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upward to its summit; the Pantheon with its vast circular space, arched over by a magnificent dome; and its lofty pediments rising one above another, and crowned with statues of Roman heroes; the Forum and Temple of Peace ; the Theatre of Pompey; the Musical Hall; the Stadia, and other imposing objects in the Eternal City. But when he came to the Forum of Trajan—the most astonishing structure under the face of heaven, and, as I conceive, wonderful in the estimation of the deities themselves—he was struck with astonishment, while considering its gigantic buildings, which are not to be described in language, or again to be equalled by mortal skill. Discarding the idea of erecting another forum like that, he thought that he might rear an equestrian statue, which should resemble the colossal horse of Trajan; but this design he also abandoned, upon hearing it remarked by the prince, Hormisdas, ' If you would succeed in having a similar horse, you must first provide a similar stable.'” Such was the grandeur of ancient

. Itome; and it was probably with feelings of admiration like those of the emperor and his historian, that many a citizen returned from the baths and the forums to his own dwelling on the eventful evening in question. Gradually the sounds of business, and the murmur of voices in the streets died away ; and as the stars shone forth in the face of heaven, the mighty city slept in silence. But it was a silence soon to be disturbed.

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At the midnight hour, a blast of trumpets like the roar of thunder reverberated from hill to hill, and woke up myriads of the inhabitants from their deep slumbers—it was the signal that Alaric the Goth, with his mighty army, had entered Rome. Two years

before the barbarian general had besieged the city. Swayed by what he conceived a supernatural impulse, he led his victorious troops down the passes of the Apennines, upon the rich plains of Italy. A pious monk, it is said, met the warrior on his way, and exhorted him to refrain from his expedition; but he replied, “I am urged on in spite of myself, by an irresistible impulse which is continually saying to me, ‘March to Rome, and desolate the city.'”* Thus, prompted by his ambition, he fulfilled his destiny, and wreaked a fearful amount of vengeance on the heads of the Romans, for the wrongs which they had inflicted upon others. Twice did he blockade the gates of Rome, and subdue the proud masters of the world. During the first siege, the terrors of famine and pestilence reduced the senate to submission, and the conqueror agreed to raise the siege, only upon the condition of his being paid a very large ransom.- Negotiations for peace with the emperor Honorius, who was then at Ravenna, having failed, Alaric returned to Rome, and again pitched his camp before the walls. The remembrance of their calamities, during the former siege, constrained

* Socrates, llist., lib. vii. c. 10.

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the people once more to yield ; when the Gothic warrior insisted upon their renouncing allegiance to Honorius, and imposed upon them a new emperor in the person of Attalus, the prefect of the city. But it was not long before the latter forfeited the confidence of his master, and Alaric immediately proceeded publicly to strip him of the imperial purple. The Goth, after this circumstance, renewed his negotiations with the court of Ravenna ; but being insulted by the heralds, and attacked by the troops of Honorius, he turned his army a third time towards the gates of Rome.*

Historians inform us, that it was by an act of treachery, that Alaric was now admitted into the city ; but no satisfactory information can be obtained respecting the particulars of the important transaction. The Gothic trumpet, however, at the Salarian gate, the march of the enemy along the great highway, and the flames issuing from the palace of Sallust-which was fired by the troops, as soon as they entered within the walls-proclaimed that Rome, the Queen of Cities, after the lapse of nearly eight hundred years from her invasion by the Gauls, was once more in the hands of a barbarian foe. Although the Romans had been aware of the vicinity of Alaric, yet, lulled into a state of false security, they did not anticipate any assault, and the senators were quietly slumbering in their beds when the enemy entered the city. Fearful were the scenes enacted; and well might • Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xxxi.

Jerome apply to it the lines of Virgil, in reference to the sack of Troy:

“What tongue can tell the slaughter of that night!

Wnat eyes can weep the sorrow and affright?
An ancient and imperial city falls-
The streets are fill’d with frequent funerals;
Houses and holy temples float in blood,
An i hostile nations made a common flood;
All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears,
And grisly death in sundry shapes appears,

The cruel and licentious soldiery made a dreadful slaughter of the Roman people, and violated many a matron and virgin. The horrors of the invasion were further heightened by the excesses which were practised by forty thousand slaves, who now broke loose from the authority of their masters, and retaliated, on them and their families, the wrongs which themselves and their predecessors had endured through ages of oppression. But it is acknowledged by all writers, that Alaric—who was himself an Arian-showed some considerable regard for the Christians of the city, and spared the churches where they met for worship. Indeed he appointed the edifices, which had been dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul, as places of refuge for the terrified Christian inhabitants, and gave strict orders that those who fled there for sanctuary, should be protected from injury. Instances illustrative of the forbearance of the soldiers, and of their respect not only for the persons of the Christians but for the consecrated vessels which they employed in their worship, are afforded us by the historians of those times. Orosius gives us å graphic description of a long train of Christians, carrying on their heads the communion-plate of gold and silver, and singing their sacred hymns, who were escorted in safety, by the Gothic soldiers, through the streets of the ravaged city, to the church of St. Peter. He speaks also of many of the barbarians, and the pagan Romans, uniting in these songs, and joining in the solemn procession; and represents the latter as saving themselves from vengeance, by taking shelter beneath the wing of the Christian faith.

But, notwithstanding this abatement of the horrors connected with the taking of Rome, enough is recorded on the page of authentic history to convey a fearful idea of that memorable event. Numbers were slain, the houses of the wealthy were pillaged, their most costly treasures were unsparingly seized, many of the most beautiful works of art were destroyed ; and if only a few of the buildings of Rome were reduced to ashes, they were all, no doubt, stripped of whatever was valuable, and capable of being removed in the heavy wagons which followed in the rear of the Gothic army: Multitudes of the people of rank were sold for slaves, or driven into exile. • Who would believe,' exclaims Jerome, “that Rome, built up with the spoils of the whole world, and the very cradle of nations, should be turned into a sepulchre; that the shores of Egypt, Africa, and the east, should be crowded with the handmaids of the imperial city; that every day

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