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a general of the late emperor had taken away all her little property. The guilty person was Claudius himself; and he showed that the poor woman had not trusted in his mercy in vain, by owning his fault, and giving her a far larger possession than that of which she had been deprived. It is a remarkable circumstance that there was a female ruler in the West as well as the East at this period, Victoria having succeeded many usurpers as the sovereign of the fierce legions and enslaved provincials of Gaul and Spain. She bore the titles of Augusta and Mother of the Camps, and her power lasted as long as her life. Two Roman generals, Marius and Tetricus, were successively made emperors by her means; and the latter was suspected of having some concern in her death. Claudius was obliged to leave the empire of the East to Zenobia, and to allow Tetricus to reign in the West, as the Goths had again appeared in Greece, three hundred and twenty thousand in number. During a severe winter this immense multitude was confined to the mountainous region by the Roman troops, and greatly lessened by famine, pestilence, and the sword. In these circumstances, a great part of the barbarians submitted, and were received into the army or sold as slaves : but a small and desperate band overcame all obstacles and returned home. The number of women and the immense quantity of cattle brought by the Goths make it probable that they intended to establish themselves in Greece. Claudius obtained the surname of Gothicus in honour of his victories; but his triumph was short, as he died of the same plague that had been so fatal to the barbarians, A. D. 270.

Aurelian, a general recommended by Claudius, was at once received as emperor ; and his first act was to make a treaty with the Goths, to which they were willing to consent. The Romans, on their part, gave up the province of Dacia to the Goths, on condition that they would supply two thousand soldiers to help them in time of need, and forbear to disturb the peace of the empire. The Gothic chiefs gave up their children as hostages ; and Aurelian, to secure the friendship of this formidable nation, gave their daughters in marriage to his chief officers, and trained their sons for his own service.

The new emperor was now called to carry on a dangerous warfare with the Allemanni, who had again entered Italy, and were daily expected at the gates of Rome. On this occasion 210


every kind of idolatrous ceremony was performed in the hope of saving the city; and the priests, with their sacrifices and processions, had such power over the minds of the terrified Romans that they were strengthened to resist the barbarians, and succeeded in driving them out of the country. But the fear of another attack induced Aurelian to fortify the city with a strong wall twenty-one miles in compass. Such a precaution proved the declining state of the empire ; for hitherto the legions had so ably defended the frontiers that an attack upon the capital had never been contemplated.

Tetricus, the nominal monarch of Gaul and Spain, finding himself only the slave of a lawless army, wrote privately to Aurelian, offering to deliver up the provinces to him if he would save him from the fury of the soldiers. The emperor immediately pretended to declare war against the usurper of the West, and when their armies met, Tetricus deserted his astonished troops : they continued for some time to fight without a leader, but were in the end obliged to yield to Aurelian. Delighted with the prospect of restoring unity to the empire, Aurelian now turned his thoughts towards the provinces governed by Zenobia ; and sending Probus, one of his bravest generals, to gain possession of Egypt, he himself led an army against the queen of the East. They met twice in open battle, and it was only after a second defeat, that Zenobia retreated within the strong walls of Palmyra. Thither she was pursued by Aurelian ; but he suffered much from the Arabs in crossing the desert, and was soon discouraged by the obstinate defence of the city. He was himself wounded by a dart; and his troops were dreadfully injured by the firebrands and dangerous missiles thrown by engines from the walls of Palmyra. In this situation, he offered the queen an honourable retreat, and the citizens all their former privileges on condition of an immediate surrender. But Zenobia proudly refused, hoping that famine might compel the Romans to withdraw, and that the king of Persia, her ally, would soon come to her help. She was, however, disappointed: the Roman camp was supplied with provisions from Syria, which had already submitted, and Aurelian was joined by the victorious Probus on his return from the recovered province of Egypt. The death of Sapor, and the disturbed state of Persia, had cut off every expectation from that quarter ; and Zenobia, mounted on one of her swiftest drome

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daries, made her escape from Palmyra. She had reached the banks of the Euphrates, a distance of sixty miles, when she was overtaken by Aurelian's light horsemen and brought as a captive to the emperor's feet.

The angry soldiers desired that she should be instantly executed: and to save her own life she dishonourably threw the blame on her counsellors, falsely affirming that female weakness had yielded to bad advice. Longinus and many others were sacrificed in her stead ; and the queen of the East, after appearing at Aurelian's triumph, fell into the position of an honourable Roman matron, and received from the emperor a beautiful villa at Tivoli, twenty miles from Rome, where she lived in ease and luxury.

The citizens of Palmyra were treated with great mildness; and Aurelian, having taken possession of their arms and treasures, withdrew from the city, leaving in it only a garrison of six hundred men. He had already crossed the straits between Europe and Asia, when he heard that the Palmyreans had revolted and massacred the Roman garrison. Aurelian immediately turned back; and by a letter of his own it is proved that old men, women, children, and peasants were the victims of his wrath, as well as the defenders of Palmyra, A.D. 273.

From this period that stately city gradually sunk into a miserable village; and now only a few families are dwelling there in mud huts, which are raised in the spacious court of a magnificent temple. In little more than three years Aurelian had re-united all the provinces to the empire, and restored general tranquillity; and the pomp of his triumph at his return to Rome could scarcely be exceeded. Twenty elephants and four tigers, with many curious foreign animals, and a body of sixteen hundred gladiators, preceded the long train of captives. Tetricus and his son, the joint emperors of the West, appeared in their purple robes, and Zenobia walked in golden fetters, almost fainting beneath the weight of jewels about her person. Goths, Vandals, Sarmatians, Allemanni, Franks, Gauls, Syrians, and Egyptians followed in the procession : and ten Gothic heroines taken in arms added to the novelty of this singular exhibition.

The rich spoils of the Asiatic nations, and the costly wardrobe of the queen of the East, were spread before the gazing multitude : and ambassadors from Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, 212


Bactriana, India, and, it is added, China, attracted attention by their rich and singular dresses. Aurelian himself, in a chariot that had belonged to a Gothic king, accompanied by the chief magistrates, officers, and senators, closed the procession. The emperor treated Tetricus and his son as generously as Zenobia; he restored to them their senatorial rank and fortune, and gave to Tetricus the government of a district in Italy. It is related that he built a magnificent palace near Rome, and when it was finished invited his benefactor to supper. Aurelian was flattered and surprised by seeing at his entrance a picture representing the singular history of his host. Tetricus and his son being painted in the act of offering to Aurelian the sceptre of Gaul, while he gave them in return their senatorial robes. The rest of Aurelian's reign was marked by cruelty, as he governed with severity the people whom he had apparently saved from ruin. It is said, the prisons were crowded and the executioners fatigued with their work : but it is certain crime and iniquity of every kind abounded, and it was no easy thing to execute judgment and to do justly in such times. The great object of Aurelian's adoration was the sun : his mother had been an inferior priestess in the temple of the sun, and he believed that he owed his success to the favour of this imaginary god. Thus, when all the temples in Rome shone with his offerings, that of the sun received fifteen thousand pounds of gold as a proof of his devotion. His passionate idolatry would have led him to persecute the Christians, but his death prevented the execution of his designs.* In October, A. D. 274, Aurelian led his armies into the East, with the intention of renewing the war with Persia ; but while he was in the neighbourhood of Byzantium he was killed under the following circumstances. He had threatened one of his secretaries with death as the punishment of his extortion; and this officer, knowing that his master rarely threatened in vain, determined to save his own life at the expense of the emperor's. Counterfeiting Aurelian's handwriting, he drew out a long list of persons devoted to death, including the chief officers of the army ; and this paper he presented to them, pretending he had accidentally discovered it.

* Aurelian had so far favoured the Christians at the time of his conquests in the East, that when they referred to him the case of Paul of Samosata, he desired the bishops to settle the matter as they thought right, and the heretic was consequently expelled.



As he expected, they immediately plotted together to destroy Aurelian, and he fell by the hand of a general whom he had loved and trusted. This was in January, A.D. 275.

The artifice of the secretary was soon discovered, and the deceived officers caused him to be executed ; and showed their sorrow in bitter lamentations over the murdered emperor.

The funeral honours were celebrated with extraordinary pomp ; and it was agreed to send a letter to Rome to the following effect :

“ The brave and fortunate armies to the senate and people of Rome. The crime of one man and the error of many have deprived us of the late emperor. May it please you, venerable lords and fathers, to place him in the number of the gods, and to appoint a successor whom your judgment shall declare worthy of the purple. None of those whose guilt or misfortune have contributed to our loss shall ever reign over us.”

This letter was written in February; and during eight months the senate refused to appoint, and the army to elect, a successor to the empire. Such a singular contest had never taken place before. An historian has remarked, it seemed as if all parties were tired of contest and afraid to excite fresh disturbances. Though the Roman world was without a master, the generals and magistrates went on with their usual duties as if they had been under the control of Aurelian, and no one attempted to obtain sovereign power.

It seemed as if no mind towered above the rest; or, it may be, the violent deaths of so many emperors, kept down the desires of the most aspiring.




OF THE ROMANS. DURING this singular interval of tranquillity we can take a general survey of the empire, as we have before looked at the capital. The public highways issuing from the Forum, the

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