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Aiancera- The retreat of the victorious Goths, who evaRome and cuated Rome on the sixth day,c might be the ravages result of prudence; but it was not surely the A. 1x410. effect of fear.d At the head of an army, enAug-29- cumbered with rich and weighty spoils, their intrepid leader advanced along the Appian way into the southern provinces of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose his passage, and contenting himself with the plunder of the unresisting country. The fate of Capua, the proud and luxurious metropolis of Campania, and which was respected, even in its decay, as the eighth city of the ertipire,c is buried in oblivion; whilst the adjacent town of Nolaf has been illustrated, on this occasion, by the sanctity of Paulinus,g who was successively a consul, a monk, and a bishop. At the age of forty, he renounced the enjoyment of wealth and honour, of society and literature, to embrace a life of solitude and penance; and the loud applause of the clergy encouraged him to despise the reproaches of his worldly friends, who ascribed this desperate act to some disorder of the mind or body.h An early and passionate attachment determined him to fix his humble dwelling in one of the suburbs of Nola, near the miraculous tomb of St. Faelix, which the public devotion had already sur
e Marcellinus, in Chron. Orosius (lib. 7. c. 39. p. 575.) asserts, that he left Rome on the third day; but this difference is easily reconciled by the successive motions of great bodies of troops.
d Socrates, (lib. 7. c 10.) pretends, without any colour of truth, or reason, that Alahc fled on the report, that the armies of the eastem empire were in full march to attack him.
e Ausonius de Claris Urbibuo, p. 233. edit. Toll. The luxury of Capua had formerly surpassed that of Sybaris itself. See Athenaeus Deipnosophist . lib. 12. p. 528. edit. Casaubon.
'Forty-eight years before the foundation of Rome (about aight hundred before the Chnstian era), the Tuscans built Capua and Nola, at the distance of twentythree miles from each other; but the latter of the two cities never emerged from a state of mediocrity.
iTillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. 14. p. 1—146.) has compiled, with his usual diligence, all that relates to the life and writings of Paulinus, whose retreat is celebrated by his own pen, and by the praises of St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustin, Sulpicius Severus, &c. his Christian friends and contemporaries.
11 See the affectionate letters of Ausonius (epist. 19—25.p. 650—698. edit. Toll.) to his colleague, his friend, and his disciple, Paulinus. The religion of Ausonios is still a problem. (See Mem. de 1'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. 15. p. 123— 138.) I believe that it was such in his own time, and consequently, that in his. heart he was a Pagan.
rounded with five large and populous churches. The remains of his fortune, and of his understanding, were dedicated to the service of the glorious martyr; whose praise, on the day of his festival, Paulinus never failed to celebrate by a solemn hymn; and in whose name he erected a sixth church, of superior elegance and beauty, which was decorated with many curious pictures, from the History of the Old and New Testament. Such assiduous zeal secured the favour of the saint,' or at least of the people; and, after fifteen years' retirement, the Roman consul was compelled to accept the bishoprick of Nola, a few months before the city was invested by the Goths. During the siege, some religious persons were satisfied that they had seen, either in dreams or visions, the divine form of their tutelar patron: yet it soon appeared by the event, that Faelix wanted power, or inclination, to preserve the flock, of which he had formerly been the shepherd. Nola was not saved from the general devastation ;k and the captive bishop was protected only by the general opinions of his innocence and poverty. Above four years elapsed from the successful invasion of Italy by the arms of Alaric, to the voluntary retreat of the Goths under the conduct of his . successor Adolphus; and, during the whole time of Italy by they reigned without control over a country, A. D. 4os which, in the opinion of the ancientsj had united ~412' all the various excellences of nature and art. The prosperity, indeed, which Italy had attained in the auspicious age of theAntonines, had gradually declined with the decline of the empire. The fruits of a long peace perished under the rude grasp of the barbarians; and they themselves were incapable of tasting the more elegant refinements of luxury, which had been prepared for the use of the soft and polished Italians. Each soldier, however, claimed an ample portion of the substantial plenty, the corn and cattle, oil and wine, that was daily collected, and consumed, in the Gothic camp; and the principal warriors insulted the villas, and gardens, once inhabited by Lucullus and Cicero along the beauteous coast of Campania. Their trembling captives, the sons and daughters of Roman senators, presented, in goblets of gold and gems, large draughts of Falernian wine to the haughty victors; who stretched their huge' limbs under the shade of plane-trees,' artificially disposed to exclude the scorching rays, and to admit the genial warmth of the sun. These delights jwere enhanced by the memory of past hardships; the comparison of their native soil, the bleak and barren hills of Seythia, and the frozen banks of the Elbe and Danube, added new charms to the felicity of the Italian climate." 1
1 The bumble Paul inns once presumed to say, that be believed St. IVIi v did love bim; at least, as amaster loves his little dog.
k See Jomandes, de Keb. Get. c. 30. p. 653. Philostorgius, lib. 12. c. 3. Au1. de Civ. Dei, lib. l. c. 10. llaronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 410. no. 45,46.
( Whether fame, or conquest, or riches, were
the object of Alaric, he pursued that object
'with an indefatigable ardour which could be neither quelled by adversity, nor satiated by success. No sooner had he reached the extreme land of Italy, than he was attracted by the neighbouring prospect of a fertile and peaceful island. Yet even the possession of Sicily he considered only as an intermediate step to the important expedition, which he already meditated against the continent of Africa. The straits of Rhe
•ThepJatomw, or plane-tree, was a favourite of the ancients, by whom it was propagated, for the sake of shade, from the east to Gaul. Pliny, Hist . Natur. B. 3 — 5. He mentions several of an enormous size; one in the imperial villa atVelitnr, which Caligula called his nest, as the branches were capable of holding a large table, the proper attendants, and the emperor himself, whom Pliny quaintly styles fart umbra.; an expression which might, with equal reason, be applied to Alanc. 111 The prostrate South to the destroyer yields Her boasted titles, and her golden fields: With grim delight the brood of winter view A brighter day, and skies of azure hue; Scent the new fragrance of the opening rose, And quaff the pendant vintage as it grows.
See Gray's Poems, published by Mr. Mason, p. 197. Instead of compiling tables of chronology and natural history, why did not Mr. Gray apply the powers of his genius to finish the philosophic poem, of which he has left such an exquisite specimen?
gium and Messina," are twelve miles in length, and, in the narrowest passage, about one mile and a half broad; and the fabulous monsters of the deep, the rocks of Scylla and the whirlpool of Charybdis, could terrify none but the most timid and unskilful mariners. Yet as soon as the first division of the Goths had embarked, a sudden tempest arose, which sunk, or scattered, many of the transports; their courage was daunted by the terrors of a new element; and the whole design was defeated by the premature death of Alaric, which fixed, after a short illness, the fatal term of his conquests. The ferocious character of the barbarians was displayed, in the funeral of a hero, whose valour and fortune they celebrated with mournful applause. By the labour of a captive multitude, they forcibly diverted the course of the Busentinus, a small river that washes the walls of Consentia. The royal sepulchre, adorned with the splendid toils and trophies of Rome, was constructed in the vacant bed; the waters were then restored to their natural channel; and the secret spot, where the remains of Alaric had been deposited, was for ever concealed by the inhuman massacre of the prisoners, who had been employed to execute the work." Adoi bus ^e Personal animosities, and hereditary king of the feuds, of the barbarians, were suspended by the
Gotns,con- . f , . _ . j ~» il
eludes a strong necessity ot their attairs; and the brave tkTeLpi£,Adolphus, the brother-in-law of the deceased ... was unanimously elected to succeed Oaai. to his throne. The character and political 'system of the new king of the Goths, may be best understood from his own conversation with an illustrious citizen of Narbonne; who afterward, in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, related it to St. Jerome, in the presence of the historian Orosius. "In the full
• For the perfect description of the straits of Messina, Scylla, Charybdis, &c. see Cluverius, (Ital. Anticl, lib. 4. p. 1293. and Sicilia Antiq. lib. t. p. 60—76.) who had diligently studied the ancients, and surveyed with a curious eye the actual face of the country. "Jomandes, de Reb. Get. c. 30. p. 654.
confidence of valour and victory, I once aspired (said Adolphus) to change the face of the universe; to obliterate the name of Rome; to erect on its ruins the dominion of the Goths; and to acquire, like Augustus, the immortal fame of the founder of a new empire. By repeated experiments, I was gradually convinced, that laws are essentially necessary to maintain and regulate a well-constituted state; and that the fierce untractable humour of the Goths was incapable of bearing the salutary yoke of laws and civil government. From that moment I proposed to myself a different object of glory and ambition; and it is now my sincere wish, that the gratitude of future ages should acknowledge the merit -of a stranger, who employed the sword of the Goths, not to subvert, but to restore and maintain, the prosperity of the Roman empire."1" With these pacific views, the successor of Alaric suspended the operations of war; and seriously negotiated with the imperial court a treaty of friendship and alliance. It was the interest of the ministers of Honorius, who were now released from the obligation of their extravagant oath, to deliver Italy from the intolerable weight of the Gothic powers; and they readily accepted their service against the tyrants and barbarians who infested the provinces beyond the Alps.q Adolphus, assuming the character of a Roman general, directed his march from the extremity of Campania to the southern provinces of Gaul. His troops, either by force or agreement, immediately occupied the cities of Narbonne, Thoulouse, and Bourdeaux; and though they were repulsed by count Boniface from the walls of Marseilles, they soon extended their quarters from the Mediterra
P Orosius, lib. 7. c. 43. p. 584, 585. He was sent by St. Aagustin, in the year 415, from Africa to Palestine, to visit St. Jerome, and to consult with him on tin: subject of the Palagian controversy.
4 Jomandes supposes, without much probability, that Adolphus visited and plundered Rome a second time (more locustarum erasit). Yet he agrees with Orosius in supposing, that a treaty of peace was concluded between tie Gothic prince and Honorius. See Oros. lib. 7. c. 43. p. 584, 586. Jomandes, de Reb. Gcticis, c. 31. p. 654, 655.