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Meanwhile that part of the storm, which was directed by Alaric, soon began to beat afresh. After the death of Stilicho, the Gothic sovereign again invaded Italy; and Rome herscif, after three successive sieges, was sacked by the northern barbarians *.
It is observable in literal storms of hail, that their violence appears for a season to subside, and afterwards to return with redoubled fury. This was exactly the case with the figurative tempest of Gothic invasion predieted in the Apocalypse. After the exploits of Alaric and Radagaisus had been achieved, the violence of the main body of the hail storm abated, but its outskirts still continued to beat upon the more remote provinces of the Western empire. In the year 409, Spain was overrun and ravaged by the Suevi, the Vandals, and the Alans; who were afterwards, in their turn, compelled to submit to the arms of the Goths. The Vandals however still prevailed in Gallicia; and, in order (as it were) that no part of the earth or the Roman world should escape the devastating influence of the northern hail storm, soon afterwards invaded the African province. In the year 429, they crossed the Streights of Gibraltar under the command of Genseric, invited by the mistaken policy of Boniface. At that period the African coast was extremely populous, and the country itself so fruit
Hist. of Decline, Vol. v. p. 184-329.
ful that it deserved the name of the common granary of Rome and of mankind. "On a sudden, "the seven provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, "s were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Van"dals. War, in its fairest form, implies a per
petual violation of humanity and justice; and "the hostilities of barbarians are inflamed by "the fierce and lawless spirit which incessantly "disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. "The Vandals, where they found resistance, sel"dom gave quarter; and the deaths of their "valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin "of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. "Careless of the distinctions of age, or sex, or
rank, they employed every species of indignity "and torture, to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth. The stern policy "of Genseric justified his frequent examples of "military execution: he was not always the mas"ter of his own passions, or of those of his fol-"lowers; and the calamities of war were aggra"vated by the licentiousness of the Moors, and "the fanaticism of the Donatists*."
Thus did the first great storm of hail lay waste the Roman empire. Collecting itself in the North, it burst over Greece and Italy; ravaged Gaul and Spain; and at length spent itself in Africa.
Scarcely was the fury of this tempest exhausted, when another no less destructive began to gather,
Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 12-21.
as we perpetually behold one storm of hail rapidly succeed another. The Hungarian monarch Attila, having united in his own person the empire of Scythia and Germany, soon turned his arms against the declining power of the Romans. In the year 441, he invaded the Eastern empire. "The Illy"rian frontier was covered by a line of castles and "fortresses; and, though the greatest part of them "consisted only of a single tower with a small garrison, they were commonly sufficient to repel "or to intercept the inroads of any enemy, who was ignorant of the art, and impatient of the delay, of a regular siege. But these slight ob"stacles were instantly swept away by the inun-"dation of the Huns. They destroyed with fire "and sword the populous cities of Sirmium and Singidunum, of Ratiaria, and Marcianopolis, of "Naissus and Sardica; where every circumstance, "in the discipline of the people and the construc
tion of the buildings, had been gradually adapted "to the sole purpose of defence. The whole "breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hun"dred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic,
was at once invaded, and occupied, and deso"lated, by the myriads of barbarians whom Attila "led into the field-The armies of the Eastern. empire were vanquished in three successive engagements; and the progress of Attila may be "traced by the fields of battle-From the Hellespont to Thermopylæ and the suburbs of Constantinople, he ravaged, without resistance and
without mercy, the provinces of Thrace and "Macedonia. Heraclea and Hadrianople might
perhaps escape this dreadful irruption of the "Huns; but words, the most expressive of total extirpation and erasure, are applied to the cala"mities which they inflicted on seventy cities of "the Eastern empire *.
A pause at length took place in the storm. In the year 446, the Constantinopolitan emperor concluded an ignominious peace with Attila: but, in the year 450, the restless Hun threatened alike both the East and the West. "Mankind," says the historian, "awaited his decision with awful "suspense." The storm however now burst over Gaul and Italy. After ravaging the former of these countries with savage barbarity, Attila turned his arms towards the seat of the Western empire. Aquileia made a vigorous but ineffectual resistance; and the succeeding generation could scarcely discover its ruins. The victorious barbarian "pur"sued his march; and, as he passed, the cities of "Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced "into heaps of stones and ashes. The inland "towns, Vicenza, Verona, and Bergamo, were ex"posed to the rapacious cruelty of the Huns;" the rich plains of modern Lombardy were laid waste; and the ferocious Attila boasted, that "the grass
never grew on the spot where his horse had "trod." Rome herself escaped: and, by the sud
Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 45-53,
den death of Attila, his kingdom fell asunder, and the great northern storm of hail was dissipated *. Thus, agreeably to the prediction, the tempest burst over the earth or Roman empire in general, while its western third part alone was as yet marked out for destruction.
2. "And the second angel sounded: and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was "cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea "became blood; and the third part of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died " and the third part of the ships were destroyed." The death of Attila took place in the year 453; and, with that event, the invasions of the Roman empire from the North, aptly symbolized by a storm of hail, were brought to a termination. The blast of the second trumpet introduces a new calamity from a directly opposite quarter of the world. What proceeds therefore from the South cannot with any propriety be represented by hail. Accordingly we find, that the contrary emblem of fire is used to describe it. A burning blast causes a great mountain to burst forth into a blaze; and afterwards, heaving it from its base, casts it flaming into the midst of the seat. This imagery is manifestly
Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 87-135.
† It is very excellently remarked by Mr. Cuninghame, that the sea, presented to the imagination of St. John, was a sea according to Jewish ideas: that is to say, not the vast ocean, but either an inland sea like the lake of Gennesareth, or at least a sea like the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean. Hence C there