Page 0989


capital at Barcino. He also fixed a head-quarters at Narbo, in the south of Gaul. He took

to himself the title of King of the Visigoths,

but at the same time was careful to observe

his conscientious scruples by remanding Italy

to Honorius. That monarch was still maintaining the show of a government in his hiding-places at Milan and Ravenna.

While the Visigoths were thus disposed to

settle into quiet and enter the pale of civilization the great regions beyond the Rhine and

the Danube were still in a state of violent

eruption. Hordes of Suevi, Alani, Vandals,

and Burgundians came pouring from a seemingly exhaustless source upon whatever remained of the wealth and culture of the

South. They spread themselves into the regions already occupied by the Visigoths. The

years 406-412 were occupied with a series of

revolts against Honorius. Gratianus and his

son Julianus, in Britain, Maximus, in Spain,

Heraclianus, in Africa, and Jovinus on the

Rhenish frontier, each in his turn organized

an insurrection only to be beaten down and

destroyed by the captains of Honorius. In

Spain the Visigoths succeeded in building a

kingdom in the northern provinces, but in the

south the Vandals found a footing and gave

their name to the modern Andalusia. By the

middle of the fifth century the authority of

Rome in the Spanish peninsula was utterly


When the Gothic king, Ataulphus, died,

his widow, Placidia, was sent to the Roman

court at Ravenna. One of the generals of the

Empire named Constantius received her in

marriage, and of this union was born a son

who, in A. D. 423, succeeded Honorius, under

the title of Valentinian III. The late reign if reign that might be called which was more

a governed than a governing forcehad covered a period of thirty-seven years. As a

ruler Honorius had become celebrated for his

defeats and distinguished for his littleness.

After a kindly death had released him from

cares and duties which he was never qualified

to bear, his powerwhatever it waspassed

without a contest to Valentinian, who was

recognized by Theodosius II. The latter had

succeeded his father, Arcadius, on the throne

of the Eastern Empire. The Empire of the

West had contracted to a narrow compass.

Spain and Gaul were hopelessly lost. Pannonia and Illyria were under the heel of the

Goth. The Roman supremacy in Britain was

tottering to its downfall, and Africa was threatened by the Vandals. The army of the Empire

was composed of barbarians.

At this time the leaders of Valentinian

adherents were Aetius and Boniface. The

latter was governor of Africa, and was a man

of loyalty as well as ability. Aetius, however,

poisoned the mind of the court against him,

and Boniface, finding that he was on the verge

of a downfall, appealed to Genseric, the Vandal king of Spain. The latter at once led his

host into Africa, but Boniface, learning that

the slanders of his rival at Ravenna had come

to naught, reasserted his loyalty and undertook

the defense of the African province against

the Vandals. For nearly five years the governor, aided by the court of Ravenna, maintained the contest; but Genseric triumphed

more and more, and in A. D. 435 Valentinian

was obliged to make to him a cession of the

whole province from the Atlas to the Great

Syrtis. Continuing his conquests the Vandal

king subdued the islands of the Mediterranean.

He attacked the exposed districts of both the

Eastern and the Western Empire. He entered

into alliances with the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, and finally with the Huns; so that

what remained of the Roman dominions began

to be pressed between two weights of barbarism, the one bearing from the north and the

other from the south.

The time had now come for the ferocious

Huns, who had accumulated in the trans-Danubian provinces, to lay their terrible hands

on the remnants of civilization. Quite unlike

the half-civilized Goths and mild-mannered

Vandals were these wild Asiatics, who by the

impact of their hordes had projected the Gothic

tribes into the Empire. This first movement

had been accomplished under their king RUGILAS, who was contemporary with Honorius.

After the death of the king of the Huns his

power descended to his two sons, ATTILA and

BLEDA. The first was destined soon to achieve

the reputation of being the most terrible

Enter your footer here