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number of the frontier garrisons, the empire till the last moment of its dissolution, continued to languish under the mortal wound which had been so rashly or so weakly inflicted by the hand of Constantine. R«iuc- The same timid policy of dividing whatever of0Ae *s united, of reducing whatever is eminent, of legions, dreading every active power, and of expecting that the most feeble will prove the most obedient, seems to pervade the institutions of several princes, and particularly those of Constantine. The martial pride of the legions, whose victorious camps had so often been the scene of rebellion, was nourished by the memory of their past exploits, and the consciousness of their actual strength. As long as they maintained their ancient establishment of six thousand men, they subsisted, under the reign of Diocletian, each of them singly, a visible and important object in the military history of the Roman empire. A few years afterward, these gigantic bodies were shrunk to a very diminutive size; and when seven legions, with some auxiliaries, defended the city of Amida against the Persians, the total garrison, with the inhabitants of both sexes, and the peasants of the deserted country, did not exceed the number of twenty thousand persons.11 From this fact, and from similar examples, there is reason to believe, that the constitution of the legionary troops, to which they partly owed their valour and discipline, was dissolved by Constantine; and that the bands of Roman infantry, which still assumed the same names and the same honours, consisted only of one thousand or fifteen hundred men.q The conspiracy of so many separate detachments, each of which was awed by the sense of its own weakness, could easily be checked; and the successors of Constantine might indulge their love of ostentation, by issuing their orders to one hundred and
v Anunian. lib. 19. c. 2. He observes (c. 5.) that the desperate sallies of two Gallic legions were like a handful of water thrown on a great conflagration.
• Pancirolus ad Notitiam, p. 96. Memoires de l' Academic des Inscriptions, tom. SS. p. 491.
thirty-two legions, inscribed on the muster-roll of their numerous armies. The remainder of their troops was distributed into several hundred cohorts of infantry, and squadrons of cavalry. Their arms, and titles, and ensigns, were calculated to inspire terror, and to display the variety of nations who marched under the imperial standard. And not a vestige was left of that severe simplicity, which, in the ages of freedom and victory, had distinguished the line of battle of a Roman army from the confused host of an Asiatic monarch/ A more particular enumeration, drawn from the Notitia, might exercise the diligence of an antiquary; but the historian will content himself with observing, that the number of permanent stations or garrisons established on the frontiers of the empire, amounted to five hundred and eightythree; and that under the successors of Constantine, the complete force of the military establishment was computed at six hundred and forty-five thousand soldiers.' An effort so prodigious surpassed the wants of a more ancient, and the faculties of a later period. Difficulty ^n tne various states of society, armies are reof levies cruitcd from very different motives. Barbarians are urged by the love of war; the citizens of a free republic may be prompted by a principle of duty; the subjects, or at least the nobles, of a monarchy, are animated by a sentiment of honour; but the timid and luxurious inhabitants of a declining empire must be allured into the service by the hopes of profit, or compelled by the dread of punishment. The resources of the Roman treasury were exhausted by the increase of pay, by the repetition of donatives, and by the invention of new emoluments and indulgences, which in the opinion of the provincial youth, might compensate the hardships and dangers of a military life. Yet, although the stature was lowered,1 although slaves, at least by a tacit connivance, were indiscriminately received into the ranks, the insurmountable difficulty of procuring a regular and adequate supply of volunteers, obliged the emperors to adopt more effectual and coercive methods. The lands bestowed on the veterans, as the free reward of their valour, were henceforward granted under a condition, which contains the first rudiments of the feudal tenures; that their sons, who succeeded to the inheritance, should devote themselves to the profession of arms as soon as they attained the age of manhood; and their cowardly refusal was punished by the loss of honour, of fortune, or even of life." But as the annual growth of the sons of the veterans bore a very small proportion to the demands of the service, levies of men were frequently required from the provinces, and every proprietor was obliged either to take up arms, or to procure a substitute, or to purchase his exemption by the payment of a heavy fine. The sum of forty-two pieces of gold, to which it was reduced, ascertains the exorbitant price of volunteers, and the reluctance with which the government admitted of this alternative." Such was the horror for the profession of a soldier, which had affected the minds of the degenerate Romans, that many of the youth of Italy, and the provinces, chose to cut off the fingers of their right hand to escape from being pressed into the service; and this strange expedient was so commonly practised, as to deserve the severe animadversion of the laws,' and a peculiar name in the Latin language.1 increase of The introduction of barbarians into the Roman auiiila-311 armies became every day more universal, more nes. necessary, and more fatal. The most daring of the Scythians, of the Goths, and of the Germans, who delighted in war, and who found it more profitable 'to defend than to ravage the provinces, were enrolled, not only in the auxiliaries of their respective nations, but in the legions themselves, and among the most distinguished of the Palatine troops. As they freely mingled with the subjects of the empire, they gradually learned to despise their manners, and to imitate their arts. They abjured the implicit reverence, which the pride of Rome had exacted from their ignorance, while they acquired the knowledge and possession of those advantages by which alone she supported her declining greatness. The barbarian soldiers, who displayed any military talents, were advanced without exception, to the most important commands; and the names of the tribunes, of the counts and dukes, and of the generals themselves, betray a foreign origin, which they no longer condescended to disguise. They were often intrusted with the conduct of a war against their countrymen; and though most of them preferred the ties of allegiance to those of blood, they did not always avoid the guilt, or at least the suspicion, of holding a treasonable correspondence with the enemy, of inviting his invasion, or of sparing his retreat The camps and the palace of the son of Constantine were governed by the powerful faction of the Franks, who preserved the strictest connexion with each other, and with their country, and who resented every personal affront as a national indignity." When the tyrant Caligula was suspected of an intention to invest a very extraordinary candidate with the consular robes, the sacrilegious profanation would have scarcely excited less astonishment, if, instead of a horse, the noblest chieftain of Germany or Britain had been the object of his choice. The revolution of three centuries had produced so remarkable a change in the prejudices of the people, that, with the public approbation, Constantine shewed his successors the example of bestowing the honours of the consulship on the barbarians, who, by their merit and services, had deserved to be ranked among the first of the Romans.11 But as these hardy veterans, who had been educated in the ignorance or contempt of the laws, were incapable of exercising any civil offices, the powers of the human mind were contracted by the irreconcileable separation of talents as well as of professions. The accomplished citizens of the Greek and Roman republics, whose characters could adapt themselves to the bar, the senate, the camp, or the schools, had learned to write, to speak, and to act, with the same spirit, and with equal abilities.
i Romana acies unius prope foniw erat et hominum ft armorum genera.—Regi» acies varia magis multis gentibus dissimilitudine armorum aiuilionunque erat. T. Liv. lib. 37. c. 39,40. Flaminius even before this event, had compared the army of Antiochus to a supper, in which the flesh of one vile animal was diversified by the skill of the cooks. See the life of Flaminius in Plutarch. 1 Agathias, lib. 5. p. 157. edit . Louvre.
1 Valentinian (Cod. Theodos. lib. 7. tit. 13. leg. 3.) fixes the standard at five feet seven inches, about five feet four inches and a half English measure. It had formerly been five feet ten inches, and in the best corps six Roman feet. Scd tune erat amplior multitude, et plures sequebantur militiam armati. Vegetius de Re Militari, lib. 1. c. 5.
• See the two titles, De Veteranis, and De Filiis Veteranorum, in the seventh book of the Theodosian Code. The age at which their military service was required, varied from twenty-five to sixteen. If the sons of the veterans appeared with a horse, they had a right to serve in the cavalry ; two horses gave them some valuable privileges.
* Cod. Theod. lib. 7. tit. 13. leg. 7. According to the historian Socrates, (see Godefroy ad Inc.) the same emperor Valens sometimes required eighty pieces of gold for a recruit. In the following law it is faintly expressed, that slaves shall not be admitted inter optimas lectissimorum militum turmas.
v The person and property of a Roman knight, who had mutilated his two Boos, were sold at public auction by order of Augustus. (Sneton. in August. c. 27.) The moderation of that artful usurper proves, that this example of severity was jimifit-d by the spirit of the times. Anunianus makes a distinction between the effeminate Italians and the hardy Gauls. (Lab. 15. c. 12.) Yet only fifteen years afterward, Yalentinian, in alaw addressed to the prefect of Gaul, is obliged to enact that thex cowardly deserters shall be burnt alive. (Cod. Theod. lib. 7. tit. 1S. leg. a.) Their numbers in Illyricum were so considerable, that the province complained of a scarcity of recruits (Id. leg. 10.)
* They were called Mum'. Murcidvs is found in Plautus and Fcstus, to denote a lazy and cowardly person, who, according to Amobius and Augustin, was under the immediate protection of the goddess Murcia. From this particular
particular instance of
Wie writers of the middle lesius ad Aihmian. Marcellin. lib. 15. c. 1J.
cowardice, murcan is used as synonymous to mutHare, by the writers of the middle
Seven mi ^' Besides the magistrates and generals, who rasters of at a distance from the court diffused their delepi M.s. authority over the provinces and armies,
the emperor conferred the rank of illustrious on seven of his more immediate servants, to whose fidelity he intrusted his safety, or his counsels, or his treasures. 1. The private apartments of the palace were governed
> MalarirbuB — adbibitis Francis quorum ea tempestate in palatio multitude floicbat, erectiue jam loquebatut tumultuabatuique. Ammian. lib. 15. c. 5.
11 Barbaros omnium primus, ad usque fasces auxerat et trabeas consulares. Ammian. lib. 20. c. 10. J'.usebms (in \ it. Constantin. lib. 4. c. 17.) and Aurelius Victor seem to confirm the truth of this assertion ; yet in the thirty-two consular Fasti of the reign of Constantine, I cannot discover the name of a single barbarian. I should therefore interpret the liberality of that prince, as relative to the ornaments, rather than to the office, of the consulship.