animals, the gift of a sun-diai, a water-clock, or a musician, admonished even the princes of Gaul of the superior art and industry of his Italian subjects. His domestic alliances,” a wife, two daughters, a sister, and a niece, united the family of Theodoric with the kings of the Franks, the Burgundians, the Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Thuringians, and contributed to maintain the harmony, or at least the balance, of the great republic of the West.” It is difficult in the dark forests of Germany and Poland to pursue the emigrations of the Heruli, a fierce people who disdained the use of armor, and who condemned their widows and aged parents not to survive the loss of their husbands, or the decay of their strength.” The king of these savage warriors solicited the friendship of Theodoric, and was elevated to the rank of his son, according to the barbaric rites of a milio adoption.” From the shores of the Baltic, the AEstians or Livonians laid their offerings of native amber * at the feet of a prince, whose fame had excited them to undertake an unknown and dangerous journey of fifteen hundred miles. With the country “from whence the Gothic nation derived their origin, he maintained a frequent and friendly correspondence: the Italians were clothed in the rich sables” of Sweden; and one of its sovereigns, after a voluntary or reluctant abdication, found a hospitable retreat in the palace of Ravenna. He had reigned over one of the thirteen populous tribes who cultivated a small portion of the great island or peninsula of Scandinavia, to which the vague appellation of Thule has been sometimes applied. That northern region was peopled, or had been explored, as high as the sixty-eighth degree of latitude, where the natives of the polar circle enjoy and lose the presence of the sun at each summer and winter solstice during an equal period of forty days.” The long night of his absence or death was the mournful season of distress and anxiety, till the messengers, who had been sent to the mountain tops, described the first rays of returning light, and proclaimed to the plain below the festival of his resurrection.” The life of Theodoric represents the rare and meritorious example of a Barbarian, who sheathed his sword in the pride of victory and the vigor of his age. A reign of three and thirty years was consecrated to the duties of civil government, and the hostilities, in which he was sometimes involved, were speedily terminated by the conduct of his lieutenants, the discipline of his troops, the arms of his allies, and even by the terror of his name. He reduced, under a strong and regular government, the unprofitable countries of Ithactia, Noricum, Dalmatia, and Pannonia, from the source of the Danube and the territory of the Bavarians,” to the petty kingdom erected by the Gepidae on the ruins of Sirmium. His prudence could not safely intrust the bulwark of Italy to such feeble and turbulent neighbors; and his justice might claim the lands which they oppressed, either as a part of his kingdom, or as the inheritance of his father. The greatness of a servant, who was named perfidious because he was successful, awakened the jealousy of the emperor Anastasius; and a war was kindled on the Dacian frontier, by the protection which the Gothic king, in the vicissitude of human affairs, had granted to one of the descendants of Attila. Sabinian, a general illustrious by his own and father's merit, advanced at the head of ten thousand Romans; and the provisions and arms, which filled a long train of wagons, were distributed to the fiercest of the Bulgarian tribes. But in the fields of Margus, the eastern powers were defeated by the inferior forces of the Goths and Huns; the flower and even the hope of the Roman armies was irretrievably destroyed; and such was the temperance with which Theodoric had inspired his victorious troops, that, as their leader had not given the signal of pillage, the rich spoils of the enemy lay untouched at their feet.* Exasperated by this disgrace, the Byzantine court despatched two hundred ships and eight thousand men to plunder the sea-coast of Calabria and Apulia: they assaulted the ancient city of Tarentum, interrupted the trade and agriculture of a happy country, and sailed back to the Hellespont, proud of their piratical victory over a people whom they still presumed to consider as their Tooman brethren.” Their retreat was possibly hastened by the activity of Theodoric; Italy was covered by a fleet of a * See the Hist. des Peuples Anciens, &c., tom. ix. pp. 255–273, 396-501. The count de Buat was French minister at the court of IBavaria : a liberal curiosity prompted his inquiries into the antiquities of the country, and that curiosity was the germ of twelve respectable volumes. 45 See the Gothic transactions on the Danube and the Illyricum, in Jornamdes (c. 58, p. 699); Ennodius (pp. 1607–1610); Marcellinus (in Chron... pp. 44, 47, 48); *colodorus (in Chron, and War. iii. 23, 50, iv. 13, vii. 4, 24, viii. 9, 10, 11, 21, ix. ''. I cannot forbear transcribing the liberal and classic style of Count Marcellinus ; Romanus comes domesticorul:1, et Ikusticus comes RCholariorum cum celltum armat is havibus, totidenhoue dromonibus, octo millia militum armatorum secun, ferentibus, ad devastanda Italia littora processerunt, et usclue ad Tarentumn antiquissimam civitatem aggressi sunt ; remel:sogue mari in homestam victhousand light vessels,” which he constructed with incred. ible despatch; and his firm moderation was soon rewarded by a solid and honorable peace. He maintained, with a !. hand, the balance of the West, till it was at ength overthrown by the ambition of Clovis, and although unable to assist his rash and unfortunate kinsman, the king of the Visigoths, he saved the remains of his family and people, and checked the Franks in the midst of their victorious career. I am not desirous to prolong or repeat “ this narrative of military events, the least interesting of the reign of Theodoric; and shall be content to add, that the Alemanni were protected,” that an inroad of the Burgundians was severely chastised, and that the conquest of Arles and Marseilles opened a free communication with the Visigoths, who revered him as their national protector, and as the guardian of his grandchild, the infant son of Alaric. Under this respectable character, the king of Italy restored the praetorian praefecture of the Gauls, reformed some abuses in the civil government of Spain, and accepted the annual tribute and apparent submission of its military governor, who wisely refused to trust his person in the palace of IRavenna.” The Gothic sovereignty was established from Sicily to the Danube, from Sirmium or Belgrade to the Atlantic Ocean; and the Greeks themselves have acknowledged that Theodoric reigned over the fairest portion of the Western empire.” The union of the Goths and Romans might have fixed for ages the transient happiness of Italy; and the first of nations, a new people of free subjects and enlightened soldiers, might have gradually arisen from the mutual emulation of their respective virtues. But the sublime merit of guiding or seconding such a revolution was not reserved for the reign of Theodoric: he wanted either the genius or the opportunities of a legislator;” and while he indulged the Goths in the enjoyment of rude, liberty, he servilely copied the institutions, and even the abuses, of the political system which had been framed by Constantine and his successors. From a tender regard to the expiring prejudices of Rome, the Barbarian declined the name, the purple, and the diadem, of the emperors; but he assumed, under the hereditary title of king, the whole substance and plenitude of Imperial prerogative.” His addresses to the eastern throne were respectful and ambiguous: he celebrated, in pompous style, the harmony of the two republics, applauded his own government as the perfect similitude of a sole and undivided empire, and claimed above the kings of the earth the same prečminence which he modestly allowed to the berson or rank of Anastasius. The alliance of the East and West was annually declared by the unanimous choice of two consuls; but it should seem that the Italian candidate who was named by Theodoric accepted a formal confirmation from the sovereign of Constantinople.” The Gothic palace of Ravenna reflected the image of the court of Theodosius or Valentinian. The Praetorian praefect, the praefect of Rome, the quaestor, the master of the offices, with the public and patrimonial treasurers,” whose functions are painted in gaudy colors by the rhetoric of Cassiodorus, still continued to act as the ministers of state. And the subordinate care of justice and the revenue was delegated to seven consulars, three correctors, and five presidents, who governed the fifteen regions of Italy according to the principles, and even the forms, of Roman jurisprudence.” The violence of the conquerors was abated or eluded by the slow artifice of * The image of Theodoric is engraved on his coins : his modest successors were satisfied with adding their own name to the head of the reigning emperor (Mura. tori, Antiquitat. Italiae Medii AFvi, tom. ii. dissert. xxvii. pp. 577–579. Giannone,

* See the public and private alliances of the Gothic monarch, with the Burgundians (Var. i. 45,46), with the Franks (ii. 40), with the Thuringians (iv. 1), and with the Wandals (v. 1); each of these epistles allords some curious knowledge of the policy and manners of the Barbarians.

3% His political system may be observed in Cassiodorus (Var. iv. 1 ix. 1), Jormandes (c. 58, pp. 698, 699), and the Walesian Fragment (pp. 720, 721). Peace, honorable peace, was the constant aim of Theodoric.

* The curious reader may contemplate the Heruli of Procopius (Goth. I. ii. c. 14), and the patient reader may plunge into the dark and minute researches of M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples Anciens, tom. ix. pp. 348-396).”

38 Variarum, iv. 2. The spirit and forms of this martial institution are noticed by Cassiodorus; but he seems to have only translated the sentiments of the Gothic king into the language of Roman eloquence.

& Cassiodorus, who quotes Tacitus to the AEstians, the umlettered savages of the Baltic (Var. v. 2), describes the amber for which their shores have ever been famous, as the gum of a tree, hardened by the sun, and purified and wafted by the waves. When that singular substance is analyzed by the chemists, it yields a vegetable oil and a mineral acid.

* Compare Manso, Ost Gothische Reich Beylage, vi. Malte-Brun brings them from Scandinavia: their names, the only remains of their language, are Gothic. “They fought almost naked, iike the feelandic Berserkirs : their bravery was like madness; few in number, they were mostly of royal blood. What ferocity, what unrestrained license, sullied their victories . The Goth respects the church, the priests, the senate; the Herulimangle all in a general massacre: there is no pity for age, no refuge for chastity. Among themselves there is the same ferocity: the sick and the j are put to death, at their own request, during a solemn festival; the widow ends her days by hanging herself upon the tree which shadows her husband's tomb. All these circumstances, so striking to a mind familiar with Scandinavian history, lead us to discover among the Heruli not so much a mation as a confederacy of princes and nobles, bound by an oath to live and die Vogether with their arms in their hands. Their name, sometimes written Heruli or Eruli, sometimes Aeruli, signified, according to an ancient author (Isid. Hispal. in gloss. p. 24, ad calc. Lex. Philolog. Martini, 11), nobles, and appears to correspond better with the Scandinavian word iarl or earl, than with any of those numerous derivations proposed by etymologists.” Malte-Brun, vol. i. p. 400 (edit. 1831)...Qf all the Barbarians who threw themselves on the ruins of the Roman empire, it is most difficult to trace the origin of the Heruli. They seem never to have been very powerful as a nation, and branches of them are found in countries very remote from each other. In my opinion they belong to the Gothic race, and have a close affinity with the Scyrri or Hirri. They were, possibly, a division of that 11ation. They are often mingled and confounded with the Alani. Though brave and formidable, they were never numerous, nor did they found any state.—St. Martin, vol. vi. p. 375–M. Schafarck considers them descendants of the Hirri, of which Heruli is a diminutive.—Slawische Alterthumer, 1. 436.-M. 1845.

40 Scanzia, or Thule, is described by Jornandes (c. 3, Po 610–613) and Procopius (Goth. l. ii. c. 15). Neither the Goth inor the Greek had visited the country; both had conversed with the natives in their exile at Ravenna or Constantinople.

*l Sapherinas pelles. In the time of Jornandes they inhabited Swethans, the proper Sweden ; but that beautiful race of animals has gradually been driven into the eastern parts of Siberia. See Buffon (Hist. Nat. tom. xiii. pp. 309–313, quarto edition); Pennant (System of Quadrupeds, yol. i. pp. 322–328); Gmelin (Hist. Gén. des Voyages. tom. xviii. pp. 257,258); and Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. v. pp. 165, 166, 514, 515).

42 In tho’system or romance of M. Bailly (Lettres sur les Sciences et sur l’Atlantide, tom, i. pp. 249–256, tom. ii. pp. 114-139), the phoenix of the Edda, and the annual death and revival of Adonis and Osiris, are the allegorical symbols of the absence and return of the sun in the Arctic regions. This ingenious writer is a worthy disciple of the great Buffon ; nor is it easy for the coldest reason to withstand the magic of their philosophy.

44 AU; n re jovKirats | preytarn row optov čort, says Procopius. At present a rude Manicheism (generous enough) prevails among the Samoyedes in Greenland and in Lapland (Hist, des Voyages, tom. xviii. pp. 508, 509, tom. xix. pp. 105, 106, 527 528); yet, according to Grotius, Samojutae coelum atque astra, adorant, numina haud aliis iniquiora (de Rebus. Belgicis, l. iv. p. 338, folio edition); a sentence which Tacitus would not have disowned.

toriam quam piratico ausu Romani ex Romanis rapuerunt, Anastasio Caesari reportarunt (in Chron. p. 48). See Variar. i. 16, ii. 38.

47 See the royal orders and instructions (Var. iv. 15, v. 16–20). These armed boats should be still smaller, than the thousand vessels of Agamemnon at the siege of Troy. [Manso, p. 121]. * Vol. iii. pp. 581–585. ** Ennodius (p. 1610) and Cassiodorus, in the royal name (Var. ii. 41), record his salutary protection of the Alemanni. to The Gothic transactions in Gaul and Spain are represented with some perplexity in Cassiodorus (War. iii. 32, 38, 41, 43,44, v. 39), Jornandes (c. 58, pp. 698, 699), and Procopius (Goth. l. i. c. 12). I will neither hear nor reconcile the long and contradictory arguments of the Abbé Dubos and the Count de Buat, about the wars of Burgundy. to Theophanes, p. 113. * Procopius affirms that no laws whatsoever were promulgated by Theodoric and the succeeding kings of Italy (Goth. 1. ii. c. 6). He must mean in the Gothic

language. A Latin edict of Theodoric is still extant, in one hundred and fifty-four articles.*

* See Manso, 92. Savigny, vol. ii. p. 164, et seq.-M.

Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 166).

54 The alliance of the emperor and the king of Italy are represented by Cassiodorus (Var. i. 1, ii. 1, 2, 3, vi. 1) and Procopius (Goth. l. ii. c. 6, 1. iii. c. 21), who celebrate the friendship of Anastasius and Theodoric : but the figurative style # compliment was interpreted in a very different sense at Constantinople and

a Venna.

55 To the xvii, provinces of the Notitia, Paul Warnefrid the deacon (De Reb. Longobard. 1. ii. c. 14–22) has subjoined an xviiith, the Appennine (Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. pp. 431–433). But of these Sardinia and Corsica were possessed by the Vandals, and the two Rhaetias, as well as the Cottian Alps, seem to have been abandoned to a military government. The state of the four provinces that now form the kingdom of Naples is labored by Giannone (tom. i. pp. 172,178) with patriotic diligence.

* All causes between Roman and Roman were judged by the old Roman courts. The comes Gothorum judged between Goth and Goth; between Goths and Romans (without considering which was the plaintiff), the comes Gothorum, with a Roman jurist as his assessor, making a kind of mixed jurisdiction, but with a natural predominance to the side of the Goth. Savigny, vol. i. p. 290–M.

« ForrigeFortsett »