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claimed emperor by the legions in Britain, and invaded Gaul.
Gratian fled, with a retinue of three hundred horse, and was
overtaken and slain. Theodosius recognized the claims of
the usurper, unwilling to waste the blood of the enfeebled
soldiers in a new civil war, provided that Italy and Africa
were secured to Valentinian II., the younger brother valentinian
of Gratian. The young emperor made himself un- IL
popular by espousing Arianism, and for being governed by his
mother Justina, and four years after was obliged to flee to
Thessalonica, on an invasion of Italy by Maxirnus, and invoke
the aid of Theodosius, who responded to his call, won by the
charms of the princess Galla, whom he married. Maxirnus
was defeated, put to death, and Valentinian II. was replaced
upon his throne.

It was when Maxirnus was triumphant in Gaul that the
celebrated Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, was sent

. , .. _ . _. _ Ambrose.

to the usurper s camp to demand the dead body
of the murdered Gratian. Bat this intrepid prelate made
himself still more famous for his defense of orthodoxy against
the whole power of Valentinian II. and his mother. He is
also immortalized for the chastisement he inflicted upon
Theodosius himself for the slaughter of Thessalonica. The
emperor was in Milan when intelligence arrived of a sedition
in the city, caused by factions of the circus, during which
Boderic, the commander of the imperial troops, was killed.
This outrage was revenged by the wanton massacre of seven
thousand people. The news of this barbarity filled Ambrose
with horror, and he wrote a letter to the emperor, which led
to his repentance ; but as he was about to enter the basilica,
the prelate met him at the door, and refused ad- „

1 ' Penance of

mission until he had expiated his crime by a rigorous Theodosius.
penance, and the emperor submitted to the humiliation — an

63i Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xlvi.

act of submission to the Church which was much admired —
an act of ecclesiastical authority which formed a precedent
for the heroism of Hildebrand.

Under the influence of the clergy, now a great power,
Theodosius Theodosius the same year promulgated an edict
church. for the suppression of all acts of pagan worship,
private and public, under heavy penalties, and the Church,
in turn, became persecuting. At this time the corruption
of the Church made rapid progress. Pretended miracles,
pious frauds, the worship of saints, veneration for relics,
ascetic severities, monastic superstitions, the pomp of bishops,
and a secular spirit marked the triumph of Christianity over
paganism. The Church was united to the State, and the
profession of the new faith was made a necessary qualifica-
tion for the enjoyment of civil rights. But the Church was
now distinguished for great men, who held high rank, theo-
logians, and bishops, like Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom,
Gregory, Nazianzin, Basil, Eusebius, and Martin of Tours.

Theodosius died in Milan, in the arms of Ambrose, a. d.
Death of 395 ' an( l with him the genius of Rome expired,
Theodosius. anc [ t h e rea | <j rama f the fall of the empire began.
He was succeeded by his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius,
the one in the East and the other in the West, the former
. being under the tutelage of Rufinus, the latter

Arcadius and ~ °

Honorius. under the care of Stilicho, master-general of the
armies. Both emperors were, unworthy or unequal to main-
tain their inheritances. The barbarians gained fresh courage
from the death of Theodosius, and recommenced their rav-
ages. The soldiers of the empire were dispirited and ener-
vated, and threw away their defensive armor. They even
were not able to bear the weight of the cuirass and helmet,
and the heavy weapons of their ancestors were exchanged
for the bow. Thus they were exposed to the deadly mis-
siles of their enemies, and fled upon the approach of danger*
Gainas the Goth, who commanded the legions, slew Rufinus
in the presence of Arcadius, who abandoned himself at Con-
stantinople to the influence of the eunuch Eutropius, most

Chap. XL VI.] Final Division of the Em/pire. 635

celebrated for introducing Chrysostom to the court. The
eunuch minister soon after was murdered in a tumult, and
Arcadius was then governed by his wife Eudoxia, who
secured the banishment of Chrysostom.

The empire was now finally divided. A long succession
of feeble princes reigned in the East, ruled by favorites and
women, at whose courts the manners and customs Final divi-
oi Oriental kings were introduced. 1 he JtLastern empire,
empire now assumes the character of an Eastern monarchy,
and henceforth goes by the name of the Greek empire, at
first, embracing those countries bounded by the Adriatic and
Tigris, but gradually narrowed to the precincts of Constan-
tinople. It lasted for one thousand years longer, before it
was finally subdued by the Turks. The history of the
Greek empire properly belongs to the mediaeval ages. It is
our object to trace the final fall of the Western empire.

Under Honorius, the Visigoths, ruled by Alaric, appear in
history as a great and warlike people. Stilicho,
the general of Honorius, encountered them unsuc-
cessfully in two campaigns, in Macedonia and Thessaly, and
the degenerate cities of Greece purchased their preservation
at an enormous ransom. In the year 402, Alaric crossed the
Alps, and Honorius fled to the marshes of Ravenna, where,
protected by the shallow sea, the Western emperors a long
time resided. Stilicho gained, however, a great Defeat of
victory over the Goths at Pollentia, near Turin, the Gotbs -
and arrested the march of Alaric upon Rome. The defeated
Goth rose, however, superior to this defeat, celebrated by the
poet Claudian, as the greatest victory which Rome had ever
achieved. He escaped with the main body of his cavalry,
broke through the passes of the Apennines, spread devas-
tation on the fruitful fields of Tuscany, resolved to risk
another battle for the great prize he aimed to secure, even
imperial Rome. But Stilicho purchased the re-

1 v Stilicho.

treat of the Goths by a present of forty thousand

pounds of gold. The departure of Alaric from Italy, which

he had ravaged, was regarded by the Roman people as a

63G Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XLVI.

complete and final deliverance, and they abandoned them-
selves to absurd rejoicings and gladiatoral shows.

But scarcely was Italy delivered from the Goths before an
irruption of Vandals, Suevi, and Burgundians, under the
Successive command of Rodoo;ast, or Rhada£ast, two hundred

barbaric . . ■,

irruptions, thousand in number, issued from the coast of the
Baltic, crossed the Vistula, the Alps, and the Apennines,
ravaged the northern cities of Italy, and laid siege to Flor-
ence. The victor of Pollentia appeared for the rescue with
the last army which the empire could raise, surrounded the
enemy with strong intrenchments, and forced them to retire.
Stilicho again delivered Italy, but one hundred thousand
barbarians remained in arms between the Alps and the Ap-
LossofGaui ennines, who crossed into Gaul, then the most

to the em- .

pire. cultivated of the Western provinces, and com-

pletely devastated its fields, and villas, and cities. Mentz
was destroyed ; Worms fell, after an obstinate siege ; Stras-
burg, Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, and Amiens, all fell
under the German yoke, and Gaul was finally separated from
the empire. The Vandals, Sueves, and Alans, passed into
Spain, while the Burgundians remained behind, masters of
the mountainous regions of Eastern Gaul, to which was given
the name of Burgundy, a. d. 409.

The troubles of the empire led to the final withdrawal of
the legions from Britain about the time that Gaul was lost,
and about forty years before the conquest of the island by
the Saxons.

Italy, for a time delivered, forgot the services of Stilicho,
the only man capable of defending her. The jealousy of the
timid emperor he served, and the frivolous Senate which he
saved, removed for ever the last hope of Rome. This able
general was assassinated at Ravenna, a. d. 408.

The Gothic king, in his distant camp, beheld with joy the
intrigues and factions which deprived the emperor of his
Aianc nd- best and last defender, and prepared for a new in-

vances to . „ _ . _ x , , , ,., , ,

Home. vasion of Italy. He descended like an avalanche

upon the plains of Italy, and captured the cities of Aquileia,

Chap. XL VL] Siege of Rome. 637

Concordia, and Cremona. He then ravaged the coasts of
the Adriatic, and following the Flaminian way, crossed the
Appennines, devastated Umbria, and reached, without ob-
struction, the city which for six hundred years had not seen
a foreign enemy at her gates. Rome still contained within
her Avails, twenty-three miles in circuit, a vast population,
but she had no warriors. She could boast of a long line of
senatorial families, one thousand seven hundred and eighty
palaces, and two million of people, together with the spoil
of the ancient world, immense riches, and innumerable works
of art ; but whei'e were her defenders ? It is a sad proof of
the degeneracy of the people that they were incapable of

Alaric made no effort to storm the city, but quietly sat
down, and inclosed the wretched inhabitants with a cordon
through which nothing could force its way. He gi e „ e of
cut off all communication with the country and Eome-
the sea, and commanded the gates. Famine, added to pes-
tilence, did the work of soldiers. Despair seized the haughty
and effeminate citizens, who invoked the clemency of the
barbarians. He derided the embassadors, and insulted them
with rude and sarcastic jokes. " The thicker the hay, the
easier it is mowed," replied he, when warned not to drive
the people to despair. He condescended to spare Heavy trib-

1 . . . ute imposed

the lives of the people on condition that they gave on Eome.
up all their gold and silver, all their precious movables, and
all their slaves of barbaric birth. More moderate terms
were afterward granted, but the victor did not retreat until
he had loaded his wagons with precious spoil. He retired
to the fertile fields of Tuscany, to make negotiations with
Honorius, intrenched at Ravenna ; and it was only on the
condition of being appointed master-general of the imj^erial
army, with an annual subsidy of corn and money, A i aiic mas .
and the free possession of Dalmatia, JSToricum, and te '-? eneia -
Yenetia, that he consented to peace with the emperor. These
terms were disregarded, and the indignant barbarian once
again turned his face to the city he had spared. He took

63S Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xlyi.

possession of Ostia, and Rome was at his mercy, since her
magazines were in his hands. Again the Senate, fearful of
famine, consented to the demands of the conqueror. He
nominated Atticus, prefect of the city, as emperor, and from
him received the commission of master-general of the armies
of the West.

Atticus, after a brief reign, was degraded, and negotiations
were opened with Honorius. Repelled by fresh insults,
which can not be comprehended other than from that infatua-
tion which is sent upon the doomed, Alaric, vindictive and
indignant, once more set out for Rome, resolved on plunder
and revenge. In vain did the nobles organize a defense.
Cowardice or treachery opened the Salarian gate. In the
dead of night the Goths entered the city, which now was the
Rack of prey of soldiers. For five days and five nights the

Koine. « Eternal City " was exposed to every barbarity

and license, and only the treasures accumulated and deposit-
ed in the churches of St. Paul and St. Peter were saved.
A cruel slaughter of the citizens added to the miseries of
a sack. Forty thousand slaves were let loose upon the
people. The matrons and women of Rome were exposed
to every indignity. The city was given up to pillage.
The daughters and wives of senatorial families were
made slaves. Italian fugitives thronged the shores of
Africa and Syria, begging daily bread. The whole world
was filled with consternation. The news of the capture of
Rome made the tongue of St. Jerome cleave to the roof of
his mouth, in his cell at Bethlehem. Sorrow, misery, deso-
lation, and despair, were everywhere. The end of the world
was supposed to be at hand, and the great churchmen of the
age found consolation only in the doctrine of the second
coming of our Lord amid the clouds of heaven, a. d. 410.

After six days the Goths evacuated the city, and advanced
Evacuation on ^e APP^ 8,11 wav > to tne southern provinces of
of Home. Italy, destroying ruthlessly all who opposed their
march, and laden with the spoil of Rome. The beautiful
villas of the Campanian coast, where the masters of the

Chap, xlvi.] Death of Marie. 639

world bad luxuriated for centuries, were destroyed or
plundered, and the rude Goths gave themselves up to all
the license of barbaric soldiers.

At length, gorged with wine and plunder, they prepared
to invade Sicily, when Alaric sickened and died in D
Bruttiuin, and was buried beneath the bed of a A-iario.
river, that the place of his sepulchre should never be found
out. He was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Adolphus,
with whom Honorius concluded peace, and whom he created
a general of his armies. As such, he led his forces into
Gaul, and the southern part of the country became the seat of
their permanent settlement, with Toulouse for a capital. The
Visigoths extended their conquests on both sides of the
Pyrenees ; Vandalusia was conquered by his son, Wallia,
a. r>. 418, on whom the emperor bestowed Aquitania. His
son, Theodoric, was the first king of the Goths.

The same year that saw the establishment of this new
Gothic kingdom, also witnessed the foundation of „. ,
the kingdom of the Franks, by Pharamund, and the Pranks,
the final loss of Britain. Thus province after province was
wi - ested away from the emperor, who died, a. d. 423, and
was succeeded by Constantius, who had married his sister.
He died the same year, leaving an infant, called Valentinian.
The chief secretary of the late emperor, John, was proclaimed
emperor ; but he was dethroned two years after, and Valen-
tinian III. six vears of a2;e, reigned in his stead, _. „ v

•> ° ' ° ' Discords be-

favored bv the services of two able generals, Boni- t^een Boni-
face and Aetius, who arrested by their talents the Aetius.
incursions of the barbarians. But they quarreled, and their
discord led to the loss of Africa, invaded by the Vandals.

These barbarians also belonged to the great Teutonic race,
and their settlements were on the Elbe and the Vistula. In
the time of Marcus Aurelius they had invaded the empire,
but were signally defeated. One hundred years later, they
settled in Pannonia, where they had a bitter contest
with the Goths. Defeated by them, they sought the pro-
tection of Rome, and enlisted in her armies. In 406 they

640 Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XLVI.

invaded Gaul, and advanced to the Pyrenees, inflicting every
atrocity. They then crossed into Spain, and settled in
Andalusia, a. d. 409, and resumed the agricultural life they
had led in Pannonia. The Roman governor of Spain
intrigued with their old enemies, the Goths, then

The Vandals. n . _ n . . .

settled m Gaul, to make an attack upon them,
under Wallia. Worried and incensed, the Vandals turned
against the Romans, and routed them, and got possession of
the peninsula.

It was then that Aetius, the general of Valentinian III.,
persuaded the emperor, — or rather his mother, Placidia, the
real ruler, — to recall Boniface from the government of
Africa. He refused the summons, revolted, and called to his
aid the Vandals, who had possession of Spain. They were
„ _ . , commanded bv Genseric, one of those hideous

The Vandals J '

in Africa. monsters, who combined great military talents
with every vice. He responded to the call of Boniface, and
invaded Africa, rich in farms and cities, whose capital, Car-
thage, was once more the rival of Rome, and had even out-
grown Alexandria as a commercial city. With fifty thousand
warriors, Genseric devastated the country, and Boniface, too
late repenting of his error, turned against the common foe,
but was defeated, and obliged to cede to the barbarians
three important provinces, a. d. 432.

Peace was not of long duration, and the Vandals renewed
f li of Car- ^e war, on the retreat of Boniface to Italy, where
tiiage. h e W as killed in a duel, by Aetius. All Africa was

overrun, and Carthage was taken and plundered, and met a
doom as awful as Tyre and Jerusalem, for her iniquities
were flagrant, and called to heaven for vengeance. In the
sack of the city, the writings of Augustine, bishop of Hippo,
were fortunately preserved as a thesaurus of Christian theo-
logical literature, the influence of which can hardly be over-
rated in the dark period which succeeded, a. d. 439.

The Vandals then turned their eyes to Rome, and landed
„ , , . on the Italian coast. The last hope of the imperial

Vandals in. i r

Italy. city, now threatened by an overwhelming force,

Chap. XLVL] Leo the Great. 641

was her Christian bishop — the great Leo, who hastened to
the barbarians' camp, and in his pontifical robes, Sought the
mercy of the unrelenting and savage foe. But he could
secure no better terms, than that the unresisting should be
spared, the buildings protected from fire, and the captives
from torture. But this pi-omise was only partially fulfilled.
The pillage lasted fourteen days and fourteen nights, and all
that the Goths had spared was transported to the ships of
Genseric. The statues of the old pagan gods, which adorned
the capitol, the holy vessels of the Jewish temple, which
Titus had brought from Jerusalem, the shrines and altars
of the Christian churches, the costly ornaments of the
imperial palace, the sideboards of massive silver Sack of

1 r ' . Eome by the

from senatorial mansions, — the gold, the silver, Vandals,
the brass, the precious marbles, — were all transported to the
ships. The Empress Eudoxia, herself, stripped of her jewels,
was carried away captive, with her two daughters, the sole
survivors of the family of Theodosius.

Such was the doom of Rome, a. d. 455, forty-five years
after the Gothic invasion. The haughty city met The feU of
the fate which she had inflicted on her rivals, Eome -
and nothing remained but desolation and recollections.

While the Vandals were plundering Rome, the Huns — a
Sclavonic race, hideous and revolting barbarians, under
Attila, called the scourge of God, were ravaging

' ° . ° ° The Huns.

the remaining provinces of the empire. Never
since the days of Xerxes was there such a gathering of.
nations as now inundated the Roman world — some five hun-
dred thousand warriors, chiefly Asiatic, armed with long
quivers and heavy lances, cuirasses of plaited hair, scythes,
round bucklers, and short swords. This host, composed of
Huns, Alans, Gepidae, and other tribes, German as well as
Asiatic, from the plains of Sarmatia, and the banks of the
Vistula and Niemen, extended from Bash to the mouth of
the Rhine. The great object of attack was Orleans — an
important strategic position.

The leader of the imperial forces was Aetius, banished for


642 Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xlvi.

the death of Boniface, composed of Britains, Franks, Burgun-
Battie of dians, Sueves, Saxons, and Visigoths. It was not
Chalons. now the Romans against barbarians, but Europe
against Asia. The contending forces met on the plains of
Champagne, and at Chalons was fought the decisive battle
by which Europe was delivered from Asia, and the Gothic
nations from the Mongol races, a. d. 451. Attila was beaten,
and Gaul was saved from Sclavonic invaders. It is said
that three hundred thousand of the barbarians, on both sides,
were slain.

The discomfited king of the Huns led back his forces to
the Rhine, ravaging the country through which he passed.
The following year he invaded Italy.

Aetius had won one of the greatest victories of ancient
times, and alone remained to stem the barbaric hosts. But
he was mistrusted by the emperor at Ravenna, whose
daughter he had solicited in marriage for his son, and was left
without sufficient force. Aquileia, the most important city in
Northern Italy, fell into the hands of Attila. He then
resolved to cross the Apennines and give a last blow to
. Rome. Leo, the intrepid bishop, sought his camp,

Ita 'y- as he had once before entreated Genseric. The

Hun consented to leave Italy for an annual tribute, and the
hand of the princess Honoria, sister of the Emperor Valen-
tinian. He retired to the Danube by the passes of the Alps,
and spent the winter in bacchanalian orgies, but was cut off
in his career by the poisoned dagger of a Burgundian prin-
cess, whose relations he had slain.

The retreat of the Huns did not deliver the wasted prov-
inces of a now fallen empire from renewed ravages. For
Retreat of twenty years longer, Italy was subject to incessant
the Huns. depredations. Valentinian, the last emperor of
the family of Theodosius, was assassinated a. t>. 455, at the
instigation of Maximus — a senator of the Anician family,
The last whose wife had been violated by the emperor,
emperors. The successive reigns of Maximus, Avitus, Majorian,
Severus, Anthemius, Olybrius, Glycerius, Nepos, and Angus-

Chap, xlyi.j Last Emperor of Home. 643

tulus — nine emperors in twenty-one years, suggest nothing
but ignominy and misfortune. They were shut up in their
palaces, within the walls of Ravenna, and were unable to
arrest the ruin. Again, during this period, was Home
sacked by the Vandals. The great men of the period were
Theodoric — king of the Ostrogoths, who ruled both sides of
the Alps, and supported the crumbling empire, and Count
Riciiner, a Sueve, and generalissimo of the Roman armies.
It was at this disastrous epoch that fugitives from the Vene-
tian territory sought a refuge among the islands which skirt
the northern coast of the Adriatic — the haunts of fishermen
and sea-birds. There Venice was born — to revive the glory
of the West, and write her history upon the waves for one
thousand years.

The last emperor was the son of Orestes — a Pannonian,
who was christened Romulus. When elevated by the sol-
diers upon a shield and saluted Augustus, he was too small
to wear the purple robe, and they called him Augustulus ! —
a bitter mockery, recalling the foundation and the imperial
greatness of Rome. This prince, feeble and powerless, was
dethroned bv Odoacer — chief of the Heruli, and

r. , , ..... Odoacer.

one ot the unscrupulous mercenaries whose aid the

last emperor had invoked. The throne of the Caesars was

now hopelessly subverted, and Odoacer portioned out the

lands of Italy among his greedy followers, but allowed

Augustulus to live as a pensioner in a Campanian villa,

which had once belonged to Sulla, a. d. 476. Odoacer,

however, reigned but fourteen years, and was supplanted by

Theodoric, kino - of the Ostrosroths, a. d. 490. The

barbarians were now fairly settled in the lands

they had invaded, and the Western empire was completely


In Italy were the Ostrogoths, who established a powerful
kingdom, afterward assailed by Belisarius and <j oth i C fcj ng _
JST arses, the generals of Justinian, the Eastern em- dom of Italy,
peror, and also by the Lombards, under Alboin, who secured
a footing in the north of Italy. Gaul was divided among

644 Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XLVI.

the Franks, Burgundians, and Visigoths, among whom were
Division of perpetual wars. Britain was possessed by the
amon^'ar- Saxons. Spain became the inheritance of Vandals,
barians. Suevi, and Visigoths. The Vandals retained

Africa. The Eastern empire, with the exception of Constan-
tinople, finally fell into the hands of the Saracens.

It would be interesting to trace the various fortunes of the
Reflections Teutonic nations in their new settlements, but this

on the fall of . .

the empire, belongs to mediaeval history. I ne real drama of
the fall of Rome was ended when Alaric gained possession
of the imperial city. " The empire fell," says Guizot, " be-
cause no one would belong to it." At the period of barbaric
invasion it had lost all real vigor, and was kept together by
mechanism — the mechanism of government which had been
one thousand years perfecting. It was energy, patriotism,
patience, and a genius for government which built up the
empire. But prosperity led to luxury, self-exaggeration, and

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