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his Gothic followers, with a heavy train of horses, of mules, and of wagons, were betrayed by their guides among the rocks and precipices of mount Sondis, where he was assaulted by the arms and invectives of Theodoric the son of Triarius. From a neighbouring height, his artful rival harangued the camp of the Walamirs, and branded their leader with the opprobrious names of child, of madman, of perjured traitor, the enemy of his blood and nation. "Are you ignorant," exclaimed the son of Triarius, "that it is the constant policy of the Romans to destroy the Goths by each other's swords? Are you insensible that the victor in this unnatural contest will be exposed, and justly exposed, to their implacable revenge? Where are those warriors, my kinsmen, and thy own, whose widows now lament that their lives were sacrificed to thy rash ambition? Where is the wealth which thy soldiers possessed when they were first .allured from their native homes to enlist under thy standard? Each of them was then master of three or four horses; they now follow thee on foot like slaves, through the deserts of Thrace; those men who were tempted by the hope of measuring gold with a bushel, those brave men who are as free and as noble as thyself." A language so well suited to the temper of the Goths, excited clamour and discontent; and the son of Theodemir, apprehensive of being left alone, was compelled to embrace his brethren, and to imitate the example of Roman perfidy.* In every state of his fortune, the prudence and firmness of Theodoric were equally conspicuous; whether he threatened Constantinople at the head of the confederate Goths, or retreated with a faithful band to the mountains and sea-coast of Epirus. At length the accidental death of the son of Triarius t destroyed the balance which the Eomans had been so anxious to preserve; the whole nation
* Jornandes (o. 56, 57, p. 696) displays the services of Theodoric, confesses his rewards, but dissembles his revolt, of which such curious details have been preserved by Malchus. (Excerpt. Legat. p. 78—97.) Marcellinus, a domestic of Justinian, under whose fourth consulship (a.d. 534) he composed his Chronicle, (Scaliger, Thesaurus Temporum, p. 2, p. 34—57) betrays his prejudice and passion: in Graciam debacchantem .... Zenonis munificentia pene pacatus .... beneficiis nunquam satiatus, dec. f As he was riding in his own camp,
an unruly horse threw him against the point ot a spear which hung before a tent, or was fixed on a wagon. (Marcellin. in Chron.
acknowledged the supremacy of the Amali, and the Byzantine court subscribed an ignominious and oppressive treaty.* The senate had already declared, that it was necessary to choose a party among the Goths, since the public was unequal to the support of their united forces; a subsidy ot two thousand pounds of gold, with the ample pay of thirteen thousand men, were required for the least considerable of their armies ;f and the Isaurians, who guarded not the empire, but the emperor, enjoyed, besides the privilege of rapine, an annual pension of five thousand pounds. The sagacious mind of Theodoric soon perceived that he was odious to the Romans, and suspected by the barbarians; he understood the popular murmur, that his subjects were exposed in their frozen huts, to intolerable hardships, while their king was dissolved in the luxury of Greece; and he prevented the painful alternative of encountering the Goths, as the champion, or of leading them to the field as the enemy, of Zeno. Embracing an enterprise worthy of his courage and ambition, Theodoric addressed the emperor in the following words:—" Although your servant is maintained in affluence by your liberality, graciously listen to the wishes of my heart! Italy, the inheritance of your predecessors, and Rome itself, the head and mistress of the world, now fluctuate under the violence and oppression of Odoacer the mercenary. Direct me, with my national troops, to march against the tyrant. If I fall, you will be relieved from an expensive and troublesome friend: if, with the divine permission, I succeed, I shall govern in your name, and to your glory, the Roman senate, and the part oi the republic delivered from slavery by my victorious arms." The proposal of Theodoric was accepted, and perhaps had been suggested, by the Byzantine court. But the forms of the commission, or grant, appear to have been expressed with a prudent ambiguity, which might be explained by the event; and it was left doubtful whether the conqueror of Italy should reign as the lieutenant, the vassal, or the ally, of the emperor of the East. J
Evagrius, 1 . 3, c. 25). * See Malchus (p. 91) and Evagrius
(1. c. 35). + Malchus, p. 85. In a single action, which was
decided by the skill and discipline of Sabinian, Theodoric could lose five thousand men. I Jornandes (c. 57, p. 696, 697) has
. abridged the great history of Cassiodorus. See, compare, and recon
The reputation both of the leader and of the war, diffused a universal ardour; the Walamirs were multiplied by the Gothic swarms already engaged in the service, or seated in the provinces, of the empire; and each bold barbarian, who had heard of the wealth and beauty of Italy, was impatient to seek, through the most perilous adventures, the possession of such enchanting objects. The march of Theodoric must be considered as the emigration of an entire people; the wives and children of the Goths, their aged parents, and most precious effects, were carefully transported; and some idea may be formed of the heavy baggage that now followed the camp, by the loss of two thousand wagons, which had been sustained in a single action in the war of Epirus. For their subsistence, the Goths depended on the magazines of corn which was ground in portable mills by the hands of their women; on the milk and flesh of their flocks and herds; on the casual produce of the chase, and upon the contributions which they might impose on all who should presume to dispute the passage, or to refuse their friendly assistance. Notwithstanding these precautions, they were exposed to the danger, and almost to the distress, of famine, in a march of seven hundred miles, which had been undertaken in the depth of a rigorous winter. Since the fall of the Roman power, Dacia and Pannonia no longer exhibited the rich prospect of populous cities, well-cultivated fields, and convenient highways: the reign of barbarism and desolation was restored, and the tribes of Bulgarians, Gepidse, and Sarmatians, who had occupied the vacant province, were prompted by their native fierceness, or the solicitations of Odoacer, to resist the progress of his enemy. In many obscure, though bloody battles, Theodoric fought and vanquished; till at length, surmounting every obstacle by skilful conduct and persevering courage, he descended from the Julian Alps, and displayed his invincible banners on the confines of Italy.*
Odoacer, a rival not unworthy of his arms, had already occupied the advantageous and well-known post of the river Sontius near the ruins of Aquileia, at the head of a powerful
cile, Procopius (Gothic. 1. 1, e. 1), the Valesian Fragment (p. 718), Theophanes (p. 113), and Marcellinus (in Chron.).
* Theodoric'a march is supplied and illustrated by Ennodius, (p. 1598—1602) when the bombast of the oration is translated into the
host, "whose independent Icings* or leaders disdained tho duties of subordination and the prudence of delays. No eooner had Theodoric granted a short repose and refreshment to his wearied cavalry, than he boldly attacked tho fortifications of the enemy; the Ostrogoths showed mere ardour to acquire, than the mercenaries to defend, the lands of Italy; and the reward of the first victory was the possession of the Venetian province as far as the walls of Verona. In the neighbourhood of that city, on the steep banks of the rapid Adige, he was opposed by a new army, reinforced in its numbers, and not impaired in its courage; the contest was more obstinate, but the event was still more decisive; Odoacer fled to Bavenna, Theodoric advanced to Milan, and the vanquished troops saluted their conqueror with loud acclamations of respect and fidelity. Bat their want either of constancy or of faith, soon exposed him to the most imminent danger ; his vanguard, with several Gothic counts, which had been rashly intrusted to a deserter, was betrayed and destroyed near Faenza by his double treachery; Odoacer again appeared master of the field, and the invader, strongly intrenched in his camp of Pavia, was reduced to solicit the aid of a kindred nation, the Visigoths of Gaul. In the course of this history, the most voracious appetite for war will be abundantly satiated; nor can I much lament that our dark and imperfect materials do not afford a more ample narrative of the distress of Italy, and of the fierce conflict, which was finally decided by the abilities, experience, and valour of the Gothic king. Immediately before the battle of Verona, he visited the tent of his mother f and sister, and requested, that on a day, the most illustrious
language of common sense. * Tot reges, &e. (Ennodius,
p. 1602.) We must recollect how much, the royal title was multiplied and degraded, and that the mercenaries of Italy were the fragments of many tribes and nations. [Reges ought not to be taken in the restricted sense of Icings. It had a more extended signification, even before the days of Ennodius. Csesar (De Bell. Gall. 3. 107. 109) applied it to the members of the royal family in Egypt; and it may be doubted whether the atavi reges, from whom Horace celebrated the descent of Msecenas, were more than eminent or noble Etruscans. In later times the title was used in speaking of men of note. See Ducange, 5. 426. 428. —ed.]
+ See Ennodius, p. 1603, 1604. Since the orator, in the king's presence, could mention and praise his mother, we may conclude that the magnanimity of Theodoric was not hurt by tho vulgar reproaches A.D. 493.1 HIS CAPITULATION AND DEATH.
festival of his life, they would adorn him with the rich garments which they had worked with their own hands. "Our glory," (said he) "is mutual and inseparable. You are known to the world as the mother of Theodoric; and it becomes me to prove that I am the genuine offspring of those heroes from whom I claim my descent." The wife or concubine of Theodemir was inspired with the spirit of the German matrons, who esteemed their sons' honour far above their safety; and it is reported, that in a desperate action, when Theodoric himself was hurried along by the torrent of a flying crowd, she boldly met them at the entrance of the camp, and, by her generous reproaches, drove them back on the swords of the enemy.*
From the Alps to the extremity of Calabria, Theodoric reigned by the right of conquest: the Vandal ambassadors surrendered the island of Sicily, as a lawful appendage of his kingdom ; and he was accepted as the deliverer of Eome by the senate and people, who had shut their gates against the flying usurper.f Eavenna alone, secure in the fortifications of art and nature, still sustained a siege of almost three years; and the daring sallies of Odoacer carried slaughter and dismay into the Gothic camp. At length, destitute of provisions, and hopeless of relief, that unfortunate monarch yielded to the groans of his subjects and the clamours of his soldiers. A treaty of peace was negotiated by the bishop of Ravenna; the Ostrogoths were admitted into the city, and the hostile kings consented, under the sanction of an oath, to rule with equal and undivided authority the provinces of Italy. The event of such an agreement may be easily foreseen. After some days had been devoted to the semblance of joy and friendship, Odoacer, in the midst of a solemn banquet, was stabbed by the hand, or at least by the command, of his rival. Secret and effectual orders had been previously dispatched; the faithless and rapacious mercenaries, at the same moment,
of concubine and bastard. * This anecdote is related on the
modern bat respectable authority of Sigonius (Op. tom, i, p. 580. De Occident. Imp. 1 . 15): his words are curious:—"Would you return'!" &c. She presented, and almost displayed, the original recess.
T Hist. Miscell. 1. 15, a Roman history from Janus to the ninth century, an Epitome of Eutropius, Paulus Diaconus, and Theophanes, which Muratori has published from MSS. in the Ambrosian library. (Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom, i, p. 100.)