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" 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 perished, after a
long and obstinate siege; Strasburgh, Spires,
Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced “ the cruel oppression of the German yoke; and “ the consuming flanies 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, " 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
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 Rome herself, after three successive sieges, was sacked by the northern bacbarians t.
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
* Hist. of Deeline, Vol. v. p.225. † Ibid. p. 184-329. llist
hail-storin 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 Goths * 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 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 Genseric, invited by the mistaken policy i 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 6 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
• Hist. of Decline, Vol. v. p. 350-355.
« rank, they employed every species of indignity 6 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 fol" lowers; and the calamities of war were aggra“ vated by the licentiousness of the Moors, and " the fanaticism of the Donatists *.”
Thus 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 füry 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. “rian frontier was covered by a line of castles and s« 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* sfacles were instantly swept away by the inun
“ The Illy
“ 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 hun“ dred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic,
was at once invaded, and occupied, and deso“ Jated, 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 Hellespont 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
* Hist, of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 456-53.
thie 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“ süed his march; and, as he passed, the cities of
Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced " into heaps of stones and ashes. The inland
towns, Vicenza, Verona, and Bergamo, were ex* posed to the rapacious cruelty of the Huns;" the rich plains of modern Lombardy were laid waste; and the ferocious Attila boasted, that "the grass
never grew on the spot where his horse had * trod.” Rome herself escaped : and, by the sudden death of Attila, his empire fell asunder, and the great northern storm of hail was dissipated *.
2. And the second angel sounded : and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was
cast into the sea : and the third part of the sea " became blood; and the third part of the crea“ tures, which were in the sea and had life, died; " and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
The death of Attila took place in the year 453; and, with that event, the invasions of the Roman empire from the North, aptly symbolized by a storm of hail, were brought to a termination. The blast
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 87-135.