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filled, or rather defiled, by men, who fly from the light. They call themselves monks, or solitaries, because they choose to live alone, without any witnesses of their actions. They fear the gifts of fortune, from the apprehension of losing them; and, lest they should be miserable, they embrace a life of voluntary wretchedness. How absurd is their choice! how perverse their understanding! to dread the evils, without being able to support the blessings, of the hitman condition. Either this melancholy madness is the effect of disease, or else the consciousness of guilt urges these unhappy men to exercise on their own bodies the tortures which are inflicted on fugitive slaves by the hand of justice.2 Such was the contempt of a profane magistrate for the monks of Capraria, who were revered by the pious Mascezel, as the chosen servants of God." Some of them were persuaded, by his entreaties, to embark on board the fleet; and it is observed, to the praise of the Roman general, that his days and nights were employed in prayer, fasting, and the occu pation of singing psalms. The devout leader, who, with such a reinforcement, appeared confident of victory, avoided the dangerous rocks of Corsica, coasted along the eastern side of Sardinia, and secured his ships against the violence of the south wind, by casting anchor in the safe and capacious harbour of Cagliari, at the distance of one hundred and forty miles from the African shores.1"
Defeat and Gildo was prepared to resist the invasion GUdt°f with all the forces of Africa. By the libeA.D.398. ... of bis gifts and promises, he (endeavoured to secure the doubtful allegiance of the Roman soldiers, whilst he attracted to his standard the distant tribes of Gaetulia and Ethiopia. He proudly reviewed an army of seventy thousand men, and boasted, with the rash presumption which is the forerunner of disgrace, that his numerous cavalry would trample under their horses' feet the troops of Mascezel, and involve, in a cloud of burning sand, the natives of the cold regions of Gaul and Germany.0 But the Moor, who commanded the legions of Honorius, was too well acquainted with the manners of his countrymen,- to entertain any serious apprehension of a naked and disorderly host of barbarians; whose left arm, instead of a shield, was protected only by a mantle; who were totally disarmed as sbon as they had darted their javelin from their right hand; and whose horses had never been taught to bear the control, or to obey the guidance, of the bridle. He fixed his camp of five thousand veterans in the face of a superior enemy, and, after the delay of three days, gave the signal of a general engagement.*1 As Mascezel advanced before the front with fair offers of peace and pardon, he encountered one of the foremost standard-bearers of the Africans, and, on his refusal to yield, struck him on the arm with his sword. The arm, and the standard, sunk under the weight of the blow; and the imaginary act of submission was hastily repeated by all the standards of the line. At this signal, the disaffected cohorts proclaimed the name of their lawful sovereign; the barbarians, astonished by the defection of the Roman allies, dispersed, according to their custom, in tumultuary flight; and Mascezel obtained the honours of an easy, and almost bloodless, victory.' The tyrant escaped from the field of battle to the sea-shore; and threw himself into a small vessel, with the hope of reaching in safety some friendlyprt of the e mpire of the east; but the obstinacy of the wind drove him back into the harbour of Tabraca/ which had acknowledged, with the rest of the province, the dominion of Honorius, and the authority of his lieutenant. The inhabitants, as a proof of their repentance and loyalty, seized and con6ned the person of Gildo in a dungeon; and his own despair saved him from the intolerable torture of supporting the presence of an injured and victorious brother." The captives, and the spoils of Africa, were laid at the feet of the emperor; but Stilicho, whose moderation appeared more conspicuous, and more sincere, in the midst of prosperity, still affected to consult the laws of the republic, and referred to the senate and people of Rome, the judgment of the most illustrious criminals.11 Their trial was public and solemn; but the judges, in the exercise of this obsolete and precarious jurisdiction, were impatient to punish the African magistrates, who had intercepted the subsistence of the Roman people. The rich and guilty province was oppressed by the imperial ministers, who had a visible interest to multiply the number of the accomplices of Gildo; and if an edict of Honorius seems to check the malicious industry of informers, a subsequent edict, at the distance often years, continues and renews the prosecution of the offences which had been committed in the time of the general rebellion.' The adherents of the tyrant, who escaped the first fury of the soldiers, and the judges, might derive some consolation from the tragic fate of his brother, who could never obtain his pardon forthe extraordinary services which he had performed. After he had finished an important war in the space of a single winter, Mascezel was received at the court of Milan with loud applause, affected gratitude, and secret jealousy ;k and his 'death, which, perhaps, was the effect of accident, has been considered as the crime of Stilicho. In the passage of a bridge, the Moorish prince, who accompanied the master-general of the west, was suddenly thrown from his horse into the river ; the officious haste of the attendants was restrained by a cruel and perfidious smile, which they observed on the countenance of Stilicho; •and while they delayed the necessary assistance, the unfortunate Mascezel was irrecoverably drowned.1 „ . The joy of the African triumph was happily
» Claud. Until. Nomatian. Itinerar. 1. 439 — 448. He afterward (515 — 5«6.) mentions a religious madman on tho isle of Gorgona. For such profane remarks, Rutilius and his accomplices are styled by his commentator, Barthius, rabiosi canes diaboli. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. 12. p. 471.) more calmly observes, that the unbelieving poet praises where he means to censure.
• Oromus, lib. 7. c. 36- p. 564. Augustin commends two of these savage saints of the isle of Goats, epist. 81. apud Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. 13. p. 317. and Baronius, Anna]. Eccles. A. II. 398, no. 51.
b Here the first book of the Gildonic war is terminated. The rest of Claudian's poem has been lost; and we are ignorant how or ic/ien, the army made good their landing in Africa.
'Orosius must be responsible for the account. The presumption of Gildo, and his various train of barbarians, is celebrated by Claudian.(l Cons. Stil. lib. 1. 345—355.)
'' St. Ambrose, who had been dead about a year, revealed, in a vision, the time and place of the victory. Mascezel afterward related his dream to Paulinus, the original biographer of the saint, from whom it might easily pass to Orosius.
• Zoeimus (lib. 5. p. 305.) supposes an obstinate combat; but the narrative of Orosius appears to coaceal a real fact, under the disguise of a miracle.
1 Tabraca lay between the two Hippos. (Cellarios, tom. 2. p. 2.p. 112. d'Anville, tom. 2. p. 84.) Orosius has distinctly named the field of battle, but our ignorance cannot define the precise situation.
* The death of Gildo is expressed by Claudian, (1 Cons. Stil. lib. 357.) and his best interpreters, Zosimus and Orosius.
•' Claudian (2 Con. Stilich. 99—119.) describes their trial (tremuit quos Africa nnper, ceruunt rostra reos), and applauds the restoration of the ancient constitution. It is here that he introduces the famous sentence, so familiar to the friends of despotism:
Nunquam libertas gratior exstat
Quam sub rege pio
But the freedom, which depends onroyal piety, scarcely deserves that appellation.
'See the Theodosian Code, lib. 9. tit. 39. leg. 3. tit. 40. leg. 19.
Marnage i • i i i « i
andcha- connected with the nuptials of the emperor . Honorius, and of his cousin Maria, the daughter
A.d. 398- of Stilicho: and this equal and honourable alli'ance seemed to invest the powerful minister with the •authority of a parent over his submissive pupil. The muse of Claudian was not silent on this propitious day:"1 he sung, in various and lively strains, the happiness of the royal pair; and the glory of the hero, who confirmed their union, and supported their throne. The ancient fables of Greece, which had almost ceased to be the object of religious faith, were saved from oblivion by the genius of poetry. The picture of the Cyprian grove, the seat of harmony and love; the triumphant progress of Venus over her native seas, and the mild influence which her presence diffused in the palace of Milan, express to every age the natural sentiments of the heart, in the just and pleasing language of allegorical fiction. But the amorous impatience, which Claudian attributes to the young prince," must excite the smiles of the court; and his beauteous spouse (if she deserved the praise of beauty) had not much to fear or to hope from the passions of her lover. Honorius was only in the fourteenth year of his age; Serena, the mother of his bride, deferred, by art or persuasion, the consummation of the royal nuptials; Maria died a virgin, after she had been ten years a wife; and the chastity of the emperor was secured by the coldness, or, perhaps, the debility, of his constitution.0 His subjects, who attentively studied the character of their young sovereign, discovered that Honorius was without passions, and consequently without talents; and that his feeble and languid disposition was alike incapable of discharging the duties of his rank, or of enjoying the pleasures of his age. In his early youth he made some progress in the exercises of riding and drawing the bow: but he soon relinquished these fatiguing occupations, and the amusement of feeding poultry became the serious and daily care of the monarch of the west,p who resigned the reins of empire to the firm and skilful hand of his guardian Stilicho. The experience of history will countenance the suspicion, that a prince who was born in the purple, received a worse education than the meanest peasant of
k Stilicho, who claimed an equal share in all the victories of Theodosius and his son, particularly asserts, that Africa was recovered by the wisdom of hit counsels. (See an inscription produced by Baronius.)
'I have softened the narrative of Zosimus,which,in itscrude simplicity, is almost incredible, (lib. 5. p. 303.) Oroeius damns the victorious general (p. 538.) for violating the right of sanctuary.
•" Claudian, as the poet laureat, composed a serious and elaborate epithalafflium of three hundred and forty lines; besides some gay Fescennines, which were sung, in a more licentious tone, on the wedding-night.
• Calet obviusire
Jam princeps, tardumque cupid discedere solem.
(de NuptiisHonor.etMarias, 287.) and more freely in the Fescennines,t(112—126.)
Tum victor madido prosilias toro
• See Zosimus, lib. 5. p. 333.
* Procopius de Bell. Gothico. lib. 1. c. 2. I have borrowed the general prao tice of Honorius, without adopting the singular, and indeed, improbable tale, which is related by the Greek historian.