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life on the first news of the defeat. Carthage, destitute of defence, opened her gates to the conqueror, and Africa was exposed to the rapacious cruelty of a slave, obliged to satisfy his unrelenting master with a large account of blood and treasure.(26) The fate of the Gordians filled Rome with just, but unexpected terror. The senate convoked in the temple of Concord, affected to transact the common business of the day; and seemed to decline, with trembling anxiety, the consideration of their own and the public danger. . A silent consternation prevailed in the assembly, till a senator, of the name and family of Trajan, awakened his brethren from their fatal lethargy. He represented to them, that the choice of cautious, dilatory measures, had been long since out of their power; that Maximin, implacable by nature, and exasperated by injuries, was advanci toward Italy, at the head of the military force of the empire; and that their only remaining alternative, was either to meet him bravely in the field, or tamely to expect the tortures and ignominious death reserved for unsuccessful rebellion. “We have lost,” continued he, “two excellent princes; but unless we desert ourselves, the hopes of the republic have not perished with the Gordians. Many are the senators, whose virtues have deserved, and whose abilities would sustain, the imperial dignity. Let us elect two emperors, one of whom may conduct the war against the public enemy, while his colleague remains at Rome to direct the civil administration. I cheerfully expose myself to the danger and envy of the nomination, and give my vote in favour of Maximus and "É. '?... my choice, conscript fathers, or appoint, in their place, others, more worthy of the empire.” The general apprehension silenced the whispers of jealousy; the merit of the candidates was universally acknowledged; and the house resounded with the sincere acclamations, of “long life and victory to the emperors Maximus and Balbinus. You are happy in the judgment of the senate; may the republic be happy under your administration!”(27) The virtues and the reputation of the new emperors justified the most sanguine hopes of the Romans. The various nature of their talents seemed to appropriate to each his peculiar department of peace and war, without leaving room for jealous emulation. Balbinus was an admired orator, a poet of distinguished same, and a wise magistrate who had exercised with innocence and applause the civil jurisdiction in almost all the interior provinces of the empire, is birth was o his fortune affluent, his manners liberal and affable. In him, the love of pleasure was corrected by a sense of dignity, nor had the nabits of ease deprived him of a capacity for business. The mind of Maximus was formed in a rougher mould. By his valour and abilities he had raised himself from the meanest origin to the first employments of the state and army. His victories over the Sarmatians and the Germans, the austerity of his life, and the rigid impartiality of his justice, while he was Praefect of the city, comtnanded the esteem of a people, whose affections were engaged in favour of the more amiable Balbinus. #. two colleagues had both been consuls (Balbinus Had twice enjoyed that honourable . both had been named among the twenty lieutenants of the senate; and since the one was sixty and the other seventy-four years old,(29) they had both attained the full maturity of age and exoerience. (26) Herodian, 1. vii. p. 254. Hist. August. p. 150–160. We may observe, that one month and six days, for the reign of &sion, is a just correction of Casaubon and Panvinius, instead of the absurd reading of one year and six -- C ... p. 193. Zosi relates, l. i. p. 17, that the two Gordians perished by a tempest in the midst of their navigation. A strange ignorance of history, or a strange abuse of metaphors: (27) See the Augustan History, p. 166, from the registers of the senate; the date is confessedly faulty, but the coincidence of the Apollinarian games enables us to correct it. (28) He was descended from Cornelius Balbus, a noble Spaniard, and the adopted son of Theophanes the Greek historian. Balbus obtained the freedom of Rome by the favour of Pompey, and preserved it by the eloquence of Cicero (see Orat. pro Cornel. Balbo). The friendship of Cesar (to whom he rendered the most important seeret services in the civil war) raised him to the consulship and the pontificate honours, never yet possessed by a stranger. The nephew of this Balbus triumphed over the Garamante*, see Dictionnaire de Bayle, au mot balbus, where he distinguishes the several persons of that name, and
rectifies, with his usual accuracy, the mistakes of former writers concerning them. , (29) Zonarue, i, xii. p. 622. But little dependence is to be had on the authority of a modern Greek, so After the senate had conferred on Maximus and Balbinus an equal portion o the consular and tribunitian power, the title of Fathers of their country; and the joint office of Supreme Pontiff, they ascended to the Capital to return thanks to the gods, protectors of *% The solemn rites of sacrifice were disturbed by a sedition of the people. he licentious multitude neither loved the rigid Maximus, nor did they sufficiently fear the mild and humane Balbinus. . Their increasing numbers surrounded the temple of Jupiter; with obstinate clamours they asserted their inherent right of consenting to the election of their sovereign; and demanded with an apparent moderation, that, besides the two emperors chosen by the senate, a third should be added of the family of the Gordians, as a just return of gratitude to those princes who had sacrificed their lives for the republic. At the head of the city-guards, and the youth of the equestrian order, Maximus and Balbinus attempted to cut their way through the seditious multitude. The multitude, armed with sticks and stones, drove them back into the Capitol. It is prudent to yield when the contest, whatever may be the issue of it, must be fatal to both parties. A boy, only thirteen years of age, the grandson of the elder and nephew"of the younger, Gordian, was produced to the people, invested with the ornaments and title of Cesar. The tumult was appeased by this easy condescension; and the two emperors, as soon as they had been peaceably acknowledged in Rome, prepared to defend Italy against the common enemy. While in Rome and Africa revolutions succeeded each other with such amazing rapidity; the mind of Maximin was agitated by the most furious passior: #. is said to have received the news of the rebellion of the Gordians, and f the decree of the senate against him, not with the temper of a man, but the age of a wild peast; which, as it could not discharge itself on the distant serote, threatened the life of his son, of his friends, and of all who ventured to approach his person. The grateful intelligence of the death of the Gordians was quickly followed by the assurance that the senate, laying aside all hopes of pardon or accommodation, had substituted in their room two emperors, with whose merit he could not be unacquainted. Revenge was the only consolation left to Maximin, and revenge could only be obtained by arms. The strength of the legions had been assembled by Alexander from all parts of the empire. Three successful campaigns against the Germans and the Sarmatians, had raised their fame, confirmed their discipline, and even increased their numbers, b so the ranks with the flower of the barbarian youth. The life of Maximin had been spent in war, and the candid severity of history cannot refuse him the valour of a soldier, or even the abilities of an experienced general.(31). It might naturally be expected, that a prince of such a character, instead of suffering the rebellion to gain stability by delay, should immediately have marched from the banks of the Danube to those of the Tiber, and that his victorious army, instigated by contempt for the senate, and eager to gather the spoils of taly, should have burned with impatience to finish the easy and lucrative conquest. Yet, as far as we can trust to the obscure chronology of that period,(32) it appears that the operations of some foreign war ...?. Italian expedition till the ensuing spring. From the prudent conduct of Maximin, we may learn that the savage features of his character have been exaggerated by the
£. ignorant of the history of the third century, that he creates several imaginary emperors, and conunds those who really existed.
(30) Herodian, 1. vii. p. 256, supposes that the senate was at first convoked in the Capitol, and is very eloquent on the occasion. The Augustan History, p. 116, seems much more authentic.
(31) In Herodian, 1. *"...i. and in the Augustan History, we have three several orations of Mavominto his army, on the rebellion of Africa and Rome; M. de Tillemont has very justly observed that they neither agree with each other, nor with truth. Histoire des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 799.
(32) The carelessness of the writers of that age leaves us in a singular perplexity. 1. We know that Maximus and Balbinus were killed during the Capitoline games. Herodian, 1. viii. p. 285. The authority of Censorinus (de Die Natali, c. 18), enables us to fix those games with certainty to the year 238, but leaves us in ignorance of the month or day. 2. The election of Gordian by the senate, }. fixed, with equal certainty, to the 27th of ". but we are at a loss to discover, whether it was in the same or the Reoling year. Tilleinont and Muratori, who maintain the two opposite opinions, bring into the field a Cesultory troop of authorities, conjectures, and probabilities. The one seems to draw out, the other to enntract the series of events, between those pericols, more than can be well reconciled to reason and his $ory Yet it is necessary to choose between them.f
pencil of o that his passions, however impetuous, submitted to the force of reason, and that the barbarian possessed something of the generous spirit of Sylla, who subdued the enemies of Rome, before he suffered himself to revenge his private injuries.(33)
[A. D. 238.] When the troops of Maximin, advancing in excellent order, arrived at the foot of the Julian Alps, they were terrified by the silence and desolation that reigned on the frontiers of Italy. The villages and open towns nad been abandoned on their approach by the inhabitants, the cattle were driven away, the provisions removed or destroyed, the bridges broken down, nor was any thing left which could afford either shelter or subsistence to an invader. Such had been the wise orders of the generals of the senate; whose design was to protract the war, to ruin the army of Maximin by the slow operation of famine, and to consume his strength in the sieges of the principal cities of Italy, which they had plentifully stored with men and provisions from the deserted country. Aquileia received and withstood the first shock of the invasion. The streams that issued from the head of the Hadriatic gulf, swelled by the melting of the winter snows,[34) opposed an unexpected obstacle to the arms of Maximin. At length, on a singular bridge, constructed with art and difficulty of large hogsheads, he transported his army to the opposite bank, rooted up the beautiful ... in the neighbourhood of Aquileia, demolished the suburbs, and employed the timber of the buildings in the engines and towers, with which on every side he attacked the city. The walls, fallen to decay during the security of a long peace, had been hastily repaired on this sudden emergency; but the firmest defence of Aquileia consisted in the constancy of the citizens; all ranks of whom, instead of being dismayed, were animated by the extreme danger, and their knowledge of the tyrant's unrelenting temper. Their courage was supported and directed by Crispinus and Menophilus, two of the twenty lieutenants of the senate, who, with a small body of o troops, had thrown themselves into the besieged place. The army of Maximin was repulsed on repeated attacks, his machines destroyed by showers of artificial fire; and the generous enthusiasm of the Aquileians was exalted into a confidence of success, by the opinion, that Belenus, their tutelar deity, combated in person in the defence of his distressed worshippers.(35)
F. emperor Maximus, who had advanced as far as Ravenna, to secure that important place, and to hasten the military preparations, beheld the event of the war in the more faithful mirror of reason and policy. He was too sensible, that a single town could not resist the persevering efforts of a great army; and he dreaded, lest the enemy, tired with the obstinate resistance of Aquileia, should on a sudden relinquish the fruitless siege, and march directly toward Rome. The fate of the empire and the cause of freedom must then be committed to the chance of a battle; and what arms could he oppose to the veteran legions of the Rhine and Danube | Some troops newly levied among the generous but enervated youth of Italy; and a body of German auxiliaries, on whose firmness, in the hour of trial, it was dangerous to depend. In the midst of these just alarms, the stroke of domestic conspiracy punished the crimes of Maximin, and delivered Rome and the senate from the calamities that would surely have attended the victory of an enraged barbarian.
(33) velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 24. The nresident de Montesquiensin his dialome between sylla and Eucrates) expresses the sentiments of the dictator, in aspirited and even a sublime manner.
(34) Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. ii. p. 294,) thinks the melting of the snows suits better with the months of June or July, than with that of February. The opinion of a man who passed his life between the Alps and the Apennines, is undoubtedly of great weight: yet I observe, 1. That the long winter, of which Muratori takes advantage, is to be found only in the Latin version, and not in the Greek text of Herodian. 2. That the vicissitude of suns and rains, to which the soldiers of Maximin were exposed (Herodian, 1. viii. p. 277), denotes the spring rather than the summer. We may observe likewise, that these several streams, as they melted into one, composed the Timavus, so poetically (in every sense of the word, described by Virgil. They are about twelve miles to the east of Aquileia. See Cluver. Italia Antiqua, tom. i. p. 189, &c.
(35) Herodian, 1. viii. p. 272. The Celtic deity was supposed to be Apollo, and received under that maine the thanks of the senate. A temple was likewise built to Venus the bald, in honour of the women or Aquileia, who had given up their hair to make ropes for the military engines.
The people of Aquileia had scarcely experienced any of the common miseries of a siege, their magazines were plentifully supplied, and several fountains within the walls assured them of an inexhaustible resource of fresh water. The soldiers of Maximin were, on the contrary, exposed to the inclemency of the season, the contagion of disease, and the horrors of famine. The open count was ruined, the rivers filled with the slain, and polluted with blood. A spirit of despair and disaffection began to diffuse itself among the troops; and as they were cut off from all intelligence, they easily believed that the whole empire had embraced the cause of the senate, and that they were left as devoted victims to perish under the impregnable walls of Aquileia. The fierce temper of the tyrant was exasperated by disappointments, which he imsuted to the cowardice of his army: and his wanton and ill-timed cruelty, instead of striking terror, inspired hatred and a just desire of revenge. A party of Pretorian guards, who trembled for their wives and children in the camp of Alba, near Rome, executed the sentence of the senate. Maximin, abandoned by his
uards, was slain in his tent, with his son (whom he had associated to the i. of the purple,) Anulinus, the praefect, and the principal minister of his tyranny.(36) }. sight of their heads, borne on the point of spears, convinced §. citizens of Aquileia, that the siege was at an end; the gates of the city were thrown open, a liberal market was provided for the |#. troops o' Maximin, and the whole army joined in solemn protestations of fidelity to the senate and people of Rome, and to their lawful emperors Maximus and Balbinus. Such was the deserved fate of a brutal savage, destitute, as he has generally been represented, of every sentiment that distinguishes a civilized, or even a human being. The body was suited to the soul. The stature of Maximin exceeded the measure of eight feet, and circumstances almost incredible are related of his matchless strength and appetite.(37), Had he lived in a less enlightened age, tradition and poetry might well have described him as one of those monstrous giants, whose supernatural power was constantly exerted for the destruction of mankind.
It is easier to conceive than to describe the universal joy of the Roman world on the fall of the tyrant, the news of which is said to have been carried in four days from Aquileia to Rome. The return of Maximus was a triumphal procession, his colleague and young Gordian went out to meet him, and the three princes made their entry into the capital, attended by the ambassadors of almost all the cities of ltaly, saluted with the splendid offerings of gratitude and superstition, and received with the unfeigned acclamations of the senate and people, who persuaded themselves that a golden age would succeed to an age of .*). The conduct of the two emperors corresponded with these expectations. They administered justice in person; and the rigour of the one was tempered by the other's clemency. The oppressive taxes with which Maximin had loaded the rights of inheritance and succession, were repealed, or at least moderated. Discipline was revived, and with the advice of the senate many wise laws were enacted by their i.p. ministers, who endeavoured to restore a civil constitution on the ruins of military tyranny. “What reward may we expect for delivering Rome from a monster?” was the question, asked by . Maximus, in a moment of freedom and confidence. Balbinus answered it without hesitation, “The love of the senate, of the people, and of all mankind.” “Alas!” replied his more penetrating colleague, “Alas! I dread the hatred of the soldiers, and the fatal effects of their resentment.”(39). His apprehensions were but too well justified by the event.
(36). Herodian, 1. viii. p. 279. Hist. August. p. 146. The duration of Maximin's reign has not been defined with much accuracy, except by Eutropius, who allows him three years and a few days; (I. ix. 1;) Fo.depend on the integrity of the text, as the iain original is checked by the Greek version of
(37) Eight Roman feet and one-third, which are equal to above eight English feet, as the two measures are to each other in the proportion of 967 to 1000. See Graves's Discourse on the Roman Foot. We are told that Maximin could drink in a day an amphora, (or about seven gallons of wine,) and eat thi or forty pounds of meat. He could move a loaded wagon, break a horse's leg with his fist, ::::::: stones in his hand, and tear upsmall trees by the roots. See his life in the Augustan History.
See the congratulatory letter of Claudius Julianus the consul to the two emperors, in the Augustan History. (39) Hist. August. p. 174. perors,