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generation, whose repose was seldom disturbed, either by study or business. The monuments of consular, or Imperial, greatness were no longer revered, as the immortal glory of the capital. they were only esteemed as an inexhaustible mine of minerals, cheaper, and more convenient, than the distant quarry. Specious petitions were continually addressed to the easy magistrates of Rome, which stated the want of stones or bricks, for some necessary service: the fairest forms of architecture were rudely defaced, for the sake of some paltry, or pretended, repairs; and the degenerate Romans, who converted the spoil to their own emolument, demolished, with sacrilegious hands, the labors of their ancestors. Majorian, who had often sighed over the desołation of the city, applied a severe remedy to the growing evil.” He reserved to the prince and senate the sole cognizance of the extreme cases which might justify the destruction of an ancient edifice; imposed a fine of fifty pounds of gold (two thousand pounds sterling) on every magistrate who should presume to grant such illegal and scandalous license, and threatened to chastise the criminal obedience of their subordinate officers, by a severe whipping, and the amputation of both their hands. In the last instance, the legislator might seem to forget the proportion of guilt and punishment; but his zeal arose from a generous principle, and Majorian was anxious to protect the monuments of those ages, in which he would have desired and deserved to live. The emperor conceived, that it was his interest to increase the number of his subjects; and that it was his duty to guard the purity of the marriage-bed: but the means which he employed to accomplish these salutary purposes are of an ambiguous, and perhaps exceptionable, kind. The pious maids, who consecrated their virginity to Christ, were restrained from taking the veil till they had reached their fortieth year. Widows under that age were compelled to form a second alliance within the term of five years, by the forfeiture of half their wealth to their nearest relations, or to the state. Unequal marriages were condemned or annulled. The punishment of confiscation and exile was deemed so inadequate to the guilt of adultery, that, if the criminal returned to Italy, he might, by the express declaration of Majorian, be slain with impunity.” While the emperor Majorian assiduously labored to restore the happiness and virtue of the Romans, he encountered the arms of Genseric, from his character and situation their most formidable enemy. A fleet of Vandals and Moors landed at the mouth of the Liris, or Garigliano; but the Imperial troops surprised and attacked the disorderly Barbarians, who were encumbered with the spoils of Campania; they were chased with slaughter to their ships, and their leader, the king's brother-in-law, was found in the number of the slain.” Such vigilance might announce the character of the new reign; but the strictest vighlance, and the most numerous forces, were insufficient to protect the long-extended coast of Italy from the depredations of a naval war. The public opinion had imposed a nobler and more arduous. task on the genius of Majorian. Rome expected from him alone the restitution of Africa; and the design, which he formed, of attacking the Vandals in their new settlements, was the result of bold and judicious policy. If the intrepid emperor could have infused his own spirit into the youth of Italy; if he could have revived, in the field of Mars, the manly exercises in which he had always surpassed his equals; he might have marched against Genseric at the head of a Roman army. Such a reformation of national manners might be embraced by the rising generation; but it is the misfortune of those princes who laboriously sustain a declining monarchy, that, to obtain some immediate advantage, or to avert some impending danger, they are forced to countenance, and even to multiply, the most pernicious abuses. Majorian, like the weakest of his predecessors, was reduced to the disgraceful expedient of substituting Barbarian auxiliaries in the place of his unwarlike subjects: and his superior abilities could only be displayed in the vigor and dexterity with which he wielded a dangerous instrument, so apt to recoil on the hand that used it. Besides the confederates, who were already engaged in the service of the empire, the fame of his liberality and valor attracted the nations of the Danube, the Borysthenes, and perhaps of the 44 The emperor chides the lenity of Rogatian, consular of Tuscany, in a style of acrimonious reproof, which sounds almost like personal resentment (Novell. tit. ix. p. 47). The law of Majorian, which punished obstinate widows, was soon Tanais. . Many thousands of the bravest subjects of Attila, the Gepidae, the Ostrogoths, the Rugians, the Burgundians, the Suevi, the Alani, assembled in the plains of Liguria; and their formidable strength was balanced by their mutual animosities.” They passed the Alps in a severe winter. The emperor led the way, on foot, and in complete armor; sounding, with his long staff, the depth of the ice, or snow, and eneouraging the Scythians, who complained of the extreme cold, by the cheerful assurance, that they should be satisfied with the heat of Africa. The citizens of Lyons had presumed to shut their gates; they soon implored, and experienced, the clemency of Majorian. He vanquished Theodoric in the field; and admitted to his friendship and alliance a king whom he had found not unworthy of his arms. The beneficial, though precarious, reunion of the greater part of Gaul and Spain, was the effect of persuasion, as well as of force;" and the independent Bagaudae, who had escaped, or resisted, the oppression of former reigns, were disposed to confide in the virtues of Majorian. His camp was filled with Barbarian allies; his throne was supported by the zeal of an affectionate people; but the emperor had foreseen, that it was impossible, without a maritime power, to achieve the conquest of Africa. In the first Punic war, the republic had exerted such incredible diligence, that, within sixty days after the first stroke of the axe had been given in the forest, a fleet of one hundred and sixty galleys proudly rode at anchor in the sea.” Under circumstances much less favorable, Majorian equalled the spirit and perseverance of the ancient Romans. The woods of the Apennines were felled; the arsenals and manufactures of Ravenna and Misenum were restored; Italy and Gaul vied with each other in liberal contributions to the public service; and the Imperial navy of three hundred large galleys, with an adequate proportion of transports and smaller vessels, was collected in the secure and capacious harbor of Carthagena in Spain.” The intrepid countenance of Majorian animated his troops with a confidence of victory; and, if we might credit the historian Procopius, his courage sometimes hur. ried him beyond the bounds of prudence. Anxious to explore, with his own eyes, the state of the Vandals, he ven. tured, after disguising the color of his hair, to visit Carthage, in the character of his own ambassador: and Genseric was afterwards mortified by the discovery, that he had enter. tained and dismissed the emperor of the Romans. Such an anecdote may be rejected as an improbable fiction; but it is a fiction which would not have been imagined, unless in the life of a hero.” Without the help of a personal interview, Genseric was sufficiently acquainted with the genius and designs of his adversary. He practised his customary arts of fraud and delay, but he practised them without success. His applications for peace became each hour more submissive, and perhaps more sincere; but the inflexible Majorian had adopted the ancient maxim, that IRome could not be safe, as long as Carthage existed in a hostile state. The king of the Vandals distrusted the valor of his native subjects, who were enervated by the luxury of the South ; * he suspected the fidelity of the vanquished people, who abhorred him as an Arian tyrant, and the desperate measure, which he executed, of reducing Mauritania into a desert,” could not defeat the operations of the Roman emperor, who was at liberty to land his troops on any part of the African coast. But Genseric was saved from impending and inevitable ruin by the treachery of some powerful subjects; envious, or apprehensive, of their master's success. Guided by their secret intelligence, he surprised the unguarded fleet in the Bay of Carthagena: many of the ships were sunk, or taken, or burnt; and the preparations of three years were destroyed in a single day.” After this event, the behavior of the two antagonists showed them superior to their fortune. The Vandal, instead of being elated by this accidental victory, immediately renewed his solicitations for peace. The emperor of the West, who was capable of forming great designs, and of supporting heavy disappointments, consented to a treaty, or rather to a suspension of arms, in the full assurance that, before he could restore his navy, he should be supplied with provocations to justify a second war. Majorian returned to Italy, to prosecute his labors for the public happiness; and, as he was conscious of his own integrity, he might long remain ignorant of the dark conspiracy which threatened his throne and his life. The recent misfortune of Carthagena sullied the glory which had dazzled the eyes of the multitude; almost every description of civil and military officers were exasperated against the Reformer, since they all derived some advantage from the abuses which he endeavored to suppress; and the patrician Ricimer impelled the inconstant passions of the Barbarians against a prince whom he esteemed and hated. The virtues of Majorian could not protect him from the impetuous sedition, which broke out in the camp near Tortona, at the foot of the Alps. He was compelled to abdicate the Imperial purple: five days after his abdication, it was reported that he died of a dysentery; * and the humble tomb, which covered his remains, was consecrated by the respect and gratitude of succeeding generations.” The private character of Majorian inspired love and respect. Malicious calumny and satire excited his indignation, or, if he himself were the object, his contempt; but he protected the freedom of wit, and, in the hours which the emperor gave to the familiar
43 The whole edict (Novell. Majorian. tit. vi. p. 35) is curious. “Antiquarum aedium dissipatur speciosa constructio; et ut aliquid reparetur, magna diruuntur. Hinc jam occasio nascitur, ut etiam unusquisque privatum aedificium construens, per gratiam judicum * * * praesumere de publicis locis necessaria, et transferre non dubitet,” &c. With equal zeal, but with less power, Petrarch, in the fourteenth century, repeated the same complaints. (Vie de Petrarque, tom. i. pp. 326, 327.) If I prosecute this history, I shall not be unmindful of the decline and . * city of Rome; an interesting object, to which my plan was originally COllfilled.
afterwards repealed by his successor Severus (Novell. Sever, tit. i. p. 37). 45 Sidon. Panegyr. Majorian, Jöö–440.
46 The review of the army, and passage of the Alps, contain the most tolerable passages of the Panegyric (470-552). M. de Buat (Hist, des Peuples, &c., tom. yiii. pp. 49–55) is a more satisfactory commentator, than either Savaron or Siroo, 6m Aots rà & A6)ous, is the just and forcible distinction of Priscus (Excerpt. Legat, p. 42), in a short fragment, which throws much light on the history of Majorian. Jormandes has suppressed the defeat and alliance of the Visigoths, which were solemnly proclaimed in Gallicia ; and are marked in the Chronicle of #!#, 1. ii. c. 2. He amuses himself with the poetical fancy, that the trees had been transformed into ships; and indeed the whole transaction, as it is re.
lated in the first book of Polybius, deviates too much from the probable course of human events.
49 Interea duplici texis dum littore classem
Sylva tibi, &c.
The number of ships, which Priscus fixed at 300, is magnified, by an indefinite
51 Spoliisque potitus
i.toward. applies to Genseric, unjustly, as it should seem, the vices of his
* Idatius, who was safe in Gallicia from the power of Ricimer, boldly and honestly declares, Vandali per proditores admoniti, &c.; he dissembles, however, the name of the traitor.
* Procop. de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 8, p. 104. The testimony of Idatius is fair and impartial : “Majorianum de Galliis Roman redeuntem, et Romano imperio vel nomini res necessarias ordinantem; Richimer livore percitus, et invidorum consilio fultus, fraude interficit circumventum.” Some read Suerorum, and I am unwilling to efface either of the words, as they express the different accomplices who united in the conspiracy against Majorian.
* See the Epigrams of Ennodius, No. cxxxv. inter Sirmond. Opera, tom. i. p. 1903. It is flat and obscure ; but Ennodius was made bishop of Pavia fifty years after the death of Majorian, and his praise deserves credit and regard.