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CHAP. years of the reign of their father?'. This conduct,
though it tended to multiply the future masters of the Roman world, might be excused by the partiality of paternal affection ; but it is not easy to understand the motives of the emperor, when he endangered the safety both of his family and of his people, by the unnecessary elevation of his two nephews, Dalmatius, and Hannibalianus. The former was raised, by the title of Cæsar, to an equality with his cousins. In favonr of the latter, Constantine invented the new and singu. lar appellation of Nobilissimus30 ; to which he annex. ed the flattering distinction of a robe of purple and gold. But of the whole series of Roman princes in any age of the empire, Hannibalianus alone was dis. tinguished by the title of King; a name which the subjects of Tiberius would have detested, as the pro. fane and cruel insult of capricious tyranny. The use of such a title, even as it appears under the reign of Constantine, is a strange and unconnected fact, which can scarcely be admitted on the joint authority of Im
perial medals and contemporary writers31. Their edu. The whole empire was deeply interested in the cation.
education of these five youths, the acknowledged successors of Constantine. The exercises of the body prepared them for the fatigues of war, and the duties of active life. Those who occasionally mention the education or talents of Constantius, allow that he excelled in the gymnastic arts of leaping and running; that he was a dexterous archer, a skilful horseman, and a master of all the different weapons used in the service either of the ca. valry or of the infantry32. The same assiduous cultivation was bestowed, though not perhaps with equal suc.
29 Euseb. Orat. in Constantin. c. 3. These dates are sufficiently correct to justify the orator.
30 Zosim. ). ii. p. 117. Under the predecessors of Constantine, Nobilise simus was a vague epithet, rather than a legal and determined title.
31 Adstruunt nummi veteres ac singulares. Spanheim de Usu Numis. mat. Dissertat, sii. vol.ii. p. 357. Ainmianus speaks of this Roman king (1. xiv. c. 1. and Valesios ad loc.). The Valesian fragment styles him King of kings ; and the Paschal Chronicle (p. 286), by employing the word Page, acquires the weight of Latin evidence.
32 His dexterity in martial exercise is celebrated by Julian (Orat. i p. 11. Orat. ii. p. 53), and allowed by Ammianus (l. xxi. c. 16).
cess, to improve the minds of the sons and nephews of CHAP. 1 Constantine33. The most celebrated professors of the
n 1: Christian faith, of the Grecian philosophy, and of the i Roman jurisprudence, were invited by the liberality
of the emperor, who reserved for himself the impora tant task of instructing the royal youths in the science
of government, and the knowledge of mankind. But
private life, and amidst the dangers of the court of Ga. ilerius, he had learned to command his own passions,
to encounter those of his equals, and to depend for his
and firmness of his personal conduct. His destined i successors had the misfortune of being born and edu
cated in the Imperial purple. lncessantly surrounded
33 Euseb. in Vit. Constantin. l. iv. c. 51. Julian. Orat. i. p. 11-16, with Spanheim's elaborate Commentary. Libanius, Orat. ii. p. 109. Con. stantius studied with laudable diligence; but the dullness of his fancy prevented him from succeeding in the art of poetry, or even of rhetoric.
CHAP. blishment was provided. , A just proportion of guards,
of legions, and of auxiliaries, was allotted for their respective dignity and defence. The ministers and generals, who were placed about their persons, were such as Constantine could trust to assist, and even to control, these youthful sovereigns in the exercise of their delegated power. As they advanced in years and experience, the limits of their authority were insensibly enlarged: but the emperor always reserved for himself the title of Augustus; and while he shewed the Casars to the armies and provinces, he maintained every part of the empire in equal obedience to its supreme head3*. The tranquillity of the last fourteen years of his reign was scarcely interrupted by the contemptible insurrection of a camel-driver in the island of Cyprusss, or by the active part which the policy of Constantine engaged him to assume in the wars of the Goths and Sarma
tians. Manners Among the different branches of the human race, the Sar-Sarmatians form a very remarkable shade; as they
seem to unite the manners of the Asiatic barbarians with the figure and complexion of the ancient inbabitants of Europe. According to the various acci: dents of peace and war, of alliance or conquest, the Sarmatians were sometimes confined to the banks of the Tanais : and they sometimes spread themselves over the immense plains which lie between the Vistula and the Volga3. The care of their numerous flocks and herds, the pursuit of game, and the exercise of war, or rather of rapine, directed the vagrant motions of the Sarmatians. The moveable camps or cities, the ordinary residence of their wives and children,
of the S: matians.
34 Eusebius (1. iv. c. 51, 52.), with a design of exalting the authority and glory of Constantine, affirms, that he divided the Roman empire as a private citizen might have divided his patrimony. His distribution of the provinces may be collected from Eutropius, the two Victors, and the Valesian fragment.
35 Calocerus, the obscure leader of this rebellion, or rather tumult, was apprehended and burnt alive in the market place of Tarsus, by the vigilance of Dalmatius. See the elder Victor, the Chronicle of Jeroni, and the doubtful traditions of Theophanes and Cedrenus.
36 Cellarius has collected the opinions of the ancients concerning the European and Asiatic Sarmatia; and M. d'Anville has applied them to mo. dern geography with the skill and accuracy which always distinguish that excellent writer.
consisted only of large wagons drawn by oxen, and CHAP. covered in the form of tents. The military strength of the nation was composed of cavalry; and the cus. tom of their warriors, to lead in their hand one or two spare horses, enabled them to advance and to retreat with a rapid diligence, which surprised the security, and eluded the pursuit of a distant enemy37. Their poverty of iron prompted their rude industry to invent a sort of cuirass, which was capable of resisting a sword or javelin, though it was formed only of horses hoofs, cut into thin and polished slices, carefully laid , over each other in the manner of scales or feathers, and strongly sewed upon an under-garment of coarse linen38. The offensive arms of the Sarmatians were short daggers, long lances, and a weighty bow with a
quiver of arrows. They were reduced to the neces--sity of employing fish-bones for the points of their
weapons; but the custom of dipping them in a venomous liquor, that poisoned the wounds which they inflicted, is alone sufficient to prove the most savage manners : since a people impressed with a sense of
humanity would have abhorred so cruel a practice, ! and a nation skilled in the arts of war would have dis
dained so impotent a resource3). Whenever these barbarians issued from their deserts in quest of prey, their shaggy beards, uncombed locks, the furs with which they were covered from head to foot, and their fierce countenances, which seemed to express the innate cruelty of their minds, inspired the more civilized provincials of Rome with horror and dismay.
37 Ammian. l. xvii. c. 12. The Sarmatian horses were castrated, to prevent the mischievous accidents which might happen from the noisy and ungovernable passions of the males.
38 Pausanins, l. i. p. 50. edit. Kuhn. That inquisitive traveller had carefully examined a Sarmatian cuirass, which was preserved in the temple of Æsculapius at Athens. 39 Aspicis et mitti sub adunco toxica ferro, Et telum causas mortis habere duas.
Ovid. ex Ponto, l. iv. ep. 7. ver. 7. See in the Recherches sur les Americains, tom. ii. p. 236-271, a very cu. rious dissertation on poisoned darts. The venom was commonly extracted
from the vegetable reign; but that employed by the Scythians appears to I have been drawn from the viper, and a mixture of human blood. The use • of poisoned arms, wbich has been spread over both worlds, never preserved
a savage tribe from the arms of a disciplined enemy.
CHAP. The tender Ovid, after a youth spent in the enjof.
,ment of fame and luxury, was condemned to an hope. Their set.
less exile on the frozen banks of the Danube, where tlement he was exposed, almost without defence, to the fury
cibe of these monsters of the desert, with whose stern spi. Danube.
rits he feared that his gentle shade might hereafter be confounded. In his pathetic, but sometimes unmanly lamentations, he describes in the most lively colours, the dress and manners, the arms and inroads of the Getæ and Sarmatians, who were associated for the purposes of destruction; and from the accounts of his. tory, there is some reason to believe that these Sarma. tians were the Jazygæ, one of the most numerous and warlike tribes of the nation. The allurements of plen. ty engaged them to seek a permanent establishment on the froutiers of the empire. Soon after the reign of Augustus, they obliged the Dacians, who subsisted by fishing on the banks of the river Teyss or Tibiscus, to relire into the hilly country, and to abandon to the victorious Sarmatians the fertile plains of the Upper Hungary, which are bounded by the course of the Danube and the semicircular enclosure of the Carpathian mountains. In this advantageous position, they watched or suspended the moment of attack, as they were provoked by injuries or appeased by presents; they gradually acquired tbe skill of using more dangerous weapons; and although the Sarmatians did not illustrate their name by any memorable exploits, they occasionally assisted their eastern and western neighbours, the Goths and the Germans, with a formidable body of cavalry.
40 The nine books of Poetical Epistles, which Ovid composed during the seven first years of his melancholy exile, possess, beside the merit of elegance, a double value. They exhibit a picture of the human mind onder very singular circumstances; and they contain many curious observa. tions, wbich no Roman, except Ovid, could have an opportunity of making. Every circumstance which tends to illustrate the history of the Barbarians, has been drawn together by the very accurate Count du Buat. Hist. Ancienne des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. iv.c. xvi. p. 286-317.
41 The Sarmatians Jazygx were settled on the banks of the Pathissus or Tibiscus, when Pliny, in the year 79, published his Natural Iristory.See l. iv. c. 25. In the time of Strabo and Ovid, sixty or seventy years before, they appear to have inhabited beyond the Getæ, along the coast of the Euxine.