History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

State Of Italy Under The Lombards.

Author:      Gibbon, Edward

Date:        1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

 

Part II.

 

 

     The ambitious Rosamond aspired to reign in the name of her lover; the

city and palace of Verona were awed by her power; and a faithful band of her

native Gepidae was prepared to applaud the revenge, and to second the wishes,

of their sovereign.  But the Lombard chiefs, who fled in the first moments of

consternation and disorder, had resumed their courage and collected their

powers; and the nation, instead of submitting to her reign, demanded, with

unanimous cries, that justice should be executed on the guilty spouse and the

murderers of their king.  She sought a refuge among the enemies of her

country; and a criminal who deserved the abhorrence of mankind was protected

by the selfish policy of the exarch.  With her daughter, the heiress of the

Lombard throne, her two lovers, her trusty Gepidae, and the spoils of the

palace of Verona, Rosamond descended the Adige and the Po, and was transported

by a Greek vessel to the safe harbor of Ravenna.  Longinus beheld with delight

the charms and the treasures of the widow of Alboin: her situation and her

past conduct might justify the most licentious proposals; and she readily

listened to the passion of a minister, who, even in the decline of the empire,

was respected as the equal of kings.  The death of a jealous lover was an easy

and grateful sacrifice; and, as Helmichis issued from the bath, he received

the deadly potion from the hand of his mistress. The taste of the liquor, its

speedy operation, and his experience of the character of Rosamond, convinced

him that he was poisoned: he pointed his dagger to her breast, compelled her

to drain the remainder of the cup, and expired in a few minutes, with the

consolation that she could not survive to enjoy the fruits of her wickedness.

The daughter of Alboin and Rosamond, with the richest spoils of the Lombards,

was embarked for Constantinople: the surprising strength of Peredeus amused

and terrified the Imperial court: ^* his blindness and revenge exhibited an

imperfect copy of the adventures of Samson.  By the free suffrage of the

nation, in the assembly of Pavia, Clepho, one of their noblest chiefs, was

elected as the successor of Alboin. Before the end of eighteen months, the

throne was polluted by a second murder: Clepho was stabbed by the hand of a

domestic; the regal office was suspended above ten years during the minority

of his son Autharis; and Italy was divided and oppressed by a ducal

aristocracy of thirty tyrants. ^22

 

[Footnote *: He killed a lion.  His eyes were put out by the timid Justin.

Peredeus requesting an interview, Justin substituted two patricians, whom the

blinded Barbarian stabbed to the heart with two concealed daggers.  See Le

Beau, vol. x. p. 99. - M.]

 

[Footnote 22: See the history of Paul, l. ii. c. 28 - 32.  I have borrowed

some interesting circumstances from the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus, in

Script. Rer. Ital. tom. ii. p. 124.  Of all chronological guides, Muratori is

the safest.]

 

     When the nephew of Justinian ascended the throne, he proclaimed a new

aera of happiness and glory.  The annals of the second Justin ^23 are marked

with disgrace abroad and misery at home.  In the West, the Roman empire was

afflicted by the loss of Italy, the desolation of Africa, and the conquests of

the Persians.  Injustice prevailed both in the capital and the provinces: the

rich trembled for their property, the poor for their safety, the ordinary

magistrates were ignorant or venal, the occasional remedies appear to have

been arbitrary and violent, and the complaints of the people could no longer

be silenced by the splendid names of a legislator and a conqueror.  The

opinion which imputes to the prince all the calamities of his times may be

countenanced by the historian as a serious truth or a salutary prejudice. Yet

a candid suspicion will arise, that the sentiments of Justin were pure and

benevolent, and that he might have filled his station without reproach, if the

faculties of his mind had not been impaired by disease, which deprived the

emperor of the use of his feet, and confined him to the palace, a stranger to

the complaints of the people and the vices of the government. The tardy

knowledge of his own impotence determined him to lay down the weight of the

diadem; and, in the choice of a worthy substitute, he showed some symptoms of

a discerning and even magnanimous spirit.  The only son of Justin and Sophia

died in his infancy; their daughter Arabia was the wife of Baduarius, ^24

superintendent of the palace, and afterwards commander of the Italian armies,

who vainly aspired to confirm the rights of marriage by those of adoption.

While the empire appeared an object of desire, Justin was accustomed to behold

with jealousy and hatred his brothers and cousins, the rivals of his hopes;

nor could he depend on the gratitude of those who would accept the purple as a

restitution, rather than a gift.  Of these competitors, one had been removed

by exile, and afterwards by death; and the emperor himself had inflicted such

cruel insults on another, that he must either dread his resentment or despise

his patience.  This domestic animosity was refined into a generous resolution

of seeking a successor, not in his family, but in the republic; and the artful

Sophia recommended Tiberius, ^25 his faithful captain of the guards, whose

virtues and fortune the emperor might cherish as the fruit of his judicious

choice.  The ceremony of his elevation to the rank of Caesar, or Augustus, was

performed in the portico of the palace, in the presence of the patriarch and

the senate.  Justin collected the remaining strength of his mind and body; but

the popular belief that his speech was inspired by the Deity betrays a very

humble opinion both of the man and of the times. ^26 "You behold," said the

emperor, "the ensigns of supreme power.  You are about to receive them, not

from my hand, but from the hand of God.  Honor them, and from them you will

derive honor.  Respect the empress your mother: you are now her son; before,

you were her servant. Delight not in blood; abstain from revenge; avoid those

actions by which I have incurred the public hatred; and consult the

experience, rather than the example, of your predecessor.  As a man, I have

sinned; as a sinner, even in this life, I have been severely punished: but

these servants, (and we pointed to his ministers,) who have abused my

confidence, and inflamed my passions, will appear with me before the tribunal

of Christ.  I have been dazzled by the splendor of the diadem: be thou wise

and modest; remember what you have been, remember what you are.  You see

around us your slaves, and your children: with the authority, assume the

tenderness, of a parent.  Love your people like yourself; cultivate the

affections, maintain the discipline, of the army; protect the fortunes of the

rich, relieve the necessities of the poor." ^27 The assembly, in silence and

in tears, applauded the counsels, and sympathized with the repentance, of

their prince the patriarch rehearsed the prayers of the church; Tiberius

received the diadem on his knees; and Justin, who in his abdication appeared

most worthy to reign, addressed the new monarch in the following words: "If

you consent, I live; if you command, I die: may the God of heaven and earth

infuse into your heart whatever I have neglected or forgotten." The four last

years of the emperor Justin were passed in tranquil obscurity: his conscience

was no longer tormented by the remembrance of those duties which he was

incapable of discharging; and his choice was justified by the filial reverence

and gratitude of Tiberius.

 

[Footnote 23: The original authors for the reign of Justin the younger are

Evagrius, Hist. Eccles. l. v. c. 1 - 12; Theophanes, in Chonograph. p. 204 -

210; Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 70 - 72; Cedrenus, in Compend. p. 388 -

392.]

 

[Footnote 24: Dispositorque novus sacrae Baduarius aulae. Successor soceri mox

     factus Cura-palati. - Cerippus.

 

Baduarius is enumerated among the descendants and allies of the house of

Justinian.  A family of noble Venetians (Casa Badoero) built churches and gave

dukes to the republic as early as the ninth century; and, if their descent be

admitted, no kings in Europe can produce a pedigree so ancient and

illustrious.  Ducange, Fam. Byzantin, p. 99 Amelot de la Houssaye,

Gouvernement de Venise, tom. ii. p. 555.]

 

[Footnote 25: The praise bestowed on princes before their elevation is the

purest and most weighty.  Corippus has celebrated Tiberius at the time of the

accession of Justin, (l. i. 212 - 222.) Yet even a captain of the guards might

attract the flattery of an African exile.]

 

[Footnote 26: Evagrius (l. v. c. 13) has added the reproach to his ministers

He applies this speech to the ceremony when Tiberius was invested with the

rank of Caesar.  The loose expression, rather than the positive error, of

Theophanes, &c., has delayed it to his Augustan investitura immediately before

the death of Justin.]

 

[Footnote 27: Theophylact Simocatta (l. iii. c. 11) declares that he shall

give to posterity the speech of Justin as it was pronounced, without

attempting to correct the imperfections of language or rhetoric.  Perhaps the

vain sophist would have been incapable of producing such sentiments.]

 

     Among the virtues of Tiberius, ^28 his beauty (he was one of the tallest

and most comely of the Romans) might introduce him to the favor of Sophia; and

the widow of Justin was persuaded, that she should preserve her station and

influence under the reign of a second and more youthful husband.  But, if the

ambitious candidate had been tempted to flatter and dissemble, it was no

longer in his power to fulfil her expectations, or his own promise.  The

factions of the hippodrome demanded, with some impatience, the name of their

new empress: both the people and Sophia were astonished by the proclamation of

Anastasia, the secret, though lawful, wife of the emperor Tiberius. Whatever

could alleviate the disappointment of Sophia, Imperial honors, a stately

palace, a numerous household, was liberally bestowed by the piety of her

adopted son; on solemn occasions he attended and consulted the widow of his

benefactor; but her ambition disdained the vain semblance of royalty, and the

respectful appellation of mother served to exasperate, rather than appease,

the rage of an injured woman.  While she accepted, and repaid with a courtly

smile, the fair expressions of regard and confidence, a secret alliance was

concluded between the dowager empress and her ancient enemies; and Justinian,

the son of Germanus, was employed as the instrument of her revenge.  The pride

of the reigning house supported, with reluctance, the dominion of a stranger:

the youth was deservedly popular; his name, after the death of Justin, had

been mentioned by a tumultuous faction; and his own submissive offer of his

head with a treasure of sixty thousand pounds, might be interpreted as an

evidence of guilt, or at least of fear.  Justinian received a free pardon, and

the command of the eastern army.  The Persian monarch fled before his arms;

and the acclamations which accompanied his triumph declared him worthy of the

purple.  His artful patroness had chosen the month of the vintage, while the

emperor, in a rural solitude, was permitted to enjoy the pleasures of a

subject.  On the first intelligence of her designs, he returned to

Constantinople, and the conspiracy was suppressed by his presence and

firmness.  From the pomp and honors which she had abused, Sophia was reduced

to a modest allowance: Tiberius dismissed her train, intercepted her

correspondence, and committed to a faithful guard the custody of her person.

But the services of Justinian were not considered by that excellent prince as

an aggravation of his offences: after a mild reproof, his treason and

ingratitude were forgiven; and it was commonly believed, that the emperor

entertained some thoughts of contracting a double alliance with the rival of

his throne.  The voice of an angel (such a fable was propagated) might reveal

to the emperor, that he should always triumph over his domestic foes; but

Tiberius derived a firmer assurance from the innocence and generosity of his

own mind.

 

[Footnote 28: For the character and reign of Tiberius, see Evagrius, l v. c.

13.  Theophylact, l. iii. c. 12, &c.  Theophanes, in Chron. p. 2 0 - 213.

Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 72.  Cedrenus, p. 392.  Paul Warnefrid, de Gestis

Langobard. l. iii. c. 11, 12.  The deacon of Forum Juli appears to have

possessed some curious and authentic facts.]

 

     With the odious name of Tiberius, he assumed the more popular appellation

of Constantine, and imitated the purer virtues of the Antonines. After

recording the vice or folly of so many Roman princes, it is pleasing to

repose, for a moment, on a character conspicuous by the qualities of humanity,

justice, temperance, and fortitude; to contemplate a sovereign affable in his

palace, pious in the church, impartial on the seat of judgment, and

victorious, at least by his generals, in the Persian war.  The most glorious

trophy of his victory consisted in a multitude of captives, whom Tiberius

entertained, redeemed, and dismissed to their native homes with the charitable

spirit of a Christian hero.  The merit or misfortunes of his own subjects had

a dearer claim to his beneficence, and he measured his bounty not so much by

their expectations as by his own dignity.  This maxim, however dangerous in a

trustee of the public wealth, was balanced by a principle of humanity and

justice, which taught him to abhor, as of the basest alloy, the gold that was

extracted from the tears of the people.  For their relief, as often as they

had suffered by natural or hostile calamities, he was impatient to remit the

arrears of the past, or the demands of future taxes: he sternly rejected the

servile offerings of his ministers, which were compensated by tenfold

oppression; and the wise and equitable laws of Tiberius excited the praise and

regret of succeeding times.  Constantinople believed that the emperor had

discovered a treasure: but his genuine treasure consisted in the practice of

liberal economy, and the contempt of all vain and superfluous expense.  The

Romans of the East would have been happy, if the best gift of Heaven, a

patriot king, had been confirmed as a proper and permanent blessing.  But in

less than four years after the death of Justin, his worthy successor sunk into

a mortal disease, which left him only sufficient time to restore the diadem,

according to the tenure by which he held it, to the most deserving of his

fellow-citizens.  He selected Maurice from the crowd, a judgment more precious

than the purple itself: the patriarch and senate were summoned to the bed of

the dying prince: he bestowed his daughter and the empire; and his last advice

was solemnly delivered by the voice of the quaestor.  Tiberius expressed his

hope that the virtues of his son and successor would erect the noblest

mausoleum to his memory.  His memory was embalmed by the public affliction;

but the most sincere grief evaporates in the tumult of a new reign, and the

eyes and acclamations of mankind were speedily directed to the rising sun.

 

     The emperor Maurice derived his origin from ancient Rome; ^29 but his

immediate parents were settled at Arabissus in Cappadocia, and their singular

felicity preserved them alive to behold and partake the fortune of their

august son.  The youth of Maurice was spent in the profession of arms:

Tiberius promoted him to the command of a new and favorite legion of twelve

thousand confederates; his valor and conduct were signalized in the Persian

war; and he returned to Constantinople to accept, as his just reward, the

inheritance of the empire.  Maurice ascended the throne at the mature age of

forty-three years; and he reigned above twenty years over the East and over

himself; ^30 expelling from his mind the wild democracy of passions, and

establishing (according to the quaint expression of Evagrius) a perfect

aristocracy of reason and virtue.  Some suspicion will degrade the testimony

of a subject, though he protests that his secret praise should never reach the

ear of his sovereign, ^31 and some failings seem to place the character of

Maurice below the purer merit of his predecessor.  His cold and reserved

demeanor might be imputed to arrogance; his justice was not always exempt from

cruelty, nor his clemency from weakness; and his rigid economy too often

exposed him to the reproach of avarice.  But the rational wishes of an

absolute monarch must tend to the happiness of his people.  Maurice was

endowed with sense and courage to promote that happiness, and his

administration was directed by the principles and example of Tiberius.  The

pusillanimity of the Greeks had introduced so complete a separation between

the offices of king and of general, that a private soldier, who had deserved

and obtained the purple, seldom or never appeared at the head of his armies.

Yet the emperor Maurice enjoyed the glory of restoring the Persian monarch to

his throne; his lieutenants waged a doubtful war against the Avars of the

Danube; and he cast an eye of pity, of ineffectual pity, on the abject and

distressful state of his Italian provinces.

 

[Footnote 29: It is therefore singular enough that Paul (l. iii. c. 15) should

distinguish him as the first Greek emperor - primus ex Graecorum genere in

Imperio constitutus.  His immediate predecessors had in deed been born in the

Latin provinces of Europe: and a various reading, in Graecorum Imperio, would

apply the expression to the empire rather than the prince.]

 

[Footnote 30: Consult, for the character and reign of Maurice, the fifth and

sixth books of Evagrius, particularly l. vi. c. l; the eight books of his

prolix and florid history by Theophylact Simocatta; Theophanes, p. 213, &c.;

Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 73; Cedrenus, p. 394.]

 

[Footnote 31: Evagrius composed his history in the twelfth year of Maurice;

and he had been so wisely indiscreet that the emperor know and rewarded his

favorable opinion, (l. vi. c. 24.)]

 

     From Italy the emperors were incessantly tormented by tales of misery and

demands of succor, which extorted the humiliating confession of their own

weakness.  The expiring dignity of Rome was only marked by the freedom and

energy of her complaints: "If you are incapable," she said, "of delivering us

from the sword of the Lombards, save us at least from the calamity of famine."

Tiberius forgave the reproach, and relieved the distress: a supply of corn was

transported from Egypt to the Tyber; and the Roman people, invoking the name,

not of Camillus, but of St. Peter repulsed the Barbarians from their walls.

But the relief was accidental, the danger was perpetual and pressing; and the

clergy and senate, collecting the remains of their ancient opulence, a sum of

three thousand pounds of gold, despatched the patrician Pamphronius to lay

their gifts and their complaints at the foot of the Byzantine throne.  The

attention of the court, and the forces of the East, were diverted by the

Persian war: but the justice of Tiberius applied the subsidy to the defence of

the city; and he dismissed the patrician with his best advice, either to bribe

the Lombard chiefs, or to purchase the aid of the kings of France.

Notwithstanding this weak invention, Italy was still afflicted, Rome was again

besieged, and the suburb of Classe, only three miles from Ravenna, was

pillaged and occupied by the troops of a simple duke of Spoleto.  Maurice gave

audience to a second deputation of priests and senators: the duties and the

menaces of religion were forcibly urged in the letters of the Roman pontiff;

and his nuncio, the deacon Gregory, was alike qualified to solicit the powers

either of heaven or of the earth.  The emperor adopted, with stronger effect,

the measures of his predecessor: some formidable chiefs were persuaded to

embrace the friendship of the Romans; and one of them, a mild and faithful

Barbarian, lived and died in the service of the exarchs: the passes of the

Alps were delivered to the Franks; and the pope encouraged them to violate,

without scruple, their oaths and engagements to the misbelievers.  Childebert,

the great-grandson of Clovis, was persuaded to invade Italy by the payment of

fifty thousand pieces; but, as he had viewed with delight some Byzantine coin

of the weight of one pound of gold, the king of Austrasia might stipulate,

that the gift should be rendered more worthy of his acceptance, by a proper

mixture of these respectable medals. The dukes of the Lombards had provoked by

frequent inroads their powerful neighbors of Gaul.  As soon as they were

apprehensive of a just retaliation, they renounced their feeble and disorderly

independence: the advantages of real government, union, secrecy, and vigor,

were unanimously confessed; and Autharis, the son of Clepho, had already

attained the strength and reputation of a warrior.  Under the standard of

their new king, the conquerors of Italy withstood three successive invasions,

one of which was led by Childebert himself, the last of the Merovingian race

who descended from the Alps.  The first expedition was defeated by the jealous

animosity of the Franks and Alemanni.  In the second they were vanquished in a

bloody battle, with more loss and dishonor than they had sustained since the

foundation of their monarchy.  Impatient for revenge, they returned a third

time with accumulated force, and Autharis yielded to the fury of the torrent.

The troops and treasures of the Lombards were distributed in the walled towns

between the Alps and the Apennine.  A nation, less sensible of danger than of

fatigue and delay, soon murmured against the folly of their twenty commanders;

and the hot vapors of an Italian sun infected with disease those tramontane

bodies which had already suffered the vicissitudes of intemperance and famine.

The powers that were inadequate to the conquest, were more than sufficient for

the desolation, of the country; nor could the trembling natives distinguish

between their enemies and their deliverers.  If the junction of the

Merovingian and Imperial forces had been effected in the neighborhood of

Milan, perhaps they might have subverted the throne of the Lombards; but the

Franks expected six days the signal of a flaming village, and the arms of the

Greeks were idly employed in the reduction of Modena and Parma, which were

torn from them after the retreat of their transalpine allies.  The victorious

Autharis asserted his claim to the dominion of Italy.  At the foot of the

Rhaetian Alps, he subdued the resistance, and rifled the hidden treasures, of

a sequestered island in the Lake of Comum.  At the extreme point of the

Calabria, he touched with his spear a column on the sea-shore of Rhegium, ^32

proclaiming that ancient landmark to stand the immovable boundary of his

kingdom. ^33

 

[Footnote 32: The Columna Rhegina, in the narrowest part of the Faro of

Messina, one hundred stadia from Rhegium itself, is frequently mentioned in

ancient geography.  Cluver. Ital.  Antiq. tom. ii. p. 1295.  Lucas Holsten.

Annotat. ad Cluver. p. 301.  Wesseling, Itinerar. p. 106.]

 

[Footnote 33: The Greek historians afford some faint hints of the wars of

Italy (Menander, in Excerpt. Legat. p. 124, 126.  Theophylact, l. iii. c. 4.)

The Latins are more satisfactory; and especially Paul Warnefrid, (l iii. c. 13

- 34,) who had read the more ancient histories of Secundus and Gregory of

Tours.  Baronius produces some letters of the popes, &c.; and the times are

measured by the accurate scale of Pagi and Muratori.]

 

     During a period of two hundred years, Italy was unequally divided between

the kingdom of the Lombards and the exarchate of Ravenna.  The offices and

professions, which the jealousy of Constantine had separated, were united by

the indulgence of Justinian; and eighteen successive exarchs were invested, in

the decline of the empire, with the full remains of civil, of military, and

even of ecclesiastical, power.  Their immediate jurisdiction, which was

afterwards consecrated as the patrimony of St. Peter, extended over the modern

Romagna, the marshes or valleys of Ferrara and Commachio, ^34 five maritime

cities from Rimini to Ancona, and a second inland Pentapolis, between the

Adriatic coast and the hills of the Apennine. Three subordinate provinces, of

Rome, of Venice, and of Naples, which were divided by hostile lands from the

palace of Ravenna, acknowledged, both in peace and war, the supremacy of the

exarch.  The duchy of Rome appears to have included the Tuscan, Sabine, and

Latin conquests, of the first four hundred years of the city, and the limits

may be distinctly traced along the coast, from Civita Vecchia to Terracina,

and with the course of the Tyber from Ameria and Narni to the port of Ostia.

The numerous islands from Grado to Chiozza composed the infant dominion of

Venice: but the more accessible towns on the Continent were overthrown by the

Lombards, who beheld with impotent fury a new capital rising from the waves.

The power of the dukes of Naples was circumscribed by the bay and the adjacent

isles, by the hostile territory of Capua, and by the Roman colony of Amalphi,

^35 whose industrious citizens, by the invention of the mariner's compass,

have unveiled the face of the globe.  The three islands of Sardinia, Corsica,

and Sicily, still adhered to the empire; and the acquisition of the farther

Calabria removed the landmark of Autharis from the shore of Rhegium to the

Isthmus of Consentia.  In Sardinia, the savage mountaineers preserved the

liberty and religion of their ancestors; and the husbandmen of Sicily were

chained to their rich and cultivated soil.  Rome was oppressed by the iron

sceptre of the exarchs, and a Greek, perhaps a eunuch, insulted with impunity

the ruins of the Capitol.  But Naples soon acquired the privilege of electing

her own dukes: ^36 the independence of Amalphi was the fruit of commerce; and

the voluntary attachment of Venice was finally ennobled by an equal alliance

with the Eastern empire.  On the map of Italy, the measure of the exarchate

occupies a very inadequate space, but it included an ample proportion of

wealth, industry, and population.  The most faithful and valuable subjects

escaped from the Barbarian yoke; and the banners of Pavia and Verona, of Milan

and Padua, were displayed in their respective quarters by the new inhabitants

of Ravenna.  The remainder of Italy was possessed by the Lombards; and from

Pavia, the royal seat, their kingdom was extended to the east, the north, and

the west, as far as the confines of the Avars, the Bavarians, and the Franks

of Austrasia and Burgundy.  In the language of modern geography, it is now

represented by the Terra Firma of the Venetian republic, Tyrol, the Milanese,

Piedmont, the coast of Genoa, Mantua, Parma, and Modena, the grand duchy of

Tuscany, and a large portion of the ecclesiastical state from Perugia to the

Adriatic.  The dukes, and at length the princes, of Beneventum, survived the

monarchy, and propagated the name of the Lombards.  From Capua to Tarentum,

they reigned near five hundred years over the greatest part of the present

kingdom of Naples. ^37

 

[Footnote 34: The papal advocates, Zacagni and Fontanini, might justly claim

the valley or morass of Commachio as a part of the exarchate.  But the

ambition of including Modena, Reggio, Parma, and Placentia, has darkened a

geographical question somewhat doubtful and obscure Even Muratori, as the

servant of the house of Este, is not free from partiality and prejudice.]

 

[Footnote 35: See Brenckman, Dissert. Ima de Republica Amalphitana, p. 1 - 42,

ad calcem Hist. Pandect. Florent.]

 

[Footnote 36: Gregor. Magn. l. iii. epist. 23, 25.]

 

[Footnote 37: I have described the state of Italy from the excellent

Dissertation of Beretti.  Giannone (Istoria Civile, tom. i. p. 374 - 387) has

followed the learned Camillo Pellegrini in the geography of the kingdom of

Naples.  After the loss of the true Calabria, the vanity of the Greeks

substituted that name instead of the more ignoble appellation of Bruttium; and

the change appears to have taken place before the time of Charlemagne,

(Eginard, p. 75.)]

 

     In comparing the proportion of the victorious and the vanquished people,

the change of language will afford the most probably inference.  According to

this standard, it will appear, that the Lombards of Italy, and the Visigoths

of Spain, were less numerous than the Franks or Burgundians; and the

conquerors of Gaul must yield, in their turn, to the multitude of Saxons and

Angles who almost eradicated the idioms of Britain.  The modern Italian has

been insensibly formed by the mixture of nations: the awkwardness of the

Barbarians in the nice management of declensions and conjugations reduced them

to the use of articles and auxiliary verbs; and many new ideas have been

expressed by Teutonic appellations.  Yet the principal stock of technical and

familiar words is found to be of Latin derivation; ^38 and, if we were

sufficiently conversant with the obsolete, the rustic, and the municipal

dialects of ancient Italy, we should trace the origin of many terms which

might, perhaps, be rejected by the classic purity of Rome.  A numerous army

constitutes but a small nation, and the powers of the Lombards were soon

diminished by the retreat of twenty thousand Saxons, who scorned a dependent

situation, and returned, after many bold and perilous adventures, to their

native country. ^39 The camp of Alboin was of formidable extent, but the

extent of a camp would be easily circumscribed within the limits of a city;

and its martial in habitants must be thinly scattered over the face of a large

country.  When Alboin descended from the Alps, he invested his nephew, the

first duke of Friuli, with the command of the province and the people: but the

prudent Gisulf would have declined the dangerous office, unless he had been

permitted to choose, among the nobles of the Lombards, a sufficient number of

families ^40 to form a perpetual colony of soldiers and subjects. In the

progress of conquest, the same option could not be granted to the dukes of

Brescia or Bergamo, ot Pavia or Turin, of Spoleto or Beneventum; but each of

these, and each of their colleagues, settled in his appointed district with a

band of followers who resorted to his standard in war and his tribunal in

peace.  Their attachment was free and honorable: resigning the gifts and

benefits which they had accepted, they might emigrate with their families into

the jurisdiction of another duke; but their absence from the kingdom was

punished with death, as a crime of military desertion. ^41 The posterity of

the first conquerors struck a deeper root into the soil, which, by every

motive of interest and honor, they were bound to defend.  A Lombard was born

the soldier of his king and his duke; and the civil assemblies of the nation

displayed the banners, and assumed the appellation, of a regular army.  Of

this army, the pay and the rewards were drawn from the conquered provinces;

and the distribution, which was not effected till after the death of Alboin,

is disgraced by the foul marks of injustice and rapine.  Many of the most

wealthy Italians were slain or banished; the remainder were divided among the

strangers, and a tributary obligation was imposed (under the name of

hospitality) of paying to the Lombards a third part of the fruits of the

earth.  Within less than seventy years, this artificial system was abolished

by a more simple and solid tenure. ^42 Either the Roman landlord was expelled

by his strong and insolent guest, or the annual payment, a third of the

produce, was exchanged by a more equitable transaction for an adequate

proportion of landed property.  Under these foreign masters, the business of

agriculture, in the cultivation of corn, wines, and olives, was exercised with

degenerate skill and industry by the labor of the slaves and natives. But the

occupations of a pastoral life were more pleasing to the idleness of the

Barbarian.  In the rich meadows of Venetia, they restored and improved the

breed of horses, for which that province had once been illustrious; ^43 and

the Italians beheld with astonishment a foreign race of oxen or buffaloes. ^44

The depopulation of Lombardy, and the increase of forests, afforded an ample

range for the pleasures of the chase. ^45 That marvellous art which teaches

the birds of the air to acknowledge the voice, and execute the commands, of

their master, had been unknown to the ingenuity of the Greeks and Romans. ^46

Scandinavia and Scythia produce the boldest and most tractable falcons: ^47

they were tamed and educated by the roving inhabitants, always on horseback

and in the field.  This favorite amusement of our ancestors was introduced by

the Barbarians into the Roman provinces; and the laws of Italy esteemed the

sword and the hawk as of equal dignity and importance in the hands of a noble

Lombard. ^48

 

[Footnote 38: Maffei (Verona Illustrata, part i. p. 310 - 321) and Muratori

(Antichita Italiane, tom. ii.  Dissertazione xxxii. xxxiii. p. 71 - 365) have

asserted the native claims of the Italian idiom; the former with enthusiasm,

the latter with discretion; both with learning, ingenuity, and truth.

 

     Note: Compare the admirable sketch of the degeneracy of the Latin

language and the formation of the Italian in Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. iii. p.

317 329. - M.]

 

[Footnote 39: Paul, de Gest. Langobard. l. iii. c. 5, 6, 7.]

 

[Footnote 40: Paul, l. ii. c. 9.  He calls these families or generations by

the Teutonic name of Faras, which is likewise used in the Lombard laws.  The

humble deacon was not insensible of the nobility of his own race.  See l. iv.

c. 39.]

 

[Footnote 41: Compare No. 3 and 177 of the Laws of Rotharis.]

 

[Footnote 42: Paul, l. ii. c. 31, 32, l. iii. c. 16.  The Laws of Rotharis,

promulgated A.D. 643, do not contain the smallest vestige of this payment of

thirds; but they preserve many curious circumstances of the state of Italy and

the manners of the Lombards.]

 

[Footnote 43: The studs of Dionysius of Syracuse, and his frequent victories

in the Olympic games, had diffused among the Greeks the fame of the Venetian

horses; but the breed was extinct in the time of Strabo, (l. v. p. 325.)

Gisulf obtained from his uncle generosarum equarum greges.  Paul, l. ii. c. 9.

The Lombards afterwards introduced caballi sylvatici - wild horses. Paul, l.

iv. c. 11.]

 

[Footnote 44: Tunc (A.D. 596) primum, bubali in Italiam delati Italiae populis

miracula fuere, (Paul Warnefrid, l. iv. c. 11.) The buffaloes, whose native

climate appears to be Africa and India, are unknown to Europe, except in

Italy, where they are numerous and useful.  The ancients were ignorant of

these animals, unless Aristotle (Hist. Anim. l. ii. c. 1, p. 58, Paris, 1783)

has described them as the wild oxen of Arachosia.  See Buffon, Hist.

Naturelle, tom. xi. and Supplement, tom. vi. Hist. Generale des Voyages, tom.

i. p. 7, 481, ii. 105, iii. 291, iv. 234, 461, v. 193, vi. 491, viii. 400, x.

666.  Pennant's Quadrupedes, p. 24.  Dictionnaire d'Hist. Naturelle, par

Valmont de Bomare, tom. ii. p. 74.  Yet I must not conceal the suspicion that

Paul, by a vulgar error, may have applied the name of bubalus to the aurochs,

or wild bull, of ancient Germany.]

 

[Footnote 45: Consult the xxist Dissertation of Muratori.]

 

[Footnote 46: Their ignorance is proved by the silence even of those who

professedly treat of the arts of hunting and the history of animals.

Aristotle, (Hist. Animal. l. ix. c. 36, tom. i. p. 586, and the Notes of his

last editor, M. Camus, tom. ii. p. 314,) Pliny, (Hist. Natur. l. x. c. 10,)

Aelian (de Natur. Animal. l. ii. c. 42,) and perhaps Homer, (Odyss. xxii. 302

- 306,) describe with astonishment a tacit league and common chase between the

hawks and the Thracian fowlers.]

 

[Footnote 47: Particularly the gerfaut, or gyrfalcon, of the size of a small

eagle.  See the animated description of M. de Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom.

xvi. p. 239, &c.]

 

[Footnote 48: Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. part ii. p. 129.  This is the

xvith law of the emperor Lewis the Pious.  His father Charlemagne had

falconers in his household as well as huntsmen, (Memoires sur l'ancienne

Chevalerie, par M. de St. Palaye, tom. iii. p. 175.) I observe in the laws of

Rotharis a more early mention of the art of hawking, (No. 322;) and in Gaul,

in the fifth century, it is celebrated by Sidonius Apollinaris among the

talents of Avitus, (202 - 207.)

 

     Note: See Beckman, Hist. of Inventions, vol. i. p. 319 - M.]

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