Front Page Titles (by Subject) 10.: RADAGAISUS — ( P. 167 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5
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10.: RADAGAISUS — ( P. 167 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 5.
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RADAGAISUS — (P. 167)
Radagaisus invaded Italy in 405 , at the head of an army of barbarians. He was defeated by Stilicho on the hills of Faesulae. There is no doubt about these facts, in which our Western authorities agree, Orosius (vii. 37), Prosper, ad ann. 405, and Paulinus (Vita Ambrosii, c. 50). Prosper’s notice is: Radagaisus in Tuscia multis Gothorum milibus cæsis, ducente exercitum Stilichone, superatus et captus est. But Zosimus (v. 26) places the defeat of Radagaisus on the Ister. “A strange error,” Gibbon remarks, “which is awkwardly and imperfectly cured by reading Ἄρνον for Ἴστρον.” Awkwardly and contrariwise to every principle of criticism. It is an emendation of Leunclavius, and Reitemeier’s Ἠριδανὸν is no better. But Zosimus knew where the Danube was, and the critic has to explain his mistake.
From Gibbon’s narrative one would draw the conclusion that this invasion of Italy in 405 (406 Gibbon incorrectly; see Clinton, ad ann.) was the first occasion on which Radagaisus appeared on the stage of Imperial events. But he appeared before. A notice of Prosper, which there is not the smallest cause to question, represents him as co-operating with Alaric, when Alaric invaded Italy. Under the year 400 (there may be reason for questioning the year; see last Appendix) in his Chronicle we find the record: Gothi Italiam Alarico et Radagaiso ducibus ingressi. It is perfectly arbitary to assume that the notice of the action of Radagaisus on this occasion is a mere erroneous duplication of his action, which is separately and distinctly recorded under the year 405. Pallmann emphasised the importance of the earlier notice of Prosper, and made a suggestion which has been adopted and developed by Mr. Hodgkin (i. p. 711, 716, 736), that Alaric and Radagaisus combined to attack Italia, Alaric operating in Venetia and his confederate in Raetia in 400-1, and that the winter campaign of Stilicho in Raetia in 401-2, of which Claudian speaks, was directed against Radagaisus. This combination has everything to recommend it. The passages in Claudian are as follows: —
Leaving aside the question whether (as Birt thinks) the barbarians whom Radagaisus headed in Raetia were the Vandals and Alans who invaded Gaul in 406, we may without hesitation accept the conclusion that in 401 Radagaisus was at the head of Vandals and other barbarians in Raetia. Birt points out the statement that Radagaisus had intended to cross into Italy (εἰς τὴν Ἰταλιαν ὥρμητο διαβη̂ναι), with which Zosimus introduces his account of the overthrow of Radagaisus by Stilicho; and proposes to refer that statement not to the campaign of 405 but to that of 401.
It was satisfactory to find that Birt had already taken a step in a direction in which I had been led before I studied his Preface to Claudian. The fact is that Zosimus really recounts the campaign of 401, as if it were the campaign of 405. His story is that Radagaisus prepared to invade Italy. The news created great terror, and Stilicho broke up with the army from Ticinum, and with as many Alans and Huns as he could muster, without waiting for the attack, crossed the Ister, and assailing the barbarians unexpectedly utterly destroyed their host. This is the campaign of the winter of 401-2, of which we know from Claudian’s Gothic War; only that (1) Zosimus, placing it in 405, has added one feature of the actual campaign in 405, namely the all but total annihilation of the army of Radagaisus, and that (2) Zosimus, in placing the final action beyond the Danube, differs from Claudian, who places it in Noricum or Vindelicia (l. 365, cited above) and does not mention that Stilicho crossed the river. But the winter campaign was in Danubian regions; and the main difficulty, the appearance of the Danube in the narrative of Zosimus, seems to be satisfactorily accounted for by the assumption of this confusion between the two Radagaisus episodes, a confusion which must be ascribed to Zosimus himself rather than to his source Olympiodorus.1
[1 ]Mr. Rushforth points out (in a review of this volume in Eng. Historical Review, xiii. p. 132, 1898) that the statement of Zosimus that the threatened invasion of Radagaisus caused a panic at Rome, taken in connection with the restoration of the walls of Rome in 402 (which Gibbon omits to mention), is a confirmation of the view which I have tried to establish that Zosimus is really relating the campaign of 401.