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CHA P. which had been rashly entrusted to a deserter, was XXXIX. betrayed and destroyed near Faenza by his double
treachery; Odoacer again appeared master of the field, and the invader, strongly entrenched in his camp of Pavia, was redụced to solicit the aid of a kindred nation, the Visigoths of Gaul. In the course of this history, the most voracious appetite for war will be abundantly satiated; nor can I much lament that our dark and imperfect materials do not afford a more ample narrative of the distress of Italy, and of the fierce conflict, which was finally decided by the abilities, experience, and valour of the Gothic king. Immediately before the battle of Verona, he visited the tent of his mother * and sister, and requested, that on a day, the most illustrious festival of his life, they would adorn him with the rich garments which they had worked with their own hands. “Our glory,” said he, " is mutual and inseparable. You are known “ to the world as the mother of Theodoric; and “ it becomes me to prove that I am the genuine
offspring of those heroes from whom I claim my “descent." The wife or concubine of Theodemir was inspired with the spirit of the German matrons, who esteemed their sons honour far above their safety; and it is reported, that in a desperate action, when Theodoric himself was hurried along by the torrent of a flying crowd, she boldly met them at the entrance of the camp, and, by her
* See Ennodius, p. 1603, 1604. Since the orator, in the king's presence, could mention and praise his mother, we may conclude that the magnanimity of Theodoric was not hurt by the vulgar reproaches of concubine and bastard.
generous reproaches, drove them back on the CHAP. swords of the enemy
From the Alps to the extremity of Calabria, His capituTheodoric reigned by the right of conquest: the lation and
death, Vandalambassadors surrendered the island of Sicily, A. D. 493. as a lawful appendage of his kingdom; and he was accepted as the deliverer of Rome by the senate and people, who had shut their gates against the flying usurper f. Ravenna alone, secure in the fortifications of art and nature, still sustained a siege of almost three years; and the daring sallies of Odoacer carried slaughter and dismay into the Gothic camp At length, destitute of provisions, and hopeless of relief, that unfortunate monarch yielded to the groans of his subjects, and the clamours of his soldiers. A treaty of peace was negociated by the bishop of Ravenna; the Ostrogoths were admitted into the city, and the hostile kings consented, under the sanction of an oath, to rule with equal and undivided authority the provinces of Italy. The event of such an agreement may be easily foreseen. After some days had been devoted to the semblance of joy and friendship, Odoacer, in the midst of a solemn banquet, was stabbed by the hand, or at least by the command of his rival. Secret and effectual orders had been previously dispatched; the faithless and rapa
* This anecdote is related on the modern but respectable authority of Sigonius (Op. tom. i. p. 580. De Occident. Imp. 1. xv.): his words are curious" Would you return?” &c. She presented, and almost displayed, the original recess.
+ Hist. Miscell. l. xv. a Roman history from Janus to the nineteenth century, an Epitome of Eutropius, Paulus Diaconus, and Theophanes, which Muratori has published from a MS. in the Ambrosian library (Script. Rerum Italic. tom. i. p. 100.),
CHA P. cious mercenaries, at the same moment, and with: XXXIX. out resistance, were universally massacred ; and
! the royalty of Theodoric was proclaimed by the Goths, with the tardy, reluctant, ambiguous consent of the emperor of the East. The design of a conspiracy was imputed, according to the usual forms, to the prostrate tyrant; but his innocence, and the guilt of his conqueror *, are sufficiently proved by the advantageous treaty which force would not sincerely have granted, nor weakness have rashly infringed. The jealousy of power, and the mischiefs of discord, may suggest a more decento apology, and a sentence less rigorous may be pronounced against a crime which was necessary to in
troduce into Italy a regeneration of public felicity. Reign of The living author of this felicity was audaciously Theodoric, king of praised in his own presence by sacred and profane Italy; orators †; but history (in his time she was mute March 5- and inglorious) has not left any just representation A. D. 526, Aug, 30.
of the events which displayed, or of the defects which clouded, the virtues of Theodoric I. One
A. D. 493,
Procopius (Gothic. 1. i. c. 1.) approves himself an impartial sceptic : Quoi... donsey Teot Axtan Cassiodorius (in Chron.) and Ennodius (p. 1604.) are loyal and credulous, and the testimony of the Valesian Fragment (p. 718.) may justify their belief. Marcellinus spits the venom of a Greek subject-perjuriis illectus, interfectusque est in Chron.).
+ The sonorous and servile oration of Ennodius was pronounced at Milan or Ravenna in the years sooj or 508 (Sirmond, tom. i. p. 1615.). Two or three years afterwards, the orator was rewarded with the bishopric of Pavia, which he held till his death in the year 521. (Dupin. Bibliot. Eccles. tom. v. p. 11– 14. See Saxii Onomasticon, tom. ii. p. 13.).
Our best materials are occasional hints from Procopius and the Valesian Fragment, which was discovered by Sirmond, and
record of his fame, the volume of public epistles composed by Cassiodorius in the royal name, is still c H A P. extant, and has obtained more implicit credit than Xxxix. it seems to deserve *. They exhibit the forms, father than the substance, of his government; and we should vainly search for the pure and spontaneous sentiments of the Barbarian amidst the declamation and learning of a sophist, the wishes of a Roman senator, the precedents of office, and the vague professions, which, in every court and on every occasion, compose the language of discreet ministers. The reputation of Theodoric may repose with more confidence on the visible peace and prosperity of a reign of thirty-three years ; the unanimous esteem of his own times, and the mę. mory of his wisdom and courage, his justice and humanity, which was deeply impressed on the minds of the Goths and Italians. The partition of the lands of Italy, of which Partition
of lands. Theodoric assigned the third part to his soldiers, is honourably arraigned as the sole injustice of his life. And even this act may be fairly justified by the example of Odoacer, the rights of conquest, the true interest of the Italians, and the sacred duty Vol. VII. с
is published at the end of Ammianus Marcellinus. The author's name is unknown, and his style is barbarous ; but in his various facts he exhibits the knowledge, without the passions, of a contemporary. The president Montesquieu had formed the plan of an history of Theodoric, which at a distance might appear a rich and interesting subject.
* The best edition of the Variarum Libri xü. is that of Joh. Garretius (Rotomagi, 1679, in Opp. Cassiodor. 2 vol. in fol.); but they deserved and required such an editor as the Marquis Scipio Maffei, who thought of publishing them at Verona. The Barbara Eleganza (as it is ingeniously named by Tirabochi) is neves simple, and seldom perspicuous.
chap of subsisting a whole people, who, on the faith of his Xxxix. promises, had transported themselves into a distant
land*. Under the reign of Theodoric, and in the happy climate of Italy, the Goths soon multiplied to a formidable host of two hundred thousand ment, and the whole amount of their families may be computed by the ordinary addition of women and children. Their invasion of property, a part of which must have been already vacant, was disguised by the generous but improper name of hospitality; these unwelcome guests were irregularly dispersed over the face of Italy, and the lot of each Barbarian was adequate to his birth and office, the number of his followers, and the rustic wealth which he possessed in slaves and cattle. The distinctions of noble and plebeian were acknowledged ; but the lands of every freeman were exempt from taxes, and he enjoyed the inestimable privilege of being subject only to the laws of his country g. Fashion, and even convenience, soon persuaded the conquerors to assume the more elegant dress of the natives, but they still persisted in the use of their mother tongue; and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by The
* Procopius, Gothic. 1. i. c. 1. Variarum, ii. Maffei (Verona Illustrata, p. i. p. 228.) exaggerates the injustice of the Goths, whom he hated as an Italian noble. The plebeian Muratori crour bes under their oppression.
+ Procopius, Goth. 1. iii. c. 4. 21. Ennodius describes (p. 1612, 1613.) the military arts and increasing numbers of the Goths.
# When Theodoric gave his sister to the king of the Vandals, she sailed for Africa with a guard of 1000 noble Goths, each of whom was attended by five armed followers (Procop. Vandal. 1. i. c. 8.) The Gothic nobility must have been as numerous as brave.
See the acknowledgment of Gothic liberty, Var. V. 30.