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    Chapter 1

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    BOOK I


    Irruption of Northern people upon the Roman territories--Visigoths
    --Barbarians called in by Stilicho--Vandals in Africa--Franks and
    Burgundians give their names to France and Burgundy--The Huns--
    Angles give the name to England--Attila, king of the Huns, in
    Italy--Genseric takes Rome--The Lombards.

    The people who inhabit the northern parts beyond the Rhine and the
    Danube, living in a healthy and prolific region, frequently increase
    to such vast multitudes that part of them are compelled to abandon
    their native soil, and seek a habitation in other countries. The
    method adopted, when one of these provinces had to be relieved of its
    superabundant population, was to divide into three parts, each
    containing an equal number of nobles and of people, of rich and of
    poor. The third upon whom the lot fell, then went in search of new
    abodes, leaving the remaining two-thirds in possession of their native

    These migrating masses destroyed the Roman empire by the facilities
    for settlement which the country offered when the emperors abandoned
    Rome, the ancient seat of their dominion, and fixed their residence at
    Constantinople; for by this step they exposed the western empire to
    the rapine of both their ministers and their enemies, the remoteness
    of their position preventing them either from seeing or providing for
    its necessities. To suffer the overthrow of such an extensive empire,
    established by the blood of so many brave and virtuous men, showed no
    less folly in the princes themselves than infidelity in their
    ministers; for not one irruption alone, but many, contributed to its
    ruin; and these barbarians exhibited much ability and perseverance in
    accomplishing their object.

    The first of these northern nations that invaded the empire after the
    Cimbrians, who were conquered by Caius Marius, was the Visigoths--
    which name in our language signifies "Western Goths." These, after
    some battles fought along its confines, long held their seat of
    dominion upon the Danube, with consent of the emperors; and although,
    moved by various causes, they often attacked the Roman provinces, were
    always kept in subjection by the imperial forces. The emperor
    Theodosius conquered them with great glory; and, being wholly reduced
    to his power, they no longer selected a sovereign of their own, but,
    satisfied with the terms which he granted them, lived and fought under
    his ensigns, and authority. On the death of Theodosius, his sons
    Arcadius and Honorius, succeeded to the empire, but not to the talents
    and fortune of their father; and the times became changed with the
    princes. Theodosius had appointed a governor to each of the three
    divisions of the empire, Ruffinus to the eastern, to the western
    Stilicho, and Gildo to the African. Each of these, after the death of
    Theodosius, determined not to be governors merely, but to assume
    sovereign dominion over their respective provinces. Gildo and Ruffinus
    were suppressed at their outset; but Stilicho, concealing his design,
    ingratiated himself with the new emperors, and at the same time so
    disturbed their government, as to facilitate his occupation of it
    afterward. To make the Visigoths their enemies, he advised that the
    accustomed stipend allowed to this people should be withheld; and as
    he thought these enemies would not be sufficient alone to disturb the
    empire, he contrived that the Burgundians, Franks, Vandals, and Alans
    (a northern people in search of new habitations), should assail the
    Roman provinces.

    That they might be better able to avenge themselves for the injury
    they had sustained, the Visigoths, on being deprived of their subsidy,
    created Alaric their king; and having assailed the empire, succeeded,
    after many reverses, in overrunning Italy, and finally in pillaging

    After this victory, Alaric died, and his successor, Astolphus, having
    married Placidia, sister of the emperors, agreed with them to go to
    the relief of Gaul and Spain, which provinces had been assailed by the
    Vandals, Burgundians, Alans, and Franks, from the causes before
    mentioned. Hence it followed, that the Vandals, who had occupied that
    part of Spain called Betica (now Andalusia), being pressed by the
    Visigoths, and unable to resist them, were invited by Boniface, who
    governed Africa for the empire, to occupy that province; for, being in
    rebellion, he was afraid his error would become known to the emperor.
    For these reasons the Vandals gladly undertook the enterprise, and
    under Genseric, their king, became lords of Africa.

    At this time Theodosius, son of Arcadius, succeeded to the empire;
    and, bestowing little attention on the affairs of the west, caused
    those who had taken possession to think of securing their
    acquisitions. Thus the Vandals ruled Africa; the Alans and Visigoths,
    Spain; while the Franks and Burgundians not only took Gaul, but each
    gave their name to the part they occupied; hence one is called France,
    the other Burgundy. The good fortune of these brought fresh people to
    the destruction of the empire, one of which, the Huns, occupied the
    province of Pannonia, situated upon the nearer shore of the Danube,
    and which, from their name, is still called Hungary. To these
    disorders it must be added, that the emperor, seeing himself attacked
    on so many sides, to lessen the number of his enemies, began to treat
    first with the Vandals, then with the Franks; a course which
    diminished his own power, and increased that of the barbarians. Nor
    was the island of Britain, which is now called England, secure from
    them; for the Britons, being apprehensive of those who had occupied
    Gaul, called the Angli, a people of Germany, to their aid; and these
    under Vortigern their king, first defended, and then drove them from
    the island, of which they took possession, and after themselves named
    the country England. But the inhabitants, being robbed of their home,
    became desperate by necessity and resolved to take possession of some
    other country, although they had been unable to defend their own. They
    therefore crossed the sea with their families, and settled in the
    country nearest to the beach, which from themselves is called
    Brittany. The Huns, who were said above to have occupied Pannonia,
    joining with other nations, as the Zepidi, Eurili, Turingi, and Ostro,
    or eastern Goths, moved in search of new countries, and not being able
    to enter France, which was defended by the forces of the barbarians,
    came into Italy under Attila their king. He, a short time previously,
    in order to possess the entire monarchy, had murdered his brother
    Bleda; and having thus become very powerful, Andaric, king of the
    Zepidi, and Velamir, king of the Ostrogoths, became subject to him.
    Attila, having entered Italy, laid siege to Aquileia, where he
    remained without any obstacle for two years, wasting the country
    round, and dispersing the inhabitants. This, as will be related in its
    place, caused the origin of Venice. After the taking and ruin of
    Aquileia, he directed his course towards Rome, from the destruction of
    which he abstained at the entreaty of the pontiff, his respect for
    whom was so great that he left Italy and retired into Austria, where
    he died. After the death of Attila, Velamir, king of the Ostrogoths,
    and the heads of the other nations, took arms against his sons Henry
    and Uric, slew the one and compelled the other, with his Huns, to
    repass the Danube and return to their country; while the Ostrogoths
    and the Zepidi established themselves in Pannonia, and the Eruli and
    the Turingi upon the farther bank of the Danube.

    Attila having left Italy, Valentinian, emperor of the west, thought of
    restoring the country; and, that he might be more ready to defend it
    against the barbarians, abandoned Rome, and removed the seat of
    government to Ravenna. The misfortunes which befell the western empire
    caused the emperor, who resided at Constantinople, on many occasions
    to give up the possession of it to others, as a charge full of danger
    and expense; and sometimes, without his permission, the Romans, seeing
    themselves so abandoned, created an emperor for their defense, or
    suffered some one to usurp the dominion. This occurred at the period
    of which we now speak, when Maximus, a Roman, after the death of
    Valentinian, seized the government, and compelled Eudocia, widow of
    the late emperor, to take him for her husband; but she, being of
    imperial blood, scorned the connection of a private citizen; and being
    anxious to avenge herself for the insult, secretly persuaded Genseric,
    king of the Vandals and master of Africa to come to Italy,
    representing to him the advantage he would derive from the
    undertaking, and the facility with which it might be accomplished.
    Tempted by the hope of booty, he came immediately, and finding Rome
    abandoned, plundered the city during fourteen days. He also ravaged
    many other places in Italy, and then, loaded with wealth, withdrew to
    Africa. The Romans, having returned to their city, and Maximus being
    dead, elected Avitus, a Roman, as his successor. After this, several
    important events occurred both in Italy and in the countries beyond;
    and after the deaths of many emperors the empire of Constantinople
    devolved upon Zeno, and that of Rome upon Orestes and Augustulus his
    son, who obtained the sovereignty by fraud. While they were designing
    to hold by force what they had obtained by treachery, the Eruli and
    the Turingi, who, after the death of Attila, as before remarked, had
    established themselves upon the farther bank of the Danube, united in
    a league and invaded Italy under Odoacer their general. Into the
    districts which they left unoccupied, the Longobardi or Lombards, also
    a northern people, entered, led by Godogo their king. Odoacer
    conquered and slew Orestes near Pavia, but Augustulus escaped. After
    this victory, that Rome might, with her change of power, also change
    her title, Odoacer, instead of using the imperial name, caused himself
    to be declared king of Rome. He was the first of those leaders who at
    this period overran the world and thought of settling in Italy; for
    the others, either from fear that they should not be able to hold the
    country, knowing that it might easily be relieved by the eastern
    emperors, or from some unknown cause, after plundering her, sought
    other countries wherein to establish themselves.
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