« ForrigeFortsett »
gift of nature or reflection; he raised himself without a master or a rival; and so inadequate were the arms committed to his hand, that his sole advantage was derived from the pride and presumption of his adversaries. Under his command, the subjects of Justinian often deserved to be called Romans: but the unwarlike appellation of Greeks was imposed as a term of reproach by the haughty Goths; who affected to blush, that they must dispute the kingdom of Italy with a nation of tragedians, pantomimes, and pirates.” The climate of Asia has indeed been found less congenial than that of Europe to military spirit: those populous countries were enervated by luxury, despotism, and superstition; and the monks were more expensive and more numerous than the soldiers of the East. The regular force of the empire had once amounted to six hundred and forty-five thousand men : it was reduced, in the time of Justinian, to one hundred and fifty thousand; and this number, large as it may seem, was thinly scattered over the sea and land; in Spain and Italy, in Africa and Egypt, on the banks of the Danube, the coast of the Euxine, and the frontiers of Persia. The citizen was exhausted, yet the soldier was unpaid; his poverty was mischievously soothed by the privilege of rapine and indolence; and the tardy payments were detained and intercepted by the fraud of those agents who usurp, without courage or danger, the emoluments of war. Public and private distress recruited the armies of the state; but in the field, and still more in the presence of the enemy, their numbers were always defective. The want of national spirit was supplied by the precarious faith and disorderly service of Barl arian mercenaries. Even military honor, which has often survived the loss of virtue and freedom, was almost totally extinct. The generals, who were multiplied beyond the example of former times, labored only to prevent the success, or to sully the reputation of their colleagues, and they had been taught by experience, that if merit sometimes provoked the jealousy, error, or even guilt, would obtain the indulgence, of a gracious emperor." In such an age, the triumphs of Belisarius and afterwards of Narses, shine with incomparable lustre; but they are encompassed with the darkest shades of disgrace and calamity. While the lieutenant of Justinian subdued the kingdoms of the Goths and Vandals, the emperor,” timid, though ambitious, balanced the forces of the Barbarians, fomented their divisions by flattery and falsehood, and invited by his patience and liberality the repetition of injuries.” . The keys of Carthage, Rome, and Ravenna, were presented to their conqueror, while Antioch was destroyed by the Persians, and Justinian trembled for the safety of Constantinople. Even the Gothic victories of Belisarius were prejudicial to the state, since they abolished the important barrier of the Upper Danube, which had been so faithfully guarded by Theodoric and his daughter. For the defence of Italy, the Goths evacuated Pannonia and Noricum, which they left in a peaceful and flourishing condition : the sovereignty was claimed by the emperor of the Romans; the actual possession was abandoned to the boldness of the first invader. On the opposite banks of the Danube, the plains of Upper Hungary and the Transylvanian hills were possessed, since the death of Attila, by the tribes of the Gepidae, who respected the Gothic arms, and despised, not indeed the gold of the Romans, but the secret motive of their annual subsi. dies. The vacant fortifications of the river were instantly occupied by these Barbarians; their standards were planted on the walls of Sirmium and Belgrade; and the ironical tone of their apology aggravated this insult on the majesty of the empire. “So extensive, O Caesar, are your dominions, so numerous are your cities, that you are continually seeking for nations to whom, either in peace or war, you may relinquish these useless possessions. The Gepidae are your brave and faithful allies; and if they have anticipated your ifts, they have shown a just confidence in your bounty.” heir presumption was excused by the mode of revenge which Justinian embraced. Instead of asserting the rights of a sovereign for the protection of his subjects, the emperor invited a strange people to invade and possess the Roman provinces between the Danube and the Alps; and the ambition of the Gepidae was checked by the rising power and fame of the LOMBARDs." This corrupt appellation has * Agathias, 1. v. pp. 157, 158. He confines this weakness of the emperor and the empire to the old age of Justinian ; but alas ! he was never young. * This mischievous policy, which Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19) imputes to the been diffused in the thirteenth century by the merchants and bankers, the Italian posterity of these savage warriors: but the original name of Langobards is expressive only of the peculiar length and fashion of their beards. I am not disposed either to question or to justify their Scandinavian origin , * nor to pursue the migrations of the Lombards through unknown regions and marvellous adventures. About the time of Augustus and Trajan, a ray of historic light breaks on the darkness of their antiquities, and they are discovered, for the first time, between the Elbe and the Oder Fierce, beyond the example of the Germans, they delighted to propagate the tremendous belief, that their heads were formed like the heads of dogs, and that they drank the blood of their enemies, whom they vanquished in battle. The smallness of their numbers was recruited by the adoption of their bravest slaves; and alone, amidst their powerful neighbors, they defended by arms their highspirited independence. In the tempests of the north, which overwhelmed so many names and nations, this little bark of the Lombards still floated on the surface: they gradually descended towards the south and the Danube; and, at the end of four hundred years, they again appear with their ancient valor and renown. Their manners were not less ferocious. The assassination of a royal guest was executed in the presence, and by the command, of the king's daughter, who had been provoked by some words of insult, and disappointed by his diminutive stature; and a tribute, the price of blood, was imposed on the Lombards, by his brother the king of the Heruli. Adversity revived a sense of moderation and justice, and the insolence of conquest was chastised by the signal defeat and irreparable dispersion of the Herull, who were seated in the southern provinces of Poland.” The victories of the Lombards recommended them to the friendship of the emperors; and at the solicitations of Justinian, they passed the Danube, to reduce, according to their treaty, the cities of Noricum and the fortresses of Pannonia. But the spirit of rapine soon tempted them beyond these ample limits; they wandered along the coast of the Hadriatic as far as Dyrrachium, and presumed, with familiar rudeness, to enter the towns and houses of their Roman allies, and to seize the captives who had escaped from their audacious hands. These acts of hostility, the sallies, as it might be pretended, of some loose adventurers, were disowned by the nation, and excused by the emperor; but the arms of the Lombards were more seriously engaged by a contest of thirty years, which was terminated only by the extirpation of the Gepidae. The hostile nations often pleaded their cause before the throne of Constantinople; and the crafty Justinian, to whom the Barbarians were almost equally odious, pronounced a partial and ambiguous sentence, and dexterously protracted the war by slow and ineffectual succors. Their strength was formidable, since the Lombards, who sent into the field several myriads of soldiers, still claimed, as the weaker side, the protection of the Romans. Their spirit was intrepid; yet such is the uncertainty of courage, that the two armies were suddenly struck with a panic; they fled from each other, and the rival kings remained with their guards in the midst of an empty plain. A short truce was obtained ; but their mutual resentment again kindled; and the remembrance of their shame rendered the next encounter more desperate and bloody. Forty thousand of the Barbarians perished in the decisive battle, which broke the power of the Gepidae, transferred the fears and wishes of Justinian, and first displayed the character of Alboin, the youthful prince of the Lombards, and the future conqueror of Italy.” The wild people who dwelt or wandered in the plains of Russia, Lithuania, and Poland, might be reduced, in the age of Justinian, under the two great families of the BUL.GARIANs " and the SCLAvoNIANs. According to the Greek writers, the former, who touched the Euxine and the lake Maeotis, derived from the Huns their name or descent; and It is needless to renew the simple and well-known picture of Tartar manners. They were bold and dexterous archers, who drank the milk, and feasted on the flesh, of their fleet and indefatigable horses; whose flocks and herds followed, or rather guided, the motions of their roving camps; to whose inroads no country was remote or impervious, and who were practiced in flight, though incapable of fear. The nation was divided into two powerful and hostile tribes, who pursued each other with fraternal hatred. They eagerly disputed the friendship, or rather the gifts, of the emperor; and the distinction which nature had fixed between the faithful dog and the rapacious wolf was applied by an ambassador who received only verbal instructions from the mouth of his illiterate prince.” The Bulgarians, of whatsoever species, were equally attracted by Roman wealth : they assumed a vague dominion over the Sclavonian name, and their rapid marches could only be stopped by the Baltic Sea, or the extreme cold and poverty of the north. But the same race of Sclavonians appears to have maintained, in Cassiodorus and Marcellinus. The name of Huns is too vague ; the tribes of the Cutturgurians and Utturgurians are too minute and too harsh.* 1* Procopius (Goth. 1. iv. c. 19). His verbal message (he owns himself an
* Tbackovs " * * * *š &v rá todijepa ow8éva ès "Iraxiav jzovra et&ov, Ört ui, Tpayqoobs, kai waistas Awmoboras. This last epithet of Procopius is too nobly translated by pirates; naval thieves is the proper word ; strippers of garments, to: o or insult (Demosthenes contra Corion. in Reiske, Orator. Graec.
4 See the third and fourth books of the Gothic War: the writer of the Anece dotes cannot aggravate these abuses.
emperor, is revealed in his epistle to a Scythian prince, who was capable of
looding it. Ayav irpoonbi, kal &y xivovaramov, says Agathias (l. v. pp. , I i ).
* Gens Germanå feritate ferocior, says Welleius Paterculus of the Lombards (ii. 106). Langobardos paucitas nobilitat. Plurimis ac valentissimis nationibrs cincti mon per obsequium, sed praeliis et perielitando, tuti sunt (Tacit. de Mo ibus German. c. 40). See likewise Strabo (l. viii. p. 446). The best geographers place them beyond the Elbe, in the bishopric of Magdeburgh and the middle march of Brandenburgh; and their situation will agree with the patriotic remark of the count de Hertzberg, that most of the Barbarian conquerors issued from the same countries which still produce the armies of Prussia.”
8 The Scandinavian origin of the Goths and Lombards, as stated by Paul Warnefrid, surnamed the deacon, is attacked by Cluverius (Gel mania Antiq. l. iii. c. 26, p. 102, &c.), a native of Prussia, and defended by Grotius (Prolegom, ad Hist. Goth. p. 28, &c.), the Swedish ambassador.
9 Two facts in the narrative of Paul Diaconus (1, 1. c. 20) are expressive of national manners 1. Dum ad fabulam luderet—while he played at draughts. 2. Camporum viridantia lima. The cultivation of flax supposes property, coul' merce, agriculture, and manufactures.
*See Malte-Brun, vol. i. p. 402.-M.
10 I have used, without undertaking to reconcile, the facts in Procopius Goth. l. ii. c. 14, l. iii, c. 33, 34, l; iv. c. 18, 25), Paul Diaconus (de Gestis Langobard. l. i. e. 1-23, in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. 1. pp. 405–419), and Jornandes (de Success. Itegnorum, p. 242). The patient reader may draw some light from Mascou (Hist. of the Germans, and Annotat. xxiii.) and De Buat (Hist. des Peuples, &c., tom. ix. x. xi.).
* I adopt the appellation of Bulgarians from Ennodius (in Panegyr. Theodorici, Opp. Sirmond, tom. i. pp. 1568, 1599), Jormal; des (de Rebus Geticis, c. 5, p. 194, et de Regu. Successione, p.242), Theophanes (p. 185), and the Chronicles of illiterate Barbarian) is delivered as an epistle. The style is savage, figurative, and original.
* The Bulgarians are first mentioned, among the writers of the West in the Panegyric on Theodoric by Ennodius, Bishop of Pavia. Though they perhaps took part in the conquests of the Huns, they did not aqvance to the Danube till after the dismemberment of that monarchy on the death of Attila. But the Bulgarians are mentioned much earlier by the Armenian writers. Above 600 }. before. Christ, a tribe of Bulgarians, driven from their native possessions
eyond the Caspian, occupied a part of Armenia, north of the Araxes. They
were of the Finnish, race; part of the nation, in the fifth century, moved west. ward, and reached, the modern Bulgaria; part remained along the Volga, which is called Etei Etil, or Athil, in all the Tartar languages, but from the Bulgarians, the Volga. The power of the eastern Bulgarians was broken by Baou, §on of Tchingiz Khan ; that of the western will appear in the course of the history, From St. Martin, vol. vii. p. 141. Malte-Brum. on the contrary, com. ceives that the Bulgarians took their name from the river. According to the Byzantine historians they were a branch of the Ougres (Thunmann, Hist of the People to the East of Europe), but they have more resemblance to the Turks Their first country, Great Bulgaria, was washed by the Volga. Some remain of their capital are still shown near's asan. They afterwards dwelt in Kuban, and finally on the Danube, where they subdued (about the year 500) the Slavo. Servians established on the lower Danube. Conquered in their turn by the Ayars, they freed themselves from that yoko in 635: their empire then comprised the Cutturgurians, the remains of the Huns established on the Palus Maeotis. The T}anubian Bulgaria, a dismemberment ot this vast state, was long formidable to the Byzantine empire. Malte-Brun, Préc. de Géog. Univ. vol. i. p. 410.—M.
According to Shafarik, the Danubian Bulgaria was peopled by a Slavo-Bul
rian race. The Slavish population was cofiguered by the Bulgarians (of
ralian and Finnish descent), and incorporated with them. This mingled race are ". Bulgarians bordering on the Byzantine empire. Shafarik, ii. 152, et Beq.- M. 1845.