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to A. D.
History. it is admitted, on all hands, that the Capital of the agreeable canopy under which to repose after the fatigues Roman Western Empire suffered less from the arms of the of the battle or the march ; and hence the Gothic arinies
Empire. From Goths than from those of the Gauls, at an earlier pe. uniformly preferred the free exercise which they could
From riod, or even from those of the Germans ten centuries enjoy in the tented plain to the soft beds and dainty fare 395. later. * of the polished city. In point of morals, again, the few
395. In reviewing the principal events recorded in this plain maxims which regulated their conduct had a 410.
section, the reader of History is naturally seized with greater efficacy in recominending Good and deterring Retrospect astonishment at the great change of character in the from Evil, than the ambiguous system of Ethics, which
410. Roman people, as well as with the power, the military was reared on the doctrines of Cicero and the precepts events now skill, and political prudence of the Northern nations, of Antoninus. Their Religion, too, although not very recorded. by whom they were so often defeated, and finally con- complete in point of tenets, was still unsullied by that Character
quered. The spirit which established the Common- pernicious enthusiasm which withdraws the duty of Man
wealth, and extended the arms of Rome over the greater from the practical affairs of life, and places it on useless
Christianit and dangers of war. It was found impracticable to judgment of Origen, and sometimes darkened the path
on their recruit the Legions, raised even for the defence of the of Hieronimus, while engaged in the search of Chris- manners Italian frontier, without having recourse to such means tian truth. They had learned that Jesus Christ preached and prinas at once disgraced the soldier, and proved that he was humanity, and that His Apostles inculcated forbearance ciples. unfit for the duties to which he was called. A con- and brotherly love ; and these great principles imtemptible superstition, the first fruits of corrupted Chris- pressed upon their minds, softened the barbarity of tianity, had directed the attention of the thoughtful to their manners, restrained their native ferocity in the mystic dreams and ridiculous rites; while the luxurious field of battle, and opened their hearts to the claims of mode of living pursued by the great had vitiated the compassion, even amid the excitement and rage which habits of the lower orders, and prepared them to become attend the capture of a city. In fact, the moderation slaves to their appetites before they were compelled to and clemency of the Goths in the Sack of Rome, has become servants to the Goths. Rome, in truth, pre- been regarded by several of the Fathers as the triumph sented within her walls the condensed vice and misery of Christianity over the worst feelings of our corrupted of a large nation. Her Nobles, who could squander nature. Tillemont, whose views of History are in general individually the wealth of a whole Province, had palaces, equally just and pious, takes much pleasure in repeating gardens, and even parks in the city, as if there had been the testimonies of St. Augustin, Orosius, and Jerome no cultivated land beyond the fortifications; while the on this head; and, in fact, he supplies so many proofs mass of the inhabitants, on the other hand, who could in support of his position, that there is no room left for not find ground on which to erect dwelling-houses, were doubt that the soldiers of Alaric displayed more unobliged to rear their buildings to an inconvenient height, questionable tokens of civilization than the depraved piling floor over floor, and thereby exposing their people whom they subdued. families to disease and accident. Still the amusements But the sufferings of the Romans, although exempted Sufferings and dissipation of the Capital presented to the degraded from the extremes of military execution, were such as to of the fugi
tires, populace so many attractions, that a miserable garret, excite universal commiseration. Many fled from the in a crowded street, brought a higher rent than a villa city in the first alarm, and took refuge in some of the at a little distance in the country. Such men, it is small islands contiguous to the Tuscan shore; others obvious, were incapable of inheriting the glory, or of allowed their fears to carry them to a greater distance, imitating the virtue of the ancient Romans: they to the coasts of Egypt, Syria, and Africa, where they trembled at the sound of the Gothic horn on the banks were compelled, by their necessities, to stoop to a of the Tyber ; and feeling themselves destitute of cou- voluntary servitude. St. Jerome relates that every day rage to fight for independence, they made haste to pur- witnessed the arrival, at Bethlehem, of men and women chase, with the spoils which their ancestors had won, of the highest birth, and who had passed their lives in the clemency of their Barbarian conquerors.t
abundance, who were obliged to beg for food. All the Character The Scythians and Germans, on the contrary, who people of the East, says Augustin, mourned the fall of of the Goths, had profited by the discipline, the Arts
, and tactics of Rome, and in the remotest Countries which had acknowRome, were still comparatively free from the
enervating ledged her sway, the large cities exhibited public tokens
his hand; while the Bishop of Hippo, equally grieved
who ascribed the fate of Rome to the introduction of
* Hier. Epist. xii. Aug. de Civit. lib. i. c. 32.
FROM THE SACK OF ROME BY THE GOTHS TO ITS SACK BY THE VANDALS.
FROM A. D. 410. TO A. D. 455.
From A. D.
History Having granted to his troops the full license of even acknowledged as a Roman General, because he im
Roman plunder during the greater part of a week, Alaric with- mediately afterwards led his army into the Southern Pro- Empire. From
drew them from a scene wherein their morals and disci- vinces of Gaul, where he took possession of Narbonne, A.D. pline were in equal danger of being impaired. Orosius Thoulouse, and Bourdeaux, in the name of Honorius. 410.
says, that the Gothic Prince left Rome on the third day, His alliance with the Imperial interests was soon still but other authorities are unanimous in extending his further strengthened by his marriage with Placidia, the
410. residence in the Capital to double that period; various daughter of the great Theodosius, whom he found as a Aircravareasons being assigned by the different Historians for hostage or a captive in the train of Alaric. The pride
455. gas laly.step which, however, presented nothing at variance with which mighit, perhaps, become the successors of Augus
the policy he had all along pursued. He directed his tus, opposed for a time a serious obstacle to this union march Southwards through the fertile Provinces which of a Princess with a Chief of Barbarians; but, as the extend between the Tyber and the Straits of Rhegium; wishes of the maiden herself were not averse to the plundering the country and destroying such of the cities match, the wedding was celebrated with a degree of as presumed to oppose his progress. The beauty or magnificence and expense which exceed
even the riches of Sicily tempted the eyes of his followers; and fictions of a Fairy Tale. he resolved to gratify them by the conquest of an island It is pleasing to observe that the Ministers of Hono- Measures which had contributed so much to the fame and luxury rins, who had neither the courage nor the prudence to for the relief of the Romans. But this enterprise, easy and unim- avert the calamities of war, had yet enough of feeling of the conportant when compared with the other exploits of and political wisdom to adopt means for compensating quered ProAlaric, baffled the skill of his rude soldiers, and excited those parts of Italy which had suffered the most from among them a degree of apprehension to which they the ravages of the Goths. The wasted Provinces were
had ever been strangers in the midst of greater perils. gradually restored to wealth and security; the Capital His death. At this juncture, too, the death of their renowned Chief was adorned with new buildings, and strengthened by
increased their fears and perplexity. Despairing of the daily arrival of additional inhabitants; and it was success they relinquished the undertaking, and directed remarked that, after the lapse of a few years, the traces all their cares to the funeral of their King. That his of invasion and conquest could no longer be perceived, obsequies might be worthy of his character and fortune either in the city or in the fields. The tranquillity of so they turned aside the stream of a small river, dug a extensive an Empire, however, could not remain long spacious cavern under its vacant bed, adorned the undisturbed. Count Heraclion, who had so faithfully sepulchre with the jewels and precious stones of which supported the cause of his master when oppressed by Insurrecthey had stripped the inhabitants of Rome; and when the arms of Alaric, was, in the year 413, induc d by tion of they had deposited the remains of Alaric, they slew the some of his ambitious retainers to display the Standard Herac ion. persons employed to construct his tomb, admitted again of Rebellion in Africa, and to assume the title of the waters of the Barentinus, and thereby effectually Emperor. Embarking with a considerable army he concealed the spot wherein the conqueror of Italy landed at the mouth of the Tyber, and proceeded reposes.*
towards Rome; but being met by Constantius, one of The command of the Goths was confided to his the Imperial Commanders, a battle ensued, in which brother-in-law, Adaolphus, upon whom was also con- the rebel was completely routed, and compelled to seek ferred the regal dignity, which appears to have been at safety in a disgraceful flight. If we may credit Orosius, that time strictly elective. Inheriting the moderate the armament with which he left Carthage consisted of pacific views of his predecessor, he at once resumed more than three thousand ships; but his retreat was so negotiations with the Court of Ravenna to effect a per- precipitate, that he returned to his Province with only a manent and honourable Peace. We nowhere find the single vessel and very few attendants. The Africans, details of this Treaty recorded; but it is probable that who had instantly repented of their treason, despised his overtures were favourably received, and that he was the pusillanimity of their Governor, and regretted not Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 30. Idat. Chron. Oros. lib. vii. * Philostorg. lib. xii. c. 4. Zos, lib. vi. c. 12. Olympiador. apud
Phot. p. 185.
2 K 2
le scceed ed by bis
to A. D.
History. to see his crime punished by the sacrifice of his life. was the more inclined to listen to the proposals of Roman
He was beheaded in the Temple of Memory, his private the Roman Government, which was desirous to secure Empire. From fortune was confiscated, and his public deeds cancelled his services at almost any price. To strengthen
From from the national record.*
their arguments, the ambassadors from Ravenna in410.
A. D. The feeble adıniuistration of Honorius naturally pro- formed him that Constantius was on his march to attack voked insurrection in the remoter Provinces, where his the Goths with an overwhelming force. The pressure
was neither feared nor respected. We have of famine, too, had already begun to afflict the soldiers . Revolt and already mentioned the revolt of Constantine in Britain of Wallia, and prepared them to receive the overtures
455. death of
of Honorius with less reluctance. A Treaty was com-
than Jovinus, another usurper, assumed the Purple in one side, the restoration of Placidia to the Court of her
Spain to length Adaolphus, enraged at the favourable reception to effect the delivery of the Spanish Provinces from the
the Empireof Sarus, the hereditary enemy of his House, in the camp domination of the German invaders. In the course of of the usurpers, took the field against them, defeated three years he exterminated several Tribes, and compelled them in battle, and sent to the Emperor, at Ravenna, the remainder to acknowledge the sovereignty of Hothe heads of the two brothers. Thus, in the space norius. The Alani, who lost their King in battle, of five years, seven Pretenders yielded to the fortune sought protection among the Suevi and Vandals, who, of a Prince who was incapable of leading a cohort to in their turn, were glad to shun the victorious arms of action, or even of presiding in the deliberations of his the Goths, and seek for shelter among the fortresses of Council.
the highest mountains. The successes of Wallia were Fidelity of Adaolphus.
If the fidelity of Adaolphus ever wavered, it was duly reported to the Emperor, who was induced to celecompletely restored by the issue of the war against brate them by a triumphal entry into his Capital, eight Jovinus. The allegiance of Gaul was the first fruit of years after it was sacked by the hands of the same people his victory; immediately after which he prepared an whose victories had just reestablished his authority in armament for the recovery of Spain from the arms of the fairest Provinces of his transalpine dominions.* the Vandals and Suevi, who had been induced to pur- But whatever might be the effect of the Gothic The Goiks sue their success beyond the limits of the Pyrenees. 'He triumphs on the happiness and stability of the general settle ia
. began by reducing Barcelona, where he took up his Government, they produced no advantage to the unforresidence, and where also he had the satisfaction to be tunate Provincials. A change of masters, and a slight informed of the birth of a son, whom he named Theo- difference in the mode of exacting tribute, were the only dosius, after the renowned father of Placidia. His circumstances which varied the oppression to which rejoicings, however, were not of long duration, for the they had been long accustomed. The soldiers of Alaric,
infant died at the age of a few weeks, and he himself who, like himself, preferred the mild climate and rich Jis death. was assassinated in the Palace of the same city, by one plains of the South to the severer sky and barren regions
of the followers of Sarus, whom he had taken into his whence they emigrated, were disposed to settle in the
whose grounds they took, and whose houses they entered; Is succeed
The Gothic sceptre was next placed in the hands of and, while they pillaged the subjects of Honorius, they ed by Wal- Wallia, whose talents and ambition pointed him out as failed not to magnify his authority, to boast of their own
worthy to succeed the great Alaric. As soon, accord- allegiance, and to place their greatest honour in acting
government, permitted the foundations to be laid of * Theod. Cod. lib. xi, tit. 27. Oros, lib. vii. c. 42. Zos. lib. vi. c, 8–10. Philostorg. lib. xii. c. 5, 6. Soz. lib. ix. c, 12, 13.
* Olympiador, apud Phot. Oros. lib. vii, c. 43. Jornand. 31, 32. + Oros. lib. vii. c. 41. Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 33. Oros. ubi suprà. Olympiador. Chron.
From 4. D.
to A. D.
History, several powerful Kingdoms, which have since eclipsed, had belonged to their ancestors, repaired their castles, Roman w in wealth, science, learning, and all the higher qualities and placed themselves at the head of their followers; Empire. of social life, even the mighty Republic over which it was while, in the larger cities, the Clerical Order, already
From his fortune to reign.
risen to authority, with the Council of magistrates and 410. The middle of the Vth century presents to the Histo- freemen, now annually elected, maintained the weight
410. rian and Lawyer many subjects of the greatest interest; which was due to the best informed classes of the people.
for, at that period, several of those Institutions which But we must not allow these reflections, on a state of 453.
distinguish the polity of modern from ancient nations, things which so soon passed away, to divert us from the Sate of
455. Gaul. are known to have assumed a silent origin, and to have main object of this section, which is to give an outline
arisen, in fact, from the peculiar circumstances into of the military and political events which preceded the which the decline of the Roman State, and the ascend- subversion of the Western Empire. ancy of the Gothic interests had thrown the greater Honorius, who never waged any foreign war, was part of the South of Europe. The comparative freedom exempted from the alarms of domestic insurrection which prevailed in the camps of the Northern nations, during the latter years of his reign. His sister Plaextended gradually to the government of the cities and cidia, to whom fortune had presented herself under so territory which fell into their hands; and, hence, even many various aspects, became, at length, the wife of the in the latter years of Honorius, we perceive the rudi- brave Constantius, a faithful Counsellor and an able ments of the Representative system assuming a some- General. His services entitled him to this mark of what regular form, and applied to the administration of Imperial favour; and as the widow of Adaolphus had considerable Provinces. In those districts of Gaul, for been accustomed to the titles and privileges of royalty, example, which are bounded by the Western Pyrenees she prevailed upon her brother to accept a colleague in and the Atlantic Ocean, an annual Assembly, under the the person of her new husband. But the death of Conauthority of the Emperor, was held for the framing of stantius, which took place soon after his accession to laws, for the equal imposition of taxes, for interpreting power, left the son of Theodosius once more the sole and executing the Imperial Edicts, and for consulting, possessor of the Italian throne; upon which, becoming generally, on the public affairs of the Country. The impatient of the ascendancy which Placidia had acquired constituent Members were the Prætorian Præfect, the at Court and among the Gothic soldiers who surrounded Provincial Governors, the magistrates and ciergy of the Palace, he compelled her to seek an asylum in the about sixty cities, and a certain number of the occupiers territories of her nephew, the Emperor of the East. of land. Here were the elements of a free Constitution She met with a cordial reception at Constantinople from generated by the weakness and tyranny of a despotic the young Theodosius, who eagerly embraced the opGovernment; and nothing was wanting but zeal and mu- portunity of renewing some connection with the politics tual confidence to restore the power of Rome to a higher of the West; for, as Honorius had no children to sucpitch than it had reached even in the days of Augustus. ceed him in the government of Rome, and as ValentiThe Romans, however, were incapable of appreciating nianus, the son of Placidia by Constantius, was still a the advantages which were thus held out to them. The mere infant, he could not fail to anticipate a crisis which representatives of the National Council, who could de- might call for the exercise of his authority, and, perhaps, rive from it neither honour nor gain, refused to sacrifice add to the boundaries of his Empire. Accordingly, a Death of their time to idle deliberations; and, although their few months only elapsed when the throne of the West be. Honorius. attendance was compelled by a heavy fine, they still came vacant by the demise of his uncle. It was seized, showed much reluctance in accepting the boon for which, indeed, by the principal Secretary, John, (better known 423. as Honorius reasonably expected, they ought to have in History as John the Notary,) and an attempt was made expressed the deepest gratitude.*
by the usurper to maintain, by arms, the power which Similar advances towards political improvement were he had assumed ; but a numerous army commanded by observable even in Britain. After the usurper Con- the best Generals of Theodosius, and accompanied by stantine withdrew the Legions to prosecute his ambitious Placidia and her children to the banks of the Po, deschemes in Gaul, the natives, who had borrowed from feated the tumultuary levies which were brought against their Roman masters the knowledge of letters and of them, deprived the traitor of life, and removed all obCivil institutions, laboured to perfect the plan of muni- stacles to the accession of the legitimate heir, Valenticipal government which they had established in the nianus III.+ principal cities. It is not easy to determine the precise To secure the advantage of connection we will pursue period at which the armies of the Empire left this island a little longer the History of the West, before we resume as conquerors; whether they at any time afterwards the narrative of Eastern affairs, which was interrupted visited it merely as allies, and whether, in the final war by the death of Arcadius. After the lapse of a few against the Picts and Caledonians, they attempted to years a .common danger, the invasion of the Huns, recover the Province for themselves, or only to secure unites for a time the interests of the two great divisions it entire for their late tributaries, the Britons. But it, of the Roman world, and presents a point at which their nevertheless, admits not of any doubt that the inha- annals naturally converge. Till we arrive at that epoch, bitants of the larger towns, in the reign of Honorius, therefore, our attention shall be restricted to the events had attained to a considerable degree of political im- which occurred under the Regency of Placidia, who, in portance, and even attracted the respect of the Imperial the name of her son, governed the Provinces Westward Court. During the period between the retirement of of the Adriatic during the space of twenty-five years. the Romans and the invasion of the Saxon pirates, the hereditary chiefs of the ancient British families reas
* Procop. de Bell. Vandal. lib. i. c. 2. Zos, lib. vi. c. 11. Rutil.
Hiner. p. 126.
lib. vii. c. 23. Philostorg. lib. xii. c. 10, 11. Procup. de Bell. Van
dal. lib. i. c. 3. Theophan, in Chronograph. p. 72.
State of Briain,
to A. D.
When the rebellion excited by the usurpation of John Genseric was King of the Vandals when they landed Roman
was completely subdued, the Emperor Theodosius con- on the coast of Mauritania. The character of this Empire. From sented to place on the throne of Ravenna his young Prince, which combined the ambition of Alaric with
From cousin Valentinianus. The very natural desire of uniting the austerity of Attila, inspired terror rather than re410.
A. D. once more under one sceptre the spacious dominions spect; and when he first appeared among the natives of
410. possessed by his ancestors, seems to have distracted for Africa, they viewed him as an enemy who had come to
à moment the Councils of the Eastern Monarch ; but deprive them of their lands, and not as a confederate 455.
the prudential motives which were addressed to his on whose cooperation they might rely. Jornandes deAocession
455. of Valenticonsideration by the most experienced of his Ministers, scribes him as passionate and revengeful, of a deep and
Genseric nianus III. induced him to relinquish the empty title of ruling impenetrable mind, capable of lofty designs, and alto- wages war
A. D. distant Countries which had long abjured all alle- gether unscrupulous about the means which might be with the 425. giance to the Government of Constantinople. He necessary to accomplish them. He could court the Romans. satisfied his ambition by detaching from the Italian alliance of Tribes which he hated, provided their as
429. Crown the Western Illyricum, the maritime districts of sistance were useful to his immediate purposes, and Dalmatia, and the Provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. scatter among his enemies the seeds of contention and To this arrangement no objection appears to have been In the present instance, he clearly foresaw that urged ; and it was at the same time stipulated that all he would soon have to contend in the field of battle laws which might be thenceforth passed by either Sove- with the very General who had solicited his alliance, reign, should be confined to the limits of their respective and either to retain as a conquest the lands which he had dominions. *
been invited to occupy, or to cultivate them as a slave. Admini- Valentinianus was only six years old when he was per- Under this impression he laboured to gain the affection stration of mitted to assume the title of Augustus, and to succeed of the Moors, the natural enemies of the Roman name, Placidia. The Gene
his uncle. The administration of affairs was directed by and to increase his ranks by putting arms into the rals Ætius his mother, who confided chiefly in the assistance of Ætius hands of the savage multitude which traversed the and Boni. and Boniface, two Generals of established reputation. desert between the sea and mount Atlas.* face. The latter had approved his fidelity to the House of Theo- Boniface, who in the mean while had discovered the Boniface
dosius when the attempt was made, on the demise of treachery by which he was seduced, soon repented of defeated.
afflicted the inhabitants with every species of indignity Vandals in
The Vandals and Suevi, although greatly reduced in and torture. The fierce spirit of Genserie was so irrivade Africa. number by the repeated victories of the Goths, still re- tated by opposition and inflamed by religious bigotry,
tained a footing in the mountainous parts of Spain. that hé resolved to avenge his losses by the ruin of 428.
The first-named of these Tribes, which had received the every city which refused to open its gates; and so fully
second de was desired to make an offer of a strict alliance, as also He was immediately besieged by Genseric, who knew
feat of the of an advantageous settlement in the richest parts of that, as long as the Count lived, his possession of Africa Romans, Africa. The Vandals Jistened to the flattering pro
could not be secure. But the ignorance of the Vandals posal ; and no sooner did the course of hostilities bring in the art of reducing fortifications, and a free access to their wandering bands within sight of the sea, than they the Ocean, whence abundant supplies were obtained, seized the ships which they found at Carthagena, trans- enabled the defenders of Hippo to foil the efforts of their ported themselves to the island of Majorca, and, Barbarian foes, during the long period of fourteen months, finally, displayed their standard, as the allies of Count Famine, at length, compelled the assailants to withdraw Boniface, on the Southern shores of the Mediterra- from before its walls; and, in the mean time, Placidia nean. I
importuned her nephew Theodosius to send a reinforce* Soz. lib. ix. c. 16. Philostorg. lib. xii. c. 10, 11. Procop. de Bell. Vandal. lib. i. c. 3. Olympiad. apud Phot. p. 192.
* Jornandes, de Reb. Ext. c. 33. Procop. de Bell, Vandal. lib. i. + Cassiodor. Varior. lib. xi. Epist 1. Philostorg. lib. xii. c. 12. c. 5. lib. ii. c. 6. Olympiad. apud Phot. p. 196.
Chron. Prosp. et Idat. * Procop. de Bell. Panda, lib. i. c. 5. lib, ii. c. 6.