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Ursinus, to seize the episcopal scat, surpassed the ordinary measure of human ambition. They contended with the rage of party; the quarrel was maintained by the wounds and death of their followers; and the praefect, unable to resist or to appease the tumult, was constrained, by superior violence, to retire into the suburbs. Damasus prevailed; the well-disputed victory remained on the side of his faction; one hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies,(8l) were found in the Basilica of Sicininus,(82) where the Christians hold their religious assemblies; and it was long before the angry minds of the people resumed their accustomed tranquillity. When I consider the splendour of the capital, 1 am not astonished that so valuable a prize should inflame the desires ot ambitious men, and produce the fiercest and most obstinate contests. The successful candidate is secure, that he will be enriched by the offerings of matrons ;(83) that, as soon as his dress is composed with becoming care and elegance, he may proceed, in his chariot, through the streets of Rome ;(84) and that the sumptuousness of the Imperial table will not equal the profuse and delicate entertainments provided by the taste, and at the expense, of the Roman pontiffs. How much more rationally," continues the honest pagan, "would those pontiffs consult their true happiness, if, instead of alleging the greatness of the city as an excuse for their manners, they would imitate the exemplary life of some provincial bishops, whose temperance and sobriety, whose mean apparel and downcast looks, recommended their pure and modest virtue to the Deity, and his true worshippers."(85) The schism of Damasus and Ursinus was extinguished by the exile of the latter; and the wisdom of the praefect Pra;textatus(86), restored the tranquillity of the city. Pretextatus was a philosophic pagan, a man of learning, of taste, and politeness, who disguised a reproach in the form of a jest, when he assured Damasus, that if he could obtain the bishopric of Rome, he himself would immediately embrace the Christian religion.(87) This lively picture of the wealth and luxury of the popes, in the fourth century, becomes the more curious, as it represents the intermediate degree, between the humble poverty of the apostolic fisherman, and the royal state of a temporal prince, whose dominions extend from the confines of Naples to the banks of the Po.
[A. D. 364—375.] When the suffrage of the generals and of the army committed the sceptre of the Roman empire to the hands of Valentinian, his reputation in arms, his military skill and experience, and his rigid attachment to the forms, as well as spirit, of ancient discipline, were the principal motives of their judicious choice. The eagerness of the troops, who pressed him to nominate his colleague, was justified by the dangerous situation of public affairs; evenValentinian himself was conscious, that the abilities of the most active mind were unequal to the defence of the distant frontiers of an invaded monarchy. As soon as the death of Julian had relieved the barbarians from the terror of his name, the most sanguine hopes of rapine and conquest excited.
(SI) Jerom himself la forced to allow, crudelissima inter feclionos div.ersi sexfls perpetrate, (in Chron p. 386.) But an original libel or petition of two presbyters of the adverse party, has unaccountably escaped. They affirm, that the doors of the Basilica were burnt, and that the roof was untiled; that Damasus marched at the head of his own clerey, grave-diggers, charioteers, and hired gladiators ; that none of his party were Rilled, but thai one hundred and sixty dead bodies were found. This petition is , published by the P. Sirmond, in the first volume of his works.
(82) The Basilica of Sicininus, or Liberius, is probably the church of Sta. Maria Maggiore, on the Esquiline hil1. Baronius. A. D. 367, No. 3 ; and Donatns, Roma Antiqua et Nova, 1, iv. c. 3, p. 462.
(83) The enemies of Damasus styled him Jluriscalpius Matronaram, the ladies' ear scratcher.
(84) Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxxii. p. 526,) describes the pride and luxury of the prelates, who reigned in the Imperial cities; their gilt car, fiery steeds, numerous train, &c. The crowd gave way as to a wild beast.
(85) Ammian. xxvii. 3. Perpetuo Numini, verisque ejus cultoribus. The incomparable pliancy of a Polytheist!
(86) Ammianus, who makes a fair report of his prefecture (xxVii. 9), styles him preclara indolis, gravitalisque, senator, (xxi1. 7, and Vales, ad loc.) A curious inscription (Gruter MCII. No. 2), records, in two eolums, his religious and civil honours. In one line he was Pontiff' of the Sun, and of Vesta, A ugur, Quindecemvir, Hierophant, &c. &c. In the other, 1. Qusstor candidatus, more probably titular. 2. Prator. 3. Corrector of Tuscany and Umbria. 4. Consular of Lusilania. 5. Proconsul of Achaia. 6. Prefect of Rome. 7. Praetorian prefect of Italy. 8. Of tllyricunr. 9. Consul elect; but he died before the beginning of the year 385. See Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. v. p. 241. 736.
(87) Facite me Romans urbis episcopum ; et ero protinus Christianus (Jerom. tom. ii. p. 165). It W more than probable, that Damasus would not have purchased his conversion at such a price.
the nations of the East, of the North, and of the South. Their inroads weM often vexatious, and sometimes formidable; but, during the twelve years of the reign of Valentinian, his firmness and vigilance protected his own dominions; and his powerful genius seemed to inspire and direct the feeble counsels of his brother. Perhaps the method of annals would more forcibly express the urgent and divided cares of the two emperors; but the attention of the reader, like wise, would be distracted by a tedious and desultory narrative. A separate view of the five great theatres of war,—I. Germany; II. Britain; III. Africa; IV. The East, and V. The Danube,—will impress a more distinct image of the military state of the empire under the reigns of Valentinian and of Valens.
[A. D. 365.] I. The ambassadors of the Alemanni had been offended by the harsh and haughty behaviour of Ursacius, master of the offices,(88) who, by an act of unseasonable parsimony, had diminished the value, as well as the quantity of the presents, to which they were entitled, either from custom or treaty, on the accession of a new emperor. They expressed, and they communicated to their countrymen, their strong sense of the national affront. The irascible minds of the chiefs were exasperated by the suspicion of contempt; and the martial youth crowded to their standard. Before Valentinian could pass the Alps, the villages of Gaul were in flames. Before his general Dagalaiphus could encounter the Alemanni, they had secured the captives and the spoil in the forests of Germany. In the beginning of the ensuing year, [A. D. 366.] the military force of the whole nation, in deep and solid columns, broke through the barrier of the Rhine, during the severity of a northern winter. Two Roman counts were defeated and mortally wounded; and the standard of the Heruli and Batavians fell into the hands of the conquerors, who displayed, with insulting shouts and menaces, the trophy of their victory. The standard was recovered, but the Batavians had not redeemed the shame of their disgrace and flight in the eyes of their severe judge. It was the opinion of Valentinian that his soldiers must learn to fear their commander, before they could cease to fear the enemy. The troops were solemnly assembled; and the trembling Batavians were enclosed within the circle of the Imperial army. Valentinian then ascended his tribunal; and, as if he disdained to punish cowardice with death, he inflicted a stain of indelible ignominy on the officers, whose misconduct and pusillanimity were found to be the first occasion of the defeat. The Batavians were degraded from their rank, stripped of their arms, and condemned to be sold for slaves to the highest bidder. At this tremendous sentence, the troops fell prostrate on the ground; deprecated the indignation of their sovereign; and protested, that, if he would indulge them in another trial, they would approve themselves not unworthy of the name of Romans, and of his soldiers. Valentinian, with affected reluctance, yielded to their entreaties: the Batavians resumed their arms; and, with their arms, the invincible resolution of wiping away their disgrace in the blood of the Ale, nanni.(89) The principal command was declined by Dagalaiphus; and that experienced general, who had represented, perhaps with too much prudence, •he extreme difficulties of the undertaking, had the mortification, before the end of the campaign, of seeing his rival Jovinus convert those difficulties into a decisive advantage over the scattered forces of the barbarians. At the head of a well-disciplined army of cavalry, infantry, and light troops, Jovinus advanced, with cautious and rapid steps, to Scarponna,(90Vin the territory of Metz, where he surprised a large division of the Alemanni, before they had time to run to their arms, and flushed his soldiers with the confidence of an easy and bloodless victory. Another division, or rather army, of the enemy, after the cruel and wanton devastation of the adjacent country, reposed themselves on the shady banks of the Moselle. Jovinus, who had viewed the ground with the eye of a
(83) Ammlan. xxvi. 5. Valesjus adds a long and good note on the master of the offices.
(89) Ammian. xxvii. 1. Zostmus, 1. iv. p. 203. The disg-ace of the Batavians is suppressed hy the contemporary soldier, from a regard for military honour, which could not affect a Greek rhetorician of thesucceedins: age.
(90) See d'Anville, Notice de I'ancienne Gaule. p. 587 The name of the Moselle, which is not specified by Ammianus, is clearly understood by Mascou (Ilist, of the ancient Germans, vii 3)
general, made his silent approach through a deep and woody vale, till he could distinctly percejve the indolent security of the Germans. Some were bathing their huge limbs in the river: others were combing their long and flaxen hair; others again were swallowing large draughts of rich and delicious wine. On a sudden they heard the sound of the Roman trumpet; they saw the enemy in their camp. Astonishment produced disorder; disorder was followed by flight and dismay; and the confused multitude of the bravest warriors was pierced by the swords and javelins of the legionaries and auxiliaries. The fugitives escaped to the third, and most considerable camp, in the Catalaunian plains, nearChalons, in Champagne: the straggling detachments were hastily recalled to their standard; and the barbarian chiefs, alarmed and admonished by the fate of their companions, prepared to encounter, in a decisive battle, the victorious forces of the lieutenant of Valentinian. The bloody and obstinate conflict lasted a whole summer's day, with equal valour, and with alternate success. The Romans at length prevailed, with the loss of about twelve hundred men. Six thousand of the Alemanni were slain, four thousand were wounded; and the brave Jovinus, after chasing the flying remnant of their host as far as the banks of the Rhine, returned to Paris, to receive the applause of his sovereign, and the ensigns of the consulship for the ensuing year.(9l) The triumph of the Romans was indeed sullied by their treatment of the captive king, whom they hung on a gibbet, without the knowledge of their indignant general. This disgraceful act of cruelty, which might be imputed to the fury of the troops, was followed by the deliberate murder of Withicab, the son oi Vadomair, a German prince, of a weak and sickly constitution, but of a daring and formidable spirit. The domestic assassin was instigated and protected by the Romans ;(92) and the violation of the laws of humanity and justice betrayed their secret apprehension of the weakness of the declining empire. The use of the dagger is seldom adopted in public councils, as long as they retain any confidence in the power of the sword.
[A. D. 368.] While the Alemanni appeared to be humbled by their recent calamities, the pride of Valentinian was mortified by the unexpected surprisal of Moguntiacum, or Mentz, the principal city of the Upper Germany. In the unsuspicious moment of a Christian festival,*Rando, a bold and artful chieftain, who had long meditated his attempt, suddenly passed the Rhine, entered the defenceless town, and retired with a multitude of captives of either sex. Valentinian resolved to execute severe vengeance on the whole body of the nation. Count Sebastian, with the bands of Italy and Illyricum, was ordered to invade their country, most probably on the side of Rhaetia. The emperor in person, accompanied by his son Gratian, passed the Rhine, at the head of a formidable army, which was supported on both flanks by Jovinus and Severus, the two masters-general of the cavalry and infantry of the West. The Alemanni, unable to prevent the devastation of'their villages, fixed their camp on a lofty, and almost inaccessible mountain, in the modern dutchy of Wirtemberg, and resolutely expected the approach of The Romans. The life of Valentinian was exposed to imminent danger, by the intrepid curiosity with which he persisted to explore some secret and unguarded path. A troop of barbarians suddenly rose from their ambuscade; and the emperor, who vigorously spurred his horse down a steep and slippery descent, was obliged to leave behind him his armour bearer, and his helmet, magnificently enriched with gold and precious stones. At the signal of the general assault, the Roman troops encompassed and ascended the mountain of Solicinium on three different sides.1 Every step which they gained increased their ardour, and abated the resistance of the enemy; and after their united forces had occupied the summit of the hill, they impetuously urged the barbarians down the northern descent, where count Sebastian was posted to intercept their retreat. After this signal victory, Valentinian returned to his winter-quarters at Treves, where he
(91) The battles are described by Ammianus (xzvii. 2), and by Zosimus (1. iv. p. 909), who supposes Valentinian to have been present.
(92) Studio solicitante nostrorum, occubuit. Ammian. xxrii. 10
indulged (he public joy by the exhibition of splendid and triumphal games.(93) But the wise monarch, instead of aspiring to the conques* of Germany, confined his attention to the important and laborious defence of the Gallic frontier, against an enemy, whose strength was renewed by a stream of daring volunteers, which incessantly flowed from the most distant tribes of the North.(94) The banks of the Rhine,tfrom its source to the straits of the ocean, were closely planted with strong castles and convenient towers; new works and new arms, were invented by the ingenuity of a prince who was skilled in the mechanical arts; and his numerous levies of Roman and barbarian youth were severely trained in all the exercises of war. The progress of the work which was sometimes opposed by modest representations, and sometimes by hostile attempts, secured the tranquillity of Gaul during the nine subsequent years of the administration of Valentinian.(95)
[A. D. 371.] That prudent emperor, who diligently practised the wise maxims of Dioclesian, was studious to foment and excite the intestine divisions of the tribes of Germany. About the middle of the fourth century, the countries, perhaps of Lusace and Thuringia, on either side of the Elbe, were occupied by the vague dominion of the Burgundians, a warlike, and numerous peopletof the Vandal race,(96) whose obscure name insensibly swelled into a powerful kingdom, and has finally settled on a flourishing province. The most remarkable circumstance in the ancient manners of the Burgundians, appears to have been the difference of their civil and ecclesiastical constitution. The appellation of Hendinos was given to the king or general, and the title of Sinistus to the high priest, of the nation. The person of the priest was sacred, and his dignity perpetual; but the temporal government was held by a very precarious tenure. If the events of war accused the courage or conduct of the king, he was immediately deposed; and the injustice of his subjects made him responsible for the fertility of the earth, and the regularity of the seasons, which seemed to fall more properly within the sacerdotal department.(97) The disputed possession of some salt-pits(98) engaged the Alemanni and the Burgundians in frequent contests: the latter were easily tempted, by the secret solicitations, and liberal offers, of the Emperor; and their fabulous descent from the Roman soldiers, who had formerly been left to garrison the fortresses ot Drusus, was admitted with mutual credulity, as it was conducive to mutual inferest.(99) An army of fourscore thousand Burgundians soon appeared on the banks of the Rhine, and impatiently required the support and subsidies which Valentinian had promised; but they were amused with excuses and delays, till at length, after a fruitless expectation, they were compelled to retire. The arms and fortifications of the Gallic frontier checked the fury ot their just resentment; and their massacre of the captives served to embitter the hereditary feud of the Burgundians and the Alemanni. The inconstancy of a wise prince may, perhaps, be explained by some alteration of circumstances; and, perhaps, it was the original design of Valentinian to intimidate
',93) The expedition of Valentinian is related by Ammiamw (xxvii. 10); and celebrated by Ausoniue (Mosel1. 421, &c.), who foolishly supposes, that the Romans were ignorant of the sources of the Danube.
(94) Immanis enim natio, jam inde ad incunabulis primis varielate casuum imminuta; ita sspius adolescit, ut fuisse Iongis ssculia sstimetur intacta. Ammian. xxviii. 5. The Count de Buat (Hist, des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. iv. p. 370,) ascribes the fecundity of the Alemanni to their easy adoption of strangers.*
(95) Ammian. xxviii. 2, Zosimus, 1. iv. p. 214. The younger Victor mentions the mechanical genius of Valentinian, nova arma meditari; fingere terra seu limo simulacra.
(96) Belllcosos el pubis immense viribus affluentes: et ideo metuendos fTnitimis universis. Ammian. xxviii. 5.
(97) I am always apt to suspect historians and travellers of improving extraordinary facts into general laws. Ammlanus ascribes a similar custom to Egypt; and the Chinese have imputed it to the Tatsin, or Roman empire (de Guignes, Hist, des Huns, tom. ii. part i. p. 79).
(98) Salinarum fmiuraque causa Alemannis stepe jurgabant. Ammian. xxviii. 5. Possibly they disputed the possession of the Sola, a river which produced salt, and which had been the object of ancient contention. Tacit. Anna1. xiii. 57, and Lipsius ad loc.
(99) Jam inde temporibus priscis sobolem se esse Romanam Burgundii sciunt: and the vague tradition gradually assumed a more regular form. (Oros. 1. vii. c. 32.) It is annihilated by the decisive authority of Pliny, who composed the history of Drusus, and served in Germany (Plin. Pecund. Epist. jii. 5), within sixty years after the death of that hero. Germanorum genera quinque; Vindili, quorum pars Burjun Honrs, &c. (Hist. Natur. iv. 28.)
rather than to destroy; as the balance of power would have been equally overturned by the extirpation of either of the German nations. Among the princes of the Alemanni, Macrianus, who, with a Roman name, had assumed the arts of a soldier and a statesman, deserved his hatred and esteem. The emperor himself, with a light and unincumbered band, condescended to pass the Rhine, marched fifty miles into the country, and would infallibly nave seized the object of his pursuit, if his judicious measures had not been defeated by the impatience of the troops. Macrianus was afterward admitted to the honour of a personal conference with the emperor, and the favours which he received, fixed him, till the hour of his death, a steady and sincere friend of the republic.(100)
The land was covered by the fortifications of Valentinian; but the seacoast of Gaul and Britain was exposed to the depredations of the Saxons. That celebrated name, in which we have a dear and domestic interest, escaped the notice of Tacitus: and in the maps of Ptolemy, it faintly marks the narrow neck of the Cimbric peninsula, and three small islands toward the mouth of the Elbe.(10l) This contracted territory, the present dutchy of Sleswig, or perhaps of Holstein, was incapable of pouring forth the inexhaustible swarms of Saxons who reigned over the ocean, who filled the British island with their language, their laws, and their colonies; and who so long defended the liberty of the North against the arms of Charlemagne.(102) The solution of this difficulty is easily derived from the similar manners, and loose constitution, of the tribes of Germany; which were blended with each other by the slightest accidents of war or friendship. The situation of the native Saxons disposed them to embrace the hazardous professions of fishermen and pirates; and the success of their first adventures would naturally excite the emulation of their bravest countrymen, who were impatient of the gloomy solitude of their woods and mountains. Every tide might float down the Elbe whole fleets of canoes, filled with hardy and intrepid associates, who aspired to behold the unbounded prospect of the ocean, and to taste the wealth and luxury of unknown worlds. It should seem probable, however, that the most numerous auxiliaries of the Saxons were furnished by the nations who dwelt along the shores of the Baltic. They possessed arms and ships, the art of navigation, and the habits of naval war; but the difficulty of issuing through the northern columns of Hercules,(103) (which, during several months of the year, are obstructed with ice) confined their skill and courage within the limits of a spacious lake. The rumour ol the successful armaments which sailed from the mouth of the Elbe, would soon provoke them to cross the narrow isthmus of Sleswig, and to launch their vessels on the great sea. The various troops of pirates and adventurers, who fought under the same standard, were insensibly united in a permanent society, at first of rapine, and afterward of government. A military confederation was gradually moulded into a national body, by the gentle operation of marriage and consanguinity; and the adjacent tribes, who solicited the alliance,accepted the name and laws, of the Saxons. If the fact were not established by the most unquestionable evidence, we should appear to abuse the credulity of our readers, by the description of the vessels in which the Saxon pirates ventured to sport in the waves of the German ocean, the British channel, and the bay of Biscay. The keel of their large flat bottomed boats was framed of light timber, but the sides and upper works consisted only of wicker, with a covering
;i00) The wars and negotiations, relative to the Burgundians and Alemanni, are distinctly related by Ammiar.as Marcellinus (xxviii. 5, xxix. 4, xxx. 3). Orosius (1. vii. c. 32), and the Chronicles of Jerom uid Cassiodorus, fix some dates, and add some circumstances.
(101) Kiri Tov av%sva rns K<fi/3piwfs veoffovnas Sa^ovw. At the northern extremity of the peninsula (the Cimbric promontory of Pliny, iv. 27), Ptolemy fixes the remnant of the Cimbri. He fills the interval between the Saxons and the Cimbri with six obscure tribes, who were united as early as the sixth century, under the national appellation of Danes. SeeCluver. German. Antiq. 1. ii1 . c. 21, 22,23.
(102) M. d'Anville (Establishment des Etats de l'Europe, tec. p. 19—26,) has marked the extensive limits of the Saxony of Charlemagne.
(103) The fleet of Drusus had failed in their attempts to pass, or even to approach the Sound (styled from an obvious resemblance, the columns of Hercules): and the naval enterprise was never resumed. Tacit de Moribus German. c. 34. The knowledge which the Romans acquired of the naval powvnvof tha Baltic (c. 44,45,) was obtained by their land joumeys in search of amber