« السابقةمتابعة »
hundred Persians in the service of the empire. The Goths fled 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 freedmen,who fought to regain their country, was 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 surrendering the city, is no effectual relief should appear
at the end of thirty days. 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 Cumae, 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 ascribed to the revolution which three years experience 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 a desolate island.” The virtues of Belisarius were replaced by the various 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 practised in the fraud and oppression of the Byzantine schools; and whose name of Psalliction, the scissars,” was drawn from the dextrous 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 7 Sylverius, bishop of Rome, was first transported to Patara, in Lycia, and at length starved (sub eorum custodiá ined a confectus) in the isle of Palmaria, A. D. 538, 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 Antónima, 8 Palmaria, a small island, opposite to Tarracina and the coast of the Volsci (Cluver. Ital. Antiq. 1. iii. c. 7, p. 1014). 9 As the Logothete Alexander, and most of his civil and military colleagues, were cither disgraced or despised, the ink of the Anecdotes (c. 4, 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 country to await or implore their deliverance from the virtues of a Barbarian. Totila” was chaste and temperate; and none were deceived, either friends 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 strong towns he successively attacked; and as soon as they had yielded to his arms, he demolished the fortifications; to save the people from the calamities of a future siege, to deprive the Romans of the arts of defence, and to decide the tedious quarrel of the two nations, by an equal and honourable conflict in the field of battle...... The Roman captives and deserters were tempted to enlist in the service of a liberal and courteous adversary; the slaves were attracted by the firm and faithful promise, that they should never be delivered to their masters; and from the thousand warriors of Pavia, a new people, under the same appellation of Goths, was insensibly formed in the camp of Totila. He sincerely accomplished the articles of capitulation, without seeking or accepting any sinister advantage from ambiguous expressions or unforeseen events: the garrison of Naples had stipulated, that they should be transported by sea; the obstinacy of the winds prevented their voyage, but they were generously supplied with horses, provisions, and a safe conduct to the gates of Rome. The wives of the senators, who had been surprised in the villas of Campania, were restored, without a ransom, to their husbands; the violation of female chastity was inexorably chastised with death; and, in the salutary regulation of the diet of the famished Neapolitans, CHAP. the conqueror assumed the office of an humane and atten- XLIII. tive physician. The virtues of Totila are equally laudable, whether they proceeded from true policy, religious principle, or the instinct of humanity: he often harangued his troops; and it was his constant theme, that national vice and ruin are inseparably connected; that victory is the fruit of moral as well as military virtue; and that the prince, and even the people, are responsible for the crimes which they neglect to punish. * The return of Belisarius to save the country which he Second had subdued, was pressed with equal vehemence by his o friends and enemies; and the Gothic war was imposed as ous in a trust or an exile on the veteran commander. An hero o: D. on the banks of the Euphrates, a slave in the palace of 544.548. Constantinople, he accepted, with reluctance, the painful , task of supporting his own reputation, and retrieving the faults of his successors. The sea was open to the Romans: the ships and soldiers were assembled at Salona, near the palace of Diocletian: he refreshed and reviewed his troops at Pola in Istria, coasted round the head of the Hadriatic, entered the port of Ravenna, and dispatched orders, rather than supplies, to the subordinate cities. His first public oration was addressed to the Goths and Romans, in the name of the emperor, who had suspended for a while the conquest of Persia, and listened to the prayers of his Italian subjects. He gently touched on the causes and the authors of the recent disasters; striving to remove the fear of punishment for the past, and the - hope of impunity for the future, and labouring, with more zeal than success, to unite all the members of his government in a firm league of affection and obedience. Justinian, his gracious master, was inclined to pardon and reward; and it was their interest, as well as duty, to reclaim their deluded brethren, who had been seduced by the arts of the usurper. Not a man was tempted to desert the standard of the Gothic king. Belisarius soon discovered, that he was sent to remain the idle and impotent spectator of the glory of a young Barbarian ; and his own epistle exhibits a genuine and lively picture of the distress of a WOL. V. L. L.
5. 18) is scarcely blacker than that of the Gothic History (l. iii c. 1, 3, 4.
Contrast of vice and virtue.
10 Procopius (l. iii, c. 2, 8, &c.) does ample and willing justice to the merit of Totila. The Roman historians, from Sallust and Tacitus, were happy to forget the vices of their countrymen in the contemplation of Barbaric vrtue.
noble mind. “Most excellent prince, we are arrived in “Italy, destitute of all the necessary implements of war, “men, horses, arms, and money. In our late circuit “through the villages of Thrace and Illyricum, we have “collected, with extreme difficulty, about four thousand
“recruits, naked, and unskilled in the use of weapons and
“the exercises of the camp. The soldiers already sta“tioned in the province are discontented, fearful, and “dismayed; at the sound of an enemy, they dismiss their “horses, and cast their arms on the ground. No taxes “can be raised, since Italy is in the hands of the Barba“rians; the failure of payment has deprived us of the “right of command, or even of admonition. Be assured, “dread sir, that the greater part of your troops have al“ready deserted to the Goths. If the war could be at“chieved by the presence of Belisarius alone, your wishes “are satisfied; Belisarius is in the midst of Italy. But “if you desire to conquer, far other preparations are re“quisite; without a military force, the title of general is “an empty name. It would be expedient to restore to “my service my own veterans and domestic guards. Be“fore I can take the field, I must receive an adequate sup“ply of light and heavy armed troops; and it is only with “ready money that you can procure the indispensable aid “of a powerful body of the cavalry of the Huns.” An officer in whom Belisarius confided was sent from Ravenna to hasten and conduct the succours; but the message was neglected, and the messenger was detained at Constantinople by an advantageous marriage. After his pa"tience had been exhausted by delay and disappointment, the Roman general repassed the Hadriatic, and expected at Dyrrachium the arrival of the troops, which were slowly assembled among the subjects and allies of the empire. His powers were still inadequate to the deliverance of Rome, which was closely besieged by the Gothic king. The Appian way, a march of forty days, was covered by the Barbarians; and as the prudence of Belisarius declin
11 Procopius, 1. iii. c. 12. The soul of an hero is deeply impressed on the letter; nor can we confound such genuine and original acts with the ela*orate and often empty speeches of the Byzantine historians.