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CHAP. was Jess terrible than the angry countenance of
Narses. The death of Fulcaris, and the retreat of the surviving chiefs, decided the fluctuating and rebellious temper of the Goths; they flew to the standard of their deliverers, and admitted them into the cities which still resisted the arms of the Roman general. . The conqueror of Italy opened a free passage to the irresistible torrent of Barbarians. They passed under the walls of Cesena, and an. swered by threats and reproaches the advice of Aligern, that the Gothic treasures could no longer repay the labour of an invasion. Two thousand Franks were destroyed by the skill and valour of Narses himself, who sallied from Rimini at the head of three hundred horse, to chastise the licentious rapine of their march. On the confines of Samnium the two brothers divided their forces. With the right wing, Buccelin assumed the spoil of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium: with the left, Lothaire accepted the plunder of Apulia and Calabria. They followed the coast of the Mediterranean and the Hadriatic, as far as Rhegium and Otranto, and the extreme lands of Italy were the term of their destructive progress. The Franks, who were Christians and Catholics, contented themselves with simple pillage and occasional murder. But the churches which their piety had spared, were stripped by the sacrilegious hands of the Alemanni, who sacrificed horses heads to their native deities of the woods and rivers *: they melted or
* Agathias notices their superstition in a philosophic tone (1. i. p. 18.). At Zug, in 'Switzerland, idolatry still prevailed in the year 613: St. Columban and St. Gall were the a.
profaned the consecrated vessels, and the ruins of C HA P. shrines and altars were stained with the blood of the
XLIII. faithful. Buccelin was actuated by ambition, and to Lothaire by avarice. The former aspired to restore the Gothic kingdom : the latter, afier a promise to his brother of speedy succours, returned by the same road to deposit his treasure beyond the Alps. The strength of their armies was already wasted by the change of climate and contagion of disease : the Germans revelled in the Vintage of Italy; and their own intemperance avenged in some degree the miseries of a defenceless people. At the entrance of the spring, the Imperial
the Franke troops, who had guarded the cities, assembled to and Ala.
manni by the number of eighteen thousand men, in the Narses, neighbourhood of Rome. Their winter hours had A. D. 5.56 not been consumed in idleness. By the command, and after the example of Narses, they repeated each day their military exercise on foot and on horseback, accustomed their ear to obey the sound of the trumpet, and practised the steps and evolu. tions of the Pyrrhic dance. From the streights of Sicily, Buccelin, with thirty thousand Franks and Alamanni, slowly moved towards Capua, occupied with a wooden tower the bridge of Casi. linum, covered his right by the stream of the Vul. turnus, and secured the rest of his encampment, by a rampart of sharp stakes, and a cirle of waggons, whose wheels were buried in the earth. He
postles of that rude country, and the fatter founded an her. mitage, which has swelled into an ecclesiastical principality and a populous city, the seat of freedom and commerce.
CHAP, impatiently expected the return of Lothaire ; igno XLIII. rant, alas! that his brother could never return,
and shat the chief and his army had been swept away by a strange disease * on the banks of the Jake Benacus, between Trent and Verona. The banners of Narses soon approached the Vulturnus, and the eyes of Italy were anxiously fixed on the event of this final contest. Perhaps the talents of the Roman general were most conspicuous in the calm operations which precede the tumult of a battle. His skilful movements intercepted the subsistence of the Barbarian, deprived him of the advan. tage of the bridge and river, and in the choice of the ground and moment of action, reduced him to comply with the inclination of his enemy. On the morning of the important day, when the ranks were already formed, a servant, for some trivial fault, was killed by his master, one of the leaders of the Heruli. The justice or passion of Narses was awakened: he summoned the offender to his presence, and without listening to his excuses, gave the signal to the minister of death. If the cruel master bad not intringed the laws of his nation, this arbitrary execution was not less unjust, than it appears to have been imprudent. The Heruli felt the indignity; they halted; but the Roman general, without soothing their rage, or expecting their resolution, called aloud, as the trumpets sounded, that unless they hastened to occupy their place, they would lose the honour of the victory.
See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (1. ii. p. 38. and Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconus (1. j. c. 3.775.).
The Greek makes him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches,
His troops were disposed * in a long front, the CHAR cavalry on the wings; in the centre, the heavy- xlii. armed foot; the archers and slingers in the
The Germans advanced in a sharp-pointed column, of the form of a triangle or solid wedge. They pierced the feeble centre of Narses, who received them with a smile into the fatal snare and directed his wings of cavalry insensibly to wheel on their flanks and encompass their rear. The host of the Franks and Alamanni consisted of infantry : a sword and buckler hung by their side, and they used as their weapons of offence. a weighty hatchet, , and a hooked javelin, which were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower of the Roman archers on horseback, and in complete armour, skirmished without peril round this immoveable phalanx ; supplied by active speed the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Herali, preferring glory to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their leader, Sindbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize of superior valour; and their example incited the victorious troops to achieve with swords and spears the
• Père Daniel (Hist. de la Milice Françoise, tom. i. p. 17 21.) has exhibited a fanciful representation of this battle, somewhat in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once famous editor of Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinions all the military operations of antiquity.
CHAP. destruction of the enemy. Buccelin, and the XLII. greatest part of his army, perished on the field of
battle, in the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants: but it may seem incredible that a victory *, which no more than five of the Alamanni survived, could be purchased with the loss of fourscore Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring ; and every messenger of Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greekst. After the battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures of the Goths, the Franks, and Alamanni, were displayed; his soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld
the semblance of a triumph. Settlement
After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the of Italy,
Gothic kings was filled by the Exarchs of Ravenna, 554–568. the representatives in peace and war of the emperor
1 of the Romans Their jurisdiction was soon
reduced to the limits of a narrow province : but Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the Exarchs, administered above fifteen years the entire kingdom of Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honours of envy, calumny, aud disgrace:
• Agathias (1. č. p. 47.) has produced a Greek epigram of six lines on this victory of Narses, which is favourably compared to the battles of Marathon and Platæa. The chief difference is indeed in their consequences so trivial in the former instance--so permanent and glorious in the latter.
+ The Beroi and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber (p. 201.) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia.