History of the World
THE prophecies of the Bible are
not difficult to understand, if we follow the rules laid down in
Scripture for interpreting prophecy. These rules are few in number, and
they are not complicated. When used in connection with prophetic
symbols, "sea," or "waters," stand for
"multitudes" of people (Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 8:7; 17:12;
Jeremiah 6:23); ",wind" stands for "war" (Jeremiah
4:12, 13; 25:31, 32); "beasts" stand for "kingdoms"
(Daniel 7:23); and "days" for "years" (Ezekiel 4:6).
The prophet Daniel saw in vision
four winds of war, which strove upon the great sea of people, and four
great beasts, or kingdoms, came up one after the other. "The first
was like a lion, and had eagle's wings," Daniel 7:24. In Jeremiah
49:19, 22, 28, a lion is used to symbolize the kingdom of Babylon
(606-538 B. C.). The second beast was like a bear (Daniel 7:5), and
denoted Medo-Persia, the next world empire (538-331 B. C.). The
"three ribs in the mouth of it" were the three chief countries
which it conquered, Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt.
He next saw a leopard having four
heads and four wings (v. 6), symbolizing the Grecian Empire (331-168 B.
C.). A leopard is very alert, and adding to this symbol four wings would
indicate that Grecia would make rapid conquest, which was true.
Alexander the Great marched his army 51,000 miles in eight years and
conquered the then known civilized world. The four heads on the leopard
denote the four divisions into which that empire was split up after the
death of Alexander.
"The fourth beast," the
angel explained, "shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." V.
The fourth empire from Babylon
was Rome (168 B. C. to 476 A. D.). The angel also informs us that
"the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall
arise." V. 24. The Roman Empire was split up into just ten smaller
kingdoms between the years 351 and 476 A. D. The following are their
ancient and modern names: 1. Alemanni–Germany. 2. Franks–France. 3.
Anglo-Saxons–England. 4. Burgundians–Switzerland. 5. Visigoths
–Spain. 6. Suevi–Portugal. 7. Lombards–Italy. 8. Heruli. 9.
Vandals. 10. Ostrogoths.
This prophecy is so plain, and
the explanation so natural and easy to understand, that all
commentators, both Protestant and Catholic, fully agree on it. (See Sir
Isaac Newton's "Observations upon the Prophecies," pp. 157- 26
159; Bishop Thomas Newton,
"Dissertations on the Prophecies," pp. 201- 221; Joseph Tanner
on "Daniel and the Revelation," pp. 165-174; Martin Luther's
"Introduction," pp. 32, 33, Frederikshald, 1853.)
The Douay, or Catholic, version
of the Bible has the following notes on Daniel 7:3, 7, 8. "Four
great beasts. Viz., the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman
empires." "Ten horns. That is, ten kingdoms, (as Apoc. 17.
12,) among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parcelled."
"Another little horn. This is commonly understood of
Antichrist." In regard to these ten kingdoms, Sir Isaac Newton
says: "Whatever was their number afterwards, they are still called
the Ten Kings from their first number"–" Daniel and the
Apocalypse," p. 187; first printed, 1733; reprinted, London: 1922.
The Little Horn
"I considered the horns,
and, behold, there came up among them another little horn." Daniel
7:8. Let us now consider all the characteristics this prophecy gives to
the little horn, and we shall be forced by weight of evidence to settle
on just one power as the fulfillment of these predictions. (1) It was to
come up "among" the ten European kingdoms into which the Roman
Empire was split. (V. 8.) (2) It "shall rise" to power
"after them." (V. 24.) (3) "And he shall be diverse from
the first" ten kingdoms; that is, different from ordinary, secular
kingdoms. (V. 24.) Any one acquainted with history knows that the Papacy
is the only power that answers to all these specifications. It rose
"among" the kingdoms of Western Rome, "after" they
were established in A.D. 476, and it differed from a purely civil power.
But the angel gives still another mark of identity to the little horn.
(4) Before it "there were three of the first horns plucked up by
the roots." (V. 8.) That is, in coming up it pushed out before it
three of the former horns by the roots.
Thus three kingdoms were to be
plucked up to give place for the Papacy. This prediction found its exact
fulfillment in the destruction of the three Arian kingdoms: the Heruli,
the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, as we now shall see. Rev. E. B.
Elliott, M.A., says:
"I might cite three that were eradicated from
before the Pope out of the list first given; viz., the Heruli under
Odoacer, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths."–"Horoe
Apocalypticoe," Vol. III, p. 168, Note 1. London: 1862. 27
In former days crowns of
conquered kings were placed on the head of the conqueror. (2 Samuel
12:30.) It is symbolically fitting, therefore, that the pope wears a
triple crown. Bishop Thomas Newton, speaking of the power that destroyed
the three horns, says:
"And the pope hath in a manner pointed
himself out for the person by wearing the triple crown."–"
Dissertations on the Prophecies," p. 220. London.
A brief statement of the
political and religious conditions in the Roman world is necessary here
in order that the reader may better grasp the real situation in which
these three Arian kingdoms found themselves. After Constantine had
removed the seat of the empire from Rome to Constantinople, the Roman
people were (at intervals) ruled from that Eastern capital, until the
pope had grown to power in Rome. While the Papacy was gradually gaining
control over the people of the West, the Eastern emperors were courting
the good will of the popes in order to hold their Western subjects.
From the time of Constantine to
that of Justinian there was a deadly struggle between the two largest
factions of the Church, the Catholics and the Arians. Often there was
terrible strife, and even bloodshed. "The streets of Alexandria and
of Constantinople were deluged with blood by the partisans of rival
bishops."–" History of Christianity," H. H. Milman,
Book III, chap. 5, par. 2, p. 410. New York: 2–vol. ed., 1881. Most of
the barbarian nations into which the Roman Empire was now split had
accepted the Catholic faith. But the Heruli, the Vandals, and the
Ostrogoths were Arians.
While the emperors courted the
help of the popes for political reasons, the popes sought the assistance
of the emperors to destroy the Arians. Theodosius, the Emperor of the
East, had already (380-395 A. D.) given "fifteen stern edicts
against heresy, one on the average for every year of his reign .... So
began the campaign which ended in the virtual extinction of Arianism in
the Roman world"–"Italy and her Invaders," Thomas
Hodgkin, Vol. I, pp. 368, 369. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 8–vol. ed. of
In A. D. 380, the Emperor
Theodosius issued an edict which said:
"We order those who follow
this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians: we pronounce all
others to be mad and foolish, and we order that they bear the
ignominious name of heretics .... These are to be visited . . . by the
stroke of our own authority"–"Italy and her Invaders,"
T. Hodgkin, Vol. I, p. 183. Two–vol. ed. of 1880.
"Thus did the reign and
legislation of Theodosius mark out the lines of future relationship
between Pope and Emperor." Id., p. 187. 28
Embassies passed continually
between the pope of Rome and the emperor of Constantinople, and in 381
A. D. Theodosius arranged for a general council of the clergy at
Constantinople, which finally established the Catholic doctrine.
"To him also, at least as much as to Constantine, must be
attributed the permanent alliance between the Church and the
State."–Id., pp. 182, 183.
The Heruli under Odoacer had
established themselves in Italy, 476 A. D.; and while this Arian king
ruled all his subjects impartially, he endeavored to shield his people
from the persecution inaugurated by the combined efforts of the pope and
the emperor. Pasquale Villari, writing of the period between 468 and 483
A. D., says:
"At that time the Pope was
morally, and even more than morally speaking, the most powerful
personage in Italy. If Odovacar [Odoacer], as an Arian, had openly
opposed him, Simplicius [the Pope] could have easily roused the whole
country against him, and made it impossible for him to maintain his
position in Italy"–"The Barbarian Invasion of Italy,"
Vol. I, pp. 145, 146. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902.
And just such an opportunity soon
presented itself: "Pope Simplicius died on the 2nd of March, 483,
whereupon Odovacar made a false move, of which he felt the consequences
Undoubtedly it was very important
for him to control the choice of a new Pontiff. He sought not only to
prevent the riots which had often caused bloodshed in the streets of
Rome on similar occasions, but also desired a Pope well disposed to
himself. Thus when the preliminary assembly failed to agree in the
choice of a candidate, the Pretorian Prefect, Cecina Basilius, suddenly
intervened in Odovacar's name, and declared that no election would be
valid without the King's voice .... A decree was likewise issued
prohibiting the alienation of Church property and threatening anathema
on all who failed to respect it. After this the Assembly was summoned to
sanction the decree and decide the election, which resulted in favor of
Felix II (483-492), the candidate recommended by Odovacar." –Id.,
"His interference in the
Papal election has cast into the Roman Church the seed of a deep and
threatening distrust towards him"–Id., p. 147. 29
Rome could never forgive such an
affront, and through its faithful ally, the emperor, another barbarian
nation, the Ostrogoths, were called in to destroy the hated Heruli.
Niccolo Machiavelli relates how the popes used such a method. He says:
"Nearly all the wars which
the northern barbarians carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked,
were occasioned by the pontiffs; and the hordes, with which the country
was inundated, were generally called in by them. The same mode of
proceeding still continued, and kept Italy weak and
unsettled"–" History of Florence," p. 13. Washington
and London: Universal Classics Library, 1901.
Villari says that Theodoric at
the head of the Ostrogothic hordes entered Italy in the autumn of 488,
backed by the authority of the emperor and the Church. Because the
discord that had now broken out between Odovacar and the pope had
weakened the former and consequently made him less formidable, after two
disastrous battles he retreated toward the city of Rome for safety from
the Ostrogoths, but "the gates of Rome were shut in his face, and
the inhabitants of Italy began to show him marked hostility; partly on
account of his recent conflict with the Church, partly for the increased
deeds of spoliation. . . The Church had taken advantage of all these
causes of discontent in order to excite the populace against him; and
before long it was openly said that the clergy had organized a general
conspiracy against him somewhat, it would seem, in the style of the
Sicilian Vespers."–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy,"
2–vol. ed. of 1880. Vol. I, pp. 153-156. John Henry Cardinal Newman,
D. D., says:
"Odoacer was sinking before
Theodoric, and the Pope was changing one Arian master for
another"–" An Essay on the Development of Christian
Doctrine," Part II, p. 320. London: 1878.
5th of March, 493, Theodoric entered Ravenna in triumph, all the clergy
coming forth to meet him, chanting Psalms, and with the Archbishop at
the head of the procession"–" The Barbarian Invasion of
Italy," Vol. I, p. 158. Ten days later Odoacer was murdered in cold
Hodgkin points out that this
coming of the archbishop to meet the Ostrogoths was staged so as to
"impress vividly on the minds both of Italians and Ostrogoths that
Theodoric came as the friend of the Catholic Church"–" Italy
and Her Invaders," 8–vol. ed., Vol. III, book 4, PP. 234, 235.
Hodgkin further states that the Roman clergy were privy to a terrible
secret plot of murdering the followers
of Odovacar all over Italy. (Id., pp. 225, 226.)
The Heruli disappeared from
history. Thus the first of the three horns of Daniel 7:8 was
"plucked up by the roots," and history leaves no room for
doubt but that the Papacy through its allies engineered this act because
of its opposition to Arianism.
The Emperor Justinian
Before passing to the next power
destroyed by the Papacy we shall briefly state the condition of the
Roman Empire at this time. Justinian had finally ascended the throne of
Constantinople as the Emperor of the East, 527 A. D. He was a shrewd
politician, and in his effort to extend his rule over the whole of the
Roman Empire he realized his need of securing the cooperation of the
highly organized Catholic Church, for it was directed by a single head
(the pope), and worked as a unit all over the empire, while the Arian
nations stood separately, without any central organization, and hence
they were weak. Then too, the Arians were very wealthy, and if Justinian
could conquer them in the name of "the true Church," he could
confiscate their property and thus secure means to carry on his many
wars. We read:
"Justinian (527) . . . already meditated . . . the
conquest of Italy and Africa"–"Decline and Fall,"
Edward Gibbon, chap. 39, par. 17. "Justinian felt that the support
of the Pope was necessary in his reconquering of the
West"–"History of Medieval Europe,'' L. Thorndike, Ph.D., p.
133. Cambridge, Mass. 1918.
"Justinian spared nothing in
his efforts to conciliate the Roman Church, and we find inserted with
evident satisfaction in Justinian's Code pontifical letters, which
praised his efforts to maintain the peace of the church and the unity of
religion. ''Cambridge Medieval History," Bury, Gwatkin, and
Whitney, Vol. II, p. 44. New York: 1913.
Procopius, the historian who
followed Justinian's armies, says:
"In his zeal to gather all men
into one Christian doctrine, he recklessly killed all who dissented, and
this too he did in the name of piety. For he did not call it homicide,
when those who perished happened to be of a belief that was different
from his own"–" Secret History of the Court of Justinian,"
pp. 138, 139. Chicago: P. Covici, 1927. "Now the churches of these
so-called heretics, especially those belonging to the Arian dissenters,
were almost incredibly wealthy"–Id., p. 121.
"Agents were sent everywhere
to force whomever they chanced upon to renounce the faith of their
fathers .... Thus many perished at the hands of the persecuting faction;
. . . but most of them by far quitted the land of their fathers, and
fled the country . . . and thenceforth the whole Roman Empire was a
scene of massacre and fight"–Id., p. 122.
Dom John Chapman (Roman Catholic)
says of Justinian:
"He felt himself to be the Vicegerent of the
Almighty to rule the world and bring it all to the service of Christ.
His wars were holy wars. In later centuries a Byzantine battle began
like a church ceremony. Even in the sixth century every enterprise was
consecrated by religion.
"He was well aware that
judicious persecution is a great help towards conversion!... He
strengthened the existing laws against pagans, Jews, and heretics ....
Many were burnt at Constantinople after the Emperor had made vain
attempts to convert them. John of Ephesus . . . was employed in this
apostolate. He boasts that in 546 he gained 70,000 pagans in Asia Minor,
including nobles and rhetoricians and physicians, and many in
Constantinople. Tortures discovered these men, and scourgings and
imprisonment induced them to accept instruction and baptism. A Patricius,
named Phocus, hearing that he had been denounced, took poison. The
Emperor ordered that he should be buried as an ass is buried. The pious
Emperor paid all the expenses of this Christian mission, and gave to
each of the 70,000 Asiatics the white garments for their baptism and a
piece of money."
"Other heretics were given
three months grace. All magistrates and soldiers had to swear that they
were Catholics"–"Studies in the Early Papacy," Dom John
Chapman, p. 222. London: Sheed and Ward, 1928. New York: Benziger
"Justinian's cherished aim
was the reconquest of Italy by the Empire; but in order to succeed in
this it was necessary to secure his rear by overthrowing the Vandals and
resuming possession of Africa."–"The Barbarian Invasion of
Italy," P. Villari, Vol. I, p. 197. 32
A pretext for breaking his oath
of peace with the Arian Vandals soon presented itself. The Vandal
government had oppressed the Roman Catholics just as the emperor, under
the influence of the Papacy, had oppressed the Arians. But when Hilderic
came to the Vandal throne he, through the influence of his Catholic
wife, had restored the Roman clergy to their ancient privileges, and
this had so displeased the Vandal leaders that Gelimer, a zealous Arian,
had dethroned and imprisoned him, and reigned in his place. "A
strong appeal was thus made to the piety [?] of the Emperor to deliver
the true Catholic Church of the West out of the hands of the barbarian
heretics."–" Medieval and Modern History," P. V. N.
Myers, p. 62. Boston: 1897.
Justinian wavered for a time,
fearing to attack these warlike Vandals, but a Catholic bishop assured
him of victory, claiming "he had seen a vision, in which God
commanded that the war should be immediately undertaken. 'It is the will
of Heaven, O Emperor!' exclaimed the bishop."–Id., p. 63.
Treachery, which with Rome and her allies has always been a justifiable
weapon, was here used in the service of the church by her dutiful son.
Justinian sent an army of 200,000 trained men under the leadership of
Belisarius to conquer the Vandals, without declaring war, and unbeknown
to Gelimer, their king. Villari says:
"Belisarius landed on the
African coast at nine days' march from Carthage [the Vandal capital]. He
did not assume the attitude of a conqueror, but came, he said, as the
deliverer of the Catholics and Romans, the clergy and lay proprietors,
who were all equally oppressed by those foreign barbarians, the heretic
Vandals"–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," Vol. I, p.
Thus Belisarius won the
enthusiastic support of a large part of the population. To undermine the
zeal of the Vandal leaders for their king he sent the "leading men
of the Vandals" a letter from Justinian, stating that he intended
only to dethrone the usurping king, who was tyrannizing over them, and
to give them back their liberty. The letter reads:
"'It is not our purpose to
go to war with the Vandals, nor are we breaking our treaty with Gaiseric.
We are only attempting to overthrow your tyrant, who making light of
Gaiseric's testament keeps your king a prisoner .... Therefore join us
in freeing yourselves from a tyranny so wicked, that you may enjoy peace
and liberty. We give you pledge in the name of God that we will give you
these blessings.' . . . The overseer of the public post deserted and
delivered all the horses to Belisarius"–"History of the
Later Roman Empire," J. B. Bury, Vol. II, p. 130. London: The
Macmillan Co., 1925.
But Justinian never intended to
keep his solemn oath to grant them liberty, and the people soon found
Rome the severest of tyrants. "In 533 the Byzantine general,
Belisarius (q.v.) landed in Africa. The Vandals were several times
defeated, and Carthage was entered on Sept. 15, 533 .... In the next
year Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica were restored to the Roman Empire. As
a nation, the Vandals soon ceased to exist"–NeIson's
Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. "Vandals," pp. 380, 38I. New
York: 1907. "Religious intolerance accompanied the imperial
restoration in the West. In Africa, as in Italy, Arians were spoiled for
the benefit of Catholics, their churches were destroyed or ruined, and
their lands confiscated"– "Cambridge Medieval History,"
Bury, Gwatkin, and Whitney, Vol. II, p. 44. New York: 1913.
"The Arian heresy was
proscribed, and the race of these remarkable conquerors was in a short
time exterminated .... There are few instances in history of a nation
disappearing so rapidly and so completely as the Vandals of
Africa."–"A History of Greece Under the Romans," George
Finlay, p. 234. London and New York: J. M. Dent, ed., 1856.
"Africa, subdued by the arms
of Belisarius, returned at once under the dominion of the empire and of
Catholicism .... One imperial edict was sufficient (A. D. 533) to
restore all the churches to the Catholic worship."–" Latin
Christianity," H. H. Milman, Book 3, chap. 4, p. 455. New York:
Crowell & Co., 188I. Thus the second horn of Daniel 7:8 was
"plucked up by the roots."
Here we have one sample out of
many in history as to what kind of religious liberty Rome grants
wherever she obtains the power.
Theodoric, king of the
Ostrogothic nation of Italy, maintained complete religious liberty for
all classes and creeds. He wrote to Justin, Emperor of the East, who was
persecuting the Arians:
"'To pretend to a domination
over the conscience, is to usurp the prerogative of God; by the nature
of things the power of sovereigns is confined to political government;
they have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public
peace; the most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates
himself from part of his subjects, because they believe not according to
his belief.'"–"History of Latin Christianity," H. H.
Milman, Vol. I, Book III, chap. 3, p. 439. New York: 1860.
The wars of the migrating
barbarians on the one side, and the persecutions of heathen, Jews, and
Arians by the Catholic Church on the other, had kept Italy in constant
turmoil. Agricultural pursuits were neglected, people crowded into the
cities, and want and starvation faced the population. But Theodoric's
wise and firm rule, and the strict religious liberty he established in
Italy, brought peace, prosperity, and happiness to all classes. J. G.
Sheppard, D. D., says:
"'Theodoric deserves the
highest praise; for, during the thirty-eight years he reigned in Italy,
he brought the country to such a state of greatness, that her previous
sufferings were no longer recognizable.'... What then prevented this
man, with so great a genius for government, and so splendid an
opportunity for its exercise, from organizing a Germanic empire, equal
in extent and power to that which obeyed the sceptre of the old Roman
Csesars? Or why did he fail, when Charlemagne, with a greater
complication of interests to deal with, for a time at least, succeeded?
"The causes were mainly
these; causes . . . very similar, at all times, in their operation. In
the first place, Theodoric was an Arian, and there was a power
antagonistic to Arianism growing up already on the banks of the Tiber,
stronger than the statesmen's policy or the soldier's sword–the
spiritual power of the church of Rome .... Such a power was necessarily
altogether incompatible with the existence of an Arian empire. And it
proved mightier than its rival."–"Fall of Rome," John
G. Sheppard, D. D., pp. 301,302. London: 1861.
In order to give the reader a
better understanding of the means used by the Papacy to destroy these
Arian kingdoms, we shall quote from Thomas Hodgkin a few brief
statements. He states that Theodoric, the Ostrogothic king, endeavored
to have "a close league for mutual defence formed between the four
great Arian and Teutonic monarchies, the Visigothic, the Burgundian, the
Ostrogothic, and the Vandal." But "diplomatists were wanting
[who could act] as their skillful and eloquent representatives,
traveling like Epiphanius from court to court, and bringing the
barbarian sovereigns to understand each other, to sink their petty
grievances, and to work together harmoniously for one common end.
Precisely these men were the Catholic prelates of the Mediterranean
lands to whom it was all-important that no such Arian league should be
formed .... All over the Roman world there was a serried array of
Catholic bishops and presbyters, taking their orders from a single
centre, Rome, feeling the interest of each one to be the interests of
all, in lively and constant intercourse with one another, quick to
discover, quick to disclose the slightest weak place in the organization
of the new heretical kingdoms. Of all this there was not the slightest
trace on the other side. The Arian bishops . . . stood apart from one
another in stupid and ignorant isolation."–"Italy and Her
Invaders," Thomas Hodgkin, (8–vol. ed.) Vol. III, Book 4, PP.
381-283. Oxford: 1899. This same principle was clearly stated by the
Catholic bishop Avitus, when the Arian king Gundobad appealed to him not
to allow the Catholic king Clovis to overrun his country. Avitus
answered: " If Gundobad would reconcile himself to the Church, the
Church would guarantee his safety from the attacks of
Clovis"–Id., p. 384.
The religious liberty, with its
attendant blessings to the country, which Theodoric had inaugurated, did
not satisfy the Catholic bishops; for Rome does not want religious
liberty for other churches, but sole domination for herself.
"The religious toleration
which Theodoric had the glory of introducing into the Christian world,
was painful and offensive to the orthodox zeal of the
Italian"–"Decline and Fall," Edward Gibbon, chap. 39,
par. 17. "Theodoric, . . . being an Arian, could not long remain on
harmonious terms with a Pope and [an] Emperor of the Orthodox creed,
[who were] necessarily bound to combine against him sooner or
later."–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," P. Viltari,
Vol. I, p. 178. London: 1913; New York: Scribner, 1902.
This was only natural. The
fundamental principles of the church of Rome are such that she can never
concede to any other denomination the equal right to exist and to carry
on its worship. Urged on by the pope and his bishops, Emperor Justin had
enacted severe laws against Arians (524 A. D.), and Justinian began his
reign in 527 by making laws still more severe.
"Theodoric, the King of
Italy, at first maintained something of his usual calm moderation; he
declined all retaliation, to which he had been incessantly urged, on the
orthodox of the West."–"Latin Christianity," H. H.
Milman, D. D., Vol. I, Book III, chap. 3, p. 440. But the concerted
efforts of pope and emperor, by fire, sword, and exile, to exterminate
"Arianism" at last "awakened the just resentment of
Theodoric, who claimed for his distressed brethren of the East the same
indulgence which he had so long granted to the Catholics of his
dominions .... And a mandate was prepared in Italy, to prohibit, after a
stated day, the exercise of the Catholic worship. By the bigotry of his
subjects and enemies, the most tolerant of princes was driven to the
brink of persecution"–"Decline and Fall," chap. 39,
"In Italy, Theodoric's
prolonged toleration had reconciled no one to him, and his ultimate
severity exasperated his Roman subjects. A dumb agitation held sway in
the West, and the coming of the Emperor's soldiers was eagerly awaited
and desired." –"Cambridge Medieval History," Bury,
Gwatkin, and Whitney, Vol. II, p. 10. Chicago: The Macmillan Company,
"And truly the chief men of
Rome were suspected, at this very time, of carrying on a treasonable
correspondence with the Court of Constantinople, and machinating the
ruin of the Gothic empire in Italy"–"History of the
Popes," A. Bower, Vol. II, p. 421. Dublin: 1749.
In the summer of 535 Belisarius
started with 7,500 men besides his own guards to conquer Italy and
destroy the Arian heretics. This he could do only by the assistance of
the Roman Catholics.
"But with great shrewdness he had quickly won
their good will, by announcing that he came to deliver them from the
barbarian yoke, and from the Arian persecution, and also for the purpose
of restoring Rome to her ancient grandeur."–" The Barbarian
Invasion of Italy," P. Villari, Vol. I, p. 201.
Witigis [Vitiges] was now the
king of the Ostrogoths, and Rome was continuing its usual policy.
Professor J. B. Bury says:
"In the meantime Belisarius
had left Naples and was marching northward. The Romans, warned by the
experiences of Naples, and urged by the Pope, who had no scruples in
breaking his oath with Witigis, sent a messenger inviting him to come.
He . . . entered Rome on December 9, A. D. 536."– "History
of the Later Roman Empire," Vol. II, pp. 179, 180.
"Such, then, was the Pope
Silverius . . . who, having sworn a solemn oath of fealty to Witigis,
now, near the end of 536, sent messengers to Belisarius to offer the
peaceful surrender of the city of Rome"–"Italy and Her
Invaders," T. Hodgkin (8–vol. ed.), Vol. IV, Book 5, p. 93. 1885.
"Rome betrayed. The
Catholics, on the first approach of the emperor's army, boldly raised
the cry that the apostolic throne (!) should no longer be profaned by
the triumph or toleration of Arianism, nor the tombs of the Caears
trampled by the savages of the North; and deputies of the pope and
clergy, and of what is called the senate and people, waited upon the
approaching army to whom they threw open the gates of the city; and the
Catholics were rewarded for their treason by the apparent respect of
Belisarius for the pope"–" History of the Christian
Church," N. Summerbell page 340, third edition. Cincinnati: 1873.
Witigis then besieged the city of
Rome from March, 537, to March, 538, when he raised the siege, after
losing the flower of his army, and retired to Ravenna, his capital. T.
"With heavy hearts the
barbarians must have thought, as they turned them northwards, upon the
many graves of gallant men which they were leaving on that fatal plain.
Some of them must have suspected the melancholy truth that they had dug
one grave, deeper and wider than all, the grave of the Gothic monarchy
in Italy."–"Italy and Her Invaders," (8–vol. ed.)
Vol. IV, p. 285.
A deathblow was thus given to the
Ostrogoths in 538 A. D., and their attempts to re-establish themselves
after this were but the last flicker of a lamp being extinguished.
Belisarius followed them this same year to their "last stronghold
of power. Ravenna was soon entered by the troops of the empire, and with
it fell the great kingdom of the Ostrogoths"–"Fall of
Rome," J. G. Sheppard, p. 306. London: 1892.
"Then occurred a singular
phenomenon,–the annihilation and disappearance of a great and powerful
people from the world's history"–Id., p. 307. But let all
remember, that "the success of Justinian's invasion was due to the
clergy; in the ruin they brought upon their country, and the relentless
tyranny they drew upon themselves, they had their
reward"–"History of the Intellectual Development of
Europe," J. W. Draper, M. D., LL.D., Vol. I, p. 355. New York:
Harper Brothers., 1889.
The last of the three Arian
"horns" of Daniel 7:8 had passed away, and with it passed also
the liberty of the common people. Dr. N. Summerbell truthfully says:
"The Dark Ages, introduced
by the persecution of an enlightened Church in the sanguinary wars of
Justinian to exalt the Catholics, continued up to the fourteenth
century. It was a long, dark night, when ignorance, bigotry, and 38
cruelty reigned, and truth, purity, and
justice were crushed out"–"History of the Christian
Church," p. 342.
It has been claimed by some that
the Lombard nation was one of the three horns of Daniel 7:8, which were
rooted up by the Papacy. We shall therefore investigate this claim
carefully before leaving this subject. It is true that the Lombards, who
settled in Italy, 568 A. D., were at first Arians, but they soon became
converted to the Roman Catholic faith (615 A. D.). Professor J. B. Bury
"In the century which
intervened between the death of Gregory I [604 A. D.] and the accession
of Gregory II  the Lombards had been transformed from Arian
heretics into devout Catholics, so that the religious difficulty which
parted Roman from Lombard had disappeared"–"The Cambridge
Medieval History," Vol. II, p. 694. New York: The Macmillan
That the Lombards were not
subdued on account of any opposition to the papal church is also
witnessed by the following quotation:
"Slowly however the light of
faith made way among them and the Church won their respect and
obedience. This meant protection for the conquered"– The Catholic
Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, art. "Lombards," p. 338. Even though
the Lombards were subdued by Pepin (755 A. D.), and later by Charlemagne
(774), yet they were not destroyed. The Lombard kingdom in Italy had
long been divided into smaller "duchies," and Charlemagne
allowed several of these to continue, while they nominally recognized
him as emperor (such an arrangement became common for centuries in
Italy). "The Lombards, having now been two hundred and thirty-two
years in the country, were strangers only in name; and Charles, wishing
to reorganize the states of Italy, consented that they should occupy the
places in which they had been brought up, and call the province after
their own name, Lombardy ....
"In the meantime, the
Emperor Charles died and was succeeded by Lewis, . . . [and] at the time
of his grandchildren, the house of France lost the empire, which then
came to the Germans. [During these changes] the Lombards [were]
gathering strength"–"The History of Florence," N.
Machiavelli, pp. 15, 16. Washington and London: Universal Classics
In 1167 A. D., the different
Lombard cities were organized into separate republics, and combined into
the famous Lombard League. Being devoted to the pope they fought the
excommunicated German emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, who would subjugate
them, and who "endeavored to force upon the church an anti-pope in
the place of Alexander III."
Finally in 1176 A. D., the
combined armies of the Lombard League met the emperor's forces in a
decisive battle on the plains of Legnano.
"The imperial army was so
utterly overthrown and dispersed, that for some time the fate of the
emperor was uncertain. Three days after the battle he appeared in Pavia,
alone, and in . . . disguise .... For twenty-one years Frederick had
been struggling against the independence of Lombardy. With seven armies
he had swept their doomed territory, inflicting atrocities the recital
of which sickens humanity. The fatal battle of Legnano left him for a
time powerless, and he was compelled to assent to a truce for six years.
At the expiration of this truce, in the year 1183, by the peace of
Constance, the comparative independence of Lombardy was secured; a
general supremacy of dignity rather than of power being conceded to the
emperor." –" Italy from the Earliest Period to the Present
Day," John. S. C. Abbott, pp. 438, 439. New York: 1860.
Not only had the kingdom of
Lombardy maintained its independence, but "the generous resistance
of the Lombards, during a war of thirty years, had conquered from the
emperors political liberty for all the towns in the kingdom of
Italy."–"A History of the Italian Republics," J. C. S.
de Sismondi, p. 61. New York: 1904.
space permitted, we could trace the kingdom of Lombardy for nearly two
centuries more, but this will suffice to prove that the Lombards were
not destroyed by Charlemagne, when subdued by him in 774, neither could
they be one of the three powers plucked up by the roots to give place
for the Papacy. (Daniel 7:8.) A people plucked up by the roots in 774
would hardly fight so heroically for four hundred years afterwards to
maintain their independence till mighty emperors had to yield. But even
if the Lombards had been destroyed by Charlemagne in 774, they could not
be reckoned as one of the three nations plucked up to give place to the
Papacy; for, if we reckon the 1260 years of papal supremacy from 774,
they would end in 2034 A. D., which would entirely dislocate the
prophetic reckoning, as we shall see in the next chapter.