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

Part 6 out of 15

[Footnote 82: John Malala, Chron. tom. ii. p. 134 - 137
Theophanes, p. 144. Hist. Miscell. l. xv. p. 103. The fact is
authentic, but the date seems too recent. In speaking of their
Persian alliance, the Lazi contemporaries of Justinian employ the
most obsolete words, &c. Could they belong to a connection which
had not been dissolved above twenty years?]
But this honorable connection was soon corrupted by the
avarice and ambition of the Romans. Degraded from the rank of
allies, the Lazi were incessantly reminded, by words and actions,
of their dependent state. At the distance of a day's journey
beyond the Apsarus, they beheld the rising fortress of Petra, ^83
which commanded the maritime country to the south of the Phasis.
Instead of being protected by the valor, Colchos was insulted by
the licentiousness, of foreign mercenaries; the benefits of
commerce were converted into base and vexatious monopoly; and
Gubazes, the native prince, was reduced to a pageant of royalty,
by the superior influence of the officers of Justinian.
Disappointed in their expectations of Christian virtue, the
indignant Lazi reposed some confidence in the justice of an
unbeliever. After a private assurance that their ambassadors
should not be delivered to the Romans, they publicly solicited
the friendship and aid of Chosroes. The sagacious monarch
instantly discerned the use and importance of Colchos; and
meditated a plan of conquest, which was renewed at the end of a
thousand years by Shah Abbas, the wisest and most powerful of his
successors. ^84 His ambition was fired by the hope of launching a
Persian navy from the Phasis, of commanding the trade and
navigation of the Euxine Sea, of desolating the coast of Pontus
and Bithynia, of distressing, perhaps of attacking,
Constantinople, and of persuading the Barbarians of Europe to
second his arms and counsels against the common enemy of mankind.

Under the pretence of a Scythian war, he silently led his troops
to the frontiers of Iberia; the Colchian guides were prepared to
conduct them through the woods and along the precipices of Mount
Caucasus; and a narrow path was laboriously formed into a safe
and spacious highway, for the march of cavalry, and even of
elephants. Gubazes laid his person and diadem at the feet of the
king of Persia; his Colchians imitated the submission of their
prince; and after the walls of Petra had been shaken, the Roman
garrison prevented, by a capitulation, the impending fury of the
last assault. But the Lazi soon discovered, that their
impatience had urged them to choose an evil more intolerable than
the calamities which they strove to escape. The monopoly of salt
and corn was effectually removed by the loss of those valuable
commodities. The authority of a Roman legislator, was succeeded
by the pride of an Oriental despot, who beheld, with equal
disdain, the slaves whom he had exalted, and the kings whom he
had humbled before the footstool of his throne. The adoration of
fire was introduced into Colchos by the zeal of the Magi: their
intolerant spirit provoked the fervor of a Christian people; and
the prejudice of nature or education was wounded by the impious
practice of exposing the dead bodies of their parents, on the
summit of a lofty tower, to the crows and vultures of the air.
^85 Conscious of the increasing hatred, which retarded the
execution of his great designs, the just Nashirvan had secretly
given orders to assassinate the king of the Lazi, to transplant
the people into some distant land, and to fix a faithful and
warlike colony on the banks of the Phasis. The watchful jealousy
of the Colchians foresaw and averted the approaching ruin. Their
repentance was accepted at Constantinople by the prudence, rather
than clemency, of Justinian; and he commanded Dagisteus, with
seven thousand Romans, and one thousand of the Zani, ^* to expel
the Persians from the coast of the Euxine.
[Footnote 83: The sole vestige of Petra subsists in the writings
of Procopius and Agathias. Most of the towns and castles of
Lazica may be found by comparing their names and position with
the map of Mingrelia, in Lamberti.]
[Footnote 84: See the amusing letters of Pietro della Valle, the
Roman traveler, (Viaggi, tom. ii. 207, 209, 213, 215, 266, 286,
300, tom. iii. p. 54, 127.) In the years 1618, 1619, and 1620, he
conversed with Shah Abbas, and strongly encouraged a design which
might have united Persia and Europe against their common enemy
the Turk.]

[Footnote 85: See Herodotus, (l. i. c. 140, p. 69,) who speaks
with diffidence, Larcher, (tom. i. p. 399 - 401, Notes sur
Herodote,) Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 11,) and Agathias, (l.
ii. p. 61, 62.) This practice, agreeable to the Zendavesta,
(Hyde, de Relig. Pers. c. 34, p. 414 - 421,) demonstrates that
the burial of the Persian kings, (Xenophon, Cyropaed. l. viii. p.
658,) is a Greek fiction, and that their tombs could be no more
than cenotaphs.]

[Footnote *: These seem the same people called Suanians, p. 328.
- M.]
The siege of Petra, which the Roman general, with the aid of
the Lazi, immediately undertook, is one of the most remarkable
actions of the age. The city was seated on a craggy rock, which
hung over the sea, and communicated by a steep and narrow path
with the land. Since the approach was difficult, the attack
might be deemed impossible: the Persian conqueror had
strengthened the fortifications of Justinian; and the places
least inaccessible were covered by additional bulwarks. In this
important fortress, the vigilance of Chosroes had deposited a
magazine of offensive and defensive arms, sufficient for five
times the number, not only of the garrison, but of the besiegers
themselves. The stock of flour and salt provisions was adequate
to the consumption of five years; the want of wine was supplied
by vinegar; and of grain from whence a strong liquor was
extracted, and a triple aqueduct eluded the diligence, and even
the suspicions, of the enemy. But the firmest defence of Petra
was placed in the valor of fifteen hundred Persians, who resisted
the assaults of the Romans, whilst, in a softer vein of earth, a
mine was secretly perforated. The wall, supported by slender and
temporary props, hung tottering in the air; but Dagisteus delayed
the attack till he had secured a specific recompense; and the
town was relieved before the return of his messenger from
Constantinople. The Persian garrison was reduced to four hundred
men, of whom no more than fifty were exempt from sickness or
wounds; yet such had been their inflexible perseverance, that
they concealed their losses from the enemy, by enduring, without
a murmur, the sight and putrefying stench of the dead bodies of
their eleven hundred companions. After their deliverance, the
breaches were hastily stopped with sand-bags; the mine was
replenished with earth; a new wall was erected on a frame of
substantial timber; and a fresh garrison of three thousand men
was stationed at Petra to sustain the labors of a second siege.
The operations, both of the attack and defence, were conducted
with skilful obstinacy; and each party derived useful lessons
from the experience of their past faults. A battering-ram was
invented, of light construction and powerful effect: it was
transported and worked by the hands of forty soldiers; and as the
stones were loosened by its repeated strokes, they were torn with
long iron hooks from the wall. From those walls, a shower of
darts was incessantly poured on the heads of the assailants; but
they were most dangerously annoyed by a fiery composition of
sulphur and bitumen, which in Colchos might with some propriety
be named the oil of Medea. Of six thousand Romans who mounted
the scaling-ladders, their general Bessas was the first, a
gallant veteran of seventy years of age: the courage of their
leader, his fall, and extreme danger, animated the irresistible
effort of his troops; and their prevailing numbers oppressed the
strength, without subduing the spirit, of the Persian garrison.
The fate of these valiant men deserves to be more distinctly
noticed. Seven hundred had perished in the siege, two thousand
three hundred survived to defend the breach. One thousand and
seventy were destroyed with fire and sword in the last assault;
and if seven hundred and thirty were made prisoners, only
eighteen among them were found without the marks of honorable
wounds. The remaining five hundred escaped into the citadel,
which they maintained without any hopes of relief, rejecting the
fairest terms of capitulation and service, till they were lost in
the flames. They died in obedience to the commands of their
prince; and such examples of loyalty and valor might excite their
countrymen to deeds of equal despair and more prosperous event.
The instant demolition of the works of Petra confessed the
astonishment and apprehension of the conqueror.
A Spartan would have praised and pitied the virtue of these
heroic slaves; but the tedious warfare and alternate success of
the Roman and Persian arms cannot detain the attention of
posterity at the foot of Mount Caucasus. The advantages obtained
by the troops of Justinian were more frequent and splendid; but
the forces of the great king were continually supplied, till they
amounted to eight elephants and seventy thousand men, including
twelve thousand Scythian allies, and above three thousand
Dilemites, who descended by their free choice from the hills of
Hyrcania, and were equally formidable in close or in distant
combat. The siege of Archaeopolis, a name imposed or corrupted
by the Greeks, was raised with some loss and precipitation; but
the Persians occupied the passes of Iberia: Colchos was enslaved
by their forts and garrisons; they devoured the scanty sustenance
of the people; and the prince of the Lazi fled into the
mountains. In the Roman camp, faith and discipline were unknown;
and the independent leaders, who were invested with equal power,
disputed with each other the preeminence of vice and corruption.
The Persians followed, without a murmur, the commands of a single
chief, who implicitly obeyed the instructions of their supreme
lord. Their general was distinguished among the heroes of the
East by his wisdom in council, and his valor in the field. The
advanced age of Mermeroes, and the lameness of both his feet,
could not diminish the activity of his mind, or even of his body;
and, whilst he was carried in a litter in the front of battle, he
inspired terror to the enemy, and a just confidence to the
troops, who, under his banners, were always successful. After his
death, the command devolved to Nacoragan, a proud satrap, who, in
a conference with the Imperial chiefs, had presumed to declare
that he disposed of victory as absolutely as of the ring on his
finger. Such presumption was the natural cause and forerunner of
a shameful defeat. The Romans had been gradually repulsed to the
edge of the sea-shore; and their last camp, on the ruins of the
Grecian colony of Phasis, was defended on all sides by strong
intrenchments, the river, the Euxine, and a fleet of galleys.
Despair united their counsels and invigorated their arms: they
withstood the assault of the Persians and the flight of Nacoragan
preceded or followed the slaughter of ten thousand of his bravest
soldiers. He escaped from the Romans to fall into the hands of an
unforgiving master who severely chastised the error of his own
choice: the unfortunate general was flayed alive, and his skin,
stuffed into the human form, was exposed on a mountain; a
dreadful warning to those who might hereafter be intrusted with
the fame and fortune of Persia. ^86 Yet the prudence of Chosroes
insensibly relinquished the prosecution of the Colchian war, in
the just persuasion, that it is impossible to reduce, or, at
least, to hold a distant country against the wishes and efforts
of its inhabitants. The fidelity of Gubazes sustained the most
rigorous trials. He patiently endured the hardships of a savage
life, and rejected with disdain, the specious temptations of the
Persian court. ^* The king of the Lazi had been educated in the
Christian religion; his mother was the daughter of a senator;
during his youth he had served ten years a silentiary of the
Byzantine palace, ^87 and the arrears of an unpaid salary were a
motive of attachment as well as of complaint. But the long
continuance of his sufferings extorted from him a naked
representation of the truth; and truth was an unpardonable libel
on the lieutenants of Justinian, who, amidst the delays of a
ruinous war, had spared his enemies and trampled on his allies.
Their malicious information persuaded the emperor that his
faithless vassal already meditated a second defection: an order
was surprised to send him prisoner to Constantinople; a
treacherous clause was inserted, that he might be lawfully killed
in case of resistance; and Gubazes, without arms, or suspicion of
danger, was stabbed in the security of a friendly interview. In
the first moments of rage and despair, the Colchians would have
sacrificed their country and religion to the gratification of
revenge. But the authority and eloquence of the wiser few
obtained a salutary pause: the victory of the Phasis restored the
terror of the Roman arms, and the emperor was solicitous to
absolve his own name from the imputation of so foul a murder. A
judge of senatorial rank was commissioned to inquire into the
conduct and death of the king of the Lazi. He ascended a stately
tribunal, encompassed by the ministers of justice and punishment:
in the presence of both nations, this extraordinary cause was
pleaded, according to the forms of civil jurisprudence, and some
satisfaction was granted to an injured people, by the sentence
and execution of the meaner criminals. ^88
[Footnote 86: The punishment of flaying alive could not be
introduced into Persia by Sapor, (Brisson, de Regn. Pers. l. ii.
p. 578,) nor could it be copied from the foolish tale of Marsyas,
the Phrygian piper, most foolishly quoted as a precedent by
Agathias, (l. iv. p. 132, 133.)]

[Footnote *: According to Agathias, the death of Gubazos preceded
the defeat of Nacoragan. The trial took place after the battle.
- M.]
[Footnote 87: In the palace of Constantinople there were thirty
silentiaries, who were styled hastati, ante fores cubiculi, an
honorable title which conferred the rank, without imposing the
duties, of a senator, (Cod. Theodos. l. vi. tit. 23. Gothofred.
Comment. tom. ii. p. 129.)]

[Footnote 88: On these judicial orations, Agathias (l. iii. p. 81
- 89, l. iv. p. 108 - 119) lavishes eighteen or twenty pages of
false and florid rhetoric. His ignorance or carelessness
overlooks the strongest argument against the king of Lazica - his
former revolt.

Note: The Orations in the third book of Agathias are not
judicial, nor delivered before the Roman tribunal: it is a
deliberative debate among the Colchians on the expediency of
adhering to the Roman, or embracing the Persian alliance. - M.]]

In peace, the king of Persia continually sought the
pretences of a rupture: but no sooner had he taken up arms, than
he expressed his desire of a safe and honorable treaty. During
the fiercest hostilities, the two monarchs entertained a
deceitful negotiation; and such was the superiority of Chosroes,
that whilst he treated the Roman ministers with insolence and
contempt, he obtained the most unprecedented honors for his own
ambassadors at the Imperial court. The successor of Cyrus
assumed the majesty of the Eastern sun, and graciously permitted
his younger brother Justinian to reign over the West, with the
pale and reflected splendor of the moon. This gigantic style was
supported by the pomp and eloquence of Isdigune, one of the royal
chamberlains. His wife and daughters, with a train of eunuchs
and camels, attended the march of the ambassador: two satraps
with golden diadems were numbered among his followers: he was
guarded by five hundred horse, the most valiant of the Persians;
and the Roman governor of Dara wisely refused to admit more than
twenty of this martial and hostile caravan. When Isdigune had
saluted the emperor, and delivered his presents, he passed ten
months at Constantinople without discussing any serious affairs.
Instead of being confined to his palace, and receiving food and
water from the hands of his keepers, the Persian ambassador,
without spies or guards, was allowed to visit the capital; and
the freedom of conversation and trade enjoyed by his domestics,
offended the prejudices of an age which rigorously practised the
law of nations, without confidence or courtesy. ^89 By an
unexampled indulgence, his interpreter, a servant below the
notice of a Roman magistrate, was seated, at the table of
Justinian, by the side of his master: and one thousand pounds of
gold might be assigned for the expense of his journey and
entertainment. Yet the repeated labors of Isdigune could procure
only a partial and imperfect truce, which was always purchased
with the treasures, and renewed at the solicitation, of the
Byzantine court Many years of fruitless desolation elapsed before
Justinian and Chosroes were compelled, by mutual lassitude, to
consult the repose of their declining age. At a conference held
on the frontier, each party, without expecting to gain credit,
displayed the power, the justice, and the pacific intentions, of
their respective sovereigns; but necessity and interest dictated
the treaty of peace, which was concluded for a term of fifty
years, diligently composed in the Greek and Persian languages,
and attested by the seals of twelve interpreters. The liberty of
commerce and religion was fixed and defined; the allies of the
emperor and the great king were included in the same benefits and
obligations; and the most scrupulous precautions were provided to
prevent or determine the accidental disputes that might arise on
the confines of two hostile nations. After twenty years of
destructive though feeble war, the limits still remained without
alteration; and Chosroes was persuaded to renounce his dangerous
claim to the possession or sovereignty of Colchos and its
dependent states. Rich in the accumulated treasures of the East,
he extorted from the Romans an annual payment of thirty thousand
pieces of gold; and the smallness of the sum revealed the
disgrace of a tribute in its naked deformity. In a previous
debate, the chariot of Sesostris, and the wheel of fortune, were
applied by one of the ministers of Justinian, who observed that
the reduction of Antioch, and some Syrian cities, had elevated
beyond measure the vain and ambitious spirit of the Barbarian.
"You are mistaken," replied the modest Persian: "the king of
kings, the lord of mankind, looks down with contempt on such
petty acquisitions; and of the ten nations, vanquished by his
invincible arms, he esteems the Romans as the least formidable."
^90 According to the Orientals, the empire of Nushirvan extended
from Ferganah, in Transoxiana, to Yemen or Arabia Faelix. He
subdued the rebels of Hyrcania, reduced the provinces of Cabul
and Zablestan on the banks of the Indus, broke the power of the
Euthalites, terminated by an honorable treaty the Turkish war,
and admitted the daughter of the great khan into the number of
his lawful wives. Victorious and respected among the princes of
Asia, he gave audience, in his palace of Madain, or Ctesiphon, to
the ambassadors of the world. Their gifts or tributes, arms,
rich garments, gems, slaves or aromatics, were humbly presented
at the foot of his throne; and he condescended to accept from the
king of India ten quintals of the wood of aloes, a maid seven
cubits in height, and a carpet softer than silk, the skin, as it
was reported, of an extraordinary serpent. ^91

[Footnote 89: Procopius represents the practice of the Gothic
court of Ravenna (Goth. l. i. c. 7;) and foreign ambassadors have
been treated with the same jealousy and rigor in Turkey,
(Busbequius, epist. iii. p. 149, 242, &c.,) Russia, (Voyage
D'Olearius,) and China, (Narrative of A. de Lange, in Bell's
Travels, vol. ii. p. 189 - 311.)]

[Footnote 90: The negotiations and treaties between Justinian and
Chosroes are copiously explained by Procopius, (Persie, l. ii. c.
10, 13, 26, 27, 28. Gothic. l. ii. c. 11, 15,) Agathias, (l. iv.
p. 141, 142,) and Menander, (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 132 - 147.)
Consult Barbeyrac, Hist. des Anciens Traites, tom. ii. p. 154,
181 - 184, 193 - 200.]

[Footnote 91: D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 680, 681, 294,
Justinian had been reproached for his alliance with the
Aethiopians, as if he attempted to introduce a people of savage
negroes into the system of civilized society. But the friends of
the Roman empire, the Axumites, or Abyssinians, may be always
distinguished from the original natives of Africa. ^92 The hand
of nature has flattened the noses of the negroes, covered their
heads with shaggy wool, and tinged their skin with inherent and
indelible blackness. But the olive complexion of the
Abyssinians, their hair, shape, and features, distinctly mark
them as a colony of Arabs; and this descent is confirmed by the
resemblance of language and manners the report of an ancient
emigration, and the narrow interval between the shores of the Red
Sea. Christianity had raised that nation above the level of
African barbarism: ^93 their intercourse with Egypt, and the
successors of Constantine, ^94 had communicated the rudiments of
the arts and sciences; their vessels traded to the Isle of
Ceylon, ^95 and seven kingdoms obeyed the Negus or supreme prince
of Abyssinia. The independence of the Homerites, ^! who reigned
in the rich and happy Arabia, was first violated by an Aethiopian
conqueror: he drew his hereditary claim from the queen of Sheba,
^96 and his ambition was sanctified by religious zeal. The Jews,
powerful and active in exile, had seduced the mind of Dunaan,
prince of the Homerites. They urged him to retaliate the
persecution inflicted by the Imperial laws on their unfortunate
brethren: some Roman merchants were injuriously treated; and
several Christians of Negra ^97 were honored with the crown of
martyrdom. ^98 The churches of Arabia implored the protection of
the Abyssinian monarch. The Negus passed the Red Sea with a
fleet and army, deprived the Jewish proselyte of his kingdom and
life, and extinguished a race of princes, who had ruled above two
thousand years the sequestered region of myrrh and frankincense.
The conqueror immediately announced the victory of the gospel,
requested an orthodox patriarch, and so warmly professed his
friendship to the Roman empire, that Justinian was flattered by
the hope of diverting the silk trade through the channel of
Abyssinia, and of exciting the forces of Arabia against the
Persian king. Nonnosus, descended from a family of ambassadors,
was named by the emperor to execute this important commission.
He wisely declined the shorter, but more dangerous, road, through
the sandy deserts of Nubia; ascended the Nile, embarked on the
Red Sea, and safely landed at the African port of Adulis. From
Adulis to the royal city of Axume is no more than fifty leagues,
in a direct line; but the winding passes of the mountains
detained the ambassador fifteen days; and as he traversed the
forests, he saw, and vaguely computed, about five thousand wild
elephants. The capital, according to his report, was large and
populous; and the village of Axume is still conspicuous by the
regal coronations, by the ruins of a Christian temple, and by
sixteen or seventeen obelisks inscribed with Grecian characters.
^99 But the Negus ^!! gave audience in the open field, seated on
a lofty chariot, which was drawn by four elephants, superbly
caparisoned, and surrounded by his nobles and musicians. He was
clad in a linen garment and cap, holding in his hand two javelins
and a light shield; and, although his nakedness was imperfectly
covered, he displayed the Barbaric pomp of gold chains, collars,
and bracelets, richly adorned with pearls and precious stones.
The ambassador of Justinian knelt; the Negus raised him from the
ground, embraced Nonnosus, kissed the seal, perused the letter,
accepted the Roman alliance, and, brandishing his weapons,
denounced implacable war against the worshipers of fire. But the
proposal of the silk trade was eluded; and notwithstanding the
assurances, and perhaps the wishes, of the Abyssinians, these
hostile menaces evaporated without effect. The Homerites were
unwilling to abandon their aromatic groves, to explore a sandy
desert, and to encounter, after all their fatigues, a formidable
nation from whom they had never received any personal injuries.
Instead of enlarging his conquests, the king of Aethiopia was
incapable of defending his possessions. Abrahah, ^!!! the slave
of a Roman merchant of Adulis, assumed the sceptre of the
Homerites,; the troops of Africa were seduced by the luxury of
the climate; and Justinian solicited the friendship of the
usurper, who honored with a slight tribute the supremacy of his
prince. After a long series of prosperity, the power of Abrahah
was overthrown before the gates of Mecca; and his children were
despoiled by the Persian conqueror; and the Aethiopians were
finally expelled from the continent of Asia. This narrative of
obscure and remote events is not foreign to the decline and fall
of the Roman empire. If a Christian power had been maintained in
Arabia, Mahomet must have been crushed in his cradle, and
Abyssinia would have prevented a revolution which has changed the
civil and religious state of the world. ^100 ^*

[Footnote 92: See Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 449.
This Arab cast of features and complexion, which has continued
3400 years (Ludolpb. Hist. et Comment. Aethiopic. l. i. c. 4) in
the colony of Abyssinia, will justify the suspicion, that race,
as well as climate, must have contributed to form the negroes of
the adjacent and similar regions.

Note: Mr. Salt (Travels, vol. ii. p. 458) considers them to
be distinct from the Arabs - "in feature, color, habit, and
manners." - M.]
[Footnote 93: The Portuguese missionaries, Alvarez, (Ramusio,
tom. i. fol. 204, rect. 274, vers.) Bermudez, (Purchas's
Pilgrims, vol. ii. l. v. c. 7, p. 1149 - 1188,) Lobo, (Relation,
&c., par M. le Grand, with xv. Dissertations, Paris, 1728,) and
Tellez (Relations de Thevenot, part iv.) could only relate of
modern Abyssinia what they had seen or invented. The erudition
of Ludolphus, (Hist. Aethiopica, Francofurt, 1681. Commentarius,
1691. Appendix, 1694,) in twenty-five languages, could add little
concerning its ancient history. Yet the fame of Caled, or
Ellisthaeus, the conqueror of Yemen, is celebrated in national
songs and legends.]

[Footnote 94: The negotiations of Justinian with the Axumites, or
Aethiopians, are recorded by Procopius (Persic. l. i. c. 19, 20)
and John Malala, tom. ii. p. 163 - 165, 193 - 196.) The historian
of Antioch quotes the original narrative of the ambassador
Nonnosus, of which Photius (Bibliot. Cod. iii.) has preserved a
curious extract.]

[Footnote 95: The trade of the Axumites to the coast of India and
Africa, and the Isle of Ceylon, is curiously represented by
Cosmas Indicopleustes, (Topograph. Christian. l. ii. p. 132, 138,
139, 140, l. xi. p. 338, 339.)]
[Footnote !: It appears by the important inscription discovered
by Mr. Salt at Axoum, and from a law of Constantius, (16th Jan.
356, inserted in the Theodosian Code, l. 12, c. 12,) that in the
middle of the fourth century of our era the princes of the
Axumites joined to their titles that of king of the Homerites.
The conquests which they made over the Arabs in the sixth century
were only a restoration of the ancient order of things. St.
Martin vol. viii. p. 46 - M.]

[Footnote 96: Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. Aethiop. l. ii. c. 3.]
[Footnote 97: The city of Negra, or Nag'ran, in Yemen, is
surrounded with palm-trees, and stands in the high road between
Saana, the capital, and Mecca; from the former ten, from the
latter twenty days' journey of a caravan of camels, (Abulfeda,
Descript. Arabiae, p. 52.)]

[Footnote 98: The martyrdom of St. Arethas, prince of Negra, and
his three hundred and forty companions, is embellished in the
legends of Metaphrastes and Nicephorus Callistus, copied by
Baronius, (A. D 522, No. 22 - 66, A.D. 523, No. 16 - 29,) and
refuted with obscure diligence, by Basnage, (Hist. des Juifs,
tom. viii. l. xii. c. ii. p. 333 - 348,) who investigates the
state of the Jews in Arabia and Aethiopia.

Note: According to Johannsen, (Hist. Yemanae, Praef. p. 89,)
Dunaan (Ds Nowas) massacred 20,000 Christians, and threw them
into a pit, where they were burned. They are called in the Koran
the companions of the pit (socii foveae.) - M.]

[Footnote 99: Alvarez (in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 219, vers. 221,
vers.) saw the flourishing state of Axume in the year 1520 -
luogomolto buono e grande. It was ruined in the same century by
the Turkish invasion. No more than 100 houses remain; but the
memory of its past greatness is preserved by the regal
coronation, (Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. l. ii. c. 11.)

Note: Lord Valentia's and Mr. Salt's Travels give a high
notion of the ruins of Axum. - M.]

[Footnote !!: The Negus is differently called Elesbaan, Elesboas,
Elisthaeus, probably the same name, or rather appellation. See
St. Martin, vol. viii. p. 49. - M.]

[Footnote !!!: According to the Arabian authorities, (Johannsen,
Hist. Yemanae, p. 94, Bonn, 1828,) Abrahah was an Abyssinian, the
rival of Ariathus, the brother of the Abyssinian king: he
surprised and slew Ariathus, and by his craft appeased the
resentment of Nadjash, the Abyssinian king. Abrahah was a
Christian; he built a magnificent church at Sana, and dissuaded
his subjects from their accustomed pilgrimages to Mecca. The
church was defiled, it was supposed, by the Koreishites, and
Abrahah took up arms to revenge himself on the temple at Mecca.
He was repelled by miracle: his elephant would not advance, but
knelt down before the sacred place; Abrahah fled, discomfited and
mortally wounded, to Sana - M.]

[Footnote 100: The revolutions of Yemen in the sixth century must
be collected from Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 19, 20,)
Theophanes Byzant., (apud Phot. cod. lxiii. p. 80,) St.
Theophanes, (in Chronograph. p. 144, 145, 188, 189, 206, 207, who
is full of strange blunders,) Pocock, (Specimen Hist. Arab. p.
62, 65,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 12, 477,) and Sale's
Preliminary Discourse and Koran, (c. 105.) The revolt of Abrahah
is mentioned by Procopius; and his fall, though clouded with
miracles, is an historical fact.
Note: To the authors who have illustrated the obscure
history of the Jewish and Abyssinian kingdoms in Homeritis may be
added Schultens, Hist. Joctanidarum; Walch, Historia rerum in
Homerite gestarum, in the 4th vol. of the Gottingen Transactions;
Salt's Travels, vol. ii. p. 446, &c.: Sylvestre de Sacy, vol. i.
Acad. des Inscrip. Jost, Geschichte der Israeliter; Johannsen,
Hist. Yemanae; St. Martin's notes to Le Beau, t. vii p. 42. - M.]

[Footnote *: A period of sixty-seven years is assigned by most of
the Arabian authorities to the Abyssinian kingdoms in Homeritis.
- M.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of

Part I.

Rebellions Of Africa. - Restoration Of The Gothic Kingdom By
Totila. - Loss And Recovery Of Rome. - Final Conquest Of Italy By
Narses. - Extinction Of The Ostrogoths. - Defeat Of The Franks
And Alemanni. - Last Victory, Disgrace, And Death Of Belisarius.
- Death And Character Of Justinian. - Comet, Earthquakes, And

The review of the nations from the Danube to the Nile has
exposed, on every side, the weakness of the Romans; and our
wonder is reasonably excited that they should presume to enlarge
an empire whose ancient limits they were incapable of defending.
But the wars, the conquests, and the triumphs of Justinian, are
the feeble and pernicious efforts of old age, which exhaust the
remains of strength, and accelerate the decay of the powers of
life. He exulted in the glorious act of restoring Africa and
Italy to the republic; but the calamities which followed the
departure of Belisarius betrayed the impotence of the conqueror,
and accomplished the ruin of those unfortunate countries.

From his new acquisitions, Justinian expected that his
avarice, as well as pride, should be richly gratified. A
rapacious minister of the finances closely pursued the footsteps
of Belisarius; and as the old registers of tribute had been burnt
by the Vandals, he indulged his fancy in a liberal calculation
and arbitrary assessment of the wealth of Africa. ^1 The increase
of taxes, which were drawn away by a distant sovereign, and a
general resumption of the patrimony or crown lands, soon
dispelled the intoxication of the public joy: but the emperor was
insensible to the modest complaints of the people, till he was
awakened and alarmed by the clamors of military discontent. Many
of the Roman soldiers had married the widows and daughters of the
Vandals. As their own, by the double right of conquest and
inheritance, they claimed the estates which Genseric had assigned
to his victorious troops. They heard with disdain the cold and
selfish representations of their officers, that the liberality of
Justinian had raised them from a savage or servile condition;
that they were already enriched by the spoils of Africa, the
treasure, the slaves, and the movables of the vanquished
Barbarians; and that the ancient and lawful patrimony of the
emperors would be applied only to the support of that government
on which their own safety and reward must ultimately depend. The
mutiny was secretly inflamed by a thousand soldiers, for the most
part Heruli, who had imbibed the doctrines, and were instigated
by the clergy, of the Arian sect; and the cause of perjury and
rebellion was sanctified by the dispensing powers of fanaticism.
The Arians deplored the ruin of their church, triumphant above a
century in Africa; and they were justly provoked by the laws of
the conqueror, which interdicted the baptism of their children,
and the exercise of all religious worship. Of the Vandals chosen
by Belisarius, the far greater part, in the honors of the Eastern
service, forgot their country and religion. But a generous band
of four hundred obliged the mariners, when they were in sight of
the Isle of Lesbos, to alter their course: they touched on
Peloponnesus, ran ashore on a desert coast of Africa, and boldly
erected, on Mount Aurasius, the standard of independence and
revolt. While the troops of the provinces disclaimed the
commands of their superiors, a conspiracy was formed at Carthage
against the life of Solomon, who filled with honor the place of
Belisarius; and the Arians had piously resolved to sacrifice the
tyrant at the foot of the altar, during the awful mysteries of
the festival of Easter. Fear or remorse restrained the daggers
of the assassins, but the patience of Solomon emboldened their
discontent; and, at the end of ten days, a furious sedition was
kindled in the Circus, which desolated Africa above ten years.
The pillage of the city, and the indiscriminate slaughter of its
inhabitants, were suspended only by darkness, sleep, and
intoxication: the governor, with seven companions, among whom was
the historian Procopius, escaped to Sicily: two thirds of the
army were involved in the guilt of treason; and eight thousand
insurgents, assembling in the field of Bulla, elected Stoza for
their chief, a private soldier, who possessed in a superior
degree the virtues of a rebel. Under the mask of freedom, his
eloquence could lead, or at least impel, the passions of his
equals. He raised himself to a level with Belisarius, and the
nephew of the emperor, by daring to encounter them in the field;
and the victorious generals were compelled to acknowledge that
Stoza deserved a purer cause, and a more legitimate command.
Vanquished in battle, he dexterously employed the arts of
negotiation; a Roman army was seduced from their allegiance, and
the chiefs who had trusted to his faithless promise were murdered
by his order in a church of Numidia. When every resource, either
of force or perfidy, was exhausted, Stoza, with some desperate
Vandals, retired to the wilds of Mauritania, obtained the
daughter of a Barbarian prince, and eluded the pursuit of his
enemies, by the report of his death. The personal weight of
Belisarius, the rank, the spirit, and the temper, of Germanus,
the emperor's nephew, and the vigor and success of the second
administration of the eunuch Solomon, restored the modesty of the
camp, and maintained for a while the tranquillity of Africa. But
the vices of the Byzantine court were felt in that distant
province; the troops complained that they were neither paid nor
relieved, and as soon as the public disorders were sufficiently
mature, Stoza was again alive, in arms, and at the gates of
Carthage. He fell in a single combat, but he smiled in the
agonies of death, when he was informed that his own javelin had
reached the heart of his antagonist. ^* The example of Stoza, and
the assurance that a fortunate soldier had been the first king,
encouraged the ambition of Gontharis, and he promised, by a
private treaty, to divide Africa with the Moors, if, with their
dangerous aid, he should ascend the throne of Carthage. The
feeble Areobindus, unskilled in the affairs of peace and war, was
raised, by his marriage with the niece of Justinian, to the
office of exarch. He was suddenly oppressed by a sedition of the
guards, and his abject supplications, which provoked the
contempt, could not move the pity, of the inexorable tyrant.
After a reign of thirty days, Gontharis himself was stabbed at a
banquet by the hand of Artaban; ^** and it is singular enough,
that an Armenian prince, of the royal family of Arsaces, should
reestablish at Carthage the authority of the Roman empire. In
the conspiracy which unsheathed the dagger of Brutus against the
life of Caesar, every circumstance is curious and important to
the eyes of posterity; but the guilt or merit of these loyal or
rebellious assassins could interest only the contemporaries of
Procopius, who, by their hopes and fears, their friendship or
resentment, were personally engaged in the revolutions of Africa.

[Footnote 1: For the troubles of Africa, I neither have nor
desire another guide than Procopius, whose eye contemplated the
image, and whose ear collected the reports, of the memorable
events of his own times. In the second book of the Vandalic war
he relates the revolt of Stoza, (c. 14 - 24,) the return of
Belisarius, (c. 15,) the victory of Germanus, (c. 16, 17, 18,)
the second administration of Solomon, (c. 19, 20, 21,) the
government of Sergius, (c. 22, 23,) of Areobindus, (c. 24,) the
tyranny and death of Gontharis, (c. 25, 26, 27, 28;) nor can I
discern any symptoms of flattery or malevolence in his various

[Footnote *: Corippus gives a different account of the death of
Stoza; he was transfixed by an arrow from the hand of John, (not
the hero of his poem) who broke desperately through the
victorious troops of the enemy. Stoza repented, says the poet,
of his treasonous rebellion, and anticipated - another Cataline -
eternal torments as his punishment.

Reddam, improba, poenas Quas merui. Furiis socius Catilina
cruentis Exagitatus adest. Video jam Tartara, fundo Flammarumque
globos, et clara incendia volvi.

Johannidos, book iv. line 211.

All the other authorities confirm Gibbon's account of the
death of John by the hand of Stoza. This poem of Corippus,
unknown to Gibbon, was first published by Mazzuchelli during the
present century, and is reprinted in the new edition of the
Byzantine writers. - M]

[Footnote **: This murder was prompted to the Armenian (according
to Corippus) by Athanasius, (then praefect of Africa.)

Hunc placidus cana gravitate coegit
Inumitera mactare virum. - Corripus, vol. iv. p. 237 - M.]
[Footnote 2: Yet I must not refuse him the merit of painting, in
lively colors, the murder of Gontharis. One of the assassins
uttered a sentiment not unworthy of a Roman patriot: "If I fail,"
said Artasires, "in the first stroke, kill me on the spot, lest
the rack should extort a discovery of my accomplices."]

That country was rapidly sinking into the state of barbarism
from whence it had been raised by the Phoenician colonies and
Roman laws; and every step of intestine discord was marked by
some deplorable victory of savage man over civilized society.
The Moors, ^3 though ignorant of justice, were impatient of
oppression: their vagrant life and boundless wilderness
disappointed the arms, and eluded the chains, of a conqueror; and
experience had shown, that neither oaths nor obligations could
secure the fidelity of their attachment. The victory of Mount
Auras had awed them into momentary submission; but if they
respected the character of Solomon, they hated and despised the
pride and luxury of his two nephews, Cyrus and Sergius, on whom
their uncle had imprudently bestowed the provincial governments
of Tripoli and Pentapolis. A Moorish tribe encamped under the
walls of Leptis, to renew their alliance, and receive from the
governor the customary gifts. Fourscore of their deputies were
introduced as friends into the city; but on the dark suspicion of
a conspiracy, they were massacred at the table of Sergius, and
the clamor of arms and revenge was reechoed through the valleys
of Mount Atlas from both the Syrtes to the Atlantic Ocean. A
personal injury, the unjust execution or murder of his brother,
rendered Antalas the enemy of the Romans. The defeat of the
Vandals had formerly signalized his valor; the rudiments of
justice and prudence were still more conspicuous in a Moor; and
while he laid Adrumetum in ashes, he calmly admonished the
emperor that the peace of Africa might be secured by the recall
of Solomon and his unworthy nephews. The exarch led forth his
troops from Carthage: but, at the distance of six days' journey,
in the neighborhood of Tebeste, ^4 he was astonished by the
superior numbers and fierce aspect of the Barbarians. He
proposed a treaty; solicited a reconciliation; and offered to
bind himself by the most solemn oaths. "By what oaths can he
bind himself?" interrupted the indignant Moors. "Will he swear
by the Gospels, the divine books of the Christians? It was on
those books that the faith of his nephew Sergius was pledged to
eighty of our innocent and unfortunate brethren. Before we trust
them a second time, let us try their efficacy in the chastisement
of perjury and the vindication of their own honor." Their honor
was vindicated in the field of Tebeste, by the death of Solomon,
and the total loss of his army. ^* The arrival of fresh troops
and more skilful commanders soon checked the insolence of the
Moors: seventeen of their princes were slain in the same battle;
and the doubtful and transient submission of their tribes was
celebrated with lavish applause by the people of Constantinople.
Successive inroads had reduced the province of Africa to one
third of the measure of Italy; yet the Roman emperors continued
to reign above a century over Carthage and the fruitful coast of
the Mediterranean. But the victories and the losses of Justinian
were alike pernicious to mankind; and such was the desolation of
Africa, that in many parts a stranger might wander whole days
without meeting the face either of a friend or an enemy. The
nation of the Vandals had disappeared: they once amounted to a
hundred and sixty thousand warriors, without including the
children, the women, or the slaves. Their numbers were
infinitely surpassed by the number of the Moorish families
extirpated in a relentless war; and the same destruction was
retaliated on the Romans and their allies, who perished by the
climate, their mutual quarrels, and the rage of the Barbarians.
When Procopius first landed, he admired the populousness of the
cities and country, strenuously exercised in the labors of
commerce and agriculture. In less than twenty years, that busy
scene was converted into a silent solitude; the wealthy citizens
escaped to Sicily and Constantinople; and the secret historian
has confidently affirmed, that five millions of Africans were
consumed by the wars and government of the emperor Justinian. ^5
[Footnote 3: The Moorish wars are occasionally introduced into
the narrative of Procopius, (Vandal. l. ii. c. 19 - 23, 25, 27,
28. Gothic. l. iv. c. 17;) and Theophanes adds some prosperous
and adverse events in the last years of Justinian.]

[Footnote 4: Now Tibesh, in the kingdom of Algiers. It is
watered by a river, the Sujerass, which falls into the Mejerda,
(Bagradas.) Tibesh is still remarkable for its walls of large
stones, (like the Coliseum of Rome,) a fountain, and a grove of
walnut-trees: the country is fruitful, and the neighboring
Bereberes are warlike. It appears from an inscription, that,
under the reign of Adrian, the road from Carthage to Tebeste was
constructed by the third legion, (Marmol, Description de
l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 442, 443. Shaw's Travels, p. 64, 65, 66.)]

[Footnote *: Corripus (Johannidos lib. iii. 417 - 441) describes
the defeat and death of Solomon. - M.]

[Footnote 5: Procopius, Anecdot. c. 18. The series of the
African history at tests this melancholy truth.]

The jealousy of the Byzantine court had not permitted
Belisarius to achieve the conquest of Italy; and his abrupt
departure revived the courage of the Goths, ^6 who respected his
genius, his virtue, and even the laudable motive which had urged
the servant of Justinian to deceive and reject them. They had
lost their king, (an inconsiderable loss,) their capital, their
treasures, the provinces from Sicily to the Alps, and the
military force of two hundred thousand Barbarians, magnificently
equipped with horses and arms. Yet all was not lost, as long as
Pavia was defended by one thousand Goths, inspired by a sense of
honor, the love of freedom, and the memory of their past
greatness. The supreme command was unanimously offered to the
brave Uraias; and it was in his eyes alone that the disgrace of
his uncle Vitiges could appear as a reason of exclusion. His
voice inclined the election in favor of Hildibald, whose personal
merit was recommended by the vain hope that his kinsman Theudes,
the Spanish monarch, would support the common interest of the
Gothic nation. The success of his arms in Liguria and Venetia
seemed to justify their choice; but he soon declared to the world
that he was incapable of forgiving or commanding his benefactor.
The consort of Hildibald was deeply wounded by the beauty, the
riches, and the pride, of the wife of Uraias; and the death of
that virtuous patriot excited the indignation of a free people.
A bold assassin executed their sentence by striking off the head
of Hildibald in the midst of a banquet; the Rugians, a foreign
tribe, assumed the privilege of election: and Totila, ^* the
nephew of the late king, was tempted, by revenge, to deliver
himself and the garrison of Trevigo into the hands of the Romans.

But the gallant and accomplished youth was easily persuaded to
prefer the Gothic throne before the service of Justinian; and as
soon as the palace of Pavia had been purified from the Rugian
usurper, he reviewed the national force of five thousand
soldiers, and generously undertook the restoration of the kingdom
of Italy.

[Footnote 6: In the second (c. 30) and third books, (c. 1 - 40,)
Procopius continues the history of the Gothic war from the fifth
to the fifteenth year of Justinian. As the events are less
interesting than in the former period, he allots only half the
space to double the time. Jornandes, and the Chronicle of
Marcellinus, afford some collateral hints Sigonius, Pagi,
Muratori, Mascou, and De Buat, are useful, and have been used.]
[Footnote *: His real name, as appears by medals, was Baduilla,
or Badiula. Totila signifies immortal: tod (in German) is death.
Todilas, deathless. Compare St Martin, vol. ix. p. 37. - M.]

The successors of Belisarius, eleven generals of equal rank,
neglected to crush the feeble and disunited Goths, till they were
roused to action by the progress of Totila and the reproaches of
Justinian. The gates of Verona were secretly opened to
Artabazus, at the head of one hundred Persians in the service of
the empire. The Goths fled from the city. At the distance of
sixty furlongs the Roman generals halted to regulate the division
of the spoil. While they disputed, the enemy discovered the real
number of the victors: the Persians were instantly overpowered,
and it was by leaping from the wall that Artabazus preserved a
life which he lost in a few days by the lance of a Barbarian, who
had defied him to single combat. Twenty thousand Romans
encountered the forces of Totila, near Faenza, and on the hills
of Mugello, of the Florentine territory. The ardor of freedmen,
who fought to regain their country, was opposed to the languid
temper of mercenary troops, who were even destitute of the merits
of strong and well-disciplined servitude. On the first attack,
they abandoned their ensigns, threw down their arms, and
dispersed on all sides with an active speed, which abated the
loss, whilst it aggravated the shame, of their defeat. The king
of the Goths, who blushed for the baseness of his enemies,
pursued with rapid steps the path of honor and victory. Totila
passed the Po, ^* traversed the Apennine, suspended the important
conquest of Ravenna, Florence, and Rome, and marched through the
heart of Italy, to form the siege or rather the blockade, of
Naples. The Roman chiefs, imprisoned in their respective cities,
and accusing each other of the common disgrace, did not presume
to disturb his enterprise. But the emperor, alarmed by the
distress and danger of his Italian conquests, despatched to the
relief of Naples a fleet of galleys and a body of Thracian and
Armenian soldiers. They landed in Sicily, which yielded its
copious stores of provisions; but the delays of the new
commander, an unwarlike magistrate, protracted the sufferings of
the besieged; and the succors, which he dropped with a timid and
tardy hand, were successively intercepted by the armed vessels
stationed by Totila in the Bay of Naples. The principal officer
of the Romans was dragged, with a rope round his neck, to the
foot of the wall, from whence, with a trembling voice, he
exhorted the citizens to implore, like himself, the mercy of the
conqueror. They requested a truce, with a promise of
surrendering the city, if no effectual relief should appear at
the end of thirty days. Instead of one month, the audacious
Barbarian granted them three, in the just confidence that famine
would anticipate the term of their capitulation. After the
reduction of Naples and Cumae, the provinces of Lucania, Apulia,
and Calabria, submitted to the king of the Goths. Totila led his
army to the gates of Rome, pitched his camp at Tibur, or Tivoli,
within twenty miles of the capital, and calmly exhorted the
senate and people to compare the tyranny of the Greeks with the
blessings of the Gothic reign.

[Footnote *: This is not quite correct: he had crossed the Po
before the battle of Faenza. - M.]

The rapid success of Totila may be partly ascribed to the
revolution which three years' experience had produced in the
sentiments of the Italians. At the command, or at least in the
name, of a Catholic emperor, the pope, ^7 their spiritual father,
had been torn from the Roman church, and either starved or
murdered on a desolate island. ^8 The virtues of Belisarius were
replaced by the various or uniform vices of eleven chiefs, at
Rome, Ravenna, Florence, Perugia, Spoleto, &c., who abused their
authority for the indulgence of lust or avarice. The improvement
of the revenue was committed to Alexander, a subtle scribe, long
practised in the fraud and oppression of the Byzantine schools,
and whose name of Psalliction, the scissors, ^9 was drawn from
the dexterous artifice with which he reduced the size without
defacing the figure, of the gold coin. Instead of expecting the
restoration of peace and industry, he imposed a heavy assessment
on the fortunes of the Italians. Yet his present or future
demands were less odious than a prosecution of arbitrary rigor
against the persons and property of all those who, under the
Gothic kings, had been concerned in the receipt and expenditure
of the public money. The subjects of Justinian, who escaped
these partial vexations, were oppressed by the irregular
maintenance of the soldiers, whom Alexander defrauded and
despised; and their hasty sallies in quest of wealth, or
subsistence, provoked the inhabitants of the country to await or
implore their deliverance from the virtues of a Barbarian.
Totila ^10 was chaste and temperate; and none were deceived,
either friends or enemies, who depended on his faith or his
clemency. To the husbandmen of Italy the Gothic king issued a
welcome proclamation, enjoining them to pursue their important
labors, and to rest assured, that, on the payment of the ordinary
taxes, they should be defended by his valor and discipline from
the injuries of war. The strong towns he successively attacked;
and as soon as they had yielded to his arms, he demolished the
fortifications, to save the people from the calamities of a
future siege, to deprive the Romans of the arts of defence, and
to decide the tedious quarrel of the two nations, by an equal and
honorable conflict in the field of battle. The Roman captives
and deserters were tempted to enlist in the service of a liberal
and courteous adversary; the slaves were attracted by the firm
and faithful promise, that they should never be delivered to
their masters; and from the thousand warriors of Pavia, a new
people, under the same appellation of Goths, was insensibly
formed in the camp of Totila. He sincerely accomplished the
articles of capitulation, without seeking or accepting any
sinister advantage from ambiguous expressions or unforeseen
events: the garrison of Naples had stipulated that they should be
transported by sea; the obstinacy of the winds prevented their
voyage, but they were generously supplied with horses,
provisions, and a safe-conduct to the gates of Rome. The wives
of the senators, who had been surprised in the villas of
Campania, were restored, without a ransom, to their husbands; the
violation of female chastity was inexorably chastised with death;
and in the salutary regulation of the edict of the famished
Neapolitans, the conqueror assumed the office of a humane and
attentive physician. The virtues of Totila are equally laudable,
whether they proceeded from true policy, religious principle, or
the instinct of humanity: he often harangued his troops; and it
was his constant theme, that national vice and ruin are
inseparably connected; that victory is the fruit of moral as well
as military virtue; and that the prince, and even the people, are
responsible for the crimes which they neglect to punish.
[Footnote 7: Sylverius, bishop of Rome, was first transported to
Patara, in Lycia, and at length starved (sub eorum custodia
inedia confectus) in the Isle of Palmaria, A.D. 538, June 20,
(Liberat. in Breviar. c. 22. Anastasius, in Sylverio. Baronius,
A.D. 540, No. 2, 3. Pagi, in Vit. Pont. tom. i. p. 285, 286.)
Procopius (Anecdot. c. 1) accuses only the empress and Antonina.]

[Footnote 8: Palmaria, a small island, opposite to Terracina and
the coast of the Volsci, (Cluver. Ital. Antiq. l. iii. c. 7, p.
[Footnote 9: As the Logothete Alexander, and most of his civil
and military colleagues, were either disgraced or despised, the
ink of the Anecdotes (c. 4, 5, 18) is scarcely blacker than that
of the Gothic History (l. iii. c. 1, 3, 4, 9, 20, 21, &c.)]

[Footnote 10: Procopius (l. iii. c. 2, 8, &c.,) does ample and
willing justice to the merit of Totila. The Roman historians,
from Sallust and Tacitus were happy to forget the vices of their
countrymen in the contemplation of Barbaric virtue.]

The return of Belisarius to save the country which he had
subdued, was pressed with equal vehemence by his friends and
enemies; and the Gothic war was imposed as a trust or an exile on
the veteran commander. A hero on the banks of the Euphrates, a
slave in the palace of Constantinople, he accepted with
reluctance the painful task of supporting his own reputation, and
retrieving the faults of his successors. The sea was open to the
Romans: the ships and soldiers were assembled at Salona, near the
palace of Diocletian: he refreshed and reviewed his troops at
Pola in Istria, coasted round the head of the Adriatic, entered
the port of Ravenna, and despatched orders rather than supplies
to the subordinate cities. His first public oration was
addressed to the Goths and Romans, in the name of the emperor,
who had suspended for a while the conquest of Persia, and
listened to the prayers of his Italian subjects. He gently
touched on the causes and the authors of the recent disasters;
striving to remove the fear of punishment for the past, and the
hope of impunity for the future, and laboring, with more zeal
than success, to unite all the members of his government in a
firm league of affection and obedience. Justinian, his gracious
master, was inclined to pardon and reward; and it was their
interest, as well as duty, to reclaim their deluded brethren, who
had been seduced by the arts of the usurper. Not a man was
tempted to desert the standard of the Gothic king. Belisarius
soon discovered, that he was sent to remain the idle and impotent
spectator of the glory of a young Barbarian; and his own epistle
exhibits a genuine and lively picture of the distress of a noble
mind. "Most excellent prince, we are arrived in Italy, destitute
of all the necessary implements of war, men, horses, arms, and
money. In our late circuit through the villages of Thrace and
Illyricum, we have collected, with extreme difficulty, about four
thousand recruits, naked, and unskilled in the use of weapons and
the exercises of the camp. The soldiers already stationed in the
province are discontented, fearful, and dismayed; at the sound of
an enemy, they dismiss their horses, and cast their arms on the
ground. No taxes can be raised, since Italy is in the hands of
the Barbarians; the failure of payment has deprived us of the
right of command, or even of admonition. Be assured, dread Sir,
that the greater part of your troops have already deserted to the
Goths. If the war could be achieved by the presence of
Belisarius alone, your wishes are satisfied; Belisarius is in the
midst of Italy. But if you desire to conquer, far other
preparations are requisite: without a military force, the title
of general is an empty name. It would be expedient to restore to
my service my own veteran and domestic guards. Before I can take
the field, I must receive an adequate supply of light and heavy
armed troops; and it is only with ready money that you can
procure the indispensable aid of a powerful body of the cavalry
of the Huns." ^11 An officer in whom Belisarius confided was sent
from Ravenna to hasten and conduct the succors; but the message
was neglected, and the messenger was detained at Constantinople
by an advantageous marriage. After his patience had been
exhausted by delay and disappointment, the Roman general repassed
the Adriatic, and expected at Dyrrachium the arrival of the
troops, which were slowly assembled among the subjects and allies
of the empire. His powers were still inadequate to the
deliverance of Rome, which was closely besieged by the Gothic
king. The Appian way, a march of forty days, was covered by the
Barbarians; and as the prudence of Belisarius declined a battle,
he preferred the safe and speedy navigation of five days from the
coast of Epirus to the mouth of the Tyber.

[Footnote 11: Procopius, l. iii. c. 12. The soul of a hero is
deeply impressed on the letter; nor can we confound such genuine
and original acts with the elaborate and often empty speeches of
the Byzantine historians]
After reducing, by force, or treaty, the towns of inferior
note in the midland provinces of Italy, Totila proceeded, not to
assault, but to encompass and starve, the ancient capital. Rome
was afflicted by the avarice, and guarded by the valor, of
Bessas, a veteran chief of Gothic extraction, who filled, with a
garrison of three thousand soldiers, the spacious circle of her
venerable walls. From the distress of the people he extracted a
profitable trade, and secretly rejoiced in the continuance of the
siege. It was for his use that the granaries had been
replenished: the charity of Pope Vigilius had purchased and
embarked an ample supply of Sicilian corn; but the vessels which
escaped the Barbarians were seized by a rapacious governor, who
imparted a scanty sustenance to the soldiers, and sold the
remainder to the wealthy Romans. The medimnus, or fifth part of
the quarter of wheat, was exchanged for seven pieces of gold;
fifty pieces were given for an ox, a rare and accidental prize;
the progress of famine enhanced this exorbitant value, and the
mercenaries were tempted to deprive themselves of the allowance
which was scarcely sufficient for the support of life. A
tasteless and unwholesome mixture, in which the bran thrice
exceeded the quantity of flour, appeased the hunger of the poor;
they were gradually reduced to feed on dead horses, dogs, cats,
and mice, and eagerly to snatch the grass, and even the nettles,
which grew among the ruins of the city. A crowd of spectres,
pale and emaciated, their bodies oppressed with disease, and
their minds with despair, surrounded the palace of the governor,
urged, with unavailing truth, that it was the duty of a master to
maintain his slaves, and humbly requested that he would provide
for their subsistence, to permit their flight, or command their
immediate execution. Bessas replied, with unfeeling
tranquillity, that it was impossible to feed, unsafe to dismiss,
and unlawful to kill, the subjects of the emperor. Yet the
example of a private citizen might have shown his countrymen that
a tyrant cannot withhold the privilege of death. Pierced by the
cries of five children, who vainly called on their father for
bread, he ordered them to follow his steps, advanced with calm
and silent despair to one of the bridges of the Tyber, and,
covering his face, threw himself headlong into the stream, in the
presence of his family and the Roman people. To the rich and
pusillammous, Bessas ^12 sold the permission of departure; but
the greatest part of the fugitives expired on the public
highways, or were intercepted by the flying parties of
Barbarians. In the mean while, the artful governor soothed the
discontent, and revived the hopes of the Romans, by the vague
reports of the fleets and armies which were hastening to their
relief from the extremities of the East. They derived more
rational comfort from the assurance that Belisarius had landed at
the port; and, without numbering his forces, they firmly relied
on the humanity, the courage, and the skill of their great

[Footnote 12: The avarice of Bessas is not dissembled by
Procopius, (l. iii. c. 17, 20.) He expiated the loss of Rome by
the glorious conquest of Petraea, (Goth. l. iv. c. 12;) but the
same vices followed him from the Tyber to the Phasis, (c. 13;)
and the historian is equally true to the merits and defects of
his character. The chastisement which the author of the romance
of Belisaire has inflicted on the oppressor of Rome is more
agreeable to justice than to history.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of

Part II.

The foresight of Totila had raised obstacles worthy of such
an antagonist. Ninety furlongs below the city, in the narrowest
part of the river, he joined the two banks by strong and solid
timbers in the form of a bridge, on which he erected two lofty
towers, manned by the bravest of his Goths, and profusely stored
with missile weapons and engines of offence. The approach of the
bridge and towers was covered by a strong and massy chain of
iron; and the chain, at either end, on the opposite sides of the
Tyber, was defended by a numerous and chosen detachment of
archers. But the enterprise of forcing these barriers, and
relieving the capital, displays a shining example of the boldness
and conduct of Belisarius. His cavalry advanced from the port
along the public road, to awe the motions, and distract the
attention of the enemy. His infantry and provisions were
distributed in two hundred large boats; and each boat was
shielded by a high rampart of thick planks, pierced with many
small holes for the discharge of missile weapons. In the front,
two large vessels were linked together to sustain a floating
castle, which commanded the towers of the bridge, and contained a
magazine of fire, sulphur, and bitumen. The whole fleet, which
the general led in person, was laboriously moved against the
current of the river. The chain yielded to their weight, and the
enemies who guarded the banks were either slain or scattered. As
soon as they touched the principal barrier, the fire- ship was
instantly grappled to the bridge; one of the towers, with two
hundred Goths, was consumed by the flames; the assailants shouted
victory; and Rome was saved, if the wisdom of Belisarius had not
been defeated by the misconduct of his officers. He had
previously sent orders to Bessas to second his operations by a
timely sally from the town; and he had fixed his lieutenant,
Isaac, by a peremptory command, to the station of the port. But
avarice rendered Bessas immovable; while the youthful ardor of
Isaac delivered him into the hands of a superior enemy. The
exaggerated rumor of his defeat was hastily carried to the ears
of Belisarius: he paused; betrayed in that single moment of his
life some emotions of surprise and perplexity; and reluctantly
sounded a retreat to save his wife Antonina, his treasures, and
the only harbor which he possessed on the Tuscan coast. The
vexation of his mind produced an ardent and almost mortal fever;
and Rome was left without protection to the mercy or indignation
of Totila. The continuance of hostilities had imbittered the
national hatred: the Arian clergy was ignominiously driven from
Rome; Pelagius, the archdeacon, returned without success from an
embassy to the Gothic camp; and a Sicilian bishop, the envoy or
nuncio of the pope, was deprived of both his hands, for daring to
utter falsehoods in the service of the church and state.

Famine had relaxed the strength and discipline of the
garrison of Rome. They could derive no effectual service from a
dying people; and the inhuman avarice of the merchant at length
absorbed the vigilance of the governor. Four Isaurian sentinels,
while their companions slept, and their officers were absent,
descended by a rope from the wall, and secretly proposed to the
Gothic king to introduce his troops into the city. The offer was
entertained with coldness and suspicion; they returned in safety;
they twice repeated their visit; the place was twice examined;
the conspiracy was known and disregarded; and no sooner had
Totila consented to the attempt, than they unbarred the Asinarian
gate, and gave admittance to the Goths. Till the dawn of day,
they halted in order of battle, apprehensive of treachery or
ambush; but the troops of Bessas, with their leader, had already
escaped; and when the king was pressed to disturb their retreat,
he prudently replied, that no sight could be more grateful than
that of a flying enemy. The patricians, who were still possessed
of horses, Decius, Basilius, &c. accompanied the governor; their
brethren, among whom Olybrius, Orestes, and Maximus, are named by
the historian, took refuge in the church of St. Peter: but the
assertion, that only five hundred persons remained in the
capital, inspires some doubt of the fidelity either of his
narrative or of his text. As soon as daylight had displayed the
entire victory of the Goths, their monarch devoutly visited the
tomb of the prince of the apostles; but while he prayed at the
altar, twenty-five soldiers, and sixty citizens, were put to the
sword in the vestibule of the temple. The archdeacon Pelagius
^13 stood before him, with the Gospels in his hand. "O Lord, be
merciful to your servant." "Pelagius," said Totila, with an
insulting smile, "your pride now condescends to become a
suppliant." "I am a suppliant," replied the prudent archdeacon;
"God has now made us your subjects, and as your subjects, we are
entitled to your clemency." At his humble prayer, the lives of
the Romans were spared; and the chastity of the maids and matrons
was preserved inviolate from the passions of the hungry soldiers.

But they were rewarded by the freedom of pillage, after the most
precious spoils had been reserved for the royal treasury. The
houses of the senators were plentifully stored with gold and
silver; and the avarice of Bessas had labored with so much guilt
and shame for the benefit of the conqueror. In this revolution,
the sons and daughters of Roman consuls lasted the misery which
they had spurned or relieved, wandered in tattered garments
through the streets of the city and begged their bread, perhaps
without success, before the gates of their hereditary mansions.
The riches of Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus and widow of
Boethius, had been generously devoted to alleviate the calamities
of famine. But the Barbarians were exasperated by the report,
that she had prompted the people to overthrow the statues of the
great Theodoric; and the life of that venerable matron would have
been sacrificed to his memory, if Totila had not respected her
birth, her virtues, and even the pious motive of her revenge. The
next day he pronounced two orations, to congratulate and admonish
his victorious Goths, and to reproach the senate, as the vilest
of slaves, with their perjury, folly, and ingratitude; sternly
declaring, that their estates and honors were justly forfeited to
the companions of his arms. Yet he consented to forgive their
revolt; and the senators repaid his clemency by despatching
circular letters to their tenants and vassals in the provinces of
Italy, strictly to enjoin them to desert the standard of the
Greeks, to cultivate their lands in peace, and to learn from
their masters the duty of obedience to a Gothic sovereign.
Against the city which had so long delayed the course of his
victories, he appeared inexorable: one third of the walls, in
different parts, were demolished by his command; fire and engines
prepared to consume or subvert the most stately works of
antiquity; and the world was astonished by the fatal decree, that
Rome should be changed into a pasture for cattle. The firm and
temperate remonstrance of Belisarius suspended the execution; he
warned the Barbarian not to sully his fame by the destruction of
those monuments which were the glory of the dead, and the delight
of the living; and Totila was persuaded, by the advice of an
enemy, to preserve Rome as the ornament of his kingdom, or the
fairest pledge of peace and reconciliation. When he had signified
to the ambassadors of Belisarius his intention of sparing the
city, he stationed an army at the distance of one hundred and
twenty furlongs, to observe the motions of the Roman general.
With the remainder of his forces he marched into Lucania and
Apulia, and occupied on the summit of Mount Garganus ^14 one of
the camps of Hannibal. ^15 The senators were dragged in his
train, and afterwards confined in the fortresses of Campania: the
citizens, with their wives and children, were dispersed in exile;
and during forty days Rome was abandoned to desolate and dreary
solitude. ^16

[Footnote 13: During the long exile, and after the death of
Vigilius, the Roman church was governed, at first by the
archdeacon, and at length (A. D 655) by the pope Pelagius, who
was not thought guiltless of the sufferings of his predecessor.
See the original lives of the popes under the name of Anastasius,
(Muratori, Script. Rer. Italicarum, tom. iii. P. i. p. 130, 131,)
who relates several curious incidents of the sieges of Rome and
the wars of Italy.]

[Footnote 14: Mount Garganus, now Monte St. Angelo, in the
kingdom of Naples, runs three hundred stadia into the Adriatic
Sea, (Strab. - vi. p. 436,) and in the darker ages was
illustrated by the apparition, miracles, and church, of St.
Michael the archangel. Horace, a native of Apulia or Lucania,
had seen the elms and oaks of Garganus laboring and bellowing
with the north wind that blew on that lofty coast, (Carm. ii. 9,
Epist. ii. i. 201.)]
[Footnote 15: I cannot ascertain this particular camp of
Hannibal; but the Punic quarters were long and often in the
neighborhood of Arpi, (T. Liv. xxii. 9, 12, xxiv. 3, &c.)]

[Footnote 16: Totila .... Romam ingreditur .... ac evertit muros,
domos aliquantas igni comburens, ac omnes Romanorum res in
praedam ac cepit, hos ipsos Romanos in Campaniam captivos
abduxit. Post quam devastationem, xl. autamp lius dies, Roma
fuit ita desolata, ut nemo ibi hominum, nisi (nulloe?) bestiae
morarentur, (Marcellin. in Chron. p. 54.)]

The loss of Rome was speedily retrieved by an action, to
which, according to the event, the public opinion would apply the
names of rashness or heroism. After the departure of Totila, the
Roman general sallied from the port at the head of a thousand
horse, cut in pieces the enemy who opposed his progress, and
visited with pity and reverence the vacant space of the eternal
city. Resolved to maintain a station so conspicuous in the eyes
of mankind, he summoned the greatest part of his troops to the
standard which he erected on the Capitol: the old inhabitants
were recalled by the love of their country and the hopes of food;
and the keys of Rome were sent a second time to the emperor
Justinian. The walls, as far as they had been demolished by the
Goths, were repaired with rude and dissimilar materials; the
ditch was restored; iron spikes ^17 were profusely scattered in
the highways to annoy the feet of the horses; and as new gates
could not suddenly be procured, the entrance was guarded by a
Spartan rampart of his bravest soldiers. At the expiration of
twenty-five days, Totila returned by hasty marches from Apulia to
avenge the injury and disgrace. Belisarius expected his
approach. The Goths were thrice repulsed in three general
assaults; they lost the flower of their troops; the royal
standard had almost fallen into the hands of the enemy, and the
fame of Totila sunk, as it had risen, with the fortune of his
arms. Whatever skill and courage could achieve, had been
performed by the Roman general: it remained only that Justinian
should terminate, by a strong and seasonable effort, the war
which he had ambitiously undertaken. The indolence, perhaps the
impotence, of a prince who despised his enemies, and envied his
servants, protracted the calamities of Italy. After a long
silence, Belisarius was commanded to leave a sufficient garrison
at Rome, and to transport himself into the province of Lucania,
whose inhabitants, inflamed by Catholic zeal, had cast away the
yoke of their Arian conquerors. In this ignoble warfare, the
hero, invincible against the power of the Barbarians, was basely
vanquished by the delay, the disobedience, and the cowardice of
his own officers. He reposed in his winter quarters of Crotona,
in the full assurance, that the two passes of the Lucanian hills
were guarded by his cavalry. They were betrayed by treachery or
weakness; and the rapid march of the Goths scarcely allowed time
for the escape of Belisarius to the coast of Sicily. At length a
fleet and army were assembled for the relief of Ruscianum, or
Rossano, ^18 a fortress sixty furlongs from the ruins of Sybaris,
where the nobles of Lucania had taken refuge. In the first
attempt, the Roman forces were dissipated by a storm. In the
second, they approached the shore; but they saw the hills covered
with archers, the landing-place defended by a line of spears, and
the king of the Goths impatient for battle. The conqueror of
Italy retired with a sigh, and continued to languish, inglorious
and inactive, till Antonina, who had been sent to Constantinople
to solicit succors, obtained, after the death of the empress, the
permission of his return.

[Footnote 17: The tribuli are small engines with four spikes, one
fixed in the ground, the three others erect or adverse,
(Procopius, Gothic. l. iii. c. 24. Just. Lipsius, Poliorcetwv, l.
v. c. 3.) The metaphor was borrowed from the tribuli,
(land-caltrops,) an herb with a prickly fruit, commex in Italy.
(Martin, ad Virgil. Georgic. i. 153 vol. ii. p. 33.)]

[Footnote 18: Ruscia, the navale Thuriorum, was transferred to
the distance of sixty stadia to Ruscianum, Rossano, an
archbishopric without suffragans. The republic of Sybaris is now
the estate of the duke of Corigliano. (Riedesel, Travels into
Magna Graecia and Sicily, p. 166 - 171.)]

The five last campaigns of Belisarius might abate the envy
of his competitors, whose eyes had been dazzled and wounded by
the blaze of his former glory. Instead of delivering Italy from
the Goths, he had wandered like a fugitive along the coast,
without daring to march into the country, or to accept the bold
and repeated challenge of Totila. Yet, in the judgment of the
few who could discriminate counsels from events, and compare the
instruments with the execution, he appeared a more consummate
master of the art of war, than in the season of his prosperity,
when he presented two captive kings before the throne of
Justinian. The valor of Belisarius was not chilled by age: his
prudence was matured by experience; but the moral virtues of
humanity and justice seem to have yielded to the hard necessity
of the times. The parsimony or poverty of the emperor compelled
him to deviate from the rule of conduct which had deserved the
love and confidence of the Italians. The war was maintained by
the oppression of Ravenna, Sicily, and all the faithful subjects
of the empire; and the rigorous prosecution of Herodian provoked
that injured or guilty officer to deliver Spoleto into the hands
of the enemy. The avarice of Antonina, which had been some times
diverted by love, now reigned without a rival in her breast.
Belisarius himself had always understood, that riches, in a
corrupt age, are the support and ornament of personal merit. And
it cannot be presumed that he should stain his honor for the
public service, without applying a part of the spoil to his
private emolument. The hero had escaped the sword of the
Barbarians. But the dagger of conspiracy ^19 awaited his return.
In the midst of wealth and honors, Artaban, who had chastised the
African tyrant, complained of the ingratitude of courts. He
aspired to Praejecta, the emperor's niece, who wished to reward
her deliverer; but the impediment of his previous marriage was
asserted by the piety of Theodora. The pride of royal descent
was irritated by flattery; and the service in which he gloried
had proved him capable of bold and sanguinary deeds. The death
of Justinian was resolved, but the conspirators delayed the
execution till they could surprise Belisarius disarmed, and
naked, in the palace of Constantinople. Not a hope could be
entertained of shaking his long-tried fidelity; and they justly
dreaded the revenge, or rather the justice, of the veteran
general, who might speedily assemble an army in Thrace to punish
the assassins, and perhaps to enjoy the fruits of their crime.
Delay afforded time for rash communications and honest
confessions: Artaban and his accomplices were condemned by the
senate, but the extreme clemency of Justinian detained them in
the gentle confinement of the palace, till he pardoned their
flagitious attempt against his throne and life. If the emperor
forgave his enemies, he must cordially embrace a friend whose
victories were alone remembered, and who was endeared to his
prince by the recent circumstances of their common danger.
Belisarius reposed from his toils, in the high station of general
of the East and count of the domestics; and the older consuls and
patricians respectfully yielded the precedency of rank to the
peerless merit of the first of the Romans. ^20 The first of the
Romans still submitted to be the slave of his wife; but the
servitude of habit and affection became less disgraceful when the
death of Theodora had removed the baser influence of fear.
Joannina, their daughter, and the sole heiress of their fortunes,
was betrothed to Anastasius, the grandson, or rather the nephew,
of the empress, ^21 whose kind interposition forwarded the
consummation of their youthful loves. But the power of Theodora
expired, the parents of Joannina returned, and her honor, perhaps
her happiness, were sacrificed to the revenge of an unfeeling
mother, who dissolved the imperfect nuptials before they had been
ratified by the ceremonies of the church. ^22
[Footnote 19: This conspiracy is related by Procopius (Gothic. l.
iii. c. 31, 32, with such freedom and candor, that the liberty of
the Anecdotes gives him nothing to add.]

[Footnote 20: The honors of Belisarius are gladly commemorated by
his secretary, (Procop. Goth. l. iii. c. 35, l. iv. c. 21.) This
title is ill translated, at least in this instance, by praefectus
praetorio; and to a military character, magister militum is more
proper and applicable, (Ducange, Gloss. Graec. p. 1458, 1459.)]

[Footnote 21: Alemannus, (ad Hist. Arcanum, p. 68,) Ducange,
(Familiae Byzant. p. 98,) and Heineccius, (Hist. Juris Civilis,
p. 434,) all three represent Anastasius as the son of the
daughter of Theodora; and their opinion firmly reposes on the
unambiguous testimony of Procopius, (Anecdot. c. 4, 5, - twice
repeated.) And yet I will remark, 1. That in the year 547,
Theodora could sarcely have a grandson of the age of puberty; 2.
That we are totally ignorant of this daughter and her husband;
and, 3. That Theodora concealed her bastards, and that her
grandson by Justinian would have been heir apparent of the

[Footnote 22: The sins of the hero in Italy and after his return,
are manifested, and most probably swelled, by the author of the
Anecdotes, (c. 4, 5.) The designs of Antonina were favored by the
fluctuating jurisprudence of Justinian. On the law of marriage
and divorce, that emperor was trocho versatilior, (Heineccius,
Element Juris Civil. ad Ordinem Pandect. P. iv. No. 233.)]

Before the departure of Belisarius, Perusia was besieged,
and few cities were impregnable to the Gothic arms. Ravenna,
Ancona, and Crotona, still resisted the Barbarians; and when
Totila asked in marriage one of the daughters of France, he was
stung by the just reproach that the king of Italy was unworthy of
his title till it was acknowledged by the Roman people. Three
thousand of the bravest soldiers had been left to defend the
capital. On the suspicion of a monopoly, they massacred the
governor, and announced to Justinian, by a deputation of the
clergy, that unless their offence was pardoned, and their arrears
were satisfied, they should instantly accept the tempting offers
of Totila. But the officer who succeeded to the command (his
name was Diogenes) deserved their esteem and confidence; and the
Goths, instead of finding an easy conquest, encountered a
vigorous resistance from the soldiers and people, who patiently
endured the loss of the port and of all maritime supplies. The
siege of Rome would perhaps have been raised, if the liberality
of Totila to the Isaurians had not encouraged some of their venal
countrymen to copy the example of treason. In a dark night,
while the Gothic trumpets sounded on another side, they silently
opened the gate of St. Paul: the Barbarians rushed into the city;
and the flying garrison was intercepted before they could reach
the harbor of Centumcellae. A soldier trained in the school of
Belisarius, Paul of Cilicia, retired with four hundred men to the
mole of Hadrian. They repelled the Goths; but they felt the
approach of famine; and their aversion to the taste of
horse-flesh confirmed their resolution to risk the event of a
desperate and decisive sally. But their spirit insensibly
stooped to the offers of capitulation; they retrieved their
arrears of pay, and preserved their arms and horses, by enlisting
in the service of Totila; their chiefs, who pleaded a laudable
attachment to their wives and children in the East, were
dismissed with honor; and above four hundred enemies, who had
taken refuge in the sanctuaries, were saved by the clemency of
the victor. He no longer entertained a wish of destroying the
edifices of Rome, ^23 which he now respected as the seat of the
Gothic kingdom: the senate and people were restored to their
country; the means of subsistence were liberally provided; and
Totila, in the robe of peace, exhibited the equestrian games of
the circus. Whilst he amused the eyes of the multitude, four
hundred vessels were prepared for the embarkation of his troops.
The cities of Rhegium and Tarentum were reduced: he passed into
Sicily, the object of his implacable resentment; and the island
was stripped of its gold and silver, of the fruits of the earth,
and of an infinite number of horses, sheep, and oxen. Sardinia
and Corsica obeyed the fortune of Italy; and the sea-coast of
Greece was visited by a fleet of three hundred galleys. ^24 The
Goths were landed in Corcyra and the ancient continent of Epirus;
they advanced as far as Nicopolis, the trophy of Augustus, and
Dodona, ^25 once famous by the oracle of Jove. In every step of
his victories, the wise Barbarian repeated to Justinian the
desire of peace, applauded the concord of their predecessors, and
offered to employ the Gothic arms in the service of the empire.

[Footnote 23: The Romans were still attached to the monuments of
their ancestors; and according to Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c.
22,) the gallery of Aeneas, of a single rank of oars, 25 feet in
breadth, 120 in length, was preserved entire in the navalia, near
Monte Testaceo, at the foot of the Aventine, (Nardini, Roma
Antica, l. vii. c. 9, p. 466. Donatus, Rom Antiqua, l. iv. c.
13, p. 334) But all antiquity is ignorant of relic.]
[Footnote 24: In these seas Procopius searched without success
for the Isle of Calypso. He was shown, at Phaeacia, or Cocyra,
the petrified ship of Ulysses, (Odyss. xiii. 163;) but he found
it a recent fabric of many stones, dedicated by a merchant to
Jupiter Cassius, (l. iv. c. 22.) Eustathius had supposed it to be
the fanciful likeness of a rock.]

[Footnote 25: M. D'Anville (Memoires de l'Acad. tom. xxxii. p.
513 - 528) illustrates the Gulf of Ambracia; but he cannot
ascertain the situation of Dodona. A country in sight of Italy
is less known than the wilds of America.
Note: On the site of Dodona compare Walpole's Travels in the
East, vol. ii. p. 473; Col. Leake's Northern Greece, vol. iv. p.
163; and a dissertation by the present bishop of Lichfield (Dr.
Butler) in the appendix to Hughes's Travels, vol. i. p. 511. -

Justinian was deaf to the voice of peace: but he neglected
the prosecution of war; and the indolence of his temper
disappointed, in some degree, the obstinacy of his passions.
From this salutary slumber the emperor was awakened by the pope
Vigilius and the patrician Cethegus, who appeared before his
throne, and adjured him, in the name of God and the people, to
resume the conquest and deliverance of Italy. In the choice of
the generals, caprice, as well as judgment, was shown. A fleet
and army sailed for the relief of Sicily, under the conduct of
Liberius; but his youth ^! and want of experience were afterwards
discovered, and before he touched the shores of the island he was
overtaken by his successor. In the place of Liberius, the
conspirator Artaban was raised from a prison to military honors;
in the pious presumption, that gratitude would animate his valor
and fortify his allegiance. Belisarius reposed in the shade of
his laurels, but the command of the principal army was reserved
for Germanus, ^26 the emperor's nephew, whose rank and merit had
been long depressed by the jealousy of the court. Theodora had
injured him in the rights of a private citizen, the marriage of
his children, and the testament of his brother; and although his
conduct was pure and blameless, Justinian was displeased that he
should be thought worthy of the confidence of the malecontents.
The life of Germanus was a lesson of implicit obedience: he nobly
refused to prostitute his name and character in the factions of
the circus: the gravity of his manners was tempered by innocent
cheerfulness; and his riches were lent without interest to
indigent or deserving friends. His valor had formerly triumphed
over the Sclavonians of the Danube and the rebels of Africa: the
first report of his promotion revived the hopes of the Italians;
and he was privately assured, that a crowd of Roman deserters
would abandon, on his approach, the standard of Totila. His
second marriage with Malasontha, the granddaughter of Theodoric
endeared Germanus to the Goths themselves; and they marched with
reluctance against the father of a royal infant the last
offspring of the line of Amali. ^27 A splendid allowance was
assigned by the emperor: the general contribute his private
fortune: his two sons were popular and active and he surpassed,
in the promptitude and success of his levies the expectation of
mankind. He was permitted to select some squadrons of Thracian
cavalry: the veterans, as well as the youth of Constantinople and
Europe, engaged their voluntary service; and as far as the heart
of Germany, his fame and liberality attracted the aid of the
Barbarians. ^* The Romans advanced to Sardica; an army of
Sclavonians fled before their march; but within two days of their
final departure, the designs of Germanus were terminated by his
malady and death. Yet the impulse which he had given to the
Italian war still continued to act with energy and effect. The
maritime towns Ancona, Crotona, Centumcellae, resisted the
assaults of Totila Sicily was reduced by the zeal of Artaban, and
the Gothic navy was defeated near the coast of the Adriatic. The
two fleets were almost equal, forty-seven to fifty galleys: the
victory was decided by the knowledge and dexterity of the Greeks;
but the ships were so closely grappled, that only twelve of the
Goths escaped from this unfortunate conflict. They affected to
depreciate an element in which they were unskilled; but their own
experience confirmed the truth of a maxim, that the master of the
sea will always acquire the dominion of the land. ^28

[Footnote !: This is a singular mistake. Gibbon must have
hastily caught at his inexperience, and concluded that it must
have been from youth. Lord Mahon has pointed out this error, p.
401. I should add that in the last 4to. edition, corrected by
Gibbon, it stands "want of youth and experience;" - but Gibbon
can scarcely have intended such a phrase. - M.]

[Footnote 26: See the acts of Germanus in the public (Vandal. l.
ii, c. 16, 17, 18 Goth. l. iii. c. 31, 32) and private history,
(Anecdot. c. 5,) and those of his son Justin, in Agathias, (l.
iv. p. 130, 131.) Notwithstanding an ambiguous expression of
Jornandes, fratri suo, Alemannus has proved that he was the son
of the emperor's brother.]

[Footnote 27: Conjuncta Aniciorum gens cum Amala stirpe spem
adhuc utii usque generis promittit, (Jornandes, c. 60, p. 703.)
He wrote at Ravenna before the death of Totila]

[Footnote *: See note 31, p. 268. - M.]

[Footnote 28: The third book of Procopius is terminated by the
death of Germanus, (Add. l. iv. c. 23, 24, 25, 26.)]

After the loss of Germanus, the nations were provoked to
smile, by the strange intelligence, that the command of the Roman
armies was given to a eunuch. But the eunuch Narses ^29 is
ranked among the few who have rescued that unhappy name from the
contempt and hatred of mankind. A feeble, diminutive body
concealed the soul of a statesman and a warrior. His youth had
been employed in the management of the loom and distaff, in the
cares of the household, and the service of female luxury; but
while his hands were busy, he secretly exercised the faculties of
a vigorous and discerning mind. A stranger to the schools and the
camp, he studied in the palace to dissemble, to flatter, and to
persuade; and as soon as he approached the person of the emperor,
Justinian listened with surprise and pleasure to the manly
counsels of his chamberlain and private treasurer. ^30 The
talents of Narses were tried and improved in frequent embassies:
he led an army into Italy acquired a practical knowledge of the
war and the country, and presumed to strive with the genius of
Belisarius. Twelve years after his return, the eunuch was chosen
to achieve the conquest which had been left imperfect by the
first of the Roman generals. Instead of being dazzled by vanity
or emulation, he seriously declared that, unless he were armed
with an adequate force, he would never consent to risk his own
glory and that of his sovereign. Justinian granted to the
favorite what he might have denied to the hero: the Gothic war
was rekindled from its ashes, and the preparations were not
unworthy of the ancient majesty of the empire. The key of the
public treasure was put into his hand, to collect magazines, to
levy soldiers, to purchase arms and horses, to discharge the
arrears of pay, and to tempt the fidelity of the fugitives and
deserters. The troops of Germanus were still in arms; they
halted at Salona in the expectation of a new leader; and legions
of subjects and allies were created by the well-known liberality
of the eunuch Narses. The king of the Lombards ^31 satisfied or
surpassed the obligations of a treaty, by lending two thousand
two hundred of his bravest warriors, ^!! who were followed by
three thousand of their martial attendants. Three thousand
Heruli fought on horseback under Philemuth, their native chief;
and the noble Aratus, who adopted the manners and discipline of
Rome, conducted a band of veterans of the same nation. Dagistheus
was released from prison to command the Huns; and Kobad, the
grandson and nephew of the great king, was conspicuous by the
regal tiara at the head of his faithful Persians, who had devoted
themselves to the fortunes of their prince. ^32 Absolute in the
exercise of his authority, more absolute in the affection of his
troops, Narses led a numerous and gallant army from Philippopolis
to Salona, from whence he coasted the eastern side of the
Adriatic as far as the confines of Italy. His progress was
checked. The East could not supply vessels capable of
transporting such multitudes of men and horses. The Franks, who,
in the general confusion, had usurped the greater part of the
Venetian province, refused a free passage to the friends of the
Lombards. The station of Verona was occupied by Teias, with the
flower of the Gothic forces; and that skilful commander had
overspread the adjacent country with the fall of woods and the
inundation of waters. ^33 In this perplexity, an officer of
experience proposed a measure, secure by the appearance of
rashness; that the Roman army should cautiously advance along the
seashore, while the fleet preceded their march, and successively
cast a bridge of boats over the mouths of the rivers, the
Timavus, the Brenta, the Adige, and the Po, that fall into the
Adriatic to the north of Ravenna. Nine days he reposed in the
city, collected the fragments of the Italian army, and marching
towards Rimini to meet the defiance of an insulting enemy.

[Footnote 29: Procopius relates the whole series of this second
Gothic war and the victory of Narses, (l. iv. c. 21, 26 - 35.) A
splendid scene. Among the six subjects of epic poetry which
Tasso revolved in his mind, he hesitated between the conquests of
Italy by Belisarius and by Narses, (Hayley's Works, vol. iv. p.

[Footnote 30: The country of Narses is unknown, since he must not
be confounded with the Persarmenian. Procopius styles him (see
Goth. l. ii. c. 13); Paul Warnefrid, (l. ii. c. 3, p. 776,)
Chartularius: Marcellinus adds the name of Cubicularius. In an
inscription on the Salarian bridge he is entitled Ex-consul,
Ex-praepositus, Cubiculi Patricius, (Mascou, Hist. of the
Germans, l. xiii. c. 25.) The law of Theodosius against ennuchs
was obsolete or abolished, Annotation xx.,) but the foolish
prophecy of the Romans subsisted in full vigor, (Procop. l. iv.
c. 21.)

Note: Lord Mahon supposes them both to have been
Persarmenians. Note, p. 256. - M.]

[Footnote 31: Paul Warnefrid, the Lombard, records with
complacency the succor, service, and honorable dismission of his
countrymen - reipublicae Romanae adversus aemulos adjutores
fuerant, (l. ii. c. i. p. 774, edit. Grot.) I am surprised that
Alboin, their martial king, did not lead his subjects in person.

Note: The Lombards were still at war with the Gepidae. See
Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 25. - M.]

[Footnote !!: Gibbon has blindly followed the translation of
Maltretus: Bis mille ducentos - while the original Greek says
expressly something else, (Goth. lib. iv. c. 26.) In like manner,
(p. 266,) he draws volunteers from Germany, on the authority of
Cousin, who, in one place, has mistaken Germanus for Germania.
Yet only a few pages further we find Gibbon loudly condemning the
French and Latin readers of Procopius. Lord Mahon, p. 403. The
first of these errors remains uncorrected in the new edition of
the Byzantines. - M.]
[Footnote 32: He was, if not an impostor, the son of the blind
Zames, saved by compassion, and educated in the Byzantine court
by the various motives of policy, pride, and generosity, (Procop.
Persic. l. i. c. 23.)]
[Footnote 33: In the time of Augustus, and in the middle ages,
the whole waste from Aquileia to Ravenna was covered with woods,
lakes, and morasses. Man has subdued nature, and the land has
been cultivated since the waters are confined and embanked. See
the learned researches of Muratori, (Antiquitat. Italiae Medii
Aevi. tom. i. dissert xxi. p. 253, 254,) from Vitruvius, Strabo,
Herodian, old charters, and local knowledge.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of

Part III.

The prudence of Narses impelled him to speedy and decisive
action. His powers were the last effort of the state; the cost
of each day accumulated the enormous account; and the nations,
untrained to discipline or fatigue, might be rashly provoked to
turn their arms against each other, or against their benefactor.
The same considerations might have tempered the ardor of Totila.
But he was conscious that the clergy and people of Italy aspired
to a second revolution: he felt or suspected the rapid progress
of treason; and he resolved to risk the Gothic kingdom on the
chance of a day, in which the valiant would be animated by
instant danger and the disaffected might be awed by mutual
ignorance. In his march from Ravenna, the Roman general
chastised the garrison of Rimini, traversed in a direct line the
hills of Urbino, and reentered the Flaminian way, nine miles
beyond the perforated rock, an obstacle of art and nature which
might have stopped or retarded his progress. ^34 The Goths were
assembled in the neighborhood of Rome, they advanced without
delay to seek a superior enemy, and the two armies approached
each other at the distance of one hundred furlongs, between
Tagina ^35 and the sepulchres of the Gauls. ^36 The haughty
message of Narses was an offer, not of peace, but of pardon. The
answer of the Gothic king declared his resolution to die or
conquer. "What day," said the messenger, "will you fix for the
combat?" "The eighth day," replied Totila; but early the next
morning he attempted to surprise a foe, suspicious of deceit, and
prepared for battle. Ten thousand Heruli and Lombards, of
approved valor and doubtful faith, were placed in the centre.
Each of the wings was composed of eight thousand Romans; the
right was guarded by the cavalry of the Huns, the left was
covered by fifteen hundred chosen horse, destined, according to
the emergencies of action, to sustain the retreat of their
friends, or to encompass the flank of the enemy. From his proper
station at the head of the right wing, the eunuch rode along the
line, expressing by his voice and countenance the assurance of
victory; exciting the soldiers of the emperor to punish the guilt
and madness of a band of robbers; and exposing to their view gold
chains, collars, and bracelets, the rewards of military virtue.
From the event of a single combat they drew an omen of success;
and they beheld with pleasure the courage of fifty archers, who
maintained a small eminence against three successive attacks of
the Gothic cavalry. At the distance only of two bow-shots, the
armies spent the morning in dreadful suspense, and the Romans
tasted some necessary food, without unloosing the cuirass from
their breast, or the bridle from their horses. Narses awaited
the charge; and it was delayed by Totila till he had received his
last succors of two thousand Goths. While he consumed the hours
in fruitless treaty, the king exhibited in a narrow space the
strength and agility of a warrior. His armor was enchased with
gold; his purple banner floated with the wind: he cast his lance
into the air; caught it with the right hand; shifted it to the
left; threw himself backwards; recovered his seat; and managed a
fiery steed in all the paces and evolutions of the equestrian
school. As soon as the succors had arrived, he retired to his
tent, assumed the dress and arms of a private soldier, and gave
the signal of a battle. The first line of cavalry advanced with
more courage than discretion, and left behind them the infantry
of the second line. They were soon engaged between the horns of
a crescent, into which the adverse wings had been insensibly
curved, and were saluted from either side by the volleys of four
thousand archers. Their ardor, and even their distress, drove
them forwards to a close and unequal conflict, in which they
could only use their lances against an enemy equally skilled in
all the instruments of war. A generous emulation inspired the
Romans and their Barbarian allies; and Narses, who calmly viewed
and directed their efforts, doubted to whom he should adjudge the
prize of superior bravery. The Gothic cavalry was astonished and
disordered, pressed and broken; and the line of infantry, instead
of presenting their spears, or opening their intervals, were
trampled under the feet of the flying horse. Six thousand of the
Goths were slaughtered without mercy in the field of Tagina.
Their prince, with five attendants, was overtaken by Asbad, of
the race of the Gepidae. "Spare the king of Italy," ^* cried a
loyal voice, and Asbad struck his lance through the body of
Totila. The blow was instantly revenged by the faithful Goths:
they transported their dying monarch seven miles beyond the scene
of his disgrace; and his last moments were not imbittered by the
presence of an enemy. Compassion afforded him the shelter of an
obscure tomb; but the Romans were not satisfied of their victory,
till they beheld the corpse of the Gothic king. His hat,
enriched with gems, and his bloody robe, were presented to
Justinian by the messengers of triumph. ^37

[Footnote 34: The Flaminian way, as it is corrected from the
Itineraries, and the best modern maps, by D'Anville, (Analyse de
l'Italie, p. 147 - 162,) may be thus stated: Rome to Narni, 51
Roman miles; Terni, 57; Spoleto, 75; Foligno, 88; Nocera, 103;
Cagli, 142; Intercisa, 157; Fossombrone, 160; Fano, 176; Pesaro,
184; Rimini, 208 - about 189 English miles. He takes no notice
of the death of Totila; but West selling (Itinerar. p. 614)
exchanges, for the field of Taginas, the unknown appellation of
Ptanias, eight miles from Nocera.]

[Footnote 35: Taginae, or rather Tadinae, is mentioned by Pliny;
but the bishopric of that obscure town, a mile from Gualdo, in
the plain, was united, in the year 1007, with that of Nocera.
The signs of antiquity are preserved in the local appellations,
Fossato, the camp; Capraia, Caprea; Bastia, Busta Gallorum. See
Cluverius, (Italia Antiqua, l. ii. c. 6, p. 615, 616, 617,) Lucas
Holstenius, (Annotat. ad Cluver. p. 85, 86,) Guazzesi,
(Dissertat. p. 177 - 217, a professed inquiry,) and the maps of
the ecclesiastical state and the march of Ancona, by Le Maire and

[Footnote 36: The battle was fought in the year of Rome 458; and
the consul Decius, by devoting his own life, assured the triumph
of his country and his colleague Fabius, (T. Liv. x. 28, 29.)
Procopius ascribes to Camillus the victory of the Busta Gallorum;
and his error is branded by Cluverius with the national reproach
of Graecorum nugamenta.]

[Footnote *: "Dog, wilt thou strike thy Lord?" was the more
characteristic exclamation of the Gothic youth. Procop. lib. iv.
p. 32. - M.]
[Footnote 37: Theophanes, Chron. p. 193. Hist. Miscell. l. xvi.
p. 108.]
As soon as Narses had paid his devotions to the Author of
victory, and the blessed Virgin, his peculiar patroness, ^38 he
praised, rewarded, and dismissed the Lombards. The villages had
been reduced to ashes by these valiant savages; they ravished
matrons and virgins on the altar; their retreat was diligently
watched by a strong detachment of regular forces, who prevented a
repetition of the like disorders. The victorious eunuch pursued
his march through Tuscany, accepted the submission of the Goths,
heard the acclamations, and often the complaints, of the
Italians, and encompassed the walls of Rome with the remainder of
his formidable host. Round the wide circumference, Narses
assigned to himself, and to each of his lieutenants, a real or a
feigned attack, while he silently marked the place of easy and
unguarded entrance. Neither the fortifications of Hadrian's
mole, nor of the port, could long delay the progress of the
conqueror; and Justinian once more received the keys of Rome,
which, under his reign, had been five times taken and recovered.
^39 But the deliverance of Rome was the last calamity of the
Roman people. The Barbarian allies of Narses too frequently
confounded the privileges of peace and war. The despair of the
flying Goths found some consolation in sanguinary revenge; and
three hundred youths of the noblest families, who had been sent
as hostages beyond the Po, were inhumanly slain by the successor
of Totila. The fate of the senate suggests an awful lesson of
the vicissitude of human affairs. Of the senators whom Totila
had banished from their country, some were rescued by an officer
of Belisarius, and transported from Campania to Sicily; while
others were too guilty to confide in the clemency of Justinian,
or too poor to provide horses for their escape to the sea-shore.
Their brethren languished five years in a state of indigence and
exile: the victory of Narses revived their hopes; but their
premature return to the metropolis was prevented by the furious
Goths; and all the fortresses of Campania were stained with
patrician ^40 blood. After a period of thirteen centuries, the
institution of Romulus expired; and if the nobles of Rome still
assumed the title of senators, few subsequent traces can be
discovered of a public council, or constitutional order. Ascend
six hundred years, and contemplate the kings of the earth
soliciting an audience, as the slaves or freedmen of the Roman
senate! ^41

[Footnote 38: Evagrius, l. iv. c. 24. The inspiration of the
Virgin revealed to Narses the day, and the word, of battle, (Paul
Diacon. l. ii. c. 3, p. 776)]

[Footnote 39: (Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 33.)]

In the year 536 by Belisarius, in 546 by Totila, in 547 by
Belisarius, in 549 by Totila, and in 552 by Narses. Maltretus
had inadvertently translated sextum; a mistake which he
afterwards retracts; out the mischief was done; and Cousin, with
a train of French and Latin readers, have fallen into the snare.]

[Footnote 40: Compare two passages of Procopius, (l. iii. c. 26,
l. iv. c. 24,) which, with some collateral hints from Marcellinus
and Jornandes, illustrate the state of the expiring senate.]

[Footnote 41: See, in the example of Prusias, as it is delivered
in the fragments of Polybius, (Excerpt. Legat. xcvii. p. 927,
928,) a curious picture of a royal slave.]

The Gothic war was yet alive. The bravest of the nation
retired beyond the Po; and Teias was unanimously chosen to
succeed and revenge their departed hero. The new king
immediately sent ambassadors to implore, or rather to purchase,
the aid of the Franks, and nobly lavished, for the public safety,
the riches which had been deposited in the palace of Pavia. The
residue of the royal treasure was guarded by his brother Aligern,
at Cumaea, in Campania; but the strong castle which Totila had
fortified was closely besieged by the arms of Narses. From the
Alps to the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the Gothic king, by rapid and
secret marches, advanced to the relief of his brother, eluded the
vigilance of the Roman chiefs, and pitched his camp on the banks
of the Sarnus or Draco, ^42 which flows from Nuceria into the Bay
of Naples. The river separated the two armies: sixty days were
consumed in distant and fruitless combats, and Teias maintained
this important post till he was deserted by his fleet and the
hope of subsistence. With reluctant steps he ascended the
Lactarian mount, where the physicians of Rome, since the time of
Galen, had sent their patients for the benefit of the air and the
milk. ^43 But the Goths soon embraced a more generous resolution:
to descend the hill, to dismiss their horses, and to die in arms,
and in the possession of freedom. The king marched at their
head, bearing in his right hand a lance, and an ample buckler in
his left: with the one he struck dead the foremost of the
assailants; with the other he received the weapons which every
hand was ambitious to aim against his life. After a combat of
many hours, his left arm was fatigued by the weight of twelve
javelins which hung from his shield. Without moving from his
ground, or suspending his blows, the hero called aloud on his
attendants for a fresh buckler; but in the moment while his side
was uncovered, it was pierced by a mortal dart. He fell; and his
head, exalted on a spear, proclaimed to the nations that the
Gothic kingdom was no more. But the example of his death served
only to animate the companions who had sworn to perish with their
leader. They fought till darkness descended on the earth. They
reposed on their arms. The combat was renewed with the return of
light, and maintained with unabated vigor till the evening of the
second day. The repose of a second night, the want of water, and
the loss of their bravest champions, determined the surviving
Goths to accept the fair capitulation which the prudence of
Narses was inclined to propose. They embraced the alternative of
residing in Italy, as the subjects and soldiers of Justinian, or
departing with a portion of their private wealth, in search of
some independent country. ^44 Yet the oath of fidelity or exile
was alike rejected by one thousand Goths, who broke away before
the treaty was signed, and boldly effected their retreat to the
walls of Pavia. The spirit, as well as the situation, of Aligern
prompted him to imitate rather than to bewail his brother: a
strong and dexterous archer, he transpierced with a single arrow
the armor and breast of his antagonist; and his military conduct
defended Cumae ^45 above a year against the forces of the Romans.

Their industry had scooped the Sibyl's cave ^46 into a prodigious
mine; combustible materials were introduced to consume the
temporary props: the wall and the gate of Cumae sunk into the
cavern, but the ruins formed a deep and inaccessible precipice.
On the fragment of a rock Aligern stood alone and unshaken, till
he calmly surveyed the hopeless condition of his country, and
judged it more honorable to be the friend of Narses, than the
slave of the Franks. After the death of Teias, the Roman general
separated his troops to reduce the cities of Italy; Lucca
sustained a long and vigorous siege: and such was the humanity or
the prudence of Narses, that the repeated perfidy of the
inhabitants could not provoke him to exact the forfeit lives of
their hostages. These hostages were dismissed in safety; and
their grateful zeal at length subdued the obstinacy of their
countrymen. ^47

[Footnote 42: The item of Procopius (Goth. l. iv. c. 35) is
evidently the Sarnus. The text is accused or altered by the rash
violence of Cluverius (l. iv. c. 3. p. 1156:) but Camillo
Pellegrini of Naples (Discorsi sopra la Campania Felice, p. 330,
331) has proved from old records, that as early as the year 822
that river was called the Dracontio, or Draconcello.]
[Footnote 43: Galen (de Method. Medendi, l. v. apud Cluver. l.
iv. c. 3, p. 1159, 1160) describes the lofty site, pure air, and
rich milk, of Mount Lactarius, whose medicinal benefits were
equally known and sought in the time of Symmachus (l. vi. epist.
18) and Cassiodorus, (Var. xi. 10.) Nothing is now left except
the name of the town of Lettere.]

[Footnote 44: Buat (tom. xi. p. 2, &c.) conveys to his favorite
Bavaria this remnant of Goths, who by others are buried in the
mountains of Uri, or restored to their native isle of Gothland,
(Mascou, Annot. xxi.)]
[Footnote 45: I leave Scaliger (Animadvers. in Euseb. p. 59) and
Salmasius (Exercitat. Plinian. p. 51, 52) to quarrel about the
origin of Cumae, the oldest of the Greek colonies in Italy,
(Strab. l. v. p. 372, Velleius Paterculus, l. i. c. 4,) already
vacant in Juvenal's time, (Satir. iii.,) and now in ruins.]

[Footnote 46: Agathias (l. i. c. 21) settles the Sibyl's cave
under the wall of Cumae: he agrees with Servius, (ad. l. vi.
Aeneid.;) nor can I perceive why their opinion should be rejected
by Heyne, the excellent editor of Virgil, (tom. ii. p. 650, 651.)
In urbe media secreta religio! But Cumae was not yet built; and
the lines (l. vi. 96, 97) would become ridiculous, if Aeneas were
actually in a Greek city.]

[Footnote 47: There is some difficulty in connecting the 35th
chapter of the fourth book of the Gothic war of Procopius with
the first book of the history of Agathias. We must now
relinquish the statesman and soldier, to attend the footsteps of
a poet and rhetorician, (l. i. p. 11, l. ii. p. 51, edit.

Before Lucca had surrendered, Italy was overwhelmed by a new
deluge of Barbarians. A feeble youth, the grandson of Clovis,
reigned over the Austrasians or oriental Franks. The guardians
of Theodebald entertained with coldness and reluctance the
magnificent promises of the Gothic ambassadors. But the spirit of
a martial people outstripped the timid counsels of the court: two
brothers, Lothaire and Buccelin, ^48 the dukes of the Alemanni,
stood forth as the leaders of the Italian war; and seventy-five
thousand Germans descended in the autumn from the Rhaetian Alps
into the plain of Milan. The vanguard of the Roman army was
stationed near the Po, under the conduct of Fulcaris, a bold
Herulian, who rashly conceived that personal bravery was the sole
duty and merit of a commander. As he marched without order or
precaution along the Aemilian way, an ambuscade of Franks
suddenly rose from the amphitheatre of Parma; his troops were


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