(17) Wopiscus in Hist. A p.230. Zosimus, 1. i. p. 57. Zonaras, 1.xii. p. 637. Two passages in the life of Probus (p.236. o. me, that these Scythian invaders of Pontus were Alani. If we may believe Zosimus (l. i. p. 58), Florianus pursued them as far as the Cimmerian Bosphorus. But he Fo time for so long and difficult an expedition. (18) Eutropius and Aurelius victor only say that he died; Victor Junior adds that it was of a fever: Zosimus and Zonaras affirm that he was killed by the soldiers. Vopiscus mentions both accounts, and seems to hesitate. Yet surely these jarring opinions are easily reconciled. (19) According to the two Victors, he reigned exactly two hundred days. (20. Hist. August. p. 231. Zosimus, i. i. p. 58, 59. Zonaras, l. xii. p. 637. Aurelius Victor says, that

The perpetual revolutions of the throne had so perfectly erased every notion of hereditary . that the family of an unfortunate of. was incapable of exciting the jealousy of his successors. The children of Tacitus and Florianus were permitted to descend into a private station, and to mingle with the gene: ral mass of the people... Their poverty indeed became an additional safeguard to their innocence. When Tacitus was elected by the senate, he resigned his ample patrimony to the public service,(21) an act of generosity specious in appearance, but which evidently disclosed his intention of transmitting the empire to his descendants. The only consolation of their fallen state, was the remembrance of transient greatness, and a distant hope, the child of a flattering prophecy, that at the end of a thousand years, a monarch of the race of Tacitus should arise, the protector of the senate, the restorer of Rome, and the conqueror of the whole earth.(22) The peasants of Illyricum, who had already given Claudius and Aurelian to the sinking empire, had an equal right to glory in the elevation of Probus.(23) Above twenty years before, the emperor Valerian, with his usual penetration, had discovered the rising merit of the young soldier, on whom he conferred the rank of tribune long before the age prescribed by the military regulations. The tribune soon justified his choice, by a victory over a great body of Sarmatians, in which he saved the life of a near relation of Valerian; and deserved to receive from the emperor's hand the collars, bracelets, spears, and banners, the mural and the civic crown, and all the honourable rewards reserved by ancient Rome for successful valour. The third, and afterward the tenth, legion were intrusted to the command of Probus, who, in every step of his promotion, showed himself superior to the station which he filled. Africa and Pontus, the Rhine, the Danube, the Euphrates, and the Nile, by turns afforded him the most splendid occasions of displaying his personal prowess and his conduct in war. Aurelian was indebted to him for the conquest of Egypt, and still more indebted for the honest courage with which he often checked the cruelty of his master. Tacitus, who desired by the abilities of his . to o his own deficiency of military talents, named him commander in chief of all the eastern provinces, with five times the usual salary, the promise of the consulship, and the hope of a triumph. When Probus ascended the imperial throne he was about forty-four years of age;(24) in the full possession of his fame, of the love of the army, and of a mature vigour of mind and body. His acknowledged merit, and the success of his arms against Florianus, left him without an enemy or a competitor. Yet, if we may credit his own pro fessions, very far from being desirous of the empire, he had accepted it with the most sincere reluctance. “But it is no longer in my power,” says Probus, in a private letter, “to lay down a title so full of envy and of danger. I must continue to personate the character which the soldiers have imposed upon *... His dutiful address to the senate displayed the sentiments, or at least the lan. age, of a Roman patriot: “When you elected one of your order, conscript athers! to succeed the emperor Aurelian, you acted in a manner suitable to your justice and wisdom. For you are the segal sovereigns of the world, and the power which you derive from your ancestors, will descend to your posterity. Happy would it have been, if Florianus, instead of usurping the purple of his brother, like a private inheritance, had expected what your majesty might determine, either in his favour, or in that P any other person. he prudent soldiers have punished his rashness. To me they have offered the title of

Probus assumed the empire in Illyricum; an opinion which (though adopted by a very learned man) would throw that period of history into inextricable confusion. - § Hist. August. p. 229. ??) He was to send judges to the Parthians, Persians, and Sarmatians, a president to Taprobana, and ap I to the Roman island (supposed by C bon and Salmasius to mean Britain). Such a history as mine (says Vopiscus with proper modesty) will not subsist a thousand years to expose or justify the prediction. (33) For the private life of Probus, see Vopiseus in Hist. August. p. 234.237. (24) According to the Alexandrian Chronicle, he was fifty at the time of his death. (25) The letter was addressed to the praetorian prefect, whom (on condition of his good behaviour) he to continue in his great office. See Hist. August. p. 237.


(26) Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 237. The date of the letter is assuredly faulty. Instead of Mon Forwar: we may read on. August.

(27). Hist. August. *: It is odd, that the senate should treat Probus less favourably than Marcus Antoninus. That prince had received, even before the death of Pius, Jus quinte relationis. See Capitolin. in Hist. August. p. 24.

28) See the dutiful letter of Probus to the senate, after his German victories. Hist. August. p. 239.

29) The date and duration of the reign of Probus are very correctly ascertained by Cardinal Norris, in his learned work, De Epochis Syro Macedonum, p. 96–105. A passage of Eusebius connects the second {o of Probus, with the eras of several of the Syrian cities.

§ opiscus in Hist. August. p. 239.

31) Zosimus (l. i. p. 62–65) tells a very long and trifling story of Lycius the Isaurian robber. "

(32) Zosim. l. i. p. 65. Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 239,340. But it seems incredible, that the defeat of the savages of ko, ia could affect the Persian monarch.

(33) Besides these well known chiefs, several others are named by Vopiscus (Hist. August. P. Ml). whose actions have not reached our knowledge.


barbarians, was reserved for the use of the garrisons which Probus established on the limits of their territory. He even entertained some thoughts of compelling the Germans to relinquish the exercise of arms, and to trust their differences to the justice, their safety to the power, of Rome. To accomplish these salutary ends, the constant residence of an imperial governor, supported by a numerous army, was indispensably requisite. Probus therefore o: it more expedient to defer the execution of so great a design; which was indeed rather of specious than solid utility.(40) Had Germany been reduced into the state of a province, the Romans, with immense labour and expense, would have acquired only a more extensive boundary to defend against the fiercer and more active barbarians of Scythia. i Instead of reducing the warlike natives of Germany to the condition of subjects, Probus contented himself with the humble expedient of raising a bulwark against their inroads. The country, which now forms the circle of Swabia, had been left desert in the age of Augustus by the emigration of its ancient inhabitants.(41). The fertility of the soil soon attracted a new colony from the adja cent provinces of Gaul. Crowds of adventurers, of a roving temper and of desperate fortunes, occupied the doubtful possession, and acknowledged, by the payment of tithes, the majesty of the empire.(42) To protect these new subjects, a line of frontier garrisons was gradually extended from the Rhine to the Danube. About the reign of Hadrian, when that mode of defence began to be practised, these garrisons were connected and covered by a strong intrenchment of trees and palisades. In the place of so rude a bulwark, the emperor Probus constructed a stone wall of considerable height, and strengthened it by towers at convenient distances. From the neighbourhood of Newstadt and Ratisbon on the Danube, it stretched across hills, valleys, rivers, and morasses, as far as Wimpfen on the Necker, and at length terminated on the banks of the Rhine, after a winding course of near two hundred miles.(43) This important barrier, uniting the two mighty streams that protected the provinces of Europe, seemed to fill up the vacant space through which the barbarians, and particularly the Alemanni, could penetrate with the greatest facility into the heart of the empire. But the experience of the world from China to Britain, has exposed the vain attempt of fortifying an extensive tract of country.(44) An active enemy, who can select and vary his points of attack, must, in the end, discover some feeble spot or some unguarded moment. The strength, as well as the attention, of the defenders is divided; and such are the blind effects of terror on the firmest troops, that a line broken in a single place is almost instantly deserted. The fate of the wall which Probus erected, may confirm the general observation. Within a few years after his death, it was overthrown by the Alemanni. Its scattered ruins, universally ascribed to the power of the Daemon, now serve only to excite the wonder of the Swabian peasant. Among the useful conditions of peace imposed by Probus on the vanquished nations of Germany, was the obligation of supplying the Roman army with sixteen thousand recruits, the bravest and most robust of their youth. The emperor dispersed them through all the provinces, and distributed this dangerous reinforcement in small bands of fifty or sixty each, among the national ". judiciously observing that the aid which the republic derived from the barbarians should be felt, but not seen.(45) Their aid was now become necessary.

(40) Hist. August. p. 238,239. Vopiscus quotes a letter from the emperor to the senate, in which he mentions his design of reducing Germany into a province.

(41) Strabo, 1. vii. According to Welleius Paterculus, (ii. 108,) Maroboduus led his Marcomanni into Bohemia: Cluverius (German. Antiq. iii. 8,) proves that it was from Swabia.

(42) These settlers from the payment of tithes were denominated Decumater. Tacit. Germanta, c. 29.

(43) See Notes de l'Abbé De la Bleterie à la Germanie de Tacite, p. 183. His account of the wall is chiefly borrowed (as he says himself) from the Alsatia Illustrata of Schoepflin.

(44). See Recherches sur lcs Chinois et les Egyptiens, tom. ii. p. 81–102. The anonymous author is well acquainted with the globe in general, and with Germany in particular: with regard to the latter, he quotes a work of M. Hanselman; hut he seems to confound the wall of Probus designed against the Ale: . with the fortification of the Mattiaci, constructed in the neighbourhood of Frankfort against the Catti.

(45) He distributed about fifty or sixty barbarians to a Mumerus, as it was then called, a corps with whose established we are not exactly acquainted.

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