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Book I
Chapter 4

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London, 1892

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Book I
Chapter 6

Book 1 (continued)

Vol. I
p277
Chapter V

Theodosius and the Foederati

Authorities

Sources: —

Ammianus serves us for another five months after the battle of Hadrianople. Then, with the accession of Theodosius, we lose his guidance, and the 'younger and more learned' successor, whose advent he looked forward to as the historian of the reign of Theodosius, unfortunately for us never appeared.

Our chief heathen authority for the reign of Theodosius is Zosimus (described at the beginning of the previous chapter), who is more than usually confused and inconsecutive in his account of the events of this reign. We possess, however, a few interesting fragments of the writer upon whose history that of Zosimus was probably in great part founded.

Eunapius, like Zosimus, a heathen, and very bitter against both Constantine and Theodosius.

He was born at Sardis, about 347, and was educated by his kinsman Chrysanthius, the sophist, whom Julian made high-priest of Lydia. In 362 he went to Athens in order to attend the lectures of the aged Proaeresius, who was at that time reputed the greatest of the Sophists. After four years of study he was initiated into the secret theurgic doctrines of Iamblichus. At the same time probably he was also initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, and the Hierophant who performed the rite, informed him confidentially that the complete overthrow of the old religion and the ruin of Greece were near at hand. On his return to Lydia he became a professed teacher of rhetoric. He wrote both the Lives of Philosophers and Sophists, and also A History in continuation of Dexippus. The latter consisted of fourteen books, embracing the period from the death of  p278 Claudius Gothicus, 270, to the banishment of St. Chrysostom, 404. He himself gives us some interesting details concerning the motives which urged him to authorship. 'Now,' he says, at the commencement of his second book, 'having reached this period of Julian, my story has brought me to that which was ever my chief aim in writing. Now shall I be concerned with the actions of one whom I regard with somewhat of a lover's enthusiasm. Not, by Jove, that I ever saw him or received any benefit at his hands, for I who write these lines was but a boy when he reigned. But a wonderful and irresistible incentive to love was the universal feeling of admiration which he excited, and the untarnished brilliance of his glory. For how could I be silent, when none around me were silent, about the actions of Julian? How refrain from speaking when even men unskilled in speech loved to linger over the sweet and golden theme of his praises?' And then Eunapius goes on to describe how his associates, chief among them a Professor of Medicine named Oribasius, who had himself been a faithful friend and counsellor of Julian, seeing his literary skill, urged him to compose the history of the Emperor's exploits, saying that it would be stark impiety if he refrained from doing so.

We owe to Eunapius, scanty as are the fragments of his work that have been preserved (only 77 pages, all told, in the Bonn edition of the Byzantine historians), many interesting sketches of men and manners, and some curious anecdotes of classical times; as, for instance, that Philip of Macedon, having slipped and fallen on the arena, when he saw the measure of his body in the dust, said, half laughing at himself, 'How little ground is covered by a man who hankers after the whole world.' Again, that Marius said of Sulla, 'He is a lion and a fox joined together, but I fear the fox most.' And again, the fact which has been already referred to, that Julian said, when the war with Persia was coming to a head, and no one else dreamed of trouble from any other quarter, 'The Goths are quiet just now, but perhaps they will not always be quiet.' A few of the most striking features in the ordinary description of the assemblage of the fugitive Goths on the Danubian frontier of the Empire are also borrowed from Eunapius.

Excerpt 19, pp69‑71. In one passage the quiet page of the decorous Bonn edition of the Byzantine historians seems suddenly to flame into passion,  p279 and we hear the shrill theological wrath of the unknown scribe who has been dead for a thousand years. Eunapius, in his account of the feelings of the army after the death of Julian, says that the common soldiers knew right well that they should never again find such a general, not even if a god took shape and came to lead them. 'A man who, by his own inherent nobility of nature and by something akin to God within him, arrested the till then irresistible downward tendency of the State. A man who, emerging from such waves of adversity, looked upon the sky and saw its hidden loveliness. A man who, while still clothed with a body, communed with the disembodied gods: who accepted sovereignty not because he loved it, but because he saw men in need of a ruler: who made himself beloved by his soldiers, not because he cared for popular applause, but because he knew that by doing so he should promote the welfare of all.'

Then, in a parenthesis, with a shriek that is all but audible, bursts in an outraged Christian copyist: 'Dost thou dare to insult us with such nonsense, thunder-maddened and fatuous chatterer? "Disembodied gods!" Whence stole you those words but from the Christian mysteries? Was Ganymede caught aloft by the eagle at the bidding of a disembodied god? Is Juno sister and wife of such an one? Were they disembodied gods for whom Hebe poured the nectar, and who in their drunkenness bandied their unseemly jests over the fall of Troy? It was not in order to reform the life of men that Julian chose empire, for he reformed nothing. He acted at first from base vanity and ingratitude to Constantius his benefactor, and then he was driven on by the demons to whom he offered sacrifice, that he might meet with the fitting reward of his folly and his crime.'

Against this angry interpolation yet another amanuensis has written his note in the margin. 'An invective against Eunapius' (στηλιτευτικὸς κατὰ Εὐναπίου). Eunapius must have been still writing his history in the sixty-eighth year of his age, or later, as he alludes therein to the sale of public offices under Pulcheria who was not declared Augusta till 414. But (as before said) his work, probably interrupted by his death, did not reach to a later period than 404. In the Prooemium to his History Eunapius indulges in some very dangerous reflections  p280 on the comparative unimportance of chronological accuracy. Minute calculations of days and weeks, says he in his lordly way, may do for a rich man's steward, but not for a historian.

To set against the heathen estimates of the character of Theodosius, we have pretty copious notes of his reign in The Ecclesiastical Historians: —

Socrates scholasticus (about 379‑450).

His history covers the period from 306 to 439.

Sozomen (contemporary with Socrates).

His history covers the period from 323 to 425.

Theodoret (about 393‑457).

His history covers the period from 320 to 429.

Philostorgius, born about 364, died after 425.

His history covers the period from 300 to 425.

These historians are too well known to need any special description. It is sufficient to observe that for the period for which we shall require their aid they may be considered as practically contemporary authorities. Though writing histories of the Church they are not all Christians. Socrates and Sozomen were barristers at Constantinople. We do not appear to be informed as to the occupation of Philostorgius, but he was a bitter Arian, and loses no opportunity of decrying the orthodox champions. Theodoret was a Syrian bishop. A question here arises, how far these historians, so nearly contemporary and traversing almost precisely the same ground, are independent of one another. On the whole it seems most probable that Sozomen was acquainted with, and freely used the work of Socrates, though he never acknowledges any obligation to him. Theodoret and Philostorgius are probably independent authorities.

There are no doubt degrees of merit in these four histories; but they are all of them disappointing works to a modern student, dwelling at tedious length on mere theological squabbles, and giving little insight, comparatively, into the inner life of men or the causes of the transcendently important events in civil history which were proceeding in their day.

Though a heathen, Themistius, as has been already said, was favoured by Theodosius, and repays him with unqualified praise.

 p281  Another favourable, perhaps Christian, authority for the life of Theodosius is Pacatus (Latinus Pacatus Drepanius), a native of Bordeaux, who pronounced a panegyric on the Emperor at Rome, 389, after his victory over Maximus. The praise is of the fulsome and tasteless kind usual in these official panegyrics, and, where the oration deals with qualities, it can hardly be considered as furnishing any trustworthy materials for history. Actions (the chief of these being Theodosius' suppression of the tyranny of Maximus) may perhaps be more safely described from this source, as complete falsification of these would have been more difficult.

Guide: —

The monograph on 'Der Kaiser Theodosius der Grosse' by Dr. A. Güldenpenning and Dr. J. Ifland (Halle, 1878) is a careful and scholar-like work, and I have derived much assistance from it in preparing this edition.

378 The course of events in the provinces south of the Danube during the year 378 was an illustration of the fact, abundantly proved by many other passages in the history of the world, that a barbarous race fighting against a civilised one may win victories, but scarcely ever knows how to improve them. Such a calamity as that of Hadrianople, had the king of Persia been the antagonist, must surely have involved the ruin at any rate of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. In the hands of the Goths its direct results were ridiculously small — a little more ravaging and slaughtering, two or three years of desultory war, and then a treaty by which the barbarians bound themselves to be the humble servants of the Emperor.

The Goths march on Hadrianople. With the dawn which followed the terrible night of the 9th of August, the victors, excited and greedy of spoil, marched in compact order to Hadrianople, where, as they knew from the reports of deserters, were to be found the insignia of the Imperial dignity and a great  p282 accumulation of treasure. At first it seemed not impossible that they might carry the place by a coup de main. Fugitives from the beaten army, soldiers and camp-followers, were still swarming around the gates and blocking up the road, by their disorderly eagerness preventing themselves from obtaining an entrance. With these men the Gothic squadrons kept up a fierce fight till about three in the afternoon. Then three hundred of the Roman infantry — possibly themselves enlisted from among the Teutonic subjects of the Empire — went over in a body to the barbarians. With incredible folly as well as cruelty the Goths refused to accept their surrender, and killed the greater part of them, thereby shutting out all propositions of a similar kind during the remainder of the war. Meanwhile the defenders of the city had succeeded in firmly closing the gates, had stationed powerful catapults and balistae on the walls, and finding themselves well supplied with all things necessary for a long defence, except a good stock of water, as the first day wore away to its close leaving the city still no nearer to its capture, their spirits began to rise, and the hope that all might yet be retrieved grew brighter.

But fail to take it. Contrary to the advice of Fritigern, whose authority, though he bore the name of king, was evidently not absolute over followers hungering for booty, the Goths resolved to continue the siege, but, dismayed by the sight of so many of their bravest warriors slain or disabled, they determined to employ stratagem. Not all, apparently, of the deserters of the previous day had been slain by the Gothic sword. Some of the late Emperor's own guard of honour, conspicuous by their white tunics, as English guardsmen by their bear-skin  p283 caps, and known throughout the Empire as candidati, had been admitted to surrender by the barbarians, and were now to be employed in the fresh attempt upon Hadrianople. They agreed to feign flight from their new friends and, when received within the gates, to set the city secretly on fire. In the bewilderment and confusion of the fire it was hoped that the walls would be stripped of their defenders, and that the Goths might rush in to an easy victory. The Candidati appear to have been true in their treachery. They stood in the fosse before the walls and stretched out suppliant hands entreating for admission. A suspicious diversity, however, in their statements respecting the plans of the Goths, caused them when admitted to be kept close prisoners, and when torture was applied they confessed the scheme in which they had made themselves accomplices.

The Gothic stratagem having thus miscarried, there was nothing for it but to try another open assault. Again the bravest and noblest of the barbarians pressed on at the head of their people, each one hoping that his should be the fortunate hand which should grasp the treasure of Valens. Again the engines on the walls played with fearful havoc upon the dense masses of the besiegers. The cylinders and capitals of stately columns came crashing down upon their heads. One gigantic engine, called the Wild Ass, hurled a mass of stone so vast that though it chanced to fall harmlessly upon a space of ground which was clear of the hostile ranks, all who fought by that part of the walls were demoralised by fear of what the next bray from the Wild Ass might signify. At length, after a long weary day of unsuccessful battle, when the assault of the besiegers  p284 had degenerated into a series of ill‑organised rushes against the walls, brave but utterly hopeless, their trumpets were sadly sounded for retreat, and every survivor in the host said, 'Would that we had followed the counsel of Fritigern.' They drew off their forces. Hadrianople was saved, and its defenders, a larger host than was needed for its protection, withdrew by devious ways, some to Philippopolis and some to Sardica. They still hoped to find Valens somewhere hidden in the ravaged country, and they probably bore with them his treasure and his crown.

The Goths repulsed from before Constantinople. The Goths meanwhile, with many of their new allies, the Huns and the Alani, in their ranks, after an unsuccessful attempt upon Perinthus by the Sea of Marmora, marched upon Constantinople. Destitute as they were of all naval resources, it must surely have been but a forlorn hope for men who had failed in the moment of victory to take the inland city of Hadrianople, to attempt the strongly fortified peninsula of Byzantium. At any rate their attack was repulsed, and that partly by the patriotic exertions of Dominica, widow of Valens, who paid the troops and organised the work of defence,1 and partly by the rough energy of a race whom after ages would have wondered to behold among the defenders of Christian Constantinople. A band of Saracens, the wild and wandering inhabitants of Arabia, who had been converted to some external semblance of Christianity, had been sent by their queen Mavia as auxiliaries to Valens,2 and upon them now fell the chief labour of its defence. With barbarian confidence and impetuosity they issued forth from the gates and fell upon the squadrons of the  p285 Goths. At first the event of the battle seemed doubtful, but at length the Teutonic host became demoralised and retired in disorder. According to Ammianus,3 the determining cause of their defeat was the horror inspired by the ghastly proceedings of one of the Saracen warriors. Completely naked except for a girdle round his loins, with that long floating black hair which Europe afterwards knew so well, he sprang with drawn dagger upon the Gothic hosts, and having stabbed his man proceeded to suck the life-blood from the neck of his slaughtered foe. The Northern barbarians, easily accessible to shadowy and superstitious terrors, and arguing perhaps that they had to do with demons rather than with men, began to waver in their ranks, and withdrew from the field. Who that witnessed that confused jostle between the Northern and Southern barbarisms could have imagined the part that each was destined to play in the Middle Ages besides the Mediterranean shores; that they would meet again three centuries later upon the Andalusian plain; that from these would spread the stately Khalifats of Cordova and Bagdad; from those the chivalry of Castille?

The Gothic army, with heavy losses and somewhat impaired hope, retired from Constantinople. Since they could take no important city, it was clear that they could not yet conquer, if they wished to conquer, the Empire of Rome. They could ravage it however, and this they did effectually, wandering almost at pleasure over the countries that we now call Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, and up to the very spurs of the Julian Alps on the north-eastern confines of Italy. Murder of the hostages. Incapable of resistance  p286 except behind walls, the Romans took a cruel and cowardly revenge. It will be remembered that when the Goths were ferried across the Danube they had been compelled to surrender all the youthful sons of their chief men as hostages for their good behaviour. These lads had been dispersed through the cities of the East, where their rich attire and the stately forms which seemed to tell of the temperate northern climates in which they had their birth, excited the admiration and fear of the populations among whom they were placed.4 Three years had now passed since the fatal treaty, and these youths were rapidly maturing into men. The brave deeds, the victories and defeats of their fathers on the Thracian battle-fields, had reached their ears. Clustering together in the unfriendly streets they muttered to one another — so at least the Roman thought — in their barbaric tongue, counsels of revenge for their slain kinsmen. Julius, the Master of the Soldiery, to whom tidings were brought of this real or supposed movement among the hostages, determined to strike the first blow. Having obtained full powers from the Senate at Constantinople, and communicated his plan under pledges of inviolable secrecy to the commandants of the garrisons, he circulated through the provinces a report that all the hostages who should present themselves at the chief cities on a given day would receive rich gifts and an allotment of lands from the bounty of the Emperor. Laying aside all thoughts of vengeance, if they had ever entertained them, the Gothic lads trooped in, each one, to the capital of his province. When they were thus assembled, unarmed  p287 and unsuspecting, in the Thracian and Asiatic market-places, the soldiery at a given signal mounted the roofs of the surrounding houses, and hurled stones and darts upon them till the last of the yellow-haired striplings was laid low. A brave deed truly, and one worthy of the Roman legions in those days, and of the Master of the Soldiery — bearing alas, the great name of Julius — who commanded them! It is with sorrow that we observe that Ammianus Marcellinus, who closes his history with this event, speaks with approbation of the 'prudent counsel of the Master, the accomplishment whereof without tumult or delay saved the Eastern provinces from a great danger.'

This dastardly crime seems to have been committed on the authority of the Senate only, during the interval of five months which intervened between the death of Valens and the elevation of his successor to the Eastern Throne.5 To him, to the well-known figure of the Emperor Theodosius, it is now time to turn. He inherited from his father a name ennobled by great services to the state, and shaded by the remembrance of a cruel wrong. Of all the generals who served the house of Valentinian none had earned a higher or purer fame than that father, Theodosius the Spaniard.

Services of the elder Theodosius. His birthplace was probably the same as that of his Imperial son, namely, the little town of Cauca (now Coca), situated near the confines of Old Castille and Leon, on the upper waters of the Douro, twenty-nine miles from the city of Segovia.6 He was of illustrious birth,  p288 sprung from one of those powerful provincial families which now formed the true aristocracy of the Empire. We are not informed of the year of his birth (which was probably about 320), nor of the earlier steps in his upward career. We first hear of him in Britain, and as three of the Camps7 on the line of the Roman Wall in Northumberland were garrisoned by detachments of cavalry and infantry from the north-west of Spain,8 it is possible that Theodosius the Elder may have learnt the rudiments of war in defending that bleak barrier. This, however, is merely a conjecture. Our first authentic information concerning him brings him before us not as a Tribune or Prefect, but as holding the high military office of Duke of Britain.9 In the year 368 tidings had been brought to Valentinian of the melancholy state of our island. The Franks and the Saxons were harassing the eastern coast with their pillagings, burnings, and murderings. On the northern border of the province the Picts,  p289 divided into two branches, the Dicalydones and Verturiones, the warlike nation of the Attacotti and the wide-wandering Scots, were marching up and down whither they would, carrying desolation with them. The Count of the Saxon shore was slain, the Duke of Britain (the predecessor of Theodosius) was apparently a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. The Emperor chose Theodosius who had already earned a high military reputation, and sent him with a selected body of young legionaries, proud to serve under such a commander, to deliver Britain from the spoiler.

Theodosius landed at Richborough, and went first to a city which in old times used to be called Lundinium, but which the moderns — that is to say, the moderns of the fourth century — persisted in calling Augusta. Making this city his basis of operations, but avoiding any great pitched battle, he divided his forces into small but nimble detachments, whose business it was to intercept the plundering hordes, to fall upon them when encumbered with spoil, and thus to pillage the pillagers, and slay the slayers. In this way he gradually cleared the country of its invaders, and recovered the greater part of the booty which they had taken and which, except a small portion reserved as a reward for his weary soldiers, was all returned to the provincials.10 In the words of Claudian, the court-poet of the Theodosian family,

'What did the stars avail, the seas unknown,

The frost eternal of that frigid zone?

The Saxons' life-stream steeped the Orcadian plain,

Thule with blood of Picts grew warm again,

And icy Erin11 mourned her Scotsmen slain.'12

 p290  The result of the campaign of Theodosius was that the wanton insolence of the various barbarian tribes who thought to find the British province an easy prey was checked, the ruined cities and camps were rebuilt, and the foundations of what promised to be a long peace — it lasted, in fact, for something like forty years — seemed to be securely laid.13 In his civil administration of the province, Theodosius showed himself equally successful, detecting and repressing a dangerous conspiracy,14 and effecting a reformation in the corps of Areani,15 who having been originally organised as a kind of secret intelligence department to gain information of the movements of the enemy, had been largely engaged in underhand trade with the bands of the spoilers, virtually becoming receivers of stolen goods, and far more often revealing the movements of the legions to the barbarians than those of the barbarians to the Roman officers.

In the following year (369) Theodosius, now Master of the Cavalry, led an army through the Grisons to a successful attack upon the Alamanni, many of whom he slew, while the remainder were transported to the north of Italy, where they cultivated the fruitful plains watered by the Po, as tributaries of the Empire.

 p291  His greatest services to the State, however, were rendered in the province of Africa, where he spent the last three years of his life (373‑376). During the cruelly oppressive government of Count Romanus, a Moorish chieftain named Firmus, the lord of a large tract of country, had openly revolted against Valentinian and assumed the purple. The Emperor naturally turned to Theodosius, the most distinguished of his generals, the man who then occupied the same place in the minds of men which Corbulo had filled in the reign of Nero, and sent him with the dignity of Count of Africa, to suppress the Moorish revolt. A difficult but victorious campaign was ended by the suicide of Firmus, and Theodosius remained to govern, equitably and wisely, the province which his arms had saved from the barbarian. 'Africa,' wrote the orator Symmachus to him,16 'has recovered from her disease, and though our invincible Emperors were her physicians, you were the remedy which they applied. Your true palm-wreath is the happiness of the province.'

To a life distinguished by such eminent services to the state, if not the Imperial diadem, at least an old age of dignified repose would have seemed the fitting crown. But an unexpected change in his fortunes was at hand. How repaid. In the year 376, a few months probably after the sudden death of the Emperor Valentinian, a scaffold was erected at Carthage, and Theodosius was ordered to ascend it. 'He asked,' we are told,17 'that he might first be baptized for the remission of his sins, and having obtained the sacrament of  p292 Christ, which he had desired, after a glorious life in this world, being also secure of the life eternal, he willingly offered his neck to the executioner.' History asks in vain for the motive of such well-nigh unexampled ingratitude. The only one that is assigned is 'creeping envy' of the fame of the old general.18 It is possible that the party of the late governor Romanus, scotched but not killed by that oppressor's removal from office, may have found means to calumniate him successfully at the Court of Milan.19 Possibly too his adhesion to the orthodox creed may have rendered him obnoxious to Justina, widow of Valentinian, who governed Africa as well as Italy in the name of her infant son, and whom we know to have been a bitter Arian. But it is probable that the hand which prepared, and the voice which counselled the stroke, were the hand and the voice of Valens, the most powerful member for the time of the Imperial partnership. Those four ominous letters  Θ Ε Ο Δ  began the name of Theodosius as surely as that of Theodorus, and it seems therefore allowable to suppose that the incantation scene at Antioch four years previously — the laurel tripod, the person in linen mantle and with linen socks, who shook the magic cauldron and made the ring dance up and down among the twenty-four letters of the alphabet — were links in the  p293 chain of causation which led the blameless veteran to his doom.

Career of Theodosius Junior. Such, briefly sketched, was the career of the elder Theodosius. His son and namesake, born in Spain about the year 346, was like him, a man of noble and commanding presence, affable in his demeanour,20 but of slender literary attainments,21 as might naturally be expected in one who had been 'a man of war from his youth.' He certainly had the power of inspiring enthusiastic loyalty in his soldiers, and terror in his enemies. From the hints both of friends and foes we may perhaps conjecture that his large handsome countenance in the earlier years of his reign wore an expression which the former called good-tempered, the latter heavy and indolent; but that after some years of despotic power, the scowl on the brow grew darker and the angry flush on the cheek more often visible.22

Having learned the elements of the military art under his father, doubtless in Britain, Germany and Africa, he had shown such evidences of good soldiership that already in the year 373 he filled the high office of Duke of Moesia.23 In this capacity he won several victories over the 'Free Sarmatians,' and by the terror of his name checked the torrent of barbarian invasion which was overflowing Pannonia. On the death of his father (376) he retired into private life, lived among  p294 his own people on his Spanish estate, and — so says the panegyrist24 — often encouraged his peasants by taking a turn with them in the labours of the farm, so that his martial limbs might not grow flabby by disuse. His retirement lasted less than three years. Then Gratian, finding himself, at the age of twenty, left by the death of his uncle Valens, the oldest of the Emperors, with only his impetuous and unwise step-mother Justina nominally assisting in the administration of the Empire, looked around him for help, and wisely determined by one act to associate with himself a colleague of riper experience than his own, and to repair, as far as it could be repaired, the cruel injustice which had been committed by the house of Valentinian. His accession Jan. 19, 379. He summoned Theodosius from Spain, and on the 19th of January, 379, proclaimed him Augustus at Sirmium on the Save. The new Emperor was probably in the thirty-fourth year of his age.

Division of the Empire. To his new colleague Gratian assigned the share of this Empire which had formerly been governed by Valens, but with considerably enlarged limits. It had doubtless been perceived in the recent campaign that the division between Oriens and Illyricum which split was is now called 'the Balkan peninsula' into two unequal parts, by a line running north and south from the Danube to the Aegean,25 was ill adapted for purposes of defence against the Gothic invaders. Now, therefore, Gratian handed over to Theodosius not only Oriens  p295 (that is Moesia and Thrace, with Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt) but also the eastern part of Illyricum, comprising the two 'Dioceses' of Dacia and Macedonia, or, speaking in terms of modern geography, Servia, Macedonia, Albania and Greece. Nearly the whole of that territory which recently belonged to Turkey, except Moldavia and Wallachia, thus became subject to the sway of the Eastern Emperor. This arrangement undoubtedly worked well for the defence of the provinces, now consolidated under the rule of Theodosius: and it had important bearings on the after-history of Europe, as the line now traced was practically the abiding frontier between the Eastern and Western Empires.26

First campaign of Theodosius. From Sirmium, the scene of his accession, the new Emperor of the East seems to have marched up the valley of the Morava, and down the valley of the Vardar to Thessalonica, which he made his headquarters for the two following years. It is not difficult to discern the reason for his choice. All over the plains of Thrace and Macedonia, on the south of the Balkan range as well as on the north of it, the Gothic marauders were swarming. The walled cities, it is true, everywhere repelled their attacks, but in the open country they were irresistible. Far and wide the burning villas, the ravaged vineyards, the long trains of captives, in which the nobleman as well as the colonus was led off into miserable bondage, told the tale of the ruin wrought by the terrible day of Hadrianople. The  p296 first duty of Theodosius manifestly was to clear the provinces south of the Balkan range, and when that was accomplished it would be time enough to consider how to deal with the Gothic settlers in Moesia. Till this was done the new Emperor would not even enter his capital. The right place for commencing the work was Thessalonica, with its strong situation on the Aegean, commanding the passes into Thessaly, and the shortest line of communication with Gratian's Illyrian capital, Sirmium.

Theodosius at Thessalonica. Thessalonica itself had been only lately hard pressed by the Gothic marauders, but a pestilence had broken out in their host which the Christians within the walls attributed to the prayers of their great bishop Acholius,27 who thus like another Elisha scattered by spiritual weapons the host of the invaders;28 and thus, probably before the spring of 379, the neighbourhood was cleared of their unwelcome presence. Here then, in this old Macedonian city, Theodosius fixed his camp and court, and hither streamed all the high dignitaries of the State, the officers of the army, the Senators of Constantinople, the members of the great Civil Service of the Empire, zealous to pay court to their new sovereign, and keen to receive promotion from his hands. The language, even of a hostile historian like Zosimus,29 shows the favourable impression which the new Emperor made upon his subjects. Instead of the jealous, suspicious, timid Valens, here  p297 was a frank, genial soldier, of florid face and sanguine temperament, affable to all who wished to approach him, well known for his courage in the field, and ready (only too ready for the State's necessities) to bestow office, honours, emoluments on all who approached him as candidates for his favour. He is accused by his critic30 of having increased the number of the highest military commands (Mastership of the Cavalry, and Mastership of the Infantry) from two to five, and doubled all the lower grades held by generals, tribunes, and so forth. Though Zosimus affirms that this was done without adding to the strength of the army, we may well believe that it was upon the whole a wise policy on the part of Theodosius to surround himself with a large number of active and zealous officers, more than sufficient to replace the terrible losses sustained at Hadrianople. In the guerilla war which he had now for some time to wage, leadership was more important than great masses of men. He had to restore the shaken confidence of the Roman troops and to terrify the barbarians into retreat by a series of daring expeditions such as Gideon in old time conducted against the Midianites; and now, as in the days of Gideon, courage and mutual confidence between general and army were the first and essential conditions of success. Probably too, he already revolved in his mind the scheme which he afterwards so successfully matured, of enlisting the barbarians themselves in the service of the Empire; and, if that were to be done, it was all‑important that he should draw round his Council-table a group of brave and experienced officers, whom the Goth would obey because he had found  p298 them terrible on the battle-field. Still it is obvious that this policy rendered necessary heavy demands on the exhausted treasury of the State, exhausted by the very ravages which it was meant to terminate. Every one of the five new Magistri received, we are told, as liberal allowances for his staff as had been formerly bestowed upon each of his two predecessors. The Emperor's own table was spread with a magnificence which formed an unpleasant contrast to the misery of the ruined villages of Thrace. Cooks and butlers and eunuchs, 'a list of whom would fill a volume,' swarmed around the princely Spaniard, and those among them who were distinguished by their handsome presence and courtly address might hope to supplant the responsible Ministers of the State. Already, it may be, in the first flush of the new Emperor's popularity, it was possible to discern the harbingers of future storms: already a veteran statesman might surmise that the openhandedness of this affable soldier would one day make the men sigh for the parsimony of the jealous Valens.

Panegyric of Themistius. However, for the time, the comparisons were all in favour of Theodosius. It was probably early in 379 that the orator Themistius presented himself at Thessalonica in order to offer his tribute of florid panegyric31 to the new Emperor, and at the same time to hint the desire of the senators and nobles of Constantinople that the fountain of honour, which had in their opinion been kept of late too closely sealed, might now be set running freely. An earlier deputation had been sent by the Senate of Constantinople with formal congratulations on the accession of Theodosius, but  p299 Themistius had been prevented by sickness from taking part in that deputation. At the time he bitterly regretted this absence, but now, he says, he almost rejoices over it, since the ardour of his spirit has conquered the infirmities of his body, and he is enabled to behold with his own eyes the return of the golden age. Was the orator thinking of the crooked legs and mean appearance of the predecessor of Theodosius when he said, 'It is now permitted me to behold an Emperor whom I can only describe in the words of Homer32 —

"Ne'er have these eyes of mine beheld so noble a presence,

Never one so majestic: in truth thine aspect is king-like" '?

Then with a touch of something which looks like genuine enthusiasm he breaks forth.

'Thou art the one man who outweighest all others to us. Instead of them we look the thee. Thou art to us instead of Dacia, instead of Thrace, instead of Illyria [the provinces torn from us by the barbarians], instead of our legions, instead of all our other warlike equipment, which vanished more swiftly than a shadow. Now we who were erewhile pursued are driving our foes headlong. By the new hopes which thou hast kindled in us we stand, we take breath, we are confident that we shall arrest the Goths in their prosperous career, and shall extinguish the wide-spreading conflagration which they have kindled and which hitherto neither Haemus,33 nor the boundaries of Thrace, or of Illyria, rough of passage as they are to the traveller, have been able to arrest . . .  p300 It was no fiction of the poet when Homer represented Achilles as by his mere battle‑cry repelling the conquering barbarians: for those accursed ones, ere a battle was yet joined, when thou hadst merely moved up thine outposts to theirs, lost their old audacity. This have they felt already. What more shall they feel when they see thee brandishing thy spear, shaking thy shield, when they see close to them the gleam of thy burnished helmet?'

Fulsome as is the praise which the orator bestows on the possessor of supreme power, it is clear that the new Emperor's accession had in a notable manner raised the spirits of his subjects, and was beginning to depress those of the barbarians. And herewith agrees the calm judgment of the Gothic historian,34 recorded after the lapse of a century and a half.

'When Theodosius was associated in the Empire by Gratian in the room of Valens, the Goths soon perceived that military discipline was replaced on a better footing, the cowardice and sloth of former Emperors being laid aside: and when they perceived it they were struck with terror. For the Emperor, keen in intellect, strong in courage, and wise in counsel, tempering the severity of his orders by liberality and an affable demeanour, was ever rousing his demoralised army to brave deeds: and the soldiers observing the favourable change in their leader soon recovered their lost self-confidence.'

Of the actual events the campaign of 379 we hear but little. The dates of his laws35 enable us to trace the movements of Theodosius, keeping his line of communication open with Gratian at Sirmium, in July  p301 at Scupi,36 100 miles north of Thessalonica, in August apparently on the southern shore of the Danube,37 in January (380) back again at Thessalonica. We are told38 that not only did courage, owing to the successful operations which Theodosius commanded, return to the Imperial infantry and cavalry, but that even the peasants became formidable to the barbarians, and the workers in the mines, at the Emperor's orders, threw down the gold‑ore and took the iron of the soldier into their hands.

Brave deeds of Modar.
Zosimus, IV.25.
The honours of this campaign, however, as far as Zosimus may be trusted to award them, fell not to Theodosius himself so much as to Modar, one of those generals with whom, as we have seen, he wisely surrounded himself. This man, a Goth by birth and even of royal lineage but a Christian and of the orthodox faith,39 had recently deserted from the cause of his countrymen and taken service under the Roman eagles. He had given striking proofs of his fidelity to his new lords, and had accordingly been appointed one of the five Masters of the Soldiery.40 He selected a bit of high table-land among the Balkans, upon which, unknown to the Goths, he pitched his camp, concealed doubtless by surrounding eminences. There he watched  p302 his opportunity, and when the barbarians, revelling in the plunder which they had gathered from the villages and unwalled towns of Thrace, were indulging in a drunken debauch in the plains below, he armed his soldiers with sword and shield, the coats of mail and heavier armour being left behind, and led them stealthily down the mountain to the Gothic camp. Surprised and unarmed, the barbarians for the most part awoke from their stupor only to find themselves transfixed by the swords of the Romans. In a short time the whole of this host was slaughtered, and their arms and ornaments became the spoil of the conquerors. Then the soldiers of Modar rushed forward to the rude waggon-encampment, where the women and children were quartered. No fewer than 4000 Gothic waggons, so we are told, were taken possession of, and all the women, the children, and the captive slaves who were accustomed on the march to walk and ride upon the waggons by turns,41 fell into the hands of the legionaries. The Roman captives were no doubt released, and the Gothic women and children sold into slavery.

The success of this murderous undertaking of Modar's — a success which was perhaps partly due to his knowledge of the moral weaknesses of his countrymen — and the fear of its repetition, seem to have determined the fortunes of the campaign of 379. The Goths were probably for the most part driven to the north of the Balkans, and some successful battles must have been  p303 fought, perhaps on the southern bank of the Danube, not with the Goths only but with other wild tribes which had swarmed over the great river. On the 17th of November Theodosius was able to send official messengers to all the great cities of the Empire announcing a series of victories over 'the Goths, the Alani and the Huns.'42 Still, even the region south of the Balkans can hardly have been entirely cleared of the invaders, for we find the Emperor yet delaying to take up his abode in his capital, and instead thereof fixing his headquarters for the winter at Thessalonica.

Sickness of Theodosius. It is a proof of how much of the recent success had been due to the energy of one man, that the temporary suspension of his powers changed the whole aspect of affairs. In the early part of the year 380 Theodosius fell sick at Thessalonica. Probably the same morbific influences which had previously broken up the camp of the Gothic besiegers, now laid low their energetic enemy. The crisis of the illness lasted apparently somewhat less than a month, as we find edicts bearing his signature both on the 2nd and 27th of February, but none in the intervening period. There is reason to think, however, that during many months of the year 380 he was unable to take the field in person.43 Meanwhile a change of vast  p304 importance in the internal politics of the Empire had been caused by his illness. Theodosius, who like his father had postponed the rite of baptism, with its supposed mysterious efficacy for the washing away of past sins, to as late a period as possible, now, believing himself to be at the point of death, received the lustral water from the hand of Bishop Acholius. He laid himself down on his sick bed a lukewarm, if not actually heterodox, Christian: he arose from it a zealous champion of Athanasian orthodoxy.

Return of the barbarians. Postponing for a short time the fuller consideration of the religious policy which Theodosius henceforward adopted, let us observe the effect which his sickness produced on the struggle between the Empire and the Goths. The provinces south of the Balkans, it they had been cleared of the barbarians during the preceding year, were now again overrun by their desolating swarms. Fritigern, satiated apparently with the ravage of Moesia and Thrace, directed his course southward to Epirus, Thessaly and Achaia: while his old allies, the Ostrogothic chiefs Alatheus and Saphrax, marked down a new prey, crossing over the Danube where it flows from north to south, and attacking the Western Empire in its frontier province, Pannonia.

Intervention of Gratian. With all these barbarous hordes pouring in upon the devastated Empire, and himself still unable from physical weakness to ride forth at the head of his legions, Theodosius was constrained to call upon his Western colleague for help. Gratian did not himself  p305 take the field against the Goths, but he seems to have journeyed from Trier to Milan and Aquileia.44 From the latter place he doubtless superintended the defence of Pannonia (as to which our authorities tell us nothing), and the attack upon the Goths in Thessaly and Macedonia. Bauto and Arbogast. The latter duty was entrusted to two Frankish chiefs named Bauto and Arbogast. It is a striking proof of the extent to which Teutonic soldiers had already succeeded in establishing themselves in the service of the Empire, to find such a high command as this, at a most critical period for the State, entrusted to two Franks from the forests beyond the Scheldt. Both were destined to rise even higher in the Roman commonwealth. Bauto was to be an Emperor's chief minister, and his daughter was — after his death — to be hailed as Augusta; Arbogast was to place one of his humble friends and dependents on the Imperial throne. But both were at this time steadfastly loyal to the great civilised Empire under whose eagles they had enlisted, and the fact that they were men of war, whose hands were soiled by no ignoble gains, not venal hucksterers like Lupicinus and Maximus, had gained for them the enthusiastic love and confidence of their soldiers.

We hear little or nothing as to the details of the campaign conducted by the two Frankish generals, but from its result we may conclude that it was entirely successful. Macedonia and Thessaly appear to have been freed from their barbarian invaders, who were now probably for the most part ranged along the southern shore of the Danube, in the regions where four years previously they had been peacefully settled by Valens.  p306 About this time Fritigern seems to have died, perhaps slain in battle with Bauto or Arbogast. And now, by one of those strange changes in men's minds which so often occur when civilised and barbarous nations meet in battle, there came to Gratian (who by this time had marched eastward as far as Sirmium45 and was therefore close to the theatre of events) an opportunity for concluding a safe and honourable peace.

Peace concluded. Fritigern being dead, the one dauntless spirit which had hitherto breathed hope and mutual loyalty into the Gothic kinships, was gone. There were among them troubles and dissensions (which will shortly be alluded to) in connection with Fritigern's old rival, Athanaric. And after all, every Gothic warrior in the ranks might well ask himself what he was fighting for. To take the walled cities and make himself master of all their strange delights, the Goth had found impossible. It was easy to wander wide over the plains of Thessaly and Thrace, burning villas, driving off cattle, carrying away the provincials into captivity. But this process could not go on for ever, and with every year that the war lasted it became harder to procure a bare subsistence, much more the luxuries which were the earlier prize of rapine, in the thrice desolated valleys through which the barbarians roved. Were it not better, now that they had proved their might, and done deeds of daring which would be told of in song by generations yet unborn, to settle down once again within the limits of the Empire as friends, not the foes, of a generous Augustus?

This, or something like this, was the calculation on  p307 the barbarians' side; and on the other hand the conclusion of the offered peace was for the Emperors a piece of most wise statesmanship. The fatal policy of Valens could not now be undone. The Gothic nation was within the borders of the Empire: to destroy and to expel it were both impossible. The mistake of Hadrianople must not be repeated, nor the fortunes of the Empire hazarded upon the cast of a single battle. What war there was must be of the tedious Fabian kind, harassing the invaders, cooping them up in the mountains, falling upon them in small detachments, and wearing them out by hardship and famine. But, all this while, the once wealthy and flourishing provinces of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia would be slowly bleeding to death. It was surely better that there should be peace between the Empire and her new visitors, peace on terms not dissimilar to those which Fritigern had asked for, perhaps insincerely, before the battle of Hadrianople, but which his people, tired of those winters in the snowy Balkans, might now be willing loyally to accept. These terms involved a settlement of the Goths south of the Danube resembling that which they had previously possessed in Dacia; only that the barbarians should be more blended with the Roman inhabitants, and should more distinctly hold their lands on condition of military service in the armies of the Empire, becoming in the political language of the day foederati.

Thus it came to pass that in the language of the Gothic historian (which is in the main confirmed by the Roman chroniclers),

'Gratian, though he had collected an army, did not nevertheless trust in arms, but determining to conquer the Goths by gifts and favour, and bestowing  p308 provisions upon them, entered into a covenant with them and so made peace. And when, after these things, the Emperor Theodosius recovered his health and found that the contract which he himself had wished for was concluded between the Goths and the Romans, he accepted the fact with very grateful mind, and gave his own consent to that peace.'46

This reconciliation between the Visigoths and the Empire was connected, partly as cause and partly as effect, with another most important event which marked the beginning of 381, the submission of the sturdy old chief Athanaric, who had so long upheld among his countrymen the banner of defiance to Rome, and refusal to amalgamate with Roman civilisation. Athanaric driven into exile, Five years before, when his kinsmen were praying for admission into the Empire, he too appeared with his warriors and his waggons on the Wallachian shore of the Danube. When he heard that his old enemy Fritigern was admitted, but that the Ostrogoths under Alatheus and Saphrax were excluded, the proud and sensitive chief, mindful of his own past discourtesy to Rome, would not run the risk of a similar rebuff, but retired into the recesses of Dacia to a region of mountains and forests called Caucaland,47 and there, from behind  p309 the mountain-wall of the Carpathians, bade defiance to his enemies the Huns. An unexpected foe roused up the old lion from his lair. The Ostrogothic chiefs, Alatheus and Saphrax, retreating before the now better-disciplined army of Theodosius, re‑crossed the Danube, and avenging perhaps some old grudge of pre‑Hunnish days, expelled Athanaric from his kingdom.48

and courteously received by Theodosius. He fled into the territory of Theodosius, who received him courteously, loaded him with presents, and escorted him into Constantinople. Let Jordanes describe for us the effect produced by the sight of New Rome upon the man who had been all his life the ideal Rome-hater.49

'As he entered the royal city he said, wondering, "Lo now I behold what I have so often heard with unbelief, the splendour of this great city." Then turning his eyes this way and that way, and beholding the glorious situation of the city, the array of ships, the lofty walls, the multitudes of various nations all formed into one well-ordered army (like a fountain springing forth through many holes, yet collected again into one stream), he exclaimed, "A God upon earth, doubtless, is this Emperor, and whoever lifts a hand against him is guilty of his own blood." '

Death and burial of Athanaric. The Emperor continued to treat his barbarian guest with high courtesy, and the guest remained in the same state of awe‑struck admiration at all that he beheld. But his residence beside the Bosphorus was not to be  p310 of long duration. His entry into Constantinople was made on the 11th of January 381, and on the 25th of the same month he died,50 broken-hearted, it may be, at the collapse of his barbarian State, or more probably pining away, as the American Red‑skin pines, in contact with a higher and more complex civilisation. Theodosius honoured him almost more in his death than in his life, provided for him a funeral of extraordinary magnificence, and himself rode before the bier as they carried the corpse of the old Gothic chieftain to the grave.

It was wisely as well as courteously done, this homage to Rome's old enemy. The heart of the Visigothic nation was touched by the respect shown by the great Augustus to the man who by the death of Fritigern had become their unquestioned king and leader.51 Not only his own personal followers, but the great mass of the people, accepted gladly the terms which Gratian's generals had offered to so many of their nation in the preceding year, and became foederati of the Empire.

As to this important change we have not so many details as we could desire, and our account of it must  p311 be framed from scattered and fragmentary notices, to some extent helped out by conjecture. Meaning of the Foedus cum Gothis. Doubtless one condition of the foedus was that all the ravaging inroads which had been made into the provinces south of Balkans since the day of the banquet at Marcianople should cease, and that the Goths should return to the settlements assigned them in Moesia Inferior52 by Valens, and earn their bread by the cultivation of the soil. But, though we have little or no information on this point, it seems reasonable to suppose that high-spirited Gothic warriors were not called upon again to submit themselves to the degrading rule of such governors as Lupicinus and Maximus. More probable is it that they now stood outside of the whole administrative system of the Empire, paying no taxes, and free from obedience to the Roman judges, except when disputes arose between them and the Provincials. Thus (though it must be again repeated that we speak here only from conjecture) we may conceive of the Goths as reproducing in Moesia some of the characteristic features of German life as described to us by Tacitus, with its public meetings of the men of the village and the county,53 its strong, but not unlimited power vested in the chiefs and kings; perhaps (but here our conjectures must become even more hesitating than elsewhere) with its peculiar agricultural system and periodical redistribution of the land.

In return for the privileges thus conceded, and for the (probable) immunity from taxation54 which must  p312 have practically rendered almost the whole province of Moesia useless to the Imperial exchequer, what was the Gothic contribution? Whenever they were summoned by the Emperor they were to muster under their own chiefs, with their own horses, arms, and accoutrements, and to fight under the supreme command of the Roman Master of the Soldiery, for the defence of the Empire. The amount of pay (stipendium) which was to be given to each barbarian warrior, noble or simple free‑man, was probably fixed in the original contract entered into between Theodosius and the chieftain who may have succeeded Athanaric. This contract was the Foedus which constituted the Goths Foederati.

The Foederati compared with the Socii and Auxilia of early times. In this arrangement there was, besides much present statesmanship, a certain curious reversion to some of the oldest traditions of the past in the Roman state. The Allies (Socii), consisting first of the soldiers of the Latin cities and then of warriors from the various provinces of Italy, always formed an important part of the hosts of the Republic, somewhat outnumbering the regular Roman legionaries, and fighting for the most part on the wings of the army, while the legions  p313 were drawn up in the centre.55 When the Italian provincials acquired the full rights of Roman citizens, the separate organisation of the Socii died away, the Samnite and the Marsian taking their place in the legions side by side with the soldier born in sight of the Capitol. But their places were virtually taken by the Auxilia, bodies of troops raised in those provinces beyond sea, which became successively the theatres of war. Under the Empire, as the rights of citizenship were or liberally granted, this distinction also became less important; and when at length, in the reign of Caracalla, those rights were bestowed on all the freeborn males throughout the Roman world, it really lost all its original meaning. But the two divisions of the army, Legiones and Auxilia, still existed side by side, the latter word being apparently used to designate a somewhat lower class of soldiers, employed in more irregular, skirmishing warfare than the legionaries. In our own country, for example, while three legions, the Second, the Sixth, and the Twentieth, remained for generations permanently stationed at the three great nerve-centres of Roman power, Caerleon, York, and Chester, the outpost duty of defending the wall which stretched from the mouth of the Tyne to the Solway was entrusted to less dignified bodies of troops, such as the First Cohort of Batavians or the Second Ala of Asturians, who all passed under the generic name of Auxilia.

Still, as has been said, the old distinction between Roman and Ally had practically vanished, for the Gaul,  p314 the Spaniard, or the Illyrian felt himself as much a Roman citizen, and had as good a chance of one day wearing the purple as a man born on the banks of the Tiber. But it reappeared, when Theodosius and Gratian, making a virtue of necessity, granted permanent settlements within the Empire to the follower of Fritigern and Athanaric, on condition of their mustering round the eagles in the day of battle.

Mediaeval Analogies. As this institution of the foederati56 reproduce some of the features of the military system of the Republic, so it foreshadowed some of the features of the military systems of the Middle Ages. Though in the fourth century we are still separated by a vast tract of time from the establishment of the feudal system, it is easy to see how this contract between Emperor and foederati — so much land for so much service on the battle-field — will one day ripen into regular feudal tenure.

Modern Analogies. In more modern days it might be possible to find analogies to the position of the foederati in that occupied  p315 by the Cossacks under their Hetman in the wars of Peter the Great and Charles the Twelfth, in the constitution of the 'Military Frontier' of Austria and Hungary under the Habsburgs, or in the place assigned to Sikhs and Ghoorkas in the armies of the Empress of India. Like these latter troops (as we shall see hereafter) the foes turned friends and enlisted under the banner of their conqueror, did him good service in the crisis of his fortunes.

Themistius on the Foederati (in his Oration of the Consulship of Saturninus). In order to understand more fully the policy thus adopted by Theodosius towards the Goths, it will be well to hear the allusions made to it by Themistius in his Oration57 on the choice of Saturninus for the Consulship (383). The grey old rhetorician, who was by this time tutor of Arcadius, son of the Emperor, and was soon after to be raised to high official position by that Emperor's favour, would of course represent the Imperial policy in the most favourable light to his hearers; and we may consider that in listening to his speech we are reading a leading article in the official newspaper of the Empire.

It seems that the honour of the Consulship for the year 383, the Quinquennalia of the accession of Theodosius, had been offered by Gratian to his Eastern colleague. Themistius can hardly find words to express his admiration of the magnanimity of Theodosius in not only declining the brilliant honour for himself, but forbearing to claim it for Arcadius or some other member of his family, and handing it to Saturninus, a stranger in blood, to reward him for the services which he had rendered to the state.

 p316  'What are these services?' says Themistius. 'I might enumerate his great deeds in war, but as I am a lover of peace and of peaceful, harmonious words, I will rather turn to these and describe the benefits which the forethought of our Emperor has provided for us through the instrumentality of the new Consul. After that terrible Iliad of ours by the Danube, fire and sword were carried wide over Thrace and Illyricum; our armies vanished like a shadow: no Emperor presided over the State, and no mountains seemed high enough, no rivers deep enough, to prevent the barbarians from swarming over them to our ruin. Celts and Assyrians, Armenians, Africans, and Iberians, upon every frontier of our territory stood armed and threatening. Things had come to such a pass that we were prepared to hail it as a signal success, if only no worse evil might befall us than those which we had already undergone.

'Then in the midst of the general despair came that impulse from on high by which Gratian was moved to invite Theodosius to share his throne; and at once over land and sea there spread a hope unknown before. Theodosius, as soon as he had grasped the reins of the Empire, began, like a skilful charioteer, to consider what lay within the capacity of his horses; and he first dared to note this fact, that the strength of the Romans now lies not in iron, not in breastplates and shields, not in countless masses of men, but in Reason. He perceived that we possess that other kind of force and equipment which, to those who reign according to the mind of God, comes down silently from above, and makes all nations subject to us, which tames the savage soul, and before which arms and artillery and horses and the obstinacy of the Goth and the audacity of the  p317 Alan and the madness of the Massagete [Hun] all give way. This is that divine gift the praises of which we learned in our boyhood from the poets. So too Esop in his fable of the Wind and the Sun set forth the superiority of persuasion to violence; and the bards who sang of the wars in heaven declare that the giants, engaging in battle with the gods, were all able to stand up against Mars, but were lulled to sleep by the Caduceus of Mercury.

'Deliberating with himself to whom he should entrust this message of reconciliation, he found none so fit as Saturninus, his old comrade in arms, whom he knew to be like-minded in this matter with himself. Even as Achilles sent out Patroclus to deliver the Greeks in the extremity of their peril, so, but with far happier auguries, did Theodosius send forth Saturninus; and as the son of Peleus arrayed his friend in his armour, so did the Emperor equip his messenger with his own arms of gentleness, of patience, and of persuasion. Saturninus came to the camp of the Goths, and as soon as he saw he conquered. He offered them an amnesty for the past, he rooted out of their minds the suspicions germinating from their own misdeeds, he set before them the benefits which they might enjoy as friends and servants of the Empire. Thus did he win a peaceful victory and lead their chiefs back in triumph to his master. Unarmed, except with their swords which they held out like olive-branches; with sad faces and downcast eyes, they walked with shame through the provinces which they had ravaged, and kept their hands religiously from the remnants of property which they had left there. They were tamed, they were softened, they  p318 were subdued by the wise words of their conductor. I might almost say that he led them with their hands bound behind their backs, so that one looking upon them would have doubted whether he had persuaded, or had conquered, them.

'It was considered a great thing when Corbulo induced Tiridates, King of Armenia, to submit to Nero, but the knowledge of the vile character of his master must have saddened even that success to Corbulo. How much greater the happiness of Saturninus who serves such a master as Theodosius! And the Armenians are a race easily lifted up with pride and soon cast down again, a race whose very liberty differs not much from slavery. Whereas these barbarians with whom we have to deal are men of most inflexible souls, men to whom the thought of humbling themselves ever so little is far more bitter than death. Yet this is the nation whose chiefs we have seen offering, not some tattered flag, but their very swords, their victorious swords, as a tribute to the Emperor; yes, and humbling themselves before him and clasping his knees as Thetis clasped the knees of the Thunderer, that they might hear from his lips the word, the irrevocable word of peace and reconciliation.

'Now, that name Scythian [Goth], which was so hateful in our ears, how pleasant, how friendly it sounds! Now the Goths celebrate together with us the festival of our prince [the Quinquennalia], which is in truth one of rejoicing for the victories gained over themselves. Do you complain that their race has not been exterminated? I will not ask, "Could they have been exterminated?" I will concede that they might have been easily destroyed without loss to ourselves,  p319 though certainly the history of the Gothic war makes that concession an improbable one. Still, I say, which of the two is better, that Thrace should be filled with corpses or with cultivators of the fields; that we should walk through ghastly desolation or through well-tilled cornº-lands? that we should count up the dead men lying there or the ploughers ploughing? Is it better that we should bring Phrygians and Bithynians to settle in the waste lands, or that we should dwell there in peace with the men whom we have subdued? Already I hear from those who have visited those parts that the Goths are working up the iron of their swords and breastplates into mattocks and pruning-hooks, and, bidding a long good‑bye to Mars, are paying all their devotions to Ceres and to Bacchus.

'The course now pursued by Theodosius is not without a precedent in the history of the Republic. Masinissa, once the ally of Carthage, taken prisoner by the Romans and not put to death, became their steadfast friend and a strong defence against the enemies who afterwards attacked them. In our case the State which, like some mighty merchantman strained by wind and wave, was leaking at every seam, is brought into dock and is once more made sea‑worthy. The roads are again open. The mountains are no longer terrible to the traveller. The plains are now bringing forth their fruits. No longer is the shore of the Danube a stage for the bloody dance of war, but seeds are being hidden in it and ploughs do furrow it. Villas and farm-buildings are again raising their heads. A delightful atmosphere of rest pervades the land; and the Empire, like some great living creature, feeling  p320 no more the laceration of its wounded members, draws one deep breath of delight for ended sorrow.'

With further praises of the generosity and clemency of Theodosius and with anticipations of a victory over Persia, no less complete than his bloodless and tearless victory over the Goths, Themistius ended his oration. The loss of the Mesopotamian provinces (the Alsace and Lorraine of the Empire) still rankled in the hearts of all true Roman citizens, and no motive for loyalty to Theodosius could be stronger than the hope that he would one day recover them. Even after the defeat at Hadrianople, not the barbarians of the North in their trackless forests, but the great autocrat of Persia was looked upon as the dangerous, the hereditary enemy of Rome.

Invasion of the Greuthungi under Odotheus, 386. After the reconciliation of the Visigoths to the Empire and their acceptance of the position of foederati, there seems to have been almost unbroken peace between Theodosius and the barbarians on his northern frontier. The only exception that is distinctly mentioned is the invasion of the Greuthungi or Ostrogoths five years after the submission of the Visigoths. What commotion in the anarchic Empire of the Huns may have caused another swarm of their Ostrogothic buries to leave their homes in the Ukraine we know not; but they appear, a numerous horde, with many barbarous confederates of unknown origin, on the northern shore of the Danube in the summer of 386. The old men, the women and children, were with them. It was therefore a national migration, not a mere plunderer's foray, and the leader of the movement was Odotheus, whom we may possibly identify with that Ostrogothic chief Alatheus, the comrade of Saphrax  p321 on the field of Hadrianople.58 They came in such vast numbers that (according to the perhaps exaggerated language of the poet) three thousand barks were needed to transport them across the river; and they asked, perhaps at first in friendly guise, for permission to settle within the limits of the Empire. Promotus, a brave and experienced officer, at that time commanding as Master of the Infantry in Thrace, refused the required permission, and drew up his troops along the southern shore of the Danube to dispute the passage. Not content with merely defensive measures, he devised a skilful if not very honourable stratagem in order to entice the Ostrogoths to their destruction. He secretly instructed some men who were acquainted with their language (possibly Visigothic foederati) to steal across the river and open negotiations for the betrayal of the Imperial army by night to their enemies. The apparent traitors demanded a high price for their treason: the chiefs hesitated and tried to reduce it: the deserters stuck to their terms and at length the compact was sealed: — so much blood-money to be paid at once on the conclusion of the bargain and the balance when the barbarians had the Roman army in their power. Odotheus then made his dispositions for reaping, as he supposed, an easy harvest of victory. His best and bravest warriors, the flower of his troops, were to be sent over at once to environ the sleeping host; then the troops of secondary quality; then lastly the men who were too young or too old for fighting, to do the shouting when the victory was won.

 p322  Meanwhile Promotus, guided by the concerted signals of the pretended traitors, was making his arrangements in the deepening dusk of the autumn evening. Along the shore he ranged his ships — probably the heavy provision-ships of his army — in three lines, extending for a distance of two miles and a half. Some swifter fighting-ships he kept apparently to manoeuvre in mid‑channel. The Ostrogoths embarked in their little canoes, and made for the most part out of the trunk of a single tree, but multitudinous in number. While they were rowing silently across the black river, the Roman general, still guided by the fire-signals of his confederates, charged in upon them with his powerful war‑ships. The momentum of the Roman galleys, joined to the force of the impetuous Danube, was at once fatal to the little skiffs which contained the flower of the barbarian army. On all sides were heard the crash of broken barks, the groans of dying men, the despairing cry of some strong swimmer borne down beneath the eddying Danube by the weight of his cumbrous armour. If some wearied swimmer or the rowers of some disabled bark struggled on towards the southern shore, they were there confronted by the triple line of the Roman merchantmen, the soldiers on board of which assailed the hapless fugitives with whatever missile lay nearest to their hands. The affair was not so much a battle as a massacre, and soon the Danube was covered with the floating carcases of Gothic warriors and the splintered fragments of Gothic spears.

When the destruction of the army was complete, the Roman soldiers were permitted to swarm across the stream in order to plunder the barbarian camp. Much  p323 spoil they found there, but the chief prizes were the wives and children of the deluded and annihilated host. However, the revenge of the Empire was on this occasion wisely softened by mercy. Theodosius, who had fixed his head-quarters at some little distance from the scene of the battle, being sent for by Promotus to behold the fresh footprints of victory, when he gazed on the multitude of prisoners and the heap of spoils, set all the captives free from their bonds and comforted them with gifts and soothing words. To the Greuthungi of Odotheus he would pursue the same wise policy as to the Thervingi of Fritigern. Having once thoroughly beaten them and convinced them that Rome must be mistress, he would let them live, he would even accept their services. Most of the survivors of that terrible night — and notwithstanding the large words of the poet and historian, we are evidently not to suppose that all perished — became foederati of the Empire, and followed the standards of Theodosius in that civil war against the usurper Maximus, which will hereafter be described.

On the 12th of October, 386, Theodosius entered Constantinople in triumph, with his young son, Arcadius (who had now been for three years associated with him as Augustus), by his side. The captive, or the willingly subjected, Greuthungi graced his triumph, and (if this be not a poet's fancy) he deposited in the palace, as the old Roman kings used to deposit in the temple of Capitolian Jupiter, the spolia opima of their slain leader.59

 p324  Hitherto we have seen the more favourable side of the policy of Theodosius towards the barbarians, as it is represented to us by Themistius and the Chroniclers. But there is no doubt that it was often commented upon in a different spirit, especially by the heathen subjects of the Emperor and those who felt themselves called upon to uphold the military traditions of the people of Romulus. We are still able to trace some of these hostile comments in the pages of Zosimus, the persistent enemy of Theodosius, and the pitiless critic of all his policy. This part of his history is more than usually unsatisfactory, destitute of order and chronological arrangement, weak and gossiping, an anecdote-book rather than a history. Still, some even of these anecdotes are worth studying, for the illustrations which they afford of the temper of the times and the relations of Romans and barbarians to each other at the close of the fourth century.

§ 1. The tumult at Philadelphia.60

The tumult at Philadelphia. 'The Emperor Theodosius' (says Zosimus, speaking apparently of the time immediately after his accession) 'seeing the hopeless inferiority of his troops, gave leave to any of the barbarians beyond the Danube who were willing, to come to him, promising to enrol the deserters in the ranks of his army. Having received this offer, they came to him and were blended with his soldiers,  p325 secretly cherishing the thought that if they but outnumbered the Romans they could easily throw off their disguise and make themselves masters of the Empire. But when the Emperor saw that the number of the deserters exceeded that of his own soldiers in those parts, casting about for some means to keep them in check if they should try to break their bargain with him, he thought it best to transfer some of them to the legions then serving in Egypt, and to bring some of the soldiers in those legions to his own camp. In the marches and counter-marches which this transference rendered necessary, the Egyptians made their passage peaceably through the Empire, buying at a fair price all things that they had need of: but the barbarians marched in no order at all, and helped themselves in the markets to whatever they pleased. When the two bodies of troops met at the Lydian city of Philadelphia, the Egyptians, who were much inferior in number to the barbarians, observed all the rules of military discipline; but the latter were encouraged by their numeral superiority to put forward the most arrogant pretensions. When a stall-keeper in the market ventured to ask a barbarian to pay him for something which he had bought, the man drew his sword and wounded him, and so he did also to a neighbour, who, alarmed by his cries, came running to the stall-keeper's help. The Egyptians, who pitied the sufferers, exhorted the barbarians to refrain from such excesses, which were not becoming in men desirous to live according to the laws of Rome. Then they turned, and began to use their swords against them also, on which the Egyptians, losing all patience, fell upon the barbarians and slew more than two hundred  p326 of them, some by blows of their swords, and the rest by hunting them into the caves beneath the city,61 where they perished [of hunger]. After giving them this lesson in good behaviour, and showing them that there were some men left who would stand up for the citizens against them, the Egyptians set forward on their way and the barbarians marched to their appointed rendezvous in Egypt, their commander being Hormisdas the Persian, son of the Hormisdas who shared the Emperor Julian's campaign in Persia.'

§ 2. Night attack by the Barbarians.
Narrow escape of Theodosius.62

Narrow escape of Theodosius. 'When these Egyptians arrived in Macedonia and were enrolled in the cohorts there, no order was observed in the camps, nor was there any discrimination between Roman and barbarian, but all were jumbled up confusedly together, no record being kept of those who were enlisted in the several legions. Moreover the deserters [from the barbarian service], when they were now enrolled in the cohorts, were permitted to return to their own country and send substitutes instead of themselves, and then whensoever it pleased them, to re‑enlist in the Roman service. When the barbarians saw such utter disorder prevailing in the Imperial  p327 armies (for the deserters kept them informed of all that was going on, and there was perfect freedom of intercourse both ways) they thought their time had come for striking a blow at the State which was so negligently administered. Accordingly they crossed the river (Danube) without any trouble, and penetrated to Macedonia, for no one hindered them, and the deserters even facilitated their passage. Here they found that the Emperor had come to meet them with all his army, and as it was now the dead of night, observing one especially bright fire burning they conjectured that that fire marked the Emperor's quarters; a guess which was confirmed by the reports of the deserters who joined themselves to them. They therefore directed their course straight for the Emperor's tent, being guided by the bright watch-fire. As some of the deserters had joined them, only the Romans and the remainder of the deserters resisted their onset. These were few against many, and were barely able to cover the Emperor's flight, having done which, they all fell fighting like brave men, amid a vast multitude of slain foes. If then the barbarians had followed up their victory and pursued the Emperor and those who fled with him, they would at the first shout63 have made themselves masters of everything. But, contented with their present victory, they overspread the undefended provinces of Macedonia and Thessaly, but spared the cities, doing no ungentle deed towards one of them, because they hoped that from them they should receive tribute.'

It will be seen that even in this narrative, penned by one who hated both Theodosius and his foederati, it is  p328 admitted that some of the Goths who had enlisted in the Imperial service, died fighting bravely round the eagles, in order to facilitate the escape of the Augustus. The great services, already described, which the royal Goth, Modar, rendered to the cause of the Empire in the campaign of 379, are another phenomenon of the same kind. In fact, all things being considered, the fidelity of many of the barbarians (Goths, Franks, and even Huns) to Rome, when they had once accepted her mizdon,64 is more extraordinary than their occasional treachery.

The next story illustrates the effect produced on the minds of the born subjects of the Empire by the favour shown to the new recruits. We may safely assume that the historian tells the tale in very much the same shape in which Gerontius himself would tell it to his discontented comrades.

§ 3. The bravery of Gerontius and its reward.65

Bravery of Gerontius. 'At the Scythian town of Tomi (Ovid's place of banishment, now Kustendje in Bulgaria, about sixty miles south of the Sulina mouth of the Danube), some Roman troops were stationed under the command of Gerontius, a man of great strength of body and skill in war. Outside the town was a detachment of barbarian auxiliaries, the very flower of their nation in courage and manly beauty. These men saw that Theodosius provided them with richer equipments and larger pay than he gave to the Roman soldiers inside the town, yet they repaid the favour, not with gratitude to the  p329 Emperor, but with arrogance towards Gerontius and unconcealed contempt for his men. Gerontius could not but see this, and suspected moreover that they intended to seize the town and throw everything into confusion. He consulted with those of his officers on whose judgment he placed most reliance, how to check this increasing wantonness and insolence of the auxiliaries. But when he found them all hanging back through cowardice, and dreading the slightest movement among the barbarians, he donned his armour, bid open the gates of the city, and with certain of his guards — a number that you could very soon have counted — rode forth and set himself against all that multitude. His own soldiers meanwhile were either asleep, or palsied with fear, or else running up to the battlements of the city to see what was about to happen. The barbarians sent up a great shout of laughter at the madness of Gerontius, and despatched some of their bravest against him, thinking to kill him out of hand. But he closed with the first who came, clutched hold of his shield, and fought on bravely till one of his guards with a sword lopped off the barbarian's shoulder (he could do no more, the two men's bodies were so closely intertwined) and dragged him down from off his horse. Then the barbarians began to be struck with awe at the splendid bravery of their foe, while Gerontius dashed forwards to fresh encounters; and at the same time the men who were looking on from the walls of the city, seeing the mighty deed wrought by their commander, were stung with remembrance of the once great name of Rome, and rushing forth from the gates slew many of the barbarians, who were already panic-stricken and beginning to quit  p330 their ranks. The rest of them took refuge in a building held sacred by the Christians and regarded as conferring immunity on fugitives. Gerontius, then, having by his magnificent courage freed Scythia66 from the dangers impending over it, and obtained a complete mastery over the barbarians, naturally expected some recompense from his sovereign. But Theodosius being on the contrary deeply irritated by the slaughter of the warriors whom he so highly prized, peremptorily summoned Gerontius before him and required him to give a reason for his late conduct. The general pleaded the intended insurrection of the barbarians and their various acts of pillage and murder; but to all this the Emperor gave no heed, insisting that his true motives had been envy of the rich gifts bestowed on the auxiliaries, and a desire to have them put out of the way in order that his own robberies from them might be concealed. He alluded especially to some golden collars which had been given them by way of ornament. Gerontius proved that these, after the slaughter of the owners, had all been sent into the public treasury; yet, even so, he with difficulty escaped from the dangers which encompassed him, after spending all his property in bribes to the eunuchs about the court. And such were the worthy wages that he received for his zeal on behalf of Rome.'

§ 4. A Gothic Debate.

The history of this debate belongs to the latest years of the reign of Theodosius, but is introduced here as  p331 illustrating the precarious tenure by which Rome held the services of her Gothic auxiliaries.

A Gothic debate. '67 When the news came of the probability of a second civil war [on the murder of Valentinian II and the usurpation of Eugenius], there arose a difference of opinion among the chiefs of the tribes whom Theodosius had at the commencement of his reign admitted to his friendship and brotherhood in arms, whom he had honoured with many gifts, and for whom he had provided a daily banquet in common in his palace. A national party headed by Eriulph. For some of the chiefs loudly asserted that it would be better to despise the oaths which they swore when they gave themselves up to the Roman power, and others insisted that they must on no account depart from their plighted faith.68 A Romanizing party by Fravitta. The leader of the party who wished to trample on their oath of allegiance was Eriulph (or Priulph), while Fravitta (or Fraustius)69 headed the loyal party. Long was this internal dissension concealed, but one day at the royal table after long potations they were so carried away with wrath that they openly manifested their discordant sentiments. The Emperor understanding what they were talking  p332 about, broke up the party, but on their way home from the palace the quarrel became so exasperated that Fravitta drew his sword and dealt Eriulph a mortal blow. Then the soldiers of the murdered man were about to rush upon Fravitta and kill him, but the Imperial guards interposed and prevented the dispute from going any further.'

In the midst of the conflicting accounts which have come down to us of the character of Theodosius, one fact can be clearly discerned, that he was bent upon reversing the policy of Valens, and while he dealt severely with those barbarians whose only thought was plunder, he was determined to enlist all that was noblest and in the best sense of the word most Teutonic among them in the service of Rome. Engaged in this enterprise one may liken him to a far‑seeing statesman, who, seeing an irresistible tide of democracy setting in and threatening to overwhelm the State, goes boldly forth to meet it, with liberal hand extends the privileges of citizenship to the worthiest of those who have been hitherto outside the pale, and from the enemies of the constitution turns them into its staunch defenders. Or he is like the theologian who, instead of attempting an useless defence of positions which have long since become untenable, questions the questioning spirit itself to discover how much of truth it too may possess, and seeks to turn even the turbulent armies of doubt into champions of the eternal and essential verities of faith.

Such, viewed on its intellectual side, was the policy of Theodosius towards the barbarians; and though it was a policy which led to complete and utter failure, it is not therefore to be condemned as necessarily unsound,  p333 for had his own life been prolonged to the ordinary period, or had his sons possessed half his own courage and capacity, it is likely enough that his policy would have proved not a failure, but a success.

Defects of Theodosius's philo-Teutonic policy. But another and less noble motive conduced to the very same course of action. His soldier's eye may have been pleased with the well-proportioned frames and noble stature of those children of the North. His pride as a sovereign may have been gratified by enlisting those fair-haired majestic Amali and Balti among his household guards, instead of the little, dark-featured, supple inhabitants of the lands bordering on the Mediterranean; and he may have indulged this fancy to the full, without considering the deep wound which he thus inflicted on what yet remained of Roman dignity by assigning these offices to foreigners, nor the heavy demands which he was obliged to make on an exhausted exchequer in order to provide the double pay, the daily banquets, the golden collars for his Gothic favourites.

Thus the acceptance of the services of the Goths connects itself with another subject, which will have to be referred to later on, the financial policy — or want of policy — of Theodosius.


The Author's Notes:

1 Sozomen, VII.1. Greek English

2 Eunapius, p52 (ed. Bonn); Sozomen, l.c.

3 XXXI.16.6.º

4 Eunapius, p50: παῖδες δὲ αὐτῶν πρός τε τὴν εὐκρασίαν τῶν ἀέρων ἀνέδραμον καὶ παρὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν ἥβησαν.

5 Tillemont truly observes that the authority of Ammianus is to be preferred to that of Zosimus (IV.26) who puts the massacre after the accession of Theodosius.

6 Both Zosimus (IV.24) and Idatius (Chronicon, s. a. 379) make the Emperor Theodosius a native 'of the province of Gallicia and the city of Cauca.' The Cauca above described was not in the province of Gallicia, but some sixty or seventy miles to the south-east of its nearest point. As this was Idatius' own country it is unsatisfactory to have to impute inaccuracy to him on a subject with which he must have been well acquainted, and I am disposed to conjecture that there may have been another, Gallician Cauca, of which, however, I find no trace. The assignment of Italica (near Seville) as the birthplace of Theodosius, for which Marcellinus Comes is responsible, has evidently arisen from the desire to make him a fellow-townsman with Trajan.

7 Condercum (Benwell), Cilurnum (Chollerford) and Aesica (Great Chesters).

8 See Notitia Occidentis, cap. xl: 'Sub dispositioni viri spectabilis ducis Britanniarum . . . per lineam valli . . . Praefectus alae primae Asturum Conderco . . . Praefectus alae secundae Asturum Cilurno . . . Tribunus cohortis primae Asturum Aesica.'

9 'Dux Britanniarum.' We may fairly infer from Ammianus, XXVIII.3.1, that this was his title.

10 Amm. Mar. XXVII.8.

11 'Glacialis Ierne.'

12 Claudian de IV Cons. Honorii, 30‑34.

13 'Fusis variis gentibus et fugatis, quas insolentia nutriente securitate adgredi Romanas res inflammabat, in integrum restituit civitates et castra multiplicibus quidem damnis adflicta, sed ad quietem temporis longi fundata' (Amm. Mar. XXVIII.3.2). A very interesting passage, as throwing light on the state of our island towards the close of the fourth century.

14 That of Valentinian, brother of the Praetorian Prefect Maximin, whose tyranny Ammianus describes at great length (XXXI.3, etc.).

15 Amm. Mar. XXVIII.3.8. I can find no trace of these Areani elsewhere. There seems to be no variation in the MSS., but is not Areani an error for Arcani?

16 Epist. X.1.

17 Orosius, VII.33. It is very extraordinary that we have no mention in Ammianus of the death of Theodosius the elder.

18 'Instimulante et obrepente invidiâ'; Orosius, l.c.

19 Richter (Weströmisches Reich, pp401‑2) attributes the death of Theodosius to Merobaudes, and thinks it was decreed because he did not belong to the clique of Gratian's friends. But there does not seem to be any testimony in support of this charge, and it is to be remembered that Africa was under Justina and her son, not directly under Gratian.

20 Themistius Or. XV p190 (ed. Paris).

21 Aurelius Victor, Epitome xlviii.

22 Pacatus and Themistius suggest the idea of bonhomie; Zosimus of indolence; Claudian (Laus Serenae, 135‑8) that of passionateness.

23 'Dux Moesiae Theodosius Junior, primâ etiam tum lanugine juvenis' says Ammianus (XXIX.6.15). He was probably then in his twenty-seventh year.

24 Pacatus, Panegyricus ix.

25 This line pretty nearly corresponded with the twenty-fourth parallelº of longitude, running first a degree to the west and then a degree to the east of it, almost passing through Sardica (the modern Sofia) and coming out opposite to the island of Thasos.

26 The important fact of this new division is disclosed to us only by a sentence in the Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen (VII.4), Greek English 'Gratian bestowed the government of Illyria and of the eastern provinces upon Theodosius.' Tillemont has successfully vindicated the general accuracy of this statement against the attacks of M. Godefroy (V.716).

27 Or Ascholius. Contemporary writers seem to prefer the form in the text.

28 This supposed supernatural intervention is mentioned by St. Ambrose — writing after the death of Acholius — in letter 15 (Class I). I owe this reference to Dr. Ifland (Theodosius der Grosse, p67).

29 IV.25.

30 IV.27.

31 Oration xiv.

32 Iliad III.169‑170. Priam is speaking of Agamemnon. Themistius changes ἔοικε to ἔοικας to make the compliment more direct.

Καλὸν δ’ οὕτω ἐγὼν οὔπω ἴδον ὀφθαλμοῖσιν

Οὐδ’ οὕτω γεραρόν· βασιλῆϊ γὰρ ἀνδρὶ ἔοικε.

33 The Balkans.

34 Jordanes, De Rebus Geticis, XXVII.

35 As collected from the Theodosian Code by Ifland, pp70 and 72.

36 Now Uskub.

37 If, that is to say, the 'Vico Augusti' of the Theodosian Code be the same with the 'Augustis' of the Itinerary and the Tabula Peutingeriana, which is by no means clear.

38 By Themistius (ubi supra).

39 Ifland (p70) seems justified in drawing this conclusion from the unqualified language of Gregory Nazianzen in the letter addressed to Modares (or Modarius), (Ep. 136).

40 Καὶ δι’ ἣν ἐπεδείξατο πίστιν στρατιωτικῆς προβεβλημένος ἀρχῆς probably means this.

41 Ἐπὶ δὲ τὰς γυναῖκας καὶ τοὺς παῖδας ὁρμήσαντες ἁμάξας μὲν εἷλον τετρακισχιλίας, αἰχμαλώτους δὲ ὅσους ἦν εἰκὸς ἐπὶ τοσούτων ἁμαξῶν φέρεσθαι, δίχα τῶν βάδην ταύταις ἀκολουθούντων καὶ ἐξ ἀμοιβῆς, οἷα φιλεῖ γίνεσθαι, τὰς ἀναπαύσεις ἐπ’ αὐτῶν ποιουμένων (Zosimus, IV.25). An interesting picture of a Gothic native army on its march.

42 'Ausonio et Olybrio Coss. [379] His Conss. levatus est Theodosius Aug. ab Augusto Gratiano die xiv Kal. Februar. in civitate Sirmio. Ipso anno multa bella Romani cum Gothis commiserunt. Deinde victoriae nuntiatae sunt adversus Gothos, Alanos atque Hunos die xv Kal. Decembr.' This important notice is from the Descriptio Consulum Idatio Adscripta (Roncalli, II.95), which, whether rightly attributed to Idatius or not, undoubtedly contains some valuable extracts from the official records kept at Constantinople. (See Holder-Egger's paper in the Neues Archiv, I.227 et seq.)

43 This is made probable by the fact that almost all his decrees for this year are dated from Thessalonica (there is perhaps some error about four laws at the end of April and the beginning of May dated from Antioch and Damascus): and also by Gratian's taking the chief part in the conclusion of the treaty with the Goths, to be shortly mentioned.

44 Our information as to these movements of Gratian is derived from the Code.

45 According to the Code, Gratian was at Sirmium on the 8th of September, 380.

46 Jordanes, De Rebus Geticis, XXVII, XXVIII. The most important entry in the Roman chronicles is in Prosper s. a. 380: 'Procurante Gratiano, eo quod Theodosius aegrotaret, pax firmatur cum Gothis.' This entry is absent in one important MS., the 'Parmensis.'

47 'Ad Caucalandensem locum altitudine silvarum inaccessum et montium, cum suis omnibus declinavit, Sarmatiis inde extrusis.' Amm. Mar. XXXI.4.13. Caucaland looks like a Teutonic name. Zeuss (Die Deutschen, &c. p410) identifies it with Hauha-land, the Gothic equivalent of High-land. It was probably the eastern portion of Transylvania.

48 Zosimus IV.34 must be combined with Jordanes XXVII (as to the defeat of Alatheus and Saphrax by Theodosius), is confirmed by an incidental allusion in Ammianus (XXVII.5.10): 'Athanaricus proximorum factione genitalibus terris expulsis.' Evidently it was not by Huns or 'Sarmatians' that he was driven forth from Caucaland.

49 De Reb. Get. XXVIII.

50 These dates furnished us by the apparently accurate 'Fasti Idatiani' (in Roncalli, II.95) and confirmed by Marcellinus Comes (ibid. 268: 'eodemque mense morbo periit') must outweigh the vague 'paucis mensibus interjectis' of Jordanes. Prosper says accurately enough that the death of Athanaric took place 'xv quo fuerat susceptus die,' but incorrectly says 'occiditur.' The 'morbo periit' of Marcellinus is more in harmony with the other authorities.

51 'Aithanarico rege, qui tunc Fritigerno successerat' (Jord. u. s. XXVIII). It will be observed that the title of Judex is dropped now that the Ostrogothic over-lordship is at an end, and Athanaric, even in his low estate, is now Rex.

52 And perhaps in Dacia Ripensis.

53 Vicus and pagus.

54 A strong confirmation of the theory (probably on à priori grounds) that the Goths enjoyed special immunities from taxation and from the rule of the civil magistrates of the Empire, is afforded by a passage in the XVIth Oration of Themistius. He brings forward the example of the Gaulish invaders of Asia Minor, who had been settled in Galatia and had given their names to that province. 'Now,' he says, 'no one could call them barbarians but altogether Romans. Their manner of life is the same as ours: they pay the same tributes, undergo the same military service, receive the same magistrates, obey the same laws. So too before long it will be with the Goths. Now the wounds which they have inflicted are recent: but soon we shall have them bound by the same treaties, eating at the same tables, serving with us in the same army, undertaking the same public duties.' Evidently this was not the state of things established by the foedus.

55 In the year 225 B.C., according to Polybius, the legionaries numbered 325,000 and the Socii 443,000: total 768,300. (See Marquardt, Römische Staats­verwaltung, II.381).

56 It may perhaps be questioned whether the word Foederati was yet applied to the Goths, though it seems to me most probable that it was. It first appears in the Theodosian Code in the year 406, when a law of Honorius (lib. VII tit. 13, 16) authorises the enlistment in the army of the slaves of 'Foederati and Dediticii.' And Olympiodorus (apud Photium, III.258, ed. Migne) seems to say that both the names of Buccellarius and Foederati were first introduced in the time of Honorius. His language however is not quite clear, and as Suidas and other writers emphatically say that Foederati meant treaty-bound Goths, ὑπόσπονδοι Γότθοι or Σκύθαι, no time seems more probable for the first introduction of the term than the early part of the reign of Theodosius, unless indeed, which is very possible, it had been already applied to the Goths in the time of Constantine. This last is the account of the matter given by Jordanes (De Reb. Get. XVI and XXI). In the fifth century Foederati was a word in pretty frequent use. See for the chief passages in which it occurs Godefroy's note on the above law of Honorius (Codex Theodosianus: ed. Ritter, II.391).

57 Oratio XVI (ed. Paris, 1684).

58 We get the name of Odotheus from Zosimus (IV.35) and Claudian (De Quarto Consulatu Honorii, 626), neither of whom, I think, elsewhere mentions Alatheus.

59

'Confessusque parens Odothaei regis opima

Rettulit exuviasque tibi.'

(Honorius is addressed: Claudian de IV Cons. Honorii, 632‑3.) We get our chief details from Zosimus (IV.35 and 38) who is somewhat confused and blunders as to the name and origin of the Greuthungi, besides telling the story twice over, but still gives us a spirited and valuable narrative. Claudian agrees with Zosimus in the main outlines of the history. We get the date of Theodosius' triumphal entry from the Fasti Idatiani.

60 Zosimus, IV.30.

61 Strabo speaks twice with great emphasis of the terrible earthquakes to which Philadelphia was liable, 'and modern travellers describe the appearance of the country as resembling a billowy sea of disintegrated lava, with here and there vast trap-dykes protruding' (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. Philadelphia).

Thayer's Note: The passages in Strabo are XII.8.18 and XIII.4.10.

62 Zosimus, IV.31. This event also seems to have occurred near the beginning of the reign of Theodosius, perhaps before his illness at Thessalonica, but I despair of fitting it into its precise chronological position.

63 Πάντως αὐτοβοεὶ πάντων ἄν ἐκρατήσαν.

64 Soldier's pay (= μισθός).

65 Zosimus, IV.40.

66 The Roman province of Scythia, corresponding to the modern Dobrudscha.

67 Zosimus, IV.56; founded apparently on Eunapius (pp52‑54, ed. Bonn), but modified from his version.

68 According to Eunapius, one party advised that they should rest content with their present prosperity, the result of their league with the Romans, while the other insisted that they should revert to that attitude of eternal and unresting hostility to Rome, and determination to conquer her territory, to which they had bound themselves by solemn oaths while still in their own land.

69 Probably Fra‑veitands 'the Avenger.' Eunapius tells us that he was a man who truly held the Homeric sentiment —

'My soul abhors him as the gates of hell,

Who dares think one thing and another tell,'

that he married a Roman wife and became just like a Roman.


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