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retreat had been purchased by liberal gifts, and more liberal promises. But jEtius possessed an advantage of singular moment in a female reign: he was present: he besieged, with artful and assiduous flattery, the palace of Ravenna; disguised his dark designs with the mask of loyalty and friendship; and at length deceived both his mistress and his absent rival, by a subtle conspiracy, which a weak woman, and a brave man, could not easily Enor and suspect He secretly persuaded1 Placidia to rereroitof call Boniface from the government of Africa; in Africa', he secretly advised Boniface to disobey the im
A.D.447. • i A ,1 i_ ". j Ai
penal summons: to the one, he represented the order as a sentence of death; to the other, he stated the refusal as a signal of revolt; and when the credulous and unsuspecting count had armed the province in his defence, jEtius applauded his sagacity in foreseeing the rebellion, which his own perfidy had excited. A temperate inquiry into the real motives of Boniface, would have restored a faithful servant to his duty and to the republic; but the arts of jEtius still continued to betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution, to embrace the most desperate counsels. The success with which he eluded or repelled the first attacks, could not inspire a vain confidence, that, at the head of some loose, disorderly Africans, he should be able to withstand the regular forces of the west, commanded by a rival, whose military character it was impossible for him to despise. After some hesitation, the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface dispatched a trusty friend to the court, or rather to the camp, of Gonderic, king of the Vandals, with the proposal of a strict alliance, and the offer of an advantageous and perpetual settlement. He umtes After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of ^^an' Honorius had obtained a precarious establishA.D.428. ment in Spain; except only in the province of
> Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. lib. I.e. 3,4. p. 182—186.) relates the fraud of JEtim, the revolt of Boniface, and the loss of Africa. This anecdote, which i> supported by iome collateral testimony, (see Ruinart, Hist. Pereecut. Vandal, p. 42O,
VOL. IV. Q
Gallicia, where the Suevi and the Vaudals had fortified their camps, in mutual discord and hostile independence. The Vandals prevailed; and their adversaries were besieged in the Nervasian hills, between Leon and Oviedo, till the approach of count Asterius compelled, or rather provoked, the victorious barbarians to remove the scene of the war to the plains of Bcetica. The rapid progress of the Vandals soon required a more effectual opposition; and the master-general Castinus marched against them with a numerous army of Romans and Goths. Vanquished in battle by an inferior enemy, Castinus fled with dishonour to Tarragona; and this memorable defeat, which has been represented as the punishment, was most probably the effect, of his rash presumption."1 Seville and Carthagena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious conquerors; and the vessels which they found in the harbour of Carthagena, might easily transport them to the isles of Majorcaand Minorca, where the Spanish fugitives, as in a secure recess, had vainly concealed their families and their fortunes. The experience of navigation, and perhaps the prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to accept the invitation which they received from count Boniface; and the death of Gonderic served only to forward and animate the bold enterprise. In the room of a prince, not conspicuous for any superior powers of the mind or body, they acquired his bastard brother, the terrible Genseric;" a name, which, in the
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king of the destruction or the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila. The king of the Vandals is described to have been of a middle stature, with a lameness in one leg, which he had contracted by an accidental fall from his horse. His slow and cautious speech seldom declared the deep purposes of his soul: he disdained to imitate the luxury of the vanquished; but he indulged the sterner passions of anger and revenge. The ambition of Genseric was without bounds, and without scruples; and the warrior could dexterously employ the dark engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be useful to his success, or to scatter among his enemies the seeds of hatred and contention. Almost in the moment of his departure he was informed, that Hermanric, king of the Suevi, had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he was resolved to abandon. Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of the Suevi as far as Merida; precipitated the king and his army into the river Anas, and calmly returned to the sea-shore, to embark his victoriHe fantU ous troops. The vessels which transported the A ... Vandals over the modern straits of Gibraltar, May; a channel only twelve miles in breadth, were furnished by the Spaniards, who anxiously wished their departure; and by the African general, who had implored their formidable assistance." and re. Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate news his ^^ multiply the martial swarms of barbarians A. D. 429. that seemed to issue from the north, will perhaps be surprised by the account of the army which Genseric mustered on the coast of Mauritania. The Vandals, who in twenty years had penetrated from the Elbe to mount Atlas, were united under the command of their warlike king; and he reigned with equal au
421.) seems agreeable to the practice of ancient and modem courts, and- wonld be naturally revealed by the repentance of Boniface.
'" See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian (de Gubemat. Dei, lib. 7. p. 246. Paris, 1608.) ascribes the victory of the Vandali to their superior piety. They fasted, they prayed, they carried a Bible in the front of the host, with the design, perhaps, of reproaching the perfidy and sacrilege of their enemies.
• Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statura mediocris et equi casft cliJidicaos, ammo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriaecontemptor,irft turbidus habendi, cupidus, ad solicitandas gentesprovidentissimus.seminacontentionum jacere,odi& miscere paratus. Jomandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. :>;'. p. 657. This portrait, which is drawn with some skill, and a strong likeness, must have been copied from the Gothic history of Cassiodoriiis.
"See the Chronicle of Idatius. Thai bishop, a Spaniard and a contemporary, places the passage of the Vandals in the month of May, of the year of Abraham (which commences in October) 2444. This date which coincides with A. D. 429, is confirmed by Isidore, another Spanish bishop, and is justly preferred to the opinion of those writers; who have marked for that event, one of the two pieceding yew*' See Pagi Critica, tom. '-.'. p. 205, &c.
thority over the Alani, who had passed, within the term of human life, from the cold of Scythia to the excessive heat of an African climate. The hopes of the bold enterprise had excited many brave adventurers of the Gothic nation; and many desperate provincials were tempted to repair their fortunes by the same means which had occasioned their ruin. Yet this various multitude amounted only to fifty thousand effective men; and though Genseric artfully magnified his apparent strength, by appointing eighty chiliarchs, or commanders of thousands, the fallacious increase of old men, of children, and of slaves, would scarcely have swelled his army to the number of fourscore thousand persons.11 But his own dexterity, and the discontents of Africa, soon fortified the Vandal powers, by the accession of numerous and active allies. The parts ofMau
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mania, which border on the great desert and the Atlantic ocean, were filled with a fierce and untractable race of men, whose savage temper had been exasperated, rather than reclaimed, by their dread of the Roman arms. The wandering Moors,q as they gradually ventured to approach the sea-shore, and the camp of the Vandals, must have viewed with terror and astonishment the dress, the armour, the martial pride and discipline of the unknown strangers, who had landed on their coast; and the fair complexions of the blue-eyed •warriors of Germany, formed a very singular contrast with the swarthy or olive hue, which is derived from the neighbourhood of the torrid zone. After tl^e first difficulties had in some measure been removed, which arose from the mutual ignorance of their respective languages, the Moors, regardless of any future consequence, embraced the alliance of the enemies of Rome; and a crowd of naked savages rushed from the woods and valleys of mount Atlas, to satiate their revenge on the polished tyrants, who had injuriously expelled them from their native sovereignty of the land. The Do- The persecution of the Donatistsr was an natists. event not less favourable to the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years before he landed in Africa, a public conference was held at Carthage, by the order of the magistrate. The Catholics were satisfied, that, after the invincible reasons which they had alleged, the obstinacy of the schismatics must be inexcusable and voluntary; and the emperor Honorius was persuaded to inflict the most rigorous penalties on a faction, which had so long abused his patience and clemency. Three hundred bishops,' with many thousands of inferior clergy, were torn from their churches, stripped of their ecclesiastical possessions, banished to the islands, and proscribed by the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in the provinces of Africa. Their Humerous congregations, both in the cities and in the country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise of religious worship. A regular scale of fines, from ten to two hundred pounds of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the distinctions of rank and fortune, to punish the crime of assisting at a schismatic conventicle; and if the fine had been levied five times, without subduing the obstinacy of the offender, his future punishment was referred to the discretion of the imperial court.4 By these severities, which obtained the
t Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. lib. 1. c. 5. p. 190.) and Victor Vetensis. (de Persecutione Vandnl. lil'. 1. c. 1. p. S. edit. Ruinart.) We are ascured by Idatius, that Genieric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnilna eorumque familis; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 18. apnd Ruinart, p. 427.) describes his army, as inunus ingens inunanium gentium vandalorum et Alanorum, commixtanvsecum habens Gothorum gentem, aliarumque diversarum personas.
1 For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius; (de Bell. Vandal. lib. 9. c. 6. p. 249.) for their figure and complexion, M. de Bufibn. (Histoire NatureHe, tom. 3. p. 430. (Procopius says in general, that the Moors had joined the Vandals before the death of Valentinian, (de Bell. Vandal, lib. 1. c. 5. p. 19O.) and it is probable, that the independent tribes did not embrace any uniform system of poKcy.
'See Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. tom. 13. p. 516—558. and the whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments, published by Dupin at the end of Optatus, p. 323—515.
'The Donatist bishops, at the conference of Carthage, amounted to two hundred and seventy-nine; and they asserted, that their whole number was not less than four hundred. The Catholics had two hundred and eighty-six present, one hundred and twenty absent, besides sixty-four vacant bishopncks.
1 The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code, exhibits a series of the imperial laws against the Donatists, from the year 400 to the year 428. Of