I have myself caught one in the morning in the fishing-net which I had set the evening before. And as often as the heron called, there answered still deeper out of the eastern forest the shrill cry of the black eagle.
Felicitas - Name's Meaning of Felicitas
And how could the Germans come here from the east? From the west, from Vindelicia only, could the Alemanni come, who are the nearest Germans to us. How could they have crossed the river unnoticed, unless they have wings, like the gray heron himself? Foresight is very praiseworthy, my young friend, and thou seest I am not wanting in vigilance. A blind fate guides the world. Rome—my pride, my dream—sinks, sinks irretrievably. But this sword—it is inherited from my imperial ancestor, Probus—gives me always fresh encouragement. Nine German kings knelt before that hero's tent, when he drew this sword out of the scabbard, and commanded the trembling ones, according to their own custom, to swear allegiance by the sword.
And they swore it. I myself, while I was allowed to serve, had defeated the Germans in twenty battles and fights, with this sword. Rome, Latium, Italy has no more men. There are no more Romans. Celtic blood flows in my veins, Dacian in thine. And why canst thou no longer serve?
Because thou hast often conquered, the mistrustful Emperor has taken the general's staff from thy hand, and in gratitude for thy services sent thee here in honourable banishment. I can be of use to the Roman state here also. It is over with us. Asia to the Parthians, Europe to the Germans, and to us—destruction. It seems to me that each people, as each man, lives out its life. Twelve centuries have gone by since Romulus was suckled by the she-wolf. We must allow that she had good milk—the venerable beast—and the wolf's blood in our veins has lasted long. But now it is diseased, and the baptismal water has utterly ruined it.
How can the government of the world be maintained, when hardly any Roman marries, and the few children that are born are not suckled by the mothers, while these broad-hipped German women are filling the land with their numerous progeny. They literally eat us up, these forest people; they dispossess us from the earth more through their chaste fruitfulness than by their deadly courage.
Three hundred and forty thousand Goths did the Emperor Claudius destroy; in four years after there stood four hundred thousand in the field. They grow like the heads of the Hydra. And we have no Hercules. I have had enough of it. I shall bring it to an end in the next battle. One does not suffer long after a blow from a German battle-axe. Severus seized the hand of the young man who had spoken so bitterly.
Pleasure, love of ornament, and love of power, are the three Graces whom they invoke. Have you ever heard that the priests among these barbarians befool the young girls? I have not. But a people without gods, without native warriors, without true wives, without children—such a people can no longer live. A people that has every reason to tremble before its own slaves, ten times more numerous than itself!
If thou hadst only seen the murderous dark looks with which the slaves of Zeno, the usurer, threatened their lord and the slave-master, as they were just now driven in chains through the street! But I myself?
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How stands it with me? I have been everywhere, and held many different offices in Rome, in Ravenna, in Byzantium: soldier, magistrate, writer—all with success; and yet I found it all—vain, hollow. I have tried everything, it is all naught. Now, returned home to the town of my fathers, I find it ruled by a usurer from Byzantium and a sensualist and brawler from Mauritania; and the only one who still makes any opposition to this alliance, is not thou , and not I ; we are only two honourable Romans!
It must die; and that soon. Come, then, come, ye Alemanni! I cannot swallow hemlock. I will fall with the clang of the tuba, and imagine that I am falling under Camillus or Scipio. Cornelius nodded, sadly smiling, "I think I can boldly promise that. Thou and thy conquering sword—you will no longer keep back the quickly approaching ruin.
At this moment a shrill blast from the tuba struck on their ear. The curtain of the inner bath was torn aside; an armed burgher rushed in and cried: "Hasten, Severus; now they are coming. German horsemen are galloping hither out of the western forest on the other side of the river! With the help of the messenger and the bath attendants, Severus was quickly armed. Accompanied by Cornelius he hastened to the Vindelician gate, there to mount the high wall, which afforded a prospect far and wide.
The exertion made him very hot, for it was now mid-day; the burning rays of the sun fell vertically on his heavy helmet. At the gate he was met by a centurion of the Tribune; Leo had already seen from the Capitol the horsemen swarming out of the western forest. He sent word there were only about a hundred Germans: he would himself immediately lead his cavalry to the gates, for he was able again to mount his horse. Severus ordered the soldier to follow him for the moment on to the walls. With Cornelius he looked intently over the plain, which stretched from the left farther bank of the river as far as the western forest.
After long observation he turned. He was about to speak to Cornelius; but his eyes fell on two country people who were anxiously looking in the same direction. You swore by all the saints that you had seen no trace of the enemy. Your cottages lie on the other side of the western forest. And now the barbarians lie hidden between you and the town!
Were you blind and deaf? But the elder of the two peasants answered: "No, sir, I am no traitor. I do not support the barbarians. Believe an old legionary; and if you do not believe me, keep me here as a hostage till it is decided. Only yesterday I and my nephew were boiling pitch in the west forest—the traders from Ravenna give a high price for it. The whole forest is not five miles in breadth; if there had been many barbarians hiding themselves there, we must have seen them; it cannot be a migrating horde, an army of people; it can only be adventurers, a few horsemen who are reconnoitring to see how the country is protected.
I believe him. It is only that handful of riders over by the river that is capering towards us. We will drench them for their insolence. Himilco, back to the Tribune. I decline the help of his Moors—hearest thou? I decline it altogether; it is a case of honour, to show these robbers that the burghers of Juvavum alone are men enough to chastise them. He struck him on the shoulder with fatherly kindness, and descended the narrow flight of steps from the walls. Having reached the gate, he commanded the tuba-blower to hasten through all the quarters of the town, and summon the burghers to the Vindelician gate: in a quarter of an hour would the attack be made.
Loud sounded the imperative tones in all parts of the town, and from every street the armed volunteers streamed forth to the north-western gate. One of the first was the fat Crispus, who came panting from his workshop hard by. He toiled along under an immense spear and shield. It was hot, and Crispus was old and corpulent. On his head, instead of a helmet, he carried a cooking utensil, in which, in peaceful times, the old Ancilla was accustomed to bake the—only too greasy—festival cakes!
It was certainly now scoured quite bright, but it was somewhat too large, and at each step rattled about his ears. He did not present a very warlike appearance. Why does he deny his arm to the Fatherland? Always with his young wife?
Where is he? Crispus had not had time to answer—had only pointed towards the tower at the gate; and behind the barred window of the second story, Fulvius was to be seen eagerly stretching forth both hands. Let him pay first his debt to the Fatherland. Should he fall, he will be free from every debt; should he survive, he will return to the tower. The gaoler hesitated; but a blow in the ribs which Cornelius impatiently dealt him altered his opinion.
Immediately afterwards Fulvius sprang over the threshold, seized the shield and spear which were brought to him from the store of arms on the ramparts, and cried:. Compose thyself, no barbarian has yet crossed the river. Then the tuba-blowers returned from their rounds the last citizens from the most distant houses arrived. Severus and Cornelius drew them up in two companies, each of about three hundred men. Then the old hero stood before them and said:. And woe to the barbarians! The gate was drawn up, and over the drawbridge, which at the same time fell across the moat, the men hastened out of the town.
Very few guards were left on the walls. Women and children now hurried from their houses, mounted the ramparts, and looked after their dear ones, who at a quick march were advancing towards the bridge below the town, the west end of which, as we have seen, had been in the morning barricaded and occupied by a small troop.
At mid-day, when the Alemannian horsemen had first become visible, Leo the Tribune was lying in his richly-furnished chamber in the high tower of the Capitol, on a soft couch over which was spread a lion's skin. He felt in his best mood. He comfortably stroked the rich black beard which encircled a face—bronze-brown, small, originally nobly formed, but long since become terrible by passions.
Before him, on a table of citron-wood, there stood, half-emptied, a large jug of fiery Siculer wine, and a silver drinking-cup. The elder slave, raising his finger in warning, brought the mixing-cup. But, laughing, his master put it aside. There, drink! He wore only a purple petticoat round his loins.
His other garments the Tribune had stripped off, that he might gaze on his splendid limbs. Without turning his beautiful, sad face, the prisoner shook his head, round which flowed long golden hair. Set me free! For know this, shameful man, never will I comply with thy orders. Leo angrily threw at him the heavy fortress-key, which lay on an ottoman near. If the brat will not be his master's plaything, away with him to the beasts!
Davus dragged him away. The look, full of deadly hate, which the young German threw back, quickly turning as he passed out of the room, Leo did not observe. He soon recovered his good-humour. I drink to our first embrace! Then he stood up. What insolence! Only a few wear defensive armour; and their weapons of attack are pitiable. How many of their arrows, spears, battle-axes have already splintered harmlessly on my helmet and armour! They are coming straight towards me. I long for battle and victory! There is life down there in the streets of the town. Severus is gathering his cobblers and tinkers.
But they will not get the better of the impetuous enemy. When the old man, who is playing the general, is in the greatest distress—I will let him struggle a good while as a punishment—then will I ride out with my cavalry like the storm of the desert, and sweep them before me. But first to the priest. No one in the town is now thinking of anything but the barbarians outside the gates. So I can accomplish it unnoticed. The danger from that priest must be very threatening, when the cowardly gold-sack himself counsels bloody means. He has ever menaced me, the psalm-whiner.
First security and revenge, then the pleasure of victory, and for a reward—Felicitas. Let Pluto be saddled," commanded he the old slave, "and help me to arm. The old man took the order to the court below, and then returned to the tower. Leo had already put on the tall helmet with its flowing plume, and the splendid greaves, and the slave now helped his master to clasp and buckle over the dark-red tunic the magnificent breast-armour, which was adorned with many orders and distinctions. When Leo had girded on the sword, and was going to take the bronze shield, with the long, sharp spike in the centre, the old man took carefully from a small ivory box, which stood in the corner near the couch, a narrow leather strap with two diminutive appendages, and with an entreating, silent, impressively eloquent look, offered the charm to his master.
It was a small, ugly idol in amber, and a tiny silver case. Dost thou not know them, the guarding jewels? The one is the Egyptian god, Phtha, and the capsule encloses a hair of the beard of the Apostle Paul. If the first does not help, the second will. Wear to-day both. I had last night a bad dream. And some one creature on the earth, love—some one name honour!
It would be better for thee! To which god shall I pray? With the same fervour and with the same results, have I seen prayer offered to Astarte and Artemis, to Osiris and Jupiter, to Christ and Jehovah. But honour? What can be sacred to me? Hardly so old as that German youth, I was stolen by Vandal horsemen. Then lost I home, parents for ever! Sold as a slave to the Romans, I suffered and enjoyed, even as a boy, things unspeakable—pampered, kissed, fed, whipped.
I slew my last master, escaped into the forests of Calabria, became robber, robber-chief; was taken, condemned to the sports in the circus, pardoned by the Emperor when even my blood reddened the arena, placed among the mercenaries, soon by wild courage centurion and Tribune. They all forsook me when I believed in them. But since I scorn them all, Fortune serves me like a beloved maid. And what shall I love and honour?
My palm-rustling home? That is occupied by Vandalic barbarians! Rome at first ill-treated me like a captive beast of prey, and now hunts me like a tamed lion against her enemies. Very well; the nature as well as the name of this my terrible countryman have I chosen;" and he patted the proudly-maned head of the desert-king on his couch. Wine, war, women! And at last—no awakening—eternal night in the silent waste of death!
Having reached the wide court-yard, the Tribune commanded his troops to mount; he ordered the squadron to follow him into the town, and station themselves in the Forum of Hercules, there to wait till, he should lead them to the attack. The centurion Himilco, in command of the Isaurian foot-soldiers, was placed at the look-out post at the entrance of the Capitol, to watch the progress of the battle and any possible events in the town; and if his presence was required in the town or outside the walls, he must first close the strong gate of the citadel, and leave two guards there.
The Tribune quietly ordered his two slaves, the old Greek and his son, to the foot of the Capitol with a closed litter: "under any circumstances," added he. And now, having given all his commands, he placed his foot in the stirrup, to swing himself on Pluto, his magnificent black Spanish steed, which had, with the front hoof, been impatiently striking sparks from the granite pavement.
He was hardly in the saddle when, through the open stable-door, his eye fell on the boy Hortari, who, with outstretched arms, was chained to the wall between two iron horse-racks. In a corner of the stable lay a round blue German shield, a spear, and a battle-axe, the weapons that had been taken from the boy at his seizure.
He shall go on the walls, and see the destruction of his German heroes. At night we will chain him with a whole pack of such bears.
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And he gave his steed the spurs, so that he started loudly neighing. And, following their powerful leader, the glittering cavalcade galloped off, rushing and clashing down the valley. With less cheerfulness than the Tribune, had his confederate Zeno received the news of the appearance of the Germans before the town. He owned many estates outside the gates, managed by slaves and slave-women, who might take this opportunity, as the oppressed often do in such cases, to run away to the barbarians, and with them make good their escape.
Although he was no patron of art, and was too prudent to leave treasures outside the fortress, yet his villas contained much valuable furniture and other household goods. There were also herds of cattle, sheep, and swine, which he would very unwillingly have bestowed on the robbers. Therefore, in the early hours of the morning, when Severus went out to reconnoitre and to take possession of the bridge over the Ivarus, Zeno sent out, under the protection of this troop, his slave-master, himself an emancipated slave, with a gang of armed men, to bring in from the houses which lay, at all events, on this side of the river, the most valuable effects.
The slaves especially belonging to those properties were to be led into the town—if necessary by force. These peasants and herdsmen, always rougher, wilder, more insubordinate than the town servants, had only obeyed with reluctance; on two estates the unhappy creatures had resisted, but were overpowered by superior numbers and bound with chains to each other. The slave-master swung incessantly over them the many-lashed leather scourge, urging them to haste, and to burden themselves with still heavier loads, which they balanced on their heads.
In a long train, those that were chained in the centre, cattle and sheep forward, armed slaves at each side, the overseers at the head and end of the line, they now came back through the Vindelician gate, which was immediately closed behind them. A gigantic neatherd, who was very heavily chained—he had resisted furiously, and still bled from several wounds—then halted; he thereby stopped the progress of all who were chained to him. He was silent; not a cry of pain escaped his tightly-pressed lips. But Calvus continued: "Thou hast risen in open rebellion; we might have thee quartered for it.
But it would be losing too much capital to kill such a beast, that we have fed for thirty years. Patience, my little son! I shall try on thee the new torture instrument which the master has procured from Byzantium. That shall be my refreshing evening's amusement. The strong Thracian grew pale; but with anger, not fear. He only cast a look at his persecutor, and again strode forwards. While some of the servants distributed the herds in the town stabling, the chained slaves were taken by Calvus to the court of the master's house in the Via Augustana, to receive their punishment.
Previous to mutilation, we must, according to the law of the pious Constantine, obtain the sentence of the Judge. I will ask my son-in-law. Mucius," and he smiled; "but, with a slight modification of the law, afterwards. Now I shall go to the Bath of Amphitrite to inquire the news. While he, accompanied by Calvus, was passing through the court, his eyes fell on old Thrax, who lay in the comer on some straw; quite exhausted, he had sunk into a deep sleep; by him, leaning against the wall, was his giant son, heavily chained; blood still trickled from his wounds.
Zeno thrust at the sleeper with his staff; the old man opened his tired eyes:. I dreamt that the Lord had called me! I walked in Paradise! But on the earth also I belong to the Lord Christ! Withdraw from him the wine and bacon. It is useless to feed him. He makes me uneasy. He has the look of our black bull immediately before it went mad. Away with him to the mines of the Fiscus! They need there such strong scoundrels, and the lead soon poisons. Now to the bath! With that he went out of the court. But he did not seem to notice either the old father or the brother streaming with blood; he limped towards Calvus, and said, deeply bending:.
Zeno and thou, you are accused before him, by Johannes the priest, of having scourged the Syrian woman, so that the unborn child died. He says he can this time only with difficulty acquit you. The writing was long; while Calvus read it with a knitted brow, the lame man glided silently to his brother and pressed a file into his hand; it was wrapped in a strip of papyrus. Highly displeased, Calvus gave him back the indictment. He knows everything that does not concern him. I must myself speak with thy master.
Go on! Thou limpest horribly, Kottys," laughed he. We sold thee to the Judge as incorrigible. But since thy new master has cut thy sinews for thee, thou hast not again attempted to escape, and art become tame, quite tame. In an hour Zeno returned from the bath. As he crossed the courtyard, all the slaves, chained and unchained, were sitting at their scanty meal, consisting of small pieces of coarse barley-bread, onions, and bad wine, sour as vinegar.
He went into his writing-room to his accounts. This room—alone in the house—had instead of curtains a strong wooden door, which could be locked. He soon noticed an unusual noise, as of the screaming and running of many men in the distance. The door then opened gently. Astonished, displeased at the intrusion, Zeno turned. He was still more astonished to see old Thrax standing upon the threshold, who shut the door carefully, turned the key, and laid his finger on his lips, warning silence, for his master had angrily given a cry of displeasure.
Horror seized the Byzantian. He was well aware what vengeance he had heaped up against himself. From the courtyard the wild cry already rang in his ears. He seized a large bag of gold pieces, and a little purse full of precious stones which lay before him on the counter of slate; he had been in the act of counting them. The old man pushed a stool to the window to help him to mount. Zeno started; it was with astonishment that he saw the old man actively engaged about his escape.
The slave answered solemnly: "I do it for the sake of the Saviour; Johannes has taught me that my Lord Christ has said: 'Reward evil with good. Zeno wondered if the Tribune had already carried out his bloody counsel. His knees shook. He was not able to climb the low breastwork of the window. The barbarians some eighty horsemen, had several times approached the river, but never within bow-shot; they had also trotted towards the blockaded bridge, but had made no attack on that strong position.
The eyes of the people on the ramparts and of the attacking party were directed intently towards this enemy in the west. When the bridge was reached Severus ordered a small opening to be made in the barricade, through which only two men at a time could gain the left bank, and now, as the two last of the long train of burghers passed through—the bridge was still occupied by its original garrison—there sounded from the hills of the eastern forest, from the right bank, the piercing cry of the black eagle. Severus nodded. Seest thou how our golden eagle on the standard seems to raise its wings?
But Cornelius did not look at the standard-bearer; he looked only towards the eastern forest. Turn thy face! In the west stands the enemy. Lower the spears! In two extended lines near each other, each three men deep, they now advanced towards the agile horsemen, who had quickly ridden back from the river as this mass of footmen passed over; they had halted half-way between the stream and the western forest, and had formed in two parallel lines.
Only a spear's throw separated the enemies. Then as Severus and Cornelius, slowly advancing their columns, were just going to raise their spears, two Germans rode slowly towards them, ceremoniously turning the points of their lances downwards. The two horsemen came now quite close to Severus and Cornelius. The combatants on each side stood back in anxious expectation.
One of the two Germans, a youthful, towering, splendid figure, on a milk-white steed, was by the ornaments and splendour of his arms characterised as a leader; he might be more than ten years younger than Cornelius, who noticed with envy the muscular strength of the naked right arm of the young barbarian, adorned and at the same time strengthened by broad golden armlets; the left arm was covered by a small round shield, painted red, embellished in the centre with a spokeless wheel, a Rune or a picture of the sun.
His breast was protected by splendidly-worked armour—ah! He was simply dressed and armed; the mane and tail of his powerful war-horse, a brown stallion, were prettily interwoven with red and yellow ribbons; on his shoulders he wore the skin of a wolf, whose open jaws yawned at the enemy from the top of his helmet; his shield was painted in red and yellow circles; at his unarmed breast he carried a mighty horn of the bison of the primeval forest. The commander now raised his lowered spear, threw it into the bridle-hand, and offered the right to Severus, who took it with hesitation, and immediately let it fall.
I know thee; thou art the brave Severus, formerly the Magister Militum. Thou art gallantly continuing the struggle at a lost post, for a lost cause. I pride myself in being the son of the hero Liutbert, king of the Alemanni. My name is Liuthari, and no man has yet conquered me. Severus frowned darkly. Also in your Juvavum we shall not settle. But say first, for whom leadest thou these burghers into the field? In whose name dost thou defend Juvavum? Read what is written to me by one who knows it well.
There is no longer an Emperor of the West! Romulus Augustulus—the boy's name is certainly a good omen for us! He lives henceforth on an island, and feeds peacocks; and on his throne sits my brother-in-law, the husband of my beautiful sister—Odoacer the brave. He has himself written it to us.
Cornelius had glanced through the composition. He tamed pale and silently gave it to Severus, who read it trembling. Odoacer does not lie. He urged on his horse and took the letter from the hand of Severus. One could well believe that of the old man. Before he put the roll into his girdle he looked into it with an important air; it did not disturb him that the letters were upside down. Severus supported himself on his spear. Cornelius looked darkly before him.
For whom, for what will you yet fight? And therefore I bring you a message in my father's name: 'So speaks Liutbert, the King of the Alemanni, in his own name and in that of his allies'"——. Liuthari continued: "'Let him stay in the land who will do so peaceably; he who will not stay let him peaceably retire. The fortresses to be vacated; they must be destroyed.
Two-thirds of the land remain to you; one-third is for us. But Severus started up angrily, raising his spear. Darest thou thus to speak, with eighty barbarians against the host of Juvavum's burghers? Thou hast learnt to speak as a Latin, but not to think as a Roman! Do you think I can yield to you?
A peculiar smile played around the young German's handsome mouth, about which the first downy beard charmingly curled. Are we too few for thee? Soon may we seem too many. Out of a few the wonder-working Wotan wakes many! For the last time—evacuate the fortress; divide peaceably the country! Liuthari turned his horse suddenly round. You are, then, lost. Wotan has you all! The old master-in-arms put the horn to his mouth, and a load roaring tone struck on the ear of the Romans; and before they could obey the command of their leaders and advance against the enemy, there sounded behind them, in the east , from the river, from the town, now quite near, the loud cry of the black eagle; and immediately afterwards such a fearful noise of whoops, cries of anguish, and the clashing of weapons, that all the six hundred men, and both commanders, turned in dismay.
Horror and despair seized them. Germans—Germans innumerable, as it appeared to the alarmed Romans rushed forth from the eastern forest, and from all the slopes of the mountains and brushwood of the hills. A strong detachment hurried towards the bridge; others, on horse and on foot, threw themselves into the river above and below the bridge; but the greater part, laden with ladders and trunks of trees on which the horizontal branches had been left, approached the town; and with fierce rage the shut-out citizens saw how whole masses of the stormers, crowding together like ants, helped to raise each other, supported themselves on the ladders, beams, and trees, climbed up, and, in many places almost without resistance from the few sentinels, at once gained the crown of the ramparts.
The garrison had been enticed out, with the exception of the soldiers of the Tribune. Were they still in the Capitol? The leaders looked anxiously towards the tower: the imperial Vexillum was still fluttering at its summit. But the cry of joy with which the Alemannian horsemen greeted the success of their heroic confederates recalled the Romans to the threatening danger from this near enemy.
Severus ordered Cornelius, with about a hundred men, to engage the Alemannian troopers, while he himself, with the greater part of the deeply discouraged burghers, turned back to the bridge, to assist its garrison, which was now being attacked from the unprotected open east side. Liuthari turned the stroke aside with his shield arm: the next instant Cornelius fell backwards, pierced to the heart through shield and armour by the lance of the German hurled while at full speed.
The enemy had overpowered the garrison of the bridge; already many of the swimmers, horsemen and footmen intermixed, had reached the troops of Severus. Active youths, whose yellow hair floated in the wind from their uncovered heads, ran, holding on to the manes of the horses; and thus attacked at once by horse and foot, the citizens of Juvavum, knowing their town, their relatives, were already in the power of the conqueror, threw away their arms, and fled on all sides.
At the same time the Alemanni from the west rode down the hundred men of Cornelius. The leader of the enemy that had come so suddenly from the east then approached him.
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He had galloped in advance of his followers on to the bridge, where his horse was pierced and fell. He then advanced on foot, a giant in stature. The mighty pinion of the black eagle bristled menacingly on his helm; his red hair, combed towards the crown, and drawn together behind, fell below his helmet; an enormous bear-skin hung on his shoulders: he raised his stone battle-axe. Of what race are you? Are you Alemanni? We do not come from the west. We come from the east, up the Danube. We have taken all the Roman towns from Carnuntum hither; the last legion this side of the Alps have we defeated at Vindobona.
We share the land with our comrades the Alemanni—the Licus is the boundary. Look here; already from the mountains of the east our people stream down into the country—women and children, waggons and herds—that is the advanced guard; tomorrow will come the great horde. Yield, then, gray-head! It would be a pity," continued he slowly, looking at the sword, "if this good blade were lost. Come, brave weapon; serve henceforth the new lord of the land. But now must I thank Liuthari; everything hit together admirably.
Yes; these Alemanni! They are almost wiser than we! Hojo, Sigo, Heilo! Garibrand calls, the Bajuvaren duke.
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Now let us share the booty and the land! Liuthari galloped forward and offered his hand to the duke. Welcome in victory! There was now heard, through the battle-cries of the Bajuvaren in the town, the clear warlike call of the tuba. Into the town! To the help of my heroes! With the exception of the two leaders, very few Romans had fallen in the short hand-to-hand combat; for the Bajuvaren duke had before the attack given the order: "To-day—prisoners!
No slain! Consider, ye men; every man slain is a loss, every prisoner a servant gained for the new masters of the land! Fulvius and Crispus had been among the troops turned by Severus against the Bajuvaren. When their ranks were broken, the nephew cried to the uncle: "To Felicitas! Through the ford! But the stout Crispus, although he had quickly thrown away spear and shield, was soon left far behind the agile stone-mason. His ridiculous appearance challenged the rider to give him a blow on the casserole covering his head in the place of a helmet, it fell over his eyes and nose, from which poured a stream of blood, he gave a loud cry and fell to the ground; he thought he was dead.
But he soon came back to the agreeable certainty of life, when the foot-soldier, who had remained by him, roughly tore the casserole from his head. Crispus sprang up, gasping for breath, the German laughed in his big, fat, highly-astonished face. And this nose is not red with its own blood or with water either. Ho, friend, I will set thee free, if thou wilt reveal to me where in Juvavum the best wine can be got. It seems to me thou art the man to know it.
Crispus, so pleasantly spoken to, recovered himself quickly, now that he was quite convinced that he was not dead, and would not have to die for the fatherland. He is not baptized—but neither is his Falernian. Thou, fat fellow, lead on, and if, contrary to thine oath, it is sour, this Jew's wine, we will drown thee therein.
But Crispus was not alarmed; he rejoiced, on the contrary, that he would now be able to drink gratis, as much as he wished, of the choicest long-stored Cyprus wine, which hitherto had been quite beyond his means. That it was to be drunk to the honour of the god Ziu did not make the wine worse. He did not trouble about his house. The bit of money is buried; they will not carry away the plaster statues, they will only cut off their noses with great zeal and an incomprehensible liking for the business: it does not matter, one can stick them on again," But he was anxious about Fulvius, about Felicitas.
He looked about for the fugitive, but could not see him either lying dead, or brought in a prisoner; he seemed to be swallowed up by the earth: the rider who had pursued him had turned his horse in another direction, and was pursuing other flying Romans. Crispus hoped that the young husband had escaped. He Crispus was quite unable to help Felicitas, for his conqueror held him firmly by the shoulder and pushed him towards the bridge. Thou canst not imagine, Roman, how Alemannian thirst burns. And near the Basilica, sayest thou?
That is right! There we shall find, besides, gold and silver cups for the liquor. And in front of the whole noisy, laughing, shouting swarm, the fat Crispus, an involuntary pot-companion, stumped along as fast as his short legs could carry him, towards the gate through which he had shortly before marched, a proud helmeted legionary.
He had left the casserole where it fell, but he was still reminded of it by the smarting of his nose. In the meantime Fulvius had actually disappeared. He had not thrown away shield and spear, like his corpulent companion; he was young, strong, he had no fear, and he thought of the promise which he had given at his release to the gallant Severus. He had now reached the river and stood firmly on the marshy bank. He heard the hoof-strokes of the galloping horse coming nearer and nearer, and he resolutely turned, looked at the enemy fiercely, raised his spear, took good aim and threw it with all the strength of his arm against the face of the German.
The shield of Fulvius would now have availed him little, for the galloping horseman aimed at the same time with both spears, his own and the one he had caught, at the Roman's head and abdomen. But before the deadly lances reached him, Fulvius had suddenly disappeared; in stepping backwards from the snorting horse, that must the next instant have prostrated him, he lost his balance, slipped on the smooth grass, and fell backwards into the stream, the waters of which, dashing up, closed over him.
The Alemannian bent down from his steed and looked after him laughing as he was carried away. Loud cries sounded behind him; he looked round; the flames broke crackling through the roof of a house close by; it was that of the Judge, his son-in-law. Full of fresh anxiety he hurried forwards.
He sprang across the threshold, flew along the narrow, imperfectly-lighted passage. No Ostiarius, no sub-deacon showed himself. He hurried into the priest's room, the same into which we have already been. The fugitive entered and hastened across the dimly-lighted space to the altar, which, dividing apse and nave, furnished the most sacred asylum in the church. Here on the steps lay Johannes, stretched out motionless, with both arms clasping the relic-shrine on the altar. His horror increased when he, who lay as dead, slowly raised himself and silently turned his pale, venerable face.
All the slaves have revolted. The Judge's house is in flames. Then a bright light as of fire shone through the open windows of the church, and arms clashed in the distance. They are seeking me! They come! Save me! Cover me with thy body. Here, all this gold"—he threw the heavy bag on the altar, it burst and single gold pieces ran clinking over the steps on to the marble pavement. All this gold—or the half—no—all, the whole will I give thee—no, not to thee. I know thou wilt devote it to St. Peter, to thy church, to the poor—only save me! And he threw himself at the priest's feet, carefully concealing the little purse of jewels in his bosom.
My place at this hour is on the battle-field, to attend on the wounded. My brethren I have already sent out. I was only deriving strength from a last prayer. The Lord calls me. Perhaps I may even check the slaughter. But thou—thy cruelty has so enraged the unhappy creatures, that some of them would not be restrained by the altar—by my intercession"——.
With these words he stooped down and raised a slab of the marble flooring near the altar; a short ladder was visible, which led into a dark, tolerably spacious vault. No one but myself knows of this old cave. Wait till I fetch thee out; I will come as soon as the danger is over. Are the bones of the dead—skeletons——Pardon; are there relics in the vault?
Here, take the oil-lamp; and now away! Hearest thou? The tumult presses nearer. Then Zeno sprang down, lamp in hand. Johannes seized the money-bag, and threw it in after him; the miser noticed with agony that the priest had first taken out a handful of solidi. He replaced the stone, and then strewed the gold pieces from the principal door, of the church which he bolted on the inside up to the altar, and from there as far as, and over, the threshold of the door which led from the church into his own house.
He then hastened through this door, and out of his house into the open air. After a few minutes, Zeno heard, with a despairing heart, furious axe-blows thundering on the great door of the church. It burst open and a great crowd of men—to judge from the voices and footsteps—crushed in.
Zeno held his breath in an agony of fear; he pressed his ear to the slab, in order to hear better. He perceived first the voice of a woman. He scourged me almost to death, and killed my child. But do not kill him in the church.
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Honour the house of the eternal God! He has at the last murdered my old father, who had entreated me to spare the monster. When I would not yield, he stole from my side. I found him again when we had broken open the villain's door, and his dagger was in my father's neck. I could murder him seven times. Mucius the Judge we have burnt alive in the flames of his own house.
Look here, brother Kottys; this is the track of the fugitive. The wounded hyena sweats blood; the fleeing miser sweats gold. See here! There he must be hidden. After him! Down with him! The miser, senseless with fright, had crept back into the farthest corner; long cowered he there; cold sweat ran from his brow.
But all remained quiet, the last sound died away; the pursuers had, after searching the priest's house, poured out into the street. He said to himself: "The Tribune will soon observe the conflagration, and the uproar in the town. He has already repeatedly subdued such riots. With his lancers he will in a few hours re-establish order. He stumbled against a chest. A strange curiosity, mixed with dread, impelled him irresistibly to open it; perhaps here the sly old fellow hid the treasures of his church!
He lifted up the lid; the chest contained nothing but papyrus rolls and parchments; spread over them was a white, priestly garment with a hood, exactly like that which Johannes had worn. After a time, as all remained still, he became uncomfortable in the damp air of the vault; he carefully half-raised the slab, mounted the ladder and looked into the empty church. A few had been picked up by his pursuers, but they thirsted more for blood than gold. Already the miser repented having promised the priest so much. And these scattered pieces—they shall not fall to the scoundrels.
Then he deliberately placed money-bag and purse of jewels in the chest, closed the lid, climbed quickly out and picked up the solidi—at first those that lay nearest, then those by the altar; he then saw to the right of the altar a whole heap lying together, as they had fallen out of the burst bag. He went now from the left of the altar towards the right, stooped down—oh, horror!
Only one man, certainly, but that was not Johannes—there was the clang of metal! He quickly attempted to regain his hiding-place, but before he could pass the altar, a black shadow fell across his path. Zeno could not, unnoticed, spring into the vault. His knees failed him; so, drawing the hood quickly over his head, he threw himself into the position in which he had found Johannes, with his arms encircling the relic shrine on the altar. At the same moment cold steel penetrated his neck.
He was dead before he had heard the words, "Die, priest! But the murderer now thought it was not the high-towering form of the Presbyter. He bent down so that the black horse-tail of his high helmet fell forwards, and drew back the hood, and with it the head of the murdered man. But before the Tribune could think about these questions, his whole attention was drawn towards the chief entrance of the church, by a noise of the most startling kind.
Leo had stationed his troops in the Forum of Hercules; had left them with the command there to await his return. He had dismounted, and put his horse in charge of one of the troopers. He wished to reach the priest's house on foot, by a circuitous route through narrow streets, where he would be less observed. He had been startled when half-way by seeing the flames rise, and hearing in the distance the tumult of the revolted slaves. He stood still. I will return myself immediately.
Then will I help. He had then hurried into the empty house of the priest, rushing through it with sword drawn, he reached the Basilica, and instead of him he sought, had struck dead his own confederate. He had hardly discovered this, when there sounded in the direction of the portal the bugles and trumpets of his horsemen, calling to the attack.
But on the threshold he suddenly stopped: for quite a different sound struck on his terrified ear—not the raging howl of frantic slaves; no, a cry well known to him—the watch-cry, the war-cry, the cry of victory of the Germans, and—it was close at hand. But, stepping carefully out from the door of the Basilica, he saw at the corner of the great square whole swarms, yes, hundreds of Germans, on foot—not the few horsemen whom they had so long observed—and they were advancing straight towards the church.
He fled through the nave of the church, past the still raised stone slab into the house of Johannes. But the noise came towards him in that direction also, loud laughing and shouting, and he saw approaching a crowd of Germans with a stout Roman at their head, whom they had heavily laden with wine-skins. As quickly as his heavy armour would allow him, he turned back into the Basilica, sprang—this seemed the only possible place of safety—into the open vault, pulled down the stone slab, and immediately heard the Germans pouring into the church through both entrances.
Shouting and exulting the conquerors greeted each other over the head of the imprisoned commandant of Juvavum. We will join the drinking Germans above, rather than the Tribune raging in impotent wrath below the marble floor. But we know the forests better than those brown Africans. Four were dead, or prisoners, before they were aware of it.
One escaped—alas! But it seems he was not able to tell much. Then a little company of us slipped across the river—an Alemannian horse can swim like a swan—and galloped to you Bajuvaren in the eastern mountains, in order that at the right time the call of the heron should be answered by the cry of the eagle. Fiercely the Bajuvaren put his hand to the battle-axe in his girdle. It is my opinion we have come early enough to cut you down—you as well as all others who wait long enough! Although you are so quick in thought and hasty in words, many times already you have not had limbs quick enough for flight, to escape from us, if we are slow.
Provoked thus, the other was going to answer angrily, but Vestralp, the first Alemannian, interposed soothingly: "Never mind, both of you; thou, my Suomar! Once there, the Bajuvaren fight so splendidly that they make up for lost time. On the stone steps is the best place to sit and drink," said Helmdag, his son.
That is the table of the most exalted Lord of Heaven," threatened Rando. This is a heretic church, more harmful than any abominations of heathenism. So my Gothic godfather, the Bishop of Novi, teaches me. I will teach thee to give to the Lord Christ equal honour with the Father. I will fill thy mouth with my fist, and with thine own teeth as well! Bring the skin, Crispus, thou Roman hero! Do not untie it! A stroke with the sword. It spouts like red blood out of wounds! Now the helmets and hollow shields, until the noble Roman in the buck's skin is exhausted.
And as concerns the strife about the two stone steps, I think that a good man honours everything that is sacred to another. Therefore, brothers, we will all draw back from those steps. We will divide it amongst us all: for the God Ziu, for the Romish Bishops, and for the followers of Arius. And they immediately set to work with the bronze helmet, or deer-skin cap, full of red wine in the left hand, the battle-axe in the right.
Drinking heartily during their work, they broke away from the sarcophagi, holy shrines, and even from the columns, all that was valuable of the metal ornaments and jewels, and also the stones that pleased the eye by their variegated colours. Garizo, a young, slim, tall Bajuvaren, lifted from the neck of a Saint Anne her necklace of heavy gold and sapphires, giving at the same time a deep bow, and saying:. What one sees of thy bosom is yellow; but my bride Albrun is alive and young, and wonderfully beautiful; and very pretty will these stones look on her white neck.
But I am not an expert in English royal history. Terms and Conditions. Style Book. Weather Forecast. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Thursday 27 June Friederike I, the woman who would be Queen A German homoeopathic doctor has been identified as the person who would be on the British throne if new rules on the royal succession had been adopted in the time of Queen Victoria.
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