« ZurückWeiter »
of their warlike neighbour, and endeavoured to arrest the progress of his arms, by making an irruption into his territories: but they were compelled to retreat with considerable loss; and Euric devoted the remainder of his life to the enjoyment of peace and the cultivation of the milder arts. He died in the nineteeth year of his reign; and left his Spanish and Gallic dominions to his son Alaric.
Euric's successor commenced his A.D.
vernment with great mildness, and pro
vided for the security of his subjects by espousing a daughter of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths. He also caused the Theodosian code of laws to be abridged by one of the most learned lawyers of that age, and exerted himself to compose some differences which had arisen between his predecessor and the king of the Franks : but in the latter attempt he unfortunately failed ; and hostilities ensued, which terminated in his death, and the utter defeat of his most gallant forces. A.D.
After this catastrophe, which hap507.
pened within nine miles of Poitiers,
some of the veteran officers of the Visis goths retired into Spain, with Amalaric the only surviving son of their deceased master. The major part of the troops, however, refused to invest an infant with the sovereignty at so criti. cal a juncture; and consented that Gesalaic, à natural son of Alaric, should assume the regal dignity
Gesalaic had scarcely ascended the vacant throne, before he was defeated by the Burgundians, and compelled to flee into Spain, whence he was afterwards driven into Africa ; whilst
the Visigoths, having received some powerful succours from Theodoric, resumed their wonted cou. rage, and obliged both the Franks and Burgundians to abandon their late conquests. The king of the Ostrogoths claimed the country of Provence, as a remuneration for his assistance on this occasion : but he governed the rest of Alaric's territories merely as regent for Ama. laric, and entrusted the administration with a person of known merit and ability,
After an absence of about four years, Gesalaic returned into Gaul, and raised a numerous body of forces in order to attempt the recovery of some of the Spanish cities : but he was soon encountered and slain by part of Theodoric's army; and Amalaric, having attained to years of maturity, was put in possession of his father's dominions. Shortly after he had assumed the reins
A.D. of government, Amalaric became en
528. amoured of Clotilda, daughter of Clovis, and the nuptials were solemnized with great magnificence: but his subsequent conduct was so base and unmanly, that the unhappy princess sent an affecting description of her sufferings to her, brethren, among whom the kingdom of the Franks was divided, and earnestly requested them to interfere on her behalf. Hereupon Childebert, king of France, marched with a powerful army into the territories of the aggressor, and gained a decisive victory over the Visigoths. Amalaric fell a sacrifice to the resentment of his invaders ; Clotilda, dying on the road to her brother's dominions, was interred with her royal father in the monastery of St. Genevieve ; and M 2
the conqueror enriched his churches with the treasures of his fallen adversary.
The royal family of the Goths being extinct, it was necessary to fill the vacant throne by election; and the generalchoice fell upon Theudis, who had governed Spain with unblemished reputation during the minority of the deceased prince.
Theudis had scarcely assumed the royal title before the princes of the Franks resolved to drive both him and his Gothic subjects out of Gaul. This design, however, was suspended for some time, and eventually frustrated by the prudence and conduct of the new king. But he was, soon after, repulsed with ignominy by some imperial forces whom he attempted to expel from the city of Ceuta, in Africa; and, on his return to Spain, he was assassinated by a pretended maniac.
The Visigoths having performed their D.
last mournful duties to their deceased 548.
master, conferred the supreme dignity upon one of their commanders, named Theo. dosile: but his intemperance, lust, and cruelty rendered his reign so odious, that à conspiracy was soon formed against his person, and he was murdered at an entertainment, after he had disgraced the regal title for about seventeen months.
Upon the death of this tyrant, Agila A.D. 549.
was placed on the vacant throne; but
as his elevation had resulted entirely from the choice of the conspirators, without any of the usual forms, many of the nobility were disgusted; and a general spirit of disaffection began to appear in several of the provinces. The people of Cordova not only refused to ac
knowledge him for their sovereign, but had re. course to arms, and defeated him in a pitched battle ; a body of imperial troops, under the command of Liberius, joined the malecontents, and took possession of all the maritime country, from the fortress of Gibraltar to the confines of Valencia; and Agila was eventually put to death by the nobles who attended
his person, but who were provoked by his insolence, and distracted at the idea of the civil war which had followed his election. The news of Agila's death was no
A.D. sooner made public, than Athanagilde, a Visigoth of noble extraction, who had
554. taken an active part in the late rebellion, was proclaimed king with universal acclamations ; and, by his comma
mand, the seat of the Gothio monarchy was removed to Toledo. The commencement of his reign was extremely mild ; and his subjects rejoiced in observing that he rather chose to establish his authority on their affections than their fears. A temporary alarm was, indeed, excited by some unwarrantable en. croachments of the Imperialists: but this was soon and effectually obviated by the zeal of Athanagilde and the bravery of his adherents. The remainder of his life, exclusive of some domestic vexations which arose from the marriage of one of his daughters with the king of Soissons, was passed in perfect tranquillity; and he died, in the thirteenth year of his reign, equally venerated by liis subjects and respected by his neighbours.
An interregnum of five months succeeded the death of this amiable prince; and, during chut period, the nation suffered severely from M 3
the private views and jealousies of the nobles, and from the bold innovations of the Imperialists. At length, however, the inhabitants of most of the cities became discontented, and the nobles deemed it expedient to provide for their own safety by making choice of a king.
This resolution being adopted, Liuva, governor of the Gothic provinces in Gaul, was nominated as the successor of Athanagilde ; and it is universally agreed by historians, that no individual was ever more deserving of a crown,
for piety, prudence, and bravery were happily united in his character, and his patriotism induced him to lay aside every thought of private advantage, in order to devote his whole attention to the welfare of his subjects. Perceiving the necessity of a careful administration in the Gallic provinces, and knowing that the Visigoths might be easily expelled from their Spanish dominions if they had not a chief of distinguished abilities in that country, he associated his brother, Leovigilde, in the regal dignity, and requested him to reside at the court of Toledo; whilst himself remained in Gaul, and took every possible precaution for the preservation of his people's security and the augmentation of their felicity. These excellent designs he fully accomplished ; and died universally regretted, in the year five hundred and seventytwo, after an honourable and useful reign of five years.
Leovigilde had, previously to his brother's death, restored the reputation of the Goths in Spain by several great achievements: and, on his becoming sole monarch, he determined to chastise all the revolted provinces, and to reduce