Zosimus, New History. London: Green and Chaplin (1814). Book 4.
IN the preceding book I have related how affairs were conducted until the death of Jovian, after whom Valentinian was appointed emperor. I have now to state, that while Valentinian was on his journey towards Constantinople, he was seized with a distemper, which increased his natural choleric temper to a degree of cruelty, and even to madness, so that he falsely suspected his sickness to proceed from some charm or poison which Julian's friends had prepared for him through malice. Accusations to that effect were drawn up against some distinguished persons, which were set aside by the discretion of Sallustius, who still was prefect of the court. After his distemper abated, he proceeded from Nicaea to Constantinople. The army and his friends in that city advised him to chuse an associate in the empire, that if occasion should require, he might have some one to assist him, and prevent their again suffering as at the death of Julian. He complied with their advice, and after consideration, selected his brother Valens, whom he thought most likely to prove faithful to him. He declared him associate in the empire. While they resided at Constantinople, all who were enemies to the friends of Julian continually suggested at court, that certain persons had a design against the emperor, and incited the populace likewise to spread the rumour. Upon this the emperors, who had other reasons for animosity against the friends of Julian, were excited to a |94 greater degree of hatred, and therefore encouraged such charges against them as contained no appearance of reason. Valentinian was particularly severe against the philosopher Maximinus, who in Julian's time had caused him to be punished for the neglect of sacred things, on the ground of Christianity. But other affairs both civil and military drew off their attention from these suspicions.
They then applied themselves to the appointment of governors over the different provinces, and consulted who should have the charge of the palace. By which means, all who had been governors of the provinces, or had held any other office under Julian, were discharged, and amongst them Sallustius, prefect of the court. Arintheus and Victor alone retained their military commands, while others who sought for preferments, acquired them at hazard. The only reasonable action they performed was this; if any of the officers were found guilty of the crimes laid to their charge, they suffered without hope of pardon.
Affairs being thus disposed, Valentinian deemed it most prudent to place the east as far as Egypt, Bithynia, and Thrace, under the care of his brother, and to take charge of Illyricum himself. From thence he designed to proceed to Italy, and to retain in his own possession all the cities in that country, and the countries beyond the Alps, with Spain, Britain, and Africa. The empire being thus divided, Valentinian began to govern more rigorously, correcting the faults of the magistrates. He was very severe in the collection of the imposts, and particularly in observing that the soldiers were duly paid. Resolving likewise to institute some new laws be began by prohibiting the nocturnal sacrifices, intending by that measure to restrain and prevent vicious actions. However when Praetextatus, the proconsul of Greece, a person endowed with great virtues, represented to him that the Greeks could not subsist under such a law, by which they were withheld from the performance of those sacred mysteries, which were to them the great bond of society, he allowed them to be celebrated in the usual manner, without regard to his own edict, and look care thai every thing should be performed according to the ancient custom of the country.
Meantime the Barbarians beyond the Rhine, who while Julian lived held the Roman name in terror, and were contented to remain quiet in their own territories, as soon as they heard of his death, immediately marched out of their own country, and prepared for a war with the Romans. Valentinian. on bring informed of this, made a proper disposition of his forces, and placed suitable |95 garrisons in all the towns along the Rhine. Valentinian was enabled to make these arrangements by his experience in military affairs; while Valens was surrounded with disquietude on every side, having always lived inactively, and having been raised to the empire suddenly. He could not indeed sustain the weight of business. He was disturbed, not by the Persians only, who were elated with their prosperity, which had increased since their truce with Jovian. They made incursions on the provinces without controul, since Nisibis was in their possession, and by distressing the eastern towns, constrained the emperor to march against them.
On his departure from Constantinople, the rebellion of Procopius commenced. This person had been intrusted by Julian, being one of his relations, with a part of his forces, and had been charged to march with Sebastianus through Adiabene, and to meet Julian, who took another route. Permission, moreover, was given him to wear a purple robe, for a reason which no other person was acquainted with. But the deity being pleased to ordain it otherwise, and Jovian having succeeded to the imperial dignity, Procopius immediately delivered up the imperial robe which he had received from Julian, confessing why it had been given to him, and intreating the emperor to absolve him from his military oath, and to allow him to live in retirement, and to attend to agriculture and his own private affairs. Having obtained this, he went with his wife and children to Caesarea in Cappadocia, intending to reside in that place, where he possessed a valuable estate. During his abode there, Valentinian and Valens being made emperors, and being suspicious of him, sent persons to take him into custody. In that they found no difficulty, for he surrendered himself voluntarily; and desired them to carry him wherever they pleased, if they would suffer him first to see his children. To this they consented, and he prepared an entertainment for them. When he perceived them to be intoxicated, he and his family fled towards the Taurica Chersonesus. Having remained there for some time, he found the inhabitants to he a faithless race, and was apprehensive lest they should deliver him to his persecutors. He, therefore, put himself and his family on board a trading vessel, and arrived in the night at Constantinople. He there resided in the house of an old acquaintance, and making observations on the state of the city after the departure of the emperor, he attempted to raise himself to the empire, and formed his design on the following incident.
An eunuch, named Eugenius, had not long before been discharged from the court, who entertained but little friendship for |96 the emperors. Procopius therefore won this man to his interest, because he found him to be very rich. He informed him who he was, the cause of his arriving there, and the measures which he wished to pursue. On this, the eunuch promised to assist him in any enterprize, and to furnish him with money. Their first attempt was to bribe the court guards, which consisted of two legions. Then arming the slaves, and collecting with ease a considerable multitude, chiefly volunteers, they sent them in the night into the city, and occasioned a general commotion; the people issuing from their houses, and gazing on Procopiusas on a king made in a theatre. But the city being in general confusion, and no person being sufficiently collected in mind by reason of the surprise to know how to act, Procopius imagined his design to be still undiscovered, and that he might secure the empire if the enterprise were no further revealed. Having then seized on Cesarius, whom the emperors had made prefect of the city, and on Nebridius, who was appointed to succeed Sallustius in tbe prefecture of the court, he compelled them to write to the subjects of the empire whatever he wished. He also kept them separate, that they might not consult with each other. Having formed these projects, he proceeded in a splendid manner towards the palace. Ascending a tribunal before the gate, he gave the people great hopes and promises. He then entered the palace to provide for the remainder of his affairs.
The new emperors having divided the army between them, Procopius determined to send persons to the soldiers, who were as yet in confusion, and went by the command of the emperors from place to place without any order. He thus hoped to seduce some of them to his party. Nor did he fail of accomplishing his purpose with ease by distributing money amongst the soldiers and their officers; by which means he collected a considerable force, and prepared to make an open attack on the enemy. Procopius then sent Marcellus into Bithynia with nn army against Serenianus and the imperial cavalry that was under his command, in hope of cutting them to pieces. This force having fled toCyzicus, Marcellus, whose army was superior to theirs both by sea and land, took possession of that town; and having taken Serenianus, who fled into Lydia, put him to death. Procopius was so elevated by this fortunate commencement, that his forces considerably augmented, many being of opinion that he was able to contend with the emperors. Both the Roman legions and the Barbarian troops now flocked to his standard. Besides the reputation of being related to Julian, and of having accompanied |97 him in all the wars he had ever been engaged in, attracted many partizans. He likewise sent ambassadors to the chief of Scythia beyond the Ister, who sent to his assistance ten thousand men. The other Barbarian nations likewise sent auxiliaries to share in the expedition. Procopius however considered that it would be imprudent in him to engage with both emperors together, and therefore thought it best to advance against him who was nearest, and afterwards deliberate on what course to pursue.
Thus was Procopius employed; while the emperor Valens, who heard of this insurrection at Galatia in Phrygia, was filled with consternation at the news. Arbitrio having encouraged him not to despair, he prepared the troops that were with him for war, and sent to his brother to inform him of the designs of Procopius. Valentinian however was little disposed for sending auxiliaries to one who was incapable of defending the empire committed to his charge. Valens was therefore under the necessity of. preparing for war, and appointed Arbitrio to the command of his army. When the armies were ready to engage, Arbitrio circumvented Procopius by a stratagem, and thereby seduced from him a great number of his men, from whom he received previous information of the designs of Procopius. On the advance of the emperor and Procopius towards each other, the two armies met near Thyatira. Procopius at first appeared to have the advantage, by which he would have gained the supreme authority, Hormisdas in the engagement having overpowered the enemy. But Gomarius, another of the commanders of Procopius, imparting his intention to all the soldiers of Procopius who were attached to the emperor, in the midst of the battle cried out Augustus, and gave a signal for them to imitate his example. Thus the most of the troops of Procopius went over to Valens.
After having obtained this victory, Valens marched to Sardes, and from thence into Phrygia, where he found Procopius in a town called Nacolia. Affairs having been ordered for the advantage of the emperor by Naplo, an officer of Procopius, Valens again prevailed, and took him prisoner, and soon afterwards Marcellus, both of whom he put to death. Finding in the possession of Marcellus an imperial robe which had been given to him by Procopius, he was so enraged, that he commenced an inquiry not only after the actors in the revolt, but after those who had given any counsel in it, or had even heard any circumstance which they had not revealed. He thus acted with great severity towards all persons, without regard to justice. Not only all who had conspired, but who wore merely friends or relations to any |98 of the conspirators, though themselves perfectly innocent, were sacrificed to the fury of the emperor.
While such was the posture of affairs in that part of the empire which was attached to Valens, the emperor Valentinian, who resided beyond the Alps, was attacked by a great and unexpected danger. The Germans, recollecting their sufferings under the administration of Julian, as soon as they heard of his death, shook off all fear, and resuming their natural audacity, invaded the nations subject to the Roman empire. Being met by the emperor, a severe battle ensued, in which the Barbarians were victorious. The Roman army dishonourably fled. Valentinian, however, resolved not to save himself by flight; he therefore bore the event of the battle with apparent composure, until he had discovered those, who by their first beginning to fly had caused the disaster. Having at length by strict inquiry ascertained that the Batavian legion was guilty, he ordered the whole army to assemble in complete martial habiliments, as if to hear an oration for their information in some important affair. He then addressed them, reflecting the strongest ignominy on those who commenced the flight, and commanded the Batavians to be stripped of their arms, and to be sold to a colony as fugitive slaves. Upon this they all prostrated themselves on the ground, and intreated him not to inflict so disgraceful a punishment on his soldiers, promising in future to behave like men and worthy of the Roman name. He complied with their intreaties, requiring them to prove by their actions the sincerity of their intention. They then rose from the ground, armed themselves, and renewed the combat with such alacrity and resolution, that of an immense number of Barbarians very few returned to their own country. Thus terminated the war with the Germans.
After the death of Procopius, the emperor Valens sacrificed to his resentment the lives of many persons, and confiscated the property of many others. His intended expedition into Persia was obstructed by the incursions into the Roman territories of a Scythian tribe residing beyond the Ister. Against these he directed a competent force, arresting their progress and compelling them to surrender their arms. He sent them to several of his towns on the Ister, with orders for them to be kept in prison without chains.
These were the auxiliaries that were sent by a Scythian chief to Procopius. Their chief therefore demanding their dismissal from the emperor, on the ground that they had been sent at the request of ambassadors from the person who then held the sovereign authority, Valens refused to listen to this demand. He replied, that |99 they had neither been sent for nor taken by him as friends, but as enemies. This produced a war with the Scythians. The emperor, perceiving that they designed to invade the Roman dominion, and were for that purpose collecting together with the utmost speed, drew up his army on the bank of the Ister. He himself was stationed at Marcianopolis, the largest city of Thrace, where he paid great attention to the discipline of the army, and to the supplies of provisions. He then appointed Auxonius prefect of the court, Sallustius having, by reason of his age, obtained permission to resign that office, which he had twice held. Auxonius, though on the eve of so dangerous a war, acted with the strictest justice in the collection of the tributes, being careful that no person was oppressed with exactions more than it was his right to pay. He likewise procured many transport-vessels, in which he conveyed provisions for the army through the Euxine Sea to the mouth of the Ister, and thence, that the army might be the more easily supplied, by boats to the several towns on the side of the river.
These transactions having taken place in the winter season, the emperor marched from Marcianopolis into the territory of the enemy, with the troops that were stationed near the Ister, and attacked the Barbarians. Not having sufficient resolution to come to a regular engagement, they took refuge in the marshes, from whence they occasionally sallied. The emperor therefore ordered his troops to continue at their stations, and collected all the slaves in the camp, and those who had the care of the baggage, promising a sum of money to every man who brought him the head of a Barbarian. This filled them with hopes of gaining the money, inducing them to go into the woods and fens, killing all they met, whose heads they brought to the emperor, and received the promised reward. By these means so many were destroyed that the rest petitioned for a truce. The emperor acceded to their entreaty, and a peace was concluded with them which reflected no dishonour on the Roman name. It was agreed, that the Romans should enjoy in security all. their former possessions, and that the Barbarians should not cross the river, nor enter into any part of the Roman dominions. Having concluded this treaty, the emperor returned to Constantinople, and the prefect ot the court being dead, conferred that office on Modestus. He then prepared for the war with Persia.
While Valens was engaged in these preparations, the emperor Valentinian, having favourably disposed the affairs of Germany, made provisions for the future security of the Celtic nations. With |100 this view he levied among the Barbarians near the Rhine and the husbandmen in the countries under the Roman dominion a considerable number of young men. These he incorporated with the legionary soldiers, and brought to so good a state of discipline, that from the sole dread of their military skill, during the period of nine years, the nations beyond the Rhine did not dare to make any attempt upon any of the cities belonging to the Romans. About this time, a person named Valentinian for some offence was banished to the island of Britain, and endeavouring there to render himself absolute, was at once deprived of his life and his hopes. The emperor Valentinian was now attacked by a disease which nearly cost him his life. Upon his recovery the countries requested him to appoint a successor, lest at his decease the commonwealth should be in danger. To this the emperor consented, and declared his son Gratian emperor and his associate in the government, although he was then very young, and not yet capable of the management of affairs.
The affairs of the west being thus situated, the emperor Valens, as he had previously intended, prepared to march into the east against the Persians. Proceeding slowly forward, he granted every reasonable favour to the cities that sent ambassadors to him, and performed various other good actions. Arriving at Antioch, he made every provision relative to the war with great caution. After residing in the palace there during the winter, he proceeded in the spring to Hierapolis. He led his forces from thence against the Persians, and when winter again approached he returned to Antioch. Thus was the war with the Persians protracted. While the emperor remained at Antioch, an extraordinary circumstance happened. Among the imperial notaries was one named Theodorus, a person of reputation, birth, and education. Being very young he was easily seduced to vice by the delusions of designing profligates. A society of persons of that description persuaded him that they were men of great learning, particularly in the science of divination, by which they were able to foretel future events. In order to ascertain who should succeed Valens in the empire, they fixed up a tripod, which revealed to them in a secret manner what should happen hereafter. Now in this tripod appeared the letters θ, ε, ο, δ, (i. e. Theod.) by which was predicted in plain terms that Theodorus would succeed Valens in the empire. He was so involved in these follies, that he was continually anxious for the conversation of jugglers and sorcerers, consulting them of the future. He was therefore accused to the emperor, who punished him as he merited. |101
After this happened another singular occurrence. Fortunatianus, the treasurer of the emperor, had ordered stripes to be inflicted on a soldier for sorcery. The man being put to the torture, and compelled to accuse others who were his accomplices, the cause was removed before Modestus, the prefect of the court, because some persons were implicated who were not subject to the jurisdiction of the former officer. The emperor was extremely incensed, and suspected all the most celebrated philosophers, and other persons who had acquired learning, as likewise some of the most distinguished courtiers, who were charged with a conspiracy against their sovereign. This filled every place with lamentation; the prisons being full of persons who did not merit such treatment, and the roads being more crowded than the cities. The guards, who were appointed to the care of the prisons, in which these innocent persons were confined, declared themselves incapable of securing those who were under their charge, and were apprehensive that they would on some occasion escape by force, the number being so great. The informers in this affair were subject to no danger, being only compelled to accuse other persons. All that they accused were either put to death without legal proof, or fined by being deprived of their estates; their wives, children, and other dependants being reduced to extreme necessity. The design of these nefarious accusations was to raise a great sum of money for the treasury. The first philosopher of note who suffered was Maximus, the next was Hilarius of Phrygia, who had clearly interpreted some obscure oracles; after these, Simonides, Patricias the Lydian, and Andronicus of Caria, who all were men of extensive learning, and condemned more through envy than with any shadow of justice. An universal confusion was occasioned by these proceedings, which prevailed to such a degree, that the informers, together with the rabble, would enter without controul into the house of any person, pillage it of all they could find, and deliver the wretched proprietor to those who were appointed as executioners without suffering them to plead in their own justification. The leader of these wretches was a man named Festus, whom the emperor, knowing his expertness in every species of cruelty, sent into Asia as proconsul, that no person of learning might remain alive, and that his design might be accomplished. Festus therefore, leaving no place unsearched, killed all whom he found without form of trial, and compelled the remainder to fly from their country.
Valentinian, thinking he had sufficiently secured himself from a German war, acted towards his subjects with great severity, |102 exacting from them exorbitant tributes, such as they had never before paid; under pretence that the military expenditure compelled him to have recourse to the public. Having thus acquired universal hatred, he became still more severe; nor would he enquire into the conduct of the magistrates, but was envious of all whe had the reputation of leading a blameless life. In plain terms, he was now a person completely different from what he had appeared at the commencement of his reign. For this cause, the Africans, who could not endure the excessive avarice of the person who held the military command in Mauritania, gave the purple robe to Firmus, and proclaimed him emperor. This doubtless gave much uneasiness to Valentinian, who immediately commanded some legions from the stations in Pannonia and Moesia, to embark for Africa. On this the Sarmatians and the Quadi, who had long entertained a hatred for Celestius, the governor of those countries, availing themselves, of the opportunity afforded by the departure of the legions for Africa, invaded the Pannonians and Moesians. Celestius had infringed an oath, and had not only treacherously deceived, but had murdered their chief at a banquet. The barbarians therefore revenged themselves by plundering all the country along the Ister, carrying off all that they found in the towns. The Pannonians were by these means exposed to the cruelty of the barbarians, while the soldiers were extremely negligent in the defence of their towns, and committed as much mischief as the Barbarians themselves in all places on this side of the river. But Moesia was free from harm, because Theodosius, who commanded the forces there, courageously resisted the Barbarians, and routed them when they attacked him. By that victory he not only acquired great renown, but subsequently attained the imperial dignity.
Valentinian, roused by the intelligence of these events, marched from Celtica into Illyricum, for the purpose of opposing the Quadi and the Sarmatians, and consigned the command of his forces to Merobaudes, who was a person of the greatest military experience. The winter continuing unusually late, the Quadi sent ambassadors to him with insolent and unbecoming messages. These so exasperated the emperor, that through the violence of his rage, the blood flowed from his head into his mouth, and suffocated him. He thus died after having resided in Illyricum nearly nine months, and after a reign of twelve years.
After his decease, Sirmium was struck with lightning, which consumed the palace and the market-place. This was thought by persons versed in such occurrences to be an omen of evil to |103 public affairs. Earthquakes likewise happened in many places. Crete was very much shaken, as was likewise the Peloponnese, and all Greece, many places being destroyed; indeed almost all were overturned, except Athens and the country of Attica. These were said to be preserved by these means. Nestorius, who was then chief sacrist at Athens, saw a vision, by which he was commanded to pay public honours to the hero Achilles, which would be a protection to the city. Having communicated this to the magistrates, they imputed it to the doting of age, and paid no attention to his communications. Considering therefore within himself, and receiving instructions from the divine influence, he erected the image of the hero in an apartment under the statue of Minerva. As often as he offered sacrifices to the goddess, he at the same time performed the rites due to the hero. Having thus complied with the desire of the vision, the Athenians were free from the earthquake by which every other place suffered, except the country of Attica, which shared in the favour of the hero. The truth of this is attested by the philosopher Syrianus, who has composed a hymn in honour of this hero. These occurrences I have introduced under the idea that they were not foreign from the design of my history.
Valentinian being dead, the tribunes Merobaudes and Equitius, reflecting on the distance at which Valens and Gratian resided, the former being in the east, and the latter left by his father in the western part of Gaul, were apprehensive lest the Barbarians beyond the Ister should make an effort while the country was without a ruler. They therefore sent for the younger son of Valentinian, who was born of his wife the widow of Magnentius, who was not far from thence with the child. Having clothed him in purple, they brought him into the court, though scarcely five years old. The empire was afterwards divided between Gratian and the younger Valentinian, at the discretion of their guardians, they not being of age to manage their own affairs. The Celtic nations, Spain, and Britain were given to Gratian; and Italy, Illyricum, and Africa to Valentinian. Meantime the emperor Valens was inundated with wars on every side. The first of these was with the Isaurians, who are by some called Pisidae, by others Solymi, and by others Cilices Montani, or Mountain Cilicians. They pillaged the towns of Lycia and Pamphylia, and though they could not obtain possession of the walls and houses, yet carried off all that was in the roads and fields. The emperor, who still remained at Antioch, sent a force sufficient to oppose them. The Isaurians then fled with their plunder to the clefts of |104 the mountains, to which the soldiers were either prevented by indolence from pursuing them, or from some cause unable to redress the evils which the towns had suffered.
While these affairs were so conducted, a barbarous nation, which till then had remained unknown, suddenly made its appearance, attacking the Scythians beyond the Ister. These were the Huns. It is doubtful whether they were Scythians, who lived under regal government, or the people whom Herodotus states to reside near the Ister, and describes as a weak people with flat noses, or whether they came into Europe from Asia. For I have met with, a tradition, which relates that the Cimmerian Bosphorus was rendered firm land by mud brought down the Tanais, by which they were originally afforded a land-passage from Asia into Europe. However this might be, they, with their wives, children, horses, and carriages, invaded the Scythians who resided on the Ister; and though they were not capable of fighting on foot, nor understood in what, manner even to walk, since they could not fix their feet firmly on the ground, but live perpetually, and even sleep, on horseback, yet by the rapidity with which they wheeled about their horses, by the suddenness of their excursions and retreat, shooting as they rode, they occasioned great slaughter among the Scythians. In this they were so incessant, that the surviving Scythians were compelled to leave their habitations to these Huns, and crossing the Ister, to supplicate the emperor to receive them, on their promise to adhere to him as faithful soldiers. The officers of the fortified towns near the Ister deferred complying with this petition, until they should learn the pleasure of the emperor, who permitted them to be received without their arms. The tribunes and other officers therefore went over to bring the Barbarians unarmed into the Roman territory; but occupied themselves solely in the gratification of their brutal appetites, or in procuring slaves, neglecting every thing that related to public affairs. A considerable number therefore crossed over with their arms, through this negligence. These, on arriving into the Roman dominion, forgot both their petition and their oaths. Thus all Thrace, Pannonia, and the whole country as far as Macedon and Thessaly were filled with Barbarians, who pillaged all in their way.
Of these extreme dangers the emperor was informed by messengers, who were purposely sent to him. Having then arranged his affairs in Persia in the best possible manner, he hastened from Antioch to Constantinople; and from thence marched into Thrace against the fugitive Scythians. On his route a remarkable spectacle presented itself. The body of a man was lying in the road, |105 perfectly motionless, which appeared as if it had been whipped from head to foot; the eyes wore open, and gazed on all who approached it. Having enquired of him, who he was, and from whence he came, and who had so severely beat him, and receiving no reply, they concluded it to be a prodigy, and shewed him to the emperor as he passed by. Although he made the same enquiries, it still remained speechless, and though void of motion and apparently dead, yet the eyes appeared as if alive. At length it suddenly disappeared. The spectators were unable to account for the prodigy; but persons who were skilled in such events, said that it portended the future state of the empire; that the commonwealth should appear as if it had been beaten and whipped, until, by the misconduct of its magistrates and ministers, it would expire. If we take all circumstances into consideration, this interpretation will indeed appear just.
The emperor Valens, perceiving that the Scythians were pillaging Thrace, resolved to send the troops who had accompanied him from the east, and who were expert horsemen, to make the first charge on the Scythian horse. These having therefore received orders from the emperor, left Constantinople in small detachments, and killing the straggling Scythians with their spears, brought many of their heads into the city every day. As the fleetness of their horses, and the force of their spears, caused the Scythians to suppose it difficult to overcome these Saracens, they attempted to circumvent them by stratagem. They planted in several places ambuscades of three Scythians to one Saracen; but their design was rendered abortive, as the Saracens by means of the swiftness of their horses could easily escape whenever they perceived any considerable number approaching. The Saracens with their spears committed such ravage among the Scythians, that at length despairing of success, they preferred passing the Ister and surrendering themselves to the Huns, than being destroyed by the Saracens. When they had retired from all the places near Constantinople, the emperor had room to draw out his army. He was now hesitating how to manage the war, so great a multitude of Barbarians being at hand, and was tormented by the ill conduct of his own officers. He was notwithstanding afraid of discharging them under such turbulent circumstances, and was likewise doubtful whom to appoint in their place, since no one appeared who was capable of such employments. At this juncture, Sebastianus arrived at Constantinople from the west, although the emperors there, by reason of their youth, were unacquainted with affairs, and attended to little beside the calumnies |106 of the eunuchs who waited on them. Upon hearing of his arrival, Valens, knowing his ability both in civil and military affairs, appointed him to the command of his army, and entrusted him with the whole management of the war. Sebastianus, observing the indolence and effeminacy both of the tribunes and soldiers, and that all they had been taught was only how to fly, and to have desires more suitable to women than to men, requested no more than two thousand men of his own choice. He well knew the difficulty of commanding a multitude of ill-disciplined dissolute men, and that a small number might more easily be reclaimed from their effeminacy; and, moreover, that it was better to risk a few than all. By these arguments having prevailed upon the emperor, he obtained his desire. He selected, not such as had been trained to cowardice and accustomed to flight, but strong and active men who had lately been taken into the army, and who appeared to him, who was able to judge of men, to be capable of any service. He immediately made trial of each of them, and obviated their defects by continual exercise; bestowing commendations and rewards on all who were obedient, but appearing severe and inexorable to those who neglected their duty. Having by these means infused into them the principles of the military art, he took possession of several fortified towns, for the security of his army. From these he frequently surprised the Barbarians as they came out for forage. Sometimes, when they were loaded with spoils, he killed them and took what they carried; at other times he destroyed them when they were intoxicated or washing themselves in the river.
When he had by these methods cut off great part of the Barbarians, and the remainder felt such dread of him that they dared not attempt to forage, an extraordinary degree of envy was excited against him. From this envy proceeded hatred; until at length the court eunuchs, at the instigation of those who had lost their command, accused him to the emperor, who by these means was induced to entertain unjust suspicions of him. Sebastianus sent a request to the emperor, desiring him to remain where he then was, and not to advance; since it was not easy to bring such a multitude to a regular engagement. He, moreover, observed that it would be better to protract the war in harassing them by ambuscades, until they should be reduced to despair from the want of necessaries, and rather than expose themselves to the misery and destruction of famine, either surrender themselves, or depart from the Roman territory and submit to the Huns. While he gave the emperor this counsel, his adversaries persuaded him to |107 march forward with his whole army; that the Barbarians were almost destroyed, and the emperor might gain a victory without trouble. Their counsel, though the least prudent, so far prevailed, that the emperor led forth his whole army without order. The Barbarians resolutely opposed them, and gained so signal a victory, that they slew all, except a few with whom the emperor fled into an unfortified village. The Barbarians, therefore, surrounded the place with a quantity of wood, which they set on fire. All who had fled thither, together with the inhabitants, were consumed in the tlames, and in such a manner, that the body of the emperor could never be found. When the affairs of the empire were reduced to this low condition, Victor, who commanded the Roman cavalry, escaping the danger with some of his troops, entered Macedon and Thessaly. From thence he proceeded into Moesia and Pannonia, and informed Gratian, who was then in that quarter, of what had occurred, and of the loss of the emperor and his army. Gratian received the intelligence without uneasiness, and was little grieved at the death of his uncle, a disagreement having existed between them. Finding himself unable to manage affairs, Thrace being ravaged by the Barbarians, as were likewise Pannonia and Moesia, and the towns upon the Rhine being infested by the neighbouring Barbarians without controul, he chose for his associate in the empire, Theodosius, who was a native of a town called Cauca, in the part of Spain called Hispania Callaecia, and who possessed great knowledge and experience of military affairs. Having given him the government of Thrace and the eastern provinces, Gratian himself proceeded to the west of Gaul, in order, if possible, to compose affairs in that quarter.
During the stay of the new emperor, Theodosius, at Thesslonica, a great concourse arrived there from all parts of persons soliciting him on business, both public and private; who having obtained of him whatever he could conveniently grant, returned, to their homes. As a great multitude of the Scythians beyond the Ister, the Gotthi, and the Taiphali, and other tribes that formerly dwelt among them, had crossed the river, and were driven to infest the Roman dominions, because the Huns, had expelled them from their own country, the emperor Theodosius prepared for war with all his forces. All Thrace being now in the possession of the above mentioned tribes, and the garrisons of the towns and castles not. daring to move out of their walls, much less to engage in the open field, Modares, who was of the royal family of the Scythians, and had not long before come over to the Romans, |108 and for his fidelity had been made a general, placed his soldiers on the summit of a hill, which formed a spacious plain, and lay there unknown to the Barbarians. Learning from his scouts, that the enemy were in the fields below, luxuriously consuming the provisions they had plundered, by which they had intoxicated themselves, he commanded his soldiers to take with them only their swords and bucklers, and not their heavy armour as usual, and to attack the Barbarians while they were immersed in voluptuousness. This they performed, and destroyed in a very short space of time all the Barbarians, many of them dying insensibly, and others immediately on feeling their wounds. Having slain all they began to rifle the bodies, and from thence proceeded to the women and children. They took four thousand carriages, and as many captives as could be contained in them, besides many who usually walked, and only rode alternately when fatigued.
The army having made this good use of the occasion afforded by fortune, the afiairs of Thrace, which had been on the brink of ruin, were now, the Barbarians being crushed beyond all hope, re-established in peace.
The eastern provinces were now in the most imminent danger, from the following causes. When the Huns, as I have related, had invaded the countries beyond the Ister, the Scythians, being unable to withstand their incursions, intreated the emperor Valens, who was then living, to admit them into Thrace, promising, in perfect submission to his commands, to perform the duty of faithful soldiers and subjects. By this promise Valens was induced to receive them; and imagining that it would be a surety of their fidelity to cause all their young children to be brought up in a different country, he sent a great number of infants into the east, and appointed Julius to superintend their maintenance and education, conceiving him to be a person of competent understanding for the fulfilment of both those offices. He, therefore, distributed them into various towns, to prevent them, when grown to manhood, from having an opportunity, by being collected in great numbers, of forming an insurrection. However, when they had attained maturity, the intelligence of what their conntrymen had suffered in Thrace reached them in the different towns. This gave them much uneasiness; those of one city assembling together and sending private information to those in other places, that they intended to assault the Roman towns in revenge for the sufferings of their countrymen. Meantime Julius, discovering the design of the Barbarians, was in doubt how to act. At length he resolved not to give Theodosius information |109 of the conspiracy, not only because he was then in Macedon, but that he had been appointed to that charge by Valens, and not by Theodosius, who scarcely knew him. He, therefore, privately sent letters to the senate of Constantinople. Being authorised by them to proceed as he deemed most conducive to the public good, he averted the danger with which the towns were menaced by the following measures. He sent for all the officers, and, before he disclosed to them his design, required them to take an oath of secresy. Being informed of it, and instructed how. to act, they reported among the Barbarians of each town, that the emperor intended to bestow on them considerable presents, both in money and land, in order to bind them in gratitude to himself and the Roman people. For this purpose they were ordered to assemble on a particular day in the principal cities. This intelligence was so gratifying to the Barbarians, that their fury considerably abated. Upon the appointed day they all attended at the places at which they were desired to meet. When they were arrived, the soldiers, on the signal being made, mounted upon the roofs of the houses in the respective market-places in which they were stationed, and cast at the Barbarians such numbers of darts and stones, that they killed every man. Thus were the eastern cities delivered from their apprehensions, and, by the prudence of the officers, the disasters of the east and of Thrace were terminated.
Meanwhile, the emperor Theodosius, residing in Thessalonica, was easy of access to all who wished to see him. Having commenced his reign in luxury and indolence, he threw the magistracy into disorder, and increased the number of his military officers. There had previously been but one general or master of the horse, and one of the foot, but he now distributed those offices to more than five persons. Each of these was allowed the same stipend which either of the two had before enjoyed. It was likewise oppressive to the soldiers to be exposed to the avarice of so many commanders; for each of them endeavoured to extort from the allowance of the soldiers as much as one of the former two. He likewise increased the number of subaltern officers to more than double the original number, nor could the soldiers obtain the smallest part of their allowance. All this was occasioned by the negligence and excessive avarice of the emperor. He it was who introduced so vast an expence at the imperial table, that to serve it with such an extensive variety of dishes, whole legions of cooks, butlers, and other attendants, were employed. The number of eunuchs in the service of the emperor was immense, |110 most of whom, and particularly those of handsome persons, disgraced at their pleasure any magistrate or officer. The whole government was, in effect, at their disposal; the emperor being guided by their pleasure, and changing his sentiments at their desire. As he squandered the public money without consideration, bestowing it on unworthy persons, he consequently impoverished himself. He therefore sold the government of provinces to any who would purchase them, without regard to the reputation or ablity of the persons, esteeming him the best qualified who brought him the most gold or silver. Goldsmiths, bankers, and even the meanest professions, were therefore seen wearing the ensigns of magistracy, and selling the provinces to the best bidders.
A change so great and unfortunate having occurred in the state, the army became weak, and was soon annihilated. All the cities were likewise drained of money, partly by the excessive imposts and partly by the rapacity of the magistrates. For if any failed to appease their insatiable demands, they suborned villains to accuse them; thus acting as with the purpose of recovering what they had paid for their offices. The inhabitants of the towns lived in misery through their own poverty and the iniquity of the magistrates; their only resource being to intreat the gods to deliver them from such afflictions : for hitherto they were permitted to enter the temples, and to worship the gods in the manner of their country.
Theodosius, observing that the army was considerably diminished, permitted as many of the Barbarians beyond the Ister as were willing to enter his own army. Many of them were induced by his promises, and were embodied with the legions; conceiving that when more of them should be collected, they might attack the government, and without difficulty acquire possession of the sovereignty. The emperor, however, having reviewed these fugitives, who were very numerous, and already exceeded in number the other soldiers, reflected on the difficulty of restraining them, should they be inclined to infringe their promise of obedience. He therefore judged it most prudent to place some of them among the legions that were in Egypt, and to supply their place in his army with a detachment from thence. This being effected, the one party coming and the other going according to the command of the emperor, the Egyptians marched through the different towns with great order, and paid for what they received; but the conduct of the Barbarians was very turbulent, and they disposed of all in the various markets at their pleasure. When both met in Philadephia, a city of Lydia, the Egyptians were attentive |111 to the orders of their officers, while the Barbarians, who exceeded them in number, were regardless of all commands. A tradesman in the market-place demanding money for goods that he had sold to a Barbarian, the Barbarian drew his sword and wounded him. Upon this the man cried out, and another was then wounded who ran to assist him. The Egyptians, who were grieved at the sight of so evil an action, mildly admonished the Barbarians to desist from actions so base.and unjust, which were disgraceful to men who lived under the Roman laws. Their advice however had no weight with the Barbarians, who drew against them also, until at length the Egyptians yielded to resentment, and attacking them, killed more than two hundred, wounded some, and compelled many of them to take refuge in the sewers, where they died. When the Egyptians had thus rendered the Barbarians at Philadelphia more orderly, they continued their journey, and the Barbarians proceeded towards Egypt. They were commanded by Hormisdas, the son of the Hormisdas, who had attended the emperor Julian in the Persian war. When the Egyptians arrived in Macedon, and were united with the legions there, no order was observed in the camp, nor was any distinction made between a Roman and a Barbarian, but all were promiscuously mingled together, nor was even a muster-roll kept with the names of the soldiers. It was likewise permitted to the Barbarians to return to their own country, and to send others in lieu of themselves to serve in the legions, and when they pleased, again to serve under the Romans.
The Barbarians on learning the disordered state of the army, of which the fugitives informed them, and of the free access they had to it, thought this a convenient opportunity to make an attempt against the Romans, who conducted their affairs so negligently. Having therefore passed the river without difficulty, they penetrated as far as Macedon without opposition, since the fugitives suffered them to proceed unmolested. Perceiving that the emperor was advancing to meet them with all his forces, and being guided at midnight by a large fire which they conjectured to be near his person, and likewise understood to be so from the countrymen who deserted to them, they assaulted the emperor's tent. Being now joined by their countrymen, they were opposed by the Romans alone. These being comparatively a small number could only enable the emperor to escape, but were themselves nearly all slain, after having fought courageously and killed a great number of the Barbarians. Had the Barbarians followed up their advantage, and pursued those who fled with |112 the emperor, they would certainly have had them all immediately in their power. But being satisfied with what they had gained, and having made themselves masters of Macedon and Thessaly, which were without protection, they left the towns uninjured, in hopes of receiving a tribute from them.
The emperor, on learning that they had for that reason marched home, secured the castles, strengthened the towns with garrisons, and proceeded to Constantinople, having sent letters to the emperor Gratian to inform him of what had occurred, and that the danger was so extreme that it was necessary to send assistance without delay. After having dispatched couriers with this message, he did not attend to the sufferings of Macedon and Thessaly, but appointed persons to collect the tribute whom he knew to be extremely severe in exacting it. Thus whatever had been spared by the humanity of the Barbarians was seized as tribute, not only their money being taken, but even the ornaments of the women, and their clothes, reducing them almost to nakedness to satisfy the demands for taxes. Every town was therefore filled with tears and complaints, all calling out for the Barbarians, and desiring their assistance.
Such was the state of Macedon and Thessaly, while at the same time the emperor Theodosius made his entrance into Constantinople with great pomp, as if in triumph for some important victory, without regarding the public calamities, but proportioning the magnitude of his luxury to that of the city.1 Gratian, who was much disturbed by the intelligence, sent a sufficient force under the command of Baudo, accompanied by Arbogastes. Both of these were Franks, but strongly attached to the Romans, free from corruption or avarice, and prudent as well as brave soldiers. When they arrived with the army in Macedon and Thessaly, the Scythians who were there pillaging all before them, on perceiving the resolution of these commanders, immediately retired into Thrace, which they had previously plundered. Being in doubt how to act, they made use of the same stratagem as before, and endeavoured to delude Theodosius with the same device. They sent to him fugitives of the lowest rank to promise him the |113 utmost fidelity and obedience, whom he believed and entertained. Lest his former experience should render him sensible of his own interest, these were followed by many more, whom he received in a similar manner, until, through the folly of the emperor, the fugitives had again gained great influence. His folly was daily augmented by his voluptuous course of life; for whatever contributes to the relaxation of morals, received in his reign such encouragement, that every person, who affected to imitate the emperor, placed all human happiness in such pursuits. He encouraged mimics, and dancers, and that dissolute and lascivious music, which was in use during his reign and subsequently, and all that could conduce to obscenity, to such a degree, that the empire was totally ruined by those who imitated that species of madness. Add to this, that the temples of the gods were every where violated, nor was it safe for any one to profess a belief that there are any gods, much less to look up to heaven and to adore them. While Theodosius was thus occupied, the emperor Gratian sent Vitalianus to command the Illyrian legions, a person by no means calculated to raise them from their depressed condition. Meantime the Celtic nations were harrassed by two bands of Germans from beyond the Rhine, one of which was commanded by Fritigerne, the other by Allothus and Safraces. The emperor was therefore compelled to permit them, on condition of leaving the Celtic provinces, to cross the Ister and to enter Pannonia and the Upper Moesia. His design and endeavour was to free himself from their continual incursions. They therefore passed the Ister, with the intention of proceeding through Pannonia into Epirus, and after crossing the river Achelous, to attack the cities of Greece. They first determined to supply themselves with a store of provisions, and to remove Athomaricus, the head of the royal family of Scythia, that none might be left in their rear to impede or prevent their enterprise. They accordingly attacked him, and easily drove him from the places where he lay. He therefore repaired with great expedition to Theodosius, who was then recovering from a disease which had nearly caused his death. Theodosius gave a kind reception both to him and to the Barbarians who followed him, even proceeding some distance from Constantinople to meet him. Nor did he afterwards treat him with less respect, but at his death, which happened shortly afterwards, interred him in a royal sepulchre, which was so magnificent, that the Barbarians were filled with amazement at its extreme splendour, and returned to their country without offering any further molestation to the Romans, so charmed were they with the |114 liberality and magnificence of the emperor. They who had folowed the deceased chief likewise kept a continual guard on the bank of the river, to prevent any incursions being made against the Romans.
At the same time Theodosius had additional good fortune. He repulsed the Scyri and Carpodaces, who were mixed with the Huns, and so defeated them as to compel them to cross the Ister, and to return into their own country. The success of the emperor revived the courage of the soldiers, who now appeared to recover from their former calamities. The husbandmen had now the liberty of cultivating their lands, and of feeding their cattle with security. Thus did Theodosius appear to repair their losses. Meanwhile Promotus, who was commander of the forces in Thrace, encountered with Aedotheus, who had levied an immense army, not only among the nations upon the Ister, but among others situated in unknown countries at a great distance, which he was then leading across the river. Promotus here made such havoc among the troops, that the river was filled with dead bodies, and the number which fell on the shore was almost too great to be counted.
While the affairs of Thrace were, thus situated, those of Gratian were in great perplexity. Having accepted the counsel of those courtiers who usually corrupt the manners of princes, he gave a reception to some fugitives called Alani, whom he not only introduced into his army, but honoured with valuable presents, and confided to them his most important secrets, esteeming his own soldiers of little value. This produced among his soldiers a violent hatred against him, which being gradually inflamed and augmented incited in them a disposition for innovation, and most particulary in that part of them which was in Britain, since they were the most resolute and vindictive. In this spirit they were encouraged by Maximus, a Spaniard, who had been the fellow-soldier of Theodosius in Britain. He was offended that Theodosius should be thought worthy of being made emperor, while he himself had no honourable employment. He therefore cherished the animosity of the soldiers towards the emperor. They were thus easily induced to revolt and to declare Maximus emperor. Having presented to him the purple robe and the diadem, they sailed to the mouth of the Rhine. As the German army, and all who were in that quarter approved of the election, Gratian prepared to contend against Maximus, with a considerable part of the army which still adhered to him. When the armies met, there were only slight skirmishes for five days; until Gratian, |115 perceiving that the Mauritanian cavalry first deserted from him and declared Maximus Augustus, and afterwards that the remainder of his troops by degrees espoused the cause of his antagonist, relinquished all hope, and fled with three hundred horse to the Alps. Finding those regions without defence, he proceeded towards Rhaetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and the Upper Moesia. When Maximus was informed of his route, he was not negligent of the opportunity, but detached Andragathius, commander of the cavalry, who was his faithful adherent, in pursuit of Gratian. This officer followed him with so great speed, that he overtook him when he was passing the bridge at Sigidunus, and put him to death. By which exploit he confirmed the authority of Maximus.
Upon this occasion it may not be improper to relate a circumstance which has some reference to the present part of my narration. Among the Romans, the persons who had the superintendence of sacred things were the Pontifices, whom we may term Gephyraei, if we translate the Latin word Pontifices, which signifies bridge-makers, into the Greek. The origin of that appellation was this : At a period before mankind were acquainted with the mode of worshipping by statues, some images of the gods were first made in Thessaly. As there were not then any temples (for the use of them was likewise then unknown), they fixed up those figures of the gods on a bridge over the river Peneus, and called those who sacrificed to the gods, Gephyraei, Priests of the Bridge, from the place where the images were first erected. Hence the Romans, deriving it from the Greeks, called their own priests Pontifices, and enacted a law, that kings, for the sake of dignity, should be considered of the number. The first of their kings who enjoyed this dignity was Numa Pompilius. After him it was conferred not only upon the kings but upon Octavianus and his successors in the Roman empire. Upon the elevation of any one to the imperial dignity, the pontifices brought him the priestly habit, and he was immediately styled, Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest. All former emperors, indeed, appeared gratified with the distinction, and willingly adopted the title. Even Constantine himself, when he was emperor, accepted it, although he was seduced from the path of rectitude in regard to sacred affairs, and had embraced the Christian faith. In like manner did all who succeeded him to Valentinian and Valens. But when the Pontifices, in the accustomed manner, brought the sacred robe to Gratian, he, considering it a garment unlawful for a Christian to use, rejected their offer. When the robe was restored to the |116 priests who brought it, their chief is said to have made this observation, If the emperor refuses to become Pontifex, we shall soon make one.
The reign of Gratian being thus terminated, Maximus, who now considered himself firmly fixed in the empire, sent an embassy to the emperor Theodosius, not to intreat pardon for his treatment of Gratian, but rather to increase his provocations. The person employed in this mission was the imperial chamberlain (for Maximus would not suffer an eunuch to preside in his court), a prudent person, with whom he had been familiarly acquainted from his infancy. The purport of his mission was to propose to Theodosius a treaty of amity, and of alliance, against all enemies who should make war on the Romans, and on refusal, to declare against him open hostility. Upon this, Theodosius admitted Maximus to a share in the empire, and in the honour of his statues and his imperial title. Nevertheless, he was at the same time privately preparing for war, and endeavouring to deceive Maximus by every species of flattery and observance. He gave instructions to Cynegius, the prefect of his court, whom he bad sent into Egypt in order to prohibit there all worship of the gods, and to shut up their temples, that he should shew the statue of Maximus to the Alexandrians, and erect it in some public place, declaring to the people, that he was associated to himself in the empire. In this Cynegius obeyed his commands, closing up the doors of the temples throughout the east, Egypt, and Alexandria, and prohibited all their ancient sacrifices and customary observances. As to the calamities which the Roman empire suffered from that period, a distinct account of the facts themselves will be the best demonstration.
About this time, a nation of Scythia made its appearance from beyond the Ister, who were never before known to the inhabitants of tbo.se countries. They are called, by the Barbarians in those parts, the Prothyugi. These being very numerous, furnished with arms of every description, and remarkably robust, easily overpowered the Barbarians of the interior, proceeded as far as the banks of the Ister, and demanded permission to cross that river. Promotus, the commander of the forces in that quarter, drew out his troops as far as he could extend them along the bank of the river, and hindered the passage of the Barbarians. While he was thus employed, he invented a stratagem to this effect. He called to him some of his own soldiers, who understood their language, and in whom he could confide in affairs of that nature, and sent them to agree with the Barbarians upon betraying |117 their own party. These men proposed to the Barbarians to deliver the whole army into their hands in consideration of a large reward. The Barbarians replied, that they were not able to give so much. However, to induce them to believe their promises, they adhered to their original proposals, and would not abate in any part of the reward. At length they agreed to the sum, which was in part to be paid immediately, and the remainder at the accomplishment of the treason. Having arranged the method of giving the signal, and the time for the execution of the project, they communicated to the commander each circumstance; that the Barbarians would commence the enterprize in the night, and would cross the river to attack the Roman army.
The Barbarians, therefore, having placed all their best troops on board a great number of small vessels, commanded them to cross over first, and to fall on the soldiers while they were asleep. Next to these, they sent those of an inferior description to support the former when they had commenced the attack; and after them the useless multitude of every age, who are ready to boast of victories which others have gained. Promotus having been previously informed of all their arrangements, was fully prepared against their designs. He therefore ranged his ships in a triple line close together along the side of the river, the length of twenty stadia. By this plan he not only prevented the enemy from crossing over, but sunk many of them in their vessels. The night being dark and without a moon, the Barbarians were unacquainted with the preparations which the Romans had made, and therefore embarked with great silence, supposing the Romans to be ignorant of their design. When the signal was made, the Romans sailed up to them in large and strong ships with firm oars, and sunk all that they met, among which not one man was saved by swimming, their arms being very heavy. The vessels which escaped from the Roman ships, upon approaching those which lay along shore, were so assaulted with whatever was at hand, that they and all on board were lost at the same time, nor were any of them able to pass this wall of Roman vessels.
This produced among them an immense slaughter, greater than had ever occurred in any former naval action. Thus the river was filled with dead bodies and with arms. As many of them or were able to swim to the bank were destroyed by those who were ranged along it. The engagment being ended, the soldiers began to plunder. They carried away all the women and children, and acquired possession of all the provisions. Promotus then sent for Theodosius, who was not far from thence, to witness |118 his brave exploit. When he beheld the number of prisoners, and the quantity of spoil, he gave the captives their liberty, and by bestowing gifts upon them, endeavoured to attach them to himself, supposing that they would be of service to him in a war against Maximus.
Another occurrence which happened at that period is worthy of being related. In the part of Scythia contiguous to Thrace is a town called Tomi, in which was a garrison commanded by Gerontius, a stout and valuable soldier. Before that town was placed a select corps of Barbarians, who excelled the rest of their countrymen in strength and courage. Although these men were favoured by the emperor with a larger allowance of corn and other provisions than any other of the soldiers; yet they did not repay these distinctions with good will, but with hatred to the governor of the town, and contempt of the Roman soldiers. Gerontius on discovering their design, which was to attack the town, and to confuse the government, consulted with his most prudent soldiers on the method of punishing those insolent Barbarians, Finding them fearful, and consequently backward in giving their assent, he took his arms, and issued with a few of his guards to engage the whole body of Barbarians. Having opened the gates, he marched out against them, while his soldiers were yet asleep, and shackled by fear as by a chain, or had mounted the wall to witness what should occur. Meantime the Barbarians laughed at the temerity of Gerontius, and thinking him desirous of death, sent against him men of extraordinary strength. Gerontius engaged with the first man whom he encountered, who immediately catching hold of his buckler resolutely opposed him. At length, one of the guards, who saw them closed, coming to his assistance, cut off the arm of the .Barbarian, and caused him to fall from his horse. While the Barbarians stood in astonishment at his courage and audacity, Gerontius attacked others of the enemy. The soldiers upon the wall, witnessing the exploits of their commander, recollected that they were Romans, and sallying out, killed most of the Barbarians, who were astonished at so sudden an eruption. A few only of them escaped to an edifice, which was held in high veneration by the Christians, and esteemed an asylum or sanctuary.
Gerontius, having delivered this part of Scythia from all impending dangers, and from the Barbarians who had formed attempts against it, but were subdued by his remarkable valour and conduct, expected some remuneration from the emperor. On the contrary, Theodosius was offended, that the Barbarians, whom he |119 had so much honoured, were cut off; although they had been a great annoyance to the public repose. He therefore privately required Gerontius to be brought before him in custody, to plead in defence of his brave achievements for the advantage of the Romans. Upon this occasion, Gerontius charged the Barbarians with rebellion, and related the depredations and ravages they had committed among the inhabitants of that town. The emperor, however, continued regardless of all he said, and persisted in accusing him of having removed them, not for the public good, but in order to acquire the presents which the emperor had given them. Gerontius replied, that he had sent their property to the public treasury after their death. He had only taken from them some golden necklaces which the emperor had presented to them as ornaments. Notwithstanding this justification he had great difficulty in escaping the dangers that surrounded him, though he distributed all he possessed to the eunuchs, and paid a porportionable sum for his goodwill to the Romans.
While affairs thus hastened towards ruin under the reign of Theodosius, in whose time no virtuous action was thought commendable, but every species of luxury and licentiousness increased daily beyond all bounds, an insurrection arose among the inhabitants of the great city of Antioch in Syria, who were unable to support the continual addition of new taxes which the collectors invented. Having disgracfully thrown down the statues of the emperor and empress, they used expressions corresponding with their actions, which were mixed with humour and that species of raillery to which they accustom themselves. When the emperor, who was highly incensed at these actions, threatened to punish them according to their fault, the senate of the city, dreading his resentment, determined to send ambassadors to excuse the actions of the populace. They made choice of the philosopher Libanius, whose commendations are contained in the writings which he has left, and of Hilarius, a man of a noble family and of great learning. The former of these made an oration before the emperor and the senate concerning the insurrection. He succeeded in appeasing the anger which the emperor had felt against the Antiochians. The emperor, being now perfectly reconciled to that city, enjoined him to make a second oration on that subject; and appointed Hilarius, who was renowned for his virtues, governor of Palestine.
Affairs being thus situated in the east, in Thrace, and in Illyricum, Maximus, who deemed his appointments inferior to his merits, being only governor of the countries formerly under Gratian, |120 projected how to depose the young Valentinian from the empire, if possible totally, but should he fail in the whole, to secure at least some part. Full of this resolution, he prepared to cross the Alps into Italy. Perceiving, however, that it would be necessary for him to pass through narrow defiles, and over craggy and pathless mountains, and beyond these, through morasses and fens which admit of no passengers, except those who travel very slowly, much less of so considerable an army, he deferred the enterprize until he could form better measures. Valentinian, however, sending ambassadors from Aquileia to desire a continuance of peace, Maximus complied with his request, and pretended to be gratified with the proposal. Valentinian, therefore, sent Domninus to treat, who, though by birth a Syrian, was a steady friend to the emperor. As he was next to the emperor in authority, he seemed likewise to excel all others in fidelity and experience, and whatever private measures he wished to adopt, he imparted to this person alone. When Domninus arrived with Maximus, and had informed him of the motive of the embassy, he was received with the utmost kindness and respect. Maximus conferred on him so great honours, and so many presents, that Domninus supposed that Valentinian would never again have so good a friend. To such a degree did Maximus succeed in deluding Domninus, that he sent along with him part of his own army to the assistance of the emperor against the Barbarians, who dreadfully oppressed the Pannonians under his dominion. Domninus departed from him highly gratified not only by the many presents he had received, but at being accompanied by those were sent with him. He therefore imprudently by crossing the Alps rendered the passage more practicable to Maximus. That he would do this had been foreseen by Maximus, who had therefore made every preparation, and followed him with all his forces. He moreover detached guards before him, to prevent the passage of any that way, who might give intelligence to the attendants of Domninus, that Maximus was penetrating into Italy. This precaution had its full success, it being impossible for any person to pass through the narrow defile of the mountains without being perceived. Upon learning that Domninus and his retinue had passed the defiles of the Alps, and the marshes beyond them, which are extremely difficult for the march of an army, not fearing to meet any enemy in those devious places, he immediately entered Italy without; resistance, and marched to Aquileia.
This so much surprised Valentinian, and rendered his situation so desperate, that his courtiers were alarmed lest he should be |121 taken by Maximus and put to death. He, therefore, immediately embarked,and sailed to Thessalonica with his mother Justina, who, as I before mentioned, had been the wife of Magnentius, but after his decease was taken in marriage by the emperor Valentinian on account of her extraordinary beauty. She carried along with her her daughter Galla. After having passed many seas, and arriving at Thessalonica, they sent messengers to the emperor Theodosius, intreating him now at least to revenge the injuries committed against the family of Valentinian. He was astonished at hearing of this, and began to forget his extravagance, and to lay some restraint on his wild inclination for pleasure. Having held a consultation, it was determined that he with part of the senate should proceed to Thessalonica. This journey they performed, and there again consulted what measures to pursue. It was at length agreed, with the unanimous assent of the assembly, that Maximus should receive the punishment due to his offences. Their opinion was, that such a person was undeserving of life, who had not only murdered Gratian and usurped his dominions, but after having succeeded in his usurpation, had extended his progress, and also deprived the brother of Gratian of the territory which had been allotted to him. Though Theodosius was highly incensed at these actions, yet his natural effeminacy, and the negligent habits of his former life, rendered him unwilling to undertake a war. He therefore pointed out to them the inconveniences which unavoidably arise from civil discord, and that the commonwealth must of necessity receive fatal wounds from both parties. He therefore stated that it would be better first to send an embassy, and that if Maximus would surrender the empire to Valentinian and remain at peace, the empire should be divided between them all as before, but if he should yield to his ambition, they would immediately commence a war against him. No person in the senate dared to speak in opposition to this, because it appeared to be calculated for the public advantage.
Meanwhile Justina, who was a person of great experience, and knew the best manner of conducting her affairs, understanding that Theodosius was naturally inclined to love, introduced into his presence her daughter Galla, who was extremely beautiful. Then embracing the knees of the emperor, she supplicated with great humility that he would neither suffer the death of Gratian to pass unrevenged, to whom he owed the empire, nor them to remain neglected and destitute of every hope. As she spoke these words she shewed him her daughter, who was in tears, lamenting her misfortunes. When Theodosius had listened to this |122 supplication, and had observed the beauty of Galla, his eyes discovered the wound she had inflicted on his heart. Yet he deferred that affair to a future occasion, and in the mean time gave them favourable hopes. Becoming daily more inflamed with love for Galla, he requested Justina to grant him her daughter, since his former wife Placilla was dead. To this demand she replied, that she would by no means accede to it, unless he would make war on Maximus to avenge the death of Gratian. Resolving, therefore, to obtain her consent, he exerted himself in preparing for war. Being thus incited by his passion for Galla, he not only conciliated the soldiers by augmenting their stipend, but was roused from his negligence in other affairs, resolving, since he was compelled by necessity, to provide for affairs that would require attention after his departure. For this purpose, as Cynegius, the prefect of the court, had died on his journey homeward from Egypt, he considered on a person proper to succeed in that office. After having examined the character of many persons, he at length found one suitable, named Tatianus, for whom he sent to Aquileia. Tatianus had held other offices under Valens, and was in every respect a worthy person. Theodosius, therefore, declared him prefect of the court, sending him the ensigns of magistracy, and made his son Proculus praetor of the city. In this he truly acted with wisdom, in committing the highest offices to such worthy men, who know how to make the most judicious dispositions for the advantage of the subjects in the absence of the emperor. He also provided for the army, giving the command of the horse to Promotus, and that of the foot to Timasius. When all things were prepared for his journey, he was informed that the Barbarians, who were mixed with the Roman legions, had been solicited by Maximus with the promise of great rewards if they would betray the army. Upon perceiving that the design was discovered, they fled to the fens and marshes of Macedon, where they concealed themselves in the woods. Being pursued and searched for with great diligence, most of them were slain. The emperor, being delivered from this alarm, marched with great resolution with his whole army against Maximus. He, however, first placed Justina and her daughter on board a ship, committing them to the care of persons who were to convey them in safety to Rome; believing that the Romans would receive them with great pleasure, because they were disaffected towards Maximus. He intended to lead his army through the Upper Pannonia and over the Appennine mountains to Aquileia, in order to surprise the enemy before they were prepared. |123
While Theodosius was on his march, Maximus, having learnt that the mother of Valentinian and her children were to cross the Ionian sea, collected a number of swift-sailing ships, which he sent under the command of Andragathius to cruize for them. But Andragathius, though he sailed about in every direction, failed of his purpose; for they had already crossed the Ionian strait. Collecting, therefore, a competent navy, he sailed along all the adjacent coasts, in expectation that Theodosius would attack him with his navy.
While Andragathius was thus employed, Theodosius, having passed through Pannonia and the defiles of the Appennines, attacked unawares the forces of Maximus before they were prepared for him. A part of his army, having pursued them with the utmost speed, forced their way through the gates of Aquileia, the guards being too few to resist them. Maximus was torn from his imperial throne while in the act of distributing money to his soldiers, and being stripped of his imperial robes, was brought to Theodosius, who, having in reproach enumerated some of his crimes against the commonwealth, delivered him to the common executioner to receive due punishment.
Such was the end of Maximus and of his usurpation. Having fraudulently overcome Valentinian, he imagined that he should with ease subdue the whole Roman empire. Theodosius, having heard, that when Maximus came from beyond the Alps he left his son Victor, whom he had dignified with the title of Caesar, he immediately sent for his general, named Arbogastes, who deprived the youth both of his dignity and life. When this intelligence reached Andragathius, who was then cruizing in the Ionian sea, it excited in him so great an apprehension of the innumerable dangers to which he was exposed, that he did not wait the arrival of his enemies, but became his own executioner. He threw himself into the sea, preferring rather to trust to the waves than to men who were his greatest enemies.
Theodosius then delivered to Valentinian as much of the empire as his father had possessed; in which he only acted as he was enjoined by his duty to those who so merited his kindness. Having afterwards embodied the choicest soldiers of Maximus with his own, he sent Valentinian into Italy, Celtica, and other countries, to arrange the affairs of his share of the empire. His mother accompanied him, to supply, as much as was possible in a woman, the prudence which his youth required.
Returning himself to Thessalonica, he found the affairs of Macedon in the utmost confusion. The Barbarians, who had secreted |124 themselves in the fens and woods near the lakes, and had escaped from the former incursion of the Romans, having found an opportunity while Theodosius was occupied in the civil war, pillaged Macedon and Thessaly without opposition. Upon hearing of the late victory, and that the emperor was upon his return, they again concealed themselves in the marshes, and issuing privately from thence at break of day, carried off all that they found, and returned to their usual abode. To so great degree did they extend these ravages, that the emperor at length thought them to be rather daemons than men. Being therefore in doubt, he communicated his design to no person. He took with him five horsemen, each of whom he ordered to lead three or four horses, that when any horse became weary, the rider might have another to mount, and the horses might by that means be enabled to endure the fatigue of the enterprize which he intended. He gave no cause to suppose that he was the emperor, but travelled through the country as a private individual. When he or his retinue was in want of food, they procured it from the country people. He arrived at length at a small inn, in which resided an old woman, whom he requested to admit him into her house, and to give him some wine. She complied with both these demands. While she was entertaining him very hospitably with wine and the provisions which were then accidentally in the house, the night approached, and he therefore desired her to allow him to sleep there, to which she likewise consented. In the room, where the emperor lay, he perceived a man who remained perfectly silent, and appeared to have no desire to be known. The emperor, being surprised at this appearance; called the old woman, and demanded of her who the man was and from whence he came. Her reply was, that she could neither give him that information, nor wherefore he came there; all she knew being, that since the emperor Theodosius and his army had returned home, he had been her guest and had paid her every day for his entertainment; that he had gone out every morning, walked where he pleased, and returned at night as from some hard labour, and after having eaten something had lain down in the position in which he now saw him. The emperor, having heard the story of the woman, judged it convenient to make a further inquiry into the affair; and taking hold of the man, commanded him to declare who he was. The man not returning any answer, he beat him in order to force him to confess. But the man continuing unmoved by these blows, he commanded the horsemen to prick him with their swords, and told him that he was the emperor Theodosius. He then |125 confessed that he was a spy in the service of the Barbarians who were concealed in the fens, and informed him where they were, and in what places he could most conveniently attack them. The emperor immediately cut off his head.
After this joining his army, which was encamped at no great distance, he brought his forces to the place which he knew to be the residence of the Barbarians. He attacked and slew them without distinction of age, dragging some out of the fens in which they were concealed, and killing others in the water, thus causing a great slaughter of the Barbarians. Timasius, the commander, who admired the valour of the emperor, now desired him to permit the soldiers, who by this time were exhausted with hunger and unable to continue to toil in the marshes, to refresh themselves. To this the emperor assented, and the trumpet sounded a retreat; upon which the soldiers ceased pursuing the Barbarians. When they had abundantly satisfied themselves with eating and drinking, they were so overpowered with wine and fatigue that they fell asleep. This being observed by the remaining Barbarians, they seized their arms, and falling on the soldiers, who were already subdued by sleep and intoxication, they pierced them with their spears and swords, and other instruments of death. The emperor himself with his whole army were in the most imminent danger of death, had not some, who had not yet dined, hastened to the tent of the emperor, and informed him of the circumstance. The emperor and those who were with him, being considerably alarmed, resolved to avoid the impending danger by a precipitate flight. But being met, as they were escaping, by Promotus, who had been sent for by the emperor, he desired the emperor to consult his own safety and that of those who were with him; as he himself would attend to the Barbarians, and punish them as for their obstinacy they deserved. He had no sooner said this, than he hastened to the Barbarians, whom he found still among the sleeping soldiers, and slew so many of them, that scarcely any of them escaped with safety into the marshes.
Such were the most remarkable incidents which happened to the emperor Theodosius after his return from the defeat of Maximus. When he again arrived at Constantinople, he was elated with pride for his victory over Maximus, but was so much depressed at what his army and himself had suffered from the Barbarians in the marshes, that he resolved to bid adieu for the future to all wars. Committing, therefore, the management of those affairs to Promotus, he began to resign himself to his former mode of life, and delighted in splendid banquets, theatrical |'124.2' spectacles, horse-races, and voluptuousness. These opposite features of his character have incited in me a degree of wonder. For although naturally addicted to indolence and other vices which I have before mentioned, and, therefore, when unmolested by any formidable accident, giving way to his nature, yet when roused by any circumstance, by which his affairs were threatened with danger, he laid aside his languor, and reliquishing his pleasures, prepared himself for manly, vigorous, and difficult enterprizes. And notwithstanding he was so resolute as by experience we are informed, yet, when free from anxiety, he would again become the slave of his natural vices of indolence and luxury.
Of the magistrates whom he had appointed, Rufinus was considered the chief, who was by birth a Celtic Gaul, and commanded the court guards. Upon him the emperor reposed the entire confidence of all his affairs, and held no other person in great estimation. This gave offence to Timasius and Promotus, who, after having subjected themselves to so many dangers for the public good, were placed only in the second rank of favourites. And Rufinus was by this rendered so haughty and assuming, that in a public assembly he uttered some very strong expressions against Promotus. Promotus, unable to endure these, struck Rufinus in the face with great violence and wounded him. On this Rufinus immediately repaired to the emperor, and shewing him his face, excited him to such a rage, that he declared if their envy against Rufinus should not diminish, they should very shortly see him emperor. Rufinus, who for other reasons was an enemy to many other persons, through his excessive ambition of being superior to all, on hearing this, persuaded the emperor to send Promotus from the court to some place where he might exercise the soldiers. Having obtained his desire, he employed some Barbarians to wait in ambuscade as he was entering Thrace. These, as they were commanded, attacked him by surprize, and killed him. He was a man superior to the desire of wealth, and had behaved with sincerity both toward the commonwealth and the emperors; but was justly rewarded for his folly in serving those who conducted the public affairs with so much negligence and impiety.
When this action was rumoured abroad, and had become the theme of general conversation, every moderate and sober-minded person was displeased at such enormities; yet Rufinus, at the same time, as if in reward for some glorious deed, was made consul. Charges, without reasonable foundation, were then alledged against Tatianus and his son Proculus, who had given |'125.2' no other offence to Rufinus, than that of having discharged without bribery, and as much as was possible according to their duty, their offices of prefect, the one of the court, and the other of the city. To effect what was designed against them, Tatianus, being first deprived of his office, was brought to trial, and Rufinus was appointed prefect of the imperial court. Although there were apparently other persons commissioned to sit as judges in this process besides Rufinus, yet he alone had authority to pronounce sentence. When Proculus discovered the plot, he effeted his escape. Upon this Rufinus, who thought him an active person, and feared lest he should invent some mode of giving him uneasiness, went to his father Tatianus, and by deceitful oaths induced him to believe all that he said. He even persuaded the emperor to give both the father and son the most favourable hopes; until he had thus deluded Tatianus from a well-grounded suspicion into vain thoughts of security, and induced him by letters to recall his son. But as soon as Proculus arrived, he was seized and thrown into prison. Tatianus being sent to reside in his own country, they sat several times in judgement on Proculus, until at length the judges, as they had agreed with Rufinus, commanded him to be carried into the suburbs, called Sycae, and there to suffer death. The emperor, on hearing this, sent to recall the sword from his throat; but the messenger of Rufinus proceeded so slowly, that before he arrived at the place, the head of Proculus was severed from his body.
During these occurrences, intelligence was brought that the emperor Valentianian was no more, and that his death happened in this manner: Arbogastes, a Frank, who was appointed by the emperor Gratian lieutenant to Baudo, at the death of Baudo, confiding in his own ability, assumed the command without the emperor's permission. Being thought proper for the station by all the soldiers under him, both for his valour and experience in military affairs, and for his disregard of riches, he attained great influence. He thus became so elevated, that he would speak without reserve to the emperor, and would blame any measure which he thought improper. This gave such umbrage to Valentinian, that he opposed him on several occasions, and would have done him injury had he known how to effect it. At length Valentinian, no longer able to submit to his correction, when Arbogastes was approaching him as he sat on the imperial throne, looked sternly upon him, and presented him with a writing, by which he dismissed him from his command. Arbogastes, having read it, replied, "You neither gave me the command, nor can |126 deprive me of it;" and having said this, tore the writing to pieces, threw it down, and retired. From that period their hatred was no longer kept to themselves, but appeared in public. Valentinian sent frequent letters to the emperor Theodosius, acquainting him with the arrogant behaviour of Arbogastes towards the majesty of an emperor, and requesting him speedily to send assistance, or that he should suddenly make him a visit. Meantime Arbogastes, hesitating how to proceed, at length formed the following resolution:
There was in the court a person named Eugenius, a man of learning, who was a professor and teacher of rhetoric. He had been recommended to the notice of Arbogastes by Rictomeris as a person of a kind and obliging disposition, with a desire that he would make him his familiar friend, being one who would be serviceable to him in any circumstances where the assistance of a real friend would be needful. When Rictomeris was departed to the emperor Theodosius, by daily conversation Eugenius became the sincere friend of Arbogastes, who had no secret which he did not confide to him. Recollecting Eugenius, therefore, at this juncture, who by his extraordinary learning and the gravity of his conversation seemed well-adapted for the management of an empire, he communicated to him his designs. But finding him not pleased with the proposals, he attempted to prevail on him by all the arts he could use, and entreated him not to reject what fortune so favourably offered. Having at length persuaded him, he deemed it advisable in the first place to remove Valentinian, and thus to deliver the sole authority to Eugenius. With this view he proceeded to Vienna, a town in Gaul, where the emperor resided; and as he was amusing himself near the town in some sports with the soldiers, apprehending no danger, Arbogastes gave him a mortal wound. To this audacious action the soldiers quietly submitted, not only because he was so brave and warlike a person, but because they were attached to him through his contempt of riches. As soon as he had performed this action, he declared Eugenius emperor, and infused into them the most favourable hopes that he would prove an excellent ruler, since he possessed such extraordinary qualifications.
When these events were related to Theodosius, his wife Galla filled the whole court with confusion by her lamentations for the death of her brother. The emperor likewise was overcome by grief and anxiety, having not only lost his associate in the empire, who was a young man and so nearly related to him, but the empire having fallen into the hands of men disaffected to himself, and |127 likewise invincible; Arbogastes being brave and skilful, and Eugenius learned and virtuous. Although he made these reflections and frequently revolved them in his mind, yet he resolved at once as it were to throw the die for all that he possessed, and therefore made every preparation for war. In pursuance of his design he intended to make Rictomeris commander of the cavalry, having experienced his courage in many wars, and to appoint other officers over the legions. But Rictomeris dying of disease he was compelled to make a different choice. While the emperor was deliberating on this, an embassy arrived from Eugenius, to learn from the emperor Theodosius whether he would acknowledge the title of Eugenius, or declare his election void. The person sent on this embassy was Rufinus, an Athenian, who neither brought letters from Arbogastes, nor made any mention of him. While Theodosius deferred the time in order to consult on the answer to this mission, another occurrence intervened. When Theodosius was first made emperor, he admitted to his friendship and alliance some Barbarians, whom he attached both with promises and large presents, nor did he fail by all civilities to endeavour to acquire the regard of the officers of each nation, but admitted them even to his own table. Amongst these arose a debate, in which two different opinions were maintained. Some of them declared, that it was better to break the oaths they had taken when they entered into the service of the Romans; while others on the contrary maintained, that they ought not on any consideration to act in opposition to their own agreements. The person who wished to trample on his engagements, and persuaded his countrymen to the same, was Priulfus; and on the; other side Fraustius maintained that they ought, to observe what they had sworn. A considerable time elapsed before it was known that such a controversy existed among them, until on one occasion when they were at the emperor's table, and had drunk more than usual, they quarrelled with each other, and declared their sentiments. The emperor, therefore, when he had discovered the opinion of each individual, put an end to the entertainment. As they left the palace, they became so warm, that Fraustius, unable any longer to contain his rage, drew his sword, and killed Priulfus. As his soldiers would have fallen upon Fraustius, the guards of the emperor interposed, and prevented the tumult, from proceeding farther; although when the emperor heard of it, he was regardless of what had been done, and suffered them to kill each other as they pleased. In the mean time, having deluded the ambassadors with presents and fair words, he sent them home, and |128 soon as they were departed, continued his preparations for war. Conceiving the principal object, as it really is, to be the choice of commanders, he gave the command of the Roman army to Timasius, and next to him to Stilico, who had married Serena, the niece of Theodosius. The Barbarian allies he placed under the conduct of Gaines and Saulus, with whom Bacurius was likewise joined in commission, who was of Armenian extraction, a man expert in military affairs, and devoid of evil inclinations. Having thus made choice of his principal officers, he was hastening to march, when his wife Galla was delivered of an infant, but was no sooner eased of her burden than deprived of life. The emperor (having mourned for her a whole day, according to the rule of Homer), proceeded with his army to the war, leaving behind him his son Arcadius, who had some time previously been made emperor. This prince being young, his father, in order to amend the defects of his nonage, left with him Rufinus, who was prefect of the court, and acted as he pleased, even as much as the power of sovereignty enabled the emperor himself to do. Having done this, he took with him his younger son Honorius, quickly passed through the intermediate countries, and having exceded his expectations in crossing the Alps, arrived where the enemy was stationed : Eugenius being astonished at seeing him there whom he so little expected. But as he was arrived there, and consequently was under the necessity of engaging, he judged it most prudent to place the Barbarian troops in front, and to expose them first. He ordered Gaines with the troops under his command to make the first attack, and the other commanders of Barbarian soldiers to follow him, either cavalry, horse archers, or infantry. Eugenius then drew out his forces. When the two armies were engaged, so great an eclipse of the sun happened, that for more than half the time of the action it appeared rather to be night than day. As they fought therefore a kind of nocturnal battle, so great a slaughtor was made, that in the same day the greater part of the allies of Theodosius were slain, with their commander Bacurius, who fought very courageously at their head, while the other commanders escaped very narrowly with the remainder. When night came on and the armies had rallied, Eugenius was so elated with his victory, that he distributed money among those who had behaved with the greatest gallantry in the battle, and gave them time to refresh themselves, as if after such a defeat there was no probability of another engagement As they were thus solacing themselves, the emperor Theodosius about break of day fell suddenly on them with his whole forces, while they were still reclined |129 on the ground, and killed them before they knew of the approach of an enemy. He then proceeded to the tent of Eugenius, where he attacked those who were around him, killing many of them, and taking some of them in their flight, among whom was Eugenius. When they had got him in their power, they cut off his head, and carried it on a long spear around the camp, in order to shew those who still adhered to him, that it was now their interest to be reconciled to the emperor, inasmuch as the usurper was removed. All who had survived the engagement immediately came over to the emperor, hailing him with the appellation of Augustus, and entreating him to pardon their offences; to which the emperor readily consented. Arbogastes, who had no inclination to make experiment of the emperor's clemency, took refuge in the most craggy mountains. Perceiving there that a general search was making for him, he stabbed himself, preferring a voluntary death to being taken by the enemy.
The emperor Theodosius after these successes proceeded to Rome, where he declared his son Honorius emperor, and appointing Stilico to the command of his forces there, left him as guardian to his son. Before his departure, he convened the senate, who firmly adhered to the ancient rites and customs of their country, and could not be induced to join with those who were inclined to contempt for the gods. In an oration he exhorted them to relinquish their former errors, as he termed them, and to embrace the Christian faith, which promises absolution from all sins and impieties. But not a single individual of them would be persuaded to this, nor recede from the ancient ceremonies, which had been handed down to them from the building of their city, and prefer to them an irrational assent; having, as they said, lived in the observance of them almost twelve hundred years, in the whole space of which their city had never been conquered, and, therefore, should they change them for others, they could not foresee what might ensue. Theodosius, therefore, told them, that the treasury was too much exhausted by the expence of sacred rites and sacrifices, and that he should, therefore, abolish them, since he neither thought them commendable, nor could the exigencies of the army spare so much money. The senate in reply observed, that the sacrifices were not duly performed, unless the charges were defrayed from the public funds. Yet thus the laws for the performance of sacred rites and sacrifices were repealed and abolished, besides other institutions and ceremonies, which had been received from their ancestors. By these means, the Roman empire, having been |130 devastated by degrees, is become the habitation of Barbarians, or rather having lost all its inhabitants, is reduced to such a form, that no person can distinguish where its cities formerly stood. That affairs were thus brought into so melancholy a state will be evident from a particular narrative of them. The emperor Theodosius, having consigned Italy, Spain, Celtica, and Libya to his son Honorius, died of a disease on his journey towards Constantinople. His body was embalmed, and deposited in the imperial sepulchres of that city.
[Footnote moved to end]
1. * Paul Diaconus, in his 12th Book, speaks of him totally otherwise. He observes, "Those vices with which he is aspersed, namely, that he was a drunkard, and very ambitious for triumph, he held in such abhorrence, that he made no wars, though he found some. He prohibited by law all lasciviousness, and forbade minstrels to be used at feasts." We must however excuse this in Zosimus, since with him it was equivalent to the greatest crimes, merely to be a Christian.
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