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“The emperor Majorian, like the weakest of his predecessors, was reduced to the disgraceful expedient of substituting barbarian auxiliaries in the place of his unwarlike subjects: and his superior abilities could only be displayed in the vigour and dexterity with which he wielded a dangerous instrument, so apt to recoil on the hand that used it. Many thousands of the bravest subjects of Attila--the Gepidae, the Ostrogoths, the Rugians, the Burgundians, the Suevi, the Alapi-assembled in the plains of Liguria, (PIEDMoyt,) and their forinidable strength was balanced by their mutual animosities.*
“Majorian, after the destruction of his fleet by Genseric, returned to Italy, to prosecute his labours for the public bappiness; and, as he was conscious of his own integrity, he might long remain ignorant of the dark conspiracy that threatened his throne and his life. The recent misfortune of Carthagena sullied the glory which had dazzled the eyes of the multitude; almost every description of civil and military officers were exasperated against the reformer, since they all derived some advantages from the abuses which he endeavoured to suppress; and the patrician Ricimer impelled the inconstant passions of the barbarians against a prince whom he esteemed and hated. The virtues of Majorian could pot protect him from the IMPETUOUS SEDITION WHICH BROKE OUT IN THE CAMP NEAR TORTONA, AT THE FOOT OF THE ALPS. He was compelled to abdicate the imperial purple. Ricimer reigned under the name of Severus.
* The peaceful and prosperous reign which Anthemius had promised to the west (A. D. 471) was soon clouded by misfortune and discord. Ricimer, apprehensive or impatient of a superior, retired from Rome, and fixed his residence at Milan," (the palace of which had before been possessed by Attila.) “ Italy was gradually divided into two independent and hostile kingdoms; and the nobles of LIGURIA, who trembled at the near approach of a civil war, fell prostrate at the feet of the patrician, and conjured him to spare their unhappy country. Ricimer suspended his ambitious designs till he had secretly prepared the engines with which he resolved to subvert the throne of Anthemius. The mask of peace and moderation was then thrown aside. The army of Ricimer was fortified by a numerous reinforcement of Burgundians and oriental Suevi; he disclaimed all allegiance to a Greek
emperor, marched from Milan to the gates of Rome, and, fixing his camp on the banks of the Anio, impatiently expected the arrival of Olybrius, his imperial candidate.
« The patrician who had extended his posts from the Anio to the Milvian bridge, already possessed two quarters of Rome, the Vatican and the Janiculum, which are separated by the Tiber from the rest of the city; and it may be conjectured that an assembly of seceding senators, imitated, in their choice of Olybrius, the forms of a legal election. But the body of the senate and people firmly adhered to the cause of Anthemius; and the more effectual support of a Gothic army enabled him to prolong his reign, and the public distress, by a resistance of three months, which produced the concomitant evils of famine and pestilence. At length Ri. cimer made a furious assault on the bridge of Hadrian, or St. Angelo; and the narrow pass was defended with almost equal valour by the Goths, till the death of Gilimer their leader. The victorious troops, breaking down every barrier, rushed with irresistible violence into the heart of the city, and Rome (if we may use the language of a contemporary pope), was subverted by the civil fury of Anthemius and Ricimer. The unfortunate Anthemius was dragged from his concealment, and inhumanly massacred by the command of his son-in-law (Ricimer), who thus added a third, or perhaps a fourth, emperor to the number of his victims. The soldiers who united the rage of factious citizens with the savage manners of barbarians, were indulged, without control, in the licence of rapine and murder. In the same year all the principal actors in this great revolution were removed from the stage; and the whole reign of Olybrius, whose death does not betray any symptoms of violence, is included within the space of seven months.* The stern Ricimer, who trampled on the ruins of Italy, had exercised the power, without assuming the title of a king; and the patient Romans were insensibly prepared to acknowledge the royalty of Odoacer and his barbaric successors.”*
The third part of the waters became wormwood. Italy was divided against itself; and Milan contended with Rome. Thousands of the soldiers of Attila combined with the other confederates of Italy, at the foot of the Alps and on the banks of the Po; and from the territory watered by the multitude of its
tributary streams, hordes of relentless enemies and oppressors issued against Rome, and prepared the way for its final subversion. From thence its last perils arose ; and by the same confederates of Italy,' the empire was overthrown.
And many men died of the waters because they were made bitter.
“ Since the age of Tiberius, the decay of agriculture had been felt in Italy; and it was a just subject of complaint, that the life of the Roman people depended on the accidents of winds and waves. In the division and decline of the empire, the tributary harvests of Egypt and Africa were withdrawn; the numbers of the inhabitants continually diminished with the means of subsistence; and the country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war, famine, and pestilence. St. Ambrose has deplored the ruin of a populous district, which had been once adorned with the flourishing cities of Bologna, Modena, Regium, and Placentia :” (which were either situated on its banks, or yielded their waters to the Po. “Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer, and he affirms, with strong exaggeration, that in Æmilia, Tuscany, and the adjacent provinces, the human species was almost extirpated.”*
However strong the exaggeration, the statement could never have been made, had it not been true that many men died of the waters because they were made bitter.
How, in reference to the fall of the imperial power in Rome, and as affecting kings no less than their subjects, the fact that many men died, is associated with the announcement of the extinction of the western empire, a single historical sentence will show, which may with equal propriety be regarded as either giving back the last note of echo to the third trumpet, or immediately reverberating the first sound of the fourth.
56 In the space of twenty years since the death of
Gibbon's Hist. ibid. p. 235.
Valentinian,” (two years subsequent to the death of Attila,) « nine emperors had successively disappear.ed; and the son of Orestes, a youth recommended only by his beauty, would be the least entitled to the notice of posterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Roman empire in the west, did not leave a memorable era in the history of mankind."
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars ; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
At the voice of the first angel, and the blast of his trumpet, the whole Roman world was in agitation, and the storms of war” passed over it all. The union of the empire was dissolved ;” a third part of it fell; and the transalpine provinces were separated from the empire.” Under the second trumpet the provinces of Africa, another, or the maritime part, was in like manner reft from Rome, and the Roman ships were destroyed in the sea, and even in their harbours. The empire of Rome, hemmed in on every side, was then limited to the kingdom of Italy. Within its bounds, and along the fountains and rivers of waters, the third trumpet re-echoed from the Alps to the Appenines. The last barrier of the empire of Rome was broken. The plains of Lombardy were ravaged by a foreign foe: and from thence new enemies arose to bring to an end the strife of the world with the imperial city. As a sea-girt tower, which has dashed back the waves of a thousand years, when shattered and shaken at last by great and quick-repeated storms, may be brought down and buried in the waters by the swelling surge which rises at its base; so the mighty empire of Rome, which had been built up by human hands, when rapidly assailed by successive tempests, till the tottering fabric could no longer be upheld, fell into utter ruin, was broken in pieces, and disappeared from off the earth, before a crowd of barbarians, congregated within its ancient territories, whom, in other days, it would have scornfully defied.
Though the union of the empire was dissolved, there was still an emperor in Rome. The majesty of the Roman name was not obliterated, though tarnished. And after the middle of the fifth century, the Cæsars had still a successor in their own city. But the palace of Milan could not again be the temporary abode of the Roman court, when it was the seat and centre of a hostile power. And the marshes of Ravenna ceased to be a security, after the waters were made bitter, and when hordes of Huns mingled with other savages in the northern regions of Italy. The time, too, had long passed for realizing the project, which the terror of the Goths had first suggested, of transferring the court of Rome to the shores of Africa, and transforming Carthage into another Constantinople.
When the last of the four trumpets sounded, and when the time was come for the extinction of the western empire and the fall of Rome, the storm of fire and hail needed not to be renewed, nor was aught like a burning moụntain to be cast into the sea, nor did there, as it were, a great star fall from heaven upon the earth. Unlike to all the other trumpets,