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not ashamed of our obedience to the Roman emperor. That generous prince will grant you a rich inheritance or lands, a place in the senate, and the dignity of patrician: such are his gracious intentions, and you may depend with full assurance on the word of Belisarius. So long as Heaven has condemned us to suffer, patience is a virtue; but if we reject the proffered deliverance, it degenerates into blind and stupid despair."—" I am not insensible (replied the king of the Vandals) how kind and rational is your advice. But I cannot persuade myself to become the slave of an unjust enemy, who has deserved my implacable hatred. Sim I had never injured, either by word or deed; yet he has sent against me, I know not from whence, a certain Belisarius, who has cast me headlong from the throne into this abyss of misery. Justinian is a man; he is a prince; does he not dread for himself a similar reverse of fortune? I can write no more; my grief oppresses me. Send me, I beseech you, my dear Pharas, send me a lyre,* a sponge, and a loaf of bread." From the Vandal messenger, Pharas was informed of the motives of this singular request. It was long since the king of Africa had tasted bread; a defluxion had fallen on his eves, the effect of fatigue or incessant weeping; and he wished to solace the melancholy hours, by singing to the lyre the sad story of his own misfortunes. The humanity of Pharas was moved; he sent the three extraordinary gifts; but even his humanity prompted him to redouble the vigilance of his guard, that he might sooner compel his prisoner to embrace a resolution advantageous to the Romans, but salutary to himself. The obstinacy of Gelimer at length yielded to reason and necessity; the solemn assurances of safety and honourable treatment were ratified in the emperor's name, by the ambassador of Belisarius ; and the king of the Vandals descended from the mountain. The first public interview was in one of the suburbs of Carthage, and when the royal captive accosted his conqueror, he burst into a fit of laughter. The crowd might naturally believe, that extreme grief had deprived Gelimer of his senses; but in this mournful state,
common. * By Procopius it is styled a lyre; perhaps 7iarp
would have been more national. The instruments of music are thus distinguished by Venantius Fortunatus:
llomanusque li/rd tibi plaudat, Barbarus harpd.
unseasonable mirth insinuated to more intelligent observers, that the vain and transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a serious thought.*
Their contempt was soon justified by a new example of a vulgar truth; that flattery adheres to power, and envy to superior merit. The chiefs of the Roman army presumed to think themselves the rivals of a hero. Their private dispatches maliciously affirmed, that the conqueror of Africa, strong in his reputation and the public love, conspired to seat himself on the throne of the Vandals. Justinian listened with too patient an ear; and his silence was the result of jealousy rather than of confidence. An honourable alternative, of remaining in the province, or of returning to the capital, was indeed submitted to the discretion of Belisarius; but he wisely concluded, from intercepted letters, and the knowledge of his sovereign's temper, that he must either resign his head, erect his standard, or confound his enemies by his presence and submission. Innocence and courage decided his choice: his guards, captives, and treasures, were diligently embarked; and so prosperous was the navigation, that his arrival at Constantinople preceded any certain account of his departure from the port of Carthage. Such unsuspecting loyalty removed the apprehensions of Justinian: envy was silenced and inflamed by the public gratitude; and the third Africanus obtained the honours of a triumph, a ceremony which the city of Constantine had never seen, and which ancient Rome, since the reign of Tiberius, had reserved for the auspicious arms of the Cffisars.f From the palace of Belisarius, the procession was conducted through the principal streets to the hippodrome; and this memorable day seemed to avenge the injuries of Genseric, and to expiate the shame of the Romans. The wealth of nations was displayed, the
* Herodotus elegantly describes the strange effects of grief in another royal captive, Psammetichus of Egypt, who wept at the lesser, and was silent at the greatest, of his calamities (1. 3, c. 14). In the interview of Paullus ^Smilius and Perseus, Belisarius might study his part; but it is probable that he never read either Livy or Plutarch; and it is certain that his generosity did not need a tutor.
.f After the title of imperator had lost the old military sense, and the Hom an auspices were abolished by Christianity, (see La Bleterie, Mem. de l'Acaddmie, tom, xxi, p. 302—332) a triumph might be given with less inconsistency to a private general.
VOL. IV. 2 C
trophies of martial or effeminate luxury; rich armour, golden thrones, and the chariots of state which had been used by the Vandal queen; the massy furniture of the royal banquet, the splendour of precious stones, the elegant forms of statues and vases, the more substantial treasure of gold, and the holy vessels of the Jewish temple, which, after their long peregrination, were respectfully deposited in the Christian church of Jerusalem. A long train of the noblest Vandals reluctantly exposed their lofty stature and manly countenance. Gelimer slowly advanced: he was clad in a purple robe, and still maintained the majesty of a king. Not a tear escaped from his eyes, not a sigh was heard; but his pride or piety derived some secret consolation from the words of Solomon,* which he repeatedly pronounced—Vanity! Vanity! Ail is Vanity! Instead of ascending a triumphal car drawn by four horses or elephants, the modest conqueror marched on foot at the head of his brave companions; his prudence might decline an honour too conspicuous for a subject: and his magnanimity might justly disdain what had been so often sullied by the vilest of tyrants. The glorious procession entered the gate of the hippodrome, was saluted by the acclamations of the senate and people, and halted before the throne where Justinian and Theodora were seated to receive the homage of the captive monarch and the victorious hero. They both performed the customary adoration; and, falling prostrate on the ground, respectfully touched the footstool of a prince who had not unsheathed his sword, and of a prostitute who had danced on the theatre: some gentle violence was used to bend the stubborn spirit of the grandson of Genseric; and, however trained to servitude, the genius of Belisarius must have secretly rebelled. He was immediately declared consul for the ensuing year, and the day of his inauguration resembled the pomp of a second triumph; his curule chair was borne aloft on the shoulders of captive Vandals; and the spoils of war, gold cups, and rich girdles, were profusely scattered among the populace.
* If the Eccleriastes be truly a work of Solomon, and not, like Prior's poem, a pious and moral composition of more recent times, in his name, and on the subject of his repentance. The latter is the opinion of the learned and free-spirited Grotius; (Opp. Theolog. tom, i, p. 258) and indeed the Ecclesiastes and Proverbs display a Jl D. 535.] END OF GELIMEE AND THE VANDALS. 387
But the purest reward of Belisarius was in the faithful execution of a treaty, for which his honour had been pledged to the king of the Vandals. The religious scruples of Gelimer, who adhered to the Arian heresy, were incompatible with the dignity of senator or patrician; but he received from the emperor an ample estate in the province of Galatia, where the abdicated monarch retired with his family and friends, to a life of peace, of affluence, and perhaps of content.* The daughters of Hilderic were entertained with the respectful tenderness due to their age and misfortune; and Justinian and Theodora accepted the honour of educating and enriching the female descendants of the great Theodosius. The bravest of the Vandal youth were distributed into five squadrons of cavalry, which adopted the name of their benefactor, and supported in the Persian wars the glory of their ancestors. But these rare exceptions, the reward of birth or valour, are insufficient to explain the fate of a nation, whose numbers before a short and bloodless war, amounted to more than six hundred thousand persons. After the exile of their king and nobles, the servile crowd might purchase .their safety, by abjuring their character, religion, and language; and their degenerate posterity would be insensibly mingled with the common herd of African subjects. Vet even in the present age, and in the heart of the Moorish tribes, a curious traveller has discovered the white complexion and long flaxen hair of a northern race ;t and it was formerly believed, that the boldest of the Vandals fled beyond the power, or even the knowledge, of the Romans, to enjoy their solitary freedom on the shores of the Atlantic ocean. J Africa had been
larger compass of thought and experience than seem to belong either to a Jew or a king. * In the Be'lisaire of Marmontel, the
king and the conqueror of Africa meet, sup, and converse, without recollecting each other. It is surely a fault of that romance, that not only the hero, but all to whom he had been so conspicuously known, appear to have lost their eyes or their memory.
f Shaw, p. 69. Yet since Procopius (1. 2, c. 13) speaks of a people of mount Atlas, as already distinguished by white bodies and yellow hair, the phenomenon (which is likewise visible in the Andes of Peru, Buffon, tom, iii, p. 504) may naturally be ascribed to the elevation of the ground and the temperature of the air.
Z The geographer of Ravenna (I. 3, c. 11, p. 129—131, Paris, 1688) describes the Mauritania Gaditana, (opposite to Cadiz) ubi gens Vandalorum, a Belisario drricta in Africa, fugit, et nunquam comparuit.
3S8 END OF THE VANDALS, [ch. XLI.
their empire, it became their prison; nor could they entertain a hope, or even a wish, of returning to the banks of the Elbe, where their brethren, of a spirit less adventurous, still wandered in their native forests. It was impossible for cowards to surmount the barriers of unknown seas and hostile barbarians: it was impossible for brave men to expose their nakedness and defeat before the eyes of their countrymen, to describe the kingdoms which they had lost, and to claim a share of the humble inheritance, which, in a happier hour, they had almost unanimously renounced.* In the country between the Elbe and the Oder, several populous villages of Lusatia are inhabited by the Vandals: they still preserve their language, their customs, and the purity of their blood; support, with some impatience, the Saxon, or Prussian yoke; and serve with secret and voluntary allegiance, the descendant of their ancient kings, who in his garb and present fortune is confounded with the meanest of his vassals.f The name and situation of this unhappy people might indicate their descent from one common stock with the conquerors of Africa. But the use of a Sclavonian dialect more clearly represents them as the last remnant of the new colonies, who succeeded to the genuine Vandals, already scattered or destroyed in the age of Procopius. J
* A single voice had protested, and Genseric dismissed, without a formal answer, the Vandals of Germany; but those of Africa derided his prudence, and affected to despise the poverty of their forests. (Procopius, Vandal. 1 . 1, c. 22.) + From the mouth of the
great elector (in 1687), Tollius describes the secret royalty and rebellious spirit of the Vandals of Brandenburgh, who could muster five or six thousand soldiers who have procured some cannon, &c. (Itinerar. Hungar. p. 42, apud Dubos, Hist, de la Monarchic Francoise, tom, i, p. 182, 183.) The veracity, not of the elector, but of Tollius himself, may justly be suspected. J Procopius (1. 1, c. 22) was in
total darkness — ovre pvriprj ric ovre vvofta tg ijik oui&raL. Under the reign of Dagobert, (a.d. 630) the Sclavonian tribes of the Sorbi and Venedi already bordered on Thuringia. (Mascou, Hist , of the Germans, 15, 3—5.) [Gibbon trusted to Mascou, who wrote before barbarian Europe had been carefully surveyed. Germany was the great highway of migration, and the confusion in which tribes were intermingled there, is sometimes inextricable. We here find three confounded, and mistaken for one, the Venedi, Vandalen, and Wenden. The first were the Celtic Avainach of the Vistula, named from their waterland locality, who after a time became merged in the surrounding population. The second were the Gothic ."jation, who have