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In Blount's Censura Auctorum he is placed at the year 385: by Cave at the year 395, in the consulship of Olybrius and Probinus, which he celebrated in an excellent poem, and was his first Latin poem.
I place him in 396, because I shall largely quote his panegyric upon the third consulship of Honorius, written in that year.
It appears to be somewhat extraordinary that a native of Egypt, at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century, should so excel in Latin verse as to approach the best writers of the Augustan age in purity and elegance.
As Orosius calls Claudian · an obstinate pagan,” Cave* thought it might be reasonably argued that he had written against the Christian religion, though there are no traces of it in any of his writings now extant. Fabricius says that the words of Orosius afford no ground for such an apprehension. But I presume that Cave did not intend to say that such a conclusion could be certainly made. However, it may be reckoned somewhat remarkable that a learned man, a devout worshipper of all the gods, a wit, and a poet, and author of many works, would never say any thing disrespectful to Christianity. Nevertheless nothing of that kind has been observed in his writings that I know of. Undoubtedly the Christian poems, which have been ascribed to him, are spurious.
It might have been worth the while, and would have been very proper, for me to give some account of an eminent heathen poet, who flourished under Christian emperors in the fourth and fifth centuries, though there had been nothing in him relating to Christian affairs. But there is something of that kind well deserving of our notice. It was occasioned by some remarkable events which must be first related from Christian authors.
II. Valentinian the second died in the year 392, on the fifteenth day of May, wherr he was somewhat more than twenty years old, after having borne the title of Augustus sixteen years, and almost six months; though he cannot be said to have reigned till after the death of Gratian, that is, eight years and nine months.
Arbogastes, a general of great authority and influence, having been provoked by some treatment received from Valentinian, was the author, or at least the occasion, of his death. For the manner of his death is differently related. It happened near Vienne in Gaul.
Arbogastes might have set up himself for sovereign : but being desirous, 'as is supposed, to avoid the reproach of the crime which he had been guilty of, he gave that title to Eugenius.
Who,' as a Socrates says, ' was originally a grammarian, who had taught Latin with reputation; • but leaving that employment, he obtained a military post in the palace, and was made master • of the desks to the emperor. After the death of the emperor Valentinian) he assumed the
supreme government of affairs in the western part of the empire. The emperor Theodosius, • hearing of these things, was greatly disturbed in mind. Collecting his forces therefore, and • having appointed his son Honorius Augustus, when himself was the third time consul, toge• ther with Abundantius, [in the year 393] on the tenth day of the month of January, he set « out in great haste for the western parts, leaving both his sons at Constantinople. As he • marched along to the war against Eugenius, many barbarians, living beyond the Danube, cjoined him in this expedition, voluntarily offering their assistance against the tyrant. In no o long space of time he arrived in Gaul with a numerous army; for there the tyrant had put « himself in a posture of receiving him with great force. They came to an engagement near the river Frigidus, at the distance of six and thirty miles from Aquileia. In that part of the army, where Romans were engaged with Romans, the battle was doubtful. Where the barbarians, the emperor's auxiliaries, engaged, Eugenius's forces had much the better. When the emperor - saw the slaughter made of the barbarians, he was in great concern; and, casting himself upon the ground, he called upon God to afford him all his aid. Nor was his prayer rejected. For Bacurius, præfect of the prætorium, was greatly encouraged; and, hastening with his vanguard to the place where the barbarians were hard pressed, he broke through the enemy's
* Immo 'paganum pervicacissimum' vocat Orosius. Unde c. Vide Pagi. ann. 392. num. iii. iv. Tillem: L'Emp. jure quis inferre possit, ipsum scriptis editis fidem Chris- Théodose. i. art. lxix. et Conf. Basnag. ann. 392. iii. tianam oppugnâsse, etiamsi in iis quæ supersunt, nulla vestigia deprehenduntur. Cav. p. 348.
d Socrat. H. E. 1. 5. cap. 25. Sed argumentum hoc ab Orosii verbis petitum levius
αφεις τα παιδευτηρια, εν τοις βασιλείοις ες ρατευετο, videtur, quam ut eo facile duci se quis patiatur. Bib. Lat. και αντιγραφευς το βασιλεως καθιςαται. κ. λ. Ιb. p. 293. D. T. i. p. 624.
* ranks, and put to fight those who before were pursuing. At the same time happened some· what deserving admiration : a vehement wind arose on a sudden, which beat back upon them• selves the darts thrown by those with Eugenius, and also carried with redoubled force upon • the enemy those thrown by the soldiers of Theodosius. So prevalent was the emperor's prayer! • Thus the battle was turned, and the tyrant threw himself at the emperor's feet, requesting that • his life might be spared. But the soldiers beheaded him as he lay prostrate on the ground. • These things happened on the sixth of the month of September, in the third consulship of Ar
cadius, and the second consulship of Honorius. Arbogastes, who had been the cause of all • these troubles, on the third day after the battle, finding there were no hopes of safety, ran him• self through with his own sword.'
I have taken Socrates's account, and have translated it very literally. Rufinus, who was contemporary with the event, and from whom Socrates differs very little, says, that when the * emperor saw the barbarians, his auxiliaries, turning back, standing upon an eminence where he
might see and be seen by both armies, laying aside his weapons, he betook himself to his • wonted resource, and falling down upon the ground, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said: “O Almighty God, thou knowest that in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, I have undertaken • this war, in the way of just vengeance, as it has appeared to me. And if it be not so, let thy
vengeance fall upon me: but if upon good ground, and trusting in thy blessing, I came hither, • do thou graciously afford thy assistance, that the Gentiles may not say, Where is their God?" • After which, all his generals were greatly animated, and especially Bacurius, [who is here
much commended) who fought with great courage, and gained great advantages. At the same s time there arose a vehement wind which beat back the enemy's darts upon themselves, and • rendered them vain and fruitless. Thus the enemies were discouraged, and Arbogastes, though • he fought valiantly, was defeated; and Eugenius was brought bound to the emperor, and there was an end put to his life and designs.'
Augustine also has particularly related this event, and its circumstances, in his work of the City of God, and says, he had the account from some of the soldiers, who were present in the battle, and fought on the side of the enemy.
Orosius, though an historian, has described the storm very oratorically. He also says that it was attested by many witnesses still living.
There are some fabulous stories, relating to this event, in Sozomen, and ' Theodoret, which are taken notice of by : Basnage, and are rejected and exposed by him as becomes a good critic, and a genuine Christian and Protestant.
Επιγινεται δε και αλλο θαυματος αξιον ανεμος γαρ qui in illius imperatoris locum non legitime fuerat subrogatus, σφοδρως επισνευσας, τα πεμπομενα βελη παρα των Ευγενιέ, accepto rursus prophetico responso, fide certa oppressit, κατ' αυτων περιετρεπεν : 8 μην αλλα και των αντιπάλων, [Theodosius] contra cujus robustissimum exercitum magis μετα σφοδροτερας της ορμης εφερε κατ' αυτων. Τοσοτον ισχυσεν orando, quam feriendo, pugnavit. Milites nobis, qui aderant, aj te Barinsos eux". Socrat. ibid. p. 294. D.
retulerunt, extorta sibi esse de manibus quæcumque jaculaban• Stetit aliquandiu anceps victoria : fundebantur auxilia tur, cum a Theodosii partibus in adversarios vehemens ventus barbarorum, terga jam hostibus dabant-Tum ille, ut con- iret, et non solum quæcumque in eos jaciebantur, concitatisversas suorum acies vidit, stans in edità rupe, unde et con- sime raperet, verum etiam in eorum corpora retorqueret. Aug. spicere et conspici ab utroque posset exercitu, projectis armis, de ciy. Dei. I. v. cap. 26. ad solita se convertit auxilia, et prostratus in conspectu
Dei : d Historiam notam etiam oculis plurimorum, quam melius Tu, inquit, omnipotens Deus, nósti, quia in nomine Christi qui spectavere noverunt, dilatari verbis non opus est-At filii tui ultionis justæ, ut puto, prælia ista suscepi : si secus, ubi ad contigua miscendæ pugnæ spatia perventum est, conin me vindica. Si vero cum causâ probabili, et in te confi- tinuo magnus ille et ineffabilis turbo ventorum in ora hostium sus, huc veni, porrige dextram tuam, ne forte dicant Gentes, ruit. Ferebantur per aëra spicula missa nostrorum manu, ubi est Deus eorum ? Quam supplicationem pii principis atque ultra mensuram humani jactûs per magnum inane certi a Deo esse susceptam, hi qui aderant duces, animantur portata, nusquam propemodum cadere, priusquam impingead cædem- -Etenim compertum est, quod, post illam Im- rent, sinebantur. Porro autem turbo continuus ora pectoperatoris precem, quam Deo fuderat, ventus ita vehemens raque hostium nunc illisis sculis everberabat, nunc impressis exortus est, ut tela hostium in eos qui jecerant, retorqueret. pertinaciter obstructa claudebat, nunc avulsis violenter destiCumque, magnâ vi persistente vento, omne jaculum missum tuta nudabat, nunc oppositis jugitur in terga trudebat. Tela ab bostibus frustraretur, fracto adversariorum animo, seu po- etiam, quæ ipsi vehementer intorserant, excepta ventis imtius divinitus repulso, Arbogasto duce necquidquam fortiter petu supinata, ac retrorsum coacta ipsos infeliciter configebant. faciente, Eugenius ante Theodosii pedes, vinctis post terga Oros. 1. 7. c. 35. manibus, adducitur. Ibique vitæ ejus et certaminis finis fuit. e Soz. 1. 7. cap. 24. Rufin. H. E. 1. 2. cap. 33.
f Theod. 1. 5. c. 24. c-eoque, (Valentiniano) sive per insidias, sive quo alio 8 Basnag. ann. 394. num. v. pacto, vel casu, proxime exstincto, alium tyrannum Eugenium,
I need not mention them, But that there was then a vehement storm of wind, which was favourable to Theodosius and his army, and adverse to the enemy, is attested by Claudian, in his panegyric upon the third consulship of Honorius, in the year 396, written about eighteen months afterwards. " I shall give, as well as I can, a literal translation in prose, of what is elegantly expressed in verse.
· Suchis your good fortune that the victory was speedily accomplished. Both fought: you • by your destiny, your father in person. For your sake even the Alps are easy to be seized. • Nor was it of any advantage to a subtle enemy to be posted in a fortified place. The walls, in • which he confides, fall down, and rocks are removed, and set open their hiding places. For
your sake Boreas overwhelms the adverse forces with cold torrents poured down from the • mountains, and casts back their darts upon those who throw them, and blunts their spears. O • [Honorius] highly favoured of God, for whose sake Æolus sends out from his caverns stormy winds; for whom heaven itself fights, and the winds conspire to come at the call of your trumpet. The snowy Alps are stained red, and the river Frigidus foams with discoloured streams; and would be stopped with the heaps of the slain, if the rapid blood did not strengthen o the current.'
Here is every thing that can be desired to confirm the Christian accounts of the storm which favoured the arıny of Theodosius : . nothing to be complained of, but that he flatters · Honorius, and ascribes to the fate of the son, who was yet but an infant ten or eleven years old, what was due to the sole faith and piety of the father:'-—which is Tillemont's observation.
This testimony of Claudian is alleged by Orosius and Augustine in their accounts of this event. And do we not think that the Christian writers of that time, and especially such of them as were engaged in the defence of the Christian religion against Gentiles, endeavoured to make an advantage of the remarkable victory which Theodosius gained over those enemies ? Yes, certainly they did. Orosius harangues and triumphs in this manner: 'I would not insult those • who revile us. But
I not ask, if since the foundation of the city they can allege one war so justly undertaken, so happily concluded by divine interposition, and quieted with so merciful benignity ; where neither the battle was grievous for slaughter, nor the victory followed • with cruel revenge ? And then perhaps I may allow that these advantages were not the reward
of the faith of the Christian prince. Although indeed I need not labour this point, since one of themselves, an excellent poet, though obstinate pagan, has borne testimony to God and man « in these lines :
• O beloved of God, for you the heavens fight : and the winds conspire to come at the call of 'your trumpet!
• Thus was the cause decided by heaven in favour of that side which without human aid • humbly trusted in God alone, against that side which arrogantly boasted of their own strength, • and their idols. Soon after which Theodosius, having settled the public tranquillity, went to • Milan, where he died.'
Augustine, likewise, having mentioned the vehement storm, and the circumstances of it, so
Staret, ni rapidus juvisset flumina sanguis,
Þ L'Emp. Theodos. i. art. 80. at the end.
c Non insulto obtrectatoribus nostris. Unum aliquod ab initio Urbis conditæ bellum proferant, tam piâ necessitate susceptum, tam divinâ felicitate confectum, tam clementi benignitate sopitum ; ubi nec pugna gravem cædem, nec victoria cruentani exegerit ultionem : et fortasse concedam, ut non hæc fidei Christiani ducis concessa videantur : quamvis ego hoc testimonio non laborem, quando unus ex ipsis, poëta quidem eximius, sed Paganus pervicacissimus, hujusmodi versibùs et Deo, et homini testimonium tulit, quibus ait :
O nimium dilecte Deol tibi militat /£ther,
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti. Ita colitus judicatum est inter partem etiam sine præsidio hominum de solo Deo humiliter sperantem, et partem arrogantissime de viribus suis et de idolis præsumentem. Theodo- : sius autem, compositâ tranquillitate Reipublicæ, apud Me. diolanum constitutus, diem obiit. Oros. 1. 7. cap. 35.
• favourable to Theodosius, adds : · Hence · also the poet Claudian, though alien
from the name • of Christ, celebrates his praises, saying: “ O beloved of God, for whose sake Æolus sends out • from his caverns stormy winds, for whom heaven fights, and the winds conspire to come at • the call of your trumpet :' thus quoting somewhat more of Claudian than we find in Orosius.
Whether the victory of Theodosius was miraculous, as some think, or not, it was a remarkable event, and very seasonable and advantageous to the Christian cause. And this testimony of Claudian well deserves our notice.
1. His name, works, time, dignity. II. His religious profession and character. III. His testi
mony to Herod's slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem.
1. AURELIUS THEODOSIUS AMBROSIUS MACROBIUS is an author well known by name, and by some works which are generally ascribed to himn. Nevertheless the place of his nativity, his religious profession, and his time, are either unknown, or at least doubtful and uncertain. Even his names are written differently. Macrobius is generally put last, but there is a variety in the order in which the others are placed.
He writes in Latin, but what was his native place is unknown; for himself says he was born in a country where the Latin tongue was not in use.
The works ascribed to him ' are a Commentary upon the dream of Scipio, as represented by Cicero, in two books: The Saturnalia, in seven books, and a grammatical treatise concerning the differences and agreements between the Greek and Latin languages.
At the head of his works he is qualified with the title of Illustrious, which is proper to such as were advanced to some of the highest posts of the empire. Concerning which' several learned men may be consulted. But it is generally supposed that he was vicar of Spain in 399 and 400, proconsul of Africa in 410, and grand chamberlain to Theodosius the second in 422.
Tillemont 6 says it may be well questioned whether Theodosius the second would have a pagan for grand chamberlain, that is, for him who was nearest his person. However, upon the whole, Tillemont thinks that · Macrobius lived under Theodosius the first, or rather a short time after • him : for he acknowledgeth that'he had put some persons into his Dialogues, who were lower • in time than Prætextatus. Let this suffice for his time.
a Unde et poëta Claudianus, quamvis a nomine Christi ut æqui bonique consulant, si in nostro sermone nativa Roalienus, in ejus tamen laudibus dixit :
mani oris elegantia desideretur. Saturn. lib. i. in Pr. O nimium dilecte Deo! cui fundit ab antris
d Commentarius ex Cicerone in Somnium Scipionis. ConÆolus armatas hiemes; cui militat æther,
vivia Saturnalia. De Differentiis et Societatibus Græci LaEt conjurati veniunt ad classica venti!
tinique Verbi. Aug. De Civ. Dei. 1. 5. c. 26. e V. Cl. et Illustris. Claudien même, qui se rendoit alors célèbre par ses I Vid. Gothofredi Prosop. Cod. Theodos. p. 370. and Tilpoésies, quoiqu'il fût payen, et très fortement attaché à lemont L'Emp. Honoré. art. 63. at the beginning. l'idolatrie, n'a pu s'empêcher de rendre témoignage à la vé- & As above, at p. 1381. rité de ce miracle, par de très beaux vers, qu'il fit 18 mois Ibid. p. 1382. après. Tillem. L'Emp. Théodos. i. art. 80. à la fin. And i Nec mihi fraudi sit, si uni aut alteri ex his, quos catus see Colonia. Tom. i. ch. v. p. 157.
coëgit, matura ætas posterior seculo Prætextati sit. Macrob. coratio sollertior, sermo incorruptior ; nisi sicubi nos Saturn. 1. i. cap. 1. sub alio ortos cælo Latinæ linguæ vena non adjuvet. Quod * There is a large account of Macrobius and his work, in ab his, si tamen quibusdam forte nonnunquam tempus volun- the sixteenth vol, of the Ancient Universal History, p. 536, tasque erit ista cognoscere, petitum impetratumque volumus, 537.
II. As for his religious profession, some have supposed him to have been a Christian, others a heathen, whilst others have doubted and been in suspense. Tillemont is very clear. He says,
every thing in the Saturnalia“ is pagan. Symmachus, Flavianus, Prætexatus, who appear in every part, were the most zealous patrons of paganism : so that there can be no doubt that * the author, and all those whom he makes speak, were of the same profession. Among them, • beside those already mentioned, may be reckoned Postumian, a celebrated advócate, Euse• bius, professor of rhetorick, who was very learned in Greek and Latin, and Servius the * grammarian.'
But no one has treated this point more fully than · Mr. Masson, he having had a particular occasion for it. To him therefore I refer my readers if they have any doubts about it: there, as I apprehend, they will find more than enough to satisfy them that Macrobius was a sincere Gentile.
III. I formerly quoted this author. Having alleged divers Christian writers who have borne testimony to the truth of St. Matthew's history, in the second chapter of his gospel, concerning the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem, I added :
• There is also a noted passage of Macrobius a heathen author, who flourished near the • end of the fourth century, who among other jests of Augustus has this: When she had heard • that among the children within two years of age, which Herod king of the Jews commanded to be slain in Syria, his own son had been killed, he said: “It is better to be Herod's hog than his son.”
Upon which I then said: • I lay little or no stress upon this passage, because it comes too • late; partly because there is reason to suppose that Macrobius has been mistaken about the
occasion of the jest. No early Christian writers have said any thing of Herod's having a young • child of his own killed in the slaughter at Bethlehem. If Augustus did pass this jest upon • Herod, it might be occasioned by the death of Antipater, or rather of Alexander and * Aristo• bulus.'
• That is what I said of this passage in the first edition. I would now add : It ought to be • allowed that Augustus did pass this jest on Herod upon some occasion or other; and that Ma• crobius has given us the words of the jest. This passage also shews that Herod's slaughter of • the infants in Judea was a thing well known in the time of Macrobius, and was not contested • by heathen people.'
• If we could be assured that Macrobius transcribed this whole passage, not only the jest itself, but the occasion of it likewise, from some more ancient author, it would be a proof that • this event was known in that author's time also : and we should have a great deal of reason to
suppose that author to have been a heathen, because it is likely that Macrobius, a bigoted hea• then himself, did not much deal in Christian writers.'
• But it is possible that Macrobius found only the jest in his author, and added the occasion, having collected it from the common discourse of the Christians in his time, who frequently * spoke of this cruel action of Herod. There is some reason to suspect this, because it is very • likely that Augustus’s reflection upon Herod was occasioned by the death of one of those sons • whom Josephus has mentioned; and that it has no relation at all to the slaughter of the in• fants at Bethlehem. This suspicion may be farther strengthened by the great agreement of • Macrobius with St. Matthew, in the words which he useth concerning the children. Macro
f Ibid. p. 183—184.
& Cuni audisset, inter pueros, quos in Syriä Herodes Rex Judæorum intra bimatum jussit interfici, filium quoque ejus occisum, ait: “Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium.' Macrob. Sat. 1. 2. cap. iv. p. 332.
" See Dr. Whitby's Annotations upon Matt. ii. 16, 17.
of the Children at Bethlehem as an historical fact, vindi. "cated.' sect. 3.
1. Children within two years of age, which Herod king of the Jews commanded to be plain. So in Macrobius.