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accusing each other of the common disgrace, did not presume to disturb his enterprise. But the emperor, alarmed by the distress and danger of his Italian conquests, dispatched to the relief of Naples a fleet of galleys and a body of Thracian and Armenian soldiers. They landed in Sicily, which yielded its copious stores of provisions; but the delays oi the new commander, an unwarlike magistrate, protracted the sufferings of the besieged; and the succours, which he dropped with a timid and tardy hand, were successively intercepted by the armed vessels stationed by Totila in the bay of Naples. The principal officer of the Bomans was dragged, with a rope round his neck, to the foot of the wall, from whence, with a trembling voice, he exhorted the citizens to implore, like himself, the mercy of the conqueror. They requested a truce, with a promise of surrendering the city, if no effectual relief should appear at the end of thirty days. Instead of one month, the audacious Barbarian granted them three, in the just confidence that famine would anticipate the term of their capitulation. After the reduction of Naples and Cumae, the provinces of Lucania, Apulia, and Calabria, submitted to the king of the Goths. Totila led his army to the gates of Bome, pitched his camp at Tibur, or Tivoli, within twenty miles of the capital, and calmly exhorted the Senate and people to compare the tyranny of the Greeks with the blessings of the Gothic reign.
The rapid success of Totila may be partly ascribed to the revolution which three years' experience had produced in the sentiments of the Italians. At the command, or at least in the name, of a Catholic emperor, the pope,* their spiritual father, had been torn from the Roman church, and either starved or murdered on a desolate island.f The virtues of Belisarius were replaced by the various cr uniform vices of eleven chiefs, at Bome, Ravenna, Florence, Perugia, Spoleto, &c. who abused their authority for the
* Sylverius, bishop of Eome, was first transported to Patara, in Lycia, and at length starved (sub eorum oustodia inedia confeetus) in the isle of Palmaria, A.d. 538, June 20. (Liberat. in Breviar. c. 22. Anastasius in Sylverio. Baronius, A.d. 540, No. 2, 3. Pagi in Vit. Pont, tom, i, p. 285, 286.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 1) accuses only the empress and Antonina. + Palmaria, a small island, opposite to Terraeina and the coast of the Volsei. (Cluver. Ita1 . Antiq. 1 . 3, c. 7, A.D. 541-544.] AND GOTHIC VIETUE.
indulgence of lust and avarice. The improvement of the revenue was committed to Alexander, a subtle scribe, long practised in the fraud and oppression of the Byzantine schools; and whose name of Psalliction, the scissars* was drawn from the dexterous artifice with which he reduced the size, without defacing the figure, of the gold coin. Instead of expecting the restoration of peace and industryhe imposed a heavy assessment on the fortunes of the Italians. Yet his present or future demands were less odious than a prosecution of arbitrary rigour against the persons and property of all those who, under the Gothic kings, had been concerned in the receipt and expenditure of the public money. The subjects of Justinian who escaped these partial vexations, were oppressed by the irregular maintenance of the soldiers whom Alexander defrauded and despised; and their hasty sallies, in quest of wealth or subsistance, provoked the inhabitants of the country to await or implore their deliverance from the virtues of a Barbarian. Totilaf was chaste and temperate; and none were deceived, either friends or enemies, who depended on his faith or his clemency. To the husbandmen of Italy the Q-othic king issued a welcome proclamatioD,
p. 1014.) * As the Logothete Alexander, and most of his
civil and military colleagues, were either disgraced or despised, the ink of the Anecdotes (c. 4, 5. 18) is scarcely blacker than that of the Gothic History (1. 3, c. 1. 3. 4. 9. 20, 21, &c.)
+ Procopius (1. 3, c. 2. 8, &c.) does ample and willing justice to the merit of Totila. The Roman historians, from Sallust and Tacitus, were happy to forget the vices of their countrymen in the contemplation of Barbaric virtue. [Wherever the Gothic invaders and their civilized resisters are brought into contact, the natural superiority of the former is always manifest. Belisarius achieved his victories by Barbarian auxiliaries; and as soon as any theatre of his success lost the presence of his sagacious discernment the folly and imbecility of those for whom he had conquered, were at once perniciously displayed. In three years, the Italians were taught, that the sway of a once dreaded enemy was preferable to the restored power of their imperial tyrants. Had the reign of Totila been equally undisturbed, he was disposed to adopt the principles of government, on which his predecessors had acted. Dean Milman quotes St. Martin's derivation of the name Totila from Todilas or deathless. A more natural suggestion would have been todtlich, deadly, fatal to his enemies. But the inquiry is useless, since the appellation is a corruption or misapprehension of the chieftain's real name, which was Badvila, as it is stamped on all his coins. See Eckhel, De Num. Vet. 8. 214.—Ed.]
enjoining them to pursue their important labours, and to rest assured, that, on the payment of the ordinary taxes, they should be defended by his valour and discipline from the injuries of war. The strong towns he successively attacked; and as soon as they had yielded to his arms, he demolished the fortifications; to save the people from the calamities of a future siege, to deprive the Romans of the arts of defence, and to decide the tedious quarrel of the two nations, by an equal and honourable conflict in the field of battle. The Roman captives and deserters were tempted to enlist in the service of a liberal and courteous adversary; the slaves were attracted by the firm and faithful promise, that they should never be delivered to their masters; and from the thousand warriors of Pavia, a new people, under the same appellation of Goths, was insensibly formed in the camp of Totila. He sincerely accomplished the articles of capitulation, without seeking or accepting any sinister advantage from ambiguous expressions or unforeseen events: the garrison of Naples had stipulated that they should be transported by sea; the obstinacy of the winds prevented their voyage, but they were generously supplied with horses, provisions, and a safe conduct to the gates of Rome. The wives of the senators, who had been surprised in the villas of Campania, were restored, without a ransom, to their husbands; the violation of female chastity was inexorably chastised with death; and in the salutary regulation of the diet of the famished Neapolitans, the conqueror assumed the office of a humane and attentive physician. The virtues of Totila are equally laudable, whether they proceeded from true policy, religious principle, or the instinct of humanity; he often harangued his troops; and it was his constant theme, that national vice and ruin are inseparably connected: that victory is the fruit of moral as well as military virtue; and that the prince, and even the people, are responsible for the crimes which they neglect to punish.
The return of Belisarius, to save the country which he had subdued, was pressed with equal vehemence by his friends and enemies; and the Gothic war was imposed as a trust or an exile on the veteran commander. A hero on the banks of the Euphrates, a slave in the palace of Constantinople, he accepted, with reluctance, the painful task of supporting his own reputation, and retrieving the faults
of his successors. The sea was open to the Romans: the ships and soldiers were assembled at Salona, near the palace of Diocletian: he refreshed and reviewed his troops at Pola in Istria, coasted round the head of the Hadriatic, entered the port of Ravenna, and dispatched orders rather than supplies to the subordinate cities. His first public oration was addressed to the Goths and Romans in the name of the emperor, who had suspended for awhile the conquest of Persia, and listened to the prayers of his Italian subjects. He gently touched on the causes and the authors of the recent disasters; striving to remove the fear of punishment for the past, and the hope of impunity for the future, and labouring with more zeal than success, to unite all the members of his government in a firm league of affection and obedience. Justinian, his gracious master, was inclined to pardon and reward; and it was their interest as well as duty, to reclaim their deluded brethren who had been seduced by the arts of the usurper. Not a man was tempted to desert the standard of the Gothic ting. Belisarius soon discovered that he was sent to remain the idle and impotent spectator of the glory of a young Barbarian; and his own epistle exhibits a genuine and lively picture of the distress of a noble mind.—" Most excellent prince; we are arrived in Italy, destitute of all the necessary implements of war, men, horses, arms, and money. In our late circuit through the villages of Thrace and Illyricum, we have collected, with extreme difficulty, about four thousand recruits, naked and unskilled in the use of weapons and the exercises of the camp. The soldiers already stationed in the province are discontented, fearful, and dismayed; at the sound of an enemy, they dismiss their horses, and cast their arms on the ground. No taxes can be raised, since Italy is in the hands of the Barbarians; the failure of payment has deprived us of the right of command, or even of admonition. Be assured, dread sir, that the greater part of your troops have already deserted to the Goths. If the war could be achieved by the presence of Belisarius alone, your wishes are satisfied; Belisarius is in the midst of Italy. But if you desire to conquer, far other preparations are requisite; without a military force, the title of general is an empty name. It would be expedient to restore to my service my own veterans and domestic guards. Before I can take the field, I
must receive an adequate supply of light and heavy-armed troops; and it is only with ready money that you can procure the indispensable aid of a powerful body of the cavalry of the Huns."* An officer in whom Belisarius confided was sent from Ravenna to hasten and conduct the succours; but the message was neglected, and the messenger was detained at Constantinople by an advantageous marriage. After his patience had been exhausted by delay and disappointment, the Roman general repassed the Hadriatic, and expected at Dyrrachium the arrival of the troops, which were slowly assembled among the subjects and allies of the empire. His powers were still inadequate to the deliverance of Rome, which was closely besieged by the Gothic king. The Appian way, a march of forty days, was covered by the Barbarians; and as the prudence of Belisarius declined a battle, he preferred the safe and speedy navigation of five days from the coast of Epirus to the mouth of the Tiber.
After reducing, by force or treaty, the towns of inferior note in the midland provinces of Italy, Totila proceeded, not to assault, but to encompass and starve, the ancient capital. Rome was afflicted by the avarice, and guarded by the valour, of Bessas, a veteran chief of Gothic extraction, who filled, with a garrison of three thousand soldiers, the spacious circle of her venerable walls. From the distress of the people he extracted a profitable trade, and secretly rejoiced in the continuance of the siege. It was for his use that the granaries had been replenished; the charity of Pope Vigilius had purchased and embarked an ample supply of Sicilian corn; but the vessels which escaped the barbarians were seized by a rapacious governor, who imparted a scanty sustenance to the soldiers, and sold the remainder to the wealthy Romans. The medimnus, or fifth part of the quarter of wheat, was exchanged for seven pieces of gold; fifty pieces were given for an ox, a rare and accidental prize; the progress of famine enhanced this exorbitant value, and the mercenaries were tempted to deprive themselves of the allowance, which was scarcely sufficient for the support of life. A tasteless and unwholesome mixture, in which the bran thrice exceeded the quantity of flour, appeased the hunger of the poor;
* Procopius, 1. 3, c. 12. The soul of a hero is deeply impressed on the letter; nor can we confound such genuine and original acts with the elaborate and often empty speeches of the Byzantine historians.