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no symbol, or similitude, was given of any enemy appearing from beyond the bounds of the empire, or of any new or distinct power arising to desolate the earth, and subvert the throne from which the world had been ruled. The remnant, or the refuse, of previous invasions, was enough to destroy the last remaining parts of Roman greatness in Italy, and to abolish the office and the name of emperor of Rome.
Long had that name been a terror to the nations, and identified with supreme authority in the world. Long had the emperor of Rome shone and ruled in the earth, like the sun in the firmament. His was a kingdom and dominion, great, and terrible, and strong exceedingly, to which all others were subjected or subordinate. His supreme, or imperial authority had, in the decline of the empire, been greatly obscured, but till then, it had never been extinguished. It had been darkened and disfigured by a great storm ; eclipsed, as it were, by a mountain that burned with fire; and outshone, as it were, by a falling star, like a fiery meteor. It had survived the assaults of Goths, and Vandals, and Huns. Though clouded and obscured, it had never been smitten and though its light reached but a little way, where previously it had shone over all, it had never been extinguished.
Neither, at last, was the whole sun smitten ; but the third part. The throne of the Cæsars had for ages been the sun of the world ; while other kings were designated as stars. But the imperial power had first been transferred to Constantinople, by Constantine ; and it was afterwards divided between the east and the west. And the Eastern empire was not yet doomed to destruction. Even the western empire was afterwards revived ; and a more modern dynasty arose to claim and maintain the title of emperor of
the Romans. But, for the first time, after sudden, and violent, and distinctly marked and connected convulsions, the imperial power in Rome, where for so long a period it had reigned triumphant, was cut off for ever; and the third part of the sun was smitten.
With these brief, explanatory, and perhaps superfluous, remarks, we return to the pages of the historian, who, in the first instance, incidentally and unintentionally, reminds us of the connexion between the third trumpet and the fourth, or shows us again how the incursion of the Huns and the death of Attila, is linked to the downfall and subversion of the western empire.
« The two last ambassadors of the Huns, Orestes, a noble subject of the Pannonian province, and Edecon, a valiant chieftain of the tribe of Scyrri, returned at the same time from Constantinople to the royal camp. Their obscure names were afterwards illustrated by the extraordinary fortune and contrast of their sons; THE TWO SERVANTS OF ATTILA BECAME THE FATHERS OF THE LAST ROMAN EMPEROR OF THE WEST, AND OF THE FIRST BARBARIAN KING OF ITALY."*
“ The nations who had asserted their independence after the death of Attila, were established, by the right of possession or conquest, in the boundless countries to the north of the Danube, and in the Roman provinces between the river and the Alps. But the bravest of their youth enlisted in the army of confederates, who formed the defence and terror of Italy; and in this promiscuous multitude the names of the Heruli, the Scyrri, the Alani, the Turcilingi, and the Rugians, appear to have predominated. The example of these warriors was imitated by Orestes, the son of Tatullus, and the father of the last Roman emperor of the West. Orestes, who has been already mentioned in this history, had never deserted his country. His birth and fortune rendered him one of the most illustrious subjects of Pannonia. When that province was ceded to the Huns, he entered into the service of Attila, his lawful sovereign, obtained the office of his secretary, and was repeatedly sent to Constantinople, to represent the person, and signify the
commands, of the imperious monarch. The death of that conqueror restored him to his freedom, and Orestes might honourably refuse either to follow the sons of Attila into the Scythian desert, or to obey the Ostrogoths, who had usurped the dominion of Pannonia. He preferred the service of the Italian princes, the successors of Valentinian ; and as he possessed the qualifications of courage, industry, and experience, he advanced with rapid steps in the military profession, till he was elevated by the favour of Nepos (the emperor) himself, to the dignities of patrician and master-general of the troops. These troops had been long accustomed to reverence the character, and authority of Orestes, who affected their manners, conversed with them in their own language, and was intimately connected with their national chieftains by long habits of familiarity and friendship. At his solicitations they arose in arms against the obscure Greek, who presumed to claim their obedience ; and when Orestes, from some secret motive, declined the purple, they consented, with the same facility, to acknowledge his son Augustulus as the emperor of the west. By the abdication of Nepos, Orestes had now obtained the summit of his ambitious hopes; but he soon discovered, before the end of the first year, that the lessons of perjury and ingratitude, which a rebel must inculcate, will be retorted against himself; and the precarious sovereign of Italy was only permitted to choose whether he would be the slave or the victim of his barbarian mercenaries. The dangerous alliance of these strangers had oppressed and insulted the last remains of Roman freedom and dignity. At each revolution, their joy and privileges were augmented; but their insolence still increased in a still more extravagant degree; they envied the fortune of their brethren in Gaul, Spain and Africa, whose victorious arms had gained an independent and perpetual inheritance; and they insisted on their peremptory demand, that a THIRD PART of the lands of Italy should be immediately divided amongst them. Orestes, with a spirit which, in another situation, might be entitled to our esteem, chose rather to encounter the rage of an armed multitude, than to subscribe the ruin of an innocent people. He rejected the audacious demand; and his refusal was favourable to the ambition of Odoacer, a bold barbarian, who assured his fellow-soldiers that if they dared to associate under his command, they might soon extort the justice which had been denied to their dutiful petitions. From all the camps and garrisons of Italy, the confederates, actuated by the same resentments and the same hopes, im. patiently flocked to the standard of this popular leader; and the unfortunate patrician, overwhelmed by the torrent, hastily retreated to the strong city of Pavia, the Episcopal seat of the holy Epiphanites. Pavia was immediately besieged, the fortifications were stormed, the town was pillaged; and the tumult could only be appeased by the execution of Orestes. His brother Paul was slain in an action near Ravenna, and the helpless Augustulus, who could no longer command the respect, was reduced to implore the clemency, of Odoacer.
“ EXTINCTION of the western empire, A. D. 476 or A. D. 479.- Royalty was familiar to the barbarians, and the submissive people of Italy was prepared to obey without a murmur the authority which he should condescend to exercise as the vicegerent of the emperor of the West. But Odoacer resolved to ABOLISH that useless and expensive office; and such is the weight of antique prejudice, that it required some boldness and penetration to discover the extreme facility of the enterprise. The unfortunate Augustus was made the instrument of his own disgrace; and he signified his resignation to the SENATE; and that assembly, in their last act of obedience to a Roman prince, still affected the spirit of freedom and the forms of the constitution. An epistle was addressed, by their unanimous decree, to the emperor Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo, who had lately been restored, after a short rebellion, to the Byzantine throne. They solemnly disclaim the necessity, or even the wish of continuing any longer the imperial succession in Italy ; since in their opinion the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and to protect, at the same time both the east and the west. In their own name, and in the name of the people, they consent that the seat of universal empire shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople; and they basely renounce the right of choosing their master, the only vestige which yet remained of the only authority which had given laws to the world. The republic (they repeat that name without a blush,) might safely confide in the civil and military virtues of Odoacer; and they humbly request that the emperor would invest him with the title of patrician, and the administration of the diocese of Italy. The deputies of the senate were received at Constantinople with some marks of displeasure and indignation ; and when they were admitted to the audience of Zeno, he strongly reproached them with their treatment of the two emperors, Anthemius and Nepos, whom the East had successively
granted to the prayers of Italy. “ The first," continued he, “ you have murdered; the second you have expelled, but the second is still alive, and while he lives, is your lawful sovereign.” But the prudent Zeno soon deserted the hopeless cause of his abdicated colleague. His vanity was gratified by the title of sole emperor, and by the statues erected to his honour in the several quarters of Rome; he entertained a friendly but ambiguous correspondence with the patrician Odoacer; and he gratefully accepted the imperial ensign, the sacred ornaments of the throne and palace, which the barbarian was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the people."*
“ Odoacer was the first barbarian who reigned in Italy, over a people who had once asserted their just superiority above the rest of mankind.t Notwithstanding the prudence and success of Odoacer, his kingdom exhibited the sad prospect of misery and desolation.” “ The plebeians of Rome who were fed by the hands of their master perished or disappeared as soon as his liberality was suppressed; the decline of the arts reduced the industrious mechanic to idleness and want, and the senators who might support with patience the ruin of their country, bewailed their private loss of wealth and luxury. ONE THIRD of these ample estates to which the RUIN OF ITALY IS ORIGINALLY IMPUTED, was extorted for the use of the conquerors. Injuries were aggravated by insults; the sense of actual sufferings was embittered by the fear of more dreadful evils; and as new lands were allotted to new swarms of barbarians, each senator was apprehensive lest the arbitrary surveyors should approach his favourite villa or his most profitable farm. The least unfortunate were those who submitted without a murmur to the power which it was impossible to resist. Since they desired to live, they owed some gratitude to the tyrant who had spared their lives; and since he was absolute master of their fortunes, the portion which he left must be accepted as his pure and voluntary gift,” &c..
The power and the glory of Rome, as bearing rule over any nation, became extinct. The name alone remained to the queen of nations. Every token of royalty disappeared from the imperial city. She who had ruled over the nations sat in the dust,
| Ibid. p. 236.