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position, was now ungovernable. Having no enemies to wreak his resentment upon, he turned it against his own commanders. He put many of his generals to death, as if the city had held out through their neglect or incapacity, while famine made great depredations upon the rest of his army.
He was soon after sain in his tent, after a reign of three years
and a few days. His son, whom he had associated in his power
shared the fame fate. The gates of Aquileia were thrown open to his destroyers, and the head of Maximin on a spear was borne in triumph through the streets.
His assiduity, when in a humble station, and his cruelty, when in power, serve to evince, that there are some men, whose virtues are fitted for obfcurity; as there are others, who only thew themselves great when placed in an exalted ftation.
Pupienus and Balbinus, as well as Gordian, came to an untimely end; and the last mentioned Emperor fell by the hands of one to whom he had been a benefactor. His appointment of Philip, by birth an Arab, and by profession a robber, to the præfecture, proved fatal to the life and power of Gordian. The boldness of the new præfect aspired to the throne; the minds of the soldiers were irritated by artificial scarcity, and the arms, which ought to have defended, were turned against their master. By a sentence of the soldiers, he was stript and led away to death, and a small monument on the banks of the river Aboras, attested the spot of his execution, after a reign of scarce fix
Philip caused the secular games to be celebrated, with a magnificence superior to any of his predecessors, it being just a thousand years from the building of the city. At this time, we are told, both Philip and his son were converted to Christianity. A murderer, however, and an ungrateful ufurper, does no great honour to whatever opinion he may happen to embrace.
The army, soon after, revolting in favour of Decius, one of the sentinels, at a blow, cut off Philip's head, in the fortyfifth year of his age, and after a reign of about five years.
A. D, 244
( 254 )
Decius.--The Christians are persecuted. - Invasion of the Goths
and Vandals.Decius loses his Life in a Quagmire.--Gallus agrees to pay Tribute to the Gsths. Valerian defeated by the Persians, and taken Prisoner. - Various Character of Galienus.-His reign is marked by accumulated Calamities.--Claudius defeats the Goths.--- Řemark of one of the Gothic Generals respecting Books.---Character of Claudius.-- Aurelian defeats Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra and the East.-His Vow.--Longinus put to death.--Aurelian asasinated.
HILIP having met with the fate he deserved, A. D. 248.
successor, whose activity seemed, in some measure, to stop the haftening decline of the Roman empire. Nothing, however, could now prevent the approaching downfal of the state. The obftinate disputes between the Pagans and the Christians within the empire, and the unceafing irruptions of barbarous nations from without, enfeebled it be yond the power of a remedy. To stop these, a persecution of the Christians, now the most numerous body of the people, was impoliticly, as well as unjustly, begun; in which thousands were put to death, and all the arts of cruelty tried in vain to lessen their growing numbers.
This persecution was succeeded by dreadful devastation from the Goths, particularly in Thrace and Mäsia, where they had been most successful. These barbarians deduced their origin from the vast island, or peninsula, of Scandinavia; and the name of the Goths is now loft in that of the Swedes.
In the Edda, a system of mythology compiled in Iceland, about the thirteenth century, we distinguish two persons confounded under the name of Odin, the god of war, and the great legislator of Scandinavia. The latter instituted a religion adapted to the climate and people, and subdued numerous tribes on either side the Baltic, But though some faint tradition is preserved .fa Scandinavian origin, we must not expect any strict account of the time and circumstances of their emigration. To cross the Baltic, the inhabitants of Sweden poflèffed sufficient vessels, and the distance from Carlseroon to the nearest ports of Prussia and Pomerania exceeds not an hundred miles. From the commencement of the Christan æra to the
age of the Antonines, the Goths were established towards the mouth of the Viftula. Westward of the Goths, the numerous tribes of Vandals spread along the banks of the Oder; and a resemblance of manners and language seems to
indicate that the Vandals and the Goths were originally one people. About the reign of Alexander Severus, the province of Dacia experienced the destructive fury of the Goths in their inroads, whose arms were turned against the milder regions of the south; and the march of the barbarians encreased their numbers with the bravest warriors of the Vandalic States.
The Goths were now in posseflion of the Ukraine, a coun. try of considerable extent and uncommon fertility. The size of the cattle, the temperature of the air, the aptness of the foil for every species of grain, and the luxuriancy of the vegetation, all displayed the liberality of nature, and tempted the industry of man; but the Gothś withstood all these temptations, and still adhered to a life of poverty and rapine.
The Scythian hords towards the east, presented the doubtful chance of unprofitable victory; the Roman territories were far more alluring. Bursting through the province of Dacia, the barbarians extorted a considerable 'ransom from Marcianopolis, the capital of the second Mæsia. The invaders retreated with their boo:y, to return with double force. These irruptions Decius went to oppose in person, and coming to an engagement with them sew thirty thousand of these barbarians in one battle. Being resolved however, to pursue his victory, he was by the treachery of Gallus, his own general, led into a defile, where the king of the Goths had secret information to attack him: In this disadvantageous fituation, Decius first saw his son killed with an arrow, and foon after his whole army totally put to the rout. Wherefore, resolving not to survive the loss, he put spurs to his horse, and instantly plunging into a quagmire, was swallowed up, and his body could never be found.
Gallus, who had thus betrayed the Roman army, had address enough to get himself declared A. D. 2515 : Emperor by that part of it which survived the defeat. He was the first who bought a dishonourable peace, from the enemies of the state, agreeing to pay a considerable annual tribute to the Goths, whom it was his duty to repress. Having thus purchased a short relaxation from war, by the disgrace of his country, he returned to Rome, and followed his pleasures, regardless of the wretched situation of the empire.
The state of the Roman provinces, at that time, was very deplorable. The Goths, and other barbarous nations, not satisfied with their late bribes to continue in peace, broke in like a torrent, upon the castern parts of Europe. On the other side, the Persians and Scythians committed unhcard of ravages in Mesopotamia and Syria. The Emperor, regard
Valerian less of every national calamity, was loft in sensuality at home; and the Pagans were allowed a power of perfecuting the Christians through all parts of the state.
Æmilianus Gallus's general, having gained a victory over the Goths, was proclaimed Emperor by his conquering army. Upon hearing this, Gallus, being roused from the intoxication of pleasure, prepared to oppose his dangerous rival. Both armies met in Mælia, and a battle ensued in which Æmilianus was victorious, and the profligate Gallus was flain. His death was merited, and his vices were such, as to deserve the detestation of pofterity.
The senate having refused to acknowledge A. D. 253. Æmilianus as Emperor, an army that was sta
tioned near the Alps, chose Valerian, their own commander, to succeed to the throne, who set about reforming the state with a fpirit that seemed to mark a good heart and a vigorous mind. But reformation was then grown almost impracticable. The disputes between the Pagans and Christians divided the empire as before, and a dreadful perfecution of the latter ensued. The northern nations over-ran the Roman dominions in a more formidable manner than ever, and the empire began to be usurped by a multitude of petty leaders, each of whom neglecting the general interest of the state, set up for himself. To add to these calamities, the Persians, under their king Sapor, invaded Syria, and coming into Mesopotamia, took the unfortunate 'Valerian prisoner, as he was making preparations to oppose them. Nothing can exceed the indignities, as well as the cruelties, which were practifed upon this unhappy monarch, thus fallen into the hands of his enemies. Sapor, we are told, always used him as a foot-ftool for mounting his horse; he added the bitterness of ridicule to his insults, and usually observed, that an attitude like that to which Valerian was reduced, was the best statue that could be erected in honour of his victory.
In this abject situation he lived for some years; and when he died, his body, by Sapor's order, was flayed, and preserved in falt. His skin was dressed, dyed red, and exposed in a temple, where, to the eternal ignominy of the Roman name, it was shown to all foreign princes and ambassadors, as a monument of the power of the Persian monarch.
When Valerian was taken prisoner, his fon, Galienus, promising to revenge the infult, was chosen Emperor; but he foon discovered, that he fought rather the splendour than the toils of empire. It is not easy to describe the various character of this prince; he was a ready orator; an elegant poet, a skilful gardener, an excellent cook, and a most contemptible sovereign. When the reigns government were
held by so weak a hand; it is not surprising that a crowd of usurpers should distract the provinces; but the revival of the thirty tyrants of Athens, in the state of Rome, is rather the child of an ingenious fancy, than the offspring of truth.
But the provinces of Rome were not oniy doomed to experience the invasions of barbarians, and the usurpations of tyrants; the reign of Galienus is marked by accumulated calamities. In Sicily, troops of banditti, and a licentious crowd of Naves and peasants, reigned over the plundered country, and intercepted the revenue of the capital. In Alexa andria, the inhabitants, abandoned to the rage of their paffions, maintained a civil war within the city; and for twelve succelive years, every street was polluted with blood, and every building of strength was converted into a citadel. A long and general famine, the consequence of rapine and oppression, depopulated the provinces and citics of Rome; and a furious plague, which commenced in the year two hundred and fifty, and continued for fifteen years to rage throughout the whole extent of the Roman empire, casts an additional gloom over this period of disgrace and calamity.
Galienus, having led an army to besiege the city of Milan, which had been taken by one of the ufurping tyrants, was there flain by his own foldiers, Martian one of his generals having conspired against him.
The origin of Claúdius, who was nominated to succeed Galienus, was obscure, but his merit A. D. 268. had attracted the favour of Decius.
He was a man of great valour and conduct, equally remarkable for the itrength of his body and the vigour of his mind. He was chaite and temperate, a rewarder of the good, and a fevere punisher of such as tranfgrefled the laws. Thus endowed, therefore, he in some measure put a stop to the precipitate decline of the empire, and, once more, seemed to restore the glory of Rome.
The first le bour of Claudius was to revive in his troops a sense of order and obedience; and after painting to them the exhausted state of the empire, and the mischiefs arising from their own lawless caprice, he declared, he intended to point the first effort of their arms against the hostilc powers of the rapacious barbarians.
These barbarians had made their principal and most successful irruptions into Thrace and Macedonia. They swarmed over all Greece, and had pillaged the famous city of Athens, which had long been the school of all the polite arts to the Romans. The Goths, however, had no veneration for these embellishments, which tend to fofien and humanize the mind, but destroyed all monuments of talte and Içarning with the most favage alacrity. It was upon one of these occasions, that Vol. I.