The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volume V of VI): 5

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Of course, the eunuch's spies were ubiquitous; of course, informers of all sorts were encouraged and rewarded.

The Author's Notes:

All the usual stratagems for grasping and plundering were put into practice. The strong measures that a determined minister was ready to take for the mere sake of vengeance, may be exemplified by the treatment which the whole Lycian province received at the hands of Rufinus. On account of a single individual, Tatian, who had offended that minister, all the provincials were excluded from the public offices. The arts by which Timasius was ruined may illustrate the character of the intrigues that were spun at the Byzantine court. The accused was tried, 33 condemned, and banished to the Libyan oasis, a punishment equivalent to death; he was never heard of more.

Eutropius, foreseeing that the continued existence of Bargus might at some time compromise himself, suborned his wife to lodge very serious charges against her husband, in consequence of which he was put to death. Though this is not stated by any writer, it seems a legitimate inference from a law 34 which was passed in the autumn of that year, assessing the penalty of death to any one who had conspired "with soldiers or private persons, including barbarians," against the lives of illustres who belong to our consistory or assist at our counsels," or other senators, such a conspiracy being considered equivalent to treason.

Intent was to be regarded as equivalent to crime, and not only did the person concerned incur capital punishment, but his descendants were visited with disfranchisement. It is generally recognised that this law was an express protection for chamberlains; but we must suppose it to have been suggested by some actual conspiracy, of which Eutropius had discovered the threads.

During this year, Stilicho was engaged in establishing his power in Italy and probably in courting a popularity which he had so far done little to deserve. We may conjecture that he also made arrangements for the return of his own family to Italy. He had not abandoned his designs on Eastern Illyricum, but he was anxious to have it understood that he aimed at fraternal concord between the courts of Milan and Byzantium and that the interests of Arcadius were no less dear to him than those of Honorius.

His political poems are extravagant eulogies of the powerful general, and in some cases we may be sure that his arguments were directly inspired by his patron. In the panegyric for the Third Consulate of Honorius A.


Such lines as this were written to put a certain significance on Stilicho's policy. For Stilicho was preparing to intervene again in the affairs of the East. We must return here to the movements of Alaric who, when the Imperial armies retreated from Thessaly without striking a blow, had Greece at his mercy. Gerontius, the commander of the garrison at Thermopylae, offered no resistance to his passage; Antiochus, the pro-consul of Achaia, was helpless, and the Goths entered Boeotia, where Thebes alone escaped their devastation.

Then in the spring of A. The Eastern government seems to have again intervened with success. That he withdrew for the second time without accomplishing his purpose was probably due to the news of a dangerous revolt in Africa to which the government of Arcadius was accessory. We can easily understand the indignation felt at Constantinople when it was known that Stilicho had landed in Greece with an army.

It was natural that the strongest protest should be made, and Eutropius persuaded the Emperor and the Senate to declare him a public enemy. He overwhelms the boy of fourteen with the most extravagant adulations, pretending that he is greater — vicariously indeed, through the deeds of his general — than his father and grandfather. We can hardly feel able to accord the poet much credit when he declares that the western provinces are not oppressed by heavy taxes nor the treasury replenished by extortion.

The Rebellion of Gildo A. Gildo was duly rewarded.

Монолитные лестницы из бетона

He was finally appointed Count of Africa with the exceptional title of Master of Soldiers, and his daughter Salvina was united in marriage to a nephew of the Empress Aelia Flaccilla. Gildo refused to send troops to Theodosius in his expedition against Eugenius, and after the Emperor's death he prepared to assume a more decided attitude of independence and engaged many African tribes to support him in a revolt.

The strained relations between the two Imperial courts suggested to him that the rebellion might assume the form of a transference of Africa from the sovranty of Honorius to that of Arcadius; and he entered into communication with Constantinople, where his overtures were welcomed. But the Eastern government rendered no active assistance to the rebel. In the summer of A. The prompt and efficient action of Stilicho prevented a calamity; corn supplies were obtained from Gaul and Spain sufficient to feed Rome during the winter months.

Preparations were made to suppress Gildo, and Stilicho sought to ingratiate himself with the Senate by reverting to the ancient usage of obtaining its formal authority. In the early spring an army of perhaps 10, embarked. The forces of Gildo are said to have been 70, strong, but they offered no resistance. We may suspect that some of his Moorish allies had been corrupted by Mascezel, but Gildo himself was probably an unpopular leader.

He tried to escape by ship, but was driven ashore again at Thabraca and put to death. But his swift and complete success was not pleasing to Stilicho, who desired to appropriate the whole credit for the deliverance of Italy from a grave danger; perhaps he saw in Mascezel a possible rival. Whether by accident or design, the Moor was removed from his path. The only writer who distinctly records the event, states that while he was crossing a bridge he was thrown into a river by Stilicho's bodyguards and that Stilicho gave the sign for the act. But if the ruler of Italy was innocent, he assuredly did not regret the capable executor of his plans.

The order seems to have gone out that the commander of the expedition against Gildo was to have no share in the glory, 52 and the incomplete poem of Claudian on the Gildonic War tells the same tale. This poem, which will serve as an example of Claudian's art, begins with an announcement of the victory and was probably composed when the first news of the success arrived in Italy.

Redditus imperiis Auster , "the South has been restored to our Empire; the twin sphere, Europe and Libya, are reunited; and the concord of the brethren is again complete. Having announced the glad tidings, Claudian goes back to the autumn and imagines Rome, the goddess of the city, in fear of famine and disaster, presenting herself in pitiable guise before the throne of Jupiter and supplicating him to save her from hunger.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume V

Are the labours and triumphs of her glorious history to be all in vain? Is the amplitude of her Empire to be her doom? Ipsa nocet moles.

Libyam Gildo tenet, altera 53 Nilum ast ego, quae terras umeris pontumque subegi, deseror; emeritae iam praemia nulla senectae. The supplications of Rome are reinforced by the sudden appearance of Africa, who burst into the divine assembly with torn raiment, and in wild words demands that Neptune should submerge her continent rather than it should have to submit to the pollution of Gildo's rule. Si mihi Gildonem nequeunt abducere fata, me rape Gildoni.

Arcadius is reproached by his father for the estrangement from his brother, for his suspicions of Stilicho, for entertaining the proposals of Gildo; and he promises to do nothing to aid Gildo. Honorius is stimulated by his grandfather to rise without delay and smite the rebel. He summons Stilicho and proposes to lead an expedition himself. Stilicho persuades him that it would be unsuitable to his dignity to take the field against such a foe, and suggests that the enterprise should be committed to Mascezel. This is the only passage in which Mascezel is mentioned, and Claudian does not bestow any praise on him further than the admission that he does not resemble his brother in character sed non et moribus isdem , but dwells on the wrongs he had suffered, and argues that to be crushed by his injured brother, the suppliant of the Emperor, will be the heaviest blow that could be inflicted on the rebel.

The military preparations are then described, and an inspiriting address to the troops, about to embark, is put into the mouth of Honorius, who tells them that the fate of Rome depends on their valour: caput insuperabile rerum aut ruet in vestris aut stabit Roma lacertis.

Modern world history chapter 6 section 1

The fleet sails and safely reaches the African ports, and the first canto of the poem ends. Claudian evidently intended to sing the whole story of the campaign as soon as the story was known. The overthrow of "the third tyrant," whom he represents as the successor of Maximus and Eugenius, deserved an exhaustive song of triumph. But it would have surpassed even the skill of Claudian to have told the tale without giving a meed of praise to the commander who carried the enterprise through to its victorious end.

We need have little hesitation in believing that the motive which hindered the poet from completing the Gildonic War was the knowledge that to celebrate the achievements of Mascezel would be no service to his patron. Claudian wrote an epithalamium for the occasion, duly extolling anew the virtues of his incomparable patron. We may perhaps wonder that, secured by this new bond with the Imperial house, and his prestige enhanced by the suppression of Gildo, 57 Stilicho did not now make some attempt to carry out his project of annexing the Prefecture of Illyricum. The truth is that he had not abandoned it, but he was waiting for a favourable opportunity of intervention in the affairs of the east.

It seems safe to infer his attitude from the drift of Claudian's poems, for Claudian, if he did not receive express instructions, had sufficient penetration to divine the note which Stilicho would have wished him to strike. In the Gildonic War he had announced the restoration of concord between east and west: concordia fratrum plena redit ; it was the right thing to say at the moment, but the strain in the relations between the two courts had only relaxed a little.

The discord broke out again, with more fury than ever, in the two poems in which he overwhelmed Eutropius with rhetoric no less savage than his fulminations against Rufinus four years before. The first was written at the beginning of A. The significant point is that in both poems the intervention of Stilicho in eastern affairs is proposed. We must now pass to the east and follow the events of that drama. Unfortunately, the reins of government were in the hands of men who for different reasons were unpopular and in all their political actions were influenced chiefly by the consideration of their own fortunes.

The position of Eutropius was insecure, because he was a eunuch; that of Stilicho, because he was a German. So far as the relation between the two governments was concerned the situation had been eased for a time after the fall of Rufinus, and it was doubtless with the consent and perhaps at the invitation of Eutropius that Stilicho had sailed to Greece in A. For the eastern armies were not strong enough to contend at the same time against Alaric and against the Huns who were devastating in Asia.

The generals who were sent to expel the invaders from Cappadocia and the Pontic provinces seem to have been incompetent, and Eutropius decided to take over the supreme command himself. It was probably in A. The barbarians were driven back to the Caucasus and the eunuch returned triumphant to Constantinople. There was an open breach. When the news came that Eutropius was nominated consul for A.

Omnia cesserunt eunucho consule monstra wrote Claudian in the poem in which, at the beginning of the year, he castigated the minister of Arcadius. The Grand Chamberlain, confidently secure through his possession of the Emperor's ear, had overshot the mark. His position was now threatened from two quarters.

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Less dangerous but not less hostile was the Roman party, which was equally opposed to the bedchamber administration of Eutropius and to the growth of German power. It consisted of senators and ministers attached to Roman traditions, who were scandalised by the nomination of the eunuch to the consulship in A. The leader of the party was Aurelian, son of Taurus formerly a Praetorian Prefect of Italy , who had himself filled the office of Prefect of the City. Of this dark person, who played a leading part in the events of these years, we derive all we know from a historical sketch which its author Synesius of Cyrene cast into the form of an allegory and entitled Concerning Providence or the Egyptians.

This distinguished man of letters, who was at this time a Platonist — some years later he was to embrace Christianity and accept a bishopric — was on terms of intimacy with Aurelian and was at Constantinople at this time. Osiris embodies all that is best in human nature. Typhos is a monster, perverse, gross, and ignorant.


Osiris is Aurelian; Typhos cannot be identified, 64 and we must call him by his allegorical name; the kingship of Egypt means the Praetorian Prefecture of the east. In the race for political power Typhos allied himself with the German party, who welcomed him as a Roman of good family and position. Synesius dwells much on his profligacy, and on the frivolous habits of his wife, an ambitious and fashionable lady.

She was her own tirewoman, a reproach which seems to mean that she was inordinately attentive to the details of her toilet.