Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/162

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156 BATTLE OF CHALONS.


Spaniards and Portuguese; all North America, and all Australia, with Englishmen. I say nothing of the prospects and influence of the German race in Africa and in India: it is enough to say that half of Europe, and all America and Australia, are German, more or less completely, in race, in language, or in institutions, or in all."*

By the middle of the fifth century, Germanic nations had settled themselves in many of the fairest regions of the Roman empire, had imposed their yoke on the provincials, and had undergone, to a considerable extent, that moral conquest which the arts and refinements of the vanquished in arms have so often achieved over the rough victor. The Visigoths held the north of Spain, and Gaul south of the Loire. Franks, Alemanni, Alans, and Burgundians had established themselves in other Gallic provinces, and the Suevi were masters of a large southern portion of the Spanish peninsula. A king of the Vandals reigned in North Africa; and the Ostrogoths had firmly planted themselves in the provinces north of Italy. Of these powers and principalities, that of the Visigoths, under their king Theodoric, son of Alaric, was by far the first in power and in civilization.

The pressure of the Huns upon Europe had first been felt in the fourth century of our era. They had long been formidable to the Chinese empire, but the ascendency in arms which another nomadic tribe of Central Asia, the Sienpi, gained over them, drove the Huns from their Chinese conquest westward; and this movement once being communicated to the whole chain of barbaric nations that dwelt northward of the Black Sea and the Roman empire, tribe after tribe of savage warriors broke in upon the barriers of civilized Europe, "Velut unda supervenit undam." The Huns crossed the Tanais into Europe in 375, and rapidly reduced to subjection the Alans, the Ostrogoths, and other tribes that were then dwelling along the course of the Danube. The armies of the Roman emperor that tried to check their progress were cut to pieces by them, and Pannonia and other provinces south of the Danube were speedily occupied by the victorous cavalry of these new invaders. Not merely the degenerate Romans, but the bold and hardy warriors of Germany and Scandinavia, were appalled at the number, the ferocity, the ghastly appearance, and the lightning-like rapidity of the Huns. Strange and loath-

  • Arnold's "Lectures on Modern History," p. 35.