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CH A P. Italy; and his abrupt departure revived the cou. XLIII. rage of the Goths *, who respected his genius, his
virtue, and even the laudable motive which had urged the servant of Justinian to deceive and reject them. They had lost their king (an inconsiderable loss), their capital, their treasures, the provinces from Sicily to the Alps, and the military force of two hundred thousand Barbarians, magnificently equipped with horses and arms. Yet all was not lost, as long as Pavia was defended by one thousand Goths, inspired by a sense of honour, the love of freedom, and the memory of their past greatness. The supreme command was unanimously offered to the brave Uraias; and it was in his eyes alone that the disgrace of his uncle Vitiges could appear as a reason of exclusion. His voice inclined the election in favour of Hildibald, whose personal merit was recommended by the vain hope that his kinsman Theudes, the Spanish monarch, would support the common interest of the Gothic nation. The success of his arms in Liguria and Venetia seemed to justify their choice ; but he soon declared to the world, that he was incapable of forgiving or commanding his benefactor. The consort of Hildibald was deeply wounded by the beauty, the riches, and the pride of the wife
• In the second (c. 30.) and third books (c. 1-40.), Procopius continues the history of the Gothic war from the fifth to the fifteenth year of Justinian. As the events are less interesting than in the former period, he allots only half the space to double the time. Jornandes, and the Chronicle of Marcel. linus, affords some collateral hints. Sigonius, Pagi, MuraLori, Mascou, and De Buat, are useful, and have been used.
of Uraias; and the death of that virtuous pátriot CH A P. excited the indignation of a free people. A bold XLIII. assassin executed their sentence, by striking off the head of Hildibald in the midst of a banquet : the Rugians, a foreign tribe, assumed the privilege of election ; and Totila, the nephew of the late king, was tempted, by revenge, to deliver himself and the garrison of Trevigo into the hands of the Ro
But the gallant and accomplished youth was easily persuaded to prefer the Gothic throne before the service of Justinian; and as soon as the palace of Pavia had been purified from the Rugian usurper, he reviewed the national force of five thousand soldiers, and generously undertook the restoration of the kingdom of Italy.
The successors of Belisarius, eleven generals of Victories of equal rank, neglected to crush the feeble and dis- king of
Italy, A.D. united Goths, till they were roused to action by
541-544 the progress
of Totila and the reproaches of Justinian. The gates of Verona were secretly opened to Artabazus, at the head of one hundred Persians in the service of the empire. The Goths filed from the city. At the distance of sixty furlongs the Roman generals halted to regulate the division : of the spoil. While they disputed, the enemy discovered the real number of the victors: the Persians were instantly overpowered, and it was by leaping from the wall that Artabazus preserved a life which he lost in a few days by the lance of a Barbarian, who had defied him to single combat. Twenty thousand Romans encountered the forces of Totila, near Faenza, and on the hills of Mugello, of the Florentine territory. The ardour of Aa2
CHAP. freedmen, who fought to regain their country, was XLIII. opposed to the languid temper of mercenary
troops, who were even destitute of the merits of strong and well disciplined servitude. On the first attack they abandoned their ensigns, threw down their arms, and dispersed on all sides with an active speed, which abated the loss, whilst it aggravated the shame of their defeat. The king of the Goths who blushed for the baseness of his enemies, pursued with rapid steps the path of honour and victory. Totila passed the Po, traversed the Apennine, suspended the important conquest of Ravenna, Florence, and Rome, and marched through the heart of Italy, to form the siege, or rather blockade, of Naples. The Roman chiefs, imprisoned in their respective cities, and accusing each other of the common disgrace, did not presume to disturb his enterprise. But the emperor, alarmed by the distress and danger of his Italian conquests, dispatched to the relief of Naples a fleet of gallies and a body of Thracian and Armenian soldiers. They landed in Sicily, which yielded its copious stores of provisions ; but the delays of the new commander, an unwarlike magistrate, protracted the sufferings of the besieged; and the succours, which he dropt with a timid and tardy hand, were successively intercepted by the armed vessels stationed by Totila in the bay of Naples. The principal officer of the Romans was dragged with a rope round his neck, to the foot of the wall, from whence, with a trembling voice, he exhorted the citizens to implore, like himself, the mercy of the conqueror. They requested a truce, with a promise of sui rendering the city, if no effec- CHA P. tual relief should appear at the end of thirty days. XLIII. Instead of one month, the audacious Barbarian granted them three, in the just confidence that famine would anticipate the term of their capitulation. After the reduction of Naples and Cumæ, the provinces of Lucania, Apulia, and Calabria, submitted to the king of the Goths. Totila led his army to the gates of Rome, pitched his camp at Tibur, or Tivoli, within twenty miles of the capital, and calmly exhorted the senate and people to compare the tyranny of the Greeks with the blessings of the Gothic reign. The rapid success of Totila may be partly Contrast of
with * Sylverius, bishop of Rome, was first transported to Patara, in Lycia, and at length starved (sub eorum custodia inedia cootectus ) in the isle of Palmaria, A. D. 533, June 20 (Liberat. in Breviar, c. 22. Anastasius, in Sylverio Baronius, A. D. 540. No. 2, 3. Pagi, in Vit. Pont. tom. i. p. 285, 286.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 1.) accuses only the empress and Antonina.
vice and ascribed to the revolution which three years expe- virtue. rience had produced in the sentiments of the Italians. At the command, or at least in the name, of a Catholic emperor, the pope *, their spiritual
, father, had been torn from the Roman church, and either starved or murdered on adesolate island t. The virtues of Belisarius were replaced by the va. rious or uniform vices of eleven chiefs, at Rome, Ravenna, Florence, Perugia, Spoleto, &c. who abused their authority for the indulgence of lust or avarice.
The improvement of the revenue was committed to Alexander, a subtle scribe, long
A a 3
* Palmaria, a small island, opposite to Tarracina and the coast of the Volsci (Cluver. Ital. Antiq. I. iii. c. 7. p. 101.
CHAP. practised in the fraud and oppression of the Byzan
tine schools ; and whose name of Psalliction, the scissurs*, was drawn from the dexterous artifice with which he reduced the size, without defacing the figure of the gold coin. Instead of expecting the restoration of peace and industry, he imposed an heavy assessment on the fortunes of the Italians. Yet his present or future demands were less odious than a prosecution of arbitrary rigour against the persons and property of all those, who, under the Gothic kings, had been concerned in the receipt and expenditure of the public money. The subjects of Justinian, who escaped these partial vexations, were oppressed by the irregular maintenance of the soldiers, whom Alexander defrauded and despised ; and their hasty sallies in quest of wealth, or subsistence, provoked the inhabitants of the countıy to await or implore their deliverance from the virtues of a Barbarian. Totila, t was chaste and temperate ; and none were deceived, either fuends or enemies, who depended on his faith or his clemency. To the husbandmen of Italy the Gothic king issued a welcome proclamation, enjoining them to pursue their important labours, and to rest assured, that, on the payment of the ordinary taxes, they should be defended by his valour and discipline from the injuries of war. The
* As the Logothete Alexander, and most of his civil and militaiv cullea ues, were either disgraced or despised, the ink of the Anecdoies 'c 4, 5. 18.) is scarcely blacker than that of the Goinic History (1 ïi. c. 1. 3, 4. 9. 20, 21. &c.).
+ Proco: ius (1. iii. c. 2. 8, &c.) does ample and willing justice io riie merit of Totila. The Roman historians, from Sale lust and Tacitus, were happy to forget the vices of their countrymen in the contemplation of Barbaric virtue.