Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

sword, or by the surer operation of famine. But an active espair has often triumphed over the indolent assurance of success. The barbarians finding it impossible to traverse the Danube and the Roman camp, broke through the ts in their rear, which were more feebly or less carefully guarded; and with incredible diligence, but by a different road, returned toward the mountains of Italy.(32). Aurelian, who considered the war as totally extinguished, received the mortifying intelligence of the escape of the Alemanni, and of the ravage which they ... committed in the territory of Milan. The legions were commanded to follow, with as much expedition as those heavy bodies were capable of exerting, the rapid flight of an enemy, whose infantry and cavalry moved with almost equal swiftness. A few days afterward the emperor himself marched to the relief of Italy, at the head of a chosen body of auxiliaries (among whom were the hostages and cavalry of the Vandals,) and of all the praetorian guards who had served in the wars on the Danube.(33) As the light troops of the Alemanni had spread themselves from the Alps to the Apennine, the incessant vigilance of Aurelian and his officers was exercised in the discovery, the attack, and the pursuit of the numerous detachments. Notwithstanding this desultory war, three considerable battles are mentioned, in which i. principal force of both armies was obstinately i.) The success was various. In the first, fought near Placentia, the Romans received so severe a blow, that, according to the expression of a writer extremely partial to Aurelian, the immediate dissolution of the empire was apprehended.(35). The crafty barbarians, who had lined the woods, suddenly attacked the legions in the dusk of the evening, and, it is most probable, after the fatigue and disorder of a long march. The fury of their charge was irresistible; but at length, after a dreadful slaughter, the patient firmness of the emperor rallied his troops, and restored, in some degree, the honour of his arms. The second battle was fought near Fano in Umbria;(36) on the spot which, five hundred years before, had been fatal to the brother of Hannibal. Thus far the successful Germans had advanced along the AEmilian and Flaminian way, with a design of sacking the defenceless mistress of the world. But Aurelian, who, watchful for the safety of Rome, still hung on their rear, found in this lace the decisive moment, of giving them a total and irretrievable defeat.(37) he flying remnant of their host was exterminated in a third and last battle near Pavia; and Italy was delivered from the inroads of the Alemanni. Fear has been the original parent of superstition, and every new calamity surges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of their invisible enemies. Though the best hope of the republic was in the valour and conduct of Aurelian, yet such was the public consternation, when the barbarians were hourly expected at the gates of Rome, that, by a decree of the senate, the Sibylline books were consulted. [A. D. 271.] Even the emperor himself, from a motive either of religion or of policy, recommended this salutary measure, chided the tardiness of the senate,(38) and offered to supply whatever expense, whatever animals, whatever captives of any nation, the gods should require. Notwith: standing this liberal offer, it does not appear, that any human victims expiated with their blood the sins of the Roman people. The Sibylline books enjoined ceremonies of a more harmless nature, processions of priests in white robes, attended by a chorus of youths and virgins; lustrations of the city and adjacent country; and sacrifices, whose powerful influence disabled the barbarians from passing the mystic ground on which they had been celebrated. However puerile in themselves, these superstitious arts were subservient to the success ot the war; and if, in the decisive battle of Fano, the Alemanni fancied they saw

[graphic]

(32) Hist. August, p.215. (33) Dexippus, p. 12. (34) Victor Junior in Aurelian. ) Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 216. 36). The little river, or rather torrent, of Metaurus near Fano, has been immortalized, by finding such an historian as Livy, and such a poet as Horace. (37. It is recorded by an inscription found at Pezaro. See Gruter. cclzxvi. 3 * : should imagine, he said that you were assembled in a Christian church, not in the temple of t 8.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic][subsumed]

(49) Pollio assigns her an article among the thirty tyrants. Hist. August. p. 200.

(50) Pollio in Hist. August. p. 196. Vopiscus in Hist. Angust. p. 220. The two Victors, in the lives of Gallienus and Aurelian. Eutrop. ix. 13. Euseb. in Chron. Of all these writers, only the two last (but with strong probability) place the sall of Tetricus before that of Zenobia. M. De Boze (in the Academy of Inscriptions, tom. xxx.) does not wish, and Tillemont (tom. iii. p. 1189,) does not dare, to follow them. I have been sairer than the one, and bolder than the other.

(51) Victor Junior in Aurelian. Eumenius mentions Batavica; some critics, without any reason would fain alter the word to Bagaudieae.

(52) Eumen. in Wet. Panegyr. iv. 8.

(53) Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 246. Autun was not restored till the reign of Dioclesian. See Eumenius de restaurandis scholis.

§o. everything that is said of the manners of Odenathus and Zenobia, is taken from their tires in the Augustan History by Trebellius Pollio, see n 192–198

[graphic][subsumed]

(55) She never admitted her husband's embraces but for the sake of posterity. If her hopes were baffled, in the ensuing month she reiterated the experiment.

(56). Hist. August. p. 192, 193. Zosimus, l. i. p. 36. Zonaras, l. xii. p. 633. The last is clear and

probable, the others confused and inconsistent. The text of Syncellus, if not corrupt, is absolute

aonsense. § Odenathus and Zenobia often sent him, from the spoils of the enemy, presents of gems and toys, which he received with infinite delight.

(58) Some very unjust suspicions have been cast on Zenobia, as if she was accessary to her husband's death. (59). Hist August p. 180, 181

[graphic]

(60) See in Hist. August. p. 198, Aurelian's testimony to her merit; and for the conquest of Egypt, Zosimus, i. i. p. 39, 40.

(61) Timolaus, Herennienus, and Waballathus. It is supposed that the two former were already dead before the war. Qn the last, Aurelian bestowed a small province of Armenia with the title of King; several of his medals are still extant. See Tillemont, tom. iii. p. 1190.

(62) Zosimus, l. i. p. 44.

(63) Vopiscus (Hist. August. p. 217) gives us an authentic letter, and a doubtful vision of Aurellan. Apollonius of Tyana was born about the same time as Jesus Christ. His life (that of the former) is related in so fabulous a manner by his disciples, that we are at a loss to discover whether he was a sage, an impostor, or a fanatic. (64) Zosimus, l. i. p. 46.

(65) At a place called Immae. Eutropius, Sextus, Rufus, and Jerome, mention only this first battle.

(66) Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 217, mentions only the second.

(37) Zosimus, l. i. p. 44–48. His account of the two battles is clear and circumstantial.

« ForrigeFortsett »