« ՆախորդըContinue »
he had intrigued against Belisarius. Narses was known as clever, pushing, and persistent, but his choice as a general-inchief was one of those strange appointments of Justinian's which looked like freaks of folly, but turned out to have been guided by the deepest knowledge of character. Being better trusted than Belisarius, he was better equipped for war. Besides a large detachment of the regular troops of the East, he was allowed to hire no less than 10,000 German auxiliaries from the Danube—Herules, Lombards, and Gepidae. His whole force must have been more than 20,000 strong, thrice the size of the army that had followed Belisarius. Narses had resolved to turn the head of the Adriatic and advance through Venetia, but, while he was executing this long march, he sent a fleet to threaten the east coast of Italy. Off Ancona his armada met and defeated the Gothic ships, which Baduila had brought round to watch the Adriatic. This engagement seems to have induced the Goths to expect a Roman landing in Picenum, and only a small portion of Baduila's army was sent into Venetia, under count Teia, to watch the passes of the Carnic Alps. Narses succeeded in eluding this force by hugging the sea-coast, and using his ships to ferry him over the Po-mouth. He reached Ravenna without striking a blow, and there was joined by such Roman troops as were already in Italy.
Then, neglecting all the Gothic fortresses, he marched straight on Rome: not by the Flaminian Way, the great road between north and south—for that was held by the Goths— but by following a minor pass up the valley of the river Sena. He had just crossed the Apennines when Baduila met him at Taginae, in Umbria, under the very shadow of the mountains. The Gothic king had called up all his forces from central Italy, and was joined by Teia and the northern army on the eve of the fight, but he was still inferior in numbers to the Imperialists. Narses showed himself an able general. Knowing that the Goths mainly trusted to the wild rush of their heavy cavalry, he dismounted all his barbarian auxiliaries, and formed them in a serried mass in his centre; 8000 Roman archers flanked them, and 1500 chosen Roman cavalry were held in reserve on his left wing. Baduila bade his men use the lance alone, and himself led the horsemen of his comitatus in a gallant charge on the enemy's centre. From noon till dusk the Gothic knights dashed again and again at the Battle of phalanx in the middle of the Roman line: they Taginae. could not break it, and meanwhile they were shot down in hundreds by the archers on the wings. The battle, in fact, was much like the English fight at Cressy; at both the archery and dismounted horsemen beat back the unsupported cavalry of the assailant. At last, towards dusk, the wrecks of the Gothic cavalry reeled back in disorder upon their infantry, and Narses bade the 1500 cuirassiers of his reserve to strike at the hostile flank.
All was over with the Goths. Their line broke and fled, their gallant king was mortally wounded in the pursuit, and darkness alone saved the army from annihilation. So perished Baduila, last Ostrogothic king of Italy, and 'first of the Knights of the Middle Ages,' as he has been not inaptly styled. There was still, however, fighting to be done. The warriors who had escaped from Taginae proclaimed count Teia king, and though most of the Italian towns accepted the death of Baduila as ending the war, a few still held out. Rome, manned by an inadequate garrison, was stormed with ease, and its keys sent, now for the third time, to Justinian. King Teia, after ranging up and down the land in a vain attempt to keep up the war, was brought to bay in Campania. His little army, penned up in the hills above Sorrento, made a sudden dash to catch the eunuch-general unprepared. But Narses was ready for them, and on the banks of the Sarno the The Goths ^ast oftne Goths were overwhelmed with numbers, leave Italy, and saw their king slain in the forefront of the SS3' battle. Then the poor remnants of the rulers of
Italy sent to offer submission. They would leave the peninsula, with bag and baggage, wife and child, and betake themselves beyond the Alps, if only a free passage were granted to them. So, in the autumn of 553, the few remaining Gothic garrisons laid down their arms, gathered together, and disappeared over the passes of the Alps into the northern darkness. We have no tidings of the fate of these last survivors of the great Ostrogothic race. Whether they became the vassals of the Frank, or mingled with the Bavarians, or sought their kinsmen, the Visigoths of Spain, no man can tell.
So perished the Gothic kingdom, which had been erected by the genius of Theodoric, by the same fate which had smitten the pirate-realm of the Vandals seventeen years before. Both fell because the ruling race was too small to hold down the vast territory that it had overrun, unless it could combine frankly and freely with the conquered Roman population. But the fatal bar of Arianism ,.
r r Causes of
lay in each case between masters and servants, Gothic and when the orthodox armies of Constantinople dlsastersappeared, nothing could restrain the Africans and Italians from opening their gates to the invader. The Ostrogoths had been wise and tolerant, the Vandals cruel and persecuting, but the end was the same in each kingdom. It was only in the measure of the resistance that the difference between Goth and Vandal appeared. Sunk in coarse luxury, and enervated by the African sun, the Vandals fell in one year before a single army. The Ostrogoths, the noblest of the Teutons, made a splendid fight for seventeen years, beat off the great Belisarius himself, and only succumbed because tlie incessant fighting had drained off the whole manhood of the tribe. If Baduila could have mustered at Taginae the 100,000 men that Witiges had once led against Rome, he would never have been beaten. It is one of the saddest scenes in history when we see the well-ordered realm of Theodoric vanish away, and Italy is left an unpeopled desert, to be disputed between the savage Lombard, the faithless Frank, and the exarchs of distant Byzantium.
The conquest of Italy by Narses was destined to have one further episode ere it was yet complete. When Teia's fate was known, the ministers of the young Frankish king Theudebald of Metz launched a great army into the peninsula, under two Suabian dukes Chlothar and Buccelin. Their hosts pressed down the peninsula, following the one the western coast, the other the eastern. But Chlothar's army was destroyed by famine and pestilence, and Buccelin's was annihilated at Casilinum, in Campania, by Narses. Against the mass of Frankish foot-soldiers, with spear and battle-axe, Narses employed the same tactics as against the Gothic horse. A solid centre of dismounted Teutons, Lombards, and Heruli, kept the Frankish column in check, while wings of Roman archers and cuirassiers swung round the flanks of the invader, enveloped him, and destroyed him. Of 40,000 of Buccelin's men it is said that not a hundred escaped, so far worse did they fare than the Goths had fared at Taginae in the previous year. The Frankish ravages put the last finishing touch to the Desolation misery of Italy. Alike in the northern plain in in Italy. Picenum and Emilia, and in the neighbourhood of Rome, the whole population had disappeared. Justinian and Narses had restored peace, but it was the best example ever seen of the adage, solitudinem faciuntpacem appellant.
To these same years belongs the story of Justinian's invasion of southern Spain, an episode which will be found narrated at full length in the chapter dealing with the Visigoths.
We must now turn back to Justinian's fortunes in the East. It will be remembered that his Second Persian War had been ended by a five years' truce in 545, after the great plague and gallant defence of Edessa. The five years of peace that followed were not very notable in the history of the empire save for one important event. Theodora, the colleague and other self of Justinian, died of cancer in 548, and with her death much of her husband's vigour, if not of his persistence, seems to have vanished. Deprived of his councillor and helpmate the emperor became gloomy and morbid. His midnight studies took the direction of theology alone, and he launched out into a futile ecclesiastical controversy on 'The Three Chapters.' This was a purely academic dispute as to whether three documents of three patristic writers, Theodore, Ibas, and Theodoret—all long dead—contained heretical matter or not. But it succeeded in convulsing the whole Eastern Church, and led Justinian into a quarrel with the Roman see, which refused to condemn the 'Three Chapters.' He seized Pope Vigilius, and brought him to Constantinople, to compel him to fall in with his own views. After detaining the unfortunate Justinian and pontiff in the East for six years, and even drag- Pope Vigilius. ging him from sanctuary and imprisoning him in an island, the emperor succeeded in inducing him to declare that Theodore and the two other theologians had indeed fallen into grievous heresy (a.d. 553). Justinian was triumphant, but Vigilius found that he had thereby introduced schism into Italy and Africa, where many bishops stood by the 'Three Chapters.' An African council went so far as to excommunicate Vigilius, and for a century some of the north Italian churches were out of communion with the Roman see.
But long ere Vigilius had yielded Justinian was once more at war with Persia. When the five years' truce ran out at the end of 549, the imperial troops advanced to recover the suzerainty of Colchis, the one point that had been yielded to Chosroes' in the treaty of 545. But strangely enough, while the war was renewed on the Black Sea, it did not recommence on the Mesopotamian frontier. Both parties concurred Third Persian to renew the truce for everything except Colchis, War> 549-55and on that limited arena alone the hostilities proceeded. The struggle recalls, in this curious feature, the way in which the French and English fought in India in the eighteenth century, while in Europe they were at peace. The conditions of the war were favourable to Justinian, whose armies had free access by sea to the Colchian coast, while the Persians had to reach it by the wild passes over the Armenian and Iberian mountains. The dreary but very bloody Colchic or Lazic war went on for six year?:, draining alike the Persian