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titude, that prince returned by rapid marches from the Rhine to the Saone, embarked on the last-mentioned river at Chalons, and at Lyons trusting himself to the rapidity of the Rhone, arrived at the gates of Arles, with a military force which it was impossible for Maximian to resist, and which scarcely permitted him to take refuge in the neighbouring city of Marseilles. The narrow neck of land which joined that place to the continent was fortified against the besiegers, whilst the sea was open, either for the escape of Maximian, or for the succours of Maxentius, if the latter should choose to disguise his invasion of Gaul under the honourable pretence of defending a distressed, or, as he might allege, an injured father. Apprehensive of the fatal consequences of delay, Constantine gave orders for an immediate assault; but the scaling-ladders were found too short for the height of the walls; and Marseilles might have sustained as long a siege as it formerly did against the arms of Cæsar, if the garrison, conscious either of their fault or their danger, had not purchased their pardon by delivering up the city, and the person of Maximian.
of Maximian. A secret A.D. 310, but irrevocable sentence of death was pronounced February
against the usurper; he obtained only the same favour which he had indulged to Severus; and it was published to the world, that oppressed by the remorse of bis repeated crimes, he strangled himself with his own hands. After he had lost the assistance, and disdained the moderate counsels, of Diocletian, the second period of his active life was a series of public calamities, and personal mortifications, which were terminated, in about three years, by an ignominious death. He deserved his fate; but we should find more reason to applaud the humanity of Constantine, if he had spared an old man, the benefactor of his father, and the father of his wife. During the whole of this melancholy transaction, it appears that Fausta sacrificed the sentiments of nature to her conjugal duties.
ma Zosim. tib. 2. p. 82. Eumenius in Panegyr. Vet. 7. 16–21. The latter of
The last years of Galerius were less shameful Galeria::. and unfortunate; and though he had filled with May.
more glory the subordinate station of Cæsar than the superior rank of Augustus, he preserved, till the moment of his death, the first place among the princes of the Roman world. He survived his retreat from Italy about four years; and, wisely relinquishing his views of universal empire, he devoted the remainder of his life to the enjoyment of pleasure, and to the execution of some works of public utility, among which we may distinguish the discharging into the Danube the superfluous waters of the lake Pelso, and the cutting down the immense forests that encompassed it; an operation worthy of a monarch, since it gave an extensive country to the agriculture of his Pannonian subjects." His death was occasioned by a very painful and lingering disorder. His body, swelled by an intemperate course of life to an unwieldy corpulence, was covered with ulcers, and devoured by innumerable swarms of those insects who have given their name to a most loathsome disease;" but; as Galerius had offended a very zealous and powerful party among his subjects, his sufferings, instead of exciting their compassion, have been celebrated as the visible effects of divine justice. He had no sooner expired in his palace of Nicomedia, than the two emperors who were indebted for their purple to his fa
these has undoubtedly represented the whole affair in the most favourable light for his sovereign. Yet even from this partial narrative we may conclude, that the repeated clemency of Constantine, and the reiterated treasons of Maximian, as they are described by Lactantius, (de M. P. c. 29, 30.) and copied by the moderns, are destitute of any historical foundation.
n Aurelius Victor, c. 40. But that lake was situated on the Upper Pannonia, near the borders of Noricum; and the province of Valeria (a name which the wife of Garelius gave to the drained country) undoubtedly lay between the Drave and the Danube. (Sextus Rufus, c. 9.) I shov'd therefore suspect that Victor has confounded the lake Pelso with the Volocear-marshes, or, as they are now called, the lake Sabaton. It is placed in the heart of Valeria, and its present extent is not less than twelve Hungarian miles (about seventy English) in length, and two in breadth. See Severini Pannonia, lib. 1. c. 9.
• Lactantius (de M. P. c. 33.) and Eusebius (lib. 8. c. 16.) describe the symptoms and progress of his disorder with
singular accuracy and apparent pleasure. P If any (like the late Dr. Jortin, Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. 2. p. 307–356.) still delight in recording the wonderful deaths of the persecutors, I would recommend to their perusal an admirable passage of Grotius, (Hist. lib. 7. p. 332.) concerning the last illness of Philip II. of Spain.
vour, began to collect their forces, with the inminions tention either of disputing, or of dividing, the between dominions which he had left without a master. Maximin and Lici- They were persuaded, however, to desist from the
former design, and to agree in the latter. The provinces of Asia fell to the share of Maximin, and those of Europe augmented the portion of Licinius. The Hellespont and the Thracian Bosphorus formed their mutual boundary; and the banks of those narrow seas, which flowed in the midst of the Roman world, were covered with soldiers, with arms, and with fortifications. The deaths of Maximian and of Galerius reduced the number of emperors to four. The sense of their true interest soon connected Licinius and Constantine; a secret alliance was concluded between Maximin and Maxentius; and their unhappy subjects expected with terror the bloody consequences of their inevitable dis, sensions, which were no longer restrained by the fear or the respect which they had entertained for Galerius.
Among so many crimes and misfortunes occatration of sioned by the passions of the Roman princes,
there is some pleasure in discovering a single Gaul, A. D. 306 action which may be ascribed to their virtue. In
the sixth year of his reign, Constantine visited the city of Autun, and generously remitted the arrears of tribute, reducing at the same time the proportion of their assessment, from twenty-five to eighteen thousand heads, subject to the real and personal capitation." Yet even this indulgence affords the most unquestionable proof of the public misery. This tax was so extremely oppressive, either in itself or in the mode of collecting it, that whilst the revenue was increased by extortion, it was diminished by despair ; a considerable part of the territory of Autun was left uncultivated; and great numbers of
9 See Eusebius, lib. 9. 6. 10. Lactantius de M. P. c. 36. Zosimus is less exact, and evidently confounds Maximian with Maximin.
" See the eighth Panegyr. in which Eumenius displays, in the presence of Constantine, the misery and the gratitude of the city of Autun.
the provincials rather chose to live as exiles and outlaws, than to support the weight of civil society. It is but too probable, that the bountiful emperor relieved, by a partial act of liberality, one among the many evils which he had caused by his general maxims of administration. But even those maxims were less the effect of choice than of necessity; and, if we except the death of Maximian, the reign of Constantine in Gaul seems to have been the most innocent and even virtuous period of his life. The provinces were protected by his presence from the inroads of the barbarians, who either dreaded or experienced his active valour. After a signal victory over the Franks and Alemanni, several of their princes were exposed by his order to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre of Treves; and the people seem to have enjoyed the spectacle without discovering, in such a treatment of royal captives, any thing that was repugnant to the laws of nations or of humanity."
The virtues of Constantine were rendered more Tyranny of Maxen- illustrious by the vices of Maxentius. Whilst Italy and the Gallic provinces enjoyed as much happiness A.D. 306 , as the condition of the times was capable of re
ceiving, Italy and Africa groaned under the dominion of a tyrant as contemptible as he was odious. The zeal of flattery and faction has indeed too frequently sacrificed the reputation of the vanquished to the glory of their successful rivals; but even those writers who have revealed, with the most freedom and pleasure, the faults of Constantine, unanimously confess that Maxentius was cruel, rapacious, and profligate. He had the good fortune to suppress a slight rebellion in Africa. The governor and a few adherents had been guilty; the province suffered for their crime. The flourishing cities of
• Eutropius, 10. 3. Panegyr. Veter. 7.10—12. A great number of the French youth were likewise exposed to the same cruel and ignominious death.
• Julian excludes Maxentius from the banquet of the Cæsars with abhorrence and contempt ; and Zosimus (lib. 2. p. 85.) accuses him of every kind of cruelty and profligacy.
Cirtha and Carthage, and the whole extent of that fertile country, were wasted by fire and sword. The abuse of victory was followed by the abuse of law and justice. A formidable army of sycophants and delators invaded Africa; the rich and the noble were easily convicted of a connexion with the rebels; and those among them, who experienced the emperor's clemency, were only punished by the confiscation of their estates." So signal a victory was celebrated by a magnificent triumph; and Maxentius exposed to the eyes of the people the spoils and captives of a Roman province. The state of the capital was no less deserving of compassion than that of Africa. The wealth of Rome supplied an inexhaustible fund for his vain and prodigal expenses, and the ministers of his revenue were skilled in the arts of rapine. It was under his reign that the method of exacting a free gift from the senators was first invented; and, as the sum was insensibly increased, the pretences of levying it, a victory, a birth, a marriage, or an imperial consulship, were proportionably multiplied. Maxentius had imbibed the same implacable aversion to the senate, which had characterized most of the former tyrants of Rome; nor was it possible for his ungrateful temper to forgive the generous fidelity which had raised him to the throne, and supported him against all his enemies. The lives of the senators were exposed to his jealous suspicions; the dishonour of their wives and daughters heightened the gratification of his sensual passions. It may be presumed that an imperial lover was seldom reduced to sigh in vain ; but, whenever persuasion proved ineffectual, he had recourse to violence; and there remains one
a Zosimus, lib. 2. p. 83–85. Aurelius Victor. * The passage of Aurelius Victor should be read in the following manner : Primns instituto pessimo, munerum specie, patres oratoresque pecuniam conferre prodigenti sibi cogeret.
Panegyr. Vet. 9.3. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 8. 14. et in Vit. Constant. 1.33, 34. Rufinus, c. 17. The virtuous matron, who stabbed herself to escape the violence of Maxentius, was a Christian, wife to the prefect of the city, and her name was Sophronia. It still remains a question among the casuists, whether, on such occasions, suicide is justifiable.