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reach of mercy, were animated by revenge and despair. Notwithstanding their repeated efforts, those brave veterans were unable to recover the victory: they obtained, however, an honourable death; and it was observed that their bodies covered the same ground which had been occupied by their ranks.y The confusion then became general; and the dismayed troops of Maxentius, pursued by an implacable enemy, rushed by thousands into the deep and rapid stream of the Tyber. The emperor himself attempted to escape back into the city over the Milvian bridge; but the crowds which pressed together through that narrow passage, forced him into the river, where he was immediately drowned by the weight of his armour.2 His body, which had sunk very deep into the mud, was found with some difficulty the next day. The sight of his head, when it was exposed to the eyes of the people, convinced them of their deliverance, and admonished them to receive with acclamations of loyalty and gratitude, the fortunate Constantine, who thus achieved by his valour and ability the most splendid enterprise of his life."
His re_ In the use of victory, Constantine neither deception, served the praise of clemency, nor incurred the censure of immoderate rigour.b He inflicted the same treatment to which a defeat would have exposed his own person and family; put to death the two sons of the tyrant, and carefully extirpated his whole race. The most distinguished adherents of Maxentius must have expected to share his fate, as they had shared his prosperity and his crimes; but when the Roman people loudly demanded a greater number of victims, the conqueror resisted, with firmness and humanity, those servile clamours, which were dictated by flattery as well as by resentment. Informers were punished and discouraged; the innocent, who had suffered under the late tyranny, were recalled from exile, and restored to their estates. A general act of oblivion quieted the minds and settled the property of the people, both in Italy and in Africa.0 The first time that Constantine honoured the senate with his presence, he recapitulated his own services and exploits in a modest oration, assured that illustrious order of his sincere regard, and promised to reestablish its ancient dignity and privileges. The grateful senate repaid these unmeaning professions by the empty titles of honour, which it was yet in their power to bestow; and, without presuming to ratify the authority of Constantine, they passed a decree to assign him the first rank among the three Augusti, who governed the Roman world.d Games and festivals were instituted to preserve the fame of his victory; and several edifices, raised at the expense of Maxentius, were dedicated to the honour of his successful rival. The triumphal arch of Constantine still remains a melancholy proof of the decline of the arts, and a singular testimony of the meanest vanity. As it was not possible to find in the capital of the empire a sculptor who was capable of adorning that public monument, the arch of Trajan, without any respect either for his memory or for the rules of propriety, was stripped of its most elegant figures. The difference of times and persons, of actions and characters, was totally disregarded. The Parthian captives appear prostrate at the feet of a prince who never carried his arms beyond the Euphrates; and curious antiquarians can still discover the head of Trajan on the trophies of Constantine. The new ornaments which it was necessary to introduce between the vacancies of ancient sculpture, are executed in the rudest and most unskilful manner.'' and con- The final abolition of the praetorian guards was a Rome, measure of prudence as well as of revenge. Those haughty troops, whose numbers and privileges had been restored, and even augmented, by Maxentius, were for ever suppressed by Constantine. Their fortified camp was destroyed; and the few praetorians who had escaped the fury of the sword, were dispersed among the legions, and banished to the frontiers of the empire, where they might be serviceable without again becoming dangerous/ By suppressing the troops which were usually stationed in Rome, Constantine gave the fatal blow to the dignity of the senate and people; and the disarmed capital was exposed, without protection, to the insults or neglect of its distant master. We may observe, that in this last effort to preserve their expiring freedom, the Romans, from the apprehension of a tribute, had raised Maxentius to the throne. He exacted that tribute from the senate under the name of a free gift. They implored the assistance of Constantine. He vanquished the tyrant, and converted the free gift into a perpetual tax. The senators, according to the declaration which was required of their property, were divided into several classes. The most opulent paid annually eight pounds of gold, the next class paid four, the last two, and those whose poverty might have claimed an exemption, were assessed, however, at seven pieces of gold. Besides the regular members of the senate, their sons, their descendants, and even their relations, enjoyed the vain privileges, and supported the heavy burdens, of the senatorial order; nor will it any longer excite our surprise, that Constantine should be attentive to increase the number of persons who were included under so useful a description.' After the defeat of Maxentius, the victorious emperor passed no more than two or three months in Rome, which he visited twice during the remainder of his life, to celebrate the solemn festivals of the tenth and twentieth years of his age. Constantine was almost perpetually in motion to exercise the legions, or to inspect the state of the provinces. Treves, Milan, Aquileia, Sermium, Naissus, and Thessalonica, were the occasional places of his residence, till he founded a New Rome on the confines of Europe and Asia."
T Exceptis latrocinii illius primis auctoribus, qui desperata venift, locum quem pugnas sumpserant texere corporibus. Panegyr. Vet. 10. 17.
* A very idle rumour soon prevailed, that Maxentius, who had not taken any precaution for his own retreat, had contrived a very artful snare to destroy the army of the pursuers; but that the wooden bridge which was to have been loosened on the approach of Constantine, unluckily broke down under the weight of the flying Italians. M. de Tillemont (Hist. des Empereurs, tom. 4. part 1. p. 576.) very seriously examines whether, in contradiction to common sense, the testimony of Eusebius and Zosimus ought to prevail over the silence of Lactantius, Nazarius, and the anonymous, but contemporary, orator who composed the ninth panegyric.
* Zosimus, lib. 2. p. 86—88, and the two panegyrics, the former of which was pronounced a few months afterward, afford the clearest notion of this great battle. Lactantius, Eusebius, and even the epitomes, supply several useful hints.
'' Zosimus, the enemy of Constantine, allows (lib. 2. p. 88.) that only a few of the friends of Maxentius were put to death: but we may remark the expressive passage of Nazarius. (Panegyr. Vet. 10. 6.) Omnibus qui labefactare statum ejua poterant cum stirps deletis. The other orator (Panegyr. Vet. 9. 20, 21.) contents himself with observing, that Constantine, when he entered Rome, did not imitate the cruel massacres of Cinna, of Marius, or of Sylla.
0 See the two panegyrics, and the laws of this and the ensuing year, in the Theodosian code.
d Panegyr. Vet. 9. 20. Lactantiua de M. P. c. 44. Maximin, who was confessedly the eldest Caesar, claimed, with some show of reason, the first rank among the Augosti.
e Adhuc cuncta opera quae magnifice constrnxerat, urbis fanum, atqoe basilicam, Flavii mentis patres sacravere. Aurelius Victor. With regard to the theft of Trajan's trophies, consult Flaminius Vacca, apud Montfaucon, Diarium Italicum, p. 2ft0, and 1'Antiquite Expliqnee of the latter, tom. 4. p. 171.
1 Pratoria e legionea ac subsidia factionibufi aptiora quam urbi Rome, sublata penitae; simul arma atque usus indumenti militaris. Aurelius Victor. Zosimus (lib. 2. p. 89.) mentions this fact as a historian, and it is very pompously celebrated in the ninth panegyric.
His am- Before Constantine marched into Italy, he had £CbiWith secured the friendship, or at least the neutrality, A.d.s1s, of Licinius, the Illyrian emperor. He had pro
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mised his sister Constantia in marriage to that prince; but the celebration of the nuptials was deferred till after the conclusion of the war; and the interview of the two emperors at Milan, which was appointed for that purpose, appeared to cement the union of their families and interests? In the midst of the public festivity, they were suddenly obliged to take leave of each other. An inroad of the Franks summoned Constantine to the Rhine, and the hostile approach of the sovereign of Asia demanded the immediate presence of Licinius. Maximin War be- had been the secret ally of Maxentius; and, withMarimin out being discouraged by his fate, he resolved to
i Ex omnibus prov incus optimates viros Curiae tuaa pigneraveris; ut senatus dignitas .... ex totius orbis Bore consisteret. Nazarius in Panegyr. Vet . 10. 55. The word pigntruoeria aught almost seem malkuMMly chosen. Concerning the senatorial tax, see Zosimus, lib. t. p. 115, the second title of the sixth book of the Theodosian code, with Godofroy'sCommentary, and Memoires de l' Academie dcs Inscriptions, tom. 28. p. 726.
* From the Theodosian code we may now begin to trace the motions of the emperors; but the dates both of time and place have frequently been altered by t Si'i carelessness of transcribers.
1 Zosimus (lib. 9. p. M.) observes, that before the war the sister of CoBstantiite had been betrothed to Licinius. According to the younger Victor, Diocletian was invited to the nuptials; but having ventured to plead his age and infirmities, he received a second letter filled with reproaches for his supposed partiality to the cause of Maxentius and Maximin.
ciniiM1' *ry ^ie fortune of a civil war- He moved out of A. D. 313. Syria, towards the frontiers of Bithynia, in the depth of winter. The season was severe and tempestuous; great numbers of men as well as horses perished in the snow; and, as the roads were broken up by incessant rains, he was obliged to leave behind him a considerable part of the heavy baggage, which was unable to follow the rapidity of his forced marches. By this extraordinary effort of diligence, he arrived, with a harassed but formidable army, on the banks of the Thracian Bosphorus, before the lieutenants of Licinius were apprized of his hostile intentions. Byzantium surrendered to the power of Maximin, after a siege of eleven days. He was detained some days under the walls of Heraclea; and he had no sooner taken possession of that city, than he was alarmed by the intelligence, that Licinius had pitched his camp at the distance of only eighteen miles. After The de- a fruitless negotiation, in which the two princes feat« attempted to seduce the fidelity of each other's
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adherents, they had recourse to arms. The emperor of the east commanded a disciplined and veteran army of above seventy thousand men; and Licinius, who had collected about thirty thousand Illyrians, was at first oppressed by the superiority of numbers. His military skill, and the firmness of his troops, restored the day, and obtained a decisive victory. The incredible speed which Maximin exerted in his flight, is much more celebrated than his prowess in the battle. Twenty-four hours afterward he was seen pale, trembling, and without his imperial ornaments, at Nicomedia, one hundred and sixty miles from the place of his defeat. The wealth of Asia