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258 Claudius defeats the Barbarians. having heaped together a large pile of books, in order to burn them, one of their commanders diffuaded them from the defign, alledging, That the time which the Grecians should waste on books, would only render them more unqualified for war. But the empire feemed to tremble, not only on that fide, but almost in every quarter. At the same time, above three hundred thousand of thcke barbarians (the Heruli, the Trutangi, the Virtugi, and many nameless and uncivilized nations) came down the river Danube, with two thousand ships, fraught with men and ammunition, spreading terror and devastation on every side.
In this state of universal dismay, Claudius, alone, feemed to continue unthaken. He marched his disproportioned army against the savage invaders, and though but ill prepared for engaging with them, as the forces of the empire were then employed in different parts of the world, he came off victorious, and made an incredible slaughter of the enemy. The whole of heir great army was either cut to pieces or taken prisoners; houses were filled with their arms, and scarce a province of the empire that was not furnished with slaves, from those that survived the defeat.
Thefe successes were followed by many others in different parts of the empire; so that the Goths, for a considerable time, made but a feeble oppofition.
The reign of Claudius was active and successful; and such is the character given of him by historians, that he is said to have united in himself, the moderation of Augustus, the valour of Trajan, the piety of Antoninus, and all the virtyes of the good princes who had reigned before him. Longinus and Porphyry flourished at this time.
Immediately after the death of Claudius the A. D. 270.
army made choice of Aurelian, who was at that
time maiter of the horse, and esteemed the most valiant commander of his time. Being soon after universally acknowledged by all the states of the empire, he assumed the government with a greater share of power than his predecef fors had enjoyed for fome time before.
The Franks, and Batavians were compelled to repass the Rhine, and the power of Aurelian was established in tranquil. lity from the wall of Antoninus to the columns of Hercules.
He then turned his arms againft Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra and the East. This extraordinary woman claimed her descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt; her beauty was only to be equalled by her understanding, her chastity by her valour; she possessed in equal perfection the Greek, the Syriac, and the Egyptian languages, and had compared
the merits of Homer and Plato under the tuition of the sub. lime Longinus.
Odenathus, who had raised himself from a private station to the dominion of the East, courted and obtained her hand, and his success was in a great mcafure afcribed to her prudence. They twice pursued the Persian monarch to the gates of Ctefiphon; but the Palmyrenian prince invincible in war, fell a vietiin to domestic treason, and was assassinated in the midst of a great entertainment, by his nephew Meonius, who had scarce time to assume the title of Augustus before he was sacrificed by Zenobia to the memory of her hor husband.
Zenobia had long disclaiır.ed the Roman power and 'eltablished an empire of her own. To oppose this extraordinary woman, Aurelian led his army into Alia and surinounting all the obstructions that were opposed against him, he at length fat down before Tyana, a city of Cappadocia ; which seemed resolved to hold out against him, and actually, for some time, stopped his progress. The unexpected obstinacy of the betieged served not a little to enrage the Emperor, who was naturally precipitate and furious. He vowed, that upon taking the city, he would so punish the inhabitants, as not to leave a dog alive among them. After some time the city was taken: and when his whole army expected the plunder of fo wealthy a place, and reminded hiin of his former protestations, he restrained their impetuosity, and only ordered all the dogs in the place to be destroyed." He afterwards pretend:d that he was restrained, from fatiating his resentment on the inhabitants, by an apparition of the famous Apollonius, that warned him not to destroy his birth-place. This excuse was no doubt fi&titious, but we can ealily pardon falsehood, when it is brought to the aslistance of humanity.
Froin Tyana he marched to meet the enemy, who waited his approach, near the city of Emesa in Syria. Both armies were very powerful and numerous; the one trained up under the most valiant leader of his time; the other led on by a woman, who seemed born to control the pride of man. The battle was long and obstinate, victory fór fome i inclined to the lide of the Asiatics ; but the perseverance of Aurelian's generals, at laft, carried the day. The enemy was defeated, and Zenobia was obliged to flee to Palınyra for safety. She prepared for a vigor us delence, and declared the last moment of her reign should be the latt of lier life.
Palmyra, situated amid the barren deferts of Arabia, derives its name from the multitude of adjacent palm-trees; S 2
Of the Einperor Aurelian. the purity of the air, and some valuable springs which was tered the soil, first preferred it to notice. The situation be tween the gulph of Persia and the Mediterranean, rendered it convenient to the caravans; and Palmyra, by the elevation of Odenathus and Zenebia, was exalted into a temporary rival of Rome,
The Emperor pursuing Zenobia to this city, did all in his power to induce her to subiniffion; but the haughty queen refused his proffered terms of life and security with scorn, relving on the succours which she expected from the Persians, the Saracens, and the Arinenians. However, Aurelian's diligence surinounted every obstacle; he intercepted the Persian auxiliaries and dispersed them; the Saracens shared the same fate; and the Armenians were, by plaufible promises, induced to espouse his interest: Thus Zenobia, deceived in her expected succours, and despairing of relief, attempted to fly into Perhia ; but was taken by a chosen body of horie sent to pursue her. The city of Palmyra likewise submitted to the conqueror.
The conduct of Zenobia when captive, diminished her former fame. She implored the mercy of Aurelian, acknowledged the guilt of resistance, and imputed it to the counsels of her secretary, Longinus, the celebrated critic. The unlettered mind of Aurelian was not to be moved by genius or learning, the unhappy minister was doomed to immediate execution; but the fame of Longinus will survive that of the queen who betrayed him, and the Emperor who condemned hiin.
Zenobia was reserved to grace the Emperor's triumph ; to whom he afterwards behaved with a generous clemency. She was pre:ented with an elegant villa at Tivoli, her daughters married into noble families, and her race was not extinct in the fifth century.
Historians give us the following account of his death. Menestheus, liis principal secretary, having been threatened by him, for some fault which he had committed, began to confider how he might prevent the preineditated blow. For this purpose he forgid a list of the names of several persons, whoin he pretended the Emperor had marked out for death, adding his own, to strengthen him in the confidence of the party. The scroll, thus contriver, was shown with an ajr of the utmost fecrecy to fome of the persons concerned; and they, to procure their fafety, inmediately agreed with hiin to destroy the En peror. This resolution was foon put into execution, for as the Emperor passed with a small guard, troin Oraclea, in Thrace, towards Byzantium, the con piTators set upon hiin, and Acw him with very little resistance.
The people, in his death, lamenteil a great and furtunate prince, the army regretted a warlike com:nander, and the Matc loft a useful though severe reformer.
Aurelian is generally stiled the Riftorer of the Empire, which, after the misfortunes that it had suffered by the captivity of Valerian, and the indolence of Galienus, began to revive under Claudius, and was, in foine measure, restored to its former lustre by Aurelian.
He is faid to have been the first Roman Emperor that dared to appear in public with a diadem on his head. Some of the succeeding princes followed his example in that refpe&t; but that royal ornament was not coinınonly wora cill the time of Conftantine.
CHAP. XLIX. .
Works of Tacitus, the Historian, greatly honouredoby him.
TACITUS, a man of great merít, and a
, ? . brated historian, succeeded Aurelian in the empire.
When he'ascended the imperial throne, he gave his estate to the public, and his money to the soldiers. Ile was extremely temperate, fond of learning, and the memory of such men as had deserved well of their country. The works of Tacitus, in particular, were greatly honoured by him. He commanded that they thould be placed in every public library throughout the empire, and that many copies of them thould be transcribed at the public charge.
A reign begun with Tuch moderation and justice, only wanted continuance, to have made the empire happy; but after enjoying the empire about fix monts, he died of a fever in his march to oppofe the Perfians and Scythians, who had invaded the callern parts of the empire,
Florianus, the brother of Tacitus, inßantly usurped the purple, without a waiting the approbation of the senate. Probus, the heroic general of the cast, declared himtelf the avenger of the insulted authority of that affembly. Though the effeminate troops of Syria appeared unequal to encounter the hardy legions of Europe, yet the activity of Probus
Atchievements of Probus. umphed over every obstacle. The veterans of his rival fickened in the fultry heats of Cilicia ; and Florianus after enjoying the iinperial title about three months, fell at Tarsus a sacrifice to the contempt of his soldiers.
The victorious Probus was, with Claudius and Aurelian, descended from a race of peasants in Illyricum ; like his warlike predecessors, he had risen by military merit. Africa and Pontus, the Rhine, the Danube, the Euphrates, and the Nile, by turns had witnessed his personal prowess and conduct in war.
As every year produced new calamities to the empire, and fresh irruptions on every side threatened universal desolation; perhaps, at this time, no abilities, except those of Probus, were capable of opposing such united invasions. He hastened with an ariny to repress the Germans in Gaul, of whom he flew four hundred thousand. He then marched into Dalmatia, to oppose and subdue the Sarmatians. From thence he led his forces into Thrace, and compelled the Goths to sue for peace. The king of Persia submitted at his approach; and upon his returning to Europe, he divided the depopulated parts of Thrace among its barbarous invaders.
The rebellion of Bonosus and Proculus, the former cele, brated for his prowess in the combats of Bacchus, and the
latter in those of Venus, was speedily crushed. The leaders - funk beneath the supe ior genius of Probus, but their adherents experienced his mercy. Bonofus, who was so remarkable a votary of Bacchus, that he could drink as much wine as ten men, without being disordered, upon his being defeated, hanged himielf in de pair. Probus, when he saw him, immediately after his death, could not avoid pointing at the body, and saying, “ There hangs, not a man, but a bot« tle.” But still, notwithstanding every effort to give quiet to the empire, the barbarians, who surrounded it, kept it in continual alarms. They were frequently repulsed to their native wilds, but they as duly returned with fresh rage and increased ferocity. The Goths and Vandals, finding the Emperor cnga ed in quelling domestic disputes, renewed their accustomed inroads, and once inore felt the punishment of their presumption. They were conquered in several engagements, and Probus returned in triumph to Roine.
The discipline, which had been introduced into the camp by Aurelian, was maintained, though with less cruelty, by Probus ; the troops were exerci ed in covering with rich vineyards the hills of Gaul and Pannonia ; and an unhealthy tract of inarshy ground near Sirmium, where Probus was born, was converted into tillage by their labour; but the