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dinia; and the languid efforts of the West added some weight to the immense preparations of the Eastern Romans. The expense of the naval armament, which Leo sent against the Vandals, has been distinctly ascertained; and the curious and instructive account displays the wealth of the declining empire. The royal demesnes, or private patrimony of the prince, supplied seventeen thousand pounds of gold; fortyseven thousand pounds of gold, and seven hundred thousand of silver, were levied and paid into the treasury by the Praetorian praefects. But the cities were reduced to extreme poverty; and the diligent calculation of fines and forfeitures, as a valuable object of the revenue, does not suggest the idea of a just or merciful administration. The whole expense, by whatsoever means it was defrayed, of the African campaign, amounted to the sum of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds of gold, about five millions two hundred thousand pounds sterling, at a time when the value of money appears, from the comparative price of corn, to have been somewhat higher than in the present age.” The fleet that sailed from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of soldiers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men. Basiliscus, the brother of the empress Werina, was intrusted with this important command. His sister, the wife of Leo, had exaggerated the merit of his former exploits against the Scythians. But the discovery of his guilt, or incapacity, was reserved for the African war; and his friends could only save his military reputation by asserting, that he had conspired with Aspar to spare Genseric, and to betray the last hope of the Western empire. Experience has shown, that the success of an invader most commonly depends on the vigor and celerity of his operations. The strength and sharpness of the first impression are blunted by delay; the health and spirit of the troops insensibly languish in a distant climate; the naval and military force, a mighty effort which perhaps can never be repeated, is silently consumed; and every hour that is wasted in negotiation, accustoms the enemy to contemplate and examine those hostile terrors, which, on their first appearance, he deemed irresistible. The formidable navy of Basiliscus pursued its prosperous navigation from the Thracian Bosphorus to the coast of Africa. He landed his troops at Cape Bona, or the promontory of Mercury, about forty miles from Carthage.” The army of Heraclius, and the fleet of Marcellinus, either joined or seconded the Imperial lieutenant; and the Vandals who opposed his progress by sea or land, were successively vanquished.” If Basiliscus had seized the moment of consternation, and boldly advanced to the capital, Carthage must have surrendered, and the kingdom of the Vandals was extinguished. Genseric beheld the danger with firmness, and eluded it with his veteran dexterity. He protested, in the most respectful language, that he was ready to submit his person, and his dominions, to the will of the emperor; but he requested a truce of five days to regulate the terms of his submission; and it was universally believed, that his secret liberality contributed to the success of this public negotiation. Instead of obstinately refusing whatever indulgence his enemy so earnestly solicited, the guilty, or the credulous, Basiliscus consented to the fatal truce; and his imprudent security seemed to proclaim, that he already considered himself as the conqueror of Africa. . During this short interval, the wind became favorable to the designs of Genseric. He manned his largest ships of war with the bravest of the Moors and Vandals; and they towed after them many large barks, filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night, these destructive vessels were impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of the Romans, who were awakened by the sense of their instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence; and the noise of the wind, the
86 The principal sum is clearly expressed by Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 6, p. 191); the smaller constituent parts, which Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 396) has laboriously collected from the Byzantine writers, are less certain, and less important. The historian Malchus lanents the public misery (Excerpt. ex Suida in Corp. Hist. Byzant. p. 58); but he is surely unjust, * ho charges Leo with hoarding the treasures which lie extorted from the people.
* Compare likewise the newly-discovered work of Lydus, de Magistratibus, ed. Hase, Paris, 1812 (and in the new collection of the Byzantines), l. lii, c. 43. Lydus states the expenditure at 65,000 lbs. of gold, 700,000 of silver. But Iydus exaggerates the fleet to the incredible number of 10,000 long ships (Liburnæ), and the troops to 400,000 men. Lydus, describes this fatal measure, of which he charges the blame on Basiliscus, as the shipwreck of the state. From that time
all the revenues of the empire were anticipated: and the finances fell into inexo tricable confusion.—M.
st This promontory is forty miles from Carthage (Procop. 1. i. e. 5, p. 192), and twenty leagues from Sicily (Shaw's Travels, p. 89). Scipio landed farther in the bay, at the fair promontory; see the animated o of Livy, xxix. 26, 27.
sš Theophanes (p. 100) affirms that many ships of the Vandals were sunk. The assertion of jörnandes (de Successione Regn), that Basiliscus attacked Carthage, must be understood in a very qualified sense.
crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers and mariners, who could neither command nor obey, increased the horror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they labored to extricate themselves from the fire-ships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valor; and many of the Romans, who escaped the fury of the flames, were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals. Among the events of that disastrous night, the heroic, or rather desperate, courage of John, one of the principal officers of Basiliscus, has rescued his name from oblivion. When the ship, which he had bravely defended, was almost consumed, he threw himself in his armor into the sea, disdainfully rejected the esteem and pity of Genso, the son of Genseric, who pressed him to accept honorable quarter, and sunk under the waves; exclaiming, with his last breath, that he would never fall alive into the hands of those impious dogs. Actuated by a far different spirit, Basiliscus, whose station was the most remote from danger, disgracefully fled in the beginning of the engagement, returned to Constantinople with the loss of more than half of his fleet and army, and sheltered his guilty head in the sanctuary of St. Sophia, till his sister, by her tears and entreaties, could obtain his pardon from the indignant emperor. Heraclius effected his retreat through the desert; Marcellinus retired to Sicily, where he was assassinated, perhaps at the instigation of Ricimer, by one of his own captains; and the king of the Vandals expressed his surprise and satisfaction, that the IRomans themselves should remove from the world his most formidable antagonists.” After the failure of this great expedition,” Genseric again became the tyrant of the sea : the coasts of Italy, Greece and Asia, were again exposed to his revenge and avarice; Tripoli and Sardinia returned to his obedience; he added Sicily to the number of his provinces; and, before he died, in the fulness of years and of
glory, he beheld the final extinction of the empire of the West.00
89 Damascius in Vit. Isidor. apud Phot. p. 1048. It will appear, by comparing the three short chronicles of the times, that Marcellinus had fought near Carthage, and was killed in Sicily.
to IFor the African war, see Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 6, pp. 191,192, 193), Theophanes (pp. 99, 100, 101), Cedremus (pp. 349, 350), and Zonaras (tom. ii. 1.
* According to Lydus, Leo, distracted by this and the other calamities of his reign, particularly a dreadful fire at Constantinople, abandoned, the palace, like §". Orestes, and was preparing to quit Constantinople forever, l. iii. c. 44, p. R30.—M.
During his long and active reign, the African monarch had studiously cultivated the friendship of the Barbarians of Europe, whose arms he might employ in a seasonable and effectual diversion against the two empires. After the death of Attila, he renewed his alliance with the Visigoths of Gaul; and the sons of the elder Theodoric, who successively reigned over that warlike nation, were easily per|suaded, by the sense of interest, to forget the cruel affront which Genseric had inflicted on their sister.” The death of the emperor Majorian delivered Theodoric the Second from the restraint of fear, and perhaps of honor; he violated his recent treaty with the Romans; and the ample territory of Narbonne, which he firmly united to his dominions, became the immediate reward of his perfidy. The selfish !. of Ricimer encouraged him to invade the provinces which were in the possession of AEgidius, his rival, but the active count, by the defence of Arles, and the victory of Orleans, saved Gaul, and checked, during his lifetime, the §. of the Visigoths. Their ambition was soon recindled ; and the design of extinguishing the Roman empire in Spain and Gaul was conceived, and almost completed, in the reign of Euric, who assassinated his brother Theodoric, and displayed, with a more savage temper, superior abilities, both in peace and war. He passed the Pyrenees at the head of a numerous army, subdued the cities of Saragossa and Pampeluna, vanquished in battle the martial nobles of the Tarragonese province, carried his victorious arms into the heart of Lusitania, and permitted the Suevi to hold the kingdom of Gallicia under the Gothic monarchy of Spain.” The efforts of Euric were not less vigorous, or less successful, in Gaul; and throughout the country that extends from the Pyrenees to the Rhone and the Loire, Berry and Auvergne were the only cities, or dioceses, which refused to acknowledge him as their master.” In the defence of Clermont, their principal town, the inhabitants of Auvergne sustained, with inflexible resolution, the miseries of war, pestilence, and famine; and the Visigoths, relinquishing the fruitless siege, suspended the hopes of that important con. quest. The youth of the province were animated by the heroic, and almost incredible, valor of Ecdicius, the son of the emperor Avitus,” who made a desperate sally with only eighteen horsemen, boldly attacked the Gothic army, and, after maintaining a flying skirmish retired safe and victorious within the walls of Clermont. His charity was equal to his courage; in a time of extreme scarcity, four thousand poor were fed at his expense; and his private influence levied an army of Burgundians for the deliverance of Auvergne. From his virtues alone the faithful citizens of Gaul derived any hopes of safety or freedom; and even such virtues were insufficient to avert the impending ruin of their country, since they were anxious to learn, from his authority and example, whether they should prefer the alternative of exile or servitude.” The public confidence was lost; the resources of the state were exhausted ; and the Gauls had too much reason to believe, that Anthemius, who reigned in Italy, was incapable of protecting his distressed subjects beyond the Alps. The feeble emperor could only procure for their defence the service of twelve thousand British auxiliaries. Tiothamus, one of the independent kings, or chieftains, of the island, was persuaded. to transport his troops to the continent of Gaul: he sailed up the Loire, and established his quarters in Berry, where the people complained of these oppressive allies, till the were destroyed or dispersed by the arms of the Visigoths. One of the last acts of jurisdiction, which the Roman senate exercised over their subjects of Gaul, was the trial and condemnation of Arvandus, the Praetorian praefect. Sidonius, who rejoices that he lived under a reign in which he might pity and assist a state criminal, has expressed, with tenderness and freedom, the faults of his indiscreet and 94 Sidonius, l. iii. epist. 3, pp. 65–68. Greg. Turon. l. ii. c. 24, in tom. ii. p.174.
xiv. pp. 50,51). Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c., c. xx. tomiii. p. 497) has made a judicious observation on the failure of these great naval arinaments. 91 Jornandes is our best guide through the reigns of Theodoric II. and Euric § IRobus Geticis, c. 44, 45, 46, 47, pp. 675–(81). Idatius ends too soon, and sidore is too sparing of the information which he niglit have given on the affairs of Spain. The events that relate to Gaul are laboriously illustrated in the third book of the Albbé Dubos, IIist. Critique, tom. i. pp. 424–620. * See Mariana, Hist. Hispan. tom. i. 1. v. c. 5, F. 162. * An imperfect, but original, picture of Gaul, more especially of Auvergne, is shown by Sidonius; who, as a senator, and afterwards as a bishop, was deeply interested in the fate of his country. See 1. v. epist. 1, 5, 9, &c.
Jornandes, c. 45, p. 675. Perhaps Ecdicius was only the son-in-law of Avitus, his wife's son by another husband.
05 Si nullae a republica vires, nulla praesidia ; si nullae, quantum rumor est, Anthemii principis opes; statuit, te auctore, nobilitas, seu patriam dimittere seu capillos (Sidon. l. ii. epist. 1, p. 33). The last words (Sirmond, Not.. p. 25) may #o denote the clerical tonsure, which was indeed the choice of Sidonius
* The history of these Britons may be traced in Jornandes (c. 45, p. 678). Sidonius (l. iii. epistol. 9, pp. 73, 7°), and Gregory of Tours (l. ii. c. 18, in tom. ii. p. 170). Sidonius (who styles these mercenary troops argutos, armatos, tumul: , tuosos, virtute numerg, centubernio, contumaces) addresses their general in a tone of friendship and familiarity.