The Northern Way

JORDANE'S
THE ORIGIN AND DEEDS OF THE GOTHS

XLV


(235) His brother Eurich succeeded him with such eager haste that he fell under dark suspicion. Now while these and various other matters were happening among the people of the Visigoths, the Emperor Valentinian was slain by the treachery of Maximus, and Maximus himself, like a tyrant, usurped the rule. Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, heard of this and came from Africa to Italy with ships of war, entered Rome and laid it waste. Maximus fled and was slain by a certain Ursus, a Roman soldier. (236) After him Majorian undertook the government of the Western Empire at the bidding of Marcian, Emperor of the East. But he too ruled but a short time. For when he had moved his forces against the Alani who were harassing Gaul, he was killed at Dertona near the river named Ira. Severus succeeded him and died at Rome in the third year of his reign. When the Emperor Leo, who had succeeded Marcian in the Eastern Empire, learned of this, he chose as emperor his Patrician Anthemius and sent him to Rome. Upon his arrival he sent against the Alani his son-in-law Ricimer, who was an excellent man and almost the only one in Italy at that time fit to command the army. In the very first engagement he conquered and destroyed the host of the Alani, together with their king, Beorg.
      (237) Now Eurich, king of the Visigoths, perceived the frequent change of Roman Emperors and strove to hold Gaul by his own right. The Emperor Anthemius heard of it and asked the Brittones for aid. Their King Riotimus came with twelve thousand men into the state of the Bituriges by the way of Ocean, and was received as he disembarked from his ships. (238) Eurich, king of the Visigoths, came against them with an innumerable army, and after a long fight he routed Riotimus, king of the Brittones, before the Romans could join him. So when he had lost a great part of his army, he fled with all the men he could gather together, and came to the Burgundians, a neighboring tribe then allied to the Romans. But Eurich, king of the Visigoths, seized the Gallic city of Arverna; for the Emperor Anthemius was now dead. (239) Engaged in fierce war with his son-in-law Ricimer, he had worn out Rome and was himself finally slain by his son-in-law and yielded the rule to Olybrius.
      At that time Aspar, first of the Patricians and a famous man of the Gothic race was wounded by the swords of the eunuchs in his palace at Constantinople and died. With him were slain his sons Ardabures and Patriciolus, the one long a Patrician, and the other styled a Caesar and son-in-law of the Emperor Leo. Now Olybrius died barely eight months after he had entered upon his reign, and Glycerius was made Caesar at Ravenna, rather by usurpation than by election. Hardly had a year been ended when Nepos, the son of the sister of Marcellinus, once a Patrician, deposed him from his office and ordained him bishop at the Port of Rome.
      (240) When Eurich, as we have already said, beheld these great and various changes, he seized the city of Arverna, where the Roman general Ecdicius was at that time in command. He was a senator of most renowned family and the son of Avitus, a recent emperor who had usurped the reign for a few days--for Avitus held the rule for a few days before Olybrius, and then withdrew of his own accord to Placentia, where he was ordained bishop. His son Ecdicius strove for a long time with the Visigoths, but had not the power to prevail. So he left the country and (what was more important) the city of Arverna to the enemy and betook himself to safer regions. (241) When the Emperor Nepos heard of this, he ordered Ecdicius to leave Gaul and come to him, appointing Orestes in his stead as Master of the Soldiery. This Orestes thereupon received the army, set out from Rome against the enemy and came to Ravenna. Here he tarried while he made his son Romulus Augustulus emperor. When Nepos learned of this, he fled to Dalmatia and died there, deprived of his throne, in the very place where Glycerius, who was formerly emperor, held at that time the bishopric of Salona.



XLVI


(242) Now when Augustulus had been appointed Emperor by his father Orestes in Ravenna, it was not long before Odoacer, king of the Torcilingi, invaded Italy, as leader of the Sciri, the Heruli and allies of various races. He put Orestes to death, drove his son Augustulus from the throne and condemned him to the punishment of exile in the Castle of Lucullus in Campania. (243) Thus the Western Empire of the Roman race, which Octavianus Augustus, the first of the Augusti, began to govern in the seven hundred and ninth year from the founding of the city, perished with this Augustulus in the five hundred and twenty second year from the beginning of the rule of his predecessors and those before them, and from this time onward kings of the Goths held Rome and Italy. Meanwhile Odoacer, king of nations, subdued all Italy and then at the very outset of his reign slew Count Bracila at Ravenna that he might inspire a fear of himself among the Romans. He strengthened his kingdom and held it for almost thirteen years, even until the appearance of Theodoric, of whom we shall speak hereafter.



XLVII


(244) But first let us return to that order from which we have digressed and tell how Eurich, king of the Visigoths, beheld the tottering of the Roman Empire and reduced Arelate and Massilia to his own sway. Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, enticed him by gifts to do these things, to the end that he himself might forestall the plots which Leo and Zeno had contrived against him. Therefore he stirred the Ostrogoths to lay waste the Eastern Empire and the Visigoths the Western, so that while his foes were battling in both empires, he might himself reign peacefully in Africa. Eurich perceived this with gladness and, as he already held all of Spain and Gaul by his own right, proceeded to subdue the Burgundians also. In the nineteenth year of his reign he was deprived of his life at Arelate, where he then dwelt. (245) He was succeeded by his own son Alaric, the ninth in succession from the famous Alaric the Great to receive the kingdom of the Visigoths. For even as it happened to the line of the Augusti, as we have stated above, so too it appears in the line of the Alarici, that kingdoms often come to an end in kings who bear the same name as those at the beginning. Meanwhile let us leave this subject, and weave together the whole story of the origin of the Goths, as we promised.

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