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collected, from the subjects of a great empire, an army of thirty or forty thousand men, which, in the days of Scipio or Camillns, would have been instantly furnished » by the free citizens of the territory of Rome.d The thirty legions of Stilicho were reinforced by a large body of barbarian auxiliaries; the faithful Alani were personally attached to his service; and the troops of Huns and of Goths who marched under the banners of their native princes, Huldin and Sarus, were animated by interest and resentment to oppose the ambition of Radagaisus. The king of the confederate Germans passed, without resistance, the Alps, the Po, and the Apennine; leaving on one hand the inaccessible palace of Honorius, securely buried among the marshes of Ravenna; and on the other, the camp of Stilicho, who had fixed his head-quarters at Ticinum, or Pavia, but who seems to have avoided a decisive battle, till he had assembled his distant forces. Many cities of Italy were Besieges ... or destroyed; and the siege of FloFlorence, rence,' by Radagaisus, is one of the earliest events in the history of that celebrated republic; whose firmness checked and delayed the unskilful fury of the barbarians. The senate and people trembled at their approach within a hundred and eighty miles of Rome; and anxiously compared the danger which they had escaped, with the new perils to which they were exposed. Alaric was a Christian and a soldier, the leader of a disciplined army; who understood the laws of war, who respected the sanctity of treaties, and who had familiarly conversed with the subjects of the empire in the
d Soon after Rome had been taken by the Gauls, the senate, on a sadden emergency, armed ten legions, three thousand horse, and forty-two thousand foot; a force which the city could not have sent forth under Augustus. (Livy. 7. 25.) This declaration may puzzle an antiquary, but it is clearly explained by Montesquieu.
•Machiavel has explained, at least, as a philosopher, the origin of Florence, •which insensibly descended, for the benefit of trade, from the rock of F»sulaeto the banli s of the Amo. (Istoria Florentin. tom. 1. lib. 2. p. 36. Londra, 1747.) The triumvirs sent a colony to Florence, which, under Tiberius, (Tacit. Annal. 1.79.) deserved the reputation and name of a flouriihiug city. See Cluver. Ital. Antiq. tom, l.p.507, &c.
same camps, and the same churches. The savage Radagaisus was a stranger to the manners, the religion, and even the language, of the civilized nations of the south. The fierceness of his temper was exasperated by cruel superstition; and it was universally believed, that he had bound himself, by a solemn vow, to reduce and threat- ^ne c*ty m^o a ^eaP of stones and ashes, and to ena Rome, sacrifice the most illustrious of the Roman senators, on the altars of those gods, who were appeased by human blood. The public danger, which should have reconciled all domestic animosities, displayed the incurable madness of religious faction. The oppressed votaries of Jupiter and Mercury respected, in the implacable enemy of Rome, the character of a devout Pagan; loudly declared, that they were more apprehensive of the sacrifices, than of the arms, of Radagaisus; and secretly rejoiced in the calamities of their country, which condemned the faith of their Christian adversaries/
Defeat Florence was reduced to the last extremity; and de- and ^e faintine courage of the citizens was
of his supported only by the authority of St. Ambrose; sSucho^ who had communicated, in a dream, the proA.d. 406. mise Qf a Speedy deliverance.8 On a sudden,
they beheld from their walls, the banners of Stilicho, who advanced, with his united force, to the relief of the faithful city; and who soon marked that fatal spot for the grave of the barbarian host. The apparent contradictions of those writers who variously relate the defeat of Radagaisus, may be reconciled without offering much violence to their respective testimonies. Orosius and Augustin, who were intimately connected by friendship and religion, ascribe this miraculous victory to the providence of God, rather than to the valour of man.1' They strictly exclude every idea of chance, or even of bloodshed; and positively affirm, that the Romans, whose camp was the scene of plenty and idleness, enjoyed the distress of the barbarians, slowly expiring on the sharp and barren ridge of the hills of the Faesulae, which rise above the city of Florence. Their extravagant assertion, that not a single soldier of the Christian army was killed, or even wounded, may be dismissed with silent contempt; but the rest of the narrative of Augustin and Orosius is consistent with the state of the war, and the character of Stilicho. Conscious that he commanded the last army of the republic, his prudence would not expose it, in the open field, to the headstrong fury of the Germans. The method of surrounding the enemy with strong lines of circumvallation, which he had twice employed against the Gothic king, was repeated on a large scale, and with more considerable effect. The examples of Caesar must have been familiar to the most illiterate of the Roman warriors; and the fortifications of Dyrrachium, which connected twenty-four castles, by a perpetual ditch and rampart of fifteen miles, afforded the model of an intrenchment which might confine and starve the most numerous host of barbarians.' The Roman troops had less degenerated from the industry, than from the valour, of their ancestors; and if the servile and laborious work offended the pride of the soldiers, Tuscany could supply many thousand peasants, who would labour, though, perhaps, they would not fight, for the salvation of their native country. The imprisoned multitude of horses and menk was gradually destroyed by famine, rather than by the sword; but the Romans were exposed, during the progress of such an extensive work, to the frequent attacks of an impatient enemy. The despair of the hungry barbarians would precipitate them against the fortifications of Stilicho; the general might sometimes indulge the ardour of his brave auxiliaries, who eagerly pressed to assault the camp of the Germans; and these various incidents might produce the sharp and bloody conflicts which dignify the narrative of Zosimus, and the Chronicles of Prosper and Marcellinus.1 A seasonable supply of men and provisions had been introduced into the walls of Florence; and the famished host of Radagaisus was in its turn besieged. The proud monarch of so many warlike nations, after the loss of his bravest warriors, was reduced to confide either in the faith of a capitulation, or in the clemency of Stilicho."1 But the death of the royal captive, who was ignominiously beheaded, disgraced the triumph of Rome and of Christianity; and the short delay of his execution was sufficient to brand the conqueror with the guilt of cool and deliberate cruelty." The famished Germans, who escaped the fury of the auxiliaries, were sold as slaves, at the contemptible- price of as many single pieces of gold; but the difference of food and climate swept away great numbers of those unhappy strangers; and it was observed that the inhuman purchasers, instead of reaping the fruits of their labour, were soon obliged to provide the expense of their interment. Stilicho informed the emperor and the senate of his success; and deserved, a second time, the glorious title of Deliverer of Italy." The fame of the victory, and more especially ^ t^ie mirac^6' ^as encouraged a vain persuain- sion that the whole army, or rather nation, of A*. D. 406.' Germans, who migrated from the shores of the Dec. 31. ... miserably perished under the walls of Florence. Such indeed was the fate of Radagaisus himself, of his brave and faithful companions, and of more than one-third of the various multitude of Sueves and Vandals, of Alani and Burgundians, who adhered to the standard of their general.p The union of such an army might excite our surprise, but the causes of separation are obvious and forcible; the pride of birth, the insolence of valour, the jealousy of command, the impatience of subordination, and the obstinate conflict of opinions, of interests, and of passions, among so many kings and warriors, who were untaught to yield, or to obey. After the defeat of Radagaisus, two parts of the German host, which must have exceeded the number of one hundred thousand men, still remained in arms, between the Apennine and the Alps, or between the Alps and the Danube. It is uncertain whether they attempted to revenge the death of their general; but their irregular fury was soon diverted by the" prudence and firmness of Stilicho, who opposed their march, and facilitated their retreat; who considered the safety of Rome and Italy as the great object of his
'Yet the Jupiter of Radagaisus, who worshipped Thor and Woden was very different from the Olympic or Capitoline Jove. The accommodating temper of Polytheism, might unite those various and remote deities; but the genuine Romans abhorred the human sacrifices of Gaul and Germany.
f Panlinus (in Vit. Ambros. c. 50.) relates this story, which he received from the mouth of Pansophia herself, a religious matron of Florence Yet the arch> bishop soon ceased to take an active part in the business of the world, and never became a popular saint.
h Augustin de CivitaU Dei, 5. 23. Orosius, lib. 7. c. 37. p. 567—571. The two friends wrote in Africa, ten or twelve years after the victory; and their authority is implicitly followed by Isidore of Seville, (in Chron. p. 713. edit. Grot.') How many interesting facts might Orosius have inserted in the vacant space which is devoted to pious nonsense!
1 Franguntur montes, planumque per ardua Caesar
Ducit opus: pandit fossas, turritaque simnms
Disponit castellajugis, magnoque recessu
Amplexus fines; saltus nemorosaque tesqua
Et silvas, vastasque feras indagine claudit.
Yet the simplicity of truth (Caesar, de Bell. Civ. 3. 44.) is far greater than the amplifications of Lucan. (Pharsal. lib. 6. 29—63.)
k The rhetorical expressions of Orosius, " In arido etjaspero montis jugo j" "in snum ac parvum verticem;" are not very suitable to the encampment of a great army. But Fwsula;, only three miles from Florence, might afford space for the head-quarters of Radagaisus, and would be comprehended within the circuit of the Roman lines.
1 See Zosimus, lib. 5. p. 331. and the Chronicles of Prosper and Marcellinus.
m Olympiodorus (apud Photium, p. 180.) uses an expression, ... •which would denote a strict and friendly alliance, and render Stilicho still more criminal. The paulisper detentus, deinde interfectus, of Orosius, is sufficiently odious.
• Orosius, piously inhuman, sacrifices the king and people, Agag and the Amalekites, without a symptom of compassion. The bloody actor is less detestable than the cool unfeeling historian.
0 And Claudian's muse, was she asleep? had she been ill paid? Methinks the seventh consulship of Honorius ( A. D. 407.) would have fumished the subject of a noble poem. Before it was discovered that the state could no longer be saved, Stilicho (after Romulus, Camillus, and Marius) might have been worthily surnamed the fourth founder of Rome.
P A luminous passagfl of Prosper's Chronicle, "In tret paries, per divmoi princi
Qdiinaa exercitus," reduces the miracle of Florence, and connects the history of v, Gaul, and Germany.