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their entrance through the Salarian gate, they fired the ad. jacent houses to guide their march, and to distract the attention of the citizens; the flames, which encountered no obstacle in the disorder of the night, consumed many private and public buildings; and the ruins of the palace of Sallust 105 remained, in the age of Justinian, a stately monument of the Gothic conflagration.106 Yet a contemporary historian has observed, that fire could scarcely consume the enormous beams of solid brass, and that the strength of man was insufficient to subvert the foundations of ancient structures. Some truth may possibly be concealed in his devout assertion, that the wrath of Heaven supplied the imperfections of hostile rage; and that the proud Forum of Rome, decorated with the statues of so many gods and heroes, was levelled in the dust by the stroke of lightning:
Whatever might be the numbers of equestrian or plebeian rank, who perished in the massacre of Rome, it is confidently affirmed that only one senator lost his life by the sword of the enemy.108 But it was not easy to compute the multitudes, who, from an honorable station and a prosperous fortune, were suddenly reduced to the miserable condition of captives and exiles. As the Barbarians had more occasion for money than for slaves, they fixed at a moderate price the redemption of their indigent prisoners; and the ransom was often paid by the benevolence of their friends, or the charity of strangers.109 The captives, who were regularly
105 The historian Sallust, who usefully practiced the vices which he has so eloqnently censured, employed the plunder of Numidia to adorn his palace and garlens on the Quirinal ħill. The spot where the house stood is now marked by the church of St. Susanna, separated only by a street from the baths of Diocletian, and not far distant from the Salarian gate. See Nardini, Roma Antica, pp. 192, 193, and the great Plan of Modern Rome, by Nolli.
106 The expressions of Procopius are distinct and moderate (de Bell. Vandal. 1. i. c. 2). The Chronicle of Marcellinus speaks too strongly, partem urbis Romæ cremavit; and the words of Philostorgius èv épeltious dè tñs Tónews KELMévns, 1. xii. c. 3) convey a false and exaggerated idea. Bargæus has composed a particular dissertation (see tom. iv. Antiquit. Rom. Græv.) to prove that the edifices of Rome were not subverted by the Goths and Vandals.
107 Orosius, 1, ii. c. 19, p. 143. He speaks as if he disapproved all statues : vel Deim vel hominem mentiuntur. They consisted of the kings of Alba and Rome from Æneas, the Romans, illustrious either in arms or arts, and the deified Cæsars. The expression which he uses of Forum is somewhat ambiguous, since there exe isted fire principal Forre: but as they were all contiguous and adjacent, in the plain which is surrounded by the Capitoline, the Quirinal, the Esquiline, and the Palatine hills, they might fairly be considered as one. See the Roma Antiqua of Donatus, pp. 162-201, and the Roma Antica of Nardini, pp. 212–273. The former is more useful for the ancient descriptions, the latter for the actual topography.
103 Orosius (1. ii. c. 19, p. 142) compares the cruelty of the Gauls and the clem. ency of the Goths. Ibi vix quemquam inventum senatorem, qui vel absens evaserit ; hic vix quemquam requiri, qui forte ut latens perierit. But there is an air of rhetoric, and perhaps of falsehood, in this antithesis ; and Socrates (1. vi. c. 10) affirms, perhaps by an opposite exaggeration, that many senators were put to death with various and exquisite tortures. 109 Multi ....
Christiani incaptivitatem ducti sunt. Augustin, de Civ. Dei. ! C. 14; and the Christians experienced 110 peculiar bardships.
sold, either in open market, or by private contract, would have legally regained their native freedom, which it was impossible for a citizen to lose, or to alienate. 110 But as it was soon discovered that the vindication of their liberty would endanger their lives; and that the Goths, unless they were tempted to sell, might be provoked to murder, their useless prisoners; the civil jurisprudence had been already qualified by a wise regulation, that they should be obliged to serve the moderate term of five years, till they had discharged by their labor the price of their redemption.111 The nations who invaded the Roman empire, had driven before them, into Italy, whole troops of hungry and affrighted provincials, less apprehensive of servitude than of famine. The calamities of Rome and Italy dispersed the inhabitants to the most lonely, the most secure, the most distant places of refuge. While the Gothic cavalry spread terror and desolation along the sea-coast of Campania and Tuscany, the little island of Igilium, separated by a narrow channel from the Argentarian promontory, repulsed, or eluded, their hostile attempts; and at so small a distance from Rome, great numbers of citizens were securely concealed in the thick woods of that sequestered spot.112 "The ample patrimonies, which many senatorian families possessed in Africa, invited them, if they had time, and prudence, to escape from the ruin of their country, to embrace the shelter of that hospitable province. The most illustrious of these fugitives was the noble and pious Proba, 113 the widow of the præfect Petronius. After
110 See Heineccius, Antiquitat. Juris Roman. tom. i. p. 96.
iu Appendix Cod. Theodos. xvi. in Sirinond. Opera, tom. i. p. 735. This edict was published on the 11th of December, A. D. 408, and is inore reasonable than properly belonged to the ministers of Honorius.
Eminus Igilii sylvoea cacumina miror;
Quem fraudare nefas laudis honore suæ.
Sive loci ingenio, seu Donini genio.
Tamquam longinquo dissociat: mari.
Hic fessis posito certa timiore salus.
Contra naturam claxse timendus eques:
Rutilius, in Itinerar. 1. i. 325.
113 As the adventures of Proba and lier family are connected with the life of St. Augustin, they are diligently illustrated by fillemont, Mém. Eccles. tom. xiii. pp. 620-635. Some time after their arrival in Africa, Demetrias took the veil, and made a vow of virginity: an event which was considered as of the highest importance to Rome and to the world. All the Saints wrote congratulatory letters to her; that of Jerom isstill extant,(tom. i. pr. 62-73, ad Demetriad. de servanda Virginitat.), and contains a mixture of absurd reasoning, spirited declamation, and curious facts, some of which relate to the siege and sack of Rome,
the death of her husband, the most powerful subject of Rome, she had remained at the head of the Anician family, and successively supplied, from her private fortune, the expense of the consulships of her three sons. When the city was besieged and taken by the Goths, Proba supported, with Christian resignation, the loss of immense riches; embarked in a small vessel, from whence she beheld, at sea, the flames of her burning palace, and fled with her daughter Læta, and her granddaughter, the celebrated virgin, Demetrias, to the coast of Africa. The benevolent profusion with which the matron distributed the fruits, or the price, of her estates, contributed to alleviate the misfortunes of exile and captivity. But even the family of Proba herself was not exempt from the rapacious oppression of Count Heraclian, who basely sold, in matrimonial prostitution, the noblest maidens of Rome to the lust or avarice of the Syrian merchants. The Italian fugitives were dispersed through the provinces, along the coast of Egypt and Asia, as far as Constantinople and Jerusalem; and the village of Bethlem, the solitary residence of St. Jerom and his female converts, was crowded with illustrious beggars of either sex, and every age, who excited the public compassion by the remembrance of their past fortune 114 This awful catastrophe of Rome filled the astonished empire with grief and terror. So interesting a contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed the fond credulity of the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, the afflictions of the queen of cities. The clergy, who applied to recent events the lofty metaphors of Oriental prophecy, were sometimes tempted to confound the destruction of the capital and the dissolution of the globe.
There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times. Yet, when the first emotions had subsided, and a fair estimate was made of the real damage, the more learned and judicious contemporaries were forced to confess, that infant Rome had formerly received more essential injury from the Gauls, than she had now sustained from the Goths in her declining age.115 The experience of eleven centuries has enabled posterity to produce a much more singu
114 See the pathetic complaint of Jerom (tom. V. p. 400), in his preface to the second book of his Commentaries on the Prophet Ezekiel.
115 Orosius, though with some theological partiality, states this coinparison, 1. ii. c. 19, p. 142, 1. vii. c. 39, p. 575. But in the history of the taking of Rome by the Gauls, every thing is uncertain, and perhaps fabulous. See Beaufort sur l'Incertitude, &c., de l'Histoire Romaine, p. 356 ; and Melot, in the Mém. de l'Académie des Inscript. tom. xv. pp. 1-21.
lar parallel ; and to affirm with confidence, that the ravages of the Barbarians, whom Alaric had led from the banks of the Danube, were less destructive, than the hostilities exercised by the troops of Charles the Fifth, a Catholic prince, who styled himself Emperor of the Romans.116 The Goths evacuated the city at the end of six days, but Rome remained above nine months in the possession of the Imperialists; and every hour was stained by some atrocious act of cruelty, lust, and rapine. The authority of Alaric preserved some order and moderation among the ferocious multitude which acknowledged him for their leader and king; but the constable of Bourbon had gloriously fallen in the attack of the walls; and the death of the general removed every restraint of discipline from an army which consisted of three independent nations, the Italians, the Spaniards, and the Germans. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the manners of Italy exhibited a remarkable scene of the deprave ity of mankind. They united the sanguinary crimes that prevail in an unsettled state of society, with the polislied vices which spring from the abuse of art and luxury; and the loose adventurers, who had violated every prejudice of patriotism and superstition to assault the palace of the Roman pontiff, must deserve to be considered as the most prof. ligate of the Italians. At the same æra, the Spaniards were the terror both of the Old and New World; but their high-spirited valor was disgraced by gloomy pride, rapacious avarice, and unrelenting cruelty. Indefatigable in the pursuit of fame and riches, they had improved, by repeated practice, the most exquisite and effectual methods of torturing their prisoners : many of the Castilians, who pillaged Rome, were familiars of the holy inquisition, and some volunteers, perhaps, were lately returned from the conquest of Mexico. The Germans were less corrupt than the Italians, less cruel than the Spaniards; and the rustic, or even sav. age, aspect of those Tramontane warriors, often disguised a simple and merciful disposition. But they had imbibed, in the first fervor of the reformation, the spirit, as well as the principles, of L:1ther. It was their favorite amusement
116 The reader who wishe. to inform himself of the circumstances of this famous event, may peruse an admirable narrative in Dr. Robertson's History of Charles V. vol. ii. p. 283 ; or consult the Annali d'Italia of the learned Muratori, tom, xiv. pp. 230--214, octavo edition. If he is desirous of examining the originals, he may have recourse to the eighteenth book of the great, but untinished, history of Guic. ciardini. But the account which most truly deserves the name of authentic and original, is a little book, entitled, 11 Sacco di Roma, composeil, within less than a month after the assanlt of the city, by the brother of the historian Guicciardin, who appears to have been an able magistrate and a dispassionate writer.
to insult, or destroy, the consecrated objects of Catholio superstition; they indulged, without pity or remorse, a devout hatred against the clergy of every denomination and degree, who form so considerable a part of the inhabitants of modern Rome; and their fanatic zeal might aspire to subvert the throne of Antichrist, to purify, with blood and fire, the abominations of the spiritual Babylon. 117
The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evacuated Rome on the sixth day, 118 might be the result of prudence; but it was not surely the effect of fear.
At the head of an arıny encumbered with rich and weighty spoils, their intrepid leader advanced along the Appian way into the southern provinces of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose his passage, and contenting himself with the plunder of the unresisting country. The fate of Capua, the proud and luxurious metropolis of Campania, and which was respected, even in its decay, as the eighth city of the empire,120 is buried in oblivion; whilst the adjacent town of Nola 121 has been illustrated, on this occasion, by the sanctity of Paulinus,122 who was successively a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At the age of forty, he renounced the enjoyment of wealth and honor, of society and literature, to embrace a life of solitude and penance; and the loud applause of the clergy encouraged him to despise the reproaches of his worldly friends, who ascribed this desperate act to some disorder of the mind or body 123 An early and passionate attachment determined him to fix his humble dwelling in one of the suburbs of Nola,
117 The furious spirit of Luther, the effect of temper and enthusiasm, has been forcibly atta ked (Bossuet, Hist. des Variations des Eglises Protestantes, livre i. pp. 20--36), and feebly defended (Seckendorf, Comment. de Lutheranismo, especially l. i. No. 78, p. 12'', and I. iii. No. 122, p. 556).
110 Marcellinus, in Chiron. Orosius (l. vii. c. 39, p. 575), asserts that he left Rome on the third day ; but this difference is easily reconciled by the successive motious of great bodies of troops.
119 Socrates (l. vii. (. 10) pretends, without any color of truth or reason, that Alaric fled on the report that the armies of the Eastern Empire were in full march to attack him.
120 Ausonius de Claris Urbibus, p. 233, edit. Toll. The l:ixury of Capua had formerly surpassed that of Sybaris itself.' See Athenæus Deipnosophist. 1. xii. p. 528, edit. Casaubon.
121 Forty-eight years before the foundation of Rome (about 800 before the Christian ära), the Tuscans built Capua and Nola, at the distance of twenty-three miles from each other; but the latter of the two cities never emerged frolit it sta'e of mediocrity.
122 Tillemont (Mém. Ecclés. tom, xiv. pp. 1-46) has compiled, with his usual diligence, all that relates to the life and writings of Paulinus, whose retreat is celebrater by his own pen, and buy the praises of St. Ambrose, St. Jerom, St. Au. gustin, Sulpicius Severus, &c., his Christian friends anıl contemporaries.
123 See the affectionate letters of Ausonius (epist. xix.-xxv. pp. 650-698, edit. Toil.) to his colleague, his friend, and his disciple, Paulinus. The religion of Ausonius is still a problem (see Mém. de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xv. pp. 123-138). I believe that it was such in his own time, and, consequently, that in his heart he was a Pagan.