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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Who is followed by Muratori and the editors of Sigonius


[Footnote

60: The ancient Alba was ruined in the first age of Rome. On the same spot, or at least in the neighborhood, successively arose. 1. The villa of Pompey, &c.; 2. A camp of the Praetorian cohorts; 3. The modern episcopal city of Albanum or Albano. (Procop. Goth. l. ii. c. 4 Oluver. Ital. Antiq tom. ii. p. 914.)]

[Footnote 61: A Sibylline oracle was ready to pronounce--Africa capta munitus cum nato peribit; a sentence of portentous ambiguity, (Gothic. l. i. c. 7,) which has been published in unknown characters by Opsopaeus, an editor of the oracles. The Pere Maltret has promised a commentary; but all his promises have been vain and fruitless.]

[Footnote 62: In his chronology, imitated, in some degree, from Thucydides, Procopius begins each spring the years of Justinian and of the Gothic war; and his first aera coincides with the first of April, 535, and not 536, according to the Annals of Baronius, (Pagi, Crit. tom. ii. p. 555, who is followed by Muratori and the editors of Sigonius.) Yet, in some passages, we are at a loss to reconcile the dates of Procopius with himself, and with the Chronicle of Marcellinus.]

[Footnote 63: The series of the first Gothic war is represented by Procopius (l. i. c. 5--29, l. ii. c. l--30, l. iii. c. l) till the captivity of Vitigas. With the aid of Sigonius (Opp. tom. i. de Imp. Occident. l. xvii. xviii.) and Muratori, (Annali d'Itaia, tom. v.,)

I have gleaned some few additional facts.]

After Belisarius had left sufficient garrisons in Palermo and Syracuse, he embarked his troops at Messina, and landed them, without resistance, on the opposite shores of Rhegium. A Gothic prince, who had married the daughter of Theodatus, was stationed with an army to guard the entrance of Italy; but he imitated, without scruple, the example of a sovereign faithless to his public and private duties. The perfidious Ebermor deserted with his followers to the Roman camp, and was dismissed to enjoy the servile honors of the Byzantine court. [64] From Rhegium to Naples, the fleet and army of Belisarius, almost always in view of each other, advanced near three hundred miles along the sea-coast. The people of Bruttium, Lucania, and Campania, who abhorred the name and religion of the Goths, embraced the specious excuse, that their ruined walls were incapable of defence: the soldiers paid a just equivalent for a plentiful market; and curiosity alone interrupted the peaceful occupations of the husbandman or artificer. Naples, which has swelled to a great and populous capital, long cherished the language and manners of a Grecian colony; [65] and the choice of Virgil had ennobled this elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, from the noise, the smoke, and the laborious opulence of Rome. [66] As soon as the place was invested by sea and land, Belisarius gave audience to the deputies of the people, who exhorted him to disregard a conquest unworthy of his arms, to seek the Gothic king in a field of battle, and, after his victory, to claim, as the sovereign of Rome, the allegiance of the dependent cities. "When I treat with my enemies," replied the Roman chief, with a haughty smile, "I am more accustomed to give than to receive counsel; but I hold in one hand inevitable ruin, and in the other peace and freedom, such as Sicily now enjoys." The impatience of delay urged him to grant the most liberal terms; his honor secured their performance: but Naples was divided into two factions; and the Greek democracy was inflamed by their orators, who, with much spirit and some truth, represented to the multitude that the Goths would punish their defection, and that Belisarius himself must esteem their


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