suppressed the peasants of Gaul, who, under the appellation cf Bagaudae,” had risen in a general insurrection; very similar to those which, in the fourteenth century, succes. sively afflicted both France and England.t It should seem that very many of those institutions, referred by an easy solution to the feudal system, are derived from the Celtic barbarians. When Caesar subdued the Gauls, that great nation was already divided into three orders of men; the clergy, the nobility, and the common people. The first governed by superstition, the second by arms, but the third and last was not of any weight or account in their public councils. It was very natural for the plebeians, oppressed by debt, or apprehension of injuries, to implore the protection of some powerful chief, who acquired over their persons and property the same absolute right as among the Greeks and Romans, a master exercised over his slaves.: The greatest part of the nation was gradually reduced into a state of servitude; compelled to perpetual labour on the estates of the Gallic nobles, and confined to the soil either by the real weight of fetters, or by the no less cruel and forcible restraints of the laws. During the long series of troubles which agitated Gaul, from the reign of Gallienus to that of Diocletian, the condition of these servile peasants was peculiarly miserable; and they experienced at once the complicated tyranny of their masters, of the barbarians, of the soldiers, and of the officers of the revenue.S Their patience was at last provoked into despair. On every side they rose in multitudes, armed with rustic weapons and with irresistible fury. The ploughman became a foot-soldier, the shepherd mounted on horseback, the deserted villages and open towns were abandoned to the flames, and the ravages of the peasants equalled those of the fiercest barbarians." They asserted the natural rights of men, but they asserted those rights with the most savage

lation, p. 122. * The general name of Bagaudae (in the signification of rebels) continued till the fifth century in Gaul. Some critics derive it from a Celtic word bagad, a tumultuous assembly. Scaliger ad Euseb. Ducange, Glossar. + Chronique de Froissart, vol 1, c. 182, 2, 73––79. The naïveté of his story is lost in our best modern writers.

# Caesar de Bell. Gallic. 6, 13. Orgetorix, the Helvetian, could arm for his defence a body of ten thousand slaves. § Their oppression and misery are acknowledged by Eumenius (Panegyr. 6, 8 ), Gallias afferatas injuriis. [See Niebuhr's Lectures, vol. iii, p. 332. El . Trans. -ED.] Panegyr. Wet. 2, 4. Aurelius Victor.


cruelty. The Gallic nobles, justly dreading their revenge, either took refuge in the fortified cities, or fled from the wild scene of anarchy. The peasants reigned without control; and two of their most daring leaders had the folly and rashness to assume the imperial ornaments.” Their power soon expired at the approach of the legions. The strength of union and discipline obtained an easy victory over a licentious and divided multitude.t. A severe retaliation was inflicted on the peasants who were found in arms; the affrighted remnant returned to their respective habitations; and their unsuccessful effort for freedom served only to confirm their slavery. So strong and uniform is the current of popular passions, that we might almost venture, from very scanty materials, to relate the particulars of this war; but we are not disposed to believe that the principal leaders, Ælianus and Amandus, were Christians; or to insinuate, that the rebellion, as it happened in the time of Luther, was occasioned by the abuse of those benevolent E. of Christianity, which inculcate the natural freeom of mankind.

Maximian had no sooner recovered Gaul from the hands of the peasants, than he lost Britain by the usurpation of Carausius. Ever since the rash but successful enterprise of the Franks under the reign of Probus, their daring countrymen had constructed squadrons of light brigantines, in which they incessantly ravaged the provinces adjacent to the ocean.S. To repel these desultory incursions, it was found necessary to create a naval power; and the judicious measure was prosecuted with prudence and vigour. Gessoriacum, or Boulogne, in the straits of the British channel, was chosen by the emperor for the station of the Roman fleet; and the command of it was intrusted to Carausius, a Menapian of the meanest origin," but who had long sig

* AFlianus and Amandus. We have medals coined by them. Goltzius in Thes. R. A. p. 117, 121. + Levibus procliis domuit. Eutrop. 9, 20.

f The fact rests indeed on very slight authority, a life of St. Babolinus, which is probably of the seventh century. See Duchesne, Scriptores Rer. Francic, tom. i. p. 662. § Aurelius Victor calls them Germans. Eutropius (9, 21) gives them the name of Saxons. But Eutropius lived in the ensuing century, and seems to use the language of his own times, * The three expressions of Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, and Eumenius, “vilissime natus,” “Bataviae alumnus,” and * Menapiae civis,” give us a very doubtful account of the birth of Carausius. Dr. Stukely, however, (Hist. of Carausius, p. 62), chooses

nalized his skill as a pilot, and his valour as a soldier. The integrity of the new admiral corresponded not with his abilities. When the German pirates sallied from their own harbours, he connived at their passage, but he diligently intercepted their return, and appropriated to his own use an ample share of the spoil which they had acquired. The wealth of Carausius was, on this occasion, very justly considered as an evidence of his guilt; and Maximian had already given orders for his death. But the crafty Menapian foresaw and prevented the severity of the emperor. By his liberality he . attached to his fortunes the fleet which he commanded, and secured the barbarians in his interest. From the port of Boulogne he sailed over to Britain, persuaded the legion and the auxiliaries which guarded that island, to embrace his party; and boldly assuming, with the imperial purple, the title of Augustus, defied the justice and the arms of his injured sovereign.” When Britain was thus dismembered from the empire, its importance was sensibly felt, and its loss sincerel lamented. The Romans celebrated, and perhaps magnified, the extent of that noble island, provided on every side with convenient harbours; the temperature of the climate, and the fertility of the soil, alike adapted for the production of corn or of vines; the valuable minerals with which it abounded; its rich pastures covered with innumerable flocks, and its woods free from wild beasts or venomous serpents. Above all, they regretted the large amount of the 1evenue of Britain, whilst they confessed, that such a province well deserved to become the seat of an independent monarchy.t During the space of seven years, it was possessed by Carausius; and fortune continued propitious to a rebellion, sup. with courage and ability. The British emperor efended the frontiers of his dominions against the Cale

to make him a native of St. David's, and a prince of the blood-royal of Britain. The former idea he had found in Richard of Cirencester, o 44. [The northern part of Brabant, between the Scheldt and the seuse, was the country of the Menapians. D'Anville, Géog. Anc. tom. i. p. 93.—GUIzot.] * Panegyr. 5, 12. Britain at this time was secure, and slightly guarded. + Panegyr. Vet. 5, 11, 7, 9. The orator Eumenius wished to exalt the glory of the hero (Constantius) with the importance of the conquest. Notwithstanding our laudable iality for our native country, it is difficult to conceive, that in the to: of the fourth century, England deserved us! these commendations. A century and a half before it had hardly paid its own establishment. See Appian in Proem. * A great number of medals of Carausius are still preserved, he is become a very favourite object of antiquarian curiosity, and every circumstance of his life and actions has been investigated with sagacious accuracy. Dr. Stukely, in particular, has devoted a large volume to the British emperor. I have used his materials, and rejected most of his fanciful conjectures. + When Mamertinus pronounced his first panegyric, the naval preparations of Maximian were completed; and the orator presaged an assured victory. His silence in the second panegyric might alone inform us, that the expedition had not succeeded. : Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, and the medals (Pax Augg.), inform us of this temporary reconciliation, though I will not presume (as Dr. Stukely has done, Medallic History of Carausius, p. 86, &c.) to insert the identical articles of the treaty. [Numerous coins of Carausius and his supposed ompress, Oriuna, are described by Eckhel, 8, 42—49.—Ed.]


donians of the north; invited, from the continent, a great number of skilful artists; and displayed, on a variety of coins that are still extant, his taste and opulence. Born on the confines of the Franks, he courted the friendship of that formidable people, by the flattering imitation of their dress and manners. The bravest of their youth he enlisted among his land or sea forces; and in return for their useful alliance, he communicated to the barbarians the dangerous knowledge of military and naval arts. Carausius still preserved the possession of Boulogne and the adjacent country. His fleets rode triumphant in the channel, commanded the mouths of the Seine and of the Rhine, ravaged the coasts of the ocean, and diffused beyond the columns of Hercules the terror of his name. Under his command, Britain, destined in a future age to obtain the empire of the sea, already assumed its natural and respectable station of a maritime power.” By seizing the fleet of Boulogne, Carausius had deprived his master of the means of pursuit and revenge. And when, after a vast expense of time and labour, a new armament was launched into the water,t the imperial troops, unaccustomed to that element, were easily o and defeated by the veteran sailors of the usurper. This disappointed effort was soon productive of a treaty of peace. Diocletian and his colleague, who justly dreaded the enterprising spirit of Carausius, resigned to him the sovereignty of Britain, and reluctantly admitted their perfidious servant to a participation of the imperial honours. But the adoption of the two Caesars restored new vigour to the Roman arms; and while the Rhine was guarded by the presence of Maximian, his brave associate Constantius assumed the conduct of the British war. His first enterprise was against the important place of Boulogne. A stupendous mole, raised across the entrance of the harbour, intercepted all hopes of relief. The town surrendered after an obstinate defence; and a considerable part of the naval strength of Carausius fell into the hands of the besiegers. During the three years which Constantius employed in preparing a fleet adequate to the conquest of Britain, he secured the coast of Gaul, invaded the country of the Franks, and deprived the usurper of the assistance of those powerful allies. Before the preparations were finished, Constantius received the intelligence of the tyrant's death, and it was considered as a sure presage of the approaching victory. The servants of Carausius imitated the example of treason which he had given. He was murdered by his first minister Allectus, and the assassin succeeded to his power and to his danger. But he possessed not equal abilities, either to exercise the one or to repel the other. He beheld, with anxious terror, the opposite shores of the continent already filled with arms, with troops, and with vessels; for Constantius had very prudently divided his forces, that he might likewise divide the attention and resistance of the enemy. The attack was at length made by the principal squadron, which, under the command of the prefect AscleFo an officer of distinguished merit, had been assemled in the mouth of the Seine. So imperfect in those times was the art of navigation, that orators have celebrated the daring courage of the Romans, who ventured to set sail with a side-wind and on a stormy day. The weather proved favourable to their enterprise. Under the cover of a thick fog, they escaped the fleet of Allectus, which had been stationed off the Isle of Wight to receive them, landed in safety on some part of the western coast, and convinced the Britons that a superiority of naval strength will not always #. their country from a foreign invasion. Asclepiodatus ad no sooner disembarked the imperial troops, than he set fire to his ships; and, as the expedition proved fortunate, his heroic conduct was universally admired. The usurper Dad posted himself near London, to expect the formidable attack of Constantius, who commanded in person the fleet

« ForrigeFortsett »