Collected Works, Volume 2. Palaces for the People. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. The Truth Has Changed. Kevin Maurer and Tamer Elnoury. The Most Dangerous Branch. The Lost Art of Reading. On the Other Side of Freedom. The End of Policing. Homage to Daniel Shays. Talking Across the Divide.
House of Trump, House of Putin. Original hand-sewn headbands and tailbands and silk ribbon placemarkers present some remnant only. Three original folding maps, large, well- struck on heavy stock, and clean. Eastern Roman Empire map shows some professionally repaired paper weld repair of crease-wear-and-tear on reverse side. Western Roman Empire map reveals at least one paper weld repair on reverse side. Light foxing to text and maps -- less than is often found for this set.
Volume I is the revised third issue, which,though issued but one year after the first issue of Volume I in , it is the first with Gibbon's final revisions, and preferred footnotes at the bottoms of the pages. Further, one of his most important presentation copies to his benefactor of the complete set is recorded by Norton as, "A set made up of Vol. Whereas other eighteenth-century writers in this field such as Voltaire are still quoted with respect, the Decline and Fall is the only historical narrative prior to Macaulay which continues to be reprinted and actually read.
For the next 10 years he worked away at his great history, which traces the decadence of the late empire from the time of the Antonines and the rise of Western Christianity. The first edition of Gibbon's work was printed over time, the first three volumes being printed between and The engraved portrait of Gibbon here in Vol.
In this set portrait is found as frontis illustration to Vol. The first issue of Vol. An immediate commercial success, a second issue of a thousand copies, errors uncorrected, was printed released on June 3, Gibbon now agrees to take David Hume's advice and print the footnotes at the bottom of the pages. A postscript was added to the preface with Gibbon declaring his intention to complete the additional volumes. Bears the bookplates of William Sotheby, member of an important English literary family. The - London Quarto Edition is recognized as a landmark of history and of literature in English.
Only a handful of complete and collectible sets are offered worldwide. A lovely, restored set, the mixing of which constitutes the earliest authoritative edition of this monumental literary achievement. Very Good Plus Edition: With half-titles to all volumes except the first. Contemporary full calf, attractively rebacked with gilt ornaments flanked by gilt rules and dotted lines between raised bands, original red titling pieces retained gilt worn and numbering pieces replaced.
Boards rubbed and scratched with a few minor stains, some corners restored, front free endpapers with minor gum residue from removal of bookplates, engraved portrait lightly offset onto title, light foxing to some endpapers, rear endpapers of first volume a little mildewed; but overall, a nice clean set in expertly restored bindings. The present is a mixed set of "New Editions" of the first three volumes and First Editions of the last three volumes. The first three volumes incorporate the final additions and revisions Gibbon made to the quarto edition, including the relocation of the notes which were originally gathered at the rear of the first volume to the bottom of the page , the addition of the portrait frontis , an enlarged table of contents for the first volume , and the addition of the three maps In the present copy, as in most, the map of Constantinople has been cut down to the same size as the printed page, allowing it to be bound in sideways, rather than being folded like the other two maps.
Portrait frontispiece in volume I plus 3 folding maps. Contemporary quarter calf, speckled boards with some mild rubbing to edges, the set rebacked retaining the original backstrips, volumes I-III with similar but differing designs to volumes IV-VI. Gibbon brought a width of vision and a critical mastery of the available sources which have not been equalled to this day The map of Constantinople is folded with wide margins; it being more commonly found trimmed and bound sideways.
Bow Windows Bookshop Published: New edition of volumes and first editions of volumes There was only one edition of the last three volumes dated and were issued at the same time. A new edition of the first three volumes together was announced on March 5, There are no volumes II or III bearing the date as there must have been sufficient copies of the earlier printing to satisfy the demand until The edition of vol.
I with this date is genuinely a new edition with the type differently set from that of the fourth edition. IV, V and VI. This work by Gibbon is the only historical narrative prior to Macaulay which continues to be reprinted and actually read today.
History Of the Decline and Fall Of the Roman Empire, The by Gibbon, Edward
All bound in full contemporary calf, flat spines ruled and decorated in gilt, double blue spine labels gilt, early rebacking and renewed corners and endpapers beautifully done, occasional spots of foxing. A very handsome set. The very rare first octavo editions of the twelve books, and an extremely early printing of the work in any format. With an engraved portrait frontispiece and three impressive engraved folding maps.
A very handsome set, fresh and near to pristine internally, the contemporary bindings in good order and in completely original state with no restoration or sophistication whatsoever, some volumes with weakening to some hinges and some with minor chipping or other mellowing to the spines, in all a very well preserved set of these rare books. This first octavo edition was printed similarly, the first six volumes in and the later six in Thus, this is not only the first octavo edition but also is one of only a tiny handful of editions of the first half printed prior to the completion of the work in total.
Like the first edition it contains the three folding maps and the engraved portrait of Gibbon in volume one. Very early and part first editions of Edward Gibbon's seminal work on the Roman Empire. Illustrated, with a frontispiece and three engraved maps. With the bookplate of Thomas Baring as well as the bookplate for Netley Castle to all volumes at the pastedowns.
These books were likely to have been owned by Sir Thomas Baring, 2nd Baronet. Baring was a British banker and Member of Parliament. He also resided in Hampshire until his death. Netley Castle is a former artillery fort in the Hampshire village of Netley. Two maps to volume II, one folding. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire traces the trajectory of Western civilisation from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium and therefore spans a nearly year period from 98 to of the Roman Empire. Therefore, Gibbon discusses the history of early Christianity, the Roman State Church as well as the history of Europe.
The popularity of this work rests on Gibbon's objectivity and heavy use of primary sources. In the eighteenth century the use of primary sources for historical was very rare which was why his work was extremely popular. His methodology also became a model for later historians. Edward Gibbon wrote many historical works, but is best known for this title. This is due to its quality, the use of primary sources as well as the open criticism of organised religions. The work earned him a reputation as the first modern historian of Ancient Rome. A nice set of scarce early editions of these works.
In full calf bindings. Externally, rubbed in places. Rubbing to the spine, boards and joints. Spotting to the boards of volume II. Several score marks and patched of rubbing to the boards. Small damp stained patch to the front board of volume I. Split to the tail of rear joint to volume I resulting in the joint starting but firm. Both hinges to volume I are starting but firm. Rear hinge to volume III is tender and may fail with further handling. Small crack to the tail of front joint to volume III. Front hinge to volume IV has been reinforced. Both hinges to volume V have been reinforced.
Front joint to volume VI is starting but firm with the hinge tender after the front endpaper. Rear board is detached but present to volume VI. Tail of backstrip to volume I is lifting at the front hinge due to a tear. Backstrip to volume VI is lifting at the rear Loss to the head and tail of spine to volume I. Loss to the tail of spine to volume III as well as to the volume number. Loss to the head and tail of spine to volume VI. Minor bumping to the extremities. Pages generally bright and clean volume I. Scattered spotting to volume II.
Occasional scattered spots to the pages, heavier to the first and last few pages. Strahan, London, 1st edition volumes , 2nd edition volume 1.
- The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 6 - Online Library of Liberty.
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Illustrated with 3 fold-out maps and an engraved portrait. Contemporary cloth with leather labels. Each volume measures Extremely rare first edition set the first volume is marked as a second edition , of the monumental Roman history. Beautiful engraved maps one of which is loose , as well as an engraving of Gibbon.
Volume 2 with a cancel leaf on p. Each interior is intact; spots of foxing and some bubbling to the pages. Volume 1 with its spine missing, along with the first several pages being loose; volume 3 has a partially missing spine. The leather labels are present on the others. Some cracking to the rest of the volumes; wear to all bindings. This would make an ideal set for the enterprising re-binder.
Considering the volumes' date of publication, the text blocks look marvelous, and have remained unmarked.. Blue Roof Books Published: Cadell and Davies, Handsome stipple engraved frontispiece portrait and 2 large folding maps. Printed for Cadell and Davies et al, A very good clean set, in a handsome binding. Argosy Book Store Published: The Third Edition with the portrait that is missing in the First Edition.. From the 18th century-library of George and Isabella Baker, with the armorial bookplate of George Baker to the pastedown and his daughter Isabella's name in ink on the titlepage dated The Third Edition with the portrait that is missing in the First Edition.
Beautifully rebacked in full calf, with original boards and new endpapers. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between and The Decline and Fall is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organized religion.
Gibbon returned to England in June His father died in , and after tending to the estate, which was by no means in good condition, there remained quite enough for Gibbon to settle fashionably in London at 7 Bentinck Street, independent of financial concerns. By February , he was writing in earnest, but not without the occasional self-imposed distraction.
He took to London society quite easily, joined the better social clubs, including Dr. Johnson's Literary Club, and looked in from time to time on his friend Holroyd in Sussex. He succeeded Oliver Goldsmith at the Royal Academy as 'professor in ancient history' honorary but prestigious. In late , he was initiated a freemason of the Premier Grand Lodge of England. And, perhaps least productively in that same year, he was returned to the House of Commons for Liskeard, Cornwall through the intervention of his relative and patron, Edward Eliot.
He became the archetypal back-bencher, benignly "mute" and "indifferent," his support of the Whig ministry invariably automatic.
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Gibbon's indolence in that position, perhaps fully intentional, subtracted little from the progress of his writing. After several rewrites, with Gibbon "often tempted to throw away the labours of seven years," the first volume of what would become his life's major achievement, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published on February 17, Through , the reading public eagerly consumed three editions for which Gibbon was rewarded handsomely: Biographer Leslie Stephen wrote that thereafter, "His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting. By early , he was "straining for the goal" and with great relief the project was finished in June.
I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious. Smith remarked that Gibbon's triumph had positioned him "at the very head of [Europe's] literary tribe.
From the 18th century-library of George and Isabella Baker, with t Edition: The Third Edition with the portrait that is missing in the Firs. Frontispiece portrait and 2 large folding map. Handsomely bound in contemporary full brown calf; gilt-stamped borders and spines with red leather labels; marbled endpapers and page edges leather is rubbed and a bit edgeworn in spots; hinge neatly repaired in two volumes, still a quite attractive set.
Printed for Bell and Bradfute, et al. Allason; B Whitrow and Co. La Grange, Dublin,, Original drab paper boards, original printed spine labels, edges uncut. Engraved portrait frontispiece, 2 large folding maps. Spines rubbed, some labels rather worn, slight marking to covers, first front joint slightly split but still firm. An excellent set in unrestored contemporary state.
On 1 July , Cadell asked Gibbon to assign the renewed copyright in the first volume to him and Strahan as had been agreed by them in This extended the copyright of that volume, so that the entire History ceased to be copyright only when that agreement expired in The expiry of the copyright allowed a number of reprints to appear on the market. This particular volume octavo edition published by W. Allason and a consortium of other London publishers was reprinted no less than seven times between and This work was published in this twelve volume form two years after Gib With a frontispiece and two large folding maps to volume I.
The first folding map being the Eastern Part of the Roman Empire, the second folding map being the Western. The original first three volumes of this work was published in with the final three volumes being completed and issued in These twelve volumes were published two years after his final three volumes and present the contents of all six volumes across twelve octavos.
With a further preface to volume VII which is the preface for the initial final three volumes Gibbon had published in In uniform contemporary, full tree calf bindings. Externally, rubbed to the spines, resulting in loss to the gilt. Spine label to volume V is lacking. Patches of slightly heavier rubbing to the rear board of volume VI resulting in some loss to the leather. Small score mark to the rear of volume VIII. Very small crack to the head of rear joint to vol II.
Minor cracks to the tail of both joints to volume V resulting in the hinges starting but remaining firm. Very small cracks to the head of joints. Hinges to volume VII are slightly strained but firm. Hinges to volume XII are strained but firm. Very small hole to the tail of rear joint due to worming. The haughty step and demeanour of the king of the Huns expressed the consciousness of his superiority above the rest of mankind; and he had a custom of fiercely rolling his eyes, as if he wished to enjoy the terror Edition: Yet this savage hero was not inaccessible to pity: He delighted in war; but, after he had ascended the throne in a mature age, his head, rather than his hand, achieved the conquest of the North; and the fame of an adventurous soldier was usefully exchanged for that of a prudent and successful general.
The effects of personal valour are so inconsiderable, except in poetry or romance, that victory, even among Barbarians, must depend on the degree of skill with which the passions of the multitude are combined and guided for the service of a single man. The Scythian conquerors, Attila and Zingis, surpassed their rude countrymen in art rather than in courage; and it may be observed that the monarchies, both of the Huns and of the Moguls, were erected by their founders on the basis of popular superstition. The miraculous conception, which fraud and credulity ascribed to the virgin-mother of Zingis, raised him above the level of human nature; and the naked prophet, who, in the name of the Deity, invested him with the empire of the earth, pointed the valour of the Moguls with irresistible enthusiasm.
It was natural enough that the Scythians should adore, with peculiar devotion, the god of war; but, as they were incapable of forming either an abstract idea or a corporeal representation, they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol of an iron cimeter. That magnanimous, or rather that artful, prince accepted, with pious gratitude, this celestial favour; and, as the rightful possessor of the sword of Mars, asserted his divine and indefeasible claim to the dominion of the earth.
Yet even this cruel act was attributed to a supernatural impulse; and the vigour with which Attila wielded the sword of Mars convinced the world that it had been reserved alone for his invincible arm. If a line of separation were drawn between the civilised and the savage climates of the globe; between the inhabitants of cities, who cultivated the earth, and the hunters and shepherds, who dwelt in tents; Attila might aspire to the title of supreme and sole monarch of the Barbarians.
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire Vol. 6 By Edward Gibbons
Thuringia, which stretched beyond its actual limits as far as the Danube, was in the number of his provinces; he interposed, with the weight of a powerful neighbour, in the domestic affairs of the Franks; and one of his lieutenants chastised, and almost exterminated, the Burgundians of the Rhine. He subdued the islands of the ocean, the kingdoms of Scandinavia, encompassed and divided by the waters of the Baltic; and the Huns might derive a tribute of furs from that Northern region which has been protected from all other conquerors by the severity of the climate and the courage of the natives.
Towards the east, it is difficult to circumscribe the dominion of Edition: The crowd of vulgar kings, the leaders of so many martial tribes, who served under the standard of Attila, were ranged in the submissive order of guards and domestics, round the person of their master. They watched his nod; they trembled at his frown; and, at the first signal of his will, they executed, without murmur or hesitation, his stern and absolute commands. In time of peace, the dependent princes, with their national troops, attended the royal camp in regular succession; but, when Attila collected his military force, he was able to bring into the field an army of five, or according to another account of seven, hundred thousand Barbarians.
The ambassadors of the Huns might awaken the attention of Theodosius, by reminding him that they were his neighbours both in Europe and Asia; since they touched the Danube on one hand, and reached, with the other, as far as the Tanais. In the reign of his father Arcadius, a band of adventurous Huns had ravaged the provinces of the East; from whence they brought away rich spoils and innumerable captives. They advanced, by a secret path, along the shores of the Caspian Sea; traversed the snowy mountains of Armenia; passed the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Halys; recruited their weary cavalry with the generous breed of Cappadocian horses; occupied the hilly country of Cilicia; and disturbed the festal songs and dances of the citizens of Antioch.
Egypt trembled at their approach; and the monks and pilgrims of the Holy Land prepared to escape their fury by a speedy embarkation. The memory of this invasion was still recent in the minds of the Orientals.
The subjects of Attila might execute, with superior forces, the design which these adventurers had so boldly attempted; and it soon became the subject of anxious conjecture, whether the tempest would fall on the dominions of Rome or of Persia. Some of the great vassals of the king of the Huns, who were themselves in the rank of powerful princes, had been sent to ratify an alliance Edition: They related, during their residence at Rome, the circumstances of an expedition which they had lately made into the East.
But the Huns were obliged to retire, before the numbers of the enemy. Their laborious retreat was effected by a different road; they lost the greatest part of their booty; and at length returned to the royal camp, with some knowledge of the country, and an impatient desire of revenge.
In the free conversation of the Imperial ambassadors, who discussed, at the court of Attila, the character and designs of their formidable enemy, the ministers of Constantinople expressed their hope that his strength might be diverted and employed in a long and doubtful contest with the princes of the house of Sassan. The more sagacious Italians admonished their Eastern brethren of the folly and danger of such a hope, and convinced them that the Medes and Persians were incapable of resisting the arms of the Huns, and that the easy and important acquisition would exalt the pride, as well as power, of the conqueror.
Instead of contenting himself with a moderate contribution, and a military title which equalled him only to the generals of Theodosius, Attila would proceed to impose a disgraceful and intolerable yoke on the necks of the prostrate and captive Romans, who would then be encompassed, on all sides, by the empire of the Huns. While the powers of Europe and Asia were solicitous to avert the impending danger, the alliance of Attila maintained the Vandals in the possession of Africa.
An enterprise had been concerted between the courts of Ravenna and Constantinople, for the recovery of that valuable province; and the ports of Sicily were already filled with the military and naval forces of Theodosius. But the subtle Genseric, who spread his negotiations round the world, prevented their designs by exciting the king of the Huns to invade the Eastern empire; and a trifling incident soon became the motive, or pretence, of a destructive war.
A troop of Barbarians violated the commercial security, killed, or dispersed, the unsuspecting traders, and levelled the fortress with the ground. The Huns justified this outrage as an act of reprisal; alleged that the bishop of Margus had entered their territories, to discover and steal a secret treasure of their kings; and sternly demanded the guilty prelate, the sacrilegious spoil, and the fugitive subjects, who had escaped from the justice of Attila.
But they were soon intimidated by the destruction of Viminacium and the adjacent towns; and the people were persuaded to adopt the convenient maxim that a private citizen, however innocent Edition: The bishop of Margus, who did not possess the spirit of a martyr, resolved to prevent the designs which he suspected. He boldly treated with the princes of the Huns; secured, by solemn oaths, his pardon and reward; posted a numerous detachment of Barbarians, in silent ambush, on the banks of the Danube; and at the appointed hour opened, with his own hand, the gates of his episcopal city. This advantage, which had been obtained by treachery, served as a prelude to more honourable and decisive victories.
The Illyrian frontier was covered by a line of castles and fortresses; and, though the greatest part of them consisted only of a single tower, with a small garrison, they were commonly sufficient to repel, or to intercept, the inroads of an enemy who was ignorant of the art, and impatient of the delay, of a regular siege. But these slight obstacles were instantly swept away by the inundation of the Huns.
The whole breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, and desolated by the myriads of Barbarians whom Attila led into the field. The public danger and distress could not, however, provoke Theodosius to interrupt his amusements and devotion, or to appear in person at the head of the Roman legions. But the troops which had been sent against Genseric were hastily recalled from Sicily; the garrisons on the side of Persia were exhausted; Edition: The armies of the Eastern empire were vanquished in three successive engagements; and the progress of Attila may be traced by the fields of battle.
As the Romans were pressed by a victorious enemy, they gradually, and unskilfully, retired towards the Chersonesus of Thrace; and that narrow peninsula, the last extremity of the land, was marked by their third, and irreparable, defeat. By the destruction of this army, Attila acquired the indisputable possession of the field. Heraclea and Hadrianople might, perhaps, escape this dreadful irruption of the Huns; but the words the most expressive of total extirpation and erasure are applied to the calamities which they inflicted on seventy cities of the Eastern empire.
The damage indeed was speedily repaired; but this accident was aggravated by a superstitious fear that Heaven itself had delivered the Imperial city to the shepherds of Scythia, who were strangers to the laws, the language, and the religion of the Romans.
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In all their invasions of the civilised empires of the South, the Scythian shepherds have been uniformly actuated by a savage and destructive spirit. The laws of war, that restrain the exercise of national rapine and murder, are founded on two principles of substantial interest: But these considerations of hope and fear are almost unknown in the pastoral state of nations.
The Huns of Attila may, without injustice, be compared to the Moguls and Tartars, before their primitive manners were changed by religion and luxury; and the evidence of Oriental history may reflect some light on the short and imperfect annals of Rome. After the Moguls had subdued the northern provinces of China, it was seriously proposed, not in the hour of victory and passion, but in calm deliberate council, to exterminate all the inhabitants of that populous country, that the vacant land might be converted to the pasture of cattle.
The firmness of a Chinese mandarin, 23 who insinuated some principles of rational policy into the mind of Zingis, diverted him from the execution of this horrid design. But in the cities of Asia, which yielded to the Moguls, the inhuman abuse of the rights of war was exercised, with a regular form of discipline, which may, with equal reason, though not with equal authority, be imputed to the victorious Huns. The inhabitants, who had submitted to their discretion, were ordered to evacuate their houses, and to assemble in some plain adjacent Edition: The first class consisted of the soldiers of the garrison, and of the young men capable of bearing arms; and their fate was instantly decided: The second class, composed of the young and beautiful women, of the artificers of every rank and profession, and of the more wealthy or honourable citizens, from whom a private ransom might be expected, was distributed in equal or proportionable lots.
The remainder, whose life or death was alike useless to the conquerors, were permitted to return to the city; which, in the meanwhile, had been stripped of its valuable furniture; and a tax was imposed on those wretched inhabitants for the indulgence of breathing their native air.
Such was the behaviour of the Moguls, when they were not conscious of any extraordinary rigour. The three great capitals of Khorasan, Maru, Neisabour, and Herat were destroyed by the armies of Zingis; and the exact account which was taken of the slain amounted to four millions three hundred and forty-seven thousand persons. It may be affirmed, with bolder assurance, that the Huns depopulated the provinces of the empire, by the number of Roman subjects whom they led away into captivity. In the hands of a wise legislator, such an industrious colony might have contributed to diffuse, through the deserts of Scythia, the rudiments of the useful and ornamental arts; but these captives, who had been taken in war, were accidentally dispersed among the hordes that obeyed the empire of Attila.
The estimate of their respective value was formed by the simple judgment of unenlightened and unprejudiced Barbarians. Perhaps they might not understand the merit of a theologian, profoundly skilled in the controversies of the Trinity and the Incarnation; yet they respected the ministers of every religion; and the active zeal of the Christian missionaries, without approaching the person or the palace of the monarch, successfully laboured in the propagation of the gospel.
The mechanic arts were encouraged and esteemed, as they tended to satisfy the wants of the Huns. An architect, in the service of Onegesius, one of the favourites of Attila, was employed to construct a bath; but this work was a rare example of private luxury; and the trades of the smith, the carpenter, the armourer, were much more adapted to supply a wandering people with the useful instruments of peace and war. But the merit of the physician was received with universal favour and respect; the Barbarians, who despised death, might be apprehensive of disease; and the haughty conqueror trembled in the presence of a captive, to whom he ascribed, perhaps, an imaginary power of prolonging, or preserving, his life.
The historian Priscus, whose embassy is a course of curious instruction, was accosted, in the camp of Attila, by a stranger, who saluted him in the Greek language, but whose dress and figure displayed the appearance of a wealthy Scythian. In the siege of Viminacium, he had lost, according to his own account, his fortune and liberty; he became the slave of Onegesius; but his faithful services, against the Romans and the Acatzires, had gradually raised him to the rank of the native Huns; to whom he was attached by the domestic pledges of a new wife and several children.
The spoils of war had restored and improved his private property; he was admitted to the table of his former lord; and the apostate Greek blessed the hour of his captivity, since it had been the introduction to an happy and independent state; which he held by the honourable tenure of military service. This reflection naturally produced a dispute on the advantages, and defects, of the Roman government, which was severely arraigned by the apostate, and defended by Priscus in a prolix and feeble declamation. The freedman of Onegesius exposed, in true and lively colours, the vices of a declining empire, of which he had so long been the victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman princes, unable to protect their subjects against the public enemy, unwilling to trust them with arms for their own defence; the intolerable weight of taxes, rendered still more oppressive by the intricate or arbitrary modes of collection; the obscurity of numerous and contradictory laws; the tedious and expensive forms of judicial proceedings; the Edition: A sentiment of patriotic sympathy was at length revived in the breast of the fortunate exile; and he lamented, with a flood of tears, the guilt or weakness of those magistrates who had perverted the wisest and most salutary institutions.
The timid, or selfish, policy of the Western Romans had abandoned the Eastern empire to the Huns. Theodosius might still affect the style, as well as the title, of Invincible Augustus; but he was reduced to solicit the clemency of Attila, who imperiously dictated these harsh and humiliating conditions of peace.
The king of the Huns required and obtained, that his tribute or subsidy should be augmented from seven hundred pounds of gold to the annual sum of two thousand one hundred; and he stipulated the immediate payment of six thousand pounds of gold to defray the expenses, or to expiate the guilt, of the war. One might imagine that such a demand, which scarcely equalled the measure of private wealth, would have been readily discharged by the opulent empire of the Edition: A large proportion of the taxes, extorted from the people, was detained and intercepted in their passage, through the foulest channels, to the treasury of Constantinople.
The revenue was dissipated by Theodosius and his favourites in wasteful and profuse luxury; which was disguised by the names of Imperial magnificence or Christian charity. The immediate supplies had been exhausted by the unforeseen necessity of military preparations. A personal contribution, rigorously, but capriciously, imposed on the members of the senatorian order, was the only expedient that could disarm, without loss of time, the impatient avarice of Attila; but the poverty of the nobles compelled them to adopt the scandalous resource of exposing to public auction the jewels of their wives and the hereditary ornaments of their palaces.
The king of the Huns appears to have established, as a principle of national jurisprudence, that he could never lose the property which he had once acquired in the persons who had yielded either a voluntary or reluctant submission to his authority. From this principle he concluded, and the conclusions of Attila were irrevocable laws, that the Huns who had been taken prisoners in war should be released without delay and without ransom; that every Roman captive who had presumed to escape should purchase his right to freedom at the price of twelve pieces of gold; and that all the Barbarians who had deserted the standard of Attila should be restored, without any promise, or stipulation, of pardon.
In the execution of this cruel and ignominious treaty, the Imperial officers were forced to massacre several loyal and noble deserters, who refused to devote Edition: The firmness of a single town, so obscure that, except on this occasion, it has never been mentioned by any historian or geographer, exposed the disgrace of the emperor and empire. Azimus, or Azimuntium, a small city of Thrace on the Illyrian borders, 37 had been distinguished by the martial spirit of its youth, the skill and reputation of the leaders whom they had chosen, and their daring exploits against the innumerable host of the Barbarians.
Instead of tamely expecting their approach, the Azimuntines attacked, in frequent and successful sallies, the troops of the Huns, who gradually declined the dangerous neighbourhood; rescued from their hands the spoil and the captives; and recruited their domestic force by the voluntary association of fugitives and deserters. After the conclusion of the treaty, Attila still menaced the empire with implacable war, unless the Azimuntines were persuaded, or compelled, to comply with the conditions which their sovereign had accepted. The ministers of Theodosius confessed with shame, and with Edition: They demanded the restitution of some shepherds, who, with their cattle, had been accidentally surprised.
A strict, though fruitless, inquiry was allowed; but the Huns were obliged to swear that they did not detain any prisoners belonging to the city, before they could recover two surviving countrymen, whom the Azimuntines had reserved as pledges for the safety of their lost companions. Attila, on his side, was satisfied, and deceived, by their solemn asseveration that the rest of the captives had been put to the sword; and that it was their constant practice immediately to dismiss the Romans and the deserters, who had obtained the security of the public faith.
This prudent and officious dissimulation may be condemned or excused by the casuists, as they incline to the rigid decree of St. Augustin or to the milder sentiment of St. Chrysostom; but every soldier, every statesman, must acknowledge that, if the race of the Azimuntines had been encouraged and multiplied, the Barbarians would have ceased to trample on the majesty of the empire. It would have been strange, indeed, if Theodosius had purchased, by the loss of honour, a secure and solid tranquillity; or if his tameness had not invited the repetition of injuries.
The Byzantine court was insulted by five or six successive embassies; 39 and the ministers of Attila were uniformly instructed to press the tardy or imperfect execution of the Edition: Besides the motives of pride and interest which might prompt the king of the Huns to continue this train of negotiation, he was influenced by the less honourable view of enriching his favourites at the expense of his enemies.
The Imperial treasury was exhausted, to procure the friendly offices of the ambassadors and their principal attendants, whose favourable report might conduce to the maintenance of peace. The Barbarian monarch was flattered by the liberal reception of his ministers; he computed with pleasure the value and splendour of their gifts, rigorously exacted the performance of every promise which would contribute to their private emolument, and treated as an important business of state the marriage of his secretary Constantius.
The reluctance of the victim, some domestic troubles, and the unjust confiscation of her fortune cooled the ardour of her interested lover; but he still demanded, in the name of Attila, an equivalent alliance; and, after many ambiguous delays and excuses, the Byzantine court was compelled to sacrifice to this insolent stranger the widow Edition: For these importunate and oppressive embassies, Attila claimed a suitable return; he weighed, with suspicious pride, the character and station of the Imperial envoys; but he condescended to promise that he would advance as far as Sardica, to receive any ministers who had been invested with the consular dignity.
The council of Theodosius eluded this proposal by representing the desolate and ruined condition of Sardica; and even ventured to insinuate that every officer of the army or household was qualified to treat with the most powerful princes of Scythia. Maximin, 41 a respectable courtier, whose abilities had been long exercised in civil and military employments, accepted with reluctance the troublesome and, perhaps, dangerous commission of reconciling the angry spirit of the king of the Huns.
His friend, the historian Priscus, 42 embraced the opportunity of observing the Barbarian hero in the peaceful and domestic scenes of life; but the secret of the embassy, a fatal and guilty secret, was entrusted only to the interpreter Vigilius. The two last ambassadors of the Huns, Orestes, a noble subject of the Pannonian province, and Edecon, a valiant chieftain of the tribe of the Scyri, returned at the same time from Constantinople to the royal camp.
Their obscure names were afterwards illustrated by the extraordinary fortune and the contrast Edition: As the remains of Sardica were still included within the limits of the empire, it was incumbent on the Romans to exercise the duties of hospitality. They provided, with the assistance of the provincials, a sufficient number of sheep and oxen; and invited the Huns to a splendid, or at least a plentiful, supper.
But the harmony of the entertainment was soon disturbed by mutual prejudice and indiscretion. The greatness of the emperor and the empire was warmly maintained by their ministers; the Huns, with equal ardour, asserted the superiority of their victorious monarch: When they rose from table, the Imperial ambassador presented Edecon and Orestes with rich gifts of silk robes and Indian pearls, which they thankfully accepted.
Yet Orestes could not forbear insinuating that he had not always been treated with such respect and liberality; the offensive distinction which was implied between his civil office and the hereditary rank of his colleague seems to have made Edecon a doubtful friend, and Orestes an irreconcileable enemy. After this entertainment, they travelled about one hundred miles from Sardica to Naissus. That flourishing city, which had given birth to the great Constantine, was levelled with the ground; the inhabitants were destroyed or dispersed; and the appearance of some sick persons, who were still permitted to exist among the ruins of the churches, served only to increase Edition: The surface of the country was covered with the bones of the slain; and the ambassadors, who directed their course to the north-west, were obliged to pass the hills of modern Servia, before they descended into the flat and marshy grounds which are terminated by the Danube.
The Huns were masters of the great river; their navigation was performed in large canoes, hollowed out of the trunk of a single tree; the ministers of Theodosius were safely landed on the opposite bank; and their Barbarian associates immediately hastened to the camp of Attila, which was equally prepared for the amusements of hunting or of war.
No sooner had Maximin advanced about two miles from the Danube, than he began to experience the fastidious insolence of the conqueror. He was sternly forbid to pitch his tents in a pleasant valley, lest he should infringe the distant awe that was due to the royal mansion. The ministers of Attila pressed him to communicate the business and the instructions, which he reserved for the ear of their sovereign. When Maximin temperately urged the contrary practice of nations, he was still more confounded to find that the resolutions of the Sacred Consistory, those secrets says Priscus which should not be revealed to the gods themselves, had been treacherously disclosed to the public enemy.
On his refusal to comply with such ignominious terms, the Imperial envoy was commanded instantly to depart; the order was recalled; it was again repeated; and the Huns renewed their ineffectual attempts to subdue the patient firmness of Maximin. At length, by the intercession of Scotta, the brother of Onegesius, whose friendship had been purchased by a liberal gift, he was admitted to the royal presence: His journey was regulated by the guides, who obliged him to halt, to hasten his march, or to deviate from the common Edition: The Romans who traversed the plains of Hungary suppose that they passed several navigable rivers, either in canoes or portable boats; but there is reason to suspect that the winding stream of the Theiss, or Tibiscus, might present itself in different places, under different names.
From the contiguous villages they received a plentiful and regular supply of provisions; mead instead of wine, millet in the place of bread, and a certain liquor named camus, which, according to the report of Priscus, was distilled from barley. The ambassadors had encamped on the edge of a large morass. A violent tempest of wind and rain, of thunder and lightning, overturned their tents, immersed their baggage and furniture in the water, and scattered their retinue, who wandered in the darkness of the night, uncertain of their road, and apprehensive of some unknown danger, till they awakened by their cries the inhabitants of a neighbouring village, the property of the widow of Bleda.
The sunshine of the succeeding day was dedicated Edition: Soon after this adventure, they rejoined the march of Attila, from whom they had been separated about six days; and slowly proceeded to the capital of an empire which did not contain, in the space of several thousand miles, a single city. As far as we may ascertain the vague and obscure geography of Priscus, this capital appears to have been seated between the Danube, the Theiss, and the Carpathian hills, in the plains of Upper Hungary, and most probably in the neighbourhood of Jazberin, Agria, or Tokay. The wooden houses of the more illustrious Huns were built and adorned with rude magnificence, according to the rank, the fortune, or the taste of the proprietors.
They seem to have been distributed with some degree of order and symmetry; and each spot became more honourable, as it approached the person of the sovereign. The palace of Attila, which surpassed all other houses in his dominions, was built entirely of wood, and covered an ample space of ground.
The outward enclosure was a lofty wall, or palisade of smooth square timber, intersected with high towers, but intended rather for ornament than defence.
This wall, which seems to have encircled the declivity of a hill, comprehended a great variety of wooden edifices, adapted to the uses of royalty. A separate house was assigned to each of the numerous wives of Attila; and, instead of the rigid and illiberal confinement imposed by Asiatic jealousy, they politely admitted the Roman ambassadors to their presence, their table, and even to the freedom of an innocent embrace.
When Maximin offered his presents to Cerca, the principal queen, he admired the singular architecture of her mansion, the height of the round columns, the size and beauty of the wood, which was curiously shaped, or turned, or polished, or carved; and his attentive eye was able to discover some taste in the ornaments, and some regularity in the proportions. After passing through the guards who watched before the gate, the ambassadors were introduced into the private apartment of Cerca. The wife of Attila received their visit sitting, or rather lying, on a soft couch; the floor was covered with a carpet; the domestics formed a circle round the queen; and her damsels, seated on the ground, were employed in working the variegated embroidery which adorned the dress of the Barbaric warriors.
The Huns were ambitious of displaying those riches which were the fruit and evidence of their victories: The monarch alone assumed the superior pride of still adhering to the simplicity of his Scythian ancestors. The royal table was served in wooden cups and platters; flesh was his only food; and the conqueror of the North never tasted the luxury of bread.
When Attila first gave audience to the Roman ambassadors on the banks of the Danube, his tent was encompassed with a formidable guard. The monarch himself was seated in a wooden chair. His stern countenance, angry gestures, and impatient tone astonished the firmness of Maximin; but Vigilius had more reason to tremble, since he distinctly understood the menace that, if Attila did not respect the law of nations, he would nail the deceitful interpreter to a cross and leave his body to the vultures.
The Barbarian condescended, by producing an accurate list, to expose the bold falsehood of Vigilius, who had affirmed that no more than seventeen deserters could be found. But he arrogantly declared that he apprehended only the disgrace of contending with his fugitive slaves; since he despised their impotent efforts to defend the provinces which Theodosius had entrusted to their arms: His anger gradually subsided, Edition: The entrance of Attila into the royal village was marked by a very singular ceremony.
A numerous troop of women came out to meet their hero, and their king. They marched before him, distributed into long and regular files; the intervals between the files were filled by white veils of thin linen, which the women on either side bore aloft in their hands, and which formed a canopy for a chorus of young virgins, who chanted hymns and songs in the Scythian language. The wife of his favourite Onegesius, with a train of female attendants, saluted Attila at the door of her own house, on his way to the palace; and offered, according to the custom of the country, her respectful homage, by entreating him to taste the wine and meat which she had prepared for his reception.
As soon as the monarch had graciously accepted her hospitable gift, his domestics lifted a small silver table to a convenient height, as he sat on horseback; and Attila, when he had touched the goblet with his lips, again saluted the wife of Onegesius, and continued his march. During his residence at the seat of empire, his hours were not wasted in the recluse idleness of a seraglio; and the king of the Huns could maintain his superior dignity, without concealing his person from the public view.
He frequently assembled his council, and gave audience to the ambassadors of the nations; and his people might appeal to the supreme tribunal, which he held at stated times, and, according to the Eastern custom, before the principal gate of his wooden palace. The Romans, both of the East and of the West, were twice invited to the banquets, where Attila feasted with the princes and nobles of Scythia. Maximin and his Edition: The royal table and couch, covered with carpets and fine linen, was raised by several steps in the midst of the hall; and a son, an uncle, or perhaps a favourite king, were admitted to share the simple and homely repast of Attila.
Two lines of small tables, each of which contained three or four guests, were ranged in order on either hand; the right was esteemed the most honourable, but the Romans ingenuously confess that they were placed on the left; and that Beric, an unknown chieftain, most probably of the Gothic race, preceded the representatives of Theodosius and Valentinian. The Barbarian monarch received from his cup-bearer a goblet filled with wine, and courteously drank to the health of the most distinguished guest, who rose from his seat and expressed, in the same manner, his loyal and respectful vows.
This ceremony was successively performed for all, or at least for the illustrious persons of the assembly; and a considerable time must have been consumed, since it was thrice repeated, as each course or service was placed on the table.