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534 SETTLEMENT OF [CH. XLHt.
ferring glory to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their leader, Sinbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize of superior valour; and their example incited the victorious troops to achieve with swords and spears the destruction of the enemy. Buccelin, and the greatest part of his army, perished on the field of battle, in the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants: but it may seem incredible that a victory,* which no more than five of the Allemanni survived, could be purchased with the loss of fourscore Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring; and every messenger of Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greeks.f After the battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures of the Goths, the Franks, and Allemanni, were displayed; his soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld the semblance of a triumph.
After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled by the exarchs of Ravenna, the representatives in peace and war of the emperor of the Romans. Their jurisdiction was soon reduced to the limits of a narrow province: but Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the exarchs, administered about fifteen years
* Agathias (L 2, p. 47,) has produced a Greek epigram of six lines on "this victory of Narses, -which is favourably compared to the battles of Marathon and Platea. The chief difference is indeed in their consequences—so trivial in the former instance—so permanent and glorious in the latter. + The Beroia and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber (p. 201,) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia. [Another illustration is here afforded of the carelessness with which names were formerly recorded. First, oral tradition miscalled . and multiplied one object into many. Then Greeks and Latins, through neglect of barbarous idioms, misunderstood and miswrote the sounds uttered in them. Lastly, ignorant monastic transcribers mispenned what they had before their eyes, and transmitted an already imperfect nomenclature in still more corrupted manuscripts. Out of one original name several have sometimes been coined, and the ancient world peopled with a variety of tribes, where only one existed, so that the same person or place rises repeatedly before us, as a different object, under some new designation. Those who endeavour to acquire a correct knowledge of the past, must apply themselves to distinguish doubtful or corrupted names from such as are clearly connected with the course of events.—Ed.]
the entire kingdom of Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honours of envy, calumny, and disgrace: but the favourite eunuch still enjoyed the confidence of Justinian, or the leader of a victorious army awed and repressed the ingratitude of a timid court. Yet it was not by weak and mischievous indulgence that Narses secured the attachment of his troops. Forgetful of the past, and regardless of the future, they abused the present hour of prosperity and peace. The cities of Italy resounded with the noise of drinking and dancing: the spoils of victory were wasted in sensual pleasures; and nothing (says Agathias) remained, unless to exchange their shields and helmets for the soft lute and the capacious hogshead.* In a manly oration, not unworthy of a Roman censor, the eunuch reproved these disorderly vices, which sullied their fame, and endangered their safety. The soldiers blushed and obeyed; discipline was confirmed; the fortifications were restored ; a duke was stationed for the defence and military command of each of the principal cities ;f and the eye of Narses pervaded the ample prospect from Calabria to the Alps. The remains of the Gothic nation evacuated the country, or mingled with the people: the Franks, instead of revenging the death of Buccelin, abandoned, without a struggle, their Italian conquests: and the rebellious Sinbal, chief of the Heruli, was subdued, taken, and hung on a lofty gallows by the inflexible justice of the exarch.J The civil state of Italy, after the agitation of a long tempest, was fixed by a pragmatic sanction, which the emperor promulgated at the request of the pope. Justinian introduced his own jurisprudence into the schools and tribunals of the West: he ratified the acts of Theodoric and his immediate successors, but every deed was rescinded and abolished, which, force
* 'EXjiVfro yap, oijiai, Clvtotq viro d/3fXrfp/ac rde aam^oLQ Tv\oi cat ra Kpavr) auQopswg olvov Kai fiapfiirov airoSooQat. (Ag&thias, 1. 2 p. 48.) In the first scene of Richard III. our English poet has beautifully enlarged on this idea, for which, however, he was not indebted to the Byzantine historian. + Maffei has proved (Verona
Illustrata, p. I, 1 . 10, p. 257—289), against the common opinion, that dukes of Italy were instituted before the conquest of the Lombards by Narses himself. In the Pragmatic Sanction (No. 23.) Justinian restrains the judices militares. I See Paulus Diaconus, lib. 3, c. 2, p. 776. Menander (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 133) mentions some risings in Italy by the Franks, and Theophanea (p. 201) hints at DISTRESS OF ITALY.
had extorted, or fear had subscribed, under the usurpation of Totila. A moderate theory was framed to reconcile the rights of property with the safety of prescription, the claims of the state with the poverty of the people, and the pardon of offences with the interest of virtue and order of society. Under the exarchs of Ravenna, Rome was degraded to the second rank. Yet the senators were gratified by the permission of visiting their estates in Italy, and of approaching without obstacle the throne of Constantinople; the regulation of weights and measures was delegated to the pope and senate; and the salaries of lawyers and physicians, of orators and grammarians, were destined to preserve or rekindle the light of science in the ancient capital. Justinian might dictate benevolent edicts,* and Narses might second his wishes by the restoration of cities, and more especially of churches. But the power of kings is most effectual to destroy: and the twenty years of the Gothic war had consummated the distress ana depopulation of Italy. As early as the fourth campaign, under the discipline of Belisarius himself, fifty thousand labourers died of hungerf in the
some Gothic rebellions. * The Pragmatic Sanction of Jus
tinian, which restores and regulates the civil state of Italy, consists of twenty-seven articles: it is dated August 15. A.D. 554; is addressed to Narses. V. J. Propositus Sacri Cubiculi, and to Antiochus, Prsefectus Prsetorio Italia*; and has been preserved by Julian Antecessor, and iu the Corpus Juris Civilis, after the noveli. and edicts of Justinian, Justin, and Tiberius. + A still greater number was consumed by
famine in the southern provinces, without (teroc) the Ionian gulft Acorns were used in the place of bread. Procopius had seen a deserted orphan suckled by a she-goat. Seventeen passengers were lodged, murdered, and eaten by two women, who were detected and slain by the eighteenth, &c. [These exaggerations, although gravely related, are evidently disbelieved, by Gibbon. Hi/wever inert the population of Italy were become, they lived in a region where nature's spontaneous gifts sufficed for the preservation of life. It cannot be supposed that men would rather starve than stretch forth a hand to gather these, or that female taste, even the most depraved, would prefer a brutal and criminal cannibalism, to the guiltless and wholesome nutriment, that was spread around. If there were oaks to yield acorns, there could be no less vines, bearing their grapes, and trees, shrubs, and perennial herbs, producing their regular stores of food, unsolicited by human labour. That very Picenum, of which so frightful a tale of famine is told, abounded in orchards, whose fruits, "Picena poma," were celebrated by Horace (Sat. lib. 2. 3. 272, i. 70). In such a land, the horrifying scenes, here depicted, are as impossible as they are unnatural. Devastation always of course attends on war; indigence
narrow region of Ficenum,* and a strict interpretation of the evidence of Procopius would swell the loss of Italy above the total sum of her present inhabitants.f
I desire to believe, but I dare not affirm, that Belisarius sincerely rejoiced in the triumph of Narses. Yet the consciousness of his own exploits might teach him to esteem without jealousy the merit of a rival; and the repose of the aged warrior was crowned by a last victory which saved the emperor and the capital. The barbarians who annually visited the provinces of Europe were less discouraged by some accidental defeats, than they were excited by the double hope of spoil and of subsidy. In the thirty-second winter of Justinian's reign, the Danube was deeply frozen: Zabergan led the cavalry of the Bulgarians, and his standard was followed by a promiscuous multitude of Sclavonians. The savage chief passed, without opposition, the river and the mountains, spread his troops over Macedonia and Thrace, and advanced with no more than seven thousand horse to the long walls which should have defended the territory of Constantinople. But the works of man are impotent against the assaults of nature: a recent earthquake had shaken the foundations of the wall; and the forces of the empire were employed on the distant frontiers of Italy, Africa, and Persia. The seven schools,% or companies of the guards or domestic troops, had been augmented to the number of five thousand five hundred men, whose ordinary station was in the peaceful cities of Asia. But the places of the brave Armenians were insensibly supplied by lazy citizens, who purchased an exemption from the duties of civil life, without being exposed to the dangers of military service. Of such soldiers, few could be tempted to sally from the gates; and
waits on depressed energy; but neither sword, nor torch, nor indolent hand, ever yet committed a tenth part of the havoc made by the pen of a misinformed, marvel-loving historian.—Ed.]
* Quinta regio Piceni est; quondam uberrimse multitudinis, ccclx millia Picentium in fidemP. R. venere. (Plin. Hist. Natur. 3. 18.) In the time of Vespasian, this ancient population was already diminished. + Perhaps fifteen or sixteen millions. Procopius (Anecdot. c. 18) computes that Africa lost five millions, that Italy was thrice as extensive, and that the depopulation was in a larger proportion. But his.reckoning is inflamed by passion, and clouded with uncertainty. < i In the decay of these military schools, the satire of Procopius (Anecdot. c. 24, Aleman. p. 102, 103) is confirmed and illustrated by Agathias, (lib. 5, p. 159,) who cannot be rejected aa
none could be persuaded to remain in the field, unless they wanted strength and speed to escape from the Bulgarians. The report of the fugitives exaggerated the numbers and fierceness of an enemy, who had polluted holy virgins, and abandoned new-born infants to the dogs and vultures; a crowd of rustics, imploring food and protection, increased the consternation of the city, and the tents of Zabergan were pitched at the distance of twenty miles,* on the banks of a small river which encircles Melanthias, and afterwards falls into the Propontis.f Justinian trembled: and those who had only seen the emperor in his old age, were pleased to suppose, that he had lost the alacrity and vigour of his youth. By his command, the vessels of gold and silver were removed from the churches in the neighbourhood, and even the suburbs, of Constantinople: the ramparts were lined with trembling spectators: the golden gate was crowded with useless generals and tribunes, and the senate shared the fatigues and the apprehensions of the populace.
But the eyes of the prince and people were directed to a feeble veteran, who was compelled by the public danger to
an hostile witness. * The distance from Constantinople to
Melanthias, Villa Cxsariana, (Ammian. Marcellin. 30. 11.) is variously fixed at one hundred and two, or one hundred and forty stadia, (Suidas, tom. ii, p. 622, 523. Agathias, lib. 6, p. 158,) or eighteen or nineteen miles. (Itineraria, p. 138, 230, 323, 332, and Wesseling's Observations.) The first twelve miles, as far as Rhegium, were paved by Justinian, who built a bridge over a morass or gullet between a lake and the Bea. (Procop. de Kdif. lib. 4, c. 8.)
+ The Atyras. (Pompon. Mela, lib. 2, c. 2, p. 169, edit. Voss.) At the river's mouth, a town or castle of the same name was fortified by Justinian. (Procop. de Edif. lib. 4, c. 2, Itinerar. p. 570, and Wesseling.) [Suidas, Recording to Cetlarius (1. 1073) calls the small fort, at the mouth of the Athyras, Melantiacum Navale, and makes its distance from Constantinople one hundred and two stadia. Some have considered the modern Aqua dolce to be the Athyras of former days, and placed on it Selivra, the ancient Selymbria of Herodotus and Livy. But this and Melanthias were two distinct towns and not near together. The former is also too far from Constantinople. Dr. Clarke (Travels, part 2, sec. 3, p. 476,) was a day and a half on his way from one to the other. But within three hours of the capital, he passed a small village called K utclink Tchekmadje, Ponte piccolo, or Little Bridge, on the shore of the Propontis, with a respectable bridge of four arches, over a stream amid pools and marshes. This probably marks the scene of the last military exploit of Belisarius. Sir R. K. Portef (Travels, vol. ii, p. 768,) gives it the name of Kouchouck-chek-maza, on a branch of the sea, four hours distant from Constantinople.—Ed.]