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and without resistance, were universally massacred: and the royalty of Theodoric was proclaimed by the Goths, with the tardy, reluctant, ambiguous consent of the emperor of the East. The design of a conspiracy was imputed, according to the usual forms, to the prostrate tyrant; but his innocence, and the guilt of his conqueror,* are sufficiently proved by the advantageous treaty which force would not sincerely have granted, nor weakness have rashly infringed. The jealousy of power, and the mischiefs of discord, may suggest a more decent apology, and a sentence less rigorous may be pronounced against a crime which was necessary to introduce into Italy a generation of public felicity. The living author of this felicity was audaciously praised in his own presence by sacred and profane orators ;t but history (in his time she was mute and inglorious) has not left any just representation of the events which displayed, or of the detects which clouded, tho virtues of Theodoric.J -One
* Procopius (Gothic. 1. 1, cap. 1) approves himself an impartial sceptic; 4aai . . . SoXipH Tponip Irtuvi. Cassiodorus (in Chron.) and Ennodius (p. 1604) are loyal and credulous; and the testimony of the Valesian Fragment (p. 718) may justify their belief. Marcellinus spits the venom of a Greek subject—perjuriis illectus interfectusque est (in Chron.). [Gibbon had no authority for introducing into the assassination of Odoacer, his hypothetical " stabbed by the hand of his rival." The perfidious act is, without it, a sufficiently deep stain on the name of Theodoric, and is attested by too many contemporary writers, to be discredited. His subsequent history, too, shows that he could not refrain from shedding blood, when passion overcame his better feelings. Schmidt (2, 280) with great brevity, confidently repeats the accusation in its most odious form, supporting it by no authorities ; but almost all the ancient historians of the event make Theodoric the instigator, not the perpetrator, of the deed. The "interem.it" of Cassiodorus in his Chronicon, to which Jornandes gave the form of "hac Itoce privavit," (c. 57) does not sanction the charge. When he wrote, he had no motive to misrepresent or extenuate.—Ed.] X The sonorous and servile oration of Ennodius was pronounced at Milan or Ravenna in the years 507 or 508. (Sirmond, tom. i, p. 1615.) Two or three years afterwards, the orator was rewarded with the bishopric of Pavia, which he held till his death, in the year 521. (Dupin, Bibliot. Ecclea. tom, v, p. 11—14. See Saxii Onomasticon, tom. ii, p. 12.)
X Gur best materials are occasional hints from Procopius and the Valesian Fragment. which was discovered by Sirmond, and is published at the end of Ammianus Marcellinus. The author's name is unknown and his style is barbarous; but in his various facts he exhibits the knowledge, without the passions, of a contemporary. The
record of his fame, the volume of public epistles, composed by Cassiodorus in the royal name, is still extant, and has obtained more implicit credit than it seems to deserve.* They exhibit the forms, rather than the substance, of his government; and we should vainly search for the pure and spontaneous sentiments of the barbarian amidst the declamation and learning of a sophist, the wishes of a Roman senator, the precedents of office, and the vague professions, which in every court, and on every occasion, compose the language of discreet ministers. The reputation of Theodorie may repose with more confidence on the visible peace and prosperity of a reign of thirty-three years; the unanimous esteem of his own times, and the memory of his wisdom and courage, his justice and humanity, which was deeply impressed on the minds of the Goths and Italians.f
The partition of the lands of Italy, of which Theodorie assigned the third part to his soldiers, is honourably arraigned as the sole injustice of his life. And even this act may be fairly justified by the example of Odoacer, the rights of conquest, the true interest of the Italians, and the sacred duty of subsisting a whole people, who, on the faith of his promises, had transported themselves into a distant land. % Under the reign of Theodorie, and in the happy
president Montesquieu had formed the plan of a history of Theodorie, which at a distance might appear a rich and interesting subject.
* The best edition of the Variorum IAbriXI, is that of Joh. Garretius; (Rotomagi, 1679, in Opp. Cassiodor. 2 vol. in foL,) but they deserved and required such an editor as the Marquis Scipio Maffei, who thought of publishing them at Verona. The Barbara Eleganza (as it is ingeniously named by Tiraboschi) is never simple, and seldom perspicuous.
1" [The general tenor of these epistles is surely confirmed by the results of Theodoric's administration. They may contain many of the hollow professions of diplomacy, and Cassiodorus may often needlessly dilate with pompous pedantry; still they abound in facts explicitly stated, and official acts, recorded or published in simple forms, that are pledges of sincerity and truth. The few lines, in which the pension, granted to the fallen emperor Romulus, is secured to him and to his mother (Var. 3. 35), carry with them the conviction of their genuineness; and the terms in which the distresses or injuries of provincials are ordered to be relieved by the treasury, manifest kind motives and intentions. Ancient times have handed down to us no similar collection of state papers or official documents; from no other source can we draw information as to the past, so satisfactory, authentic, and valuable.—Ed.]
X Procopius, Gothic. 1. 1, c. 1. Variarum 2. Maffei (Verona Illustrat. P-h p. 228) exaggerates the injustice of the Goths, whom he hated aa PABTTTTON OF LANDS. [CH. XXXIX.
climate of Italy, the Goths soon multiplied to a formidable host of two hundred thousand men,* and the whole amount of their families may be computed by the ordinary addition of women and children. Their invasion of property, a part of which must have been already vacant, was disguised by the generous but improper name of hospitality; these unwelcome guests were irregularly dispersed over the face of Italy, and the lot of each barbarian was adequate to his birth and office, the number of his followers, and the rustic wealth which he possessed in slaves and cattle. The distinctions of noble and plebeian were acknowledged ;f but the lands of every freeman were exempt from taxes, and he enjoyed the inestimable privilege of being subject only to the iaws of his country.J Fashion, and even convenience, soon persuaded the conquerors to assume the more elegant dress of the natives, but they still persisted in the use of their mother-tongue; and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring, that the child who had trembled at a rod, would never dare to look upon a sword.§ Distress might sometimes provoke the indigent Roman to assume the ferocious manners, which were insensibly relinquished by the rich and luxurious barbarian
an Italian noble. The plebeian Muratori crouches under their oppression. [When the Romans deplored the "invasion of property," which the Goths exercised by right of conquest, they forgot the acts of their own ancestors, by which that very property was acquired. Where these made themselves masters of a country, the conquered people often lost the whole of their possessions. See Niebuhr's Lectures, 2, 324.—Ed.] * Procopius, Goth. 1 . 3,'-c. 4. 21. Ennodius
describes (p. 1612, 1613) the military arts and increasing numbers of the Goths. + When Theodoric gave his sister to the king of
the Vandals, she sailed for Africa with a guard of one thousand noble Goths, each of whom was attended by five armed followers. (Procop. Vand. 1 . 1, c. 8.) The Gothic nobility must have been as noble as brave.
X See the acknowledgment of Gothic liberty, Var. 5. 30.
§Procopius, Goth. 1. 1, c. 2. The Roman boys learnt the language (Var. 8. 21) of the Goths. Their general ignorance is not destroyed by the exceptions of Amalasuntha, a female, who might study without shame, or of Theodatus, whose learning provoked the indignation and contempt of his countrymen. [Theodoric considered Roman degeneracy and weakness to be the result of reading and writing, of the value of which his own education had kept him ignorant. This delusion was encouraged, both in him and his people, by those who wished better instruction to be distasteful to them.—Ed.]
U A saying of Theodoric was founded on experience: "Romanua 493.] MILITARY SYSTEM OF TH2OD0RIC.
but these mutual conversions were not encouraged by the olicy of a monarch who perpetuated the separation of the talians and Goths; reserving the former for the arts of peace, and the latter for the service of war. To accomplish this design, he studied to protect his industrious subjects, and to moderate the violence, without enervating the valour, of his soldiers who were maintained for the public defence. They held their lands and benefices as a military stipend; at the sound of the trumpet they were prepared to march under the conduct of their provincial officers; and the whole extent of Italy was distributed into the several quarters of a well-regulated camp. The service of the palace and of the frontiers was performed by choice or by rotation; and each extraordinary fatigue was recompensed by an increase of pay and occasional donatives. Theodoric had convinced his brave companions, that empire must be acquired and defended by the same arts. After his example, they strove to excel in the use, not only of the lance and sword, the instruments of their victories, but of the missile weapons, which they were too much inclined to neglect; and the lively image of war was displayed in the daily exercise and annual reviews of the Gothic cavalry. A firm though gentle discipline, imposed the habits of modesty, obedience, and temperance; and the Goths were instructed to spare the people, to reverence the laws, to understand the duties of civil society, and to disclaim the barbarous license of judicial combat and private revenge.*
Among the barbarians of the West, the victory of Theodoric had spread a general alarm. But as soon as it appeared that he was satisfied with conquest, and desirous of peace, terror was changed into respect, and they submitted to a powerful mediation, which was uniformly employed for the best purposes of reconciling their quarrels and civilising their manners.f The ambassadors who resorted to Ravenna
miser imitatur Gothum; et utilis (dives) Gothus imitatur Romanum. (See the Fragment and Notes of Valesius, p. 719.)
* The view of the military establishment of the Goths in Italy, is collected from the Epistles of Cassiodorus. (Var. i. 24. 40. iii. 3. 24. 48. iv. 13, 14. v. 26, 27. viii. 3, 4. 25.) They are illustrated by the learned Mascou. (Hist, of the Germans, 1. 11. 40—44, annotation 14.)
+ See the clearness and vigour of his negotiations in Ennodius (p. 1607,) and Cassiodorus (Var. iii. 1—i. iv. 13. v. 43, 44), who gives the different styles of friendship, counsel, expostulation, &c.
VOL. IT. 8
from the most distant countries of Europe, admired his wisdom, magnificence,* and courtesy; and if he sometimes accepted either slaves or arms, white horses or strange animals, the gift of a sun-dial, 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,t 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.J It is difficult, in the dark forest of Germany and Poland, to pursue the emigration of the Heruli, a fierce people, who disdained the use of armour, 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
* Even of his table (Var. vi. 9,) and palace (vii. 5). The admiration of strangers is represented as the most rational motive to justify these vain expenses, and to stimulate the diligence of the officers to whom those provinces were intrusted. + 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 Vandals (v. 1). Each of these epistles affords some curious knowledge of the policy and manners of the barbarians.
t His political system may be observed in Cassiodorus, (Var. iv. 1. ix. 1), Jornandes, (c. 58. p. 698, 699,) and the Valesian Fragment (p. 720, 721). Peace, honourable peace, was the constant aim of Theodoric. [ Cassiodorus was undoubtedly a very peace-loving adviser, and Boethius the same, so long as his influence lasted. The letter (Var. ix. 1) to which Gibbon here refers, was not written till after the death of Theodoric, and in the name of his young grandson, Athalaric. But it breathes the same spirit of peace. Such incidental notices of the Burgundians as that which we find here, assist in correcting some contradictory accounts of that people. That they were of sufficient importance for Theodoric to give one of his daughters in marriage to their future king, is an additional proof that they had not been reduced to the state of depression described by some historians. The sun-dial and water-clock were gifts solicited by their king, Gundobald, and made for him by Boethius. (Var. i. 45 and 46.) So also the harper (cithseredus) was sent to Clovis, at his particular request (magnis precibus expetiiset) and selected for him by Boethius. (Var. ii. 39 and 40.) The king of the Franks is there called Luduin. See also Var. iii. 3 and 4.—Ed.] § The curious reader may con
template the Heruli of Procopius, (Goth. 1. 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, p. 348—3S6.) [Dark and, minute as have been the researches into the history of the Heruli, they