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NOTWITHSTANDING the signal success of Belisarius in his Italian campaign, the Gothic Kingdom was even further from being actually subjugated lo the Byzantine power than was Africa after the capture of Gelimer. The first care of Justinian was to appoint Alexander, an eminent Logothete, popularly known as "the Scissors," to supervise the financial administration of the country. His distinguishing sobriquet had been acquired through his remarkable dexterity in chopping round the gold coin according to an ingenious method of his own, which left the margin apparently intact. This noted extortioner descended on the Italians and sacked them mercilessly for suppositious debts, so that in a short time the public allegiance was wholly alienated from the victors. Even the army of occupation was defrauded of its pay to such an extent that the soldiers began to view the hostile operations of the enemy with complete indifference.

After the departure of Belisarius, Ildibad applied himself to revive the spirit of the remnants of the Gothic forces, and to attract to his standard all the malcontents among the Italians. He made Ticinum his headquarters, and soon found himself strong enough to join battle with the only Roman army which was willing to take the field. He defeated these troops with great slaughter, and was on the way to win a reputation in arms, when, as the result of a private feud, he was assassinated at a banquet. To him succeeded Eraric, but his elevation was displeasing to the Goths in general, and in a few months he also was killed insidiously to make room for Totila, a nephew of Ildibad.

Totila, or Baduela, the most illustrious King of the Goths in Italy after the great Theodoric, had already made his submission to Justinian, when the messengers arrived to offer him the crown of his nation. He was in command of Tarvisium, and explained to them candidly his position, but promised that, if they should take off Eraric by a certain day, before his truce expired, he would accept the sovereignty.

The distasteful king disappeared; he was already a traitor, and had stated his price to the Emperor, and the election of Totila was unanimously ratified by the Goths (541).

For many years Totila engaged himself in the reconquest of Italy, during which time he traversed the peninsula from north to south, and recovered nearly all the towns which had been lost to the Goths. The Byzantines failed to put an army into the field which could oppose him, and in two minor engagements they were defeated with considerable loss. The first blood was drawn at Faventia, whither Totila, in the year after his accession, hastened to meet the enemy. His whole force amounted to five thousand men, the relics of two hundred thousand whom the Goths had at their command eight years previously at the outset of the war. The Romans were twice as numerous, and the battle was begun by a single combat between Artabazes, an Armenian general of the Persian contingent transported from Sisauranum, and a strenuous Goth who proposed himself as a champion. The Armenian was the victor, but received a fortuitous wound, which ultimately proved fatal. A general collision followed, when a skilfully posted ambush created a panic among the Byzantines, who were dispersed with great carnage and the loss of all their ensigns.

The year after this success, to which was added the capture of several towns and districts, Totila laid siege to Naples. In general he adopted a policy of clemency towards those communities which fell into his hands, a disposition which disarmed resistance, and often much facilitated his progress. Thus he approached the Neapolitans with liberal promises, but they were influenced by the Roman garrison to decline a surrender. A blockade was established, therefore, in regular form. After some time, when the inhabitants began to be severely pressed by famine, an attempt to raise the siege was made by Demetrius, a Master of Soldiers who had just arrived from Constantinople. A few hundred infantry constituted his sole force, but he endeavoured to make the most of his slight resources by putting into Sicily, and, while there, loading a large number of freight vessels with provisions. Having given this fleet the semblance of conveying numerous troops, he set sail for Naples, whereupon the small Gothic army were thrown into consternation, believing that he was advancing against them with an overwhelming force. Hence they were on the point of breaking up their camp, when he, not being resolute enough to push the enterprise to a practical issue, declined from his course and steered for the port of Rome. There he essayed to transform the semblance into a reality by enlisting soldiers from among those who had crowded to the capital, where John, nephew of Vitalian, was in command. Their experience of the Goths, however, had lately been discouraging, wherefore they refused to associate themselves to his expedition. He was obliged, therefore, to proceed to the relief of Naples without any increment of force. But in the meantime, Totila, having become enlightened in the matter, posted a number of warg alleys in hiding, and attacked the provision ships as soon as a landing was attempted. All the vessels were taken, the crews were mostly captured or slain, whilst the residue, including Demetrius, managed to escape in small boats. Later on, another effort was made, which was even more disastrous.

A newly-created Praetorian Praefect, in command of a considerable war fleet, manned by Thracians and Armenians, was dispatched by Justinian to regulate the affairs of Italy. As a purely civil official he was incapable of maturing any plan of campaign, and, after wasting much time on the voyage, at length arrived at Sicily. Here he yielded to urgent pressure, and entrusted his forces to Demetrius, who again made sail for Naples. A storm arose, however, and all the vessels were cast ashore in confusion in the vicinity of the Gothic camp, where they at once became the prey of the enemy. The general himself was taken prisoner, and immediately utilized by Totila to bring about a surrender of the town. With a rope round his neck he was led before the walls and compelled to proclaim to the citizens that all hope of relief for them was at an end. Shortly afterwards the Gothic King himself came up and harangued a meeting of the Neapolitans to induce them to desist from their futile resistance. He represented to them that on account of their determined defence against Belisarius he not only regarded them with no animosity, but was even grateful for the loyalty they had shown on that occasion. He besought them, therefore, to let him take peaceful possession, and to receive him as a friend whose intentions were wholly amicable.

They asked for thirty days; he replied by granting them three months; but in a short time they surrendered voluntarily, glad to be relieved from the intolerable state of destitution to which they had been reduced. Totila then acted with the greatest benignancy. The small Byzantine garrison were dismissed safe and sound, and even assisted with horses and supplies to enable them to make their way to Rome. As for the inhabitants, he was so solicitous about their health that he posted guards at the gates to see that food-stuffs were at first introduced sparingly, lest a sudden surfeit of the long-famished stomachs should engender a fatal illness throughout the city. His last procedure was to level the greater part of the walls to the ground, a method of treatment he applied to all other strongholds when captured, in order to deprive the Byzantines of places of shelter from which they could safely carry on the warfare.

In those cases, however, where Totila considered severity to be expedient he showed himself to be as relentless as the most tyrannical monarch. Thus, among his prisoners was one Demetrius, the commissary of Naples, who during the siege had thought fit to provoke him by the most unlicensed insults if he came within earshot of the walls. This man he punished by excising his tongue and amputating both his hands, after which infliction he set him at liberty. In another instance an Italian complained to the King that his daughter had been ravished by a Gothic guard, who happened to be a soldier of distinguished prowess. He was at once committed to custody, but his companions pleaded earnestly on his behalf. Thereupon Totila made them a speech in which he dwelt on the necessity for the Goths to adhere to the principles of rectitude and to maintain an honourable reputation among the people of the country. He also referred to the case of Theodahad, who by his iniquities had become the prime cause of the present war. Having persuaded his hearers by these arguments, he had the culprit executed, and assigned his possessions to the girl who had been outraged.

Totila now began to turn his attention to the recovery of the capital, and his first move towards that object was to address a letter to the Roman Senate with the view of predisposing their minds in his favour. He reproached them gently with having forgotten the generous treatment they had received at the hands of Theodoric and his successors, and contrasted the behaviour of the Byzantines since they had gained a footing in Italy with that of the Goths. At the moment, indeed, he was able to use as an object-lesson, not only the reinstituted financial oppression, but the conduct of the army of occupation, who were leading a dissolute life in the fortresses among prostitutes, whilst they pillaged the people of the neighbourhood without compunction for the supply of their wants. The King followed up this missive by causing agents who were in collusion with him in the city to post up notices full of liberal promises to the Roman citizens should they return to the Gothic allegiance. Whatever effect these overtures may have had on the minds of the Romans, they were not immediately fruitful to Totila, and the Byzantine garrison continued to retain a firm hold on the capital.

Not for another twelvemonth, however, was a Gothic encampment again seen before the walls of Rome (545); but in the meantime Totila had elaborated his preparations so as to render a siege effective to the utmost. By capturing the fortress of Tibur, situated on the Anio, twenty miles to the north-east of the capital, he was enabled to command the fluviatile navigation and to prevent supplies reaching Rome from the fields of Tuscany. On the other hand, by posting numerous war-galleys among the islands off the coast, in the track of the corn-ships which sailed from Sicily, he cut off all possibility of the Roman granaries being replenished by sea-borne provisions. Bessas was now governor of Rome, but the garrison under his command amounted to only three thousand, and their ardour was soon damped by the result of the first sally against the enemy. A band of Goths approached the gates and drew upon themselves the attack of two eager lieutenants, who chased them in simulated flight until they fell into a skilfully-contrived ambush, from which few of them returned. After this mishap, which was incurred against the advice of Bessas, no more sallies were made by the besieged.

Such was now the prosperous position of Totila’s affairs. Yet a twelvemonth had already elapsed since Belisarius had received a commission from Justinian to go to the relief of Italy. But he dismissed him to this command without resources from the state, telling him coldly that out of his own great wealth he was to provide for the expenses of the expedition. The Constable, for such he is now to be called, travelled slowly through Illiricum and arrived at Salona with four thousand recruits, whom while on his way he had induced with difficulty to join his standard. He now embarked for Pola in Istria, from whence after a short delay he arrived at Ravenna. At the former place he was met by a group of Gothic spies, who explored his camp and then returned to Totila with the report that his martial equipment was contemptible. They deceived the general by presenting a forged letter pleading for help on behalf of Bonus, the governor of Genoa, who was said to be in a sore strait. At Ravenna Belisarius issued a proclamation expressed in seductive terms, inviting Italians and Goths to join him, but his appeal met with no response, for the reputation of the Byzantines was at the lowest ebb throughout the country.

From the time of his arrival at Pola he had begun to send out small bands both by land and sea to attempt something against the enemy, but success had generally been counterbalanced by disaster. He now decided to apply to the Emperor for assistance; and he intrusted his dispatch to John, whose place at Rome he filled by transferring Bessas from Spoleto. His petition was conceived as follows: “Most puissant Prince, we have arrived in Italy, and, if nothing but the presence of Belisarius were necessary, the country would now be subjugated to your dominion. For here I am in the midst of the Italians—but without soldiers, horses, arms, or money. If such resources be requisite to carry on warfare it must be allowed that I am totally unprepared. As I passed through Thrace and Illyria I enlisted a few volunteers, but they are only raw recruits, who shun the enemy, desert their horses, and fling their arms on the ground. We have no money at command; the Goths have already collected whatever was due to us from the taxpayers. If I essay to address the soldiers my mouth is stopped by knowing that they are hungering after their pay; whilst numbers, who should be with us, have gone over to the enemy. I beg of you to send me my veteran guards, and at the same time as many troops of Huns and other barbarians as possible. Funds also are urgently needed”.

These representations produced no immediate result, and nearly a year passed away before the desired reinforcements began to arrive. In the meantime Belisarius had returned to Dalmatia, where he established his head-quarters at Epidamnum. His main object was now to take action for the relief of Rome, but he seemed to have lost much of the energy and enterprise which formerly characterized him. As soon, however, as he had received an increment of force he sent two of his lieutenants to Portus, at the mouth of the Tiber, where a strong fort was still held by the Byzantines. From thence, with the co-operation of Bessas, they were to assail the Goths, both parties acting simultaneously from opposite sides. They made two attacks, in accordance with their instructions, but nothing could move Bessas to emerge from his shelter; and on the second occasion the Goths, having been forewarned, caught them in an ambush with a fatal result to almost the whole band, including the leaders.

So far military assistance had failed, but an effort to reprovision the capital was now made from another quarter.

Vigilius, the Roman Pontiff, was at the moment staying in Sicily, where he possessed large estates. He, therefore, freighted a fleet of corn-ships and directed them to sail up the Tiber by the way of Portus. But while they were still a long distance off their approach was signalled to the Goths, who thereupon came down in effective force and concealed themselves near the mouth of the river. The movement was observed by the garrison of the fort, who at once climbed to the highest points of the battlements, and by waving of hands and garments tried to warn the convoy off. The ships’ crews, however, mistook the gesticulations and imagined that their advent was being hailed with rejoicings, wherefore they redoubled their energies in order to complete the voyage. Hence they steered straight into the ambuscade of barbarians and were all captured without a chance of being rescued. Among the prisoners was a bishop, whom Totila relieved of both his hands, as the penalty of answering falsely to his interrogations.

At the beginning of the next year (546) the Romans were hard pressed by famine, and began to debate the advisability of surrender. As a preliminary they sent an envoy to Totila to ask for a short truce on condition that if succour did not arrive in the interval they would give themselves up. Pelagius, the chosen deputy, was a man who acted a considerable part on the ecclesiastical stage, and was already well known to Justinian, at whose Court he had resided for several years as Papal legate. The Gothic king received him warmly, but interrupted him, as he was about to begin his exhortation, in order to enter on a justification of himself.

First he warned Pelagius that there were three things which it would be useless for him to solicit, viz., clemency towards the Sicilians, to spare the walls of Rome, or to deliver up fugitives who had joined his army. He went on to picture the happy state of Sicily when the Goths first conquered the peninsula, abounding in wealth through the splendid fertility of its soil, and able to export copious supplies for the sustenance of Rome. At the prayer of the Romans Theodoric had left the island almost ungarrisoned, lest the inhabitants should be disturbed in their peaceful occupations to the detriment of the capital. Yet when a small Byzantine force landed they were received everywhere with open arms and the island was allowed to become a base for the invasion of Italy. As for Rome itself, the Greeks had shut themselves up there and harassed the Goths by artifices and stratagems without ever daring to march out and meet them fairly in battle. The citizens, he added, would profit by the destruction of those walls which were the cause of their being reduced to destitution while the hostile armies were intent on their schemes of attack and defence. In reply to this harangue Pelagius merely protested that he had not been permitted to deliver his message, and, on his return to the city, declared that he had found the King in too impracticable a mood to be influenced by any entreaties.

The Romans now felt desperate and approached Bessas and his staff with supplications that he would either provide them with food, turn them out of the city, or at least end their sufferings by killing them at once. His only answer was a recommendation to contain themselves for the present, as Belisarius would soon be at hand with an army of relief. Thus the reign of famine was prolonged until the last stages of starvation were reached. Money and every kind of property were sacrificed to buy any residue of corn that could be discovered or the meanest description of animal food. When horses, dogs, and mice were consumed, the people took to feeding on nettles, which grew in profusion among ruins and around the inner circuit of the walls. Deaths and suicides from the unbearable distress were of frequent occurrence. Nevertheless the garrison was fairly nourished, for Bessas had stored a large quantity of grain in well-guarded granaries, from which he not only maintained his men, but sold portions regularly to the richer citizens. Thus he kept on amassing wealth at a rapid rate, and was unwilling that the siege should be raised as long as his lucrative trade continued. In the direst extremity some citizens purchased from the soldiers the right to escape, for the last payment they were able to make; and, ultimately, large numbers were turned adrift to perish by the wayside or to be seized and slain by the Goths.

By this time Belisarius, having been joined at Epidamnum by as many troops as he saw any prospect of obtaining, determined to proceed with all his force against Totila. John had at last returned, and with him he concerted his measures of transit and attack. The former, with a portion of the army, was to land at Hydruntum, and make his way northwards with Rome as his objective; while the Constable, with the bulk of the troops, was to sail round the peninsula, and make a descent on the enemy from the waters adjacent to the capital. As for the part played by John in this campaign, it may be dismissed at once by saying that after landing he carried on a desultory warfare in southern Italy, made marches and counter-marches through being impeded by the enemy, but never arrived within striking distance of Rome. Belisarius, however, soon achieved his proposed voyage, and appeared at the mouth of the Tiber, where he at once began offensive operations against the Goths. One of his first steps was to relieve himself of the delicate charge of his wife, and to have her guarded in a place of safety. He, therefore, consigned her to the fortress of Portus, under the charge of one of his lieutenants named Isaac, whom he enjoined to devote all his attention to shielding her from harm.

“Remain at your post”, said he, “even should you hear that I am slain”.

The most pressing necessity was now to revictual Rome, and this Belisarius essayed to do by carrying a fleet of provision ships up the Tiber. He had at his disposal two hundred war-galleys, which he loaded with foodstuffs and also equipped most effectively with a view to forcing a passage. Thus on the forecastle of each vessel he constructed a wooden bulwark after the pattern of mural battlements, from the shelter of which his marines could safely discharge their darts. As Totila had foreseen that such attempts would be made he had long taken measures to render them ineffectual. Across the river, at a narrow part about three miles up, he had raised an obstruction in the form of a wooden bridge, at each end of which on the bank he built a large tower, also of timber. In addition chains were used to dose the passage over the water farther down. With a view to assailing this structure the Roman general joined together laterally two of his vessels, and on them he erected a tower, high enough to overtop those constructed by the Goths at the sides of the stream. A boat filled with combustibles, pitch, sulphur, resin, was placed on the summit of the tower; and this fabric he caused to be navigated in advance of his flotilla. His spare cavalry and infantry he drew up on the river bank near the sea; and he notified Bessas to make a diversion by sallying forth and assaulting simultaneously the Gothic camp.

Everything prospered as had been intended; the chains were broken through, the defenders of the wooden bridge were severely smitten by the arrows which were showered from the galleys, and the floating tower was brought into close contact with the obstructive barrier. Then the boat was set alight and launched on to the top of one of the enemy's towers, which took fire and was consumed with two hundred of its occupants. One detail only of the manoeuvres failed of accomplishment; Bessas never moved, wholly engrossed as he was with his mercenary avidity. Suddenly, when success appeared to have been almost attained, the operations were abandoned and Belisarius drew off his forces without attempting to push his advantage. Antonina, though unwittingly, was the cause of this disastrous collapse. While the assault was proceeding a glowing account of the victorious progress of the Byzantines was brought to Portus, whereupon Isaac, inflamed with ardour, collected a hundred cavalry, and made a dash for a section of the Gothic army which was encamped near Ostia. At first the enemy were dispersed, but they shortly rallied, and, recognizing the paucity of their adversaries, charged them, with the result that many were slain, while Isaac and some others were captured. A few, however, escaped, who rode full speed to Belisarius and informed him that Isaac was taken prisoner. The general, without stopping to inquire, immediately sounded the signals of retreat, and made all haste to Portus, concluding that his wife had fallen into the hands of the Goths. There he learned the true details as to the temerity of Isaac, which affected him so deeply that he became seriously ill, and was incapacitated for some time from taking the field. Such was the last effort to save Rome from being retaken by the Goths, and before long Totila succeeded in making himself master of the city.

Nothing could have been more languid and ill organized than the defence of Rome under Bessas. The garrison lost all sense of discipline, no strict watch was kept, and the officers rarely went on their rounds to see that the sentinels remained awake at their posts. Under these circumstances four Isaurians, who were on guard at the Asinarian gate, conceived the possibility of making their fortunes. Choosing a quiet hour of the night, they let themselves down the wall by ropes, and paid a visit to the barbarian King in his camp. There they explained to him with what facility they were able to pass in and out, and proffered to introduce Gothic soldiers in the same manner. He promised liberally, but distrusted his informants and sent back two of his men to put the matter to the proof. They passed in and reported favourably, but still Totila hesitated, suspecting a stratagem. A few nights later the Isaurians returned and made the same representations, whereupon the King repeated the experiment by the agency of two other spies. They also entered the city, and explored the feasibility of the scheme, but Totila delayed taking any decisive step. The question, however, was talked over in the Gothic camp, and soon after a Roman patrol, coming on a group of the enemy loitering near the walls, seized them and brought them before Bessas. On being examined they confessed that they had hopes of the city being betrayed by some Isaurians, but he dismissed their statement as being not worth considering.

For the third time the traitors approached Totila, and he now sent two officers of his staff, in whom he reposed the utmost confidence, to investigate the proposal. On their confirming the previous reports he decided to act. One evening after nightfall Totila got all his men under arms, and marched in silence to the Asinarian gate. Four Goths, selected for their strength and courage, surmounted the wall by means of ropes let down to them by the Isaurians. Inside they attacked the gate with axes, and cut away all the woodwork in which the locks and bolts were fixed. The portal was then thrown open, and the King entered with his troops. Still apprehensive of some deception, he drew them up in close order in the nearest open space and waited for daylight. Insensibly a report as to what had happened spread through the city, upon which the garrison crowded to Bessas, and all fled through one of the opposite gates. Of the citizens a few nobles and about five hundred of the proletariat were all that remained within the walls; and these, emaciated by famine, dragged themselves with difficulty to take refuge in the churches.

As soon as morning broke the Goths laid aside their suspicions and began to scour the streets, when a few soldiers, who had remained, and about threescore civilians, fell victims to their rage. Totila wended his way to the church of St. Peter, with the intention of offering up a thanksgiving, and was met on the threshold by Pelagius, who adjured him by the Gospels which he held in his band, to spare the Romans.

"Still a suppliant, Pelagius!" exclaimed the King.

"Yes," replied the priest, "since God has made me your servant."

The Victor now issued his commands to stay all further massacre, but, with reservations as to his own share, permitted his soldiers to spoil the houses. Much wealth came into his hands from the palaces of the nobles, and especially the immense treasures accumulated by Bessas as the gains of his nefarious traffìc. Such poverty now prevailed at Rome that members of the noblest families might be seen in mean apparel begging their bread through the streets from the enemy. Among these was Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus and widow of Boethius, who had expended all she possessed in relieving the indigent. Some time previously she purchased from the Byzantine rulers at a great price the privilege of overthrowing the statues of Theodoric

in revenge for his having executed her father and husband. The Goths would now have retaliated, but Totila saved her from their hands, and also restrained them from violating any of the females found in the city.

The day after the capture the Gothic King convened his forces, and preached them a sermon on the advantages of ethical conduct in warfare. He pointed out to them that in the first campaign, although numerous and rich, they had succumbed to seven thousand Greeks, because they shrunk from no excesses and committed every crime that seemed expedient at the moment. Now, however, through adhering to the principles of rectitude, although diminished to a mere handful with slight resources, they had triumphed over twenty thousand of the enemy. He also addressed the Romans in the same sense as his former dispatch and proclamations, reproaching them for their ingratitude to the Goths, and again expressing his amazement at their indiscretion and prejudice in preferring the oppressive rule of the Byzantines.

Totila’s next procedure was to send a legation, of whom Pelagius was the chief, to solicit an equitable peace from Justinian. They were the bearers of a letter in which he prayed for a restoration of the amicable relations which had prevailed between Anastasius and Theodoric; but they also had verbal instructions to threaten the total destruction of Rome, the massacre of the Senate, and a Gothic invasion of Illyricum. In response the Emperor did not enter into any negotiations, but merely indicated that Belisarius was his Plenipotentiary, through whom only he was willing to treat.

When this answer was conveyed to Totila, he resolved to raze Rome to the ground, and transform the area into a sheep pasture; after which he planned a march into Southern Italy against John, who had lately inflicted some damage on the Gothic forces in that region. He began by ruining the walls, of which he had levelled about a third part of the circumference, when he received an expostulation from Belisarius, who had been apprised of bis design.

"Men of wisdom," wrote the general, "have always been characterized by the desire to build great cities, but to ruin them can only be described as the work of fools. Rome, by reason of its extent and magnificence, is the most excellent of all the cities of the earth; built gradually in the course of many ages by a long series of emperors, with the assistance of numerous architects and artificers; the realization of immense resources brought together from every part of the world. Destroy this splendid creation, and you will incur eternal obloquy in the memory of succeeding generations. But pause and reflect that the issue of this war must be one of two events: either you conquer or are defeated. In the first case you will find that the injury is your own, and you have demolished the proudest ornament of your kingdom. In the second you have aroused the just resentment of the victor, and can expect no clemency at bis hands."

Totila was persuaded by these arguments, and refrained from doing any further damage to the capital. The Senators, however, he placed under guard in his camp as hostages, and the residue of the inhabitants he deported into Campania. He then removed from the neighbourhood to inspect the progress of his affairs in other parts of Italy. Rome was thus left wholly deserted.

As soon as Belisarius heard of the departure of Totila, he determined to re-occupy the vacant capital. He brought all his men up from Portus, therefore, and set them to work in rebuilding in a temporary fashion the ruined stretches of Wall. The stones, which lay scattered around, were collected and placed in position, without mortar, as accurately as possible; stakes were planted outside; the fosse was cleared; and the adjacent ground was plentifully sown with calthrops.

In three weeks the work was completed, and, before long, many of the Romans, eager to occupy their old domiciles, returned, for whom the general laid up a copious store of provisions. When Totila heard of this procedure, he was much annoyed, and hastened back with all speed to recapture the city. The Goths delivered several assaults, but were invariably repulsed with loss, notwithstanding that they had torn down and destroyed all the gates, which had, therefore, to be defended by bodies of men packed in the open passages. Seeing no prospect of success, the Gothic King soon retired with his army, from whom he had to endure many reproaches for not having adopted more effective measures to render Rome untenable. In his retreat on this occasion he destroyed all the bridges over the Tiber except the Milvian. Belisarius now fitted new gates to the city and again went through the form of sending the keys to Justinian.

During the next year (547) the hostile armies frequently came into collision, but no decisive success was won. In 548 Belisarius recognized that the peninsula could not be conquered without much greater forces than he had at command, but Justinian appeared to be lukewarm in the matter, and the contingents he despatched from time to time were barely sufficient to counterbalance the losses. The Constable resolved, therefore, to send his wife on a special mission to Constantinople, hoping that, if she brought the question before the Empress, her exceptional influence might obtain for him the needed reinforcements. Antonina arrived at the Imperial capital, but only to learn that the Augusta had died a few weeks previously, whilst Justinian was immersed in theological studies to such an extent that his administrative energy had completely deserted him. She acted, therefore, on the alternative, which doubtless had been proposed by her husband, and petitioned the Emperor for his recall. Her request was readily granted, and thus terminated the second campaign of five years which Belisarius had conducted in Italy. This time he returned home without martial honour, but with a considerable accretion of wealth, which he had exacted with little scruple from the Italians, according to the usual practice of the age, whenever an opportunity offered.

After the departure of Belisarius, Totila breathed more freely, and determined to devote all his energies to the recovery of Rome. During the last year of his stay the Constable, by hovering around Southern Italy with his fleet, had confined the attention of the Gothic King to that quarter, while the capital had been committed to the charge of an excellent soldier named Diogenes, with a garrison of three thousand picked men.

Early in 549 the third siege of Rome by the Goths was begun, but the city was now well provisioned, and the governor vigilant, so that for several months the enemy made no sensible progress. There was still, however, among the defenders a band of Isaurians, to whom was entrusted the custody of a gate on the south, that named after the Apostle Paul; and they also conceived the idea of betraying their charge to Totila. As the reward of their treachery, they saw some of their former comrades abounding in wealth, whilst the arrears of pay due to the Byzantine army already extended over several years. They opened up communications, therefore, with the King; and in collusion with the traitors a plan of capture was soon agreed upon. But the circumstances were now very different, and an elaborate scheme had to be devised in order to attain to the same result. Success, however, was made commensurate with the greater complication of detail. The Tiber was now entirely at the command of Totila, as he had recently taken the fortress of Portus; whilst the only stronghold in the vicinity still held by the Romans was Centunicellae, a sea-port nearly forty miles to the north. Having posted a strong ambush on the road to the latter place, the King led the bulk of bis forces secretly in the first watch of the night to the neighbourhood of the gate in question. At the same time he instructed two boats carrying trumpeters to row quietly up the river, and, as soon as they arrived at the north wall of the city, to begin sounding their instruments with all their force. Everything turned out as had been anticipated; when the garrison heard the blast of the trumpets, all rushed to the proximity of the Aurelian gate, thinking that a surprise assault was being delivered on that side. Thus the Isaurians were left in sole charge of the gate of St. Paul, which they immediately opened for the admission of the Gothic army. The news quickly circulated that the enemy were within the walls, with the usual consequence of panic and flight by those gates which were remote from the vicinity of the hostile troops. Centumcellae was the destination of most of the fugitives, where they expected to find a safe retreat, but on the way they fell into the ambuscade set by Totila, so that almost all perished. Four hundred of the garrison, however, fortified themselves in the tomb of Hadrian and nearly as many took refuge in the churches, but they were soon induced by Totila's liberal promises to give themselves up. A majority of them even took service with his forces.

Totila now did all in his power to restore Rome to its pristine splendour, as he had lately been taunted by Theodebert with not being the actual sovereign of Italy, since his capital, besides being held by the Greeks, was partly in ruins. He had sought an alliance with the Franks through marriage with one of the King's daughters, and on these grounds the band of the princess had been refused to him. Hence he re-established a Senate composed of Italians and Goths, and tried to repatriate as many as possible of the inhabitants who had been scattered in various directions.

At this period the Gothic King again attempted to compose a peace with Justinian, but his overtures were treated with unconcern. It is probable that at this juncture the Emperor would have been willing to ratify a treaty, but he had at his side an adviser who urged him persistently not to abandon Italy to the dominion of the Aran heretics. Pope Vigilius had been for a couple of years resident at the Byzantine Court, and, as the representative of Orthodox Italy, he could by no means endure that the Papal seat should be under the control of the Goths. Germanus was, therefore, appointed to be commander-in-chief, but he died on his way through Illyricum, and for the next two years the war continued to be waged by land and sea on the same indecisive lines. The principal exploit of Totila was the reconquest of Sicily, but he left it incomplete; and shortly afterwards Artabanes virtually recovered the island for the Empire.

In the autumn of the year 551, a naval battle off Ancona, disastrous to the Goths, again induced Totila to approach the Emperor with peace proposals, but Justinian remained obdurate, and seemed to be possessed with a rooted prejudice against entering into any convention with the Goths. The name had become odious to him, and, after so many years of quasi-occupation of Italy, he doubtless looked on that nation merely as heretic rebels who disturbed the peace in an integral part of his dominions. In this naval engagement, the only express conflict on the water in this century, the Romans were provided with fifty warships of the utmost capacity, the Goths with forty-seven. John was in chief command on the side of the Romans, Indulfus, a renegade officer of Belisarius, on that of the Goths. The fight was begun with great ardour on both sides, and conducted as nearly as possible in the form of a battle on land. A cloud of arrows was interchanged by the hostile crews, and then the ships were impelled against each other in order to facilitate the use of swords and spears.

The Byzantine fleet, however, was manned by sailors who were skilful in manoeuvring their vessels, but the barbarians, not being a maritime nation, could not dispose of crews who were versed in nautical evolutions. On the one side the ships were navigated methodically and kept in just array, while on the other they were urged indiscriminately to the attack. Certain groups of the Gothic fleet were marshalled with an excessive interspace, and among these the Romans drove in, isolating the vessels, and easily sinking them by their combined action. In other positions the ships of the barbarians were packed together so closely that they hampered each other’s progress and checked the use of the oars; and in such cases their efforts were perverted into a contest to regain their freedom of movement. Hence the battle resulted in thirty-six vessels being destroyed by the Byzantines, whilst the remaining eleven escaped to the shore, where they were burnt to save them from the enemy. The preservation of Ancona for the Empire was the immediate result of this victory.

After the death of Germanus the Emperor decided to appoint Narses to the command of the war in Italy, although the eunuch was now a very old man, and, according to evidence which cannot be ignored, probably almost an octogenarian. We are also told that he was short of stature and slightly built, but mentally strenuous and decisive in character to a remarkable degree. As soon as the question was broached of ordaining him to the conduct of the Gothic war, he declared frankly that he would not accept the commission unless he were granted resources adequate to the magnitude of the enterprise. Justinian yielded, with the result that an invasion of Italy was planned by the eunuch on a scale which was a revelation to those habituated to the fitful and partial efforts of the last dozen years. Not only did he levy an army commensurate with the undertaking, but he insisted on being provided with funds to liquidate the arrears due to the half-hearted troops who had languished in the country for so long without receiving their pay.

Narses set out for Italy in 551, but he was delayed on his route by an eruption of the Huns, which it was no part of his duty to arrest. He established a camp, therefore, at Philippopolis, and waited calmly until the barbarians had divided into two streams, one of which bore destruction to Thessalonica, and the other in the direction of the metropolis. The Illyrian frontier, was, indeed, the training school of byzantine generals, and the eunuch himself was one of those who had often been engaged in the task of resisting barbarian raids by which the Danubian provinces were continually pillaged and depopulated. His progress was also impeded somewhat by a deficiency in the commissariat, which arose from a convoy of provision ships having been captured in the Adriatic, previous to the battle of Ancona, by Totila’s fleet.

Early in 552, however, he was able to concentrate all his forces at Salona, where the vital problem of transit into Italy began to be discussed. Besides a numerous Byzantine army of the conventional type, he had been joined by fully ten thousand barbarian auxiliaries from tribes not regularly drawn upon, as Foederati for the Imperial Service. Lombards, Herules, Huns, and Gepids crowded to his standard, and he even disposed of a considerable Persian contingent led by Cavades, the real or reputed grandson of the late Shahinshah. All those who made a profession of arms among the Byzantines or their allies, both officers of rank and private soldiers, were eager to take part in this expedition; the one class attracted by the Illustrious dignity held by Narses at Court, the other by the munificence displayed by him towards the armies he had commanded, and because of the benignancy of his personal hearing among the troops.

Totila, on his side, had not been idle, but had made himself well acquainted with the extent of the hostile preparations which were impending against him, and he, therefore, employed every means that foresight could devise to render the invasion of his kingdom difficult and dangerous. He knew that the prime objective of the Byzantine general would be Ravenna, but he had ascertained that he did not possess such a fleet of transports as could convey the whole army at once across the Ionic Gulf. Should the troops, however, sail by detachments, he expected to be able to cut off the separate brigades when they were in the act of disembarking. On the other band, should Narses elect to march by land, it was necessary for him to round the head of the Adriatic Sea and pursue his route along the foot of the Alps through the plains which stretched past the city of Verona. To the latter district, therefore, he sent his most able general Teias, instructing him to render the passage arduous and impracticable by every art known to the military engineer. Thus Teias obstructed and broke up the ground in the vicinity of the Po in all conceivable ways. Over a width of several miles trees were felled and strewn in the paths of access, broad and deep trenches were excavated, precipitous gulches were delved, and extensive areas were hollowed out, into which water and mud were allowed to run from adjacent streams. On the proximate side of this rudely diversified barrier the Gothic general awaited the Byzantine army, to attack them with his troops should they venture to pass.

Having determined to march overland, Narses advanced with his army from Salona to the north of Istria, where he halted on the border of the Venetian territory. Under the semblance of a friendly pact with the Goths, the Franks, still cherishing the design of extending their dominions, were in occupation of Transpadane Italy in its whole breadth. A recent legation from the Emperor to win them over as allies against Totila had failed; and, if the Byzantines were to pass by the route of Verona without being harassed by the Franks, it was obligatory to have some prior understanding with them. The emissaries, however, sent by Narses to the generals of that nation returned with a specious refusal, but at the same time informants arrived who made him aware that the permission, if granted, would have been futile owing to the obstructive dispositions of Teias. A military council was now held; there was still a third way of entering the peninsula, which Totila had left unguarded, beset as it was by obstacles which seemed to preclude the passage of an army. By proceeding along the coast they would be secure from hostile interruption, but the land line was irregular, marshy, and broken by numerous estuaries of navigable rivers. By the advice of John, however, whose experience of a decade in the country qualified him to act as guide, this seemingly impassable route was undertaken and successfully accomplished. All the available ships and boats followed the army close to the shore; and by means of them, as often as the mouth of a river was reached, a floating bridge was improvised, over which the troops passed in safety.

After Narses arrived at Ravenna he gave the whole army a nine days' rest, during which time he received a further accession of strength through being joined by all the Byzantine detachments remaining in that region. Just as the work of recuperation was completed the Gothic governor of Ariminum, Usdrilas by name, taking umbrage at his apparent inactivity, addressed him a sharp, provocative letter. "After filling all Italy with rumours of the terrible host of barbarians, which you are bringing against us", said he, "you now stay loitering behind the walls of Ravenna. Come out at once and show your spirit to the Goths; no longer tantalize us, who are eager to meet you in the field."

The eunuch smiled at the bravado of the Goth, and shortly afterwards resumed his march with all his forces. The first skirmish with the enemy occurred at the crossing of a small stream near Ariminum, from whence Usdrilas came out at the head of a troop of horse; and the Romans were elated by the happy omen, as they considered it, of the boastful Goth being slain in this encounter. Narses now pushed onwards with all, having the Flaminian Way on his left, and began to move through the Apennines towards the fields of Tuscany. In the meantime Totila, having effected a junction with Teias in the vicinity of Rome, pressed forward to meet the invaders at a distance as far as possible from the capital.

As soon, however, as news was brought in of their rapid progress, he called a halt and pitched his camp near the village of Taginae, among the western slopes of the Apennines. Before long the approach of the Byzantine army was signalled; and when Narses found himself within a dozen miles of the enemy's camp he sent forward his legates with an invitation to the Gothic king to surrender peacefully, representing to him that he could not hope to resist the whole force of the Roman Empire. As an ulterior proposal, should they find him resolved to fight, he was to be asked to name a day of battle. Being admitted to an audience they submitted the prescribed offer, to which Totila replied angrily that he would accept no terms, but that they must prepare for a conflict. Thereupon the legates at once propounded the request: "Appoint a time then, good lord, to decide the matter by arms". "On the eighth day from the present," said the King, and dismissed his interrogators.

On receiving this response Narses immediately began to instruct his line of battle, anticipating that Totila would advance to the attack without delay, in the hope of finding him unprepared. Nor was he deceived, for on the following day the whole Gothic army poured into the neighbourhood and drew themselves up not farther than a couple of bowshots from bis own position. The site of hostilities was a small plain surrounded by eminences, which were popularly supposed to be the sepulchral mounds of a Gallio host who had been slaughtered here by Camillus in the early years of the Republic. Hence the place was named the "Graves of the Gauls."

Close to the Roman army on the left was a low hill, which protected them from being assailed directly on that flank, but which, if held by the enemy, might become the source of a deadly play of darts. The night was tempestuous, and, while it was yet dark, the eunuch sent a squad of fifty infantry to occupy this elevation. Directly day broke Totila saw the advantage which had been gained, and determined to dislodge the occupants. A troop of cavalry were sent against them, but what with the adverse slope, the discharge of arrows, the spear thrusts, and the clashing of shields, which terrified the horses, the Goths could make no headway, and had to retire discomfited. A second, and a third time, Totila urged a similar attack, but nothing could overcome the strenuous resistance offered by the Byzantines, and at length he had to desist from his efforts.

The time of the main battle was now at hand, and on each side the generals delivered an exhortation to their troops. Narses lauded the superiority of his own men and spoke of the enemy with contempt, asserting them to be mostly renegades from the Imperial service, whose best prospect was to perish while making a desperate onslaught.

Totila encouraged his army by impressing on them that this was the critical day of the war, and by a present victory they would irretrievably crush the power of the Emperor. As for the forces opposed to them he pointed out that they were only mercenary barbarians, who would be chary of risking their personal safety merely in exchange for the high pay by which they had been allured.

Both armies were now marshalled over against each other in a long and deep array. Narses collected all his barbarian auxiliaries, with whom he was unfamiliar, into the centre, and made them stand dismounted from their horses. The flower of the Roman troops he placed in the wings, four thousand foot-archers in front, and behind them fifteen hundred cavalry in each division. On the opposite side the Goths were ranged in two lines, all their cavalry being in front and the infantry behind. The two generals now rode along their respective battle fronts, uttering words of encouragement; and Narses added the objective stimulus of rich jewels, armlets, necklets, and golden chains, displayed aloft on the points of spears, and promised the bestowal of them as the rewards of valour. As in most cases, there was a single combat in the interspace, the champions this time being a Roman renegade and an Armenian, when the triumph of the latter infused an access of confidence into the Imperial troops. Totila, however, was anxious for a short delay, as he was awaiting the advent of two thousand horse, whose approach had just been intimated to him. In the meantime he essayed to divert the attention of the enemy by exhibiting his address in equitation and play of arms. He was dressed with regal magnificence, and his weapons and armour were resplendent with gold. Purple plumes flowed from his helmet and lance, and he was mounted on a charger of faultless proportions. He began to caracole along the front of his line, wheeling his horse in circles and pulling him up short at one instant or another to turn in a different direction. Simultaneously his spear was tossed into the air and caught dexterously with interchanging hands, now by one part, now by another. In this saltatory exercise he frittered away the whole forenoon; and then he sent a herald to ask for a parley with Narses. The eunuch, however, replied that it was mere trifling for him to propose a debate on the field, which he had declined at the fitting time.

It was now announced to Totila that the expected accession of cavalry had arrived, whereupon he retired to his tent and passed the word for his troops to fall out and partake of their midday meal. With a swift change, however, all returned to their ranks, and the Gothic cavalry at once began an impetuous charge against the enemy, thinking to catch them in disorder. But Narses had suspected a ruse, and therefore had restrained his men from breaking into loose order or laying aside any part of their equipment. At the same time, lest they should suffer by fasting, he caused them to be served with refreshments while standing in line with their eyes fixed on the movements of the enemy. As soon as he perceived in what manner the battle had begun, the Roman general executed an evolution which was fatally adverse to the chances of the attacking troops. The wings were signalled to deploy towards the centre, and thus in a moment the Byzantine army assumed a crescentic formation, which embraced the Gothic cavalry between its extended horns. From each side the four thousand archers poured their arrows into the dense squadrons of horse, who by some strange perversity or misjudgement had been ordered to rely solely on their spears and the force of their charge to overthrow the ranks of the enemy. A small proportion only of the Gothic horsemen succeeded in reaching the Roman line, most of them falling or becoming disabled the moment they entered the deadly interspace between the two fires. Nevertheless they maintained their efforts with tenacity till the decline of day, when the Byzantine army by a unanimous impulse began to move forwards against them in firm array. Gradually the Goths were pushed backwards, becoming more and more disordered as they retreated, until they again came in contact with their own infantry. In proportion as the enemy yielded the ardour of the Romans had become inflamed; men of all arms attacked fiercely, and soon the retreat became a rout; whilst the Gothic infantry, seeing the defeat of their main force, attempted no defence, but fled wherever the way seemed to the open for escape. Six thousand of the Goths were slain on the field, and, in addition, a large number of the Imperial troops, who, during the last decade, had from time to time deserted to their standard.

The life and fortunes of Totila were forfeited on the day of Taginae, but the mode of death of the Gothic King is wrapped in some uncertainty. At the outset of the battle, according to one account, a chance arrow pierced him with a mortal wound, and compelled bis removal from the field. After his departure, the Goths engaged the enemy without tactical direction, and failed through being deprived of his skilful supervision. Another version relates that as soon as the catastrophe was complete he fled through the darkness with a few followers, when he received a lance-thrust from the hand of a barbarian, who was unaware that he had struck the King. Whatever may have been the immediate cause of the fatality, it seems certain that on that night he arrived at Caprae, about ten miles from the scene of the battle, in a dying state. There he shortly expired and was buried by his companions, who at once left the neighbourhood. Soon afterwards a Gothic woman, resident on the spot, who had seen the occurrence, told some Roman soldiers that the King was dead, and indicated to them his grave. Disbelieving her story, they disinterred the body and found that she had spoken the truth. Before they restored the corpse to the earth they stripped it of its regal apparel, which they brought to Narses. He, in his turn, forwarded the spoils to Justinian. Such was the inglorious end of the reign of Totila, whose martial talents and civil magnanimity deserved a better fate; and we would fain believe that version of his death which elucidates by an inevitable mischance the infelicitous result of this ill-conducted battle so unworthy of his previous reputation.

Narses now marched on Rome, receiving on his way the submission of several towns which had been taken and retaken during the present war. At the same time the remnant of the Goths mustered at Ticinum, which Totila had fortified as the repository of his treasure in North Italy, and there they immediately elected Teias as King. When the eunuch arrived before the capital, he found the Gothic garrison prepared to offer a vigorous resistance; but their dispositions were unskilful, and they were far from being able to foresee the various possibilities of capture. The siege, therefore, was of brief duration, and they were shortly circumvented by a simple strategical ruse. Three simultaneous assaults were made on distant portions of the wall; and the defenders allowed their attention to be concentrated on these points, whilst leaving the rest of the wide circuit vacant. Then Narses, seizing a favourable moment, ordered one of his lieutenants named Dagisthaeus, supported by a strong brigade, to make a sudden attempt with scaling ladders on one of the deserted stretches of wall. They ascended, meeting with no obstruction, gates were thrown open, and the Imperial standard was displayed from the battlements; whereupon the Goths abandoned the defence and saved themselves by every available outlet.

Thus for the fifth time in less than a score of years was Rome captured by one or other of the contending nations; and again on this, the third occasion, the Emperor had the gratification of receiving the keys of the city from one of his generals.

Yet the subjugation of Italy was still far from complete; and an arduous task had still to be executed by Narses before he could proclaim the peaceful settlement of the ruined Gothic kingdom to be an accomplished fact. Desperate bands of Gothic marauders now pervaded the country and wreaked their vengeance uncontrolled on the Italians for the ill-success of their arms. All the Roman senators were murdered in Campania, where for their own safety they had been located by Totila; and even at Ticinum a band of hostages, selected from the noblest families, were slaughtered by order of the new Gothic King. And Teias, notwithstanding his limited resources, was not in the least inclined to make his submission to the victorious eunuch, but determined to oppose him to the last by every means in his power. First, he tried to win the alliance of Theodebald, who had lately succeeded his father on the throne of the Franks, but that monarch declined to identify himself with a failing cause.

The prime object of contention between the hostile generals was now the city of Cumae in Campania, where Totila had deposited the richest complement of his treasures and on that account provided it with a strong garrison. At first John was sent into Tuscany to obstruct the avenues of approach from the north; but Teias eluded his vigilance, and, by pursuing devious and unfrequented paths in the vicinity of the Adriatic coast, penetrated into Campania before the Byzantines had become aware of his escape. There he fortified his camp on the distal side of Mount Vesuvius, close to the Bay of Naples. The position chosen by the Goths was the south side of a bridge over the Draco, a small river flowing between steep banks, impassable even for infantry. On this spot they built wooden towers and constructed military engines, by means of which, owing to the difficulty of access, they were able to withstand the efforts of the whole Roman army for two months. With their fleet in proximity they held the command of the sea, so that they suffered from no lack of provisions. At the end of that time, however, the ships were betrayed to the enemy by a traitorous Goth who was in charge of them, and thus their supplies were cut off. They now took refuge on the Lactarian Mount, which rises from the ridge of land separating the Bay of Naplos from that of Salerno. Here they soon found themselves in danger of being starved out, and resolved, therefore, to make a desperate effort to regain their freedom. Unexpectedly they came down on foot in a solid mass, and threw themselves on the Byzantine troops. Teias, in the forefront of the battle, performed prodigies of valour, and soon became the central aim for his adversaries. A dozen spears became fixed in his shield, so that he could no longer wield it freely to shelter himself. He called loudly for bis armour-bearer, and an attempt to exchange it was made, but for a moment his body remained unprotected and he received a fatal wound. Nevertheless, his men fought on

till night terminated the conflict. At the dawn of day the fìght was resumed, and again persevered in till night. At last they sent a deputation to Narses, proposing that they should be allowed to possess themselves of whatever funds they had deposited at their homes in various parts of the country, upon which they would leave Italy to go and live according to their own laws among other barbarians. Following the counsel of John, Narses made a convention to that effect; whereupon the Goths agreed to surrender all their remaining strongholds and to evacuate the peninsula.

Such was the end of the dominion of the Ostrogoths in Italy, but Narses still had a considerable war to wage, partly owing to the convention not being strictly carried out, but chiefly because the Franks were firmly convinced that they could make themselves masters of Italy. Their resources were great, but for more than a decade they had been witnesses of the successful resistance offered by Totila with his small army to the anxious efforts of the Emperor; and hence they were itching to find a plausible pretext for invading the country in force. Theodebald was a feeble youth, evidently tottering to the grave, and two nobles of his court, the brothers Leuthar and Butilin, professed to rule both the King and the nation. As soon, therefore, as it became patent that the power of the Goths in Italy was irretrievably shattered, they affected to be moved by the prayers of a few refugees of that people, who had dwelt in the Transpadane region, and had not been directly concerned in the compact with Narses. Hence they quickly levied an army of over seventy thousand men, and suddenly appeared in North Italy under the semblance of being zealous allies of the Goths, but in reality because they believed the country to be without a master. The Roman general had not yet received the submission of Cumae, whilst some thousands of Gothic soldiers had fortified themselves at Compsae under a bellicose Hunnish leader, named Ragnaris; but on hearing of the Frankish invasion he abandoned his operations against them, and marched into Tuscany. Here he stayed to accept the capitulation of a number of towns, but sent on the greater part of bis forces to block the way of the invaders on the southern bank of the Po. Some slight successes were obtained, but the eunuch was really incapable of opposing the Frankish host, and he soon retired to the shelter of Ravenna for the winter (553). Italy was now virtually lost again to the Empire had the barbarians who invaded it been capable of organizing a government or founding an administration. But to indulge themselves in rapine was the only course that was intelligible to them, and they possessed the country as brigands, not as civilized conquerors. The bulk of their army was, in fact, composed of German tribes, who had not yet been converted to Christianity. Even the Goths recognized shortly that they had nothing to hope for from such allies; and before long, Aligernus, the brother of Teias, journeyed voluntarily to the north and presented himself before Narses with the keys of Cumae in his band.

At the first flush of spring Leuthar and Butilin roused themselves to prosecute their raid, and made a rapid and destructive march through Central Italy until they arrived on the south of Rome. The brothers now divided their forces, and, while one half carried their ravages down to the Sicilian strait, the other devastated the eastern tract of the peninsula until they were brought up by the waters of the Mediterranean. The churches were broken into and rifled of all their precious ornaments by the heathen Gernians, but the Orthodox Franks abstained scrupulously from any such sacrilege. The summer was already at its height, when communication was reopened between the Frankish leaders; and Leuthar announced his decision to return home forthwith in order to enjoy the fruits of the expedition. He exhorted his brother to follow bis example, and not stake the rich spoils of Italy on the doubtful event of a war with the Romans. Between Butilin and the Goths, however, a bond had been executed in precise terms, by which it was prearranged that, should he succeed in ousting the Byzantines, he should become their king. He, therefore, remained in Campania, whilst his brother proceeded to retrace his steps to the north. On the way a foreguard of three thousand men fell into an ambush, contrived by Artabanes at Fanum, with disastrous results, but the main army continued its march unopposed, crossed the Po, and pitched their camp at Ceneta, in Venetia. Here they bewailed the loss of much of their booty on the long route, and gave themselves up to a life of indolence and relaxation in compensation for their protracted predatory exertions. Soon, however, a pestilence invaded the camp, emanating doubtless from an ill-ordered commissariat and defective sanitation, by which most of them perished, including Leuthar himself.

As for Butilin and the moiety of the host which remained with him, they also succumbed to disease in considerable numbers. The plenteous supply of grapes in Campania induced them to indulge too freely in a raw wine of their own concoction, and hence many of them fell victims to a fatal flux from the bowels. Since Butilin hoped to obtain a permanent seat in the country, he decided to fortify himself in a strong position, and await the development of events. At Casilinum, on the river Vulturnus, he found a suitable spot, and there he fixed bis camp within an enclosure strongly fenced by wagons and stakes. Their front was defended by the river, and wooden towers which they built at the foot of an adjoining bridge. His army amounted to about thirty thousand men, and he was also expecting reinforcements which had been promised by his brother as soon as he had deposited his treasures in a place of safety.

Narses now thought himself strong enough to meet the diminished host of Franks in the field; and he therefore came down from the north and encamped on the other side of the river, almost in sight of the enemy. His whole force, however, did not exceed eighteen thousand men, a great many of the barbarians, who had accompanied him into Italy, having been dismissed to their homes shortly after the defeat of Totila. He began hostilities by cutting off the foraging parties, on which the Franks were dependent for supplies, a proceeding which harassed them so much that they decided to end the molestation by a battle. When the Roman general noticed that the enemy were preparing to attack him he disposed his forces in order, placing all his infantry in the centre, and his cavalry on the wings. A certain number of his troops who were armed only with missiles, bowmen, and slingers, he posted at the rear, and he also concealed a detachment of horse in an adjacent wood. The martial equipment of the army opposed to him was very incomplete. All were infantry who bore no defensive armour, except shields and an occasional helmet; and their only offensive weapons were a sword, a barbed javelin, and a two-edged axe. They drew themselves up in the form of a wedge with the apex in front, and when the order to charge was given they drove down on the Roman centre with an impetus which carried them right through the troops opposed to them, so that they seemed to be on the way to capture the camp of their adversaries. Narses now signalled for his wings to wheel round towards the centre, until they faced almost the reverse way, and then to empty their quivers into the unprotected backs of the enemy.

At the same time they were assailed in front by a brigade of Herules who had not arrived at their place in the centre before the sudden onslaught of the Franks. The result of these tactics was the practical annihilation of the barbarian host, along with whom Butilin himself perished. While most of them were slain and many driven into the river, it is said that only five escaped death on the field of battle.

Of the Romans only eighty were killed, and these were the men who stood in the ranks where they had to withstand the first shock of the Frankish charge. Shortly after this victory Narses proceeded to the reduction of Compsae, where the number of recalcitrant Goths, who had taken asylum with Ragnaris, now amounted to seven thousand.

The fortress was blockaded during the winter; and at the beginning of spring (555), after their leader had been slain in a chance encounter, the occupants surrendered unconditionally to the eunuch, who sent them to Constantinople, so that their services might be utilized for the future in the defence of the Empire.

After a war of twenty years Justinian at last felt himself to be the veritable sovereign of Italy; and he drew up forthwith a comprehensive Act for the future government of the country. The title of this document, the legate to whose hand it was entrusted, and the place chosen for its promulgation, were all worthy of its importance.

In the autumn of 554 the exiled Pope Vigilius quitted the Imperial capital to annunciate the Pragmatic Sanction from the throne of St. Peter as the Emperor’s message of amity to the Italian people. Yet the concessions made to the inhabitants by this Constitution were, perhaps, not worthy of the name; and many who benefited, through the adoption of a definite Imperial policy, did so at the expense of others. Not altogether inequitably, however, as the main object of the Emperor was to restore the status quo before the accession to power of Totila. The Pragmatic Sanction, therefore, enacted a universal reinstatement of, and restitution to those who were the losers by the interior administration of that monarch.

In his efforts to consolidate his power he had made, or winked at, sweeping transfers of real and personal estate to his supporters from those who were disaffected to his cause. Now everyone was called on to take his own again wherever he could fìnd it, without being troubled to make out his claim in conformity with the niceties of legal practice, it being conceded that there might have been an indefinite loss or destruction of instruments of title during the general upset. Lands and cattle, houses and movables were to revert to their original owners; slaves of both sexes, who had obtained or assumed their freedom in the laxity of the times, were to return to the hand of their masters; and even the marriage tie was declared to be a nullity if contracted under the altered social conditions. Thus, husbands and wives who relapsed into servitude could be repudiated by their hymeneal partners; and even nuns, who had tasted or matrimony, had the option of re-entering their convents.

On the other hand, Justinian did not encroach on the liberty of his new subjects by depriving them of advantages which they had formerly enjoyed; for instance, the provincial Rectors were to be chosen locally by the prelates of the Church from among the Italians themselves; and the salaries customarily paid at Rome for the promotion of liberal studies, literature, rhetoric, law, and physic, were to be continued to the professors. He also invited the Roman senators to visit him at the Byzantine Court whenever it pleased them to do so; and enacted that travellers might pass without let or hindrance between Italy and the rest of the Empire. The usual formulas as to the efficient collection of the taxes and against fiscal oppression were, of course, prominently expressed in this Constitution; and in this department we may be sure that the Gothic rule was often regretted.