prestige would be a hopeless enigma had Napoleon Bonaparte been alone among the phenomena of his age. But he was not alone. He was, it is true, a head and shoulders taller than his

a countrymen, and to him in return were given the votes of the plébiscite, the crown, the globe, the purple and the golden bees; but in politics, in literature, and in art he had cognate spirits. Between the misanthropy of Talleyrand and of Byron we have seen a resemblance: can one not see in the ascendency and in the supreme egotism of Goethe another instance of a man who attains supremacy, and is pushed on by the Zeitgeist of the day? His ascendency was equally independent of purity or of self-sacrifice. His wisdom had for its laboratory and its dissecting-room the hearts and the reputations of all the women whom he loved or who ever loved him. There were giants in those days, and they loomed all the larger because the Revolution had done its levelling work. In France the loyalty of a thousand years and the creed of eighteen centuries all gave place to the rights of man, when France first embraced the idea of a Republic with an ecstasy that was sublime if it was also terrible. But now the people, that had just declared a belief in Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, was again ready to accept a tyrant; and the new generation was without any faith at all. Nor was this solution of continuity in social and religious order confined to France alone. All the old things were either abolished or questioned, so that in history, in art, in science, and in politics there was a new world. In that new world a few daring spirits were fitted to rule, and to reorganise a chaos. Nature abhors a vacuum, and here were men born to be the architects of their country's glory and of their own.

The larger part of the world took them at their word; and then, hearing the sackbuts and psalteries of their victorious trains, it fell down and worshipped these the most awful portents of the day. But they achieved no lasting success; they left nothing but the traces of their own despotic administration behind them. At the present moment there is a return towards Republican institutions in France, but the country is divided against itself, and the gospel of democracy is a less elevated creed than in the days of Camille Desmoulins. It means chiefly the acquisition of office and power by a lower class of men; and if the country is again rescued from anarchy by the intervention of military power, it can hardly expect that another Napoleon will arise to occupy the vacant throne. But the persecution and expulsion of the religious orders in these latter days is a singular example of what may be done under French Republican liberty.


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ART. VIII.-Italy and her Invaders, 376-476. By THOMAS

HODGKIN, B.A., Fellow of University College, London.

2 vols. 8vo. Oxford, at the Clarendon Press : 1880. THE The work of Gibbon is among the greatest of historical

achievements. It is almost a truism to say that no historian ever attempted a more gigantic task than the writer who undertook in the compass of a few volumes to relate what is practically the history of the world. All the streams which represent the fortunes of the great ancient nations flowinto the mighty but troubled sea of Roman dominion; and within the empire of the eternal city, under the influence of Roman law and Roman government, almost all the conditions which have determined the existing society of Europe have taken shape. Gibbon worked in a vast quarry, out of which later historians have obtained materials for structures scarcely less elaborate and splendid than his own. He had to explore the ground afterwards traversed by Dean Milman for his . History of Latin • Christianity,' and by M. de Montalembert for his volumes on the · Monks of the West;' but there yet remained an almost boundless field which neither of these great writers was called upon to enter, and through the whole of which Gibbon must remain the guide of all who may seek to examine it hereafter. But there are limits to the highest human genius and power; and it was obviously impossible that the mighty work of Gibbon could, in spite of its marvellous accuracy and completeness, be more than a sketch, every part of which might be worked up into a more highly finished picture. If this be a defect, it was a defect inseparable from the form of his task; but, immense as are his claims on the gratitude of all historical students, there are some shortcomings which must be ascribed to the disposition and the quality of his mind. There is a monotony in the unbroken gorgeousness of his style

. which betrays a lack of deep and varied human feeling. Descriptions cast in one and the same mould fail to bring before us the images of men who all differed more or less from each other, and between many of whom there was scarcely a point of likeness. But the influences which shaped and, we might perhaps be tempted to say, warped the genius of Gibbon, closed his eyes to a whole range of causes, the recognition of

, which is of infinite importance to the historian. For him ex. planations of the spiritual growth or decay of mankind appeared adequate, which seem to others to be no explanations


at all, and conditions which most thinkers would regard as subordinate were by him invested with the highest significance. In short, we can scarcely say that the figures which pass before us in his pages are in all cases lifelike portraits of the men as they lived, or that we always have from him a full and satisfactory account of the motives on which they acted or of the influences which shaped their lives and fortunes. The plea, which thus justifies the preparation of Dean Milman's great work, is a justification of other works which may bring out into clearer light points which Gibbon has left dark, or which he has designedly disregarded. It fully justifies Mr. Hodgkin in relating the story of the changes which brought to an end the life of the ancient world and transferred the sceptre of imperial Rome to the hands of the Teutonic nations.

At the outset, therefore, we may absolve ourselves from any obligation of systematically comparing Mr. Hodgkin's work with those chapters of Gibbon which cover the ground surveyed by him. It is enough to say that, although the thought of any rivalry with the great historian has never crossed his mind, his readers will derive from his pages a clearer idea of the nature of the barbarian inroads into Italy than any which they can obtain from the more compressed and more laboured narrative of the same events by Gibbon. Mr. Hodgkin, it must be added, takes due account of all causes tending to bring about the great changes of the fourth and fifth centuries. The time is a gloomy one; but its gloom is somewhat lightened when we examine it more leisurely, and when the inroads of the nations lumped together as barbarian are seen to vary widely in their character and accompaniments. The vague idea usually formed of the age with which Mr. Hodgkin has undertaken to deal is that of mere chaos, bloodshed, and misery; but, with greater clearness than even the history of Gibbon, Mr. Hodgkin's narrative shows that such chaos as there may

have been was due rather to the fault of the Romans than to their barbarian assailants. These invasions were not the thought or the work of a moment. Some might have been arrested or turned aside with comparatively little cost or effort: the consequences of one at least, which was the result of irresistible pressure from behind, might have been rendered harmless but for the infatuation of the emperor and his advisers. One alone can be regarded as the inroad of irreclaimable savages, and this was the invasion of Attila. ,

. The story of this invasion is told with great vigour by Mr. Hodgkin, who has bestowed special pains on the questions relating to the origin of the fierce nomads who razed Aquileia

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to the dust and drove its few surviving inhabitants to the marshes of Grado. Of all the invaders who find their way into Italy during the century preceding the fall of Augustulus, the Huns alone do not belong to the great Aryan stem from which Romans and Greeks were themselves also offshoots. When first these savages fell on the Ostrogoths under their king Hermanric, the horror which their appearance and their deeds excited expressed itself in the story told by the Gothic Jornandes that they were the children of devils who found in the wilderness some sorceresses or Alrunas, who had been driven out by Filimer, fifth king of the Goths, after their departure from Sweden. Instead of language these savages had, according to his tale, the mere shadow of human speech ; and their faces were to be described not as human countenances but as

shapeless black collops of flesh with little points instead of eyes.' The fancy of Jornandes is worth nothing. The Huns were not the offspring of Goths and demons; and we are left to ascertain their origin as best we can.

The question must, probably, remain after all an open one, except with regard to the fact that they were neither an Aryan nor a Semitic people. In spite of the objections made by some ethnologists it is still convenient, as Mr. Hodgkin remarks, to refer all such tribes to the general class of Turanian nations, until a more suitable term can be found. By so doing we assert nothing more than that they are in no way connected with the great family to which Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Teutons, and Scandinavians alike belong, or with the Semitic tribes of Syria and Arabia. Of themselves the Huns hare left no record : beyond doubt they never had any. But, strangely enough, if they are the same people as the Hiong-nu, we have in Chinese history the narrative of their fortunes for some twenty centuries before the Christian era. ness which they had enjoyed for two millenniums in the bleak table-lands of Central Asia which were their home, and in the portions of China which they had held with a grasp of iron, came to an end in the days of Domitian; and the discomfited Hiong-nu found their way westward across the Irtisch and fixed themselves on the Ural river. Three centuries later they passed the Volga and fell on the Goths of Hermanric. In this long period of inactivity and obscurity lies, Mr. Hodgkin remarks, the weak point of the theory which identifies the Huns of Attila with the Hiong-nu of Chinese historians. There is, indeed, the likeness of name; but this by itself is a weak reed to lean upon. Getæ and Goths, Scots and Scythians may be, and by some have been, identified on like grounds ;

The great


but for the identity of Hiong-nu and Huns it may be urged that the Chinese annalists speak of the former as separated by a fierce Tartar people, the Alans, from the great kingdom of Ta-Tsin. This kingdom is described as a large country with many dependent kingdoms; in the year corresponding to A.D. 166 the sovereign was Gan-tun, whose ambassadors, followed by merchants, found their way to China. The people were called Ta-Tsin, we are told, as being tall and well made like the Chinese. Mr. Hodgkin adds :

* This last sentence will probably have disclosed to the reader the name of the country in question. Only the Romans of that day could be considered worthy of being called by a Chinese historian, “Great as the Chinese.” He has been reading a description of Imperium Romanum by a Chinese pen, and the King Gan-tun is the Emperor Marcus (Aurelius) Antoninus.'

If it be asked why these Hiong-nu should spend three centuries on the banks of the Ural river without making any attempt to invade the empire, we may answer that there was in the first place the formidable barrier interposed by the Alans, and that in the next the eyes of the Hiong-nu, or the Huns, if they were Huns, were turned towards the scenes of their former greatness, and remained fixed in that direction until the establishment of the Sien-pi in their old haunts dealt a death-blow to their hopes. The next event in the fortunes of the Alans is their defeat by the neighbouring Huns; and thus the links of the chain connecting the latter with the Hiong-nu seem to be fairly complete. The question is not one of much moment. The Huns burst into Europe like a swarm of locusts, and like locusts they disappeared. But whether they be the same with the Hiong-nu, or not, their affinity with the Mongolic and Turkic branches of the Turanian family is sufficiently established. They were the kinsmen and the precursors of hosts who carried death and desolation with them under Gengis Khan and Timour, of the Seljukian and Ottoman Turks, and of the nobler conquerors of India, whose dynasty is rendered illustrious by the names of Baber, Humayun, and Akbar.

The presence of the Huns, hateful alike to the Teuton and the Roman, weighed as a curse upon Europe for many generations; but the period of their highest ascendency was confined to the twenty years of the reign of Attila. In this man, we may fairly say, there was not a single element of true greatness; and Mr. Hodgkin rightly describes him as a gigantic

bully, holding in his hand powers unequalled in the world for ' ravages and spoliation,'and extorting from the Roman emperors

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