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have qualified or checked a ruinous praised the zeal of his general. It is defeat. As it was, the French, un- to be regretted that we cannot record able to form in a solid mass, either of of John of Cappadocia the retributive cavalry or infantry, by protecting their justice which fell on old Booty, a navy flank, were driven headlong into the contractor of the last century. He river, rapid and impassable, where many was seen by the crew of a vessel who perished miserably, and the remain- had suffered under his mouldy biscuit, ing survivors were made prisoners on to be chased up Stromboli, one of the the brink. The battalions in Blen. Lipari islands, by a battalion of purheim, entirely deserted by the rest of suing demons, who pitchforked him their
own army, attacked in front by into the crater. Booty is not the only the English infantry, and in the rear public delinquent thus disposed of, and by the cavalry, flushed with success, in the same penal locality. A few laid down their arms, and by their sur- years before the ministry of the corrender, completed the triumph of the rupt John, above-named, Theodoric conquerors.
Blenheim was in truth the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, a great but fruitless stroke in war. was plunged, immediately after his The peace of Utrecht neutralised the death, A.D. 526, into the volcano of important consequences of that signal Lipari, the principal island of the victory, with the advantages of all the group, of which Stromboli forms one, subsequent campaigns, and suggested, and always a popular mouth of the long after, the question of pertinacious infernal world. An Italian hermit little Peterkin, in Southey's poem, witnessed the operation in a vision. which it would be difficult to answer, The legend is attested by Pope Greexcept as the boy's grandfather did :- gory I. and Cardinal Baronius. Per“Great praise the Duke of Marlborough won, haps some of our readers may think And our good Prince Eugene.
the evidence is scarcely as good as • But what good came of it at last ?' Quoth little Peterkin.
the log of a ship or the verdict of an • Nay, that I cannot tell,' said he ;
English jury. • But 'twas a famous victory.'"
The fleet of Belisarius proceeded When Justinian determined on the slowly on its course.
The summer African war, and committed its direc- calms of the Mediterranean are baffling tion to Belisarius, he relied more on and tedious, and impede an expedition the talents of bis general than on the as much as the squalls and storms of number of his troops. Five thousand the winter. The soldiers were sick cavalry and ten thousand infantry, was and desponding, conscious that half the force allotted, and expected to re- their powers were neutralised on an duce the warlike kingdom of the Van. element to which they were unaccusdals, which, even in its decline, could tomed. The earth retains permanent bring eighty thousand fighting men vestiges of man's footsteps, but the into the field. The expedition was ocean rejects the impress of his march. nearly rendered abortive before the The furrow of the deepest keel is effleet and army had rounded the Pelo- faced by the next advancing wave. ponnesus. A disease broke out among The shores of that inland sea, on which the soldiers, owing to the badly baked were situated the four great empires of bread or biscuit furnished by the mi. the ancient world," for ages exhibited nister of finance, the infamous John memorials of the wars and armaments of Cappadocia. Acting in the spirit by which they had been subverted, of paltry peculation, of which commis- long, lurid, and portentous as the tail saries-general, before and since, have of a comet; but the sea itself closed furnished examples, he put into his over the track of the mighty hosts that own pocket the money levied for the had been borne on its surface, in a public service, regardless of complaint moment after they had passed along. or consequences ; and although Beli- Beautifully and truthfully does the sarius checked the evil by obtaining a poet sing when apostrophising the unfresh supply of wholesome food, when changeable ocean :five hundred men had been sacrificed, the emperor wanted firmness to punish Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now." the fraud of his favourite, although he The army disembarked on the coast
“ Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow,
* The Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman.
+ “Childe Harold,” canto iv. stanza 182.
of Africa, three months after its depar- doubtedly, in the subsequent inroads ture from Constantinople; a voyage of the Persian and Saracen invaders. which now, by the aid of steam, might Had they remained at Constantinople be easily accomplished in a few days. they might still be in existence. BeThe point of landing, Caput Vada, lisarius was still further rewarded by a was distant from the capital about one large portion of the captured spoil, and hundred and fifty miles. The Vandals was nained sole consul for the ensuing were totally unprepared, but Belisarius year. He was now, apparently, at the advancing slowly along the coast, to height of human glory; honoured, prevent surprise, directed the fleet to respected, and loved ; an object of keep in sight, and accompany, the universal admiration wherever he apmovements of the army. In all his peared, and attended on all public operations he displayed the most con- occasions by a bodyguard of devoted summate generalship. Two victorious followers, more numerous and more battles brought him to the gates of splendidly equipped than even the Carthage, which were opened without personal household of the emperor resistance. Gelimer, the Vandal king, himself. His demeanour was mild, fled to a mountain, where he was sur- affable, and unassuming; his justice rounded, and compelled to surrender ; impartial, and his benevolence unand in less than one year the ancient bounded. From his generosity, says province of Africa, including Sardinia, Procopius, you would have deemed Corsica, and the Balearic isles, was him very rich; from his manners very once more incorporated with the do- poor.
When we add to all these noble minions of the Roman Emperor. But qualities, a fervent constitutional loy. now the jealousy of Justinian began to alty, which no wrongs could underbreak out against his successful general. mine, or no temptation shake, we look Secret envy whispered that he aspired through history in vain for a perfect to an independent throne. An order
parallel or an adequate associate. for his recall was issued, which he in- Neither civilisation nor religion were stantly obeyed, although empire wooed advanced by the overthrow of the kinghim where he was, and court faction dom of Genseric. The substituted awaited his return. The inducements government of the Greeks was weak which would have persuaded many, and tyrannical, and opposed no barrier appear not to have tempted or shaken to the progress of the Saracens, or the his loyalty for a moment. Justinian spread of Islamism. Had the Vandals repented of his unfounded suspicions, remained in possession of Africa, a ordered medals to be struck, bearing more vigorous monarch than Gelimer on one side his own effigy, on the other might have concentrated their strength, that of his victorious general, and de. and revived their ancient hardihood. A creed to Belisarius the honours of a flourishing country would not have been triumph, the first on which the inha- depopulated, and in all probability, bitants of the Eastern capital had ever the tide of Mohammedan invasion gazed. The captive monarch walked would have been checked and broken in the procession, the treasures of the on the shores of Carthage, instead of Vandals were exhibited in vast pro- penetrating to the banks of the Loire fusion, and some of the most sacred and the plain of Tours. But as it was, memorials of religion were restored Christianity gradually became extinct from a long captivity. The holy table in the entire province, and fanatic inlaid with gold, and the golden can- barbarism reigned in its stead. dlestick, with six branches, from the The easy conquest of the Vandalic temple of Solomon, originally brought kingdom expanded the ambition of the to Rome by Titus, and transplanted to Roman Emperor, who now dreamed Carthage by Genseric, were recovered of restoring Italy to the sway of the by the conquests of Belisarius, and the Cæsars. A pretext was easily found piety of Justinian placed them, after in the murder of his friend and ally, many vicissitudes and wanderings, in Queen Amalasontha, by Theodotus, the Christian cathedral of Jerusalem. and an army not exceeding twelve Here history loses sight of these inte- thousand men was destined for the enresting relics, which perished, un- terprise - a force totally inadequate,
Quoted by Lord Mahon,
which might have been swallowed up against the Vandals, accompanying or dissipated in a single battle ; but the the army in their coast march of three name of Belisarius was considered a hundred miles. The conquest of Italy, talisman which could fill his ranks and by Belisarius, stands in the very first make up for all deficiencies. No gene- class of military achievements, and ral on record has achieved such great formed one of the six subjects for an successes with such scanty means. epic poem, long contemplated by Tasso, Twioe he conquered a powerful king- before he decided on the deliverance dom, and twice rescued his own coun- of Jerusalem. After a close investtry from innumerable invaders, and ment of twenty days, Belisarius, who never had twenty thousand men at his had little time to lose, was disposed to disposal, A French writer (M. Le abandon the siege of Naples, when an Beau) says, he preferred small armies accident discovered a hidden passage to large ones. The position is absurd. through the channel of an aqueduct, He often complained bitterly that his by which his troops passed, in the siplans were crippled by his defective lence of the night, and carried the city numbers, and petitioned for reinforce- by storm. The severe discipline of ments, which were sparingly granted, Belisarius restrained the unbridled or withheld altogether. A general may license which usually follows, and comselect small bodies of chosen troops for pelled his soldiers to spare particular enterprises, which require of the unfortunate inliabitants, and to secrecy or despatch; but he knows little restore much of their captured proof war who imagines that any com- perty: The surviving garrison of mander would choose to invade a king- eight hundred Goths, were incorporated dom with a detachment, if an army was with his forces, and proved valuable to be obtained. Judging by what recruits. From Naples he advanced Belisarius did, we may calculate what to Rome, the surrounding country and his genius might have accomplished cities submitting as he moved along, had he led into the field the numerous Beneventum opened its gates, and squadrons and battalions with which presented to the conqueror a tusk of Marlborough and Eugene beat down the Calydonian boar, still preserved the power of Louis XIV., and humbled as their most valuable possession. the pride of the French marshals. The Procopius describes this authentic cuend obtained, the difficulties accom- riosity as having been twenty-seven plished are only to be judged fairly inches long, about three times the usual by the allotted means.
dimensions. Ovid says, in a loose Belisarius commenced the Gothic computation, the tusks of this extrawar by the conquest of the Island of ordinary animal were as large as those Sicily, which remained subsequently of an elephant. The pedigree of the under Greek dominion for three hun- one named by Procopius could scarcely dred years, until torn from them by be doubted. It came with Diomede, the Saracens; but Sicily had then long the founder of the city, and nephew of ceased to be the granary of Rome, and Meleager, the hero of the hunt, by had dwindled into a useless appendage. whom the boar was killed. The thirty At the siege of Palermo, Belisarius warriors who leagued in this feat of had recourse to a stratagem of mechani- valour, were less polite than brave, cal ingenuity, which carries us back to seeing that they quarrelled with Atathe days of Archimedes and Marcel- lanta, the only lady in company, for lus, and the second Punic war. He
the possession of the head. Other moored his ships close to the walls, in vestiges of remote antiquity of greater the deepest recess of the barbour. The interest, were still in existence, with boats were laboriously hoisted by ropes good reputation, when Procopius acand pulleys to the top-mast heads, and companied Belisarius to Italy. In filled with archers, who, from that Rome, the original galley of Æneas, superior height, completely command- at that time aged at least seventeen ed the fortifications of the city, drove hundred years, was preserved entire the defenders from the ramparts, and among the Navalia, near Monte Tescompelled a speedy surrender. In the taceo, at the foot of the Aventine. following year (A.D. 536), the Roman The given proportions are one hundred general crossed over from Messina to and twenty feet in length, and twentyRbegium, and advanced on Naples ; five in breadth, with a single bank of the fleet, as in the preceding war oars; but the relic is not mentioned by any earlier writer. Procopius also skill, with all the resources of a mas, saw at Phæacia, or Corcyra (now ter mind, more eminently evinced than Corfu), what was called the petrified in the operations by which he withstood, ship of Ulysses ; the pretensions of and finally baffled the gigantic efforts which he destroyed by a close exami- of his opponents. With a garrison of nation, proving it to be a recent fabric five thousand veterans, he held for of many stones, dedicated by a mer- twelve months, a city twelve miles in chant to Jupiter Cassius. In those circumference, against a besieging seas he searched without success for army of one hundred and fifty thou. the Isle of Calypso, which he was not sand men, bravely led, abundantly likely to find there, unless it was loco- supplied, and amply provided with all motive, like the flying island of La- the instruments of attack which anti, puta; but he might have stumbled on quity had invented.f Rome, even in Meleda (or Melita), nearly opposite to her abject decline, could still muster Ragusa, which has been set up as a thirty thousand males, capable of bearrival to Malta, and claimed by the in- ing arms, many of them inured to sufhabitants, on the faith of long tradi- ferance by poverty, and willing to tion, as the veritable place of St. fight in defence of their country and Paul's shipwreck. They build princi. religion. They laboured cheerfully at pally on the passage, “We were driven the construction of new works, or the up and down in Adria," which would repairs of the old fortifications which seem to exclude Malta as not lying had fallen into decay, and manned the within the boundaries of the Adriatic walls during the intervals of repose, or sea ; but the subsequent verses,* de- more active service, which were requirscribing the course of the apostle in a ed by the regular troops. ship of Alexandria, by Syracuse and As the host of Vitiges came headlong Rhegium, through the straits of Mes. on, they paused for a moment at the sina, establishes evidence in favour of Milvian Bridge, the scene of the Malta, superior to any which can be great victory of Constantine over Maxproduced by the Adriatic Melita. We entius. Here the skill and forethought once landed on the island, and heard a of Belisarius had prepared an obstacle long dissertation on the subject from a by which he hoped to gain valuable worthy friar, who would have suffered time. He fortified the bridge by a ten martyrdoms rather than give up massive tower, sufficiently strong to the claim.
command its passage, and a select deBelisarius found Rome deserted by tachment on whose courage he placed its Gothic defenders, who retired at full dependence. It was his intention one gate as he entered by another, and to sally forth at the critical moment he took possession of the imperial city with some light troops, to support his without resistance. The keys were advanced garrison, and line the banks forwarded to Constantinople, to be laid of the Tiber, which were here precipi. at the feet of Justinian, an operation tous and the river deep. Terrified or which was twice repeated, Rome having treacherous, they fled across the open been taken and recovered five times country to Campania, at the appearance during his reign. Shortly after this, of the Goths, and sent no intelligence the imbecile Theodotus was deposed that the post was abandoned. The and murdered,
and Vitiges, a renowned prudent arrangements of the general warrior, was elected in his place. He thus baffled by an
act of determined to march at once to the cowardice it was impossible to foresee. recovery of the capital, and loudly ex- The Goths passed the bridge without pressed his fear that the Greek general delay or loss, when twenty days might and his handful of troops would escape have been consumed had they been him by flight. But Belisarius had no compelled to collect boats sufficient such intention; he determined to keep for the transit of the river by such a his ground, and never was military mighty armament. A similar act of
• Acts, chap. xxyii. 11, 12, 13.
† Almost all the principal engines of ancient warfare, their siege-artillery, moving towers, battering-rams, balistæ, and catapultæ, appear to have been invented by the Hebrews. See “ Ezekiel," and " Folard's Commentaries on Polybius.”
| Now called Ponte Molle.
delinquency saved the remains of the energetic and decisive measures by French army, after the battle of Sala- which he hoped to render capitulation manca. The Spanish Colonel and gar- unnecessary. One by one, he destroyed rison, who occupied the castle of Alba all the besieging engines of the enemy, de Tormes, commanding the ford of the repulsed their incessant attacks, and, river, fled on the tumultuous approach in a sally with his entire garrison, of the routed battalions, and opened brought on a general combat, in which the door of the only passage by which thirty thousand of the Goths were slain. they could retreat. So much and so It was during this memorable siege, constantly are the best-laid plans and that in a furious attack on the sepulmost sanguine hopes of the most chre of Hadrian,the soldiers of Beliscientific general, thwarted by the in- sarius flung down in fragments on the competence of subordinates, or the in- heads of the assailants the precious fluence of a controlling accident. Beli- monuments of art, the marble statues sarius, ignorant that his post was in of the ancient masters, with which that possession of the enemy, in pursuance ponderous edifice was ornamented. The of the plan laid down, sallied forth at masterpieces of Lysippus and Praxithe head of one thousand guards, and teles were torn from their lofty pedesto his utter surprise found himself tals, and hurled into the ditch, with rounded by the Gothic cavalry. A more consideration for the weight of desperate fight ensued, which lasted the materials, and their value as misthroughout the day. The passage of siles, than for the exquisite perfection the enemy across the Tiber, by a single of their workmanship. It is not imbridge, was unavoidably slow, and gave possible that many of them remain there time for the Roman general to concen- still. When the ditch of St. Angelo trate his movements, and take advan. was partially cleansed under Pope Urtage of every opportunity which the ban the Eighth, the workmen found varying tide of success afforded him.
the “Sleeping Fawn” of the Barberini His personal prowess was as eminently palace; but a leg, a thigh, and the right displayed as his military skill. Many arm bad been broken from that beauti. of the bravest among the hostile army ful statue. fell by his hands; and when he finally Towards the end of April, Belisawithdrew his small detachment within rius, who had urgently petitioned the the walls, it was found that the killed
emperor for reinforcements, received on the enemy's side exceeded the en
a scanty augmentation of sixteen huntire number of the Romans engaged. dred men, well disciplined and ap
The bistory of that day's adventures pointed, who entered Rome in safety, would be rejected as fabulous, did it but failed to secure the town and har. not come down to us through an eye- bour of Porto, the loss of which, by witness of undoubted authority. On cutting off the avenue of supplies, soon the following morning (March 12th, began to expose the Romans to the miA.D. 537), the city was regularly in- series of famine. The desertion of the vested, and the desponding inhabitants Milvian Bridge had hastened the investsmiled in bitter incredulity, when Be- ment of the city by many days, and lisarius assured them he should ulti- deprived the general of the time he remately triumph, and rescue them from quired to complete his supplies. He the besieging barbarians. He had no was therefore compelled to adopt a confidence either in the attachment or measure apparently harsh, but in revalour of the Roman citizens. His ality humane, in commanding the imtime was as much occupied in watch. mediate departure of a great number ing their expected perfidy, in recon. of the aged men, women, and children, ciling them to the severe duties of de- for whose reception a secure retreat fence, and in silencing their perpetual was prepared in Campania. They were clamours for surrender, as in the more conducted along the Appian-way,
The modern Castle of St. Angelo, so called from a bronze angel with a drawn sword who mounts guard on the summit. In 1814, the French commandant on being summoned, replied heroically, that the angel must sheath his sword before he would. But as the angel declined the pas, the polite Frenchman surrendered. The anecdote will do as a companion to the speech of General Cambronne at Waterloo, who being called on to yield, replied besoically, “La Garde meurt, mais ne se rend pas." But the gallant general was found amongst the prisoners at Brussels the next morning, in very good case, without a wound.