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type), burst in the year 406 upon the banks of the upper
Danube, and thence passed on into Italy. Headed by Radagaisus, the northern Germans emigrated from their native land, besieged Florence, and threatened Rome. Stilicho however was again victorious; but the remnant of the vanquished host was still sufficient to invade and desolate the province of Gaul. “The banks of the Rhine were “ crowned, like those of the Tiber, with elegant
houses, and well cultivated farms. This scene “ of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into
a desert; and the prospect of the smoking ruins “ could alone distinguish the solitude of nature «s from the desolations of man. The flourishing
city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and
many thousand Christians were inhumanly mas“ sacred in the church. Worms perisher!, after a “ long and obstinate siege; Strasburgh, Spires, “ Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced “ the cruel oppression of the German yoke; and “ the consuming flames of war spread from the “ banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the “ seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and “ extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps,
“ was in that age so imperfect and precarious, that the revo“ lutions of the North might escape the knowledge of the « court of Ravenna; till the dark cloud, which was collected
along the coast of the Baltic, burst in thunder upon the " banks of the upper Danube.” Hist. of Decline and Fall, Vol. v. p. 214.
" and the Pyrenees, was delivered to the barba“ rians; who drove before them, in a promiscuous “ crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, “ laden with the spoils of their houses and al“ tars"
Meanwhile that part of the storm, which was directed by Alaric, soon began to beat afresh. After the death of Stilicho, the Gothic sovereign again invaded Italy; and Ronie herself, after three successive sieges, was sacked by the'northern barbarianst.
It is observable in literal storms of hail, that their violence appears for a season to subside, and afterwards to return with redoubled fury. This was exactly the case with the figurative tempest of Gothic invasion predicted in the Apocalypse. After the exploits of Alaric and Radagaisus had been achieved, the violence of the main body of the hail-storm abated, but its outskirts still continued to beat upon the more remote provinces of the Western empire. In the year 409, Spain was overrun and ravaged by the Suevi, the Vandals, and the Alans; who were afterwards, in their turn, compelled to submit to the arms of the Gothst. The Vandals however still prevailed in Gallicia; and, in order (as it were) that no part of the Roman world should escape the devastating influence
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. v. p. 225. + Ibid. p. 184-329,
Ibid. p. 350-355..
of the northern hail-storm, soon afterwards invaded the African province. In the year 429, they crossed the Streights of Gibraltar under the command of Genserie, invited by the mistaken policy of Boniface. At that period the African coast was extremely populous, and the country itself so fruitful that it deserved the name of the common granary of Rome and of mankind. « On a sudden, “ the seven provinces, from Tangier to‘Tripoli,
were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Van“ dals. War, in its fairest form, implies a per
petual violation of humanity and justice; and " the hostilities of barbarians are inflamed by “ the fierce and lawless spirit which incessantly « disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. “ The Vandals, where they found resistance, sel“ dom gave quarter; and the deaths of their “ valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin “ of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. “ Careless of the distinctions of age, or sex, or “ rank, they employed every species of indignity " and torture, to force from the captives a disco
very of their hidden wealth. The stern policy “ of Genseric justified his frequent examples of “ military execution: he was not always the mas" ter of his own passions, or of those of his follow
ers; and the calamities of war were aggravated
by the licentiousness of the Moors, and the " fanaticism of the Donatists*."
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 12–21.
Thas did the first great storm of hail lay waste the Roman empire. Collecting itself in the North, it burst over Greece and Italy; ravaged Gaul and Spain; and at length spent itself in Africa.
Scarcely was the fury of this tempest exhausted, when another no less destructive began to gather, as we perpetually behold one storm of hail rapidly succeed another. The Hungarian monarch Attila, having united in his own person the empire of Scythia and Germany, soon turned his arms against the declining power of the Romans. In the year 441, he invaded the Eastern empire. “The Illy“ rian frontier was covered by a line of castles and “ fortresses; and, though the greatest part of them “ consisted only of a single tower with a small “ garrison, they were commonly sufficient to repel ~ or to intercept the inroads of any enemy, who “ was ignorant of the art, and impatient of the
delay, of a regular siege. But these slight ob“ stacles were instantly swept away by the inun'" dation of the Huns. They destroyed with fire " and sword the populous cities of Sirmium and
Singidunum, of Ratiaria, and Marcianopolis, of “ Naissus and Sardica; where every circumstance, “ in the discipline of the people and the construc
tion of the buildings, had been gradually adapted “ to the sole purpose of defence.' The whole « breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hun55 dred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic, “ was at once invaded, and occupied, and deso“ lated, by the myriads of barbarians whom Attila
«. led into the field-The armies of the Eastern
empire were vanquished in three successive en
gagements; and the progress of Attila may be “ traced by the fields of battle-From the Helles
pont to Thermopylæ and the suburbs of Con“stantinople, he ravaged, without resistance and “ without mercy, the provinces of Thrace and “ Macedonia. Heraclea and Hadrianople might
perhaps escape this dreadful irruption of the Huns; but words, the most expressive of total
extirpation and erasure, are applied to the cala“ mities which they inflicted on seventy cities of « the Eastern empire*.” A
pause at length took place in the storm. In the year 446, the Constantinopolitan emperor concluded an ignominious peace with Attila: but, in the year 450, the restless Hun threatened alike both the East and the West.
Mankind,” says the historian, “awaited his decision with awful
suspense.” The storm however now burst over Gaul and Italy. After ravaging the former of these countries with savage barbarity, Attila turned his arms towards the seat of the Western empire. Aquileia made a vigorous but ineffectual resistance; and the succeeding generation could scarcely discover its ruins. The victorious barbarian “ 'pur“ sued his march; and, as he passed, the cities of
Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced “ into heaps of stones and ashes. The inland
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 45-53.