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since the reduction of Africa. Even Sicily furnished
its proportion of troops; and the armies of Max-
entius amounted to one hundred and seventy thou-
sand foot, and eighteen thousand horse. The wealth
of Italy supplied the expenses of the war; and the
adjacent provinces were exhausted, to form immense
magazines of corn and every other kind of pro-
The whole force of Constantine consisted of ninety
thousand foot and eight thousand horse;’ and as the
defence of the Rhine required an extraordinary at-
tention during the absence of the emperor, it was not
in his power to employ above half his troops in the
Italian expedition, unless he sacrificed the public
safety to his private quarrel.” At the head of about
forty thousand soldiers, he marched to encounter an
enemy whose numbers were at least four times su-
perior to his own. But the armies of Rome, placed
at a secure distance from danger, were enervated by
indulgence and luxury. Habituated to the baths
and theatres of Rome, they took the field with re-
luctance, and were chiefly composed of veterans who
had almost forgotten, or of new levies who had never
acquired, the use of arms, and the practice of war.
The hardy legions of Gaul had long defended the
frontiers of the empire against the barbarians of the
North; and in the performance of that laborious
service, their valour was exercised, and their discipline
confirmed. There appeared the same difference be-
tween the leaders as between the armies. Caprice or

y Zosimus (l. ii. p. 86.) has given us this curious account of the forces on both sides. He makes no mention of any naval armaments, though we are assured (Panegyr. Wet. ix. 25.) that the war was carried on by sea as well as by land; and that the fleet of Constantine took possession of Sardinia, Corsica, and the ports of Italy.

* Panegyr. Wet. ix. 3. It is not surprising that the orator should diminish the numbers with which his sovereign achieved the conquest of Italy; but it appears somewhat singular, that he should esteem the tyrant's army at no more than 100,000 men.

flattery had tempted Maxentius with the hopes of CHAP. conquest; but these aspiring hopes soon gave way to XIV. the habits of pleasure and the consciousness of his inexperience. The intrepid mind of Constantine had been trained from his earliest youth to war, to action, and to military command. When Hannibal marched from Gaul into Italy, he Constantine was obliged, first, to discover, and then to open, a . the way over mountains and through savage nations, that had never yielded a passage to a regular army." The Alps were then guarded by nature, they are now fortified by art. Citadels constructed with no less skill than labour and expense command every avenue into the plain, and on that side render Italy almost inaccessible to the enemies of the king of Sardinia.” But in the course of the intermediate period, the generals, who have attempted the passage, have seldom experienced any difficulty or resistance. In the age of Constantine, the peasants of the mountains were civilized and obedient subjects; the country was plentifully stocked with provisions, and the stupendous highways, which the Romans had carried over the Alps, opened several communications between Gaul and Italy." Constantine preferred the road of the Cottian Alps, or, as it is now called, of Mount Cenis, and led his troops with such active diligence, that he descended into the plain of Piedmont before the court of Maxentius had received any

* The three principal passages of the Alps between Gaul and Italy are those of Mount St. Bernard, Mount Cenis, and Mount Genevre. Tradition, and a resemblance of names (Alpes Penninae), had assigned the first of these for the march of Hannibal (see Simler de Alpibus). The Chevalier de Folard (Polyb. tom. iv.) and M. d’Anville have led him over Mount Genevre. But notwithstanding the authority of an experienced officer and a learned geographer, the pretensions of Mount Cenis are supported in a specious, not to say a convincing, manner by M. Grosley. Observations sur l'Italie, tom. i. p. 40, &c.

* La Brunette near Suse, Demont, Exiles, Fenestrelles, Coni, &c.

* See Ammian. Marcellin. xv. 10. His description of the roads over the Alps is clear, lively, and accurate.

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certain intelligence of his departure from the banks of the Rhine. The city of Susa, however, which is situated at the foot of Mount Cenis, was surrounded with walls, and provided with a garrison sufficiently numerous to check the progress of an invader; but the impatience of Constantine's troops disdained the tedious forms of a siege. The same day that they appeared before Susa, they applied fire to the gates, and ladders to the walls; and mounting to the assault amidst a shower of stones and arrows, they entered the place sword in hand, and cut in pieces the greatest part of the garrison. The flames were extinguished by the care of Constantine, and the remains of Susa preserved from total destruction. About forty miles from thence, a more severe contest awaited him. A numerous army of Italians was assembled under the lieutenants of Maxentius, in the plains of Turin. Its principal strength consisted in a species of heavy cavalry, which the Romans, since the decline of their discipline, had borrowed from the nations of the East. The horses, as well as the men, were clothed in complete armour, the joints of which were artfully adapted to the motions of their bodies. The aspect of this cavalry was formidable, their weight almost irresistible; and as, on this occasion, their generals had drawn them up in a compact column or wedge, with a sharp point, and with spreading flanks, they flattered themselves that they should easily break and trample down the army of Constantine. They might, perhaps, have succeeded in their design, had not their experienced adversary embraced the same method of defence, which in similar circumstances had been practised by Aurelian. The skilful evolutions of Constantine divided and baffled this massy column of cavalry. The troops of Maxentius fled in confusion towards Turin; and as the gates of the city were shut against them, very


few escaped the sword of the victorious pursuers. By this important service, Turin deserved to experience the clemency and even favour of the conqueror. He made his entry into the imperial palace of Milan, and almost all the cities of Italy between the Alps and the Po not only acknowledged the power, but embraced with zeal the party, of Constantine."


From Milan to Rome, the AEmilian and Flaminian Siege and

highways offered an easy march of about four hun-
dred miles; but though Constantine was impatient
to encounter the tyrant, he prudently directed his
operations against another army of Italians, who, by
their strength and position, might either oppose his
progress, or, in case of a misfortune, might intercept
his retreat. Ruricius Pompeianus, a general distin-
guished by his valour and ability, had under his
command the city of Verona, and all the troops that
were stationed in the province of Venetia. As soon
as he was informed that Constantine was advancing
towards him, he detached a large body of cavalry,
which was defeated in an engagement near Brescia,
and pursued by the Gallic legions as far as the gates
of Verona. The necessity, the importance, and the
difficulties of the siege of Verona, immediately pre-
sented themselves to the sagacious mind of Constan-
tine." The city was accessible only by a narrow
peninsula towards the west, as the other three sides
were surrounded by the Adige, a rapid river which
covered the province of Venetia, from whence the
besieged derived an inexhaustible supply of men and
d Zosimus as well as Eusebius hown from the passage of the Alps to the
decisive action near Rome. We must apply to the two Panegyrics, for the in-
termediate actions of Constantine.
* The Marquis Maffi has examined the siege and battle of Verona with that
degree of attention and accuracy which was due to a memorable action that hap-
pened in his native country. The fortifications of that city, constructed by Gal-

lienus, were less extensive than the modern walls, and the amphitheatre was not included within their circumference. See Verona Illustrata, Part i. p. 142. 150.


battle of Verona.

CHAP. provisions. It was not without great difficulty, and


after several fruitless attempts, that Constantine found means to pass the river at some distance above the city, and in a place where the torrent was less violent. He then encompassed Verona with strong lines, pushed his attacks with prudent vigour, and repelled a desperate sally of Pompeianus. That intrepid general, when he had used every means of defence that the strength of the place or that of the garrison could afford, secretly escaped from Verona, anxious not for his own but for the public safety. With indefatigable diligence he soon collected an army sufficient either to meet Constantine in the field, or to attack him if he obstinately remained within his lines. The emperor, attentive to the motions, and informed of the approach, of so formidable an enemy, left a part of his legions to continue the operations of the siege, whilst, at the head of those troops on whose valour and fidelity he more particularly depended, he advanced in person to engage the general of Maxentius. The army of Gaul was drawn up in two lines, according to the usual practice of war; but their experienced leader, perceiving that the numbers of the Italians far exceeded his own, suddenly changed his disposition, and, reducing the second, extended the front of his first, line to a just proportion with that of the enemy. Such evolutions, which only veteran troops can execute without confusion in a moment of danger, commonly prove decisive: but as this engagement began towards the close of the day, and was contested with great obstinacy during the whole night, there was less room for the conduct of the generals than for the courage of the soldiers. The return of light displayed the victory of Constantine, and a field of carnage covered with many thousands of the vanquished Italians. Their general, Pompeianus, was found among the

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