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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 50 See the death of Lothaire in Agathias l


by their side; and they used,

as their weapons of offence, a weighty hatchet and a hooked javelin, which were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower of the Roman archers, on horseback, and in complete armor, skirmished without peril round this immovable phalanx; supplied by active speed the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Heruli, preferring glory to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their leader, Sinbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize of superior valor; and their example excited the victorious troops to achieve with swords and spears the destruction of the enemy. Buccelin, and the greatest part of his army, perished on the field of battle, in the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants: but it may seem incredible, that a victory, [52] which no more than five of the Alamanni survived, could be purchased with the loss of fourscore Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring; and every messenger of Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greeks. [53] After the battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures of the Goths, the Franks, and
the Alamanni, were displayed; his soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld the semblance of a triumph.

[Footnote 50: See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (l. ii. p. 38) and Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconus, (l. ii. c. 3, 775.) The Greek makes him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches.]

[Footnote 51: Pere Daniel (Hist. de la Milice Francoise, tom. i. p. 17--21) has exhibited a fanciful representation of this battle, somewhat in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once famous editor of Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinions all the military operations of antiquity.]

[Footnote 52: Agathias (l. ii. p. 47) has produced a Greek epigram of six lines on this victory of Narses, which a favorably compared to the battles of Marathon and Plataea. The chief difference is indeed in their consequences--so trivial in the former instance--so permanent and glorious in the latter. Note: Not in the epigram, but in the previous observations--M.]

[Footnote 53: The Beroia and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber (p. 201) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia.]

After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled by the exarchs of Ravenna, the representatives in peace and war of the emperor of the Romans. Their jurisdiction was soon reduced to the limits of a narrow province: but Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the exarchs, administered above fifteen years the entire kingdom of Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honors of envy, calumny, and disgrace: but the favorite eunuch still enjoyed the confidence of Justinian; or the leader of a victorious army awed and repressed the ingratitude of a timid court. Yet it was not by weak and mischievous indulgence that Narses secured the attachment of his troops. Forgetful of the past, and regardless of the future, they abused the present hour of prosperity and peace. The cities of Italy resounded with the noise of drinking and dancing; the spoils of victory were wasted in sensual pleasures; and nothing (says Agathias) remained unless to exchange their shields and helmets for


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