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BY THE LATE LEARNED
JOHN LAWRENCE MOSHEIM, D. D.
AND CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GOTTINGEN.
The EXTERNAL HISTORY of the CHURCH.
Concerning the prosperous events that happened
to the Church.
V. PART 1.
the causes, to which we are to attribute the outward state of the church, and the events which happened to it during this century, we The state of must keep in view the civil history of this pe- the Roman riod of time. It is, therefore, proper to observe, that, in the beginning of this century, the Roman empire was divided into two distinct sovereignties; of which the one comprehended the eastern provinces, the other those of the west. Arcadius, the emperor of the east, reigned at Constantinople; and Honorius who governed the western provinces, chose Ravenna for the place of his residence. This latter prince, remarkable only for the sweetness of his temper, and the goodness of his heart, neglected the great affairs of the empire;. and, inattentive to the weighty duties of his station, held the reins of government with an unsteady hand. The Goths took advantage of this criminal indolence; made incursions into Italy; laid waste its fairest pro
CENT. vinces; and sometimes carried their desolations as
far as Rome, which they ravaged and plundered
A fierce and warlike people, issuing out of Germany, overspread Italy, Gaul, and Spain, the noblest of all the European provinces, and erected new kingdoms in these fertile countries; and Odoacer, at last, at the head of the Heruli, having conquered Augustulus, in the year 476, gave the mortal blow to the western empire, and reduced all Italy under his dominion. About sixteen years after this, Thèodoric king of the Ostrogoths, made war upon these Barbarian invaders, at the request of Zeno, emperor of the east, conquered Odoacer in several battles, and obtained, as the fruits of his victories, a kingdom for the Ostrogoths in Italy, which subsisted under various turns of fortune from the year 493 to 552 [a].
These new monarchs of the west pretended to acknowledge the supremacy of the emperors who resided at Constantinople, and gave some faint external marks of a disposition to reign in subordination to them; but, in reality, they ruled with an absolute independence, in their respective governments; and, as appears particularly by the dominion exercised by Theodoric in Italy, left nothing remaing to the eastern emperors but a mere shadow of power and authority [b].
[a] See, for a fuller illustration of this branch of history, the learned work of De Bos, intitled, Histoire Critique de la Monarchie Francoise, tom. i. p. 258; as also Mascow's History of the Germans.
[b] Car. du Fresne, Dissert. xxiii: ad Histor. Ludovici S. p. 280. Muratorii Antiq. Itul. tom. ii. p. 578. 832.