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A.D.377.] DEFEAT OF THE ALLEMANNI. 603
prudently retained in Gaul, he committed the affair to the conduct of Nannienus, a leader of great prudence and skill, joining with him as his colleague with equal power, Mellobaudes, the count-commander of the domestics and king of the Franks, a man of great courage and renown in war." 7. Nannienus took into his consideration the variable chances of fortune, and therefore voted for acting slowly and with caution, while Mellobaudes, hurried away by a fierce desire for fighting, according to his usual custom, was eager at once to march against the enemy; and would not brook delay. 8. Presently a horrid shout was raised by the enemy, and the trumpeters on our side also gave the signal for battle, upon which a fierce engagement began near Colmar. On both sides numbers fell beneath the blows of arrows and hurled javelins. 9. But while the battle was raging, the multitude of the enemy appeared so countless, that our soldiers, avoiding a conflict with them on the open field, dispersed as best they could among the different narrow paths overgrown with trees; but they afterwards stood their ground firmly, and by the boldness of their carriage and the dazzling splendour of their arms, when seen from a distance, made the barbarians fear that the emperor himself was at hand. 10. And they suddenly turned their backs, still offering occasional resistance, to leave no chance for safety untried; but at last they were routed with such slaughter that of their whole number not above 9,000, as was reckoned, escaped, and these owed their safety to the thickness of the woods. Among the many bold and gallant men who perished was their king, Priarius, who had been the principal cause of this ruinous war. 11. Gratian was greatly delighted and encouraged by this success; and intending now to proceed to the East, he secretly crossed the Rhine, and turned his march to the left, being full of sanguine hopes, and resolving, if fortune should only favour his enterprise, to destroy the whole of this treacherous and turbulent nation. 12. And as intelligence of this design was conveyed to the people of Lintz by repeated messengers, they, who had already been reduced to great weakness by the almost * See Gibbon, vol. iii., p. 181 (Bohn).
entire destruction of their forces, and were now greatly
. alarmed at the expected approach of the emperor, hesitated
What to do, and as neither by resistance, nor by anything which they could do or devise, did they perceive any possibility of obtaining ever so brief a respite, they withdrew with speed to their hills, which were almost inaccessible from the steepness of their precipices, and reaching the most inaccessible rocks by a winding path. they conveyed thither their riches and their families, and prepared to defend them with all their might.
13. Having deliberated on this difficulty, our general selected 500 men of proved experience in war out of each legion, to station opposite to the entrances to this wall of rock. And they, being further encouraged by the fact that the emperor himself was continually seen actively employed among the front rank, endeavoured to scale the precipices, not doubting but that if they could once set foot upon the rocks they should instantly catch the barbarians, like so much game, without any conflict; and so an engagement was commenced towards the approach of noon, and lasted even to the darkness of night.
14. Both sides experienced heavy losses. Our men slew numbers. and fell in numbers; and the armour of the emperor’s body-guard, glittering with gold and brilliant colours, was crushed beneath the weight of the heavy missiles hurled upon them.
15. Gratian held a long deliberation with his chief oflicers; and it seemed to them fruitless and mischievous to contend with unreasonable obstinacy against these rugged and overhanging rocks : at last (as is usual in such affairs), after various opinions had been delivered. it was determined, without making any more active efforts, to
blockade the barbarians and reduce them by famine;
since against all active enterprises the character of the ground which they occupied was a suificient defence.
16. But the Germans still held out with unflinching obstinacy, and being thoroughly acquainted with the country, retreated to other mountains still more lofty than those which they occupied at first. Thither also the emperor turned with his army, with the same energy as ivefore, seeking for a path which might lead him to the
17. And when the barbarians saw him thus with unwearied perseverance intent upon their destruction, they surrendered; and having by humble supplication obtained mercy, they furnished a reinforcement of the flower of their youth to be mingled with our recruits, and were permitted to retire in safety to their native land.
18. It is beyond all belief how much vigour and rapidity of action Gratian, by the favour of the eternal Deity, displayed in gaining this seasonable and beneficial victory, which broke the power of the Western tribes at a time when he was preparing to hasten in another direction. He was indeed a young prince of admirable disposition, eloquent, moderate, warlike, and merciful, rivalling the most admirable of his predecessors, even while the down of youth was still upon his cheeks ; the only drawback to his character being that he was sometimes drawn into ridiculous actions, when, in consequence of temptations held out by his minions and favourites, he imitated the vain pursuits of Caesar Commodus; but he was never bloodthirsty. - .
19. For as that prince, because hehad been accustomed to slay numbers of wild beasts with his javelins in the sight of the people, and prided himself beyond measure on the skill with which he slew a hundred lions let loose at the same time in the amphitheatre with different missiles, and without ever having to repeat his shot; so Gratian, in the enclosures called preserves, slew wild beasts with his arrows, neglecting much serious business for this amusement, and this at a time when if Marcus Antoninus had resumed the empire he would have found it hard, without colleagues of equal genius to his own, and without the most -serious deliberation of counsel, to remedy the grievous disasters of the republic.
20. Therefore having made all the arrangements which the time would permit for the affairs of Gaul, and having punished the traitor of the Scutarii who had betrayed to the barbarians the intelligence that the emperor was about to depart with all speed for Illyricum, Gratianus quitted the army, and passing through the fortress known as that of Arbor Felix, he proceeded by forced marches to carry his assistance to those who needed it. '
21. About this time, while Frigeridus was with great wisdom devising many schemes likely to prove of advan
tage to the general safety, and was preparing to fortify
the defiles of the Succi, to prevent the enemy (who, by the rapidity of their movements and their fondness for sallies, were always threatening the northern provinces like a torrent) from extending their inroads any further, he was superseded by a count named Maurus, a man cruel, ferocious, fickle, and untrustworthy. This man, as we have related in our account of preceding transactions, being one of Julian’s body-guard to whom the defence of the palace was expressly committed, while that prince was doubting about accepting the imperial authority, took the chain from his own neck and oifered it to him for a diadem.
22. Thus, in the most critical aspect of our difiiculties, a cautious and energetic general was removed, when, even if he had previously retired into private life, he ought, from the greatness of the affairs which required his superintendence, to have been brought back again to the camp.
§ 1. ABOUT the same time Valens quitted Antioch, and, after a long journey, came to Constantinople, where he stayed a few days, being made anxious by atrifiing sedition among the citizens. He intrusted the command of the infantry, which had previously been committed to Trajan, to Sebastian, who at his request had been lately sent to him from Italy, being a general of well-known vigilance; and he himself went to Melanthias, a country palace belonging to the emperors, where he conciliated the soldiers by giving t-hem their pay, furnishing them with provisions, and frequently addressing them in courteous speeches.
2. Having left this place, he proceeded according to the stages he had marked out, and came to a station named Nice, where he learnt from intelligence brought by his scouts, that the barbarians, who had collected a rich booty, were returning loaded with it from the districts about Mount Rhodope, and were now near Hadrianople. They,
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hearing of the approach of the emperor with a numerous force, were hastening to join their countrymen, who were in strong positions around Berasa. and Nicopolis; and immediately (as the ripeness of the opportunity thus thrown in his way required) the emperor ordered Sebastian to hasten on with three hundred picked soldiers of each legion, to do something (as he promised) of signal advantage to the commonweal.
3. Sebastian pushed on by forced marches, and came in sight of the enemy near Hadrianople; but as the gates were barred against him, he was unable to approach nearer, since the garrison feared that he had been taken prisoner by the enemy, and won over by them: so that something to the injury of the city might happen, like what had formerly taken place in the case of Count Actus, who had been cunningly taken prisoner by the soldiers of Magnentius, and who thus caused the opening of the passes of the Julian Alps.
4. At last, though late, they recognized Sebastian, and allowed him to enter the city. He, then, as well as he could, refreshed the troops under his command with food and rest, and next morning secretly issued forth, and towards evening, being partially concealed by the rising ground and some trees, he suddenly caught sight of the predatory bands of the Goths near the river Maritza, where, favoured by the darkness of night, he charged them while in disorder and unprepared, routing them so completely that, with the exception of a few whom swiftness of foot saved from death, the whole body were slain, and he recovered such an enormous quantity of booty, that neither the city, nor the extensive plains around could contain it.
5. Fritigern was greatly alarmed; and fearing lest this general, who as we have often heard succeeded in all his undertakings, should surprise and utterly destroy his different detachments, which were scattered at random over the country, intent only on plunder, he called in all his men near the town of Cabyle, and at once made ofi", in order to gain the open country, where he would not be liable to be straitened for want of provisions, or harassed by secret ambuscades. .
6. While these events were proceeding in Thrace, Gra