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insinuating himself into the confidence of the credulous prince, that he might find an opportunity of stabbing him to the heart. Para was invited to a Roman banquet, which had been prepared with all the pomp and sensuality of the East; the hall resounded with cheerful music, and the company was already heated with wine, when the count retired for an instant, drew his sword, and gave the signal of the murder. A robust and desperate barbarian instantly rushed on the king of Armenia, and, though he bravely defended
his life with the first weapon that chance offered to his A.D. 374.
** hand, the table of the Imperial general was stained with the royal blood of a guest and an ally. Such were the weak and wicked maxims of the Roman administration, that, to attain a doubtful object of political interest, the laws of nations, and the sacred rights of hospitality, were inhumanly violated in the face of the world.139
V. During a peaceful interval of thirty years, the Romans V. The secured their frontiers, and the Goths extended their do
minions. The victories of the great Hermanric, 140 king of Hermanric. the Ostrogoths, and the most noble of the race of the Amali, have been compared, by the enthusiasm of his countrymen, to the exploits of Alexander: with this singular, and almost incredible, difference, that the martial spirit of the Gothic hero, instead of being supported by the vigour of youth, was displayed with glory and success in the extreme period of human life, between the age of fourscore and one hundred and ten years. The independent tribes were persuaded, or compelled, to acknowledge the king of the Ostrogoths as the sovereign of the Gothic nation : the chiefs of the Visigoths, or Thervingi, renounced the royal title, and assumed the more humble appellation of Judges ; and, among those judges,
139 See in Ammianus (xxx. 1) the adventures of Para. Moses of Chorene calls him Tiridates; and tells a long and not improbable story of his son Gnelus, who afterwards made himself popular in Armenia, and provoked the jealousy of the reigning king (1. üi. c. 21, &c., p. 253, &c.).
140 The concise account of the reign and conquests of Hermanric seems to be one of the valuable fragments which Jornandes (c. 23) borrowed from the Gothic histories of Ablavius, or Cassiodorus. b
a This note is a tissue of mistakes. marks, borrowed his account. ConseTiridates and Para are two totally dif- quently, the narrative given in the text ferent persons. Tiridates was the father must be regarded as legendary rather of Gnel, first husband of Pharandsem, the than historical. It is probable that the mother of Para. St. Martin, iv. 27.-M. extent of his empire has been greatly
The Gothic form of Hermanric is exaggerated. See Grimm, Deutsche GramAímanareiks, and probably signified great matik, vol. ii. p. 448; Deutsche Mythoor powerful king. His exploits were cele- logie, p. 83, 208; Deutsche Heldensage, brated in the Gothic legends, which ap- p. 2; Schafárik, Slawische Alterthümer, pear to have been collected by Cassiodorus, vol. i. p. 427.-S. from whom Jornandes, as Gibbon re
Athanaric, Fritigern, and Alavivus were the most illustrious, by their personal merit, as well as by their vicinity to the Roman provinces. These domestic conquests, which increased the military power of Hermanric, enlarged his ambitious designs. He invaded the adjacent countries of the North, and twelve considerable nations, whose names and limits cannot be accurately defined, successively yielded to the superiority of the Gothic arms.141 The Heruli, who inhabited the marshy lands near the lake Mæotis, were renowned for their strength and agility; and the assistance of their light infantry was eagerly solicited, and highly esteemed, in all the wars of the barbarians. But the active spirit of the Heruli was subdued by the slow and steady perseverance of the Goths; and, after a bloody action, in which the king was slain, the remains of that warlike tribe became an useful accession to the camp of Hermanric. He then marched against the Venedi ;b unskilled in the use of arms, and formidable only by their numbers, which filled the wide extent of the plains of modern Poland. The victorious Goths, who were not inferior in numbers, prevailed in the contest, by the decisive advantages of exercise and discipline. After the submission of the Venedi, the conqueror advanced, without resistance, as far as the confines of the Æstii, 142 an ancient people, whose name is still preserved in the province of Esthonia. Those distant inhabitants of the Baltic coast were supported by the labours of agriculture, enriched by the trade of amber, and consecrated by the peculiar worship of the Mother of the Gods. But the scarcity of iron obliged the Æstian warriors to content themselves with wooden clubs; and the reduction of that wealthy country is ascribed to the prudence, rather than to the arms, of Hermanric. His dominions, which extended from the Danube to the Baltic, included the native seats, and the recent acquisitions, of the Goths; and he reigned over the greatest part of Germany
141 M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vi. p. 311-329) investigates, with more industry than success, the nations subdued by the arms of Hermanric. He denies the existence of the Vasinobronca, on account of the immoderate length of their name. Yet the French envoy to Ratisbon, or Dresden, must have traversed the country of the Mediomatrici.
142 The edition of Grotius (Jornandes, p. 642) exhibits the name of Æstri. But reason and the Ambrosian MS. have restored the Estii, whose manners and situation are expressed by the pencil of Tacitus (Germania, c. 45).
* On the origin and migrations of the which leads us to expect that it is a col. Heruli, see Editor's note, c. xxxix., lective name; and this is probably the note 37.-S.
case. It appears to mean the men of the The Venedi were undoubtedly Slavo East, and to have been a name given by nians, as both their name and their locality the Germans to their eastern neighbours, prove. The Germans have always called the inhabitants of the present coasts of all Slavonians Wends or Vends.-S. Prussia, Courland, and Esthonia. Latham,
Tacitus speaks of “ Æstiorum gentes,” The Germania of Tacitus, p. 166, seq.-S.
The cause of the Gotbic war,
and Scythia with the authority of a conqueror, and sometimes with the cruelty of a tyrant. But he reigned over a part of the globe incapable of perpetuating and adorning the glory of its heroes. The name of Hermanric is almost buried in oblivion ; his exploits are imperfectly known: and the Romans themselves appeared unconscious of the progress of an aspiring power which threatened the liberty of the North and the peace of the empire.143 The Goths had contracted an hereditary attachment for the
e Imperial house of Constantine, of whose power and libe
atrality they had received so many signal proofs. They A.D. 366. respected the public peace; and if an hostile band sometimes presumed to pass the Roman limit, their irregular conduct was candidly ascribed to the ungovernable spirit of the barbarian youth. Their contempt for two new and obscure princes, who had been raised to the throne by a popular election, inspired the Goths with bolder hopes; and, while they agitated some design of marching their confederate force under the national standard, 144 they were easily tempted to embrace the party of Procopius, and to foment, by their dangerous aid, the civil discord of the Romans. The public treaty might stipulate no more than ten thousand auxiliaries; but the design was so zealously adopted by the chiefs of the Visigoths, that the army which passed the Danube amounted to the number of thirty thousand men. 145 They marched with the proud confidence that their invincible valour would decide the fate of the Roman empire; and the provinces of Thrace groaned under the weight of the barbarians, who displayed the insolence of masters, and the licentiousness of enemies. But the intemperance which gratified their appetites retarded their progress; and before the Goths could receive any certain intelligence of the defeat and death of Procopius, they perceived, by the hostile state of the country, that the civil and military powers were resumed by his successful rival. A chain of posts and fortifications, skilfully disposed by Valens, or the generals of Valens, resisted their march, prevented their retreat, and intercepted their subsistence. The fierceness of the barbarians was tamed and suspended by hunger ; they indignantly threw down their arms at the feet of the conqueror, who offered them food and chains :
143 Ammianus (xxxi. 3) observes, in general terms, Ermenrichi .... bellicosissimi Regis, et per multa variaque fortiter facta, vicinis gentibus formidati, &c.
in Valens .... docetur relationibus Ducum, gentem Gothorum, eå tempestate intactam ideoque sævissimam, conspirantem in unum, ad pervadenda parari collimitia Thraciarum. Ammian. xxvi. 6.
145 M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vi. p. 332) has curiously ascertained the real number of these auxiliaries. The 3000 of Ammianus, and the 10,000 of Zosimus, were only the first divisions of the Gothic army.
the numerous captives were distributed in all the cities of the East; and the provincials, who were soon familiarised with their savage appearance, ventured, by degrees, to measure their own strength with these formidable adversaries, whose name had so long been the object of their terror. The king of Scythia (and Hermanric alone could deserve so lofty a title) was grieved and exasperated by this national calamity. His ambassadors loudly complained, at the court of Valens, of the infraction of the ancient and solemn alliance which had so long subsisted between the Romans and the Goths. They alleged that they had fulfilled the duty of allies, by assisting the kinsman and successor of the emperor Julian ; they required the immediate restitution of the noble captives; and they urged a very singular claim, that the Gothic generals, marching in arms, and in hostile array, were entitled to the sacred character and privileges of ambassadors. The decent, but peremptory, refusal of these extravagant demands was signified to the barbarians by Victor, mastergeneral of the cavalry, who expressed, with force and dignity, the just complaints of the emperor of the East.146 The negociation was interrupted, and the manly exhortations of Valentinian encouraged his timid brother to vindicate the insulted majesty of the empire. 147
The splendour and magnitude of this Gothic war are celebrated by a contemporary historian :148 but the events scarcely Hostilities deserve the attention of posterity, except as the preliminary and peaceas steps of the approaching decline and fall of the empire. 369. Instead of leading the nations of Germany and Scythia to the banks of the Danube, or even to the gates of Constantinople, the aged monarch of the Goths resigned to the brave Athanaric the danger and glory of a defensive war, against an enemy who wielded with a feeble hand the powers of a mighty state. A bridge of boats was established upon the Danube, the presence of Valens animated his troops, and his ignorance of the art of war was compensated by personal bravery, and a wise deference to the advice of Victor and Arintheus, his masters-general of the cavalry and infantry. The operations of
146 The march and subsequent negociation are described in the Fragments of Eunapius (Excerpt. Legat. p. 18, edit. Louvre [p. 47, ed. Bonn]). The provincials, who afterwards became familiar with the barbarians, found that their strength was more apparent than real. They were tall of stature, but their legs were clumsy and their shoulders were narrow.
147 Valens enim, ut consulto placuerat fratri, cujus regebatur arbitrio, arma concussit in Gothos ratione justa permotus. Ammianus (xxvii. 4) then proceeds to describe, not the country of the Goths, but the peaceful and obedient province of Thrace, which was not affected by the war.
14 Eunapius, in Excerpt. Legat. p. 18, 19 [p. 47, 48, ed. Bonn). The Greek sophist must have considered as one and the same war, the whole series of Gothic history till the victories and peace of Theodosius.
the campaign were conducted by their skill and experience; but they found it impossible to drive the Visigoths from their strong posts in the mountains, and the devastation of the plains obliged the Romans themselves to repass the Danube on the approach of winter. The incessant rains, which swelled the waters of the river, produced a tacit suspension of arms, and confined the emperor Valens, during the whole course of the ensuing summer, to his camp of Marcianopolis.
The third year of the war was more favourable to the Romans, and more pernicious to the Goths. The interruption of trade deprived the barbarians of the objects of luxury, which they already confounded with the necessaries of life; and the desolation of a very extensive tract of country threatened them with the horrors of famine. Athanaric was provoked, or compelled, to risk a battle, which he lost, in the plains; and the pursuit was rendered more bloody by the cruel precaution of the victorious generals, who had promised a large reward for the head of every Goth that was brought into the Imperial camp. The submission of the barbarians appeased the resentment of Valens and his council : the emperor listened with satisfaction to the flattering and eloquent remonstrance of the senate of Constantinople, which assumed, for the first time, a share in the public deliberations; and the same generals, Victor and Arintheus, who had successfully directed the conduct of the war, were empowered to regulate the conditions of peace. The freedom of trade which the Goths had hitherto enjoyed was restricted to two cities on the Danube; the rashness of their leaders was severely punished by the suppression of their pensions and subsidies; and the exception, which was stipulated in favour of Athanaric alone, was more advantageous than honourable to the Judge of the Visigoths. Athanaric, who, on this occasion, appears to have consulted his private interest, without expecting the orders of his sovereign, supported his own dignity, and that of his tribe, in the personal interview which was proposed by the ministers of Valens. He persisted in his declaration that it was impossible for him, without incurring the guilt of perjury, ever to set his foot on the territory of the empire; and it is more than probable that his regard for the sanctity of an oath was confirmed by the recent and fatal examples of Roman treachery. The Danube, which separated the dominions of the two independent nations, was chosen for the scene of the conference. The emperor of the East, and the Judge of the Visigoths, accompanied by. an equal number of armed followers, advanced in their respective barges to the middle of the stream. After the ratification of the treaty, and the delivery of hostages, Valens returned in triumph to Constantinople, and the Goths remained in a state of tranquillity about six years, till they