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Thessalonica: A Roman Story.

THESSALONICA, in conse-
quence of its commercial si-
tuation, was populous and rich. Its
fortifications and numerous garri-
son had preserved it from injury
during the late commotions,* and
the number of inhabitants was great-
ly increased, at the expense of the
defenceless districts and cities. Its
place, with relation to Dalmatia, the
Peloponnesus, and the Danube, was
nearly centrical. Its security had
been uninterrupted for ages, and no
city in the empire of Theodosius
exhibited so many monuments of
its ancient prosperity. It had been,
for many years, the residence of the
prince, and had thence become the
object of a kind of filial affection.
He had laboured to render it im-
pregnable, by erecting bulwarks,
and guarding it with the bravest of
his troops; he had endowed the ci-
tizens with new revenues and privi-
leges, had enhanced the frequency
of their shows, and the magnificence
of their halls and avenues, and made
it the seat of government of Illyria
and Greece.

Its defence was intrusted to Bo-
theric, whom he had selected for
his valour, fidelity, and modera-
tion; and he commended, with equal
zeal to this officer, the defence of the
city from external enemies, and the
maintenance of justice and order
within its walls.

The temper of Botheric was
generous and impetuous. He was
unacquainted with civil forms, and
refrained, as much as possible, from
encroaching on the functions of the
magistrate. His education and ge-
nius were military, and he conceiv-
ed that his commission required from
him nothing but unwearied atten-
tion to his soldiers. His vigilance
was bent to maintain order and obe-

  * At the conclusion of the Gothic war, A. D. 390.

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dience among them, and to prevent
or to stifle dissentions between them
and the citizens. For this end he
multiplied their duties and exercises,
so as to leave no room for inter-
course with the people. Their time
was constantly occupied with at-
tendance at their stations, or per-
formance of some personal duty in
their quarters.

By these means, the empire of or-
der was, for some time, maintained;
but no diligence or moderation can
fully restrain the passions of the
multitude. Quarrels sometimes a-
rose between the spectators at the
theatre and circus, and the centi-
nels who were planted in the ave-
nues. The General was always
present at the public shows; cla-
mour and riot instantly attracted his
attention, and if a soldier was a
party in the fray, he hasted to ter-
minate the contest, by examination
and punishment.

You need not be told, that the po-
pulace of Roman cities are actuated
by a boundless passion for public
shows. The bounty of the prince
cannot be more acceptably exerted
than in pecuniary donations for this
purpose, and by making exhibi-
tions more frequent and magnifi-
cent. The gratitude of this people
is proportioned, not to the efficacy
of edicts to restrain crimes, allevi-
ate cares, or diminish the price of
provisions; but to the commodious-
ness and cheapness of seats in a
theatre, or to the number and beauty
of the horses which are provided
for the circus.

The prince had manifested his
attachment to this city in the usual
manner. The finest horses were
procured, at his expense, from Af-
rica and Spain; new embellishments
were added to the chariots, and a
third set of characters, distinguished
by a crimson uniform, was added to
the former. Once a month, the
people were amused by races, at the
expense of their sovereign.



At one of these exhibitions, a ci-
tizen, by name Macro, attempted
to enter a gate by which the Sena-
tors passed to their seats. Order had
long since established distinctions in
this respect, and every class of the
people enjoyed their peculiar seats
and entrances. Macro was there-
fore denied admission, by two sol-
diers stationed in the passage. He
persisted in his efforts to enter, and
the soldiers persisted in their oppo-
sition, till, at length, a scuffle ensu-
ed, in which the citizen was slightly
wounded.

The games not having begun,
many from within and without were
attracted to the spot. The crowd in-
sensibly increased, and the specta-
tors seemed willing to discounte-
nance the claims of Macro. The
sight of his blood, however, changed
the tide in his favour. The soldiers
were believed to have proceeded to
this extremity without necessity,
and to have exercised their power
wantonly.

Clamours of disapprobation were
succeeded by attempts to disarm the
centinels, and conduct them before
the tribunal of their General. This
was usually held in an upper porch
of the edifice. Botheric was mo-
mently expected, and the persons
who urged the seizure of the cul-
prits, were governed by pacific in-
tentions. The soldiers were sup-
posed to have transgressed their du-
ty, and redress was sought in a
lawful manner. Botheric was the
only judge of their conduct, and
confidence was placed in the equity
of his decision.

The soldiers maintained the rec-
titude of their proceeding, and re-
fused to resign their arms, or leave
the post. Some endeavoured to gain
their end by expostulation and re-
monstrance. The greater number
were enraged, and their menaces
being ineffectual, were quickly suc-
ceeded by violence. The interior
passages were wide, but the entrance

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was narrow, and the soldiers pro-
fited by their situation, to repel the
assaults that were made upon them.
The wounds which they inflicted in
their own defence augmented the
fury of their assailants. They fought
with desperate resolution, and were
not overpowered till they had killed
five of the citizens.

At length the soldiers sought
their safety in flight. The mob
poured into the passages. One of
the fugitives was overtaken in a
moment. The pursuers were un-
armed, but the victim was dashed
against the pavement, and his limbs
were torn from each other by the
furious hands that were fastened
upon him. While his lifeless and
bleeding trunk was dragged along
the ground, and thrown to and fro
by some, others were engaged in
searching for him that escaped.

While roaming from place to
place, they met a soldier whom his
officer had dispatched upon some
message. They staid not to inquire
whether this was he of whom they
were in search, but seizing him,
they dragged him to the midst of
the square, and dispatched him with
a thousand blows.

The tumult was by no means ap-
peased by these executions. Num-
bers flocked to the scene. The
sight of the dead bodies of the citi-
zens, imperfect and exaggerated ru-
mours of the cruelty of the centinels,
the execrations and example of those
who had been leaders in the tumult,
conspired to engage them in the
same outrages.

The pursuit of the fugitive sol-
dier did not slacken. The galleries
and vaults were secured, and every
place resounded with uproar and
menace. Meanwhile, the seats of
the Senators were filled with a per-
miscuous crowd, who gladly seized
this opportunity of engrossing places
more convenient than any other.

At this moment, Botheric and
his officers arrived. The entrance

was inaccessible, by reason of the
crowd stationed without, and the
numbers that were struggling in
the passages to gain the senatorial
benches. In this contest, the weaker
were overpowered, and scores were
trodden to death or suffocated. The
General and his officers were no
sooner known to be arrived, than
they were greeted on all hands, by
threatening gestures and insolent cla-
mours. The heads of the slaughter-
ed soldiers were placed upon pikes.
Botheric was compelled to gaze
upon their gory visages, and listen
to the outcries for vengeance which
ascended from a thousand mouths.

This unwonted spectacle, and the
confusion which surrounded him,
threw him into temporary panic.
It was requisite to ascertain the
causes of this tumult, to prevent its
progress, and to punish its authors;
but his own safety was to be, in the
first place, consulted. How far that
was endangered by the fury of the
populace it was impossible to fore-
see.

His retinue consisted of twenty
officers, who were armed, as usual,
with daggers. Recovering from
their first astonishment, they invo-
luntarily drew their weapons, and
crowded round their General. This
movement seemed by no means to
intimidate the populace, whose out-
cries and menaces became more ve-
hement than ever. As their num-
bers and fury increased, they pres-
sed more closely and audaciously
upon this slender band, whose wea-
pons pointed at the bosoms of those
who were nearest, and who could
scarcely preserve themselves from
being overwhelmed.

Botheric's surprize quickly yield-
ed to a just view of the perils that
surrounded him. The cause of this
tumult was unknown; but it was
evident that the temper of the peo-
ple was revengeful and sanguinary.
The slightest incident was sufficient
to set them free from restraint. The

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first blood that should be shed would
be the signal for outrage, and nei-
ther he nor his officers could hope
to escape with their lives.

His first care, therefore, was to
inculcate forbearance on his officers.
This, indeed, would avail them but
little, since the foremost of the
crowd would be irresistibly impel-
led by those who were behind, and
whose numbers incessantly increas-
ed. In a moment they would be
pressed together; their arms would
be useless; and secret enemies, by
whom he vaguely suspected that
this tumult had been excited, would
seize that opportunity for wreaking
their vengeance.

To escape to the neighbouring
portico was an obvious expedient;
but the galleries, above and below,
were already filled with a clamorous
multitude, whose outcries and ges-
ticulations prompted those below to
the commission of violence. His
troops were either dispersed in their
quarters, or stationed on the walls.
The few whose duty required their
attendance at the circus could af-
ford no protection. Those at a dis-
tance could not be seasonably ap-
prized of the danger of their leader;
and if they were apprized, would
be at a loss, in the absence of their
officers, in what manner to act. To
endeavour to restore tranquillity by
persuasion or remonstrance was chi-
merical. No single voice could be
heard amidst the uproar.

In this part of the square there
had formerly been erected an eques-
train statue of Constantius. It had
been overthrown and broken to
pieces in a popular sedition. The
pedestal still remained. The ad-
vantage of a lofty station, for the
sake either of defence or of being
heard, was apparent. Botheric,
and two of his officers, leaped upon
it, and stretched forth their hands
in an attitude commanding silence.

This station, by rendering the
person of Botheric distinguishable

at a distance, only enhanced his
danger. A soldier, by name Eu-
stace, who had, a few days before,
been punished for some infraction
of discipline, by stripes and igno-
minious dismission from the service,
chanced to be one of those who
were gazing at the scene from the
upper portico. The treatment he
had suffered could not fail to excite
resentment, but the means of ven-
geance were undigested and im-
practicable. His cowardice and
narrow understanding equally con-
spired to render his malice impo-
tent. He intended, the next day,
to set out for his native country,
Syria, and, meanwhile, mixed with
the rabble which infested the cir-
cus.

Botheric had extorted, by his
equity and firmness, the esteem of
the magistrates and better class of
the people. The vile populace were
influenced by no sentiment but fear.
Botheric had done nothing to ex-
cite their hatred; and his person
would probably have been uninjur-
ed till the alarm had reached the
citadel, and the troops had hastened
to his rescue, had not Eustace un-
happily espied him, as he stood upon
the pedestal.

The soldier had an heavy stone
in his hand, with which he had
armed himself, from a general pro-
pensity to mischief, and a vague
conception that it might be useful
to his own defence. The person of
his enemy was no sooner distinctly
seen, than a sudden impulse to seize
this opportunity for the gratification
of his vengeance was felt by him.
He threw the stone towards the spot
where the General stood.

Botheric was exerting his voice
to obtain audience, when the stone
struck upon his breast. The blood
gushed from his mouth and nostrils,
his speech and strength failed, and
he sunk upon the ground.

This outrage was observed with
grief, rage and consternation by his

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retinue. Their own safety requir-
ed the most desperate exertions.
Two of them lifted the General in
their arms, while the rest, with one
accord, brandished their weapons,
and rushed upon the crowd. They
determined to open a way by killing
all that opposed them.

Men, crowded together in a nar-
row space, are bereft of all power
over their own motions. Their ex-
ertions contribute merely to destroy
their weaker neighbours, without ex-
tricating themselves. Those whom
chance exposed to the swords of the
officers were unable to fly. Their
condition was no less desperate; and
the blood that flowed around them
insensibly converted their terror in-
to rage.

The contest was unequal, and a
dreadful carnage ensued before the
weapons were wrested from their
owners. A thousand hands were
eager to partake in the work of ven-
geance. The father had seen the
death of his son, and the son had
witnessed the agonies of his father.
The execution appeared to be need-
less and wanton; and the swords,
after being stained with the blood
of their kinsmen, were aimed at
their own breasts. This was no
time to speculate upon causes and
consequences. All around them
was anarchy and uproar, and pas-
sion was triumphant in all hearts.

Botheric and his train were
thrown to the ground, mangled by
numberless wounds, or trampled
into pieces. The assassins contend-
ed for the possession of the dismem-
bered bodies, and threw the limbs,
yet palpitating, into the air, which
was filled with shouts and impreca-
tions.

All this passed in a few minutes.
Few were acquainted with the cause
of the tumult. Still fewer were ac-
quainted with the deplorable issue
to which it had led. The imme-
diate actors and witnesses were fully
occupied. The distant crowd, whose

numbers were increased by the ar-
rival of those who, from all quar-
ters, were hastening to the circus,
could only indulge their wonder
and panic, and make fruitless in-
quiries of their neighbours.

In this state of things a rumour
was hatched, and propagated with
infinite rapidity, that the soldiers
had received orders to massacre the
people, and that the execution had
already begun. All was commo-
tion and flight. The crowd melted
away in a moment. The avenues
were crowded with the fugitives,
who overturned those whom they
met, or communicated to them
their belief and their terror. Every
one fled to his house, and imparted
to his family the dreadful tidings.
Distraction and lamentation seized
upon the women and domestics.
They barred their doors, and pre-
pared to avoid or resist the fate
which impended over them.

Meanwhile, those who had rush-
ed through the unguarded passages,
and occupied the senatorial seats,
were alarmed, and prompted to re-
turn, by the continuance of the
uproar without. In their haste to
issue forth they incumbered and
impeded each other, and the pas-
sage was choaked. Some one ap-
peared in an upper gallery, and call-
ed upon the people to provide for
their safety, for that Botheric had
directed a general massacre.

This intelligence operated more de-
structively than a thousand swords.
In the universal eagerness to escape,
the avenues were made impassable,
and numbers were overthrown and
trampled to death.

The magistrates had taken their
places when the tumult began.
Some were infected with the gene-
ral panic, and made ineffectual ef-
forts to escape. My duty, as chief
magistrate, required me to apply all
my endeavours to the checking of
the evil. I waited, in anxious sus-
pense, for information as to the na-

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ture and extent of the mischief. In
my present situation nothing could
reach me but a disjointed and mu-
tilated tale. I heard outcries, and
witnessed the commotion, but was
wholly at a loss as to their cause or
tendency.

After a time the tumult began to
subside. The passages were gradu-
ally cleared by the suffocation of
the weaker, and the multitude rush-
ed over the bodies of their fellow
citizens into the square. The ti-
morous hastened to their homes,
and spread the alarm to the most
distant quarters of the city. Others,
more courageous or inquisitive,
lingered on the spot, gazed upon
the mangled and disfigured bodies,
which were strewed around the
pedestal, and listened to the com-
plaints of the wounded, and the re-
lations of those who had been ac-
tive in the fray.

Those whose passions had not been
previously excited, no sooner re-
cognized the visages of Botheric
and some of his retinue among the
slain, than terrors of a new kind
were awakened. The murder of
one of the most illustrious men in
the empire, and one who possess-
ed, beyond all others, the affections
of the prince, was an event preg-
nant with disastrous consequences.
That his death would call down
some signal punishment, in which
themselves, though innocent, might
be involved, was justly to be dread-
ed. That the resentment of the
soldiery would stimulate them to
some sudden outrage was no less
probable. There was imminent
peril in being found near the spot.
The spectators gradually withdrew,
and solitude and silence succeeded.
The uproar was hushed, the circus
was deserted, and a panic stillness
seemed to hover over the city.

As soon as obstructions were re-
moved, in my character as prefect
of the city, and attended by civil
officers, I ascended a tribunal in an

hall near the circus. Some of my
attendants were immediately dis-
patched to examine the scene of the
conflict, to arrest all who should be
found near it, and collect all the
information that offered.

Those charged with this com-
mission speedily returned, leading
two men, whose wounds did not
disable them from walking when
supported by others. These per-
sons were questioned as to their
knowledge of this disaster. One
of them related that when the offi-
cers were encompassed by the mob,
it was his ill fortune to be placed
near them. He was a stranger to
the cause of the tumult, and en-
deavoured, with his utmost strength,
to extricate himself from his peril-
ous situation. The populace were
loud in their clamours, the officers
seemed resolute in their own de-
fence, and he dreaded that the scene
would terminate in bloodshed. His
temper was pacific and timid, and
he desired nothing more than to re-
move to a safe distance.

While making efforts for this pur-
pose, the officers assailed the crowd,
and he was the first to fall by their
swords. His senses deserted him,
and he did not revive till the mob
was entirely dispersed. His com-
panion told a tale nearly similar, and
the attendants informed the magis-
trate that Botheric and his tribunes
had perished, their scattered re-
mains being found upon the spot.

I was startled and confounded
by this incident. To what ex-
cesses the soldiers might be sud-
denly transported when freed from
the restraints of discipline, it was
easy to foresee. No other expedi-
ent suggested itself, than to sum-
mon the municipal body, and re-
quest their counsel in this urgent
danger.

The members of the senate were
preparing to go to the circus. This
was commonly done with equipage
and pompous train. The hour of

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assembling was arrived, and they
were preparing to set out, when
rumours of sedition and massacre
assailed them. Messengers were
by some dispatched to obtain more
distinct information, some of whom
return with the tidings gleaned from
the fugitives whom they encounter-
ed in the way. Others, more intre-
pid, ventured to approach the cir-
cus, and examine objects with their
own eyes. They brought back the
tidings that Botheric and his officers
were slain by the people.

The most courageous were deep-
ly apprehensive of the consequen-
ces which would grow out of his un-
timely death. They were alternately
perplexed with wonder respecting
the cause of so memorable a catastro-
phe, and with dread of the vengeance
which it would excite in the bosom;
not only of the soldiers, but of the
prince. They were recalled from
their mournful reveries, by loud
signals at their gate, and the entrance
of an herald, who, in the name of
the prefect, summoned them to
council. The summons was gladly
obeyed.

Some time had now elapsed. The
citizens, immured in their houses,
darted fearful glances from their bal-
conies and windows, anxious to
hear tidings. The passing Senators
were recognized, and their progress
attended with importunate inquiries
into the nature of the threatened
evil, and with supplications that
their zeal should be exerted to pre-
clude it.

Many, encouraged by the pre-
sence of their magistrates, joined the
cavalcade, and the Senate house was
quickly surrounded by an immense,
but trembling multitude. The Se-
nate being, at length, convened, I
laid before them all the intelligence
which I had been able to procure
respecting the late tumult. I expa-
tiated on the enormity of the deed
that had been perpetrated in the
murder of Botheric and his officers.

and enumerated its probable effects
on the minds of the soldiers, and of
the prince. I pointed out the ne-
cessity of ascertaining the genuine
circumstances of the case, of de-
tecting and punishing the criminals,
and of appeasing the resentment of
the sovereign and the troops.

While engaged in consultation,
the wrath which we so justly dread-
ed, was already excited in the sol-
diers. Affrighted at the fate of their
companions, the centinels posted in
the circus fled with precipitation
to the military quarter. The ru-
mour was at first indistinct, and as
affrays of this kind were not un-
common, the soldiers trusted to the
equity of their leader for the vindi-
cation of their wrongs. Presently a
messenger arrived, informing them
that their General was surrounded
and likely to be slain by the popu-
lace.

At this news, many ran together,
and intreated the subaltern officers
to lead them to the rescue of their
General. As no orders were trans-
mitted from their superiors, the Cen-
turions hesitated to comply. Their
reluctance to interpose was increas-
ed by the incredibility of the dan-
ger. The clamours of the soldiers,
however, who threatened to march
without permission, conquered this
reluctance, and five hundred men
were called out.

The general consternation which
they witnessed on their march, ex-
cited their fears. The few persons
who remained in the square, va-
nished at their approach, and they
were left to learn the fate of their
officers from the view of their life-
less remains.

The soldiers of Botheric were his
friends, countrymen, and family.
They had devoted themselves to his
honour, and followed his standard,
in the service of Theodosius, with
invincible fidelity. Many of them
had bound themselves by oaths to
die with him.



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The mangled and dishonoured
corpse of this adored leader, now
presented itself to their eyes. Every
sentiment was absorbed, for a time,
in astonishment and grief. They
inquired of each other, if the spec-
tacle which they beheld was real;
if these, indeed, were the members
and features of their beloved chief.
They held up his remains to view,
bathed his disfigured face with their
tears, and burst, at length, into a
cry of universal lamentation.

Many, in pursuance of their vow
not to survive their leader, stabbed
themselves, and died upon the spot.
Others exclaimed that their vows to
that effect, should be performed
only when the funeral honours and
the vengeance due to their chief,
were fully paid. They collected
his remains, and wrapping them in
his mantle, set out on their return
to the citadel, in a solemn proces-
sion. On their way they sung
wild and melancholy dirges, in the
fashion of their country, and min-
gled with their music fits of passion-
ate weeping. In the streets which
they passed, every one fled before
them, and all around was lonely
and desolate.

Intelligence of their approach
was quickly received by their com-
rades at the citadel, who came out
in great numbers, and joined the
procession. Indignation and fury
appeared to be suspended in a su-
perior passion.

Meanwhile, the subaltern officers
were no sooner fully apprized of
the havoc which had taken place,
than they assembled in a kind of
counsel. They were aware of the
necessity of subordination, and they
did not mean that their vengeance
should be less sure because it was
delayed. One of their number,
by name Walimer, an hoary vete-
ran, was unanimously chosen their
leader.

Walimer concealed, under a sa-
vage aspect, all the qualities of a

judicious commander. His grief
for the fate of Botheric was temper-
ed by prudence and foresight. As
soon as the choice was known, he
leaped into the midst of the assem-
bly, and devoted himself, with so-
lemn imprecations, to the task of
avenging their late chief. At the
same time, he enlarged upon the
benefits of circumspection and de-
lay. The first measure he pro-
posed was to dispatch a messenger
to Theodosius, with an account of
this transaction. He questioned
not that the Emperor would autho-
rize a signal retribution to be inflict-
ed on the guilty city, and that they
would be appointed the ministers
of his justice. It was easy to con-
vince his hearers of the advantage
of proceeding in the business of re-
venge with the sanction or conni-
vance of the government. If the
Emperor should refuse justice, it
would then be time enough to ex-
tort it. The arms and fortifications
were still in their possession, and
these it would be wise to guard with
the utmost vigilance. In this coun-
sel the new tribunes readily con-
curred, and suitable remonstrances
convinced the soldiers of the pro-
priety of the choice that had been
made, and the proceedings adopted.
Three horsemen, charged with the
delivery of a message to the Em-
peror, were immediately dispatched
to Mediolanum.

To communicate information of
these events to the monarch, to de-
precate his anger, and convince him
of the innocence of the magistrates
and the greater part of the people,
were likewise suggested to the Senate
by one of its members. The wisdom
of this counsel was obvious. I was
authorized, as prefect, to draw up a
statement of the truth, from such in-
formation as I had already received,
or should speedily obtain. This
was to be done with all possible ex-
pedition, in order to prevent the
propagation of rumours.



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Meanwhile, a deputation was ap-
pointed to visit the citadel, to de-
clare to the soldiers the sincere re-
gret of the Senate for the unhappy
event that had befallen, to exhort
them to moderation and peace, and
assure them that the most strenuous
exertions should be made to detect
the authors of the tumult, on whom
the most signal punishment should
be inflicted.

The deputies were astonished to
observe the order which reigned in
the soldiers' quarters. No clamours
or menaces were heard. They
were conducted to the hall, where
Walimer and his officers were seat-
ed, and their exhortations and pleas
were listened to with sullen and
mournful silence.

Walimer, in answer to their
message, informed them of the
choice which the soldiers had made
of a new chief, declared his im-
plicit reliance on the justice of the
Emperor, to whose decrees he and
his troops were determined to con-
form, and admonished them to ex-
ecute, without delay, the justice
which they promised. He told
them that discipline should be as
rigidly maintained as formerly, and
that things should remain in their
present state till the will of their com-
mon sovereign was known. The
Senate waited, in eager suspense, the
return of their deputies. The pa-
cific deportment and professions of
Walimer being communicated to
them, they retired, with their fears
considerably allayed, to their houses.

Heralds were dispatched to all
quarters to acquaint the people with
the result of this conference, and to
exhort them to observe a cautious
and peaceable behaviour; punish-
ments were denounced against any
who should be detected in any
riotous act, and all persons were
enjoined to repair to the tribunal of
the chief magistrate, and give what
information they possessed relative
to this transaction.



The ensuing night was passed
by the prefect in receiving and
comparing depositions of real or
pretended witnesses. Macro was
traced to his home. He was, by
trade, an armourer, and lived with
his family, in an obscure corner.
His wounds were of no great mo-
ment, and the officers of justice
found him at supper, in his hovel.
He was hurried to the tribunal,
followed by his wife and immediate
kindred, who trembled for his safety.

As he was the author of this tu-
mult, he could expect little mercy
from his audience. Those whose
relations or friends had fallen were
deeply exasperated at him whose
folly and rashness had given birth
to the evil. Others, who reflected
on future calamities, likely to flow
from the same source, pursued him
with the utmost rancour.

In spite of proclamations and
menaces, curiosity and fear attract-
ed great numbers to the hall of
justice. Their panic stillness was
succeeded by commotion and rage.
The steps of Macro were accom-
panied by bootings and execrations,
and they clamoured loudly for his
punishment.

I was sensible of the danger that
attended this unlawful meeting. I
showed myself to the people from
a balcony, and endeavoured to ha-
rangue them into moderation and
patience. I pointed out the enor-
mous evils which their turbulent
concourse had already produced,
and urged every topic likely to in-
fluence their fears, to induce them
to disperse.

The effects of these remonstrances
were partial and temporary. My
promises that the culprits should not
escape the most condign punish-
ment, gratified their sanguinary ap-
petites, and their murmurs were
hushed.

The threats of torment extorted
from Macro a confession of his of-
fences. It seems that when he came

 image pending 108

to the circus, he was intoxicated
with wine, and had mistaken one
entrance for another. In the con-
fusion of his intellects, he neither
listened to, nor understood the ob-
jections of the centinels, and he
persisted in claiming a privilege
which he regarded as justly his due.
The consequences have been al-
ready related, and afford a memo-
rable proof from what slight causes
the most disastrous and extensive
effects may flow.

Macro's offence was venial and
slight; but it was considered that,
even if he were innocent, his life
was a necessary sacrifice. Neither
the soldiers nor the people, whose
judgments were always fettered by
prejudice and passion, would con-
sent to dismiss him in safety. Nei-
ther would they be satisfied by the
infliction of a slight or tardy penal-
ty. Macro, besides, was a depraved
and worthless individual, whose
life or death was, in the eyes of his
judges, of the most trivial moment.
Influenced by these considerations,
the magistrates, with some reluc-
tance, condemned Macro to have
his arms and legs cut off, and after-
wards to be beheaded on the spot
where Botheric had fallen, and
which was dyed with the blood of
those who owed their untimely fate
to his temerity.

This sentence was heard by the
friends of the criminal with groans
of despair, and by the rest of the
audience, with shouts of applause.
The criminal was loaded with
chains, and led away to prison. Be-
ing aware that the fury of the peo-
ple might betray them into some
outrage, I addressed them anew
from the balcony, and admonished
them to retire.

Some symptoms of compliance
appeared in part of the assembly,
who began to separate. A multitude,
however, crowded round Macro, as
he came forth from the hall, and
greeted him with insults and curses.



This unhappy man was not des-
titute of courage; but he was wil-
ling to avoid that lingering and
dreadful death to which he was
doomed. He was, besides, pene-
trated with indignation at the injus-
tice of his sentence. He, therefore,
retorted the curses that were heaped
upon him, both because he conceiv-
ed them to be unmerited, and be-
cause he wished to exasperate the
mob to inflict a speedy death.

Those who followed him were
the vilest of the vile; base, sangui-
nary and impetuous, delighting in
tumult, prone to violence, and sti-
mulated by revenge for those who
had been stifled in the press, or slain
by the tribunes. Macro had not
gone many steps before the officers
who guarded him were driven to a
distance. The mob, enraged by his
taunts, took the work of justice into
their own hands, and Macro receiv-
ed from their pikes and clubs that
death which he sought.

The magistrates were quickly in-
formed of this event. They had
been accustomed, on similar cases,
to vindicate their authority by the
aid of the soldiers. This expedient
was now impracticable or hazard-
ous, and they sat in powerless inac-
tivity, consoling themselves with the
hope that the popular indignation
would be appeased by this victim.

Relieved from the dread of mili-
tary execution, multitudes, though
the night was somewhat advanced,
resorted from the senate house, and
hall of justice, to the circus. The
kindred and friends of the dead has-
tened to ascertain their true condi-
tion, and to bestow upon them fu-
neral rites.

The circus and its avenues quick-
ly overflowed with inquisitive or
anxious spectators. Innumerable
torches were borne to and fro; wo-
men hung over the bodies of their
husbands, fathers and sons, and fil-
led the air with outcries and wail-
ings: some explored the courts and

 image pending 109

passages, in search of those who
were missing, while others, lifting
corpses in their arms, bent home-
ward their steps, in tumultuous
procession, and with far-heared la-
ments.

Meanwhile, several witnesses in-
formed the magistrates of the stone
which had been thrown at Botheric,
and at length the name, and charac-
ter, and guilt of Eustace were de-
tected. Eustace was justly regard-
ed as the immediate author of this
calamity. He was likewise a sol-
dier, and his detection and punish-
ment might be expected eminently
to gratify the military. It would
transfer, in some degree, the guilt
of this sedition from the people to
their own order.

Officers were quickly dispersed,
throughout the city, in search of the
fugitive. Eustace had seen his ene-
my fall. Momentary exultation was
followed by terror, and he made
haste to shroud himself from inqui-
ry and suspicion in an obscure ha-
bitation near the port.

He had secured his passage in a
barque, which designed to set sail,
next morning, for Ptolemais, in Sy-
ria. He meant to go on board at
the dawn of day, and hoped, mean-
while, to be unthought of and un-
known.

It was peculiarly unfortunate for
this wretch, that a mariner belonging
to this vessel happened to be sta-
tioned at his elbow when the stone
was thrown. The mariner had been
present when Eustace had contract-
ed for his passage with the master
of the barque; hence arose his
knowledge of Eustace. He was a
way-farer; had been attracted, by a
natural curiosity, to the circus; had
gazed, with wandering eyes and
beating heart, upon the tumult; and,
in the fluctuations of the mob, had
undesignedly been placed by the
side of the assassin.

He had afterwards listened to the
voice of the herald, summoning

before the magistrate all who pos-
sessed any knowledge of the author
and circumstances of the insurrec-
tion. His timidity, the child of
inexperience, deterred him from
disclosing his knowledge, till he
himself became, by a concurrence
of events not necessary to be men-
tioned, the object of suspicion, and
was dragged by public officers to
the tribunal of the prefect. He
then explained his knowledge of
Eustace, and pointed him out as
the only agent.

This tale, though insufficient to
rescue the mariner from danger,
occasioned diligent search to be
made for Eustace. The master of
the barque was acquainted with the
past condition and present views of
the soldier, and his evidence sug-
gested to the magistrate the expe-
dient of placing officers on board
the vessel, who, if the assassin
should not be previously detected,
might seize him as he entered the
ship, in pursuance of his contract
with the captain.

This expedient was successful.
Eustace ventured from his recess
in the dusk of morning, proceeded
unmolested to the port, and put
himself on board the vessel, which
was anchored at some distance from
the quays. At the moment when
he began to exult in his escape, he
was seized, pinioned, and con-
ducted, without delay, to the pre-
sence of the judge. The testimony
of the mariner, and his own confes-
sion, extorted by the fear of tor-
ment, established his guilt. The
prefect lost no time in informing
Walimer and his tribunes of the
measures which had been adopted;
and offered to deliver Eustace into
their hands, to be treated in what
manner they though proper. The
offer was readily, though ungra-
ciously accepted.

Eustace had been detained in the
hall, the magistrate fearing that the
same outrage would be perpetrated

 image pending 110

by the people, on this criminal, if
he were placed within their reach,
of which Macro had already been
the victim. A band of soldiers
from the citadel received him at the
door of the hall, and surrounding
him with sullen visages and drawn
swords, returned, in hostile array,
to their quarters. The windows
and galleries that overlooked their
march, were filled with silent and
astonished gazers.

The succeeding day passed in a
state of general suspense. Men had
leisure to ruminate upon the con-
sequences that impended, and to
wonder at the change that had so
abruptly taken place in their con-
dition. Fear and hope struggled
in their bosoms. All customary
occupations and pursuits were laid
aside. Neighbours assembled to
communicate to each other the
story of what themselves had wit-
nessed or endured, to recount their
imminent danger in the press, and
their hair-breadth escapes, to expa-
tiate on the movements of the sol-
diery, and propagate their terrors
of the future.

Upwards of three hundred citi-
zens perished on this occasion.
The cemeteries were opened, and
funeral processions were every
where seen. Though the streets
were crowded, and the whole city
was in motion, appearances exhi-
bited a powerful contrast to the im-
petuosities and clamours of the pre-
ceding day. The pavements were
beaten by numberless feet; but
every movement was grave and
slow. Discourse was busy, but was
carried on in whispers, and, instead
of horrid uproar, nothing but mur-
murs, indistinct and doubtful, as-
sailed the ear. The very children
partook of the general consterna-
tion and awe.

At noon-day, a messenger from
the citadel demanded admission to
the prefect, whom he acquainted
with the intention of the soldiers to

celebrate, on the ensuing evening,
and at the spot where they fell, the
obsequies of Botheric and his offi-
cers. This intention, however ha-
zardous or inconvenient to the city,
could not be thwarted or changed.
This ceremony was likely to exas-
perate the grief of the soldiers, all
of whom would be present and par-
take in it. Some fatal impulse of
indignation, some inauspicious ru-
mour or groundless alarm, might
unseasonably start into birth. The
night would lend its cloak to pur-
poses of cruelty, and, before a new
day, the city might be wrapt in
flames, and ten thousand victims
might be offered to the shade of
Botheric.

In this emergency the Senate
were once more convened, and their
counsel required. They deputed
one of their members to the citadel,
in order to gain from Walimer, a
clear explanation of his purposes,
This officer maintained a stately re-
serve and ambiguous silence. His
demeanour plunged them deeper
into uncertainty. Many put the
blackest construction on his words,
and forboded, that the coming night
would be signalized by indiscrimi-
nate massacre and havoc.

How to avert this evil was a sub-
ject of fruitless deliberation. One
measure was obviously prudent.
The people were informed of the
ceremony that was about to take
place, were exhorted to stay in their
houses, and assured, that nothing
was intended by the soldiers, but
honour to their chiefs. The dan-
ger of tumultuous concourse, or pa-
nic apprehensions, at such a time,
was evident.

The Senators, however, were
destitute of that confidence which
they endeavoured to instil into the
people. Some, at the approach of
night, secretly withdrew from the
city. The guards, posted at the
gates, suffered all to pass without
question or hindrance. Others,

 image pending 111

more irresolute, or less timorous,
remained; but they armed their do-
mestics, and closed their doors, or
made preparation to fly or conceal
themselves on the first alarm. Spies
were directed to hover round the
circus, or were posted on the tur-
rets of the houses, to watch the first
glimmering of torches, or the re-
motest sound of footsteps.

The people were sufficiently aware
of the danger of crowding to a spec-
tacle like this. The assurance of
the magistrates suppressed all but
nameless and indefinable terrors.
They withdrew to their homes,
when several trumpets from the
ramparts announced, at the appoint-
ed hour, that the military procession
was begun.

By various avenues which led to
the circus, the army repaired thi-
ther, and forming a circle round the
pile, on which the remains of the
officers were laid, they silently be-
held them consumed. Eustace was
stabbed by the hands of Walimer;
and many of the soldiers could not
be restrained from pouring out their
blood at this altar. The flames that
ascended from this pile were seen
to a great distance. It was watch-
ed, with unspeakable solicitude, by
those that remained in the city.
Those at a distance were left in
uncertainty whether it was from a
funeral pile, or indicated the com-
mencement of a general conflagra-
tion.

The flame and the light attend-
ant on it gradually disappeared.
An interval of ominous repose suc-
ceeded. The troops peaceably re-
turned to their quarters. Those only
who dwelt in the streets through
which their march lay, were con-
scious of their movements. The
rest of the city was hushed in pro-
found and uninterrupted repose.

Next day, the tumult of conster-
nation and suspense somewhat sub-
sided. Still, however, all classes
were penetrated with dread. The

sentence of the prince was yet un-
known. To what measures his
indignation would hurry him, was
a topic of foreboding.

In pursuance of the directions of
the Senate, the prefect had dispatch-
ed, early in the morning, a mes-
senger to Mediolanum. A faith-
ful narrative of this transaction had
been drawn up, in which the par-
tial, abrupt, and unpremeditated
nature of the tumult was copious-
ly displayed. The messenger was
charged to deliver this statement to
Acilius, one of the Imperial minis-
ters, of whom the prefect was a
kinsman, and on whose good offices
with the prince there was the utmost
reason to rely.

The horsemen whom Walimer
had sent upon the same errand, were
better mounted, pursued their jour-
ney with more diligence, and had
set out several hours sooner than
the herald of the Senate. In fifteen
days they arrived at the capital, and
hastened to communicate their tid-
ing to Rufinus, a minister who had
long enjoyed the highest place in
the Emperor's favour.

Rufinus and Botheric had con-
tracted a political alliance, the pur-
pose of which was, to secure to the
former the civil administration, and
to the latter the highest military au-
thority in the empire. This unex-
pected catastrophe blasted the hopes
of Rufinus. His efforts had been
directed to remove and destroy all
his competitors in favour, and to
place the whole power of the state
in the hands of himself and of his
creatures. Theodosius regarded Bo-
theric with singular and almost pa-
ternal affection. Rufinus had mar-
ried the sister of the chief, and em-
barked his fortunes in the same
cause.

The messengers had delivered
their message to Rufinus in a secret
audience; but his wife recognizing
her countrymen, and the soldiers of
her brother, took measures to ob-

 image pending 112

tain from them the substance of their
tidings. Her grief gave place to
revenge, and she used the most
powerful means to stimulate the
zeal of her husband in what she
deemed the cause of justice. Ru-
finus was sufficiently disposed to
avenge the blood of her kinsman,
in that of the rebellious city.

The monarch was sitting at a
banquet when his minister rushed
into his presence, and, with every
symptom of grief, communicated
the fatal news, that Botheric, his
faithful soldier, the support of his
throne, and the guardian of his
children, had been murdered, with
every circumstance of wanton cru-
elty, by the people of Thessalonica.

The Emperor, starting from his
seat, expressed, at the same time,
his incredulity and horror at this
news. The former sentiment was
overpowered by the arts of the mi-
nister, who produced the letter that
had just been received, and the men
who had brought it. The horse-
men, on being interrogated, gave a
minute, though exaggerated and fal-
lacious picture of the tumult. The
messengers were unacquainted with
its true causes, and the most accu-
rate statement which it was in their
power to make, would have left the
hearers in astonishment at the sa-
vage ferocity of the Thessalonians.

Incredulity at length gave place to
rage. In the first transport of his
fury he vowed to obliterate the of-
fending city from the face of the
earth. The cholerick temper of The-
odosius was capable of transporting
him to the wildest excesses. These
excesses, when reason resumed its
power, were beheld in their genuine
deformity, and were productive of
exquisite remorse. Rufinus, there-
fore, was eager to improve the op-
portunity, and before the paroxysm
of passion should subside, to extort
from him a sanguinary edict.

It was not possible, indeed, for
malice to contrive an higher provo-

cation than this. There was little
danger that his passion should sub-
side, if it were not assailed by the
lenient counsels and remonstrances
of others. This, however, would
certainly happen as soon as the dis-
aster was publicly known, and was,
therefore, to be prevented by dis-
patch.

Rufinus assumed the specious of-
fice of asswaging his master's resent-
ment. He perceived the folly of
demolishing towers, and walls, and
habitations, on account of an of-
fence committed by those who re-
sided within them. It was just to
punish the guilty people; but to
slay them on the very stage of
their crimes was all that equity de-
manded.

The punishment could not fol-
low too soon upon the heel of the
offence, and the soldiers of Bothe-
ric were the suitable ministers of
vengeance. There was no danger
that their hands would be tied up
by scruples or commiseration. The
death of the people was, indeed,
claimed by the justice of the sol-
diers as well as of the prince, and
should that justice be refused by the
monarch, the troops would not fail,
being in possession of fortifications
and arms, to execute it of their own
accord. The punishment could
not be prevented, and if his sanc-
tion should be refused, their deed
would constitute them rebels to his
authority, and the fairest city in his
empire would thus be torn from
his possession.

These motives were artfully, tho'
needlessly insinuated. The Emper-
or eagerly affixed his seal and his
signature to the warrant which con-
demned the people of the most il-
lustrious and populous of Roman
cities to military execution.

Rufinus knew, that to the com-
plete execution of this sentence, it
was necessary that the preliminary
measures should be secret. A know-
ledge of their fate would impel num-

 image pending 113

bers to flight, and others, urged by
despair, would rush into rebellion,
and oppose force by force. There
was likewise but one method in
which justice could be fully execut-
ed. By assembling the whole body
of the people in the circus, the task
imposed on their assassins would be
with more facility executed, and the
theatre of their offences would be
made, as justice required, the scene
of their punishment.

With these views, the horsemen, a
few hours after their arrival, set out
on their return, with secret directions
to Walimer, under the Emperor's
own seal, to collect the people in the
circus, under pretence of an equestri-
an exhibition, and slay them to a man.

The number of the people did not
fall short of three hundred thousand.
Rufinus laid claim to the praise of
clemency, in withstanding the fury
of his master, whose revenge reluc-
tantly consented to spare one. The
criminals were naturally supposed
chiefly to consist of males of mature
age, and justice was thought to be
satisfied with the destruction of one
third of this number. The circus
usually contained between twenty
and thirty thousand spectators.

These messengers were, likewise
charged with letters to Julius Mal-
chus, the prefect, in which he was
informed, that the prince had re-
ceived the tidings of what had lately
happened. Much regret was ex-
pressed for the fate of Botheric, and
the magistrate was charged to exe-
cute speedy and condign justice on
the authors of the tumult. To show,
however, that Theodosius confided
in the zeal of the civil magistrates,
that he discriminated between the
innocent and guilty, and that, not-
withstanding these outrages, he had
not withdrawn his affection from
this people, he authorized the ma-
gistrates to publish his forgiveness,
and in testimony of his sincerity, to
invite them to a splendid exhibition
of the public games.



A tedious interval elapsed be-
tween the departure and return of
Walimer's messengers. This inter-
val was big with anxiety and sus-
pense. The popular disquiet and
impatience increased as the day ap-
proached which was to decide their
fate. Antioch, which three years be-
fore had committed a less atrocious
offence, and which had escaped with
the utmost difficulty, a sentence of
extermination, was universally re-
membered, and was the parent of
rueful prognostics.

The attention which regular pur-
suits and sober duties required, was
swallowed up by this growing fear.
Ears were open to nothing but ru-
mours and conjectures, and the po-
pular mind was alternately agonized
with terror, and elated with hope.
Sleep was harrassed with terrific
dreams, and, in many, even the ap-
petite for food was suspended by
their mournful presages.

If there be any proportion be-
tween evils inflicted and suffered,
the death of Botheric was retributed,
a thousand fold, in a single day af-
ter its occurrence; but twenty-eight
days elapsed, and each hour added to
the weight of apprehension which
oppressed the last.

The distance by land, and round
the head of the Hadriatic, from
Thessalonica to the Imperial resi-
dence, was eight hundred and se-
venty five miles. The journey, there-
fore, though pursued with little
intermission, by means of post
horses, and covered litters, could
not be effected in less than fourteen
days. One day would be consumed
in deliberation, and an equal period
of fourteen days would elapse, before
letters could be received from Me-
diolanum by the public carriers.

The messengers, dispatched by
Malchus, were outstripped, on ex-
pedition, by those of Walimer, and
the Emperor's letters were deliver-
ed to the prefect one day sooner than
was expected by him. He dreaded

 image pending 114

to unclose the packet, perceiving,
that the information received by the
ministers had gone through the
hands of the soldiers, by whom the
truth would unavoidably be per-
verted. The Senate was convened,
and the dispatches laid before them.

Intimations of this event reached
the people. A Senatorial meeting,
at an uncustomary hour, was proli-
fic of conjecture and alarm. Mul-
titudes hastened to the Senate house,
and the members of that body
forced their way, with difficulty,
through the croud which besieged
the entrances. The tumult and cla-
mour became so great, that the pre-
fect was obliged to postpone the
opening of the packets till a Sena-
tor had exhorted the multitude to
order and forbearance, and explain-
ed the purport of the meeting, pro-
mising to return as soon as the de-
cision of the Emperor were known,
and impart to them the tidings.

This assurance was followed by
a general pause. Every murmur
was hushed. Every eye was fixed, in
anxious gaze, upon the door through
which the Speaker had withdrawn
from their sight, and at which he
was momently expected to re-ap-
pear. The uproar of a troubled sea
was succeeded by portentous calm,
and the silence of death.

At length the magistrate came
forth. The joy, indicated by his
countenance, did not escape the ge-
neral observation. Their hopes were
elated, and exultation spoke forth
from every mouth, as soon as the
forgiveness and gracious condescen-
tion of the prince were made known.
He was heard, distinctly, by few;
but the rapturous exclamations of
those conveyed the import of the
speech to the most distant specta-
tors.

The joyous tidings were diffused
with unspeakable celerity. Pleasure
was proportioned to the dread that
had lately prevailed. Fire and the
sword were ready to involve them

in a common ruin; but these evils
were averted, and not only their
pristine security returned, but their
darling sports, with new embel-
lishments, were to be renewed. The
exhibitions of the circus were or-
dered to take place on the next day.

The streets resounded with mu-
tual congratulations. Laughter and
song, and dance, and feasting, and
magnificent illuminations, and pro-
cessions to the churches, to pour forth
the praises of God and of Theodo-
sius, the father of his people, and
the darling of mankind, occupied
the people during the succeeding
night.

The Senators, after the first emo-
tions of their joy had subsided, be-
gan to look upon this circumstance
with eyes of some suspicion. The
choleric and impetuous temper of
Theodosius was well known. A
much more trivial offence, in the
inhabitants of Antioch, had excited
his wrath, and prompted him to de-
cree the destruction of the guilty
city.

The crime of Thessalonica had
been reported by the soldiers. No
deprecation had been used. The
cause of the tumult and the punish-
ment of its authors, were unknown
at the time when Walimer dis-
missed his messengers. Time for
the interposition of beneficent coun-
sellers, or for rage to be displaced
by equanimity, had not been al-
lowed.

It was, indeed, remembered that
Antioch had fewer claims upon the
affection of Theodosius, that the
dictates of his hasty indignation,
with regard to that city, had been
to himself a topic of humiliation
and regret, and that he might now
be guarded against the impulse of
choler. It was likewise known
that the genuine intentions of the
monarch had not, at any time, been
concealed from the Antiochians;
and no motives could be imagined
by which the prince might be in-

 image pending 115

duced to conceal his anger, or coun-
terfeit forgiveness.

These opposite considerations
were anxiously revolved by the pre-
fect Malchus. He was unable to
divest his mind wholly of inquie-
tude and doubt. The acquies-
cence of the soldiers, in a sentence
like this, was incredible. Macro
and Eustace had not dipped their
hands in the blood of Botheric and
his retinue. Search was made for
those who had been active in the
bloody fray; but the evidence ob-
tained was doubtful and contradic-
tory, and the populace began to
view their deportment as justified
by necessity and self-defence. The
officers were known by all to be,
with regard to the crowd surround-
ing them, the first assailants.

The secret, if any secret existed,
was reposited with Walimer. A
careful observation of his conduct
might detect the truth. For this
purpose an interview was necessary.
To invite him and his tribunes to a
banquet was an obvious expedient
to detect the truth, if his purposes
were hostile, or to confirm his in-
tentions, if they were amicable and
pacific.

The senators and officers were
therefore invited to a feast. Mal-
chus selected the most sagacious
of his servants, and directed them
to treat the military followers in a
cordial and bounteous manner, and
to watch their looks and discourse.
Some unguarded expression, it was
thought, would escape them in the
midst of their carousals, betraying
their designs.

This scheme was partly frustrated
by the precaution of Walimer, who
at once testified his confidence in
Malchus, and precluded the hazard
of impetuosity or babbling in his
soldiers, by coming to the palace
of the prefect unattended except by
his tribunes. The carousals were
prolonged till midnight, and every

proof of a sincere reconciliation
was given by the guests.

The next day was ushered in as
a solemn and joyous festival. It
happened that this day was sacred
to Demetrius, the saint or tutelary
genius of the city, and to whose di-
vine influence the people fondly
ascribed the clemency of Theodo-
sius.

It was usual for centinels to be
posted at the avenues of the hippo-
drome. This was a customary duty,
and, to omit it on this occasion,
would have bred suspicion. No
alarm, therefore, was excited by the
march, at noon-day, of a detach-
ment from the citadel for this pur-
pose.

On the preceding night, Malchus
had imparted his doubts and appre-
hensions to some of the senators.
A secret consultation had been held.
No measures sufficiently conducive
to their safety could be adopted.
Whatever evil was meditated by the
soldiers, it was impossible to avert
or elude it. The towers and gates
were in their hands. Circumspec-
tion or disguise, would avail no-
thing. If the danger had assumed
any known form, suitable precau-
tions could scarcely be discovered;
but now, when all was uncertain
and inscrutable, a frank and fear-
less deportment was most proper.

The presence of the senate and
magistrates was necessary at the
public shows. My mind was actu-
ated by inexplicable fears, and I
would willingly have forborne to
attend; but reflection convinced
me that my life was equally in the
power of the soldiers, in the re-
cesses of my palace, and in the
courts of the citadel.

Noon arrived, thousands hurried
to the hippodrome; the concourse
was uncommonly large, as num-
bers from the neighbouring villages
and districts flocked to the spectacle;
all benches were quickly filled and

 image pending 116

galleries crowded; I proceeded thi-
ther at the head of the senatorial
order, and was received with low
obeisance by the guards, and with
loud acclamations by the people.
The games only waited the arrival
of the general and tribunes to be-
gin.

His approach was quickly an-
nounced by the sound of military
music. At that moment a civil of-
ficer, whose face was pale with af-
fright, thrust himself amidst the
crowd, and whispered something in
the ear of a senator who sat near
me. The senator was observed to
start; and inquiry being made into
the cause of his alarm, he replied,
that Walimer was followed, not by
the usual retinue, but by a formid-
able brigade, who surrounded the
circus and seemed to meditate vio-
lence.

Walimer and his officers now en-
tered and placed themselves on an
elevated platform assigned for his
use, and which was ascended by
a narrow staircase. His entrance
was greeted by grateful acclamations,
and he was observed to bow his
head in token of his satisfaction.
In a moment after the trumpet,
whose note was a signal for the
chariots to start from their goal,
was sounded.

Before the signal was obeyed, a
dart, thrown by an unknown hand
and with inconceivable force, struck
the breast of a charioteer, who fell
headlong from his seat. His horses
were alarmed, and swerving from
their true direction, threw all into
disorder. This event was noticed
by the people with amazement.

Their attention was speedily re-
called from this object by troops of
soldiers rushing through the various
passages, and brandishing their
swords. No time was allowed to
question their purpose or elude it.
They fell upon those who were
nearest and hewed them to pieces.

Every avenue poured forth a des-

troying band. Few, therefore, were
allowed to be mere spectators of the
danger. Every one witnessed the
butchery of his neighbour, and
shrunk from the swords, which,
in a few moments, would be steep-
ed in his own blood.

The multitude rose, with one
consent, from their seats. The ex-
tent of the evil that threatened them
was fully apprehended by none.
They were far from imagining that
this havoc was directed or sanction-
ed by the prince. They did not
conceive that the soldiers had acted
by the orders of Walimer; but that
a conspiracy was formed against
them by the military order was
apparent.

Those who were near the station
of Walimer, stretched their hands
towards him in supplication, and
uttered the most piercing cries of
distress. His sullen and immove-
able air convinced them that he was
an accomplice in their fate.

Some vainly flattered themselves
that the sword would be weary of
its task before it reached them.
They sheltered themselves behind
their neighbours, and in their ea-
gerness to put themselves in the
midst of the crowd, were bereaved
of breath, or trampled under foot.

Those whose situation exposed
them to the first assault, struggled
to gain the passages. Such as es-
caped the edge of the sabre and
passed into the square, were trans-
fixed by darts. The soldiers were
drawn up in firm array, and ex-
tending themselves on all sides, ren-
dered escape impossible.

To expatiate on the scene that
followed, and which did not termi-
nate till midnight; to count up the
victims, to describe the various cir-
cumstances of their death, is a task
to which I am unequal. Language
sinks under the enormity and compli-
cation of these ills. I was a witness
and partaker; the images exist in my
imagination as vividly as when they

 image pending 117

were presented to my senses; my
blood is still chilled, my dreams are
still agonized by dire remembrance;
but my eloquence is too feeble to
impart to others the conceptions of
my own mind.

The woes of my country are not
past. Hundreds who escaped the
bounds of this devoted city, are, like
me, in the full fruition of melan-
choly or despair. The images of
wife and offspring, of friends and
neighbours, mangled by the sword,
or perishing by lingering torments,
pursue them to their retreats, and
deny them a momentary respite.
Some have lost their terror only by
the extinction of their reason; and
the phantoms of the past have disap-
peared in the confusion of insanity.
Others, whose heroic or fortunate
efforts set them beyond the reach of
the soldiers, were no sooner at li-

berty to review the past, and con-
template their condition, than they
inflicted on themselves that death
which had been, with so much dif-
ficulty avoided, when menaced by
others. Their misery was too ab-
rupt, and too enormous, to be for-
gotten or endured.

I envy the lot of such, but it will
quickly be my lot. The period of
forgetfulness, or of tranquil exist-
ence in another scene, is hastening
to console me. Meanwhile, my task
shall be, to deliver to you, and to
posterity, a faithful narrative. The
horrors of this scene are only por-
tions of the evil that has overspread
the Roman world, which has been
inflicted by the cavalry of Scythia,
and which will end only in the de-
struction of the empire, and the re-
turn of the human species to their
original barbarity.


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