« ForrigeFortsett »
which regulated the succession to the throne. From a just regard for the memory of Decius, the imperial title was conferred on Hostilianus, his only surviving son; but an equal rank, with more effectual power, was granted to Gallus, whose experience and ability seemed equal to the great trust of guardian to the young prince and the distressed empire.” The first care of the new emperor was to deliver the Illyrian provinces from the intolerable weight of the victorious Goths. He consented to leave in their hands the rich fruits of their invasion, an immense booty, and what was still more disgraceful, a great number of prisoners of the highest merit and quality. He plentifully supplied their camp with every conveniency that could assuage their angry spirits, or facilitate their so much wished-for departure; and he even promised to pay them annually a large sum of gold, on condition they should never afterwards infest the Roman territories by their incursions.# In the age of the Scipios, the most opulent kings of the earth, who courted the protection of the victorious commonwealth, were gratified with such trifling presents as could only derive a value from the hand that bestowed them; an ivory chair, a coarse garment of purple, an inconsiderable piece of plate, or a quantity of copper coin. After the wealth of nations hi centred in Rome, the emperors displayed their greatness, and even their policy, by the regular exercise of a steady and moderate liberality towards the allies of the state. They relieved the poverty of the barbarians, honoured their merit, and recompensed their fidelity. These voluntary marks of bounty were understood to flow, not from the fears, but merely from the generosity or the gratitude of the Romans; and whilst presents and subsidies were liberally distributed among friends and suppliants, they were sternly refused to such as claimed them as a debt.S But this stipulation of an annual payment to a victorious enemy, appeared without disguise in the light of a very honourable place among the small number of good emperors who reigned between Augustus and Dioclesian. * Haec ubi patres comperere . . . . . decernunt. (Victor in Caesaribus.) + Zonaras, l. 12, p. 628. f A sella, a toga, and a golden patera of five pounds weight were accepted with joy and gratitude by the wealthy. king of Egypt (Livy, 27, 4). Quina millia aris, a weight of copper, in value about 18l. Sterling, was the usual present made to foreign ambassadors (Liv. 31.9). § See the firmness of a Roman general so late as time
an ignominious tribute: the minds of the Romans were not i. accustomed to accept such unequal laws from a tribe of arbarians ; and the prince, who by a necessary concession had probably saved his country, became the object of the general contempt and aversion. The death of Hostilianus, though it happened in the midst of a raging pestilence, was interpreted as the personal crime of Gallus;* and even the defeat of the late emperor was ascribed by the voice of susicion to the perfidious counsels of his hated successor.t he tranquillity which the empire enjoyed during the first year of his administration,t served rather to inflame than to appease the public discontent; and, as soon as the apprehensions of war were removed, the infamy of the peace was more deeply and more sensibly felt. But the Romans were irritated to a still higher degree, when they discovered that they had not even secured their repose, though at the expense of their honour. The dangerous secret of the wealth and weakness of the empire had been revealed to the world. New swarms of barbarians, encouraged by the success, and not conceiving themselves bound by the obligation of their brethren, spread devastation through the Illyrian provinces, and terror as far as the gates of Rome. . The defence of the monarchy, which seemed abandoned by the pusillanimous emperor, was assumed by AEmilianus, governor of Pannonia and Moesia; who rallied the scattered forces, and revived the fainting spirits of the troops. The barbarians were unexpectedly attacked, routed, chased, and pursued beyond the Danube. The victorious leader distributed as a donative the money collected for the tribute, and the acclamations of the soldiers proclaimed him emperor on the field of battle.S Gallus, who, careless of the general welfare, indulged himself in the pleasures of Italy, was almost in the same instant informed of the success of the revolt, and of the rapid approach of his aspiring lieutenant. He advanced to meet him as far as the plains of Spoleto. When the armies came in sight of each other, the soldiers of Gallus compared the ignominious conduct of their sovereign with the glory of his rival. They admired the valour of Æmilianus, they were attracted by his liberality, for he offered a o, increase of pay to all deserters.” The murder of Gallus, and of his son Volusianus, put an end to the civil war; and the senate gave a legal sanction to the rights of conquest. The letters of Æmilianus to that assembly displayed a mixture of moderation and vanity. He assured them that he should resign to their wisdom the civil administration; and contenting himself with the quality of their general, would in a short time assert the glory of Rome, and deliver the empire from all the barbarians both of the north and of the east.f . His pride was flattered by the applause of the senate; and medals are still extant, representing him with the name and attributes of Hercules the Victor, and of Mars the Avenger.; If the new monarch possessed the abilities, he wanted the time necessary to fulfil these splendid promises. Less than four months intervened between his victory and his fall.$ He had vanquished Gallus; he sunk under the weight of a competitor more formidable than Gallus. That unfortunate prince had sent Valerian, already distinguished by the honourable title of censor, to bring the legions of Gaul and Germany's to his aid. Valerian executed the commission with zeal and fidelity; and as he arrived too late to save his sovereign, he resolved to avenge him. The troops of AEmilianus, who still lay encamped in the plains of Spoleto, were awed by the sanctity of his character, but much more by the superior strength of his army: and as they were now become as incapable of personal attachment as they had always been of constitutional principle. they readily imbrued their hands in the blood of a prince who so lately had been the object of their partial choice.** The guilt was theirs, but the advantage of it was Valerian's; who obtained possession of the throne by the means, indeed, of a civil war, but with a degree of innocence singular in that age of * Victor in Caesaribus. + Zonaras, l. 12, p. 628. f Banduri, Numismata, p. 94. § Eutropius (l. 9, c. 6) says, tertio mensa Eusebius omits this emperor. * Zosimus, l. 1, p. 28. Eutropius and Victor station Valerian's army in Rhaetia. **According to Aure. lius Victor, disease terminated the life of AEmilianus. Eutropius, speak. ing of this event, makes no mention of any assassination.—Guizor.]
time of Alexander Severus, in the Excerpta Legationum, p. 25, edit.
Louvre. * For the plague, see Jornandes, c. 19, and Victor in Caesaribus. + These improbable accusations are alleged by Zosimus, l. 1, p. 23, 24. f Jornandes, c. 19. The Gothic writer at least
observed the peace which his victorious countrymen had sworn to Gallua, Š Zosimus, l. 1, p. 25, 26.
320 WALERIAN. [CH. x.
revolutions; since he owed neither gratitude nor allegiance to his predecessor whom he dethroned. Valerian was about sixty years of age” when he was invested with the purple, not by the caprice of the populace, or the clamours of the army, but by the unanimous voice of the Roman world. In his gradual ascent through the honours of the state, he had deserved the favour of virtuous #. and he had declared himself the enemy of tyrants.f is noble birth, his mild but unblemished manners, his learning, prudence, and experience, were revered by the senate and people; and if mankind (according to the observation of an ancient writer) had been left at liberty to choose a master, their choice would most assuredly have fallen on Walerian.f Perhaps the merit of this emperor was inadequate to his reputation; perhaps his abilities, or at least his spirit, were affected by the languor and coldness of old-age. The consciousness of his decline engaged him to share the throne with a younger and more active associate; $ the emergency of the times demanded a general no less than a prince; and the experience of the Roman censor might have directed him where to bestow the imperial purple, as the reward of military merit. But instead of o: a judicious choice, which would have confirmed his reign, and endeared his memory, Walerian, consulting only the dictates of affection or vanity, immediately invested with the supreme honours his son Gallienus, a youth whose effeminate vices had been hitherto concealed by the obscurity of a private station. The joint government of the father and the son subsisted about seven, and the sole administration of Gallienus continued about eight years. But the whole period was one uninterrupted series of confusion and calamity. As the Roman empire was at the same time, and on every side, attacked by the blind fury of foreign invaders and the wild ambition of domestic usurpers, we shall consult order * He was about seventy at the time of his accession, or as it is more probable, of his death. Hist. August. p. 173. Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iii, p. 893, note 1. [Clinton (F. R. ii, p. 55) quotes the Chron. Pasch. p. 272, D, which makes Valerian fifty-five at his accession and sixty-one at his captivity.—ED.] + Inimicus Tyrannorum. Hist. August. p. 173. In the glorious struggle of the senate against Maximin, Valerian acted a very spirited part. Hist. August. p. 156. # According to the distinction of Victor, he seems to have received the title of Imperator from the army, and that of Augustus from the senate. § From Victor and and perspicuity, by pursuing, not so much the doubtful arrangement of dates, as the more natural distribution of subjects. The most dangerous enemies of Rome, during the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, were—1. The Franks. 2. The Allemanni. 3. The Goths: and, 4. The Persians. Under these general appellations, we may comprehend the adventures of less considerable tribes, whose obscure and uncouth names would only serve to oppress the memory, and perplex the attention, of the reader. I. As the posterity of the Franks composes one of the greatest and most enlightened nations of Europe, the powers of learning and ingenuity have been exhausted in the discovery of their unlettered ancestors. To the tales of credulity have succeeded the systems of fancy. Every passage has been sifted, every spot has been surveyed, that might [...". reveal some faint traces of their origin. It has een supposed that Pannonia,” that Gaul, that the northern parts of Germany,t gave birth to that celebrated colony of warriors. At length the most rational critics, rejecting the fictitious emigrations of ideal conquerors, have acquiesced in a sentiment whose simplicity persuades us of its truth.f They suppose that about the year 240, Ś a new confederacy was formed under the name of Franks, by the old inhabitants of the Lower Rhine and the Weser. The present circle of Westphalia, the landgraviate of Hesse, and the duchies of Brunswick and Luneburg, were the ancient soat of the Chauci, who, in their inaccessible morasses, defied the Roman arms;" of the Cherusci, proud of the fame of Arminius; of the Catti, formidable by their firm and intrepid infantry; and of several other tribes of inferior power and renown.”
from the medals, Tillemont (tom. iii, p. 710) very justly infers, that Gallienus was associated to the empire about the month of August of the year 253. * Various systems have been formed to explain a difficult passage in Gregory of Tours, l. 2, c. 9. + The geographer of Ravenna (1, 11) by mentioning Mauringania, on the confines of Denmark, as the ancient seat of the Franks, gave birth to an ingenious system of Leibnitz. it See Cluver. Germania Antiqua, l. 3, c. 20. M. Freret, in the Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xviii. § Most probably under the reign of Gordian, from an accidental circumstance, fully canvassed by Tillemont, tom. iii, p. 710, 1181. * Plin. Hist. Natur. 16, 1. The panegyrists frequently allude to the morasses of the Franks. ** Tacit. Germania, c. 30, 37. [The confederation of the Franks appears to have been formed, 1, of the Chauci; 2 of the Sicainbri, who possessed the present Duchy of Berg; 3, of WOL. I. Y