« 上一頁繼續 »
by dispatching circular letters to their tenants and # A P. vassals in the provinces of Italy, strictly to enjoin XLIIT, them to desert the standart of the Greeks, to cultivate their lands in peace, and to learn from their masters the duty of obedience to a Gothic sovereign. Against the city which had so long delayed the course of his victories he appeared inexorable: one-third of the walls, in different parts, were demolished by his command; fire and engines prepared to consume or subvert the most stately works of antiquity : and the world was astonished by the fatal decree, that Rome should be changed into a pasture for cattle. :' The firm and temperate remonstrance of Belisarius suspended the execution; he warned the Barbarian not to sully his fame by the destruction of those monuments which were the glory of the dead, and the delight of the living'; and Totila was persuaded by the advice of an enemy, to preserve Rome as the ornament of his kingdom, or the fairest pledge of peace and reconciliation. When he had signified to the ambassadors of Belisarius, his intention of sparing the city, he stationed an army' at the distance of one hundred and twenty furlongs, to observe the motions of the Roman general. With the remainder of his forces, he marched into Lucania and Apulia, and occupied on the summit of mount Garganus * one of the VOL. VII.
1 • Mount Garganus, (now Monte St. Angelo), in the kingdond of Naples, runs three hundred stadia into the Adriatic Sea (Strab. I. vi. p. 436.), and in the darker ages was illustrated by the apparition, miracles, and church of St. Michael tho archangel. Horace, a native of Apulia or Lucania, had seen the elms and oaks of Garganus labouring and bellowing with the north wind that blew on that lofty coast (Carm. q. 9. Es pist. ii. i. 201.).
CHAP. camps of Hannibal *. The senators were dragged XLIII. in his train, and afterwards confined in the fortresses of Campania; the citizens, with their wives and
; children, were dispersed in exile ; and during forty days Rome was abandoned to desolate and dreary
solitude t. Recovered The loss of Rome was speedily retrieved by an by Belisa
action, to which, according to the event, the public A. D. 547 opinion would apply the names of rashness or heFebruary.
roism. After the departure of Totila, the Roman general sallied from the port at the head of a thousand horse, cut in pieces the enemy who opposed his progress, and visited with pity and reverence the vacant space of the eternal city. Resolved to maintain a station so conspicuous in the eyes of mankind, he summoned the greatest part of his troops to the standard which he erected on the Capitol : the old inhabitants were recalled by the love of their country and the hopes of food; and the keys of Rome were sent a second time to the emperor Justinian. The walls, as far as they had been demolished by the Goths, were repaired with rude and dissimilar materials; the ditch was restored; iron spikes * were profusely scattered in the high-C HA P. ways to annoy the feet of the horses ; and as new XLIII. gates could not suddenly be procured, the entrance was guarded by a Spartan rampart of his bravest soldiers. At the expiration of twenty five days, Totila returned by hasty marches from Apulia, to avenge the injury and disgrace. Belisarius expected his approach: The Goths were thrice repulsed in three general assaults; they lost the flower of their troops ; the royal standard had almost fallen into the hands of the enemy; and the fame of Totila sunk, as it had risen, with the fortune of his arms. Whatever skill and courage could achieve, had been performed by the Roman general: it remained only, that Justinian should terminate, by a strong and seasonable effort, the war which he had ambitiously under. taken. The indolence, perhaps the impotence, of a prince who despised his enemies, and envied his servants, protracted the calamities of Italy. After a long silence, Belisarius was commanded to leave a sufficient garrison at Rome, and to transport himself into the province of Lucania, whose inhabite ants, inflamed by catholic zeal, had cast away the yoke of their Arian conquerors. In this' igno. ble warfare, the hero, invincible against the power of the Barbarians, was basely vanquished by the delay, the disobedience, and the cowardice of Bb 2
* I cannot ascertain this particular camp of Hannibal; but the Punic quarters were long and often in the neighbourhood of Arpi (T. Liv. xxii. 9. '12. xxiv. 3. &c.). .
* Totila .... Romam ingreditur .... ac evertit muros domos aliquantas igni comburens, ac omnes Romanorum res in prædam accepit, hos ipsos Romanos in Campaniam captivos abduxit. Post quam devastationem, xl. aut amplius dies, Roma fuit ita desolata, ut nemo ibi hominum, nisi (nulla?) bestæ morarentur (Marcellin. in Chron. p. 54.).
• The tribuli are small engines with four spikės, one fixed in the ground, the three others erect or adverse (Procopius, Gothic. 1. iii. c. 24. Jast. Lipsius, Polivrcetar, l. v. c. 3.). The metaphor was borrowed from the tribuli (land-caltrops, an herb with a prickly fruit common in Italy (Martin, ad Virgil. Georgic. i. 153. vol. ü. P. 33.).
CHA P. his own officers. He reposed in his winter-quarXLIII. ters of Crotona, in the full assurance that the two
passes of the Lucanian hills were guarded by his cavalry. They were betrayed by treachery or weakness; and the rapid march of the Goths scarcely allowed time for the escape of Belisarius to the coast of Sicily. At length a fleet and army were assembled for the relief of Rusianum, or Rossano *, a fortress, sixty furlongs from the ruins of Sybaris, where the nobles of Lucania had taken refuge. In the first attempt, the Roman forces were dissipated by a storm. In the second they approached the shore ; but they saw the hills covered with archers, the landing place defended by a line of
spears, and the king of the Goths impatient for battle. The conqueror of Italy retired with a sigh, and conti. nued to languish, inglorious and inactive, till Antonina, wlio had been sent to Constantinople to solicit succours, obtained, after the death of the empress, 'the permission of his return.
The five last campaigns of Belisarius might abate
the envy of his competitors, whose eyes had been A.D. 548 dazzled and wounded by the blaze of his former September
glory. Instead of delivering Italy from the Goths, he had wandered like a fugitive along the coast, without daring to march into the country, or to accept the bold and repeated challenge of Totila. Yet in judgment of the few who could discriini
Final recal of Belisa. rius,
Ruscia, the 'ravalé Tburiorum, was transferred to the distance of sixty stadia to Ruscianum, Rossano, an archbishoprick without suffragans. The 'republic of Sybaris is now the estate of the 'duke of Corigliano (Ricdesel, Travels into Magna Græcia and Sicily, p. 166-171.).
minate counsels from events, and compare the in- CHA P. struments with the execution, he appeared a more consummate master of the art of war, than in the season of his prosperity, when he presented two captive kings before the throne of Justinian. The valour of Belisarius was not chilled by age; his prudence was matured by experience, but the moral virtues of humanity and justice seem to have yielded to the hard nécessity of the times. The parsimony or poverty of the Emperor compelled him to deviate from the rule of conduct which had deserved the love and confidence of the Italians. The war was maintained by the oppression of Ravenna, Sicily, and all the faithful subjects of the empire ; and the rigorous prosecution of Herudian provoked that injured or guilty officer to deliver Spoleto into the hands of the enemy. The avarice of Antonina, which had been sometimes diverted by love, now reigned without a rival in her breast. Belisarius himself had always understood, that riches, in a corrupt age, are the support and ornament of personal merit. And it cannot be presumed that he should stain his honour for the public service, without applying a part of the spoil to his private emolument. The hero had escaped the sword of the Barbarians, but the dagger of conspiracy * awaited his return. In the midst of wealth and honours, Artaban, who had chastised the African tyrant, complained of the ingratitude of courts. He aspired to Præjecta, the empe
* This conspiracy is related by Procopius (Gothic. 1. iii. c. 31, 32,) with such freedom and candour, that the liberty of the Anecdotes gives him nothing to add.