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Goths soon embraced a more generous resolution: to descend the hill, to dismiss their horses, and to die in arms, and in the possession of freedom. The king marched at their head, bearing in his right hand a lance, and an ample buckler in his left: with the one he struck dead the foremost of the assailants; with the other he received the weapons which every hand was ambitious to aim against his life. After a combat of many hours, his left arm was fatigued by the weight of twelve javelins which hung from his shield. Without moving from his ground, or suspending his blows, the hero called aloud on his attendants for a fresh buckler, but in the moment, while his side was uncovered, it was pierced by a mortal dart. He fell: and his head, exalted on a spear, proclaimed to the nations, that the Gothic kingdom was no more. But the example of his death served only to animate the companions who had sworn to perish with their leader. They fought till darkness descended on the earth. They reposed on their arms. The combat was renewed with the return of light, and maintained with unabated vigour till the evening of the second day. The repose of a second night, the want of water, and the loss of their bravest champions, determined the surviving Geths to accept the fair capitulation which the prudence of Narses was inclined to propose. They embraced the alternative of residing in Italy as the subjects and soldiers of Justinian, or departing with a portion of their private wealth, in search of some independent country,* Yet the oath of fidelity or exile was alike rejected by one thousand Goths, who broke away before the treaty was signed, and boldly effected their retreat to the walls of Pavia. The spirit, as well as the situation, of Aligern, prompted him to imitate rather than to bewail his brother; a strong and dexterous archer, he transpierced with a single arrow the armour and breast of his antagonist;
usual, could not write an official letter, giving a valetudinarian leave to visit this mount for the benefit of his health, without a florid description of the spot, on which convalescence was to be found. He descanted at great length on the salubrity of the air, the fertility of the soil, the luxuriance of vegetation, the number of the herds, and the richness of the milk which they afforded. "Lac tam pingue, ut hsereat digitis, cum exprimatur in vasis.—Voluptuose bibite, quse saluberrima sentiatis."—Ed.] * Buat (tom, xi, p. 2, &c,) conveys to his
favourite Bavaria this remnant of Goths, who by others are buried in tho mountains of Uri, or restored to their native isle of Gothland. VOL. IV. 2 M
and his military conduct defended Cum»* above a year against the forces of the Romans. Their industry had scooped the Sibyl's cave+ into a prodigious mine; combustible materials were introduced to consume the temporary
frops: the wall and the gate of Cuma sank into the cavern, ut the ruins formed a deep and inaccessible precipice. On the fragment of a rock, Aligern stood alone and unshaken, till he calmly surveyed the hopeless condition of his country, and judged it more honourable to be the friend of Narses than the slave of the Franks. After the death of Teias, the Roman general separated his troops to reduce the cities of Italy; Lucca sustained a long and vigorous siege: and such was the humanity or the prudence of Narses, that the repeated perfidy of the inhabitants could not provoke him to exact the forfeit-lives of their hostages. These hostages were dismissed in safety; and their grateful zeal at length subdued the obstinacy of their countrymen. J
Before Lucca had surrendered, Italy was overwhelmed by a new deluge of barbarians. A feeble youth, the grandson of Clovis, reigned over the Austrasians or Oriental Franks. The guardians of Theodebald entertained with coldness and reluctance the magnificent promises of the Gothic ambassadors. But the spirit of a martial people outstripped the
(Mascou, Annot. 21.) * I leave Scaliger (Animadvers. in
Euseb. p. 59) and Salmasius (Exercitat. Plinian. p. 51, 52) to quarrel about the origin of Cumse, the oldest of the Greek colonies in Italy, (Strab. 1. 5, p. 372. Velleius Paterculus 1. 1, c. 4,) already vacant in Juvenal's time (Satir. 3,) and now in ruins. + Agathias
(1.I, c. 21) settles the Sibyl's cave under the -wall of Cumse; he agrees with Servius (ad lib. 6, ^EneiA); nor can I perceive why thenopinion should be rejected by Heyne, the excellent editor of Virgil (tom. ii, p. 650, 651). In urbe media secreta religio! But Cumse was not yet built; and the lines (1. 6, 96, 97) would become ridiculous, if .iEneas were actually in a Greek city. [We here see, how early history has been confused by accepting the fables of poets as recorded facts. If we are to believe all that Virgil has told us of Cumse, and reason upon it as unquestionable evidence, how can we doubt, that -lEneas descended there into the infernal regions? The authority is as good for one as it is for the other. For the origin of Cumse, see vol. iii, 409. It probably existed long before the time when JEneas and s colony are supposed to have arrived in Italy.—Ed.] ? There is some difficulty in connecting the thirty-fifth chapter of the fourth book of the Gothic war of Procopius with the first book of the history of Agathias. We must now relinquish a statesman and soldier, to attend the footsteps of a poet and rhetorician (1 . 1, p. 11; 1 . 2, p. 51, edit. Louvre).
timid counsels of the court: two brothers, Lottrcdre and Buceelin,* the dukes of the Alleraanni, stood forth as the leaders of the Italian war; and seventy-five thousand Germans descended in the autumn from the Rhaetian Alps into the plain of Milan. The vanguard of the Roman army was stationed near the Po, under the conduct of Fulearis, a bold Herulian, who rashly conceived that personal bravery was the sole duty and merit of a commander. As he marched without order or precaution along the iEmilian way, an ambuscade of Franks suddenly arose from the amphitheatre of Parma: his troops were surprised and routed; but their leader refused to fly, declaring to the last moment that death was less terrible than the angry countenance of Narses. The death of Fulearis, and the retreat of the surviving chiefs, decided the fluctuating and rebellious temper of the Goths; they flew to the standard of their deliverers, and admitted them into the cities which still resisted the arms of the Eoman general. The conqueror of Italy opened a free passage to the irresistible torrent of Barbarians. They passed under the walls of Cesena, aud answered by threats and reproaches the advice of Aligern, that the Gothic treasures could no longer repay the labour of an invasion. Two thousand Franks were destroyed by the skill and valour of Narses himself, who sallied from Rimini at the head of three hundred horse, to chastise the licentious rapine of their march. On the confines of Samnium the two brothers divided their forces. With the right wing, Buceelin assumed the spoil of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium: with the left, Lothaire accepted the plunder of Apulia and Calabria. They followed the coast of the Mediterranean and the Hadriatic, as far as Rhegium and „ Otranto, and the extreme lands of Italy were the term of their destructive progress. The. Franks, who were Christians and Catholics, contented themselves with simple pillage and occasional murder. But the churches, which their piety had spared, were stripped by the sacrilegious hands
* Among the fabulous exploits of Buceelin, lie discomfited and slew Belisarius, subdued Italy and Sicily, &c. See, in the Historians of France, Gregory of Tours (tom. ii, 1. 3, c. 32, p. 203,) and Aimoin (tom. iii, 1. 2, de Gestis Francorum, c. 23, p. 59.) [Such were the materials out of which was fabricated, what that age called history. The ere* dulity of both these writers has been already noticed on several
of the Allemanni, who sacrificed horses' heads to their native deities of the woods and rivers :* they melted or profaned tho consecrated vessels, and the ruins of shrines and altars were stained with the blood of the faithful. Buccelin was actuated by ambition, and Lothaire by avarice. The former aspired to restore the Gothic kingdom; the latter, after a promise to his brother of speedy succours, returned by the same road to deposit his treasure beyond the Alps. The strength of their armies was already wasted by the change of climate and contagion of disease: the Germans revelled in the vintage of Italy; and their own intemperance avenged, in some degree, the miseries of a defenceless people.
At the entrance of the spring, the imperial troops, who had guarded the cities, assembled, to the number of eighteen thousand men, in the neighbourhood of Rome. Their winter hours had not been consumed in idleness. By the command, and after the example, of Narses, they repeated each day their military exercise on foot and on horseback, accustomed their ear to obey the sound of the trumpet, and practised the steps and evolutions of the Pyrrhic dance. From the straits of Sicily, Buccelin, with thirty thousand Franks and Allemanni, slowly moved towards Capua, occu
Eied with a wooden tower the bridge of Casilinum, covered is right by the stream of the Vulturnus, and secured the rest of his encampment, by a rampart of sharp stakes, and a circle of wagons, whose wheels were buried in the earth. He impatiently expected the return of Lothaire; ignorant, alas! that his brother could never return, and that the chief and his army had been swept away by a strange diseasef on the banks of the lake Benacus, between Trent and Verona. The banners of Narses soon approached the Vulturnus, and the eyes of Italy were anxiously fixed on the event of this final contest. Perhaps the talents of the Roman general were most conspicuous in the calm operaoccasions.—Ed.] * Agathias notices their superstition in a philosophic tone (1 . 1, p. 18). At Zug, in Switzerland, idolatry still prevailed in the year 613: St. Columban and St. Gall were the apostles of that rude country; and the latter founded a hermitage, which has swelled into an ecclesiastical principality and a populous city, the seat of freedom and commerce. + See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (1 . 2, p. 38,) and Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconua (L 2,
tions which precede the tumult of a battle. His skilful movements intercepted the subsistence of the barbarian, deprived him of the advantage of the bridge and river, and, in the choice of the ground and moment of action, reduced him to comply with the inclination of his enemy. On the morning of the important day, when the ranks were already formed, a servant for some trivial fault, was killed by his master, one of the leaders of the Heruli. The justice or passion of Narses was awakened: he summoned the offender to his presence, and, without listening to his excuses, gave the signal to the minister of death. If the cruel master had not infringed the laws of his nation, this arbitrary execution was not less unjust, than it appears to have been imprudent. The Heruli felt the indignity; they halted: but the Roman general, without soothing their rage, or expecting their resolution, called aloud, as the trumpets sounded, that unless they hastened to occupy their place, they would lose the honour of the victory. His troops were disposed* in a long front, the cavalry on the wings; in the centre, the heavy-armed foot; the archers and slingers in the rear. The Germans advanced in a sharp-pointed column, of the form of a triangle or solid wedge. They pierced the feeble centre of Narses, who received them with a smile into the fatal snare, and directed his wings of cavalry insensibly to wheel on their flanks and encompass the rear. The hosts of the Franks and Allemanni consisted of infantry: a sword and buckler hung by their side, and they used, as their weapons of offence, a weighty hatchet, and a hooked javelin, which were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower of the Eoman archers, on horseback, and in complete armour, skirmished without peril round this immoveable phalanx; supplied by active speed the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Heruli, pre
c. 3. 775.) The Greek mates him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches. * Pere Daniel (Hist, de la Milice
Francoise, tom, i, p. 17—21,) has exhibited a fanciful representation cf this battle, somewhat in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once favoured editor of Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinions all the military operations of antiquity.