ePub 版

à fair wind, steered through the narrow entrance c H A P. of the Goletta, and occupied in the deep and capacious lake of Tunis a secure station about five miles from the capital *. No sooner was Belisarius informed of their arrival, than he dispatched orders that the greatest part of the mariners should be immediately landed to join the triumph, and to swell the apparent numbers of the Romans. Before he allowed them to enter the gates of Carthage, he exhorted them, in a discourse worthy of himself and the occasion, not to dis.. grace the glory of their arms; and to remember that the Vandals had been the tyrants, but that they were the deliverers of the Africans, who must now be respected as the voluntary and affectionate subjects of their common sovereign. The Romans marched through the streets in close ranks, prepared for battle if an enemy had appeared; the strict order maintained by the general imprinted on their minds the duty of obedience; and in an age in which custom and impunity almost sanctified the abuse of conquest, the genius of one man repressed the passions of a victorious army. The voice of menace and complaint was silent; the trade of Carthage was not interrupted; while Africa changed her master and her governN 2



* The neighbourhood of Carthage, the sea, the land, and the rivers, are changed almost as much as the works of man. The isthmus, or neck, of the city is now confounded with the continent : the harbour is a dry plain ; and the lake, or stage num, no more than a morass, with six or seven feet water in the mid-channel. See d'Anville (Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. p. 82.), Shaw (Travels. p. 77–84.), Marmol (Description de l'Afrique, tom, č. p. 465.), and Thuanus (lviii. 12. tom. jii. p. 334.).


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

CH A P. ment, the shops continued open and busy; and

the soldiers, after sufficient guards had been posted,
modestly departed to the houses which were al
lotted for their reception. Belisarius fixed his
residence in the palace; seated himself on the
throne of Genseric; accepted and distributed the
Barbaric spoil ; granted their lives to the sup-
pliant Vandals; and laboured to repair the da--
mage which the suburb of Mandracium had sus-
tained in the preceding night. At supper he
entertained his principal officers with the form
and magnificence of a royal banquet *. The
victor was respectfully served by the captive offi-
cers of the household; and in the moments of
festivity, when the impartial spectators applauded
the fortune and merit of Belisarius, his envious
flatterers secretly shed their venom on every word
and gesture which might alarm the suspicions of
a jealous monarch. One day was given to these
pompous scenes, which may not be despised as
useless, if they attracted the popular veneration;
but the active mind of Belisarius, which in the
pride of victory could suppose a defeat, had al-
ready resolved, that the Roman empire in Africa
should not depend on the chance of arms, or the
favour of the people. The fortifications of Car-
thage had alone been exempted from the general
proscription ; but in the reign of ninety-five years
they were suffered to decay by the thoughtless


* From Delphi, the name of Delphicum was given, both in Greek and Latin, to a tripod ; and, by an easy analogy, the same appellation was extended at Rome, Constantinople, and Carthage, to the royal banqueting room (Procopius, Vandal. 1. i. c. 21. Ducange, Gloss. Græc. p. 277. An@ixos, ad Alexiad P. 412.),

and indolent Vandals. A wiser conqueror re- c H A P. stored with incredible dispatch the walls and

ditches of the city. the workmen; the

His liberality encouraged soldiers, the mariners, and the citizens, vied with each other in the salutary labour; and Gelimer, who had feared to trust his person in an open town, beheld with astonishment and despair the rising strength of an impregnable fortress.


feat of Ge

the Vand.

A. D. 533.


That unfortunate monarch, after the loss of his Final de. capital, applied himself to collect the remains of limer and an army scattered, rather than destroyed, by the als preceding battle; and the hopes of pillage attracted some Moorish bands to the standard of Gelimer. He encamped in the fields of Bulla, four days journey from Carthage; insulted the capital, which he deprived of the use of an aqueduct; proposed an high reward for the head of every Roman; affected to spare the persons and property of his African subjects, and secretly negotiated with the Arian sectaries and the confederate Huns. Under these circumstances, the conquest of Sardinia served only to agravate his distress he reflected with the deepest anguish, that he had wasted, in that useless enterprise, five thousand of his bravest troops; and he read, with grief and shame, the victorious letters of his brother Zano, who expressed a sanguine confidence that the king, after the example of their ancestors, had already chastised the rashness of the Roman invader. "Alas! my brother," replied Gelimer, "Heaven has declared against our unhappy nation. While you have subdued Sar


[blocks in formation]


“ dinia, we have lost Africa. No sooner did “ Belisarius appear with a handful of soldiers, " than courage and prosperity deserted the cause “ of the Vandals. Your nephew Gibamund, your “ brother Ammatas, have been betrayed to death " by the cowardice of their followers. Our " horses, our ships, Carthage itself, and all Afri“ ca, are in the power of the enemy. Yet “ the Vandals still prefer an ignominious repose " at the expence of their wives and children, “ their wealth and liberty. Nothing now re“ mains, except the field of Bulla, and the hope " of your valour. Abandon Sardinia; fly to our

; “ relief; restore our empire, or perish by our “ side.”

On the receipt of this epistle, Zano imparted his grief to the principal Vandals; but the intelligence was prudently concealed from the natives of the island. The troops embarked in one hundred and twenty gallies at the port of Cagliari, cast anchor the third day on the confines of Mauritania, and hastily pursued their march to join the royal standard in the camp of Bulla. Mournful was the inrerview: the two brothers embraced; they wept in silence; no questions were asked of the Sardinian victory; no inquiries were made of the African misfortunes : they saw before their eyes the whole extent of their calamities; and the absence of their wives and children afforded a melancholy proof, that either death or captivity had been their lot. The languid spirit of the Vandals was at length awakened and united by the entreaties of their king, the example of Zano, and the instant


[ocr errors]

danger which threatened their monarchy and re. C'H A P. ligion. The military strength of the nation ad. vanced to battle ; and such was the rapid increase, that, before their army reached Tricameron, about twenty miles from Carthage, they might boast, perhaps with some exaggeration, that they surpassed, in a tenfold proportion, the diminutive powers of the Romans. But these powers were under the command of Belisarius; and, as he was conscious of their superior merit, he permitted the Barbarians to surprise him at an un. seasonable hour. The Romans were instantly under arms : a rivulet covered their front; the cavalry formed the first line, which Belisarius supported in the centre, at the head of five hundred guards ; the infantry, at some distance, was posted in the second line ; and the vigilance of the general watched the separate station and am. biguous faith of the Massagetæ, who secretly reserved their aid for the conquerors. The historian has inserted and the reader may easily supply, the speeches * of the commanders, who, by arguments the most apposite to their situation, inculcated the importance of victory and the contempt of life. Zano with the troops which had followed him to the conquest of Sardinia, was placed in the centre; and the throne of Genseric might have stood, if the multitude of Vandals had imitated their intrepid resolution. Casting away their lances and missile weapons, they drew


their * These orations always express the sense of the times, and sometimes of the actors. I have condensed that sense, and thrown away declamation.

« 上一頁繼續 »