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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

And Asbad struck his lance through the body of Totila


line. They were soon engaged

between the horns of a crescent, into which the adverse wings had been insensibly curved, and were saluted from either side by the volleys of four thousand archers. Their ardor, and even their distress, drove them forwards to a close and unequal conflict, in which they could only use their lances against an enemy equally skilled in all the instruments of war. A generous emulation inspired the Romans and their Barbarian allies; and Narses, who calmly viewed and directed their efforts, doubted to whom he should adjudge the prize of superior bravery. The Gothic cavalry was astonished and disordered, pressed and broken; and the line of infantry, instead of presenting their spears, or opening their intervals, were trampled under the feet of the flying horse. Six thousand of the Goths were slaughtered without mercy in the field of Tagina. Their prince, with five attendants, was overtaken by Asbad, of the race of the Gepidae. "Spare the king of Italy," [3611] cried a loyal voice, and Asbad struck his lance through the body of Totila. The blow was instantly revenged by the faithful Goths: they transported their dying monarch seven miles beyond the scene of his disgrace; and his last moments were not imbittered by the presence of an enemy. Compassion afforded him the shelter of an obscure tomb; but the Romans were not satisfied of their victory, till they beheld the corpse of the Gothic king. His hat, enriched with gems, and his bloody robe, were presented to Justinian by the messengers
of triumph. [37]

[Footnote 34: The Flaminian way, as it is corrected from the Itineraries, and the best modern maps, by D'Anville, (Analyse de l'Italie, p. 147--162,) may be thus stated: Rome to Narni, 51 Roman miles; Terni, 57; Spoleto, 75; Foligno, 88; Nocera, 103; Cagli, 142; Intercisa, 157; Fossombrone, 160; Fano, 176; Pesaro, 184; Rimini, 208--about 189 English miles. He takes no notice of the death of Totila; but West selling (Itinerar. p. 614) exchanges, for the field of Taginas, the unknown appellation of Ptanias, eight miles from Nocera.]

[Footnote 35: Taginae, or rather Tadinae, is mentioned by Pliny; but the bishopric of that obscure town, a mile from Gualdo, in the plain, was united, in the year 1007, with that of Nocera. The signs of antiquity are preserved in the local appellations, Fossato, the camp; Capraia, Caprea; Bastia, Busta Gallorum. See Cluverius, (Italia Antiqua, l. ii. c. 6, p. 615, 616, 617,) Lucas Holstenius, (Annotat. ad Cluver. p. 85, 86,) Guazzesi, (Dissertat. p. 177--217, a professed inquiry,) and the maps of the ecclesiastical state and the march of Ancona, by Le Maire and Magini.]

[Footnote 36: The battle was fought in the year of Rome 458; and the consul Decius, by devoting his own life, assured the triumph of his country and his colleague Fabius, (T. Liv. x. 28, 29.) Procopius ascribes to Camillus the victory of the Busta Gallorum; and his error is branded by Cluverius with the national reproach of Graecorum nugamenta.]

[Footnote 3611: "Dog, wilt thou strike thy Lord?" was the more characteristic exclamation of the Gothic youth. Procop. lib. iv. p. 32.--M.]


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