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

Part 4 out of 14

his absence, the distance of the enemy, and the obstacles that
might retard their march. He principally depended on the rivers
of Italy, the Adige, the Mincius, the Oglio, and the Addua,
which, in the winter or spring, by the fall of rains, or by the
melting of the snows, are commonly swelled into broad and
impetuous torrents. ^37 But the season happened to be remarkably
dry: and the Goths could traverse, without impediment, the wide
and stony beds, whose centre was faintly marked by the course of
a shallow stream. The bridge and passage of the Addua were
secured by a strong detachment of the Gothic army; and as Alaric
approached the walls, or rather the suburbs, of Milan, he enjoyed
the proud satisfaction of seeing the emperor of the Romans fly
before him. Honorius, accompanied by a feeble train of statesmen
and eunuchs, hastily retreated towards the Alps, with a design of
securing his person in the city of Arles, which had often been
the royal residence of his predecessors. ^* But Honorius ^38 had
scarcely passed the Po, before he was overtaken by the speed of
the Gothic cavalry; ^39 since the urgency of the danger compelled
him to seek a temporary shelter within the fortifications of
Asta, a town of Liguria or Piemont, situate on the banks of the
Tanarus. ^40 The siege of an obscure place, which contained so
rich a prize, and seemed incapable of a long resistance, was
instantly formed, and indefatigably pressed, by the king of the
Goths; and the bold declaration, which the emperor might
afterwards make, that his breast had never been susceptible of
fear, did not probably obtain much credit, even in his own court.
^41 In the last, and almost hopeless extremity, after the
Barbarians had already proposed the indignity of a capitulation,
the Imperial captive was suddenly relieved by the fame, the
approach, and at length the presence, of the hero, whom he had so
long expected. At the head of a chosen and intrepid vanguard,
Stilicho swam the stream of the Addua, to gain the time which he
must have lost in the attack of the bridge; the passage of the Po
was an enterprise of much less hazard and difficulty; and the
successful action, in which he cut his way through the Gothic
camp under the walls of Asta, revived the hopes, and vindicated
the honor, of Rome. Instead of grasping the fruit of his
victory, the Barbarian was gradually invested, on every side, by
the troops of the West, who successively issued through all the
passes of the Alps; his quarters were straitened; his convoys
were intercepted; and the vigilance of the Romans prepared to
form a chain of fortifications, and to besiege the lines of the
besiegers. A military council was assembled of the long-haired
chiefs of the Gothic nation; of aged warriors, whose bodies were
wrapped in furs, and whose stern countenances were marked with
honorable wounds. They weighed the glory of persisting in their
attempt against the advantage of securing their plunder; and they
recommended the prudent measure of a seasonable retreat. In this
important debate, Alaric displayed the spirit of the conqueror of
Rome; and after he had reminded his countrymen of their
achievements and of their designs, he concluded his animating
speech by the solemn and positive assurance that he was resolved
to find in Italy either a kingdom or a grave. ^42

[Footnote 37: Every traveller must recollect the face of
Lombardy, (see Fonvenelle, tom. v. p. 279,) which is often
tormented by the capricious and irregular abundance of waters.
The Austrians, before Genoa, were encamped in the dry bed of the
Polcevera. "Ne sarebbe" (says Muratori) "mai passato per mente a
que' buoni Alemanni, che quel picciolo torrente potesse, per cosi
dire, in un instante cangiarsi in un terribil gigante." (Annali
d'Italia, tom. xvi. p. 443, Milan, 1752, 8vo edit.)]

[Footnote *: According to Le Beau and his commentator M. St.
Martin, Honorius did not attempt to fly. Settlements were
offered to the Goths in Lombardy, and they advanced from the Po
towards the Alps to take possession of them. But it was a
treacherous stratagem of Stilicho, who surprised them while they
were reposing on the faith of this treaty. Le Beau, v. x.]
[Footnote 38: Claudian does not clearly answer our question,
Where was Honorius himself? Yet the flight is marked by the
pursuit; and my idea of the Gothic was is justified by the
Italian critics, Sigonius (tom. P, ii. p. 369, de Imp. Occident.
l. x.) and Muratori, (Annali d'Italia. tom. iv. p. 45.)]
[Footnote 39: One of the roads may be traced in the Itineraries,
(p. 98, 288, 294, with Wesseling's Notes.) Asta lay some miles on
the right hand.]
[Footnote 40: Asta, or Asti, a Roman colony, is now the capital
of a pleasant country, which, in the sixteenth century, devolved
to the dukes of Savoy, (Leandro Alberti Descrizzione d'Italia, p.

[Footnote 41: Nec me timor impulit ullus. He might hold this
proud language the next year at Rome, five hundred miles from the
scene of danger (vi. Cons. Hon. 449.)]

[Footnote 42: Hanc ego vel victor regno, vel morte tenebo
Victus, humum.

The speeches (de Bell. Get. 479 - 549) of the Gothic Nestor, and
Achilles, are strong, characteristic, adapted to the
circumstances; and possibly not less genuine than those of Livy.]

The loose discipline of the Barbarians always exposed them
to the danger of a surprise; but, instead of choosing the
dissolute hours of riot and intemperance, Stilicho resolved to
attack the Christian Goths, whilst they were devoutly employed in
celebrating the festival of Easter. ^43 The execution of the
stratagem, or, as it was termed by the clergy of the sacrilege,
was intrusted to Saul, a Barbarian and a Pagan, who had served,
however, with distinguished reputation among the veteran generals
of Theodosius. The camp of the Goths, which Alaric had pitched
in the neighborhood of Pollentia, ^44 was thrown into confusion
by the sudden and impetuous charge of the Imperial cavalry; but,
in a few moments, the undaunted genius of their leader gave them
an order, and a field of battle; and, as soon as they had
recovered from their astonishment, the pious confidence, that the
God of the Christians would assert their cause, added new
strength to their native valor. In this engagement, which was
long maintained with equal courage and success, the chief of the
Alani, whose diminutive and savage form concealed a magnanimous
soul approved his suspected loyalty, by the zeal with which he
fought, and fell, in the service of the republic; and the fame of
this gallant Barbarian has been imperfectly preserved in the
verses of Claudian, since the poet, who celebrates his virtue,
has omitted the mention of his name. His death was followed by
the flight and dismay of the squadrons which he commanded; and
the defeat of the wing of cavalry might have decided the victory
of Alaric, if Stilicho had not immediately led the Roman and
Barbarian infantry to the attack. The skill of the general, and
the bravery of the soldiers, surmounted every obstacle. In the
evening of the bloody day, the Goths retreated from the field of
battle; the intrenchments of their camp were forced, and the
scene of rapine and slaughter made some atonement for the
calamities which they had inflicted on the subjects of the
empire. ^45 The magnificent spoils of Corinth and Argos enriched
the veterans of the West; the captive wife of Alaric, who had
impatiently claimed his promise of Roman jewels and Patrician
handmaids, ^46 was reduced to implore the mercy of the insulting
foe; and many thousand prisoners, released from the Gothic
chains, dispersed through the provinces of Italy the praises of
their heroic deliverer. The triumph of Stilicho ^47 was compared
by the poet, and perhaps by the public, to that of Marius; who,
in the same part of Italy, had encountered and destroyed another
army of Northern Barbarians. The huge bones, and the empty
helmets, of the Cimbri and of the Goths, would easily be
confounded by succeeding generations; and posterity might erect a
common trophy to the memory of the two most illustrious generals,
who had vanquished, on the same memorable ground, the two most
formidable enemies of Rome. ^48

[Footnote 43: Orosius (l. vii. c. 37) is shocked at the impiety
of the Romans, who attacked, on Easter Sunday, such pious
Christians. Yet, at the same time, public prayers were offered
at the shrine of St. Thomas of Edessa, for the destruction of the
Arian robber. See Tillemont (Hist des Emp. tom. v. p. 529) who
quotes a homily, which has been erroneously ascribed to St.

[Footnote 44: The vestiges of Pollentia are twenty-five miles to
the south- east of Turin. Urbs, in the same neighborhood, was a
royal chase of the kings of Lombardy, and a small river, which
excused the prediction, "penetrabis ad urbem," (Cluver. Ital.
Antiq tom. i. p. 83 - 85.)]
[Footnote 45: Orosius wishes, in doubtful words, to insinuate the
defeat of the Romans. "Pugnantes vicimus, victores victi sumus."
Prosper (in Chron.) makes it an equal and bloody battle, but the
Gothic writers Cassiodorus (in Chron.) and Jornandes (de Reb.
Get. c. 29) claim a decisive victory.]
[Footnote 46: Demens Ausonidum gemmata monilia matrum,
Romanasque alta famulas cervice petebat.

De Bell. Get. 627.]

[Footnote 47: Claudian (de Bell. Get. 580 - 647) and Prudentius
(in Symmach. n. 694 - 719) celebrate, without ambiguity, the
Roman victory of Pollentia. They are poetical and party writers;
yet some credit is due to the most suspicious witnesses, who are
checked by the recent notoriety of facts.]

[Footnote 48: Claudian's peroration is strong and elegant; but
the identity of the Cimbric and Gothic fields must be understood
(like Virgil's Philippi, Georgic i. 490) according to the loose
geography of a poet. Verselle and Pollentia are sixty miles from
each other; and the latitude is still greater, if the Cimbri were
defeated in the wide and barren plain of Verona, (Maffei, Verona
Illustrata, P. i. p. 54 - 62.)]

The eloquence of Claudian ^49 has celebrated, with lavish
applause, the victory of Pollentia, one of the most glorious days
in the life of his patron; but his reluctant and partial muse
bestows more genuine praise on the character of the Gothic king.
His name is, indeed, branded with the reproachful epithets of
pirate and robber, to which the conquerors of every age are so
justly entitled; but the poet of Stilicho is compelled to
acknowledge that Alaric possessed the invincible temper of mind,
which rises superior to every misfortune, and derives new
resources from adversity. After the total defeat of his
infantry, he escaped, or rather withdrew, from the field of
battle, with the greatest part of his cavalry entire and
unbroken. Without wasting a moment to lament the irreparable
loss of so many brave companions, he left his victorious enemy to
bind in chains the captive images of a Gothic king; ^50 and
boldly resolved to break through the unguarded passes of the
Apennine, to spread desolation over the fruitful face of Tuscany,
and to conquer or die before the gates of Rome. The capital was
saved by the active and incessant diligence of Stilicho; but he
respected the despair of his enemy; and, instead of committing
the fate of the republic to the chance of another battle, he
proposed to purchase the absence of the Barbarians. The spirit
of Alaric would have rejected such terms, the permission of a
retreat, and the offer of a pension, with contempt and
indignation; but he exercised a limited and precarious authority
over the independent chieftains who had raised him, for their
service, above the rank of his equals; they were still less
disposed to follow an unsuccessful general, and many of them were
tempted to consult their interest by a private negotiation with
the minister of Honorius. The king submitted to the voice of his
people, ratified the treaty with the empire of the West, and
repassed the Po with the remains of the flourishing army which he
had led into Italy. A considerable part of the Roman forces
still continued to attend his motions; and Stilicho, who
maintained a secret correspondence with some of the Barbarian
chiefs, was punctually apprised of the designs that were formed
in the camp and council of Alaric. The king of the Goths,
ambitious to signalize his retreat by some splendid achievement,
had resolved to occupy the important city of Verona, which
commands the principal passage of the Rhaetian Alps; and,
directing his march through the territories of those German
tribes, whose alliance would restore his exhausted strength, to
invade, on the side of the Rhine, the wealthy and unsuspecting
provinces of Gaul. Ignorant of the treason which had already
betrayed his bold and judicious enterprise, he advanced towards
the passes of the mountains, already possessed by the Imperial
troops; where he was exposed, almost at the same instant, to a
general attack in the front, on his flanks, and in the rear. In
this bloody action, at a small distance from the walls of Verona,
the loss of the Goths was not less heavy than that which they had
sustained in the defeat of Pollentia; and their valiant king, who
escaped by the swiftness of his horse, must either have been
slain or made prisoner, if the hasty rashness of the Alani had
not disappointed the measures of the Roman general. Alaric
secured the remains of his army on the adjacent rocks; and
prepared himself, with undaunted resolution, to maintain a siege
against the superior numbers of the enemy, who invested him on
all sides. But he could not oppose the destructive progress of
hunger and disease; nor was it possible for him to check the
continual desertion of his impatient and capricious Barbarians.
In this extremity he still found resources in his own courage, or
in the moderation of his adversary; and the retreat of the Gothic
king was considered as the deliverance of Italy. ^51 Yet the
people, and even the clergy, incapable of forming any rational
judgment of the business of peace and war, presumed to arraign
the policy of Stilicho, who so often vanquished, so often
surrounded, and so often dismissed the implacable enemy of the
republic. The first momen of the public safety is devoted to
gratitude and joy; but the second is diligently occupied by envy
and calumny. ^52

[Footnote 49: Claudian and Prudentius must be strictly examined,
to reduce the figures, and extort the historic sense, of those
[Footnote 50: Et gravant en airain ses freles avantages
De mes etats conquis enchainer les images.

The practice of exposing in triumph the images of kings and
provinces was familiar to the Romans. The bust of Mithridates
himself was twelve feet high, of massy gold, (Freinshem.
Supplement. Livian. ciii. 47.)]
[Footnote 51: The Getic war, and the sixth consulship of
Honorius, obscurely connect the events of Alaric's retreat and
[Footnote 52: Taceo de Alarico ... saepe visto, saepe concluso,
semperque dimisso. Orosius, l. vii. c. 37, p. 567. Claudian
(vi. Cons. Hon. 320) drops the curtain with a fine image.]
The citizens of Rome had been astonished by the approach of
Alaric; and the diligence with which they labored to restore the
walls of the capital, confessed their own fears, and the decline
of the empire. After the retreat of the Barbarians, Honorius was
directed to accept the dutiful invitation of the senate, and to
celebrate, in the Imperial city, the auspicious aera of the
Gothic victory, and of his sixth consulship. ^53 The suburbs and
the streets, from the Milvian bridge to the Palatine mount, were
filled by the Roman people, who, in the space of a hundred years,
had only thrice been honored with the presence of their
sovereigns. While their eyes were fixed on the chariot where
Stilicho was deservedly seated by the side of his royal pupil,
they applauded the pomp of a triumph, which was not stained, like
that of Constantine, or of Theodosius, with civil blood. The
procession passed under a lofty arch, which had been purposely
erected: but in less than seven years, the Gothic conquerors of
Rome might read, if they were able to read, the superb
inscription of that monument, which attested the total defeat and
destruction of their nation. ^54 The emperor resided several
months in the capital, and every part of his behavior was
regulated with care to conciliate the affection of the clergy,
the senate, and the people of Rome. The clergy was edified by
his frequent visits and liberal gifts to the shrines of the
apostles. The senate, who, in the triumphal procession, had been
excused from the humiliating ceremony of preceding on foot the
Imperial chariot, was treated with the decent reverence which
Stilicho always affected for that assembly. The people was
repeatedly gratified by the attention and courtesy of Honorius in
the public games, which were celebrated on that occasion with a
magnificence not unworthy of the spectator. As soon as the
appointed number of chariot- races was concluded, the decoration
of the Circus was suddenly changed; the hunting of wild beasts
afforded a various and splendid entertainment; and the chase was
succeeded by a military dance, which seems, in the lively
description of Claudian, to present the image of a modern
[Footnote 53: The remainder of Claudian's poem on the sixth
consulship of Honorius, describes the journey, the triumph, and
the games, (330 - 660.)]
[Footnote 54: See the inscription in Mascou's History of the
Ancient Germans, viii. 12. The words are positive and
indiscreet: Getarum nationem in omne aevum domitam, &c.]

In these games of Honorius, the inhuman combats of
gladiators ^55 polluted, for the last time, the amphitheater of
Rome. The first Christian emperor may claim the honor of the
first edict which condemned the art and amusement of shedding
human blood; ^56 but this benevolent law expressed the wishes of
the prince, without reforming an inveterate abuse, which degraded
a civilized nation below the condition of savage cannibals.
Several hundred, perhaps several thousand, victims were annually
slaughtered in the great cities of the empire; and the month of
December, more peculiarly devoted to the combats of gladiators,
still exhibited to the eyes of the Roman people a grateful
spectacle of blood and cruelty. Amidst the general joy of the
victory of Pollentia, a Christian poet exhorted the emperor to
extirpate, by his authority, the horrid custom which had so long
resisted the voice of humanity and religion. ^57 The pathetic
representations of Prudentius were less effectual than the
generous boldness of Telemachus, and Asiatic monk, whose death
was more useful to mankind than his life. ^58 The Romans were
provoked by the interruption of their pleasures; and the rash
monk, who had descended into the arena to separate the
gladiators, was overwhelmed under a shower of stones. But the
madness of the people soon subsided; they respected the memory of
Telemachus, who had deserved the honors of martyrdom; and they
submitted, without a murmur, to the laws of Honorius, which
abolished forever the human sacrifices of the amphitheater. ^*
The citizens, who adhered to the manners of their ancestors,
might perhaps insinuate that the last remains of a martial spirit
were preserved in this school of fortitude, which accustomed the
Romans to the sight of blood, and to the contempt of death; a
vain and cruel prejudice, so nobly confuted by the valor of
ancient Greece, and of modern Europe! ^59

[Footnote 55: On the curious, though horrid, subject of the
gladiators, consult the two books of the Saturnalia of Lipsius,
who, as an antiquarian, is inclined to excuse the practice of
antiquity, (tom. iii. p. 483 - 545.)]
[Footnote 56: Cod. Theodos. l. xv. tit. xii. leg. i. The
Commentary of Godefroy affords large materials (tom. v. p. 396)
for the history of gladiators.]

[Footnote 57: See the peroration of Prudentius (in Symmach. l.
ii. 1121 - 1131) who had doubtless read the eloquent invective of
Lactantius, (Divin. Institut. l. vi. c. 20.) The Christian
apologists have not spared these bloody games, which were
introduced in the religious festivals of Paganism.]

[Footnote 58: Theodoret, l. v. c. 26. I wish to believe the
story of St. Telemachus. Yet no church has been dedicated, no
altar has been erected, to the only monk who died a martyr in the
cause of humanity.]
[Footnote *: Muller, in his valuable Treatise, de Genio, moribus
et luxu aevi Theodosiani, is disposed to question the effect
produced by the heroic, or rather saintly, death of Telemachus.
No prohibitory law of Honorius is to be found in the Theodosian
Code, only the old and imperfect edict of Constantine. But
Muller has produced no evidence or allusion to gladiatorial shows
after this period. The combats with wild beasts certainly lasted
till the fall of the Western empire; but the gladiatorial combats
ceased either by common consent, or by Imperial edict. - M.]
[Footnote 59: Crudele gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum
nonnullis videri solet, et haud scio an ita sit, ut nunc fit.
Cicero Tusculan. ii. 17. He faintly censures the abuse, and
warmly defends the use, of these sports; oculis nulla poterat
esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem disciplina. Seneca (epist.
vii.) shows the feelings of a man.]

The recent danger, to which the person of the emperor had
been exposed in the defenceless palace of Milan, urged him to
seek a retreat in some inaccessible fortress of Italy, where he
might securely remain, while the open country was covered by a
deluge of Barbarians. On the coast of the Adriatic, about ten or
twelve miles from the most southern of the seven mouths of the
Po, the Thessalians had founded the ancient colony of Ravenna,
^60 which they afterwards resigned to the natives of Umbria.
Augustus, who had observed the opportunity of the place,
prepared, at the distance of three miles from the old town, a
capacious harbor, for the reception of two hundred and fifty
ships of war. This naval establishment, which included the
arsenals and magazines, the barracks of the troops, and the
houses of the artificers, derived its origin and name from the
permanent station of the Roman fleet; the intermediate space was
soon filled with buildings and inhabitants, and the three
extensive and populous quarters of Ravenna gradually contributed
to form one of the most important cities of Italy. The principal
canal of Augustus poured a copious stream of the waters of the Po
through the midst of the city, to the entrance of the harbor; the
same waters were introduced into the profound ditches that
encompassed the walls; they were distributed by a thousand
subordinate canals, into every part of the city, which they
divided into a variety of small islands; the communication was
maintained only by the use of boats and bridges; and the houses
of Ravenna, whose appearance may be compared to that of Venice,
were raised on the foundation of wooden piles. The adjacent
country, to the distance of many miles, was a deep and impassable
morass; and the artificial causeway, which connected Ravenna with
the continent, might be easily guarded or destroyed, on the
approach of a hostile army These morasses were interspersed,
however, with vineyards: and though the soil was exhausted by
four or five crops, the town enjoyed a more plentiful supply of
wine than of fresh water. ^61 The air, instead of receiving the
sickly, and almost pestilential, exhalations of low and marshy
grounds, was distinguished, like the neighborhood of Alexandria,
as uncommonly pure and salubrious; and this singular advantage
was ascribed to the regular tides of the Adriatic, which swept
the canals, interrupted the unwholesome stagnation of the waters,
and floated, every day, the vessels of the adjacent country into
the heart of Ravenna. The gradual retreat of the sea has left
the modern city at the distance of four miles from the Adriatic;
and as early as the fifth or sixth century of the Christian aera,
the port of Augustus was converted into pleasant orchards; and a
lonely grove of pines covered the ground where the Roman fleet
once rode at anchor. ^62 Even this alteration contributed to
increase the natural strength of the place, and the shallowness
of the water was a sufficient barrier against the large ships of
the enemy. This advantageous situation was fortified by art and
labor; and in the twentieth year of his age, the emperor of the
West, anxious only for his personal safety, retired to the
perpetual confinement of the walls and morasses of Ravenna. The
example of Honorius was imitated by his feeble successors, the
Gothic kings, and afterwards the Exarchs, who occupied the throne
and palace of the emperors; and till the middle of the eight
century, Ravenna was considered as the seat of government, and
the capital of Italy. ^63

[Footnote 60: This account of Ravenna is drawn from Strabo, (l.
v. p. 327,) Pliny, (iii. 20,) Stephen of Byzantium, (sub voce, p.
651, edit. Berkel,) Claudian, (in vi. Cons. Honor. 494, &c.,)
Sidonius Apollinaris, (l. i. epist. 5, 8,) Jornandes, (de Reb.
Get. c. 29,) Procopius (de Bell, (lothic, l. i. c. i. p. 309,
edit. Louvre,) and Cluverius, (Ital. Antiq tom i. p. 301 - 307.)
Yet I still want a local antiquarian and a good topographical
[Footnote 61: Martial (Epigram iii. 56, 57) plays on the trick of
the knave, who had sold him wine instead of water; but he
seriously declares that a cistern at Ravenna is more valuable
than a vineyard. Sidonius complains that the town is destitute
of fountains and aqueducts; and ranks the want of fresh water
among the local evils, such as the croaking of frogs, the
stinging of gnats, &c.]

[Footnote 62: The fable of Theodore and Honoria, which Dryden has
so admirably transplanted from Boccaccio, (Giornata iii. novell.
viii.,) was acted in the wood of Chiassi, a corrupt word from
Classis, the naval station which, with the intermediate road, or
suburb the Via Caesaris, constituted the triple city of Ravenna.]

[Footnote 63: From the year 404, the dates of the Theodosian Code
become sedentary at Constantinople and Ravenna. See Godefroy's
Chronology of the Laws, tom. i. p. cxlviii., &c.]

The fears of Honorius were not without foundation, nor were
his precautions without effect. While Italy rejoiced in her
deliverance from the Goths, a furious tempest was excited among
the nations of Germany, who yielded to the irresistible impulse
that appears to have been gradually communicated from the eastern
extremity of the continent of Asia. The Chinese annals, as they
have been interpreted by the earned industry of the present age,
may be usefully applied to reveal the secret and remote causes of
the fall of the Roman empire. The extensive territory to the
north of the great wall was possessed, after the flight of the
Huns, by the victorious Sienpi, who were sometimes broken into
independent tribes, and sometimes reunited under a supreme chief;
till at length, styling themselves Topa, or masters of the earth,
they acquired a more solid consistence, and a more formidable
power. The Topa soon compelled the pastoral nations of the
eastern desert to acknowledge the superiority of their arms; they
invaded China in a period of weakness and intestine discord; and
these fortunate Tartars, adopting the laws and manners of the
vanquished people, founded an Imperial dynasty, which reigned
near one hundred and sixty years over the northern provinces of
the monarchy. Some generations before they ascended the throne
of China, one of the Topa princes had enlisted in his cavalry a
slave of the name of Moko, renowned for his valor, but who was
tempted, by the fear of punishment, to desert his standard, and
to range the desert at the head of a hundred followers. This gang
of robbers and outlaws swelled into a camp, a tribe, a numerous
people, distinguished by the appellation of Geougen; and their
hereditary chieftains, the posterity of Moko the slave, assumed
their rank among the Scythian monarchs. The youth of Toulun, the
greatest of his descendants, was exercised by those misfortunes
which are the school of heroes. He bravely struggled with
adversity, broke the imperious yoke of the Topa, and became the
legislator of his nation, and the conqueror of Tartary. His
troops were distributed into regular bands of a hundred and of a
thousand men; cowards were stoned to death; the most splendid
honors were proposed as the reward of valor; and Toulun, who had
knowledge enough to despise the learning of China, adopted only
such arts and institutions as were favorable to the military
spirit of his government. His tents, which he removed in the
winter season to a more southern latitude, were pitched, during
the summer, on the fruitful banks of the Selinga. His conquests
stretched from Corea far beyond the River Irtish. He vanquished,
in the country to the north of the Caspian Sea, the nation of the
Huns; and the new title of Khan, or Cagan, expressed the fame and
power which he derived from this memorable victory. ^64

[Footnote 64: See M. de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 179 -
189, tom ii p. 295, 334 - 338.]

The chain of events is interrupted, or rather is concealed,
as it passes from the Volga to the Vistula, through the dark
interval which separates the extreme limits of the Chinese, and
of the Roman, geography. Yet the temper of the Barbarians, and
the experience of successive emigrations, sufficiently declare,
that the Huns, who were oppressed by the arms of the Geougen,
soon withdrew from the presence of an insulting victor. The
countries towards the Euxine were already occupied by their
kindred tribes; and their hasty flight, which they soon converted
into a bold attack, would more naturally be directed towards the
rich and level plains, through which the Vistula gently flows
into the Baltic Sea. The North must again have been alarmed, and
agitated, by the invasion of the Huns; ^* and the nations who
retreated before them must have pressed with incumbent weight on
the confines of Germany. ^65 The inhabitants of those regions,
which the ancients have assigned to the Suevi, the Vandals, and
the Burgundians, might embrace the resolution of abandoning to
the fugitives of Sarmatia their woods and morasses; or at least
of discharging their superfluous numbers on the provinces of the
Roman empire. ^66 About four years after the victorious Toulun
had assumed the title of Khan of the Geougen, another Barbarian,
the haughty Rhodogast, or Radagaisus, ^67 marched from the
northern extremities of Germany almost to the gates of Rome, and
left the remains of his army to achieve the destruction of the
West. The Vandals, the Suevi, and the Burgundians, formed the
strength of this mighty host; but the Alani, who had found a
hospitable reception in their new seats, added their active
cavalry to the heavy infantry of the Germans; and the Gothic
adventurers crowded so eagerly to the standard of Radagaisus,
that by some historians, he has been styled the King of the
Goths. Twelve thousand warriors, distinguished above the vulgar
by their noble birth, or their valiant deeds, glittered in the
van; ^68 and the whole multitude, which was not less than two
hundred thousand fighting men, might be increased, by the
accession of women, of children, and of slaves, to the amount of
four hundred thousand persons. This formidable emigration issued
from the same coast of the Baltic, which had poured forth the
myriads of the Cimbri and Teutones, to assault Rome and Italy in
the vigor of the republic. After the departure of those
Barbarians, their native country, which was marked by the
vestiges of their greatness, long ramparts, and gigantic moles,
^69 remained, during some ages, a vast and dreary solitude; till
the human species was renewed by the powers of generation, and
the vacancy was filled by the influx of new inhabitants. The
nations who now usurp an extent of land which they are unable to
cultivate, would soon be assisted by the industrious poverty of
their neighbors, if the government of Europe did not protect the
claims of dominion and property.

[Footnote *: There is no authority which connects this inroad of
the Teutonic tribes with the movements of the Huns. The Huns can
hardly have reached the shores of the Baltic, and probably the
greater part of the forces of Radagaisus, particularly the
Vandals, had long occupied a more southern position. - M.]
[Footnote 65: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. iii. p. 182)
has observed an emigration from the Palus Maeotis to the north of
Germany, which he ascribes to famine. But his views of ancient
history are strangely darkened by ignorance and error.]

[Footnote 66: Zosimus (l. v. p. 331) uses the general description
of the nations beyond the Danube and the Rhine. Their situation,
and consequently their names, are manifestly shown, even in the
various epithets which each ancient writer may have casually

[Footnote 67: The name of Rhadagast was that of a local deity of
the Obotrites, (in Mecklenburg.) A hero might naturally assume
the appellation of his tutelar god; but it is not probable that
the Barbarians should worship an unsuccessful hero. See Mascou,
Hist. of the Germans, viii. 14.
Note: The god of war and of hospitality with the Vends and
all the Sclavonian races of Germany bore the name of Radegast,
apparently the same with Rhadagaisus. His principal temple was
at Rhetra in Mecklenburg. It was adorned with great magnificence.

The statue of the gold was of gold. St. Martin, v. 255. A
statue of Radegast, of much coarser materials, and of the rudest
workmanship, was discovered between 1760 and 1770, with those of
other Wendish deities, on the supposed site of Rhetra. The names
of the gods were cut upon them in Runic characters. See the very
curious volume on these antiquities - Die Gottesdienstliche
Alterthumer der Obotriter - Masch and Wogen. Berlin, 1771. - M.]

[Footnote 68: Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180, uses the Greek
word which does not convey any precise idea. I suspect that they
were the princes and nobles with their faithful companions; the
knights with their squires, as they would have been styled some
centuries afterwards.]

[Footnote 69: Tacit. de Moribus Germanorum, c. 37.]

Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.

Part IV.

The correspondence of nations was, in that age, so imperfect
and precarious, that the revolutions of the North might escape
the knowledge of the court of Ravenna; till the dark cloud, which
was collected along the coast of the Baltic, burst in thunder
upon the banks of the Upper Danube. The emperor of the West, if
his ministers disturbed his amusements by the news of the
impending danger, was satisfied with being the occasion, and the
spectator, of the war. ^70 The safety of Rome was intrusted to
the counsels, and the sword, of Stilicho; but such was the feeble
and exhausted state of the empire, that it was impossible to
restore the fortifications of the Danube, or to prevent, by a
vigorous effort, the invasion of the Germans. ^71 The hopes of
the vigilant minister of Honorius were confined to the defence of
Italy. He once more abandoned the provinces, recalled the troops,
pressed the new levies, which were rigorously exacted, and
pusillanimously eluded; employed the most efficacious means to
arrest, or allure, the deserters; and offered the gift of
freedom, and of two pieces of gold, to all the slaves who would
enlist. ^72 By these efforts he painfully collected, from the
subjects of a great empire, an army of thirty or forty thousand
men, which, in the days of Scipio or Camillus, would have been
instantly furnished by the free citizens of the territory of
Rome. ^73 The thirty legions of Stilicho were reenforced by a
large body of Barbarian auxiliaries; the faithful Alani were
personally attached to his service; and the troops of Huns and of
Goths, who marched under the banners of their native princes,
Huldin and Sarus, were animated by interest and resentment to
oppose the ambition of Radagaisus. The king of the confederate
Germans passed, without resistance, the Alps, the Po, and the
Apennine; leaving on one hand the inaccessible palace of
Honorius, securely buried among the marshes of Ravenna; and, on
the other, the camp of Stilicho, who had fixed his head-quarters
at Ticinum, or Pavia, but who seems to have avoided a decisive
battle, till he had assembled his distant forces. Many cities of
Italy were pillaged, or destroyed; and the siege of Florence, ^74
by Radagaisus, is one of the earliest events in the history of
that celebrated republic; whose firmness checked and delayed the
unskillful fury of the Barbarians. The senate and people
trembled at their approached within a hundred and eighty miles of
Rome; and anxiously compared the danger which they had escaped,
with the new perils to which they were exposed. Alaric was a
Christian and a soldier, the leader of a disciplined army; who
understood the laws of war, who respected the sanctity of
treaties, and who had familiarly conversed with the subjects of
the empire in the same camps, and the same churches. The savage
Radagaisus was a stranger to the manners, the religion, and even
the language, of the civilized nations of the South. The
fierceness of his temper was exasperated by cruel superstition;
and it was universally believed, that he had bound himself, by a
solemn vow, to reduce the city into a heap of stones and ashes,
and to sacrifice the most illustrious of the Roman senators on
the altars of those gods who were appeased by human blood. The
public danger, which should have reconciled all domestic
animosities, displayed the incurable madness of religious
faction. The oppressed votaries of Jupiter and Mercury
respected, in the implacable enemy of Rome, the character of a
devout Pagan; loudly declared, that they were more apprehensive
of the sacrifices, than of the arms, of Radagaisus; and secretly
rejoiced in the calamities of their country, which condemned the
faith of their Christian adversaries. ^75 ^*

[Footnote 70: - Cujus agendi
Spectator vel causa fui,

(Claudian, vi. Cons. Hon. 439,)

is the modest language of Honorius, in speaking of the Gothic
war, which he had seen somewhat nearer.]

[Footnote 71: Zosimus (l. v. p. 331) transports the war, and the
victory of Stilisho, beyond the Danube. A strange error, which
is awkwardly and imperfectly cured (Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.
tom. v. p. 807.) In good policy, we must use the service of
Zosimus, without esteeming or trusting him.]
[Footnote 72: Codex Theodos. l. vii. tit. xiii. leg. 16. The
date of this law A.D. 406. May 18) satisfies-me, as it had done
Godefroy, (tom. ii. p. 387,) of the true year of the invasion of
Radagaisus. Tillemont, Pagi, and Muratori, prefer the preceding
year; but they are bound, by certain obligations of civility and
respect, to St. Paulinus of Nola.]

[Footnote 73: Soon after Rome had been taken by the Gauls, the
senate, on a sudden emergency, armed ten legions, 3000 horse, and
42,000 foot; a force which the city could not have sent forth
under Augustus, (Livy, xi. 25.) This declaration may puzzle an
antiquary, but it is clearly explained by Montesquieu.]

[Footnote 74: Machiavel has explained, at least as a philosopher,
the origin of Florence, which insensibly descended, for the
benefit of trade, from the rock of Faesulae to the banks of the
Arno, (Istoria Fiorentina, tom. i. p. 36. Londra, 1747.) The
triumvirs sent a colony to Florence, which, under Tiberius,
(Tacit. Annal. i. 79,) deserved the reputation and name of a
flourishing city. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. tom. i. p. 507, &c.]
[Footnote 75: Yet the Jupiter of Radagaisus, who worshipped Thor
and Woden, was very different from the Olympic or Capitoline
Jove. The accommodating temper of Polytheism might unite those
various and remote deities; but the genuine Romans ahhorred the
human sacrifices of Gaul and Germany.]
[Footnote *: Gibbon has rather softened the language of Augustine
as to this threatened insurrection of the Pagans, in order to
restore the prohibited rites and ceremonies of Paganism; and
their treasonable hopes that the success of Radagaisus would be
the triumph of idolatry. Compare ii. 25 - M.]
Florence was reduced to the last extremity; and the fainting
courage of the citizens was supported only by the authority of
St. Ambrose; who had communicated, in a dream, the promise of a
speedy deliverance. ^76 On a sudden, they beheld, from their
walls, the banners of Stilicho, who advanced, with his united
force, to the relief of the faithful city; and who soon marked
that fatal spot for the grave of the Barbarian host. The
apparent contradictions of those writers who variously relate the
defeat of Radagaisus, may be reconciled without offering much
violence to their respective testimonies. Orosius and Augustin,
who were intimately connected by friendship and religion,
ascribed this miraculous victory to the providence of God, rather
than to the valor of man. ^77 They strictly exclude every idea of
chance, or even of bloodshed; and positively affirm, that the
Romans, whose camp was the scene of plenty and idleness, enjoyed
the distress of the Barbarians, slowly expiring on the sharp and
barren ridge of the hills of Faesulae, which rise above the city
of Florence. Their extravagant assertion that not a single
soldier of the Christian army was killed, or even wounded, may be
dismissed with silent contempt; but the rest of the narrative of
Augustin and Orosius is consistent with the state of the war, and
the character of Stilicho. Conscious that he commanded the last
army of the republic, his prudence would not expose it, in the
open field, to the headstrong fury of the Germans. The method of
surrounding the enemy with strong lines of circumvallation, which
he had twice employed against the Gothic king, was repeated on a
larger scale, and with more considerable effect. The examples of
Caesar must have been familiar to the most illiterate of the
Roman warriors; and the fortifications of Dyrrachium, which
connected twenty-four castles, by a perpetual ditch and rampart
of fifteen miles, afforded the model of an intrenchment which
might confine, and starve, the most numerous host of Barbarians.
^78 The Roman troops had less degenerated from the industry, than
from the valor, of their ancestors; and if their servile and
laborious work offended the pride of the soldiers, Tuscany could
supply many thousand peasants, who would labor, though, perhaps,
they would not fight, for the salvation of their native country.
The imprisoned multitude of horses and men ^79 was gradually
destroyed, by famine rather than by the sword; but the Romans
were exposed, during the progress of such an extensive work, to
the frequent attacks of an impatient enemy. The despair of the
hungry Barbarians would precipitate them against the
fortifications of Stilicho; the general might sometimes indulge
the ardor of his brave auxiliaries, who eagerly pressed to
assault the camp of the Germans; and these various incidents
might produce the sharp and bloody conflicts which dignify the
narrative of Zosimus, and the Chronicles of Prosper and
Marcellinus. ^80 A seasonable supply of men and provisions had
been introduced into the walls of Florence, and the famished host
of Radagaisus was in its turn besieged. The proud monarch of so
many warlike nations, after the loss of his bravest warriors, was
reduced to confide either in the faith of a capitulation, or in
the clemency of Stilicho. ^81 But the death of the royal captive,
who was ignominiously beheaded, disgraced the triumph of Rome and
of Christianity; and the short delay of his execution was
sufficient to brand the conqueror with the guilt of cool and
deliberate cruelty. ^82 The famished Germans, who escaped the
fury of the auxiliaries, were sold as slaves, at the contemptible
price of as many single pieces of gold; but the difference of
food and climate swept away great numbers of those unhappy
strangers; and it was observed, that the inhuman purchasers,
instead of reaping the fruits of their labor were soon obliged to
provide the expense of their interment Stilicho informed the
emperor and the senate of his success; and deserved, a second
time, the glorious title of Deliverer of Italy. ^83

[Footnote 76: Paulinus (in Vit. Ambros c. 50) relates this story,
which he received from the mouth of Pansophia herself, a
religious matron of Florence. Yet the archbishop soon ceased to
take an active part in the business of the world, and never
became a popular saint.]

[Footnote 77: Augustin de Civitat. Dei, v. 23. Orosius, l. vii.
c. 37, p. 567 - 571. The two friends wrote in Africa, ten or
twelve years after the victory; and their authority is implicitly
followed by Isidore of Seville, (in Chron. p. 713, edit. Grot.)
How many interesting facts might Orosius have inserted in the
vacant space which is devoted to pious nonsense!]
[Footnote 78: Franguntur montes, planumque per ardua Caesar

Ducit opus: pandit fossas, turritaque summis

Disponit castella jugis, magnoque necessu
Amplexus fines, saltus, memorosaque tesqua
Et silvas, vastaque feras indagine claudit.! Yet
the simplicity of truth (Caesar, de Bell. Civ. iii. 44) is far
greater than the amplifications of Lucan, (Pharsal. l. vi. 29 -
[Footnote 79: The rhetorical expressions of Orosius, "in arido et
aspero montis jugo;" "in unum ac parvum verticem," are not very
suitable to the encampment of a great army. But Faesulae, only
three miles from Florence, might afford space for the
head-quarters of Radagaisus, and would be comprehended within the
circuit of the Roman lines.]

[Footnote 80: See Zosimus, l. v. p. 331, and the Chronicles of
Prosper and Marcellinus.]

[Footnote 81: Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180) uses an
expression which would denote a strict and friendly alliance, and
render Stilicho still more criminal. The paulisper detentus,
deinde interfectus, of Orosius, is sufficiently odious.

Note: Gibbon, by translating this passage of Olympiodorus,
as if it had been good Greek, has probably fallen into an error.
The natural order of the words is as Gibbon translates it; but it
is almost clear, refers to the Gothic chiefs, "whom Stilicho,
after he had defeated Radagaisus, attached to his army." So in
the version corrected by Classen for Niebuhr's edition of the
Byzantines, p. 450. - M.]

[Footnote 82: Orosius, piously inhuman, sacrifices the king and
people, Agag and the Amalekites, without a symptom of compassion.

The bloody actor is less detestable than the cool, unfeeling

Note: Considering the vow, which he was universally believed
to have made, to destroy Rome, and to sacrifice the senators on
the altars, and that he is said to have immolated his prisoners
to his gods, the execution of Radagaisus, if, as it appears, he
was taken in arms, cannot deserve Gibbon's severe condemnation.
Mr. Herbert (notes to his poem of Attila, p. 317) justly
observes, that "Stilicho had probably authority for hanging him
on the first tree." Marcellinus, adds Mr. Herbert, attributes the
execution to the Gothic chiefs Sarus. - M.]

[Footnote 83: And Claudian's muse, was she asleep? had she been
ill paid! Methinks the seventh consulship of Honorius (A.D. 407)
would have furnished the subject of a noble poem. Before it was
discovered that the state could no longer be saved, Stilicho
(after Romulus, Camillus and Marius) might have been worthily
surnamed the fourth founder of Rome.]

The fame of the victory, and more especially of the miracle,
has encouraged a vain persuasion, that the whole army, or rather
nation, of Germans, who migrated from the shores of the Baltic,
miserably perished under the walls of Florence. Such indeed was
the fate of Radagaisus himself, of his brave and faithful
companions, and of more than one third of the various multitude
of Sueves and Vandals, of Alani and Burgundians, who adhered to
the standard of their general. ^84 The union of such an army
might excite our surprise, but the causes of separation are
obvious and forcible; the pride of birth, the insolence of valor,
the jealousy of command, the impatience of subordination, and the
obstinate conflict of opinions, of interests, and of passions,
among so many kings and warriors, who were untaught to yield, or
to obey. After the defeat of Radagaisus, two parts of the German
host, which must have exceeded the number of one hundred thousand
men, still remained in arms, between the Apennine and the Alps,
or between the Alps and the Danube. It is uncertain whether they
attempted to revenge the death of their general; but their
irregular fury was soon diverted by the prudence and firmness of
Stilicho, who opposed their march, and facilitated their retreat;
who considered the safety of Rome and Italy as the great object
of his care, and who sacrificed, with too much indifference, the
wealth and tranquillity of the distant provinces. ^85 The
Barbarians acquired, from the junction of some Pannonian
deserters, the knowledge of the country, and of the roads; and
the invasion of Gaul, which Alaric had designed, was executed by
the remains of the great army of Radagaisus. ^86

[Footnote 84: A luminous passage of Prosper's Chronicle, "In tres
partes, pes diversos principes, diversus exercitus," reduces the
miracle of Florence and connects the history of Italy, Gaul, and
[Footnote 85: Orosius and Jerom positively charge him with
instigating the in vasion. "Excitatae a Stilichone gentes," &c.
They must mean a directly. He saved Italy at the expense of

[Footnote 86: The Count de Buat is satisfied, that the Germans
who invaded Gaul were the two thirds that yet remained of the
army of Radagaisus. See the Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de
l'Europe, (tom. vii. p. 87, 121. Paris, 1772;) an elaborate work,
which I had not the advantage of perusing till the year 1777. As
early as 1771, I find the same idea expressed in a rough draught
of the present History. I have since observed a similar
intimation in Mascou, (viii. 15.) Such agreement, without mutual
communication, may add some weight to our common sentiment.]

Yet if they expected to derive any assistance from the tribes of
Germany, who inhabited the banks of the Rhine, their hopes were
disappointed. The Alemanni preserved a state of inactive
neutrality; and the Franks distinguished their zeal and courage
in the defence of the of the empire. In the rapid progress down
the Rhine, which was the first act of the
administration of Stilicho, he had applied himself, with peculiar
attention, to secure the alliance of the warlike Franks, and to
remove the irreconcilable enemies of peace and of the republic.
Marcomir, one of their kings, was publicly convicted, before the
tribunal of the Roman magistrate, of violating the faith of
treaties. He was sentenced to a mild, but distant exile, in the
province of Tuscany; and this degradation of the regal dignity
was so far from exciting the resentment of his subjects, that
they punished with death the turbulent Sunno, who attempted to
revenge his brother; and maintained a dutiful allegiance to the
princes, who were established on the throne by the choice of
Stilicho. ^87 When the limits of Gaul and Germany were shaken by
the northern emigration, the Franks bravely encountered the
single force of the Vandals; who, regardless of the lessons of
adversity, had again separated their troops from the standard of
their Barbarian allies. They paid the penalty of their rashness;
and twenty thousand Vandals, with their king Godigisclus, were
slain in the field of battle. The whole people must have been
extirpated, if the squadrons of the Alani, advancing to their
relief, had not trampled down the infantry of the Franks; who,
after an honorable resistance, were compelled to relinquish the
unequal contest. The victorious confederates pursued their
march, and on the last day of the year, in a season when the
waters of the Rhine were most probably frozen, they entered,
without opposition, the defenceless provinces of Gaul. This
memorable passage of the Suevi, the Vandals, the Alani, and the
Burgundians, who never afterwards retreated, may be considered as
the fall of the Roman empire in the countries beyond the Alps;
and the barriers, which had so long separated the savage and the
civilized nations of the earth, were from that fatal moment
levelled with the ground. ^88

[Footnote 87: - Provincia missos
Expellet citius fasces, quam Francia reges

Quos dederis.

Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. l. i. 235, &c.) is clear and
satisfactory. These kings of France are unknown to Gregory of
Tours; but the author of the Gesta Francorum mentions both Sunno
and Marcomir, and names the latter as the father of Pharamond,
(in tom. ii. p. 543.) He seems to write from good materials,
which he did not understand.]

[Footnote 88: See Zosimus, (l. vi. p. 373,) Orosius, (l. vii. c.
40, p. 576,) and the Chronicles. Gregory of Tours (l. ii. c. 9,
p. 165, in the second volume of the Historians of France) has
preserved a valuable fragment of Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus,
whose three names denote a Christian, a Roman subject, and a

While the peace of Germany was secured by the attachment of
the Franks, and the neutrality of the Alemanni, the subjects of
Rome, unconscious of their approaching calamities, enjoyed the
state of quiet and prosperity, which had seldom blessed the
frontiers of Gaul. Their flocks and herds were permitted to
graze in the pastures of the Barbarians; their huntsmen
penetrated, without fear or danger, into the darkest recesses of
the Hercynian wood. ^89 The banks of the Rhine were crowned, like
those of the Tyber, with elegant houses, and well-cultivated
farms; and if a poet descended the river, he might express his
doubt, on which side was situated the territory of the Romans.
^90 This scene of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into a
desert; and the prospect of the smoking ruins could alone
distinguish the solitude of nature from the desolation of man.
The flourishing city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and
many thousand Christians were inhumanly massacred in the church.
Worms perished after a long and obstinate siege; Strasburgh,
Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced the cruel
oppression of the German yoke; and the consuming flames of war
spread from the banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the
seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive country, as
far as the ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, was delivered to
the Barbarians, who drove before them, in a promiscuous crowd,
the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, laden with the spoils of
their houses and altars. ^91 The ecclesiastics, to whom we are
indebted for this vague description of the public calamities,
embraced the opportunity of exhorting the Christians to repent of
the sins which had provoked the Divine Justice, and to renounce
the perishable goods of a wretched and deceitful world. But as
the Pelagian controversy, ^92 which attempts to sound the abyss
of grace and predestination, soon became the serious employment
of the Latin clergy, the Providence which had decreed, or
foreseen, or permitted, such a train of moral and natural evils,
was rashly weighed in the imperfect and fallacious balance of
reason. The crimes, and the misfortunes, of the suffering
people, were presumptuously compared with those of their
ancestors; and they arraigned the Divine Justice, which did not
exempt from the common destruction the feeble, the guiltless, the
infant portion of the human species. These idle disputants
overlooked the invariable laws of nature, which have connected
peace with innocence, plenty with industry, and safety with
valor. The timid and selfish policy of the court of Ravenna
might recall the Palatine legions for the protection of Italy;
the remains of the stationary troops might be unequal to the
arduous task; and the Barbarian auxiliaries might prefer the
unbounded license of spoil to the benefits of a moderate and
regular stipend. But the provinces of Gaul were filled with a
numerous race of hardy and robust youth, who, in the defence of
their houses, their families, and their altars, if they had dared
to die, would have deserved to vanquish. The knowledge of their
native country would have enabled them to oppose continual and
insuperable obstacles to the progress of an invader; and the
deficiency of the Barbarians, in arms, as well as in discipline,
removed the only pretence which excuses the submission of a
populous country to the inferior numbers of a veteran army. When
France was invaded by Charles V., he inquired of a prisoner, how
many days Paris might be distant from the frontier; "Perhaps
twelve, but they will be days of battle:" ^93 such was the
gallant answer which checked the arrogance of that ambitious
prince. The subjects of Honorius, and those of Francis I., were
animated by a very different spirit; and in less than two years,
the divided troops of the savages of the Baltic, whose numbers,
were they fairly stated, would appear contemptible, advanced,
without a combat, to the foot of the Pyrenean Mountains.

[Footnote 89: Claudian (i. Cons. Stil. l. i. 221, &c., l. ii.
186) describes the peace and prosperity of the Gallic frontier.
The Abbe Dubos (Hist. Critique, &c., tom. i. p. 174) would read
Alba (a nameless rivulet of the Ardennes) instead of Albis; and
expatiates on the danger of the Gallic cattle grazing beyond the
Elbe. Foolish enough! In poetical geography, the Elbe, and the
Hercynian, signify any river, or any wood, in Germany. Claudian
is not prepared for the strict examination of our antiquaries.]
[Footnote 90: - Germinasque viator
Cum videat ripas, quae sit Romana requirat.]
[Footnote 91: Jerom, tom. i. p. 93. See in the 1st vol. of the
Historians of France, p. 777, 782, the proper extracts from the
Carmen de Providentil Divina, and Salvian. The anonymous poet
was himself a captive, with his bishop and fellow-citizens.]
[Footnote 92: The Pelagian doctrine, which was first agitated
A.D. 405, was condemned, in the space of ten years, at Rome and
Carthage. St Augustin fought and conquered; but the Greek church
was favorable to his adversaries; and (what is singular enough)
the people did not take any part in a dispute which they could
not understand.]

[Footnote 93: See the Memoires de Guillaume du Bellay, l. vi. In
French, the original reproof is less obvious, and more pointed,
from the double sense of the word journee, which alike signifies,
a day's travel, or a battle.]

In the early part of the reign of Honorius, the vigilance of
Stilicho had successfully guarded the remote island of Britain
from her incessant enemies of the ocean, the mountains, and the
Irish coast. ^94 But those restless Barbarians could not neglect
the fair opportunity of the Gothic war, when the walls and
stations of the province were stripped of the Roman troops. If
any of the legionaries were permitted to return from the Italian
expedition, their faithful report of the court and character of
Honorius must have tended to dissolve the bonds of allegiance,
and to exasperate the seditious temper of the British army. The
spirit of revolt, which had formerly disturbed the age of
Gallienus, was revived by the capricious violence of the
soldiers; and the unfortunate, perhaps the ambitious, candidates,
who were the objects of their choice, were the instruments, and
at length the victims, of their passion. ^95 Marcus was the first
whom they placed on the throne, as the lawful emperor of Britain
and of the West. They violated, by the hasty murder of Marcus,
the oath of fidelity which they had imposed on themselves; and
their disapprobation of his manners may seem to inscribe an
honorable epitaph on his tomb. Gratian was the next whom they
adorned with the diadem and the purple; and, at the end of four
months, Gratian experienced the fate of his predecessor. The
memory of the great Constantine, whom the British legions had
given to the church and to the empire, suggested the singular
motive of their third choice. They discovered in the ranks a
private soldier of the name of Constantine, and their impetuous
levity had already seated him on the throne, before they
perceived his incapacity to sustain the weight of that glorious
appellation. ^96 Yet the authority of Constantine was less
precarious, and his government was more successful, than the
transient reigns of Marcus and of Gratian. The danger of leaving
his inactive troops in those camps, which had been twice polluted
with blood and sedition, urged him to attempt the reduction of
the Western provinces. He landed at Boulogne with an
inconsiderable force; and after he had reposed himself some days,
he summoned the cities of Gaul, which had escaped the yoke of the
Barbarians, to acknowledge their lawful sovereign. They obeyed
the summons without reluctance. The neglect of the court of
Ravenna had absolved a deserted people from the duty of
allegiance; their actual distress encouraged them to accept any
circumstances of change, without apprehension, and, perhaps, with
some degree of hope; and they might flatter themselves, that the
troops, the authority, and even the name of a Roman emperor, who
fixed his residence in Gaul, would protect the unhappy country
from the rage of the Barbarians. The first successes of
Constantine against the detached parties of the Germans, were
magnified by the voice of adulation into splendid and decisive
victories; which the reunion and insolence of the enemy soon
reduced to their just value. His negotiations procured a short
and precarious truce; and if some tribes of the Barbarians were
engaged, by the liberality of his gifts and promises, to
undertake the defence of the Rhine, these expensive and uncertain
treaties, instead of restoring the pristine vigor of the Gallic
frontier, served only to disgrace the majesty of the prince, and
to exhaust what yet remained of the treasures of the republic.
Elated, however, with this imaginary triumph, the vain deliverer
of Gaul advanced into the provinces of the South, to encounter a
more pressing and personal danger. Sarus the Goth was ordered to
lay the head of the rebel at the feet of the emperor Honorius;
and the forces of Britain and Italy were unworthily consumed in
this domestic quarrel. After the loss of his two bravest
generals, Justinian and Nevigastes, the former of whom was slain
in the field of battle, the latter in a peaceful but treacherous
interview, Constantine fortified himself within the walls of
Vienna. The place was ineffectually attacked seven days; and the
Imperial army supported, in a precipitate retreat, the ignominy
of purchasing a secure passage from the freebooters and outlaws
of the Alps. ^97 Those mountains now separated the dominions of
two rival monarchs; and the fortifications of the double frontier
were guarded by the troops of the empire, whose arms would have
been more usefully employed to maintain the Roman limits against
the Barbarians of Germany and Scythia.

[Footnote 94: Claudian, (i. Cons. Stil. l. ii. 250.) It is
supposed that the Scots of Ireland invaded, by sea, the whole
western coast of Britain: and some slight credit may be given
even to Nennius and the Irish traditions, (Carte's Hist. of
England, vol. i. p. 169.) Whitaker's Genuine History of the
Britons, p. 199. The sixty-six lives of St. Patrick, which were
extant in the ninth century, must have contained as many thousand
lies; yet we may believe, that, in one of these Irish inroads the
future apostle was led away captive, (Usher, Antiquit. Eccles
Britann. p. 431, and Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 45 782,

[Footnote 95: The British usurpers are taken from Zosimus, (l.
vi. p. 371 - 375,) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 40, p. 576, 577,)
Olympiodorus, (apud Photium, p. 180, 181,) the ecclesiastical
historians, and the Chronicles. The Latins are ignorant of

[Footnote 96: Cum in Constantino inconstantiam ... execrarentur,
(Sidonius Apollinaris, l. v. epist. 9, p. 139, edit. secund.
Sirmond.) Yet Sidonius might be tempted, by so fair a pun, to
stigmatize a prince who had disgraced his grandfather.]

[Footnote 97: Bagaudoe is the name which Zosimus applies to them;
perhaps they deserved a less odious character, (see Dubos, Hist.
Critique, tom. i. p. 203, and this History, vol. i. p. 407.) We
shall hear of them again.]

Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.

Part V.

On the side of the Pyrenees, the ambition of Constantine
might be justified by the proximity of danger; but his throne was
soon established by the conquest, or rather submission, of Spain;
which yielded to the influence of regular and habitual
subordination, and received the laws and magistrates of the
Gallic praefecture. The only opposition which was made to the
authority of Constantine proceeded not so much from the powers of
government, or the spirit of the people, as from the private zeal
and interest of the family of Theodosius. Four brothers ^98 had
obtained, by the favor of their kinsman, the deceased emperor, an
honorable rank and ample possessions in their native country; and
the grateful youths resolved to risk those advantages in the
service of his son. After an unsuccessful effort to maintain
their ground at the head of the stationary troops of Lusitania,
they retired to their estates; where they armed and levied, at
their own expense, a considerable body of slaves and dependants,
and boldly marched to occupy the strong posts of the Pyrenean
Mountains. This domestic insurrection alarmed and perplexed the
sovereign of Gaul and Britain; and he was compelled to negotiate
with some troops of Barbarian auxiliaries, for the service of the
Spanish war. They were distinguished by the title of Honorians;
^99 a name which might have reminded them of their fidelity to
their lawful sovereign; and if it should candidly be allowed that
the Scots were influenced by any partial affection for a British
prince, the Moors and the Marcomanni could be tempted only by the
profuse liberality of the usurper, who distributed among the
Barbarians the military, and even the civil, honors of Spain.
The nine bands of Honorians, which may be easily traced on the
establishment of the Western empire, could not exceed the number
of five thousand men: yet this inconsiderable force was
sufficient to terminate a war, which had threatened the power and
safety of Constantine. The rustic army of the Theodosian family
was surrounded and destroyed in the Pyrenees: two of the brothers
had the good fortune to escape by sea to Italy, or the East; the
other two, after an interval of suspense, were executed at Arles;
and if Honorius could remain insensible of the public disgrace,
he might perhaps be affected by the personal misfortunes of his
generous kinsmen. Such were the feeble arms which decided the
possession of the Western provinces of Europe, from the wall of
Antoninus to the columns of Hercules. The events of peace and
war have undoubtedly been diminished by the narrow and imperfect
view of the historians of the times, who were equally ignorant of
the causes, and of the effects, of the most important
revolutions. But the total decay of the national strength had
annihilated even the last resource of a despotic government; and
the revenue of exhausted provinces could no longer purchase the
military service of a discontented and pusillanimous people.
[Footnote 98: Verinianus, Didymus, Theodosius, and Lagodius, who
in modern courts would be styled princes of the blood, were not
distinguished by any rank or privileges above the rest of their
[Footnote 99: These Honoriani, or Honoriaci, consisted of two
bands of Scots, or Attacotti, two of Moors, two of Marcomanni,
the Victores, the Asca in, and the Gallicani, (Notitia Imperii,
sect. xxxiii. edit. Lab.) They were part of the sixty-five
Auxilia Palatina, and are properly styled by Zosimus, (l. vi.

The poet, whose flattery has ascribed to the Roman eagle the
victories of Pollentia and Verona, pursues the hasty retreat of
Alaric, from the confines of Italy, with a horrid train of
imaginary spectres, such as might hover over an army of
Barbarians, which was almost exterminated by war, famine, and
disease. ^100 In the course of this unfortunate expedition, the
king of the Goths must indeed have sustained a considerable loss;
and his harassed forces required an interval of repose, to
recruit their numbers and revive their confidence. Adversity had
exercised and displayed the genius of Alaric; and the fame of his
valor invited to the Gothic standard the bravest of the Barbarian
warriors; who, from the Euxine to the Rhine, were agitated by the
desire of rapine and conquest. He had deserved the esteem, and
he soon accepted the friendship, of Stilicho himself. Renouncing
the service of the emperor of the East, Alaric concluded, with
the court of Ravenna, a treaty of peace and alliance, by which he
was declared master-general of the Roman armies throughout the
praefecture of Illyricum; as it was claimed, according to the
true and ancient limits, by the minister of Honorius. ^101 The
execution of the ambitious design, which was either stipulated,
or implied, in the articles of the treaty, appears to have been
suspended by the formidable irruption of Radagaisus; and the
neutrality of the Gothic king may perhaps be compared to the
indifference of Caesar, who, in the conspiracy of Catiline,
refused either to assist, or to oppose, the enemy of the
republic. After the defeat of the Vandals, Stilicho resumed his
pretensions to the provinces of the East; appointed civil
magistrates for the administration of justice, and of the
finances; and declared his impatience to lead to the gates of
Constantinople the united armies of the Romans and of the Goths.
The prudence, however, of Stilicho, his aversion to civil war,
and his perfect knowledge of the weakness of the state, may
countenance the suspicion, that domestic peace, rather than
foreign conquest, was the object of his policy; and that his
principal care was to employ the forces of Alaric at a distance
from Italy. This design could not long escape the penetration of
the Gothic king, who continued to hold a doubtful, and perhaps a
treacherous, correspondence with the rival courts; who
protracted, like a dissatisfied mercenary, his languid operations
in Thessaly and Epirus, and who soon returned to claim the
extravagant reward of his ineffectual services. From his camp
near Aemona, ^102 on the confines of Italy, he transmitted to the
emperor of the West a long account of promises, of expenses, and
of demands; called for immediate satisfaction, and clearly
intimated the consequences of a refusal. Yet if his conduct was
hostile, his language was decent and dutiful. He humbly professed
himself the friend of Stilicho, and the soldier of Honorius;
offered his person and his troops to march, without delay,
against the usurper of Gaul; and solicited, as a permanent
retreat for the Gothic nation, the possession of some vacant
province of the Western empire.
[Footnote 100: - Comitatur euntem
Pallor, et atra fames; et saucia lividus ora

Luctus; et inferno stridentes agmine morbi.

Claudian in vi. Cons. Hon. 821, &c.]

[Footnote 101: These dark transactions are investigated by the
Count de Bual (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii. c. iii. -
viii. p. 69 - 206,) whose laborious accuracy may sometimes
fatigue a superficial reader.]
[Footnote 102: See Zosimus, l. v. p. 334, 335. He interrupts his
scanty narrative to relate the fable of Aemona, and of the ship
Argo; which was drawn overland from that place to the Adriatic.
Sozomen (l. viii. c. 25, l. ix. c. 4) and Socrates (l. vii. c.
10) cast a pale and doubtful light; and Orosius (l. vii. c. 38,
p. 571) is abominably partial.]

The political and secret transactions of two statesmen, who
labored to deceive each other and the world, must forever have
been concealed in the impenetrable darkness of the cabinet, if
the debates of a popular assembly had not thrown some rays of
light on the correspondence of Alaric and Stilicho. The necessity
of finding some artificial support for a government, which, from
a principle, not of moderation, but of weakness, was reduced to
negotiate with its own subjects, had insensibly revived the
authority of the Roman senate; and the minister of Honorius
respectfully consulted the legislative council of the republic.
Stilicho assembled the senate in the palace of the Caesars;
represented, in a studied oration, the actual state of affairs;
proposed the demands of the Gothic king, and submitted to their
consideration the choice of peace or war. The senators, as if
they had been suddenly awakened from a dream of four hundred
years, appeared, on this important occasion, to be inspired by
the courage, rather than by the wisdom, of their predecessors.
They loudly declared, in regular speeches, or in tumultuary
acclamations, that it was unworthy of the majesty of Rome to
purchase a precarious and disgraceful truce from a Barbarian
king; and that, in the judgment of a magnanimous people, the
chance of ruin was always preferable to the certainty of
dishonor. The minister, whose pacific intentions were seconded
only by the voice of a few servile and venal followers, attempted
to allay the general ferment, by an apology for his own conduct,
and even for the demands of the Gothic prince. "The payment of a
subsidy, which had excited the indignation of the Romans, ought
not (such was the language of Stilicho) to be considered in the
odious light, either of a tribute, or of a ransom, extorted by
the menaces of a Barbarian enemy. Alaric had faithfully asserted
the just pretensions of the republic to the provinces which were
usurped by the Greeks of Constantinople: he modestly required the
fair and stipulated recompense of his services; and if he had
desisted from the prosecution of his enterprise, he had obeyed,
in his retreat, the peremptory, though private, letters of the
emperor himself. These contradictory orders (he would not
dissemble the errors of his own family) had been procured by the
intercession of Serena. The tender piety of his wife had been too
deeply affected by the discord of the royal brothers, the sons of
her adopted father; and the sentiments of nature had too easily
prevailed over the stern dictates of the public welfare." These
ostensible reasons, which faintly disguise the obscure intrigues
of the palace of Ravenna, were supported by the authority of
Stilicho; and obtained, after a warm debate, the reluctant
approbation of the senate. The tumult of virtue and freedom
subsided; and the sum of four thousand pounds of gold was
granted, under the name of a subsidy, to secure the peace of
Italy, and to conciliate the friendship of the king of the Goths.
Lampadius alone, one of the most illustrious members of the
assembly, still persisted in his dissent; exclaimed, with a loud
voice, "This is not a treaty of peace, but of servitude;" ^103
and escaped the danger of such bold opposition by immediately
retiring to the sanctuary of a Christian church.
[See Palace Of The Caesars]

[Footnote 103: Zosimus, l. v. p. 338, 339. He repeats the words
of Lampadius, as they were spoke in Latin, "Non est ista pax, sed
pactio servi tutis," and then translates them into Greek for the
benefit of his readers.
Note: From Cicero's XIIth Philippic, 14. - M.]

But the reign of Stilicho drew towards its end; and the
proud minister might perceive the symptoms of his approaching
disgrace. The generous boldness of Lampadius had been applauded;
and the senate, so patiently resigned to a long servitude,
rejected with disdain the offer of invidious and imaginary
freedom. The troops, who still assumed the name and prerogatives
of the Roman legions, were exasperated by the partial affection
of Stilicho for the Barbarians: and the people imputed to the
mischievous policy of the minister the public misfortunes, which
were the natural consequence of their own degeneracy. Yet
Stilicho might have continued to brave the clamors of the people,
and even of the soldiers, if he could have maintained his
dominion over the feeble mind of his pupil. But the respectful
attachment of Honorius was converted into fear, suspicion, and
hatred. The crafty Olympius, ^104 who concealed his vices under
the mask of Christian piety, had secretly undermined the
benefactor, by whose favor he was promoted to the honorable
offices of the Imperial palace. Olympius revealed to the
unsuspecting emperor, who had attained the twenty-fifth year of
his age, that he was without weight, or authority, in his own
government; and artfully alarmed his timid and indolent
disposition by a lively picture of the designs of Stilicho, who
already meditated the death of his sovereign, with the ambitious
hope of placing the diadem on the head of his son Eucherius. The
emperor was instigated, by his new favorite, to assume the tone
of independent dignity; and the minister was astonished to find,
that secret resolutions were formed in the court and council,
which were repugnant to his interest, or to his intentions.
Instead of residing in the palace of Rome, Honorius declared that
it was his pleasure to return to the secure fortress of Ravenna.
On the first intelligence of the death of his brother Arcadius,
he prepared to visit Constantinople, and to regulate, with the
authority of a guardian, the provinces of the infant Theodosius.
^105 The representation of the difficulty and expense of such a
distant expedition, checked this strange and sudden sally of
active diligence; but the dangerous project of showing the
emperor to the camp of Pavia, which was composed of the Roman
troops, the enemies of Stilicho, and his Barbarian auxiliaries,
remained fixed and unalterable. The minister was pressed, by the
advice of his confidant, Justinian, a Roman advocate, of a lively
and penetrating genius, to oppose a journey so prejudicial to his
reputation and safety. His strenuous but ineffectual efforts
confirmed the triumph of Olympius; and the prudent lawyer
withdrew himself from the impending ruin of his patron.

[Footnote 104: He came from the coast of the Euxine, and
exercised a splendid office. His actions justify his character,
which Zosimus (l. v. p. 340) exposes with visible satisfaction.
Augustin revered the piety of Olympius, whom he styles a true son
of the church, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles, Eccles. A.D. 408, No.
19, &c. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 467, 468.) But
these praises, which the African saint so unworthily bestows,
might proceed as well from ignorance as from adulation.]

[Footnote 105: Zosimus, l. v. p. 338, 339. Sozomen, l. ix. c. 4.

Stilicho offered to undertake the journey to Constantinople, that
he might divert Honorius from the vain attempt. The Eastern
empire would not have obeyed, and could not have been conquered.]

In the passage of the emperor through Bologna, a mutiny of
the guards was excited and appeased by the secret policy of
Stilicho; who announced his instructions to decimate the guilty,
and ascribed to his own intercession the merit of their pardon.
After this tumult, Honorius embraced, for the last time, the
minister whom he now considered as a tyrant, and proceeded on his
way to the camp of Pavia; where he was received by the loyal
acclamations of the troops who were assembled for the service of
the Gallic war. On the morning of the fourth day, he pronounced,
as he had been taught, a military oration in the presence of the
soldiers, whom the charitable visits, and artful discourses, of
Olympius had prepared to execute a dark and bloody conspiracy.
At the first signal, they massacred the friends of Stilicho, the
most illustrious officers of the empire; two Praetorian
praefects, of Gaul and of Italy; two masters-general of the
cavalry and infantry; the master of the offices; the quaestor,
the treasurer, and the count of the domestics. Many lives were
lost; many houses were plundered; the furious sedition continued
to rage till the close of the evening; and the trembling emperor,
who was seen in the streets of Pavia without his robes or diadem,
yielded to the persuasions of his favorite; condemned the memory
of the slain; and solemnly approved the innocence and fidelity of
their assassins. The intelligence of the massacre of Pavia
filled the mind of Stilicho with just and gloomy apprehensions;
and he instantly summoned, in the camp of Bologna, a council of
the confederate leaders, who were attached to his service, and
would be involved in his ruin. The impetuous voice of the
assembly called aloud for arms, and for revenge; to march,
without a moment's delay, under the banners of a hero, whom they
had so often followed to victory; to surprise, to oppress, to
extirpate the guilty Olympius, and his degenerate Romans; and
perhaps to fix the diadem on the head of their injured general.
Instead of executing a resolution, which might have been
justified by success, Stilicho hesitated till he was
irrecoverably lost. He was still ignorant of the fate of the
emperor; he distrusted the fidelity of his own party; and he
viewed with horror the fatal consequences of arming a crowd of
licentious Barbarians against the soldiers and people of Italy.
The confederates, impatient of his timorous and doubtful delay,
hastily retired, with fear and indignation. At the hour of
midnight, Sarus, a Gothic warrior, renowned among the Barbarians
themselves for his strength and valor, suddenly invaded the camp
of his benefactor, plundered the baggage, cut in pieces the
faithful Huns, who guarded his person, and penetrated to the
tent, where the minister, pensive and sleepless, meditated on the
dangers of his situation. Stilicho escaped with difficulty from
the sword of the Goths and, after issuing a last and generous
admonition to the cities of Italy, to shut their gates against
the Barbarians, his confidence, or his despair, urged him to
throw himself into Ravenna, which was already in the absolute
possession of his enemies. Olympius, who had assumed the dominion
of Honorius, was speedily informed, that his rival had embraced,
as a suppliant the altar of the Christian church. The base and
cruel disposition of the hypocrite was incapable of pity or
remorse; but he piously affected to elude, rather than to
violate, the privilege of the sanctuary. Count Heraclian, with a
troop of soldiers, appeared, at the dawn of day, before the gates
of the church of Ravenna. The bishop was satisfied by a solemn
oath, that the Imperial mandate only directed them to secure the
person of Stilicho: but as soon as the unfortunate minister had
been tempted beyond the holy threshold, he produced the warrant
for his instant execution. Stilicho supported, with calm
resignation, the injurious names of traitor and parricide;
repressed the unseasonable zeal of his followers, who were ready
to attempt an ineffectual rescue; and, with a firmness not
unworthy of the last of the Roman generals, submitted his neck to
the sword of Heraclian. ^106

[Footnote 106: Zosimus (l. v. p. 336 - 345) has copiously, though
not clearly, related the disgrace and death of Stilicho.
Olympiodorus, (apud Phot. p. 177.) Orosius, (l. vii. c. 38, p.
571, 572,) Sozomen, (l. ix. c. 4,) and Philostorgius, (l. xi. c.
3, l. xii. c. 2,) afford supplemental hints.]
The servile crowd of the palace, who had so long adored the
fortune of Stilicho, affected to insult his fall; and the most
distant connection with the master-general of the West, which had
so lately been a title to wealth and honors, was studiously
denied, and rigorously punished. His family, united by a triple
alliance with the family of Theodosius, might envy the condition
of the meanest peasant. The flight of his son Eucherius was
intercepted; and the death of that innocent youth soon followed
the divorce of Thermantia, who filled the place of her sister
Maria; and who, like Maria, had remained a virgin in the Imperial
bed. ^107 The friends of Stilicho, who had escaped the massacre
of Pavia, were persecuted by the implacable revenge of Olympius;
and the most exquisite cruelty was employed to extort the
confession of a treasonable and sacrilegious conspiracy. They
died in silence: their firmness justified the choice, ^108 and
perhaps absolved the innocence of their patron: and the despotic
power, which could take his life without a trial, and stigmatize
his memory without a proof, has no jurisdiction over the
impartial suffrage of posterity. ^109 The services of Stilicho
are great and manifest; his crimes, as they are vaguely stated in
the language of flattery and hatred, are obscure at least, and
improbable. About four months after his death, an edict was
published, in the name of Honorius, to restore the free
communication of the two empires, which had been so long
interrupted by the public enemy. ^110 The minister, whose fame
and fortune depended on the prosperity of the state, was accused
of betraying Italy to the Barbarians; whom he repeatedly
vanquished at Pollentia, at Verona, and before the walls of
Florence. His pretended design of placing the diadem on the head
of his son Eucherius, could not have been conducted without
preparations or accomplices; and the ambitious father would not
surely have left the future emperor, till the twentieth year of
his age, in the humble station of tribune of the notaries. Even
the religion of Stilicho was arraigned by the malice of his
rival. The seasonable, and almost miraculous, deliverance was
devoutly celebrated by the applause of the clergy; who asserted,
that the restoration of idols, and the persecution of the church,
would have been the first measure of the reign of Eucherius. The
son of Stilicho, however, was educated in the bosom of
Christianity, which his father had uniformly professed, and
zealously supported. ^111 ^* Serena had borrowed her magnificent
necklace from the statue of Vesta; ^112 and the Pagans execrated
the memory of the sacrilegious minister, by whose order the
Sibylline books, the oracles of Rome, had been committed to the
flames. ^113 The pride and power of Stilicho constituted his real
guilt. An honorable reluctance to shed the blood of his
countrymen appears to have contributed to the success of his
unworthy rival; and it is the last humiliation of the character
of Honorius, that posterity has not condescended to reproach him
with his base ingratitude to the guardian of his youth, and the
support of his empire.

[Footnote 107: Zosimus, l. v. p. 333. The marriage of a
Christian with two sisters, scandalizes Tillemont, (Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. v. p. 557;) who expects, in vain, that Pope
Innocent I. should have done something in the way either of
censure or of dispensation.]

[Footnote 108: Two of his friends are honorably mentioned,
(Zosimus, l. v. p. 346:) Peter, chief of the school of notaries,
and the great chamberlain Deuterius. Stilicho had secured the
bed-chamber; and it is surprising that, under a feeble prince,
the bed-chamber was not able to secure him.]
[Footnote 109: Orosius (l. vii. c. 38, p. 571, 572) seems to copy
the false and furious manifestos, which were dispersed through
the provinces by the new administration.]

[Footnote 110: See the Theodosian code, l. vii. tit. xvi. leg. 1,
l. ix. tit. xlii. leg. 22. Stilicho is branded with the name of
proedo publicus, who employed his wealth, ad omnem ditandam,
inquietandamque Barbariem.]
[Footnote 111: Augustin himself is satisfied with the effectual
laws, which Stilicho had enacted against heretics and idolaters;
and which are still extant in the Code. He only applies to
Olympius for their confirmation, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D.
408, No. 19.)]

[Footnote 112: Zosimus, l. v. p. 351. We may observe the bad
taste of the age, in dressing their statues with such awkward

[Footnote 113: See Rutilius Numatianus, (Itinerar. l. ii. 41 -
60,) to whom religious enthusiasm has dictated some elegant and
forcible lines. Stilicho likewise stripped the gold plates from
the doors of the Capitol, and read a prophetic sentence which was
engraven under them, (Zosimus, l. v. p. 352.) These are foolish
stories: yet the charge of impiety adds weight and credit to the
praise which Zosimus reluctantly bestows on his virtues.
Note: One particular in the extorted praise of Zosimus,
deserved the notice of the historian, as strongly opposed to the
former imputations of Zosimus himself, and indicative of he
corrupt practices of a declining age. "He had never bartered
promotion in the army for bribes, nor peculated in the supplies
of provisions for the army." l. v. c. xxxiv. - M.]
[Footnote *: Hence, perhaps, the accusation of treachery is
countenanced by Hatilius: -

Quo magis est facinus diri Stilichonis iniquum
Proditor arcani quod fuit imperii.
Romano generi dum nititur esse superstes,
Crudelis summis miscuit ima furor.
Dumque timet, quicquid se fecerat ipso timeri,
Immisit Latiae barbara tela neci. Rutil. Itin. II. 41. -
Among the train of dependants whose wealth and dignity
attracted the notice of their own times, our curiosity is excited
by the celebrated name of the poet Claudian, who enjoyed the
favor of Stilicho, and was overwhelmed in the ruin of his patron.

The titular offices of tribune and notary fixed his rank in the
Imperial court: he was indebted to the powerful intercession of
Serena for his marriage with a very rich heiress of the province
of Africa; ^114 and the statute of Claudian, erected in the forum
of Trajan, was a monument of the taste and liberality of the
Roman senate. ^115 After the praises of Stilicho became offensive
and criminal, Claudian was exposed to the enmity of a powerful
and unforgiving courtier, whom he had provoked by the insolence
of wit. He had compared, in a lively epigram, the opposite
characters of two Praetorian praefects of Italy; he contrasts the
innocent repose of a philosopher, who sometimes resigned the
hours of business to slumber, perhaps to study, with the
interesting diligence of a rapacious minister, indefatigable in
the pursuit of unjust or sacrilegious, gain. "How happy,"
continues Claudian, "how happy might it be for the people of
Italy, if Mallius could be constantly awake, and if Hadrian would
always sleep!" ^116 The repose of Mallius was not disturbed by
this friendly and gentle admonition; but the cruel vigilance of
Hadrian watched the opportunity of revenge, and easily obtained,
from the enemies of Stilicho, the trifling sacrifice of an
obnoxious poet. The poet concealed himself, however, during the
tumult of the revolution; and, consulting the dictates of
prudence rather than of honor, he addressed, in the form of an
epistle, a suppliant and humble recantation to the offended
praefect. He deplores, in mournful strains, the fatal
indiscretion into which he had been hurried by passion and folly;
submits to the imitation of his adversary the generous examples
of the clemency of gods, of heroes, and of lions; and expresses
his hope that the magnanimity of Hadrian will not trample on a
defenceless and contemptible foe, already humbled by disgrace and
poverty, and deeply wounded by the exile, the tortures, and the
death of his dearest friends. ^117 Whatever might be the success
of his prayer, or the accidents of his future life, the period of
a few years levelled in the grave the minister and the poet: but
the name of Hadrian is almost sunk in oblivion, while Claudian is
read with pleasure in every country which has retained, or
acquired, the knowledge of the Latin language. If we fairly
balance his merits and his defects, we shall acknowledge that
Claudian does not either satisfy, or silence, our reason. It
would not be easy to produce a passage that deserves the epithet
of sublime or pathetic; to select a verse that melts the heart or
enlarges the imagination. We should vainly seek, in the poems of
Claudian, the happy invention, and artificial conduct, of an
interesting fable; or the just and lively representation of the
characters and situations of real life. For the service of his
patron, he published occasional panegyrics and invectives: and
the design of these slavish compositions encouraged his
propensity to exceed the limits of truth and nature. These
imperfections, however, are compensated in some degree by the
poetical virtues of Claudian. He was endowed with the rare and
precious talent of raising the meanest, of adorning the most
barren, and of diversifying the most similar, topics: his
coloring, more especially in descriptive poetry, is soft and
splendid; and he seldom fails to display, and even to abuse, the
advantages of a cultivated understanding, a copious fancy, an
easy, and sometimes forcible, expression; and a perpetual flow of
harmonious versification. To these commendations, independent of
any accidents of time and place, we must add the peculiar merit
which Claudian derived from the unfavorable circumstances of his
birth. In the decline of arts, and of empire, a native of Egypt,
^118 who had received the education of a Greek, assumed, in a
mature age, the familiar use, and absolute command, of the Latin
language; ^119 soared above the heads of his feeble
contemporaries; and placed himself, after an interval of three
hundred years, among the poets of ancient Rome. ^120

[Footnote 114: At the nuptials of Orpheus (a modest comparison!)
all the parts of animated nature contributed their various gifts;
and the gods themselves enriched their favorite. Claudian had
neither flocks, nor herds, nor vines, nor olives. His wealthy
bride was heiress to them all. But he carried to Africa a
recommendatory letter from Serena, his Juno, and was made happy,
(Epist. ii. ad Serenam.)]

[Footnote 115: Claudian feels the honor like a man who deserved
it, (in praefat Bell. Get.) The original inscription, on marble,
was found at Rome, in the fifteenth century, in the house of
Pomponius Laetus. The statue of a poet, far superior to
Claudian, should have been erected, during his lifetime, by the
men of letters, his countrymen and contemporaries. It was a
noble design.]

[Footnote 116: See Epigram xxx.

Mallius indulget somno noctesque diesque:
Insomnis Pharius sacra, profana, rapit.
Omnibus, hoc, Italae gentes, exposcite votis;
Mallius ut vigilet, dormiat ut Pharius.

Hadrian was a Pharian, (of Alexandrian.) See his public life in
Godefroy, Cod. Theodos. tom. vi. p. 364. Mallius did not always
sleep. He composed some elegant dialogues on the Greek systems
of natural philosophy, (Claud, in Mall. Theodor. Cons. 61 -

[Footnote 117: See Claudian's first Epistle. Yet, in some
places, an air of irony and indignation betrays his secret

Note: M. Beugnot has pointed out one remarkable
characteristic of Claudian's poetry, and of the times - his
extraordinary religious indifference. Here is a poet writing at
the actual crisis of the complete triumph of the new religion,
the visible extinction of the old: if we may so speak, a strictly
historical poet, whose works, excepting his Mythological poem on
the rape of Proserpine, are confined to temporary subjects, and
to the politics of his own eventful day; yet, excepting in one or
two small and indifferent pieces, manifestly written by a
Christian, and interpolated among his poems, there is no allusion
whatever to the great religious strife. No one would know the
existence of Christianity at that period of the world, by reading
the works of Claudian. His panegyric and his satire preserve the
same religious impartiality; award their most lavish praise or
their bitterest invective on Christian or Pagan; he insults the
fall of Eugenius, and glories in the victories of Theodosius.
Under the child, - and Honorius never became more than a child, -
Christianity continued to inflict wounds more and more deadly on
expiring Paganism. Are the gods of Olympus agitated with
apprehension at the birth of this new enemy? They are introduced
as rejoicing at his appearance, and promising long years of
glory. The whole prophetic choir of Paganism, all the oracles
throughout the world, are summoned to predict the felicity of his
reign. His birth is compared to that of Apollo, but the narrow
limits of an island must not confine the new deity -
... Non littora nostro
Sufficerent angusta Deo.

Augury and divination, the shrines of Ammon, and of Delphi, the
Persian Magi, and the Etruscan seers, the Chaldean astrologers,
the Sibyl herself, are described as still discharging their
prophetic functions, and celebrating the natal day of this
Christian prince. They are noble lines, as well as curious
illustrations of the times:

... Quae tunc documenta futuri?
Quae voces avium? quanti per inane volatus?
Quis vatum discursus erat? Tibi corniger Ammon,
Et dudum taciti rupere silentia Delphi.
Te Persae cecinere Magi, te sensit Etruscus
Augur, et inspectis Babylonius horruit astris;
Chaldaei stupuere senes, Cumanaque rursus
Itonuit rupes, rabidae delubra Sibyllae.

Claud. iv. Cons. Hon. 141.

From the Quarterly Review of Beugnot. Hist. de la Paganisme
en Occident, Q. R. v. lvii. p. 61. - M.]

[Footnote 118: National vanity has made him a Florentine, or a
Spaniard. But the first Epistle of Claudian proves him a native
of Alexandria, (Fabricius, Bibliot. Latin. tom. iii. p. 191 -
202, edit. Ernest.)]

[Footnote 119: His first Latin verses were composed during the
consulship of Probinus, A.D. 395.

Romanos bibimus primum, te consule, fontes,
Et Latiae cessit Graia Thalia togae.

Besides some Greek epigrams, which are still extant, the Latin
poet had composed, in Greek, the Antiquities of Tarsus,
Anazarbus, Berytus, Nice, &c. It is more easy to supply the loss
of good poetry, than of authentic history.]
[Footnote 120: Strada (Prolusion v. vi.) allows him to contend
with the five heroic poets, Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, and
Statius. His patron is the accomplished courtier Balthazar
Castiglione. His admirers are numerous and passionate. Yet the
rigid critics reproach the exotic weeds, or flowers, which spring
too luxuriantly in his Latian soil]

Chapter XXXI: Invasion Of Italy, Occupation Of Territories By

Part I.

Invasion Of Italy By Alaric. - Manners Of The Roman Senate
And People. - Rome Is Thrice Besieged, And At Length Pillaged, By
The Goths. - Death Of Alaric. - The Goths Evacuate Italy. - Fall
Of Constantine. - Gaul And Spain Are Occupied By The Barbarians.
- Independence Of Britain.

The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may often
assume the appearance, and produce the effects, of a treasonable
correspondence with the public enemy. If Alaric himself had been
introduced into the council of Ravenna, he would probably have
advised the same measures which were actually pursued by the
ministers of Honorius. ^1 The king of the Goths would have
conspired, perhaps with some reluctance, to destroy the
formidable adversary, by whose arms, in Italy, as well as in
Greece, he had been twice overthrown. Their active and interested
hatred laboriously accomplished the disgrace and ruin of the
great Stilicho. The valor of Sarus, his fame in arms, and his
personal, or hereditary, influence over the confederate
Barbarians, could recommend him only to the friends of their
country, who despised, or detested, the worthless characters of
Turpilio, Varanes, and Vigilantius. By the pressing instances of
the new favorites, these generals, unworthy as they had shown
themselves of the names of soldiers, ^2 were promoted to the
command of the cavalry, of the infantry, and of the domestic
troops. The Gothic prince would have subscribed with pleasure
the edict which the fanaticism of Olympius dictated to the simple
and devout emperor. Honorius excluded all persons, who were
adverse to the Catholic church, from holding any office in the
state; obstinately rejected the service of all those who
dissented from his religion; and rashly disqualified many of his
bravest and most skilful officers, who adhered to the Pagan
worship, or who had imbibed the opinions of Arianism. ^3 These
measures, so advantageous to an enemy, Alaric would have
approved, and might perhaps have suggested; but it may seem
doubtful, whether the Barbarian would have promoted his interest
at the expense of the inhuman and absurd cruelty which was
perpetrated by the direction, or at least with the connivance of
the Imperial ministers. The foreign auxiliaries, who had been
attached to the person of Stilicho, lamented his death; but the
desire of revenge was checked by a natural apprehension for the
safety of their wives and children; who were detained as hostages
in the strong cities of Italy, where they had likewise deposited
their most valuable effects. At the same hour, and as if by a
common signal, the cities of Italy were polluted by the same
horrid scenes of universal massacre and pillage, which involved,
in promiscuous destruction, the families and fortunes of the
Barbarians. Exasperated by such an injury, which might have
awakened the tamest and most servile spirit, they cast a look of
indignation and hope towards the camp of Alaric, and unanimously
swore to pursue, with just and implacable war, the perfidious
nation who had so basely violated the laws of hospitality. By
the imprudent conduct of the ministers of Honorius, the republic
lost the assistance, and deserved the enmity, of thirty thousand
of her bravest soldiers; and the weight of that formidable army,
which alone might have determined the event of the war, was
transferred from the scale of the Romans into that of the Goths.
[Footnote 1: The series of events, from the death of Stilicho to
the arrival of Alaric before Rome, can only be found in Zosimus,
l. v. p. 347 - 350.]
[Footnote 2: The expression of Zosimus is strong and lively,
sufficient to excite the contempt of the enemy.]

[Footnote 3: Eos qui catholicae sectae sunt inimici, intra
palatium militare pro hibemus. Nullus nobis sit aliqua ratione
conjunctus, qui a nobis fidest religione discordat. Cod.
Theodos. l. xvi. tit. v. leg. 42, and Godefroy's Commentary, tom.
vi. p. 164. This law was applied in the utmost latitude, and
rigorously executed. Zosimus, l. v. p. 364.]

In the arts of negotiation, as well as in those of war, the
Gothic king maintained his superior ascendant over an enemy,
whose seeming changes proceeded from the total want of counsel
and design. From his camp, on the confines of Italy, Alaric
attentively observed the revolutions of the palace, watched the
progress of faction and discontent, disguised the hostile aspect
of a Barbarian invader, and assumed the more popular appearance
of the friend and ally of the great Stilicho: to whose virtues,
when they were no longer formidable, he could pay a just tribute
of sincere praise and regret. The pressing invitation of the
malecontents, who urged the king of the Goths to invade Italy,
was enforced by a lively sense of his personal injuries; and he
might especially complain, that the Imperial ministers still
delayed and eluded the payment of the four thousand pounds of
gold which had been granted by the Roman senate, either to reward
his services, or to appease his fury. His decent firmness was
supported by an artful moderation, which contributed to the
success of his designs. He required a fair and reasonable
satisfaction; but he gave the strongest assurances, that, as soon
as he had obtained it, he would immediately retire. He refused
to trust the faith of the Romans, unless Aetius and Jason, the
sons of two great officers of state, were sent as hostages to his
camp; but he offered to deliver, in exchange, several of the
noblest youths of the Gothic nation. The modesty of Alaric was
interpreted, by the ministers of Ravenna, as a sure evidence of
his weakness and fear. They disdained either to negotiate a
treaty, or to assemble an army; and with a rash confidence,
derived only from their ignorance of the extreme danger,
irretrievably wasted the decisive moments of peace and war. While
they expected, in sullen silence, that the Barbarians would
evacuate the confines of Italy, Alaric, with bold and rapid
marches, passed the Alps and the Po; hastily pillaged the cities
of Aquileia, Altinum, Concordia, and Cremona, which yielded to
his arms; increased his forces by the accession of thirty
thousand auxiliaries; and, without meeting a single enemy in the
field, advanced as far as the edge of the morass which protected
the impregnable residence of the emperor of the West. Instead of
attempting the hopeless siege of Ravenna, the prudent leader of
the Goths proceeded to Rimini, stretched his ravages along the
sea-coast of the Hadriatic, and meditated the conquest of the
ancient mistress of the world. An Italian hermit, whose zeal and
sanctity were respected by the Barbarians themselves, encountered
the victorious monarch, and boldly denounced the indignation of
Heaven against the oppressors of the earth; but the saint himself
was confounded by the solemn asseveration of Alaric, that he felt
a secret and praeternatural impulse, which directed, and even
compelled, his march to the gates of Rome. He felt, that his
genius and his fortune were equal to the most arduous
enterprises; and the enthusiasm which he communicated to the
Goths, insensibly removed the popular, and almost superstitious,
reverence of the nations for the majesty of the Roman name. His
troops, animated by the hopes of spoil, followed the course of
the Flaminian way, occupied the unguarded passes of the Apennine,
^4 descended into the rich plains of Umbria; and, as they lay
encamped on the banks of the Clitumnus, might wantonly slaughter
and devour the milk-white oxen, which had been so long reserved
for the use of Roman triumphs. ^5 A lofty situation, and a
seasonable tempest of thunder and lightning, preserved the little
city of Narni; but the king of the Goths, despising the ignoble
prey, still advanced with unabated vigor; and after he had passed
through the stately arches, adorned with the spoils of Barbaric
victories, he pitched his camp under the walls of Rome. ^6
[Footnote 4: Addison (see his Works, vol. ii. p. 54, edit.
Baskerville) has given a very picturesque description of the road
through the Apennine. The Goths were not at leisure to observe
the beauties of the prospect; but they were pleased to find that
the Saxa Intercisa, a narrow passage which Vespasian had cut
through the rock, (Cluver. Italia Antiq. tom. i. p. 168,) was
totally neglected.

Hine albi, Clitumne, greges, et maxima taurus
Victima, saepe tuo perfusi flumine sacro,
Romanos ad templa Deum duxere triumphos.

Georg. ii. 147.

Besides Virgil, most of the Latin poets, Propertius, Lucan,
Silius Italicus, Claudian, &c., whose passages may be found in
Cluverius and Addison, have celebrated the triumphal victims of
the Clitumnus.]

[Footnote 6: Some ideas of the march of Alaric are borrowed from
the journey of Honorius over the same ground. (See Claudian in
vi. Cons. Hon. 494 - 522.) The measured distance between Ravenna
and Rome was 254 Roman miles. Itinerar. Wesseling, p. 126.]
During a period of six hundred and nineteen years, the seat
of empire had never been violated by the presence of a foreign
enemy. The unsuccessful expedition of Hannibal ^7 served only to
display the character of the senate and people; of a senate
degraded, rather than ennobled, by the comparison of an assembly
of kings; and of a people, to whom the ambassador of Pyrrhus
ascribed the inexhaustible resources of the Hydra. ^8 Each of the
senators, in the time of the Punic war, had accomplished his term
of the military service, either in a subordinate or a superior
station; and the decree, which invested with temporary command
all those who had been consuls, or censors, or dictators, gave
the republic the immediate assistance of many brave and
experienced generals. In the beginning of the war, the Roman
people consisted of two hundred and fifty thousand citizens of an
age to bear arms. ^9 Fifty thousand had already died in the
defence of their country; and the twenty-three legions which were
employed in the different camps of Italy, Greece, Sardinia,
Sicily, and Spain, required about one hundred thousand men. But
there still remained an equal number in Rome, and the adjacent
territory, who were animated by the same intrepid courage; and
every citizen was trained, from his earliest youth, in the
discipline and exercises of a soldier. Hannibal was astonished by
the constancy of the senate, who, without raising the siege of
Capua, or recalling their scattered forces, expected his
approach. He encamped on the banks of the Anio, at the distance
of three miles from the city; and he was soon informed, that the
ground on which he had pitched his tent, was sold for an adequate
price at a public auction; ^* and that a body of troops was
dismissed by an opposite road, to reenforce the legions of Spain.
^10 He led his Africans to the gates of Rome, where he found
three armies in order of battle, prepared to receive him; but
Hannibal dreaded the event of a combat, from which he could not
hope to escape, unless he destroyed the last of his enemies; and
his speedy retreat confessed the invincible courage of the

[Footnote 7: The march and retreat of Hannibal are described by
Livy, l. xxvi. c. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; and the reader is made a
spectator of the interesting scene.]

[Footnote 8: These comparisons were used by Cyneas, the
counsellor of Pyrrhus, after his return from his embassy, in
which he had diligently studied the discipline and manners of
Rome. See Plutarch in Pyrrho. tom. ii. p. 459.]
[Footnote 9: In the three census which were made of the Roman
people, about the time of the second Punic war, the numbers stand
as follows, (see Livy, Epitom. l. xx. Hist. l. xxvii. 36. xxix.
37:) 270,213, 137,108 214,000. The fall of the second, and the
rise of the third, appears so enormous, that several critics,
notwithstanding the unanimity of the Mss., have suspected some
corruption of the text of Livy. (See Drakenborch ad xxvii. 36,
and Beaufort, Republique Romaine, tom. i. p. 325.) They did not
consider that the second census was taken only at Rome, and that
the numbers were diminished, not only by the death, but likewise
by the absence, of many soldiers. In the third census, Livy
expressly affirms, that the legions were mustered by the care of
particular commissaries. From the numbers on the list we must
always deduct one twelfth above threescore, and incapable of
bearing arms. See Population de la France, p. 72.]

[Footnote *: Compare the remarkable transaction in Jeremiah
xxxii. 6, to 44, where the prophet purchases his uncle's estate
at the approach of the Babylonian captivity, in his undoubting
confidence in the future restoration of the people. In the one
case it is the triumph of religious faith, in the other of
national pride. - M.]

[Footnote 10: Livy considers these two incidents as the effects
only of chance and courage. I suspect that they were both
managed by the admirable policy of the senate.]

From the time of the Punic war, the uninterrupted succession
of senators had preserved the name and image of the republic; and
the degenerate subjects of Honorius ambitiously derived their
descent from the heroes who had repulsed the arms of Hannibal,
and subdued the nations of the earth. The temporal honors which
the devout Paula ^11 inherited and despised, are carefully
recapitulated by Jerom, the guide of her conscience, and the
historian of her life. The genealogy of her father, Rogatus,
which ascended as high as Agamemnon, might seem to betray a
Grecian origin; but her mother, Blaesilla, numbered the Scipios,
Aemilius Paulus, and the Gracchi, in the list of her ancestors;
and Toxotius, the husband of Paula, deduced his royal lineage
from Aeneas, the father of the Julian line. The vanity of the
rich, who desired to be noble, was gratified by these lofty
pretensions. Encouraged by the applause of their parasites, they
easily imposed on the credulity of the vulgar; and were
countenanced, in some measure, by the custom of adopting the name
of their patron, which had always prevailed among the freedmen
and clients of illustrious families. Most of those families,
however, attacked by so many causes of external violence or
internal decay, were gradually extirpated; and it would be more
reasonable to seek for a lineal descent of twenty generations,
among the mountains of the Alps, or in the peaceful solitude of
Apulia, than on the theatre of Rome, the seat of fortune, of
danger, and of perpetual revolutions. Under each successive
reign, and from every province of the empire, a crowd of hardy
adventurers, rising to eminence by their talents or their vices,


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