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less worthy of the humanity than of the patriotism of Tacitus, express the invariable maxims of the policy of his countrymen.” They deemed it a much safer expedient to divide than to combat the barbarians, from whose defeat they could derive neither honour nor advantage. The money and negotiations of Rome insinuated themselves into the heart of Germany; and every art of seduction was used with dignity, to conciliate those nations whom their proximity to the Rhine or Danube might render the most useful friends, as well as the most troublesome enemies. Chiefs of renown and power were flattered by the most trifling presents, which they received either as marks of distinction, or as the instruments of luxury. In civil dissensions, the weaker faction endeavoured to strengthen its interest by entering into secret connexions with the governors of the frontier provinces. Every quarrel among the Germans was fomented by the intrigues of Rome; and every plan of union and public good, was defeated by the stronger bias of private jealousy and interest.f The general conspiracy which terrified the Romans under the reign of Marcus Antoninus, comprehended almost all the nations of Germany and even Sarmatia, from the mouth of the Rhine to that of the Danube. It is impossible for us to determine whether this hasty confederation was formed by necessity, by reason, or by passion ; but we may rest assured, that i. barbarians were neither allured by the indolence, nor provoked by the ambition of the Roman monarch. This dangerous invasion required all the firmness and vigilance of Marcus. He fixed generals of ability in the several stations of attack, and assumed in person the conduct of the most important province on the Upper Danube. After a long and doubtful conflict, the spirit of the barbarians was subdued. The Quadi and the Marcomanni, $ who had taken the lead in the war, were the most
Tacitus, talks of the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning, &c. &c. * They are the maxims on which Julius Caesar had already acted.—Schreiter, t Many traces of this policy may be discovered in Tacitus and Dion; and many more may be inferred from the principles of human nature. : Hist. August. p. 31. Ammian. Marcellin. 1.31, c. 5. Aurel. Victor. The emperor Marcus was reduced to sell the rich furniture of the palace, and to enlist slaves and robbers. § The Marcomanni, a colony, who, from the banks of the Rhine, occupied Bohemia and Moravia, had once erected a great and formidable monarchy under
298 CONFEDERACY OF THE TRIBES. [CH. IX.
severely punished in its catastrophe. They were commanded to retire five miles * from their own banks of the Danube. and to deliver up the flower of their youth, who were immediately sent into Britain, a remote island, where they might be secure as hostages and useful as soldiers.f On the frequent rebellions of the Quadi and Marcomanni, the irritated emperor resolved to reduce their country into the form of a province. His designs were disappointed by death. This formidable league, however, the only one that appears in the first two centuries of the imperial history, was entirely dissipated, without leaving any traces behind in Germany. In the course of this introductory chapter, we have confined ourselves to the general outlines of the manners of Germany, without attempting to describe or to distinguish the various tribes which filled that great country in the time of Caesar, of Tacitus, or of Ptolemy. As the ancient or as new tribes successively present themselves in the series of this history, we shall concisely mention their origin, their situation, and their particular character. Modern nations are fixed and permanent societies, connected among themselves by laws and government, bound to their native soil by arts and agriculture. The German tribes were voluntary and fluctuating associations of soldiers, almost of savages. The same territory often changed its inhabitants in the tide of conquest and emigration. The same communities, uniting in a plan of defence or invasion, bestowed a new title on their new confederacy. The dissolution of an ancient confederacy restored to the independent tribes their peculiar but long-forgotten appellation. A victorious state often communicated its own name to a vanquished F. Sometimes crowds of volunteers flocked from all parts to the standard of a favourite leader; his camp became their country, and some circumstance of the enterprise soon gave a common denomination to the mixed multitude. The distinctions of the ferocious invaders were perpetually varied by themselves, and confounded by the astonished subjects of the Roman empire.* Wars, and the administration of public affairs, are the rincipal subjects of history; but the number of persons interested in these busy things is very different, according to the different condition of mankind. In great monarchies, millions of obedient subjects pursue their useful occupations in peace and obscurity. The attention of the writer, as well of the reader, is solely confined to a court, a capital, a regular army, and the districts which happen to be the occasional scene of military operations. But a state of freedom and barbarism, the season of civil commotions, or the situation of petty, republics,t raises almost every member of the community into action, and consequently into notice. The irregular divisions, and the restless motions of the people of Germany, dazzle our imagination, and seem to multiply their numbers. The profuse enumerations of kings and warriors, of armies and nations, inclines us to forget that the same objects are continually repeated under a variety of appellations, and that the most splendid appellations have been frequently lavished on the most inconsiderable objects.
their king Maroboduus. See Strabo, l. 7. Well. Pat. 2, 105. Tacit. Annal. 2, 63. * Mr. Wotton (History of Rome, p. 466) increases the prohibition to ten times the distance. His reasoning is specious, but not conclusiva Five miles were sufficient for a fortified barrier. + Dion. l. 71 and 72.
CHAPTER X.--THE EMPERoRs DECIUs, GALLUs, AEMILIANUs, valERIAN, AND GALLIENUS. —THE GENERAL IRRUPTION OF THE BARBARIANS.– THE THIRTY TYRANTS.
FROM the great secular games celebrated by Philip, to the death of the Emperor Gallienus, there elapsed twenty years of shame and misfortune. During that calamitous period, every instant of time was marked, every province of the Roman world was afflicted by barbarous invaders and military tyrants, and the ruined empire seemed to approach the last and fatal moment of its dissolution. The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of authentic memorials, oppose equal difficulties to the historian who attempts to preserve
* See an excellent dissertation on the origin and migrations of nations, in the Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xviii, p. 48–74. It is seldom that the antiquarian and the philosopher are so happily blended.
t Should we suspect that Athens contained only twenty-one thou. sand citizens, and Sparta no more than thirty-nine thousand See Hume wnd Wallace on the number of mankind in ancient and modern timea,
30s) HISTORIC DIFFICULTIES. ICH. X.
a clear and unbroken thread of narration. Surrounded with imperfect fragments, always concise, often obscure, and sometimes contradictory, he is reduced to collect, to compare, and to conjecture; and though he ought never to place his conjecture in the rank of facts, yet the knowledge co human nature, and of the sure operation of its fierce and unrestrained passions, might on some occasions supply the want of historical materials. There is not, for instance, any difficulty in conceiving that the successive murders of so many emperors had loosened all the ties of allegiance between the prince and people; that all the generals of Philip were disposed to imitate the example of their master; and that the caprice of armies, long since habituated to frequent and violent revolutions, might every day raise to the throne the most obscure of their fellow-soldiers. History can only add, that the rebellion against the Emperor Philip broke out in the summer of the year 249, among the legions of Moesia; and that a subaltern officer,” named Marinus, was the object of their seditious choice. Philip was alarmed. He dreaded lest the treason of the Moesian army should prove the first spark of a general conflagration. Distracted with the consciousness of his guilt and of his danger, he communicated the intelligence to the senate. A gloomy silence prevailed, the effect of fear and perhaps of disaffection: till at length Decius, one of the assembly, assuming a spirit worthy of his noble extraction, ventured to discover more intrepidity than the emperor seemed to possess. He treated the whole business with contempt, as a hasty and inconsiderate tumult, and Philip's rival as a phantom of royalty, who in a very few days would be destroyed by the same inconstancy that had created him. The speedy completion of the prophecy inspired Philip with a just esteem for so able a counsellor; and Decius appeared to him the only person capable of restoring peace and discipline to an army, whose tumultuous spirit did not immediately subside after the murder of Marinus. Decius,t who long resisted his own nomination, seems to have insinuated the danger of presenting a leader of merit to the angry and apprehensive minds of the soldiers; and his prediction was again confirmed by the event. The legions of Moesia forced their judge to become their accomplice. They left him only the alternative of death or the purple. His subsequent conduct, after that decisive measure, was unavoidable. He conducted or followed his army to the confines of Italy, whither Philip, collecting all his force to repel the formidable' competitor whom he had raised up, advanced to meet him. The imperial troops were superior in number, but the rebels formed an army of veterans, commanded by an able and experienced leader. Philip was either killed in the battle, Or ". to death in a few days afterward at Verona. His son and associate in the empire was massacred at Rome by the praetorian guards; and the victorious Decius, with more favourable circumstances than the ambition of that age can usually plead, was universally acknowledged by the senate and provinces. It is reported, that immediately after his reluctant acceptance of the title of Augustus, he had assured Philip, by a private message, of his innocence and loyalty, solemnly protesting, that on his arrival in Italy he would resign the imperial ornaments and return to the condition of an obedient subject. His professions might be sincere; but in the station where fortune had placed him, it was scarcely possible that he could either forgive or be forgiven.” The Emperor Decius had employed a few months in the works of peace and the administration of justice, when he was summoned to the banks of the Danube by the invasion of the GoTHs. This is the first considerable occasion in which history mentions that great people, who afterwards broke the Roman power, sacked the capitol, and reigned in Gaul, Spain, and Italy. So memorable was the part which they acted in the subversion of the western empire, that the name of Goths is frequently, but improperly, used as a general appellation of rude and warlike barbarism. In the beginning of the sixth century, and after the conon the Decii; but at the commencement of that period, they were only plebeians of merit, and among the first who shared the consulship with the haughty patricians. “Plebeiae Deciorum animae,” &c. Juvenal, sat. 8, 254. See the spirited speech of Decius, in Livy, 10. 9, 10. * Zosimus, l. 1, p. 20. Zonaras, l. 12, p. 624, edit. Louvre.
* The expression used by Zosimus and Zonaras may signify that Marinus commanded a century, a cohort, or a legion. + His birth at Bubalia, a little village in Pannonia (Eutrop. 9. Victor in Caesarib. epitom.), seems to contradict, unless it was merely accidental, his supposed descent from the Decii. Six hundred years had bestowed nobility