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their numbers and fierceness. “The Arii” (it is thus that they are * described by the energy of Tacitus) “study to inprove by art and * circumstances the innate terrors of their barbarism. Their shields “gre black, their bodies are painted black. They choose for the “ combat the darkest hour of the night. Their host advances, “ covered as it were with a funereal shade ;37 nor do they often find * an enemy capable of sustaining so strange and infernal an aspect. “ Of all our senses, the eyes are the first vanquished in battle.” 38 Yet the arms and discipline of the Romaris easily discomfited these horrid phantoms. The Lygii were defeated in a general engagement, and Semno, the most renowned of their chiefs, fell alive into the hands of Probus. That prudent emperor, unwilling to reduce a brave people to despair, granted them an honourable capitulation, and permitted them to return in safety to their native country. But the losses which they suffered in the march, the battle, and the retreat, broke the power of the nation: nor is the Lygian name ever repeated in the history either of Germany or of the empire. The deliverance of Gaul is reported to have cost the lives of four hundred thousand of the invaders; a work of labour to the Romans, and of expense to the emperor, who gave a piece of gold for the head of every barbarian.39 But as the fame of warriors is built on the destruction of human kind, we may naturally suspect that the sanguinary account was multiplied by the avarice of the soldiers, and accepted without any very severe examination by the liberal vanity of Probus.
Since the expedition of Maximin, the Roman generals had confined their ambition to a defensive war against the nations of Germany, who perpetually pressed on the frontiers of his arms into the empire. The more daring Probus pursued his Gallic German victories, passed the Rhine, and displayed his invincible eagles on the banks of the Elbe and the Neckar. He was fully convinced that nothing could reconcile the minds of the barbarians to peace, unless they experienced in their own country the calamities of war. Germany, exhausted by the ill success of the last emigration, was astonished by his presence. Nine of the most considerable princes repaired to his camp, and fell prostrate at his feet. Such a treaty was humbly received by the Germans as it pleased the conqueror to dictate. He exacted a strict restitution of the effects and captives which they had carried away from the provinces; and obliged their own magistrates to punish the more obstinate robbers who presumed
37 Feralis umbra is the expression of Tacitus: it is surely a very bold one. [The words of Tacitus are "umbrâ feralis exercitus terrorem in'erunt."-S.)
* Tacit. Germania (c. 43).
a wall from the Rhine to
to detain any part of the spoil. A considerable tribute of corn, cattle, and horses, the only wealth of barbarians, was reserved for the use of the garrisons which Probus established on the limits of their territory. He even entertained soine thoughts of compelling the Germans to relinquish the exercise of arms, and to trust their differences to the justice, their safety to the power, of Rome. To accomplish these salutary ends, the constant residence of an Imperial governor, supported by a numerous army, was indispensably requisite. Probus therefore judged it more expedient to defer the execution of so great a design ; which was indeed rather of specious than solid utility. 40 Had Germany been reduced into the state of a province, the Romans, with immense labour and expense, would have acquired only a more extensive boundary to defend against the fiercer and more active barbarians of Scythia.
Instead of reducing the warlike natives of Germany to the condition He builds of subjects, Probus contented himself with the humble expe
remo dient of raising a bulwark against their inroads. The the Danube. country which now forms the circle of Swabia had been left desert in the age of Augustus by the emigration of its ancient inhabitants. The fertility of the soil soon attracted a new colony from the adjacent provinces of Gaul. Crowds of adventurers, of a roving temper and of desperate fortunes, occupied the doubtful possession, and acknowledged, by the payment of tithes, the majesty of the empire. 42 To protect these new subjects, a line of frontier garrisons was gradually extended from the Rhine to the Danube. About the reign of Hadrian, when that mode of defence began to be practised, these garrisons were connected and covered by a strong entrenchment of trees and palisades. In the place of so rude a bulwark, the emperor Probus constructed a stone wall of a considerable height, and strengthened it by towers at convenient distances. From the neighbourhood of Neustadt and Ratisbon on the Danube, it stretched across hills, valleys, rivers, and morasses, as far as Wimpfen on the Neckar, and at length terminated on the banks of the Rhine, after a winding course of near two hundred miles. 43 This important barrier, uniting the two mighty streams that protected
country which of Augustus oil soon a
40 Hist. August. p. 238, 239. [Vopisc. Probus, c. 14, 899.) Vopiscus quotes a letter [c. 15] from the emperor to the senate, in which he mentions his design of reducing Germany into a province.
"Strabo, 1. vii. (p. 290.] According to Velleius Paterculus (ii. 108, 109), Maroboduus led his Marcomanni into Bohemia: Cluverius (German. Antiq. iii. 8) proves that it was from Swabia.
42 These settlers, from the payment of tithes, were denominated Decumates. Tacit. Germania, c. 29.
4 See notes de l'Abbé de la Bléterie à la Germanie de Tacite, p. 183. His account of the wall is chiefly borrowed (as he says himself) from the Alsatia Illustrata of Sch ppiin.
the provinces of Europe, seemed to fill up the vacant space through which the barbarians, and particularly the Alemanni, could penetrate with the greatest facility into the heart of the empire. But the experience of the world, from China to Britain, has exposed the vain attempt of fortifying any extensive tract of country.44 An active enemy, who can select and vary his points of attack, must in the end discover some feeble spot, or some unguarded moment. The strength, as well as the attention, of the defenders is divided ; and such are the blind effects of terror on the firmest troops, that a line broken in a single place is almost instantly deserted. The fate of the wall which Probus erected may confirm the general observation. Within a few years after his death it was overthrown by the Alemanni. Its scattered ruins, universally ascribed to the power of the Dæmon, now serve only to excite the wonder of the Swabian peasant.
Among the useful conditions of peace imposed by Probus on the vanquished nations of Germany, was the obligation of sup- Introducplying the Roman army with sixteen thousand recruits, the settlement bravest and most robust of their youth. The emperor dis- barians. persed them through all the provinces, and distributed this dangerous reinforcement, in small bands of fifty or sixty each, among the national troops ; judiciously observing that the aid which the republic derived from the barbarians should be felt but not seen. Their aid was now become necessary. The feeble elegance of Italy and the internal provinces could no longer support the weight of arms. The hardy frontier of the Rhine and Danube still produced minds and bodies equal to the labours of the camp; but a perpetual series of wars had gradually diminished their nuinbers. The infrequency of marriage, and the ruin of agriculture, affected the principles of population, and not only destroyed the strength of the present, but intercepted the hope of future, generations. The wisdom of Probus embraced a
of the bar
reindar judiciously obstmuld be felt but the of Italy and the
* See Recherches sur les Chinois et les Egyptiens, tom. i. p. 81-102. The anonymous author is well acquainted with the globe in general, and with Germany in particular: with regard to the latter, he quotes a work of M. Hanselman; but he seems to confound the wall of Probus, designed against the Alemanni, with the fortification of the Mattiaci, constructed in the neighbourhood of Frankfort against the Catti.
* He distributed about fifty or sixty barbarians to a Numerus, as it was then called, corps with whose established number we are not exactly acquainted,
• De Pauw is well known to have been douter de leur existence, on peut en im. the author of this work, as of the Recher- poser pendant quelque temps à des lecteurs ches sur les Américains before quoted. prévenus ou peu instruits; mais le mépris The judgment of M. Rémusat on this qui ne manque guère de succéder à cet writer is in a very different, I fear a juster engouement fait bientôt justice de ces as. tone: “Quand au lieu de rechercher, d'ex- sertions hasardées, et elles retombent dans aminer, d'étudier, on se borne, comme cet l'oubli d'autant plus promptement qu'elles écrivain, à juger, à prononcer, à décider, ont été posées avec plus de confiance ou Kins connoître ni l'histoire ni les langues, de témérité.” Sur les Langues Tartares, Mana recourir aux sources, sans même se .. 231.-M.
ENTERPRISE OF THE FRAXKS.
great and beneficial plan of replenishing the exhausted frontiers, by new colonies ca captive or fugitive barbarians, on whom he bestowed lands, cattle, instruments of husbandry, and every encouragement that might engage them to educate a race of soldiers for the service of the republic. Into Britain, and most probably into Cambridgeshire, 46 he transported a considerable body of Vandals. The impossibility of an escape reconciled them to their situation, and in the subsequent troubles of that island they approved themselves the most faithful servants of the state. 47 Great numbers of Franks and Gepidæ were settled on the banks of the Danube and the Rhine. An hupdred thousand Bastarnæ, expelled from their own country, cheerfully accepted an establishment in Thrace, and soon imbibed the manners and sentiments of Roman subjects. 48 But the expectations of Probus were too often disappointed. The impatience and idleness of the barbarians could ill brook the slow labours of agriculture. Their unconquerable love of freedom, rising against despotism, provoked them into hasty rebellions, alike fatal to themselves and to the provinces, *9 nor could these artificial supplies, however repeated by succeeding emperors, restore the important limit of Gaul and Illyricum to its ancient and native vigour.
Of all the barbarians who abandoned their new settlements, and Daring en disturbed the public tranquillity, a very small number the Franks. returned to their own country. For a short season they might wander in arms through the empire, but in the end they were surely destroyed by the power of a warlike emperor. The successful rashness of a party of Franks was attended, however, with such memorable consequences, that it ought not to be passed unnoticed. They had been established by Probus on the sea-coast of Pontus, with a view of strengthening the frontier against the inroads of the Alani. A teet stationed in one of the harbours of the Euxine fell nto the hands of the Franks; and they resolved, through unknown seas, to explore their way from the mouth of the Phasis to that of the Rhine. They easily escaped through the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, and, cruising along the Mediterranean, indulged their appetite for revenge and plunder by frequent descents on the unsuspecting shores of Asia, Greece, and Africa. The opulent city of Syracuse, in whose port the navies of Athens and Carthage had formerly been sunk, was sacked by a handful of barbarians, who massacred the
45 Camden’s Britannia, Introduction, p. 136; but he speaks from a very doubtful conjecture.
** Zosimus, 1. i. (c. 68] p. 62. According to Vopiscus, another body of Vandals was less faithful.
* Hist. August. p. 240. Vopisc. Probus, c. 18.) They were probably expelled by the Goths. Zosim. 1. i. (c. 71] p. 66.
“ Hist. August. p. 240. (Vopisc. I. c.)
greatest part of the trembling inhabitants. From the island of Sicily the Franks proceeded to the Columns of Hercules, trusted themselves to the ocean, coasted round Spain and Gaul, and, steering their triumphant course through the British Channel, at length finished their surprising voyage by landing in safety on the Batavian or Frisian shores. The example of their success, instructing their countrymen to conceive the advantages and to despise the dangers of the sea, pointed out to their enterprising spirit a new road to wealth and glory.
Notwithstanding the vigilance and activity of Probus, it was almost. impossible that he could at once contain in obedience every Revolt of part of his wide-extended dominions. The barbarians who in the East; broke their chains had seized the favourable opportunity of a domestic war. When the emperor marched to the relief of Gaul, he devolved the command of the East on Saturninus. That general, a man of merit and experience, was driven into rebellion by the absence of his sovereign, the levity of the Alexandrian people, the pressing instances of his friends, and his own fears; but from the moment of his elevation he never entertained a hope of empire or even of life. “Alas!” he said, “the republic has lost a useful servant, and the rashness of “ an hour has destroyed the services of many years. You know “ not,” continued he, “the misery of sovereign power: a sword is
perpetually suspended over our head. We dread our very guards, * we distrust our companions. The choice of action or of repose is “ no longer in our disposition, nor is there any age, or character, or
conduct, that can protect us from the censure of envy. In thus “ exalting me to the throne, you have doomed me to a life of cares, " and to an untimely fate. The only consolation which remains is " the assurance that I shall not fall alone." 51 But as the former part of his prediction was verified by the victory, so the latter was disappointed by the clemency, of Probus. That amiable prince attempted even to save the unhappy Saturninus from the fury of the soldiers. He had more than once solicited the usurper himself to place some confidence in the mercy of a sovereign who so
A.D. 279. highly esteemed his character, that he had punished as a " malicious informer the first who related the improbable news of his defection.2 Saturninus might perhaps have embraced the generous offer, had he not been restrained by the obstinate distrust of his
* Panegyr. Vet. v. 18. Zosimus, 1. i. (c. 71) p. 66.
* Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 245, 246 (in Saturnino, c. 10). The unfortunate orator had studied rhetoric at Carthage; and was therefore more probably a Moor (Zosim. I. i. (c. 66) p. 60) than a Gaul, as Vopiscus calls him.
* Zonarus, 1. xii. c. 29) p. 638 (ed. Par.; p. 609, ed. Bonn.] VOL 11.