Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

Author:      Gibbon, Edward

Date:        1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

 

Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

Vandals, ancient Germanic tribe of Jutland (now in Denmark), who migrated to the valley of the Odra (Oder) River about the 5th century BC. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD they settled along the Danube River. They entered Gaul (now France) in 406, invaded Spain in 409, and fought in the latter country against both the Visigoths (another Germanic tribe) and the Romans. Gaiseric became king of the tribe in 428, and under him the Vandals achieved their greatest power. They moved to North Africa the following year and there defeated the Romans. Gaiseric's sovereignty was recognized by Roman emperor Valentinian III in 422. The Vandals predominated in what is now Algeria and northern Morocco by 435 and conquered Carthage in 439. Their navy ruled the western Mediterranean Sea, and they looted and plundered in Italy, including Rome in 477. The tribe was Arian and it dealt severely with Orthodox Christians. The Vandals' power began to decline after Gaiseric's death in 477, and in 534 they were defeated by the Byzantine general Belsarius. The modern usage of the word vandal reflects the dread and hostility the tribe precipitated in other people by their looting and plundering, especially in Rome.

 

 

     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; and Constantinople

beheld, with apparent 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 Constantius, as a

noble reward for the tyrants whom he had vanquished, received, from the hand

of Honorius himself, the struggling and the 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 generous soldier, whose time had hitherto been divided between

social pleasure and military service, was taught new lessons of 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 inerease the

power of Placidia; and the indecent familiarity ^2 of her brother, which might

be no more than the symptoms of a childish affection, were universally

attributed to incestuous love.  On a sudden, by some base intrigues of a

steward and a nurse, this excessive fondness was converted into an

irreconcilable quarrel: the debates of the emperor and his sister 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 Placidia, 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.

 

[Footnote 1: See vol. iii. p. 296.]

 

[Footnote 2: It is the expression of Olympiodorus (apud Phetium p. 197;) who

means, perhaps, to describe the same caresses which Mahomet bestowed on his

daughter Phatemah.  Quando, (says the prophet himself,) quando subit mihi

desiderium Paradisi, osculor eam, et ingero 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 Maracci in his Version

and Confutation of the Koran, tom. i. p. 32.]

 

     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 embassy, 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 marched in person: but the young emperor was easily

diverted, by his physicians, from so rash and hazardous a design; and the

conduct of the Italian expedition was prudently intrusted 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; whilst

Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, conducted Placidia and her son Valentinian

along the sea-coast of the Adriatic.  The march of the cavalry was performed

with such active diligence, that they surprised, without resistance, the

important city of Aquileia: when the hopes of Aspar were unexpectedly

confounded by the intelligence, that a storm had dispersed 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 gratitude; 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 of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius,

when he received the 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 grateful devotion. ^3

 

[Footnote 3: For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult Olympiodor,

apud Phot. p. 192, 193, 196, 197, 200; Sozomen, l. ix. c. 16; Socrates, l.

vii. 23, 24; Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 10, 11, and Godefroy, Dissertat p. 486;

Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 182, 183, in Chronograph, p. 72,

73, and the Chronicles.]

 

     In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, might be

considered as elective, or hereditary, or patrimonial, it was impossible that

the intricate claims of female and collateral succession should be clearly

defined; ^4 and Theodosius, by the right of consanguinity or conquest, might

have reigned the sole legitimate emperor of the Romans. For a moment, perhaps,

his eyes were dazzled by the prospect of unbounded sway; but his indolent

temper gradually acquiesced 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 Nobilissimus: he was promoted, before his departure from

Thessalonica, to the rank and dignity of Caesar; 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

honorable alliance was faithfully accomplished.  At the same time, 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 and ravaged above twenty years by

a promiscuous crowd of 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 government 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 communicate them, subscribed with his own hand, for the approbation

of his independent colleague. ^7

 

[Footnote 4: See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, l. ii. c. 7.  He has

laboriously out 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.]

 

[Footnote 5: The original writers are not agreed (see Muratori, Annali

d'Italia tom. iv. p. 139) whether Valentinian received the Imperial diadem at

Rome or Ravenna.  In this uncertainty, I am willing to believe, that some

respect was shown to the senate.]

 

[Footnote 6: The count de Buat (Hist. des Peup es de l'Europe, tom. vii. p.

292 - 300) has established the reality, explained the motives, and traced the

consequences, of this remarkable cession.]

 

[Footnote 7: See the first Novel of Theodosius, by which he ratifies and

communicates (A.D. 438) the Theodosian Code.  About forty years before that

time, the unity of legislation had been proved by an exception.  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. l. xvi. tit.

viii. leg. 13;) and the Western emperor was obliged to invalidate, by a

special edict, the law, quam constat meis partibus esse damnosam.  Cod. Theod.

l. xi. tit. i. leg. 158.]

 

     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 genius of Eudocia, the wise

and successful policy of Pulcheria.  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 unworthy emperor

gradually countenanced the suspicion that 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, Aetius ^9 and Boniface, ^10 who may be deservedly

named as the last of the Romans.  Their union might have supported a sinking

empire; their discord was the fatal and immediate cause of the loss of Africa.

The invasion and defeat of Attila have immortalized the fame of Aetius; and

though time has thrown a shade over the exploits of his rival, the defence of

Marseilles, 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 Barbarians: 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 tribunal the following day: in the evening the count, who had

diligently informed himself of the time and place of the assignation, 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 presenting him, the next morning, with the head of the adulterer.

The abilities of Aetius and Boniface might have been usefully employed against

the public enemies, in separate and important commands; but the experience of

their past conduct should have decided the real favor and confidence of the

empress Placidia.  In the melancholy season of her exile and distress,

Boniface alone had maintained her cause with unshaken 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

Aetius, who brought an army of sixty thousand Huns from the Danube to the

confines of Italy, for the service of the usurper.  The untimely death of John

compelled him to accept an advantageous treaty; but he still continued, the

subject and the soldier of Valentinian, to entertain a secret, perhaps a

treasonable, correspondence with his Barbarian allies, whose retreat had been

purchased by liberal gifts, and more liberal promises.  But Aetius possessed

an advantage of singular moment in a female reign; he was present: he

besieged, with artful and assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised

his dark designs with the mask of loyalty and friendship; 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

persuaded ^11 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, Aetius 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 Aetius still

continued to betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution,

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, disorderly 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 settlement.

 

[Footnote 8: Cassiodorus (Variar. l. xi. Epist. i. p. 238) has compared the

regencies of Placidia and Amalasuntha.  He arraigns the weakness of the mother

of Valentinian, and praises the virtues of his royal mistress.  On this

occasion, flattery seems to have spoken the language of truth.]

 

[Footnote 9: Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 12, and Godefroy's Dissertat. p. 493,

&c.; and Renatus Frigeridus, apud Gregor.  Turon. l. ii. c. 8, in tom. ii. p.

163.  The father of Aetius was Gaudentius, an illustrious citizen of the

province of Scythia, and master-general of the cavalry; his mother was a rich

and noble Italian.  From his earliest youth, Aetius, as a soldier and a

hostage, had conversed with the Barbarians.]

 

[Footnote 10: For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p.

196; and St. Augustin apud Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 712 -

715, 886.  The bishop of Hippo at length deplored the fall of his friend, who,

after a solemn vow of chastity, had married a second wife of the Arian sect,

and who was suspected of keeping several concubines in his house.]

 

[Footnote 11: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, 4, p. 182 - 186) relates

the fraud of Aetius, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of Africa.  This

anecdote, which is supported by some collateral testimony, (see Ruinart, Hist.

Persecut. Vandal. p. 420, 421,) seems agreeable to the practice of ancient and

modern courts, and would be naturally revealed by the repentance of Boniface.]

 

     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 hostile independence.  The Vandals prevailed; and their adversaries 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 Boetica.  The rapid progress of

the Vandals soon acquired a more effectual opposition; and the master-general

Castinus marched against them with a numerous army of Romans and Goths.

Vanquished in battle by an inferior army, Castinus fled with dishonor to

Tarragona; and this memorable defeat, which has been represented as the

punishment, was most probably the effect, of his rash presumption. ^12 Seville

and Carthagena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious

conquerors; and the vessels 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 Genseric; ^13 a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman empire,

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 vanquished; 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,

had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he was resolved to

abandon.  Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of the

Suevi as far as Merida; precipitated 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 modern 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

 

[Footnote 12: See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius.  Salvian (de

Gubernat. Dei, l. vii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the victory of the

Vandals 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.]

 

[Footnote 13: Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statura mediocris et

equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriae contemptor, ira

turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas gentes providentissimus, 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 likeness,

must have been copied from the Gothic history of Cassiodorus.]

 

[Footnote 14: See the Chronicle of Idatius.  That bishop, a Spaniard and a

contemporary, 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 writers who have marked for that

event one of the two preceding years.  See Pagi Critica, tom. ii. p. 205, &c.]

 

     Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multiply the martial

swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from the North, will perhaps be

surprised by the account of the 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

climate.  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

chinarchs, 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 the accession of numerous and

active allies.  The parts of Mauritania which border on the Great Desert and

the Atlantic Ocean, were filled with a fierce and untractable race of men,

whose savage temper had been exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by their

dread of the Roman arms. The wandering Moors, ^16 as they gradually ventured

to approach the seashore, 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 neighborhood

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

enemies 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.

 

[Footnote 15: Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 190) and

Victor Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandal. l. i. c. 1, p. 3, edit. Ruinart.) We

are assured by Idatius, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnibus

eorumque familiis; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p.

427) describes his army as manus ingens immanium gentium Vandalorum et

Alanorum, commixtam secum babens Gothorum gentem, aliarumque diversarum

personas.]

 

[Footnote 16: For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius, (de Bell. Vandal.

l. ii. c. 6, p. 249;) for their figure and complexion, M. de Buffon, (Histoire

Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 430.) Procopius says in general, that the Moors had

joined the Vandals before the death of Valentinian, (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c.

5, p. 190;) and it is probable that the independent tribes did not embrace any

uniform system of policy.]

 

     The persecution of the Donatists ^17 was an event not less favorable to

the designs of Genseric.  Seventeen years before he landed in Africa, a public

conference was held at Carthage, 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 possessions, banished to the

islands, and proscribed by the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in

the provinces of Africa.  Their numerous congregations, both in cities and in

the country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise of

religious worship.  A regular scale of fines, from ten to two hundred pounds

of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the distinction 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 opposition, were

provoked to madness and despair; the distracted country was filled with tumult

and bloodshed; the armed troops of Circumcellions 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

reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts of the Roman

emperors. ^22 The conquest of Africa was facilitated by the active zeal, or

the secret favor, of a domestic faction; the wanton outrages against the

churches and the clergy of which the Vandals are accused, may be fairly

imputed to the fanaticism of their allies; and the intolerant spirit which

disgraced the triumph of Christianity, contributed to the loss of the most

important province of the West. ^23

 

[Footnote 17: See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 516 - 558; and the

whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments, published by Dupin

at the end of Optatus, p. 323 - 515.]

 

[Footnote 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 four vacant bishoprics.]

 

[Footnote 19: The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code

exhibits 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.]

 

[Footnote 20: St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard tosthe proper

treatment of heretics.  His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence for

the Manichaeans, has been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p. 469) among the

choice specimens of his common-place book.  Another philosopher, the

celebrated Bayle, (tom. 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.]

 

[Footnote 21: See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 586 - 592, 806. The

Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary martyrs.  Augustin 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 in hell flames.]

 

[Footnote 22: According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the Donatists were

inclined to the principles, or at least to the party, of the Arians, which

Genseric supported.  Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 68.]

 

[Footnote 23: 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 connection of the Vandals and the

Donatists.  Under the reign of the Barbarians, the schismatics of Africa

enjoyed an obscure peace of one hundred years; at the end of which we may

again trace them by the fight of the Imperial persecutions.  See Tillemont,

Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 192. &c.]

 

     The court and the people were astonished by the strange intelligence,

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 to his command.  The friends of Boniface, who still believed that

his criminal behavior might be excused by some honorable motive, solicited,

during the absence of Aetius, a free conference with the Count of Africa; and

Darius, an officer of high distinction, was named for the important embassy.

^24 In their first interview at Carthage, the imaginary provocations were

mutually explained; the opposite letters of Aetius 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 forgiveness

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 his

hasty levies of provincial troops, were defeated with considerable loss; the

victorious Barbarians insulted the open country; and Carthage, Cirta, and

Hippo Regius, were the only cities that appeared to rise above the general

inundation.

 

[Footnote 24: In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustin,

without examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to discharge

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. tom. xiii. p. 890.) The bishop was intimately connected with

Darius, the minister of peace, (Id. tom. xiii. p. 928.)]

 

     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 accurately measured by the distance from Carthage and the

Mediterranean.  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 exportation, 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 to Tripoli,

were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Vandals; whose destructive rage has

perhaps been exaggerated by popular animosity, religious zeal, and extravagant

declamation.  War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of

humanity and justice; and the hostilities of 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.  Careless of the distinctions

of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species of indignity and torture,

to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth.  The stern

policy of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military execution: he

was not always the master of his own passions, or of those of his followers;

and the calamities of war were aggravated 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 air, and producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must

have been the first victims. ^25

 

[Footnote 25: The original complaints of the desolation of Africa are

contained 1. In a letter from Capreolus, bishop of Carthage, to excuse 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, (l. i. c. 1,

2, 3, edit. Ruinart.) The last picture, which was drawn sixty years after the

event, is more expressive of the author's passions than of the truth of

facts.]

 

     The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured by the exquisite

distress of beholding the ruin which he had occasioned, and whose rapid

progress he was unable to check.  After the loss of a battle he retired into

Hippo Regius; where he was immediately besieged by an enemy, who considered

him as the real bulwark of Africa.  The maritime colony of Hippo, ^26 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 Manichaeans, the Donatists,

and the Pelagians, 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 contained his voluminous writings; two hundred and

thirty-two separate books or treatises on theological subjects, besides a

complete exposition of the psalter and the gospel, and a copious magazine of

epistles and homilies. ^28 According to the judgment of the most impartial

critics, the superficial learning of Augustin was confined to the Latin

language; ^29 and his style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence of

passion, is usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric.  But he possessed

a strong, capacious, argumentative mind; he boldly sounded the dark abyss of

grace, predestination, free will, and original sin; and the rigid system of

Christianity which he framed or restored, ^30 has been entertained, with

public applause, and secret reluctance, by the Latin church. ^31

 

[Footnote 26: See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. part ii. p. 112. Leo

African. in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 70.  L'Afrique de Marmol, tom. ii. p. 434,

437.  Shaw's Travels, p. 46, 47.  The old Hippo Regius was finally destroyed

by the Arabs in the seventh century; but a new town, at the distance of two

miles, was built with the materials; and it contained, in the sixteenth

century, about three hundred families of industrious, but turbulent

manufacturers.  The adjacent territory is renowned for a pure air, a fertile

soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits.]

 

[Footnote 27: The life of St. Augustin, by Tillemont, fills a quarto volume

(Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii.) of more than one thousand pages; and the diligence

of that learned Jansenist was excited, on this occasion, by factious and

devout zeal for the founder of his sect.]

 

[Footnote 28: Such, at least, is the account of Victor Vitensis, (de Persecut.

Vandal. l. i. c. 3;) though Gennadius seems to doubt whether any person had

read, or even collected, all the works of St. Augustin, (see Hieronym. Opera,

tom. i. p. 319, in Catalog. Scriptor. Eccles.) They have been repeatedly

printed; and Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom. iii. p. 158 - 257) has given a

large and satisfactory abstract of them as they stand in the last edition of

the Benedictines.  My personal acquaintance with the bishop of Hippo does not

extend beyond the Confessions, and the City of God.]

 

[Footnote 29: In his early youth (Confess. i. 14) St. Augustin disliked and

neglected the study of Greek; and he frankly owns that he read the Platonists

in a Latin version, (Confes. vii. 9.) Some modern critics have thought, that

his ignorance of Greek disqualified him from expounding the Scriptures; and

Cicero or Quintilian would have required the knowledge of that language in a

professor of rhetoric.]

 

[Footnote 30: These questions were seldom agitated, from the time of St. Paul

to that of St. Augustin.  I am informed that the Greek fathers maintain the

natural sentiments of the Semi-Pelagians; and that the orthodoxy of St.

Augustin was derived from the Manichaean school.]

 

[Footnote 31: The church of Rome has canonized Augustin, and reprobated

Calvin.  Yet as the real difference between them is invisible even to a

theological microscope, the Molinists are oppressed by the authority of the

saint, and the Jansenists are disgraced by their resemblance to the heretic.

In the mean while, the Protestant Arminians stand aloof, and deride the mutual

perplexity of the disputants, (see a curious Review of the Controversy, by Le

Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelle, (tom. xiv. p. 144 - 398.) Perhaps a reasoner

still more independent may smile in his turn, when he peruses an Arminian

Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.]

 

Part I.

 

     Death Of Honorius. - Valentinian III. - Emperor Of The East. -

Administration Of His Mother Placidia - Aetius 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; and Constantinople

beheld, with apparent 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 Constantius, as a

noble reward for the tyrants whom he had vanquished, received, from the hand

of Honorius himself, the struggling and the 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 generous soldier, whose time had hitherto been divided between

social pleasure and military service, was taught new lessons of 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 inerease the

power of Placidia; and the indecent familiarity ^2 of her brother, which might

be no more than the symptoms of a childish affection, were universally

attributed to incestuous love.  On a sudden, by some base intrigues of a

steward and a nurse, this excessive fondness was converted into an

irreconcilable quarrel: the debates of the emperor and his sister 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 Placidia, 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.

 

[Footnote 1: See vol. iii. p. 296.]

 

[Footnote 2: It is the expression of Olympiodorus (apud Phetium p. 197;) who

means, perhaps, to describe the same caresses which Mahomet bestowed on his

daughter Phatemah.  Quando, (says the prophet himself,) quando subit mihi

desiderium Paradisi, osculor eam, et ingero 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 Maracci in his Version

and Confutation of the Koran, tom. i. p. 32.]

 

     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 embassy, 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 marched in person: but the young emperor was easily

diverted, by his physicians, from so rash and hazardous a design; and the

conduct of the Italian expedition was prudently intrusted 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; whilst

Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, conducted Placidia and her son Valentinian

along the sea-coast of the Adriatic.  The march of the cavalry was performed

with such active diligence, that they surprised, without resistance, the

important city of Aquileia: when the hopes of Aspar were unexpectedly

confounded by the intelligence, that a storm had dispersed 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 gratitude; 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 of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius,

when he received the 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 grateful devotion. ^3

 

[Footnote 3: For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult Olympiodor,

apud Phot. p. 192, 193, 196, 197, 200; Sozomen, l. ix. c. 16; Socrates, l.

vii. 23, 24; Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 10, 11, and Godefroy, Dissertat p. 486;

Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 182, 183, in Chronograph, p. 72,

73, and the Chronicles.]

 

     In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, might be

considered as elective, or hereditary, or patrimonial, it was impossible that

the intricate claims of female and collateral succession should be clearly

defined; ^4 and Theodosius, by the right of consanguinity or conquest, might

have reigned the sole legitimate emperor of the Romans. For a moment, perhaps,

his eyes were dazzled by the prospect of unbounded sway; but his indolent

temper gradually acquiesced 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 Nobilissimus: he was promoted, before his departure from

Thessalonica, to the rank and dignity of Caesar; 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

honorable alliance was faithfully accomplished.  At the same time, 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 and ravaged above twenty years by

a promiscuous crowd of 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 government 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 communicate them, subscribed with his own hand, for the approbation

of his independent colleague. ^7

 

[Footnote 4: See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, l. ii. c. 7.  He has

laboriously out 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.]

 

[Footnote 5: The original writers are not agreed (see Muratori, Annali

d'Italia tom. iv. p. 139) whether Valentinian received the Imperial diadem at

Rome or Ravenna.  In this uncertainty, I am willing to believe, that some

respect was shown to the senate.]

 

[Footnote 6: The count de Buat (Hist. des Peup es de l'Europe, tom. vii. p.

292 - 300) has established the reality, explained the motives, and traced the

consequences, of this remarkable cession.]

 

[Footnote 7: See the first Novel of Theodosius, by which he ratifies and

communicates (A.D. 438) the Theodosian Code.  About forty years before that

time, the unity of legislation had been proved by an exception.  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. l. xvi. tit.

viii. leg. 13;) and the Western emperor was obliged to invalidate, by a

special edict, the law, quam constat meis partibus esse damnosam.  Cod. Theod.

l. xi. tit. i. leg. 158.]

 

     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 genius of Eudocia, the wise

and successful policy of Pulcheria.  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 unworthy emperor

gradually countenanced the suspicion that 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, Aetius ^9 and Boniface, ^10 who may be deservedly

named as the last of the Romans.  Their union might have supported a sinking

empire; their discord was the fatal and immediate cause of the loss of Africa.

The invasion and defeat of Attila have immortalized the fame of Aetius; and

though time has thrown a shade over the exploits of his rival, the defence of

Marseilles, 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 Barbarians: 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 tribunal the following day: in the evening the count, who had

diligently informed himself of the time and place of the assignation, 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 presenting him, the next morning, with the head of the adulterer.

The abilities of Aetius and Boniface might have been usefully employed against

the public enemies, in separate and important commands; but the experience of

their past conduct should have decided the real favor and confidence of the

empress Placidia.  In the melancholy season of her exile and distress,

Boniface alone had maintained her cause with unshaken 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

Aetius, who brought an army of sixty thousand Huns from the Danube to the

confines of Italy, for the service of the usurper.  The untimely death of John

compelled him to accept an advantageous treaty; but he still continued, the

subject and the soldier of Valentinian, to entertain a secret, perhaps a

treasonable, correspondence with his Barbarian allies, whose retreat had been

purchased by liberal gifts, and more liberal promises.  But Aetius possessed

an advantage of singular moment in a female reign; he was present: he

besieged, with artful and assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised

his dark designs with the mask of loyalty and friendship; 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

persuaded ^11 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, Aetius 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 Aetius still

continued to betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution,

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, disorderly 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 settlement.

 

[Footnote 8: Cassiodorus (Variar. l. xi. Epist. i. p. 238) has compared the

regencies of Placidia and Amalasuntha.  He arraigns the weakness of the mother

of Valentinian, and praises the virtues of his royal mistress.  On this

occasion, flattery seems to have spoken the language of truth.]

 

[Footnote 9: Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 12, and Godefroy's Dissertat. p. 493,

&c.; and Renatus Frigeridus, apud Gregor.  Turon. l. ii. c. 8, in tom. ii. p.

163.  The father of Aetius was Gaudentius, an illustrious citizen of the

province of Scythia, and master-general of the cavalry; his mother was a rich

and noble Italian.  From his earliest youth, Aetius, as a soldier and a

hostage, had conversed with the Barbarians.]

 

[Footnote 10: For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus, apud Phot. p.

196; and St. Augustin apud Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 712 -

715, 886.  The bishop of Hippo at length deplored the fall of his friend, who,

after a solemn vow of chastity, had married a second wife of the Arian sect,

and who was suspected of keeping several concubines in his house.]

 

[Footnote 11: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, 4, p. 182 - 186) relates

the fraud of Aetius, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of Africa.  This

anecdote, which is supported by some collateral testimony, (see Ruinart, Hist.

Persecut. Vandal. p. 420, 421,) seems agreeable to the practice of ancient and

modern courts, and would be naturally revealed by the repentance of Boniface.]

 

     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 hostile independence.  The Vandals prevailed; and their adversaries 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 Boetica.  The rapid progress of

the Vandals soon acquired a more effectual opposition; and the master-general

Castinus marched against them with a numerous army of Romans and Goths.

Vanquished in battle by an inferior army, Castinus fled with dishonor to

Tarragona; and this memorable defeat, which has been represented as the

punishment, was most probably the effect, of his rash presumption. ^12 Seville

and Carthagena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious

conquerors; and the vessels 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 Genseric; ^13 a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman empire,

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 vanquished; 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,

had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he was resolved to

abandon.  Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of the

Suevi as far as Merida; precipitated 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 modern 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

 

[Footnote 12: See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius.  Salvian (de

Gubernat. Dei, l. vii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the victory of the

Vandals 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.]

 

[Footnote 13: Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statura mediocris et

equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriae contemptor, ira

turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad solicitandas gentes providentissimus, 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 likeness,

must have been copied from the Gothic history of Cassiodorus.]

 

[Footnote 14: See the Chronicle of Idatius.  That bishop, a Spaniard and a

contemporary, 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 writers who have marked for that

event one of the two preceding years.  See Pagi Critica, tom. ii. p. 205, &c.]

 

     Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multiply the martial

swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from the North, will perhaps be

surprised by the account of the 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

climate.  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

chinarchs, 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 the accession of numerous and

active allies.  The parts of Mauritania which border on the Great Desert and

the Atlantic Ocean, were filled with a fierce and untractable race of men,

whose savage temper had been exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by their

dread of the Roman arms. The wandering Moors, ^16 as they gradually ventured

to approach the seashore, 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 neighborhood

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

enemies 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.

 

[Footnote 15: Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 190) and

Victor Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandal. l. i. c. 1, p. 3, edit. Ruinart.) We

are assured by Idatius, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnibus

eorumque familiis; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p.

427) describes his army as manus ingens immanium gentium Vandalorum et

Alanorum, commixtam secum babens Gothorum gentem, aliarumque diversarum

personas.]

 

[Footnote 16: For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius, (de Bell. Vandal.

l. ii. c. 6, p. 249;) for their figure and complexion, M. de Buffon, (Histoire

Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 430.) Procopius says in general, that the Moors had

joined the Vandals before the death of Valentinian, (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c.

5, p. 190;) and it is probable that the independent tribes did not embrace any

uniform system of policy.]

 

     The persecution of the Donatists ^17 was an event not less favorable to

the designs of Genseric.  Seventeen years before he landed in Africa, a public

conference was held at Carthage, 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 possessions, banished to the

islands, and proscribed by the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in

the provinces of Africa.  Their numerous congregations, both in cities and in

the country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise of

religious worship.  A regular scale of fines, from ten to two hundred pounds

of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the distinction 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 opposition, were

provoked to madness and despair; the distracted country was filled with tumult

and bloodshed; the armed troops of Circumcellions 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

reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts of the Roman

emperors. ^22 The conquest of Africa was facilitated by the active zeal, or

the secret favor, of a domestic faction; the wanton outrages against the

churches and the clergy of which the Vandals are accused, may be fairly

imputed to the fanaticism of their allies; and the intolerant spirit which

disgraced the triumph of Christianity, contributed to the loss of the most

important province of the West. ^23

 

[Footnote 17: See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 516 - 558; and the

whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments, published by Dupin

at the end of Optatus, p. 323 - 515.]

 

[Footnote 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 four vacant bishoprics.]

 

[Footnote 19: The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code

exhibits 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.]

 

[Footnote 20: St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard tosthe proper

treatment of heretics.  His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence for

the Manichaeans, has been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p. 469) among the

choice specimens of his common-place book.  Another philosopher, the

celebrated Bayle, (tom. 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.]

 

[Footnote 21: See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 586 - 592, 806. The

Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary martyrs.  Augustin 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 in hell flames.]

 

[Footnote 22: According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the Donatists were

inclined to the principles, or at least to the party, of the Arians, which

Genseric supported.  Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 68.]

 

[Footnote 23: 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 connection of the Vandals and the

Donatists.  Under the reign of the Barbarians, the schismatics of Africa

enjoyed an obscure peace of one hundred years; at the end of which we may

again trace them by the fight of the Imperial persecutions.  See Tillemont,

Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 192. &c.]

 

     The court and the people were astonished by the strange intelligence,

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 to his command.  The friends of Boniface, who still believed that

his criminal behavior might be excused by some honorable motive, solicited,

during the absence of Aetius, a free conference with the Count of Africa; and

Darius, an officer of high distinction, was named for the important embassy.

^24 In their first interview at Carthage, the imaginary provocations were

mutually explained; the opposite letters of Aetius 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 forgiveness

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 his

hasty levies of provincial troops, were defeated with considerable loss; the

victorious Barbarians insulted the open country; and Carthage, Cirta, and

Hippo Regius, were the only cities that appeared to rise above the general

inundation.

 

[Footnote 24: In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustin,

without examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to discharge

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. tom. xiii. p. 890.) The bishop was intimately connected with

Darius, the minister of peace, (Id. tom. xiii. p. 928.)]

 

     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 accurately measured by the distance from Carthage and the

Mediterranean.  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 exportation, 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 to Tripoli,

were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Vandals; whose destructive rage has

perhaps been exaggerated by popular animosity, religious zeal, and extravagant

declamation.  War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of

humanity and justice; and the hostilities of 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.  Careless of the distinctions

of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species of indignity and torture,

to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth.  The stern

policy of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military execution: he

was not always the master of his own passions, or of those of his followers;

and the calamities of war were aggravated 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 air, and producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must

have been the first victims. ^25

 

[Footnote 25: The original complaints of the desolation of Africa are

contained 1. In a letter from Capreolus, bishop of Carthage, to excuse 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, (l. i. c. 1,

2, 3, edit. Ruinart.) The last picture, which was drawn sixty years after the

event, is more expressive of the author's passions than of the truth of

facts.]

 

     The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured by the exquisite

distress of beholding the ruin which he had occasioned, and whose rapid

progress he was unable to check.  After the loss of a battle he retired into

Hippo Regius; where he was immediately besieged by an enemy, who considered

him as the real bulwark of Africa.  The maritime colony of Hippo, ^26 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 Manichaeans, the Donatists,

and the Pelagians, 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 contained his voluminous writings; two hundred and

thirty-two separate books or treatises on theological subjects, besides a

complete exposition of the psalter and the gospel, and a copious magazine of

epistles and homilies. ^28 According to the judgment of the most impartial

critics, the superficial learning of Augustin was confined to the Latin

language; ^29 and his style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence of

passion, is usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric.  But he possessed

a strong, capacious, argumentative mind; he boldly sounded the dark abyss of

grace, predestination, free will, and original sin; and the rigid system of

Christianity which he framed or restored, ^30 has been entertained, with

public applause, and secret reluctance, by the Latin church. ^31

 

[Footnote 26: See Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. part ii. p. 112. Leo

African. in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 70.  L'Afrique de Marmol, tom. ii. p. 434,

437.  Shaw's Travels, p. 46, 47.  The old Hippo Regius was finally destroyed

by the Arabs in the seventh century; but a new town, at the distance of two

miles, was built with the materials; and it contained, in the sixteenth

century, about three hundred families of industrious, but turbulent

manufacturers.  The adjacent territory is renowned for a pure air, a fertile

soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits.]

 

[Footnote 27: The life of St. Augustin, by Tillemont, fills a quarto volume

(Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii.) of more than one thousand pages; and the diligence

of that learned Jansenist was excited, on this occasion, by factious and

devout zeal for the founder of his sect.]

 

[Footnote 28: Such, at least, is the account of Victor Vitensis, (de Persecut.

Vandal. l. i. c. 3;) though Gennadius seems to doubt whether any person had

read, or even collected, all the works of St. Augustin, (see Hieronym. Opera,

tom. i. p. 319, in Catalog. Scriptor. Eccles.) They have been repeatedly

printed; and Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom. iii. p. 158 - 257) has given a

large and satisfactory abstract of them as they stand in the last edition of

the Benedictines.  My personal acquaintance with the bishop of Hippo does not

extend beyond the Confessions, and the City of God.]

 

[Footnote 29: In his early youth (Confess. i. 14) St. Augustin disliked and

neglected the study of Greek; and he frankly owns that he read the Platonists

in a Latin version, (Confes. vii. 9.) Some modern critics have thought, that

his ignorance of Greek disqualified him from expounding the Scriptures; and

Cicero or Quintilian would have required the knowledge of that language in a

professor of rhetoric.]

 

[Footnote 30: These questions were seldom agitated, from the time of St. Paul

to that of St. Augustin.  I am informed that the Greek fathers maintain the

natural sentiments of the Semi-Pelagians; and that the orthodoxy of St.

Augustin was derived from the Manichaean school.]

 

[Footnote 31: The church of Rome has canonized Augustin, and reprobated

Calvin.  Yet as the real difference between them is invisible even to a

theological microscope, the Molinists are oppressed by the authority of the

saint, and the Jansenists are disgraced by their resemblance to the heretic.

In the mean while, the Protestant Arminians stand aloof, and deride the mutual

perplexity of the disputants, (see a curious Review of the Controversy, by Le

Clerc, Bibliotheque Universelle, (tom. xiv. p. 144 - 398.) Perhaps a reasoner

still more independent may smile in his turn, when he peruses an Arminian

Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.]

 

Part II.

 

     By the skill of Boniface, and perhaps by the ignorance of the Vandals,

the siege of Hippo was protracted above fourteen months: the sea was

continually open; and when the adjacent country had been exhausted by

irregular rapine, the besiegers themselves were compelled by famine to

relinquish their enterprise.  The importance and danger of Africa were deeply

felt by the regent of the West.  Placidia implored the assistance of her

eastern ally; and the Italian fleet and army were reenforced by Asper, who

sailed from Constantinople with a powerful armament.  As soon as the force of

the two empires was united under the command of Boniface, he boldly marched

against the Vandals; and the loss of a second battle irretrievably decided the

fate of Africa.  He embarked with the precipitation of despair; and the people

of Hippo were permitted, with their families and effects, to occupy the vacant

place of the soldiers, the greatest part of whom were either slain or made

prisoners by the Vandals. The count, whose fatal credulity had wounded the

vitals of the republic, might enter the palace of Ravenna with some anxiety,

which was soon removed by the smiles of Placidia.  Boniface accepted with

gratitude the rank of patrician, and the dignity of master-general of the

Roman armies; but he must have blushed at the sight of those medals, in which

he was represented with the name and attributes of victory. ^32 The discovery

of his fraud, the displeasure of the empress, and the distinguished favor of

his rival, exasperated the haughty and perfidious soul of Aetius.  He hastily

returned from Gaul to Italy, with a retinue, or rather with an army, of

Barbarian followers; and such was the weakness of the government, that the two

generals decided their private quarrel in a bloody battle.  Boniface was

successful; but he received in the conflict a mortal wound from the spear of

his adversary, of which he expired within a few days, in such Christian and

charitable sentiments, that he exhorted his wife, a rich heiress of Spain, to

accept Aetius for her second husband.  But Aetius could not derive any

immediate advantage from the generosity of his dying enemy: he was proclaimed

a rebel by the justice of Placidia; and though he attempted to defend some

strong fortresses, erected on his patrimonial estate, the Imperial power soon

compelled him to retire into Pannonia, to the tents of his faithful Huns.  The

republic was deprived, by their mutual discord, of the service of her two most

illustrious champions. ^33

 

[Footnote 32: Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 67.  On one side, the head of

Valentinian; on the reverse, Boniface, with a scourge in one hand, and a palm

in the other, standing in a triumphal car, which is drawn by four horses, or,

in another medal, by four stags; an unlucky emblem!  I should doubt whether

another example can be found of the head of a subject on the reverse of an

Imperial medal. See Science des Medailles, by the Pere Jobert, tom. i. p.

132 - 150, edit. of 1739, by the haron de la Bastie.

 

     Note: Lord Mahon, Life of Belisarius, p. 133, mentions one of Belisarius

on the authority of Cedrenus - M.]

 

[Footnote 33: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 185) continues the

history of Boniface no further than his return to Italy.  His death is

mentioned by Prosper and Marcellinus; the expression of the latter, that

Aetius, the day before, had provided himself with a longer spear, implies

something like a regular duel.]

 

     It might naturally be expected, after the retreat of Boniface, that the

Vandals would achieve, without resistance or delay, the conquest of Africa.

Eight years, however, elapsed, from the evacuation of Hippo to the reduction

of Carthage.  In the midst of that interval, the ambitious Genseric, in the

full tide of apparent prosperity, negotiated a treaty of peace, by which he

gave his son Hunneric for a hostage; and consented to leave the Western

emperor in the undisturbed possession of the three Mauritanias. ^34 This

moderation, which cannot be imputed to the justice, must be ascribed to the

policy, of the conqueror.  His throne was encompassed with domestic enemies,

who accused the baseness of his birth, and asserted the legitimate claims of

his nephews, the sons of Gonderic. Those nephews, indeed, he sacrificed to his

safety; and their mother, the widow of the deceased king, was precipitated, by

his order, into the river Ampsaga.  But the public discontent burst forth in

dangerous and frequent conspiracies; and the warlike tyrant is supposed to

have shed more Vandal blood by the hand of the executioner, than in the field

of battle. ^35 The convulsions of Africa, which had favored his attack,

opposed the firm establishment of his power; and the various seditions of the

Moors and Germans, the Donatists and Catholics, continually disturbed, or

threatened, the unsettled reign of the conqueror.  As he advanced towards

Carthage, he was forced to withdraw his troops from the Western provinces; the

sea-coast was exposed to the naval enterprises of the Romans of Spain and

Italy; and, in the heart of Numidia, the strong inland city of Corta still

persisted in obstinate independence. ^36 These difficulties were gradually

subdued by the spirit, the perseverance, and the cruelty of Genseric; who

alternately applied the arts of peace and war to the establishment of his

African kingdom.  He subscribed a solemn treaty, with the hope of deriving

some advantage from the term of its continuance, and the moment of its

violation.  The vigilance of his enemies was relaxed by the protestations of

friendship, which concealed his hostile approach; and Carthage was at length

surprised by the Vandals, five hundred and eighty-five years after the

destruction of the city and republic by the younger Scipio. ^37

 

[Footnote 34: See Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4, p. 186. Valentinian

published several humane laws, to relieve the distress of his Numidian and

Mauritanian subjects; he discharged them, in a great measure, from the payment

of their debts, reduced their tribute to one eighth, and gave them a right of

appeal from their provincial magistrates to the praefect of Rome.  Cod. Theod.

tom. vi.  Novell. p. 11, 12.]

 

[Footnote 35: Victor Vitensis, de Persecut.  Vandal. l. ii. c. 5, p. 26. The

cruelties of Genseric towards his subjects are strongly expressed in Prosper's

Chronicle, A.D. 442.]

 

[Footnote 36: Possidius, in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p. 428.]

 

[Footnote 37: See the Chronicles of Idatius, Isidore, Prosper, and

Marcellinus.  They mark the same year, but different days, for the surprisal

of Carthage.]

 

     A new city had arisen from its ruins, with the title of a colony; and

though Carthage might yield to the royal prerogatives of Constantinople, and

perhaps to the trade of Alexandria, or the splendor of Antioch, she still

maintained the second rank in the West; as the Rome (if we may use the style

of contemporaries) of the African world.  That wealthy and opulent metropolis

^38 displayed, in a dependent condition, the image of a flourishing republic.

Carthage contained the manufactures, the arms, and the treasures of the six

provinces.  A regular subordination of civil honors gradually ascended from

the procurators of the streets and quarters of the city, to the tribunal of

the supreme magistrate, who, with the title of proconsul, represented the

state and dignity of a consul of ancient Rome.  Schools and gymnasia were

instituted for the education of the African youth; and the liberal arts and

manners, grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy, were publicly taught in the Greek

and Latin languages.  The buildings of Carthage were uniform and magnificent;

a shady grove was planted in the midst of the capital; the new port, a secure

and capacious harbor, was subservient to the commercial indus try of citizens

and strangers; and the splendid games of the circus and theatre were exhibited

almost in the presence of the Barbarians.  The reputation of the Carthaginians

was not equal to that of their country, and the reproach of Punic faith still

adhered to their subtle and faithless character. ^39 The habits of trade, and

the abuse of luxury, had corrupted their manners; but their impious contempt

of monks, and the shameless practice of unnatural lusts, are the two

abominations which excite the pious vehemence of Salvian, the preacher of the

age. ^40 The king of the Vandals severely reformed the vices of a voluptuous

people; and the ancient, noble, ingenuous freedom of Carthage (these

expressions of Victor are not without energy) was reduced by Genseric into a

state of ignominious servitude. After he had permitted his licentious troops

to satiate their rage and avarice, he instituted a more regular system of

rapine and oppression.  An edict was promulgated, which enjoined all persons,

without fraud or delay, to deliver their gold, silver, jewels, and valuable

furniture or apparel, to the royal officers; and the attempt to secrete any

part of their patrimony was inexorably punished with death and torture, as an

act of treason against the state.  The lands of the proconsular province,

which formed the immediate district of Carthage, were accurately measured, and

divided among the Barbarians; and the conqueror reserved for his peculiar

domain the fertile territory of Byzacium, and the adjacent parts of Numidia

and Getulia. ^41

 

[Footnote 38: The picture of Carthage; as it flourished in the fourth and

fifth centuries, is taken from the Expositio totius Mundi, p. 17, 18, in the

third volume of Hudson's Minor Geographers, from Ausonius de Claris Urbibus,

p. 228, 229; and principally from Salvian, de Gubernatione Dei, l. vii. p.

257, 258.]

 

[Footnote 39: The anonymous author of the Expositio totius Mundi compares in

his barbarous Latin, the country and the inhabitants; and, after stigmatizing

their want of faith, he coolly concludes, Difficile autem inter eos invenitur

bonus, tamen in multis pauci boni esse possunt P. 18.]

 

[Footnote 40: He declares, that the peculiar vices of each country were

collected in the sink of Carthage, (l. vii. p. 257.) In the indulgence of

vice, the Africans applauded their manly virtue.  Et illi se magis virilis

fortitudinis esse crederent, qui maxime vires foeminei usus probositate

fregissent, (p. 268.) The streets of Carthage were polluted by effeminate

wretches, who publicly assumed the countenance, the dress, and the character

of women, (p. 264.) If a monk appeared in the city, the holy man was pursued

with impious scorn and ridicule; de testantibus ridentium cachinnis, (p.

289.)]

 

[Footnote 41: Compare Procopius de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p. 189, 190, and

Victor Vitensis, de Persecut Vandal. l. i. c. 4.]

 

     It was natural enough that Genseric should hate those whom he had

injured: the nobility and senators of Carthage were exposed to his jealousy

and resentment; and all those who refused the ignominious terms, which their

honor and religion forbade them to accept, were compelled by the Arian tyrant

to embrace the condition of perpetual banishment.  Rome, Italy, and the

provinces of the East, were filled with a crowd of exiles, of fugitives, and

of ingenuous captives, who solicited the public compassion; and the benevolent

epistles of Theod oret still preserve the names and misfortunes of Caelestian

and Maria. ^42 The Syrian bishop deplores the misfortunes of Caelestian, who,

from the state of a noble and opulent senator of Carthage, was reduced, with

his wife and family, and servants, to beg his bread in a foreign country; but

he applauds the resignation of the Christian exile, and the philosophic

temper, which, under the pressure of such calamities, could enjoy more real

happiness than was the ordinary lot of wealth and prosperity.  The story of

Maria, the daughter of the magnificent Eudaemon, is singular and interesting.

In the sack of Carthage, she was purchased from the Vandals by some merchants

of Syria, who afterwards sold her as a slave in their native country.  A

female attendant, transported in the same ship, and sold in the same family,

still continued to respect a mistress whom fortune had reduced to the common

level of servitude; and the daughter of Eudaemon received from her grateful

affection the domestic services which she had once required from her

obedience.  This remarkable behavior divulged the real condition of Maria,

who, in the absence of the bishop of Cyrrhus, was redeemed from slavery oy the

generosity of some soldiers of the garrison.  The liberality of Theodoret

provided for her decent maintenance; and she passed ten months among the

deaconesses of the church; till she was unexpectedly informed, that her

father, who had escaped from the ruin of Carthage, exercised an honorable

office in one of the Western provinces.  Her filial impatience was seconded by

the pious bishop: Theodoret, in a letter still extant, recommends Maria to the

bishop of Aegae, a maritime city of Cilicia, which was frequented, during the

annual fair, by the vessels of the West; most earnestly requesting, that his

colleague would use the maiden with a tenderness suitable to her birth; and

that he would intrust her to the care of such faithful merchants, as would

esteem it a sufficient gain, if they restored a daughter, lost beyond all

human hope, to the arms of her afflicted parent.

 

[Footnote 42: Ruinart (p. 441 - 457) has collected from Theodoret, and other

authors, the misfortunes, real and fabulous, of the inhabitants of Carthage.]

 

     Among the insipid legends of ecclesiastical history, I am tempted to

distinguish the memorable fable of the Seven Sleepers; ^43 whose imaginary

date corresponds with the reign of the younger Theodosius, and the conquest of

Africa by the Vandals. ^44 When the emperor Decius persecuted the Christians,

seven noble youths of Ephesus concealed themselves in a spacious cavern in the

side of an adjacent mountain; where they were doomed to perish by the tyrant,

who gave orders that the entrance should be firmly secured by the a pile of

huge stones.  They immediately fell into a deep slumber, which was

miraculously prolonged without injuring the powers of life, during a period of

one hundred and eighty-seven years.  At the end of that time, the slaves of

Adolius, to whom the inheritance of the mountain had descended, removed the

stones to supply materials for some rustic edifice: the light of the sun

darted into the cavern, and the Seven Sleepers were permitted to awake.  After

a slumber, as they thought of a few hours, they were pressed by the calls of

hunger; and resolved that Jamblichus, one of their number, should secretly

return to the city to purchase bread for the use of his companions.  The youth

(if we may still employ that appellation) could no longer recognize the once

familiar aspect of his native country; and his surprise was increased by the

appearance of a large cross, triumphantly erected over the principal gate of

Ephesus. His singular dress, and obsolete language, confounded the baker, to

whom he offered an ancient medal of Decius as the current coin of the empire;

and Jamblichus, on the suspicion of a secret treasure, was dragged before the

judge.  Their mutual inquiries produced the amazing discovery, that two

centuries were almost elapsed since Jamblichus and his friends had escaped

from the rage of a Pagan tyrant.  The bishop of Ephesus, the clergy, the

magistrates, the people, and, as it is said, the emperor Theodosius himself,

hastened to visit the cavern of the Seven Sleepers; who bestowed their

benediction, related their story, and at the same instant peaceably expired.

The origin of this marvellous fable cannot be ascribed to the pious fraud and

credulity of the modern Greeks, since the authentic tradition may be traced

within half a century of the supposed miracle. James of Sarug, a Syrian

bishop, who was born only two years after the death of the younger Theodosius,

has devoted one of his two hundred and thirty homilies to the praise of the

young men of Ephesus. ^45 Their legend, before the end of the sixth century,

was translated from the Syriac into the Latin language, by the care of Gregory

of Tours.  The hostile communions of the East preserve their memory with equal

reverence; and their names are honorably inscribed in the Roman, the

Abyssinian, and the Russian calendar. ^46 Nor has their reputation been

confined to the Christian world.  This popular tale, which Mahomet might learn

when he drove his camels to the fairs of Syria, is introduced as a divine

revelation, into the Koran. ^47 The story of the Seven Sleepers has been

adopted and adorned by the nations, from Bengal to Africa, who profess the

Mahometan religion; ^48 and some vestiges of a similar tradition have been

discovered in the remote extremities of Scandinavia. ^49 This easy and

universal belief, so expressive of the sense of mankind, may be ascribed to

the genuine merit of the fable itself.  We imperceptibly advance from youth to

age, without observing the gradual, but incessant, change of human affairs;

and even in our larger experience of history, the imagination is accustomed,

by a perpetual series of causes and effects, to unite the most distant

revolutions.  But if the interval between two memorable aeras could be

instantly annihilated; if it were possible, after a momentary slumber of two

hundred years, to display the new world to the eyes of a spectator, who still

retained a lively and recent impression of the old, his surprise and his

reflections would furnish the pleasing subject of a philosophical romance.

The scene could not be more advantageously placed, than in the two centuries

which elapsed between the reigns of Decius and of Theodosius the Younger.

During this period, the seat of government had been transported from Rome to a

new city on the banks of the Thracian Bosphorus; and the abuse of military

spirit had been suppressed by an artificial system of tame and ceremonious

servitude.  The throne of the persecuting Decius was filled by a succession of

Christian and orthodox princes, who had extirpated the fabulous gods of

antiquity: and the public devotion of the age was impatient to exalt the

saints and martyrs of the Catholic church, on the altars of Diana and

Hercules.  The union of the Roman empire was dissolved; its genius was humbled

in the dust; and armies of unknown Barbarians, issuing from the frozen regions

of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest

provinces of Europe and Africa.

 

[Footnote 43: The choice of fabulous circumstances is of small importance; yet

I have confined myself to the narrative which was translated from the Syriac

by the care of Gregory of Tours, (de Gloria Martyrum, l. i. c. 95, in Max.

Bibliotheca Patrum, tom. xi. p. 856,) to the Greek acts of their martyrdom

(apud Photium, p. 1400, 1401) and to the Annals of the Patriarch Eutychius,

(tom. i. p. 391, 531, 532, 535, Vers. Pocock.)]

 

[Footnote 44: Two Syriac writers, as they are quoted by Assemanni, (Bibliot.

Oriental. tom. i. p. 336, 338,) place the resurrection of the Seven Sleepers

in the year 736 (A.D. 425) or 748, (A.D. 437,) of the aera of the Seleucides.

Their Greek acts, which Photius had read, assign the date of the thirty-eighth

year of the reign of Theodosius, which may coincide either with A.D. 439, or

446.  The period which had elapsed since the persecution of Decius is easily

ascertained; and nothing less than the ignorance of Mahomet, or the

legendaries, could suppose an internal of three or four hundred years.]

 

[Footnote 45: James, one of the orthodox fathers of the Syrian church, was

born A.D. 452; he began to compose his sermons A.D. 474; he was made bishop of

Batnae, in the district of Sarug, and province of Mesopotamia, A.D. 519, and

died A.D. 521.  (Assemanni, tom. i. p. 288, 289.) For the homily de Pueris

Ephesinis, see p. 335 - 339: though I could wish that Assemanni had translated

the text of James of Sarug, instead of answering the objections of Baronius.]

 

[Footnote 46: See the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, Mensis Julii, tom.

vi. p. 375 - 397.  This immense calendar of Saints, in one hundred and

twenty-six years, (1644 - 1770,) and in fifty volumes in folio, has advanced

no further than the 7th day of October.  The suppression of the Jesuits has

most probably checked an undertaking, which, through the medium of fable and

superstition, communicates much historical and philosophical instruction.]

 

[Footnote 47: See Maracci Alcoran.  Sura xviii. tom. ii. p. 420 - 427, and

tom. i. part iv. p. 103.  With such an ample privilege, Mahomet has not shown

much taste or ingenuity.  He has invented the dog (Al Rakim) the Seven

Sleepers; the respect of the sun, who altered his course twice a day, that he

might not shine into the cavern; and the care of God himself, who preserved

their bodies from putrefaction, by turning them to the right and left.]

 

[Footnote 48: See D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 139; and Renaudot,

Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 39, 40.]

 

[Footnote 49: Paul, the deacon of Aquileia, (de Gestis Langobardorum, l. i. c.

4, p. 745, 746, edit. Grot.,) who lived towards the end of the eight century,

has placed in a cavern, under a rock, on the shore of the ocean, the Seven

Sleepers of the North, whose long repose was respected by the Barbarians.

Their dress declared them to be Romans and the deacon conjectures, that they

were reserved by Providence as the future apostles of those unbelieving

countries.]

 

Part I.

 

     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, Olybrius, Glycerius, Nepos, Augustulus. - Total Extinction

Of The Western Empire. - Reign Of Odoacer, The First Barbarian King Of Italy.

 

     The loss or desolation of the provinces, from the Ocean to the Alps,

impaired the glory and greatness of Rome: her internal prosperity was

irretrievably destroyed by the separation of Africa.  The rapacious Vandals

confiscated the patrimonial estates of the senators, and intercepted the

regular subsidies, which relieved the poverty and encouraged the idleness of

the plebeians.  The distress of the Romans was soon aggravated by an

unexpected attack; and the province, so long cultivated for their use by

industrious and obedient subjects, was armed against them by an ambitious

Barbarian.  The Vandals and Alani, who followed the successful standard of

Genseric, had acquired a rich and fertile territory, which stretched along the

coast above ninety days' journey from Tangier to Tripoli; but their narrow

limits were pressed and confined, on either side, by the sandy desert and the

Mediterranean.  The discovery and conquest of the Black nations, that might

dwell beneath the torrid zone, could not tempt the rational ambition of

Genseric; but he cast his eyes towards the sea; he resolved to create a naval

power, and his bold resolution was executed with steady and active

perseverance.  The woods of Mount Atlas afforded an inexhaustible nursery of

timber: his new subjects were skilled in the arts of navigation and

ship-building; he animated his daring Vandals to embrace a mode of warfare

which would render every maritime country accessible to their arms; the Moors

and Africans were allured by the hopes of plunder; and, after an interval of

six centuries, the fleets that issued from the port of Carthage again claimed

the empire of the Mediterranean.  The success of the Vandals, the conquest of

Sicily, the sack of Palermo, and the frequent descents on the coast of

Lucania, awakened and alarmed the mother of Valentinian, and the sister of

Theodosius.  Alliances were formed; and armaments, expensive and ineffectual,

were prepared, for the destruction of the common enemy; who reserved his

courage to encounter those dangers which his policy could not prevent or

elude.  The designs of the Roman government were repeatedly baffled by his

artful delays, ambiguous promises, and apparent concessions; and the

interposition of his formidable confederate, the king of the Huns, recalled

the emperors from the conquest of Africa to the care of their domestic safety.

The revolutions of the palace, which left the Western empire without a

defender, and without a lawful prince, dispelled the apprehensions, and

stimulated the avarice, of Genseric.  He immediately equipped a numerous fleet

of Vandals and Moors, and cast anchor at the mouth of the Tyber, about three

months after the death of Valentinian, and the elevation of Maximus to the

Imperial throne.

 

     The private life of the senator Petronius Maximus ^1 was often alleged as

a rare example of human felicity.  His birth was noble and illustrious, since

he descended from the Anician family; his dignity was supported by an adequate

patrimony in land and money; and these advantages of fortune were accompanied

with liberal arts and decent manners, which adorn or imitate the inestimable

gifts of genius and virtue.  The luxury of his palace and table was hospitable

and elegant.  Whenever Maximus appeared in public, he was surrounded by a

train of grateful and obsequious clients; ^2 and it is possible that among

these clients, he might deserve and possess some real friends.  His merit was

rewarded by the favor of the prince and senate: he thrice exercised the office

of Praetorian praefect of Italy; he was twice invested with the consulship,

and he obtained the rank of patrician.  These civil honors were not

incompatible with the enjoyment of leisure and tranquillity; his hours,

according to the demands of pleasure or reason, were accurately distributed by

a water-clock; and this avarice of time may be allowed to prove the sense

which Maximus entertained of his own happiness.  The injury which he received

from the emperor Valentinian appears to excuse the most bloody revenge.  Yet a

philosopher might have reflected, that, if the resistance of his wife had been

sincere, her chastity was still inviolate, and that it could never be restored

if she had consented to the will of the adulterer.  A patriot would have

hesitated before he plunged himself and his country into those inevitable

calamities which must follow the extinction of the royal house of Theodosius.

The imprudent Maximus disregarded these salutary considerations; he gratified

his resentment and ambition; he saw the bleeding corpse of Valentinian at his

feet; and he heard himself saluted Emperor by the unanimous voice of the

senate and people.  But the day of his inauguration was the last day of his

happiness.  He was imprisoned (such is the lively expression of Sidonius) in

the palace; and after passing a sleepless night, he sighed that he had

attained the summit of his wishes, and aspired only to descend from the

dangerous elevation.  Oppressed by the weight of the diadem, he communicated

his anxious thoughts to his friend and quaestor Fulgentius; and when he looked

back with unavailing regret on the secure pleasures of his former life, the

emperor exclaimed, "O fortunate Damocles, ^3 thy reign began and ended with

the same dinner;" a well-known allusion, which Fulgentius afterwards repeated

as an instructive lesson for princes and subjects.

 

[Footnote 1: Sidonius Apollinaris composed the thirteenth epistle of the

second book, to refute the paradox of his friend Serranus, who entertained a

singular, though generous, enthusiasm for the deceased emperor.  This epistle,

with some indulgence, may claim the praise of an elegant composition; and it

throws much light on the character of Maximus.]

 

[Footnote 2: Clientum, praevia, pedisequa, circumfusa, populositas, is the

train which Sidonius himself (l. i. epist. 9) assigns to another senator of

rank]

 

[Footnote 3:   Districtus ensis cui super impia

               Cervice pendet, non Siculoe dapes

               Dulcem elaborabunt saporem:

               Non avium citharaeque cantus

               Somnum reducent.

 

               Horat. Carm. iii. 1.

 

Sidonius concludes his letter with the story of Damocles, which Cicero

(Tusculan. v. 20, 21) had so inimitably told.]

 

     The reign of Maximus continued about three months.  His hours, of which

he had lost the command, were disturbed by remorse, or guilt, or terror, and

his throne was shaken by the seditions of the soldiers, the people, and the

confederate Barbarians.  The marriage of his son Paladius with the eldest

daughter of the late emperor, might tend to establish the hereditary

succession of his family; but the violence which he offered to the empress

Eudoxia, could proceed only from the blind impulse of lust or revenge.  His

own wife, the cause of these tragic events, had been seasonably removed by

death; and the widow of Valentinian was compelled to violate her decent

mourning, perhaps her real grief, and to submit to the embraces of a

presumptuous usurper, whom she suspected as the assassin of her deceased

husband.  These suspicions were soon justified by the indiscreet confession of

Maximus himself; and he wantonly provoked the hatred of his reluctant bride,

who was still conscious that she was descended from a line of emperors.  From

the East, however, Eudoxia could not hope to obtain any effectual assistance;

her father and her aunt Pulcheria were dead; her mother languished at

Jerusalem in disgrace and exile; and the sceptre of Constantinople was in the

hands of a stranger. She directed her eyes towards Carthage; secretly implored

the aid of the king of the Vandals; and persuaded Genseric to improve the fair

opportunity of disguising his rapacious designs by the specious names of

honor, justice, and compassion. ^4 Whatever abilities Maximus might have shown

in a subordinate station, he was found incapable of administering an empire;

and though he might easily have been informed of the naval preparations which

were made on the opposite shores of Africa, he expected with supine

indifference the approach of the enemy, without adopting any measures of

defence, of negotiation, or of a timely retreat.  When the Vandals disembarked

at the mouth of the Tyber, the emperor was suddenly roused from his lethargy

by the clamors of a trembling and exasperated multitude.  The only hope which

presented itself to his astonished mind was that of a precipitate flight, and

he exhorted the senators to imitate the example of their prince.  But no

sooner did Maximus appear in the streets, than he was assaulted by a shower of

stones; a Roman, or a Burgundian soldier, claimed the honor of the first

wound; his mangled body was ignominiously cast into the Tyber; the Roman

people rejoiced in the punishment which they had inflicted on the author of

the public calamities; and the domestics of Eudoxia signalized their zeal in

the service of their mistress. ^5

 

[Footnote 4: Notwithstanding the evidence of Procopius, Evagrius, Idatius

Marcellinus, &c., the learned Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. iv. p. 249

doubts the reality of this invitation, and observes, with great truth, "Non si

puo dir quanto sia facile il popolo a sognare e spacciar voci false." But his

argument, from the interval of time and place, is extremely feeble. The figs

which grew near Carthage were produced to the senate of Rome on the third

day.]

 

[Footnote 5: -      Infidoque tibi Burgundio ductu

                    Extorquet trepidas mactandi principis iras.

 

                    Sidon. in Panegyr. Avit. 442.

 

A remarkable line, which insinuates that Rome and Maximus were betrayed by

their Burgundian mercenaries.]

 

     On the third day after the tumult, Genseric boldly advanced from the port

of Ostia to the gates of the defenceless city.  Instead of a sally of the

Roman youth, there issued from the gates an unarmed and venerable procession

of the bishop at the head of his clergy. ^6 The fearless spirit of Leo, his

authority and eloquence, again mitigated the fierceness of a Barbarian

conqueror; the king of the Vandals promised to spare the unresisting

multitude, to protect the buildings from fire, and to exempt the captives from

torture; and although such orders were neither seriously given, nor strictly

obeyed, the mediation of Leo was glorious to himself, and in some degree

beneficial to his country.  But Rome and its inhabitants were delivered to the

licentiousness of the Vandals and Moors, whose blind passions revenged the

injuries of Carthage.  The pillage lasted fourteen days and nights; and all

that yet remained of public or private wealth, of sacred or profane treasure,

was diligently transported to the vessels of Genseric.  Among the spoils, the

splendid relics of two temples, or rather of two religions, exhibited a

memorable example of the vicissitudes of human and divine things.  Since the

abolition of Paganism, the Capitol had been violated and abandoned; yet the

statues of the gods and heroes were still respected, and the curious roof of

gilt bronze was reserved for the rapacious hands of Genseric. ^7 The holy

instruments of the Jewish worship, ^8 the gold table, and the gold candlestick

with seven branches, originally framed according to the particular

instructions of God himself, and which were placed in the sanctuary of his

temple, had been ostentatiously displayed to the Roman people in the triumph

of Titus.  They were afterwards deposited in the temple of Peace; and at the

end of four hundred years, the spoils of Jerusalem were transferred from Rome

to Carthage, by a Barbarian who derived his origin from the shores of the

Baltic.  These ancient monuments might attract the notice of curiosity, as

well as of avarice.  But the Christian churches, enriched and adorned by the

prevailing superstition of the times, afforded more plentiful materials for

sacrilege; and the pious liberality of Pope Leo, who melted six silver vases,

the gift of Constantine, each of a hundred pounds weight, is an evidence of

the damage which he attempted to repair.  In the forty-five years that had

elapsed since the Gothic invasion, the pomp and luxury of Rome were in some

measure restored; and it was difficult either to escape, or to satisfy, the

avarice of a conqueror, who possessed leisure to collect, and ships to

transport, the wealth of the capital.  The Imperial ornaments of the palace,

the magnificent furniture and wardrobe, the sideboards of massy plate, were

accumulated with disorderly rapine; the gold and silver amounted to several

thousand talents; yet even the brass and copper were laboriously removed.

Eudoxia herself, who advanced to meet her friend and deliverer, soon bewailed

the imprudence of her own conduct. She was rudely stripped of her jewels; and

the unfortunate empress, with her two daughters, the only surviving remains of

the great Theodosius, was compelled, as a captive, to follow the haughty

Vandal; who immediately hoisted sail, and returned with a prosperous

navigation to the port of Carthage. ^9 Many thousand Romans of both sexes,

chosen for some useful or agreeable qualifications, reluctantly embarked on

board the fleet of Genseric; and their distress was aggravated by the

unfeeling Barbarians, who, in the division of the booty, separated the wives

from their husbands, and the children from their parents.  The charity of

Deogratias, bishop of Carthage, ^10 was their only consolation and support.

He generously sold the gold and silver plate of the church to purchase the

freedom of some, to alleviate the slavery of others, and to assist the wants

and infirmities of a captive multitude, whose health was impaired by the

hardships which they had suffered in their passage from Italy to Africa.  By

his order, two spacious churches were converted into hospitals; the sick were

distributed into convenient beds, and liberally supplied with food and

medicines; and the aged prelate repeated his visits both in the day and night,

with an assiduity that surpassed his strength, and a tender sympathy which

enhanced the value of his services.  Compare this scene with the field of

Cannae; and judge between Hannibal and the successor of St. Cyprian. ^11

 

[Footnote 6: The apparant success of Pope Leo may be justified by Prosper, and

the Historia Miscellan.; but the improbable notion of Baronius A.D. 455, No.

13) that Genseric spared the three apostolical churches, is not countenanced

even by the doubtful testimony of the Liber Pontificalis.]

 

[Footnote 7: The profusion of Catulus, the first who gilt the roof of the

Capitol, was not universally approved, (Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 18;) but it

was far exceeded by the emperor's, and the external gilding of the temple cost

Domitian 12,000 talents, (2,400,000l.) The expressions of Claudian and

Rutilius (luce metalli oemula .... fastigia astris, and confunduntque vagos

delubra micantia visus) manifestly prove, that this splendid covering was not

removed either by the Christians or the Goths, (see Donatus, Roma Antiqua, l.

ii. c. 6, p. 125.) It should seem that the roof of the Capitol was decorated

with gilt statues, and chariots drawn by four horses.]

 

[Footnote 8: The curious reader may consult the learned and accurate treatise

of Hadrian Reland, de Spoliis Templi Hierosolymitani in Arcu Titiano Romae

conspicuis, in 12mo.  Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1716.]

 

[Footnote 9: The vessel which transported the relics of the Capitol was the

only one of the whole fleet that suffered shipwreck.  If a bigoted sophist, a

Pagan bigot, had mentioned the accident, he might have rejoiced that this

cargo of sacrilege was lost in the sea.]

 

[Footnote 10: See Victor Vitensis, de Persecut. Vandal. l. i. c. 8, p. 11, 12,

edit. Ruinart.  Deogratius governed the church of Carthage only three years.

If he had not been privately buried, his corpse would have been torn piecemeal

by the mad devotion of the people.]

 

[Footnote 11: The general evidence for the death of Maximus, and the sack of

Rome by the Vandals, is comprised in Sidonius, (Panegyr. Avit. 441 - 450,)

Procopius, (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4, 5, p. 188, 189, and l. ii. c. 9, p.

255,) Evagrius, (l. ii. c. 7,) Jornandes, (de Reb. Geticis, c. 45, p. 677,)

and the Chronicles of Idatius, Prosper, Marcellinus, and Theophanes, under the

proper year.]

 

     The deaths of Aetius and Valentinian had relaxed the ties which held the

Barbarians of Gaul in peace and subordination.  The sea-coast was infested by

the Saxons; the Alemanni and the Franks advanced from the Rhine to the Seine;

and the ambition of the Goths seemed to meditate more extensive and permanent

conquests.  The emperor Maximus relieved himself, by a judicious choice, from

the weight of these distant cares; he silenced the solicitations of his

friends, listened to the voice of fame, and promoted a stranger to the general

command of the forces of Gaul.  Avitus, ^12 the stranger, whose merit was so

nobly rewarded, descended from a wealthy and honorable family in the diocese

of Auvergne.  The convulsions of the times urged him to embrace, with the same

ardor, the civil and military professions: and the indefatigable youth blended

the studies of literature and jurisprudence with the exercise of arms and

hunting.  Thirty years of his life were laudably spent in the public service;

he alternately displayed his talents in war and negotiation; and the soldier

of Aetius, after executing the most important embassies, was raised to the

station of Praetorian praefect of Gaul.  Either the merit of Avitus excited

envy, or his moderation was desirous of repose, since he calmly retired to an

estate, which he possessed in the neighborhood of Clermont.  A copious stream,

issuing from the mountain, and falling headlong in many a loud and foaming

cascade, discharged its waters into a lake about two miles in length, and the

villa was pleasantly seated on the margin of the lake.  The baths, the

porticos, the summer and winter apartments, were adapted to the purposes of

luxury and use; and the adjacent country afforded the various prospects of

woods, pastures, and meodows. ^13 In this retreat, where Avitus amused his

leisure with books, rural sports, the practice of husbandry, and the society

of his friends, ^14 he received the Imperial diploma, which constituted him

master-general of the cavalry and infantry of Gaul.  He assumed the military

command; the Barbarians suspended their fury; and whatever means he might

employ, whatever concessions he might be forced to make, the people enjoyed

the benefits of actual tranquillity. But the fate of Gaul depended on the

Visigoths; and the Roman general, less attentive to his dignity than to the

public interest, did not disdain to visit Thoulouse in the character of an

ambassador.  He was received with courteous hospitality by Theodoric, the king

of the Goths; but while Avitus laid the foundations of a solid alliance with

that powerful nation, he was astonished by the intelligence, that the emperor

Maximus was slain, and that Rome had been pillaged by the Vandals.  A vacant

throne, which he might ascend without guilt or danger, tempted his ambition;

^15 and the Visigoths were easily persuaded to support his claim by their

irresistible suffrage.  They loved the person of Avitus; they respected his

virtues; and they were not insensible of the advantage, as well as honor, of

giving an emperor to the West.  The season was now approaching, in which the

annual assembly of the seven provinces was held at Arles; their deliberations

might perhaps be influenced by the presence of Theodoric and his martial

brothers; but their choice would naturally incline to the most illustrious of

their countrymen.  Avitus, after a decent resistance, accepted the Imperial

diadem from the representatives of Gaul; and his election was ratified by the

acclamations of the Barbarians and provincials.  The formal consent of

Marcian, emperor of the East, was solicited and obtained; but the senate,

Rome, and Italy, though humbled by their recent calamities, submitted with a

secret murmur to the presumption of the Gallic usurper.

 

[Footnote 12: The private life and elevation of Avitus must be deduced, with

becoming suspicion, from the panegyric pronounced by Sidonius Apollinaris, his

subject, and his son-in-law.]

 

[Footnote 13: After the example of the younger Pliny, Sidonius (l. ii. c. 2)

has labored the florid, prolix, and obscure description of his villa, which

bore the name, (Avitacum,) and had been the property of Avitus.  The precise

situation is not ascertained.  Consult, however, the notes of Savaron and

Sirmond.]

 

[Footnote 14: Sidonius (l. ii. epist. 9) has described the country life of the

Gallic nobles, in a visit which he made to his friends, whose estates were in

the neighborhood of Nismes.  The morning hours were spent in the

sphoeristerium, or tennis-court; or in the library, which was furnished with

Latin authors, profane and religious; the former for the men, the latter for

the ladies.  The table was twice served, at dinner and supper, with hot meat

(boiled and roast) and wine.  During the intermediate time, the company slept,

took the air on horseback, and need the warm bath.]

 

[Footnote 15: Seventy lines of panegyric (505 - 575) which describe the

importunity of Theodoric and of Gaul, struggling to overcome the modest

reluctance of Avitus, are blown away by three words of an honest historian.

Romanum ambisset Imperium, (Greg. Turon. l. ii. c. 1l, in tom. ii. p. 168.)]

 

     Theodoric, to whom Avitus was indebted for the purple, had acquired the

Gothic sceptre by the murder of his elder brother Torismond; and he justified

this atrocious deed by the design which his predecessor had formed of

violating his alliance with the empire. ^16 Such a crime might not be

incompatible with the virtues of a Barbarian; but the manners of Theodoric

were gentle and humane; and posterity may contemplate without terror the

original picture of a Gothic king, whom Sidonius had intimately observed, in

the hours of peace and of social intercourse.  In an epistle, dated from the

court of Thoulouse, the orator satisfies the curiosity of one of his friends,

in the following description: ^17 "By the majesty of his appearance, Theodoric

would command the respect of those who are ignorant of his merit; and although

he is born a prince, his merit would dignify a private station.  He is of a

middle stature, his body appears rather plump than fat, and in his

well-proportioned limbs agility is united with muscular strength. ^18 If you

examine his countenance, you will distinguish a high forehead, large shaggy

eyebrows, an aquiline nose, thin lips, a regular set of white teeth, and a

fair complexion, that blushes more frequently from modesty than from anger.

The ordinary distribution of his time, as far as it is exposed to the public

view, may be concisely represented.  Before daybreak, he repairs, with a small

train, to his domestic chapel, where the service is performed by the Arian

clergy; but those who presume to interpret his secret sentiments, consider

this assiduous devotion as the effect of habit and policy.  The rest of the

morning is employed in the administration of his kingdom.  His chair is

surrounded by some military officers of decent aspect and behavior: the noisy

crowd of his Barbarian guards occupies the hall of audience; but they are not

permitted to stand within the veils or curtains that conceal the

council-chamber from vulgar eyes.  The ambassadors of the nations are

successively introduced: Theodoric listens with attention, answers them with

discreet brevity, and either announces or delays, according to the nature of

their business, his final resolution.  About eight (the second hour) he rises

from his throne, and visits either his treasury or his stables.  If he chooses

to hunt, or at least to exercise himself on horseback, his bow is carried by a

favorite youth; but when the game is marked, he bends it with his own hand,

and seldom misses the object of his aim: as a king, he disdains to bear arms

in such ignoble warfare; but as a soldier, he would blush to accept any

military service which he could perform himself.  On common days, his dinner

is not different from the repast of a private citizen, but every Saturday,

many honorable guests are invited to the royal table, which, on these

occasions, is served with the elegance of Greece, the plenty of Gaul, and the

order and diligence of Italy. ^19 The gold or silver plate is less remarkable

for its weight than for the brightness and curious workmanship: the taste is

gratified without the help of foreign and costly luxury; the size and number

of the cups of wine are regulated with a strict regard to the laws of

temperance; and the respectful silence that prevails, is interrupted only by

grave and instructive conversation.  After dinner, Theodoric sometimes

indulges himself in a short slumber; and as soon as he wakes, he calls for the

dice and tables, encourages his friends to forget the royal majesty, and is

delighted when they freely express the passions which are excited by the

incidents of play.  At this game, which he loves as the image of war, he

alternately displays his eagerness, his skill, his patience, and his cheerful

temper.  If he loses, he laughs; he is modest and silent if he wins.  Yet,

notwithstanding this seeming indifference, his courtiers choose to solicit any

favor in the moments of victory; and I myself, in my applications to the king,

have derived some benefit from my losses. ^20 About the ninth hour (three

o'clock) the tide of business again returns, and flows incessantly till after

sunset, when the signal of the royal supper dismisses the weary crowd of

suppliants and pleaders.  At the supper, a more familiar repast, buffoons and

pantomimes are sometimes introduced, to divert, not to offend, the company, by

their ridiculous wit: but female singers, and the soft, effeminate modes of

music, are severely banished, and such martial tunes as animate the soul to

deeds of valor are alone grateful to the ear of Theodoric.  He retires from

table; and the nocturnal guards are immediately posted at the entrance of the

treasury, the palace, and the private apartments."

 

[Footnote 16: Isidore, archbishop of Seville, who was himself of the blood

royal of the Goths, acknowledges, and almost justifies, (Hist. Goth. p. 718,)

the crime which their slave Jornandes had basely dissembled, (c 43, p. 673.)]

 

[Footnote 17: This elaborate description (l. i. ep. ii. p. 2 - 7) was dictated

by some political motive.  It was designed for the public eye, and had been

shown by the friends of Sidonius, before it was inserted in the collection of

his epistles.  The first book was published separately.  See Tillemont,

Memoires Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 264.]

 

[Footnote 18: I have suppressed, in this portrait of Theodoric, several minute

circumstances, and technical phrases, which could be tolerable, or indeed

intelligible, to those only who, like the contemporaries of Sidonius, had

frequented the markets where naked slaves were exposed to male, (Dubos, Hist.

Critique, tom. i. p. 404.)]

 

[Footnote 19: Videas ibi elegantiam Graecam, abundantiam Gallicanam;

celeritatem Italam; publicam pompam, privatam diligentiam, regiam

disciplinam.]

 

[Footnote 20: Tunc etiam ego aliquid obsecraturus feliciter vincor, et mihi

tabula perit ut causa salvetur.  Sidonius of Auvergne was not a subject of

Theodoric; but he might be compelled to solicit either justice or favor at the

court of Thoulouse.]

 

     When the king of the Visigoths encouraged Avitus to assume the purple, he

offered his person and his forces, as a faithful soldier of the republic. ^21

The exploits of Theodoric soon convinced the world that he had not degenerated

from the warlike virtues of his ancestors.  After the establishment of the

Goths in Aquitain, and the passage of the Vandals into Africa, the Suevi, who

had fixed their kingdom in Gallicia, aspired to the conquest of Spain, and

threatened to extinguish the feeble remains of the Roman dominion.  The

provincials of Carthagena and Tarragona, afflicted by a hostile invasion,

represented their injuries and their apprehensions. Count Fronto was

despatched, in the name of the emperor Avitus, with advantageous offers of

peace and alliance; and Theodoric interposed his weighty mediation, to

declare, that, unless his brother-in-law, the king of the Suevi, immediately

retired, he should be obliged to arm in the cause of justice and of Rome.

"Tell him," replied the haughty Rechiarius, "that I despise his friendship and

his arms; but that I shall soon try whether he will dare to expect my arrival

under the walls of Thoulouse." Such a challenge urged Theodoric to prevent the

bold designs of his enemy; he passed the Pyrenees at the head of the

Visigoths: the Franks and Burgundians served under his standard; and though he

professed himself the dutiful servant of Avitus, he privately stipulated, for

himself and his successors, the absolute possession of his Spanish conquests.

The two armies, or rather the two nations, encountered each other on the banks

of the River Urbicus, about twelve miles from Astorga; and the decisive

victory of the Goths appeared for a while to have extirpated the name and

kingdom of the Suevi.  From the field of battle Theodoric advanced to Braga,

their metropolis, which still retained the splendid vestiges of its ancient

commerce and dignity. ^22 His entrance was not polluted with blood; and the

Goths respected the chastity of their female captives, more especially of the

consecrated virgins: but the greatest part of the clergy and people were made

slaves, and even the churches and altars were confounded in the universal

pillage.  The unfortunate king of the Suevi had escaped to one of the ports of

the ocean; but the obstinacy of the winds opposed his flight: he was delivered

to his implacable rival; and Rechiarius, who neither desired nor expected

mercy, received, with manly constancy, the death which he would probably have

inflicted.  After this bloody sacrifice to policy or resentment, Theodoric

carried his victorious arms as far as Merida, the principal town of Lusitania,

without meeting any resistance, except from the miraculous powers of St.

Eulalia; but he was stopped in the full career of success, and recalled from

Spain before he could provide for the security of his conquests.  In his

retreat towards the Pyrenees, he revenged his disappointment on the country

through which he passed; and, in the sack of Pollentia and Astorga, he showed

himself a faithless ally, as well as a cruel enemy.  Whilst the king of the

Visigoths fought and vanquished in the name of Avitus, the reign of Avitus had

expired; and both the honor and the interest of Theodoric were deeply wounded

by the disgrace of a friend, whom he had seated on the throne of the Western

empire. ^23

 

[Footnote 21: Theodoric himself had given a solemn and voluntary promise of

fidelity, which was understood both in Gaul and Spain.

 

     - Romae sum, te duce, Amicus,

     Principe te, Miles.

 

     Sidon. Panegyr. Avit. 511.]

 

[Footnote 22: Quaeque sinu pelagi jactat se Bracara dives.

 

     Auson. de Claris Urbibus, p. 245.

 

From the design of the king of the Suevi, it is evident that the navigation

from the ports of Gallicia to the Mediterranean was known and practised. The

ships of Bracara, or Braga, cautiously steered along the coast, without daring

to lose themselves in the Atlantic.]

 

[Footnote 23: This Suevic war is the most authentic part of the Chronicle of

Idatius, who, as bishop of Iria Flavia, was himself a spectator and a

sufferer.  Jornandes (c. 44, p. 675, 676, 677) has expatiated, with pleasure,

on the Gothic victory.]

 

Part II.

 

     As soon as the tumult had subsided, the several parts of the army

informed each other of the accidents of the day; and Belisarius pitched his

camp on the field of victory, to which the tenth mile-stone from Carthage had

applied the Latin appellation of Decimus.  From a wise suspicion of the

stratagems and resources of the Vandals, he marched the next day in order of

battle, halted in the evening before the gates of Carthage, and allowed a

night of repose, that he might not, in darkness and disorder, expose the city

to the license of the soldiers, or the soldiers themselves to the secret

ambush of the city.  But as the fears of Belisarius were the result of calm

and intrepid reason, he was soon satisfied that he might confide, without

danger, in the peaceful and friendly aspect of the capital.  Carthage blazed

with innumerable torches, the signals of the public joy; the chain was removed

that guarded the entrance of the port; the gates were thrown open, and the

people, with acclamations of gratitude, hailed and invited their Roman

deliverers.  The defeat of the Vandals, and the freedom of Africa, were

announced to the city on the eve of St. Cyprian, when the churches were

already adorned and illuminated for the festival of the martyr whom three

centuries of superstition had almost raised to a local deity.  The Arians,

conscious that their reign had expired, resigned the temple to the Catholics,

who rescued their saint from profane hands, performed the holy rites, and

loudly proclaimed the creed of Athanasius and Justinian.  One awful hour

reversed the fortunes of the contending parties.  The suppliant Vandals, who

had so lately indulged the vices of conquerors, sought an humble refuge in the

sanctuary of the church; while the merchants of the East were delivered from

the deepest dungeon of the palace by their affrighted keeper, who implored the

protection of his captives, and showed them, through an aperture in the wall,

the sails of the Roman fleet.  After their separation from the army, the naval

commanders had proceeded with slow caution along the coast till they reached

the Hermaean promontory, and obtained the first intelligence of the victory of

Belisarius.  Faithful to his instructions, they would have cast anchor about

twenty miles from Carthage, if the more skilful seamen had not represented the

perils of the shore, and the signs of an impending tempest.  Still ignorant of

the revolution, they declined, however, the rash attempt of forcing the chain

of the port; and the adjacent harbor and suburb of Mandracium were insulted

only by the rapine of a private officer, who disobeyed and deserted his

leaders.  But the Imperial fleet, advancing with a fair wind, steered through

the narrow entrance of the Goletta, and occupied, in the deep and capacious

lake of Tunis, a secure station about five miles from the capital. ^19 No

sooner was Belisarius informed of their arrival, than he despatched orders

that the greatest part of the mariners should be immediately landed to join

the triumph, and to swell the apparent numbers, of the Romans.  Before he

allowed them to enter the gates of Carthage, he exhorted them, in a discourse

worthy of himself and the occasion, not to disgrace the glory of their arms;

and to remember that the Vandals had been the tyrants, but that they were the

deliverers, of the Africans, who must now be respected as the voluntary and

affectionate subjects of their common sovereign.  The Romans marched through

the streets in close ranks prepared for battle if an enemy had appeared: the

strict order maintained by the general imprinted on their minds the duty of

obedience; and in an age in which custom and impunity almost sanctified the

abuse of conquest, the genius of one man repressed the passions of a

victorious army. The voice of menace and complaint was silent; the trade of

Carthage was not interrupted; while Africa changed her master and her

government, the shops continued open and busy; and the soldiers, after

sufficient guards had been posted, modestly departed to the houses which were

allotted for their reception.  Belisarius fixed his residence in the palace;

seated himself on the throne of Genseric; accepted and distributed the

Barbaric spoil; granted their lives to the suppliant Vandals; and labored to

repair the damage which the suburb of Mandracium had sustained in the

preceding night.  At supper he entertained his principal officers with the

form and magnificence of a royal banquet. ^20 The victor was respectfully

served by the captive officers of the household; and in the moments of

festivity, when the impartial spectators applauded the fortune and merit of

Belisarius, his envious flatterers secretly shed their venom on every word and

gesture which might alarm the suspicions of a jealous monarch.  One day was

given to these pompous scenes, which may not be despised as useless, if they

attracted the popular veneration; but the active mind of Belisarius, which in

the pride of victory could suppose a defeat, had already resolved that the

Roman empire in Africa should not depend on the chance of arms, or the favor

of the people.  The fortifications of Carthage ^* had alone been exempted from

the general proscription; but in the reign of ninety-five years they were

suffered to decay by the thoughtless and indolent Vandals.  A wiser conqueror

restored, with incredible despatch, the walls and ditches of the city.  His

liberality encouraged the workmen; the soldiers, the mariners, and the

citizens, vied with each other in the salutary labor; and Gelimer, who had

feared to trust his person in an open town, beheld with astonishment and

despair, the rising strength of an impregnable fortress.

 

[Footnote 19: The neighborhood of Carthage, the sea, the land, and the rivers,

are changed almost as much as the works of man.  The isthmus, or neck of the

city, is now confounded with the continent; the harbor is a dry plain; and the

lake, or stagnum, no more than a morass, with six or seven feet water in the

mid-channel.  See D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. p. 82,) Shaw,

(Travels, p. 77 - 84,) Marmol, (Description de l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 465,)

and Thuanus, (lviii. 12, tom. iii. p. 334.)]

 

[Footnote 20: From Delphi, the name of Delphicum was given, both in Greek and

Latin, to a tripod; and by an easy analogy, the same appellation was extended

at Rome, Constantinople, and Carthage, to the royal banquetting room,

(Procopius, Vandal. l. i. c. 21.  Ducange, Gloss, Graec. p. 277., ad Alexiad.

p. 412.)]

 

[Footnote *: And a few others.  Procopius states in his work De Edi Sciis. l.

vi. vol i. p. 5. - M]

 

     That unfortunate monarch, after the loss of his capital, applied himself

to collect the remains of an army scattered, rather than destroyed, by the

preceding battle; and the hopes of pillage attracted some Moorish bands to the

standard of Gelimer.  He encamped in the fields of Bulla, four days' journey

from Carthage; insulted the capital, which he deprived of the use of an

aqueduct; proposed a high reward for the head of every Roman; affected to

spare the persons and property of his African subjects, and secretly

negotiated with the Arian sectaries and the confederate Huns.  Under these

circumstances, the conquest of Sardinia served only to aggravate his distress:

he reflected, with the deepest anguish, that he had wasted, in that useless

enterprise, five thousand of his bravest troops; and he read, with grief and

shame, the victorious letters of his brother Zano, ^* who expressed a sanguine

confidence that the king, after the example of their ancestors, had already

chastised the rashness of the Roman invader.  "Alas!  my brother," replied

Gelimer, "Heaven has declared against our unhappy nation. While you have

subdued Sardinia, we have lost Africa.  No sooner did Belisarius appear with a

handful of soldiers, than courage and prosperity deserted the cause of the

Vandals.  Your nephew Gibamund, your brother Ammatas, have been betrayed to

death by the cowardice of their followers. Our horses, our ships, Carthage

itself, and all Africa, are in the power of the enemy.  Yet the Vandals still

prefer an ignominious repose, at the expense of their wives and children,

their wealth and liberty.  Nothing now remains, except the fields of Bulla,

and the hope of your valor.  Abandon Sardinia; fly to our relief; restore our

empire, or perish by our side." On the receipt of this epistle, Zano imparted

his grief to the principal Vandals; but the intelligence was prudently

concealed from the natives of the island.  The troops embarked in one hundred

and twenty galleys at the port of Caghari, cast anchor the third day on the

confines of Mauritania, and hastily pursued their march to join the royal

standard in the camp of Bulla. Mournful was the interview: the two brothers

embraced; they wept in silence; no questions were asked of the Sardinian

victory; no inquiries were made of the African misfortunes: they saw before

their eyes the whole extent of their calamities; and the absence of their

wives and children afforded a melancholy proof that either death or captivity

had been their lot.  The languid spirit of the Vandals was at length awakened

and united by the entreaties of their king, the example of Zano, and the

instant danger which threatened their monarchy and religion.  The military

strength of the nation advanced to battle; and such was the rapid increase,

that before their army reached Tricameron, about twenty miles from Carthage,

they might boast, perhaps with some exaggeration, that they surpassed, in a

tenfold proportion, the diminutive powers of the Romans.  But these powers

were under the command of Belisarius; and, as he was conscious of their

superior merit, he permitted the Barbarians to surprise him at an unseasonable

hour.  The Romans were instantly under arms; a rivulet covered their front;

the cavalry formed the first line, which Belisarius supported in the centre,

at the head of five hundred guards; the infantry, at some distance, was posted

in the second line; and the vigilance of the general watched the separate

station and ambiguous faith of the Massagetae, who secretly reserved their aid

for the conquerors.  The historian has inserted, and the reader may easily

supply, the speeches ^21 of the commanders, who, by arguments the most

apposite to their situation, inculcated the importance of victory, and the

contempt of life.  Zano, with the troops which had followed him to the

conquest of Sardinia, was placed in the centre; and the throne of Genseric

might have stood, if the multitude of Vandals had imitated their intrepid

resolution. Casting away their lances and missile weapons, they drew their

swords, and expected the charge: the Roman cavalry thrice passed the rivulet;

they were thrice repulsed; and the conflict was firmly maintained, till Zano

fell, and the standard of Belisarius was displayed.  Gelimer retreated to his

camp; the Huns joined the pursuit; and the victors despoiled the bodies of the

slain. Yet no more than fifty Romans, and eight hundred Vandals were found on

the field of battle; so inconsiderable was the carnage of a day, which

extinguished a nation, and transferred the empire of Africa.  In the evening

Belisarius led his infantry to the attack of the camp; and the pusillanimous

flight of Gelimer exposed the vanity of his recent declarations, that to the

vanquished, death was a relief, life a burden, and infamy the only object of

terror.  His departure was secret; but as soon as the Vandals discovered that

their king had deserted them, they hastily dispersed, anxious only for their

personal safety, and careless of every object that is dear or valuable to

mankind.  The Romans entered the camp without resistance; and the wildest

scenes of disorder were veiled in the darkness and confusion of the night.

Every Barbarian who met their swords was inhumanly massacred; their widows and

daughters, as rich heirs, or beautiful concubines, were embraced by the

licentious soldiers; and avarice itself was almost satiated with the treasures

of gold and silver, the accumulated fruits of conquest or economy in a long

period of prosperity and peace.  In this frantic search, the troops, even of

Belisarius, forgot their caution and respect.  Intoxicated with lust and

rapine, they explored, in small parties, or alone, the adjacent fields, the

woods, the rocks, and the caverns, that might possibly conceal any desirable

prize: laden with booty, they deserted their ranks, and wandered without a

guide, on the high road to Carthage; and if the flying enemies had dared to

return, very few of the conquerors would have escaped. Deeply sensible of the

disgrace and danger, Belisarius passed an apprehensive night on the field of

victory: at the dawn of day, he planted his standard on a hill, recalled his

guardians and veterans, and gradually restored the modesty and obedience of

the camp.  It was equally the concern of the Roman general to subdue the

hostile, and to save the prostrate, Barbarian; and the suppliant Vandals, who

could be found only in churches, were protected by his authority, disarmed,

and separately confined, that they might neither disturb the public peace, nor

become the victims of popular revenge.  After despatching a light detachment

to tread the footsteps of Gelimer, he advanced, with his whole army, about ten

days' march, as far as Hippo Regius, which no longer possessed the relics of

St. Augustin. ^22 The season, and the certain intelligence that the Vandal had

fled to an inaccessible country of the Moors, determined Belisarius to

relinquish the vain pursuit, and to fix his winter quarters at Carthage.  From

thence he despatched his principal lieutenant, to inform the emperor, that in

the space of three months he had achieved the conquest of Africa.

 

[Footnote *: Gibbon had forgotten that the bearer of the "victorious letters

of his brother" had sailed into the port of Carthage; and that the letters had

fallen into the hands of the Romans.  Proc. Vandal. l. i. c. 23. - M.]

 

[Footnote 21: These orations always express the sense of the times, and

sometimes of the actors.  I have condensed that sense, and thrown away

declamation.]

 

[Footnote 22: The relics of St. Augustin were carried by the African bishops

to their Sardinian exile, (A.D. 500;) and it was believed, in the viiith

century, that Liutprand, king of the Lombards, transported them (A.D. 721)

from Sardinia to Pavia.  In the year 1695, the Augustan friars of that city

found a brick arch, marble coffin, silver case, silk wrapper, bones, blood,

&c., and perhaps an inscription of Agostino in Gothic letters.  But this

useful discovery has been disputed by reason and jealousy, (Baronius, Annal.

A.D. 725, No. 2 - 9.  Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 944.  Montfaucon,

Diarium Ital. p. 26 - 30.  Muratori, Antiq. Ital. Medii Aevi, tom. v. dissert.

lviii. p. 9, who had composed a separate treatise before the decree of the

bishop of Pavia, and Pope Benedict XIII.)]

 

     Belisarius spoke the language of truth.  The surviving Vandals yielded,

without resistance, their arms and their freedom; the neighborhood of Carthage

submitted to his presence; and the more distant provinces were successively

subdued by the report of his victory.  Tripoli was confirmed in her voluntary

allegiance; Sardinia and Corsica surrendered to an officer, who carried,

instead of a sword, the head of the valiant Zano; and the Isles of Majorca,

Minorca, and Yvica consented to remain an humble appendage of the African

kingdom.  Caesarea, a royal city, which in looser geography may be confounded

with the modern Algiers, was situate thirty days' march to the westward of

Carthage: by land, the road was infested by the Moors; but the sea was open,

and the Romans were now masters of the sea.  An active and discreet tribune

sailed as far as the Straits, where he occupied Septem or Ceuta, ^23 which

rises opposite to Gibraltar on the African coast; that remote place was

afterwards adorned and fortified by Justinian; and he seems to have indulged

the vain ambition of extending his empire to the columns of Hercules.  He

received the messengers of victory at the time when he was preparing to

publish the Pandects of the Roman laws; and the devout or jealous emperor

celebrated the divine goodness, and confessed, in silence, the merit of his

successful general. ^24 Impatient to abolish the temporal and spiritual

tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded, without delay, to the full establishment

of the Catholic church.  Her jurisdiction, wealth, and immunites, perhaps the

most essential part of episcopal religion, were restored and amplified with a

liberal hand; the Arian worship was suppressed; the Donatist meetings were

proscribed; ^25 and the synod of Carthage, by the voice of two hundred and

seventeen bishops, ^26 applauded the just measure of pious retaliation.  On

such an occasion, it may not be presumed, that many orthodox prelates were

absent; but the comparative smallness of their number, which in ancient

councils had been twice or even thrice multiplied, most clearly indicates the

decay both of the church and state.  While Justinian approved himself the

defender of the faith, he entertained an ambitious hope, that his victorious

lieutenant would speedily enlarge the narrow limits of his dominion to the

space which they occupied before the invasion of the Moors and Vandals; and

Belisarius was instructed to establish five dukes or commanders in the

convenient stations of Tripoli, Leptis, Cirta, Caesarea, and Sardinia, and to

compute the military force of palatines or borderers that might be sufficient

for the defence of Africa.  The kingdom of the Vandals was not unworthy of the

presence of a Praetorian praefect; and four consulars, three presidents, were

appointed to administer the seven provinces under his civil jurisdiction.  The

number of their subordinate officers, clerks, messengers, or assistants, was

minutely expressed; three hundred and ninety-six for the praefect himself,

fifty for each of his vicegerents; and the rigid definition of their fees and

salaries was more effectual to confirm the right than to prevent the abuse.

These magistrates might be oppressive, but they were not idle; and the subtile

questions of justice and revenue were infinitely propagated under the new

government, which professed to revive the freedom and equity of the Roman

republic.  The conqueror was solicitous to extract a prompt and plentiful

supply from his African subjects; and he allowed them to claim, even in the

third degree, and from the collateral line, the houses and lands of which

their families had been unjustly despoiled by the Vandals.  After the

departure of Belisarius, who acted by a high and special commission, no

ordinary provision was made for a master- general of the forces; but the

office of Praetorian praefect was intrusted to a soldier; the civil and

military powers were united, according to the practice of Justinian, in the

chief governor; and the representative of the emperor in Africa, as well as in

Italy, was soon distinguished by the appellation of Exarch. ^27

 

[Footnote 23: The expression of Procopius (de Edific. l. vi. c. 7.) Ceuta,

which has been defaced by the Portuguese, flourished in nobles and palaces, in

agriculture and manufactures, under the more prosperous reign of the Arabs,

(l'Afrique de Marmai, tom. ii. p. 236.]

 

[Footnote 24: See the second and third preambles to the Digest, or Pandects,

promulgated A.D. 533, December 16.  To the titles of Vandalicus and Africanus,

Justinian, or rather Belisarius, had acquired a just claim; Gothicus was

premature, and Francicus false, and offensive to a great nation.]

 

[Footnote 25: See the original acts in Baronius, (A.D. 535, No. 21 - 54.) The

emperor applauds his own clemency to the heretics, cum sufficiat eis vivere.]

 

[Footnote 26: Dupin (Geograph. Sacra Africana, p. lix. ad Optat. Milav.)

observes and bewails this episcopal decay.  In the more prosperous age of the

church, he had noticed 690 bishoprics; but however minute were the dioceses,

it is not probable that they all existed at the same time.]

 

[Footnote 27: The African laws of Justinian are illustrated by his German

biographer, (Cod. l. i. tit. 27.  Novell. 36, 37, 131.  Vit. Justinian, p. 349

- 377.)]

 

     Yet the conquest of Africa was imperfect till her former sovereign was

delivered, either alive or dead, into the hands of the Romans.  Doubtful of

the event, Gelimer had given secret orders that a part of his treasure should

be transported to Spain, where he hoped to find a secure refuge at the court

of the king of the Visigoths.  But these intentions were disappointed by

accident, treachery, and the indefatigable pursuit of his enemies, who

intercepted his flight from the sea-shore, and chased the unfortunate monarch,

with some faithful followers, to the inaccessible mountain of Papua, ^28 in

the inland country of Numidia.  He was immediately besieged by Pharas, an

officer whose truth and sobriety were the more applauded, as such qualities

could seldom be found among the Heruli, the most corrupt of the Barbarian

tribes.  To his vigilance Belisarius had intrusted this important charge and,

after a bold attempt to scale the mountain, in which he lost a hundred and ten

soldiers, Pharas expected, during a winter siege, the operation of distress

and famine on the mind of the Vandal king.  From the softest habits of

pleasure, from the unbounded command of industry and wealth, he was reduced to

share the poverty of the Moors, ^29 supportable only to themselves by their

ignorance of a happier condition.  In their rude hovels, of mud and hurdles,

which confined the smoke and excluded the light, they promiscuously slept on

the ground, perhaps on a sheep-skin, with their wives, their children, and

their cattle.  Sordid and scanty were their garments; the use of bread and

wine was unknown; and their oaten or barley cakes, imperfectly baked in the

ashes, were devoured almost in a crude state, by the hungry savages.  The

health of Gelimer must have sunk under these strange and unwonted hardships,

from whatsoever cause they had been endured; but his actual misery was

imbittered by the recollection of past greatness, the daily insolence of his

protectors, and the just apprehension, that the light and venal Moors might be

tempted to betray the rights of hospitality. The knowledge of his situation

dictated the humane and friendly epistle of Pharas.  "Like yourself," said the

chief of the Heruli, "I am an illiterate Barbarian, but I speak the language

of plain sense and an honest heart.  Why will you persist in hopeless

obstinacy?  Why will you ruin yourself, your family, and nation?  The love of

freedom and abhorrence of slavery?  Alas! my dearest Gelimer, are you not

already the worst of slaves, the slave of the vile nation of the Moors?  Would

it not be preferable to sustain at Constantinople a life of poverty and

servitude, rather than to reign the undoubted monarch of the mountain of

Papua?  Do you think it a disgrace to be the subject of Justinian?  Belisarius

is his subject; and we ourselves, whose birth is not inferior to your own, are

not ashamed of our obedience to the Roman emperor.  That generous prince will

grant you a rich inheritance of lands, a place in the senate, and the dignity

of patrician: such are his gracious intentions, and you may depend with full

assurance on the word of Belisarius.  So long as Heaven has condemned us to

suffer, patience is a virtue; but if we reject the proffered deliverance, it

degenerates into blind and stupid despair." "I am not insensible" replied the

king of the Vandals, "how kind and rational is your advice.  But I cannot

persuade myself to become the slave of an unjust enemy, who has deserved my

implacable hatred. Him I had never injured either by word or deed: yet he has

sent against me, I know not from whence, a certain Belisarius, who has cast me

headlong from the throne into his abyss of misery.  Justinian is a man; he is

a prince; does he not dread for himself a similar reverse of fortune?  I can

write no more: my grief oppresses me.  Send me, I beseech you, my dear Pharas,

send me, a lyre, ^30 a sponge, and a loaf of bread." From the Vandal

messenger, Pharas was informed of the motives of this singular request.  It

was long since the king of Africa had tasted bread; a defluxion had fallen on

his eyes, the effect of fatigue or incessant weeping; and he wished to solace

the melancholy hours, by singing to the lyre the sad story of his own

misfortunes.  The humanity of Pharas was moved; he sent the three

extraordinary gifts; but even his humanity prompted him to redouble the

vigilance of his guard, that he might sooner compel his prisoner to embrace a

resolution advantageous to the Romans, but salutary to himself.  The obstinacy

of Gelimer at length yielded to reason and necessity; the solemn assurances of

safety and honorable treatment were ratified in the emperor's name, by the

ambassador of Belisarius; and the king of the Vandals descended from the

mountain.  The first public interview was in one of the suburbs of Carthage;

and when the royal captive accosted his conqueror, he burst into a fit of

laughter.  The crowd might naturally believe, that extreme grief had deprived

Gelimer of his senses: but in this mournful state, unseasonable mirth

insinuated to more intelligent observers, that the vain and transitory scenes

of human greatness are unworthy of a serious thought. ^31

 

[Footnote 28: Mount Papua is placed by D'Anville (tom. iii. p. 92, and Tabul.

Imp. Rom. Occident.) near Hippo Regius and the sea; yet this situation ill

agrees with the long pursuit beyond Hippo, and the words of Procopius, (l.

ii.c.4,).

 

     Note: Compare Lord Mahon, 120.  conceive Gibbon to be right - M.]

 

[Footnote 29: Shaw (Travels, p. 220) most accurately represents the manners of

the Bedoweens and Kabyles, the last of whom, by their language, are the

remnant of the Moors; yet how changed - how civilized are these modern

savages! - provisions are plenty among them and bread is common.]

 

[Footnote 30: By Procopius it is styled a lyre; perhaps harp would have been

more national.  The instruments of music are thus distinguished by Venantius

Fortunatus: -

 

Romanusque lyra tibi plaudat, Barbarus harpa.]

 

[Footnote 31: Herodotus elegantly describes the strange effects of grief in

another royal captive, Psammetichus of Egypt, who wept at the lesser and was

silent at the greatest of his calamities, (l. iii. c. 14.) In the interview of

Paulus Aemilius and Perses, Belisarius might study his part; but it is

probable that he never read either Livy or Plutarch; and it is certain that

his generosity did not need a tutor.]

 

     Their contempt was soon justified by a new example of a vulgar truth;

that flattery adheres to power, and envy to superior merit.  The chiefs of the

Roman army presumed to think themselves the rivals of a hero.  Their private

despatches maliciously affirmed, that the conqueror of Africa, strong in his

reputation and the public love, conspired to seat himself on the throne of the

Vandals.  Justinian listened with too patient an ear; and his silence was the

result of jealousy rather than of confidence.  An honorable alternative, of

remaining in the province, or of returning to the capital, was indeed

submitted to the discretion of Belisarius; but he wisely concluded, from

intercepted letters and the knowledge of his sovereign's temper, that he must

either resign his head, erect his standard, or confound his enemies by his

presence and submission.  Innocence and courage decided his choice; his

guards, captives, and treasures, were diligently embarked; and so prosperous

was the navigation, that his arrival at Constantinople preceded any certain

account of his departure from the port of Carthage. Such unsuspecting loyalty

removed the apprehensions of Justinian; envy was silenced and inflamed by the

public gratitude; and the third Africanus obtained the honors of a triumph, a

ceremony which the city of Constantine had never seen, and which ancient Rome,

since the reign of Tiberius, had reserved for the auspicious arms of the

Caesars. ^32 From the palace of Belisarius, the procession was conducted

through the principal streets to the hippodrome; and this memorable day seemed

to avenge the injuries of Genseric, and to expiate the shame of the Romans.

The wealth of nations was displayed, the trophies of martial or effeminate

luxury; rich armor, golden thrones, and the chariots of state which had been

used by the Vandal queen; the massy furniture of the royal banquet, the

splendor of precious stones, the elegant forms of statues and vases, the more

substantial treasure of gold, and the holy vessels of the Jewish temple, which

after their long peregrination were respectfully deposited in the Christian

church of Jerusalem.  A long train of the noblest Vandals reluctantly exposed

their lofty stature and manly countenance.  Gelimer slowly advanced: he was

clad in a purple robe, and still maintained the majesty of a king.  Not a tear

escaped from his eyes, not a sigh was heard; but his pride or piety derived

some secret consolation from the words of Solomon, ^33 which he repeatedly

pronounced, Vanity! vanity!  all is vanity!  Instead of ascending a triumphal

car drawn by four horses or elephants, the modest conqueror marched on foot at

the head of his brave companions; his prudence might decline an honor too

conspicuous for a subject; and his magnanimity might justly disdain what had

been so often sullied by the vilest of tyrants.  The glorious procession

entered the gate of the hippodrome; was saluted by the acclamations of the

senate and people; and halted before the throne where Justinian and Theodora

were seated to receive homage of the captive monarch and the victorious hero.

They both performed the customary adoration; and falling prostrate on the

ground, respectfully touched the footstool of a prince who had not unsheathed

his sword, and of a prostitute who had danced on the theatre; some gentle

violence was used to bend the stubborn spirit of the grandson of Genseric; and

however trained to servitude, the genius of Belisarius must have secretly

rebelled.  He was immediately declared consul for the ensuing year, and the

day of his inauguration resembled the pomp of a second triumph: his curule

chair was borne aloft on the shoulders of captive Vandals; and the spoils of

war, gold cups, and rich girdles, were profusely scattered among the populace.

 

[Footnote 32: After the title of imperator had lost the old military sense,

and the Roman auspices were abolished by Christianity, (see La Bleterie, Mem.

de l'Academie, tom. xxi. p. 302 - 332,) a triumph might be given with less

inconsistency to a private general.]

 

[Footnote 33: If the Ecclesiastes be truly a work of Solomon, and not, like

Prior's poem, a pious and moral composition of more recent times, in his name,

and on the subject of his repentance.  The latter is the opinion of the

learned and free-spirited Grotius, (Opp. Theolog. tom. i. p. 258;) and indeed

the Ecclesiastes and Proverbs display a larger compass of thought and

experience than seem to belong either to a Jew or a king.

 

     Note: Rosenmuller, arguing from the difference of style from that of the

greater part of the book of Proverbs, and from its nearer approximation to the

Aramaic dialect than any book of the Old Testament, assigns the Ecclesiastes

to some period between Nehemiah and Alexander the Great Schol. in Vet. Test.

ix. Proemium ad Eccles. p. 19. - M.]

 

Part III.

 

     But the purest reward of Belisarius was in the faithful execution of a

treaty for which his honor had been pledged to the king of the Vandals.  The

religious scruples of Gelimer, who adhered to the Arian heresy, were

incompatible with the dignity of senator or patrician: but he received from

the emperor an ample estate in the province of Galatia, where the abdicated

monarch retired, with his family and friends, to a life of peace, of

affluence, and perhaps of content. ^34 The daughters of Hilderic were

entertained with the respectful tenderness due to their age and misfortune;

and Justinian and Theodora accepted the honor of educating and enriching the

female descendants of the great Theodosius.  The bravest of the Vandal youth

were distributed into five squadrons of cavalry, which adopted the name of

their benefactor, and supported in the Persian wars the glory of their

ancestors.  But these rare exceptions, the reward of birth or valor, are

insufficient to explain the fate of a nation, whose numbers before a short and

bloodless war, amounted to more than six hundred thousand persons.  After the

exile of their king and nobles, the servile crowd might purchase their safety

by abjuring their character, religion, and language; and their degenerate

posterity would be insensibly mingled with the common herd of African

subjects.  Yet even in the present age, and in the heart of the Moorish

tribes, a curious traveller has discovered the white complexion and long

flaxen hair of a northern race; ^35 and it was formerly believed, that the

boldest of the Vandals fled beyond the power, or even the knowledge, of the

Romans, to enjoy their solitary freedom on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

^36 Africa had been their empire, it became their prison; nor could they

entertain a hope, or even a wish, of returning to the banks of the Elbe, where

their brethren, of a spirit less adventurous, still wandered in their native

forests.  It was impossible for cowards to surmount the barriers of unknown

seas and hostile Barbarians; it was impossible for brave men to expose their

nakedness and defeat before the eyes of their countrymen, to describe the

kingdoms which they had lost, and to claim a share of the humble inheritance,

which, in a happier hour, they had almost unanimously renounced. ^37 In the

country between the Elbe and the Oder, several populous villages of Lusatia

are inhabited by the Vandals: they still preserve their language, their

customs, and the purity of their blood; support, with some impatience, the

Saxon or Prussian yoke; and serve, with secret and voluntary allegiance, the

descendant of their ancient kings, who in his garb and present fortune is

confounded with the meanest of his vassals. ^38 The name and situation of this

unhappy people might indicate their descent from one common stock with the

conquerors of Africa.  But the use of a Sclavonian dialect more clearly

represent them as the last remnant of the new colonies, who succeeded to the

genuine Vandals, already scattered or destroyed in the age of Procopius. ^39

 

[Footnote 34: In the Belisaire of Marmontel, the king and the conqueror of

Africa meet, sup, and converse, without recollecting each other.  It is surely

a fault of that romance, that not only the hero, but all to whom he had been

so conspicuously known, appear to have lost their eyes or their memory.]

 

[Footnote 35: Shaw, p. 59.  Yet since Procopius (l. ii. c. 13) speaks of a

people of Mount Atlas, as already distinguished by white bodies and yellow

hair, the phenomenon (which is likewise visible in the Andes of Peru Buffon,

tom. iii. p. 504,) may naturally be ascribed to the elevation of the ground

and the temperature of the air.]

 

[Footnote 36: The geographer of Ravenna (l. iii. c. xi. p. 129, 130, 131,

Paris, 1688) describes the Mauritania Gadilana, (opposite to Cadiz,) ubi gang

Vandalorum, a Belisario devicta in Africa, fugit, et nunquam con paruit]

 

[Footnote 37: A single voice had protested, and Genseric dismissed, without a

formal answer, the Vandals of Germany; but those of Africa derided his

prudence, and affected to despise the poverty of their forests, (Procopius,

Vandal. l. i. c. 22.)]

 

[Footnote 38: From the mouth of the great elector (in 1687) Tollius describes

the secret royalty and rebellious spirit of the Vandals of Brandenburgh, who

could muster five or six thousand soldiers who had procured some cannon, &c.

(Itinerar. Hungar. p. 42, apud Dubos, Hist. de la Monarchie Francoise, tom. i.

p. 182, 183.) The veracity, not of the elector, but of Tollius himself, may

justly be suspected.

 

     Note: The Wendish population of Brandenburgh are now better known: but

the Wends are clearly of the Sclavonian race, the Vandals most probably

Teutoric and nearly allied to the Goths. - M.]

 

[Footnote 39: Procopius (l. i. c. 22) was in total darkness.  Under the reign

of Dagobert, (A.D. 630,) the Sclaronian tribes of the Sorbi and Venedi already

bordered on Thuringia, (Mascou, Hist. of the Germans, xv. 3, 4, 5.)]

 

     If Belisarius had been tempted to hesitate in his allegiance, he might

have urged, even against the emperor himself, the indispensable duty of saving

Africa from an enemy more barbarous than the Vandals.  The origin of the Moors

is involved in darkness; they were ignorant of the use of letters. ^40 Their

limits cannot be precisely defined; a boundless continent was open to the

Libyan shepherds; the change of seasons and pastures regulated their motions;

and their rude huts and slender furniture were transported with the same case

as their arms, their families, and their cattle, which consisted of sheep,

oxen, and camels. ^41 During the vigor of the Roman power, they observed a

respectful distance from Carthage and the sea-shore: under the feeble reign of

the Vandals, they invaded the cities of Numidia, occupied the sea-coast from

Tangier to Caesarea, and pitched their camps, with impunity, in the fertile

province of Byzacium.  The formidable strength and artful conduct of

Belisarius secured the neutrality of the Moorish princes, whose vanity aspired

to receive, in the emperor's name, the ensigns of their regal dignity. ^42

They were astonished by the rapid event, and trembled in the presence of their

conqueror.  But his approaching departure soon relieved the apprehensions of a

savage and superstitious people; the number of their wives allowed them to

disregard the safety of their infant hostages; and when the Roman general

hoisted sail in the port of Carthage, he heard the cries, and almost beheld

the flames, of the desolated province.  Yet he persisted in his resolution,

and leaving only a part of his guards to reenforce the feeble garrisons, he

intrusted the command of Africa to the eunuch Solomon, ^43 who proved himself

not unworthy to be the successor of Belisarius.  In the first invasion, some

detachments, with two officers of merit, were surprised and intercepted; but

Solomon speedily assembled his troops, marched from Carthage into the heart of

the country, and in two great battles destroyed sixty thousand of the

Barbarians.  The Moors depended on their multitude, their swiftness, and their

inaccessible mountains; and the aspect and smell of their camels are said to

have produced some confusion in the Roman cavalry. ^44 But as soon as they

were commanded to dismount, they derided this contemptible obstacle: as soon

as the columns ascended the hills, the naked and disorderly crowd was dazzled

by glittering arms and regular evolutions; and the menace of their female

prophets was repeatedly fulfilled, that the Moors should be discomfited by a

beardless antagonist.  The victorious eunuch advanced thirteen days journey

from Carthage, to besiege Mount Aurasius, ^45 the citadel, and at the same

time the garden, of Numidia.  That range of hills, a branch of the great

Atlas, contains, within a circumference of one hundred and twenty miles, a

rare variety of soil and climate; the intermediate valleys and elevated plains

abound with rich pastures, perpetual streams, and fruits of a delicious taste

and uncommon magnitude.  This fair solitude is decorated with the ruins of

Lambesa, a Roman city, once the seat of a legion, and the residence of forty

thousand inhabitants.  The Ionic temple of Aesculapius is encompassed with

Moorish huts; and the cattle now graze in the midst of an amphitheatre, under

the shade of Corinthian columns. A sharp perpendicular rock rises above the

level of the mountain, where the African princes deposited their wives and

treasure; and a proverb is familiar to the Arabs, that the man may eat fire

who dares to attack the craggy cliffs and inhospitable natives of Mount

Aurasius.  This hardy enterprise was twice attempted by the eunuch Solomon:

from the first, he retreated with some disgrace; and in the second, his

patience and provisions were almost exhausted; and he must again have retired,

if he had not yielded to the impetuous courage of his troops, who audaciously

scaled, to the astonishment of the Moors, the mountain, the hostile camp, and

the summit of the Geminian rock A citadel was erected to secure this important

conquest, and to remind the Barbarians of their defeat; and as Solomon pursued

his march to the west, the long-lost province of Mauritanian Sitifi was again

annexed to the Roman empire.  The Moorish war continued several years after

the departure of Belisarius; but the laurels which he resigned to a faithful

lieutenant may be justly ascribed to his own triumph.

 

[Footnote 40: Sallust represents the Moors as a remnant of the army of

Herscles, (de Bell. Jugurth. c. 21,) and Procopius, (Vandal. l. ii. c. 10,) as

the posterity of the Cananaeans who fled from the robber Joshua.  He quotes

two columns, with a Phoenician inscription.  I believe in the columns - I

doubt the inscription - and I reject the pedigree.

 

     Note: It has been supposed that Procopius is the only, or at least the

most ancient, author who has spoken of this strange inscription, of which one

may be tempted to attribute the invention to Procopius himself. Yet it is

mentioned in the Armenian history of Moses of Chorene, (l. i. c. 18,) who

lived and wrote more than a century before Procopius.  This is sufficient to

show that an earlier date must be assigned to this tradition. The same

inscription is mentioned by Suidas, (sub voc. Xavaav,) no doubt from

Procopius.  According to most of the Arabian writers, who adopted a nearly

similar tradition, the indigenes of Northern Africa were the people of

Palestine expelled by David, who passed into Africa, under the guidance of

Goliath, whom they call Djalout.  It is impossible to admit traditions which

bear a character so fabulous.  St. Martin, t. xi. p. 324. - Unless my memory

greatly deceives me, I have read in the works of Lightfoot a similar Jewish

tradition; but I have mislaid the reference, and cannot recover the passage. -

M.]

 

[Footnote 41: Virgil (Georgic. iii. 339) and Pomponius Mela (i. 8) describe

the wandering life of the African shepherds, similar to that of the Arabs and

Tartars; and Shaw (p. 222) is the best commentator on the poet and the

geographer.]

 

[Footnote 42: The customary gifts were a sceptre, a crown or cap, a white

cloak, a figured tunic and shoes, all adorned with gold and silver nor were

these precious metals less acceptable in the shape of coin (Procop. Vandal. l.

i. c. 25.)]

 

[Footnote 43: See the African government and warfare of Solomon, in Procopius,

(Vandal. l. ii. c. 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20.) He was recalled, and again

restored, and his last victory dates in the xiiith year of Justinian, (A.D.

539.) An accident in his childhood had rendered him a eunuch, (l. i. c. 11:)

the other Roman generals were amply furnished with beards, (l. ii. c. 8.)]

 

[Footnote 44: This natural antipathy of the horse for the camel is affirmed by

the ancients, (Xenophon. Cyropaed. l. vi. p. 488, l. vii. p. 483, 492 edit.

Hutchinson.  Polyaen. Stratagem. vii. 6. Plin. Hist. Nat. viii. 26 Aelian, de

Natur. Annal. l. iii. c. 7;) but it is disproved by daily experience, and

derided by the best judges, the Orientals, (Voyage d'Oleanius, p. 553.)]

 

[Footnote 45: Procopius is the first who describes Mount Aurasius, (Vandal. l.

ii. c. 13. De Edific. l. vi. c. 7.) He may be compared with Leo Africanus,

(dell' Africa, parte v., in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 77, recto,) Marmol, (tom.

ii. p. 430,) and Shaw, (p. 56 - 59.]

 

     The experience of past faults, which may sometimes correct the mature age

of an individual, is seldom profitable to the successive generations of

mankind.  The nations of antiquity, careless of each other's safety, were

separately vanquished and enslaved by the Romans.  This awful lesson might

have instructed the Barbarians of the West to oppose, with timely counsels and

confederate arms, the unbounded ambition of Justinian.  Yet the same error was

repeated, the same consequences were felt, and the Goths, both of Italy and

Spain, insensible of their approaching danger, beheld with indifference, and

even with joy, the rapid downfall of the Vandals.  After the failure of the

royal line, Theudes, a valiant and powerful chief, ascended the throne of

Spain, which he had formerly administered in the name of Theodoric and his

infant grandson.  Under his command, the Visigoths be sieged the fortress of

Ceuta on the African coast: but, while they spent the Sabbath day in peace and

devotion, the pious security of their camp was invaded by a sally from the

town; and the king himself, with some difficulty and danger, escaped from the

hands of a sacrilegious enemy. ^46 It was not long before his pride and

resentment were gratified by a suppliant embassy from the unfortunate Gelimer,

who implored, in his distress, the aid of the Spanish monarch.  But instead of

sacrificing these unworthy passions to the dictates of generosity and

prudence, Theudes amused the ambassadors till he was secretly informed of the

loss of Carthage, and then dismissed them with obscure and contemptuous

advice, to seek in their native country a true knowledge of the state of the

Vandals. ^47 The long continuance of the Italian war delayed the punishment of

the Visigoths; and the eyes of Theudes were closed before they tasted the

fruits of his mistaken policy.  After his death, the sceptre of Spain was

disputed by a civil war.  The weaker candidate solicited the protection of

Justinian, and ambitiously subscribed a treaty of alliance, which deeply

wounded the independence and happiness of his country.  Several cities, both

on the ocean and the Mediterranean, were ceded to the Roman troops, who

afterwards refused to evacuate those pledges, as it should seem, either of

safety or payment; and as they were fortified by perpetual supplies from

Africa, they maintained their impregnable stations, for the mischievous

purpose of inflaming the civil and religious factions of the Barbarians.

Seventy years elapsed before this painful thorn could be extirpated from the

bosom of the monarchy; and as long as the emperors retained any share of these

remote and useless possessions, their vanity might number Spain in the list of

their provinces, and the successors of Alaric in the rank of their vassals.

^48

 

[Footnote 46: Isidor. Chron. p. 722, edit. Grot.  Mariana, Hist. Hispan. l. v.

c. 8, p. 173.  Yet according to Isidore, the siege of Ceuta, and the death of

Theudes, happened A. Ae. H. 586 - A.D. 548; and the place was defended, not by

the Vandals, but by the Romans.]

 

[Footnote 47: Procopius, Vandal. l. i. c. 24.]

 

[Footnote 48: See the original Chronicle of Isidore, and the vth and vith

books of the History of Spain by Mariana.  The Romans were finally expelled by

Suintila, king of the Visigoths, (A.D. 621 - 626,) after their reunion to the

Catholic church.]

 

     The error of the Goths who reigned in Italy was less excusable than that

of their Spanish brethren, and their punishment was still more immediate and

terrible.  From a motive of private revenge, they enabled their most dangerous

enemy to destroy their most valuable ally.  A sister of the great Theodoric

had been given in marriage to Thrasimond, the African king: ^49 on this

occasion, the fortress of Lilybaeum ^50 in Sicily was resigned to the Vandals;

and the princess Amalafrida was attended by a martial train of one thousand

nobles, and five thousand Gothic soldiers, who signalized their valor in the

Moorish wars.  Their merit was overrated by themselves, and perhaps neglected

by the Vandals; they viewed the country with envy, and the conquerors with

disdain; but their real or fictitious conspiracy was prevented by a massacre;

the Goths were oppressed, and the captivity of Amalafrida was soon followed by

her secret and suspicious death.  The eloquent pen of Cassiodorus was employed

to reproach the Vandal court with the cruel violation of every social and

public duty; but the vengeance which he threatened in the name of his

sovereign might be derided with impunity, as long as Africa was protected by

the sea, and the Goths were destitute of a navy.  In the blind impotence of

grief and indignation, they joyfully saluted the approach of the Romans,

entertained the fleet of Belisarius in the ports of Sicily, and were speedily

delighted or alarmed by the surprising intelligence, that their revenge was

executed beyond the measure of their hopes, or perhaps of their wishes.  To

their friendship the emperor was indebted for the kingdom of Africa, and the

Goths might reasonably think, that they were entitled to resume the possession

of a barren rock, so recently separated as a nuptial gift from the island of

Sicily.  They were soon undeceived by the haughty mandate of Belisarius, which

excited their tardy and unavailing repentance.  "The city and promontory of

Lilybaeum," said the Roman general, "belonged to the Vandals, and I claim them

by the right of conquest.  Your submission may deserve the favor of the

emperor; your obstinacy will provoke his displeasure, and must kindle a war,

that can terminate only in your utter ruin.  If you compel us to take up arms,

we shall contend, not to regain the possession of a single city, but to

deprive you of all the provinces which you unjustly withhold from their lawful

sovereign." A nation of two hundred thousand soldiers might have smiled at the

vain menace of Justinian and his lieutenant: but a spirit of discord and

disaffection prevailed in Italy, and the Goths supported, with reluctance, the

indignity of a female reign. ^51

 

[Footnote 49: See the marriage and fate of Amalafrida in Procopius, (Vandal l.

i. c. 8, 9,) and in Cassiodorus (Var. ix. l) the expostulation of her royal

brother.  Compare likewise the Chronicle of Victor Tumunensis.]

 

[Footnote 50: Lilybaeum was built by the Carthaginians, Olymp. xcv. 4; and in

the first Punic war, a strong situation, and excellent harbor, rendered that

place an important object to both nations.]

 

[Footnote 51: Compare the different passages of Procopius, (Vandal. l. ii. c.

5. Gothic. l. i. c. 3.)]

 

     The birth of Amalasontha, the regent and queen of Italy, ^52 united the

two most illustrious families of the Barbarians.  Her mother, the sister of

Clovis, was descended from the long-haired kings of the Merovingian race; ^53

and the regal succession of the Amali was illustrated in the eleventh

generation, by her father, the great Theodoric, whose merit might have

ennobled a plebeian origin.  The sex of his daughter excluded her from the

Gothic throne; but his vigilant tenderness for his family and his people

discovered the last heir of the royal line, whose ancestors had taken refuge

in Spain; and the fortunate Eutharic was suddenly exalted to the rank of a

consul and a prince.  He enjoyed only a short time the charms of Amalasontha,

and the hopes of the succession; and his widow, after the death of her husband

and father, was left the guardian of her son Athalaric, and the kingdom of

Italy.  At the age of about twenty-eight years, the endowments of her mind and

person had attained their perfect maturity.  Her beauty, which, in the

apprehension of Theodora herself, might have disputed the conquest of an

emperor, was animated by manly sense, activity, and resolution.  Education and

experience had cultivated her talents; her philosophic studies were exempt

from vanity; and, though she expressed herself with equal elegance and ease in

the Greek, the Latin, and the Gothic tongue, the daughter of Theodoric

maintained in her counsels a discreet and impenetrable silence.  By a faithful

imitation of the virtues, she revived the prosperity, of his reign; while she

strove, with pious care, to expiate the faults, and to obliterate the darker

memory of his declining age.  The children of Boethius and Symmachus were

restored to their paternal inheritance; her extreme lenity never consented to

inflict any corporal or pecuniary penalties on her Roman subjects; and she

generously despised the clamors of the Goths, who, at the end of forty years,

still considered the people of Italy as their slaves or their enemies.  Her

salutary measures were directed by the wisdom, and celebrated by the

eloquence, of Cassiodorus; she solicited and deserved the friendship of the

emperor; and the kingdoms of Europe respected, both in peace and war, the

majesty of the Gothic throne.  But the future happiness of the queen and of

Italy depended on the education of her son; who was destined, by his birth, to

support the different and almost incompatible characters of the chief of a

Barbarian camp, and the first magistrate of a civilized nation.  From the age

of ten years, ^54 Athalaric was diligently instructed in the arts and

sciences, either useful or ornamental for a Roman prince; and three venerable

Goths were chosen to instil the principles of honor and virtue into the mind

of their young king.  But the pupil who is insensible of the benefits, must

abhor the restraints, of education; and the solicitude of the queen, which

affection rendered anxious and severe, offended the untractable nature of her

son and his subjects.  On a solemn festival, when the Goths were assembled in

the palace of Ravenna, the royal youth escaped from his mother's apartment,

and, with tears of pride and anger, complained of a blow which his stubborn

disobedience had provoked her to inflict.  The Barbarians resented the

indignity which had been offered to their king; accused the regent of

conspiring against his life and crown; and imperiously demanded, that the

grandson of Theodoric should be rescued from the dastardly discipline of women

and pedants, and educated, like a valiant Goth, in the society of his equals

and the glorious ignorance of his ancestors.  To this rude clamor,

importunately urged as the voice of the nation, Amalasontha was compelled to

yield her reason, and the dearest wishes of her heart.  The king of Italy was

abandoned to wine, to women, and to rustic sports; and the indiscreet contempt

of the ungrateful youth betrayed the mischievous designs of his favorites and

her enemies.  Encompassed with domestic foes, she entered into a secret

negotiation with the emperor Justinian; obtained the assurance of a friendly

reception, and had actually deposited at Dyrachium, in Epirus, a treasure of

forty thousand pounds of gold.  Happy would it have been for her fame and

safety, if she had calmly retired from barbarous faction to the peace and

splendor of Constantinople. But the mind of Amalasontha was inflamed by

ambition and revenge; and while her ships lay at anchor in the port, she

waited for the success of a crime which her passions excused or applauded as

an act of justice.  Three of the most dangerous malecontents had been

separately removed under the pretence of trust and command, to the frontiers

of Italy: they were assassinated by her private emissaries; and the blood of

these noble Goths rendered the queen- mother absolute in the court of Ravenna,

and justly odious to a free people. But if she had lamented the disorders of

her son she soon wept his irreparable loss; and the death of Athalaric, who,

at the age of sixteen, was consumed by premature intemperance, left her

destitute of any firm support or legal authority.  Instead of submitting to

the laws of her country which held as a fundamental maxim, that the succession

could never pass from the lance to the distaff, the daughter of Theodoric

conceived the impracticable design of sharing, with one of her cousins, the

regal title, and of reserving in her own hands the substance of supreme power.

He received the proposal with profound respect and affected gratitude; and the

eloquent Cassiodorus announced to the senate and the emperor, that Amalasontha

and Theodatus had ascended the throne of Italy.  His birth (for his mother was

the sister of Theodoric) might be considered as an imperfect title; and the

choice of Amalasontha was more strongly directed by her contempt of his

avarice and pusillanimity which had deprived him of the love of the Italians,

and the esteem of the Barbarians.  But Theodatus was exasperated by the

contempt which he deserved: her justice had repressed and reproached the

oppression which he exercised against his Tuscan neighbors; and the principal

Goths, united by common guilt and resentment, conspired to instigate his slow

and timid disposition.  The letters of congratulation were scarcely despatched

before the queen of Italy was imprisoned in a small island of the Lake of

Bolsena, ^55 where, after a short confinement, she was strangled in the bath,

by the order, or with the connivance of the new king, who instructed his

turbulent subjects to shed the blood of their sovereigns.

 

[Footnote 52: For the reign and character of Amalasontha, see Procopius,

(Gothic, l. i. c. 2, 3, 4, and Anecdot. c. 16, with the Notes of Alemannus,)

Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. xi. x. and xi. l,) and Jornandes, (De Rebus Geticis,

c. 59, and De Successione Regnorum, in Muratori, tom. i. p. 241.)]

 

[Footnote 53: The marriage of Theodoric with Audefleda, the sister of Clovis

may be placed in the year 495, soon after the conquest of Italy, (Du Buat,

Hist. des Peuples, tom. ix. p. 213.) The nuptials of Eutharic and Amalasontha

were celebrated in 515, (Cassiodor. in Chron. p. 453.)]

 

[Footnote 54: At the death of Theodoric, his grandson Athalaric is described

by Procopius as a boy about eight years old.  Cassiodorus, with authority and

reason adds two years to his age - infantulum adhuc vix decennem.]

 

[Footnote 55: The lake, from the neighboring towns of Etruria, was styled

either Vulsiniensis (now of Bolsena) or Tarquiniensis.  It is surrounded with

white rocks, and stored with fish and wild-fowl.  The younger Pliny (Epist.

ii. 96) celebrates two woody islands that floated on its waters: if a fable,

how credulous the ancients!  if a fact, how careless the moderns!  Yet, since

Pliny, the island may have been fixed by new and gradual accessions.]

 

     Justinian beheld with joy the dissensions of the Goths; and the mediation

of an ally concealed and promoted the ambitious views of the conqueror.  His

ambassadors, in their public audience, demanded the fortress of Lilybaeum, ten

Barbarian fugitives, and a just compensation for the pillage of a small town

on the Illyrian borders; but they secretly negotiated with Theodatus to betray

the province of Tuscany, and tempted Amalasontha to extricate herself from

danger and perplexity, by a free surrender of the kingdom of Italy.  A false

and servile epistle was subscribed, by the reluctant hand of the captive

queen: but the confession of the Roman senators, who were sent to

Constantinople, revealed the truth of her deplorable situation; and Justinian,

by the voice of a new ambassador, most powerfully interceded for her life and

liberty. ^* Yet the secret instructions of the same minister were adapted to

serve the cruel jealousy of Theodora, who dreaded the presence and superior

charms of a rival: he prompted, with artful and ambiguous hints, the execution

of a crime so useful to the Romans; ^56 received the intelligence of her death

with grief and indignation, and denounced, in his master's name, immortal war

against the perfidious assassin.  In Italy, as well as in Africa, the guilt of

a usurper appeared to justify the arms of Justinian; but the forces which he

prepared, were insufficient for the subversion of a mighty kingdom, if their

feeble numbers had not been multiplied by the name, the spirit, and the

conduct, of a hero.  A chosen troop of guards, who served on horseback, and

were armed with lances and bucklers, attended the person of Belisarius; his

cavalry was composed of two hundred Huns, three hundred Moors, and four

thousand confederates, and the infantry consisted of only three thousand

saurians. Steering the same course as in his former expedition, the Roman

consul cast anchor before Catana in Sicily, to survey the strength of the

island, and to decide whether he should attempt the conquest, or peaceably

pursue his voyage for the African coast.  He found a fruitful land and a

friendly people. Notwithstanding the decay of agriculture, Sicily still

supplied the granaries of Rome: the farmers were graciously exempted from the

oppression of military quarters; and the Goths, who trusted the defence of the

island to the inhabitants, had some reason to complain, that their confidence

was ungratefully betrayed.  Instead of soliciting and expecting the aid of the

king of Italy, they yielded to the first summons a cheerful obedience; and

this province, the first fruits of the Punic war, was again, after a long

separation, united to the Roman empire. ^57 The Gothic garrison of Palermo,

which alone attempted to resist, was reduced, after a short siege, by a

singular stratagem.  Belisarius introduced his ships into the deepest recess

of the harbor; their boats were laboriously hoisted with ropes and pulleys to

the top-mast head, and he filled them with archers, who, from that superior

station, commanded the ramparts of the city.  After this easy, though

successful campaign, the conqueror entered Syracuse in triumph, at the head of

his victorious bands, distributing gold medals to the people, on the day which

so gloriously terminated the year of the consulship.  He passed the winter

season in the palace of ancient kings, amidst the ruins of a Grecian colony,

which once extended to a circumference of two-and-twenty miles: ^58 but in the

spring, about the festival of Easter, the prosecution of his designs was

interrupted by a dangerous revolt of the African forces. Carthage was saved by

the presence of Belisarius, who suddenly landed with a thousand guards. ^* Two

thousand soldiers of doubtful faith returned to the standard of their old

commander: and he marched, without hesitation, above fifty miles, to seek an

enemy whom he affected to pity and despise.  Eight thousand rebels trembled at

his approach; they were routed at the first onset, by the dexterity of their

master: and this ignoble victory would have restored the peace of Africa, if

the conqueror had not been hastily recalled to Sicily, to appease a sedition

which was kindled during his absence in his own camp. ^59 Disorder and

disobedience were the common malady of the times; the genius to command, and

the virtue to obey, resided only in the mind of Belisarius.

 

[Footnote *: Amalasontha was not alive when this new ambassador, Peter of

Thessalonica, arrived in Italy: he could not then secretly contribute to her

death.  "But (says M. de Sainte Croix) it is not beyond probability that

Theodora had entered into some criminal intrigue with Gundelina; for that wife

of Theodatus wrote to implore her protection, reminding her of the confidence

which she and her husband had always placed in her former promises." See on

Amalasontha and the authors of her death an excellent dissertation of M. de

Sainte Croix in the Archives Litteraires published by M. Vandenbourg, No. 50,

t. xvii. p 216. - G.]

 

[Footnote 56: Yet Procopius discredits his own evidence, (Anecdot. c. 16,) by

confessing that in his public history he had not spoken the truth.  See the

Epistles from Queen Gundelina to the Empress Theodora, (Var. x. 20, 21, 23,

and observe a suspicious word, de illa persona, &c.,) with the elaborate

Commentary of Buat, (tom. x. p. 117 - 185.)]

 

[Footnote 57: For the conquest of Sicily, compare the narrative of Procopius

with the complaints of Totila, (Gothic. l. i. c. 5, l. iii. c. 16.) The Gothic

queen had lately relieved that thankless island, (Var. ix. 10, 11.)]

 

[Footnote 58: The ancient magnitude and splendor of the five quarters of

Syracuse are delineated by Cicero, (in Verrem, actio ii. l. iv. c. 52, 53.)

Strabo, (l. vi. p. 415,) and D'Orville Sicula, (tom. ii. p. 174 - 202.) The

new city, restored by Augustus, shrunk towards the island.]

 

[Footnote *: A hundred, (there was no room on board for more.) Gibon has been

misled by Cousin's translation.  Lord Mahon, p. 157 - M.]

 

[Footnote 59: Procopius (Vandal. l. ii. c. 14, 15) so clearly relates the

return of Belisarius into Sicily, (p. 146, edit. Hoeschelli,) that I am

astonished at the strange misapprehension and reproaches of a learned critic

(Ceuvres de la Mothe le Vayer, tom. viii. p. 162. 163.)]

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