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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 34 Even of his table Var


strange animals, the gift of

a sun-dial, a water-clock, or a musician, admonished even the princes of Gaul of the superior art and industry of his Italian subjects. His domestic alliances, [35] a wife, two daughters, a sister, and a niece, united the family of Theodoric with the kings of the Franks, the Burgundians, the Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Thuringians, and contributed to maintain the harmony, or at least the balance, of the great republic of the West. [36] It is difficult in the dark forests of Germany and Poland to pursue the emigrations of the Heruli, a fierce people who disdained the use of armor, and who condemned their widows and aged parents not to survive the loss of their husbands, or the decay of their strength. [37] The king of these savage warriors solicited the friendship of Theodoric, and was elevated to the rank of his son, according to the barbaric rites of a military adoption. [38] From the shores of the Baltic, the Aestians or Livonians laid their offerings of native amber [39] at the feet of a prince, whose fame had excited them to undertake an unknown and dangerous journey of fifteen hundred miles. With the country [40] from whence the Gothic nation derived their origin, he maintained a frequent and friendly correspondence: the Italians were clothed in the rich sables [41] of Sweden; and one of its sovereigns, after a voluntary or reluctant abdication, found a hospitable retreat in the palace of Ravenna. He had reigned over one of the thirteen populous tribes who cultivated
a small portion of the great island or peninsula of Scandinavia, to which the vague appellation of Thule has been sometimes applied. That northern region was peopled, or had been explored, as high as the sixty-eighth degree of latitude, where the natives of the polar circle enjoy and lose the presence of the sun at each summer and winter solstice during an equal period of forty days. [42] The long night of his absence or death was the mournful season of distress and anxiety, till the messengers, who had been sent to the mountain tops, descried the first rays of returning light, and proclaimed to the plain below the festival of his resurrection. [43]

[Footnote 33: See the clearness and vigor of his negotiations in Ennodius, (p. 1607,) and Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 1, 2, 3, 4; iv. 13; v. 43, 44,) who gives the different styles of friendship, counsel expostulation, &c.]

[Footnote 34: Even of his table (Var. vi. 9) and palace, (vii. 5.) The admiration of strangers is represented as the most rational motive to justify these vain expenses, and to stimulate the diligence of the officers to whom these provinces were intrusted.]

[Footnote 35: See the public and private alliances of the Gothic monarch, with the Burgundians, (Var. i. 45, 46,) with the Franks, (ii. 40,) with the Thuringians, (iv. 1,) and with the Vandals, (v. 1;) each of these epistles affords some curious knowledge of the policy and manners of the Barbarians.]

[Footnote 36: His political system may be observed in Cassiodorus, (Var. iv. l ix. l,) Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 698, 699,) and the Valesian Fragment, (p. 720, 721.) Peace, honorable peace, was the constant aim of Theodoric.]

[Footnote 37: The curious reader may contemplate the Heruli of Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 14,) and the patient reader may plunge into the dark and minute researches of M. de Buat, (Hist. des Peuples Anciens, tom. ix. p. 348--396. * Note: Compare Manso, Ost Gothische Reich. Beylage, vi. Malte-Brun brings them from Scandinavia: their names, the


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