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the intelligence of her death with grief and indignation, and denounced in his master's name, immortal war against the perfidious assassin. In Italy as well as in Africa, the guilt of an usurper appeared to justify the arms of Justinian; but the forces which he prepared, were insufficient for the subversion of a mighty kingdom, if their feeble numbers had not been multiplied by the name, the spirit, and the conduct of a hero. A chosen troop of guards, who served on horseback, and were armed with lances and bucklers, attended the person of Belisarius: his cavalry was composed of two hundred Huns, three hundred Moors, and four thousand confederates, and the infantry consisted only of three thousand Isaurians. Steering the same course as in his former expedition, the Roman consul cast anchor before Catana in Sicily, to survey the strength of the island, and to decide whether he should attempt the conquest, or peaceably pursue his voyage for the African coast. He found a fruitful land and a friendly people. Notwithstanding the decay of agriculture, Sicily still supplied the granaries of Rome; the farmers were graciously exempted from the oppression of military quarters; and the Goths, who trusted the defence of the island to the inhabitants, had some reason to complain, that their confidence was ungratefully betrayed: instead of soliciting and expecting the aid of the king of Italy, they yielded to the first summons a cheerful obedience: and this province, the first-fruits of the Punic wars, was again, after a long separation, united to the Roman empire.*
him the. two letters (Var. x, 19 and 20), in the latter of which Gundelinda darkly alludes to messages which she had received more important than letters. After this, occurs the suspicious passage pointed out by Gibbon. These mysterious expressions leave no doubt that either Peter, or one of his attendants, was the bearer of secret oral instructions respecting a person whose name was not to be written, and justify the belief that this was Amalasontha. There could be no collusion between Cassiodorus and Procopius; and the former probably did not understand what he wrote, as secretary, at the dictation of his queen. These two writers thus explain and confirm each other; and from their concurrence it may be inferred that the death of Amalasontha was subsequent to Peter's first embassy. Then the second was of a different character, and elicited the two letters (Var. x, 22, 23) which are written in an altered and much humbler strain.—Ed.]
* For the conquest of Sicily, compare the narrative of Procopiua with the complaints of Totila. (Gothic. 1. 1, c. 5; l . 8, c. 16.) Tha Gothic queen had lately relieved that thankless island. Var. ix, 10,11.)
The Gothic garrison of Palermo, which alone attempted to resist, was reduced after a short siege, by a singular stratagem. Belisarius introduced his ships into the deepest recess of the harbour; their boats were laboriously hoisted with ropes and pulleys to the topmast head, and he filled them with archers, who, from that superior station, commanded the ramparts of the city. After this easy, though successful campaign, the conqueror entered Syracuse in triumph, at the head of his victorious bands, distributing gold medals to the people, on the day which so gloriously terminated the year of the consulship. He passed the winter season in the palace of ancient kings, amidst the ruins of a Grecian colony, which once extended to a circumference of two-andtwenty miles ;* but in the spring, about the festival of Easter, the prosecution of his designs was interrupted by a dangerous revolt of the African forces. Carthage was saved by the presence of Belisarius, who suddenly landed with a thousand guards. Two thousand soldiers of doubtful faith returned to the standard of their old commander; and he marched, without hesitation, above fifty miles to seek an enemy whom he affected to pity and despise. Eight thousand rebels trembled at his approach; they were routed at the first onset, by the dexterity of their master: and this ignoble victory would have restored the peace of Africa, if the conqueror had not been hastily recalled to Sicily, to appease a sedition which was kindled during his absence in his own camp.f Disorder and disobedience were the common malady of the times; the genius to command, and the virtue to obey, resided only in the mind of Belisarius.
Although Theodatus descended from a race of heroes, he was ignorant of the art, and averse to the dangers, of war. Although he had studied the writings of Plato and Tully, philosophy was incapable of purifying his mind from the basest passions, avarice and fear. He had purchased a
* The ancient magnitude and splendour of the five quarters of Syracuse, are delineated by Cicero (in Verrem, actio 2, 1 . 4, c. 62, 53), Strabo (1 . 6, p. 415), and D'Orville (Sicula, tom, ii, p. 174—202). The new city, restored by Augustus, shrank towards the island.
+ Procopius (Vandal. 1. 2, c. 14, 15) so clearly relates the return of Belisarius into Sicily (p. 146, edit. Hoeschelii), that I am astonished at the strange misapprehension and reproaches of a learned critic. 'CEuvres de la Mothe le Vaytr, tom. viii, p. 162, 163.)
j-536.] EEIGN OF THEODATUS.
Bceptre by ingratitude and murder: at the first menace of an enemy, he degraded hia own majesty, and that of a nation, which already disdained their unworthy sovereign. Astonished by the recent example of Gelimer, he saw himself dragged in chains through the streets of Constantinople; the terrors which Belisarius inspired were heightened by the eloquence of Peter, the Byzantine ambassador; and that bold and subtle advocate persuaded him to sign a treaty, too ignominious to become the foundation of a lasting peace. It was stipulated that in the acclamations of the Roman people, the name of the emperor should be always proclaimed before that of the Gothic king; and that as often as the statue of Theodatus was erected in brass or marble, the divine image of Justinian should be placed on its right hand. Instead of conferring, the king of Italy was reduced to solicit, the honours of the senate; and the consent of the emperor was made indispensable before he could execute, against a priest or senator, the sentence either of death or confiscation. The feeble monarch resigned the possession of Sicily; offered, as the annual mark of his dependence, a crown of gold, of the weight of three hundred pounds; and promised to supply, at the requisition of his sovereign, three thousand Gothic auxiliaries for the service of the empire. Satisfied with> these extraordinary concessions, the successful agent of Justinian hastened his journey to Constantinople; but ni> sooner had he reached the Alban Villa,* than he wafe recalled by the anxiety of Theodatus; and the dialogue which passed between the king and the ambassador deserves to be represented in its original simplicity:—" Are you of opinion that the emperor will ratify this treaty ?"—' "Perhaps." "If he refuses, what consequence will ensue?" —"War." "Will such a war be just or reasonable ? "—" "Most assuredly: every one should act according to his character." "What is your meaning ?"—" You are a philosopher, Justinian is emperor of the Bomans: it would, ill become the disciple of Plato to shed the blood of thousands
* The ancient Alba was ruined in the first age of Rome. On the same spot, or at least in the neighbourhood, successively arose, 1. The villa of Pompey, &c. 2. A camp of the prsetorian cohorts. 3. Tha modern episcopal city of Albanum or Albano. (Procop. Goth. 1. i\. C i. Cluver. Ital. Antiq. tom, ii, p. 914.)
VOL. IV. 2 D
in bis private quarrel: the successor of Augustus should vindicate his rights, and recover by arms the ancient provinces of his empire." This reasoning might not convince, but it was sufficient to alarm and subdue the weakness of Theodatus; and he soon descended to his last offer, that for the poor equivalent of a pension of 48,000Z. sterling, he would resign the kingdom of the Goths and Italians, and spend the remainder of his days in the innocent pleasures of philosophy and agriculture. Both treaties were intrusted to the hands of the ambassador, on the frail security of an oath, not to produce the second till the first had been positively rejected. The event may be easily foreseen: Justinian required and accepted the abdication of the Gothic king. His indefatigable agent returned from Constantinople to Eavenna, with ample instructions; and a fair epistle, which praised the wisdom and generosity of the royal philosopher, granted his pension, with the assurance of such honours as a subject and a Catholic might enjoy; and wisely referred the final execution of the treaty to the presence and authority of Belisarius. But in the interval of suspense two Roman generals, who had entered the province of Dalmatia, were defeated and slain by the Gothic troops. From blind and abject despair, Theodatus capriciously rose to groundless and fatal presumption,* and dared to receive with menace and contempt the ambassador of Justinian; who claimed his promise, solicited the allegiance of his subjects, and boldly asserted the inviolable privilege of his own character. The march of Belisarius dispelled this visionary pride; and as the first campaign t was employed in the reduction of Sicily, the invasion of
* A Sibylline oracle was ready to pronounce—Africa captS. mundus cum nato peribit; a sentence of portentous ambiguity (Gothic. 1. 1, c. 7), which has been published in unknown characters by OpsopEeus, an editor of the oracles. The Pere Maltret has promised a commentary; but all his promises have been vain and fruitless.
+ In his chronology, imitated in some degree from Thucydides, Procopius begins each spring the years of Justinian and of the Gothic war; and his first era coincides with the first of April, 635, and not 536, according to the Annals of Baronius. (Pagi Crit. tom. ii, p. 555, who is followed by Muratori and the editors of Sigonius.) Yet in some passages we are at a loss to reconcile the dates of Procopius with himself, and with the Chronicle of Marcellinus.
A.D. 537.] BELISAEIUS UTVADES ITALY.
Italy is applied by Procopius to the second year of the G Othic War.*
After Belisarius had left sufficient garrisons in Palermo and Syracuse, he embarked his troops at Messina, and landed them, without resistance, on the opposite shores oi Bhegium. A Gothic prince, who had married the daughter of Theodatus, was stationed with an army to guard the entrance of Italy; but he imitated, without scruple, the example of a sovereign, faithless to his public and private duties. The perfidious Ebermor deserted with his followers to the Eoman camp, and was dismissed to enjoy the servile honours of the Byzantine court.t From Rhegium to Naples the fleet and army of Belisarius, almost always in view of each other, advanced near three hundred miles along the sea-coast. The people of Bruttium, Lucania, and Campania, who abhorred the name and religion of the Goths, embraced the specious excuse, that their ruined walls were incapable of defence; the soldiers paid a just equivalent for a plentiful market; and curiosity alone interrupted the peaceful occupations of the husbandman or artificer. Naples, which has swelled to a great and populous capital, long cherished the language and manners of a Grecian colony,J and the choice of Virgil had ennobled this elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, from the noise, the smoke, and the laborious opulence of Eome.§ As soon as the place was invested by sea and land, Beliarisus gave audience to the deputies of the people, who exhorted him to disregard a conquest unworthy of his arms, to seek the Gothic king in a field of battle, and, after
* The series of the first Gothic war is represented by Procopius (1. 1, c. 5—29; 1. 2, c. 1—30; 1. 3, c. 1) till the captivity of Vitiges. With the aid of Sigonius (Opp. tom. i, de Imp. Occident. 1. 17, 18) and Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, tom. v.) I have gleaned some few additional facts. + Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 60, p. 702, edit.
Grot, and tom. i, p. 221. Muratori, de Success. Regn. p. 241.
J Nero (says Tacitus, Annal. 15. 35) Neapolim quasi Gracam urbem delegit. One hundred and fifty years afterwards, in the time of Septimius Severus, the Hellenism of the Neapolitans is praised by Philostratus: ysvoc "ewj/vec Kai aarvKot, oOtv Kai Tclq airovddg rutv X6yo>v 'EWiIvi'eot tin. (Icon. 1 . 1, p. 763, edit. Olear.)
§ The otium of Naples is praised by the Roman poets, by Virgil, Horace, Silius Italicus, and Statius. (Cluver. Ital. Ant. 1. 4, p. 1149, 1150.) In an elegant epistle (Sylv. 1. 3. 5, p. 94—98, edit. Markland), Statius undertakes the difficult task of drawing his wife from the