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ATTACKS OF THE BARBARIANS.
Allemanni (all-men), had frequently annoyed the Romans, and, whenever they were driven back, returned again ; but it was not till after the death of Decius that they succeeded in ravaging Gaul, and forcing their way into Italy. Valerian being then in the East, and Gallienus absent in another direction, the Senate, on hearing the Allemanni were already at Ravenna, led out the Prætorians with a multitude of armed plebeians, and drove away the invaders. But Gallienus, at his return, was displeased at the manner in which Italy had been defended, and passed a law forbidding the senators to take up any military employment: from that time they gave themselves up to luxurious ease, and gladly remained in their splendid palaces. However, the mode in which the emperor sought for security was extremely displeasing to the proud Romans : he chose to marry Pipa, the beautiful daughter of one of the barbarian kings ; but his subjects contemptuously called her his concubine.
While the Franks and the Allemanni attacked the Western provinces, the Goths, in three different 'invasions, destroyed many cities in Asia Minor, massacred great numbers of the provincials, and, at last, over.ran Greece. The Athenians vainly tried to retard their progress; and they were on the borders of Italy before Gallienus was alive to his danger. Yet these powerful barbarians were, in some measure, overcome; and great numbers of them entered into the Roman service for the sake of the pay. One of their chiefs was presented with the consular ornaments; and a kind of friendship being thus formed, the rest of the Goths returned home. It was in this invasion that the famous temple of Diana, at Ephesus, was finally destroyed. It had been regarded as a holy place during the successive empires of Persia, Greece, and Rome; and, after being destroyed seven times, a new temple had been raised on the same spot, and was considered the most beautiful building in the world.
Nineteen pretenders to the empire arose during the reign of Gallienus; and, though the name of tyrants was applied to them, it was only because the ancients used that word to express the unlawful possession of absolute power; for many of them were excellent and humane rulers, and far better quali. fied to reign than Gallienus. But he alone was supported by Rome and the Senate, acknowledged by law, and called em
MISERIES OF THE REIGN OF GALLIENUS.
peror in history. Not one of the temporary monarchs lived a peaceful life, or died a natural death, though all received, for a season, every honour their respective armies, or provinces could bestow. The lieutenants, who had respected Valerian, did not esteem his son, but they were mostly forced into open rebellion against him by their discontented troops ; and one of them, on the day he was proclaimed Augustus, said to his soldiers, “ You have lost a useful commander, and made a very wretched emperor.” Though Gallienus made no personal exertion, he sent forth the severest edicts against the rebels, and desired that his rivals and their supporters should be everywhere destroyed. One of his violent letters, concerning the usurper of Illyria, runs thus : “Remember, that Ingenius was made emperor! Tear, kill, hew in pieces, &c. I write to you with my own hand, and I would inspire you with my own feelings.” The slaughter and misery that followed the attempts of all these usurpers cannot be described ; for, when they fell, their armies and provinces suffered dreadfully from the emperor's vengeance.
The invasions of the barbarians, and the internal rebellions, were not the only miseries of the reign of Gallienus. Great tumults in Sicily caused a scarcity at Rome, as it was chiefly supplied with corn from that island ; and a civil war raged at Alexandria for nearly twelve years. Some trifling cause provoked the three classes of inhabitants against each other, and all intercourse was cut off between the several quarters of the city : the strong buildings were converted into fortresses, the streets were stained with blood, and great part of the city was in ruins before peace was restored. Famine and plague were the natural consequences of such continued war and disorder ; and every province throughout the empire was in turn affected. At one time five thousand died daily at Rome; and, in Africa, immense numbers perished. In Alexandria, it was calculated half the inhabitants died, and some towns were entirely depopulated. Whole families were often swept away; and, in Carthage, the bodies lay in the streets. But whilst the Pagans neglected the attendance of the sick and the burial of the dead, through fear of contagion, the Christians showed their superiority by attending to both.
It is supposed that, in the course of these few years, half the human family throughout the Roman empire perished,
either through war, pestilence, or famine. Some historians have added accounts of inundations, earthquakes, strange meteors, preternatural darkness, &c. but it is probable, in the agitated state of the public mind, there was a tendency to exaggeration.
Gallienus was at last roused from his inactivity by hearing that Aureolus, the emperor of the legions on the Upper Danube, was about to attack Rome. While he was besieging the pretender in the city of Milan, to which he had retreated, he was killed before the walls by some unknown hand, A.D. 268.
The singular story of Odenathus, to whom alone Gallienus allowed the title of Augustus, and who was owned by the senate as the emperor of the East, must be added here.
Amid the barren deserts of Arabia, there are here and there fertile spots, like those in the African deserts, which look like green islands surrounded by an ocean of sand. On the most remarkable of the Arabian oases stood Tadmor, or Palmyra ; both the Syriac and Latin names signifying a multitude of palmtrees. The air was pure, springs of fresh water abounded, and the soil was capable of producing corn and fruit. This favoured situation, it appears, was first taken advantage of by King Solomon (2 Chron. viii. 8); and being at a convenient distance between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, it became the resting-place of the caravans from India. Palmyra at length increased into a large city, and was long allowed to remain independent, as both the Romans and Parthians profited by the commerce carried on by its merchants. After the victories of Trajan, however, it came within the limits of the Roman empire ; and for a hundred and fifty years it flourished as a colony. It is supposed that the surprising ruins of Grecian architecture, still scattered over an extent of many miles, are the remains of temples and palaces which were raised at Palmyra during this period of prosperity and peace.
At the time that Sapor triumphed over Valerian, his pride rose to such a height that he was ready to trample every thing under his feet : and when Odenathus, the poblest and richest citizen of Palmyra, sent him a respectful letter, with a long train of camels laden with costly presents, the haughty conqueror desired that the gifts might be thrown into the Euphrates, and sent back the messengers to tell Odenathus, that
ODENATHUS AND ZENOBIA.
unless he would come and kneel before his throne with his hands bound, destruction would quickly fall upon himself and his country. On receiving this message, Odenathus quickly gathered a band of courageous men from Palmyra and the neighbouring villages in Syria and Arabia, and troubled the Persian host so far, by hanging about them and spoiling their tents, that Sapor was obliged to retreat. After such an exploit, Odenathus was considered to have a right to reign over the countries he had delivered ; and though he always behaved with respect to Gallienus, he was absolute master in his own dominions. At his death he left the empire of the East to his wife Zenobia, who had by her talents and courage assisted him to obtain it. She had been his companion at all times, whether in hunting the wild animals of the desert, or at the head of his troops; and instead of using a covered carriage, according to the Eastern fashion, she rode on horseback in a military dress, or marched for miles on foot. Twice they had together pursued Sapor as far as Ctesiphon; and the armies they had commanded, as well as the provinces they had delivered, would own no other sovereigns.
Both the climate and the customs of the East tended to keep the female sex in a state of indolence, retirement, and subjection; and Zenobia was the only woman since the days of Semiramis that had attempted to reign in Asia. This queen is said to have had all the beauty of Cleopatra, from whom she claimed descent, without any of her vices. A naturally good understanding was strengthened by exercise ; and she devoted much time to study, having the help of Longinus, the most celebrated critic of his age. The Syriac and Coptic languages were not more familiar to her than the Greek tongue : she read Homer and Plato with her tutor, and was not ignorant of Latin; and it is said she made an abridgment of oriental history for her own use.
Zenobia governed Palmyra, Syria, and Egypt for more than five years, and defeated the Roman general sent to recover these provinces. The neighbouring states of Arabia, Armenia," and Persia sought her friendship : and she confidently hoped to leave an independent kingdom to her sons. With this expectation she gave them a Latin education, and often showed them to her troops clothed in imperial purple : but she alone wore the diadem, and was paid the same adoration as the Persian kings received from their subjects.
PAUL, BISHOP AT ANTIOCH.
Zenobia's philosophical curiosity led her to ask for the instructions of Paul, the bishop at Antioch ; and she was so de. lighted by the worldly kind of religion that he had invented, that she supported his authority as long as she continued queen of the East. Paul had been quite a poor man, and grew rich by dishonest practices, making a gain of the profession of godliness. He preferred the title of judge to that of bishop, and entangled the brethren in law-suits that he might get money by deciding between them. His manners were exceedingly haughty: he used a tribunal or lofty throne like a magistrate, and when he went abroad was attended by numerous guards. His doctrine was as bad as his conduct : for he affirmed that Christ was but a mere man like himself, and desired that the psalms should not be sung to the Lord, but in his own honour. He reviled those who would not applaud him in the Church assemblies, and surrounded himself with great pomp and luxury. Paul, with his priests and deacons, lived in gross sin ; but though many groaned in secret under these abominations all were afraid of his power.
Two general councils of bishops examined into the case of Paul; but while he was protected by Zenobia nothing was done : and he continued in possession of the church at Antioch and the house belonging to it. His heretical doctrines and wicked practices were, however, universally condemned: and this general indignation proved the remaining soundness and zeal of the Church.
CLAUDIUS, EMPEROR. — WAR WITH THE GOTHS. - AURELIAN,
EMPEROR.--VICTORY OVER ZENOBIA.- AURELIAN'S TRIUMPH.
---DEATH OF AURELIAN.-NO EMPEROR FOR EIGHT MONTHS. IN A.D. 268, Claudius, a general who had been high in favour with Decius and his successors, was chosen emperor as soon as Gallienus was slain, and succeeded in overcoming Aureolus. He then left to the senate the power of punishing the disturbers of the public peace, and reserved to himself the exercise of mercy in order to win the general esteem. While pursuing this course, an old woman threw herself at his feet, complaining that