The Ancient Library

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wife Serena and his daughter Maria, who had "been betrothed to Honorius in the lifetime of Theodosius, and was married to him soon after­wards. Stilicho began his reign by dividing the imperial treasury in equal shares between Honorius and Arcadius ; prevailed upon Honorius to grant the amnesty promised by the late Theodosius to the partisans of the rebel Eugenius ; quelled a mi­litary outbreak at Milan ; and finally set out to make his and the emperor's authority respected in Gaul and Germany, where the barbarians pursued an audacious course of invasions. His march up the Rhine was triumphant, and his force was in­creased by an alliance with the Suevi and Ale-manni. Marcomir, the principal chief of the Franks, fell into his hands, and was sent to Italy, where he ended his days in captivity ; the Saxon pirates, the scourge of the northern coast, were severely chastised, and shrunk back into their own seas; and such was the terror caused by the rapid and crushing advance of Stilicho, that the Picts made a sudden retreat from Britain into their native mountains, from mere fear that Stilicho would effect a landing on the British coast, al­though he never did so. All this was achieved in the course of one summer ; and Stilicho had no sooner returned to Milan than he set out again for the purpose of ruining Rufinus in Constantinople. One pretext for this expedition was the invasion of Greece by Alaric ; another the conducting back of the eastern legions, which were stationed in Italy, and proved a heavy burden to the country. His success in this bold undertaking, and the death of Rufinus, are related in the life of the latter. [ru­finus.]

The downfal of his rival enabled Stilicho to turn the full weig-ht of his power against Alaric, who, m 390', had penetrated into the Pelopon-no>sus. With a powerful army raised in Italy, Stilicho hastened to Greece, and Alaric soon found himself blocked up within that peninsula, whence no escape by land was possible but across the isth­mus of Corinth, which was guarded by a strong Roman force. Owing to the presumption of Stilicho, however, who seems to have thought he had caught his enemy as if in a trap, or perhaps to the negli­gence of his lieutenants, who might have indulged in similar hopes, Alaric extricated himself from his dangerous position by a rapid march towards the gulf of Corinth ; which he crossed at its narrowest point near Rhium, with his whole army, captives and booty, and was soon safely encamped in Epei-rus. Thence he carried on negotiations with the ministers of Arcadius, who were afraid that if Alaric were undone, Stilicho would make himself master of the East also, and ere long (398) Alaric was appointed master general of Eastern Illyricum, which was one of the most important posts in the ,empire of Arcadius. The presence of Stilicho in Greece was now no longer required, and he re­turned to Italy with rage and thoughts of revenge against Alaric. A war between the two rivals broke out soon afterwards, for which Stilicho made the most active preparations. Nor was he neg­ligent in increasing his authority in Italy, and the people felt his sway, or worshipped his power so much, that in 398 they caused a splendid statue to be erected to him in Rome; in the same year the marriage between his daughter Maria and Hono­rius was celebrated at Milan. In 400, Stilicho was consul together with Aurelianus, and the honorary


titles of pater and dominus were given to him. The war with Alaric had meanwhile taken its course, and in 402 became extremely dangerous to Italy, where the Gothic chief had already more than once made his appearance. In 403 Alaric made an irresistible push as far as Milan, whence the emperor Honorius fled to Ravenna, after aban­doning, at the persuasion of Stilicho, the cowardly plan of transferring the seat of the empire into Gaul. In this crisis Stilicho acted with surprising boldness, energy, and military wisdom. At the approach of the Goths he hastened to Rhaetia, where the main force of the Italian troops was employed against the natives, and after giving the latter a severe chastisement, and compelling them to accept peace, he returned to Milan with the whole of the Rhaetian corps. At the same time most of the Roman troops were withdrawn from Gaul and Germany, and even the Caledonian legion was recalled from the frontiers of Britain. With his army thus augmented, he occupied Milan, where he was besieged, or, as it seems, rather blockaded by Alaric. However, at the close of March (403), he suddenly sallied out, and at Pol-lentia (not far from Turin) obtained a decisive victory over the Goths. The dispersion of the barbarians, an immense booty, the rich spoil of Greece and Illyricum, and thousands of captives among whom was the wife of Alaric, were the fruit of this great victory. Soon afterwards Alaric suf­fered another defeat under the walls of Verona, in consequence of which he withdrew from Italy. Stilicho was rewarded with the honour of a. tri­umph on his return to Rome (in 404).

These victories and the subsequent increase of influence and power raised the ambition of Stilicho to so high a pitch, that he aspired to make himself master of the whole Roman empire, Eastern and Western. Honorius had no children, and Arca­dius only one son, after whose death or removal both the empires would become the inheritance of Placidia, the daughter of Theodosius and Galla, to whom Stilicho accordingly undertook to marry his own son, Eucherius. This plan, however, could not be executed without the assistance of his mortal foe Alaric; but as ambition prevailed over hatred in both the rivals, Stilicho did not hesitate to make proposals to that effect to the Gothic chief, and Alaric gladly entered into the plan. The concert of their action was for some time interrupted by the invasion of Radagaisus, one of the most dan­gerous and destructive by which Italy was ever visited, but from which it was delivered by the valour of Stilicho in 406. [radagaisus.] In the following year (407), Gaul was inundated and laid waste by that innumerable host of Suevi, Vandals, Alani, and Burgundians, who caused the downfal of the Roman authority beyond the Alps, and in the same year the legions in Britain proclaimed Constantine emperor in that province and in Gaul. This torrent Stilicho had either no means, or, more probably, no inclination to check, his Avhole activity being absorbed by his schemes upon Constantinople and his intrigues with Alaric. Already had he thrown the gauntlet to the ministers of Arcadius, by annexing all Illy­ricum to the Western Empire, whither he sent Jovinus as prefect, and his lofty plans became manifest after Alaric had openly renounced his allegiance to the Eastern court, and entered into that of the Western, upon which Stilicho com-

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