Page 0984

984 UNIVERSAL HISTORY---THE ANCIENT WORLD

jealous Arcadius to hold the frontier against

his brother.

After a few years spent in consolidating

the Gothic kingdom, Alaric, in 402, undertook the conquest of Italy. The defense of

the country was intrusted to Stilicho, who

mustered his army in Gaul. The Goth advanced into Lombardy and came upon Milan.

Honorius sought refuge in Ravenna. Stilicho,

having withdrawn his legions from other parts,

concentrated his forces in Milan, and Alaric

was obliged to retreat. Following up his foe,

the Roman fell upon him at Pollentia and

again at Verona, inflicting on the barbarian

army a terrible overthrow and rout. Alaric,

the "All-King," barely escaped to the mountains.

The victory over the barbarians was celebrated by the last triumph ever witnessed in

Rome. The walls of the ancient capital had

been repaired, and the city was now regaled

with the sight of one of those old time spectacles of victory, such as the consuls of the

great Republic had been wont to present to

the shouting multitudes. The whole ceremony, in which the Emperor himself was a

conspicuous figure, was conducted after the

pagan fashion; nor might the observer for the

time suspect that the old gods were not again

triumphant in their andent abodes.

In the year 404 an event occurred in Rome

worthy of note as illustrative of the changes

which had now become possible in the sentiments of Roman society. It must be understood that at the first the outer life of the people

of the day had been but little influenced

by the acceptance of Christianity. After a

season, however, the priests began to insist on

a more rigid application of the doctrines of

the new faith. They declared that cruelty

was no part of the Christian systemexcept,

of course, when practiced against the enemies

of Christ. The humanitarian spirit grew, especially in times of peace. The Christians became offended at many of the bloody practices

which the still abiding paganism of Rome not

only tolerated but delighted in. Among these

practices the gladiatorial shows held a prominent place. These shows were patronized by

the mass of Christians who had no conscience

on the subject. After many expressions of

opposition to the spectacles, affairs were at

last brought to a crisis by the act of the monk

Telemachus, who, when a combat was just beginning in the arena, rushed between the

swordsmen and commanded them in the name

of Christ to desist. He was instantly cut to

pieces, but the spectators were so shocked by

the occurrence that the games were closed and

presently forbidden by an edict of the Emperor.

The great victory of Stilicho over Alaric

was one of those events the result of which

disappoint all superficial expectation. In order to repel the invasion, the Roman general had had to withdraw almost all the

legions stationed on the frontier. Britain was

stripped of defenders, and so were the provinces of the Rhine. This denudation of the

border occurred, moreover, at the very time

when the barbarians across the exposed frontier were unusually active. All the Germanic

nations were in commotion. They shook comparing great things to small-like bees

ready to swarm. No sooner did the tribes

discover that the frontier was no longer well

covered by the Roman legions than they rose

as if from the earth, and under the lead of

the terrible chieftain RADAGAESUS burst upon

Italy. The invasion of Alaric was thrown

into the shade by the new eruption out of

the North. Rome fell into a panic. The pagans began to sacrifice; the Christians went

to prayers, and Stilicho mustered his army.

With indefatigable industry he gathered and

equipped a force sufficient to cope with his

enemy. Radagaesus advanced as far as the

hill-country of Faesulae, where with his more

than two hundred thousand barbarians he was

brought to battle, A. D. 406. Once more

the discipline and invincible courage of the

Romans prevailed over the naked intrepidity

of the men of the North. The German horde

was utterly routed. Radagaesus was killed

and his Teutonic warriors taken in such numbers that their value as slaves was less than

that of cattle.

What, however, did it signify that Stilicho

beat down army after army? The flood-gates

of barbarism were opened wide, and no power