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said that he was so transported with grief at finding the corpse of his brother, who had fallen in the earlier engagement, that he gave no more orders, and cast himself weeping on the ground. Presently, the Romans were in good array again; their victorious vanguard had returned to aid the centre, and they fell once more, as the evening closed in, on the stationary masses of the Vandals. The conquerors of Africa must have forgotten their ancient valour, for, after a very paltry resistance, they turned and fled westward under cover of the night.
Carthage at once threw open its gates, and Belisarius dined next day in the royal palace on the meal that had been pre
Carthage pared for the Vandal king. Geilamir reaped now taken. the reward for the hundred years of persecution to which his forefathers had subjected the Africans. Every town that was not garrisoned opened its gates to the Romans, and the provincials hastened to place everything they possessed at the disposal of Belisarius. His entry into Carthage was like the triumph of a home-coming king, and the order and discipline of his troops was so great that none even of the Vandal and Arian citizens suffered loss.
Geilamir meanwhile retired into the Numidian hills, with an army that had suffered more loss of morale than loss of numbers. He was soon joined by the troops whom he had sent to Sardinia; having subdued that island they returned, and raised his forces to nearly 50,000 men. Finding that Belisarius was repairing the walls of Carthage before marching out to finish the campaign, Geilamir resolved to take the offensive himself. Descending from the hills he marched on Carthage, and met the Roman army at Tricameron, twenty miles westward of the city.
Here Belisarius won a pitched battle after a struggle far more severe than that he had gone through at Ad Decimum. Thrice the Romans were beaten back, but their gallant leader rallied them, and at last his cuirassiers burst through the Vandal ranks and slew Tzazo, the king's brother. Geilamir turned to fly, though his men fought on until their retreat was cut off. Almost the whole Vandal race perished in this fight and the bloody pursuit which followed. Geilamir himself took refuge in the heights of Mount Atlas among the Moors, and dwelt among them miserably enough for a few months.
Discovering that he could not raise a third army, and that life was unendurable among the filthy barbarians, Endofthe he determined to surrender, and yielded himself vandal and his family to Belisarius, on the assurance that klngdomhe should receive honourable treatment, in spite of the fact that he had murdered the emperor's friend Hilderic.
In the spring of 534 Belisarius was able to return in triumph to Constantinople, bringing with him the king and most of the surviving Vandals as captives. His ships were loaded with all the plunder of the palace of Carthage, the trophies of a century of successful pirate raids, including the plate and ornaments which Gaiseric had carried off from Rome in 455. It is said that the emperor recognised among this store the seven-branched candlestick and golden vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, which Titus Caesar had taken to Rome when he conquered Judea four hundred years back. He sent them to be placed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Holy City where they had been first consecrated. Belisarius was allowed the honours of an ancient Roman triumph, a privilege denied to a subject for four centuries; he entered the Hippodrome in state, and laid his prisoners and his booty at Justinian's feet, while senate and people saluted him as the new Scipio Africanus, a title which he had fairly earned. Next year he was promoted to the consulship, and given every honour that the emperor could devise. His captive, king Geilamir, was kindly treated, and presented with a great estate in Phrygia, where he and his family long dwelt in ease.
The year of the triumph of Belisarius saw new opportunities arising for him and for his master. In the autumn of 534 died the sickly and debauched youth who held the title of king of the Ostrogoths; he had not yet attained his eighteenth birthday. His mother, Amalaswintha, was now left face to face with the wild Goths, stripped of the protection of the royal name, and exposed to the enmity of the families of the chiefs whom she had executed. In despair of inducing the Goths to endure the rule of a queen-regnant, she determined to choose a colleague, and confer on him the title of king. Theodoric's next male heir after Athalaric was a certain Theodahat, the son of his sister Amalaberga. This prince had been excluded by his uncle from all affairs of state for his Amaia notorious cowardice, covetousness, and duplicity,
swintha and He was a Romanised Teuton of the worst type, Theodahat. and, as was truly said, Vilis Gothus imitatur Romanum; he had pronounced literary tastes, called himself a Platonic philosopher, and showed some care for the arts, but was wholly mean and corrupt. Amalaswintha thought to presume on the cowardice of her cousin, and to force him to become her tool; she forgot that even a coward may be ambitious. At the queen's behest the assembly of the warriors of Italy hailed Theodahat and Amalaswintha joint rulers of the Ostrogoths. But in less than six months the intriguing king had suborned his partisans to seize and imprison his unfortunate cousin. She was cast into a castle on the lake of Bolsena, and shortly afterwards murdered, with Theodahat's connivance, by some of the kinsfolk of the nobles whom she executed five years before. (May, 535.)
Justinian had now an even better casus belli in Italy than he had possessed in Africa. His ally had been dethroned and murdered, and her crown was possessed by a creature far inferior to Geilamir, who was at least a warrior if an unfortunate one. The miserable Theodahat grovelled with fear when he received the angry ultimatum of Justinian. He even made secret proposals to the emperor's ambassadors to the effect that he would abandon his crown and betray his people, if only he were granted his life and a suitable maintenance. When even this did not avail, he took to consulting soothsayers and magicians. We are told that a Jewish seer bade him pen up thirty pigs—to represent unclean Gentiles, we must suppose—in three sties, calling ten 'Goths,' ten 'Italians,' and ten 'Imperialists.' He was to leave them ten days without food or water, and then take augury from their condition. When Theodahat looked in at the appointed hour, he found all the 'Goth' pigs dead save two, and half of the 'Italians,' but the 'Imperialists,' though gaunt and wasted, were all, or almost all, alive. This the Jew told the downcast king would portend a war in which the Gothic race was to be well-nigh exterminated, and the Italians to be terribly cut down, while the Imperial armies would conquer after much toil and privation!
While Theodahat was vainly busy with his soothsayers, the Roman armies had already attacked the Gothic province in Dalmatia. The wretched usurper had to face war, whether he willed it or no. Justinian had determined, as was but natural, to intrust the Ostrogothic war to the conqueror of Africa, and, in the autumn of the year of his consulship, Belisarius sailed for the West with a small army of 7500 men, of whom 3000 were Isaurians, and the rest equally divided between Roman regulars and Hunnish and Herule auxiliaries. It was a small force with which to attack a king who commanded the swords of a hundred thousand gallant Germans, but reinforcements were to follow, and Theodahat's cowardice and incapacity were well known.
In September 535 Belisarius fell on Sicily; here as in Africa the provincials hastened to throw open the gates of their cities to the invader. There were few Goths in Sicily; they garrisoned Palermo, but Belisarius took the place by a sudden assault, after lying only a few days before its walls. By the approach of winter the whole island was in his Beiisarius hands. He would have hastened on to attack conquers Italy, but for a mutiny which broke out in Africa Slclly> 53Sand compelled him to cross the sea and spend some time in the neighbourhood of Carthage.
Meanwhile the poor craven Theodahat did nothing but Period i. F
besiege the ears of Justinian with more fruitless proposals for peace. He was as unprepared as ever for resistance when Belisarius crossed over the straits of Messina, in April 536, and overran Bruttium and Lucania. So greatly were the Goths of the south discouraged by his helplessness, that Ebermund, the Count of Lucania, surrendered to Belisarius, and entered the imperial service with all his followers. It was not till he had pushed on to Naples that Belisarius met with any opposition . all through southern Italy the city gates swung open the moment that he touched them with his spear. The old Greek city of Naples, however, held by a strong Gothic garrison, made a very obstinate defence, and held out for many weeks, awaiting the arrival of a relieving army. King Theodahat had gathered a great army at Rome, but the coward dared not close, and kept 50,000 men idle, while 7000 Romans were beleaguering Naples. At last the city fell, a party of Isaurian soldiers having found their way up a disused aqueduct, and stormed one of the gates from within. The news of the fall of Naples raised the wrath of the Goths against their wretched king to boiling point. At a great folkmoot at Regeta in the Pomptine Marshes the army solemnly deposed Theodahat, and, as no male Amal was left, raised on the shield Witiges, an elderly warrior of respectable character, who had won credit in the old wars of Theodoric. The dethroned king fled away to seek refuge at Ravenna, but a private enemy pursued him and cut his throat 'like a sheep' long ere he had reached the City of the Marshes.
The choice of Witiges was a fearful error on the part of the Goths; they had mistaken respectability for talent, and paid the penalty in seeing the stupid veteran wreck all their hopes. The first blunder on the part of the new king was to draw his army northward on the news that the Franks were crossing the Alps to ravage the valley of Po. He left only 4000 men in Rome, and marched on Ravenna with all the rest. The moment that he was departed Belisarius moved northward to attack the imperial city. It fell into his hands without a blow;