ceeded, by threats, by blows, and by tortures, to force from 
their prisoners the confession of hidden treasure. 1 " 4 Visible 
splendor and expense were alleged as the proof of a plentiful 
fortune ; the appearance of poverty was imputed to a parsi- 
monious disposition ; and the obstinacy of some misers, who 
endured the most cruel torments before they would discover 
the secret object of their affection, was fatal to many unhappy 
wretches, who expired under the lash, for refusing to reveal 
their imaginary treasures. The edifices of Rome, though the 
damage has been much exaggerated, received some injury from 
the violence of the Goths. At their entrance through the Sala- 
rian gate, they fired the adjacent houses to guide their march, 
and to distract the attention of the citizens ; the Acmes, which 
encountered no obstacle in the disorder of the night, consumed 
many private and public buildings ; and the ruins of the palace 
of Sallust 1U5 remained, in the age of Justinian, a stately monu- 
ment of the Gothic conflagration. 106 Yet a contemporary 



104 MarceUa, a Roman lady, equally respectable for her rank, her 
age, and her piety, was thrown on the ground, and cruelly beaten and 
whipped, caesam fustibus flagellisque, &c. Jerom, torn. i. p. 121, ad 
Principiam. See Augustin, do Civ. Dei, 1. i. c. 10. The modern 
Sacco di Roma, p. 208, gives an idea of the various methods of tor- 
turing prisoners for gold. 

103 The historian Sallust, who usefully practised the vices which he 
has so eloquently censured, employed the plunder of Numidia to 
edorn his palace and gardens on the Quirinal hill. The spot where 
the house stood is now marked by the church of St. Susanna, sepa- 
rated only by a street from the baths of Diocletian, and not far distant 
from the Salarian gate. See Nardini, Roma Antica, p. 192, 193, and 
the grea* Plan of Modern Rome, by Nolli. 

:o6 r r;he expressions of Procopius are distinct and moderate, (de Bell. 
Vandal. 1. i. c. 2.) The Chronicle of Marcellinus speaks too strongly, 
partem urbis Romae cremavit ; and the words of Philostorgius (»» 
iotmiutg Si T>]g nJAtuti; xeiuivr,;, 1. xii. c. 3) convey a false and exag- 
gerated idea. Eargams has composed a particular dissertation 'sea 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 287 

historian has coserved, that fire could scarcely consume the 
enormous beams of solid brass, and that the strength of 
man was insufficient to subvert the foundations of ancient 
structures. Some truth may possibly be concealed in his de- 
vout assertion, that the wrath of Heaven supplied the imper- 
fections of hostile rage ; and that the proud Forum of Rome, 
decorated with the statues of so many gods and heroes, wa* 
levelled in the dust by the stroke of lightning. 107 

Whatever might be the numbers of equestrian or plebeian 
rank, who perished in the massacre of Rome, it is confidently 
affirmed that only one senator lost his life by the sword of the 
enemy. 108 But it was not easy to compute the multitudes, 
who, from aru honorable station and a prosperous fortune^ 
were suddenly reduced to the miserable condition of captives 
and exiles. As the Barbarians had more occasion for money 
than for slaves, they fixed at a moderate price the redemption 
of their indigent prisoners ; and the ransom was often paid 
by the benevolence of their friends, or the charity of stran- 
gers. 100 The captives, who were regularly sold, either in 
open market, 01 by private contract, would have legally 
regained their native freedom, which it was impossible for a 
citizen to lose, or 10 alienate. 110 But as it was soon discovered 
that the vindication of their liberty would endanger their 



torn. iv. Antiqii' 4 . Rom. Graev.) to prove that the edifices of Rome 
were not subverted by the Goths and Vandals. 

"" Orosius, 1. ii. o. 19, p. 143. He speaks as if he disapproved alt 
statues; vel Deum \el hominem mentiuntur. They consisted of the 
kings of Alba and Rome from iEneas, the Romans, illustrious either 
in arms or arts, and the deified Caesars. The expression which he 
uses of Forum is somewhat ambiguous, since there existed Jive princi- 
pal Fora , but as they were all contiguous and adjacent, in the plain 
which is surrounded by the Capitoline, the Quirinal, the Esquiline, 
and the Palatine hills, they might fairly be considered as one. See the 
Roma Antiqua of Donatus, p. 162 — 201, and the Roma Anticaof Nar- 
dini, p. 212 — 273. The former is more useful for the ancient descrip- 
tions, the latter for the actual topography. 

108 Orosius (1. ii. c. 19, p. 142) compares the cruelty of the Gauls 
and the clemency of the Goths. Ibi vix quemquam inventum sena- 
torem, qui vel absens evaserit ; hie vix quemquam requiri, qui forte 
ut latens pericrit. But there is an air of rhetoric, and perhaps of 
falsehood, in this antithesis; and Socrate3 (1. vii. c. 10) affirms, per- 
haps by an opposite exaggeration, that many senators were put to 
death with various and exquisite tortures. 

109 Multi . . . Christiani incaptivitatem ducti sunt. Augustin, de Civ. 
Dei. 1. i. c. 14 ; and the Christians experienced no peculiar hardships. 

ilc Sue Heineccius, Antiquitat. Juris Roman, torn. i. p. 96. 



288 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

lives ; and that the Goths, unless they were tempted to sell, 
might be provoked to murder, their useless prisoners ; the 
civil jurisprudence had been already qualified by a wise regu- 
lation, that they should be obliged to serve the moderate t€TlH 
of five years, till they had discharged by their labor the pi ice 
of their redemption. 111 The nations who invaded the Roman 
empire, had driven before them, into Italy, whole troops of 
Hungry and affrighted provincials, less apprehensive of servi- 
tude than of famine. The calamities of Rome and Italy 
dispersed the inhabitants to the most lonely, the most secure 
the most distant places of refuge. While the Gothic cavalry 
spread terror and desolation along the sea-coast of Campank. 
and Tuscany, the little island of Igilium, separated by a narrow 
channel from the Argentarian promontory, repulsed, or eluded 
their hostile attempts ; and at so small a distance from Rome 
great numbers of citizens were securely concealed in the 
thick woods of that sequestered spot. 112 The ample patri- 
monies, which many senatorian families possessed in Africa 
invited them, if they had time, and prudence, to escape from 
the ruin of their country, to embrace the shelter of that hos- 
pitable province. The most illustrious of these fugitives was 
the noble and pious Proba, 113 the widow of the praefect Petro- 
nius. After the death of her husband, the most powerfu 



111 Appendix Cod. Theodos. xvi. in Sirmond. Opera, torn. i. p. 735 
Tlus edict was published on the 11th of December, A. D. 408, and ii 
more reasonable than properly belonged to the ministers of Honorius. 
118 Eminvis Igilii sylvosa cacumina miror ; 

Quem fraudarc nefas laudis honorc suae. 
Haec proprios nuper tutata est insula saltus ; 

Sive loci ingenio, seu Domini genio. 
Gurgite cum modico victricibus obstitit armis, 

Tanquam longinquo dissociata mari. 
Ha?c multos lacera suscepit ab urbe fugatos, 

Hie fessis posito certa timore salus. 
Plurima terreno populaverat sequorar bello, 
Contra naturam classe timendus equcs : 
Unum, mira fides, vario discrimine portum ! 
Tam prope Ron: anis, tam procul esse Getis. 

Kutilius, in Itinerar. 1. l. 325 

The island is now called Giglio. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. 1. ii. 
p. 502. 

1,1 As the adventures of Proba and her family are connected -with 
the life of St. Augustin, they are diligently illustrated by Tillemont, 
Mem. Eccles. torn. xiii. p. 620—635. Some time after their arrival in 
Africa, Demetrias took the veil, and made a vow of virginity ; au 



=LF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 2$9 

subject of Rome, &ne had remained at the head of the Aniciai 
family, and successively supplied, from her private fortune 
the expense of the consulships of her three sons. When tlr.5 
city was besieged and taken by the Goths, Proba supported, 
with Christian resignation, the loss of immense riches; em- 
barked in a small vessel, from whence she beheld, at sea, the 
flames of her burning palace, and fled with her daughter 
Lajta, and her granddaughter, the celebrated virgin, Deme- 
trias, to the coast of Africa. The benevolent profusion with 
which the matron distributed the fruits, or the price, of her 
estates, contributed to alleviate the misfortunes of exile and 
captivity. But even the family of Proba herself was not 
exempt from the rapacious oppression of Count Heruclian, 
who basely sold, in matrimonial prostitution, the noblest 
maidens of Rome to the lust or avarice of the Syrian rma 
chants. The Italian fugitives were dispersed through the 
provinces, along the coast of Egypt and Asia, as far as Con- 
stantinople and Jerusalem ; and the village of Bethiem, the 
solitary residence of St. Jerom and his female converts, vv^a 
crowded with illustrious beggars of either sex, and every ;ij*f», 
who excited the public compassion by the remembrance cf 
their past fortune. 114 This awful catastrophe of Rome lilied 
the astonished empire with grief and terror. So interesting 
a contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed the fond credulity 
of the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, the afflictions 
of the queen of cities. The clergy, who applied to recent 
events the lofty metaphors of Oriental prophecy, were some- 
times tempted to confound the destruction of the capital and 
the dissolution of the globe. 

There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depre- 
ciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present 
'. mes. Yet, when the first emotions had subsided, and a fair 
estimate was made of the real damage, the more learned and 
judicious contemporaries were forced to confess, that infant 
Rome had formerly received more essential injury from the 



event which was considered as of the highest importance to Rome and 
to the world. All the Saints wrote congratulatory letters to her ; that 
of Jerom is still extant, (torn. i. p. 62 — 73, ad Demetriad. de servanda 
Virginitat.,) and contains a mixture of absurd reasoning, spirited 
declamation, and curious facts, some of which relate to the siege anu 
»nck of Rome. 

,M See the pathetic complaint of Jerom, (torn. v. p. 400,) in his pref- 
ace to tne second book of liis Commentaries on the Prophet Ezek'el 



290 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Gauls, than she bad now sustained from the Gclhs in her 
declining age. 115 The experience of eleven centuries has 
enabled posterity to produce a much more singular parallel ; 
and to affirm with confidence, that the ravages of the Barba- 
rians, whom Alaric had led from the banks of the Danube, 
were less destructive, than the hostilities exercised by the 
troops of Charles the Fifth, a Catholic prince, who styled 
himself Emperor of the Romans. 116 The Goths evacuated 
the city at the end of six days, but Rome remained above 
nine months in the possession of the Imperialists ; and every 
hour was stained by some atrocious act of cruelty, lust, and 
rapine. The authority of Alaric perserved some order and 
moderation among the ferocious multitude which acknowl- 
edged him for their leader and king ; but the constable of 
Bourbon had gloriously fallen in the attack of the walls; and 
the death of the general removed every restraint of discipline 
from an army which consisted of three independent nations, 
the Italians, the Spaniards, and the Germans. In the begin- 
ning of the sixteenth century, the manners of Italy exhibited 
a remarkable scene of the depravity of mankind. They 
united the sanguinary crimes that prevail in an unsettled state 
of society , with the polished vices which spring from the abuse 
of art and luxury ; and the loose adventurers, who had vio- 
lated every prejudice of patriotism and superstition to assault 
the palace of the Roman pontiff, must deserve to be consid- 
ered as the most profligate of the Italians. At the same a?ra, 
the Spaniards were the terror both of the Old and New World : 
but their high-spirited valor was disgraced by gloomy pride. 



115 Orosius, though with some theological partiality, states this 
comparison, 1. ii. c. 19, p. 142, 1. vii. c. 39, p. 575. But, in the history 
of the taking of Rome by the Gauk, every thing is uncertain, and 
perhaps fabulous. See Beaufort sur 1' Incertitude, &c, de l'Histoire 
Komaine, p. 356 ; and Melot, in the Mem. de l'Academie des Inscript. 
torn. xv. p. 1 — 21. 

1,1 The reader who wishes to inform himself of the circumstances 
of this famous event, may peruse an admirable narrative in Dr. Ko',- 
ertson's History of Charles V. vol. ii. p. 283 ; or consult the Annali 
d' Italia of the learned Muratori, torn. xiv. p. 230—244, octavo edition, 
If he is desirous of examining the originals, he may have recourse t- 
the eighteenth book of the great, but unfinished, history of Guicciar 
dini. But the account which most truly deserves the name of au- 
thentic and original, is a little book, entitled, 11 Sacca di Roma, com 
posed, w^.hin less than a month after the assault of the city, by th. 
Vrothe\ of the historian Guicciardini, who appears to have been an 
"bit* magistrate and a dispassionate writer. 



OF THE ROMAN EMriRE. 291 

rapacious avarice, and unrelenting cruelty, •ndefatigablc in 
the pursuit of fame and riches, they had improved, t>y 
repeated practice, the most exquisite and effectual methods 
of torturing their prisoners : many of the Castilians, who 
pillaged Rome, were familiars of the ho.y inquisition , and 
some volunteers, perhaps, were lately returned from the con- 
quest of Mexico. The Germans were less corrupt than the 
Italians, less cruel than the Spaniards; and the rustic, or 
even savage, aspect of those Tramontane warriors, often dis- 
guised a simple and merciful disposition. But they had 
imbibed, in the first fervor of the reformation, the spirit, as 
well as the principles, of Luther. It was their favorite 
amusement to insult, or destroy, the consecrated objects of 
Catholic superstition ; they indulged, without pity or remorse, 
a devout hatred against the clergy of every denomination 
and degree, who form so considerable a part of the inhabitants 
of modem Rome ; and their fanatic zeal might aspire to sub- 
vert the throne of Antichrist, to purify, with blood and firs 
the abominations of the spiritual Babylon. 117 

The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evacuated Rome 
on the sixth day, 118 might be the result of prudence ; but ii 
was not surely the effect of fear. 119 At the head of an army 
encumbered with rich and weighty spoils, their intrepid leader 
advanced along the Appian way into the southern provinces 
of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose his passage, and 
contenting himself with the plunder of the unresisting country 
The fate of Capua, the proud and luxurious metropolis of 
Campania, and which was respected, even in its decay, as 
the eighth city of the empire, 120 is buried in oblivion; whilst 



"' The furious spirit of Luther, the effect of temper and enthusi 
asm, has been forcibly attacked, (Bossuet, Hist, des Variations de» 
Kglise. Protestantes, livre i. p. 20 — 36,) and feebly defended, (Secken- 
dorf, Comment, de Lutheranismo, especially i. i. No. 78, p. 120, and L 
ui. No. 122, p. 55(5.) 

118 M u-cellinus, in Chron. Orosius, (1. vii. c. 39, p. 575,) asserts 
lhal he left Rome on the third clay ; but this difference is easily rec- 
onciled by the successive motions of great bodies of troops. 

119 So urates (1. vii. 1. 10 J pretends, without any color of truth, oi 
-«>ason, that Alaric fled on the report that the armies of the Eastern 
empire were in full march to attack him. 

12J Ausonius de Claris Urbibus, p. 233, edit. Toll. The luxury cu 
.'apua had formerly surpassed that of Sybaris itself. See A-thenseui 
. ^unosophis » 1. xii. p. 528, edit. Casaubon 



£92 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the aJicu-ent town of Nola 121 has been illustrated, on h» 
occasion, oy the sanctity of Paulinus, 12 ' 2 who was successively 
a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At the age of forty, be 
renounced tbe enjoyment of wealth and honor, of society and 
literature, to embrace a life of solitude and penance ; and the 
loud applause of the clergy encouraged him to despise the 
reproaches of his worldly friends, who ascribed this desperate 
act to some disorder of the mind or body. 123 An early and 
passionate attachment determined him to fix his humble dwell- 
ing in one of the suburbs of Nola, near the miraculous tomb 
ofSt. Faelix, which the public devotion had already surrounded 
with five large and populous churches. The remains of his for- 
tune, and of his understanding, were dedicated to the service 
of the glorious martyr ; whose praise, on the day of his festi- 
val, Paulinus never failed to celebrate by a solemn hymn ; and 
in whose name he erected a sixth church, of superior elegance 
*nd beauty, which was decorated with many curious pictures, 
from the history of the Old and New Testament. Such assid- 
uous zeal secured the favor of the saint, 124 or at least of the 
people; and, after fifteen years' retirement, the Roman con- 
sul was compelled to accept the bishopric of Nola, a few 
months before the city was invested by the Goths. During 
the siege, some religious persons were satisfied that they had 
seen, either in dreams or visions, the divine form of their 
tutelar patron; yet it soon appeared by the event, that Faelix 
wanted power or inclination, to preserve the flock of which 
he had formerly been the shepherd. Nola was not saved 

131 Forty-eight years before the foundation of Rome, (about 800 
before the Christian £era,) the Tuscans built Capua and Nola, at the 
distance of twenty-three miles from each other; but the latter of 
the two cities never emerged from a state of mediocrity. 

122 Tillemont (M6m. Eccle^. torn. xiv. p. 1 — 46) has compiled, with 
his usual diligence, all that relates to the life and writings of Pauli- 
ims, whose retreat is celebrated by his own pen, and by the praises 
of St. Ambrose, St. Jerom, St. Augustin, Sulpicius Severus, &c, his 
Christian friends and contemporaries. 

123 See the affectionate letters of Ausonius (epist. xix.— xxv. p. 
650 — 698, edit. Toll.) to his colleague, his friend, and his disciple, 
Paulinus. The religion of Ausonius is still a problem, (see Me"m. de 
i' Academic des Inscriptions, torn. xv. p. 12:!— 138.) I believe that it 
was such in his own time, and consequently, that in his heart he was 
a Pagan. 

124 The humble Paulinus once presumed to say, that he believed 
St. Faelix did love him ; at least, as a master loves his little dog. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 293 

from tne general devastation ; 1 - 5 and the captive bishop was 
protected only by the general opinion of his innocence and 
poverty. Above four years elapsed from the successful inva- 
sion of Italy by the arms of Alaric, to the voluntary retreat ol 
the Goths under the conduct of his successor Adolphus ; and, 
during the whole time, they reigned without control over a 
country, which, in the opinion of the ancients, had united all the 
various excellences of nature and art. The prosperity, indeed, 
hich Italy had attained in the auspicious age of the Anto- 
nines, had gradually declined with the decline of the empire. 
The fruits of a long peace perished under the rude grasp of 
th»; Barbarians ; and they themselves were incapable of tast 
ing the more elegant refinements of luxury, which had beer 
prepared for the use of the soft and polished Italians. Each 
soldier, however, claimed an ample po \:on of the substantial 
plenty, the corn and cattle, oil and w.r.o that was daily col- 
lected and consumed in the Gothic camp ,• and the principal 
warriors insulted the villas and gardens, once inhabited by 
Lucullus and Cicero, along the beauteous coast of Campania. 
Their trembling captives, the sons and daughters of Roman 
senators, presented, in goblets of gold and gems, large 
draughts of Falernian wine to the haughty victors ; who 
stretched their huge limbs under the shade of plane-trees, 1215 
artificially disposed to exclude the scorching rays, and to 
admit the genial warmth, of the sun. These delights were 
enhanced by the memory of past hardships : tne comparison 
nf their native soil, the bleak and barren bills of Scythia, and 
the frozen banks of the Elbe and Danube, added new charms 
to the felicity of the Italian climate. 127 



'• See Jomandes, de Reb. Get. c. 30, p. 653. Philostorgius, 1. xiL 
c. 3. Augustin, de Civ. Dei, 1. i. c. 10. Baronius, Annal. Eccles. 
A. D. 410, No. 45, 46. 

128 The platanas, or plane-tree, was a favorite of the ancients, by 
whom it was propagated, for the sake of shade, from the East to Gaul. 
Pliny, Hist. Natur. xii. 3, 4, 5. He mentions several of an enormous 
size ; one iu the Imperial villa, at Velitrse, which Caligula called his 
nest, as the branches were capable of holding a large table, the proper 
attendants, and the emperor himself, whom Pliny quaintly styles par* 
mmbrte ; an expression which might, with equal reason, be applied to 
Alaric. 

ln The prostrate South to the destroyer yields 

Her boasted titles and her golden holds ; 
With grim delight the brood of winter view 
A brighter day, and skies of azure hue ; 



294 THE DECLINF AND FALL. 

"Whether fame, or conauest, or riches, were the object of 
Alaric, he pursued that object with an indefatigable ardor 
which could neither be quelled by adversity nor satiated by 
puceess. No sooner had he reached the extreme land of Italy, 
than he was attracted by the neighboring prospect of a fertile 
and peaceful island. Yet even the possession of Sicily he 
considered only as an intermediate step to the important ex- 
pedition, which he already meditated against the continent of 
Africa. The Straits of Rhegium and Messina 12B are twelve 
miles in length, and, in the narrowest passage, about one mile 
and a half broad ; and the fabulous monsters of the deep, the 
rocks of Scylla, and the whirlpool of Charybdis, could terrify 
none but the most timid and unskilful mariners. Yet as soon 
as the first division of the Goths had embarked, a sudden 
tempest arose, which sunk, or scattered, many of the trans- 
ports ; their courage was daunted by the terrors of a new ele- 
ment ; and the whole design was defeated by the premature 
death of Alaric, which fixed, after a short illness, the fatal 
term of his conquests. The ferocious character of the Bar- 
barians was displayed in the funeral of a hero whose valor 
and fortune they celebrated with mournful applause. By the 
labor of a captive multitude, they forcibly diverted the course 
of the Busentinus, a small river that washes the walls of Oon- 
sentia. The royal sepulchre, adorned with the splendid spoils 
and trophies of Rome, was constructed in the vacant bed • the 
waters were then restored to their natural channel ; and the 
secret spot, where the remains of Alaric had been deposited, 
was forever concealed by the inhuman massacre of the 
prisoners, who had been employed to execute the work. 129 

The personal animosities and hereditary feuds of the Bar- 
barians were suspended by the strong necessity of their affairs, 
and the brave Adolphus, the brother-in-law of the deceased 



Scent the new fragrance of the opening rose, 
And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows. 

See Gray's Poems, published by Mr. Mason, p. 197. Instead of coa. 
piling tables of chronology and natural history, why did not Mr. Gi \J 
apply the powers of his genius to finish the philosophic poem, of 
which he has left such an exquisite specimen ? 

128 For the perfect description of the Straits of Messina, Scylln, 
Charybdis, &c, see Cluverius, (Ital. Antiq. 1. iv. p. 1293, and Sicilii 
4.ntiq. 1. i. p. 60 — 76,) who had diligently studied the ancients, an* 
•nrveyed with a curious eye the actual face of the country. 

vw Jornand*?s, de llek Get. <:. 30, p. 654. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 295 

monarch, was unanimously elected to succeed to his throne. 
The character and political system of the new king of the 
Goths may he best understood from his own conversation with 
an illustrious citizen of Narbonne ; who afterwards, in a pil- 
grimage to the Holy Land, related it to St. Jerom, in the 
presence of the historian Orosius. " In the full confidence 
of valor and victory, I once aspired (said Adolphus) to change 
the face of the universe ; to obliterate the name of Rome ; to 

tect on its ruins the dominion of the Goths ; and ito acquire, 
like Augustus, the immortal fame of the founder of a new 
empire. By repeated experiments, I was gradually convinced, 
mat laws are essentially necessary to maintain and regulate 
a well-constituted state ; and that the fierce, untractahle humor 
of the Goths was incapable of bearing the salutary yoke of 
laws and civil government. From that moment I proposed to 
myself a different object of glory and ambition ; and it is now 
my sincere wish that the gratitude of future ages should ac- 
knowledge the merit of a stranger, who employed the sword 
of the Goths, not to subvert, but to restore and maintain, the 
prosperity of the Roman empire." 130 With these pacific views, 
the successor of Alaric suspended the operations of war ; and 
seriously negotiated with the Imperial court a treaty of friend- 
ship and alliance. It was the interest of the ministers of Ho- 
norius, who were now released from the obligation of their 
extravagant oath, to deliver Italy from the intolerable weighl 
of the Gothic powers ; and they readily accepted their service 
against the tyrants and Barbarians who infested the provinces 
beyond the Alps. 131 Adolphus, assuming the character of a 
Roman general, directed his march from the extremity of 
3ampania to the southern provinces of Gaul. His troops, 
either by force or agreement, immediately occupied the cities 
of Narbonne, Thoulouse, and Bordeaux ; and though tb,ey 

vere repulsed by Count Boniface from the walls of Marseilles, 
they soon extended their quarters from the Mediterranean to 
r he Ocean. The oppressed provincials might exclaim, that 



130 Orosius, 1. vii. c. 43, p. 584, 585. He was sent by St. Augustm, 
:n the year 415, from Africa to Palestine, to visit St. Jerom, and to 
consult with him on the subject of the Pelagian controversy. 

131 Jornandcs supposes, without much probability, that AdolpllUB 
risited and plundered Rome a second time, (more locustarum eraait.) 
Yet he agrees with Orosius in supposing, that a treaty of peace was 
concluded between the Gothic prince and Honorius. See Oros L. vii. 
* 43, p 584, 585 Jornandcs, de Keb. Geticis, c. 31, p. 654, 656. 



296 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the miserable remnant, which the enemy had spared, was 
cruelly ravished by their pretended allies; yet some specious 
colors were not wanting to palliate, or justify, the violence of 
the Goths. The cities of Gaul, which they attacked, might 
perhaps be considered as in a state of rebellion against the 
government of Honorius : the articles of the treaty, or the 
secret instructions of the court, might sometimes be alleged 
in favor of the seeming usurpations of Adolphus; and the 
guilt of any irregular, unsuccessful act of hostility might 
always be imputed, with an appearance of truth, to the un- ' 
governable spirit of a Barbarian host, impatient of peace or 
discipline. The luxury of Italy had been less effectual to 
soften the temper, than to relax the courage, of the Goths; 
and they had imbibed the vices, without imitating the arts and 
institutions, of civilized society. iy2 

The professions of Adolphus were nrobably sincere, and 
his attachment to. the cause of the republic was secured bv 
the ascendant which, a Romai, princess had acquired n\n 
the heart and understanding of the Barbarian king. Pla- 
cidia, 133 the daughter of the great Theodosius, and of Galla, 
his second wife, had received a royal education in the palace 
of Constantinople ; but the eventful story of her life is 
connected with the revolutions which agitated the Western 
empire under the reign of her brother Honorius. When 
Rome was first invested by the arms of Alaric, Placidia, who 
was then about twenty years of age, resided in the city ; and 
her ready consent to the death of her cousin Serena has a 
cruel and ungrateful appearance, which, according to the cir- 
cumstances of the action, may be aggravated, or excused, by 
the consideration of her tender age. 134 The victorious Bar- 
barians detained, either as a hostage or a carMve, 135 the sister 
of Honorius ; but, while she was exposed to the disgrace of 

,a * The retreat of the Goths from Italy, and their first transactions 
r _:: Gaul, are dark and doubtful. I have derived much assistance from 
Mascou, (Hist, of the Ancient Germans, 1. viii. c. 29, 35, 36, 37,) who 
has illustrated, and connected, the broken chronicles and fragments of 
the times. 

33 See an account of Placidia in Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 72 ; and 
l'illemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 260, 386, &c, torn. vi. p. 
240. 

134 Zosim. 1. v. p. 350. 

135 Zosim. 1. vi. p. 383. Orosius, (1. vii. c. 40, p. 576,) and the 
Chronicles of Marcellinus and Idatius, seem to suppose, that 'in 
Uoths did not carry away Placidia till after the last siege of Rome. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 29? 

foilowing round Italy the motions of a Gothic camp, she 
experienced, however, a decent and respectful treatment 
The authority of Jornandes, who praises the beauty of Pla- 
cidia, may perhaps be counterbalanced by the silence, -the 
expressive silence, of her flatterers : yet the splendor of her 
birth, the bloom of youth, the elegance of manners, and the 
dexterous insinuation which she condescended to employ, 
made a deep impression on the mind of Adolphus ; and the 
Gothic king aspired to call himself the brother of the em- 
peror. The ministers of Honorius rejected with disdain the 
proposal of an alliance so injurious to every sentiment of 
Roman pride ; and repeatedly urged the restitution of Pla- 
cidia, as an indispensable condition of the treaty of peace. 
But the daughter of Theodosius submitted, without reluctance, 
to the desires of the conqueror, a young and valiant prince, 
who yielded to Alaric in loftiness of stature, but who excelled 
in the more attractive qualities of grace and beauty. The 
marriage of Adolphus and Placidia 136 was consummated 
before the Goths retired from Italy ; and the solemn, perhaps 
the anniversary, day of their nuptials was afterwards cele- 
brated in the house of Ingenuus, one of the most illustrious 
citizens of Narbonne in Gaul. The bride, attired and adorned 
like a Roman empress, was placed on a throne of state ; and 
the king of the Goths, who assumed, on this occasion, the 
Roman habit, contented himself with a less honorable seat by 
her side. The nuptial gift, which, according to the custom 
of his nation, 137 was offered to Placidia, consisted of the rar& 

136 See the pictures of Adolphus and Placidia, and the account of 
their marriage, in Jornandes, de Reb. Geticis, c. 31, p. 654, 655. With 
regard to the place where the nuptials were stipulated, or consum- 
mated, or celebrated, the MSS. of Jornandes vary between two neigh- 
boring cities, Forli and Imola, (Forum Livii and Forum Comelii.) It 
is fair and easy to reconcile the Gothic historian with Olympiodorus, 
(see Mascou, f. viii. c. 46 :) but Tillemont grows peevish, and swears 
that it is not worth while to try to conciliate Jornandes with any good 
authors. 

137 The Visigoths (the subjects of Adolphus') restrained, by subse- 
quent laws, the prodigality of conjugal love. It was illegal for a hus 
band to make any gift or settlement for the benefit of his wife during 
the first year of their marriage ; and his liberality could not at any 
time exceed the tenth part of his property. The Lombards were 
somewhat more indulgent : they allowed the morgingcap immediately 
after the wedding night ; and this famous gift, the reward of virginity, 
might equal the fourth part of the husband's substance. Some cau- 
tious maidens, indeed, were wise enough to stipulate beforehand » 

67 



B98 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and magnificent spoils of her country. Fifty beautiful yourt*»i 
in silken robes, carried a basin in each hand : and one of 
these basins was filled with pieces of gold, tne other with 
precious stones of an inestimable value. Attalus, so long the 
sport of fortune, and of the Goths, was appointed to lead the 
chorus of the Hymeneal song ; and the degraded emperor 
might aspire to the praise of a skilful musician. The Barba- 
rians enjoyed the insolence of their triumph ; and the provin- 
cials rejoiced in this alliance, which tempered, by the mild 
influence of love and reason, the fierce spirit of their Gothic 
lord.* 3 * 

The hundred basins of gold and gems, presented to Pla- 
cidia at her nuptial feast, formed an inconsiderable portion of 
the Gothic treasures ; of which some extraordinary specimens 
may be selected from the history of the successors of Adol- 
phus. Many curious and costly ornaments of pure gold, 
enriched with jewels, were found in their palace of Narbonne, 
when it was pillaged, in the sixth century, by the Franks: 
sixty cups, or chalices ; fifteen patens, or plates, for the use 
of the communion ; twenty boxes, or cases, to hold the books 
of the Gospels : this consecrated wealth 139 was distributed by 
the son of Clovis among the churches of his dominions, and 
his pious liberality seems to upbraid some former sacrilege of 
the Goths. They possessed, with more security of conscience, 
the famous missorium, or great dish for the service of the 
table, of massy gold, of the weight of five hundred pounds, 
and of far superior value, from the precious stones, the exqui- 
site workmanship, and the tradition, that it had been presented 
by jEtius, the patrician, to Torismond, king of the Goths. 
One of the successors of Torismond purchased the aid of the 
French monarch by the promise of this magnificent gift. 
When he was seated on the throne of Spain, he delivered it 
with reluctance to the ambassadors of Dagobert ; despoiled 

present, which they were too sure of not deserving. See Montesquieu, 
Esprit des Loix, 1. xix. c. 25. Muratori, delle Autichita Italiane, torn. 
i. Dissertazion, xx. p. 243. 

138 -^y e owe th e curious detail of this nuptial feast to the historian 
Olympiodorus, ap. Photium, p. 185, 188. 

' w See in the great collection of the Historians of France by Dom 
Jouquet, torn. ii. Greg. Turonens. 1. iii. c. 10, p. 191. Gesta Regum 
Francorum, c. 23, p. 557. The anonymous writer, with an ignorance 
worthy of his times, supposes that these instruments of Christian 
worship had belonged to the temple of Solomon. If he has any 
meaning, it nxust be, that they were found in the sack of liome. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 299 

them on the road ; stipulated, after a long negotiation, th« 
inadequate ransom of two hundred thousand pieces of geld ; 
and preserved the missorium, as the pride of the Gothic treas- 
ury. 1 '° When that treasury, after the conquest of Spain, 
was plundered by the Arabs, they admired, and they have 
celebrated, another object still more remarkable ; a table of 
considerable size, of one single piece of solid emerald, 141 
encircled with three rows of fine pearls, supported by three 
hundred and sixty-five feet of gems and massy gold, and esti- 
mated at the price of five hundred thousand pieces of gold. 143 
Some portion of the Gothic treasures might be the gift of 
friendship, or the tribute of obedience ; but the far greatei 
part had been the fruits of war and rapine, the spoils of the 
empire, and perhaps of Rome. 

After the deliverance of Italy from the oppression of the 
Goths, some secret counsellor was permitted, amidst the fac- 
tions of the palace, to heal the wounds of that afflicted coun- 
fr y. 143 By a wise and humane regulation, the eight provinces 
which had been the most deeply injured, Campania, Tuscany 
Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Calabria, Bruttium, and Lucania, 
obtained an indulgence of five years : the ordinary tribute 
was reduced to one fifth, and even that fifth was destined to 
restore and support the useful institution of the public posts. 
Bv another law, the lands which had been left without inhab- 
itants or cultivation, were granted, with some diminution of 

140 Consult the following original testimonies in the Historians of 
France, torn. ii. Fredegarii Scholastici Chron. c. 73, p. 441. Fredegar. 
Fragment, hi. p. 463. Gesta Regis Dagobert, c. 29, p. 587. The ac- 
cession of Sisenand to the throne of Spain happened A. D. 631. The 
200,000 pieces of gold were appropriated by Dagobert to the founda- 
tion of the church of St. Denys. 

141 The president Goguet (Origine des Loix, &c, torn. ii. p. 239) is 
of opinion, that the stupendous pieces of emerald, the statues and 
columns which antiquity has placed in Egypt, at Gades, at Constanti- 
nople, were in reality artificial compositions of colored glass. The fa- 
mous emerald dish, which is shown at Genoa, is supposed to counte- 
nance the suspicion. 

* 48 Elmacin. Hist. Saracenica, 1. i. p. 85. Roderic. Tolet. Hist. Arab, 
c. b. Cardonne, Hist, de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous les Arabes, 
!«m. i. p. 83. It was called the Table of Solomon, according to the 
custom of the Orientals, who ascribe to that prince every ancient 
work of knowledge or magnificence. 

143 His three laws are inserted in the Theodosian Code, 1. xi. tit, 
xxviii. leg. 7. L. xiii. til. xi. leg. 12. L. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 14. The 
expressions of the last are very remarkable, since they contain not 
only u. oardon, but an apology. 



300 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



taxes, to the neighbors who should occupy, or the strangers 
who should solicit them ; and the new possessors were secured 
against the future claims of the fugitive proprietors. About 
the same time a general amnesty was published in the name 
of Honorius, to abolish the guilt and memory of all the invol- 
untary offences which had been committed by his unhappy 
subjects, during the term of the public disorder and calamity. 
A decent and respectful attention was paid to the restoration 
of the capital ; the citizens were encouraged to rebuild the 
edifices which had been destroyed or damaged by hostile fire ; 
and extraordinary supplies of corn were imported from the 
coast of Africa. The crowds that so lately fled before the 
sword of the Barbarians, were soon recalled by the hopes of 
plenty and pleasure ; and Albinus, praefect of Rome, informed 
the court, with some anxiety and surprise, that, in a single 
day, he had taken an account of the arrival of fourteen thou- 
Band strangers. 144 In less than seven years, the vestiges of 
the Gothic invasion were almost obliterated ; and the city 
appeared to resume its former splendor and tranquillity. The 
venerable matron replaced her crown of laurel, which had 
been ruffled by the storms of war ; and was still amused, in 
the last moment of her decay, with the prophecies of revenge, 
of victory, and of eternal dominion. 145 

This apparent tranquillity was soon disturbed by the 
approach of a hostile armament from the country which 
afforded the daily subsistence of the Roman people. Herac- 
lian, count of Africa, who, under the most difficult and dis- 
tressful circumstances, had supported, with active loyalty, 
the cause of Honorius, was tempted, in the year of his con 
sulship, to assume the character of a rebel, and the title of 
emperor. The ports of Africa were immediately filled with 

U4 Olympiodorus ap. Phot. p. 188. Philostorgius (1. xii. c. 5) ob- 
serves, that when Honorius made his triumphal entry, he encouraged 
the Romans, with his hand and voice, (/•«<£« *<*' yAc.VrT»„) to rebuild 
their city ; and the Chronicle of Prospei commends Heraclian, qui in 
Romanae urbis reparationem strenuum exhibuerat ministerium. 

145 The date of -*a* voyage of Claudius Rutilius Numatianus ia 
clogged with some diifiVuties ; but Scaliger has deduced from astro- 
nomical characters, that he left Rome the 24th of September, and em- 
barked at Porto the 9th of October, A. D. 416. See TLHemont, Hist 
des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 820. In this poetical Itinerary, Rutilhu 
(I. i. 115, &c.) addresses Rome in a high strain of cong«-3t»il4tioi; • 

Erige criiuile? Ii>uri3, seniemque 9acrati 
Verticis in virides, Roma, recinge comas, &o 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 301 

(he naval forces, at the head of which he prepared to invade 
Italy : and his fleet, when it cast anchor at the mouth of the 
Tyber, indeed surpassed the fleets of Xerxes and Alexander, 
if all the vessels, including the royal galley, and the smallest 
Doat, did actually amount to the incredible number of th/ee 
thousand two hundred. 146 Yet with such an armament, 
which might have subverted, or restored, the greatest em- 
pires of the earth, the African usurper made a very faint and 
feeble impression on the provinces of his rival. As he 
marched from the port, along the road which leads to the 
gates of Rome, he was encountered, terrified, and routed, by 
one of the Imperial captains ; and the lord of this mighty 
host, deserting his fortune and his friends, ignominiously fled 
with a single ship. 147 When Heraclian landed in the harbor 
of Carthage, he found that the whole province, disdaining 
such an unworthy ruler, had returned to their allegiance. 
The rebel was beheaded in the ancient temple of Memory ; 
his consulship was abolished ; 148 and the remains of his pri- 
vate fortune, not exceeding the moderate sum of four thou- 
sand pounds of gold, were granted to the brave Constantius, 
who had already defended the throne, which he afterwards 
shared with his feeble sovereign. Honorius viewed, with 
supine indifference, the calamities of Rome and Italy ; 149 but 
the rebellious attempts of Attalus and Heraclian, against his 
personal safety, awakened, for a moment, the torpid instinct 
of his nature. He was probably ignorant of the causes and 
events which preserved him from these impending dangers • 
and as Italy was no longer invaded by any foreign or domestic 
enemies, he peaceably existed in the palace of Ravenna, 

146 Orosius composed his history in Africa, only two years after the 
event ; yet his authority seems to be overbalanced by the improba- 
bility of the fact. The Chronicle of Marcellinus gives Heraclian 700 
ships and 3000 men : the latter of these numbers is ridiculously cor- 
rupt ; but the former would please me very much. 

1,7 The Chronicle of Idatius affirms, without the least appearance 
of truth, that he advanced as far as Otriculum, in TJmbria, where he 
was overthrown in a great battle, with the loss of 50,000 men. 

148 See Ood. Theod. 1. xv. tit. xiv. leg. 13. The legal acts per- 
formed in his name, even the manumission of slaves, were declared 
invalid, till they had been formally repeated. 

149 I have disdained to mention a very foolish, and probably a false, 
report, (Procop. de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2,) that Honorius was alarmed 
by the loss of Home, till he understood that it was not a favorite 
jhi jken of that name, but only the capital of the world, which had 
been lost. Yet even this story is some evidence of the public opinion. 



302 THE RECLINE AND FALL 

while the t) rants beyond the Alps were repeatcd.y vaf 
quiuned in the name, and by the lieutenants, of the son of 
Thuodosius. 150 In the course of a busy and interesting nar- 
rative I might possibly forget to mention the death of such a 
prince : and I shall therefore take the precaution of observ- 
ing, in this place, that he survived the last siege of Rome 
about thirteen years. 

The usurpation of Constantine, who received the purple 
from the legions of Britain, had been successful, and seemed 
to be secure. His title was acknowledged, from the wall of 
Antoninus to the columns of Hercules; and, in the midst of 
the public disorder he shared the dominion, and the plunder, 
of Gaul and Spain, with the tribes of Barbarians, whose 
destructive progress was no longer checked by the Rhine or 
Pyrenees. Stained with the blood of the kinsmen of Hono- 
rius, he extorted, from the court of Ravenna, with which he 
secretly corresponded, the ratification of his rebellious claims. 
Constantine engaged himself, by a solemn promise, to deliver 
Italy from the Goths ; advanced as far as the banks of the 
Po ; and after alarming, rather than assisting, his pusillani- 
mous ally, hastily returned to the palace of Aries, to cele- 
brate, with intemperate luxury, his vain and ostentatious tri- 
umph. But this transient prosperity was soon interrupted 
and destroyed by the revolt of Count Gerontius, the bravest 
of his generals ; who, during the absence of his son Constans, 
a prince already invested with the Imperial purple, had been 
left to command in the provinces of Spain. From some 
reason, of which we are ignorant, Gerontius, instead of as- 
suming the diadem, placed it on the head of his friend Max- 
im us, who fixed his residence at Tarragona, while the active 
count pressed forwards, through the Pyrenees, to surprise the 
two emperors, Constantine and Constans, before they could 
prepare for their defence. The son was made prisoner at 
Vienna, and immediately put to death : and the unfortunate 
youth had scarcely leisure to deplore the elevation of hit* 

n The materials for the lives of all these tyrants are taken from 
six contemporary historians, two Latins and four Greeks : Orosius, 1. 
vii. c. 42, p. 581, 582, 583; llenatus Profuturus Frigeridus. apuu 
Gregor. Turon. 1. ii. c. 9, in the Historians of France, torn, ii p. 165. 
106; Zosimus, 1. vi. p. 370, 371 ; Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p. 180, 
181, 184, 185; Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 12, 13, 14, 15; and Philostoi gius, 
L xii. c. 5, 6, with Godefroy's Dissertation, p. 477 — 481 ; besides th« 
four Chronicles of Prosper Tyro, Prosper of Aquitain, Iiat ; .us, *a<i 
ftiarcellinus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 303 

family ; which nad tempted, or compelled him, sacrilegiously 
to desert the peaceful obscurity of the monastic life. Th° 
father maintaine 1 a siege within the walls of Aries ; but thoso 
walls must have yielded to the assailants, had not the city 
been unexpectedly relieved by the approach of an Italian 
army. The name of Honorius, the proclamation of a lawful 
emperor, astonished the contending parties of the rebels. 
Gerontius, abandoned by his own troops, escaped to the con- 
fines of Spain ; and rescued his name from oblivion, by the 
Roman courage which appeared to animate the last momenls 
of his life. In the middle of the night, a great body of hig 
perfidious soldiers surrounded and attacked his house, which 
he had strongly barricaded. His wife, a valiant friend of the 
nation of the Alani, and some faithful slaves, were sti'l attached 
to his person ; and he used, with so much skill and resolutions 
large magazine of darts and arrows, that above three hundred 
of the assailants lust their lives in the attempt. His slaves 
when all the missile weapons were spent, fled at the dawn of 
day ; and Gerontius, if he had not been restrained by con 
jugal tenderness, might have imitated their example ; till tlw* 
soldiers, provoked by such obstinate resistance, applied fire 
on all sides to the house. In this fatal extremity, he com- 
plied with the request of his Barbarian friend, and cut off his 
head. The wife of Gerontius, who conjured him not to aban- 
don her to a life of misery and disgrace, eagerly presented 
her neck to his sword ; and the tragic scene was terminated 
by the death of the count himself, who, after three ineffectual 
strokes, drew a short dagger, and sheathed it in his heart. 151 
The unprotected Maximus, whom he had invested with the 
purple, was indebted for his life to the contempt that was 
entertained of his power and abilities. The caprice of .the 
Barbarians, who ravaged Spain, once more seated this Impe 
rial phantom on the throne : but they soon resigned him lo 
the justice of Honorius ; and the tyrant Maximus, after he 
had been shown to the people of Ravenna and Rome, was 
publicly executed. 

The general, (Constantius was his name,) who raised by hia 
approach the siege of Aries, and dissipated the troops of 

161 The praises which Sozomen has bestowed on this act of despair, 
appear strange and scandalous in the mouth of an ecclesiastical his- 
fonar. He observes (p. 379) that the wile of Gerontius was a Chris- 
•tan ; <»ud that her death was worthy of her religion, and of immortal 
&ine. 



304 • THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Gerontius, was born a Roman ; and this remukable distinction 
is strongly expressive of the decay of military spirit among 
the subjects of the empire. The strength and majesty which 
were conspicuous in the person of tltat general, 152 marked 
him, in the popular opinion, as a candidate worthy of the 
throne, which he afterwards ascended. In the familiar inter- 
course of private life, his manners were cheerful and en- 
gaging ; nor would he sometimes disdain, in the license of 
convivial mirth, to vie with the pantomimes themselves, in 
the exercises of their ridiculous profession. But when the 
trumpet summoned him to arms ; when he mounted his horse, 
and, bending down (for such was his singular practice) almost 
upon the neck, fiercely rolled his large animated eyes round 
the field, Constantius then struck terror into his foes, and 
inspired his soldiers with the assurance of victory. He had 
received from the court of Ravenna the important commission 
of extirpating rebellion in the provinces of the West ; and the 
pretended emperor Constantine, after enjoying a short and 
anxious respite, was again besieged in his capital by the arms 
uf a more formidable enemy. Yet this interval allowed time 
"or a successful negotiation with the Franks and Alemanni ; 
and his ambassador, Edobic, soon returned at the head of an 
army, to disturb the operations of the siege of Aries. The 
Roman general, instead of expecting the attack in his lines, 
boldly, and perhaps wisely, resolved to pass the Rhone, and 
to meet the Barbarians. His measures were conducted with 
so much skill and secrecy, that, while they engaged the 
infantry of Constantius in the front, they were suddenly 
attacked, surrounded, and destroyed, by the cavalry of his 
lieutenant Ulphilas, who had silently gained an advantageous 
post in their rear. The remains of the army of Edobic were 
preserved by flight or submission, and their leader escaped 
from the field of battle to the house of a faithless friend ; who 
too clearly understood, that the head of his obnoxious guest 
would be an acceptable and lucrative present for the Imperial 
general. On this occasion, Constantius behaved with the 
magnanimity of a genuine Roman. Subduing, or suppressing, 



,5S Eldog a^ioyrvQuvrliog, is the expression of Olympiodorus, whicu 
he seems to have borrowed from JEolus, a tragedy of Euripides, of 
which some fragments only are now extant, (Euripid. Barnes, torn. ii. 
p. 443, ver. 38.) This allusion may prove, that the ancient tragic 
poeta were still familiar to the Greeks of the fifth century. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 305 

every sent men., of jealousy, he publicly acknowledged the 
merit and services of Ulphilas ; but he turned with horror from 
the assassin of Edobic ; and sternly intimated his commands, 
that the camp should no loiger be polluted by the presence ol 
an ungrateful wretch, who had violated the laws of friendship 
and hospitality. The usurper, who beheld, from the walls of 
Aries, the ruin of his last hopes, was tempted to place some 
confidence in so generous a conqueror. He required a solemn 
promise for his security ; and after receiving, by the imoosi- 
tion of hands, the sacred character of a Christian Presbyter, 
he ventured to open the gates of the city. But he soon ex- 
perienced that the principles of honor and integrity, which 
might regulate the ordinary conduct of Constantius, were 
superseded by the loose doctrines of political morality. The 
Roman general, indeed, refused to sully his laurels with the 
blood of Constantino ; but the abdicated emperor and his son 
Julian, were sent under a strong guard into Italy ; and before 
they reached the palace of Ravenna, they met the ministers 
of death. 

At a time when it was universally confessed, that almost 
every man in the empire was superior in personal merit to the 
princes whom the accident of their birth had seated on the 
throne, a rapid succession of usurpers, regardless of the fate 
of their predecessors, still continued to arise. This mischief 
was peculiarly felt in the provinces of Spain and Gaul, wheie 
the principles of order and obedience had been extinguished 
by war and rebellion. Before Constantine resigned the purple, 
and in the fourth month of the siege of Aries, intelligence was 
received in the Imperial camp, that Jovinus had assumed the 
diadem at Mentz, in the Upper Germany, at the instigation of 
Goar, king of the Alani, and of Guntiarius, king of the Bur- 
gundians ; and that the candidate, on whom they had bestowed 
the empire, advanced with a formidable host of Barbarians, 
from the banks of the Rhine to those of the Rhone. Every 
circumstance is dark and extraordinary in the short history 
of the reign of Jovinus. It was natural to expect, that a 
brave and skilful general, at the head of a victorious army, 
would have asserted, in a field of battle, the justice of the 
cause of Honorius. The hasty letreat of Constantius" might 
be justified by weighty reasons ; but he resigned, without a 
struggle, the possession of Gaul ; and Dardanus, the Praetorian 
prefect, ist recorded as the only magistrate who refuse! to 
67* 



306 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

yield obedience to the usurper. 153 When the Goths, two years 
after the shge of Rome, established their quarters id Gaul, it 
was natural to suppose that their inclinations could be divided 
only between the emperor Honorius, with whom they had 
formed a recent alliance, and the degraded Attalus, whom they 
reserved in their camp for the occasional purpose of acting 
the part of a musician or a monarch. Yet in a moment of 
disgust, (for which it is not easy to assign a cause, or a date,) 
Adolphus connected himself with the usurper of Gaul ; and 
imposed on Attalus the ignominious task of negotiating the 
treaty, which ratified his own disgrace. We are again sur- 
prised to read, that, instead of considering the Gothic alliance 
as the firmest support of his throne, Jovinus upbraided, in 
dark and ambiguous language, the officious importunity of 
Attalus ; that, scorning the advice of his great ally, he in 
vested with the purple his brother Sebastian ; and that he 
most imprudently accepted the service of Sarus, when that 
gallant chief, the soldier of Honorius, was provoked to desert 
the court of a prince, who knew not how to reward or punish. 
Adolphus, educated among a race of warriors, who esteemed 
the duty of revenge as the most precious and sacred portion 
of their inheritance, advanced with a body of ten thousand 
Goths to encounter the hereditary enemy of the house of Balti. 
He attacked Sarus at an unguarded moment, when he was 
accompanied only by eighteen or twenty of his valiant follow- 
ers. United by friendship, animated by despair, but at length 
oppressed by multitudes, this band of heroes deserved the 
esteem, without exciting the compassion, of their enemies . 
and the lion was no sooner token in the toils, 154 than he was 



153 Sidonius Apollinaris, (1. v. epist. 9. p. 139, and Not. Sirmond p. 
68,) after stigmatizing the inconstancy of Constantine, the facility of 
Jovinus, the perfidy of Gerontius, continues to observe, that all the 
vices of these tyrants were united in the person of Dardanus. Yet 
the praefect supported a respectable character in the world, and even 
in the church ; held a devout correspondency w ; th St. Augustin and 
St. Jcrom ; and was complimented by the latter (torn. iii. p. 66) with 
the epithets of Christianorum Nobilissime, and Nobilium Cliristia- 
nissime. 

u * The expression may be understood almost lite-ally : Olympiodo- 
us says, uo/.is aUxy.ua; tluiympav. 2U.xx.uc (or «a«<)* may signify a 



• Bekker in his Photius reads a6«Koa, but in the new edition of the By 
tannines, he retains ad/aeon, which is translated Scutis, as if they protected 
him with their shields, in crder to take him alive. Fhotms, Bekker, p 
68 — M. 



UV THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 307 



instantly despatched. The death ot'Sarus dissolved the loose 
alliance which Adolphus still maintained with the usurpers ui 
Gaul. He again listened to the dictates of love and 



r 



*S 



pru 
dence ; and soon satisfied the brother of Placidia, by the assur- 
ance that he would immediately transmit to the palace of 
Ravenna the heads of the two tyrants, Jovinus and Sebastian. 
The king of the Goths executed his promise without difficulty 
or delay ; the helpless brothers, unsupported by any personal 
merit, were abandoned by their Barbarian auxiliaries ; and 
the short opposition of Valentia was expiated by the ruin of 
one of the noblest cities of Gaul. The emperor, chosen b) 
the Roman senate, who had been promoted, degraded, insulted, 
restored, again degraded, and again insulted, was finally aban- 
doned to his fate ; but when the Gothic king withdrew his pro- 
tection, he was restrained, by pity or contempt, from offering 
any violence to the person of Attalus. The unfortunate Attalus, 
who was left without subjects or allies, embarked in one of the 
ports of Spain, in search of some secure and solitary retreat : 
but he was intercepted at sea, conducted to the presence of 
Honorius, led in triumph through the streets of Rome or 
Ravenna, and publicly exposed to the gazing multitude, on the 
second step of the throne of his invincible conqueror. The 
same measure of punishment, with which, in the days of his 
prosperity, he was accused of menacing his rival, was inflicted 
on Attalus himself; he was condemned, after the amputation 
of two fingers, to a perpetual exile in the Isle of Lipari, where 
he was supplied with the decent necessaries of l : %. The 
remainder of the reign of Honorius was undisturbed by rebel- 
lion ; and it may be observed, that, in the space of five years, 
seven usurpers had yielded to the fortune of a prince, who 
was himself incapable either of counsel or of action. 

The situation of Spain, separated, on all sides, from the 
enemies of Rome, by the sea, by the mountains, and by inter- 
mediate provinces, had secured the long tranquillity of that 
remote and sequestered country ; and we may observe, as a 
sure symptom of domestic happiness, that, in a period of four 
hundred years, Spain furnished very few materials to the 
history of the Roman empire. The footsteps of the Barba- 



«ack, or a loose garment ; and this metl.od of entangling and catching 
an enemy, laoiniis contortis. was much practised by the Huns, (Am- 
mia'i. \xxi. 2.) II fat prw vif avec des filets, is tre translatic v. of 
ulleiiniit. Ili -r. ties Empereurs, torn v. p. G08. 



308 THL DECLINE AND FALL 

rians, who, in the reign of Gaiiienus, had penetrated beyond 
the Pyrenees, were soon obliterated by the return of peace 
and in the fourth century of the Christian aera, the cities of 
Emerita, or Merida, of Corduba, Seville, Bracara, and Tar- 
ragona, were numbered with the most illustrious of the Roman 
world. The various plenty of the animal, the vegetable, and 
the mineral kingdoms, was improved and manufactured by 
the skill of an industrious people ; and the peculiar advantages 
of naval stores contributed to support an extensive and 
profitable trade. 155 The arts and sciences nourished under 
the protection of the emperors ; and if the character of the 
Spaniards was enfeebled by peace ana servitude, the hostile 
approach of the Germans, who had spread terror and desola- 
tion from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, seemed to rekindle some 
sparks of military ardor. As long as the defence of the 
mountains was intrusted to the hardy and faithful militia of 
the country, they successfully repelled the frequent attempts 
of the Barbarians. But no sooner had the national troops 
been compelled to resign their post to the Honorian bands, in 
the service of Constantino, than the gates of Spain were 
treacherously betrayed to ^e public enemy, about ten months 
before the sack of Rome by the Goths. 156 . The consciousness 
of guilt, and the thirst of rapine, prompted the mercenaiy 
guards of the Pyrenees to desert their station ; to invite the 
arms of the Suevi, the Vandals, and the Alani ; and to swell 
the torrent which was poured with irresistible violence from 
the frontiers of Gaul to the sea of Africa. The misfortunes 
of Spain may be described in the language of its most 
eloquent historian, who has concisely expressed the passionate, 
and perhaps exaggerated, declamations of contemporary 
writers. 157 "The irruption of these nations was followed by 



155 "Without recurring to the more ancient writers, I shall quote 
three respectable testimonies which belong to the fourth and seventh 
centuries ; the Expositio totius Mundi, (p. lf>, in the third volume of 
Hudson's Minor Geographers,) Ausonius, (de Claris Urbibus, p. 242, 
edit. Toll.,) an 1 Isidore of Seville, (Praefat. ad Chron. ap. Grotium, 
Hist. Goth. 707.) Many particulars relative to the fertility and trade 
of Spain may be found in Nonnius, Hispania Illustrata ; and in Huet, 
Hist, du Commerce des Anciens, e. 40, p. 228 — 234. 

Ise The date is accurately fixed in the Fasti, and the Chronicle of 
Idatius. Orosius (1. vii. c. 40, p. 578) imputes the loss of Spain t& 
(he treachery of the Honorians; while Sozomen (1. ix. e. 12) accas<>s 
only their negligence. 

:s7 Idatius wishes to apply the prophecies of Daniel to tlese ui 



OF .^HE ROMAN EMPIRE. 309 

the moat dreadful calamities; as the Barbarians exercised 
their indiscriminate cruelty on the fortunes of the Romans 
and the Spaniards, and ravaged with eq^al fury the citiea 
and the open country. The progress of famine reduced the 
miserable inhabitants to feed on the flesh of their fellow- 
creatures ; and even the wild beasts, who multiplied, without 
control, in the desert, were exasperated, by the taste of blood, 
and the impatience of hunger, boldly to attack and devour 
their human prey. Pestilence soon appeared, the inseparable 
companion of famine ; a large proportion of the people was 
swept away ; and the groans of the dying excited only the 
envy of their surviving friends. At length the Barbarians, 
satiated with carnage and rapine, and afflicted by the conta- 
gious evils which they themselves had introduced, fixed their 
permanent seats in the depopulated country. The ancient 
Gallicia, whose limits included the kingdom of Old Castille, 
was divided between the Suevi and the Vandals ; the Alani 
were scattered over the provinces of Carthagena and Lusitania, 
from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean : and the fruit- 
ful territory of Bcetica was allotted to the Silingi, another 
branch of the Vandalic nation. After regulating this partition, 
the conquerors contracted with their new subjects some 
reciprocal engagements of protection and obedience : the 
Jands were again cultivated ; and the towns and villages were 
again occupied by a captive people. The greatest part of the 
Spaniards was even disposed to prefer this new condition of 
poverty and barbarism, to the severe oppressions of the Ro- 
man government ; yet there were many who still asserted 
their native freedom ; and who refused, more especially 
\n the mountains of Gallicia, to submit to the Barbarian 
yoke." 158 

The important present of the heads of Jovinus and Sebas- 
tian had approved the friendship of Adolphus, and restored 
Giul to the obedience of his brother Honorius. Peace was 
incompatible with the situation and temper of the king of the 
(jioths. He readily accepted the proposal of turning his vic- 

tional calamities ; and is therefore obliged to accommodate the cir- 
cumstances of the event to the terms of the prediction. 

laS Mariana de Rebus Hispanicis, 1. v. c. 1, torn. i. p. 148. Hag 
Comit. 1733. He had read, in Orosius, (1. vii. c. 41, p. 579,) that the 
Barbarians had turned their swords into ploughshares ; and thatman* 
of the Provincials had preferred inter Rarbaros pauperero libertatem 
iju-un inter Romanos tributariam solicitudinem, sustinere. 



310 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

torious arms against the Barbarians of Spain ;* the troops of 
Constantius intercepted his communication with the seaport* 
of Gaul, and gently pressed his march towards the Pyrenees : 1M 
he passed the mountains, and surprised, in the name of the 
emperor, the city of Barcelona The fondness of Adolphus 
for his Roman bride, was not abated by time or possession ; 
and the birth of a son, surnamed, from his illustrious grand- 
sire, Theodosius, appeared to fix him forever in the interest 
of the republic. The loss of that infant, whose remains were 
deposited in a silver coffin in one of the churches near Bar- 
celona, afflicted his parents ; but the grief of the Gothic king 
was suspended by the labors of the field ; and the course of 
his victories was soon interrupted by domestic treason. He 
had imprudently received into his service one of the followers 
of Sarus ; a Barbarian of a flaring spirit, but of a diminutive 
stature ; whose secret desire of revenging the death of his 
beloved patron was continually irritated by the sarcasms of 
his insolent master. Adolphus was assassinated in the palace 
of Barcelona ; the laws of the succession were violated by a 
tumultuous faction ; ltiU and a stranger to the royal race, 
Singeric, the brother of Sarus himself, was seated on the 
Gothic throne. The first act of his reign was the inhuman 
murder of the six children of Adolphus, the issue of a former 
marriage, whom he tore, without pity, from the feeble arms 
of a venerable bishop. 161 The unfortunate Placidia, instead 
of the respectful compassion, which she might have excited 
.<n the most savage breasts, was treated with cruel and wanton 
insult. The daughter of the emperor Theodosius, confounded 
among a crowd of vulgar capnves, was compelled to march 
on foot above twelve miles, before the horse of a Barba- 
rian, the assassin of a husband whom Placidia loved and 
lamented. 102 



159 This mixture oi force and persuasion may be fairly inferred 
from comparing Orosius and Jornandes, the Roman and the tioflut 
historian. 

160 According to the system of Jornandes, (c. 33, p. 659,) the true 
hereditary right to the Gothic sceptre was vested in the Amuli ; but 
those princes, who were the vassals of the Huns, commanded the 
tribes of the Ostrogoths in some distant parts of Germany or Scytliia. 

161 The murder is related by Olympiodorus : but the number of 
the children is taken from an epitaph of suspected authority. 

162 The death of Adolphus was celebrated at Constantinople with 
illuminations and Circensian games. (See Chron. Alexandria.) It 
may seem doubtful whether the Greeks waiv a tuaied, on tii.s ucea- 
iiou, by their haired of the Barbarians, or oi ihe Latins. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 811 

Bu: Pla :idia soon obtained the pleasure of revenge : and 
ihe view of her ignominious sufferings might rouse an indig- 
nant people against the tyrant, who was assassinated on the 
seventh day of his usurpation. After the death of Singerie, 
the free choice of the nation bestowed the Gothic sceptre on 
Wallia ; whose warlike and ambitious temper appeared, in th« 
beginning of his reign, extremely hostile to the republic. He 
marched in arms from Barcelona to the shores of the Atlan- 
tic Ocean whicli the ancients levered and dreaded as the 
boundary of the world. But when he reached the southern 
promontory of Spain, 11 ' 3 and, from the rock now covered by 
the fortress of Gibraltar, contemplated the neighboring and 
fertile coast of Africa, Wallia resumed the designs of con- 
quest, which had been interrupted by the death of Alaric. 
The winds and waves again disappointed the enterprise of the 
Goths ; and the minds of a superstitious people were deeply 
affected by the repeated disasters of storms and shipwrecks. 
In this disposition, the successor of Adolphus no longer refused 
to listen to a Roman ambassador, whose proposals were 
enforced by the real, or supposed, approach of a numerous 
army, under the conduct of the brave Constantius. A solemn 
treaty was stipulated and observed ; Placidia was honorably 
restored to her brother ; six hundred thousand measures of 
wheat were delivered to the hungry Goths ; 164 and Wallia 
engaged to draw his sword in the service of the empire. A 
bloody war was instantly excited among the Barbarians of 
Spain ; and the contending princes are said to nave addressed 
their letters, their ambassadors, and their hostages, to the 
throne of the Western emperor, exhorting him to remain a 
tranquil spectator of their contest ; the events of which must 
be favorable to the Romans, by the mutual slaughter of their 
common enemies. 165 The Spanish war was obstinately sup- 



w Quod Tarteasiaoia avus hujus Vallia terris 

Vandalicas turraas, et juncti Martis Alanos 
Stravit, ct occiduam texere cadavera Calpen. 

Sidon. Apollinar. in Panegyr. An^nem. 363, 
p. 300, edit. Sirmond. 

1,4 This supply was very acceptahle : the Goths were insolted by 
Lhe Vandals of Spain with the epithet of Truli, because, in their ex- 
treme distress, they had given a piece of gold for a trula, or ar,out 
half a pound of Hour. Olympiod. apud Phot p. 189. 

114 Orosius inserts a copy of these pretended letters. Tu cum om- 
nibus pacein habe, omniumque ol^ides accipe ; nos nobis joniiigimut* 



812 THE DECLINE AKD FALL 

ported, during three campaigns, with desperate valor, and 
various success ; and the martial achievements of Wal!ia 
diffused through the empire the superior renown of the Gothic 
hero. He exterminated the Silingi, who had irretrievably 
ruined the elegant plenty of the province of Beetica. He 
slew, in battle, the king of the Alani ; and the remains of those 
Scythian wanderers, who escaped from the field, instead of 
choosing a new leader, humbly sought a refuge under the 
standard of the Vandals, wiih whom they were ever afterwards 
confounded. The Vandals themselves, and the Suevi, yielded 
to the efforts of the invincible Goths. The promiscuous mul- 
titude of Barbarians, whose retreat had been intercepted, weie 
driven into the mountains of Gallicia ; where they still contin- 
ued, in a narrow compass and on a barren soil, to exercise 
their domestic and implacable hostilities. In the pride of 
victory, Wallia was faithful to his engagements : he restored 
his Spanish conquests to the obedience of Honorius ; and the 
tyranny of the Imperial officers soon reduced an oppressed 
people to regret the time of their Barbarian servitude. While 
the event of the war was still doubtful, the first advantages 
obtained by the arms of Wallia had encouraged the court of 
Ravenna to decree the honors of a triumph to their feeble 
sovereign. He entered Rome like the ancient conquerors of 
nations ; and if the monuments of servile corruption had not 
long since met with the fate which they deserved, we should 
probably find that a crowd of poets and orators, of magistrates 
and bishops, applauded the fortune, the wisdom, and the 
uivincible courage, of the emperor Honorius. 106 

Such a triumph might have been justly claimed by the ally 
of Rome, if Wallia, before he repassed the Pyrenees, had ex- 
tirpated the seeds of the Spanish war. His victorious Goths, 
forty-three years after they had passed the Danube, were 
established, according to the faith of treaties, in the possession 
of the second Aquitain; a maritime province between the 
Garonne and the Loire, under the civil and ecclesiastical juris- 



nobis perimus, tibi vincimus ; immortalis vcro qurestus erit Reipuo- 
lieae tuse, si utrique percamus. The idea is just ; but I cannot per- 
suade myself that it was entertained, or expressed, by the Barbarians. 
166 ltomam triumphans ingreditur, is the formal expression of Pros- 
per's Chronicle. The facts which relate to the death of Adolphus, 
ind the exploits of Wallia, are related from Olympiodorus, (ap. 1'hot 
p. 188,, Orosius, (1. vii. c. 43, p. 584— ,587.) Jornandes, (de lifhat 
Getieis, c. 31. 32,") and the Chronicles of Idatius and Isidore. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 313 

diction of Bourdeaux. That metiopolis, advantageously situ- 
ated for the trade of the ocean, was built in a regular and 
elegant form ; and its numerous inhabitants were distinguished 
among the Gauls by their wealth, their learning, and the polite- 
ness of their manners. The adjacent province, which has 
been fondly compared to the garden of Eden, is blessed with 
a fruitful soil, and a temperate climate ; the face of the coun- 
try displayed the arts and the rewards of industry ; and the 
Goths, after their martial toils, luxuriously exhausted the rich 
vineyards of Aqurtain. ]ti7 The Gothic limits were enlarged 
by the additional gift of some neighboring dioceses ; and the 
successors of Alaric fixed their royal residence at Thoulouse, 
which included five populous quarters, or cities, within the 
spacious circuit of its walls. About the same time, in the last 
years of the reign of Honorius, the Goths, the Burgunmans, 
and the Franks, obtained a permanent seat and dominion in 
the provinces of Gaul. The liberal grant of the usurper Jovi- 
nus to his Burgundian allies, was confirmed by the lawful em- 
peror ; the lands of the First, or Upper, Germany, were ceded 
to those formidable Barbarians ; and they gradually occupied, 
either by conquest or treaty, the two provinces which still 
retain, with the titles of Duchy and of County, the national 
appellation of Burgundy. 108 The Franks, the valiant and 
faithful allies of the Roman republic, were soon tempted to 
imitate the invaders, whom they had so bravely resisted. 
Treves, the capital of Gaul, was pillaged by their lawless 
bands ; and the humble colony, which they so long maintained 
in the district of Toxandia, in Brabant, insensibly multiplied 
along the banks of the Meuse and Scheld, till their independ- 
ent power filled the whole extent of the Second, or Lower, 
Germany. These facts may be sufficiently justified by his- 
toric evidence ; but the foundation of the French monarchy 
by Pharamond, the conquests, the laws, and even the exist- 



187 Ausonius (de Claris Urbibus, p. 257 — 262) celebrates Bcm- 
ileaux with the partial affection of a native. See in Salvian (de Gu- 
bern. Dei, p. 228. Paris, 1608) a florid description of the province* 
of Aquitain and Novempopulania. 

ISS Orosins (1. vii. c. 32, p. 550) commends the mildness and mod- 
esty of these Burgundians, who treated their subjects of Gaul as their 
Christian brethren. Mascou has illustrated the origin of their "kins:- 
dom in the four first annotations at the end of his laborious History 
of the Ancient Germans, vol. ii. p. 555 — 572. of the English traiisla 
tion. 



314 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ence, of that he o, have been justly arraigned by the impartial 
severity of modem criticism. 169 

The ruin of the opulent provinces of Gaul may be dated 
from the establishment of these Barbarians, whose alliance 
was dangerous and oppressive, and who were capriciously 
impelled, by interest or passion, to violate the public peace. 
A heavy and partial ransom was imposed on the surviving 
provincials, who had escaped the calamities of war; the fair- 
est and most fertile lands were assigned to the rapacious 
strangers, for the use of their families, their slaves, and their 
cattle ; and the trembling natives relinquished with a sigh the 
inheritance of their fathers. Yet these domestic misfortunes, 
which are seldom the lot of a vanquished people, had been 
tsit and inflicted by the Romans themselves, not only in the 
insolence of foreign conquest, but in the madness of civil dis- 
cord. The Triumvirs proscribed eighteen of the most flour- 
phing colonies of Italy ; and distributed their lands and houses 
to the veterans who revenged the death of Caesar, and op- 
pressed the liberty of their country. Two poets of unequal 
fame have deplored, in similar circumstances, the loss of theii 
patrimony ; but the legionaries of Augustus appear to have 
surpassed, in violence and injustice, the Barbarians who in- 
vaded Gaul under the reign of Honorius. It was not without 
the utmost difficulty that Virgil escaped from the sword of the 
Centurion, who had usurped his farm in the neighborhood of 
Mantua; 170 but Paulinus of Bourdeaux received a sum of money 

169 See Mascou, 1. viii. ti. 43, 44, 4,5. Except in a short and suspi- 
cious line of the Chronicle of Prosper, (in torn. i. p. 638.) the name 
of Pharamond is never mentioned before the seventh century. The 
author of the Gesta Francorum (in torn. ii. p. 543) suggests, probably 
enough, that the choice of Pharamond, or at least of a king, w.ia 
recommended to the Franks by his father Marcomir, who was an exue 
in Tuscany.* 

,7U O Lycida, vivi pervenimus : advena nostri 

(Quod nunquam veriti sumus) ut possessor agelli 
Diseret : Haec mea sunt ; veteres migrate coloni. 
Nunc victi tristes, &c. 
Bee the whole of the ninth eclogue, with the useful Commentary of 



* The first mention of Pharamond is in the Gesta Francorum, assigned 
to about the year 720. St. Martin, iv. 469. The modern French writers) 
in general subscribe to the opinion of Thierry '■ Faramond fils de Mar- 
komir, quoique son nom soit bien germanique, et son r gne possible, ne 
figure pas dans les histoives les plus digues de foi. A. Thierry, Lettres 

* 1'Histoire de France, p. 90. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 315 

from his Gothic purchaser, which he accepted with pleasure and 
surprise ; and, though it was much inferior to the real value of 
his estate, this act of rapine was disguised by some colors of 
moderatioii and equity m The odious name of conquerors 
was softened into the mild and friendly appellation of the guests 
of the Romans ; and the Barbarians of Gaul, more especially 
the Goths, repeatedly declared, that they were bound to the peo- 
ple by the ties of hospitality, and to the emperor by the duty of 
allegiance and military service. The title of Honorius and his 
successors, their laws, and their civil magistrates, were still 
respected in the provinces of Gaul, of which they had resigned 
the possession to the Barbarian allies ; and the kings, who ex- 
ercised a supreme and independent authority over their native 
subjects, ambitiously solicited the more honorable rank of 
master-generals of the Imperial armies. 172 Such was the in- 
voluntary reverence which the Roman name still impressed 
on the minds of those warriors, who had borne away in tri- 
umph the spoils of the Capitol. 

Whilst Italy was ravaged by the Goths, and a succession 
of feeble tyrants oppressed the provinces beyond the Alps, 
the British island separated itself from the body of the Roman 
empire. The regular forces, which guarded that remote 
province, had been gradually withdrawn ; and Britain was 
abandoned without defence to the Saxon pirates, and the 
savages of Ireland and Caledonia. The Britons, reduced to 
this extremity, no longer relied on the tardy and doubtful aid 
of a declining monarchy. They assembled in arms, repelled 
the invaders, and rejoiced in the important discovery of their 
own strength. 173 Afflicted by similar calamities, and actuated 



Servius. Fifteen miles of the Mantuan territory were assigned to 
the veterans, with a reservation, in favor of the inhabitants, of three 
miles round the city. Even in this favor they were cheated by Alfa- 
nus Varus, a famous lawyer, and one of th» commissioners, who 
measured eight hundred paces of water and morass. 

171 See the remarkable passage of the Eucharisticon of P&ulinus, 
675, apud Mascou, 1. viii. c. 42. 

172 This important truth is established by the accuracy of Tillemont, 
-'Hist, des Emp. torn. v. p. 641,) and by the ingenuity of the Abbe 
Dubos, (Hist, de l'Etablissement de la Monarchic Francoise dans lea 
Gaules, torn. i. p. 259.) 

173 Zosimus (1. vi. 376, 383) relates in a few words the revolt of 
bntain and Armorica. Our antiquarians, even the great Cambden 
himself, have been betrayed into many gross errors, by their imperfect 
knowledge of the history of the continent. 



316 THE DECLINE IND FALL 

by the same spirit, the Armorican provinces (a name win 
comprehended the maritime countries of Gaul between tha 
Seine and the Loire m ) resolved to imitate the example of the 
neighboring island. They expelled the Roman magistrates, who 
acted under the authority of the usurper Constantine ; and a free 
government was established among a people who had so long 
been subject to the arbitrary will of a master. The independ- 
ence of Britain and Armorica was soon confirmed by Honorius 
himself, the lawful emperor of the West ; and the letters, by 
which he committed to the new states the care of their own 
safety, might be interpreted as an absolute and perpetual 
abdication of the exercise and rights of sovereignty. This ^ 
interpretation was, in some measure, justified by the event. 
After the usurpers of Gaul had successively fallen, the mari- 
time provinces were restored to the empire. Yet their 
obedience was imperfect and precarious : the vain, inconstant, 
rebellious disposition of the people, was incompatible either 
with freedom or servitude ; 175 and Armorica, though it could 
not long maintain the form of a republic, 176 was agitated by 
frequent and destructive revolts. Britain was irrecoverably 
lost. 177 But as the emperors wisely acquiesced in the inde- 

174 The limits of Armorica are defined by two national geographers, 
Messieurs De Valois and D'Anville, in their Nutitias of Ancient Gaul. 
The word had been used in a more extensive, and was afterwards, 
contracted to a much narrower, signification. 

175 Gens inter geminos notissima clauditur amnes, 
Armoricana prius veteri cognomine dicta. 
Torva, ferox, ventosa, procax, incauta, rebellis ; 
Inconstans, disparque sibi novitatis amore ; 
Prodiga verborum, sed non et prodiga facti. 

Erricus, Monach. in Vit. St. Germani. 1. v. apud Vales. Notit. Gallia- 
rum, p. 43. Valesius alleges several testimonies to confirm this char- 
acter ; to which I shall add the evidence of the presbyter Constantine, 
(A. D. 488,) who, in the life of St. Germain, calls the Armorican 
rebels mobilcm et indiscijjUnatum populum. See the Historians of 
France, torn. i. p. 643. 

" 6 I thought it necessary to enter my protest against this part of 
the system of the Abbe Uubos, which Montesquieu has so vigorously 
opposed. See Esprit des Loix, 1. xxx. c. 24.* 

177 Bf)truii iuv uivjui ' Fw^iuiiui aiucndnaa&cct ovxixi tO/ov, are the 
words of Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2, p. 181, Louvre edition) 



* See Memoires de Gallet sur l'Origine des Bretons, quoted by Daru 
Uistoire de Bretagne, i. p. 57. According to the opinion of these authors 
the government of Armorica was monarchical from the pfriod of its imle 
pendence ou the Roman empire. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 311 

pendence of a remote province, the separation was not im- 
bittered by the reproach of tyranny or rebellion ; and the 
claims of allegiance and protection were succeeded by the 
mutual and voluntary offices of national friendship. 178 

This revolution dissolved the artificial fabric of civil and 
military government ; and the independent country, during a 
period of forty years, till the descent of the Saxons, was 
ruled by the authority of the clergy, the nobles, and the 
municipal towns. 179 I. Zosimus, who alone has preserved the 
memory of this singular transaction, very accurately observes, 
that the letters of Honorius were addressed to the cities of 
Britain. 180 Under the protection of the Romans, ninety-two 
considerable towns had arisen in the several parts of that 
great province ; and, among these, thirty-three cities were 
distinguished above the rest by their superior privileges and 
importance. 181 Each of these cities, as in all the other prov- 
inces of the empire, formed a legal corporation, for the pur- 
pose o^ regulating their domestic policy ; and the powers of 
municipal government were distributed among annual magis- 
trates, a select senate, and the assembly of the people, accord- 
ing to the original model of the Roman constitution. 182 The 



in a very important passage, which has been too much neglected. 
Even Bede (Hist. Gent. Anglican. 1. i. c. 12, p. 50, edit. Smith) ac- 
knowledges that the Romans finally left Britain in the reign of Hono- 
rius. Yet our modern historians and antiquaries extend the term of 
their dominion ; and there are some who allow only the interval 
of a few months between their departure and the arrival of the Saxons. 

178 Bede has not forgotten the occasional aid of the legions against 
the Scots and Picts ; and more authentic proof will hereafter be pro- 
duced, that the independent Britons raised 12,000 men for the service 
of the emperor Anthemius, in Gaul. 

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

180 Ttooq Ta; iv BqtXTavvta 7l6Xsi$. Zosimus, 1. vi. p. 383. 

•8i Two cities of Britain were municipia, nine colonies, ten Latiijura 
fonatcp, twelve stipendiarim of eminent note. This detail is taken from 
Richard of Cirencester, de Situ Britannia?, p. 36 ; and though it may 
aot seem probable that he wrote from the MSS. of a Roman general, 
ne shows a genuine knowledge of antiquity, very extraordinary for a 
monk of the fourteenth century.* 

188 Set; MafFei Verona Illustrata, part i. 1. v. p. 83—106. 



• Tne names may be found in Whitaker's Hist, of Manchester, vol. ii 
130, 379. Turner, Hist. Anglo-Saxons, i. 216. — M. 



318 THE DECLINE AXV FALL 

management ol a common revenue, the exercise of civil and 
criminal jurisdiction, and the habits of public counsel and 
command, were inherent to these petty republics; and when 
they asserted their independence, the youth of the city, and 
of the adjacent districts, would naturally range themselves 
under the standard of the magistrate. But the desire of ob- 
taining the advantages, and of escaping the burdens, of polit- 
ical society, is a perpetual and inexhaustible source of dis- 
cord ; nor can it reasonably be presumed, that the restoration 
of British freedom was exempt from tumult and faction. 
The preeminence of birth and fortune must have been fre- 
quently violated by bold and popular citizens ; and the haughty 
nobles, who complained that they were become the subjects 
of their own servants, 163 would sometimes regret the reign of 
an arbitrary monarch. II. The jurisdiction of each city over 
the adjacent country, was supported by the patrimonial influ- 
ence of the principal senators ; and the smaller towns, the 
villages, and the proprietors of land, consulted their own safety 
by adhering to the shelter of these rising republics. The 
sphere of their attraction was proportioned to the respective 
degrees of their wealth and populousness ; but the hereditary 
lords of ample possessions, who were not oppressed by the 
neighborhood of any powerful city, aspired to the rank of 
independent princes, and boldly exercised the rights of peace 
and war. The gardens and villas, which exhibited some faint 
imitation of Italian elegance, would soon be converted into 
strong castles, the refuge, in time of danger, of the adjacent 
country : 184 the produce of the land was applied to purchase 
arms and horses ; to maintain a military force of slaves, of 
peasants, and of licentious followers; and the chieftain might 
assume, within his own domain, the powers of a civil magis- 
trate. Several of these British chiefs might be the genuine 
posterity of ancient kings; and many more would be tempted 
to adopt this honorable genealogy, and to vindicate their hered- 
itary claims, which had been suspended by the usurpation of 



-** Leges restituit, libcrtatemque reducit, 

Et servos famulis non sinit esse suis. 

Itinerar, Rutil. 1. i. 215, 

184 An inscription (apud Sirmond, Not. ad Sidon. Apollinar. p. 69) 
describes a castle, cum muris et portis, tuitioni omnium, erected by 
Dardanus on his own estate, near Sisteron, in the second Narboexoese, 
and named by him Theopolis. 



UK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 319 

the Cseaars. 185 Their situation and their hopes w uld mspcse 
them to affect the dress, the language, and the customs of 
their ancestors. If the princes of Britain relapsed into bar- 
barism, while the cities studiously preserved the laws and 
manners of Rome, the whole island must have been gradu- 
ally divided by the distinction of two national parties ; again 
broken into a thousand subdivisions of war and faction, by 
the various provocations of interest and resentment. The 
public strength, instead of being united against a foreign 
enemy, was consumed in obscure and intestine quarrels ; and 
the personal merit which had placed a successful leader at 
the head of his equals, might enable him to subdue the free- 
dom of some neighboring cities ; and to claim a rank among 
the tyrants, 186 who infested Britain after the dissolution of the 
Roman government. III. The British church might be com- 
posed of thirty or forty bishops, 187 with an adequate propor- 
tion of the inferior clergy ; and the want of riches (for they 
seem to have been poor 18ri ) would compel them to deserve 
the public esteem, by a decent and exemplary behavior. The 
interest, as well as the temper of the clergy, was favorable 
to the peace and union of their distracted country : those sal- 
utary lessons might be frequently inculcated in their popular 
discourses ; and the episcopal synods were the only councils 
that could pretend to the weight and authority of a national 
assembly. In such councils, where the princes and magis- 
trates sat promiscuously with the bishops, the important affairs 
of the state, as well as of the church, might be freely de- 
bated ; differences reconciled, alliances formed, contributions 

,S5 The establishment of their power would have been easy indeed, 
if we could adopt the impracticable scheme of a lively and learned 
antiquarian ; who supposes that the British monarchs of the several 
tribes continued to reign, though with subordinate jurisdiction, from 
the time of Claudius to that of Honorius. See Whitaker's History of 
Manchester, vol. i. p. 247 — 2,57. 

196 ' AXX' ovaa vno tvqixwois an' aihov tfitri. Procopiu?, de Bell- 
Vandal. 1. i. c. 2, p. 181. Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, wai 
'-he expression of Jerom, in the year 415 (torn. ii. p. 255, ad Ctesi- 
phont.) By the pilgrims, who resorted every year to the Holy Land, 
the monk of Bethlem received the earliest and most accurate intelli- 
gence. 

,87 See Bingham's Eccles. Antiquities, vol. i. 1. ix. c. 6, p. 394. 

188 It is reported of three British bishops who assisted at the coun- 
cil of Rimini, A. D. 359, tarn pauperes fuisse ut nihil haberent. Sul- 
picius Severus, Hist. Sacra. 1. ii. p. 420. Some of their brethren, 
uowever were in better circumstances. 



320 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

imposed, wise resolutions often concerted, and sometimes 
executed ; and there is reason to believe, that, in moments of 
extreme danger, a Pendragon, or Dictator, was elected by the 
general consent of the Britons. These pastoral cares, so 
worthy of the episcopal character, were interrupted, however, 
by zeal and superstition ; and the British clergy incessantly 
labored to eradicate the Pelagian heresy, which they abhorred, 
as the peculiar disgrace of their native country. 189 

It is somewhat remarkable, or rather it is extremely natural, 
that the revolt of Britain and Armorica should have introduced 
an appearance of liberty into the obedient provinces of Gaul 
In a solemn edict, 190 filled with the strongest assurances of 
that paternal affection which princes so often express, and so 
seldom feel, the emperor Honorius promulgated his intention 
of convening an annual assembly of the seven provinces : a 
name peculiarly appropriated to Aquitain and the ancient 
Narbonnese, which had long since exchanged their Celtic 
rudeness for the useful and elegant arts of Italy. 191 Aries, 
the seat of government and commerce, was appointed for the 
place of the assembly ; which regularly continued twenty- 
eight days, from, the fifteenth of August to the thirteenth of 
September, of every year. It consisted of the Praetorian 
presfect of the Gauls ; of seven provincial governors, one 
consular, and six presidents ; of the magistrates, and perhaps 
the bishops, of about sixty cities ; and of a competent, though 
indefinite, number of the most honorable and opulent pos- 
sessors of land, who might justly be considered as the repre- 
sentatives of their country. They were empowered to inter- 
pret and communicate the laws of their sovereign ; to expose 
the grievances and wishes of their constituents ; to moderate 
the excessive or unequal weight of taxes ; and to deliberate 
on every subject of local or national importance, that could 



"' Consult Usher, de Antiq. Eccles. Britannicar. c. 8 — 12. 

* See the correct text of this edict, as published by Sirmond, 
'Not. ad Sidon. Apollin. p. 147.) Hincmar of Khcims, who assigns a 
place to the bishops, had probably seen (in the ninth century) a more 
perfect copy. Dubos, Hist. Critique de la Monarchic Francoise, torn. 
p. 241—255. 

191 It is evident from the Notitia, that the seven provinces were the 
Vicnnensis, the maritime Alps, the first and second Narbonnese, 
Novempopulania, and the first and second Aquitain. In the room of 
the first Aquitain, the Abbe Dubos, on the Authority oi Hincmar, d*» 
»\res to introduce the first Lugdunensis, or Lyomicse. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 321 

lend to the restoration of the peace and prosperity of the 
seven provinces. If such an institution, which gave the peo- 
ple an interest in their own government, had been universally 
established by Trajan or the Antonines, the seeds of public 
wisdom and virtue might have been cherished and propagated 
in the empire of Rome. The privileges of the subject would 
have secured the throne of the monarch ; the abuses of an 
arbitrary administration might have been prevented, in some 
degree, or corrected, by the interposition of these representa- 
tive assemblies ; and the country would have been defended 
against a foreign enemy by the arms of natives and freemen. 
Under the mild and generous influence of liberty, the Roman 
empire might have remained invincible and immortal ; or if 
its excessive magnitude, and the instability of human affairs, 
had opposed such perpetual continuance, its vital and constit- 
uent members might have separately preserved their vigor 
and independence. But in the decline of the empire, when 
every principle of health and life had been exhausted, the 
tardy application of this partial remedy was incapable of pro- 
ducing any important or salutary effects. The emperor 
Honorius expresses his surprise, that he must compel the 
reluctant provinces to accept a privilege which they should 
ardently have solicited. A fine of three, or even five, pounds 
of gold, was imposed on the absent representatives ; who 
seem to have declined this imaginary gift of a free constitu- 
tion, as the last and most cruel insult of their c ppressora 

68 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

IBCADKS EMPEROR OF THE EAST. ADMINISTRATION AND 

DISGRACE OF EUTROPIUS. REVOLT OF GAINAS. PERSE- 
CUTION OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM. THEODOSIUS II. EM- 

TEROR OF THE EAST. HIS SISTER PULCHERIA. HIS WIFK 

EUDOCIA. THE PERSIAN WAR, AND DIVISION OF .ARMENIA. 

The division of the Roman world between the sons of 
Theodosius marks the final establishment of the empire of the 
East, which, from the reign of Arcadius to the taking of Con- 
stantinople by the Turks, subsisted one thousand and fifty 
eight years, in a state of premature and perpetual decay. 
The sovereign of that empire assumed, and obstinately re- 
tained, the vain, and at length fictitious, title of Emperor of 
the Romans ; and the hereditary appellations of Caesar and 
Augustus continued to declare, that he was the legitimate 
successor of the first of men, who had reigned over the first of 
nations. The palace of Constantinople rivalled, and perhaps 
excelled, the magnificence of Persia ; and the eloquent ser- 
mons of St. Chrysostom l celebrate, while they condemn, the 
pompous luxury of the reign of Arcadius. " The emperor," 
says he, " wears on his head either a diadem, or a crown of 
gold, decorated with precious stones of inestimable value. 
These ornaments, and his purple garments, are reserved for his 
sacred person alone ; and his robes of silk are embroidered 
with the figures of golden dragons. His throne is of massy 
gold. Whenever he appears in public, he is surrounded by 
his courtiers, his guards, and his attendants. Their spears, 
their shields, their cuirasses, the bridles and trappings of their 
horses, have either the substance or the appearance of gold ; 



1 Father Montfaucon, who, by the command of his Benedictine su- 
periors, was compelled (see Longueruana, torn. i. p. 205) to execute 
the laborious edition of St. Chrysostom, in thirteen volumes in folio, 
(Paris, 1738,) amused himself with extracting from that immense col- 
lection of morals, some curious antiquities, which illustrate the man- 
ners of the Theodosian age, (see Chrysostom, Opera, torn. xiii. p. 192 
—196,) and his French Dissertation," in the Mcmoires de l'Acal de« 
Inscriptions, torn. xiii. p. 474 — 490. 
822 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 323 

and t*ie large splendid boss in the midst of jheir shield is 
encircled with smaller bosses, which represent the shape of 
the human eye. The two mules that draw the chariot of the 
monarch are perfectly white, and shining all over with gold. 
The chariot itself, of pure and solid gold, attracts the admira- 
tion of the spectators, who contemplate the purple curtains, 
the snowy carpet, the size of the precious stones, and the 
resplendent plates of gold, that glitter as they are agitated by 
the motion of the carnage. The Imperial pictures are white, 
on a blue ground ; the emperor appears seated on his throne, 
with bis arms, his horses, and his guards beside him ; and his 
vanquished enemies in chains at his feet." The successors 
of Constantine established their perpetual residence in the 
royal city, which he had erected on the verge of Europe and 
Asia. Inaccessible to the menaces of their enemies, and 
perhaps to the complaints of their people, they received, with 
each wind the tributary productions of every climate ; while 
the impregnable strength of their capital continued for ages 
to defy the hostile attempts of the Barbarians. Their do- 
minions were bounded by the Adriatic and the Tigris ; and 
the whole interval of twenty-five days' navigation, which 
separated the extreme cold of Scythia from the torrid zone of 
./Ethiopia, 2 was comprehended with the limits of the empire 
of the East. The populous countries of that empire were 
the seat of art and learning, of luxury and wealth : and the 
inhabitants, who had assumed the language and manners of 
Greeks, styled themselves, with some appearance of truth, the 
most enlightened and civilized portion of the human species 
The form of government was a pure and simple monarchy ; 
the name of the Roman Republic, which so long preserved 
a faint tradition of freedom, was confined to the Latin prov- 
inces ; and the princes of Constantinople measured their 
greatness by the servile obedience of their people. They 
were ignorant how much this passive disposition enervates 

1 According to the loose reckoning, that a ship could sail, with 9 
fair wind, 1000 stadia, or 125 miles, in the revolution of a day and 
night, Diodorus Siculus computes ten days from the Palus Mceotis to 
.Rhodes, and four days from Rhodes to Alexandria. The navigation 
of the Nile from Alexandria to Syene, under the tropic of Cancer, re- 
quired, as it was against the stream, ten days more. Diodor. Sicul. 
torn. i. 1. iii. p. 200, edit. "VVesselmg. He might, without nnich im- 
propriety, measure the extreme heat from the verge of the torrid 
«one ; but he speaks of the Moeotis in the 47th degree of northern 
latitude, as if it lay within the polar circle. 



324 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and degrades every faculty of the mind. The subjects, who 
who had resigned their will to the absolute commands of a 
master, were equally incapable of guarding their lives and 
fortunes against the assaults of the Barbarians, or of defend- 
ing their reason from the terrors of superstition. 

The first events of the reign of Arcadius and Honorius are 
so intimately connected, that the rebellion of the Goths, and 
the fall of Rufinus, have already claimed a place in the his- 
tory of the West. It has already been observed, that Eutro- ' 
pius, 3 one of the principal eunuchs of the palace of Constan- 
tinople, succeeded the haughty minister whose ruin he had 
accomplished, and whose vices he soon imitated. Every 
order of the state bowed to the new favorite ; and their tame 
and obsequious submission encouraged him to insult the laws, 
and, what is still more difficult and dangerous, the manners 
of his country. Under the weakest of the predecessors of 
Arcadius, the reign of the eunuchs had been secret and almost 
invisible. They insinuated themselves into the confidence of 
the prince ; but their ostensible functions were confined to the 
menial service of the wardrobe and Imperial bed-chamber. 
They might direct, in a whisper, the public counsels, and 
blast, by their malicious suggestions, the fame and fortunes 
of the most illustrious citizens ; but they never presumed to 
stand forward in the front of empire, 4 or to profane the pub- 
lic honors of the state. Eutropius was the first of his artifi- 
cial sex, who dared to assume the character of a Roman 
magistrate and general. 5 Sometimes, in the presence of the 



3 Barthius, who adored his author with the blind superstition of a 
commentator, gives the preference to the two books which Claudian 
composed against Eutropius, above all his other productions, (Baillet, 
Jugemens des Savans, torn. iv. p. 227.) They are indeed a very ele- 
gant and spirited satire ; and would be more valuable in an historical 
light, if the invective were less vague and more temperate. 

4 After lamenting the progress of the eunuchs in the Koman palace, 
and defining their proper functions, Claudian adds, 

~ A fronte recedant 

Imperii. 

In Eutrop. i. 422. 

Yet it does not appear that the eunuch had assumed any of the effi- 
cient offices of the empire, and he is styled only Propositus sacri 
eubiculi, in the edict of his banishment. See Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit 
sJ. leg. 17. 

* Jamque oblita sui, nee sobria livitiis mens 

In iniseras leges hominumque negotia ludit t 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 325 

Blushing senate, he ascended the tribunal to pronounce judg- 
ment, or to repeat elaborate harangues ; and, sometimes, 
appeared on horseback, at the head of his troops, in the dress 
and armor of a hero. The disregard of custom and decency 
a.ways betrays a weak and ill-regulated mind ; nor does Eu- 
tropius seem to have compensated for the fully of the design 
by any superior merit or ability in the execution. His former 
habits of life had not introduced him to the studv of the laws, 
or the exercises of the field ; his awkward and unsuccessful 
attempts provoked the secret contempt of the spectators ; the 
Goths expressed their wish that such a general might always 
command the armies of Rome ; and the name of the minister 
was branded with ridicule, more pernicious, perhaps, than 
hatred, to a public character. The subjects of Arcadius were 
exasperated by the recollection, that this deformed and de- 
crepit eunuch, 6 who so perversely mimicked the actions of a 
man, was born in the most abject condition of servitude ; that 
before he entered the Imperial palace, he had been succes- 
sively sold and purchased, by a hundred masters, who had 
exhausted his youthful strength in every mean and infamous 
office, and at length dismissed him, in his old age, to freedom 
and poverty. 7 While these disgraceful stories were circulated, 
and perhaps exaggerated, in private conversations, the vanity 

Judicat eunuehus 

Anna etiam violare parat 

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

Gaudct, cum viderit, hostis, 

Et suntit j:\rn deesse viros. 

6 The poet's lively description of his deformity (i. 110 — 125) is con- 
firmed by the authentic testimony of Chrysostorn, (torn. iii. p. 384, 
edit. Montfaucon ; ) who observes, that when the paint was washed 
away, the face of Eutropius appeared more ugly and wrinkled than 
that of an old woman. Claudian remarks, (i. 4flfe,) and the remark 
must have been founded on experience, that there was scarcely ail 
interval between the youth and the decrepit age of a eunuch. 

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



526 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the favorite was flattered with the most extraordinary hon- 
ors. In the senate, in the capital, in the provinces, the statues 
of Eutropius were erected, in brass, or marble, decorated with 
the symbols of his civil and military virtues, and inscribed 
with the pompous title of the third founder of Constantinople. 
He was promoted to the rank of patrician, which began to 
signify, in a popular, and even legal, acceptation, the father 
of the emperor ; and the last year of the fourth century was 
polluted by the consulship of a eunuch and a slave. This 
strange and inexpiable prodigy 8 awakened, however, the pre- 
judices of the Romans. The effeminate consul was rejected 
by the West, as an indelible stain to the annals of the repub 
lie ; and without invoking the shades of Brutus and Camillus, 
the colleague of Eutropius, a learned and respectable magis- 
trate, 9 sufficiently represented the different maxims of the 
two administrations. 

The bold and vigorous mind of Rufinus seems to have 
been actuated by a more sanguinary and revengeful spirit , 
but the avarice of the eunuch was not less insatiate than that 
of the prsefect. 10 As long as he despoiled the oppressors, 
who had enriched themselves with the plunder of the people, 
Eutropius might gratify his covetous disposition without much 
envy or injustice : but the progress of his rapine soon invaded 
the wealth which had been acquired by lawful inheritance, or 
laudable industry. The usual methods of extortion were 
practised and improved ; and Claudian has sketched a lively 
and original picture of the public auction of the state. " The 
impotence of the eunuch," says that agreeable satirist, " has 
served only to stimulate his avarice : the same hand which, 
in his servile condition, was exercised in petty thefts, to 

8 Claudian, (1. i. in Eutrop. 1 — 22,) after enumerating the various 
prodigies of monstrous births, speaking animals, showers of blood or 
•tones, double suns^c., adds, with some exaggeration, 

Omnia cesserunt eunuclio consuls monstra. 
The first book concludes with a noble speech of the goddess of Rome 
to her favorite Honorius, deprecating the new ignominy to which she 
was exposed. 

9 Fl. Mallius Theodorus, whose civil honors, and philosophical 
works, hdve been celebrated by Claudian in a very elegant panegyric. 

10 AJtdvwv fie r,8t} tw n).or-Tw, drunk with riches, is the forcible ex- 
pression of Zosimus, (1. v. p. 301;) and the avarice of Eutropius it 
equally execrated in the Lexicon of Suidas and the Chronicle of 
Marcellinus. Chrysostom had often admonished the favorite, of the 
vanity and danger of immoderate wealth, torn. iii. p. 381. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 327 

unlock the coffers of his o.aster, now grasps the riches ol 
the world ; and this infamous broker of the empire appreci- 
ates and divides the Roman provinces from Mount Ha;mus tc 
the Tigris. One man, at the expense of his villa, is made 
proconsul of Asia ; a second purchases Syria with his wife's 
jewels ; and a third laments that he has exchanged his pater- 
nal estate for the government of Bithynia. In the antecham- 
ber of Eutropius, a large tablet is exposed to public view, 
which marks the respective prices of the provinces. The 
different value of Pontus, of Galatia, of Lydia, is accurately 
distinguished. Lycia may be obtained for so many thousand 
pieces of gold ; but the opulence of Phrygia will require a 
more considerable sum. The eunuch wishes to obliterate, 
by the general disgrace, his personal ignominy ; and as he 
has been sold himself, he is desirous of selling the rest of 
mankind. In the eager contention, the balance, which con- 
tains the fate and fortunes of the province, often trembles on 
the beam ; and till one of the scales is inclined, by a superior 
weight, the mind of the impartial judge remains in anxious 
suspense. 11 Such," continues the indignant poet, " are the 
fruits of Roman valor, of the defeat of Antiochus, and of the 
triumph of Pompey." This venal prostitution of public hon 
ors secured the impunity of future crimes ; but the riches, 
which Eutropius derived from confiscation^ were already 
stained with injustice ; since it was decent to accuse, and to 
condemn, the proprietors of the wealth, which he was impa- 
tient to confiscate. Some noble blood was shed by the hand 
of the executioner ; and the most inhospitable extremities of 
the empire were filled with innocent and illustrious exiles. 
Among the generals and consuls of the East, Abundantius ia 
had reason to dread the first effects of the resentment of 



11 certantum ssepe duorum 

Diversum suspendit onus : cum pondcre judex 
Vergit, et in geminas nutat provincia lances. 

Claudian (i. 192 — 209) so curiously distinguishes the circumstances 
of the sale, that they all seem to allude to particular anecdotes. 

12 Claudian (i. 154 — 170) mentions the guilt and exile of Abundan- 
tius ; nor could he fail to quote the example of the artist, who mado 
the first trial of the brazen bull, which he presented to Phalaris. See 
Zosimus, 1. v. p. 302. Jerom. torn. i. p. 26. The difference of place is 
easily reconciled ; but the decisive authority of Asterius of Amasia 
(Orat. iv. p. 76, apud Tillemont, Hist, des Einpereurs, torn, v p. 435* 
must turn the scale in favor of Pityus. 



328 THF. hr.OLTNK JND FALL. 

Eutropms. He had been guilty of the unuardonable crime 
of introducing that abject slave to the palace of Constanti 
nople ; and some degree of praise must be allowed to a 
powerful and ungrateful favorite, who was satisfied with the 
disgrace of his benefactor. Abundantius was stripped of hia 
ample fortunes by an Imperial rescript, and banished to Pityu3, 
on the Euxine, the last frontier of the Roman world ; where 
he subsisted by the precarious mercy of the Barbarians, till 
he could obtain, after the fall of Eutropius, a milder exile at 
Sidon, in ?hoenici? The destruction of Timasius 13 required 
a more serious and regular mode of attack. That great 
officer, the master-general of the armies of Theodosius, had 
signalized his valor by a decisive victory, which he obtained 
over the Goths of Thessaly ; but he was too prone, after the 
example of his sovereign, to enjoy the luxury of peace, and 
to abandon his confidence to wicked and designing flatterers. 
Timasius had despised the public clamor, by promoting an 
infamous dependent to the command of a cohort ; and he 
deserved to feel the ingratitude of Bargus, who was secretly 
instigated by the favorite to accuse his patron of a treasonable 
conspiracy. The general was arraigned before the tribunal 
of Arcadius himself; and the principal eunuch stood by the 
side of the throne to suggest the questions and answers of 
his sovereign. But as this form of trial might be deemed 
partial and arbitrary, the further inquiry into the crimes of 
Timasius was delegated to Saturninus and Procopius ; the 
former of consular rank, the latter still respected as the 
father-in-law of the emperor Valens. The appearances of a 
fair and legal proceeding were maintained by the blunt hon- 
esty of Procopius ; and he yielded with reluctance to the 
obsequious dexterity of his colleague, who pronounced a sen- 
tence of condemnation against the unfortunate Timasius. 
His immense riches were confiscated, in the. name of the 
emperor, and for the benefit of the favorite ; and he was 
doomed to perpetual exile at Oasis, a solitary spot in the 



13 Suidas (most probably from the history of Eunapius) has given 
a very unfavorable picture of Timasius. The account of his accuser, 
the judges, trial, &c, is perfectly agreeable to the practice of ancient 
and modern courts. (Sec Zosimus, 1. v. p. 298, 299, 300.) I am 
almost tempted to quote the romance of a great master, (Fielding's 
Works, vol. iv. p. 49, &c, &vo edit.,) which may be con?i lered as th» 
history of human nature. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 32S 

midst of the sandy deserts of Libya. 14 Secluded from all 
human converse, the master-general of the Roman armies 
was lost forever to the world ; but the circumstances of hi? 
fate have been related in a various and contradictory manner. 
It is insinuated that Eutropius despatched a private order for 
his secret execution. 15 It was reported, that, in attempting 
to escape from Oasis, he perished in the desert, of thirst and 
hunger ; and that his dead body was found on the sands of 
Libya. 16 It has been asserted, with more confidence, that 
his son Syagrius, after successfully eluding the pursuit of the 
agents and emissaries of the court, collected a band of Afri- 
can robbers ; that he rescued Timasius from the place of his 
exile ; and that both the father and the son disappeared from 
the knowledge of mankind. 17 But the ungrateful Bargus, 
instead of being suffered to possess the reward of guilt, was 
soon after circumvented and destroyed, by the more powerful 
villany of the minister himself, who retained sense and spirit 
enough to abhor the instrument of his own crimes. 

The public hatred, and the despair of individuals, continu- 
ally threatened, or seemed to threaten, the personal safety of 
Eutropius ; as well as of the numerous adherents, who were 
attached to his fortune, and had been promoted by his venal 
favor. For their mutual defence, he contrived the safeguard 
of a law, which violated every principle of humanity and 



14 The great Oasis was one of the spots in the sands of Libya, 
watered with springs, and capable of producing wheat, barley, and 
palm-trees. It was about three days' journey from north to south, 
about half a day in breadth, and at the distance of about five days' 
march to the west of Abydus, on the Nile. See D'Anville, Descrip- 
tion de l'Egypte, p. 186, 187, 188. The barren desert which encom- 
passes Oasis (Zosimus, 1. v. p. 300) has suggested the idea of com- 
parative fertility, and even the epithet of the happy island, (Herodot. 
iii. 26.) 

15 The line of Claudian, in Eutrop 1. i. 180, 

Marmurims clarifl viol.itur caeililius Han.mon,* 

evidently alludes to his persuasion of the death of Timasius. 

18 Sozomen, 1. viii. c. 7. He speaks fiom report, «j; Tiros inv3ifu*, 
" Zosimus, 1. v. p. 300. Yet he seems to suspect that this runioi 

was spread by the friends of Eutropius. 



* A fragment of Eunapius confirms this account. " Thus having 
deprived this preat person of his life — a eunuch, a man, a slave, a consul) 
t minister of the bed-chamber, one bred in camps. " Mai, p. 283, in Nie- 
trahr. 87. — M. 

68* 



330 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

justice. 18 I. It is enacted, in the name, and by the authority, 
of Arcadns, that all those who shall conspire, either with 
subjects or with strangers, against the lives of any of the 
persons whom the emperor considers as the members of his 
own body, shall be punished with death and confiscation. 
This species of fictitious and metaphorical treason is extended 
to protect, not only the illustrious officers of the state and 
army, who are admitted into the sacred consistory, but like- 
wise the principal domestics of the palace, the senators ol 
Constantinople, the military commanders, and the civil magis 
trates of the provinces ; a vague and indefinite list, which, 
under the successors of Constantine, included an obscure and 
numerous train of subordinate ministers. II. This extreme 
severity might perhaps be justified, had it been only directed 
to secure the representatives of the sovereign from any actual 
violence in the execution of their office. But the whole body 
of Imperial dependants claimed a privilege, or rather im- 
punity, which screened them, in the loosest moments of their 
lives, from the hasty, perhaps the justifiable, resentment of 
their fellow-citizens ; and, by a strange perversion of the 
laws, the same degree of guilt and punishment was applied to 
a private quarrel, and to a deliberate conspiracy against the 
emperor and the empire. The edict of Arcadius most posi- 
tively and most absurdly declares, that in such cases of 
treason, thoughts and actions ought to be punished with equal 
severity ; that the knowledge of a mischievous intention, 
unless it be instantly revealed, becomes equally criminal with 
the intention itself; 19 and that those rash men, who shall 



,s See the Theodosian Code, 1. ix. tit. 14, ad legem Corneliam do 
Sicariis, leg. 3, and the Code of Justinian, 1. ix. tit. viii. ad legem 
Juliam de Majestate, leg. 5. The alteration of the title, from murder 
to treason, was an improvement of the subtle Tribonian. Godefrov, 
in a formal dissertation, which he has inserted in his Commentary, 
illustrates this law of Arcadius, and explains all the difficult passages 
which had been perverted by the jurisconsults of the darker ages. 
See torn. iii. p. 88 — 111. 

19 Bartolus understands a simple and naked consciousness, without 
any sign of approbation or concurrence. For this opinion, says Bal- 
dus, he is now roasting in hell. For my r own part, continues the dis- 
creet Heineccius, (Element. Jur. Civil. 1. iv. p. 411,) I must approve 
the theory of Bartolus ; but in practice I should incline to the sen- 
timents of Baldus. Yet Bartolus was gravely quoted by the lawyers 
f»f Cardinal Richelieu ; and Eutropius was indirectly guUty of th« 
murder of the virtuous De Thou. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 331 

presume to solicit the paiion of traitors, shall themselves be 
branded with public and perpetual infamy. III. " With 
regard to the sons of the traitors," (continues the emperor,) 
" although they ought to share the punishment, since they 
will probably imitate the guilt, of their parents, yet, by the 
special effect of our Imperial lenity, we grant them theu 
lives ; but, at the same time, we declare them incapable of 
inheriting, either on the father's or on the mother's side, or 
:>f receiving any gift or legacy, from the testament either of 
Kinsmen or of strangers. Stigmatized with hereditary in- 
famy, excluded from the hopes of honors or fortune, let 
them endure the pangs of poverty and contempt, till they 
shall consider life as a calamity, and death as a comfort and 
relief." In such words, so well adapted to insult the feelings 
of mankind, did the emperor, or rather his favorite eunuch 
applaud the moderation of a law, which transferred the same 
unjust and inhuman penalties to the children of all those win 
had seconded, or wbo had not disclosed, their fictitious con- 
spiracies. Some of the noblest regulations of Roman juris- 
prudence have been suffered to expire ; but this edict, a 
convenient and forcible engine of ministerial tyranny, was 
carefully inserted in the codes of Theodosius and Justinian ; 
and the same maxims have been revived in modern ages, to 
protect the electors of Germany, and the cardinals of the 
church of Rome. 20 

Yet these sanguinary laws, which spread terror among a 
disarmed and dispirited people, were of too weak a texture to 
restrain the bold enterprise of Tribigild- 1 the Ostrogoth. 
The colony of that warlike nation, which had been planted 
by Theodosius in one of the most fertile districts of Phrygia, 22 
impatiently compared the slow returns of laborious husbandry 



so Godefroy, torn. iii. p. 89. It is, however, suspected, that this 
law', so repugnant to the maxims of Germanic freedom, has been sur- 
reptitiously added to the golden bull. 

21 A copious and circumstantial narrative (which he might have 
reserved for more important events) is bestowed by Zosimus (1. v. p. 
304 — 312) on the revolt of Tribigild and Gainas. See likewiso 
Socrates, 1. vi. c. (i, and Sozomen, 1. viii. c. 4. The second book of 
Claudian against Eutropius is a line, though imperfect, piece of his- 
<'>rv 

» Claudian (in Eutrop. 1. ii. 237—2.50) very accurately observes, 
that the ancient name and nation of the Phrygians extended very tax 
on every side, till their limits were contracted by the colonies of the 
Bi'hynians of Thrace, cf the Greeks, and at last of the Gau 1 *. Ilifl 



332. THE DECLINE AND FAIL 

■with the successful rapine and liberal rewards of Alaric ; and 
their leader resented, as a personal affront, his own ungracio is 
reception in the palace of Constantinople. A soft and wealthy 
province, in the heart of the empire, was astonished by the 
sound of war; and the faithful vassal, who had been dis- 
regarded or oppressed, was again respected, as soon as ho 
resumed the hostile character of a Barbarian. The vine- 
yards and fruitful fields, between the rapid Marsyas and the 
winding Mseander, 23 were consumed with fire ; the decayed 
walls of the cities crumbled into dust, at the first stroke of an 
enemy ; the trembling inhabitants escaped from a bloody 
massacre to the shores of the Hellespont ; and a considerable 
part of Asia Minor was desolated by the rebellion of Tribi- 
gild. His rapid progress was checked by the resistance of 
the peasants of Pamphylia ; and the Ostrogoths, attacked in a 
narrow pass, between the city of Selgae, 24 a deep morass, and 
the craggy cliffs of Mount Taurus, were defeated with the loss 
of their bravest troops. But the spirit of their chief was not 
daunted by misfortune ; and his army was continually re- 
cruited by swarms of Barbarians and outlaws, who were 
desirous of exercising the profession of robbery, under the 
more honorable names of war and conquest. The rumors of 
the success of Tribigild might for some time be suppressed 
by fear, or disguised by flattery ; yet they gradually alarmed 
both the court and the capital. Every misfortune was ex- 
aggerated in dark and doubtful hints ; and the future designs 
of the rebels became the subject of anxious conjecture. 
Whenever Tribigild advanced into, the inland country, the 
Romans were inclined to suppose that he meditated the pas- 
sage of Mount Taurus, and the invasion of Syria. If he 
descended towards the sea, they imputed, and perhaps sug- 
gested, to the Gothic chief, the more dangerous project of 
arming a fleet in the harbors of Ionia, and of extending his 



description (ii. 257 — 272) of the fertility of Phrygia, and of the four 
rivers that produced gold, is just and picturesque. 

23 Xenophon, Anabasis, 1. i. p. 11, 12, edit. Hutchinson. Ntrabo, 1, 
xii. p. 865, edit. Amstel. Q. Curt. 1. iii. c. 1. Claudian compares the 
junction of the Marsyas and Maeander to that of the Saone and the 
Khone ; with this difference, however, that the smaller of the Phry- 
gian rivers is not accelerated, but retarded, by the larger. 

24 Selgre, a colony of the Lacedaemonians, had formerly numbered 
twenty thoi sand citizens ; but in the age of Zosimus it was reduced 
to a iiul'ix*' 1 > or small town. See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. torn, ii, 
V- H7. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 333 

depredations along the maritime coast, from the mouth of the 
Nile to the port of Constantinople. The approach of danger 
and the obstinacy of Tribigild, who refused all terms of 
accommodation, compelled Eutropius to summon a council 
of war. 25 After claiming for himself the privilege of a vet- 
eran soldier, the eunuch intrusted the guard of Thrace and the 
Hellespont to Gainas the Goth, and the command of the 
Asiatic, army to his favorite Leo ; two generals, who differ- 
ently, but effectually, promoted the cause of the rebels. 
Leo,-'' who, from the bulk of his body, and the dulness of his 
mind, was surnamed the Ajax of the East, had deserted his 
original trade of a woolcomber, to exercise, with much less 
skill and success, the military profession ; and his uncertain 
operations were capriciously framed and executed, with an 
ignorance of real difficulties, and a timorous neglect of every 
favorable opportunity. The rashness of the Ostrogoths had 
drawn them into a disadvantageous position between the 
Rivers Melas and Eurymedon, where they were almost be- 
sieged by the peasants of Pamphylia ; but the arrival of 
an Imperial army, instead of completing their destruction, 
afforded the means of safety and victory. Tribigild sur- 
prised the unguarded camp of the Romans, in the darkness 
of the night; seduced the faith of the greater part of the 
Barbarian auxiliaries, and dissipated, without much effort, the 
troops, which had been corrupted by the relaxation of dis- 
cipline, and the luxury of the capital. The discontent of 
Gainas, who had so boldly contrived and executed the death 
of Rufinus, was irritated by the fortune of his unworthy suc- 
cessor; he accused his own dishonorable patience under the 
servile reign of a eunuch ; and the ambitious Goth was con- 
victed, at least in the public opinion, of secretly fomenting 
the revolt of Tribigild, with whom he was connected by a 
domestic, as well as by a national alliance. 27 When Gainas 

25 The council of Eutropius, in Claudian, may be compared to that 
»f Domitian in the fourth Satire of Juvenal. The principal members of 
the former were juvenes protervi lascivicpie senes ; one of them had 
been a cook, a second a woolcomber. The language of their original 
profession exposes their assumed dignity ; and their trifling conver- 
sation about tragedies, dancers, &c, is made still more ridiculou3 by 
the importance of the debate. 

96 Claudian (1. ii. 376 — 461) has branded him with infamy ; and 
Zosimus, in more temperate language, confirms his reproaches. L. v. 
p. 305. 

17 The conspiracy of Gainas and Tribigild, which is attested bj thtf 



S31 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

passed the Hellespont, to unite under his standard the remain? 
of the Asiatic troops, he skilfully adapted his motions to the 
wishes of the Ostrogoths ; abandoning, by his retreat, the 
country which they desired to invade ; or facilitating, by his 
approach, the desertion of the Barbarian auxiliaries. To the 
Imperial court he repeatedly magnified the valor, the genius, 
the inexhaustible resources of Tribigild ; confessed his own 
inability to prosecute the war ; and extorted the permission 
of negotiating with his invincible adversary. The conditions 
of peace were dictated by the haughty rebel ; and the per- 
emptory demand of the head of Eutropius revealed the 
author and the design of this hostile conspiracy. 

The bold satirist, who has indulged his discontent by the 
partial and passionate censure of the Christian emperors, vio- 
lates the dignity, rather than the truth, of history, by compar- 
ing the son of Theodosius to one of those harmless and simple 
animals, who scarcely feel that they are the property of theii 
shepherd. Two passions, however, fear and conjugal affec- 
tion, awakened the languid soul of Arcadius : he was terri- 
fied by the threats of a victorious Barbarian ; and he yielded 
to the tender eloquence of his wife Eudoxia, who, with a flood 
of artificial tears, presenting her infant children to their father, 
implored his justice for some real or imaginary insult, which 
she imputed to the audacious eunuch. 28 The emperor's hand 
was directed to sign the con lemnation of Eutropius ; the 
magic spell, which during foui years had bound the prince 
and the people, was instantly dissolved ; and the acclamations, 
that so lately hailed the merit and fortune of the favorite, were 
converted into the clamors of the soldiers and people, who 
reproached his crimes, and pressed his immediate execution. 
In this hour of distress and despair, his only refuge was in the 
sanctuary of the church, whose privileges he had wisely or 
profanely attempted to circumscribe ; and the most eloquent 
of the saints, John Chrysostom, enjoyed the triumph of pro- 
tecting a prostrate minister, whose choice had raised him tc 
the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople. The archbishop 
ascending the pulpit of the cathedral, that he might be dis- 

Greek historian, had not reached the ears of Claudian, who attribute! 
the revolt of the Ostrogoth to his own martial spirit, and the advice 
of Ids wife. 

M This anecdote, which Philostorgius alone has preserved (1. xi 
o. 6, and Gothofred. Dissertat. p. 451--456) is curious and impor. 
lant ; since it connects the revolt of the Goths with the secret \u- 
triguea of the palace. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 335 

tinctly seen and heard by an innumerable crowd of either sea 
and of every age, pronounced a seasonable and pathetic dis- 
course on the forgiveness of injuries, and the instability of 
human greatness. The agonies of the pale and affrighted 
wretch, who lay grovelling under the table of the altar, ex- 
hibited a solemn and instructive spectacle ; and the orator, 
who was afterwards accused of insulting the misfortunes ol 
Eutropius, labored to excite the contempt, that he might as- 
suage the fury, of the people. 29 The powers of humanity, of 
superstition, and of eloquence, prevailed. The empress Eu- 
doxia was restrained by her own prejudices, or by those of 
her subjects, from violating the sanctuary of the church ; and 
Eutropius was tempted to capitulate, by the milder arts of 
persuasion, and by an oath, that his life should be spared. 30 
Careless of the dignity of their sovereign, the new ministers of 
the palace immediately published an edict to declare, that his 
late favorite had disgraced the names of consul and patrician, 
to abolish his statues, to confiscate his wealth, and to inflict a 
perpetual exile in the Island of Cyprus. 31 A despicable and 
decrepit eunuch could no longer alarm the fears of his ene- 
mies ; nor was he capable of enjoying what yet remained, the 
comforts of peace, of solitude, and of a happy climate. But 
their implacable revenge still envied him the last moments of 
a miserable life, and Eutropius had no sooner touched the 



29 See the Homily of Chrysostom, torn. iii. p. 381 — 386, of which 
the exordium is particularly beautiful. Socrates, 1. vi. c. 5. Sozomen, 
1. viii. c. 7. Montfaucon (in his Life of Chrysostom, torn. xiii. p. 135) 
too hastily supposes that Tribigild was actually in Constantinople ; 
and that he commanded the soldiers who were ordered to seize Eu- 
tropius. Even Claudian, a Pagan poet, (praefat. ad 1. ii. in Eutrop. 
27,) has mentioned the flight of the eunuch to the sanctuary. 

Supplieiterque pias humilis proatratus ad aras, 
Mitigat iratas voce tremente nurua. 

30 Chrysostom, in another homily, (torn. iii. p. 386,) affects to de- 
clare that Eutropius would not have been taken, had he not deserted 
the church. Zosimus, (1. v. p. 313,) on the contrary, pretends, that 
his enemies forced him (ijay/ruflavrfs avrbv) from the sanctuary. Yet 
the promise is an evidence of some treaty ; and the strong assurance 
of Claudian, (Praefat. ad 1. ii. 46,) 

Sed tanien exemplo non fenere tuo, 

may be considered as an evidence of some promise. 

31 Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit. xi. leg. 14. The date of that law (Jan. 17, 
A. D. 399) is erroneous and corrupt ; since the fall of Eutropius 
could not happen till the autumn of the same year. See Tillemoat, 
Hif-t. des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 780. 



336 TEE DECLINE ANLl FALL 

shores of Cyprus, than he was hastily recalled. The vain 
hope of eluding, hy a change of place, the obligation of an 
oath, engaged the empress to transfer the scene of his trial 
'tnd execution from Constantinople to the adjacent suburb of 
Ciialcedon. The consul Aurelian pronounced the sentence , 
and the motives of that sentence expose the jurisprudence of 
a despotic government. The crimes which Eutropius had 
committed against the people might have justified his death ; 
but ho was found guilty of harnessing to his chariot* the sacred 
animals, who, from their breed or color, were reserved for the 
use of the emperor alone. 32 

While this domestic revolution was transacted, Gainas 33 
openly revolted from his allegiance ; united his forces, at Thy- 
atira in Lydia, with those of Tribigild ; and still maintained his 
superior ascendant over the rebellious leader of the Ostrogoths. 
The confederate armies advanced, without resistance, to the 
• traits of the Hellespont and the Bosphorus ; and Arcadius was 
.nstructed to prevent the loss of his Asiatic dominions, by re- 
signing his authority and his person to the faith of the Barba- 
rians. The church of the holy martyr Euphemia, situate on a 
lofty eminence near Chalcedon, 34 was chosen for the place of 
the interview. Gainas bowed with reverence at the feet of 
the emperor, whilst he required the sacrifice of Aurelian and 
Saturninus, two ministers of consular rank ; and their naked 
necks were exposed, by the haughty rebel, to the edge of the 
sword, till he condescended to grant them a precarious and 
disgraceful respite. The Goths, according to the terms of 
the agreement, were immediately transported from Asia into 
Europe ; and their victorious chief, who accepted the title of 
master-general of the Roman armies, soon filled Constanti- 
nople with his troops, and distributed among his dependants 
the honors and rewards of the empire. In his early youth, 
Gai*ias had passed the Danube as a suppliant and a fugitive : 



32 Zosimus, 1. v. p. 313. Philostorgius, 1. xi. c. 6. 

3J Zosimus, (1. v. p. 313 — 323,) Socrates, (1. vi. c. 4,) So>:.men, 
(1. viii. c. 4,) and Theodorct, (1. v. c. 32, 33,) represent, though with 
some various circumstances, the conspiracy, defeat, and death of 
Gainas. 

34 ' Oolu; Evcprtftiug f<aoTvoiui; is the expression of Zosimus himself, 
(1. v. p. 314,) who inadvertently uses the fashionable language of 
the Christians. Evagrius describes (1. ii. c. 3) the situation, archi- 
tecture, relics, and miracles, of that celebrated church, in whicn tne 
general council of Chalcedon was afterwards held. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 3o7 

his elevation had been the work of valor and fortune ; and his 
indiscreet or perfidious conduct was the cause of his rapid 
downfall. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of the 
archbishop, he importunately claimed for his Arian sectaries 
the possession of a peculiar church ; and the pride of the 
Catholics was offended by the public toleration of heresy. 35 
Every quarter of Constantinople was filled with tumult ana 
disorder ; and the Barbarians gazed with such ardor on the 
rich shops of the jewellers, and the tables of the bankers, 
which were covered with gold and silver, that it was judgea 
prudent to remove those dangerous temptations from thei: 
sight. They resented the injurious precaution ; and some 
alarming attempts were made, during the night, to attack and 
destroy with fire the Imperial palace. 36 In this state of mu- 
tual and suspicious hostility, the guards and the people of 
Constantinople shut the gates, and rose in arms to prevent or 
to punish the conspiracy of the Goths. During the absence of 
Gainas, his troops were surprised and oppressed ; seven thou* 
sand Barbarians perished in this bloody massacre. In the 
fury of the pursuit, the Catholics uncovered the roof, and con- 
tinued to throw down flaming logs of wood, till they over- 
whelmed their adversaries, who had retreated to the church 
or conventicle of the Arians. Gainas was either innocent of 
the design, or too confident of his success ; he was astonished 
by the intelligence, that the flower of his army had been inglo- 
riously destroyed ; that he himself was declared a public 
enemy ; and that his countryman, Fravitta 31 orave and loyal 
confederate, had assumed the managerr tat of the war by sea 
and land. The enterprises of the rebel, against the cities of 
Thrace, were encountered by a firm and well-ordered de- 
fence ; his hungry soldiers were soon reduced to the grass 
that grew on the margin of the fortifications ; and Gainas, 
who vainly regretted the wealth and luxury of Asia, embraced 
a desperate resolution of forcing the passage -of the Helles- 

35 The pious remonstrances of Chrysostom, which do not appear in 
his own writings, are strongly urged by Thcodoret ; but Ms insinua- 
tion, that they were successful, is disproved by facts. Tillemont 
^Hist. des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 383) has discovered that the em- 
peror, to satisfy the rapacious demands of Gainas, was obliged to 
melt the plate of the church of the apostles. 

34 The ecclesiastical historians, who sometimes guide, and some- 
times follow, the public opinion, most confidently assert, that the 
palace of Constantinople was guarded by legions of angels. 



338 1*IE DECLINE AND FALL 

pont. He was destitute of vessels ; but the woods of the 
Chersonesus afforded materials for rafts, and his intrepid Bar- 
barians did not refuse to trust themselves to the waves. But 
Fravitta attentively watched the progress of their undertaking 
As soon as they had gained the middle of the stream, the 
Roman galleys, 37 impelled by the full force of oars, of the 
current, and of a favorable wind, rushed forwards in compact 
order, and with irresistible weight ; and the Hellespont was 
covered with the fragments of the Gothic shipwreck. After 
the destruction of his hopes, and the loss of many thousands 
of his bravest soldiers, Gainas, who could no longer aspire to 
govern or to subdue the Romans, determined to resume the 
independence of a savage life. A light and active body of 
Barbarian horse, disengaged from their infantry and baggage 
might perform in eight or ten days a march of three hundrec 
miles from the Hellespont to the Danube ; 38 the garrisons of 
that important frontier had been gradually annihilated ; thy 
river, in the month of December, would be deeply frozen ; 
and the unbounded prospect of Scythia was opened to the 
ambition of Gainas. This design was secretly communicated 
to the national troops, who devoted themselves to the fortunes 
of their leader ; and before the signal of departure was given, 
a great number of provincial auxiliaries, whom he suspected 
of an attachment to their native country, were perfidiously 
massacred. The Goths advanced, by rapid marches, through 
the plains of Thrace ; and they were soon delivered from the 
fear of a pursuit, by the vanity of Fravitta,* who, instead of 

91 Zosimus (1. v. p. 319) mentions these galleys by the name of 
Ltbumians, and observes, that they were as swift (without explaining 
the difference between them) as the vessels with fifty oars ; but that 
they were far inferior in speed to the triremes, which had been long 
disused. Yet he reasonably concludes, from the testimony of Polyb- 
ius, that galleys of a still larger size had been constructed in the 
Punic wars. Sinte the establishment of the Roman empire over the 
Mediterranean, the useless art of building large ships of war had 
probably been neglected, and at length forgotten. 

38 Chishull (Travels, p. 61—63, 72—76) proceeded from Gallipoli, 
through Hadrianople, to the Danube, in about fifteen days. He was 
in the train of an Englisn ambassador, whose baggage consisted of 
seventy-one wagons. That learned traveller has the merit of tracing 
a curious «nd unfrequented route. 



• Fravitta, according to Zosimus, though a Pagan, received the honori 
of the consulate. Zosim. v. c. 20. On Fravitta, see a very imperfect frag 
nient of Eunapius. Mai, ii. 290, in Niebuhr, 92. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 339 

extingu 'sliing the war, hastened to enjoy the popular applause, 
and to assume the peaceful honors of the consulship. But a 
formidable ally appeared in arms to vindicate the majesty of 
the empire, and to guard the peace and liberty of Scythia. 89 
The superior forces of Uldin, king of the Huns, opposed the 
progress of Gainas; a hostile and ruined country prohibited 
his retreat ; he disdained to capitulate ; and after repeatedly 
attempting to cut his way through the ranks of the enemy, 
he was slain, with his desperate followers, in the field of battle. 
Eleven days after the naval victory of the Hellespont, the 
head of Gainas, the inestimable gift of the conqueror, was re- 
ceived at Constantinople with the most liberal expressions of 
gratitude ; and the public deliverance was celebrated by fes- 
tivals and illuminations. The triumphs of Arcadius became 
the subject of epic poems ; 40 and the monarch, no longer op 
pressed by any hostile terrors, resigned himself to the mild and 
absolute dominion of his wife, the fair and artful Eudoxia, 
who has sullied her fame by the persecution of St. John 
Chrysostom. 

After the death of the indolent Nectarius, the successor of 
Gregory Nazianzen, the church of Constantinople was dis« 
tracted by the ambition of rival candidates, who were not 
ashamed to solicit, with gold or flattery, the suffrage of the 
people, or of the favorite. On this occasion, Eutropius seems 
to have deviated from his ordinary maxims ; and his uncor- 
rupted judgment was determined only by the superior merit 
of a stranger. In a late journey into the East, he had admired 
the sermons of John, a native and presbyter of Antioch, 
whose name has been distinguished by the epithet of Chrys- 
ostom, or the Golden Mouth. 41 A private order was despatched 

39 The narrative of Zosimus, who actually leads Gainas beyond the 
Danube, must be corrected by the testimony of Socrates, and Sozo- 
men, that he was killed in Thrace ; and by the precise and authentic 
dates of the Alexandrian, or Paschal, Chronicle, p. 307. The naval 
victory of the Hellespont is fixed to the month Apellaeus, the tenth 
of the calends of January, (December 23 ;) the head of Gainas waa 
brought to Constantinople the third of the nones of January, (Janu- 
ary 3.) in the month Audynaeus. 

*° Eusebius Scholasticus acquired much fame by his poem on the 
Gothic war, in which he had served. Near forty years afterwards, 
Ajomoiiius recited another poem on the same subject, in the pres- 
ence of the emperor Theodosius. See Socrates, 1. vi. c. 6. 

41 The sixth book of Socrates, the eighth of Sozomen, and the fifth 
af Theodoret, afford curious and authentic materials for the life of 



S40 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

to the governor of Syria ; and as the people might be u'nwill. 
ing to resiga-their favorite preacher, he was transported, with 
speed and secrecy in a post-chariot, from Antioch to Constan- 
tinople. The unanimous and unsolicited consent of the court, 
the clergy, and the people, ratified the choice of the minister ; 
and, both as a saint and as an orator, the new archbishop sur- 
passed the sanguine expectations of the public. Born of a 
noble and opulent family, in the capital of Syria, Chrysostom 
had been educated, by the care of a tender mother, under the 
tuition of the most skilful masters. He studied the art of 
rhetoric in the school of Libanius ; and that celebrated sophist, 
who soon discovered the talents of his disciple, ingenuously 
confessed that John would have deserved to succeed him, had 
he not been stolen away by the Christians. His piety soon 
disposed him to receive the sacrament of baptism ; to renounce 
the lucrative and honorable profession of the law ; and to 
bury himself in the adjacent desert, where he subdued the 
lusts of the flesh by an austere penance of six years. His 
infirmities compelled him to return to the society of mankind , 
and the authority of Meletius devoted his talents to the service 
of the church : but in the midst of his family, and afterwards 
on the archiepiscopal throne, Chrysostom still persevered in 
the practice of the monastic virtues. The ample revenues, 
which his predecessors had consumed in pomp and luxury, he 
diligently applied to the establishment of hospitals ; and the 
multitudes, who were supported by his charity, preferred the 
eloquent and edifying discourses of their archbishop to the 
amusements of the theatre or the circus. The monuments 



John Chrysostom. Besides those general historians, I have taken for 
my guides the four principal biographers of the saint. 1. The author 
of a partial and passionate Vindication of the archbishop of Con- 
stantinople, composed in the form of a dialogue, and under the name 
of his zealous partisan, Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, (Tillemont, 
M^m. Eccles. torn. xi. p. 500—533.) It is inserted among the works 
of Chrysostom, torn. xiii. p. 1 — 90, edit. Montfaucon. 2. The mod- 
crate Erasmus, (torn. iii. epist. mcx. p. 1331—1347, edit. Lugd. Bat.) 
His vivacity and good sense were his own ; his errors, in the unculti- 
vated state of ecclesiastical antiquity, were almost inevitable. 3. The 
Sflurned Tillemont, (Mem. Ecclesiastiqucs, torn. xi. p. 1 — 405, 54 J— 
526, &C. &C.,) who compiles the lives of the saints with incredible pa- 
tience and religious accuracy. He has minutely searched the volu- 
minous works of Chrysostom himself. 4. Father Montfaucon, who 
has perused those works with the curious diligence of an editor, dis- 
covered several new homilies, and again reviewed and composed tht 
Life of Chrysostom. (Opera Chrvsostom. torn. xiii. p. 91 — 177.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 341 

of that eloquence, which was admired near twenty years ai 
Antioch and Constantinople, have been carefully presevved , 
and the possession of near one thousand sermons, or homilies, 
has authorized the critics 4a of succeeding times to appreciate 
die genuine merit of Ghrysostom. They unanimously attribute 
to the Christian orator the free command of an elegant and 
copious language ; the judgment to conceal the advantages 
which he derived from the knowledge of rhetoric and philos- 
ophy ; an inexhaustible fund of metaphors and similitudes, 
of ideas and images, to vary and illustrate the most familiar 
topics ; the happy art of engaging the passions in the service 
of virtue ; and of exposing the folly, as well as the turpitude, 
of vice, almost with the truth and spirit of a dramatic repre- 
sentation. 

The pastoral labors of the archbishop of Constantinople 
provoked, and gradually united against him, two sorts of 
enemies ; the aspiring clergy, who envied his success, and the 
obstinate sinners, who were offended by his reproofs. When 
Chrysostom thundered, from the pulpit of St. Sophia, against 
the degeneracy of the Christians, his shafts were spent among 
the crowd, without wounding, or even marking, the character 
of any individual. When he declaimed against the peculiar 
vices of the rich, poverty might obtain a transient consolation 
from his invectives ; but the guilty were still sheltered by 
their numbers ; and the reproach itself was dignified by some 
ideas of superiority and enjoyment. But as- the pyramid rose 
towards the summit, it insensibly diminished to a point ; and 
the magistrates, the ministers, the favorite eunuchs, the ladies 
of the court, 43 the empress Eudoxia herself, had a much 

42 As I am almost a stranger to the voluminous sermons of Chrysos- 
tom, I have given my confidence to the two most judicious and mod- 
erate of the ecclesiastical critics, Erasmus (torn. iii. p. 1344) and 
Dupin, (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, torn. iii. p. 38 :) yet the good 
taste of the former is sometimes vitiated by an excessive love of an- 
tiquity , and the good sense of the latter is always restrained by pru- 
dential considerations. 

43 The females of [/onstantinople distinguished themselves by thei* 
enmity or their attachment to Chrysostom. Three noble and opulent 
vidows, Marsa, Castricia, and Eugraphia, were the leaders of the per- 
secution, (.Pallad. Dialog, torn. xiii. p. 14.) It was impossible that 
they should forgive a preacher who reproached their affectation to 
conceal, by the ornaments of dress, their age and ugliness, (Pallad. 
p. 27.) Olympias, by equal zeal, displayed in a r orv pious cause, 
Las obtained the title of saint. See Tillemont, Mcet. £«jles. torn. xL 
p. *16— 44C. 



342 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

larger share of guilt to divide among a smaller proportion of 
criminals. The personal applications of the audience were 
anticipated, or confirmed, by the testimony of their own con- 
Ecience; and the intrepid preacher assumed the dangerous 
right of exposing both the offence and the offender to the 
public abhorrence. The secret resentment of the court 
encouraged the discontent of the clergy and monks of Con- 
stantinople, who were too hastily reformed by the fervent zeal 
of their archbishop. He had condemned, from the pulpit, the 
domestic females of the clergy of Constantinople, who, under 
the name of servants, or sisters, afforded a perpetual occasion 
either of sin or of scandal. The silent and solitary ascetics, 
who had secluded themselves from the world, were entitled 
to the warmest approbation of Chrysostom ; but he despised 
and stigmatized, as the disgrace of their holy profession, 
the crowd of degenerate . monks, who, from some unworthy 
motives of pleasure or profit, so frequently infested the streets 
of the capital. To the voice of persuasion, the archbishop 
was obliged to add the terrors of authority ; and his ardor, in 
the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, was not always 
exempt from passion ; nor was it always guided by prudence. 
Chrysostom was naturally of a choleric disposition. 44 Although 
he struggled, according to the precepts of the gospel, to love 
his private enemies, he indulged himself in the privilege of 
hating the enemies of God and of the church ; and his senti- 
ments were sometimes delivered with too much energy of 
countenance and expression. He still maintained, from some 
considerations of health or abstinence, his former habits of 
taking his repasts alone ; and this inhospitable custom, 45 which 
his enemies imputed to pride, contributed, at least, to nourish 
the infirmity of a morose and unsocial humor. Separated 



44 Sozomen, and more especially Socrates, have defined the real 
character of Chrysostom with a temperate and impartial freedom, 
very offensive to his blind admirers. Those historians lived in th« 
next generation, when party violence was abated, and had conversed 
with many persons intimately acquainted with the virtues and impv»» 
flections of the saint. 

45 Palladius (torn. xiii. p. 40, &c.) very seriously defends the arch- 
bishop. 1. He never tasted wine. 2. The weakness of his stomacl 
required a peculiar diet. 3. Business, or study, or devotion, often 
kept him fasting till sunset. 4. He detested the noise and levity of 
gTeat dinners. 5. He saved the expense for the use of the poor. 
6. He was apprehensive, in a capital like Constantinople, o c the trnrj 
»nd reproach of partial invitations. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 343 

from that familiar intercourse, which facilitates the knowledge 
and the despatch of business, he reposed an unsuspecting 
confidence in his deacon Serapion ; and seldom applied h's 
speculative knowledge of human nature to the particular 
characters, either of his dependants, or of his equals. Con- 
scious of the purity of his intentions, and perhaps of the 
superiority of his genius, the archbishop of Constantinople 
extended the jurisdiction of the Imperial city, that he might 
enlarge the sphere of his pastoral labors ; and the conduct 
which the profane imputed to an ambitious motive, appeared 
to Chrysostom himself in the light of a sacred and indispen- 
sable duty. In his visitation through the Asiatic provinces, he 
deposed thirteen bishops of Lydia and Phrygia ; and indis- 
creetly declared that a deep corruption of simony and licen- 
tiousness had infected the whole episcopal order. 46 If those 
bishops were innocent, such a rash and unjust condemnation 
must excite a well-grounded discontent. If they were guilty, 
the numerous associates of their guilt would soon discover 
that their own safety depended on the ruin of the archbishop ; 
whom they studied to represent as the tyrant of the Eastern 
church. 

This ecclesiastical conspiracy was managed by Theophilus, 47 
archbishop of Alexandria, an active and ambitious prelate, 
who displayed the fruits of rapine in monuments of ostenta- 
tion. His national dislike to the rising greatness of a city, 
which degraded him from the second to the third rank in the 
Christian world, was exasperated by some personal disputes 
with Chrysostom himself. 48 By the private invitation of the 
empress, Theophilus landed at Constantinople with a stout 
body of Egyptian mariners, to encounter the populace ; and 
a train of dependent bishops, to secure, by their voices, the 
majority of a synod. The synod 49 was convened in the 

46 Chrysostom declares his free opinion (torn. ix. hom. iii. in Act. 
Apostol. p. 29) that the number of bishops, who might be saved, bore 
a very small proportion to those who would be damned. 

47 See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. p. 441 — 500. 

48 I have purposely omitted the controversy which arose among 
ihe monks of Egypt, concerning Origenism and Anthropomorphism ; 
the dissimulation and violence of Theophilus ; his artful management 
of tha simplicity of Epiphanius ; the persecution and flight of the 
king, or tall, brothers ; the ambiguous support which they received at 
Constantinople from Chrysostom, &c. &c. 

** Photius (p. 53 — 60) has preserved the original acts of the synod 
tf the Oak ; which destroys the false assertion, that Clirytxjtf.om wae 



3-14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak, where Rufinus had 
erected a stately church and monastery ; and their proceed- 
ngs were continued during fourteen day*s or sessions. A 
b'shop and a deacon accused the archbishop of Constantino- 
pie ; but the frivolous or improbable nature of the forty-sevfc.*} 
articles which they presented against him, may justly be cor. 
smei-ed as a fair and unexceptionable panegyric. Four suc- 
cessive summons were signified to Chrysostom ; but he still 
refused to trust either his person or his reputation in the handa 
of his implacable enemies, who, prudently declining the exam- 
ination of any particular charges, condemned his contuma- 
cious disobedience, and hastily pronounced a sentence of dep- 
osition. The synod of the Oak immediately addressed the 
emperor to ratify and execute their judgment, and charitably 
insinuated, that the penalties of treason might be inflicted on 
the audacious preacher, who had reviled, under the name of 
Jezebel, the empress Eudoxia herself. The archbishop was 
rudely arrested, and conducted through the city, by one of the 
Imperial messengers, who landed him, after a short naviga- 
tion, near the entrance of the Euxine ; from whence, before 
the expiration of two days, he was gloriously recalled. 

The first astonishment of his faithful people had been mute 
*nd passive : they suddenly rose with unanimous and irre- 
sistible fury. Theophilus escaped, but the promiscuous 
crowd of monks and Egyptian mariners was slaughtered 
without pity in the streets of Constantinople. 50 A seasonable 
earthquake justified the interposition of Heaven ; the torrent 
of sedition rolled forwards to the gates of the palace ; and the 
empress, agitated by fear or remorse, threw herself at the feet 
of Arcadius, and confessed that the public safety could be 
purchased only by the restoration of Chrysostom. The Bos- 
condemned by no more than thirty-six bishops, of whom twenty-nine 
were Egyptians. Forty-five bishops subscribed his sentence. See 
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xi. p. 595.* 

6U Palladius owns (p. 30) that if the people of Constantinople had 
found Theophilus, they would certainly have thrown him into the sea. 
Socrates mentions (1. vi. c. 17) a battle between the mob and the 
Eailors of Alexandria, in which many wounds wer« given, and some 
lives were lost. The massacre of the monks is observed only by tha 
Pagan Zosimus, (1. v. p. 324,) who acknowledges that Chrysostom hart 
a singular talent to lead the illiterate multitude, i]v ya§ 6 awtyuiHo* 



" Tillcaccnt argues stiongly.for the number of thirty-six. — 



24 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRli. IU5 

phorus was co\ered with innumerable vessels ; the shores of 

Europe and Asia were profusely illuminated ; and the accla- 
mations of a victorious people accomoanied, from the port to 
the cathedral, the triumph of the archbishop; who, too easily 
consented to resume the exercise of his functions, before his 
sentence had been legally reversed by the authority of an 
ecclesiastical synod. Ignorant, or careless, of the impending 
danger, Chrysostom indulged his zeal, or perhaps his resent- 
ment ; declaimed with peculiar asperity against female vices ; 
and condemned the profane honors which were addressed, 
almost in the precincts of St. Sophia, to the statue of the 
empress. His imprudence tempted his enemies to inflame 
the haughty spirit of Eudoxia, by reporting, or perhaps invent- 
ing, the famous exordium of a sermon, " Herodias is again 
furious ; Herodias again dances ; she once more requires the 
head of John; " an insolent allusion, which, as a woman and 
a sovereign, it was impossible for her to forgive. 51 The short 
interval of a perfidious truce was employed to concert more 
effectual measures for the disgrace and ruin of the arch- 
bishop. A numerous council of the Eastern prelates, who 
were guided from a distance by the advice of Theophilus, 
confirmed the validity, without examining the justice, of the 
former sentence ; and a detachment of Barbarian troops was 
introduced into the city, to suppress the emotions of the peo- 
ple. On the vigil of Easter, the solemn administration of 
baptism was rudely interrupted by the soldiers, who alarmed 
the modesty of the naked catechumens, and violated, by their 
presence, the awful mysteries of the Christian worship. Arsa- 
cius occupied the church of St. Sophia, and the archiepiscopal 
throne. The Catholics retreated to the baths of Constantine, 
and afterwards to the fields; where they were still pursued 
and insulted by the guards, the bishops, and the magistrates. 
The fatal day of the second and final exile of Chrysostom 
vas marked by the conflagration of the cathedral, of the 
senate-house, and of the adjacent buildings ; and this calam- 
ity was imputed, without proof, but not without probability, 
io the despair of a persecuted faction. 52 

61 See Socrates, 1. vi. c. 18. Sozomen, 1. viii. c. 20. Zosin.us (1. v. 

?. o24, 327) mentions, in general terms, his invectives against Eudoxia, 
'he homilyj which begins with those famous words, is rejected aa 
•purous. Montfaucon, torn. xiii. p. LSI. Tillcmont, Mem. Eccles. 
V»m. xi. p. 6(t:t. 

68 We might naturally expect such a charge- from r Sc3imus, (1. v. p. 

69 



346 THE DECLiInE AND FALL 

Cicero might claim some merit, if his voluntaiy banish > 
mem preserved the peace of the republic ; r>3 but the sub- 
mission of Chrysostom was the indispensable duty of a Chris- 
tian and a subject. Instead of listening to his humble 
prayer, that he might be permitted to reside at Cyzicus, or 
Nicomedia, the inflexible empress assigned for his exile the 
remoie and desolate town of Cucusus, among the ridges of 
Mount Taurus, in the Lesser Armenia. A secret hope was 
entertained, that the archbishop might perish in a difficult 
and dangerous march of seventy days, in the heat of sum- 
mer, through the provinces of Asia Minor, where he was 
continually threatened by the hostile attacks of the Isaurians, 
and the more implacable fury of the monks. Yet Chrysos- 
tom arrived in safety at the place of his confinement ; and 
the three years which he spent at Cucusus, and the neighbor- 
ing town of Arabissus, were the last and most glorious of 
his life. His character was consecrated by absence and per- 
secution ; the faults of his administration were no longer 
remembered ; but every tongue repeated the praises of his 
genius and virtue : and the respectful attention of the Chris- 
tian world was fixed on a desert spot among the mountains 
of Taurus. From that solitude the archbishop, whose active 
mind was invigorated by misfortunes, maintained a strict and 
frequent correspondence 54 with the most distant provinces; 
exhorted the separate congregation of his faithful adherents 
to persevere in their allegiance ; urged the destruction of the 
temples of Phoenicia, and the extirpation of heresy in the 
Is) 5 of Cyprus ; extended his pastoral care to the missions of 
P' rsia and Scythia ; negotiated, by his ambassadors, with the 
Roman pontiff and the emperor Honorius ; and boldly ap- 
pealed, from a partial synod, to the supreme tribunal of a 
free and general council. The mind of the illustrious exile 
was still independent; but his captive body was exposed to 
the revenge of the oppressors, who continued to abuse the 



327 ;) but it is remarkable enough, that it should be confirmed by 
Socrates, (1. vi. c. 18,) and the Paschal Chronicle, (p. 307.) 

63 He displays those specious motives (Post Keditum, c. 13, 14) in 
the language of an orator and a politician. 

54 Two hundred and forty-two of the epistles of Chrysostom are 
etill extant, (Opera, torn. iii. p. 528 — 736.) They are addressed to a 
great variety of persons, and show a firmness of mind much superior 
to that of Cicero in his exile. The fourteenth epistle contains a curi- 
rms narrative of the dangers of his iourney. 



OK THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 3-17 

name ar. i authority of Arcadius. 55 An ordt r was desj atched 
f~r the instant removal of Chrysostom to the extreme desert 
of Pityus : and his guards so faithfully obeyed their cruel 
instructions, that, before he reached the sea-coast of the Eux- 
me, he expired at Comana, in Pontus, in the sixtieth year of 
his age. The succeeding generation acknowledged his inno- 
cence and merit. The archbishops of the East, who migltf 
blush that their predecessors had been the enemies of Chrys« 
ostom, were gradually disposed, by the firmness of the Ro- 
man pontiff, to restore the honors of that venerable name. 56 
At the pious solicitation of the clergy and people of Constan- 
tinople, his relics, thirty years after his death, were trans- 
ported from their obscure sepulchre to the royal city. 57 The 
emperor Theodosius advanced to receive them as far aa 
Chalcedon ; and, falling prostrate on the coffin, implored, in 
the name of his guilty parents, Arcadius and Eudoxia, the 
forgiveness of the injured saint. 58 

Yet a reasonable doubt may be entertained, whether any 
stain of hereditary guilt could be derived from Arcadius to 
his successor. Eudoxia was a young and beautiful woman, 
who indulged her passions, and despised her husband ; Count 

55 After the exile of Chrysostom, Theophilus published an enormous 
and horrible volume against him, in which he perpetually repeats the 
polite expressions of hostem humanitatis, sacrilegorum principem, 
immundum da,>monem ; he affirms, that John Chrysostom had deliv- 
ered his soul to be adulterated by the devil ; and wishes that some 
further punishment, adequate (if possible) to the magnitude of hia 
crimes, may be inflicted on him. St. Jerom, at the request of his 
friend Theophilus, translated this edifying performance from Greek 
into Latin. See Facundus Hermian. Defens. pro iii. Capitul. 1. vi 
e. 5, published by Sirmond. Opera, torn. ii. p. 595, 596, 597. 

50 Ilis name was inserted by his successor Atticus in the Dyptics of 
the church of Constantinople, A. D. 418. Ten years afterwards hf 
vas revered as a saint. Cyril, who inherited the place, and the pas- 
sions, of his uncle Theophilus, yielded with much reluctance. See 
1'acund. Hermian. 1. 4, c. 1. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. 
p. 277—283. 

M Socrates, 1. vii. c. 45. Theodoret, 1. v. c. 36. This event recon- 
ciled the Joannites, who had hitherto refused to acknowledge his 
successors. During his lifetime, the Joannites were respected, by tho 
Cf.iholics as the true and orthodox communion of Constantinople. 
Their obstinacy gradually drove them to the brink of schism. 

5 " According to some accounts, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 438, 
No P, ]o.) the emperor was forced to send a letter of invitation and 
mouses, before the body of the ceremonious saint could be i&ovsd 
th.-m Comana. 



348 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

John enjoyed, at "least, the familiar confidence of the empress; 
and the public named him as the real father of Theodosius 
the younger. 59 The birth of a son was accepted, however, 
by the pious husband, as an event the most fortunate and 
honorable to himself, to his family, and to the Eastern world : 
and the royal infant, by an unprecedented favor, was invested 
with the titles of Caesar and Augustus. In less than four 
years afterwards, Eudoxia, in the bloom of youth, was 
destroyed by the consequences of a miscarriage ; and this 
untimely death confounded the prophecy of a holy bishop, 60 
who, amidst the universal joy, had ventured to foretell, that 
she should behold the long and auspicious reign of her glo- 
rious son. The Catholics applauded the justice of Heaven, 
which avenged the persecution of St. Chrysostom ; and per- 
haps the emperor was the only person who sincerely 
bewailed the loss of the haughty and rapacious Eudoxia. 
Such a domestic misfortune afflicted him more deeply than 
the public calamities of the East ; 61 the licentious excursions, 
from Pontus to Palestine, of the Isaurian robbers, whose im- 
punity accused the weakness of the government ; and the 
earthquakes, the conflagrations, the famine, and the Mights of 
locusts, 62 which the popular discontent was equally disposed 
to attribute to the incapacity of the monarch. At length, in 
the thirty-first year of his age, after a reign (if we may 
abuse that word) of thirteen years, three months, and 
fifteen days, Arcadius expired in the palace of Constantino- 
ple. It is impossible to delineate his character ; since, in a 

59 Zosimus, 1. v. p. 315. The chastity of an empress should not be 
impeached without producing a witness ; but it is astonishing, that 
the witness should write and live under a prince whose legitimacy 
he dared to attack. We must suppose that his history was a party 
libel, privately read and circulated by the Pagans. Tillemont (Hist. 
des Empcreurs, torn. v. p. 782) is not averse to brand the reputation 
of Eudoxia. 

60 Porphyry of Gaza. His zeal was transported by the order which 
lie had obtained for the destruction of eight Pagan temples of that 
city. See the curious details of his life, (Baronius, A. D. 401, No. 
17 — 51,") originally written in Greek, or perhaps in Syriac, by a monk, 
one of his favorite deacons. 

81 Philostorg. 1. xi. c. 8, and Godefroy, Dissertat. p. 457. 

61 Jerom (torn. vi. p. 73, 76) describes, in lively colors, the regular 
and destructive march of the locusts, which spread a dark cloud. 
between heaven and earth, over the land of Palestine. Seasonable 
winds scattered them, partly into the Dead Sea and partly into thn 
Mediterranean. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 349 

'period very copiously furnished with historical materials, it 
has not been possible to remark one action that properly 
belongs to the son of the great Theodosius. 

The historian Procopius 63 has indeed illuminated the mind 
of the dying emperor with a ray of human prudence, o<- 
celestial Wisdom. Arcadius considered, with anxious fore- 
sight, the helpless condition of his son Theodosius, who was 
no more than seven years of age, the dangerous factions of 
a minority, and the aspiring spirit of Jezdegerd, the Persian 
monarch. Instead of tempting the allegiance of an ambi- 
tious subject, by the participation of supreme power, he 
boldly appealed to the magnanimity of a king ; and placed, 
by a solemn testament, the sceptre of the East in the hands 
of Jezdegerd himself. The royal guardian accepted and 
discharged this hpnorable trust with unexampled fidelity ; and 
the infancy of Theodosius was protected by the arms and 
councils of Persia. Such is the singular narrative of Proco 
pins; and his veracity is not disputed by Agafchias, 64 while 
he presumes to dissent from his judgment, and to arraign the 
wisdom of a Christian emperor, who, so rashly, though so 
fortunately, committed his son and his dominions to the 
unknown faith of a stranger, a rival, and a heathen. At the 
distance of one hundred and fifty years, this political ques- 
tion might be debated in the court of Justinian ; but a pru- 
dent historian will refuse to examine the propriety, till he hag 
ascertaine the truth, of the testament of Arcadius. As it 
stands without a parallel in the history of the world, we may 
justly require, that it should be attested by the positive and 
unanimous evidence of contemporaries. The strange novelty 
of the event, which excites our distrust, must have attracted 
their notice ; and their universal silence annihilates the 
vain tradition of the succeeding age. 

The maxims of Roman jurisprudence, if they could fairly 



es Procopius, de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 2, p. 8, edit. Louvre. 

* 4 Agathias, 1. iv. p. 136, 137. Although he confesses the prevalence 
of the tradition, he asserts, that Procopius was the first who had com- 
mitted it to writing. Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. vi. p. 597) 
argues very sensibly on the merits of this fable. His criticism was 
not warped by any ecclesiastical authority : both Procopius and Aga- 
thias are half Pagans.* 

♦ See St. Martin's a v .icle on Jezdegerd, in the Biographie Uniyeroelle 
ie Michaud. — M. 



350 THE UECLlNE AND FA! L 

be transferred from private property to pub 5c dominion, 
would have a-ljudged to the emperor Honorius the guardian 
ship of his nephew, till he had attained, at least, the four- 
teenth year of his age. But tne weakness of Honorius, and 
the calamities of his reign, disqualified him from prosecuting 
this natural claim ; and such was the absolute separation 
of the two monarchies, both in interest and affection, that 
Constantinople would have obeyed, with less reluctance, 
the orders of the Persian, than those of the Italian, court. 
Under a prince whose weakness is disguised by the external 
signs of manhood and discretion, the most worthless favorites 
may secretly dispute the empire of the palace ; and dictate 
to submissive provinces the commands of a master, whom 
they direct and despise. But the ministers of a child, who 
is incapable of arming them with the sanction of the royal 
name, must acquire and exercise an independent authority. 
The great officers of the state and army, who had been 
appointed before the death of Arcadius, formed an aristocracy, 
which might have inspired them with the idea of a free repub- 
lic ; and the government of the Eastern empire was fortu- 
nately assumed by the praefect Anthem ius, 65 who obtained, bv 
his superior abilities, a lasting ascendant over the minds of 
his equals. The safety of the young emperor proved the 
merit and integrity of Anthemius ; and his prudent firmness 
sustained the force and reputation of an infant reign. Uldin, 
with a formidable host of Barbarians, was encamped in the 
heart of Thrace ; he proudly rejected all terms of accommo- 
dation ; and, pointing to the rising sun, declared to the Ro- 
man ambassadors, that the course of that planet should alone 
terminate the conquest of the Huns. But the desertion of his 
confederates, who were privately convinced of the justice 
and liberality of the Imperial ministers, obliged Uldin to 
repass the Danube : the tribe of the Scyrri, which composed 
nis rear-guard, was almost extirpated ; and many thousand 
captives were dispersed to cultivate, with servile labor, the 



84 Socrates, 1. vii. c. 1. Anthemius was the grandson of Philip, 
one of the ministers of Constantius, and the grandfather of the emperoi 
Anthemius. After his return from the Persian embassy, he was 
appointed consul and Praetorian praefect of the East, in the year 405 ; 
»nd neld the praefecture about ten vears. See his honors and praisea 
in Godefroy, Cod. Theod. torn. vi. p. 350. Tilleinont, Hist, des Ercp 
torn. vi. p. 1, &c 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 351 

fields of Asia.. 66 In the midst :>f the public triumph, Con 
Btantiuonlc was protected by a strong enclosure of new and 
more extensive walls ; the same vigilant care was applied to 
restore the fortifications of the Illyrian cities ; and a plan 
was judiciously conceived, which, in the space of seven 
years, would have secured the command of the Danube, by 
establishing on that river a perpetual fleet of two hundred 
and fifty armed vessels. 67 

But the Romans had so long been accustomed to the au- 
thority of a monarch, that the first, even among the females, 
of the Imperial family, who displayed any courage or capa- 
city, was permitted to ascend the vacant throne of Theodosius. 
His sister Pulcheria, 68 who was only two years older than him- 
self, received, at the age of sixteen, the title of Augusta ; and 
though her favor might be sometimes clouded by caprice or 
intrigue, she continued to govern the Eastern empire near 
forty years ; during the long minority of her brother, and 
after his death, in her own name, and in the name of Marciaa, 
her nominal husband. From a motive either of prudence or 
religion, she embraced a life of celibacy; and notwithstand- 
.ng some aspersions on the chastity of Pulcheria, 69 this resolu- 
tion, which she communicated to her sisters Arcadia and 
Marina, was celebrated by the Christian world, as the sublime 
effort of heroic piety. In the presence of the clergy and 
people, the three daughters of Arcadius 70 dedicated their vir- 
ginity to God ; and the obligation of their solemn vow was 

66 Sozomen, 1. ix. c. 5. lie saw some Seym at work near Mount 
Olympus, in Bithynia, and cherished the vain hope that those captives 
were the last of the nation. 

67 Cod. Theod. 1. vii. tit. xvii. 1. xv. tit. i. leg. 49. 

88 Sozomen has filled three chapters with a magnificent panegyric 
of Pulcheria, (1. ix. c. 1, 2, 3 ;) and Tillemont (Memc'res Eccles. tore 
xv. p. 171 — 184) has dedicated a separate article to the honor of St 
Pulcheria, virgin and empress.* 

69 Suidas (Excerpta, p. 68, in Script. Byzant.) pretends, on the 
credit of the Nestorians, that Pulcheria was exasperated against their 
founder, because he censured her connection with the beautiful Pauli- 
nus, and her incest w r ith her brother Theodosius. 

70 See Ducange, Famil. Byzantin. p. 70. Flaccilla, the eldest daugh- 
ter, either died before Arcadius, or, if she lived till the year 431, 
(MarceUin. Chron.,) some defect of mind or body must have excluded 
ner from the honors of her rank. 



* The heathen Eunapius gives a frightful picture of the ▼snality and 
injustice of the court of Pulcheria. Fragm. Euriap. in Mai, ii. 293, in 
Nieouhr, 97. — M. 



352 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

inscribed on a tablet of gold and gems ; which they publicly 
uHbred in the great church of Constantinople. Their palace 
was converted into a monastery ; and ail males, except the 
guides of their conscience, the saints who had iorgotien 
die distinction of sexes, were scrupulously excluded from die 
holy threshold. Pulcheria, her two sisters, and a chosen train 
cf favorite damsels, formed a religious community: they 
renounced the vanity of dress ; interrupted, by frequent fasts, 
their simple and frugal diet ; allotted a portion of their time 
to works of embroidery ; and devoted several hours of the day 
and night to the exercises of prayer and psalmody. The 
piety of a Christian virgin was adorned by the zeal and liberal- 
ity of an empress. Ecclesiastical history describes the splendid 
churches, which were built at the expense of Pulcheria, in all 
the provinces of the East ; her charitable foundations for the 
benefit of strangers and the poor; the ample donations which 
she assigned for the perpetual maintenance of monastic socie- 
ties ; and the active severity with which she labored to sup- 
press the opposite heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches. Such 
virtues were supposed to deserve the peculiar favor of the 
Deity : and the relics of martyrs, as well as the knowledge of 
future events, were communicated in visions and revelations to 
the Imperial saint. 71 Yet the devotion of Pulcheria never 
diverted her indefatigable attention from temporal affairs; and 
she alone, among all the descendants of the great Theodosius, 
appears to have inherited any share of his manly spirit and 
abilities. The elegant and familiar use which she had ac- 
quired, both of the Greek and Latin languages, was readilr 
applied to the various occasions of speaking, or writing, on 
public business : her deliberations were maturely weighed ; 
her actions were prompt and decisive ; and, while she moved, 
without noise or ostentation, the wheel of government, she 
discreetly attributed to the genius of the emperor the long 
tranquillity of his reign. In the last years of his peaceful 



71 She was admonished, by repented dreams, of the place where 
the relics of the forty martyrs had been buried. The ground had suc- 
cessively belonged to the house and garden of a woman of Constanti- 
nople, to a monastery of Macedonian monks, and to a church of St 
Thyrsus, erected by Csesarius, who was consul A. D. 307; and thi 
memory of the relics was almost obliterated. Notwithstanding till 
charitable wishes of Dr. Jortin, (Remarks, torn. iv. p. 234.) it if noi 
easy to acquit Pulcheria of some share in the pious fraud ; which must 
have been iij,.isacted when she was more than five-and-thirty yean 
of age. 



OF THE. ROMAN EMPIRE. 853 

!if»\ Europe was indeed afflicted by the arms of Attila ; bu 
the more extensive provinces of Asia still continued to enjoy 
a profound and permanent repose. Theodosius the younger 
vas never reduced to the disgraceful necessity of encounter 
nig and punishing a rebellious subject : and since we cannol 
applaud the vigor, some praise may be due to the mildness 
and prosperity, of the administration of Pulcheria. 

The Roman world was deeply interested in the education 
of its master. A regular course of study and exercise was 
judiciously instituted ; of the military exercises of riding, and 
shooting with the bow ; of the liberal studies of grammar, 
rhetoric, and philosophy : the most skilful masters of the East 
ambitiously solicited the attention of their royal pupil ; and 
several noble youths were introduced into the palace, to ani- 
mate his diligence by the emulation of friendship. Pulcheria 
alone discharged the important task of instructing her brother 
in the arts of government ; but her precepts may countenance 
some suspicion of the extent of her capacity, or of the purity 
of her intentions. She taught him to maintain a grave and 
majestic deportment ; to walk, to hold his robes, to seat him- 
self on his throne, in a manner worthy of a great prince ; to 
abstain from laughter ; to listen with condescension ; to return 
suitable answers; to assume, by turns, a serious or a placid 
countenance : in a word, to represent with grace and digni f,r 
the external figure of a Roman emperor. But Theodosius 7a 
was never excited to support the weight and glory of an illus- 
trious name : and, instead of aspiring to imitate his ancestors, 
he degenerated (if we may presume to measure the degrees 
of incapacity) below the weakness of his father and his uncle. 
Arcadius and Honorius had been assisted by the guardian 
care of a parent, whose lessons were enforced by his author- 
ity and example. But the unfortunate prince, who is born 



72 There is a remarkable difference between the two ecclesiastical 
historians, who in general bear so close a resemblance. Sozomen (1. ix. 
c. 1; ascribes to Pulcheria the government of the empire, and the 
education of her brother, whom he scarcely condescends to praise^ 
Socrates, though he affectedly disclaims all hopes of favor or fame, 
composes an elaborate panegyric on the emperor, and cautiously sup- 
presses the merits of his sister, (1. vii. c. 22, 42.) Philostorgius (1. xii 
c. 7) expresses the influence of Pulcheria in gentle and courtly Ian 
^uage, ru{ puaiXixltg Oijfieiwatis I'mjoeTovfiivr] xul ditv&rrvvoa. Suidaa 
'Excerpt, p. 53) gives a true character of Theodosius; and I have 
follow ed the example of Tillemont (torn. vi. p. 25) in borrowing some 
itirkes from the modern Greeks. 

69* 



354 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

in the purple, must remain a stranger tc the voice of truth 
and the son of Arcadius was condemned to pass his perpetua. 
infancy encompassed only by a servile train of women and 
eunuchs. The ample leisure, which he acquired by neglect- 
ing the essential duties of his high office, was filled by idle 
amusements and unprofitable studies. Hunting was the only 
active pursuit that could tempt him beyond the limits of the 
palace ; but he most assiduously labored, sometimes by the 
light of a midnight lamp, in the mechanic occupations of paint* 
ing and carving ; and the elegance with which he transcribed 
religious books, entitled the Roman emperor to the singulai 
epithet of Calligraphes, or a fair writer. Separated from the 
world by an impenetrable veil,Theodosius trusted the persons 
whom he loved ; he loved those who were accustomed to 
amuse and flatter his indolence ; and as he never perused the 
oaners that were presented for the royal signature, the acts 
of injustice the most repugnant to his character were fre- 
quently perpetrated in his name. The emperor himself was 
chaste, temperate, liberal, and merciful ; but these qualities, 
which can only deserve the name of virtues when they are 
supported by courage and regulated by discretion, were sel- 
dom beneficial, and they sometimes proved mischievous, to 
mankind. His mind, enervated by a royal education, was 
oppressed and degraded by abject superstition : he fasted, he 
sung psalms, he blindly accepted the miracles and doctrines 
with which his faith was continually nourished. Theodosius 
devoutly worshipped the dead and living saints of the Catholic 
church ; and he once refused to eat, till an insolent monk, 
who had cast an excommunication on his sovereign, conde- 
scended to heal the spiritual wound which he had inflicted. 73 
The story of a fair and virtuous maiden, exalted from a 
private condition to the Imperial throne, might be deemed an 
incredible romance, if such a romance had not been verified 
in the marriage of Theodosius. The celebrated Athenais 14 

73 Theodoret, 1. v. c. 37. The bishop of Cyrrhus, one of the first 
men of his age for his learning and piety, applauds the obedience of 
Theodosius to the divine laws. 

74 Socrates (1. vii. c. 21) mentions her name, (Athenais, the daugh- 
ter of Leontius, an Athenian sophist,) her baptism, marriage, and 
poetical genius. The most ancient account of her history is in John 
Malala (part ii. p. 20, 21, edit. Yenet. 1743) and in the Paschal Chron- 
icle, (p. 311, 312.) Those authors had probably seen original pictures 
of the empress Eudocia. The modern Greeks, Zonaras, Cedrenus, 
8" - ., Lave displayed the love, rather than the 'alent. of fiction From 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 356 

was educated by her father Leontius in the religion and 
sciences of the Greeks ; and so advantageous was the opinion 
which the Athenian philosopher entertained of his contempo- 
raries, that he divided his patrimony between his two sons, 
bequeathing to his daughter a small legacy of one hundred 
pieces of gold, in the lively confidence that her beauty and 
merit would be a sufficient portion. The jealousy and avarice 
of her brothers soon compelled Athenais to seek a refuge at 
Constantinople ; and, with some hopes, either of justice or 
favor, to throw herself at the feet of Pulcheria. That saga- 
cious princess listened to her eloquent complaint ; and secretly 
destined the daughter of the philosopher Leontius for the 
future wife of the emperor of the East, who had now attained 
the twentieth year of his age. She easily excited the curi- 
osity of her brother, by an interesting picture of the charms 
of Athenais ; large eyes, a well-proportioned nose, a fair com- 
plexion, golden locks, a slender person, a graceful demeanor, 
an understanding improved by study, and a virtue tried by 
distress. Theodosius, concealed behind a curtain in the 
apartment of his sister, was permitted to behold the Athenian 
virgin : the modest youth immediately declared his pure and 
honorable love ; and the royal nuptials were celebrated amidst 
the acclamations of the capital and the provinces. Athenais, 
who was easily persuaded to renounce the errors of Paganism, 
received at her baptism the Christian name of Eudocia ; but 
the cautious Pulcheria withheld the title of Augusta, till the 
wife o.' Theodosius had approved her fruitfulness by the birth 
of a daughter, who espoused, fifteen years afterwards, tne 
emperor of the West. The brothers of Eudocia obeyed, with 
some anxiety, her Imperial summons ; but as she could easily 
forgive their fortunate unkindness, she indulged the tender- 
ness, or perhaps the vanity, of a sister, by promoting them to 
the rank of consuls and prefects. In the luxury of the 
palace, she still cultivated those ingenuous arts, which had 
contributed to her greatness ; and wisely dedicated her talents 
to the honor of religion, and of her husband. Eudocia com- 
posed a poetical paraphrase of the first eight books of the Old 
TDStament, and of the prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah ; 
a cento of the verses of Homer, applied to the life and mira* 



Nicephorus, indeed, T hn.ve ventured to assume her age. The writer 
of a romance would not have imagined, that Athenais was near twen- 
ty-eight years old wheu she inflamed the heart of a young emperor. 



356 THB DECLINE .aND FALL 

clcs of Christ, the legend of St. Cyprian, and a panegyric on 
the Persian victories of Theodosius ; and her writings, which 
were applauded by a servile and superstitious age, have not 
been disdained by the randor of impartial criticism. 75 The 
fondness of the emperor was not abated by time and posses- 
sion ; and Eudocia, after the marriage of her daughter, was 
permitted to discharge her grateful vows by a solemn pilgrim- 
age to Jerusalem. Her ostentatious progress through the 
East may seem inconsistent with the spirit of Christian 
humility : she pronounced, from a throne of gold and gems, 
an eloquent oration to the senate of Antioch, declared her 
royal intention of enlarging the walls of the city, bestowed a 
donative of two hundred pounds of gold to restore the public 
baths, and accepted the statues, which were decreed by the 
gratitude of Antioch. In the Holy Land, her alms and pious 
foundations exceeded the munificence of the great Helena ; 
and though the public treasure might be impoverished by 
this excessive liberality, she enjoyed the conscious satisfaction 
of returning to Constantinople with the chains of St. Peter, 
the right arm of St. Stephen, and an undoubted picture of the 
Virgin, painted by St. Luke. 76 But this pilgrimage was the 
fatal term of the glories of Eudocia. Satiated with empty 
pomp, and unmindful, perhaps, of her obligations to Pulcheria, 
she ambitiously aspired to the government of the Eastern 
empire ; the palace was distracted by female discord ; but 
the victory was at last decided, by the superior ascendant of 
the sister of Theodosius. The execution of Paulinus, master 
of the oilices, and the disgrace of Cyrus, Praetorian prefect 
of the East, convinced the public that the favor of Eudocia 
was insufficient to protect her most faithful friends ; and the 
uncommon beauty of Paulinus encouraged the secret rumor, 
that his guilt was that of a successful lover. 77 As soon as the 



76 Socrates, 1. vii. c. 21, Photius, p. 413—420. The Homeric cento 
is still extant, and has been repeatedly printed; but the claim of 
Eudocia to that insipid performance is disputed by the critics. See 
Fabricius, Biblioth. Grsee. torn. i. p. 357. The Ionia, a miscellaneous 
dictionary of history and fable, was compiled by another empress of 
the name of Eudocia, who lived in the eleventh century : and ;Ae 
work is still extant in manuscript. 

76 Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 438, 439) is copious and florid--; 
but he is accused of placing the lies of different ages on the same level 
of ani henticity. 

77 in this short view nf the disgrace of Eudocia, I have imitated 
the caution of Evagrius (1. i. c. 21) *ud Couat Marcelliuus, (inCuron. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKii. 35") 

impress perceived that the affection of Theodosius was irre« 
trievably lost, she requested the permission of retiring to the 
distant solitude of Jerusalem. She obtained her request ; 
but the jealousy of Theodosius, or the vindictive spirit of 
Pulohcria, pursued her in her last retreat; and Saturninus, 
count of the domestics, was directed to punish with death two 
ecclesiastics, her most favored servants. Eudocia instantly 
revenged them by the assassination of the count ; the furious 
passions which she indulged on this suspicious occasion, 
seemed to justify the severity of Theodosius ; and the em- 
press, ignominiously stripped of the honors of her rank, 78 
was disgraced, perhaps unjustly, in the eyes of the world. 
The remainder of the life of Eudocia, about sixteen years, 
was spent in exile and devotion ; and the approach of age, 
the death of Theodosius, the misfortunes of her only daughter, 
who was led a captive from Rome to Carthage, and the 
society of the Holy Monks of Palestine, insensibly confirmed 
the religious temper of her mind. After a full experience of 
the vicissitudes of human life, the daughter of the philosopher 
Leontius expired, at Jerusa.em, in tne sixty-seventn year of 
her age ; protesting, with her dying breath, that she had never 
transgressed the bounds of innocence and friendship. 79 

The gentle mind of Theodosius was never inflamed by the 
ambition of conquest, or military renown ; and the slight 
alarm of a Persian war scarcely interrupted the tranquillity 
of the East. The motives of this war were just and honor- 
able. In the last year of the reign of Jezdegerd, the supposed 
guardian of Theodosius, a bishop, who aspired to the crown 
of martyrdom, destroyed one of the fire-temples of Susa. 8t) 

A. D. 440 and 444.) The two authentic dates assigned by the latter, 
overturn a great part of the Greek fictions ; and the celebrated story 
of the apple, &c, is fit only for the Arabian Nights, where something 
not very unlike it may be found. 

78 Priscus, (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 69,) s. contemporary, and a cour- 
tier, dryly mentions her Pagan and Christian names, without adding 
any title of honor or respect. 

79 For the two pilgrimages of Eudocia, and her long residence at 
Jerusalem, her devotion, abns, &c, see Socrates (1. vii. c. 47) and 
Evagrius, (1. i. c. 20, 21, 22.) The Paschal Chronicle may sometimes 
leserve regard ; and, in the domestic history of Antioch, John Malala 
becomes a writer of good authority. The Abbe Guenee, in a memoir 
on the fertility of Palestine, of which I have only seen an extract, cal- 
culate;' me gifts of Eudocia at 20,488 pounds of gold, above 800,000 
pounds sterling. 

M Tbeodoret, 1. v. c. 39. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xii. p. 356- 



358 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

His zeal and obstinacy were revenged on nis brethren ■ th« 
Magi excited r cruel persecution ; and the intolerant zeal of 
Jezdegerd was imitated by his son Varanes, or Bahram, who 
Boon afterwards ascended the throne. Some Christian fugi- 
tives, who escaped to the Roman frontier, were sternly 
demanded, and generously refused ; and the refusal, aggra- 
vated by commercial disputes, soon kindled a war between 
the rival monarchies. The mountains of Armenia, and the 
plains of Mesopotamia, were filled with hostile armies ; but 
the operations of two successive campaigns were not produc- 
tive of any decisive or memorable events. Some engage- 
ments were fought, some towns were besieged, with various 
and doubtful success : and if the Romans failed in their 
attempt to recover the long-lost possession of Nisibis, the 
Persians were repulsed from the walls of a Mesopotamian 
city, by the valor of a martial bishop, who pointed his thun- 
dering engine in the name of St. Thomas the Apostle. Yet 
the splendid victories which the incredible speed of the mes- 
senger Palladius repeatedly announced to the palace of Con- 
stantinople, were celebrated with festivals and panegyrics. 
From these panegyrics the historians 81 of the age might 
borrow their extraordinary, and, perhaps, fabulous tales; of 
the proud challenge of a Persian hero, who was entangled by 
the net, and despatched by the sword, of Areobindus the 
Goth ; of the ten thousand Im/aortals, who were slain in the 
attack of the Roman camp ; and of the hundred thousand 
Arabs, or Saracens, who were impelled by a panic terror to 
throw themselves headlong into the Euphrates. Such events 
may be disbelieved or disregarded ; but the charity of a 
bishop, Acacius of Amida, whose name might have dignified 
the saintly calendar, shall not be lost in oblivion. Boldly 
declaring, that vases ef gold and silver are useless to a God 
who neither eats nor drinks, the generous prelate sold the 
plate of the church of Amida; employed the price in the 
redemption of seven thousand Persian captives ; supplied 



364. Assemanni, Bibliot. Oriental, torn. iii. p. 396, torn. iv. p. 61. 
Theodoret blames the rashness of Abdas, but extols the constancy of 
his martyrdom. Yet I do not clearly understand the casuistry 
which prohibits our repairing the damage which we hare unlawfully 
committed. 

81 Socrates (1. vii. c. 18, 19, 20, 21) is the best author for the Persian 
war. We may likewise consult the three Chronicles, the Paschai 
and those of Maice'.linus and Malala. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 359 

their wants with affectionate liberality; and dismissed them 
to their native country, to inform their king of the true spirit 
of the religion which he persecuted. The practice of benevo- 
lence in the midst of war must always tend to assuage the 
animosity of contending nations; and I wish to persuade my- 
self, that Acacius contributed to the restoration of peace. In 
the conference which was held on the limits of the two 
empires, the Roman ambassadors degraded the personal 
character of their sovereign, by a vain attempt to magnify 
the extent of his power : when they seriously advised thf 
Persians to prevent, by a timely accommodation, the wratb 
of a monarch, who was yet ignorant of this distant war. A 
truce of one hundred years was solemnly ratified ; and 
although the revolutions of Armenia might threaten the pub- 
lic tranquillity, the essential conditions of this treaty were 
respected near fourscore years by the successors of Constan- 
tine and Artaxerxes. 

Since the Roman and Parthian standards first encountered 
on the banks of the Euphrates, the kingdom of Armenia 82 
was alternately oppressed by its formidable protectors ; and 
•n the course of this History, several events, which inclined 
die balance of peace and war, have been already related. A 
disgraceful treaty had resigned Armenia to the ambition of 
Sapor ; and the scale of Persia appeared to preponderate. 
3ut the royal race of Arsaces impatiently submitted to the 
house of Sassan ; the turbulent nobles asserted, or betrayed, 
their hereditary independence ; and the nation was still 
ittached to the Christian princes of Constaminople. In the 
beginning of the fifth century, Armenia was divided by the 
progress of war and faction ; 83 and the uruiatural division 

82 This account of the rum and division of the kingdom of Armenia 
is taken from the third book of the Armenian fJsiory of Moses of 
Chorene. Deficient as he is in every qualification of a good historian, 
bis local information, his passions, and his prejudices are strongly 
expressive of a native and contemporary. Procopius (de Edificiis, 
1. iii c. 1, 5) relates the same facts in 2. very different manner : but I 
have extracted the circumstances the most probable in themselves, 
»nd the least inconsistent with Moses of Chorene. 

1,3 The Western Armenians used the Greek language and character 
in their religious offices ; but the use of that hostile tongue was pro- 
hibited by the Persians in the Eas lern provinces, which were obliged 
to use the Syriac, till the invent* m of the Armenian letters by Mes- 
robes, in the beginning of the fifth century, and the subsequent version 
Df tne Bible into the Armenian lai guage; an event which relaxed tl:9 
•ounection of the church and nation with Constantinople. 



360 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

precipitated the downfall of that ancient monarchy. Chew- 
roes, the Persian vassal, reigned over the Eastern and most 
extensive portion of the country ; while the Western province 
acknowledged the jurisdiction of Arsaces, and the supremacy 
of the emperor Arcadius.* After the death of Arsaces, the 
Romans suppressed the regal government, and imposed on 
their allies the condition of subjects. The military command 
*vas delegated to the count of the Armenian frontier; the 
city of Theodosiopolis 84 was built and fortified in a strong 
situation, on a fertile and lofty ground, near the sources of 
the Euphrates ; and the dependent territories were ruled by 
hve satraps, whose dignity was marked by a peculiar habit 
of gold and purple. The less fortunate nobles, who lamented 
the loss of their king, and envied the honors of their equals, 
were provoked to negotiate their peace and pardon at the 
Persian court ; and returning, with their followers, to the 
palace of Artaxata, acknowledged Chosroest for their lawful 
sove^ign. About thirty years afterwards, Artas''res, the 
nepVew and successor of Chosroes, fell under the displeasure 
of the haughty and capricious nobles of Armenia ; and they 
unanimously desired a Persian governor in the room of an 
unworthy king. The answer of the archbishop Isaac, whose 

M Moses Choren. 1. iii. c. 59, p. 309, and p. 358. Procopius, deEdi- 
ticiis, 1. iii. c. 5. Theodosiopolis stands, or rather stood, about thirty- 
five miles to the east of Arzeroum, the modern capital of Turkish Ar- 
menia. See D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, torn. ii. p. 99, 100. 



* The division of Armenia, according to M. St. Martin, took placo ranch 
earlier, A. C. 390. The Eastern or Persian division was four times as large 
as '.he Western or Roman. This partition took place during the reigns of 
Theodosius the First, and Yaranes (Bahram) the Fourth. St. Martin, Sup. 
to Le Beau, iv. 429. This partition was but imperfectly accomplished, an 
both parts were afterwards reunited under Chosroes, who paid tribute both 
to the Roman emperor and to the Persian king. v. 439. — M. 

f Chosroes, according to Procopius (who calls him Arsaces, the common 
name of the Armenian kings) and the Armenian writers, bequeathed to 
his two sons, to Tigranes the Persian, to Arsaces the Roman, division of 
Armenia, A. C. 416. With the assistance of the discontented nobler the 
Persian king placed his son Sapor on the throne of the Eastern division : 
the Western at the same time was united to the Roman empire, and 
called the Greater Armenia. It was then that Theodosiopolis was built. 
Sapor abandoned the throne of Armenia to assert his rights to that of Per- 
sia : he perished in the struggle, and after a period of anarchy, Bahram V., 
who had ascended the throne of Persia, placed the last native prince, Ar- 
daschir, son of Bahram Schahpour, on the throne of the Persian division 
of Armenia. St. Martin, v. 506. This Ardaschir was the Artasires of 
Gibbon. The archbishop Isaac is called by the Armenians the PattiMca 
BahaR. St. Martin, vi. 29. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 361 

sanction they earnestly solicited, is expressive of the charac- 
ter of a superstitious people. He deplored the manifest and 
inexcusable vices of Artasires ; and dec'ared, that he should 
not hesitate to accuse him before the tribunal of a Christian 
emperor, who would punish, without destroying, the sinner. 
" Our king," continued Isaac, " is too much addicted to liccn 
tious pleasures, but he has been purified in the holy waters of 
baptism. He is a lover of women, but he does not adore the 
fire or the elements. He may deserve the reproach of lewd- 
ness, but he is an undoubted Catholic ; and his faith is pure, 
though his manners are flagitious. I will never consent to 
abandon my sheep to the rage of devouring wolves ; and you 
would soon repent your rash exchange of the infirmities of a 
believer, for the specious virtues of a heathen. 1 ' 85 Exasper- 
ated by the firmness of Isaac, the factious nobles accused both 
the king and the archbishop as the secret adherents of the 
emperor ; and absurdly rejoiced in the sentence of condem- 
nation, which, after a partial hearing, was solemnly pro- 
nounced by Bahram himself. The descendants of Arsaces 
were degraded from the royal dignity, 86 which they had 
possessed above five hundred and sixty years; 87 and the 
dominions of the unfortunate Artasires,* under the new and 



Sb Moses Choren. 1. iii. c. 63, p. 316. According to the institution 
oi St. Gregory, the Apostle of Armenia, the archbishop was always 
of the royal family ; a circumstance which, in some degree, corrected 
the influence of the sacerdotal character, and united the mitre with 
the crown. 

86 A branch of the royal house of Arsaces still subsisted with the 
rank and possessions (as it should seem) of Armenian satraps. See 
Moses Choren. 1. iii. c. 65, p. 321. 

87 Valarsaces was appointed king of Armenia by his brother the 
Parthian monarch, immediately after the defeat of Antiochus Sidetes, 
(Moses Choren. 1. ii. c. 2, p. 85,) one hundred and thirty years before 
Christ. t Without depending on the various and contradictory periods 
of the reigns of the last kings, we may be assured, that the ruin of tVie 
Armenian kingdom happened after the council of Chalcedon, A. D. 
431, (1. iii. c. 61, p. 312 ;) and under Varamus, or Bahram, king of 
Persia, (1. iii. c. 64, p. 317,) who reigned from A. D. 420 to 440. Sea 
A.sscmanni, Bibliot. Oriental, torn. iii. p. 39G.J 



* Artasires or Ardaschir was probably sent to the castle. of Oblivion. 
B(. Martin, vi. 31.— M. 

f Five hundred and eighty. St. Martin, ibid. He places this event 
A. C. 429. — M. 

J According to M. St. Martin, vi. 32, Vagharschah, or Valarsaces, was 
appointed king by his brother Mithridates the Great, king of Parthia. — M. 



362 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

significant appellation of Persarmenia, were reduced into the 
form of a province. This usurpation excited the jealousy of 
the Roman government ; but the rising disputes were soon 
terminated by an amicable, though unequal, partition of the 
ancient kingdom of Armenia : * and a territorial acquisition, 
which Augustis might have despised, reflected some lustre 
on the declining empire of the younger Theodosius. 

* The duration of the Armenian kiugdom, according to M. St. Kirtna. 
ww 660 years. — M. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

DEATH OF HONORIUS. VALENTINIAN III. EMPEROR OF THI 

EAST. ADMINISTRATION OF HIS MOTHER PLACIDIA. 

jETIUS AND BONIFACE. CONQUEST OF AFRICA BY THE 

VANDALS. 

During a long and disgraceful reign of twenty-eight years, 
Honorius, emperor of the West, was separated from the 
friendship of his brother, and afterwards of his nephew, who 
reigned over the East ; md Constantinople beheld, with ap- 
parent indifference and secret joy, the calamities of Rome. 
The strange adventures of Placidia 1 gradually renewed and 
cemented the alliance of the two empires. The daughter of 
the great Theodosius had been the captive, and the queen, of 
the Goths ; she lost an affectionate husband ; she was dragged 
in chains by his insulting assassin ; she tasted the pleasure of 
revenge, and was exchanged, in the treaty of peace, for six 
hundred thousand measures of wheat. After her return from 
Spain to Italy, Placidia experienced a new persecution in the 
bosom of her family. She was averse to a marriage, which 
had been stipulated without her consent ; and the brave Con- 
stant us, as a noble reward for the tyrants whom he had van- 
quished, received, from the hand of Honorius himself, the 
struggling and reluctant hand of the widow of Adolphus. 
But her resistance ended with the ceremony of the nuptials ; 
nor did Placidia refuse to become the mother of Honoria and 
Valentinian the Third, or to assume and exercise an absolute 
dominion over the mind of her grateful husband. The gen- 
erous soldier, whose time had hitherto been divided between 
6ocial pleasure and military service, was taught new lessons 
cf avarice and ambition : he extorted the title of Augustus ; 
and the servant of Honorius was associated to the empire of 
the West. The death of Constantius, in the seventh month 
of his reign, instead of diminishing, seemed to increase the 
power of Placidia; aid the indecent familiarity 2 of her 

1 See vol. iii. p. 296. 

8 Tix ovi*x>i *«r« ar6f/a (fiXi',ftara, is the expression of Olympiodorus, 
'apud Photium, p. 197 ;) who means, perhaps, to describe the same 

363 



364 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

brother, which might be no more than the symptcms af a 
childish affecton, were universally attributed to incesluo is 
love. On a sudden, by some base intrigues of a steward and 
a nurse, this excessive fondness was converted into an irrecon- 
cilable quarrel: the debates of the emperor and his sistei 
were not long confined within the walls of the palace ; and 
as the Gothic soldiers adhered to their queen, the city of 
Ravenna was agitated with bloody and dangerous tumults, 
which could only be appeased by the forced or voluntary 
retreat of Placidia and her children. The royal exiles landed 
at Constantinople, soon after the marriage of Theodosius, 
during the festival of the Persian victories. They were 
treated with kindness and magnificence ; but as the statues 
of the emperor Constantius. had been rejected by the Eastern 
court, the title of Augusta could not decently be allowed to 
his widow. Within a few months after the arrival of Pla- 
cidia, a swift messenger announced the death of Honorius, 
the consequence of a dropsy ; but the important secret was 
not divulged, till the necessary orders had been despatched 
for the march of a large body of troops to the sea-coast of 
Dalmatia. The shops and the gates of Constantinople remained 
shut during seven days ; and the loss of a foreign prince, who 
could neither be esteemed nor regretted, was celebrated with 
loud and affected demonstrations of the public grief. 

While the ministers of Constantinople deliberated, the 
vacant throne of Honorius was usurped by the ambition of a 
stranger. The name of the rebel was John ; he filled the 
confidential office of Primicerius, or principal secretary ; 
and history has attributed to his character more virtues, than 
can easily be reconciled with the violation of the most sacred 
duty. Elated by the submission of Italy, and the hope of an 
alliance with the Huns, John presumed to insult, by an em- 
bassy, the majesty of the Eastern emperor ; but when he 
understood that his agents had been banished, imprisoned, and 
at length chased away with deserved ignominy, John prepared 
to assert, by arms, the injustice of his claims. In such a 
cause, the grandson of the great Theodosius should have 

caresses which Mahomet bestowed on his daughter Phatemah. Quando, 
(says the yrophet himself,) quando subit mini desiderium Paradisi, 
osculor earn, et ingcro linguam meam in os ejus. But this sensual 
indulgence was justified by miracle and mystery ; and the anecdote 
has been communicated to the -public by the Reverend Father Ma- 
tacci, in his Version and Confutation of the Koran, torn. i. p. 32. 



OF THE ROMAN KMPIRE. 3f>£ 

marched in person : but the young emperor was easily divert- 
ed, by his physicians, from so rash and hazardous a design ; 
and the conduct of the Italian expeditior was prudently in- 
trusted to Ardaburius, and his son Aspar, who had already 
signalized their valor against the Persians. It was resolved 
that Ardaburius should embark with the infantry ; whilsl 
Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, conducted Placidia and her 
6on Valentinian along the sea-coast of the Adriatic. The 
march of the cavalry was performed with such active dili- 
gence, that they surprised, without resistance, the important 
city of Aquileia : when the hopes of Aspar were unexpect- 
edly confounded by the intelligence, that a storm had dis- 
persed the Imperial fleet ; and that his father, with only two 
galleys, was taken and carried a prisoner into the port of 
Ravenna. Yet this incident, unfortunate as it might seem, 
facilitated the conquest of Italy. Ardaburius employed, or 
abused, the courteous freedom which he was permitted to 
enjoy, to revive among the troops a sense of loyalty and grat- 
itude ; and as soon as the conspiracy was ripe for execution, 
he invited, by private messages, and pressed the approach of, 
Aspar. A shepherd, whom the popular credulity transformed 
into an angel, guided the eastern cavalry by a secret, and, it 
was thought, an impassable road, through the morasses of the 
Po : the gates of Ravenna, after a short struggle, were thrown 
open ; and the defenceless tyrant was delivered to the mercy, 
or rather to the cruelty, of the conquerors. His right hand 
was first cut off; and, after he had been exposed, mounted on 
an ass, to the public derision, John was beheaded in the circus 
oi Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius, when he received 
tne news of the victory, interrupted the horse-races; and 
singing, as he marched through the streets, a suitable psalm, 
conducted his people from the Hippodrome to the church, 
where he spent the remainder of the day in giateful devo- 
tion. 3 

In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, 
might be considered as elective, or hereditary, or patrimonial, 
t was impossible that the intricate claims of female and 



* For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult Olympiodor. 
ftpud Phot. p. 192, 193, 196, 197, 20.0 ; So/.omen, 1. ix. c. 16 ; Socrates, 
'. vii. 23, 24 ; Philostorgius, 1. xii. c. 10, 11, and Godefroy, Dissertat. 
p. 486 ; Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 3, p. 182, 183 : Theoph- 
ti.es, in Chronograph, p. 72, 73, and the Chronicles. 



366 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

collateral succession should be clearly defined ; 4 and Theodo. 
sius, by the right of consanguinity or conquest, might have 
reigned the sole legitimate emperor of ine Romans. For a 
moment, perhaps, his eyes were dazzled by the prospect of 
unbounded sway ; but his indolent temper gradually acqu'u 
esced in the dictates of sound policy. He contented himself 
with the possession of the East ; and wisely relinquished the 
laborious task of waging a distant and doubtful war against 
the Barbarians beyond the Alps ; or of securing the obedience 
of the Italians and Africans, whose minds were alienated by 
the irreconcilable difference of language and interest. Instead 
of listening to the voice of ambition, Theodosius resolved to 
imitate the moderation of his grandfather, and to seat his 
cousin Valentinian on the throne of the West. The royal 
infant was distinguished at Constantinople by the title of 
Nubilissi?nus : he was promoted, before his departure from 
Thessalonica, to the rank and dignity of Ccesar ; and after 
the conquest of Italy, the patrician Helion, by the authority 
of Theodosius, and in the presence of the senate, saluted 
Valentinian the Third by the name of Augustus, and solemnly 
invested him with the diadem and the Imperial purple. 5 By 
the agreement of the three females who governed the Roman 
world, the son of Placidia was. betrothed to Eudoxia, the 
daughter of Theodosius and Athenais ; and as soon as the 
lover and his bride had attained the age of puberty, this hon- 
orable alliance was faithfully accomplished. At the same 
lime, as a compensation, perhaps, for the expenses of the 
war, the Western Illyricum was detached from the Italian 
dominions, and yielded to the throne of Constantinople 6 
The emperor of the East acquired the useful dominion of the 
rich and maritime province of Dalmatia, and the dangerous 
sovereignty of Pannonia and Noricum, which had been filled 
ind ravaged above twenty years by a promiscuous crowd of 

4 See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, 1. ii. c. 7. He Las laboriously 
hut vainly, attempted to form a reasonable system of jurisprudence, 
from the various and discordant modes of royal succession, which 
have been introduced by fraud or force, by time or accident. 

5 The original writers are not agreed (see Muratori, Annali d'ltalia, 
Son, iv. p. 139) whether Valentinian received the Imperial diadem at 
Rome or Ravenna. In this uncertainty, I am willing to believe, that 
lome respect was shown to the senate. 

8 The count de Buat (Hist, cles Peuplcs de l'Europe, torn. vii. p 
?92 — 300) has established the reality, explained the motives, an/ 
traced the consequences, of this remarkable cession. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 3b") 

Huns, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Bavarians. Theodosius and 
Valentinian continued to respect the obligations of their public 
and domestic alliance ; but the unity of the Roman govern- 
ment was finally dissolved. By a positive declaration, the 
validity of all future laws was limited to the dominions of 
their peculiar author ; unless he should think proper to com- 
municate them, subscribed with his own hand, for the appro- 
bation of his independent colleague. 7 

Valentinian, when he received the title of Augustus, was 
no more than six years of age ; and his long minority was 
intrusted to the guardian care of a mother, who might assert 
a female claim to the succession of the Western empire. 
Placidia envied, but she could not equal, the reputation and 
virtues of the wife and sister of Theodosius, the elegant ge- 
nius of Eudocia, the wise and successful policy of Pulclieria 
The mother of Valentinian was jealous of the power which 
she was incapable of exercising; 8 she reigned twenty-five 
years, in the name of her son ; and the character of that un- 
worthy emperor gradually countenanced the suspicion thai 
Placidia had enervated his youth by a dissolute education, 
and studiously diverted his attention from every manly and 
honorable pursuit. Amidst the decay of military spirit, her 
armies were commanded by two generals, ^Etius 9 and Boni- 
face, 10 who may be deservedly named as the last of the 

7 See the first Novel of Theodosius, by which he ratifies and com- 
municates (A. D. 438) the Theodosian Code. About forty years 
before that time, the unity of legislation had been proved by an excep- 
tion. The Jews, who were numerous in the cities of Apulia and 
Calabria, produced a law of the East to justify their exemption from 
municipal offices, (Cod. Theod. 1. xvi. tit. viii. leg. 13 ;) and the West- 
ern emperor was obliged to invalidate, by a special edict, the law, 
quam constat meis partibus esse damnosam. Cod. Theod. 1. xi. tit. i. 
leg. 158. 

8 Cassiodorus (Variar. 1. xi. Epist. i. p. 238) has compared the re- 
gencies of Placidia and Amalasuntha. He arraigns the weakness of 
the mother of Valentinian, and praises the virtues of his royal mis- 
tress. On this occasion, flattery seems to have spoken the language o* 
ti ith. 

* Philostorgius, 1. xii. c. 12, and Godefroy's Dissertat. p. 493, &c. ; 
and Kenatus Frigeridus, apud Gregor. Turon. 1. ii. c. 8, in torn. ii. 
p, 163. The father of ^Etius was Gaudentius, an illustrious citizen 
i#f the province of Scythia, and master-general of the cavalry ; hifl 
mother was a rich and noble Italian. From his earliest youth, yEtiuB, 
els a soldier and a hostage, had conversed with the Barbarians. 

10 For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus, apud Phot 
p 1t>6 ; and St. Augustin, apud Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. torn, xiii 



368 THE DECLINE A.ND FALL 

Romms. Their union might have supported a sinking em- 
piie ; their discord wis the fatal and immediate cause of the 
loss of Africa. The invasion and defeat of Attila have im 
mortalized the fame of ^Etius ; and thougn time has thrown 
a shade over the exploits of his rival, the defence of Mar- 
seilles, and the deliverance of Africa, attest the military 
talents of Count Boniface. In the field of battle, in partial 
encounters, in single combats, he was still the terror of the 
Uaibarians : the clergy, and particularly his friend Augustin, 
were edified by the Christian piety which had once tempted him 
to retire from the world ; the people applauded his spotless 
integrity ; the army dreaded his equal and inexorable justice, 
which may be displayed in a very singular example. A 
peasant, who complained of the criminal intimacy between 
his wife and a Gothic soldier, was directed to attend his tribu- 
nal the following day : in the evening the count, who had 
diligently informed himself of the time and place of the assig- 
nation, mounted his horse, rode ten miles into the country, 
surprised the guilty couple, punished the soldier with instant 
death, and silenced the complaints of the husband by present- 
ing him, the next morning, with the head of the adulterer. 
The abilities of J3tius and Boniface might have been usefully 
employed against the public enemies, in separate and impor- 
tant commands ; but the experience of their past conduct 
Fhould have decided the real favor and confidence of the em- 
press Placidia. In the melancholy season of her exile and 
distress, Boniface alone had maintained her cause with un- 
shaken fidelity : and the troops and treasures of Africa had 
essentially contributed to extinguish the rebellion. The same 
rebellion "had been supported by the zeal and activity of 
jEtius, who brought an army of sixty thousand Huns from 
the ftanube to the confines of Italy, for the service of tho 
usurper. The untimely death of John compelled him to 
accept an advantageous treaty ; but he still continued, the sub- 
ject and the soldier of Valentinian, to entertain a secret, per- 
haps a treasonable, correspondence with his Barbarian allies, 
whose retreat had been purchased by liberal gifts, and more 
liberal promises. But TEtius possessed an advantage of sin 



f. 712—715, 886. The bishop of Hippo at length deplored 1he fall of 
his friend, who, after a solemn vow of chastity, had married a second 
wifi; of the Arian sect, and who was suspected of keeping sever* 
•one L.bLues in his house. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 369 

jrular moment in a female reign ; he was present : he besieged 
with artful and assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna ; dis- 
guised his dark designs with the mask of loyalty and friend- 
ship ; and at length deceived both his mistress and his absent 
rival, by a subtle conspiracy, which a weak woman and a 
brave man could not easily suspect. He had secretly per- 
suaded n Placidia to recall Boniface from the government of 
Africa ; he secretly advised Boniface to disobey the Imperial 
summons : to the one, he represented the order as a sentence 
of death ; to the other, he stated the refusal as a signal of 
revolt; and when the credulous and unsuspectful count had 
armed the province in his defence, ^Etius applauded his 
sagacity in foreseeing the rebellion, which his own perfidy 
had excited. A temperate inquiry into the real motives of 
Boniface would have restored a faithful servant to his duty 
and to the republic ; but the arts of iEtius still continued to 
betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecu- 
tion, to embrace the most desperate counsels. The success 
with which he eluded or repelled the first attacks, could not 
inspire a vain confidence, that at the head of some loose, dis- 
orderly Africans, he should be able to withstand the regular 
forces of the West, commanded by a rival, whose military 
character it was impossible for him to despise. After some 
hesitation, the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface 
despatched a trusty friend to the court, or rather to the camp, 
of Gonderic, king of the Vandals, with the proposal of a strict 
alliance, and the offer of an advantageous and perpetual settle- 
ment. 

After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of Honorius 
had obtained a precarious establishment in Spain ; except 
only in the province of Gallicia, where the Suevi and the 
Vandals had fortified their camps, in mutual discord and hos- 
tile independence. The Vandals prevailed ; and their adver- 
saries were besieged in the Nervasian hills, between Leon 
and Oviedo, till the approach of Count Asterius compelled, or 
rather provoked, the victorious Barbarians to remove the scene 
of the war to the plains of Bcetica. The rapid progress of 



11 Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 3, 4, p. 182—186) relates the 
fraud of iEtius, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of Africa. Thia 
anecdote, which is supported by some collateral testimony, (see Rui- 
nart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal, p. 420, 421,) seems agreeable to the prac- 
tice of ancient and modern courts, and would be naturally revealed by 
the repentance of B miface. 

70 



370 THE DECLuVE AND TALL 

the Vandals soon required a more effectual opposition ; and 
the master-general Castinus marched against them with a 
numerous army of Romans and Goths. Vanquished in hattle 
by an inferior enemy, Castinus fled with dishonor to Tarra- 
gona ; and this memorable defeat, which has been represented 
as the punishment, was most probably the effect, of his rash 
presumption. 1 ^ Seville and Carthagena became the reward, 
or rather the prey, of the ferocious conquerors ; and the ves- 
sel s which they found in the harbor of Carthagena might 
easily transport them to the Isles of Majorca and Minorca, 
where the Spanish fugitives, as in a secure recess, had vainly 
concealed their families and their fortunes. The experience 
of navigation, and perhaps the prospect of Africa, encouraged 
the Vandals to accept the invitation which they received 
from Count Boniface ; and the death of Gonderic served only 
to forward and animate the bold enterprise. In the room of 
a prince not conspicuous for any superior powers of the mind 
or body, they acquired his bastard brother, the terrible Gen- 
seric ; 13 a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman em- 
pire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric 
and Attila. The king of the Vandals is described to have 
been of a middle stature, with a lameness in one leg, which 
he had contracted by an accidental fall from his horse. His 
slow and cautious speech seldom declared the deep purposes 
of his soul ; he disdained to imitate the luxury of the van- 
quished ; but he indulged the sterner passions of anger and 
revenge. The ambition of Genseric was without bounds and 
without scruples ; and the warrior could dexterously employ 
the dark engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be 
useful to his success, or to scatter among his enemies the 
seeds of hatred and contention. Almost in the moment of his 
departure he was informed that Hermanric, king of the Suevi, 

ls See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian (de Guber- 
nat. Dei, 1. vii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the victory of the Vandala 
to their superior piety. They fasted, they prayed, they carried a Bible 
in the front of the Host, with the design, perhaps, of reproaching the 
perfidy and sacrilege of their enemies. 

13 Gizericus 'his name is variously expressed) statura mediocris et 
equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriae con- 
temptor, ira turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas gentes pro- 
videntissimus, semina contentionum jacere, odia miscere paratus. 
Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 33, p. 657. This portrait, which is 
drawn with some skill, and a strong likenesa, must have been copied 
from the Gothic history of Cassiodorue. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 871 

had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he was 
reso.ved to abandon. Impatient of the insult, Genseric pur- 
sued the hasty retreat of the Suevi as far as Merida ; precip- 
itated the king and his army into the River Anas, and calmly 
returned to the sea-shore to embark his victorious troops. 
The vessels which transported the Vandals over the mod* 
em Straits of Gibraltar, a channel only twelve miles in 
breadth, were furnished by the Spaniards, who anxiously 
wished their departure ; and by the African general, who had 
implored their formidable assistance. 14 

Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggemte and multiply 
the martial swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from 
the North, will perhaps be surprised by the account of tho 
army which Genseric mustered on the coast of Mauritania. 
The Vandals, who in twenty years had penetrated from the 
Elbe to Mount Atlas, were united under the command of their 
warlike king ; and he reigned with equal authority over the 
Alani, who had passed, within the term of human life, from 
the cold of Scythia to the excessive heat of an African cli- 
mate. The hopes of the bold enterprise had excited many 
brave adventurers of the Gothic nation ; and many desperate 
provincials were tempted to repair their fortunes by the same 
means which had occasioned their ruin. Yet this various 
multitude amounted only to fifty thousand effective men ; and 
though Genseric artfully magnified his apparent strength, by 
appointing eighty chiliarchs, or commanders of thousands, 
the fallacious increase of old men, of children, and of slaves, 
would scarcely have swelled his army to the number of four- 
score thousand persons. 15 But his own dexterity, and the 
discontents of Africa, soon fortified the Vandal powers, by 

24 See the Chronicle of Idatius. That bishop, a Spaniard and a con- 
temporary, places the passage of the Vandals in the month of May, 
of the year of Abraham, (which commences in October,) 2444. This 
date, which coincides with A. D. 429, is confirmed by Isidore, another 
Spanish bishop, and is justly preferred to the opinion of those writera 
who have marked for that event one of the two preceding years. See 
Pagi Critica, torn. ii. p. 205, &c. 

16 Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 5, p. 190) and Victor 
Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandal. 1. i. c. 1, p. 3, edit. Ruinart.) We 
are assured by Idatius, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalia 
omnibus eorumque familiis ; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 23, 
apud Ruinart, p. 427) describes his army as manus ingens im- 
manium gentium Vandalorum et Alanorum, commixtam seciua 
habens Gothorum gGntem> aliarumque diversarum personas. 



372 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the accession of numerous and active allies. The parts of 
Mauritania which border on the Great Desert and the Atlantic 
Ocean, were rilled with a fierce and untractable race of men, 
whose savage temper had been exasperated, rather than re- 
claimed, by their dread of the Roman arms. The wandering 
Moors, 16 as they gradually ventured to approach the sea- 
shore, and the camp of the Vandals, must have viewed with 
terror and astonishment the dress, the armor, the martial 
pride and discipline of the unknown strangers who had landed 
on their coast ; and the fair complexions of the blue-eyed 
warriors of Germany formed a very singular contrast with 
the swarthy or olive hue which is derived from the neighbor- 
fiood of the torrid zone. After the first difficulties had in 
some measure been removed, which arose from the mutual 
ignorance of their respective language, the Moors, regardless 
of any future consequence, embraced the alliance of the ene- 
mies of Rome ; and a crowd of naked savages rushed from 
the woods and valleys of Mount Atlas, to satiate their revenge 
on the polished tyrants, who had injuriously expelled them 
from the native sovereignty of the land. 

The persecution of the Donatists 17 was an event not less 
favorable to the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years befoie 
he landed in Africa, a public conference was held at Car- 
thage, by the order of the magistrate. The Catholics were 
satisfied, that, after the invincible reasons which they had 
alleged, the obstinacy of the schismatics must be inexcusable 
and voluntary ; and the emperor Honorius was persuaded to 
inflict the most rigorous penalties on a faction which had so 
long abused his patience and clemency. Three hundred 
bishops, 18 with many thousands of the inferior clergy, were 
torn from their churches, stripped of their ecclesiastical pos- 
sessions, banished to the islands, and proscribed by the laws, 

16 For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius, (de Bell. Vandal. 
1. ii. c. 6, p. 249 ;) for their figure and complexion, M. de BufFon, 
(Histoire Naturelle, torn. iii. p. 430.) Procopius says in general, that 
the Moors had joined the Vandals before the death of Valentinian, 
(de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 5, p. 190 ;) and it is probable that the independ- 
ent tribes did not embrace any uniform system of policy. 

17 See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. torn. xiii. p. 516 — 558 ; and the 
whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments, published 
by Dupin at the end of Optatus, p. 32.3 — 515. 

18 The Donatist bishops, at the conference of Carthage, amounted 
to 279 ; and they asserted that their whole number was not less than 
400. The Catholics had 286 present, 120 absent, besides sixty- foui 
racant bishoprics. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 373 

if they presumed to conceal themselves in the provinces of 
Africa. Their numerous congregations, both in cities and in 
die country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of 
the exercise of religious worship. A regular scale of fine3, 
from ten to two hundred pounds of silver, was curiously ascer- 
tained, according to the distinctions of rank and fortune, to 
punish the crime of assisting at a schismatic conventicle ; and 
if the fine had been levied five times, without subduing the 
obstinacy of the offender, his future punishment was referred 
to the discretion of the Imperial court. 19 By these severities, 
which obtained the warmest approbation of St. Augustin, 20 
great numbers of Donatists were reconciled to the Catholic 
Church : but the fanatics, who still persevered in their oppo- 
sition, were provoked to madness and despair ; the distracted 
country was filled with tumult and bloodshed ; the armed 
troops of Circum?ellions alternately pointed their rage against 
themselves, or against their adversaries ; and the calendar of 
martyrs received on both sides a considerable augmentation. 21 
Under these circumstances, Genseric, a Christian, but an 
enemy of the orthodox communion, showed himself to the 
Donatists as a powerful deliverer, from whom they might rea- 
sonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts 
of the Roman emperors. 22 The conquest of Africa was facil- 
itated by the active zeal, or the secret favor, of a domestic fac- 



19 The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code ex- 
nibits a series of the Imperial laws against the Donatists, from the 
year 400 to the year 428. Of these the .54th law, promulgated by 
Honorius, A. D. 414, is the most severe and effectual. 

20 St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard to the proper treat- 
ment of heretics. His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence for 
the Manichseans, has been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p. 469) 
among the choice specimens of his common-place book. Another 
philosopher, the celebrated Bayle, (torn. ii. p. 445 — 496,) has refuted, 
with superfluous diligence and ingenuity, the arguments by which 
the bishop of Hippo justified, in his old age, the persecution of the 
Donatists. 

21 Sec Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiii. p. 586—592, 806. Th* 
Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary martyrs. Augus- 
tin asserts, and probably with truth, that these numbers were much 
exaggerated; but he sternly maintains, that it was better that some 
should burn themselves in this world, than that all should burn ir hell 
Games. 

22 According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the Donatists were 
inclined to the principles, or at least to the party, of the Arians, which 
Serseric supported. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 68. 



374 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tion ; the wanton outrages against the churches and the clergy , 
of which the Vandals are accused, may be fairly imputed to thp 
fanaticism of their allies ; and the intolerant spirit which dis- 
graced the triumph of Christianity, contributed to the loss <J 
the most important province of the West. 23 

The court and the people were astonished by the strange 
mtelligence, that a virtuous hero, after so many favors, and 
so many services, had renounced his allegiance, and invited 
the Barbarians to destroy the province intrusted tv his com- 
mand. The friends of Boniface, who still believed that his 
criminal behavior might be excused by some honorable 
motive, solicited, during the absence of ^Etius, a free con- 
ference with the Count of Africa ; and Darius, an officer of 
yjigh distinction, was named for the important embassy. 24 In 
their first interview at Carthage, the imaginary provocations 
were mutually explained ; the opposite letters of iEtius were 
produced and compared ; and the fraud was easily detected. 
Placidia and Boniface lamented their fatal error ; and the 
count had sufficient magnanimity to confide in the forgive- 
ness of his sovereign, or to expose his head to her future 
resentment. His repentance was fervent and sincere ; but 
he soon discovered that it was no longer in his power to 
restore the edifice which he had shaken to its foundations. 
Carthage and the Roman garrisons returned with their general 
to the allegiance of Valentinian ; but the rest of Africa was 
still distracted with war and faction ; and the inexorable king 
of the Vandals, disdaining all terms of accommodation, sternly 
refused to relinquish the possession of his prey. The band 
of veterans who marched under the standard of Boniface, and 



43 See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 428, No. 7, A. D. 439, No. 
35. The cardinal, though more inclined to seek the cause of great 
events in heaven than on the earth, has observed the apparent con- 
nection of the Vandals and the Donatists. Under the reign of the 
Barbarians, the schismatics of Africa enjoyed an obscure peace z£ one 
hundred years ; at the end of which, we may again trace them by the 
light of the Imperial persecutions. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. 
vi, p. 192, &c. 

■* In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustm, without 
examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to dis- 
charge the duties of a Christian and a subject ; to extricate himself 
without delay from his dangerous and guilty situation : and even, if 
he could obtain the consent of his wife, to embrace a life of celibacy 
and penance, (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiii. p. 890.) The bishop 
was intimately connected with Darius, the minister of p«f ce (Id. torn, 
liii. p. 92S.) 



OF THE nOBIAN EMPIRE. 375 

his hasty ievies of provincial troops, were llefeated with con- 
siderable toss : the victorious Barbarians insulted the open 
country ; and Carthage, Cirta, and Hippo Regius, were the 
only cities lhai appeared to rise above the general inundation. 
The long and narrow tract of the African coast was filled 
with frequent monuments of Roman art and magnificence ; 
and the respective degrees of improvement might be accu- 
rately measured by the distance from Carthage and the Med- 
iterranean. A simple reflection will impress every thinking 
mind with the clearest idea of fertility and cultivation : the 
country was extremely populous ; the inhabitants reserved a 
liberal subsistence for their own use ; and the annual exporta- 
tion, particularly of wheat, was so regular and plentiful, that 
Africa deserved the name of the common granary of Rome 
and of mankind. On a sudden the seven fruitful provinces, 
from Tangier io Tripoli, were overwhelmed by the invasion 
of the Vandals; whose destructive ' rage has perhaps been 
exaggerated by popular animosity, religious zeal, and extrav- 
agant declamation. War, in its fairest form, implies a per- 
petual violation of humanity and justice ; and the hostilities oi 
Barbarians are inflamed by the fierce and lawless spirit which 
incessantly disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. The 
Vandals, where they found resistance, seldom gave quarter; 
and the deaths of their valiant countrymen were expiated by the 
ruin of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. Care 
less of the distinctions of age, or sex, or rank, they employed 
every species of indignity and torture, to force from the cap- 
tives a discovery of their hidden wealth. The stern policy 
of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military execu- 
tion : he was not always the master of his own passions, or of 
those of his followers ; and the calamities of war were aggra- 
vated by the licentiousness of the Moors, and the fanaticism 
of the Donatists. Yet I shall not easily be persuaded, that it was 
the common practice of the Vandals to extirpate the olives, 
and other fruit trees, of a country where they intended to 
settle : nor can I believe that it was a usual stratagem to 
slaughter great numbers of their prisoners before the walls of 
a besieged city, for the sole purpose of infecting the ai-, and 
producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must have 
been the first victims. 25 

** The original complaints of the desolation of Africa are con- 
tiined, V In a letter from Cupreolus, bishop of Carthage, to excu3« 



376 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured [y the 
exquisite distress of beholding the ruin which he had occa- 
sioned, and whose rapid progress he was unable to check. 
After the loss of a battle, he retired Jnto Hippo Regius 
where he was immediately besieged by an enemy, who con- 
sidered him as the real bulwark of Africa. The maritime 
colony of Hippo? 6 about two hundred miles westward of 
Carthage, had formerly acquired the distinguishing epithet of 
Regius, from the residence of Numidian kings ; and some 
remains of trade and populousness still adhere to the modern 
city, which is known in Europe by the corrupted name of 
Bona. The military labors, and anxious reflections, of Count 
Boniface, were alleviated by the edifying conversation of his 
friend St. Augustin ; 27 till that bishop, the light and pillar of 
the Catholic church, was gently released, in the third month 
of the siege, and in the seventy-sixth year of his age, from 
the actual and the impending calamities of his country. The 
youth of Augustin had been stained by the vices and errors 
which he so ingenuously confesses ; but from the moment of 
his conversion to that of his death, the manners of the bishop 
of Hippo were pure and austere : and the most conspicuous 
of his virtues was an ardent zeal against heretics of every 
denomination ; the Manicha^ans, the Donatists, and the Pe- 
lagians, against whom he waged a perpetual controversy. 
When the city, some months after his death, was burnt by 
the Vandals, the library was fortunately saved, which con- 
tained his voluminous writings ; two hundred and thirty-two 

his absence from the council of Ephesus, (ap. Ruinart, p. 427.) 2. In 
the life of St. Augustin by his friend and colleague Possidius, (ap. 
Ruinart, p. 427.) 3. In the History of the Vandalic Persecution, by 
Victor Vitensis, (1. i. c. 1, 2, 3, edit. Ruinart.) The last picture, which 
was drawn sixty years after the event, is more expressive of the au- 
thor's passions than of the truth of facts. 

26 See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. torn. ii. part ii. p. 112. Leo Af- 
rican, in Ramusio, torn. i. fol. 70. L'Afrique de Marmol, torn. ii. p. 
434, 437. Shaw's Travels, p. 46, 47. The old Hippo Regius waa 
finally destroyed by the Arabs in the seventh century ; but a new 
town, at the distance of two miles, was built with the materials ; and 
it contained, in the sixteenth century, about three hundred families 
of industrious, but turbulent, manufacturers. The adjacent territory 
is renowned tor a pure air, a fertile soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits. 

27 The life of St. Augustin, by Tillemont, fills a quarto volume 
(Mem. Eccles. torn, xiii.) of more than one thousand pages ; and the 
diligence of that learned Jansenist was excited, on this occasion, by 
factious and devout zeal for the founder of his sect. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 371 

■eparate books or treatises on theological subjects, besides a 
complete exposition of the psalter and the gospel, and a 
copious magazine of epistles and homilies. 28 According to 
ihe judgment of the most impartial critics, the superficial 
learning of Augustin was confined to the Latin language ; 29 
and his style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence 
of passion, is usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric. 
But he possessed a strong, capacious, argumentative mind ; he 
boldly sounded the dark abyss of grace, predestination, free 
will, and original sin ; and the rigid system of Christianity 
which he framed or restored, 30 has been entertained, with 
public applause, and secret reluctance, by the Latin church. 31 
By the skill of Boniface, and perhaps by the ignorance of 
the Vandals, the siege of Hippo was protracted above fourteen 
months: the sea was continually open; and when the ad- 
jacent country had been exhausted by irregular rapine, the 
besiegers themselves were compelled by famine to relinquish 
their enterprise. The importance and danger of Africa were 

28 Such, at least, is the account of Victor Vitensis, (de Persecut. 
Vandal. 1. i. c. 3 ;) though Gennadius seems to doubt whether any 
person had read, or even collected, all the works of St. Augustin, (see 
Hieronym. Opera, torn. i. p. 319, in Catalog. Scriptor. Eccles.) They 
have been repeatedly printed ; and Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. torn, 
iii. p. 158 — 257) has given a large and satisfactory abstract of them aa 
■ they stand in the last edition of the Benedictines. My personal ac- 
quaintance with the bishop of Hippo does not extend beyond the 
Confessions and the City of God. 

2 * In his early youth (Confes. i. 14) St. Augustin disliked and neg- 
lected the study of Greek ; and he frankly owns that he read the 
Platonists in a Latin version, (Confes. vii. 9.) Some modern critics 
have thought, that his ignorance of Greek disqualified him from ex- 
pounding the Scriptures ; and Cicero or Quintilian would have re- 
quired the knowledge of that language in a professor of rhetoric. 

30 These questions were seldom agitated, from the time of St. Paul 
to that of St. Augustin. I am informed that the Greek fathers main- 
tain the natural sentiments of the Semi-Pelagians ; and that the or- 
thodoxy of St. Augustin was derived from the Manichsean school. 

31 The church of Pome has canonized Augustin, and reprobated 
Calvin. Yet as the real difference between them is invisible even to a 
theological microscope, the Molinists are oppi essed by the authority 
of the saint, and the Jansenists are disgraced by their resemblance to 
the heretic. In the mean while, the Protestant Arminians stand aloof, 
and deride the mutual perplexity of the disputants, (see a curious 
Review of the Controversy, by Le Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelie, 
(torn. xiv. p. 144 — 39S.) Perhaps a reasoner still more independent 
may smile in his turn, when he peruses an Arminian Commentary on 
•he Epistle to the Romans. 

70* • • . 



378 TIIE DECLINE AND TALL 

deeply fell by the regent of the West. Placidia implored the 
assistance of her eastern ally ; and the Italian fleet and army 
were reenforccd by Asper, who sailed from Constantinople 
with a powerful armament. As soon as the force of the two 
empires was united under the command of Boniface, he boldly 
marched against the Vandals ; and the loss of a second bat- 
tle irretrievably decided the fate of Africa. He embarked 
with the precipitation of despair ; and the people of Hippo 
were permitted, with their families and effects, to occupy the 
vacant place of the soldiers, the greatest part of whom were 
either slain or made prisoners by the Vandals. The count, 
whose fatal credulity had wounded the vitals of the republic, 
might enter the palace of Ravenna with some anxiety, which 
was soon removed by the smiles of Placidia. Boniface ac- 
cepted with gratitude the rank of patrician, and the dignity 
of master-general of the Roman armies ; but he must have 
blushed at the sight of those medals, in which he was repre- 
sented with the name and attributes of victory. 32 The dis- 
covery of his fraud, the displeasure of the empress, and the 
distinguished favor of his rival, exasperated the haughty and 
perfidious soul of iEtius. He hastily returned from Gaul to 
Italy, with a retinue, or rather with an army, of Barbarian 
followers ; and such was the weakness of the government, 
that the two generals decided their private quarrel in a bloody 
battle. Boniface was successful ; but he received in the con- 
flict a mortal wound from the spear of his adversary, of which 
he expired within a few days, in such Christian and charitable 
sentiments, that he exhorted his wife, a rich heiress of Spain, 
to accept iEtius for her second husband. But iEtius could 
not derive any immediate advantage from the generosity of 
his dying enemy : he was proclaimed a rebel by the justice 
of Placidia ; and though he attempted to defend Some strong 



3S Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 67. On one side, the head of Yalen- 
tinian ; on the reverse, Boniface, with a scourge in one hand, and a 
palm in the other, standing in a triumphal car, winch is drawn by 
four horses, or, in another medal, by four stags ; an unlucky emblem ! 
I should doubt whether another example can be found of the head 
of a subject on the reverse of an Imperial medal.* See Science dea 
Medailles, by the Pere Jobert, torn. i. p. 132—150, edit, of 1739, by 
the baron de la Bastie. 



■ Lord Manon, Life of Belisarius, p 133, mentions one of Belisarius, on 
the authority of Cedrenus. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 379 

fortresses, erected on his patrimonial estate, ihe Imperial 
power soon compelled him to retire into Pannonia, to the tents 
of his faithful Huns. The republic was deprived, by their 
mutual discord, of the service of her two most illustrious 
champions. 33 

It might naturally be expected, after the retreat of Boni- 
face, that the Vanials would achieve, without resistance or 
delay, the conquest of Africa. Eight years, however, elapsed, 
from the ev