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of the Palatine hill, watered by a perpetual fountain, and shaded by a hanging grove. A tradition, that, in the same place, Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf, rendered it still more sacred and venerable in the eyes of the Romans; and this sylvan spot was gradually surrounded by the stately edifices of the Forum.* After the conversion of the imperial city, the Christians still continued, in the month of February, the annual celebration of the Lupercalia; to which they ascribed a secret and mysterious influence on the genial powers of the animal and vegetable world. The bishops of Rome were solicitous to abolish a profane custom, so repugnant to the spirit of Christianity; but their zeal was not supported by the authority of the civil magistrate: the inveterate abuse subsisted till the end of the fifth century, and pope Gelasius, who purified the Capitol from the last stain of idolatry, appeased, by a formal apology, the murmurs of the senate and people.f
In all his public declarations, the emperor Leo assumes the authority, and professes the affection, of a father, for his son Anthemius, with whom he had divided the administration of the universe.J The situation, and perhaps the character, of Leo, dissuaded him from exposing his person to the toils and dangers of an African war. But the powers of the Eastern empire were strenuously exerted to deliver Italy and the Mediterranean from the Vandals; and Genseric, who had so long oppressed both the land and sea, was threatened from every side with a formidable invasion. The campaign was opened by a bold and successful enterprise of
of astonishment or laughter. * See Dionys. Halicarn. 1.1,
p. 25. 65, edit. Hudson. The Roman antiquaries, Donatus (1. 2, c. 18, p. 173, 174), and Nardini (p. 386, 387), have laboured to ascertain the true situation of the Lupercal. + Baronius published, from
theMSS. of the Vatican, this epistle of pope Gelasius, (a.d. 496, No. 28 —45,) which is entitled Adversus Andromachum Senatorem, cseterosque Romanos, qui Lupercalia secundum morem pristinum colenda constituebant. Gelasius always supposes that his adversaries are nominal Christians; and, that he may not yield to them in absurd prejudice, he imputes to this harmless festival all the calamities of the age. X Itaque nos quibus totius mundi regimen commisifc
superna provisio Pius et triumphator semper Augustus Alius
noster Anthemius, licet Divina Majestas et nostra creatio pietati ejus
plenam Imperii commiserit potestatem, &c Such is the dignified
style of Leo, whom Anthemius respectfully names, Dominus et Pater meus Princeps sacratissimus Leo. See Novell. Anthem, tit. 2, 3, p. 38,
the prefect Heraclius.* ,The troops of Egypt, Thebais, and Libya, were embarked under his command; and the Arabs, with a train of horses and camels, opened the roads of the desert. Heraclius landed on the coast of Tripoli, surprised and subdued the cities of that province, and prepared, by a laborious march, which Cato had formerly, executed,f to join the imperial army under the walls of Carthage. The intelligence of this loss extorted from Genseric some insidious and inffectual propositions of peace; but he was still more seriously alarmed by the reconciliation of Marcellinus with the two empires. The independent patrician had been persuaded to acknowledge the legitimate title of Anthemius, whom he accompanied in his journey to Rome; the Dalmatian fleet was received into the harbours of Italy ; the active valour of Marcellinus expelled the Vandals from the island of Sardinia; and the languid efforts of the "West, added some weight to the immense preparations of the eastern Romans. The expense of the naval armament, which Leo sent against the Vandals, has been distinctly ascertained; and the curious and instructive account displays the wealth of the declining empire. The royal demesnes, or private patrimony of the prince, supplied seventeen thousand pounds of gold; forty-seven thousand pounds of gold, and seven hundred thousand of silver, were levied and paid into the treasury by the praetorian prefects. But the cities were reduced to extreme poverty; and the diligent calculation of fines and forfeitures, as a valuable object of the revenue, docs not suggest the idea of a just or merciful administration.
The whole expense, by whatsoever means it was defrayed, of the African campaign, amounted to the sum of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds of gold, about five millions
ad calcem Cod. Theod. * The expedition of Heraclius is
clouded with difficulties (Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, tom, vi, p. 640), and it requires some dexterity to use the circumstances afforded by Theophaues, without injury to the more respectable evidence of Procopius. + The march of Cato from Berenice, in the province of Cyrene, was much longer than that of Heraclius from Tripoli. He passed the deep sandy desert in thirty days, and it was found necessary to provide, besides the ordinary supplies, a great number of skins filled with water, and several Psylli, who were supposed to possess the art of sucking the wounds which had been made by the serpents of their native country. See Plutarch ia Caton. Uticen*. tom, iv, p. 275. Strabon. Geograph. 1 . 17, p.
two hundred thousand pounds sterling, at a time when the value of money appears, from the comparative price of corn, to have been somewhat higher than in the present age.* The fleet that sailed from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen snips, and the number of soldiers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men. Basiliscus, the brother of the empress Verina, was intrusted with this important command. His sister, the wife of Leo, had exaggerated the merit of his former exploits against the Scythians. But the discovery of his guilt, or incapacity, was reserved for the African war; and his friends could only save his military reputation, by asserting, that he had conspired with Aspar to spare Genseric, and to betray the last hope of the Western empire.
Experience has shown, that the success of an invader most commonly depends on the vigour lind celerity of his operations. The strength and sharpness of the first impression are blunted by delay; the health and spirit of the troops insensibly languish in a distant climate; the naval and military force, a mighty effort which perhaps can never be repeated, is silently consumed; and every hour that is wasted in negotiation, accustoms the enemy to contemplate and examine those hostile terrors, which, on their first appearance, he deemed irresistible. The formidable navy of Basiliscus pursued its prosperous navigation from the Thracian Bosphorus to the coast of Africa. He landed his troops at Cape Bona, or the promontory of Mercury, about forty miles from Carthage.f The army of Heraclius, and the fleet of Marcellinus, either joined or seconded the imperial lieutenant; and the Vandals, who opposed his progress by sea or land, were successively vanquished.^ If Basiliscus
* The principal sum is clearly expressed by Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. 1, c. 6, p. 191); the smaller constituent parts, whfch Tilleinont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom, vi, p. 396) has laboriously collected from the Byzantine writers, are less certain, and less important. The historian Malchus laments the public misery; (Excerpt. ex Suida in Corp. Hist. Byzant. p. 58,) but he is surely unjust when he charges Leo with hoarding the treasures which he extorted from the people.
T This promontory is forty miles from Carthage, (Procop. 1 . 1, c. 6, p. 192,) and twenty leagues from Sicily. (Shaw's Travels, p. 89.) Scipio landed farther in the bay, at the fair promontory; see the animated description of Livy, 29.26, 27. J Theophanes (p. 100,) affirms, that many ships of the Vandala were sunk. The assertion
TOL. IV. Q
had seized the moment of consternation, and boldly advanced to the capital, Carthage must have surrendered, and the kingdom of the Vandals was extinguished. Genseric beheld the danger with firmness, and eluded it with his veteran dexterity. He protested, in the most respectful language, that he was ready to submit his person, and his dominions, to the will of the emperor; but he requested a truce of five days to regulate the terms of his submission; and it was universally believed, that his secret liberality contributed to the success of this public negotiation. Instead of obstinately refusing whatever indulgence his enemy so earnestly solicited, the guilty, or the credulous, Basiliscus, consented to the fatal truce; and his imprudent security seemed to proclaim, that he already considered himself as the conqueror of Africa. During this short interval, the wind became favourable to the designs of Genseric. He manned his largest ships of war with the bravest of the Moors and Vandals; and they towed after them many large barks, filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night, these destructive vessels were impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of the Romans, who were awakened by the sense of their instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence; and the noise of the wind, the crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers and mariners, who could neither command nor obey, increased the horror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they laboured to extricate themselves from the fire-ships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valour; and many of the Romans, who escaped the fury of the flames, were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals. Among the events of that disastrous night, the heroic, or rather desperate, courage of John, one of the principal officers of Basiliscus, has rescued his name from oblivion. When the ship, which he had bravely defended, was almost consumed, he threw himself in his armour into the sea, disdainfully rejected the esteem and pity of Genso, the son of Genseric, who pressed him to accept honourable quarter, and sunk under the waves ; exclaiming with his last
of Joraandes, (de Successions Regn.) that Basiliscus attacked Carthage, must be understood in a very qualified sense.
A.D. 468.] BASILISCUS EETUBNS TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 83
breath, that he would never fall alive into the hands of those impious dogs. Actuated by a far different spirit, Basiliscus, whose station was the most remote from danger, disgracefully fled in the beginning of the engagement, returned to Constantinople with the loss of more than half of his fleet and army, and sheltered his guilty head in the sanctuary of St. Sophia, till his sister, by her tears and entreaties, could obtain his pardon from the indignant emperor. Heraclius effected his retreat through the desert; Marcellinus retired to Sicily, where he was assassinated, perhaps at the instigation of Rieimer, by one of his own captains ; and the king of the Vandals expressed his surprise and satisfaction, that the Romans themselves should remove from the world his most formidable antagonists.* After the failure of this great expedition, Genseric again became the tyrant of the sea: the coasts of Italy, Greece, and Asia, were again exposed to his revenge and avarice; Tripoli and Sardinia returned to his obedience; he added Sicily to the number of his provinces; and, before he died, in the fulness of years and of glory, he beheld the final extinction of the empire of the West.f
During his long and active reign, the African monarch had studiously cultivated the friendship of the barbarians of Europe, whose arms he might employ in a seasonable and effectual diversion against the two empires. After the dea^h of Attila, he renewed his alliance with the Visigoths of Gaul; and the sons of the elder Theodoric, who successively reigned over that warlike nation, were easily persuaded by the sense of interest to forget the cruel affront which Genseric had inflicted on their sister.J The death
* Damascius in Vit. Isidor. apui Phot. p. 1048. It will appear, by comparing the three short chronicles of the times, that Marcellinus had fought near Carthage, and was killed in Sicily.
+ For the African war, see Procopius (De Bell. Vandal. 1. 1, c. 6, p. 191—193), Theophanes (p. 99—101), Cedrenus (p. 349, 350), and Zonaras, (tom, ii, 1. 14, p. 50, 51.) Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c. c. 20, tom, iii, p. 497) has made a judicious observation on the failure of these great naval armaments.
X Jornandes is our best guide through the reigns of Theodoric II. and Euric. (De Rebus Geticis, c. 44—47, p. 675—681.) Idatius ends too soon, and Isidore is too sparing of the information which he might have given on the affairs of Spain. The events that relate to Gaul aro laboriously illustrated in the third book of the abbe" Dubos. Hist.