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the infant prince of the same name, who was only four years old, was shown, in the arms of his mother, to the legions, and solemnly invested, by military acclamation, with the titles and ensigns of supreme power. The impending dangers of a civil war were seasonably prevented by the wise and moderate conduct of the emperor Gratian. He cheerfully accepted the choice of the army, declared that he should always consider the son of Justina as a brother, not as a rival, and advised the empress, with her son Valentinian, to fix their residence at Milan, in the fair and peaceful province of Italy, while he assumed the more arduous command of the countries beyond the Alps. Gratian dissembled his resentment till he could safely punish or disgrace the authors of the conspiracy; and though he uniformly behaved with tenderness and regard to his infant colleague, he gradually confounded, in the administration of the Western empire, the office of a guardian with the authority of a sovereign. The government of the Roman world was exercised in the united names of Valens and his two nephews; but the feeble emperor of the East, who succeeded to the rank of his elder brother, never obtained any weight or influence in the councils of the West157
'" Aminianus, xxx. 10. Zosimus, 1. iv. [c. 19] p. 222, 223. Tillemont has proved (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 707-709) that Gratian reigned in Italy, Africa, and Illyricum. I have endeavoured to express his authority over his brother's dominions, as he used it, in an ambiguous style.
A.d. 365. EARTHQUAKES. 293
Manners Of The Pastoral Nations.—Progress Of The Huns From China To Europe.—Flight Of The Goths.—They Pass The Danube.—Gothic War.—Defeat And Death Of Valens.— Gratian Invests Tiieodosius With The Eastern Empire.—His Character And Success.—Peace And Settlement Of The Goths.
In the second year of the reign of Valentinian and Valens, on the
morning of the twenty-first day of July, the greatest part
of the Roman world was shaken by a violent and destructive *•»• 3*5,
earthquake. The impression was communicated to the waters; the shores of the Mediterranean were left dry by the sudden retreat of the sea; great quantities of fish were caught with the hand; large vessels were stranded on the mud; and a curious spectator' amused his eye, or rather his fancy, by contemplating the various appearance of valleys and mountains which had never, since the formation of the globe, been exposed to the sun. But the'tide soon returned with the weight of an immense and irresistible deluge, which was severely felt on the coasts of Sicily, of Dalmatia, of Greece, and of Egypt; large boats were transported and lodged on the roofs of houses, or at the distance of two miles from the shore; the people, with their habitations, were swept away by the waters; and the city of Alexandria annually commemorated the fatal day on which fifty thousand persons had lost their lives in the inundation. This calamity, the report of which was magnified from one province to another, astonished and terrified the subjects of Rome, and their affrighted imagination enlarged the real extent of a momentary evil. They recollected the preceding earthquakes, which had subverted the cities of Palestine and Bithynia; they considered these alarming strokes as the prelude only of still more dreadful calamities; and their fearful vanity was disposed to confound the symptoms of a declining empire and a sinking world.2 It was the fashion of the times to attribute every remarkable event to the particular will of the Deity; the alterations of nature were connected, by an invisible chain, with the moral and metaphysical opinions of the human mind; and the most sagacious divines could distinguish, according to the colour of their respective prejudices, that the establishment of heresy tended to produce an earthquake, or that a deluge was the inevitable consequence of the progress of sin and error. Without presuming to discuss the truth or propriety of these lofty speculations, the historian may content himself with an observation, which seems to be justified by experience, that man has much more to fear from the passions of his fellow-creatures than from the convulsions of the elements.3 The mischievous effects of an earthquake or deluge, a hurricane, or the eruption of a volcano, bear a very inconsiderable proportion to the ordinary calamities of war, as they are now moderated by the prudence or humanity of the princes of Europe, who amuse their own leisure and exercise the courage of their subjects in the practice of the military art. But the laws and manners of modern nations protect the safety and freedom of the vanquished soldier; and the peaceful citizen has seldom reason to complain that his life or even his fortune is exposed to the rage of war. In the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, which may justly be dated from the reigu of Valens, the happiness and security of each individual were personally attacked, and the arts and labours of ages were rudely defaced by the barbarians of Scythia and Germany.
1 Such is the bad taste of Ammianus (xxvi. 10), that it is not easy to distinguish his facts from his metaphors. Yet he positively affirms that he saw the rotten carcase of a ship, ad secundum lapidem, at Methone, or Modon, in Peloponnesus.
* The earthquakes and inundations are variously described by Libanius (Orat. de ulciscenda Juliani nece, c. x. in Fabricius, Bibl. Grsec. torn. vii. p. 158, with a learned note of Olearius), Zosimus (1. iv. [c. 18] p. 221), Sozomen (1. vi. c. 2), Cedrenus (p. 310, 314 [torn. i. p. 543, 550, ed. Bonn]), and Jerom (in Chron. p. 186 [torn. viii. p. 809, ed. Vallars.f, and torn. i. p. 250, in Vit. Hilarion [torn. ii. p. 36, ed. Vallars.]). Epidaurus must have been overwhelmed, had not the prudent citizens placed St. Hilarion, an Egyptian monk, on the beach. He made the sign of the cross; the mountain-wave stopped, bowed, and returned.
The invasion of the Huns precipitated on the provinces of and uoths, the West the Gothic nation, which advanced, in less than
forty years, from the Danube to the Atlantic, and opened a way, by the success of their arms, to the inroads of so many hostile tribes more savage than themselves. The original principle of motion was concealed in the remote countries of the North, and the curious observation of the pastoral life of the Scythians4 or Tartars5 will illustrate the latent cause of these destructive emigrations.
'DicaMirchus the Peripatetic composed a formal treatise to prove this obvious truth, which is not the most honourable to the human species (Cicero, de Officiis, ii. 5).
* The original Scythians of Herodotus (1. iv. c. 47-57, 99-101) were confined by the Danube and the Falus Mseotis within a square of 4000 stadia (400 Roman miles). See D'Anville (Mom. de 1'Academic, torn. xxxv. p. 573-591). Diodorus Siculus (torn, i. 1. ii. [c. 43] p. 155, edit. Wesseling) has marked the gradual progress of the tiame and nation.
* The Tutors or Tartars were a primitive tribe, the rivals, and at length the subjects, of the Moguls. In the victorious armies of Zingis Khan and his successors, the Tartars formed the vanguard; and the name which firBt reached the ears of foreigners was applied to the whole nation (Frcret, in the Hist, de 1'Academic, torn, xviii. p. GO).* In speaking of all or any of the northern shepherds of Europe or Asia, I indifferently use the appellations of Scythians or Tartars.
* The Tatars or Tartars were a tribe dwelt near lake Bouyir, to the eastward nearly allied to the Mongols in race, who of Mongolia. They wore among the first
A.D. 376. THE SCYTHIANS, OR TARTARS. 295
The different characters that mark the civilized nations of the globe may be ascribed to the use and the abuse of reason, which so variously shapes and so artificially composes the manners manners and opinions of an European or a Chinese. But Scythians,
! . i . . . .....or Tartars.
the operation ot instinct is more sure and simple than that of reason; it is much easier to ascertain the appetites of a quadruped than the speculations of a philosopher; and the savage tribes of mankind, as they approach nearer to the condition of animals, preserve a stronger resemblance to themselves and to each other. The uniform stability of their manners is the natural consequence of the imperfection of their faculties. Reduced to a similar situation, their wants, their desires, their enjoyments still continue the same; and the influence of food or climate, which, in a more improved state of society, is suspended or subdued by so many moral causes, most powerfully contributes to form and to maintain the national character of barbarians. In every age the immense plains of Scythia or Tartary have been inhabited by vagrant tribes of hunters and shepherds, whose indolence refuses to cultivate the earth, and whose restless spirit disdains the confinement of a sedentary life. In every age the Scythians and Tartars have been renowned for their invincible courage and rapid conquests. The thrones of Asia have been repeatedly overturned by the shepherds of the North, and their arms have spread terror and devastation over the most fertile and warlike countries of Europe.6 On this occasion, as well as on many others, the sober historian is forcibly awakened from a pleasing vision, and is compelled, with some reluctance, to confess that the pastoral manners, which have been adorned with the fairest attributes of peace and innocence, are much better adapted to the fierce and cruel habits of a military life. To illustrate this observation, I shall now proceed to consider a nation of shepherds and of warriors in the three important articles of, I. Their diet; II. Their habitation; and III. Their exercises. The narratiTes of antiquity are justified by the experience of modern times ;7 and the banks of the Borysthenes, of the Volga, or of the Selinga will indifferently present the same uniform spectacle of similar and native manners.8
6 Imperium Asia ter qvucsivera: ipsi perpetuo ab alieno imperio, nut intacti, aut invicti, mansere. Since the time of Justin (ii. 3) they have multiplied this account. Voltaire, in a few words (torn. x. p. 64, Hist. Qcne'rale, o. 156), hag abridged the Tartar conquests.
Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar
Has Scythia breath'd the living cloud of war."
of the Mongol conquests, and they took exclaimed, "Erigat nos, mater, coclcsto
afterwards Bo conspicuous a place in the "solatium, quia si proveniant ipsi, vel
army of Zingis Khan, that their name "nos ipsos quos vocamus Tartaros ad
became synonymous with that of the "suas Tartareas scdes, unde exienmt,
Mongols. Their proper name was Tatars. "retrudemus, vel ipsi nos omnes ad
It is said to have been changed into "cesium advehant."—Frichard, Physical
Tartar in consequence of an expression of History of Mankind, vol. iv. pp. 278, 332,
St. Louis, who, when the devastations of 3rd ed.—8.
Zingis Khan were heard of with horror • Gray.—M. in western Europe, is reported to have
I. The corn, or even the rice, which constitutes the ordinary and wholesome food of a civilized people, can be obtained only by the patient toil of the husbandman. Some of the happy savages who dwell between the tropics are plentifully nourished by the liberality of nature, but in the climates of the North a nation of shepherds is reduced to their flocks and herds. The skilful practitioners of the medical art will determine (if they are able to determine) how far the temper of the human mind may be affected by the use of animal or of vegetable food; and whether the common association of carnivorous and cruel deserves to be considered in any other light than that of an innocent, perhaps a salutary, prejudice of humanity.9 Yet, if it be true that the sentiment of compassion is imperceptibly weakened by the sight and practice of domestic cruelty, we may observe that the horrid objects which are disguised by the arts of European refinement are exhibited in their naked and most disgusting simplicity in the tent of a Tartarian shepherd. The ox or the sheep are slaughtered by the same hand from which they were accustomed to receive their daily food; and the bleeding limbs are served, with very little preparation, on the table of their unfeeling murderer. In the military profession, and especially in the conduct of a numerous army, the exclusive use of animal food appears to be productive of the most solid advantages. Corn is a bulky and perishable commodity, and the large magazines, which are indispensably necessary for the subsistence of our troops, must be slowly transported by the labour of men or horses. But the flocks and herds which accompany the march of the Tartars afford a sure and in
7 The fourth book of Herodotus affords a curious though imperfect portrait of the Scythians. Among the moderns, who describe the uniform scene, the Khan of Khowaresm, Abulghasd Bahadur, expresses liin native feelings; and his Genealogical HiBtory of the Tatars has been copiously illustrated by the French and English editors. Carpin, Ascelin, and Rubruquis (in the Hist, des Voyages, torn, vii.), represent the Moguls of the fourteenth century. To these guides I have added Oerbillon and the other Jesuits (Description de la Chine, par Du Halde, tain, iv.), who accurately surveyed the Chinese Tartary, and that honest and intelligent traveller, Bell of Antermony (two volumes in 4to., Glasgow, 1763).
* The Uzbeks are the most altered from their primitive manners; 1, by the profession of the Mahometan religion; and 2, by tho possession of the cities and harvests of the Great Bucharia.
• II est certain que les grands mangeurs de viande sont en general cruels et fcroces plus que les autres hommes. Cette observation est de tous les lieux, et de tons les terns: la barbaric Angloise est connue, &c. Emile de Rousseau, torn. i. p. 274. Whatever we may think of the general observation, we shall not easily allow the truth of his example. Tho good-natured complaints of Plutarch, and the pathetic lamentations of Ovid, seduce our reason by exciting our sensibility.