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84i CONQUESTS OP THE VISIGOTHS [CH. XXXVI.
of the emperor Majorian delivered Theodoric II. from the restraint of fear, and perhaps of honour; he violated his recent treaty -with the Romans, and the ample territory of Narbonne, which he firmly united to his dominions, became the immediate reward of his perfidy. The selfish policy of Eicimer encouraged him to invade the provinces which were in the possession of iEgidius, his rival; but the active count, by the defence of Aries, and the victory of Orleans, saved Gaul, and checked, during his lifetime, the progress of the Visigoths. Their ambition was soon rekindled; and the design of extinguishing the Roman empire in Spain and Gaul, was conceived, and almost completed, in the reign of Euric, who assassinated his brother Theodoric, and displayed, with a more savage temper, superior abilities, both in peace and war. He passed the Pyrenees at the head of a numerous army, subdued the cities of Saragossa and Pampeluna, vanquished in battle the martial nobles of the Tarragonese province, carried his victorious arms into the heart of Lusitania, and permitted the Suevi to hold the kingdom of Gallicia under the Gothic monarchy of Spain.* The efforts of Euric were not less vigorous or less successful in Gaul; and throughout the country that extends from the Pyrenees to the Bhone and the Loire, Berry and Auvergne were the only cities or dioceses which refused to acknowledge him as their master.f In the defence of Clermont, their principal town, the inhabitants of Auvergne sustained, with inflexible resolution, the miseries of war, pestilence, and famine; and the Visigoths, relinquishing the fruitless siege, suspended the hopes of that important conquest. The youth of the province were animated by the heroic, and almost incredible, valour of Ecdicius, the son of the emperor Avitus,J who made a desperate sally with only eighteen horsemen, boldly attacked the Gothic army, and, after maintaining a flying skirmish, retired safe and victorious within the walls of Clermont. His charity was equal to his courage: in a time of extreme scarcity,
Critique, tom. i, p. 424—620. * See Mariana, Hist . Hispan.
tom. i, 1 . 5, c. 5, p. 162. + An imperfect, but original, picture
of Gaul, more especially of Auvergne, is shown by Sidonius; who as a senator, and afterwards as a bishop, was deeply interested in the fato of his country. See 1. 5, epist. 1. 5. 9, &c. + Sidonius, 1. 3, epist. 3, l>. 65—6fi. Greg. Turon. 1. 2, c. 24, in tom, ii, p. 174. Jornaodes, c. U, p. 675. Perhaps Ecdicius was only the son-in-law of Avitus, his
four thousand poor were fed at his expense; and his private influence levied an army of Burgundians for the deliverance of Auvergne. From his virtues alone, the faithful citizens of Gaul derived any hopes of safety or freedom; and even such virtues were insufficient to avert the impending ruin of their country, since they were anxious to learn, from his authority and example, whether they should prefer the alternative of exile or servitude.* The public confidence was lost; the resources of the state were exhausted; and the Gauls had too much reason to believe, that Anthemius, who reigned ia Italy, was incapable of protecting his distressed subjects beyond the Alps. The feeble emperor could only procure for their defence the service of twelve thousand British auxiliaries. Riothamus, one of the independent kings or chieftains of the island, was persuaded to trausport his troops to the continent of Gaul; he sailed up the Loire, and established his quarters in Berry, where the people complained of these oppressive allies, till they were destroyed or dispersed by the arms of the Visigoths.f
One of the last acts of jurisdiction which the Koman senate exercised over their subjects of Gaul was the trial and condemnation of Arvandus, the prsetorian prefect.
"wife's son by another husband. * Si nulla; a republic^ vires,
nulla prsesidia, si nulla;, quantum rumor est, Anthemii principis opes, statuit, te auctore, nobilitas seu patriam dimittere, seu eapillos. (Sidon. 1. 2, epist. 1, p. 33.) The last words (Siriuond, Not. p. 25) may likewise denote the clerical tonsure, which was indeed the choice of Sidonius himself. + The history of these Britons may be
traced in Jornandes, (c. 45, p. 678) Sidonius, (1. 3, epistol. 9, p. 73, 74) and Gregory of Tours, (1. 2, c. 18, in tom, ii, p. 170.) Sidonius (who styles these mercenary troops argutos, armatos, tumultuosos, virtute, numero, contubernio, contumaces) addresses their general in a tone of friendship and familiarity. [The Britons who were in those days struggliug for their own existence, had no auxiliary force of 12,000 men, under one of their kings, to spare for the relief of the distressed empire, to which they had themselves just before so piteously appealed. These alleged Britons were Bretones of Armorica. In the brief statement of Jornandes, there is not one word to disprove this; and on the other hand, it may be deduced from all that Sidonius has said. The epistle, Riothamo suo, was evidently addressed, not to a stranger landed from a distant country, but to one with whom the writer had long been on friendly terms during his peregrinations in Gaul; and he then, as well as on other occasions, (Epist. 1. 1. 7, and 1. 9. 9) so spoke »f the "Britannos" that his annotator, Sirmond (Not. p. 16) affirms them to be "Britoues Gallicos, Armoricos," and cautions readers •gainst supposing that they came from the Island of Britain.—Ed.]
Sidonius, who rejoices that he lived under a reign in which he might pity and assist a state-criminal, has expressed, with tenderness and freedom, the faults of his indiscreet and unfortunate friend.* From the perils which he had escaped, Arvandus imbibed confidence rather than wisdom; and such was the various, though uniform, imprudence of his behaviour, that his prosperity must appear much more surprising than his downfaL The second prefecture, which he obtained within the term of five years, abolished the merit and popularity of his preceding administration. His easy temper was corrupted by flattery, and exasperated by opposition; he was forced to satisfy his importunate creditors with the spoils of the province; his capricious insolence ofiended the nobles of Gaul, and he sank under the weight of the public hatred. The mandate of his disgrace summoned him to justify his conduct before the senate; and he passed the sea of Tuscany with a favourable wind, the presage, as he vainly imagined, of his future fortunes. A decent respect was still observed for the prefectorian rank; and, on his arrival at Rome, Arvandus was committed to the hospitality, rather than to the custody, of Flavius Asellus, the count of the sacred largesses, who resided in the Capitol, t He was eagerly pursued by his accusers, the four deputies of Gaul, who were all distinguished by their birth, their dignities, or their eloquence. In the name of a great province, and according to the forms of Roman jurisprudence, they instituted a civil and criminal action, requiring such restitution as might compensate the losses of individuals, and such punishment as might satisfy the justice of the state. Their charges of corrupt oppression were numerous and weighty; but they placed their secret dependence on a letter, which they had intercepted, and which they could prove, by the evidence of his secretary, to have been dictated by Arvandus himself. The author of this letter seemed to dissuade the king of the Goths from a peace with the Greek emperor; he suggested the attack
* See Sidonius, 1. 1, epist. 7, p. 15—20, with Sirmond'a notes. Thia letter does honour to hia heart, as well as to his understanding. The prose of Sidonius, however vitiated by a false and affected taste, is much superior to his insipid verses. + When the capitol
ceased to be a temple, it was appropriated to the use of the civil magistrate; and it is still the residence of the Roman senator. The travellers, &o. might be allowed to expose their precious wares in the
of the Britons on the Loire; and he recommended a division of Gaul, according to the law of nations, between the Visigoths and the Burgundians.* These pernicious schemes, which a friend could only palliate by the reproaches of vanity and indiscretion, were susceptible of a treasonable interpretation: and the deputies had artfullyresolved not to produce their most formidable weapons till the decisive moment of the contest. But their intentions were discovered by the zeal of Sidonius. He immediately apprized the unsuspecting criminal of his danger; and sincerely lamented, without any mixture of anger, the haughty presumption of Arvandus, who rejected, and even resented, the salutary advice of his friends. Ignorant of his real situation, Arvandus shewed himself in the Capitol in the white robe of a candidate, accepted indiscriminate salutations and offers of service, examined the shops of the merchants, the silks and gems, sometimes with the indifference of a spectator, and sometimes with the attention of a purchaser; and complained of the times, of the senate, of the prince, and of the delays of justice. His complaints were soon removed. An early day was fixed for his trial; and Arvandus appeared with his accusers before a numerous assembly of the Roman senate. The mournful garb which they affected excited the compassion of the judges, who were scandalized by the gay and splendid dress of their adversary; and when the prefect Arvandus, with the first of the G-allic deputies, were directed to take their places on the senatorial benches, the same contrast of pride and modesty was observed in their behaviour. In this memorable judgment, which presented a lively image of the old republic, the Gauls exposed with force and freedom the grievances of the province; and as soon as the minds of the audience were sufficiently inflamed, they recited the fatal epistle. The obstinacy of Arvandus was founded on the strange supposition, that a subject could not be convicted of treason, unless he had actually conspired to assume the purple. As the paper was read, he repeatedly, and with a loud voice, acknowledged it for his genuine composition;
porticoes. * Hsec ad regem Gothorum charta videbatur
emitti, pacem cum Grseco Imperatore dissuadens, Britannos super Ligerim sitos impugnari oportere demonstrans, cum Burgundionibua jure gentium Gallias dividi debere confirmans.
and his astonishment was equal to his dismay, when the unanimous voice of the senate declared him guilty of a capital offence. By their decree, he was degraded from the rank of a prefect to. the obscure condition of a plebeian, and ignominiously dragged by servile hands to the public prison. After a fortnight's adjournment, the senate was again convened to pronounce the sentence of his death; but while he expected, in the island of JEsculapius, the expiration of the thirty days allowed by an ancient law to the vilest malefactors,* his friends interposed, the emperor Anthemius relented, and the prefect of Gaul obtained the milder punishment of exile and confiscation. The faults of Arvandus might deserve compassion; but the impunity of Seronatus accused the justice of the republic, till he was condemned, and executed, on the complaint of the people of Auvergne. That flagitious minister, the Catiline of his age and country, held a secret correspondence with the Visigoths, to betray the province which he oppressed; his industry was continually exercised in the discovery of new taxes and obsolete offences; and his extravagant vices would have inspired contempt, if they had not excited fear and abhorrence.f
Such criminals were not beyond the reach of justice; but whatever might be the guilt of Ricimer, that powerful barbarian was able to contend or to negotiate with the prince, whose alliance he had condescended to accept. The peaceful and prosperous reign which Anthemius had promised to the West was soon clouded by misfortune and discord. Eicimer, apprehensive, or impatient, of a superior, retired from Rome, and fixed his residence at Milan; an advantageous situation, either to invite, or to repel, the warlike tribes that were seated between the Alps and the Danube. J
* Senates consultum Tiberianum (Sirmond, Not. p. 17); but that law allowed only ten days between the sentence and execution ; the remaining twenty were added in the reign of Theodoaius. [The law was enacted by Theodoaius, as a safeguard against hasty ebullitions of passion like that which caused the massacre of Thessalonica. See ch. 27, vol. 3, p. 259.—Ed.] + Catilina seculi nostri. Sidonius, 1. 2, epist. 1,
p. 33; 1 . 5, epist. 13, p. 143; L 7, epist. 7, p. 185. He execrates the crimes, and applauds the punishment, of Seronatus, perhaps with the indignation of a virtuous citizen, perhaps with the resentment of a personal enemy. J Kicimer, under the reign of Anthemius,
defeated and slew in battle Beorgor, king of the Alani. (Jornandes,