gods, who so hastily had snatched Claudius from the earth, rewarded his merit and piety by the perpetual establishment of the empire in his family.15

Notwithstanding these oracles, the greatness of the Flavian family (a name which it had pleased them to assume) was deferred

V , , , . . JL. ,. The attempt

above twenty years, and the elevation ot Claudius occa- andr.aiof sioned the immediate ruin of his brother Quintilius,* who possessed not sufficient moderation or courage to descend into the private station to which the patriotism of the late emperor had condemned him. Without delay or reflection he assumed the purple at Aquileia, where he commanded a considerable force; and though his reign lasted only seventeen days,b he had time to obtain the sanction of the senate and to experience a mutiny of the troops. As soon as he was informed that the great army of the Danube had invested the well-known valour of Aurelian with Imperial power, he sunk under the fame and merit of his rival; and, ordering his veins to be opened, prudently withdrew himself from the unequal contest.16

The general design of this work will not permit us minutely to relate the actions of every emperor after he ascended the throne, much less to deduce the various fortunes of his private life, services of We shall only observe that the father of Aurelian was a peasant of the territory of Sirmium, who occupied a small farm, the property of Aurelius, a rich senator. His warlike son enlisted in the troops as a common soldier, successively rose to the rank of a centurion, a tribune, the praefect of a legion, the inspector of the camp, the general, or, as it was then called, the duke of a frontier; and at length, during the Gothic war, exercised the important office of commander-in-chief of the cavalry. In every station he distinguished himself by matchless valour,17 rigid discipline, and successful

1S See the Life of Claudius by Pollio, and the Orations of Mamertinus, Eumenius, and Julian. See likewise the Csosars of Julian, p. 313. In Julian it was not adulation, but superstition and vanity.

'• Zosimus, 1. i. [c. 47] p. 42. Pollio (Hist. August, p. 206 [Claud, c. 12]) allows him virtues, and says, that, like Pertinax, he was killed by the licentious soldiers. According to Dexippus, he died of a disease.0

"Theoclius (as quoted in the Augustan History, p. 211 [Vopisc. Aurel. c. 6]) affirms that in one day he killed with his own hand forty-eight Sarmatians, and in several subsequent engagements nine hundred and fifty. This heroic valour was admired by the soldiers, and celebrated in their rude songs, the burden of which was miY/e, mille, mitle, occidit.

* The ancient writers call him Quin- reign some months.—G. tillus, not Quintilius.—S. c The citation of Dexippus is not

b Such is the narrative of the greater correct. The words of Pollio are, "Et

part of the older historians; butthenum- Dexippus quidem Claudium non dicit

ber and the variety of his medals seem to occisum, sed mortuum: nee tamen addidit

require more time, and give probability to morbo, ut dubium sentire videatur."—S. the report of Zosimus, who makes him


conduct. He was invested with the consulship by the emperor Valerian, who styles him, in the pompous language of that age, the deliverer of Ulyricum, the restorer of Gaul, and the rival of the Scipios. At the recommendation of Valerian, a senator of the highest rank and merit, Ulpius Crinitus, whose blood was derived from the same source as that of Trajan, adopted the Pannonian peasant, gave him his daughter in marriage, and relieved with his ample fortune the honourable poverty which Aurelian had preserved inviolate.18

The reign of Aurelian lasted only four years and about nine Aurciun'i months; but every instant of that short period was filled reign. by some memorable achievement. He put an end to the

Gothic war, chastised the Germans who invaded Italy, recovered Gaul, Spain, and Britain out of the hands of Tetricus, and destroyed the proud monarchy which Zenobia had erected in the East on the ruins of the afflicted empire.

It was the rigid attention of Aurelian even to the minutest articles Hii Mvcre °f discipline which bestowed such uninterrupted success on dincipuue. h;s arrna_ His military regulations are contained in a very concise epistle to one of his inferior officers, who is commanded to enforce them, as he wishes to become a tribune, or as he is desirous to live. Gaming, drinking, and the arts of divination were severely prohibited. Aurelian expected that his soldiers should be modest, frugal, and laborious; that their armour should be constantly kept bright, their weapons sharp, their clothing and horses ready for immediate service; that they should live in their quarters with chastity and sobriety, without damaging the corn-fields, without stealing even a sheep, a fowl, or a bunch of grapes, without exacting from their landlords either salt, or oil, or wood. "The public allow"ance," continues the emperor, "is sufficient for their support; their "wealth should be collected from the spoil of the enemy, not from "the tears of the provincials." 19 A single instance will serve to display the rigour, and even cruelty, of Aurelian. One of the soldiers had seduced the wife of his host. The guilty wretch was fastened to two trees forcibly drawn towards each other, and his limbs were torn asunder by their sudden separation. A few such examples impressed a salutary consternation. The punishments of Aurelian were terrible; but he had seldom occasion to punish more than once the same

18 Acholius (ap. Hist. August, p. 213 [Vopisc. Aurel. c. 13]) describes the ceremony of the adoption, as it was performed at Byzantium, in the presence of the emperor and his great officers.

"Hist. August, p. 211. [Vopisc. Aurel. c. 7.] This laconic epistle is truly the work of a soldier; it abounds with military phrases and words, some of which cannot be understood without difficulty. Ferramenta samiata is well explained by Salmasius. The former of the words means all weapons of offence, and is contrasted with Ann <, defensive armour. The latter signifies keen and well sharpened.


offence. His own conduct gave a sanction to his laws, and the seditious legions dreaded a chief who had learned to obey, and who was worthy to command.

The death of Claudius had revived the fainting spirit of the Goths. The troops which guarded the passes of Mount Haemus Heconand the banks of the Danube had been drawn away by the JJUJjJ^*ith apprehension of a civil war; and it seems probable that the the Gotb',, remaining body of the Gothic and Vandalic tribes embraced the favourable opportunity, abandoned their settlements of the Ukraine, traversed the rivers, and swelled with new multitudes the destroying host of their countrymen. Their united numbers were at length encountered by Aurelian, and the bloody and doubtful conflict ended only with the approach of night.20 Exhausted by so many calamities, which they had mutually endured and inflicted during a twenty years' war, the Goths and the Romans consented to a lasting and beneficial treaty. It was earnestly solicited by the barbarians, and cheerfully ratified by the legions, to whose suffrage the prudence of Aurelian referred the decision of that important question. The Gothic nation engaged to supply the armies of Rome with a body of two thousand auxiliaries, consisting entirely of cavalry, and stipulated in return an undisturbed retreat, with a regular market as far as the Danube, provided by the emperor's care, but at their own expense. The treaty was observed with such religious fidelity, that, when a party of five hundred men straggled from the camp in quest of plunder, the king or general of the barbarians commanded that the guilty leader should be apprehended and shot to death with darts, as a victim devoted to the sanctity of their engagements.* It is, however, not unlikely that the precaution of Aurelian, who had exacted as hostages the sons and daughters of the Gothic chiefs, contributed something to this pacific temper. The youths he trained in the exercise of arms, and near his own person; to the damsels he gave a liberal and Roman education, and, by bestowing them in marriage on some of his principal officers, gradually introduced between the two nations the closest and most endearing connections.21

But the most important condition of peace was understood rather than expressed in the treaty. Aurelian withdrew the Roman forces

» ZosimuB, 1. i. [c. 48, p. 43] p. 45.

21 Dexippua(ap.ExoerptaLegat. p. 12 [ed. Paris; p. 8, ed. Ven.; p. 19, ed. Bonn]) relates the whole transaction under the name of Vandals. Aurelian married one of the Gothic ladies to his general Bonosus, who was able to drink with the Goths and discover their secrets. Hist. August, p. 247. [Vopisc. Bonosus, c. 15.]

The five hundred stragglers were all slain.—M.


from Dacia, and tacitly relinquished that gTeat province to the Goths «nd resigns and Vandals.22 His manly judgment convinced him of fwvinL of tne sohd advantages, and taught him to despise the seeming Hid*. disgrace, of thus contracting the frontiers of the monarchy.

The Dacian subjects, removed from those distant possessions which they were unable to cultivate or defend, added strength and populousness to the southern side of the Danube. A fertile territory, which the repetition of barbarous inroads had changed into a desert, was yielded to their industry, and a new province of Dacia still preserved the memory of Trajan's conquests. The old country of that name detained, however, a considerable number of its inhabitants, who dreaded exile more than a Gothic master.23 These degenerate Romans continued to serve the empire, whose allegiance they had renounced, by introducing among their conquerors the first notions of agriculture, the useful arts, and the conveniences of civilised life. An intercourse of commerce and language was gradually established between the opposite banks of the Danube; and, after Dacia became an independent state, it often proved the firmest barrier of the empire against the invasions of the savages of the North. A sense of interest attached these more settled barbarians to the alliance of Rome, and a permanent interest very frequently ripens into sincere and useful friendship. This various colony, which filled the ancient province, and was insensibly blended into one great people, still acknowledged the superior renown and authority of the Gothic tribe, and claimed the fancied honour of a Scandinavian origin. At the same time the lucky, though accidental, resemblance of the name of Gctaeb infused among the credulous Goths a vain persuasion that, in a remote age, their own ancestors, already seated in the Dacian provinces, had received the instructions of Zamolxis, and checked the victorious arms of Sesostris and Darius.24

"Hist. August, p. 222. [Vopisc. Aurel. c. 39.] Eutrop. ix. 15 [c. 9]. Sextus Rufus, c. 8. Lactantius de Mortibus Persecutorum, o. 9.

23 The Wallachians still preserve many traces of the Latin language, and have boasted, in every age, of their Koman deBcent. They are surrounded by, but not mixed with, the barbarians. See a Memoir of M. d'Anville on ancient Dacia, in the Academy of Inscriptions, torn, xxx."

M See the first chapter of Jornandes. The Vandals, however (c. 22), maintained a short independence between the rivers Marisia and GriBsia (Maros and Keres [Korcisz] \ which fell into the Theiss.

a The Wallachian language not only by Gibbon, was called Dacia Aurcliani, and

preserves many traces of the Latin Ian- was the district Bouth of the Danube,

guage, but is derived from it, like the lying between Upper and Lower Mccsia.

Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. —S.

The "new province of Dacia," mentioned b See note on vol. i. p. 375.—S.


While the vigorous and moderate conduct of Aurelian restored the Illyrian frontier, the nation of the Alemanni25 violated TheAiethe conditions of peace which either Gallienus had pur- maiinlc,r«rchased, or Claudius had imposed, and, inflamed by their impatient youth, suddenly flew to arms. Forty thousand horse appeared in the field,26 and the numbers of the infantry doubled those of the cavalry.27 The first objects of their avarice were a few cities of the Rhaetian frontier; but their hopes soon rising with success, the rapid march of the Alemanni traced a line of devastation from the Danube to the Po.28

The emperor was almost at the same time informed of the irruption, and of the retreat, of the barbarians. Collecting an A-D ,„„ active body of troops, he marched with silence and celerity Sti>tcmb('ralong the skirts of the Hercynian forest; and the Alemanni, laden with the spoils of Italy, arrived at the Danube, without suspecting that on the opposite bank, and in an advantageous post, a Roman army lay concealed and prepared to intercept their return. Aurelian indulged the fatal security of the barbarians, and permitted about half their forces to pass the river without disturbance and without precaution. Their situation and astonishment gave him an easy victory; his skilful conduct improved the advantage. Disposing the legions in a semicircular form, he advanced the two horns of the crescent across the Danube, and, wheeling them on a sudden towards the centre, enclosed the rear of the German host. The dismayed barbarians, on whatsoever side they cast their eyes, beheld with despair a wasted country, a deep and rapid stream, a victorious and implacable enemy.

Reduced to this distressed condition, the Alemanni no longer disdained to sue for peace. Aurelian received their ambassadors at the head of his camp, and with every circumstance of martial pomp that could display the greatness and discipline of Rome. The legions stood to their arms in well-ordered ranks and awful silence. The principal commanders, distinguished by the ensigns of their rank, appeared on horseback on either side of the Imperial throne. Behind

M Dexippus, p. 7-12 [ed. Paris; p. 5, sqq. ed. Ven.j p. 11,1177. ed Bonn]. Zosimus, I. i. [c. 49J p. 4:!. Vopiscus in Aurelian. in Hist. August. However these historians differ in names (Alemanni, Juthungi, and Marcomanni), it is evident that they mean the same people and the same war; but it requires some care to conciliate and explain them.

M Cantoclarus, with his usual accuracy, chooses to translate three hundred thousand; his version is equally repugnant to sense and to grammar.

OT We may remark, as an instance of bad taste, that Dexippus applies to the light infantry of the Alemanni the technical terms proper only to the Grecian phalanx.

"In Dexippus we at present read Rhodanus: M. de Valois very judiciously alters the word toEridahus. [Niebuhr, in his edition of Dexippus (p. 19, ed. Bonn), keeps Rhodanus.—S.]

« ForrigeFortsett »