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husband from destruction. 'It has been said,' she cried, 'that the voice of a woman should not be heard among the councils of men. But those whose interests are most concerned have the best right to speak. To death the inevitable we must all submit, but to survive dignity and honour, to descend from empire to exile, to such shame there is no compulsion. Never shall the day come when I put off this purple robe and am no more hailed as sovereign lady. If you wish to protract your life, O Emperor, flight is easy; there are your ships and there is the sea. But consider whether, if you escape to exile, you will not wish every day that you were dead. As for me, I hold with the ancient saying that the imperial purple is a glorious shroud.'
Spurred on by the fiery words of his wife Justinian tried the fortune of war once more. A few reinforcements had arrived; with these, and the harassed troops who had already faced five days' street-fighting, Belisarius once more sallied forth from the palace. The rebels were off their guard, for a false rumour had got about that Justinian was already fled. At this moment the mob was crowding the Hippodrome and saluting their creature with shouts of Hypatie Auguste tu vincas. After a vain attempt to break in by the imperial stair- Suppression case, Belisarius assaulted the main side gate of the of the circus, and burst in at a point where the conflagration had three days before made a breach in the wall. Penned into the great amphitheatre, and taken by surprise, the rebels made a weak resistance. Soon they turned to fly, but all the issues were choked, and the victims of the sword of Belisarius were numbered by the ten thousand. Hypatius and his brother were caught alive and brought to Justinian, who ordered them to be beheaded. The next day he heard of all the facts concerning the unwillingness of Hypatius, and gave his body honourable burial. It was many years before the Blues and Greens ever vexed him by another riot. The awful carnage in the circus kept the city quiet for a whole generation. Justinian was now free from trouble at home and abroad, and turned to those ambitious schemes of foreign policy which were to occupy the rest of his reign. The dream of his heart was to reunite the Roman Empire, by bringing once more under his sceptre all those western provinces which were occupied by Teutonic kings, and paid only the shadow of homage to the imperial name. A few years before, the dream would have seemed fantastically overweening, but of late matters had been growing more and more promising. Justinian was, compared with his four predecessors, young and vigorous; he had an immense store of treasure, all the hoard of Anastasius, a large and efficient army, and at least one general of first-rate ability. His throne was firmly rooted; his eastern frontier secure; nothing now prevented him from undertaking wars of aggression.
Meanwhile, everything in the West favoured his projects. In Italy the great Theodoric was dead, and, since his death, the Ostrogothic kingdom had been faring ill. The old hero had left his realm to his grandson Athalaric, a boy of eight years old, under the guardianship of his mother Amalaswintha, the widow of Eutharic. The daughter of Theodoric was a clever and masterful woman, but she had a difficult task in teaching the turbulent Ostrogoths to obey a female regent. Minority of They murmured at all her doings, and most espeAthaiaric, cially at her taste for Roman and Greek letters, and 5»6-34- ner frequent promotions of Roman officials. She
strove to bring up her son, it was said, more as an Italian than a Goth, placing him under Roman tutors and keeping him tight to the desk, in spite of the saying of Theodoric that 'he who has trembled before the pedagogue's rod will not face the spear willingly.' It was as much as Amalaswintha could do to keep the Goths in their obedience while her son was young, but when he had attained the age of twelve or thirteen, and began to show some will of his own, the murmurs of the people grew louder. At last, when he had one day been chastised by his mother, he burst into the guard-room, and bade his subjects take note how a king of the Goths was treated worse than a slave. This scene produced a tumult, and the chiefs of the Goths took the education of the boy out of his mother's hands, though they left her the regency. Handed over to unsuitable companions Athalaric grew idle, drunken, and reckless; he was of a weakly habit of body, and, before he reached manhood, had developed the symptoms of consumption. Meanwhile, Amalaswintha was contending for power with the chiefs of the Goths, and had earned much unpopularity by putting to death, without form of trial, the three heads of the party which opposed her. So uncertain was her position that she sent secretly to Justinian in 533 to beg him to give her refuge at Dyrrhachium if she should be forced to fly. The emperor soon grasped the position—a divided people, an unpopular regent, a boy-king sinking into his grave invited him to active interference in Italy.
In Africa the condition of affairs was equally tempting. We have already mentioned how, on the death of king Thrasamund, the Vandal throne had fallen to his kinsman Hiideric's Hilderic, the son of king Hunneric and the Reign' S"3'30Roman princess, Eudocia. Hilderic was elderly, unversed in affairs of state, and a conscientious Catholic, inheriting from his Roman mother that orthodoxy which his Arian subjects detested. He had but a short reign of seven years, but in it he succeeded in alienating the affections of the Vandals in every way. He incurred great odium for putting to death his predecessor's widow Amalafrida, the sister of the great Theodoric, because he found her conspiring against him. His wars were uniformly unsuccessful, the Moors of Atlas cut to pieces a whole army, and pushed their incursions close to the gates of Carthage. Probably his open confession of Catholicism, and promotion of Catholics to high office, were even greater sources of wrath. In 530 his cousin Geilamir organised a conspiracy against him, overthrew him with ease, and plunged him into a dungeon. Justinian professed great indignation at this dethroning of an orthodox and friendly sovereign, and resolved to make use of it as a grievance against the new king of the Vandals. Just before the 'Nika' sedition broke out he had sent an embassy to Carthage to bid Geilamir replace his cousin on the throne, and be contented with the place of regent. The usurper answered rudely enough: 'King Geilamir wishes to point out to king Justinian that it is a good thing for rulers to mind their own business.'1 He trusted to the remoteness of his situation and the domestic troubles of Justinian, and little thought that he was drawing down the storm on his head.
For Justinian had fully made up his mind to begin his attack on the West by subduing the Vandals. All things were in his favour, notably the facts that an Arian king was once more making life miserable to the African Catholics, and that Vandal and Ostrogoth had been completely estranged by the murder of Amalafrida nine years before. Amalaswintha favoured rather than discouraged the emperor's attack on her nearest Teutonic neighbours. There was yet one more piece of good fortune: king Geilamir had just sent off the flower of the Vandal troops to an expedition against Sardinia.
Encouraged by these considerations, Justinian prepared an army for the invasion of Africa in the summer of 533, though some of his ministers, and above all the financier, John of Cappadocia, warned him against 'attacking the ends of the earth, from which a message would hardly reach Byzantium in a year,' a ridiculous plea to any one who remembered the ancient organisation of the empire. The army was not very large: it consisted of 10,000 foot and 5000 horse, half regular troops from the Asiatic provinces, half Hunnish and Herulian Beiisarius auxiliaries. But its commander, Belisarius, was a invades host in himself, and confidence in him buoyed Africa, 533. up many wilo would otherwise have despaired. The voyage was protracted by contrary winds to the unprecedented length of eighty days, but at last the armament cast
1 There was deliberate insult in the use of the word |8acrtXe!/s for both monarchs, as if they were equal and bore the same title.
anchor at Caput Vada, on the cape which faces Sicily, in the beginning of September. The Vandals were caught wholly unprepared: their king was absent in Numidia, their best troops were in Sardinia, their fleet had not been even launched. A blind confidence in their remoteness from Constantinople had led them to despise all Justinian's threats, and no preparation whatever had been made against an invasion. Geilamir hurried down to the coast, put his prisoner Hilderic to death, and summoned in his warriors from every side; but it was eleven days before he mustered in sufficient force to attack the Romans, and meanwhile Belisarius had advanced unopposed to within ten miles of the gates of Carthage. The provincials received him everywhere with joy; for he proclaimed that he came to deliver them from Arian oppression, and kept his soldiery in such good order that not a field or a cottage was plundered.
Belisarius had reached the posting-station of Ad Decimum, and was advancing cautiously with strong corps of observation securing his flank and front, when suddenly he was assailed by the whole force of the Vandals, who outnumbered him in at least the proportion of two to one. He was beset on three sides at once; one corps of Vandals under the king's brother Ammatas issued from Carthage to attack him in front; another body beset his left flank; the main army under Geilamir himself assailed the rear of his long column of march. But the Vandals mismanaged their tactics, and failed to combine the three attacks. First the troops from Carthage came out, and were beaten off with the loss of their leader; then the turning corps was driven back by the Hunnish cavalry, whom Belisarius had kept lying out on his flank. When the main Vandal army came up there was more serious fighting with the centre and rear of the Roman column. Geilamir furiously burst through the line of march, and cleft the Roman army in twain, but he did not know how to use his advantage. Instead of improving his first success, he halted his troops, and allowed Belisarius to rally and re-form his men. It is