The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Chapter X
The nature of the subject
          FROM the great  secular  games  celebrated  by Philip to the
          death of the  emperor Gallienus there elapsed (A.D, 248-268)
          twenty years of shame and misfortune. During that calamitous
          period every instant  of  time was marked, every province of
          the Roman world  was  afflicted  by  barbarous  invaders and
          military tyrants, and  the  ruined empire seemed to approach
          the last and  fatal moment of its dissolution. The confusion
          of the times,  and  the  scarcity  of  authentic  memorials,
          oppose equal difficulties  to the historian, who attempts to
          preserve  a  clear   and   unbroken   thread  of  narration.
          Surrounded with imperfect  fragments,  always concise, often
          obscure,  and sometimes  contradictory,  he  is  reduced  to
          collect, to compare,  and to conjecture: and though he ought
          never to place his conjectures in the rank of facts, yet the
          knowledge of human  nature, and of the sure operation of its
          fierce and unrestrained  passions, might, on some occasions,
          supply the want of historical materials.
The emperor Philip
          There is not,  for  instance,  any  difficulty in conceiving
          that the successive murders of so many emperors had loosened
          all the ties  of  allegiance  between the prince and people;
          that all the generals of Philip were disposed to imitate the
          example of their  master;  and  that  the caprice of armies,
          long since habituated  to  frequent and violent revolutions,
          might any day  raise to the throne the most obscure of their
          fellow-soldiers. History can  only  add  that  the rebellion
          against the emperor  Philip  broke  out in the summer of the
          year two hundred and forty-nine, among the legions of Maesi;
          and that a  subaltern  officer, (1) named  Marinus,  was the
          object of their  seditious  choice.  Philip  was alarmed. He
          dreaded lest the  treason  of  the Maesian army should prove
          the first spark  of a general conflagration. Distracted with
Services,   the  consciousness of  his  guilt  and  of  his  danger,  he
revolt     communicated  the  intelligence  to  the  senate.  A  gloomy
victory,    silence  prevailed, the  effect  of  fear,  and  perhaps  of
and reign of disaffection: till at  length  Decius,  one of the assembly,
the emperor  assuming a spirit  worthy  of his noble extraction (2), ventured
Decius      to discover more  intrepidity  than  the  emperor  seemed to
          possess. He treated  the  whole business with contempt, as a
          hasty and inconsiderate  tumult,  and  Philip's  rival  as a
          phantom  of royalty,  who  in  a  very  few  days  would  be
          destroyed by the  same inconstancy that had created him. The
          speedy completion of  the  prophecy  inspired  Philip with a
          just esteem for so able a counsellor: and Decius appeared to
          him  the  only   person   capable  of  restoring  peace  and
          discipline  to an  army  whose  tumultuous  spirit  did  not
          immediately subside after  the murder of Marinus. Decius who
          long resisted his  own  nomination, seems to have insinuated
          the danger of  presenting a leader of merit to the angry and
          apprehensive minds of  the  soldiers; and his prediction was
          again confirmed by  the  event.  The legion of Maesia forced
          their judge to become (A.D. 249) their accomplice. They left
          him  only the  alternative  of  death  or  the  purple.  His
          subsequent  conduct,  after   that   decisive  measure,  was
          unavoidable.  He conducted  or  followed  his  army  to  the
          confines of Italy,  whither Philip, collecting all his force
          to repel the  formidable  competitor  whom he had raised up,
          advanced to meet  him.  The Imperial troops were superior in
          number; but the rebels formed an army of veterans, commanded
          by an able  and  experienced  leader.  Philip  was either
          killed in the  battle  or put to death a few days afterwards
          at Verona. His son and associate in the empire was massacred
          at Rome by the Praetorian guards; and the victorious Decius,
          with more favourable circumstances than the ambition of that
          age can usually  plead,  was universally acknowledged by the
          senate and provinces  It is reported that, immediately after
          his reluctant acceptance  of  the  title of Augustus, he had
          assured Philip, by  a  private message, of his innocence and
          loyalty, solemnly protesting  that, on his arrival in Italy,
          he would resign  the  imperial  ornaments  and return to the
          condition of an  obedient  subject. His professions might be
          sincere. But in  the  situation where fortune had placed him
          it was scarcely  possible that he could either forgive or be
He marches against the Goths
          The emperor Decius had employed a few months in the works of
          peace and the  administration of justice, when (A.D. 250) he
          was summoned to  the  banks of the Danube by the invasion of
          the GOTHS. This  is the first considerable occasion in which
          history mentions that great people, who afterwards broke the
          Roman power, sacked the Capitol, and reigned in Gaul, Spain,
          and Italy. So memorable was the part which they acted in the
          subversion of the  Western  empire that the name of GOTHS is
          frequently but improperly  used  as a general appellation of
          rude and war-like barbarism.
Origin of the Goths from Scandinavia
          In  the beginning  of  the  sixth  century,  and  after  the
          conquest of Italy,  the  Goths,  in  possession  of  present
          greatness,  very  naturally   indulged   themselves  in  the
          prospect  of past  and  of  future  glory.  They  wished  to
          preserve the memory  of  their ancestors, and to transmit to
          posterity their own  achievements. The principal minister of
          the court of Ravenna, the learned Cassiodorus, gratified the
          inclination of the  conquerors  in  a  Gothic history, which
          consisted of twelve  books,  now  reduced  to  the imperfect
          abridgment of Jornandes. (4)  These  writers  passed with the
          most artful conciseness  over the misfortunes of the nation,
          celebrated its successful  valour,  and  adorned the triumph
          with many Asiatic  trophies  that  more properly belonged to
          the people of  Scythia.  On  the faith of ancient songs, the
          uncertain,  but the  only,  memorials  of  barbarians,  they
          deduced the first  origin of the Goths from the vast island,
          or peninsula, of  Scandinavia.(5) That extreme country of the
          north was not  unknown  to the conquerors of Italy: the ties
          of ancient consanguinity  had  been  strengthened  by recent
          offices  of  friendship;   and   a   Scandinavian  king  had
          cheerfully abdicated his savage greatness that he might pass
          the remainder of his days in the peaceful and polished court
          of Ravenna.(6) Many vestiges, which cannot be ascribed to the
          arts of popular  vanity, attest the ancient residence of the
          Goths in the  countries  beyond the Baltic. From the time of
          the geographer Ptolemy, the southern part of Sweden seems to
          have continued in  the  possession  of the less enterprising
          remnant of the  nation,  and  a  large  territory is even at
          present divided into  east  and  west  Gothland.  During the
          middle ages (from  the ninth to the twelfth century), whilst
          Christianity was advancing  with  a  slow  progress into the
          north, the Goths  and  the  Swedes composed two distinct and
          sometimes hostile members of the same monarchy.(7) The latter
          of these two  names  has prevailed without extinguishing the
          former. The Swedes,  who  might well be satisfied with their
          own fame in  arms,  have  in  every  age claimed the kindred
          glory of the  Goths.  In  a moment of discontent against the
          court of Rome,  Charles  the  Twelfth  insinuated  that  his
          victorious troops were  not  degenerated  from  their  brave
          ancestors who had already subdued the mistress of the world.(8)
Religion of the Goths
          Till the end  of  the  eleventh century, a celebrated temple
          subsisted at Upsal, the most considerable town of the Swedes
          and  Goths.  It   was  enriched  with  the  gold  which  the
          Scandinavians had acquired  in  their  piratical adventures,
          and sanctified by  the  uncouth representations of the three
          principal  deities,  the   god   of   war,  the  goddess  of
          generation, and the  god of thunder. In the general festival
          that was solemnised  every ninth year, nine animals of every
          species (without excepting  the  human) were sacrificed, and
          their bleeding bodies suspended in the sacred grove adjacent
          to the temple. (9)  The  only traces that now subsist of this
          barbaric superstition are contained in the Edda, a system of
          mythology compiled in  Iceland about the thirteenth century,
          and studied by the learned of Denmark and Sweden as the most
          valuable remains of their ancient traditions.
Institutions and death of Odin
          Notwithstanding the mysterious obscurity of the Edda, we can
          easily distinguish two  persons confounded under the name of
          Odin,  the  god   of   war,  and  the  great  legislator  of
          Scandinavia.  The  latter,   the   Mahomet   of  the  north,
          instituted a religion  adapted  to  the  climate  and to the
          people. Numerous tribes  on  either  side of the Baltic were
          subdued by the  invincible valour of Odin, by his persuasive
          eloquence, and by  the  fame,  which  he acquired, of a most
          skilful magician. The  faith that he had propagated during a
          long and prosperous  life he confirmed by a voluntary death.
          Apprehensive of the  ignominious  approach  of  disease  and
          infirmity, he resolved  to  expire as became a warrior. In a
          solemn assembly of  the Swedes and Goths, he wounded himself
          in nine mortal  places,  hastening away (as he asserted with
          his dying voice)  to  prepare  the  feast  of  heroes in the
          palace of the god of war.(10)
Agreeable but uncertain hypothesis concerning Odin
          The native and proper habitation of Odin is distinguished by
          the appellation of  As-gard. The unhappy resemblance of that
          name  with  As-burg,   or   As-of (11)  words  of  a  similar
          signification, has given  rise to an historical system of so
          pleasing a conjecture  that we could almost wish to persuade
          ourselves of its  truth.  It  is  supposed that Odin was the
          chief of a  tribe  of barbarians which dwelt on the banks of
          the lake Maetois,  till the fall of Mithridates and the arms
          of Pompey menaced  the  north  with  servitude.  That  Odin,
          yielding with indignant  fury to a power which he was unable
          to resist, conducted  his  tribe  from  the frontiers of the
          Asiatic  Sarmatia into  Sweden  with  the  great  design  of
          forming, in that inaccessible retreat of freedom, a religion
          and  a  people   which,   in  some  remote  age,  might  be,
          subservient to his  immortal  revenge;  when  his invincible
          Goths,  armed  with  martial  fanaticism,  should  issue  in
          numerous swarms from  the neighbourhood of the Polar circle,
          to chastise the oppressors of mankind.(12)
Emmigration of the Goths from Scandinavia into Prussia
          If so many  successive  generations of Goths were capable of
          preserving a faint  tradition  of their Scandinavian origin,
          we must not  expect,  from  such  unlettered barbarians, any
          distinct account of  the  time  and  circumstances  of their
          emigration. To cross  the  Baltic  was  an  easy and natural
          attempt.  The  inhabitants  of  Sweden  were  masters  of  a
          sufficient number of  large  vessels,  with oars,(13) and the
          distance  is  little   more  than  one  hundred  miles  from
          Carlscrona to the  nearest  ports  of Pomerania and Prussia.
          Here, at length,  we  land  on  firm and historic ground. At
          least as early  as  the Christian era,(14) and as late as the
          age of the  Antonines,(15) the Goths were established towards
          the mouth of the Vistula, and in that fertile province where
          the commercial cities  of  Thorn,  Elbing,  Koningsberg, and
          Dantzic were long  afterwards  founded. (16)  Westward of the
          Goths, the numerous  tribes of the Vandals were spread along
          the banks of  the  Oder,  and  the seacoast of Pomerania and
          Mecklenburg. A striking  resemblance of manners, complexion,
          religion, and language,  seemed to indicate that the Vandals
          and the Goths  were  originally  one  great  people. (17) The
          latter  appear to  have  been  subdivided  into  Ostrogoths,
          Visigoths, and Gepidae.(18) The distinction among the Vandals
          was more strongly marked by the independent names of Heruli,
          Burgundians, Lombards, and  a variety of other petty states,
          many of which,  in  a  future  age, expanded themselves into
          powerful monarchies.
From Prussia to the Ukriane
          In the age  of the Antonines, the Goths were still seated in
          Prussia. About the  reign  of  Alexander  Severus, the Roman
          province of Dacia had already experienced their proximity by
          frequent and destructive  inroads.  (19)  In  this  interval,
          therefore, of about  seventy years, we must place the second
          migration of the  Goths  from  the Baltic to the Euxine; but
          the cause that  produced it lies concealed among the various
          motives which actuate  the  conduct  of unsettled barbarians
          Either a pestilence  or  a famine, a victory or a defeat, an
          oracle of the gods or the eloquence of a daring leader, were
          sufficient to impel  the  Gothic arms on the milder climates
          of the south.  Besides  the influence of a martial religion,
          the numbers and  spirit  of the Goths were equal to the most
          dangerous adventures. The  use  of  round bucklers and short
          swords rendered them  formidable  in a close engagement; the
          manly obedience which  they yielded to hereditary kings gave
          uncommon union and  stability  to their councils;(20) and the
          renowned Amala, the hero of that age, and the tenth ancestor
          of Theodoric, king  of  Italy, enforced, by the ascendant of
          personal merit, the  prerogative  of  his  birth,  which  he
          nation.(21) derived from  the Anses, or demigods  of  the
          Gothic nation.
The Gothic nation increases in its march.
          The fame of  a great enterprise excited the bravest warriors
          from all the  Vandalic  states  of Germany, many of whom are
          seen a few  years  afterwards  combating  under  the  common
          standard of the Goths.(22) The first motions of the emigrants
          carried them to the banks of the Prypec, a river universally
          conceived by the  ancients  to be the southern branch of the
          Borysthenes.(23) The  windings  of  that great stream through
          the plains of  Poland  and  Russia gave a direction to their
          line of march,  and  a  constant  supply  of fresh water and
          pasturage to their  numerous  herds of cattle. They followed
          the unknown course  of the river, confident in their valour,
          and  careless  of   whatever  power  might  oppose  f  their
          progress. The Bastarnae  and  the  Venedi were the first who
          presented themselves and  the  flower of their youth, either
          from choice or  compulsion,  increased  the Gothic army. The
          Bastarnae dwelt on  the  northern  side  of  the  Carpathian
          mountains; the immense  tract  of  land  that  separated the
          Bastarnae from the  savages  of  Finland  was  possessed, or
          rather wasted, by  the  Venedi; (24)  we  have some reason to
          believe that the first of these nations, which distinguished
          itself in the  Macedonian war,(25) and was afterwards divided
          into the formidable  tribes  of the Peucini, the Borani, the
          Carpi, etc., derived  its  origin  from  the  Germans.  With
          better authority, a  Sarmatian extraction may be assigned to
          the Venedi, who  rendered themselves so famous in the middle
          ages.(26) But  the  confusion  of  blood  and manners on that
Distinction doubtful  frontier  often   perplexed   the   most  accurate
of Germans  observers.(27) As  the  Goths  advanced  near the Euxine Sea,
and       they encountered a  purer  race  of Sarmatians, the Jazyges,
Sarmatians   the Alani, and the Roxolani and they were probably the first
          Germans who saw  the  mouth  of  the  Borysthenes and of the
          Tanais. If we  inquire  into the characteristic marks of the
          people of Germany  and  of  Sarmatia, we shall discover that
          those two great  portions  of  human  kind  were principally
          distinguished by fixed  huts  or  movable  tents, by a close
          dress of flowing  garments,  by  the  marriage  of one or of
          several wives, by  a military force consisting, for the most
          part, either of  infantry  or  cavalry; and above all by the
          use of the  Teutonic  or of the Sclavonian language the last
          of which has  been diffused by conquest from the confines of
          Italy to the neighbourhood of Japan.
Description of the Ukraine
          The Goths were  now  in possession of the Ukraine, a country
          of considerable extent  and  uncommon fertility, intersected
          with navigable rivers,  which,  from  either side, discharge
          themselves into the Borysthenes; and interspersed with large
          and lofty forests  of oaks. The plenty of game and fish, the
          innumerable beehives, deposited in the hollows of old trees,
          and in the cavities of rocks, and forming, even in that rude
          age, a valuable  branch of commerce, the size of the cattle,
          the temperature of  the  air,  the  aptness  of the soil for
          every  species  of   grain,   and   the  luxuriancy  of  the
          vegetation, all displayed  the  liberality  of  Nature,  and
          tempted the industry  of man.(28) But the Goths withstood all
          these temptations, and  still adhered to a life of idleness,
          of poverty, and of rapine.
The Goths invade the Roman provinces.
          The Scythian hordes,  which,  towards  the east, bordered on
          the new settlements of the Goths, presented nothing to their
          arms except the  doubtful chance of an unprofitable victory.
          But the prospect  of  the  Roman  territories  was  far more
          alluring; and the  fields  of  Dacia  were covered with rich
          harvests, sown by  the  hands of an industrious, and exposed
          to be gathered by those of a warlike, people. It is probable
          that the conquests  of  Trajan maintained by his successors,
          less for any  real  advantage  than  for  ideal dignity, had
          contributed to weaken  the  empire on that side. The new and
          unsettled province of  Dacia  was  neither  strong enough to
          resist, nor rich enough to satiate, the rapaciousness of the
          barbarians. As long as the remote banks of the Dniester were
          considered  as  the   boundary   of  the  Roman  power,  the
          fortifications of the  Lower  Danube  were  more  carelessly
          guarded, and the  inhabitants  of  Maesia  lived  in  supine
          security, fondly conceiving  themselves  at  an inaccessible
          distance from any  barbarian invaders. The irruptions of the
          Goths, under the  reign of Philip, fatally convinced them of
          their mistake. The  king,  or  leader, of that fierce nation
          traversed with contempt  the  province  of Dacia, and passed
          both the Dniester  and  the  Danube without encountering any
          opposition capable of  retarding  his  progress. The relaxed
          discipline of the  Roman  troops betrayed the most important
          posts where they  were  stationed,  and the fear of deserved
          punishment induced great numbers of them to enlist under the
          Gothic  standard.  The   various   multitude  of  barbarians
          appeared, at length,  under  the  walls  of Marcianopolis, a
          city built by  Trajan  in  honour of his sister, and at that
          time the capital  of  the  second Maesia.(29) The inhabitants
          consented to ransom  their lives and property by the payment
          of a large  sum  of  money,  and the invaders retreated back
          into their deserts,  animated,  rather  than satisfied, with
          the first success  of  their  arms  against  an  opulent but
          feeble country. Intelligence  was  soon  transmitted  to the
          emperor Decius that Cniva, king of the Goths, had passed the
          Danube a second  time,  with  more considerable forces; that
          his  numerous detachments  scattered  devastation  over  the
          province of Maesia,  whilst  the  main  body  of  the  army,
          consisting of seventy  thousand  Germans  and  Sarmatians, a
          force equal to  the  most  daring achievements, required the
          presence of the  Roman  monarch,  and  the  exertion  of his
          military power.
Various events of the Gothic war.
          Decius found (A.D.  250) the Goths engaged before Nicopolis,
          on  the Jatrus,  one  of  the  many  monuments  of  Trajan's
          victories.(30) On  his  approach  they  raised the siege, but
          with a design only of marching away to a conquest of greater
          importance, the siege  of  Philippopolis,  a city of Thrace,
          founded by the  father  of Alexander, near the foot of mount
          Haemus.(31) Decius followed them through a difficult country,
          and by forced  marches;  but  when  he imagined himself at a
          considerable distance from  the  rear  of  the  Goths, Cniva
          turned with rapid  fury  on  his  pursuers.  The camp of the
          Romans was surprised  and pillaged, and, for the first time,
          their emperor fled in disorder before a. troop of half-armed
          barbarians.   After  a   long   resistance,   Philippopolis,
          destitute of succour, was taken by storm. A hundred thousand
          persons are reported  to  have been massacred in the sack of
          that great city. (32)  Many prisoners of consequence became a
          valuable accession to  the  spoil; and Priscus, a brother of
          the late emperor  Philip,  blushed  not to assume the purple
          under the protection  of  the  barbarous enemies of Rome.(33)
          The time, however  consumed  in  that  tedious siege enabled
          Decius to revive  the  courage,  restore the discipline, and
          recruit the numbers  of  his  troops. He intercepted several
          parties of Carpi,  and  other Germans, who were hastening to
          share the victory  of  their  countrymen, (34)  intrusted the
          passes of the  mountains  to officers of approved valour and
          fidelity;(35) repaired and strengthened the fortifications of
          the Danube, and  exerted  his  utmost  vigilance  to  oppose
          either the progress  or the retreat of the Goths. Encouraged
          by  the return  of  fortune,  he  anxiously  waited  for  an
          opportunity to retrieve,  by  a great and decisive blow, his
          own glory and that of the Roman arms.(36)
Decius revives the office of censor in the person of Valerian
          At  the same  time  when  Decius  was  struggling  with  the
          violence of the  tempest,  his  mind,  calm  and  deliberate
          amidst the tumult  of  war,  investigated  the  more general
          causes  that,  since  the  age  of  the  Antonines,  had  so
          impetuously urged the  decline  of  the  Roman greatness. He
          soon discovered that  it  was  impossible  to  replace  that
          greatness on a  permanent  basis  without  restoring  public
          virtue, ancient principles  and  manners,  and the oppressed
          majesty of the  laws.  To  execute  this  noble  but arduous
          design, he first  resolved  to revive the obsolete office of
          censor; an office  which, as long as it had subsisted in its
          pristine  integrity,  had   so   much   contributed  to  the
          perpetuity  of  the  state, (37)  till  it  was  usurped  and
          gradually neglected by  the  Caesars. (38) Conscious that the
          favour of the  sovereign  may  confer  power,  but  that the
          esteem  of  the   people  can  alone  bestow  authority,  he
          submitted the choice  of the censor to the unbiased voice of
          the   senate.  By   their   unanimous   votes,   or   rather
          acclamations, Valerian, who  was afterwards emperor, and who
          then served with  distinction  in  the  army  of Decius, was
          (A.D. 251, 27th Oct.) declared the most worthy of that exalted
          honour. As soon  as the decree of the senate was transmitted
          to the emperor,  he  assembled  a great council in his camp,
          and, before the investiture of the censor elect, he apprised
          him of the  difficulty  and  importance of his great office.
          "Happy  Valerian," said  the  prince  to  his  distinguished
          subject, "happy in the general approbation of the senate and
          of the Roman  republic  !  Accept the censorship of mankind;
          and judge of  Our manners. You will select those who deserve
          to continue members  of  the  senate;  you  will restore the
          equestrian order to  its ancient splendour; you will improve
          the revenue, yet  moderate  the  public  burdens.  You  will
          distinguish into regular  classes  the  various and infinite
          multitude of citizens,  and  accurately  review the military
          strength, the wealth, the virtue, and the resources of Rome.
          Your decisions shall obtain the force of laws. The army, the
          palace, the misters  of  justice,  and the great officers of
          the empire, are  all  subject  to  your  tribunal.  None are
          exempted,  excepting  only  the  ordinary  consuls, (39)  the
          prefect of the  city,  the  king  of the sacrifices, and (as
          long as she  preserves her chastity inviolate) the eldest of
          the vestal virgins.  Even  these  few, who may not dread the
          severity, will anxiously  solicit  the  esteem, of the Roman
The design impractical, and without effect.
          A magistrate, invested  with  such  extensive  powers, would
          have appeared not  so  much the minister as the colleague of
          his sovereign.(41)  Valerian  justly  dreaded an elevation so
          full  of envy  and  of  suspicion.  He  modestly  urged  the
          alarming greatness of  the trust, his own insufficiency, and
          the  incurable  corruption   of   the   times.  He  artfully
          insinuated that the  office  of  censor was inseparable from
          the Imperial dignity, and that the feeble hands of a subject
          were unequal to  the  support  of  such an immense weight of
          cares and of power.(42) The approaching event of war soon put
          an end to  the  prosecution  of a project so specious but so
          impracticable; and whilst  it  preserved  Valerian  from the
          danger, saved the  emperor  Decius  from  the disappointment
          which would most  probably  have  attended  it. A censor may
          maintain, he can never restore, the morals of a state. It is
          impossible for such a magistrate to exert his authority with
          benefit, or even  with  effect,  unless he is supported by a
          quick sense of honour and virtue in the minds of the people,
          by a decent reverence for the public opinion, and by a train
          of useful prejudices  combating  on  the  side  of  national
          manners. In a  period when these principles are annihilated,
          the  censorial jurisdiction  must  either  sink  into  empty
          pageantry, or be  converted  into  a  partial  instrument of
          vexatious oppression.(43) It was easier to vanquish the Goths
          than to eradicate  the public vices yet even in the first of
          these enterprises Decius lost his army and his life.
Defeat and death of Decius and his son
          The Goths were now, on every side, surrounded and pursued by
          the Roman arms.  The  flower of their troops had perished in
          the long siege  of  Philippopolis, and the exhausted country
          could  no  longer   afford  subsistence  for  the  remaining
          multitude  of  licentious   barbarians.   Reduced   to  this
          extremity, the Goths  would  gladly  have  purchased, by the
          surrender of all  their  booty and prisoners, the permission
          of an undisturbed  retreat.  But  the  emperor, confident of
          victory  and  resolving,   by   the  chastisement  of  these
          invaders, to strike  a  salutary  terror into the nations of
          the North, refused  to listen to any terms of accommodation.
          The high-spirited barbarians  preferred death to slavery. An
          obscure town of  Maesia, called Forum Terebronii,(44) was the
          scene of the  battle.  The Gothic army was drawn up in three
          lines, and, either from choice or accident, the front of the
          third line was  covered by a morass. In the beginning of the
          action, the son of Decius, a youth of the fairest hopes, and
          already associated to  the  honours of the purple, was slain
          by an arrow,  in  the  sight  of  his afflicted father; who,
          summoning all his  fortitude, admonished the dismayed troops
          that the loss  of  a single soldier was of little importance
          to the republic. (45)  The  conflict was terrible; it was the
          combat of despair  against grief and rage. The first line of
          the Goths at  length  gave  way  in  disorder;  the  second,
          advancing to sustain it, shared its fate; and the third only
          remained entire, prepared  to  dispute  the  passage  of the
          morass, which was  imprudently  attempted by the presumption
          of the enemy.  "Here  the fortune of the day turned, and all
          things became adverse  to  the  Romans:  the place deep with
          ooze, sinking under  those  who  stood,  slippery to such as
          advanced; their armour  heavy,  the  waters  deep; nor could
          they  wield,  in   that   uneasy  situation,  their  weighty
          javelins. The barbarians,  on  the  contrary, were enured to
          encounters in the  bogs,  their  persons  tall, their spears
          long, such as  could  wound at a distance."(46) In the morass
          the  Roman  army,   after   an   ineffectual  struggle,  was
          irrecoverably lost; nor  could  the body of the emperor ever
          be found.(47)  Such  was  the fate of Decius, in the fiftieth
          year of his  age; an accomplished prince, active in war, and
          affable  in peace, (48)  who,  together  with  his  son,  has
          deserved to be  compared,  both  in life and death, with the
          brightest examples of ancient virtue.(49)
Election of Gallus
          This  fatal blow  humbled,  for  a  very  little  time,  the
          insolence of the  legions.  They  appear  to  have patiently
          expected, and submissively obeyed, the decree of the senate,
          which regulated the  succession  to  the throne. From a just
          regard for the  memory  of  Decius,  the  Imperial title was
          (A.D.  251,  Dec.)   conferred   on  Hostilianus,  his  only
          surviving son; but an equal rank, with more effectual power,
          was granted to  Gallus,  whose experience and ability seemed
          equal to the great trust of guardian to the young prince and
          the distressed empire. (50) The first care of the new emperor
          was to deliver  the  IIlyrian provinces from the intolerable
Retreat of  weight of the  victorious  Goths. He (A.D. 252) consented to
the Goths.  leave in their  hands  the rich fruits of their invasion, an
          immense booty, and, what was still more disgraceful, a great
          number of prisoners  of  the  highest  merit and quality. He
          plentifully supplied their  camp with every convenience that
          could assuage their  angry  spirits,  or facilitate their so
          much wished for  departure; and he even promised to pay them
          annually a large sum of gold, on condition they should never
          afterwards infest the Roman territories by their incursions.(51)
Gallus purchases peace by the payment of an annual tribute.
          In the age  of  the  Scipios,  the most opulent kings of the
          earth,  who  courted   the   protection  of  the  victorious
          commonwealth, were gratified  with such trifling presents as
          could only derive  a value from the hand that bestowed them;
          an  ivory  chair,   a   coarse   garment   of   purple,   an
          inconsiderable piece of plate, or a quantity of copper coin.
         (52) After the  wealth  of  nations  had  centred in Rome, the
          emperors displayed their  greatness,  and even their policy,
          by the regular  exercise of a steady and moderate liberality
          towards the allies  of  the state. They relieved the poverty
          of the barbarians,  honoured  their  merit,  and recompensed
          their  fidelity.  These   voluntary  marks  of  bounty  were
          understood to flow  not  from the fears, but merely from the
          generosity  or  the  gratitude  of  the  Romans  and  whilst
          presents  and subsidies  were  liberally  distributed  among
          friends and suppliants, they were sternly refused to such as
          claimed them as a debt.(53) But this stipulation of an annual
          payment to a  victorious  enemy appeared without disguise in
Popular     the light of an ignominious tribute; the minds of the Romans
discontent   were not yet  accustomed  to accept such unequal laws from a
          tribe of barbarians;  and  the  prince  who  by  a necessary
          concession had probably saved his country, became the object
          of  the  general   contempt   and  aversion.  The  death  of
          Hostilianus, though it  happened  in  the  midst of a raging
          pestilence, was interpreted as the personal crime of Gallus;
         (54) and even  the  defeat of the late emperor was ascribed by
          the voice of  suspicion  to  the  perfidious counsels of his
          hated  successor. (55)  The  tranquillity  which  the  empire
          enjoyed during the  first  year  of  his  administration (56)
          served  rather  to   inflame  than  to  appease  the  public
          discontent; and, as  soon  as  the apprehensions of war were
          removed, the infamy  of  the  peace was more deeply and more
          sensibly felt.
Victory and revolt of Aemilianus
          But the Romans  were irritated to a still higher degree when
          they discovered that they had not even secured their repose,
          though at the  expense of their honour. The dangerous secret
          of the wealth  and  weakness of the empire had been revealed
          to the world.  New  swarms  of  barbarians, encouraged (A.D.
          253) by the  success, and not conceiving themselves bound by
          the  obligation,  of   their  brethren,  spread  devastation
          through the Illyrian  provinces,  and  terror  as far as the
          gates of Rome.  The  defence  of  the  monarchy which seemed
          abandoned  by the  pusillanimous  emperor,  was  assumed  by
          Aemilianus, governor of  Pannonia and Maesia who rallied the
          scattered forces, and  revived  the  fainting spirits of the
          troops. The barbarians  were  unexpectedly attacked, routed,
          chased, and pursued beyond the Danube. The victorious leader
          distributed  as a  donative  the  money  collected  for  the
          tribute, and the acclamations of the soldiers proclaimed him
          emperor on the  field of battle.(57) Gallus, who, careless of
          the general welfare,  indulged  himself  in the pleasures of
          Italy, was almost  in  the  same  instant  informed  of  the
          success of the  revolt  and  of  the  rapid  approach of his
          aspiring lieutenant. He  advanced  to meet him as far as the
          plains of Spoleto.  When  the  armies  came in sight of each
          other,  the soldiers  of  Gallus  compared  the  ignominious
          conduct of their sovereign with the glory of his rival. They
          admired the valour  of Aemilianus they were attracted by his
          liberality, for he offered a considerable increase of pay to
Gallus      all deserters.(58)  The  murder  of  Gallus,  and  of his son
abandoned    Volusianus, put an  end  to  the  civil  war; and the senate
and slain.   (A.D. 253, May)  gave  a  legal  sanction  to  the rights of
          conquest.  The  letters   of  Aemilianus  to  that  assembly
          displayed a mixture  of  moderation  and  vanity. He assured
          them  that he  should  resign  to  their  wisdom  the  civil
          administration; and, contenting  himself with the quality of
          their general, would  in  a  short  time assert the glory of
          Rome, and deliver the empire from all the barbarians both of
          the North and of the East.(59) His pride was flattered by the
          applause  of  the   senate;  and  medals  are  still  extant
          representing him with  the  name  and attributes of Hercules
          and Victor and of Mars the Avenger.(60)
Valerian revenges the death of Gallus, and is acknowledged emperor
          If the new  monarch  possessed  the abilities, he wanted the
          time necessary to  fulfil these splendid promises. Less than
          four months intervened  between his victory and his fall.(61)
          He had vanquished  Gallus:  he  sunk  under  the weight of a
          competitor more formidable  than  Gallus.  That  unfortunate
          prince  had sent  Valerian,  already  distinguished  by  the
          honourable title of censor, to bring the legions of Gaul and
          Germany to his  aid. (62)  Valerian  executed that commission
          with zeal and  fidelity;  and as he arrived too late to save
          his sovereign, he  resolved  to  revenge  him. The troops of
          Aemilianus, who still lay encamped in the plains of Spoleto,
          were awed by the sanctity of his character, but much more by
          the superior strength  of  his  army;  and  as they were now
          become as incapable  of  personal  attachment  as  they  had
          always been of constitutional principle, they (AD 253, Aug.)
          readily imbrued their hands in the blood of a prince who had
          so lately been the object of their partial choice. The guilt
          was theirs, but  the  advantage  of  it  was Valerian's; who
          obtained the possession of the throne by the means indeed of
          a civil war, but with a degree of innocence singular in that
          age of revolutions;  since  he  owned  neither gratitude nor
          allegiance to his predecessor whom he dethroned.
Character of Valerian.
          Valerian was about  sixty  years  of  age (63)  when  he  was
          invested  with  the  purple,  not  by  the  caprice  of  the
          populace, or the  clamours of the army, but by the unanimous
          voice of the  Roman world. In his gradual ascent through the
          honours of the state, he had deserved the favour of virtuous
          princes, and had  declared  himself the enemy of tyrants.(64)
          His noble birth,  his  mild  but  unblemished  manners,  his
          learning, prudence, and  experience,  were  revered  by  the
          senate  and  people;   and  if  mankind  (according  to  the
          observation of an  ancient  writer) had been left at liberty
          to choose a  master,  their choice would most assuredly have
          fallen on Valerian.(65) Perhaps the merit of this emperor was
          inadequate to his  reputation;  perhaps his abilities, or at
          least his spirit,  were affected by the languor and coldness
          of old age.  The consciousness of his decline engaged him to
          share the throne  with  a younger and more active associate:(66)
General     the emergency  of  the  times  demanded a general no less
misfortunes  than a prince;  and the experience of the Roman censor might
of the reigns have directed him  where  to  bestow the Imperial purple, as
of Valerian  the reward of  military  merit.  But  instead  of  making  a
and Gallienus judicious choice, which  would  have confirmed his reign and
          endeared his memory,  Valerian, consulting only the dictates
          of  affection  or  vanity,  immediately  invested  with  the
          supreme honours his  son Gallienus, a youth whose effeminate
          vices had been  hitherto  concealed  by  the  obscurity of a
          private station. The  joint government of the father and the
          son subsisted about  seven,  and  the sole administration of
          Gallienus continued about  eight  years  (A.D. 253-268). But
          the whole period  was  one uninterrupted series of confusion
          and calamity. As  the Roman empire was at the same time, and
          on  every side,  attacked  by  the  blind  fury  of  foreign
          invaders, and the  wild  ambition  of  domestic usurpers, we
          shall consult order  and perspicuity by pursuing not so much
          the  doubtful arrangement  of  dates  as  the  more  natural
          distribution of subjects.  The  most  dangerous  enemies  of
Inroads of  Rome, during the  reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, were, 1
the       The Franks; 2.  The  Alemanni; 3.  The Goths; and 4. The
barbarians. Persians. Under these general appellations we may comprehend
          the adventures of  less  considerable  tribes, whose obscure
          and uncouth names would only serve to oppress the memory and
          perplex the attention of the reader.
Origin and confederacy of the Franks
          I. As the  posterity  of  the  Franks  compose  one  of  the
          greatest and most  enlightened nations of Europe, the powers
          of  learning  and  ingenuity  have  been  exhausted  in  the
          discovery of their  unlettered  ancestors.  To  the tales of
          credulity have succeeded the systems of fancy. Every passage
          has been sifted,  every  spot  has been surveyed, that might
          possibly reveal some  faint  traces  of their origin. It has
          been supposed that Pannonia,(67) that Gaul, that the northern
          parts of Germany,(68) gave birth to that celebrated colony of
          warriors. At length the most rational critics, rejecting the
          fictitious emigrations of  ideal conquerors, have acquiesced
          in a sentiment  whose  simplicity persuades us of its truth.
         (69) They suppose  that, about the year two hundred and forty,(70)
          a new confederacy was formed under the name of Franks, by
          the old inhabitants  of  the  Lower Rhine and the Weser. The
          present circle of Westphalia, the Landgraviate of Hesse, and
          the duchies of Brunswick and Luneburg, were the ancient seat
          of the Chauci,  who,  in their inaccessible morasses, defied
          the Roman arms;(71) of  the  Cherusci, proud of the fame of
          Arminius;  of  the  Catti,  formidable  by  their  firm  and
          intrepid infantry; and  of  several other tribes of inferior
          power and renown. (72)  The  love  of  liberty was the ruling
          passion of these  Germans;  the  enjoyment  of it their best
          treasure; the word  that  expressed  that enjoyment the most
          pleasing to their  ear.  They  deserved,  they assumed, they
          maintained the honourable  epithet  of  Franks  or  Freemen;
          which concealed, though  it did not extinguish, the peculiar
          names of the  several  states  of  the confederacy.(73) Tacit
          consent, and mutual  advantage,  dictated  the first laws of
          the  union;  it   was   gradually   cemented  by  habit  and
          experience. The league  of  the  Franks  may  admit  of some
          comparison with the  Helvetic  body;  in which every canton,
          retaining its independent  sovereignty,  consults  with  its
          brethren in the  common  cause,  without  acknowledging  the
          authority of any supreme head or representative assembly.(74)
          But the principle  of  the  two confederacies were extremely
          different. A peace  of  two  hundred  years has rewarded the
          wise and honest  policy  of the Swiss. An inconstant spirit,
          the thirst of  rapine,  and  a  disregard to the most solemn
          treaties, disgraced the character of the Franks.
They invade Gaul
          The Romans had  long  experienced  the  daring valour of the
          people  of  Lower  Germany.  The  union  of  their  strength
          threatened  Gaul  with   a  more  formidable  invasion,  and
          required the presence  of  Gallienus, the heir and colleague
          of imperial power.(75) Whilst that prince, and his infant son
          Salonius, displayed, in  the court of Treves, the majesty of
          the empire, its  armies were ably conducted by their general
          Posthumus, who, though  he afterwards betrayed the family of
          Valerian, was ever  faithful  for  the great interest of the
          monarchy. The treacherous  language of panegyrics and medals
          darkly announces a  long  series  of victories. Trophies and
          titles attest (if  such  evidence  can  attest)  the fame of
          Posthumus, who is  repeatedly  styled  The  Conqueror of the
          Germans, and the saviour of Gaul.(76)
Ravage Spain
          But a single  fact, the only one indeed of which we have any
          distinct  knowledge,  erases,  in  a  great  measure,  these
          monuments  of  vanity   and  adulation.  The  Rhine,  though
          dignified with the  title of Safeguard of the provinces, was
          an imperfect barrier against the daring spirit of enterprise
          with  which  the   Franks   were   actuated.   Their   rapid
          devastations stretched from  the  river  to  the foot of the
          Pyrenees: nor were  they  stopped by those mountains. Spain,
          which had never  dreaded,  was unable to resist, the inroads
          of the Germans.  During  twelve  years, the greatest part of
          the reign of Gallienus, that opulent country was the theatre
          of  unequal  and  destructive  hostilities.  Tarragona,  the
          flourishing capital of  a  peaceful province, was sacked and
          almost destroyed(77)  and so late as the days of Orosius, who
          wrote in the  fifth  century,  wretched  cottages, scattered
          amidst the ruins  of  magnificent cities, still recorded the
          rage of the  barbarians. (78)  When  the exhausted country no
          longer supplied a  variety  of plunder, the Franks seized on
and pass over some vessels in the  ports  of  Spain, (79)  and transported
into Africa  themselves  into  Mauritania.   The   distant  province  was
          astonished with the  fury of these barbarians, who seemed to
          fall  from  a   new  world,  as  their  name,  manners,  and
          complexion were equally unknown on the coast of Africa.(80)
Origin and renown of the Suevi
          II. In that  part  of Upper Saxony beyond the Elbe, which is
          at present called  the  Marquisate of Lusace, there existed,
          in ancient times,  a  sacred  wood,  the  awful  seat of the
          superstition of the  Suevi. None were permitted to enter the
          holy precincts without  confessing,  by  their servile bonds
          and  suppliant  posture,   the  immediate  presence  of  the
          sovereign  Deity. (81)  Patriotism  contributed  as  well  as
          devotion  to consecrate  the  Sonnenwald,  or  wood  of  the
          Semnones.(82) It was universally believed that the nation had
          received its first  existence on that sacred spot. At stated
          periods, the numerous tribes who gloried in the Suevic blood
          resorted thither by  their  ambassadors;  and  the memory of
          their common extraction  was  perpetuated  by barbaric rites
          and human sacrifices. The wide extended name of Suevi filled
          the interior countries of Germany from the banks of the Oder
          to those of  the  Danube.  They  were distinguished from the
          other Germans by  their peculiar mode of dressing their long
          hair, which they  gathered  into a rude knot on the crown of
          the head; and  they  delighted  in  an  ornament that showed
          their ranks more  lofty  and  terrible  in  the  eyes of the
          enemy.(83) Jealous  as  the  Germans were of military renown,
          they all confessed the superior valour of the Suevi; and the
          tribes of the  Usipetes and Tencteri, who, with a vast army,
          encountered the dictator Caesar, declared that they esteemed
          it not a disgrace to have fled before a people to whose arms
          the immortal gods themselves were unequal. (84)
A mixed body of Suevi assume the name of Alemanni
          In the reign  of the emperor Caracalla, an innumerable swarm
          of Suevi appeared  on  the  banks  of  the  Mein, and in the
          neighbourhood of the  Roman  provinces,  in  quest either of
          food,  of plunder,  or  of  glory. (85)  The  hasty  army  of
          volunteers gradually coalesced  into  a  great and permanent
          nation, and as  it  was  composed  from  so  many  different
          tribes, assumed the  name  of Alemanni, or All-men; to denote
          at once their  various  lineage and their common bravery.(86)
          The latter was  soon  felt  by  the Romans in many a hostile
          inroad. The Alemanni  fought chiefly on horseback; but their
          cavalry was rendered  still  more formidable by a mixture of
          light infantry, selected from the bravest and most active of
          the youth, whom  frequent  exercise  had enured to accompany
          the horsemen in the longest march, the most rapid charge, or
          the most precipitate retreat.(87)
Invade Gaul and Italy
          This warlike people  of  Germans  had been astonished by the
          immense  preparations  of   Alexander   Severus;  they  were
          dismayed by the  arms of his successor, a barbarian equal in
          valour and fierceness  to  themselves. But still hovering on
          the frontiers of  the  empire,  they  increased  the general
          disorder  that  ensued  after  the  death  of  Decius.  They
          inflicted severe wounds  on the rich provinces of Gaul; they
          were the first  who removed the veil that covered the feeble
          majesty of Italy. A numerous body of the Alemanni penetrated
          across the Danube,  and  through the Rhaetian Alps, into the
          plains  of  Lombardy,   advanced  as  far  as  Ravenna,  and
          displayed the victorious  banners  of  barbarians  almost in
          sight of Rome.(88) The insult and the danger rekindled in the
are repulsed senate  some  sparks  of  their  ancient  virtue.  Both  the
from Rome   emperors were engaged  in  far distant wars, Valerian in the
by the senate East and Gallienus on the Rhine. All the hopes and resources
and people   of the Romans  were  in  themselves.  In this emergency, the
          senators resumed the  defence  of the republic, drew out the
          Praetorian  guards,  who  had  been  left  to  garrison  the
          capital, and filled  up  their numbers by enlisting into the
          public  service  the   stoutest  and  most  willing  of  the
          Plebeians.  The  Alemanni,   astonished   with   the  sudden
          appearance of an  army more numerous than their own, retired
          into  Germany  laden  with  spoil;  and  their  retreat  was
          esteemed as a victory by the unwarlike Romans. (89)
The senators excluded by Gallienus from military service
          When Gallienus received  the  intelligence  that his capital
          was  delivered  from   the  barbarians,  he  was  much  less
          delighted than alarmed with the courage of the senate, since
          it might one  day  prompt  them  to rescue the republic from
          domestic tyranny as well as from foreign invasion. His timid
          ingratitude was published  to his subjects in an edict which
          prohibited  the  senators   from   exercising  any  military
          employment, and even  from  approaching  the  camps  of  the
          legions.  But  his  fears  were  groundless.  The  rich  and
          luxurious  nobles, sinking  into  their  natural  character,
          accepted,  as a  favour,  this  disgraceful  exemption  from
          military service; and  as  long as they were indulged in the
          enjoyment of their  baths, their theatres, and their villas,
          they cheerfully resigned  the more dangerous cares of empire
          to the rough hands of peasants and soldiers.(90)
Gallienus contreacts an alliance with the Alemanni
          Another invasion of  the  Alemanni,  of  a  more  formidable
          aspect, but more glorious event, is mentioned by a writer of
          the lower empire.  Three  hundred  thousand  of that warlike
          people are said  to  have  been vanquished, in a battle near
          Milan, by Gallienus  in  person  at  the  head  of  only ten
          thousand Romans.(91) We may, however, with great probability,
          ascribe this incredible  victory  either to the credulity of
          the historian or  to some exaggerated exploits of one of the
          emperor's lieutenants. It  was  by  arms of a very different
          nature that Gallienus  endeavoured to protect Italy from the
          fury of the Germans He espoused Pipa, the daughter of a king
          of  the  Marcomanni,   a   Suevic  tribe,  which  was  often
          confounded with the Alemanni in their wars and conquests.(92)
          To the father,  as  the price of his alliance, he granted an
          ample  settlement  in   Pannonia.   The   native  charms  of
          unpolished beauty seem  to  have  fixed  the daughter in the
          affections of the  inconstant  emperor,  and  the  bands  of
          policy were more  firmly connected by those of love. But the
          haughty prejudice of Rome still refused the name of marriage
          to the profane mixture of a citizen and a barbarian; and has
          stigmatised the German  princess  with the opprobrious title
          of concubine of Gallienus.(93)
Inroads of the Goths
          III. We have already traced the emigration of the Goths from
          Scandinavia, or at  least  from Prussia, to the mouth of the
          Borysthenes, and have  followed  their  victorious arms from
          the Borysthenes to  the Danube. Under the reigns of Valerian
          and Gallienus, the  frontier of the last mentioned river was
          perpetually  infested  by   the   inroads   of  Germans  and
          Sarmatians but it  was defended by the Romans with more than
          usual firmness and success. The provinces that were the seat
          of war recruited  the  armies  of Rome with an inexhaustible
          supply  of hardy  soldiers;  and  more  than  one  of  these
          Illyrian peasants attained  the  station  and  displayed the
          abilities  of  a  general.  Though  flying  parties  of  the
          barbarians, who incessantly  hovered  on  the  banks  of the
          Danube, penetrated sometimes  to  the  confines of Italy and
          Macedonia, their progress  was  commonly  checked,  or their
          return intercepted, by  the Imperial lieutenants.(94) But the
          great stream of  the  Gothic hostilities was diverted into a
          very different channel.  The  Goths, in their new settlement
          of the Ukraine, soon became masters of the northern coast of
          the Euxine: to  the  south  of that inland sea were situated
          the  soft  and   wealthy  provinces  of  Asia  Minor,  which
          possessed all that  could  attract,  and  nothing that could
          resist, a barbarian conqueror.
Conquest of the Bosphorus by the Goths
          The banks of  the  Borysthenes  are only sixty miles distant
          from  the narrow  entrance (95)  of  the  peninsula  of  Crim
          Tartary, known to the ancients under the name of Chersonesus
          Taurica. (96)  On   that   inhospitable   shore,   Euripides,
          embellishing with exquisite  art the tales of antiquity, has
          placed the scene  of one of his most affecting tragedies.(97)
          The bloody sacrifices  of  Diana, the arrival of Orestes and
          Pylades, and the  triumph of virtue and religion over savage
          fierceness, serve to represent an historical truth, that the
          Tauri, the original  inhabitants  of the peninsula, were, in
          some  degree, reclaimed  from  their  brutal  manners  by  a
          gradual intercourse with  the Grecian colonies which settled
          along the maritime  coast.  The little kingdom of Bosphorus,
          whose capital was situated on the Straits, through which the
          Maeotis communicates itself  to  the Euxine, was composed of
          degenerate   Greeks  and   half-civilised   barbarians.   It
          subsisted, as an  independent  state,  from  the time of the
          Peloponnesian war,(98)  was  at  last  swallowed  up  by  the
          ambition of Mithridates, (99)  and,  with  the  rest  of  his
          dominions, sunk under the weight of the Roman arms. From the
          reign of Augustus, (100)  the  kings  of  Bosphorus  were the
          humble, but not  useless, allies of the empire. By presents,
          by arms, and  by  a  slight  fortification  drawn across the
          Isthmus,  they  effectually   guarded   against  the  roving
          plunderers of Sarmatia  the  access of a country which, from
          its peculiar situation  and  convenient  harbours, commanded
          the Euxine Sea  and  Asia  Minor.(101) As long as the sceptre
          was  possessed  by   a  lineal  succession  of  kings,  they
          acquitted  themselves  of   their   important   charge  with
          vigilance and success.  Domestic factions, and the fears, or
          private interest, of  obscure  usurpers,  who  seized on the
          vacant  throne,  admitted   the  Goths  into  the  heart  of
          Bosphorus. With the  acquisition  of  a superfluous waste of
          fertile soil, the conquerors obtained the command of a naval
          force, sufficient to  transport their armies to the coast of
who acqquire Asia.(102) The  ships  used  in  the navigation of the Euxine
a naval forcewere of a  very  singular  construction.  They  were  slight
          flat-bottomed barks framed of timber only, without the least
          mixture of iron,  and  occasionally  covered with a shelving
          roof on the  appearance  of a tempest.(103) In these floating
          houses, the Goths carelessly trusted themselves to the mercy
          of an unknown sea, under the conduct of sailors pressed into
          the service, and  whose  skill  and  fidelity  were  equally
          suspicious. But the hopes of plunder had banished every idea
          of danger, and  a natural fearlessness of temper supplied in
          their minds the  more  rational confidence which is the just
          result of knowledge  and  experience.  Warriors  of  such  a
          daring spirit must have often murmured against the cowardice
          of their guides  who  required the strongest assurances of a
          settled calm before  they would venture to embark; and would
          scarcely ever be tempted to lose sight of the land. Such, at
          least, is the practise of the modern Turks,(104) and they are
          probably not inferior  in  the  art  of  navigation  to  the
          ancient inhabitants of Bosphorus.
First naval expidition of the Goths
          The fleet of  the  Goths,  leaving the coast of Circassia on
          the left hand,  first appeared before Pityus,(105) the utmost
          limits of the  Roman  provinces;  a  city  provided  with  a
          convenient port and  fortified with a strong wall. Here they
          met with a resistance more obstinate than they had reason to
          expect from the  feeble garrison of a distant fortress. They
          were repulsed; and  their  disappointment seemed to diminish
          the terror of  the  Gothic name. As long as Successianus, an
          officer of superior  rank and merit, defended that frontier,
          all their efforts  were  ineffectual;  but as soon as he was
          removed by Valerian  to a more honourable but less important
          station, they resumed  the  attack  of  Pityus;  and, by the
          destruction of that  city,  obliterated  the memory of their
          former disgrace.(106)
The Goths besiege and take Trebizond
          Circling round the  eastern extremity of the Euxine Sea, the
          navigation from Pityus  to  Trebizond is about three hundred
          miles.(107) The  course of the Goths carried them in sight of
          the country of  Colchis,  so famous by the expedition of the
          Argonauts, and they  even attempted, though without success,
          to pillage a  rich  temple at the mouth of the river Phasis.
          Trebizond, celebrated in  the retreat of the Ten Thousand as
          an ancient colony  of  Greeks, (108)  derived  its wealth and
          splendour from the  munificence  of the emperor Hadrian, who
          had constructed an artificial port on a coast left destitute
          by nature of  secure  harbours. (109)  The city was large and
          populous; a double  enclosure of walls seemed to defy the fury
          of the Goths,  and the usual garrison had been strengthened by
          a reinforcement of  ten  thousand  men.  But there are not any
          advantages capable of  supplying the absence of discipline and
          vigilance. The numerous  garrison  of  Trebizond, dissolved in
          riot  and  luxury,   disdained   to  guard  their  impregnable
          fortifications.   The  Goths   soon   discovered   the  supine
          negligence of the  besieged, erected a lofty pile of fascines,
          ascended the walls  in  the  silence of the night, and entered
          the defenceless city  sword in hand. A general massacre of the
          people ensued, whilst  the affrighted soldiers escaped through
          the opposite gates of the town. The most holy temples, and the
          most splendid edifices, were involved in a common destruction.
          The booty that  fell  into the hands of the Goths was immense:
          the wealth of  the  adjacent  countries  had been deposited in
          Trebizond, as in  a  secure  place  of  refuge.  The number of
          captives was incredible,  as  the victorious barbarians ranged
          without opposition through  the  extensive province of Pontus.(110)
          The rich spoils  of  Trebizond  filled  a great fleet of ships
          that had been  found  in  the  port.  The  robust youth of the
          seacoast were chained  to  the  oar;  and the Goths, satisfied
          with the success  of their first naval expedition, returned in
          triumph  to  their   new  establishments  in  the  kingdom  of
The Second Expedition Of The Goths
          The second expedition  of  the  Goths  was  undertaken  with
          greater  powers  of  men  and  ships;  but  they  steered  a
          different course, and, disdaining the exhausted provinces of
          Pontus, followed the  western  coast  of  the Euxine, passed
          before the wide mouths of the Borysthenes, the Dniester, and
          the Danube, and  increasing  their fleet by the capture of a
          great number of  fishing  barks,  they approached the narrow
          outlet through which  the  Euxine  Sea pours its waters into
          the Mediterranean, and  divides the continents of Europe and
          Asia. The garrison of Chalcedon was encamped near the temple
          of Jupiter Urius on a promontory that commanded the entrance
          of the Strait;  and  so  dreaded  were  the invasions of the
          barbarians, that this body of troops surpassed in number the
They plunder Gothic army. But it was in numbers alone that they surpassed
The cities of it. They deserted  with  precipitation  their  advantageous
Bithynia    post, and abandoned  the town of Chalcedon, most plentifully
          stored  with arms  and  money,  to  the  discretion  of  the
          conquerors. Whilst they hesitated whether they should prefer
          the sea or  land,  Europe  or  Asia,  for the scene of their
          hostilities, a perfidious  fugitive  pointed  out Nicomedia,
          once the capital  of  the  kings  of Bithynia, as a rich and
          easy conquest. He  guided  the  march,  which was only sixty
          miles  from  the   camp   of  Chalcedon, (112)  directed  the
          resistless attack, and  partook  of the booty; for the Goths
          had learned sufficient  policy  to  reward  the traitor whom
          they detested. Nice,  Prusa,  Apamaea, Cius, cities that had
          sometimes rivalled, or imitated, the splendour of Nicomedia,
          were involved in  the  same calamity, which, in a few weeks,
          raged  without  control   through   the  whole  province  of
          Bithynia. Three hundred  years of peace, enjoyed by the soft
          inhabitants of Asia,  had abolished the exercise of arms and
          removed the apprehension  of  danger. The ancient walls were
          suffered to moulder  away,  and  all the revenue of the most
          opulent cities was  reserved  for the construction of baths,
          temples, and theatres.(113)
The Retreat of the Goths
          When the city  of  Cyzicus  withstood  the  utmost effort of
          Mithridates,(114) it  was distinguished by wise laws, a naval
          power of two  hundred  galleys, and three arsenals: of arms,
          of military engines,  and of corn.(115) It was still the seat
          of wealth and  luxury;  but  of its ancient strength nothing
          remained except the  situation,  in  a  little island of the
          Propontis, connected with  the continent of Asia only by two
          bridges. From the  recent  sack of Prusa, the Goths advanced
          within eighteen miles (116)  of  the  city,  which  they  had
          devoted to destruction,  but the ruin of Cyzicus was delayed
          by a fortunate  accident. The season was rainy, and the lake
          Apolloniates, the reservoir  of  all  the  springs  of Mount
          Olympus, rose to  an  uncommon  height.  The little river of
          Rhyndacus, which issues  from the lake, swelled into a broad
          and rapid stream,  and  stopped  the  progress of the Goths.
          Their retreat to  the  maritime  city of Heraclea, where the
          fleet had probably  been  stationed,  was attended by a long
          train of waggons, laden with the spoils of Bithynia, and was
          marked by the  flames  of  Nice  and  Nicomedia,  which they
          wantonly burnt.(117)  Some  obscure  hints are mentioned of a
          doubtful combat that  secured  their retreat.(118) But even a
          complete victory would  have  been  of little moment, as the
          approach of the  autumnal  equinox  summoned  them to hasten
          their return. To  navigate  the  Euxine  before the month of
          May, or after  that  of September, is esteemed by the modern
          Turks  the most  unquestionable  instance  of  rashness  and
Third naval expidition of the Goths
          When we are  informed  that the third fleet, equipped by the
          Goths in the  ports  of Bosphorus, consisted of five hundred
          sail of ships, (120) our ready imagination instantly computes
          and  multiplies the  formidable  armament;  but  as  we  are
          assured, by the  judicious  Strabo, (121)  that the piratical
          vessels used by  the  barbarians  of  Pontus  and the Lesser
          Scythia were not capable of containing more than twenty-five
          or thirty men,  we  may  safely affirm that fifteen thousand
          warriors, at the  most,  embarked  in this great expedition.
          Impatient of the  limits  of  the Euxine, they steered their
          destructive  course  from  the  Cimmerian  to  the  Thracian
They pass   Bosphorus. When they  had  almost  gained  the middle of the
The Bosphorus Straits, they were suddenly  driven back to the entrance of
and the     them, till a  favourable  wind  springing  up  the  next day
Hellespont  carried them in  a  few hours into the placid sea, or rather
          lake, of the  Propontis.  Their landing on the little island
          of Cyzicus was  attended  with  the ruin of that ancient and
          noble city. From  thence  issuing  again  through the narrow
          passage  of  the  Hellespont,  they  pursued  their  winding
          navigation amidst the  numerous  islands  scattered over the
          Archipelago, or the  Agean  Sea.  The assistance of captives
          and deserters must  have  been very necessary to pilot their
          vessels and to  direct  their various incursions, as well on
          the coast of Greece as on that of Asia. At length the Gothic
          fleet anchored in  the  port  of Piraeus, five miles distant
          from  Athens, (122)   which   had   attempted  to  make  some
          preparations for a  vigorous  defence. Cleodamus, one of the
          engineers employed by  the  emperor's  orders to fortify the
          maritime cities against  the  Goths,  had  already  begun to
          repair the ancient  walls  fallen to decay since the time of
          Sulla. The efforts  of  his  skill were ineffectual, and the
          barbarians became masters  of  the  native seat of the muses
          and the arts.  But while the conquerors abandoned themselves
          to the licence  of  plunder  and  intemperance, their fleet,
          that lay with a slender guard in the harbour of Piraeus, was
          unexpectedly attacked by  the  brave  Dexippus,  who, flying
          with  the  engineer  Cleodamus  from  the  sack  of  Athens,
          collected a hasty  band  of  volunteers, peasants as well as
          soldiers, and in  some measure avenged the calamities of his
ravage Greece, and threaten Italy
          But this exploit,  whatever  lustre  it  might  shed  on the
          declining age of  Athens,  served rather to irritate than to
          subdue the undaunted  spirit  of  the  northern  invaders. A
          general conflagration blazed  out  at the same time in every
          district of Greece.  Thebes  and  Argos, Corinth and Sparta,
          which had formerly  waged  such  memorable wars against each
          other, were now  unable  to bring an army into the field, or
          even to defend their ruined fortifications. The rage of war,
          both by land  and  by  sea, spread from the eastern point of
          Sunium to the western coast of Epirus. The Goths had already
          advanced within sight  of  Italy,  when the approach of such
          imminent danger awakened  the  indolent  Gallienus  from his
          dream of pleasure.  The  emperor  appeared  in arms; and his
          presence seems to  have  checked  the  ardour,  and  to have
          divided the strength,  of  the enemy. Naulobatus, a chief of
Their divisions the Heruli, accepted an honourable  capitulation,  entered
and retreat  with a large  body  of  his  countrymen  into the service of
          Rome, and was  invested  with  the ornaments of the consular
          dignity, which had  never  before been profaned by the hands
          of a barbarian.(124)  Great  numbers of the Goths, disgusted
          with the perils  and  hardships  of  a tedious voyage, broke
          into Measia, with  a  design  of  forcing their way over the
          Danube to their settlements in the Ukraine. The wild attempt
          would have proved  inevitable  destruction if the discord of
          the Roman generals  had  not  opened  to  the barbarians the
          means  of  an  escape. (125)  The  small  remainder  of  this
          destroying  host  returned   on  board  their  vessels;  and
          measuring back their  way  through  the  Hellespont  and the
          Bosphorus, ravaged in  their  passage  the  shores  of Troy,
          whose fame, immortalised by Homer, will probably survive the
          memory of the  Gothic  conquests.  As  soon  as  they  found
          themselves in safety  within  the  basin of the Euxine, they
          landed at Anchialus  in  Thrace,  near  the  foot  of  Mount
          Haemus; and, after  all  their toils, indulged themselves in
          the use of  those  pleasant  and  salutary  hot  baths. What
          remained of the  voyage was a short and easy navigation.(126)
          Such was the  various  fate  of  this  third and greatest of
          their naval enterprises.  It  may seem difficult to conceive
          how the original  body  of  fifteen  thousand warriors could
          sustain the losses  and  divisions  of so bold an adventure.
          But as their  numbers were gradually wasted by the sword, by
          shipwrecks, and by  the  influence  of  a warm climate, they
          were  perpetually  renewed   by   troops   of  banditti  and
          deserters, who flocked  to the standard of plunder, and by a
          crowd of fugitive  slaves,  often  of  German  or  Sarmatian
          extraction, who eagerly  seized  the glorious opportunity of
          freedom and revenge. In these expeditions, the Gothic nation
          claimed a superior  share  of  honour  and  danger;  but the
          tribes that fought  under  the  Gothic banners are sometimes
          distinguished  and sometimes  confounded  in  the  imperfect
          histories of that age; and as the barbarian fleets seemed to
          issue from the  mouth  of the Tanais, the vague but familiar
          appellation of Scythians  was  frequently  bestowed  on  the
          mixed multitude.(127)
Ruin of the temple of Ephesus
          In  the general  calamities  of  mankind  the  death  of  an
          individual, however exalted, the ruin of an edifice, however
          famous, are passed  over  with  careless inattention. Yet we
          cannot forget that  the  temple  of  Diana at Ephesus, after
          having risen with  increasing  splendour from seven repeated
          misfortunes,(128) was  finally  burnt  by  the Goths in their
          third naval invasion.  The arts of Greece, and the wealth of
          Asia, had conspired  to  erect  that  sacred and magnificent
          structure. It was  supported  by an hundred and twenty-seven
          marble columns of  the  Ionic  order. They were the gifts of
          devout monarchs, and each was sixty feet high. The altar was
          adorned with the masterly sculptures of Praxiteles, who had,
          perhaps, selected from  the  favourite  legends of the place
          the birth of  the divine children of Latona, the concealment
          of Apollo after  the  slaughter  of  the  Cyclops,  and  the
          clemency of Bacchus  to  the vanquished Amazons.(129) Yet the
          length of the  temple  of  Ephesus was only four hundred and
          twenty-five feet, about  two-thirds  of  the  measure of the
          church of St.  Peter's  at Rome.(130) In the other dimensions
          it was still  more  inferior  to  that sublime production of
          modern architecture. The spreading arms of a Christian cross
          require a much  greater  breadth  than the oblong temples of
          the Pagans; and  the boldest artists of antiquity would have
          been startled at  the  proposal of raising in the air a dome
          of the size  and  proportions of the Pantheon. The temple of
          Diana was, however,  admired  as  one  of the wonders of the
          world. Successive empires,  the Persian, the Macedonian, and
          the  Roman,  had  revered  its  sanctity  and  enriched  its
          splendour.(131) But  the  rude  savages  of  the  Baltic were
          destitute of a taste for the elegant arts, and they despised
          the ideal terrors of a foreign superstition.(132)
Conduct of the Goths at Athens
          Another circumstance is  related  of  these  invasions which
          might deserve our notice, were it not justly to be suspected
          as the fanciful  conceit  of  a  recent sophist. We are told
          that in the  sack  of Athens the Goths had collected all the
          libraries, and were  on  the  point  of setting fire to this
          funeral pile of  Grecian  learning,  had  not  one  of their
          chiefs, of more  refined policy than his brethren, dissuaded
          them from the  design;  by  the profound observation that as
          long as the Greeks were addicted to the study of books, they
          could never apply  themselves  to  the exercise of arms.(133)
          The sagacious counsellor  (should  the  truth of the fact be
          admitted) reasoned like  an  ignorant barbarian. In the most
          polite  and powerful  nations,  genius  of  every  kind  has
          displayed itself about  the  same  period;  and  the  age of
          science has generally  been  the  age of military virtue and
Conquest of Armenia by the Persians
          IV. The new  sovereigns  of  Persia,  Artaxerxes and his son
          Sapor, had triumphed  over the house of Arsaces. Of the many
          princes of that ancient race, Chosroes, king of Armenia, had
          alone preserved both  his  life  and  his  independence.  He
          defended himself by  the natural strength of his country; by
          the perpetual resort  of  fugitives  and malcontents; by the
          alliance of the  Romans, and, above all, by his own courage.
          Invincible in arms,  during  a  thirty years' war, he was at
          length assassinated by  the  emissaries  of  Sapor,  king of
          Persia. The patriotic  satraps  of Armenia, who asserted the
          freedom and dignity of the crown, implored the protection of
          Rome in favour  of Tiridates the lawful heir. But the son of
          Chosroes was an  infant,  the allies were at a distance, and
          the Persian monarch  advanced  towards  the  frontier at the
          head of an  irresistible  force. Young Tiridates, the future
          hope of his country, was saved by the fidelity of a servant,
          and Armenia continued  above  twenty-seven years a reluctant
          province of the  great  monarchy  of Persia.(134) Elated with
          this easy conquest,  and  presuming on the distresses or the
          degeneracy of the Romans, Sapor obliged the strong garrisons
          of Carrhae and  Nisibis to surrender, and spread devastation
          and terror on either side of the Euphrates.
Valerian marches into the East
        The loss of  an important frontier, the ruin of a faithful and
        natural ally, and  the  rapid  success  of  Sapor's  ambition,
        affected Rome with  a  deep  sense of the insult as well as of
        the danger. Valerian  flattered  himself that the vigilance of
        is lieutenants would  sufficiently  provide  for the safety of
        the Rhine and  of the Danube; but he resolved, notwithstanding
        his advanced age,  to  march  in  person to the defence of the
        Euphrates. During his  progress  through Asia Minor, the naval
        enterprises of the  Goths  were  suspended,  and the afflicted
        province enjoyed a  transient  and  fallacious calm. He passed
Is defeated the Euphrates, encountered  the Persian monarch near the walls
and taken  of Edessa, was  (A.D.   260)  vanquished and taken prisoner by
prisoner by Sapor.  The particulars  of  this  great  event are darkly and
Sapor Kingimperfectly represented; yet  by the glimmering light which is
of Persia afforded us, we  may  discover a long series of imprudence, of
        error, and of  deserved  misfortunes  on the side of the Roman
        emperor. He reposed  an  implicit  confidence in Macrinus, his
        Praetorian praefect. (135)  That  worthless  minister rendered
        his master formidable  only  to  the  oppressed  subjects, and
        contemptible to the enemies of Rome.(136) By his weak or wicked
        counsels, the Imperial  Army  was  betrayed  into  a situation
        where valour and military skill were equally unavailing. (137)
        The vigorous attempt of the Romans to cut heir way through the
        Persian  host was  repulsed  with  great  slaughter;(138) and
        Sapor,  who  encompassed   the  camp  with  superior  numbers,
        patiently  waited till  the  increasing  rage  of  famine  and
        pestilence had ensured  his victory. The licentious murmurs of
        the legions soon  accused  Valerian  as  the  cause  of  their
        calamities;  their  seditious  clamours  demanded  an  instant
        capitulation. An immense  sum  of gold was offered to purchase
        the permission of  a  disgraceful  retreat.  But  the Persian,
        conscious of his  superiority, refused the money with disdain;
        and detaining the deputies, advanced in order of battle to the
        foot  of  the  Roman  rampart,  and  insisted  on  a  personal
        conference with the  emperor.  Valerian  vas  reduced  to  the
        necessity of intrusting  his  life and dignity to the faith of
        an enemy. The interview ended as it was natural to expect. The
        emperor was made  a  prisoner,  and his astonished troops laid
        down their arms.(139) In such a moment of triumph, the pride
        and policy of  Sapor  prompted  him  to fill the vacant throne
        with a successor entirely dependent on his pleasure. Cyriades,
        an obscure fugitive  of  Antioch, stained with every vice, was
        chosen to dishonour  the  Roman  purple;  and  the will of the
        Persian  victor could  not  fail  of  being  ratified  by  the
        acclamations, however reluctant, of the captive army.((140)

Sapor overuns Syria,Cilicia, and Cappadocia
          The Imperial slave  was  eager  to  secure the favour of his
          master by an  act  of  treason  to  his  native  country. He
          conducted Sapor over  the  Euphrates,  and  by  the  way  of
          Chalcis to the  metropolis  of  the  East. So rapid were the
          motions of the Persian cavalry that, if we may credit a very
          judicious historian,(141)  the  city of Antioch was surprised
          when the idle  multitude was fondly gazing on the amusements
          of the theatre.  The  splendid buildings of Antioch, private
          as well as  public,  were  either pillaged or destroyed; and
          the numerous inhabitants  were put to the sword, or led away
          into captivity.(142)  The tide of devastation was stopped for
          a moment by  the  resolution  of  the  high priest of Emesa.
          Arrayed in his  sacerdotal robes, he appeared at the head of
          a great body  of  fanatic  peasants, armed only with slings,
          and defended his  god and his property from the sacrilegious
          hands of the  followers  of  Zoroaster. (143) But the ruin of
          Tarsus, and many  other cities, furnishes a melancholy proof
          that, except in  this single instance, the conquest of Syria
          and Cilicia scarcely interrupted the progress of the Persian
          arms. The advantages  of  the  narrow passes of Mount Taurus
          were abandoned, in  which  an invader, whose principal force
          consisted in his  cavalry, would have been engaged in a very
          unequal combat: and Sapor was permitted to form the siege of
          Caesarea, the capital  of  Cappadocia; a city, though of the
          second rank, which  was  supposed  to  contain  four hundred
          thousand inhabitants. Demosthenes  commanded  in  the place,
          not so much  by  the  commission  of  the emperor, as in the
          voluntary  defence of  his  country.  For  a  long  time  he
          deferred it's fate;  and, when at last Caesarea was betrayed
          by the perfidy  of  a  physician, he cut his way through the
          Persians,  who  had  been  ordered  to  exert  their  utmost
          diligence to take  him  alive. This heroic chief escaped the
          power of a  foe,  who might either have honoured or punished
          his   obstinate  valour;   but   many   thousands   of   his
          fellow-citizens were involved  in  a  general  massacre, and
          Sapor is accused  of  treating his prisoners with wanton and
          unrelenting cruelty.(144)  Much should undoubtedly be allowed
          for national animosity,  much for humbled pride and impotent
          revenge; yet, upon  the  whole,  it is certain that the same
          prince, who, in  Armenia, had displayed the mild aspect of a
          legislator, showed himself  to  the  Romans  under the stern
          features  of  a   conqueror.  He  despaired  of  making  any
          permanent establishment in  the  empire,  and sought only to
          leave behind him a wasted desert, whilst he transported into
          Persia the people and the treasures of the provinces.(145)

Boldness and success of Odenathus against Sapor
          At the time  when the East trembled at the name of Sapor, he
          received a present  not  unworthy  of  the greatest kings; a
          long train of  camels  laden with the most rare and valuable
          merchandises. The rich  offering  was  accompanied  with  an
          epistle, respectful but  not servile, from Odenathus, one of
          the noblest and  most  opulent  senators of Palmyra. "Who is
          this Odenathus" (said  the  haughty victor, and he commanded
          that the presents  should be cast into the Euphrates), "that
          he thus insolently  presumes  to  write  to  his lord? If he
          entertains a hope  of mitigating his punishment let him fall
          prostrate before the foot of our throne with his hands bound
          behind his back. Should he hesitate, swift destruction shall
          be poured on  his  head,  on  his  whole  race,  and  on his
          country.'' (146)  The   desperate   extremity  to  which  the
          Palmyrenian was reduced  called  into  action all the latent
          powers of his  soul.  He  met Sapor; but he met him in arms.
          Infusing his own  spirit  into  a little army collected from
          the villages of  Syria (147) and the tents of the desert,(147)
          he hovered round  the  Persian host, harassed their retreat,
          carried off part  of the treasure, and, what was dearer than
          any treasure, several  of  the  women of the Great King; who
          was at last  obliged to repass the Euphrates with some marks
          of haste and  confusion.(149) By this exploit, Odenathus laid
          the foundations of his future fame and fortunes. The majesty
          of Rome, oppressed  by  a Persian, was protected by a Syrian
          or Arab of Palmyra.

Treatment of Valerian
          The voice of  history,  which  is often little more than the
          organ of hatred  or  flattery, reproaches Sapor with a proud
          abuse of the  rights of conquest. We are told that Valerian,
          in  chains, but  invested  with  the  Imperial  purple,  was
          exposed to the  multitude,  a  constant  spectacle of fallen
          greatness; and that  whenever the Persian monarch mounted on
          horseback, he placed  his  foot  on  the  neck  of  a  Roman
          emperor.  Notwithstanding  all   the  remonstrances  of  his
          allies,  who  repeatedly   advised   him   to  remember  the
          vicissitude of fortune,  to  dread  the  returning  power of
          Rome, and to  make  his  illustrious  captive  the pledge of
          peace,  not the  object  of  insult,  Sapor  still  remained
          inflexible. When Valerian sunk under the weight of shame and
          grief, his skin,  stuffed  with  straw,  and formed into the
          likeness of a  human  figure,  was preserved for ages in the
          most celebrated temple  of  Persia;  a more real monument of
          triumph than the  fancied  trophies  of  brass and marble so
          often erected by  Roman  vanity. (150)  The tale is moral and
          pathetic, but the  truth  of it may very fairly be called in
          question. The letters  still  extant from the princes of the
          East to Sapor  are manifest forgeries;(151) nor is it natural
          to suppose that a jealous monarch should, even in the person
          of a rival,  thus  publicly  degrade  the  majesty of kings.
          Whatever treatment the unfortunate Valerian might experience
          in Persia, it  is  at least certain that the only emperor of
          Rome who had  ever  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy
          languished away his life in hopeless captivity.

Character and administration of Gallienus
          The  emperor  Gallienus,   who   had   long  supported  with
          impatience  the  censorial   severity   of  his  father  and
          colleague, received the intelligence of his misfortunes with
          secret pleasure and  avowed  indifference.  "I  knew that my
          father was a  mortal,"  said  he, "and since he has acted as
          becomes a brave  man,  I am satisfied." Whilst Rome lamented
          the fate of  her  sovereign,  the savage coldness of his son
          was  extolled  by  the  servile  courtiers  as  the  perfect
          firmness of a hero and a stoic.(152) It is difficult to paint
          the  light,  the   various,   the  inconstant  character  of
          Gallienus, which he displayed without constraint, as soon as
          he became sole possessor of the empire. In every art that he
          attempted his lively  genius  enabled him to succeed; and as
          his genius was destitute of judgment, he attempted every art
          except the important  ones  of  war and government. He was a
          master of several  curious  but  useless.  sciences, a ready
          orator  and  elegant   poet, (153)  a  skilful  gardener,  an
          excellent cook, and most contemptible prince. When the great
          emergencies  of  the   state   required   his  presence  and
          attention,  he  was   engaged   in   conversation  with  the
          philosopher Plotinus,(154)  wasting  his  time in trifling or
          licentious  pleasures,  preparing   his  initiation  to  the
          Grecian mysteries, or soliciting a place in the Areopagus of
          Athens.  His  profuse   magnificence  insulted  the  general
          poverty; the solemn  ridicule  of  his  triumphs impressed a
          deeper  sense of  the  public  disgrace. (155)  The  repeated
          intelligence  of  invasions,  defeats,  and  rebellions,  he
          received with a  careless  smile;  and  singling  out,  with
          affected contempt, some  particular  production  of the lost
          province, he carelessly  asked  whether  Rome must be ruined
          unless it was supplied with linen from Egypt and Arras cloth
          from Gaul? There  were,  however, a few short moments in the
          life of Gallienus  when,  exasperated by some recent injury,
          he suddenly appeared  the  intrepid  soldier  and  the cruel
          tyrant; till satiated with blood, or fatigued by resistance,
          he insensibly sunk  into  the natural mildness and indolence
          of his character.(156)

The 30 tyrants
          At a time  when  the  reins  of government were held with so
          loose a hand,  it is not surprising that a crowd of usurpers
          should start up  in  very province of the empire against the
          son of Valerian.  It  was  probably some ingenious fancy, of
          comparing the thirty tyrants of Rome with the thirty tyrants
          of Athens, that  induced the writers of the Augustan History
          to select that  celebrated  number, which has been gradually
          received into a  popular appellation.(157) But in every light
          the parallel is  idle and defective. What resemblance can we
          discover between a  council  of  thirty  persons, the united
          oppressors of a  single  city,  and  an  uncertain  list  of
          independent  rivals,  who   rose   and   fell  in  irregular
          succession through the  extent of a vast empire? Nor can the
          number of thirty  be  completed,  unless  we  include in the
          account the women  and  children  who were honoured with the
          Imperial title. The  reign  of  Gallienus,  distracted as it
Their real  was,  produced  only  nineteen  pretenders  to  the  throne;
number was   Cyriades, Macrianus, Balista,  Odenathus, and Zenobia in the
no more than  East;  in  Gaul,   and  the  western  provinces,  Posthumus,
nineteen    Lollianus, Victorinus and  his  mother Victoria, Marius, and
          Tetricus. In Illyricum  and  the  confines  of  the  Danube,
          Ingenuus,  Regillianus,  and   Aureolus;   in   Pontus,(158)
          Saturninus;  in Isauria,  Trebellianus;  Piso  in  Thessaly;
          Valens in Achaia; Aemilianus in Egypt; and Celsus in Africa.
          To illustrate the obscure monuments of the life and death of
          each individual would  prove  a laborious task, alike barren
          of instruction and  of  amusement.  We may content ourselves
          with  investigating  some   general   characters  that  most
          strongly mark the  condition of the times and the manners of
          the men, their  pretensions,  their motives, their fate, and
          the destructive consequences of their usurpation.(159)

Character and merit of the tyrants
          It is sufficiently  known  that  the  odious  appellation of Tyrant was often  employed  by  the  ancients to express the
          illegal seizure of  supreme  power, without any reference to
          the abuse of  it.  Several of the pretenders, who raised the
          standard of rebellion  against  the  emperor Gallienus, were
          shining  models  of  virtue,  and  almost  all  possessed  a
          considerable share of  vigour  and  ability. Their merit had
          recommended them to  the  favour  of Valerian, and gradually
          promoted them to  the most important commands of the empire.
          The generals, who assumed the title of Augustus, were either
          respected by their  troops for their able conduct and severe
          discipline, or admired  for  valour  and  success in war, or
          beloved for frankness  and  generosity. The field of victory
          was often the scene of their election; and even the armourer
          Marius, the most  contemptible of all the candidates for the
          purple,  was  distinguished  however  by  intrepid  courage,
          matchless strength, and  blunt  honesty. (160)  His  mean and
          recent  trade  cast   indeed  an  air  of  ridicule  on  his
Their      elevation; but his  birth could not be more obscure than was
obscure     that of the  greater  part  of  his rivals, who were born of
birth      peasants and enlisted  in  the  army as private soldiers. In
          times of confusion,  every  active  genius  finds  the place
          assigned him by  Nature: in a general state of war, military
          merit is the road to glory and to greatness. Of the nineteen
          tyrants, Tetricus only  was  a  senator;  Piso  alone  was a
          noble. The blood  of  Numa,  through twenty-eight successive
          generations, ran in  the veins of Calphurnius Piso,(161) who,
          by female alliances,  claimed  a right of exhibiting, in his
          house, the images  of  Crassus  and of the great Pompey.(162)
          His ancestors had  been  repeatedly  dignified  with all the
          honours which the  commonwealth could bestow; and of all the
          ancient families of  Rome the Calphurnian alone had survived
          the tyranny of  the  Caesars. The personal qualities of Piso
          added new lustre  to  his race. The usurper Valens, by whose
          order he was killed, confessed, with deep remorse, that even
          an enemy ought  to  have  respected the sanctity of Piso and
          although he died in arms against Gallienus, the senate, with
          the emperor's generous  permission,  decreed  the  triumphal
          ornaments to the memory of so virtuous a rebel.(163)

The causes of their rebellion       
          The lieutenants of  Valerian  were  grateful  to the father,
          whom they esteemed.  They  disdained  to serve the luxurious
          indolence of his unworthy son. The throne of the Roman world
          was unsupported by  any  principle  of  loyalty; and treason
          against  such  a   prince  might  easily  be  considered  as
          patriotism to the  state. Yet if we examine with candour the
          conduct of these  usurpers,  it  will  appear that they were
          much oftener driven into rebellion by their fears than urged
          to it by  their  ambition. They dreaded the cruel suspicions
          of Gallienus; they  equally  dreaded the capricious violence
          of their troops.  If  the  dangerous  favour of the army had
          imprudently declared them deserving of the purple, they were
          marked for sure destruction; and even prudence would counsel
          them to secure  a  short  enjoyment of empire, and rather to
          try the fortune  of  war  than  to  expect  the  hand  of an
          executioner. When the  clamour  of the soldiers invested the
          reluctant victims with  the  ensigns of sovereign authority,
          they sometimes mourned  in  secret  their  approaching fate.
          "You  have  lost,"   said  Saturninus  on  the  day  of  his
          elevation, "you have  lost  a useful commander, and you have
          made a very wretched emperor.''(164)

Their violent deaths       
          The  apprehensions  of  Saturninus  were  justified  by  the
          repeated experience of  revolutions. Of the nineteen tyrants
          who started up  under  the reign of Gallienus, there was not
          one who enjoyed  a life of peace or a natural death. As soon
          as they were  invested with the bloody purple, they inspired
          their adherents with  the  same fears and ambition which had
          occasioned  their  own  revolt.  Encompassed  with  domestic
          conspiracy, military sedition,  and civil war, they trembled
          on the edge  of  precipices,  in  which,  after  a longer or
          shorter term of  anxiety,  they  were  inevitably  lost. The
          precarious monarchs received,  however,  such honours as the
          flattery of their  respective  armies  and  provinces  could
          bestow; but their  claim,  founded on rebellion, could never
          obtain the sanction  of law or history. Italy, Rome, and the
          senate constantly adhered  to the cause of Gallienus, and he
          alone was considered  as  the  sovereign of the empire. That
          prince condescended indeed  to  acknowledge  the  victorious
          arms of Odenathus,  who deserved the honourable distinction,
          by the respectful conduct which he always maintained towards
          the son of  Valerian.  With  the  general  applause  of  the
          Romans, and the  consent  of Gallienus, the senate conferred
          the title of Augustus on the brave Palmyrenian and seemed to
          intrust him with  the  government  of  the  East,  which  he
          already possessed, in  so independent a manner, that, like a
          private succession, he  bequeathed  it  to  his  illustrious
          widow Zenobia.(165)

Fatal consequences of these usurpation       
          The rapid and  perpetual transitions from the cottage to the
          throne and from  the  throne to the grave, might have amused
          an  indifferent  philosopher;   were   it   possible  for  a
          philosopher  to  remain   indifferent   amidst  the  general
          calamities of human  kind.  The election of these precarious
          emperors,  their  power   and   their  death,  were  equally
          destructive to their  subjects  and  adherents. The price of
          their  fatal  elevation  was  instantly  discharged  to  the
          troops, by an immense donative, drawn from the bowels of the
          exhausted  people. However  virtuous  was  their  character,
          however pure their intentions, they found themselves reduced
          to the hard  necessity  of  supporting  their  usurpation by
          frequent acts of  rapine  and  cruelty. When they fell, they
          involved armies and  provinces in their fall. There is still
          extant a most  savage  mandate  from Gallienus to one of his
          ministers,  after  the  suppression  of  Ingenuus,  who  had
          assumed the purple  in  IIlyricum.  "It is not enough," says
          that soft but  inhuman prince, "that you exterminate such as
          have appeared in  arms:  the  chance  of  battle  might have
          served me as  effectually. The male sex of every age must be
          extirpated; provided that,  in the execution of the children
          and old men,  you can contrive means to save our reputation.
          Let every one  die  who  has  dropped an expression, who has
          entertained a thought  against  me,  against  me, the son of
          Valeria the father  and  brother  of  so  many  princes.(166)
          Remember that Ingenuus  was made emperor: tear, kill, hew in
          pieces. I write  to  you with my own hand, and would inspire
          you with my  own feelings.''(167) Whilst the public forces of
          the  state  were   dissipated   in   private  quarrels,  the
          defenceless provinces lay  exposed  to  every  invader.  The
          bravest usurpers were  compelled, by the perplexity of their
          situation, to conclude  ignominious treaties with the common
          enemy, to purchase  with  oppressive tributes the neutrality
          or services of  the barbarians, and to introduce hostile and
          independent nations into  the  heart  of the Roman monarchy.

          Such were the  barbarians,  and such the tyrants, who, under
          the  reigns  of  Valerian  and  Gallienus,  dismembered  the
          provinces, and reduced  the  empire  to  the lowest pitch of
          disgrace and ruin,  from whence it seemed impossible that it
          should ever emerge.  As  far  as the barrenness of materials
          would permit, we  have  attempted  to  trace, with order and
          perspicuity, the general  events  of that calamitous period.
          There still remain  some  particular facts; I. The disorders
          of Sicily; II.  The  tumults  of  Alexandria;  and, III. The
          rebellion of the  Isaurians,  which  may  serve to reflect a
          strong light on the horrid picture.

Disorders of Sicily       
          I.  Whenever numerous  troops  of  banditti,  multiplied  by
          success and impunity,  publicly defy, instead of eluding the
          justice of their  country,  we  may  safely  infer  that the
          excessive weakness of  the  government is felt and abused by
          the lowest ranks  of  the community. The situation of Sicily
          preserved it from  the  barbarians;  nor  could the disarmed
          province have supported  an  usurper. The sufferings of that
          once flourishing and  still fertile island were inflicted by
          baser hands. A  licentious  crown  of  slaves  and  peasants
          reigned for a  while over the plundered country, and renewed
          the memory of  the  servile  wars of more ancient times.(169)
          Devastations, of which  the husbandman was either the victim
          or the accomplice,  must  have  ruined  the  agriculture  of
          Sicily; and as  the  principal  estates were the property of
          the opulent senators  of  Rome,  who often enclosed within a
          farm the territory  of an old republic, it is not improbable
          that this private  injury  might  affect  the  capital  more
          deeply than all the conquests of the Goths or the Persians.

Tumults of Alexandria       
          II. The foundation  of Alexandria was a noble design, at once
          conceived and executed  by  he  son of Philip. The beautiful
          and regular form  of  that  great  city, second only to Rome
          itself, comprehended a  circumference of fifteen miles ;(170)
          it  was  peopled  by  three  hundred  thousand  inhabitants,
          besides  at  least  an  equal  number  of  slaves. (171)  The
          lucrative trade of  Arabia and India flowed through the port
          of Alexandria to  the  capital  and provinces of the empire.
          Idleness was unknown.  Some  were  employed  in  blowing  of
          glass,   others  in   weaving   of   linen,   others   again
          manufacturing the papyrus.  Either  sex,  and every age, was
          engaged in the  pursuits of industry, nor did even the blind
          or the lame  want occupations suited to their condition.(172)
          But the people  of Alexandria, a various mixture of nations,
          united the vanity  and  inconstancy  of  the Greeks with the
          superstition  and  obstinacy  of  the  Egyptians.  The  most
          trifling occasion, a transient scarcity of flesh or lentils,
          the  neglect of  an  accustomed  salutation,  a  mistake  of
          precedency in the  public baths, or a religious dispute,(173)
          were at any  time sufficient to kindle a sedition among that
          vast  multitude,  whose   resentments   were   furious   and
          implacable.(174) After  the  captivity  of  Valerian  and the
          insolence of his  son had relaxed the authority of the laws,
          the Alexandrians abandoned themselves to the ungoverned rage
          of their passions, and their unhappy country was the theatre
          of a civil  war,  which  continued  (with  a  few  short and
          suspicious truces) above  twelve  years.(175) All intercourse
          was cut off  between  the  several quarters of the afflicted
          city, every street  was  polluted with blood, every building
          of strength converted  into  a  citadel; nor did the tumults
          subside,  till  a   considerable   part  of  Alexandria  was
          irretrievably ruined. The  spacious and magnificent district
          of Bruchion, with  its  palaces and museum, the residence of
          the kings and  philosophers  of  Egypt, is described above a
          century afterwards as  already  reduced to its present state
          of dreary solitude.(176)

Rebellion of the Isaurians       
          III. The obscure  rebellion of Trebellianus, who assumed the
          purple in Isauria,  a  petty  province  of  Asia  Minor, was
          attended  with  strange   and  memorable  consequences.  The
          pageant of royalty  was  soon  destroyed  by  an  officer of
          Gallienus; but his  followers, despairing of mercy, resolved
          to shake off  their allegiance, not only to the emperor, but
          to the empire,  and suddenly returned to the savage manners,
          from which they  had  never  perfectly been reclaimed. Their
          craggy  rocks,  a   branch  of  the  wide  extended  Taurus,
          protected their inaccessible  retreat.  The  tillage of some
          fertile valleys(177)  supplied  them  with necessaries, and a
          habit of rapine  with  the luxuries of life. In the heart of
          the Roman monarchy, the Isaurians long continued a nation of
          wild barbarians. Succeeding  princes,  unable to reduce them
          to obedience either  by  arms  or  policy, were compelled to
          acknowledge their weakness  by  surrounding  the hostile and
          independent spot with  a strong chain of fortifications,(178)
          which often proved  insufficient  to restrain the incursions
          of these domestic  foes.  The Isaurians, gradually extending
          their territory to  the  sea-coast,  subdued the western and
          mountainous part of  Cilicia,  formerly  the  nest  of those
          daring pirates, against  whom  the  republic  had  once been
          obliged to exert  its utmost force, under the conduct of the
          great Pompey.(179)

Famine and pestilence.       
          Our habits of  thinking  so  fondly connect the order of the
          universe with the  fate  of  man, that this gloomy period of
          history has been  decorated  with  inundations, earthquakes,
          uncommon meteors, preternatural  darkness,  and  a  crowd of
          prodigies fictitious or  exaggerated. (180)  But  a  long and
          general famine was a calamity of a more serious kind. It was
          the inevitable consequence  of  rapine and oppression, which
          extirpated the produce  of  the  present,  and  the  hope of
          future  harvests.  Famine   is  almost  always  followed  by
          epidemical diseases, the  effect  of  scanty and unwholesome
          food. Other causes  must  however  have  contributed  to the
          furious plague, which,  from  the year two hundred and fifty
          to  the year  two  hundred  and  sixty-five,  raged  without
          interruption in every province, every city, and almost every
          family, of the Roman empire.During some time  five  thousand
          persons died daily in Rome, and  many  towns, that had escaped
          the hands of the barbarians, were entirely depopulated.(181)

Diminution of the human species       
          We have the  knowledge  of  a  very curious circumstance, of
          some use perhaps  in  the  melancholy  calculation  of human
          calamities. An exact register was kept at Alexandria, of all
          the citizens entitled  to  receive the distribution of corn.
          It was found  that  the  ancient  number  of those comprised
          between the ages  of forty and seventy had been equal to the
          whole sum of  claimants, from fourteen to fourscore years of
          age, who remained  alive  after  the reign of Gallienus.(182)
          Applying this authentic  fact  to the most correct tables of
          mortality, it evidently proves that above half the people of
          Alexandria had perished;  and could we venture to extend the
          analogy to the  other  provinces, we might suspect that war,
          pestilence, and famine  had  consumed,  in  a few years, the
          moiety of the human species.(183)

This document (last modifiedOctober 09, 1998)
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