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

Part 12 out of 14

human brute is scarcely distinguishable above his kindred
animals; and the numerous sect of Anachorets derived their name
from their humble practice of grazing in the fields of
Mesopotamia with the common herd. ^68 They often usurped the den
of some wild beast whom they affected to resemble; they buried
themselves in some gloomy cavern, which art or nature had scooped
out of the rock; and the marble quarries of Thebais are still
inscribed with the monuments of their penance. ^69 The most
perfect Hermits are supposed to have passed many days without
food, many nights without sleep, and many years without speaking;
and glorious was the man ( I abuse that name) who contrived any
cell, or seat, of a peculiar construction, which might expose
him, in the most inconvenient posture, to the inclemency of the

[Footnote 65: For the distinction of the Coenobites and the
Hermits, especially in Egypt, see Jerom, (tom. i. p. 45, ad
Rusticum,) the first Dialogue of Sulpicius Severus, Rufinus, (c.
22, in Vit. Patrum, l. ii. p. 478,) Palladius, (c. 7, 69, in Vit.
Patrum, l. viii. p. 712, 758,) and, above all, the eighteenth and
nineteenth Collations of Cassian. These writers, who compare the
common and solitary life, reveal the abuse and danger of the

[Footnote 66: Suicer. Thesaur. Ecclesiast. tom. ii. p. 205, 218.
Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 1501, 1502) gives a
good account of these cells. When Gerasimus founded his
monastery in the wilderness of Jordan, it was accompanied by a
Laura of seventy cells.]

[Footnote 67: Theodoret, in a large volume, (the Philotheus in
Vit. Patrum, l. ix. p. 793 - 863,) has collected the lives and
miracles of thirty Anachorets. Evagrius (l. i. c. 12) more
briefly celebrates the monks and hermits of Palestine.]

[Footnote 68: Sozomen, l. vi. c. 33. The great St. Ephrem
composed a panegyric on these or grazing monks, (Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom. viii. p. 292.)]

[Footnote 69: The P. Sicard (Missions du Levant, tom. ii. p. 217
- 233) examined the caverns of the Lower Thebais with wonder and
devotion. The inscriptions are in the old Syriac character,
which was used by the Christians of Abyssinia.]

Among these heroes of the monastic life, the name and genius
of Simeon Stylites ^70 have been immortalized by the singular
invention of an aerial penance. At the age of thirteen, the
young Syrian deserted the profession of a shepherd, and threw
himself into an austere monastery. After a long and painful
novitiate, in which Simeon was repeatedly saved from pious
suicide, he established his residence on a mountain, about thirty
or forty miles to the east of Antioch. Within the space of a
mandra, or circle of stones, to which he had attached himself by
a ponderous chain, he ascended a column, which was successively
raised from the height of nine, to that of sixty, feet from the
ground. ^71 In this last and lofty station, the Syrian Anachoret
resisted the heat of thirty summers, and the cold of as many
winters. Habit and exercise instructed him to maintain his
dangerous situation without fear or giddiness, and successively
to assume the different postures of devotion. He sometimes
prayed in an erect attitude, with his outstretched arms in the
figure of a cross, but his most familiar practice was that of
bending his meagre skeleton from the forehead to the feet; and a
curious spectator, after numbering twelve hundred and forty- four
repetitions, at length desisted from the endless account. The
progress of an ulcer in his thigh ^72 might shorten, but it could
not disturb, this celestial life; and the patient Hermit expired,
without descending from his column. A prince, who should
capriciously inflict such tortures, would be deemed a tyrant; but
it would surpass the power of a tyrant to impose a long and
miserable existence on the reluctant victims of his cruelty.
This voluntary martyrdom must have gradually destroyed the
sensibility both of the mind and body; nor can it be presumed
that the fanatics, who torment themselves, are susceptible of any
lively affection for the rest of mankind. A cruel, unfeeling
temper has distinguiseed the monks of every age and country:
their stern indifference, which is seldom mollified by personal
friendship, is inflamed by religious hatred; and their merciless
zeal has strenuously administered the holy office of the
[Footnote 70: See Theodoret (in Vit. Patrum, l. ix. p. 848 -
854,) Antony, (in Vit. Patrum, l. i. p. 170 - 177,) Cosmas, (in
Asseman. Bibliot. Oriental tom. i. p. 239 - 253,) Evagrius, (l.
i. c. 13, 14,) and Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xv. p. 347 -

[Footnote 71: The narrow circumference of two cubits, or three
feet, which Evagrius assigns for the summit of the column is
inconsistent with reason, with facts, and with the rules of
architecture. The people who saw it from below might be easily

[Footnote 72: I must not conceal a piece of ancient scandal
concerning the origin of this ulcer. It has been reported that
the Devil, assuming an angelic form, invited him to ascend, like
Elijah, into a fiery chariot. The saint too hastily raised his
foot, and Satan seized the moment of inflicting this chastisement
on his vanity.]

The monastic saints, who excite only the contempt and pity
of a philosopher, were respected, and almost adored, by the
prince and people. Successive crowds of pilgrims from Gaul and
India saluted the divine pillar of Simeon: the tribes of Saracens
disputed in arms the honor of his benediction; the queens of
Arabia and Persia gratefully confessed his supernatural virtue;
and the angelic Hermit was consulted by the younger Theodosius,
in the most important concerns of the church and state. His
remains were transported from the mountain of Telenissa, by a
solemn procession of the patriarch, the master-general of the
East, six bishops, twenty-one counts or tribunes, and six
thousand soldiers; and Antioch revered his bones, as her glorious
ornament and impregnable defence. The fame of the apostles and
martyrs was gradually eclipsed by these recent and popular
Anachorets; the Christian world fell prostrate before their
shrines; and the miracles ascribed to their relics exceeded, at
least in number and duration, the spiritual exploits of their
lives. But the golden legend of their lives ^73 was embellished
by the artful credulity of their interested brethren; and a
believing age was easily persuaded, that the slightest caprice of
an Egyptian or a Syrian monk had been sufficient to interrupt the
eternal laws of the universe. The favorites of Heaven were
accustomed to cure inveterate diseases with a touch, a word, or a
distant message; and to expel the most obstinate demons from the
souls or bodies which they possessed. They familiarly accosted,
or imperiously commanded, the lions and serpents of the desert;
infused vegetation into a sapless trunk; suspended iron on the
surface of the water; passed the Nile on the back of a crocodile,
and refreshed themselves in a fiery furnace. These extravagant
tales, which display the fiction without the genius, of poetry,
have seriously affected the reason, the faith, and the morals, of
the Christians. Their credulity debased and vitiated the
faculties of the mind: they corrupted the evidence of history;
and superstition gradually extinguished the hostile light of
philosophy and science. Every mode of religious worship which
had been practised by the saints, every mysterious doctrine which
they believed, was fortified by the sanction of divine
revelation, and all the manly virtues were oppressed by the
servile and pusillanimous reign of the monks. If it be possible
to measure the interval between the philosophic writings of
Cicero and the sacred legend of Theodoret, between the character
of Cato and that of Simeon, we may appreciate the memorable
revolution which was accomplished in the Roman empire within a
period of five hundred years.

[Footnote 73: I know not how to select or specify the miracles
contained in the Vitae Patrum of Rosweyde, as the number very
much exceeds the thousand pages of that voluminous work. An
elegant specimen may be found in the dialogues of Sulpicius
Severus, and his Life of St. Martin. He reveres the monks of
Egypt; yet he insults them with the remark, that they never
raised the dead; whereas the bishop of Tours had restored three
dead men to life.]
II. The progress of Christianity has been marked by two
glorious and decisive victories: over the learned and luxurious
citizens of the Roman empire; and over the warlike Barbarians of
Scythia and Germany, who subverted the empire, and embraced the
religion, of the Romans. The Goths were the foremost of these
savage proselytes; and the nation was indebted for its conversion
to a countryman, or, at least, to a subject, worthy to be ranked
among the inventors of useful arts, who have deserved the
remembrance and gratitude of posterity. A great number of Roman
provincials had been led away into captivity by the Gothic bands,
who ravaged Asia in the time of Gallienus; and of these captives,
many were Christians, and several belonged to the ecclesiastical
order. Those involuntary missionaries, dispersed as slaves in
the villages of Dacia, successively labored for the salvation of
their masters. The seeds which they planted, of the evangelic
doctrine, were gradually propagated; and before the end of a
century, the pious work was achieved by the labors of Ulphilas,
whose ancestors had been transported beyond the Danube from a
small town of Cappadocia.

Ulphilas, the bishop and apostle of the Goths, ^74 acquired
their love and reverence by his blameless life and indefatigable
zeal; and they received, with implicit confidence, the doctrines
of truth and virtue which he preached and practised. He executed
the arduous task of translating the Scriptures into their native
tongue, a dialect of the German or Teutonic language; but he
prudently suppressed the four books of Kings, as they might tend
to irritate the fierce and sanguinary spirit of the Barbarians.
The rude, imperfect idiom of soldiers and shepherds, so ill
qualified to communicate any spiritual ideas, was improved and
modulated by his genius: and Ulphilas, before he could frame his
version, was obliged to compose a new alphabet of twenty-four
letters; ^* four of which he invented, to express the peculiar
sounds that were unknown to the Greek and Latin pronunciation.
^75 But the prosperous state of the Gothic church was soon
afflicted by war and intestine discord, and the chieftains were
divided by religion as well as by interest. Fritigern, the friend
of the Romans, became the proselyte of Ulphilas; while the
haughty soul of Athanaric disdained the yoke of the empire and of
the gospel The faith of the new converts was tried by the
persecution which he excited. A wagon, bearing aloft the
shapeless image of Thor, perhaps, or of Woden, was conducted in
solemn procession through the streets of the camp; and the
rebels, who refused to worship the god of their fathers, were
immediately burnt, with their tents and families. The character
of Ulphilas recommended him to the esteem of the Eastern court,
where he twice appeared as the minister of peace; he pleaded the
cause of the distressed Goths, who implored the protection of
Valens; and the name of Moses was applied to this spiritual
guide, who conducted his people through the deep waters of the
Danube to the Land of Promise. ^76 The devout shepherds, who were
attached to his person, and tractable to his voice, acquiesced in
their settlement, at the foot of the Maesian mountains, in a
country of woodlands and pastures, which supported their flocks
and herds, and enabled them to purchase the corn and wine of the
more plentiful provinces. These harmless Barbarians multiplied
in obscure peace and the profession of Christianity. ^77

[Footnote 74: On the subject of Ulphilas, and the conversion of
the Goths, see Sozomen, l. vi. c. 37. Socrates, l. iv. c. 33.
Theodoret, l. iv. c. 37. Philostorg. l. ii. c. 5. The heresy of
Philostorgius appears to have given him superior means of

[Footnote *: This is the Moeso-Gothic alphabet of which many of
the letters are evidently formed from the Greek and Roman. M.
St. Martin, however contends, that it is impossible but that some
written alphabet must have been known long before among the
Goths. He supposes that their former letters were those
inscribed on the runes, which, being inseparably connected with
the old idolatrous superstitions, were proscribed by the
Christian missionaries. Everywhere the runes, so common among all
the German tribes, disappear after the propagation of
Christianity. S. Martin iv. p. 97, 98. - M.]
[Footnote 75: A mutilated copy of the four Gospels, in the Gothic
version, was published A.D. 1665, and is esteemed the most
ancient monument of the Teutonic language, though Wetstein
attempts, by some frivolous conjectures, to deprive Ulphilas of
the honor of the work. Two of the four additional letters
express the W, and our own Th. See Simon, Hist. Critique du
Nouveau Testament, tom ii. p. 219 - 223. Mill. Prolegom p. 151,
edit. Kuster. Wetstein, Prolegom. tom. i. p. 114.

Note: The Codex Argenteus, found in the sixteenth century at
Wenden, near Cologne, and now preserved at Upsal, contains almost
the entire four Gospels. The best edition is that of J. Christ.
Zahn, Weissenfels, 1805. In 1762 Knettel discovered and
published from a Palimpsest MS. four chapters of the Epistle to
the Romans: they were reprinted at Upsal, 1763. M. Mai has since
that time discovered further fragments, and other remains of
Moeso-Gothic literature, from a Palimpsest at Milan. See
Ulphilae partium inedi arum in Ambrosianis Palimpsestis ab Ang.
Maio repertarum specimen Milan. Ito. 1819. - M.]

[Footnote 76: Philostorgius erroneously places this passage under
the reign of Constantine; but I am much inclined to believe that
it preceded the great emigration.]

[Footnote 77: We are obliged to Jornandes (de Reb. Get. c. 51, p.
688) for a short and lively picture of these lesser Goths. Gothi
minores, populus immensus, cum suo Pontifice ipsoque primate
Wulfila. The last words, if they are not mere tautology, imply
some temporal jurisdiction.]
Their fiercer brethren, the formidable Visigoths,
universally adopted the religion of the Romans, with whom they
maintained a perpetual intercourse, of war, of friendship, or of
conquest. In their long and victorious march from the Danube to
the Atlantic Ocean, they converted their allies; they educated
the rising generation; and the devotion which reigned in the camp
of Alaric, or the court of Thoulouse, might edify or disgrace the
palaces of Rome and Constantinople. ^78 During the same period,
Christianity was embraced by almost all the Barbarians, who
established their kingdoms on the ruins of the Western empire;
the Burgundians in Gaul, the Suevi in Spain, the Vandals in
Africa, the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, and the various bands of
mercenaries, that raised Odoacer to the throne of Italy. The
Franks and the Saxons still persevered in the errors of Paganism;
but the Franks obtained the monarchy of Gaul by their submission
to the example of Clovis; and the Saxon conquerors of Britain
were reclaimed from their savage superstition by the missionaries
of Rome. These Barbarian proselytes displayed an ardent and
successful zeal in the propagation of the faith. The Merovingian
kings, and their successors, Charlemagne and the Othos, extended,
by their laws and victories, the dominion of the cross. England
produced the apostle of Germany; and the evangelic light was
gradually diffused from the neighborhood of the Rhine, to the
nations of the Elbe, the Vistula, and the Baltic. ^79

[Footnote 78: At non ita Gothi non ita Vandali; malis licet
doctoribus instituti meliores tamen etiam in hac parte quam
nostri. Salvian, de Gubern, Dei, l. vii. p. 243.]

[Footnote 79: Mosheim has slightly sketched the progress of
Christianity in the North, from the fourth to the fourteenth
century. The subject would afford materials for an
ecclesiastical and even philosophical, history]

Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.
Part III.

The different motives which influenced the reason, or the
passions, of the Barbarian converts, cannot easily be
ascertained. They were often capricious and accidental; a dream,
an omen, the report of a miracle, the example of some priest, or
hero, the charms of a believing wife, and, above all, the
fortunate event of a prayer, or vow, which, in a moment of
danger, they had addressed to the God of the Christians. ^80 The
early prejudices of education were insensibly erased by the
habits of frequent and familiar society, the moral precepts of
the gospel were protected by the extravagant virtues of the
monks; and a spiritual theology was supported by the visible
power of relics, and the pomp of religious worship. But the
rational and ingenious mode of persuasion, which a Saxon bishop
^81 suggested to a popular saint, might sometimes be employed by
the missionaries, who labored for the conversion of infidels.
"Admit," says the sagacious disputant, "whatever they are pleased
to assert of the fabulous, and carnal, genealogy of their gods
and goddesses, who are propagated from each other. From this
principle deduce their imperfect nature, and human infirmities,
the assurance they were born, and the probability that they will
die. At what time, by what means, from what cause, were the
eldest of the gods or goddesses produced? Do they still
continue, or have they ceased, to propagate? If they have
ceased, summon your antagonists to declare the reason of this
strange alteration. If they still continue, the number of the
gods must become infinite; and shall we not risk, by the
indiscreet worship of some impotent deity, to excite the
resentment of his jealous superior? The visible heavens and
earth, the whole system of the universe, which may be conceived
by the mind, is it created or eternal? If created, how, or
where, could the gods themselves exist before creation? If
eternal, how could they assume the empire of an independent and
preexisting world? Urge these arguments with temper and
moderation; insinuate, at seasonable intervals, the truth and
beauty of the Christian revelation; and endeavor to make the
unbelievers ashamed, without making them angry." This
metaphysical reasoning, too refined, perhaps, for the Barbarians
of Germany, was fortified by the grosser weight of authority and
popular consent. The advantage of temporal prosperity had
deserted the Pagan cause, and passed over to the service of
Christianity. The Romans themselves, the most powerful and
enlightened nation of the globe, had renounced their ancient
superstition; and, if the ruin of their empire seemed to accuse
the efficacy of the new faith, the disgrace was already retrieved
by the conversion of the victorious Goths. The valiant and
fortunate Barbarians, who subdued the provinces of the West,
successively received, and reflected, the same edifying example.
Before the age of Charlemagne, the Christian nations of Europe
might exult in the exclusive possession of the temperate
climates, of the fertile lands, which produced corn, wine, and
oil; while the savage idolaters, and their helpless idols, were
confined to the extremities of the earth, the dark and frozen
regions of the North. ^82

[Footnote 80: To such a cause has Socrates (l. vii. c. 30)
ascribed the conversion of the Burgundians, whose Christian piety
is celebrated by Orosius, (l. vii. c. 19.)]

[Footnote 81: See an original and curious epistle from Daniel,
the first bishop of Winchester, (Beda, Hist. Eccles. Anglorum, l.
v. c. 18, p. 203, edit Smith,) to St. Boniface, who preached the
gospel among the savages of Hesse and Thuringia. Epistol.
Bonifacii, lxvii., in the Maxima Bibliotheca Patrum, tom. xiii.
p. 93]

[Footnote 82: The sword of Charlemagne added weight to the
argument; but when Daniel wrote this epistle, (A.D. 723,) the
Mahometans, who reigned from India to Spain, might have retorted
it against the Christians.]

Christianity, which opened the gates of Heaven to the
Barbarians, introduced an important change in their moral and
political condition. They received, at the same time, the use of
letters, so essential to a religion whose doctrines are contained
in a sacred book; and while they studied the divine truth, their
minds were insensibly enlarged by the distant view of history, of
nature, of the arts, and of society. The version of the
Scriptures into their native tongue, which had facilitated their
conversion, must excite among their clergy some curiosity to read
the original text, to understand the sacred liturgy of the
church, and to examine, in the writings of the fathers, the chain
of ecclesiastical tradition. These spiritual gifts were
preserved in the Greek and Latin languages, which concealed the
inestimable monuments of ancient learning. The immortal
productions of Virgil, Cicero, and Livy, which were accessible to
the Christian Barbarians, maintained a silent intercourse between
the reign of Augustus and the times of Clovis and Charlemagne.
The emulation of mankind was encouraged by the remembrance of a
more perfect state; and the flame of science was secretly kept
alive, to warm and enlighten the mature age of the Western world.

In the most corrupt state of Christianity, the Barbarians might
learn justice from the law, and mercy from the gospel; and if the
knowledge of their duty was insufficient to guide their actions,
or to regulate their passions, they were sometimes restrained by
conscience, and frequently punished by remorse. But the direct
authority of religion was less effectual than the holy communion,
which united them with their Christian brethren in spiritual
friendship. The influence of these sentiments contributed to
secure their fidelity in the service, or the alliance, of the
Romans, to alleviate the horrors of war, to moderate the
insolence of conquest, and to preserve, in the downfall of the
empire, a permanent respect for the name and institutions of
Rome. In the days of Paganism, the priests of Gaul and Germany
reigned over the people, and controlled the jurisdiction of the
magistrates; and the zealous proselytes transferred an equal, or
more ample, measure of devout obedience, to the pontiffs of the
Christian faith. The sacred character of the bishops was
supported by their temporal possessions; they obtained an
honorable seat in the legislative assemblies of soldiers and
freemen; and it was their interest, as well as their duty, to
mollify, by peaceful counsels, the fierce spirit of the
Barbarians. The perpetual correspondence of the Latin clergy,
the frequent pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem, and the growing
authority of the popes, cemented the union of the Christian
republic, and gradually produced the similar manners, and common
jurisprudence, which have distinguished, from the rest of
mankind, the independent, and even hostile, nations of modern

But the operation of these causes was checked and retarded
by the unfortunate accident, which infused a deadly poison into
the cup of Salvation. Whatever might be the early sentiments of
Ulphilas, his connections with the empire and the church were
formed during the reign of Arianism. The apostle of the Goths
subscribed the creed of Rimini; professed with freedom, and
perhaps with sincerity, that the Son was not equal, or
consubstantial to the Father; ^83 communicated these errors to
the clergy and people; and infected the Barbaric world with a
heresy, ^84 which the great Theodosius proscribed and
extinguished among the Romans. The temper and understanding of
the new proselytes were not adapted to metaphysical subtilties;
but they strenuously maintained, what they had piously received,
as the pure and genuine doctrines of Christianity. The advantage
of preaching and expounding the Scriptures in the Teutonic
language promoted the apostolic labors of Ulphilas and his
successors; and they ordained a competent number of bishops and
presbyters for the instruction of the kindred tribes. The
Ostrogoths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals, who had
listened to the eloquence of the Latin clergy, ^85 preferred the
more intelligible lessons of their domestic teachers; and
Arianism was adopted as the national faith of the warlike
converts, who were seated on the ruins of the Western empire.
This irreconcilable difference of religion was a perpetual source
of jealousy and hatred; and the reproach of Barbarian was
imbittered by the more odious epithet of Heretic. The heroes of
the North, who had submitted, with some reluctance, to believe
that all their ancestors were in hell, ^86 were astonished and
exasperated to learn, that they themselves had only changed the
mode of their eternal condemnation. Instead of the smooth
applause, which Christian kings are accustomed to expect from
their royal prelates, the orthodox bishops and their clergy were
in a state of opposition to the Arian courts; and their
indiscreet opposition frequently became criminal, and might
sometimes be dangerous. ^87 The pulpit, that safe and sacred
organ of sedition, resounded with the names of Pharaoh and
Holofernes; ^88 the public discontent was inflamed by the hope or
promise of a glorious deliverance; and the seditious saints were
tempted to promote the accomplishment of their own predictions.
Notwithstanding these provocations, the Catholics of Gaul, Spain,
and Italy, enjoyed, under the reign of the Arians, the free and
peaceful exercise of their religion. Their haughty masters
respected the zeal of a numerous people, resolved to die at the
foot of their altars; and the example of their devout constancy
was admired and imitated by the Barbarians themselves. The
conquerors evaded, however, the disgraceful reproach, or
confession, of fear, by attributing their toleration to the
liberal motives of reason and humanity; and while they affected
the language, they imperceptiby imbibed the spirit, of genuine

[Footnote 83: The opinions of Ulphilas and the Goths inclined to
semi- Arianism, since they would not say that the Son was a
creature, though they held communion with those who maintained
that heresy. Their apostle represented the whole controversy as
a question of trifling moment, which had been raised by the
passions of the clergy. Theodoret l. iv. c. 37.]
[Footnote 84: The Arianism of the Goths has been imputed to the
emperor Valens: "Itaque justo Dei judicio ipsi eum vivum
incenderunt, qui propter eum etiam mortui, vitio erroris arsuri
sunt." Orosius, l. vii. c. 33, p. 554. This cruel sentence is
confirmed by Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 604 - 610,) who
coolly observes, "un seul homme entraina dans l'enfer un nombre
infini de Septentrionaux, &c." Salvian (de Gubern. Dei, l. v p.
150, 151) pities and excuses their involuntary error.]

[Footnote 85: Orosius affirms, in the year 416, (l. vii. c. 41,
p. 580,) that the Churches of Christ (of the Catholics) were
filled with Huns, Suevi, Vandals, Burgundians.]

[Footnote 86: Radbod, king of the Frisons, was so much
scandalized by this rash declaration of a missionary, that he
drew back his foot after he had entered the baptismal font. See
Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. ix p. 167.]
[Footnote 87: The epistles of Sidonius, bishop of Clermont, under
the Visigotha, and of Avitus, bishop of Vienna, under the
Burgundians, explain sometimes in dark hints, the general
dispositions of the Catholics. The history of Clovis and
Theodoric will suggest some particular facts]
[Footnote 88: Genseric confessed the resemblance, by the severity
with which he punished such indiscreet allusions. Victor
Vitensis, l. 7, p. 10.]
The peace of the church was sometimes interrupted. The
Catholics were indiscreet, the Barbarians were impatient; and the
partial acts of severity or injustice, which had been recommended
by the Arian clergy, were exaggerated by the orthodox writers.
The guilt of persecution may be imputed to Euric, king of the
Visigoths; who suspended the exercise of ecclesiastical, or, at
least, of episcopal functions; and punished the popular bishops
of Aquitain with imprisonment, exile, and confiscation. ^89 But
the cruel and absurd enterprise of subduing the minds of a whole
people was undertaken by the Vandals alone. Genseric himself, in
his early youth, had renounced the orthodox communion; and the
apostate could neither grant, nor expect, a sincere forgiveness.
He was exasperated to find that the Africans, who had fled before
him in the field, still presumed to dispute his will in synods
and churches; and his ferocious mind was incapable of fear or of
compassion. His Catholic subjects were oppressed by intolerant
laws and arbitrary punishments. The language of Genseric was
furious and formidable; the knowledge of his intentions might
justify the most unfavorable interpretation of his actions; and
the Arians were reproached with the frequent executions which
stained the palace and the dominions of the tyrant. Arms and
ambition were, however, the ruling passions of the monarch of the
sea. But Hunneric, his inglorious son, who seemed to inherit
only his vices, tormented the Catholics with the same unrelenting
fury which had been fatal to his brother, his nephews, and the
friends and favorites of his father; and even to the Arian
patriarch, who was inhumanly burnt alive in the midst of
Carthage. The religious war was preceded and prepared by an
insidious truce; persecution was made the serious and important
business of the Vandal court; and the loathsome disease which
hastened the death of Hunneric, revenged the injuries, without
contributing to the deliverance, of the church. The throne of
Africa was successively filled by the two nephews of Hunneric; by
Gundamund, who reigned about twelve, and by Thrasimund, who
governed the nation about twenty-seven, years. Their
administration was hostile and oppressive to the orthodox party.
Gundamund appeared to emulate, or even to surpass, the cruelty of
his uncle; and, if at length he relented, if he recalled the
bishops, and restored the freedom of Athanasian worship, a
premature death intercepted the benefits of his tardy clemency.
His brother, Thrasimund, was the greatest and most accomplished
of the Vandal kings, whom he excelled in beauty, prudence, and
magnanimity of soul. But this magnanimous character was degraded
by his intolerant zeal and deceitful clemency. Instead of
threats and tortures, he employed the gentle, but efficacious,
powers of seduction. Wealth, dignity, and the royal favor, were
the liberal rewards of apostasy; the Catholics, who had violated
the laws, might purchase their pardon by the renunciation of
their faith; and whenever Thrasimund meditated any rigorous
measure, he patiently waited till the indiscretion of his
adversaries furnished him with a specious opportunity. Bigotry
was his last sentiment in the hour of death; and he exacted from
his successor a solemn oath, that he would never tolerate the
sectaries of Athanasius. But his successor, Hilderic, the gentle
son of the savage Hunneric, preferred the duties of humanity and
justice to the vain obligation of an impious oath; and his
accession was gloriously marked by the restoration of peace and
universal freedom. The throne of that virtuous, though feeble
monarch, was usurped by his cousin Gelimer, a zealous Arian: but
the Vandal kingdom, before he could enjoy or abuse his power, was
subverted by the arms of Belisarius; and the orthodox party
retaliated the injuries which they had endured. ^90

[Footnote 89: Such are the contemporary complaints of Sidonius,
bishop of Clermont (l. vii. c. 6, p. 182, &c., edit. Sirmond.)
Gregory of Tours who quotes this Epistle, (l. ii. c. 25, in tom.
ii. p. 174,) extorts an unwarrantable assertion, that of the nine
vacancies in Aquitain, some had been produced by episcopal

[Footnote 90: The original monuments of the Vandal persecution
are preserved in the five books of the history of Victor
Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandalica,) a bishop who was exiled by
Hunneric; in the life of St. Fulgentius, who was distinguished in
the persecution of Thrasimund (in Biblioth. Max. Patrum, tom. ix.
p. 4 - 16;) and in the first book of the Vandalic War, by the
impartial Procopius, (c. 7, 8, p. 196, 197, 198, 199.) Dom
Ruinart, the last editor of Victor, has illustrated the whole
subject with a copious and learned apparatus of notes and
supplement (Paris, 1694.)]
The passionate declamations of the Catholics, the sole
historians of this persecution, cannot afford any distinct series
of causes and events; any impartial view of the characters, or
counsels; but the most remarkable circumstances that deserve
either credit or notice, may be referred to the following heads;
I. In the original law, which is still extant, ^91 Hunneric
expressly declares, (and the declaration appears to be correct,)
that he had faithfully transcribed the regulations and penalties
of the Imperial edicts, against the heretical congregations, the
clergy, and the people, who dissented from the established
religion. If the rights of conscience had been understood, the
Catholics must have condemned their past conduct or acquiesced in
their actual suffering. But they still persisted to refuse the
indulgence which they claimed. While they trembled under the
lash of persecution, they praised the laudable severity of
Hunneric himself, who burnt or banished great numbers of
Manichaeans; ^92 and they rejected, with horror, the ignominious
compromise, that the disciples of Arius and of Athanasius should
enjoy a reciprocal and similar toleration in the territories of
the Romans, and in those of the Vandals. ^93 II. The practice of
a conference, which the Catholics had so frequently used to
insult and punish their obstinate antagonists, was retorted
against themselves. ^94 At the command of Hunneric, four hundred
and sixty-six orthodox bishops assembled at Carthage; but when
they were admitted into the hall of audience, they had the
mortification of beholding the Arian Cyrila exalted on the
patriarchal throne. The disputants were separated, after the
mutual and ordinary reproaches of noise and silence, of delay and
precipitation, of military force and of popular clamor. One
martyr and one confessor were selected among the Catholic
bishops; twenty- eight escaped by flight, and eighty-eight by
conformity; forty-six were sent into Corsica to cut timber for
the royal navy; and three hundred and two were banished to the
different parts of Africa, exposed to the insults of their
enemies, and carefully deprived of all the temporal and spiritual
comforts of life. ^95 The hardships of ten years' exile must have
reduced their numbers; and if they had complied with the law of
Thrasimund, which prohibited any episcopal consecrations, the
orthodox church of Africa must have expired with the lives of its
actual members. They disobeyed, and their disobedience was
punished by a second exile of two hundred and twenty bishops into
Sardinia; where they languished fifteen years, till the accession
of the gracious Hilderic. ^96 The two islands were judiciously
chosen by the malice of their Arian tyrants. Seneca, from his
own experience, has deplored and exaggerated the miserable state
of Corsica, ^97 and the plenty of Sardinia was overbalanced by
the unwholesome quality of the air. ^98 III. The zeal of Generic
and his successors, for the conversion of the Catholics, must
have rendered them still more jealous to guard the purity of the
Vandal faith. Before the churches were finally shut, it was a
crime to appear in a Barbarian dress; and those who presumed to
neglect the royal mandate were rudely dragged backwards by their
long hair. ^99 The palatine officers, who refused to profess the
religion of their prince, were ignominiously stripped of their
honors and employments; banished to Sardinia and Sicily; or
condemned to the servile labors of slaves and peasants in the
fields of Utica. In the districts which had been peculiarly
allotted to the Vandals, the exercise of the Catholic worship was
more strictly prohibited; and severe penalties were denounced
against the guilt both of the missionary and the proselyte. By
these arts, the faith of the Barbarians was preserved, and their
zeal was inflamed: they discharged, with devout fury, the office
of spies, informers, or executioners; and whenever their cavalry
took the field, it was the favorite amusement of the march to
defile the churches, and to insult the clergy of the adverse
faction. ^100 IV. The citizens who had been educated in the
luxury of the Roman province, were delivered, with exquisite
cruelty, to the Moors of the desert. A venerable train of
bishops, presbyters, and deacons, with a faithful crowd of four
thousand and ninety- six persons, whose guilt is not precisely
ascertained, were torn from their native homes, by the command of
Hunneric. During the night they were confined, like a herd of
cattle, amidst their own ordure: during the day they pursued
their march over the burning sands; and if they fainted under the
heat and fatigue, they were goaded, or dragged along, till they
expired in the hands of their tormentors. ^101 These unhappy
exiles, when they reached the Moorish huts, might excite the
compassion of a people, whose native humanity was neither
improved by reason, nor corrupted by fanaticism: but if they
escaped the dangers, they were condemned to share the distress of
a savage life. V. It is incumbent on the authors of persecution
previously to reflect, whether they are determined to support it
in the last extreme. They excite the flame which they strive to
extinguish; and it soon becomes necessary to chastise the
contumacy, as well as the crime, of the offender. The fine,
which he is unable or unwilling to discharge, exposes his person
to the severity of the law; and his contempt of lighter penalties
suggests the use and propriety of capital punishment. Through the
veil of fiction and declamation we may clearly perceive, that the
Catholics more especially under the reign of Hunneric, endured
the most cruel and ignominious treatment. ^102 Respectable
citizens, noble matrons, and consecrated virgins, were stripped
naked, and raised in the air by pulleys, with a weight suspended
at their feet. In this painful attitude their naked bodies were
torn with scourges, or burnt in the most tender parts with
red-hot plates of iron. The amputation of the ears the nose, the
tongue, and the right hand, was inflicted by the Arians; and
although the precise number cannot be defined, it is evident that
many persons, among whom a bishop ^103 and a proconsul ^104 may
be named, were entitled to the crown of martyrdom. The same honor
has been ascribed to the memory of Count Sebastian, who professed
the Nicene creed with unshaken constancy; and Genseric might
detest, as a heretic, the brave and ambitious fugitive whom he
dreaded as a rival. ^105 VI. A new mode of conversion, which
might subdue the feeble, and alarm the timorous, was employed by
the Arian ministers. They imposed, by fraud or violence, the
rites of baptism; and punished the apostasy of the Catholics, if
they disclaimed this odious and profane ceremony, which
scandalously violated the freedom of the will, and the unity of
the sacrament. ^106 The hostile sects had formerly allowed the
validity of each other's baptism; and the innovation, so fiercely
maintained by the Vandals, can be imputed only to the example and
advice of the Donatists. VII. The Arian clergy surpassed in
religious cruelty the king and his Vandals; but they were
incapable of cultivating the spiritual vineyard, which they were
so desirous to possess. A patriarch ^107 might seat himself on
the throne of Carthage; some bishops, in the principal cities,
might usurp the place of their rivals; but the smallness of their
numbers, and their ignorance of the Latin language, ^108
disqualified the Barbarians for the ecclesiastical ministry of a
great church; and the Africans, after the loss of their orthodox
pastors, were deprived of the public exercise of Christianity.
VIII. The emperors were the natural protectors of the Homoousian
doctrine; and the faithful people of Africa, both as Romans and
as Catholics, preferred their lawful sovereignty to the
usurpation of the Barbarous heretics. During an interval of
peace and friendship, Hunneric restored the cathedral of
Carthage; at the intercession of Zeno, who reigned in the East,
and of Placidia, the daughter and relict of emperors, and the
sister of the queen of the Vandals. ^109 But this decent regard
was of short duration; and the haughty tyrant displayed his
contempt for the religion of the empire, by studiously arranging
the bloody images of persecution, in all the principal streets
through which the Roman ambassador must pass in his way to the
palace. ^110 An oath was required from the bishops, who were
assembled at Carthage, that they would support the succession of
his son Hilderic, and that they would renounce all foreign or
transmarine correspondence. This engagement, consistent, as it
should seem, with their moral and religious duties, was refused
by the more sagacious members ^111 of the assembly. Their
refusal, faintly colored by the pretence that it is unlawful for
a Christian to swear, must provoke the suspicions of a jealous

[Footnote 91: Victor, iv. 2, p. 65. Hunneric refuses the name of
Catholics to the Homoousians. He describes, as the veri Divinae
Majestatis cultores, his own party, who professed the faith,
confirmed by more than a thousand bishops, in the synods of
Rimini and Seleucia.]

[Footnote 92: Victor, ii, 1, p. 21, 22: Laudabilior ...
videbatur. In the Mss which omit this word, the passage is
unintelligible. See Ruinart Not. p. 164.]

[Footnote 93: Victor, ii. p. 22, 23. The clergy of Carthage
called these conditions periculosoe; and they seem, indeed, to
have been proposed as a snare to entrap the Catholic bishops.]
[Footnote 94: See the narrative of this conference, and the
treatment of the bishops, in Victor, ii. 13 - 18, p. 35 - 42 and
the whole fourth book p. 63 - 171. The third book, p. 42 - 62,
is entirely filled by their apology or confession of faith.]
[Footnote 95: See the list of the African bishops, in Victor, p.
117 - 140, and Ruinart's notes, p. 215 - 397. The schismatic
name of Donatus frequently occurs, and they appear to have
adopted (like our fanatics of the last age) the pious
appellations of Deodatus, Deogratias, Quidvultdeus, Habetdeum,
Note: These names appear to have been introduced by the
Donatists. - M.]
[Footnote 96: Fulgent. Vit. c. 16 - 29. Thrasimund affected the
praise of moderation and learning; and Fulgentius addressed three
books of controversy to the Arian tyrant, whom he styles piissime
Rex. Biblioth. Maxim. Patrum, tom. ix. p. 41. Only sixty
bishops are mentioned as exiles in the life of Fulgentius; they
are increased to one hundred and twenty by Victor Tunnunensis and
Isidore; but the number of two hundred and twenty is specified in
the Historia Miscella, and a short authentic chronicle of the
times. See Ruinart, p. 570, 571.]

[Footnote 97: See the base and insipid epigrams of the Stoic, who
could not support exile with more fortitude than Ovid. Corsica
might not produce corn, wine, or oil; but it could not be
destitute of grass, water, and even fire.]
[Footnote 98: Si ob gravitatem coeli interissent vile damnum.
Tacit. Annal. ii. 85. In this application, Thrasimund would have
adopted the reading of some critics, utile damnum.]

[Footnote 99: See these preludes of a general persecution, in
Victor, ii. 3, 4, 7 and the two edicts of Hunneric, l. ii. p. 35,
l. iv. p. 64.]
[Footnote 100: See Procopius de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 7, p. 197,
198. A Moorish prince endeavored to propitiate the God of the
Christians, by his diligence to erase the marks of the Vandal

[Footnote 101: See this story in Victor. ii. 8 - 12, p. 30 - 34.
Victor describes the distress of these confessors as an
[Footnote 102: See the fifth book of Victor. His passionate
complaints are confirmed by the sober testimony of Procopius, and
the public declaration of the emperor Justinian. Cod. l. i. tit.

[Footnote 103: Victor, ii. 18, p. 41.]

[Footnote 104: Victor, v. 4, p. 74, 75. His name was
Victorianus, and he was a wealthy citizen of Adrumetum, who
enjoyed the confidence of the king; by whose favor he had
obtained the office, or at least the title, of proconsul of

[Footnote 105: Victor, i. 6, p. 8, 9. After relating the firm
resistance and dexterous reply of Count Sebastian, he adds, quare
alio generis argumento postea bellicosum virum eccidit.]

[Footnote 106: Victor, v. 12, 13. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom.
vi. p. 609.]
[Footnote 107: Primate was more properly the title of the bishop
of Carthage; but the name of patriarch was given by the sects and
nations to their principal ecclesiastic. See Thomassin,
Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 155, 158.]

[Footnote 108: The patriarch Cyrila himself publicly declared,
that he did not understand Latin (Victor, ii. 18, p. 42:) Nescio
Latine; and he might converse with tolerable ease, without being
capable of disputing or preaching in that language. His Vandal
clergy were still more ignorant; and small confidence could be
placed in the Africans who had conformed.]

[Footnote 109: Victor, ii. 1, 2, p. 22.]

[Footnote 110: Victor, v. 7, p. 77. He appeals to the ambassador
himself, whose name was Uranius.]

[Footnote 111: Astutiores, Victor, iv. 4, p. 70. He plainly
intimates that their quotation of the gospel "Non jurabitis in
toto," was only meant to elude the obligation of an inconvenient
oath. The forty-six bishops who refused were banished to
Corsica; the three hundred and two who swore were distributed
through the provinces of Africa.]

Chapter XXXVII: Conversion Of The Barbarians To Christianity.
Part V.

The Catholics, oppressed by royal and military force, were
far superior to their adversaries in numbers and learning. With
the same weapons which the Greek ^112 and Latin fathers had
already provided for the Arian controversy, they repeatedly
silenced, or vanquished, the fierce and illiterate successors of
Ulphilas. The consciousness of their own superiority might have
raised them above the arts and passions of religious warfare.
Yet, instead of assuming such honorable pride, the orthodox
theologians were tempted, by the assurance of impunity, to
compose fictions, which must be stigmatized with the epithets of
fraud and forgery. They ascribed their own polemical works to the
most venerable names of Christian antiquity; the characters of
Athanasius and Augustin were awkwardly personated by Vigilius and
his disciples; ^113 and the famous creed, which so clearly
expounds the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation, is
deduced, with strong probability, from this African school. ^114
Even the Scriptures themselves were profaned by their rash and
sacrilegious hands. The memorable text, which asserts the unity
of the three who bear witness in heaven, ^115 is condemned by the
universal silence of the orthodox fathers, ancient versions, and
authentic manuscripts. ^116 It was first alleged by the Catholic
bishops whom Hunneric summoned to the conference of Carthage.
^117 An allegorical interpretation, in the form, perhaps, of a
marginal note, invaded the text of the Latin Bibles, which were
renewed and corrected in a dark period of ten centuries. ^118
After the invention of printing, ^119 the editors of the Greek
Testament yielded to their own prejudices, or those of the times;
^120 and the pious fraud, which was embraced with equal zeal at
Rome and at Geneva, has been infinitely multiplied in every
country and every language of modern Europe.

[Footnote 112: Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspae, in the Byzacene
province, was of a senatorial family, and had received a liberal
education. He could repeat all Homer and Menander before he was
allowed to study Latin his native tongue, (Vit. Fulgent. c. l.)
Many African bishops might understand Greek, and many Greek
theologians were translated into Latin.]

[Footnote 113: Compare the two prefaces to the Dialogue of
Vigilius of Thapsus, (p. 118, 119, edit. Chiflet.) He might amuse
his learned reader with an innocent fiction; but the subject was
too grave, and the Africans were too ignorant.]

[Footnote 114: The P. Quesnel started this opinion, which has
been favorably received. But the three following truths, however
surprising they may seem, are now universally acknowledged,
(Gerard Vossius, tom. vi. p. 516 - 522. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles.
tom. viii. p. 667 - 671.) 1. St. Athanasius is not the author of
the creed which is so frequently read in our churches. 2. It
does not appear to have existed within a century after his death.

3. It was originally composed in the Latin tongue, and,
consequently in the Western provinces. Gennadius patriarch of
Constantinople, was so much amazed by this extraordinary
composition, that he frankly pronounced it to be the work of a
drunken man. Petav. Dogmat. Theologica, tom. ii. l. vii. c. 8,
p. 687.]
[Footnote 115: 1 John, v. 7. See Simon, Hist. Critique du
Nouveau Testament, part i. c. xviii. p. 203 - 218; and part ii.
c. ix. p. 99 - 121; and the elaborate Prolegomena and Annotations
of Dr. Mill and Wetstein to their editions of the Greek
Testament. In 1689, the papist Simon strove to be free; in 1707,
the Protestant Mill wished to be a slave; in 1751, the Armenian
Wetstein used the liberty of his times, and of his sect.

Note: This controversy has continued to be agitated, but
with declining interest even in the more religious part of the
community; and may now be considered to have terminated in an
almost general acquiescence of the learned to the conclusions of
Porson in his Letters to Travis. See the pamphlets of the late
Bishop of Salisbury and of Crito Cantabrigiensis, Dr. Turton of
Cambridge. - M.]

[Footnote 116: Of all the Mss. now extant, above fourscore in
number, some of which are more than 1200 years old, (Wetstein ad
loc.) The orthodox copies of the Vatican, of the Complutensian
editors, of Robert Stephens, are become invisible; and the two
Mss. of Dublin and Berlin are unworthy to form an exception. See
Emlyn's Works, vol. ii. p 227 - 255, 269 - 299; and M. de Missy's
four ingenious letters, in tom. viii. and ix. of the Journal

[Footnote 117: Or, more properly, by the four bishops who
composed and published the profession of faith in the name of
their brethren. They styled this text, luce clarius, (Victor
Vitensis de Persecut. Vandal. l. iii. c. 11, p. 54.) It is quoted
soon afterwards by the African polemics, Vigilius and

[Footnote 118: In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Bibles
were corrected by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, and by
Nicholas, cardinal and librarian of the Roman church, secundum
orthodoxam fidem, (Wetstein, Prolegom. p. 84, 85.)
Notwithstanding these corrections, the passage is still wanting
in twenty-five Latin Mss., (Wetstein ad loc.,) the oldest and the
fairest; two qualities seldom united, except in manuscripts.]
[Footnote 119: The art which the Germans had invented was applied
in Italy to the profane writers of Rome and Greece. The original
Greek of the New Testament was published about the same time
(A.D. 1514, 1516, 1520,) by the industry of Erasmus, and the
munificence of Cardinal Ximenes. The Complutensian Polyglot cost
the cardinal 50,000 ducats. See Mattaire, Annal. Typograph. tom.
ii. p. 2 - 8, 125 - 133; and Wetstein, Prolegomena, p. 116 -

[Footnote 120: The three witnesses have been established in our
Greek Testaments by the prudence of Erasmus; the honest bigotry
of the Complutensian editors; the typographical fraud, or error,
of Robert Stephens, in the placing a crotchet; and the deliberate
falsehood, or strange misapprehension, of Theodore Beza.]

The example of fraud must excite suspicion: and the specious
miracles by which the African Catholics have defended the truth
and justice of their cause, may be ascribed, with more reason, to
their own industry, than to the visible protection of Heaven.
Yet the historian, who views this religious conflict with an
impartial eye, may condescend to mention one preternatural event,
which will edify the devout, and surprise the incredulous.
Tipasa, ^121 a maritime colony of Mauritania, sixteen miles to
the east of Caesarea, had been distinguished, in every age, by
the orthodox zeal of its inhabitants. They had braved the fury of
the Donatists; ^122 they resisted, or eluded, the tyranny of the
Arians. The town was deserted on the approach of an heretical
bishop: most of the inhabitants who could procure ships passed
over to the coast of Spain; and the unhappy remnant, refusing all
communion with the usurper, still presumed to hold their pious,
but illegal, assemblies. Their disobedience exasperated the
cruelty of Hunneric. A military count was despatched from
Carthage to Tipasa: he collected the Catholics in the Forum, and,
in the presence of the whole province, deprived the guilty of
their right hands and their tongues. But the holy confessors
continued to speak without tongues; and this miracle is attested
by Victor, an African bishop, who published a history of the
persecution within two years after the event. ^123 "If any one,"
says Victor, "should doubt of the truth, let him repair to
Constantinople, and listen to the clear and perfect language of
Restitutus, the sub-deacon, one of these glorious sufferers, who
is now lodged in the palace of the emperor Zeno, and is respected
by the devout empress." At Constantinople we are astonished to
find a cool, a learned, and unexceptionable witness, without
interest, and without passion. Aeneas of Gaza, a Platonic
philosopher, has accurately described his own observations on
these African sufferers. "I saw them myself: I heard them speak:
I diligently inquired by what means such an articulate voice
could be formed without any organ of speech: I used my eyes to
examine the report of my ears; I opened their mouth, and saw that
the whole tongue had been completely torn away by the roots; an
operation which the physicians generally suppose to be mortal."
^124 The testimony of Aeneas of Gaza might be confirmed by the
superfluous evidence of the emperor Justinian, in a perpetual
edict; of Count Marcellinus, in his Chronicle of the times; and
of Pope Gregory the First, who had resided at Constantinople, as
the minister of the Roman pontiff. ^125 They all lived within the
compass of a century; and they all appeal to their personal
knowledge, or the public notoriety, for the truth of a miracle,
which was repeated in several instances, displayed on the
greatest theatre of the world, and submitted, during a series of
years, to the calm examination of the senses. This supernatural
gift of the African confessors, who spoke without tongues, will
command the assent of those, and of those only, who already
believe, that their language was pure and orthodox. But the
stubborn mind of an infidel, is guarded by secret, incurable
suspicion; and the Arian, or Socinian, who has seriously rejected
the doctrine of a Trinity, will not be shaken by the most
plausible evidence of an Athanasian miracle.
[Footnote 121: Plin. Hist. Natural. v. 1. Itinerar. Wesseling,
p. 15. Cellanius, Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. part ii. p. 127.
This Tipasa (which must not be confounded with another in
Numidia) was a town of some note since Vespasian endowed it with
the right of Latium.]

[Footnote 122: Optatus Milevitanus de Schism. Donatist. l. ii. p.
[Footnote 123: Victor Vitensis, v. 6, p. 76. Ruinart, p. 483 -
[Footnote 124: Aeneas Gazaeus in Theophrasto, in Biblioth.
Patrum, tom. viii. p. 664, 665. He was a Christian, and composed
this Dialogue (the Theophrastus) on the immortality of the soul,
and the resurrection of the body; besides twenty-five Epistles,
still extant. See Cave, (Hist. Litteraria, p. 297,) and
Fabricius, (Biblioth. Graec. tom. i. p. 422.)]
[Footnote 125: Justinian. Codex. l. i. tit. xxvii. Marcellin. in
Chron. p. 45, in Thesaur. Temporum Scaliger. Procopius, de Bell.
Vandal. l. i. c. 7. p. 196. Gregor. Magnus, Dialog. iii. 32.
None of these witnesses have specified the number of the
confessors, which is fixed at sixty in an old menology, (apud
Ruinart. p. 486.) Two of them lost their speech by fornication;
but the miracle is enhanced by the singular instance of a boy who
had never spoken before his tongue was cut out. ]

The Vandals and the Ostrogoths persevered in the profession
of Arianism till the final ruin of the kingdoms which they had
founded in Africa and Italy. The Barbarians of Gaul submitted to
the orthodox dominion of the Franks; and Spain was restored to
the Catholic church by the voluntary conversion of the Visigoths.

This salutary revolution ^126 was hastened by the example of
a royal martyr, whom our calmer reason may style an ungrateful
rebel. Leovigild, the Gothic monarch of Spain, deserved the
respect of his enemies, and the love of his subjects; the
Catholics enjoyed a free toleration, and his Arian synods
attempted, without much success, to reconcile their scruples by
abolishing the unpopular rite of a second baptism. His eldest
son Hermenegild, who was invested by his father with the royal
diadem, and the fair principality of Boetica, contracted an
honorable and orthodox alliance with a Merovingian princess, the
daughter of Sigebert, king of Austrasia, and of the famous
Brunechild. The beauteous Ingundis, who was no more than
thirteen years of age, was received, beloved, and persecuted, in
the Arian court of Toledo; and her religious constancy was
alternately assaulted with blandishments and violence by
Goisvintha, the Gothic queen, who abused the double claim of
maternal authority. ^127 Incensed by her resistance, Goisvintha
seized the Catholic princess by her long hair, inhumanly dashed
her against the ground, kicked her till she was covered with
blood, and at last gave orders that she should be stripped, and
thrown into a basin, or fish-pond. ^128 Love and honor might
excite Hermenegild to resent this injurious treatment of his
bride; and he was gradually persuaded that Ingundis suffered for
the cause of divine truth. Her tender complaints, and the
weighty arguments of Le ander, archbishop of Seville,
accomplished his conversion and the heir of the Gothic monarchy
was initiated in the Nicene faith by the solemn rites of
confirmation. ^129 The rash youth, inflamed by zeal, and perhaps
by ambition, was tempted to violate the duties of a son and a
subject; and the Catholics of Spain, although they could not
complain of persecution, applauded his pious rebellion against an
heretical father. The civil war was protracted by the long and
obstinate sieges of Merida, Cordova, and Seville, which had
strenuously espoused the party of Hermenegild He invited the
orthodox Barbarians, the Seuvi, and the Franks, to the
destruction of his native land; he solicited the dangerous aid of
the Romans, who possessed Africa, and a part of the Spanish
coast; and his holy ambassador, the archbishop Leander,
effectually negotiated in person with the Byzantine court. But
the hopes of the Catholics were crushed by the active diligence
of the monarch who commanded the troops and treasures of Spain;
and the guilty Hermenegild, after his vain attempts to resist or
to escape, was compelled to surrender himself into the hands of
an incensed father. Leovigild was still mindful of that sacred
character; and the rebel, despoiled of the regal ornaments, was
still permitted, in a decent exile, to profess the Catholic
religion. His repeated and unsuccessful treasons at length
provoked the indignation of the Gothic king; and the sentence of
death, which he pronounced with apparent reluctance, was
privately executed in the tower of Seville. The inflexible
constancy with which he refused to accept the Arian communion, as
the price of his safety, may excuse the honors that have been
paid to the memory of St. Hermenegild. His wife and infant son
were detained by the Romans in ignominious captivity; and this
domestic misfortune tarnished the glories of Leovigild, and
imbittered the last moments of his life.

[Footnote 126: See the two general historians of Spain, Mariana
(Hist. de Rebus Hispaniae, tom. i. l. v. c. 12 - 15, p. 182 -
194) and Ferreras, (French translation, tom. ii. p. 206 - 247.)
Mariana almost forgets that he is a Jesuit, to assume the style
and spirit of a Roman classic. Ferreras, an industrious
compiler, reviews his facts, and rectifies his chronology.]
[Footnote 127: Goisvintha successively married two kings of the
Visigoths: Athanigild, to whom she bore Brunechild, the mother of
Ingundis; and Leovigild, whose two sons, Hermenegild and Recared,
were the issue of a former marriage.]

[Footnote 128: Iracundiae furore succensa, adprehensam per comam
capitis puellam in terram conlidit, et diu calcibus verberatam,
ac sanguins cruentatam, jussit exspoliari, et piscinae immergi.
Greg. Turon. l. v. c. 39. in tom. ii. p. 255. Gregory is one of
our best originals for this portion of history.]

[Footnote 129: The Catholics who admitted the baptism of heretics
repeated the rite, or, as it was afterwards styled, the
sacrament, of confirmation, to which they ascribed many mystic
and marvellous prerogatives both visible and invisible. See
Chardon. Hist. des Sacremens, tom. 1. p. 405 - 552.]
His son and successor, Recared, the first Catholic king of
Spain, had imbibed the faith of his unfortunate brother, which he
supported with more prudence and success. Instead of revolting
against his father, Recared patiently expected the hour of his
death. Instead of condemning his memory, he piously supposed,
that the dying monarch had abjured the errors of Arianism, and
recommended to his son the conversion of the Gothic nation. To
accomplish that salutary end, Recared convened an assembly of the
Arian clergy and nobles, declared himself a Catholic, and
exhorted them to imitate the example of their prince. The
laborious interpretation of doubtful texts, or the curious
pursuit of metaphysical arguments, would have excited an endless
controversy; and the monarch discreetly proposed to his
illiterate audience two substantial and visible arguments, - the
testimony of Earth, and of Heaven. The Earth had submitted to
the Nicene synod: the Romans, the Barbarians, and the inhabitants
of Spain, unanimously professed the same orthodox creed; and the
Visigoths resisted, almost alone, the consent of the Christian
world. A superstitious age was prepared to reverence, as the
testimony of Heaven, the preternatural cures, which were
performed by the skill or virtue of the Catholic clergy; the
baptismal fonts of Osset in Boetica, ^130 which were
spontaneously replenished every year, on the vigil of Easter;
^131 and the miraculous shrine of St. Martin of Tours, which had
already converted the Suevic prince and people of Gallicia. ^132
The Catholic king encountered some difficulties on this important
change of the national religion. A conspiracy, secretly fomented
by the queen-dowager, was formed against his life; and two counts
excited a dangerous revolt in the Narbonnese Gaul. But Recared
disarmed the conspirators, defeated the rebels, and executed
severe justice; which the Arians, in their turn, might brand with
the reproach of persecution. Eight bishops, whose names betray
their Barbaric origin, abjured their errors; and all the books of
Arian theology were reduced to ashes, with the house in which
they had been purposely collected. The whole body of the
Visigoths and Suevi were allured or driven into the pale of the
Catholic communion; the faith, at least of the rising generation,
was fervent and sincere: and the devout liberality of the
Barbarians enriched the churches and monasteries of Spain.
Seventy bishops, assembled in the council of Toledo, received the
submission of their conquerors; and the zeal of the Spaniards
improved the Nicene creed, by declaring the procession of the
Holy Ghost from the Son, as well as from the Father; a weighty
point of doctrine, which produced, long afterwards, the schism of
the Greek and Latin churches. ^133 The royal proselyte
immediately saluted and consulted Pope Gregory, surnamed the
Great, a learned and holy prelate, whose reign was distinguished
by the conversion of heretics and infidels. The ambassadors of
Recared respectfully offered on the threshold of the Vatican his
rich presents of gold and gems; they accepted, as a lucrative
exchange, the hairs of St. John the Baptist; a cross, which
enclosed a small piece of the true wood; and a key, that
contained some particles of iron which had been scraped from the
chains of St. Peter. ^134

[Footnote 130: Osset, or Julia Constantia, was opposite to
Seville, on the northern side of the Boetis, (Plin. Hist. Natur.
iii. 3:) and the authentic reference of Gregory of Tours (Hist.
Francor. l. vi. c. 43, p. 288) deserves more credit than the name
of Lusitania, (de Gloria Martyr. c. 24,) which has been eagerly
embraced by the vain and superstitious Portuguese, (Ferreras,
Hist. d'Espagne, tom. ii. p. 166.)]

[Footnote 131: This miracle was skilfully performed. An Arian
king sealed the doors, and dug a deep trench round the church,
without being able to intercept the Easter supply of baptismal

[Footnote 132: Ferreras (tom. ii. p. 168 - 175, A.D. 550) has
illustrated the difficulties which regard the time and
circumstances of the conversion of the Suevi. They had been
recently united by Leovigild to the Gothic monarchy of Spain.]
[Footnote 133: This addition to the Nicene, or rather the
Constantinopolitan creed, was first made in the eighth council of
Toledo, A.D. 653; but it was expressive of the popular doctrine,
(Gerard Vossius, tom. vi. p. 527, de tribus Symbolis.)]

[Footnote 134: See Gregor. Magn. l. vii. epist. 126, apud
Baronium, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 559, No. 25, 26.]

The same Gregory, the spiritual conqueror of Britain,
encouraged the pious Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, to
propagate the Nicene faith among the victorious savages, whose
recent Christianity was polluted by the Arian heresy. Her devout
labors still left room for the industry and success of future
missionaries; and many cities of Italy were still disputed by
hostile bishops. But the cause of Arianism was gradually
suppressed by the weight of truth, of interest, and of example;
and the controversy, which Egypt had derived from the Platonic
school, was terminated, after a war of three hundred years, by
the final conversion of the Lombards of Italy. ^135
[Footnote 135: Paul Warnefrid (de Gestis Langobard. l. iv. c. 44,
p. 153, edit Grot.) allows that Arianism still prevailed under
the reign of Rotharis, (A.D. 636 - 652.) The pious deacon does
not attempt to mark the precise era of the national conversion,
which was accomplished, however, before the end of the seventh

The first missionaries who preached the gospel to the
Barbarians, appealed to the evidence of reason, and claimed the
benefit of toleration. ^136 But no sooner had they established
their spiritual dominion, than they exhorted the Christian kings
to extirpate, without mercy, the remains of Roman or Barbaric
superstition. The successors of Clovis inflicted one hundred
lashes on the peasants who refused to destroy their idols; the
crime of sacrificing to the demons was punished by the
Anglo-Saxon laws with the heavier penalties of imprisonment and
confiscation; and even the wise Alfred adopted, as an
indispensable duty, the extreme rigor of the Mosaic institutions.
^137 But the punishment and the crime were gradually abolished
among a Christian people; the theological disputes of the schools
were suspended by propitious ignorance; and the intolerant spirit
which could find neither idolaters nor heretics, was reduced to
the persecution of the Jews. That exiled nation had founded some
synagogues in the cities of Gaul; but Spain, since the time of
Hadrian, was filled with their numerous colonies. ^138 The wealth
which they accumulated by trade, and the management of the
finances, invited the pious avarice of their masters; and they
might be oppressed without danger, as they had lost the use, and
even the remembrance, of arms. Sisebut, a Gothic king, who
reigned in the beginning of the seventh century, proceeded at
once to the last extremes of persecution. ^139 Ninety thousand
Jews were compelled to receive the sacrament of baptism; the
fortunes of the obstinate infidels were confiscated, their bodies
were tortured; and it seems doubtful whether they were permitted
to abandon their native country. The excessive zeal of the
Catholic king was moderated, even by the clergy of Spain, who
solemnly pronounced an inconsistent sentence: that the sacraments
should not be forcibly imposed; but that the Jews who had been
baptized should be constrained, for the honor of the church, to
persevere in the external practice of a religion which they
disbelieved and detested. Their frequent relapses provoked one
of the successors of Sisebut to banish the whole nation from his
dominions; and a council of Toledo published a decree, that every
Gothic king should swear to maintain this salutary edict. But
the tyrants were unwilling to dismiss the victims, whom they
delighted to torture, or to deprive themselves of the industrious
slaves, over whom they might exercise a lucrative oppression.
The Jews still continued in Spain, under the weight of the civil
and ecclesiastical laws, which in the same country have been
faithfully transcribed in the Code of the Inquisition. The Gothic
kings and bishops at length discovered, that injuries will
produce hatred, and that hatred will find the opportunity of
revenge. A nation, the secret or professed enemies of
Christianity, still multiplied in servitude and distress; and the
intrigues of the Jews promoted the rapid success of the Arabian
conquerors. ^140

[Footnote 136: Quorum fidei et conversioni ita congratulatus esse
rex perhibetur, ut nullum tamen cogeret ad Christianismum. ...
Didiceret enim a doctoribus auctoribusque suae salutis, servitium
Christi voluntarium non coactitium esse debere. Bedae Hist.
Ecclesiastic. l. i. c. 26, p. 62, edit. Smith.]

[Footnote 137: See the Historians of France, tom. iv. p. 114; and
Wilkins, Leges Anglo-Saxonicae, p. 11, 31. Siquis sacrificium
immolaverit praeter Deo soli morte moriatur.]

[Footnote 138: The Jews pretend that they were introduced into
Spain by the fleets of Solomon, and the arms of Nebuchadnezzar;
that Hadrian transported forty thousand families of the tribe of
Judah, and ten thousand of the tribe of Benjamin, &c. Basnage,
Hist. des Juifs, tom. vii. c. 9, p. 240 - 256.]
[Footnote 139: Isidore, at that time archbishop of Seville,
mentions, disapproves and congratulates, the zeal of Sisebut
(Chron. Goth. p. 728.) Barosins (A.D. 614, No. 41) assigns the
number of the evidence of Almoin, (l. iv. c. 22;) but the
evidence is weak, and I have not been able to verify the
quotation, (Historians of France, tom. iii. p. 127.)]

[Footnote 140: Basnage (tom. viii. c. 13, p. 388 - 400)
faithfully represents the state of the Jews; but he might have
added from the canons of the Spanish councils, and the laws of
the Visigoths, many curious circumstances, essential to his
subject, though they are foreign to mine.

Note: Compare Milman, Hist. of Jews iii. 256 - M]

As soon as the Barbarians withdrew their powerful support,
the unpopular heresy of Arius sunk into contempt and oblivion.
But the Greeks still retained their subtle and loquacious
disposition: the establishment of an obscure doctrine suggested
new questions, and new disputes; and it was always in the power
of an ambitious prelate, or a fanatic monk, to violate the peace
of the church, and, perhaps, of the empire. The historian of the
empire may overlook those disputes which were confined to the
obscurity of schools and synods. The Manichaeans, who labored to
reconcile the religions of Christ and of Zoroaster, had secretly
introduced themselves into the provinces: but these foreign
sectaries were involved in the common disgrace of the Gnostics,
and the Imperial laws were executed by the public hatred. The
rational opinions of the Pelagians were propagated from Britain
to Rome, Africa, and Palestine, and silently expired in a
superstitious age. But the East was distracted by the Nestorian
and Eutychian controversies; which attempted to explain the
mystery of the incarnation, and hastened the ruin of Christianity
in her native land. These controversies were first agitated under
the reign of the younger Theodosius: but their important
consequences extend far beyond the limits of the present volume.
The metaphysical chain of argument, the contests of
ecclesiastical ambition, and their political influence on the
decline of the Byzantine empire, may afford an interesting and
instructive series of history, from the general councils of
Ephesus and Chalcedon, to the conquest of the East by the
successors of Mahomet.

Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.

Part I.

Reign And Conversion Of Clovis. - His Victories Over The
Alemanni, Burgundians, And Visigoths. - Establishment Of The
French Monarchy In Gaul. - Laws Of The Barbarians. - State Of The
Romans. - The Visigoths Of Spain. - Conquest Of Britain By The

The Gauls, ^1 who impatiently supported the Roman yoke,
received a memorable lesson from one of the lieutenants of
Vespasian, whose weighty sense has been refined and expressed by
the genius of Tacitus. ^2 "The protection of the republic has
delivered Gaul from internal discord and foreign invasions. By
the loss of national independence, you have acquired the name and
privileges of Roman citizens. You enjoy, in common with
yourselves, the permanent benefits of civil government; and your
remote situation is less exposed to the accidental mischiefs of
tyranny. Instead of exercising the rights of conquest, we have
been contented to impose such tributes as are requisite for your
own preservation. Peace cannot be secured without armies; and
armies must be supported at the expense of the people. It is for
your sake, not for our own, that we guard the barrier of the
Rhine against the ferocious Germans, who have so often attempted,
and who will always desire, to exchange the solitude of their
woods and morasses for the wealth and fertility of Gaul. The
fall of Rome would be fatal to the provinces; and you would be
buried in the ruins of that mighty fabric, which has been raised
by the valor and wisdom of eight hundred years. Your imaginary
freedom would be insulted and oppressed by a savage master; and
the expulsion of the Romans would be succeeded by the eternal
hostilities of the Barbarian conquerors." ^3 This salutary advice
was accepted, and this strange prediction was accomplished. In
the space of four hundred years, the hardy Gauls, who had
encountered the arms of Caesar, were imperceptibly melted into
the general mass of citizens and subjects: the Western empire was
dissolved; and the Germans, who had passed the Rhine, fiercely
contended for the possession of Gaul, and excited the contempt,
or abhorrence, of its peaceful and polished inhabitants. With
that conscious pride which the preeminence of knowledge and
luxury seldom fails to inspire, they derided the hairy and
gigantic savages of the North; their rustic manners, dissonant
joy, voracious appetite, and their horrid appearance, equally
disgusting to the sight and to the smell. The liberal studies
were still cultivated in the schools of Autun and Bordeaux; and
the language of Cicero and Virgil was familiar to the Gallic
youth. Their ears were astonished by the harsh and unknown
sounds of the Germanic dialect, and they ingeniously lamented
that the trembling muses fled from the harmony of a Burgundian
lyre. The Gauls were endowed with all the advantages of art and
nature; but as they wanted courage to defend them, they were
justly condemned to obey, and even to flatter, the victorious
Barbarians, by whose clemency they held their precarious fortunes
and their lives. ^4

[Footnote 1: In this chapter I shall draw my quotations from the
Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, Paris, 1738 -
1767, in eleven volumes in folio. By the labor of Dom Bouquet,
and the other Benedictines, all the original testimonies, as far
as A.D. 1060, are disposed in chronological order, and
illustrated with learned notes. Such a national work, which will
be continued to the year 1500, might provoke our emulation.]
[Footnote 2: Tacit. Hist. iv. 73, 74, in tom. i. p. 445. To
abridge Tacitus would indeed be presumptuous; but I may select
the general ideas which he applies to the present state and
future revelations of Gaul.]
[Footnote 3: Eadem semper causa Germanis transcendendi in Gallias
libido atque avaritiae et mutandae sedis amor; ut relictis
paludibus et solitudinibus, suis, fecundissimum hoc solum vosque
ipsos possiderent .... Nam pulsis Romanis quid aliud quam bella
omnium inter se gentium exsistent?]

[Footnote 4: Sidonius Apollinaris ridicules, with affected wit
and pleasantry, the hardships of his situation, (Carm. xii. in
tom. i. p. 811.)]
As soon as Odoacer had extinguished the Western empire, he
sought the friendship of the most powerful of the Barbarians.
The new sovereign of Italy resigned to Euric, king of the
Visigoths, all the Roman conquests beyond the Alps, as far as the
Rhine and the Ocean: ^5 and the senate might confirm this liberal
gift with some ostentation of power, and without any real loss of
revenue and dominion. The lawful pretensions of Euric were
justified by ambition and success; and the Gothic nation might
aspire, under his command, to the monarchy of Spain and Gaul.
Arles and Marseilles surrendered to his arms: he oppressed the
freedom of Auvergne; and the bishop condescended to purchase his
recall from exile by a tribute of just, but reluctant praise.
Sidonius waited before the gates of the palace among a crowd of
ambassadors and suppliants; and their various business at the
court of Bordeaux attested the power, and the renown, of the king
of the Visigoths. The Heruli of the distant ocean, who painted
their naked bodies with its coerulean color, implored his
protection; and the Saxons respected the maritime provinces of a
prince, who was destitute of any naval force. The tall
Burgundians submitted to his authority; nor did he restore the
captive Franks, till he had imposed on that fierce nation the
terms of an unequal peace. The Vandals of Africa cultivated his
useful friendship; and the Ostrogoths of Pannonia were supported
by his powerful aid against the oppression of the neighboring
Huns. The North (such are the lofty strains of the poet) was
agitated or appeased by the nod of Euric; the great king of
Persia consulted the oracle of the West; and the aged god of the
Tyber was protected by the swelling genius of the Garonne. ^6 The
fortune of nations has often depended on accidents; and France
may ascribe her greatness to the premature death of the Gothic
king, at a time when his son Alaric was a helpless infant, and
his adversary Clovis ^7 an ambitious and valiant youth.

[Footnote 5: See Procopius de Bell. Gothico, l. i. c. 12, in tom.
ii. p. 81. The character of Grotius inclines me to believe, that
he has not substituted the Rhine for the Rhone (Hist. Gothorum,
p. 175) without the authority of some Ms.]

[Footnote 6: Sidonius, l. viii. epist. 3, 9, in tom. i. p. 800.
Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 47 p. 680) justifies, in some
measure, this portrait of the Gothic hero.]

[Footnote 7: I use the familiar appellation of Clovis, from the
Latin Chlodovechus, or Chlodovoeus. But the Ch expresses only
the German aspiration, and the true name is not different from
Lewis, (Mem. de 'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xx. p. 68.)]
While Childeric, the father of Clovis, lived an exile in
Germany, he was hospitably entertained by the queen, as well as
by the king, of the Thuringians. After his restoration, Basina
escaped from her husband's bed to the arms of her lover; freely
declaring, that if she had known a man wiser, stronger, or more
beautiful, than Childeric, that man should have been the object
of her preference. ^8 Clovis was the offspring of this voluntary
union; and, when he was no more than fifteen years of age, he
succeeded, by his father's death, to the command of the Salian
tribe. The narrow limits of his kingdom were confined to the
island of the Batavians, with the ancient dioceses of Tournay and
Arras; ^10 and at the baptism of Clovis the number of his
warriors could not exceed five thousand. The kindred tribes of
the Franks, who had seated themselves along the Belgic rivers,
the Scheld, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine, were governed
by their independent kings, of the Merovingian race; the equals,
the allies, and sometimes the enemies of the Salic prince. But
the Germans, who obeyed, in peace, the hereditary jurisdiction of
their chiefs, were free to follow the standard of a popular and
victorious general; and the superior merit of Clovis attracted
the respect and allegiance of the national confederacy. When he
first took the field, he had neither gold and silver in his
coffers, nor wine and corn in his magazine; ^11 but he imitated
the example of Caesar, who, in the same country, had acquired
wealth by the sword, and purchased soldiers with the fruits of
conquest. After each successful battle or expedition, the spoils
were accumulated in one common mass; every warrior received his
proportionable share; and the royal prerogative submitted to the
equal regulations of military law. The untamed spirit of the
Barbarians was taught to acknowledge the advantages of regular
discipline. ^12 At the annual review of the month of March, their
arms were diligently inspected; and when they traversed a
peaceful territory, they were prohibited from touching a blade of
grass. The justice of Clovis was inexorable; and his careless or
disobedient soldiers were punished with instant death. It would
be superfluous to praise the valor of a Frank; but the valor of
Clovis was directed by cool and consummate prudence. ^13 In all
his transactions with mankind, he calculated the weight of
interest, of passion, and of opinion; and his measures were
sometimes adapted to the sanguinary manners of the Germans, and
sometimes moderated by the milder genius of Rome, and
Christianity. He was intercepted in the career of victory, since
he died in the forty-fifth year of his age: but he had already
accomplished, in a reign of thirty years, the establishment of
the French monarchy in Gaul.

[Footnote 8: Greg. l. ii. c. 12, in tom. i. p. 168. Basina speaks
the language of nature; the Franks, who had seen her in their
youth, might converse with Gregory in their old age; and the
bishop of Tours could not wish to defame the mother of the first
Christian king.]

[Footnote 9: The Abbe Dubos (Hist. Critique de l'Etablissement de
la Monarchie Francoise dans les Gaules, tom. i. p. 630 - 650) has
the merit of defining the primitive kingdom of Clovis, and of
ascertaining the genuine number of his subjects.]

[Footnote 10: Ecclesiam incultam ac negligentia civium Paganorum
praetermis sam, veprium densitate oppletam, &c. Vit. St. Vedasti,
in tom. iii. p. 372. This description supposes that Arras was
possessed by the Pagans many years before the baptism of Clovis.]

[Footnote 11: Gregory of Tours (l v. c. i. tom. ii. p. 232)
contrasts the poverty of Clovis with the wealth of his grandsons.

Yet Remigius (in tom. iv. p. 52) mentions his paternas opes, as
sufficient for the redemption of captives.]

[Footnote 12: See Gregory, (l. ii. c. 27, 37, in tom. ii. p. 175,
181, 182.) The famous story of the vase of Soissons explains both
the power and the character of Clovis. As a point of
controversy, it has been strangely tortured by Boulainvilliers
Dubos, and the other political antiquarians.]
[Footnote 13: The duke of Nivernois, a noble statesman, who has
managed weighty and delicate negotiations, ingeniously
illustrates (Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. xx. p. 147 -
184) the political system of Clovis.]
The first exploit of Clovis was the defeat of Syagrius, the
son of Aegidius; and the public quarrel might, on this occasion,
be inflamed by private resentment. The glory of the father still
insulted the Merovingian race; the power of the son might excite
the jealous ambition of the king of the Franks. Syagrius
inherited, as a patrimonial estate, the city and diocese of
Soissons: the desolate remnant of the second Belgic, Rheims and
Troyes, Beauvais and Amiens, would naturally submit to the count
or patrician: ^14 and after the dissolution of the Western
empire, he might reign with the title, or at least with the
authority, of king of the Romans. ^15 As a Roman, he had been
educated in the liberal studies of rhetoric and jurisprudence;
but he was engaged by accident and policy in the familiar use of
the Germanic idiom. The independent Barbarians resorted to the
tribunal of a stranger, who possessed the singular talent of
explaining, in their native tongue, the dictates of reason and
equity. The diligence and affability of their judge rendered him
popular, the impartial wisdom of his decrees obtained their
voluntary obedience, and the reign of Syagrius over the Franks
and Burgundians seemed to revive the original institution of
civil society. ^16 In the midst of these peaceful occupations,
Syagrius received, and boldly accepted, the hostile defiance of
Clovis; who challenged his rival in the spirit, and almost in the
language, of chivalry, to appoint the day and the field ^17 of
battle. In the time of Caesar Soissons would have poured forth a
body of fifty thousand horse and such an army might have been
plentifully supplied with shields, cuirasses, and military
engines, from the three arsenals or manufactures of the city. ^18
But the courage and numbers of the Gallic youth were long since
exhausted; and the loose bands of volunteers, or mercenaries, who
marched under the standard of Syagrius, were incapable of
contending with the national valor of the Franks. It would be
ungenerous without some more accurate knowledge of his strength
and resources, to condemn the rapid flight of Syagrius, who
escaped, after the loss of a battle, to the distant court of
Thoulouse. The feeble minority of Alaric could not assist or
protect an unfortunate fugitive; the pusillanimous ^19 Goths were
intimidated by the menaces of Clovis; and the Roman king, after a
short confinement, was delivered into the hands of the
executioner. The Belgic cities surrendered to the king of the
Franks; and his dominions were enlarged towards the East by the
ample diocese of Tongres ^20 which Clovis subdued in the tenth
year of his reign.

[Footnote 14: M. Biet (in a Dissertation which deserved the prize
of the Academy of Soissons, p. 178 - 226,) has accurately defined
the nature and extent of the kingdom of Syagrius and his father;
but he too readily allows the slight evidence of Dubos (tom. ii.
p. 54 - 57) to deprive him of Beauvais and Amiens.]

[Footnote 15: I may observe that Fredegarius, in his epitome of
Gregory of Tours, (tom. ii. p. 398,) has prudently substituted
the name of Patricius for the incredible title of Rex Romanorum.]

[Footnote 16: Sidonius, (l. v. Epist. 5, in tom. i. p. 794,) who
styles him the Solon, the Amphion, of the Barbarians, addresses
this imaginary king in the tone of friendship and equality. From
such offices of arbitration, the crafty Dejoces had raised
himself to the throne of the Medes, (Herodot. l. i. c. 96 -

[Footnote 17: Campum sibi praeparari jussit. M. Biet (p. 226 -
251) has diligently ascertained this field of battle, at Nogent,
a Benedictine abbey, about ten miles to the north of Soissons.
The ground was marked by a circle of Pagan sepulchres; and Clovis
bestowed the adjacent lands of Leully and Coucy on the church of

[Footnote 18: See Caesar. Comment. de Bell. Gallic. ii. 4, in
tom. i. p. 220, and the Notitiae, tom. i. p. 126. The three
Fabricae of Soissons were, Seutaria, Balistaria, and Clinabaria.
The last supplied the complete armor of the heavy cuirassiers.]
[Footnote 19: The epithet must be confined to the circumstances;
and history cannot justify the French prejudice of Gregory, (l.
ii. c. 27, in tom. ii. p. 175,) ut Gothorum pavere mos est.]
[Footnote 20: Dubos has satisfied me (tom. i. p. 277 - 286) that
Gregory of Tours, his transcribers, or his readers, have
repeatedly confounded the German kingdom of Thuringia, beyond the
Rhine, and the Gallic city of Tongria, on the Meuse, which was
more anciently the country of the Eburones, and more recently the
diocese of Liege.]

The name of the Alemanni has been absurdly derived from
their imaginary settlement on the banks of the Leman Lake. ^21
That fortunate district, from the lake to the Avenche, and Mount
Jura, was occupied by the Burgundians. ^22 The northern parts of
Helvetia had indeed been subdued by the ferocious Alemanni, who
destroyed with their own hands the fruits of their conquest. A
province, improved and adorned by the arts of Rome, was again
reduced to a savage wilderness; and some vestige of the stately
Vindonissa may still be discovered in the fertile and populous
valley of the Aar. ^23 From the source of the Rhine to its
conflux with the Mein and the Moselle, the formidable swarms of
the Alemanni commanded either side of the river, by the right of
ancient possession, or recent victory. They had spread
themselves into Gaul, over the modern provinces of Alsace and
Lorraine; and their bold invasion of the kingdom of Cologne
summoned the Salic prince to the defence of his Ripuarian allies.

Clovis encountered the invaders of Gaul in the plain of Tolbiac,
about twenty-four miles from Cologne; and the two fiercest
nations of Germany were mutually animated by the memory of past
exploits, and the prospect of future greatness. The Franks,
after an obstinate struggle, gave way; and the Alemanni, raising
a shout of victory, impetuously pressed their retreat. But the
battle was restored by the valor, and the conduct, and perhaps by
the piety, of Clovis; and the event of the bloody day decided
forever the alternative of empire or servitude. The last king of
the Alemanni was slain in the field, and his people were
slaughtered or pursued, till they threw down their arms, and
yielded to the mercy of the conqueror. Without discipline it was
impossible for them to rally: they had contemptuously demolished
the walls and fortifications which might have protected their
distress; and they were followed into the heart of their forests
by an enemy not less active, or intrepid, than themselves. The
great Theodoric congratulated the victory of Clovis, whose sister
Albofleda the king of Italy had lately married; but he mildly
interceded with his brother in favor of the suppliants and
fugitives, who had implored his protection. The Gallic
territories, which were possessed by the Alemanni, became the
prize of their conqueror; and the haughty nation, invincible, or
rebellious, to the arms of Rome, acknowledged the sovereignty of
the Merovingian kings, who graciously permitted them to enjoy
their peculiar manners and institutions, under the government of
official, and, at length, of hereditary, dukes. After the
conquest of the Western provinces, the Franks alone maintained
their ancient habitations beyond the Rhine. They gradually
subdued, and civilized, the exhausted countries, as far as the
Elbe, and the mountains of Bohemia; and the peace of Europe was
secured by the obedience of Germany. ^24
[Footnote 21: Populi habitantes juxta Lemannum lacum, Alemanni
dicuntur. Servius, ad Virgil. Georgic. iv. 278. Don Bouquet
(tom. i. p. 817) has only alleged the more recent and corrupt
text of Isidore of Seville.]
[Footnote 22: Gregory of Tours sends St. Lupicinus inter illa
Jurensis deserti secreta, quae, inter Burgundiam Alamanniamque
sita, Aventicae adja cent civitati, in tom. i. p. 648. M. de
Watteville (Hist. de la Confederation Helvetique, tom. i. p. 9,
10) has accurately defined the Helvetian limits of the Duchy of
Alemannia, and the Transjurane Burgundy. They were commensurate
with the dioceses of Constance and Avenche, or Lausanne, and are
still discriminated, in modern Switzerland, by the use of the
German, or French, language.]

[Footnote 23: See Guilliman de Rebus Helveticis, l i. c. 3, p.
11, 12. Within the ancient walls of Vindonissa, the castle of
Hapsburgh, the abbey of Konigsfield, and the town of Bruck, have
successively risen. The philosophic traveller may compare the
monuments of Roman conquest of feudal or Austrian tyranny, of
monkish superstition, and of industrious freedom. If he be truly
a philosopher, he will applaud the merit and happiness of his own
[Footnote 24: Gregory of Tours, (l. ii. 30, 37, in tom. ii. p.
176, 177, 182,) the Gesta Francorum, (in tom. ii. p. 551,) and
the epistle of Theodoric, (Cassiodor. Variar. l. ii. c. 41, in
tom. iv. p. 4,) represent the defeat of the Alemanni. Some of
their tribes settled in Rhaetia, under the protection of
Theodoric; whose successors ceded the colony and their country to
the grandson of Clovis. The state of the Alemanni under the
Merovingian kings may be seen in Mascou (Hist. of the Ancient
Germans, xi. 8, &c. Annotation xxxvi.) and Guilliman, (de Reb.
Helvet. l. ii. c. 10 - 12, p. 72 - 80.)]
Till the thirtieth year of his age, Clovis continued to
worship the gods of his ancestors. ^25 His disbelief, or rather
disregard, of Christianity, might encourage him to pillage with
less remorse the churches of a hostile territory: but his
subjects of Gaul enjoyed the free exercise of religious worship;
and the bishops entertained a more favorable hope of the
idolater, than of the heretics. The Merovingian prince had
contracted a fortunate alliance with the fair Clotilda, the niece
of the king of Burgundy, who, in the midst of an Arian court, was
educated in the profession of the Catholic faith. It was her
interest, as well as her duty, to achieve the conversion ^26 of a
Pagan husband; and Clovis insensibly listened to the voice of
love and religion. He conesnted (perhaps such terms had been
previously stipulated) to the baptism of his eldest son; and
though the sudden death of the infant excited some superstitious
fears, he was persuaded, a second time, to repeat the dangerous
experiment. In the distress of the battle of Tolbiac, Clovis
loudly invoked the God of Clotilda and the Christians; and
victory disposed him to hear, with respectful gratitude, the
eloquent ^27 Remigius, ^28 bishop of Rheims, who forcibly
displayed the temporal and spiritual advantages of his
conversion. The king declared himself satisfied of the truth of
the Catholic faith; and the political reasons which might have
suspended his public profession, were removed by the devout or
loyal acclamations of the Franks, who showed themselves alike
prepared to follow their heroic leader to the field of battle, or
to the baptismal font. The important ceremony was performed in
the cathedral of Rheims, with every circumstance of magnificence
and solemnity that could impress an awful sense of religion on
the minds of its rude proselytes. ^29 The new Constantine was
immediately baptized, with three thousand of his warlike
subjects; and their example was imitated by the remainder of the
gentle Barbarians, who, in obedience to the victorious prelate,
adored the cross which they had burnt, and burnt the idols which
they had formerly adored. ^30 The mind of Clovis was susceptible
of transient fervor: he was exasperated by the pathetic tale of
the passion and death of Christ; and, instead of weighing the
salutary consequences of that mysterious sacrifice, he exclaimed,
with indiscreet fury, "Had I been present at the head of my
valiant Franks, I would have revenged his injuries." ^31 But the
savage conqueror of Gaul was incapable of examining the proofs of
a religion, which depends on the laborious investigation of
historic evidence and speculative theology. He was still more
incapable of feeling the mild influence of the gospel, which
persuades and purifies the heart of a genuine convert. His
ambitious reign was a perpetual violation of moral and Christian
duties: his hands were stained with blood in peace as well as in
war; and, as soon as Clovis had dismissed a synod of the Gallican
church, he calmly assassinated all the princes of the Merovingian
race. ^32 Yet the king of the Franks might sincerely worship the
Christian God, as a Being more excellent and powerful than his
national deities; and the signal deliverance and victory of
Tolbiac encouraged Clovis to confide in the future protection of
the Lord of Hosts. Martin, the most popular of the saints, had
filled the Western world with the fame of those miracles which
were incessantly performed at his holy sepulchre of Tours. His
visible or invisible aid promoted the cause of a liberal and
orthodox prince; and the profane remark of Clovis himself, that
St.Martin was an expensive friend, ^33 need not be interpreted as
the symptom of any permanent or rational scepticism. But earth,
as well as heaven, rejoiced in the conversion of the Franks. On
the memorable day when Clovis ascended from the baptismal font,
he alone, in the Christian world, deserved the name and
prerogatives of a Catholic king. The emperor Anastasius
entertained some dangerous errors concerning the nature of the
divine incarnation; and the Barbarians of Italy, Africa, Spain,
and Gaul, were involved in the Arian heresy. The eldest, or
rather the only, son of the church, was acknowledged by the
clergy as their lawful sovereign, or glorious deliverer; and the
armies of Clovis were strenuously supported by the zeal and
fervor of the Catholic faction. ^34
[Footnote 25: Clotilda, or rather Gregory, supposes that Clovis
worshipped the gods of Greece and Rome. The fact is incredible,
and the mistake only shows how completely, in less than a
century, the national religion of the Franks had been abolished
and even forgotten]

[Footnote 26: Gregory of Tours relates the marriage and
conversion of Clovis, (l. ii. c. 28 - 31, in tom. ii. p. 175 -
178.) Even Fredegarius, or the nameless Epitomizer, (in tom. ii.
p. 398 - 400,) the author of the Gesta Francorum, (in tom. ii. p.
548 - 552,) and Aimoin himself, (l. i. c. 13, in tom. iii. p. 37
- 40,) may be heard without disdain. Tradition might long
preserve some curious circumstances of these important
[Footnote 27: A traveller, who returned from Rheims to Auvergne,
had stolen a copy of his declamations from the secretary or
bookseller of the modest archbishop, (Sidonius Apollinar. l. ix.
epist. 7.) Four epistles of Remigius, which are still extant, (in
tom. iv. p. 51, 52, 53,) do not correspond with the splendid
praise of Sidonius.]

[Footnote 28: Hincmar, one of the succesors of Remigius, (A.D.
845 - 882,) had composed his life, (in tom. iii. p. 373 - 380.)
The authority of ancient MSS. of the church of Rheims might
inspire some confidence, which is destroyed, however, by the
selfish and audacious fictions of Hincmar. It is remarkable
enough, that Remigius, who was consecrated at the age of
twenty-two, (A.D. 457,) filled the episcopal chair seventy-four
years, (Pagi Critica, in Baron tom. ii. p. 384, 572.)]

[Footnote 29: A phial (the Sainte Ampoulle of holy, or rather
celestial, oil,) was brought down by a white dove, for the
baptism of Clovis; and it is still used and renewed, in the
coronation of the kings of France. Hincmar (he aspired to the
primacy of Gaul) is the first author of this fable, (in tom. iii.
p. 377,) whose slight foundations the Abbe de Vertot (Memoires de
l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. ii. p. 619 - 633) has
undermined, with profound respect and consummate dexterity.]
[Footnote 30: Mitis depone colla, Sicamber: adora quod
incendisti, incende quod adorasti. Greg. Turon. l. ii. c. 31, in
tom. ii. p. 177.]
[Footnote 31: Si ego ibidem cum Francis meis fuissem, injurias
ejus vindicassem. This rash expression, which Gregory has
prudently concealed, is celebrated by Fredegarius, (Epitom. c.
21, in tom. ii. p. 400,) Ai moin, (l. i. c. 16, in tom. iii. p.
40,) and the Chroniques de St. Denys, (l. i. c. 20, in tom. iii.
p. 171,) as an admirable effusion of Christian zeal.]
[Footnote 32: Gregory, (l. ii. c. 40 - 43, in tom. ii. p. 183 -
185,) after coolly relating the repeated crimes, and affected
remorse, of Clovis, concludes,perhaps undesignedly, with a
lesson, which ambition will never hear. "His ita transactis

[Footnote 33: After the Gothic victory, Clovis made rich
offerings to St. Martin of Tours. He wished to redeem his
war-horse by the gift of one hundred pieces of gold, but the
enchanted steed could not remove from the stable till the price
of his redemption had been doubled. This miracle provoked the
king to exclaim, Vere B. Martinus est bonus in auxilio, sed carus
in negotio. (Gesta Francorum, in tom. ii. p. 554, 555.)]

[Footnote 34: See the epistle from Pope Anastasius to the royal
convert, (in Com. iv. p. 50, 51.) Avitus, bishop of Vienna,
addressed Clovis on the same subject, (p. 49;) and many of the
Latin bishops would assure him of their joy and attachment.]
Under the Roman empire, the wealth and jurisdiction of the
bishops, their sacred character, and perpetual office, their
numerous dependants, popular eloquence, and provincial
assemblies, had rendered them always respectable, and sometimes
dangerous. Their influence was augmented with the progress of
superstition; and the establishment of the French monarchy may,
in some degree, be ascribed to the firm alliance of a hundred
prelates, who reigned in the discontented, or independent, cities
of Gaul. The slight foundations of the Armorican republic had
been repeatedly shaken, or overthrown; but the same people still
guarded their domestic freedom; asserted the dignity of the Roman
name; and bravely resisted the predatory inroads, and regular
attacks, of Clovis, who labored to extend his conquests from the
Seine to the Loire. Their successful opposition introduced an
equal and honorable union. The Franks esteemed the valor of the
Armoricans ^35 and the Armoricans were reconciled by the religion
of the Franks. The military force which had been stationed for
the defence of Gaul, consisted of one hundred different bands of
cavalry or infantry; and these troops, while they assumed the
title and privileges of Roman soldiers, were renewed by an
incessant supply of the Barbarian youth. The extreme
fortifications, and scattered fragments of the empire, were still
defended by their hopeless courage. But their retreat was
intercepted, and their communication was impracticable: they were
abandoned by the Greek princes of Constantinople, and they
piously disclaimed all connection with the Arian usurpers of
Gaul. They accepted, without shame or reluctance, the generous
capitulation, which was proposed by a Catholic hero; and this
spurious, or legitimate, progeny of the Roman legions, was
distinguished in the succeeding age by their arms, their ensigns,
and their peculiar dress and institutions. But the national
strength was increased by these powerful and voluntary
accessions; and the neighboring kingdoms dreaded the numbers, as
well as the spirit, of the Franks. The reduction of the Northern
provinces of Gaul, instead of being decided by the chance of a
single battle, appears to have been slowly effected by the
gradual operation of war and treaty and Clovis acquired each
object of his ambition, by such efforts, or such concessions, as
were adequate to its real value. His savage character, and the
virtues of Henry IV., suggest the most opposite ideas of human
nature; yet some resemblance may be found in the situation of two
princes, who conquered France by their valor, their policy, and
the merits of a seasonable conversion. ^36

[Footnote 35: Instead of an unknown people, who now appear on the
text of Procopious, Hadrian de Valois has restored the proper
name of the easy correction has been almost universally approved.
Yet an unprejudiced reader would naturally suppose, that
Procopius means to describe a tribe of Germans in the alliance of
Rome; and not a confederacy of Gallic cities, which had revolted
from the empire.

Note: Compare Hallam's Europe during the Middle Ages, vol i.
p. 2, Daru, Hist. de Bretagne vol. i. p. 129 - M.]

[Footnote 36: This important digression of Procopius (de Bell.
Gothic. l. i. c. 12, in tom. ii. p. 29 - 36) illustrates the
origin of the French monarchy. Yet I must observe, 1. That the
Greek historian betrays an inexcusable ignorance of the geography
of the West. 2. That these treaties and privileges, which should
leave some lasting traces, are totally invisible in Gregory of
Tours, the Salic laws, &c.]

The kingdom of the Burgundians, which was defined by the
course of two Gallic rivers, the Saone and the Rhone, extended
from the forest of Vosges to the Alps and the sea of Marscilles.
^37 The sceptre was in the hands of Gundobald. That valiant and
ambitious prince had reduced the number of royal candidates by
the death of two brothers, one of whom was the father of
Clotilda; ^38 but his imperfect prudence still permitted
Godegesil, the youngest of his brothers, to possess the dependent
principality of Geneva. The Arian monarch was justly alarmed by
the satisfaction, and the hopes, which seemed to animate his
clergy and people after the conversion of Clovis; and Gundobald
convened at Lyons an assembly of his bishops, to reconcile, if it
were possible, their religious and political discontents. A vain
conference was agitated between the two factions. The Arians
upbraided the Catholics with the worship of three Gods: the
Catholics defended their cause by theological distinctions; and
the usual arguments, objections, and replies were reverberated
with obstinate clamor; till the king revealed his secret
apprehensions, by an abrupt but decisive question, which he
addressed to the orthodox bishops. "If you truly profess the
Christian religion, why do you not restrain the king of the
Franks? He has declared war against me, and forms alliances with
my enemies for my destruction. A sanguinary and covetous mind is
not the symptom of a sincere conversion: let him show his faith
by his works." The answer of Avitus, bishop of Vienna, who spoke
in the name of his brethren, was delivered with the voice and
countenance of an angel. "We are ignorant of the motives and
intentions of the king of the Franks: but we are taught by
Scripture, that the kingdoms which abandon the divine law are
frequently subverted; and that enemies will arise on every side
against those who have made God their enemy. Return, with thy
people, to the law of God, and he will give peace and security to
thy dominions." The king of Burgundy, who was not prepared to
accept the condition which the Catholics considered as essential
to the treaty, delayed and dismissed the ecclesiastical
conference; after reproaching his bishops, that Clovis, their
friend and proselyte, had privately tempted the allegiance of his
brother. ^39

[Footnote 37: Regnum circa Rhodanum aut Ararim cum provincia
Massiliensi retinebant. Greg. Turon. l. ii. c. 32, in tom. ii.
p. 178. The province of Marseilles, as far as the Durance, was
afterwards ceded to the Ostrogoths; and the signatures of
twenty-five bishops are supposed to represent the kingdom of
Burgundy, A.D. 519. (Concil. Epaon, in tom. iv. p. 104, 105.)
Yet I would except Vindonissa. The bishop, who lived under the
Pagan Alemanni, would naturally resort to the synods of the next
Christian kingdom. Mascou (in his four first annotations) has
explained many circumstances relative to the Burgundian

[Footnote 38: Mascou, (Hist. of the Germans, xi. 10,) who very
reasonably distracts the testimony of Gregory of Tours, has
produced a passage from Avitus (epist. v.) to prove that
Gundobald affected to deplore the tragic event, which his
subjects affected to applaud.]

[Footnote 39: See the original conference, (in tom. iv. p. 99 -
102.) Avitus, the principal actor, and probably the secretary of
the meeting, was bishop of Vienna. A short account of his person
and works may be fouud in Dupin, (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique,
tom. v. p. 5 - 10.)]

Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.

Part II.

The allegiance of his brother was already seduced; and the
obedience of Godegesil, who joined the royal standard with the
troops of Geneva, more effectually promoted the success of the
conspiracy. While the Franks and Burgundians contended with
equal valor, his seasonable desertion decided the event of the
battle; and as Gundobald was faintly supported by the disaffected
Gauls, he yielded to the arms of Clovis, and hastily retreated
from the field, which appears to have been situate between
Langres and Dijon. He distrusted the strength of Dijon, a
quadrangular fortress, encompassed by two rivers, and by a wall
thirty feet high, and fifteen thick, with four gates, and
thirty-three towers: ^40 he abandoned to the pursuit of Clovis
the important cities of Lyons and Vienna; and Gundobald still
fled with precipitation, till he had reached Avignon, at the
distance of two hundred and fifty miles from the field of battle.

A long siege and an artful negotiation, admonished the king of
the Franks of the danger and difficulty of his enterprise. He
imposed a tribute on the Burgundian prince, compelled him to
pardon and reward his brother's treachery, and proudly returned
to his own dominions, with the spoils and captives of the
southern provinces. This splendid triumph was soon clouded by
the intelligence, that Gundobald had violated his recent
obligations, and that the unfortunate Godegesil, who was left at
Vienna with a garrison of five thousand Franks, ^41 had been
besieged, surprised, and massacred by his inhuman brother. Such
an outrage might have exasperated the patience of the most
peaceful sovereign; yet the conqueror of Gaul dissembled the
injury, released the tribute, and accepted the alliance, and
military service, of the king of Burgundy. Clovis no longer
possessed those advantages which had assured the success of the
preceding war; and his rival, instructed by adversity, had found
new resources in the affections of his people. The Gauls or
Romans applauded the mild and impartial laws of Gundobald, which
almost raised them to the same level with their conquerors. The
bishops were reconciled, and flattered, by the hopes, which he
artfully suggested, of his approaching conversion; and though he
eluded their accomplishment to the last moment of his life, his
moderation secured the peace, and suspended the ruin, of the
kingdom of Burgundy. ^42

[Footnote 40: Gregory of Tours (l. iii. c. 19, in tom. ii. p.
197) indulges his genius, or rather describes some more eloquent
writer, in the description of Dijon; a castle, which already
deserved the title of a city. It depended on the bishops of
Langres till the twelfth century, and afterwards became the
capital of the dukes of Burgundy Longuerue Description de la
France, part i. p. 280.]

[Footnote 41: The Epitomizer of Gregory of Tours (in tom. ii. p.
401) has supplied this number of Franks; but he rashly supposes
that they were cut in pieces by Gundobald. The prudent
Burgundian spared the soldiers of Clovis, and sent these captives
to the king of the Visigoths, who settled them in the territory
of Thoulouse.]

[Footnote 42: In this Burgundian war I have followed Gregory of
Tours, (l. ii. c. 32, 33, in tom. ii. p. 178, 179,) whose
narrative appears so incompatible with that of Procopius, (de
Bell. Goth. l. i. c. 12, in tom. ii. p. 31, 32,) that some
critics have supposed two different wars. The Abbe Dubos (Hist.
Critique, &c., tom. ii. p. 126 - 162) has distinctly represented
the causes and the events.]

I am impatient to pursue the final ruin of that kingdom,
which was accomplished under the reign of Sigismond, the son of
Gundobald. The Catholic Sigismond has acquired the honors of a
saint and martyr; ^43 but the hands of the royal saint were
stained with the blood of his innocent son, whom he inhumanly
sacrificed to the pride and resentment of a step- mother. He
soon discovered his error, and bewailed the irreparable loss.
While Sigismond embraced the corpse of the unfortunate youth, he
received a severe admonition from one of his attendants: "It is


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