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eir adv the Rome the natio the
They lived under the irregular aristocracy of their CHAP. chieftains"? ; but after they liad received into their bo..
m som the fugitive Vandals, who yielded to the pressure of the Gothic power, they seem to have chosen a king from that nation, and from the illustrious race of the Astingi, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the northern ocean3.
This motive of enmity must have inflamed the sub. The Go. jects of contention, which perpetually arise on the con- thic, war;
A. D. 331. fines of warlike and independent nations. The Vandal princes were stimulated by fear and revenge, the Gothic kings aspired to extend their dominion from the Euxine to the frontiers of Germany; and the waters of the Maros, a small river which falls into the Teyss, were stained with the blood of the contending barbarians. After some experience of the superior strength and number of their adversaries, the Sarmatians implored the protection of the Roman monarch, who beheld with pleasure the discord of the nations, but who was justly alarmed by the progress of the Gothic arms. As soon as Constantine had declared himself in favour of the weaker party, the haughty Araric king of the Goths, instead of expecting the attack of the Legions, boldly passed the Danube, and spread terror and devastation through the province of Mæsia. To oppose the inroad of this destroying host, the aged emperor took the field in person; but on this occasion either his conduct or his fortune betrayed the glory which he had acquired in so many foreign and domestic wars. He had the mortification of seeing his troops fly before an inconsiderable detachment of the Barbarians, who pursued them to the edge of their fortified camp, and obliged him to consult his safety by a precipitate and ignominious retreat. The event of a second and more successful action retrieved the honour
42 Principes Sarmatarum Jazygum penes quos civitates regimen ..... plebem quoque et vim equitum quâ solâ valent offerebant. Tacit. Hist. iii. 5. This offer was made in the civil war between Vitellius and Vespasian.
43 This hypothesis of a Vandal king reigning over Sarmatian subjects, seems necessary to reconcile the Goth Jornandes with the Greek and Latin historians of Constantine. It may be observed that Isidore, who lived in Spain under the dominion of the Goths, gives them for enemies, not the Vandals, but the Sarmatians. See his Chronicle in Grotius, p. 709. VOL. II.
plule contractions willi wnital situ
CHAP. of the Roman name; and the powers of art and disci. XVIII.
pline prevailed after an obstinate contest, over the efforts of irregular valour. The broken army of the Goths abandoned the field of battle, the wasted province, and the passage of the Danube : and although
the eldest of the sons of Constantine was permitted to A. D. 332, supply the place of his father, the inerit of the victory, April 20. which diffused universal joy, was ascribed to the aus.
picious counsels of the emperor himself.
He contributed at least to improve this advantage, by his negotiations with the free and warlike people of Chersonesus4, whose capital situate on the western coast of the Tauric or Crimæan peninsula, still retained some vestiges of a Grecian colony, and was governed by a perpetual magistrate, assisted by a council of senators, emphatically styled the Fathers of the City. The Chersonites were animated against the Goths, by the memory of the wars, which in the preceding century, they had maintained with unequal forces against the invaders of their country. They were connected with the Romans, by the mutual benefits of commerce; as they were supplied from the provinces of Asia with corn and manufactures, which they purchased with their only productions, salt, wax, and hides. Obedient to the requisition of Constantine, they prepared, under the conduct of their magistrate Diogenes, a considerable army, of which the principal strength consisted in cross-bows, and military chariots. The speedy march and intrepid attack of the Chersonites, by diverting the attention of the Goths, assisted the operations of the Imperial generals. The Goths, vanquished on every side, were driven into the mountains, where, in the course of a severe campaign, above an hundred thousand were computed to have perished by
44 I may stand in need of some apology for having used, without scruple, the authority of Constantine Porphyrogenitus in all that relates to the wars and negociations of the Chersonites. I am aware that he was a Greek of the tenth century, and that his accounts of ancient history are frequently confused and fabulous. But on this occasion his narrative is, for the most part, consistent and probable; nor is there much difficulty in conceir. ing that an emperor might have access to some secret archives, which had escaped the diligence of meaner historians. For the situation and history of Chersone, see Peyssonel des Peuples barbares qui ont babitè les Bords du Danube, c. xvi. p. 84-90.
beral dis endeavouthe most vaj the eldes sth granted
cold and hunger. Peace was at length granted to CHAP. their humble supplications; the eldest son of Araric was accepted as the most valuable hostage; and Constantine endeavoured to convince their chiefs, by a liberal distribution of honours and rewards, how far the friendship of the Romans was preferable to their enmity. In the expressions of his gratitude towards the faithful Chersonites, the emperor was still more magnificent. The pride of the nation was gratified by the splendid and almost royal decorations bestowed ou their magistrate and his successors. A perpetual exemption from all duties was stipulated for their vessels which traded to the ports of the Black Sea. A regular subsidy was promised, of iron, corn, oil, and of every supply which could be useful either in peace or war. But it was thought that the Sarmatians were sufficiently rewarded by their deliverance from impending ruin; and the emperor, perhaps with too strict an economy, deducted some part of the expenses of the war from the customary gratifications which were allowed to that turbulent nation.
Exasperated by this apparent neglect, the Sarma- Expulsion tians soon forgot, with the levity of Barbarians, the of services which they had so lately received, and the A. D. 334. dangers which still threatened their safety. Their inroads on the territory of the empire provoked the indignation of Constantine to leave them to their fate, and he no longer opposed the ambition of Geberic, a renowneal warrior, who had recently ascended the Gothic throne. Wisumar, the Vandal king, whilst alone, and unassisted, he defended his dominions with undaunted courage, was vanquished and slain in a decisive battle, which swept away the flower of the Sarmatian youth. The remainder of the nation embraced the desperate expedient of arming their slaves, a hardy race of hunters and hierdsmen, by whose tumultuary aid, they revenged their defeat, and expelled the invader from their confines. But they soon discovered that they had exchanged a foreign for a domestic enemy, more dangerous and more implacable. Enraged by their former servitude, elated by their present glo. ry, the slaves, under the name of Limigantes, claimed
CHAP. and usurped the possession of the country which they
had saved. Their masters, unable to withstand the ungoverned fury of the populace, preferred the hardships of exile, to the tyranny of their servants. Some of the fugitive Sarmatians solicited a less ignominious dependence, under the hostile standard of the Goths, A more numerous band retired beyond the Carpathian mountains, among the Quadi; their German allies, and were easily admitted to share a superfluous waste of uncultivated land. But the far greater part of the distressed nation turned their eyes towards the fruitful provinces of Rome. Imploring the protection and forgiveness of the emperor, they solemnly promised, as subjects in peace, and as soldiers in war, the most inviolable fidelity to the empire which should graciously receive them into its bosom. According to the maxims adopted by Probus and his successors, the offers of this Barbarian colony were eagerly accepted ; and a competent portion of lands in the provinces of Pannonia, Thrace, Macedonia, and Italy, were immediately assigned for the habitation and subsistence of
three hundred thousand Sarmatians45. Death and By chastising the pride of the Goths, and by acceptfuneral of ing the homage of a suppliant nation, Constantine as. Constan. tine. serted the majesty of the Roman empire ; and the amA. D. 335. bassadors of Æthiopia, Persia, and the most remote July 25.
countries of India, congratulated the peace and prosperity of his government. If he reckoned, among the
45 The Gothic and Sarmatian wars are related in so broken and imper. fect a manner, that I have been obliged to compare the following writers, who mutually supply, correct, and illustrate each other. Those who will take the same trouble, may acquire a right of criticising my narrativeAmmianus, l. xvii. c. 12. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. Eutropius, x. 7. Sextus Rufus de Provinciis, c. 26. Julian. Orat. i. p. 9. and Spanheim Comment. p. 94. Hieronym. in Chron. Euseb. in Vet. Constantin, I. iv. p. 6. Socrates. 1. i. c. 18. Sozomen. I. i. c. 8. Zosimus, l. ii. p. 108. Jor. nandes de Reb. Geticis, c. 22. Isidorus in Chron. p. 709; in Hist, Goiborum Grotii. Constantin. Porphyrogenitus de Administrat. Imperii, c. 53. p. 208. edit. Meursii.
46 Eusebius (in Vit. Const. I. iv. c. 50) remarks three circumstances relative to these Indians. 1. They came from the shores of the eastern ocean: a description which might be applied to the coast of China or Co. romandel. 2. They presented shining gems, and unknown animals. 3. They protested their kings bad erected siatues to represent the supreme majesty of Constantine.
favours of fortune, the death of bis eldest son, of his CHAP. nephew, and perhaps of his wife, he enjoyed an uninterrupted flow of private as well as public felicity, till the thirtieth year of his reign; a period which none of his predecessors, since Augustus, had been permitted to celebrate. Constantine survived that solemn festival about ten months; and, at the mature age of sixtyfour, after a short illness, he ended his memorable life at the palace of Aquyrion, in the suburbs of Nicome. A. D. 337. dia, whither he had retired for the benefit of the air, May and with the hope of recruiting his exhausted strength by the use of the warm baths. The excessive demonstrations of grief, or at least of mourning, surpassed whatever had been practised on any former occasion. Notwithstanding the claims of the senate and the people of ancient Rome, the corpse of the deceased emperor, according to his last request, was transported to the city which was destined to preserve the name and memory of its founder. The body of Constantine, adorned with the vain symbols of greatness, the purple and diadem, was deposited on a golden bed in one of the apartments of the palace, which for that purpose had been splendidly furnished and illuminated. The forms of the court were strictly maintained. Every day, at the appointed hours, the principal officers of the state, the army, and the household, approaching the person of their sovereign with bended knees and a composed countenance, offered their respectful homage as seriously as if he had been still alive. From motives of policy, this theatrical representation was for some time continued; nor could flattery neglect the opportunity of remarking that Constantine alone, by the peculiar indulgence of heaven, had reigned after his death47. But this reign could subsist only in empty pagean- Factio
of the try; and it was soon discovered that the will of the court. most absolute monarch is seldom obeyed, when his
47 Funus relatum in urbem sui nominis, quod sane P. R. ægerrime tu. lit. Aurelius Victor. Constantine had prepared for himself a stately tomb in the church of the Holy Apostles. Euseb. 1. iv. c. 60. The best, and indeed almost the only account of the sickness, death, and funeral of Con. stantine, is contained in the fourth book of his life, by Eusebius.