FROM A, D. 395. TO A. D. 410.


A. D.

A. D.



A. D.

A. D.


History. The accession of Honorius in the West, and of his humanity, and whose heart was dead to the stings of Roma brother Arcadius to the throne of Constantinople, compunction. Rufinus, who imposed upon the late

Empire. From marks an epoch in the History of the Roman Empire. Emperor a high opinion of his prudence and fidelity,

The division which took place when Valentinianus I. was raised by him to the Præfecture of the East, 395. intrusted to Valens the Government of the Eastern and found himself, upon the death of his patron, still

395. Provinces, amounted to little more than the appoint- able either to command the confidence of the ruling

ment of a Lieutenant, who might exercise the Imperial monarch, or to subdue his reluctance. We pass over 410.

offices, in subordination to a supreme head. But when the various steps by which this favourite of Theodosius 410.

the two sons of Theodosius assumed the sceptre of their supplanted his rivals and deceived his master, to give Accession of Arcadius respective dominions, it appears to have been under- an outline of his short administration as the represen- And of Re: and Hono- stood that each was to be independent of the other, tative of Arcadius, whose name was only used to veil finus bis rius. both as to the ground on which their authority rested, the avarice, and to afford a pretext for the cruel exac

Minister. and also as to the objects for which it should be em- tions of his Minister. * ployed. We may therefore regard it as an established As Rufinus was not called to direct the affairs of fact, that the Roman world, which was formerly divided State in the carrying on of War, or in the establishment for the sake of convenience, was henceforth separated of Peace, his policy was limited to the accumulation into two parts, as distinct kingdoms, subject to different of wealth, which he regarded as the instrument of laws, and destined to follow an entirely new line of power; and in the prosecution of this object, he

succession. To Arcadius, who for a considerable time had recourse to all the means which an insatiable Division of had held the rank of Augustus, there fell, as his in- covetousness, set free from every principle of justice the Empire. heritance, the valuable Provinces of Asia Minor, Syria, and compassion, could suggest to a man clothed with

Egypt, Thrace, Dacia, Macedonia, and the Eastern unbounded authority. The remark of Claudian that Cruelit ad
Illyricum; extending from Dalmatia to the borders of one house received the rapine of the whole world, has
Persia, and from the Danube to the cataracts of the not been accused of much exaggeration ; for whatever
Nile. Honorius, on the other hand, was pronounced could be extorted by oppressive taxes, by bribery, by
the master of Italy, of Gaul, of Africa, Spain, Britain, fines and confiscations, by forgery, by the sale of jus-
the Western Illyricum, Noricum, and Pannonia : tice, of favours, and of public offices, was poured into
territory which embraced the most important nations of the coffers of the Præfect. The flame of his avarice,
modern Europe, and comprehended every climate which says the poet just named, could not be extinguished
is to be found between the Grampians and Mount with rivers of gold. His parsimony, too, was equal to
Atlas. *

his avarice; and hence he neglected to gain the supCharacter

Our attention is first attracted to Arcadius, who is port of the soldiers, who, had they shared in his plunder, of Arcadius. described by his contemporaries as a weak and pusilla- would not, it is probable, have called in question the

nimous Prince. He had nothing in his mind or body foul expedients by which it was obtained. His vinresembling the greatness and dignity of his father. dictive and jealous spirit, moreover, created enemies His figure was small and badly formed ; his countenance among a class of men who were less exposed to his was sallow, and expressive of imbecility, hesitation, and extortion than to his personal resentment.

He had languor, marking a total absence of genius, and even procured the death of several individuals, whose rank of all deep passion or sustained emotion. Equally was higher than his own, especially of Tatianus, whom devoid of talent and of energy he could not fail to become he was immediately appointed to succeed, and of the tool of some one of those ambitious persons who Proculus, the son of this distinguished Officer, who was surrounded his throne; and, unfortunately for himself Præfect of Constantinople. In a manner equally unjust as welı as for his country, the power of government was he took away the life of Lucianus, the Count of the seized by the hand of an individual, whose abilities were East, who had purchased from Rufinus himself the high never guided by the feeling of patriotism, whose as- preferment which now awakened the jealousy of the piring views were never restrained by the sense of latter. He resolved to execute in person the vengeance * Oros. lib. vii. c. 36. Zos. lib. v. c. 1.

Zos lib. iv. c. 51. Claud. in Rufin. lib.i. Zos, lib. v. c. 2-4. 240


A. D.

A. D.



A. D.

A. D.


succeed to


History. which he had meditated against this delegate of his by fear, now burst out without restraint. The body of

Roman power; for which reason he made a rapid journey to Rufinus was literally torn in pieces ; and his wife and Empire. From Antioch, dragged him before his tribunal, and sentenced daughter, had they not taken refuge in a Religious

From him to a cruel and ignominious punishment.*

Sanctuary, would have shared the same fate. * 395. Such unrelenting ferocity turned against the Imperial The feeble Arcadius now found himself in the hands

395. Minister the rage of every Order of the people, from of the men who had deceived and murdered his prin

the Eunuchs in the Palace to the Generals at the head cipal servant. The Empress, who owed her elevation 410.

of the army. The former, who were, perhaps, the to the stratagem of Eutropius, recommended him to the 410. most intimately acquainted with his purposes, set the favour of her husband; while Gaïnas, who could rely

example of opposing his nefarious schemes. He had upon the support of the army, sought no other patron. His disap. betrothed his daughter to Arcadius, and by this marriage Zosimus insinuates that the influence of Stilicho was pointment he hoped to establish his authority on a permanent exerted to secure the promotion of his tools at the Court in tbe mar- basis ; but the Chamberlain Eutropius, acting in con- of Constantinople, and that the General of Honorius Fize of Are cert with the other Eunuchs, conducted to the pliant still aspired to the government of both Empires, in

Emperor a young lady_named Eudoxia, whose father capacity of guardian to the two young Princes. What- Eutropius commanded a body of Franks in the service of Rome. ever truth there may be in the former part of this

and Garnas

sugDisappointed, and even in some degree the object of gestion, there seems to be no doubt that his interference

ridicule, Rufinus did not despair of maintaining his in the administration of the Eastern State, roused a
ascendancy over the feeble mind of his Sovereign, and spirit of opposition to his policy so strong and de-
of enjoying an ample revenge upon all by whom his termined, that the sons of Theodosius, instead of af-
plan of domestic aggrandizement had been thwarted.t fording mutual support against the powerful nations

To effect this object he importuned the Government which were, on all sides, pressing upon the limits of
of the Western Empire to send back the troops which their respective Provinces, viewed each other as enemies
Theodosius had led into Italy in his last expedition. to be weakened or subdued. The Roman Empire was
Stilicho, who presided at the helm of affairs in the thus not less divided in interest and affection than in
name of Honorius, expressed his readiness to comply territorial dominions; and hence its decline and final
with this request, and even to march at the head of the overthrow were accelerated, from year to year, by the
Eastern contingent to Constantinople. As the main rea- very counsels and arms which ought to have secured
son assigued by Rufinus for demanding the return of the its perpetuity.t
troops was founded on an alarm excited by the ap- An inroad of the Goths under the celebrated Alaric, Gothic war.
pearance of the Huns on the Syrian border, and of revived for a moment the union of the two Empires. Conjectures
Alaric in the Provinces of Thrace and Macedonia, the After the most patient investigation into the few sources as to its
offer of the Western General to assist with his presence of Historical truth which still remain, we have not been origin.
and advice the brother of his Sovereign, ought not to able to discover the cause of the formidable war which,
have created the slighest suspicion. But Stilicho claimed in the year 396, alarmed the interior Provinces both of

the guardianship of both Emperors, as having, he Italy and of Greece. Zosimus and Orosius agree in
alleged, been intrusted to him by their father in the last ascribing it to the arts of Rufinus and of his rival
moments of his life ; and it was therefore suspected that Stilicho ; each of whom is accused of wishing, amid
his authority might derange the plan of administration the turmoil which must ensue, to enhance the value of
adopted, or rather tolerated, by Arcadius, under the his services, and thereby to raise himself to the su-
auspices of his ambitious Præfect, and involve the two preme power. I This charge, as it respects the Minister
Empires in war. He was accordingly informed that, of Arcadius, is attended with a considerable show of
although the Legions of the East were still expected to probability; and his memory is still loaded with the
obey the summons forwarded to them from the Capital, atrocious imputation of meditating a change in the
his personal attendance would not be accepted; but Government, to be effected by the success of the Bar-
that, on the contrary, if he passed the line which barians against his native Prince, the son, too, of his
separated the dominions of his master from those of greatest benefactor. His treason is attributed to the
Arcadius, his conduct would be regarded as an act of disappointment which he sustained in the marriage of
avowed hostility. Stilicho abstained from a measure the Emperor with Eudoxia instead of his daughter; to
which, he saw, would at once defeat his object, and avenge which, says Claudian, he invited the Huns into
occasion much national calamity; but he intrusted to Asia, and laid Europe open to the Goths. He lived
Gaïnas, a Gothic Chief in whom he had the utmost not to witness the fatal effects of his wicked policy.
confidence, the command of the Eastern forces and the The march of Alaric, who descended from the banks Devastation
accomplisbment of his revenge. When, therefore, the of the Danube, through Thrace, Dacia, Macedonia, and committed
cohorts had advanced within a mile of the Metropolis, Thessaly into Achaia, and even the Peloponnesus, was

by Alaric in

Greece. they halted until the Emperor and his Minister should marked with blood and desolation, with the sack of come forth to greet their arrival ; and no sooner did towns and the captivity of the inhabitants. Rufinus they see the enemy of their General and the oppressor had everywhere placed such Officers in command as of the people surrounded by their ranks, than one of either could not defend their Country, or who were base their number stepped forth and plunged a sword into his breast. The fury of the populace, hitherto checked

* Claud. in Rufin. lib. ii. Zos. lib. v. c. 7. Soz. lib. viii. c. 1.

Soc. lib. vi, c. 1. Philostorg. lib. xi. c. 3.
Zos. lib. iv. c. 52. Claud. in Rufin. lib. i. Orbisque rapinas + Zos. lib. v. c. 8. Claud. I. Cons. Stilich. lib. i. Soz, lib. viii.
Accipit una domus. Philostorg. lib. ii. c. 3. Ambros. Epist. 1. c. 1. Claud. in Eutrop. lib. i. Philostorg. lib. xi. c. 4.
Symmach. lib. iii. c. 6. Zosimus (lib. v. c. I.) includes Stilicho in Oros. lib. vii. c. 37. Ut rebus repentè turbatis, necessitas
the charges which he brings against Rufinus.

Reipublicæ scelus ambitús tegeret, barbaras gentes ille inmisit, hic
t Zos. lib. v. c. 5. Philostorg. lib. ii. c. 6.

fovit. Zosimus (lib. v. c. 5.) says much the same.

A. D.

Es A. D. 395.



A. D.

to A. D.

From A. D. 395.

to A. D. 410.


A. D.

History. enough to receive instructions not to defend it. The detected, was amenable to the same tribunal with the

R1 straits of Thermopylae were abandoned without drawing overt act, a hasty expression, or an ambiguous term, Empire From

a sword, and the strongest positions in Greece were exposed the most illustrious individuals in the Empire

given up as fast as the enemy could advance to occupy to the loss of life and estate. Nay, to complete the 395.

them. Phocis and Beotia could not resist the torrent reign of terror, it was enacted that the sons of traitors,

of Barbarians which were thus let in upon them. All although not convicted of the crime laid to the charge 410.

the men capable of bearing arms were massacred, while of their parents, should be rendered incapable of in-
the women and children were reserved for the most heriting property, either on the side of the father or on
degrading servitude. Athens saved her walls by a that of the mother, or of receiving any legacy be-
seasonable capitulation ; but Argos, Corinth, and Sparta queathed to them by kinsmen or by strangers.
submitted unconditionally to the good pleasure of the This intolerable oppression found an avenger

in Insurrecti conqueror, and resigned their wealth, their ornaments, part of the Empire which, perhaps, was the least ex

of Tribigil the triumphs of Art and of War, and, above all, the posed to its weight. The Chief of one of those Colonies

399. flower of their inhabitants, as a prey to his savage of Ostrogoths which had been planted by Theodosius followers. As, however, the succeerling events of this in Phrygia, influenced either by the desire of plunder Gothic insurrection are more closely connected with or by the secret instigation of Gaïnas, took the field at the history of the West than of the East, we shall not the head of his clan, and displayed the standard of follow them out to any greater length at present, but rebellion. Tribigild, meeting with no formidable resume the narrative as it respects the reign of Arcadius resistance, made a great impression on the richest

and of his unworthy Ministers at Constantinople.* Provinces of Asia Minor; the intelligence of which no Character Eutropius was on many accounts the most odious sooner reached Constantinople, than an army was sent of Eutro- and contemptible of those instruments of tyranny which against him linder Leo, a rude and ignorant soldier, pius. were employed or permitted by the weak Monarch of while Gaïnas was ordered to proceed into Thrace to

the Grecian Empire to oppress his subjects. The defeat any attempt that might be made in that quarter. origin and occupations of this favourite cast a shade The incapacity of the former was soon made manifest. upon his character which no degree of power or of The Barbarians attacked his camp in the night, and wealth could remove ; while the insolence with which dispersed his troops; the greater part of whom made he assailed men of the noblest birth, and the rapacity haste to join the victorious rebel, and to encourage him with which he plundered all classes of the people, ex- in the pursuit of his ulterior object, the acquisition of cited against him an universal feeling of indignation. wealth, and, as they imagined, the punishment of EuHis avarice was equal to that of Rufinus, without tropius. The failure of Leo rendered necessary the having the accompaniment of that lofty ambition which presence of Gaïnas with a reinforcement from the stimulated the covetousness of the latter. To the dis. Thracian Legions ; but this Officer, still more incensed grace of the Roman name, he appeared in the Senate than Tribigild against the Imperial favourite, had no as a Consul, and at the head of the army as a Com- intention to weaken the body of the insurgents or to mander; imitating the acts which were performed by disappoint their hopes. Instead of opposing the OstroCæsar and Camillus, as an ape mimics the doings of a goths, he directed their movements and even strengthinan.

ened their positions; and when he had thus made them The contempt with which his person and adminis- formidable, he wrote to Arcadius that the smallness of

tration were everywhere regarded soon rendered him the army under his command, as it rendered the issue Cruelty and impatient of superior merit as well as of illustrious of a battle uncertain, dictated the expediency of termi1yranny of genealogy. Abundantius, who had introduced him to nating the contest by a negotiation for Peace. The his Govern- the Palace of Constantinople, was the first victim of his Emperor, who could contemplate no alternative, waited

spleen, being deprived of his fortunes, and banished to with impatience for the conditions which it might please

an inhospitable district on the shores of the Black Sea. the victor to propose ; but when he heard that the 397.

Timasius, the Master-General of the armies under head of his Minister was demanded as the basis of the
Theodosius, was the next whom it was thought ex- treaty, he was struck with horror and alarm. His wife
pedient to accuse of disaffection towards the Emperor Eudoxia, who valued the safety of her throne more
and his Prime Minister. He, in like manner, was than the life of an Eunuch, urged his compliance with
stripped of his immense riches, and doomed to pass the the claim of Tribigild; insinuating, at the same time,
remainder of his days in the desert of Lybia. Nor was that Eutropius had recently been guilty of some mis-
it held sufficient to protect himself against the just demeanours which gave great offence to her feelings of
anger of those whose rank in the State was degraded propriety. The miserable being, whose life was thus And deat
by his presence in the councils of his Sovereign : he made the price of Peace, fled to the Metropolitan Church,

pius. procured a law of treason to be passed, which punished where, under the protection of St. Chrysostom, he en

A. D. with death and confiscation of goods every one who joyed the privilege of Sanctuary until the fury of the

399. should conspire, either with subjects or with strangers, people had subsided. He was in the first instance against any of the persons whom the Emperor con- banished to the island of Cyprus, whence he was almost sidered as the Members of his Government, of his House instantly recalled, and condemned to death.t hold, of his Civil establishment, and even the principal But the ambition or revenge of Gaïnas was not satis. Officers of his army. On this broad ground a private fied with the downfal of Eutropius. Displeased at the quarrel might be identified with a deliberate conspiracy elevation of Aurelian and Saturninus, two individuals against the State ; and as the intention, if it could be

* Claud. in Eutrop. lib. i. Zos. lib. v. c. 9. Claud. in Rufin. lib. ii. Zos. lib. v. c. 16. The latter his- + Zosimus (lib. v. c. 13.) represents the insurrection as originating torian mentions that Athens was saved by the appearance of the with Gaïnas. In lib. v. c. 14—18. he gives a good account of this spectre of Achilles.

rebellion, Pbilostorg. lib. ii. c. 6.


[ocr errors]

A. D.

A. D.


A. D.


A. D.


History of Consular rank, who were invested with the offices to of the Capital, indeed, was occasionally disturbed by Roman

which he aspired, he threw off his allegiance altogether, the contests of the two great Religious parties, which Empire. From

united his force with that of Tribigild in the Province at that time divided the Christian World, the Arians
of Lydia, and forth with advanced to the shores of the and the Catholics. Then, as on other occasions, the

From 393.

Hellespont. Arcadius found it necessary to enter into interests of the true Faith were made the pretext for
a negotiation with the two rebellious Commanders. indulging personal animosity and for gratifying ambi-

395. He condescended to have a personal interview with tious views; and we find, accordingly, that thousands 410. Revok of them at Chalcedon, where he agreed to sacrifice his of both sexes, who knew not the meaning of the lan

410. Gainas, new Ministers to appease the jealousy of Gaïnas, to guage which they used, nor the import of the question

Religious make the latter Master-General of the Roman armies, which they discussed, were ready to inflict and to suffer and to permit the Capital to be garrisoned with Gothic death, rather than yield a single step to their theological versies. soldiers. *

opponents. The Empress herself, who had taken This success led to the speedy ruin of the fortunate offence at the Archbishop, the celebrated Chrysostom, Barbarian. Unable to repress the violence of his fol- mingled in these disputes; and, on several occasions, lowers, who mixed with the insolence of conquest the carried her enmity so far as to convince every one that acrimony of Religious controversy, he had the mortifica- her zeal was stimulated by private resentment, and tion to learn that a great part of his army was cut off not, as she professed, by a regard for evangelical truth by the citizens of Constantinople, who had risen in and piety. defence of their creed. Gaïnas was declared a public Zosimus relates, too, that in the year 404, a part of Invasion of enemy, and compelled to seek safety in flight. The Syria and of Asia Minor was laid waste by an irruption the Isauloyal troops in the adjoining Provinces were intrusted of the Isaurians, who, bursting from the fastnesses of rians. to the command of Fravitta, a Gothic Chief, whose Mount Taurus, swept away from the husbandmen of fidelity towards the Emperor pointed him out as the Pamphylia and Cilicia the fruits of their land, and fittest person for that important charge; upon which robhed ihe inhabitants of the villages. This temporary suitable preparations were made by sea and land to invasion was checked by Arbazacius, who soon drove subdue the rebellious Generals, and to restore the in- the freebooters back into the hills, and strengthened dependence of Government. Of the war which ensued the military posts along the border; his reputation, so few details have been preserved that we can only however, did not pass unsullied by the suspicion that

form a conjecture in regard to the scene on which it he had sold to the marauders the facility of escape, and His defeat. was prosecuted, and the immediate results which it accepted a share of their booty for permission to carry

produced. It would appear that a succession of de- away the remainder, But this occurrence did not
feats in Thrace induced Gaïnas to attempt the passage materially interrupt the Peace of the Empire, which,
of the Hellespont in the face of a superior force, by as we have already remarked, was not menaced by any
which he was repulsed with great loss and pursued powerful enemy until after the demise of Arcadius, Death of

towards the Danube. In these circumstances he relin- which took place in the month of May 408.*
quished whatever designs he might have entertained on The family of the Emperor, at his death, consisted
the Sovereignty of the East, placed himself at the head of three daughters and a son. This last, named Theo-
of his light cavalry, and resolved to fight his way into dosius, was only seven years of age when the throne
the Countries beyond the river, where he hoped to of the East, now become hereditary, fell into his pos-
resume the power which he is supposed to have ori- session. His mother had recently paid the debt of
ginally possessed, as the leader of a small Sept, or nature ; his uncle Honorius was incapable of rendering
Tribe. But Uldin, the King of the Huns, occupied all any assistance in the government of a State, which was
the strong positions on the Southern bank of the stream already become more a rival than an ally, and hence
which the fugitive intended to pass; and being unwill- the care of his person and authority naturally devolved
ing that an adventurer, at once so bold and faithless, upon the great Officers of the court and of the army.
should have the means of forming an army in his rear, There is, indeed, to be found in the pages of Procopius
and desirous, perhaps, to recommend his services to a traditional narrative, setting forth that Arcadius had,
the Imperial Court, he opposed the further retreat of by a special clause in his will

, confided the fortunes of the vanquished rebel. Gaïnas, reduced to despair, his son to the generosity of the Persian Monarch ;

made several furious charges upon the lines of his whom, it is said, he regarded as less likely to be inAnd death. antagonist, in one of which he was slain, together fluenced by ambitious views, than the turbulent Chiefs

with the greater part of his devoted band. His head by whom the throne of Constantinople was at that
was sent to Constantinople, and relieved the unwarlike period surrounded. Agathias relates that the report of
Emperor from the fears which had recently oppressed such an arrangement had reached his times, and, with-
him, as well for his life as for his crown.t

out positively calling the truth of it in question, directs
The Peace procured by this victory appears to have his criticism rather to the wisdom of the measure than
continued unbroken till the death of Arcadius. Seven to the evidence upon which it had been believed.
years elapsed between these two events; during which Subsequent writers, however, who have bestowed upon
period the Goths and Huns, satisfied for the moment the testament of Arcadius fully more attention than it
with the share which they had obtained of the best deserves, leave no room for doubt that Procopius must
lands in the Empire, and resolved to check the further have been misled by a popular story, and that the
inroads of their countrymen, who came to plunder young Theodosius was in no respect indebted either to
rather than to occupy the cultivated fields, proved the the counsels or the arms of Persia.t
main defence of the Northern frontier. The tranquillity

Soz. lib. viii. c. 25.

* Zos. lib. v.c, 22, Soz. lib. vi. c. 4:

+ Zos. lib. v. c. 23.

* Zos. lib. v. c. 25. Philostorg. lib. ii. c. 8.
† Agath. lib. iv. Soz. lib. ix. c. 1.

A. D.

A. D.


A. D.

to A. D.

History. Availing ourselves of the pause created by the death relinquish Italy altogether to the Barbarian conqueror, Roman

of the Eastern Emperor, we resume the history of the to make a great effort to drive him once more beyond Empire. From West under the government of Honorius. We inten- the mountains. The Prince himself, yielding to his

From tionally omit the details of a second African war, fears, was inclined to follow the advice of those who 395. excited by Gildo, a brother of the tyrant Firmus, and recommended an immediate retreat into Gaul; but

395. which ended, like the former, in the defeat and death Stilicho, unwilling to abandon the city and country of

of the principal rebels. The year 398 was signalized at the Romans into the hands of a savage host, which 410. Marriage of once by this success, and by the marriage of the Em- would plunder and debase the venerable memorials of

410. Honorius.

peror with his cousin, the daughter of. Stilicho; events their ancient fame, entreated his Sovereign to maintain, Energy of
which appear to have employed the panegyrics of if possible, his ground at Milan, until a sufficient army Stilicho.
Poetry, as well as the diligence of those minute Annal- could be raised to check the progress of the invader.
ists who measure the importance of things by their With this view the gallant General repaired to the
local interest rather than by their effects on the public Northern frontiers, whither the best disciplined portion
welfare. We pass on to a more momentous occurrence of the Legions had been despatched. He crossed the
in the reign of Honorius, the invasion of Italy by Alps amidst the ice and snow which still lingered in
Alaric, the celebrated leader of the Goths.

their valleys, and attacked in the hilly parts of Rhætia Advance of

We have already described the operations which a powerful body of the enemy who threatened a descent
Alaric. took place in Greece when, in the year 396, a various into the low country. He induced several Tribes of the

army, under the Chief just named, carried terror and Alemanni to join the standard of the Emperor, and to
devastation from the shores of the Danube to the take arms against a people who were already become
extremity of Peloponnesus. The Ministers of Arcadius, formidable to all the Western nations of Europe. In
jealous of the power possessed by Stilicho, who had like manner, he summoned from the borders of the
been sent to deliver the Eastern Empire from the hor- Rhine, and even of Caledonia, every cohort that could be
rors of invasion, opposed the measures of their ally to spared from the immediate defence of those Provinces,
such an extent that the Goths effected an easy escape and ordered them to hasten their march for the protec-
from his hands. The Roman General was even com- tion of Italy. So great, indeed, was the emergency,
manded to retire from the dominions of Arcadius; that he did not refuse to receive into his ranks a nume-
while Alaric was received into the confidence of the rous body of Alanian horsemen, although former events
Government whose territories he had ravaged, and had taught him to distrust alike their discipline and
whose authority he had laboured to subvert. After their fidelity.*
having destroyed the fairest parts of Greece and plun- But the activity of Stilicho could not keep pace with He saves
dered Epirus, the Gothic Prince was raised by the the ambition of Alaric, or with the fears of Honorius. Honorius at
Court of Constantinople to the rank of Master-General The Gothic army having crossed the Addua, the Roman Asta.
of the Eastern Illyricum. Nor did his elevation stop Emperor, at the head of a feeble band of courtiers, fled
here; for his followers, animated by his numerous into Liguria, on his way to the frontier of Gaul; but
victories, and assured of future success, proclaimed being pressed by the light troops of the enemy, he
him King of the Visigoths, and of all the Tribes who sought a temporary refuge within the walls of Asta.
owned their kindred or allegiance.*

The King of the Visigoths, eager to terminate the war
His suc-

Situated between the two Empires, Alaric could not by the capture of the Prince, invested the place with
fail to prove formidable to both. Enraged, perhaps, his whole force; and as the means of defence were
hy the hostility of the Romans directed by the splendid small, and the resolution of the garrison was unsus-
talents of Stilicho, and, at all events, regarding them tained either by courage or talent in their leader, the
as a much more powerful enemy than the effeminate siege would, probably, have ended in a speedy capitula-
bands of Constantinople, he resolved, in the first in- tion, had not the father-in-law of Honorius descended
stance, to lead his troops against Honorius, and to from the adjoining heights with a body of soldiers
effect, if possible, the entire conquest of Italy. After determined to save their Emperor, or to perish in the
two years' preparation, accordingly, he advanced into attempt. The appearance of this able Officer soon
the warlike Province of Pannonia, forced the passage changed the aspect of affairs. Alaric, who imagined
of the Alps, and pitched his camp in the plains of that all the honour and wealth to be gained by the sur-
Istria and Venetia. But these achievements, it is render of Asta were already in his hands, had the mor-
obvious, could not be accomplished without the expense

tification to find himself surrounded, and exposed to
of much time and bloodshed; and, hence, although the instant attack of a numerous and indignant army.
he began the war in the year 400, it was not till th? The Chiefs of his camp compelled him to adopt the
third summer, that the terror of his arms disturbed th prudential measure of retreating, as long as it was
repose of the Imperial Court at Milan. Many battles in their power to escape, and to carry with them
and sieges must in the interval have occupied his atten- the load of booty with which their march was encum-
tion and thinned his ranks, and there is even a great bered.t
air of probability in the conjecture that the Gothic From Asta we trace the position of the Goths to the Defeats the
King was compelled, oftener than once during that neighbourhood of Polentia, where they appear to have Goths at
period, to retire towards the Danube, and recruit his pitched their tents. On the morning of Easter Sunday, Polentia.
forces among the native Tribes who lined its banks. in the year 403, Stilicho attacked them whilst employed
In the beginning of the third season, however, he in their devotions, and gained an important victory.
approached so near the residence of the feeble Hono- The abilities of Alaric were displayed to the greatest
rius, that it became necessary for the latter either to advantage, and he more than once turned the tide of


* Claud. in Entrop. and de Bello Getico, v. 565.

* Claud, de Bello Gorico, v. 267.
† Claud. VI. Cons. Hon. and de Bello Getico, v. 580.

« ElőzőTovább »