Scanned text contains errors.
Theodosius received a good education ; and he learned the art of war under his own father, whom he accompanied in his British campaigns. During his father's life-time he was raised to the rank of Duke (dux) of Moesia, where he defeated the Sarmatians (a. d. 374), and saved the province. On the death of his father (a. d. 376), he retired before court intrigues to his native country, where lie cultivated his own lands, which probably lay near his native place between Segovia and Valla-clolid. At this time he was already married to a Spanish woman, Aelia Flacilla or Placilla, who is sometimes called Placidia, by whom he became the father of Arcadius, Honorius, and a daughter Pul-cheria. From this peaceful retirement he was called in the thirty-third year of his age to receive the imperial purple. Valens, the colleague of Gratian, h;id recently lost his life at Hadrianople (a. d. 378), where the Roman army was completely broken by the Goths, and Gratian, feeling himself unable to sustain the burden of the empire, invited Theodosius to fill the place of Valens. Theodosius was declared Augustus by Gratian at Sirmium in Pannonia, on the 19th of January a. d. 379. He was intrusted with the administration of Thrace, Asia, and Egypt, which had been held by Valens, together with Dacia and Macedonia. The new emperor of the East had the conduct of the war against the Goths.
The history of Ammianus Marcellinus ends with the death of Valens, and the authorities on which the historian of the reign of Theodosius has to rely, are greatly inferior to Ammianus. Their character is well expressed by Gibbon in a few words, and they are referred to by Tillemont (Histoire des Empereurs, v.), with his usual diligence and accuracy.
The Romans were disheartened by the blood}*-defeat which they had sustained on the plains of Hadrianople, and the Goths were insolent in their victory. Theodosius was too prudent to lead dispirited troops against a successful enemy, and he formed his head quarters at Thessalonica, the capital of the diocese or division of Macedonia, from whence he could watch the movements of the Goths. In four years' campaigns (a. D. 379— 382), of which the particulars are imperfectly recorded, Theodosius revived the courage of the Roman soldiers, and while he seems to have prudently kept aloof from any general engagement, he took all opportunities of attacking his enemy in detail, and securing for his men the advantage of victory without the danger of defeat. The Goths, who were not held together by any well-constituted authority, and only by the ability of their commander Fritigern, became disorganised by his death, and were split up into numerous bands which went about seizing all that they wanted, and destroying that which they had not the prudence to reserve for another time. Jealousy arose between the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths ; and Theodosius by his agents added the inducement of money to those who were discontented. Modares, a chieftain of rank, went over to the Romans, among whom he obtained the rank of master-general, and he earned his reward by surprising and massacring a body of Goths, and carrying off
a great number of captives with four thousand waggons (Zosimus, iv. 25). In a. d. 381, Athanaric was compelled to leave his forests, and to cross the Danube ; and many of those who had formerly acknowledged Fritigern as their leader, and were weary of anarchy, now yielded obedience to this Gothic judge. Tillemont conjectures that Athanaric was expelled by Fritigern, Alatheus, and Saphrax ; but Gibbon's narrative seems to signify (for seems is all the meaning that in many cases can be imputed to it) that Fritigern was already dead. However Athanaric was too old and too prudent to carry on war with the new emperor : he listened to proposals of peace, and he even went to Constantinople to visit the emperor. Theodosius left the city to meet him, and received him with the greatest respect. The Goth was struck with amazement at the magnificence of Constantinople, and exclaimed that the Roman emperor was an " earthly God." Athanaric fell ill at Constantinople, and died there. Theodosius gave him a splendid funeral, and erected a monument to his memory. This politic behaviour gained over the whole army of Athanaric ; and the adhesion of so large a body of the Visigoths was followed by the submission of the rest. " The general or rather final capitulation of the Goths may be dated four years, one month, and twenty-five days after the defeat and death of the emperor Valens." (Gibbon ; comp. Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs^ol. v. p. 216.)
The Ostrogoths, who had retired from the provinces of the Danube about four years ago, returned (a. d. 386) to the lower course of that river recruited by an army of Scythians, whom none of the inhabitants on the banks of the Danube had ever seen before (Zosimus, iv. 38). Promotus, the general on the Thracian frontier, who knew that he was a match for the invaders, thought it prudent to draw them over to the south bank, without letting them wait for their opportunity in the winter ; and by his spies he encouraged them to hope that by secretly crossing the river, they might destroy the Roman army. The passage was made on a dark night in numerous canoes ; but the Ostrogoths discovered their mistake when they found the south bank of the Danube guarded by a triple row of vessels through which they could not penetrate. At the same time the Roman galleys descending the river, swept before them the frail boats of the Ostrogoths, and Alatheus the king, and his bravest troops, were either drowned in the Danube or destroyed by the sword. Those who escaped sued for mercy to the Romans. It is uncertain whether Theodosius had personally any share in this victory. Zosimus says that after the victory Promotus sent for Theodosius, who was at no great distance. If the historian Zosimus unjustly deprives Theodosius of all merit, the poet Claudian made amends for it by flattery and exaggeration.
A treaty was made with the Goths, the precise date and terms of which do not appear to be known ; but they were settled within the limits of the empire, in tracts which were neglected or unoccupied. A colony of Visigoths was established in Thrace, and the remains of the Ostrogoths were planted in Phrygia and Lydia. They were not scattered among the population of Thrace or Asia Minor, but they obtained whole districts in which they still lived as a Gothic people, acknowledging
3 y 4