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servant of Honorius was honourably associated with him in the empire, and received the title of Augustus; but he died in the seventh month of his dignity, or about two years after he had become the husband of Placidia.
48. Over the mind of the generous soldier, the sway of the wife had been absolute; and after his death it was exercised with the same power over her brother Honorius. But a quarrel, fomented by some of the servants of the palace, led to angry debates. And as the Gothic soldiers espoused the cause of one, whom they still regarded as their queen, the city of Ravenna became a scene of dangerous tumults, which could only be appeased by her withdrawal. She therefore repaired to the court of Constantinople, taking with her in her exile her two infant children, à son and daughter, the offspring of Constantius. Here she was entertained with much kindness and magnificence by her royal relatives. These consisted of Theodosius, the son of Arcadius, known by the title of Theodosius the Second ; his wife Eudocia, a beautiful and accomplished woman of Athens, and daughter of the philosopher Leontius, whom he had married about two years previously (A.D. 421); and Pulcheria, the Emperor's sister. Within a few months after the arrival of Placidia, another revolution took place in her fortunes and those of her family. Honorius died of a dropsy after a disgraceful reign of twenty-eight years (A.D. 423 Aug. 27). One event may, however, be mentioned to his honour. He abolished the games of the gladiators in the amphitheatre (A.D. 404). The death of Telemachus, an intrepid Asiatic monk, who lost his life in an attempt to separate two of these bloody combatants, led to the enactment of a law that for ever put
a stop to this cruel practice, which had long disgraced the Roman name, and in which several hundred victims were annually slaughtered in the great cities of the empire.
49. The throne of the West was now usurped for a short interval by John, the Primicerius or Secretary of the late Emperor. An expedition was therefore fitted out under the conduct of Ardaburius and his son Aspar, two distinguished generals, for the purpose of effecting the conquest of Italy. The latter with a body of cavalry conducted Placidia and her son along the sea-coast of the Hadriatic. After some delays and difficulties, their enterprise was entirely suc
cessful. John was betrayed by a conspiracy of soldiers, and led forth from the fortress of Ravenna, mounted upon an ass to be executed in the circus of Aquileia. The cause of Placidia and her son was warmly espoused by Theodosius, who, though he might now have reigned sole Emperor of the Romans, was satisfied with acquiring, under a title of compensation for the expenses of the war, the province of the Western Illyricum, the maritime and rich province of Dalmatia, and the dangerous sovereignty of Pannonia and Noricum, which had been filled and ravaged for about twenty years by Huns, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Bavarians. These and some other arrangements being made, the Emperor resigned the Western division of the empire to his royal cousin, whose claims were thus readily acknowledged by the Senate, and he was invested with the name and dignity of Augustus, under the title of Valentinian the Third (A.D. 425).
50. The new Emperor was at this time only in his sixth year; and his minority threw into the hands of his mother Placidia, for a considerable period, the government of onehalf of the Roman world. In the East, also, the dominion was virtually placed in the hands of a woman; for Pulcheria, the sister of the reigning Emperor, was the only one of the descendants of Theodosius besides Placidia, who possessed any share of his manly spirit and abilities. Although only two years older than her brother, she had received the title of Augusta, and amply vindicated it, by the nature of her influence, during his lifetime. After a troubled, and for the most part inglorious, reign of fortythree years, which he terminated by a fall from his horse as he was riding or hunting in the neighbourhood of Constantinople (A.D. 450), Pulcheria became the Empress of the East. For the first time the Romans submitted to a female sovereign ; but she ended her life and short reign (A.D. 453), leaving behind her an immense patrimony for pious uses, and an illustrious reputation as a queen, à saint, and a virgin. After the death of her brother, she married Marcian, a virtuous senator, aged sixty years, to give weight to her administration. But he was only a nominal husband ; and upon his death (A.D. 457), Leo, an obscure military tribune of Thrace, was exalted to the throne of the East. From about the middle of the fifth
MIRROR OF HISTORY century, therefore, the direct line of the Theodosian family may be said to have been terminated, in this part of the Roman Empire, by the death of Pulcheria.
51. In the West, however, the successors of Theodosius had become extinct a fow years before this time, by the death of Placidia (1.0. 450), and her son, Valentinian (A.D. 455). He had been betrothed to his cousin Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius the Second, even while he was a child, and an exile at the Eastern court; but the marriage, which was one agreed to by the parents on both sides at that time, did not take place till thirteen years later (or A.D. 436). By this union Valentinian had no son, but his daughters and their descendants, partaking of the strange vicissitudes which attended the fall of his empire, intermarried with some of its rulers both in the East and West; and thus through the female line this illustrious race was yet continued for several generations. A niece of Justinian's, an Emperor who succeeded to the Eastern throne about ninety years afterwards (A.D. 527), is believed to have been the eighth descendant of Theodosius the Great.
52. The character of Valentinian, the last of the direct male line of his celebrated grandfather, was one but ill-suited to sustain the greatness of an empire, now assaulted in Gaul, in Italy, in Africa, and in Spain, by various tribes of the Gothic invaders. For awhile his valiant general, Ætius, arrested their progress; and, aided by the counsels of Placidia, he was enabled with some difficulty still to support a tottering throne. But having in a fit of jealousy stabbed this general with his own hand (A.D. 454), and acted the part of a Tarquin towards the wife of Petronius Maximus, a worthy Roman senator of the Anician family, Valentinian soon closed his career of follies and of crimes. He fell a victim to the revenge of those whom he had injured, and their confederates, and wns assassinated at a military spectacle in the field of Mars (A.D. 455, March 16).
53. With the fall of the last Emperor of the family of Theodosius, the dominion of Rome (properly speaking) may be said to have ceased. When Romulus first laid the foundations of the grent city (B.C. 753), twelve vultures were seen together ;- an omen which, in the opinion of the augurs, was prophetic of its duration for twelve centuries. And this age it had now just reached; and the signs of its
speedy downfall were but too apparent. With his Hans, Attila had already ravaged a part of Italy, taken some of its principal cities, and reduced many of them to heaps of stone and ashes (A.D. 452). The Visigoths had erected a kingdom in the southern part of Gaul (A.D. 451) under Theodoric; and the Franks had commenced their dynasty of kings in the line of Merowing (A.D. 448). In the same year also that Valentinian fell, the Vandals under Genseric, sacked and pillaged Rome (A.D. 455, June 15–29). The widow of the last Emperor, Eudoxia, and her two daughters were among the captives, the only surviving remains of the great Theodosius; and were constrained to follow the haughty conqueror towards the port of Carthage. Of their subsequent history, little more is told us than that two of those royal captives were afterwards restored by Genseric, to one of his allies who yet bore the title of Emperor of the West -Olybrius, a senator of the Anician famil; that to him
; Placidia, the younger daughter of Valentinian, was married ; and that the remaining child of Eudoxia was still retained as the wife, or rather the captive, of the son of the Vandal conqueror.
54. Within twenty years after the death of Valentinian the Third, nine Emperors severally claimed a brief, precarious, and undefined sovereignty over the ancient empire of Rome. In the year 476, the seat of empire was filled for a short time by the son of Orestes, a native of Pannoniawho, having married the daughter of Count Romulus, added to this title the familiar surname of Augustus. But the influence of Orestes, who first served under Attila, then under Valentinian, and was now raised to the rank of master-general of the troops, was the only recommendation that his son possessed to the empire, besides that of a beautiful person. The sceptre, therefore, was speedily snatched from hands that were unable to defend it, by a bold adventurer named Odoacer, chief of the Scyrri, or Heruli, who raised his standard against Orestes, and secured his execution. The feeble Augustus was dethroned, and constrained to sue for mercy. Odoacer, however, showed his clemency. by sparing the fallen sovereign ; but he dismissed him from the palace, assigning him the castle of Lucullus in Campania, as his future residence; and granting him an annual allow
ance of six thousand pieces of gold. The name of the degraded youth was changed by the Greeks into Momyllus, and by the Latins into Augustulus, to express thier derision of a title, which had thus degenerated into a mere shadow and mockery of its original greatness.
55. The throne of Romulus and Augustus was now become the seat of a Gothic barbarian, and an epistle was addressed by the unanimous decree of the Roman Senate, to the Emperor Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo, in the East, solemnly disclaiming the necessity, or even the wish of continuing any longer the imperial succession in Italy; since, in their opinion, the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and protect at the same time both the East and West. Confiding in the civil and military virtues of Odoacer, they humbly requested that the Emperor would invest him with the title of Patrician and with the administration of the diocese of Italy. The vanity
The vanity of Zeno was gratified by the title of sole Emperor, and statues were erected to his honour in the several quarters of Rome. He gratefully accepted the ensigns of the throne and palace, which the barbarian was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the people, and Odoacer thus legally took possession of the kingdom of Italy, and maintained himself in it for about fourteen years, till he was put down by the superior genius of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths. During this period, one-third of those large estates, into which the kingdom of Italy had been divided, and which is supposed to have been one of the principal causes of its ruin, were bestowed upon
conquerors; but so great was the desolation which had been produced by the wars that led to this event, that in Æmilia, in Tuscany, and in the adjacent provinces, the human species are said to have been nearly exterminated. That empire which had been for so many centuries a great and united one, became a total wreck, and could henceforth be discerned only in those small, separate, and scattered sovereignties, erected by the Gothic princes upon its ruins. From this epoch, therefore (A.D. 476-490), the history of a people who had subdued the world, is that of the Gothic nations who became blended with them, and gradually adopted their laws and customs, giving them their own peculiar stamp and signature. Whatever yet remained of the power