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Before Lucca had surrendered, Italy was overwhelmed by a new deluge of Barbarians. A feeble youth, the grandson of Clovis, reigned over the Austrasians or oriental Franks. The guardians of Theodebald entertained with coldness and reluctance the magnificent promises of the Gothic ambassadors. But the spirit of a martial people outstripped the timid counsels of the court: two brothers, Lothaire and Buccelin,” the dukes of the Alemanni, stood forth as the leaders of the Italian war; and seventy-five thousand Germans descended in the autumn from the Rhaetian Alps into the plain of Milan. The vanguard of the Roman army was stationed near the Po, under the conduct of Fulcaris, a bold Herulian, who rashly conceived that personal bravery was the sole duty and merit of a commander. As he marched without order or precaution along the AEmilian way, an ambuscade of Franks suddenly rose from the amphitheatre of Parma; his troops were surprised and routed; but their leader refused to fly; declaring to the last moment, that death was less terrible than the angry countenance of Narses.* The death of Fulcaris, and the retreat of the surviving chiefs, decided the fluctuating and rebellious temper of the Goths; they flew to the standard of their deliverers, and admitted them into the cities which still resisted the arms of the Roman general. The conqueror of Italy opened a free passage to the irresistible torrent of Barbarians. They passed under the walls of Cesena, and answered by threats and reproaches the advice of Aligern, f that the Gothic treasures could no longer repay the labor of an invasion. Two thousand Franks were destroyed by the skill and valor of Narses himself, who sailed from Rimini at the head of three hundred horse, to chastise the licentious rapine of their march. On the confines of Samnium the two brothers divided their forces. With the right wing, Buccelin assumed the spoil of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium; with the left, Lothaire accepted the plunder of Apulia and Calabria. They followed the coast of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, as far as Rhegium and Otranto, and the extreme lands of Italy were the term of their destructive progress. ** Among the fabulous exploits of Buccelin, he discomfited and slew Belisarius, subdued Italy and Sicily, &c. See in the Historians of France, Gregory of The Franks, who were Christians and Catholics, contented themselves with simple pillage and occasional murder. But the churches which their piety had spared, were stripped by the sacrilegious hands of the Alemanni, who sacrificed horses’ heads to their native deities of the woods and rivers: “ they melted or profaned the consecrated vessels, and the ruins of shrines and altars were stained with the blood of the faithful. Buccelin was actuated by ambition, and Lothaire by avarice. The former aspired to restore the Gothic kingdom; the latter, after a promise to his brother of speedy succors, returned by the same road to deposit his treasure beyond the Alps. The strength of their armies was already wasted by the change of climate and contagion of disease: the Germans revelled in the vintage of Italy; and their own intemperance avenged, in some degree, the miseries of a defenceless people.* At the entrance of the spring, the Imperial troops, who had guarded the cities, assembled, to the number of eighteen thousand men, in the neighborhood of Rome. Their winter hours had not been consumed in idleness. By the command, and after the example, of Narses, they repeated each day their military exercise on foot and on horseback, accustomed their ear to obey the sound of the trumpet, and practised the steps and evolutions of the Pyrrhic dance. From the Straits of Sicily, Buccelin, with thirty thousand Franks and Alemanni, slowly moved towards Capua, occupied with a wooden tower the bridge of Casilinum, covered his right by the stream of Vulturnus, and secured the rest of his encampment by a rampart of sharp stakes, and a circle of wagons, whose wheels were buried in the earth. He impatiently expected the return of Lothaire; ignorant, alas! that his brother could never return, and that the chief and his army had been swept away by a strange disease" on the banks of the Lake Benacus, between Trent and Verona. The ban ners of Narses soon approached the Vulturnus, and the eyes of Italy were anxiously fixed on the event of this final contest. I’erhaps the talents of the IRoman general were most conspicuous in the calm operations which precede the tumult of a battle. II is skilful movements intercepted the subsistence of the Barbarian, deprived him of the advantage of the bridge and river, and in the choice of the ground and moment of action reduced him to comply with the inclination of his enemy. On the morning of the important day, when the ranks were already formed, a servant, for some trivial fault, was killed by his master, one of the leaders of the Herull. The justice or passion of Narses was awakened : he summoned the offender to his presence, and without listening to his excuses, gave the signal to the minister of death. If the cruel master had not infringed the laws of his nation, this arbitrary execution was not less unjust than it appears to have been imprudent. The Herull felt the indignity; they halted ; but the Roman general, without soothing their rage, or expecting their resolution, called aloud, as the trumpets sounded, that unless they hastened to occupy their place, they would lose the honor of the victory, His troops were disposed “in a long front, the cavalry on the wings; in the centre, the heavy-armed foot; the archers and slingers in the rear. The Germans advanced in a sharppointed column, of the form of a triangle or solid wedge. They pierced the feeble centre of Narses, who received them with a smile into the fatal snare, and directed his wings of cavalry insensibly to wheel on their flanks and encompass their rear. The host of the Franks and Alemanni consisted of infantry: a sword and buckler hung by their side; and they used, as their weapons of offence, a weighty hatchet and a hooked javelin, which were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower of the Roman archers, on horseback, and in complete armor, skirmished without peril round this immovable phalanx; supplied by active speed the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Heruli, preferring glory to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their leader, Sindbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize of superior valor; and their ex. ample incited the victorious troops to achieve with swords and spears the destruction of the enemy. Buccelin, and the greatest part of his army, perished on the field of battle, in the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants: but it may seem incredible, that a victory,” which no more than five of the Alemanni survived, could be purchased with a loss of fourscore Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring; and every messenger of Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greeks.” After the battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures of the Goths, the Franks, and the Alamanni, were displayed; his soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld the semblance of a triumph.
Tours (tom. ii. l. iii. c. 32, p. 203) and Aimoin (tonn. iii. l. ii. de Gestis Francorum, c. 23, p. 59).
* ..... thu Yaotrav Naporov wensbouéumv uot ris à8ovXias. Agathias. t Aligern, after the surrender of Cumae, had been sent to Cesena? by Narses. Agathias.—M.
40 Agathias notices their superstition in a philosophic tone (l. i., p. 18). At Zug, in Switzerland, idolatry still prevailed in the year 613: St. Columbam and St. Gaul were the apostles of that rude country; and the latter founded a hermitage, which has swelled into an ecclesiastical principality and a populous city, the seat of freedom and commerce. -
to See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (l. ii. p. 38) and Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconus (l. ii. c. 3, 775). The Greek makes him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches.
* A body of Lothaire's troops was defeated near Fano, some were driven down precipices into the sea, others fled to the camp; many prisoners seized the opportunity of making their escape: and the Barbarians lost most of their booty in their precipitate retreat. Agathias.—M.
* Père Daniel (Hist. de la Milice Françoise, tom. i. pp. 17-21) has exhibited a fanciful representation of this battle, somewhat in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once famous editor of Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinious all the unilitary operatious of antiquity.
After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled by the exarchs of Ravenna, the representatives in peace and war of the emperor of the Romans. Their jurisdiction was soon reduced to the limits of a narrow province; but Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the exarchs, administered above fifteen years the entire kingdom of Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honors of envy, calumny, and disgrace: but the favorite eunuch still enjoyed the confidence of Justinian; or the leader of a victorious army awed and repressed the ingratitude of a timid court. Yet it was not by weak and mischievous indulgence that Narses secured the attachment of his troops. Forgetful of the past, and regardless of the future, they abused the present hour of prosperity and peace. The cities of Italy resounded with the noise of drinking and dancing: the spoils of victory were wasted in sensual pleasures; and nothing (says Agathias) remained unless to exchange their shields and helmets for the soft lute and the capacious hogshead.” In a manly oration, not unworthy of a Roman censor, the eunuch reproved these disorderly vices, which sullied their fame, and endangered their safety. The soldiers blushed and obeyed; discipline was confirmed ; the fortifications were restored ; a duke was stationed for the defence and military command of each of the principal cities; * and the eye of Narses pervaded the ample pros. pect from Calabria to the Alps. The remains of the Gothic nation evacuated the country, or mingled with the people; the Franks, instead of revenging the death of Buccelin, abandoned, without a struggle, their Italian conquests; and the rebellious Sindbal, chief of the Heruli, was subdued, taken and hung on a lofty gallows by the inflexible justice of the exarch.” The civil state of Italy, after the agitation of a long tempest, was fixed by a pragmatic sanction, which the emperor promulgated at the request of the pope. Justinian introduced his own jurisprudence into the schools and tribunals of the West: he ratified the acts of Theodoric and his immediate successors, but every deed was rescinded and abolished which force had extorted, or fear had subscribed, under the usurpation of Totila. A moderate theory was framed to reconcile the rights of property with the safety of prescription, the claims of the state with the poverty of the people, and the pardon of offences with the interest of virtue and order of society. Under the exarchs of Tavenna, Rome was degraded to the second rank. Yet the senators were gratified by the permission of visiting their estates in Italy, and of approaching, without obstacle, the throne of Constantinople: the regulation of weights and measures was delegated to the pope and senate; and the salaries of lawyers and physicians, of orators and grammarians, were destined to preserve, or rekindle, the light of science in the ancient capital. Justinian might dictate benevolent edicts,” and Narses might second his wishes by the restoration of cities, and more especially of churches. But the power of kings is most effectual to destroy; and * Maffei has proved (Verona Illustrata, P. i. 1. x. pp. 257, 289), against the common opinion, that the dukes of Italy were instituted before the conquest of the Lombards, by Narses himself. In the Pragmatic Sanction (No. 23), Justinian restrains the iudices militares. * See Paulus Diaconus, liii. c. 2, p. 776. Menander (in Excerp. Legat. p. 133) mentions some risings in Italy by the Franks, and Theophanes (p. 201) hints at some Gothic rebellions. . . The Pragmatic Sanction of Justinian, which restores and regulates the eiyil state of Italy, consists of xxvii. articles: it is dated August 15. A. D. 554; is addressed to Narses, W. J. Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi, and to Antiochus Prae. feetus Prietorio Italiae; and has been preserved by Julian Antecessor, and in the
* Agathias (1. ii. p. 47) has produced a Greek epigram of six lines on this victory of Narses, which is favorably compared to the battles of Marathon and Plataea." The chief difference is indeed in their consequences—so trivial in the former instance—so permanent and glorious in the latter.
* The Beroia and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber (p. 201) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia.
* 'EAeimero Yap, oiu at, aurois viro dBeatepias rās dormióas rvXöv kai tā kpā gudgetes ovov kai Baps? Tov amoë60-62. (Agathias, l. ii. p. 48). In §. first Scene o Richard III. our English poet has beautifully enlarged on this idea, for which, however, he was not indebted to the Byzantine historian.
* Not in the epigram, but in the previous observations.—M.