New History/Book the Fifth
The whole empire being vested in Arcadius and Honorius, they indeed appeared by their title to possess the sovereign authority, although the universal administration of affairs was under Rufinus in the east, and under Stilico in the west. By these all causes were determined, at their own pleasure; for whoever bribed plentifully, or by any other means of friendship or consanguinity could make the judge his advocate, was sure to succeed in the process. From hence it happened that most of those great estates, which cause the possessors to be generally esteemed fortunate, devolved to these two; since some endeavoured by gifts to avoid false accusations, and others relinquished all their possessions to obtain an office, or in any other manner to purchase the ruin of particular cities. While iniquity of every kind presided, therefore, in the respective cities, the money from all quarters flowed into the coffers of Rufinus and Stilico; while on the reverse, poverty preyed on the habitations of those who had formerly been rich. Nor were the emperors acquainted with anything that was done, but thought all that Rufinus and Stilico commanded was done by virtue of some unwritten law. After they had amassed immense wealth, Rufinus began to concert the means of becoming emperor, by making his own daughter, who was now marriageable, the wife of the emperor; for by that he conceived he should possess a plausible argument in favour of his pretensions to government. With this intent he privately intimated the affair by means of some of the emperor’s attendants, supposing that no one perceived his aim, although the report of it was circulated throughout the whole city. For all persons conjectured his intention by his pride and arrogance, which increased so much every day, that the general hatred against him was augmented. Notwithstanding this, as if he proposed to disguise small faults with greater enormities, he had the audacity to be guilty of another atrocity.
Florentius, who, when the great Julian was Caesar, had been prefect of the court in the countries beyond the Alps, had a son named Lucianus, who had used the patronage of Rufinus, and had given him the best part of his estate. For this reason Rufinus professed on every occasion great kindness for the young man, and was continually speaking in his commendation to the emperor Arcadius, who made him count of the east, a dignity which authorizes every one on whom it is conferred to superintend the conduct of all the prefects of the provinces through the east, and to correct whatever is improperly done. Lucianus, exhibiting toward those under his authority all the virtue that becomes a governor, was celebrated for his justice, temperance, and all other endowments which adorn a worthy magistrate; neither having respect of persons, or any other thoughts than such as were suggested to him by the laws. From this cause, when Eucherius, the emperor’s uncle, desired him to perform an action not proper for him to comply with, he repulsed him, and by that exasperated him to such a degree, that he calumniated him to the emperor. The emperor observing that Rufinus was the occasion of it, by having conferred so much power to such a person; Rufinus, as if in resentment for the blame laid to his charge by the emperor, without communicating his design to any person, proceeded with a very small retinue to Antioch. Having entered that city at midnight, he seized on Lucianus, and brought him to trial without any accusation. He afterwards commanded him to be beaten on the neck with leaden balls until he expired. Rufinus then caused him to be carried in a litter, closely covered, to cause the people to suppose that he was not yet dead, and that he should receive some act of humanity. The city was so much disgusted by this unusual manner of proceeding, that he was compelled to conciliate the people by erecting a portico, which exceeds in elegance every structure in the city. When he had effected this, he returned to Constantinople, where he exerted himself in order to procure an affinity with the emperor. But fortune ordered the affair in a different manner, and the expectation of Rufinus was frustrated by those means. Promotus had two sons, who while Theodosius was living were brought up with his own children. One of these had in his house a young lady of remarkable beauty, whom the emperor was advised by Eutropius, one of his eunuchs, to make his wife, with great commendations of her beauty. Perceiving that the emperor listened to what he said with some satisfaction, he shewed him her picture, by which he inflamed Arcadius with so violent a passion for the lady, that he at length persuaded him to a resolution to marry her, while Rufinus in the mean time was ignorant of the circumstance, and expected that his own daughter would shortly be empress, and that he himself should be an associate in the empire. The eunuch, as soon as he perceived that his design was effected, commanded the people to dance with garlands in their hands, as they were accustomed to do on the wedding-day on an emperor. Having procured from the palace an imperial robe and other attire proper for an empress, which he gave to the servants of the emperor to carry, he proceeded through the city attended by the populace. They all supposed that those ornaments were to be presented to the daughter of Rufinus, and ran along with those that carried them, yet on arriving at the house of Promotus, they entered it with the presents, and delivered them to the young lady, who resided there with the son of Promotus. It thus became manifest who was chosen to become the emperor’s wife. The hopes of Rufinus being thus rendered abortive, on seeing another woman made empress, he employed himself in inventing a method to remove Eutropius.
Thus were affairs situated in that part of the empire which was under the government of Arcadius, while Stilico, who was governor of the western empire, gave his daughter by Serena in marriage to the emperor Honorius. Serena was the daughter of Honorius, brother to Theodosius, the father of the two emperors. Stilico, by this alliance with the emperor, strengthened his authority, having likewise almost the whole Roman army under his command. For Theodosius having died in Italy after having cut off Eugenius, Stilico was commander of the whole army, out of which he selected the strongest and most courageous soldiers, whom he retained with himself, sending the most feeble part and the refuse of it into the east. After having done this, being much incensed against Rufinus, who desired to be invested in the east with power to balance his in the west, he resolved to go to Arcadius, wishing to obtain the disposal of all his affairs likewise at his own will and pleasure. He asserted, that when Theodosius was on his death-bed, he gave him a special charge to take care of the affairs of both emperors. When Rufinus understood this, he endeavoured by all the art in his power to prevent the expedition of Stilico into the east, and likewise to disperse and weaken the military force of Arcadius. Indeed, while he was projecting these schemes, he found men for his purpose more wicked than he desired, by whose aid he occasioned great calamities to the Romans. In what manner I am about to relate.
Musonius, a Greek, had three sons, who were named Musonius, Antiochus, and Axiochus. Of these Musonius and Axiochus endeavoured to excel their father, both in learning and integrity. But Antiochus adopted a contrary course, accustoming himself to nothing but wickedness. Rufinus, finding him adapted to his purpose, made him proconsul of Greece, because he wished that the Barbarians, when they made inroads, should find but little trouble in laying it waste, and committed the garrison at Thermopylae to the care of Gerontius, who would be serviceable in all his designs against the commonwealth. When Rufinus had concerted these infamous devices, he discovered that Alaric became seditious and disobedient to the laws, for he was displeased that he was not entrusted with the command of some other military forces besides the Barbarians, which Theodosius had allotted to him when he assisted in the deposition of the usurper Eugenius. Rufinus, therefore, privately communicated with him, prompting him to lead forth his Barbarians, and auxiliaries of any other nation, as he might with ease render himself master of the whole country. Alaric on this marched out of Thrace into Macedon and Thessaly, committing the greatest devastations on his way. Upon approaching Thermopylae, he privately sent out messengers to Antiochus the proconsul, and to Gerontius the governor of the garrison at Thermopylae, to inform them of his approach. This news was no sooner communicated to Gerontius than he and the garrison retired and left the Barbarians a free passage into Greece. Upon arriving there, they immediately began to pillage the country and to sack all the towns, killing all the men, both young and old, and carrying off the women and children, together with the money. In this incursion, all Boeotia, and whatever countries of Greece the Barbarians passed through after their entrance at Thermopylae, were so ravaged, that the traces are visible to the present day. Thebes only was excepted, being preserved partly by its own strength, and partly by the impatience of Alaric to proceed to Athens, expecting to take that city with ease, since by reason of its magnitude it could not easily be defended; nor being contiguous to the Pyraeus could it hold out long before it would be compelled to surrender.
Such was the hope of Alaric. But the antiquity of the city, in the midst of these impious designs, was able to call to its aid the presiding deities by which it was preserved. It is, therefore, worthy of the pains to describe the cause to which the city owed its preservation; it being divine and supernatural, and calculated to excite devotion in all who hear it. When Alaric advanced with all his forces against the city, he saw Minerva, its tutelar goddess, walking along the wall, in the same form in which she is represented among the statues of the gods, which is in armour ready to attack those who oppose her. Before the walls he saw Achilles standing in an heroic posture, such as that in which Homer represents him engaging the Trojans so furiously in revenge for the death of Patroclus. Alaric, being struck with awe by this sight, desisted from his attempt on the city, and sent heralds with proposals for peace. These being accepted, and oaths mutually exchanged, Alaric entered Athens with a small number of troops. He was there entertained with all possible civility, and treated with great hospitality; after which he received some presents, and departed, leaving the city and all Attica uninjured. Thus Athens, which was the only place that was preserved from the earthquake which happened under the reign of Valens, and shook the whole of Greece, as I mentioned in the preceding book, escaped also from this extreme danger.
Alaric, therefore, through the dread of the apparitions he had seen, left all Attica uninjured, and proceeded to Megaris, which he took at the first attempt. From hence, meeting with no resistance, he proceeded towards the Peloponnesus. Gerontius thus allowed him to pass over the isthmus, beyond which all the towns, being unfortified and confiding in the security which they derived from the isthmus, were capable of being taken without the trouble of fighting. For this reason Corinth was first assaulted and immediately taken, with the small towns in its neighbourhood, and afterwards Argos, with all the places between that and Lacedaemon. Even Sparta shared in the common captivity of Greece, being no longer fortified with warlike defenders, but through the avarice of the Romans exposed to treacherous magistrates, who readily assented to the corrupt inclinations of their governor in all that was conducive to public ruin.
Rufinus, on learning the calamities which Greece had sustained, was still more anxious to be emperor; for now that the commonwealth was in confusion, there appeared to him no obstacle to such an enterprise. Stilico, having caused a considerable number of troops to embark, hastened to assist the Achaians in their distress. Arriving in the Peloponnesus, he compelled the Barbarians to fly to Pholoe, where he might with ease have destroyed them all, through the want of provisions, had he not yielded himself up to luxury and licentiousness. He likewise permitted his soldiers to plunder what the Barbarians had left; thus giving the enemy an opportunity to depart from Peloponnesus, to carry their spoils with them to Epirus, and to pillage all the towns in that country. When Stilico heard of these transactions, he sailed back into Italy without having effected any thing, except bringing on the Greeks much greater and more grievous calamities by means of the soldiers whom he had taken with him.
Upon his return to Italy, he immediately resolved to effect the death of Rufinus, in the following manner: He informed the emperor Honorius that he might conveniently send some auxiliary legions to his brother Arcadius, to defend the miserable nations under his dominion. The emperor commanding him to act as he judged expedient, he gave orders what troops should be sent upon that occasion, appointing Gaines their commander, to whom he communicated his design against Rufinus. When these troops were arrived near Constantinople, Gaines went forward, and informed the emperor Arcadius of their approach, and that they were come for the purpose of assisting him in his necessity. The emperor being pleased at their coming, Gaines advised him to meet them on their entrance into the city, which he observed was an honour usually conferred on the soldiers in similar instances. The emperor, being persuaded to this, went out of the city, and the soldiers paid him the usual marks of respect, which he received with kindness. At length, the signal being made by Gaines, they all fell on Rufinus, and surrounding him struck him with their swords, so that one struck off his right hand, another his left, a third divided his head from his body, and went away singing songs of triumph. They even so insulted him after he was dead, as to carry his head round the whole city, asking every person they met to give something to an insatiable miser.
Thus Rufinus, who occasioned many intolerable calamities to private individuals, and was the author of much public mischief, suffered the punishment due to his atrocious actions. Meantime Eutropius who acted as an instrument in all the designs of Stilico against Rufinus, had the superintendance and controul of all that was done in the court. Although he appropriated to himself the principal part of the property of Rufinus, yet he granted to other persons a share of it. The wife of Rufinus, with her daughter, took refuge in a church belonging to the Christians, through fear of sharing the fate of her late husband; until Eutropius assured them that they might sail unmolested to Jerusalem, which was formerly the habitation of the Jews, but since the reign of Constantine had been adorned with edifices constructed by the Christians. Here they passed the remainder of their days. Eutropius, wishing to remove all persons of any weight, that no man might have so great an influence with the emperor as himself, formed a plot against Timasius, who had been a commander since the reign of Valens. A false accusation was made against him to this effect.
A native of Laodicea in Syria, named Bargus, who was a retailer of provisions, having been detected there in some misdemeanour, fled from Laodicea to Sardes; where he became famous for his knavery. Timasius having visited Sardes, and seen this man, who possessed significant wit and cunning to flatter any person into a kindness for him, he made him his familiar, and shortly gave him the command of a cohort. He likewise took him with himself to Constantinople, which displeased the magistrates, for Bargus had been formerly expelled from that city for some villainies of which he had been guilty. Eutropius, however, was well pleased with it, having found him a person adapted for his purpose in his false charge against Timasius. He, therefore, made him the informer, employing him to impeach Timasius of treason in aiming at the throne. In this cause the emperor sat as president of the court, but Eutropius stood near him, being the imperial chamberlain, and possessing full authority to pass the sentence. But perceiving the people to be all displeased, that a vender of provisions should accuse a person who had been so great and honourable, the emperor left the court, and left the whole affair to Saturnius and Procopius. The former of these was old, and had filled several offices of high importance, yet not without adulation, accustoming himself even in judicial cases to humour those who were the chief favourites of the emperor. On the other hand, Procopius, who was father-in-law to the emperor Valens, was a morose inflexible man, and in many instances spoke the truth boldly. Upon this occasion, being appointed a judge in the case of Timasius, he stated to Saturnius these objections: that Bargus was not a proper person to accuse Timasius, that a person who had held so many important offices, and a man of so great honour, ought not to perish at the accusation of so mean and worthless an individual, and that it was most improper that a benefactor should suffer from him whom he had patronized. But Procopius gained no advantage by speaking with such freedom, since the opinion of Saturnius prevailed and was approved.
Timasius was, therefore, sentenced to reside in Oasis, and was sent there under a common guard. This was a barren inhospitable place, from which no person had ever returned after being carried there. The road to it being through a sandy uninhabitable desert, those who travel to Oasis are ignorant of the course they pursue, as the wind fills up the tracks of the feet with sand, nor is there any tree or house by which they can direct themselves. Yet a report was in general circulation, that Timasius was rescued by his son Syagrius, who having eluded those who were sent in search of him, employed some robbers to rescue his father. But whether that report was founded on truth, or was circulated to mortify Eutropius, remains unknown. It is only ascertained, that Timasius and Syagrius have never been seen since that period. Bargus, who had thus delivered Eutropius from all embarrassment respecting Timasius, was made commander of a legion, by which he acquired a considerable income, yet had the folly to hope for still greater rewards: For he did not reflect, that Eutropius, who had witnessed his villainy towards his benefactor Timasius, would naturally apprehend the same towards himself. When Bargus was absent from home on the duties of his office, Eutropius, therefore, persuaded his wife, who for some occasion had quarrelled with him, to present an information to the emperor, containing various accusations by which Bargus was impeached of the greatest crimes. Eutropius, on hearing this read before the emperor, immediately brought Bargus to trial, and on his conviction delivered him to be punished as he deserved. Upon this occasion, all men admired and praised the all-seeing eye of the deity, which no wicked man can escape.
Eutropius, being intoxicated with wealth, and elevated in his own imagination above the clouds, planted his emissaries in almost every country, to pry into the conduct of affairs, and the circumstances of every individual; nor was there any thing from which he did not derive some profit. His envy and avarice, therefore, excited him against Abundantius, who was born in that part of Scythia which belongs to Thrace, but had been a soldier from the reign of Gratian, had received great honours under Theodosius, and was appointed at that period consul. Eutropius, having the inclination to deprive him at once of his estate and dignity, the emperor authorized it, at least in writing; and Abundantius, being immediately banished from the court, was ordered to spend the remainder of his days at Sidon in Phoenicia. By these means, though at Constantinople, Eutropius had no person who dared even to look at him. He recollected however that Stilico was master of every thing in the west; and, therefore, formed contrivances to prevent his coming to Constantinople. For this purpose, he persuaded the emperor to convoke the senate, and by a public decree to declare Stilico an enemy to the empire. This being accomplished, he immediately made Gildo his friend, who was governor of that part of Africa which belongs to Carthage, and by his assistance separating that country from the dominion of Honorius, he annexed it to the empire of Arcadius. While Stilico was in extreme displeasure at this, and knew not what course to pursue, an extraordinary circumstance happened. Gildo had a brother named Masceldelus, against whom he had formed a design through the barbarous ferocity of his disposition, and, therefore, compelled him to sail into Italy to Stilico, to complain of the severity of his brother. Stilico without delay gave him competent number of men and ships, and sent him against Gildo. Upon his arrival at the place where he heard that his brother was stationed, he attacked him with all his forces before he was prepared for battle, and after a furious engagement defeated him to such a degree, that Gildo hanged himself, in preference to falling into the hands of his enemies. By means of this victory, the brother of Gildo restored Africa to Honorius, and returned to Italy. Though Stilico was envious of him for his great achievement, yet he pretended an attachment to him, and gave him favourable expectations. But subsequently, as he was going to some place in the suburbs, and was pacing over the bridge, Masceldelus among others attending on him, the guards, in obedience to a signal which Stilico gave them, thrust Masceldelus into the river, where he perished through the violence of the stream.
From this period the animosity between Eutropius and Stilico was evident, and the subject of general discourse. Yet though they were at variance with each other, they agreed in insulting with security the miseries of the people, the one having given his daughter Maria in marriage to the emperor Honorius, and the other governing Arcadius as if he were a sheep, or any other tame animal. For if any of the subjects had a villa remarkable for elegance, one of them would become its master. If any silver or gold were heard of, it flowed from its former proprietors into their coffers; great numbers of sycophants being dispersed in all places, who were ordered to give notice of such things.
As the emperors on both sides were in this state, all of the Senatorian order were grieved that the affairs were so badly circumstanced, particularly Gaines, who had neither been rewarded with honour in proportion to his long services, nor could indeed be satisfied with any presents that were or could be bestowed on him, so insatiable was his avarice. What stung him more than the rest was, that the money all flowed into the chests of Eutropius. Being, therefore, highly enraged, he made Tribigildus an associate in his design, who was a man of extraordinary boldness, and ready for any hazardous enterprise. He had under his command not Romans but Barbarians, who were stationed in Phrygia, where the care of them was committed to him by the emperor. Pretending to go into Phrygia, to inspect the Barbarians under his command, Tribigildus left Constantinople. Leading with him the Barbarians whom he commanded, he attacked all places or persons that he met with in his march, nor did he refrain from murdering men, women, or children, but destroyed all before him. In a short time he had collected such a multitude of slaves and other desperate men, that he placed all Asia in extreme danger. Not only was Lydia filled with tumult, the inhabitants flying to the sea-coasts, and from thence sailing with their families into the islands, or to some other country; but the whole of Asia situated by the sea was in expectation of greater dangers than they had ever experienced. When these occurrences were communicated to the emperor, he did not compassionate the general calamity, for indeed he was incapable of understanding what was proper to be done (so extremely feeble was he in mind), but gave the whole administration of the empire to Eutropius. When Eutropius had obtained this, he appointed Gaines and Leo his generals, intending to send the latter into Asia to attack the Barbarians, or other promiscuous people who had overrun it; and to send Gaines through Thrace and the Hellespont, if they should be troublesome in that quarter.
Leo, who was appointed to relieve the emergencies of Asia, was a man devoid of all military conduct, and of every other qualification by which he might deserve to be elevated to his present rank, excepting only that he was the familiar friend of Eutropius. However, for that reason alone he was employed; and Gaines was sent into Thrace, to prevent Tribigildus and his followers from crossing the Hellespont, or if there should be any occasion, to engage him by sea. When these commanders were thus instructed, they led off their forces to their respective stations. Gaines, mindful of the compact between himself and Tribigildus, and that the time was at hand for the execution of the project, commanded Tribigildus to lead his army toward the Hellespont. Had he concealed his design against the commonwealth, and departed quietly from Constantinople with his Barbarians, his whole plan would have been accomplished. Nor was there any thing to prevent him from seizing on Asia, and from devastating all the east. But as fortune was at that time pleased to preserve those cities to the Roman dominion, Gaines was overpowered by his hot and violent disposition as a Barbarian, and left Constantinople with almost all his forces. When he approached Heraclea, he instructed Tribigildus how to act. But Tribigildus resolved by no means to proceed toward the Hellespont, through apprehension of meeting with the forces in that quarter; and, therefore, when he had ravaged all Phrygia, he fell upon Pisidia, where meeting with no obstacle, he pillaged all the country and retired.
Though this intelligence was communicated to Gaines, he was unconcerned at the ravages that had been committed, in consequence of the agreement subsisting between himself and Tribigildus. Leo in the meantime continued in the vicinity of the Hellespont, and was prevented by fear from engaging with Tribigildus, excusing himself, that he was afraid lest Tribigildus should send out a part of his forces, and lay-waste all the country near the Hellespont, availing himself of his absence. By these means Tribigildus was enabled to take all the towns without opposition, and to put to death all their inhabitants together with the soldiers. Not a single Barbarian would fight for the Romans, but in the conflicts joined their own countrymen against the subjects of the empire.
Meanwhile Gaines pretended to be moved by the misfortunes of the Romans, yet professed to admire the artifice and bravery of Tribigildus, declaring that he was invincible by reason of his prudence, and that he gained victories more by his conduct than by force. Therefore, when he crossed into Asia, he made no attempt to prevent the destruction of the towns and provinces, but confined himself merely to following the enemy, expecting that Tribigildus would proceed into the east, and privately sent forces to his assistance. He had not yet disclosed his present intentions. If Tribigildus had passed into Phrygia, and from thence had proceeded not into Pisidia, but directly into Lydia, he could have encountered no obstacle, but when he had made himself master of that country, might likewise have devastated Ionia. By crossing the sea from thence into the islands, he might have procured as many ships as he desired, by which, there not being any army able to resist him, he would have been able to overrun the whole east, and to pillage every country there, as well as Egypt. But not thinking on these advantages, he resolved to march into Pamphylia, which borders on Pisidia. He there fell into difficult roads, through which his horse could not by any means pass. As no army resisted their progress, an inhabitant of Selga (a small town of Pamphylia), named Valentine, who possessed some learning, and was not inexpert in military affairs, collected a band of slaves and peasants, who had been accustomed to contend with the robbers in that quarter. These he posted on the hills above those places where Tribigildus had to march, so that they could see every one who passed that way without being themselves seen, although the enemy should march past in the open day. Tribigildus, and his Barbarians, chusing the plainest way into the lower part of Pamphylia, and entering in the night into the fields under Selga, the Barbarians suffered severely by stones of immense size thrown down upon them. They had no way of escape, there being on one side of the road a deep lake and morasses, and on the other side a steep narrow passage, which would scarcely admit two men abreast. This ascent being round and winding is by the natives called the Snail, from its similitude to that animal. In this were placed a sufficient number of men under Florentius to obstruct any who should attempt to pass through it. The Barbarians being blocked up in this place, and great quantities of huge stones continually thrown at them, they were almost all killed; since they were confined in so small a space, that the stones which fell from above could not fail to kill some of them. Being therefore in great perplexity, most of them plunged with their horses into the lake, and to avoid death by the stones perished in the water. Tribigildus, however, with three hundred of his men, ascended the Snail, where he bribed Florentius and the guards who were with him with a vast sum of money to permit them to pass. Having by this means effected his escape, he suffered the remainder to be totally destroyed. Although Tribigildus concluded that he had thus delivered himself from the danger which Valentine had brought on him, yet he presently fell into far greater peril than the former. Almost all the inhabitants of the several towns, arming themselves with whatever was in their reach, inclosed him and the three hundred men who had escaped with him, between the rivers Melanes and Eurymedon, one of which runs above Sida, and the other through Aspendus. Being thus reduced to great embarrassment, he sent to Gaines. This commander, though grieved at what had occurred, yet as he had not disclosed his sentiments with regard to the rebellion, sent Leo, the next in command to himself, to the assistance of the Pamphylians, and to join with Valentine against Tribigildus to prevent him and his men from crossing the rivers. Leo, though naturally pusillanimous and through his whole life devoted to voluptuousness, obeyed his orders. Gaines upon this became afraid lest Tribigildus, being enclosed on every side, and without strength to engage the enemy, should be destroyed. He therefore sent other Barbarian troops who were with him into the Roman camp to enable Tribigildus to escape. These Barbarians, whom Gaines sent to Leo as auxiliaries, fell upon every Roman with whom they met, ravaged the country, and killed the soldiers. Nor did they cease to attack all places, until they had cut off Leo and all his army, and converted the whole country into a desert. Thus the design of Gaines met with success. Tribigildus, having escaped from Pamphylia, indicted still greater miseries than before on the cities of Phrygia. Gaines from hence took occasion to magnify the exploits of Tribigildus to the emperor, and so far alarmed the senate and the whole court, that he persuaded them that Tribigildus would advance to the Hellespont itself, and might nearly subvert the empire, unless the emperor should attend to his demands.
Gaines acted thus from policy, at once to conceal from the emperor his own inclinations, and to acquire by those concessions, which Tribigildus should extort, an opportunity of putting his own projects into execution. For he was not so much displeased at being himself neglected, as at the exaltation of Eutropius to the highest degree of power, so as to possess the dignity of consul, bear that title for a considerable time together, and to be honoured with the patrician rank. This it was that principally excited Gaines to sedition. When his design, therefore, was ripe, he first planned the death of Eutropius. With this purpose, while he was still in Phrygia, he sent to the emperor, and informed him that he despaired of any success, since Tribigildus was so artful a warrior, and, moreover, that it was impossible to sustain his fury, or to deliver Asia from the present extremities, unless the emperor would comply with his request, which was, that Eutropius, who was the chief cause of all the mischief which had happened, might be delivered into his hands, to be disposed of at his own pleasure.
When the emperor Arcadius heard this, he immediately sent for Eutropius, deprived him of all his dignities, and dismissed him. Upon this he immediately fled for shelter to a Christian church, which had been made a sanctuary by himself. But Gaines being extremely urgent, and declaring that Tribigildus would never be appeased until Eutropius was removed, they seized him by force, notwithstanding the law for establishing churches as sanctuaries, and sent him to Cyprus under a strict guard. As Gaines still continued very impressively to urge the emperor Arcadius to dispatch him, the emperor’s attendants made an equivocating evasion of the oath that was sworn to Eutropius when he was dragged out of the church, and caused him to be sent back out of Cyprus. Then, as if they had only sworn not to put him to death while he was at Cyprus or Constantinople, they sent him to Chalcedon, and there murdered him. Fortune thus treated Eutropius in a most singular manner on both hands, first in exalting him to such a height as no eunuch had ever before been raised to, and then in exposing him to death, through the hatred of those who were enemies to the commonwealth.
Gaines, though now evidently inclined to innovation, yet thought himself still undiscovered. Therefore, being absolutely master of the will of Tribigildus, as he was much his superior in power and influence, he assisted him in making peace with the emperor. After they had mutually exchanged oaths, he returned again through Phrygia and Lydia. Tribigildus followed him the same way, marching through Lydia so as not to pass by Sardes, the metropolis of that country. When they had formed a junction at Thyatira, Tribigildus repented that he had left Sardes unpillaged, since it was easy to take a city like that, destitute of all defence. He, therefore, resolved to return, there along the Gaines and to attack that city. Their design would certainly have been carried into effect, had not a great quantity of rain fallen, which occasioned a great flood on the land, and swelled the rivers so as to render them impassable; by which their journey was obstructed. They then divided the country between them, and Gaines led his forces towards Bithynia, and Tribigildus his towards the Hellespont, permitting the Barbarians who followed them to pillage all before them. By the time, when the one had arrived at Chalcedon, the other had taken possession of all the places near Lampsacus. Thus Constantinople, and even the whole empire, was in extreme danger. Gaines then desired the emperor to come to him, being resolved to confer with no one except himself in person. The emperor submitted to this, and they met in a place near Chalcedon, where is a church dedicated to the martyr Euphemia, who is honoured for her devotion to Christ. It was there agreed that Gaines and Tribigildus should repair from Asia into Europe, and that the most eminent persons in the whole state should be given up to them to be put to death. Among these were Aurelianus, who was consul for that year, Saturnius who had been consul, and John, to whom the emperor confided all his secrets, and who was said by many people to be the father of the presumed son of Arcadius.
This tyrannical and insolent demand was compiled with by the emperor. But Gaines, when he had these men in his own hands, was content with their suffering banishment. He afterwards crossed into Thrace, where he commanded Tribigildus to follow him, leaving Asia, which was now beginning to recover breath, and had a probability of being delivered from all the dangers that had surrounded it. While he resided at Constantinople, he distributed his soldiers into several quarters; depriving the city even of the court-guards. He gave the Barbarians private instructions, when they saw that the soldiers were departed from the city, immediately to attack it, being now destitute of all protection, and to deliver the sole authority into his hands.
Having given these orders to the Barbarians under his command, he left the city, pretending that the fatigues of war had impaired his health, and that he was, therefore, in need of being refreshed, which he should never obtain unless he lived some time without anxiety. He therefore left the Barbarians in the city, who considerably exceeded in number the court-guards, and retired to a villa, about forty stadia from the city; expecting an opportunity of attacking it when the Barbarians within should make their attempt. Gaines was filled with these hopes; and had he not been led away by the impetuosity natural to a Barbarian, and anticipated the season proper for his enterprise, the Barbarians must inevitably have made themselves masters of the city. But not waiting for the signal, he led his soldiers to the wall, and caused the sentinels to give an alarm. Upon this a general tumult immediately arose, with shrieks of women and mingled cries, as if the city had already been taken. At length the inhabitants collected together, and fell on the Barbarians within the city. Having dispatched these with swords, stones, or whatever weapons they could find, they ran to the wall, and with the assistance of the guards so assailed the troops of Gaines, that they repulsed them from entering the city.
The city having thus escaped the danger, and the Barbarians within being surrounded, more than seven thousand of them fled into a church belonging to the Christians, which stands near the palace, intending by that sanctuary to preserve themselves. The emperor commanded them to be slain even in that place; nor would he permit them to be protected by it from the just punishment which their daring actions merited. But although the emperor gave this command, none had courage to lay hands on them, through apprehension that they would defend themselves. They, therefore, deemed it best to take off the roof of the church, over what they term the altar, and to throw down firebrands upon them, until every man should be burnt to death. By these means the Barbarians were destroyed. This, in the eyes of some who were zealous for Christianity, appeared to be a most abominable crime to be committed in the midst of so great a city.
Gaines, being disappointed in this great attempt, now made open preparation for war against the commonwealth. Attacking first the countries of Thrace, he found the cities well protected by walls, and defended by their magistrates and inhabitants. For having been accustomed to wars, and learned from former incursions how to provide for their own safety, they were ready to fight with the utmost zeal. Gaines, therefore, perceiving nothing left without the walls but grass, for they had collected all the fruits of the country and the cattle, resolved to leave Thrace, and to hasten into Chersonesus, intending to return through the straights of the Hellespont into Asia. While he was hesitating on these measures, the emperor and the senate unanimously appointed Fraiutus commander in the war against Gaines. He, though a Barbarian by birth, was yet a Grecian in every other respect, not only in his manner of living, but in his disposition and his religion. They therefore committed the management of the army to him, who had been a celebrated leader in many wars, and had delivered all the east, from Cilicia to Phoenice and Palestine, from the depredations of robbers. When he had received the command, he marched against Gaines, and obstructed the passage of the Barbarians into Asia across the Hellespont. While Gaines was making preparation to engage, Fraiutus, unwilling that his men should be inactive, kept them in continual exercise. By this he so disposed them for service, that instead of being as formerly indolent and active, they were discontented that Gaines so long delayed the war.
Thus was Fraiutus occupied in Asia, inspecting not only his camp both day and night, but also the motions of the enemy. He likewise made provision for naval affairs, possessing a fleet, competent for action, of the ships called Liburnae, from Liburnia, a town in Italy, where ships of that kind were first built. These appear to have been as swift-sailing vessels as those of fifty oars, although much inferior to the triremes. Polybius, the historian, gives us a description of the proportion of the six-oared ships, which the Romans and Carthaginians used in their engagements with each other. Gaines, having forced his way through the long wall into the Chersonesus, had ranged his troops along the whole length of the elevated shore in Thrace, which extends from opposite Parium as far as Lampsacus, Abydos, and the narrowest part of the strait. The Roman general, on the other hand, sailed continually about the coast of Asia, to observe the designs of the enemy. Gaines, from the want of provisions, being uneasy at the protraction of the time, cut down a quantity of timber in a wood in the Chersonesus, which he fastened together with great accuracy, and rendering it capable to contain both men and horses, placed his troops upon it, and suffered them to float with the stream. These rafts were incapable of being managed with oars, or of admitting of the pilot’s art, being hastily constructed by the rude contrivance of the Barbarians. He himself remained on shore, in the hopes of presently acquiring a victory, supposing that the Romans would not be sufficiently strong to contend against his men in an engagement. The prudent Roman general was not incautious, and, therefore, forming a conjecture of what was in agitation, he commanded his ships to put off a little from land: Perceiving the rude vessels of the Barbarians to be carried with the current in whatever direction it drove them, he first attacked the foremost of them in front, and his ship, having a stem of brass, overpowered it, not only distressing it with his ship, but throwing darts at the men who were in it, and thus sunk both of them and their vessel. When the crews of his other ships saw this, they imitated the example, killed some of them with their darts, while others, falling off the rafts, were drowned, and scarcely any of them escaped with life. Gaines, being much grieved by this signal discomfiture, and having lost so many of his troops, removed from the Chersonesus into that part of Thrace which is beyond it. Fraiutus did not then think it expedient to pursue Gaines, but mustered his forces in the same place, being contented with the victory which fortune had bestowed on him. Fraiutus was now the subject of general animadversion, for not pursuing Gaines, but sparing him, because those who were escaped with him were the fellow-countrymen of Fraiutus. But being conscious of no such intention, he returned to the emperor, proud of his victory, which he openly and boldly ascribed to the favour of the gods whom he worshipped. For he was not ashamed, even in the presence of the emperor, to profess that he worshipped and honoured the gods after the ancient custom of his forefathers, and would not in that instance follow the vulgar people. The emperor received him with great kindness, and appointed him consul. Meantime Gaines, having lost the greater part of his army as I have related, fled with the remainder to the river Ister. Finding Thrace to be devastated by the former inroads it had sustained, he pillaged every thing that was in his reach. Apprehending, however, that another Roman army would follow him, and attack his Barbarians, who were but a small number, and entertaining a suspicion of the Romans who accompanied him, he put every man of them to death, before they were apprized of his intention. He afterwards crossed the Ister with his Barbarians, designing to retire into his own country, there to spend the remainder of his days.
While Gaines was thus proceeding, Uldes, who was at that period chief of the Huns, considering it unsafe to permit a Barbarian followed by his army to fix his habitation beyond the Ister; and at the same time supposing that by expelling him from the country he should gratify the Roman emperor, provided means to oppose him. Having mustered a considerable number of troops, he drew them up in order of battle against the enemy. On the other hand, Gaines, perceiving that he could neither return to the Romans, nor in any other manner escape the attacks of Uldes, armed his followers and encountered the Huns. After several conflicts between the two armies, in some of which the party of Gaines was successful, many of his men being slain, Gaines himself was at length also killed, having fought with great bravery.
The war being terminated by the death of Gaines, Uldes, the chief of the Huns, sent his head to the emperor Arcadius, and was rewarded for this achievement. He, therefore, entered into a league with the Romans. Affairs being now conducted without any order, through the emperor’s want of prudence, Thrace was again disturbed. A band of fugitive slaves, and others who had deserted from the armies, pretending to be Huns, pillaged all the country, and took whatever they found out of the walls. At length, Fraiutus marched against them, and killed all he could meet with, delivered the inhabitants from their fears.
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apprehended that they would be treated with severity. Meeting, however, with him, they landed in Epirus, where consulting their own security, being in great danger through their extraordinary offence, they gave their prisoners an opportunity to escape; although it is said by some, that they were bribed by them to set them at liberty. However they might escape, they most unexpectedly returned to Constantinople, where they appeared before the emperor, the senate, and the people.
From this time, the hatred which the empress had conceived against John, who was a Christian bishop, was greatly increased. Although she had formerly been incensed against him, for having been severe upon her in his public homilies before the people, yet at this period, when he and the other two had returned, she became openly his enemy. In order, therefore, to satisfy her resentment, she used great efforts to induce the bishops of every place to consent to the removal of John. The first and chief of these was Theophilus, the bishop of Alexandria in Egypt, who was the first who had opposed the ancient sacred rites and observances. Although a synod was proposed to be held for this purpose, John, finding that equity was little attended to, left Constantinople of his own accord. This giving offence to the people, to whom he had always shewn kindness, a tumult was excited in the city. The Christian church was then filled with those men whom they call Monks. These are persons who abstain from lawful marriage, or of any other service to the commonwealth. These men, by their arts, have from that to the present time acquired possession of extensive lands, and under the pretext of charity to the poor, have reduced (I might almost say) all other men to beggary. These Monks having now entered the churches, prevented the people from coming to their usual devotion. This so enraged the populace and the soldiers, that they attempted to suppress, and as it were to lop off, the luxuriant insolence of the Monks. The signal being given them for this purpose, they made a fierce attack, and without trial or examination put all the Monks to the sword, until they had filled the churches with dead bodies, and pursuing those who fled, wounded every one whom they met in black clothes. Among these many were killed through mistake, who were either in mourning, or wore such a dress from any other cause.
John, having returned again, attempted a repetition of the same measures, and excited similar commotions in the city. The number of sycophants was now greater than it had ever formerly been, always attending on the court-eunuchs. Upon the death of any wealthy person they brought information of his estate, as if he had no children or relations. Upon this the emperor’s letters were issued, commanding the estate to be put in possession of a particular person. Inheritances were even disposed of to any who begged them, although the children of the party stood by, lamenting and calling on their parent. In fine, every thing combined to fill the cities with grief, and to injure the inhabitants. For the emperor being a mere ideot, his wife, who exceeded in arrogance the rest of her sex, and was devoted to the insatiable avarice of eunuchs and her female attendants, who had the greatest influence with her, caused every one to be weary of life; so that to modest persons nothing was then so eligible as death.
As if these circumstances did not sufficiently heighten the public misery, another inconceivable disaster fell on Constantinople. John, as I have related, having returned from his banishment, and instigating the populace against the empress in his usual sermons, finding himself expelled both from his episcopal see and from the city, embarked and left the city. Those who had espoused his party, endeavouring to prevent any person from succeeding to his bishopric, privately set fire to a church in the night, and left the city at break of day, in order to avoid detection. As soon as it was day, the people discovered the extreme danger in which the city stood. Not only was the church burnt to the ground, but the adjacent houses were likewise consumed, especially those on which the violence of the wind directed the flames. Besides these, the fire extended to the senate-house, which stood before the palace, and was a most beautiful and magnificent edifice. It was adorned with statues by the most celebrated artists, which had a most splendid appearance; and with marble of such colours, as are not now to be found in any quarries. It is said that, the images which were formerly consecrated in Helicon to the muses, and in the time of Constantine suffered by the universal sacrilege, having been erected and dedicated in this place, were burnt at the same time, as if to denote the disregard which all men should one day bear to the muses.
At that time occurred a miracle which I think not unworthy of being mentioned. Before the doors of the temple of the senate were the statues of Jupiter and Minerva, standing on two pedestals, as they still continue. That of Jupiter is said to be the Jupiter Dodonaeus, and that of Minerva the same which was formerly consecrated in Lindus. When the fire consumed the temple, the lead on its roof melted and ran down on the statues, and all the stones which could not resist the force of the fire likewise fell upon them, until at length the beauty of the building was converted into a heap of rubbish, and it was generally supposed that these two statues were also reduced to ashes. But when the ruins were removed, the statues of these two deities alone appeared to have escaped the general destruction. This circumstance inspired all persons above the ordinary rank with more favourable hopes for the city, as if these deities resolved to afford it their continual protection.
Leaving these circumstances, however, to be disposed of at the will of the deity, I return to my narrative. An universal sorrow now prevailed for the calamity of the city, which was solely attributed to what is called blind chance; while the emperor’s attendants were occupied in rebuilding the ruined houses. At the same time it was reported at court, that a great number of Isaurians, who reside in the inaccessible crags of Mount Taurus, had overrun the adjacent country in several bands. Although they were not sufficiently strong to attack the fortified towns, yet they ravaged all the unwalled villages, and plundered every thing before them. For by the former ravages which Tribigildus and his Barbarians had committed there, their present incursions were rendered more easy. When this intelligence was brought, Arbazacius was sent as commander to the relief of the oppressed Pamphylians. Taking along with him a competent army, he pursued the robbers into the mountains, took most of their villages, and destroyed immense numbers of their men. Indeed, he might with ease have perfectly subdued them, and have placed the towns in absolute security, had he not relaxed from his vigour, by yielding himself to luxury and lascivious pleasures, or through his avarice preferred riches to the public advantage. Being summoned for this treacherous behaviour before the emperor, he expected to undergo a trial; but by giving to the empress a part of what he had taken from the Isaurians, he not only escaped the law, but spent the rest of his money in such pleasures as the city afforded.
The Isaurians thus contented themselves with the commission of private robberies, and had not yet broken out into an open invasion of neighbouring nations. In the mean time, Alaric, having marched, as I before related, out of the Peloponnesus, and all the country through which the river Achelous flows, halted in Epirus, in which reside the Molopians, the Thesprotians, and other nations. He intended to remain there until Stilico had completed what they had agreed on, which was to this effect. Stilico, perceiving that the ministers of Arcadius were averse to him, intended, by means of the assistance of Alaric, to add to the empire of Honorius all the Illyrian provinces. Having formed a compact with Alaric to this purpose, he expected shortly to put his design in execution. While Alaric waited for his commands, Rhodogaisus, having collected four hundred thousand of the Celts, and the German tribes that dwell beyond the Danube and the Rhine, made the preparations for passing over into Italy. This intelligence, when first communicated, occasioned a general consternation. While the several towns sunk into despondency, and even Rome itself was filled with apprehension of its danger, Stilico took with him all the forces that were stationed at Tick Hum in Liguria, which amounted to thirty cohorts, and all the auxiliaries that he could procure from the Alani and Huns, and without waiting for the approach of the enemy, crossed the Danube with all his forces. Thus attacking the Barbarians before they were aware, he completely destroyed their whole forces, none of them escaping, except a few which he added to the Roman auxiliaries; Stilico, as may be supposed, was highly elated by this victory, and led back his army, receiving garlands from the people of every place, for having in so unusual a manner delivered Italy from the dangers which she so much dreaded and expected. He arrived at Ravenna, an ancient city, which is the metropolis of the province of Flaminia, and a Thessalian colony. It is called Rhene, because it is surrounded by water (as the word Rhene imports), and not so named, as Olympiodorus of Thebes relates, from Remus, the brother of Romulus, who founded it; for he must yield in this to Quadratus, who has mentioned this very circumstance in his history of the emperor Marcus. At Ravenna, Stilico being intent on his preparations for attacking the Illyrian towns, and by the aid of Alaric expecting to separate them from Arcadius, and to unite them to the empire of Honorius, two impediments at the same time happened to fall in his way. These were a report that Alaric was dead, and letters from the emperor Honorius at Rome, informing him that Constantine had revolted, and had advanced from the island of Britain into the Transalpine provinces, where he conducted himself in the cities as emperor. The rumour concerning the death of Alaric appeared doubtful, before some persons arrived and assured him of the reality of it. But the report that Constantine had set up for the empire was universally believed. Stilico, being thus prevented from executing his intended expedition against the Illyrians, proceeded to Rome to consult with other persons concerning the present state of affairs.
After the autumn was terminated, and winter had commenced, Bassus and Philippus being chosen consuls, the emperor Honorius, who had long before lost his wife Maria, desired to marry her sister Thermantia. But Stilico appeared not to approve of the match, although it was promoted by Serena, who wished it to take place from these motives. When Maria was about to be married to Honorius, her mother, deeming her too young for the marriage-state and being unwilling to defer the marriage, although she thought that to submit so young and tender a person to the embraces of a man was offering violence to nature, she had recourse to a woman who knew how to manage such affairs, and by her means contrived that Maria should live with the emperor and share his bed, but that he should not have the power to deprive her of virginity. In the meantime Maria died a virgin, and Serena, who, as may readily be supposed, was desirous to become the grandmother of a young emperor or empress, through fear of her influence being diminished, used all her endeavours to marry her other daughter to Honorius. This being accomplished, the young lady shortly afterwards died in the same manner as the former. About the same time, Stilico was informed, that Alaric had left Epirus, and having passed through the defiles that form a passage from Pannonia to Venice, had pitched his camp at a town called Emo, which is situated between the Upper Pannonia and Noricum. It would not be impertinent to notice what is remarkable concerning this town and its origin. It is said, that the Argonauts, being pursued by Aeetas, arrived at the mouth of the Ister by which it discharges itself into the Pontus, and deemed it their best resource to proceed up that river against the stream, by the help of oars and convenient gales of wind, until they should approach nearer to the sea. Having effected this, and arrived at that place, they left a memorial of their arrival there, which was the building of the town. Afterwards placing their ship, the Argo, on machines purposely constructed, they drew it four hundred stadia, as far as the sea-side, and thus arrived at the Thessalian shore, as is related by the Poet Pisander, who has comprehended almost the whole story in a poem called The Heroic Marriages of the Gods. Alaric, having marched out of Emo, and crossed the river Aquilis, passed over the Apennine mountains, and entered Noricum.
The Apennine mountains are situated on the borders of Pannonia, and render the way into Noricum very narrow, wherefore, it the pass were guarded by a small number, a large force would find great difficulty in penetrating it. Notwithstanding the difficulty, Alaric advanced through into Noricum, and from thence sent messengers to Stilico, to desire a sum of money not only in consideration of his stay in Epirus, which he said was made at the persuasion of Stilico, but also to defray his journey into Noricum and Italy. But Stilico, although he received the embassy, left those who brought it at Ravenna, and proceeded himself to Rome, with a design to consult the emperor and the senate upon this affair. When the senate was assembled at the imperial palace, and deliberated whether to declare war, most of them were disposed for war. Stilico, and a few others who complied with him merely through fear, were of a contrary opinion, and voted for a peace with Alaric. When those who preferred a war desired of Stilico his reason for chusing peace rather than war, and wherefore, to the dishonour of the Roman name, he was willing basely to purchase it with money, he replied, “Alaric has continued this length of time in Epirus that he may join with me against the emperor of the east, and separating the Illyrians from that domain, add them to the subjects of Honorius.” This, he said, would have been effected before this period, had not letters in the mean time arrived from the emperor Honorius, which deferred the expedition to the east, in expectation of which Alaric had spent so much time in that country. When Stilico had said these words, he produced an epistle from the emperor, and said that Serena was the occasion of all, wishing to preserve an inviolable friendship between the two emperors.
The senate, therefore, imagining that Stilico spoke nothing but what was reasonable, decreed that Alaric should receive three thousand pounds of silver in consideration of maintaining peace, although most of them gave their voices more in dread of Stilico than of their own judgment or inclination. For this reason, Lampadius, a person of exalted birth and rank, having uttered this Latin sentence, Non est ista pax, sed pactio servitutis, This is not a peace, but a bond of servitude, he was compelled, as soon as the senate was dismissed, to fly into a neighbouring church, belonging to the Christians, from the fear of being punished for the freedom with which he had expressed himself.
Stilico, after having in this manner made peace with Alaric, prepared very earnestly for his journey, in order to put his designs in execution. The emperor declared, that he would also proceed from Rome to Ravenna, to view and encourage the army, especially as so powerful an enemy was arrived in Italy. Yet this he did not say of his own inclination, but was prompted to it by Serena. For she wished him to reside in a more secure city, that if Alaric should infringe the treaty and attack Rome, he might not take the emperor’s person. She was the more zealous for his preservation, since her own security depended on his. Stilico, however, being much averse to the emperor’s journey to Ravenna, contrived many obstacles to prevent it. As the emperor, notwithstanding, would not alter his intentions, but was still determined on his journey, Sarus, a Barbarian, and captain of a company of Barbarians at Ravenna, excited a mutiny before the city at the instigation of Stilico. His design was not really to throw affairs into confusion, but to deter the emperor from coming to Ravenna. But as the emperor persisted in his resolution, Justinian, an excellent lawyer at Rome, whom Stilico chose as his assistant and counsellor, through the sagacity of his judgment, formed a near conjecture of the design for which the emperor made that journey, and that the soldiers in Ticinum, who were disaffected to Stilico, when the emperor arrived there, would reduce him into circumstances of great danger. He, therefore, continually advised him to dissuade the emperor from his present intentions. But when Justinian found that the emperor would not listen to the counsel of Stilico, he forsook him, lest through his familiarity with Stilico he should share in his misfortunes.
Before this juncture a report had been circulated at Rome, that the emperor Arcadius was dead, which was confirmed after the departure of Arcadius for Ravenna. Stilico being at Ravenna while the emperor was at a city of Aemilia, called Bononia, about seventy miles distant, the emperor sent for him to chastise the soldiers, who mutinied amongst each other by the way. Stilico, therefore, having collected the mutinous troops together, informed them that the emperor had commanded him to correct them for their disobedience, and to punish them by a decimation, or putting to death every tenth man. At this they were in such consternation, that they burst into tears, and desiring him to have compassion on them, prevailed on him to promise them a pardon from the emperor. The emperor having performed what Stilico had promised, they applied themselves to public business. For Stilico was desirous of proceeding to the east to undertake the management of the affairs of Theodosius, the son of Arcadius, who was very young, and in want of a guardian. Honorius himself was also inclined to undertake the same journey, with a design to secure the dominions of that emperor. But Stilico, being displeased at that, and laying before the emperor a calculation of the immense sum of money it would require to defray the expence of such an expedition, deterred him from the enterprise. He likewise observed to him, that the rebellion of Constantine would not admit of his going so far, as not to protect Italy and Rome itself, since that usurper had over-run all Gaul, and then resided at Orleans. Moreover, through what he had pointed out was sufficient to deserve the attention and presence of the emperor, Alaric was also approaching with a vast force of Barbarians, who, being a Barbarian and void of faith, when he should find Italy devoid of all aid, would certainly invade it. He, therefore, deemed it the best policy and most conducive to the public advantage, that Alaric should undertake the expedition against the rebel Constantine along with part of his Barbarians and some Roman legions with their officers, who should share in the war. Stilico added that he himself would proceed to the east, if the emperor desired it, and would give instructions how to act there.
The emperor, deceived by these specious representations of Stilico, gave him letters both to the emperor of the east and to Alaric, and departed from Bononia. But Stilico remained there, and neither proceeded to the east, nor performed any thing else that was designed. He did not even send over any of the soldiers, who were in Ticinum, to Ravenna or any other place, lest they should meet the emperor by the way, and incite him to do any thing to the prejudice of himself.
Stilico, being in these circumstances, although he was not conscious of any ill intention either against the emperor or the soldiers, Olympius, a native of the vicinity of the Euxine sea, and an officer of rank in the court-guards, concealed under the disguise of the Christian religion the most atrocious designs in his heart. Being accustomed, because of his affected modesty and gentle demeanour, to converse frequently with the emperor, he used many bitter expressions against Stilico, and stated, that he was desirous to proceed into the east, from no other motive than to acquire an opportunity of removing the young Theodosius, and of placing the empire in the hands of his own son, Eucherius. These observations he made to the emperor as they were travelling, having then a good opportunity of doing it. And when the emperor was at Ticinum, Olympius, accustoming himself to visit the sick soldiers, which was the master-piece of his hypocrisy, dispersed among them, likewise, similar insinuations. When the emperor had been at Ticinum four days, all the soldiers being convened into the court, the emperor appeared before them, and exhorted them to a war against the rebel Constantine. Finding that none of them were moved at any thing relative to Stilico, Olympius was observed to nod to the soldiers, as if to remind them of what he had said to them in private. At this they were excited almost to madness, and killed Limenius, who was prefect of the court in the nations beyond the Alps, and with him Chariobaudes, the commander of the legions in those parts. For these two had accidentally escaped from the hands of the usurper, and were come to the emperor at Ticinum. Besides these two were slain Vincentius and Salvius, the former, the commander of the cavalry, and the latter of the domestic forces. As the tumult increased, the emperor retired into the palace, and some of the magistrates escaped. The soldiers, then dispersing themselves about the city, killed as many of the magistrates as they could lay hands on, tearing them out of the houses into which they had fled, and plundered all the town. So violent was the commotion, that the emperor, finding the disorder beyond remedy, put on a short mantle, and without either his long robe or his diadem, issuing into the midst of the city, had great difficulty in appeasing and restraining their fury. For those magistrates who were taken, even after their flight, were murdered. Among these were Naemorius, commander of the court-bands, Petronius, the treasurer and steward of the emperor’s private property, and Salvius, whose office it was to proclaim the intentions of the emperor upon any occasion, which officer had borne the title of Questor from the time of Constantine. Nor could the latter escape death, though he embraced the emperor’s knees. The tumult continued till late in the night, and the emperor fearing lest any violence should be committed against his own person also, for which reason he withdrew. They then happened to find Longinianus, the prefect of the court for Italy, whom they put to death. All these magistrates were slain by the infuriated soldiers. There likewise perished so great a number of promiscuous persons as if beyond all computation.
When intelligence of this reached Stilico, who was then at Bononia, he was extremely disturbed by it. Summoning, therefore, all the commanders of his confederate Barbarians, who were with him, he proposed a consultation relative to what measures it would be most prudent to adopt. It was agreed with common consent, that if the emperor were killed, which was yet doubtful, all the confederated Barbarians should join together, and fall at once on the Roman soldiers, and by that means afford a warning to all others to use greater moderation and submissiveness. But if the emperor were safe, although the magistrates were cut off, the authors of the tumult were to be brought to condign punishment. Such was the result of the consultation held by Stilico with his Barbarians. When they knew that no indignity had been offered to the person of the emperor, Stilico resolved to proceed no further in punishing or correcting the soldiers, but to return to Ravenna. For he reflected both on the number of the soldiers, and that the emperor was not stedfastly his friend. Nor did he think it either honourable or safe to incite the Barbarians against the Roman army.
Stilico being therefore filled with anxiety concerning these circumstances, the Barbarians who were with him were very desirous of putting in force their former resolutions, and therefore endeavoured to dissuade him from the measures which he afterwards thought proper to be adopted. But being unable to prevail with him, they all determined to remain in some place until they should be better apprized of the emperor’s sentiments towards Stilico, with the exception of Sarus, who excelled all the other confederates in power and rank, and who, accompanied by the Barbarians under his command, having killed all the Huns who formed the guard of Stilico while they were asleep, and having seized all the carriages that followed him, entered his tent, in which he remained to observe the event. Upon this Stilico, observing that his Barbarians were quarrelling among each other, hastened to Ravenna, and engaged the cities, in which were any women or children belonging to the Barbarians, not to afford reception to any of the Barbarians if they should come to them. In the meantime Olympius, who was now become master of the emperor’s inclination, sent, the imperial mandate to the soldiers at Ravenna, ordering them immediately to apprehend Stilico, and to detain him in prison without fetters. When Stilico heard this, he took refuge in a Christian church that was near, while it was night. His Barbarians and his other familiars, who, with his servants, were all armed, upon seeing this expected what would ensue. When day appeared, the soldiers, entering the church, swore before the bishop, that they were commanded by the emperor not to kill Stilico, but to keep him in custody. Being brought out of the church, and in the custody of the soldiers, other letters were delivered by the person who brought the first, in which the punishment of death was denounced against Stilico, for his crimes against the commonwealth. Thus, while Eucherius, his son, fled towards Rome, Stilico was led to execution. The Barbarians who attended him, with his servants and other friends and relations, of whom there was a vast number, preparing and resolving to rescue him from the stroke, Stilico deterred them from the attempt by all imaginable menaces, and calmly submitted his neck to the sword. He was the most moderate and just of all the men who possessed great authority in his time. For although he was married to the niece of the first Theodosius, was entrusted with the empires of both his sons, and had been a commander twenty-three years, yet he never conferred military rank for money, or converted the stipend of the soldiers to his own use. Being the father of one only son, he offered to him the office of tribune of the Notarii, and limited him neither to desire nor attempt obtaining any other office or authority. In order that no studious person, or astrologers, may be ignorant of the time of his death, I shall relate, that it happened in the censorship of Bassus and Philippus, during which the emperor Arcadius submitted to fate, on the twenty-second day of August.
After the death of Stilico, all the affairs of the court were managed by Olympius at his own pleasure and inclination. He also possessed the office of Magister, or governor of the court, while the other offices were disposed of by the emperor at his recommendation. Meanwhile, not only all the friends of Stilico, but all others who had any regard for him, were searched out. Among these, Duterius, who commanded the guard of the imperial bed-chamber, was examined, as was likewise Petrus, tribune of the Notarii. These were publicly put to the torture to force them to some confession relative to Stilico; yet as they would state nothing either against him or themselves, Olympius was disappointed of his views. He, however, caused them to be beat to death with cudgels. Although many others, who were suspected of being the adherents of Stilico, and acquainted with his designs, were examined and put to torture to induce them to confess a knowledge of his ambition to be emperor; yet since none of them would make such a confession, the inquirers at length desisted from their enterprise. In the mean time, the emperor Honorius commanded his wife Thermantia to be taken from the imperial throne, and to be restored to her mother, who notwithstanding was without suspicion. He likewise ordered Eucherius, the son of Stilico, to be searched for and put to death. Having found him in a church at Rome, to which he had fled for refuge, they did not molest him, through respect to the place. At the same time, Heliocrates, the treasurer, produced in Rome the emperor’s letter, commanding the confiscation of the property of all who had borne any office in the time of Stilico. But as if all these circumstances were not sufficient to satisfy the evil genius that held mankind in bonds of wickedness, and confounded all things through the neglect of sacred observances, the former disasters were heightened by an additional one, which thus happened.
The soldiers who were in the city, on hearing of the death of Stilico, fell upon all the women and children in the city, who belonged to the Barbarians. Having, as by a preconcerted signal, destroyed every individual of them, they plundered them of all they possessed. When this was known to the relations of those who were murdered, they assembled together from all quarters. Being highly incensed against the Romans for so impious a breach of promises they had made in the presence of the gods, they all resolved to join with Alaric, and to assist him in a war against Rome. Having therefore collected to the number of thirty thousand men, they fixed themselves in whatever place they pleased. But Alaric was not sufficiently excited even by these men to undertake a war, but still preferred peace, being still mindful of the league into which he had entered with Stilico. He therefore sent ambassadors with a desire to procure a peace, even if he acquired for it but a small sum of money. He likewise desired Aetius and Jason, the former son to Jovius, and the latter to Gaudentius, as hostages; and offered to send them two from among his own nobility under similar circumstances. A peace being made on those terms, he would lead his army out of Noricum into Pannonia. When Alaric demanded peace on those conditions, the emperor refused to grant it, although he would have disposed of his affairs with prudence, he must have chosen one of two alternatives that were before him. He ought either to have deferred the war, and to have procured a peace by a small sum, or if he preferred to contend, he should have collected together as many legions as possible, and have posted them in the route of the enemy, to obstruct the Barbarians from advancing any further. He should likewise have chosen a proper person to lead them, and have conferred the command on Sarus, who alone was sufficient to strike terror into the enemy, both by means of his intrepidity, and of his experience in warlike affairs; who had also under him a force of Barbarians sufficient to make a good defence. The emperor, on the contrary, neither accepting the offers of peace, making Sarus his friend, nor collecting the Roman army, but placing all his dependance on Olympius, occasioned the innumerable calamities by which the commonwealth was overwhelmed. For the command was bestowed on such persons as were contemptible in the opinion of the enemy. Turpilio was appointed commander of the cavalry, Varanes of the Infantry, Vigilantius of the domestic forces. For these reasons all persons were in despair, and thought the complete destruction of Italy even then before their eyes.
As affairs were thus ordered, Alaric began his expedition against Rome, and ridiculed the preparations made by Honorius. Being unwilling to enter on so important an affair with not more than nearly equal forces to his enemy, he sent for Ataulphus, his wife’s brother, from the upper Pannonia, to share with him in the enterprize, he having under him a very considerable force of Goths and Huns. However, he did not wait for the arrival of his brother-in-law, but marching forward with expedition, passed by Aquileia and the other cities beyond the Po, namely Concordia, Altinum, and Cremona. When he had crossed that river, being as it were at some festival, and having no enemy to obstruct him, he arrived at a castle of Bononia, called Occuparia. From thence, passing through all Aemilia, and leaving Ravenna in his rear, he advanced to Ariminum, a great city of Flaminia. Moving by that likewise with haste, and by all the other towns of that province, he came to Picenum, which is situated at the extremity of the extremity of the Ionian bay. From thence marching towards Rome, he sacked all the castles and towns in his way. Thus if Arsacius and Tarentius, the two eunuchs, had not hastened to bring Eucherius, the son of Stilico, from those quarters to Rome to be executed according to the command of the emperor, the youth would certainly have fallen into the hands of Alaric, and would have been saved. The eunuchs having fulfilled the injunctions laid on them to that effect, and having delivered Thermantia, the wife of Honorius, to her mother, went by sea to the emperor in Gallia Celtica, where he then resided, because they were not able to go to him by the same way they had come. For these reasons, the emperor conceiving that he should render good service to the common-wealth by rewarding these two eunuchs for their great exploits in restoring Thermantia to her mother, and in putting to death Eucherius, appointed Tarentius imperial chamberlain, and gave the next post under him to Arsacius. Having then cut off Bathanarius, who was commander of the troops in the greater Libya, and had married the sister of Stilico, he gave that command to Heraclianus, the person who had killed Stilico, and who had received this honour as the recompense of his action.
When Alaric was near Rome, besieging its inhabitants, the senate suspected Serena of bringing the Barbarians against their city. The whole senate therefore, with Placidia, uterine sister to the emperor, thought it proper that she should suffer death, for being the cause of the present calamity. They observed, that “Alaric, upon Serena being removed, will retire from the city, because no person will remain by whom he can hope the town to be betrayed into his hands.” This suspicion was in reality groundless, as Serena never had any such intentions. However she suffered justly for her impieties toward the gods, which I am now about to relate. When the elder Theodosius, after defeating the rebel Eugenius, arrived at Rome, and occasioned in all persons a contempt and neglect of divine worship, by refusing to defray the charge of the holy rites from the public funds, the priests of both sexes were dismissed and banished, and the temples were deprived of sacrifices. Serena, insulting the deities with derision, was determined to see the temple dedicated to the mother of the gods. In this perceiving some ornaments about the neck of the statue of Rhea, suitable to the divine worship that was paid to her, she took them off the statue, and placed them upon her own neck. An aged woman, who was the only one remaining of the vestal virgins, upbraided her severely for so impious an action. Serena not only returned very violent language, but commanded her attendants to drive or carry her away. Notwithstanding, the old woman, as she was leaving the place, prayed that whatever was due to such impiety might fall on Serena, her husband, and children. Serena did not notice what she had said, but left the temple pleased with the ornaments she had obtained. Yet afterwards she was frequently visited by an appearance, not only imaginary, in her dreams, but real, when she was awake, which predicted her death. Other persons likewise beheld the same appearance. So far did that just power of vengeance, whose office it is to punish the wicked, discharge its duty, that although Serena knew what would happen, she was without caution, and submitted that neck which she had decorated with the attire of the goddess, even to a halter. It is likewise said that Stilico, for an impiety not much unlike this of which Serena was guilty, did not escape the secret hand of vengeance. He is said to have commanded the doors of the capitol to be stripped of a large quantity of gold with which they were covered. They who were employed in that act found on some part of the doors this inscription, “These are reserved for a wretched prince.” The veracity of the prediction contained in this inscription was proved, for he indeed died in the most wretched and miserable manner.
However, the death of Serena did not remove Alaric from the siege, but he blocked up the gates all round, and having possessed himself of the river Tiber, prevented the arrival of necessaries from the port to the city. The Romans, on perceiving this, still resolved to persevere in their defence, expecting daily to receive auxiliaries from Ravenna. But none coming to their assistance, and being disappointed in their hopes, they diminished the allowance of grain, and ordered that not more than half of the former quantity of provisions should be dressed each day and afterwards when the scarcity increased, only to a third part. Receiving no relief, and all their provisions being consumed, the famine, as might be expected, was succeeded by a pestilence, and all places were filled with dead bodies. As the dead could not be interred outside the city, for the enemy was in possession of all the avenues, the city was made their sepulchre. Thus it was in danger of being depopulated by an additional cause, and though no want of provisions had subsisted, yet the stench arising from the putrid corpses was sufficient to infect them with disease. Laeta the wife of the late emperor Gratian, and her mother Pissamena, supplied great numbers with food for some time. For since they were allowed from the treasury the provisions of an imperial table, through the generosity of Theodosius, who had conferred on them that privilege, many received the bounty of these two ladies, and obtained from their house what preserved them from famine. But the distress was arrived to such extremity, that they were in danger of being eaten by each other. They tried all methods of support, which are abominable in the eyes of all mankind. They then resolved on sending an embassy to the enemy, to inform him that they were willing to accept any reasonable conditions of peace, and at the same time were ready for war, since the people of Rome had taken up arms, and by means of continual military exercise were become well disposed for action. Johannes, the chief of the imperial notaries, went with him, because he was acquainted with Alaric, and might be the cause of a reconciliation. The Romans did not certainly know whether Alaric himself was present or not, or whether it was he who besieged the city. For they were deluded by a report that it was another person, who had been a friend of Stilico, which had occasioned him to come against their city. When the ambassadors came to him, they were ashamed of the ignorance in which the Romans had so long remained, but delivered the message of the senate. When Alaric heard it, and that the people having been exercised to arms were ready for war, he remarked, “The thickest grass is more easy to cut than the thinnest.” Having said this, he laughed immoderately at the ambassadors. But when they spoke of peace, he used such expressions as were in the extreme of arrogance and presumption. He declared, that he would not relinquish the siege on any condition but that of receiving all the gold and silver in the city, all the household goods, and the Barbarian slaves. One of the ambassadors observing, “If you take all these, what will you leave for the citizens?” he replied, “Their souls.” When the ambassadors received this answer, they desired time to communicate it to the citizens, and to consult with them in what manner they should act. Having obtained that permission, they related all the conversation that had passed in their embassy. On this the Romans, being convinced that it was really Alaric who attacked them, and despairing therefore of all things that conduce to human strength, called to mind the aid which the city had formerly met with in emergencies; and that they, by transgressing their ancient institutions, were now left destitute of it. While they were occupied in these reflections, Pompeianus, the prefect of the city, accidentally met with some persons who were come to Rome from Tuscany, and related that a town called Neveia had delivered itself from extreme danger, the Barbarians having been repulsed from it by storms of thunder and lightning, which was caused by the devotion of its inhabitants to the gods, in the ancient mode of worship. Having discoursed with these men, he performed all that was in his power according to the books of the chief priests. Recollecting, however, the opinions that were then prevalent, he resolved to proceed with greater caution, and proposed the whole affair to the bishop of the city, whose name was Innocentius. Preferring the preservation of the city to his own private opinion, he gave them permission to do privately whatever they knew to be convenient. They declared however that what they were able to do would be of no utility, unless the public and customary sacrifices were performed, and unless the senate ascended to the capitol, performing there, and in the different markets of the city, all that was essential. But no person daring to join in the ancient religious ordinances, they dismissed the men who were come from Tuscany, and applied themselves to the endeavouring to appease the Barbarians in the best possible manner. With this design they again sent ambassadors. After long discussions on both sides, it was at length agreed, that the city should give five thousand pounds of gold, and thirty thousand of silver, four thousand silk robes, three thousand scarlet fleeces, and three thousand pounds of pepper. As the city possessed no public stock, it was necessary for the senators who had property, to undertake the collection by an assessment. Palladius was empowered to rate every person according to his estate, but was not able to complete the whole sum out of all, either because many persons concealed part of their property, or because the city was impoverished, through the avarice and unceasing exactions of the magistrates appointed by the emperor. The evil genius, who at that time presided over the human race, then incited the persons employed in this transaction to the highest pitch of wickedness. They resolved to supply the deficiency from the ornaments that were about the statues of the gods. This was in effect only rendering inanimate and inefficacious those images, which had been fixed up, and dedicated to sacred rites and ceremonies, and were decorated with precious attire, for preserving the city in perpetual felicity. And since every thing conspired to the ruin of the city, they not only robbed the statues of their ornaments, but also melted down some of them that were made of gold and silver. Among these was that of Valour or Fortitude, which the Romans call Virtus. This being destroyed, all that remained of the Roman valour and intrepidity was totally extinguished; according to the remarks of persons who were skilled in sacred rites and observances. The money being thus raised, they thought it advisable to send an envoy to the emperor to confer with him concerning the ensuing treaty, and to inform him that Alaric required not only money, but the sons of certain noblemen as hostages; being willing on these conditions to make peace, and likewise to enter into an alliance with the emperor, and to assist the Romans against all their enemies. The emperor resolving to conclude a peace, the money was paid to the Barbarians. This being done, Alaric gave the citizens a free market for three successive days, with permission to pass securely through certain gates of the city, and to bring corn from the port. By these means the citizens having a little recovered breath, by selling the remainder of their goods, or exchanging one article for another, to purchase necessaries; the barbarians departed from Rome, and pitched their camps in several places in Tuscany. Almost all the slaves in Rome then fled from the city, and enrolled themselves among the barbarians, to the number of forty thousand. Some of the straggling barbarians attacked the Romans who were going down to the port, and bringing up their provisions. When Alaric understood this, he used his utmost endeavours to prevent such proceedings, which were without his knowledge or consent. The Romans now appeared to possess a small respite from their misfortunes. The emperor Honorius was now entering on the consulship, having enjoyed that honour eight times, and the emperor Theodosius in the east three times. At this juncture the rebel Constantine sent some eunuchs to Honorius, to intreat pardon from him for having accepted of the empire. When the emperor heard this petition, perceiving that it was not easy for him, since Alaric and his barbarians were so near, to prepare for other wars; and consulting the safety of his relations who were in the hands of the rebel, whose names were Verenianus and Didymius; he not only granted his request, but likewise sent him an imperial robe. But his care for his relations was in vain, they having been put to death before this embassy. Having done this, he sent home the eunuchs.
The peace with Alaric being not yet confirmed, as the emperor had neither given him the hostages, nor complied with all his desires, the senate sent Cecilianus, Attalus, and Maximianus, on an embassy to Ravenna. Although these persons made a lamentable representation of the miseries which Rome had endured, and described the number who had tragically perished; yet they derived no benefit from it, because Olympius kept all in a confused state, and impeded the due course of affairs. From this cause the emperor dismissed the ambassadors without having effected the purpose of their mission; and discharged Theodorus from his office of prefect of the city, giving it to Cecilianus, and appointed Attalus to be treasurer. As Olympius was wholly intent on searching all places for those who were reported to have any knowledge of the affairs of Stilico, several persons were called in question on false accusations. Among these were Marcellianus and Salonius, two brothers, belonging to the imperial Notaries. These two were delivered by Olympius to the prefect of the court. Though by his order they were beaten and used with every severity, yet they made not the smallest disclosure such as Olympius was anxious to obtain from them.
The affairs of Rome being now in no better condition than before, the emperor sent for five regiments of soldiers, who were quartered in Dalmatia, to guard the city of Rome. These regiments consisted of six thousand men, who for strength and discipline were the flower of the whole Roman army. Their general was Valens, a person ready for the greatest and most hazardous enterprizes. He disdained, therefore, to appear so cowardly as to march by a way that was not guarded by the enemy. Thus Alaric, delaying until he came up to him, and attacking him with all his forces, cut off all his troops, except a hundred, who with much difficulty escaped, together with their commander. He arrived in safety at Rome together with Attalus, whom the senate had sent to the emperor. Perceiving that the public calamities were accumulating, Attalus, on his arrival at Rome, dismissed Heliocrates from the office which the emperor had been induced to confer on him by the persuasions of Olympius. Heliocrates was employed to make an inquisition into the estates of those who were banished on account of their acquaintance with or relation to Stilico, and to make a return of them to the treasury. But he being a man of great moderation, and of good disposition, considered it an impiety to insult the unfortunate; and therefore did not make strict enquiries, but on the contrary sent private notice to many of the parties to conceal what they were able. Being for this reason considered a worthless person, he was seized and carried to Ravenna, to suffer for his humanity towards the unfortunate. He would undoubtedly have died for it, through the cruelty which then prevailed, had he not wisely fled to a church belonging to the Christians. Maximilianus, having fallen into the hands of the enemy, was redeemed by his father, Marinianus, with thirty thousand pieces of gold. For since the emperor deferred the peace, and did not fulfil what had been agreed on, the Romans could no longer pass freely out of the city. The senate therefore a second time sent ambassadors to the emperor concerning the peace, along with whom the bishop of Rome also went. There were in their retinue some barbarians, whom Alaric sent to protect them from their enemies who infested the different roads. When these ambassadors were arrived with the emperor, Ataulphus, for whom Alaric had sent, as I before mentioned, had crossed the Alps, between Pannonia and Venice. When the emperor heard of his approach, and that he had with him an inconsiderable force, he ordered all his troops both horse and foot, which were in the different towns, to march under their own officers to meet him. To Olympius, who was commander of the court guards, he gave the Huns who were in Ravenna, amounting to three hundred. These finding the enemy had arrived at Pisa, attacked them, killed eleven hundred Goths, and returned in safety to Ravenna, with the loss of only seventeen men.
The eunuchs of the court now laid before the emperor informations charging Olympius as the occasion of all the disasters, which had happened to the commonwealth, and thus procured his removal from the office he then held. On this, fearing some greater misfortune, he fled into Dalmatia. In the meantime, the emperor sent Attalus, the prefect of the city, to Rome; and being very solicitous that nothing belonging to the treasury should be concealed, he also sent Demetrius to assist Attalus, and made diligent inquiry into the public funds. After making many innovations in the magistracy, and in other respects; discharging those who were previously in high authority, and bestowing their offices on others; he appointed Generidus commander of the forces in Dalmatia, who already held the chief command of those stationed in the upper Pannonia, Noricum, and Rhaetia, as far as the Alps. This Generidus, although of Barbarian extraction, was in disposition inclined to all virtues, and was remarkably devoid of covetousness. While he adhered to ancient ordinances, and could not endure to relinquish the old mode of worshipping the gods, a law was promulgated, prohibiting all who were not Christians from wearing a girdle in the court. This law being established, Generidus, who was at that time a military officer in Rome, laid aside his girdle, and remained in his own house. The emperor requiring him, as one enrolled among the officers, to attend at court in his due course, he replied that there was a law which forbad him the use of a girdle, or that any one should be reckoned among the officers who did not reverence the Christian religion. The emperor answered, that the law indeed was obligatory on all others, but excepted him alone, who had undertaken such dangerous enterprizes for the commonwealth. Generidus said in reply, that he could not suffer himself to accept of an honour that appeared to affront all who by means of that law had been put out of commission. Nor did he execute his office, until the emperor, compelled both by necessity and shame, completely abolished the law, and gave all persons liberty of enjoying their own sentiments in all offices, whether civil or military.
Generidus, having commenced with this act of gallantry, employed and instructed the soldiers with continual labour and exercise. He distributed corn among them, suffering no person to deprive them of any part of it, as was formerly the practise. He likewise gave suitable recompenses out of his own public allowance to those who were the most deserving. Appearing therefore thus great, he was not only a terror to the adjacent barbarians, but a security to the nations which were under his care. The soldiers, at Ravenna, having mutinied, took possession of the port, and with rude clamours demanded the emperor to come before them. But he through dread of the tumult, having secreted himself, Jovius issued among them, who was prefect of the court, and honoured with the rank of a patrician. Pretending to be ignorant of the occasion for which they mutinied, although he himself was said to be the author of it, together with Illebichus, who commanded the domestic cavalry, he asked them their reason for being so violent. On hearing the soldiers reply, that they must deliver into their hands Turpillo and Vigilantius, the two generals, with Terentius, the imperial chamberlain, and Arsacius, next to him in dignity, the emperor fearing an insurrection of the soldiers condemned by the two generals to perpetual exile. They being therefore placed on board a ship, were murdered by those who were appointed to carry them to the place of banishment. Jovius indeed had commanded them to do this; fearing lest if they should ever return, and discover the intrigue that was formed against them, they might excite the emperor to punish him for it. Terentius was sent into the east, and Arsacius was ordered to reside in Milan. The emperor having made Eusebius chamberlain in lieu of Terentius, given the command which Turpillo had held to Valeus, and appointed Illebichus prefect instead of Vigilantius, appeared in some measure to mitigate the rage of the soldiers.
Jovius, having now transferred all the power of managing the emperor into his own hands, resolved to send ambassadors to Alaric, to desire him to come even to Ravenna, and to tell him that they would there conclude the peace. Alaric, being prevailed on by the letters he received both from the emperor and Jovius, and being advanced as far as Ariminum, thirty miles from Ravenna, Jovius hastened thither also (having been the friend and familiar acquaintance of Alaric in Epirus), to treat concerning the alliance. The demands of Alaric were: a certain quantity of gold each year, and a quantity of corn; and that himself and the Barbarians who were with him should inhabit both the Venetias, Noricum, and Dalmatia. Jovius, having written these demands in the presence of Alaric, sent them to the emperor, with other letters which he privately conveyed to him, to advise him to appoint Alaric commander of both his armies, by which means he might be induced to relax the severity of his conditions, and make a peace on tolerably moderate terms. When the emperor received this letter, he condemned Jovius for his forward temerity, and wrote to him, telling him, that it was proper for him, as prefect of the court, and understanding what the public revenues were capable of, to assign the quantity of corn and gold, but that no dignity or command should ever be conferred on Alaric, or any of his family. When Jovius received this letter, he opened and read it in the hearing of Alaric; who though he bore all the rest with patience, yet on finding the command denied to himself and all his family, was so enraged, that he immediately commanded his Barbarians to march to Rome with the greatest expedition, and there revenge the affront offered to him and all his family. Jovius being disappointed on seeing the emperor’s unexpected letter, returned to Ravenna. Being desirous to acquit himself of all blame, he bound Honorius under several oaths never to make peace with Alaric, but to wage against him a continual war; which he himself likewise swore by touching the head of the emperor, and caused all others who were in office to do the same.
Affairs having thus been concerted, the emperor called ten thousand Huns to his assistance in the war against Alaric. In order that he might have provisions ready for them on their arrival, he ordered the Dalmatians to bring corn, sheep, and oxen. He sent out scouts to gain information of the way by which Alaric intended to march to Rome. But Alaric, in the mean time, repented of his intention of proceeding against Rome, and sent the bishops of each city, not only as ambassadors, but also to advise the emperor not to suffer so noble a city, which for more than a thousand years had ruled over great part of the world, to be seized and destroyed by the Barbarians, nor such magnificent edifices to be demolished by hostile flames, but to prefer entering into a peace on some reasonable conditions. He instructed them to state to the emperor, that the Barbarians wanted no preferments, nor did he now desire the provinces which he had previously chosen as his residence, but only the two Norica, which are situated on the extremity of the river Danube, are harassed by continual incursions, and yield to the treasury a very small revenue. Besides this he only demanded annually as much corn as the emperor should think proper to grant, and would remit the gold. And that a friendship and alliance should subsist between himself and the Romans, against every one that should rise to oppose the empire. When Alaric had made these extremely temperate propositions, his moderation being universally admired, Jovius, and the other ministers of the emperor, declared that his demands could not possibly be acceded to, since all persons, who held any commission, had sworn not to make peace with Alaric. For if their oath had been made to the deity, they might indeed probably have dispensed with it, and have relied on the divine goodness for pardon; but since they had sworn by the head of the emperor, it was by no means lawful for them to infringe so great a vow. So cautious were they who then held the chief management of affairs, as they were destitute of the care and protection of heaven.
- Here occurs a chasm in the history, the sense of what is wanting appears to be this: Gaines formerly required Aurelianus, Saturnius, and John, to be placed in his power. It is probable that he committed them to custody, until he should think it expedient, to punish them. The keepers appear to have given their prisoners leave to escape, fearing that they would be harshly treated if they fell into the hands of Fraiutus. It is the conjecture of Sylburgius that li/an is the termination of the word Thessalian, Thessaly; or of Parali/an, which signifies the vicinity of the sea-coast; and that Fraiutus designed to enter this country, in order to apprehend the traitors and punish them as they deserved. We must supposed the following words to relate to them.