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2ngenuus was made emperor; tear, kill, hew in pieces. I write to you with my own hand, and would inspire you with my own feelings.”(167), While the public forces of the state were dissipated in private quarrels, the defenceless provinces lay exposed to every invader. The bravest usurpers were compelled, by the perplexity of their situation, to conclude ignominious treaties with the common enemy, to purchase with oppressive tributes the neutrality or services of the barbarians, and to introduce hostile and independent nations into the heart of the Roman monarchy.(168) Such were the barbarians, and such the tyrants, who, under the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, dismembered the provinces, and reduced the empire to the lowest pitch of disgrace and ruin, from whence it seemed impossible that It should ever emerge. * far as the barrenness of materials would permit, we have attempted to trace, with order and perspicuity, the general events of that calamitous period. There still remain some particular facts; I. The disorders of Sicily; 1. The tumults of Alexandria; and, III. The rebellion of the Isaurians, which may serve to reflect a strong light on the horrid picture. Whenever numerous troops of banditti, multiplied by success and impunity, publicly defy, instead of eluding the justice of their country, we may safely infer that the excessive weakness of the government is felt and abused by the lowest ranks of the community. The situation of Sicily preserved it from the barbarians; nor could the disarmed province have supported an usurper, . The sufferings of that once flourishing and still fertile island, were inflicted by baser hands. A licentious crowd of slaves and peasants reigned for a while over the plundered country, and renewed the memory of the servile wars of more ancient times.(169) Devastations, of which the husbandman was either the victim or the accomplice, must have ruined the agriculture of Sicily; and as the principal estates were the property of the opulent senators of Rome, who often enclosed within a farm the territory of an old republic, it is not improbable, that this private injury might affect the capital more deeply than all the conquests of the Goths or the Persians. II. The foundation of Alexandria was a noble design, at once conceived and executed by the son of Philip. The beautiful and regular form of that great city, second only to Rome itself, comprehended a circumference of fifteen miles;(170) it was peopled by three hundred thousand free inhabitants, besides at least an equal i. of slaves.(171) The lucrative trade of Arabia and India flowed through the . of Alexandria to the capital and provinces of the empire. Idleness was unknown.. Some were employed in blowing of glass, others in weaving of linen, others again manufacturing the papyrus. Either sex, and every age, was engaged in the pursuits of industry, nor did even the blind or the lame want occupations suited to their condition.(172) But the people of Alexandria, a various mixture of nations, united the vanity and inconstancy of the Greeks, with the superstition and obstinacy of the Egyptians. The most trifling occasion, a transient scarcity of flesh or lentils, the neglect of an accustomed salutation, a mistake of precedency in the public baths, or even a religious dispute,(173) were at any time sufficient to kindle a sedition among that vast multitude, whose resentments were furious and ..o After the captivity of Valerian and the insolence of his sons had relaxed the authority of the laws, the Alexandrians abandoned themselves to the ungoverned rage of their passions, and their unhappy country was the theatre of a civil the usurper Posthumus. A second son of Gallienus succeeded to the name and rank of his elder brother. Valerian, the brother of Gallienus, was also associated to the empire; several other brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces of the emperor, formed a very numerous royal family. See Tillemont, tom. iii. and M. de Brequigny in the Memoires de l'Academie, tom. xxxii. p.262. (167) Hist. August. p. 188. (168) Regillianus had some bands of Roxolani in his service. Posthumus a body of Franks. It was perhaps in the character of auxiliaries that the latter introduced themselves into Spain. § The Augustan History, p. 177, calls it servile bellum. See Diodor. Sicul. I. Xxxiv. , 170) Plin. Hist. Natur. v. 10. (171) Diodor. Sicull. xvii. p. 590, Edit. Wesseling. § See a very curious letter of Hadrian in the Augustan History, p.245. 173) Such as the sacrilegious murder of a divine cat. See Diodor. Sicul. 1. it
(174) Hist. August. p. 195. This long and terrible sedition was first occasioned by a a soldier and a townsman about a pair of shoes, y a dispute between
war, which continued (with a few short and auspicious truces) above twelve years.(175). All intercourse was cut off between the several quarters of the afflicted city, every street was polluted with blood, every building of strength converted into a citadel; nor did the tumults subside, till a considerable part of Alexandria was irretrievably ruined. The spacious and magnificent district of Bruchion, with its palaces and museum, the residence of the kings and philosophers of Egypt, is described above a century afterward, as already reduced to its present state of dreary solitude.(176
III. The obscure rebellion of Trebellianus, who assumed the purple in Isauria, a petty province of Asia Minor, was attended with strange and memorable consequences. The pageant of royalty was soon destroyed by an officer of Gallienus; but his followers, despairing of mercy, resolved to shake of their allegiance, not only to the emperor, but to the empire, and suddenly returned to the savage manners, from which they had never perfectly been reclaimed. Their craggy rocks, a branch of the of. protected their inaccessible retreat. The tillage of some fertile valleyssii") supplied them with necessaries, and a habit of rapine with the luxuries of life. In the heart of the Roman monarchy, the Isaurians long continued a nation of wild barbarians. Succeeding princes, unable to reduce them to obedience either by arms or policy, were compelled to acknowledge their weakness, by surrounding the hostile and independent spot, with a strong chain of fortifications,(178) which often proved insufficient to restrain the incursions of these domestic foes. The Isaurians gradually extending their territory to the seacoast, subdued the western and mountainous part of Cilicia, formerly the nes of those daring pirates, against whom the republic had once been obliged to exert its utmost force, under the conduct of the great Pompey.(179)
Our habits of thinking so fondly connect the order of the universe, with the fate of man, that this gloomy period of history has been decorated with inundations, earthquakes, uncommon meteors, preternatural darkness, and a crowd of prodigies, fictitious or exaggerated.(189) But a long and general famine was a calamity of a more serious kind. It was the inevitable consequence of rapine and oppression, which extirpated the produce of the present, and the hope of future harvests. Famine is almost always followed by epidemical diseases, the effect of scanty and unwholesome food. Other causes must, however, have contributed to the furious plague, which, from the year two hundred and fifty, to the year two hundred and sixty-five, raged without interruption in every province, every city, and almost o family, of the Roman empire. During some time five thousand persons died daily in Rome; and many towns that had escaped the hands of the barbarians, were entirely depopulated.(181)
We have the knowledge of a very curious circumstance, of some use perhaps in the melancholy calculation of human calamities. An exact register was kept at Alexandria, of all the citizens entitled to receive the distribution of corn. It was found, that the ancient number of those comprised between the ages of forty and seventy, had been equal to the whole sum of claimants, from fourteen to fourscore years of age, who remained alive after the reign of Gallienus.(182), Applying this authentic fact to the most correct tables of mortality, it evidently proves that above half the people of Alexandria had perished; and could we venture to extend the analogy to the other provinces, we might suspect that war, pestilence, and famine, had consumed, in a few years, the moiety of the human species.(183)
Reign of Claudius—Defeat of the Goths—Victories, triumphs, and death, of ./lurelian.
UNDER the deplorable reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, the empire was oppressed and almost destroyed by the soldiers, the tyrants, and the barbarians. It was saved by a series of great princes, who derived their obscure origin from the martial provinces of Illyricum. Within a period of about thirty years, Claudius, Aurelian, Probus, Dioclesian and his colleagues, triumphed over the foreign and domestic enemies of the state, re-established, with the military discipline, the strength of the frontiers, and deserved the glorious title of Restorers of the Roman world.
The removal of an effeminate tyrant made way for a succession of heroes. The indignation of the people imputed all their calamities to Gallienus, and the far greater part were, indeed, the consequence of his dissolute manners and careless administration. He was even destitute of a sense of honour, which so frequently supplies the absence of public virtue; and as long as he was permitted to enjoy the possession of Italy, a victory of the barbarians, the loss of a province, or the rebellion of a general, seldom disturbed the tranquil course of his pleasures. [A. D. 268.]. At length a considerable army, stationed on the Upper Danube, invested with the imperial purple their leader Aureolus; who disdaining a confined and barren reign over the mountains of Rhaetia, passed the Alps, occupied Milan, threatened Rome, and challenged Gallienus to dispute in the field the sovereignty of Italy. The emperor, provoked by the insult, and alarmed by the instant danger, suddenly exerted that latent vigour, which sometimes broke through the indolence of his temper. Forcing himself from the luxury of the palace, he appeared in arms at the head of his legions, and advapced beyond the Po to encounter his competitor. The corrupted name of }.}} still preserves the memory of a bridge over the Adda, which, during the action, must have proved an object of the utmost importance to both armies. The Rhaetian usurper, after receiving a total defeat, and a dangerous wound, retired into Milan. The siege of that great city was immediately formed; the walls were battered with every engine in use among the ancients; and Aureolus, doubtful of his internal strength, and hopeless of . n succours, already anticipated the fatal consequences of unsuccessful Teoellion.
His last resource was an attempt to seduce the loyalty of the besiegers. He scattered libels through their camp, inviting the troops to desert an unworth master, who sacrified the public happiness to his luxury, and the lives of his most valuable subjects to the slightest suspicions. The arts of Aureolus diffused fears and discontent among the principal officers of his rival. A conspiracy was formed by Heraclianus, the praetorian praefect, by Marcian, a general of rank and reputation, and by Cecrops, who commanded a numerous body of Balmatian guards. The death of Gallienus was resolved; and notwithstandi their desire of first terminating, the siege of Milan, the extreme danger whic accompanied every moment's delay, obliged them to hasten the execution of their daring purpose. At a late hour of the night, but while the emperor still protracted the pleasures of the table, an alarm was suddenly given, that Aureolus, at the head of all his forces, had made a desperate sally from the town; Gallienus, who was never deficient in personal bravery, started from his silken couch, and, without allowing himself time either to put on his armour, or to
(1) Pons Aureoli, thirteen miles from o, and thirty-two from Milan. See Cluver. Italia Antiq. tom. i. p. 245. Near this place, in the year 1703, the obstinate battle of Cassano was fought between the French and Austrians. The excellent relation of the Chevalier de Folard, who was present, gives a very distinct idea of the ground. See Polybe de Folard, tom. ili. p. 223–248.
The siege of Milan was still continued, and Aureolus soon discovered, that the success of his artifices had only raised up a more determined adversary. He attempted to negotiate with Claudius a treaty of alliance and partition. “Tell him,” replied the intrepid emperor, “that such proposals should have been made to Gallienus; he, perhaps, might have listened to them with Patience, and accepted a colleague as despicable as himself.”(7) This stern refusal, and a last unsuccessful effort, obliged Aureolus to yield the city and himself to the discretion of the conqueror. The judgment of the army pronounced him worthy of death, and Claudius, after a #. resistance, consented to the execution of the sentence. Nor was the zeal of the senate less ardent in the cause of their new sovereign. They ratified, perhaps, with sincere transport of zeal, the election of §udio. and as his predecessor had shown himself the personal enemy of their order, they exercised under the name of justice a severe revenge against his friends and family. The senate was permitted to discharge the ungrateful office of punishment, and the emperor reserved for himself the pleasure and merit of obtaining by his intercession a general act of indemnity.(8)
Such ostentatious clemency discovers less of the real character of Claudius, than a trifling circumstance in which he seems to have consulted only the dictates of his heart. The frequent rebellions of the provinces had involved almost every person in the guilt of treason, almost every estate in the case of confiscation; and Gallienus often displayed his liberality, by distributing ...; his officers the property of his subjects. On the accession of Claudius, an ol woman threw herself at his feet, and complained that a general of the late emperor had obtained an arbitrary grant of £, patrimony. This general was Çlaudius himself, who had not entirely escaped the contagion of the times. The emperor blushed at the reproach, but deserved the confidence which she had reposed in his equity. The confession of his fault was accompanied with immediate and ample restitution.(9
In the arduous task which Claudius had undertaken, of restoring the empire to its ancient splendour, it was first necessary to revive among his troops a sense of order, and obedience. With the authority of a veteran commander; he represented to them, that the relaxation of discipline had introduced a train of disorders, the effects of which were at length experienced by the soldiers themselves; and that a people ruined by oppression, and indolent from despair, could no longer supply a numerous army with the means of luxury, or even of subsistence; that the danger of each individual had increased with the despotism of the military order, since princes who tremble on the throne, will guard their safety by the instant sacrifice of every obnoxious subject. The emperor expatiated on the mischiefs of a lawless caprice which the soldiers could only #. at the expense of their own blood; as their seditious elections had so requently, been followed by civil wars, which consumed the flower of the legions either in the field of Battle or in the cruel abuse of victory. He painted in the most lively colours the exhausted state of the treasury, the desolation of the provinces, the disgrace of the Roman name, and the insolent triumph of rapacious barbarians. It was against those barbarians he declared, that he intended to point, the first effort of their arms. Tetricus might reign for a while, over the West, and even Zenobia might preserve the dominion of the East.(19) These usurpers were his personal adversaries; nor could he think of indulging any private resentment #". had saved an empire, whose impending . would, unless it was timely prevented, crush both the army and the people.
Q). Hist. August, p. 203. There are some trifling differences concerning the circumstances of the last defeat and death of Aureolus. (*) Aureolus Victor in Gallien. The people loudly prayed for the damnation of Gallienus." The *enate decreed that his relations and servants should bethrown down headlong from the Gemonian stairs. An obnoxious officer of the revenue had his eyes torn out while under examination. § Zonaras, l. xii. p. 137. ") Zonaras on this occasion mentions Posthumus; but the registers of the senate (Hist. August. p. *03) prove that Tetricus was already emperor of the western provinces. ( p