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CHA P. firmly compacted *. Belisarius, however, proa XLI. ferred the Latin way, which, at a distance from
the sea and the marshes, skirted in a space of one hundred and twenty miles along the foot of the
mountains. His enemies had disappeared; when Belisarius he made his entrance through the Asinarian gate, Rome,
the garrison departed without molestation along the A.D. 536, Flaminian way; and the city, after sixty years serDee. 10
vitudę, was delivered from the yoke of the Barbariąns. Leuderis alone, from a motive of pride or
a discontent, refused to accompany the fugitives; and the Gothic chief, himself a trophy of the vic. tory, was sent with the keys of Rome to the throne of the emperor Justiniant.
The first days, which coincided with the old Siege of
Saturnalia, were devoted to mutual congratulation Rome by the Goths, and the public joy : and the Catholics prepared to AP: 1537. celebrate, without a rival, the approaching festival March of the nativity of Christ.
In the familiar conversation of an hero, the Romans acquired some notion of the virtues which history ascribed to their ancestors; they were edified by the apparent respect of Belisarius for the successor of St. Peter,
* Bergier (Hist. des Grands Chemins des Romains, tom. i. P: 221–228. 440-444.) examines the structure and materials, while d'Anville (Analyse de l'Italie, p. 200—213.) defines the geographical line.
+ Of the first recovery of Rome the year (536) is certain from the series of events, rather than from the corrupt, or interpolated, text of Procopius: the montb (December) is ascertain. ed by Evagrius (1. iv. c. 19.); and the day (the tenth) may be admitted on the slight evidence of Nicephorus Callistbus (1. xvii. c. 13.). For this accurate chronology, we are indebted to the diligence and judgment of Pagi (tom. ii. P. 559, 560.).
and his rigid discipline secured in the midst of wär CH A P. the blessings of tranquillity and justice. They applauded the rapid success of his arms, which overran the adjacent country, as far as Narni, Perusia, and Spoleto; but they trembled, the senate, the clergy, and the unwarlike people, as soon as they understood that he had resolved, and would speedily be reduced, to sustain a siege against the powers of the Gothic monarchy. The designs of Vitiges were executed, during the winter season, with diligence and effect. From their rustic habitations, from their distant garrisons, the Goths assembled at Ravenna for the defence of their country; and such were their numbers, that after an army had been detached for the relief of Dalmatia, one hundred and fifty thousand fighting, men marched una der the royal standard, According to the degrees of rank or merit, the Gothic king distributed arms and horses, rich gifts, and liberal promises : he moved along the Flaminian way, declined the use. less sieges of Perusia and Spoleto, respected the impregnable rock of Narni, and arrived within two miles of Rome at the foot of the Milvian bridge. The narrow passage was fortified with a tower, and Belisarius had computed the value of the twenty days, which must be lost in the construction of another bridge. But the consternation of the soldiers of the tower, who either fled or deserted, disappointed his hopes, and betrayed his person into the most imminent danger. 'At the head of one thousand horse, the Roman general sallied from the Flaminian gate to mark the ground Vol. VII.
CHAP. of an advantageous position, and to survey the XLI. camp of the Barbarians ; but while he still believed
them on the other side of the Tyber, he was sud. denly encompassed and assaulted by their innumerable squadrons. The fate of Italy depended on his life; and the deserters pointed to the conspicuous horse, a bay *, with a white face, which he rode on that memorable day. " Aim at the " bay horse," was the universal cry. Every bow was bent, every javelin was directed against that fatal object, and the command was repeated and obeyed by thousands who were ignorant of its real motive. The bolder Barbarians advanced to the
. more honourable combat of swords and spears; and the praise of an enemy has graced the fall of Visandus, the standard bearer t, who maintained his foremost station, till he was pierced with thirteen wounds, perhaps by the hand of Belisarius himself. The Roman general was strong, active, and dexterous : on every side he discharged his weighty and mortal strokes: his faithful guards imitated his valour, and defended his person ; and Ilie Goths, after the loss of a thousand men, tied before the arms of an hero. They were rashly
* An horse of a bay or red colour was styled Çexiós by the Greeks, balan by the Barbarians, and spadix by the Romans. Honesti spadices, says Virgil (Georgic. I. iii. 72. with the Observations of Martin and Heyne). Sradi oi Bares, signifies a branch of the palm-tree, whose name, Porrie, is synonymous to red (Aulus Gellius, ii. 26.).
+ I interpret Berdunagios, not as a proper name, but an office, standard-bearer, from bandum (vexillum), a Barbaric word adopted by the Greeks and Romans (Paul Diacon. 1. i. c, 30. p. 760. Grot. Nomina Gothica, p. 575. Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. i. p. 539, 540.).
pursued to their camp; and the Romans, oppressed CH A P. by multitudes, made a gradual, and at length a precipitate retreat to the gates of the city; the gates were shut against the fugitives; and the public terror was increased, by the report, that Belisarius was slain. His countenance was indeed disfigured by sweat, dust, and blood; his voice was hoarse, his strength was almost exhausted; but his unconquerable spirit still remained : he imparted that spirit to his desponding companions; and their last desperate charge was felt by the flying Barbarians, as if a new army, vigorous and entire, had been poured from the city. The Flaminian gate was Valour of thrown open to a real triumph; but it was not be. Belisarius. fore Belisarius had visited every post, and provided for the public safety, that he could be persuaded by his wife and friends, to taste the needful refreshments of food and sleep. In the more improved state of the art of war; a general is seldom required, or even permitted, to display the personal pre wess of a soldier ; and the example of Belisarius may be added to the rare examples of Henry IV. of Pyrrhus, and of Alexander. After this first and unsuccessful trial of their His defenät
of Rome. enemies, the whole army of the Goths passed the Tyber, and formed the siege of the city, which continued above a year, till their final departure. Whatever fancy may conceive, the severe compass of the geographer defines the circumference of Rome within a line of twelve miles and three hun. dred and forty-five paces; and that circumference, except in the Vatican, has invariably been the same
CHA P. from the triumph of Aurelian to the peaceful bui obscure reign of the modern popes *.
But in the day of her greatness, the space within her walls was crowded with habitations and inhabitants; and the populous suburbs, that stretched along the public roads, were darted like so many rays from one common centre. *Adversity swept away these extraneous ornaments, and left naked and desolate a considerable part even of the seven hills. Yet Rome in its present state could send into the field above thirty thousand males of a military age t; and, notwithstanding the want of discipline and exercise, the far greater part, inured to the hardships of poverty, might be capable of bearing arms for the defence of their country and religion. The prudence of Belisarius did not neglect this important resource. His soldiers were relieved by the zeal and diligence of the people, who watched while they slept, and laboured while they reposed : he accepted the voluntary service of the bravest and most indigent of the Roman youth; and the companies of townsmen sometimes represented, in a vacant post, the presence of the troops which had been drawn away to more essential duties. But
* M. d'Anville has given, in the Memoirs of the Academy for the year 1756 (tom. xxx. p. 198—236.), a plan of Rome on a smaller scale, but far more accurate than that which he had delineated in 1738 for Rollin's history. Experience had improved his knowledge; and instead of Rossi's topography, he used the new and excellent map of Nolli. Pliny's old measure of xiii must be reduced to viii miles. It is easier to alter a text, than to remove hills or buildings.
+ In the year 1709, Labat (Voyages en Italie, tom. iii. p. 218.) reckoned 138,568 Christian souls, besides 8 or 10,000 Jews--without souls. In the year 1763, the numbers exceeded 160,000.