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alienating their lands was ultimately designed for the benefit of the people, whose devotion would have been taxed to repair the dilapidations of the church.136 Italy was protected by the arms of its conqueror; and its frontiers were respected by the Barbarians of Gaul and Germany, who had so long insulted the feeble race of Theodosius. Odoacer passed the Adriatic, to chastise the assassins of the emperor Nepos, and to acquire the maritime province of Dalmatia. He passed the Alps, to rescue the remains of Noricum from Fava, or Feletheus, king of the Rugians, who held his residence beyond the Danube. The king was vanquished in battle, and led away prisoner; a numerous colony of captives and subjects was transplanted into Italy; and Rome, after a long period of defeat and disgrace, might claim the triumph of her Barbarian master.137

Notwithstanding the prudence and success of Odoacer, his kingdom exhibited the sad prospect of misery and desolation. Since the age of Tiberius, the decay of agriculture had been felt in Italy; and it was a just subject of complaint, that the life of the Roman people depended on the accidents of the winds and waves. In the division and the decline of the empire, the tributary harvests of Egypt and Africa were withdrawn; the numbers of the inhabi. tants continually diminished with the means of subsistence; and the country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war, famine, 1.5 and pestilence. St. Ambrose has deplored the ruin of a populous district, which had been once adorned with the flourishing cities of Bologna, Modena, Regium and Placentia.140 Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer; and he affirms, with strong exaggeration, that in Æmilia, Tuscany, and the adjacent provinces, the buman species was almost extirpated. The plebeians of Rome, who were fed by the

136 See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 483, No. 10-15. Sixteen years afterwards the irregular proceedings of Basilius were condemned by Pope Symmachus in a Roman synod.

137 The wars of Odoacer are concisely mentioned by Paul the Deacon (de Gest. Langobard. 1. i. c. 19, p. 757, edit. Grot.), and in the two Chronicles of Cassiodorus and Cuspinian. The life of St. Severinus by Eugippius, which the count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples, &c., tom. viii. c. 1, 4, 8, 9) las diligently studied, illustrates the ruin of Noricum and the Bavariani antiquities.

The Recherches sur l'Administration des Terres chez les Romains (pp. 351-361) clearly state the progress of internal decay.

139 A famine, which afflicted It:ily at the time of the irruption of Ocloacer, king of the lIeruli, is eloquently described, in prose and verse, by a French poet (Les Mols, tom. ii. pp. 171,2 6, edit, in 12:10). "I am ignorant from whence le derives his information; but I ain well assured that he relates some facts incompatible with the truth of history.

140 See the xxxixth epistle of St. Ambrose, as it is quoted by Muratori, sopra le Antichiti Italiane, tom. i. Dissert. xxi. p. 354.

1:1 Æmilia, Tuscia, ceteræque provinciæ in quibus hominum prope nullus ex. sistit. Gelasius, Epist. ad Andromachum, ap. Baronium, Annal Eccles. A. D.

133 Tacit. Amal. iii, 53.

496. No. 36.

hand of their master, perished or disappeared as soon as his liberality was suppressed; the decline of the arts reduced the industrious mechanic to idleness and want; and the senators, who might support with patience the ruin of their country, bewailed their private loss of wealth and luxury.* One third of those ample estates, to which the ruin of Italy is originally imputed, 142 was extorted for the use of the conquerors. Injuries were aggravated by insults: the sense of actual sufferings was imbittered by the fear of more dreadful evils; and as new lands were allotted to new swarms of Barbarians, each senator was apprehensive lest the arbitrary surveyors should approach his favorite villa, or his most profitable farm. The least unfortunate were those who submitted without a murmur to the power which it was impossible to resist. Since they desired to live, they owed some gratitude to the tyrant who had spared their lives; and since he was the absolute master of their fortunes, the por. tion which he left must be accepted as his pure and volun. tary gift.143 The distress of Italy † was mitigated by the prudence and humanity of Odoacer, who had bound himself

, as the price of his elevation, to satisfy the demands of a licentious and turbulent multitude. T'he kings of the Barbarians were frequently resisted, deposed, or murdered, by their native subjects, and the various bands of Italian mercenaries, who associated under the standard of an elective general, claimed a larger privilege of freedom and rapine. A monarchy destitute of national union, and hered. itary right, hastened to its dissolution. After a reign of fourteen years, Odoacer was oppressed by the superior genius of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths; a hero alike excellent in the arts of war and of government, who re

of
peace

and prosperity, and whose name still excites and deserves the attention of mankind.

142 Verumque confitentibus, latifundia perdidere Italiam. Plin. Hist. Natur.

143 Such are the topics of consolation, or rather of patience, which Cicero (ad Familiares, lib. ix. Epist. 17) suggests to his friend Papirius Pætus, under the military despotism of Cæsar. The argument, however, of “vivere pulcherrimum duxi,” is more forcibly addressed to a Roman philosopher, who possessed the free alternative of life or death.

* Denina supposes that the Barbarians were compelled by necessity to turn their attention to agriculture. Italy, ei her imperfectly cultivated, or not at all, by the indolent or ruined proprietors, not only could not furnish the imposts, on which the pay of the soldiery depended, but not even a certain supply of the necessaries of life. The neighboring countries were now occupied by warlike pations; the supplies of corn from Africa were cut off; foreign commerce near. ly destroved; they could not look for sipplies beyond the limits of Italy, through. out which the agriculture had been long in a state of progressive but rapid de. pression. (Denina, Rev. (l'Italia. 1. v. c. 1.)--M.

| Compare, on the desolation and change of property in Italy, Manson Geschichte des Ost-Gothischen Reiches, Part ii. p. 73, et seq.-M.

stored an age

xviii, 7.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND EFFECTS OF THE MONASTIC LIFE.

CONVERSION OF THE BARBARIANS TO CHRISTIANITY AND
ARIANISM.-PERSECUTION OF THE VANDALS IN AFRICA.-
EXTINCTION OF ARIANISM AMONG THE BARBARIANS,

THE indissoluble connection of civil and ecclesiastical affairs has compelled, and encouraged, me to relate the progress, the persecutions, the establishment, the divisions, the final triumph, and the gradual corruption, of Christianity. I have purposely delayed the consideration of two religious events, interesting in the study of human nature, and im-portant in the decline and fall of the Roman empire. I. The institution of the monastic life;' and, II. The conversion of the northern Barbarians.

I. Prosperity and peace introduced the distinction of the vulgar and the Ascetic Christians. The loose and imperfeci practice of religion satisfied the conscience of the multitude. The prince or magistrate, the soldier or merchant, reconciled their fervent zeal, and implicit faith, with the exercise of their profession, the pursuit of their interest, and the indulgence of their passions; but the Ascetics, who obeyed and abused the rigid precepts of the gospel, were inspired by the savage enthusiasm which represents man as a criminal, and God as a rant. They seriously renounced the business, and the pleasures, of the age ; abjured the use of wine, of flesh, and of marriage; chastised their body, mortified their affections, and embraced a life of misery, as the price of eternal happiness. In the reign of Constantine, the Ascetics fled from a profane and degenerate world, to perpetual solitude, or religious society. Like the first

1 The origin of the monastic institution has been laboriously discussed by Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, lom. i. pp. 1119-1426) and Helyot (Hist. des Ordres Monastiques, tom. i. pp. 1-66). These authors are very learried and toler ably honest, and their difference of opinion shows the subject m its full extent. Yet the cautioug Protestant, who distrusts any popish guides, may consult the seventh book of Bingliam's Christian Antiquities.

2 See Euseb. Demonstrat. Evangel. (l. i. pp. 20, 21, edit. Græc. Rob, Stephans, Paris, 1545). In luis Ecclesiastical Ilistory, published twelve years after the Demonstration, Eusebius (1. ii. c. 17) a serts the Christianity of the Therapeutæ ; put he appears ignorant that a similar institution was actually revived in Egypt

5

Christians of Jerusalem,3 * they resigned the use, or the property, of their temporal possessions; established regular communities of the same sex, and a similar disposition; and assumed the names of Hermits, Monks, and Anachorets, expressive of their lonely retreat in a natural or artificial desert. They soon acquired the respect of the world, which they despised; and the loudest applause was bestowed on this Divine PHILOSOPHY,' which surpassed, without the aid of science or reason, the laborious virtues of the Grecian schools. The monks might indeed contend with the Stoics, in the contempt of fortune, of pain and of death : the Pythagorean silence and submission were rcrived in their ser. vile discipline; and they disdained, as firmly as the Cynics themselves, all the forms and decencies of civil society. But the votaries of this Divinę Philosophy aspired to imi. tate a purer and more perfect model. They trod in the footsteps of the prophets, who had retired to the desert; and they restored the devout and contemplative life, which had been instituted by the Essenians, in Palestine and Egypt. The philosophic eye of Pliny had surveyed with astonishment a solitary people, who dwelt among the palmtrees near the Dead Sea; who subsisted without money, who were propagated without women; and who derived from the disgust and repentance of mankind a perpetual supply of voluntary associates.

Egypt, the fruitful parent of superstition, afforded the s Cassian (Collat. xviii. 5) claims this origin for the institution of Cænobites, which gradually decayed till it was restored by Antony and his disciples.

4 Ωφελιμώτατον γάρ τι χρήμα εις ανθρωπους ελυουσα παρά Θέου ή τοιαύτη φιλοσοφία. These are the expressive words of Sozomen, who copiously and agreeably de. scribes (1. j. c. 12, 13, 14) the origin and progress of this wonkish philosophy (see Suicer Thesau. Eccles.

tom. il p. 1411). Some modern writers, Lipsius (tom. iv. p. 448, Manuduct ad Philosoph. Stoic, iii. 13) and La Mothe le Vayer (tom. ix. de la Vertu des Payens, pp. 228-262), have compared the Carmelites to the Pytha. goreans, and ihe Cynics to the Capucins.

5 Thé Carmelites derive their pedigree, in regular succession, from the prophet Elijah (see the Theses of Beziers, A. D. 1682, in Bayle's Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres, Euvres, tom. I. p. 82, &c., and the prolix irony of the Ordres Monastiques, an anonymous work, tom. i. pp. 1-133, Berlin, 1751). Rome, and the inquisition of Spaiñ, silenced the profane criticism of the Jesuits of Flanders (Helyot, Hist. des Ordres Monastiques, tom. i. pp. 282-30''), and the statue of Elijalı, the Carmelite, has been erected in the church of St. Peter (Voyages P. Labat, tom. iii. p. 87).

Plin. Hist. Natur. v. 15. Gens sola, et in toto orbe præter ceteras mira, sino ullâ femini, omni venere abdicatâ, sine pecuniâ, socia palmarum. Ita per secuToruin millia (incredibile dictu) gens æterna est in quâ nemo nascitur. Tam fæcunda illis aliorum vitæ pænitentia est. He places them just beyond the nox. ious influence of the lake, and names Engaddi and Massada as the nearest towns, The Laura, and monastery of St. Sabas, could not be far distant from this place. See Roland. Palestin., tom. i. p. 295; tom. ii. pp. 763, 874, 880, 890.

* It has bef re been shown that the first Christian community was not strictly cænobitic. See vol. ii.-M.

first example of the monastic life. Antony, an illiterate * youth of the lower parts of Thebais, distributed his patrimony,' deserted his family and native home, and executed his monastic penance with original and intrepid fanaticism. After a long and painful novitiate, among the tombs, and in a ruined tower, he boldly advanced into the desert three days' journey to the eastward of the Nile; discovered a lonely spot, which possessed the advantages of shade and water, and fixed his last residence on Mount Colzim, near the Red Sea; where an ancient monastery still preserves the name and memory of the saint.10 The curious devotion of the Christians pursued him to the desert; and when he was obliged to appear at Alexandria, in the face of mankind, he supported his fame with discretion and dignity. He enjoyed the friendship of Athanasius, whose doctrine he approved ; and the Egyptian peasant respectfully declined a respectful invitation from the emperor Constantine. The vencrable patriarch (for Antony attained the age of one hundred and five years) beheld the numerous progeny which had been formed by his example and his lessons. The prolific colonies of monks multiplied with rapid increase on the sands of Libya, upon the rocks of Thebais, and in the cities of the Nile. To the south of Alexandria, the mountain, and adjacent desert, of Nitria, were peopled by five thousand anachorets; and the traveller may still investigate the ruins of fifty monasteries, which were planted in that barren soil by the disciples of Antony.11 In the Upper Thebais, the vacant island of Tabenne was occupied by Pachomius and

7 See Athanas. Op. tom. ii. pp. 450-505, and the Vit. Patrum, pp. 26–74, with Rosweyde's Annotations. The forme: is the Greek original ; the latter, a very ancient Latin version by Evagrius, the friend of St. Jerom.

8 rpáupata uèv magelv Oik Yveoxeto. Athanas. tom. ii. in Vit. St. Anton. p. 452, and the assertion of liis total ignorance has been received by many of the ancients and moderns. But Tillemont (Mém. Eccles. tom. vii. p. 660) shows, by some probable arguments, that Antony could read and write in the Coptic, his native tongue; and that he was only a stranger to the Greek letters. The philosopher Synesius (p. 51) acknowledges that the natural genius of Antony did not require the aid of learning.

Arurce autem erant ei trecentæ uberes, et valde optimæ (Vit. Patr. I. v. p. 36). If the Arurd be a square measure of a hundred Egyptian cubits (Rosweyde, Onomasticon ad Vit. Patrum, pp. 1014-1015), and the Egyptian cubit of all ages be equal to twenty-two English inches (Greaves, vol. i. p. 233), the arura will consist of about three quarters of an English acre.

10 The description of the monastery is given by Jerom (tom. i. pp. 248, 24), in Vit. Hilarion) and the P. Sicard. (Missions du Levant, tom. v. pp. 122-200). Their accounts cannot always be reconciled; the father painted from his fancy, and the Jesuit from his experience.

11 Jerom, tom. i. p. 146, al Eustochium. Hist. Lausiac. c. 7, in Vit. Patrum, p. 712. The P. Sicard (Missions du Levant, tom. ii. pp. 22–79) visited and has described this desert, which now contains four moriasteries, and twenty or thirty monks. See D'Anville, Description de l'Egypte, p. 74.

12 Tabeune is a small island in the Nile, in the diocese of Tentyra or Dendera, between the modern town of Girge and the ruins of ancient Thebes (D'Anville,

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