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

Part 7 out of 14

flattery; yet they gradually alarmed both the court and the
capital. Every misfortune was exaggerated in dark and doubtful
hints; and the future designs of the rebels became the subject of
anxious conjecture. Whenever Tribigild advanced into the inland
country, the Romans were inclined to suppose that he meditated
the passage of Mount Taurus, and the invasion of Syria. If he
descended towards the sea, they imputed, and perhaps suggested,
to the Gothic chief, the more dangerous project of arming a fleet
in the harbors of Ionia, and of extending his depredations along
the maritime coast, from the mouth of the Nile to the port of
Constantinople. The approach of danger, and the obstinacy of
Tribigild, who refused all terms of accommodation, compelled
Eutropius to summon a council of war. ^25 After claiming for
himself the privilege of a veteran soldier, the eunuch intrusted
the guard of Thrace and the Hellespont to Gainas the Goth, and
the command of the Asiatic army to his favorite, Leo; two
generals, who differently, but effectually, promoted the cause of
the rebels. Leo, ^26 who, from the bulk of his body, and the
dulness of his mind, was surnamed the Ajax of the East, had
deserted his original trade of a woolcomber, to exercise, with
much less skill and success, the military profession; and his
uncertain operations were capriciously framed and executed, with
an ignorance of real difficulties, and a timorous neglect of
every favorable opportunity. The rashness of the Ostrogoths had
drawn them into a disadvantageous position between the Rivers
Melas and Eurymedon, where they were almost besieged by the
peasants of Pamphylia; but the arrival of an Imperial army,
instead of completing their destruction, afforded the means of
safety and victory. Tribigild surprised the unguarded camp of
the Romans, in the darkness of the night; seduced the faith of
the greater part of the Barbarian auxiliaries, and dissipated,
without much effort, the troops, which had been corrupted by the
relaxation of discipline, and the luxury of the capital. The
discontent of Gainas, who had so boldly contrived and executed
the death of Rufinus, was irritated by the fortune of his
unworthy successor; he accused his own dishonorable patience
under the servile reign of a eunuch; and the ambitious Goth was
convicted, at least in the public opinion, of secretly fomenting
the revolt of Tribigild, with whom he was connected by a
domestic, as well as by a national alliance. ^27 When Gainas
passed the Hellespont, to unite under his standard the remains of
the Asiatic troops, he skilfully adapted his motions to the
wishes of the Ostrogoths; abandoning, by his retreat, the country
which they desired to invade; or facilitating, by his approach,
the desertion of the Barbarian auxiliaries. To the Imperial
court he repeatedly magnified the valor, the genius, the
inexhaustible resources of Tribigild; confessed his own inability
to prosecute the war; and extorted the permission of negotiating
with his invincible adversary. The conditions of peace were
dictated by the haughty rebel; and the peremptory demand of the
head of Eutropius revealed the author and the design of this
hostile conspiracy.

[Footnote 21: A copious and circumstantial narrative (which he
might have reserved for more important events) is bestowed by
Zosimus (l. v. p. 304 - 312) on the revolt of Tribigild and
Gainas. See likewise Socrates, l. vi. c. 6, and Sozomen, l.
viii. c. 4. The second book of Claudian against Eutropius, is a
fine, though imperfect, piece of history.]

[Footnote 22: Claudian (in Eutrop. l. ii. 237 - 250) very
accurately observes, that the ancient name and nation of the
Phrygians extended very far on every side, till their limits were
contracted by the colonies of the Bithvnians of Thrace, of the
Greeks, and at last of the Gauls. His description (ii. 257 -
272) of the fertility of Phrygia, and of the four rivers that
produced gold, is just and picturesque.]

[Footnote 23: Xenophon, Anabasis, l. i. p. 11, 12, edit.
Hutchinson. Strabo, l. xii p. 865, edit. Amstel. Q. Curt. l.
iii. c. 1. Claudian compares the junction of the Marsyas and
Maeander to that of the Saone and the Rhone, with this
difference, however, that the smaller of the Phrygian rivers is
not accelerated, but retarded, by the larger.]

[Footnote 24: Selgae, a colony of the Lacedaemonians, had
formerly numbered twenty thousand citizens; but in the age of
Zosimus it was reduced to a small town. See Cellarius, Geograph.
Antiq tom. ii. p. 117.]

[Footnote 25: The council of Eutropius, in Claudian, may be
compared to that of Domitian in the fourth Satire of Juvenal.
The principal members of the former were juvenes protervi
lascivique senes; one of them had been a cook, a second a
woolcomber. The language of their original profession exposes
their assumed dignity; and their trifling conversation about
tragedies, dancers, &c., is made still more ridiculous by the
importance of the debate.]
[Footnote 26: Claudian (l. ii. 376 - 461) has branded him with
infamy; and Zosimus, in more temperate language, confirms his
reproaches. L. v. p. 305.]
[Footnote 27: The conspiracy of Gainas and Tribigild, which is
attested by the Greek historian, had not reached the ears of
Claudian, who attributes the revolt of the Ostrogoth to his own
martial spirit, and the advice of his wife.]

Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.
Part II.

The bold satirist, who has indulged his discontent by the
partial and passionate censure of the Christian emperors,
violates the dignity, rather than the truth, of history, by
comparing the son of Theodosius to one of those harmless and
simple animals, who scarcely feel that they are the property of
their shepherd. Two passions, however, fear and conjugal
affection, awakened the languid soul of Arcadius: he was
terrified by the threats of a victorious Barbarian; and he
yielded to the tender eloquence of his wife Eudoxia, who, with a
flood of artificial tears, presenting her infant children to
their father, implored his justice for some real or imaginary
insult, which she imputed to the audacious eunuch. ^28 The
emperor's hand was directed to sign the condemnation of
Eutropius; the magic spell, which during four years had bound the
prince and the people, was instantly dissolved; and the
acclamations that so lately hailed the merit and fortune of the
favorite, were converted into the clamors of the soldiers and
people, who reproached his crimes, and pressed his immediate
execution. In this hour of distress and despair, his only refuge
was in the sanctuary of the church, whose privileges he had
wisely or profanely attempted to circumscribe; and the most
eloquent of the saints, John Chrysostom, enjoyed the triumph of
protecting a prostrate minister, whose choice had raised him to
the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople. The archbishop,
ascending the pulpit of the cathedral, that he might be
distinctly seen and heard by an innumerable crowd of either sex
and of every age, pronounced a seasonable and pathetic discourse
on the forgiveness of injuries, and the instability of human
greatness. The agonies of the pale and affrighted wretch, who
lay grovelling under the table of the altar, exhibited a solemn
and instructive spectacle; and the orator, who was afterwards
accused of insulting the misfortunes of Eutropius, labored to
excite the contempt, that he might assuage the fury, of the
people. ^29 The powers of humanity, of superstition, and of
eloquence, prevailed. The empress Eudoxia was restrained by her
own prejudices, or by those of her subjects, from violating the
sanctuary of the church; and Eutropius was tempted to capitulate,
by the milder arts of persuasion, and by an oath, that his life
should be spared. ^30 Careless of the dignity of their sovereign,
the new ministers of the palace immediately published an edict to
declare, that his late favorite had disgraced the names of consul
and patrician, to abolish his statues, to confiscate his wealth,
and to inflict a perpetual exile in the Island of Cyprus. ^31 A
despicable and decrepit eunuch could no longer alarm the fears of
his enemies; nor was he capable of enjoying what yet remained,
the comforts of peace, of solitude, and of a happy climate. But
their implacable revenge still envied him the last moments of a
miserable life, and Eutropius had no sooner touched the shores of
Cyprus, than he was hastily recalled. The vain hope of eluding,
by a change of place, the obligation of an oath, engaged the
empress to transfer the scene of his trial and execution from
Constantinople to the adjacent suburb of Chalcedon. The consul
Aurelian pronounced the sentence; and the motives of that
sentence expose the jurisprudence of a despotic government. The
crimes which Eutropius had committed against the people might
have justified his death; but he was found guilty of harnessing
to his chariot the sacred animals, who, from their breed or
color, were reserved for the use of the emperor alone. ^32
[Footnote 28: This anecdote, which Philostorgius alone has
preserved, (l xi. c. 6, and Gothofred. Dissertat. p. 451 - 456)
is curious and important; since it connects the revolt of the
Goths with the secret intrigues of the palace.]
[Footnote 29: See the Homily of Chrysostom, tom. iii. p. 381 -
386, which the exordium is particularly beautiful. Socrates, l.
vi. c. 5. Sozomen, l. viii. c. 7. Montfaucon (in his Life of
Chrysostom, tom. xiii. p. 135) too hastily supposes that
Tribigild was actually in Constantinople; and that he commanded
the soldiers who were ordered to seize Eutropius Even Claudian, a
Pagan poet, (praefat. ad l. ii. in Eutrop. 27,) has mentioned the
flight of the eunuch to the sanctuary.

Suppliciterque pias humilis prostratus ad aras,
Mitigat iratas voce tremente nurus,]

[Footnote 30: Chrysostom, in another homily, (tom. iii. p. 386,)
affects to declare that Eutropius would not have been taken, had
he not deserted the church. Zosimus, (l. v. p. 313,) on the
contrary, pretends, that his enemies forced him from the
sanctuary. Yet the promise is an evidence of some treaty; and
the strong assurance of Claudian, (Praefat. ad l. ii. 46,)
Sed tamen exemplo non feriere tuo,

may be considered as an evidence of some promise.]

[Footnote 31: Cod. Theod. l. ix. tit. xi. leg. 14. The date of
that law (Jan. 17, A.D. 399) is erroneous and corrupt; since the
fall of Eutropius could not happen till the autumn of the same
year. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 780.]
[Footnote 32: Zosimus, l. v. p. 313. Philostorgius, l. xi. c.
While this domestic revolution was transacted, Gainas ^33
openly revolted from his allegiance; united his forces at
Thyatira in Lydia, with those of Tribigild; and still maintained
his superior ascendant over the rebellious leader of the
Ostrogoths. The confederate armies advanced, without resistance,
to the straits of the Hellespont and the Bosphorus; and Arcadius
was instructed to prevent the loss of his Asiatic dominions, by
resigning his authority and his person to the faith of the
Barbarians. The church of the holy martyr Euphemia, situate on a
lofty eminence near Chalcedon, ^34 was chosen for the place of
the interview. Gainas bowed with reverence at the feet of the
emperor, whilst he required the sacrifice of Aurelian and
Saturninus, two ministers of consular rank; and their naked necks
were exposed, by the haughty rebel, to the edge of the sword,
till he condescended to grant them a precarious and disgraceful
respite. The Goths, according to the terms of the agreement,
were immediately transported from Asia into Europe; and their
victorious chief, who accepted the title of master-general of the
Roman armies, soon filled Constantinople with his troops, and
distributed among his dependants the honors and rewards of the
empire. In his early youth, Gainas had passed the Danube as a
suppliant and a fugitive: his elevation had been the work of
valor and fortune; and his indiscreet or perfidious conduct was
the cause of his rapid downfall. Notwithstanding the vigorous
opposition of the archbishop, he importunately claimed for his
Arian sectaries the possession of a peculiar church; and the
pride of the Catholics was offended by the public toleration of
heresy. ^35 Every quarter of Constantinople was filled with
tumult and disorder; and the Barbarians gazed with such ardor on
the rich shops of the jewellers, and the tables of the bankers,
which were covered with gold and silver, that it was judged
prudent to remove those dangerous temptations from their sight.
They resented the injurious precaution; and some alarming
attempts were made, during the night, to attack and destroy with
fire the Imperial palace. ^36 In this state of mutual and
suspicious hostility, the guards and the people of Constantinople
shut the gates, and rose in arms to prevent or to punish the
conspiracy of the Goths. During the absence of Gainas, his
troops were surprised and oppressed; seven thousand Barbarians
perished in this bloody massacre. In the fury of the pursuit,
the Catholics uncovered the roof, and continued to throw down
flaming logs of wood, till they overwhelmed their adversaries,
who had retreated to the church or conventicle of the Arians.
Gainas was either innocent of the design, or too confident of his
success; he was astonished by the intelligence that the flower of
his army had been ingloriously destroyed; that he himself was
declared a public enemy; and that his countryman, Fravitta, a
brave and loyal confederate, had assumed the management of the
war by sea and land. The enterprises of the rebel, against the
cities of Thrace, were encountered by a firm and well-ordered
defence; his hungry soldiers were soon reduced to the grass that
grew on the margin of the fortifications; and Gainas, who vainly
regretted the wealth and luxury of Asia, embraced a desperate
resolution of forcing the passage of the Hellespont. He was
destitute of vessels; but the woods of the Chersonesus afforded
materials for rafts, and his intrepid Barbarians did not refuse
to trust themselves to the waves. But Fravitta attentively
watched the progress of their undertaking As soon as they had
gained the middle of the stream, the Roman galleys, ^37 impelled
by the full force of oars, of the current, and of a favorable
wind, rushed forwards in compact order, and with irresistible
weight; and the Hellespont was covered with the fragments of the
Gothic shipwreck. After the destruction of his hopes, and the
loss of many thousands of his bravest soldiers, Gainas, who could
no longer aspire to govern or to subdue the Romans, determined to
resume the independence of a savage life. A light and active
body of Barbarian horse, disengaged from their infantry and
baggage, might perform in eight or ten days a march of three
hundred miles from the Hellespont to the Danube; ^38 the
garrisons of that important frontier had been gradually
annihilated; the river, in the month of December, would be deeply
frozen; and the unbounded prospect of Scythia was opened to the
ambition of Gainas. This design was secretly communicated to the
national troops, who devoted themselves to the fortunes of their
leader; and before the signal of departure was given, a great
number of provincial auxiliaries, whom he suspected of an
attachment to their native country, were perfidiously massacred.
The Goths advanced, by rapid marches, through the plains of
Thrace; and they were soon delivered from the fear of a pursuit,
by the vanity of Fravitta, ^* who, instead of extinguishing the
war, hastened to enjoy the popular applause, and to assume the
peaceful honors of the consulship. But a formidable ally
appeared in arms to vindicate the majesty of the empire, and to
guard the peace and liberty of Scythia. ^39 The superior forces
of Uldin, king of the Huns, opposed the progress of Gainas; a
hostile and ruined country prohibited his retreat; he disdained
to capitulate; and after repeatedly attempting to cut his way
through the ranks of the enemy, he was slain, with his desperate
followers, in the field of battle. Eleven days after the naval
victory of the Hellespont, the head of Gainas, the inestimable
gift of the conqueror, was received at Constantinople with the
most liberal expressions of gratitude; and the public deliverance
was celebrated by festivals and illuminations. The triumphs of
Arcadius became the subject of epic poems; ^40 and the monarch,
no longer oppressed by any hostile terrors, resigned himself to
the mild and absolute dominion of his wife, the fair and artful
Eudoxia, who was sullied her fame by the persecution of St. John
[Footnote 33: Zosimus, l. v. p. 313 - 323,) Socrates, (l. vi. c.
4,) Sozomen, (l. viii. c. 4,) and Theodoret, (l. v. c. 32, 33,)
represent, though with some various circumstances, the
conspiracy, defeat, and death of Gainas.]
[Footnote 34: It is the expression of Zosimus himself, (l. v. p.
314,) who inadvertently uses the fashionable language of the
Christians. Evagrius describes (l. ii. c. 3) the situation,
architecture, relics, and miracles, of that celebrated church, in
which the general council of Chalcedon was afterwards held.]
[Footnote 35: The pious remonstrances of Chrysostom, which do not
appear in his own writings, are strongly urged by Theodoret; but
his insinuation, that they were successful, is disproved by
facts. Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 383) has
discovered that the emperor, to satisfy the rapacious demands of
Gainas, was obliged to melt the plate of the church of the

[Footnote 36: The ecclesiastical historians, who sometimes guide,
and sometimes follow, the public opinion, most confidently
assert, that the palace of Constantinople was guarded by legions
of angels.]

[Footnote 37: Zosmius (l. v. p. 319) mentions these galleys by
the name of Liburnians, and observes that they were as swift
(without explaining the difference between them) as the vessels
with fifty oars; but that they were far inferior in speed to the
triremes, which had been long disused. Yet he reasonably
concludes, from the testimony of Polybius, that galleys of a
still larger size had been constructed in the Punic wars. Since
the establishment of the Roman empire over the Mediterranean, the
useless art of building large ships of war had probably been
neglected, and at length forgotten.]
[Footnote 38: Chishull (Travels, p. 61 - 63, 72 - 76) proceeded
from Gallipoli, through Hadrianople to the Danube, in about
fifteen days. He was in the train of an English ambassador,
whose baggage consisted of seventy-one wagons. That learned
traveller has the merit of tracing a curious and unfrequented

[Footnote *: Fravitta, according to Zosimus, though a Pagan,
received the honors of the consulate. Zosim, v. c. 20. On
Fravitta, see a very imperfect fragment of Eunapius. Mai. ii.
290, in Niebuhr. 92. - M.]
[Footnote 39: The narrative of Zosimus, who actually leads Gainas
beyond the Danube, must be corrected by the testimony of
Socrates, aud Sozomen, that he was killed in Thrace; and by the
precise and authentic dates of the Alexandrian, or Paschal,
Chronicle, p. 307. The naval victory of the Hellespont is fixed
to the month Apellaeus, the tenth of the Calends of January,
(December 23;) the head of Gainas was brought to Constantinople
the third of the nones of January, (January 3,) in the month
[Footnote 40: Eusebius Scholasticus acquired much fame by his
poem on the Gothic war, in which he had served. Near forty years
afterwards Ammonius recited another poem on the same subject, in
the presence of the emperor Theodosius. See Socrates, l. vi. c.

After the death of the indolent Nectarius, the successor of
Gregory Nazianzen, the church of Constantinople was distracted by
the ambition of rival candidates, who were not ashamed to
solicit, with gold or flattery, the suffrage of the people, or of
the favorite. On this occasion Eutropius seems to have deviated
from his ordinary maxims; and his uncorrupted judgment was
determined only by the superior merit of a stranger. In a late
journey into the East, he had admired the sermons of John, a
native and presbyter of Antioch, whose name has been
distinguished by the epithet of Chrysostom, or the Golden Mouth.
^41 A private order was despatched to the governor of Syria; and
as the people might be unwilling to resign their favorite
preacher, he was transported, with speed and secrecy in a post-
chariot, from Antioch to Constantinople. The unanimous and
unsolicited consent of the court, the clergy, and the people,
ratified the choice of the minister; and, both as a saint and as
an orator, the new archbishop surpassed the sanguine expectations
of the public. Born of a noble and opulent family, in the
capital of Syria, Chrysostom had been educated, by the care of a
tender mother, under the tuition of the most skilful masters. He
studied the art of rhetoric in the school of Libanius; and that
celebrated sophist, who soon discovered the talents of his
disciple, ingenuously confessed that John would have deserved to
succeed him, had he not been stolen away by the Christians. His
piety soon disposed him to receive the sacrament of baptism; to
renounce the lucrative and honorable profession of the law; and
to bury himself in the adjacent desert, where he subdued the
lusts of the flesh by an austere penance of six years. His
infirmities compelled him to return to the society of mankind;
and the authority of Meletius devoted his talents to the service
of the church: but in the midst of his family, and afterwards on
the archiepiscopal throne, Chrysostom still persevered in the
practice of the monastic virtues. The ample revenues, which his
predecessors had consumed in pomp and luxury, he diligently
applied to the establishment of hospitals; and the multitudes,
who were supported by his charity, preferred the eloquent and
edifying discourses of their archbishop to the amusements of the
theatre or the circus. The monuments of that eloquence, which
was admired near twenty years at Antioch and Constantinople, have
been carefully preserved; and the possession of near one thousand
sermons, or homilies has authorized the critics ^42 of succeeding
times to appreciate the genuine merit of Chrysostom. They
unanimously attribute to the Christian orator the free command of
an elegant and copious language; the judgment to conceal the
advantages which he derived from the knowledge of rhetoric and
philosophy; an inexhaustible fund of metaphors and similitudes of
ideas and images, to vary and illustrate the most familiar
topics; the happy art of engaging the passions in the service of
virtue; and of exposing the folly, as well as the turpitude, of
vice, almost with the truth and spirit of a dramatic

[Footnote 41: The sixth book of Socrates, the eighth of Sozomen,
and the fifth of Theodoret, afford curious and authentic
materials for the life of John Chrysostom. Besides those general
historians, I have taken for my guides the four principal
biographers of the saint. 1. The author of a partial and
passionate Vindication of the archbishop of Constantinople,
composed in the form of a dialogue, and under the name of his
zealous partisan, Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, (Tillemont,
Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 500 - 533.) It is inserted among the
works of Chrysostom. tom. xiii. p. 1 - 90, edit. Montfaucon. 2.
The moderate Erasmus, (tom. iii. epist. Mcl. p. 1331 - 1347,
edit. Lugd. Bat.) His vivacity and good sense were his own; his
errors, in the uncultivated state of ecclesiastical antiquity,
were almost inevitable. 3. The learned Tillemont, (Mem.
Ecclesiastiques, tom. xi. p. 1 - 405, 547 - 626, &c. &c.,) who
compiles the lives of the saints with incredible patience and
religious accuracy. He has minutely searched the voluminous
works of Chrysostom himself. 4. Father Montfaucon, who has
perused those works with the curious diligence of an editor,
discovered several new homilies, and again reviewed and composed
the Life of Chrysostom, (Opera Chrysostom. tom. xiii. p. 91 -

[Footnote 42: As I am almost a stranger to the voluminous sermons
of Chrysostom, I have given my confidence to the two most
judicious and moderate of the ecclesiastical critics, Erasmus
(tom. iii. p. 1344) and Dupin, (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, tom.
iii. p. 38:) yet the good taste of the former is sometimes
vitiated by an excessive love of antiquity; and the good sense of
the latter is always restrained by prudential considerations.]

The pastoral labors of the archbishop of Constantinople
provoked, and gradually united against him, two sorts of enemies;
the aspiring clergy, who envied his success, and the obstinate
sinners, who were offended by his reproofs. When Chrysostom
thundered, from the pulpit of St. Sophia, against the degeneracy
of the Christians, his shafts were spent among the crowd, without
wounding, or even marking, the character of any individual. When
he declaimed against the peculiar vices of the rich, poverty
might obtain a transient consolation from his invectives; but the
guilty were still sheltered by their numbers; and the reproach
itself was dignified by some ideas of superiority and enjoyment.
But as the pyramid rose towards the summit, it insensibly
diminished to a point; and the magistrates, the ministers, the
favorite eunuchs, the ladies of the court, ^43 the empress
Eudoxia herself, had a much larger share of guilt to divide among
a smaller proportion of criminals. The personal applications of
the audience were anticipated, or confirmed, by the testimony of
their own conscience; and the intrepid preacher assumed the
dangerous right of exposing both the offence and the offender to
the public abhorrence. The secret resentment of the court
encouraged the discontent of the clergy and monks of
Constantinople, who were too hastily reformed by the fervent zeal
of their archbishop. He had condemned, from the pulpit, the
domestic females of the clergy of Constantinople, who, under the
name of servants, or sisters, afforded a perpetual occasion
either of sin or of scandal. The silent and solitary ascetics,
who had secluded themselves from the world, were entitled to the
warmest approbation of Chrysostom; but he despised and
stigmatized, as the disgrace of their holy profession, the crowd
of degenerate monks, who, from some unworthy motives of pleasure
or profit, so frequently infested the streets of the capital. To
the voice of persuasion, the archbishop was obliged to add the
terrors of authority; and his ardor, in the exercise of
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, was not always exempt from passion;
nor was it always guided by prudence. Chrysostom was naturally
of a choleric disposition. ^44 Although he struggled, according
to the precepts of the gospel, to love his private enemies, he
indulged himself in the privilege of hating the enemies of God
and of the church; and his sentiments were sometimes delivered
with too much energy of countenance and expression. He still
maintained, from some considerations of health or abstinence, his
former habits of taking his repasts alone; and this inhospitable
custom, ^45 which his enemies imputed to pride, contributed, at
least, to nourish the infirmity of a morose and unsocial humor.
Separated from that familiar intercourse, which facilitates the
knowledge and the despatch of business, he reposed an
unsuspecting confidence in his deacon Serapion; and seldom
applied his speculative knowledge of human nature to the
particular character, either of his dependants, or of his equals.

Conscious of the purity of his intentions, and perhaps of the
superiority of his genius, the archbishop of Constantinople
extended the jurisdiction of the Imperial city, that he might
enlarge the sphere of his pastoral labors; and the conduct which
the profane imputed to an ambitious motive, appeared to
Chrysostom himself in the light of a sacred and indispensable
duty. In his visitation through the Asiatic provinces, he
deposed thirteen bishops of Lydia and Phrygia; and indiscreetly
declared that a deep corruption of simony and licentiousness had
infected the whole episcopal order. ^46 If those bishops were
innocent, such a rash and unjust condemnation must excite a well-
grounded discontent. If they were guilty, the numerous
associates of their guilt would soon discover that their own
safety depended on the ruin of the archbishop; whom they studied
to represent as the tyrant of the Eastern church.

[Footnote 43: The females of Constantinople distinguished
themselves by their enmity or their attachment to Chrysostom.
Three noble and opulent widows, Marsa, Castricia, and Eugraphia,
were the leaders of the persecution, (Pallad. Dialog. tom. xiii.
p. 14.) It was impossible that they should forgive a preacher who
reproached their affectation to conceal, by the ornaments of
dress, their age and ugliness, (Pallad p. 27.) Olympias, by equal
zeal, displayed in a more pious cause, has obtained the title of
saint. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi p. 416 - 440.]
[Footnote 44: Sozomen, and more especially Socrates, have defined
the real character of Chrysostom with a temperate and impartial
freedom, very offensive to his blind admirers. Those historians
lived in the next generation, when party violence was abated, and
had conversed with many persons intimately acquainted with the
virtues and imperfections of the saint.]
[Footnote 45: Palladius (tom. xiii. p. 40, &c.) very seriously
defends the archbishop 1. He never tasted wine. 2. The weakness
of his stomach required a peculiar diet. 3. Business, or study,
or devotion, often kept him fasting till sunset. 4. He detested
the noise and levity of great dinners. 5. He saved the expense
for the use of the poor. 6. He was apprehensive, in a capital
like Constantinople, of the envy and reproach of partial
[Footnote 46: Chrysostom declares his free opinion (tom. ix. hom.
iii in Act. Apostol. p. 29) that the number of bishops, who might
be saved, bore a very small proportion to those who would be

This ecclesiastical conspiracy was managed by Theophilus,
^47 archbishop of Alexandria, an active and ambitious prelate,
who displayed the fruits of rapine in monuments of ostentation.
His national dislike to the rising greatness of a city which
degraded him from the second to the third rank in the Christian
world, was exasperated by some personal dispute with Chrysostom
himself. ^48 By the private invitation of the empress, Theophilus
landed at Constantinople with a stou body of Egyptian mariners,
to encounter the populace; and a train of dependent bishops, to
secure, by their voices, the majority of a synod. The synod ^49
was convened in the suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak, where
Rufinus had erected a stately church and monastery; and their
proceedings were continued during fourteen days, or sessions. A
bishop and a deacon accused the archbishop of Constantinople; but
the frivolous or improbable nature of the forty-seven articles
which they presented against him, may justly be considered as a
fair and unexceptional panegyric. Four successive summons were
signified to Chrysostom; but he still refused to trust either his
person or his reputation in the hands of his implacable enemies,
who, prudently declining the examination of any particular
charges, condemned his contumacious disobedience, and hastily
pronounced a sentence of deposition. The synod of the Oak
immediately addressed the emperor to ratify and execute their
judgment, and charitably insinuated, that the penalties of
treason might be inflicted on the audacious preacher, who had
reviled, under the name of Jezebel, the empress Eudoxia herself.
The archbishop was rudely arrested, and conducted through the
city, by one of the Imperial messengers, who landed him, after a
short navigation, near the entrance of the Euxine; from whence,
before the expiration of two days, he was gloriously recalled.
[Footnote 47: See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 441 - 500.]

[Footnote 48: I have purposely omitted the controversy which
arose among the monks of Egypt, concerning Origenism and
Anthropomorphism; the dissimulation and violence of Theophilus;
his artful management of the simplicity of Epiphanius; the
persecution and flight of the long, or tall, brothers; the
ambiguous support which they received at Constantinople from
Chrysostom, &c. &c.]

[Footnote 49: Photius (p. 53 - 60) has preserved the original
acts of the synod of the Oak; which destroys the false assertion,
that Chrysostom was condemned by no more than thirty-six bishops,
of whom twenty-nine were Egyptians. Forty-five bishops
subscribed his sentence. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xi. p.

Note: Tillemont argues strongly for the number of thirty-six
- M]
The first astonishment of his faithful people had been mute
and passive: they suddenly rose with unanimous and irresistible
fury. Theophilus escaped, but the promiscuous crowd of monks and
Egyptian mariners was slaughtered without pity in the streets of
Constantinople. ^50 A seasonable earthquake justified the
interposition of Heaven; the torrent of sedition rolled forwards
to the gates of the palace; and the empress, agitated by fear or
remorse, threw herself at the feet of Arcadius, and confessed
that the public safety could be purchased only by the restoration
of Chrysostom. The Bosphorus was covered with innumerable
vessels; the shores of Europe and Asia were profusely
illuminated; and the acclamations of a victorious people
accompanied, from the port to the cathedral, the triumph of the
archbishop; who, too easily, consented to resume the exercise of
his functions, before his sentence had been legally reversed by
the authority of an ecclesiastical synod. Ignorant, or careless,
of the impending danger, Chrysostom indulged his zeal, or perhaps
his resentment; declaimed with peculiar asperity against female
vices; and condemned the profane honors which were addressed,
almost in the precincts of St. Sophia, to the statue of the
empress. His imprudence tempted his enemies to inflame the
haughty spirit of Eudoxia, by reporting, or perhaps inventing,
the famous exordium of a sermon, "Herodias is again furious;
Herodias again dances; she once more requires the head of John;"
an insolent allusion, which, as a woman and a sovereign, it was
impossible for her to forgive. ^51 The short interval of a
perfidious truce was employed to concert more effectual measures
for the disgrace and ruin of the archbishop. A numerous council
of the Eastern prelates, who were guided from a distance by the
advice of Theophilus, confirmed the validity, without examining
the justice, of the former sentence; and a detachment of
Barbarian troops was introduced into the city, to suppress the
emotions of the people. On the vigil of Easter, the solemn
administration of baptism was rudely interrupted by the soldiers,
who alarmed the modesty of the naked catechumens, and violated,
by their presence, the awful mysteries of the Christian worship.
Arsacius occupied the church of St. Sophia, and the
archiepiscopal throne. The Catholics retreated to the baths of
Constantine, and afterwards to the fields; where they were still
pursued and insulted by the guards, the bishops, and the
magistrates. The fatal day of the second and final exile of
Chrysostom was marked by the conflagration of the cathedral, of
the senate-house, and of the adjacent buildings; and this
calamity was imputed, without proof, but not without probability,
to the despair of a persecuted faction. ^52

[Footnote 50: Palladius owns (p. 30) that if the people of
Constantinople had found Theophilus, they would certainly have
thrown him into the sea. Socrates mentions (l. vi. c. 17) a
battle between the mob and the sailors of Alexandria, in which
many wounds were given, and some lives were lost. The massacre of
the monks is observed only by the Pagan Zosimus, (l. v. p. 324,)
who acknowledges that Chrysostom had a singular talent to lead
the illiterate multitude.]

[Footnote 51: See Socrates, l. vi. c. 18. Sozomen, l. viii. c.
20. Zosimus (l. v. p 324, 327) mentions, in general terms, his
invectives against Eudoxia. The homily, which begins with those
famous words, is rejected as spurious. Montfaucon, tom. xiii. p.
151. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom xi. p. 603.]
[Footnote 52: We might naturally expect such a charge from
Zosimus, (l. v. p. 327;) but it is remarkable enough, that it
should be confirmed by Socrates, (l. vi. c. 18,) and the Paschal
Chronicle, (p. 307.)]

Cicero might claim some merit, if his voluntary banishment
preserved the peace of the republic; ^53 but the submission of
Chrysostom was the indispensable duty of a Christian and a
subject. Instead of listening to his humble prayer, that he
might be permitted to reside at Cyzicus, or Nicomedia, the
inflexible empress assigned for his exile the remote and desolate
town of Cucusus, among the ridges of Mount Taurus, in the Lesser
Armenia. A secret hope was entertained, that the archbishop
might perish in a difficult and dangerous march of seventy days,
in the heat of summer, through the provinces of Asia Minor, where
he was continually threatened by the hostile attacks of the
Isaurians, and the more implacable fury of the monks. Yet
Chrysostom arrived in safety at the place of his confinement; and
the three years which he spent at Cucusus, and the neighboring
town of Arabissus, were the last and most glorious of his life.
His character was consecrated by absence and persecution; the
faults of his administration were no longer remembered; but every
tongue repeated the praises of his genius and virtue: and the
respectful attention of the Christian world was fixed on a desert
spot among the mountains of Taurus. From that solitude the
archbishop, whose active mind was invigorated by misfortunes,
maintained a strict and frequent correspondence ^54 with the most
distant provinces; exhorted the separate congregation of his
faithful adherents to persevere in their allegiance; urged the
destruction of the temples of Phoenicia, and the extirpation of
heresy in the Isle of Cyprus; extended his pastoral care to the
missions of Persia and Scythia; negotiated, by his ambassadors,
with the Roman pontiff and the emperor Honorius; and boldly
appealed, from a partial synod, to the supreme tribunal of a free
and general council. The mind of the illustrious exile was still
independent; but his captive body was exposed to the revenge of
the oppressors, who continued to abuse the name and authority of
Arcadius. ^55 An order was despatched for the instant removal of
Chrysostom to the extreme desert of Pityus: and his guards so
faithfully obeyed their cruel instructions, that, before he
reached the sea-coast of the Euxine, he expired at Comana, in
Pontus, in the sixtieth year of his age. The succeeding
generation acknowledged his innocence and merit. The archbishops
of the East, who might blush that their predecessors had been the
enemies of Chrysostom, were gradually disposed, by the firmness
of the Roman pontiff, to restore the honors of that venerable
name. ^56 At the pious solicitation of the clergy and people of
Constantinople, his relics, thirty years after his death, were
transported from their obscure sepulchre to the royal city. ^57
The emperor Theodosius advanced to receive them as far as
Chalcedon; and, falling prostrate on the coffin, implored, in the
name of his guilty parents, Arcadius and Eudoxia, the forgiveness
of the injured saint. ^58

[Footnote 53: He displays those specious motives (Post Reditum,
c. 13, 14) in the language of an orator and a politician.]
[Footnote 54: Two hundred and forty-two of the epistles of
Chrysostom are still extant, (Opera, tom. iii. p. 528 - 736.)
They are addressed to a great variety of persons, and show a
firmness of mind much superior to that of Cicero in his exile.
The fourteenth epistle contains a curious narrative of the
dangers of his journey.]

[Footnote 55: After the exile of Chrysostom, Theophilus published
an enormous and horrible volume against him, in which he
perpetually repeats the polite expressions of hostem humanitatis,
sacrilegorum principem, immundum daemonem; he affirms, that John
Chrysostom had delivered his soul to be adulterated by the devil;
and wishes that some further punishment, adequate (if possible)
to the magnitude of his crimes, may be inflicted on him. St.
Jerom, at the request of his friend Theophilus, translated this
edifying performance from Greek into Latin. See Facundus
Hermian. Defens. pro iii. Capitul. l. vi. c. 5 published by
Sirmond. Opera, tom. ii. p. 595, 596, 597.]
[Footnote 56: His name was inserted by his successor Atticus in
the Dyptics of the church of Constantinople, A.D. 418. Ten years
afterwards he was revered as a saint. Cyril, who inherited the
place, and the passions, of his uncle Theophilus, yielded with
much reluctance. See Facund. Hermian. l. 4, c. 1. Tillemont,
Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 277 - 283.]

[Footnote 57: Socrates, l. vii. c. 45. Theodoret, l. v. c. 36.
This event reconciled the Joannites, who had hitherto refused to
acknowledge his successors. During his lifetime, the Joannites
were respected, by the Catholics, as the true and orthodox
communion of Constantinople. Their obstinacy gradually drove
them to the brink of schism.]

[Footnote 58: According to some accounts, (Baronius, Annal.
Eccles. A.D. 438 No. 9, 10,) the emperor was forced to send a
letter of invitation and excuses, before the body of the
ceremonious saint could be moved from Comana.]

Chapter XXXII: Emperors Arcadius, Eutropius, Theodosius II.
Part III.

Yet a reasonable doubt may be entertained, whether any stain
of hereditary guilt could be derived from Arcadius to his
successor. Eudoxia was a young and beautiful woman, who indulged
her passions, and despised her husband; Count John enjoyed, at
least, the familiar confidence of the empress; and the public
named him as the real father of Theodosius the younger. ^59 The
birth of a son was accepted, however, by the pious husband, as an
event the most fortunate and honorable to himself, to his family,
and to the Eastern world: and the royal infant, by an
unprecedented favor, was invested with the titles of Caesar and
Augustus. In less than four years afterwards, Eudoxia, in the
bloom of youth, was destroyed by the consequences of a
miscarriage; and this untimely death confounded the prophecy of a
holy bishop, ^60 who, amidst the universal joy, had ventured to
foretell, that she should behold the long and auspicious reign of
her glorious son. The Catholics applauded the justice of Heaven,
which avenged the persecution of St. Chrysostom; and perhaps the
emperor was the only person who sincerely bewailed the loss of
the haughty and rapacious Eudoxia. Such a domestic misfortune
afflicted him more deeply than the public calamities of the East;
^61 the licentious excursions, from Pontus to Palestine, of the
Isaurian robbers, whose impunity accused the weakness of the
government; and the earthquakes, the conflagrations, the famine,
and the flights of locusts, ^62 which the popular discontent was
equally disposed to attribute to the incapacity of the monarch.
At length, in the thirty-first year of his age, after a reign (if
we may abuse that word) of thirteen years, three months, and
fifteen days, Arcadius expired in the palace of Constantinople.
It is impossible to delineate his character; since, in a period
very copiously furnished with historical materials, it has not
been possible to remark one action that properly belongs to the
son of the great Theodosius.

[Footnote 59: Zosimus, l. v. p. 315. The chastity of an empress
should not be impeached without producing a witness; but it is
astonishing, that the witness should write and live under a
prince whose legitimacy he dared to attack. We must suppose that
his history was a party libel, privately read and circulated by
the Pagans. Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. v. p. 782) is
not averse to brand the reputation of Eudoxia.]

[Footnote 60: Porphyry of Gaza. His zeal was transported by the
order which he had obtained for the destruction of eight Pagan
temples of that city. See the curious details of his life,
(Baronius, A.D. 401, No. 17 - 51,) originally written in Greek,
or perhaps in Syriac, by a monk, one of his favorite deacons.]
[Footnote 61: Philostorg. l. xi. c. 8, and Godefroy, Dissertat.
p. 457.]
[Footnote 62: Jerom (tom. vi. p. 73, 76) describes, in lively
colors, the regular and destructive march of the locusts, which
spread a dark cloud, between heaven and earth, over the land of
Palestine. Seasonable winds scattered them, partly into the Dead
Sea, and partly into the Mediterranean.]
The historian Procopius ^63 has indeed illuminated the mind
of the dying emperor with a ray of human prudence, or celestial
wisdom. Arcadius considered, with anxious foresight, the
helpless condition of his son Theodosius, who was no more than
seven years of age, the dangerous factions of a minority, and the
aspiring spirit of Jezdegerd, the Persian monarch. Instead of
tempting the allegiance of an ambitious subject, by the
participation of supreme power, he boldly appealed to the
magnanimity of a king; and placed, by a solemn testament, the
sceptre of the East in the hands of Jezdegerd himself. The royal
guardian accepted and discharged this honorable trust with
unexampled fidelity; and the infancy of Theodosius was protected
by the arms and councils of Persia. Such is the singular
narrative of Procopius; and his veracity is not disputed by
Agathias, ^64 while he presumes to dissent from his judgment, and
to arraign the wisdom of a Christian emperor, who, so rashly,
though so fortunately, committed his son and his dominions to the
unknown faith of a stranger, a rival, and a heathen. At the
distance of one hundred and fifty years, this political question
might be debated in the court of Justinian; but a prudent
historian will refuse to examine the propriety, till he has
ascertained the truth, of the testament of Arcadius. As it
stands without a parallel in the history of the world, we may
justly require, that it should be attested by the positive and
unanimous evidence of contemporaries. The strange novelty of the
event, which excites our distrust, must have attracted their
notice; and their universal silence annihilates the vain
tradition of the succeeding age.

[Footnote 63: Procopius, de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 2, p. 8, edit.

[[Footnote 64: Agathias, l. iv. p. 136, 137. Although he
confesses the prevalence of the tradition, he asserts, that
Procopius was the first who had committed it to writing.
Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 597) argues very
sensibly on the merits of this fable. His criticism was not
warped by any ecclesiastical authority: both Procopius and
Agathias are half Pagans.

Note: See St Martin's article on Jezdegerd, in the
Biographie Universelle de Michand. - M.]

The maxims of Roman jurisprudence, if they could fairly be
transferred from private property to public dominion, would have
adjudged to the emperor Honorius the guardianship of his nephew,
till he had attained, at least, the fourteenth year of his age.
But the weakness of Honorius, and the calamities of his reign,
disqualified him from prosecuting this natural claim; and such
was the absolute separation of the two monarchies, both in
interest and affection, that Constantinople would have obeyed,
with less reluctance, the orders of the Persian, than those of
the Italian, court. Under a prince whose weakness is disguised by
the external signs of manhood and discretion, the most worthless
favorites may secretly dispute the empire of the palace; and
dictate to submissive provinces the commands of a master, whom
they direct and despise. But the ministers of a child, who is
incapable of arming them with the sanction of the royal name,
must acquire and exercise an independent authority. The great
officers of the state and army, who had been appointed before the
death of Arcadius, formed an aristocracy, which might have
inspired them with the idea of a free republic; and the
government of the Eastern empire was fortunately assumed by the
praefect Anthemius, ^65 who obtained, by his superior abilities,
a lasting ascendant over the minds of his equals. The safety of
the young emperor proved the merit and integrity of Anthemius;
and his prudent firmness sustained the force and reputation of an
infant reign. Uldin, with a formidable host of Barbarians, was
encamped in the heart of Thrace; he proudly rejected all terms of
accommodation; and, pointing to the rising sun, declared to the
Roman ambassadors, that the course of that planet should alone
terminate the conquest of the Huns. But the desertion of his
confederates, who were privately convinced of the justice and
liberality of the Imperial ministers, obliged Uldin to repass the
Danube: the tribe of the Scyrri, which composed his rear-guard,
was almost extirpated; and many thousand captives were dispersed
to cultivate, with servile labor, the fields of Asia. ^66 In the
midst of the public triumph, Constantinople was protected by a
strong enclosure of new and more extensive walls; the same
vigilant care was applied to restore the fortifications of the
Illyrian cities; and a plan was judiciously conceived, which, in
the space of seven years, would have secured the command of the
Danube, by establishing on that river a perpetual fleet of two
hundred and fifty armed vessels. ^67

[Footnote 65: Socrates, l. vii. c. l. Anthemius was the grandson
of Philip, one of the ministers of Constantius, and the
grandfather of the emperor Anthemius. After his return from the
Persian embassy, he was appointed consul and Praetorian praefect
of the East, in the year 405 and held the praefecture about ten
years. See his honors and praises in Godefroy, Cod. Theod. tom.
vi. p. 350. Tillemont, Hist. des Emptom. vi. p. 1. &c.]

[Footnote 66: Sozomen, l. ix. c. 5. He saw some Scyrri at work
near Mount Olympus, in Bithynia, and cherished the vain hope that
those captives were the last of the nation.]

[Footnote 67: Cod. Theod. l. vii. tit. xvi. l. xv. tit. i. leg.
But the Romans had so long been accustomed to the authority
of a monarch, that the first, even among the females, of the
Imperial family, who displayed any courage or capacity, was
permitted to ascend the vacant throne of Theodosius. His sister
Pulcheria, ^68 who was only two years older than himself,
received, at the age of sixteen, the title of Augusta; and though
her favor might be sometimes clouded by caprice or intrigue, she
continued to govern the Eastern empire near forty years; during
the long minority of her brother, and after his death, in her own
name, and in the name of Marcian, her nominal husband. From a
motive either of prudence or religion, she embraced a life of
celibacy; and notwithstanding some aspersions on the chastity of
Pulcheria, ^69 this resolution, which she communicated to her
sisters Arcadia and Marina, was celebrated by the Christian
world, as the sublime effort of heroic piety. In the presence of
the clergy and people, the three daughters of Arcadius ^70
dedicated their virginity to God; and the obligation of their
solemn vow was inscribed on a tablet of gold and gems; which they
publicly offered in the great church of Constantinople. Their
palace was converted into a monastery; and all males, except the
guides of their conscience, the saints who had forgotten the
distinction of sexes, were scrupulously excluded from the holy
threshold. Pulcheria, her two sisters, and a chosen train of
favorite damsels, formed a religious community: they denounced
the vanity of dress; interrupted, by frequent fasts, their simple
and frugal diet; allotted a portion of their time to works of
embroidery; and devoted several hours of the day and night to the
exercises of prayer and psalmody. The piety of a Christian
virgin was adorned by the zeal and liberality of an empress.
Ecclesiastical history describes the splendid churches, which
were built at the expense of Pulcheria, in all the provinces of
the East; her charitable foundations for the benefit of strangers
and the poor; the ample donations which she assigned for the
perpetual maintenance of monastic societies; and the active
severity with which she labored to suppress the opposite heresies
of Nestorius and Eutyches. Such virtues were supposed to deserve
the peculiar favor of the Deity: and the relics of martyrs, as
well as the knowledge of future events, were communicated in
visions and revelations to the Imperial saint. ^71 Yet the
devotion of Pulcheria never diverted her indefatigable attention
from temporal affairs; and she alone, among all the descendants
of the great Theodosius, appears to have inherited any share of
his manly spirit and abilities. The elegant and familiar use
which she had acquired, both of the Greek and Latin languages,
was readily applied to the various occasions of speaking or
writing, on public business: her deliberations were maturely
weighed; her actions were prompt and decisive; and, while she
moved, without noise or ostentation, the wheel of government, she
discreetly attributed to the genius of the emperor the long
tranquillity of his reign. In the last years of his peaceful
life, Europe was indeed afflicted by the arms of war; but the
more extensive provinces of Asia still continued to enjoy a
profound and permanent repose. Theodosius the younger was never
reduced to the disgraceful necessity of encountering and
punishing a rebellious subject: and since we cannot applaud the
vigor, some praise may be due to the mildness and prosperity, of
the administration of Pulcheria.

[Footnote 68: Sozomen has filled three chapters with a
magnificent panegyric of Pulcheria, (l. ix. c. 1, 2, 3;) and
Tillemont (Memoires Eccles. tom. xv. p. 171 - 184) has dedicated
a separate article to the honor of St. Pulcheria, virgin and

Note: The heathen Eunapius gives a frightful picture of the
venality and a justice of the court of Pulcheria. Fragm. Eunap.
in Mai, ii. 293, in p. 97. - M.]

[Footnote 69: Suidas, (Excerpta, p. 68, in Script. Byzant.)
pretends, on the credit of the Nestorians, that Pulcheria was
exasperated against their founder, because he censured her
connection with the beautiful Paulinus, and her incest with her
brother Theodosius.]

[Footnote 70: See Ducange, Famil. Byzantin. p. 70. Flaccilla,
the eldest daughter, either died before Arcadius, or, if she
lived till the year 431, (Marcellin. Chron.,) some defect of mind
or body must have excluded her from the honors of her rank.]
[Footnote 71: She was admonished, by repeated dreams, of the
place where the relics of the forty martyrs had been buried. The
ground had successively belonged to the house and garden of a
woman of Constantinople, to a monastery of Macedonian monks, and
to a church of St. Thyrsus, erected by Caesarius, who was consul
A.D. 397; and the memory of the relics was almost obliterated.
Notwithstanding the charitable wishes of Dr. Jortin, (Remarks,
tom. iv. p. 234,) it is not easy to acquit Pulcheria of some
share in the pious fraud; which must have been transacted when
she was more than five-and-thirty years of age.]

The Roman world was deeply interested in the education of
its master. A regular course of study and exercise was
judiciously instituted; of the military exercises of riding, and
shooting with the bow; of the liberal studies of grammar,
rhetoric, and philosophy: the most skilful masters of the East
ambitiously solicited the attention of their royal pupil; and
several noble youths were introduced into the palace, to animate
his diligence by the emulation of friendship. Pulcheria alone
discharged the important task of instructing her brother in the
arts of government; but her precepts may countenance some
suspicions of the extent of her capacity, or of the purity of her
intentions. She taught him to maintain a grave and majestic
deportment; to walk, to hold his robes, to seat himself on his
throne, in a manner worthy of a great prince; to abstain from
laughter; to listen with condescension; to return suitable
answers; to assume, by turns, a serious or a placid countenance:
in a word, to represent with grace and dignity the external
figure of a Roman emperor. But Theodosius ^72 was never excited
to support the weight and glory of an illustrious name: and,
instead of aspiring to support his ancestors, he degenerated (if
we may presume to measure the degrees of incapacity) below the
weakness of his father and his uncle. Arcadius and Honorius had
been assisted by the guardian care of a parent, whose lessons
were enforced by his authority and example. But the unfortunate
prince, who is born in the purple, must remain a stranger to the
voice of truth; and the son of Arcadius was condemned to pass his
perpetual infancy encompassed only by a servile train of women
and eunuchs. The ample leisure which he acquired by neglecting
the essential duties of his high office, was filled by idle
amusements and unprofitable studies. Hunting was the only active
pursuit that could tempt him beyond the limits of the palace; but
he most assiduously labored, sometimes by the light of a midnight
lamp, in the mechanic occupations of painting and carving; and
the elegance with which he transcribed religious books entitled
the Roman emperor to the singular epithet of Calligraphes, or a
fair writer. Separated from the world by an impenetrable veil,
Theodosius trusted the persons whom he loved; he loved those who
were accustomed to amuse and flatter his indolence; and as he
never perused the papers that were presented for the royal
signature, the acts of injustice the most repugnant to his
character were frequently perpetrated in his name. The emperor
himself was chaste, temperate, liberal, and merciful; but these
qualities, which can only deserve the name of virtues when they
are supported by courage and regulated by discretion, were seldom
beneficial, and they sometimes proved mischievous, to mankind.
His mind, enervated by a royal education, was oppressed and
degraded by abject superstition: he fasted, he sung psalms, he
blindly accepted the miracles and doctrines with which his faith
was continually nourished. Theodosius devoutly worshipped the
dead and living saints of the Catholic church; and he once
refused to eat, till an insolent monk, who had cast an
excommunication on his sovereign, condescended to heal the
spiritual wound which he had inflicted. ^73

[Footnote 72: There is a remarkable difference between the two
ecclesiastical historians, who in general bear so close a
resemblance. Sozomen (l. ix. c. 1) ascribes to Pulcheria the
government of the empire, and the education of her brother, whom
he scarcely condescends to praise. Socrates, though he affectedly
disclaims all hopes of favor or fame, composes an elaborate
panegyric on the emperor, and cautiously suppresses the merits of
his sister, (l. vii. c. 22, 42.) Philostorgius (l. xii. c. 7)
expresses the influence of Pulcheria in gentle and courtly
language. Suidas (Excerpt. p. 53) gives a true character of
Theodosius; and I have followed the example of Tillemont (tom.
vi. p. 25) in borrowing some strokes from the modern Greeks.]
[Footnote 73: Theodoret, l. v. c. 37. The bishop of Cyrrhus, one
of the first men of his age for his learning and piety, applauds
the obedience of Theodosius to the divine laws.]

The story of a fair and virtuous maiden, exalted from a
private condition to the Imperial throne, might be deemed an
incredible romance, if such a romance had not been verified in
the marriage of Theodosius. The celebrated Athenais ^74 was
educated by her father Leontius in the religion and sciences of
the Greeks; and so advantageous was the opinion which the
Athenian philosopher entertained of his contemporaries, that he
divided his patrimony between his two sons, bequeathing to his
daughter a small legacy of one hundred pieces of gold, in the
lively confidence that her beauty and merit would be a sufficient
portion. The jealousy and avarice of her brothers soon compelled
Athenais to seek a refuge at Constantinople; and, with some
hopes, either of justice or favor, to throw herself at the feet
of Pulcheria. That sagacious princess listened to her eloquent
complaint; and secretly destined the daughter of the philosopher
Leontius for the future wife of the emperor of the East, who had
now attained the twentieth year of his age. She easily excited
the curiosity of her brother, by an interesting picture of the
charms of Athenais; large eyes, a well- proportioned nose, a fair
complexion, golden locks, a slender person, a graceful demeanor,
an understanding improved by study, and a virtue tried by
distress. Theodosius, concealed behind a curtain in the
apartment of his sister, was permitted to behold the Athenian
virgin: the modest youth immediately declared his pure and
honorable love; and the royal nuptials were celebrated amidst the
acclamations of the capital and the provinces. Athenais, who was
easily persuaded to renounce the errors of Paganism, received at
her baptism the Christian name of Eudocia; but the cautious
Pulcheria withheld the title of Augusta, till the wife of
Theodosius had approved her fruitfulness by the birth of a
daughter, who espoused, fifteen years afterwards, the emperor of
the West. The brothers of Eudocia obeyed, with some anxiety, her
Imperial summons; but as she could easily forgive their
unfortunate unkindness, she indulged the tenderness, or perhaps
the vanity, of a sister, by promoting them to the rank of consuls
and praefects. In the luxury of the palace, she still cultivated
those ingenuous arts which had contributed to her greatness; and
wisely dedicated her talents to the honor of religion, and of her
husband. Eudocia composed a poetical paraphrase of the first
eight books of the Old Testament, and of the prophecies of Daniel
and Zechariah; a cento of the verses of Homer, applied to the
life and miracles of Christ, the legend of St. Cyprian, and a
panegyric on the Persian victories of Theodosius; and her
writings, which were applauded by a servile and superstitious
age, have not been disdained by the candor of impartial
criticism. ^75 The fondness of the emperor was not abated by time
and possession; and Eudocia, after the marriage of her daughter,
was permitted to discharge her grateful vows by a solemn
pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her ostentatious progress through the
East may seem inconsistent with the spirit of Christian humility;
she pronounced, from a throne of gold and gems, an eloquent
oration to the senate of Antioch, declared her royal intention of
enlarging the walls of the city, bestowed a donative of two
hundred pounds of gold to restore the public baths, and accepted
the statues, which were decreed by the gratitude of Antioch. In
the Holy Land, her alms and pious foundations exceeded the
munificence of the great Helena, and though the public treasure
might be impoverished by this excessive liberality, she enjoyed
the conscious satisfaction of returning to Constantinople with
the chains of St. Peter, the right arm of St. Stephen, and an
undoubted picture of the Virgin, painted by St. Luke. ^76 But
this pilgrimage was the fatal term of the glories of Eudocia.
Satiated with empty pomp, and unmindful, perhaps, of her
obligations to Pulcheria, she ambitiously aspired to the
government of the Eastern empire; the palace was distracted by
female discord; but the victory was at last decided, by the
superior ascendant of the sister of Theodosius. The execution of
Paulinus, master of the offices, and the disgrace of Cyrus,
Praetorian praefect of the East, convinced the public that the
favor of Eudocia was insufficient to protect her most faithful
friends; and the uncommon beauty of Paulinus encouraged the
secret rumor, that his guilt was that of a successful lover. ^77
As soon as the empress perceived that the affection of Theodosius
was irretrievably lost, she requested the permission of retiring
to the distant solitude of Jerusalem. She obtained her request;
but the jealousy of Theodosius, or the vindictive spirit of
Pulcheria, pursued her in her last retreat; and Saturninus, count
of the domestics, was directed to punish with death two
ecclesiastics, her most favored servants. Eudocia instantly
revenged them by the assassination of the count; the furious
passions which she indulged on this suspicious occasion, seemed
to justify the severity of Theodosius; and the empress,
ignominiously stripped of the honors of her rank, ^78 was
disgraced, perhaps unjustly, in the eyes of the world. The
remainder of the life of Eudocia, about sixteen years, was spent
in exile and devotion; and the approach of age, the death of
Theodosius, the misfortunes of her only daughter, who was led a
captive from Rome to Carthage, and the society of the Holy Monks
of Palestine, insensibly confirmed the religious temper of her
mind. After a full experience of the vicissitudes of human life,
the daughter of the philosopher Leontius expired, at Jerusalem,
in the sixty-seventh year of her age; protesting, with her dying
breath, that she had never transgressed the bounds of innocence
and friendship. ^79

[Footnote 74: Socrates (l. vii. c. 21) mentions her name,
(Athenais, the daughter of Leontius, an Athenian sophist,) her
baptism, marriage, and poetical genius. The most ancient account
of her history is in John Malala (part ii. p. 20, 21, edit.
Venet. 1743) and in the Paschal Chronicle, (p. 311, 312.) Those
authors had probably seen original pictures of the empress
Eudocia. The modern Greeks, Zonaras, Cedrenus, &c., have
displayed the love, rather than the talent of fiction. From
Nicephorus, indeed, I have ventured to assume her age. The
writer of a romance would not have imagined, that Athenais was
near twenty eight years old when she inflamed the heart of a
young emperor.]

[Footnote 75: Socrates, l. vii. c. 21, Photius, p. 413 - 420.
The Homeric cento is still extant, and has been repeatedly
printed: but the claim of Eudocia to that insipid performance is
disputed by the critics. See Fabricius, Biblioth. Graec. tom.
i. p. 357. The Ionia, a miscellaneous dictionary of history and
fable, was compiled by another empress of the name of Eudocia,
who lived in the eleventh century: and the work is still extant
in manuscript.]

[Footnote 76: Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 438, 439) is copious
and florid, but he is accused of placing the lies of different
ages on the same level of authenticity.]

[Footnote 77: In this short view of the disgrace of Eudocia, I
have imitated the caution of Evagrius (l. i. c. 21) and Count
Marcellinus, (in Chron A.D. 440 and 444.) The two authentic dates
assigned by the latter, overturn a great part of the Greek
fictions; and the celebrated story of the apple, &c., is fit only
for the Arabian Nights, where something not very unlike it may be
[Footnote 78: Priscus, (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 69,) a
contemporary, and a courtier, dryly mentions her Pagan and
Christian names, without adding any title of honor or respect.]
[Footnote 79: For the two pilgrimages of Eudocia, and her long
residence at Jerusalem, her devotion, alms, &c., see Socrates (l.
vii. c. 47) and Evagrius, (l. i. c. 21, 22.) The Paschal
Chronicle may sometimes deserve regard; and in the domestic
history of Antioch, John Malala becomes a writer of good
authority. The Abbe Guenee, in a memoir on the fertility of
Palestine, of which I have only seen an extract, calculates the
gifts of Eudocia at 20,488 pounds of gold, above 800,000 pounds

The gentle mind of Theodosius was never inflamed by the
ambition of conquest, or military renown; and the slight alarm of
a Persian war scarcely interrupted the tranquillity of the East.
The motives of this war were just and honorable. In the last
year of the reign of Jezdegerd, the supposed guardian of
Theodosius, a bishop, who aspired to the crown of martyrdom,
destroyed one of the fire-temples of Susa. ^80 His zeal and
obstinacy were revenged on his brethren: the Magi excited a cruel
persecution; and the intolerant zeal of Jezdegerd was imitated by
his son Varanes, or Bahram, who soon afterwards ascended the
throne. Some Christian fugitives, who escaped to the Roman
frontier, were sternly demanded, and generously refused; and the
refusal, aggravated by commercial disputes, soon kindled a war
between the rival monarchies. The mountains of Armenia, and the
plains of Mesopotamia, were filled with hostile armies; but the
operations of two successive campaigns were not productive of any
decisive or memorable events. Some engagements were fought, some
towns were besieged, with various and doubtful success: and if
the Romans failed in their attempt to recover the long-lost
possession of Nisibis, the Persians were repulsed from the walls
of a Mesopotamian city, by the valor of a martial bishop, who
pointed his thundering engine in the name of St. Thomas the
Apostle. Yet the splendid victories which the incredible speed
of the messenger Palladius repeatedly announced to the palace of
Constantinople, were celebrated with festivals and panegyrics.
From these panegyrics the historians ^81 of the age might borrow
their extraordinary, and, perhaps, fabulous tales; of the proud
challenge of a Persian hero, who was entangled by the net, and
despatched by the sword, of Areobindus the Goth; of the ten
thousand Immortals, who were slain in the attack of the Roman
camp; and of the hundred thousand Arabs, or Saracens, who were
impelled by a panic terror to throw themselves headlong into the
Euphrates. Such events may be disbelieved or disregarded; but the
charity of a bishop, Acacius of Amida, whose name might have
dignified the saintly calendar, shall not be lost in oblivion.
Boldly declaring, that vases of gold and silver are useless to a
God who neither eats nor drinks, the generous prelate sold the
plate of the church of Amida; employed the price in the
redemption of seven thousand Persian captives; supplied their
wants with affectionate liberality; and dismissed them to their
native country, to inform their king of the true spirit of the
religion which he persecuted. The practice of benevolence in the
midst of war must always tend to assuage the animosity of
contending nations; and I wish to persuade myself, that Acacius
contributed to the restoration of peace. In the conference which
was held on the limits of the two empires, the Roman ambassadors
degraded the personal character of their sovereign, by a vain
attempt to magnify the extent of his power; when they seriously
advised the Persians to prevent, by a timely accommodation, the
wrath of a monarch, who was yet ignorant of this distant war. A
truce of one hundred years was solemnly ratified; and although
the revolutions of Armenia might threaten the public
tranquillity, the essential conditions of this treaty were
respected near fourscore years by the successors of Constantine
and Artaxerxes.

[Footnote 80: Theodoret, l. v. c. 39 Tillemont. Mem. Eccles tom.
xii. 356 - 364. Assemanni, Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p. 396,
tom. iv. p. 61. Theodoret blames the rashness of Abdas, but
extols the constancy of his martyrdom. Yet I do not clearly
understand the casuistry which prohibits our repairing the damage
which we have unlawfully committed.]

[Footnote 81: Socrates (l. vii. c. 18, 19, 20, 21) is the best
author for the Persian war. We may likewise consult the three
Chronicles, the Paschal and those of Marcellinus and Malala.]
Since the Roman and Parthian standards first encountered on
the banks of the Euphrates, the kingdom of Armenia ^82 was
alternately oppressed by its formidable protectors; and in the
course of this History, several events, which inclined the
balance of peace and war, have been already related. A
disgraceful treaty had resigned Armenia to the ambition of Sapor;
and the scale of Persia appeared to preponderate. But the royal
race of Arsaces impatiently submitted to the house of Sassan; the
turbulent nobles asserted, or betrayed, their hereditary
independence; and the nation was still attached to the Christian
princes of Constantinople. In the beginning of the fifth
century, Armenia was divided by the progress of war and faction;
^83 and the unnatural division precipitated the downfall of that
ancient monarchy. Chosroes, the Persian vassal, reigned over the
Eastern and most extensive portion of the country; while the
Western province acknowledged the jurisdiction of Arsaces, and
the supremacy of the emperor Arcadius. ^* After the death of
Arsaces, the Romans suppressed the regal government, and imposed
on their allies the condition of subjects. The military command
was delegated to the count of the Armenian frontier; the city of
Theodosiopolis ^84 was built and fortified in a strong situation,
on a fertile and lofty ground, near the sources of the Euphrates;
and the dependent territories were ruled by five satraps, whose
dignity was marked by a peculiar habit of gold and purple. The
less fortunate nobles, who lamented the loss of their king, and
envied the honors of their equals, were provoked to negotiate
their peace and pardon at the Persian court; and returning, with
their followers, to the palace of Artaxata, acknowledged Chosroes
^! for their lawful sovereign. About thirty years afterwards,
Artasires, the nephew and successor of Chosroes, fell under the
displeasure of the haughty and capricious nobles of Armenia; and
they unanimously desired a Persian governor in the room of an
unworthy king. The answer of the archbishop Isaac, whose
sanction they earnestly solicited, is expressive of the character
of a superstitious people. He deplored the manifest and
inexcusable vices of Artasires; and declared, that he should not
hesitate to accuse him before the tribunal of a Christian
emperor, who would punish, without destroying, the sinner. "Our
king," continued Isaac, "is too much addicted to licentious
pleasures, but he has been purified in the holy waters of
baptism. He is a lover of women, but he does not adore the fire
or the elements. He may deserve the reproach of lewdness, but he
is an undoubted Catholic; and his faith is pure, though his
manners are flagitious. I will never consent to abandon my sheep
to the rage of devouring wolves; and you would soon repent your
rash exchange of the infirmities of a believer, for the specious
virtues of a heathen." ^85 Exasperated by the firmness of Isaac,
the factious nobles accused both the king and the archbishop as
the secret adherents of the emperor; and absurdly rejoiced in the
sentence of condemnation, which, after a partial hearing, was
solemnly pronounced by Bahram himself. The descendants of
Arsaces were degraded from the royal dignity, ^86 which they had
possessed above five hundred and sixty years; ^87 and the
dominions of the unfortunate Artasires, ^* under the new and
significant appellation of Persarmenia, were reduced into the
form of a province. This usurpation excited the jealousy of the
Roman government; but the rising disputes were soon terminated by
an amicable, though unequal, partition of the ancient kingdom of
Armenia: ^** and a territorial acquisition, which Augustus might
have despised, reflected some lustre on the declining empire of
the younger Theodosius.

[Footnote 82: This account of the ruin and division of the
kingdom of Armenia is taken from the third book of the Armenian
history of Moses of Chorene. Deficient as he is in every
qualification of a good historian, his local information, his
passions, and his prejudices are strongly expressive of a native
and contemporary. Procopius (de Edificiis, l. iii. c. 1, 5)
relates the same facts in a very different manner; but I have
extracted the circumstances the most probable in themselves, and
the least inconsistent with Moses of Chorene.]

[Footnote 83: The western Armenians used the Greek language and
characters in their religious offices; but the use of that
hostile tongue was prohibited by the Persians in the Eastern
provinces, which were obliged to use the Syriac, till the
invention of the Armenian letters by Mesrobes, in the beginning
of the fifth century, and the subsequent version of the Bible
into the Armenian language; an event which relaxed to the
connection of the church and nation with Constantinople.]

[Footnote 84: Moses Choren. l. iii. c. 59, p. 309, and p. 358.
Procopius, de Edificiis, l. iii. c. 5. Theodosiopolis stands, or
rather stood, about thirty-five miles to the east of Arzeroum,
the modern capital of Turkish Armenia. See D'Anville, Geographie
Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 99, 100.]
[Footnote *: The division of Armenia, according to M. St. Martin,
took place much earlier, A. C. 390. The Eastern or Persian
division was four times as large as the Western or Roman. This
partition took place during the reigns of Theodosius the First,
and Varanes (Bahram) the Fourth. St. Martin, Sup. to Le Beau,
iv. 429. This partition was but imperfectly accomplished, as
both parts were afterwards reunited under Chosroes, who paid
tribute both to the Roman emperor and to the Persian king. v.
439. - M.]

[Footnote !: Chosroes, according to Procopius (who calls him
Arsaces, the common name of the Armenian kings) and the Armenian
writers, bequeathed to his two sons, to Tigranes the Persian, to
Arsaces the Roman, division of Armenia, A. C. 416. With the
assistance of the discontented nobles the Persian king placed his
son Sapor on the throne of the Eastern division; the Western at
the same time was united to the Roman empire, and called the
Greater Armenia. It was then that Theodosiopolis was built.
Sapor abandoned the throne of Armenia to assert his rights to
that of Persia; he perished in the struggle, and after a period
of anarchy, Bahram V., who had ascended the throne of Persia,
placed the last native prince, Ardaschir, son of Bahram
Schahpour, on the throne of the Persian division of Armenia. St.
Martin, v. 506. This Ardaschir was the Artasires of Gibbon. The
archbishop Isaac is called by the Armenians the Patriarch Schag.
St. Martin, vi. 29. - M.]

[Footnote 85: Moses Choren, l. iii. c. 63, p. 316. According to
the institution of St. Gregory, the Apostle of Armenia, the
archbishop was always of the royal family; a circumstance which,
in some degree, corrected the influence of the sacerdotal
character, and united the mitre with the crown.]
[Footnote 86: A branch of the royal house of Arsaces still
subsisted with the rank and possessions (as it should seem) of
Armenian satraps. See Moses Choren. l. iii. c. 65, p. 321.]
[Footnote 87: Valarsaces was appointed king of Armenia by his
brother the Parthian monarch, immediately after the defeat of
Antiochus Sidetes, (Moses Choren. l. ii. c. 2, p. 85,) one
hundred and thirty years before Christ. Without depending on the
various and contradictory periods of the reigns of the last
kings, we may be assured, that the ruin of the Armenian kingdom
happened after the council of Chalcedon, A.D. 431, (l. iii. c.
61, p. 312;) and under Varamus, or Bahram, king of Persia, (l.
iii. c. 64, p. 317,) who reigned from A.D. 420 to 440. See
Assemanni, Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p. 396.

Note: Five hundred and eighty. St. Martin, ibid. He places
this event A. C 429. - M.]

Note: According to M. St. Martin, vi. 32, Vagharschah, or
Valarsaces, was appointed king by his brother Mithridates the
Great, king of Parthia. - M.]
[Footnote *: Artasires or Ardaschir was probably sent to the
castle of Oblivion. St. Martin, vi. 31. - M.]

[Footnote **: The duration of the Armenian kingdom according to
M. St. Martin, was 580 years. - M]

Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

Part I.

Death Of Honorius. - Valentinian III. - Emperor Of The East.
- Administration Of His Mother Placidia - Aetius And Boniface. -
Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.

During a long and disgraceful reign of twenty-eight years,
Honorius, emperor of the West, was separated from the friendship
of his brother, and afterwards of his nephew, who reigned over
the East; and Constantinople beheld, with apparent indifference
and secret joy, the calamities of Rome. The strange adventures of
Placidia ^1 gradually renewed and cemented the alliance of the
two empires. The daughter of the great Theodosius had been the
captive, and the queen, of the Goths; she lost an affectionate
husband; she was dragged in chains by his insulting assassin; she
tasted the pleasure of revenge, and was exchanged, in the treaty
of peace, for six hundred thousand measures of wheat. After her
return from Spain to Italy, Placidia experienced a new
persecution in the bosom of her family. She was averse to a
marriage, which had been stipulated without her consent; and the
brave Constantius, as a noble reward for the tyrants whom he had
vanquished, received, from the hand of Honorius himself, the
struggling and the reluctant hand of the widow of Adolphus. But
her resistance ended with the ceremony of the nuptials: nor did
Placidia refuse to become the mother of Honoria and Valentinian
the Third, or to assume and exercise an absolute dominion over
the mind of her grateful husband. The generous soldier, whose
time had hitherto been divided between social pleasure and
military service, was taught new lessons of avarice and ambition:
he extorted the title of Augustus: and the servant of Honorius
was associated to the empire of the West. The death of
Constantius, in the seventh month of his reign, instead of
diminishing, seemed to inerease the power of Placidia; and the
indecent familiarity ^2 of her brother, which might be no more
than the symptoms of a childish affection, were universally
attributed to incestuous love. On a sudden, by some base
intrigues of a steward and a nurse, this excessive fondness was
converted into an irreconcilable quarrel: the debates of the
emperor and his sister were not long confined within the walls of
the palace; and as the Gothic soldiers adhered to their queen,
the city of Ravenna was agitated with bloody and dangerous
tumults, which could only be appeased by the forced or voluntary
retreat of Placidia and her children. The royal exiles landed at
Constantinople, soon after the marriage of Theodosius, during the
festival of the Persian victories. They were treated with
kindness and magnificence; but as the statues of the emperor
Constantius had been rejected by the Eastern court, the title of
Augusta could not decently be allowed to his widow. Within a few
months after the arrival of Placidia, a swift messenger announced
the death of Honorius, the consequence of a dropsy; but the
important secret was not divulged, till the necessary orders had
been despatched for the march of a large body of troops to the
sea-coast of Dalmatia. The shops and the gates of Constantinople
remained shut during seven days; and the loss of a foreign
prince, who could neither be esteemed nor regretted, was
celebrated with loud and affected demonstrations of the public
[Footnote 1: See vol. iii. p. 296.]

[Footnote 2: It is the expression of Olympiodorus (apud Phetium
p. 197;) who means, perhaps, to describe the same caresses which
Mahomet bestowed on his daughter Phatemah. Quando, (says the
prophet himself,) quando subit mihi desiderium Paradisi, osculor
eam, et ingero linguam meam in os ejus. But this sensual
indulgence was justified by miracle and mystery; and the anecdote
has been communicated to the public by the Reverend Father
Maracci in his Version and Confutation of the Koran, tom. i. p.

While the ministers of Constantinople deliberated, the
vacant throne of Honorius was usurped by the ambition of a
stranger. The name of the rebel was John; he filled the
confidential office of Primicerius, or principal secretary, and
history has attributed to his character more virtues, than can
easily be reconciled with the violation of the most sacred duty.
Elated by the submission of Italy, and the hope of an alliance
with the Huns, John presumed to insult, by an embassy, the
majesty of the Eastern emperor; but when he understood that his
agents had been banished, imprisoned, and at length chased away
with deserved ignominy, John prepared to assert, by arms, the
injustice of his claims. In such a cause, the grandson of the
great Theodosius should have marched in person: but the young
emperor was easily diverted, by his physicians, from so rash and
hazardous a design; and the conduct of the Italian expedition was
prudently intrusted to Ardaburius, and his son Aspar, who had
already signalized their valor against the Persians. It was
resolved, that Ardaburius should embark with the infantry; whilst
Aspar, at the head of the cavalry, conducted Placidia and her son
Valentinian along the sea-coast of the Adriatic. The march of
the cavalry was performed with such active diligence, that they
surprised, without resistance, the important city of Aquileia:
when the hopes of Aspar were unexpectedly confounded by the
intelligence, that a storm had dispersed the Imperial fleet; and
that his father, with only two galleys, was taken and carried a
prisoner into the port of Ravenna. Yet this incident,
unfortunate as it might seem, facilitated the conquest of Italy.
Ardaburius employed, or abused, the courteous freedom which he
was permitted to enjoy, to revive among the troops a sense of
loyalty and gratitude; and as soon as the conspiracy was ripe for
execution, he invited, by private messages, and pressed the
approach of, Aspar. A shepherd, whom the popular credulity
transformed into an angel, guided the eastern cavalry by a
secret, and, it was thought, an impassable road, through the
morasses of the Po: the gates of Ravenna, after a short struggle,
were thrown open; and the defenceless tyrant was delivered to the
mercy, or rather to the cruelty, of the conquerors. His right
hand was first cut off; and, after he had been exposed, mounted
on an ass, to the public derision, John was beheaded in the
circus of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius, when he received the
news of the victory, interrupted the horse-races; and singing, as
he marched through the streets, a suitable psalm, conducted his
people from the Hippodrome to the church, where he spent the
remainder of the day in grateful devotion. ^3

[Footnote 3: For these revolutions of the Western empire, consult
Olympiodor, apud Phot. p. 192, 193, 196, 197, 200; Sozomen, l.
ix. c. 16; Socrates, l. vii. 23, 24; Philostorgius, l. xii. c.
10, 11, and Godefroy, Dissertat p. 486; Procopius, de Bell.
Vandal. l. i. c. 3, p. 182, 183, in Chronograph, p. 72, 73, and
the Chronicles.]

In a monarchy, which, according to various precedents, might
be considered as elective, or hereditary, or patrimonial, it was
impossible that the intricate claims of female and collateral
succession should be clearly defined; ^4 and Theodosius, by the
right of consanguinity or conquest, might have reigned the sole
legitimate emperor of the Romans. For a moment, perhaps, his eyes
were dazzled by the prospect of unbounded sway; but his indolent
temper gradually acquiesced in the dictates of sound policy. He
contented himself with the possession of the East; and wisely
relinquished the laborious task of waging a distant and doubtful
war against the Barbarians beyond the Alps; or of securing the
obedience of the Italians and Africans, whose minds were
alienated by the irreconcilable difference of language and
interest. Instead of listening to the voice of ambition,
Theodosius resolved to imitate the moderation of his grandfather,
and to seat his cousin Valentinian on the throne of the West.
The royal infant was distinguished at Constantinople by the title
of Nobilissimus: he was promoted, before his departure from
Thessalonica, to the rank and dignity of Caesar; and after the
conquest of Italy, the patrician Helion, by the authority of
Theodosius, and in the presence of the senate, saluted
Valentinian the Third by the name of Augustus, and solemnly
invested him with the diadem and the Imperial purple. ^5 By the
agreement of the three females who governed the Roman world, the
son of Placidia was betrothed to Eudoxia, the daughter of
Theodosius and Athenais; and as soon as the lover and his bride
had attained the age of puberty, this honorable alliance was
faithfully accomplished. At the same time, as a compensation,
perhaps, for the expenses of the war, the Western Illyricum was
detached from the Italian dominions, and yielded to the throne of
Constantinople. ^6 The emperor of the East acquired the useful
dominion of the rich and maritime province of Dalmatia, and the
dangerous sovereignty of Pannonia and Noricum, which had been
filled and ravaged above twenty years by a promiscuous crowd of
Huns, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Bavarians. Theodosius and
Valentinian continued to respect the obligations of their public
and domestic alliance; but the unity of the Roman government was
finally dissolved. By a positive declaration, the validity of
all future laws was limited to the dominions of their peculiar
author; unless he should think proper to communicate them,
subscribed with his own hand, for the approbation of his
independent colleague. ^7

[Footnote 4: See Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, l. ii. c. 7. He
has laboriously out vainly, attempted to form a reasonable system
of jurisprudence from the various and discordant modes of royal
succession, which have been introduced by fraud or force, by time
or accident.]

[Footnote 5: The original writers are not agreed (see Muratori,
Annali d'Italia tom. iv. p. 139) whether Valentinian received the
Imperial diadem at Rome or Ravenna. In this uncertainty, I am
willing to believe, that some respect was shown to the senate.]
[Footnote 6: The count de Buat (Hist. des Peup es de l'Europe,
tom. vii. p. 292 - 300) has established the reality, explained
the motives, and traced the consequences, of this remarkable

[Footnote 7: See the first Novel of Theodosius, by which he
ratifies and communicates (A.D. 438) the Theodosian Code. About
forty years before that time, the unity of legislation had been
proved by an exception. The Jews, who were numerous in the
cities of Apulia and Calabria, produced a law of the East to
justify their exemption from municipal offices, (Cod. Theod. l.
xvi. tit. viii. leg. 13;) and the Western emperor was obliged to
invalidate, by a special edict, the law, quam constat meis
partibus esse damnosam. Cod. Theod. l. xi. tit. i. leg. 158.]
Valentinian, when he received the title of Augustus, was no
more than six years of age; and his long minority was intrusted
to the guardian care of a mother, who might assert a female claim
to the succession of the Western empire. Placidia envied, but
she could not equal, the reputation and virtues of the wife and
sister of Theodosius, the elegant genius of Eudocia, the wise and
successful policy of Pulcheria. The mother of Valentinian was
jealous of the power which she was incapable of exercising; ^8
she reigned twenty-five years, in the name of her son; and the
character of that unworthy emperor gradually countenanced the
suspicion that Placidia had enervated his youth by a dissolute
education, and studiously diverted his attention from every manly
and honorable pursuit. Amidst the decay of military spirit, her
armies were commanded by two generals, Aetius ^9 and Boniface,
^10 who may be deservedly named as the last of the Romans. Their
union might have supported a sinking empire; their discord was
the fatal and immediate cause of the loss of Africa. The invasion
and defeat of Attila have immortalized the fame of Aetius; and
though time has thrown a shade over the exploits of his rival,
the defence of Marseilles, and the deliverance of Africa, attest
the military talents of Count Boniface. In the field of battle,
in partial encounters, in single combats, he was still the terror
of the Barbarians: the clergy, and particularly his friend
Augustin, were edified by the Christian piety which had once
tempted him to retire from the world; the people applauded his
spotless integrity; the army dreaded his equal and inexorable
justice, which may be displayed in a very singular example. A
peasant, who complained of the criminal intimacy between his wife
and a Gothic soldier, was directed to attend his tribunal the
following day: in the evening the count, who had diligently
informed himself of the time and place of the assignation,
mounted his horse, rode ten miles into the country, surprised the
guilty couple, punished the soldier with instant death, and
silenced the complaints of the husband by presenting him, the
next morning, with the head of the adulterer. The abilities of
Aetius and Boniface might have been usefully employed against the
public enemies, in separate and important commands; but the
experience of their past conduct should have decided the real
favor and confidence of the empress Placidia. In the melancholy
season of her exile and distress, Boniface alone had maintained
her cause with unshaken fidelity: and the troops and treasures of
Africa had essentially contributed to extinguish the rebellion.
The same rebellion had been supported by the zeal and activity of
Aetius, who brought an army of sixty thousand Huns from the
Danube to the confines of Italy, for the service of the usurper.
The untimely death of John compelled him to accept an
advantageous treaty; but he still continued, the subject and the
soldier of Valentinian, to entertain a secret, perhaps a
treasonable, correspondence with his Barbarian allies, whose
retreat had been purchased by liberal gifts, and more liberal
promises. But Aetius possessed an advantage of singular moment
in a female reign; he was present: he besieged, with artful and
assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised his dark
designs with the mask of loyalty and friendship; and at length
deceived both his mistress and his absent rival, by a subtle
conspiracy, which a weak woman and a brave man could not easily
suspect. He had secretly persuaded ^11 Placidia to recall
Boniface from the government of Africa; he secretly advised
Boniface to disobey the Imperial summons: to the one, he
represented the order as a sentence of death; to the other, he
stated the refusal as a signal of revolt; and when the credulous
and unsuspectful count had armed the province in his defence,
Aetius applauded his sagacity in foreseeing the rebellion, which
his own perfidy had excited. A temperate inquiry into the real
motives of Boniface would have restored a faithful servant to his
duty and to the republic; but the arts of Aetius still continued
to betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by
persecution, to embrace the most desperate counsels. The success
with which he eluded or repelled the first attacks, could not
inspire a vain confidence, that at the head of some loose,
disorderly Africans, he should be able to withstand the regular
forces of the West, commanded by a rival, whose military
character it was impossible for him to despise. After some
hesitation, the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface
despatched a trusty friend to the court, or rather to the camp,
of Gonderic, king of the Vandals, with the proposal of a strict
alliance, and the offer of an advantageous and perpetual
[Footnote 8: Cassiodorus (Variar. l. xi. Epist. i. p. 238) has
compared the regencies of Placidia and Amalasuntha. He arraigns
the weakness of the mother of Valentinian, and praises the
virtues of his royal mistress. On this occasion, flattery seems
to have spoken the language of truth.]
[Footnote 9: Philostorgius, l. xii. c. 12, and Godefroy's
Dissertat. p. 493, &c.; and Renatus Frigeridus, apud Gregor.
Turon. l. ii. c. 8, in tom. ii. p. 163. The father of Aetius was
Gaudentius, an illustrious citizen of the province of Scythia,
and master-general of the cavalry; his mother was a rich and
noble Italian. From his earliest youth, Aetius, as a soldier and
a hostage, had conversed with the Barbarians.]

[Footnote 10: For the character of Boniface, see Olympiodorus,
apud Phot. p. 196; and St. Augustin apud Tillemont, Memoires
Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 712 - 715, 886. The bishop of Hippo at
length deplored the fall of his friend, who, after a solemn vow
of chastity, had married a second wife of the Arian sect, and who
was suspected of keeping several concubines in his house.]
[Footnote 11: Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 3, 4, p. 182 -
186) relates the fraud of Aetius, the revolt of Boniface, and the
loss of Africa. This anecdote, which is supported by some
collateral testimony, (see Ruinart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal. p.
420, 421,) seems agreeable to the practice of ancient and modern
courts, and would be naturally revealed by the repentance of
After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of Honorius
had obtained a precarious establishment in Spain; except only in
the province of Gallicia, where the Suevi and the Vandals had
fortified their camps, in mutual discord and hostile
independence. The Vandals prevailed; and their adversaries were
besieged in the Nervasian hills, between Leon and Oviedo, till
the approach of Count Asterius compelled, or rather provoked, the
victorious Barbarians to remove the scene of the war to the
plains of Boetica. The rapid progress of the Vandals soon
acquired a more effectual opposition; and the master-general
Castinus marched against them with a numerous army of Romans and
Goths. Vanquished in battle by an inferior army, Castinus fled
with dishonor to Tarragona; and this memorable defeat, which has
been represented as the punishment, was most probably the effect,
of his rash presumption. ^12 Seville and Carthagena became the
reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious conquerors; and the
vessels which they found in the harbor of Carthagena might easily
transport them to the Isles of Majorca and Minorca, where the
Spanish fugitives, as in a secure recess, had vainly concealed
their families and their fortunes. The experience of navigation,
and perhaps the prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to
accept the invitation which they received from Count Boniface;
and the death of Gonderic served only to forward and animate the
bold enterprise. In the room of a prince not conspicuous for any
superior powers of the mind or body, they acquired his bastard
brother, the terrible Genseric; ^13 a name, which, in the
destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with
the names of Alaric and Attila. The king of the Vandals is
described to have been of a middle stature, with a lameness in
one leg, which he had contracted by an accidental fall from his
horse. His slow and cautious speech seldom declared the deep
purposes of his soul; he disdained to imitate the luxury of the
vanquished; but he indulged the sterner passions of anger and
revenge. The ambition of Genseric was without bounds and without
scruples; and the warrior could dexterously employ the dark
engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be useful to
his success, or to scatter among his enemies the seeds of hatred
and contention. Almost in the moment of his departure he was
informed that Hermanric, king of the Suevi, had presumed to
ravage the Spanish territories, which he was resolved to abandon.

Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of
the Suevi as far as Merida; precipitated the king and his army
into the River Anas, and calmly returned to the sea-shore to
embark his victorious troops. The vessels which transported the
Vandals over the modern Straits of Gibraltar, a channel only
twelve miles in breadth, were furnished by the Spaniards, who
anxiously wished their departure; and by the African general, who
had implored their formidable assistance. ^14

[Footnote 12: See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian
(de Gubernat. Dei, l. vii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the
victory of the Vandals to their superior piety. They fasted,
they prayed, they carried a Bible in the front of the Host, with
the design, perhaps, of reproaching the perfidy and sacrilege of
their enemies.]

[Footnote 13: Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statura
mediocris et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone
rarus, luxuriae contemptor, ira turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad
solicitandas gentes providentissimus, semina contentionum jacere,
odia miscere paratus. Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 33, p. 657.

This portrait, which is drawn with some skill, and a strong
likeness, must have been copied from the Gothic history of
[Footnote 14: See the Chronicle of Idatius. That bishop, a
Spaniard and a contemporary, places the passage of the Vandals in
the month of May, of the year of Abraham, (which commences in
October,) 2444. This date, which coincides with A.D. 429, is
confirmed by Isidore, another Spanish bishop, and is justly
preferred to the opinion of those writers who have marked for
that event one of the two preceding years. See Pagi Critica,
tom. ii. p. 205, &c.]
Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multiply the
martial swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from the North,
will perhaps be surprised by the account of the army which
Genseric mustered on the coast of Mauritania. The Vandals, who
in twenty years had penetrated from the Elbe to Mount Atlas, were
united under the command of their warlike king; and he reigned
with equal authority over the Alani, who had passed, within the
term of human life, from the cold of Scythia to the excessive
heat of an African climate. The hopes of the bold enterprise had
excited many brave adventurers of the Gothic nation; and many
desperate provincials were tempted to repair their fortunes by
the same means which had occasioned their ruin. Yet this various
multitude amounted only to fifty thousand effective men; and
though Genseric artfully magnified his apparent strength, by
appointing eighty chinarchs, or commanders of thousands, the
fallacious increase of old men, of children, and of slaves, would
scarcely have swelled his army to the number of four-score
thousand persons. ^15 But his own dexterity, and the discontents
of Africa, soon fortified the Vandal powers, by the accession of
numerous and active allies. The parts of Mauritania which border
on the Great Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, were filled with a
fierce and untractable race of men, whose savage temper had been
exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by their dread of the Roman
arms. The wandering Moors, ^16 as they gradually ventured to
approach the seashore, and the camp of the Vandals, must have
viewed with terror and astonishment the dress, the armor, the
martial pride and discipline of the unknown strangers who had
landed on their coast; and the fair complexions of the blue-eyed
warriors of Germany formed a very singular contrast with the
swarthy or olive hue which is derived from the neighborhood of
the torrid zone. After the first difficulties had in some
measure been removed, which arose from the mutual ignorance of
their respective language, the Moors, regardless of any future
consequence, embraced the alliance of the enemies of Rome; and a
crowd of naked savages rushed from the woods and valleys of Mount
Atlas, to satiate their revenge on the polished tyrants, who had
injuriously expelled them from the native sovereignty of the
[Footnote 15: Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p.
190) and Victor Vitensis, (de Persecutione Vandal. l. i. c. 1, p.
3, edit. Ruinart.) We are assured by Idatius, that Genseric
evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnibus eorumque familiis; and
Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p. 427)
describes his army as manus ingens immanium gentium Vandalorum et
Alanorum, commixtam secum babens Gothorum gentem, aliarumque
diversarum personas.]

[Footnote 16: For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius, (de
Bell. Vandal. l. ii. c. 6, p. 249;) for their figure and
complexion, M. de Buffon, (Histoire Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 430.)
Procopius says in general, that the Moors had joined the Vandals
before the death of Valentinian, (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 5, p.
190;) and it is probable that the independent tribes did not
embrace any uniform system of policy.]

The persecution of the Donatists ^17 was an event not less
favorable to the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years before he
landed in Africa, a public conference was held at Carthage, by
the order of the magistrate. The Catholics were satisfied, that,
after the invincible reasons which they had alleged, the
obstinacy of the schismatics must be inexcusable and voluntary;
and the emperor Honorius was persuaded to inflict the most
rigorous penalties on a faction which had so long abused his
patience and clemency. Three hundred bishops, ^18 with many
thousands of the inferior clergy, were torn from their churches,
stripped of their ecclesiastical possessions, banished to the
islands, and proscribed by the laws, if they presumed to conceal
themselves in the provinces of Africa. Their numerous
congregations, both in cities and in the country, were deprived
of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise of religious
worship. A regular scale of fines, from ten to two hundred
pounds of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the
distinction of rank and fortune, to punish the crime of assisting
at a schismatic conventicle; and if the fine had been levied five
times, without subduing the obstinacy of the offender, his future
punishment was referred to the discretion of the Imperial court.
^19 By these severities, which obtained the warmest approbation
of St. Augustin, ^20 great numbers of Donatists were reconciled
to the Catholic Church; but the fanatics, who still persevered in
their opposition, were provoked to madness and despair; the
distracted country was filled with tumult and bloodshed; the
armed troops of Circumcellions alternately pointed their rage
against themselves, or against their adversaries; and the
calendar of martyrs received on both sides a considerable
augmentation. ^21 Under these circumstances, Genseric, a
Christian, but an enemy of the orthodox communion, showed himself
to the Donatists as a powerful deliverer, from whom they might
reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts
of the Roman emperors. ^22 The conquest of Africa was facilitated
by the active zeal, or the secret favor, of a domestic faction;
the wanton outrages against the churches and the clergy of which
the Vandals are accused, may be fairly imputed to the fanaticism
of their allies; and the intolerant spirit which disgraced the
triumph of Christianity, contributed to the loss of the most
important province of the West. ^23

[Footnote 17: See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 516 -
558; and the whole series of the persecution, in the original
monuments, published by Dupin at the end of Optatus, p. 323 -

[Footnote 18: The Donatist Bishops, at the conference of
Carthage, amounted to 279; and they asserted that their whole
number was not less than 400. The Catholics had 286 present, 120
absent, besides sixty four vacant bishoprics.]
[Footnote 19: The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the
Theodosian Code exhibits a series of the Imperial laws against
the Donatists, from the year 400 to the year 428. Of these the
54th law, promulgated by Honorius, A.D. 414, is the most severe
and effectual.]

[Footnote 20: St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard tosthe
proper treatment of heretics. His pathetic declaration of pity
and indulgence for the Manichaeans, has been inserted by Mr.
Locke (vol. iii. p. 469) among the choice specimens of his
common-place book. Another philosopher, the celebrated Bayle,
(tom. ii. p. 445 - 496,) has refuted, with superfluous diligence
and ingenuity, the arguments by which the bishop of Hippo
justified, in his old age, the persecution of the Donatists.]
[Footnote 21: See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 586 -
592, 806. The Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary
martyrs. Augustin asserts, and probably with truth, that these
numbers were much exaggerated; but he sternly maintains, that it
was better that some should burn themselves in this world, than
that all should burn in hell flames.]

[Footnote 22: According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the
Donatists were inclined to the principles, or at least to the
party, of the Arians, which Genseric supported. Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom. vi. p. 68.]
[Footnote 23: See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 428, No. 7, A.D.
439, No. 35. The cardinal, though more inclined to seek the cause
of great events in heaven than on the earth, has observed the
apparent connection of the Vandals and the Donatists. Under the
reign of the Barbarians, the schismatics of Africa enjoyed an
obscure peace of one hundred years; at the end of which we may
again trace them by the fight of the Imperial persecutions. See
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 192. &c.]

The court and the people were astonished by the strange
intelligence, that a virtuous hero, after so many favors, and so
many services, had renounced his allegiance, and invited the
Barbarians to destroy the province intrusted to his command. The
friends of Boniface, who still believed that his criminal
behavior might be excused by some honorable motive, solicited,
during the absence of Aetius, a free conference with the Count of
Africa; and Darius, an officer of high distinction, was named for
the important embassy. ^24 In their first interview at Carthage,
the imaginary provocations were mutually explained; the opposite
letters of Aetius were produced and compared; and the fraud was
easily detected. Placidia and Boniface lamented their fatal
error; and the count had sufficient magnanimity to confide in the
forgiveness of his sovereign, or to expose his head to her future
resentment. His repentance was fervent and sincere; but he soon
discovered that it was no longer in his power to restore the
edifice which he had shaken to its foundations. Carthage and the
Roman garrisons returned with their general to the allegiance of
Valentinian; but the rest of Africa was still distracted with war
and faction; and the inexorable king of the Vandals, disdaining
all terms of accommodation, sternly refused to relinquish the
possession of his prey. The band of veterans who marched under
the standard of Boniface, and his hasty levies of provincial
troops, were defeated with considerable loss; the victorious
Barbarians insulted the open country; and Carthage, Cirta, and
Hippo Regius, were the only cities that appeared to rise above
the general inundation.

[Footnote 24: In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St.
Augustin, without examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously
exhorts him to discharge the duties of a Christian and a subject:
to extricate himself without delay from his dangerous and guilty
situation; and even, if he could obtain the consent of his wife,
to embrace a life of celibacy and penance, (Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 890.) The bishop was intimately connected
with Darius, the minister of peace, (Id. tom. xiii. p. 928.)]
The long and narrow tract of the African coast was filled
with frequent monuments of Roman art and magnificence; and the
respective degrees of improvement might be accurately measured by
the distance from Carthage and the Mediterranean. A simple
reflection will impress every thinking mind with the clearest
idea of fertility and cultivation: the country was extremely
populous; the inhabitants reserved a liberal subsistence for
their own use; and the annual exportation, particularly of wheat,
was so regular and plentiful, that Africa deserved the name of
the common granary of Rome and of mankind. On a sudden the seven
fruitful provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, were overwhelmed by
the invasion of the Vandals; whose destructive rage has perhaps
been exaggerated by popular animosity, religious zeal, and
extravagant declamation. War, in its fairest form, implies a
perpetual violation of humanity and justice; and the hostilities
of Barbarians are inflamed by the fierce and lawless spirit which
incessantly disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. The
Vandals, where they found resistance, seldom gave quarter; and
the deaths of their valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin
of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. Careless of the
distinctions of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species
of indignity and torture, to force from the captives a discovery
of their hidden wealth. The stern policy of Genseric justified
his frequent examples of military execution: he was not always
the master of his own passions, or of those of his followers; and
the calamities of war were aggravated by the licentiousness of
the Moors, and the fanaticism of the Donatists. Yet I shall not
easily be persuaded, that it was the common practice of the
Vandals to extirpate the olives, and other fruit trees, of a
country where they intended to settle: nor can I believe that it
was a usual stratagem to slaughter great numbers of their
prisoners before the walls of a besieged city, for the sole
purpose of infecting the air, and producing a pestilence, of
which they themselves must have been the first victims. ^25
[Footnote 25: The original complaints of the desolation of Africa
are contained 1. In a letter from Capreolus, bishop of Carthage,
to excuse his absence from the council of Ephesus, (ap. Ruinart,
p. 427.) 2. In the life of St. Augustin, by his friend and
colleague Possidius, (ap. Ruinart, p. 427.) 3. In the history of
the Vandalic persecution, by Victor Vitensis, (l. i. c. 1, 2, 3,
edit. Ruinart.) The last picture, which was drawn sixty years
after the event, is more expressive of the author's passions than
of the truth of facts.]

The generous mind of Count Boniface was tortured by the
exquisite distress of beholding the ruin which he had occasioned,
and whose rapid progress he was unable to check. After the loss
of a battle he retired into Hippo Regius; where he was
immediately besieged by an enemy, who considered him as the real
bulwark of Africa. The maritime colony of Hippo, ^26 about two
hundred miles westward of Carthage, had formerly acquired the
distinguishing epithet of Regius, from the residence of Numidian
kings; and some remains of trade and populousness still adhere to
the modern city, which is known in Europe by the corrupted name
of Bona. The military labors, and anxious reflections, of Count
Boniface, were alleviated by the edifying conversation of his
friend St. Augustin; ^27 till that bishop, the light and pillar
of the Catholic church, was gently released, in the third month
of the siege, and in the seventy-sixth year of his age, from the
actual and the impending calamities of his country. The youth of
Augustin had been stained by the vices and errors which he so
ingenuously confesses; but from the moment of his conversion to
that of his death, the manners of the bishop of Hippo were pure
and austere: and the most conspicuous of his virtues was an
ardent zeal against heretics of every denomination; the
Manichaeans, the Donatists, and the Pelagians, against whom he
waged a perpetual controversy. When the city, some months after
his death, was burnt by the Vandals, the library was fortunately


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