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are severely persecuted. Seat of government removed from Rome. Diocletian and Maximian resign, A. D. 305. Galerius (A. D. 305–311) and Constantius (A. D. 305, 306) become emperors; Severus and Maximin, Cæsars. Constantine the Great (A. D. 306-337), succeeding his father, Constantius, eventually conquers Maximian, who has resumed the purple, and Maxentius (A. D. 312), who has been proclaimed at Rome, and reigns over the Western empire. Licinius (A. D. 307-323), after the death of Galerius, conquers Maximin, and reigns east of the Ægean. Constantine conquers Licinius, A. D. 323, and becomes sole emperor. Fixes his court at Constantinople; reorganizes the government; makes Christianity the religion of the state; has wars with the Goths; and establishes military colonies of Sarmatians within the bounds of the empire. After his death, his three sons destroy their kinsmen, and divide the dominion between them. While Constantius II. is at war with Persia, his brother, Constantine II., is slain by Constans, who is himself deposed, after ten years, by Magnentius. Constantius, returning from the East, A. D. 350, defeats Magnentius, and reigns over his father's entire dominion, A. D. 353-361.
EXTINCTION OF PAGANISM.
235. Julian, the younger brother of Gallus, was permitted to pursue his favorite studies at Athens, until, A. D. 355, he was called to the court of Milan, dignified with the title of Cæsar, and intrusted with the government of Gaul. His conduct displayed great energy and talent. He severely defeated the Alemanni, in the battle of Strasbourg; drove the Franks from their castles on the Meuse; and in three invasions of Germany, liberated 20,000 Roman captives. He rebuilt the cities of Gaul which the barbarians had destroyed; adorned Paris, his winter residence, with a palace, theater, and baths; imported grain from Britain for the sustenance of the people; and protected agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.
Constantius became jealous of his cousin's fame, and sought to disarm and disgrace him, by ordering the greater part of the Gallic army to the East. Julian was preparing to send away his devoted followers, but the soldiers mutinied, proclaimed him emperor, and forced him to assume the purple robe. An embassy to Constantius was contemptuously dismissed; and Julian, after again chastising the Franks, and improving the defenses of the German frontier, set forth to decide the question by actual war. Penetrating the Black Forest as far as the Danube, he descended that river with a captured fleet, surprised Sirmium, and was received with acclamations by the people. He sent letters justifying his conduct to the principal cities of the empire, especially to the senates of Athens and Rome; and he was invested by the latter with the imperial titles which it alone could legally bestow. The sudden death of Constantius, at Tarsus, Nov., A. D. 361, ended the uncertainty. All Constantinople poured forth to welcome Julian, at a distance of sixty miles from the capital, and soldiers and people throughout the empire accepted him as their head.
236. His first acts were to retrench the Oriental luxury of the palace, to punish the officers of Constantius who had oppressed the people, and to
dismiss the 10,000 spies. A philosopher by choice, and an emperor only by compulsion, Julian prided himself upon the frugal simplicity of his habits, and professed himself merely the "servant of the Republic." He is known in history by the unhappy name of "Julian the Apostate." Incensed against the Christian cousins who had murdered his entire family, he extended his hatred to the faith which they so unworthily professed. He publicly renounced Christianity, and placed himself and his empire under the protection of the "Immortal Gods."
To spite the Christians, he patronized the Jews, and attempted to rebuild their Temple at Jerusalem; but he was thwarted by balls of fire breaking out near the foundation, which made it impossible for the workmen to approach. * He excluded all Christians from the schools of grammar and rhetoric, hoping thus to degrade them in intellectual rank, and weaken them in controversy. He, however, disappointed the pagan zealots by proclaiming toleration to all parties. In the spring of A. D. 363, Julian departed with a great army for the East, where the ravages of the Persian king had for four years met with little resistance. He gained an important victory over the Persians at Ctesiphon, but in a subsequent skirmish he was mortally wounded, and died, June, A. D. 363, after a reign of only sixteen months.
237. Jovian, the captain of the life-guards, was saluted as Augustus by the generals of Julian. He obtained peace with the Persian king by ceding the five provinces east of the Tigris, and then conducted a difficult retreat to the capital. The principal act of his reign was the re-establishment of Christian worship and of universal tolerance. He died, Feb., A. D. 364, after a reign of eight months. The civil and military officers of the empire met at Nicæa, and chose for their sovereign Valentin'ian, a Christian and a brave soldier, who had distinguished himself by service both on the Tigris and the Rhine. His brother Valens was made his colleague, with the command of the East, extending from the lower Danube to the boundaries of Persia.
238. Valentinian fixed his capital at Milan, which alternated with Rheims and Treves as his headquarters. He signally defeated the Alemanni, and guarded the Rhine by a new series of forts. The coasts of western Europe now began to be overrun by piratical Saxons, while the Picts and Scots swept over all the cultivated fields of southern Britain, from the Wall of Antoninus to the coast of Kent. Theodo'sius, father of the future emperor of that name, led a veteran army to the relief of the Britons, and afterward gained among the Orkneys a great naval victory over the Saxons.
* So says Ammia'nus Marcelli'nus, an honest and usually trustworthy historian, contemporary with Julian, and probably a pagan.
Having defeated the Alemanni on the upper Danube, Theodosius was next sent into Africa to quell a revolt of the Moors and provincials, provoked by the extortions of Count Romanus. Firmus, the chief of the Moors, was as wily as Jugurtha, but Theodosius showed all the skill of Metellus or of Scipio. He imprisoned Romanus and restored order to the province; but he was rewarded only by unjust suspicions and a military execution, A. D. 376. Valentinian was already dead (Nov., A. D. 375), and the ministers who surrounded his son disguised the truth to suit their own purposes.
239. Valens, meanwhile reigning in the East, was far inferior to his brother in firmness and beneficence of character. At the beginning of his reign, Procopius, a kinsman of Julian, gained possession of Constantinople, and kept it several months as nominal emperor. He was captured at last, and suffered a cruel death in the camp of Valens. The great event of this period was the irruption of a new and terrible race of savages from northern Asia. The Huns were more hideous, cruel, and implacable than even the fiercest of the barbarians hitherto known to the Romans. The Great Wall, which still divides China from Mongolia, had been erected as a barrier against their inroads; but their attention was now turned to the westward, where the Goths, north of the Black Sea, were the first to feel their power.
The great Gothic kingdom of Her'manric extended from the Danube and Euxine to the Baltic, and embraced many kindred tribes, of which the eastern or Ostro-Goths, and the western or Visi-Goths were most important. The former were conquered by the Huns; the latter besought permission from Valens to settle on the waste lands south of the Danube, and become subjects of the empire. Their request was granted, and a million of men, women, and children crossed the river. But the Roman commissioners who were charged with receiving and feeding this starving multitude, seized the opportunity to make their own fortunes, at the expense of their honor and of the safety of the empire.
The Goths had been required to give up their arms, but they purchased of these officers permission to retain them. The food which was served to them was of the vilest quality and most extravagant price. Discontent broke out among the turbulent and armed host. The Gothic warriors marched upon Marcianopolis, defeated the army which was sent to defend it, and laid waste all Thrace with fire and sword. Instead of pacifying the Goths by a just punishment of the offenders, and by pledges of justice for the future, Valens sent for aid to his nephew Gratian, and advanced with his army to fight with the barbarians. In a battle near Hadrianople he was slain, and two-thirds of his army perished, A. D. 378.
240. Gratian, the son of Valentinian, had been three years emperor of the West, and now became sole sovereign of the dominions of Augustus. A. H.-53.
He chose, however, for a colleague, the general Theodosius, to whom he committed the empire of Valens, with the addition of the province of Illyricum. The youth of Gratian was adorned by a fair promise of all the virtues; but as soon as his excellent instructors left him, he proved himself weak and wholly unfit for command. Bad men gained and abused his confidence.
Maximus, in Britain, revolted, and passed over into Gaul with an army. Instead of fighting, Gratian fled from Paris; his armies deserted to the enemy, and the fugitive emperor was overtaken and slain at Lyons, A. D. 383. He had already, on his accession, shared the imperial dignity with his brother, Valentinian II., then only five years of age. Maximus, being in actual possession of the countries west of the Alps, was acknowledged by Theodosius, on condition of the young Valentinian being left in secure possession of Italy and Africa. The sovereign of Gaul, Spain, and Britain soon became strong enough to break his word. He invaded Italy, and the young emperor, with Justi'na his mother, fled to the court of Theodosius for protection. The emperor of the East marched to attack Maximus, whom he defeated and caused to be executed as a traitor, and established Valentinian II. in the sovereignty of the whole Western empire.
241. The young sovereign of the West proved as weak as his brother. He fell under the control of an officer of his own, a Frank named Arbogas'tes; and when he attempted to shake off the yoke, the too powerful servant murdered his master and set up an emperor of his own choosing. Eugenius reigned two years (A. D. 392-394), as the tool of Arbogastes; but Theodosius at length defeated his army near Aquileia, and put him to death.
For four months the Roman world was united, for the last time, under one sovereign. Theodosius the Great well deserved the title by which he is known in history. His vigorous and prudent management changed the Goths from dangerous enemies into powerful friends. Great colonies of Visi-Goths were formed in Thrace, and of Ostro-Goths in Asia Minor; and 40,000 of their warriors were employed in the armies of the emperor. If later monarchs had acted with the wisdom and firmness of Theodosius, these recruits might have added great strength to the then declining empire. They were, in fact, a chief occasion of its fall.
242. This reign is marked by the extinction of the old pagan worship. The temples were destroyed, and all sacrifices or divinations forbidden. The Egyptians believed that Serapis would avenge any profanation of his temple at Alexandria; but when a soldier, climbing to the head of the colossal idol, smote its cheek with his battle-ax, the popular faith was shaken, and it was admitted that a god who could not defend
himself was no longer to be worshiped. Arians and other Christian heretics were persecuted with scarcely less rigor than the pagans; for they were forbidden to preach, ordain ministers, or hold meetings for public worship. The penalties inflicted by Theodosius were nothing more than fines and civil disabilities; but his contemporary, Maximus, is said to have been the "first Christian prince who shed the blood of his Christian subjects for their religious opinions."
The power and dignity of the Church at this time is shown by the conduct of Ambro'sius, Archbishop of Milan. Theodosius had ordered a general massacre of the people of Thessalonica, as a punishment for a wanton tumult which had arisen in their circus, during which a Gothic general and several of his officers had been killed. Several thousands of persons, the innocent with the guilty, were slaughtered by barbarian troops sent thither for the purpose. When the emperor, who was then at Milan, went as usual to church, Ambrosius met him at the door, and refused to admit him to any of the offices of religion until he should publicly confess his guilt. The interdict continued eight months; but, at length, the master of the civilized world, in the garb of the humblest suppliant, implored pardon in the presence of all the congregation, and was restored, at Christmas, A. D. 390, to the communion of the Church.
Before his death, Theodosius divided his great dominions between his two sons, giving the East to Arcadius, and the West to Hono'rius. The latter, who was only eleven years of age, was placed under the guardianship of the Vandal general Stil'icho, who had married a niece of the great emperor. Theodosius died at Milan, Jan. 17, A. D. 395.
Julian administers Gaul and invades Germany with great energy and success. He incurs the jealousy of his cousin, and is declared emperor by his troops. Constantius dies, and Julian (A. D. 361-363), now universally acknowledged, restores paganism. He is killed in an Eastern campaign, and is succeeded by Jovian, who withdraws west of the Tigris. On the death of Jovian, A. D. 364, Valentinian (A. D. 364–375) is chosen by the court and army, and assigns the Eastern empire to his brother Valens. The general Theodosius gains important victories over Saxons, Picts, Scots, and Moors. Procopius usurps for a time the Eastern capital, and the empire is threatened by both Huns and Goths. In war with the latter, Valens is slain. Gratian (A. D. 375–383), son of Valentinian, confers the Eastern empire upon the younger Theodosius (A. D. 379-395). He is himself dethroned by Maximus, who becomes sovereign of Gaul, Spain, and Britain, and even expels the brother of Gratian (A. D. 387) from Italy. Theodosius destroys Maximus, and restores Valentinian II. as emperor of the West; but this young monarch is soon murdered by Arbogastes. Eugenius reigns two years, A. D. 392–394. Theodosius defeats him, and rules the united empire four months. He conciliates the Goths; abolishes pagan rites; persecutes heretics; does penance at Milan; divides the empire between Arcadius and Honorius.