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    CHAPTER IV. THE SECOND TRUMPET

    THAT last word, “Africa,” indicates the scenes of the Second Trumpet. The center of motion now “changes from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the southern coast of the Mediterranean: from the frozen regions of the north to the borders of burning Africa.” Under this Trumpet, instead of a storm of hail falling upon the earth, a great burning mountain was cast into the sea.GNT 28.1

    “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” Revelation 8:8, 9.GNT 28.2

    The period covered by this Trumpet is from 428 to 476; and the prophecy was fulfilled in the terrible Genseric, King of the Vandals, and “Monarch of the Sea;” whose ravages fixed forever in human language the term expressive of wilful, wanton, and ignorant destruction—“Vandalism;” and who “spread his negotiations round the world.”—Gibbon, Chap. XXXXII, par. 10 from end; Chap. XXXIV, par. 4.GNT 28.3

    After the Vandals, with the Alani, the Suevi, and the Burgundians, had devastated Gaul, they with the Alani and the Suevi overran the whole Spanish peninsula. There the Alani lost their king, and instead of electing another king they chose to unite with the nation of the Vandals. In 429 the whole nation of the Vandals removed from Spain into Africa. In ten years they subdued the whole Mediterranean coast to Carthage, which they entered and made their capital, Oct. 9, 439. “As soon as he touched the coast, or at least as soon as the docks and harbors of Hippo and Carthage were in his power, he, a leader of a tribe of inland barbarians, who had been indebted to the friendly offices of Bonifacius for the transport of his vessels across the Straits of Gibraltar, turned all his energies to shipbuilding; and soon possessed incomparably the most formidable naval power in the Mediterranean.”—“Italy and Her Invaders,” Book III, Chap. II, par. 49.GNT 28.4

    From his African capital “the discovery and conquest of the black nations that might dwell beneath the torrid zone, could not tempt the rational ambition of Genseric; but he cast his eyes toward the sea; he resolved to create a naval power, and his bold resolution was executed with steady and active perseverance. The woods of Mt. Atlas afforded an inexhaustible supply of timber; his new subjects were skilled in the arts of navigation and shipbuilding; he animated his daring Vandals to embrace a mode of warfare which would render every maritime country accessible to their arms; the Moors and Africans were allured by the hopes of plunder; and, after an interval of six centuries, the fleets that issued from the port of Carthage again claimed the empire of the Mediterranean.”GNT 29.1

    From 439 to 445 Genseric’s enterprise was crowned with success in “the conquest of Sicily, the sack of Palermo, and the frequent descents on the coast of Lucania.” These successes awakened and alarmed the weak rulers of failing Rome. But all “the designs of the Roman government were repeatedly baffled by his artful delays, ambitious promises, and apparent concessions.” Genseric had a formidable confederate on the Danube, whose motions could disconcert any attempt of the Roman authorities to attack Carthage; and, in 455, Genseric, with his fleet, “cast anchor at the mouth of the Tiber.” Just at this time there was a crisis in the imperial family in Rome, and the Emperor Maximus was attacked by the people in the streets, and was stoned to death, and cast into the Tiber. “On the third day after the tumult, Genseric boldly advanced from the port of Ostia to the gates of the defenseless city.”GNT 30.1

    There was no army to defend the city; and Pope Leo the Great, at the head of his clergy, met him outside of the gates, and pleaded that he spare the city. However, all that Genseric would even promise was that the people should not be slaughtered, the buildings should not be burned, and the captives should not be tortured. But the whole city and its people “were delivered to the licentiousness of the Vandals and Moors, whose blind passions revenged the injuries of Carthage. The pillage lasted fourteen days and nights; and all that yet remained of public or private wealth, of sacred or profane treasure, was diligently transported to the vessels of Genseric.... The holy instruments of the Jewish worship, the gold table, and the gold candlestick with seven branches, originally framed according to the particular instructions of God himself, and which were placed in the sanctuary of His temple, had been ostentatiously displayed to the Roman people in the triumph of Titus. They were afterwards deposited in the Temple of Peace; and at the end of four hundred years, the spoils of Jerusalem were transferred from Rome to Carthage, by a barbarian who derived his origin from the shores of the Baltic....GNT 30.2

    “In the forty-five years that had elapsed since the Gothic invasion, the pomp and luxury of Rome were in some measure restored; and it was difficult either to escape, or to satisfy, the avarice of a conqueror who possessed leisure to collect, and ships to transport the wealth of the capital. The imperial ornaments of the palace, the magnificent furniture and wardrobe, the sideboards of massive plate, were accumulated with disorderly rapine; the gold and silver amounted to several thousand talents; yet even the brass and copper were laboriously removed.... Many thousand Romans of both sexes, chosen for some useful or agreeable qualifications, reluctantly embarked on board the fleet of Genseric; and their distress was aggravated by the unfeeling barbarians, who, in the division of the booty, separated the wives from their husbands, and the children from their parents.”GNT 31.1

    Two years afterward the Emperor Majorian determined to invade Africa, and break the power of Genseric. Three years were spent in building a fleet. “The woods of the Apennines were felled; the arsenals and manufactures of Ravenna and Misenum were restored; Italy and Gaul vied with each other in liberal contributions to the public service; and the Imperial navy of three hundred galleys, with an adequate proportion of transports and smaller vessels, was collected in the secure and capacious harbor of Carthagena in Spain.” But Genseric “surprised the unguarded fleet in the Bay of Carthagena: many of the ships were sunk, or taken, or burnt; and the preparations of three years were destroyed in a single day.”GNT 32.1

    After this experience Rome was weaker, and Genseric was even more terrible than ever before. “In the spring of each year they equipped a formidable navy in the port of Carthage, and Genseric himself, though in a very advanced age, still commanded in person the most important expeditions. His designs were concealed with impenetrable secrecy till the moment that he hoisted sail. When he was asked by his pilot what course he should steer, ‘Leave the determination to the winds,’ replied the barbarian, with pious arrogance; ‘they will transport us to the guilty coast whose inhabitants have provoked the divine justice.’ But if Genseric himself deigned to issue more precise orders, he judged the most wealthy to be the most criminal. The Vandals repeatedly visited the coasts of Spain, Liguria, Tuscany, Campania, Lucania, Brutium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, and Sicily; they were tempted to subdue the island of Sardinia, so advantageously placed in the center of the Mediterranean, and their arms spread desolation or terror from the columns of Hercules to the mouth of the Nile. As they were more ambitious of spoil than of glory, they seldom attacked any fortified cities, or engaged any regular troops in the open field. But the celerity of their motions enabled them, almost at the same time, to threaten and to attack the most distant objects which attracted their desires; and as they always embarked a sufficient number of horses, they had no sooner landed than they swept the dismayed country with a body of light cavalry.”GNT 32.2

    Their resources being now utterly exhausted, the rulers of the remains of the Western Empire appealed to the Eastern Empire for aid against the Vandals. This was finally gained. A great fleet was gathered, and manned at a cost of five million eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling—nearly thirty millions of dollars. “The powers of the Eastern Empire were strenuously exerted to deliver Italy and the Mediterranean from the Vandals; and Genseric, who had so long oppressed both the land and sea, was threatened from every side with a formidable invasion.”GNT 33.1

    “The fleet that sailed [A. D. 468] from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of soldiers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men.” A separate force from Egypt and Libya landed in Tripoli and marched to the attack of Carthage by land. The two forces met at Cape Bona, forty miles from Carthage; and if the Commander-in-chief “had seized the moment of consternation, and boldly advanced to the capital, Carthage must have surrendered, and the kingdom of the Vandals was extinguished.GNT 34.1

    “Genseric beheld the danger with firmness, and eluded it with veteran dexterity.” He represented that he was ready to yield himself and his dominions to the Emperor; but desired a five-days’ truce to arrange the terms. The Roman Commander “consented to the fatal truce.”GNT 34.2

    “During this short interval the wind became favorable to the designs of Genseric. He manned his largest ships of war with the bravest of the Moors and Vandals; and they towed after them many large barks filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night these destructive vessels were impelled against the Romans, who were awakened by a sense of their instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence, and the noise of the winds, the crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers and mariners, who could neither command nor obey, increased the horror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they labored to extricate themselves from the fireships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valor; and many of the Romans who escaped the fury of the flames, were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals....GNT 34.3

    “After the failure of this great expedition, Genseric again became the tyrant of the sea; the coasts of Italy, Greece, and Asia, were again exposed to his revenge and avarice. Tripoli and Sardinia returned to his obedience; he added Sicily to the number of his provinces; and before he died, in the fullness of years and of glory, he beheld the FINAL EXTINCTION of the empire of the west.”—Gibbon, Chap. XXXVI, pars. 1-4, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22.GNT 35.1

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