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Book IV
Note C

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

2nd edition
Oxford University Press

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 IV
Note D

Book 4 (continued)

Vol. III
Chapter VI

The Death-Grapple


Sources: —

Our most important authority for this period is Ennodius, Bishop of Ticinum (473 to 521). Some facts are drawn from his life of Epiphanius already described (vol. II p467). But much more important for our present purpose is his 'Panegyricus dictus clementissimo regi Theodorico.' This oration was addressed by Ennodius (not yet Bishop of Ticinum) to Theodoric between the years 504 and 508, less than twenty years after the events recorded in this chapter, and it is therefore strictly a contemporary document. For obvious reasons a panegyric of a living sovereign is an unsatisfactory source to draw from. We have to deal not only with the deliberate attempt to distort history in favour of the subject of the Panegyric, but also with the natural tendency (laudable from an artistic point of view) to tell the story in the presence of a chief actor in it rather by allusion and implication than by direct straightforward narration. In addition to this, the style of Ennodius is most wretched, full of turgid servility, of oratorical tricks which do not deceive, of enigmas which, when by great pains you have mastered their solution, prove to be nonsense. Manso (Geschichte der Ostgothen, p435) truly says, 'Adeo omnia sunt plena argutiarum et ineptiarum, tot mira verborum et compositionum monstra ut nauseam moveat oratio turgida atque inflata, stomachum ambigua atque obscura.' On a first perusal the reader can hardly see anything but this miserable style: but when he comes back to the Panegyric, compares it with the chroniclers, sees how their short matter-of‑fact sentences lighten  p178 up its darkness and explain its mysterious hints, he will find that it is really a document of great historical value, and deserving of serious study. Above all, the silence of Ennodius is noteworthy. It is an important fact, in reference to one of the most memorable passages of Theodoric's life, that his Panegyrist says not one word, good or bad, about the death of Odovacar.​1 (Quotations are made from the edition in Migne's 'Patrologia,' vol. 63.)

Next in importance to the Panegyric is the document entitled by German scholars the Annals of Ravenna ('die Ravennatische Fasten'), a calendar of important events affecting the city of Ravenna in particular and Italy in general, kept possibly by some clerical person in connection with the metropolitan church, and for the most part recording not the year only but the precise day of each notable occurrence. This, though now no longer extant, was evidently the source from which (1) Anonymus Valesii,​2 (2) Continuatio Prosperi,​3 (3) Cuspiniani Chronicon,​4 (4) Agnellus5 (in the lives of the Bishops of Ravenna) drew their materials.

Referring the reader to the previous description of these writers, it will be sufficient here to add that the first two are for this period far the most important. Anonymus Valesii shows, as was previously stated, a strong bias towards the Emperor Zeno, and, though not unfriendly to Theodoric, looks at all Italian matters as much as possible from the Byzantine point of view. It is characteristic of this writer that he on every possible occasion gives Theodoric the title of Patricius, which he had received by the grant of the Eastern Augustus.

Prosper's Continuer (otherwise called the Chronographer of 641, from the period to which the chronicle is continued,​6 or  p179 Codex Havniensis from the place where the MS. is now preserved) tells the story with more fire and fulness than the Anonymus Valesii, and shows perhaps less of the Byzantine bias. He is, however, less to be relied on for his chronology. In fact, for exact chronology we are obliged to go to the somewhat meagre entries of Cassiodorus.

The note at the end of this chapter will show the curious verbal correspondences between the four sources mentioned above. Their connection is the more remarkable, because, while the first three are probably contemporaries, or nearly contemporaries, of Theodoric, Agnellus is certainly separated from him by an interval of more than 300 years. The wildly inaccurate chronology of Agnellus, who at this very period tries to crowd Attila's invasion (452) and Odovacar's downfall (493) both into the same pontificate (of Joannes Angeloptes), telling us at the same time that he ruled 'sixteen years, ten months, and eighteen days,' would have disposed us to throw aside his compilation as altogether valueless for history. But the minute correspondence of some of his sentences with the other authorities who drew from the Annals of Ravenna, shows that we should be mistaken if we rejected him altogether, and that he was really, in part at least, copying from authorities who were contemporary with the events described.

Jordanes is very meagre here, and gives little help for this part of the history.

Procopius is somewhat fuller, but less trustworthy, being imperfectly acquainted with what happened in Italy fifty years before his time.

The Historia Miscella may enshrine some genuine traditions of history, but there are evidences in it of literary compilation, especially from Ennodius, and its late date (eighth century) prevents our treating it as an authority of the first rank.

The account of the death of Odovacar, an interesting little bit of narrative full of the minute touches of a contemporary, perhaps an eyewitness, is preserved for us by Joannes Antiochenus, copying no doubt from some earlier writer. This is fragment 214 in the fifth volume of Müller's Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum. (Most of the extracts from Joannes are in the fourth volume of this series.)

 p180  Theodoric starts for Italy, 488. In the preceding chapter we saw that Frederic, the last scion of the Rugian stock, after his unsuccessful revolt fled before the army commanded by the brother of Odovacar, and sought refuge at the Court of Theodoric. Perhaps the injury done to one who was certainly an ally, and who may have been a kinsman, quickened the preparations of Theodoric. Or perhaps his bargain with the Byzantine Court having been concluded, he had been given to understand that he and his foederati, who had now received a commission to invade Italy, must look for no more rations or pay from the imperial treasury. Certain it is that, at what seems to us a most unseasonable time for such a march, in the late autumn of 488, he broke up his court or camp or settlement at Sistova, that high fortress on the south of the Danube over­looking what is now the flat and marshy Wallachian shore, and started with his nation-army on the long and difficult journey to Italy.

Family aspect of the migration. Seldom, since Moses led the Children of Israel through the wilderness, has a more ill‑compacted host attempted to penetrate through hostile countries and to win, by the edge of the sword, a new possession. In the case of Alaric, and others of the great Teutonic chiefs, we have already had our attention called, by Claudian and other authorities, to the family aspect of their marches, migrations rather than campaigns. But of this journey of Theodoric the emphatic language of contemporaries justifies us in saying, that it was preeminently a nation, in all its strength and all its helplessness, that accompanied him. His own family, mother, sisters, nephews, evidently were with him, as before on the march to  p181 Dyrrhachium. And as with the chief, so with the people. Procopius says, 'With Theodoric went the people of the Goths, putting their wives and children and as much of their furniture as they could take with them into their waggons.'​7 Somewhat more minutely, but with too much of his usual vapid rhetoric, says Theodoric's panegyrist, Ennodius,

'Then, after you had summoned all your powers far and wide, the people, scattered through countless tribes, come together again as one nation, and a world migrates with you to the Ausonian land, a world every member of which is nevertheless your kinsman.​8 Waggons are made to do duty as houses, and into those wandering habitations all things that can minister to the needs of the occupants are poured. Then were the tools of Ceres, and the stones with which the cornº is ground, dragged along by the labouring oxen. Pregnant mothers, forgetful of their sex and of the burden which they bore, undertook the toil of providing food for the families of thy people. Followed thy reign of winter in thy camp. Over the hair of thy men the long frost threw a vail of snowy white; the icicles hung in a tangle from their beards. So hard was the frost that the garment which the matron's persevering toil had woven (for her husband) had to be broken before he could fit it to his body. Food for thy marching armies was forced from the grasp of the  p182 hostile nations around, or procured by the cunning of the hunter.'​9

Number of the host. The question has been often asked, what must we suppose to have been the number of this moving multitude? The calculation can be only conjectural, but the data that we have point to a high figure. In the campaign in Epirus,​10 as the reader may remember, the defeat of the mere rear-guard of the Ostrogothic army led to the capture of 5000 prisoners (a yet larger number having been cut to pieces), and put 2000 waggons at the disposal of the Byzantine host. In the same campaign a body of 6000 men, the most valiant in the army, are spoken of by Theodoric as a sort of flying column with which he was willing to march into Thrace and annihilate the forces of the son of Triarius; while that rival, on making his peace with the Empire, had obtained the promise of rations and pay for 13,000 men, to be selected by himself from the number of his followers. Looking at these facts, remembering that probably many of the Triarian Goths had joined Theodoric's standard after the extinction of the family of their leader, and that some, perhaps many, Rugians must have followed the fugitive Frederic into his camp, we shall probably be safe in estimating the fighting strength of Theodoric's army at 40,000 men, and the total number of the nation on its travels at 200,000.​11 If anything, this  p183 conjecture is too low, since we find it stated that the Gothic army which besieged Rome only fifty years later (but they had been years of peace and unexampled prosperity) consisted of not less than 150,000 fighting men.12

Difficulties of commissariat. Accepting the moderate computation here suggested, we can imagine, or rather we cannot imagine, the anxiety which must have gnawed the soul of Theodoric, when he had cut himself loose from his communications in Moesia, when his progress was barred by enemies upon whose neutrality he had, perhaps rashly, reckoned, when weeks lengthened into months, winter months, and still his long array, with all the sick, the children, the delicate women, with 200,000 mouths needing daily food, stood upon the snow-covered Illyrian uplands, and could not yet descend into the promised land, could not yet even see their final foe.

Troubles with the Gepids. The first 300 miles were probably much the easiest part of the journey. They would be travelling along the great Danubian highway, perhaps the most important of all the roads connecting the eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire,​13 and one which, even in those days of feebleness and decay, and after all the ravages of Goth and Hun, was still  p184 probably kept in a fair state of repair.​14 Possibly too, as Theodoric was still in the territory of the now friendly empire, supplies for his followers would be forthcoming, if not from the imperial magazines, at any rate on moderate terms in the markets of the provincials. But when he reached Singidunum (Belgrade), the scene of that boyish victory of his over the Sarmatian king,​15 his difficulties began, if they had not begun before. It is pretty clear from the facts, even if it were not expressly stated by Procopius,​16 that, after the Ostrogoths performed their celebrated march to the Aegean under Theudemir (in 473), the Gepidae moved across the Danube (from Dacia into Pannonia) and occupied either the whole of the broad lands thus evacuated, or at any rate the south-eastern corner of them, including the important  p185 and still not utterly ruined cities of Singidunum and Sirmium. Now, into this corner of the land, this long strip of country (the modern province of Slavonia) between the rivers Drave and Save, Theodoric's road led him, and through it he must lead his wayworn and hungering followers; but the Gepid barred the way. An embassy was sent,​17 we may imagine, with such an appeal as Moses made to Sihon king of the Amorites which dwelt in Heshbon: 'Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders.' Like that appeal, however, this of Theodoric's, though it might have been based on the claims of kindred and on memories of the far‑distant days when the Gepids managed one boat and the Goths two in the first migration,​18 if made, was disregarded, and the nation-army, all encumbered as it was with baggage and diluted with non‑combatants, had to fight for its right of way.

The passage of the Ulca contested. The decisive engagement came off at the river Ulca, concerning which we are told that 'it is the defence of the Gepidae which protects them like a mound, gives them an audacity which they would otherwise lack, and strengthens the frontier of the province with a wall that no battering rams can crumble.'​19 It is not easy from this description to identify the river in question. The Save, which at this time must have formed the southern boundary of the Gepid territory, would have seemed a probable suggestion, but we have  p186 no hint that it ever was called by any name like Ulca. On the whole, the least improbable conjecture seems to be​20 that we have here to do with the Hiulca Palus,​21 a great sheet of water (possibly connected with streams above and below, and therefore not quite incorrectly termed a river) which, according to the striking description of Zosimus,​22 mirrored the towers of the high hill-city of Cibalis, an important place, the exact site of which has not yet been discovered, but which was 101 Roman miles higher up the valley of the Save than Singidunum. If this identification be correct, the landscape on which Theodoric and his countrymen looked on this day of unwelcome conflict, was one which had already been the theatre of great events, for 314 here it was that Constantine the Great fought the first battle in that long duel with his brother-in‑law Licinius which finally gave to the Christian Emperor the undisputed mastery of the Eastern and Western worlds. 321 Here too, only seven years later, was born one of the ablest of his successors, the ferocious but statesmanlike Valentinian.23

 p187  Battle of the Ulca. The ambassadors who were sent to the Gepid king, Traustila,​24 returned with an unfavourable reply. No passage through his dominions would be conceded to the Ostrogoths; if they still desired it they must fight for it with the unconquered Gepidae. Then indeed was the distress of the wandering nation at its height. Famine, and the child of famine, pestilence, urged them on: behind them lay the frozen road​25 marked by their blood-stained footprints, before them a yet worse and steeper road, one which even a fugitive would have shunned, leading over a quivering morass and up to the frowning ranks of the enemies. The Gothic vanguard charged across the morass; many were swallowed up in its muddy waters; those who reached the opposite side were falling fast beneath the shower of lances which the mighty arms of the Gepidae hurled against their frail wicker-work breastplates.​26 In that apparent shipwreck of the fortunes of a noble nation, the calm valour of Theodoric saved his people. Like Henry IV at Ivry, he shouted, 'Whoso will fight the enemy let him follow me. Look not to any other leader, but only charge where you see my standard advancing. The Gepids shall know that a king attacks them; my people shall know that Theodoric saves them.' Then he called  p188 for a cup, and performed with it some old Teutonic rite by way of augury, the nature of which is not described to us,​27 and on he dashed, urging his horse to a gallop. We may conjecture that his keen eye had discerned some causeway of sold ground through the morass, along which he led his followers. However this may be, his charge was completely successful. 'As a swollen river through the harvest-field, as a lion through the herd,' so did Theodoric career through the Gepid ranks, which everywhere melted away before him. In a moment the fortune of the day was turned. They who a little while ago were vaunting victors were now fugitives, wandering without cohesion over the plain, while the Amal king moved proudly on, no longer now at the head of his troops, but encompassed by thousands of stalwart guards.

Results of the battle. A great multitude of the enemy were slain, and only the approach of night saved the trembling remnant. What was more important, the store-waggons of the Gepidae fell into the hands of the Goths; and so well were they supplied with corn from all the cities of the neighbourhood, that the satisfied wanderers congratulated themselves on the pugnacity of their hosts, which provided them a feast such as they could never have obtained from their hospitality.

Other battles. How long the campaign against the Gepids lasted we know not. We hear vaguely from the Panegyrist of 'innumerable' other combats with the Sarmatians and others, the mention of which may or may not be due to some confusion with Theodoric's boyish  p189 exploits in the same region. What seems certain is, that either in this guerilla warfare, or in mere foraging expeditions through a country which was of course perfectly familiar to the chief and to all but the mere striplings in his army (since they had migrated thence only sixteen years before), winter, spring, and the greater part of summer wore away. Descent into Italy, 489. It was not till the month of August that the Ostrogoths, who may perhaps have marched by different routes, some up the valley of the Save, others by that of the Drave, and who may then have concentrated at Aemona (Laybach),º finally crossed the Julian Alps, and descended by the road trodden by so many conquerors — Theodosius, Alaric, Attila — past the Pear-tree and the Frigid Stream, into the plains of that Italy which they were to win by bloody battle, to hold for sixty‑six years, to love so fondly, and to lose so stubbornly.

We are told that the flocks and herds which accompanied them on their march soon showed, by their improved condition, the superiority of the tender pastures of Italy over the scanty herbage of the Alpine uplands.28

Reach the Isonzo. At the eleventh mile-stone from Aquileia (Ad Undecimum) the host reached the confluence of the river Frigidus with the Sontius (Isonzo), and here probably it was that Odovacar and his army stood ready to meet them and dispute their passage. South-westwards, in the sea‑like plain, rose the ghostly ruins of Aquileia, over which near forty years of desolation had passed. No fleets of merchantmen lined her broken wharves; no workman's hammer resounded  p190 in her ruined Mint; the Baths, the Amphitheatre, the Forum, were all silent. Only, perhaps, a few black-robed priests and monks still clustered round the repaired basilica, keeping warm the embers of religious life in the province of Venetia, asserting the continuity, and preparing the way for the revival, of the power of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.

Odovacar and his subject-kings. Odovacar had taken a strong post on the Isonzo, and had fortified it strongly. In his well-defended camp a large army of various nationalities was mustered under his orders. Ennodius speaks of 'so many kings'​29 trooping to the war under Odovacar's banners. Pompous and inflated though his style is, it is difficult to suppose that this detail is absolutely devoid of truth. Perhaps, in the motley host who first acclaimed Odovacar as king, there may have been chiefs and princelings who retained some of their old semi-royal position towards their followers, while towards him they were but generals under a generalissimo. Perhaps also the nations on the Danube, Alamanni, Thuringians, Gepidae, had sent their contingents to defend the menaced throne of the conqueror of the Rugians.

Battle of the Isonzo, 28 Aug., 489. Of the battle of the Isonzo, which was fought on the 28th of August,​30 we have no details. Odovacar had all the advantages of position, of preparation, and of a force which must surely have been more easily handled than the long train, encumbered with women and with waggons, which emerged from under the  p191 shadow of the Tarnovaner Wald. But it is probably true, as Ennodius declares, that the vast mass of the defending armament wanted a soul. Its leader, who throughout this war shows not a single instinct of general­ship nor trace of that soldierly dash which first made him conspicuous among his fellows, had probably grown torpid during his thirteen years of royalty, amid such animal delights as Italy could offer to a barbarian autocrat. And on the other side were three powerful champions, Youth in the leader, Loyalty in the led, and Despair in both. The deep river was crossed, the vallum climbed, the camp taken: a crowd of fugitives scattered over the plain announced to the villages of Venetia that the day of Odovacar's supremacy was drawing to a close.31

Theodoric dates his reign from this victory. Odovacar fled from the Isonzo to the line of the Adige, thus abandoning the whole modern province of Venetia to the invader.​32 So large and so fair a slice of Northern Italy owning his sway, justified that invader in looking on himself as from that day forward a ruler in Italy, not the mere leader of a wandering host. Near the close of his reign, when a question arose how far back the judge might go in enquiring into the wrongful ouster of a Roman from his farm, Theodoric made his 'Statute of Limitations' commence with the victory of the Isonzo. 'If,' he said, 'the eviction took place after the time when by  p192 the favour of God we crossed the streams of the Sontius, when first the Empire of Italy received us, then let the farm be restored to its former owner, and that whether thirty years have since elapsed or not.' Further back than that, into the wrongs inflicted at the time of the Herulo-Rugian land settlement, Theodoric did not consider himself bound to travel or to enquire.33

Odovacar's position. Odovacar's next stand was to be made at Verona; and here 'in the Campus Minor,' as before at the Isonzo, he entrenched himself in a fossatum, a large square camp, doubtless surrounded with those deep fosses of which the archaeologist who has studied the Roman military works in Britain and Germany can form some not wholly inadequate conception. On the top of the mound, formed of the earth thrown up out of the ditch, would probably be planted a line of sharp stakes. Here the attacked king stood at bay, having the line of the deep and rapid Adige behind him, to compel his followers to fight by the impossibility of escape.​34 There had been some vaunting words uttered by Odovacar in the parleys which preceded the combat; and 'if the tongue could have achieved victory instead of the right arm,' says Ennodius, 'his army of words would have been invincible.' But in truth his army was a very formidable one in point of numbers:  p193 and when Theodoric, on the night before the battle, pacing up and down, saw the wide extent of his campfires gleaming like earthly constellations upon the hills between him and Verona, his heart well-nigh died within him. But, as his panegyrist truly says, there was a certain calm and noble stability in the nature of the Ostrogothic king. He was not easily elated by good, nor depressed by adverse fortune, and his serene assurance of victory communicated itself to his countrymen.

Battle of Verona, 30 Sept., 489. At dawn on the 30th of September​35 the trumpets of the two armies sounded for battle. While Theodoric was arming himself with breastplate of steel, was buckling on his greaves, and hanging to his side that sword which his Roman admirer calls 'the champion of freedom,'​36 his mother Erelieva and his sister Amalfrida came to him, not to depress his courage by womanly lamentations, but, anxious as to the result of the day, to try to read in his beloved face the omens of victory. He reassured their doubting hearts with cheering words: 'Mother, this day it behoves me to show to the world that it was indeed a man‑child whom you bore on that great day of the victory over the Huns. I too, in the play of lances, have to show myself worthy of my ancestors' renown by winning  p194 new victories of my own. Before my soul's eye stands my father, the mighty Theudemir, he who never doubted of victory, and therefore never failed to achieve it. Bring forth, oh my mother and my sister, my own splendid robes, those on which your fingers have worked the most gorgeous embroidery. I would be more gaily dressed on this day than on any holiday. If the enemy do not recognise me, as I trow they shall, by the violence of my onset, let them recognise me by the brilliancy of my raiment. If Fortune give my throat to the sword of the enemy, let him that slays me have a grand reward for his labour. Let them at least say, "How splendid he looks in death," if they have not the chance to admire me fighting.' With these words of joyous confidence, instinct with the life of the coming age of chivalry, Theodoric leaped on his charger and was soon in the thickest of the fray. It was time for him to make his appearance. Even while he was saying his farewells, the Ostrogoths were slightly wavering under the onset of the enemy. The charge of Theodoric and his chosen troops restored the fortunes of the day. There are indications, however, that the victory, perhaps owing to the positions of the Rugo-Herulian troops which made escape all but impossible, was more stubbornly contested than that of the Isonzo, and that the Ostrogothic loss was heavy.​37 Before the end of the day, however, the troops of Odovacar were all cut to pieces, or whelmed beneath the swift waves of the Adige, save a few bold swimmers who may have escaped, Horatius-like, by swimming the stream.​38 In these  p195 fierce battles of Teuton against Teuton, we hear nothing of quarter asked or granted. Apparently Odovacar, in order to urge his troops to more desperate efforts, must have broken down the bridge behind them leading to Verona.​39 Flight of Odovacar to Ravenna. He himself escaped, but not westward. He sped across the plain, towards the south-east, and took refuge in the impregnable Ravenna. One authority, of a late date, says that he first fled to Rome, and finding the gates of the city closed against him, wasted the surrounding country with fire and sword.​40 In the face, however, of the clear testimony of the contemporary writer, whom scholars call the Chronographer of Ravenna,​41 and who  p196 evidently watched the successive acts of the bloody drama with minute and eager interest, it seems safer to affirm that the beaten king fled at once from the battle-field to the secure shelter of Ravenna and her dykes.42

Theodoric at Milan. Theodoric meanwhile repaired to Mediolanum, that great city which had been so often in the third and fourth centuries the residence of emperors, and which was still the most important city of the Province of Liguria, as its successor, Milan, is of the modern Lombardy. Here he received the submission of a large part of the army of his rival. Great as had been the number of the slain, it was still a goodly host which stood before him, their arms bright and dazzling as a German's arms were bound to be on a day of parade, and which, probably by the clash of spear on shield, acclaimed him as victor and lord.​43 The Amal's heart may well have beat high at the sight, and it doubtless seemed to him that the labour of conquest was over and that he was indisputed lord of Italy.

But this early success was a delusion. Easily as  p197 these Teutonic bands turned about from one lord to another, there was still too much vitality in the cause of Odovacar for him to be abandoned so utterly by his followers as seemed to be the case at Milan in October 489. Double treachery of Tufa. Treason to the new lord was already preparing itself in the hearts of the surrendered army, and the manager, for a time the successful manager, of this treasonable movement, which seemed likely to change the whole course of the war, was Tufa. This man, evidently a person of mark in the Rugo-Herulian army, perhaps one of the 'kings' whom Ennodius describes as commanding it, had been solemnly, in an assembly of the chiefs, appointed Magister Militum by Odovacar on the 1st of April in this year.​44 The part which he now played, whether it were the result of deep and calculated treachery or simply of unreasoning impulse, vibrating backwards and forwards between the old master and the new, reminds a modern reader of the conduct of Marshal Ney in 1815, setting forth from Paris with the assurance to Louis XVIII that he would in a week bring back the Corsican usurper in an iron cage, and, before the week was over, deserting to Napoleon with all his troops. But assuredly, if Tufa may pair off with Ney, we are under no temptation to carry the parallel further. The glorious young  p198 Amal king is as much above the gouty Bourbon epicure, as the incapable resourceless Odovacar is below the mighty Napoleon.

He betrays Theodoric's friends to Odovacar. Theodoric, who seems to have been thoroughly blinded by his confidence in Tufa, sent him, probably within a few days after the interview at Milan, to besiege his old master at Ravenna. Tufa advanced along the great Aemilian Way, as far as Faventia,​45 about eighteen miles from that city. There he began the blockade of the capital, but when Odovacar came forth, came to Faventia itself, and had an interview with his former subordinate, Tufa changed again, abandoned the cause of Theodoric, and had the baseness to surrender the 'Comites Theodorici,' probably some Ostrogothic nobles, members of the Comitatus of Theodoric, into the hands of Theodoric's enemy. They were loaded with chains and brought into Ravenna, and there they appear to have been foully murdered by Odovacar, an event which, more than any other, embittered the contest of the two rivals.

Theodoric withdraws to Ticinum. This defection of Tufa, accompanied probably by a large part of the troops committed to his charge, caused a violent revulsion in the fortunes of Theodoric. The Ostrogoth, who had been dreaming of dominion, now found himself again called upon to plan for the mere safety and subsistence of himself and his people. Milan seemed to him too exposed, too accessible from Ravenna, to be safely selected as his winter-quarters. He chose instead the city of Ticinum (Pavia), which resting on two rivers, the Ticino and the Po, would offer more difficulties to an advancing army. Here  p199 too dwelt the saintly bishop Epiphanius, towards whom, notwithstanding the difference of his creed, the young Ostrogoth seem to have been drawn, as Ricimer and Euric had been drawn,​46 by the transparent beauty and holiness of his character. He said at once, 'Here is a bishop who in all the East has not his equal, whom even to have seen is a high privilege.' And, according to the biographer, he added that the city must be safe where such a good man dwelt, that here was a wall which no soldiers could storm, no Balearic slingers could over-shoot. Whether he indulged in quite such soaring flights of rhetoric or not, it is clear that he did select Pavia not only for his own quarters in the winter of 489‑490, but also as a place of safe deposit where he might leave his venerable mother, and where all the other non‑combatants of the Gothic army might be collected, for what remained to them of the war, a period, as it turned out, of three years.​47 489‑492 Epiphanius and Theodoric. During this period, Epiphanius played his difficult part with that success which is sometimes the reward of a perfectly simple and unselfish character, surrounded by unscrupulous and greedy men. Though he evidently inclined to the side of Theodoric, he succeeded in maintaining friendly relations with Odovacar. He obtained from both princes the one boon on which his heart was set, the liberation of 'prisoners and captives,' and this not for his own Roman compatriots only. Often did an Ostrogoth or a Turcilingian, whose wife and children had  p200 fallen into hands of the enemy, obtain, through the prayers of the Bishop, that redemption which gold would have been powerless to procure. To the not over-welcome guests in his own city the generosity of Epiphanius was conspicuous. It was a singular state of affairs, as his biographer truly, if somewhat bombastically, points out. 'Those forces of Theodoric, which the whole East had scarcely been able to support, were now contracted within the limits of a single town. You saw that town swarming with the gatherings of tribesmen, the heads of mighty clans cooped up in narrow hovels. Whole homesteads seemed to have migrated from their foundations, and scarcely was there standing-room for the new inhabitants.' In these strangely altered circumstances of his diocese the Bishop applied himself to relieve, to the utmost of his ability, the bodily needs of the newcomers, forgetting, or teaching himself to forget, that it was by them and such as them that the estates of his bishopric had been laid waste, and his own income pitiably diminished. And living, as he had now to live, for three years, constantly under the eyes of 'a most clever people, quickly touched by the lightest breath of suspicion, in troublous times such as make even gentle hearts cruel through fear,' he showed himself so uniformly kind and true that he retained their unwavering esteem and confidence. As has been already said, the princes, who were at deadly war with one another, agreed in venerating Epiphanius.48

 p201  The Burgundians help Odovacar. The campaign of the year 490 was marked by the formation of great transalpine alliances which, though we hear but vaguely concerning them, must have exercised an important influence on the fortunes of the war. Gundobad, king of the Burgundians, of whom we have heard nothing since, sixteen years before, he left his client Glycerius defenceless against Nepos and stole back to his own kingdom by the Rhone,​49 now seeing the tide apparently on the turn against Theodoric, and fearing probably that, if he conquered, the Ostrogoth of Italy and the Visigoth of Gaul would join hands and the Burgundian would have an evil time between them,​50 invaded Liguria with a large army.​51 Whether he came as an ally of Odovacar to effect a seasonable diversion in his favour, or simply to rob and ravage on his own account, is not clear from history, very possibly was not altogether clear to the  p202 mind of the Burgundian. What is undoubted, is that Theodoric, in some way, either by force or favour, caused him to abandon his opposition, that a treaty was concluded between them which in after years was ripened into a firm and lasting friendship, but that, in the mean time, Gundobad, in returning across the Alps, took with him a long train of captives who were to languish in exile for at least four years, while their native fields in Liguria were well-nigh relapsing into a wilderness for lack of cultivators.

The Visigoths and Theodoric. The natural counterpoise to the Burgundians in the political scale was the power of the Visigoths, and those remote kinsmen of the people of Theodoric interfered on his behalf in the campaign. Odovacar seems to have occupied the months of spring and early summer in winning back the country between Ravenna and Cremona, aided perhaps by the attacks of Gundobad on Liguria which called all Theodoric's energies to the western end of the valley of the Po. Milan was then visited by Odovacar, and roughly handled by him in retribution for the readiness with which its bishop, Laurentius, and its principal citizens had welcomed Theodoric in the preceding year. Battle of the Adda, 11 August, 490. At length, on the river Addua (Adda), ten miles east of Milan, the great battle of the year was fought. We only know that in it Theodoric was helped by his Visigothic kinsmen, and that, after another terrible slaughter on both sides, victory again rested on the standards of Theodoric. In this battle Odovacar lost his Count of the Domestics, the officer who had superintended the emigration of the provincials from Noricum to Campania, and to whom he had given the lands in Melita and Syracuse, his faithful friend and counsellor  p203 Pierius. Odovacar himself fled, and again shut himself up by the lagoons of Ravenna, never more to emerge from their shelter.

General assassination of the followers of Odovacar. It is apparently to the same year, 490, that we must refer a mysterious movement against the followers of Odovacar all over Italy, of which we have some dark intimations in the Panegyric of Ennodius. He speaks of it as in some sort a counter-blow to the treachery of Tufa.

'It pleased them [Tufa and his confederates] to promise a kingdom to Odovacar, when he again stretched out a peaceful hand towards them. But, as soon as their deed was brought to light, the miscalculation which their hostile minds had made became apparent. You [Theodoric] appealed to that Providence which watched over all your steps, and, that the greed of those deserters might not go unpunished, you unfurled the banners of revenge and made the people, whose friendship to you was now thoroughly proved, the confidant of your secret designs. Not one of your adversaries got scent of the scheme, though more than half the world had to share it with you. Over the most widely severed districts [of Italy] was arranged a sacrificial slaughter.​52 What but the will of the Most High can have brought this to pass, that in one instant of time the score which had been so long accumulating against the slaughters of the Roman name should be wiped away?'

It has been truly pointed out by the best of our German guides,​53 that these words point to a kind of 'Sicilian Vespers' of the followers of Odovacar all over Italy; and, from the  p204 sanctimonious manner in which the Bishop claims Heaven as an accomplice in the bloody deed, we may perhaps infer that the Roman clergy generally were privy to the plot.

Blockade of Ravenna. The action of the drama for the next three years is almost entirely confined to Ravenna, which city, Caesena and Rimini, were the only places in Italy that still held out for Odovacar. Theodoric seems to have recognised the impossibility of taking Ravenna by assault. His only hope was to reduce it by blockade, and that was a slender hope, so long as he was not master of the Hadriatic and vessels could enter the harbour of Classis, bringing provisions to the besieged king. However, he occupied a position 'in the Pineta,' in that magnificent pine-wood which every traveller to Ravenna knows so well, skirting its eastern horizon and shutting out the sight of the sea. Here, at three miles distance from the city,​54 he entrenched himself with a deep and widely extended fossatum, and waited for events. His taking up this position, eastward, that is sea‑ward of the city, probably implied a determination to cut off, as much as possible, all succours from the sea, while his flying squadrons no doubt blocked the communications with the Aemilian Way and effectually prevented assistance by land. Famine price of corn in Ravenna. The blockade, by one means or other, must have been a tolerably effective one, since corn, in the markets of Ravenna, rose to the famine price of six solidi per Modius, equivalent to seventy‑two shillings a peck, or £114 4s. a quarter. This was, it is true, not quite equal to the price (£192 a quarter) paid in the camp  p205 of Jovian during the disastrous retreat of the Roman army from Persia.​55 But, on the other hand, in the good days that were coming for Italy under the peaceful reign of that very Theodoric whose fossatum now caused such terrible distress to the Queen of the Hadriatic, the ordinary price of one modius of wheat was to be not six solidi, but one‑sixtieth of a solidus, equivalent to 6s. 4d. a quarter.56

Theodoric sends Faustus on an embassy to Constantinople. Before the year 490 ended, Theodoric, considering himself now de facto lord of Italy, sent Faustus, a Roman noble, chief of the Senate and Consul for the year, to claim from Zeno the imperial robes, perhaps also the imperial diadem, which Odovacar, in his politic modesty, had sent to Constantinople after the downfall of Augustulus. Faustus, however, probably arrived only in time to stand by the wretched and crime-polluted death‑bed of the Emperor, to hear his ravings about the guardsman who was to be his successor, and to behold his remorse for the murder of Pelagius. In April of the next year Zeno was a corpse, and Anastasius the Silentiary reigned in his stead. From him Theodoric was one day to receive the recognition which he desired, but he was not to receive it yet.

Odovacar's sortie from Ravenna, July, 491. The chief event of the year 491 was a desperate sally made from Ravenna by the besieged king. Odovacar had by some means or other procured a reinforcement of Heruli fresh from their Danubian home. With these recruits, seeing that Theodoric was dwelling securely behind his fossatum, and believing him to have relaxed his guard, he one night issued forth from Ravenna and attacked the entrenchment of the Goths. The battle was long, and great was the  p206 number of the slain on both sides. But, at length, Odovacar had again to acknowledge himself defeated. His Magister Militum, a certain Libilia (or Levila), was slain, perhaps drowned in attempting to cross the sluggish and slimy Ronco.​57 The Heruli, as Ennodius exultingly remarks,​58 after making proof of Theodoric's prowess in their own home, had now an opportunity of repeating the experience on Italian soil. This engagement occurred about the 10th (or 15th) of July. Odovacar again retired into his lair; 18 or 22 Aug., 491 and Theodoric, a month later, returned to his temporary capital at Pavia. It is possible that the Burgundian invader was not yet finally disposed of: and no doubt the home-loving Ostrogoth longed again to behold the faces of his mother and his children. Of course, the blockade was continued with unabated vigour.

Lull in the war, 492. In the year 492 we have again a strange dearth of events in the early part of the year; the only incident which our careful diarists at Ravenna have to record being that, on the 26th of May, 'an earthquake took place at night before the crowing of the cocks.' Possibly both parties sought to strengthen themselves for each campaign by drawing fresh recruits from beyond the Alps, in which case the difficulty of crossing the snow-covered passes might well postpone the conflict of the year till June or July. Theodoric at Rimini. Theodoric, however, now took a step, which probably should have  p207 been taken before, in order to make his blockade perfect. He went southward to Ariminum, about thirty miles distant (one sees the Rock of S. Marino which overhangs Rimini, cutting the horizon as one looks southward from the church towers of Ravenna), and he appears to have reduced that town to his obedience. His fleet of cutters. What was more important, he made himself master of a fleet of cutters (called dromones, 'runners,' in the Latin of that age). With these he arrived at the Lion's Harbour, a port about six miles from Ravenna, where in later days he built a small palace — perhaps a country retreat — in a camp which, probably from this circumstance, was called Fossatum Palatioli. Here we must leave him, watching with ships and soldiers against the entrance of any provisions into Ravenna, while the scene shifts for a moment to the banks of the Ticino and the Adige.

Treachery of Frederic the Rugian. Few men, one would think, in the Ostrogothic army had more powerful motives for loyalty than Frederic prince of the Rugians. His father and mother had been led into captivity by the armies of Odovacar, he himself, twice defeated and expelled by the same armies, had sought the palace of Theodoric a helpless fugitive. As a member of Theodoric's Comitatus, he had now entered Italy, and had fought by his side in three, perhaps in four, bloody battles. He was, if he could exercise patience and fidelity for a few months longer, about to taste delicious and long-delayed vengeance on the enemy of his race. His junction with Tufa. Yet, with characteristic fickleness, at this crisis, or perhaps some months earlier, Frederic deserted the standards of Theodoric and entered into a treasonable correspondence with the double traitor Tufa, who,  p208 with some sort of army under his orders, was still roving about the plains of Lombardy. Perhaps some remembrance of their common Rugian nationality working in the mind of Frederic drew him away from the Ostrogothic chief, and towards the followers of Odovacar. Perhaps Theodoric had not assigned a sufficiently high place in his counsels to the son of a king whose word had once been the mightiest in all the regions of the Middle Danube. More probably, Frederic saw simply a better chance of plunder and of eventual kingship by fighting for his own band, and with barbarian naturalness went straight towards what seemed to be his own interests, without troubling himself for fine words to justify his treason.

The Rugians at Ticinum. The Rugians occupied Pavia; this we know from the distress which they caused to the soul of the saintly Epiphanius. Possibly enough, they may have laid their hands on some of the moveable property of the Ostrogoths in the City of Refuge: but women and children and the rest of the non‑combatants must have escaped unharmed, for we should certainly have heard of it had there been any general massacre. For nearly two years the Rugians made Pavia their head-quarters. 'A race,' says Ennodius, 'hideous by every kind of savagery, whose minds, full of cruel energy, prompted them to daily crimes. In fact, they thought that a day was wasted which had passed unsignalised by any kind of outrage.'​59 The sweet discourses of the prelate, however, softened even  p209 these wild men's hearts. 'Who could hear without astonishment that the Rugians, who will scarcely condescend to obey even kings, both feared and loved a bishop, a Catholic and a Roman? Yet so it was; and when the time for their departure came, they left him even with tears, although they were returning to their parents and families.'60

End of the Rugian under‑war. The mention of a period of 'nearly two years' for the stay of the Rugians at Pavia, coming as it does after the description of three years of Gothic tarriance in that city, brings us down nearly to the end of 494 for the date of their final expulsion. As we shall see, Odovacar had disappeared from the scene before that date. The Rugians therefore probably continued fighting on their own account, and required a separate castigation from Theodoric. But of all this we have no record.

Quarrel between Tufa and Frederic. We do know however that, in the year with which we are now dealing (492), the two traitors Tufa and Frederic quarrelled about the division of the spoil.​61 A battle ensued between them in the valley of the Adige, betwixt Trient and Verona. Death of Tufa. After many thousands of men had been killed on both sides, the death of Tufa put an end to the battle. Frederic, as  p210 has been said above, probably remained to trouble his benefactor some little time longer, but henceforth he disappears from history. Ennodius is jubilant, and not without cause, over this merciful arrangement of Providence, by which the two traitorous enemies of the King were made to counter-work one another's evil designs, and Frederic first earned, at the expense of Tufa, the triumph which his own defeat was afterwards to yield to Theodoric.

Famine in Ravenna, 493. The year 493, the five years of the war, the fourth of the siege, the second of the complete blockade, of Ravenna, opened upon a terrible state of things in the hunger-stricken capital. Men were staying the gnawing of their stomachs by eating hides and all kinds of unclean and horrible victuals, and still they were dying fast of famine.62

Surrender of Ravenna. At length the stubborn heart of Odovacar was quelled. He commenced negotiations for a surrender, and on the 25th February he handed over his son Thelane as a hostage for his fidelity. On the following day Theodoric entered Classis in state, that seaport being probably assigned to the Ostrogothic army for their head-quarters. On the next day, 27th of August, peace was formally made between Theodoric and Odovacar, John the Archbishop of Ravenna acting as mediator.

Terms of the capitulation. The life of the defeated king was to be safe.​63 Nay more, he and his conqueror were, at any rate in  p211 appearance, to be joint rulers of the Western Empire. The arrangement was so obviously destitute of any of the elements of stability, so sure to breed plots and counter-plots, so impotent a conclusion to the long blockade of Ravenna, that we might hesitate​64 to accept its accuracy, but that a recently-discovered fragment of the well-informed John of Antioch confirms the statement of Procopius too emphatically to allow us to reject it.65

5 March, 493, Theodoric enters Ravenna. It was not til the 5th of March that the victorious Ostrogoth rode through the gates of Ravenna, and took possession of the city which for the remaining thirty-three years of his life was to be his home. Before he entered the Archbishop went forth to meet him, 'with crosses and thuribles and the Holy Gospels,' and with a long train of priests and monks. Falling prostrate on the ground, while his followers sang a penitential psalm, he prayed that 'the new King from the East' would receive him into his peace. The request was granted, not only for himself and the citizens of Ravenna, but for all the Roman inhabitants of Italy. The terms of the real peace had no doubt been strenuously debated with the Teutonic comrades of Odovacar; but a ceremony like this, pre‑arranged in all probability between the King and the Archbishop, was judged proper, in order to impress vividly on the minds both of Italians and Ostrogoths that Theodoric came as the friend of the Catholic Church  p212 and of the vast population which, even in accepting a new master, still clung to the great name of Roman.

Assassination of Odovacar. For ten days there were frequent interviews between the two chieftains; then, on the 15th of March, the Ostrogoth invited his rival to a banquet in the Palace of the Laurel-Grove, at the south-east corner of the city. Odovacar came attended by his faithful comitatus, but was probably led to a seat of honour and thus separated from his friends. Two men knelt before him to prefer some pretended request, and clasped his hands in the earnestness of their entreaty. Then rushed forth some soldiers who had been placed in ambush in two alcoves on either side of the banquet-hall. But when they came in sight of the victim, something in his aspect, either his kingly majesty or possibly his white hairs,​66 or simply the fact that he was defenceless, struck such a chill into their hearts that they could not attack him. Then strode forth Theodoric and raised his sword to strike him. 'Where is God?' cried Odovacar in a vain appeal to Divine justice. 'This is what thou didst to my friends,' shouted Theodoric, kindling his rage by the remembrance of his comrades, slain by his rival after their base betrayal by Tufa. The blow descended on Odovacar's collar-bone, and stayed not til the sword had reached his loin. Theodoric himself was surprised at the trenchancy of his stroke, and said with a brutal laugh, 'I think the wretch had never a bone in his body.'

Death of his relatives. The assassinated king was at once buried in a stone coffin close by the Hebrew synagogue. His comitatus, powerless to save him, fell in the same fatal banquet- p213 hall.​67 His brother (possibly Onoulf) was shot down with arrows while attempting to escape through the palace garden. Sunigilda, the wife of Odovacar, was closely imprisoned, and died of hunger. Their son Thelane,​68 whom his father in prosperous days had designated as Caesar, and who had more recently been given over as a hostage for his fidelity, was sent off to Gaul, doubtless to Theodoric's Visigothic ally King Alaric, and, having subsequently escaped thence to Italy, was put to death by order of the conqueror. So did the whole brood perish, and Italy had but one undoubted master, the son of Theudemir.

No! It was not well done by thee, descendant of so many Amal kings! Whatever a mere Roman emperor, a crowned upstart of yesterday, might do in breaking faith with his rivals, a Basiliscus or an Armatius, thou shouldest have kept thy Teutonic troth inviolate. And so, when we enter that wonderful cenotaph of the Middle Ages, the church of the Franciscans at Innsbruck, and see thee standing there, in size more than human, beside the bearers of the greatest names of chivalry, Frankish Charles and British Arthur, and Godfrey with the Crown of Thorns; one memory, and hardly more than one, prevents our classing thee with the purest and the noblest of them, — the memory of thy assassinated rival Odovacar.

The Author's Notes:

1 Count Cipolla (in the fourth volume of the Atti e Memorie della R. Accademia di Scienze, in Padova) argues with some ingenuity that the Panegyric of Ennodius was never recited orally, but was written only to be read. I think he shows that this is possible, but hardly that it is probable.

2 See II.475.

3 See I.706.

4 See II.190.

5 See I.899.

6 In the first volume (first edition) it was said that this continuation reaches to the year 514. This is not accurate, as the chronicle reaches to 641. But all that is really valuable in the continuation, all that can be referred to the Annals of Ravenna, ends with 514. What follows after this is extracted verbatim from Isidore of Seville. This document has now been edited by Mommsen for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica.

7 Καὶ αὐτῷ ὁ τῶν Γότθων λεὼς εἵπετο, παῖδάς τε καὶ γυναῖκας ἐν ταῖς ἁμάξαις ἐνθέμενοι καὶ τὰ ἔπιπλα ὅσα φέρειν οἷοί τε ἦσαν (De Bello Gothico, I.1).

8 I suppose this is the meaning of 'nullus praeter parentem iter arripuit.' It would be absurd to say that every one who set out on the journey was a parent.

9 Ennodius, Panegyricus, p173. It is this passage which seems to compel us, contrary to probability, to fix the departure of Theodoric for the late autumn or winter of 488. But as Ennodius is drawing a general picture, I am not sure that the winter of 489, passed by the Goths in Lombardy, would not satisfy his description.

10 Described in chap. III.

11 This is substantially Köpke's calculation (pp167‑8); Dahn guesses the whole multitude at 250,000 (II.78); Pallmann (II.437) at 300,000 Goths and 40,000 or 50,000 Rugians.

12 Procopius, De Bello Gothico, I.16 (p82 ed. Bonn).

13 In the Antonine Itinerary the journey from Viminacium (near the confluence of the Morava and the Danube) to Nicomedia in Bithynia (Constantinople was then not built) is traced all along the southern shore of the Danube to its mouth, then southwards along the Black Sea coast (mainly) and across the Bosporus to the capital of Diocletian, a total distance of 1162 Roman miles, but by no means in a straight line.

14 It is hardly necessary to discuss the statement of Procopius, according to which Theodoric first made for the narrow passage of the Adriatic from Dyrrhachium to Brundisium. 'But when they came close to the Ionian Gulf [Hadriatic] they were by no means able to cross over it, not having any ships, so, going round the head of the Gulf, they moved forward through the territory of the Taulantii and the other nations in that quarter.' Again this most improbable statement, which would impute to Theodoric a want of forethought very unlike his usual character, we have to set the clear words of Jordanes, copying no doubt from Cassiodorus: 'He led his people to Italy, and taking the straight course by Sirmium ascended to the confines of Pannonia, whence entering the borders of Venetia he pitched his camp by the bridge over the Isonzo' ('Hesperiam tendit rectoque itinere per Sirmis ascendit vicina Pannoniae, indeque Venetiarum fines ingressus ad Pontem Sontii castra metatus est'). 'Ascended' just fits his course up the valleys of the Drave and The Save. Probably Procopius knew vaguely of Theodoric's operations against Dyrrhachium in 479 and mixed them up with his march to Italy.

15 See chap. I.

16 De Bello Vandalico, I.2 (vol. I p313 ed. Bonn).

17 'Pro legatis et gratiae postulatione, obsistendi animo gens diu invicta properavit' (Ennodius, p173).

18 Vol. I p33.

19 Ennodius, p173.

20 This is the view put forward by Manso (p453) and supported by Köpke (p170).

21 Though most reluctant to differ from Zeuss (Die Deutschen, &c., p439), geographical considerations will hardly allow us to accept his identification of Ulca fluvius with the Aluta, a stream flowing into the Danube only thirty or forty miles west of Novae and on the Dacian side of the river.

22 II.18.

23 The identification of the Ulca fluvius of Ennodius with the Hiulca Palus of Victor (Epitome XLI) is greatly strengthened by Ennodius's description of the battle, which recalls the idea of a morass or fen‑country rather than a river properly so called. The words of Zosimus (II.18) are: Πόλις δὲ αὕτη [Κίβαλις] Παιονίας ἐστίν, ἐπὶ λόφου κειμένη. Στενὴ δὲ ὁδὸς ἣ ἐπὶ τὴν πόλιν ἀνάγει, σταδίων πέντε τὸ εὖρος ἔχουσα, ἧς τὸ πολὺ μέρος ἐπέχει λίμνη βαθεῖα, τὸ δὲ λειπόμενον ὄρος ἐστίν, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὁ λόφος ἐφ’ οὗπερ ἡ πόλις. Ἐντεῦθεν πεδίον ἀναπεπταμένον ἐκδέχεται πολύ τι καὶ εἰς ἄποψιν ἄπειρον. Victor (as above) says: 'Primumque apud Cibalas juxta paludem Hiulcam nomine, Constantino nocte castra Licinii irrumpente, Licinius fugam petiit.' Some MSS. read Vulcam.

24 Or Trapstila (Miscella Historia).

25 'Instantibus Gepidis, amne, pestilentia iter quod declinasset fugiens . . . transvolasti.'

26 'Jejunas pectorum crates acta validioribus lacertis lancea transmeabat' (Ennodius, p174).

27 His dictis, poculum causa poposcit Auspicii' (p174). Do the words simply indicate the drinking of a cup of wine to the success of the Ostrogoths?

28 Paulus, XV.15.

29 'Tibi cum rectore meo, Odovacar, occurro, qui universas contra eum nationes, quasi orbis concussor, exciveras. Tot reges tecum ad bella convenerant, quot sustinere generalitas milites vix valeret.'

30 V Kal. Sept. (Cuspiniani Anon.)

31 'Non te castra longo munita tempore, non fluminis profunda tenuerunt: datum est hostibus tuis vallum construere, non tueri. Repente aequora fugacium discursus obnubit, per quae superandam domesticam tempestatem abeuntibus indixisti' (?).

32 Not quite the whole, according to the Constantinian arrangement of the Empire. 'Venetia et Histria' reached as far as the Adda.

33 'Si Romanum praedium ex quo, Deo propitio, Sonti fluenta transmisimus, ubi primum Italiae nos suscepit imperium, sine delegatoris cujusquam pyctacio, praesumptor barbarus occupavit, eum priori domino submota dilatione restituat' (Variarum, I.18). The 'pyctacium delegatoris' is practically equivalent to 'conveyance from the previous owner.'

34 'Electus est locorum situs, non tam congressui utilis quam pavori.'

35 'At vero Odoachar abiit in Veronam, et fixit fossatum in campo minore Veronensi V kalendas Octobris. Ibique persecutus est eum Theodericus, et, pugna facta, ceciderunt populi ab utraque parte; tamen superatus Odoachar fugit Ravennam pridie kalendas Octobris' (Anon. Valesii, 50). Though this them is not very clear, it seems to show that Odovacar entrenched himself at Verona on the 27th of September, and that his defeat and flight to Ravenna took place three days after.

36 'Dum munimentis chalybio pectus includeres, dum ocreis armarere, dum lateri tuo vindex libertatis gladius aptaretur.'

37 'Ceciderunt populi ab utraque parte' (Ennodius).

38 It seems that Verona was considered the greatest of Theodoric's victories. There is something deserving of consideration in the suggestion of Pallmann (II.449‑450) that it was from this victory, rather than from his occasional residence at Verona as sovereign, that Theodoric acquired the name by which he is so well known in Saga, 'Dietrich of Bern.'

39 Ennodius, in describing the battle of Verona, becomes almost sublime. 'Oh, Adige,' he says, 'all hail! most illustrious of rivers, who hast washed away the stain of Italy, keeping thine own blue waters pure.' But then he goes on to describe the harvest of human bones which whitened all the plain, and, with a ferocity as inconsistent with his sacred character as with good taste, regrets that this memorial of the triumph of Theodoric and of the ended woes of Italy cannot always be preserved. He regrets that the grazing cattle are constantly destroying these relics of the battlefield: 'O utinam voracibus abripere aliquid bestiis non liceret! Perit desiderabili spectaculo quod acquisiverint furta belluarum.'

40 This is the account of Paulus (end of eighth century) in the Historia Miscella: 'Odovacer autem cum his qui evaserunt fugiens Romam contendit, sed obseratis continuo portis exclusus est. Qui dum sibi denegari introitum cerneret, omnia quaeque adtingere potuit gladio flammisque consumpsit. Inde quoque egrediens Ravennam ingressus est,' etc. (XV.15).

41 As copied by the Anonymus Valesii, § 50, and especially by the Copenhagen MS. of the Continuator of Prosper (sometimes called the Chronicle of 641), et Ravennam cum exercitu fugiens pervenit.

42 Immediately after his description of the battle of Verona, Ennodius inserts a spirited appeal to Rome: 'I wish that you, oh venerable city, notwithstanding your age, could come and see the sight. Why do you always remain cooped up in your mouldering temples? Come here and see the clemency of our king,' and so on. It seems to me possible that this apostrophe, misunderstood by some later author, may have originated the story of Odovacar's flight to Rome.

43 'Ecce iterum ad deditionem sibi cognitam hostium leto debita pars cucurrit: et cum excessissent occumbentes numerum ad servitium tamen armis instructa radiantibus agmina convenerunt' (Ennodius).

44 'Et perambulavit Theodericus patricius Mediolanum, et tradiderunt se illi maxima pars exercitus Odoacris, necnon et Tufa magister militum quem ordinaverat Odoachar cum optimatibus suis kal. Aprilis (An. Val. § 51). The combination of the Germanic Folc-mote ('cum optimatibus suis') with the Roman office of Magister Militum is curious. I entirely dissent from Pallmann's view that the date (kal. Apr.) applies to the defection of Tufa rather than to his appointment. This mistake (as I think it) has led him to attribute to 490 some of the events of 489.

45 The modern Faenza, which has given its name faïence to French earthenware.

46 See vol. II pp470490.

47 Ennodius's Life of St. Epiphanius now again becomes an authority, side by side with his Panegyric on Theodoric. The former mentions the name of Tufa ('homo in perfugarum infamia notitia veteri pollutus'), which is absent from the latter.

48 'Videres urbem familiarium coetibus scatentem: domorum immanium culmina in angustissimis resecata tuguriis: cerneres a fundamentis aedificia immensa migrare (?); nec ad recipiendam habitantum densitatem solum ipsum posse sufficere.

'Cum sagacissima gente habitans, et quam nulla suspicionum aura praetervolat, in rebus dubiis quando metus periculi etiam mitia contra quoslibet corda sollicitat, sic illis fidelissimus exstitit, ut inimicos eorum toto devinctos teneret affectu, et inter dissidentes principes solus esset qui pace frueretur amborum.'

The remark as to the effect of fear in making men cruel is worthy of a better writer than Ennodius.

49 Vol. II p482.

50 This is well pointed out by Köpke, p173.

51 The words of the Historia Miscella are so clear, and so completely harmonise with the allusion in Ennodius (Panegyric, p177), that, entirely uncontradicted as they are by any of the chroniclers, I do not like to disregard them, though Binding (pp103‑4) takes a different view of the time and cause of this invasion. The Historia Miscella says, 'Talium rerum varietates [the treachery of Tufa and Theodoric's withdrawal to Pavia] Burgundionum rex Gundubatus aspiciens Liguriam cum ingenti exercitu ingressus cuncta quae reperire poterat pro voluntate diripiens infinitam secum ad Gallias captivorum multitudinem abduxit.'

52 'Mandata est per regiones disjunctissimas nex votiva.'

53 Dahn, II.10.

54 Jordanes, De Reb. Geticis, LVII 'Tertio fere miliario ab urbe locus').

55 Ammianus Marcellinus, XXV.8.

56 Anon. Valesii, 53.

57 Called Bedens (? for Bedesis) by the chronicler.

58 'Consumpta res est prospero fatalique bello; succisa est Odovacris praesumptio [alluding to the sortie], postquam eum contigit de fallacia non juvari. Quid Herulorum agmina fusa commemorem? qui ideo adversus te deducti sunt ut hic agnoscerent, etiam in propriis sedibus quem timerent' (Enn. Paneg. p176, ed. Migne).

59 The reflection shows that Ennodius, at any rate, had heard of the celebrated saying of the Emperor Titus, who was not honoured by the use made by the Rugians of his 'Hodie diem perdidi.'

60 'Quis sine grandi stupore credat dilexisse et timuisse Rugos episcopum et Catholicum et Romanum, qui parere [al. parcere] regibus vix dignantur? cum quibus tamen integrum pene biennium exegit taliter, ut ab eo flentes discederent, etiam ad parentes et familias regressuri' (Ennodius, Vita Epiphanii, p226, ed. Migne).

61 The chronicler calls statement both 'Magistri Militum.' Tufa therefore still held this rank in Odovacar's army, and Frederic, notwithstanding his defection, perhaps still called himself Magister Militum of Theodoric.

62 'Coria vel alia immunda et horrida urgebantur comedere, et multa corpora quae servata sunt a gladio, fames peremit' (Agnellus, p67, apud Muratori).

Thayer's Note: More conveniently, Holder-Egger's edition, p303.

63 'Accepta fide securum se esse de sanguine' (Anon. Valesii, 54).

64 With Dahn, Könige der Germ. II.81.

65 John of Antioch says: Θ. καὶ Ὀ. συνθήκας καὶ συμβάσεις ἐποιήσαντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἄμφω ἡγεῖσθαι τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἀρχῆς (Fr. 214A). Procopius: Ὑπὸ διαλλακτῇ τῷ Ῥαβέννης ἱερεῖ ἐς λόγους ἀλλήλοις ξυνιᾶσιν ἐφ’ ᾧ Θ. τε καὶ Ὀ. ἐν Ῥαβέννῃ ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ καὶ ὁμοίᾳ διαίτῃ ἔξουσι (De Bell. Goth. I.1).

66 He was now in the 60th year of his age (Jo. Ant. fr. 214).

67 Cuspiniani Anon.

68 Or Oclan.

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