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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 4
by Edward Gibbon
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[Footnote 149: Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 310, &c.]

[Footnote 150: The birth of Epicurus is fixed to the year 342 before Christ, (Bayle,) Olympiad cix. 3; and he opened his school at Athens, Olmp. cxviii. 3, 306 years before the same aera. This intolerant law (Athenaeus, l. xiii. p. 610. Diogen. Laertius, l. v. s. 38. p. 290. Julius Pollux, ix. 5) was enacted in the same or the succeeding year, (Sigonius, Opp. tom. v. p. 62. Menagius ad Diogen. Laert. p. 204. Corsini, Fasti Attici, tom. iv. p. 67, 68.) Theophrastus chief of the Peripatetics, and disciple of Aristotle, was involved in the same exile.]

The Gothic arms were less fatal to the schools of Athens than the establishment of a new religion, whose ministers superseded the exercise of reason, resolved every question by an article of faith, and condemned the infidel or sceptic to eternal flames. In many a volume of laborious controversy, they exposed the weakness of the understanding and the corruption of the heart, insulted human nature in the sages of antiquity, and proscribed the spirit of philosophical inquiry, so repugnant to the doctrine, or at least to the temper, of an humble believer. The surviving sects of the Platonists, whom Plato would have blushed to acknowledge, extravagantly mingled a sublime theory with the practice of superstition and magic; and as they remained alone in the midst of a Christian world, they indulged a secret rancor against the government of the church and state, whose severity was still suspended over their heads. About a century after the reign of Julian, [151] Proclus [152] was permitted to teach in the philosophic chair of the academy; and such was his industry, that he frequently, in the same day, pronounced five lessons, and composed seven hundred lines. His sagacious mind explored the deepest questions of morals and metaphysics, and he ventured to urge eighteen arguments against the Christian doctrine of the creation of the world. But in the intervals of study, he personally conversed with Pan, Aesculapius, and Minerva, in whose mysteries he was secretly initiated, and whose prostrate statues he adored; in the devout persuasion that the philosopher, who is a citizen of the universe, should be the priest of its various deities. An eclipse of the sun announced his approaching end; and his life, with that of his scholar Isidore, [153] compiled by two of their most learned disciples, exhibits a deplorable picture of the second childhood of human reason. Yet the golden chain, as it was fondly styled, of the Platonic succession, continued forty-four years from the death of Proclus to the edict of Justinian, [154] which imposed a perpetual silence on the schools of Athens, and excited the grief and indignation of the few remaining votaries of Grecian science and superstition. Seven friends and philosophers, Diogenes and Hermias, Eulalius and Priscian, Damascius, Isidore, and Simplicius, who dissented from the religion of their sovereign, embraced the resolution of seeking in a foreign land the freedom which was denied in their native country. They had heard, and they credulously believed, that the republic of Plato was realized in the despotic government of Persia, and that a patriot king reigned ever the happiest and most virtuous of nations. They were soon astonished by the natural discovery, that Persia resembled the other countries of the globe; that Chosroes, who affected the name of a philosopher, was vain, cruel, and ambitious; that bigotry, and a spirit of intolerance, prevailed among the Magi; that the nobles were haughty, the courtiers servile, and the magistrates unjust; that the guilty sometimes escaped, and that the innocent were often oppressed. The disappointment of the philosophers provoked them to overlook the real virtues of the Persians; and they were scandalized, more deeply perhaps than became their profession, with the plurality of wives and concubines, the incestuous marriages, and the custom of exposing dead bodies to the dogs and vultures, instead of hiding them in the earth, or consuming them with fire. Their repentance was expressed by a precipitate return, and they loudly declared that they had rather die on the borders of the empire, than enjoy the wealth and favor of the Barbarian. From this journey, however, they derived a benefit which reflects the purest lustre on the character of Chosroes. He required, that the seven sages who had visited the court of Persia should be exempted from the penal laws which Justinian enacted against his Pagan subjects; and this privilege, expressly stipulated in a treaty of peace, was guarded by the vigilance of a powerful mediator. [155] Simplicius and his companions ended their lives in peace and obscurity; and as they left no disciples, they terminate the long list of Grecian philosophers, who may be justly praised, notwithstanding their defects, as the wisest and most virtuous of their contemporaries. The writings of Simplicius are now extant. His physical and metaphysical commentaries on Aristotle have passed away with the fashion of the times; but his moral interpretation of Epictetus is preserved in the library of nations, as a classic book, most excellently adapted to direct the will, to purify the heart, and to confirm the understanding, by a just confidence in the nature both of God and man.

[Footnote 151: This is no fanciful aera: the Pagans reckoned their calamities from the reign of their hero. Proclus, whose nativity is marked by his horoscope, (A.D. 412, February 8, at C. P.,) died 124 years, A.D. 485, (Marin. in Vita Procli, c. 36.)]

[Footnote 152: The life of Proclus, by Marinus, was published by Fabricius (Hamburg, 1700, et ad calcem Bibliot. Latin. Lond. 1703.) See Saidas, (tom. iii. p. 185, 186,) Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. l. v. c. 26 p. 449—552,) and Brucker, (Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 319—326)]

[Footnote 153: The life of Isidore was composed by Damascius, (apud Photium, sod. ccxlii. p. 1028—1076.) See the last age of the Pagan philosophers, in Brucker, (tom. ii. p. 341—351.)]

[Footnote 154: The suppression of the schools of Athens is recorded by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 187, sub Decio Cos. Sol.,) and an anonymous Chronicle in the Vatican library, (apud Aleman. p. 106.)]

[Footnote 155: Agathias (l. ii. p. 69, 70, 71) relates this curious story Chosroes ascended the throne in the year 531, and made his first peace with the Romans in the beginning of 533—a date most compatible with his young fame and the old age of Isidore, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 404. Pagi, tom. ii. p. 543, 550.)]

About the same time that Pythagoras first invented the appellation of philosopher, liberty and the consulship were founded at Rome by the elder Brutus. The revolutions of the consular office, which may be viewed in the successive lights of a substance, a shadow, and a name, have been occasionally mentioned in the present History. The first magistrates of the republic had been chosen by the people, to exercise, in the senate and in the camp, the powers of peace and war, which were afterwards translated to the emperors. But the tradition of ancient dignity was long revered by the Romans and Barbarians. A Gothic historian applauds the consulship of Theodoric as the height of all temporal glory and greatness; [156] the king of Italy himself congratulated those annual favorites of fortune who, without the cares, enjoyed the splendor of the throne; and at the end of a thousand years, two consuls were created by the sovereigns of Rome and Constantinople, for the sole purpose of giving a date to the year, and a festival to the people. But the expenses of this festival, in which the wealthy and the vain aspired to surpass their predecessors, insensibly arose to the enormous sum of fourscore thousand pounds; the wisest senators declined a useless honor, which involved the certain ruin of their families, and to this reluctance I should impute the frequent chasms in the last age of the consular Fasti. The predecessors of Justinian had assisted from the public treasures the dignity of the less opulent candidates; the avarice of that prince preferred the cheaper and more convenient method of advice and regulation. [157] Seven processions or spectacles were the number to which his edict confined the horse and chariot races, the athletic sports, the music, and pantomimes of the theatre, and the hunting of wild beasts; and small pieces of silver were discreetly substituted to the gold medals, which had always excited tumult and drunkenness, when they were scattered with a profuse hand among the populace. Notwithstanding these precautions, and his own example, the succession of consuls finally ceased in the thirteenth year of Justinian, whose despotic temper might be gratified by the silent extinction of a title which admonished the Romans of their ancient freedom. [158] Yet the annual consulship still lived in the minds of the people; they fondly expected its speedy restoration; they applauded the gracious condescension of successive princes, by whom it was assumed in the first year of their reign; and three centuries elapsed, after the death of Justinian, before that obsolete dignity, which had been suppressed by custom, could be abolished by law. [159] The imperfect mode of distinguishing each year by the name of a magistrate, was usefully supplied by the date of a permanent aera: the creation of the world, according to the Septuagint version, was adopted by the Greeks; [160] and the Latins, since the age of Charlemagne, have computed their time from the birth of Christ. [161]

[Footnote 156: Cassiodor. Variarum Epist. vi. 1. Jornandes, c. 57, p. 696, dit. Grot. Quod summum bonum primumque in mundo decus dicitur.]

[Footnote 157: See the regulations of Justinian, (Novell. cv.,) dated at Constantinople, July 5, and addressed to Strategius, treasurer of the empire.]

[Footnote 158: Procopius, in Anecdot. c. 26. Aleman. p. 106. In the xviiith year after the consulship of Basilius, according to the reckoning of Marcellinus, Victor, Marius, &c., the secret history was composed, and, in the eyes of Procopius, the consulship was finally abolished.]

[Footnote 159: By Leo, the philosopher, (Novell. xciv. A.D. 886-911.) See Pagi (Dissertat. Hypatica, p. 325—362) and Ducange, (Gloss, Graec p. 1635, 1636.) Even the title was vilified: consulatus codicilli.. vilescunt, says the emperor himself.]

[Footnote 160: According to Julius Africanus, &c., the world was created the first of September, 5508 years, three months, and twenty-five days before the birth of Christ. (See Pezron, Antiquite des Tems defendue, p. 20—28.) And this aera has been used by the Greeks, the Oriental Christians, and even by the Russians, till the reign of Peter I The period, however arbitrary, is clear and convenient. Of the 7296 years which are supposed to elapse since the creation, we shall find 3000 of ignorance and darkness; 2000 either fabulous or doubtful; 1000 of ancient history, commencing with the Persian empire, and the Republics of Rome and Athens; 1000 from the fall of the Roman empire in the West to the discovery of America; and the remaining 296 will almost complete three centuries of the modern state of Europe and mankind. I regret this chronology, so far preferable to our double and perplexed method of counting backwards and forwards the years before and after the Christian era.]

[Footnote 161: The aera of the world has prevailed in the East since the vith general council, (A.D. 681.) In the West, the Christian aera was first invented in the vith century: it was propagated in the viiith by the authority and writings of venerable Bede; but it was not till the xth that the use became legal and popular. See l'Art de Veriner les Dates, Dissert. Preliminaire, p. iii. xii. Dictionnaire Diplomatique, tom. i. p. 329—337; the works of a laborious society of Benedictine monks.]



Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.—Part I.

Conquests Of Justinian In The West.—Character And First Campaigns Of Belisarius—He Invades And Subdues The Vandal Kingdom Of Africa—His Triumph.—The Gothic War.—He Recovers Sicily, Naples, And Rome.—Siege Of Rome By The Goths.—Their Retreat And Losses.—Surrender Of Ravenna.— Glory Of Belisarius.—His Domestic Shame And Misfortunes.

When Justinian ascended the throne, about fifty years after the fall of the Western empire, the kingdoms of the Goths and Vandals had obtained a solid, and, as it might seem, a legal establishment both in Europe and Africa. The titles, which Roman victory had inscribed, were erased with equal justice by the sword of the Barbarians; and their successful rapine derived a more venerable sanction from time, from treaties, and from the oaths of fidelity, already repeated by a second or third generation of obedient subjects. Experience and Christianity had refuted the superstitious hope, that Rome was founded by the gods to reign forever over the nations of the earth. But the proud claim of perpetual and indefeasible dominion, which her soldiers could no longer maintain, was firmly asserted by her statesmen and lawyers, whose opinions have been sometimes revived and propagated in the modern schools of jurisprudence. After Rome herself had been stripped of the Imperial purple, the princes of Constantinople assumed the sole and sacred sceptre of the monarchy; demanded, as their rightful inheritance, the provinces which had been subdued by the consuls, or possessed by the Caesars; and feebly aspired to deliver their faithful subjects of the West from the usurpation of heretics and Barbarians. The execution of this splendid design was in some degree reserved for Justinian. During the five first years of his reign, he reluctantly waged a costly and unprofitable war against the Persians; till his pride submitted to his ambition, and he purchased at the price of four hundred and forty thousand pounds sterling, the benefit of a precarious truce, which, in the language of both nations, was dignified with the appellation of the endless peace. The safety of the East enabled the emperor to employ his forces against the Vandals; and the internal state of Africa afforded an honorable motive, and promised a powerful support, to the Roman arms. [1]

[Footnote 1: The complete series of the Vandal war is related by Procopius in a regular and elegant narrative, (l. i. c. 9—25, l. ii. c. 1—13,) and happy would be my lot, could I always tread in the footsteps of such a guide. From the entire and diligent perusal of the Greek text, I have a right to pronounce that the Latin and French versions of Grotius and Cousin may not be implicitly trusted; yet the president Cousin has been often praised, and Hugo Grotius was the first scholar of a learned age.]

According to the testament of the founder, the African kingdom had lineally descended to Hilderic, the eldest of the Vandal princes. A mild disposition inclined the son of a tyrant, the grandson of a conqueror, to prefer the counsels of clemency and peace; and his accession was marked by the salutary edict, which restored two hundred bishops to their churches, and allowed the free profession of the Athanasian creed. [2] But the Catholics accepted, with cold and transient gratitude, a favor so inadequate to their pretensions, and the virtues of Hilderic offended the prejudices of his countrymen. The Arian clergy presumed to insinuate that he had renounced the faith, and the soldiers more loudly complained that he had degenerated from the courage, of his ancestors. His ambassadors were suspected of a secret and disgraceful negotiation in the Byzantine court; and his general, the Achilles, [3] as he was named, of the Vandals, lost a battle against the naked and disorderly Moors. The public discontent was exasperated by Gelimer, whose age, descent, and military fame, gave him an apparent title to the succession: he assumed, with the consent of the nation, the reins of government; and his unfortunate sovereign sunk without a struggle from the throne to a dungeon, where he was strictly guarded with a faithful counsellor, and his unpopular nephew the Achilles of the Vandals. But the indulgence which Hilderic had shown to his Catholic subjects had powerfully recommended him to the favor of Justinian, who, for the benefit of his own sect, could acknowledge the use and justice of religious toleration: their alliance, while the nephew of Justin remained in a private station, was cemented by the mutual exchange of gifts and letters; and the emperor Justinian asserted the cause of royalty and friendship. In two successive embassies, he admonished the usurper to repent of his treason, or to abstain, at least, from any further violence which might provoke the displeasure of God and of the Romans; to reverence the laws of kindred and succession, and to suffer an infirm old man peaceably to end his days, either on the throne of Carthage or in the palace of Constantinople. The passions, or even the prudence, of Gelimer compelled him to reject these requests, which were urged in the haughty tone of menace and command; and he justified his ambition in a language rarely spoken in the Byzantine court, by alleging the right of a free people to remove or punish their chief magistrate, who had failed in the execution of the kingly office.

After this fruitless expostulation, the captive monarch was more rigorously treated, his nephew was deprived of his eyes, and the cruel Vandal, confident in his strength and distance, derided the vain threats and slow preparations of the emperor of the East. Justinian resolved to deliver or revenge his friend, Gelimer to maintain his usurpation; and the war was preceded, according to the practice of civilized nations, by the most solemn protestations, that each party was sincerely desirous of peace.

[Footnote 2: See Ruinart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal. c. xii. p. 589. His best evidence is drawn from the life of St. Fulgentius, composed by one of his disciples, transcribed in a great measure in the annals of Baronius, and printed in several great collections, (Catalog. Bibliot. Bunavianae, tom. i. vol. ii. p. 1258.)]

[Footnote 3: For what quality of the mind or body? For speed, or beauty, or valor?—In what language did the Vandals read Homer?—Did he speak German?—The Latins had four versions, (Fabric. tom. i. l. ii. c. 8, p. 297:) yet, in spite of the praises of Seneca, (Consol. c. 26,) they appear to have been more successful in imitating than in translating the Greek poets. But the name of Achilles might be famous and popular even among the illiterate Barbarians.]

The report of an African war was grateful only to the vain and idle populace of Constantinople, whose poverty exempted them from tribute, and whose cowardice was seldom exposed to military service. But the wiser citizens, who judged of the future by the past, revolved in their memory the immense loss, both of men and money, which the empire had sustained in the expedition of Basiliscus. The troops, which, after five laborious campaigns, had been recalled from the Persian frontier, dreaded the sea, the climate, and the arms of an unknown enemy. The ministers of the finances computed, as far as they might compute, the demands of an African war; the taxes which must be found and levied to supply those insatiate demands; and the danger, lest their own lives, or at least their lucrative employments, should be made responsible for the deficiency of the supply. Inspired by such selfish motives, (for we may not suspect him of any zeal for the public good,) John of Cappadocia ventured to oppose in full council the inclinations of his master. He confessed, that a victory of such importance could not be too dearly purchased; but he represented in a grave discourse the certain difficulties and the uncertain event. "You undertake," said the praefect, "to besiege Carthage: by land, the distance is not less than one hundred and forty days' journey; on the sea, a whole year [4] must elapse before you can receive any intelligence from your fleet. If Africa should be reduced, it cannot be preserved without the additional conquest of Sicily and Italy. Success will impose the obligations of new labors; a single misfortune will attract the Barbarians into the heart of your exhausted empire." Justinian felt the weight of this salutary advice; he was confounded by the unwonted freedom of an obsequious servant; and the design of the war would perhaps have been relinquished, if his courage had not been revived by a voice which silenced the doubts of profane reason. "I have seen a vision," cried an artful or fanatic bishop of the East. "It is the will of Heaven, O emperor! that you should not abandon your holy enterprise for the deliverance of the African church. The God of battles will march before your standard, and disperse your enemies, who are the enemies of his Son." The emperor, might be tempted, and his counsellors were constrained, to give credit to this seasonable revelation: but they derived more rational hope from the revolt, which the adherents of Hilderic or Athanasius had already excited on the borders of the Vandal monarchy. Pudentius, an African subject, had privately signified his loyal intentions, and a small military aid restored the province of Tripoli to the obedience of the Romans. The government of Sardinia had been intrusted to Godas, a valiant Barbarian he suspended the payment of tribute, disclaimed his allegiance to the usurper, and gave audience to the emissaries of Justinian, who found him master of that fruitful island, at the head of his guards, and proudly invested with the ensigns of royalty. The forces of the Vandals were diminished by discord and suspicion; the Roman armies were animated by the spirit of Belisarius; one of those heroic names which are familiar to every age and to every nation.

[Footnote 4: A year—absurd exaggeration! The conquest of Africa may be dated A. D 533, September 14. It is celebrated by Justinian in the preface to his Institutes, which were published November 21 of the same year. Including the voyage and return, such a computation might be truly applied to our Indian empire.]

The Africanus of new Rome was born, and perhaps educated, among the Thracian peasants, [5] without any of those advantages which had formed the virtues of the elder and younger Scipio; a noble origin, liberal studies, and the emulation of a free state.

The silence of a loquacious secretary may be admitted, to prove that the youth of Belisarius could not afford any subject of praise: he served, most assuredly with valor and reputation, among the private guards of Justinian; and when his patron became emperor, the domestic was promoted to military command. After a bold inroad into Persarmenia, in which his glory was shared by a colleague, and his progress was checked by an enemy, Belisarius repaired to the important station of Dara, where he first accepted the service of Procopius, the faithful companion, and diligent historian, of his exploits. [6] The Mirranes of Persia advanced, with forty thousand of her best troops, to raze the fortifications of Dara; and signified the day and the hour on which the citizens should prepare a bath for his refreshment, after the toils of victory. He encountered an adversary equal to himself, by the new title of General of the East; his superior in the science of war, but much inferior in the number and quality of his troops, which amounted only to twenty-five thousand Romans and strangers, relaxed in their discipline, and humbled by recent disasters. As the level plain of Dara refused all shelter to stratagem and ambush, Belisarius protected his front with a deep trench, which was prolonged at first in perpendicular, and afterwards in parallel, lines, to cover the wings of cavalry advantageously posted to command the flanks and rear of the enemy. When the Roman centre was shaken, their well-timed and rapid charge decided the conflict: the standard of Persia fell; the immortals fled; the infantry threw away their bucklers, and eight thousand of the vanquished were left on the field of battle. In the next campaign, Syria was invaded on the side of the desert; and Belisarius, with twenty thousand men, hastened from Dara to the relief of the province. During the whole summer, the designs of the enemy were baffled by his skilful dispositions: he pressed their retreat, occupied each night their camp of the preceding day, and would have secured a bloodless victory, if he could have resisted the impatience of his own troops. Their valiant promise was faintly supported in the hour of battle; the right wing was exposed by the treacherous or cowardly desertion of the Christian Arabs; the Huns, a veteran band of eight hundred warriors, were oppressed by superior numbers; the flight of the Isaurians was intercepted; but the Roman infantry stood firm on the left; for Belisarius himself, dismounting from his horse, showed them that intrepid despair was their only safety. [611] They turned their backs to the Euphrates, and their faces to the enemy: innumerable arrows glanced without effect from the compact and shelving order of their bucklers; an impenetrable line of pikes was opposed to the repeated assaults of the Persian cavalry; and after a resistance of many hours, the remaining troops were skilfully embarked under the shadow of the night. The Persian commander retired with disorder and disgrace, to answer a strict account of the lives of so many soldiers, which he had consumed in a barren victory. But the fame of Belisarius was not sullied by a defeat, in which he alone had saved his army from the consequences of their own rashness: the approach of peace relieved him from the guard of the eastern frontier, and his conduct in the sedition of Constantinople amply discharged his obligations to the emperor. When the African war became the topic of popular discourse and secret deliberation, each of the Roman generals was apprehensive, rather than ambitious, of the dangerous honor; but as soon as Justinian had declared his preference of superior merit, their envy was rekindled by the unanimous applause which was given to the choice of Belisarius. The temper of the Byzantine court may encourage a suspicion, that the hero was darkly assisted by the intrigues of his wife, the fair and subtle Antonina, who alternately enjoyed the confidence, and incurred the hatred, of the empress Theodora.

The birth of Antonina was ignoble; she descended from a family of charioteers; and her chastity has been stained with the foulest reproach. Yet she reigned with long and absolute power over the mind of her illustrious husband; and if Antonina disdained the merit of conjugal fidelity, she expressed a manly friendship to Belisarius, whom she accompanied with undaunted resolution in all the hardships and dangers of a military life. [7]

[Footnote 5: (Procop. Vandal. l. i. c. 11.) Aleman, (Not. ad Anecdot. p. 5,) an Italian, could easily reject the German vanity of Giphanius and Velserus, who wished to claim the hero; but his Germania, a metropolis of Thrace, I cannot find in any civil or ecclesiastical lists of the provinces and cities. Note *: M. von Hammer (in a review of Lord Mahon's Life of Belisarius in the Vienna Jahrbucher) shows that the name of Belisarius is a Sclavonic word, Beli-tzar, the White Prince, and that the place of his birth was a village of Illvria, which still bears the name of Germany.—M.]

[Footnote 6: The two first Persian campaigns of Belisarius are fairly and copiously related by his secretary, (Persic. l. i. c. 12—18.)]

[Footnote 611: The battle was fought on Easter Sunday, April 19, not at the end of the summer. The date is supplied from John Malala by Lord Mabon p. 47.—M.]

[Footnote 7: See the birth and character of Antonina, in the Anecdotes, c. l. and the notes of Alemannus, p. 3.]

The preparations for the African war were not unworthy of the last contest between Rome and Carthage. The pride and flower of the army consisted of the guards of Belisarius, who, according to the pernicious indulgence of the times, devoted themselves, by a particular oath of fidelity, to the service of their patrons. Their strength and stature, for which they had been curiously selected, the goodness of their horses and armor, and the assiduous practice of all the exercises of war, enabled them to act whatever their courage might prompt; and their courage was exalted by the social honor of their rank, and the personal ambition of favor and fortune. Four hundred of the bravest of the Heruli marched under the banner of the faithful and active Pharas; their untractable valor was more highly prized than the tame submission of the Greeks and Syrians; and of such importance was it deemed to procure a reenforcement of six hundred Massagetae, or Huns, that they were allured by fraud and deceit to engage in a naval expedition. Five thousand horse and ten thousand foot were embarked at Constantinople, for the conquest of Africa; but the infantry, for the most part levied in Thrace and Isauria, yielded to the more prevailing use and reputation of the cavalry; and the Scythian bow was the weapon on which the armies of Rome were now reduced to place their principal dependence. From a laudable desire to assert the dignity of his theme, Procopius defends the soldiers of his own time against the morose critics, who confined that respectable name to the heavy-armed warriors of antiquity, and maliciously observed, that the word archer is introduced by Homer [8] as a term of contempt. "Such contempt might perhaps be due to the naked youths who appeared on foot in the fields of Troy, and lurking behind a tombstone, or the shield of a friend, drew the bow-string to their breast, [9] and dismissed a feeble and lifeless arrow. But our archers (pursues the historian) are mounted on horses, which they manage with admirable skill; their head and shoulders are protected by a casque or buckler; they wear greaves of iron on their legs, and their bodies are guarded by a coat of mail. On their right side hangs a quiver, a sword on their left, and their hand is accustomed to wield a lance or javelin in closer combat. Their bows are strong and weighty; they shoot in every possible direction, advancing, retreating, to the front, to the rear, or to either flank; and as they are taught to draw the bow-string not to the breast, but to the right ear, firm indeed must be the armor that can resist the rapid violence of their shaft." Five hundred transports, navigated by twenty thousand mariners of Egypt, Cilicia, and Ionia, were collected in the harbor of Constantinople. The smallest of these vessels may be computed at thirty, the largest at five hundred, tons; and the fair average will supply an allowance, liberal, but not profuse, of about one hundred thousand tons, [10] for the reception of thirty-five thousand soldiers and sailors, of five thousand horses, of arms, engines, and military stores, and of a sufficient stock of water and provisions for a voyage, perhaps, of three months. The proud galleys, which in former ages swept the Mediterranean with so many hundred oars, had long since disappeared; and the fleet of Justinian was escorted only by ninety-two light brigantines, covered from the missile weapons of the enemy, and rowed by two thousand of the brave and robust youth of Constantinople. Twenty-two generals are named, most of whom were afterwards distinguished in the wars of Africa and Italy: but the supreme command, both by land and sea, was delegated to Belisarius alone, with a boundless power of acting according to his discretion, as if the emperor himself were present. The separation of the naval and military professions is at once the effect and the cause of the modern improvements in the science of navigation and maritime war. [Footnote 8: See the preface of Procopius. The enemies of archery might quote the reproaches of Diomede (Iliad. Delta. 385, &c.) and the permittere vulnera ventis of Lucan, (viii. 384:) yet the Romans could not despise the arrows of the Parthians; and in the siege of Troy, Pandarus, Paris, and Teucer, pierced those haughty warriors who insulted them as women or children.]

[Footnote 9: (Iliad. Delta. 123.) How concise—how just—how beautiful is the whole picture! I see the attitudes of the archer—I hear the twanging of the bow.]

[Footnote 10: The text appears to allow for the largest vessels 50,000 medimni, or 3000 tons, (since the medimnus weighed 160 Roman, or 120 avoirdupois, pounds.) I have given a more rational interpretation, by supposing that the Attic style of Procopius conceals the legal and popular modius, a sixth part of the medimnus, (Hooper's Ancient Measures, p. 152, &c.) A contrary and indeed a stranger mistake has crept into an oration of Dinarchus, (contra Demosthenem, in Reiske Orator. Graec tom iv. P. ii. p. 34.) By reducing the number of ships from 500 to 50, and translating by mines, or pounds, Cousin has generously allowed 500 tons for the whole of the Imperial fleet! Did he never think?]

In the seventh year of the reign of Justinian, and about the time of the summer solstice, the whole fleet of six hundred ships was ranged in martial pomp before the gardens of the palace. The patriarch pronounced his benediction, the emperor signified his last commands, the general's trumpet gave the signal of departure, and every heart, according to its fears or wishes, explored, with anxious curiosity, the omens of misfortune and success. The first halt was made at Perinthus or Heraclea, where Belisarius waited five days to receive some Thracian horses, a military gift of his sovereign. From thence the fleet pursued their course through the midst of the Propontis; but as they struggled to pass the Straits of the Hellespont, an unfavorable wind detained them four days at Abydus, where the general exhibited a memorable lesson of firmness and severity. Two of the Huns, who in a drunken quarrel had slain one of their fellow-soldiers, were instantly shown to the army suspended on a lofty gibbet. The national dignity was resented by their countrymen, who disclaimed the servile laws of the empire, and asserted the free privilege of Scythia, where a small fine was allowed to expiate the hasty sallies of intemperance and anger. Their complaints were specious, their clamors were loud, and the Romans were not averse to the example of disorder and impunity. But the rising sedition was appeased by the authority and eloquence of the general: and he represented to the assembled troops the obligation of justice, the importance of discipline, the rewards of piety and virtue, and the unpardonable guilt of murder, which, in his apprehension, was aggravated rather than excused by the vice of intoxication. [11] In the navigation from the Hellespont to Peloponnesus, which the Greeks, after the siege of Troy, had performed in four days, [12] the fleet of Belisarius was guided in their course by his master-galley, conspicuous in the day by the redness of the sails, and in the night by the torches blazing from the mast head. It was the duty of the pilots, as they steered between the islands, and turned the Capes of Malea and Taenarium, to preserve the just order and regular intervals of such a multitude of ships: as the wind was fair and moderate, their labors were not unsuccessful, and the troops were safely disembarked at Methone on the Messenian coast, to repose themselves for a while after the fatigues of the sea. In this place they experienced how avarice, invested with authority, may sport with the lives of thousands which are bravely exposed for the public service. According to military practice, the bread or biscuit of the Romans was twice prepared in the oven, and the diminution of one fourth was cheerfully allowed for the loss of weight. To gain this miserable profit, and to save the expense of wood, the praefect John of Cappadocia had given orders that the flour should be slightly baked by the same fire which warmed the baths of Constantinople; and when the sacks were opened, a soft and mouldy paste was distributed to the army. Such unwholesome food, assisted by the heat of the climate and season, soon produced an epidemical disease, which swept away five hundred soldiers. Their health was restored by the diligence of Belisarius, who provided fresh bread at Methone, and boldly expressed his just and humane indignation the emperor heard his complaint; the general was praised but the minister was not punished. From the port of Methone, the pilots steered along the western coast of Peloponnesus, as far as the Isle of Zacynthus, or Zante, before they undertook the voyage (in their eyes a most arduous voyage) of one hundred leagues over the Ionian Sea. As the fleet was surprised by a calm, sixteen days were consumed in the slow navigation; and even the general would have suffered the intolerable hardship of thirst, if the ingenuity of Antonina had not preserved the water in glass bottles, which she buried deep in the sand in a part of the ship impervious to the rays of the sun. At length the harbor of Caucana, [13] on the southern side of Sicily, afforded a secure and hospitable shelter. The Gothic officers who governed the island in the name of the daughter and grandson of Theodoric, obeyed their imprudent orders, to receive the troops of Justinian like friends and allies: provisions were liberally supplied, the cavalry was remounted, [14] and Procopius soon returned from Syracuse with correct information of the state and designs of the Vandals. His intelligence determined Belisarius to hasten his operations, and his wise impatience was seconded by the winds. The fleet lost sight of Sicily, passed before the Isle of Malta, discovered the capes of Africa, ran along the coast with a strong gale from the north-east, and finally cast anchor at the promontory of Caput Vada, about five days' journey to the south of Carthage. [15]

[Footnote 11: I have read of a Greek legislator, who inflicted a double penalty on the crimes committed in a state of intoxication; but it seems agreed that this was rather a political than a moral law.]

[Footnote 12: Or even in three days, since they anchored the first evening in the neighboring isle of Tenedos: the second day they sailed to Lesbon the third to the promontory of Euboea, and on the fourth they reached Argos, (Homer, Odyss. P. 130—183. Wood's Essay on Homer, p. 40—46.) A pirate sailed from the Hellespont to the seaport of Sparta in three days, (Xenophon. Hellen. l. ii. c. l.)]

[Footnote 13: Caucana, near Camarina, is at least 50 miles (350 or 400 stadia) from Syracuse, (Cluver. Sicilia Antiqua, p. 191.) * Note *: Lord Mahon. (Life of Belisarius, p.88) suggests some valid reasons for reading Catana, the ancient name of Catania.—M.]

[Footnote 14: Procopius, Gothic. l. i. c. 3. Tibi tollit hinnitum apta quadrigis equa, in the Sicilian pastures of Grosphus, (Horat. Carm. ii. 16.) Acragas.... magnanimum quondam generator equorum, (Virg. Aeneid. iii. 704.) Thero's horses, whose victories are immortalized by Pindar, were bred in this country.]

[Footnote 15: The Caput Vada of Procopius (where Justinian afterwards founded a city—De Edific.l. vi. c. 6) is the promontory of Ammon in Strabo, the Brachodes of Ptolemy, the Capaudia of the moderns, a long narrow slip that runs into the sea, (Shaw's Travels, p. 111.)]

If Gelimer had been informed of the approach of the enemy, he must have delayed the conquest of Sardinia for the immediate defence of his person and kingdom. A detachment of five thousand soldiers, and one hundred and twenty galleys, would have joined the remaining forces of the Vandals; and the descendant of Genseric might have surprised and oppressed a fleet of deep laden transports, incapable of action, and of light brigantines that seemed only qualified for flight. Belisarius had secretly trembled when he overheard his soldiers, in the passage, emboldening each other to confess their apprehensions: if they were once on shore, they hoped to maintain the honor of their arms; but if they should be attacked at sea, they did not blush to acknowledge that they wanted courage to contend at the same time with the winds, the waves, and the Barbarians. [16] The knowledge of their sentiments decided Belisarius to seize the first opportunity of landing them on the coast of Africa; and he prudently rejected, in a council of war, the proposal of sailing with the fleet and army into the port of Carthage. [1611] Three months after their departure from Constantinople, the men and horses, the arms and military stores, were safely disembarked, and five soldiers were left as a guard on board each of the ships, which were disposed in the form of a semicircle. The remainder of the troops occupied a camp on the sea-shore, which they fortified, according to ancient discipline, with a ditch and rampart; and the discovery of a source of fresh water, while it allayed the thirst, excited the superstitious confidence, of the Romans. The next morning, some of the neighboring gardens were pillaged; and Belisarius, after chastising the offenders, embraced the slight occasion, but the decisive moment, of inculcating the maxims of justice, moderation, and genuine policy. "When I first accepted the commission of subduing Africa, I depended much less," said the general, "on the numbers, or even the bravery of my troops, than on the friendly disposition of the natives, and their immortal hatred to the Vandals. You alone can deprive me of this hope; if you continue to extort by rapine what might be purchased for a little money, such acts of violence will reconcile these implacable enemies, and unite them in a just and holy league against the invaders of their country." These exhortations were enforced by a rigid discipline, of which the soldiers themselves soon felt and praised the salutary effects. The inhabitants, instead of deserting their houses, or hiding their corn, supplied the Romans with a fair and liberal market: the civil officers of the province continued to exercise their functions in the name of Justinian: and the clergy, from motives of conscience and interest, assiduously labored to promote the cause of a Catholic emperor. The small town of Sullecte, [17] one day's journey from the camp, had the honor of being foremost to open her gates, and to resume her ancient allegiance: the larger cities of Leptis and Adrumetum imitated the example of loyalty as soon as Belisarius appeared; and he advanced without opposition as far as Grasse, a palace of the Vandal kings, at the distance of fifty miles from Carthage. The weary Romans indulged themselves in the refreshment of shady groves, cool fountains, and delicious fruits; and the preference which Procopius allows to these gardens over any that he had seen, either in the East or West, may be ascribed either to the taste, or the fatigue, or the historian. In three generations, prosperity and a warm climate had dissolved the hardy virtue of the Vandals, who insensibly became the most luxurious of mankind. In their villas and gardens, which might deserve the Persian name of Paradise, [18] they enjoyed a cool and elegant repose; and, after the daily use of the bath, the Barbarians were seated at a table profusely spread with the delicacies of the land and sea. Their silken robes loosely flowing, after the fashion of the Medes, were embroidered with gold; love and hunting were the labors of their life, and their vacant hours were amused by pantomimes, chariot-races, and the music and dances of the theatre.

[Footnote 16: A centurion of Mark Antony expressed, though in a more manly train, the same dislike to the sea and to naval combats, (Plutarch in Antonio, p. 1730, edit. Hen. Steph.)]

[Footnote 1611: Rather into the present Lake of Tunis. Lord Mahon, p. 92.—M.]

[Footnote 17: Sullecte is perhaps the Turris Hannibalis, an old building, now as large as the Tower of London. The march of Belisarius to Leptis. Adrumetum, &c., is illustrated by the campaign of Caesar, (Hirtius, de Bello Africano, with the Analyse of Guichardt,) and Shaw's Travels (p. 105—113) in the same country.]

[Footnote 18: The paradises, a name and fashion adopted from Persia, may be represented by the royal garden of Ispahan, (Voyage d'Olearius, p. 774.) See, in the Greek romances, their most perfect model, (Longus. Pastoral. l. iv. p. 99—101 Achilles Tatius. l. i. p. 22, 23.)]

In a march of ten or twelve days, the vigilance of Belisarius was constantly awake and active against his unseen enemies, by whom, in every place, and at every hour, he might be suddenly attacked. An officer of confidence and merit, John the Armenian, led the vanguard of three hundred horse; six hundred Massagetae covered at a certain distance the left flank; and the whole fleet, steering along the coast, seldom lost sight of the army, which moved each day about twelve miles, and lodged in the evening in strong camps, or in friendly towns. The near approach of the Romans to Carthage filled the mind of Gelimer with anxiety and terror. He prudently wished to protract the war till his brother, with his veteran troops, should return from the conquest of Sardinia; and he now lamented the rash policy of his ancestors, who, by destroying the fortifications of Africa, had left him only the dangerous resource of risking a battle in the neighborhood of his capital. The Vandal conquerors, from their original number of fifty thousand, were multiplied, without including their women and children, to one hundred and sixty thousand fighting men: [1811] and such forces, animated with valor and union, might have crushed, at their first landing, the feeble and exhausted bands of the Roman general. But the friends of the captive king were more inclined to accept the invitations, than to resist the progress, of Belisarius; and many a proud Barbarian disguised his aversion to war under the more specious name of his hatred to the usurper. Yet the authority and promises of Gelimer collected a formidable army, and his plans were concerted with some degree of military skill. An order was despatched to his brother Ammatas, to collect all the forces of Carthage, and to encounter the van of the Roman army at the distance of ten miles from the city: his nephew Gibamund, with two thousand horse, was destined to attack their left, when the monarch himself, who silently followed, should charge their rear, in a situation which excluded them from the aid or even the view of their fleet. But the rashness of Ammatas was fatal to himself and his country. He anticipated the hour of the attack, outstripped his tardy followers, and was pierced with a mortal wound, after he had slain with his own hand twelve of his boldest antagonists. His Vandals fled to Carthage; the highway, almost ten miles, was strewed with dead bodies; and it seemed incredible that such multitudes could be slaughtered by the swords of three hundred Romans. The nephew of Gelimer was defeated, after a slight combat, by the six hundred Massagetae: they did not equal the third part of his numbers; but each Scythian was fired by the example of his chief, who gloriously exercised the privilege of his family, by riding, foremost and alone, to shoot the first arrow against the enemy. In the mean while, Gelimer himself, ignorant of the event, and misguided by the windings of the hills, inadvertently passed the Roman army, and reached the scene of action where Ammatas had fallen. He wept the fate of his brother and of Carthage, charged with irresistible fury the advancing squadrons, and might have pursued, and perhaps decided, the victory, if he had not wasted those inestimable moments in the discharge of a vain, though pious, duty to the dead. While his spirit was broken by this mournful office, he heard the trumpet of Belisarius, who, leaving Antonina and his infantry in the camp, pressed forwards with his guards and the remainder of the cavalry to rally his flying troops, and to restore the fortune of the day. Much room could not be found, in this disorderly battle, for the talents of a general; but the king fled before the hero; and the Vandals, accustomed only to a Moorish enemy, were incapable of withstanding the arms and discipline of the Romans. Gelimer retired with hasty steps towards the desert of Numidia: but he had soon the consolation of learning that his private orders for the execution of Hilderic and his captive friends had been faithfully obeyed. The tyrant's revenge was useful only to his enemies. The death of a lawful prince excited the compassion of his people; his life might have perplexed the victorious Romans; and the lieutenant of Justinian, by a crime of which he was innocent, was relieved from the painful alternative of forfeiting his honor or relinquishing his conquests.

[Footnote 1811: 80,000. Hist. Arc. c. 18. Gibbon has been misled by the translation. See Lord ov. p. 99.—M.]



Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.—Part II.

As soon as the tumult had subsided, the several parts of the army informed each other of the accidents of the day; and Belisarius pitched his camp on the field of victory, to which the tenth mile-stone from Carthage had applied the Latin appellation of Decimus. From a wise suspicion of the stratagems and resources of the Vandals, he marched the next day in order of battle, halted in the evening before the gates of Carthage, and allowed a night of repose, that he might not, in darkness and disorder, expose the city to the license of the soldiers, or the soldiers themselves to the secret ambush of the city. But as the fears of Belisarius were the result of calm and intrepid reason, he was soon satisfied that he might confide, without danger, in the peaceful and friendly aspect of the capital. Carthage blazed with innumerable torches, the signals of the public joy; the chain was removed that guarded the entrance of the port; the gates were thrown open, and the people, with acclamations of gratitude, hailed and invited their Roman deliverers. The defeat of the Vandals, and the freedom of Africa, were announced to the city on the eve of St. Cyprian, when the churches were already adorned and illuminated for the festival of the martyr whom three centuries of superstition had almost raised to a local deity. The Arians, conscious that their reign had expired, resigned the temple to the Catholics, who rescued their saint from profane hands, performed the holy rites, and loudly proclaimed the creed of Athanasius and Justinian. One awful hour reversed the fortunes of the contending parties. The suppliant Vandals, who had so lately indulged the vices of conquerors, sought an humble refuge in the sanctuary of the church; while the merchants of the East were delivered from the deepest dungeon of the palace by their affrighted keeper, who implored the protection of his captives, and showed them, through an aperture in the wall, the sails of the Roman fleet. After their separation from the army, the naval commanders had proceeded with slow caution along the coast till they reached the Hermaean promontory, and obtained the first intelligence of the victory of Belisarius. Faithful to his instructions, they would have cast anchor about twenty miles from Carthage, if the more skilful seamen had not represented the perils of the shore, and the signs of an impending tempest. Still ignorant of the revolution, they declined, however, the rash attempt of forcing the chain of the port; and the adjacent harbor and suburb of Mandracium were insulted only by the rapine of a private officer, who disobeyed and deserted his leaders. But the Imperial fleet, advancing with a fair wind, steered through the narrow entrance of the Goletta, and occupied, in the deep and capacious lake of Tunis, a secure station about five miles from the capital. [19] No sooner was Belisarius informed of their arrival, than he despatched orders that the greatest part of the mariners should be immediately landed to join the triumph, and to swell the apparent numbers, of the Romans. Before he allowed them to enter the gates of Carthage, he exhorted them, in a discourse worthy of himself and the occasion, not to disgrace the glory of their arms; and to remember that the Vandals had been the tyrants, but that they were the deliverers, of the Africans, who must now be respected as the voluntary and affectionate subjects of their common sovereign. The Romans marched through the streets in close ranks prepared for battle if an enemy had appeared: the strict order maintained by the general imprinted on their minds the duty of obedience; and in an age in which custom and impunity almost sanctified the abuse of conquest, the genius of one man repressed the passions of a victorious army. The voice of menace and complaint was silent; the trade of Carthage was not interrupted; while Africa changed her master and her government, the shops continued open and busy; and the soldiers, after sufficient guards had been posted, modestly departed to the houses which were allotted for their reception. Belisarius fixed his residence in the palace; seated himself on the throne of Genseric; accepted and distributed the Barbaric spoil; granted their lives to the suppliant Vandals; and labored to repair the damage which the suburb of Mandracium had sustained in the preceding night. At supper he entertained his principal officers with the form and magnificence of a royal banquet. [20] The victor was respectfully served by the captive officers of the household; and in the moments of festivity, when the impartial spectators applauded the fortune and merit of Belisarius, his envious flatterers secretly shed their venom on every word and gesture which might alarm the suspicions of a jealous monarch. One day was given to these pompous scenes, which may not be despised as useless, if they attracted the popular veneration; but the active mind of Belisarius, which in the pride of victory could suppose a defeat, had already resolved that the Roman empire in Africa should not depend on the chance of arms, or the favor of the people. The fortifications of Carthage [2011] had alone been exempted from the general proscription; but in the reign of ninety-five years they were suffered to decay by the thoughtless and indolent Vandals. A wiser conqueror restored, with incredible despatch, the walls and ditches of the city. His liberality encouraged the workmen; the soldiers, the mariners, and the citizens, vied with each other in the salutary labor; and Gelimer, who had feared to trust his person in an open town, beheld with astonishment and despair, the rising strength of an impregnable fortress.

[Footnote 19: The neighborhood of Carthage, the sea, the land, and the rivers, are changed almost as much as the works of man. The isthmus, or neck of the city, is now confounded with the continent; the harbor is a dry plain; and the lake, or stagnum, no more than a morass, with six or seven feet water in the mid-channel. See D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. p. 82,) Shaw, (Travels, p. 77—84,) Marmol, (Description de l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 465,) and Thuanus, (lviii. 12, tom. iii. p. 334.)]

[Footnote 20: From Delphi, the name of Delphicum was given, both in Greek and Latin, to a tripod; and by an easy analogy, the same appellation was extended at Rome, Constantinople, and Carthage, to the royal banquetting room, (Procopius, Vandal. l. i. c. 21. Ducange, Gloss, Graec. p. 277., ad Alexiad. p. 412.)]

[Footnote 2011: And a few others. Procopius states in his work De Edi Sciis. l. vi. vol i. p. 5.—M]

That unfortunate monarch, after the loss of his capital, applied himself to collect the remains of an army scattered, rather than destroyed, by the preceding battle; and the hopes of pillage attracted some Moorish bands to the standard of Gelimer. He encamped in the fields of Bulla, four days' journey from Carthage; insulted the capital, which he deprived of the use of an aqueduct; proposed a high reward for the head of every Roman; affected to spare the persons and property of his African subjects, and secretly negotiated with the Arian sectaries and the confederate Huns. Under these circumstances, the conquest of Sardinia served only to aggravate his distress: he reflected, with the deepest anguish, that he had wasted, in that useless enterprise, five thousand of his bravest troops; and he read, with grief and shame, the victorious letters of his brother Zano, [2012] who expressed a sanguine confidence that the king, after the example of their ancestors, had already chastised the rashness of the Roman invader. "Alas! my brother," replied Gelimer, "Heaven has declared against our unhappy nation. While you have subdued Sardinia, we have lost Africa. No sooner did Belisarius appear with a handful of soldiers, than courage and prosperity deserted the cause of the Vandals. Your nephew Gibamund, your brother Ammatas, have been betrayed to death by the cowardice of their followers. Our horses, our ships, Carthage itself, and all Africa, are in the power of the enemy. Yet the Vandals still prefer an ignominious repose, at the expense of their wives and children, their wealth and liberty. Nothing now remains, except the fields of Bulla, and the hope of your valor. Abandon Sardinia; fly to our relief; restore our empire, or perish by our side." On the receipt of this epistle, Zano imparted his grief to the principal Vandals; but the intelligence was prudently concealed from the natives of the island. The troops embarked in one hundred and twenty galleys at the port of Caghari, cast anchor the third day on the confines of Mauritania, and hastily pursued their march to join the royal standard in the camp of Bulla. Mournful was the interview: the two brothers embraced; they wept in silence; no questions were asked of the Sardinian victory; no inquiries were made of the African misfortunes: they saw before their eyes the whole extent of their calamities; and the absence of their wives and children afforded a melancholy proof that either death or captivity had been their lot. The languid spirit of the Vandals was at length awakened and united by the entreaties of their king, the example of Zano, and the instant danger which threatened their monarchy and religion. The military strength of the nation advanced to battle; and such was the rapid increase, that before their army reached Tricameron, about twenty miles from Carthage, they might boast, perhaps with some exaggeration, that they surpassed, in a tenfold proportion, the diminutive powers of the Romans. But these powers were under the command of Belisarius; and, as he was conscious of their superior merit, he permitted the Barbarians to surprise him at an unseasonable hour. The Romans were instantly under arms; a rivulet covered their front; the cavalry formed the first line, which Belisarius supported in the centre, at the head of five hundred guards; the infantry, at some distance, was posted in the second line; and the vigilance of the general watched the separate station and ambiguous faith of the Massagetae, who secretly reserved their aid for the conquerors. The historian has inserted, and the reader may easily supply, the speeches [21] of the commanders, who, by arguments the most apposite to their situation, inculcated the importance of victory, and the contempt of life. Zano, with the troops which had followed him to the conquest of Sardinia, was placed in the centre; and the throne of Genseric might have stood, if the multitude of Vandals had imitated their intrepid resolution. Casting away their lances and missile weapons, they drew their swords, and expected the charge: the Roman cavalry thrice passed the rivulet; they were thrice repulsed; and the conflict was firmly maintained, till Zano fell, and the standard of Belisarius was displayed. Gelimer retreated to his camp; the Huns joined the pursuit; and the victors despoiled the bodies of the slain. Yet no more than fifty Romans, and eight hundred Vandals were found on the field of battle; so inconsiderable was the carnage of a day, which extinguished a nation, and transferred the empire of Africa. In the evening Belisarius led his infantry to the attack of the camp; and the pusillanimous flight of Gelimer exposed the vanity of his recent declarations, that to the vanquished, death was a relief, life a burden, and infamy the only object of terror. His departure was secret; but as soon as the Vandals discovered that their king had deserted them, they hastily dispersed, anxious only for their personal safety, and careless of every object that is dear or valuable to mankind. The Romans entered the camp without resistance; and the wildest scenes of disorder were veiled in the darkness and confusion of the night. Every Barbarian who met their swords was inhumanly massacred; their widows and daughters, as rich heirs, or beautiful concubines, were embraced by the licentious soldiers; and avarice itself was almost satiated with the treasures of gold and silver, the accumulated fruits of conquest or economy in a long period of prosperity and peace. In this frantic search, the troops, even of Belisarius, forgot their caution and respect. Intoxicated with lust and rapine, they explored, in small parties, or alone, the adjacent fields, the woods, the rocks, and the caverns, that might possibly conceal any desirable prize: laden with booty, they deserted their ranks, and wandered without a guide, on the high road to Carthage; and if the flying enemies had dared to return, very few of the conquerors would have escaped. Deeply sensible of the disgrace and danger, Belisarius passed an apprehensive night on the field of victory: at the dawn of day, he planted his standard on a hill, recalled his guardians and veterans, and gradually restored the modesty and obedience of the camp. It was equally the concern of the Roman general to subdue the hostile, and to save the prostrate, Barbarian; and the suppliant Vandals, who could be found only in churches, were protected by his authority, disarmed, and separately confined, that they might neither disturb the public peace, nor become the victims of popular revenge. After despatching a light detachment to tread the footsteps of Gelimer, he advanced, with his whole army, about ten days' march, as far as Hippo Regius, which no longer possessed the relics of St. Augustin. [22] The season, and the certain intelligence that the Vandal had fled to an inaccessible country of the Moors, determined Belisarius to relinquish the vain pursuit, and to fix his winter quarters at Carthage. From thence he despatched his principal lieutenant, to inform the emperor, that in the space of three months he had achieved the conquest of Africa.

[Footnote 2012: Gibbon had forgotten that the bearer of the "victorious letters of his brother" had sailed into the port of Carthage; and that the letters had fallen into the hands of the Romans. Proc. Vandal. l. i. c. 23.—M.]

[Footnote 21: These orations always express the sense of the times, and sometimes of the actors. I have condensed that sense, and thrown away declamation.]

[Footnote 22: The relics of St. Augustin were carried by the African bishops to their Sardinian exile, (A.D. 500;) and it was believed, in the viiith century, that Liutprand, king of the Lombards, transported them (A.D. 721) from Sardinia to Pavia. In the year 1695, the Augustan friars of that city found a brick arch, marble coffin, silver case, silk wrapper, bones, blood, &c., and perhaps an inscription of Agostino in Gothic letters. But this useful discovery has been disputed by reason and jealousy, (Baronius, Annal. A.D. 725, No. 2-9. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 944. Montfaucon, Diarium Ital. p. 26-30. Muratori, Antiq. Ital. Medii Aevi, tom. v. dissert. lviii. p. 9, who had composed a separate treatise before the decree of the bishop of Pavia, and Pope Benedict XIII.)]

Belisarius spoke the language of truth. The surviving Vandals yielded, without resistance, their arms and their freedom; the neighborhood of Carthage submitted to his presence; and the more distant provinces were successively subdued by the report of his victory. Tripoli was confirmed in her voluntary allegiance; Sardinia and Corsica surrendered to an officer, who carried, instead of a sword, the head of the valiant Zano; and the Isles of Majorca, Minorca, and Yvica consented to remain an humble appendage of the African kingdom. Caesarea, a royal city, which in looser geography may be confounded with the modern Algiers, was situate thirty days' march to the westward of Carthage: by land, the road was infested by the Moors; but the sea was open, and the Romans were now masters of the sea. An active and discreet tribune sailed as far as the Straits, where he occupied Septem or Ceuta, [23] which rises opposite to Gibraltar on the African coast; that remote place was afterwards adorned and fortified by Justinian; and he seems to have indulged the vain ambition of extending his empire to the columns of Hercules. He received the messengers of victory at the time when he was preparing to publish the Pandects of the Roman laws; and the devout or jealous emperor celebrated the divine goodness, and confessed, in silence, the merit of his successful general. [24] Impatient to abolish the temporal and spiritual tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded, without delay, to the full establishment of the Catholic church. Her jurisdiction, wealth, and immunites, perhaps the most essential part of episcopal religion, were restored and amplified with a liberal hand; the Arian worship was suppressed; the Donatist meetings were proscribed; [25] and the synod of Carthage, by the voice of two hundred and seventeen bishops, [26] applauded the just measure of pious retaliation. On such an occasion, it may not be presumed, that many orthodox prelates were absent; but the comparative smallness of their number, which in ancient councils had been twice or even thrice multiplied, most clearly indicates the decay both of the church and state. While Justinian approved himself the defender of the faith, he entertained an ambitious hope, that his victorious lieutenant would speedily enlarge the narrow limits of his dominion to the space which they occupied before the invasion of the Moors and Vandals; and Belisarius was instructed to establish five dukes or commanders in the convenient stations of Tripoli, Leptis, Cirta, Caesarea, and Sardinia, and to compute the military force of palatines or borderers that might be sufficient for the defence of Africa. The kingdom of the Vandals was not unworthy of the presence of a Praetorian praefect; and four consulars, three presidents, were appointed to administer the seven provinces under his civil jurisdiction. The number of their subordinate officers, clerks, messengers, or assistants, was minutely expressed; three hundred and ninety-six for the praefect himself, fifty for each of his vicegerents; and the rigid definition of their fees and salaries was more effectual to confirm the right than to prevent the abuse. These magistrates might be oppressive, but they were not idle; and the subtile questions of justice and revenue were infinitely propagated under the new government, which professed to revive the freedom and equity of the Roman republic. The conqueror was solicitous to extract a prompt and plentiful supply from his African subjects; and he allowed them to claim, even in the third degree, and from the collateral line, the houses and lands of which their families had been unjustly despoiled by the Vandals. After the departure of Belisarius, who acted by a high and special commission, no ordinary provision was made for a master-general of the forces; but the office of Praetorian praefect was intrusted to a soldier; the civil and military powers were united, according to the practice of Justinian, in the chief governor; and the representative of the emperor in Africa, as well as in Italy, was soon distinguished by the appellation of Exarch. [27]

[Footnote 23: The expression of Procopius (de Edific. l. vi. c. 7.) Ceuta, which has been defaced by the Portuguese, flourished in nobles and palaces, in agriculture and manufactures, under the more prosperous reign of the Arabs, (l'Afrique de Marmai, tom. ii. p. 236.)]

[Footnote 24: See the second and third preambles to the Digest, or Pandects, promulgated A.D. 533, December 16. To the titles of Vandalicus and Africanus, Justinian, or rather Belisarius, had acquired a just claim; Gothicus was premature, and Francicus false, and offensive to a great nation.]

[Footnote 25: See the original acts in Baronius, (A.D. 535, No. 21—54.) The emperor applauds his own clemency to the heretics, cum sufficiat eis vivere.]

[Footnote 26: Dupin (Geograph. Sacra Africana, p. lix. ad Optat. Milav.) observes and bewails this episcopal decay. In the more prosperous age of the church, he had noticed 690 bishoprics; but however minute were the dioceses, it is not probable that they all existed at the same time.]

[Footnote 27: The African laws of Justinian are illustrated by his German biographer, (Cod. l. i. tit. 27. Novell. 36, 37, 131. Vit. Justinian, p. 349—377.)]

Yet the conquest of Africa was imperfect till her former sovereign was delivered, either alive or dead, into the hands of the Romans. Doubtful of the event, Gelimer had given secret orders that a part of his treasure should be transported to Spain, where he hoped to find a secure refuge at the court of the king of the Visigoths. But these intentions were disappointed by accident, treachery, and the indefatigable pursuit of his enemies, who intercepted his flight from the sea-shore, and chased the unfortunate monarch, with some faithful followers, to the inaccessible mountain of Papua, [28] in the inland country of Numidia. He was immediately besieged by Pharas, an officer whose truth and sobriety were the more applauded, as such qualities could seldom be found among the Heruli, the most corrupt of the Barbarian tribes. To his vigilance Belisarius had intrusted this important charge and, after a bold attempt to scale the mountain, in which he lost a hundred and ten soldiers, Pharas expected, during a winter siege, the operation of distress and famine on the mind of the Vandal king. From the softest habits of pleasure, from the unbounded command of industry and wealth, he was reduced to share the poverty of the Moors, [29] supportable only to themselves by their ignorance of a happier condition. In their rude hovels, of mud and hurdles, which confined the smoke and excluded the light, they promiscuously slept on the ground, perhaps on a sheep-skin, with their wives, their children, and their cattle. Sordid and scanty were their garments; the use of bread and wine was unknown; and their oaten or barley cakes, imperfectly baked in the ashes, were devoured almost in a crude state, by the hungry savages. The health of Gelimer must have sunk under these strange and unwonted hardships, from whatsoever cause they had been endured; but his actual misery was imbittered by the recollection of past greatness, the daily insolence of his protectors, and the just apprehension, that the light and venal Moors might be tempted to betray the rights of hospitality. The knowledge of his situation dictated the humane and friendly epistle of Pharas. "Like yourself," said the chief of the Heruli, "I am an illiterate Barbarian, but I speak the language of plain sense and an honest heart. Why will you persist in hopeless obstinacy? Why will you ruin yourself, your family, and nation? The love of freedom and abhorrence of slavery? Alas! my dearest Gelimer, are you not already the worst of slaves, the slave of the vile nation of the Moors? Would it not be preferable to sustain at Constantinople a life of poverty and servitude, rather than to reign the undoubted monarch of the mountain of Papua? Do you think it a disgrace to be the subject of Justinian? Belisarius is his subject; and we ourselves, whose birth is not inferior to your own, are not ashamed of our obedience to the Roman emperor. That generous prince will grant you a rich inheritance of lands, a place in the senate, and the dignity of patrician: such are his gracious intentions, and you may depend with full assurance on the word of Belisarius. So long as Heaven has condemned us to suffer, patience is a virtue; but if we reject the proffered deliverance, it degenerates into blind and stupid despair." "I am not insensible" replied the king of the Vandals, "how kind and rational is your advice. But I cannot persuade myself to become the slave of an unjust enemy, who has deserved my implacable hatred. Him I had never injured either by word or deed: yet he has sent against me, I know not from whence, a certain Belisarius, who has cast me headlong from the throne into his abyss of misery. Justinian is a man; he is a prince; does he not dread for himself a similar reverse of fortune? I can write no more: my grief oppresses me. Send me, I beseech you, my dear Pharas, send me, a lyre, [30] a sponge, and a loaf of bread." From the Vandal messenger, Pharas was informed of the motives of this singular request. It was long since the king of Africa had tasted bread; a defluxion had fallen on his eyes, the effect of fatigue or incessant weeping; and he wished to solace the melancholy hours, by singing to the lyre the sad story of his own misfortunes. The humanity of Pharas was moved; he sent the three extraordinary gifts; but even his humanity prompted him to redouble the vigilance of his guard, that he might sooner compel his prisoner to embrace a resolution advantageous to the Romans, but salutary to himself. The obstinacy of Gelimer at length yielded to reason and necessity; the solemn assurances of safety and honorable treatment were ratified in the emperor's name, by the ambassador of Belisarius; and the king of the Vandals descended from the mountain. The first public interview was in one of the suburbs of Carthage; and when the royal captive accosted his conqueror, he burst into a fit of laughter. The crowd might naturally believe, that extreme grief had deprived Gelimer of his senses: but in this mournful state, unseasonable mirth insinuated to more intelligent observers, that the vain and transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a serious thought. [31]

[Footnote 28: Mount Papua is placed by D'Anville (tom. iii. p. 92, and Tabul. Imp. Rom. Occident.) near Hippo Regius and the sea; yet this situation ill agrees with the long pursuit beyond Hippo, and the words of Procopius, (l. ii.c.4,). * Note: Compare Lord Mahon, 120. conceive Gibbon to be right—M.]

[Footnote 29: Shaw (Travels, p. 220) most accurately represents the manners of the Bedoweens and Kabyles, the last of whom, by their language, are the remnant of the Moors; yet how changed—how civilized are these modern savages!—provisions are plenty among them and bread is common.]

[Footnote 30: By Procopius it is styled a lyre; perhaps harp would have been more national. The instruments of music are thus distinguished by Venantius Fortunatus:— Romanusque lyra tibi plaudat, Barbarus harpa.]

[Footnote 31: Herodotus elegantly describes the strange effects of grief in another royal captive, Psammetichus of Egypt, who wept at the lesser and was silent at the greatest of his calamities, (l. iii. c. 14.) In the interview of Paulus Aemilius and Perses, Belisarius might study his part; but it is probable that he never read either Livy or Plutarch; and it is certain that his generosity did not need a tutor.]

Their contempt was soon justified by a new example of a vulgar truth; that flattery adheres to power, and envy to superior merit. The chiefs of the Roman army presumed to think themselves the rivals of a hero. Their private despatches maliciously affirmed, that the conqueror of Africa, strong in his reputation and the public love, conspired to seat himself on the throne of the Vandals. Justinian listened with too patient an ear; and his silence was the result of jealousy rather than of confidence. An honorable alternative, of remaining in the province, or of returning to the capital, was indeed submitted to the discretion of Belisarius; but he wisely concluded, from intercepted letters and the knowledge of his sovereign's temper, that he must either resign his head, erect his standard, or confound his enemies by his presence and submission. Innocence and courage decided his choice; his guards, captives, and treasures, were diligently embarked; and so prosperous was the navigation, that his arrival at Constantinople preceded any certain account of his departure from the port of Carthage. Such unsuspecting loyalty removed the apprehensions of Justinian; envy was silenced and inflamed by the public gratitude; and the third Africanus obtained the honors of a triumph, a ceremony which the city of Constantine had never seen, and which ancient Rome, since the reign of Tiberius, had reserved for the auspicious arms of the Caesars. [32] From the palace of Belisarius, the procession was conducted through the principal streets to the hippodrome; and this memorable day seemed to avenge the injuries of Genseric, and to expiate the shame of the Romans. The wealth of nations was displayed, the trophies of martial or effeminate luxury; rich armor, golden thrones, and the chariots of state which had been used by the Vandal queen; the massy furniture of the royal banquet, the splendor of precious stones, the elegant forms of statues and vases, the more substantial treasure of gold, and the holy vessels of the Jewish temple, which after their long peregrination were respectfully deposited in the Christian church of Jerusalem. A long train of the noblest Vandals reluctantly exposed their lofty stature and manly countenance. Gelimer slowly advanced: he was clad in a purple robe, and still maintained the majesty of a king. Not a tear escaped from his eyes, not a sigh was heard; but his pride or piety derived some secret consolation from the words of Solomon, [33] which he repeatedly pronounced, Vanity! vanity! all is vanity! Instead of ascending a triumphal car drawn by four horses or elephants, the modest conqueror marched on foot at the head of his brave companions; his prudence might decline an honor too conspicuous for a subject; and his magnanimity might justly disdain what had been so often sullied by the vilest of tyrants. The glorious procession entered the gate of the hippodrome; was saluted by the acclamations of the senate and people; and halted before the throne where Justinian and Theodora were seated to receive homage of the captive monarch and the victorious hero. They both performed the customary adoration; and falling prostrate on the ground, respectfully touched the footstool of a prince who had not unsheathed his sword, and of a prostitute who had danced on the theatre; some gentle violence was used to bend the stubborn spirit of the grandson of Genseric; and however trained to servitude, the genius of Belisarius must have secretly rebelled. He was immediately declared consul for the ensuing year, and the day of his inauguration resembled the pomp of a second triumph: his curule chair was borne aloft on the shoulders of captive Vandals; and the spoils of war, gold cups, and rich girdles, were profusely scattered among the populace. [Footnote 32: After the title of imperator had lost the old military sense, and the Roman auspices were abolished by Christianity, (see La Bleterie, Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xxi. p. 302—332,) a triumph might be given with less inconsistency to a private general.]

[Footnote 33: If the Ecclesiastes be truly a work of Solomon, and not, like Prior's poem, a pious and moral composition of more recent times, in his name, and on the subject of his repentance. The latter is the opinion of the learned and free-spirited Grotius, (Opp. Theolog. tom. i. p. 258;) and indeed the Ecclesiastes and Proverbs display a larger compass of thought and experience than seem to belong either to a Jew or a king. * Note: Rosenmuller, arguing from the difference of style from that of the greater part of the book of Proverbs, and from its nearer approximation to the Aramaic dialect than any book of the Old Testament, assigns the Ecclesiastes to some period between Nehemiah and Alexander the Great Schol. in Vet. Test. ix. Proemium ad Eccles. p. 19.—M.]



Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.—Part III.

Although Theodatus descended from a race of heroes, he was ignorant of the art, and averse to the dangers, of war. Although he had studied the writings of Plato and Tully, philosophy was incapable of purifying his mind from the basest passions, avarice and fear. He had purchased a sceptre by ingratitude and murder: at the first menace of an enemy, he degraded his own majesty and that of a nation, which already disdained their unworthy sovereign. Astonished by the recent example of Gelimer, he saw himself dragged in chains through the streets of Constantinople: the terrors which Belisarius inspired were heightened by the eloquence of Peter, the Byzantine ambassador; and that bold and subtle advocate persuaded him to sign a treaty, too ignominious to become the foundation of a lasting peace. It was stipulated, that in the acclamations of the Roman people, the name of the emperor should be always proclaimed before that of the Gothic king; and that as often as the statue of Theodatus was erected in brass on marble, the divine image of Justinian should be placed on its right hand. Instead of conferring, the king of Italy was reduced to solicit, the honors of the senate; and the consent of the emperor was made indispensable before he could execute, against a priest or senator, the sentence either of death or confiscation. The feeble monarch resigned the possession of Sicily; offered, as the annual mark of his dependence, a crown of gold of the weight of three hundred pounds; and promised to supply, at the requisition of his sovereign, three thousand Gothic auxiliaries, for the service of the empire. Satisfied with these extraordinary concessions, the successful agent of Justinian hastened his journey to Constantinople; but no sooner had he reached the Alban villa, [60] than he was recalled by the anxiety of Theodatus; and the dialogue which passed between the king and the ambassador deserves to be represented in its original simplicity. "Are you of opinion that the emperor will ratify this treaty? Perhaps. If he refuses, what consequence will ensue? War. Will such a war, be just or reasonable? Most assuredly: every to his character. What is your meaning? You are a philosopher—Justinian is emperor of the Romans: it would all become the disciple of Plato to shed the blood of thousands in his private quarrel: the successor of Augustus should vindicate his rights, and recover by arms the ancient provinces of his empire." This reasoning might not convince, but it was sufficient to alarm and subdue the weakness of Theodatus; and he soon descended to his last offer, that for the poor equivalent of a pension of forty-eight thousand pounds sterling, he would resign the kingdom of the Goths and Italians, and spend the remainder of his days in the innocent pleasures of philosophy and agriculture.

Both treaties were intrusted to the hands of the ambassador, on the frail security of an oath not to produce the second till the first had been positively rejected. The event may be easily foreseen: Justinian required and accepted the abdication of the Gothic king. His indefatigable agent returned from Constantinople to Ravenna, with ample instructions; and a fair epistle, which praised the wisdom and generosity of the royal philosopher, granted his pension, with the assurance of such honors as a subject and a Catholic might enjoy; and wisely referred the final execution of the treaty to the presence and authority of Belisarius. But in the interval of suspense, two Roman generals, who had entered the province of Dalmatia, were defeated and slain by the Gothic troops. From blind and abject despair, Theodatus capriciously rose to groundless and fatal presumption, [61] and dared to receive, with menace and contempt, the ambassador of Justinian; who claimed his promise, solicited the allegiance of his subjects, and boldly asserted the inviolable privilege of his own character. The march of Belisarius dispelled this visionary pride; and as the first campaign [62] was employed in the reduction of Sicily, the invasion of Italy is applied by Procopius to the second year of the Gothic war. [63]

[Footnote 60: The ancient Alba was ruined in the first age of Rome. On the same spot, or at least in the neighborhood, successively arose. 1. The villa of Pompey, &c.; 2. A camp of the Praetorian cohorts; 3. The modern episcopal city of Albanum or Albano. (Procop. Goth. l. ii. c. 4 Oluver. Ital. Antiq tom. ii. p. 914.)]

[Footnote 61: A Sibylline oracle was ready to pronounce—Africa capta munitus cum nato peribit; a sentence of portentous ambiguity, (Gothic. l. i. c. 7,) which has been published in unknown characters by Opsopaeus, an editor of the oracles. The Pere Maltret has promised a commentary; but all his promises have been vain and fruitless.]

[Footnote 62: In his chronology, imitated, in some degree, from Thucydides, Procopius begins each spring the years of Justinian and of the Gothic war; and his first aera coincides with the first of April, 535, and not 536, according to the Annals of Baronius, (Pagi, Crit. tom. ii. p. 555, who is followed by Muratori and the editors of Sigonius.) Yet, in some passages, we are at a loss to reconcile the dates of Procopius with himself, and with the Chronicle of Marcellinus.]

[Footnote 63: The series of the first Gothic war is represented by Procopius (l. i. c. 5—29, l. ii. c. l—30, l. iii. c. l) till the captivity of Vitigas. With the aid of Sigonius (Opp. tom. i. de Imp. Occident. l. xvii. xviii.) and Muratori, (Annali d'Itaia, tom. v.,) I have gleaned some few additional facts.]

After Belisarius had left sufficient garrisons in Palermo and Syracuse, he embarked his troops at Messina, and landed them, without resistance, on the opposite shores of Rhegium. A Gothic prince, who had married the daughter of Theodatus, was stationed with an army to guard the entrance of Italy; but he imitated, without scruple, the example of a sovereign faithless to his public and private duties. The perfidious Ebermor deserted with his followers to the Roman camp, and was dismissed to enjoy the servile honors of the Byzantine court. [64] From Rhegium to Naples, the fleet and army of Belisarius, almost always in view of each other, advanced near three hundred miles along the sea-coast. The people of Bruttium, Lucania, and Campania, who abhorred the name and religion of the Goths, embraced the specious excuse, that their ruined walls were incapable of defence: the soldiers paid a just equivalent for a plentiful market; and curiosity alone interrupted the peaceful occupations of the husbandman or artificer. Naples, which has swelled to a great and populous capital, long cherished the language and manners of a Grecian colony; [65] and the choice of Virgil had ennobled this elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, from the noise, the smoke, and the laborious opulence of Rome. [66] As soon as the place was invested by sea and land, Belisarius gave audience to the deputies of the people, who exhorted him to disregard a conquest unworthy of his arms, to seek the Gothic king in a field of battle, and, after his victory, to claim, as the sovereign of Rome, the allegiance of the dependent cities. "When I treat with my enemies," replied the Roman chief, with a haughty smile, "I am more accustomed to give than to receive counsel; but I hold in one hand inevitable ruin, and in the other peace and freedom, such as Sicily now enjoys." The impatience of delay urged him to grant the most liberal terms; his honor secured their performance: but Naples was divided into two factions; and the Greek democracy was inflamed by their orators, who, with much spirit and some truth, represented to the multitude that the Goths would punish their defection, and that Belisarius himself must esteem their loyalty and valor. Their deliberations, however, were not perfectly free: the city was commanded by eight hundred Barbarians, whose wives and children were detained at Ravenna as the pledge of their fidelity; and even the Jews, who were rich and numerous, resisted, with desperate enthusiasm, the intolerant laws of Justinian. In a much later period, the circumference of Naples [67] measured only two thousand three hundred and sixty three paces: [68] the fortifications were defended by precipices or the sea; when the aqueducts were intercepted, a supply of water might be drawn from wells and fountains; and the stock of provisions was sufficient to consume the patience of the besiegers. At the end of twenty days, that of Belisarius was almost exhausted, and he had reconciled himself to the disgrace of abandoning the siege, that he might march, before the winter season, against Rome and the Gothic king. But his anxiety was relieved by the bold curiosity of an Isaurian, who explored the dry channel of an aqueduct, and secretly reported, that a passage might be perforated to introduce a file of armed soldiers into the heart of the city. When the work had been silently executed, the humane general risked the discovery of his secret by a last and fruitless admonition of the impending danger. In the darkness of the night, four hundred Romans entered the aqueduct, raised themselves by a rope, which they fastened to an olive-tree, into the house or garden of a solitary matron, sounded their trumpets, surprised the sentinels, and gave admittance to their companions, who on all sides scaled the walls, and burst open the gates of the city. Every crime which is punished by social justice was practised as the rights of war; the Huns were distinguished by cruelty and sacrilege, and Belisarius alone appeared in the streets and churches of Naples to moderate the calamities which he predicted. "The gold and silver," he repeatedly exclaimed, "are the just rewards of your valor. But spare the inhabitants; they are Christians, they are suppliants, they are now your fellow-subjects. Restore the children to their parents, the wives to their husbands; and show them by you, generosity of what friends they have obstinately deprived themselves." The city was saved by the virtue and authority of its conqueror; [69] and when the Neapolitans returned to their houses, they found some consolation in the secret enjoyment of their hidden treasures. The Barbarian garrison enlisted in the service of the emperor; Apulia and Calabria, delivered from the odious presence of the Goths, acknowledged his dominion; and the tusks of the Calydonian boar, which were still shown at Beneventum, are curiously described by the historian of Belisarius. [70]

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