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Book IV
Note G

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London
1896

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
Chapter 10

Book 4 (continued)

Vol. III
p319
Chapter IX

Theodoric's Relations with Gaul

Authorities

Sources: —

The Historia Francorum of Gregory of Tours (about 538 to 594); the Chronicle of Marius of Aventicum (about 550 to 594); the Letters of Avitus Bishop of Vienne (who died between 525 and 532); the De Vita Epiphanii of Ennodius Bishop of Ticinum (about 473 to 521); the Life of S. Caesarius of Arles (who died 542), written by his disciples and included in the Bollandist collection (27 August); and the Passio S. Sigismundi by an unknown hand, written probably in the seventh or eighth century, now published by Jahn (in the book mentioned below) free from the interpolations which had been introduced into it.

Guides: —

Binding, 'Geschichte des Burgundisch-Romanischen Königreichs' (Leipzig, 1868). Jahn, 'Geschichte der Burgundionen' (Halle, 1874). Von Schubert, 'Die Unterwerfung der Alamannen unter die Franken' (Strassburg, 1884).

As the subject of Burgundian history is an intricate one, and lies a little outside of my special work, I have availed myself very freely of Binding's labours, checking him in some places by Jahn, who is a rather severe critic of his performance.

Matrimonial alliances of Theodoric. The respite from foreign invasion during the reign of Theodoric was chiefly due to his commanding position at the head of the new Teutonic royalties of Europe. That position was in great measure strengthened  p321 and consolidated by a system of matrimonial alliances with the chief of the royal families of the barbarians. The somewhat entangled sentences in which they are described by the anonymous authority1 quoted in the last chapter, deserve therefore a more careful study than we might at first, when repelled by their uncouth form and by the harsh sound of the barbarian names with which they are filled, be disposed to give them.

 (p320) 
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We see from them that Theodoric was himself the brother-in‑law of the king of the Franks and the king of the Vandals, and that the owner of the Visigothic and the heir-apparent of the Burgundian royalty were married to his daughters. Our informant might have gone further, and told us that a niece of Theodoric was married to the king of the Thuringians. 'Family compact.' Here was a vision of a 'family compact,' binding together all the kingdoms of the West, from the Scheldt to Mount Atlas, in a great confederacy, filling all the new barbarian thrones with the sons, the grandsons, or the nephews of Theodoric, a matrimonial State-system surpassing (may we not say?) anything that Hapsburg or Bourbon ever succeeded in accomplishing, when they sought to make Venus instead of Mars build up their empires. We shall see however that, when it came to the tug of war between one barbarian chief and another, this family compact, like so many others in later days, snapped with the strain. Yet it was not at once a failure; for one generation at least the position of Theodoric, as a kind of patriarch of the kingly clan, was one of grandeur and influence, and did undoubtedly promote the happiness of Europe.

 p322  Relations with the Vandals. With the Vandal sovereigns of Carthage his relations were, till near the close of his reign, friendly. 477‑484 Gaiseric's son, Huneric, that fierce and cruel persecutor of the Catholics, had ended his short reign before Theodoric started on his march for Italy. 484‑496
496‑523
His cousins and successors, Gunthamund and Thrasamund, though still Arians, abated sensibly the rigour of the persecutions at home and pursued a fair and moderate policy abroad. The corsair-state of the fierce adventurer Gaiseric had lost something of its lawless vigour. It was passing into the rank of regular monarchies, and becoming flaccid and respectable. Sicily, which had been subjected for many years to their depredations, and then under Odovacar had paid a tribute something like our own Danegeld as the price of quietness, was now free both from invasion and from tribute.2 Thrasamund marries Amalafrida. On the death of his first wife (possibly soon after 500) Thrasamund married Amalafrida, the widowed sister of the Ostrogothic king. A thousand Gothic nobles with five thousand mounted servants followed Amalafrida to her African home, and the fortress of Lilybaeum (Marsala), at the extreme western corner of Sicily, was, with more generosity perhaps than statesmanlike prudence, handed over to Thrasamund as the dowry of his elderly bride.

With two of the three great powers that still divided Gaul, the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Franks, Theodoric's relations were more varied and less uniformly amicable.

The Visigoths in Gaul and Spain. The Visigoths now held, not only the fair quadrant of France between the Loire and the Pyrenees, but  p323 also the greater part of Provence, besides the whole of Spain, except the north-western angle, which was still occupied by an independent Suevic monarchy. This powerful people, mindful of the old 'brotherly covenant,' was friendly to the Ostrogothic ruler of Italy, as it had been to its Ostrogothic invader. Alaric II,
483‑507.
Their king Alaric II, the son-in‑law of Theodoric, had mounted the throne in the year 485. He was a man of whom we hear no unfavourable testimony, but who seems not to have possessed the harsh energy of his father Euric, far less the dash and originality of his mighty namesake Alaric the Great.

The Burgundians. Between the dominions of Theodoric and his Visigothic son-in‑law lay the goodly land which owned the sway of the Burgundians. Their dominion, considerably more extensive than when we last viewed it on the eve of Attila's invasion,3 now included the later provinces of Burgundy, Franche-Comté, and Dauphiné, besides Savoy and the greater part of Switzerland — in fact the whole of the valleys of the Saone and the Rhone, save that for the last hundred miles of its course the Visigoths barred them from the right bank and from the mouths of the latter river.

King Gundobad. Gundobad, whom we met with twenty‑one years ago in Rome4 hanging on to the fortunes of his uncle Ricimer, wearing the robe of the Patrician, and even creating an emperor of his own, the insignificant Glycerius, returned, as we then saw, to his own country in 474, probably on the death of his father Gundiok, leaving his hapless client-emperor in the lurch. According to the frequent usage of these Teutonic nations, the kingdom of Gundiok was divided between  p324 his four sons; His brothers Godegisel but these four had now been reduced by death to two, Gundobad and Godegisel. Gundobad, the firstborn and the more powerful, ruled at Lyons and Vienne, while Godegisel held his court at Geneva.

and Hilperik. But the family of one of the dead brothers was destined to exercise a more powerful influence over the fortunes of Gaul than either of the surviving kings. Hilperik, whose capital had been Lyons, and who died apparently between 480 and 490, had, as some authors conjecture,5 married a wife Caretene, whose virtues and whose Catholic orthodoxy are recorded in an inscription still to be seen in her husband's capital.a Caretene, whose fervour of fasting and whose gentle persuasive influence on her harsh husband are alluded to in the letters of Sidonius,6 as well as in this inscription, was allowed by her Arian husband to bring up her children — they were only daughters — in the Catholic faith which she herself professed. His daughter Clotilda. One of  p325 these daughters, Hrothchilde, whose name history has softened into Clotilda, was dwelling, as an orphan ward, at the court of her uncle Gundobad, when there came thither on business of State frequent embassies from Clovis king of the Franks. The ambassadors on their return home used to praise to their master the grace and accomplishments of the young princess. He sent to ask for her hand, which, in the year 492 or 493, was accorded, not perhaps very willingly, by the Burgundian king.

Clotilda determines to convert her husband to Catholicism. This marriage of the king of the Franks (whether we call him Chlodovech, Hlodwig, Luduin, Louis, or Clovis) with the young orphan of the house of Hilperik of Burgundy prepared the way for the Frankish Empire, and for events which changed the face of Europe. For she, mindful of the training received from the devout Caretene, and hostile to the Arian faith of her father and uncles, determined to win over her heathen husband, not merely to Christianity, as the other Teuton conquerors understood it, but to orthodoxy. Later ages have believed that she entered the palace of Clovis filled with thoughts of terrible revenge against Gundobad and his family. Alleged cruelties of Gundobad to her family. When, a generation later, her own sons inflicted terrible calamities on the royal house of Burgundy, the idea perhaps occurred to some courtly bard of representing these cruelties as mere retaliation for the atrocities which their mother's father and his house had suffered at the hands of Gundobad. Accordingly, Hilperik was alleged to have been slain with the sword; his wife, with a stone tied round her neck, to have been thrown into the water; his two daughters to have been banished; his sons (of whose very existence  p326 there is no trace) to have met death from the hands of the same cruel relative. There is some reason to think that all this, though set forth7 in the pages of Gregory of Tours, who lived but a century after the death of Hilperik, is mere untrustworthy legend. If Caretene was really the wife of Hilperik, we see from the epitaph at Lyons that she survived him at least fifteen years, dying in the year 506. Moreover a letter to Gundobad from Avitus, the Catholic bishop of Vienne, no flatterer of the king, but rather, if the anachronism may be permitted, leader of the Constitutional Opposition in the Burgundian realm, while condoling with his sovereign on the death of a daughter, refers to his earlier domestic afflictions, and reminds him with what 'ineffable piety' he had mourned the deaths of his brothers [Hilperik and Godomar].8 It seems in the highest degree unlikely that such a letter could have been addressed by its author to the avowed murderer of Hilperik.9

 p327  Birth of Clovis, 466.
Accession, 481.
Defeat of Syagrius, 486.
Marriage, 493.
When Clovis married Clotilda he was aged twenty-seven, and had been reigning for twelve years. Seven years before, he had by his overthrow of the Roman kinglet Syagrius10 advanced from Flanders into the valley of the Seine; and, at the accession of Theodoric, we must probably think of his dominions as touching the Visigothic kingdom at the Loire, and the Burgundian kingdom on the Catalaunian plains, comprising in fact already one third, but not the fairest nor the richest third, of Gaul. This portentous growth of the Frankish power in twelve years was but an augury of the yet mightier extensions which should take place when the prayers of the Catholic Clotilda should be accomplished, and her husband should accept the faith of the great mass of the Roman provincials.

Theodoric seeks the sister of Clovis in marriage. The statesmanlike vision of Theodoric saw the necessity of including the Frankish lord of Soissons in his system of family alliances. At the very outset of his reign11 he sought for and obtained the hand of Audefleda, the sister of Clovis, who bore him one daughter,  p328 his only legitimate child Amalasuntha.12 Providence, as we have seen, denied him a son, while a whole clan of martial sons and grandsons filled the palace of the Frankish king. This difference had much to do with the very different duration of the political systems reared by the two kings.

Course pursued by Theodoric towards the adherents of Odovacar. The course of our narrative takes us back for a short time to consider the internal affairs of Italy after Odovacar's death. We are told by one chronicler that 'all his army wherever they could be found, and all his race, perished with him;'13 by another, that 'all his colleagues who ministered to the defence of the kingdom were put to death.'14 These statements are almost certainly exaggerated, if not altogether untrue. Certainly the after-life of Theodoric shows that he was not a man given to needless bloodshed. But he did issue one edict, an edict which he was wise enough to be persuaded to cancel, and which shows, it must be admitted, that the fierce bitterness of the struggle had not yet entirely faded from his mind.

Disqualifying edict for all Roman citizens who had not taken the side of Theodoric. This edict was to the effect, that only those among the Roman population who could prove that they had  p329 been loyal to the cause of Theodoric should enjoy the full rights of citizens. His recent opponents, even had their services been rendered compulsorily to Odovacar, lost the power of disposing of their property by will and of bearing evidence in courts of justice.15 A most monstrous enactment, and one which showed that its author was still more familiar with the simple pastoral life led by his people in the plains of Moesia, than with the necessities of an old and complex civilisation, in which such a party-measure as this could not fail to work frightful injustice. Epiphanius and Laurentius undertake a mission to the King. The good Epiphanius, who had been busily engaged in repairing the ravages of war, and inviting the best of the citizens of surrounding towns to settle at Ticinum, heard the general lamentation of Italy, and was besought to make himself its exponent at the Court of Theodoric. He consented, on condition that Laurentius of Milan would share the burden with him. The two bishops journeyed together to Ravenna, and were received with all veneration by the King.

The Barbarians unconsciously helped the Church. And here let us observe for a moment, that we have in this embassy an excellent illustration of the way in which barbaric conquest forced the Church onwards in the path of temporal dominion. The edict against the adherents of Odovacar was a purely civil edict. Whether wise or foolish, it in no way specially concerned the Church, nor trenched upon ecclesiastical privilege. Neither was it, like the revenge wreaked by Theodosius on the citizens of Thessalonica, an  p330 outrage upon humanity, a gross and obvious breach of the law of God. It was a very harsh and ill‑conceived measure, but it related to matters which were entirely within the domain of the civil governor; and as such, we cannot imagine that either Ambrose or Eusebius would have felt himself entitled to remonstrate against it, nor that Theodosius or Constantine would have tolerated such an interference. Now, however, that a Barbarian, instead of a Roman, sits in the seat of power, the moderating influence of the ecclesiastic in purely political matters is eagerly invoked by the governed, and not repelled by the governor.

Epiphanius' speech. Epiphanius, being invited to state his case, congratulated 'the most unconquered prince' on the success which had crowned his arms. He reminded Theodoric of the promises which he had made to the Almighty when, under the walls of Ticinum, he had been attacked by the bands of the enemy, who greatly exceeded his own troops in number, but whom by heavenly aid he had then been enabled to overcome. By heavenly aid, for the very air seemed to serve his purposes. When Theodoric required serene weather for his operations, they were over-arched by an unclouded sky; when rain would help him more effectually, torrents fell. Now let him profit by the example of his predecessor. Odovacar fell because he ruled unrighteously. Might the present King — such was the prayer of Liguria — confirm to innocent men the blessings of the laws, even at the risk of some, who little deserved it, obtaining his protection. 'To forgive sins is heavenly; to punish is an earthly thing.'

The Bishop was silent and the 'most eminent King' began to speak. When he opened his lips every heart  p331 was wrung with a fearful anxiety to know what would be his decision.

Theodoric's reply. 'Oh, venerable Bishop!' he said, 'though your merits command my respect, and your many kindnesses to me in the time of confusion deserve my gratitude, yet the hard necessities of reigning make that universal forgiveness which you praise impossible. I have the divine warrant for the position which I here take up. Do we not read of a certain king,16 who, because he neglected to take the destined vengeance on the enemy of his people, was himself rejected by God? That man weakens and brings into contempt the divine judgments who spares his enemy when he is in his power. As for the patience of our Redeemer, of which you speak, that comes after the severity of the law has done its work. The wise surgeon first cuts deep to remove the gangrened flesh, before he applies the healing liniment. By allowing criminals to go unpunished, we exhort the innocent to commit crime.

'Nevertheless, since heaven itself bends to your prayers, the powers of earth must not disregard them. I consent that not a single head shall fall, since you may prevail with God that the minds of the most hardened offenders shall be turned from the perverseness of their way. Some few, however, of the chief incendiaries must be removed from their present dwellings, lest they rekindle the flame of civil discord.'

Letter of amnesty. Theodoric then ordered the Quaestor Urbicus — a man who, told, surpassed Cicero in eloquence and Cato in integrity — to prepare a royal letter17 embodying this concessions, which of course must  p332 have included the repeal of the civil disabilities of the vanquished party. The absolute honesty of Urbicus did not prevent him from so wording the decree that even the excepted cases were included in the amnesty, a difference which we must suppose that Theodoric's imperfect knowledge of Latin prevented him from observing.

Theodoric mentions the case of the captive Ligurians. After the interview was ended, Theodoric called Epiphanius aside to express to him the sorrow with which he beheld the desolate state of Italy after the war, weeds and thorns filling all the fields,18 and especially 'that mother of the human harvest, Liguria, which used to rejoice in her numerous progeny of husbandmen,' now robbed of her children, and lying, through vast spaces of her territory, untouched by the plough, and with her vines trailing in the dust.19 All this was the work of the Burgundians, who, after the foray mentioned in the preceding chapter, had carried back great numbers of the Ligurians captives across the Alps. Theodoric, however, had gold, and would willingly unlock his stores for their ransoming, if Epiphanius, whose pleading voice none could resist, would himself intercede with Gundobad for their restoration.

 p333  Epiphanius undertakes a mission in their behalf to Gundobad, 494. Epiphanius with tears of joy welcomed the commission conferred upon him by his prince. He could not help acknowledging how much the new sovereign 'surpassed the previous emperors, the rulers of his own race,20 not only in justice and in warlike deeds, but in pity for the sufferings of his people. They had too often carried, or suffered the people to be carried, captive, whereas he was bent on redeeming them. If Victor, Bishop of Turin, might be joined with Epiphanius in the commission, he felt that he could safely answer for the result. The King assented, and 'the awful pontiff,' having said farewell and received the money for the ransom, departed upon his mission.21 The journey across the Alps. It was the month of March; the Alpine passes were of course still covered with snow; but the brave old man faced the hardships of the road as cheerfully as when, twenty years before, he set forth upon his celebrated embassy to Euric.22 'Not once,' we are told, 'did his feet slip upon the frozen snow, whose soul was founded upon the Rock.' He was so intent on fulfilling his mission that he tolerated with impatience even the halts for refreshment, and when his companions were appalled at the difficulties of the way, he alone knew no fear. At the fame of his approach, young and old, men and women, flocked  p334 from distant hamlets to get a sight of the venerable peace-maker. They brought with them generous offerings of food for the travellers. Epiphanius and his companions accepted what was absolutely necessary for their own wants, but bestowed the greater part on the poor of the district. As one of those companions was Ennodius himself, the biographer of the Saint, we have the satisfaction of knowing that every incident characteristic of life and manners in the story of this legation is from the pen not only of a contemporary, but of an eye‑witness.

When the deputation reached Lyons, Rusticus, the successor of Bishop Patiens, and a man who had always served the interests of the Church, when still an official of the State and not a bishop, came forth to meet them, and gave them a sketch of the crafty character of the King,23 which put Epiphanius on his guard and caused him to rehearse the speech which he was able to deliver before him.

Interview with Gundobad. When, however, King Gundobad heard of the Bishop's approach he at once said to his servants, 'That is a man whose character and whose countenance I have ever associated with those of the blessed martyr St. Laurence; enquire when he is willing to see me, and invite him accordingly.'

The day of audience came. The courtiers flocked in crowds to see the man whose eloquence had conquered so many conquerors. Victor was invited to commence the proceedings but he courteously threw off upon his companion the weight of the harangue.

 p335  Epiphanius' speech. 'Most worthy Sovereign,' said Epiphanius, 'only an unutterable love for you has forced me thus to wage war upon time and nature, to dare the perils of the avalanche, to thread my way through forests paved with snow, to leave my foot-prints on the ice‑fields, where even the foot is clasped by the all‑binding frost. But when I see two excellent kings thus situated, one asking what the other has not yet granted, how can I refrain from setting before them the testimony of the heavenly word, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Divide this promise between you; weigh it out in equal scales; nay, rather do thou press in and claim more than the half of it for thyself, by letting the captives whom he wishes to redeem, go forth free of charge. Despise the ransom-money which he offers, and which he has sent by me. That money, if scorned, will make thine armies wealthy; if accepted, it will make them beggars.

'Hear, oh King, the words of that Italy for whom you once fought. "How often," she says, "did you on my behalf oppose your mailed breast to the enemy! How often did you toil in counsel that I might be kept free from invasion, that my sons might not be carried captive, whom now you have carried captive yourself!" Even when they were being dragged from their homes, the matron, wringing those helpless hands that were chained to her neck, thought of thee as one who would avenge her. The fair young girl, struggling to preserve her honour, thought of thee as one who would applaud her victory. The simple husbandmen, those hardy children of the soil, accustomed to ply the heavy mattock, now, when their necks were tied together with thongs and their hands were bound in  p336 manacles, said, "Are you not our Burgundians? See to it, how you shall answer for this before your pious King. How often have the hands which you presume to bind, paid tribute to your lord and ours!24 We know right well that he never ordered these wicked deeds." Yea, many and many a one had to pay for his confidence in thee with his life, being struck down for some too haughty word to his captors.

'Oh! restore these honest hearts to their country; then will they still be thine. Fill that Liguria, which thou knowest so well, with happy cultivators, and empty her of thorns and thistles. So may a long succession of thy sons stand at the helm of the Burgundian state, and thou live again in their glories. It is not strangers who ask this of thee. The lord of Italy is joined to thee now by the tie of kindred: let the wedding-gift to Sigismund's bride be the freedom of the captives; the wedding-gift of thy son to her and to Christ.' Having thus spoken he and Victor arose and went to the King, laid their heads upon his breast, and wept.

The reply of Gundobad, who was, we are told, 'wealthy in speech and rich in all the resources of eloquence,' practically amounted to an enunciation of the maxim of modern Gaul, 'À la guerre comme à la guerre.' His decision. 'It might suit this bright Christian star to inculcate the law of kindness towards and adversary,  p337 and of moderation even in warfare, but the statesman had to remember the quite different maxims by which the world is governed. The rule of warriors is, that everything which is not lawful in peace becomes lawful in war.25 Your business is to cut up your adversary's power root by root, and so gradually detach him from his kingdom. This had Gundobad done to his adversary. He had repaid him scorn for scorn; when mocked with the semblance of a treaty, he had forced his secret opponent to show himself an open foe.26 Now however, by divine permission, a peace had been established between them, which, he hoped, would be a long-lasting one. If these holy men would return to their homes he would consider what course it might be best to take, for the welfare of his kingdom and the safety of his soul, and would decide upon his answer.'

Gundobad takes counsel with Laconius. When the bishops had departed the King called to him his councillor Laconius, a man of high — evidently Roman — birth, grandson of Consuls, of pure and pious life, one who was always ready to second every kind and generous impulse which he perceived in his sovereign. 'Go,' said the King to him, 'hoist all your sails to the winds. After hearing that holy man Epiphanius, and seeing his tears, I am ready to grant all you desire. His decision. Prepare a decree in my name which shall make this bargain as tight as possible.27 All the  p338 Italians who through fear of the Burgundian marauders, under stress of hunger, or by compact on the part of their prince28 have come hither as captives, shall be at once liberated, free of charge. Those, however, whom our subjects in the ardour of battle carried captive on their own private account, must pay a ransom to their masters, for it would only make future battles more bloody, if the soldier had not a hope of profiting by the ransom of his captives.'

Return of the exiles. With joyful alacrity Laconius prepared the documents setting forth the royal indulgence29 and brought them to the Bishop, who embraced the bearer of so precious a gift. Soon the news spread abroad, and you would have thought Gaul was being emptied of its peasants, so great a number flocked from all the cities of Sapaudia30 to thread the passes of the Alps for their return. Stripped of all exaggeration, the recital of Ennodius testifies that he himself, who was sent by the Bishop to the governors of the fortresses with the orders of release, in one day procured the liberation of 400 captives from Lyons alone, and that in all more than 6000 persons returned to their own land. Apparently the treasure confided by Theodoric to Epiphanius was all needed for the ransom of those who were in private hands, and was even supplemented by the pious offerings of Avitus, bishop of Vienne, and Syagria, a devout lady — possibly a daughter  p339 of the slain 'King of Soissons' — who was looked upon as a living treasury for the Church's needs.

Epiphanius visits Geneva. A visit to Geneva, to the Burgundian King Godegisel, was needed in order to obtain the same concession from him which had been already granted by his brother of Lyons. Then Epiphanius set forth accompanied by the rejoicing host of his redeemed captives. They went apparently by the way of the Little St. Bernard.31 The exiles acclaim Epiphanius. As they went, the multitude sang hymns of praise to God and the Bishop, who seemed to their excited imaginations another Elijah, just ready to ascend to heaven in a chariot of fire. The Bishop returned to Ticinum in the third month after he had quitted his home.

He provides for their temporal needs. The mind of Epiphanius, however, was still beset with cares for the fortunes of the restored captives. They had returned as beggars to their native land, and the lot of those who had once held high station among them was especially hard. It seemed as if they were to be still as miserable, but less pitied than when they were in the hand of the enemy. An appeal to Theodoric was the natural remedy; yet Epiphanius would not make that appeal in person, lest it might seem that he were claiming from the King those thanks, and that distinguished reception, which were the rightful meed of his services in Gaul. He seconded, however, the prayers of the petitioners, and by his letters on their behalf obtained that relief for each  p340 which was necessary. The precise mode in which Theodoric helped these returned exiles to stock their farms and recommence the operations of husbandry we are not informed of, interesting as such a detail would have been.

Epiphanius again visits Ravenna, to seek for a reduction of taxation. About two years afterwards he again journeyed to Ravenna, to obtain a relief from taxes for his province, which had suffered, and apparently was still suffering, from a 'plague of great waters.' His admiring biographer thus addresses him in the recollection of that journey: 'Never did thy limbs, though weakened by disease, prove unequal to the task imposed upon them by thy soul. Cold, rains, the Po, fastings, sailings, the banks of the river, the doubt of reaching harbour in that inundated land, were all sweet to thy virtue which rejoiced in its triumph over these obstacles.'32 Arrived at the court of Theodoric, he pleaded with him to show his confidence in the security of his dynasty, by a remission of taxation which would assuredly one day benefit his successors; and said, in words which Theodoric seems to have adopted for his own, 'The peasant's wealth is the wealth of a good ruler.'33 It is granted. The King replied that, although the 'immense expenses' of the State34 made it difficult to forego any part of the revenue, and notwithstanding the necessity of bestowing regular gifts on the Gothic defenders of  p341 the kingdom,35 he would, in testimony of his esteem and gratitude to the petitioner, remit two‑thirds of the taxes for the current year. The remaining third must be paid, else would the straitness of the treasury bring about in the end greater evils than those which Epiphanius was now seeking to remove.

Death of Epiphanius, 497. With this concession in his hands, the Bishop hastened to return home. He had a suspicion that his end was not far off; a thought which did not occur to any of the multitudes who flocked to visit him. His own presentiment, however, was a true one. The snowy and inclement weather in which he had made the journey to Ravenna, had prepared the way for a fatal attack of catarrh which seized him on the way home, at Parma.36 The people of Ticinum saw with consternation the return of their beloved bishop as a dying man. They stood in the forum, whispering and panic-stricken, and thinking that the end of the world was at hand if Epiphanius was to be taken from them. On the seventh day after his entry into Ticinum he died, having on his lips the triumphant song of the wife of Elkanah — 'My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: because I rejoice in Thy salvation.' He died in the fifty-eighth year of his age and the thirtieth of his episcopate: certainly one of the noblest characters of his time, and a man who deserved a better biographer than  p342 the one who has fallen to his lot, the wordy and vapid Ennodius.

Clovis's engagement with the Alamanni, 496. The death of Epiphanius occurred in the year 497. We retrace our steps one year, to notice a very important event of 496. In that year, at some place unknown,37 but near the banks of the Rhine, and probably not far from Strasburg, Clovis met the Alamannic hosts in battle. Both nations were yet heathen, both perhaps equally barbarous. Both had felt the heavy hand of Julian, while the Empire still stood. Both had pressed in, when the Empire could no longer keep them at bay; the Frank, as we have seen, through the woods of Ardennes and across the flat lands of Picardy, to the Seine, to the Loire, and to the Catalaunian plains; while the Alamanni oversprang the too long dreaded limes, stormed the camp of the Saalburg on the hearts of Taunus, and settled themselves in the lovely land, still crowded with Roman villas and rich with Roman vines, which was watered by the Neckar and the Main, and which sloped down to the right bank of the Middle Rhine. Which now of these two nations was to speak this word of power in the regions of the Rhine? That was the doubtful question which the issue of this day was to decide. Clovis had been intending to cross the Rhine, but the hosts of the Alamanni came upon  p343 him, as it seems, unexpectedly and forced a battle on the left bank of the river. He seemed to be overmatched, and the horror of an impending defeat overshadowed the Frankish king. The vow of Clovis. Then, in his despair, he bethought himself of the God of Clotilda. Raising his eyes to heaven he said, 'Oh Jesus Christ, whom Clotilda declares to be the Son of the living God, who art said to give help to those who are in trouble and who trust in Thee, I humble beseech Thy succour! I have called on my gods and they are far from my help. If Thou wilt deliver me from mine enemies, I will believe in Thee, and be baptized in Thy name.' At this moment, a sudden change was seen in the fortunes of the Franks. The Alamanni began to waver, they turned, they fled. Their king, according to one account, was slain; and the nation seems to have accepted Clovis as its overlord.

His baptism, Christmas, 496. Clovis hastened back to his queen, and told her the story of his vow. At the Christmas festival, he stood in the white robes of a catechumen in the basilica of Rheims, and heard from the mouth of Saint Remigius the well-known words, 'Bow thy neck in meekness, oh Sicambrian! Adore what thou hast burned, and burn what thou hast adored.'

Effect of Clovis's conversion. The mere conversion to Christianity of a Teutonic ruler of a Roman province was an event of comparatively little importance. It was but a question of time, a generation sooner or a generation later, when all the men of this class should renounce their hope of the banquets of Walhalla for an inheritance in the Christian City of God. But that the king of the Franks should be baptized into that form of Christianity which was professed by Clotilda and Remigius,  p344 that he should enter into devout and loyal communion with the Catholic Church, was an event indeed of world-wide significance, well worthy of the congratulations which it called forth from Pope and Metropolitan, from Anastasius of Rome and from Avitus of Vienne. The title 'Eldest Son of the Church' borne by the kings of France, while she still had kings, perpetuated, to our day, the remembrance of the rapture with which the hard-pressed and long-suffering Catholics of the Empire greeted the fact that at length force, barbarian force, was coming over to their side. They had been oppressed and trampled upon long enough. Carthaginian Hilderic had cut out the tongues of their confessors. Euric of Toulouse had shut up their churches and turned cattle into their churchyards. But now the young and irresistible conqueror beyond the Loire would redress the balance. Clovis, and his sons, and the nobles who would inevitably follow their example, from above, with the great mass of patient and orthodox Roman provincials from below, would yet make an end of the Arian oppression.

The Arian states should have combined for mutual defence, but did not. In the presence of this new arrangement of forces, with the certainty that henceforth every bishop and every priest throughout Western Europe would be a well-wisher, open or concealed, of the Frankish monarchy, there should undoubtedly have been a close league for mutual defence formed between the four great Arian and Teutonic monarchies, the Visigothic, the Burgundian, the Ostrogothic, and the Vandal. The statesmanlike mind of Theodoric must have perceived this truth. To some extent, as we shall see, he endeavoured to act upon it, but, from one cause or another, with no great persistency or success. Both  p345 he and his Burgundian kinsman belonged to the class of tolerant Arians: in fact, Gundobad seemed at time more than half ready to turn Catholic himself. Possibly they felt themselves out of sympathy with the narrower and bitterer Arianism which reigned at the courts of Toulouse and Carthage. And, what was of more importance, diplomatists were wanting to them. Precisely the very men who would in any other matter have acted as their skilful and eloquent representatives, travelling like Epiphanius from court to court, and bringing the barbarian sovereigns to understand each other, to sink their petty grievances, and to work together harmoniously for one common end, precisely these men were the Catholic prelates of the Mediterranean lands to whom it was all‑important that no such Arian league should be formed. It has been forcibly pointed out by an historian of the Burgundians38 that, whereas all over the Roman world there was a serried array of Catholic bishops and presbyters, taking their orders from a single centre, Rome, feeling the interests of each one to be the interests of all, in lively and constant intercourse with one another, quick to discover, quick to disclose the slightest weak place in the organization of the new heretical kingdoms, of all this there was not the slightest trace on the other side. The Arian bishops took their fill of court favour and influence while it lasted, but made no provision for the future. They stood apart from one another in stupid and ignorant isolation. Untouched apparently by the great Augustinian thought of the world-encompassing City of God, they tended more and more to form local, tribal Churches, one for the Visigoths,  p346 another for the Vandals, another for the Burgundians. And thus in the end the fable of the loosened faggot and the broken sticks was proved true of all the Arian monarchies.

Gundobad the Burgundian in danger, from his brother Godegisel, and Clovis. It seemed as if the first to fall would be the kingdom of the Burgundians. In the autumn of 499, Gundobad was aware that his younger brother, Godegisel of Geneva, was engaged in a treacherous correspondence with Clovis, the object of which was the expulsion of Gundobad, and the elevation of Godegisel as sole king of the Burgundians, probably on condition of ceding some territory to his Frankish ally. Sorely perplexed and doubtful of the result, he was, as has been said, almost prepared to avert the blow by himself joining the Catholic Church. He turns to the Catholic bishops for help. The two leading bishops in his dominions — Stephen of Lyons and Avitus of Vienne — besought him to convoke his prelates to a conference, at which they might by disputation establish the Catholic verity. Could the King have seen the letter written three years before by Avitus to congratulate Clovis on his conversion, the letter in which he speaks of Gundobad as 'king indeed of his own people but your dependant,' and declares, 'we are affected by your good-fortune; whensoever you fight, we conquer,'39 he might have been less disposed than he was to maintain friendly relations with this eloquent and brilliant prelate but secret enemy of his crown and people. As it was, he said to the bishops, with some force of argument, 'If your faith is the true one, why do not your colleagues prevent  p347 the King of the Franks from declaring war against me, and leaguing himself with my enemies? Where a man covets that which belongs to another, there is no true faith.' Avitus cautiously replied, 'I know not why the King of the Franks should do this; but I know that the Scripture says that states often come to ruin because they will not obey the law of God. Turn with your people to that law, and you will have peace.' Not in this sentence only, but throughout this curious colloquy, there ran an under-current of assurance, that if Gundobad would reconcile himself to the Church, the Church would guarantee his safety from the attacks of Clovis. The King on this occasion replied with some heat, 'How? Do I not recognise the law of God? But I will not worship three Gods!'

A debate between Catholics and Arians decided on Sept. 2, 499. However, the bishops obtained their request; and it was fixed that a public disputation should take place at Lyons on the festival of St. Justus (September 2); the same festival, half-religious, half-popular, of which Sidonius gives so lively an account in connection with his epigram on the towel.40 The King only stipulated that the discussion should not take place before a large assembly of the people lest there should be a breach of the peace.

The Collatio Episcoporum. The debate, which lasted two days, took the usual course of such disputations where neither party can enter, or wishes to enter, in the slightest degree into the difficulties and the convictions of its opponent, but each is simply bent on shouting its own shibboleth. Avitus made a long speech, Ciceronian in its style, proving the Athanasian Creed out of Holy Scripture. Boniface, the Arian champion, replied with the taunt  p348 of polytheism, to which already the King's words had given the cue. Next day Aredius, a high functionary of the Court and a Catholic, met the bishops of his party and besought them to discontinue the discussion, which was only embittering religious hatred, and was, besides, disagreeable to the King. They looked upon him as a lukewarm and timeserving believer, and refused to take his advice. The King renewed his complaints of the hostile machinations of Clovis, and now for the first time mentioned the dreaded defection of his brother. The bishops answered, that if Gundobad would only turn Catholic it would be easy to arrange an alliance with Clovis. They then proceeded to reply to the charge of polytheism. Boniface, who is represented as vanquished in the argument, could only shriek out his invectives against the worshippers of three Gods, till he had shouted himself hoarse. Then the orthodox bishops proposed an appeal to miracle. Both parties should repair to the grave of St. Justus, and ask the saint which confession of faith was the true one, and a voice from the grave should decide the question. The Arians replied that such a course would be as displeasing to God as Saul's attempt to raise Samuel from the tomb, and that they for their part would rest their case on nothing else than the appeal to Holy Scripture.

The debate accomplishes nothing. Thus the Collatio Episcoporum broke up. Nothing had been accomplished by it. Gundobad had not been persuaded, perhaps had not seen, among his own chief nobles, sufficient pliability of faith to make him venture on declaring himself a convert. He, however, took Stephen and Avitus into his inner chamber, embraced them, and begged them to pray for him. As they left  p349 him they meditated on the words 'No man can come unto Me, unless the Father which hath sent Me draw him.' Politically, there was nothing left but for the Arian and Athanasian to fight it out on the soil of Burgundy.

The war breaks out, 500. Early in the year 500 the storm broke. Gundobad, who had perhaps marched northwards in order to anticipate the junction of the two armies, was met by Clovis, and seems to have shut himself up in the strong Castrum Divionense. Gundobad at Dijon. This place, the modern Dijon, now made memorable to the traveller by the exquisite tombs of Jean-sans‑Peur and Philippe-le‑Bon, almost the last rulers of a separate Burgundy, was then an urbs quadrata, showing still to the barbarians what was the likeness of a camp-city of the Romans. The wall, strengthened with thirty-three towers, which surrounded the city, was thirty feet high, and, as we are told, fifteen feet thick. Large hewn stones formed the foundation and the lower courses, but the upper portions were built of smaller stones, probably of what we call rubble masonry. A stream, which to some extent added to the strength of the camp, flowed in under a bridge at the northern gate, traversed the city, and emerged from it at the southern gateway.41 Here, apparently, Gundobad made his stand — his unsuccessful stand. The Frankish host, aided by the men of Geneva, overcame the Burgundians of Lyons. Gundobad flees to Avignon. Gundobad fled to Avignon, on the very southernmost border of his dominions, and there, clinging perhaps to the protection of his Visigothic neighbour, he remained for some months in obscurity.

Godegisel triumphant. Godegisel and his Frankish ally marched through  p350 the length and breadth of the kingdom, and the younger brother dreamed that he had reunited the whole of the dwellings of his people under his own sway. Discontent, however, was working beneath the surface; and, possibly on the departure northward of Clovis and his host, it broke out. Gundobad returns and besieges his brother in Vienne. Gundobad with a few followers, whose number daily augmented, crept cautiously up the valley of the Rhone, and at length, appearing before his old capital Vienne, besieged his brother therein. Godegisel, whose supply of provisions was small, ordered all the poorer inhabitants to be expelled from the town. Among them was an ingenious man, a Roman doubtless by birth, who had had the charge of the chief aqueduct of Vienne. Going to the tent of Gundobad he confided to him the existence of a certain ventilation hole,42 by which troops could be introduced through this aqueduct into the heart of the city. Gundobad followed the engineer's advice. He himself headed the detachment of troops which went through the aqueduct; Vienne taken and Godegisel slain. and in a few hours Vienne was his own again. With his own hand he slew the treacherous Godegisel, and, we are told, 'put to death, with many and exquisite torments, the senators [no doubt Roman nobles] and Burgundians who had been on his side.'43 The Frankish troops, which had been left to guard the newly-erected throne, he did not dare either to keep, or to dismiss to their homes. He accordingly sent them to his ally, the King of the Visigoths, who kept them for some time in honourable captivity at Toulouse.

Inactivity of Clovis. The inactivity of Clovis during these later events,  p351 by which the whole fruits of the victory of Dijon were wrested from him, is left quite unexplained in the meagre annals of the time. There is some slight indication of Visigothic influence having been thrown on the side of Gundobad; but, though we have no evidence to adduce in support of it, we can hardly repress the conjecture that Theodoric, the father-in‑law of Sigismund, heir of the Burgundian kingship, Theodoric, who from the provinces of Raetia and Liguria could, when summer was advanced, so dangerously operate on the flank of an army of Clovis descending the Rhone valley, must have been the real counterpoise to the Franks in the year 500, during Gundobad's war of Restoration. Whatever the cause, the restored King, who now wielded the whole might of the Burgundian nation, and was more powerful than any of his predecessors, was during the remaining sixteen years of his reign left unmolested by the Frank; nay even, as we shall see, was invited to joint schemes of Frankish conquest, though on terms of partnership not unlike those which the Horse accepted from the Man, in the old fable.

Clovis again at war with the Alamanni. In the early years of the new century, probably about 503 or 504, Clovis was again at war with his old enemies, the Alamanni. As the Frankish historian, Gregory, is silent about this campaign, we can only speak conjecturally as to its causes, and its course. We can see, however, that king and people revolted against their Frankish overlord, that there were hints of treachery and broken faith, Their defeat and forced migration. that Clovis moved his army into their territories and won a victory, much more decisive, though less famous, than that of 496. This time the angry King would make no such easy  p352 terms as he had done before. From their pleasant dwellings by the Main and the Neckar, from all the valley of the Middle Rhine, the terrified Alamanni were forced to flee. 'Franconia.' Their place was taken by Frankish settlers, from whom all this district received in the Middle Ages the name of the Duchy of Francia, or, at a rather later date, that of the Circle of Franconia.

The Alamanni take refuge in Raetia. The Alamanni, with their wives and children, a broken and dispirited host, moved southward to the shores of the Lake of Constance, and entered the old Roman province of Raetia. Here they were on what was held to be, in a sense, Italian ground; and the arm of Theodoric, as ruler of Italy, as successor to the Emperors of the West, was stretched forth to protect them. Clovis would fain have pursued them, would perhaps have blotted out the name of Alamanni from the earth. Theodoric forbids Clovis to pursue them. But Theodoric addressed a letter44 to his victorious kinsman, in which, while congratulating him on having aroused the long dormant energies of his people, and won by their means a triumph over the fierce nation of the Alamanni, having slain some and forced others humbly to beg for life, he warned him not to push his victory too far. 'Hear,' said he, 'the advice of one who has had much experience in matters of this nature. Those wars of mine have had a successful issue, over the ending of which, moderation has presided.' Throughout the letter the tone is hardly so much of advice as of command, to the Frankish conqueror, to pursue his ruined foe no further.

The Alamanni under Theodoric. The Alamanni gladly accepted the offered protection and dominion of Theodoric. The king of the Ostrogoths became their king, and they, still in their old  p353 heathen wildness, became his subjects, conforming themselves doubtless but imperfectly to the maxims of the Roman civilitas, but, for one generation at least, leaving the mountain-passes untraversed, and doing rough garrison duty for their king, between the Alps and the Danube. Eastern Switzerland, Western Tyrol, Southern Baden and Würtemberg, and Southwestern Bavaria probably formed Alamannia = Swabia. this new Alamannia, which will figure in later history as the Ducatus Alamanniae or the Circle of Swabia.45

War denounced by Clovis against Alaric II king of the Visigoths, 507. The next stroke from the heavy hand of Clovis fell upon the Visigothic kingdom, and it was a crushing one. In the year 507 the Frankish King announced to his warriors, possibly when they were all assembled at the Field of Mars, 'I take it very ill that these  p354 Arians should hold so large a part of Gaul. Let us go and overcome them with God's help, and bring their land under our rule.' These abrupt denunciations of war have not unfrequently been resorted to by Frankish sovereigns. We heard one of them in our own day, when, at the New Year's festivity of 1859, the Emperor of the French suddenly informed a startled Europe that his relations with his brother of Austria were not as good as he could desire.

Theodoric's efforts to avert it. In this case, rapid as was the action of Clovis, there was apparently46 time for a brief and lively interchange of correspondence between Italy and Gaul. Theodoric, hearing of the threatened outbreak of hostilities, employed the pen of his eloquent Quaestor Cassiodorus to compose a series of letters,47 to all the chief persons concerned, to Alaric, to Clovis, to Gundobad, nay, even to the semi-barbarous kings of the tribes still tarrying in Germany, the Heruli, the Warni, the Thuringians,48 in order to avert by all possible means the dreaded encounter.

 p355  His letter to Alaric, To his Visigothic son-in‑law Theodoric uttered a note of warning: 'Strong though you are in your own valour and in the remembrance of the great deeds of your forefathers, by whom even the mighty Attila was humbled, yet since your people's strength and aptitude for war may, by long peace, have been somewhat impaired, do not put everything to the hazard of a single action. It is only constant practice which can make the actual shock of battle seem anything but terrible to man. Let not, then, your indignation at the conduct of Clovis blind you to the real interests of your nation. Wait till I can send ambassadors to the King of the Franks, and till I have endeavoured to make peace between two princes, both so nearly allied to me, one my brother and the other my son, by marriage.' to Gundobad, To 'his brother Gundobad' Theodoric expressed his regrets that 'the royal youths' should thus rage against one another, his desire that they might listen to the counsels of reverend age, as represented by himself and Gundobad,49 and his proposal that a joint embassy from  p356 the three nations (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Burgundians) should be addressed to Clovis, in order to re‑establish peace between him and Alaric. to the German tribes, The German chieftains, he reminded of the benefits and the protection which they, in past times, had received from Euric, the father of the now menaced prince. He expressed his conviction that this lawless aggression threatened equally every throne of a neighbour to Clovis, and begged them to join their ambassadors to his, in a summons to the Frankish King to desist from the attack on the Visigoths, to seek redress for his alleged wrongs from the law of nations [but where were the courts then, or where are they now, in which that law is administered?]; if he would not obey these counsels, then to prepare himself for the combined onset of them all.

too Clovis. The letter to 'Luduin' (as Theodoric, or Cassiodorus, styles the King of the Franks)50 reiterates the same thoughts, dwells on the miseries which war inflicts upon the nations, declares that it is the act of a hot‑headed man to get his troops ready for war at the very first embassy, and urges, almost commands, the Frank to accept his mediation. The letter contains the following passage, which certainly went far to pledge Theodoric to armed championship of his son-in‑law: 'Throw away the sword, ye who wish to  p357 draw it for my disgrace. It is in my right as a father, as a friend, that I thus threaten you. A threat of intervention. He who shall suppose that such monitions as ours can be treated with contempt — a thing which we do not anticipate — will find that he has to deal with us and our friends, as his adversaries.'

The war begins. Yet, in spite of all this correspondence and all these embassies, directed by one who had been a man of war from his youth, and who had a true statesman's eye to the necessities of the position, Alaric the Visigoth stood alone, and fell unaided. The Franks crossed the Loire; directed their march to Poitou: Battle of Vouillé. at the Campus Vogladensis, ten miles from Poitiers, the two armies met. Alaric would have played a waiting game, trusting to the eventual arrival of succours from his father-in‑law; but the ignorant impetuosity of his troops, who vaunted that they were at least the equals in arms of the Franks, forced him to accept the offered battle.51 Defeat and death of Alaric II. Alaric fell, slain, it seems, by the hand of Clovis himself. His troops fled from the field of hopeless rout. Amalaric, the grandson of Theodoric, and the only legitimate child of the late King, was hurried away to Spain by his guardians. A few cities still held out for the Visigoths, but almost everywhere, from the Loire to the Pyrenees, the Frank roamed supreme. The religious fervour of Clovis was satisfied. That pious monarch would no longer be chagrined by seeing so large a part of Gaul in the hands of the Arians.

 p358  Gundobad in league with Clovis. What was the cause of this sudden collapse of the great Arian confederacy and of Theodoric's entire failure to redeem his pledge, by championing his son-in‑law? It seems probable that it is to be sought in the unexpected defection of Gundobad, who did not even remain neutral in the conflict, but positively allied himself with the Frankish invader. The reasons for this change of attitude are not fully known to us. Ever since the Collatio Episcoporum, Gundobad had been on increasingly friendly terms with the Catholic Episcopate, especially with the courtly Avitus. His first-born Sigismund, perhaps both his sons, had formally joined the Catholic communion. Some of the courtiers had followed their example. Gundobad himself, though to the day of his death he refused to abjure the faith of his forefathers, showed a willingness to do everything for the creed of his Roman subjects, except to make that one ignominious confession of hereditary error. He might perhaps also allege that in the catastrophe of 500 he had been left to fight his battles alone, and that he was under no obligation, for Alaric's sake, a second time to see the terrible Sicambrian devastating the Rhone-lands. Whatever the cause, it is clear that Burgundia went with Francia against Vesegothia in the fatal campaign; and it is highly probable that Theodoric did not know that this was to be her attitude till the very eve of the contest, and when it was too late for him to take measures for forcing his way past the territories of a hostile nation to the relief of his son-in‑law.52

 p359  Division among the Visigoths. At the death of Alaric the situation was further complicated by a division in the Visigothic camp. The child Amalaric, now a refugee in Spain, was, as has been said, the only legitimate representative of the fallen king. Claims of Gesalic. But Alaric had left a bastard son named Gesalic, now in early manhood, who, according to the lax notions about succession prevalent among the Teutonic peoples, might fairly aspire to the kingdom, if he could make good his claim by success. He appears, however, to have been but a feeble representative of his valiant forefathers.53 508 (?) He lost Narbonne to Gundobad, and after a disgraceful rout, in which many of the Visigoths perished, he fled to Barcelona, whence, after four years of a shadowy reign, he was eventually expelled by the generals of Theodoric.

Defence of Arles, 508‑510. The great city of Arles, once the Roman capital of Gaul, maintained a gallant defence against the united Franks and Burgundians, and saved for generations the Visigothic rule in Provence and Southern Languedoc. Of the siege, which lasted apparently from 508 to 510, we have some graphic details in the life of St. Caesarius, Bishop of Arles, written by his disciples.54 Caesarius Bishop of Arles. This saint, who was born in Burgundian Gaul, had for years lain under suspicion of being discontented with the Gothic yoke, and had spent some time in exile at Bordeaux under a charge of treason. Released, and permitted to return to his diocese, he was  p360 busying himself in the erection of a convent, where holy women were to reside under the presidency of his sister Caesaria, when the Franks and Burgundians came swarming around the city; and the half-finished edifice, which was apparently outside the walls, was destroyed by the ferocity of the barbarians.

He is suspected of communicating with the besiegers. The siege dragged on and became a blockade. A young ecclesiastic, 'struck with fear of captivity and full of youthful fickleness,' let himself down the wall by a rope, and gave himself up to the besiegers. Not unreasonably the old suspicions as to the loyalty of Caesarius revived. The Goths, and the Jews, who sided with the Goths, surrounded the church, clamoring that the Bishop had sent the deserter, on purpose to betray them to the enemy. 'There was no proof,' say his biographers, 'no regard to the stainless record of his past life. Jews and heretics crowded the precincts of the church, shouting out "Drag forth the Bishop! Let him be kept under strictest guard in the palace!" Their object was that he should either be drowned in the Rhone, or at least immured in the fort of Ugernum [one of the castles by the river, not far from Arles],b till by hardship and exile his life was worn away. Meanwhile his church and his chamber were given up to be occupied by the Arians. One of the Goths, in spite of the remonstrances of his comrades, dared to sleep in the saint's bed, but was smitten by the just judgment of God, and died the next day.

Caesarius in confinement. 'A cutter (dromo) was then brought, and the holy man was placed in it that he might be towed up [to the above-named castle] past the lines of the besiegers. But as, by divine interposition, they were unable to  p361 move the ship, though tugging it from either shore, they brought him back to the palace, and there kept him in such utter seclusion that none of the Catholics knew whether he was dead or alive.

Treachery of a Jew. 'At length however there came a change. A certain Jew tied a letter to a stone and tried to fling it to the besiegers. In it he offered to betray the city to them on condition that the lives, freedom, and property of all the Jews were spared; and he indicated the precise spot in the walls, to which the besiegers were to apply their ladders. Fortunately, next day the enemy did not come so near the walls as usual. Hence the fateful letter was found, not by the Burgundians, but by the Goths, and thus the selfish cruelty of the Jews, hateful both to God and man, was exposed.c Caesarius liberated. Then was our Daniel, St. Caesarius, drawn up from the den of lions, and the Jews his accusers, like the satraps of Darius, were sent to take his place.'

The brave defence of Arles enabled Theodoric still to intervene to save the remnants of the Visigothic monarchy in Gaul. This he could doubtless do with the more success now that the embarrassing claim of Gesalic was swept away. Theodoric summons his troops to a campaign in Gaul, 508. In the spring of the year 508 he put forth a stirring proclamation to his people, prepared by Cassiodorus. 'We need but hint to our faithful Goths that a contest is at hand, since a warlike race like ours rejoices at the thought of the strife. In the quiet times of peace, merit has no chance of showing itself, but now the day for its discovery draws nigh. With God's help, and for the common good, we have decided on an invasion of Gaul. We send round our faithful saio, Nandius, to warn you to come  p362 in God's name fully prepared for our expedition, in the accustomed manner, with arms, horses, and all things necessary for the battle, on the 24th of June.'55

The Ostrogothic army advances, commanded by Tulum. The Ostrogothic army advanced to the relief of the courageous garrison of Arles. Conspicuous among the generals, perhaps chief in command, was Tulum, who had recently shown in the war of Sirmium56 that a Gothic lord of the bedchamber could deal as heavy blows as any trained soldier among the Byzantines or the Huns. The possession of the covered bridge which connected Arles with the east bank of the Rhone was fiercely contested, and in the battles fought for its capture and recapture, Tulum showed personal courage, and received many honourable wounds.

But the united armies of Franks and Burgundians required much defeating; and still the siege of Arles was not raised, though its stringency may have been somewhat abated, and though all Provence to the eastward of the city was probably secured to Theodoric.

Another Ostrogothic army invades Burgundy from Susa. We have reason to believe that in the next year a bold and clever stroke of strategy was executed by the Ostrogoths. An army under Duke Mammo seems to have mounted the valley of the Dora-Susa, crossed the Alps near Briançon, and descended into the valley of the Durance, plundering the country as they proceeded. They thus threatened to take the Burgundians in rear as well as in front, and put them under strong compulsion to return to defend their homes, in the region which we now know as Dauphiné.57

 p363  Victory of Theodoric's troops, 510 (?). The decisive battle was perhaps not delivered till the early part of 510. Then the Goths under Count Ibbas completely routed the united armies of the Franks and Burgundians. If we may believe the boastful bulletin transcribed by Jordanes, more than 30,000 Franks lay dead upon the field.58 Certainly many captives were taken by the united forces of the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, since all the churches and houses of the now delivered Arles were filled with their unkempt multitudes. St. Caesarius gladly devoted the proceeds of the communion-plate, which he sold, to the redemption of some of these captives; and when cavillers objected to so uncanonical a proceeding, he replied that it was better that the communion should be celebrated in delf, than that a fellow‑man should remain in bondage one hour longer than was necessary.

Caesarius on his defence, at Ravenna. To complete the history of the good prelate, it may be mentioned that some years later the cry of disloyalty was again raised against him, and he was taken to Ravenna, under a guard of soldiers, to give account of himself to his new sovereign, Theodoric. As soon as the King saw the firm and venerable countenance of the Bishop, he seems to have instinctively felt that this was a man to be conciliated, not intimidated. He rose from his seat to greet him, doffed his crown to do him reverence, asked him concerning  p364 the toils of his journey, and affectionately enquired what tidings he could give him of the people of Arles, and what, of his own Goths who were garrisoning it. As soon as Caesarius had left the royal presence, Theodoric, we are told, imprecated woe on the malicious accusers, who had caused a man of such evident holiness to be annoyed by so long and so needless a journey. 'When he entered to salute me,' the King is said to have exclaimed, 'my whole frame trembled. I felt that I was looking on an angelical countenance, on a truly apostolic man. I hold it impiety to harbour a thought of evil concerning so venerable a person.'

Theodoric's present to Caesarius. After the interview the King sent to the saint a silver dish weighing 60 lbs., together with 300 golden solidi (£180), entreating him to use the salver daily and to remember his son Theodoric who had presented it. The saint, who never had an article of silver on his table except an egg‑spoon, at once sold the dish (which would probably be worth 240 solidi,59 or £144) and applied the proceeds to his favourite charity, the liberation of captives. Mischief-makers informed the King that they had seen his present exposed for sale in the market; but when he learned the purpose to which Caesarius was applying the proceeds, he expressed such admiration of the virtues of the saint, that all his courtiers followed suit and repaired to the Bishop's dwelling to shake him by the hand. But already the crowd of poor sufferers, in his oratory and  p365 atrium of his lodgings, was so great that his wealthier admirers found it no easy matter to gain entrance to his presence.

Operations in Spain against Gesalic. The result of the battle of Arles was to put Theodoric in secure possession of all Provence, and of so much of Languedoc as was needful to ensure his access to Spain, whither, peace having been concluded with Clovis and Gundobad, Ibbas and the Ostrogothic army now marched, to cut up by the roots the usurped dominion of Gesalic. That feeble pretender was soon driven forth from his capital, Barcelona, and wandered, an exile, to the Court of Thrasamund the Vandal, Theodoric's brother-in‑law. Thrasamund assists him, Notwithstanding this tie of kindred with his pursuer, Thrasamund received the fugitive kindly, and enabled him to return to Gaul, having provided him with large sums of money, with which he enlisted followers and disturbed the peace of the Gothic provinces. Theodoric upon this wrote a sharp rebuke to his brother-in‑law, telling him among other things that he was certain he could not have sought the counsel of his wife, the wise and noble Amalafrida, before taking a step so fatal to all friendly relations between the two kingdoms. but repents of doing so. The Vandal King frankly confessed his fault, and sent ambassadors with large presents, apparently of gold plate, to soothe the anger of his brother-in‑law. Theodoric cordially accepted the apology, but not the presents, saying that, after reading the words of Thrasamund, it was sweeter to give back his presents than to receive costly gifts from any other sovereign.60

Defeat and death of Gesalic, 511 (?). As for Gesalic, weak and cowardly intriguer, his attempted rebellion was again with ease suppressed.  p366 After a year spent in troubling the peace of Gaul he returned to Spain, was defeated by Ibbas in a pitched battle twelve miles from Barcelona, again took flight — this time for Burgundy — was captured a little north of the river Durance, and was put to death by his captors.

Consulship of Clovis. After the overthrow of the Visigothic kingdom, Clovis received from the Emperor Anastasius letters bestowing on him the dignity of Roman Consul.61 In the church of St. Martin at Tours, he appeared clothed in purple tunic and mantle, the dress of a Roman and of a sovereign, and with the diadem on his head. Then, mounting his horse at the door of the atrium of the church, he rode slowly through the streets to the cathedral, scattering gold and silver coins as he went, and saluted by the people (the Roman provincials doubtless) with shouts of 'Chlodovechus Consul! Chlodovechus Consul!'

After having murdered the rest of the Salian and Ripuarian princes in Gaul, and left himself in a solitude which he sometimes affected to deplore, (but this was only in the hope of tempting any forgotten kinsman who might be lingering in obscurity, to come forth and meet the knife of the assassin), His death, 511. Clovis, the eldest son of the Church, died at Paris in the forty-fifth year of his age and the thirtieth of his reign, and was buried in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles, which had been reared by him and Clotilda. Already, in the founder of the Merovingian family, we see indications of that shortness of life which was to be so remarkable a characteristic of its later generations.  p367 At his death his kingdom was divided between his four sons, Theodoric, Chlodomir, Childebert, and Clotochar. The last three only were sons of Clotilda.

Theodoric rules Spain. For the rest of his reign, Theodoric the Amal ruled Spain and Visigothic Gaul as protector of his grandson Amalaric, but in his own name, and with power nearly as uncontrolled as that which he exercised in Italy itself. Half-independent attitude of his lieutenant Theudis. The chief limitation to that power consisted in the great influence wielded by Theudis, an Ostrogoth whom he had appointed guardian of Amalaric, perhaps Praefectus Praetorio of Spain. Theudis married a wealthy Spanish lady, surrounded himself with a body-guard of 2000 men, and affected some of the state of independent royalty. There was no open breach between him and his master, but when, towards the end of his reign, Theodoric invited the too powerful minister to visit him at Ravenna, Theudis, who was doubtful as to the return journey, ventured to refuse obedience to the summons, and Theodoric did not consider it prudent to enforce it. The aged king probably knew that he was not transmitting a perfectly safe inheritance to his Visigothic grandson.

Gundobad's loss by his alliance with Clovis. We return to contemplate the declining fortunes of the Burgundian monarchy. Gundobad had certainly reaped little benefit from his desertion of the Arian confederacy and his alliance with Clovis. He had quite failed to secure the coveted lands at the mouths of the Rhone: he had even, it would seem, lost Avignon, though he may have gained the less important city of Viviers (Alba Augusta) in exchange. A strong chain of Ostrogothic fortresses barred the passage of the boundary river, the Durance, and he was now cooped up between two mighty neighbours,  p368 one of whom ruled from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, and the other from the Danube to Gibraltar. Whether the mutual relations of these two states were friendly or hostile, he was but too likely to come to ruin between them.

Death of Gundobad, 516. However, Gundobad died in peace in the year 516, having outlived Clovis five years; and Accession of Sigismund, a convert to Catholicism. was succeeded by his son Sigismund, son-in‑law of Theodoric, and a convert to the Catholic faith. The new king, a man of an unstable hysterical temperament, left scarcely a fault uncommitted which could hasten the downfall of his throne. After alienating, probably, the affections of his Burgundian warriors by abjuring the faith of his forefathers, he lost the hearty good-will of the Catholics by engaging in a quarrel with their bishops, on account of their excommunication of his chief treasurer for marrying his deceased wife's sister. The resolute attitude maintained by the bishops, who put 'the most excellent king' in a kind of spiritual quarantine till he should come to a better mind, coupled with an opportune attack of fever, brought Sigismund to his knees in abject surrender, and he was reconciled to the Church, but doubtless with some loss of royal dignity.

The natural ally of the Burgundian against his too powerful neighbour the Frank, was evidently the Ostrogothic King. His self-humiliation before the Emperor, Instead of recognising this fact, Sigismund exhausted the vocabulary of servitude in grovelling self-prostration before the Emperor Anastasius, a sovereign whose power was too remote from the scene of action to be of the slightest service to him, when the time of trial should come. and breach with Theodoric. At the same time, he irrevocably alienated Theodoric by a domestic  p369 crime, which reminds us of the family history of another distinguished convert, Constantine, and, perhaps with less justice, of a passage in the life of another pillar of orthodoxy, Philip II of Spain.62 The daughter of Theodoric had borne to Sigismund a son who was named Segeric. This youth contemplated, we are told, his eventual accession to both thrones, the Burgundian and the Ostrogothic, and, though we have no reason for asserting that his maternal godfather designed to make him his heir, such a union of the kingdoms would have had much to recommend it to the statesmanlike mind of Theodoric. But Sigismund, after the death of his Amal wife, had married again. His second wife, a woman not of noble birth, but of orthodox creed, inflamed the father's jealousy against his son, who had flouted her as unworthy to wear the clothes of her late mistress, and whom she accused of not being willing to wait the ordinary course of nature for the succession to his inheritance. Murder of Sigismund's son, by his father's orders, 522. The wretched Sigismund listened to the poisonous insinuation, and, without giving his son an opportunity of justifying himself, cut him off by a coward's stroke. One day when Segeric was flustered with wine (we remember how Sidonius speaks of the deep potations of the Burgundians), his father advised him to enjoy a siesta after the banquet. Suspecting no evil he fell asleep. Two slaves by the King's command entered the chamber, fastened a cord around his neck, and strangled him.

Sigismund's repentance. Scarcely was the foul deed done than it was repented  p370 of. The miserable father, finding that his son had been falsely accused, threw himself upon the corpse, and bitterly bewailed the blind folly which had bereft him of his child. Truly, and with Teutonic frankness, did the servant who witnessed his repentance, say, "It is not he, but thou, oh King, who needest our pity.' His retirement to Agaunum. He fled to his beloved monastery at Agaunum, to that spot so well known to the modern traveller, where 'a key unlocks a kingdom,' as the Rhone, between nearly meeting mountain barriers, emerges from Canton Valais into Canton Vaud. Here, in the narrow defile, on the site of the imaginary martyrdom of the 'Theban Legion' (who, with Maurice at their head, were fabled to have gladly suffered 286 martyrdom at the hands of Maximian rather than offer sacrifice to the gods of the Capitol), a house of prayer arose, and was so richly endowed by Sigismund, that it passed, though incorrectly, for his original foundation.d In this retreat the King spent many days of misery, fasting and weeping. Here he ordered a choir to be formed, whose songs were to arise to Heaven night and day, that there might be a ceaseless ascription of prayer and praise to the Most High. One cannot condemn the religious turn which was taken by the bitter self-condemnation of the unhappy Sigismund, even though it induced him to issue the somewhat harsh order for the extrusion of all women and all secular persons from the vicinity of Agaunum. Flattery of Avitus. But one may condemn the clouds of adulation which Avitus, at the installation of the new choir, sent rolling towards the royal murderer from the pulpit of the basilica of Agaunum. He called him 'pious lord,' he praised his devotion, praised his liberality to the Church, regretted that  p371 she could find no words adequate to his virtues, but assured him that on that day, by the institution of the perpetual choir, he had surpassed even his own good deeds.63 And this, to the assassin of his own son, to the man whose conscience was at that very hour tormented by the Furies, the avengers of his child. Not with such poisonous opiates did Ambrose soothe Theodosius, after the massacre of Thessalonica. But then Ambrose had not been always a priest. While administering justice in the Roman praetorium, he had learned, it may be, some lessons of truth and righteousness which gave an increased nobility even to his ecclesiastical career.

Frankish expedition against Sigismund, 523. The crime of Sigismund, however glossed over by the pulpit eloquence of Avitus, did not wait long for its punishment in this world. In 523, the year following the murder of Segeric, came the crash of a Frankish invasion, more disastrous even than that of 500. Three sons of Clovis joined in it, Chlodomir, Childebert, and Chlotochar (Lothair), incited thereto, according to the story current a century later, by the adjurations of their mother Clotilda, who urged them to revenge the wrongs which her family had suffered from Gundobad, more than thirty years before. We have seen how much reason there is to look with doubt, or even with absolute disbelief, upon this long-credited story. It is true that the one successor of Clovis who was not born to him of Clotilda, Theodoric, king of Metz and lord of the Arverni, took no part in the enterprise; but that abstention is sufficiently accounted for by the fact that his wife Suavegotta was the daughter of Sigismund.

 p372  Theodoric's alliance with the Franks. On the other hand, the other and greater Theodoric (after whom no doubt the son of Clovis was named), enraged at the murder of his grandson, adopted an attitude of something more than friendly neutrality towards his nephews, the Frankish invaders of Burgundia. Procopius, if we could trust his narrative of these distant affairs, draws for us a curious picture of the almost commercial arrangement between Ostrogoths and Franks for an 'invasion on joint account' of the contracting parties. Curious account given of it by Procopius. He says,64 'Afterwards, the Franks and Goths made an alliance for the injury of the Burgundians, on condition that they should subdue the people and divide their land; the nation which should fail to assist its confederate in the campaign, paying a certain stipulated quantity of gold, but not being shut out from its share in the division of territory.' He then describes how Theodoric gave instructions to his generals to delay their march, and not enter Burgundian territory till they should hear of the victory of the Franks; and how the weight of the conflict thus fell upon the Franks alone, who gained a hard-fought victory. As they chid their allies, when they at length appeared, for their tardy arrival, the latter pleaded in excuse the difficulty of the Alpine passes. The stipulated amount was paid by them, and Theodoric was admitted to his equal share of the conquered territory, receiving general praise for the dexterity with which he had contrived to secure a large accession of territory, without bloodshed, by the payment of a moderate sum of money.

Considerable accession of territory in Gaul thus obtained by Theodoric. Whatever may have been the compact which Procopius has thus curiously distorted, — for certainly his  p373 account resembles more the transactions between Byzantium and Ctesiphon than the probable arrangements between two warlike Teutonic nations, — it must be admitted that in its immediate result the campaign of 523 was greatly to the advantage of Theodoric. With no hard fighting, he pushed his frontier in the Rhone-lands northwards from the line of the Durance to that of the Drôme, thus adding to his dominions all that he did not already possess of Provence, and no inconsiderable portion of Dauphiné besides.65 The leader of the Ostrogothic army which achieved this bloodless conquest was Tulum, the hero of the campaign of 509 and the valiant succourer of Arles.66

Defeat of Sigismund. Meanwhile Sigismund fought and lost a battle with the Frankish invaders, probably near the northern frontier of his kingdom, fled to his favourite retreat of Agaunum, and was given up to the enemy by his Burgundian subjects, whose love he had no doubt lost when he slew his son.67

 p374  Godomar, younger son of Gundobad, makes a stand against the Franks. All seemed lost, but was not lost yet. As the Frankish hosts were retiring, probably on the approach of winter, Godomar, the younger and more energetic son of Gundobad, collected some troops and assumed the government, probably as a kind of regent on behalf of his captive brother. Murder of Sigismund by the Frankish king, 523. That brother with all his family was at once murdered by Chlodomir, with that ruthless indifference to human life which is an especial note of the Merovingian house. Sigismund, his wife, and his two sons were all thrown down a deep well in the neighbourhood of Orleans; and, as some faint justification of the crime, later generations trumped up the story, that after this manner had his father Gundobad dealt by Hilperik, the father of Clotilda, and his sons. But the wicked deed did not avail to stay the reaction against the Franks, and perhaps even strengthened the position of Godomar, the now recognised King of the Burgundians.

Campaign of 524. The new King by his valour and energy restored for a time the almost desperate fortunes of his people. The Frankish brothers, joined this time by Theodoric of Auvergne, invaded the country. Battle of Véséronce, 21 June (?). Godomar met them in battle at Véséronce on the Rhone, about thirty miles east of Lyons.68 Chlodomir slain. Chlodomir was slain by a javelin. The Burgundians, when they saw the long and carefully-tended hair of the dead man, drawn back from his forehead and descending to his  p375 shoulders, knew that they had slain a royal Meroving.69 Godomar victorious. They cut off the head and exhibited it on a spear-point to the Frankish warriors, who, discouraged by the death of their leader, broke their ranks and fled from the field. The little children of Chlodomir were cruelly murdered by Childebert and Chlotochar, who, intent upon this partition, left his death unavenged and Burgundia in peace.

Enormous increase of Frankish power in the lifetime of Theodoric. This then was the condition of affairs in Gaul when Theodoric the Ostrogoth died. The friendly monarchy of the Visigoths was all but rooted out of the land. That of the Burgundians still lived on, but had been shorn by Theodoric himself of some of its territory in the south, and really awaited but the first vigorous effort from the Franks to crumble into ruin. The dominions of the chief royal house of the Salian Franks, which at the accession of Clovis reached but from Utrecht to Amiens, now touched the Pyrenees at the south-west, and the Main and Neckar in the east. The Thuringians, under their king Hermanfrid, Theodoric's nephew by marriage, were the only power in Germany that seemed to have a chance of maintaining their independence against the Franks, and they too, soon after the death of Theodoric, were to be incorporated with the new world-empire of the Merovingians.

England in the sixth century. Looking thus over the map of Western Europe at the beginning of the sixth century, is it possible for us not to cast one glance at that country whose chalk cliffs, seen from the shores which owned the sway of  p376 Clovis, looked then near and fair as now they look from France when lit up by the sun of a summer morning? Procopius's description of it. Yet this is how the contemporary Procopius speaks of the island of Brittia, which can hardly be any other than our Britain.70 After describing the wall built across it by the ancients, which, according to him, ran from north to south,e and separated the fruitful and populous east from the barren, serpent-haunted western tract, in which no man could live for an hour, he proceeds to tell a well-known story, which he scarcely likes to repeat, since it sounds like a fable, and yet which is attested by such numberless persons who themselves witnessed the strange phenomenon that he does not like entirely to reject it: —

The country of the dead. 'The coast of the continent over against Brittia is dotted with villages, in which dwell fishermen, husbandmen, merchants, who serve the kings of the Franks but pay them no tribute, being excused by reason of the service which I am about to describe. They understand that they have it in charge to conduct by turns the souls of the dead to the opposite shore. Those upon whom the service devolves, at nightfall betake themselves to sleep, though waiting their summons. As the night grows old, an unseen hand knocks at their doors, the voice of an unseen person calls them to their toil. Then they spring up from their couches and run to the shore. They understand not what necessity constrains them thus to act: they know only that they are constrained. At the water's edge they see barks not their own, with no visible passengers on board, yet so deeply loaded that there is not a finger's breadth between the water and  p377 the rowlocks. They bend to their oars, and in one hour they reach the island of Brittia, which, in their own barks, they can scarce reach in a night and a day, using both oar and sail. Arrived at the other side, as soon as they understand that the invisible disembarkation has taken place, they return, and now their boats are so lightly laden that only the keel is in the water. They see no form of man sailing with them or leaving the ship, but they hear a voice which seems to call each one of the shadowy passengers by name, to recount the dignities which they once held, and to tell their father's names. And if women are of the party, the voice pronounces the names of the husbands with whom they lived on earth. Such are the appearances which are vouched for by the men who dwell in those parts. But I return to my former narrative.'

So thick was the mist and darkness that had fallen upon the land where Severus died, where Constantine was saluted Imperator, and where Pelagius taught that man was born sinless. And truly, the analogy of that which happens to the spirit of the dead, well describes the change which had come over Britain. Our historians tell us indeed that Anderida fell two years before Theodoric won his kingdom. They conjecture that Eburacum fell during the central years of his reign, and that Cerdic, the pirate ancestor of Queen Victoria, conquered the Isle of Wight, where his descendant now abides in peace, four years after the death of the great Ostrogoth. But to the questions, so intensely interesting to us, how all these things happened, how the struggle was regarded by those engaged in it, what manner of man the Roman Provincial seemed to the Saxon, and the Heathen to  p378 the Christian, what were the incidents and what the nature of the strife, — to all of these questions we can scarce obtain more answer than comes back to us from the spirits of those with whom we once shared every thought, but who, summoned by the touch of an unseen hand, have left us for the Land of Silence.


The Author's Notes:

1 Anonymus Valesii, §§  63 and 68; see pp293‑4.

2 This is the conclusion fairly drawn by Papencordt (p119) from the language of Cassiodorus, Ennodius, and Theophanes.

3 Vol. II, p110.

4 Vol. II p477.

5 This is the conjecture of Binding (p119) and of some others. Jahn (II.37) argues strongly that Caretene was the wife of Gundobad himself. It seems to me to be but guess against guess: but Binding's guess is slightly more probable, because the inscription certainly suggests the idea of a widow, and Gundobad undoubtedly lived ten years after the death of Caretene. The question is only important in its bearing on the cruelties alleged to have been practised by Gundobad on the family of Hilperik.

6 In writing to Patiens, VI.12, he says: 'Omitto te . . . sic abstemium judicari ut constet indesinenter . . . reginam laudare jejunia;' to Thaumastus, V.7, after describing the danger of his brother Apollinaris from the anger of 'magister militum Chilpericus victoriosissimus vir' (V.6), he adds: 'Sane, quod principaliter medetur afflictis, temperat Lucumonem nostrum Tanaquil sua, et aures mariti virosa susurrorum faece completas . . . eruderat: . . . si modo quamdiu praesens potestas Lugdunensem Germaniam regit, nostrum suumque Germanicum praesens Agrippina moderetur.'

7 Except so far as the two sons are concerned. They do not appear till a century later, in Fredegarius.

8 The words of Avitus (Ep. V) are, 'Flebatis quondam pietate ineffabili funera germanorum, sequebatur fletum publicum universitatis afflictio.' I take the quotation and the whole argument for the innocence of Gundobad from Binding (Burgund.-Roman. Königreich, I.114‑119). It will be seen that the identification of Caretene with the widow of Hilperik is to some extent conjectural, but I think his arguments are conclusive in its favour.

9 Jahn (I.548, and Introduction, p. v) maintains the truth of Gregory's story, and accuses Binding of 'Hypercritik' for rejecting it. There is too little evidence on either side to enable us to come to a satisfactory conclusion, but to me Gregory's story seems in the highest degree legendary and improbable. The precise correspondence between the cruelties practised upon Clotilda's family and those practised by her looks suspicious. And then, how intensely improbable that Clotilda should nurse her revenge for thirty-three years, to let it fall at last, not on the actual murderer Gundobad, but on his — as far as she was concerned — innocent son! How many opportunities had she, especially in 500, to behold the vengeance, which her pious soul is represented as thirsting for, executed upon the real enemy, by the husband to whom her wish was law! Why does she let all these slip, and allow the murderer himself to sink into a quiet grave, only, in her own old age, to wreak a diabolical revenge on his children and grandchildren? In the interests of Clotilda's saintship (and sanity)º it is certainly to be desired that Gregory's story should be, what I believe it to be, mere ecclesiastical romancing.

10 Son of Aegidius, and the German-speaking correspondent of Sidonius (see vol. II pp437 and 358).

11 As Amalasuntha was married to Eutharic in 515, it is improbable that the marriage of which she was the issue was much, if at all, later than 495.

12 The Anonymus Valesii makes the mother of the other two daughters of Theodoric a wife who died before his accession to the throne. Jordanes, probably copying Cassiodorus, calls them 'naturales ex concubina, quas genuisset adhuc in Moesia filias, unam nomine Thiudigoto et aliam Ostrogotho.' Compare Freeman's note on 'Danish Marriages' (Norman Conquest, I.624), and the remarks made as to the similar marriage of Theodoric's father. As with the Scandinavians, so with the Goths, notwithstanding their generally high moral tone, there seems to have been a certain vagueness in their practice as to the solemnisation of marriage-rites.

13 Anonymus Valesii.

14 Cont. Prosperi.

15 'Ut illis tantum Romanae libertatis jus tribueret, quos partibus ipsius fides examinata junxisset: illos vero quos aliqua necessitas diviserat, ab omni jussit et testandi et ordinationum suarum ac voluntatum licentia submoveri' (Ennodius, Vita Epiphanii, p226, ed. Migne).

16 No doubt Saul.

17 Pragmaticum.

18 'Vides universa Italiae loca originariis viduata cultoribus. In tristitiam meam segetum ferax spinas atque injussa plantaria campus apportat: et illa mater humanae messis Liguria, cui numerosa agricolarum solebat constare progenies, orbata atque sterilis jejunum cespitem nostris monstrat obtutibus. Interpellat me terra quocunque respicio uberem vinetis faciem, cum aratris impexa contristat.'

19 It is not necessary to believe, though Ennodius asserts it, that Theodoric here made a little display of learning by the remark that Oenotria, the ancient name of Italy, was derived from οἶνος, 'wine.'

Thayer's Note: Strictly speaking, not what we now call Italy, but only the southern part of it, basically the sole of the "boot" and a bit of its hinterland (Strabo, V.1.1).

20 'Justitia prius an bellorum exercitatione, an quod his praestantius est, omnes retro imperatores te pietate superasse commemorem? Habes unde gentis nostrae rectores accuses.' The passage is interesting, as showing how far Theodoric was looked upon as continuing the line of the Roman emperors.

21 'At tremendus pontifex, dicto vale, discessit.' In the course of his reply he said something to the King about David cutting off the skirt of Saul's robe, but the application of the remark is not obvious.

22 See vol. II p490.

23 'Quae erant astutiae regis, edocuit.' Binding resents Dahn's calling his hero 'der zweideutige Gundobad,' but I think this expression justifies the phrase.

24 'Quoties quas ligare praesumitis, manus domino communi tributa solverunt!' It is chiefly on these words that Binding (p98) founds his theory of a formal cession of Liguria by Odovacar to Gundobad. But I think that Gundobad's relations to North Italy during the lifetime of his uncle Ricimer, and for a year after his death, are perhaps sufficient to explain them.

25 'Statuta sunt dimicantium, quidquid non licet, tunc licere.'

26 'Reposui regi partium illarum contumeliam quam putas illatam. Ludificatus specie foederis nihil egi studiosius, nisi ut, quod est cautelae, assertos inimicos agnoscerem.' The words are obscure, but coupled with what follows they seem to point to Theodoric, rather than Odovacar, as the adversary of Gundobad.

27 'Vade, pleno pectore dicta sententias, per quas pactionis illius durissime nexus irrumpas.' Surely 'irrumpas' here is owing to some corruption of the text?

28 Odovacar?

29 'Impiger ille verborum saltibus indulgentiae species aut formas exposuit.' What does Ennodius mean by 'verborum saltibus'?

30 Savoy, but including more than modern Savoy.

31 He went by Tarantasia, in the valley of the Isère above Grenoble, and there he healed a woman with an unclean spirit. [I am indebted to Mr. W. M. Baker for correcting my previous statement that they went by way of the Col de Lauteret and Col de Genèvre.]

Thayer's Note: Now usually called the Col du Lautaret and the Col de Montgenèvre.

32 'Frigus, pluviae, Padus, jejunia, navigatio, periculum, tonitrua, sine tecto mansio in ripis fluminis, incerti pene sine terra portus [?], virtuti tuae dulcia fuerunt et grata successui.'

33 'Boni imperatoris est possessoris opulentia.' Notice the expression imperatoris.

34 'Licet nos immanium expensarum pondus illicitet.'

35 This, I think, must be the meaning of 'et pro ipsorum quiete legatis indesinenter munera largiamur.'

36 'Ut Parmam tamen ejusdem via ingressus est civitatem, continuo eum coagulatus in vitalibus humor infudit, quem catharum medici vocant: qui se medullitus inserens in ruinam publicam serviebat.'

37 The identification of this battle-site with Zulpich near Cologne is now generally abandoned. It rested on a mis­understanding of Gregory of Tours (II.37), who speaks of a battle fought with the Alamanni by a quite different Frankish chief, 'apud Tulbiacense oppidum.' The fact that Clovis, as we are told in the life of St. Vedast, returned by way of Toul to Rheims, points to the neighbourhood of Strasburg as the probable site of the battle. (This is remarked by von Schubert.)

38 Binding, 128.

39 'Apud dominum meum suae quidem gentis regem sed militem vestrum. . . . . Tangit etiam nos felicitas: quotiescumque illic pugnatis vincimus.' (Aviti Epistola XLI.)

40 Ep. V.17. See vol. II p321.

41 Gregory of Tours, III.19.

42 Spiraculum.

43 Marius of Aventicum, s. a. 500, and Gregory of Tours, II.33.

44 VariarumII.41.

45 These few paragraphs are a greatly condensed statement of the theory put forward, and in my judgment proved, by von Schubert in his monograph 'Die Unterwerfung der Alamannen unter die Franken,' Strassburg, 1884. The strong points in favour of the theory are —

I. The letter of Theodoric, composed by Cassiodorus and quoted above, which could not have been written in 496 or 497. I had come to this conclusion before I saw von Schubert's argument.

II. The strong language of Ennodius in his Panegyric on Theodoric: 'Quid quod a te Alamanniae generalitas intra Italiae terminos sine detrimento Romanae possessionis inclusa est, cui evenit habere regem postquam meruit perdidisse? Facta est Latiaris custos imperii semper nostrorum populatione grassata, cui feliciter cessit fugisse patriam suam, nam sic adepta est soli nostri opulentiam,' &c. The words in italic can only mean the whole state of the Alamanni.

III. The words of Agathias (I.6): Τούτους (sc. τοὺς Ἀλαμαννοὺς) δὲ πρότερον Θευδέριχος ὁ τῶν Γότθων βασιλεύς, ἡνίκα καὶ τῆς ξυμπάσης Ἰταλίας ἐκράτει, ἐς φόρου ἀπαγωγὴν παραστησάμενος, κατήκοον εἶχε τὸ φῦλον.

Against such a consensus of first-rate authorities as this, the mere silence of a writer like Gregory counts for very little.

46 I say apparently, because I feel how much weight is due both to the authority and the arguments of Binding (p181), who, with Pallmann and some others, assigns the letters in question to an earlier date, and believes that they were for the time successful in averting war between Clovis and Alaric. This earlier date would also lessen the difficulty which arises from Theodoric's calling the two kings 'Regii juvenes.' My chief reasons for not accepting it are, (1) that we have no hint in any of our authorities of such a threatened outburst before the actual one, and (2) that the Burgundo-Frankish alliance, which, it is thought, makes it impossible to date the letter to Gundobad in 507, seems to me to have been unsuspected by Theodoric. It was, I imagine, the skill with which this secret was kept, that baffled all Theodoric's plans for assisting Alaric.

47 Variarum, III.1‑4.

48 The Thuringians were at this time settled in the country from the Main to the Elbe, the same which afterwards bore the name Thuringia, but with a wider extension. The Warni (whom Cassiodorus calls Guarni) probably occupied the country immediately north of the Thuringians, from the Harz Mountains to the Baltic. The Heruli had, perhaps, moved up the Danube after the collapse of the Rugian monarchy, and may have held its northern shore from Augsburg to Passau. There had, however, been wars between them and the Lombards which make it extremely difficult to fix their position at this time.

49 'Nostrum est Regios juvenes objecta ratione moderari. . . . . Vereantur senes, quamvis sint florida aetate fervens.' Whatever date be assigned to the letter, these words are not without difficulty. Theodoric was born in 454, Clovis probably in 466, and Alaric II apparently not much later than 465 (since he does not seem to have been treated as a minor at his accession to the throne in 485). This would make the respective ages of the senex and the juvenes fifty-three, forty‑two, and forty‑one in A.D. 507. But relative youth and age are often spoken in this puzzling way by historians.

Thayer's Note: There is, in fact, no difficulty. Juvenis (also junior) was a semi-technical term designating a man between 30 and 45: Tubero ap. Gellius, X.28.1; Varro ap.  Censorinus, de Die natali, XIV.2.

50 The name of Clovis or Hlodwig seems to have presented peculiar difficulties to the Latin scribe. Cassiodorus (as above) calls it Luduin: Isidore (Chronicon, era 521) turns it into Fluidicus. The form used by Gregory is Chlodovechus.

51 So says Procopius (De Bello Gothico, I.12), and notwithstanding his imperfect knowledge of the campaign (he places the battle at Carcassonne), I think we need not reject this detail. Οἱ Γερμανοί with him means the Franks.

52 Binding points out, in this connexion, that the name of the Roman Consul did not reach Lyons throughout the year 507, from which he infers that communication was interrupted between Italy and Burgundy. Italy did actually touch the Visigothic territory at the Riviera, but it was probably dangerous to try that road with a hostile power like the Burgundians on the flank.

53 'Sicut genere vilissimus, intact infelicitate et ignavia summus' (Isidori Chronicon, p720, ed. Grotius).

54 Bollandist Acta Sanctorum, August 27.

55 Cass. Var. I.24.

56 To be described in the next chapter.

57 The plan of this campaign of 509 is deduced by Binding from some expressions in the correspondence of Avitus (Ep. 78), combined with the notice in the chronicle of Marius, 'Importuno consule Mammo Dux Gothorum partem Galliae depraedavit.'

58 'Non minore tropeo de Francis per Ibbam suum comitem in Galliis adquisivit, plus triginta millia Francorum in praelio caesa' (Jord. de Reb. Get. LVIII).

59 The relative values of silver and gold underwent great fluctuations towards the end of the Empire: but in A.D. 422 one pound of silver was worth four solidi, or forty-eight shillings (Dureau de la Malle, I.95, quoting Cod. Theod. VIII.4.27).

60 Cass. Var. V.43 and 44.

61 Consul suffectus, not Consul ordinarius. His name does not appear, as does that of Theodoric, in the Roman Fasti.

62 The tendency of modern historians seems to be to acquit Philip of all blame for the death of Don Carlos, who was evidently insane.

63 Aviti Homiliarum Fragmentum, VII (p298, Migne).

64 De Bello Gotthico, I.12.

65 This is proved by the fact that bishops from the following places are found assisting at the Gothic councils held at Arles between 524 and 529 — Cavaillon, Apt, Orange, St. Paul des Trois Châteaux (Augusta Tricastinorum), Charpentras, Gap, Embrun, Vaison (Binding, I.266).

66 Cassiodorus, in the previously quoted letter (VIII.10), says of Tulum: 'Mittitur igitur, Franco et Burgundio decertantibus, rursus ad Gallias tuendas, ne quid adversa manus praesumeret, quod noster exercitus impensis laboribus vindicasset. Adquisivit Reipublicae Romanae, aliis contendentibus, absque ulla fatigatione provinciam. . . . Triumphus sine pugna, sine labore palma, sine caede victoria,' &c.

67 This is the version of the story given by the Passio S. Sigismundi. Jahn (II.303) thinks that the writer, who is partial to the Franks, has made the most of the treachery of the Burgundians, and especially of their supposed share in the actual putting to death of their king.

68 The date of the battle is suggested, not proved, by an interesting inscription discovered at Anse on the Saône, which appears to record the death of 'Villigisclus of good memory, who died in battle at Vesaroncia the xith of the Kalends of July.' See Binding, I.258.

Thayer's Note: The official site of the town of Anse states that the inscription can be seen today in "a wall" of the church of St-Pierre, as can two other inscriptions of roughly the same period.

69 Agathias (I.3), who describes this battle, gives an interesting description of the Frankish chevelure, and contrasts it with the shaggy, unkempt locks of the Turks and Avars.

70 De Bello Gotthico, IV.20.


Thayer's Notes:

a In Essai pour servir à l'histoire politique de Lyon (Lyon, 1846), p329, Alain Maret writes "l'épitaphe qui était gravée sur sa tombe, et que Duchesne [André Duchesne, 1584‑1640] nous a conservée" (in Historiae Francorum Scriptores, 1619), suggesting very strongly that the inscription was no longer to be found there in 1846, a half-century before Hodgkin; Maret then goes on to transcribe it in full: it is in elegiac couplets. An inscription commemorating royalty and Christian piety would have been a prime target for destruction in the French Revolution: and the inscription is indeed lost, according to Allmer & Dissard, who transcribe and translate it, and discuss it at some length, with a bibliography (Musée de Lyon — Inscriptions antiques, IV.69‑75).

b Now Beaucaire.

c What wouldn't we give for an independent account of these goings‑on. But even in the absence of any (very possibly squelched along the way by a Christian clerical near-monopoly) it seems clear that Jews were being oppressed and had hopes of liberating themselves, but failed.

d The abbey of St-Maurice-d'Agaune has given its name to the town that grew up around it; it is still a working abbey.

e Not only according to Procopius, but much earlier than him, the geographer Ptolemy, from whom he must have got the idea, directly or indirectly. Here is my replotting of Ptolemy's map from his own list of coördinates (Geography, II.2), in which we see England correctly oriented, and Scotland rotated by 90°:

[image ALT: missingALT.]

At 59° latitude, in red, I've marked the course of Hadrian's Wall, not mentioned by Ptolemy, which still runs correctly in an east-west direction; the wall meant by Procopius is clearly Antonine's later wall, which is farther north, and better corresponds to his description of the utter cleavage between the two parts of the country. On the other hand, Procopius clearly says (Wars, VIII.xx.42 ff.) that the wilderness is on the east, the civilized portion on the west.


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