[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Ch. 5, § 5
This webpage reproduces a section of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,

The text is 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!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Ch. 6


(Part 3 of 3)

 p160  § 6. Alaric's First Invasion of Italy (A.D. 401‑403)

We saw how Alaric and his Visigoths had withdrawn from the Peloponnesus into the province of New Epirus in A.D. 397, and that Alaric had been appointed to some imperial post, probably that of Master of Soldiers in Illyricum. For four years we hear nothing of him except that he took advantage of his official position to equip his followers with modern arms from the Roman arsenals in the Dacian diocese.​134 Then suddenly he determined to invade Italy. Perhaps it was the defeat of the attempt of Gaïnas to establish a German ascendancy at Constantinople that averted his covetous eyes from the Balkan lands and moved him to seek a habitation for his people in the realm of Honorius. It can hardly have been his hope to establish a permanent kingdom in Italy itself.​135 We may take it that his intention was rather to frighten Honorius into granting lands and concessions in the Danube provinces. An opportune moment came when, towards the end of A.D. 401, a host of Vandals and other barbarians under a savage leader named Radagaisus had broken into Noricum and Raetia.​136 Alaric passed the Italian Alps in November,​137 and advanced to Aquileia, which he appears to have captured.​138 The Italians were in consternation, and not least Honorius himself, who thought of fleeing to Gaul, and was with difficulty persuaded that he was safe behind the walls of Milan.139  p161  During the next two months the cities of Venetia opened their gates to the Goths, and Alaric was ready to march on Milan, where he hoped to seize the Emperor's sacred person.

At the moment Italy was defenceless, because Stilicho had led his mobile troops across the Alps to drive back Radagaisus and the invaders of Raetia. This winter campaign was success­ful. The barbarians were checked, and Stilicho induced them to furnish him with auxiliaries against the Goths.​140 Reinforced by this accession and also by troops hastily summoned from the Rhine frontier and from Britain, he came down to relieve Milan and deliver Italy (about the end of February, A.D. 402).​141 Alaric abandoned the siege and marched westward to Hasta (Asti), which he failed to take, and then went on to Pollentia (Pollenzo) on the river Tanarus, where he decided to make a stand against the forces of Stilicho who marched in pursuit. According to the poet who celebrated this campaign, a council was held in the Gothic camp, and one of the veterans who feared the issue of a trial of strength with Stilicho besought the king to withdraw from Italy while there was yet time. Alaric indignantly refuses; he was confident that he was destined to capture Rome; and he assured the assembled warriors that a clear voice had come to him from a grove, saying penetrabis ad urbem, "thou shalt penetrate to the City."

The battle was fought on Easter-day (April 6). Neither side could claim a decisive victory,​142 but the Romans occupied the Gothic camp, and Alaric's family among other captives fell into their hands. The Goths descended to the Ligurian coast and marched along the coast road in the direction of Etruria.143  p162  Stilicho did not attempt to overtake and crush them. He opened negotiations and Alaric agreed to leave Italy, but we do not know what conditions were made.144

When he retired from Italian soil in accordance with this treaty, he remained near the borders of the peninsula, dissatisfied with a bargain which perhaps the captivity of his wife and children had chiefly moved him to accept. At the end of a year, during which Stilicho strengthened the military forces in Italy, probably at the expense of the defences of Gaul, he crossed the Italian frontier again in the early summer (A.D. 403) and attacked Verona.​145 Here defeated by Stilicho, and almost captured himself, he took the northward road to the Brenner pass, pursued by the Romans. The army of the Goths suffered from hunger and disease, and seems to have been entirely at the mercy of the Roman general. But Stilicho acted once more as he had acted in Thessaly, in the Peloponnesus, and in Liguria.​146 He came to an understanding with Alaric and allowed him to take up his quarters in the border districts between Dalmatia and Pannonia, where he was to hold himself in readiness to help Stilicho to carry out the plan of annexing Eastern Illyricum.​147 Here he seems to have remained for some time and then to have moved again into Epirus.

The story of these two critical years in Italy can hardly be said to be known. The slight chronicle which we can construct of Alaric's invasions is drawn from rhetorical poets and the scrappy notices of chroniclers. They do not tell us the things that would enable us to judge the situation. They do not tell us the number of the Gothic warriors, or the number and composition of the Imperial forces which opposed them; they do not tell us anything of the actual course of the fighting or the tactic employed at Pollentia or at Verona; and they are silent as to the precise conditions on which Stilicho spared Alaric. We know enough, however, to see that if another than this German general had been at the head of affairs, if the  p163  defence of the provinces had been in the hands of a Roman commander possessing the ability and character of Theodosius or Valentinian I, the Visigoths and their king would have been utterly crushed, and many calamities would have been averted, which ensued from the indulgent policy of the Vandal to whom Theodosius had unwisely entrusted the destinies of Rome.

The Emperor Honorius celebrated the repulse of the invader by a triumphal entry into Rome.​148 It was probably in the summer or autumn of A.D. 402 that, menaced by Alaric's proximity, he had moved his home and court from Milan to Ravenna,​149 and, as future events were to prove, he could not have chosen a safer retreat. But he could now venture to Rome, which he had never visited before, enjoy the celebration of a triumph,​150 reside in the palace of the Caesars on the Palatine Hill, and enter upon his sixth consul­ship (A.D. 404) in the presence of the Senate and the Roman people. For the Romans, the triumphal entry of the Emperor was an event. Rome, which had not witnessed a triumph for more than a hundred years, had in certain ways changed much since the days of Diocletian. In external appearance the transformation from ancient into medieval Rome had already begun. Most of the great churches that still exist, though rebuilt, enlarged, or restored, had been founded in the fourth century. St. John in the Lateran, the basilica of Liberius on the Esquiline which was soon to become Sta. Maria Maggiore, and outside the wall St. Peter beyond the Tiber, and St. Paul on the road to Ostia, were all probably visited by Honorius.​151 The temples of the gods stood still unharmed, but derelict; more than twenty years before the altar of Victory had been removed from the Senate-house. Some distinguished senatorial families had been converted from their errors, like the Anicii and the  p164  Bassi,​152 but the greater number of the senators were still devoted to paganism and would have welcomed a new Julian on the Imperial throne. Of these pagans the most distinguished was Symmachus, who had been their eloquent spokesman when they vainly pleaded with Theodosius and Valentinian II to permit the restoration of the altar of Victory. And now during the visit of Honorius to Rome the Christian poet Prudentius took occasion to compose a poem confuting the arguments of Symmachus and exulting over the discomfiture of his cause.​153 He affected to believe that the senators had freely and joyfully proscribed the pagan idols, and that there were few pagans left — ingenia obtritos aegre retinentia cultus. "The Fathers," he says, "the luminaries of the world, the venerable assembly of Catos, were impatient to strip themselves of their pontifical garment, to cast the skin of the old serpent, to assume the snowy robes of baptismal innocence, and to humble the pride of the consular forces before the tombs of the martyrs."154

Prudentius concluded his work with an appeal to the Emperor to suppress gladiatorial shows:155

tu mortes miserorum hominum prohibeto litari,

nullus in urbe cadat cuius sit poena voluptas.

This appeal probably expressed a considerable volume of public opinion, and if it was not in this year that exhibitions of gladiators were finally forbidden, it must have been soon afterwards. Possibly it is not a mere legend that the immediate occasion of the abolition of these spectacles was the act of an aged monk named Telemachus, who rushed into the arena of the Colosseum to separate two combatants and was killed by the indignant populace with showers of stones.156

The occasion of the Imperial visit to Rome was celebrated by Claudian with his unflagging enthusiasm. He had already, in a poem on the Gothic War, sung the repulse of Alaric at Pollentia —

o celebranda mihi cunctis Pollentia saeclis! —

 p165  and united the name of Stilicho with that of Marius as the protectors of Italy, imagining the bones of Cimbrians and Goths laid under a common trophy with the inscription

'hic Cimbros fortesque Getas, Stilichone peremptos

et Mario claris ducibus, tegit Itala tellus.

discite uesanae Romam non temnere gentes.'

The campaign of Verona was celebrated in the poem which he composed at the end of the year for the Sixth Consulship of Honorius, immediately after the triumph. This was his last work. Our records are silent as to his fate, but the most probable conjecture is that death cut short his career and that he did not live to see the second consul­ship of his patron (A.D. 405), a theme which he could not have neglected.157

Great allowances as the historian has to make for Claudian's partiality and rhetoric, he owes him an appreciable debt and would give much to have his guidance for the last obscure and critical five years of Stilicho's career. But apart from the information which he gives us, his poetry is one of the most interesting facts of the age. He was born at Alexandria,​158 and his earliest literary work was in Greek, but we may take it that he had learned Latin as a child. He saturated himself in the poetical literature of Rome from Ennius to Juvenal, and his verses abound in echoes and reminiscences. His Roman feeling for Roman traditions is not compromised or embarrassed by any allegiance to the new religion; and the statement of his contemporary Augustine that he was a stranger to the name of Christ​159 is borne out by his poems, from which, if they were the sole monument of the time, we should not suspect the existence of Christianity.​160 In talent and technical skill he is incomparably  p166  superior to the Christian poets of the day, Prudentius and Paulinus, and through his genuine feeling for the dignity and majesty of the Empire he has succeeded in shedding a certain lustre over the age of Stilicho and Alaric.

§ 7. Last Years and Fall of Stilicho (A.D. 405‑408)

The provinces of the Upper Danube, Raetia, Noricum, and Pannonia, were at this time still under the effective control of Roman governors, and the principal towns still flourishing centres of Roman civility. In Pannonia indeed considerable districts had been occupied by Ostrogoths, Huns, and Alans, whom Gratian and Theodosius had settled after their victories over the Gothic invaders of A.D. 380. Of these the Ostrogoths had perhaps been settled in the north-western of the four Pannonian provinces, Pannonia Prima,​161 and it is probable that the north-eastern, Valeria, was occupied by the Huns.162

The line of division between Pannonia and Noricum ran from the neighbourhood of Tulln on the Danube to Pettau, while the course of the Aenus (Inn) formed the western boundary of Noricum, separating it from Raetia.​163 The most northerly point in the course of the Danube, which was the northern border of Raetia, was marked by Batava Castra (Ratisbon), and the province extended westward to the source of that river.​164 The  p167  most important highway from Italy to Raetia was the Via Claudia Augusta, which led through the Tirol by Meran and Vintschgau to Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg); the Brenner road was less used. Aquileia was the great centre of roads leading from Italy into Noricum, Pannonia, and the Balkan lands. The traveller to Pannonia would proceed from Aquileia to Celeia (Cilly) and Poetovio (Pettau), whence the high road continued to Savaria (Stein-am‑Anger) where several roads met, one leading northward to Carnuntum (Petronell), a second north-eastward, and a third south-eastward to Sopianae (Fünfkirchen). Three roads led from Aquileia over the Julian Alps: (1) to Aguntum (near Lienz); (2) to Virunum (Maria Saal near Klagenfurt), whence roads led to Juvavum (Salzburg) and to Lauriacum (Lorsch) and other places on the Danube, and (3) to Emona (Laibach), which belonged administratively to Venetia and was itself connected by a road over the mountains to Virunum. Here at Emona the two roads met of which one led into northern Pannonia, as we saw, by Celeia, and other through southern Pannonia along the valley to the Save, by Siscia (Siszek) to Sirmium (Mitrovica) and Singidunum (Belgrade), and thence to Constantinople. It should be observed that Pannonia was bounded on the south by the province of Dalmatia, for Dalmatia then included not only the coastlands of the Hadriatic as far south as Alessio, but also the lands which were afterwards to be known as Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a part of Istria, west of the river Arsia.

During the early years of Honorius, the defence of the Pannonian frontier was almost abandoned, and the Pannonian provinces suffered both from the barbarians who were within,​165 and from those who were without. Of all this devastation we have no regular story; we have only the vague complaints and hints of contemporary writers.​166 But the alarm, even in those much tried lands, must have been great when in the last months of A.D. 405 a vast host of Germans, principally Ostrogoths, descended upon Italy.​167 They were led by the adventurer  p168  Radagaisus, who had been repulsed from Raetia by Stilicho a few years before. As the home of the Ostrogothic people was still in the neighbourhood of the river Dniester, they had a long march by whatever route they came, and it may be presumed that they crossed the Danube on the Pannonian frontier. We are told nothing of their doings in the Danubian provinces, or by what roads they reached Aquileia, and its seems probable that Radagaisus, wishing to surprise Italy, did not tarry on his way to plunder the cities of Pannonia and Noricum. But we are told that the inhabitants of the districts through which they passed fled before them, seeking the refuge of Italy.​168 Italy was entered without resistance, and the barbarian host overran the northern provinces. After some time it is said that they divided into three companies,​169 of which the chief under Radagaisus attacked Florence. Stilicho, who had collected his forces at Ticinum, numbering perhaps less than 20,000 comitatenses,​170 reinforced by Alans and Huns from beyond the Danube,​171 compelled him to withdraw to Fiesole. The Romans were able to cut off the supplies of the barbarians and then massacre them at their pleasure.​172 Radagaisus was captured and executed (Aug. 23, A.D. 406), and the victory, which was fondly declared to have extinguished the Gothic nation for ever, was celebrated by a triumphal arch in Rome.​173 But Italy must have suffered terribly, for the barbarians had been six months in the land.

It is clear from the meagre records of this invasion that when Radagaisus surprised Italy, the field army at the disposal of  p169  Stilicho was so small that he could not venture on a battle with the superior forces of the enemy until he had obtained help from the Huns. It is possible that some of the troops which had come from Gaul and Britain to oppose Alaric had been sent back, but, if so, the Gallic legionaries of the Rhine frontier must have again been summoned to fight against Radagaisus, and must have been retained. For the Rhine was virtually undefended at the end of A.D. 406, when hosts of Germans crossed the river and began a progress of destruction through Gaul. This event was decisive for the future history of Western Europe, though the government of Ravenna had little idea what its consequences would be. But Stilicho was at least bound to hasten to the rescue of the Gallic provincials. Instead of doing this, he busied himself (A.D. 407) with his designs on Illyricum which the invasion of Radagaisus had compelled him to postpone. The unfriendliness which had long existed between the eastern and western courts came to a crisis when the ecclesiastics whom Honorius had sent to remonstrate with his brother on the treatment of Chrysostom were flung into prison.​174 It was a sufficient pretext for Stilicho to close the Italian ports to the ships of the subjects of Arcadius and break off all intercourse between the two realms.​175 Alaric was warned to hold Epirus for Honorius; and Jovius was appointed, in anticipation, Praetorian Prefect of Illyricum.​176 Stilicho was at Ravenna, making ready to cross the Hadriatic, when a report reached him that Alaric was dead. It was false, but it caused delay; and then came the alarming news that a certain Constantine, a soldier in Britain, had been proclaimed Emperor and had crossed over to Gaul. Once again the design of Stilicho was thwarted. He might look with indifference on the presence of barbarian foes in the provinces beyond the Alps, but he could not neglect the duty of devising measures against a rebel.177

Alaric cared not at all for the difficulties of his paymaster, and chafed under the intolerable delay. Early in A.D. 408, threatened perhaps by preparations which the eastern government was making to defend Illyricum,​178 he marched northward,  p170  and followed the high road from Sirmium to Emona. He halted there and instead of marching across the Julian Alps to Aquileia and Italy, he turned northwards by the road which led across the Loibl Pass to Virunum.​179 Here in the province of Noricum he encamped, and sent an embassy to Rome demanding compensation for all the trouble he had taken in the interest of Honorius. 4000 pounds of gold (£180,000) was named. The Senate assembled, and Stilicho's influence induced it to agree to the monstrous demand; but many were dissatisfied with a policy which played into the hands of the barbarians, and one senator bolder than the rest exclaimed, "That is not a peace; it is a compact of thraldom." Such, however, was the power of the Emperor's father-in‑law, and such the awe in which he was held, that the rash speaker after the dissolution of the assembly deemed it prudent to seek refuge in a church. The money was paid to Alaric, and he was retained in the service of Honorius. Perhaps he might be employed against the usurper in Gaul.

But Stilicho's position was not so secure as it seemed. His daughter, the Empress Maria, was dead, but Honorius had been induced to wed her sister Aemilia Materna Thermantia,​180 and Stilicho might think that his influence over the Emperor was impregnable and still hope for the union of his son with Placidia. But any popularity he had won by the victory over Gildo, by the expulsion of Alaric from Italy, by the defeat of Radagaisus was ebbing away. The misfortunes in Gaul, which had been occupied by a tyrant and was being plundered by barbarians, were attributed to his incapacity or treachery, and his ambiguous relations with Alaric had only resulted in a new danger for Italy. It was whispered that his design on Eastern Illyricum only covered the intention of a triple division of the Empire, in which his own son Eucherius should be the third Imperial colleague. Both he and his wife Serena were detested by the pagan families of Rome who still possessed predominant influence in the capital. Nor  p171  was his popularity with the army secure. While he and Honorius were at Rome in the spring of A.D. 408, a friend warned him that the spirit of the troops stationed at Ticinum was far from friendly to his government.

Honorius had reached Bononia, on his way back to Ravenna, when the news of his brother's death arrived (May). He entertained the idea of proceeding to Constantinople to protect the interests of his child nephew Theodosius, and he summoned Stilicho for consultation. Stilicho dissuaded him from this plan, urging that it would be fatal for the legitimate Emperor to leave Italy while a usurper was in possession of Gaul; and he undertook to travel himself to the eastern capital; during his absence there would be no danger from Alaric, if he were given a commission to march against Constantine. The death of Arcadius had presented to Stilicho too good an opportunity for prosecuting his design on Illyricum to be lost. Honorius agreed, and official letters were drafted and signed, to Alaric instructing him to restore the Emperor's authority in Gaul, and to Theodosius regarding Stilicho's mission to Constantinople.

The Emperor then proceeded to Ticinum, and there a plot was woven for the destruction of the power­ful and unsuspicious minister. Olympius, a palace official, who had opportunities of access to Honorius on the journey, let fall calumnious suggestions that Stilicho was planning to do away with Theodosius and place his own son on the eastern throne. At Ticinum he sowed the same suspicions among the troops, who were discontented and mutinous. His efforts brought about a military revolution, in which nearly all the highest officials who were in attendance on the Emperor, including the Praetorian Prefects of Italy and Gaul, were slain (August 13).181

The first thought of Stilicho, when the confused story of these alarming occurrences reached him at Bononia and it was doubtful whether the Emperor himself had not been killed, was to march at the head of the barbarian troops who were with him and punish the mutineers. But when he was reassured that the Emperor was safe, reflexion made him hesitate to use the barbarians against Romans. His German followers, conspicuous  p172  among them Sarus the Goth, were eager to act and indignant at the change of his resolve. He went himself to Ravenna, probably to assure himself of the loyalty of the garrison; but Honorius, at the instigation of Olympius, wrote to the commander instructions to arrest the great Master of Soldiers. Stilicho under cover of night took refuge in a church, but the next day allowed himself to be taken forth and imprisoned on the assurance that the Imperial order was not to put him to death, but to detain him under guard. Then a second letter arrived, ordering his execution. The foreign retainers of his household, who had accompanied him to Ravenna, attempted to rescue him, but he peremptorily forbade them to interfere and was beheaded (August 22, A.D. 408). His executioner, Heraclian, was rewarded by the post of Count of Africa. His son Eucherius was put to death soon afterwards at Rome, and the Emperor hastened to repudiate Thermantia, who was restored a virgin to her mother. The estates of the fallen minister were confiscated as a matter of course. There had been no pretence of a trial, his treason was taken for granted, but after his execution there was an inquisition to discover which of his friends and supporters were implicated in his criminal designs. Nothing was discovered; it was quite clear that if Stilicho meditated treason he had taken no one into his confidence.182

The fall of Stilicho caused little regret in Italy. For thirteen and a half years this half-Romanised German had been master of western Europe, and he had signally failed in the task of defending the inhabitants and the civilisation of the provinces against the greedy barbarians who infested its frontiers. He had succeeded in driving Alaric out of Italy, but he had not prevented him from invading it. He had annihilated the host of Radagaisus, but Radagaisus had first laid northern Italy waste. It was while the helm of state was in his hands that, as we have yet to see, Britain was nearly lost to the Empire, and Gaul devastated far and wide by barbarians who were presently to be lords in Spain and Africa. The difficulties of the situation were indeed enormous; but the minister who deliberately provoked and prosecuted a domestic dispute over the government of Eastern Illyricum, and allowed his  p173  policy to be influenced by jealousy of Constantinople, when all his energies and vigilance were needed for the defence of the frontiers, cannot be absolved from responsibility for the misfortunes which befell the Roman state in his own lifetime and for the dismemberment of the western realm which soon followed his death. Many evils would have been averted, and particularly the humiliation of Rome, if he had struck Alaric mercilessly — and Alaric deserved no mercy — as he might have done more than once, and as a patriotic Roman general would not have hesitated to do. The Roman provincials might well feel bitter​183 over the acts and policy of this German, whom the unfortunate favour of Theodosius had raised to the supreme command. When an Imperial law designated him as a public brigand who had worked to enrich and excite the barbarian races, the harsh words probably expressed the general opinion.184

The death of the man who had been proclaimed a public enemy at Constantinople altered the relations between the two Imperial governments. Concord and friendly co-operation succeeded coldness and hostility. The edict which Stilicho had caused Honorius to issue, excluding eastern traders from western ports, was rescinded. The Empire was again really as well as nominally one.​185 The Romans of the west, like the Romans of the east, had shown that they did not wish to be governed by men of German race, and the danger did not occur again for forty years.

The Author's Notes:

134 Claudian, B. Goth. 537 sqq. Zosimus, who omits the Italian campaigns of 402 and 403, and passes from 397 to 405, as though Alaric had remained eight years quiet in Epirus, says (V.26): τὸ παρὰ Στελίχωνος ἀνέμενε σύνθημα τοιόνδε πως ὄν, namely τῇ Ὁνωρίου βασιλείᾳ τὰ ἐν Ἰλλυρίοις ἔθνη πάντα προσθεῖναι with Alaric's help. From this point Zosimus follows Olympiodorus instead of Eunapius.

135 This, indeed, is Schmidt's view, Deutsche Stämme, I.204.

136 Radagaisus was a German, as his name shows; he is called a "Scythian" in the sources.

137 Fast. Vind. pr., sub a. (Chron. min. I.299).

138 Jerome, C. Rufin. III.21. Claudian's words deploratumque Timavo vulnus may refer either to the capture of the city or to a battle in the neighbourhood.

139 Claudian, ib. 296. Prudentius has briefly described the invasion, C. Symm. II.696 sqq.

140 Claudian, ib. 279 sqq., 321 sqq., 364 sqq., 414. Cp.  Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, I.711 sqq., and Bury, App. 15 to Gibbon, vol. III.

141 Symmachus, Ep. VII.13. Stilicho seems to have marched to Raetia by the Splügen pass (Claudian, ib. 320) and returned by the Brenner (ib. 488); see Seeck, Ges. d. Untergangs, V.573). For the forces summoned from Gaul and Britain see Claudian, ib. 416 sqq. The Rhine was left defended solo terrore. The Britannic legion came from the north-west,

uenit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis

quae Scotto dat frena truci;

probably it was a detachment of the old IInd legion. Cp. Bury, The Not. Dig., in J. R. S. X.

142 Prosper, sub a., vehementer utriusque partis clade pugnatum est. Cp. Prudentius, ib. 717‑720. Crees, Claudian, 175‑180, argues for 403 as the year of the battle.

143 Alaric's goal was Rome. Cp. Claudian, De VI. cons. Hon. 483. The verses of Prudentius, l.c., reflect the profound relief felt in Rome at the success of Stilicho. An illustration of this is possibly to be found in an early Christian missal, where deliverance from a foe at Eastertide is referred to. See Grisar, I.37.

144 Schmidt (ib. 206) is mistaken in thinking that Alaric was now created a western Mag. mil., citing Sozomen, VIII.25. This passage refers to a later date (406‑407?).

145 This second invasion used to be placed in 402, but Birt (Praef. to his ed. of Claudian, liii. sqq.) determined the true date as 403. Cp. Mommsen, Hist. Sch. I.525, n4; Bury, App. 18 to Gibbon, vol. III. The sole source is Claudian, ib. 201 sqq.

146 Orosius (VII.37) notes these repeated releases of Alaric: taceo de Alarico . . . saepe victo saepeque concluso semperque dimisso.

147 Zosimus, V.26 (Olympiodorus).

148 The walls, towers, and gates of Rome had been renovated and fortified, at the instance of Stilicho, in 402. This is recorded in the identical inscriptions over the Portae Portuensis, Praenestina, and Tiburtina, where statues of the Emperors were placed; these inscriptions (CIL VI.º1188‑1190) are prior to Feb. or March 402, as the name of Theodosius, who was created Augustus on Jan. 10, does not appear. See Seeck, Symmachus, p. clxxxviii.

149 The earliest extant rescript issued at Ravenna is dated Dec. 6, 402 (C. Th. VII.13.15).

150 Claudian, ib. 523 sqq. Prudentius, ib. 726 sqq.

151 St. Paul's and the baptistery of St. Peter's are described by Prudentius in the Peristephanon, XII.

152 Also the Paullini and the Gracchi. Prudentius eagerly enumerates them, and the shortness of his list shows that they were in a small minority.

153 Contra Symmachum, in 2 Parts.

154 Ib. I.546 sqq. Gibbon's Paraphrase (vol. III chap. xxviii). If Claudian read the verses of Prudentius he must have smiled at the liberties which that writer takes with the quantities of Greek words (e.g. idŏla, hĕresis, cātholicus).

155 II.1114 sqq.

156 Theodoret, H.E. V.26.

157 Seeck's view is that in 404 he was accused of pagan practices, and thrown into prison by the Praetorian Prefect of Italy, Rufus Synesius Hadrianus (a man of Egyptian birth, who had been com. s. larg. in 395, mag. off. 397‑399, and was Pr. Pr. 400‑405 and again 413‑416), who owed him a grudge for a biting epigram (Carm. min. XXI); his friends were tortured and banished; and in prison Claudian wrote an appeal to the Prefect for mercy, the Deprecatio ad Hadrianum (Carm. min. XXII). Stilicho basely withdrew his protection. This theory depends on the interpretation of the Deprecatio, which Birt (Preface, xi, xii) has otherwise explained.

158 Suidas, s.v.; Claudian, Carmina minora, XIX.3 (nostro Nilo), XXII.58. His identity with the author of the Greek Gigantomachy, of which fragments remain, and seven Greek epigrams is generally admitted, and explains Carm. min. XLI (ad Probinum) 14 et Latiae accessit Graia Thalia togae.

159 De civ. DeiV.26.

160 With the exception of the short, perfunctory production, De Salvatore (Carm. min. XXXII), which stands alone curiously out of place in the collection.

161 Cp. Schmidt, Gesch. der deutschen Stämme, I.115. Alaric's wife belonged to one of the Ostrogothic families of this colony.

162 Pannonia at this time consisted of four provinces: (1) the north-western, Pannonia Prima, including the towns of Vindobona (Vienna) and Carnuntum (Petronell), Savaria (Stein-am‑Anger), Scarpantia (Odenburg); (2) the south-western, Savia: chief town, Siscia on the Save; (3) the north-eastern, Valeria, bounded on north and east by the Danube and including Sopianae, Aquincum (Alt-Ofen), Brigetio (O-szöny), and Intercisa (Dunapentele); and (4) the south-eastern, Pannonia Secunda, including the regions of the lower Drave, in which the chief towns were Sirmium, Mursa (Eszeg), Ciballae (Vinkovce). Noricum was divided into two provinces, (1) Noricum Ripense: chief towns, Lauriacum and Commagenae (near Tulln) on the Danube, Juvavum and Ovilava (Wels); (2) Noricum Mediterraneum: Teurnia (near Spittal), Virunum, Aguntum, Celeia, and Poetovio. Both Noric provinces and Pannonia I were governed by praesides; Pannonia II by a consular, Savia by a corrector.

163 In Not. dig. Valeria has no civil governor. The Huns remained in Pannonia for 45 years or more (380 to 426 or 427); see Marcellinus, Chron. sub 427.

164 For the western boundary of Raetia, see Jung, Römer und Romanen, p30. There were two Raetian provinces: (1) Prima, the southern: chief town, Curia (Chur); (2) Secunda, the northern: chief town, Aug. Vindelicorum. Each had both a civil and a military governor, a praeses and a dux. On all these Danubian lands see Jung, op. cit., and Zeiller, Les Origines chrét. dans les prov. dan.

165 Jerome, Epp. 123.15 hostes Pannonii.

166 Id. Epp. 60.16 (A.D. 396); Prudentius, C. Symm. II.716; Claudian, In Ruf. II.45; De cons. Stil. II.191 sqq.

167 The chief sources are Olympiodorus, fr. 9; Zosimus, V.26, Augustine, De civ. DeiV.23; Orosius, VII.37; Paulinus, Vit. Ambrosii, 50. We may conjecture that the number of the invaders did not exceed 50,000. The huge figures of Zosimus and Orosius, 400,000 and 200,000, are absurd; Augustine's "more than 100,000" must also be a gross exaggeration.— With Gothofredus and Seeck, I have followed Fast. Vind. pr. (p168) p299 and Marcellinus sub 406 in pla­cing the invasion in 405 and the defeat in 406, contrary to the general view, which, on the authority of Prosper, places them a year earlier. The later date supplies the motive of the two constitutions issued at Ravenna in April 406 (C. Th. VII.13.16 and 17), calling for volunteers to defend the provinces against invaders in an emergency (pro imminentibus necessitatibus). Gothofredus, C. Th. II.389.

168 Cp. C. Th. X.10.25.

169 We hear nothing of the other two.

170 30 ἀριθμοί (Zos. ib.) The numerus might vary between 300 and 900 men.

171 Huns under Uldin, whose seat was north of the lower Danube.

172 Augustine declares that not a single Roman was wounded. Probably the work was done by the Huns.

173 CIL VI.1196. The arch was adorned with the statues of the Emperors (toto orbe victoribus) and trophies ad perenne indicium triumphorum quod Getarum nationem in omne aevum docuere extingui. In another inscription the services of Stilicho were recorded, but his name was erased after his fall (ib. 31987; cp. 31988). It was perhaps in the Jan. of this year, while the Goths were wasting Italy, that Paulinus of Nola wrote his Poema XXVI. For the date of the victory see Consul. Ital. (Chron. min. I.299). According to Olympiodorus (fr. 9) Stilicho enrolled 12,000 Goths in the Roman army. Probably they did not belong to the band which attacked Florence.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources on the arch, see the article Arcus Arcadii Honorii et Theodosii in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

174 See above, p158.

175 The measure is referred to in C. Th. VII.16.1.

176 Sozomen, VIII.25 = IX.4.

177 The course of events in Gaul will be related in the following chapter.

178 Cp. C. Th. XI.17.4 (April 11, 408) = XV.1.49 (April 9, 412, false date). Cp. Seeck's conjectures, op. cit. V.591.

179 Cp. Jung, Römer und Romanen, p120.

180 Early in 408. Zosimus, V.28; Olympiodorus, fr. 2. For her full name see CIL XV.7152. The marriage was arranged through the efforts of Serena. We do not know when Maria died. She seems to have been buried at Rome in a porphyry sarcophagus, in St. Peter's. A remarkable golden bulla was found in the sarcophagus with the inscription:

Honori, Maria, Stelicho,º Serηna vivatis!

Stelicho, Serena, Thermantia, Eucheri vivatis!

See Dessau, 800.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details on her tomb, see the article Sepulcrum Mariae in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome and the passages of Lanciani, Armellini and Hülsen linked there.

181 The list is: Limenius, Pr. Pr. of Gaul (who had come to Italy to escape from Constantine); the Master of Offices, the Quaestor, the Comes s. larg., the Comes r. priv., the two comites domest., and Longinianus, Pr. Pr. of Italy (Zos. V.32). Date: Cons. Ital. p300.

182 Stilicho's designs for the advantage of his son were not necessarily treasonable, but the suspicion of treason is not confuted by the fact that Eucherius only held insignificant posts. Cp. Zos. V.34.7.

183 Orosius, H.E. VII.37 and 38. Here (as in Chron. Gall. 55, p652) Stilicho is accused of having stirred up the barbarians against Gaul. The charge must be rejected, but it illustrates the general feeling that his policy was to blame for many of the disasters of the time. The fiercest attack on Stilicho is that of Rutilius Namatianus, De reditu suo, II.41 sqq., who designates him as proditor arcani imperii, but sees his chief crime in the burning of the Sibylline Books, aeterni fatalia pignora regni. The poet consigns him to Nero's place in Tartarus:

omnia tartarei cessent tormenta Neronis,

consumat Stygias tristior umbra faces.

184 C. Th. IX.42.22 (Nov. 22, 408).

185 The fact that after 396 Arcadius and Honorius never assumed the consul­ship together is significant, and illustrates the bad relations between the two courts.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 17 Mar 18