Chapter I.-Death of Arcadius, and Government of Theodosius the Younger. His Sisters.Piety, Virtue, and Virginity, of the Princess Pulcheria; Her Divinely Loved Works; She Educated theEmperor Befittingly.
Such are the details that have been transmitted concerning John. Not long after his death,and three years after the elevation of Atticus to the bishopric of Constantinople, and during theconsulate of Bassus and Philip, Arcadius died. He left Theodosius, his son,(1) who was just weaned, as his successor to theempire. He also left three daughters of tender age, named Pulcheria, Arcadia, and Marina.
It appears to me that it was the design of God to show by the events of this period, that pietyalone suffices for the salvation of princes; and that without piety, armies, a powerful empire, andevery other resource, are of no avail. The Divine Power which is the guardian of the universe,foresaw that the emperor would be distinguished by his piety, and therefore determined thatPulcheria, his sister, should be the protector of him and of his government. This princess was notyet fifteen years of age, but had received a mind most wise and divine above her years. She firstdevoted her virginity to God, and instructed her sisters in the same course of life. To avoid allcause of jealousy and intrigue, she permitted no man to enter her palace. In confirmation of herresolution, she took God, the priests, and all the subjects of the Roman empire as witnesses to herself-dedication. In token of her virginity and the headship of her brother, she consecrated in thechurch of Constantinople, a holy table, a remarkable fabric and very beautiful to see; it was made ofgold and precious stones; and she inscribed these things on the front of the table, so that it mightbe patent to all. After quietly resuming the care of the state, she governed the Roman empireexcellently and with great orderliness; she concerted her measures so well that the affairs to becarried out were quickly decreed and completed. She was able to write and to converse with perfectaccuracy in the Greek and Latin languages. She caused all affairs to be transacted in the name of herbrother, and devoted great attention to bringing him up as a prince in the best possible way and withsuch information as was suitable to his years. She had him taught by the most skilled men, inhorsemanship, and the practice of arms, and in letters. But he was systematically taught by hissister to be orderly and princely in his manners; she showed him how to gather up his robes, and howto take a seat, and how to walk; she trained him to restrain laughter, to assume a mild or aformidable aspect as the occasion might require, and to inquire with urbanity into the cases of thosewho came before him with petitions. But she strove chiefly, to lead him into piety, and to praycontinuously; she taught him to frequent the church regularly, and to honor the houses of prayer withgifts and treasures; and she inspired him with reverence for priests and other good men, and forthose who, in accordance with the law of Christianity, had devoted themselves to philosophy. Sheprovided zealously and wisely that religion might not be endangered by the innovation of spuriousdogmas. That new heresies have not prevailed in our times, we shah find to be due especially to her,as we shall subsequently see. With how much fear she worshiped God, it would take long for any one tosay; and how many houses of prayer she built magnificently, and how many hostelries and monasticcommunities she established, the arrangement for the expenses for their perpetual support, and theprovision for the inmates. If any one pleases to examine the truth from the business itself, and notto be convinced by my words, he will learn that they are not falsely described by me for my ownfavor, if he will investigate the testimonial documents written up by the stewards of her house, andif he will inquire from the true records whether the facts agree with my history. If these proofsalone do not satisfy him so as to make him believe, let God himself persuade him who had her in favoraltogether and everywhere on account of her conduct, so that He heard her prayer readily, andfrequently directed beforehand the things which ought to be done. Suchindications of Divine love arenot conferred upon men unless they have merited them by their works. But I willingly pass over forthe present the many separate manifestations of Divine favor that were granted to the sister of theemperor as proofs that she was loved of God, lest anybody should blame me for having set out to doother things, and yet had turned to the use of encomiums. One incident relating to her seems,however, so fitting in itself and to my ecclesiastical history, and so evident a demonstration of herlove for God, that I will relate it here, although it happened some time afterwards. It is asfollows:-
A Woman by name Eusebia,(2) who was adeaconess of the Macedonian sect, had a house and garden without the walls of Constantinople, inwhich she kept the holy remains of forty soldiers,(3) who had suffered martyrdom under Licinius atSebaste in Armenia. When she felt death approaching, she bequeathed the aforesaid place to someorthodox monks, and bound them by oath to bury her there, and to hew out separately a place above herhead at the top of her coffin, and to deposit the relics of the martyrs with her, and to inform noone. The monks did so; but in order to render due honor to the martyrs secretly, according to theagreement with Eusebia, they formed a subterranean house of prayer near her tomb. But open to view,an edifice was erected above the foundation, inclosed with baked bricks, and a secret descent from itto the martyrs. Soon after, Caesar, a man among those in power, who had formerly been advanced to thedignity of consul and prefect, lost his wife, and caused her to be interred near the tomb of Eusebia;for the two ladies had been knit together by the most tender friendship, and had been of one mind onall doctrinal and religious subjects. Caesar was hence induced to purchase this place so that hemight be entombed near his wife. The aforesaid monks settled elsewhere, and without divulginganything about the martyrs. After this, when the building was demolished, and when the earth andrefuse were scattered about, the whole place was smoothed off. For Caesarius himself erected there amagnificent temple to God to the honor of Thyrsus, the martyr. It appears probable that Goddesignedly willed the aforesaid place to disappear, and so long a time to elapse in order that thediscovery of the martyrs might be regarded as more marvelous and a more conspicuous event, and as aproof of the Divine favor towards the discoverer. The discoverer was, in fact, no other than theEmpress Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor. The admirable Thyrsus appeared to her three times, andrevealed to her those concealed beneath the earth; and commanded that they should be deposited nearhis tomb, in order that they might share in the same position and honor. The forty martyrs themselvesalso appeared to her, arrayed in shining robes. But the occurrence seemed too marvelous to becredible, and altogether impossible; for the aged of clergy of that region, after having frequentlyprosecuted inquiries, had not been able to indicate the position of the martyrs, nor indeed had anyone else. At length, when everything was hopeless, Polychronius, a certain presbyter, who hadformerly been a servant in the household of Caesar, was reminded by God that the locality in questionhad once been inhabited by monks. He therefore went to the clergy of the Macedonian sect to inquireconcerning them. All the monks were dead, with the exception of one, who seemed to have beenpreserved in life for the express purpose of pointing out the spot where the relics of the holymartyrs were concealed. Polychronius. questioned him closely on the subject, and find ing that, onaccount of the agreement made with Eusebia, his answers were somewhat undecided, he made known to himthe Divine revelation and the anxiety of the empress, as well as the failure of her recourses. Themonk then confessed that God had declared the truth to the empress; for at the time when he was anovergrown boy, and was taught the monastic life by its aged leaders, he remembered exactly that therelics of the martyrs had been deposited near the tomb of Eusebia; but that the subsequent lapse oftime, and the changes which had been carried on in that locality, deprived him of the power ofrecalling to his recollection whether the relics had been deposited beneath the church or in anyother spot. And further said Polychronius, "I have not suffered a like lapse of memory, for Iremember that I was present at the interment of the wife of Caesar, and, as well as I can judge fromthe relative situation of the high road, I infer that she must have been buried beneath the ambo";this is the platform for the readers. "Therefore," subjoined the monk, "it must be near the remainsof Caesar's wife that the tomb of Eusebia must be sought; for the two ladies lived on terms of theclosest friendship and intimacy, and mutually agreed to be interred beside each other." When it wasnecessary to dig, according to the aforesaid intimations, and to track out the sacred relics, and theempress had learned the facts, she commanded them to begin the work. On digging up the earth by theambo, the coffin of Caesar's wife was discovered according to the conjecture of Polychronius. Atashort distance on the side they found the, pavement of baked bricks, and a marble tablet of equaldimensions, each the measure of the bricks, under which the coffin of Eusebin was disclosed; and doseby was an oratory, elegantly inclosed with white and purple marble. The cover of the tomb was in theform, of a holy table, and at the summit, where the relics were deposited, a small orifice wasvisible. A man attached to the palace, who happened to be standing by, thrust a cane which he held inhis hand into the orifice; and on withdrawing the cane he held it to his nose, and inhaled a sweetodor of myrrh, which inspired the workmen and bystanders with fresh confidence. When they had eagerlyopened the coffin, the remains of Eusebia were found, and near her head was the prominent part of thetomb fashioned exactly in the form of a chest, and was concealed within by its own cover; and theiron which inclosed it on each side at the edges was firmly held together by lead. In the middle, thesame orifice again appeared, and still more clearly revealed the fact of the relics being concealedwithin. As soon as the discovery was announced, they ran to the church of the martyr, and sent forsmiths to unfasten the iron bars, and easily drew off the lid. A great many perfumes were foundthereunder, and among the perfumes two silver caskets were found in which lay the holy relics. Thenthe princess returned thanks to God for having accounted her worthy of so great a manifestation andfor attaining the discovery of the holy relics. After this she honored the martyrs with the costliestcasket; and on the conclusion of a public festival which was celebrated with befitting honor and witha procession to the accompaniment of psalms, and at which I was present, the relics were placedalongside of the godlike Thyrsus. And others who were present can also bear testimony that thesethings were done in the way described, for almost all of them still survive. And the event occurredmuch later, when Proclus governed the church of Constantinople.
It is said that God frequently in many other cases revealed to the princess what was about tohappen, and that the most occurred to her and her sisters as witnesses of the Divine love.(4) They all pursue the same mode of life; they aresedulous about the priests and the houses of prayer, and are munificent to needy strangers and thepoor. These sisters generally take their meals and walks together, and pass their days and theirnights in company, singing the praises of God. As is the custom with exemplary women, they employthemselves in weaving and in similar occupations. Although princesses, born and educated in palaces,they avoid levity and idleness, which they think unworthy of any who profess virginity, so they putsuch indolence far from their own life. For this reason the mercy of God is manifested and isconquering in behalf of their house; for He increases the emperor in years and government; everyconspiracy and war concocted against him has been overthrown of itself.
Although the Persians had prepared to take up arms, they were induced to conclude a trucewith the Romans for a hundred years.(5)
Stilicho, the general of the troops of Honorius, was suspected of having conspired to proclaim hisson Eucherius emperor of the East, and was, in consequence, slain by the army at Ravenna. He had, ata former period, while Arcadius was still living, conceived bitter feelings of enmity against hisofficers, and was hence impelled to bring the two empires into collision. He caused Alaric, theleader of the Goths, to secure the office of general of the Romans, and advised him to seize Illyria;and, having sent forward Jovian, the appointed prefect, he agreed to join him shortly with Romantroops, and to reduce its subjects under the ruleof Honorius. Alaric quitted the barbarous regionbordering on Dalmatia and Pannonia, where he had been dwelling, and marched at the head of hissoldiery to Epirus; after remaining for some time in that country, he retreated to Italy, withouthaving accomplished anything. For he was about to migrate according to the agreement, but he wasrestrained by the letters of Honorius. After the death of Arcadius, Honorius projected a journey toConstantinople, in behalf of his nephew, to appoint officers faithful to his security and empire; forhe held his nephew in the place of his son, and he was fearful lest the boy might suffer on accountof his youth, since he would be exposed to plots; but when Honorius was on the very point of settingout on this journey, Stilicho dissuaded him from his design, by proving to him that his presence wasrequisite in Italy, to repress the schemes of Constantine, who sought to possess himself of thesovereign power at Aries. Stilicho then took that one of the sceptres which the Romans call Labarum,obtained some letters from the emperor, with which he set out, at the head of four legions, to carryon war in the East; but a report having been spread that he had conspired against the emperor, andhad formed a scheme, in conjunction with those in power, to raise his son to the throne, the troopsrose up in sedition, and slew the praetorian prefect(6) of Italy and of Gaul, the military commanders, andthe chief officers of the court. Stilicho himself was slain by the soldiers at Ravenna. He hadattained almost absolute power; and all men, so to speak, whether Romans or barbarians, were underhis control. Thus perished Stilicho, on a suspicion of having conspired against the emperors.Eucherius, his son, was also slain.
It happened about the same time that the Huns, who were encamped in Thrace, retreateddisgracefully and cast off many of their number although they had neither been attacked norpursued.(7) Uldis, the leader of the barbaroustribes who dwell near the Ister, crossed that river at the head of a large army, and encamped on thefrontiers of Thrace. He took possession by treachery of a city of Moesia, called Castra Martis, andthence made incursions into the rest of Thrace, and insolently refused to enter into terms ofalliance with the Romans. The prefect of the Thracian soldiers made propositions of peace to him, buthe replied by pointing to the sun, and declaring that it would be easy to him, if he desired to doso, to subjugate every region of the earth that is enlightened by that luminary. But while Uldis wasuttering menaces of this description, and was ordering as large a tribute as he pleased, and that onthis condition peace could be established with the Romans or the war would continue,-when affairswere so helpless, God gave manifest proofs of special favor towards the present reign; for, shortlyafterwards, the immediate attendants and the leaders of the tribes of Uldis were discussing the Romanform of government the philanthropy of the emperor, and his promptitude and liberality in rewardingthe best and good men. It was not without God that they turned to the love of the points so discussedand seceded to the Romans, to whose camp they joined themselves, together with the troops rangedunder themselves. Finding himself thus abandoned, Uldis escaped with difficulty to the opposite bankof the river. Many of his troops were slain; and among others the whole of the barbarous tribe calledthe Sciri. This tribe had been very strong in point of numbers before falling into this misfortune.Some of them were killed; and others were taken prisoners, and conveyed in chains to Constantinople.The governors were of opinion that, if allowed to remain together, they would probably make arevolution. Some of them were, therefore, sold at a low price; while others were given away as slavesfor presents, upon condition that they should never be permitted to return to Constantinople, or toEurope, but be separated by the sea from the places familiar to them. Of these, a number was leftunsold; and they were ordered to settle in different places. I have seen many in Bithynia, near MountOlympus, living apart from one another, and cultivating the hills and valleys of that region.
Thus was the Eastern Empire preserved from the evils of war,(8) and governed with high order, contrary to allexpectations, for its ruler was still young. In the meantime, the Western Empire fell a prey todisorders, because many tyrants arose. After the death of Stilicho, Alaric, the leader of the Goths,sent an embassy to Honorius to treat of peace; but without avail. He advanced to Rome, and laid siegeto it; and by posting a large army of barbarians on the banks of the Tiber, he effectually preventedthe transmission of all provisions into the city from Portus. After the siege had lasted some time,and fearful ravages had been made in the city by famine and pestilence, many of the slaves, and mostof the barbarians by race within the walls, deserted to Alaric. Those among the senators who stilladhered to pagan superstition, proposed to offer sacrifices in the Capitol and the other temples; andcertain Tuscans, who were summoned by the prefect of the city, promised to drive out the barbarianswith thunder and lightning; they boasted of having performed a similar exploit at Larnia, a city ofTuscany, which Alaric had passed by for Rome, and had not taken. The event, however, proved that noadvantage could be derived from these persons for the city. All persons of good sense were aware thatthe calamities which this siege entailed upon the Romans were indications of Divine wrath sent tochastise them for their luxury, their debauchery, and their manifold acts of injustice towards eachother, as well as towards strangers. It is said that, when Alaric was marching against Rome, a goodmonk of Italy besought him to spare the city, and not to become the author of so many calamities.Alaric, in reply, assured him that he did not feel disposed to commence the siege, but that someresistless influence compelled and commanded him to go against Rome; and this he eventually did.While he was besieging the city, the inhabitants presented many gifts to him, and for some time heraised the siege, when the Romans agreed to persuade the emperor to enter into a treaty of peace withhim.
Although ambassadors were dispatched to treat of peace,(9) the enemies of Alaric at the court of the emperorsedulously guarded against the conclusion of any treaty with him. But after this, when an embassy hadbeen sent to him by Innocent, bishop of Rome, and Alaric was summoned by a letter of the emperor, herepaired to the city of Ariminum, which is two hundred and ten stadia distant from Ravenna.
He encamped beyond the walls of the city; and Jovius, the prefect of Italy, held a conference withhim and conveyed his demands to the emperor, one of which was, that he might be appointed by an edictto the generalship of the cavalry and infantry. The emperor gave full power to Jovius to grant Alaricas much money and provision as he might desire, but refused ever to confer this dignity upon him.Jovius unadvisedly awaited the messenger from the palace, in the camp of Alaric; and commanded thedecision of the emperor to be read in the presence of all the barbarians. On finding that the dignitywas denied him, Alaric was enraged at the result, ordered the trumpets to be sounded, and marchedtowards Rome. Jovius, apprehensive of being suspected by the emperor of siding with Alaric, committeda still greater act of imprudence by taking an oath on the safety of the emperor, and compelling theprincipal officers to swear that they would never consent to any terms of peace with Alaric. Thebarbarian chief, however, soon after changed his mind, and sent word he did not desire any post ofdignity, but was willing to act as an ally of the Romans, provided that they would grant him acertain quantity of corn, and some territory of secondary importance to them, in which he mightestablish himself.
After having sent some bishops as ambassadors, on two different occasions, to treat on thissubject, but without effect, Alaric returned to Rome, and besieged the city; he took possession ofone part of Portus, and compelled the Romans to recognize Attalus, then prefect of the city, as theirking.(10) When the Romans had been nominatedfor the other offices, Alaric was appointed general of the cavalry and infantry, and Ataulphus, thebrother of his wife, was raised to the command of the force called the domestic cavalry. Attalusassembled the senators, and addressed them in a long and very elaborate discourse, in which hepromised to restore the ancient customs of the senate, and also to bring Egypt and the other Easternprovinces under the sway of Italy. Such was the boastfulness of a man, who was not destined to bearthe name of sovereign during the space of a single year. He was deceived by the representations ofsome diviners, who assured him that he would be able to conquer Africa without a battle; he disobeyedAlaric, who urged him to send a moderate force to Carthage, to slay the officers of Honorius, in caseof their attempting any resistance. He also refused to follow the counsels of John, to whom he hadgiven the command of the royal cohorts about his own person, and who advised him to entrust Constans,on his proposed departure for Libya, with a document which they call edict, as though sent byHonorius, by which Heraclean might be dispossessed of office; he had been entrusted. with the rule ofthe soldiers in Africa. Had this artifice been adopted, it would probably have proved successful, forthe designs of Attalus were unknown in Libya. But as soon as Constans had set sail for Carthage,according to the advice of the diviners, Attalus was so weak in mind that he did not think itdoubtful, but believed that the Africans would be his subjects, according to the prediction of thediviners, and marched at the head of his army towards Ravenna. When it was announced that Attalus hadreached Ariminum, with an army composed partly of Roman and partly of barbarian troops, Honoriuswrote to him to acknowledge him as emperor, and deputed the highest officers of his court to waitupon him, and offer him a share in the empire. Attalus, however, refused to share power with another,and sent word that Honorius might choose an island or any spot of ground that he pleased for hisprivate residence, and that he would be allowed every imperial service. The affairs of Honorius werereduced to so critical a condition, that ships were kept in readiness to convey him, if it werenecessary, to his nephew, when an army of four thousand men which had started from the west arrivedunexpectedly during the night at Ravenna; Honorius caused the walls of the city to be guarded by thisreinforcement, for he distrusted the native troops as inclined to treachery.
In the meantime Heraclean had put Constans to death, and had ranged troops along the ports andcoasts of Africa to hinder the merchant vessels from going to Rome. When, as a consequence, a famineseized the Romans, they sent a deputation to Attalus about it. Being at a loss what measures toadopt, he returned to Rome to consult the senate. The famine was so grievous that chestnuts were usedby the people to supply the place of corn, and some persons were suspected of having partaken ofhuman flesh. Alaric advised that five hundred barbarians should be sent into Africa againstHeraclean, but the senators and Attalus objected that Africa ought not to be entrusted to barbarians.It then became evident to Alaric that God disapproved of the rule of Attalus; and finding that itwould be futile to labor for a matter which was beyond his power, and after receiving certainpledges, he agreed with Honorius to deprive Attalus of his sovereignty. All the parties concernedassembled together without the walls of the city, and Attalus threw aside the symbols of imperialpower. His officers also threw aside their girdles, and Honorius granted pardon to all for theseoccurrences, and each was to hold the honor and office which he had first had. Attalus retired withhis son to Alaric, for he thought his life would not be in safety as yet, if he continued to dwellamong the Romans.
Chapter IX.-The Disturbance Which the Greeks and Christians Had About Attalus.theCourageous Saros; Alaric, by a Stratagem, Obtains Possession of Rome, and Protected the Sacred Asylumof the Apostle Peter.
The failure which had attended the designs i of Attalus was a source of deep displeasure thepagans and Christians of the Arian heresy.(11)The pagans had inferred from the known predilections and early education of Attalus, that he wouldopenly maintain their superstitions, and restore their ancient temples, their festivals, and theiraltars. The Arians imagined that, as soon as he found his reign firmly established, Attalus wouldreinstate them in the supremacy over the churches which they had enjoyed during the reigns ofConstantius and of Valens; for he had been baptized by Sigesarius,(12) bishop of the Goths, to the great satisfaction ofAlaric and the Arian party.
Soon after, Alaric stationed himself among the Alps, at a distance of about sixty stadia fromRavenna, and held a conference with the emperor concerning the conclusion of a peace. Saros, abarbarian by birth, and highly practiced in the art of war, had only about three hundred men withhim, but all well disposed and most efficient. He was suspicious of Alaric on account of their formerenmity, and reasoned that a treaty between the Romans and Goths would be of no advantage to him.Suddenly advancing with his own troops, he slew some of the barbarians. Impelled by rage and terrorat this incident, Alaric retraced his steps, and returned to Rome, and took it by treachery. Hepermitted each of his followers to seize as much of the wealth of the Romans as he was able, andtoplunder all the houses; but from respect towards the Apostle Peter, he commanded that the large andvery spacious church erected around his. tomb should be an asylum. This was the only cause whichprevented the entire demolition of Rome; and those who were there saved, and they were many, rebuiltthe city.
It is obvious that the capture of so great a city as Rome must have been attended with manyremarkable circumstances. I shall, therefore, now proceed to the narration of such events as seemworthy of a place in ecclesiastical history.(13) I shall recount a pious action performed by abarbarian, and record the bravery of a Roman lady for the preservation of her chastity. The barbarianand the lady were both Christians, but not of the same heresy, the former being an Arian, and thelatter a zealous follower of the Nicene doctrines. A young man of Alaric's soldiers saw this verybeautiful woman, and was conquered by her loveliness, and tried to drag her into intercourse; but shedrew back, and exerted herself that she might not suffer pollution. He drew his sword, and threatenedto slay her; but he was restrained by the passion which he entertained toward her, and merelyinflicted a slight wound on her neck. The blood flowed in abundance, and she offered her neck to thesword; for she preferred to die in her chastity than to survive, after having consorted lawfully witha husband, and then to be attempted by another man. When the barbarian repeated his purpose, andfollowed it with more fearful threats, he accomplished nothing further; struck with wonder at herchastity, he conducted her to the church of Peter the apostle, and gave six pieces of gold for hersupport to the officers who were guarding the church, and commanded them to keep her for herhusband.
During this period many tyrants rebelled against Honorius in the Western government. Somefell upon one another, while others were apprehended in a marvelous way, and so evidenced that theDivine love toward Honorius was not common. The soldiers in Britain(14) were the first to rise up in sedition, and theyproclaimed Mark as tyrant. Afterwards, however, they slew Mark, and proclaimed Gratian. Within fourmonths subsequently they killed Gratian, and elected Constantine in his place, imagining that, onaccount of his name, he would be able to reduce the empire firmly under his authority; and for noother reason than this, several other persons of the same name were elected to the tyranny.Constantine passed over from Britain to Bononia, a maritime city of Gaul; and after inducing all thetroops in Gaul and Aquitania to espouse his cause, he reduced to obedience l the inhabitants of theregions extending to themountains which divide Italy from Gaul, and which the Romans have named theCottian Alps. He then sent his oldest son, Constans, whom he had already nominated Caesar, and whomhe afterwards proclaimed emperor, into Spain. Constans, after making himself master of this province,and appointing his own governors over it, commanded that Didymus and Verinian, relatives of Honorius,should be loaded with chains, and brought before him. Didymus and Verinian had at first differedamong themselves, but a reconciliation was effected between them, when they found themselves menacedby the same danger. They combined their forces, which consisted. chiefly of armed peasants andslaves. They attacked Lusitania in common, and slew many of the soldiers sent by the tyrant for theircapture.
The troops of Constans were shortly afterwards strengthened by reinforcements, and Didymusand Verinian, with their wives, were taken prisoners, and were eventually put to death.(15) Their brothers, Theodosiolus and Lagodius, whowere living in other provinces, fled the country; the former escaped to Italy, to the EmperorHonorius; the latter fled to the East, to Theodosius. After these transactions, Constans returned tohis father, after he had posted a guard of his own soldiers for the road to Spain; for he did notpermit the Spaniards to act as guard, according to the ancient custom, a privilege for which they hadpetitioned. This precaution was probably afterwards the cause of the ruin of the country; for whenConstantine was deprived of his power, the barbarous races of the Vandals, Suevi, and Alani tookconfidence and conquered the road, and took possession of many forts and cities in Spain and Gaul,and arrested the officers of the tyrant.
In the meantime, Constantine, who still thought that matters would go according to his purpose,caused his son to be proclaimed emperor instead of Caesar, and determined to possess himself ofItaly. With this view, he crossed the Cottian Alps, and entered Liverona, a city of Liguria. He wason the point of crossing the Po, when he was compelled to retrace his steps, upon being informed ofthe death of Alavicus. This Alavicus was the commander of the troops of Honorius, and being suspectedof conspiring to place the entire Western government under the domination of Constantine, he wasslain when returning from a procession, in which, according to custom, it was his office to march inadvance of the emperor. Immediately after this occurrence, the emperor descended from horseback, andpublicly returned thanks to God for having delivered him from one who had openly conspired againsthim. Constantine fled and seized Aries, and Constans, his son, hastened from Spain, and sought refugein the same city.
On the decline of the power of Constantine, the Vandals, Suevi, and Alani eagerly took thePyrenees when they heard that it was a prosperous and most abundant region. And since those who hadbeen entrusted by Constans with the guard of the passage had neglected their duty, the invaderspassed by into Spain.
Meanwhile Gerontius, from being the most efficient of the generals of Constantine, became hisenemy;(16) and believing that Maximus, hisintimate friend, was well qualified for the tyranny, he invested him with the imperial robe, andpermitted him to reside in Tarracona. Gerontius then marched against Constantine, and took care toput Constans, the son of Constantine, to death at Vienna.
As soon as Constantine heard of the usurpation of Maximus, he sent one of his generals, namedEdovicus, beyond the Rhine, to levy an army of Franks and Alemanni; and he sent his son Constans toguard Vienna and the neighboring towns. Gerontius then advanced upon Aries and laid siege to it; butdirectly, when the army of Honorius had come to hand against the tyrant, under the command ofConstantius, the father of that Valentinian who subsequently became emperor of Rome, Gerontiusretreated precipitately with a few soldiers; for the greater number of his troops deserted to thearmy of Constantius. The Spanish soldiery conceived an utter contempt for Gerontius, on account ofhis retreat, and took counsel how to slay him. They, gathered in close ranks and attacked his houseat night; but he, with one Alanus, his friend, and a few servants, ascended to the top of the house,and did such execution with their arrows that no less than three hundred of the soldiers fell. Whenthe stock of arrows was exhausted, the servants made their escape by letting themselves down secretlyfrom the building; and Gerontius, although he might have been saved in a similar fashion, did notchoose to do so, because he was restrained by his affection for Nonnichia, his wife. At daybreak ofthe next day, the soldiers cast fire into the house; when he saw that there was no hope of safetyleft, he cut off the head of his companion, Alanus, in compliance with his wish. After this, his ownwife was lamenting, and with tears was pressing herself with the sword, pleading to die by the handof her husband before she should be subjected to others, and was supplicating for this last gift fromhim. And this woman by her courage showed herself worthy of her religion, for she was a Christian,and she died thus mercifully; she handed down to time a record of herself, too strong for oblivion.Gerontius then struck himself thrice with his sword; but perceiving that he had not received a mortalwound, he drew forth his poniard, which he wore at his side, and plunged it into his heart.
Although the city of Aries was closely besieged by the army of Honorius, Constantine stillresisted the siege, because Edovicus was announced as at hand with many allies.(17) This frightened the generals of Honorius beyondmeasure. Then they determined to return to Italy, and to carry on the war there. When they had unitedon this plan, Edovicus was announced as in the neighborhood, so they crossed the river Rhone.Constantius, who commanded the infantry, quietly awaited the approach of the enemy, while Ulphilas,the fellow-general of Constantius, remained not far off in ambush with his cavalry. The enemy passedby the army of Ulphilas, and were about to engage with the troops of Constantius, when a signal wasgiven, and Ulphilas suddenly appeared and assaulted the enemy from the rear. Their flight wasimmediate. Some escaped, some were slain, while others threw down their arms and asked for pardon,and were spared. Edovicus mounted his horse and fled to the lands of one Ecdicius, a landedproprietor, to whom he had formerly rendered some important service, and whom he therefore imaginedto be his friend. Ecdicius, however, struck off his head, and presented it to the generals ofHonorius, in hope of receiving some great reward and honor. Constantius, on receiving the head,proclaimed that the public thanks were due to Ecdicius for the deed of Ulphilas; but when Ecdiciuswas eager to accompany him he commanded him to depart, for he did not consider the companionship of amalicious host to be good for himself or the army. And the man who had dared to commit the mostunholy murder of a friend and a guest who was in an unfortunate situation,-this man went away, as theproverb says, gaping with emptiness.
After this victory the troops of Honorius again laid siege to the city.(18) When Constantine heard of the death of Edovicushe cast aside his purple robe and imperial ornaments, and repaired to the church, where he causedhimself to be ordained as presbyter. Those within the walls, having first received oaths, opened thegates, and their Fives were spared. From that period the whole province returned to its allegiance toHonorius, and has since been obedient to the rulers of his appointment. Constantine, with his sonJulian, was sent into Italy, but he was waylaid and killed. Not long afterwards Jovianus and Maximus,the tyrants above mentioned, Saros, and many others who had conspired against Honorius, wereunexpectedly slain.
This is not the proper place to enter into the details concerning the deaths of thetyrants;(19) but I considered it necessary toallude to the circumstance in order to show that to insure the stability of imperial power, it issufficient for an emperor to serve God with reverence, which was the course pursued by Honorius.Galla Placidia, his sister, born of the same father as himself, dwelt with him, and likewisedistinguished herself by real zeal in the maintenance of religion and of the churches. AfterConstantius, who was a brave and able general, had destroyed the tyrant Constantine, the emperorrewarded him by giving him his sister in marriage; he also bestowed upon him the ermine and purple,and admitted him to a share in the government. Constantius did not long survive the promotion; hedied soon after, and left two children, Valentinian, who succeeded Honorius, and Honoria. Meanwhilethe Eastern Empire was free from wars, and contrary to all opinion, its affairs were conducted withgreat order, for the ruler was still a youth. It seems as if God openly manifested His favor towardsthe present emperor, not only by disposing of warlike affairs in an unexpected way, but also byrevealing the sacred bodies of many persons who were of old most distinguished for piety; among otherrelics, those of Zechariah, the very ancient prophet, and of Stephen, who was ordained deacon by theapostles, were discovered; and it seems incumbent upon me to describe the mode, since the discoveryof each was marvelous and divine.(20)
I Shall first speak of the relics of the prophet. Caphar-Zechariah is a village of theterritory of Eleutheropolis, a city of Palestine. The land of this district was cultivated byCalemerus, a serf; he was well disposed to the owner, but hard, discontented, and unjust towards hisneighboring peasants. Although he possessed these defects of character, the prophet stood by him in adream, and manifested himself; pointing out a particular garden, he said to him, "Go, dig in thatgarden at the distance of two cubits from the hedge of the garden by the road leading to the city ofBitheribis. You will there find two coffins, the inner one of wood, the other of lead. Beside thecoffins you will see a glass vessel full of water, and two serpents of moderate size, but tame, andperfectly innoxious, so that they seem to be used to being handled." Calemerus followed thedirections of the prophet at the designated place and zealously applied himself to the task. When thesacred depository was disclosed by the afore-mentioned signs, the divine prophetappeared to him, cladin a white stole, whichmakes me think that he was a priest. At his feet outside of the coffin waslying a child which had been honored with a royal burial; for on its head was a golden crown, itsfeet were encased in golden sandals, and it was arrayed in a costly robe. The wise men and priests ofthe time were greatly perplexed about this child, whoand whence he might be and for what reason hehadbeen so clothed. It is said that Zechariah, the superior of a monastic community at Gerari, found anancient document written in Hebrew, which had not been received among the canonical books. In thisdocument it was stated that when Zechariah the prophet had been put to death by Joash, king of Judah,the family of the monarch was soon visited by a dire calamity; for on the seventh day after the deathof the prophet, one of the sons of Joash, whom he tenderly loved, suddenly expired. Judging that thisaffliction was a special manifestation of Divine wrath, the king ordered his son to be interred atthe feet of the prophet, as a kind of atonement for the crime against him. Such are the particularswhich I have ascertained on the subject.
Although the prophet had lain under the earth for so many generations, he appeared sound; his hairwas closely shorn, his nose was straight; his beard moderately grown, his head quite short, his eyesrather sunken, and concealed by the eyebrows.parparpar